Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

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A while ago I received this book through Net Galley, and also received it as a gift for filling out a survey through Blogging for Books. Both were e-copies, but I received the Net Galley one first.

I loved this book about WWII and the power of music and community. Each character has his or her own story and the novel progresses through journals, letters, and straight prose. This was the type of story that I’d hope to see made into a BBC series.

Well-written and full of memorable characters, THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR is a book I could easily read more than once.

Thank you for my e-copy, Crown Publishing! It publishes Tuesday, 2/14/17.

Description (via Net Galley)

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THE BEAUTY SHOP by Suzy Henderson

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I first received this book through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours – through the kindness of the author. It is a wonderful historical fiction novel, centering on a young couple in love, but even more engaging to me, the young men who underwent life-saving and experimental surgeries and treatments for burns during WWII in Britain, and the doctor who was their savior.

Here’s the overview from HFVBTours, from when I featured a cover reveal:

The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson

Publication Date: November 2016
eBook & Paperback; 350 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance

England, 1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible, Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realizes her own battle has only just begun.

Based on a true story, The Beauty Shop is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy.

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I found Archie, the doctor, a fascinating person. He basically pioneered burn treatment and plastic surgery. I read more about him on Wikipedia.

Thank you for this interesting and touching story. If you like a romance set in WWII with some interesting real facts worked in, then pick up a copy of The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson.

Thank you for my e-copy!

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THE SEMPER SONNET by Seth Margolis

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Today I’m thrilled to be part of the Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour for THE SEMPER SONNET by Seth Margolis.

Here’s the over view of the book from the tour:

The Semper Sonnet by Seth Margolis

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Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Diverson Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 374 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

READ AN EXCERPT.

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In this stunning thrill ride, perfect for fans of Dan Brown and Steve Berry, a long-lost manuscript, written for Elizabeth I, holds the key to unlocking the past—and to eliminating the future.

Lee Nicholson is ready to take the academic world by storm, having discovered a sonnet she believes was written by William Shakespeare. When she reads the poem on the air, the words put her life in peril and trigger a violent chase, with stakes that reach far beyond the cloistered walls of academia.

Buried in the language of the sonnet, in its allusions and wordplay, are secrets that have been hidden since Elizabethan times, secrets known only to the queen and her trusted doctor, but guessed at by men who seek the crown and others who seek the world. If the riddles are solved, it could explode what the world knows of the great Elizabeth I. And it could release a pandemic more deadly than the world has ever imagined.

Lee’s quest for the answers buried in the sonnet keeps her one step ahead of an international hunt—from the police who want her for murder, to a group of men who will stop at nothing to end her quest, to a madman who pursues the answers for destructive reasons of his own.

As this intelligent thriller moves back and forth between Tudor England and the present day, Lee begins to piece together the meaning behind Shakespeare’s words, carrying the story to its gasp-out-loud conclusion.

“Imaginative plotting and depth of character distinguish this centuries-spanning thriller…”—Publishers Weekly

“The Semper Sonnet is a wildly imaginative thriller that fans of Dan Brown and Steve Berry will love.”—Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author

“This provocative and knuckle-biting thriller will have you on the edge of your seat as it careens through the hallowed halls of academia into the turbulent past. Hold tight to your farthingales: this is a roller-coaster ride of a book!”—C.W. Gortner, international bestselling author of The Last Queen

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

About the Author

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Seth Margolis is a writer whose most recent novel, THE SEMPER SONNET, was published on April 19. He is the author of six earlier novels, including LOSING ISAIAH, which was made into a film starring Halle Berry and Jessica Lange.

Seth lives with his wife, Carole, in New York City. They have two grown children, Maggie and Jack. Seth received a BA in English from the University of Rochester and an MBA in marketing from New York University’s Stern School of Business Administration. When not writing fiction, he is a branding consultant for a wide range of companies, primarily in the financial services, technology and pharmaceutical industries. He has written articles for the New York Times and other publications on travel and entertainment.

For more information, please visit Seth Margolis’ website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, December 1
Blog Tour Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Friday, December 2
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Saturday, December 3
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, December 5
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Tuesday, December 6
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, December 7
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Thursday, December 8
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, December 9
Review at Trisha Jenn Reads

Monday, December 12
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Wednesday, December 14
Review at JulzReads

Thursday, December 15
Guest Post at JulzReads

Friday, December 16
Spotlight at Books, Dreams, Life

Monday, December 19
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, December 21
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, December 27
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, December 28
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, December 29
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, December 30
Review at Broken Teepee

I loved this book as it reminded me of THE DA VINCI CODE. I love a fast-paced mystery with history and puzzles, etc. I enjoyed the characters, but what I really liked was the whole “history mystery” of a possible child being born to Elizabeth I while she was at Hatfield. I had actually heard this theory before, and I find it fascinating. I liked how the plot played out. The only thing that jumped out at me were the dates. Coming from Massachusetts, I’m fairly familiar with when the area was settled and how and by whom. It seemed that the whole “Semper” family were here a little early, but hey — anything’s possible and this is historical fiction!

Thanks so much for my review e-copy!

 

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MONSOON SUMMER by Julia Gregson

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I just loved this wonderful historical fiction novel about a young British woman and her Indian doctor husband, post WWII, as they return to India for her to work as a midwife.

There were so many different layers in this story, about culture, family, traditions. Beautifully written, with evocative descriptions of an amazing country, it is one to keep!

Thank you for my review e-copy, Net Galley!

Here’s the overview:

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THE QUEEN’S ACCOMPLICE by Susan Elia MacNeal

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I absolutely love the Maggie Hope mystery series; it’s about a young English woman working for intelligence during WWII. Maggie is a great character who is both complicated and very “human”. Each time I read one of these books, I learn more about Maggie and her relationships, her hopes and past experiences. I also learn more about WWII and what it was like to work for the government (MI5) at that time. I love that Maggie is a whiz at math and thus at code breaking.

Here’s the overview on the novel from Amazon:

Spy and code-breaker extraordinaire Maggie Hope returns to war-weary London, where she is thrust into the dangerous hunt for a monster, as the New York Timesbestselling mystery series for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry continues.
 
England, 1942. The Nazis’ relentless Blitz may have paused, but London’s nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. What’s more, he’s targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill’s spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed “the Blackout Beast.” A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.

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Me again!

I am so happy with this series and the fact that I never tire of it. The characters keep developing. The plots never go silly. I anxiously await the next installment!

I got mine via Net Galley (thank you!). You can get yours online or at your favorite indie. It publishes Oct. 4, 2016.

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HFVBTours’ Cover Reveal for Suzy Henderson’s THE BEAUTY SHOP

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Today I’m helping reveal the cover of Suzy Henderson’s new novel!

Here’s a note from Suzy:

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Hello and welcome! Today, I’m thrilled to finally reveal the cover of my upcoming novel, The Beauty Shop. As the novel is set during the dark days of World War Two, the title might appear to be rather unusual. The beauty shop was a nickname for a ward at a small hospital in East Grinstead, a market town in southern England, where a maverick New Zealand plastic surgeon cared for severely burned airmen.

Such was the humour of the men there that one airman said to a visitor one day, “Stick around here long enough, miss and they’ll whip a piece off you and stick it on one of us.”

This was no ordinary hospital ward. There was beer for one thing, and pretty girls for nurses, music all day long and dancing. The air that flowed here drifted through smiles, laughter, love, and loss. And when surgeon Archie McIndoe spoke to each man, his eyes shone with such radiance, and his words sang with such confidence and compassion, instilling each man with fresh hope.

Based on a true story, via three interlocking experiences of WWII, The Beauty Shop explores the nature of good looks, social acceptance and the true meaning of ‘skin deep’.

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The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson

Publication Date: November 2016
eBook & Paperback; 350 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance

England, 1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible, Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realises her own battle has only just begun.

Based on a true story, The Beauty Shop is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy.

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HFVBTour for Anna Belfrage’s DAYS OF SUN AND GLORY with Giveaway!!

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What can I say? I LOVE Anna Belfrage’s books, and I love this series! I am thrilled to be part of this tour.

Adam and Kit’s story takes place in a time that I am not overly familiar with (1300’s – I’m more of a Tudor gal), and I find it so interesting and educational to read about the various trials and tribulations as folks fight to be close to the crown. I love Kit’s character and her strength of personality and spirit. Each of these books gives me a great story (well-written), new info to learn, and a visit with characters I enjoy!

If you are “missing” Anna between books, check out her blog, which is fun to read and always interesting!

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review copy!

Days of Sun and Glory (The King’s Greatest Enemy #2)
by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: July 4, 2016
Matador
eBook & Paperback; 418 Pages

Series: The King’s Greatest Enemy
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Adam de Guirande has barely survived the aftermath of Roger Mortimer’s rebellion in 1321. When Mortimer manages to escape the Tower and flee to France, anyone who has ever served Mortimer becomes a potential traitor – at least in the eyes of King Edward II and his royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Adam must conduct a careful balancing act to keep himself and his family alive. Fortunately, he has two formidable allies: Queen Isabella and his wife, Kit. England late in 1323 is a place afflicted by fear. Now that the king’s greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere – among Mortimer’s former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France.

Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the king’s grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is time to act – to safeguard her own position, but also that of her son, Edward of Windsor. As Adam de Guirande has pledged himself to Prince Edward he is automatically drawn into the queen’s plans – whether he likes it or not.

Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics. Yet again, they risk their lives – and that of those they hold dear – as the king and Mortimer face off. Once again, England is plunged into war – and this time it will not end until either Despenser or Mortimer is dead.

Days of Sun and Glory is the second in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

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Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.

When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.

Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.

Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.

The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, was published in 2015. The second book, Days of Sun and Glory, will be published in July 2016.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog,http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule –

Follow along and discover a new blog!

Monday, August 29
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 30
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, August 31
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads

Thursday, September 1
Review at Lampshade Reader
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, September 2
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, September 5
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, September 6
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, September 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, September 8
Interview at Books and Benches
Character Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, September 9
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, September 12
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 13
Review at Let Them Read Books
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, September 14
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, September 15
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Monday, September 19
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, September 20
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, September 21
Review at It’s a Mad Mad World

Friday, September 23
Review at The True Book Addict
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Monday, September 26
Review at Diana’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, September 27
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings

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Giveaway

To win a copy of Days of Sun & Glory by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/oVmiR/days-of-sun-and-glory

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CROWNED AND DANGEROUS by Rhys Bowen

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I love the Her Royal Spyness mysteries, so I was thrilled to see that a new one was coming out this week: CROWNED AND DANGEROUS.

Here is the overview from Net Galley:

Description

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HFVBT Book Blast for THE IRISH INHERITANCE by MJ Lee

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Today I’m blasting it up for MJ Lee’s new book – the start of a series I believe – THE IRISH INHERITANCE. I also read this book last week and will be sharing my thought on it soon!

The Irish Inheritance: A Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery
by M.J. Lee

Publication Date: June 15, 2016
eBook; 285 Pages
ASIN: B01FR5PP9S

Series: The Jayne Sinclair Series, Book One
Genre: Historical/Mystery

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June 8, 1921. Ireland.

A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublin.

November 22, 2015. United Kingdom.

Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father.

How are the two events linked?

Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery. A killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past.

The Irish Inheritance takes us through the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence, combining a search for the truth of the past with all the tension of a modern-day thriller.

It is the first in a series of novels featuring Jayne Sinclair, genealogical detective.

Pre-Order Kindle eBook

About the Author

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Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.

He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.

When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, researching his family history, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.

You can find more information on M.J. Lee and his novels on Goodreads, Amazon,Facebook, and Twitter.

 

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Review: SIDNEY CHAMBERS AND THE DANGERS OF TEMPTATION by James Runcie

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If you know me, you know I LOVE the Grantchester series on PBS! I love the characters, the humor, the mysteries, and James Norton as Sidney. This book is one in a series following the exploits of never run-of-the-mill minister.

Here’s the description via Net Galley:

The eagerly anticipated fifth installment in the Grantchester mystery series, now a major PBS television series as well.

It’s the summer of love in late 1960s England. Basil D’Oliveira has just been dropped from the English cricket team before for a test series in apartheid South Africa; the war in Biafra dominates the news; and the Apollo 11 astronauts are preparing to land on the moon. In the midst of all this change, Sidney Chambers, now Archdeacon of Ely Cathedral, is still up to his amateur sleuthing investigations.

A bewitching divorcee enlists Sidney’s help in convincing her son to leave a hippie commune; at a soiree on Grantchester Meadows during May Week celebrations, a student is divested of a family heirloom; Amanda’s marriage runs into trouble; Sidney and Hildegard holiday behind the Iron Curtain; Mrs Maguire’s husband returns from the dead and an arson attack in Cambridge leads Sidney to uncover a cruel case of blackmail involving his former curate.

In the rare gaps between church and crime, Sidney struggles with a persistent case of toothache, has his first flutter at the Newmarket races and witnesses the creation of a classic rock song.

Charming, witty, intelligent, and filled with a strong sense of compassion, here are six new stories guaranteed to satisfy and delight this clerical detective’s many fans.

James Runcie is an award-winning filmmaker and the author of eight novels. Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death, the first in the Grantchester Mysteries series, was published in 2012, soon followed by Sidney Chambers and The Perils of the Night, Sidney Chambers and The Problem of Evil, and Sidney Chambers and The Forgiveness of Sins. In November 2014, PBS began airing Grantchester, a primetime series starring James Norton as Sidney Chambers. James Runcie lives in London and Edinburgh.

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Well-plotted and paced and always a fun read, this is the perfect way to stay in touch with Sidney, Amanda, and all the gang in between seasons!

Thank you for my review copy!

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