My Great Reads of 2019

 

So these are books I read, in general, this year, they may have come out this year, they may have come out before, but, I wanted to just give you all a bit of a highlights reel of books I didn’t get to include on the other lists whether because they didn’t fit the genre or because I just loved too many of a certain genre lol, either way, here are some of my favorites.

 

YA Fantasy/Scifi

The Fever King

Shadow of the Fox

Soul of the Sword

Heart of Mist

Reign of Mist

The Phantom Forest

Spin the Dawn

We Hunt the Flame

A Spark of White Fire

Tiger Queen

Realm of Knights

The Deathless Girls

Gravemaidens

Tears of Frost

Girls of Paper and Fire

The Last Namsara

The Sky Weaver

This Mortal Coil

Fawkes

Blood Heir

The Weight of a Soul

Sorcery of Thorns

Reverie

Contemporary

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Postscript

YA Contemporary

Becoming Beatriz

Coral

The Naseby Horses

 

Mystery/Thriller/Crime

Dead Man’s Blues

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

The Devil Upstairs

A Death in Harlem

Starve Acre

Fantasy/Scifi

Anna Undreaming

The Bird King

The Little Snake

The Heart of Stone

The Veiled Threat

Lost Solace

Angel Mage

The Black Hawks

Practical Magic

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Graphic Novels

Horizontal Collaboration

Bloodlust & Bonnets

 

Other

The Art of Taxidermy

Women’s Weird

Foxfire, Wolfskin

Pursuit: The Balvenie Stories Collection

The Company of Eight [MG Fantasy]

Sense and Sensibility

Historical Fiction

The Pursuit of William Abbey

The Crown Agent

The Penelopiad

 

And here are the ones I will be screaming about again and again because that’s how good they are:

Crown of Feathers

[^There’s going to be a readalong of this starting very soon!^]

The Return of King Lillian

A House of Rage and Sorrow

Kingdom of Souls

Girls of Storm and Shadow

House of Salt and Sorrows

The Betrayal of Ka Review

 

 

The Betrayal of Ka (The Transprophetics #1)

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GoodReads:
As the spaceship secretly lands on Earth, Ka’s mission is clear: find and kill Transprophetics. His shipmates think of him as a killer. On his home planet of Koranth, he is considered a murderer. Haunted in his dreams by the boy whose life he stole, Ka struggles to define who he really is.

A girl in a temple in Thailand. A boy kidnapped in Mexico. Both can do the impossible. Both can move objects with their minds. These two Transprophetics pose grave risks to the Donovackia Corporation as it plans its invasion of Earth.

With a blade in his hand, Ka’s decision to kill, or not, will reverberate across the galaxy.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US

**The links to the book used in this post are Affiliated links, should you click on my links and use them to purchase this book, it will gain me some monies, and will cost you nothing, but gotta disclose this first.**

My Review

 

I love science fiction, there’s not a doubt about that, and reading the synopsis of this had me intrigued. But. Ya’ll. I was not prepared.

The grittiness of it kept recalling me to ‘Akira’ the way that Ka seemed so self-assured at the start, but strip that away and you found yourself with a sympathetic character. Someone you wanted to root for, especially as he is so aware of his mistakes and the cost of them.

The idea of how Ka is human, but makes him alien to other planets with humans, well, I thought that was pretty awesome.

The story is between two worlds, and at first, I was wondering what the purpose was in doing it this way, but, once you find out it’s like ‘oooh, that, that was a pretty good idea.’ But on a more serious note, I did enjoy reading Ka’s parts best in the book and wish that the large time gap that occurs wouldn’t have been so…gaping. I wanted to see more of his life in that time period, but I totally understood why they did it that way.

There’s a good set of characters, you are deeply involved in them and wanting to know what will happen, and I think Oliver just did a fantastic job with building up this world and the plot was unique and brilliant.

My biggest issue would have been, aside from the time gap which is more of a preference than anything else, the ease of which people believe Mr. Freeman and Hector. It just seemed too accepting, I wanted to see more of a struggle with it. Though I think the transprophetics were what made things easily believable.

The way everything came together was definitely satisfying and I cannot wait to read what happens in book 2 which I’ll be purchasing this month! Thank you to the author, Shea Oliver for a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion.

Overall a solid four cups of hot chocolate read, a great addition to the scifi genre!

 

About the Author

Shea R. Oliver

Shea Oliver is a science fiction and horror writer with a passion for telling stories that challenge readers’ assumptions and stereotypes. In his first published novel, The Betrayal of Ka, a protagonist’s decision to sell drugs to a young boy results in the death of the child.

Shea enjoys taking readers them on deeply emotional journeys to explore his characters motivations, mindset, and decisions. While his stories are written to be entertaining tales, they also are designed to be works that prompt readers to explore their own thoughts, behaviors, and treatment of others.

During a difficult personal period, Shea solo-climbed and sat alone atop a high mountain peak in Rocky Mountain National Park to assess his life. As he mediated in that beautiful setting, his long-dormant dream of becoming a novelist reemerged, and the next day, he began writing his first novel.

Shea’s professional career spans numerous industries with significant experience in enterprise software sales and digital marketing. He has founded multiple companies, coached other entrepreneurs, and taught public speaking at Colorado State University.

Shea happily declares that his greatest achievement in life is being the father to two amazing sons. He is also an ardent nature lover, teardrop trailer enthusiast, and photographer. When not pounding on his keyboard, Shea can often be found in the wilderness, hiking alone, and enjoying life.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Doing Time – Blog Tour

 

 

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Blurb:
Introducing The Time Police, the brand-new series by international bestselling
author, Jodi Taylor – an irresistible spinoff from the much-loved Chronicles of St
Mary’s series. Perfect reading for fans of Doctor Who, Ben Aaronovitch and Jasper
Fforde.
A long time ago in the future, the secret of time travel became known to all.
Everyone seized the opportunity – and the world nearly ended. There will
always be idiots who want to change history.
And so, the Time Police were formed. An all-powerful, international organisation
tasked with keeping the timeline straight. At all costs.
Their success is legendary, and the Time Wars are over. But now the Time
Police must fight to save a very different future – their own.
This is the story of Jane, Luke and Matthew – arguably the worst recruits
in Time Police history. Or, very possibly, three young people who might just
change everything.

Book Information:
Written by: Jodi Taylor
Published by: Headline Books
Publication date: 17/10/2019
Format: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

 

My Review

I don’t think I’ve chuckled so much while reading in a loooong time. This book was. hilarious and the fact it had time travel in it only made it a billion times better [no exaggeration used].

A bit of Dr. Who vibe with the time travel, especially with the St. Mary’s crowd, and a bit of Police Academy, meets Starship Troopers in the humor and police force side of things.

This is a story for those who love the underdogs, our three recruits don’t quite fit the mould and what’s worse, they may not be as bad as everyone thinks…or wants them to be.

There’s the political undercurrent that comes with a good police story, is there corruption, is there plotting and underhanded things going on? Read to find out!

I did enjoy how different the three recruits were, and I enjoyed the light-hearted humor mixed with complex time travel and a plot worthy of a good book.

Jane was perhaps my favorite, the start of her journey as part of the Time Police just amused me way too much to not favor her form the start.

Not to mention they get to go on some crazy adventures. Guys, there’s one involving capturing a rabbit in Australia, do you know how hard I laughed while reading that? Enough that I had to go read in the living room so I wouldn’t keep my husband up.

They go to various different periods in history, so it’s not constantly back in say the Bronze Ages or something, so it keeps it fresh and unexpected.

Despite all the hilarity, time adventures, and intrigue, there is still a good amount of heart with a story that says, maybe, just maybe it’s okay to do things a bit differently.

The three recruits find themselves closer and connected just by their differences from the other Time Police, as they are equally different to each other, but by the act that they share a common thread of wanting to do things a bit differently than the standard expectations of the Time Police. They are stronger together and they all grow into better versions of themselves as the book progresses…some take longer than others, no names mentioned.

Honestly, it was a super enjoyable read for me and I hadn’t read Jodi Taylor’s books beforehand, so, guess who has some reading to catch up on? Meeeee.

A truly entertaining and funny read, four and a half cups of coffee from moi.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Headline Books for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion for the blog tour.

 

About the Author

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Jodi Taylor is the internationally bestselling author of the Chronicles of
St Mary’s series, the story of a bunch of disaster-prone individuals who
investigate major historical events in contemporary time. Do NOT call it
time travel!
Born in Bristol and now living in Gloucester (facts both cities vigorously
deny), she spent many years with her head somewhere else, much to the
dismay of family, teachers and employers, before finally deciding to put all
that daydreaming to good use and write a novel. Nearly twenty books later,
she still has no idea what she wants to do when she grows up.

The Rest of the Tour

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Off Balance – Cover Reveal

 

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for the chance to do this cover reveal!! I am a huge fan of Off Planet and you can find my fangirl review of it, here. It’s also made my top SciFi reads for the first half of 2019. I really, truly, loved the first book and I cannot wait to read book 2, like, bring it, hurry up February!!!!

Anyway, now for the cover reveal:

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Synopsis:
Broken, beaten-down, and plagued by nightmares, Amihanna di Aetes is surrounded by the Aunare race that makes up the other half of her heritage, but she feels alien amongst them. She’s not sure which is worse: SpaceTech’s overt hatred of Aunare or the Aunare’s covert hatred of halfers. She hears their whispers whenever she enters a room and sees her death reflected in their eyes. Amihanna doesn’t know who to trust anymore, but she hasn’t survived this long by ignoring the warning signs all around her, especially when her instincts are screaming that a familiar choice is coming: flee or fight.
Her parents assure her everything is okay—that there won’t be any reason for her to fight, let alone flee—but with Amihanna’s sudden return, questions arise among the Aunare: who should be blamed for the start of a full-scale war with SpaceTech, how much danger will the war bring, and is Amihanna truly fit to be the next high queen?
Honestly, Amihanna wants to forget all the politics, her betrothal to Lorne, and the possibility of being queen. Her needs are much more basic. All she wants is a solid night’s sleep where she doesn’t wake up screaming with the phantom pain of her skin burning. All she needs is to live without fear of a mob tearing her away from her family. All she hopes for is a chance to dream of a future instead of constantly fighting for her right to live.
And yet, somehow, everything she does leads her back to Lorne. He always seems to know when she’s about to break under the pressures of her new life. His quiet patience is wearing Amihanna’s protective walls down, and she’s terrified of what will happen if they fall.
Book Information:
Title: Off Balance
Written by: Aileen Erin
(Aunare Chronicles #2)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: February 11th 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
GoodReads Link

Pre-Order Links

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Giveaway

A Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author

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Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.

Author Links

Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

The Organizer

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A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World Review

 

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Synopsis:
My name’s Griz. I’ve never been to school, I’ve never had friends, in my whole life I’ev not met enough people to play a game of football. My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, before all the people went away, but we weree never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.
Then the thief came.
He told stories of the deserted towns and cities beyond our horizons. I liked him – until I woke to find he had stolen my dog. So I chased him out into the ruins of the world.
I just want to get my dog back, but I found more than I ever imagined was possible. More about how the world ended. More about what my family’s real story is. More about what really matters. 
GoodReads

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

** Please be aware that the Amazon links provided above are Affiliated Links, they are of no cost to you, I simply get a certain small % commission if you use my links to purchase the books **

 

My Review

This book was phenomenal, Griz is so innocent and naive and reading the character development felt like an honour. This is an epic journey and the future is so atmospheric that you imagine you are there with Griz and the findings and explorations are enthralling to read.

Right out the gate, you can tell this book is going to try and break your heart in record time. And of course, it does. But as always when I love a book that breaks my heart, it does it in the best of ways.

Fletcher has a truly transportive style of writing, there was something that made it haunting in the space between the written words. The vast expanse that is described just seems like something that you can conjure up when you think of say an abandoned theme park, but then to think of it on a global scale, that’s where the haunting part comes in and Fletcher doesn’t hold back any punches with it.

Griz is easy to connect with, especially given the narrative, with using the book as a diary it’s like Griz is speaking to you personally the whole time and you are seeing everything through his interpretation.

The plot twist was also so incredible if not one of the best plot twists that I have ever read. Why? BECAUSE I DEFINITELY DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!

Talk about just throwing the reader through a loop!

And the ending was perfection, truly, I just held this book after I finished and let it all wash over me. The haunting world of a future where infertility is our main downfall, the isolation that still includes adventure, and the heart of it all, Griz and of course Griz’s love for a dog [or two].

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this emotional and captivating tale! Thank you to Orbit Books UK For the copy, I’ll have a full review posted on my blog at a later date.

A House of Rage and Sorrow eARC Review

Hey everyone! So, after recovering from the heartbreak of reading A House of Rage and Sorrow, I figured I would bring a review since it’s finally hit the shelves!

If you haven’t read the first book in this, The Celestial Trilogy, I’ve provided a review of that for you as well.

If you’ve read it already and don’t want to hear me fangirl scream about it, well, then, keep scrolling down past it to hear me fangirl about the second book.

This is also my first time using my affiliate links, so please note that they are used in this post, but they run no cost to you, simply makes me a happy caffeine riddled reader if you purchase a book using my link.

Also, Kal is completely to blame for me reading these, her amazing review of A Spark of White Fire made me buy the book and then I just had to read book 2, A House of Rage and Sorrowonce more because of her.

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GoodReads:
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.

Purchase Link

Amazon UK | Amazon US

My Review

This book is a siren among books, it drags you in the moment you read the first chapter, and that is it, you’re hooked. Your life? It’s over.

Seriously, I remained enthralled and entranced by Mandanna’s style and worldbuilding.

Do you like worldbuilding?

Then trust me when I say she’s a pro at it. She does it while never overwhelming you with details or deterring from the plot, or the characters.

It’s a world of gods, spaceships, and kingdoms.

The characters are great, you love every single one of the cinnamon rolls, and even those that are hard to love, I at least appreciated the work that went into them. Mandanna fleshes out her characters so that those who are ‘stars’ feel intimate to a reader.

Right away I was a huge fan of Esmae, but unfortunately, Rama stole her thunder for me. They have the type of best friend relationship that I at least aspire to keep up with, and not to mention that it is one built most importantly on mutual trust. Rama is a true friend.

And if I start talking about Titania now, I won’t stop until book three is released but she is a brilliant character in her own right if not the actual best character.

There’s so many complex familial relationships and it’s what sets it apart from other Space Operas in my opinion [That and I’ve never read one inspired by the Mahabharata]. It feels real because of the relationships between characters and the romance though present, doesn’t steal the spotlight from what Mandanna wants to convey to us.

And the inkling of foreshadowing about certain things is so well done, I see what you did there, Mandanna, with a certain scene with a certain ‘no longer relevant’ name.

I want to be more thorough but at this point my notes just say, and I quote, ‘AHH NO! *Spoiler which I won’t include* I cannot believe it! Just let me sob here int he corner’

If this doesn’t inspire you to read it, I don’t know what will.

I was able to finally take this off my tbr thanks to Kal having done her #Sparkalong

Honestly, it was perfection to read, and I don’t know how I managed to wait at all for the sequel.

 

Speaking of which, now for the main attraction of today

 

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GoodReads:
One kingdom. One crown. One family.

“Maybe it’s time the great House of Rey came to an end. After all, what are we now? Just a house of rage and sorrow.”

Esmae once wanted nothing more than to help her golden brother win the crown of Kali but that dream died with her best friend. Alexi broke her heart, and she vowed to destroy him for it. And with her sentient warship Titania beside her, how can she possibly fail?

As gods, beasts, and kingdoms choose sides, Alexi seeks out a weapon more devastating than even Titania. Past lives threaten the present. Old enemies claim their due. And Esmae cannot outrun the ghosts and the questions that haunt her. What really happened to her father? What was the third boon her mother asked of Amba? For in the shadows, lurking in wait, are secrets that will swallow her whole.

The House of Rey is at war. And the entire galaxy will bleed before the end.

Purchase Link

Amazon UK | Amazon US

My Review

Do you want to know how you know a book is an excellent read? When you call the author a breeder of heartache.

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She has no shame, look at her, liking all the heartache she’s caused me lol.

Anyway!

This book picks up shortly after where we left off, anything that happened between the end of the first book and the start of the second is run over, and she doesn’t give you a huge time gap either so all in all it’s a really tidy start to the road of broken hearts.

The complex amazing familial relationships only get more complex, though, I mean I hold a torch for Bear, who I just want to sign up for baking classes and let him be happy.

Esmae’s ties to her immediate family are strained, Alexi has destroyed his golden child image, yet she feels as if she’s the only one who cares that he’s proven himself unhonourable. She’s been put on a path of revenge and not even Max or Titania can stop her.

Realizing that revenge has tainted her in a way, she pulls away from relationships both friendly or otherwise and it hurts so much to watch her do that.

Watching her try to comprehend what’s happened and what she’s become is enough to make your eyes a tad leaky, and Amba proves to be just like … words can’t describe it without spoiling it, so I won’t. But my eyes are leaking again.

Also.

Kyra can go fly a kite. I hated her in book one, the hate DOES NOT lessen in this book. *Looks at Kyra* YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID.

We find out so much more about Max, and even about Esmae’s family. There are enough shocking points in this book that I wrote ‘holy shit’ more than once. A couple of things were verified but they were so tiny in the grand scheme of at least one or two plot twists.

Also, there’s more Titania which, let’s face it, who doesn’t need more Titania in your life. And her character development is done so well. SO WELL.

The war loomed in the background in the previous book but it pushes its way forward, though some have hoped that it wouldn’t come to it, there was no other way.

Esmae will take drastic measures, she will stop at nothing to achieve what she thinks should be done. She goes so much further than I ever thought possible. Again, having to be vague to avoid spoilers.

This ending is EPIC and it will RUIN YOU. DO YOU HEAR ME?! RUIN YOU!

I’m not sure what I’m meant to do with myself until book 3, but here we have it, I’m shattered and this book was amazing.

I probably sound like some overlyhyped junkie trying to push some drugs, but, guys, this was perfection and I loved it.

**Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an eARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion.**

 

About the Author

Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids.

Author Links

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

 

 

A Superior Spectre – Blog Tour

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Blurb:
“A brilliant, deeply unsettling work.” Books + Publishing
Jeff is dying. Haunted by memories and grappling with shame, he runs away to a remote part of Scotland with a piece of beta tech that allows him to enter the mind of someone in the past. Instructed to only use it three times, Jeff – self-indulgent, isolated and deteriorating – ignores this advice.
In the late 1860s, Leonora lives in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by nature. Contemplating the social conventions that bind her, her contented life and a secret romantic friendship with the local laird are interrupted when her father sends her to stay with her aunt in Edinburgh. But Leonora’s ability to embrace her new life is shadowed by a dark presence that begins to lurk behind her eyes, and strange visions.
A Superior Spectre is a novel about curiosity, entitlement and manipulation. It reminds us that the scariest ghosts aren’t the ones that go bump in the night, but those that are born and create a place for themselves in the human soul.

Book Information:
By: Angela Meyer
Published by: Saraband Books
Publication Date: August 15, 2019
Price: £8.99
GoodReads

Where to Buy

Amazon UK

 

My Review

Content/Trigger Warnings: [My apologies on slacking on these lately] This has molestation & child molestation, abuse, thoughts of pedophilia, death and brief suicidal thoughts and a rough view of mental illnesses due to institutional care available in the Victorian era.

This is a book that is chilling and haunting in the most unexpected ways. Firstly it’s truly a blend of genres. It is a sci-fi yet also a historical fiction, and at the same time a horror/thriller in its own right. And while this may sound like a mess, it’s done SO well that it doesn’t feel like they’re all jumbled together.

Please bear in mind this is quite a heavy read due to its content but it’s actual length is not.

The two protagonists are completely different and though there’s not much to like about Jeff, it is possible to see why he has dipped into Leonora’s mind repeatedly.

Leonora is certainly the more sympathetic of the two characters, an unwilling host to a man whose thoughts have no place in her mind. She’s a woman who has loved animals and had a curiosity of sciences and anatomy, a woman that like many during her time, were ‘progressive’ in their wants knowledge. Still, she enjoys the simple life she’s had at her Father’s home and though Edinburgh has some interesting aspects, it’s still home she yearns for.

With everything she goes through, you truly want her to be free in every sense of the word, from Jeff, from expectations, from her family’s desires, and it’s her that I cheered for while reading.

The difficult premise though was put in a tasteful manner, because, unfortunately people like Jeff [and people much worse than Jeff] are a reality. I thought his story’s ending was completely fitting for him, and I didn’t hate him, but I certainly had a hard time sympathizing with him. That being said, the choices he made were in attempt to be something different than what he was and that was something to think about.

One of my favorite things Meyer did was to make this a spine tingling read, you felt like there was something always just out of sight, and it’s the sort of tension I like in a ‘scarier’ book.

A great read, but again, a heavy one. I give it four cups of coffee and if you think you can handle the premise, I recommend it, especially with October approaching if you want a spooky read.

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review

 

About the Author

 

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Angela Meyer’s Joan Smokes won the inaugural Mslexia Novella Competition in 2019. Her short fiction has been widely published, including in Best Australian Stories, Island, The Big Issue, The Australian, The Lifted Brow and Killings. By day she works as a publisher for Echo Publishing, an Australian imprint of Bonnier Books UK, and in this role has discovered and developed a range of award-winning, globally published and bestselling talent, including global number one bestselling author Heather Morris. A Superior Spectre, Angela’s debut novel, is already shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards.

 

The Rest of the Tour

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