They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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5stars

I’ve spent years living safely to secure a longer life and look where that’s gotten me. I’m at the finish line, but I never ran the race.

Title: The Both Die at the End
Author: Adam Silvera
Good things about this book: It’s a Silvera book!
Bad things about this book: Well, the end that was spoiled in the title.
Do I recommend it? Yes, and if you haven’t, I also recommend his other two books!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

“ARC by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review”

The Silvera Experience is always one of a kind but my heart is still not used to it: it’s an experience of love, tears, and so many thoughts your brain may explode. I finished reading the book yesterday night and every time my mind is not busy it goes back to the book. It’s a terrifying concept the one introduced here with the calls telling you about your imminent death. It’s terrifying because once you know that it’s impossible to not think about it. Then you ask yourself: what am I going to do today before I die? Did I live my life right? Do I have regrets?

I’m shaken by how Adam Silvera can get to me with simple words. Simple words in a slightly different kind of world, not the one we live in right now but it’s so close to it that it scared the hell out of me. I couldn’t put it down once I started it and now I have my heart in my hands, tears in my eyes, and not a single idea of how to put it into words.

No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.

Mateo and Rufus receive a call, THE call, telling them this is the day they’re going to die. They don’t know when and how but they know it’s going to happen before midnight. They are very different people with very different lives but destiny is a funny lady and this dreadful news brings them together on the day their lives are going to end. The Last Friend app brings together people on their End Day that don’t have anyone to spend their day with or that don’t want the people they care about seeing them dying.

I loved how their weird friendship starts and slowly they share their feelings, their pasts, their fears, and they get to have a last glimpse of love. It’s not instant, it’s not forced; it is how it is. Two boys that are going to die, getting close enough to have one more regret about the life they’re leaving behind too soon: a great love story that could have been, a happy life they could have shared. Just thinking about it fills me with sadness and it makes me realize how it’s never too late and even when it’s too late, it is still worth it.

“Why can’t we have a chance?” I ask Rufus.
“A chance at what?” He’s looking around, taking pictures of the arena and the lines.
“A chance at another chance.” I say.

At first I thought that knowing about your death in some ways triggered a chain reaction that would get you to the death that was predicted. It all seemed plausible and I found myself thinking that maybe without knowing they would’ve done things differently and destiny could’ve been rewritten giving them a second chance, maybe also a third. Like your path is not set in stone and it could change.

As I read on, though, I realized that no matter what things you may decide to do on your End Day, death would still find you. You can’t escape death and you’re certainly not meeting death because of the choices you’re making that day: you’re just changing the journey, taking a different road, but the destination it’s still the same. You’re given a chance to say goodbye, to have closure, to tied loose ends, to try things you weren’t brave enough to try before, and I think that’s really scary yet somehow liberating. I don’t know what I would do if knew today was my last day alive: I would freak out, that’s for sure.

I wondered if it was possible to ask them not to tell you when you were going to die, that maybe it could be an option you decided not to have. Then again, without the phone call Rufus and Mateo would still be dead but they wouldn’t have met, and they wouldn’t have been the last rays of sunshine they’ve seen in this world that had them for such a short time.

I wasted time and missed fun because I cared about the wrong things.

Adam Silvera has confirmed himself once again one of my favourite authors and I think he’s going to be one for a very long time. I can’t recommend his books enough and this is not an exception. Go get yourself a Silvera book, you won’t regret it.

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Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

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5stars

“Ready for this?” asked Jean.
“Ready and sweating heavily,” said Locke.

Title: Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard #2)
Author: Scott Lynch
Good things about this book: Well-written, interesting beyond compare and an extraordinary adventure!
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, Yes, YES!!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

How do I review a book in which everything that can go wrong, does go wrong, sending our main characters into a series of rollercoaster’s rides that make you fear for their lives even knowing that there are still a few books left in the series so somehow they’re going to make it out alive? The answer is: you don’t. I can’t review this book without spoiling it and if I spoil it then I take away from you half the fun of reading it. I can’t do that.

“You’re ten pints of crazy in a one-pint glass.”

Locke Lamora is a book crush of mine. One of many, I know that, but one nonetheless. Locke is far from perfect; he is one flawed tiny human being. Tiny besides Jean, archangel Jean Tannen, responsible of keeping Locke alive. How can a single man find himself in so much trouble in such little time is a mystery! He comes out with the craziest plans and you don’t think they can work. Then he goes and explains the details and, maybe, they can make it work and come out of it richer. But TWISTS!!! Freaking plot twists around every single corner! I may have a few new white hairs on my head. Worth it.

“He is extraordinary,” Locke whispered. “He continues to save my life, time and time again, even when I don’t deserve it. Which is always, more or less.”

I have always thought that Jean was too good to be true and he is. He isn’t without flaws but he is such an honest human being; they lie all the time but he stays true to his feelings even when he is given a hard time. He doesn’t give up on Locke even when he doesn’t deserve a good friend like Jean. I was so happy seeing other sides of him, one in particular, and every page I turned had me anxious because there just isn’t a happily ever after for these guys, right?

“Wise in the ways of all such things is Jean Tannen,” said Jean. “Wiser by far than most; especially most named Lamora.”

I hope by the end of the series they are all happy and rich and surrounded by the people they love. Even if I have to wait until I’m 85 years old, I want to read the final book that ends with an epilogue of them eating roast chicken and laughing sipping wine in their gigantic villa! I won’t settle for anything less than that.

“I want to hug you. And I want to tear your gods-damned head off. Both at once.”

After the disasters of the first book, Locke is a living corpse and Jean is there to put him together once again. They fight, they make up; they live up to the title of brotp that suits them so well. Their new plan takes years of organization and every single detail is important for the outcome. Luck is not on their side, as usual, and their plan takes them to unusual places. Like on a pirate ship! Pirate ship with cats! Pirate ship with cats sleeping on Locke! Locke-cat-boy! Pirates!! I love stories with pirates and if the captain of the ship is a woman, then I love it even more.

“Mew,” the kitten retorted, locking gazes with him. It had the expression common to all kittens, that of a tyrant in the becoming. I was comfortable, and you dared to move, those jaded eyes said. For that you must die.”

There are lots of new characters and that didn’t sit well in my stomach. In the first book I learnt the hard way that it was unwise to get attached to side characters because, for example, they wouldn’t be around for the sequels or, worse and more probable, they could die. I can enjoy a book only to a certain point if I know that death is lurking in the shadows. I don’t like being surprised by the departure of characters I come to like. Who does? Nevertheless I loved this book and I loved the new characters, the good ones, of course.

“Maxilan, darling.” Locke raised one eyebrow and smiled. “I knew you were driven, but I had no idea you could smoulder. Come, take me now! Jean won’t mind; he’ll avert his eyes like a gentleman.”

The villains had their charm but they were bad guys putting in danger my Locke and his bff so they weren’t lovable villains. They weren’t villains you love to hate. You just hate them. Come on, I have been with my boys for half the book planning a thing and then you come around and twist everything for your benefit and send them to their almost certain deaths? And you want me to see the bigger picture? No, sir, you can go live with those weird sea creatures that glow. You can live INSIDE the glowing monsters, for all I care!

All the naval terms had me confused a little but it was so much fun being with them on the Poison Orchid. Pirate life suited Locke and Jean; they are thieves after all. Pirate life gave Locke a tan, a beard and his natural hair color back: what’s not to love about that?

“We may need to ready ourselves to repel boarders.”
“With what? One stiletto ad hurtful insinuations about their mothers?”

This book was funny and I noticed, going through the highlighted quotes, that I needed to thank Locke for almost all of the laughs and giggles. This book was also super long and I had a hard time reading it at first. I know now that reading a 400+ pages ebook is frustrating: it seems that you aren’t doing any progress and it caused me to put this marvel on hold since November! I bought the physical copies of the three books that are published and I read easily. If I knew that was the problem, I would’ve bought the books sooner. Better late than never, right?

Locke Lamora was small, but the Thorn of Camorr was larger than any of this.

So….pirates, sea creatures, crazy plans, steamy scenes, CATS, bad guys, assassins, and a not very sane dose of little heart attacks. This book was one hell of a ride, worth every single scream and tear.

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Rag and Bone by K.J. Charles

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4stars

Title: Rag and Bone
Author: K.J. Charles
Good things about this book: Magic and mystery and Stephen Day!
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, but read the prequel first!
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Magic. I just love magic. I fell in love with the world K.J. Charles built in the Charm of Magpies series; loved the characters, magical ones and not. I think I need to read again the whole series. I’m in need of Stephen and Crane! Honestly, I could read thousands of books set in that magnificent magical Victorian England.

Rag and Bone has been in my kindle library for months, untouched, unread, with no logical reason whatsoever. If you want to read it, I recommend you read first the small prequel that is like a long prologue for the story. I think without reading A Queer Trade you’re missing a lot of the story; it tells how our two main characters meet and what the hell is going on at the beginning of this book. I really think that without reading the prequel there’s too many things that not make much sense. The prequel is a must read.

Crispin and Ned meet under weird circumstances and they find themselves involved in even weirder events. Thanks to this misadventure, they seem to be in a stable relationship now, with its ups and down of course. So, pretty normal. But Crispin isn’t a normal human being, he has magic and, after spending so many years using it in illegal ways, now he’s finding it so hard fitting in the practitioners’ world. Ned used bone and blood magic that it’s illegal and only warlocks use it. And if you’re a warlock, it means you’re evil: but our Crispin may be insecure, a little judgey, a bit self-centred, and naïve, but he certainly isn’t evil.

Ned, on the other hand, is no magician: he is a waste-man and he is good at what he does. He has a hearing talent, though: he can hear magic but can’t use it. This hearing talent is a main resource to solving this book’s mystery case but not without Ned wanting to punch every single practitioner on Earth. Ned doesn’t like magic, he doesn’t trust it. He sees how magic influences Crispin, how bad it can be and how practitioners think only magical people deserve help, forgetting how non-magic folks are somehow innocent victims of their wrongdoings.

Crispin and Ned are very good for each other but they have issues they need to get through to be able to be 100% happy. I got mad at Crispin, I really did, he was making bad choices because he didn’t see how much value he had as a person; he was always seeing how he was not enough and that was self-destructive. I cheered for him and his happiness. I wanted him to be able to use his magic legally and easily. I wanted him to be proud of himself. I wanted people to see how worthy of a second chance he was, just the way Ned saw him. Ned thought Crispin amazing, and he was afraid of always being second place to magic. Those two were going to have a tortuous road to happiness but it was going to be worth it.

Do you want to know what I loved about this book and its prequel/prologue? I loved the importance that was given to kisses. I have always thought kisses to be the best romantic gesture of all, the most intimate. You give me a couple that kisses with such love and passion, and you have in me their number 1 fan.

I pray to our Lord Crane to have more stories set in this magical world! Lord Crane, do this for me, please! Just this once!

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Spectred Isle by K.J. Charles

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5stars

“People create poetry and mustard gas. We invent gods and monsters and gods that might as well be monsters. We act with extraordinary grace and unfathomable cruelty. We’re so terribly intelligent, and dreadfully easy to fool.”

Title: Spectred Isle (Green Men #1)
Author: K.J. Charles
Good things about this book: Paranormal and wonderful romance written perfectly.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

If there’s something I like to read more than books with happy endings, are fantasy books with happy endings. Spectred Isle has that and I loved all of it: mystery, ghosts, spirits, magic, great characters, and great chemistry between said characters. I can reconfirm that K.J. Charles can and will steal my heart with every book she writes. The story flows flawlessly with the need to know more about everything, the need to know these characters you’ve loved, possibly from page 1, are going to be happy and okay in the end.

Saul, an archaeologist dishonourably discharged from the war, is now working for the only man that doesn’t mind what he did in the past. This man is a paranormal fanatic and is looking for everything out of the ordinary in London and surroundings. Saul helps him going to the places he points out to see if he sees something strange that can’t be explained. Saul doesn’t believe in the paranormal but he needs money so he refrains himself from criticizing his boss’ hobby. I would love going to a ghost/treasure hunt but maybe I’m not that brave, or for that matter, that adventurous.

“You were a pawn in a damned complex game, and you were played and sacrificed as such. I’m glad you weren’t taken off the board altogether.”

During a weird episode of a tree catching fire without apparent reason, Saul stumbles upon Randolph, the last occultist of the Glyde family. After that peculiar event, Saul runs into Randolph everywhere he goes. Saul wonders why he is always meeting this fascinating and handsome man in the weirdest places. Randolph wonders why this seemingly normal man is always involved in strange paranormal events. Something is happening, the veil that separates the worlds is thinner every day, things are looking bad. To answer Randolph perplexities comes a vague prophecy and maybe it can explain why Saul is always where he isn’t supposed to be.

Saul realised, the painful prospect of hoping again was better than the dull knowledge he never would.

The prophecy may explain why they run into each other more often than not, but it doesn’t explain the feelings they are both experiencing. Feelings they are both afraid of but are hoping for them to be reciprocated. Saul and Randolph have great chemistry; from the very first time they meet they can’t get the other out their minds. They have both had difficult love lives or none at all, only casual encounters in a world that sees their sexuality as a crime. I love that they are straightforward; they don’t leave things to unnecessary misunderstandings. They say what they have to say, what they hope: they open themselves, exposing vulnerability because what they may have seems worth it.

“I have a sinking feeling, based on no prior experience whatsoever, that I love you.”

Randolph is a wonderful character and I loved him from the beginning. You notice him changing because of Saul, talking more about what he wants and what he feels, being sassy and clever, and fighting for what he treasures. The book has a little bit of an open ending because there’s going to be more than one book, so I hope there’s going to be more of Randolph and Saul in the future.

“My shoulders ache in wet weather. Unfortunately, I live in England.”

I was left happy and wanting more. There’s nothing better than that to confirm how much you enjoyed a book, right?

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

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5stars

“Love makes us such fools.”

Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Author: Leslye Walton
Good things about this book: It is magical and so well-written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Perfect narration, lovely characters, a wonderful story told by an exceptional person. Felt like being in a world that was a mix of Amélie Poulain and Pushing Daisies. This book felt like all the colours, the brightest ones. It was enchanting and magical. I loved it all; I also loved how mad certain passages made me feel, at the way the scenes narrated made me navigate through my emotions. It was the perfect book, of the perfect length, for perfect summer afternoons. I read it slowly enjoying every bit of it.

The whole book is told by Ava Lavender: an exceptional girl born with a pair of extraordinary wings. Ava and her twin brother, Henry, are two peculiar children, each of them with something that make them stand up to the world, that make people see them as different. Ava with her wings and Henry with his silence and amazing map drawing skills.

The story, as much as it is about Ava, it is more about her family: her grandmother and mother’s adventures mainly. Ava recounts the story of her great-grandparents when they decided to move, with their four children, from a little town in France to Manhattan. It is a sad story about misunderstandings, love, lost love, pain and death. It seems that nothing goes right to the women of their family when it comes to love.

She worried she couldn’t protect me from all the things that had hurt her: loss and fear, pain and love.
Most especially from love.

I really loved how things were told, the feeling you got of the surroundings really brought out all the magical realism of the story. How the natural elements were mixed up with magic, without being weird or exaggerated, was done perfectly. There’s so much magic in this book and it fits it like a glove. I wish I lived in Ava’s world with ghosts, wings, baked goods that could change your mood, a weird house and its marvelous inhabitants. They brought me joy and I read about theirs lives feeling like a friend.

She learned how to worry. She, who’d always thought love’s only companion was sorrow, learned that worry came hand in hand with love.

Ava Lavender is just a girl. Her mother, Vivian, is just a heartbroken woman. Her grandmother, Emilienne, is just a baker. They are “just” something until you stop looking at the surface without seeing how many layers of magic, kindness and strength there is inside each one of these women. They are the powerhouses of this book. They are what make you turn the pages anxious to know more, to see them get the ending they truly deserve.

I recommend this if you’re looking for a magical book but as much as it is a light and easy read, check the trigger warnings and if knowing everything you still want to give it go, then you have my full approval!

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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5stars

We are not the same being we once were.
So then, if we are no longer human, what are we?

Title: Scythe
Author: Neal Shusterman
Good things about this book: It is well written and it has a very original (and scary) plot.
Bad things about this book: When I bought it I thought it was a stand alone but it turns out it isn’t and I have to wait a lot for the sequel.
Do I recommend it? Yes yes yes!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This scared the hell out of me. Second book by Shusterman and second win for me, that’s for sure. He writes and takes you to an adventure, gets you hooked up into the story with amazing descriptions of a world, so vivid, you believe it exists yet you don’t want to live in it. It was scary because of its realness. This was such a compelling story and it had this depth in it that made me realize that no matter what will happen, our future won’t be nice. How is it that we are forever destined to ruin every good thing the world offers us?

People prophesized doom at the hands of a soulless machine. But apparently the machine had a purer soul than any human.

The Earth in this book has defeated diseases and death, and its society is run by the Thunderhead, an AI pure and just who helps everyone. Long story short, the world is great. But there’s only one problem: if people don’t die, there won’t be enough space for all of them to live, eat, to work. People in it “survives”: they take jobs that aren’t really necessary, go to school when they don’t really need it, have lots of children they don’t want to take care of. They are not truly living because when you are not afraid of mortality, poverty and hunger, then what really is your purpose?

Immortality has turned us all into cartoons.

That’s how the Scythedom was born. Scythes have the power to glean people, killing them definitely, taking them off a world where they are immortal and they can reset their age whenever they like. Scythes are human beings that are given a license to kill (and to grant 1 year immunity if they want to) without consequences, without laws forbidding it, with the world scared of them but at the same time charmed by them. Charmed by these people in colorful robes who can randomly select you to remove you from the world, adding your death to their annual quota of people that need to be killed in order to maintain balance in population.

Power comes infected with the only disease left to us: the virus called human nature.

Scythes’ actions are not ruled by the Thunderhead, who is always just and never makes mistakes, so they are flawed: they’re humans after all. There is corruption, favoritism, unnecessary cruelty, and people are unaware of all that. They just keep on living until one of those Scythes decides you can no longer keep doing that. Maybe the decision was truly random or maybe just maybe that scythe didn’t like you because you were too rich, too ugly or too fat. Are they punished for being biased and unjust? Not really.

To put oneself above all other laws is a fundamental recipe for disaster.

It was obvious that in a society with no more death or diseases and only one self governed institution that proclaims itself above all laws there’d be corruption. It makes me sick thinking how inevitable it was because, of course, they are humans and humans with power are dangerous. Give a group of people too much power over humanity and you’ll see how everything the Thunderhead worked so hard for crumbles, one little piece at a time.

This book is about two scythe apprentices, Citra and Rowan, and the different paths they take and are forced to take in the year of training before the last test that will proclaim them fit or unfit for the role. Following their mentor around, the lovely Honorable Scythe Faraday, will show them what lies behind the scenes of gleaning. Will they like what they see? Can they see themselves wearing the scythe robe and killing people? Will they ever lose their humanity and start enjoying it?

There’s so much to say about this book but none of the things I can say about it will make it justice. I wrote vaguely about what is the reality of the book and what is it about but, trust me, it is so much more than that. This book has lots of layers and without reading it you wouldn’t unravel it the right way, in the right order. I will end up spoiling the journey and this is a journey I took and recommend everyone to take.

My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human.

Experience their journey first hand. Fall in love with characters, and hate other characters. Cheer for them. Have your heart broken and wish you had nanites inside of you like them that’ll make you heal and calm yourself in no time. Be mad at the injustice. Be frustrated at how ugly humans can really be when they think only about themselves and their wellbeing. Be moved. Learn. Be ready for all of this can seem improbable but maybe it is not after all.

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[ARC] The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic by F.T. Lukens

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5stars

He walked out of the bathroom not at all ready to face whatever was waiting for him, but totally ready to fake it.

Title: The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic
Author: F.T. Lukens
Release date: September 7th 2017
Good things about this book: Myths, magic and great characters.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, this book is precious.
Do I recommend it? Yes, wait for its release and read it.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

I’m so happy I found this book. This book, THIS BOOK, made me so happy; it filled me with lots of giggles. Never underestimate a spontaneous giggle. I laughed so much out loud I freaked out my dog a little bit: he got worried about my safeness and came by my side to see if I was okay. I had so much fun reading it I want everyone to enjoy it as much as I did.

Bridger is a very sexually confused teenage boy looking for a job to pay for college. He is funny, very brave but as I said he is going through many difficulties that are going to put not few obstacles in our poor boy’s road to happiness. He found out he is bisexual and has a very obvious crush on his neighbor and high school football star, Leo. He is scared to come out, to be hated, left alone, so he plans to escape, to go far away for college. Oh boy, that idea was destined to failed from the beginning!

“I’m going to go be bisexual in my room. If that’s okay with you? Great? Great.”

Money for college means a job and Bridger lands the weirdest job he could find. He works for Pavel, the intermediary for myths of the state they live in. His job will be to assist Pavel in order to maintain the mythical world hidden from the human world. It seems something is disrupting the balance of things and Bridger’s job is going to be harder than anticipated. Pavel, who has a family made of pixies, a gorgeous werewolf and seemingly apathetic secretary, is a wonderful boss; he listens to Bridger, helps him out and gives useful advice right when he needed it. I think Pavel is magical and not only because he has magic; when he understands a pop reference he is so proud of himself and the most adorable man ever. You gotta love Pavel, he’s one of a kind!

“You have no idea the amount of research I have put into keeping up with the things you say.” Bridger smiled, despite everything.

Bridger finds himself dealing with feelings he can’t fully express and mythical creatures that need to be convinced to be elsewhere because they’re in places they shouldn’t be.

The Leo problem is only known to his best friend, Astrid; she tries to help him but if one is stubborn and more than a little afraid then there’s little she can do to make a difference. Leo (full name freaking LEONIDAS, as in this-is-Sparta Leonidas!) is adorable and he clearly flirts with Bridger every time he can; he has a crush on our boy but our boy is not ready and my heart hurt a little. I was so glad there wasn’t the dreaded misunderstanding or unnecessary love triangles but still, I was scared for them because they were so cute together and I wanted only good things for them like cuddles and many many kisses. It was the perfect romance, sweet, with a twist of mythical magic. I loved it!

“Well, if you’re going to go gay over someone, not a bad choice.”
“Astrid!” he whispered hotly. “For one, I still like girls. And two, keep your voice down!”
“Fine. If you are going to go bi, not a bad choice.”

For a moment I was genuinely scared because there were many things that could go wrong but I trusted the author to not break my heart. I was on edge until the very end and I loved loved loved how the story unfolded. It was a magnificent book and, I repeat myself, I am so happy I found it.

Go read it as soon as it comes out. It’s worth it!

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