Weekly Wrap-Up (13/6/’20) #WeekinReading #WeeklyWrapup

Hello Readers! Last week, I finally got my new laptop, yayy! I totally forgot how it feels to use faster device that don’t show me “Not Responding” thing and not waiting impatiently for things to open. And best thing is I don’t need to enter password every time it locks. This laptop is Mi Notebook and I can connect it to my Mi band. Laptop unlock itself on detecting band. It feels so good.

In terms of reading I read 2 books and finally finished Cometh the Hour, I was putting on backburner for a month. But that made it difficult to write review.

What I read last week-

Flying Solo by Zoe May

This was my third book by Zoe May and I enjoyed as much as her previous books. It fun and entertaining story of Rachel and her experience in Indian ashram that changed her life. Here is REVIEW if you missed it. I just saw author is going to write sequel as well, Flying Duo. I’m really excited about it.

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

I loved Katherine Center’s How To Walk Away and I loved this book too. There were heavy topics but yet it felt good to see so much positivity. I loved Sam, her school, her quirky dressing and everything I read. Easy 5 star, review will be up tomorrow.

Cometh the Hour (The Clifton Chronicles, #6) by Jeffrey Archer

There was nothing wrong in this book and as I said I made mistake putting it on backburner, reading other books in between and not reading it at one go that dampened my experience with this. It was interesting, I liked reading what was happening in characters’ life and how they came out of enemies’ trap. And that end, cliff-hanger! I can’t wait to see what happens next but with last book of series, I’ll not same mistake and will pick it when I’m in right mood.

Next I’ll be reading-

Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin

A dark, witty page-turner set around a group of wealthy mothers and the young musician who takes a job singing to their babies and finds herself pulled into their glamorous lives and dangerous secrets….

After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on New York’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.

There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.

Filled with humor and shocking twists, Happy and You Know It is a brilliant take on motherhood—exposing it as yet another way for society to pass judgment on women—while also exploring the baffling magnetism of curated social-media lives that are designed to make us feel unworthy. But, ultimately, this dazzling novel celebrates the unlikely bonds that form, and the power that can be unlocked, when a group of very different women is thrown together when each is at her most vulnerable.

I’ll start this today. Whoever read this enjoyed it so I hope it turns out good and I would like to relate to mothers’ experience.

Tiny Imperfections by Alli Frank, Asha Youmans

The Wedding Date meets Class Mom in this delicious novel of love, money, and misbehaving parents.

All’s fair in love and kindergarten admissions.

At thirty-nine, Josie Bordelon’s modeling career as the “it” black beauty of the ’90s is far behind her. Now director of admissions at San Francisco’s most sought after private school, she’s chic, single, and determined to keep her seventeen-year-old daughter, Etta, from making the same mistakes she did.

But Etta has plans of her own–and their beloved matriarch, Aunt Viv, has Etta’s back. If only Josie could manage Etta’s future as well as she manages the shenanigans of the over-anxious, over-eager parents at school–or her best friend’s attempts to coax Josie out of her sex sabbatical and back onto the dating scene.

As admissions season heats up, Josie discovers that when it comes to matters of the heart–and the office–the biggest surprises lie closest to home. 

This sounds light and fun. And that cover is awesome.


I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know in comments what you read last week, what you are planning to read next, and if you have read any of these books.

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview : Flying Solo by Zoe May #FlyingSolo #romcom @rararesources @zoe_writes

Hello Readers! I’m excited to share my review of Flying Solo by Zoe May as part of blog tour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. Many thanks to Rachel for tour invite and author for providing review copy.

Flying Solo by Zoe May
Publication Date :  6th July 2020
Genre : Romantic Comedy
Pages : 250

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rachel Watson has it all worked out. By 30, she’s ticked off most of the goals on her Life List. She’s a homeowner, a partner at her law firm, she has a gorgeous boyfriend, lots of hobbies and loads of good friends. The only thing that’s missing is a ring on her finger.

According to her Life List, Rachel should be getting hitched around now, so when her boyfriend, Paul, plans a romantic date, Rachel’s pretty confident he’s going to propose. Except Paul has other ideas. He’s jetting off to India to find himself.

Distraught, Rachel doesn’t know what to do. Not one to easily admit defeat, she embarks on a mission to win him back.

Flying solo to India is definitely not on Rachel’s Life List, but could her trip teach her some unexpected lessons about love, life and herself? Could she realise that perhaps her Life List wasn’t exactly what she wanted, after all?

Other books I read by the same author:

Perfect Match

When Polly Met Olly

Flying Solo was delightful romantic comedy that revolved around Rachel’s unplanned trip to Indian ashram. It was about realizing life is better unplanned, finding yourself and true happiness, and finding love at unexpected places at unexpected time.

Writing, like previous books, was entertaining and fun with beautiful setting of Indian ashram in Bangalore. It was first person narrative from Rachel’s POV that made book refreshing and light-hearted.

It started with Rachel expecting to be proposed after 6 years of relationship with her boyfriend, Paul. She planned her whole life, checked all boxes of life list within time period she had set, but getting engaged and hitched. What she didn’t plan/expect was flying to other side of the world. Paul broke up with her on the night she expected him to propose her, packed his bag and gone to some random ashram in India. She couldn’t let go of this long time relationship, she thought this is Paul’s midlife crisis, she could change his mind and win him back. And so started her unplanned adventure in India. I was excited to find out what she would experience in India, how she would adjust to different life style of Ashram, could she win Paul back, what would she learn from this experience and how it would change her.

What I didn’t predict was Paul behavior when he saw Rachel at ashram, his new competitive girlfriend, and how attracted Rachel felt towards a handsome Canadian neighbor in ashram who vowed celibacy. But it all turned out really entertaining and dramatic.

All characters were fun to read. Rachel was lovely throughout the book. She was workaholic, home furnishing obsessed who had her Life List with timeline but she had reason for all that. Her childhood story was realistic and I could see why she was the way she was. At first I didn’t like how she was behaving, taking everything as joke and I couldn’t  believe how she didn’t talk about ashram with her Indian friend before on her way to airport, she had no idea what she was going to find there. But I liked how she tried everything in ashram even though she was skeptic, didn’t believe in meditation or spirituality and how she had her own opinion, kept open mind, and enjoyed her stay.

Her development was great. She got over her break up, made friends, found some shocking things about ashram, and found love. At heart she was nice and lovely and knew her elements, learned that life was better unplanned, keep hobby enjoyable rather than obsess over it, there is nothing wrong in being workaholic but it’s also important to enjoy life, go with the flow, step out of comfort zone, and experience knew thing.

Paul was total jerk. It was unbelievable how he suddenly decided to leave without discussing his decision with her like 6 years of relationship was nothing to him and then disrespecting it by latching on new girl and making Rachel feel bad about how she lived and what she did. Seb was cute. He was friendly and lovely guy and I liked his story. I loved Meera and Priya for how friendly they were and how they helped Rachel.

This is not just romance book, in fact there is very little romance and more about Rachel’s new experience and development. Both Rachel and Seb felt spark, supported each other, and spent time knowing other as best as they could, and we don’t know if there was happily ever after till the end, which I felt was good thing.

What I loved most was seeing India from non-Indian’s eyes. Some titbits about India were real and funny.  Rachel’s thoughts and experience after setting foot in India was hilarious. I laughed at her appalled look on seeing Indian toilet and her room in ashram, and most epic was what she packed in her suit case. Who brings dildo to ashram! Most hilarious scene was Spirit Animal Workshop.

I’m not a fan of Ashram but I liked how author added another layer to story by showing reality behind ashrmas and gurus. What Rachel found about it was not shocking for me as I know these things really happen in some ashrams. I agreed with what she thoughts, how crazily people follow scamming Gurus, throw their logics out of window and make it easy for such scammers to take advantage.

Climax was great with Rachel finding reality of Ashram, her new case, what happened to Paul, and lovely date. End was fun. I liked that end conversations and Rachel’s decision.

Why 4 stars-

I wanted a bit more at the end. An epilogue telling what happened to case or if romance lasted or how long it took for them to get together would have been great.

Overall,

Flying Solo was entertaining, dramatic and lovely romcom with amazing setting and some hilarious scenes. If you are looking for light-hearted, entertaining read that make you laugh, I highly recommend this.

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B082K48FX8/

US  – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082K48FX8/

Author Bio:

Zoe May is an author of romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She worked in journalism and copywriting in London before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple’s top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as ‘a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery – fresh and very funny’.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading! She adores animals and if she’s not taking a photo of a vegan meal, she’s probably tweeting about the dairy industry. She is half Greek and half Irish and can make a mean baklava. Zoe has a thing for horror films, India, swimming, hip hop and Radiohead. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of handbags having spent several years working in fashion copywriting and could probably win Mastermind if this was her specialist subject!

Zoe loves to hear from readers, you can contact her on Twitter and Instagram at: @zoe_writes. Zoe’s Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/zoemayauthor/

She posts updates and blogs on her website, http://www.zoemayauthor.co.uk

Social Media Links : Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


I hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know what do you think about the book, if you have read this already or any books by the same author. Which is your favorite book set in India.

Happy Reading!

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Dark Waters (Monica Kennedy #2) by G.R. Halliday #DarkWatersBook @HarvillSecker @GR_Halliday

Dark Waters (Monica Kennedy #2) by G.R. Halliday
Publication Date : July 16th 2020
Publisher : Harvill Secker
Genre : Scottish Noir / crime fiction
Pages : 384

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The haunting new novel from G. R. Halliday, author of FROM THE SHADOWS, shortlisted for THE MCILVANNEY DEBUT PRIZE

THREE MISTAKES. TWO MURDERS. ONE MORE VICTIM TO GO . . .

Annabelle loves to drive. It helps her escape her world, her past. Speeding on a mountain road in the Scottish Highlands, she sees a little girl step out in front of her. She swerves to avoid her. The next thing Annabelle remembers is waking up in a dark, damp room. A voice from the corner of the room says ‘The Doctor will see you now’.

Scott is camping in the woodlands in the Scottish Highlands – but in the middle of the night, he hears something outside his tent. When he goes out to have a look, a little girl is standing among the trees, staring right at him. Scott is never seen again.

When a dismembered body is discovered, DI Monica Kennedy gets called to the scene immediately. After six months away from the Serious Crimes team, they need her back on board.

As Monica searches for the murderer, another body is found. Monica knows the signs . . . She’s on the hunt for a serial killer.

Perfect for fans of James Oswald, Ann Cleeves and Val McDermid.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Mia @vintagebooks for tour invite and providing review copy. ***

Dark Waters was dark and disturbing crime thriller, second novel in Monica Kennedy series that revolved around another serial killer case. It was about juggling work and family life, haunting and unsettled past and history, unsolved and mysterious murders, and real demons of the world-humans.

This first line was chilling and it should have prepared for what’s going to come in the book- “When she still had all arms and legs, Anabelle liked to drive.”

Writing like previous book was engaging and vivid that took me to dark mountains and of Highlands that were both beautiful and menacing. I’m really glad to read in author’s note Glen Turrit and Little Arklow doesn’t exist outside this book but place were based on Glen Strathfarrar and it doesn’t look as dreadful from pictures as it sound in book. This book was even darker than first one. This is not for squeamish readers or those who feel claustrophobic by reading tunnels and caves under mountains. Let me give a little warning, there’s cannibalism. Plot was brilliant. It was told in third person narrative from Annabelle and Monica’s perspective and occasionally we also see other victim’s perspective.

Annabelle travelled from London to Highlands for thrill ride on single track road- beautiful but secluded- from one gate of Glen Turrit across the hydro dam to another gate near Strathcarron. But on this route, where she wasn’t expecting anyone, she saw a girl that made her swerved the car that collided to a tree. When she opened her eyes, she found herself in damp and dark room, injured and kidnapped! Just within few chapters Scott, Canadian traveler was abducted after seeing a girl. Simultaneously, we see what was going on in Monica’s life after previous case that ended horribly, working in traffic department, and giving Lucy lot of time. But then she got call from her boss Hately who needed her in new case. They found dismembered body near dam, at bank of river Beauly. Within 2 days another body, same condition, close to another hydro power station. I was curious to find out who was the killer, whose bodies they found, was it Scott or someone else, who was that girl and why she was working with a killer, if Monica could find killer before he kills Scott or Anabelle, or if Anabelle can find a way to escape.

Monica was once again was great. I liked the way mother’s concerns and guilt were portrayed through her and Lucy’s relationship. Monica’s strength and vulnerability, how stress of new changes in Lucy and her nightmares were affecting her and the case, was realistic to read. Her intuitions related to case was brilliant. What I liked most was a glimpse in her past that showed her relationship with her father. I feel there is more about her to be revealed in next books. I had complain about her too frequent height reference in previous book but in this one it was better, not too often and didn’t appear unexpectedly.

I like Crawford in this book. We don’t know his full story yet but that was balanced by Fisher’s story. We know a bit about Fisher and his real life. It was surprising to know how that connected him to this murder case. Annabelle was caring and clever. She had parents issue and it was sad to see how her parents behaved and treated her and how deeply it affected her. Even after what she was enduring in killer’s den, she felt empathy towards Marcus and even in worst condition she was selfless. She didn’t deserve what happened to her. Villain was worst nightmare imaginable. The story he shared and what was revealed everything related to him was terrifying.

I enjoyed description of all Highland locations, a bit about hydro dam, its history and stories related to it, intermittent chapters’ from victims that cleared the mystery behind what exactly happened to them and why, and lastly that maze of underground tunnels and those chapters about it and Annabelle’s experience in there. Author did amazing job with tension, suspense, and twist and turns. Suspects were few but yet I couldn’t guess who the killer was until around 40% of the book and yet I couldn’t connect the dots and figure out why these particular victims until Monica’s last interview with suspect.

Climax was tense, blood chilling and adrenaline inducing. I was literally yelling at characters at this point thinking why it was taking so much time. I almost lost hope for Anabelle and it was not clear if she will live or not till the end. It felt so unfair what happened at the end but at the same time it felt realistic.

Why 4.5-

There are still more to characters and not all their stories were told in this book but I hope to read that in  next books in series.

Overall,

Dark Waters was clever, horrifying, fast paced and well written sequel with vivid and gruesome description and beautiful yet dangerous setting.

Books Links:

Goodreads | Pre-order | AmazonUK | Waterstones

Affiliate Link : Book Depository


I hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know what do you think about the book, if you have read this already or previous book in series, and Which is your favorite book set in Scotland.

Happy Reading!

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Weekly Wrap-Up (06/6/’20) #WeekinReading #WeeklyWrapup

Hello Readers! I hope you had great week. Last week I received July/Aug NetGalley blast. Most of the books are really interesting. I’m thinking to write haul post. Last week I read only 1 book. It took me more time to read it than expected but it was really good. And I arranged shelves twice, why? look at this pic-

When she finished taking out all books in last three shelves, she was literally throwing them in whole room. 😅 I watched The Alienist on Netflix. It was great thriller, real dark and I liked characters struggling with their own past. The end felt rushed. I exactly felt like Kreizler about the end, I wanted to know why.

What I read last week-

Dark Waters (Monica Kennedy #2) by G.R. Halliday

Dark and disturbing crime thriller that kept me on the edge throughout the book. Definitely not for squeamish or those who feel claustrophobic by descriptions of tunnels under mountains or confined places. Review will be up tomorrow.

Currently reading-

Flying Solo by Zoe May

Rachel Watson has it all worked out. By 30, she’s ticked off most of the goals on her Life List. She’s a home owner, a partner at her law firm, she has a gorgeous boyfriend, lots of hobbies and loads of good friends. The only thing that’s missing is a ring on her finger.

According to her Life List, Rachel should be getting hitched around now, so when her boyfriend, Paul, plans a romantic date, Rachel’s pretty confident he’s going to propose. Except Paul has other ideas. He’s jetting off to India to find himself.

Distraught, Rachel doesn’t know what to do. Not one to easily admit defeat, she embarks on a mission to win him back.

Flying solo to India is definitely not part of Rachel’s plans, but could her trip teach her unexpected lessons about love, life and herself? Could she realise that perhaps her Life List wasn’t exactly what she wanted, after all?

I read 25% of the book and so far it’s interesting. I can’t wait to see Rachel’s experience on her trip to India.

Next I’ll be reading-

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

From Katherine Center, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.

Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

This will be my second book by Katherine Center. I expect it as emotional and inspiring as How To Walk Away.


I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know in comments what you read last, what you are planning to read next, and if you would like to read haul post or not.

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview : Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust #GirlSerpentThorn @HodderBooks

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Expected publication : July 7th 2020
Publisher : Flatiron Books
Genre : Fantasy
Pages : 336

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to publisher. ***

Girl, Serpent, Thorn was amazing fantasy based on Persian mythology that revolved around cursed princess and her efforts of trying to free herself from curse. It was about good vs evil, choices and its consequences, accepting flaws than fearing it, finding beauty in imperfections, family, loyalty, love, and betrayal.

Writing was flawless, compelling and magical. It was written in third person narrative told from Soraya’s perspective. There was fabulous world building, interesting and mysterious character and gradual character development with a little bit romance.

Stories always begin the same way: There was and there was not. There is possibility in those words, the chance for hope or despair.


As soon as I started reading this book, I knew I’m going to like this. The beginning was fantastic. A mother telling her daughter a story about a girl how she was cursed by a demon and birthed a princess with poison in her blood, a curse, whoever she touch will die. But it was not just story but reality of Soraya. Approaching marriage of her brother, a demon imprisoned in dungeon who might help in finding answers about her curse, and a boy who was not afraid of her curse, ready to help and understood her more than her family, put her in situation she never imagined she would found herself in and couldn’t come out of it without putting her family in danger. Her one question started a untoward chain reaction. It was interesting find out who was that boy, if demon will help her or not, how she would free herself from curse and save her family.

I loved this concept of girl alone in her room and garden craving for touch and love, deceived by a demon and found help from another demon to right the wrong she did, and save her family. Cover and title was perfect and made more sense after reading the book.

Lot of things happened in first half that described world, Soraya’s story, about her family and Golvahar, lies she discovered and range of emotions she felt in trying to get rid of her curse. Some things I could see coming like- Demon in prison was mysterious, she was keeping some secrets but I could see spark of relationship between them which we don’t see igniting until second half of the book. And mainly I knew, that new boy looked too good to be true. Something was off about him, no matter how convenient he sounded, and I feared for Soraya. I knew she was putting her faith in wrong place but I was curious to see what that boy wanted and when he would show his true color. When he did, I must say I was surprised. I didn’t expect what was revealed and I was not sure what would happen next. Second half was all about Soraya’s development, her conflicts, knowing love for first time, and many twists and turns.

Soraya was great. Usually when heroine shows weakness and self-doubt in half of the book, I get frustrated but here it felt right and real. Even though she was most powerful in realm, most deadly person, she felt low and fearful. She didn’t see her curse as untouchable power but a poison, and she feared for herself, for her family and people who might come near her. Her fear made her weak, small, and yielding. But hope of getting rid of this poison, crave for human touch, companionship, happiness and her family’s love was too strong that made her want to change that about her. When she faced worst consequences of her wish and choices, we see how misguided she was. I felt for her at this point. I couldn’t help but put myself in her situation and from what she discovered, her actions made sense. Her intentions were selfish but felt genuine. I loved the way she learned her lessons, kept fighting for her family even though she heard worst things from them for her mistakes, and how she found a way to make things right. Her guilt, anger, self-doubt, determination, a new experience of touch and love, it was all written perfectly.

“I’m not afraid of you,” Soraya whispered. Parvaneh’s eyes sparkled, not with usual mockery, but with something like hunger. “Of course not,” Pervaneh said. “You could kill me with a single touch. Why should you ever be afraid of anyone?” She peered closed, tilting her head. “No, it’s only yourself that you fear.”

All secondary characters specially Azad and Parvaneh were interesting and mysterious. I couldn’t tell whom should I trust and whom should not until second half of the book. They were all keeping secrets, told lies and will betray to achieve what they wanted.

World was best part of the book. All elements were well explored. There were maze of secret passages of Golvahar palace and Soraya’s beautiful rose garden, Persian terminology, different types of demons, their appearance and power, legends and stories, mythical creature, and spellbinding forest and mountain of demons. It was fascinating to read how author created world inspired by ancient Persia and its folklore. It all made more sense in author’s note.

F/F relationship was lovely in second half. It was for a short while but worked as breather in this tense and fast paced plot. Trust issues along with tension to save family made it interesting to see how they will confess their feelings to each other and when that moment came, I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear.

Climax was brilliant. With a surprising discovery, an emotional twist, and tense situation that left me without any hope. Even one last effort by Soraya didn’t work but then that magical effect and all that happened till the end was amazingly thrilling and exhilarating. End was perfect. My only complaint was I didn’t want it to end. I want more stories in this world.

Overall,

Girl, Serpent, Thorn was fast pace and fabulous #fantasy with magical world based on #PersianMythology, and mysterious and interesting characters.

Books Links : Goodreads Amazon

Affiliate Link : Book Depository


I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about my review and this book, if you have read it already or are you going to add it to TBR. Which different mythologies have you read in books so far?

Happy Reading!

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