Ballad for a Mad Girl: #LoveOzYA Review

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Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield
Genre: YA, Mystery, Contemp/Paranormal
Publication: May 29th, 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review Copy
Thank you TEXT
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Everyone knows seventeen-year-old Grace Foley is a bit mad. She’s a prankster and a risk-taker, and she’s not afraid of anything—except losing. As part of the long-running feud between two local schools in Swanston, Grace accepts a challenge to walk the pipe.

That night she experiences something she can’t explain. The funny girl isn’t laughing anymore. She’s haunted by voices and visions—but nobody believes a girl who cries wolf.

As she’s drawn deeper into a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding missing girl Hannah Holt, the thin veil between this world and the next begins to slip. She can no longer tell what’s real or imagined—all she knows is the ghosts of Swanston, including that of her own mother, are restless. It seems one of them has granted her an extraordinary gift at a terrible price.

Everything about her is changing—her body, her thoughts, even her actions seem to belong to a stranger. Grace is losing herself, and her friends don’t understand. Is she moving closer to the truth? Or is she heading for madness?


Damn, what can I say to get you to read this book without giving it all way. – The only thing that disappoints me about this book is that I’ll never be able to read it again for the first time!

I felt a connection to the protagonist, Grace almost immediately. You only make it to the third page before she tells you of her mother’s death. Grace’s hides her grief and dark inner thoughts from everyone around her, behind the shield of being her school’s resident joker and daredevil.

An incident late one night, during one of her daredevil stunts, leaves Grace questioning her sanity. Grace struggles keep a grip on her normal day to day life resulting in her relationships with her friends and family becoming strained, this then pushes her to keep dangerous secrets and go off on her own. Grace is compelled, seemly to her by an outside force, to Investigate a twenty-year-old mystery. The disappearance of a local girl named Hannah. Investigating Hannah’s disappearance leads her to discover secrets about two other local’s deaths, one being her own mothers.

This is a brilliant bloody book. The tale Grace has to tell is deliciously dark and spine tingling. The story’s pace and flow are fantastic. A thrilling murder mystery with some seriously creepy scenes. The story explores grief, belief in the paranormal, family, friendship, mental illness and criminal redemption. 5/5 a #LoveOzYA must read.


Links: Vikki’s Website | Twitter | Instagram | Mad girl on Goodreads | Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon | Text Publishing

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Esme’s Wish: YA Review

33634667

Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication: 30th October 2017
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Source: Review copy from Author
Thank you Elizabeth
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“A fresh new fantasy of an enchanting world.” – Wendy Orr,author of Nim’s Island and Dragonfly Song.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Esme’s Wish is the first book in the Esme series.

Esme’s Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon AU | Amazon US

Elizabeth’s Links: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Odyssey Books


My Review: The story starts off with a wedding, but unfortunately for Esme it is not a happy one. Esme lost her mother when she was only eight years old and has never been able to move on. Esme never truly believed her mother had disappeared at sea and spurred on by her father moving on, she decides the time has come to go off on her own and discover the truth. What she soon discovers is another world full of magic, myth and secrets.

Back home Esme and her mother were always considered outsiders and as a child Esme struggled to find real friendship. On her journey Esme meets Daniel and Lillian, both offering friendship and whatever help they can. At first she finds it hard to believe that anyone would want to help her, let alone be her friend. She learns to trust in Daniel and Lillian as they join and help her on her journey.

The writing followed well, was easy to read and the story was steadily paced for the most part, kicking up with a action packed fast paced last few chapters. I raced through the last few chapters desperate to know how the story ends – and if that isn’t a sign of a good story, then I don’t know what is. 

The bad ‘guy’ was deplorable and the good ‘guys’ easily likeable. The setting for the story, a mythological wonderland. There were Dragons – always a plus. And they rode them – even more of a plus!

The ending gives us just enough resolution for it to be satisfying, but also leaves enough unanswered that it makes you really want to read the next book.

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Fence: Mini review, YA comic

36064768Fence (Fence #1)

by C.S. Pacat (Author) &
Johanna the Mad (Artist)

“Fence” follows the rise of 16-year-old Nicholas Cox in the world of competitive fencing at an elite boys school.
Nicholas is an outsider to the competitive fencing world.
Filled with raw talent but lacking proper training, he signs up for a competition that puts him head-to-head with fencing prodigy Seiji Katayama…and on the road to the elite all-boys school Kings Row. A chance at a real team and a place to belong awaits him—if he can make the cut!
“It’s all about the world of fencing,” said Pacat. “The elegance, the danger, the high stakes of what’s essentially a combat sport.”
Published November 15th 2017 by Boom! Box
I was keen to read Fence from the moment I first heard about it – A YA comic by aussie author C.S. Pacat set in the competitive world of Fencing with M/M romance – YES! a thousand times yes!
I was jumping for joy when The YA Chronicles announced it would be included in their November “Make it Gay” Box. Winning! 
 The first issue did not disappoint. I absolutely loved it and can see myself reading it over again until the december issue comes out.
Nicholas is a lovable underdog who is instantly likable. You can’t help but want him to succeed.
The first issue perfectly set up the tension between Nicholas and Seiji. I even enjoyed the fencing, a sport I previously hadn’t given much thought to.
The artwork is beautiful! Clear, detailed and flows wonderfully.
I am so excited for the next instalment! Hurray for this new comic book series.
* * * * *
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Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
It you want to make my day, just Like this post, simples.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

#LoveOzYaBloggers – Short Stories

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature.

The theme for this fortnight is ‘Short Stories’.

Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!


I have eleven short story anthologies, sadly only four have Aussie authors and out of those four only two are YA!

In this photo I have the only four authored by Aussie’s and the only four that are YA (not the same four), the rest of my collection are either adult or eBook short story anthologies.

Sproutlings: A Compendium of Little Fictions and Novascapes: A Speculative Fiction Anthology from the Hunter Region Australia are authored by Aussie’s from my neck of the woods :-). Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean is a duo of Aussie and Indian YA authors. And last but not least Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology is, yep you guessed it, Aussie YA authors.

Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean:

Be transported into dystopian cities and other-worldly societies. Be amazed and beguiled by a nursery story with a reverse twist, a futuristic take on TV cooking shows, a playscript with tentacles – and more, much more. Plunge in and enjoy!

A collection of sci-fi and fantasy writing, including six graphic stories, showcasing twenty stellar writers and artists from India and Australia: Isobelle Carmody, Penni Russon, Justine Larbalestier, Margo Lanagan, Lily Mae Martin, Kuzhali Manickavel, Prabha Mallya, Annie Zaidi, Kate Constable, Vandana Singh, Mandy Ord, Priya Kuriyan, Manjula Padmanabhan, Samhita Arni, Alyssa Brugman, Nicki Greenberg and Amruta Patil.

Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology

The YA event of the year. Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars. This anthology has them all. With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world exactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA.

Goodreads Links:

 Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean Begin, End, BeginSproutlings | Novascapes

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
It you want to make my day, just Like this post, simples.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

#LoveOzYaBloggers – Maps

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature.

The theme for this fortnight is ‘Maps’.

Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!

MAPS! I love it when a book includes a map!

These three #LoveOzYa masterpieces all have maps and are all sitting on my shelf waiting to be explored.


Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?


Heart of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles #1) by Helen Scheuerer

In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.

Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.

But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.

The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.

Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.


Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster 

This was her last chance.

Her hand twisted high in the air.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Esme’s Wish is the first book in the Esme series.

 

 

Esme’s Wish: Guest Post by Elizabeth Foster

33634667Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: October 30th 2017
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Paperback: 252 pages


This was her last chance.

Her hand twisted high in the air.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Esme’s Wish is the first book in the Esme series.


Thank you for inviting me to write a few words about the inspiration behind Esme’s Wish!

The idea first popped into my head many years ago, after I finished reading the final book of the Harry Potter series. There was something about HP that reminded me of books I’d read as a child, stories which made me feel like I was sitting by a fireplace sipping hot chocolate. I never wanted that feeling to end and was at a loss! Not knowing the extent of the task I was about to set myself, I decided to try and write a book of my own. My book, of course, is nothing like Harry Potter, apart from the fact that it explores magic and is set in a world not too dissimilar from our own.

Esme’s Wish is, for the most part, set in the canal city of Esperance, capital of the parallel realm of Aeolia. I set the story in a glittering canal city because I love Venice and the sea. There’s already something magical about winding canals and drifting gondolas, so to infuse such a setting with real magic was something I couldn’t pass up. Aeolia has its own unique mythology, but I was also inspired by Greco-Roman myth, especially one of the oldest stories in the world, Homer’s Odyssey. Keen-eyed readers will spot plenty of references to the Odyssey in Esme’s Wish.

But above all else, my inspiration was the sea. I’ve always lived near water and I suppose, like many Australians who reside along the coast, the sea is in my blood. The sea has been a muse for so many writers over the ages, but it has gotten a bad rap, in my eyes. It’s mostly been grist for stories about grief and tragedy. Yes, the sea is dangerous and mercurial, but it’s also a source of life and beauty. Esme’s Wish draws a little from both perceptions.

So if you like the ocean, magic, sea dragons, and a pinch of mythology sprinkled throughout, you might also enjoy Esme’s Wish.


Find out more about Esme’s Wish and where to buy it at Elizabeth’s website. You can also watch the book trailer on YouTube or read a free preview of the first chapter on Kobo (via the contents page).

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Kobo

The Sydney launch for Esme’s Wish is on November 25 from 3.30 – 5.30pm at North Spoon Café at McMahon’s Point.
The launch will be fully catered with canapes, wine, champagne, real coffee and cake!.

The North Spoon Café is a gorgeous café near the harbour, so it should be something special.

If you’re interested you need to RSVP’s by November 10. Click HERE to RSVP.

#LoveOzYaBloggers – Favourite Covers

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature.

The theme for this fortnight is ‘Favourite Covers’.

Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!


Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar. I love the hot pink forefront with the grey scale image behind. I think the cover is bold and beautiful just like the story. A kick-ass cover for a kick-ass book.

Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson. Pink and Green, my two favourite colours and a combination of both will always tickle my fancy. I think this cover is super cute and sets the mood for the adorable story.

Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian. I am still yet to read this one (hope to get into it this month). I think the colours and gold embossing are simply stunning on the paperback, but try as I might I couldn’t get a picture to do the cover justice.

I’ve done a bit more detailed post using these books and their synopsis’s over on the #AusYABloggers site. If you want you can check that out HERE.

#LoveOzYaBloggers – Coastal

#LoveOzYABloggers: 'Coastal'

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature.

The theme for this fortnight is ‘Coastal’.

Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!


When I saw the Coastal prompt, I thought “U’beauty, I’ll do books set in Newie”. Newie being my teenage stomping grounds. I already had two YA books sitting on my shelf that are set in Newie and I assumed considering Newcastle is the second oldest city in Australia, beaten out only by Sydney, and that it is still one of Australia’s biggest shipping ports, it wouldn’t be hard to find a third.

I Googled and found quite a few non-fiction books. I consulted the Newcastle Writers Festival Facebook group and ended up with recommendations for some fantastic sounding Aussie adult contemporaries and thrillers, which have been added to my TBR list, but no YA!

I decided to stick with #loveozya books based in Newie for this week’s prompt anyway, in the hope that somebody out there can prove me wrong and give me a third!

7493681Surf Ache by Gerry Bobsien

Paperback, 265 pages
Published 2009 by Walker Books
*

This is a story about a family who embark on a sea-change moving from Melbourne to the coastal city of Newcastle. It’s about the crazy impact this move has on the kids in the family, Ella and Creaky, and the resilience of young people to handle change. Ella is fifteen and finds herself in a new town having to start all over again leaving behind a full and happy life complete with best friend and boyfriend. In Newcastle, Ella doesn’t know who to be or what to do but she slowly starts to make new friends. A dancer for most of her young life, Ella is thrown into a new world where surfing is the city’s obsession and she takes it on with all the joy of a new challenge. Through Ella’s newfound love of the sea, we learn a few secrets about her mum’s controversial past as a gun surfer. Above all, this is a story about family and love and the secrets we keep. It’s a book about girls doing things. Through Ella, we are infected with a passion for dance and surfing. This complete immersion in doing something you love is an important part of this book.

6889947Losing It by Lizzie Wilcock

Paperback, 314 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Scholastic Australia
*

Once you’ve lied about something, lying becomes easy. You keep lying to cover your tracks. The lie grows. It becomes huge. Savage. Hungry.’

Gabbie likes her life just the way it is. She has a cool best friend and parents she can tell anything, and she’s just met the perfect guy.

But there are some things you can’t control. When her best friend starts to go off the rails, Gabbie finds it harder and harder to share the truth with her parents. Her family is changing, and that may become the biggest problem of all . . .

“Losing It” was shortlisted for the Young Adult Fiction Prize in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, 2006.


My posts for the previous prompts: 

 [High School]  [Fantasy]  [Feels]  [Sci-Fi]  [Series]

No Limits: YA Review

35298151No Limits by Ellie Marney
Genre: Contemporary
Publication: August 14th 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Review copy from Author
Thanks Ellie, you wonderful woman
Add to Goodreads

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Boozer, brawler, ladies’ man – nineteen-year-old Harris Derwent is not a good guy.

His one attempt to play the hero – helping out his old flame, Rachel Watts – has landed him in hospital. Now injured, broke, and unemployed, he’s stuck back in the country, at his father’s mercy. Harris needs to pay off his dad’s debts, and fast. But working as a runner for a drug cartel is a dangerous path – especially if Harris agrees to narc…

Eighteen-year-old Amita Blunt is the perfect police sergeant’s daughter – practical, trustworthy, and oh-so responsible. Getting involved in Harris’s case was never part of the plan. But working at the hospital, she’s invisible – which makes her the ideal contact for a boy feeding information back to the police…

Harris and Amie’s connection is sizzling hot – but if the cartel finds out about them, things could get downright explosive. Backed into a corner, with everything at stake, it’s time for Harris and Amie to find out if love really has no limits…


Woah! What an action-packed adventure ride this book was. I loved it. It was fan-frigging-tastic!

Right from the start I was enjoying reading this book; Ellie’s writing, the characters and the prospect of romance and drama. The story reeled me in, fast, and I was happy to be hooked.

Harris’s dad is an evil arsehole. Had to be said! He has subjected Harris to emotional and physical abuse his whole life, making Harris an emotionally closed off hard arse. We meet Harris at an extreme low point. He has no self-worth and a bit of a death wish. Enter Amie.

Amie’s dad is a good man, a man of the law. And Amie has a loving extended family. After the death of her mother Amie can’t bear being separated from her remaining family. So, she plans on giving up her dreams of studying photography and visiting far off places to stay and be near them. Little help here please Harris (and Nani).

Harris and Amie are two extremely different people, but the chemistry between them is undeniable right from the start. Each helping the other heal, let go and move on to bigger and better things – oh and there is a whole lot of criminal activity, dangerous dudes and wrongs righted in between.

Meth, not even once mate! Methamphetamine, Crystal Meth, Crank, Speed, Ice, Poor Man’s Cocaine etc. whatever the hell you want to call it, it’s poisonous s**t. I really liked how Ellie went into detail with her characters drug use without glorifying it. The message of the damage it can do shines through the story, but she’s not preachy.  She shows the painful truths, the negative side effects and deadly consequences. She also bothers to show how it feels, and why they do it.

The last eight chapters were a full-on adrenalin rush. I was physically anxious, my stomach was churning as I flew through the words, racing to find out how it all ends. Totally worth it! The ending made my heart sing.

I can see myself reading this book again. I really enjoyed getting to know Harris and Amie intimately, and the rush of experiencing their world.

Harris does feature in the last book of Ellie’s Every series, but you in no way need to read it first. Do yourself a favour, go and buy No Limits and fall in love with Ellie’s story telling awesomeness .

Find Ellie and her books here: Amazon AU | Amazon US | BooktopiaAngus & Robertson Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

#LoveOzYaBloggers – Series

#LoveOzYABloggers is hosted by #LoveOzYA, a community led organisation dedicated to promoting Australian young adult literature.

The theme for this fortnight is ‘Series’.

Keep up to date with all new Aussie YA releases with their monthly newsletter, or find out what’s happening with News and Events, or submit your own!


For todays prompt I’ve picked three #loveozya series which all also happen to be trilogies.The Every Series, book one: Every Breath by Ellie Marney

Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne from the country, but the city is the last place she wants to be.

James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old who’s also a genius with a passion for forensics.

Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. He’s even harder to resist when he’s up close and personal – and on the hunt for a cold-blooded killer.

When Rachel and Mycroft follows the murderer’s trail, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again…

 [The Every Series on Goodreads]

The Colours of Madeleine Series, book one: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).

Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot’s dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.

As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds — through an accidental gap that hasn’t appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called “color storms;” a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the “Butterfly Child,” whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses…

[The Colours of Madeleine Series on Goodreads]

The Circle of Talia Series, book one: Shadows of the Realm by Dionne Lister

This is an epic fantasy adventure book with lots of action, intrigue, creaturas and dragons, for young adult to adult.

Bronwyn and Blayke are two strangers being drawn into the same war. Their world is facing invasion from the Third Realm. While they move unknowingly toward each other, they are watched, hunted, and sabotaged. When the Dragon God interferes, it seems their world, Talia, will succumb to the threat. Can they learn enough of the tricks of the Realms before it’s too late, or will everything they love be destroyed?

The young Realmists’ journey pushes them away from all they’ve known, to walk in the shadows toward Vellonia, city of the dragons, where an even darker shadow awaits.

This book’s been given the Grub Street Reads seal of approval.

 [The Circle of Talia Series on Goodreads]

My posts for the previous prompts:  [High School]  [Fantasy]  [Feels]  [Sci-Fi].