Archives for October 2014

Chrissy’s Review: Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

Someone Else's Love StorySomeone Else’s Love Story
written by Joshilyn Jackson
published by William Morrow Paperbacks

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really didn’t enjoy this book. Maybe it was the hype, maybe it was the other reviews I read, maybe I hoped for more of a chick lit/women’s fiction/romance story, but I felt a bit disappointed after reading Someone Else’s Love Story.

For me, this book was okay. Some parts were promising, but they just weren’t enough to make me like this book. I didn’t like the point of view shifts between Shandi and Will. They didn’t flow, and sometimes it was just too hard to follow. I just had a hard time picking the book up to finish it. But I did finish it. I think I was hoping for something bigger to happen at the end.

Someone Else’s Love Story had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it just fell flat.

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Would I recommend it: I wouldn’t recommend it.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
For single mom Shandi Pierce, life is a juggling act. She’s finishing college, raising precocious three-year-old Natty, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents.Then she gets caught in the middle of a stickup at a gas station and falls instantly in love with William Ashe, when he steps between the armed robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that William’s act wasn’t about bravery. When he looked down the barrel of the robber’s gun he believed it was destiny: it’s been exactly one year since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do—to him destiny is about choice.

Now William and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head-on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

 

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Chrissy’s Review: The Christmas Women by Elyse Douglas

The Christmas Women  RThe Christmas Women
written by Elyse Douglas
published by Elyse Douglas

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I did enjoy this book. I love happy Christmas stories. They put me in a good mood. They make me happy. This book made me happy.

The Christmas Women was a sweet story. I liked the romance, the friendship, the show for the retired teacher who touched so many lives. I enjoyed the suspense. It was a fun read. Was it predictable? Yes. But that’s okay. I don’t mind that when I’m reading stories like this. And it did remind me of White Christmas a tiny bit — mainly the show for the retired teacher. I felt that some of the characters’ actions and thoughts weren’t quite realistic enough for me. But those things did not affect my enjoyment at all. I kept reading The Christmas Women, and I didn’t want to put it down until it was over.

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Would I recommend it: If you like happily ever after Christmas stories, then you will enjoy this book!

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About the book – from Amazon: 
Twenty years disappear, and it is as if they are back in high school with all its insecurities, romance and dreams.

When 38-year old Trudie Parks learns that her high school drama teacher is seriously ill, she immediately contacts her two best friends in high school, Kristen and Mary Ann. Together, they’d been known as “The Christmas Girls.” They’d produced and starred in the annual high school Christmas show, which their teacher, Mrs. Childs, had directed.

Determined to show their love for Mrs. Childs, they plan a 20-year reunion to recreate the Christmas show for her. What they don’t anticipate is the complicated emotions this provokes, as former sweethearts appear and rekindle romance, painful memories and the sting of unrealized dreams. All three women must reassess their lives and their friendships, while struggling to produce the show, even while Mrs. Childs seems to grow weaker by the day.

As Christmas Eve approaches, The Christmas Women prepare for an event that will take them and the audience to the farthest reaches of the human heart and resonate throughout the rest of their lives.

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Melissa’s Review: Who Knows Tomorrow by Lisa Lovatt-Smith

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Who Knows Tomorrow
written by Lisa Lovatt-Smith
published by Weinstein Publishing

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I’m on the fence. It reminds me a lot of Tony Cointreau’s memoir, but I feel differently about the two. I spent the first half of the book sifting through the usual name-drops (of which, as with Cointreau’s list, I readily identified exactly zero) and waiting for the life-altering stuff to happen. Lovatt-Smith’s writing is clean and succinct, but I wish I could have seen just a bit more of her heart. It’s a tricky thing to describe — especially because I’ve got all sorts of admiration for her — but I think Lovatt-Smith did just a bit too much photo-shopping here. By the end of Cointreau’s book, I felt comfortable enough to stop him on the street for a chat, and, despite knowing just as much about Mama Lisa’s life as I do Tony’s, I’d still consider her a stranger.

GOLDEN LINE: “Most of them wore a very dignified, almost eighteenth-century outfit with a short tailored jacket, the kabba cover, and a long, slit skirt; the slit.  A kabba and slit; instantly I wanted one – no, several – but one at least, in one of those fantastic wax prints, preferably a pink and orange medley.”

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Would I recommend it: It’s an interesting story, and Ms. Lovatt-Smith leads a remarkable life, but it could do with a touch more passion. Unless you’re planning either a career in the fashion industry or a trip to Africa, I’d pass on this one.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
“Who Knows Tomorrow” is the extraordinary true story of Lisa Lovatt-Smith, a “Vogue” magazine editor who, at the age of thirty-five, made the astonishing choice to abandon her glamorous lifestyle and dedicate her life to helping Africa s most vulnerable children in rural Ghana.Born in Spain to a single mother who struggled to make rent, Lisa Lovatt-Smith rose to become the photo editor at British “Vogue” at the age of nineteen, the youngest in Conde Nast history. At twenty-one, she helped launch Spanish “Vogue,” hosting massive, lavish parties in Madrid with celebrities such as the Rolling Stones, Madonna, and Andy Warhol. By her mid-thirties, Lisa lived an enviable life filled with designer clothes, a dream career, and a beautiful Parisian home.

But at home, Lisa s life is less than perfect. Her adopted daughter Leila is expelled from school for increasingly disturbing behavior. Determined to get her daughter back on track, Lisa takes Leila to Ghana to volunteer at an orphanage. The experience is transformational: Lisa, who had feared the hardship of even a short visit to Africa, finds herself stunned out of her luxurious life and compelled to act.

Within eighteen months, Lisa moves to Ghana and sets up OrphanAid Africa, her own fostering network and activist group, dedicating all her personal resources to bringing up hundreds of Ghanaian children. In her drive to give love and a future to these orphaned children, Lisa first builds a beautiful fostering center in the tropical forest. Next in a country with almost no regulations protecting these vulnerable children she spearheads a drive to develop nation-wide reform throughout Ghana, advocating a phase-out of orphanages in favor of monitored fostering.

Lisa s quest is a dramatic, unforgettable journey. She confronts snakes, death threats, cruel betrayals, illness, road accidents, arson, an armed attack, and the AIDS epidemic that has killed so many parents with young children, and a corrupt system of for-profit orphanages. Her lonely childhood gives her the keen appreciation for what the orphans are missing, and her apprenticeship within the disciplined structure of “Vogue” has taught her the enormous resourcefulness and persistence she needs to succeed.

“Who Knows Tomorrow” is eye-opening and heart-wrenchingly honest, an inspiration to anyone who seeks meaning in helping those who cannot help themselves. It examines the myths surrounding aid to impoverished African children with a critical yet compassionate eye. A vivid portrait of West Africa today, it is an unflinching portrayal of the tragedies endured by millions of children, who struggle despite, and sometimes because of, outpourings of often-misplaced Western benevolence. And although to Lisa it will always be all about the children, it is also a touching celebration of a woman who is talented, generous, and brave.”

 

 

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Boost It Tuesday! – October 28, 2014

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Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free Chance, Candace’s Book Blog, and Gin’s Book Notes for Boost It Tuesday.

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Ginny, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the Candace’s Book Blog Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!


Gin's Book Notes
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Spotlight: There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (giveaway)

There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In: Three Novellas About Family

There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In – Three Novellas About Family
written by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
published by Penguin Books

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksGoodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: The masterly novellas that established Ludmilla Petrushevskaya as one of the greatest living Russian writers.

“Love them,­ they’ll torture you; don’t love them, ­they’ll leave you anyway.”

After her work was suppressed for many years, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya won wide recognition for capturing the experiences of everyday Russians with profound pathos and mordant wit. Among her most famous and controversial works, these three novellas—The Time Is Night, Chocolates with Liqueur, and Among Friends—are modern classics that breathe new life into Tolstoy’s famous dictum, “All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Together they confirm the genius of an author with a gift for turning adversity into art

 

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“An important writer . . . Russia’s best-known . . . She’s a much better storyteller than her American counterparts in the seedy surreal. . . . Petrushevskaya’s stories should remind her readers of our own follies, illusions and tenderness.” —Chicago Tribune

“Her suspenseful writing calls to mind the creepiness of Poe and the psychological acuity (and sly irony) of Chekhov.” —More

“[Petrushevskaya] is hailed as one of Rus­sia’s best living writers. This slim volume shows why. Again and again, in surprisingly few words, her witchy magic foments an unsettling brew of conscience and consequences.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Petrushevskaya’s short stories—which use fairy tale imagery and allegory to comment on Russia’s Soviet past and corrupt present—combine Gogol’s depth of absurdity and Shirley Jackson paranoia, to disturbing effect…The rise of the tightly constructed ‘weird’ tales of Petrushevskaya, Victor Pelevin and Tatyana Tolstaya suggests a secure Soviet literary future.” —NPR.org

Anything but dull, the stories twist and peak in odd places. They create nooks in which the reader can sit and think: What does this mean?” —Los Angeles Times

 

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The Sunday Post – October 26, 2014

The Sunday Post

 

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~

It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

I chose the winner’s for EFC’s Blogoversary giveaway! A big congrats to: Sue for winning the groovy, hand-painted EFC t-shirt and other cool swag, Melody for winning the even groovier (but less hand-painted) collection of some of our favorite books stuffed in an embroidered canvas EFC tote bag, and Michelle for winning the really ridiculously groovy necklace custom made at Origami Owl. We love all of our followers and can’t thank you enough for helping us celebrate three years here at EFC!!!

Last week at EFC:

  • Sunday: The Sunday Post.
  • Monday: Melissa gave A Soul’s Kiss by Kebra Chapoton 4 stars!
  • Tuesday: Boost It Tuesday!! We had 61 blogs and authors link up and share the boostin’ love!! You guys rock!!! =) <3 I also posted my Book Club Recap.
  • Wednesday: Gina The Maze Runner by James Dashner 3.5 stars.
  • Thursday: Melissa reviews Blood Entwines by Caroline Healy for the blog tour organized by Candace at CBB Promotions.
  • Friday: See why Melissa DNF’d Wednesdaymeter by Dean Carnby.
  • Saturday: Pam reviewed Owen’s Daughter by Jo-Ann Mapson.

This week at EFC:

  • Sunday: You’re reading it — The Sunday Post!
  • Monday: We will have a giveaway for a copy of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s There Once Lived  a Mother.
  • Tuesday: Boost It Tuesday — Link up those Facebook pages and give each other a boost!!
  • Wednesday: Melissa reviews Who Knows Tomorrow by Lisa Lovatt-Smith.
  • Thursday: I review The Christmas Women.
  • Friday: I review Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson.
  • Saturday: Pam, our first short story contest winner, reviews All the Light We Cannot See.

Don’t forget to check out all of our current giveaways.

The second EFC Short Story Contest is underway and looking for holiday-themed short stories.

If you are in need of any editing or proofreading services, please visit EFC Services, LLC. Our rates are reasonable and competitive.

 

 

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Guest Review by Pam: Owen’s Daughter by Jo-Ann Mapson

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 Owen’s Daughter
written by Jo-Ann Mapson
published by Bloomsbury 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: I always enjoy reading redemption stories. When characters I loved from other books weave into the redemption, I’m blissed.

Jo-Ann Mapson gives us Skye Elliott, a smart, sad, tough, and persevering hero in Owen’s Daughter. Skye is really, really smart, and she almost makes it out of her teenaged years intact . . . and then, at the eleventh hour, she meets Rocky. Just in time to make her a mama, shut down her dream of veterinary school, put her on a spiraling-downward path.

But Skye is a tough and persevering soul, driven by mother love, and fueled by her own intelligence and severe sense of right and wrong.

Which one of us doesn’t know a smart, tough, sassy woman who’s made abominable choices early on? We know some who never rebounded, but we also know some who measured the distance from the bottom of the pit to the sky outside and started climbing. Sometimes it took them more than one attempt. Lordie, sometimes they were climbing for years, but they stayed with it. And they got out.

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Would I recommend it: This is just the kind of book to fall into on a blustery fall night. Pull an afghan snug in the cozy chair and enjoy the company of Mapson’s quirky characters. They’re all flawed, but they’re all loveable . . . and they surprise us with their ability to rise to the occasions. Owen’s Daughter is like a Friday night chat with warm, good friends.

 

~ Pam, guest reviewer & EFC Short Story Contest Winner ~

 

About the book – from Goodreads: Two women – one a young mother newly out of rehab, the other just diagnosed with a progressive disease – must carve out new lives for themselves in a changing landscape.

Skye Elliot is given a choice after her car accident—jail or rehab—and her ex-husband, a bull rider who introduced her to the party scene, gets custody of their four-year-old daughter Gracie. It takes Skye eight months to get clean, but the day she is released, she has one plan: to be a good mother—better, at least, than Skye’s own selfish mother and absent dad.

Owen Garret hasn’t seen his daughter in ten years. He, too, needs to make amends. Newly out of prison, he picks her up from rehab and together they set off to find Gracie, and to forge a relationship that transcends the hurt and anger that have brewed between them for almost a decade. In the meantime, they find Margaret Yearwood, too—Owen’s lost love whom he left when he turned himself in for a long-ago crime.

Owen’s Daughter is a stand-alone novel that brings back characters from Mapson’s treasured novel Blue Rodeo, and introduces them to the beloved cast of Solomon’s Oak and Finding Casey. With its father-daughter story and characters who overcome personal failings against great odds, Owen’s Daughter is a story of love and family that will enchant Mapson fans both old and new.

 

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DNF: Wednesdaymeter


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written by Dean Carnby
published by Smashwords

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Where I stopped reading: The 2.7% mark on my Moon+ Reader.

Why I stopped reading: You know when you’re swimming in a river and you open your eyes underwater to see where you are, but instead of a clear image you just see a brown, murky sort of cloud? Yeah. This book was like that, only with words — muddy and muddled. It wasn’t just that, though — there was also some severe thesaurus abuse.

You know that cooler of Jell-O shots you tie to the side of your raft at the beginning of your lazy river adventure? It’s a great idea, right? But . . . just because you CAN drink all that alcohol doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Now, let’s pretend that cooler is a thesaurus and each shot is a really cool word. See where I’m going here?  Yeah. Please enjoy your thesaurus responsibly.

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What others have rated this book: According to Goodreads, the average rating for Wednesdaymeter is 3.64. It looks like a majority of readers gave this book 4 stars. There were 3 five-star reviews on Amazon. There were no reviews listed at Barnes & Noble. Just because I didn’t finish this book doesn’t mean you won’t.

About the book – from Goodreads: An eggplant wails, a ladder breaks, and the guise of civility shatters.

A professor of festival studies, a potato hunter, a deadly career counselor, and a part-time terrorist are struggling to retain their sanity in a magically mundane city. Their carefully laid plans fall apart when they meet Mr. Pearson, an everyman who suspects a conspiracy of evil polygons behind his company’s absurd practices.

Theirs is a world in which people use raw produce and wasted time to alter reality. If it were not for the stringent safety standards on fruits and vegetables, the citizens would live in misery. Most live a life of willful ignorance instead, desperate to avoid facing the threats surrounding them. Festival season is about to begin, but the colorful banners cannot hide the tragic past any longer.

 

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Blog Tour: Blood Entwines by Caroline Healy (Melissa’s review, giveaway)

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Blood Entwines
written by Caroline Healy
published by Bloomsbury Spark

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
It was fun.

I started reading during nap time and finished up right around dinner (yeah, we had delivery).  There were some pretty intense formatting issues — font changes mid-sentence and the like — but I’m going to blame that on my copy of the e-file and move on.

There wasn’t anything earth-shattering going on . . . The characters were just what you’d expect for a YA fantasy — mean popular girl, secretly talented unpopular girl, hot guy with a kind heart and a not-so-nice set of secrets . . . the usual suspects.  Healy’s twist on the vampire vibe was well executed, but I’ll be honest: I wish there’d have been a bit more sexual tension between Kara and Jack.

Overall, it was a decent way to spend an afternoon, and I’d love to read the sequel when it comes out.

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Would I recommend it: Sure!  It’s a low-intensity read and a great way to spend a few hours.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
In the aftermath of a blood transfusion that saved her life, Kara feels different. Her senses are stronger … she can hear whispered comments not meant for her ears … she can hear the person following her.

When Jack, her stalker, reveals himself and insists that Kara has something that belongs to him, she does her best to avoid him. But he’s determined to talk to her, convinced that they’re linked through the blood she received during her transfusion.

Jack is struggling against a dark and dangerous demon. His body is host to the evil power that wants Kara’s blood and will stop at nothing to get it, but when Jack himself is able to regain control he tries to warn her away. Can Kara save Jack without risking her own life?

 

 

Caroline HealyAbout the author: Caroline Healy is a writer and community arts facilitator. She recently completed her M.A. in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University, Belfast.

She published her first, award winning collection of short stories, entitled A Stitch in Time in August 2012. Her work has been featured in publications such as Wordlegs, The Bohemyth, Prole and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice.
She writes literary fiction and young adult fiction, with her Y.A. book Blood Entwines released with Bloomsbury Publishing in August 2014.
Caroline loves drinking tea from mis-matched china, doing yoga, as well as reading, writing, talking and thinking about all things bookish. She also has a penchant for cake and dark chocolate.

Find Ms. Healy here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

 

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Guest Review by Gina: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)

 The Maze Runner
written by James Dashner
published by Delacorte Press, 2009

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: The reasons I decided to read The Maze Runner were because my best friend told me I’d love it and the movie trailer caught my attention. Sadly, the expectations I had weren’t met, but I did enjoy reading it.

James Dashner just dropped me into the story, which sometimes is effective, but it didn’t do anything for me. I felt disoriented because I like to know at least one character, preferably the main one, before any action starts. Basically, I had a lot of “huh, what?” moments. It wasn’t until a few chapters into the book that I got some clarity, and this helped me continue on with the journey.

The other thing that bothered me was the characters’ use of slang throughout the book. Words like “klunk,” “shank,” and “shuck” were used all the time, which made reading awkward. It made me clunk through sentences (haha, a pun!), and made me say,  “Why not use words that boys would use?”  I mean, not the mother of all swear words, but a few words here and there would have been enough to show us boys will be boys.

I struggled at times to finish this book, but it could have been the fact that my husband was on travel for three weeks, leaving me with my one-year-old twins (who create a cute chaos in my life). It could have been the fact that I was trying to read three books at once. Yeah, that’s probably part of it. All the back and forth in the writing left me a bit bruised, too, and it wasn’t until the last quarter of the book that I found the hook. It was the fragment of the plot that I needed to get me to read the second and third books; I just wish the author would’ve done that sooner.

 

Golden Line: “If you’re going to decipher a hidden code from a complex set of different mazes, I’m pretty sure you need a girl’s brain running the show.”

 

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Would I recommend it: Yeah, I would recommend it to friends who liked The Hunger Games  and Divergent.  I just wouldn’t strongly recommend it.

 

~ Gina ~

 

About the book – from Goodreads: If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

 

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