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Category Archives: 4 Stars

Garden of Eden by Kate Cowan BLOG TOUR

 
 

Series: The Legend of Eden #1
Re-Release date: October 22nd 2013
Publisher: Anchor Group Publishing
Average Rating: 4.30
My Rating: 4 out of 5 STARS!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13405762-garden-of-eden

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
It has been four years.

Four years since the day the Catchers found her family.
Four years since she escaped capture.
And four years since the day her mother locked her and
Will, a boy she hardly knew, in an attic, ‘for their own protection’.

Now, Eden White is fifteen, and sick of being a prisoner of parents who all but abandoned her. It was as simple as one walk down a beautiful, foggy beach, but it ended with Eden and Will face to face with Catchers – and this time, there is no escape.

When Eden wakes, she finds herself on an island, surrounded by hundreds of stolen children. Enrolled in the island school, Jordan Hall, Eden quickly learns that the island is not what it seems.

And, in the woods surrounding the school, she discovers a wild, beautiful magic inside of herself – one she has no idea how to control. With three unlikely new friends, Eden begins to realize that the headmistress is hiding much more than the stolen children – and what they learn in the laboratories below the school could cost Eden her life.Review:
This book began as another typical dystopian tale but ended as a fictional whirlwind. There is a certain point in the book where I feel like I fell down the rabbit hole.  It began having a really unexpected set of new characters with some very interesting plot twists.  There is nothing predictable about this novel and I wasn’t sure at all where the book was going to end.  A lot of questions were left unanswered but it sets up to a be a great series. However, the moment the story ends up on the Island I couldn’t stop reading.  I really enjoyed where the story finishes and definitely look forward to reading the next books in the series.

I really enjoyed Eden as a character and I loved how much she was willing to fight for the greater good.  She is not whiney of her situation even though it clearly sucks.  She definitely develops throughout the rest of the book and I am sure this will continue throughout the next few books.   Of course there is a love triangle but I think I am already on Will’s side.  There are so many unanswered questions and these questions even involve Eden’s love interest.

I would recommend this book to any YA fiction lovers and anyone willing to try a new series, I promise you will not be disappointed.

About the Author
Kate is an artist, an animation student, a black belt in karate and now, an author. She didn’t discover writing until mid-high school, when she began writing an (unintentionally) hilarious novel involving a teenage girl and a magic necklace. Her current novel series, The Legend of Eden, began as a story of Arthurian magic, but quickly transformed into something much different.

Kate currently lives in Ontario, Canada, in a zoo of a house. When she isn’t writing, she’s drawing, cooking, or browsing the Internet for new music.

www.katecowanauthor.com | twitter.com/K_Cowan_Author

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Mermother by Elizabeth Jane Wolfe

Mermother by Elizabeth Jane Wolfe


Source: Received a copy from author in exchange for an honest review, no compensation.
Release date: March 27th, 2013
Edition: Ebook
Genre: Young Adult/Fiction
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis via Goodreads: 


A young woman explores the ancient mysteries of the sea in an unforgettable adventure of friendship and family. Escaping from an abusive past, she finds solace in an underwater world full of beauty, wealth, and power. Discover how her life is transformed as she struggles to find true love in a world that forbids it.

This novel has been published as a fundraiser for the International Ocean Institute!

Mermother is a fast paced and unpredictable novel.  The synopsis does not do a real good job of telling you the best parts about the book.  The book is much more exciting than how the synopsis reads.   It is a first person account of Briony, a 25 year old woman who wakes up in a tide pool, next to a “girl” named Sylvie. This other “girl” is actually a mermaid who shows Briony what is like to be a creature of the sea.

Sylvie’s character is really superficial and I found myself not liking her at points.  I also found myself super confused by Briony’s choices during the novel. She agrees to stay with Sylvie and learn the ways of the sea for a few days but ends up staying much longer.  She doesn’t really stop to question or worry about her previous life.  She is fine letting her loved ones think that she drowned at sea. Briony also seems to go along with some other disturbing things throughout the book that would have sent a normal person running in the other direction.  

Mermother has some shocking aspects that reminded me of the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  I found myself disgusted and mad but I just HAD to keep reading.  I had the very same feeling while reading the Handmaid’s Tale.  I can’t wait to read the next in the series because I want to know how everything turns out!

I have not read many books with mermaids but I really liked this one.  I liked that it is not about a girl that falls in love with a mermaid.  Mermother is a bit twisted and holds lots of surprises!

Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper

Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper

Source: NetGalley

Publisher: Starry Sky Publishing
Release date: May 25th 2012
Series: The Kinderly Series Book #1
Edition: Ebook, 368 pgs
Genre: Young Adult/ Paranormal Fantasy
Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon
* We receive a small kickback from amazon purchases, all will go towards funding future giveaways!
Rating: 4/5

Leave it to Maryah Woodsen to break the one rule that will screw up eternity: Never erase your memories.

Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable—she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she’s supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life.

Nathan is convinced his family’s plan to spark Maryah’s memory is hopeless, but his love for her is undying. After spending (and remembering) so many lifetimes together, being around an empty version of his soulmate is heart shattering. He hates acting like a stalker, but has no choice because the evil outcast who murdered Maryah in their last lifetime is still after her.

While Maryah’s hunter inches closer, she and Nathan make assumptions and hide secrets that rip them further apart. Maryah has to believe in the magic within her, Nathan must have faith in the power of their love, and both need to grasp onto the truth before they lose each other forever—and discover just how lonely eternity can be.


Grasping at Eternity gave me everything I wanted out of this book and more! If I wasn’t already a huge fan of novels about Reincarnation, Grasping at Eternity would make me one. Karen Amanda Hooper adds some twists to the idea that really add to the story and helped keep me interested.

The characters are all vibrant and all have very different personalities. I fell in love with them and really enjoyed finding out more about their past lives. Reading about their past lives got a bit confusing at times, but it made sense for it to be that way. They can’t control what body they are reborn into. One life your best friend may be reborn as your brother/sister, the next they may be your father/mother! The one constant is they always had their soulmates. Until Marayah went and screwed that up for Nathan by Erasing that is.

Grasping at Eternity was a wonderful blend of just about everything I love in a story. Romance, Action, history, fantasy and a bit of mystery! I cannot wait to read book #2 and see what happens. Grasping at Eternity left me with my heart racing and dying to know what happens next. I also plan for sure on reading Karen Amanda Hooper’s other book  Tangled Tides. I’m curious to see what more this author has to offer and what she does in the world of Mermaids!

Rating:

Render by Stephanie Fleshman Blog Tour

Render by Stephanie Fleshman


Source: Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review, no compensation.
Release date: August 2013
Edition: Ebook
Genre: Young Adult/Thriller
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis via Goodreads: 

Koldan Holdt knows what he wants. The problem is his future was decided the day he was born—a future void of everything he has ever known.

Days before summer vacation, Koldan’s grandfather suddenly dies, leaving the consequences that have followed him since he fled his country to fall to Koldan. As Koldan learns about his new fate, he must accept the terms to which he is bound and live without the one person he wants, or remain true to who he is and risk both their lives repeating the choices his grandfather made.

Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan…until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. While she is not willing to give up without a fight, she knows it is a deadly game to stay together.



This book was suspenseful, a real tense page turner, and I thought about it long after I was done reading.  I am surprised that a non-paranormal book like this was able to steal my attention so quickly.  Only chapters into the book the plot takes off that sends Koldan, Lukas, Raya, and Ethan on a wild goose chase to figure out Koldan’s grandfather’s secrets.  There is some definite sexual tension in this book but not between just Raya and Koldan but between Raya and about every male character in the book.  Raya has got Teen Girl Problems!
My only worry about this book is the length, it’s long.  For people that love to read, 400 pages is no big deal BUT for teens it might seem daunting.  The descriptions are very wordy and elaborate; I found myself sometimes skipping sentences at points just to get to the good parts.  I just wanted to know what happened, I didn’t want to stop for a description of something.  BUT besides the length, I loved it! It was one of those that I wished I had the second book immediately.  I should really just start reading series after all the books are out, life would be much easier!  Does anyone else do this?
Another thing I would like to ramble about is the ending.  The ending leaves so much up in the air.  I have a love-hate relationship with endings like this one.  I hate it because I usually have to wait a very long time to find out what happened next but I love it because it makes a book I continue to think about long after reading.  I just want to know how all these pieces are going to be put back together again, argh!

Please enjoy this fun, playful excerpt from Render by Stephanie Fleshman. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.  

Render: An Excerpt

  I spin around and pull her to me, sighing as her arms lock around my neck. I lower my face to her hair, turning it into the curve of her neck to breathe her in. Her body molds to mine, lithe and boneless, and my arms swallow her as I tighten my hold. It softens all the hard points, the tension I’d been holding onto, smoothing the muscles in my shoulders and back. “You have great problem-solving skills, by the way,” I tell her softly in her ear. Keeping her arms around me, she leans back against the wall to look at me, a baffled expression on her face, whether in relation to the compliment or the unexpected direction in conversation, I don’t know. “Do I?” Her voice lifts in a flirtatious pitch. “Mmm. It’s why I asked you out,” I tease. “You solved most of my problems just by agreeing.” Looking back, I realize just how true this is, though I doubt she’ll take me seriously. Her lips curl in an obliging smile, and her eyes say it all, disbelieving in their beauty, corroborating what I already knew. But she’s still smiling, and I alone am responsible for that. She curls her hand around the side of my neck, and I feel her thumb glide over the scar behind my earlobe, one I incurred at fourteen, when Lukas slammed my head into the bathroom mirror. Then I broke his collarbone. Both of us ended up in the emergency room that morning, an incident that resulted in our father leaving for work a half hour later. It’s always quieter when our father is home. “How are you doing?” she asks, looking up to search my eyes. I slide my hands from the small of her back to her waist, as my gaze sweeps from shoulder to shoulder. I can already feel the ground of normalcy beneath me, her presence holding the pieces of my life together, when it seems everything can come apart at any moment. “Good now that you’re here.” This seems to make her both happy and sad. A look of gloom passes over her face even as a small smile touches her lips. Then her eyes trail down the front of my body, taking in my suit jacket and pants. “You look like a lawyer,” she comments. “Straight from the courtroom.” I can’t remember a time when she’s ever seen me in a suit. The closest is the tux I wore to her senior prom two months ago, which is not much different than what I wear now. “It suits you.” I raise my eyebrows in doubt. “What? Looking like a lawyer?” “Not just a lawyer. You look…professional.” Then, with a full smile, she adds, “I like it.” “Ah,” I say, mirroring her smile as I grasp her meaning. “I like that you’re my biggest fan.” Her teeth shine bright against her tan skin. She drops her arms to her sides, and I lace my fingers through hers. She smells of honeysuckle, vanilla, and lavender all at once, with soft underlying notes I can’t name, a scent that swirls inside me, tantalizing every cell in my body. I lean forward, canting my head slightly to fit my lips to hers. I have to fight to keep the rhythm slow, to savor every second. But when her mouth opens, urgency builds within me, and I press farther. Too soon, though, she’s pulling away, leaving my blood pumping in a hot stream and my heart pounding against my chest. I place a hand on the wall behind her and lean forward, closing the narrow space she’s put between us. “I wasn’t finished,” I say. I’m already tilting my head to kiss her again when she stops me with one word. “Wait.” “Wait?” I mutter against her lips. I feel her palms on my chest, easing me back. It’s hard to concentrate on anything but touching her, but I slowly resign myself to the conversation that is apparently inevitable, when my only instinct is to kiss her. I straighten and meet her eyes, which does nothing to tame my thoughts. “I got your note,” she says. When I started mowing Mrs. Whitney’s lawn, Elizabeth gave me a key, so I could let myself in when they weren’t home. In the beginning, I would leave Raya notes on her dresser, not knowing at the time that she’d actually keep them. When she showed me every note I’d ever written her, my first instinct was to laugh, because it seemed senseless. But then I saw how impressed she was and felt empowered that I could make her so happy. She probably has a shoebox full of notes by now. I back her against the wall until we’re touching from hips to shoulders. Her eyes, as warm and green as summer leaves, meet mine. She’s looking at me as if I did something amazing, but just in case, I ask, “Is that all? Or is there something else you want to add, because I’d really like to kiss you right now?” Her eyes dip momentarily to my mouth. “I was going to thank you for the note, but you distracted me.” “You don’t need words for that.”

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.
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About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes. Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

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Heaven and Hellsbane by Paige Cuccaro

Heaven and Hellsbane (Hellsbane #2)


Source:Entangled Publishing – I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation.

Published:  August 27th 2013  by Entangled Publishing, LLC

Edition: Ebook
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble

**We receive a small kickback from Amazon purchases, all of which will go towards giveaways!
Brittany’s Rating: 4/5

Synopsis via Goodreads: 
Emma Jane Hellsbane just unwittingly triggered a whole bunch of nephilim to come into their powers—and this new army has teamed up with Bariel, demon straight from Hell, who’s made it his mission to kill all the magisters on Earth. When they come after Eli, Emma and Officer Dan must work together to save him, but this makes Eli all the more tempted to Fall for Emma. And his fighting his feelings for her means Heaven has taken notice.

Now Emma isn’t just fighting off demons, rogue nephilim and Fallen angels, she’s defending her womanhood to the judgmental Seraphim angels, too, who want to separate Eli from Emma Jane. Can she protect Eli, Officer Dan, and find her rogue father? For Emma Jane, it’s all in a day’s work as Heaven’s ultimate bounty hunter.

Review:
This book did not suffer from second book syndrome, it had a really exciting plot line with nonstop action!  I even liked it better than the first!  There is also a little bit more of a love story in this book so that is a win for me!  When my heart get involved in books, I am even more invested.   Of course, the love story is a complication for both characters and I am not sure how Paige Cuccaro will resolve it in the end!
Oh Emma and Eli, their love story is so enticing but so forbidden. I know I said this about the first one but one thing I really like about this is author is that not everything ends up happy.  I have read too many books lately that don’t seem to have real life consequences.  Again, I know I am horrible for say that!

My only worry for the book is that the complicated plot line will overshadow everything else.  SO MUCH happens in this book, SO MUCH that I just wonder how will all these loose ends be tied together.  I am not sure how many books this series will be, I just hope there is more than one book left otherwise it might not be a clean finish  

There is an intimate sex scene in the book so I would not recommend to young readers! However, as an adult I really enjoyed this book.  It is a fun read and gave me the very same feeling that Black Wings by Christina Henry did.  It is just an overall pretty good book.  Check out the review here:http://www.thepassionatebookworm.blogspot.com/2013/08/stepping-out-of-your-element-3.html


Stepping out of your YA element (4)

Hellsbane by Paige Cuccaro

Source:Entangled Publishing – I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation.

Published: December 2011 by Entangled Publishing, LLC

Edition: Ebook
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble

**We receive a small kickback from Amazon purchases, all of which will go towards giveaways!
Brittany’s Rating: 4/5

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Emma Jane Hellsbane always knew she was different, but she had no idea she wasn’t even human. Well, at least she’s half-human. She’s half-fallen angel, too, and now dear ol’ dad wants her dead. All the Fallen angels want all their troublesome offspring removed from the mortal coil so she’s trying not to take it personally. Besides, she wants him dead just as much. Her father’s death is the only way she’ll be forgiven for his sin, stop those pesky demons from trying to hack off her head, and have any hope at all of getting back to a normal life as a wicked slick Intuitive Consciousness Explorer.

Of course, first she’ll have to figure out which fallen angel is her father, avoid accidentally seducing her angelic mentor, help an old friend conquer his own fallen sperm donor, and basically save the world from a cataclysmic divine smack down.

No problem. With a last name like Hellsbane, Emma Jane was definitely born for the job.



REVIEW

Hellsbane is a fast paced, quick read. I was fully invested in the plot line and will be reading the next immediately.   Emma, the main character, is a lovable character with YA girl problems.  She confirms her suspicions very early that she is not normal, not even fully human.  Of course, they are men in her life that complicate life even more (YA girl problems)! She even seems to embrace her non humanness and her ability to kick some “fallen” butt!

This book is like a roller coaster ride in the dark.  Only about half way into the book Paige Cuccaro crushes your heart and all you are left to do is keeping reading. I have not read a book like that in a long time!  The sappy part of me was hoping something magical would happen and make it all better, nope!  BUT, as much as I was super sad, it is nice for things to seem realistic sometimes.  Am I terrible for saying that or what? However, Emma doesn’t have time to do the Bella sit and stare out the window thing, she has some butt to kick!

This book is listed as New Adult but I think it is also a great fit for YA readers.  Emma’s character is relatable and the story is creative and fast paced.  Minus some swear words and some slight sexual references, I also think that this book would be appropriate for teens.  I have not read further in the series but this one is definitely ok!

Overall a pretty good read with some awesome series potential!

      


Follow the White Rabbit Review, Author Interview, and Giveaway!

An entire week dedicated to re-tellings of Lewis Carroll’s Classic story: 
Alice in Wonderland


Follow the White Rabbit
By Kellie Sheridan
Source: LibraryThing – I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation.
Published by: May 21st 2013 by Patchwork Press

Edition: eARC
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble

**We receive a small kickback from Amazon purchases, all of which will go towards giveaways!
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis via Goodreads:

For centuries, Wonderland thrived as the domain of beautiful bedlam and unapologetic madness. It was a place like no other. All it took was one girl slipping in through the cracks of the universe to start chaos spiraling toward order. In the 150 years since Alice’s visit, the realm has become tainted—almost normal. Rabbits in waistcoats and playing card minions are little more than creatures of myth, and Wonderland is literally falling to pieces.

For Gwen, Rose, and Lucky, Wonderland is home, and yet they know little of its former glory. When the Alice prophecy resurfaces, they’ll have one chance to use Wonderland’s own legends to bring a little mayhem back into their reality. For she who controls Alice controls the fate of Wonderland.



The most important aspect to note about this book is that it is actually a novella.  It is only about 100 pages! I think knowing that part really helped me to enjoy the book.  Most reviews I have read about it have given it a lower rating due the story being too short, well it is a novella! I hated that it was so short because I was immediately left wanting more.  That is my usual feeling after reading a great novella.

The novella follows three different perspectives plus Alice eventually!  Four perspectives was a bit confusing at first but it got easier as the book went on!  I love this type of writing because you get to know so much more about the story.



 This book is a definite must read if you love Alice in Wonderland retellings.  I think it offers a really unique take on the retelling and is different than most Alice retellings. I love Kellie’s take on the characters!  The white rabbit is no longer an animal!  The mad hatter is no longer a crazy and manic type of character. Alice is also not your usual Alice.  

Since it’s a novella, I am going to keep the review short and sweet.  Have more questions, just comment below!

Author Interview:

Q: Why an Alice in Wonderland retelling?
A: Who doesn’t love Alice in Wonderland?! Okay, a lot of people, but I am not one of them. But what I love more than the original story is all of the ways it has been interpreted since. There are just so many fantastic adaptations out there, and I love (almost) all of them. I always knew I’d eventually want to add my own ideas to the pool, but it was once I saw the artwork that is now on the series’ covers that I knew what I wanted to do with Wonderland—take it somewhere a little more modern, make the main characters all incredible women. The rest of the story just evolved from there.


Q: If you were a character in your Follow the White Rabbit story who would you be?
A: I liked to think that if I were running around in modern day Wonderland and were to play a role in Alice’s journey, that I would be The Mad Hatter. In the world I’ve created, she’s the one who both seeks out knowledge and tries to bring everyone else together. There’s a lot of value in that. Plus, the tea party is going to be a lot of fun!

Q: Do you ever picture your family or friends when you are writing a character?
A:So far, no one I know has really fit into either of the worlds I’ve created (Wonderland and a zombie apocalypse), but I’m sure when the moment calls for it, everyone I’m close to will eventually serve as inspiration for a character, or I’ll start borrowing anecdotes from their lives. Actually, earlier this week, my younger sister was in a pretty bad accident. She was incredibly lucky, and walked away from it but that night had a huge impact on my entire family and I can see a lot of that emotion coming out in my writing at some point.

Q: Which of your series was easier to write?
A: The Hitchhiker Strain, all the way. Even putting my own spin on things, the zombie apocalypse has pre-determined rules that everyone more or less follows, and even if you vary from those, you’re still establishing your own rules that you need to write within. In Wonderland, there are really no rules. Sometimes that means you can write yourself into a corner and than take a ridiculous route to get your characters to safety, and it works, but you also have to pick through a million different possibilities to get there. It has also been trickier to outline and plot for my three main characters, plus Alice, and have all of their lives intersect like they’re supposed to.

Q: If you could work with any author who would it be?
A: I would love to work with any of my top five—Bishop, Briggs, Vincent and Vaughn. And Richelle Mead, whose name doesn’t quite fit with the other four. For most of these authors, it was their urban fantasy series that I feel in love with, rather than YA, but there is still no question I could learn a lot from any of these women.

Q: What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A: So far, I’d actually say Patchwork Press. My writing partner and I started up a small “author-powered publisher” for independent authors. Writing and publishing can be a very solitary experience, so we started up Patchwork Press to combine the freedom of indie publishing with the benefits of traditional publishing. We all still make the final decisions about our own titles, but we also have a team of people backing us up, who can can call on for advise and who believe in what we’re doing. It has been fantastic so far!

Q: How many hours a day do you write?
A: Not enough. This summer was supposed to be all about writing, and I haven’t done nearly enough. Life just kept making other plans. Right now, I usually write 500-2000 words, two or three days a week. I’m hoping to get up to 1000+ words, six days a week.

Q: Do you have any MUST HAVE snacks or drinks for when you are in writing mode?
A: For me, it’s all about the tea. I am a David’s Tea addict. I’ve never been much of a caffeine person, but when your options for black tea are “Red Velvet Cake” and “Toasted Marshmellow”, it’s impossible to say no.

Q: What suggestions do you have for new authors?
A: Believe you can do it. The publishing industry is changing, and there are a lot of new doors opening up. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can absolutely live your dreams.

Q: What fun things have you been doing this summer?
A: The highlight of this summer for me was definitely my trip to New York for BEA! I met so many fantastic people and it was just wonderful. I also spent a week at my family’s cottage, catching up on reading. And well, writing… which is always fun!

Look for Book Two in Beautiful Madness Next Month! 

                                                 

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