Vicious by V.E Schwab

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Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Goodreads

Disclaimer: We did a really good job of not spoiling anything. We are amazing.

Okay, so let’s be honest here. Vicious isn’t Schwab’s best book, but it’s damn good. It has a man called jailbird named Victor, a righteous killer named Eli and a dog that’s come back from the dead. So, you know. Read it.

What we loved about Vicious is the fact that it’s full of all kind of grey areas. 

Victor Vale, our villainous boy-toy of the week is a man who went to prison for a crime he definitely committed, but he’s the good guy. Honest. He just has this thing for inflicting pain and crossing ethical lines and pulling children into  a decade old feud that is basically just some twisted bromance gone wrong.

BUT REALLY. HE’S THE GOOD GUY.

You’ll have heart eyes for him by the end of the novel.

The novels takes place on different timelines and it’s interesting because you imagine young (deranged?) Victor being all adorable and cute and intelligent and sexy and-

that’s not where we’re going with this…

As a reader, it can often be jarring to have your mind operate in two or more timelines created by an author for the purposes of a story because your brain has to segregate characters to a certain period of time and it also has to not obsess over the many events that could have taken place in the interval between the chapters which are set then and the chapters which are set now.

Vicious doesn’t have that problem. It’s very easy to know where and when you are because there’s an obvious difference in the characters.

In college, Victor wants more than anything to take the mask of his best friend Eli and see what kind of monster is lurking beneath. He wants to find a monster like him to bond with and spend time with. Student Victor wants to push science to the very brink and discover something new and wonderful and powerful.

He wants to be ExtraOrdinary.

Post prison Victor wants to end his best friend and he doesn’t care how he’s going to do that. He will hurt and maim and completely destroy those who wish to stop them because Eli is a creature made from dangerously sharp and evil components.

He’s a genius who has become full of the belief that he’s meant to kill other’s like him who are super-powered. Because they are wrong. They are magnificent and they are wrong. Their souls are gone. They are the devil given human skin…

SERIOUSLY? WHAT IS IT WITH PEOPLE AND THEIR WITCH HUNTS? HUH?

Someone is different. Kill them. Someone is different. Kill them!

Someone. Is. Different.

Kill. Them.

We’re complaining about it, but we don’t actually mind that much. It’s so much fun seeing fanatics being taken down. So fun.

For us, Vicious lacked the depth that we found in Victoria’s Shades of Magic trilogy. We think it’s due to the fact that it’s an earlier work of hers and the fact that it is, for the moment, a standalone novel. We haven’t been gifted with another four hundred plus pages to see a world of secretly powered people be fleshed out.

We’re happy to know that we’re getting those pages though. Sometime next year if everything goes to plan.

What’s interesting about this novel is how people receive their powers. They have to come very, very close to death. And we’re talking I’ll reap your soul in just a second close. It seemed to us, to be a pretty cool system that allowed for Schwab to get imaginative with the powers she bestowed on her creations.

To finish this all up, Vicious is the kind of powered up fiction that will draw in the lovers of wicked deed and sharp, sharp characters who are so riddled with flaws that it’s a miracle they don’t break. It’s also a book that moves very fast and allows you to only make connections with just a few of those aforementioned flawed characters. You’ll either like it or hate it, love it or feel kind of meh about the whole thing, but we promise that you’ll be exploring into Victoria’s other rich worlds.

Thanks for reading our review!

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

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One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews – Innkeeper Chronicles #3

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Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, is glad to have you. We cater to particular kind of guests, the ones most people don’t know about. The older lady sipping her Mello Yello is called Caldenia, although she prefers Your Grace. She has a sizable bounty on her head, so if you hear kinetic or laser fire, try not to stand close to the target. Our chef is a Quillonian. The claws are a little unsettling, but he is a consummate professional and truly is the best chef in the Galaxy. If you see a dark shadow in the orchard late at night, don’t worry. Someone is patrolling the grounds. Do beware of our dog.

Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your host, Dina Demille, will defend you at all costs. We ask only that you mind other guests and conduct yourself in a polite manner.

Goodreads

Discalimers: This book is the third book in an ongoing series and is likely to contain spoilers for both itself and its predecessors. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: Ilona Andrews constantly impress us. 

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To All The Books We Read Last Month

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To all the books we read last month we’ve got to admit that we’re really grateful because August was an upside-down month for us that had some glorious moments in the most unexpected places.

Last month because it’s now officially September even if only by a small margin we wrote eight blog posts. Seven of which were book reviews and one was an interview with the lovely @angelspearlreads who’s blog you can check out here. At the end of this post you’ll be able to find a collection of links to all our posts, but first…

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United As One by Pittacus Lore

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The seventh and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling I Am Number Four series! With United as One, this action-packed series comes to a surprising, breathtaking, and utterly satisfying conclusion. The Garde didn’t start this war, but they’ll do whatever it takes to end it once and for all. . . .

The Mogadorians have invaded Earth. Their warships loom over our most populated cities, and no country will risk taking them head on. The Garde are all that stand in the way, but they’ll need an army of their own to win this fight.

They’ve teamed up with the US military, but it might not be enough. The Garde need reinforcements, and they’ve found them in the most unexpected place. Teenagers from across the globe, like John Smith’s best friend, Sam, have developed abilities. So John and the others must get to them before the Mogs, because if they don’t their enemies will use these gifted teens for their own sinister plan.

But after all the Mogadorians have taken from John—his home, his family, his friends, and the person he loves most—he might not want to put any more lives in danger. He’s got nothing left to lose, and he’s just discovered he has been given an incredible new Legacy. Now he can turn himself into the ultimate weapon. So will he risk his life to save the world, or will he realize that power in numbers will save us all?

Goodreads

Disclaimers: This is the seventh book in the Lorien Legacies series and as such this review will contain spoilers for the previous mistakes. This review may contain spoilers for United As One itself. You have been warned

Why we chose it: We were curious with how the series would wrap up.

Review: It’s come to our attention that writing a review that is for the most part a negative review is extremely difficult. Writing coherent reasons behind our negative emotions and thoughts on a book is far more challenging that putting into words positive thoughts. This the fourth and final time we’re going to try this, here we go.

United As One was not a satisfactory conclusion to a book series which started out great. The first three books, particularly books two and three were great. We loved getting to read from Marina’s point of view and Six’s point of view. We were never really fans of John, but we could tolerate him because all the voices the books were written in felt different.

In United As One we only had John and Six speaking in alternative chapters and if it wasn’t for the opposite character’s name being used we would never have been able to tell them apart. They kind of blended into one and that really disappointed us. It was one of the first major aspects to the writing in this book that hit us.

The second would be how that major thing that happened with Sarah in book six was never actually dealt with. It was done is such a way that we felt no emotion about it and it was if Sarah’s entire story-line had been only to provide some minor love triangle vibes and to be John’s love interest. We hated how it was handled, it made us very angry how she became just a throwaway character and that’s another big problem in United As One.

Many, if not all off the secondary characters introduced to us in this novel and the previous novel are two dimensional, throwaway characters. We were given very little, if any in some cases, backstory to these characters. They had no actual affect on the plot and seemed to us to be there as fillers. Something to cover up the terrible faults in both the voices of our main characters and their lack of believable development. Something to also cover up how rushed and really how terribly executed the plot was.

For a large part of the book we have our characters preparing for the final battle. The one that would essentially decide the faith of all humanity. It was to be expected. What we didn’t expect was how little we actually see them levelling up in a sense to face The Mogadorians. Sure there were meetings and…missions, but it was all so boring. They attack a ship, the plan changes because John has become this stone cold man…..

That’s it. That’s our problem with this book in one word. It was boring. We cared nothing for the outcome and developed a sense of indifference towards characters we had previously liked. There were a few moments where Nine made us laugh, but other than that we were emotionally distant from the events in United As One

If you’re a fan of the series in general or even a fan of the book, you shouldn’t let our thoughts change your opinion. If you’re a new reader who wants to try this series out for yourself then do. You could love everything about it including the final book. We know we’re in a minority group with our opinion on United As One, but we’ve done the best we can to coherently convey our feelings towards it.

It was hard because of that indifference we’ve mentioned and it was strange how vastly different our opinion has been over the course of seven books.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, let us know what you think in the comments. Don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

To All The Books We Read Last Month

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Disclaimer: We are not working with or affiliated with any of the book purchasing companies we have left links to below. We have not been asked by the publishers to give you these links either. 

On July 03 2016 the creator of Arkon and Annie, the one behind our dual voice wrote the first post for this blog. It was title Hello! We didn’t think that after this post we would join NetGalley and end up being approved for a total of eleven books despite how fresh we were and still are to the book blogging world.

It was shocking and amazing and we’ve many publishers to thank, many viewers as well, but first…..To all the books we read last month, Thank You!

Even though we’ve had mixed reactions to some of them it was absolutely amazing having the opportunity to explore new worlds and characters. Some we loved. Some we didn’t. Some with were set in worlds of magic and angels. Others in settings on our Earth that were far more familiar, but still fiction to us.

It’s been a brilliant first month in the book blogging world, but enough with an introduction. Let’s dive into the books we read this month.


The first book we were approved for on NetGalley is Everything Love Is by Claire King. It’s a slow burn, but a novel filled with wonderful writing ans storytelling. You can find our review of it here . It’s a standalone novel published by Bloomsbury on July 28 2016 and we feel so lucky to have read and reviewed it before the publication date.

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Isn’t the cover just gorgeous? You’ll be able to find links to places where you can buy it in our review, but if you simply want to go straight ahead to them Everything Love Is can be purchased on AmazonBarnes and Noble or The Book Depository .You can also find it on Goodreads here to see what others thought.


The next book we got from NetGalley was We Awaken by Calista Lynne. Even though we didn’t really like it, it’s quite possible some of you will. You find our review of it here. It was published by Harmony Ink Press on July 14 2016.

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Once again another beautiful cover. This book can also be purchased on Amazon,  Barnes and Noble or The Book Depository. You can also find it on Goodreads here to see what others thought.


After only mentioning two books we can already tell this is going to be a long post to write and format and find links for. We’re not complaining though. We read more a nice amount of books this month. Who can complain about that?


The third book and one we were surprised to find we enjoyed is City of Shadows by Pippa DaCosta. It’s important to note that it’s the second book in the London Fae series so you’d obviously have to read the first book first…..something we didn’t do. However if you have read the first book or are simply curious as to what we thought you can find our review here.  The book was published by Bloomsbury Spark an imprint of Bloomsbury on July 07 2016.

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While we coulnd’t find this book on The Book Depository we found it on Amazon or Barnes of Noble.


Another book by Bloomsbury now and this one is The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles. We believe it’s his first book for young adults and it was a decent first venture. Now the book doesn’t actually come out until February 09 2017 so you can imagine how happy we are to have read it so early. Our review will be up on February 02 2017 so if you want to come back then…please do 🙂

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The people over at Bloomsbury make such wonderful covers don’t you think? You can pre-order the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or The Book Depository. You can also add it to your to-read shelf here.

Note: The publication date differs depending on the site.


We received The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras from St. Martin’s Press and while we had issues with it we have a review ready to be posted a week before the book’s publication on Novemeber 01 2016.
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You can pre-order this on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or The Book Depository and check out Goodreads.


The seventh book we received was Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith. We really liked the idea of a more modern book about angels set in a fantasy/dystopian world. Today is actually the book’s publication day and you can find our review of it here. It’s published by Switch Press who we’re going to have to have a closer look at. See what else they publish.

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You can buy this book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or The Book Depository. You can also check it out on Goodreads to see what other people are saying here.


This is the last book we got from Bloomsbury this month and it was another one that surprised us. Danielle Paige wasn’t an author who we thought we’d ever like after her Wizard of Oz inspired series, but we’re looking forward to more of her work and our review of Stealing Snow will be published a week before the book’s release on October 06 2016.

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You can pre-order the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or The Book Depository. And as we’ve said….six times before you can find out what people are saying on Goodreads here.


Holding Up The Universe is one of the best reads from this month..possibly in the top ten of the year and it’s likely that in the coming months it’ll still be up there. It was so much fun writing our review because it was full of emotion

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All lover of All The Bright Places go pre-order your copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or The Book Depository because you know how good Jennifer Niven is. Alternatively if you haven’t read All The Bright Places by this wonderful lady check out Holding Up The Universe on Goodreads here.


This book wasn’t what we hoped it would be. It ended up being more middle grade and for some reason we haven’t posted our review on here….whoops.

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If you want you can go buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or The Book Depository. Make sure to check out Goodreads though so you know what you’re in for.


We read only a few books this month not given to us by NetGalley and one of those is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. We’re not entirely sure of when it came out, but we’ve recently reviewed it and absolutely loved it.

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If you loved the Grisha trilogy or even just like the idea of this wonderful fantasy book then you can buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or The Book Depository. We highly recommend that you do.

Goodreads


This book. This Savage Song was so utterly amazing. Emotions and monsters, V. E. Schwab is a wicked genius. We said here how her characters are the driving force and so there’s so many good things in her books

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Go buy her book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or The Book Depository. Also check Goodreads here to see what everyone thinks.!


PHEW! This was a fun post to write, but difficult because we wanted to provide multiple links for everything.We’re quite happy we’ve done it. We really enjoyed going back over what we read in July. We were actually surprised with the amount of books we read. It felt like far less.

Thanks for reading, don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

 

 

 

Children Of Icarus by Caighlan Smith

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It is Clara who is desperate to enter the labyrinth and it is Clara who is bright, strong, and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It is no surprise when she is chosen. But so is the girl who has always lived in her shadow. Together they enter. Within minutes, they are torn apart forever. Now the girl who has never left the city walls must fight to survive in a living nightmare, where one false turn with who to trust means a certain dead end.”

Goodreads

Disclaimer: We received this an advanced digital copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Switch Press). There may be some things you consider to be spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: The description was enough for us

Review: Children of Icarus is at times as twisted as the labyrinth that the majority of the book takes place in and we loved it. It was so good and so wrong at the same time.

What was so intriguing for us as we made our way through this book is how gloriously screwed up all the characters are. They’re all perfect echoes of the damaged world they live in (something we’ll get to later) and we’re going to go deep in our discussion of these characters.

The main character is a girl who we’re going to simply refer to as the main character because we no longer remember what the girl’s name is. Like Arya Stark says “A girl has no name” and indeed our girl has no name. Or at least not one that sticks….we can’t even remember if we were told. For the first half of the book our MC is a shadow in Clara’s wake. She’s like an errant thought, but she has a nice voice. The novel is told from her perspective and it’s through her perspective that we uncover the twists of the labyrinth and the twisted people that survive. We found it really interesting that even though our character spends a great deal of crying it’s not long before you discover there’s a strength inside her hidden deep down.

Deep, deep down.

It’s not possible to stress enough how much we enjoyed the way in which the main character both hides behind the essence of Clara and subsequently inhabits it. She becomes Clara……at least in some ways. She spends a lot of time lying by omission and doesn’t really give it a second thought.

We’ve been thinking that for a time we thought our main character would simply lie her way through survival and that the plot wouldn’t advance, but it didn’t and we’re so very grateful for that.

Our main character’s lies catch up to her and at the halfway point begin to cause her much pain. What we haven’t mentioned is that the people our main character lies to are a survival group called The Fates. The leader of that is the real Clara’s brother. His name is Collin. Our main character starts thinking that because she’s now Clara Collin is her brother and he’s a good big brother. Strong and ruthless, not a very nice guy. He has a temper and it’s explosive. It makes itself known in some very screwed up ways.

Clara experiences some of those screwed up ways when she gets found out in the most wonderful way. When we say wonderful we mean the writing was so good we actually felt physically uncomfortable reading it.

While we genuinely think the majority of characters that comprise what we’re shown of The Fates are okay in general there are some notable exceptions. One of them is Elle. She’s not all together present and becomes extremely possessive of our main character. What we liked about Elle though is that her inability to be fully present in reality is realistic and powerful. There were times when we wanted to defend Elle and we really hope to see more of her in coming books.

We mentioned earlier that we thought the plot might not advance and that we were okay with that. We still are, but we wouldn’t have loved the book the way we do now.

Our main character ends up in the labyrinth with a boy who’s quickly on his way to becoming a friend and a little girl named Gina. They venture for water and the labyrinth does what one can expect it to do. Messes everything up. Our main character meets a woman only glimpsed before and while our main character remains mostly useless for another while, this woman (who we’ll get to in a moment changes that)

The woman is nicknamed The Executioner. It’s fitting that like our main character we can’t remember her true name. We don’t even know if one was mentioned. The Executioner is strong and resourceful and in Children of Icarus that author weaves her story into one that’s actually important. Her past actions have affected the present in a similar way to how her actions that we witness in the book will affect where our main character goes from where we leave her in Children of Icarus.

The world that’s been built in this book is limited in some ways. In terms of scope it’s not very big and can give off a Hunger Games or Divergent feeling, but it’s different from them. There’s a stronger fantasy feel to Children of Icarus and we love the detail that went into the creatures and the layout the labyrinth even though we’re sure there’s much more to be explored. While we would’ve like to have learned more about the creation and general history of the labyrinth we understand that it just wouldn’t have been entirely possible to achieve the depth we wanted and not have the character feeling as if she were not moving due to description.

Links to both of those dystopian novels mentioned above might be made by some due to the age and the almost reaping like feel to an event that happens early in the book, but we urge you not to view Children of Icarus and some sort of rip off. It feels different and it reads different, Personally we class Children of Icarus as a book better than any of the novels in The Hungers Games trilogy or The Divergent trilogy

To conclude Children of Icarus has twists and turns and some sick individuals. It’s a book where the pacing suffers a little, but the writing and characters overcomes that. The pacing problem does eventually disappear altogether and we can honestly say we’re looking forward to the next book.

Thanks for reading! Let us know what you think in the comments if you’ve read this book. Don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab

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There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

Goodreads

Disclaimer: There are some minor spoilers ahead – although that depends on your view of what a spoiler consists of.

Why we chose it: Victoria Schwab. The end.

Review: We knew that when we saw Victoria Schwab was writing a book called This Savage Song we’d have to have it. It would be wicked. It would be epic and monstrous. There would be dark creatures lurking between the pages and they would be beautiful.

The book didn’t disappoint.

It’s important to note at this point that Victoria Schwab is a monster, she lulls you into a false sense of security and the destroys you…there’s a song about it too.

Victoria Schwab hides and writes, Her crimson hair shines in light,

She’ll tell you lies and steal your soul, She’ll leave you wrecked, you won’t be whole,

Author, Author mind of pain, Reader, Reader you’ll end up slain.

We absolutely loved the world Victoria created – it’s amazing how she took real world events like murder and terrorists attacks and even general violence and created monsters. The Corsai, the Sunai and the Malachai. It was such an original take on our world that we couldn’t help but be hooked.

The characters of course were epic too. The wonderful August, a monster and yet not. A teenager and yet not. His personality and his take on his world were very different to ours but relate-able at the same time. He questioned his existence and his reasons for being. He wondered if he could just fade away some day. He was captivating and we were with him throughout the novel. Seeing how he changed into someone…..something more powerful and confident. Harder because the world demanded it.

The book is told by two individuals and the second is the glorious Kate Harker. A girl who’s the enemy of August simply because he lives in South City – a territory not controlled by her father. She knows she should be his enemy, be like her father as she wants to be, but there’s a humanity to Kate she can’t truly weed out. Despite having being kicked out of six boarding schools, despite having multiple faces she shows to the world. Throughout the book we also Kate develop into a truer version of herself. Someone that’s always been there deep down.

The secondary characters were also fleshed out and we can only thank Victoria Schwab for giving everything in this novel the depth it deserved.

A plot that’s been the basis of many a book, but perfectly unique because of the world and the characters. How the interacted with each other, how they made life changing decisions. To us as readers we never experienced any stereotypical tropes. The book didn’t turn into some awful love fest. It was grittier than that.

There was however something we almost had a problem with. The way the novel ended, or at least half of the way the novel ended with Kate Harker almost reminded us of how Delilah’s arc concluded in A Darker Shade of Magic. We realised though on further reflection that it wasn’t at all similar due to the character’s reasons behind their actions.

These are our thoughts on this wonderful novel, let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.