ARC REVIEW | Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

Title: INFINITY SON

Author: ADAM SILVERA

Releases: 14TH JANUARY 2020 by SIMON & SCHUSTER CHILDREN’S UK

Genre: YA FANTASY


Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.


What a let down…I was so excited for this release and it just fell flat. Was it over-hyped, maybe? Now, I’ve never read Silvera before, but everyone was so excited for this cross-over, and I wasn’t at all impressed. The writing was too young – as in the lingo was very uneducated teenager trying to be cool – which felt very unrealistic, or possibly I was just the wrong reader for this book. The characters felt very forced, as well. The plot was slow and then the ending was an ‘of course that happens’ moment.. Very little was unexpected in Infinity Son. I may read the next one just to find out more (and hope it gets better), but overall I was pretty bored with this story so far.


Thank you to Simon & Schuster UK for this review copy.

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BLOG TOUR | ARC REVIEW | Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Title: TWEET CUTE

Author: EMMA LORD

Releases: 21ST JANUARY 2020 by WEDNESDAY BOOKS

Genre: YA CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE


A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.


Welcome, Wayfarers, to my stop on the Tweet Cute Blog Tour Train! Friends, are you in for a treat!! Tweet Cute (which I must say is a brilliant play on the term meet cute) was completely adorable and such a feel-good read. I just wanted to stay in their world – well done, Emma!! I was really sad when it ended, but only because there was no more to read. The characters were so engaging, the plot was fresh, and the writing overall was very well done.

If I had to pick one thing I loved most about this story, it would have to be the banter between Pepper and Jack! They’re hilariously funny, snarky, and so real. It feels like they’re my newest friends – and I suppose they are in the way that my favourite characters stay with me. I really identified with Pepper’s struggles with her parents, fitting in, and what comes after. I loved that they discussed what happens after high school and whether they want to go to college, or if there are better things out there for them. It was so refreshing to read a different take on that recurring discussion. College isn’t the be-all and end-all of life; there are other very valid options! I did go to college, but I know loads of people who didn’t and are still quite successful and happy with their lives! So don’t give up!

I really hated Pepper’s mom, though. She’s such a mom-ster! It’s like she has no regard for how much Pepper does for her/the corporate Twitter on top of all of her swim team commitments and school assignments. I had a mom-ster as well, but this is just baffling to me that people can be like this. Even when her motivations come to light (SHOCK ALERT!), I still found it hard to accept. Needless to say, wasn’t a fan of their relationship… And felt for Paige a bit more than expected..

We don’t get a whole lot of Jack’s family aside from his twin, Ethan, but I still loved the relationships there – totally cute! Love Grandma Belly the mostest ❤ The app Jack built, Weazel, is a really interesting idea. I love that he and Pepper connect on it and share so much of themselves while at odds in their real life. Was an adorable concept. Must admit, I’m a sucker for enemies-to-lovers trope when it’s done well, and this was so good!! I also laughed aloud several times – which made for funny looks from my James!!

Would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a cute read with a bit of depth. I’ve also added Emma Lord to my follow list and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! Read on for an excerpt of one of my favourite parts of the book!


EXCERPT

JACK

“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”

Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”

“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”

Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”

“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”

“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”

The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.

The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.

“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.

“So . . .”

“So.”

Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.

“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”

“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”

“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”

“I didn’t—”

“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”

“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”

“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”

Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.

“You’re sure?”

I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.

“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”

“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”

Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.

“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”

Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.

Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.

“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.

I raise my eyebrows at her.

“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”

“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”

Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.

“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”

Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—

“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.

I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.

“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”

She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.

I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”


Early Praise:
Tweet Cute delivers in every possible way: a perfect enemies-to-lovers romance, a whip-smart plotline, and endearingly real characters. I devoured it.” – Francesca Zappia, author of Eliza and Her Monsters

“Sweet and fun! An adorable debut that updates a classic romantic trope with a buzzy twist.” – Jenn Bennett, author of Alex, Approximately and Serious Moonlight

“A witty rom-com reinvention for the Twitter age, Tweet Cute pairs delicious online rivalry with deeply relatable insights on family pressure and growing up. This fresh, funny read had us hitting ‘favorite’ from page one.” – Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest 

Buy Link: https://read.macmillan.com/lp/tweet-cute/

Social Links:  @dilemmalord (Twitter/Instagram)

Thank you to Wednesday Books for this review copy.

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Sunday Selections

Happy Sunday!! I thought it might be fun to write a Sunday Selections post of what I’m reading and upcoming reads for the week ahead, or anything else you may want to add in. This will be pretty informal, but feel free to play along if you like!

WHAT I’M READING

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (eARC – and on the blog tour, so keep an eye out this week!!)

The Deep by River Solomon (review copy) Thank you Kate!!

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (review copy)

The Handbook of Applied Dog Behaviour and Training by Stephen R. Lindsay (coursework)

UPCOMING READS

Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna (ARC)

Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen (eARC)

Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz (eARC)

LATEST READS

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera – 🍾🍾🍾

Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran – 🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾 (probably gonna be my favourite of 2020)

Is anything here on your list, too? What reads have you loved lately?

I'M BACK, BABY! | ARC REVIEW | Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran

Title: QUEEN OF COIN AND WHISPERS

Author: HELEN CORCORAN

Releases: 6TH APRIL 2020 by THE O’BRIEN PRESS

Genre: YA FANTASY – LGBT

TWs: Death, abuse, child death, PTSD


‘She loved me as I loved her, fierce as a bloodied blade.’

When teenage queen Lia inherits her corrupt uncle’s bankrupt kingdom, she brings a a new spymaster into the fold…Xania, who takes the job to avenge her murdered father.

Faced with dangerous plots and hidden enemies, can Lia and Xania learn to rely on one another, as they discover that all is not fair in love and treason?

In a world where the throne means both power and duty, they must decide what to sacrifice for their country – and for each other…


I must apologise, wayfarers… It has been an insane few months! But I am back now, so welcome along to the journey once again! The dogs and family are doing well, so I can start reading properly again! Onto the review!


I recently DEVOURED Queen of Coin and Whispers! It’s been on my most anticipated since DeptCon last year and, man, was I blown away! This world is steeped in beauty and political intrigue, which is absolutely engrossing. Helen Corcoran has my heart and allegiance – long may she reign! She entwines the main characters all so perfectly with brilliant supporting characters to round them out. They’re such multi-faceted characters, but what I loved most was that you really got to experience their wonderful side relationships with friends and family members. And the romance!! My damn… Suffice to say, it is well worth the read for that alone – it’s done perfectly and I just loved them together. There’s a scene involving the parents, and that was definitely one of my favourite! Wait until you read it!!

There are so many healthy representations in this novel. M/M, F/F, bisexuality, step-parents, parents being present and involved yet not oppressing, parents refusing to continue allowing their children to be assholes (!!), lady spies, and much more.. Helen included so much in this novel that makes me want to dive back in – I actually woke up this morning hoping to get back into it, then reality crashed down around my ears when I realised I’d already finished the book! However, the ending more than makes up for the fact that there won’t be a sequel! …and I’ll probably read it again once the finished copy comes out in April!! Fair warning now…you won’t want to put it down once you start…

I felt SO MUCH while reading this – laughed, gasped, sadness, and adoration. It’s really refreshing to read a fantasy novel that doesn’t include magic once in awhile, and you know what, I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like this.


Thank you to The O’Brien Press for this review copy.

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#BOOKPOST + BUYS 11.08.2019

I thought it might be nice (for my own organisation) to start keeping a record of what books, and bookish items, I get from week to week! Hopefully, I can keep this up for awhile…but we shall see, indeed..

** BOOK POST **

Dark Age – Pierce Brown (signed Waterstones edition) – Of course, I had to get this big beauty! I have the rest of the Red Rising series bar Iron Gold, which I’ll have to find eventually. But I really just could not resist!

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Morning Star returns to the Red Rising universe with the thrilling sequel to Iron Gold.

For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?

Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury. 

But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.

On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him? 

Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies.

Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.

As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.

Dark Age – Pierce Brown (Illumicrate edition) – Couldn’t pass up this snake-y special edition!!

As above, but with snake stenciled edges!

Deeplight – Frances Hardinge (uncorrected proof copy) – thanks, Macmillan Kids! I hadn’t heard of this title before it arrived, but now I am so excited for it (and that release dates)! Deeplight is going to be a Halloween baby! Coming to shelves near you 31st October!

For centuries the gods of the Undersea ruled the islands of the Myriad through awe and terror: they were very real, and very dangerous. Sacrifices were hurled into the waters to appease them, and every boat was painted with pleading eyes to entreat their mercy. They were served, feared and adored. Then, thirty years ago, the gods rose up in madness and tore each other apart.

Now, none remain. The islands have recovered and the people have patched their battered ships and moved on.

On one of these islands live Hark and his best friend Jelt. To them, the gods are nothing but a collection of valuable scraps to be scavenged from the ocean and sold.

But now something is pulsing beneath the waves, calling to someone brave enough to retrieve it.

Wonderland anthology (review copy) – a massive thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy of this beauty! I cannot wait to jump down this rabbit hole..

From the greatest names in fantasy and horror comes an anthology of stories inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 


Join Alice as she is thrown into the whirlwind of Wonderland, in an anthology that bends the traditional notions of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel. Contributors include the bestselling M.R. Carey, Genevieve Cogman, Catriona Ward, Rio Youers and L.L. McKinney.

Within these pages you’ll find myriad approaches to Alice, from horror to historical. There’s even a Wild West tale from Angela Slatter, poetry, and a story by Laura Mauro which presents us with a Japanese folklore-inspired Wonderland.

Alison Littlewood, Cavan Scott and Catriona Ward make the more outlandish elements their own, while James Lovegrove instead draws on the supernatural. Cat Rambo takes us to a part of Wonderland we haven’t seen before and Lilith Saintcrow gives the legend a science-fiction spin. The nightmarish reaches of the imagination are the breeding ground for M.R. Carey’s visions, while Robert Shearman, George Mann, Rio Youers and Mark Chadbourn’s tales have a deep-seated emotional core which will shock, surprise and tug on the heart-strings.

So, it’s time now to go down the rabbit hole, or through the looking-glass or… But no, wait. By picking up this book and starting to read it you’re already there, can’t you see?

** BOOK BUYS **

So, on Tuesday I went to the launch of All the Bad Apples in Eason’s O’Connell St and picked up a few new beauties to love. It was amazing and I am hoping to write a post about it soon, but bear with me as life isn’t currently being very kind to me… The titles were all Moïra’s, of course!

The Accident Season – Moïra Fowley-Doyle

A bewitching, dark and beautiful debut novel about a girl living in the shadow of a mysterious curse.

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

Spellbook of the Lost and Found – Moïra Fowley-Doyle

One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.

Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .

All the Bad Apples – Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The day after the funeral all our mourning clothes hung out on the line like sleeping bats. ‘This will be really embarrassing,’ I kept saying to my family, ‘when she shows up at the door in a week or two.’

When Deena’s wild and mysterious sister Mandy disappears – presumed dead – her family are heartbroken. But Mandy has always been troubled. It’s just another bad thing to happen to Deena’s family. Only Deena refuses to believe it’s true.

And then the letters start arriving. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions – but a curse, handed down through the generations. Mandy has gone in search of the curse’s roots, and now Deena must find her. What they find will heal their family’s rotten past – or rip it apart forever.

REVIEW | A Shroud of Leaves by Rebecca Alexander (Sage Westfield, #2)

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Title: A SHROUD OF LEAVES

Author: REBECCA ALEXANDER

Released: 9TH JULY 2019 by TITAN BOOKS

Genre: MYSTERY, THRILLER, SUSPENSE

TWs: Death, abuse, sexual molestation, animal abuse, alcoholism, familial abuse/dysfunction, child death


“Finely observed, beautifully written” Daily Mail on The Secrets of Life and Death

“The victim had been buried in a carved hollow in the grass and shrouded in fallen leaves…”

Archaeologist Sage Westfield has her first forensics case: investigating the murder of a teenage girl. Hidden by holly leaves, the girl’s body has been discovered on the grounds of a stately home, where another teenage girl went missing twenty years ago – but her body was never found. The police suspect the reclusive owner, Alistair Chorleigh, who was questioned but never charged. But when Sage investigates a nearby burial mound – and uncovers rumours of an ancient curse – she discovers the story of another mysterious disappearance over a hundred years ago. Sage will need both her modern forensics skills and her archaeological knowledge to unearth the devastating truth.


I LOVED THIS BOOK! If I’m really honest, it reminds me of the Bones TV series with Dr. Temperance Brennan, which was always one of my favourite shows. I remember binge watching that because I loved the characters and storyline SO much. This novel had everything from that TV series that I loved about it – banter, drama, thrills, and mystery. Plus, the personal character arc only adds to my interest!

Rebecca Alexander is a supremely talented writer. She has the ability to draw you into the story itself and hold you captive until its conclusion. A Shroud of Leaves is steeped in folk history, psychology, and scientific study. Sage and the rest of the cast are all highly individual and you can nearly feel their various motives, fears, and dreams. Their individual plots all interact so well to create this poignant story about finding the root of the crimes committed covered up by individual stories. I really couldn’t put it down and highly recommend this to anyone who loves murder mysteries or crime thrillers!


Thank you to Titan Books for this review copy.

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five stars

ARC REVIEW | The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

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Title: THE INVITED

Author: JENNIFER MCMAHON

Released: 30TH APRIL 2019 by DOUBLEDAY

Genre: PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER | GHOST STORY


A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Times bestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don’t simply move into a haunted house–they build one . . .

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate have abandoned the comforts of suburbia to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this beautiful property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the local legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. With her passion for artifacts, Helen finds special materials to incorporate into the house–a beam from an old schoolroom, bricks from a mill, a mantel from a farmhouse–objects that draw her deeper into the story of Hattie and her descendants, three generations of Breckenridge women, each of whom died suspiciously. As the building project progresses, the house will become a place of menace and unfinished business: a new home, now haunted, that beckons its owners and their neighbors toward unimaginable danger.


This was an interesting tale, as I’ve never before read one about people building their own haunted house. The build up was a bit boring, but it improved massively about halfway in! I had to put it down for awhile and come back to it, but I’m one of those that always wonders how a story ends if I don’t read it through. I am glad I read the whole thing, but the conclusion left a bit to be desired for my tastes. I found the characters mostly boring or irritating, bar Hattie. Her story was the only thing that really kept me reading. I really struggled to read Olive’s POV chapters. The twist at the end slightly shocked me, but I kind of had a sneaking suspicion it might end that way. I can see the appeal for some, but it wasn’t really my thing. The writing and scenery itself kept me mildly interested, so I would likely read another McMahon story.


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Thank you to Doubleday via Netgalley for this ARC.