Book Review: Scorch by Gina Damico

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Young Adult > Paranormal

(Croak #2)

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home.

To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all—but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree?

Book 1: Croak review

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That death.. not fair, Gina Damico. Total not fair :(((

Scorch is even better than Croak, but the I told myself that another heartbreak from Gina Damico is too much for my weary heart. How can a book so funny, yet full of grief?

After the devastating death, Lex is lost. With her growing power that is completely out of her control, and Zara on a killing spree, going back in Croak will just be the icing on her already ‘bitter’ cake.

Me and Scorch started out great. A lot of LOL moments, especially the Lex-Driggs-Uncle Mort bantering. Lex and Driggs are constantly monitored by Unce Mort’s cctv cameras. So where to go to make out? They get creative, but Uncle Mort is almost always more creative, and smarter than them. 😀

I love Uncle Mort, period.

Then the my heartbreak begins. Kloo and AyjayDriggs. What happened to them was like one electric shock after another. I swear, that for every roaring laughter I let out, my heart constricts and breaks a little. The disbelief is not wearing off, even now.

Can I brave Rogue? After that incredulous ending, can I? How can Lex fix things? Fix him? She’s not a god. 😦

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SCORCH by Gina Damico

Ebook, 332 pages

Published September 25th 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

3/5 stars

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Book Review: Every Day by David Levithan

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Young Adult > Contemporary

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Literary Awards: Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), Andre Norton Award Nominee (2012), YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults (Top Ten) (2013), Cybils Nominee for Fantasy & Science Fiction (Young Adult) (2012)

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Alexander Yin, you just saved me from hating this book. You are the only part worth remembering.

Could it be that I am getting over my fandom over David Levithan? Because I just didn’t like Every Day. It pains me to rate this a 2, but because of Alexander (thank goodness), I managed to up my rating just a bit (even though I feel it’s a generous one).

I started reading last February, put Temple down, and read other books. I promised that I would finish it, so I borrowed Tina’s paperback, thinking this would push me to read on. It took me months before I grudgingly read the rest of A’s story. In the end, I was still bored. I could not get myself to be compassionate about A’s situation. Sorry man, it’s just that, you’re so boring to read. sleepy-boring.

Everything about A was forgettable. I cannot push myself to like him, or even sympathize over his tortured so-called life. And his obsession with Rhiannon (yes I will call it that) was not something that I will romanticize. Was it love? Or was it just a recognition of what his life might’ve been should he ever be normal?

I think the paranormal theme was the flop for me. Or I might be just familiar with David Levithan‘s contemporary books. Or maybe, Every Day is just flat-out jibberish nonsense.

When A is living Alexander’s life for a day, it was the only good thing that livened up my reading.

Every Day. Sigh. How can you ruin my perfect record of loving David Levithan‘s works?

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EVERY DAY by David Levithan

Published August 28th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

2.5/5 stars

Book Review: Game by Barry Lyga

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Genre: Young Adult > Mystery | Suspense

(Jasper Dent #2)

Billy grinned. “Oh, New York,” he whispered. “We’re gonna have so much fun.”

I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jazz, the son of history’s most infamous serial killer, Billy Dent.

In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force–running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game.

Book 1: I Hunt Killers review

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… I thought Game was messy. but it turned out alright in the end. And Uh, what ending? Such a cliffhanger.

I remembered loving I Hunt Killers because of my fascination with books of the serial killer theme. Now I am not so keen on it’s sequel. It was too complicated, the intricacy of the crimes was too much to be handled in a single installment. I did not even like Connie’s POV (I find her cheap, Ha!). The ending saved Game‘s life in my eyes. It was not the cliffhanger, though. It was the promise, a dark promise, from Billy Dent of things to come. *grins*

Jasper Dent did not understand how he can help the New York Police Department with the case they have at hand. A serial killer is carving his way into NY streets, and the cops know zilch on who it is. It’s funny to see Jasper psyching them out, or how the detective who asked for his help was actually afraid of him (when the detective realized that Jasper is very much like his father, Billy). They thought Jasper is all good, unlike Billy. Well, they should know better. =D

A lot of players in the game. Billy’s presence, both in Jasper’s psyche and in real life, was entertaining. He really is one sick, psychotic killer! And the way he sounds so normal, so freakin’ ordinary made him a worthy serial killer for me. My bad boy is living up to his name!

I hope Blood Of My Blood will be better than Game. The evil that is just trying to get out of Jasper Dent might just… get out, finally. And wouldn’t that be nice? Woot!

Not to mention I want to see Billy Dent in action. As sick as it sounds, I am a fan, Billy. 🙂

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GAME by Barry Lyga

Hardcover, 520 pages

Published April 16th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

3/5 stars

Book Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

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Young Adult > Horror  | Science Fiction

(The Madman’s Daughter #1)

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

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1st half? horrifying yet interesting.
2nd half? f*cking love triangles.

Suffice it to say that the horror part of The Madman’s Daughter is intriguing enough to have me looped in Juliet’s crazy life. It was pretty intense at the start, with Juliet’s desperation and hopelessness, to her unexpected visit to the island, to see if her father is indeed alive. But when the love triangle emerged, the book was a chore to finish.

His father’s genius was viewed as madness, but I reveled in his insanity. Who’s to say he’s really crazy? He might be deluded, true, but he was fluidly intellectual with his work at the island. And how bloody it was! How… mad. I liked that. =)

Juliet did not know who to believe, who to trust in her father’s island. Montgomery? Edward? Her father? Can she believe him when he says that he was only protecting her since the day he left her to fend on her own, the way only a good father will do? I tell you, Juliet is going bonkers herself out there. 😀

The twist was somehow predictable, but still bewitching when I saw it unfold.

The Madman’s Daughter can still be good, I think. So less on the dramatic love triangle, please. It takes the sweet out of the horror, and I want my horror to be … sugary. In blood. Wee!

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THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER by Megan Shepherd

Ebook, 432 pages

Published January 29th 2013 by Balzer + Bray

3/5 stars

Book Review: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

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General Fiction > Short Stories

In his second collection of stories, as in his first, Carver’s characters are peripheral people–people without education, insight or prospects, people too unimaginative to even give up. Carver celebrates these men and women.

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Ah, the beauty of short stories 🙂

It’s a good thing I am introduced to gems like these, once in a while. If only to help pass the time while riding a bus. Or fill up the loss of having left Illium the Kindle at home. Heh.

The stories depict ordinary lives of ordinary people. The uniqueness of this book being special lies at the tone of Carver’s writing, at the mood evoked from me through the exchange of emotions. But the stories did not linger with me, not that much. Well okay, the only vivid memory I had is about The Bath. The rest? Fragments in minute proportions.

Perhaps my unfamiliarity with reading short stories are to blame for my dissatisfaction. The ability to construct the story without the obvious storytelling was abnormally absent when I was reading this. 😦 Because Carver’s talent is in the “reading between the lines”. At least I got that, yeah? =) Carver’s writing initially appeared simple, but upon closer inspection on his stories, he tells a lot more.

Sigh.

I wish I could retain more of what occurred in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, because I believe it is something special. Only I missed it.

Perhaps, a reread is in order? 😉

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WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE by Raymond Carver

Paperback, 164 pages

Published June 18th 1989 by Vintage

3/5 stars

Book Review: The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey

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Young Adult > Horror 

(The Monstrumologist #2)

While Dr. Warthrop is attempting to disprove that Homo vampiris, the vampire, could exist, his former fiancée asks him to rescue her husband, who has been captured by a Wendigo—a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh. Although Dr. Warthrop considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and performs the rescue—and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo. Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, and whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied?

Book 1: The Monstrumologist review

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… so was it really a Wendigo or not? *lost*Okay. So either I didn’t get it, or I just took the horror of monsters too literally. Ha! Well, I thought I was into another (gleeful) nightmare similar to the Anthropophagi from The Monstrumologist. Wrong expectations from my side. I admit the nightmare here in The Curse of the Wendigo is still as horrifying as it comes from Yancey’s standards, but I was looking for more tangible and honest-to-goodness monsters that will scare the crap out of me!

The part I liked the most is when Dr. Warthrop, Will and their guide were traversing the Canadian Wilderness. There’s something about that place that made it creepier, darker, and scarier just by having night talks about the Wendigo. Despite the doctor’s warning that it is nothing but a myth, Will cannot helped but be doubtful, because why is there a pair of red eyes following him? The most palpipating scene ever: Dr. Warthrop and Will on the run for their lives, with an unconscious John Chanler in tow. *shivers*

Now I am starting to doubt if I did read anything that suggested of the existence of the Wendigo. Heh.

Although I got to know Dr. Warthrop’s history, and how he came to be what he was with Will. The relationship between them was a toxic one, but Will cannot deny that beyond the doctor’s brusqueness, inconsideration, and abruptness with him, he realized that the monstrumologist was the only family he had. And this boy will sacrifice himself for the sake of his master. The catch: The doctor felt protective of Will Henry, despite his decision to be alone.

The Curse of the Wendigo delves deeper on the personal lives of Dr. Warthrop and Will. I don’t mind that, I really don’t, but maybe more of the monsters I’m used to from The Monstrumologist are present here. Not gonna happen? Oh, well.

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THE CURSE OF THE WENDIGO by Rick Yancey

Paperback, 424 pages

Published September 13th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

3/5 stars

Book Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

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Young Adult > Science Fiction | Time Travel

Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn’t happened yet.

Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture – being kept apart, overhearing each other’s anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There’s no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It’s from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that’s about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future . . .

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… took long enough to get to the confrontation, but neat ending.

I did not appreciate the predictability of the story, nor the twists. Could it be that I am so used to crime and thriller suspense that when I turn out to be right in guessing who’s who and what’s what, I don’t feel victorious? I was annoyed. It was so easy guess where things will lead me.

But I love Finn. The knowledge that he was already in love with her way before Cassandra happens, it was heartbreaking. I was crushed by that last scene with her – that by saving the world, they might not fall in love, because it was Cassandra that brought them together – wow. He was brave, my Finn. So brave.

Em was right to be confused. She failed too many times. And yet she still loves him, despite everything. Are there really no option but to kill him? It’s sad, really. I think the last scene after the inevitable went down, it was too hard for her. *sigh*

Let’s not talk about Marina, I do not like her.

Compared to TempestAll Our Yesterdays is actually pretty good. The time travel element was easy to digest and follow.

If this was a standalone, I’d say, very nice wrap-up. Some loose ends, but with the grief going around, I think no one will mind. Since there will be a sequel, it better not include Finn being dead. *shakes fist*

Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury for granting my galley request.

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ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill

Published August 1st 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing Inc (UK & ANZ)

3/5 stars

[Waterfell Blog Tour] Book Review: Waterfell by Amalie Howard

My blog is Amalie Howard‘s WATERFELL Blog Tour stop this Nov 2nd! Read on for my review, and see for yourself if you would like to pick it up soon. 😀

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Young Adult > Paranormal

(The Aquarathi #1)

Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father’s betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa’s upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age.

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa’s mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?

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Amalie Howard‘s lore on sea creatures was fascinating. The plot was easy to follow, but I had trouble engaging with Nerissa’s human life (except for Jenna). Riss’ sometimes-abrasive romantic relationship with Lo raised my eyebrows a bunch of times. No goosebumps from me, for the swoon intended to please readers only managed to irked me with its ineffectual dialogue.

Nerissa is living with humans as part of her training as the royal heir to Waterfell. But she wants it to be permanent, because she’s coward enough to run from the responsibility. Because she’s scared enough of Ehmora to want to live a normal human life. Let Ehmora rule Waterfell since she never wanted to be a princess/queen in the first place.

When Riss learned the truth about her mother, the rules of the game changed. Suddenly, Riss wants to accepts Ehmora’s challenge for the throne. and Riss is more determined than ever to know his dead father’s secrets.

The story left the paranormal theme when the origin of Riss’ people, the Aquarathi, was revealed. The twists were also surprising, and well handled. The last three chapters were the most interesting. It gave the viciousness that I was looking for in sea creatures.

Scenes between Riss and Lo were.. frustrating. The banter came across as corny for me. It did not help the Riss’ attitude is unbearable at times. Her best friend’s Jenna’s observations about her character was exactly what I have in mind.

Waterfell and the Aquarathi people captured my imagination. A little more developed characters, and more underwater action scenes might make the following installments better.

Thank you Samantha Lien of JKS Communications – Literary Publicity for the review copy.

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WATERFELL by Amalie Howard

Ebook, 360 pages

Published October 29th 2013 by Harlequin Teen

3.5/5 stars

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amaliehowardAMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. Traveling the globe, she has worked as a research assistant, marketing representative, teen speaker and global sales executive. In between writing novels and indulging her love of reading, Amalie is also a books review editor for TheLoopNY, and blogs at amaliehoward.com. She is represented by the Liza Royce Agency.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Book Review: If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

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Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?

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For some reason I liked the secondary characters more than the MC and her love interest. I could not see what Sahar saw in Nasrin (for this girl is vain, spoiled, and selfish). And Sahar was very adamant to anyone who wants to help her. The stubbornness was too much for my liking. Nevertheless, the setting of If You Could Be Mine is enough to intrigue me.

Tehran is a dangerous place for a homosexual like Sahar. And that is not even accurate, because she does not categorize herself as gay, she just loves her best friend Nasrin, who just happened to be a girl. Does that make her queer? And so it went on, Sahar in constant turmoil – whether she should go into operation to make her a man, and finally marry Nasrin legally, or just accept that she and Nasrin has no future together as a couple.

I found it brave – books such as this – to actually deal with taboo social issues. It made me glimpse on how hard life can be for people to hide who and what they are, for fear of persecution. even death.

If You Could Be Mine is interesting, though not moving enough for me to actually love it. But Sahar’s cousin Ali was dear to me, and her father as well. These supporting characters temper my anger when Sahar turns bratty, because she cannot have Nasrin. Not the way she wanted.

The ending was predictable, but the open note for Sahar’s is quite nice. Good for her, I thought.

Thank you Netgalley and Algonquin Books for granting my galley request.

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IF YOU COULD BE MINE by Sara Farizan

Published August 20th 2013 by Algonquin Books

3/5 stars

Book Review: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

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Adult Paranormal > Fantasy

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands…

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I am sooo glad that I read Darkfever only now. Why? Because I don’t think I can wait for months before the next book is released (I already have books 2-5!). And so, it is with happiness that I will tell you: this is THE Fae Adult Paranormal Romance series to read. 😛

Mac is a walking contradiction. And she adores pink, fashion, and boys. When her sister died, her preferences did not change. If there’s anything, she rigorously stuck to them, justifying that this is the only normalcy of life she will have since then. Me and Mac? We are going to be good friends. =) She’s feisty, challenging, and a little violent (LOL).

Barrons is not your typical bad boy. He is bad boy personified. He has no redeeming qualities… because there is nothing to redeem. He knows he’s bad, and he constantly flaunts it. Sigh, there is no sense rooting for him. But unwillingly, I do. Jericho Barrons is my No. 1 Bad Boy! *grins*

V’lane the sex fae prince exhibits human traits far more than Barrons, and that’s not a lot. So what does that say about Barrons, huh? Nothing. Or everything. I’m not worried about Mac going for V’lane. I can always blame it to the fae charm, right?

Gritty, unabashed, and ferocious – that’s how I will describe Darkfever. It is narcotic enough for me to continue reading the series. (For there is no way that Barrons is a like a shadow, dark in all aspects.)

And I will get my fix!

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DARKFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

Ebook, 255 pages

Published October 31st 2006 by Dell Publishing

3/5 stars