MIA

Just wanted to check in and let you know I’m reading like crazy trying to finish my Goodreads Challenge. I’m one book away from reaching my goal of reading 75 books this year. Once I’m done I’ll be writing reviews for the last four books I’ve read. Here are the books I’ll be chatting about soon 🙂

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The Glovemaker’s Daughter

Written By: Leah Fleming

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery

Published by Simon & Schuster

ISBN 9781471141003

40942018

Father Christmas and Me

Written By: Matt Haig

Middle Grade Fantasy

Published October 2018 by Canongate Books

ISBN 9781786890689

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Man Gone Down

Written By: Michael Thomas

Published December 2006 by Grove Press, Black Cat

Fiction, Cultural (African American)

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Watching You

Written By: Lisa Jewell

Published December 26, 2018 by Atria Books

Mystery, Thriller

ISBN 9781501190070

 

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Thrilling Thriller Book Tag #TagTuesday

Booktag Time! 🙂

1. What was the last thriller you bought?

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2. Show us the thriller you most recently added to your TBR?

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3. What thriller did you have high expectations for but ultimately let you down

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5. Recommend an underrated thriller

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6. Pick three thrillers from your shelves; 2 you’ve read and one you haven’t. Get your viewers to comment which one they think you haven’t read.

Guess which one I haven’t read!

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

7. People are often intimated by the thriller genre. Recommend a thriller for beginners.

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8. What is your all-time favourite thriller?

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Currently Reading…

Cat, Glasses, Eyewear, Pet, Furry

38087630

Title: The Glovemaker’s Daughter

Author: Leah Fleming

Publisher: Simon Schuster

Date Published: November 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

Page Count: 432

From the acclaimed author of The Last Pearl and The Postcard, a beautiful and epic novel spanning three generations of one family’s dark secrets, betrayal, love, and redemption.

1666. A child is born in the farmhouse at Windebank, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Named Rejoice (Joy) by her dying father, Joy grows up witness to the persecution of the farming community for following a banned faith. Defying the authority of the local priest, she joins a group of Yorkshire pioneers traveling to the New World to form a Quaker colony close to Philadelphia—a passionate, rebellious, and courageous woman fighting against the constraints of the time. Will she find peace and love?

2014. A leather-bound book is found buried in the walls of the Meeting House in Good Hope, Pennsylvania. Its details trace the owner back to a Yorkshire farm in the Dales. And so a correspondence begins between Rachel Moorside and the man who found the journal, Sam Storer, as Rachel uncovers the tumultuous secrets of her family’s history.

Emotionally powerful, moving, and filled with rich historical detail, this compelling journey into the past will stay with you long after the final page is turned.”

 

The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #Netgalley #AtriaBooks

Powerful and inspiring, The Girl They Left Behind is an important, heart-wrenching historical fiction novel based on true events that left me feeling incredibly grateful for my life and children.

about the book xmas

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Title: The Girl They Left Behind

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Publisher: Atria Books

Date of Publication: October 30, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction WWII

Page Count: 368 (e-book)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39019053-the-girl-they-left-behind

A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.

On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.

Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.

When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.”

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“In anguish and despair we release this child into the hands of God, with hope and faith that she may be saved.”

Based on true events, The Girl They Left Behind is an emotional story that begins when a concierge finds a four-year-old girl alone in Bucharest, January 1941. I teared up many times while reading this, and enjoyed every single second.

Anton and Despina are a wonderful couple who face many challenges, and even when they don’t agree they find a way to always respect each other. Stefan and Maria are another great couple who adopt Natalia. I didn’t enjoy Victor’s character until later in the story. He just is…just…ugh I don’t want to give anything away. He’s just great.

The beautiful writing tells the story of family, war, heartbreak, loss, grief, resilience, courage, survival, hope, freedom, and peace.

“In his long stare, Natalia saw a trace of sadness and something she had never glimpsed before: fear. Perhaps he had always feared this moment, this exact moment when he would have to reckon with his past and be forced to make amends, excuses. But she would not be the one to give him redemption.”

I liked the pacing of the plot, except that the middle felt a little bogged down. There are some mentions of women “obeying” and being “delicate” without much said to counter the sexism. However, I understand this story takes place in a different time. It didn’t affect the story for me, so it won’t affect my rating either.

Deeply moving, The Girl They Left Behind gave me goosebumps. Highly recommend this to readers thirteen-years-old+.

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*

About the Author Xmas

Roxanne Veletzos was born in Bucharest, Romania and moved to California with her family as a young teen. Already fluent in English and French, she began writing short stories about growing up in her native Eastern Europe, at first as a cathartic experience as she transitioned to a new culture. Building on her love of the written language, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has worked as an editor, content writer and marketing manager for a number of Fortune 500 companies. Since 2012, Roxanne has been writing historical and contemporary fiction and is the author of two novels.”

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17709452.Roxanne_Veletzos

https://www.roxanne-veletzos.com/

Get Smitten Xmas

 

 

 

Blog Tour Buddies #ThePsychologyofTimeTravel @KateMascarenhas@crookedlanebooks

I’m very grateful to have been invited to take part in a blog tour for a new Sci-Fi/mystery coming out in February 2019 called The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas. Big thanks to Sarah Poppe at Crooked Lane Books for inviting me to join. Click on the blog names below to check out my Blog Tour Buddies!

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A Reader’s Journey

Shelf Stalker

Read this, Not That

Confessions of an Avid Reader

Book Babble

The Bookish Libra

Books with Jams

This is My Truth Now

 

City of Ghosts by @veschwab #bookreview #MiddleGrade #Fantasy #audiobook #scribd

From number-one New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab comes a sweeping, spooky, evocative adventure, perfect for fans of Stranger Things and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” 

about the book xmas

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Title: City of Ghosts

Author: Victoria Schwab

Narrated By: Reba Buhr

Publisher: Scholastic Audio

Date of Publication: September 2018

Length: 5 hrs 2 mins

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy (Paranormal)

Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn’t like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead…and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost.

So things are already pretty strange. But they’re about to get much stranger…”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41557218-city-of-ghosts

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“People think that ghosts only come out at night, or on Halloween, when the world is dark and the walls are thin. But the truth is, ghosts are everywhere.”

City of Ghosts takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland. Cassidy’s parents chose Edinburgh as the first location to film content for their new paranormal show. Her parents don’t know that Cassidy’s best friend Jacob is a ghost, and their twelve-year-old daughter is able to travel to through the veil into the ghost world.

“Some people call it intuition, others second sight. That tickle at the edge of your senses, telling you there’s something more.”

I love how Schwab’s characters are well-developed with distinct traits. She’s able to create an air of mystery around the characters, drawing the reader in. Cassidy is a down-to-earth girl who has a quirky friendship with Jacob, who is a very polite boy. Her parents are adorable, attentive, and awkward. I’d love to know more about Lara and the villain, Raven in Red.

“Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”

I love Schwab’s writing and enjoyed the Harry Potter references. The audio book narrator is great, she uses different voices for each character. I have just one small complaint, why is there a cat on the cover when it has such a small part of the story?

“Sometimes help is a place and sometimes it’s a person, and sometimes it’s a bit of both.”

Charming and funny, City of Ghosts is a fun, kinda creepy story about friendship, courage, family, and finding your purpose. It reminds me of Stranger Things, Ghosthunters, and Coraline.

“Ninth rule of friendship,” he says, “ghost-watching is a two-person sport.”

Plot: 2.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Overall: 3.6/4 rounded up to 4 on Goodreads

About the Author Xmas

“Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the #1 NYT, USA, and Indie bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including Vicious, the Shades of Magic series, and This Savage Song. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured by EW and The New York Times, been translated into more than a dozen languages, and been optioned for TV and Film.”

https://www.veschwab.com/

Get Smitten Xmas

The Psychology of Time Travel #BookReview #Mystery #TimeTravel #CrookedLaneBooks

Perfect for fans of Naomi Alderman’s The Power and Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures comes The Psychology of Time Travel, a mind-bending, time-travel debut.”

about the book xmas

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Title: The Psychology of Time Travel

Author: Kate Mascarenhas

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Date of Publication: February 2019

Genre: Mystery/Sci-Fi/Romance

Page Count: 336

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41035725-the-psychology-of-time-travel

https://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Time-Travel-Novel/dp/1683319443

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In Cumbria, England, 1967, Barbara, Margaret, Lucille, and Grace invent time travel without thinking of how it would alter their lives and the world.  The Psychology of Time Travel is an exciting female-driven, murder mystery.

Fifty years after inventing time travel, Barbara receives a notice of a death that will happen on January 6th, 2018. Her granddaughter Ruby agrees to help her grandmother make amends with Margaret in order to gain access to the time travel machines. On January 6th, 2018 Odette, an archaeology student volunteering at a toy museum, finds a dead body that the police aren’t able to identify. Odette becomes overwhelmed by the mysterious death and decides she’ll feel better if she can figure out who the dead woman is. After a strange visit from a younger Grace, Ruby is convinced it is her grandmother Barbara who will die.

The narrative tackles a lot of issues like friendship, marriage, betrayal, bullying, sexuality, loss, aging, and mortality.

The characters have distinct personalities, desires, fears, strengths and flaws. My favorite characters are Grace and Ruby.

The Psychology of Time Travel is one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. Unique, creative, it questions how time travel would impact mental health, relationships, business, history, and language.

The first time I started reading the novel I felt incredibly lost a third of the way in. I went back to the beginning and took notes on the times mentioned at the beginning of each chapter and names of characters (there are a lot) and that helped wrap my mind around the story so I could enjoy myself. The plot feels a little messy at times, but that’s to be expected when characters are traveling through time (and even interacting with themselves).

If you liked The 7½ Lives of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton or Dark Matter by Blake Crouch then I think you’ll enjoy The Psychology of Time Travel. Some of the concepts are wild, yet when you think about it, they make a lot of sense. Complex, interesting and unique! I recommend this to readers 14-years-old+.

Trigger warnings: self cutting, blood, mental health, addiction, eating disorder

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Overall: 3.6/5 rounded up to 4 on Goodreads

Thank you to Sarah at Crooked Lane Books for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author Xmas

Kate Mascarenhas is a writer.

Born in 1980, she is of mixed heritage (white Irish father, brown British mother) and has family in Ireland and the Republic of Seychelles.

She studied English at Oxford and Applied Psychology at Derby. Her PhD, in literary studies and psychology, was completed at Worcester.

Since 2017 Kate has been a chartered psychologist. Previously she has been an advertising copywriter, bookbinder, and doll’s house maker. She lives in the English midlands with her partner.

Her new novel, The Psychology of Time Travel, will be published by Head of Zeus in August 2018.”

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17673611.Kate_Mascarenhas

http://www.katemascarenhas.co.uk/

http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/

Get Smitten Xmas

 

 

 

I Dare You…Part Two #BookTag #TagTuesday

If you haven’t already seen Part One – here it is! I Dare You…Part One #BookTag #TagTuesday

Ali at HardbackHoarder did this tag. Check out her video https://youtu.be/5PF4L6UyyCU

I split it into two parts, cause 19 questions is a long blog post!

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

I love to give books as gifts and they almost always have a special reason.

12. Which book has been with you most places?

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Bridge to Terabithia has followed me when I moved from Labrador to Newfoundland, and then Ontario.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Shakespeare.

14. Used or brand new?

Both!

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Nope, but bought Angels and Demons last year. Hoping to get to that one next year!

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

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17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

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18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Kayla from Books and Lala! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmT3SYwGCZvzFLTo_18Cvnw/videos

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

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I’m not a big fan of Westerns so I wasn’t sure if I’d like this at all, but ended up giving it 4 stars!

TBR…December 2018

Monthly TBR: July… | Echoing Books

This is it! The last month of the year. My last chance to reach my goal of reading 75 books this year. 67 books are done, so basic math tells me I only have 8 more books to read. That might be a long shot for me, however – I’m an Educational Assistant, therefore when Christmas break starts I’ll have extra time to read. There are two readathons that I heard about on Youtube which I might take part in: #TisTheSeasonAthon and #Cramathon. I’ll need to check the challenges to see if my current TBR can fit in.

#TisTheSeasonAThon
December 3-9, and it is hosted by: Heather from Bookables, Kristin from Super Space Chick, Trina from Between Chapters, Amy from A Court of Crowns and Quills
– follow the twitter and the instagram for reading sprints and photo challenges!
CHALLENGES:
1. Read a book with red or green on the cover
2. Read a book while listening to holiday music
3. Read a book that will make you feel warm & fuzzy
4. Read a short book (250 pgs or less)
5. Read a holiday themed book
BONUS CHALLENGE – Read the buddy read book, Snow in Love by Melissa de la Cruz, Nic Stone, Aimee Friedman, and Kasie West

#Cramathon
Dec 22-28
– Check out the Hashtag on Twitter Twitter → http://twitter.com/cramathon
⋯ HOSTS ⋯ DYLAN / dylanisreviewing, JAY / The Awkward Bookworm, JULIA / Julia Sapphire, and Ali from Hardback Hoarder
⋯ CHALLENGES ⋯ Group book: Afterlife of Holly Chase
A book under 200 pages
A book you meant to read in 2018, but never did
A book with POC representation
Read a book with silver on the cover
Shortest book on your TBR
Read 7 books total

Sarah from Crooke Lane Books invited me to take part in a blog tour for a new book called The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas. I’m really into this book and will be posting a book review soon.

41035725Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Expected Publication: February 2019

Genre: Mystery Sci-Fi

Page Count: 336

 

 

 

Next up is an ARC of Father Christmas and Me by Matt Haig.

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Publisher: Canongate Books

Date Published: October 2018

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Page Count: 288

 

 

 

I’m also still listening to City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab with my eleven-year-old daughter. We only have a few chapters left 🙂

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Published August 2018 by Scholastic

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy (paranormal)

Loving Scribd! You can try it free for 60 days 🙂

https://www.scribd.com/gat/73212w

 

 

 

My nine-year-old son and I are still reading The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. I’m reading this to him before bed (skipping some parts that I feel aren’t appropriate for a nine-year-old. I thought this was a children’s book, but it’s definitely YA).

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Published May 2001 by Yearling (first published 1995)

Genre: YA Fantasy

Page Count: 399

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve fallen behind on reading the ARCS sent to me (and feel horrible for it). I NEED to read The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos as soon as possible.

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Published October 9, 2018 by Atria Books

Genre: Historical Fiction

Page Count: 353

A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.

 

The Glovemaker’s Daughter by Leah Fleming is another ARC I need to read.

Expected Publication November 13, 2018 by Simon Schuster UK

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

Page Count: 432

From the acclaimed author of The Last Pearl and The Postcard, a beautiful and epic novel spanning three generations of one family’s dark secrets, betrayal, love, and redemption.

 

Watching You by Lisa Jewell is a new Mystery Thriller being published this month. I have an ARC for this one as well.

38355282Expected Publication December 26, 2018 by Atria Books

320 pages

 

 

 

 

 

After all those are done I have one more ARC I’d like to read before we ring in the New Year, The Best of Us by Robyn Carr. I just found out that it’s the fourth book in a series, soooo…I might read the other three first? Not sure about that. I really need to get better at researching books before requesting or accepting review copies.

40244951Expected to be published January 8, 2019 by Harlequin MIRA

Contemporary Romance

Dr. Leigh Culver loves practicing medicine in Timberlake, Colorado. It is a much-needed change of pace from her stressful life in Chicago. The only drawback is she misses her aunt Helen, the woman who raised her...Helen Culver is an independent woman who lovingly raised her sister’s orphaned child. Now, with Leigh grown, it’s time for her to live life for herself. The retired teacher has become a successful mystery writer who loves to travel and intends to never experience winter again...When Helen visits Leigh, she is surprised to find her niece still needs her, especially when it comes to sorting out her love life.

Last on the list is a book I’ve struggled with for a couple of years now. When I start a book I ALWAYS finish it. This is the second time I’ve started Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas, and I really really want to finish it.

79420Published December 2006 by Grove Press, Black Cat

Literary Fiction

On the eve of his thirty-fifth birthday, the unnamed black narrator of Man Gone Down finds himself broke, estranged from his white wife and three children, and living in the bedroom of a friend’s six-year-old child. He has four days to come up with the money to keep the kids in school and make a down payment on an apartment for them in which to live. As we slip between his childhood in inner city Boston and present-day New York City, we learn of a life marked by abuse, abandonment, raging alcoholism, and the best and worst intentions of a supposedly integrated America. This is a story of the American Dream gone awry, about what it’s like to feel preprogrammed to fail in life and the urge to escape that sentence.”

Thanks Christmas

 

Book Wrap Up…November 2018

I read six books in November: a Mystery/Thriller, a Horror/Mystery/Thriller, a YA Sci-Fi, a YA Fantasy, a Contemporary Historical Fiction, and a Middle Grade Realistic Fiction/Romance. One 3-star, two 4-star, and two 5-star (TWO in one month!)

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Title: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Author: Matthew Sullivan

Published June 2017 by Scribner

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Page Count: 328

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

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Title: The Grownup

Author: Gillian Flynn

Published November 2015 by Penguin Random House Audio

Genre: Horror Mystery Thriller Short Story

audiobook 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

 

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Title: Dare Mighty Things (Dare Mighty Things #1)

Author: Heather Kaczynski

Published October 2017 by HarperTeen

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Page Count: 377

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

 

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Title: The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Published April 2016 by Scholastic Press

Genre: YA Fantasy

Page Count: 439

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

 

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Title: The Rain Watcher

Author: Tatiana De Rosnay

Published October 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Historical Fiction

Page Count: 272

🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

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Title: Stargirl

Author: Jerry Spinelli

Published May 2002 by Listening Library

Genre: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction/Romance

Audiobook 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review