Posts Tagged ‘YA’

OmorphiHigh school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy’s boyfriend would entail.

Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s team-mates becomes an enemy and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy’s combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together.

Purchase Omorphi from   Harmony Ink Press    Amazon    Barnes & Noble   ARe/OmniLit

Why the Title Omorphi?

I am one of those people who was fortunate enough to have traveled often and from a young age. Many people don’t have this opportunity and that’s why I try to bring a little bit of the outside world and other cultures to my readers through my books. One of the main characters in my stories will almost always be from a country other than the United States. In the case of Safe, Nico is Italian. In the case of Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, Isidore is French and Declan is Irish. In the case of Omorphi, Christy is Greek and we have a chance to glimpse a bit of Greek culture through some of Christy’s comments and cultural ways in Omorphi.

The working title of the novel was “Pretty” because Christy is, well, pretty. Also, Christy has been severely abused and has a very low opinion of himself. He believes, in spite of his good looks, he is ugly because of what heartless others have done to him. So, Christy likes to wear pretty things like lace and silk and, for him, it isn’t only cross-dressing, but a way to feel free of the ugliness he believes he is. Because Christy is Greek, I chose to change the title of the book to Omorphi, which means pretty in Greek. There you have it. That’s the story behind the title Omorphi!

About Cody

Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody Kennedy doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as: If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.

Find Cody    Facebook    Goodreads    Twitter @CodyKAuthor

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Follow Omorphi’s blog tour for three chances to win an ebook copy of Omorphi!

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September 9th – Pre-kickoff post – Cody is a Featured Author on True Colorz and answers questions about penning Omoprhi Review by True Colorz

September 15th – The Novel Approach – Pre-release Q&A with Cody and a chance to win an ebook copy of Omorphi Review by The Novel Approach

September 18th – Author Will Parkinson – Will holds nervous Cody’s hand the day before Omorphi’s release because he promised to and Cody talks about Omorphi’s Cover and Bringing Omorphi to Life

September 19th – Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books – Cody writes Perils and Pitfalls of Post Production Public Relations and a SECOND chance to win an ebook copy of Omorphi! Review by Mrs. Condit & Friends

September 19th – Smile, Somebody Loves You – Announcement post and Cody shares Omorphi Trivia with Beverly and Tamara

September 20th – Author Shira Anthony – Why I write the kind of stories that I do by Cody

September 21st – Author Jamie Mayfield – Why Omorphi and A Broken Kind of Life are Same but Different

Also on September 21st – Harmony Ink Press on Facebook: Meet Cody Kennedy and Jamie Mayfield

September 22nd – Cody’s Blog – Tony Edmondson, Fan Extraordinaire, interviews Cody

September 27th – Author Wade Kelly – Character Interview with Christy Castle

September 28th – Author Iyana Jenna, Fairy Fan Extraordinaire, Q&A with Christy Castle

September 29th – Author Zoe Lynne – The Notes Behind Omorphi’s Play List

October 4th – Sid Love’s Blog – Why the title Omorphi? Review by Sid Love

October 5th – Author Madison Parker – What makes Omorphi unique?

October 6th – Author John Ames – Q&A with Michael Sattler

October 11th – Boys on the Brink – Omorphi: Writing Sex and Violence in Young Adult works

October 12th – Author Jamie Fessenden – Cody shares Omorphi Trivia with Jamie

October 15th – Granny Irene – A week in the Life of Christy Castle before Michael

October 18th – Author Sara Alva – A week in the life of Michael Sattler before Christy

October 19th – Author Sam Kadence – Cody Talks About Writing Action and the Suspension of Disbelief

October 20th – Cody’s Blog – Omorphi’s One Month Anniversary Trivia Contest and a THIRD chance to win an ebook copy of Omorphi – In order to enter this contest you must:

1) have visited and commented on each stop on Omorphi’s Blog Tour – please be sure to leave your name and email address in your blog comment. “Anonymous” comments won’t qualify; and

2) you must correctly answer the trivia questions posted on Cody’s Blog by placing your answers in the comments section beneath the questions; and

3) along with your answers to the trivia questions, you must leave a comment about Omorphi’s Blog Tour.

The winner will be selected by Kismet, Cody’s greenwing macaw.

To make things even more exciting, a new contest will begin on October 21st on The Novel Approach Reviews Blog to win an ebook copy of Cody’s novella, Safe, due out October 24th from Harmony Ink Press!

Get ready to read and win!

Reviewed by Elizabetta

OmorphiTITLE: Omorphi
AUTHOR: Cody Kennedy
LENGTH: 189,675 words
PUBLISHER: Harmony Ink Press
BLURB: High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy’s boyfriend would entail.

Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s team-mates becomes an enemy and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy’s combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together.

REVIEW:

That cover… Omorphi, or ‘pretty’ in Greek, is the perfect description of Christy Castle, a mysterious and mute new student at Michael Sattler’s high school. Picture the famous androgynous fashion model Andrej Pejić, who Michael has had a secret crush on, and you’re there. Long golden blond hair, aquamarine eyes, delicate and whippet thin, Christy fits the bill perfectly. Michael, senior sports stud and all-round good guy, has been longing for a pretty boyfriend, an ómorfi agóri, and just like Christy, he’s ready for love. Once they connect it should be sweet romance from there on. 

Michael has a golden life. He is captain of the track team, has great friends, is an excellent student, has a scholarship to Oxford; he is a golden boy. His parents love and support him even after he came out to them, and his best friend Jake has always had his back, they’re like brothers, have known each other all their lives. 

Christy is the exact opposite of Michael, he has no loving parents, has fled his home country, Greece, escaping years of horrific abuse which have left him physically scarred and mentally traumatized. He’s the new kid at school and his pretty looks now make him a target for vicious attacks by homophobic school bullies. Michael champions this lost boy and becomes something of a mentor and guide. As they get to know each other it becomes clear that a simple high school fling is not what this is about. 

I like pieces of this story: I like the idea of Christy finding his voice and his inner strength; I like his forging a friendship with the brilliant Michael; I like how their physical relationship is handled given Christy’s sexual abuse, how Michael teaches Christy about love and respect. I like the author’s heartfelt mission to inform about treatment of children who have been physically and mentally abused. We are walked every step of the way through Christy’s treatment for his abuse. It is obvious the author is informed in the subject or has done their research. 

We are witness to every twist and turn in Christy and Michael’s journey. Their story enters the realm of the fairytale…  By the end, Christy and Michael have rallied the queer students in their high school to thwart the bullies, have survived at least three attempts on their lives, and outwitted the police forces of two countries in hunting the very, very evil bad guys intent on harming Christy. Michael is told by various professionals several times that he should be a doctor/psychologist/lawyer… he can do no wrong. Christy is very lucky indeed to have him as his protector and avenger. 

My main issue with Omorphi is that it gets bigger than life and blown into soap opera proportions. And there is a lot going on, it is way too long, would have been better at half the length. Yet, you can’t mistake the careful, loving work that has gone into it. I know that many will love this hard-edged yet sweet love story about overcoming great odds. I recommend this for those readers. Be warned, though, that there are descriptions of horrific abuse and rape. My rating is for the premise and the love story even if I couldn’t completely get behind the packaging.

Elizabetta’s Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Harmony Ink Press  ::  All Romance eBooks

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Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: ELIZABETTA’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Elizabetta

Gives Light (Gives Light, #1)TITLE: Gives Light
SERIES: Gives Light #1
AUTHOR: Rose Christo
LENGTH: 315 pages
BLURB: “Skylar is my name, tragically.”

Sixteen-year-old Skylar is witty, empathetic, sensitive–and mute. Skylar hasn’t uttered a single word since his mother died eleven years ago, a senseless tragedy he’s grateful he doesn’t have to talk about.

When Skylar’s father mysteriously vanishes one summer afternoon, Skylar is placed in the temporary custody of his only remaining relative, an estranged grandmother living on an Indian reservation in the middle of arid Arizona.

Adapting to a brand new culture is the least of Skylar’s qualms. Because Skylar’s mother did not die a peaceful death. Skylar’s mother was murdered eleven years ago on the Nettlebush Reserve. And her murderer left behind a son.

And he is like nothing Skylar has ever known.

REVIEW:

What do you do when you are confronted with the son of your mother’s murderer?

Eleven years ago Skylar St. Clair’s father took him from their home in Nettlebush, a small Shoshone community on the edge of the Arizona desert. Away from the place where his wife had been murdered in a vicious attack. Skylar was also attacked, almost died, and was left mute. His father took him off the rez without a backward glance, and effectively cut Skylar off from his Native American heritage and refused to speak of why.

The story starts with the mysterious and sudden disappearance of Skylar’s father, and Skylar is forced to return to Nettlebush to live with his grandmother.  At sixteen years old he finds himself dropped into a culture and place he knows nothing about, and with more questions than answers about his past. To make things worse, with his curly blond hair and fair skin, he looks more like his white mother than his Native father, and he sure sticks out like a sore thumb.

“That is when I saw him.”

Raphael Gives Light looks like a bad boy. Like someone you should stay away from. Like he lives constantly under the shadow of his missing father, the murderer serial killer. But Skylar is drawn to his brooding edginess, his self-inflicted tattoos, his coal-black hair and stormy, dark blue eyes. Skylar, who it seems can hold no grudge or hard feeling against anyone, is drawn to a spirit in as much turmoil as his own, and he will not blame Raphael for his father’s sins even if one of them was taking his mother’s life.

The story unfolds over the course of a hot, dusty summer and the author effectively weaves Skylar into the fabric of his new community where he makes friends and learns about his people and the land. But, there is still a pulse of mystery about Skylar’s missing father (and Raphael’s father, who has also disappeared), and why the FBI keeps intruding, trying to intimidate Nettlebush with questions about the missing men. Actually, this gives some interesting background to tensions between Native Americans and the US government over reservation jurisdiction and how this works (or doesn’t) when a crime is committed there.

Skylar is a miracle. The relationship that blooms between him and Raphael is one of the most beautiful in the YA genre that I’ve read. Their discovery of friendship and love is gentle and sweet, gradual and believable.

“He turned his head and gazed at me, eyes dancing and blue… I could almost believe he had never known anything beyond the profound simplicity of nature, tameless and wild… he was Pan and I was Daphnis. I never stood a chance.”

Skylar’s compassion eases Raphael’s dark guilt about his father. Raphael’s attempts to make penance are touching, but his true gifts are the kinship and protection he offers.

“The more he talked, the more I listened. The more I listened, the more I forgot that I wasn’t talking back… I could quirk my eyebrows or tilt my head and he knew exactly what the gesture meant. He knew what I was feeling, if not what I was thinking. He made me feel like I had a voice.”

It’s ironic that if I have any issue with the story, it is with its voice. We only see the world through Skylar’s POV, in first person, giving us intimacy with his character. And his muteness gives this a deeper import. He describes the world around him, his perceptions and the action. But the expression of it is much more mature and eloquent than what one would expect from an inexperienced sixteen year old growing up in a small rural community. I can accept that Skylar is a deep thinker, that he is introspective and perceptive, but this all gets mixed up in what seems to be the author’s voice, really. I struggled with this, but I am too smitten with Skylar and his loving kindness. Let’s just call him a wise, old soul.

Elizabetta rates it – four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Amazon

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Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: ELIZABETTA’S REVIEWS
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We of the Blog of Sid Love are very happy to say ‘hello and welcome’ to the Author of the bestselling novel “Pitch” – Mr. Will Parkinson!

Will kindly answered a few questions for us that I had the pleasure of asking him.

Following these questions is my review of his debut novel Pitch and as an extra surprise Will generously added a giveaway for an e-copy of his book.

Thanks Will for taking the time to answer the questions. It was a pleasure to talk to you.

~ Danielle.

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The first question burning in my head is as I expect not surprising but still, Why writing under two names? Why is there Will Parkinson who wrote Pitch and Why is there Parker Williams who wrote 500 Miles?

Will writes young adult stuff. Parker’s stuff is a bit heavier. Not wanting to confuse anyone, especially those around school age, it was suggested that I write under two different names, one young adult safe and the other much less young adult safe.

Did you even think you were going to be an author? Did you ever write before you started writing in the m/m genre? And could you tell us something about yourself?

When I was a kid (fourteen) I used to write. My dream of having something published actually started there. My stories were about gay teens and their struggles, and since I wasn’t out, there was no way I could show them to anyone. I once wrote a science fiction story that I was really proud of (at fourteen it doesn’t take a lot) and took it to my father so he could see what I’d done. He took it from my hand and said, “What are you wasting your time on that shit for? It’s never going to amount to anything.” I was so hurt and confused, I took everything I’d written and threw it in a box and didn’t write again. 

Eden Winters wrote a book called, “The Telling”. It was actually to be my first m/m book and I fell in love with her boys. I wrote her and told her how much I loved them. I wasn’t expecting an answer, since to me authors were like gods looking down on us mortals. I was floored when a few hours later, Eden replied to me and we started conversing. She asked if I wrote, and I told her not anymore. She asked why, so I told her the story. She explained to me that stories don’t go away and they need an outlet. So, with severe trepidation because I figured that my writing would suck, I started a story. As I wrote, I shared it with some coworkers. Michelle, one of the ladies I worked with, came out of the office one night in tears because of something she’d read, and that was the happiest day of my life. At least till I got the contract for Pitch. 

As for me: I’m 49 and live in Milwaukee, WI. I have 4 dogs (Brownie, Sadie, Korey, and Casey) and 3 cats (Cider, Toeby, and Star). I’m vegan, meaning no animal products at all. I work at a hotel in Milwaukee and have for 26 years.

Talking about the release of Pitch having read it I must say, it couldn’t be more different than 500 Miles, one wouldn’t even suspect it to be written by the same person I think. Do you have people asking you about that?

Not really. True enough, a lot of people don’t know that Will Parkinson and Parker Williams are one in the same. However, I’m rather happy to keep the two of them separate, since I don’t want younger people tracking down my ‘adult’ works.

As a reader, I adored Benny. Do you have a Benny in your life? And what I would like to know is what did the character of Benny mean to you in this story?

No, Benny is definitely unique. For me, Benny was the stable part of Taylor’s life. He was the rock that you could pin your hopes to. I wanted him to be strong, but still be able to have emotions. Taylor couldn’t hurt him physically, but that didn’t stop him from being hurt emotionally.

Can you relate to any of the characters from Pitch yourself?

Taylor’s dad feels about his art the way mine does about my writing. I’m insecure like Addy, though never have I been physically abused, I want to be there for others like Benny. As a kid, I wanted to fit in somewhere, like Jackson. In all my characters there is a part of me (okay, not Kevin. Ew.)

You talk about baseball in this book I wonder if that is a sport you like yourself. Do you play sports, are you favoring a special team in a specific sport?

I’ve watched a few baseball games (I think they don’t like me at the ballpark in Milwaukee. Every time I went to a game, the Brewers never scored a run). My friends love baseball. Laura Harner and Mr. Webb (of Pulp Friction fame) share their love of the teams with me, and I’m happy about that.

Last question has to be: Are we as readers going to see Benny and Addy’s story? And will that story also contain some loose ends of Pitch and the MC Taylor and Jackson like perhaps a certain special erotic scene?

Okay, I’m going to be honest and tell you something no one else knows (yet). When I wrote Pitch I was told that YA meant “NO” sex. Had I known that something would have been okay, I would have done a scene for Taylor. In Wet Paint (Addy’s story) there is a brief scene with him. There is a mention by Benny about Taylor and Jackson, but since it’s not their story, they probably won’t get much beyond cuddle time. In the Facebook chat I did for Harmony Ink, someone asked about a scene where Taylor and Jackson share a tender moment from Benny’s perspective.

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Reviewed by Danielle

PitchTITLE: Pitch
AUTHOR: Will Parkinson
LENGTH: 180 pages
PUBLISHER: Harmony Ink Press
BLURB: The day Jackson Kern walks into Taylor Andrews’s classroom is a momentous day in Taylor’s life. He’s had crushes before, sure, but as time goes on, this is starting to look a whole lot more serious. Still, Jackson doesn’t return Taylor’s feelings.

Taylor has his own admirers, though. Kevin Richards is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants right now is Taylor, so when Taylor rejects him, Kevin retaliates. At first Taylor’s entourage rallies around him, but then Kevin takes his deception one step further and Taylor sees his support dwindle, teaching him the valuable lesson about who he can truly consider a friend.

REVIEW:

Young adult, mmm what was I getting ready to read? That’s what was crossing my mind when I picked up this title. As I normally read more the adult themed books I was curious as to what to expect.

The story starts out very easy and simple, reading a bit like a fairytale. What surprised me and kind of fascinated me at the same time is that I couldn’t lay it down. It drew me in like in a comforting warm bath, and even though the main characters do not even make a connection until half way through the story, there are so many things that capture your attention.

The story revolves around two students, Taylor and Jackson, but there are a few side characters who grab your attention fast and easy. There is Becca, the ‘girlfriend bitch’ and Addy, the young man with scars on his body and soul. And then, there is Benny – and OMG! Benny is fantastic. He grabs you by your heart and doesn’t let go. Benny is someone I think anyone would want in their lives. He is Taylor’s best friend but I sincerely think we all want a Benny in our lives.

As I mentioned before, it is only half way through the story that Jackson and Taylor finally connect. It is in quite an intense way when it finally happens and it opens up gates as things have been building between them then for 2 years.

Still there isn’t a moment where the story gets boring and I personally could have been satisfied with the story ending there with some loving.

But the author took me by surprise and turned to full on drama. Student blackmail, hurt, and dreadful choices; they all come in turn. A bit over the top … mmm perhaps.
But as a reader, it certainly got me to the point that I wanted to know how it ended ASAP.

The ending is everything lovely. It is tender, honest, emotional and carefully planned. The spin on the end it makes me very eager to know if Mr Parkinson will come up with a follow-up as I really would like to read Benny’s story 🙂

Looking back I can honestly say this book surprised me. I think it is a nice, simple read because it feels comfortable but with an added dose of drama. You flow right into the lives of the characters and I think you can easily relate to and love at least one of them.

It does feel a bit drawn out, if I have to make a critical note and I personally miss the sexual part that I prefer in a story and as the main characters are definitely attracted to each other, there could have been some in the story.

Perhaps Mr. Parkinson will make up for that in the next part 🙂

4 stars from me

Danielle’s Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Harmony Ink Press  ::  All Romance eBooks  ::  Book Store

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Danielle is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

Toreadall her reviews, click the link: DANIELLE’S REVIEWS
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Check out allourrecommendedbooks in Sid Love’seBook Store:
Recommended Books

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GIVEAWAY

Will Parkinson generously offered a giveaway of his debut novel – Pitch!

To enter, leave a comment to this post and let us and the author know why you would like to read this book. Don’t forget to leave your email address so that we can contact you.

Good luck from us at the blog!

~ Danielle

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CONTEST ENDS ON 23rd AUGUST, 2013 @ 11:59 PM Central Time!!

Reviewed by Elizabetta

The Dead Will Rise FirstTITLE: The Dead Will Rise First
AUTHOR: Logan Kain
LENGTH: 120 pages
BLURB: The Christian rapture occurs and the now soulless bodies of Christians are left to terrorize all those left behind. TJ flees across Texas with his best friend, Ryan, and the remnants of his family, hoping for happiness, struggling just to survive. As they trek farther and farther South toward the coast, TJ and Ryan find comfort and love with one another. Their relationship is tested and they labor to stay alive and stay together in a world that God has unfortunately started to pay attention to.

REVIEW:

“Maybe religion is only comfortable if you think that God is good.”

It’s TJ’s seventeen birthday. The presents have been unwrapped and it’s a day of hanging out, playing video games, and watching old zombie movies. And then his world is suddenly set on end. What starts as a beautiful, clear, sunny day becomes a waking-nightmare. Suddenly, parents and friends turn against you, and neighbors become Neighbors– marauding Id’s, soulless bodies with only one goal: to wreak havoc and spread the madness.

So starts a chilling, gripping ride unlike anything I’ve read recently. There are two stories running parallel, really: one, a relentless, hellacious, zombie chase; the other, a look at how exclusionist interpretation of biblical doctrine condemns and alienates our young protagonist. TJ’s transgression is that he is gay, and has turned away from the fundamentalism he’s been raised to follow. His soul is set apart and in this cataclysmic zombie apocalypse, this ‘rapture’, he sees himself as abandoned by the God represented in that exclusionist doctrine.

Much of TJ’s story is about his battle with self acceptance. Why shouldn’t he be worthy of salvation? It’s here that the story grabs– that TJ is left behind, that in his world, he is ultimately left on the outside. But he fights back– in his flight from the monsters, he struggles against becoming one of ‘them’ (and in his inner musings, he imagines a history-changing, super-hero, alter ego), and he falls in love. What TJ wants is what we all want– to belong and find community. But the reader senses that fate has never been on TJ’s side. So, what are we left with? What I take away is that his story is the expression of abandonment and alienation felt by anyone who’s been disenfranchised and discriminated against. The ray of light is that amidst the madness, TJ redefines himself, loves himself, and sees his worth.

Books with religious subtext are hard for me to read, let alone review. It’s a loaded subject. But this one… this is powerful, clever stuff, this zombie apocalypse-meets-religion-meets-nightmare road trip. It pits compassion and social justice against bigotry, and reminds of the directive to ‘love one’s neighbor as one’s self’. It still manages to entertain as it sucks you in, then lingers and eats at you… zommmbies…

Elizabetta’s Rating:

BUY LINK: Book Store

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Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: ELIZABETTA’S REVIEWS
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Check out all our recommended books in Sid Love’s eBook Store:
Recommended Books

(Support this site and buy the books from my A-store)