Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Robert Galbraith's Lethal White Book Review

It is a bit awkward to start with the fourth book in a series but, since that is the one I have just read, that is where I am starting.

It is telling that I waited anxiously for Robert Galbraith’s fourth novel, Lethal White. It finally arrived in in September of 2018 and unsurprisingly, it was a giant book worthy of the wait.

Lethal White follows three excellent detective novels crafted by J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame and published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.  Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and Career of Evil were all page turners and Lethal White is more of the same. A lengthy read, complex and interesting.

Set during the 2012 London Olympics, Lethal Weapon covers much ground including political corruption, blackmail, murder, deception, betrayal and suicide.

The series continues with the latest mysteries to be solved by the now two-person detective team at Cormoran Strike’s detective agency. It follows the one-legged detective Strike and his new partner Robin as they solve crimes. Both characters continue to live on the edge financially, personally and professionally and wind up in precarious situations in all three areas of their lives.

Strike continues to live in near poverty in a room behind his office. He’s a disabled war veteran who barely looks after himself in general and, as we are given to understand in the book, his leg in particular. He is an amputee, which makes the physical requirements of his job sometimes difficult and perhaps even more so because he fails to look after his leg properly. If I had one complaint about this novel, it would be Strike’s continued difficulties with his leg. Come on Strike, look after your leg! Yeesh. I don’t look after myself perfectly all of the time but if I had a chronic problem, I hope I would do so better than Strike does his leg.

Robin struggles with her personal life as well as with her new career as a private detective. Her family believes she should not be doing the job she is doing because of the danger element but Robin knows that she has landed where she needs to be. This is the work she has always dreamed of doing but never made an effort to pursue.


Rowling says that she wrote this book while writing a play and two screenplays for Harry Potter’s world. At 650 pages long, Lethal Weapon goes on as Rowling’s books tend to. Some readers wish they could cut out a bit but if you enjoy a well crafted story, you will appreciate the plot, characters and insights given in this novel. As The New York Times says in their review, sometimes more is better than less.

The Guardian’s review says that this book contains much "highly inventive storytelling” and there is no surprise there. J.K. Rowling is a master at doing exactly that.  The Guardian goes on to say that “there is much here for mystery fans to enjoy” and I agree completely on both counts. Lethal White is HIGHLY RECOMMEND by me for you if you love a good, long detective story. You will, of course, have to read the first three books first. You can find all of Robert Galbraith’s books on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
At the book store!
Brenda

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hazel Martin Series Reviewed

Historical English Setting 

Twenties Style image from pixabay.com
The Hazel Martin series of mysteries really fits my favorite genres with a capital B for books! First of all, they are mysteries which I love to read. Secondly, they take place in 1920s England which I also love. And thirdly, the plots are interesting and different.

I love the premise that Hazel Martin is a mystery writer who gets called in to investigations of a real murder from time to time. She is quite a lovable character who I think most women can identify with. She has recently been widowed so she is learning to do things on her own. Her station in life isn't exactly aristocratic but she does live in a Manor House and has a staff of servants. Unlike many of the  wealthier folks of her time, she treats her staff more like family than servants and I love that about her. 

Hazel also has a wonderful Siamese cat whose name is Dickens. He is quite the clever cat who often helps her sort out clues in the process of figuring out who did the dirty deed and why. 

All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed this short little series of mystery books by Leighann Dobbs. 

The books are easy to read without too much unnecessary babble that has nothing to do with the plot. There are a few little twists that keep the reader guessing and most of all they are well written little pieces of mysteries with an historical theme.

I thoroughly enjoyed Hazel facing the changes of her circumstances and deciding that perhaps she should try to be a little more modern with her fashion sense and ways of looking at life in general. She is independent, smart and interesting to follow.

If you love a nice little mystery with not much in the way of gory styles of murder, a cozy little mystery; then I think you will enjoy the Hazel Martin Series. There is a bit of the intriguing life of the upstairs gentry with the downstairs servants that I love to read about and watch in movies. The 1920s were a time of change around the world and I think the author touches nicely on those changes. I don't think you will be disappointed if you choose to begin reading this wonderful little series of books. 


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Monday, February 19, 2018

The Guilty Book Review

In The Guilty, David Baldacci takes you on a non-stop, action packed adventure in Cantrell, Mississippi.

When a top ranked government assassin is unable to perform his job, he heads home to deal with unresolved issues from his past and winds up embroiled in his father's murder investigation.

Making matters more difficult is the fact that he has been estranged from his father for 20 years. Talking to his father is no easier now than it was when he was a lad and his father's life being on the line does not seem to make a difference. His father wants no help from his son and is resigned to his own personal situation.

Robie, however, refuses to let his father take the murder charge without fighting back. His efforts, combined with those of an equally skilled coworker, to save his dad eventually help him start a proper relationship with his father. Better late than never, as they say. It turns out that his book is about murder and about family.

I was amazed at the action that took place in the first half of the book, which meant that there was lots more still to come. It was fast paced and hard to put down.

Yes, The Guilty is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. Read more about it or order your copy from Amazon by clicking right here.

As it turns out, The Guilty is number four in a series called Will Robie and David Baldacci has written many other books, which I look forward to checking out. It is always great to find a new author that you enjoy and if all of Baldacci's books are as good as this one, I will have some more sleep deprived nights ahead.

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee - A Mystery Review

Chef at the Water's Edge, Where Mystery and Romance Meet



Mix a celebrity lady chef, an assistant who looks almost like her, an obsessed fan, a controlling husband, a greedy agent, a gorgeous niece, a jealous ex-boyfriend, and you may have a recipe for murder. Although the police ruled chef Julia Karas' death as an accident, many who knew Julia well had their doubts. Too many facts didn't fit. Too many people had motives to kill Julia. And someone bribed the medical examiner to hide facts in the toxicology report that suggested suicide. Was Julia's death an accident, a suicide, or murder?

Chef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee -  A Mystery Review



The Obsessed Fan, His Friends, and Ex-FBI Agent Hannah


The obsessed fan would be Louie Woolridge, a food critic, who lived and worked in the small town of Zebulon where Julia and Asa Karas lived and worked. He was never able to accept the fact that Julia's death was an accident. The official story was that Julia had gone out to the gazebo next to the lake on a dark rainy night and died around 11:30 PM. 

The groundskeeper found her body the next morning when he was cleaning trash from the ground around the lake. The coroner called the death an accident. Evidently, as Julia stumbled in the dark, she bumped into a beam of the gazebo and it sent her into the water. 

Louie could not accept this story because Julia had been deathly afraid of open water and also had night blindness. He could think of no reason she should have gone to the water's edge on a moonless night, unable to see. 

Louie's friends were Buster and Cate Jordan, cousins who had been raised together in the small town of Twilight. Cate was a librarian who was also a computer whiz.  

Hannah Starvling the ex-FBI agent, age 31, was their friend.  She had spent her summers with her grandparents in Twilight while growing up. After she had been wounded in a shoot-out while working for the FBI and could no longer use a weapon, she came back to Twilight to recover and decide what to do with the rest of her life. 

Her grandparents had owned a restaurant in Twilight, and her grandfather sent her for culinary training in Paris when she had to quit the FBI. She then became a restaurant consultant who worked with some of the most famous chefs in the world. 

Hannah also had a pilot's license and a reputation as an amateur sleuth. She had flown her friends to Zebulon for a food festival to commemorate the anniversary of Julia's death. Louie had invited all the friends to stay with him. After they became acquainted, Hannah agreed to look into the real cause of Julia's death. 




What Really Happened to Julia?


Hannah is determined to find out! She knew Louie and Julia had been close friends when they had both trained as chefs at the Goddard Institut Gastronomique in Paris. They had remained friends until Julia had married Asa. Asa then kept Julia from him. They occasionally met in public at culinary events Louie covered. 

Hannah could tell Louie had never stopped loving Julia. He kept a collection of memorabilia associated with her, along with a file of news clippings. Hannah thinks if she can prove Julia died in an accident as the police reported or find the murderer if there had been foul play, Louie might finally get closure. 

Many people had motives for killing Julia. She had argued loudly with her husband Asa the afternoon of her death because she'd heard rumors Asa was having an affair with their niece, Jazlyn Karas. Before her marriage to Asa, Julia's agent, Jack Miller, had tied her into a bad contract that gave him half of all she earned, and she wanted out of it. Xabierre Dauphin and Timothy Holloway were Julia's sous chefs, but Asa had fired them both and they had vowed to get even. Julia had chosen her assistant Vera to eventually replace her on her cooking show so Vera might have had a motive. And, of course, the husband is always a suspect, especially one rumored to be having affairs. 

Other Questions Readers Will Have 


As Hannah worked with Officer Miles, nicknamed Hymn, to reopen the case and investigate, it becomes evident to the reader that they are fast becoming friends, and maybe even more. Will it develop into love? How would they handle a long-distance relationship?

Vera looks a lot like Julia. In fact, Louie did a double-take the first time he saw her. She was very close to Julia. Vera explained to Louie, Cate, Buster and Hannah that she'd never known her birth parents. As she tells it, 'Someone left me with a family, Lenora and Jacque Bessinger. They were to care for me for a few days...but it turned into a lifetime.'

Jacque was a baker and the couple owned a little shop in Arzon. One day Julia had come in looking for rolls when Vera was very small. She learned Vera's story and kept up with her whenever she was in Arzon. As Julia became richer, she never forgot Vera, and she saw that the Bessinger family always had enough money to meet their needs. Later, she paid for Vera's education and even set up a trust for her. Hannah isn't sure she buys Vera's story. Readers will also wonder. Who is Vera really?

My Review and Recommendation


The three main characters in Chef at the Water's Edge - Louie, Vera, and Hannah, were credible. By the end of the book, readers will know them fairly well. I personally liked all of them, even though Louie was a bit obsessed with Julia. In the end, it is more evident why. My favorite character was Hannah. She was compassionate, thoughtful, analytical and smart. She also tried to stay objective. The minor characters added interest and widened the circle of suspects, but they weren't as well-developed as the main characters. 

I enjoyed looking over Hannah's shoulder as she investigated. There were many twists and turns in the plot and I kept changing my mind about the murderer as I read.  In spite of this, I was not totally caught off-guard at the end. It was a satisfying conclusion that made sense in light of what came before it. 

I highly recommend the book to those who like police procedural mysteries. Hannah adds the amateur sleuth dimension. The setting in a culinary town devoted to a celebrity chef will add interest for those interested in the culinary arts. Lastly, dog lovers will enjoy the important role Louie's large Mastiff, Critic, played near the end.  If you love mysteries, don't miss Chef at the Water's Edge.

Chef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee -  A mystery review, with a touch of romance.
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Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Review of Author Lisa Unger

Lisa Unger, American Author
Lisa (Miscione) Unger is an American author of contemporary fiction. Her stories are in the crime thriller mystery and suspense category, which is my favorite genre to read.  

A couple months ago I 'discovered' Lisa Unger, an author new to me, and was so pleased by the first book I read that I have subsequently now read my way through almost all her books. Lisa writes fast-paced psychological mysteries with strong characters and I've found her books nearly impossible to put down.


Bio of Lisa Unger


Born Lisa Miscione in 1970, the author published her first four books under her maiden name.  She had spent a decade in the publishing business before meeting and marrying Jeff Unger, after which she began her writing career.

Since then, she has written twelve more books under the name Lisa Unger, has won numerous writing awards, and has become an international best-selling author. She lives in Florida with her husband and daughter. You can visit her at www.lisaunger.com.

Lisa's books might best be called 'psychological thrillers' as she combines her knowledge of the human psyche with an understanding of trauma and fear. The suspense builds throughout each story and the reader finds themselves wrapped up in the psychology of the characters so much that the lines are often blurred between the protagonist and the villain.


Brief Synosis of Books by Lisa Unger


Lisa Unger writes both 'continuing character' stories and 'stand-alone' books (each having different characters).



Lydia Strong

 

Lydia Strong Series



Lisa's first 4 books (written as Lisa Miscione between 2002 and 2005)  feature the same continuing character, Lydia Strong, who is a true-crime writer in New York City. They include:

  • Angel Fire
  • The Darkness Gathers
  • Twice
  • Smoke

Ridley Jones


Her next character, Ridley Jones, is featured in two books (2006 and 2007)  and shows us that the choices we make day-to-day and even year-to-year, can cause continuing ripples throughout our life.  Ridley is a freelance writer in New York City who begins to discover deep secrets about her family after her rescue of a child makes headlines. Beautiful Lies begins the story and Sliver of Truth continues and completes it.


The Hollows


Kindle Introduction to The Hollows

By far, my favorite group of books by Lisa Unger are about a cast of characters set in The Hollows, a fictional secluded town located 100 miles outside New York City. There is my favorite character, Jones Cooper, a former detective with the Hollows Police Department who is now a private investigator. Plus, Jones' wife, who is a psychologist and interacts with different characters throughout several books.  And Eloise Montgomery, who has had the ability to 'find' lost women ever since an automobile accident badly injured her and left her with a special ability. She appears later in another book which features her now grown granddaughter, Finley, whose psychic abilities far surpass hers. 

Various books in this series have different Hollows characters appearing as the central character in a story, with the others as minor characters. It's such a treat to see them appear. They feel like family has stopped by.  Each character has a supporting role around the central character.

I've already read the first four books Unger has written about The Hollows and hopefully they are just the beginning of a long series, because I find them fascinating and cannot wait to revisit the characters who populate this rather haunted old mining town in the Adirondack Mountains.  

The Kindle eBook (The Whispering Hollows) shown above is an introduction to The Hollows and includes 3 short stories featuring reluctant psychic Eloise Montgomery.  To date, Ungers 4 Hollows novels written between 2010 and 2016 include:


  • Fragile
  • Darkness My Old Friend
  • Crazy Love You
  • Ink and Bone


Non-Series Books by Lisa Unger


Ungers' non-series books (five to date) include a variety of characters, each featured by themselves in a stand-alone novel. Although, if you have read and followed her earlier books, you will see characters from The Hollows popping up here and there as minor characters.




Newest Novel Debuted on April 25, 2017

 
The newest non-series Lisa Unger mystery (The Red Hunter) debuted April 25, 2017.


Prologue and Epiglogue


Many novels, particularly mystery and suspense stories, begin with a prologue. They then end with reaching a conclusion where the crime is solved and the villain is captured or the problem is unraveled and the story reaches a satisfactory ending.  But, have you ever reached the end of a book and thought "I wonder what happens to her in the future, or does he find what he's looking for". 

What I find most fascinating and interesting about Lisa Unger's books is she brings her stories to it's exciting ending, THEN she has another chapter that really wraps up all those things the reader might wonder about even after learning the ending of the story.   And even THAT is not the ending.  She still has an Epilogue! By the time the reader finishes each book, one has no more questions, except 'where's the next book - I can't stop reading'.


Caveat/Caution


Lisa Unger's books might not appeal to everyone.  If you don't care for stories about murders and traumas and fears both real and imagined, then these psychological thrillers are not for you. But if you like mystery and suspense, involvement with police and FBI and a main character you like very much, then you will become a fan of Lisa Unger's thrillers. I certainly have!


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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Inferno Book Review

Dan Brown Inferno Book Review

A page turner. A real thriller. I absolutely could not put it down. Obviously, I was not alone in my appreciation for this book as it was number one on the New York Times bestseller list for eleven weeks.

Dan Brown InfernoDan Brown's Inferno is the fourth book in the Da Vinci Code series following The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol and Angels and Demons.  In the latest volume, character Robert Langdon awakens in hospital suffering from amnesia. He remembers nothing of the previous days but memory or not, the book erupts into chaos fairly quickly. Langdon is in possession of a special code and discovers hidden parts of Florence and ancient secrets as well as a scientific situation that may improve or devastate life on earth.

Inferno is set mostly in Florence with some time spent in Venice and Istanbul. The jacket says that it "is a sumptuously entertaining read - a novel that will captivate readers with the beauty of classical Italian art, history and literature while also posing provocative questions about the role of cutting edge science in our future." I agree.

If you are up for an exciting adventure, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book. If you are going to Florence, Italy, there is simply no choice. You HAVE to read this book. Inferno was but one of the Italy-themed books we read before we had the opportunity to travel to Italy in October and I am glad that we did read it. If you cannot travel to Italy in person, you can do some armchair travelling with the book, which brilliantly explores Florence's Palazzo Vecchio, the Boboli Gardens and the Duomo.

Personally, I would love to own the special edition book shown above, which is illustrated and includes more than 200 color images. It is the version that I would choose if I were gifting this book to a mystery reader, a Da Vinci Code fan or to someone travelling to Italy.  Here's a video peek at what to expect in the special edition version of the book:


Just watching the video makes me want to read the book again and, of course, go back to Italy! If you are interested, you can find all of the versions of Inferno on Amazon here.

On a final note, the movie version of Inferno was fine.  It was interesting to visit Italy again through the eyes of the movie camera but be warned that it paled in comparison to the book. I also found myself wondering how much one would enjoy the movie if they did not have the knowledge of the story that reading the book gave. This is definitely a situation where the book far surpassed the movie.

Please stay tuned for more Italy-themed book reviews.

Happy Reading!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Final Cut - Book Review

by Catherine Coulter (and J.T. Ellison)


The Final Cut

Author Catherine Coulter has written a series of suspense thrillers about continuing characters Special Agents Lacey Sherlock & Dillon Savich who are not only partners in their FBI roles as agents and computer specialists, but are partners in private life. This husband & wife team has given readers & fans exciting adventures since being introduced in the first book of the series (The Cove) in 1996.



My Catherine Coulter Books


(c) Wednesday Elf
I've followed Dillon & Lacey (who goes by Sherlock) through all 21 books (to date) as they meet during training at Quantico, fall in love, and get married. They work together as a married couple FBI team (most unusual and probably would only happen in fiction) solving crimes, and, as the series continues, become parents to the light of their life ~ their son Sean.

With The Final Cut, Coulter (and co-author J.T. Ellison) introduces us to what has fast become another favorite character and series. Nicholas Drummond, American-born chief inspector at Scotland Yard, comes to America and joins Dillon & Sherlock to solve an international crime.

Introducing Nicholas Drummond, a Brit in the FBI


An FBI Thriller
The first book in a brilliant new international thriller series starring that 'Brit in the FBI', handsome Nicholas Drummond, a dashing 'James Bond' type.

New International Thriller Series

In The Final Cut, our favorite team joins Nicholas Drummond in his search for an international jewel thief (The Fox) who has stolen the Koh-i-Noor diamond, currently a centerpiece of the Queen Mother's Crown displayed at the Tower of London. The diamond was on loan for a special exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and, while heavily guarded, was snatched through a clever plot. Scotland Yard and the FBI combine to chase the jewel thief from New York to Paris to recover the diamond.


We learn of the diamond's long, complicated history, which once weighed an incredible 793 carets and was once the world's largest diamond and how it passed from hand to hand (perhaps beginning with the great god Krishna) ~ always coveted, but never bought or sold, only gained through conquest.

The title 'Final Cut' refers to the last time the diamond was cut. The diamond is real -- this story about the theft of the stone is fiction. Blended together, the facts & fiction make a very good story.

Introducing the character Nicholas Drummond to us through a set of favorite characters we already love is a unique and clever twist by an author – we fans of one series are easily led to meet a new (and delightful) permanent character. And judging by the fact that the second and third Nicholas Drummond books have already been published, us readers know that a new Catherine Coulter series has now begun.

An Interview with Author Catherine Coulter


In this interview with Catherine Coulter, the author tells us how she found her co-author, J.T. Ellison, and about how they joined up to write The Final Cut.



The Second Book in the Nicholas Drummond Series



The Lost Key


Published in September 2014, The Lost Key is the 2nd book in the new Coulter series starring that 'Brit in the FBI', Nicholas Drummond!  With help from his partner, Mike Caine, they are in an  eleventh-hour race to stop a madman from finding a cache of lost World War I gold—and a weapon the world has never seen.  I've already read this book as well.







Third Nicholas Drummond Book

The End Game


As I write this review of the first book in the Nicholas Drummond series, I have just finished reading the third book in the series, The End Game.  My original favorite characters (Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock) join Drummond, along with the CIA, the Secret Service, and Mosssad as they move to defeat remarkable enemies.   


Fourth Book in the Series Starring Nicholas Drummond



The Devil's Triangle
Nicholas Drummond (the Brit in the FBI) and his  partner Michaela Caine are now part of the Covert Eyes team.  But their first case with the team may be their last when they  once again come up against the dangerous thief known as the Fox. 






Scene From My Home Collection of Mystery & Suspense Books

 



Catherine Coulter - One of my Favorite Mystery/Suspense Genre Authors


As you can see in the photo above, I'm a big fan of the Mystery Genre. I collect entire series of favorite authors, such as Catherine Coulter. 

Are you a fan of Catherine Coulter's books? Have you read the FBI Thriller series with Special Agents Savich & Sherlock? Come meet a new character - Nicholas Drummond, the Brit in the FBI.


Quick Links:

 

The Final Cut

The Lost Key
The End Game
The Devil's Triangle


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*(c) Wednesday Elf.  Review originally written on 2/20/16. Updated on 1/4/2018.








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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Reviewing the World of Mystery Books

One of those great things about having a website that reviews mystery books is publishers send you new mysteries for your review. Which means I get to read plenty of the new stuff before it's released. That's a nice advantage to having put in all the work to build the site and build its reputation.

Not an Overnight Success


Building a website and building its reputation are not an easy thing to do. I'm giving you fair warning up front. In fact, to create a website that draws the attention of some of the big publishers takes a labor of love and plenty of time.

In the web world, that "plenty of time" is referred to as aging. It means your site is not a fad, flash in the pan, or feeble attempt on your part. It means you are committed to making it work and keeping it going. The months and months of building up it's content may not see a single reward other than your joy of writing about your topic.

My love of reading mystery novels turned into a website. That was my own labor of love. Each new mystery I read turned into an article reviewing that novel. Like my love of Jana DeLeon and her Miss Fortune novels (www.mysterybookworldlive.com/mystery-book-of-the-month/jana-deleon-and-the-miss-fortune-mystery-series).

The Mystery of a Reputation of a Reviewer


It's not really a big mystery of how to build a reputation as a reviewer. In fact, it's simple. Be honest.

Sounding like the back jacket of a book cover won't garner any respect from readers. But, giving them the good, bad and the ugly is being honest. Oh, yes. There were plenty of novels where I just couldn't find any bad or ugly. But that was still honesty on my part.

I also had to be honest with those offering me free books to read. I have been asked to review books that really did not fit my genre. Certainly, it was nice to be asked. But I had to decline. I had to be true to the reputation I'd worked hard to build. And that reputation was with my readers, not with the book publishers!

Reaping the Rewards the Right Way


Those wonderful times when a publisher requests a review, and the mystery novel is right for my site,
I love doing that. It's exciting for me to discover new talent bursting on the mystery book scene. Most especially when I can enjoy the story, characters and setting, then look forward to more from that author.

Rory Flynn happens to be one of those. I was asked to review his first mystery novel, Third Rail. And am I glad I did. Take a gander at my review: Enter Eddy Harkness in Third Rail (www.mysterybookworldlive.com/mystery-genres/new-mystery-releases-enter-eddy-harkness-third-rail). You'll see why I'm anxious awaiting the next book in his series.

Yep, reviewing the world of mystery books has it's rewards, but it takes hard work and time to be able to get to this point. For me, it was all worth it.





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