Saving Each Other | Blog Tour – Q&A and Excerpt

Greetings readers!

I am so happy to bring you a lovely Q&A and Excerpt of a New Adult book, Saving Each Other by Stacy Mitchell. This book is perfect for the romantic in you! It’s a novel on grief and the strength needed to keep moving on in life. I’ve heard it’s the book to read when your looking to breach those hard to swallow topics and need a good cry!

Saving Each Other by Stacy Mitchell

Saving Each Other (Saving Series, #1)

Publisher: Create Space
Pub Date: Aug 4th, 2017
ISBN: 1974591719
Find it! Goodreads | Amazon

Two hearts, two souls. Devastated by loss, united through destiny.

The rules: Communicate only through text messages and never reveal our real names or other personal details.

My name is Ean Montgomery. After the drunk driving accident that killed my wife, son, and unborn daughter, I was forced to see a grief counselor. In an unconventional move, she gave me a private cell phone and the first initial of the name of a woman who had been widowed by the same accident. I had no intention of ever texting her but with all hope and the will to live gone, I found myself quickly slipping down the rabbit hole. Desperate, lonely, and unbelievably sad, I reached out to her and she became my everything.

My name is Dani Adams. I was married to my college sweetheart, the love of my life. Together we were raising our four-year-old daughter and running a successful business. Then the accident happened and life as I knew it ended in the blink of an eye. I didn’t want to answer his text but I was barely hanging on by a thread and he was in tremendous pain, so I replied. And once again, my world was forever changed.

Over the course of a year, through texting alone, we bond. Friendship blossoms into something deeper. We were never supposed to meet, but fate had other plans, and in this world of loss and despair, something amazing began to grow… But can the passion we’ve found sustain itself with the deep, soul-twisting pain that never seems to fade?

About Stacy!

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 Stacy Mitchell was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lived in the South Bay for 20 years before moving to the Conejo Valley. She lives with her husband of 29 years and is the mom of two grown sons. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, hiking in the Santa Monica mountains or enjoying a glass of cabernet.

Find Stacy Online!
Facebook | Pinterest

Author Q & A

Where did you grow up /live now? I was born and raised in Los Angeles, moved to the South Bay when I met my husband, and then relocated to the Conejo Valley when my oldest son, Jason, started middle school.

Do you have kids and/or pets? I have two sons. Jason graduated Rutgers, and stayed there, while my youngest, Brian, is about to start design school. I’ve never owned a cat but may get one. I lost my goldendoodle, Norman, last year, and my labradoodle, Maddie, is lonely. Look for my tribute to Norman in the back of my book.

Who are some of your favorite authors? My son Brian is gay and I wanted to be there for him, to guide him. So I turned to gay romance novels. I’m now completely addicted to them. People who live in the LGBTQ+ community have much higher hurdles they have to scale, so the love they share is much deeper than straight couples. Most of the time they’re better than mainstream books. NR Walker is my favorite M/M author. I also love Riley Hart, Lucy Lennox, Alexa Land, and Pandora Pine to name a few. When I read “straight” romance novels, I tend to lean toward Contemporary and romantic comedy. My favorite M/F author is Sandi Lynn. Other one-click authors are Adrianna Locke, Corinne Michaels, BN Toler, and Kristen Callahan.

What do you like to do when you are not writing? When I’m not writing, I’m reading. I could spend the day writing, and still want to read. My goal with Goodreads is 200 books.  And, when I’m not reading, I can be found being creative in other ways. Brian designs fashion, and I love sewing with him. I also love designing jewelry, scrapbooking, and making gift baskets. Look for some of the fun give-aways, coming in the near future, many of them will be handmade.

What are some things unique to your books?   Aside from adding details that make it seem like you’re watching a movie, I love quotes, or as my husband calls them, Squotes. It’s something you’ll see throughout my book.  You also don’t find many books on the market where the main characters share chapters. Originally, I had five, but, over time, I narrowed it down to two. In the scene where Ean quotes Dani, mimicking her slurring her words, I actually slurred into my phone and let autocorrect do its thing. Also, in my second book, Josh talks with his mouth full. I shoved a bunch of crackers in my mouth and repeated his words. It was both messy, and effective.

Where/When do you best like to write? I have a small deck off my bedroom. I bought an oversized chair from Costco, and spend my days writing with my laptop on a polka dot, pillowed LapDesk. I’m a night-owl, and find I write the best when the moon’s smiling in the night sky.

What do you think makes a good story? I’m a very visual person, I was an interior decorator in my last life, so I love books with a ton of imagery. I also love books with real places in them. It’s so much fun to stumble across one when I’m reading, and I always Google and bookmark them. It’s also why I only include real places in my books.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write? Let’s start with the first question. Until three years ago, I never read a book that I wasn’t required to read.

Eleven years ago, my son Brian went away to summer camp. My husband and I decided to take advantage of our time off, hopped in my car and took a road trip up the West coast, from California to Washington. We were in Oregon, nine hours away, when the call came in that Brian had had a seizure. It was the hardest drive of my life. Thankfully, we got in touch with my mother, so I knew he wasn’t alone. When I got there, I was a basket-case, and that’s where the double-edged sword of having my mother there came into play. She handed me a little blue pill, to calm me. She then gave me a few more. She also gave me the name of a “dirty” doctor and told me what to say. The little blue pill was Xanax.

By the time I ended my addiction, which was eight years later, I was, not only taking twelve to fourteen milligrams a day, I was also hooked on over a dozen prescription drugs. In 2014, I traveled to Ireland and ran out of most of them. The withdrawal was so bad, I spent the entire time there in the hotel room. When I got home, I was in the doctor’s office bright and early the very next day. Six months later, I was back in the same boat. The only difference was, this time I was still in California. That was when I said, “Enough is enough,” and flushed every other pill I had. In hindsight, it was completely the wrong way to quit. Three years later, I still feel the effects, especially when I’m stressed.

So this brings me to the second question. Dani and Ean inspired me to write. Six months after I stopped the pills, I was in bed in that space between consciousness and sub-consciousness when Dani and Ean came to me. The best way I can it describe is…like watching a movie. I felt their pain with such intensity it took my breath away. I got up, opened notes on my iPhone, since I didn’t own a laptop, and my thumbs got to work.

What are some of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?  Keep your ears open and your mouth closed. Ideas can come from anywhere. And it really does take a village. I originally published my book August of last year. When the reviews came in, I not only read them, I got in touch with the people who wrote them. Best. Move. Ever! I got great advice and made a ton of new friends. It’s because of them that I re-opened Saving Each Other and spent the last four months revising it. Look for their names in the acknowledgment page.

And, don’t even get me started on the amazing women who helped me make my book what it is today, Stacey Blake, Judy Zweifel, Francine LaSala, and Sara Kocek.

When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again? Writer’s block isn’t an issue for me. Saving Each Other is the first in a series of five books. I wrote my second book, Saving Them, a month after my first, and I also wrote it in a month. The last three in the series, Saving Ourselves, Saving Christmas, and Saving Maybe, are partially written and completely mapped out. Going back to “ideas can come from anywhere,” I was in San Francisco last year and met an amazing man, who sadly was homeless. While talking to him, a sequel series, The Finding Series, played out in my mind. It’s all their kids.

Even though I haven’t experienced “Writer’s Block,” I have times when I’m uninspired. My words come from my characters, their voices roll through me. So, for the times I can’t hear them, I found that stepping back usually does the trick. By the time I start writing again, the words are much easier to find. Brian helps too. He’s my official “name” man. Other than the main characters, he named everyone. Talking it out helps too. I bounce ideas off my best friend, Leslie, and after a half an hour, I’m good to go.

What was your greatest challenge in writing this book? You won’t see it, because I’m surrounded by such amazing women, but I suck at grammar! Like legitimately suck!

What is the one book no writer should be without? One word…Thesaurus!

Excerpt

The place D and I have been forced to go for counseling is called “OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center” and is about a half an hour away from my home. My mom insisted on driving me. And while she hasn’t read anything about the accident, she spent the entire ride, before my first session, alternating between trying to force me to read the articles flooding the Internet and trying to persuade me to attend the court proceedings. I’m not going to read what some scumbag has to say about my family and I’ve made everyone promise they won’t either. I’m also definitely not going to the trial. The minute I see the man who murdered my family, I’ll lose my shit and that wouldn’t be good for anyone, especially me.

“OUR HOUSE” usually holds group sessions, but because our sessions are court-mandated and high profile, D and I were able to meet separately with our counselor, Elizabeth Macintyre, on a one-to-one basis.

Since we’re both barely hanging on by a thread, Beth did something very extreme and very risky. She came up with the idea that connecting us with one another could help us get through the grieving process. Her thinking was that since we’re both going through the same thing, we could potentially help each other. She explained to us—that to her—this was worth the potential loss of her license.

She gave us each a new cell phone that contained only each other’s new phone numbers along with the first letter of our first names. She wanted us to have a dedicated line to one another and her only stipulations were that we only communicate through text message and never reveal our real names or other personal details. This I agreed to because I had absolutely no intention of ever contacting her.

Except today. Today I have to. So I turn on my phone and type:

D, this is E.

I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. I don’t see how it’s going to change anything but I can’t stand this anymore. I’m at my breaking point. I’m in constant pain. It feels like a huge band is crushing my chest and getting tighter every day. All I do is cry! Everybody’s been trying really hard to help get me through this, I know that. I just don’t have it in me to give a shit.

I lost it with my mom yesterday. Said things no son should ever say to his mother. All she did was ask me to move in with her, and I lost it. It got so bad that she ran out of the house crying with a very mad Riley on her heels. Sure she’s asked me before, but that’s no excuse. My dad laid into me, took Po, and left. I’m now truly alone; being sucked into an inescapable vortex of grief. I’m so lost.

They haven’t been by yet today and I hope they don’t come by at all; this way I can die in peace. I’m falling down the rabbit hole very quickly and that’s why I need to contact D, the only other person who could possibly understand what I’m going through.

So I continue.

I wasn’t planning on contacting you, but here I am. I’m sure you feel the same way since you haven’t reached out to me and I don’t blame you if you don’t respond. It’s been almost a month since my world ended, and let’s just say, unfortunately, suicide isn’t an option. Even though I really wish it were.

I push aside my tears but not my pain; it refuses to leave. I take a deep breath and keep typing.

I’m dying. With each second that passes, I keep dying more and more. I never leave my house, I just sit near the door waiting for their return. So yeah, I’m contacting you. Are you going through the same thing? Why did this have to happen? How am I ever supposed to move on or whatever the hell that even means.

Through my agony I type the plea that just might save my life.

I know I said I don’t blame you if you don’t respond, but at the same time, I really need you to text me back. I’m scared, sad, lonely, and extremely desperate.


Well, well doesn’t that just fill your tear ducts! Let me know what you think? Are you a crier when you read? Share anything in common with Stacy? I can’t wait to see your thoughts on this book if you have had the chance to read it!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

The Ninth Circle Mini Review

Greetings readers,

On one of my Net Galley splurges, I stumbled upon this book and requested it because it sounded really cool and magical! I thought the cover was intriguing to, so it was an instant Rendz-magnet! It turned out to be okay and not all that magical!

The Ninth Circle by C.A. Harland

The Ninth Circle, Book 1: Fire (The Ninth Circle #1)
via Goodreads

Tala Morgenstern lives for the hunt, embracing her heritage as a demon hunter. When her younger sister, Hartley, disappears while on the trail of her long-lost father, Tala must seek the help of her other sister Aiva, who has turned her back on the underworld of magic and hunting. Suspecting demonic involvement, Tala and Aiva race to find Hartley before she can be claimed by hell.

Their search takes them deeper into the bowels of Dublin’s criminal underground, where the gangs are led by demons, and the currency is souls. With each Circle of hell bringing new dangers, and new revelations about their own place in the demon hunting world, Tala and Aiva have to rely on each other if they are to stand a chance of fighting their way to the Ninth Circle, and the demon lord who is waiting for them.

*I was provided a free digital copy via Net Galley and the publisher.*

I just could not get into this book. There were intriguing moments, but nothing that made me go “Wow” or do a dramatic intake of breath. Nope. Just, meh. I did giggle sometimes but mostly I just stared at the screen blank-faced with no emotion.

The Likes

  • The whole exploration of the nine levels of Hell. Each level was distinguished from the other, One being the weakest and Nine being the top dog.
  • The different types of demons. There were specific mythological names used in the book, which I really liked. They each had their own specific power and appearance.
  • There was some humour so that was at least helping me get through some scenes.
  • The Irish setting, with mentions of Canada (Classic Patriotic Rendz)
  • Conner and he was in the book for two seconds.

The Dislikes

  • Boring. I’m sorry, but this book was just not as entertaining as I hoped it would be. All Tala and Aiva did was fight, get injured, rest, repeat for the first half of the book!
  • The main characters both bothered me, they were just kind of there. o-o
  • Why does Tala call Aiva, Ivy? Like explain this to me please! I don’t get why she is called by another name. There is a reason, it was just never explained!
  • Hartley is actually a b*t*h.
  • Romance involved Tala flirting with a bartender (then killing him) and having a one-night stand with a single father. Nothing concrete ever happened.
  • The Morrigan legend could have used further explanation and exploration. There was no substance to it, I didn’t understand the whole point of it!
  • Who is Aiva’s dad then? Like we figured out the other two and now you are just going to leave me hanging???
  • There were constant dull moments! Lots of them.

Overall, I really don’t have much to say on this book, other than I didn’t like it. I didn’t hate it because I found the demon hunting and nine levels of hell to be cool but nothing stuck out to me. The characters didn’t grab my attention. This book was just a lot of meh.

Rating: 2 / 5 stars

Recommend: I don’t recommend under three stars, but if you like demon hunting here you are!

I think next time, I will do a tad more investigating before judging books by their covers!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Empire of Storms Review: It’s Unpopular Opinion Time!

Greetings readers!

Sometimes I like to take a moment and think about how much easier my life would be had I not picked up Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Had I avoided this overly-hyped series and steered myself in different fantastical direction.

But no.

Rendz succumbed to the pressure and read this overly hyped, fantasy series that has gone so down in her books. So, so down.

After having tolerated Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, I avoided reading Empire of Storms since it came out. I didn’t even care if the spoilers rolled out left, right and center. I was done with this series.

Then I remember the reason I continue on with the series. I remember the character that keeps me going.

Chaol Westfall

*boos from the crowd*

You can hate him all you want. Rub his name in the dirt, but I LOVE him. He is one of the few reasons (the main reason) that I put up with this series!

I dreaded taking this book out of the library. I dreaded having to put my TLC reread on hold for this! I hated that I would sit for two hours and not even make a dent in my reading because the pages were so thin and this book was 700 pages long!!

Please prepare yourselves for a rather long and rant-y review.

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*deep breaths*

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)
via Goodreads

KINGDOMS WILL COLLIDE.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Timesbestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

I was never going to love – or even like – this book. I forced myself to read this. Forced. However, it would be false to say that I didn’t enjoy some parts of this book, but I definitely (as a whole) did not enjoy reading this. It was a completely different tone, mood, and overall story from the first books. I just wanted to get this agony over with.

The Very Few Things I Liked

Side Characters: (You will find the MCs in another section….down below!)

Manon: A LITERAL QUEEN. Another one of the reasons I stick around this mess, is for her. A blood thirsty, conniving and kickass witch!!! I love that despite all her “I have no heart that cares” she actually cares! She can be compassionate without being too gooey. I also loves when she tells Aelin to stop being such a sap and get over herself. (Golden moment)

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Lysandra: Another queen! After being kind of iffy about her in QoS, I absolutely adored her in this one. She is so strong, intelligent and able! She is not just a pretty thing on the side, NO. She is upfront and ready to bear her teeth if necessary! Do not disrespect Lysandra! SHAPESHIFTER FOR THE WIN!

Elide: Cinnamon roll, who you want to protect, but your efforts are futile because she can do it (mostly) herself! I liked her a lot. I found her parts of the story the most interesting and I wanted to read more about her! She is deceiving, a fast-thinker and doesn’t let her disability keep her from playing the game! I really want more of her!

Fenrys: Fenrys…Fenrys…Fenrys. I really do like him. I’m not sure exactly why. Yes he is hot, but there is something else there too. Also his past…just…heart breaking.

Gavril: He’s okay. Not really explored as a character. I do hope he makes up with Aedion though and we actually get a good parent/child relationship going on.

Lorcan: Lorcan. Lorcan. Lorcan. (I totally forgot who you were, while I was reading the first chapters of this book.) I love you, but you’ve got issues. Fix them and figure out, hun. He’s the kind of character that I want to hug and at the same time strangle. Depending on his actions or words. Still love him though!

Dorian: My poor baby. Got ZERO respect from the other characters. ZERO. I felt bad for him. He wasn’t exactly the Dorian, I remember and love, but I still liked him more than certain others.

Female Friendships: The female friendships are still going strong in this series. There isn’t just one, there are several so I really appreciate that. The ladies work strongly together, they help each other through thick and thin! They are such goals!!

Action: I will not deny the large chunks of action scenes and suspenseful events in the book. They did keep me on my toes for the most bit, so I was sucked in at points. However, I do have have to complain about the magic used in battles. It’s very vague and how it is wielded did not vary from character or type of magic. It’s all the same and it got boring.

The Longish and Rant-y List of Things I Disliked

Main Characters:

Aelin (gags):

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I just can’t muster up any sort of good feelings towards her. None. “She is so out of this world” *rolls eyes* Conniving and cunning and not to forget drop dead gorgeous *rolls eyes some more* Not gonna lie I have some respect for her and her cleverness but other than that she was nothing to me. She hasn’t been since book 3. She’s sooooo arrogant that it irks me! Like, hello the world will not fall at your feet! She’s not even remotely redeemable in my eyes and not fit to be queen, the one point I agree on Darrow with (who was in this book for 2 seconds).

Rowan (vomits):  *tomatoes thrown at Rendz*

 

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I honestly have never and will not ever see the appeal. I just don’t get why people like him so much. I don’t! I don’t even find him that attractive. Silver hair? Ummm NO. Abs? Sure. Territorial and jealous if another dude just so happens to look at his queen? Ew gross. I thought maybe in this book he might be able to keep it in his pants because let’s be honest that was his whole purpose in QoS. That so did not happen. I just don’t like him. I don’t understand him. And it irks me to see that so many people fawn over him and get all googly-eyed whereas I’m like; if he dared bite my friggin neck I chuck him out soooooo fast. That ain’t cute! I don’t care if he’s FAE, it ain’t cute!

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Romance AKA The Sudden Evolution into NA: This is no longer a YA series. Not with that amount of sexual content. Now, I know more people are opening discussion about having sex in YA: should it or should it not be done. Here is where I stand. It can, but not like it was in this book. Not with these descriptions. First of all, I don’t ship Rowaelin so I knew I wasn’t going to like this aspect of the book. Aelin and Rowan’s sexual tensions and romance scenes literally made me want to gag. It was atrocious! And for those of you thinking “Rendz isn’t mature, she can’t handle this stuff” Honey no. I have read sexy scenes, ok. From NA books. I have watched sexy scenes in movies, but you know they are targeted to older audiences!! And these scenes. Ugh. They were so cringy. I was laughing at how absolutely ridiculous they were while going through them.

All I thought about while reading, NO skimming those scenes were the two little girls, barely 12 or 13 who went to the SJM signing who were carrying this book (obviously having read or are going to read it) and thinking about them reading chapter 38 or reading about the freaking blow job (yes I said it and its in the damn book). Just nope. Nope. NOPE. Even I was scarred.

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And it’s not just Rowaelin with the sexy times, they just get a lot more of it (with more descriptions) but Manon and Dorian suddenly because sex crazy too and have to hook up. Also Lorcan and Elide (who I do ship) had to have sexy times as well, but I’m glad theirs was less detailed.

I just couldn’t people. Trust me when I say I was cringing and laughing at every sex scene. I was red in the face of embarrassment because I couldn’t believe I was reading that. It was so not what I signed up for.

And to think that this is probably going to happen in Tower of Dawn too! At least in that one, I ship the ship.

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Nothing happened: It’s not that nothing happened at all, some battles, some betrayal some conquests. But it took forever to finally feel like something was happening! The grand revelation wasn’t so grand to me. *Spoiler* I knew she was going to have to die and I won’t lie: I laughed. Laughed because I know that she probably won’t die and it will probably be Dorian and I hate that. *End spoiler*

Some epic battle scene and boom I just read 700 pages of flipping view points.

Trying to Sprinkle in the Diversity (and it’s not even that great): At least she tried. SJMs world is white. Perhaps Nesryn is a poc or she’ll just be tan. Not the sun kissed gorgeous tan of the FAE (code for sun burnt white) or the haunting porcelain white of the witches. She’ll just be tan. (So wonderfully descriptive!) Every character had to be so damn beautiful, not a single thing can mar their perfectly toned muscles and abs. Their thin bellies and lush breasts.

Then she’s starts to sprinkle (and when I mean sprinkle I mean sprinkle) lgtbq characters here and there. One side character’s bisexuality is mentioned, but not developed. Just to say “hey I like dudes and girls, ok! Moving on”. A super duper minor gay character and there you have it.

Would it have made a bigger impact to have characters of colour and different sexual orientations up front. Yes. But were they there? No.

Territorial Fae: I know that some people find these controlling relationships as sexy and oh so romantic, ya me no. I don’t want to be claimed. I don’t want to be bitten/marked as though I were a piece of land. I don’t see the appeal. I don’t find it romantic. If Lorcan and Elide end up being like that well I’ll be very disappointed!

*Spoiler ahead*

The Conversation of Colonialism  and Conquest: In the book, Aelin and Rowan have a literal conversation about conquering more lands after taking back Terrasen. She legit said that if she gets “bored” of being queen she will conquer and gain more land to be empress! So her damned children can inherit the stars. EXCUSE ME! How dare you even think that. If you get bored go find a fucking new hobby! How can she possibly think that she would go out to conquer? After having her own land conquered and suffering at the hands of others she would dare to think that’s she would do that to others. She can’t possibly think that people will say “yes conquer us and takes what is ours!” Hell no! They will fight and there will be blood. I was so disgusted by this scene! Horrible. At least she admits its a dumb idea, but the fact that she even considered it. IRKED. ME.

*End of Spoiler*


So yeah, I’m gonna say one more thing: After reading it (like after turning the last page) I liked it. A lot. The ending was great and I had to applaud Aelin, even Rowan for their actions. But then I simmered and thought. I found myself knocking down stars. For the reasons mentioned above. Some things were just too much for me and it ruined the story sorry.

Rating: 3 / 5 ( Tempted to lower it) 

Recommend: I stopped recommending this series after book 3, I leave it up to you to decide. O_O

I know a lot of people out there love this series, this book even more. But I just could not deal with it. If you do love this book, that’s great! I hold no rancour against you. But personally, I didn’t like this.

I only read it so I could read CHAOL’S novel, Tower of Dawn. And to be honest I’m very worried. If that book is just as sexy time filled and empty in every other aspect, I will be very disappointed.

End of rant. *pants*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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