Bountiful by Sarina Bowen

Blurb:
34099086No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I received a free copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

OMG!!  I am in love with Dave Beringer!!  I mean, like, “go to Brooklyn and look for Gingers in the hopes that one is the fictional Dave Beringer” kind of love.  Because I did that.  Today.  I have no shame.

I have not read the previous 3 books in the True North series (though it will be happening soon, I just ran out of time), but I have read the Brooklyn Bruisers books, and so I had an in on that side of things.  And this book just made me want to read the rest of the True North series even more!  Though I honestly don’t know how Ms. Bowen can top this story.  Like, it was f-ing sexy, and funny, and heartwarming, and none of the characters pissed me off (because there was potential, but it didn’t go that way), and even though I read this over a week (which is unheard of) because I am on vacation, so I had to sneak in reading time whenever I could, I still fell in love with it.  Honestly, it just makes me excited for when I reread it and truly devour it from cover to cover.  Probably when I read the rest of the series, b/c I’ll no doubt have a different perspective on Zara.

Zara was her own special brand of stubborn, and feisty, and damaged.  I really enjoyed having a heroine who is really in touch with her own sexuality, but isn’t necessarily comfortable with it…it was a weird dichotomy.  Like, she was interested in sex from a young age, but she was also branded as a slut because of it, so she wasn’t self-accepting, you know?  She just kind of believed the things that people judged her for.  It was kind of heartbreaking.  But I kind of loved it.  Because you know in so many romance novels there’s a girl that gets slut-shamed…  Zara might have been that girl, you know?  So it shows that side of the coin.  But her story was so much more.  She was a product of how she was raised, and she really didn’t have a lot of direction in life.  It was interesting to see the changes that becoming a mother wrought in her, but at the same time she still had a lot of healing to do.

And Dave.  *swoon*  Like, I don’t even know why he does it for me so much.  Maybe because he’s just so unapologetic.  Like he said at one point, he’s a bit slow to learn and grow, but he’s not a dick.  He had his own damage to get past, and I enjoyed that his bachelor ways had a…reason, I guess.  I loved (in a tore my heart out way) learning bits and pieces of his tragic childhood, and how that shaped him.  I loved his relationship with his sister.  Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded a more clear resolution with his past…but I might have missed something because I had to intersperse my reading.  Did he ever tell Zara about his past?  I can’t remember.  ANYWAYS.  I have a soft spot for Gingers (sssshhhh, don’t tell my hubby), and holy *bleep* was his bossy take charge attitude in the bedroom sexy as *bleep*.  Like *fans face*.  AND then there were all the times he grinned during sex.  I can’t even, you guys…like can’t even.

There was just something about the way Dave and Zara fit together that had me on board right from the start.  I LOVED the “past” section.  I fell in love really soon.  And I LOVED the way the present played out, from the start right to the very end.  I loved the secondary characters (and I’ll probably like some of them even more when I get to read their stories).  Basically it was just all sorts of goodness (with a few minor things I was confused on, but again…could be just me — like the car thing).

Anyways.  I want a Dave.  Someone get on that stat.  Thanks in advance.

Lenoreo_small

Finding Me (Xtreme Bachelor) by Caylie Marcoe

finding meBlurb: People remember Nicki Montgomery as the girl who tried to win over BMX rider and Xtreme Bachelor, Travis Grayson. She was all smiles and snark, which made her the most hated girl on reality TV and the perfect choice for the first bachelorette to have her own show.

Twenty extreme athletes vying for your attention should be every girl’s dream, but all Nicki can see is that she’s being shipped off to the middle of nowhere Oklahoma and every single date includes some type of physical activity. Neither of which fit with her elite Chicago lifestyle.

The biggest problem with going on the show is Nicki doesn’t want to play the part. She doesn’t want to be hated. Everything from her smile to her perfect family life is fake and she’s sick of living the lie. All Nicki wants is for someone to see the person she really is.

When the final choice is made, Nicki has to be ready to break a few hearts to find what she needs, maybe even her own.

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5 stars

I don’t even know how to begin this review.  I may be a bit bias, I mean, did you see the dedication?   I may have cried when I read it. This book was such a breath of fresh air in a closed off room. I’m a sucker for a great love story and this one fit the bill and then some.  I LOVED it.  It’s highly original, full of witty dialogue along with some pretty steamy scenes.  And the chemistry!  ::swoon::  Dear god, she writes them so effing good.

I had a love/ hate relationship with Nicki throughout the book.  I felt how sincere she was in her want to change, not only how people saw her, but how she saw herself as well.  And we get to know Nicki on a very personal level in this book.   And it was glorious, she was such a well rounded character.  At times I found her to be a bit immature and petty making me a bit irritated and then, BAM! She would show this inner strength that just astounded me.  The author made me FEEL so many emotions with regards to her that I realized how much I had actually come to care about this character. And while I do tend to become invested in the characters of the books I read, this one will always hold a unique place in my giant book heart.

And Nicki isn’t the only one who shined in this story.  Bridget was what I would expect my BFF to say to me.  She supported Nicki throughout and gave her the tough love she needed when Nicki started to back slide into her old ways.  Cooper was….well I don’t want to ruin it for you.  😉 But suffice it to say that all the guys were distinct and memorable.  Especially…… LOL, no I could NEVER do that to you guys.  I will say the one she ends up with was NOT who I had thought it would be.

Go go forth and read it!  I promise you will not regret it.

Curly Carla_small

From the Wreckage (From the Wreckage #1) by Michele G. Miller

From the wreckageBlurb: “In a matter of minutes on a Friday night, I lost my school, my identity, the security of my first love, the personality of my sweet fearless brother, my best friend, my town, everything as I knew it. Everything changed.”

“Minutes – that’s all it takes to change your entire life. How do you deal with that?”

For high school senior Jules Blacklin surviving the storm is only the beginning. Faced with the new reality of her life, she must find a way to rise From The Wreckage and answer the question – how do you get back to normal, when everything that was normal is gone?

 

 

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5 stars

I absolutely LOVED this story!  I only wish it was not a series.  Gosh it just made me feel so much!  Talk about intense.  My heart was beating hard throughout the entire book. 

The tornado was a great catalyst for the love story! I mean, wow, totally impressed with the writing.  The way the characters were changed and yet struggled to come back to a new normal was written brilliantly!

I could totally identify with their conflicted emotions.  I liked how mature they were, they realized that nothing is guaranteed and used that in a positive manner.  For instance when they realized their feelings for each other, they didn’t jump right in but both were open and honest with each other about why they felt this way and talked about if it was just because of the trauma they shared.  It added an additional layer to their already deep characters. 

And they didn’t leave the families out in the cold in this book either.  They were three dimensional characters, which I totally dug because most YA’s tend to forget to fully build the parents and siblings, instead choosing to put more into the MC in the book. Something I’m not really a fan of in this genre but I deal with it.  It was just nice to have a well rounded novel that was more than just your typical teenage romance.  

I will definitely be checking out more from this author in the future.  

Curly Carla_small

Most Eligible Cowboy (Peach Valley #1) by Carly Morgan

most eligible cowboyBlurb: Can an ailing man’s ultimatum be Jackson and Maya’s greatest blessing?

Amateur photographer Maya Vance needed a do over after catching her husband of eight months cheating with her best friend. Her favorite aunt Patty provides just the escape. She’s recently opened a sixty-five acre bed and breakfast in her small town called the Palace in Peach Valley and asks Maya to take pictures for her marketing brochures.

Permanently unattached Jackson Bale was supposed to take over his family’s ranch, but his ailing father won’t hand over the reins until he proves he’s ready to settle down. His father has given him sixty days to find a woman and marry her or he’ll sell the ranch to some corporate big wigs that have been after the land for years.

Within hours of his father’s ultimatum, the whole town knows. Women he hasn’t heard from since high school start coming out of the woodwork, flaunting their feminine wiles in the hope of catching Peach Valley’s most eligible cowboy.

It isn’t until he meets the vibrant Maya Vance that he thinks marriage might be a possibility. But she’s heard of the ultimatum too and wants no part of it. Jackson isn’t to be deterred. Despite his father’s wishes and the land, he knows he’s met the love of his life and will do whatever it takes to win her over.

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4 stars

This had tones of a christian romance but I don’t know that I would categorize it as one.  The romance itself was slow and I didn’t really feel the chemistry between them in all honesty.  The story itself was cute, simple and a quick read. 

I admired Jackson’s family loyalty and his openness to helping others.  He took his position as eldest very seriously and it showed in the book.  But I think in this story, Maya was the one who shined for me.  I don’t know why because Jackson had so many painful obstacles to navigate but I just didn’t connect with his character like I usually do.  Maya came across as more relatable to me I guess so I connected with her more and felt more for her. 

I felt the parental ultimatum was unnecessary and quite frankly a terrible burden to put on your eldest sons shoulders.  Especially with the heartbreak Jackson already had to endure in his love life.  Actually, I take that back. I think his parents were just just plain terrible. They tried to control a situation that is uncontrollable and attempted to use emotional blackmail and threats to get their way.  What a terrible example of a loving family IMO.  If I was in the position his father was in I would NEVER do to my kid what he did.  

While I enjoyed this story, I doubt I will be reading anymore in this series.  

Curly Carla_small

Play With Me (Grover Beach Team #1) by Piper Shelly

play with meBlurb: What if you had to do the one thing you hated most to get the guy you loved to notice you?

Ryan Hunter’s parties are legend. And tonight she’s going to be there.

Lisa Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she’s a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Lisa craves, she’s just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she’s prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school… Ryan Hunter.

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5 stars

This was a great YA story.  I loved how quickly we got to the reasons.  And how there was no long drawn out misunderstandings with regards to their feelings.  I mean, it was a little bit built up but for the most part the unrequited love wasn’t the main focus like I thought it was gonna be.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good unrequited love story but this one went a totally different direction and it was a nice change of pace for this genre.  

Ryan Hunter is seriously a smooth guy.  He didn’t try to pretend he didn’t care while at the same time he wasn’t like over the top about his feelings either.  When I usually read about popular guy’s in school trying to get with the girl they is usually very aggressive.  And Ryan wasn’t like that at all.  It was all just so natural, the way he treated her.  And the way he was there for her, helping her trying to get the guy without putting the moves on her.  It was nice, their chemistry felt real. 

She wasn’t in denial about her feelings either. We get to see her struggle with who she thinks she loves and her growing feelings for Ryan which made it more believable for me.   And the ending!  I did NOT see that coming.  Seriously a great novella. I’ll have to check out the others in this series as well. 

Curly Carla_small

Lick (Stage Dive #1) by Kylie Scott

lickBlurb: Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.

Evelyn Thomas’s plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man in her room, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

One thing is certain, being married to one of the hottest rock stars on the planet is sure to be a wild ride.

 

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5 stars

Dude!  I don’t know why but I loved this story!  Drunken marriage in Vegas doesn’t usually appeal to me but for some reasons these characters called out to me is a visceral way.  I believed it.  Their wanting to work out the marriage. It was odd that I felt this way because I was never one to dive head first into a nearly insta-love book.  But I loved it.

David was the tortured artist. Very classic character, and I really enjoyed watching his struggle with knowing his wife didn’t remember them getting married.  He seemed truly upset. I will say that his emotional immaturity got on my nerves a bit, but he seemed to be aware of it and actively trying to resolve his issues.  I liked how they got to know each other while not putting their very real chemistry on hold.  That was one of the good parts of their story, kinda just going with how they felt.  She was a little bit country, and he a little bit rock and roll.  And it fit.

I liked the fact that Evelyn didn’t remember getting married to him but still realized that there was something there worth trying for.  Most people would chalk that shit up to alcohol, but Ev felt for this person even though she didn’t remember him.  She felt bad for inadvertently hurting his feelings with her memory loss.  And she wanted to make sure he knew that it wasn’t intentional and she would try to not do it in the future.

And can I just say that while angry sex isn’t a turn on in the least, this author wrote it so well that I enjoyed reading about it.  The climax was trope but again, it just seemed to fit.  And I loved how slowly they got to know each other.  It made everything seem more realistic.  I am definitely going to be reading more in this series.

Curly Carla_small

Dirty Little Mistake (Dirty #2) by Amber Rides

dirty little mistakeBlurb: At eighteen, Brenna Cooper turned her back on her boyfriend-hopping, drug-addicted mother. She fought her way from poverty and heartache into a life she’s proud to lead. Now twenty-two, Brenna has four years of hard work behind her and a bright future ahead of her. She’s careful and cautious and keeps her nose clean. Always. Or almost always anyway.

Five weeks ago, Brenna received some news that hit her hard and she slipped from the straight-and-narrow path.

It was just one mistake.
One party.
One too many shots of tequila.
One little one-night stand with her muscle-for-brains neighbor, Ian.
And it’s behind her.

Or it would be if it weren’t for the teeny, tiny matter of the positive pregnancy test.

Now, Brenna is terrified of following in her mother’s footsteps. She needs to tell Ian about the baby. Soon. And she needs help finding a way to do it.

Ridley James has a shady, crappy decision filled past. He’s the first to admit that the ages of thirteen to seventeen were nothing to be proud of. He bounced from foster home to foster home, girl to girl, and fake I.D. to fake I.D. Five years ago, though, his terminally ill aunt took him in and helped him turn his life around. Before she died, she made him promise a few things. Ridley would stay on the clean path she’d led him to. He’d stay out of trouble. Most importantly, though, he’d look out for her son – his cousin – Ian.

He was doing well.
Until he and Ian moved into his new house a month and half ago and they met his pretty, sweet – and drunk – neighbor.

Ridley knows his only choice is to pretend Brenna has no effect on him. Especially since she came flying out of Ian’s room the morning after their housewarming party, begging him to forget he ever saw her.

He was doing fine with that, too.
Until Brenna came asking for his help – in becoming Ian’s girlfriend.

Now, Ridley is trying to keep his hands and his feelings to himself, struggling to understand why a girl like Brenna is interested in his cousin at all, and fighting to keep his promises to his aunt.

The closer Brenna gets to Ridley, the farther she gets from making her confession to Ian. The more Ridley gets to know Brenna, the less control he has.

Both are keeping secrets. And neither is prepared for the truth.

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5 stars

Even with the unbelievably of the intentional misunderstandings going on ALL over this book for suspenseful purposes, I really loved it.  The author would throw in those deliberate misunderstandings and I would get ready to throw the book, then….she would retreat just a smidgen, giving me a taste of the romance I so wanted to see.  Thereby pulling my attention back in and making me want to finish the book.  

Well played Amber Rides, well played indeed.  

Brenna was so young and naive.  I felt great pity for her, and not in a good way.  I mean, it was expected she had no idea what she was doing since she had no mother figure in her life to teach her, but I don’t think she gave the other people in her life enough credit personally.  She made up for her lack of knowledge in these types of situations by giving in to her uhm…baser desires.  She was a super cute horn dog trying to force a square peg in a round hole and she failed, quite hilariously.  The dialogue in this book is fricking fantastic by the way. And quite possibly saved me from DNF’ing this book on more than one occasion.  

Ridley, man this dude was all kinds of hotness.  Smart, vulnerable, strong, patient, understanding, loyal to his family and did I mention he bakes!  Yes, please!  He was a bit of a glutton for punishment but I’ll be damned if his weakness for helping Brenna didn’t just push right over the edge in love with him.  

I had no idea this was the second in the series and now I want to go back and read the first one.  I’m a fan and will certainly keep my eye out for more books by this author in the future.  

Curly Carla_small

Storm Gathering (Scorpius Syndrome #4) by Rebecca Zanetti

Storm GatheringBlurb: Even before surviving the Scorpius bacterium, Greyson Storm was a lone wolf navigating minefields. As a kid, he learned to take a hit and find safety. As an adult, he joined the military and quickly learned how to protect and defend. When the world ended, he created a mercenary camp with military precision, no entanglements, and a promise to avenge a fallen friend. As part of that vow, he kidnapped Maureen Shadow, but now that he has let her go, her blue eyes and intriguing mind keep haunting him…

As possibly the only Biotechnology Engineer still living, Maureen Shadow might be humanity’s one hope to survive the aftermath of Scorpius, making her frighteningly valuable to both allies and enemies. Even after sexual tension explodes with Greyson, she’s not sure which camp he belongs to—friend or foe? Worse yet, survival may mean thwarting his prime mission, putting her in even more peril. When danger and seduction collide, there is no safety in this new world. 

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Favorite Quotes

She really didn’t know him, but there was something honorable about letting a friend die in peace and then keeping a promise. Man, life had changed when hunting and killing made sense to a scientist like her. So much for holding out for a nice and peaceful, geeky guy.

Miss Julian gave me a foundation, but I was still damaged. Even when I found brothers in the military.” Greyson captured Moe’s chin between his thumb and forefinger. “With you, I feel whole. Like there’s hope somehow. I forgot that it even existed. In the apocalypse, you gave me hope.

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5 stars

I think this is my favorite book in this series so far.  Greyson is this ‘still waters run deep’ kinda guy.  And RZ gives him more depth than her previous male characters I think.  Or it might be that the stakes have risen so high in this series that it just seems that way. Either way, he’s my favorite.  His attention to detail in every aspect of his life is quite appealing to me.  His struggles keeping his group safe  while attempting to maintain a  precarious truce with other groups in the area was pretty impressive.  

And while I can’t say I felt the same for Maureen AKA Mo, I can still admire her spunk when it comes to being in between what she thinks is right and moral in a world where very little of that exist anymore.  She is faced with tough decisions about where her loyalties lie.  Rather than choosing which side she is on, she sees the big picture, and somehow convinces others to move past their individual agendas toward a more common goal.  And in the end I came to really like her gentleness and problem solving demeanor.  

One of the best things about this series is the fact that while I’m generally on the fence with alpha males,  but their reasoning for becoming possessive, dominant figures is written wonderfully.  Yes they are possessive, yes they are dominant and at times come off as chauvinistic.  But the post apocalyptic world doesn’t run on morals and vulnerability.  Those things can get you killed quickly and they know that while they have to be these hard men, they can also be vulnerable.  But only to those special people in their lives that they trust. It’s a constant push and pull between seemingly opposite views.  But RZ balances both traits in these men that makes them so attractive to me as to not even care about the alpha-ness that resides in them.  

That’s a unique talent in my opinion.  So go get you this series.  It is AWESOME. 

Curly Carla_small

Cuff Me by Lauren Layne

Blurb:
27225024Meet New York’s Finest-three hot brothers sworn to protect and serve the city they love . . . and the women who’ve stolen their hearts.

ARRESTED BY LOVE

Vincent Moretti is one of the NYPD’s top homicide detectives-and one of the most eligible bachelors in town. His family, however, thinks he should date his longtime partner, Jill-a sassy, sexy, smart-mouthed blonde who drives him absolutely crazy.

Behind the quiet authority, tough-guy demeanor, and dark aviator glasses lies a man with a big soul-and a hard body that can soften any girl’s heart. After years as his coworker, Jill Henley has given up hope that anything could happen between her and Vin. Besides, loving him would break all the rules. But seeing Jill with someone else triggers feelings in Vincent he never knew he had. Now he’ll have to stop playing good cop/bad cop-and find a way to convince her to be his partner for life. . .

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My Review:
4.5 stars — THIS BOOK!!!  OK, I read the first two books in this series quite a while ago (I got them both as ARCs), and both ones had a lot of promise, but there were just things about them that niggled me and prevented me from loving them.  But THIS was the book I was most looking forward to!  I mean, Vincent and Jill!!!!  But of course I didn’t get an ARC of this one.  And since it was above my personal ebook price threshold, I put off buying a copy.  But since I’m going to be meeting this author THIS SATURDAY, and this is one of the few books of hers where there is actual paperback copies available, I sucked it up!!  AND I’M SO GLAD I DID!!!

These two were everything I was hoping they would be from the glimpses I got of them in the previous 2 books!  And btw, you TOTALLY don’t need to read the other books to read this one, but the Moretti family is pretty fun, and definitely a highlight of the series, so you may find yourself wanting to read them afterwards.  They were just as hilarious and interfering and awesome in this book as in the others.

I was concerned with the subplot of Jill being engaged to another man, but that all played out a little differently than I had been anticipating.  I can honestly say that I’m very happy with how that was dealt with, and what it brought to the story.  I’m very sensitive to cheating subjects, but there were no problems.

I loved Jill and Vin on their own, but I especially love them together.  They just fit together so beautifully.  She was all sunshine and light and fun and teasing, and he was gruff and awkward and more withdrawn and quiet.  But they just worked together, you know?  I loved the way their relationship progressed, and even the stumbling blocks that they inevitably hit weren’t drawn out and didn’t feel cliche.  Vincent actually really got to me, I loved that there was no horrible event that made him more closed off, but that it was an aspect of his personality…and I loved the observations that Mama Moretti had about him, and why he appears the way he does.  And he was so freaking cute in a growly guy way!  When he was trying, I just melted.  And Jill was totally like girl crush territory!  She was just…I don’t know.  Not without flaws, but I would want to be friends with her.

And as with all the books in the series, the Moretti family really stood out.  I can’t even tell you how many times I highlighted their interactions.  And I enjoyed the mystery of the Lenora Birch murder, and not just because it was one letter off from my own name.

Honestly, the only downside for me is that I was thrown off by the pacing.  I expected things to move much faster, and I was always thrown off when I’d start the next chapter and 2 weeks had gone by.  It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.  Add that to the fact that I had to break up my reading b/c of things happening in my real life, it just made for a different reading experience.  And, I kind of wanted an extended epilogue because I’m greedy….

But yeah.  So happy.  Seriously, so happy with this one.  And isn’t it always relieving when the book you’re most looking forward to actually lives up to your anticipation??

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Déjà Revu October 9th, 2017

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Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
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Original

Meme

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Contemporary

Fantasy

Romance

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Romance

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Contemporary

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Paranormal

Romance

Suspense/Thriller

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Non-Fiction

Romance