At the Brink (The Last Magician – A Book Review)

The Last Magician (The Last Magician #1)
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader

Simon & Schuster

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated M for magic tricks and sneaky cons that’ll make Chris Angel weak in the knees.

 

Stop the Magician.

Steal the book.

Save the future.

In modern-day New York, Esta has an affinity for time. It’s a special, Mageus talent, an old magic which has been dying. Since she was a little girl she’s been trained in the art of being a thief. Now, to save magic from going extinct, she’ll go back to the age of prohibition to find a special book that could help destroy the Brink—a barrier that keeps all Mageus from leaving Manhattan. It destroys their powers and them.

Just when she begins to get her foothold in this era of ruthless old gangs and high societies bent on destroying magic, Harte Darrigan sweeps in, making her mission more complicated. She has no choice but to betray those in the past to save the future, but the longer she stays, the more she questions everything.

 

First things first. I don’t know how to explain it, so don’t ask, but while reading this, I got some MAJOR Harry Potter vibes. From the immersive and enamoring detail to the incredible chemistry between characters, it’s all I could think. Now, a lot of those who’ve read The Diviner’s series agree that this is similar. Sadly, that isn’t a series that I’ve read, but I still say I’m getting the vibes of epic-ness just like I got from Harry Potter.

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The characters are EVERYTHING. Maxwell does such a splendid job of bouncing between her characters and she left me clamoring after all of them. There wasn’t a single character that I hated…well, not true, but those were villainous characters that are meant to feel my scorn and wrath. Esta and Darrigan though! So much push and pull that makes my pulse quicken like a hummingbird at a colorful and beautiful smelling flower. They’re stubborn and passionate characters that push and pull and by the end I just want them to be together. Hell, at their very first meeting it’s all I want. They’re stressing me out, but I love it!

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Tenor

The other characters are given so much life. They’re more than just side characters. I love that so much! Everyone is important. It’s just incredible the way she built them and I fell even more in love because of all of the diversity among them. So much independence and

The setting of Manhattan was such a unique place to choose. Maxwell took the creation of a setting-a world-to a different dimension. Not only by the depth of place(s) but by the time period too. She time traveled, making the setting even more vibrant and intense. Here is Esta, a girl of modern day, in the past of Manhattan. I’m not one for typical historical fictions, but this is anything but typical.

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The twists and betrayals were wild. Just when I thought there might be a sprinkle of trust between two people BAM nope. My hopes rose every time and I’m not even ashamed of it. I know, thieves never trust thieves, but I couldn’t help it.

There is so much about this book and I could go on and on! But you know what? Just read it! There’s betrayal. Complicated feelings. Intense action. Consequences of using magic, and it’s eye-opening.

 

Overall

I wasn’t sure about this book when I started it. The cover is gorgeous and I love how it ties in with the book. The description was curious. So I took a shot. I’m SO glad I did. Phenomenal. The incredible mix of history and magic is just breathtaking and the ending…it’ll leave you speechless. Up on the favorites shelf, you go.

 

Quotables:

“Steal me the night, girl.” (Dolph to Esta, p. 136)

“Desperation and fear could make anyone do nearly anything, and sometimes a single sacrifice was necessary to save many.” (p. 261)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Stand By Me by KI Theory.

 

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Winter is Over, Summer is Coming… (Brave – A Book Review)

Brave (Wicked #3)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated E for emotional overdrive that sends not only characters into a frenzy but readers too.

 

Because behind every evil fae Prince, there’s a Queen…

After torture and dread, Ivy Morgan is finally safe…for the time being. She and Ren have escaped the deadly clutches of fae Prince, Drake, as well as the Order, by hiding in plain sight with the Summer Fae who’ve become unexpected allies. Nobody even knew they were alive. Taking the time to regroup, Ivy is feeling less and less like herself. Something dark and hungry is growing within. Her fae half.

As she struggles to figure out how to handle it, she and others need to make a plan to get rid of Drake once and for all. But when Ren makes a choice he has no right making for Ivy, the results have lasting, painful consequences that could pull them apart.

When unexpected reveals are made, everyone must come together to defeat it, even if it means some of them may not make it out alive. Betrayals are made. Friends are lost. The future is changed forever.

And a queen rises ready to take over the world. Ivy will do whatever it takes to knock her from her would-be throne in New Orleans and save those she loves.

 

The Wicked trilogy is one of the series on my New Year’s resolution and this is book 3 of 3.

 

Wicked – Review Here                           Torn – Review Here

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a huge fan of J. L. A. She is a fantastic storyteller and right up my alley. With the pop cultural references, strong emotions, and fast and powerful storytelling that really keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. This is an author that writes for enjoyment and for readers to enjoy, not to analyze and study in how it relates to the world. Just love and enjoy a good story.

That is exactly the case here. The third and final book of this series was so fantastic I wish I could get out all of the words just right, but as usual, I’m such a jumble of sounds because I loved it so much. Ivy and Ren really encompassed a relationship and rose to my top five favorites. They’re a perfect example that relationships take work. Sometimes you’re going to fight and disagree, but you don’t just give up. You pull through it. You work together. I freaking love them. They’ve got the goals, both sexually and intimately. I can’t be the only one who’s read these books and thought: Damn, wish my sex life was this good. LOL.

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The struggles that both Ivy and Ren had separately was great and powerful. Not great because it sucked they were struggling. But the detail and length to show it was. It was so real and getting that from the way they feel and think and how they speak. J. L. A. nailed it. I’ve said it in the last two reviews. I can’t say it enough. She has a way of bringing raw and relatable emotions and it’s among one of my favorite things. It really hooked me.

Side Note: Tink’s fucking troll dolls! Can’t spoil it, but WTF, dude!

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An unexpected alliance is made with the Summer Fae. The lore of the Summer Fae and Winter has always been intriguing to me. Summer have always been described with warmth and youth while the Winter are cold and torturous. It’s no different here. I really enjoyed how J. L. A. gave life to both sides of the fae. It’s remarkable and so natural. And the depictions between the two are splendid.

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The end of this trilogy was rather quick and precise. It wasn’t that it was rushed. It was just done in a sense that the trilogy actually feels unfinished like it can be added to later down the line. For now, Ivy and Ren can rest in a sense. I really enjoyed that. The fight isn’t over and the series could pick up later, but for now, it’s done and I’m pretty dang satisfied. Well, that’s a lie. I’m satisfied with the ending and that it all came around so well, but I WANT MORE! LOL. I know I know. I’m greedy.

 

Overall

To the point, I LOVE this trilogy. Really fantastic and I can’t believe it’s not more popular. Beautiful and intense and quite a bit of action (take that how you want). It’s my sole belief that J. L. A. is completely underrated and deserves more attention because she is bomb! I really can’t wait to come back to this trilogy one day and I stand by my past remark that it needs to be made into a series on HBO.

Keep a look out for the overall summary of the trilogy!

 

Quotables:

“You’d think the extra fae-ness would’ve given me a nice heart-shaped bottom of something. That I wouldn’t have complained about.” (Ivy, p. 118)

“Sometimes what is necessary isn’t always right.” (Merle, p. 140)

“Just so you know, I like the idea of my vagina being golden. That’s not an insult.” (Ivy to Kyle, p. 222)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Religion by Skylar Grey.

 

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I Am What I Am (Torn – A Book Review)

Torn (Wicked Trilogy #2)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: 2016

On Goodreads

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Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated D for a deceiving little halfling that actually feels guilty about it.

 

Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same.

Ivy Morgan has just made the horrific discovery that she’s a halfling. Half human, half fae. Her life will never be the same. She can’t tell anyone in the Order or it’ll be the end for her. Stake-in-her-heart end. But, she has to think about what to do next because the doors to the Otherworld were opened and the deadly Fae Prince was freed. He’ll be looking for a halfling so that he can open all of the doors and fae-ageddon the planet. Ivy must hurry to figure out how to kill the prince before he discovers her first.

She grew up, taught that fae are meant to be hunted and killed, but what will she do now that she’s one of them?

Then there’s Ren Owens. Tattooed, charming and, an Elite member of the Order, he’s meant to kill her, kill halflings. She hasn’t cared about anyone this much in a very long time. After what they’ve been through, could he handle this? Or would he do his duty and end her even though he’s claimed her heart for himself.

 

 The Wicked trilogy is one of the series on my New Year’s resolution and this is book 2 of 3.

 

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Amazon

Wicked: Review Here

 

The momentum of this trilogy has only increased with book two. Still in the city of New Orleans, the gate that Ivy and the Order fought to protect from the fae was opened thanks to an unexpected betrayal from Val, who Ivy thought was her friend, and out came not only a mass amount of fae but the Fae Prince as well. More so, Ivy is pretty sure she’s falling in love with Ren though if he found out about her being a halfling She’s pretty sure he’d kill her. Her struggle with this life-changing discovery is heartbreaking and intense and it shaped the entire story.

This book rides on sheer emotion. From wit to steamy to heartache, I’m even more obsessed than before. Torn also much darker than Wicked. Laced with twists, secrets, and even more wickedness that twisted my gut. Trying to figure out how to drop the news that you’re the one thing everyone wants dead, to the ones you love the most, is tricky and impossible business. It’s like ripping duct-tape off. Painful, searing, and a must in order to be free.

How does one deal with news like that? While I won’t give away the spoilers of that, I will say that everything changes. This was a rough ride, but it was also fun and addicting.

SYBIS

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I’m still in love with these characters! Even though some are backstabbers, they’re still so perfectly written. My favorite brownie, Tink, is still a pain with his strange infatuation with troll dolls. I still love Ivy and Ren even though this new complication is risking their new relationship. And the prince is actually frightening. One hell of a villain and he’s just getting started. The way Armentrout gives life to these characters is hilarious and beautiful and still so real. She gives them these qualities that I’ve found so rarely in other books. The great awkward and even heartbreaking moments that occur in the real world.

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The mega-twists from the last book come full circle here and they knocked the wind right out of me. I actually had to reread some parts. It was wild! They really snuck up on me, though there were times I had a sneaky feeling something weird was going down. This one was much more unpredictable and I really loved that.

 

Overall

This trilogy gets even better with this book! So good and so yummy and so much more danger! While this book mostly centers around how to handle this world-ending secret (literally one of those) it’s much more than that. It’s the consequence and the result of it too. While approaching the very magical, this book approaches the very human too. Armentrout really covered all of the areas. I couldn’t get enough. Definitely going up in my favorites bookshelf.

 

Quotables:

“We value freedom above anything else.” (Prince Drake to Ivy, p. 290)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Infinity by Niykee Heaton.

 

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Rules for Retribution (Half Bad – A Book Review)

Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy #1)
Author: Sally Green
Published: 2014

On Goodreads

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Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt

Rated P for parents who unknowingly and unwittingly put a shunning curse on their kid.

 

Wanted by no one. Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage. Son of the most infamous Black Witch, Marcus, he’s given rules and limitations, pushing him to the brink. His captors run him ragged and his only hope is to escape so that he may receive the three gifts that’ll bring him his magical powers. Only then can he go after his father and put an end to him. How can he do that when there’s nobody he can trust?

 

I’d heard such good things about this book, so when I saw a copy on sale I couldn’t help but grab it. And as much praise, as it’s gotten, I am in that small percentage that just didn’t enjoy it. Well, enjoy isn’t the word. I didn’t get hooked. I gave it my all, but it was just slow and lacked excitement for me.

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Taking place in Europe, witches are divided between white witches and black witches. Nathan was unlucky to be borne by both, his mom being a white witch and his father, a white witch. Many rules/laws kept him from having any normal kind of life because it’s quickly assumed he’ll be just like his father, a killer and power snatcher of witches.

Visually pleasing, the world building was impeccable. It was wide open and also beautifully bleak. I really liked how exploratory it was with Nathan’s journey.

This wasn’t dreadful, and I’ve read a dreadful book and reviewed as so. The characters were actually pretty moving. They carried such heartache and darkness. It was heavy and raw and deep. With Nathan struggling as everything worked against him, it was amazing how strong he was. Those that revolved around him showed how outside factors can strongly influence one’s life. It was pretty dang tragic.

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I struggled with the POV the most to be honest. Nathan is sixteen, but the book starts off much younger than that. What really caught me up, was that Nathan’s tone throughout it came across much older. More so, the POV switched up with second-person POV and first-person POV. It was a little confusing and distracting.

 

Overall

Though the imagery is strong, I struggled around other bends. I love the paranormal genre and the YA genre. This one just didn’t capture my love and that stinks. So, this goes to my donation pile.

 

Quotables:

“The new trick is no easier than the old trick.” (Nathan, p. 156)

 

P.S. Song today? Halfway Gone by Lifehouse.

 

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The Missing, The Lost, and The Brokenhearted (TVD: The Hunters Vol. 2 – Moonsong – A Book Review)

The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters Vol. 2 – Moonsong
Author: L. J. Smith
Published: 2012

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader

Harper Collins

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated

 

Evil never dies…

 The time has come. The gang is finally going to college. As they settle into their dorms and classes at Dalcrest, there are strange things happening. Students are disappearing, some of which are reappearing dead. There’s a secret society roaming about and nobody’s talking about it, but it may have something to do with the disappearances.

This beautiful, ivy-covered campus is more than what meets the eye and it seems like Elena and her friends might not get that normal college experience they were hoping for.

 

Scarlet Reader

Harper Collins

The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters Vol. 1: Phantom: Review Here

 

This book was really great. Way better than TVD Phantom. There’s a new setting and new people. Just so much new! It’s like a breath of fresh air.

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With new characters like Samantha and Zander, I was so excited to jump into this new era. I really liked these two new additions. They’re mysterious and intriguing. And I find new additions to series always keep things interesting. College was by far one of my most trying, most nerve-wracking, and most favorite time of my life. I was finding independence and myself. That’s exactly what happened for Elena and crew. It reactivated some of my giddiness.

But while there are new things happening, some of the old still resonates, like the triangle between Elena, Stefan, and Damon. Love never dies eh? I was more shocked than usual about the tension between the three of them.

More so, I was super pleased that Bonnie got her light to shine in! She got the guy this time and he’s nearly her opposite, but not! While she gets her tendencies to be shy and nervous and not at all adventurous unless put in mortal danger, Zander (new hotness) really broke past that. I really like this guy. These two are actually the reason I can’t wait to get to the final book of this very Star-Wars-long series. Then again, Bonnie has always been my favorite. I’m just really glad she got her chance. She’s deserved it for a VERY long time now.

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The big bad of the book is still a mysterious one that kept me guessing until the end. I got inklings and ideas, but I was never certain until it all about punched me in the face. Even so, the big bad is still around and all I can say about it is: sometimes you wish they’d just stay dead.

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Great writing, still reaching out to the simple days when complex didn’t have to be complex and it could just be attention-grabbing and simple. Enjoyable. Entertaining. You don’t have to twist my heart so hard that you give me anxiety.

 

Overall

The maturity in this book has grown with the characters and I really liked that. I also really liked the way the supernatural interacted too. It was creepy, yet eye-catching. This book doesn’t reach my favorites shelf, but I did enjoy it.

 

Quotables:

“Honestly, you two have a—a saving people complex or something. After I take psychology, I’m going to diagnose you.” (Bonnie to Elena and Meredith, p. 39)

“I thought the food at college would be more edible than in our high school cafeteria, but apparently I was wrong.” (Elena, p. 71)

“I don’t always want to get away from the dark creatures, Damon.” (Elena to Damon, p. 293)

“Oh, don’t forget that humans can come up with far more creative means of violence than some simple hungry monster do, sweetheart.” (Damon, p. 301)

 

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani.

 

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Hey Jealousy…NOT By the Gin Blossoms (The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters Vol. 1: Phantom.)

The Vampire Diaries: Phantom (The Hunters: Vol. 1)
Author: L. J. Smith
Published: 2011

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader

Harper Collins

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated S for the skeletons coming out of the closet getting ignored and frustrating the hell out of you.

 

Dear Diary, I am home!

We did it. We saved everyone.

Everyone except Damon…

The supernatural damage and invasion from evil spirits have been erased from the destruction of the town to the trauma of the townspeople. Even those who died have been back from the dead. Almost everyone. Damon Salvatore who’d died saving everyone in the Dark Dimension.

Elena and her friends have been given a second chance. They’ve graduated high school and are determined to spend their last summer before going to college. Fun gets put on hold however when something strange begins to happen to everyone. Jealousies and tension rise between the friends, straining relationships and bringing about truths they didn’t expect.

As things come to light, Elena struggles with her dreams of Damon. That can’t connected be to anything though, right? Damon’s gone. It’s just her grief, right? Then why is she having this gnawing feeling that it’s more?

 

I can’t believe I’ve finally gotten to the third part of the TVD trilogy of trilogies. It has been SO FREAKING LONG! Like, seriously. I finished Shadow Souls back in high school and then just couldn’t get to The Hunters until now.

This was not my favorite installation. Elena became so whiney and selfish and I was not having it. Not. At. All. NOPE. All of this shed such a harsh light on her and it made me feel so bad for Bonnie. It’s always been my belief that she deserved great things and when she admitted how she felt in regard to Elena and Meredith—small and living in their shadow—it hurt. It’s what I’ve believed since the very beginning and to hear her confirm it broken my friggin heart. She’s such a bubble of delight and so powerful and everybody just uses her and then dismisses her like she’s nothing! GAH! And this was the worst book to showcase this.

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I was so glad Bonnie got it off of her chest. It was also epic to see Elena fall flat on her face a few times too, both literally and metaphorically.

There was a new addition to the TVD-verse and her name is Celia. Alaric returns to the series with her, his research partner. She’s not my favorite and quite stuck up. But, she made for an interesting half-triangle with Alaric and Meredith.

The big bad being a demon is interesting, but I didn’t find it that well developed. It was very underwhelming. I didn’t get a good visual of it either. It was just…pathetic. Ugh. I hate to say that, but it’s true. There could’ve been so much more to make it more interesting. It fell so short.

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Overall

A great start and such an interesting result, but the big reveal was not big at all. Not my favorite book of the series. So, low on the bar. On to the next one!

 

Quotables:

“We’ve all been given another chance. We did it. We saved everyone…Everyone except Damon…And vampires don’t reincarnate. They don’t go to Heaven, or Hell, or any kind of afterlife. They just…disappear.” (Elena, p. 9)

“He was a monster. He was supposed to be a monster, to take blood unflinchingly, to kill without a second thought or care.” (Damon, p. 275)

“They’ve doomed you, just like they doomed the one they really loved.” (Jealousy Demon, p. 352)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

  1. S. Song today? Paralyzer by Finger Eleven.

 

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Wet Hot Vampire Summer (The Traveling Vampire Show – A Book Review)

The Traveling Vampire Show
Author: Richard Laymon
Published: 2001

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - Traveling Vampire Show

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated: M for mature themes.

 

See.

Watch.

Tremble.

Scream.

A hot summer of 1963, there are flyers tacked up all over Grandville, advertising for the Traveling Vampire Show for one night only. The main event: the alluring and blood-draining Valeria.

After a bet is made, three teenagers: Dwight, Slim, and Rusty, are determined to get in to see the show even though only those who are over eighteen are admitted. The day is long and after a dog attack, deceiving friends, and strange break-ins, they wonder if they should go and what might await if they do.

 

This was a pretty good book. Definitely not your typical summer adventure. I’ve never read Richard Laymon before. I’m glad I got too.

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Slipping into the paranormal/horror genre, this book takes place in the small town of Grandville and everybody knows everybody’s business. By the end of this book, hell, not even, a good quarter of the way in, I knew the ins and outs of this town. The description, imagery, and world-building was superb! The entire book took place during the course of an entire day and it was so in depth and extended without a boring drag. It was warm, dry, and breezy during a time when you didn’t have to be afraid that somebody would break into your home. It was safe.

Pretty campy and fun and even humorous at times; yes, these are a few of my favorite things. Such a good Fright Night vibe. I was digging it.

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I really liked Dwight and Slim, but found Rusty to be a horrifying little troll I wanted to shove off of a bridge. His little sister was a needy little imp too. They both made my jaw drop to the ground with horror. Cruel, liars, and completely spineless, the two of them are vicious and I couldn’t believe that Dwight was friends with them. Slim however, was so kick-ass. Tomboy with the curves, she’s gone through her own hell and is so strong for it! And she’s so smart. It’s is my absolute favorite thing about this book that she takes up the names of literary characters over her own name. I am in complete awe of her.

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This book really took me for a ride. There was nothing cut and dry about it. Shockers and sharp turns were around every page and really got me feeling paranoid. Laymon really got my skin creeping with goosebumps on the way to the book’s main event. Fantastic with the build-up and extra side stories that allowed me to get to know the characters so much more. I love it when there’s side stories, and he wrote them so well! I’m mind-blown. So fantastically done without breaking the flow or steering away from the main story i.e. getting to this vampire show.

 

Overall

A pretty good read. I was addicted. It’s not like it was some life-defining read, but it was a good book. Great for a summer time read. Certainly, for mature audiences too.

 

Quotables:

“Most of us tell ourselves we don’t believe in that sort of stuff, but maybe that’s because we’re afraid to they might exist. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, aliens from outer space, black magic, the devil, hell…maybe even God.” (Slim, p. 43)

“And even if you could somehow sort out the whys and find the truth, maybe it’s better if you don’t.” (Dwight, p. 51)

“The blood’ll bring vampires like chum brings sharks.” (p. 352)

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

Song today? House of the Rising Sun by The Animals

 

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