Category Archives: Reviews

The Lord of Shadows

Well WTF book?! What even was that ending?!!! I did not expect or understand that twist, but I respect it. Shock value alone is just HUGE.

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This series gives GREAT cover!

 

I really like this series. Magnus Bane is my favourite character of this whole world Cassandra Clare has created so anything with more of him in it was going to turn my head.

I think this plot has been very well constructed. I LOVE the emphasis on family, I feel like it truly is the greatest strength and weakness of every one of the Blackthorns and those that love them. Julian may be the most unselfish character ever created, everything he does it for his family and those he loves. Interestingly there are some lines he crosses to achieve this end that I find challenge me as a reader.

I love the character of Ty, as someone who has a nephew very much on the spectrum and whose best friend has a son who is also very on the spectrum I really have liked the way in which this is explored. I found it so interesting (can’t remember if it was book 2 or 1) when Julian recalled how their father would grab Ty’s hands when he fidgeted and yell at him to be still because that was what was expected of Shadowhunters – stillness, total control. Society so expects people like my nephew and my girlfriend’s son to conform to their idea of normal, I think we should celebrate their amazing views on the world. My friend’s son for instance says what he thinks and shouts compliments at people, like, “Hey dude, I love your hair”, “Hey lady, your dress is pretty rad”, etc. What a positive way to view the world. I loved in this book how the siblings completely accept Ty for who he is and I love the relationship with Kit.

There were a lot of lovey feelings going on in this book. Interesting that I feel as though the idea or rather theme of love as a destructive force seems to be developing. Not sure if that is just me, but that is what I was starting to see solidify in this book.

That Zara chick seriously needs to get what is coming to her!

At times I do feel like I was more invested with the characters than the plot, but seriously how could I not be?! The characters are so vibrant, so completely tangible, you just want to interact with them so very much!

So in case it is not clear yet I totally recommend you read this book… after you have finished book 1… and everything else she has written – particularly the Infernal Devices!

 


Lady Midnight

Well that was a great start to a new series. I totally enjoyed this. Gosh the family dynamic and their fierce love and loyalty to each other is really something to behold.

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How gorgeous is this cover art!

 

I liked the tie ins and check ins with characters from the mortal instruments series. Emma is a great character. I like her strength and prowess as a Shadowhunter whilst maintaining the vulnerability and feels of a teenager. How much she would sacrifice for those she loves is just momentous.

So frustrated by the cold peace and their laws, it does reflect on some social issues of the day so I think this is why it struck such a note. Just not right to punish an entire people for the wrongs of the few.

The lottery was truly chilling. Freaking crazy Fae cult. Seriously what even? I guess they come in all shapes and sizes. I did like how the reality of the cult twisted in the end, that was very cool indeed. Did not really see that one coming.

Really curious to see what is going on with the character of Diane. I feel like this could be a very interesting storyline and I cannot wait to see what comes of it – hopefully in the second book.

Not sure about the parabatai love thing, does this supposed badness only happen when they are in love with each other? Because Alec was in love with Jace in the Mortal Devices books so… confused. Meanwhile how brutal teenagers can be with the excuse of it is the best decision for others is interesting. I was no where near this brutal when I was a teen and did not have capacity to be. I get they have had to grow up fast with no parents, but damn!

Definitely read this… I am off to get book 2!


The Unleashing

I have just finished reading The Unleashing which is Book One in the Call of Crows series by Shelly Laurenston. I have not read any of Shelly’s other publications so this was a new author for me too. I got this book through my local library’s Overdrive account.

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I was drawn to the book not just because of the cover (hehe), but also because I have always enjoyed Norse mythology and was very intrigued by the idea of the Norse clans in a modern setting.

I actually really enjoyed this book. It was full of very strong female characters, I read a review that said they were not believable… I am guessing that reviewer was male because I have absolutely met women like that 🙂 I am a sucker for fiction that displays women in a strong light. I like it even more when they do not swoon at the first glimpse of abs. The story centers around the journey of Kera and her growth and discoveries about herself and her world. She’s strong, doesn’t take crap and the main love of her life is a pit bull she rescued off the street after it had been dumped for dead after being used in a dog fight ring… who wouldn’t love this girl?! Obviously I am totally biased as soon as a rescue dog became involved. My dream would be to buy a ranch where abused dogs are rehabilitated and given a second chance so I was hooked as soon as I read this part.

I liked the character of Ludvig as well, wasn’t sure I would at first, but he definitely grows on you. In fact all the characters do. It can get a little chaotic trying to keep them straight as there are a lot of characters running about, but it is not too bad.

I didn’t realise that the book was part of a series when I chose to read it which is a bummer because I will have to search for book two as my library does not have it. The end was a definite cliffhanger and I wasn’t expecting the book to end there. Just all of a sudden people were making statements and overtures and I was thinking to myself ‘huh, that’s weird, this is wrap up talk, but there’s so much more plot to work… oh it’s finished…’ the wrap up was a little to abrupt for me, but I think I felt that way too because I wasn’t ready for it to end.

Goodreads says there are two more books in the series. I would definitely like to check them out. I just like giving fair warning to anyone interested in reading that they might be committing to a series hahaha.

What are you all reading?


Burned

WARNING: There are some spoilers ahead. Short non-spoiler version: This was a good follow on from the other novels. Found some surprises in here. There were things I liked and didn’t like. Was interested very much in how she developed Dani’s character whilst hating it at the same time.

BurnedThis book seems to be receiving some serious flack in some of the reviews I have read. I was pretty happy in general with this book. I didn’t tear through it as much as the other books in the series for some reason, but it certainly wasn’t the travesty that people are making it out to be. There were parts of it I loved and parts not so much, but the likes far outweighed the dislikes.

In general this was a good installment in the series and I am looking forward to the next one. I still LOVE the world building in this series. There were a couple of completely new areas that we visited with the characters and I could completely construct a visual in my head thanks to Moning’s world building. Her descriptions of the Crimson Hag are just spot on and at times made me cringe, they could possibly give someone nightmares haha.

The characters interacted well and I still love the arguing between groups and the banter that goes on. We saw more of some characters that have so far been mostly in the background which was great and I liked the development of Lor’s character very much. I also appreciated getting to know more about the Nine and finding out about some of Ryodan’s much protected secrets.

-WARNING – BIG SPOILER – SKIP THIS PART IF YOU WANT –

I loved the character of Dani from the other books, I was a bit put off with the changes to her character. I knew something was coming with her because it felt like this was the way we were going with some kind of hidden personality. I was just disappointed when Dani disappeared right at the beginning of the book and I guess her character was so full of life that I really felt the loss in the group. Especially when she was replaced with this next gen Dani/Amazon warrior with the personality of a paper bag. I struggle with this because I love Dani, but at the same time it was such a clever development.

I’m glad I finally got to read this book. It has been on my TBR pile for some time (like you know… since it was published haha). Looking forward to getting hold of the next one.


The Princess Diarist

WARNING: There are some spoilers ahead. Short non-spoiler version: It was good… you should read it 🙂 Yay Carrie Fisher!

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Ahh The Princess Diarist… When I found out this was coming out I made sure the library was getting a copy. With the release of the Star Wars VII there was a lot of renewed interest from our patrons in Carrie Fisher’s books. As well as pretty much anything that could in some way maybe be slightly related to anything Star Wars 🙂

When we got it in there was definitely interest and I wanted to read it myself so I put on a reserve and waited patiently. Unfortunately no librarian perks when it comes to the reserves queue hahaha.

When I borrowed the book I got a few chapters in that night and the next day Carrie Fisher passed away. Some of what she wrote in the book talked about her eventual passing and it was just too weird and sad to continue reading it at that time so I returned it and let the other masses waiting for it go first.

So a couple of months down the track now the hordes have cleared I decided to give it another go. I really enjoyed this book. Bios are not generally something I steer towards, but I have found that when they are well written and interesting I do enjoy them.

It was quite interesting to see the differences between the writing styles of “present” day Carrie and the pages of 19 year old Carrie’s journals. It was very apparent from 19yo Carrie’s writing that she was very much infatuated by Harrison, though present day Carrie is reasonably discrete about the affair itself 19yo Carrie seemingly (to me) struggled under the banner of secrecy. If you are looking for some ground shattering literary genius out of those diaries you are not going to get it. They are what you would expect of a creative, somewhat angsty 19yo who’s smoking joints and head over heels. Kind of felt as though perhaps she had gotten hold of some of my old journals except I had more of a penchant for songs than poems.

I really enjoyed the behind the scenes parts of the memoir and I liked how she simultaneously loves and hates cons. She has a special tongue in cheek love for her fans as well.

Her writing style is quite quirky and you can almost imagine her saying the words as you read along. Actually the audio book would probably be great!

She does make a few references to her inevitable passing as well as that of her mother which made reading the book quite touching, but beautiful at the same time. One of the most poignant parts of the book for me was in the acknowledgements when she thanks her mother for “being too stubborn and thoughtful to die, “I love you, but that whole emergency, almost dying thing, wasn’t funny. Don’t even THINK about doing it again in any form.” Given that her mother died just one day after Carrie what was probably meant to be a wry joke took on a much more tender meaning.

If you are a fan of Carrie Fisher you will enjoy this book. If you are looking for some scandalous tell all on “Carrison” then this is probably not for you 🙂 But you will likely find some amazingly graphic fan fiction online hahaha. Whatever floats your boat, no judgement.

 


The Beauty of Darkness

The Beauty of Darkness is book 3 in The Remnant Chronicles saga and is my book number 2 for 52 books in 52 weeks.I talked about the second book in a recent post and was looking forward to reading the final installment. I will be as vague as possible, but some might consider what I will write slight spoilers 🙂

This was a thick book at 679 pages, so if you are someone who cannot commit to long books you might struggle, but I don’t mind them personally and I felt it was worth the read. When the story is good I don’t generally notice how long it is. Plus I was already two books in, I wasn’t about to stop now 🙂

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Love the cover art for this series!!!

There was this really interesting message through this whole story that I felt repeated over and over again through different storylines and that was that ‘no one is too great to fall’. This is SUCH a true message in day to day life for every person as well as in this book and I think that is why I appreciated it. It also shows how those that fall respond, do they become desperate and cruel or evil, or do they have an inner strength and sense of self that sustains them through the harshest of times. Let’s not mince words, these characters went through some hellish ordeals, particularly the female protagonist Lia. From a waited on princess to someone’s prisoner covered in filth and blood wearing a hessian sack, Lia’s resolve never faulted and her inner strength and leadership qualities just grew. Everything was taken from her and she didn’t crumble. This is a great book for young women to read for this message alone.

The other thing I liked about Lia and some of the other main characters is that they often didn’t make the popular choice. They were not afraid to make the difficult choice that would be immensely harder and possibly end in death because ultimately it was the right thing to do and could save many lives. Too often you read books where people throw the lives of thousands out to dry in the name of love and whilst I understand that being an impossible choice I do get frustrated by the sheer amount of these type of novels – like the Fallen series for example (not that I didn’t enjoy it – you can tell here and here).

Relationships were so interesting in this book. To be honest it didn’t end the way I wished it had. The ending I wanted wouldn’t be the popular version, but to me it was more realistic and I cannot say much more about how I felt about this without spoiling things so I will stop here.

I was a fan of the overall ending and was definitely a fan of many of the messages in the book. I was a particular fan of the women in this book. There is a strength to the women in this book that you cannot help but admire. Seriously SUCH a great read for young women today.


Gözleme all the way

Have you tried gözleme? If not you should absolutely put it on your ‘must try before I die’ list. Technically I do not have one of these lists (yet!), but it rolls off the tongue beautifully so I think it should be a thing 🙂

I have an amazing group of friends at my work. They are brilliant people and truly without them my day to day life would not be half as shiny. We often like to have lunch together and one of my friends had been eyeing off a gözleme place that has been under construction for some time now. Finally it opened, so obviously we had to go on the first day.

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Potato, spinach & feta – SO GOOD!!!

Looks great on the plate and even better when you taste it. It is served on a wooden board with a wedge of lemon. We all loved it and have already visited again a couple of times. It is promoted as Turkish street food and is made fresh, you can literally watch them make it for you from rolling out your dough to placing the finished product on your board. It is completely tasty and the people that run it are (from what I can gather) 1-2 families who are all Turkish, spanning across 3 generations, which I think is really cool.

Last week we went there and were offered Turkish tea (or Rize tea), it was a promotion and you got a free cup with every gözleme. I was a little hesitant because I had been warned off Turkish coffee, but I promised to try new things this year so I did… and I LOVED it. It was super yum. It is served in this elegant tiny little glass with a teeny teaspoon and a sugar cube. My friend and I were only disappointed that there wasn’t more.

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Turkish tea with spinach and feta gozleme

Such an interesting contrast to be eating street food with your hands and sipping on tea out of an elegant cup like a posh lady.

9/10 will eat and drink again – A LOT.
It is probably not good that this is such a short walk from my work, but honestly it is not that bad for you is it?


The new Ghostbusters

NOTE: Will do my best to avoid any spoilers 🙂

So I saw the new Ghostbusters film. Actually I asked my Dad if he wanted to go see it on my birthday as I had taken the day off (Dad and I often go on movie dates), Mum decided to come along too which was great.

I had heard a lot of hate about the movie and therefore was not going in with really high hopes. And well… wow you guys.

I totally loved it. I laughed so much.

They basically completely ignored the existence of the other films, but still paid homage to them which I thought was great and there were all these little references to look out for.

I adored the female characters. They were so vibrant and funny and intelligent and awkward and I loved it. I have spent time thinking about why I enjoyed them so much since and I feel like this movie could be quite ground breaking.

The thing is that this movie does not walk around boasting about girl power or anything of the sort. What it does do is present 4 complex female characters who are intelligent in different ways, incredibly unique and I must say incredibly geeky. Not once do any of these characters waste time thinking they are losers or not good enough. They are completely unapologetic about who they are and they kick ass and invent incredible things and hire a dumb male secretary because they feel bad for him and he looks good. There is also ZERO relationship drama and not one of them is wearing skin tight body suits or short skirts or plunging tops.

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Some seriously kick ass women in this film.

I NEEDED this movie as a teenager. Hell I NEEDED this movie now. If I ever have a daughter this will be mandatory viewing.

Each one of the actresses was amazing in their roles. They work so well together and obviously feed off of each other. I would love to know how much of this was off script 🙂 Chris Hemsworth was so good in this role. I think working with these ladies brought the best out of him as far as comedic timing goes. He was just so good in this role!

Can’t wait to purchase this when it comes out on DVD so I can watch it again. Mum and I have already declared a movie night for when it does 🙂

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Seriously awesome!!!


It’s okay to be me

This post was inspired by WordPress’ Daily Prompt ‘It Builds Character’.

I have already accidentally deleted this entire post twice because of strange things that the new interface does. I am unimpressed to say the least. So I will now write this in Word and copy paste 🙂

When I think back on characters that have had an effect on me, there is one in particular which stands out as being integral to the person I have become.

When I was young (prepubescent young), I was already aware that I was different from most of the other girls in the class. Whilst they were obsessed with ‘The Baby Sitters Club’ and ‘Sweet Valley High’ (both of which I read and enjoyed, but mainly they just gave me numbers for the read-a-thon each year) I was off reading ‘Matilda’ and authors like R.L Stine (not the Goosebumps books, the advanced stuff) and Tamora Pierce. I had great access to YA novels because my Mum was a Teacher Librarian at a High School.

Other girls my age wanted to play makeovers and weddings and I wanted to ride bikes and run through the bush. The girls I knew made games of imagining their weddings to a member of the Backstreet Boys or Hanson whilst I danced about the house singing to the score of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’.

Jo March from ‘Little Women’ was a trailblazer, in a time where it wasn’t proper for women to run through the woods, traipse about through brooks without shoes, yell out to or play with boys or write epic novels she did it all and everyone who mattered accepted her and loved her for who she was. Everything about this girl/woman appealed to me. It would be fair to say that as a young girl my biggest dream was to grow up to be Jo March. She was a hero to me. To this day she remains one of my favourite literary characters. In fact Jo March is probably the reason I have the guts to write online.

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Jo also appealed to me because of her love of the written word and her strength of character and independence. You have probably noticed from my reviews of my books for 52 Books in 52 Weeks that I have a thing for strong female characters that shuck the norm and stereotypes. I still believe that this love of certain qualities in this character made me try to develop those characteristics in myself. As soon as I was old enough to work (14) I got an after school job. This made me feel amazing because I didn’t have to ask my mother to buy me things like deodorant and tampons (you have no idea how amazing it was as a 14 year old to not rely on someone else for your tampon stash!), this was my first step to real independence and I liked it. I saved my money from my job and when I graduated I paid my own way on a holiday with my friends, that is a pretty huge thing for an 18 year old to be able to do. Then when I was 19 I moved interstate to the desert, yup I moved to Ayers Rock, it was arid, hot, confronting and I was pretty innocent at the time (I hardened up quick though – read more about that here), I had no safety net there. I knew no one. It was the bravest and most awesome thing I think I have done. It was an amazing experience and I am so glad I did it to this day!

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I believe I have a lot to thank Jo March for. I have previously written about my love of both the book and movie and after reading back over this post I realise how big an impact my love of this character has had on me. As far as role models go I am pretty proud that she has been and continues to be mine.

 


52 Books in 52 Weeks – September

Here is the September post… I realise that I skipped a couple of months there and I am truly sorry, but I have been extremely busy and to be honest the fatigue has been so bad and work/life so busy that I haven’t had the brain power to truly appreciate a book in awhile.

The one good thing about my surgery and the following infection was that I spent a lot of time off my feet with my head in books and I LOVED that part guys, it was so great!

So without further delay… here are Septembers reads…

34. Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

I know, I know, don’t start with me, but it is true, I have never read the Harry Potter books. So I decided to start working my way through them. I believe the books get more complex as we go along so that will be good. I quite liked this first book, I liked it different to the movie though, not necessarily better *she says whilst dodging rotten fruit and veg*.

I’m sorry you guys I think I had myself all worked up about how awesome it was going to be, but let’s be honest it is Junior Fiction and I am an adult. For JF I think it is AMAZING and great world building and I can really appreciate it for that.

I feel my appreciation is only going to grow and I move on through the series so I am looking forward to that 🙂

35. Deception (Defiance #2) – CJ Redwine

deceptionI read the first of this series back in March and really liked it. I hope you guys read it because I try not to include spoilers, but it is hard not to when you are mentioning characters that were in life and death situations in the first book so if you don’t want to know skip the rest of this review and number 36 too 🙂

This was pretty good for a middle book, it had its own challenges that were part of the bigger journey and there were some great twists in there. All up it was pretty good. Really I was expecting a LOT of relationship drama in this book because authors can’t seem to avoid putting it in, but there was a lot less than I expected. Logan really stepped up to being a leader and though he was dealt blow after blow I loved the strength of his character, getting back up, reassessing the situation and moving forward again.

Rachel’s character I found a little bit annoying at first – only for one area of her characters development though (man it’s going to take ages to pick this rotten fruit and veg out), to be honest I kinda understood her trying to delete her emotions and not feel and let’s face it it’s pretty realistic to what people do in real life *cough* I mean so I have heard anyways, but so much time was spent on this. This development in the character made more sense as the story went on though and dealing with it/working through it became pivotal to the characters persona so I get it now.

I really enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to start number 3… in fact I believe I started it the next morning. The only good thing about having surgery was all the downtime I had to attack my ‘to read’ pile.

36. Deliverance (Defiance #3) – CJ Redwine

Oompf this was a good end to the trilogy and parts of it hit you right in the feels.

I loved that the two main characters were split up having their own separate journeys in this book, it lifted the final novel to a new level. So many times I thought that Rachel was going to not rise to the occasion and then she did and I was almost proud of her. Which I admit sounds kinda strange, but she has come so far from the first book where she was a girl who wanted to (and in small doses did) rebel. I really liked where her character ended.

All the loose ends were tied up nicely, but the book didn’t feel rushed. The last battle scene is as ugly as it is awesome and not all will be left standing at the end. Very nice end to a series.

37. An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) – Sabaa Tahir

Gorramit! My friend at work the Youth Librarian keeps putting these good books on my desks that have a bitch of a cliffhanger at the end and then it turns out it is book bloody 1 and I have to wait a year for the 2nd installment.

This is a good YA book, I liked the development of both the main characters and enjoyed that we were able to spend time in both their worlds. Some of the things that were discussed happening to the slaves/women and families were quite confronting and mentions of rapes and whatnot leads me to say that this is not at the younger scale of YA Fiction. There were things described in this that mage me cringe.

I thought the trials were good and the plot well thought out. World building was pretty good as well, but realistically limited to what the two main characters would know/experience because the book was from their POVs. I REALLY enjoyed this book you guys and would definitely recommend it, just be prepared for the fact that there are some seriously confronting and ugly scenes in it. It is not a sparkly vampire book, there is some good grit in here!

38. Terrier (Beka Cooper #1) – Tamora Pierce

I haven’t read a Tamora Pierce series since high school so it was beyond time. I don’t know how I have previously missed this series, but that was an error I was happy to fix 🙂

When I first started the book I think I actually groaned out loud and thought it’s in diary form, ugh I don’t think I will like this, just to be clear I do not hate all diary form books… Bridget Jones for instance is great :), but as a general rule I don’t usually enjoy them. Oh how wrong I was. As soon as I got to Beka’s “diary” (you’ll understand the parentheses if you read it) I was swept away. I read the first book in just over a day and couldn’t wait to tear into the second.

The character building is great. Beka’s back story is a good jumping off point and that explanation allows you to throw yourself into the story with her with total understanding of her character. I love the linguistic style of this book, the slang is fabulous and after being immersed in this world for a week I found myself almost dropping into it hahaha. Her informants are literally a different breed and I love the whodunnit style that emerges.

Favourite characters… well it is incredibly hard to choose, but aside from Beka I would have to say Pounce and Rosto. Hmm and many others. What can I say it was a great read.

39. Bloodhound (Beka Cooper #2) – Tamora Pierce

*WARNING – Read the first book before reading this review, there will be spoilers!!!*

This was a great follow up. I was worried it would traipse into “middle book” land, but my fears were completely unfounded. This book is a stand alone and very clever, who would have thought counterfeiting would be so interesting? My only complaint was that it was based away from Corus so we missed out on seeing a lot of the characters I loved from the first book, but I loved the addition of Achoo. Seriously, cats and dogs?! You know I am going to love that. I kind of wanted her to hurt Achoo’s old handler, but I guess as in the real world animal abusers get away with it.

Dale and his friends have an interesting relationship, they seem best of mates, but can they really be? I was into Goodwin and Cooper basically going undercover and found her trying to act the lady to be quite amusing, the addition of Dale as a love interest was interesting too, but I found him ultimately unsatisfying to be honest.

It was a bit of a different story to the first, you are well aware of who has done the crime by halfway through, but the frustration in major part comes from proving it, to be honest I thought this change worked and I enjoyed the book 🙂

40. Mastiff (Beka Cooper #3) – Tamora Pierce

I am not going to lie, the cover of this book weirded me out for awhile, what is going on with her head? Lady is possessed! Call an exorcist!!!

Hmm… to be honest I am not sure how to review this book. I was right there with it the whole way, a solid 4.5/5 in my head. I pretty much tore through this in a day and I HAD to know what happened… and then it did… wtf?! 3/5

I still LOVED the story, it was so strong and the characters so awesome. Once again though it took part away from Corus so none of the characters from the first book are really in it which again is disappointing. Again I LOVE Pounce and Achoo, they are fabulous characters, Pounce was a particular favourite from this book.

Man I am pissed at the ending, let’s just say I felt a beloved character was given a serious injustice. It was BS and I still don’t believe it. In true tanty fashion I forced my Mum to read the series, which was kinda cool because we were both exploring the same world that was different from our own at the same time (cool concept) and she agreed it was BS. Please read the series so you can agree with my outrage hahaha.

What are you guys reading???