Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber *New Favorite*

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Finale
Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #3
Format: Exclusive edition from Owlcrate

Synopsis:
Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in Stephanie Garber’s #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!

A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…

GOODREADS

Review

I’m just going to say it: Finale is my all-time favorite, well, finale to a series I’ve ever read. Ever.

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The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang *New Favorite*

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #2

Synopsis:
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

GOODREADS

 

Review

Dear Helen Hoang,
It’s official. I love you.

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The Hidden (The Hollow #3) by Jessica Verday {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Hidden
Author: Jessica Verday
Series: The Hollow #3

Synopsis:
A love that knows no bounds.

Abbey knows that Caspian is her destiny. Theirs is a bond that transcends even death. But as Abbey finally learns the full truth about the dark fate that links her to Caspian and ties them both to the town of Sleepy Hollow, she suddenly has some very hard choices to make. Caspian may be the love of her life, but is that love worth dying for?

Beautifully spun, emotionally gripping, and irresistibly romantic, The Hidden will leave you breathless.

GOODREADS

 

Review

Sweetness, swoon, suspense. Nothing is safe…

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Format: Audiobook purchased from Audible

Synopsis:
A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

GOODREADS

Review

I knew I was going to fall in love with this book. And I wasn’t wrong.

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The Haunted (The Hollow #2) by Jessica Verday {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Haunted
Author: Jessica Verday
Series: The Hollow #2

Synopsis:
An impossible truth. An impossible love.

After a summer spent reclaiming her sanity and trying to forget the boy she fell in love with–the boy who must not exist, cannot exist, because she knows that he is dead–Abbey returns to Sleepy Hollow, ready to leave the ghosts of her past behind. She throws herself into her schoolwork, her perfume-making, and her friendship with Ben, her cute and funny lab partner, who just might be her ticket to getting over Caspian once and for all.

But Abbey can never get over Caspian, and Caspian has no choice but to return to her side, for Caspian is a Shade, and Abbey is his destiny. They are tied not only to each other, but also to the town of Sleepy Hollow, and to the famous legend that binds their fates–a legend whose dark truths they are only beginning to guess….

“Spectacular! The Hollow keeps you reading from beginning to end without coming up for air.” –L.J. Smith, bestselling author of The Vampire Diaries and Night World

GOODREADS

 

Review

The few butterflies that I got had wings made of sugar and everything sweet.

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Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2) by Becky Albertalli

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Leah on the Offbeat
Author: Becky Albertalli
Series: Creekwood #2
Format: Audiobook borrowed from Library

Synopsis:
Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

GOODREADS

Review

Leah is one of those few grumpy characters that I absolutely loved. Yes, she was a little unnecessarily mean sometimes, but Becky has such an admirable ability to bring such vivid insight into the teenage brain, that I was able to channel my self-obsessed, know-it-all, whiny teenager as I read this book and really, surprisingly, relate to Leah.

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: 99 Percent Mine
Author: Sally Thorne
Format: Audiobook purchased from Audible

Synopsis:
Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

GOODREADS

Review

With all the lukewarm feelings about this book that so many in the bookish community have had, I was so worried about reading this one. I’d seen a few smattering of 5 star reviews here and there, but with the epic-greatness of The Hating Game, I wasn’t sure this sophomore book could possibly live up to it.

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April Wrap Up ~ What I Read in April 2019

April was overtaken by the OWLS Magical Readathon and Fantasyathon. I got a little slumpy by the end of the month, but I powered through and was able to complete both challenges!

I ended up reading 16 books this month, one of which is a new all-time favorite and many 5 star reads!

If you’d like to watch the video in which I talk about my thoughts about each book I read, check it out here:

Otherwise, here are the books I read and their star ratings. I’ll be posting full reviews at some point!

★★★ 3 Star Reads

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Reckless by Lex Martin

OWLs Readathon: Defense Against the Dark Arts/Reducto: title starts with an “R”

Reckless features Tori and Ethan and is a standalone companion to the USA Today bestseller Shameless.

Tori…
For the record, I’m not going to hook up with my boss.

I’m a lot of things—a screwup, a basket case, a flunky. But when I take a nanny job to be near my pregnant sister, I swear to myself I’ll walk the straight and narrow, which means I cannot fall for my insanely hot boss.

I don’t want to be tempted by that rugged rancher. By his chiseled muscles or southern charm or the way he snuggles his kids at bedtime. Ethan Carter won’t get the key to my heart, no matter how much I want him.

Ethan…
Between us, she’s the last thing I need as I finalize my hellish divorce.

What sane man trying to rebuild his life wants a hot nanny with long, sexy hair, curves for miles, and a smart mouth? A perfectly kissable, pouty mouth that I shouldn’t notice.

My focus is on my kids and my ranch, not the insufferable siren who sleeps in the room next to mine. It doesn’t matter that she wins over my kids in a heartbeat or runs my life better than I do. Tori Duran is the one woman I can’t have and shouldn’t want, no matter how much I crave her.

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Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

Divination | Set in the future
Fantasyathon: genre/format you don’t normally read

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

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Pride and Predjudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Arithmacy | Work Written by More Than One Author

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER—NOW AN EYE-POPPING GRAPHIC NOVEL OF MANNERS, MORALS, AND BRAIN-EATING MAYHEM

It is known as “the strange plague,” and its unfortunate victims are referred to only as “unmentionables” or “dreadfuls.” All over England, the dead are rising again, and now even the daughters of Britain’s best families must devote their lives to mastering the deadly arts. Elizabeth Bennet is a fearsome warrior whose ability with a sword is matched only by her quick wit and even sharper tongue. But she faces her most formidable foe yet in the haughty, conceited, and somehow strangely attractive Mr. Darcy. As the two lovers meet in the ballroom and on the battlefield, they’ll soon learn that nothing—not even bands of ninjas, hordes of flesh-eating zombies, or disapproving aunts—can stop true love.

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After series by Anna Todd

Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way.

But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she’s used to.

But he’s also rude—to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before.

He’ll call her beautiful, then insist he isn’t the one for her and disappear again and again. Despite the reckless way he treats her, Tessa is compelled to dig deeper and find the real Hardin beneath all his lies. He pushes her away again and again, yet every time she pushes back, he only pulls her in deeper.

Tessa already has the perfect boyfriend. So why is she trying so hard to overcome her own hurt pride and Hardin’s prejudice about nice girls like her?

Unless…could this be love?

Now newly revised and expanded, Anna Todd’s After fanfiction racked up 1 billion reads online and captivated readers across the globe. Experience the Internet’s most talked-about book for yourself!

There was the time before Tessa met Hardin, and then there’s everything AFTER … Life will never be the same.

★★★★ 4 Star Reads

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Bountiful by Sarina Bowen

Muggle Studies | Contemporary

No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.

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Grip (Grip #1) by Kennedy Ryan

Resisting an irresistible force wears you down and turns you out. I know. I’ve been doing it for years.

I may not have a musical gift of my own, but I’ve got a nose for talent and an eye for the extraordinary. And Marlon James – Grip to his fans – is nothing short of extraordinary.

Years ago, we strung together a few magical nights, but I keep those memories in a locked drawer and I’ve thrown away the key. All that’s left is friendship and work.

He’s on the verge of unimaginable fame, all his dreams poised to come true. I manage his career, but I can’t seem to manage my heart.

It’s wild, reckless, disobedient. And it remembers all the things I want to forget.

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My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Charms | Age-Line: Read and adult work
Fantasyathon: Backlist Title

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

★★★★★ 5 Star Reads

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The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars #1) by Frank Beddor

History of Magic | Published at least 10 years ago
Fantasyathon: Backlist Title

Alyss of Wonderland?
When Alyss Heart, newly orphaned heir to the Wonderland throne, flees through the Pool of Tears to escape her murderous Aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!

Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story – and he’s searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland, to battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions of mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination.

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Seeing Redd (The Looking Glass Wars #1) by Frank Beddor

Potions | Next ingredient: sequel

Alyss of Wonderland’s rule has only just begun, and already those who prefer chaos to peace are threatening to destroy everything worth imagining. Trailed by newly appointed royal bodyguard Homburg Molly, Alyss is doing her best to keep pace with the non-stop demands of being queen while attempting to evade Molly for a few private moments with Dodge.

Alyss’ life is a challenging mix of duty, love, and tough decisions, and then a series of phantom sightings set fire to an urban myth of Her Imperial Viciousness’ return and have everyone… seeing Redd.

Has Redd somehow freed herself and her chief assassin, The Cat, from the confines of the Heart Crystal? If not, then who has resurrected Redd’s brutal foot soldiers the Glass Eyes and set them loose to attack Wonderland on all sides?

Battles rage, looking glasses explode, and the Alyssians once again unite to defend White Imagination in this fast-paced follow-up to the New York Times best-selling The Looking Glass Wars.

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Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Astronomy | “Star” in the title

She’s a soldier – Noemi Vidal is willing to risk anything to protect her planet, Genesis, including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine – Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel’s advanced programming has begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

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Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Transfiguration | Sprayed edges

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

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A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallero

Care of Magical Creatures | Land animal on the cover

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Ancient Runes | Retelling
Fantasyathon | Hype train novel

Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Format: Audiobook purchased from Audible

Synopsis:
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.

GOODREADS

Review

Could I have loved this novel more? I don’t think so.

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The Hollow (The Hollow #1) by Jessica Verday {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Hollow
Author: Jessica Verday
Series: The Hollow #1

Synopsis:
A love like no other…

When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead…and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral and keeps reappearing in Abbey’s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he’s the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again…but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen’s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her – one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

GOODREADS

 

Review

So glad this book has two other books after it because I need more of this!

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