Saturday, 28 February 2015

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Hachette Children's Books and NetGalley.

Blurb (from Goodreads):
Grace can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row. Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay - in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Hachette Children's Books and NetGalley.)

“I can apologise in seven different languages. It’s just something you pick up when you’re me.”

This was an interesting YA mystery story, and I really liked the details revealed at the end of the book!

I liked Grace although she did make some questionable decisions at times. I felt really sorry for her in the way she’d lost her mother though, and it must have been really hard for her. Even though she came across as nuts, she really did have good intentions though, and was intent on finding her mother’s killer and bringing them to justice no matter what.

“Yes, it was dark,” I snap back. “Yes, I was young, and it was traumatic. Yes, I have never been the most reliable girl in the world, but I know what I saw. And I’m telling you, I saw a man with a scar on his left cheek shoot my mother. I heard the bomb that burned her shop to the ground.”

The storyline in this was pretty good, and the good moments overshadowed the slower moments. Grace’s questionable decisions actually made for some amusing situations, and Grace came out with some brilliant lines, and she really made me laugh!

“Oh my gosh,” I mutter to myself. “That guy is hot.”
“That guy’s my dad.” Noah says it like he’s said it like he’s said it a lot. “The ambassador.”

There were some things that I didn’t really understand, because I don’t know anything about international relations, but I managed to get the gist of it.

“It’s not like it’s an international incident.” I look from Lila to Megan to Rosie, and then finally I let my gaze linger on Noah, who eases closer, lowers his voice.
“Actually, Grace, it kind of is. We’re Israeli. And that is Iran.”
When I look back at the blue-and-white scarf, I realise that, from a distance, it bears a striking resemblance to the flag of Lila and Noah’s home nation.
“The Israeli ambassador gave that scarf to our mom. In fact, he gave scarves like it to all of the women on his senior staff,” Noah says. “If anyone sees that up there…”

The ending to this was interesting, and I liked the details that were revealed. I did guess one thing very early on, but I didn’t guess the rest, and I did enjoy this book overall.
7.25 out of 10

“You should go home now, Grace.” His face is covered in shadow. His voice is soft but strong. “I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

Ward Against Death (Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer #1) by Melanie Card

Blurb (from Goodreads):
Twenty-year-old Ward de’Ath expected this to be a simple job—bring a nobleman’s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can’t be a surgeon—the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying—so bringing people back from the dead it is. But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she’s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can’t bring himself to break his damned physician’s Oath and desert her. However, nothing is as it seems—including Celia. One second, she’s treating Ward like sewage, the next she’s kissing him. And for a nobleman’s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive…

Ward Against Death by Melanie Card

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ward Against Death (Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer, #1) “It’s just that I don’t tend to work on live patients.” He reached for his scissors, leaning so close he could feel the heat radiating from her body.
“Let me put you at ease.” She blew against his neck. The cavern grew uncomfortably warm. “I’m not alive.”

This was an interesting story, but I have to admit to getting very confused in places.

The characters in this were quite different. Celia was a dead assassin, trying to figure out who had killed her, and very much rocking to the beat of her own drum (and screw everybody else), whilst Ward was at times a gifted doctor, but at other times a bit of a bumbling idiot.

“He didn’t know where he was going or what he was doing, and now he stood in the middle of the street carrying a corpse.

Ward seemed very quick to forget that Celia was dead in this story, even though he was the necromancer who had re-animated her, and at times I was worried that he was going to totally throw caution to the wind, and indulge in a bit of necrophilia (which is a bit gross really).

“Besides, he couldn’t let a pretty, beautiful, stunning, sexy, bod- face distract him.
She. Was. Dead.
There was a law against what his body wanted.”

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The storyline in this really confused me. Celia was killed, but we didn’t know who by, and then when they started to work things out, the explanation as to what had been going on was as clear as mud. Having read a couple of chapters twice I still couldn’t figure it out! Something about Celia’s father, an Innecroestri, a scholar, the Dominus, and a shadow walker. I really do not have a clue.

The ending to this was likewise confusing, but I’m pretty sure the good guys won… I think.

6 out of 10

Friday, 27 February 2015

Thoughtful (Thoughtless #1.5) by S.C. Stephens - Blog Tour!

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy and a finished copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Clara Diaz, Little, Brown Book Group UK and NetGalley.

Blub (from Goodreads):
A new novel in the Thoughtless series from #1 New York Times bestselling author S. C. Stephens! Every story has two sides, and in this new book, the epic love story between Kiera and Kellan is shown through his eyes. All Kellan Kyle needs is his guitar, and some clean sheets of paper. Growing up in a house that was far from a home, he learned a hard lesson: You're worthless. Now his life is comfortably filled with passionate music, loyal band mates, and fast women...until he meets her. Kiera makes him ache for more. Makes him feel for the first time that he's worth more. But there's one problem - she's his best friend's girl. Just when Kellan thought his emotional defenses were rock solid, Kiera's indecisive heart wreaks havoc on his soul, changing him forever. Losing Kiera is not an option.

Thoughtful by S.C. Stephens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thoughtful (Thoughtless, #1.5)(Source: I received a digital copy and a finished copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Clara Diaz, Little, Brown Book Group UK and NetGalley.)

“I saw hundreds of girls every night, some plain, some beautiful enough to be highly sought-after cover models, but this girl… even seeing her through a crowd, there was something about her that sang to me.”

This was a sexy contemporary romance, and it was really good to hear Kellan’s side of the story.

I really liked Kellan in this story, unlike Kiera he seemed to feel guilty about their affair, and it was obvious how much he was in love with her.
Kiera on the other hand kept flitting from Kellan’s bed to Denny’s, didn’t seem to see anything wrong with this, and kept continually hurting Kellan, as if she couldn’t see how much he loved her, and how much her having sex with Denny hurt him!

“Denny was home. He was here, in my house, screwing the girl I’d just made love to. My girl. No… his girl.”

The storyline in this was pretty much the same as in Thoughtless, only from Kellan’s side. We once again got the flirting, the passion and heat, and of course the cheating. I really hated the way Kiera cheated, even though I knew how the story ended, and because she kept going back and forth between Kellan and Denny, it was like she was cheating on both of them!

“I loved her? Loved. As in, I couldn’t live without her, and I didn’t want anybody else? Crap, that felt so right. But I couldn’t actually be in love with her. Could I?”

Kiera and Kellan definitely had passion and heat in this story though, and the sex scenes were seriously hot! This pair could set fire to the pages just be looking at each other!

“She swivelled her hips, desperate for more. “Please, Kellen… take me to your room. Please. Oh God… please,” she whispered.”

The ending to this had some ups and downs the same as the rest of the story, but it was a good ending. I had forgotten some of what happened, so I was a little surprised at points, but I was really happy with the way things ended. This story really makes me want to re-read the books in the series!
8 out of 10

About the Author:

S. C. Stephens

S.C. Stephens is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who enjoys spending every free moment she has creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance.

Her debut novel, Thoughtless, an angst-filled love triangle charged with insurmountable passion and the unforgettable Kellan Kyle, took the literary world by storm. Amazed and surprised by the response to the release of Thoughtless in 2009, more stories were quick to follow. Stephens has been writing nonstop ever since.

In addition to writing, Stephens enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading fabulous novels, loading up her iPod with writer's block reducing music, heading out to the movies, and spending quality time with her friends and family. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her two equally beautiful children.

Follow the blog tour!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Farmer Fisher by Jonathon Coudrille

Sponsored post: I received a finished copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Daniel Nanavati

Blurb (From Goodreads):
Children's Book of the Year 1976. Music free from New edition of highly popular children's picture book.

Farmer Fisher by Jonathon Coudrille

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Farmer Fisher(Source: I received a finished copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Daniel Nanavati)

This was such a funny story about a farmer with a very dirty truck, and lots of animals and produce on board, who breaks down, and has to stop other motorists to help him, with disastrous effects!

"Farmer Fisher pulled the choke
And off they drove in a cloud of smoke.
Rattle went the tappets and the crank-shaft broke
On the way to market."

This was a really lovely children’s book, my 4-year-old loved the pictures of the animals and cars, and he also liked the rhyming and repetition. He liked counting how many cars had broken down as the story went along, and looking for the frog that kept appearing in the pictures.

"And with it went the oil,
the coil,
the piston rings,
The steering,
the valves and springs,
And the doors
and the floors
and a lot more things
On the way to market."

I thought that the music available online for this book was a lovely touch too as it basically meant that you got a free cd with your book!
9 out of 10

You can check out the music here -

Ever Darkening by Janeal Falor

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Janeal Falor, Chardonian Press, and NetGalley.
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Perfection. Goodness. Elimination of evil. It's what seventeen-year-old Kaylyn has trained her entire life to achieve. But no one is prepared for the consequences of her actually defeating all evil people on the planet. Finally successful in her mission, Kaylyn faces an unfamiliar world, full of good people doing good things, in which she no longer has purpose. When the skies grow dark, and a stranger from another village pleads for her help, her instincts roar to life. It turns out their perfect world isn't exactly what it seems. Kaylyn's new quest, harder than any she's been on before, will rip apart her friendships, her life, and her soul more than any evil man ever managed to.

Ever Darkening by Janeal Falor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ever Darkening(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Janeal Falor, Chardonian Press, and NetGalley.)

“Being the one chosen to kill the entire evil population is a burden heavier than sin.”

I feel a little torn over this book, because I’ve read Janeal Falor’s books in the past, and I think she has a real gift for telling a story, but this book just didn’t do it for me.

Kaylyn was an okay character, and I did get glimpses of a girl I could have liked, but most of the time she was so closed off, and so insular, that I just couldn’t really feel like I understood where she was coming from. I understood that she had this big destiny, and that she had a lot of responsibility, but I just couldn’t love her. She also made some questionable decisions at times, which made me wonder just how much of her actions were intelligence, and how much had just been drummed into her through training.

“I’ve killed seventeen Malryx, most within the last few months, and I killed the very last one.”

The storyline in this confused me, and I lost interest. I do sometimes have problems with fantasy stories, and this one was possibly just a bit too high-fantasy for me. In places it reminded me of Bitterblue, and I really didn’t like that either. I did think that the story had some bright points in the second half, but I still couldn’t really get into it.

“When we’ve gont on quests before, I could sense where the threat was coming from. Now there’s nothing. Except it’s not nothing. The nothing feels like something. Which sounds like nonsense.”

It took me ages to work out what the heck she was going on about here.

The romance was a little odd, and I wasn’t really interested at all. I think if I’d have liked the characters more I’d have liked the romance, but I just didn’t.

The ending was probably the best part of the book, although it was a bit odd, and the answer to their problems turned out to be extremely simple in the end. I have to say I was pleased to see the end of the story though. Sorry Janeal!
6 out of 10

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
No Parking at the End Times
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they've lost everything. She’s left to decide: Does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

Abigail doesn't know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents shouldn't have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there with Brother John for the "end of the world." Because of course the end didn't come. And now they're living in their van. And Aaron’s disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl. Bryan Bliss’s thoughtful, literary debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.

No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

No Parking at the End Times(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

This was a thought-provoking story about the way some people use people’s faith against them for their own gain.

I liked Abigail and Aaron and I felt so sorry for them. The way their father had taken everything from them, and still wanted to take more was so frustrating for them. In my opinion they did well to put up with their parent’s eccentricities for as long as they did considering the situation.

The storyline in this was pretty good, and really made me feel anger at the way these kids were being used, and the way this ‘Brother John’ just took and took and took. How he could take everything from people by abusing their faith was just shocking!

The ending to this was good, and I felt satisfied with the way things turned out. Abigail and Aaron went through so much that they deserved a chance to get away from Brother John, even if they had to lose everything to get it.
Overall; thought-provoking story,
7 out of 10.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Once and Always by Julia Harper

Sponsored post: I received a finished copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Clara Diaz and Little Brown Book Group.

Blurb (from Goodreads):

IS THERE A PROBLEM, OFFICER?Small town cop Sam West certainly doesn't mind a routine traffic stop: speeding ticket, stern warning, and sayonara. With a whopper of a blizzard closing in, that's all he has time for. But the lawbreaker he pulls over is anything but typical. From her mile-long legs to her razor-sharp wit, Maisa Bradley is like nothing Coot Lake, Minnesota, has ever seen . . . and she's about to take Sam on the ride of his life.


Whoever said blood is thicker than water probably wasn't related to a former Russian mobster. But an innocent mix-up and rumors of stolen diamonds soon have the Russian mob taking an unusual interest in the sleepy little town-and Maisa facing heated scrutiny from a certain tall, dark, and handsome deputy. Sam's dazzling blue eyes beg her to reveal all her secrets, but how much should she tell? Getting snowed in with the sexiest lawman in the frozen north may not be the worst way to decide . . .

Once and Always by Julia Harper

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Once and Always(Source: I received a finished copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Clara Diaz and Little Brown Book Group.)

“Then he was striding towards his truck, tall and broad shouldered and brave and every woman’s dream.
No. That wasn’t right. Her dream. Maisa’s dream.
She was so f*cking screwed.”

This was a nice contemporary romance, and I liked the ending.

I felt quite sorry for Maisa, it couldn’t have been easy for her growing up knowing that her family was part of the mafia, and the way she knew she couldn’t have Sam, even though she wanted him, because of the unlawful things her family was involved in was quite sad.

The storyline in this had some action both in and out of the bedroom, with no shortage of guns being fired, and bad guys on the loose. Maisa and Sam created some serious steam when they eventually made it to the bedroom, and they made a really cute couple.

The ending to this was good, and I liked that we got a happily ever after.
6.25 out of 10

“You know damn well I want more than just a couple of dates. I want more of this.”

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
A Wicked Thing
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world…and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

My rating: 2.25 of 5 stars

A Wicked Thing(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
Aurora awakes having slept for 100 years. The prince who woke her claims to be her true love, but Aurora doesn’t know him at all.
Can Aurora really marry this boy who she doesn’t know? And is she any less of a prisoner now that she is awake?

There was nothing horribly wrong with this book, I just found it boring.

Aurora was obviously in a difficult situation given that her entire family was dead, and she was having to rely on the generosity of strangers, but I just couldn’t really connect to her. She didn’t behave the way I guess I would have behaved, and I just started to not care about her.

The storyline started out okay, it was interesting to think about what Sleeping Beauty might feel when she woke up having slept for 100 years, but that was where the interesting bits ended. I felt like the rest of the book became quite predictable, and I just wasn’t interested.

There was romance, but again, it was predictable.

The ending did have a bit of action, but even that couldn’t keep me interested. I was also less than impressed by the cliff-hanger ending. Don’t think I want to read the sequel to be honest!
Overall; not for me,
4.5 out of 10.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Chloe Healy, Random House UK, Cornerstone, and NetGalley.
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Millie Bird is a seven-year-old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie’s mum leaves her alone beneath the Ginormous Women’s underwear rack in a department store, and doesn’t come back. Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year-old woman who hasn’t left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street. Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife’s skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie’s mum. Along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life.

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lost & Found(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Chloe Healy, Random House UK, Cornerstone, and NetGalley.)

“Everyone knows everything about being born, and no one knows anything about being dead.”

Where to start with this book? It was a little bit strange, and a little bit funny in places, and the characters were quite strange too.

“'In heaven, you hang out with God and Jimi Hendrix, and you get to eat doughnuts whenever you want. In hell, you have to uh… do the Macarena. Forever. To that ‘Grease Megamix’'
'Where do you go if you’re good and bad?'
'What? I don’t know. IKEA?'”

There were 3 main characters in this book – Millie – a seven year old girl, Karl – an elderly man who can touch type, and Agatha – an old lady who liked to shout a lot, and not leave her house.

“Stop molesting my fence!”

I felt quite sorry for Millie, not only had she had to deal with the death of her father, but to then be abandoned by her mother was just awful. How anyone could abandon their 7-year-old daughter in a department store was just beyond me.

“She wasn’t to know that after recording twenty-seven assorted creatures in her Book of Dead Things – Spider, The Bird, Grandma, next door’s cat Gertrude, among others – her dad would be a Dead Thing too.”

Karl was a bit of an odd character, but it seemed obvious how much he missed his dead wife. I also felt sorry for him because his family seemed to not want him, and he felt he hadn’t really done anything with his life.

“He ripped a marker off the clipboard that sat at the end of his bed and wrote, Karl The Touch Typist Wuz ‘Ere, in shaky letters, hugely, on the wall above his bed.”

Agatha was another odd character. I couldn’t work out whether she had ever loved her dead husband, or why she had decided to barricade herself in her house for 7 years. The constant shouting was a bit weird too, and the talk about penises was a little shocking as well.

“Never trust a woman skinnier that you! Write that down!”

The storyline in this revolved around these three people getting together and trying to track down Millie’s missing mother, whether she wanted to be found or not. And the way they came to know each other, and the adventures they had along the way. I can’t say I really enjoyed these adventures, but I did enjoy some of the weird things these characters said, and the strange things they did!

“’Can I go explore?’ she whispers.
‘Sure,’ Karl whispers back. Just don’t talk to strange men.
‘You’re a strange man.’
Karl thinks about this. ‘Other ones.’”

The ending to this wasn’t brilliant in my opinion, I felt like there were too many loose threads left, and I didn’t get the sort of closure I’d have liked. I also found the ’10 years from now’ bit at the end a bit depressing really.

"Everyone knows that everyone else has a crying face, just as they all have an orgasm face, but they are on The List Of Faces No One Sees."

6 out of 10

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Purenet (The Sanction Series #1) by H.J. Lawson

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author HJLawson and NetGalley.

Blurb (from Goodreads):
Purenet is one of six wealthy Sanctions, formed by the Emperor and the Untouchables after a devastating world war. Only those born in Purenet have the privilege of living under the dome, protecting their bodies from the sun’s deadly UVA rays. Skylier is desperate to escape her underground confines and save her mother’s life. On a school visit, she hears something she’s not supposed to, and now she realizes that not only is her whole life a lie, but she is in grave danger… She doesn’t know who to trust, and her enemies are everywhere… even closer than she realizes. Now she is in a race against time to save not only her life, but her mother's and those she cares about. And if she fails, she'll suffer a fate worse than death..."

Purenet by H.J. Lawson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Purenet(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author HJLawson and NetGalley.)

“It’s funny that, when we are young, all we want to do is get older; and when we are old, all we want is to be young again.”

This was an okay story, but I was glad that it was short.

The characters in this book were okay, but I didn’t really love any of them. I felt quite sorry for Skylier with her mother being ill, and her only choices being to incubate babies or become a prostitute in order to pay for medicine, but I still didn’t love her.

“If I become a Host, every day I could try something new, and smell the roses. As I look around the room, it’s clear that my classmates are thinking the same thing.”

The storyline in this wasn’t bad, but I just didn’t feel sucked into the story. The living underground reminded me a bit of ‘Red Rising’, the domes reminded me of several different books, and the being a ‘host’ for babies also reminded me of several other books. There were a couple of things that I didn’t see coming, and they were quite interesting, but I think this was probably just a case of wrong-person, wrong-book for me.

“Looking through the canyon one again, past the beauty of the oasis, the true horror takes its form.”

The ending to this was okay, but it did feel very much like more of a pause for the next book rather than a proper ending. To be honest I was glad that this book was short, because I think otherwise I would have disliked this rather than being ambivalent.

“Don’t worry, Skylier, everyone is nice here… so long as you follow the rules,” he whispers into my ear.
“Three years will go fast… it always does.”

6 out of 10