Tag Archives: Patricia Briggs

Home Improvement: Undead Edition edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for home improvement undead edition book cover

Title: Home Improvement: Undead Edition
Author: Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner, Victor Gischler, Patricia Briggs, Rochelle Krich, Heather Graham, James Grady, Melissa Marr, E. E. Knight, Seanan McGuire, S. J. Rozan, Stacia Kane, Suzanne McLeod & Simon R. Green
In: Home Improvement (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 7th June – 24th October 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Two weeks after their first post they met in the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Larchmont.

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Synopsis

There’s nothing like home renovation for finding skeletons in the closet or otherworldly portals in the parlour… And when you add in a hefty dose of the supernatural, the normal, everyday challenges of home D-I-Y become even more hazardous!

International number 1 bestseller Charlaine Harris has joined forces once again with award-winning mystery writer Toni L.P. Kelner to construct a brilliant anthology of fourteen forays into the frightening world of home improvement.

Thoughts

This is a great and fun collection. It’s amusing and light. Filled with lots of gorgeous paranormal stories and just seriously fun. What I love most about it though is that each and everyone of these stories features the process of home renovations in some way, shape or form. And, as a home owner myself… I can attest to the fact that sometimes home improvements are literally hell…

I love that this collection brings the supernatural and paranormal into our everyday experiences. Everyone has a home and, in the case of these somewhat more magical lives… after all, even vampires and witches and the fae still need a home… but their complications are a lot worse than the ones that I have had to face…

This collection had some authors and series that I’m familiar with. And some that are new to me. As with many of the good anthologies that I read, my wish list has grown yet again. Which is really what I want when I read a good anthology.

<- In Brightest DayIf I Had a Hammer ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner

Overview
Image result for wolfsbane and mistletoe book cover

Title: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
Author: Charlaine Harris, Donna Andrews, Simon R. Green, Dana Cameron, Kat Richardson, Alan Gordon, Carrie Vaughn, Dana Stabenow, Keri Arthur, J.A. Konrath, Patricia Briggs, Nancy Pickard, Karen Chance, Rob Thurman & Toni L. P. Kelner
In: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Werewolves
Dates read: 16th November – 30th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: I’m big and I’m hairy!

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Synopsis

The holiday season can bring out the beast in anyone – literally! This collection features 15 werewolf tales by an all-star line up.

Thoughts

This is the second collection I’ve read by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. And it’s just as good, if not better than the first. Actually, it was probably better. Because I really wasn’t in the mood for the Holiday Season this year. Normally I read all sorts of nice holiday stories. I didn’t want those. But an anthology about werewolves and Christmas? That was perfect for my mood. Especially when some of the stories involve eating Rudolph and Santa.

Christmas seems to be all about the night and the season. Or something about the imagery of it is. And werewolves are almost always pictured with a full moon. The combination of the two actually makes perfect sense. Which was something I’d never thought of before, but now wonder why not. After all, it works so beautifully.

Not only were the themes in this story perfectly paired, but it was also a fantastic mix of series shorts and standalones. I love finding short stories based in established worlds. But it’s also great to sometimes find a standalone that you can really sink your teeth into. If anything, I think I actually preferred a lot of the standalones in this collection, they were the stories which were a little grittier.

Although there was a bit more darkness to this story than a traditional paranormal fantasy tale, it was still quite a light-hearted mix. Even the stories that involved disembowelling well-known Christmas characters were funny and light. Left me with a nice, big smile on my lips at the end of the collection.

 <- Keeping Watch Over His Flock ReviewGift Wrap Review ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Naked City edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
naked-city

Title: Naked City
Author: Ellen Datlow, Jim Butcher, Delia Sherman, Richard Bowes, Ellen Kushner, Christopher Fowler, Patricia Briggs, Pat Cadigan, Peter S. Beagle, Naomi Novik, Matthew Kressel, Kit Reed, Lavie Tidhar, Nathan Ballingrud, Melissa Marr, John Crowley, Holly Black, Jeffrey Ford, Lucius Shepard, Caitlin R. Kiernan & Elizabeth Bear
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 28th June – 26th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Out in Brooklyn in a couple of spots you can walk down a street and almost think it’s a hundred and twenty-five years ago.

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Synopsis

In this thrilling collection of original stories, some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill, and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s “Curses”, Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’s “Fairy Gifts”, a vampire is called home by magic to save the Fae who freed him from a dark curse. In Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead”, the newly dead Frankie Lee seeks a job in the afterlife on the wrong side of the law. In Holly Black’s “Noble Rot”, a dying rock star discovers that the young woman who brings him food every day has some strange appetites of her own.

Featuring original stories from twenty authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous, and fantastical collection is not to be missed!

Thoughts

This is a seriously diverse collection of urban fantasy short stories. Not to mention fun and engaging. Probably moving right to the top of my list if I’m being honest. Normally my purview of urban fantasy is kind of small. But the breadth and width of these stories and the style in which they’re written… just wow.

I loved the fact that most of these short stories were standalones. I used to really enjoy finding new series through short stories and novellas. But, I have so many now that sometimes just reading a standalone without having to hunt out more of that world (I’m obsessive, I do this EVERY time) was kind of nice. I got a great taste of the imaginations and storytelling talents of a variety of authors, without actually feeling the need to buy more, more, more. Honestly, there is nothing worse than finding myself a new series to obsess over and then realising that I have a whole slew of new books to buy…

Although this is an urban fantasy collection, it does have a darker twist to it than usual. Every single one of these stories is a little bit dark, a lot bit fun and most don’t have a happy ending. Which, I tend to love, because I get a bit over all the happily ever afters… but it’s definitely something to keep in mind as you rip through the stories.

<- CorpsemouthCurses ->

Image source: Patricia Briggs

Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs

Overview
Image result for book cover dragon blood patricia briggs

Title: Dragon Blood
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Hurog Duology #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: DragonsMagic, Medieval fantasy
Dates read: 30th November 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 2002
5th sentence, 74th page: Her tail curled around her front paws and she purred when my eyes met hers.

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Synopsis

CALL TO REBELLION

Ward, ruler of Hurog, is striving to restore his lands and people to prosperity, wanting nothing more than a quiet life. But when an old friend, escaping from high King Jakoven’s torturers, seeks refuge in his keep, Ward can no longer ignore the growing rebellion against the tyrannical High King. He realizes that he cannot stand aside – he must join with the rebels.

However, Jakoven has a secret weapon with which he intends to crush the rebellion: Farsonsbane, a magical artifact that has destroyed entire cities. But first, Jakoven needs blood to awaken it. Dragon’s blood. The very blood that courses through Ward’s veins…

Thoughts

I have read this before. So I didn’t think I’d get as insanely hooked… I read the whole book in one day. While I was trying to write a paper. Probably not the best book to sink my literary teeth into if I’m being honest with myself…

Although Dragon Bones would have been fine as a standalone, I’m really glad that Briggs decided to revisit this world. There is just something about Ward and Hurog that makes it difficult to walk away. Plus, interestingly, it is the only one of her series thus far that features a male lead. Yes, there is still a strong, independent woman in this story. But it’s written from Ward’s POV and more so about him. Tisala is his love interest.

Dragon Blood is a fantastic end to this duology. Not only do you feel like Ward and Tisala get to live happily ever after. Their country and peoples’ are finally safe from a tyrannical king and an ancient artefact that could kill them all is also destroyed. A very good, easy happy ending that still lets you know that everyone continues to live and fight their battles – after all, dragons, bandits and magic are still heavy in the air.

If I was asked to describe in one sentence why I love this story so much… I wouldn’t be able to answer the question. As with all of Patricia Briggs’ books, there is something about the writing, the character building and the battles that Ward overcomes that make it impossible not to love the tale. Add in a heavy dose of dragons and medieval sword fight… I’m kind of sad that I read through it so quickly… again. I read this in one day last time too…

 <- Dragon Bones ReviewMore Patricia Briggs reviews ->

Image source: Goodreads

Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs

Overview
Image result for dragon bones patricia briggs book cover

Title: Dragon Bones
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Hurog Duology #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dragons, Magic, Medieval fantasy
Dates read: 22nd – 30th May 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 2002
5th sentence, 74th page: “War?” I asked, trying to sound eager, the way an idiot who was good at fighting would say it.

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Synopsis

Playing the fool

Most everyone thinks Ward of Hurog is a simple-minded fool – and that’s just fine by him. But few people know that his foolishness is (very convincingly) feigned. And it’s all that’s save him from death at the hands of his abusive father, who’s always seen Ward as a bitter rival for power. 88 When his father dies, Ward becomes the new lord of Hurog… until a nobleman declares that he is too dim-witted to rule. Ward knows he cannot play the fool any longer. To regain his kingdom, he must prove himself worthy – and quickly.

Riding into a war that’s heating up on the border, Ward is sure he’s on the fast track to glory. But soon his mission takes a deadly serious turn, for he has seen a pile of magical dragon bones hidden deep beneath Hurog Keep. The bones can be dangerous in the wrong hands, and Ward is certain his enemies will stop at nothing to possess them…

Thoughts

I read this book for the first time a very long time ago. Or at least, long enough that I couldn’t really remember anything that happened in the story. Beyond the fact that Ward had to pretend to be stupid to survive, and he couldn’t remember how to act as someone who was… less dumb. But the story is soooooo much more than that. And I honestly can’t believe that it’s taken me so long to get this off my shelves again. It’s just beautiful. And fun. And an incredibly enjoyable read.

Although there are hints of a love interest in a part of the story, there isn’t any overt romance. Rather, this story is about finding one’s own identity and strength. And also reconnecting with long alienated family members. It’s a really sweet, if not slightly violent storyline that deals with abuse and a longing to belong. A need to feel like you fit into your own skin. And figuring out just how to do that. All things that I’m sure almost everyone can relate to in one way or another.

Now that I’ve reread Dragon Bones I just can’t wait to sink my literary teeth into Dragon Blood. Again, I can’t quite remember what happens in it. But the entire tale is one that I know I’ve enjoyed in the past and look forward to enjoying again in the future. Dragon Bones is everything I enjoyed in a good fantasy story as a child. It features a misfit that is completely misunderstood by everyone, his family included. There are dragons. And swords. And lots of fighting and bloodshed. But, as an adult, I also appreciate the difficulties of having abusive parents, and the scars that that can impart. The constant fear that Ward is like his sire and this horror at what he has had to overcome. I didn’t really appreciate that, even in my early twenties when I first read this a few years ago. Now, the whole storyline not only was incredibly enjoyable. But also shook me to the core and helped me to commit wholeheartedly to Ward’s cause.

<- More Patricia Briggs reviewsDragon Blood Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Masques by Patricia Briggs

Overview
Image result for book cover masques patricia briggs

Title: Masques
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Sianim #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Medieval fantasy, Strong women
Dates read: 12th January – 5th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: She can fight, and the gods know we have need of fighters.

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Synopsis

After an upbringing of proper behavior and oppressive expectations, Aralorn fled her noble birthright for a life of adventure as a mercenary spy. But her latest mission involves more peril than she ever imagined.

Agents of Sianim have asked her to gether intelligence on the increasingly popular and powerful sorcerer Geoffrey ae’Magi. Soon Aralorn comes to see past the man’s striking charisma – and into a soul as corrupt and black as endless night. And few have the will to resist the sinister might of the ae’Magi and his minions.

So Aralorn, aided by her enigmatic companion, Wolf, joins the rebellion against the ae’Magi. But in a war against a foe armed with the power of illusion, how do you know who the true enemy is – or where he will strike next?

Thoughts

I read this book for the first time years ago. But, I thought I’d reread it to see if it was as good as I remembered… and it was. It was kind of amazing, incredibly interesting and very difficult to put down. I did… because I have to be an adult, but it was still quite difficult.

Aralorn is a wonderfully strong and independent woman. She is everything I tend to love in a female lead, and the trope that made me fall in love with Patricia Briggs’ writing. I love that she shrugs off the common upbringing of women and finds herself a way to be herself, no matter what the consequences and what other people think of her. I love this independence, and the fact that although there is a love interest, in takes backstage in a major way. Actually, it took me this second read through to realise that the love interest is quite intense from the very beginning, rather than a random development later on in the story (as I originally thought).

This story reminds me a little of the Graceling series in that the villain doesn’t seem all that evil. Until you start to add up what is happening behind the scenes. Yet, there is something far more terrifying about such a bad guy. After all, everyone else loves him, bringing him down will probably mean that everyone decides to kill Aralorn and Wolf, and even they constantly question their motives and sanity. There is something that is just… kind of sinister about such a charismatic evil being. And it makes the ae’Magi all the more evil because he does so many things with a beautiful, kind smile on his face…

 <- Wolfsbane ReviewSteal the Dragon Review ->
Image source: Amazon

A Fantastic Holiday Season edited by Kevin J. Anderson and Keith J. Olexa

Overview
A Fantastic Holiday Season

Title: A Fantastic Holiday Season
Author: Kevin J. Anderson, Keith J. Olexa, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Brad R. Torgersen, Mercedes Lackey, Quincy J. Allen, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Jonathan Maberry, Ken Scholes, Heather Graham, Sam Knight, Mike Resnick, David Boop, Eric James Stone & Patricia Briggs
In: A Fantastic Holiday Season (Kevin J. Anderson & Keith J. Olexa)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: ChristmasShort story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 16th November 2018 – 29th January 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: World Fire Press
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: Of course it wasn’t possible that Jimmy had actually ridden in a hyperspace sleigh back to Ceres, when the journey from Ceres to Mars, and vice versa, ordinarily took weeks.

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Synopsis

‘Tis the Season-for 14 more magical, macabre and merry tales to make your Holidays … Fantastic! Gingerbread houses, caroling carolers, brightly trimmed trees, big family dinners, pristine snowfalls … the familiar pleasures of the season. But what better pleasure is there than a good holiday story? So open this winter solstice sampler and indulge in funny festive fantasies, nightmares before Christmas, and stunning space-age celebrations … these stories will warms hearts and minds like a blazing Yule log. Fantastic Holiday Stories by Kevin J. Anderson, Mercedes Lackey, Mike Resnick, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Jonathan Maberry, Eric James Stone, Nina Kiriki Hoffman., Quincy J Allen, Ken Scholes, Sam Knight, David Boop, Heather Graham, Brad R. Torgersen, Patricia Briggs

Thoughts

I bought this collection because the very last story is a short story in the Mercedes Thompson series that I don’t yet have. And I started reading this last year to try and get me into the Christmas spirit. And it worked. Beautifully. Fantastically. I’m actually sad that it’s over, even if I finished it after the Holiday Season…

The stories in this collection run the gambit from cutsie little fantasy tales to convoluted and entertaining science fiction tales. They fit into series and stand by themselves. And it’s this range that I truly love. After all, the reason why I tend to read so many short story collections at once is that they get a bit same-same with their tales. The fact that these are far more varied made this collection a little more difficult to put down, and a lot more fun to read than usual.

 <- Unappreciated Gifts ReviewNaughty & Nice Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

When Demons Walk by Patricia Briggs

Overview
When Demons Walk ebook by Patricia Briggs

Title: When Demons Walk
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Sianim #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Magic, Medieval fantasy, Strong women
Dates read: 7th – 11th January 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: He laughed.

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Synopsis

Don’t try this at home.

Sham had spent most of her young life as a sorceress and thief, stealing from Southwood’s nobility to survive. Now she must face the greatest test of her skills…

A killer has struck Southwood, claiming the lives of nobels. Lord Kerim, Reeve of Southwood, turns to Sham for help. Posing as his mistress, she delves behind castle walls to find the killer. But this murderer is no mortal – and Sham must use all of her magical wisdom to send the demon away. Because the city of Southwood has nowhere to hide – and no time to run…

Thoughts

I forgot how much I love this book. I first read it about six years ago, and although I remembered that it was fun, I didn’t really remember anything else about it. Which kind of made this reread like discovering the story again for the very first time. And it was amazing. And beautiful. And really difficult to put down… I had to actually put a timer on to stop myself from over reading. Especially when I actually had study and things to do.

I love the premise of this storyline and the world in which this tale is based. It is a beautiful medieval city which is steeped in history and culture. There have been wars and pasts that have been won and lost beautiful you even open the first page of the story. This attention to detail and world creation is one of the things that I have always loved about Patricia Briggs. The fact that this is a standalone novel with this level of detail is somehow far more impressive and intriguing than many of her longer running series. After all, the same level of world building and history creation goes into this single story that has gone into the longer series. Or at least, that’s the way it feels to me.

I like the fact that there is a little romance in this story, but it isn’t the emphasis, rather there is a hint of people developing feelings for each other. And that’s it. it’s enough to help raise the stakes of the story. But not enough to overtake any of the storyline. Rather, it is a tale of battles and intrigue. A tale that makes you want to know just who the bad guy is… and when it’s finally figured out… how to get rid of it!

 <- Steal the Dragon ReviewWolfsbane Review ->
Image source: Kobo

Unappreciated Gifts by Patricia Briggs

Overview
A Fantastic Holiday Season

Title: Unappreciated Gifts
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega #3.5, Mercy-Verse #21
In: A Fantastic Holiday Season (Kevin J. Anderson & Keith J. Olexa)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: ChristmasParanormal fantasy, Strong women, Werewolves
Dates read: 29th January 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: World Fire Press
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: But Kelly did indeed know how to dance, and they soon progressed beyond the simpler moves into some more darinkg, dramatic… even melodramatic moves.

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Synopsis

Some members of Adam’s pack think Asil should get out more, so they’ve challenged him to accept a series of blind dates . . .

Thoughts

I really, really like Asil. And I really, really like Christmas. So a story that features both… I’m most likely going to enjoy that. And when it is written in the drily humorous tones of Patricia Briggs… yeah. I really couldn’t put this down. I wandered around the house (and walked into a few doorways) for about ten minutes while I just completely devoured this story.

The premise of giving a “gift” of five dates for Asil was funny from the very beginning. And I was expecting it to be a series of five short almost mini stories which outlined each of his adventures. Instead, it was just about the first one. And honestly, that was enough. It was kind of hilarious, really sweet and definitely highlighted just why I love Asil so much. After all, he has this sly sense of humour and a strong sense of dignity. Both things that I love in a man (and a character).

Unappreciated Gifts is a fun little, Christmassy return to the world of Mercedes Thompson. It is a good little laugh and a nice way to fall into the world, without being dragged too deeply under.

 <- Fair Game ReviewDead Heat Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Overview
Image result for frost burned patricia briggs book cover

Title: Frost Burned
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercedes Thompson #7, Mercy-Verse #19
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Werewolves
Dates read: 28th – 29th January 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: “Sweats,” Kyle whispered to me, rolling off the chair like it hurt.

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Synopsis

In this #1 New York Times bestseller, author Patricia Briggs “has reached perfection”, as Mercy Thompson faces a shapeshifter’s biggest fear…

After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and her stepdaughter, Jesse, can’t reach Alpha werewolf Adam – or anyone else in the pack, for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.

Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. But she fears his disappearance may be related to the political battle the werewolves have been fighting to gain acceptance from the public – and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outmatched and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.

Thoughts

I always forget how much I love the books in the Mercedes Thompson world. Actually, I don’t quite forget… I just don’t think that they could possibly be that good. And then I open one, and I don’t know why I don’t just read these books on repeat. (Probably because I have FAR too many other books that I also want to read…. It makes decision making incredibly hard).

Frost Burned is the seventh in the Mercedes Thompson series and takes place after Mercy has finally healed from her… activities… in River Marked. It starts with one of those beautiful moments in which everything seems to be going well. And then it’s not. Which is kind of how all such books end up going. However, unlike most books I’ve read, it kind of seems like the main catastrophe and storyline is over. When the book is only halfway through. That’s when you kind of know that the shit is about to seriously hit the fan.

Ben takes a much more central role in this story than the other stories. And so does Asil. Both characters that I absolutely adore and find completely intriguing. They have intense backgrounds and aren’t what you would traditionally classify as “good”. Which is probably why I like them so much. Their presence in Mercy’s life and the fact that, in spite of all odds, she actually likes them, helps to increase the stakes of what is happening.

Unlike the other books so far in the Mercedes Thompson series, there isn’t one big storyline, per se. Rather than a very clear beginning, middle and end with only one big obstacle to overcome, there are a small handful. It means that instead of the expected highs and lows, this story is more like a rollercoaster. And because of that, all that much more difficult to put down.

 <- River Marked ReviewRedemption Review ->
Image source: Amazon