All posts by Arwen

August 2017 Book Pick Ups

The Deliberate Reader

My TBR is a little out of control thanks to author freebies, and these .99 collections that offer pre-order bonus books. The latest one is Fire and Fantasy, which of course I pre-ordered and then got a ton of extra books tacked on.

Two collections that I’ve been waiting on were released in August. Dominion Rising (which had a link in it for bonus swag) and Shattered Worlds. Shattered Worlds is having a huge read along later this month. I’ll be posting about that later, but if you want to see what’s happening check it out here.

For Kindle:

Muse (Tales of Silver Downs Book 1)
Why I got it:  Author freebie.  I’m really trying to cut down on these author freebies, but this one grabbed my attention with, “He’s a melancholy bard. She’s expecting to settle into a boring and predictable life. They’re the world’s only hope against a nightmare…”

Song of Edmon (The Fracture Worlds Book 1)
Why I got it: Kindle First selection for August. Sounded intriguing, and had good reviews. The idea of a planet divided by those who live in perpetual day or perpetual night sounds like a great backdrop for a sci-fi story.

Dominion Rising Bonus Swag
Why I got it: You had to know this was in the back of the book and go click on the link to it in the first week after release. Thankfully I follow a lot of authors and was given the heads up.

Fire and Fantasy Freebies:

Here are all the freebies that came for pre-ordering the collection.

Strain of Resistance by Michelle Bryan

Games of Fate by Kris Austen Radcliffe

Cloak of Echoes by CK Dawn

Fire and Fantasy Coloring Book

We Thought We Were Invincible by Michelle Lynn

Veona by Steve Turnbull

Rebel’s Blade by Frost Kay

Fire in Frost by Alicia Rades

Grave Mistake by Izzy Shows

A Coronation of Kings by Samuel Stokes

Kids Books:

Invisible Lizard
Why I got it: Kurt Cyrus is a local author, and had a table at the Oregon State Fair. They always have a section for Oregon Authors. The seven year old picked this one out, turns out it had only been released the week before. He had his illustrator already sign the books and then he signed it for us.

From The Library:

Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects Into Stuff You Love
Why I got it: I like the whole idea of up-cycling and reusing objects for crafts. I’ve been doing this forever. I’m hoping this book will have some interesting and fresh ideas.

DK Readers L1: Star Wars: The Force Awakens: New Adventures
Why I got it: The seven year old picked this one out to read, because it has Rey on the cover and she loves Rey! Unfortunately DK Readers Level one is a little bit more difficult than we imagined and she abandoned it.

Dr Seuss Books – I Want to Be Somebody New!, The Butter Battle Book, Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!, Yertle the Turtle
Why I got them: We are working through the Doctor Seuss library this summer.


What I’m Reading Now:  99 Days (Red Proxy Book 2) by Keith Ward


July 2017 Book Pick Ups

The Deliberate Reader

Well I tried not to buy too many books this month, but well then I found out that for pre-ordering Shattered Worlds I could get some additional free books from the authors of the collection. And then there was Prime day and I had to pick up a couple of books.

For Kindle:

Coilhunter – A Science Fiction Western Adventure
Why I got it:  Author freebie. Dean F. Wilson is an author I follow because he write really interesting stuff. So since he offered his newsletter subscribers this one for free I jumped at the chance to get my hands on it.

Bright Minds Empty Souls
Why I got it: Each year I try to fit in at least one poetry book. This sounded interesting so I borrowed it from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

Why I got it: Author freebie. A dystopian series with Vikings!?! Well I have to at least check that out.

Dying for a Living
Why I got it: Author freebie. I’ve been pretty upfront about the fact that Urban Fantasy isn’t really my cup of tea, but this book with it’s twist (and zero mention of vampires, sexy or not) caught my attention.

A Beautiful Poison
Why I got it: Kindle First Selection for July. I like the setting of the Gilded age right after WWI, and throwing in the Spanish Influenza really caught my attention too. Flu or Poison is the question and I enjoy historical fiction that includes emerging science.

Shattered Worlds Authors:

Possession by Elana Johnson

Hinges of Broams Eld by Jennifer Cano

Delicate Thorns by Miranda Hardy

Descendant by Nichole Giles

Fairy Eyeglasses by Emily Martha Sorensen

Gifted, A Donovan Circus Novel by Liz Long

In My Dreams by Cameo Renae

Ruby’s Story by Rebecca Rode

Shadow Fall by Audrey Grey

Solstice by Jane Redd

Sound of Sirens (Tales Of Skylge, #1) by Jen Minkman

Such a Secret Place by Cortney Pearson

The Keeper: A Brilliant Darkness Story by A.G. Henley

The Last Gatekeeper by Katy Haye

The Golden Dragon by J. A. Culican (An exclusive? Amazon doesn’t seem to have this one.)

WHITE RAVEN: The Raven Series, Book 1 by J. L. Weil

Watched by Cindy M. Hogan

The Reapers by Ali Winters

Kids Books:

Wake Up, Sun!
Why I got it: I bought several cute kids books during Prime Day. This one is right at the stage our 6 year old is reading, and new material is always good.

The Berenstain Bears’ Bedtime Battle
Why I got it: Another one I got during Prime Day. The ending on this one is almost too good, and it certainly made me smile.

From The Library:

Dr Seuss – Please try to remember the first of Octember!,  And to think that I saw it on Mulberry street, The 500 hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Hunches in bunches,  Daisy-head Mayzie, The king’s stilts, On beyond zebra, Scrambled eggs super!, I had trouble in getting to Solla Sollew
Why I got them: We are working through the Doctor Seuss library this summer. I will have to say that so far Gerald McBoing Boing has been the big hit.

The Devil’s feast
Why I got it: It’s the next book in the Blake and Avery series. While I’m not real into serial mysteries, these ones are not half bad.

Crooked kingdom
Why I got it: I plan on reading this book right after I finish The Wise Man’s Fear. I loved Six of Crow’s so much and I just can’t stand to leave Inej hanging any longer.

The big fat surprise : why butter, meat, and cheese belong in a healthy diet
Why I got it: I’m tired of all the buzz of the latest -CleanEating-Whole30-Paleo-Atkins fad diet is going to get. Plus I’m tired of all the looking down their nose and poo-pooing the vegan do. So I heard of this book and it seems to be the furthest thing from veganism and fad diets there is.

Dominion Rising Out Now!

Dominion RisingFind all the Sci-Fi and Fantasy reads you’ve been craving in one fantastic set!

Whether it’s alien invasion or dark fairytales, heart-pounding galactic adventures or cyberpunk romance, Dominion Rising will satisfy with a thrilling mix of 23 BRAND NEW novels set in fantastical realms. Sword and sorcery, far-flung galactic empires, alternative history, epic magic, slipstream futures: this collection of carefully selected, exclusive novels is sure to please and delight readers of speculative fiction.

Over five thousand pages packed with aliens, faeries, vampires, gargoyles, warriors, telepaths, space pirates, starship captains, hapless mercenaries, street urchins, robots, cyber-enhanced humans, badass heroines, and lost princesses.

Dominion Rising brings you a galaxy of talented authors, including New York Times bestselling authors Gwynn White, Margo Bond Collins, Tom Shutt, Felix R. Savage and Erin St Pierre; USA Todaybestselling authors P.K. Tyler, Anthea Sharp, S.M. Schmitz, K.J. Colt, Dean F. Wilson, Lisa Blackwood, Marilyn Peake, JC Andrijeski and Erin Hayes; and award-winning and Amazon bestselling authors S.M. Blooding, Melanie Karsak, Timothy C. Ward, Daniel Arthur Smith, Tony Bertauski, Rebecca Rode, Cheri Lasota, Ann Christy, Becca Andre, Logan Snyder, Ella Summers, and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy notable Samuel Peralta.

AmazonGooglePlay / iBooks / Barnes & Noble / Goodreads

The set includes:

Reign of Steel and Bone by Erin St Pierre and Gwynn White
A stolen weapon. A forbidden romance. One chance to save the world…

Mind Raider by S.M. Blooding & P.K. Tyler
One weapon to re-write everything. One team to stop it all.

Sorcery & Science by Ella Summers
Urban fantasy. Galactic consequences. Sorcery & Science is a new urban fantasy novel set in the rebooted Sorcery & Science universe.

Spectral Shift by Daniel Arthur Smith
We were never alone.
A prescient rendering of a dark cyberpunk future, a Neon Dystopia with a Lovecraftian flair.

Petra: Immortal Codex, Book 1 by Cheri Lasota
The darker the gift, the higher the blood price. And I have paid it all.

Infinite Waste by Dean F. Wilson
An epic space opera adventure.

Girard The Guardian by Ann Christy
True Vampire… They’re not what you think. True Vampire… All Will Be Revealed.

Flicker by Rebecca Rode
Even the best weapons can backfire.

Star Compass by Anthea Sharp
Charles Dickens meets Firefly in this SF Steampunk tale of an orphan destined for the stars.

Vengeance: Warships of the Spire by S. M. Schmitz & Lisa Blackwood
When rogue AIs steal everything that matters most, the only thing left is vengeance.

Touching Infinity by Erin Hayes
These space pirates thought they were prepared for anything. They were so wrong.

Death Plague by K. J. Colt
Faced with a disease that could wipe out the nation of Senya, King Cevznik decreed that healers were the property of the country, and belonged to all men. They were beaten, ravished, and enslaved like animals, depriving them of purity and holiness.

Curiouser and Curiouser: Steampunk Alice in Wonderland by Melanie Karsak
Sometimes love is mad.

Ultras by Timothy C. Ward
Forbidden Memories. Ancient Powers. Galactic Uprising.

Maze: The Waking of Grey Grimm by Tony Bertauski
Awareness leaping is all the rage.

Blood for Stone by Logan T. Snyder
Meridia’s most notorious investigators meet their match, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The Incurables by Felix R. Savage
A Game of Thrones… set in 1980s Belfast.

Ferromancer by Becca Andre
Solutions aren’t always black and white–sometimes they come in shades of iron gray.

The Other by Marilyn Peake
Fear can blind you to the truth.

New York by J.C. Andrijeski
Born in a cyber world. Hunted by an ancient cult.

Rift Cursed by Margo Bond Collins
Madness isn’t the worst that can happen.

The Zoo at the End of the World by Samuel Peralta
A young girl, one of the caretakers at a private zoo, looks after her charges in the weeks before a comet destroys humanity.

Iron Tamer by Tom Shutt
This is not a completed novel. Tom Shutt passed away during the production of this book. The authors of Dominion Rising have included it in honor of his contribution.

Buy this epic Science Fiction & Fantasy boxed set to read them all for 99c!


Check out our Instagram Giveaway by following #DominionRising

The authors of Dominion Rising are bringing you brand new 23 science and fantasy stories for just $0.99—and you could win big just by reposting this post and talking about the giveaway with the hashtag #DominionRising. Ends August 15, account must be public.

iPad Mini and Paperback Giveaway
Celebrate Dominion Rising and win an iPad Mini, over 20 PAPERBACK books, a Dominion Rising bonus content paperback, or custom Swag! All winners will receive a free copy of the Dominion Rising extra content!

Book Blitz: A Spoonful of Grace

A Spoonful of Grace: Mealtime Blessings in Bite-sized Pieces
by Annette Hubbell
Release date: Feb 2017
Genre: Family devotional, Children’s devotional

Meet A New Book

A book that sounds like a great way to connect with your family, in bite sized pieces. (Sorry I just couldn’t resist the pun.) A special grace/blessing/prayer for each meal sounds like a great idea, and I’m glad that they are kept intentionally short enough for a kids attention span.

Just 2 minutes each day can change your family meal time for a lifetime.

A Spoonful of Grace is a collection of 366 evening meal graces taken from all 66 books of the Bible and designed to provide meaningful exposure to prayer and the Bible at a most opportune time: the family evening meal.

The Scripture/grace devotions are inviting, can be grasped at several levels, and are brief enough (about two minutes) to hold the attention of hungry kids.

Here’s why:

  • Each day has an application section called Grace Notes: ideas and quotes to further illustrate the message and stimulate conversation.
  • Sundays are for Story Graces. These 52 devotions are a bit longer to afford the suspenseful, engrossing reading of stories such as David and Goliath, Daniel in the lions’ den, and Jonah and the big fish.
  • Special Graces are celebrations such as Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays.
  • Each grace:
    • Supports discussions of God’s attributes and of faith-based values, offering moral examples like forgiveness, friendship, honesty, trust, even table manners.
    • Creates curiosity about the Bible and ways in which Scripture can be applied to today’s issues.
    • Demonstrates how the act of praying together lifts one’s own spirit; fosters praise; and increases mutual feelings of appreciation, gratefulness, and accountability.
    • Teaches without overt instruction, similar to hiding extra veggies in the spaghetti sauce.
    • Remind us that our food, as well as God’s countless other daily blessings, is a gift.

Amazon / ChristianBook  / Barnes & Noble / Add on Goodreads

Watch the book trailer:


Enter the Giveaway!

Ends Sept 2.

Book Blitz: Sink

by M.E. Rhines
(Mermaid Royalty #1)
Publication date: July 31st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Meet A New Book

I am a HUGE fan of the Little Mermaid, and mermaids in general, and this book look too good to pass up. And if it’s from Clean Teen Publishing that is always a plus. Sink looks like it’s win-win. I can’t wait to get my teeth into this one. 😉

Obedience has always been a matter of survival for sixteen-year-old mermaid princess Pauline. Her mother is the tyrannical Queen Calypso, who rules the kingdom of Atargatis with an iron trident. To utter one word against her would mean banishment—or worse—so Pauline bites her tongue and minds her manners. But on the eve of her sister’s merling-shower, all of that is about to change. Confronted with the truth about what happens to the human men who are betrothed to the mermaids of Atargatis, Pauline realizes she can stay silent no more.

Determined to end the queen’s dark tradition, Pauline goes along on a search for shipwreck survivors, secretly planning to free them. But things get complicated when she finds herself inexplicably drawn to one of the men. Before she realizes what’s happening, she has kissed him—and a kiss from a mermaid is not without consequences. Now Pauline will have to risk everything if she is to save the young man and thwart the queen’s dark plans…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

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Review & Giveaway: The Thirteenth Gate

By Kat Ross
(Dominion Mysteries #2)
Pages: 350
Date Finished: 7/7/17
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It


The Thirteenth Gate (Dominion Mysteries Book 2)Winter 1888. At an asylum in the English countryside, a man suspected of being Jack the Ripper kills an orderly and flees into the rain-soaked night. His distraught keepers summon the Lady Vivienne Cumberland—who’s interviewed their patient and isn’t sure he’s a man at all. An enigmatic woman who guards her own secrets closely, Lady Vivienne knows a creature from the underworld when she sees one. And he’s the most dangerous she’s ever encountered.

As Jack rampages through London, Lady Vivienne begins to suspect what he’s searching for. And if he finds it, the doors to purgatory will be thrown wide open…

Across the Atlantic, an archaeologist is brutally murdered after a Christmas Eve gala at the American Museum of Natural History. Certain peculiar aspects of the crime attract the interest of the Society for Psychical Research and its newest investigator, Harrison Fearing Pell. Is Dr. Sabelline’s death related to his recent dig in Alexandria? Or is the motive something darker?

As Harry uncovers troubling connections to a serial murder case she’d believed was definitively solved, two mysteries converge amid the grit and glamor of Gilded Age New York. Harry and Lady Vivienne must join forces to stop an ancient evil. The key is something called the Thirteenth Gate. But where is it? And more importantly, who will find it first?


I was a little disappointed by The Daemoniac, the first book in the new series by Kat Ross. I mean just a teeny-tiny bit disappointed, afterall it’s still Kat Ross and she’s amazing. But……… after reading the Forth Element series I was expecting more fantasy, more super natural. In the Daemoniac almost everything “super natural” ends up with an explanation. It’s much more like a Sherlock Holmes novel.

But my disappointment ended with The Thirteenth Gate. Which brings in characters and lore from the Forth Element dropping them into 1888 London and New York. It was a rip-roaring adventure tale filled with mystery and danger.

(I do not think it’s necessary for you to have read the Forth Element books in order to enjoy this book. However, it will add a lot to the background story.)

I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but I will say that it kept me glued to my Kindle and I finished the book in only two days. The characters, the pace, the multiple threads all drive the story forward and I was almost afraid to blink in case I would miss something. The settings chosen for the book are grand and gritty and the contrast really adds to the action. The setting for the climax is so creepy that it gave me goose bumps. Just, wow, what a choice of setting and characters and action!

Two weak points in the book; One do we have to have Lady Vivienne’s smoking thrust into our face every other page? It just took me out of the story and distracted from an otherwise very deeply drawn character. Two Harry is a little too much like Nancy Drew. Even the way her hair is described made me think of the Girl Detective.

Bottom Line:

I loved it! The Thirteenth Gate fired on all cylinders, and kept the excitement coming. I hope we get a third Dominion Mystery because she certainly left it wide open for more adventure. This book totally made up for the slight disappointment I felt when reading the first book… and then some.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review: Empty Threat

By Danny Bell
Pages: 243
Date Finished: 7/15/17

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It


Book Blitz: Empty ThreatElana Black has the power to make herself fictional. But when she decides to start saving all the people in books and TV shows who die just for the sake of advancing the plot, she quickly learns that she’s not the only one with her powers.

All Elana wants to do is save people. But these others don’t want the stories to change, and they’ll do everything they can to stop her.

If you had the power to change fate… to create a happy ending where there wasn’t one before… would you do it if it meant risking your own?


A book for bookworms, and everyone who wishes they could find magic within themselves. I did a book blitz for Empty Threat and knew right away that I wanted to read this book.

Elana is socially awkward, and more than a little bit of a personal disaster, that is until she’s in her element with a book in hand or at the book store where she works. In fact, I see A LOT of myself in her (except for the ginger hair and living in L.A.) As I read the book I kept thinking “that’s exactly what would be going through my mind too,” or “I would totally feel that same way.”

Elana is such a great character. And she has a good supporting cast in Olivia, her bestie, and Claire, her boss.

The book is written from Elana’s perspective and so as the reader you only know as much as she does. The truth behind her powers and the larger world of those with similar powers remains mostly a mystery to us. I know that this will bother some readers, because the action just keeps up and you are left wanting to have your questions answered. (As I’m sure Elana is too.)

This setup leaves you hungry for more, for me that was good. I liked that there was mystery and undiscovered depth. It gave the world building what it needed to expand from a very narrow viewpoint to a much, much bigger one.

Bottom Line:

I felt like this book was written for me, or with me in mind or something. I connected so heavily with Elana from the very first chapter. Empty Threat is the start of something great. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Amazon / Goodreads

Book Blitz: The Cauldron Stirred

The Cauldron Stirred
by Judith Sterling
(Guardians of Erin, #1)
Publication date: July 21st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

Meet A New Book

I’ve been fascinated with the Otherworld ever since reading Stephen R Lawhead’s Paradise War Triology. The Cauldron stirred is not only about the Otherworld, and it’s set in Ireland a setting which I would like to read more books set in.

Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life.

At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate. For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her.

But Aengus is secretive, with good reason. He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld. Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland. Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.

Download an excerpt.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

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Review: Mirain

By Jacob Reifsteck
Pages: 592
Date Finished: April 15, 2017

Book Reviews- It Was OkayIt Was Okay


Princess Sofia, just recently turned old enough to have her own personal guards. The guards, Hector, an unproven, yet ambitious young knight and his sarcastic squire, Mark, sees this as an opportunity of a lifetime to guard the noble lady from the safety of her castle…but the lady has other plans. Her home, the land of Mirain, has prospered under years of peace, but the princess becomes alarmed at the news of possibly superstitious events at the outskirts of the kingdom. Even more alarming is that few knights bother to acknowledge them, preferring to instead compete in tournaments for personal glory and recognition. The princess drags her unwilling guards to investigate the reports of monsters in the far off corners of the realm. Soon, they discovers a much bigger problem than anyone anticipated.


I keep putting off writing this review, because I want to like this book, I really do. It just has too many problems. It felt like an unfinished or unedited book. But the promise of the book was there, in many little glimpses especially toward the latter half of the book.

The story is basically a coming of age tale for 3 characters Sophia, the crown princess, Hector he personal guard and Mark his squire. From naive young teens ready to take on the world to war weary veterans just desperate to help their friends survive the next onslaught.

The first problem is that the characters are too modern, especially Princess Sofia. The way she talked just ground a nerve, it didn’t fit with the rest of the story or setting. Especially when the characters use the phrase, “Just saying.” That being said her voice matured though out the book and by the end (finally) the dialogue fit the story.

Secondly, the mistakes! Several times characters were called by the wrong name. Once even a sentence was in the wrong place, which completely took me out of the story. The word knew was used instead of new, and there were other mistakes that really should have been caught by an editor.

Soap-Box-Rant: Also you can’t just steal the Uruk-hai from Tolkien. I’m pretty sure that’s copy right infringement or plagiarism or something. It’s one thing to make allusion to another work, or homage to it, but to just straight up take a part of his world and use it as your own that’s not good. They are not commonly used fantasy characters like elves, dwarves and what not they are characters made up by Tolkien for use in his world.

Bottom Line:

Please someone edit this book and put out a second edition! There is a good epic fantasy story hiding in this book, and I hope it will get the rewrite it deserves.

More info about Mirain from Ravenswood Publishers.

2016 Overview and Book of the Year

Ok so major fail on the 2016 reviews, it July 2017 and I am just now finishing them up. I didn’t even manage to read 35 books last year, but well it was an awful year. The good news is that I read a lot of things I really loved.

Read all of my 2016 Reviews.

The Rating System:

Book Reviews - Loved ItLoved It – 13

Book Reviews- Liked it AlotLiked It A lot – 9

Book Reviews - Liked ItLiked It – 3

Book Reviews- It Was OkayIt Was Okay – 4

Book Reviews - Kind BadKinda Bad- 0

Book Reviews - BadBad – 0

Book Reviews - It stunk It Stunk – 0

Total =  29       Goal =35


Re-Read A Book: none

Greek Mythology or Tragedy: The Seven Against Thebes

Poetry: none

Book of the Year

I knew, as soon as I finished reading it, that Rags and Ruins would be my pick for book of the year. It turns so many fantasy troupes on their heads and I just feel in love with the characters. From my review: “Bob Dixon can weave a tale. Rags and Ruins is a masterpiece, a must read for fantasy fans. “My bottom line: I loved it! From the first page to the last, I thought this book was adorable and the characters truly likable.”

Read my full review.

Rags leads an idyllic life for a goblin child—he spends his days playing in the landfill with his gargoyle friend Ladin, going fishing with his father Hargo in the river, and developing his love of music. His parents love him intensely, and his mother Calin is fiercely protective of him. How could he ask for anything more as he lives an enchanted life on the reservation on the outskirts of the “civilized” world, surrounded by mystical creatures and magic? Little does Rags realize that he is not a goblin but instead a human who was abandoned shortly after his birth and left in the landfill to be raised by the goblins as a way to fulfill an ancient prophecy of good and evil, twin brothers separated at birth and reunited in the thirteenth year of their life, one to unleash an ancient evil, the other the only hope to stop it from happening. A powerful tale of magic, music, and danger, Rags and Ruins is sure to thrill readers of all ages with its mix of adventure, intrigue, and humor—and if it doesn’t, they’ll have to answer to a furious goblin mother.

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” ― William Styron