Mad about Bridget

I wrote a couple of Bridget Jones’s style diaries about a month ago, yet I was writing as me to tell you about my holiday. (Links at bottom of page). I promised to also write the beginning (of what I think) the new Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy will be. (After doing a little research, I am dead excited that the book comes out next month; didn’t realise it was so soon!) We know that Bridget is older, still living in London and has a child by Daniel Cleaver! What about Mark Darcy? Still boy (or man obsessed) we assume, Bridget will have a male related packed diary. I am choosing for the ‘Mad about the boy’ notion to mean, her child. Her son.

Saturday 1st January  2013

New Year’s Resolutions

  • This year am not going to be selfish – as have a child to think about. Will be mother of year, doing educational games and thought provoking activities. Mothers will come round to learn my excellent parenting skills.
  • Stop smoking (after this last one of course – no one starts new year resolutions on first day of year!)
  • Stick to 1600 calories a day (start using My fitness Pal app – oh and figure out how to use said app)
  • Become techno savvy- using fitness app will lead to great world wide web Bridget genius and can be manager of Twitter and Facebook… as well as becoming a top follower and can then work from home and become a millionaire….
  • Stop day dreaming. Much better use of time.
  • WILL NOT sleep with Daniel Cleaver again – does not matter that he is father of son. Never again.
  • If I do sleep with Daniel… will use contraception – as now know what happens as result!
  • Will be perfect daughter and friend  – all will come to me for brilliant advice and shoulder to cry on (hope said shoulder isn’t covered in baby spit at time)

Calories 4000 – had soak up booze and being honest as some still be in system. Times glared at Vile Richard, 47 (progress!), Times missed Damien, 2 – is good have time as being woman, not just mother. Facebook messages, 13 wall posts – feel popular with new year messages (must reply tomorrow!), Twitter followers, 24. (v.g).

11.00am at home

Took little nap after wrote the resolutions. Needed to rest my hung-over head. Great party at Shazza’s last night to see in, what will be an amazing, new year. Jude and Vile Richard had yet another falling out. Not sure they will make it to end of year.. or maybe even February. Just because Jude wanted that second bottle of wine – must remind Jude of latest blog Women in Power as feel she being pushed about by the Vile Dick (not literally of course). I, on other hand was angel. Had 3 bloody Marys and 10 cigs. Oh and just the one champagne at midnight. And one after whilst fireworks went off. Oh and the shots for the I have never game we played. But not as much of a hangover as other years. Great progress. Must be growing up. Shit! Am late to pick up Damien! Am terrible mother…must go!

2pm home again

Was good of Mum and Dad to have Damien. Me and Daniel have been taking it in turns to have him for important holidays and weekends etc. but we both had fabulous parties for New Year’s Eve so luckily grand parents to the rescue! They love him though and sometimes fear he prefers them to me. First word keeps popping out his mouth ‘Grr..’ so am thinking it’s for ‘Gran’ or ‘Granddad’ or perhaps ‘grrr’ in protest to me?! or ‘Grabbing breasts’ if takes after his father. Right. Am off to play with my son as then he may say ‘Mum’ before anything else. Or perhaps ‘mother ‘and be child genius. Will just check Facebook first.

Sunday 2nd January

Calories: 3000 at least – need more when lack of sleep! Twitter followers 34 (v.g progress), Facebook status updates 23 – not much else to do at 2am when child screaming! Cigarettes 7 (not good), Phone calls from father of son/ex/loser/, sex maniac 4.

10.00 am kitchen

Coffee. Needed this morning. Damien would not blurry stop crying last night. Feel terrible mother. He asleep now (just checked he wasn’t dead) and will leave him for while. Perhaps he has temperature. I would have if spent day and evening with my mother. Calpol should do trick. Will phone Daniel to get some. We agreed to have a grown-up relationship when comes to Damien and communicate and one will fetch things for other as both have very busy lives.

11.30am

Finally got through to Daniel and is in London. Says has double hang over from New Year’s party and won’t be back til tonight! Reminded him he has a son and has responsibilities and ill son at that. He sounded half asleep and heard mutterings of a woman. Hung up. Am mad. And lonely, single mother. Must get Calpol.

5.00pm

Ahh have great friends and family. And neighbours! Simon from upstairs went to chemist for me. Damien has slept a lot today but seems ok. Still no progress on ‘Mum’ though. Will have in depth teaching speech lesson when he better. Shazza popped round – and Jude actually, thought I think that was just to moan about Vile Richard. Mum and Dad also phoned too to see how I was and if sorted childcare for when back at work tomorrow. Said not heard off Daniel yet – as his mum sometimes has him Mondays. if not they agreed have him. Hurrah!

Me, Jude and Shazza have lovely afternoon anyway. With tea and Milk Tray and spent time looking at old school friends on Facebook. Hairy Harry has lost weight – not lost any hair though (well some off head)! Much fun. And gained another few Twitter followers. Yay! The girls also helped me set-up My Fitness Pal app and put in today’s calories. Milk Tray let me down. Will need do 3 hour walk to work it all off. Just don’t have time as single working mother. Will just  start tomorrow.

10.00pm in bed

Had a drunken phone call off Daniel. Said he couldn’t shake hangover so went for hair of dog. Says feels bad about Damien and promises be better Dad in future. Is going to get me stock of calpol. Agreed to this and his Mum is picking up Damien at 7am tomorrow so can get ready for work. Doh work. Being mother is big enough job. Do I have be TV journalist as well!?

Midnight

Had 3 more phone calls off Daniel. Think must have kept having more dog hair drinks. Says he loves me and should be a family. Says can’t stop thinking about me. Told him that he is a drunken sex maniac and only boy am mad about is our son. And hope he doesn’t inherit anything from him! Daniel then started crying on phone. Does he not understand that am working mother who does not have time for silly, emotional phone calls on a work night?!

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https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/samantha-gray-the-edge-of-cornwall-part-1/

https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/samantha-gray-the-edge-of-cornwall-part-2/

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Moral to the story

There is a moral to every story, they say. I believe this and that a part of life is learning from things. From childhood, we learn in fairy tales that the baddies don’t come off good and that everything will be alright in the end. (We also may learn that this a bit unrealistic too 😉 ) The point is, we learn that what goes around comes around and that their are consequences to actions.

I mentioned a while ago that I have a Nook. I acted even more like a crazy book lady the other night and downloaded a load of ‘classic’ reads. Amongst them was Aesop’s Fables. I remember reading some of them as a child, having a beautiful coloured version littered with pictures. But I didn’t realise until adulthood, that Aesop was a slave believed to have lived in ancient Greece. Amazing, that they are still so well-known and relevant today. I’m sure, we have all heard of The Boy who cried Wolf and The Tortoise and the Hare? Well, there are loads more and I want to share with you, a less well-known one (well at least to me) with you today:

The Fox and The Stork
A fox one day invited a stork to dine with him and, wishing to be amused at his expense, put the soup which he had for dinner in a large flat dish, so that, while he himself could lap it up easily, the stork could only dip in the tips of his long bill. Stork, bearing his treatment in mind, invited the fox to take dinner with him. He, in his turn, put some minced meat in a long and narrow-necked vessel, into which he could easily put his bill, whilst Master Fox was forced to be content with licking what ran down the sides of the vessel. The fox then remembered his old trick, and could not but only admit that the stork had well paid him out.

The moral at the end of this one says: ‘A joke is often returned with interest.’ I think it can signify others though, like; ‘What goes around, comes around.’ Or ‘treat people as you are treated’… or we could argue that the stork was wrong to act like that as ‘two wrongs don’t make a right.’ Alternatively, we can think about the actual moral and link it to the simplicity of the story and think it how it reflects life. People play jokes; they take the ‘piss’. People then return this and ‘get their own back’. That’s life. I’m sure ,we have all been the fox at some point and also the stork 😉

I’ll keep reading the fables… I love thinking about them on a simple and then a deeper level. Fun, childhood bedtime stories, yet also so much more 🙂

fox and stork

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Celebrate this 23rd April!

Today is a day of celebration. It is:

St. George’s Day

William Shakespeare’s Birthday

World Book Night

And I think they all tie in nicely with us here in the UK. St. George’s Day means we should generally feel proud to be British today. Yes, people complain that there aren’t as many celebrations for that, as there are St. Patrick’s Day for example – well to those people I say, ‘Don’t complain – Do!’ Arrange something to celebrate if you feel you should. Me? I’ve just read a good work of fiction, in the British summer time, drinking a glass of Pimms and lemonade – very English and also ties in with World Book Night too 😉

So, that’s St. George’s Day taken care of. And I think you all know how I feel about books and I celebrate them very regularly anyway. (Take a look at A Book Lover’s Post in my ‘Love of Books’ section at the top, if you need reminding). That leaves Mr William Shakespeare to discuss. I am sitting here writing this drinking tea out of my Shakespeare quote mug, bought for me, funnily enough, by my friend from France. It has many quotes from his works that are well-known phrases today. It is amazing really, how much he has influenced our language. I know it is argued that many others helped him write his plays, so it is uncertain how much of the words are his own – but there is enough evidence to show he had a brilliant way with words, I think 🙂

Before I share with you some Shakespearian words of wisdom  – straight from my tea mug (nobody can say I don’t plan for these blog posts 😉 – I just want to exclaim my fascination with his actual birth date. Even though, his birth date is actually unknown – it is estimated that he was born on the 23rd since his baptism was the 26th April and this normally occurred 3 days after the birth. He then died on the 23rd April too.   I love how he died on his birthday, therefore. I just  think it made his life completely rounded off , complete, like one of his plays 🙂

Today he would have been 449 . Amazing really that we still study work of someone who was born centuries ago.  It is also the 397th anniversary of his death, as he died at the age of 52. They say his greatest achievement  was surviving his first year in the harsh, cruel Tudor period – where many new borns didn’t survive. I think some of his great words can challenge this achievement:

‘A fool’s paradise’ ‘Rhyme nor reason’ ‘A dish fit for the gods’ ‘The Queen’s English’ ‘It’s all Greek to me’ ‘in stitches’ ‘heart upon my sleeve’ ‘a green eyed monster’ ‘star crossed lovers’ ‘wild goose chase’ ‘all that glitters is not gold’ ‘fair play’ ‘make your hair stand on end’ ‘vanish into thin air’ ‘fancy free’ ‘love is blind’ ‘lie low’ ‘for ever and a day’ ‘in a pickle’

and my personal favourite, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

‘The course of true love did never run smooth’

Too true Bill!

The kids at school complain; ‘Why do we have to learn this old language?!’ I tell them, that to understand it (and they don’t need to understand it all), they need good analytical and communication skills. It is also interesting, yet they may not think that until years later. You must admit that you use a lot of the above phrases, or at least have heard of them.  Meaning, his words are still relevant today in their modern context.

Here’s to William Shakespeare, much-loved Bard and playwright  – then, now and forever 🙂

p.s – I guiltily admit that I have never been to Shakespeare’s birth place, but I am going in a few weeks and I’m very excited 😀

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Numbers 3: Inifinity

Thought I should share my views on the third and final book in Rachel Ward’s trilogy Numbers. Numbers 3: Infinity did the trilogy justice and did a great job in tying up the stories. It was action packed and I must admit, I read it in the space of 4-5 hours in just 2 sittings (would have been one if sleep and eating easter eggs hadn’t got in the way!)

This book, like book 2, has Adam and Sarah as the protagonists. Adam is now famous, like his mother Jem was in book 1, for seeing the death-date numbers in people’s eyes and saving them from the ‘chaos’ in book 2. He is living with Sarah, her daughter Mia (the result of incest from book 1) and Sarah’s two brothers sort of on the run. Or definitely, in the rough as the ‘chaos’ destroyed most homes. The government want Adam’s help in order to look at people’s numbers so they know when people are going to die i.e. where not to waste the country’s precious resources. Nice.

We have Saul in this book; a baddie. Something we haven’t really experienced in the books yet. The drama has originally come from circumstance and results  of the predicted numbers. This book still has all that, but it has this extra villain to add to the mix. Saul is working for the government and after impatiently realising Adam won’t come nicely, he forces him (and Mia and Sarah) to go with him. To a prison like place in the hillside. But it isn’t just Adam that Saul is interested in…… and it isn’t just Adam that has an interesting gift. We discover that Saul can ‘steal’ people’s numbers in order to live forever. We also know that Mia, whether intentionally or not, can do this. She took Nan’s number in the ‘chaos’ and survived instead. Mia didn’t just inherit Nan’s number though, she can also see people’s auras and colours, just like Nan did. So there is some special gifts floating about – but will they be used for good or evil?

Without giving anymore away, we learn in this book that the numbers aren’t as factual as numbers should be. It isn’t as clear-cut. Adam thought he know how it all worked but now people’s lives are at risk. Can he keep his little, dysfunctional family alive? And can they escape the number-sucking grip of Saul?

I truly recommend these books: to adults and teenagaers alike. They are a fantastic and dramatic read. It has as many twists and turns as there are numbers on this world. I don’t think I have ever been fascinated by something that was dominated by numbers  – as we all know, I am more of a words kind of girl 😉

So, One, two and three: read them all!

Happy reading this weekend!

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Miserable Cinderellas

‘There is a castle on a cloud,
I like to go there in my sleep,
Aren’t any floors for me to sweep,
Not in my castle on a cloud.’

I saw two productions over half term. The Burton Operatic Society did a production of Cinderella at a local school. (I have discussed a production in a previous blog: https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/good-vs-evil/) I also saw Les Miserables (finally!) at  the cinema. Both productions were fantastic but naturally they are every different in terms of context and plot. But in this case, they are both musicals and me being me, I wanted to draw some comparisons from the characters. (Call me lazy if you like for not writing two separate reviews!)

I must confess that I didn’t really know the story of Les Mis. before I went. I know, I know, English graduate who has not read it or seen a version of it. Reasons, or excuses being, well for starters the book is reallllly long! I have since downloaded it to my Nook and it is a worryingly long 4000 pages! (You may not see so many blogs lately 😉 ) Also, I just never saw a production through reasons such as money, opportunity and I never particularly studied it. It was worth the wait though!

I loved the film of Les Mis. and recommend anyone who has not seen it, to go. Or wait for the DVD 😉 It was a brilliant portrayal of Paris after the French Revolution. It focuses on the poor – or asles miserables’ can be translated as ‘the poor ones,’ ‘the miserables,’ or ‘the victims.’ Then there is the juicy part of the plot of the June Rebellion also known as The Paris Uprising of 1832. This was good viewing and really gave a depiction of this battle between the rich and the poor man. I don’t want to go too much into the story because that isn’t the purpose of this blog. But just a few more thoughts of mine about the latest film version: the singing was good overall. I was well aware it was a musical and was fine with the characters singing when there was a vital part to the plot, when they had to sing their own thoughts or sing as a group  – fine. I wasn’t so sure about them ‘singing’ conversations to each other. That was a bit odd! I know that that is the case with all productions of Les Miserables but it just seemed a little odd to me. Russel Crowe singing seriously was even odder – he was the only one that I cringed in my seat a little when he let the notes escape his mouth. My other main point that comes to mind, is the children. They were fantastic little actors and really did the characters justice. Brilliant.

Cinderella I would think we all know a little about. It was a great production by Burton Operatics and an old story with a new twist, yet it still kept the original magic. I laughed out loud when the mice came out though – as they were played by children, they were nearly as big as Cinders herself! The actress playing Cinderella was amazing and had that inner happiness to her that only resurfaced when she was with the mice, or day dreaming or when she meets the prince. She played the miserable and slave side to the character equally as well. (The other actors and everyone involved did a fantastic job too – to risk a shout out!)

I started to see the old fairy tale in a new light though last week. Possible because it was the first time I had seen it as an adult. It really is about a poor orphan girl, treated badly because of the times and bad luck of being left with an awful family. We are talking 17th century when this first was written, reflecting the role of women at the time. If women had no family or husband then they were worth nothing really. It isn’t until she meets her Prince Charming that her life becomes livable. The feminist in me, sobs at this.

This is what got me thinking when I saw Les Mis. Cosette is a lot like Cinderella. Think about it. They are both;

  • orphans and are left in terrible circumstances because of this.
  • slave like characters who like to dream and hope. The song at the top is from Les Mis. and sung by Cosette but it also reminded me of Cinderella.
  • young and beautiful
  • women in society who are not able to help themselves
  • (in the end) married to their heart’s desire who happen to rescue them from their misfortune. (I will admit Cosette was already saved early on by Jean Valjean – but again saved by a man)

So whether fairy tales or historical dramas, women were still depicted and were indeed treated in the same, awful way years ago. In terms of fairy tales, I do sometimes think why didn’t Cinderella (or Snow White, or any other) put the broom down, go out get a job, fend for herself and forget about men? But as Les Mis. shows, it wasn’t as simple as that indeed in France or England or anywhere. I was horrified by Cosette’s Mum in the film (played by Ann Hathaway) and how she had to have her head shaved to sell her hair and have her teeth pulled out for money. Definitely showing the hardships of the time. Poor women then had to resort to prostitution if they weren’t lucky to get rescued by the Jean Valjeans or the Prince Charmings of the world.

I suppose, though, the Valjean character does show us just how hard it was for men too. He wouldn’t have been able to turn his life around (well firstly if he didn’t steal a lot of silver!) if he hadn’t the run and under cover, carving and scraping a life for himself along the way. But being a hero of a story, he still managed to save Cosette on the way also. Like fairy tales, there is some sort of happy ending.

So how many Miserable Cinderellas are out there today? Women that have nowhere to turn or are so desperate that they turn to a horrible way of life. Because, unlike fairy takes, there isn’t always a happy ending in life. 😦

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Numbers 2: Chaos

The second book in Rachel Ward’s fantastic trilogy doesn’t disappoint. It is just as exciting, if not more, than the first. I must say though, if you haven’t read the first book yet – then click off this page now until you have. As it may spoil some of the plot from the debut. 😉

Half of this book is from the perspective of Adam, the son of Jem and Spider. The other half is from Sarah’s point of view – one of Adam’s school colleagues, who first knows him from her nightmares. She can see the future, you see, in her nightmares. And Adam, you’ve guessed it, has his Mum’s gift and can see the numbers in people’s eyes. Yet, the gift seems to be developing with each generation and Adam can see and feel how the person is going to die too.

Spider and Jem aren’t in this book – you’ll see why at the end of the first book 😉 We are left with Adam, his great-nan from the first book and Sarah to try and help save London from the looming disaster. Adam keeps seeing the same number: 1st Jan 2027.  He sees it in people everywhere he does and knows something terrible is going to happen. This is no London Eye incident from the first book, this is going to affect thousands of people.

Adam starts to record the numbers, the people he saw them in, the place he saw them and the kind of death they will have. He starts to notice a pattern: fire, water and tumbling rubble. If people aren’t going to die on New Year’s Day then a lot of them are predicted to die days after. So what is going to happen? And can Adam change the future by warning people? Is anyone actually going to believe him?

Sarah has the same nightmare every night and her days are filled with a nightmare too  – her Dad rapes her on a regular basis. Up to this point, I thought these books would be great for teenagers in schools to study, but it does has very adult themes like this. Something good comes out of her horrible ordeal though. A child. Which to me, seems a bit odd. I mean, I get why it happened, as a result of incest. But she seems absolutely fine with bringing up her Dad’s baby and doesn’t seem emotionally torn in how to love the baby or now – I just thought that may have been more of an issue. And what will happen when the baby asks about her Dad one day? But Ward does do a great job with Sarah and her love/hatred/fear of her father. And the story running parallel to the first book : means she also runs away. She is also partly running away from Adam, he may have met her at school, but she has known him for years from her nightmares! She is terrified of him but doesn’t know why and as much as she runs, she finds that she always runs into him.

Together, will they figure out a solution to the looming New Year’s Day? Will they all survive? And since the gift has now changed through the generations – can Adam now change the numbers?

My only issue with the book (apart from the baby issue that I have already mentioned) is technology. I like how the book is set in the future and people get chipped and there are these palm computer gadgets that every school pupil has. There are TV screens all over London giving safety info. That all seems quite believable. Yet, Adam doesn’t know how to use the internet. Whaaat? Ward claims, Jem always kept Adam away from the internet because it is full of rubbish. But would we seriously believe that a teenage boy, even these days, would do as his Mum says and avoid the internet completely? Let alone in 14 years time! Teenagers can’t avoid the internet, yet Adam doesn’t even know how to warn people of 1.1.2027 through forums or blogs or anything. I find this to be unrealistic, as I imagine people will pretty much use the internet to survive in the future! Adam would have grown up with it.

This book is aptly named ‘Chaos’ as there is nothing but that from beginning to end. It isn’t a particularly happy book,  but as I say about things like that, it will always make you feel better about your own life 😉 I did get a bit freaked out though by the 1st Jan 2027 date – because could something happen on that day?  Could Ward be right? But I guess you always get that with books set in the future – and George Orwell wasn’t right with 1984 was he?! 😉

Happy reading,

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Numbers

I have never had a head for numbers. You may have realised that I am more of a words kind of girl. 😉 That doesn’t mean that I am not fascinated by numbers though – even if I can’t always add them together very well 😉 For this reason, I would like to say that is why I was drawn to reading the book Numbers by Rachel Ward. But I was bought it randomly by my sister and her boyfriend for Christmas – random, just as numbers can be.

Numbers is a trilogy  – Numbers 2 Chaos and Numbers 3 Infinity completing the trio. So far, I have read the first two. And they are fantastic. Full of drama and twists and turns. And, I know we shouldn’t judge a book by the cover and all – but they are pretty ace too. Numbers also litter the pages and I swear I could see numbers along the closed pages when the book is shut – but I wasn’t sure if I was going a little crazy like the characters and thinking I could see numbers 😉

The first in the fantastic series….

But I haven’t told you enough to make you want to pick up a copy yet. In the first book, Jem is a troubled teenage girl and she can see numbers. In people’s eyes. It is a date. Of when they are going to die. As soon as I read that on the blurb, I was intrigued. I like psychological plots and I knew this would be one. Like, would she ever tell someone their number? Could she save lives? Will she find out her own number? It is compelling stuff because if you think about it, we all have a number. A death number. Without being too morbid, we are all going to die some day. But we don’t think about it because there is no point. We don’t know when it will be. Even if we have a terminal illness, we don’t know the exact day. Would you want to know? I sure as hell wouldn’t. I would be terrified of that day getting nearer. We all like to believe that we have a long stretch of life in front of us and maybe that’s what gets us from day-to-day.

But Jem does know. She sees a number each time she looks at someone, meaning that a lot of the time she doesn’t want to look people in the eye. She is a typical teenage girl in that she avoids eye contact and is awkward in social situations. She is not so typical for the reasons though: She not only sees the date that will end a person’s existence but she has lost her mum to drug addiction, she has no other family and gets shoved from foster home to foster home and she has no friend in the world. Depressing yes – so maybe not get it your teenager to help cheer them up 😉

It is however action packed and this begins when she meets Spider. Jem is a small, delicate, white girl. Spider in strong contrast is a tall, black, gangly bloke. They are opposites, yet find that one thing in common. They are both outcasts and both lonely.

The plot thickens when Jem and Spider are out for the day. Hanging out in London like teenagers do, they want to go on the London Eye but realise it’s too expensive. Jem quickly realises this is meant to be, as all the people around them, have the same death number. The date of that day. She manages to convince Spider, without telling him why, that they need to go. Minutes later, the London Eye explodes. Taking lives and reinforcing the fact that the numbers must be true! But they are seen running from the London Eye just before the explosion and the police think they are responsible for it. So they go on the run.

I won’t give more away but it all gets very intense as these two naive teenagers go on the run. Spider steals cars yet he has never driven one before. The whole country knows their faces so they have to keep hidden. And remember, as soon as Jem looked Spider in the eye, she knew his number. And she knows his fateful day is going to be soon. So it’s all about can she change his number? Can they stay hidden from the police and the press? Or is she going to have to come clean about her number visions?

It really is an amazing story and they are believable characters. Spider’s gran adds a lot of humour and wackiness to the story, whereas Karen, Jem’s foster Mum brings in the realistic and sensible elements – and tries to bring in some stability for Jem.

I’ll discuss the second book in a separate post – but if you like drama, action and romance, then this book is a great combination of all three! 🙂

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