Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

August 23rd, 2016 by Debbie's World of Books

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Source: Borrowed from the library

Publication date: February 1, 2011

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Series: Charley Davidson #1

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the Book:

This whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual.
Or a diagram of some kind.
A flow chart would have been nice.

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can’t she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, First Grave on the Right is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order.

My Review:

I’ve heard a lot about Darynda Jones and a friend of my raves at how funny her books are. So when I had a little bit of breathing room in my reading schedule I decided to give it a try.

I will say it had me laughing a lot through out the book though at times I felt like Charley’s attitude was a tad over done. Still overall I like Charley and liked that for the most part she’s a strong, independent woman. Throughout the book we get glimpses that she does have quite a few issues hiding underneath her brashness but that makes her all the more likeable and intriguing.

There’s also some romantic vibes and sheer sexy times going on throughout the book and I was aching to see those relationships progress a little faster. I know this is a long series so this was setting up a lot of different sub-plots so I can’t wait to see each develop. I will say I didn’t see the whole Reyes thing coming and it threw me for a loop. Definitely a solid start to the series and I can’t wait to read more. I just hope Charley’s character mellows just a smidge. A tiny smidge but a smidge nonetheless.

The storyline itself was interesting and did a lot of world building and introducing some great supporting characters. Definitely will be checking the rest of the series out.

 

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Posted in 3 Star Books, 4 Star Books, Books, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy | No Comments »

Review: Dark Blood by Ella Starling

August 22nd, 2016 by Debbie's World of Books

Dark Blood by Ella Starling

Source: Purchased

Publication date: Jun2 25, 2016

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

About the book:

DARK BLOOD runs through her veins, and the beast is on her trail…

For the first time in her life, Bianca Da Costa feels free, even when she is bound by chains. Kidnapped from under her mobster daddy’s nose, she has no way of escaping the Hound – the Abbate crime family’s most vicious hitman.
But maybe she doesn’t want to escape. Maybe her savior is the dark beast himself… And to face him, Bianca will have to look right into the eyes of the monster.

Matteo Salini is trained to kill. Pumped with drugs and used to blood, he doesn’t expect to flinch when he has to take Bianca’s life. She’s beautiful – there is no doubt in that.
But Matteo has women servicing him left and right, and he doesn’t need a spoiled mafia princess to screw with his head. Bianca is much more than that, though, and her tenderness finds its way under Matteo’s rough skin. She might be his only chance of redemption.

She’s his prisoner, he’s her savior.

WARNING! Dark romantic themes included. If you don’t like your bad boys BAD, look the other way!

My Review:

It’s been awhile since I’ve rated a book this low and while I feel bad I just could not get into this book. I don’t mind when the heroine is intrigued by the dark, brooding hero but Bianca went from being kidnapped, threatened and going into instant lust for the man who admits to killing her brother all within a blink of an eye. I had whiplash and even paged backwards thinking I must have missed something. Yes, we are told she’s never been given physical affection but really?! One touch and all of a sudden she’s whimpering for more from her brother’s murderer?! I was also hoping since she was trying to become independent of her father’s legacy that she would grow a spine at some point but she remains the weak heroine who gets pushed around and bullied through out the entire book. It would have been nice to see some growth in her character.

Then there’s Matteo who I thought was going to be this brooding, kick butt hero who I was going to see him take on all comers who threatens his woman. He halfway fulfilled this but the other half of his character was somewhat whiny, needy and no the brightest so I found it hard to feel any sort of connection to him.

The only characters I even felt the slightest connections with were Bianca’s and Matteo’s fathers. At least they had some dimension to them and an interesting back story. Sadly that is probably the best part of this story.

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Posted in 2 Star Books, Books, Romance | No Comments »

Review: Unknown by Wendy Higgins

August 17th, 2016 by Debbie's World of Books

Unknown by Wendy Higgins

Source: Purchased

Publication date: August 16, 2016

Rating: ★★★★★

About the book:

Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed—everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.

In this first installment of NY Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins’s debut New Adult series, a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic America is brought to life, entwined with searing romantic tension that will leave you eager for more.

My Review:

I didn’t know Wendy Higgins had a new book coming out until literally 20 minutes before release day when I saw her post on Facebook. I immediately rushed to Amazon and pre-ordered my copy. It’s very different from her Sweet series (which is the series that made me fall in love with Wendy Higgins) as well as extremely different from The Great Hunt book but it’s just as amazing. I’m in awe that Wendy Higgins is able to write such a wide range of stories and hit the nail on the head every time.

Be forewarned that unlike her other two series the romance happens at a much slower pace and in fact I don’t even think of this as mostly a romance story. It’s action packed, thrilling and really had me at the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. Rylan and Amber have an interesting and complicated relationship that we see build through flash backs and into the present. And while I am dying to see how their relationship will progress the rest of the storyline had me totally engrossed as well. I finished it and need the next book, Unrest, ASAP! If you are looking for an exciting, can’t put down until you finish read then you definitely should pick up Unknown!

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Posted in 5 Star Books, Books, New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Thriller/Suspense | No Comments »

Review: Bossman by Vi Keeland

August 17th, 2016 by Debbie's World of Books

Bossman by Vi Keeland

Source: Purchased

Publication date: July 16, 2016

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the book:

The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn’t exactly make a good impression.

I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.

He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.

So I told him to mind his own damn business―his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business―and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn’t help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room. Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.

When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.

But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us―telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.

My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I’d never see him again.

I mean, what were the chances I’d run into him again in a city with eight million people?Then again…

What were the chances a month later he’d wind up being my new sexy boss?

My Review:

I’ve seen Vi Keeland mentioned a lot and her covers have always caught my eye but when I read the blurb on Bossman I knew I had to read it. If you love sexy romances with a hot and charismatic hero who will keep you laughing then look no further.

I liked Reese but Chase really was the star of this show. You wouldn’t think a man’s ability to lie with a straight face at the drop of a dime could be appealing but the stories Chase came up with in the most random situations literally had me laughing out loud. Really it’s not fair for Reese to have a guy who is 1) hot, 2) smart, 3) a successful businessman AND 4) hilarious. Where can I find me a Chase?

The banter between Reese and Chase cracked me up and OMG, the chemistry between the two is sizzling! I also loved the storyline which was so much more than I was expecting. I’ll admit I thought the book was going to rely on the hot hero carrying the book with his charisma and bedroom scenes but the story really drew me in and I definitely will have to check out Vi Keeland’s other books.

Find it online:

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Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, New Adult, Romance | No Comments »

Review: Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh

August 15th, 2016 by Debbie's World of Books

Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh

Source: Borrowed from the library

Publication date: March 3, 2009

Publisher: Berkley

Series: Guild Hunter #1

Rating: ★★★★★

About the book:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she is the best- but she does not know if even she is good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, Elena knows failure is not an option—even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt does not destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just might. For when archangels play, mortals break.

My Review:

I absolutely adore Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series and binge read it when I first discovered it. And by adore I mean I didn’t cook, I didn’t clean, I didn’t sleep much and just read book after book. So I put off reading this series since between work, school and kids I couldn’t risk doing that again. lol. Now that I have a little more time on my hands I finally decided to dive in.

I loved this unique take on vampires and didn’t realize this series involved vampires. Yes, I know the blurb mentions Elena is a vampire hunter but seriously Nalini is one of those authors I don’t even have to read the blurb to know I want to read it. So I dove in without reading this blurb and honestly it was a lot of fun doing so. There were twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and the entire cast of characters were amazing. I’ve already been nosing around to make sure I’m going to be getting Dmitri’s story and I am dying to see more of Illium. But back to Raphael and Elena. I will admit I wanted to strangle or kick Raphael just as much as Elena probably did. I had to keep reminding myself that he is an archangel, being a jerk is part of his character and at some point he will redeem himself. It was actually fascinating to watch his realization about his feelings towards Elena and how he processed them throughout the story. Elena on the other hand I loved from the start. She’s such a spitfire of a character that I was rooting for all the way.

Like in her Psy-Changeling series there are several story arcs going on and a slew of characters that we meet. So I definitely cannot wait to read the rest of the series and see where things go. I definitely recommend this book to those who love a unique take on angel/vampire stories and who love kick-butt heroines.

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Posted in 5 Star Books, Books, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy | No Comments »

New Release: The Best Friend Bargain by Robin Bielman + Giveaway

August 8th, 2016 by Debbie's World of Books

The Best Friend Bargain by Robin Bielman

Publication date: August 8, 2016

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, Lovestruck

I absolutely adore Robin Bielman’s books so definitely don’t miss her latest release!

About the book:

Olivia Lincoln has a plan guaranteed to get her life back on track. A plan that involves her best friend, Danny. And he’s on board, too…until she blurts out that they’re engaged and expecting a baby, and the news spreads like wildfire.

The problem? Danny doesn’t do marriage. Or family. And everyone knows it, including Olivia.
As irritated as he might be, protecting Olivia is what Danny does. But put best friends under one roof, add house rules begging to be broken, accidental nakedness, and pancakes in bed, and what started as a marriage between friends threatens to turn into the real deal…which would ruin everything.

Excerpt

The tail end of daylight cast a glow around her in one-of-a-kind beauty and he found himself tucking her hair behind her ear as she looked up at him with similar appreciation.

When her gaze moved to his mouth, he was a goner.

He ignored the voice inside his head reminding him she was his best friend and once they crossed this line they could never go back, and gave her two seconds to say something to change his mind.

One, two…

She took a step back.

One kiss. One kiss to get it out of his head and put it to rest. She might have placed another foot between them, but Danny saw the indecision in her eyes. He inched closer anyway, unwilling to let her go without one more try. It was a jerk move, but if he didn’t get to taste her he’d go insane wondering.

He cradled her neck in his hands.

“Danny.” He liked how breathless his name sounded on her lips.

“We have to. I’m going out of my mind, Liv.”

She half gasped, half sighed, a pleasure-and-pain kind of sound he wanted to turn into one of satisfaction. They had to get this crazy new attraction out of the way so they could go back to being just Liv and Danny. “Make it terrible,” she whispered.

He smiled. “I’ll do my best.”

“To make it awful,” she reiterated.

“Prepare yourself for the worst kiss ever.”

Her small smile made itself at home inside his chest. He lowered his mouth to hers. No tongue, he told himself. Keep it innocent. Safe.

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Posted in Books, Contemporary, Romance | 1 Comment »

Review: The Heart of Falcon Ridge by D.L. Roan

July 4th, 2016 by Debbie's World of Books

The Heart of Falcon Ridge by DL Roan

Source: Downloaded for free from Amazon

Publication date: November 15, 2015

Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the book:

Three hearts beat as one, for one. Always.

“Everything inside him ached for Claira in a way that was completely unfair to the memory of his wife.” ~ Grey McLendon

Claira Robbins technically didn’t exist until two weeks before she began teaching at Grassland Academy. Her new identity may have given her the credentials she needed for the job, but it hasn’t helped one whit to soothe her frayed nerves caused by years on the run. It also didn’t come with instructions on how to handle three ravenous cowboy brothers intent on seducing her.

Six years after losing their wife, the McLendon brothers are focused on running their family ranch, Falcon Ridge, and raising their rambunctious twin boys. They’ve never believed they could find another woman with which to share their hearts and family.

When Matt and his twin, Mason, meet their sons’ classy new teacher, hope and love aren’t the only things that spring back to life. Matt is convinced she was Heaven sent to heal their family. Mason hopes he’s right, but knows they have a bigger problem than convincing Claira to take a chance on their unconventional family; a much bigger, surly, older brother kind of problem.

After their wife died, Grey McLendon planned to live the rest of his life comfortably numb from the neck down, even if it killed him…and it just might if he can’t reconcile his guilt and desire for Claira before her treacherous past catches up with her.

My Review

I was torn on what rating to give this book. I really did enjoy it but it didn’t quite hit 4 stars since to hit 4 stars it has to be a book that I would go back to re-read. That said it’s definitely worth picking up because it was an enjoyable and addictive read. I stayed up until 2am to see how it would end.

I was a little leery at the beginning because it was like insta-love on the brothers’ side which is usually a turn off. I was glad that Claira’s character was more of insta-lust which is more believable because, well, 3 hot cowboys. However, once we start seeing the brothers and Claira together I became addicted because we got to see the relationships with each brother and Claira develop. There’s also a lot of heart tugging going on as we see the three brothers raising their sons and how each handled the death of their first wife so differently. It’s hard to say which brother I loved the most because they all had their unique traits that made each so appealing that it’s easy to see why Claira would fall for them all.

The supporting characters were just an endearing. I love the brothers’ mom and dads and it definitely made for an interesting dynamic to see one woman with three husbands. It’s unusual and not something I’ve read a lot of but this author really made it work.

In addition to the romance there is a strong element of suspense as Claira is hiding out from one of her father’s henchman. There were a few twists and turns that surprised me which was a pleasant surprise. There are some supporting characters who I can’t wait for their own books.

So like I said this was a great book. I definitely want to read more from this author!

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Posted in 3 Star Books, 4 Star Books, Books, Romance | No Comments »

Review: War Hawk by James Rollins

June 7th, 2016 by Debbie's World of Books

War Hawk by James Rollins

Source: Received for review

Publication date: April 19, 2016

Publisher: William Morrow

Series: Tucker Wayne #2

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About the book:

Former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his war dog Kane are thrust into a global conspiracy that threatens to shake the foundations of American democracy in this second exciting Sigma Force spinoff adventure from New York Times bestselling authors James Rollins and Grant Blackwood

Tucker Wayne’s past and his present collide when a former army colleague comes to him for help. She’s on the run from brutal assassins hunting her and her son. To keep them safe, Tucker must discover who killed a brilliant young idealist—a crime that leads back to the most powerful figures in the U.S. government.

From the haunted ruins of a plantation in the deep South to the beachheads of a savage civil war in Trinidad, Tucker and Kane must discover the truth behind a mystery that leads back to World War II, to a true event that is even now changing the world . . . and will redefine what it means to be human.

With no one to trust, they will be forced to break the law, expose national secrets, and risk everything to stop a madman determined to control the future of modern warfare for his own diabolical ends. But can Tucker and Kane withstand a force so indomitable that it threatens our very future?

My Review:

James Rollins is an auto-read author for me so when I saw I had missed him releasing a new series I immediately knew I had to catch up. I ended up getting War Hawk first so I started with it vs The Kill Switch (though that is now sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read.). This series follows a new character, Tucker Wayne, on his adventures after getting out of the military. He has some very loose ties to Sigma and I love that series so I was eager to dive in.

I finished reading War Hawk about a week ago but held off on writing my review because I have mixed feelings about it. The story line was based on an interesting premise and as the story progressed I was curious how it would play out. This story contains a lot of the action and suspense I expect from James Rollins and I loved Tucker’s dog, Kane. In fact, there are several sections in which we are actually in Kane’s head as he reacts to the situations around him and what he is feeling in response. I’m a sucker for dogs so I really appreciated that facet of the story.

What I didn’t enjoy as much was that other than Kane, Tucker is pretty much a lone wolf operator. Yes, he does pick up a compatriot here and there throughout the book but they felt more like temporary add ons instead of actually team mates. This is just my personal tastes so others may not have the same problem but I like seeing the main hero bond with his team and work together to resolve the situation. Even in stories like Matthew Reilly’s Scarecrow series, Scarecrow may be the main character but he has a team he relies up on and truly cares about. They are an integral part of who Scarecrow is and aren’t a random cast of characters he picks up. So I felt a little let down in this book and never felt like I truly bonded with Tucker the way I did with the Sigma Force team.

I do still plan on going back to read The Kill Switch and perhaps that will help me connect with Tucker’s character more so. Sadly I can only give this book 3 stars but I would recommend that those who enjoy the lone wolf type characters to give this one a try.

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Posted in 3 Star Books, Action, Books, Thriller/Suspense | No Comments »

Review: Chasing I Do by Marina Adair

June 6th, 2016 by Debbie's World of Books

Chasing I Do by Marina Adair

Source: Received from the author for review

Publication date: June 7, 2016

Publisher: The Adair Group

Rating: ★★★★★

About the book:

Darcy Kincaid might be a runaway bride, but she still believes in happily ever after, which is why she’s devoted to helping couples orchestrate their perfect I do. Even though her fiancée turned out to be unfaithful and a big disappointment, Darcy walked away from her wedding fully committed—to her unborn daughter. Now, a single mom, it’s up to Darcy to secure her daughter’s future, which is why she’s invested her life savings into renovating Belle Mont Manor, Portland’s oldest, and nearly forgotten, wedding venue. So when Wedding Magazine offers her the cover for their June issue, in exchange for planning the wedding of a high-profile couple, Darcy thanks her lucky stars. Until the star’s best man turns out to be her ex’s brother…

The last time Gage Easton saw Darcy, she was sneaking out the back door of her own wedding—destroying his brother’s life. No way is he going to entrust the gorgeous jilter with his biggest client’s special day, no matter how much in love with her he secretly was. Determined to take his client’s wedding elsewhere, he confronts Darcy, only to meet a toddler with Darcy’s blonde curls and the Easton blue eyes that has him renegotiating—the wedding for a chance to know his niece. But when a fun day in the park leads to warm family dinners, Gage finds himself stuck between his loyalty to his brother—and the two women who have stolen his heart.

My Review:

Marina Adair yet again has outdone herself! Such a heart warming, make you sigh a happy sigh read that you don’t want to miss.

I must start sounding like a broken record when it comes to Marina Adair’s books because I love them so much. For those who might be a little leery because this is a self-published book don’t worry because it was just as good if not better than her previous Montlake books.

I love Darcy’s character. So many women would be bitter in her situation but she moved on, worked hard and made a wonderful life with her daughter while still painting a positive picture of her ex-fiance. I can only imagine how hard that must be after what he did and then what his mother did to Darcy. Gage was just as endearing and watching him build a relationship with Darcy’s daughter, Kylie, was just adorable.

My only minor issue was I would have liked to see more of the confrontation between Gage and his mother to make the grand gesture more grand. His mother is a real piece of work and it would have been so satisfying to see her taken down a peg or two. I cannot wait for the next book. I want all the siblings and Darcy’s best friend’s story. Such an amazing start to the series!

Find it online:

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Posted in 5 Star Books, Books, Contemporary, Romance | 1 Comment »

Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

June 4th, 2016 by Debbie's World of Books

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

Source: Received for review

Publication date: May 17, 2016

Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About the book:

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love… or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

My Review:

When I first heard about this book I was so excited. I am a huge fan of Russian history even having taken Russian as my language in school, a Russian history class in high school and another Russian politics class in college. So combine the Russian history background with magic and romance and I am instantly adding the book to my TBR list.

The idea of enchanters who help protect the imperial family was great and it reminded of the mystic, Rasputin, and the rumors of who he really was to the tsarina. I had a feelings once we knew there were two possible enchanters, one being male and the other female, that we would seem a star-crossed romantic relationship. I had no problem with that and I actually really loved Nikolai and Vika. I was rooting for there to be a way they could both win and end up being together.

What did ruin the story for me was the third wheel in this romance love triangle, the Tsesarevich Pasha. His insta-love with Vika grated on my nerves and seemed thrown in just to create drama and to bring the story to a crescendo. He has barely even spoken to Vika and fancies himself in love with her and then is angry when Nikolai also admits to loving Vika. Pasha’s character also irritated me because he was basically a spoiled brat in many senses. Yes, I appreciated that he was sympathetic to the peasants lot in life but other than that he makes no effort to try and learn to become a better tsar so he can help these people. He avoids responsibility at every turn, throws a temper tantrum when he feels betrayed by Nikolai and Vika and then tries to blame his actions on other people. I felt like slapping him around a few times to tell him to grow up and take responsibility for his own actions.

I felt if the love triangle aspect had been left out this could have been an amazing book. It would have left more time for Nikolai and Vika’s romance to develop and to build up the tension as the two must come to terms with their feelings and their situation.

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Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Young Adult | No Comments »

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