Monday, December 25, 2017

My Top 10 Books of 2017

11:24:00 AM


      I'm actually real surprised with how my year went, bookish wise. I thought for sure reading 50 books would be a struggle with me because of how my academics were going, but as of today, I've read 113 books! I'm really proud of myself for getting that many books read. Granted quite a few of those were graphic novels, but hey those still count. So without further ado, here are my favorite books of this year in no particular order.

Lumberjanes by Grace Ellis & Shannon Watters

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This is such a fun, uplifting series filled with such enjoyable characters. I really love the Greek mythology aspects that have been infused into the books and the feminist humor.

Giant Days by John Allison

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I really connect with the characters in this series because they are college students just like me trying to navigate young adulthood.

Archie by Mark Waid

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I will admit, I only started reading this series because of the Riverdale tv show (which I am wayyy behind on and need to catch up on ASAP). I didn't think I would like it as much as the show but I really do. They are two completely different stories and while some of the characters are exactly the same as their tv counterparts (*cough* Jughead, my child *cough*), others are different, and I appreciate their uniqueness from the show.

Goldie Vance by Jackie Ball

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This book is about a black, LGBT teen in the 1960s(ish) who is a detective in her spare time and I love it so much. I love the representation and the badassness shown and it just warms my heart to have a graphic novel series like this exist. 

After Life by Marcus Sakey


I honestly did not think I would like this book as much as I did. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review, which you can read that review here. This book was a thrilling, mind twister.

Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout


If you guys know anything about my reading tastes, you know that I love Jennifer L. Armentrout's books. This was no exception. As of right now I have no desire to read the sequel, but I'm sure I'll get to it eventually.

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather


I love witches. Enough said.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

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This series is so weird but it has drawn me end with its strangeness.

Into the Light by Aleatha Romig


This book is a about a strange cult and it was filled with twists that I never saw coming. Eventually I'll read the sequel....

Cinder by Marissa Meyer


This is a book that I put off for the longest time because I was afraid the hype was more than what the book deserved, but the book actually turned out to be a good read. I'm still not sure if I'm going to read the sequels because I don't think I'm that invested in the story.

So those were my favorite books of 2017. Despite reading so many books, I don't feel like I read the many good books outside of the graphic novel issues. Hopefully I'll find more books that I like next year. 

What did you guys think of my list? See any books that you also liked? What were your favorite books of 2017? Send me some recommendations in the comments and I will try to tackle them in 2018.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Quick Winter 2017 Update

1:23:00 PM


      Hey everyone! It's been forever and a day since I've written a personal type post outside of a review. I've been bombarded with exams, projects, papers, research, and all the other things being in school entails. This means I haven't had time to read or blog. Hell I've barely had time to eat. I really struggled with my depression these last few months as a result of the stress of school, and unfortunately reading and blogging did not help relieve my symptoms. All I'm good now and have come to terms with what I need to do to keep my mental health in check.

      As much as I would like to jump back into reading and blogging this winter break, that simply is not going to happen, but for a good reason. I will be spending this winter break in Costa Rica doing research! I'm really excited to go to Latin America and see all the wonders of the rainforest. So while I'm away, I have a few scheduled posts made already, but other than that I will be offline. I haven't decided if I will make myself available on Twitter or not. I really just want to enjoy the natural world when I'm on break.

      So, I hope you guys have been having a much better end of the year than me and have been reading some good books. I've been really out of the bookish world loop, so let me know some good books I should check out when I get back from Costa Rica down in the comments.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

"We Other" by Sue Bentley Review

3:02:00 PM


Book: We Other

Author: Sue Bentley

My Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: A gripping fantasy for young adults and anyone who enjoys a journey into a twilight world. Sue Bentley is a master story teller.

Family secrets, changelings, and fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic. When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods’ – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of Jess’s worries.

Trigger Warning: There is attempted sexual assault and violence in this book. Nothing graphic.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

     I don't have too much to say about this book. The premise really interested me as I have become quite enthralled by Fey despite having hated them for the longest time. I think "A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas is what changed my mind about Fey. Anyone, the premise interested me so I agreed to read the book in exchange for an honest review.

     The book was just okay. I think given more development and rounds of editing the book could be fully flushed something a lot better. There is clearly a good foundation, however the pacing, writing, plot, and characters all needed some work. There were many times when I was confused about whose perspective I was reading for as there were a lot of characters, how things were connected, and basically the point of certain things. All the connections eventually became clear, but I feel like the pacing was too slow for much of the book, and just when things seemed worked out, things were rushed and unnecessary plot elements were added. I didn't find myself attached to any of the characters because there wasn't a reason to like any of them.

     Overall I thought the book had a lot of potential and could lead to a good series given more edits and development. I would be interested in reading a sequel if it were written better than this book.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

12 Days of Clink Street Christmas: "Live Like You Give a Fuck" by Nicola Findlay Review + Author Post

8:30:00 AM


Book: Live Like You Give a Fuck

Author: Nicola Findlay

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

My Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Live Like You Give A F**K! The No Nonsense Philosophy for Smart Girls who Want to Smash It!

Boss a bitch? Diet a hot mess? Broke after payday? Ghosted on tinder?

If life feels like a constant hangover why not take five f**king minutes for yourself to decide what you really want. Slam on the brakes, kick off your heels and unplug from the social media circus.

Stop Surviving - Start Thriving

Live Like You Give A F**K will show you how to create the future you want, not the one that’s been shoved down your throat. It will shake and wake you from the hypnosis of modern living. The triple shot of empowerment, confidence and motivation will unleash the badass in you.

Nicola Findlay is the straight-talking, bold, coaching diva who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. If you ask her advice about your lame partner she’ll give you a bitch slap, tell you to raise your standards and get rid of that loser. She’s your best friend, your enemy, your punchbag and your cheerleader. Some people call her a diva, some people call her a badass bitch but whichever you decide you will get results. WARNING: If you’re afraid of a few swear words on a page put this book down and go cry to your Mama. I’m not here to offend anyone.  I’m here to tell you how to rock your world, and because I’m so passionate about it I’ll be shouting and swearing from the rooftops.

My Review

      Overall I thought the was a very enjoyable and insightful quick read. A lot of this stuff is common sense and stuff I'm sure most people have thought before or heard before, but it's always very motivational having someone lay down the facts to you and kick you into gear. I definitely recommend this book to people who are feeling down with where they are in life, need a pick me up, maybe just stuck, or just need some motivation in their life. Nicola writes in a very lighthearted by motivational way and she almost sounds like a best friend of mom giving you advice and not some life guru.

Author Post

Twas the night before Christmas.  Delicate flakes of snow started settling on the ice cold ground, classic Christmas anthems bellowed in the background and the smell of warm mulled wine filled the air.  You gaze at this delightful scene and feel the strongest desire to…. rip someone’s fucking face off.

Merry Christmas.  Bah humbug.  What has been Merry so far? You’re broke beyond belief, not because you splashed out on a once in a lifetime holiday or that designer dress that makes you feel hotter than the sun.  No, it’s because you spent your hard earned cash on crappy presents for ungrateful people.  They’ll pull there ‘oh you shouldn’t have face’ and then do the ‘dump or disappear’ act with your gift quicker than you can sing; ‘All I want for Christmas is you’.

If it wasn’t bad enough you have used up you’re precious annual leave to spend time with the people you’d most like to avoid.  You could be having some much needed rest and relaxation or enjoying a Christmas catch up with friends but oh no, here you are holed up at Auntie Barbara’s with 10 others and there’s no visible way out. Hey, shouldn’t Christmas be a time of joy?!

Yes there is a lot to be miserable about but on the flip side there’s so much to be grateful for.  Follow these steps to see how you can ditch the stress and instead cope with Christmas.

Instead of focusing on what you hate about this season, start focusing on what you have in life that you’re grateful for.  Your family may annoy you at times, but at least you have one. You might not receive your dream gift but someone thought highly enough of you to buy you one. You might have to slum it on the sofa bed for a couple of nights but at least you have somewhere warm and safe to rest your head.  Once you start looking at your Christmas situation through a lens of gratitude you’ll stop crying and start celebrating.

The Art of Saying No:
This Christmas season is when you need to have the power of saying no down to a fine art otherwise the pressure of social expectation and not wanting to offend people will take you to breaking point.  To avoid a crisis, deploy delay tactics. So if someone asks you if you’re coming to that Christmas party tell them you’ll have to let them know later as you need to check with your partner, diary or Santa first.  Then listen to your gut, you know it will give you the right answer.  Once you’ve decided that you don’t actually want to go to that drunken party serving up warm, cheap wine but rather snuggle up on your sofa and watch a marathon session of Game of Thrones, it’s time to say so. When declining an invitation avoid the habit of making up stupid excuses as to why you can’t go.  You’re an adult remember, and you don’t have to justify your reasons to anyone.  Decline in a mature and refined way with a simple: ‘Thanks for the invite but I can’t make it’, and start loading up
that box set...bliss.

Family Feuds:
No one can push our buttons and make us go from zero to crazy like family can.  And there’s no better environment for a family bust up than at Christmas.  Lots of people gather who wouldn’t normally spend so much time together.  Here you’ll find three generations squeezed into a family home designed for four.  House rules are one thing but everyone usually has their own expectations about; what time you should eat, when you should open presents, (I’m a before breakfast kinda gal), what family movie you should watch, and the list goes on. It’s little wonder world war 3 hasn’t broken out before lunch is served.  When it comes to testing times with your family over Christmas try and be the bigger person.  Ask yourself; ‘Does it actually matter?’ and if it doesn’t drop it and leave the ego behind. Don’t ruin your day with drama.  Think about the other person’s reasoning of their argument.  Do they want to do things differently because their younger or older, got kids or haven’t got kids, or maybe they’ve got to travel.  If you’re fluid and flexible about how you roll over Christmas you’ll enjoy yourself so much more.

Put Perfection into Perspective:
For a truly stress free Christmas we need to release our minds from the stronghold of perfection.  Whether it’s where we spend Christmas day, the food we eat, the presents we gift, the way the table is laid for dinner or the decorations in the house, we can always find something to panic about. If the turkey is a little on the dry side, it won’t kill anyone.  If you had to spend a little less on presents this year because you're broke, your family won’t hate you.

There are plenty of things you can be stressed out about in life but Christmas shouldn’t be one of them. Relax, appreciate who and what you have around you and be blessed that you’re here to celebrate it for another year.  I raise a glass to you and wish you a very merry Christmas.

About the Author

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Nicola Findlay, a former British Airways air stewardess, is a qualified neurolinguistic practitioner and
accredited international coach with over a decade of experience. She runs personal group
workshops, 1-2- 1 coaching and corporate training working with companies such as Specsavers and
Stella & Dot. Previously she managed the Brighton branch of Life Clubs where she ran weekly
personal development workshops with different themes each week before starting her own
company The Coaching Diva in 2015. In 2018 she is planning a series of live events in London and
New York including; Attracting Mr Right and Live Like You Give A F**K! Nicola lives with her 7 year old daughter and husband in Surrey, England.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

12 Days of Clink Street Christmas - Lee Cockburn's "Devil's Demise"

9:30:00 AM


Book: Devil's Demise

Author: Lee Cockburn

Publisher: Clink Street

Release Date: November 10, 2014

Synopsis: A cruel and sinister killer is targeting Edinburgh’s most powerful women, his twisted sense of superiority driving him to satisfy his depraved sexual appetite. He revels in the pain and suffering he inflicts on his unsuspecting victims but a twist of fate and an overwhelming will to survive by one victim ruins his plans for a reign of terror. His tormented prey will need all her courage if she is to survive the hunt. 

Christmas in Edinburg

Policing in Edinburgh at Christmas - the good, the bad and the ugly.

The city of Edinburgh comes alive at this time of year, the streets are full from early in the morning until even earlier in the morning the next day.  The Christmas shoppers shuffle slowly or rush from shop to shop, laden with gifts for their loved ones.  The city has a plethora of shopping delights for everyone’s budget, Multrees Walk the luxury shopping experience for the wealthy and all the other shops intermingled together, from bargain to beauty, luxury to affordable, all there, window displays dazzling those walking by, tempting them inside.  Even the bars and restaurants are all dressed up with Christmas decorations, my favourite being the Dome in George Street their Christmas decorations a visual splendour for every passer by, right in the heart of the city centre, a quality bar and restaurant.  The magnificent castle sits high above the city, perched proudly up on the rocks, a huge Christmas tree sits half way up the mound situated between the art galleries and the mightily impressive Castle itself, the visual draw to it is amazing, awe inspiring, your eyes led their by the twinkling of the white lights from all of the trees in Prince’s Street gardens, all brightly lit for Christmas.  The east end of the gardens become home to the German market an ever expanding display of Christmas delights, every human sense is brought to life, through scent, sound and with dazzling visual display, with so many things to touch and taste, something for everyone.  There is winter wonderland, a child’s heaven, and parents torture, as the money pours out of theirs and into the pockets of others, as every child wants to experience everything.

In any city there is an abundance of beauty, history and a bustling nightlife, which brings me on to the darker side, hidden beneath the surface.  Many people walk on by, totally unaware of others plight and desperate need to survive, so many in the grip of true poverty, but would never turn to crime, but there are others who do, with pick pockets, shop lifters and thieves willing to take from others.  Crime rates rise, drunks searching for their next fight, or victim to assault, rob, or just harm because some people are just nasty.  There are beggars, rough sleepers struggling to stay warm and even just alive as the winter temperatures plummet below freezing.  Work parties fill the city from late November until Christmas Eve and this puts a strain on the boys and girls in blue, as numbers double and the crime rate rises with it and it is all day every day.  As a Sergeant in the City Centre we see the vast change in numbers as the City centre swells with the increase of people, many travelling a fair distance to get here, shoppers and tourists alike.

Many people are in town for a good time and spirits are high, a visual police presence is welcomed by most and see us as a safety blanket to keep them safe until it is time to get home.  Many don’t intend to get so drunk that they are sick all over themselves and fall unconscious in the street requiring medical assistance, needing the police for the bag they have lost or had stolen, the drinks that have been spiked, for the sexual assault that may follow, rape as drinks flow and many become incapable of preventing the deliberate desires of others, physical violence, serious assaults as a bottle is shoved viciously into another’s face or elsewhere, for some minor misdemeanour, a spilt drink, a look at another’s girlfriend and your life can change for ever.  Knife crime as an escalation of a fight lost, with revenge in mind, or premeditated by the carrying of the offensive weapon as a part of their life.  Groups of females fighting as the excess of drink flows, stiletto heals clacking on the streets, ankles breaking as they topple over, or even become weapons as things spiral out of controls, as cat fights becomes deadly.  Officers intervening in theses fights, finds slashes on their stab vests as the many onlookers, or others involved take a cheap shot as the officers try and stop the fights, help the victim, and try and bring order back to the situation.

The police are constantly under pressure, crime sores, their numbers increased, but there never seems to be enough of them for everything that happens.  Every crime takes time, shop lifting sores as those professionals shop to order for those that will pay a decent price for their stolen goods, all of them well aware that the police are always stretched to the limit.  High number of tourists are prime pickings for theft and other crimes, missing people as they become lost or detached from their loved one.  Then there is the depression that strikes the less fortunate, the lonely, the homeless, and the suicide rate rises, calls to one or more of the cities bridges, or monuments, anywhere high, as some poor soul sits with their legs over the edge, in despair at their life‘s situation.  Some wanting to be saved, and others don‘t wait, their decision made, even taking time to pick the right spot prior to letting go, a tragic situation as someone‘s son or daughter has felt so lonely and desperate that this became the only choice, and then there is the officers that have to attend and deal with the body, we are just people too and every tragedy we endure, it chips away at you inside and does affect you, sadness, brutality, sights that many normal folk will never see once, far less, countless times, having to be buried deep inside and dealt with.

Then of course, there always seems to be a murder,  a wife, a husband, a child, or a fight that has gone too far, the heightened strain as poverty bites, a drug deal goes wrong, but the next day they will be ice cold, dead and the person they were, no longer there, and many lives will be changed for ever.  The families of those left, the person committing the murder realises their anger or actions have changed their own life forever and the consequence of their actins hits hard, as in the cold light of the day, reality stares them in the face and no-one can save them now, or the unfortunate person they killed.

I love my job, I love people, I try my hardest to make people like the police, see us as human beings that want the best for others, and we are not the ones that are bad and we are only there to make thinks safer, better for everyone hopefully.  I like when people shake my hand, give me  a hug, say that they appreciate us and what we do, a Christmas kiss, a new year drunken slobber on the cheek, want their photos taken with you, just to let us know that our presence is necessary, and welcome.   

Lee C xxx         


Devil’s Demise is a brutal, gripping crime thriller, with erotic interludes, the novel races at a pace, your heart will barely have time to rest, with very graphic violence and love scenes. Chapter after chapter of terrifyingly descriptive criminality, as the cat and mouse tale, spirals into a thrilling chase, where life and death are a harsh reality for those he preys upon, the struggle to survive sets your pulse racing, good versus evil, this book will terrify you.

Beneath is a short extract where the main perpetrator has been hiding in the house of one of his first victim’s, the one that survived his brutal attack, in hope to have a chance to finish what he started, tormented with her survival, his only desire is to make her suffer, and ultimately kill her.  As she, Susan drives away from the house in hope that she is leaving her nightmares behind. One of her elderly neighbours checks her house, as has done ever since the attack on her lovely neighbour and is unfortunate enough to be seen by him, the perpetrator, a truly evil man, his anger soaring as Susan evades him once again, and she unwittingly becomes his next target as he spots her at her window, will she survive?  

He pulled the curtains over very slightly to look out side to see if the coast was clear.   Mary Anderson was also looking out of her window directly across the road, eyes fixed on her poor unfortunate neighbours house, she had heard the car leaving a while before and was looking out to see if Susan was back again, just looking at the house with sadness.  She thought to herself, if only I had looked out on the night that poor girl had been attacked she could’ve done something, phoned to help her, anything to stop it.  She had seen them leaving half an hour before, but still wanted to look out for the house, just in case something was to happen to it when she wasn’t there.  That’s funny, I thought I saw the curtain moving, no don’t be silly there’s nobody there.  Mary doubted herself and made a point of focussing on the curtain where she imagined the movement with all her power, aging eyes struggling to focus.  See, it was nothing, silly old me, she convinced herself.  Just then she saw it, a hand, a huge hand at the bottom of the curtain leaning on the windowsill.  Then a face, a face that stopped her heart, her breathing for that moment, her heart started to thump through her chest,  almost painfully, her blood ran cold as she watched him look up the street, and terror flushed through her like warm coffee.  His head was facing down the street, but it was slowly moving to scan the rest of the street including her house.  Her curtain was just slightly open and she did not want it to move and have it catch his eye.  So when his face started to look straight at her window, she stood motionless, will he be able to see me, could my curtain just be lying this way, what if he sees me, what will I do.  John stared at the house in front of him, he was checking to see when he could leave, he didn’t know whether to go via the front or back and what was best in the daylight, as there were houses to the rear, where he assumed there would be people in, since this place was full of pensioners.  Mary’s eyes were going dry as she hadn’t blinked, because she was to scared to take them off of him, for even a second.  At least if she could see him, he wasn’t coming to get her.  There was a net curtain in front of Mary, she could see out quite well, but others outside would struggle to see her, she hoped.  John picked his nose, and wiped it on Susan’s window sill, every little bit of his disrespectful behaviour pleased him, every degrading little action made him feel empowered over her.  Mary moved her hand causing the net to move, John moved his head like a jackal in the direction of the minute movement, his cold eyes focussed and black.  He stared right at her, but could not see her, he sensed her as she watched him.  He pushed his face through the curtains, his facial expression, that of Jack Nicolson in the shining, as he pushed his head through the door to the terror of his wife.  John no longer concealed himself, he wanted to frighten whoever was watching him.  Mary’s breathing was now so fast she felt light headed.  She leaned her head down for only a moment, and then resumed her position, only to see that he had gone, no hand, no face, nothing was left.  She stood anchored to the spot, to terrified to move, her eyes fixed on the house in front of her.  There was foliage both in her garden and in Susan’s, enough to give someone cover if needed, as John also knew too well from his night with Susan.   With her shaking hand she reached for the phone, still frightened to move, just in case she had not given herself away and it was just her silly imagination.  She dialled 999 and it seemed like an eternity before she heard 
“Hello which emergency service do you require?”.   
That’s not all she heard, heavy steps coming from her kitchen, her heart sank as she remembered that she had been out to feed the birds earlier and foolishly she hadn’t locked the door behind her.  Oh what a fool she thought, ever since Susan was assaulted I’ve always locked up, shoot, have I got time to hide?, I’ve got to try, move!.  
Her shaky voice quivered when she said “help me, quickly”. 
The footsteps inside got louder and were moving quickly in her direction, Mary moved fast for an old lady and over to the second door in the living room that lead to a study and round into the rear of the house.  John had not disguised his presence in any way and had underestimated his prey.  As he had entered the living room, he had fully expected to just choke the life out of the interfering little busy body, but to his surprise only an empty room stood before him and a phone lying on the table.  
“Fuuuuccckk”, he lifted the phone and a voice spoke.
“Hello, hello are you still there”.  
“I’m still here, there is nothing happening, it was just my senile old mother imagining things and I couldn’t stop her getting the phone in time, sorry”.  
“Okay, are you sure you don’t need any of the services?”.  
“No  services needed, false alarm, sorry, sorry to have wasted your time”, John said convincingly.  
“Sorry I didn’t catch your name Sir”.  
John hesitated, then replied “Smith”.  
“Bye, then”, he said quickly as he hung up.  
The call taker put a call straight through to the police, there was no way she was going to just let this one lie, she had to send a set to check everything was okay anyway.  She read out the address to the police and that was when the street name sounded painfully familiar.  Instead of a single set doing a quick check, she sent out a call on the city wide frequency for any free set to make their way, just in case there was something more sinister going on, and this would enhance the chances of capture.  John slammed the phone down and made his way to the other door, he knew the police would check things anyway, they’re not that stupid.

Mary lay face down on the floor, her hand gently pulled the bed clothes down to hide her beneath the bed, her face pushed into the carpet as she began to cry, she was trying hard not to breath loudly or make a sound, she had five bedrooms and she’d gone into the third in the hallway.  Please, come, please, please, I don’t want to die, that poor girl, that hideous man, please help me god, help me”, her hands clasped and praying for help.  John rushed through the house, he saw all five doors and went to the fifth hoping that she would have hidden in the furthest room.  He crashed through the door, the door slamming against the wall, he yelled out a cry of rage, he knew he didn’t have time to find her if he didn’t want to get caught and he didn’t want that, he was on a quest to finish what  he started with Susan, all those weeks of rage.  
He called out to Mary, “you’re a fucking lucky little grass, if I had the time, I’d rip your loose mouthed jaw right off, you fucking old cow”.  
John crashed through the house like a wild bear.  He had to be quick, some police aren’t slouches. 

About the Author

Lee Cockburn has worked for Police Scotland for sixteen years including as a police sergeant in Edinburgh for seven years and also as a public order officer. Before joining the force, she played for Scotland Women’s rugby team for fifteen years, earning over eighty caps for the Scottish ladies and British Lionesses teams. She also swam competitively for twelve years, successfully representing Edinburgh at the age of fifteen in the youth Olympics in Denmark in 1984. Lee lives in Edinburgh with her civil partner Emily and their two young sons Jamie and Harry. Her first book Devil’s Demise was published by Clink Street Publishing November 2014.     Twitter

My Rating System

★★★★★ This book is a gift from the literary gods
★★★★ This book was pretty damn good
★★★ This book had potential but missed the bar
★★ I probably didn't finish this book or it was god awful
★ Why does this book exist?



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