Posts By: Lizzy

Jun 13

Aru Shah and the End of Time

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Aru Shah and the End of TimeAru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1) by Roshani Chokshi
Published by Rick Riordan Presents on March 27, 2018
Genres: Middle Grade
Pages: 355
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads five-stars

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she'll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru's doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don't believe her claim that the museum's Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it's up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

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“We must go to the Otherworld, of course. Not quite what it used to be. It dwindles with humanity’s imagination, so I suspect it is currently the size of a closet. Or perhaps a shoe box.”

I absolutely loved this book! I wish I had been able to read it when I was a kid. It would have opened my eyes to a mythology completely different from any others I knew (it still did, it would have just been…nice to have it earlier in life). Aru is completely relatable, even though her situation is far and away from my own in some respects. I got a real Percy Jackson vibe, but it didn’t feel at all like a copycat. Hopefully that makes sense to my fellow readers!

This book isn’t only educational but EXTREMELY entertaining. I found myself snickering quite a few times and laughing out loud at least once. I love the pot shots Roshani takes at current issues/politics.

“This is what we get for thinking that scaly orange skin and fake hair could keep that former demon out of elected office!”

It’s not all fun and games though, as Aru and her friends soon discover…the lives of everyone they care about really are at stake, and not all are as they seem…

“Villains could be heroic, and heroes could do evil…everyone has a bit of good and bad in them.”

Basically this whole book is quotable, and I want to scoop Aru up into a hug (that she probably wouldn’t appreciate). So eager to read the next one!

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five-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Jun 12

Can’t Wait Wednesday #8 – The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Books/Writing 0

I’m joining in the fun with a Can’t-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Usually the books are ones yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday #8 – The Girl the Sea Gave BackThe Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young
Published by Wednesday Books on September 3, 2019
Pages: 336
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

I am SO stinking excited for this book! I loved Adrienne’s debut novel, Sky in the Deep, and SERIOUSLY need some more Viking-type fiction in my life. I have this pre-ordered and absolutely cannot wait!

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Jun 10

The Bride Test

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

The Bride TestThe Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2) by Helen Hoang
Published by Berkley on May 7, 2019
Pages: 296
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads four-stars
three-half-flames

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.

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“When she died, demons were going to torment her for eternity instead of letting her reincarnate. Or worse, they’d let her reincarnate, but she’d be a catfish who lived under a river outhouse.”

The Bride Test is a companion novel to The Kiss Quotient, but it isn’t necessary to have read that one before this one (thankfully, unlike many novels marketed as “companion”).

So, somehow I avoided all the general hubbub that surrounded The Kiss Quotient, author Helen Hoang’s debut novel, when it came out last year. I was aware of it, but not being in a mood AT ALL for romance, I skipped it. I continued to hear people rave about it, and then this subsequent companion novel, so I decided to pick it up.

I loved so many things about this book. I loved Khai so much, and I liked Esme even if I didn’t entirely relate to her…and, since she is coming from SUCH a different background than, I imagine, almost anyone who will read this book, I doubt I am the only one. She is a strong woman who will do anything – ANYTHING! – for her family, even if it means sacrificing herself. She does eventually come to realize that it is not worth it to sacrifice her happiness, even if it means a better life for her daughter, but she plays such a dangerous game here. The author’s note at the end of the book actually talks a lot about this, which I really appreciated.

Autism definitely gets positive rep here, and it was such a refreshing breath of air. I did think it was a little odd that Esme – who researches EVERYTHING – just sort of blew off Khai’s statement about it. That seemed really out of character, but whatever, I guess. She was super sensitive to his need for a different kind of touch, to his need for order and routine…but I felt like part of that was her desperation to try to get him to like her, and it sat a little sour with me. I’m glad that she came into herself by the end, but still.

There are definitely sexy times in this book – phew! The way Khai handles his sexual attraction to Esme is funny, cute, and sexy at the same time. There is clearly attraction between them, and I love that Esme was completely okay with having sex for sex’s sake – even if nothing else would come of it. We need more of that sort of sex-positive attitude in books. Enough with the slut shaming.

I also loved Khai’s big family. His mom – the whole reason Esme is in America – is hilarious but also so sweet because she clearly loves her kids so very much. The way Kwan and Khai interact completely melted my heart, too. I hope we get Kwan’s full story in the next book! Now I am definitely going back to read The Kiss Quotient and am really looking forward to the next installment as well.

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If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

 

four-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Jun 09

Sunday Post #12 – Speaking Organic

Books/Writing 0

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s been a LONG time since I did a Sunday Post, but I’d like to get back into it regularly as a way to wrap up. I’m totally patterning mine off of Kimberly’s, at least for now.

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Not going to lie, folks, this week has been pure hell. I was braced for the onslaught that I knew would be a summer organic chem class, but I wasn’t truly prepared for the amount of homework and general feeling of flailing around and trying to cram SO MUCH information into my poor brain in such a short amount of time! I had time to read a grand total of ONE chapter in my book until last night, when I decided that after an exam I deserved a break. I finished it Saturday morning, and it was great…but now I have this mountain of homework to finish by Monday morning and…I’m seriously doubting my life choices right now.

Weekly Dose of Adorableness

Noah in a rare, brief – very brief – moment of snuggling with Tristan (the cat you can barely see here).

Last Week on Blog

Next Week on the Blog

  • The Bride Test – adult romance review
  • Aru Shah and the End of Time – MG review
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday

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Jun 06

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★★

The Book Woman of Troublesome CreekThe Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on May 7, 2019
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads five-stars

In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.

Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government's new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a powerful message about how the written word affects people--a story of hope and heartbreak, raw courage and strength splintered with poverty and oppression, and one woman's chances beyond the darkly hollows. Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek showcases a bold and unique tale of the Pack horse Librarians in literary novels — a story of fierce strength and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.

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TW: death, racial prejudice, rape, sexual assault.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a fabulous book. It’s very narrow in focus, which I think is what gave the author the ability to drop her readers into 1920s backwoods Kentucky in such a believable way. The blue skinned people of Kentucky and the Pack Horse Librarian Project are both from real history and it was just a real treat to read about something so real and yet so unknown.

“I was to stay put, and exactly where they wanted to keep me put. Beneath them. Always and alone.”

I loved Cussy. She’s had the short end of the stick in life, but she hasn’t let it completely beat her down. She loves her books, and her father, and despite things really looking dim she refuses to give up hope of a better life. Cussy is nineteen years old, with blue skin, in a society that beats her down for both. Looked at as basically “worse than colored,” her father is desperate to get her married since he knows his own days are numbered, due to being a miner and afflicted with black lung. He fears for her and this is the only way he can (he thinks) be sure she is taken care of and provided for after he is gone. His plan does not work out well for Cussy, and only stirs things with the local people that already look at both of them as outcasts.

Despite all the odds against her, Cussy finds a huge solace in her job as a “book woman,” one of the several female librarians who take books to the VERY farflung mountain people. She is so passionate about literacy, and helping all her patrons better themselves. My heart hurt as she constantly ran up against prejudice, not just for her oddly-colored skin but for just being a woman. Even the local doctor (someone who is supposed to be about HELPING people) is more interested in her for his ulterior reasons of figuring out her blue skin – no matter what her thoughts on the matter.

I also really loved that eventually, Cussy meets someone who hasn’t always lived in the hollers. Just as her mind has been expanded by books even though she’s never been outside Kentucky, the stranger has both traveled (extensively, by local standards) and read, and he treats her as a person regardless of her skin or gender. There isn’t really a HEA, but there is hope, and to me that is even more important.

This book was SO important to me on a personal level. My family – on both sides – is from the hills and hollers of West Virginia. My parents were the first generation to move outside the same county for over a hundred years, outside the state EVER. I grew up all over the United States and the world but I am still extremely conscious of my Appalachian roots, and sadly very little has changed in many areas where my extended family still lives. They – we – need more people like Cussy.

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five-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Jun 05

Can’t Wait Wednesday #7 – Capturing the Devil

Books/Writing 0

I’m joining in the fun with a Can’t-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Usually the books are ones yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday #7 – Capturing the DevilCapturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #4) by Kerri Maniscalco
Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 10, 2019
Pages: 448
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads

In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer---or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World's Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.

Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they've heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him---and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device---is another.

Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end---together and in love---or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?

I’m pretty sure EVERYONE has heard of this series already and probably already seen the cover for the final, but I’m just so freaking excited for it!! Not only is it the conclusion of the Aubrey and Thomas story (and damn it, he had better be treated RIGHT in this one), but it’s about the Devil in the White City! I actually read a book about that awhile ago (book wasn’t great, but the story was super interesting), so I’m really eager to see how Kerri brings the events to life. And of course…AUBREY AND THOMAS. Oh my gosh. How am I going to survive until September?!?

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Jun 03

June 2019 New Releases

Books/Writing 0

Somehow, I only have four books to share for June pre-orders! My wallet is definitely heaving a huge sigh of relief. May seemed to be a GIGANTIC month in publishing, there were soooo many books coming out that I wanted to buy and read! This is just, as always, the books I have pre-ordered, it is by no means an exhaustive list of all the amazing books being published this month…just the ones I absolutely couldn’t live without!

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All covers link to GoodReads!

  • I Wanna Be Where You Are – this just sounds adorable and I need more diverse summer books in my life. A lot of the ones I’ve been finding are very, very white and only white and that’s sad.
  • Teeth in the Mist – IT’S A FAUST RETELLING GUYS!!!!! And it’s female driven. YES PLEASE TAKE MY FIRSTBORN.
  • The Girl in Red – Little Red Riding Hood told in Christina Henry’s epically creepy style (I hope). YES YES.
  • Wicked Fox – set in Seoul, with Korean legends and soul-stealing and immortality? This just sounds amazing, even more so since it’s the first of a duology (at least…there are two books listed on GR currently).

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What books are on your radar for this month? Drop me a note in the comments!

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Jun 03

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Book Reviews 1 ★★★½

Stepsister by Jennifer DonnellyStepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by Scholastic Press on May 14, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads three-half-stars

Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe ... which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

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“Have you forgotten what I am? I am the heart’s first beat and its last. I am the newborn lamb and the wolf that rips out its throat. I am the bloodsong, crone.”

Stepsister is the story of what happens to Cinderella’s family after she marries her prince and leaves them for the palace life. I was SO excited for this book, and I loved the cover, and the premise! So, while I enjoyed it and finished it pretty quickly, this was unfortunately one of those books where I really felt like I read a different book than what other reviewers read. I saw several reviews that said it was incredibly dark, and gritty, and feminist…and while it definitely tries to be all of those things, it doesn’t quite pull it off. I think one of the main issues I have is that the book is simply too short to successfully BE what it was aiming for. I was quite surprised when it arrived, as it seemed like a very slim volume for the tale I was expecting – it comes in at 352 pages, in a book shorter than your usual hardcover. It feels rushed, and as a result I wasn’t able to fully believe in the characters or their feelings.

HOWEVER. I was still extremely curious all the way through, as it isn’t ever exactly clear how Isabelle and Octavia (the other stepsister) will reclaim themselves and their circumstances. I expected a lot more darkness, but to be honest the most horrifying thing happens in the first chapter (and isn’t a surprise) when both sisters mutilate their feet in an attempt to wear the glass slipper.

*insert Jeopardy theme song*

I kept waiting for something else bloody and awful to happen but it really…didn’t. And yes, I know, what kind of a person does this make me…I’m trying not to think too hard on that. 😛 I also loved the idea of the wolf within, slumbering under the heart of a girl who had been told to be quiet and still and stay in her place.

More Things I Liked

  • Both sisters have very unconventional interests (Octavia is a mathemetician, and Isabelle is a tactician) that have been smothered by their mother and society in general. I loved how they grew and blossomed and came into themselves as the story progressed.
  • There are some real zingers in here…

“The feeling that you want to own someone body and soul, spirit them away from everyone else, have them all to yourself forever and ever and ever,” Hugo said dreamily. “It’s called love.”

“No, it’s called kidnapping,” said Tavi.”

  • The bet between Fate and Chance was pretty interesting. I wish there had been a little more explanation of how they came to be in their current form and the mapwriting…etc.
  • THE FAIRY GODMOTHER!!!! OMG. I don’t want to spoil anything but holy crap this is my favorite fairy godmother interpretation of all time.

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three-half-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Jun 02

Sunday Post #11 – I Demand a Recount

Books/Writing 0

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s been a LONG time since I did a Sunday Post, but I’d like to get back into it regularly as a way to wrap up. I’m totally patterning mine off of Kimberly’s, at least for now.

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I’m demanding a recount…of the days allotted to May. I was promised 31 days and I’m pretty sure I only received about 10. I start my summer class – organic chemistry (EEEEEK!!!) – tomorrow. Someone please explain how that happened. My brain is not sufficiently recovered from the past semesters. On the bright side, I’ve discovered that I actually know two people who will be in class with me, which makes me extremely happy.

Since all the complaining I can do will NOT roll back the calendar on May, I did a quick count and I managed to finish quite a few books for May!

  • 12 physical copy books
  • 5 e-books
  • 1 audiobook

TOTAL: 18 books

That has to be some kind of record for me. Pretty happy about that. I’m at 70 books for the year, which is FABULOUS for me. I have no idea how the rest of the year will go but I am very happy with the books I’ve read so far.

I’ve been a lot more active on Instagram lately (not just for the Read a Series in a month challenge, which I failed because…I can only handle so much angst at a time…*side-eye at the Twilight Saga*), so if you have an account be sure to look me up!

Weekly Dose of Adorableness

My golden boy is almost one year old! He looks so GROWN.

Last Week on Blog

Next Week on the Blog

  • Stepsister – YA fantasy review
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek – historical fiction review
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday #7

If you want to see what other books are coming up for review, be sure to check out the widget in the right sidebar!

Around the Blogosphere

I was absolutely HORRIBLE about blog hopping this week! If you saw something really awesome in the book world, leave me a link in the comments! <3

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May 31

Cover Reveal – Magnetic by Anya J. Cosgrove!

Book Tours 0

I’m super excited to get to share the cover for the first book in Anya J. Cosgrove’s upcoming new series! I read the first of her debut series, Shadow Walker, (the other two are in my TBR to review!) and absolutely loved it, so I’m so happy to see she’s continuing to write AND that this series is a spin-off from the first series.
Title: Magnetic
Author: Anya J. Cosgrove
Genre: Reverse Harem Shifter Romance
Release Date: August 8, 2019
Cover Design: Fiona Jayde Media

 

Who said life was a fairy tale? Because I’d gladly slice that jerk’s head off.
I never expected to end up half-naked in the woods with my guts hanging out. I didn’t plan to stumble upon the most powerful shifter clan in North America and three of the sexiest men I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Dominic, the fun and reckless new wolf.
Sam, the hot doctor with glacial-blue eyes.
And Gabriel, the intense, secretive alpha who wants nothing to do with me.
My real name is a one-way ticket back to hell, and my secrets need to stay buried like the girl I used to be.
Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Red Riding Hood—I can be all three. I can use my powers to earn a place in their werewolf town, away from the bite of my past mistakes. I can use them—and their bodies—to survive.
The only thing I can’t do is fall for them.

 

Anya J Cosgrove lives in Québec with her husband, her beautiful son, and two mischievous cats. She works as a veterinarian by day. She’s a travel and Disney junkie and is passionate about her favorite paranormal series.
What would Buffy do? Kick ass!

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