[Book Review] The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman

The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman

[Book Review] The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman

My Book Review:

Oh, how I love this book! The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman is one of my all-time childhood favorites, and I love that my kids enjoy it now! Mrs. Bird is expecting a baby, and decides she wants a new home. She and Mr. Bird travel everywhere looking for a new house. They find a few they like, but unfortunately, those homes  already have occupants, and they have some close calls. Finally, it begins to rain and Mr. and Mrs. Bird get separated. They are sad and wonder if they’ll ever see each other again. The sky is filled with lightning and thunder, and suddenly Mr. Bird crashes into something! What is it? Well, you’ll have to read to find out!

The Best Nest is a beginning reader, and my first grader can read it well. It’s a fun, fun read-aloud, and it also makes a great silent read. I like this book because it is easy enough for the beginners to read by themselves.  Children enjoy guessing where the birds will end up, and it’s fun to see the places they thought would be good homes. I love the illustrations, and I love that the kids love reading it. Next time you’re at the library or a book store, check this one out, you won’t be disappointed!

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean!!! Yay!)

Recommendation: Everyone!

4 Star Rating

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The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood Remember the Ladies by Callista Gingrich  Nina the Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy
  

This post was originally published on 1/7/15; updated on 2/21/18.

[Book Review] An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry

[Book Review] An Echo of Murder: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry

One day last fall, this book just showed up in my mailbox. Best day ever, right? I’m assuming it came from the publisher, but I’m not sure? So, thank you to the mystery sender! I hope you enjoy my book review of An Echo of Murder: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry. And feel free to send me books any time you want to!

Blurb:

“In this riveting new William Monk novel, Anne Perry delves into the diverse population of Victorian London, whose disparate communities force Monk to rethink his investigative techniques—lest he be caught in the crosshairs of violent bigotry.

In the course of his tenure with the Thames River Police, Commander Monk has yet to see a more gruesome crime scene: a Hungarian warehouse owner lies in the middle of his blood-sodden office, pierced through the chest with a bayonet and eerily surrounded by seventeen candles. Suspecting the murder may be rooted in ethnic prejudice, Monk turns to London’s Hungarian community in search of clues but finds his inquiries stymied by its wary citizens and a language he doesn’t speak. Only with the help of a local pharmacist acting as translator can Monk hope to penetrate this tightly knit enclave, even as more of its members fall victim to identical brutal murders. But whoever the killer, or killers, may be—a secret society practicing ritual sacrifice, a madman on a spree, a British native targeting foreigners—they are well hidden among the city’s ever-growing populace.

With the able assistance of his wife—former battlefield nurse Hester, who herself is dealing with a traumatized war veteran who may be tangled up in the murders—Monk must combat distrust, hostility, and threats from the very people he seeks to protect. But as the body count grows, stirring ever greater fear and anger among the Hungarian émigrés, resistance to the police also increases. Racing time and the rising tide of terror all around him, Monk must be even more relentless than the mysterious killer, or the echoes of malice and murder will resound through London’s streets like a clarion of doom.”

 

My Book Review:

I haven’t read a murder mystery in a long time, so I enjoyed this fun change of pace. As a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed delving back into Victorian London and learning about the Hungarian population there. Monk and his wife Hester seem like they’re very good for each other. It would be difficult to be a detective, especially when a murder is so gruesome. Consequently, having a good support system around you would be a necessity.

Along with the murder mystery comes the story of Crow and Will. Will is the adopted son of Monk and Hester, and he is one of my favorite characters. Will works as an apprentice for Crow, who is a doctor in a clinic. When they need a translator, Will finds Fitz, and he turns out to be quite helpful. I liked both Crow and Fitz as well. They work well together, and it’s fun to see Will learn and gain more responsibility.

At first, all the different characters confused me, but it didn’t take long to figure it out. I liked the writing style and thought it flowed well, was easy to read and understand, and did a good job of grabbing hold of your attention. Ms. Perry developed the characters very well. Although each has a hint of mystery with an uncertain past, I thought that added to the story. The title, An Echo of Murder, fits the story well. It doesn’t smack you in the face, but it doesn’t take a long time to figure out either.

I kept changing my mind about who I thought committed the murder, which is a sign of a good writer. There was a bit of a twist at the end, which made figuring it all out more difficult. I enjoyed this book a lot; it made me remember how much I enjoy reading mysteries.  

 

Content Rating PG-13+Rating: PG-13 + (There’s some profanity, and although there aren’t any “intimacy” scenes, there are a few innuendos and things are implied.  There is a little bit of violence, but the thing that warrants the higher rating is that the murder scenes are quite graphic and gruesome.)

Age Recommendation: 16 years-old and up

Rated 4/5 Stars

4 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

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The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown The Tulip Eaters by Antoinette van Heugten  The Last September by Nina de Gramont
 
 

12 Amazing World War 2 Books You Can’t Put Down

12 Amazing WWll Books You Can't Put Down

12 Amazing World War 2 Books

Today I thought I’d switch things up a bit!
(I know, it’s unlike me…spring fever maybe??)
 
 

My 12 Favorite World War 2 Books

Here are my 12 favorite Wold War 2 Books. Some of them are nonfiction and some of them are fiction; I like both–I can’t help it!
(I didn’t put them in any particular order…Click on the Picture to Read My Review)
 
1. All The Light We Cannot See
by
Anthony Doerr
 
 
2. The Boys in the Boat
by
Daniel James Brown
 
 
3.  The Monuments Men
by
Robert M. Edsel
 
(Ok, this may not have been my favorite book, but the story of what these men did was amazing.)
 
 
4. The Book Thief
by
Markus Zusak
the book thief by markus zusak
 
5.  Unbroken
by
Laura Hillenbrand
 
6.  A Woman’s Place
by
Lynn Austin
 
7.  The Diary of Anne Frank
by
Anne Frank
 
(I have read this book several times, but not since I started my blog -gasp!- so I don’t have a review….I’ll need to get on that!)
 
 
8.  The Hiding Place
by
Corrie Ten Boom
 
 
9.  Man’s Search For Meaning
by
Viktor E. Frankl
 
(I have also read and loved this book, but I have not reviewed it….yet!)
 
 
10. When The Emperor Was Divine
by
Julie Otsuka
 
(I didn’t love this book, but it was VERY eye-opening.)
 
 
11.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
by
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
 
12.  The Nightingale
by
Kristin Hannah
the nightingale by kristin hannah
 
Each of these World War 2 books highlights a different aspect of World War 2. Some of them are fiction and some of them are nonfiction, but whether it is true or not, each brings a different piece of the war to light. There are people in internment camps, people trying to hide Jews in their homes, and a Japanese-American family inside an internment camp here in the United States. There is a story about what the women in the United States did at home during the war and how they helped the efforts, and there’s a story of how the war affected a little girl and her family in Germany.
 
I have laughed, cried, gotten angry, and learned so much as I have read these books. I hope they touch you as they have touched me.
 
Do you have any other favorite World War 2 books? Comment below, I’d love to read them!
Happy Reading!
~Monica 
 

This post was originally published on 3/31/16; updated on 2/15/18.

The Five Love Languages

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

[Book Review] The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I have a book review for you of The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I have read this book a few times now, and each time I learn something new! Believe me, the concept works!

Blurb:

“He sends you flowers when what you really want is time to talk. She gives you a hug when what you really need is a home-cooked meal. The problem isn’t your love–it’s your language! In this international best seller, Dr. Gary Chapman reveals how different people express love in different ways. In fact, there are five specific languages of love: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. What speaks volumes to you may be meaningless to your spouse. But here, at last, is the key to understanding each other’s unique needs. Apply the right principles, learn the right language, and soon you’ll know the profound satisfaction and joy of being able to express your love–and feeling truly loved in return.”
 

My Review:

I love this book! I’ve read it several times, and each time I read it I get something new out of it. The first time I read it, I couldn’t believe how accurate it was, and I tried to put the principles into practice. I thought I was. But then my husband kept getting upset about a certain situation every time it happened. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. So, I went back and reread this book. Then it clicked! Oh my. Yes, I’m a little slow. But, once I figured out how to speak his love language, it has been so much better. I knew his love language before; it hadn’t changed, but it took me awhile to figure out how to speak it in his way. It’s so simple, yet so complex. Loving someone should be easy, right? Well, it’s even easier if you know how to do it according to what that person wants and needs.
 
There is a quiz that you and your spouse can take to determine your love languages, and then there is a whole chapter devoted to each love language. It’s well written, and is easy to understand. He uses lots of real life examples of people that he has worked with, and they are very helpful. What’s great is that it takes things that our spouses might “nag” us with, and it puts them into perspective. So, if your wife keeps nagging you to do things around the house, then her love language may be acts of service. Maybe you’ve been bringing her home flowers often and you can’t figure out why she’s still upset; it’s because gifts is not her love language, acts of service is. Does that make sense? I love it.
 
Several years ago my church had this Valentine’s Day activity for all the adults. There was a dance, but if you needed a break or weren’t into dancing, they had a bunch of classes you could attend. The person in charge knew that I had read this book and asked me to teach a class on it. I felt super nervous (my throat was so dry that a nice guy went and got me a drink of water), but I’ve seen so much success using the five love languages in my own life that I said yes. It turned out great, and I treasure that experience because I was able to help people improve the way they loved each other.
 
It’s also great because the same principles apply to our children. You don’t need to give the children the quiz; once you know the languages it’s pretty easy to spot them in your children. For example, I have one child that needs words of affirmation constantly, while another constantly wants hugs. Do you see how that works? That way you can make sure you’re speaking your spouse’s love language and also your kids’ so everyone feels loved in his or her own way. If you are married or in a dating relationship I highly recommend this book.
 

Content Rating RRating: R (There isn’t any language or violence, but it does talk a lot about “intimacy” between husband and wife.)

Recommendation: Adult

Rated 4/5 Stars

4 Star Rating

Book Review first published 11/6/14, updated on 2/13/18

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[Book Review] Cheers to Eternity by Al and Ben Carraway

cheers to eternity by al and ben carraway

[Book Review] Cheers to Eternity: Lessons We've Learned on Dating and Marriage by Al and Ben Carraway

I have heard Al Carraway speak twice now; the first time I heard her speak, she wasn’t married to Ben yet. She is such an engaging speaker, so I was excited to read and review this book. I hoped it would be as engaging as her talks are.

Blurb:

“Author of the best seller More than the Tattooed Mormon, Al Carraway and her husband, Ben, remind you that marriage isn’t supposed to be ‘serious and hard.’ A successful marriage is one that you build as a team—emphasizing constant communication, working through hard times together, and (above all) remembering to put God first.

Using a wonderfully open dialogue, the Carraways share the funny, embarrassing, and honest lessons and struggles that have shaped their life together.

Written for singles, newlyweds, and marriage veterans, Cheers to Eternity will help you bring new insights into your relationships, keep life in perspective, and make the rest of your life here and in eternity exciting, amazing, and meaningful.”

 

My Review:

This is a fast, yet engaging, read. The Carraways seem to have a good relationship, and seem to have their priorities straight. I like how they play off of each other, and I like how Ben talks and then Al responds, and vice versa. Sometimes in marriage we see the same situation differently, and you see that come through a few times. There are a few parts where this comes across as very cutesy, bordering on cheesy, but it didn’t bother me too much.

The Carraways haven’t been married very long, and this definitely comes through in their book.  There were a few times I may have rolled my eyes at them; my husband and I have been married just shy of twenty years now, so they don’t have all the experience that comes from time together. However, their marriage has still gone through some difficult struggles, so their opinions are valid. Also, it’s always good to remember what it was like in the early days of your marriage, and to remember what it was that you loved about each other, etc.

Although there isn’t anything in this book that is groundbreaking or especially new, it’s definitely a good reminder. Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day grind, and it’s good to remember to take the time to love each other and put each other’s needs first.

            As you move forward with marriage, it will no longer be about “I” and “Me,” but will always and forever be “Us” and “We.” Let’s not let anything come in the way of loving our spouse and putting them before our selfish desires. It is always better to be kind and understanding than to be right. Let’s lose ourselves in them and, no matter what happens, be there for them. Forgive quickly and always. Every day let’s wake up and think of what we can do to make things easier for them.

I like how they start each chapter with a quote or two on the topic they’re discussing. A few of their discussion topics are: It’s Not About You, Communication, Finance, Intimacy, Expectations, Always Have Time For Love, Affection, and Doing Hard Things Together. There is definitely a religious overtone to this book; Al and Ben Carraway are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes known as Mormon or LDS). They are Christian, and they just talk about how in marriage you also need to put God first.

Even though I’ve been married for many years longer than the Carraways have, it was good to hear their perspective. I may not have learned anything new in their book, but it’s always a good reminder of what we should be doing. If you’re dating or a newlywed then I would definitely recommend this book. If you’ve been married for awhile, like I have, then it’s still a good read. Trying to improve your marriage is never a bad thing, right?

 

Content Rating RRating: R (There’s no profanity and no violence. However, it is all about marriage, and “intimacy” is a part of that. They don’t shy away from the topic.)

Age Recommendation: Adult 

 

 3.5/5 Stars 3.5 Star Rating

 
 

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the seven habits of highly effective families by stephen r covey The Compliment Quotient by Monica Strobel  Does Change Have to be So Hard by Julie Donley, RN
 
 
 

[Book Review] The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

[Book Review] The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

My girls’ elementary school decided to read The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks for their “One School. One Book.” program this year. I was super excited because I’ve been meaning to read it to them for awhile anyway. It was one of the first books I read to my boys when they were little, but for some reason I haven’t read it to my girls yet. Since I read it with them I decided I might as well review it!

Blurb:

“It’s Omri’s birthday, but all he gets from his best friend, Patrick, is a little plastic Indian brave. Trying to hide his disappointment, Omri puts the Indian in a metal cupboard and locks the door with a mysterious skeleton key that once belonged to his great-grandmother. Little does Omri know that by turning the key, he will transform his ordinary plastic Indian into a real, live man from an altogether different time and place! Omri and the tiny warrior called Little Bear could hardly be more different, yet soon the two forge a very special friendship. Will Omri be able to keep Little Bear without anyone finding out and taking his precious Indian from him?

My Review:

This is such a fun book; it plays to every kid’s wildest dream! How awesome would it be to put a plastic figure into a cabinet and have it come out alive? When my sister and I were little we dreamed that our Cabbage Patch kids would come to life so we could take care of real babies. Haha! Thankfully it never happened. I love how caring Omri becomes. He risks getting into big trouble in order to do things to help Little Bear. His creativity is the best: getting the seed tray for dirt, lighting the tops of matches so Little Bear could have a fire, looking through the toy bin to find the perfect horse and wife. He’s so protective of Little Bear, too. Omri becomes this little parent, and it’s endearing. Patrick drives me crazy at the beginning, but by the end he pulls around.

The writing style of this book makes it great for either a silent read or a read-aloud. My girls are twelve and nine, and they both enjoyed having me read it to them, but could easily read it themselves. The Indian in the Cupboard was published in 1980, so there are a few things that are not quite politically correct now.  Words like “Injun” and “red man” are commonly used. A cowboy comes in at one point, and Little Bear wants to scalp him. I spent quite awhile discussing with my girls how those words are not okay to use anymore. Although it’s a little uncomfortable, it actually provides a very good opening for discussions about race, unkind words, and stereotypes.

I’m so glad that I was able to read The Indian in the Cupboard with my girls. I love that time we get to spend together, and the adventures we get to have. Plus, it allows me to add a review to my list! If you’re looking for a fun read with your kids, or a good silent read, this is a great book for either. One thing I would do, though, if your kids read it silently, is to still have the discussions and talk about the non-p.c. terms used, and how offensive they are now.

Content Rating PGRating: PG (There might be a word or two, but there’s no “intimacy;” there is some minor violence, and some old and non-p.c. terms are used.) 

Age Recommendation: As a silent read, third grade and up, but as a read-aloud, Kindergarten and up.

4 Star Rating

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[Book Review] Overcoming and Avoiding Illness by James Lilley

Overcoming and Avoiding Illness by James Lilley

[Book Review] Overcoming and Avoiding Illness by James Lilley

James Lilley approached me last fall to review his book Overcoming and Avoiding Illness. At the time, my son had been sick for a very long time, and we still didn’t have a diagnosis. I agreed to read his book in hopes of finding help for my son. Before I was able to read his book, however, my son spent a couple nights in the hospital, where he finally received a diagnosis. Although the information in this book didn’t end up helping in that particular situation, James Lilley has a lot of great information about how to overcome and avoid illness; he’s definitely done his research!

Blurb:

“Based on six years of research this is the remarkable story of one man’s obsession to overcome serious illness. When doctors failed him, James Lilley succeeded by applying common sense and an extraordinary level of dogged persistence.

Inside you’ll find the strategies he used to rebuild his own health brick-by-brick. Covering more topics than a Swiss army knife, these techniques are easy to implement and apply to a wide range of ailments.

With an exceptional ability to breakdown the complex, James shares his many insights using a blend of empathy and humor. This is an inspiring story which will open your eyes to a whole new way of thinking about wellness.

This isn’t just another hyped up health book designed to look good sitting on the shelf, it’s an empowering, comprehensive, problem solving tool. ~James Lilley

In every sense of the word, this is a truly independent book. There was never any slick marketing campaign or big launch date to draw on. It’s actually quite remarkable that you even found this book or perhaps this book found you.”

My Review:

As I stated previously, my son was super sick for most of last year. He’s still not fully recovered, but has come a very long way. Life is almost back to normal, although it is something he will probably always deal with in some way. James Lilley reached out to me in the middle of all of the craziness, so I was excited to read his story and see what he was able to do to overcome his illness. He spent many years researching solutions to his health problems, and it definitely shows; this book is packed with information!

For the most part, I liked his writing style; it’s easy to read, humorous, and casual. He does use quite a bit of profanity, which I didn’t love or think necessary, but that’s just my opinion. Mr. Lilley does have a knack for taking difficult medical terms and procedures, and making them easy to understand. He includes advice that is very common sense like eating your vegetables every day and good nutrition, but then he’ll add something about testing your blood’s acidity levels or detoxifying the metals in your body. There are some very in-depth and technical things that he advises, and a lot of them are things I’ve never heard of.

I liked reading his story. The one about how he was so sick that he had to be in a wheelchair, and now because of these strategies he’s walking again. I wished that there had been more of that story because I felt at times that it was just a huge information dump. It would have been great if he had included how doing each of those individual things had helped him overcome his illness. Something to the affect of, “Doing A helped decrease this…” or “After six months of doing B, I started to see this…” Without those little pieces of information, I was left feeling overwhelmed with all the information.

James Lilley put many years into this research, and there is so much to learn from his book. On the one hand, I trust him because he has read and researched for many years, but on the other hand, he’s not officially a doctor. What I decided to do was to take what he said, and if I thought it would help or I liked the concept, then I would talk to my doctor and research it myself as well.  By doing this, I feel it’s a good compromise.

One little nitpicky thing that annoyed me was the cover. Mr. Lilley put an acronym on the cover. The acronym is: What’s The Formula? Well, as we all know, that acronym is used in texting to say something very different.  I didn’t feel comfortable with that acronym big and bright on the cover of a book that I read in front of my children and took to many different places, so I took a sharpie and covered it up. I know it’s little, but sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.

Overall, I thought this book was okay. There is a ton of information; some of it seems great, and other things seem kind of way out there. I wish he had connected the dots more along the way, but if you’re looking for information on how to overcome or avoid illness, this could be a very good resource for you.

Content Rating R

Rating: R (There is a lot of medical jargon and quite a bit of profanity.)

Age Recommendation: Adult

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Welcome to TheReadathon (New and Improved!)

TheReadathon Logo

Welcome to TheReadathon!!

Welcome to TheReadathon! I am so excited to welcome you to my new site! You’ll notice that most everything is the same, but the new address is much easier to find! This new site is also much more up-to-date, has greater functionality, is much more simple, and there’s room to grow. I have so many great things planned, and I can’t wait to get started! To launch this new site with a bang, I have a give-away!

I’m giving away a copy of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I LOVE this book, it is an amazing read! (Grab your Kleenexes though, you’ll need them!)

To Enter, all you need to do is subscribe to my newsletter!

When you subscribe to my newsletter you will get a copy of “15 Ways To Get Kids Excited About Reading” and you’ll be entered into the drawing to win The Nightingale!

The subscribe form is right below; it’s also in the right sidebar and at the very bottom of the page. Super easy! I’ll pick the winner Friday morning.

Also, check out my review of Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite, right under this post; it’s new this morning!

[Book Review] Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

[Book Review] Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite

Blurb:

“Greta loves her job as assistant librarian. She loves her best friend, Will, the high school English teacher. She even loves her mother despite her obvious disappointment that Greta is still single.

Then she meets Mac in the poetry section of the library, and she is smitten. Mac is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and showers her with affection, poetic text messages, and free hot chocolate at the local café where he works. The only problem is that he seems to be a different person in his texts than in his face-to-face conversation.

When the Franklin Library is threatened with closure, Greta leaps into action. She arranges for a ‘battle of the bands’ book jam, hosts a book signing by a famous author, and finally, stages a protest that raises more than a few eyebrows.

Through it all, she slowly realizes that it is Will, not Mac, who she turns to for support and encouragement. Mac has the looks: Will has the heart. How can she choose between them?

Check Me Out is a contemporary romance—with just a hint of Cyrano de Bergerac—that reminds us that it is what’s on the inside that matters most.”

 

My Review:

I liked this book a lot! The main character, Greta, is a librarian, so what’s not to love? She has a great voice in this book; she’s witty, hard working, intelligent, has a great job, and is young and hip. Greta tries hard, even though she sometimes misses the mark a bit (the little stunt she pulls was not my favorite part). I liked how much she loves and cares for the library. Maybe I liked Greta because I think being a librarian would be fun, but in any case, I think she made a great main character.

One thing that drove me crazy about Greta was that she kind of had the Bella from Twilight thing going on with Mac and Will. They both seem like great guys. She needs to choose which features are more important to her, and she definitely has a hard time figuring this out! Will has been her best friend forever. He may not have the looks, but he knows everything about her, and he’s caring and kind. Mac is hot (according to Greta), but he doesn’t quite take care of her like Will does. He’s a good kisser, though, so that makes it a hard choice.

This book is well written, and I enjoyed it.  I like the writing style because it’s easy to read and it flows well. One part of the formatting that I didn’t love were the whole pages filled with text messages. The text messages weren’t difficult to read, in fact, I read those pages quite quickly.  However, I like reading real sentences–you may disagree. In any case, I enjoyed this book.  It’s a fun, entertaining read. There’s even a hint of a mystery, which added a fun twist.

 
 Content Rating PG+

Rating: PG+ (There’s no profanity, no “intimacy,” (except for some kissing), and no violence. There is one part that has a bit of an edge to it. I rated it PG+ because it’s clean, but it’s not recommended for middle graders.)

Age Recommendation: Young Adults (12-18) and up

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

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