Review: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Screen Shot 2020-01-23 at 6.49.08 PMTitle: Things You Save in a Fire
Author: Katherine Center
Page Count: 320 pages – Hardcover edition, but I listened to the audiobook
Release Date: August 13, 2019

Synopsis:

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Review

This book was nominated for the Romance category for 2019 Goodreads Choice award, which sort of inspired me to pick it up, but it is so much more than just a romance novel! I love TV sitcoms like Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago Fire, etc. and I think its hard to find good books with characters who are doctors, firefighters, or paramedics. Things You Save in a Fire revolves around veteran firefighter Cassandra and rookie firefighter Owen.  The reason Cassie and Owen meet is because Cassie has just moved to Boston from Texas after a very public mauling of a councilman at an awards ceremony. Granted, he groped her–but no one saw that behind the scenes. But Cassie makes the move to save her career and moves in with her mother sort of against her will at her mother’s desperate request. It is this move that will change Cassie’s life and teach her lessons about love, forgiveness, and moving on.

Cassie was a super stubborn character and at times I got sick of how she treated her mom or how she shunned some of the men around her, but I get it. She is a woman in a “man’s profession.” She has to have rules and boundaries, and really, she is a badass. She has earned her way up and she will not let anything take her back down. Owen is probably my new bookish McDreamy. Seriously, this guy is the funniest, sweetest book boyfriend. And he’s a fire fighter so….what’s up! I even loved how he handled the conflict in this book and thought he was an all-around great fit for Cassie. Last but not least, the story overall was just so charming and well-written, I absolutely recommend it. I don’t always read contemporary romances but when I do, this is what I want to read!

Did you read any of the Goodreads Choice 2019 books last year? What were your faves?

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Tag Tuesday: New Year Book Tag

Happy 2020 everyone! Dorka over at Berries & Books is keeping this tag alive–she’s done it for three years straight now so hats off girl! I think this is my second year doing this one so here goes!

Question #1: How many books do you plan to read in 2020?
I set my goal at 50 this year, after falling just short of my goal of 75 for the past two years straight. This year I want to go a little bit more low-key and exceed it and just feel good about things. I feel good about that.

Question #2: Name five books you didn’t get to read last year but wanna make a priority in 2020.
The biggest two that I didn’t get to were the Six of Crows duology. I really want to prioritize them this year because–hello–Grishaverse coming to Netflix. Also on my list are Serpent and Dove, A Sorcery of Thorns, and

Question #3: Name a genre you want to read more of.
I always try to keep a good balance of genres but I want to get back into urban and paranormal fantasy. That’s sort of what got me back into reading a while back, ironically.

Question #4: Three non book related goals for 2020?
Start a bullet journal, pick up my ukelele, and manage my finances better (eek!)

Question #5: What’s a book you’ve had forever that you still need to read?
My brother and (now) sister-in-law bought me the Darker Shades of Magic trilogy four, maybe even five Christmases ago now? And I need to read those! Not just for that reason, but I want to read them too, of course!

Question #6: One word you’re hoping 2020 will be?
Stress-free! (that’s one, hyphenated word, right??)

As for tagging, I think you should all do this one if you haven’t for 2020 yet. I know January is scooting along quickly but there is always time to collect your thoughts and gain some shelf control. Happy reading!

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January 8: WWW

Halfway through the week! I love it! Life has been so nice having shortened weeks for almost a month now but here we are, back to the full grind. *sigh* For those of you who don’t know, this meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words, and it involves three simple questions which are as follows:

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

~ The Currents ~

I am so close to finishing 2 books at the moment: the comic vol. 1 of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as well as a really good YA fantasy called Unspoken. On top of those, I am about a third of the way through the audiobook of Ninth House so I have quite the reading load going on here.

~ The Recents ~

Honestly nothing was too terribly recent, I hate to say. I did sneak in one last holiday read just as we were finishing up our Christmas celebrating and that was Christmas Camp. Other than that though, I hope to have much more to report on this question next time around!

~ The Upcoming ~

This is where the fun really is. I have a couple anticipated reads from the library that I am looking forward to getting to plus a couple egalley/ARCs to get to soon. First off I need to read The Night Country by Melissa Albert, which released yesterday. I am really excited for that one. I need to see how the sequel to The Hazel Wood  turns out!

What is one current, recent, or upcoming read that you have on your list?

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The Sunday Review: Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler

39893648Title: Christmas Camp
Author: Karen Schaler
Page Count: 336 pages – ebook edition
Release Date: September 3, 2019

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I thought this looked and sounded (from the synopsis) like a cute holiday book that I would skate through quickly and enjoy immensely. Plus with the word “Camp” in the title, I had to read it! I’m a sucker for camps and retreats! Apparently though, Hallmark/Lifetime/Netflix mushy writers should stick to their screenplays. At least for me. Reading the author’s bio, “Christmas Karen” Schaler has also written screenplays for Netflix’s THE CHRISTMAS PRINCE (which I did enjoy!), Hallmark Channel’s Christmas Camp (I haven’t seen this), and Lifetime’s Every Day is Christmas (also never heart of it). While the idea of this book was classic holiday family and romance cozy, it fell a little short for me. Here is why:

In this book, Haley Hansen’s Christmas is booked–in the Caribbean. And that’s the way she likes it. She prefers to take her laptop, her work and her parents and avoid the holiday hustle and just relax on the warm beach. This year is different because her advertising company is trying to land a deal with a huge toy company. Big problem though. The theme of the ad campaign? Christmas spirit, and Haley has none. What’s more is that landing this campaign could earn her a spot as partner in the company. She would do anything–even head to Christmas Camp–to get this deal.

brooke-cagle-czbB0aPh_V0-unsplashMeanwhile Jeff is the oh-so-handsome, successful architect in Boston and son of the owner of Christmas Camp. He recently lost his mother and his aging father, Ben, is now running Christmas Camp basically on his own. I’ll let the rest of the details here unfold themselves for you all.

Christmas Camp is, I think, just about the first book ever where I didn’t find the male love interest charming or very interesting. He almost seemed sort of villainous for most of the book. I guess that’s what made it even more refreshing for Haley to be a hard-working girl (woman) throughout the book. She really did have some good growth and that really was heart-warming. From the very beginning I didn’t think she was a bad character…so what if she didn’t love Christmas?? I mean, everyone can choose to celebrate, or not, in their own way. Isn’t it kind of bogus (illegal?) for a company to basically require her to have Christmas Spirit?? I guess that’s a whole different debate. But anyway. The book was decent. Obviously several different ways to look at things so if you’re into that, go for it!! One last thing I will add is that there are a couple of good side characters, but the dog is probably the best character in the book.

Book soundtrack: The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole

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#Blogmas :December is the month for ebook bargains!

Hi everyone! So I have noticed that I have been grabbing up bargain after bargain ebook on Amazon and I have actually had to hold myself back because there are more that I sort of want, but I know that I just won’t get to for a long while. I thought I would go ahead and post a list of what I have picked up so far in December:

1533de298cd56ff91657319fdc1e13abThe Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

purchased 12/2/19 for $0.99

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

purchased 12/2/19 for $2.99

Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao

purchased 12/14/19 for $5.99

The Beholder by Anna Bright

purchased 12/21/19 for $2.99

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

purchased 12/25/19 for $2.99

The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

purchased 12/25/19 for $1.99

So that’s about $18 for six books this month! I am completely happy with that! The couple of other titles I am still looking at snagging for a good deal and maybe you’d like to consider too: Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan (currently $1.99), Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron (currently $1.99), Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford (currently $2.99), Shadow Frost by Coco Ma (currently $0.99),  Final Girls by Riley Sager (currently $1.99), and Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye (currently $1.99). Just to say again, all of these deals were found on Amazon and may not still be valid, but if you’re interested, its always worth checking, right?

That being said, hope you found yourself a deal on a new read today also! Or maybe you know of a bargain going on to share. Any recommendations? I’d love to know about it! Thanks in advance!

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#BEWinter19 : A Very Potter Christmas

Today’s prompt for Bookending Winter is “A Very Potter Christmas,” hosted by Broken Soul Reviews, and who am I to pass up a Potter prompt?? If you’d like to join in on this amazing quarterly event hosted by Cuppa Clo and Fictionally Sam, you can check out the event main page here. But enough chit-chat. On to the prompt!

Question #1
Which Harry Potter book was your favorite and why?

originalI have always said that Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite because of the Marauders and the details left out of the movie about their backgrounds and stories. I just love meeting Sirius and all of the intricacies of that book. However, I am re-reading the series as an adult and I just finished book 5 and so far I am surprised to say that Order of the Phoenix is my new favorite. Talk about details and little humors that I have never appreciated before! There are so many characters in this book that really shine–the Weasely twins, Luna, Ron…unfortunately almost everyone but Harry.

Question #2
Which Harry Potter characters are your favorites and why?

Not necessarily in specific order I love Dumbledore and I hate hearing when people give him grief. Since the very beginning (and now, with ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ apparently before the beginning even! what?!) Dumbledore was the man with the plan. He always made sure Harry was taken care of, he was always doing his research, he was always doing his best to stay five steps ahead, and he was incredibly criticized all throughout. Next up is Molly Weasley for being a badass mum to her own children and anyone/everyone her kids brought home. She has the biggest, warmest heart but also is so strong and and kick butt when she needs to be. She is everything I would want to be as a mother. A lot of similarities here with Minerva Mcgonagall. Not only is she a softie for her students at heart, she is incredibly brave, wise, and strong. Honorable mentions for other favorites go to Harry, book Luna, Hagrid, and Lupin.

Question #3
Who are you taking to the Yule Ball?

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Thanks for stopping by today! Feel free to share any of your answers in the comments! I want to know especially who your date to the ball would be–either pre- of post- puberty, lol!!

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October Wrap-Up/November Goals

So this was definitely, definitely not my most successful October ever, unfortunately. I didn’t read and finish as many books as I had planned, I didn’t blog as many posts as I had hoped. I don’t know what happened but I just didn’t finish out the month quite where I wanted to. Let’s see what the results were….

– BOOKS READ –

The Last to Die … 10/3/19 … ★★☆☆☆
The Institute … 10/8/19 … ★★★★★
Pumpkinheads … 10/13/19 … ★★★★★
The Chestnut Man … 10/24/19 … ★★★★☆
Witches of East End … DNF … ☆☆☆☆☆

– BOOKS HAULED –

74348432_707135956451018_7844982637746716672_nSub Boxes
Into the Crooked Place
by Alexandra Christo
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Swaps/Gifts
The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
BookOutlet Haul
Beware the Night by Jessika Fleck
Consumed by J.R. Ward
George and Lizzie by Nancy Perl
Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Pearl
Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before boxed trilogy
Digital Snags
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
Invictus by Ryan Graudin
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

In my update last month, I mentioned that I was cleaning and rearranging my bookshelves a bit. Well I mostly did that. I haven’t gotten everything quite put back the way I’d like it yet–its still a work in progress but its close. It will happen soon enough. And so that will carry on into November. Also, since I didn’t get all of my posts finished and posted for the BookEnding Autumn event, a couple of those prompts just might carry over into this month as well. The ones that aren’t too spooky, that is. Just fall-ish ones. Plus I’m trying out the #thankfulathon on Instagram for the first time this year so I’m trying to reflect on books and habits and general life topics that I am thankful for.

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BEAutumn: Spicy Pumpkin Latte Book Tag

I am so excited to do this tag, created for BookEnding Autumn by Meegan Reads! Warm beverages are one of my favorite parts of autumn. Whether its apple cider, chai lattes, pumpkin spice….anything! I love it all!! Then put it with my soft socks, cozy blanket, a good book, and I am set! Let’s get to this tag!

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Rules:

  • Link back to the original post (hint, it’s this one!)
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Do the prompts below
  • Tag some friends
  • Most importantly – have fun!

Pumpkin Spice Latte: A book you didn’t think you’d love
Slayer by Kiersten White – I honestly don’t know why I picked this book up. I remember expecting this book to be super cheesy, being that this was centered around <i>Buffy</i>–a corny sitcom I never watched to begin with. Also, I was a little disappointed with the last K.White book I read so my expectations weren’t that high. However, I listened to the audiobook and I LOVED this one. One of my favorite reads of the year!

Hot Apple Cider: A book that got you a bit hot under the collar
No matter your sexual preferences, if you have a pulse, you probably felt some stirrings for the chemistry between our boys Alex and Henry in Red, White, and Royal Blue. This was a book that I know I will be reading again at some point. I decided to read it up because of all the hype and I am so glad I did. Definitely worth a read if you haven’t gotten to it yet!

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate: A book that felt like a warm hug
Since the theme is autumn and we’re going through warm beverages and comfort things, my first thought for this one is Rainbow Rowell’s Pumpkinheads. The very first page in this book is a map of the pumpkin patch that the characters work in and I was in love right then and there. Throughout the story, the MC’s basically tour the patch and its just so fun to visit all of the attractions with them…I will be reading this book every. single. year.

Maple Pecan Latte: A book you enjoyed that was hard to get into
I’ll give this one to The Bear and the Nightingale. Yes, I know this is a book that I harbor an unpopular opinion on. It just was a slowburn for me. I still am blaming myself for listening to the audiobook version and I am going to be brave and try again at some point to read a hard copy. I think there is potential because I know I did like the ending and I felt a bit lost. I felt the fairy tale element and I liked it but again, I was only confused by it so I feel I need to give it another go. The beginning was only difficult for me to really get into.

London Fog: A vanilla character
Hannah in These Witches Don’t Burn. I wanted to like this book and I didn’t hate it. I just thought it was dull. I thought that for a book about witches, it could have been more witchy. Probably because the main character was (sorry to say but) lame.

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Hot Buttered Rum: A book that was velvety smoothe

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew: A character whose temperament is icy cold
That would be Olive in The Unhoneymooners. From the very beginning, this girl has a cold “I’m unlucky” attitude and it lasts for the entire book. Even when she’s on this amazing vacation (a la ‘unhoneymoon’), she is still convinced it will go bad because of fate.

Salted Caramel Mocha: A book that you’re salty about
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. If anyone out there still hasn’t read the HP books or watched the movies, minor -SPOILER- ahead….I am still skeptical about the veil in the Department of Mysteries! I did recently re-read the book for the first time since my original read when the book first came out (maybe this was my third read? But I can’t say for sure–that’s not the point) and there is such little explanation for what is behind the veil or what happens if someone just casually falls in! But come on. I always thought Sirius was going to come back. Or Dumbledore was going to find a way. Or something! So yes. I’m still salty.

Honey Bee Latte: A character who is sweet
For this one I’m going to choose Millie Michalchuk from the book Puddin’. This is the second book to Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’. I preferred book 2 to book 1. Really they can each stand alone. Dumplin’ was made into a Netflix movie relatively recently and I hope they do the same with Puddin’ because, as I said, I preferred Puddin’. Millie is a fat girl who goes from enemies to besties with the head cheerleader of the school and the entire book is just really sweet and life lessons are learned and I just really enjoyed the whole thing. (Side note: I’ve never heard of a “honey bee latte”???)

Gingerbread Latte: A character you would take home for Christmas
So my typical non-villanous book boyfriend is Levi from Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. However, I now have a new Rowell book boyfriend! (I still think Levi is my favorite though, but for the sake of entertainment, I’ll change it up here) Josiah from Pumpkinheads! This lady knows how to write some wholesome guys, let me tell you! They are the type I could just hang out and laugh with, joke around with, drink coffee with, be super easygoing around…I think they just seem super chill.

So those are my answers! Technically the full BookEnding Autumn event is over now and I am so late in posting these but my October got so flipped upside-down I’m just posting at my own leisure at this point. If you’d like to do this tag, go for it! Be sure to tag me so I can see your answers, and tag the creator too! Have fun!

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Tour + Giveway: The Light at the Bottom of the World

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The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss #1)
by London Shah
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 29th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository Kobo

Synopsis:

Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.
At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.
Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture-and her father might be lost forever.

Review:

my2bcover2bhigh2bres2521I feel like that synopsis is extremely detailed so I don’t need to lay out too many details on the plot! However, as for my opinions….stunning for a debut novel! So get this: not only was this book a beautiful cover buy, it was also an incredibly unique, action-packed, futuristic, and an intriguing book. It was so neat to imagine the world we know all being underwater. I’m not from London, but can you imagine Sherlock Holmes or the Queen of England living underwater?? Yeah, who thinks of that??!! London Shah! Strong on imagination yet mild on romance, I loved that The Light on the Bottom of the Ocean also was relevant on current topics like diversity and the idea of questioning authority and voicing opinions, even though it has a futuristic setting. These concepts are timeless and ring true in this story and I found it refreshing to see it anchoring this book down. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone who enjoys YA fantasy!

About the Author:

authorAuthor London Shah is a British-born Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity. She has lived in Britain’s capital city for most of her life via England’s beautiful North. When she’s not busy re-imagining the past, plotting an alternate present or dreaming up a surreal future, then she’s most likely drinking copious amounts of tea, eating all the sweets and cakes, strolling through Richmond Park or along the Thames, getting lost on an evening in the city’s older, darker alleyways—preferably just after it’s rained—listening to punk rock, or losing herself in a fab SFF book or film. If she could have only one super power, it would be to breathe underwater. THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is her debut novel.

Giveaway:

Use the Rafflecopter link to enter to win a finished copy of The Light at the Bottom of the World.
Giveaway HERE
The Fine Print…
Giveaway is for US residents only.
False entries will result on the complete disqualification of the participant and this person won’t be eligible to receive a copy of the book. There are multiple giveaways currently live organised and promoted by The FFBC Tours, Disney and London Shah.
Participants may only claim 1 copy of the book regardless of the different platforms and blogs.
If more than one blogger contacts you as a winner, please accept only one prize and decline the other.
The winner will be notified via email and needs to answer within 48 hours letting us know if he/she accepts the prize and send us his/her full name and address.
Your personal information won’t be used or be seen by anyone unless you’re the winner of the giveaway. We won’t sell it or use it in a bad way.
Tour Hosts, the FFBC Tours and authors are not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
My Bookish Soundtrack:

Tour + Giveaway: Beyond the Black Door

42642042._sy475_Beyond the Black Door
Author: A.M. Strickland
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: October 29th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT

Synopsis

Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn’t listen …
Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.
But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.
When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.
A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom…

Review

Hands down, Beyond the Black Door is among the most unique books I have read. Dark fantasy, spooky vibes (so perfect for this month!) and a dark fantasy plot, unique concept called Soulwalking which is rooted more or less in the mythology of the fantasy world, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ace + demi-biromantic MC. WOW.

Main character Kamai is a Soulwalker who can enter people’s souls, or Nehyn. Kamai is taught this skill by her mother, who has always warned her against opening the black door that follows her when she enters souls. Of course, its not just any door but it seems to be a warm, breathing thing and like any good fictional character, the more you tell her not to do something, the more she wants to do it. To be completely honest, I did find the book a little rough-going in the beginning. We are being introduced to Kamai’s fantasy world, plus her routine of soul walking, so there were two huge fantastical concepts battling for my attention at the same time. However, once things got rolling about 25% of the way in, once more characters were introduced, once the plot started to get a little deeper and a little darker I was hooked!

About the Author

authorAdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, her pugs, and her piles and piles of books. She loves traveling, dancing, vests, tattoos, and every shade of teal in existence, but especially the darker ones. She is the coauthor of SHADOW RUN and SHADOW CALL (Delacorte/Penguin Random House) and author of the forthcoming BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR (Imprint/Macmillan).

Giveaway

Prize: Win a finished copy of BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR by A.M. Strickland. US/CAN only.

Starts: 23 October 2019
Ends: 6 November 2019

Click HERE TO ENTER VIA RAFFLECOPTER.

Check out the rest of the rest of the FFBC Tour schedule for more chances to win the giveaway.

Soundtrack

And of course, such is my personal signature, the song I choose to go with this book: Paint it Black by Clara

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