Red Winter

31829155Red Winter (Red Winter Trilogy #1) by Annette Marie


 “Actions change our course, influence our futures, but intentions define us, empower us. Without intent, we are nothing.”

Ten years ago Emi was marked by Amaterasu to be the vessel as her human host to inhabit. Since then she has been preparing her body and soul for the moment that the kami will join with her. One day she finds out a secret that unravels everything she was led to believe. With the help of her natural enemy, a yokai, she decide to get the truth about the impending ritual and what it means for her life.

The Story

Guys this was so good. At first I was a little skeptical. I originally started this because Sana & Tweebs were all gaga for this book, but my initial reaction was this is pretty good…but boring. My dear friend Amanda got the book though, and she’s a ridiculously fast reader and blasted through the series and insisted I continued on. I trusted her enough to do it and thank fully I did. Seriously, I was enraptured by the world building and visual aids in the book, but nothing really happens till 75 pages into the book. From that point on it was rather exciting as Emi discovered more about herself and what it means to be a kamigakari. I don’t want to give away too much about this book but let me just say that if you are a fan of manga/anime that involves yokai, then you need to read this book. Seriously, the Inuyasha  and Kamisama Hajimemashita vibes are strong, but not in a rip-off sort of way.

Kagome Higurashi GIF

I don’t normally say this, but I ship the characters SO hard even though the romance is very minimal. The story itself focuses mostly around Emi and her inner struggle as she ultimately decides if what she has been working for her entire life is worth the sacrifice. In the midst of her self discovery, she makes some new…allies and together they uncover a secret that connects them in ways they didn’t imagine.

The World Building

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So a lot of you probably don’t know this about me. But I am what one might consider a Japanophile. I am a big fan of anime/manga (though haven’t really kept up recently). I studied Japanese and spent a few months over there studying culture. In fact, it’s been exactly 5 years since I went, and I miss it dearly. (Clearly this is a picture of me getting to wear a traditional kimono while I was there)

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I really  enjoyed the Japanese infusion in these books. There are so many cultural aspects that are accurately (at least to my knowledge) used here, and only a great deal of research or knowledge could have brought this all together. As a fan, I greatly appreciated it all. Again, if you are someone who is a fan of manga/anime surrounding yokai, you will probably really get a kick out of this.

For those on the less obsessive scale, the book provides a glossary in the back with not only help pronouncing the (real) Japanese words, but also with definitions for them. On top of that the writing was so visually stunning, while I was reading I almost wanted to close my eyes in escape into my memories of my visits to the shrines.

One of the extra awesome parts of this book were the visual aids. The book has beautiful pictures!

read beauty and the beast GIF

Art is provided by Brittany Jackson and she is super talented. The book isn’t overrun by the pictures. It really just adds the extra dash of pizzazz to the book and it is just extra special for it.

The Characters

This has some of my favorite things. I mean, strong female character paired with a snarky kitsune? Be still my beating heart! I. JUST. CANT. I love them so much.

Emi-She’s so sweet and innocent at the beginning and I was like, look at this little prim and proper princess, live a little. Boy, does she live a little. I mean, she doesn’t go all buck wild..but she might as well have all things considering. Her responses to some of her first experiences are so cute, like not knowing how to hold a freaking hamburger (Just for your reading sake, I am say that as “ham bah gah” like I would if I was speaking Japanese and I am giggling to myself as I write this). Anyway, despite her lack of her experience in life she is so eager to be more than just a vassal, and I love her for admitting to herself that she didn’t even have a personality because of her preparation. Like yay, you’re special without having to be some amazing snow-flake. What’s so great about her though? She’s compassionate to her enemies and brave and tough despite her lack of fighting experience.

Shiro- You know how people have got it bad for sparkling vampires, werewolves, fae of the night court? Well I have it bad for kitsune. I blame the manga/anime Kamisama Hajimemashita . (excuse me if I disappear to binge watch it all over again)

Manga GIF

Shiro is so cute with in his vulnerable state with his lack of power (and multiple wounds, poor guy!) I loved how much he intentionally just wanted to get on Emi’s nerves by saying things to make her blush. He may be sneaky, but he is still loyal to a fault and very protective. I just adore him.

I love Yumei too, but let me just say I am a sucker for those fox ears. I can’t wait to see what this Miko and her yokai friends get into in the next book!


宇野実彩子 – どうして恋してこんな  (Misako Uno – Doushite Koi Shite Konna)



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29939390Windwitch (Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard


“Why do you hold a razor in one hand?
So men remember that I am sharp as any edge.
And why do you hold broken glass in the other?
So men remember that I am always watching.”

The Story

This book was both beautiful and terrifying as each of our witch’s lives are torn apart and transformed in the sequel to Truthwitch. Dennard expands on the world that she brought us previously and each character’s story unfolds to show more power and depth than we would have expected from an already vibrant story.

Though this book is called Windwitch, it is no indication that it is solely about Merik. In fact, it is much a story of our collective witches rather than just solely one or two. Previously, Truthwitch really did revolve mostly around Safi and her thread sister Iseult’s base story, whereas Windwitch delves into each story – not favoring any one witch. What I loved about this book was that every with has their own journey that they are on, and where you may have found them to be a villain previously, you find that you are still rooting for them even if their goal is countering your favorite character.

For those who are looking for continued romance, don’t expect this installment t have it.  This book is less of romance and more of a battle for survival. This book focused more on each character’s individual strength through their dilemmas. However, we are set up for some interesting relationships for later in the series. And lets just say I ship them all!!! A minor LGBTQA+ rep slid into this book, but has potential to grow so much more in the series.

New mysteries have unfolded and has left Dennard the opportunity to take the story in multiple directions (which she sort of already has). You aren’t exactly left with a cliffhanger, but more or less an opening for an already broad story to grow exponentially.

The World Building

If I ever met Susan Dennard, my first question would be where she gets her inspiration from for the world building in this series. What I find so impressive is how much everything just connects together. Having had read the first two books twice now really just brings about how many minor details are brought back out and utilized. Though, sometimes dense, I still found every little bit intriguing. I love how slowly everything is revealed. Susan is such a tease giving us just a little bit about the Cahr Arwen, the various water wells, and even the Hell-bards so that we have to keep coming back for more.

The Characters

I love the characters in this book. Everyone suffers, but they do so beautifully. I think what is so inspiring about each character is that they are so selfless. Each one of these precious characters have something that they are sacrificing their safety and well being for. The idea of thread sisters and brothers and the connection it has is so special. It’s not just like saying they are basically best friends, their physical being and souls are interwoven with their threads – their threads are actually bound.

The Soundtrack

Thrice – For Miles

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The Weight of Feathers

20734002The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore


“The sense of falling did not touch her, not as long as her body was between the hands of this boy who felt steadier in the air than on the ground.” 

Long before their fateful encounter, Lace Paloma and Luc Corbeau’s families have rivaled. With a history that involves death, these two families live and breathe hatred for each other. As traveling showman, both families couldn’t be more different; the Paloma’s performing with fins in the water and the Corbeau’s with wings on the backs up in the trees. Amongst the hatred and superstitions, this unlikely pair’s romance may dig up the roots that set this family apart.

The Story– I absolutely adored this book! The story of the classic warring families of Romeo & Juliet is brought back to life with just a tad of magical realism. Let me be honest though, the only way I typically like Romeo & Juliet is when it’s played by Lenardo D’Caprio & Claire Danes with some fantastic music in the background (granted I have yet to see the Hailee Steinfeld movie that came out a few years ago – bad HS fan!)

Now while I might usually say that the interactions did not provide for a substantially built relationship, it does stick with the quick to fall in love notion that Romeo & Juliet provides. With that being said, the background of each character helps provide the platform that allows someone who is willing to accept who the other is, just as they are. That in itself is fair enough to fall in love with – banished by their families for various reasons sets up our characters to be open to the love that each other can offer. Anyway, the romance in this book is seriously so sweet!

The World Building– Beautifully written, Spanish and French influence was interwoven to add some additional flavor. Which, if you guys know me at all, just adds a million points. I loved how the families had traits about them that added an otherworldly presence – the fish with the scales and the birds with wings. It was fantastic way to add to the opposition each family would have towards each other, and a romantic way for the characters to learn to adapt.

The Characters– Both Lace and Cluck were so sweet despite their deeply embedded hatred for each other. There is something to be said about how they were able to fall for each other when their natural reaction was to recoil from just the touch of each other. Despite knowing how their family acts it was hard to see them be so loyal to what their family stood for. For the record, their families are awful! The fact that their families (for the most part) were so horrible just made it easier to cheer the characters on as they discover who they are and what they are destined for in their life.

The Soundtrack- The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition


Buddy read with the lovely Ash and Rae

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21414439Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard

“It wasn’t freedom she wanted. It was belief in something—a prize big enough to run for and to fight for and to keep on reaching toward no matter what.” 

Safi’s skill to detect lies and truth is a sought after skill that has her on the run for her life with more than just one person chasing after her. In the first of the Witchlands series she and her friend Iseult find themselves on the run, or rather captured, for this power and what it means for the country that has it.

The Story-This story is non-stop excitement. From the first moment of a road side heist to a battle for their lives Safi &co are constantly on the run, narrowly escaping capture or death. Having gone through this book twice now, and I am still fully entertained. Throughout the story allies and enemies interchange and by the end we are faced ultimately with an unknown that is just on the verge of being discovered. This enemy seems to have a lot more planned than what we are initially given, and builds for an exciting series.

The World Building-Susan Dennard does such a wonderful fully enveloping a well-built world. With a just a touch of history to the world we aren’t very overwhelmed as we learn about the magical elements and learn more about the characters and their personalities. In fact, in this second half there are such little details that I didn’t notice the first time around that aren’t necessary to get through the story, but are like little hidden gems that you not think are significant without knowing what will happen in the future. These are the type of details that are found in well planned worlds that the authors take such extra care and pour the time into. As a reader I really appreciate the amount of work that must go into it.

I love how the magic in this world is borderline elemental, but still delivers something that is fresh and unique. Each characters magic helps develop their personalities as well as provide such a colorful world. At first, some of all the magical abilities are a little much to keep track of, but the more I am immersed into this book, the more I appreciate all the details and specifics that allow as well as limit the characters’ abilities.

The world and historical culture is fully thought out as each characters background plays into their role, what’s driving them, and what they are searching for. Each character is given a background that has room to grow as we proceed through the series. Throughout the story, we are given just enough description of the surroundings that we are able to envision the story as it plays out without it bogging down the text and taking away from where the real story development is given.

The Characters– There are multiple POV’s used throughout the book. As I have said before, each character has full history and personality that help progress the story. What I really liked about these characters were that not only were not only given romance but we are given a story that involves relentless comradery, familial loyalty, and even religious devoutness. Each character has such purpose in their actions that none of their POV’s are used sparingly.

Version Versus– The audio version is fantastic. Cassandra Campbell does a fantastic job doing accents to help add flavor to the story. If you’re a fan of languages or linguistics I think you would appreciate the audio production.

Can we just talk about these covers?

The original cover features the titled character, and lets just say that Safi looks so bad ass, and lets face it, she proves to be so strong headed, fierce, and yes bad ass. The paperback cover is, equally as fantastic! I have no idea which one I like better.

The Soundtrack – Zella Day – Compass

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The City of Brass

32718027The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty


“They shall control the winds and be lords of the deserts. And any traveler who strays across their land shall be doomed.” 

Nahri is a con artist, and essentially fakes it till she makes it. Literally, it’s her pretending that leads her to ultimately summon a djinn and discover that the entire time, she actually had some form of power. Except now she must make her way to Daevabad where she belongs. Where she discovers more than just her own power, but of that of her new djinn friend and that of her fearsome ancestors.

The Story– It’s been a few days since I finished this fantastic book and I am still having a hard time putting words together. I will in no way do this book any justice with this review, but I have to write something. I love that a debut novel can be just as good as a veteran writer, and this book deserves so much more hype. Why aren’t more people reading this? Truly, The Kingdom of Copper has bumped up to one of my most anticipated released for 2018. When I initially read the synopsis I thought, hmm, this sounds like it could be along the lines of Rebel in the Sands or The Star Touched Queen (both of which I thoroughly enjoyed) meets a con artist, but it ended up exceeding more than those simple expectations.

The story is much more complex than one about a girl who accidentally calls a djinn warrior and discovers that the magical world she was pretending existed actually existed. This book also had me drawn in from the beginning as within 10% the exciting action had me at the edge of my virtual seat wringing my hands as Nahri starts her adventure out near death…literally.

The World Building– This story was beautiful. Even though it is essentially set in Egypt in the 1800’s it transports you to an intricately woven magical world that is in parallel with the real one that we know. Let me be honest though. Even though there wasn’t an info dump, there were a few times that I felt a little overwhelmed by the culture of Daevabad (The City of Brass). The differences between the different djinn tribes was intriguing but left me hoping that the next book would dive a little more into their history and differences.

The Characters– The book is told from two POV. I love how intricately their two different stories collided and melded together. I really look forward to see how Nahri plays into the politics from here on out as she holds such a precarious position.

The Soundtrack– I feel like I must point out that this is one of my favorite songs to blast in my car. The climactic ending is fantastic and I reminisce seeing these guys live and what an amazing show they put on, especially this song. Anyway, it pleases me to attribute this jam to such a fantastic book.


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The Winner’s Curse

16069030The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski


Kestrel is the generals daughter and has been given two options: marry or join the military. When she buys a slave on a whim her world is kaleidoscope as she starts to fall for the man, Arin, that she bought. The complications of their affection complicates both of their lives as they discover they will have to sacrifice more than just their pride, conviction and status.

The Story-I read this 2 years ago but for some reason never got around to finishing the series. As a reread, I ended up thinking this book deserves 5 stars instead of just the 4 I initially gave it. The story may start off slow, but I think it’s important to set the world and temperament of Kestrel’s life. The main focus of the book is spent on the slow burn of Kestrel and Arin’s romance as they are basically in denial of the attraction the feel for each other due to their circumstance of slave & owner. However, there is courtly-esque façade, politicking, and even a dueling to keep the middle of the story from lagging.

The World Building-I love how there is this 19th century feel to this, with an empire conquering a new land and spreading out, all the while the nobles take over and prance around in their finery with slaves doing all the work. I love how the conquered people’s culture was seeping into the culture, but was twisted to serve the means of those that took over. My favorite part though, was though the world would assume to be male dominated (Kestrel needing an escort to walk around town), the women could join the military. It wasn’t frowned upon in the least bit for Kestrel to be knowledgeable in politics and military.

The Characters-It’s hard not to love the characters in this book. Both Kestrel and Arin have their own upbringing that clashes with each other. I just adore how they still try to maintain their status while sacrificing their pride to help one another.

The Soundtrack

Cat Power – The Greatest

The Dear Hunter – Where the Road Parts


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13206900Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer


In the conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles series, the girls and their beaus come together for a final stand against Levana and her rule on Luna and impeding rule on the Common Wealth. Though they all come from different backgrounds, have their own skills, and have their own end goals, they somehow band together against a tyrant that has been destroying their lives.

The Story– I absolutely adore these books, and the last one didn’t let me down at all. If you like a happily ever after, than these retellings definitely have it for you. The best part is that even though we all (probably) know the basic outline for these stories, Meyer has developed them into their own plot, and the story unfolds in such an exciting way that I could just not put it down till I had my happy ending – which at some points I thought was feeble. By the end though, I was happy and giddy and every other feeling a princess story usually gives me

The World Building-This book gave us a LOT more Luna, in fact a majority of the book is spent there. It was interesting to see how the Lunars were apart from just the thaumaturges, as in not everyone was power hungry narcissists.

The Characters– At first I wasn’t exactly sold on Winter & Jason, but by the end I found them just as swoon worthy as the other three princess/prince couples. I love how Levana ended up being the key villain along many platforms, even though there were a few different fairy tales interwoven.

The Soundtrack– Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

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Related Reviews:

13206828Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer


The Final Empire

6547258The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson


“The Hero of Ages shall be not a man, but a force. No nation may claim him, no woman shall keep him, and no king may slay him. He shall belong to none, not even himself.” 

Within the Final Empire the skaa have been enslaved for centuries by the Lord Ruler. Though the ashes still fall and the mists they fear still roil in each night, a rebellion has started to grow. A crew of thieves, each with their own unique specialty, have plans to turn this rebellion into a full on revolution.

The Story

I was fortunate enough that Bentley and Chelsea let me jump in on their buddy read. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much without their feedback, ideas, and understanding throughout the book. I seriously am so excited to start the next book. I have to admit, the long prologue and first few chapters weren’t the most exciting chapters ever, but from there the story really unfolds from slow burning to a full blaze. The story itself primarily follows Vin, who is a lowly thief, and her endeavors after she has been recruited by Kelsier, a man known as The Survivor of Hasinth for the biggest, craziest job he has ever planned. Mostly told between Vin & Kelsier the team is constantly berated by obstacle after obstacle that keeps you wondering if they will ever pull off the job or not. While an uprising isn’t some the most exciting, original idea, Sanderson did a wonderful job of introducing it as new through his wonderful world building.

The World Building

I thought that as the story progressed Sanderson did an excellent job of unfolding more and more about the world as well as character development. The world building for me was by far the best part for me. While I have a lot of questions about some aspects, I can tell by the way Sanderson unfolded information in this book, that we will most likely have them answered in due time throughout the rest of the series. With that being said, I’d like to point out some of my favorite bits that I found incredibly intriguing.
The Special Abilities– I loved how in depth all of this was. There wasn’t just one type of power. In fact the major ability, metal burning, wasn’t even as straight forward as just having it. There were levels of ability, uses, checks and balances, using up and refilling, and tricks unique to each type of ability. At first I was a little overwhelmed by the different types of metal and what they did. I thought I might have to memorize all of them to keep up with the story, but Sanderson flawlessly reminded me of their uses as the actions were performed without sounding redundant.
Creatures, Races & Histories-There are a few different races mentioned in the book, and each had their own history, special abilities, religions etc. In fact, I loved how Sanderson created multiple religions within the one people as part of the world building, even if it wasn’t relevant to the particular world they were living it, it still helped support the story, and it was these small details that really put this book above the rest. The creatures were so eerie & unnatural. First of all, the Inquisitors off the bat were so creepy I got chills reading about them. The mistwraiths have all their superstitions wrapped around them along with the fact that they only roam around in the mists just made them über creepy too. These creatures along with the superstitions really set the mood for the world.

The Characters

Okay, there are too many characters to really do all of them any justice, so I am only going to mention Vin (who I consider the main character) and my favorite from the whole crew.
Vin-Now while Vin turns out to be a super bad ass chick, my favorite parts of her were her weaknesses. Despite her growth as a character in skill, confidence, and trust, she was still vulnerable to dangers, loss and disappointment. She never stops second guessing herself, she just pushes through because she simply has to. Just because she was certainly stronger and bolder by the end of the book, she could still cry out with relatively normal reactions.
Sazed-I loved this guy because he was entirely selfless. He only sought out the best for his friends, particularly in this book Vin, and even when they were stupid he did nothing but support them all. He is steadfast in his word and true with his friendship. For me he turned out to be one of the most intriguing characters, and I honestly think it was meant to be that way. He is shrouded in mystery for most of the book, despite his prominent presence, and I can only hope that he continues to play a big role in the upcoming books.

The Soundtrack

Radiohead – Daydreaming

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13206828Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer



Cress has been in her satellite doing the bidding of Queen Levana for many years. But this is her chance to redeem herself for all that she was forced to do. Imprisoned on a Satellite with only the occasional supply visit she has little interaction with the outside world (errr universe). That is until she requests an escape from none other than Cinder, the fugitive she has been ordered to find for the Queen. This unlikely crew of rebels soon find out that they not only need to stay out of the clutches of the Queen but are probably the only hope of stopping her.

The Story-I can’t believe I put this book off so long. These books are just so stinking cute, I don’t even care if they’re cheesy or anything. They just make me feel good and sometimes you just need that in your life. Fairytale retellings in space? Seriously, so much fun. I know I am ridiculously late to this bandwagon, but I don’t even care.

Anyway, the pacing in book three stays steady with espionage, escapes, and even kidnapping. Along with all the sweetness these girls bring, the situations they find themselves in only keeps you on the edge of your seat with excitement.

The World Building-In Cress we start to get a little bit more of the Lunar perspective and it’s quite disturbing. It’s really quite chilling to learn what they are willing to do to hold and gain more as much power as they can. It was really interesting to see more of Earth and how they interact and handle Lunars as well. I am really curious how Earth is going to react in the next book with all that has happened in this book.

The Characters-So since we are starting to really collect a huge cast, I am going to focus on our title heroine, Cress. I am pretty sure she’s my favorite thus far and I think it’s purely for her sweet naiveté. Unlike our other retold heroines, she remains to be the girl you want to save. Not because she is exactly helpless, because let’s be honest, the crew would not be alive without her. It’s because I feel like there is something about her that needs to be persevered. I hated seeing her go through more and more troubles, but her relationship with Thorn is just so stinking cute. Despite the fact that she is the one being “saved” it was incredibly endearing how their friendship developed as he had to rely on her.

The Soundtrack
Anya Maria – Satellite Heart
Justin Bieber – Hit the Ground
The Chainsmokers feat. Daya– Don’t Let me Down


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Just Friends

25876985Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock


“Their past might be fake, but their future was real. It was theirs to build. It was real, unscripted and unplanned.” 

When Jenny and Chance are paired together for an assignment for Oral Communication, they end up winging the whole thing and making up lies about how they have basically been best friends forever. After the class is over, they just go with it, pretending to be best friends. As time goes on, they learn to trust and rely each other like it’s all true. The more real memories they create the closer they get until their need for each other by their side is undeniable to everyone.

The Story– Pitcock mentions in her acknowledgements that Reality Bites played a part of inspiration for the book, but I honestly have never seen it. However, the entire time I was reading this I had actually wondered if it was a When Harry Met Sally retelling. Which, I completely adore.

Let me be completely candid here. I started this book last night and read till 2AM, woke up and finished it in bed before getting up for coffee. If you knew anything about me there are two things important to me in the morning – washing my face & drinking coffee. So the fact that I just had to finish before marking these tasks off my morning routine has got to show how much I adored this.

I have to admit that the first chapter or two had me wondering if this was the type of book that would talk about how great Chance is with enough cheese factor to put Tillamook out of business. Fortunately after the initial meet-cute it tempered down a bit to a steady and consistent feel goodness. While the whole story wasn’t just cutesy scenes, I think it’s also important to point out that it did have some familial issues that are addressed though they weren’t a heavy influence to the vibe to the book. The issues were used as a way to reinforce the friendship that was so needed between Chance and Jenny. Other common teen issues are lightly used as well, including rumor mills, double standards, and relationship expectations.

I just loved how this book deals with friendship and how they were there for each other first before their feelings became an issue. That’s to say that sparks didn’t not fly from their initial reaction, it just didn’t quite take off in a steamy or confusing romance. Just read this, it’s a good balance of romance and comradery.

There was just one bit that I felt could have been done just a smidge better and that was how many 90’s or 00’s references that were used throughout the book. I think it really dated the Pitcock’s generation, which was okay, but probably could have been a more relevant if it also included some more recent references. Don’t get me wrong, it is the same era that I reference most, but just saying for the target audience that the book is for…

The Characters-Jenny & Chance were stinking cute. I seriously loved their interactions and the stories they came up for their fake past were super cute too. They made it super nostalgic for my childhood best friend. It was incredibly endearing how Jenny & Chance would put the other’s needs before their own over and over despite their own personal issue.

The Soundtrack– At the end of this book Pitcock had already supplied playlists from Jenny & Chance, so I’m not going to list a bunch here. You just have to get the book to see hers for yourself.
Taylor Swift – State of Grace (this was also on Pitcock’s Jenny & Chance playlist)
Rooney – If It Were Up to Me
Feist – Secret Heart

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