Book Review: The Fiction Between Us by Julie Olivia

Title: The Fiction Between Us
Author: Julie Olivia
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2022
Publisher: Indie / Kindle Unlimited
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Some fairytales may be real, but ours is strictly fiction.
I’ve been Queen Bee at our theme park for ten glorious, uncomplicated years. I’m far better at creating fictional magic than real life miracles. So when Landon Arden, my best friend’s twin brother and my old high school bully, starts to work at Honeywood, I’m wishing for some gift from above to fix this mess.
Cue a worse situation.
After Landon falls on stage during one of our shows, the guests mistake him for a character in the park: Ranger Randy.
The problem isn’t when our manager asks him to perform as the bearded, tight tush, short shorts-wearing hero. No, my fairytale comes crashing down when we’re told that Queen Bee and Ranger Randy must appear as a couple.
Fine. Whatever. Ten years ago, my teenage crush for Landon may have been real, but I can fake a happy ending with Ranger Randy. I can sign autographs with him, have his arm around my waist, hold his hand, and… kiss him on stage?
I tell myself it’s all for show. We’re just characters in a theme park. And I won’t fall for true love’s kiss, even if I do want to try it one more time…” (Goodreads)

I’ve been looking forward to another book set at the amusement park ever since reading the first. It’s been such a fun setting and this time it was about the characters and amphitheater instead of the rollercoasters.

The book is told from two point-of-views and they come from Quinn and Landon. Quinn doesn’t have the best impression of Landon after some high school drama and since then she will do anything to keep her distance. She is the grump to his shine and I loved their dynamic!

The romance is a slow-burn with a bit of spice once you get around the halfway mark. They are very cute together and I liked seeing them both manage their feelings, especially Quinn. She has a chip on her shoulder when it comes to her mother and Landon so when it comes to love it isn’t easy. She does have people around her that want to see her soar and be happy, in a relationship and when it comes to work. Plus, fake dating. Need I say more?

I’m still obsessed with the friend group and there were some major plot twists when it came to them! I’m hoping that the third book is about Bennett. I want to know more about his weird relationship, haha.

Overall, this was a great read.

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Audiobook Review: In the Weeds (Lovelight #2) by B.K. Borison

Title: In the Weeds (Lovelight #2)
Author: B.K. Borison
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: September 20th, 2022
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Rating: ⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“Evelyn St. James isn’t the kind of woman you forget.
Beckett Porter certainly hasn’t. One incredible weekend in Maine, and he’s officially a man distracted. He’s not unfamiliar with hot and heavy flings. He knows how it goes. But Evie wove some sort of magic over him during their tumble in the sheets. He can’t stop thinking about her laugh. Her hand pressed flat against his chest. Her smiling mouth at his neck.
Also, her eyes. And her legs.
So when she suddenly appears on his farm as part of a social media contest, he is … confused. He had no idea that the sweet and sexy woman he met at a bar is actually a global phenomenon: social media influencer Evelyn St. James. When she disappears again, Beckett resolves to finally forget her and move on.
But Evelyn St. James has a problem.
Feeling disconnected from her work and increasingly unhappy, she’s trying to find her way back to something real. She returns to the last place she was happy, Lovelight Farms and the tiny town of Inglewild.
It has absolutely nothing to do with the hot farmer she spent two incredible nights with.
Nothing at all.” (Goodreads)

After liking the first book, I was happy to see the audiobook for this one appear on Netgalley. I am always looking for more audiobooks to fill my time. The narration for this one was well done. I liked the dual cast for both point-of-views. The book was not exactly what I was expecting and it ended up being one that didn’t work for me.

The book is told from two point-of-views, Evelyn St. James and Beckett Porter. They both have very different jobs, but one chance encounter has them fumbling towards each other. They both go through character growth as well when learning what it means to have and want to hold onto a relationship.

I liked Beckett’s character in the first book. It’s one reason I decided to give this one a go. My problem with the book was the romance. Book one told the reader how Beckett and Evelyn met, but this one didn’t do a good job adding to it. It was a physical attraction at first and felt like that was what their whole relationship was. There wasn’t any real substance to it. I may be in the minority here for that, but it just didn’t make me feel their connection.

The side characters are always enjoyable to read in this series so I have no complaints there!

Overall, this was a miss for me. I do like Beckett as a character and the growth that Evelyn had but the romance just didn’t do it for me.

Book Review: Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison

Title: Lovelight Farms (Lovelight #1)
Author: B.K. Borison
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: November 10th, 2021
Publisher: Indie Published (Kindle Unlimited)
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Where the lovelight gleams …
A pasture of dead trees. A hostile takeover of the Santa barn by a family of raccoons. And shipments that have mysteriously gone missing. Lovelight Farms is not the magical winter wonderland of Stella Bloom’s dreams.
In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a kid, she enters a contest with instafamous influencer Evelyn St. James. With the added publicity and the $100,000 cash prize, she might just be able to save the farm from its financial woes. There’s just one problem. To make the farm seem like a romantic destination for the holidays, she lied on the application and said she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only … there is no boyfriend.
Enter best friend Luka Peters. He just came home for some hot chocolate, and somehow got a farm and a serious girlfriend in the process.” (Goodreads)

I found this one while looking through books on Kindle Unlimited and the cover definitely jumped out at me. Obviously, it isn’t Christmas time but I am always in the spirit for the holiday!

The book is told from one perspective and it comes from Stella. She is very outgoing and will do anything to save her tree farm, even if that means faking a relationship. One of my favorite tropes! I liked that it was mixed with friends-to-lovers which isn’t usually a trope I like. I haven’t found a friends-to-lovers I have loved but this one gave me a lot of hope for the trope.

Luka Peters is her top pick to fill the slot of “boyfriend” but she is very stubborn and refuses to see what is in front of her. I would definitely never friendzone that man! He is the total package and will do anything for Stella, literally. I thought that their friendship to more was developed well and I liked that they brought up how they first met and it’s easy to see where they had started. They had very sweet moments together and I loved the tree car freshener antics by Luka. That little detail on the cover *chef’s kiss*.

There are a few spicy times between them and it’s definitely over my level but I know there are a lot who will enjoy that.

Sometimes I did feel like it progressed too quickly into the danger zone, but I can also understand if they each had a tension around one another. There also could have been more with the competition as well.

Even though this is a romance novel, the side characters were great and I liked getting to know them all especially Beckett and Dane the sheriff. They are both great guys and are also there for Stella. She couldn’t ask for a better set of townspeople even if they are a bit nosey about her “relationship, haha.

Overall, this was a cute read and I will be adding the others in the series to my tbr.

Book Review: Springhatch (Bridge of Legends #5) by Sarah K.L. Wilson

Title: Springhatch (Bridge of Legends #5)
Author: Sarah K.L. Wilson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: April 7th, 2020
Publisher: Indie
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“With the new revelations Marielle and Tamerlan learned in the mountain city, their way forward seems clear – or is it?
Because the only way to defeat the Legends is to destroy them all. And some of them are living inside Tamerlan.
As they race to save their world, both Marielle and Tamerlan are haunted by the suspicion that the only way to destroy the Legends forever might be through their own deaths. Can they find some other way to free their people from the clutches of ancient magic?” (Goodreads)

Another series crossed off my list! I am glad I finally got around to finishing this series. It’s been a whirlwind of a ride.

This book is told from multiple point-of-views like the rest of the series. I think for this book in particular, it really helped to bridge the thinking of the characters and add to the finishing of the plot points. The legends do get pretty spicy in this one as they are out for blood!

Marielle really stole the show when it came to the characters. She is trying to do the right thing and that’s a lot to do when she has to keep everything a secret from Tamerlan. Each of the characters are fighting their own internal battles and I think it really ramps up, especially for Jhinn. He is still my favorite character. I also enjoyed his story arc.

I would say that I only had two complaints. My first would be that even though the romance was already a bit fast paced, it really goes fast in this one and I couldn’t help but be a bit turned off by it. My second would be that I needed a longer epilogue!

Overall, I really liked this series and the conclusion was one of the better ones I have read recently. I still need to read a few more series by this author and hopefully I can get through some this year!

Book Review: Winterfast (Bridge of Legends #4) by Sarah K.L. Wilson

Title: Winterfast (Bridge of Legends #4)
Author: Sarah K.L. Wilson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: February 5th, 2020
Publisher: Indie
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Marielle is free from the clock and free from Grandfather Timeless but now that she’s free they’re in a worse situation than ever.
Stuck on the back of a city-sized flying dragon with their allies possessed by Legends and hunting them through the burnt-out city, how will Marielle and Tamerlan survive this madness?
Because as new information comes to light, it turns out they are the only two people who can save the Dragonblood Plains from distasters that are rooted in decisions made centuries ago.
Can Marielle and Tamerlan finally quell the dragons and put the Legends to rest forever?
Or are they already too late?” (Goodreads)

Here is another review for a book in this series! I’m still glad I have finally had some time to get back into it. This series is a real gem and definitely needs more love, especially since it is an indie book.

The book is still told through two point-of-views, Mariella and Tamerlan. They aren’t always on the same side when it comes to forming a plan. Etienne isn’t always a fan of them either. He is also too ready to sacrifice anyone as long as it’s not him. Sometimes I’d like to punch the guy, haha. I do think that they all have the same goal in mind. Also, Jhinn is still wonderful!

The plot has thickened in this book and it’s hard to figure out how everything will be set right in the last book. There is seriously so many plot lines going at this moment! I’m glad that we are continuously learning more about the legends. I can feel some sympathy towards them because the predicament they are in wasn’t their choice. It sucks when you no longer get to choose. I liked a lot of the conversations to be had around that and just being a decent human being/friend.

Until now, there hasn’t been too much information involving the dragons besides the basic. It has been expanded on a lot throughout this book. Although it is one-sided, I can see the understanding from their perspective and do feel bad for them. It’s also about choices being taken away. It’s one theme that has been consistent throughout.

Overall, this was another enjoyable installment. Sorry it is a smaller review but I don’t want to give too much away!

Book Review: Fae Pursuit (Tangled Fae #4) by Sarah K.L. Wilson

Title: Fae Pursuit (Tangled Fae #4)
Author: Sarah K.L. Wilson
Genre: YA Fantasy / Fae
Publication Date: June 5th, 2020
Publisher: Self-Published
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Allie Hunter is playing a dangerous game for mortals.

From USA Today bestselling author Sarah K. L. Wilson comes a deliciously trope-filled young adult romantic fantasy about a viciously funny mortal girl and her quest to hunt, trap, and conquer powerful fae.

Allie thought she was saving her own mortality and stopping the Fae incursion when she killed the Balance – one of four Fae roles – and took a particularly essential Fae as her captive.

But Allie didn’t think through the consequences. Now, she has one of the four roles of the Faewald. A role she must fulfil by force of magic.

Worse, the Blood Moon has risen in the Faewald and that means it is the time of the Wild Hunt.

Can Allie find a way to save her people while fleeing the Wild Hunt and fighting against a magic that seeks to control her?

It’s still just one mortal girl against the Faewald, but now the stakes couldn’t be higher.

For lovers of The Cruel Prince and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a world of violent fae, trickery, and magic. Grab the fourth book of the Tangled Fae series today!” (Goodreads)

Fae Hunter / Fae Captive / Fae Nightmare

I have been determined to get some series I have started completed and I am back to this one! I can see the finish line!

There are so many good things to say about this book like the cat and mouse games that Scouvrel and Allie play. You never know which one is which because their roles are always switching. I also like that Allie is determined to play the fae games by her own rules. She is kindhearted and still tries to save the human world even when they weren’t kind to her. She definitely doesn’t hold a grudge towards them but the same can’t be said for her twin sister or Scouvrel, haha.

When it comes to the romance aspect, there isn’t much besides a few kisses here and there. I’m okay with this but I will say that sometimes I wish there relationship would progress past the games a bit more. I do like their back and forth but it still feels the same as previous books.

As with the other books, I am never expecting what will happen when it comes to the plot. Characters from previous books make appearances and really know what it means to be a plot twist. I liked that there was more from her sister and there has also been glimpses into the past when it comes to events that have previously happened in the faeworld. Everything is coming together and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen in the fifth and final book!

Overall, this was another great installment!

Book Review: Fae Captive (Tangled Fae Book #2) by Sarah K.L. Wilson

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Title: Fae Captive (Tangled Fae Book #2)
Author: Sarah K.L. Wilson
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: February 13th, 2020
Publisher: Self-Published
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

synopsis header
“Think you could craft the perfect bargain?
From USA Today bestselling author Sarah K. L. Wilson comes the second book in this stunning new fantasy series.
Allie Hunter thought all she had to do was make an exchange to buy back her father’s life. She was wrong. Mortals are so often wrong about the Faewald. Usually, that kills them, or mires them in bargains that will suck their life out sip by sip.

With Allie caught in a cage and the Fae she had once tormented her new captor, can she strike the right bargain to save everything she loves?

For lovers of The Cruel Prince and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a world of violent fae royals, trickery, and magic. Grab the second book of this hot new series today!(Goodreads)

reviewheader
I have been waiting for this book since I finished the first in January. Besides Acotar, this is my favorite book about Fae. They are more cunning and cruel then the others I have read about and I am so here for it! When I saw it was available sooner than I had originally thought I couldn’t resist diving in straight away.

Allie and Scouvrel are back. Allie is still determined as ever to but obviously he isn’t going to let her go just yet. I like how the first book was about him stuck in the cage and second book is all about her being stuck. It’s fun to see both sides of the coin. Their banter is stronger than ever and there feelings are definitely changing between each other. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to resist him even if he does use a glamour. He is just so irresistable!

The plot keeps ramping up and more is at stake. We also get more from Allie’s sister and I can tell you right now, I do not like her one bit. I really hope she ends up getting what she deserves. There are more than one plot twist and it’s amazing how this author can pack so much into a smaller book. Mad props!

This series is one that has grasped onto me and won’t let go. The world building is done well and the changing of the setting is always exciting. I love that even though a few days pass in the fae realm but time works different and it could be more in the mortal realm. This plays out at the end and man, that ending was intense! I can’t wait to see how this will all turn out.

Overall, I can’t help but love this series. It gets better and better with each book and I am sure that book three will be no exception. Hold on to your feelings, folks!

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Arc Review: Pastel Pink (Zadok #1) by Nikki Minty

Title: Pastel Pink (Zadok #1)
Author: Nikki Minty
Genre: YA Fantasy / Sci-fi
Publication Date: April 15th, 2021
Publisher: Self-Published
Rating: 2 stars

Thank you to BooksGoSocial and Netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!





“From one ending comes a new beginning…
Ruby was murdered on Earth eighteen years ago and reincarnated on Zadok as a Pastel Zeek named Harlow. To be born at the bottom of her race’s caste colour system to a middle-class family of Magentas has made Harlow a source of conflict amongst the ruling Purples, and a source of derision from all three colours.
When Harlow is attacked by a fuegor on Zadok, the effects of its slow reacting venom triggers an unforeseen phenomenon, and due to the strong connection she had with her former twin sister Jade, her human spirit is unexpectedly drawn back to Earth.
Now living a double life, she has plunged into a world of intrigue on both planets.

On earth, she watches on in horror as Jade reconnects with Lucas, the man who murdered her and got away with it. And to complicate things further, she’s being pursued by Alex, the ghost of Lucas’ twin. On Zadok, she becomes embroiled with Jax, the son of the Commanding family. He’s determined to bring about change to the colony’s colour system, but it’ll come at a cost.

As Harlow mixes with the political intrigue of the Zeeks, will she become a victim of those trying to rigidly maintain the status quo or will she usher in a revolution?
And will ghost Ruby resist the temptation of the handsome Alex or pursue an impossible relationship that could have dire consequences on both planets?” (Goodreads)

I always like to try indie books because sometimes they really surprise me and I find new authors to enjoy. I was looking forward to this one after seeing it as a “read now” on Netgalley. Plus, the cover is just so pretty! I really like the colors and it’s eye-catching.

For the first 18%, I was enjoying what I was reading. The writing was good and there were different plot points that kept me engaged. Nothing really stood out to me until the colors of the characters skins became more of an issue and different distinctions shot up red flags.

I did run these things by others to make sure I wasn’t jumping to conclusions and others saw the same issues I did. As someone mentioned, this could have not been beta read and since the author is from Australia that may also be a reason. I’m not sure but let’s just get into the discussion.

In the second chapter, we are introduced to Harlow who is a Pastel. In her region of the planet there is a construct for the different colors of skin. The top is Purple, middle is Magenta, and Pastel is at the bottom. Each one has a different job/task based on their color. Pastels are seen as weak and useless. Sometimes they are born blind or lose their sight.

Again nothing occurred to me until a Purple, the commander’s son, started talking about how these people shouldn’t be segregated as right now they are separated by the different colors. He wants to change it while others, his mother included, do not want to. This just seemed oddly similar to our own history in America. Another thing that added to this point is when there is a comic and words in illustrations that say, “No Pastels Allowed.”.

There was also a passage that talked about how the men wear their hair and that they would have dreadlocks or cornrows. She also made sure to mention that Zavier, a Pastel, had a tangled mess instead of the other two hairstyles. Both of those hairstyles are usually linked to the black community. Later on in the book, the author describes a character of being, “…tall powerful physique of a female basketball player from the human world–only curvier, sexier.” Before that she mentioned that this character has muscular thighs. If I remember correctly, this character was a Purple so she was at the top.

On this planet there are also other groups of people living, one being the vallon. They are described as having red skin. A few passages about them did remind me of Native Americans. One of those reasonings being the color of their skin and they are also mentioned as riding horses, raiding colonies, and stealing young pastel girls. They also come from the desert and Harlow described them as being jealous of her colony having all the best resources.

There are other passages that made me feel uneasy about the chosen color system for these characters but I don’t want this review to be too long. I will say that at least there was talk about being one race and wanting unity but it still left a bad taste. I’m just not sure what the intentions behind it all were.

As for the rest of the book, I did like the writing. There is violence in this book and it does start off with it. It’s definitely what kept me interested in reading. The two timelines come from Harlow and her as Ruby’s ghost. There is also two point-of-views. All of this can be overwhelming at times as it doesn’t leave too much room for explaining the world-building better as we are thrown from one place to the next.

When it came to the world-building, I was a bit confused. On the planet that Harlow lives there is modern conveniences like a hospital and café but they also do jobs as hunters and gatherers. They even trade for supplies. They also don’t live in modern homes as their dwelling place is in caverns. I’m not really sure exactly how all of this goes together and I just had a really hard time trying to imagine it all in my head.

Another thing about the world-building is that animals, or monsters as I’m not sure, were never described and neither was some of the different words used by the people. One phrase being, “…the deeper the pigment, the bigger the whingers.” This was used to describe those complaining at the café. This could also be seen as another point to the above when it comes to race.

The only other thing I want to mention is the character of Alex. I liked him at the beginning but by the end I hated him. He was literally giving his brother a free pass when it came to murder and wanting to murder other people because of his childhood. It just wasn’t good.

Overall, this started out strong but quickly took a turn that left me feeling uncomfortable with the color system of this book. Although there were a few interesting plot points, I can’t say that I would recommend this book or that I will be continuing on with this series.

Book Review: Tiger Unbound by Evangeline Rain

Title: Tiger Unbound
Author: Evangeline Rain
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction / Romance
Publication Date: June 13th, 2020
Publisher: Indie Published
Rating: 2 stars

(Found on Kindle Unlimited)

“An action-packed romance set in ancient China.

The Zhao Kingdom was about to be invaded by the approaching army of the Wei Kingdom.

Rather than suffer the insult of a defeat, the King of Zhao chose to hang himself. Princess Zhao Xuan woke up to find that she was the only one left out of her family’s suicide plans. Refusing to abandon her people, the headstrong princess decided to pick up the mantle and meet Prince Wei Xing in the battlefield.

A duel for the fate of her kingdom.

An unexpected proposal.

A strained marriage to the prince of the enemy kingdom.

Could love help the unconventional princess survive the oppressive social structures which she had rebelled against her whole life?

Warning: This book depicts scenes of suicide and violence.” (Goodreads)

I saw the cover on Kindle Unlimited and immediately added it to my tbr. The blurb also had my attention too.

When I started reading it, it reminded me of Mulan and how she became a soldier. Xuan does it for different reasons but still resembles Mulan in the way she carries herself and what she likes to do.

Even though this had the makings for a great story, it fell short for a couple reasons.

The first reason it fell short was that the romance and start of the relationship happens very quickly. There is not enough time to get to know Xuan or the prince. He also seems too good to be true and I just didn’t like him that much.

The second reason is that the plot moves so quickly because it is a short book. I wish the author would have made the book longer so that there would have been more from the characters, romance, and world-building.

Overall, it was okay. I just needed more from it.

Book Review: Fae Hunter (Tangled Fae #1) by Sarah K.L. Wilson

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Title: Fae Hunter (Tangled Fae #1)
Author: Sarah K.L. Wilson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: January 7th, 2020
Publisher: Self-Published
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

synopsis header
“Can one mortal take on all of Faerieland?
From USA Today bestselling author Sarah K. L. Wilson comes a deliciously trope-filled young adult romantic fantasy about a viciously humorous mortal girl and her quest to hunt, trap, and conquer powerful fae.
Our lives are nursery rhymes and faerie stories now, Allie.

When Allie Hunter’s twin sister steps through a magic circle into the Faerie realm, she opens the door to deadly fae, bent on causing havoc and harm to Allie’s village.
Rendered blind to all but the spirit world, Allie is frustrated and angry but determined to bring the fae down. No matter what that might cost her.
But in a world where lies are truth, power is sustenance, and every action ripples into violence, how can one mortal stop all of Faerieland?

For lovers of The Cruel Prince and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a world of violent fae royals, trickery, and magic. Grab the first book of this hot new series today! (Goodreads)

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Edit: I have now read this for a second time and I still very much enjoyed it! I can’t wait to continue on with series and hopefully finish it this time.

I started another series by this author last year and when I found out she was writing a book about fae, I was sold! No questions asked, just give it to me.

Although I love fae, I don’t like all books about them. I wasn’t a fan of The Cruel Prince series but Acotar is my life. Of course, all books with fae are quite different. The fae in this book are deadly predators who love trickery. They are more beautiful than anything you have ever laid eyes on. From the beginning where they were described, I knew this was going to be good.

“I’ve heard every Faerie story there is. And I plan on ruining them all.”

Allie’s sister has been taken and she will stop at nothing to get her back. Little does she know that things will get much worse for her. Honestly, she stayed strong through it all. No freak outs. I would have had a ton!

One of the issues she faces is going blind. Not completely blind as she can see the spirit world, like the fae who lurk around her village. I loved this aspect and thought that it was really cool.

Allie is also quite outspoken and can’t be rather sassy. She had me laughing multiple times.

“I’ll remember that,” I said gravely. No one liked a smug goat, either and yet Heldra was still alive.”

Another interesting thing was how her friend, Olen Chanter a bard, could play music that helped guard them from the wicked creatures. I have never seen a bard used in that way before besides in video games. Go bards!

“The music keeps them back – the Fair Folk. It blinds them – almost like our own kind of glamor. What my father and I do is like guard work. We’re guarding all of you against the Shining Ones. Against the spirit world.”

Let me tell you what I really loved, the cat and mouse games between Allie and Scouvrel. Oh man! It had me giddy.

“I think you mistake how much power you have, little Faerie. You are the one in my cage.”

I’m looking forward to book two and can’t wait to see what the fae and their world have in store for us mortal beings.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)