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Panic by Lauren Oliver

3 Mar



author: lauren oliver

pages : [hardcover] 416

favorite characters : dodge & bishop

summary :

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

review :

I’ve been a big fan of Lauren Oliver ever since I first read Before I Fall. As soon as I heard she was coming out with another book I knew I needed to see what it was about. The premise for Panic didn’t sound as exciting as I had hoped it would have been, though it certainly intrigued me. But it had the potential to be a very campy contemporary book. There were some moments that were very thrilling and suspenseful, though they are spread throughout the novel as the game drags on through the summer. Panic had the potential to get gritty and real-with death-defying events being undertaken by teenagers, reports of previous contestants losing their lives or at least being seriously injured. Yet the book to me was never much more than okay.

Part of this was because of the disconnect I felt with the characters. Dodge and Heather get to alternate the focus in most of the novel, yet the characters are so similar that their lives don’t seem very unique. They both want the money to get out of town, have sisters they need to take care of, are annoyed with their mothers over who they’re dating, live in bad spaces. If their parts had been written in first person I’m not sure I would have been able to differentiate between them very well.

The romance in this book . . . I’m not sure if I was actually supposed to see it here. Right up in the blurb it says that Heather and Dodge both encounter the possibility of love and within the book I could see how that was intended to happen. I liked how the relationships there weren’t conventional and were more complex than are usually found in YA novels. Yet the way things ended, at least for one pair of characters, didn’t make much sense to me and actually left me disappointed.

The ending wrapped up way too quickly and was a big thumbs down for me. I wanted to hear more from the characters outside of the game of Panic, I wanted a bigger explosive finale. I wanted more. I just didn’t get that, though I’m glad that this novel is a standalone and wouldn’t be unnecessarily drawn out. Panic had an interesting concept and didn’t use that to every advantage I think that it should. While I still love Lauren Oliver and will love to read more from her, this book was just an okay read for me.

3/5 stars

Defy by Sara B. Larson

3 Feb


author : sara b. larson

pages : [hardcover] 336

memorable quote Sometimes it seemed like those with the most rotten interiors were blessed with the most exquisite exteriors.

favorite characters : marcel & alexa

summary :

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?

review :

I didn’t go into this book with many expectations because I’d just been hearing a lot of buzz about it and thought it’d be interesting to read. Defy is about a girl who disguises herself as a boy so that she can save herself from a terrible fate and join the king’s army instead. In comparison to what would have happened to her as a girl, it’s a great choice. I do love reading books where someone is in disguise and others know nothing about this. The stakes in this were high, the world-building was great, and I was immediately drawn into the story.

I absolutely adored the first half. I really couldn’t stop reading, even when I was supposed to be doing homework instead. The only thing that almost made me put this down was reading about the breeding house. As a woman the very thought made me so uncomfortable and disgusted that I didn’t think I was going to be able to read on about the fates of those girls. While I’m glad that I persisted and realize that it made up just one element of the book . . . it was just terrible.

The second half made me dislike this book. There was too much instant love, too many decisions that made absolutely no sense. There was a huge buildup to a revelation that never really needed to happen which was majorly disappointing. The love triangle grated on my nerves, Alexa-who had been so strong and independent in the first half-was suddenly reduced to tripping over herself and acting in really useless ways once everyone found out she was a girl. Sure, I realized that there would be some changes and knew it was coming just from the summary of the book, but I didn’t realize I would dislike her character for it.

And I didn’t really see the necessity of a sequel for this book. I went in without knowing whether or not it was a series but was frustrated when literally every part of the plot but the love triangle was wrapped up in the end. I don’t know if I’ll pick up the next book.

I did really enjoy the adventurous environment and most of the story presented. It really sparked my imagination and if the second half had been as great as the first, I would have loved this book.

3/5 stars

If you like this book, you might also like Leviathan.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

4 Jan

Clockwork Prince

The Infernal Devices #2
Book 1: Clockwork Angel

author : cassandra clare

pages : [hardcover] 502

favorite characters : jem & tessa

memorable quote “Ah,” said a voice from the doorway, “having your annual ‘everyone thinks Will is a lunatic’ meeting, are you?”

summary :

In magical Victorian London, orphan Tessa found safety with the Shadowhunters, until traitors betray her to the Magister. He wants to marry her, but so do self-destructive Will and fiercely devoted Jem. Mage Magnus Bane returns to help them. Secrets to her parentage lie with the mist-shrouded Yorkshire Institute’s aged manager Alyosius Starkweather.

review :

As soon as I finished book one I was excited to see how this series was going to continue! I have to admit that it isn’t one of my favorites. Sometimes, it gets a little old knowing that most of the book is going to be dedicated to fueling a love triangle and these books aren’t written with the best writing style. But the world of the Shadowhunters is so interesting and some of the plot points are so intriguing that it’s impossible not to ultimately get caught up in this series, which is a prequel to the Mortal Instruments trilogy.

I loved seeing more of Magnus in this book. He’s always been an interesting character to me, back in the other books, and I love seeing what he was like and how he acts in this time period. Some of it explains why he might have made the decisions he did, in the other trilogy.

Jem had his turn revealing secrets in book one; in book two now it’s time to learn more about Will’s past and why he is the man he is in the present. I loved hearing the reasons behind his disposition and why he ran off to the Institute, abandoning his family. But there were some revelations that just seemed exaggerated. Like the reason behind Gabriel Lightwood’s hatred of Will. Come on. It was nothing to really hold that serious a grudge over.

There was some moving forward with the plot in this book, building up to the conclusion, but when I reached the end I thought that it hadn’t developed as much as I’d have liked it to. There were some interesting and captivating fight scenes but between that there were simply lots of moments for Tessa to ponder over which boy she loved best or plenty of time spent talking about them traveling to one place or another where they might get information but just not enough.

I’d recommend these books for fans of the previous series and I enjoy them myself, even if they aren’t the best out there. I’m interested enough to get my hands on the third book, Clockwork Princess, whenever I can.

3/5 stars

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

8 Dec


Delirium #3
Book 1: Delirium
Book 2: Pandemonium

author : lauren oliver [also wrote: Before I Fall]

pages : [hardcover] 391

memorable quote Love is a kind of possession. It’s a poison.

summary :

 They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

review :

I really enjoyed the Delirium trilogy and wasn’t looking forward to it ending, especially since I recently finished the Divergent trilogy and wasn’t sure I could handle two conclusions so close to each other. But I’ve been waiting to get my hands on Requiem for a while so of course I couldn’t really hold myself back from reading it. This book is pretty long, at nearly four hundred pages, and throughout most of it I honestly felt like I was just waiting for more to happen.

Lena spends a lot of the book talking about Alex and focusing on Alex and wondering what Alex is doing and why Alex isn’t with her or speaking with her. There were some good parts where it was obvious that Lena had grown during her time in the Wilds. She’s willing to stand up for herself, voice her opinion, and risk her life for the ones she now cares about as well as the cause. But she can’t seem to stop fixating on boys, even when there are more important things to think about. Even when they’re in danger. And I feel like she was really unfair to Julian in parts of this book; I knew she was confused, and I understand that, but I really liked Julian after Pandemonium and some of the decisions she made regarding her love life were . . . lacking.

Most of the tension in the book builds up to one big scene which I thought made some parts of the plot drag on but also made me appreciate the action that much more. I wanted Lena to finally have the opportunity to show off how much of a badass she was.

The book is told half through her point of view, half from Hana’s. While both characters were distinct and I didn’t get confused between them, I think I liked Lena’s sections because hers were less predictable. I liked being able to see what happened with Hana after she’d been cured and is now living in the city, a life that Lena easily could have had. I liked seeing it as a comparison between Wilds Lena and conventional Lena, her two possible futures, rather than her life set against her best friend’s.

Overall, this ending really disappointed me. Some of the elements I loved from the first two books were gone. There wasn’t much action or intrigue until the end and the conclusion wasn’t satisfying to me at all. I think there are some people who would be able to read it and appreciate it for what it is. Not me. I feel like I’m still searching for answers.

I’d recommend this book to people who like love triangles, dystopian settings, and don’t mind waiting for some action.

3/5 stars

If you like this book, you might also like Matched or Beta.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

25 Nov

Clockwork Angel

The Infernal Devices #1

author : Cassandra Clare

pages : [hardcover] 479

memorable quote: Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.

favorite characters : jem & tessa


Don’t miss The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, soon to be a major motion picture in theaters August 2013.

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them….


I just needed to start this prequel trilogy because I’ve heard really good things about it and the Mortal Instruments series has always been very fast-paced and addictive for me, even if it isn’t my favorite series. There were some points of this book that I loved, some I liked, and some that just didn’t impress me at all.

First of all, the characters. While of course there’s a love triangle (because that’s all everyone seems to talk about regarding these books!) sometimes most of the people here seem like old-fashioned versions of the characters who are placed in the other series. While there are some unique aspects to them, too many of them had secrets that haven’t yet been revealed and I think that in subsequent books, as more is revealed about them, there’ll be more for me to appreciate about them. So I’m still allowing myself to get my hopes up!

The first half of this book was concentrated more on building a world that people have already been introduced to if they’ve read the main series and because the reader has no answers to the mysteries going on, it’s just a whirlwind of not very interesting or gripping confusion. Once things started to pick up toward the end I just couldn’t put the book down. I really hope that the next book, which I already have and is waiting for me to read, will pick up where this one left off and will give me the thrill and the answers that I was looking for from this first book!

For me, I think that you’ll feel the same about this series as you will about Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instrument series if you’ve read those books before these prequels. I thought that the concepts in there were interesting and the execution left something to be desired; so far, The Infernal Devices is leaving me feeling lukewarm as well.

3.5/5 stars

If you like this, you might also like City of Bones or Tyger, Tyger.

The Returned by Jason Mott

5 Nov

 The Returned

author : jason mott

pages : [hardcover] 352

memorable quote : People and events of wonder and magic are the lifeblood of the world.

favorite characters : harold & agent bellemy

summary :

Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That’s what all the Returned were.

Harold and Lucille Hargrave’s lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they’ve settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time … Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people’s loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it’s a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he’s their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

review :

I found the premise of this book so fascinating I just had to read it! The Returned is filled with people coming back from the dead and returning to their loved ones . . as anything but the zombies that people are used to reading about today. These Returned look as they did when they died, they think the way they did, and they seem to have all of their memories. They definitely aren’t trying to bite people and turn them into more of the legions of the undead. But there are a lot of them and they come with no explanation. The big mystery of the book, then, is if these people are really people and if they’re the people they appear to be.

I think that almost everyone has to have had someone close to them die. After such a tragedy, maybe you’d wonder what things would be like if that person could come back. Maybe not permanently; maybe for just one day. This idea is heavily explored in the relationship between Harold and Lucille as their 8 year old son, Jacob, comes back from the grave. The two have been forced to move on with their lives without him and now they’ve grown old. Are they supposed to treat Jacob as a miracle or something to be feared?

The Returned focuses more on the familial dynamic and the emotional turmoil that could potentially come out of a time like this. While occasionally there were briefs snatches of how this was being handled in other countries, I think I’d have liked to have seen more of what was happening outside. I did really love the personal accounts of the Returned that were interspersed between the chapters. It brought everything down to a heartfelt level where I felt like there were so many tragic things happening and so many wonderful reunions that my emotions didn’t know what to do.

I’d recommend this book for people who are looking for an interesting piece of fiction. This book is good but not entirely satisfying. Because it focuses almost entirely on one family and does well with the emotional aspect of the story, some pieces of the larger picture are never covered and things tend to take a slower pace. This novel was certainly not what I expected and yet I still think it was a worthwhile read!

3/5 stars

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

18 Oct


author : hannah harrington

pages : [paperback] 288

memorable quote : Hate is… It’s too easy. Love. Love takes courage.

favorite characters :asha & sam

summary :

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself

review :

This book wasn’t what I expected. At some points it was slow and frustrating but, overall, I think that I came out of it feeling better for what I’d read about. It was interesting and took a different take on all of the difference characters throughout the novel.

Chelsea used to be one of the popular girls, the mean girls, until she made a very good decision that made all of her so-called friends hate her and now she’s ostracized at school. At first I was like everyone else, thinking that her vow of silence was a selfish and stupid decision. But the more I saw characters pushing her to stop, the more I could see how her strength was growing and taking her down a path she might never have started otherwise. Surprisingly, she was becoming a better person.

Several times in her reflections on her past life, I realized that Chelsea is one of those people I and I’m sure most other people detest. She changed herself completely to get in good with the popular girls and doesn’t even realize how much of an affect that’s had on her until she does something that ends her relationship with all of those terrible people. While I like knowing that people can change and there’s always a reason why someone might be acting cruel or rude, some parts of the book didn’t sit as well with me because I couldn’t relate to the people portrayed.

I think that this book has a good message and would be enjoyed by many people but I also feel like it was lacking somewhat to me. The plotline was very predictable so I had the feeling that I could skip a lot and still know what was going to happen. There were no real plot twists, which I tend to look for in contemporary literature. Maybe it was because Chelsea was having one-sided conversations with everyone but with most of the characters I felt a kind of disconnect.

This is a good, quick read, but isn’t one of my favorites.

3/5 stars

If you liked this book, you might also like Absent or One Moment

buy the book : amazon

Eternal Dreams: The Curse of Memories by Christopher Compton

17 Sep

Eternal Dreams : The Curse of Memories

Book 1

author : christopher compton

pages : [paperback] 228

favorite characters : salvador & adora

summary :

Eternal Dreams is a fiction fantasy tale about six teenage friends who escape into a dream world to hide away from the horrors of their own lives, only to find that reality is catching up to them anyway. Drephoria, the name of the stunning dream world created from their collective minds, will test the limits of their friendship, break the balance between good and evil and prove the true value of memories and the imagination.

The first book in the trilogy, “The Curse of Memories,” focuses on the central character Kail and his dark past, told through memories, while simultaneously introducing the rest of his friends (known as The Inseparable Six) and the other strange and deadly inhabitants of Drephoria. Pitted against the dark queen Malise and her legendary allies known as The Forgotten Four, Kail and his friends must rid their world of evil before they lose themselves forever. Nostalgic, thrilling, heart-breaking, and consistently memorable, Eternal Dreams is a fantasy at its finest

review :

The Curse of Memories started off slow for me. If you do pick up this book, I highly recommend sticking with it, because as the plot built so did my interest. The dialogue was stilted, I have to admit, but the scenes painted in the descriptions were fantastic. As soon as Kail and his friends travel to the world of Drephoria, made completely of their dreams, you begin the see the true nature and potential of the characters. Everything in unpredictable and nothing is safe. The settings are exactly what you’d think would come out of dream, parts of the real world mixed with the absurd and magical. And then of course there’s an important quest thrown in.

Kail was the character that interested me the most because he’s the one we get to hear from and we know that he’s hiding something. Every time he was caught in his memories, those were my favorite scenes because I wanted so desperately to know what had happened to make him the person he was. While it was a little predictable, trying to see how he might change and develop as the book went along, I definitely didn’t mind the journey.

I really want to continue onto the next book of this series to find out what happens next! Because this book got better as it went along, I’m hoping that same thing will happen throughout this trilogy. There’s so much to be explored with the other characters that I’m hoping, if it’s still focused on Kail, that he’ll interact with them more and ways that’ll show us another side of them. It’ll be awesome.

I’d recommend this book to fans of quests, dream-like settings, and fantastical things. If you’re looking for fully fleshed-out characters, this might not be the read for you.

 3/5 stars

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

26 Aug


author : josephine angelini

pages : [hardcover] 487

memorable quote : You’ve got the killer instincts of a houseplant.

favorite characters : claire & jason

summary :

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

review :

This book had a really interesting premise! I’ve been really into fairy tale retelling or tales dealing with mythology lately and this was a book that caught my eye a while ago. I finally had the chance to pick it up! Unlike other books I’ve read, this one alludes to the story of Helen of Troy. Our main character, appropriately named Helen, knew she was always different but never knew just how different until the Delos family came into town. That was where some of the originality of the tale went downhill. There were so many great things that could have happened from this idea-feuding families, starcrossed lovers, the works-and I feel like it was all dumbed down to be the teen novel every author seems to think will become a big hit now.

That said, my disappointment didn’t make me completely hate the book. I’m still really invested in the series and now I want to see how everything pans out. I’m hoping that Helen will gain a little more courage and a lot more sense. I’m hoping everyone will stop creeping outside her window. Yes, this is one of those books where boys watching girls while they sleep is glorified instead of made creepy under the pretense of keeping them safe. It kind of felt like this premise was dulled down because everything that’s considered a hit in the YA book industry right now was written into the plot.

There were also some things in this book that didn’t make sense to me, like the fact that nobody noticed people (I won’t say who) flying around the island. At night, okay, I’ll give them that, but they did it in broad daylight! Taking off and landing at houses! Do they not understand how high up people can see these people coming down from the sky and then get a little curious?

Overall, there were little things about this book that I liked. The minor characters did a lot more for me than the major ones. I really liked the ending and some of the fight scenes. And I’m definitely going to read the second book, just to see what happens and see if it all gets better.

3/5 stars

John Winchester’s Journal by Alex Irvine

10 Aug

John Winchester’s Journal

Tie in to the TV show, Supernatural

author : alex irvine

pages : [hardcover] 218

favorite characters : sam & dean

summary :

Sam and Dean Winchester know all the secrets their father recorded in his journal. Now you can too.

On November 2, 1983, Sam and Dean Winchester lost their mother to a demonic supernatural force. In the wake of the tragedy, their father, John, set out to learn everything he could about the paranormal evil that lives in the dark corners and on the back roads of America . . . and how to kill it. In his personal journal, he not only compiled folklore, legend, and superstition about all manner of otherworldly enemies but he also recorded his experiences—hunting the creature that killed his wife even as he raised his two sons.

Part prequel, part resource guide, John Winchester’s Journal finally gives fans the ultimate companion book for Supernatural. It’s all here: the exorcism Sam and Dean used in “Phantom Traveler,” John’s notes on everything from shape-shifters to Samuel Colt, Dean’s first hunt, Sam’s peewee soccer team . . . and John’s single-minded pursuit of a growing and deadly evil.

review :

I just had to get this book because I love Supernatural so much and now that I’m impatiently waiting for season nine (more Cas! Bobby’s back! I can’t handle it!!) I needed my little fix during the summer. While some parts of this book written in journal entries were awesome and cool to read, overall it was a little disappointing. There were major information dumps, which I understand because it’s written to be like John’s actually journal, full of information about creatures out there in the world. But all of that just wasn’t as interesting as I think it could have been. Instead I liked it more because I got to read little entries that talked about Sam and Dean growing up. The sad part of the journal came from seeing how John was falling apart as time went on and he spent more and more years searching for the thing that killed his wife.

If you’re a Supernatural fan I definitely recommend you look into this book. There are a few cute moments recorded here that happened to the Winchesters before the show started and it all leaves off exactly before the start of the first episode. I’d say not to get your hopes up but don’t get down about the surplus of creature information, either! Who knows when you’ll need that entire formula for an exorcism.

Okay, chances are, you won’t need it. But it’s interesting to learn more about these monsters the Winchesters are battling.

3/5 stars


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