Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes // AN EPIC BEAUTIFUL FANTASY

12954620Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1), by Morgan Rhodes                         Publication: December 11, 2012, by Razorbill                                               Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure                                                   Pages: 412                                                             Format: Paperback                                             Source: Purchased                                           Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….

 

MICHELLE’s Thoughts:

I’ve been hesitant with high-fantasy since Sarah J. Maas’s unstoppably perfect Throne of Glass series came into my life. I’ve been afraid that I won’t feel that way about a book ever again, specifically in the same genre. When I purchased this, it was mainly for the reason that everyone was talking about it, the hype and the assassin-like cover intrigued me. Morgan Rhodes’s books should’ve entered my life a long time ago, I’ll tell you that.

Falling Kingdoms is a read that hit me like never before. It’s enchanting, brave and heart-warming. Rhodes causes readers to fall in love with each and every one of the characters, even if a bad streak of evil is in their personality. Though I’ve never read Game of Thrones, it is highly compared to it which definitely shows that I’ll love George R.R. Martin’s world as well. Even though I’m on a book buying/borrowing ban, I can’t stop myself from requesting the sequel of this book to fly into my hands. I’ll be reading it soon. *smiles*

“If you want something,” Tomas had always said, “you have to take it. Because nobody’s ever going to give it to you. Remember that, little brother.” (27)

Every character in this novel is fighting for themselves and their kingdoms. There’s no extra, forbidden romance that brings everyone together. At least, not so far. If something does come up in the next novels, I’ll still be a hardcore fan because it hadn’t sprouted up in the beginning. Rhodes has created three kingdoms that all lay on one chunk of land, separated by controlling borders: Limeros, Paelsia and Auranos. In each, we have a main character who has some kind of role in the book’s plot.

Cleo: Princess Cleo is basically the new Celaena Sardothien from ToG. Cleo’s super badass and can fit the role of being the new queen of Auranos. And hey, she’s able to fight and kick people’s butts—bring them down, basically. Although some have noted that she’s completely annoying and eerie, I’d state otherwise. She impressed me from the start and when her perspective came around in Auranos, I looked forward to it the most. She’s there for her sick sister, trying to believe in magic although it might be kind of impossible for her in her situation, and she needs to help the people whom she loves. I ship her with Magnus, OR Jonas… somehow Rhodes will make it work.

Jonas: Here we have another character who fights for the people who he loves. Jonas lost his brother in a careless accident caused by Aron, the man who Cleo’s going to marry, and Cleo was a bystander. Jonas is one of those independent guys who stays by his words, y’know? He threatened Aron and Cleo, saying that he’ll kill them, and he tries to do whatever it takes to find them and bring Auranos and its throne down. Then he discovers that his land, Paelsia, as well as the north neighbours, Limeros, have signed a deal and they’ll start a war together. Our little teenager Jonas WAS PART OF THIS WAR. That’s a cute “prince” if you ask me.

Magnus: So this is the ladies’ man, and obviously everyone’s favourite. Some may feel that it’s kind of strange that he has an obsession with his little sister, Lucia, who has a secret that can bring his family down (that has to do with elementia magic) and he’s more overprotective of her than ever. That’s an adorable big brother, if you ask me. I fell in love with each of the male interests, by the way. I don’t care what’ll happen because it’ll all somehow work out.

“Magic will find those with pure hearts, even when all seems lost. And love is the greatest magic of all. I know this to be true.” (248)

Things kept getting messed up for each of the characters, though even as a reader, I felt like I was always kind of there for them? I mean I know it’s kind of strange, but I felt that I could relate to these characters, and it happened so easily. I felt like sobbing to the fullest extent many times while reading, and I had an impeccable reading experience throughout. It’s a slower read to get your mind into, as there’s tons of facts about the land and magic that you’ll need to understand to continue reading, but I loved every minute of it, from start to finish. If I could’ve, I would have finished it in one sitting, I promise you. I bet that it simply just depends on your reading speed and what you’re usually used to. Rhodes’ writing is fantastic, fantasizing and like a pinch of pixie dust; You’ll feel its power and magic.

So what am I, magical reader, expecting from the next book? More plot twists, suspense and hell-yeah-awesome action scenes. Rhodes’ interpretation of an action scene taken in a fantasy world is kickass. You must expect everything: the swords, assassin-like moves and hiding, as well as appearances of enemies. I already read a snippet of book two and I can’t believe what’s happening. Rebel Spring is going to kill me, once again.

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Falling Kingdoms ruined my life, but in a remarkable, grand way. It’s one of those reads that you’ll be reading other reviews of for hours, trying to see other people’s opinions and summaries so you can get that special touch again. And—get ready for a Morgan Rhodes book haul the next time you head out to your bookstore/library. YOU NEED ALL OF THE BOOKS.

so let’s discuss. would you rather be: a princess/prince who has to marry a murderer but has all of the jewels and pretty stuff, a person who is a great fighter and is loved by tons of people but who has gone through a horrible loss, or a person who can play with magic but is always at risk of being killed? morgan rhodes plays with my head and i can’t stop thinking about these possibilities!

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Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols // Tens of Thousands of Times Better Than the First Novel

Perfect Couple (Superlatives #2), by Jennifer Echols                                  Publication: January 13, 2015, by Simon Pulse                                                                 Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                          Pages: 336                                                         Format: Paperback                                       Source: Purchased                                         Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM½

As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents’ bitter divorce left her wondering what a loving relationship looks like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been pushing her to ask Brody out.

Brody doesn’t lack female admirers, but Harper can’t see herself with him. He’s confused about the match too. Yet they find themselves drawn together—first by curiosity about why the class paired them, then by an undeniable bond.

The trouble is, though they’re attracted to each other, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating well. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But they feel so changed from making the effort, they can’t forget each other. What if this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?

Michelle’s Thoughts:

Jennifer Echols’ writing just keeps getting more and more amazing, as this Superlatives trilogy continues. I’m obsessed with this book, I really am, and I never ever expected something like this to come out of it. You know how the first book contained a nerdy guy and a kickass, rebellious girl? This is the same, but a gender swap where things and much more sexier and adorable. I promise you that yearbook photographer Harper and football quarterback Brody are going to be your new favourite sexy couple. 

This book all begins with Harper and Brody getting nominated for Perfect Couple, but they certainly think that it’s a mistake. Besides, they are complete opposites and share no common interests. In Harper’s spare time, she helps her mother out with her B&B and takes photographs, while Brody plays football and is highly popular and has a “hot girlfriend.” They are both confused with the reason why they’re put together, but as they begin to spend more and more time together when they decide that they have to take the yearbook photo together, they realize that they have a connection.

“Another day, my heart would have gone out to him. He was my geeky soul mate, the boy I belonged with. So what if he wasn’t a muscle-bound hunk ready to challenge Brody when he brazenly eyed me? As an independent woman, I didn’t need a protector. I wanted a sensitive guy with a great sense of humor and a fresh view of the world.” (86)

This is a lightweight novel where its contemporary style is precious and easy-going. Yes, it’s that kind of summery novel that you’ll finish in a matter of hours and beg for more. I’d seriously run to the bookstore right now if I could to get the sequel and last book, even though I already have the third on my Kindle. The writing is cute, fresh and much better than the first book. I seriously love the way this series is formatted, with all three books being placed with different characters and storylines, though all being tied in with the same concept in a way. I loved it.

I must say that this could turn out to be one of the best books of the year for me. Yes, it’s heartbreaking when Brody and Harper realize that they’re having issues, but it’s heart-wrenching when they’re in love and find romance. The connection that they have is beautiful and I just giggle and “aw” every time I see the cover.

“With a last salute to me, he jogged along the sidelines to rejoin his team and finish his adventure. I brought up my camera and snapped a picture.” (301)

You know how a lot of people these days are beginning to think that they’re all photographers if they have one of those high-tech cameras? Harper wasn’t one of those people. Her life of photography was the reason why everything clicked together. It was a big deal for her, and the descriptions of the things she did with her natural talent was wonderful. I loved her character ten times more than Tia’s in the last book, as well as Brody’s. *falls in love* Brody is my new book boyfriend and he’s so adorable.

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Perfect Couple definitely expressed the perfect couple of modern-day cutesy contemporary literature, Brody and Harper. This book features the way they fell in love, got to know each other and dealt with many things that practically teared their hearts apart because they realized that they needed each other so much. I adored the characters, writing and beautiful easy-going writing that makes so much sense in a high school environment, though we don’t see it coming around often. If you hadn’t enjoyed the first book for some reason, forget about it and read this, because it’ll knock your socks off.

What do you think of books with different plots in every book? or should i say… different characters? please read this, everyone. have you read jennifer echols’ books before?

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Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson // A Beach Read Incorporated With the Maximum Amount of Feels

Second Chance Summer, by Morgan Matson                                                    Publication: May 8, 2012, by Simon and Schuster BFYR                                               Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                           Pages: 468                                                     Format: Paperback                                   Source: Gifted                                               Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

I can’t take it anymore. I have to spill it out. I have to bawl, make fun of myself secretly since I’m SUCH A NERD, and fangirl. Fangirl until there isn’t anything else left of me. Morgan Matson, you have rocked my world for the fourth! time with this beautiful piece of art and literature that is too amazing to just call “a book.” Second Chance Summer is racing, mesmerizing and unlike anything I’ve read before. I hope you like to get hit with nonstop tears and sadness because she just did it. It’s marvellous.

Second Chance Summer is a wild ride that I am SO fortunate to have read about. Books like this don’t show up in people’s lives often, and I just can’t stop thinking about this “world” that the main character, Taylor, has us in. Her summer life in Lake Phoenix is like the dream I’ve always had—not the sad stuff, obviously, but the summer days by the lake, making friends that you’ll miss everyday when you’re not with them, and feeling like you’re in a different place for a little while. If I could pick any place in any book that I’ve ever read to visit, this world definitely would be one of them, just to be there for the characters and understand what it’s like to have a summer fling. Hah.

“What was the point of trying to run away if people were going to insist on reminding you of what you were running from?” (10)

Taylor Edwards, Morgan’s teenage protagonist, is a clear replica of many girls, including myself. When I read her story, I imagined myself in her situation and I promise you that I’m sure that I would do the exact same things as she did. We’re kind of connected, to be honest. *winks* Taylor was relatable, easy-going and just so awesome. She had feelings, not like as if she was some kind of clone who walked around and pretended to feel things. This is like a story of someone’s life, so realistic and inspiring. There’s loss, love and just about everything many people eventually feel in their lives when the right time comes. It’s a life lesson filled with themes that not every novel gets into, sadly.

I keep talking/typing about loss, sadness. Morgan wrote about that with so much passion. Taylor’s father has cancer, and her family is about to spend one last summer with him in the place that he loved the most, Lake Phoenix, where they have a summer house. I guess that you don’t realize how life can fly by until the moments where you need more of it the most, right? Taylor is instantly brought back into the times of hatred and memories that she wouldn’t like to get back into, but she’d do anything for her role model, her father. She has a former best friend there, Lucy, and her first crush, Henry, who lies behind.

I say that this is a beach read, but it isn’t at the same time. First off, you’ll look like a maniac crying on the beach in public where you should really be laughing around and giggling like the cute person you are. THIS HAS FEELS, FOR THE FIFTEENTH TIME. You have feels, everything has feels and your eyes will just water up and explode. You can’t help it. No other contemporary author other than Morgan will make you cry the same way, feel things the same way. It is pretty easy-going at times, but the cancer thing just made the mood way more intense.

“His arms were around my back, pulling me closer, and I looped my arms around his neck and ran my hands over his jawline, suddenly not able to stop touching him. And while we kissed, up there among the trees, the rain tapered off until, at long last, the sun came out.” (358)

Can’t you see how descriptive this novel is? The writing? The plot? Everything about it is perfection and 5/5 gazillion stars. No flaws, people. A second chance summer definitely beats the old first chance, first love kind of thing, because no in NO WAY was this any kind of instant romance between Taylor and Henry. In fact, it was magical and precious. I love romances where one of the characters will help the other in ways that are definitely not understood to the regular being. It’s a deep romance that is intense and crazy, but not in any ways that would make me frown. HENRY IS FICTIONAL BOYFRIEND #1. I say that in every review, but this time it means a lot. Agh.

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Second Chance Summer is the first and only chance I’ve given this book because it used it up and impressed me to the maximum. It’s one of those books that you’ll find yourself thinking about at the sweetest, easiest moments, like if you’re falling asleep at night or simply sitting in Math class on a Thursday morning. At first, when you look at it and read the summary, you may think that it’s a cliché, easy-going novel, but TRUST ME, it’s so much more than that and I’d need years to explain it. It also needs 1000 more pages because I can’t get enough of it. I’m sure about that.

who is your favourite contemporary author/writer? do they make your heart jump with feels as morgan does for me? do you enjoy stories about second chances and summer? (my favourite season of them all.)

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P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han // An Actual Bittersweet Symphony

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2), by Jenny Han          Publication: May 26, 2015, by Simon and Schuster BFYR                                             Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                       Pages: 337                                                 Format: Hardcover                                 Source: Purchased                                 Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM½

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

 

Sam’s thoughts:

Jenny Han is one of my all-time, ultimate favourite contemporary writers. Her stories are captivating, unique and I end up falling in love with every single male love interest who Lara Jean lays her eyes on. It’s that perfect love story that’ll leave you thinking about first love and romance, and you’ll never want to stop reading. Sadly, this was only a duology and Lara Jean’s story just ended here, but her and Peter’s love story lives on.

P.S. I Still Love You was fascinating and gorgeously written, just as all of the other stories that I own for my collection. Lara Jean and Peter turned out to be the cutest, bittersweet couple in all of YA fiction for 2015, and I just feel like tearing up and letting all of my feels explode. Not every author has that capability to make every, single reader fall in love with their work, but Jenny has that ability. I need everything she’s ever written, all sent to me in a pretty, posh letter like Lara Jean’s, and I’ll spend the rest of eternity reading it all. I needed to read it all at once, in one gorgeous sitting.

“The minutes longer, stronger, more vibrant. All I know is that very minute without him feels interminably long, like I’m waiting, just waiting for him to come back to me. I, Lara Jean, know he isn’t, but my heart doesn’t seem to understand it’s over.” (256)

This continues right from where the last book left off at. It’s New Year’s Day and the Covey family are going all out, getting fancy, though Lara Jean can’t stop thinking about Peter and about everything that has happened between them in the past. Sooner than later, we find them back together for real now, and Lara Jean is the happiest girl alive. When a mystery guy from her past appears in her life once more, she finds herself falling in love with two amazing guys, where she has to make the biggest choice of all: Who will she pick?

It’s a freaking hard decision for her to make. And the best thing is that Lara Jean is one intelligent young woman who completely knows how to talk back, how to win at stupid conversations and make people who hurt her feel bad and guilt. Two guys from her childhood are foolishly in love with her, and she is secretly in love with both of them. You know we all hate instant romance? This is none of that, because they were childhood friends since they were able to walk and… it’s magical. I can’t stop thinking about the attraction between her and John or Peter and… I don’t know what I would’ve done if I were in her shoes.

The minor issue which I had was Peter. I GOT SO UPSET AT HIM AND GENEVIEVE AND I WANTED TO PUT MY HAND THROUGH THE PAGES AND PUNCH HIM. Ugh. I’ll just ignore that and stop raging because at least the ending was perfect with him alongside it. 

“Things feel like they’ll be forever, but they aren’t Love can go away, or people can, without even meaning to. Nothing is guaranteed.” (29)

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The ending to this fabulous duology is special and 100% satisfying. I just can’t get the meaningful story out of my head and especially all of the characters. As always, Jenny Han’s writing is enchanting, mesmerizing and like an illusion—I’m stuck in her fictional worlds for ages after I flip through the last pages. I’m in love with this book, as well as Peter and John Ambrose. *blushes*

can every contemporary author produce the feels in their writing for you? are you a fan of jenny han’s writing? do you enjoy love triangles?

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Finding Paris by Joy Preble // John Green’s Rival Novel

Finding Paris, by Joy Preble                  Publication: April 21, 2015, by Balzer + Bray Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                                     Pages: 272                                                             Format: Hardcover                                           Source: Purchased                                                   Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

A page-turning, evocative novel for fans of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and SPEAK, about a girl who must follow a trail of mysterious clues to discover what happened to her sister.

Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can’t trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who’s moved them all to Las Vegas. It’s just the two of them: Paris, who’s always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind—going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love.

But Leo isn’t going anywhere yet… until Paris ditches her at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris—a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared?

When Leo reluctantly accepts Max’s offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is a not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold tightly.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

Road trip novels with beautiful covers that just make me want to scream the characters’ destination? Joy Preble truly gave us that. And by the way, in case you haven’t noticed already, I do enjoy beginning my reviews off with rhetorical questions that not everyone can answer since not everyone read the book. Hah. But seriously, back to matter that we’re currently facing, Finding Paris is my pleasure. I’m not feeling guilt in any way, so I won’t call it my guilty pleasure, but I’ll tell you that it’s one of the best books of the summer. Just get ready to adore it and find a million specks of beauty that’s pretty difficult to find anywhere else.

HarperTeen made me fall in love this book and its cover from the winter of this year. When I first spotted it, I knew that I needed it right away before I even read its summary. You may not be a believer of solemn love at first sight, but it surely does happen with and in books. This is a literature masterpiece that I’m so thankful to have read in a matter of hours.

There are points that come around that will remind you of John Green and Jay Asher’s writing, two talented men whose books I adore. Paper Towns and Thirteen Reasons Why were very similar, and they click with this, but it hadn’t bothered me because it was its own kind of style that was very interesting and cute.

“Things happen like this, I know. One minute you’re whistling along and the next, life has gone off-kilter. The trick is to shift with it, like a computer resettling after an error. I size Max Sullivan and decide that he is not Hannibal Lecter.” (39)

This involves sisterhood, first love and a theme of having a basic tough life. The title does make sense, as Leo, the main character, is trying to find her sister, Paris, who is really weird and leaves clues all over the place. One minute they’re having coffee in a Las Vegas diner, and the next Paris leaves, taking the car and all of the money that Leo had, leaving her stranded. With the help of a super hot guy who is pretty bored at this late time named Max, Leo goes out to find her sister, who may not be so lost in the world as Leo herself is.

It’s a very easy-going story. Things flow well together, the romance is the perfect touch for a teenage girl to squeal and adore, and you will seriously love Joy Preble’s writing. I honestly can say that it was worth the wait, to wait for this book to be published and released, released into the world and into my heart. Books like this don’t show up on your doorstep quite often, I must say.

“We are like one of those still life paintings. I think absurdly. Mother. Daughter. Strange boy. Glass of wine. A million unsaid things.” (55)

Even though I read this novel ages ago in the midst of summer vacation, I still remember the plot perfectly, as well as the characters. Paris, Leo and Max were adorable, and the way their stories flowed with each other’s was unique. And did I mention that the romance between Leo and Max was adorable? There’s a beach scene that’ll have you going gaga. Good luck with your feels, because you better hold on them, they’ll explode and go out of control!

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Finding Paris is a memorable, riveting yet pretty well-used novel that is found all over the place but has its own tweak and quirk to it that makes me the happiest reader alive. Brace yourself for a romance that’ll make you squirm, because you want it in your life, and squeal because Max Sullivan is just too sexy. It’s your call, but I think the sisterhood, issues and girl power that Preble uses is just calling you.

What are your thoughts of books with road trips and clues? have you ever read a book that takes place in las vegas, or a ya one that mentions casinos and gambling? xd

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