Palace of Assassins, Aditya Iyengar – Book Review

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33140986Leper. Murderer. Hero.

The battle of Kurukshetra has come to its catastrophic end after eighteen long days. As Ashwatthama, the lone survivor of the Kaurava camp, slowly regains consciousness, he realizes, to his horror, that he has been condemned to a life of immortality and leprosy by Krishna, the mastermind behind his opponents’ victory. Burning with hatred for the Pandavas for killing his friend Duryodhana, and stricken
with anger at his own fate, he vows to seek revenge.

When he hears of an infallible gemstone that promises to restore his mortality and cure his leprosy – and allows him to exact vengeance – he is determined to go to any length to acquire it. But he finds himself facing an impossible choice, for his quest could result in the death of the woman he loves.

An exhilarating tale of passion and redemption, Palace of Assassins masterfully recasts the events in the aftermath of the great war and presents Ashwatthama, one of the most misunderstood characters of the Mahabharata, in a whole new light.

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*Review copy received from publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

The tale of the Mahabharata is one that I have loved since I was a child. I remember my grandma telling it to me as a bedtime story when I was around 10. Since then, I have revisited this story many times, reading various versions, watching shows and movies. So, yeah, I like it. The characters, the plot, the setting, the world – all of it. It’s an interesting take on politics and war and such.

The tale of Ashwathamma, in particular, is interesting. The son of Guru Dronacharaya, he pledged kinship to Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas and fought by their side in the Battle of Kurukshetra. After the war was over, he was one of the few survivors of the Kaurava camp. He infiltrated the Pandava camp in the dead of the night and killed anyone he could find. For this, he was cursed with immortality as a leper by Krishna. Palace of Assassins explores one of the possibilities of might have happened after he was cursed.

As a story, it flows smoothly throughout, with many characters and plots. I like the writing style of the author. It is interesting and easy to follow. It keeps the reader engaged throughout the story and on edge about what might happen next.

What I love is how Ashwathamma and Dronacharya’s relationship is explored throughout the story. Dronacharya is both his father and teacher and the influence he has had on Ahwathamma’s life is huge. The way it is all hashed in the story is something that I really like. The plot and setting of the story is also very interesting and that is what drew me into the story the most.

What I don’t like is that the first few chapters are really slow and nothing really happens in those chapters. Also, the character of Ashwathamma is not as fleshed out as it could be. It feels like most of the time he was on the sidelines, waiting for something to happen before he could take action.

Since this is a part of a series, I hope that the next books have more for Ashwathamma to do and explore his character more. I’m definitely looking forward to those books!

All in all, this was a great read and I would definitely recommend it to any mythology fans out there!

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50 Cups of Coffee, Khushnuma Daruwala – Book Review

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35131792A rip-roaring and charming account of dating in India
Dating is an undeniably daunting task, especially when you are looking for the real deal to settle down with. So when Dia, a 30-something woman, signs up on a dating website for people looking to get married, she realizes just how delightful, vexing, amusing and befuddling looking for the perfect husband can be. Based on her real-life experiences, this book is not a guide to dating, but rather a delightful collection of meeting potential partners, epiphanies about them and soul-searching questions that will make you see relationships without your rose-tinted glasses of love.
Particularly pertinent to this age of online dating, hilarious, honest and witty, this delicious-as-a-cappuccino book is for all those looking for love, in love or in between. With advice as sage (gained the hard way) as that in He’s Just Not That Into You and scenarios as funny and outrageous as those in Sex and the City, 50 Cups of Coffee is the perfect book to curl up with when a suitable bae is not available.

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*Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

50 Cups of Coffee, is an account of 50 coffee dates gone wrong. The accounts in themselves are absolutely hilarious, with everything that could possibly go wrong going wrong.

The author uses beautiful imagery to draw us in and explains what is exactly wrong with XYZ using cool metaphors. I LOVE IT! I mean, they refer to fairytale expectations and Tom & Jerry and whatnot and whonot. IT IS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!

The little cups of wisdom after each date gone wrong are equally amazing and totally entertaining. Seriously, ladies, they are words to live by. Literally. We’d have a much better existence if we did so.

I absolutely love the writing style in this book. It is fluid and unapologetic. The author opines on anything and everything and she microscopically analyses all these guys the dates are with and she doesn’t shy away from saying anything. I like that.

I also like how it was the writing style and the constant reminders of what could go wrongs and all the metaphors just kept me entertained. I mean, I was laughing almost the entire time I read this not only because the situations these women got into were hilarious (for print. If something like that happened to me, I might very well have been traumatized.) but also because the way the author presented them made it so much more enjoyable.

I also love how real the women were. The stuff they did is what I do or you do or anyone does. You judge, you stare, you obsess, you worry. All that and more is honestly just hashed out in this book and is in black and white for the whole world to see. Which is great! I liked that I could relate to what was happening and that is a huge bonus!

I especially loved the end and how the entire book wrapped up with this great last line. It had me smiling and feeling just so very good at having read this book. GAH!

All in all, this is a definite must read! Hilarious and quintessential, this book will not let you down. Ever.

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Textrovert, Lindsey Summers – Book Review

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30960329It’s bad enough when high-school senior Keeley grabs the wrong phone while leaving her small town’s end-of-summer fair. It’s even worse when she discovers that the phone she now has belongs to the obnoxious, self-centered Talon and that he’s just left for football camp … with her phone. Reluctantly, the two agree to forward messages for a week. And as Keeley gets to know Talon, she starts to like him. Keeley learns there’s more to Talon than the egocentric jock most people see. There’s more to Keeley, too. Texting Talon, she can step out of the shadow of her popular twin brother. Texting Talon, she can be the person she’s always wanted to be.
Sparks fly when the two finally meet to exchange their phones. But while Keeley has been playing a part online, Talon has been keeping a secret. He has a different connection to Keeley — one that has nothing to do with phones, and one that will make their new relationship all but impossible. Knowing what she now knows, can Keeley trust him? And can love in the present erase mistakes of the past?

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It Had To Be You, Lizzy Charles – Book Review

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34530550James Parson has a problem. His military dad is going to yank him out of his expensive boarding school if James doesn’t prove he’s no longer hooking up, pulling pranks, and charming his way out of consequences. What better way to show he’s now responsible than becoming the committed boyfriend of a U.S. diplomat’s daughter?

Level-headed, book-smart Edelweiss may have traveled the world thanks to her dad’s job, but when it comes to friends and boys, she knows exactly nothing. Newly enrolled in boarding school, Edel is now on a mission to learn it all. James says he’ll help her experience the ultimate high school life—if she’ll be his fake girlfriend. And fake is perfect, because he’s exactly the kind of player she’d never date.

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*Review copy received from publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

It Had To Be You is a cute contemporary romance featuring Edelweiss and James. Edel, who is home schooled, wants to experience high school before she goes off to college. So, her parents enroll her into this one boarding school. She meets James, who is, of course, the most popular boy in school and they quickly start a fake relationship so that they can both find advantage out of it.

The book is full of cliches – from the naive, new girl in school to the popular boy and their fake relationship turning to a real one to the bitchy ex that the boy has. This book has it all and then some.

What I really liked about this is that it was a quick read. I was done in some two hours and that’s great for my TBR! I like that the characters, though cliche, were endearing and I couldn’t help but like them and their story. Of course, they do stupid stuff, but hey! They’re teenagers. As a whole though, Edel and James both seem wise beyond their ages. Their relationship, though, was really cute and I found myself rooting for them from the beginning. They’re so cute and adorable together and their relationship is healthy. I like it.

I like how James isn’t a bad boy, bad boy, but just a boy who made some bad decisions, as people his age tend to do. He’s scared of horror movies and he’s a literature nerd! So, there. I love that.

I also loved how this book has diversity. So, bonus points for that!

What I didn’t like was all the lack of communication in the book. Like, so much of the conflict could have easily been resolved if people just TALKED TO EACH OTHER. Plus, the bitchy ex was a little too bitchy and I am not okay with it. Like, girl, let go. You do not need to do all this shit just to prove a point. You’re good just the way you are!

Also, too much drama!

All in all, an okay read that I enjoyed! It was definitely better than I expected, but could have been made better in a few more aspects!

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7149579When Lizzy Charles isn’t scrambling to raise her two spunky toddlers or caring for premature and sick babies as a neonatal intensive care nurse, she’s in a quiet corner writing or snuggled up with a novel and a few squares of dark chocolate. Black tea keeps her constant and she loves guacamole. She married her high school sweet heart, a heart-melting musician, so it’s no surprise she’s fallen in love with writing contemporary YA romance novels.

LINKS – 

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The Much Awaited Start.

Guys! Check this blog out, please! It’s amazingly beautiful!

The Shoestring Travelust

Travelling, it leaves you speechless,

Then turns you into a storyteller.

-Ibn Battuta

This personifies my life. If you would ask me 6 months back to describe myself, I would be silent. I did not know how to; before I started travelling. Once you start travelling, it turns the most silent lambs into great storytellers. Travelling liberates you. When you travel to a particular place, you are mesmerised; by the beauty, the simplicity and by travel itself. You have no words to explain how you feel, what you think. But once you are back home, you have a bagful of memories and a dictionary full of words which get poured out and get stitched into a nice woven story. A story, where you can relate to every part; you are transported to another world and live that journey all over again.

Nowadays, an entire weekend off from work is a…

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Queen of Chaos, Kat Ross – Book Review

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31030693Persepolae has fallen.

Karnopolis has burned.

As the dark forces of the Undead sweep across what remains of the empire, Nazafareen must obey the summons of a demon queen to save Darius’s father, Victor. Burdened with a power she doesn’t understand and can barely control, Nazafareen embarks on a perilous journey through the shadowlands to the House-Behind-the-Veil. But what awaits her there is worse than she ever imagined…

A thousand leagues away, Tijah leads a group of children on a desperate mission to rescue the prisoners at Gorgon-e Gaz, the stronghold where the oldest daēvas are kept. To get there, they must cross the Great Salt Plain, a parched ruin occupied by the armies of the night. A chance encounter adds a ghost from the past to their number. But will they arrive in time to avert a massacre?

And in the House-Behind-the-Veil, Balthazar and the Prophet Zarathustra discover that they have more in common than meets the eye. But is it enough to redeem the necromancer’s bloodstained soul and thwart his mistress’s plans?

As a final showdown looms with Queen Neblis, the truth of the daēvas’ origins is revealed and three worlds collide in this thrilling conclusion to the Fourth Element series.

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Blood of the Prophet, Kat Ross – Book Review

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30228183Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.

The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That’s what happens when you’ve been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…

It’s only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King’s dungeons with her daēva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius’s mother with it. But they’re not the only ones looking.

The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…

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*Review copy received in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

I cannot express in words, the amount of love I have for this series. I absolutely LOVED THE FIRST BOOK and dove right into the second one, not giving myself a chance to come out of the world of The Fourth Element Series. I’m glad that I had all the books before I started reading because I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THIS!

The world building is insanely amazing. I have no words. Really. I’ve blabbered about it in the review for the first book, but I don’t have words as to how much I love it. It’s so good. And the characters. My, my! Such good characters. They’re understated in the best way and they’re so different and complex and you don’t realize just how multi faceted they are in the first go. They’re constantly changing, growing and building. I love that!

I love that there was no love triangle. Thank you, Kat! Seriously, I LOVE THAT FACT. SO VERY MUCH. Love triangles are a sort of pet peeve of mine and I don’t like them, but they’re sort of given in most books and I brave through them because I like the other aspects of the book. But, here, it was just Darius and Nazarfeen and no unwanted third players and I really like that. I also like that the romance was not overtly done. While it’s a huge part of the story, it’s not everything. Many a time, the romance tends to overshadow the rest of the plot, but that didn’t happen here. And, the characters didn’t go about declaring their love for each other constantly or making any grand gestures, but the ove they felt for each other was visible in the way they cared for each other, in the way they were always around each other. I admire that.

The story was a little slow in the beginning, but it was still good and the end left me with no complaints. I really liked the way it was written and all the situations and all the plots and sub plots were great!

All in all, it is an absolutely amazing read and it does complete justice to the first book in the series! I can’t wait to start reading the next one in the series which I’m gonna do as soon as I’m done posting this!

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I’ve always loved to read more than anything in the world, especially so-called genre stories—mysteries, fantasy, sci-fi, thrillers, horror. I like books that take you by the hand and lead you out of the mundane. That ease back the curtain and show you the wondrous and dark and unexpected lurking just around the next corner. I worked in journalism for a long time before I returned to writing fiction. Guess which is more fun?

The Midnight Sea, Kat Ross – Book Review

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29670787They are the light against the darkness.

The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.

And they use demons to hunt demons….

Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they leash wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.

Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.

As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake.

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Dear Life, Meghan Quinn – Blog Tour



We’re celebrating the release of DEAR LIFE by Meghan Quinn! Available on Amazon and #Free on Kindle Unlimited!

 

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DEAR LIFE
NA Contemporary Romance

Designed by: Meghan Quinn

Photographer: Lauren Perry

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AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2iBjcT9

Four lives. Four stories. Four sets of letters. Four brave souls in need of guidance while facing life’s greatest challenges.
The anonymously published Dear Life program is designed to help them step outside of their comfort zones, face their obstacles, and relinquish their demons…and prove their existence.
With their lives teetering between wanting more and losing it all, all four souls dive into the program as a New Year’s resolution, sending them on a crazy, life-altering journey.
Dear Life,
Please be kind.
Yours truly, Hollyn, Jace, Daisy, and Carter.


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I’m gonna need sometime to collect myself after this beautiful story. God! It is SO GOOD. I DO NOT HAVE WORDS TO EXPRESS HOW MUCH I LOVE IT.

The characters, the plot, the setting, all of it, so very good and so heartbreaking. These four broken people, trying to start afresh are thrown together and make relationships to last a lifetime. Their journey is explored so beautifully, it’s just heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. They’re in denial, they’re scared and they’re grieving and I JUST WANT TO WRAP MY ARMS AROUND THEM AND JUST HUG THEM FOREVER SO THAT THEY KNOW THEY’RE NOT ALONE.

This book has made me cry some ugly tears and I don’t know whether I appreciate it or not. I mean, yes, ALL THE FEELS, but still. I got so wrapped up in the story of these four characters and their need to start afresh and it was sensational!  The four of them are so different and they deal with things in a very different way. They have a distinct voice throughout the story and it shines through.

Holly & Jace are dealing with some really hard losses and they don’t know what to do with life because of it. They’re so hurt and broken that they’re sure that they’ll never stand up again and they really made me cry bad. So, so, so bad. They’re just… going through so much and I applaud them for the strength that they have.

Carter, though not dealing with such a huge loss, has his own demons, his own issues that are so complicated and have him in trenches that he’s grappling in the sea and he can’t come out of the water and it’s killing him. His struggle is so profound, so real, it broke my heart. I related to him a whole lot. He’s stuck in a place he hates with no hopes of ever coming out of there and that sucks.

Of them, Daisy’s struggles are the least heartbreaking. Not to belittle her character, because she is AMAZING, but she hasn’t seen that bad a loss as the others have. She has so much life in her, despite the recent events in her life and that makes me like her so much more. She’s the strongest of them all and she’s ready to fight and that is so good.

All in all, THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ BECAUSE IT IS SO FREAKING SHIT GOOD AND YOU CANNOT MISS IT. OKAY?

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Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.
Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!
Visit my website: http://authormeghanquinn.com/ 

Lucian Divine, Renee Carlino – Blog Tour

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luciandivine_03-1-1-1“My guardian angel is a drunk.”

Evelyn Casey’s life is at a standstill. She’s in her mid-twenties, struggling with the dating scene in San Francisco. Nothing seems to be working out, and she’s starting to think that she’ll live out her days in her crummy apartment with her overbearing roommate, Brooklyn. It’s absurd, but sometimes Evey longs for a guardian angel to show up and save the day.

And then he does. Seriously. His name is Lucian and he’s a guardian angel, been on the job for two thousand years. His sudden presence in her life is both good—he’s brilliant, witty, and warm—and bad—he’s brilliant, witty, warm, and hot as —-. But as perfect as Lucian seems, he’s got problems of his own. He’s taken up drinking and he’s brazenly inserted himself into Evey’s life, going against the greatest cosmic law ever created.

For Evey, the rules are simple: You are not allowed to hook up with your guardian angel. But sometimes fulfilling your destiny requires a leap of faith, a confrontation with God.

Yes, God as in God.

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This book. *sighs* This book.

Lucian Divine is the story of Lucian, a guardian angel, who falls in love with the soul he’s assigned to protect, Evelyn. Lucian has been guarding Evey since she was born, but he’s also in love with her. Her constant trysts with other men have driven Lucian to alcoholism and one fine day, when he can’t take it anymore, he tells her everything – that he’s her guardian angel, that he loves her, that they can’t be together. Then, he erases her memory, but he doesn’t do it right because Evey still remembers him. Then, she falls for him and yada, yada, yada.

“You are everything to me. You’re the dream, the air, the reason, the cause for my whole existence.”

 – Lucian

It’s clear that the best thing about this story is Lucian. His love for Evey is so all consuming, so huge, so much, it pours out of him. He’s ready to die, just to be with her. And however hard Evey tries, she can’t convince him to kill her so that they can be together because hurting Evey causes him unbearable pain. He comes close once, but is unable to go through with it because it’s hurting Evey. Yes, he loves her a whole lot. I admire that about him. That he is so in love with her and he’s not afraid to tell it to the world. He literally tells everyone he meets about her. Even though his best friend, Zack and his supervisor, Mona, advice him against getting together with Evey, what with him being an angel and her being human, he overlooks them and goes on to marry her. But, then, trouble finds them and everything that could go wrong, goes wrong.

But, the determination that Lucian has, to always protect Evey, to love her more than his own life, is there within him throughout the story and that’s amazing. I love that about him!

“Evelyn, I’ve existed for more than two millennia. In two thousand years, I have watched over so many lives. At times, more than five souls were my responsibility alone. I’ve watched all of them die. I’ve held many of them while they were dying. It’s in my nature to do that, to give peace to my souls, to look out for them when I can, to sway the good ones to do the right thing, and to protect man and life here on Earth. I’ve watched over stunningly beautiful and brilliant women, but I have never felt love for any human the way I feel it for you. You are literally the air in my lungs.”

Now, then, what I didn’t like.

It was too insta love. I understand that Lucian is Evey’s guardian angel, so he’s made in such a way that Evey can’t help but love him and he’s been in love with her for years, but it still feels too rushed. They’ve just met and they’re spending every moment together, getting engaged in two weeks and married in two months. Whirlwind romance, yeah?

And, then, we know how Evey fell in love, sort of, but how about Lucian? I would loved his side of the story, before he told Evey who he was.

As much as the plot kept me on my toes, at times it felt like everything was happening too fast and I didn’t have the time to fully grasp what was actually happening. It was great that I didn’t get bored, but I would have liked it if there was a breather somewhere in the middle.

“Evey, next time, in the next life we’ll be together—that’s how this will be corrected. This will be righted. This can’t be our forever fate. Next time we’ll live together, we’ll die together. We’ll experience every war together, inside ourselves and outside in the world. We won’t be out of reach, unavailable, unattainable, just love longing to be. Let’s keep moving fast in opposite directions. Keep praying we meet on the other side. I’ll see you there; I know I will. I have to believe that. Watch for me. I’ll be barreling toward you, arms wide open, and then we’ll crash into each other with the force of two spent lives yearning to be one.”

All in all, it’s a great book with a good story, well rounded characters and nice writing style. I would recommend it to the romance fanatics who like the insta love trope and the drama that generally accompanies it.

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Renee-121Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women’s novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com