The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

*Review* Oceanborn & Seamonster by Amalie Howard October 9, 2014

Oceanborn (The Aquarathi) (English Edition) (affiliate link)

Waterfell (The Aquarathi)

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

***I received a finished paperback from Harlequin Teen, Amalie Howard, & Jennifer Abbotts, I decided to review on my own. Being provided with a copy in no way swayed my opinion.***
Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 29 July 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: paperback provided by Harlequin Teen
Status: book two of the Aquarathi series

Summary:
The coronation is over.
But the battle has just begun.
Nerissa Marin has won her crown. But can she keep it? Already, her ties to the human realm are driving a wedge between Nerissa and her people. When word arrives that her part-human prince consort, Lo, has been poisoned, she makes the difficult choice to leave Waterfell and return landside. As the royal courts debate her decision, even more disturbing rumors surface: a plot is rising against her, led by someone she least expects.
On land, Nerissa learns another shocking truth: Lo does not remember who she is. As her choice to try to save him threatens her hold on her crown, changing loyalties and uncertainty test her courage in ways she could never have imagined. Nerissa will have one last chance to prove herself as a queen …and save the undersea kingdom she loves

My thoughts:
Oh, wow. Once again, Amalie blew me away with her incredible underwater world of Waterfell. Even better that I revisited it in a two book and one novella binge read. The ocean fascinates me and Amalie takes a brilliant idea and runs with it. FANTASTIC.
The action and drama had perfect flow and ebbs. Everything builds until the wave breaks. Okay, I’ll stop with the puns and be serious (well as serious as I can be while utterly fangirling!)
Right off, Amalie hits you right in the feels. Or at least she destroyed mine! Lo’s in danger?! OH NO SHE DIDN’T! I really admire Rissa’s courage to face her royal duties as well as her land troubles. All while pulling time in high school.
Rissa, again, really grew as a character. She still has a strong stubborn and impulsive streak, but she’s also more grounded due to her bond with Lo. She’s also learned that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.
I was blown away with the transformation in Lo. Not cool, Amalie. Not cool. It was difficult to watch Rissa watch Lo become an entirely different person. I was chewing my nails like crazy waiting for the outcome. EEP!

Once again Amalie’s snark was spot on and it seemed like everyone had a chance to shine with snarky brilliance. The quips between Rissa and Jenna were my favourite. Jenna’s a tough one. Not easily cracked and constantly on her toes. Some of her ideas were a bit harebrained and brilliant all at once.

It was hard for me to come to terms with how long it took me to read. I managed to re-read Waterfell in a few days. The cards were stacked against me and it took me a week to complete. Much like blogging recently, the kiddos have been a bit demanding and taking up more of my time. Normally, that would impact my rating and reading experience, but not this time. It constantly had me thinking about it even when I couldn’t read. I mulled over what I’d read and contemplated which direction Amalie would take.

For a hot minute, I feared Amalie would leave this as a duology. Then the twist I was hoping for happened! It resulted in a massive cliffhanger, but YAY MORE WATERFELL!

There was one character that genuinely surprised me and it brought tears to my eyes. I was happy forthe closure, even if it was a painful moment.

After the pain of Speio’s betrayal in Waterfell, I was happy to see him redeemed in Oceanborn. Events at the end have me super surprised though!

Ultimately, Oceanborn was all I wanted and more. I’m so distressed with the cliffhanger. AHHHH!!!! I could sing this series’s praises all day long. I highly recommend it. Fantastic characters and an incredible parallel world. Brava Amalie! Book three please? (:

SEAMONSTER: An Aquarathi Novella (The Aquarathi)(affiliate link)

 

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 17 June 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: ebook, personal copy
Status: novella of the Aquarathi series

Summary:
They say that love is the death of duty …
Speio Marin is land-bound, tied to the side of the Waterfell queen-to-be, Nerissa. There’s only one problem–she wants nothing to do with any of the Aquarathi or her undersea kingdom, preferring instead the freedom of pretending to be human. Torn between his own desires and his duty to serve his future queen, he spirals into an abyss of malcontent. Speio’s mistrust of humans is no secret, and he sees them only as a threat to the existence of his people.
Until he meets Anya Delmonico–a mysterious and enigmatic girl, teetering on the edge of survival. Anya is sedate and secretive, yet reckless enough to brave a hundred-foot cliff jump. Caught between a dark past and an ex-boyfriend who refuses to let her go, Anya knows that getting involved with anyone new is the last thing she should do. But when her past catches up to her, Speio turns out to be the only one she can trust, refusing to let her face her demons alone.
When Anya discovers the truth about Speio, putting her life in mortal danger from the Aquarathi as well as her own sinister pursuers, will he risk everything to protect her? Or will he choose duty above all?

My thoughts:
Oh, Spey. I love you so much now. After hating him SO hard at the end of Waterfell, Amalie does an incredible job giving some a glimpse into his mind. My heart melted and warmed to him. It was a great way to whet my appetite while waiting for Oceanborn. Can’t wait to see how he continues to redeem himself! Just read it! It’s so great!

About the author:

AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 22 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts. She is the author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, PW and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was an Amazon best seller and a Seventeen Magazine Summer Read. She currently resides in New York with her husband and three children. Visit her at amaliehoward.com.

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*Blog Tour & Review* 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen July 11, 2014

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I am SUPER excited to be a part of Rachael’s blog tour for 17 First Kisses!! (:

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***I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to HarperTeen!***   

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 17 June 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: ARC provided by the publisher
Status: standalone

Summary:
No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story

 

My thoughts:
I cannot ever remember devouring a contemporary in one afternoon. I was surprised to receive an ARC from HarperTeen. As I’ve said before, I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary, but I thought I would give it a try. Alsison Linsow took the time to send it to me, so I could at least give it a chance. I’m very happy that I did. I believe this is a below the radar greatness that needs to be shared. It’s not your typical fluffy high school tale and I really enjoyed that.

I instantly related to Claire as the girl living in a small town, super excited to blow that popsicle stand. Hello, high school me! I also related to Claire on the “a boy is threatening our friendship deal.” Only I didn’t come out of my experience with my friendship intact. Now that neither of us are with said boy, we ocassionally talk, but our friendship was all but destroyed. Over a boy. A boy neither of us are with now. I’m even married with two kids! I would love to go smack our 16 year old selves and be like HE IS NOT WORTH IT. *sigh*

I loved including the story of how each kiss happened. It left me reflection on my kisses. Some I still remember fondly. Others, I wonder what the crap I was thinking. I mean, really.

Despite the name, the focus is on family and friend relationships which I really enjoyed.

It was chock full of flawed characters and uncertain situations and I loved it. I don’t like perfect characters or plots. I hate cookie cutter lives. Life isn’t like that and I think that’s my main problem with most contemporaries.

I did have a problem with the slut shaming. Kissing a few boys at a party makes a slut now?! Grr. Flirty? Yes. Slut? Not even remotely. That made me so angry and my heart went out to Claire. 17 First Kisses shows sex in a responsible, truthful way. Not hushed up like it’s shameful, but also not presented as a sex for all with no consequences. Classy and tasteful presentation. Brava, Rachael!

This debut is underrated thus far, and I hope it gets a chance to explode on the scene. There are lovey dovey scenes, snarky scenes, cliche scenes, everything and more to make a quick and enjoyable contemporary.  I highly recommend it. Go forth and enjoy it! (:

About the author:

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Rachael Allen lives in Atlanta, GA where she’s working furiously on her PhD in neuroscience. When she’s not doing science or writing YA, you can find her chasing after her toddler and her two sled dogs. Her debut YA novel 17 FIRST KISSES, is forthcoming from Harper Teen. Rachael may or may not have had 17 first kisses…luckily she doesn’t kiss and tell.

Website: http://rachaelallenwrites.blogspot.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7326808.Rachael_Allen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachael_allen

Be sure to follow the tour so you can find out more about Rachael and her wonderful debut!
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Guidelines:

– US Only giveaway

– Must be 13 or older to enter

– Giveaway starts JULY 7th until JULY 14th

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– Winner will be notified via email and needs to answer in 48 hours letting us know if he/she accepts the prize and send us his/her full name and address.

– Your personal information won’t be used or be seen unless you’re the winner of the giveaway. We won’t sell it nor use it in a bad way.

– Tour Hosts are not responsible for any lost or stolen items

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*Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway* Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore June 13, 2014

DarkMetropolisBlogTour

 

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review as a part of the blog tour hosted by Itching For Books. Many thanks to Disney-Hyperion!***   

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Dark Metropolis - Cover Image - High Res

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:17 June 2014
Publisher:Disney Hyperion
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Format: eARC/ARC provided by the publisher
Status:Book one of the Dark Metropolis duology

Summary:
Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder’s mother is cursed with a spell that’s driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city’s secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they’re not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don’t always seem to stay that way.

My thoughts:

I am so happy to be a part of the blog tour for Dark Metropolis today! The first time I saw the cover, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Plus it was recommended for fans of Cassie Clare. Throw in some historical fiction action and I WAS SOLD.(Seriously, book hang over from City of Heavenly Fire? Give Dark Metropolis a look!)

I greatly enjoyed Dark Metropolis from the get go. It was clear that it was post WWI, but I wasn’t certain which country it was until I stumbled across some random facts Jaclyn posted on Goodreads. I was figuring US or UK, I wasn’t expecting Germany. (Yes, I realised my goof after remembering the references to the Chancellor. I know, I KNOW. )

I really enjoyed the world building Jaclyn did. I loved getting a view inside the club world and seeing the distinct class differences. It was great to see how the characters navigated the perilous world of mixing classes. In my life, that’s not something that happens everyday and isn’t frowned upon when it does. I guess the closest I come is mixing ranks at hubby’s military parties. It’s always a little intimidating when I speak with the higher ranks’ spouses. For the characters, everyone is pushed out of their comfort zone at one point or another.

I loved the reanimation. I’m not big into zombies. My mom tries all the time to get me into The Walking Dead, but it just hasn’t happened. These aren’t your typical zombies and I think that’s what I love about it so much. They have flashes of memories from before their deaths and are completely capable of communicating and functioning as long as they continue to take a mysterious serum. If doses are missed… well… let’s just say things get bad. As a Disney title, there was a completely unexpected twist between characters. I was not expecting the beginnings of a lesbian relationship. I do, however, believe that it fits perfectly and wasn’t something that was forced. I can’t wait to see how things continue. Yes, I’m purposefully leaving out names because I don’t want to give the game away! I feel that’s a major spoiler and I want (hope) your feelings develop for this relationship the way mine did.I have mixed feelings about ANOTHER relationship though. I think I’m for it. There are just so many things up in the air! EEP!

There were a lot of unanswered questions that you have quickly. Where’s Thea’s dad, if he’s alive like her mother maintains Why is magic being suppressed, but the government is trying to harness it? Why are people disappearing? How does reanimation work? That’s only from the immediate beginning. Thankfully, Jaclyn does a FANTASTIC job of giving you answers to numerous questions without having a single info dump. She does leave enough answered questions to leave you wanting more and for me, it’s going to be an impatient wait for book 2! The ending was SO emotional. I cried. Not ugly crying, but I cried. As usual hubby gave me the I’m judging you for crying over a book look. HEART WRENCHING. *sobs*

Dark Metropolis is a great alternate history read and I recommend it highly. It may not be for everyone, but not every book is. Dark Metropolis is full of great characters, mystery, and fantastic world building. Jaclyn weaves it in such a way it’s hard not to spoil things! Which is why I didn’t delve too much into characters. That was incredibly hard not to delve into the wonderful characters she creates. They are so wonderful!

 

*Excerpt*

“All right,” he said. “It’s just this: ever since the war, when people die from suicide, and sometimes murders and executions, the government has been reviving them. The city has been in need of manpower since the war, and suicide is no good way to die, so it benefits everyone.”

“Reviving them? After death?”

“Yes. So they can have a second chance. And do some good work for the city. That’s where I saw Nan. At the-the rehabilitation centre. Gerik has a hand in it, but I can’t breathe a word to anyone.” 

 

About the author

Jaclyn Dolamore

Jaclyn Dolamore was homeschooled in a hippie sort of way and spent her childhood reading as many books as her skinny nerd-body could lug from the library and playing elaborate pretend games with her sister Kate. She skipped college and spent eight years drudging through retail jobs, developing her thrifty cooking skills and pursuing a lifelong writing dream. She has a passion for history, thrift stores, vintage dresses, David Bowie, drawing, and organic food. She lives with her partner and plot-sounding-board, Dade, and two black tabbies who have ruined her carpeting.

 www.jaclyndolamore.com | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

GIVEAWAY:

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Waiting on Wednesday #34: Brazen by Katherine Longshore June 11, 2014

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Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine. It showcases upcoming releases we’re anticipating!

 

 

My pick of the week is:

Brazen

 

By: Katherine Longshore

 

Coming: 12 June 2014

 

Publisher: Penguin Viking

 

Summary:
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

Why I’m excited:

If you know me pretty well, you know how obsessed I am with all things Tudors/Cousin’s War era England. OF COURSE I’m going to be excited about a YA Tudor novel! I’m also excited to read about a Howard. If it’s the branch I think, she’s a relation to Anne Boleyn! I’m so excited!

Why I need you to be excited:

Tudor history, duh! It’s a wonderful time of England to study and it’s chock full of drama, murder, mystery, intrigue, etc. A novel set in this time period is obviously gonna rock! (: 

 

Waiting on Wednesday #33: Dark Metropolis June 4, 2014

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Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine. It showcases upcoming releases we’re anticipating!

 

 

My pick of the week is:

Dark Metropolis (Dark Metropolis #1)

 

By: Jaclyn Dolamore

 

Coming: 17 June 2014

 

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

 

Summary:
Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder’s mother is cursed with a spell that’s driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city’s secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they’re not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don’t always seem to stay that way.

 

Why I’m excited:

I must confess, I have already read this delicious gem. (: It was simply fantastic and a quick read. I was pulled in by the cover and emailed a request. I received a physical copy and I’m also on the blog tour. (Keep an eye out for my review next week!) This book was so awesome. I can’t wait for book two. I feel like this has been flying under the radar, and I hope it catches the interest of people quickly!

Why I need you to be excited:

It’s coming out at the perfect time. It’s a diverse character read (which is just awesome! We need MORE diverse books!) Also, if you’ve finished City of Heavenly Fire, this is a great book hangover cure. It’s not the same world by any means. It is super exciting parallel world though! You won’t want to miss this one. Did I mention it’s alternate history? You. Want. This. (: Pre-order it NOW. DO IT.

 

Waiting on Wednesday #32: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings May 28, 2014

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Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine. It showcases upcoming releases we’re anticipating!

 

 

My pick of the week is:

The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1)

 

By: Lindsay Cummings

 

Coming: 10 June 2014

 

Publisher: HarperCollins, Greenwillow Books

 

Summary:
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

 

Why I’m excited:

This sounds so exciting! It’s an intriguing thought that the death rate is higher than the birthrate. How long could a population survive in a situation like this? Of course, as a parent, a murder rate like that makes me super nervous. I know a few bloggers who have loved it, so I’m excited to jump in!

Why I need you to be excited:

A debut author! She needs some love! (: I think it’s a brilliant concept and can see this series doing well. Come check out this debut with me!

 

Waiting on Wednesday #30: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn May 14, 2014

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Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine. It showcases upcoming releases we’re anticipating!

 

 

My pick of the week is:

(Don’t You) Forget About Me

 

By: Kate Karyus Quinn

 

Coming: 10 June 2014

 

Publisher: HarperCollins

 

Summary:

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

Except…
There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

 

Why I’m excited:

I am so excited to read this. It brings back to memory of an episode of Supernatural. I wouldn’t actually want to be in this situation, but it’s definitely exciting to visit for a while. I can’t wait to see what’s causing the fourth year and the essential immortality.

Why I need you to be excited:

Classic 80s song as a title?! C’mon! You know this is gonna be great!

 

Waiting on Wednesday #29: Born of Deception by Teri Brown May 7, 2014

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Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine. It showcases upcoming releases we’re anticipating!

 

 

My pick of the week is:

Born of Deception (Born of Illusion #2)

 

By: Teri Brown

 

Coming: 10 June 2014

 

Publisher: HarperCollins, Balzer+Bray

 

Summary:

Budding illusionist Anna Van Housen is on top of the world: after scoring a spot on a prestigious European vaudeville tour, she has moved to London to chase her dream and to join an underground society for people like her with psychic abilities. Along with her handsome beau, Cole Archer, Anna is prepared to take the city by storm.

But when Anna arrives in London, she finds the group in turmoil. Sensitives are disappearing and, without a suspect, the group’s members are turning on one another. Could the kidnapper be someone within the society itself—or has the nefarious Dr. Boyle followed them to London?

As Cole and Anna begin to unravel the case and secrets about the society are revealed, they find themselves at odds, their plans for romance in London having vanished. Her life in danger and her relationship fizzling, can Anna find a way to track down the killer before he makes her his next victim—or will she have to pay the ultimate price for her powers?

Set in Jazz-Age London, this alluring sequel to Born of Illusion comes alive with sparkling romance, deadly intrigue, and daring magic.

 

Why I’m excited:

Um. Historical fiction. Illusions. Magic. Fantasy. It’s everything I love. I haven’t read the first book yet, but I’m totally excited about this one.

Why I need you to be excited:

The same reason I’m excited! Get pumped up!

 

 
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