Book Review “Seduced By Moonlight” Laurell K. Hamilton

I am Meredith Gentry, P.I. and Princess Merry, heir to the throne of Fairie. 
Now there are those among me who whisper I am more. 
They fear me even as they protect me. And who can blame them? 
I’ve awakened the dazzling magic that’s slumbered in them for 
thousands of years. But the thing is, I can’t figure out why.

My aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, is no longer distracted by her usual sadistic hobbies. Her obsession has turned unwaveringly to me. The mission to get me pregnant and beat my cousin Prince Cel to the crown is taking longer than expected. Even though I spend each night with the Queen’s Ravens, my immortal guards, no child has come of our decadent pleasures. But something else ishappening. My magic courses through me uncontrollably. And as I lock my half-mortal body with their full-Sidhe blooded ones, the power surges like never before.

It all began with the chalice. I dreamed of it, and it appeared, cool and hard, beside me when I awoke. My guards know the ancient relic well—its disappearance ages ago stripped them of their vital powers. But it is here with us now. My touch resonates with its force, and they’re consumed with it, their Sidhe essences lit up by it. But even as they cherish me for this unexpected gift, there are those who loathe me for it. Me, a mongrel, only half fey and part mortal. The Unseelie court has suffered for so long, and there are some who would not have it weakened further by an impure queen. My enemies grow in number every day. But they do not know what I am capable of. Nor, for that matter, do I.

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       Since this genre is far away from what I usually review, I’ll give you a heads up before I begin. The Merry Gentry series has way more graphic sex scenes than I can typically stomach. It’s not something I actively seek in a book and is usually something I actively avoid. Normally, my reasoning for this is that I’ve found the authors rely way too heavily on the sex to carry the story instead of it being part of the story. I’m not out here trying to read about graphic sex and not get one hell of a story with it. I guess you could say that Hamilton is one of my guilty pleasure authors. She’s the exception to my no erotica rule and it’s solely based on the fact that the characters and the worlds she creates are unlike any other in their uniqueness and creativity. She’s a master at what she writes and every single book I’ve read from her captures my imagination completely and holds me long after I’ve read the last page and closed the book. She’s one of the few authors whose books invade even my dreams.

In “Seduced By Moonlight” we follow Merry as she continues her quest to get pregnant and gain the crown of the Unseelie Sidhe over her horrible cousin Cel. Her guards grow ever closer to her heart as her enemies gather in number against her. Hamilton spends a considerable amount of the book recapping previous events but since this is pretty typical of her books it’s both a nice reminder and a bit annoying. 

Sage was a character that caught my attention. Imagine being able to change size! To be small and easily overlooked or mistaken as a moth or butterfly to being a full grown man. I always seem to find shapeshifters or I guess in this case size-shifters very interesting. The mechanics of such a transformation would be miraculous. If only fantasy were fact. I felt for Sage though. To be denied the one whom you care for most….it’s sad.

I like that Danu has chosen Merry as her “vessel”. Merry is similar to Anita Blake (another series by Hamilton) in her ruthlessness and kindness. For those familiar with both series, the similarities are apparent. While the characters lives are very different, the personalities are similar enough to throw you off now and then. It’s not really that big of a deal but a few of the phrases or comparisons are present in both books and you may need to give yourself a head shake now and then.

A good number of the main group of characters gain old powers lost or new powers never owned by them. Sholto is added to the list of of those Merry must bed and I’m looking forward to learning more about that most mysterious dark court he governs. The Slaugh parts of the story are some of my favorites as Hamilton lets her powers of imagination loose. The creatures she creates are varied in their complexities as well as appearance. I hope to see a lot more of that dark court in further novels.

There is a very disturbing scene with the Queen of Air and Darkness and her guards. The scene is extremely well written and I think a major turning point for Merry. It’s a key time when Merry chooses who she wants to be and what she is willing to allow or fight for. 

As always, I found myself lost in this world and wishing for more. Due to the repetition and tedious dialog, I’m granting 4 stars instead of 5. It’s annoying enough that even though I loved the story, it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

4 star

The Technical Data:

Title: Seduced By Moonlight | Series: Merry Gentry Series |  Author(s): Laurell K. Hamilton  |Publisher: Ballantine Books / Publication Date: 2-3-2004 |Pages: 432 (Print) | ISBN: B000FC0ZDU |Genre(s): Fantasy / Dark Fantasy / Romance / Horror  |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-10-2017 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

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seduced by moonlight coverConsidering all the complications, sexual and otherwise, that Merry Gentry, heir to the faerie throne, endured in A Kiss of Shadows (2000) and A Caress of Shadows (2002), it’s no surprise to find the start of Hamilton’s third book in her erotic fantasy series weighed down by attempts to conversationally recap earlier convolutions. Even readers of the first two books might have problems sorting out exactly why Merry is messing with the goblin king via magic mirror. Though the author maintains interest through such devices as an imaginative sex scene involving Merry, two of her sidhe studs and a doll-sized, winged, blood-sucking demi-fey, it takes a milieu switch from L.A. to St. Louis and the Unseelie court for the plot to take off and become a page turner. Merry confronts faerie politics that make Machiavelli look like a rookie, while her aunt’s sadistic madness leads to what must rank as one of the bloodier scenes of fictional slaughter. – Publishers Weekly

 

 

 

 

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“The Bloodless – Awakening” Book Review

The year is 2100-something, Daniel Justice is just another geneticist working for GoD Laboratories, a big box, publicly traded biotechnology company. Then one day he proved that resurrecting the dead was not only possible, but economically viable. Back in the old days, this would have been a massive ethics debate, but in a world where religion is all but extinct, the conversation is a whole lot different.

Once someone is resurrected they are welcomed back into society with open arms, right? Wrong. They are shunned and treated like third class citizens. Abuse will only be tolerated for so long and when their patience is up, the resurrected population rises up and rebels against the very people who created them.

His coworkers are either dead or have vanished without a trace, but by a combination of luck and his own determination to live, Daniel escapes a similar fate. With the military already embroiled in an all-out war with Russia, it’s up to him and a small group of mercenaries to fight back against what is turning into a quiet genocide. Their survival depends on fending off overwhelming numbers of enemies that only desire death and destruction. Or does it?

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“The Bloodless” begins by dropping you right into the action. Right from the start your blood is pumping and your heart racing. Within the first few pages the characters quickly start to flesh out and the group dynamic forms quickly. It’s rare when I feel an immediate connection with any character, let alone an entire group of them. For someone who is fairly new to the novel game, Gibson does a good job building that bridge between reader and novel. That certainly isn’t easy but it appears that Gibson has a natural talent for it. If only he would of continued with that skill throughout the entire book. Instead, he does well in the beginning and misses lots of further opportunities to build later on.

“The Bloodless” initially comes across as another zombie story and that’s really too bad because while having zombie like attributes, the creatures that Gibson has created aren’t exactly zombies. For those of you who are heartily sick of the same zombie story being told over and over, let me quell your worries. “The Bloodless” is very unique and not at all a retelling.

The one area that I would like to see Gibson put some work into is transitions. When a new task is set before the team the writing is abrupt and I think Gibson is losing out on opportunities to world build and deepen his story line. This applies to the loss of characters too. There is a sense of sadness and loss but those feeling are only portrayed at face value. I would like to see Gibson take these events and use them to round out his characters. He is doing well on most all other avenues to build his characters but this one. Unfortunately, this is doing its fair share of damage and in doing so is keeping this book from being great. Without these corrections the book is still entertaining and I would label it “good”. However, without revision this book isn’t one that would stick with me for long. It lacks the depth.

The ending could also use a bit more work. This is another opportunity that Gibson should of used to deepen the readers knowledge of the world as well as give a bit more perspective into the whys of the worlds current standing. It appears that the main character is deep in the dark on most of the whys and his lack of perspective in some circumstances is a bit of a stretch. 

On the bright side, Gibson sneaks in a clever bit of foreshadowing. Those of us who picked up on it are looking forward to seeing it pan out.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Bloodless – Awakening | Series: The Bloodless  |  Author(s): Andrew Gibson  |Publisher: Amazon Digital Services  / Publication Date: 9-2-2015 |Pages: 230 (Print) | ISBN: B014VDN1PC |Genre(s): Science Fiction|Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 1-20-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

Book Review “Hands Across The Sky” Andrew John Schmitz

synopsis

From the first page, Hands Across The Sky draws the reader into an intoxicating tale of mystery and hope, beautifully told.

When Ezra Quinn, a San Francisco techie, gets a call one Saturday morning, he has no idea that his life is about to change beyond his wildest imaginings. Quinn is offered a lucrative position in the Middle East in his field of wearable tech. A week later, he’s on a flight to Dubai.

In Dubai, Quinn meets beautiful, cosmopolitan Leila, who orients him both to his work and to the political complexities in the region. Though the Middle East is on fire, Leila drops a hint that there is another way … the way of the Open Hand.

Leila accompanies Quinn to Cairo, where he meets Alif Zahir, the passionate, intelligent official at the center of the operation. As Quinn begins working on the project, he starts to become suspicious. Is Alif Zahir really who he says he is? And is the project truly aimed at peace? Soon events will spiral out of control, and Ezra Quinn will find himself caught up in a web of violence and treason from which there seems no escape.

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I would like to start this review by quoting some of my favorite passages.

“However, it was also difficult to imagine that a single ancient woman in a tiny apartment alone with her cat could possess the key to the power they needed”

‘Let the story enter you and create its meaning there. Do not try to force the meaning on the story.”

“Hands Across The Sky” is filled with such beautiful imagery that each word is like a brush painting the scenes inside your mind. As the imagery settles, the emotions and senses with each scene settle on you in such an intimate way that it could almost be a memory.

There is power in this story and a pile of moral decisions to be made by the main characters. The suspense is built beautifully page by page until it all comes together for a powerful ending.

I really enjoyed Schmitz’s writing style. It’s apparent lots of research went into the writing of this novel. The details are pretty intimate and I can’t help but wonder if Schmitz has been to Egypt.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the telling by a variety of characters old fables. This brought a real authenticity that not many books have. The “Open Hand” ideology was beautiful.

Schmitz developed his characters expertly. It’s really a wonder all its own with how much he put into such a small book. I will be reading more from him in the future.

“Hands Across The Sky” was a profound book that speaks to my generation and I think will continue to speak to others as well. It’s world is our world. It’s problems our problems.

5 stars!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Hands Across The Sky | Series:  N/A  |  Author(s):  Andrew John Schmitz |Publisher: Deep Theory Press / Publication Date: 10-28-2015 |Pages: 276 (Print) | ISBN: 978-0996827904  |Genre(s): Literature & Fiction |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 10-26-2016 |Source: Copy from Author

The Booklist – 5 Books You Should Read

Since it’s well known that I’m a voracious reader, I often have people ask me for book recommendations. Due to this, I’ve decided to start a weekly list of books that I have personally reviewed. Each book has received a minimum 4 star rating from me. If you have read any of the books I’ve listed, please let me know what you thought of them in the comments! Click on the covers to be taken to the review.

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Have you read any of the books on my list? Drop your thoughts in the comments!

Book list

Book Review “Time in a Bubble” Ken Hart

synopsis

It is the conclusion of the 1970′s. People indulge. It is the end of the Me Generation and the beginning of the era of greed and conservatism. Love, education, resolution, cultural differences, sex, and the finding of a voice drive this third novel of the Ron Tuck Series. With an all girl catholic high school as the setting and the light that comes from internal and external fires as the motivation, Ron discovers the person that he was meant to be and the things that he must leave behind.

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I want to start off by saying that when I accepted the offer to review this book I was not aware (or made aware) that this story contains very detailed sexual encounters. Had I of been made aware (since my review policy clearly states I don’t read erotica and this has some pretty raunchy sex scenes) I would not of promised a review. However, promise I did and here it is.

Beyond the sex stuff this book has a whole boatload of issues. 

The cover has absolutely nothing at all to do with the story. It’s boring and unrelated.

If you look this book up on Amazon or Goodreads there isn’t even a blurb or real description of the story. I had to hunt the one I put in this post down from the authors website. Expecting someone to buy your book without a blurb or summary? Uhm…just…what?

The story line falls completely on its face. There’s no organized story here. It reads more like a memoir than a fictional story. There’s no real plot or climax. I’m confused on so many levels after reading this book.

For not really having much of an actual story this book is incredibly long! 528 pages! 

The only good thing I have to say about this book is that the characters are extremely well developed. By the end of the book I felt like I knew Ron pretty well. That’s not to say that Ron made any sense but I did feel like I knew him. I did enjoy reading his evolution as a teacher. That was interesting. This is the only thing that keeps this book from getting only 1 star.

I’m rating it 2 stars.

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The Technical Data:

Title: Time in a Bubble  | Series:  Ron Tuck Series  |  Author(s): Ken Hart |Publisher: Create Space Independant Publishing Company / Publication Date: 7-14-2013 |Pages: 528 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1475044249 |Genre(s): Literature & Fiction |Language: English |Rating: 2 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-12-2016 |Source: Copy from Author

Book Review “The Poverty Industry” Daniel L. Hatcher

synopsis

Government aid doesn’t always go where it’s supposed to. Foster care agencies team up with companies to take disability and survivor benefits from abused and neglected children. States and their revenue consultants use illusory schemes to siphon Medicaid funds intended for children and the poor into general state coffers. Child support payments for foster children and families on public assistance are converted into government revenue. And the poverty industry keeps expanding, leaving us with nursing homes and juvenile detention centers that sedate residents to reduce costs and maximize profit, local governments buying nursing homes to take the facilities’ federal aid while the elderly languish with poor care, and counties hiring companies to mine the poor for additional funds in modern day debtor’s prisons.
 
In The Poverty Industry, Daniel L. Hatcher shows us how state governments and their private industry partners are profiting from the social safety net, turning America’s most vulnerable populations into sources of revenue. The poverty industry is stealing billions in federal aid and other funds from impoverished families, abused and neglected children, and the disabled and elderly poor. As policy experts across the political spectrum debate how to best structure government assistance programs, a massive siphoning of the safety net is occurring behind the scenes.In the face of these abuses of power, Hatcher offers a road map for reforms to realign the practices of human service agencies with their intended purpose, to prevent the misuse of public taxpayer dollars, and to ensure that government aid truly gets to those in need. 
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What you read in this book will definitely make you mad. That inherent distrust most people have for their governing bodies exists for a reason. Well, it exists for many reasons and this book details a whole pile of them.
Hatcher has done his research and his findings are incredibly shocking. This book is aptly named. Those in poverty are being systemically farmed for sympathy money. When you drive around your town and you see homes falling apart, insanely skinny kids wearing faded clothes covered in holes you feel horribly for those suffering people. This elicits a emotional response that is a factor in your voting ideology. You vote and approve of measures to help lift those poor souls from their poverty prison. You don’t realize that those policies are actually keeping the poor …well poor. The farming bit I was talking about..well they are farming your sympathy which really translates to your taxes.
Hatcher outlines these atrocities in easy to understand detail. He introduces these scenarios with real people and  elicits a personal connection from reader to cause.
Most of what I read in this book was enlightening and very upsetting. I know that it will for sure change the way that I vote. I think it is for reason’s like this that the idea of Democratic Socialism looks better and better. We are not a great country if we allow those who are vulnerable to suffer.  
Hatcher has illustrated the issues plaguing the poor and outlines a plausible array of solutions to these issues. 
Excellent book. 5 stars.
5 stars
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The Technical Data:

Title: The Poverty Industry  | Series:  N/A  |  Author(s): Daniel L. Hatcher |Publisher: NYU Press / Publication Date: 6-21-2016 |Pages: 288 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1479874729 | Genre(s): Non-Fiction / Government / Poverty |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-10-2016 |Source: Copy from Netgally

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There is also a documentary that was done to bring awareness to these issues. Check it out on Netflix! It will blow your mind.

 

 

The Booklist – 5 Books You Should Read

Since it’s well known that I’m a voracious reader, I often have people ask me for book recommendations. Due to this, I’ve decided to start a weekly list of books that I have personally reviewed. Each book has received a minimum 4 star rating from me. If you have read any of the books I’ve listed, please let me know what you thought of them in the comments! Click on the covers to be taken to the review.

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cold water bridegroom

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dream student

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How’s my list? Place your two cents below!

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Delivering Virtue – Odyssey of the West!

synopsis

Hilariously inappropriate, squirmingly irreverent, and oddly charming, DELIVERING VIRTUE will deliver you on an epic journey out of your comfort zone and into a mystical transcendence you didn’t see coming.

Didier Rain, bumbling ne’er-do-well and dissolute poet, is hired by The Church of the Restructured Truth to deliver a child-bride across the American frontier of 1854 to their prophet Nehi in his stronghold at the City of Rocks. The landscape is rife with hooligans, carnal temptations, and acts of God or Mother Nature that threaten to avert Rain from fulfilling the righteous prophecy.
 “A tragicomic story, Delivering Virtue employs biting social commentary and stinging critiques of a variety of religious faiths with Chaucerian ribaldry. Threads of satire are skillfully woven into a tapestry of humor and pathos, magical realism and historical fact, along with swashbuckling adventure, depraved violence, and moments of heartrending tenderness.” – Clarion Foreword Reviews
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This book has been personally reviewed by AlliesOpinions! We found it to be entertaining and would explain it as the Odyssey of the west! Check out our review!

Delivering Virtue Review

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Review Stats

Amazon: 4.5 stars!

Goodreads: 5 stars!

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About The Author

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As a young man, Brian Kindall was undone by love. Oh, was she ever divine! Dark hair. Blue eyes. The smile of an angel. But then it all fell to ruin. For years afterward, the broken-hearted sap spent his time wandering about and scribbling self-absorbed tragedies that no one really cared about. His prose was impeccable, but useless to the world. Then one day, as if by magic, he matured. He peered into the abyss, became a father, got some perspective, and has been writing nothing but brilliant, entertaining novels ever since. These books – some for kids, some for grown-ups – are brimming with the absurdity, beauty, and mystery of life. Mister Kindall has become a master at playing humor against pathos, fairytales against reality, all for the sake of a good read that will surely enhance the life of any reader lucky enough to delve into the author’s adventure-laden pages.

He is the author of adult fiction novel DELIVERING VIRTUE, a Foreword Reviews 2015 IndieFab Book of the Year Finalist, and middle grade novels BLUE SKY, and PEARL. Moving, memorable fiction all. He resides on the shores of a pristine mountain lake with his wife and three kids somewhere in the middle of Idaho.

Want to know more?

Check out Brian Kindall’s Website! 

or

Check out our Interview with Mr. Kindall!


 

This book has the AlliesOpinions official stamp of approval. We recommend this book!

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The Booklist – 5 Books You Should Read

Since it is well known that I am a voracious reader, I often have people ask me for book recommendations. Due to this, I’ve decided to start a weekly list of books that I have personally reviewed. Each book has received a minimum 4 star rating from me. If you have read any of the books I’ve listed, please let me know what you thought of them in the comments! 

Eboracum Cover

My Review

trauma shame and the power of love Cover

My Review

Private Lucky Cover

My Review

A Howl for Mayflower Cover

My Review

Hooray for Diffendoofer day Cover

My Review

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How’s my list? Place your two cents below!

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Book Review “Fling!” Lily Iona Mackenzie

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Is it possible to come of age at 60 or 90? Is it ever too late to fulfill your dreams? When ninety-year-old Bubbles receives a letter from Mexico City asking her to pick up her mother’s ashes, lost there seventy years earlier and only now surfacing, she hatches a plan. A woman with a mission, Bubbles convinces her hippie daughter Feather to accompany her on the quest. Both women have recently shed husbands and have a secondary agenda: they’d like a little action. And they get it. Alternating narratives weave together Feather and Bubbles’ odyssey. The two women head south from Canada to Mexico where Bubbles’ long-dead mother, grandmother, and grandfather turn up, enlivening the narrative with their hilarious antics. In Mexico, where reality and magic co-exist, Feather gets a new sense of her mother, and Bubbles’ quest for her mother’s ashes-and a new man-increases her zest for life. Unlike most women her age, fun-loving Bubbles takes risks, believing she’s immortal. She doesn’t hold back in any way, eating heartily and lusting after strangers, exulting in her youthful spirit. Has Bubbles discovered a fountain of youth that everyone can drink from? *Praise for Fling!* Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read. ~ Lewis Buzbee, award-winning author of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop and faculty at University of San Francisco MFA program

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First lines: Isle Of Skye, 1906. Malcolm- Heather MacGregor’s grandfather on her mother’s side- told anyone who was willing to listen that his granddaughter hadn’t been born the usual way. She’d danced right off one of his paintings, landing in the family’s potato patch, except the ground was too barren to produce much by the time she came along. It wasn’t a promising beginning. 

Mackenzie brings to the table a novel that has a little bit of everything. Hippies, brujos, romance, history and so much more. Each character is vibrantly alive even when they shouldn’t be. It’s a tale of realism, magical realism and the allure of Mexico.

There seems to be a bit of a trend with the women of the MacGregor clan. They are all eccentric and free spirited. The rigors of everyday routine drown them. They need action and adventure. 

Bubbles is a character all her own. She’s a very old lady on the outside but on the inside she may as well be a teenager. Her vitality is contagious and in some way, I think she was carrying around those memories of her family and her belief is what brought them into substance.

Feather was a tough one to get a handle on. She was the character I felt like I knew the least. Her personality always felt contradictory. For awhile I would feel like I had a good handle on who she was and then she would change and I felt discombobulated. 

The novel perfectly captures the people and traditions of Mexico. I could feel the baked earth beneath my feet. I could smell the foods cooking. Mackenzie does well with description.

There was a lot I enjoyed about the book and a few things I felt could of been done better. I’m granting it 4 stars.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Fling! | Series:  N/A |  Author(s): Lily Iona Mackenzie |Publisher: Pen-L Publishing / Publication Date: 7-1-2015 |Pages: 272 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1942428299 | Genre(s): Magical Realism / Womens Lit | Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 8-23-2016 |Source: Copy from author