Release Day Review: Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper by Carole Cummings

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dont-fear-the-not-really-grim-reaper-by-carole-cummings-10083-b

Blurb

When unassuming college student Emery Sutton wakes up in the morgue, it takes him a few minutes to remember he has magic (superpowers, damn it!) and free himself from the refrigerated drawer. And the body bag. (God.) It doesn’t take long, though, for him to remember the hot guy with wings he ran into just before a city bus ran into him.

Junior Reaper John must explain to his supervisor how his first solo assignment went so wrong. All he knows is that he happened upon Emery quite by accident, that Emery saw John when he shouldn’t have been able to, and when they accidentally touched, a bus came out of nowhere and plowed Emery under. (John really does feel bad about that.)

Hot angels, annoying demons, hijinks, absurdity, drunk siblings, a dash of silly romance, an inordinate attachment to wings, and a highly disorganized bid for world domination—Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper follows Emery and John down the rabbit hole where they find that moms are scarier than demons from hell, a goat is not a puppy no matter what Emery’s sister says, and awkward romance can happen anywhere.
Review by Dee
This is a delightful, fun story. It’s a cross between a YA story, a Monty Python sketch all rolled into a Terry Gilliam or Prachett plot.
Emery keeps getting killed – unsuccessfully. Now, this would not be funny under normal circumstances, but this is a comedy so roll with it. It turns out that a junior Grim Reaper, John accidentally ‘kills’ Emery. John is full of remorse, reports this to his superiors, only to find out that Emery has not ‘transitioned, that is to say there is no record of his dying. More worrisome, there is no record of Emery at all. John is sent to investigate. The investigation leads to hijinks, meeting of demons, minions, family (Emery’s) and 2 young men falling in love.
The story is unique, funny, with a fun pop references, a close knit family and a formidable mum who will not tolerate evil in any of her kids!
If you like fantastical farces that’s not afraid to poke fun, this is definitely a good choice.

4 stars out of 5


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Review by Rebecca

This book drew me in instantly. Character rambling at the beginning, but it’s very humorous and shows the sense of humor and awkwardness of Emery. Movie references that made me smile. John is a Reaper that just wanted to do things right. It’s funny how he’d tiptoe around what really happened on his solo mission. So much nerd humor is in the book, very exciting. Enjoyed Emery’s family and the humor they brought to the book. Poor John is lost as to why he keeps being unsuccessful, yet doesn’t mind being around Emery more. The mutual attraction is overlooked by both. The demons were an amusing addition to the drama. The book isn’t centered on a relationship between Emery and John, but the attraction is there. All around enjoyable book.

Number of stars out of 5

5


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Release Day Review: Gabriel and the Devil by Robert P. Rowe

release day review

Dreasmpsinner

 https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/gabriel-and-the-devil-by-robert-p-rowe-10074-b

Blurb: Flirting with the devil can lead to a helluva good time.
Gabriel is a regular angel. The former altar boy plans to graduate from college, become an accountant, get a good job, find a wife, and live a faithful Catholic life.

But one Halloween night, the devil pops in out of nowhere, challenges everything he believes, and heats up Gabriel’s lonely life.
Marcello is full of the devil. He’s lusted after Gabriel forever, but what he really wants is Gabriel’s eternal soul. Still, his mischievous sense of humor, along with his tricks and jokes, leads to a misunderstanding that could condemn him to hell on Earth. Only the truth will let these souls find true love and happiness.

Review: Overall, this was a fun read – the good, religious boy and the not so good, devilish tempter. I thought the story was cleverly done – without giving the twist away – there is a bit of sleight of hand that works quite well.
My biggest complaint is how quickly Gabriel fell for Marcello; one moment he’s resisting Marcello’s tempting ways and almost as quickly, he’s fallen in lust/love. This is a story that could have been longer in order to fully stretch out the fantasy and fun. But the ending is nice, complete with a satisfying epilogue.

3.5 stars out of 5


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Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Valley of the Kings by Blue Jones

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Rival archaeologists Will and Jude slept together a year ago, on the night of the Summer Solstice at a dig in Stonehenge. But they were both wearing masks, so Jude has no idea it was Will he slept with, and Will’s been harboring a powerful, one-sided crush ever since. Now they’re in Egypt, competing to find the lost tomb of Queen Nefertiti. Jude falls through a crack in the cave floor, and when Will reluctantly climbs down to help him, they find themselves in Nefertiti’s tomb, surrounded by archaeological treasures—where they must spend Christmas stranded by a sandstorm. Will a few sultry hours stripped almost bare from the heat and sharing a bottle of whiskey sort out who should get credit for the discovery—and the real reason for the tension between them?

Review

Another good story in the collection. The blurb says it all, complete with a double meaning of sorts☺. It’s a fun read, with humour, a little adventure, a light tug on the heartstrings and a lovely end. The only thing I wanted to know is if they really discovered Nefertiti’s tomb. Hopefully Blue Jones will flesh this out as full novel and we get to find out? *Puppy dog eyes*.

I loved it!

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Twenty-Nine Hours to Eternity (2018 Advent Calendar Daily – Warmest Wishes) by Elizabeth Noble

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Being gay and pagan can make for a lonely holiday season, as Ian knows well. He’s used to celebrating alone. The last place he expects to meet a like-minded guy is at LAX during a twenty-nine-hour layover.

Ian’s never felt so comfortable or compatible with another man, even if there is an air of mystery to Race.

Race is no stranger to holiday isolation, and he decides they should seize the opportunity they’ve been given and observe the Saturnalia the way it was meant to be. A grand celebration ensues, where every moment is special and every meal a feast. The ancient traditions take on new meaning as the men find meaning in each other. But each of them has a destiny and for their paths to continue together, it’ll take a kind of magic that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

Review

 

I like my holiday romances sweet, mushy even, with a lot of family and friends surrounding the MC’s and most of all, with an optimistic, if not realistic, outlook on life. It’s the season of hope and peace for all. Sappy as that may sound. So a terrorist attack wasn’t really what I’d been hoping to find…

The story centers around Ian, a human, and Race, an enigmatic stranger, slightly less human. Both men are pagan, though exactly what that means, is left a bit vague. They meet at an airport and spend a day together waiting for their flights. They fall into like, into lust,… and then things take a turn for the worst. Not just for the characters, but sadly also for the story.

I find it very strange that Race lets the man he supposedly loves walk away from him straight into a violent and painful death. Doesn’t scream love to me. Perhaps a clearer explanation of what being a “timekeeper” entails would have helped to make sense of that. So they get to spend eternity together, yay, not so the other people who died in the attack. Where is their silver lining? Ian and Race don’t spare them a second thought but immediately go on their merry way to their happily-ever-after.

Though this wasn’t badly written per se, the plot and the MC’s did not appeal to me at all.

Number of stars out of 5: 2

 

 

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Romancing the Undercover Millionaire by Clare London

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/romancing-the-undercover-millionaire-by-clare-london-10016-b

Blurb

Romancing The…
Can poverty and privilege find a loving compromise?
Alexandre Bonfils, a rich and spoiled second son, is tired of being ignored and decides to help when the family’s exclusive wine business is in trouble. Going undercover in the warehouse, he loves the adventure—and the chance to be close to the sassy and sexy manager, Tate Somerton.
Tate is hardworking and financially struggling, bringing up his siblings on his own. A suspected saboteur at work is his latest challenge, but now he also has a clueless, though very attractive, new intern. There’s an immediate spark between the ill-matched couple, until a shocking accident cuts short Alex’s amateur sleuthing.
While recovering in the generous care of Tate and his family, will Alex realize what belonging really means? Passion and pride come together to fight for the company they’re both committed to preserving, but can a personal bond remain when the dust settles?

Review

Alexandre is your typical spoiled playboy rich kid. He gets the bright idea to go undercover to reveal who is causing trouble in the family business warehouse. He meets his boss Tate. Tate is essentially a single parent of his three siblings and occasionally his grandmother when her arthritis is bad . The twins add great humor to the book. The attraction is instant. It was funny to read how easily Tate sees through Alex. Both are guarded. Alex, because he’s never tried for relationships and wanting to keep identity secret until mystery is solved, and Tate, because he feels that anyone he loves will eventually leave him plus the responsibility he feels to his siblings. The mystery incidences added great drama to the book. I enjoyed reading the family dynamics and know personally how tough it is maintaining a family in poverty. Alex gets hurt and shortly after the truth about him comes out. The sex scenes were hot without being detailed. The bond between them was great to read. All background characters were fun to read also. Overall fantastic read.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 


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Recent Review: Lazy Sundays by K-lee Klein


Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41998052-lazy-sundays?from_search=true

Blurb
Scott Weston’s car is sensible, his suits are bland, and his job is stable but boring. Mundane routine helps keep his anxiety and obsessive tendencies under control. Socializing—especially dating—isn’t on his list of strong skills either, and, made worse with the echoes of his disapproving mother. So he’s content to stay at home with his lists and cleaning and wildlife documentaries, until a one-night stand goes unexpectedly right.

History has taught Devon DuCaine that dating can be uncomfortable, but there’s just something about Scott. He may be the opposite of Devon’s own long-haired, tattooed, free-wheeling spirit but he brings out the nurturer in Devon. Maybe it’s Scott’s surprising fascination with Devon’s motorcycle, or his shy surprise in moments of affection, but there’s more under those sensible suits than meets the eye. The most important person in Devon’s life, his mom, taught him love and compassion and that’s all he wants to share that with Scott.

Their one-night stand turns into a regular thing, but Scott doesn’t trust it to last. He’s pretty sure Devon is hiding something. He’s even more sure that once Devon gets to know him, the attraction will fade. And then there’s his mother. However many sparks fly between them, Devon will have his work cut out to convince Scott they can have their happily ever after.

Review
Originally this book consisted of two short stories, but the author re-wrote them into one book and added a lot of content. I never read the short stories, but as far as I can tell the added content serves mostly to make the story longer but not better, per se. Some scenes just felt too drawn out to me (how long can a Valentine’s day date drag on?) and the author also repeats certain points so much that it got on my nerves. I understand that Devon had a really good mother and that they were very close, however, I didn’t need to read it quite that many times. And yes, Scott has very low self-esteem, but Devon was constantly there to give him all the validation he could want, so when he continued putting himself down and doubting their relationship I felt he short-changed Devon with his negative attitude.

The story starts when the relationship has been going on for a couple of months, although they haven’t truly put a label or expectations on it yet. There’s something mysterious about Devon who is obviously hiding something, but Scott is slow to catch on. Once that particular cat is out of the bag, though, everyone they meet seems to know about Devon, so it’s a bit odd that Scott was oblivious for so long.

The best part of the book, for me, was when everything seemed to go to pieces because of the “big reveal”. Those scenes are, thankfully, very intense. Up until that time I didn’t feel very emotionally invested in this couple, maybe because everything was going almost too smoothly…uneventfully.

The scenes that deal with Scott’s anxiety and his panic attacks are well-written and feel very real. There is also a lot of playful banter between Scott and Devon, as well as good times with family and friends, which was fun to read.
As far as their relationship goes very little actually happens. I didn’t understand what they saw in each other. Not that they both weren’t likable characters, because they were, I just didn’t feel the magic between them.

So this was definitely not my cup of tea, but it might just be the perfect book for readers who like their romance easy-going, mellow and sweet. An easy read for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

This is a short story about Scott and Devon. Scott is a geek with low self worth, anxiety, and OCD. Devon is a sensual Alpha male with tattoos and versatile in the bedroom. Scott likes routine in his life and is thrown off by how someone like Devon would be with him. Little things get to Scott a lot. Having a child with OCD similar to Scott, I know how affected you can be when the routine is thrown off. Devon does seem to try to work with Scott’s routines instead of ignoring or being counterproductive. There is great chemistry. Heart clenching how Scott works himself into a panic over Devon. There was a good mix of angst and cute moments. Worth reading. There are moments of panic attacks, trigger warning.

Number of stars out of 5
5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

On the whole I did enjoy this book, although in some ways it didn’t quite work for me.

Devon is a rock star and a nice guy, I just wasn’t convinced with his rock star status. It all seemed far too convenient and not totally realistic.

Scott is an accountant with anxiety issues. Again, I liked this character, but having read other books with similar themes, it felt the author had skimmed the surface rather than truly commit to the issues. Even the storyline with his parents was not totally explained and I still felt the situation with his mother was unresolved at the end of the book.

The banter between the two main characters was fun, and the relationship very sweet. I did find myself caring about both Devon and Scott, but I just feel that everything could have of had a little more depth to it.

Number of stars out of 3.5


Purchased copy

Release Day Review: Seeking Solace by Ari McKay

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/seeking-solace-by-ari-mckay-9938-b

Blurb

Like his cousins, Devin Walker aspires to be a chef, but he wants to indulge his wanderlust while feeding his customers, and working a cruise ship seems like the solution. Since he can’t find an opening in the kitchen, he’s happy to start out in a position behind the bar.

While onboard Poseidon’s Pearl, Devin is assigned to shepherd a visiting executive. Paul Bailey is quiet and unassuming, and the car accident that cost him his leg also shattered his confidence. He doesn’t think he’s attractive to other men anymore, and Devin is eager to show him just how wrong he is. Paul has a surprising secret that might sink their passionate affair before it even leaves port.

Review

This was a really sweet love story, not to mention a very romantic one with “love boat” vibes of the very best kind. Very much a feel good romance with a little dash of hurt/comfort, but low on angst and conflict.

Devin is working as a bartender on a Triton cruise ship when he meets Paul, who is an executive for Triton Cruises. Devin is put in charge of showing Paul around and explaining the day-to-day workings onboard ship. They both instantly like each other and go from a tentative friendship to something more almost seamlessly.

Paul has been in an accident and is understandably self-conscious about his scars and prosthetic leg after being dumped by his boyfriend because of them. He’s well rid of that guy, of course. I adored Devin for being so sensitive, supportive and full of wise advice. Paul slowly learns to trust him, and to trust in the attraction and feelings that they have for one another, but he’s been keeping a secret from Devin… One that might very well ruin everything.

I loved the dynamic of the Walker family and how they stick up for each other. There’s teasing, but also a united front when one is needed, very heartwarming and uplifting to read.

This can be read perfectly as a standalone, although I have to admit I’m super curious about the other books in this series now! But that’s okay, I’m in total control of my TBR-pile…not.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Audiobook: My Fair Captain by J.L. Langley narrated by Joseph Morton

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/my-fair-captain-by-jl-langley-9628-b

Blurb: When Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes undercover to investigate the theft of an IN weapons stash, the mission raises painful memories from his past. Using a title he fled nearly two decades earlier, Nate once again becomes the Earl of Deverell, heir to the Duke of Hawthorne, in order to navigate the ins and outs of a Regency world. But planet Regelence—where young lords are supposed to remain pure until marriage—has a few surprises for Nate, not least of which is his attraction to Prince Aiden.

A talented artist, Prince Aiden Townsend isn’t interested in politics and the machinations of society gentlemen, and he adamantly rejects the idea of marriage and a consort. Aiden wants the freedom to pursue his art and determine his own future. But the arrival of the dashing and mysterious Deverell awakens feelings of passion and longing the young prince can’t deny.

As Nate uncovers a conspiracy reaching far beyond the stolen weapons, his future is irrevocably altered by the temptations of a life he never thought he could have. Drawn into the web of intrigue, Aiden is in danger of losing his life… and his heart.

Review:

Book reviewed previously: https://openskyebookreviews.com/release-day-review-my-fair-captain-by-j-l-langley/

Joseph Morton (new to me), had a nice voice. He didn’t attempt to ‘act’ out the different characters. Unfortunately, it also made the narration rather emotionless (to me); any emotion portrayed by the characters was delivered in the same (mono)tone.
Ovearll, the narration was okay – it was more reading, (which isn’t bad), than performance, but I liked it enough to get through the book. I will likely listen to the narrator again.

3 stars out of 5


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Audiobook: His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane Narrator: Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/his-leading-man-by-ashlyn-kane-9598-

Blurb

He wrote a comedy. Fate directed a romance.

Drew Beaumont is bored of the same old roles: action hero, supervillain, romantic lead. He’s not going to let a fresh gay buddy comedy languish just because they can’t find him the right costar. No, Drew bats his eyelashes and convinces everyone that the movie’s writer should play Drew’s not-so-straight man.

Aspiring writer Steve Sopol has never had a screenplay optioned. Now one of Hollywood’s hottest properties wants to be in a movie Steve hasn’t finished writing—and he wants Steve as his costar. Turns out the chemistry between them is undeniable—on and offscreen.

Drew swore off dating in the biz, but Steve is the whole package: sharp, funny, humble, and cute. For Steve, though, giving in to the movie magic means the end of the privacy he cherishes. Will the credits roll before their ride into the sunset

Review
This is a sweet and fluffy feel good story. Perfect light listening when you want the romance without any angst. The majority of the story takes place on a film set where friends become lovers. Naturally our two leading men gradually become more than co-workers. Drew came across as a bit of a diva. I’m sure that Ashlyn Kane totally intended him to, but he has a lot of redeeming qualities as well. I loved the way they ended working together. It was one of those possible disastrous scenarios which comes good. I found the whole film set setting quite interesting. The whole premise for the film they are making is a great story in its own right. Wonderful secondary characters, Drew’s agent and Steve’s mother, and the Director.
As always Kenneth Obi provides great narration. He gives distinct voices to all the characters I was never in any doubt which character was speaking. The only thing was I didn’t feel the connection between Drew and Steve. I’m not sure if that was the writing or the depth of character. Nevertheless it is an enjoyable audiobook. It’s light enough to fill an afternoon or accompany you when you are on a journey.

4 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Any Given Lifetime by Leta Blake

 

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41733251-any-given-lifetime?from_search=true

 

Blurb

Neil isn’t a ghost, but he feels like one. Reincarnated with all his memories from his prior life, he spent twenty years trapped in a child’s body, wanting nothing more than to grow up and reclaim the love of his life.
As an adult, Neil finds there’s more than lost time separating them. Joshua has built a beautiful life since Neil’s death, and how exactly is Neil supposed to introduce himself? As Joshua’s long-dead lover in a new body? Heartbroken and hopeless, Neil takes refuge in his work, developing microscopic robots called nanites that can produce medical miracles.
When Joshua meets a young scientist working on a medical project, his soul senses something his rational mind can’t believe. Has Neil truly come back to him after twenty years? And if the impossible is real, can they be together at long last?

 

Review by Karen

One of the most original love stories I’ve ever read! A great twist on the popular May/December trope and an incredibly unique second chance at love story. It nearly broke my heart, but luckily the author stitched it back together!

 

Leta Blake has an incredible gift with words and shows true excellence in weaving together Neil and Joshua’s almost epic tale. The emotions in this story soar to great heights, but there is also a lot of sadness and loss to overcome. And it’s all written in such a beautiful and moving way, as if she’s writing on our hearts instead of on the pages of the book.

I don’t think anyone could read this story and not feel touched by it.  

I love the way she uses dreams and their symbolism to help the characters deal with everything that happens, and also gives them a way to connect with each other when that doesn’t seem possible in real life.

Neil is a strange and complex character, in both his lifetimes. He doesn’t make friends easily, so I was glad to see him form a friendship with Derek. Neil’s so intense and focused, so dedicated to his research, and to Joshua’s happiness. Absolutely amazing guy. I was so impatient for him to grow up so he could finally reconnect with Joshua. But the author knew better than to rush that, and she builds up the tension and emotion very skillfully.

Joshua has built a life for himself, though he never really stopped loving Neil or grieving for him.

I loved how the author gave him a way to be (mostly) happy during the years it takes Neil to grow up, again. A bittersweet interlude, that afterwards connects with Neil in the most wonderful way. Can’t say more about that, but absolutely loved it.

Alice, Neil’s “second” mother, is amazing. She loves her little boy with all her heart, knowing and accepting who he truly is, however far-fetched it must have seemed. She struck me as really special and precious, and I was glad to be given a glimpse of her HEA as well. I simply adored that we got scenes from her perspective too.

This is a truly extraordinary love story.

Number of stars out of 5: 5

 

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Neta

I was ready for some heart ache reading when I started this book, but like any other Leta Novel I read to date I was grossly unprepared for the emotional weight of it.
Neil and Joshua’s story is a heart wrenching tale of humanity and love, and I was overcome with emotions about life in general while reading.
First, you start out with Joshua in pain after losing Neil, missing out so many things they never did together because of fear. And the way he slowly built his life, picked himself up and met Lee a few years after that was awe-inspiring. I loved how Leta wrote his emotions, his love for both men, how their lives were interwoven and connected through Neil and because of his death, or should I say his life. This book really got me thinking ABOUT life and what the near future might hold for me and my loved ones, because it dealt with all that in Joshua’s life. Also, through the advancement of the nanite technology in the years 2019-2032 (the future of our present-day the book takes place in) Leta also talks about how technology evolved in our lives. Some of it is amazing and saves lives, other parts of it are too rushed and end up doing more bad then good, or changing how we live irrevocably. It is a very relevant topic in our time today, I think, and I liked that this book, despite it being a Romance, managed to enfold so many real emotions and feeling/fears readers face now or might face in the future.

The non-linear timelines are interesting, and really emphasized the convoluted nature of their lives, of Neil’s very existence. They show glimpses into the past and expose the nature of the characters, not just details from their past.

Second, the reincarnation theme has been written about, and the concept of finding yourself stuck in a too-young body is often referred in a humoristic way in books and film. Not here, Leta brought the truest- most painful depiction of a reincarnated reality in Neil. Having been born with the full knowledge and most of his memories he is in a constant state of loss and longing for the Joshua. And his mother, god bless her soul, is such a wonderful character, a true image of motherhood and limitless love. Neither one asked to be in this situation, her expecting her dead boyfriend’s baby, and Neil to simply die and not be stuck in a child’s body, desperate to grow and meet Joshua again. It was such a twisted way to live, and you can’t help but want them to be together while liking Lee and Joshua as a couple too. And they are also surrounded by mazing friends, Derek and Chris who are accepting and supporting through thick and thin.

When Neil, now aged 20 again, and Joshua meet for the first time in this lifetime, it is an explosive, erotic expression of love and longing. They ARE meant to be together, and the strength of their love is incredible. Especially as Joshua keeps talking about Neil’s faults when he remembers him, Neil is not an ideal, a sweetened memory made better by time. He is as much alive in Joshua’s heart as he is in the future Neil’s soul.

This book is about life, in all its forms, and love, of the purest kind. It deals with humanity, is about setting up your goals in life, about the journey as much as the ending. About taking chances, knowing what you need and want, and I found myself grateful for friends and family, thinking about the years to come while reading. Only Leta can take you through such a journey while you read about two men in love longing to be together. I kinda wanted to re-read it straight away, but my heart needs some room to expand before I can do that again. An amazing book by an author I admire, go read it if you like May/December, Second Chance and are just plain looking for a book unlike any other. You won’t be disappointed.

 

5 magnificent stars.


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