Review: There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya MenonThere's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
Series: Dimple and Rishi #2
Published by Simon Pulse on May 14, 2019
Pages: 384
Source: the publisher
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The irresistible companion novel to the New York Times bestseller When Dimple Met Rishi, which follows Rishi’s brother, Ashish, and a confident fat athlete named Sweetie as they both discover what love means to them.

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

I finished this awhile ago, but I’ve put off reviewing it because I’ve been in a review slump and I feel like my reviews are just all babble and crap lately. However, I really loved this book and really wanted to get this review posted already. So.. Here goes nothing!

This book was beyond incredible. I really enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi, but I loved this book even more. Sweetie, as a fat girl, was so incredibly relatable. Many times while reading, I found myself nodding or crying – or both – to the things Sweetie said/felt, or the things other people said to her. ESPECIALLY HER MOTHER. Amma just… ARRGGHHH. OMG don’t even get me started.. I can’t even discuss this.. Not because of spoilers, but because I’ll get angry all over again and start crying.

I ADORED Ashish. And felt so bad for him. As much as I liked Rishi, I could tell right from the moment Ashish stepped onto the page (in When Dimple Met Rishi) that Rishi was too hard on him and too judgmental of his actions. But now, seeing Ashish’s cool, aloof self so broken up about Celia, it makes my heart break for him even more. He tries SO hard to act tough, but everyone has their limits.

Elijah and Oliver were BEYOND adorable. And I totally predicted Samir and Pinky would get a book before it was even announced – SO PUMPED FOR IT!!!!

The ending of this book was absolute, utter perfection. I loved it so much, I can’t even put it into words. Like… There’s so much more I want to say about this book, but… review slump. And babble. I want to avoid babbling like an idiot. I want to do this book justice. So I’m going to leave it here and just recommend the CRAP out of this book. Like, please please please read it. It was SO AMAZING!!!!


Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya MenonDimple and Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Series: Dimple and Rishi #1
Published by Simon Pulse on May 30, 2017
Pages: 380 pages
Format: Hardcover
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Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

“It’s even necessary to break the mold. We need more people shaking things up.”

I’ve been reading a lot of heavy high fantasies and dark historical fictions this year, and I was starting to feel some major Genre Burn-out – and my book slump has been bad enough as it is; I did NOT need Genre Burnout on top of everything else! So I decided it was time to pick up When Dimple Met Rishi. Everyone I know who has read this book has ADORED IT and absolutely GUSHED about it. And HOLY WOW, WERE THEY RIGHT!!! I’m SO sorry I didn’t read this sooner. It was an absolutely adorable romcom with amazing characters and an epic plot that had me laughing, crying, and cheering. The high stakes Insomnia Con element had my heart pounding in my throat the whole time.

Dimple was a fun, sassy, strong-willed character. I loved how fierce and opinionated she was, and the way she stood-up for what she wanted. She was also a fiercely loyal friend. Rishi was completely adorable. I felt so bad for him, the way he desperately wanted to draw but felt obligated to do what his parents expected of him. But I also understand and appreciate the fact that he felt very close to his culture and heritage, so pleasing his parents was something he WANTED to do, something that came naturally to him. I also loved how down-to-earth he was, despite being a rich kid (something Dimple takes note of, as well, when she finds out just how rich he really is).

There are many things in this book I don’t feel I can comment on because I don’t want to stray outside my lane and comment on a culture that I’m not intimately familiar with. But I’ve heard from many own voices bloggers and reviewers that this book was amazing and mirrored their experiences growing up – that that they were able to see themselves in this book and these characters. I think the best review I’ve read is from Alyssa over at The Eater of Books.

What I DO want to say is that I feel like I learned a lot by reading this book. I found myself googling a lot of things, trying to understand and better visualize what exactly was happening. I googled the different types of clothes they were wearing, what certain words meant, and some of the dances Dimple and Rishi were rehearsing.

The only negative thing I really have to say about this book is that, at times, the POV changing multiple times in one chapter was confusing. It made it a little hard to get into the flow of the story. But the more into the book I got, the easier the transition became.

Overall, this book was an adorable, fun, laugh-out-loud joy to read. I’m diving right into There’s Something About Sweetie, and I’m SO pumped for Ashish’s story. I can tell from what we saw of him in this book that we’ve only just begun to learn who he really is. And, of course, I’m excited to meet Sweetie, what with all the body positivity and well-done fat rep I’ve heard is in this book.

So yeah, I HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone looking to read an epic romcom, and anyone who wants a book with Indian rep in it. This book was just absolutely fantastic and you WON’T regret picking it up!


Review: Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

Review: Hotel Ruby by Suzanne YoungHotel Ruby by Suzanne Young
Published by Simon Pulse on November 3, 2015
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon

Stay Tonight. Stay Forever.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn't have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she's met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…

Welcome to the Ruby.

This book was an explosion of epic! I had so many weird, intriguing theories, my head was positively spinning with them! The characters were amazing, Suzanne Young was on top of her writing game and the plot itself was deliciously fun and twisty!

Usually when I review a book, I get very detailed in my descriptions of the characters, explaining what I did and didn’t like. But the thing is, I loved these characters so much and I got so lost in their stories that I didn’t write down detailed notes about each of them. So this time, I’ll keep it short!

I loved Audrey – she was the perfect horror heroine. She was enthralled by the Ruby and its guests, yet still skeptical of the too good to be true-ness of it all. Her determination throughout the novel was admirable. I did NOT expect her story to end the way it did, though! I had a love/hate relationship with her brother, Daniel. He was a typical pain-in-the-butt brother, but I think his overall intentions were good. I wanted to see him fighting side-by-side with Audrey more, though. As for their dad.. I didn’t like him nor did I trust him. But I didn’t expect things to end the way they did.

Elias was such a douchey gentleman. It should have been annoying, but he was completely adorable. I really liked Lourdes and Joshua. Mostly, I wanted to slap Catherine, yet she had her moments, oddly enough! Kenneth just completely creeped me out!! Young did an epic job of making me love/hate all of these characters, while still ensuring that, either way, I didn’t trust a single one of them! I was always questioning them and their motives, trying to figure out who was working to help Audrey and who was working to harm her.

For a stand-alone horror/psychological thriller, the pacing was exceptional! It kept me on my toes and allowed things to unfold in a creepy yet realistic way. It was a super quick read, too, mostly because I refused to put it down unless absolutely necessary! I just HAD to find out what was going on – all my theories were swimming around in my head and driving me nuts! But.. In a good way! In an, “I want to devour this book and never let it go!” way! Or an “I need to know what’s going on but I never want the precious to end!” way! You get the picture, right?

Finally, that ending.. Holy crap, holy crap, HOLY CRAP! The ending was not at all what I expected! Some of my theories were correct or partially correct; however, some of the revelations still caught me completely off guard! One character in particular.. The ending of their story? MIND-BLOWN! I still can’t wrap my head around how their story ended. It was insane and I WANT MORE! I know this is a stand-alone but I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Overall, if you couldn’t tell from my fangirly review (I mean, if you read it, you can tell!), I ADORED and LOVED this book to pieces!!! It was insane and wonderful and brilliant! There are many things this book has been compared to and described as, from The Shining meets The Great Gatsby to The Shining meets Hotel California by the Eagles (a song/band). I agree with all of the above! I also got major Shadowlands feels and major Ghost Ship feels! So if you like any or all of the above, I HIGHLY recommend this book!!!


Review: Killer Within by S.E. Green

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Killer Within by S.E. GreenKiller Within by S.E. Green
Series: Killer Instinct #2
Published by Simon Pulse on May 19, 2015
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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In the heart-pounding sequel, teen vigilante Lane must face the secrets and unexpected consequences that arise in the wake of her first kill.

It’s been three months since the sadistic Decapitator’s demise, and Lane feels both closer to and more alienated than ever from her united, grieving family. Haunted by conflicting memories, she resumes the role of Masked Savior vigilante—but her heart just isn’t in it. For Lane now knows the rush of deeper thrills. Darker thrills. And a growing part of her wants to revisit its seductive power.

To Lane’s chagrin, the Masked Savior inspires its own fan site, where groupies gather online to praise, document, and debate each delivered act of justice. But then one of Lane’s secret admirers becomes a cunning copycat, assaulting the defenseless with escalating violence. And Lane suspects someone is spying on her, edging closer to making contact-someone who knows her secrets.

Will Lane be able to stop the copycat and keep her identity protected? Or will she give in to the thrills that tempt her? Because as her life continues to unravel, the revelations shake Lane to her core.

I read Killer Within in roughly six hours. I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t go to sleep without knowing how it ended. It captivated me just as much as Killer Instinct did, if not more. My brain still hurts from all the epic twists and turns. This incredible sequel had characters we know and love from the first book, plus some new ones that drew our attention for both good and bad (creepy, suspicious bad) reasons; and it had an epic plot that will keep you guessing until the very last page – and long after you close the book!

Once again, Lane was fascinating and creepy. She doesn’t have a huge amount of character development throughout the book, but I can definitely tell she’s a different person from who she was at the end of Killer Instinct – which is completely understandble given the things that happened to her and the things she did. I like the way she tries to stay connected with her stepdad and siblings. I love that one of the few things that grounds her is working with animals. She’s still a thrill-seeker dealing with urges she doesn’t completely understand and she’s a bit impulsive and reckless at times, which led her down some scary roads in this book. She’s blunt and hilarious and the flashback scenes were pretty creepy. My heart broke for her at the end.

I loved Daisy’s character development. She was like a whole new person in Killer Within. It’s sad that it took a tragedy to make it happen, but that tragedy made her re-evaluate her life choices. I loved her relationship with Lane in this book and their continued relationship with Justin. The revelation with Daisy was shocking and I’d love to see what – if anything – comes of that, so I’m definitely crossing my fingers for a book three!

We didn’t see as much of Reggie in this book, which made me sad because I adored her and was hoping to see more of her, not less. It saddened me the way she and Lane fought, but I can see both sides of the argument: On the one hand, Lane wasn’t a very good friend and she could have tried harder. On the other hand, Lane had a lot going on in her life and, if Reggie were a true friend, she would have understood that. I really, really want a book three because I’m crossing my fingers for a reconciliation between Lane and Reggie.

Zach’s an intriguing character and I never know if I should be praying he and Lane make-up or if I should be handing Lane pepper spray to keep him away! There were times when he really had me suspicious of his behavior. Especially after his ordeal in Killer Instinct. It makes sense that he’s traumatized and I expected that to effect him in profound ways. Dr. Issa was another one that had me dancing between heart eyes and suspicion. His personality and attitude in Killer Instinct always had me suspicious, but I never expected what happened to happen.. I mean.. Whoa… And… *Zips lips* Read the book!!!

I never trusted Catalina or Tommy. They were always behaving oddly. Catalina was like a mirror image of Lane in many ways. And Tommy was just as big a thrill-seeker as Lane. I knew nothing good could come of either character/story line. The only thing with Tommy, though.. As much as I love Zach and ship him and Lane, I also really shipped Tommy and Lane. Though I’m still convinced Zach is her perfect match, I think Tommy is more the yin to her yang. And the way the Catalina story ended… Whoa…

And then there’s the Margie story line. Holy crap, that was intense! And… I can’t say much more than that..

I thought the twists and turns in Killer Instinct had me going crazy, but they were NOTHING compared to the twists and turns of Killer Within. I mean, like I said, I read this book in roughly 6 hours (Less because about 1.5 hours of that was a dinner break) and I stayed up till 3am reading, knowing there was no way I’d be able to fall asleep until I found out the truth. Every time I thought I had nailed down a suspect, I was wrong. And every time someone was “cleared,” I let my guard down with them and then… BAM! Something would happen and I’d suspect them again. S.E. Green is such a master of red herrings! Plus, she does an amazing job with her endings,, They’re quick and precise and the “reveal” and final scene get wrapped up in just a few pages. With other books, the ending would feel rushed. But Green does such a wonderful job, it doesn’t feel rushed at all.

Overall, this book was deliciously creepy, epic and intense. I can’t even properly put into words how much I enjoyed it, though I’m sure you can guess from my fangirl review! S.E. Green is definitely one of my new favorite authors. My fingers are crossed she writes a third book in this series, or at least a book similar to it, within the same genre. As with Killer Instinct, I highly recommend Killer Within if you love psychological thrillers and books with epic plot twists that leave you guessing with every flip of the page.


Review: Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Killer Instinct by S.E. GreenKiller Instinct by S.E. Green
Series: Killer Instinct #1
Published by Simon Pulse on May 6, 2014
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
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She’s not evil, but she has certain... urges.

Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.


Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.

And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return... in parts.
When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim...

As someone who’s fascinated with psychology, forensics and Criminology, this book was all kinds of epic in my eyes. Especially since I’ve been on a Criminal Minds kick lately and this felt like Criminal Minds for YA. It especially appealed to me because there aren’t a lot of YA books like it. I’ve seen a lot of serial killer/FBI YA books that have supernatural elements, but I’ve never seen one that was pure fiction/psychological thriller WITHOUT supernatural elements. So this book really filled that void. Not to mention the fact that the writing was amazing, the characters were epic and the twists and turns kept me guessing until the very end!

I loved Lane. She was such a fascinating character. She was also a bit creepy, but seeing into her mind was epic. I was pulled right in to the psychology of it all – her thoughts, her actions, her justifications for the things she did. At times, I felt very sympathetic towards her and the things she was going through and the revelations she dealt with. At other times, I looked at her character purely from a psychological viewpoint, profiling her using things I learned when I took psychology classes (and from watching Criminal Minds). As unrelatable as she was in certain ways, she was also very relatable in other ways. She just wanted to be a normal, carefree girl with no drama and no worry. The whole Masked Savior thing was an interesting outlet for Lane and, from what I can tell, plays a major part in the plot of Killer Within.

Lane’s mom was incredibly fascinating, as well. Since I’m on a Criminal Minds kick, she reminded me of Hotch, since she was the Director of the BAU. I don’t know what else I can say about her because of spoilers, but holy crap.. Holy CRAP!!! Victor, Lane’s stepdad, was an interesting character. I liked his relationship with Lane and the way they got along. I’m so tired of the evil step-parent cliche, so it was really refreshing.

Lane’s sister, Daisy, was like the complete opposite of Lane. I didn’t like nor dislike her. She was just there. I liked Lane’s brother, Justin, and the relationship he had with Lane. Also, Justin seemed to be one of the few people who brought out Daisy’s good side. It was nice seeing them all bond in their own way.

Reggie was an awesome character! And, since I’m on a roll with Criminal Minds comparisons, she totally reminded me of Garcia. I definitely hope to see more of her in Killer Within!

I really liked Zach. He was like Lane’s perfect match. He understood her, he gave her space when she needed it and he let her be herself. I totally shipped them and, though the ending of the book made me sad, I’m crossing my fingers for them in Killer Within! I couldn’t stand Belinda, though Lane definitely took care of her, which had me cracking up! And the whole Dr. Issa thing was.. Odd, but in an interesting way. I have a strange feeling we’ll be seeing more of him.

The whole Decapitator story line was deliciously creepy. And the role that Lane played was creepy, terrifying and fascinating. The twists and turns involved in this story line left my head spinning!! One second, I thought I had it all figured out; the next, I had a whole new set of theories. I was suspicious of just about everyone. But then that ending.. I have no words for how shocked, horrified, terrified, surprised and… (here’s that word again) fascinated I was by the big reveal. I NEVER saw that coming and I couldn’t believe it. My head is still spinning from the shock of it all!

Overall, I can’t begin to describe how epic and amazing and creepy and wonderful this book was. I was so excited when I first heard about it, but honestly, it exceeded my expectations in every way imaginable. I highly recommend it if you love psychological thrillers and books with epic plot twists that leave you guessing with every flip of the page. S.E. Green is one of my new favorite authors and I can’t wait to read Killer Within!


Review: Eternal by Kristi Cook

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Eternal by Kristi CookEternal by Kristi Cook
Series: Winterhaven #3
Published by Simon Pulse on September 3, 2013
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon

True love and destiny collide in the conclusion to the Haven trilogy, which Booklist called “a blend of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, the Twilight saga, and Lois Duncan’s thrillers.”

Forced to endure the violent punishment of the Tribunal for murders he has no recollection of committing, Aidan is slowly rotting away in a Paris dungeon. Violet is all but an unreachable dream to him now.

But unlike Aidan, Violet has not given up hope as she works tirelessly with Matthew, her guardian and protector, to prove Aidan’s innocence and unravel the haunting vision that plagues her thoughts—the death of someone closest to her.

Determined to set Aidan free, Violet discovers that a dangerous vampire war is brewing—and that Aidan may be at the center of it all. It’s only when the war reaches the doors of Winterhaven and tragedy strikes the school that Violet has to finally accept her fate. But that could mean losing Aidan—forever.

With no other option, Violet must choose between true love and fulfilling her destiny…unless she can find a way to have them both.

Eternal was the most satisfying conclusion to a trilogy that I have read… ever. Period. End of discussion. It was so good, I don’t even know if I can put it into words – minus spoilers – but I’m going to try!(I’m also going to apologize right now for babbling and fangirling, because it might happen… I can’t promise that it won’t).

I picked up Haven (the first book in the Winterhaven trilogy – although I didn’t know at the time it was a trilogy) when it first came out and I devoured it. It was an interesting, original, and refreshing read. The characters, the plot, and the twists at the end of Haven made it one of the most original young adult novels I had read in a long time. Next came book two, Mirage, and it definitely didn’t disappoint! Again, in a market saturated with, at the time, vampire novels and “she goes away to boarding school and discovers she’s not alone!” stories, Mirage proved, once again, why this was one of the most original YA series I’d read in a long time. I could tell right away that the end of Mirage set up for a third book, and I was really excited for it!

And then I read Eternal… And first of all, I was honored to be selected as one of only two or three bloggers who got an eARC from Kristi Cook herself. I’ve loved this series and these characters from the beginning, so I was just.. completely fangirling!

Eternal picks up right where Mirage left off and it jumps right into the important stuff, the action scenes. Almost immediately, something major is revealed to Violet and it set me on edge – I had a bad feeling that I couldn’t shake the entire time I was reading the book.

I absolutely love Matthew. He’s an amazing character and he takes his Megved duties seriously. He has more of a brotherly/protector relationship with Violet and though I can’t see them together – Because, duh, Aidan!!! – I still sort of want them to end up together because of their shared destiny. Something about it just always felt right. Matthew kind of reminds me of Alaric from The Vampire Diaries (the show, not the books). He’s that authority figure, the big brother, the protector.

Tyler was really annoying in Mirage. Like, I really wanted to slap him a few times. But I liked him a lot more in Eternal. He was.. tolerable, I’ll say. And a few times, I actually felt really bad for him!

We learn about several betrayals in Eternal and who was behind these betrayals. It’s a big shock, and despite the reasoning behind the betrayals, I didn’t trust the characters involved for the rest of the book. My heart was just in my throat the whole time I was reading and I kept waiting for more betrayals from these characters.

There were about three scenes that absolutely killed me – I mean, the whole book killed me, but three scenes stand out in particular. Like, I was just a complete mess!!! I still haven’t gotten over them and I’m DYING to talk to someone about them! (So… if/when you read Eternal, CONTACT ME SO WE CAN FANGIRL OVER THIS!!!!!). I’m just… I kind of had a bad feeling about one scene. I sensed it pretty much from the very beginning, but I still wasn’t prepared for it. At all. And I really, really wanted to be wrong… But, I was right *sobs.* There was another scene, as well, that I had hunch about. I felt like it just wasn’t what it seemed. And again, I was right. But it was still startling and incredible to read – I kept wondering if my hunch was wrong, what was going to happen, etc. Bottom line, this book just had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Finally, just gotta put it out there, I love that this series is set in the Hudson Valley. Hometown love for the win! Now, I’m not from the EXACT area the book is set in, but close enough and I know a lot of the places and landmarks mentioned. I’ve even been to/on some of them!

All in all, I loved this book so, so much. I can’t wait till it releases so everyone can join me in my fangirling and so I can hug and pet the hardcover and read it again!