An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason – Book Review

An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason

By Virginia Boecker

Details:


Title: An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason


Author: Virginia Boecker

 


Pub. Date: October 23rd, 2018



Synopsis:

When Lady Katherine’s father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn’t the only secret he’s been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father’s mission, and to take it one step further–kill the queen herself.

Katherine’s opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare’s newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn’t know is that the play is not just a play–it’s a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.

The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play’s leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on. 

Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with ARC of An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

My Review 

As a fan of Shakespeare and historical fiction in general, I was itching to get my hands on the books from the moment I read the blurb. An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason has to be one of the most entertaining YA historical fiction novels I have ever read. It’s a wonderful take on classic Shakespearian tropes that I can see many, many people enjoying. 

A royal spy and an orphan out for revenge on the people who killed her father, Toby and Katherine could not be more different. One is out to prevent the people who are plotting to kill Queen Elizabeth and the other out to assassinate her. Katherine disguises herself as a boy, Kit, and auditions for a play which is being put for the queen in order to assassinate. The play itself is actually being put on by Toby who is using it to Lure the assassins in and stop their plotting. Over the course of the novel the two start to develop feelings for each other, and, of course, drama ensues. I really enjoyed both characters, and the similarities with the play which is being performed, Twelfth Night. I loved how we got to see Katherine grow and find herself over the course of the novel, and I found her story to be very relatable and empowering. Toby was so passionate and funny–he’s a character that you can’t help but like. The only real issue I had with this book was the pacing. I felt that there were a lot of things that could have been sped up such as all of the plotting, the investigating, even the relationship between the two main characters. The ending though, that definitely made up for the pacing issues. It was fun, exciting, and the perfect way to tie up the novel. One thing I really need to give props for is how well researched this book was. Reading it, I could tell that Boecker actually put effort into trying to make things as historically accurate as possible which is something that not every author does.

In conclusion I give An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason four out of five stars for being a fun-filled read as well as one of my new favorite YA Historical Fictions. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, but especially to fans of Shakespeare.

              

If you would like to order An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason

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The Leading Edge of Now – ARC Tour and Review

I was invited by the wonderful Victoria @ thepetitebookblogger.wordpress.com to participate in an ARC tour for The Leading Edge of Now by Marci Lyn Curtis. I hadn’t really heard about this book before joining the tour, so I was wonderfully surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Synopsis:

Just when Grace is beginning to get used to being an orphan, her estranged uncle suddenly comes forward to claim her. That might have been okay if he’d spoken to her even once since her father died. Or if moving in with Uncle Rusty didn’t mean returning to New Harbor.

Grace once spent the best summers of her life in New Harbor. Now the place just reminds her of all she’s lost: her best friend, her boyfriend and any memory of the night that changed her forever.

People say the truth will set you free, but Grace isn’t sure about that. Once she starts looking for it, the truth about that night is hard to find — and what happens when her healing hurts the people she cares about the most?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34520598-the-leading-edge-of-now

Book Trailer:

My Review:

I really didn’t know much about The Leading Edge of Now aside from the fact that it was a contemporary novel. I was expecting it to be a quick, fun read, but it was so much more than that. Grace’s story is raw, emotional, and focuses on difficult topics that I don’t believe get featured very well in YA literature. I must put a trigger warning for rape/sexual abuse which is something that is heavily featured in the book, but Curtis does such a fantastic job at addressing it in a way that I believe to be very prevalent in our society today.

The story starts out with Grace reconnecting with her Uncle, Rusty, after two years of being in foster care. She also learns that her ex best friend and ex boyfriend have moved next door and it’s a lot for her to take in all at once. She used to hold so many great memories in New Harbor, but all those great memories were tainted after she was raped. She doesn’t remember what happened that night, and blames herself. Throughout the course of the story, we get to see Grace slowly but surely reconnect with her friends and family in a way that is more believable than most stories, as well as confront her past. The Leading Edge of Now is an emotional rollercoaster full of twists and turns. We get to witnesses Grace’s journey through a very dark time in her life and see her come out the other side. Her character was so realistic, and I often found myself wanting the best for her. We get to see Grace go from a victim to a survivor, and I think thats it is a very important and inspiration story that girls of all ages should read.

Overall, I give The Leading Edge of Now four out of five stars for being an inspirational story of a survivor who goes through the darkest time of her life to come out the other side a better person. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a realistic, inspirational read, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Author Information:

Marci Lyn Curtis is the author of young adult dramedies The One Thing and The Leading Edge of Now. She lives near Tampa, Florida with her husband. You can find out more about Marci on her website (marcilyncurtis.com), on Twitter (@Marci_Curtis), on Instagram (@marcilyncurtis), or on Facebook (marcilyncurtis).

 

 

Thanks so much again to Victoria for inviting me to be a part of this tour, and thanks to the author, Marci Lyn Curtis, for providing an ARC of the book.

If you would like to purchase a copy of The Leading Edge of Now:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

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The Impossibility of Us – Book Review

The Impossibility of Us

By Katy Upperman

Details:


Title: The Impossibility of US


Author: Katy Upperman


Publisher: Swoon Reads


Pub. Date: July 31st, 2018



Synopsis:


The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village.

When Elise meets Mati, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town too, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.

But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan.

Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US asks—how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?


Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with ARC of The Impossibility of Us through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

My Review 


            After reading Katy Upperman’s debut novel, Kissing Max Holden, last year I knew I had to get my hands on her next novel as soon as possible. I was such a huge, huge fan of Kissing Max Holden so my expectations were high, and Katy did not disappoint. The Impossibility of Us was such a wonderful, emotional read, and it was so much better than I expected. I didn’t expect this book to make me cry, but I was crying buckets by the end. Upperman does a fantastic job of making the reader feel so many things all at once, and I can truly say this is a story I won’t soon forget.

            The characters were probably my favorite part of this novel. Elise was so relatable and headstrong and Mati was so sweet and strong–their relationship is so adorable!!! I loved how the story was told from both of their perspectives–Mati’s being more poetic and Elise’s being written in prose. It really added an extra element of creativity to the story that I haven’t seen before. I thought Upperman did an amazing job at addressing Islamophobia by making Mati Afghan and showing how terribly people, including Elise’s mother, treat him. I especially enjoyed the moments when Mati taught Elise about his culture–I found those moments to be so precious.

            Overall I think Katy did an incredible job with The Impossibility of Us. It touches on topics I don’t think I’ve ever read about in YA novels in such a fantastic way. In conclusion I give the Impossibility of Us four out of five stars for being a heart wrenching, emotional read that’ll be sure to have everyone crying. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, but especially to fans of contemporary romance. Katy Upperman is a fantastic author, and I truly can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

             

If you would like to order The Impossibility of Us

Book Depository

Barnes and Nobles

Amazon

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Grace and Fury – ARC Review

Grace and Fury

By Tracy Banghart

Details:


Title: Grace and Fury


Author: Tracy Banghart


Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Pub. Date: July 31st, 2018



Synopsis:


In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.


Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with ARC of Grace and Fury through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

My Review 


            What do you get when you mix together badass female characters, an amazing plot, and an interesting world? The answer: Grace and Fury. From the second I started this book I knew it was going to be fantastic, and it did not let me down. Tracy Banghart tells the story of two sisters, Nomi and Serina, in such a way that draws you in from the first sentence and leaves you begging for more at the last. I don’t even know where to begin in writing this review because I loved everything so, so much, and I can guarantee that none of my readers want to read a ten page essay on how much I enjoyed this book.

            The world building throughout the story is great. Set in an Italian inspired fantasy world where women are oppressed, the reader immediately gets the sense that something isn’t right. Girls aren’t allowed to learn how to read or write, and to do so is a capital crime. Men rule over everything, and the women who don’t submit to them are sent off to the Hawaiian inspired prison at Mount Ruin. Banghart does a fantastic job in describing both the prison at Mount Ruin as well as the palace, which also happens to work as a prison for some of its inhabitants.

            I will admit that I was a little worried when I read the first couple chapters of Grace and Fury--it gave me major Selection vibes with the whole Heir and Grace thing, and anyone who knows me knows that I strongly dislike the selection, but luckily that ended as soon as the Heir selected his Graces and I WAS SHOOK! I love it when a story catches me off guard, and that’s what Grace and Fury did from the very beginning. There are a multitude of twists and turns which are absolutely wonderful and unpredictable. The ending in particular left me absolutely shell shocked, and I kept trying to flip the page on my kindle, hoping there was more because I was not ready for it to be over. Banghart leaves the story on a cliffhanger which has the reader already begging to have book two in their hands (I NEED IT NOW!!!). 

            While both the setting and the story itself are incredible, it’s the characters who truly steal the show. Nomi and Serina couldn’t be more opposite: Serina has trained her whole life to become a Grace and be submissive to men, while Nomi is a rebel who constantly fights the role which has been set for her. Both girls end up somewhere they never could have imagined, and they have to fight to survive. If someone asked me to pick my favorite of the two sisters, I would not be able. Both characters go through so much throughout the story, and neither are the same person they were at the beginning of the story at the end. Their character devlopment is fantastic, and I can only imagine how much effort Banghart put into bringing these characters to life. Even for the side characters, Banghart does an incredible amount of characterization. She gives each and every one their own backstory, and she doesn’t skip over any details. Personally, I really enjoyed getting to know about the others on mount doom–specifically Oracle and Val, but I also liked getting to know those within the palace–especially towards the end when I started to doubt everything I’d been told. The characters are the shining stars of Grace and Fury, and the character development throughout the story is truly some of the best I’ve ever seen.


In conclusion, I give Grace and Fury five out of five stars for being a fantastic opening to a new series as well as a fun story that promotes feminism within its pages. Grace and Fury is a story of strong women and family love, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. Be sure to pre-order a copy today because I can guarantee this is a book everyone is going to be talking about.

If you would like to pre-order Grace and Fury

Book Depository

Barnes and Nobles

Amazon

 There’s also a pre-order campaign going on right now, so you can get some pretty cool swag if you submit your receipt. Click here to learn more.

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The Supervillain and Me – Book Review

The Supervillain and Me

By Danielle Banas

Details:


Title: The Supervillain and Me


Author: Danielle Banas


Publisher: Swoon Reads


Pub. Date: July 10th, 2018



Synopsis:


Never trust a guy in spandex.

In Abby Hamilton’s world, superheroes do more than just stop crime and save cats stuck in trees—they also drink milk straight from the carton and hog the television remote. Abby’s older brother moonlights as the famous Red Comet, but without powers of her own, following in his footsteps has never crossed her mind.

That is, until the city’s newest vigilante comes bursting into her life.

After saving Abby from an attempted mugging, Morriston’s fledgling supervillain Iron Phantom convinces her that he’s not as evil as everyone says, and that their city is under a vicious new threat. As Abby follows him deeper into their city’s darkest secrets, she comes to learn that heroes can’t always be trusted, and sometimes it’s the good guys who wear black.


Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with ARC of The Supervillain and Me through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

My Review:  


            As soon as I saw The Supervillain and Me on NetGalley, I knew I had to read it. I’m a die hard superhero fan and a die hard YA fan, so the combination of the two was practically screaming my name. I started reading it the minute I was approved…and finished it two hours later. I can already tell you that Danielle Banas is going to become one of my insta buy authors–her writing style has to be one of my favorite that I’ve read in a while, and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

            This story is so freaking funny and cute!!!! Banas does a fantastic job of pulling the reader in with her fun and easy to follow writing style, and I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. Overall, I thought the story was perfectly paced with no dull moments, and I just couldn’t put it down. The one complaint I have is that, although I enjoyed the story, it was somewhat cheesy and cliche. The cheesiness didn’t bother me at all because that’s to be expected with anything involving superheroes, but I was able to figure out one of the big reveals of the story very early on. Even though I found the plot to be a bit predictable during certain parts, it didn’t do too much to diminish my enjoyment of the story. I also wish we got a little bit more background on Morriston and why it’s so crime ridden when other cities don’t seem to have that big of a crime problem. Overall, I thought the story was super fun and action packed, and I really enjoyed it.

            The characters were probably my favorite part of The Supervillain and Me, and I could tell that Banas had spent a lot of time creating each and every one of them. Abby was a wonderful main character, and an absolute theatre nerd. She had so many wonderful lines that had me in stitches, and her romance with the Iron Phantom was absolutely swoon worthy. The Iron Phantom himself was a fun character as well, and I enjoyed getting to know both of his personas. Each of Abby and the Iron Phantom’s interactions in Abby’s bedroom were some of my favorite scenes of the entire book. The other supers we get to meet in the book, Red Comet, Abby’s older brother, and Fish Boy, were both really fun as well. I loved getting to know each of  their back stories and see both of them in action. Sarah, Abby’s best friend, might’ve stolen the show for me because she reminds me so much of some of my friends who have One Direction shrines as opposed to Red Comet shrines. I love the description of  her car as well as her reaction when she discovers Red Comet’s true identity. As one of my teachers one said, a good plot is only possible through good characters, and the plot of The Supervillain and Me is truly driven by the wonderful character development done by Banas.

In conclusion, I give The Supervillain and Me four out of five stars for being a funny, cute, entertaining story that’s perfect for the summer time. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys super heroes and  cute teen romance stories. 

              

If you would like to order The Supervillain and Me

Book Depository

Barnes and Nobles

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Sky in the Deep – Blog Tour and Q&A with Adrienne Young

SkyintheDeep Blog Tour.png

Hey guys! I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour celebrating Adrienne Young’s debut novel, Sky in the Deep! I just want to say a quick thank you to Wednesday Books for letting me be a part of this tour because, as those of you who read my review already know, I absolutely adore this book! Here’s a link to my review in case any of you wanted to read it, and today I’m gonna share a Q&A with the author, Adrienne Young. Be sure to let me know if any of you are excited for Sky in the Deep or if any of you have already read it because I NEED to talk about it with someone!

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SUMMARY:

Sky in the Deep_cover image

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

 

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General Q&A:

1. What inspired SKY IN THE DEEP? How did the idea and Eelyn come to you? Do you have any favorite Viking stories?

The sibling betrayal was definitely the first inspiration for this story. I was driving in the pouring rain on this country road and that first scene just hit me – Eelyn, seeing her brother on the battlefield after thinking that he was dead for five years. I pulled over on the side of the road and scribbled a million notes on an old envelope. I was immediately hooked to the idea and I wanted to know what had happened. I started writing that first chapter and I just never stopped.

2. What type of research did you do for your characters and world-building? What languages did you study to implement the languages that the Aska and the Riki speak? What was the strangest thing you had to research for this book?

I did a ton of research for this story. I actually really love to research things so it was a lot of fun. A lot of it was stuff like clothing, landscape, weapons, food, etc. But I did a lot of research into Norse mythology as well to build a foundation for this world. The language used is Old Norse, but it’s a dead language so studying it was really difficult. There is a lot of controversy about it among scholars and there’s no real way to fully understand it, so I just did my best based on my own investigation. I’m definitely not an expert! The weirdest thing I had to research was how to tear out someone’s eyeball. Yuck.

3. What was your writing process like for SKY IN THE DEEP?

Complete and utter obsession. When I draft, I get really buried in the world and I don’t really come up for air until I get to the end. I write as much as I can and limit my intake of other influencers that could mess with my mindset. I don’t watch TV or movies or listen to music that’s not on my playlist, and I kind of don’t have a social life until it’s done.

4. What was your hardest scene to write? What was the easiest?

I really didn’t struggle to get this story on the page the way I have with other books so I really don’t know what the hardest scene to write was. But the easiest was the first chapter. I wrote it so fast and it just clicked in so perfectly.

5. Which of your characters are you the most like? Who was your favorite to write?

Eelyn! We have so much in common and she really inspires me. But I think Halvard was the most fun to write. I really, really love him.

6. Do you have a soundtrack for SKY IN THE DEEP? Can you share a couple songs? What would Eelyn’s favorite song be?

Yes! Music plays a HUGE role in my writing process and I have a playlist for every project. The ones I probably listened to the most while drafting SKY are To the Hills by Laurel, Bare by Wildes, and Rise Up – Reprise by Foxes. But a link to the whole playlist is on my site!

7. What books have inspired you to write? What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

The ones that inspired me to write are nothing like my books. One of the most influential ones for me was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, because the human element is so beautiful and the author explores so many things in that book that really took my breath away. I wanted to write stories that went deep like that, but I love fantasy so I try to it within that realm.

8. Any advice on querying? Or writing advice for aspiring writers?

Querying – do not just sign with any agent who will take you. Make a dream agent list of qualified agents who have good reputations and make consistent sales. Query them. If they don’t bite, then write another book that they might want. Believe me when I say it is worth waiting for the right agent!

9. Any details about the companion novel?

I can’t say anything about the companion novel yet! But I’m hoping that we can start talking about it soon because I am really excited about it!

About the Author

Final_Young, Adrienne_NO CREDIT

Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.
For information on release, appearances, ARCs, giveaways, and exclusive content, sign up for the newsletter at https://adrienneyoungbooks.com/

Instagram: @adrienneyoungbooks
Twitter: @adriennebooks

 

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young releases on April 24th, 2018. If you would like to pre-order Sky in the Deep:

Book Depository

Barnes and Nobles

Amazon

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Snow City – Book Review

Snow City

By G.A. Kathryns

Details:


Title: Snow City


Author: G.A. Kathryns


Publisher: Sycamore Sky Books


Pub. Date: February 7th, 2017



Synopsis:


Her name is Echo Japonica, and she lives in Snow City. But she was not always Echo, and she did not always live in Snow City. Somewhere else, she was someone else, and it was to Snow City that she fled in order to escape a place and a self that had at last become intolerable.

For Snow City is a dream — Echo’s dream — of a better place, an idealized place, a place of both anonymity and fulfillment. It is, for Echo, a haven of peace, a refuge, a sanctuary.
But Snow City remains, nonetheless, a dream, and dreams, being such fragile things, can so easily shade into nightmare…


Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy of Snow City in exchange for my honest review.

 

My Review:  


            Upon reading the summary for Snow City by G.A. Kathryns, I was instantly intrigued. I really love magical realism when it’s done right, like The Night Circus or A Monster Calls, so I went in to Snow City with high expectations. However, it turned out to not be what I was expecting.

            This story is weird, let me get that out of the way right now, and I often found myself unsure as to where the story was going. It wasn’t that the plot was bad–it was just very slow paced. It took me longer to finish this book than normal because I often had to put it down after every chapter or two to take a break before I continued on. Aside from the pacing, I did actually find the plot to be very interesting. Out main character, Echo, creates Snow City to be a sanctuary from the horrible real world. One day she meets this girls, Charity, who actually turns out to be a ghost. Echo doesn’t like the way people treat Charity, so she takes her in, and, in doing so, she starts to notice that the utopia of Snow City isn’t all she thought it was. This book made me constantly question what is real, and that’s something I found I quite enjoyed.

            Kathryns’ poetic, elegant writing style really added to the book as a whole. It was very beautiful, and almost Jane Austen-esq. I found myself reading the story with a very British accent in my head at times. Every description was enchanting, and it really helped to emerge me into the world of Snow City. Although I found the writing style so beautiful, there were some instances where sentences felt as if they were dragged out for the sole purpose of making them poetic, and that just made the point of the sentence get lost in the delivery. Overall, I thought the writing was fantastic, and I’d love to read something in this style again.

            Finally, let’s talk about the characters. It took me a while to warm up the the main character, Echo, but that might’ve had more to do with the pacing rather than the actual characterization. I kind of felt like the author was trying a little too hard to make her come off as odd and quirky, but as the book progressed that feeling went away. I think Charity actually ended up being my favorite character from the novel. Kathryns writes her to be extremely brave and generous, and I love the mother-daughter like bond formed between Charity and Echo. This is a story truly built around the characters.

In conclusion, I give Snow City by G.A. Kathryns three and a half out of five stars. It’s a truly weird, unique book, and that’s something you need to be ok with if you decide to pick it up. I recommend it to fans of magical realism, and I hope that you enjoy it if you decide to read it!

If you would like to purchase Snow City

Book Depository

Barnes and Nobles

Amazon

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