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Fiend by Peter Stenson **WARNING: Spoiler In Last Paragraph**

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Book Description:

There’s more than one kind of monster.

When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he’s not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations.

But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived.

The funny thing is, Chase’s life was over long before the apocalypse got here, his existence already reduced to a stinking basement apartment and a filthy mattress and an endless grind of buying and selling and using. He’s lied and cheated and stolen and broken his parents’ hearts a thousand times. And he threw away his only shot at sobriety a long time ago, when he chose the embrace of the drug over the woman he still loves.

And if your life’s already shattered beyond any normal hopes of redemption…well, maybe the end of the world is an opportunity. Maybe it’s a last chance for Chase to hit restart and become the man he once dreamed of being. Soon he’s fighting to reconnect with his lost love and dreaming of becoming her hero among civilization’s ruins.

But is salvation just another pipe dream?

Propelled by a blistering first-person voice and featuring a powerfully compelling antihero, Fiend is at once a riveting portrait of addiction, a pitch-black love story, and a meditation on hope, redemption, and delusion—not to mention one hell of a zombie novel.

My Rating: 3/5

I first picked up this book in the bargain section at work (Barnes & Noble shoutout) and it was initially the cover that drew me in (usually the case when I’m browsing for any random book).  The pink!  The yellow!  The skull and cross needles!  You’ve got me intrigued Mr. Stenson, bravo!  Then, the inside book jacket – that first line, “When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he’s not too concerned.”  If that doesn’t have you reading more into this, it’s CLEARLY not the book for you so just go away while I enjoy this interestingly silly book jacket.  Then we get into a drug + zombie combo for this book.  Sold.  What a concept, I think this is going to be a hilarious and VERY entertaining ride ahead of me.  I’m also feeling that anyone who goes into this book with a notion that it’s serious is just a complete moron and doesn’t deserve to enjoy it the way it should be.  As I’m writing this, I have not yet started this book.  I wanted my first impression to be raw and not by any means influenced.  Let’s see how wrong I am:

Well, I wasn’t too far off!  This book starts off slightly comical and tends to get more serious the deeper in we go.  One of my favorite quotes from this book is from pg. 6 where Chase describes a bloodied, undead child: “I turn to see Typewriter at the top of the stairs and then look back to the girl sitting there like a used tampon.”  I’m glad I didn’t have any liquids in my mouth at the time because this line had me cracking up 😄

One thing I have to complain about though – lack of quotations, arghhh!  It drove me nuts, but luckily, it was never confusing knowing who you were reading as so it wasn’t too bad.  This really could have made for an annoying read.

Finally, my rating dropped from a 3.5 to a 3 because the ending sucked.  It was left open ended and not in a good way.  I literally said what the fuck? after I read the last sentence… so his girlfriend KK just leaves him and doesn’t off herself so presumably she’ll eventually do it or rot to death in the prison.. alone.  Then Chase is left in the real world.  Alone.  Will he off himself eventually?  Does he continue north like he was planning on doing?  Does he sit there high as fuck until the chucks get him?  Don’t like this.  I would have rather it been told for me.

Overall this was a fun read.  If you’re into zombies and cursing like a sailor while reading about people trying to survive off of dope, this is your book!

Happy Reading! xo

Emotions by Arnulfo Cantarero

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Book Description:

Jason Ariaz is not your average 22 year old. He has been genetically and cybernatically enhanced but that’s only the beginning. He is an emotionless extraterrestrial born to human parents and living amongst us. Both him and his implanted thinking computer were damaged on landing and must go through life as less than what they really are. The purpose of their mission: to gain permanent emotions from the more primitive society that is Earth. If he is successful, he will be the first of his species to do so in nearly 200,000 years.
Hope lies in the fact that he is capable of emotional episodes and he has been able to forge true friendships. However, he does have the chance of completing his mission if he can truly care for Ariel, the closest human in his life. But he better know his heart soon. Their lives are in danger of ending tonight, unless he can recover what his species has lost.

My Rating: 2.5/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received Emotions by Arnulfo Cantarero for free via himself in exchange for a review. Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest. That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

This book…. this book has given me a lot to talk about (nothing I would consider spoilers but I do talk about some scenes I find over the top so I will leave it up to you to decide your fate) and I believe it’s one of the longest reviews I have ever written:

I need to start this one off by being thankful that I’m not the only one bothered by the layout of this book!  I read other reviews and was so relieved to not be the only person to notice this.  Every 2-3 sentences, there’s a break.  That part’s not as bad as the chapters in the middle of a page!  Whyyyy?!  Please, if there’s anything the author can take away from this review – start the chapters on their own page!  I know this may sound anal, maybe even nit picky, but this is just from my point of view as a reader of what I’d like to see from a book I’m reading.  I get annoyed when authors try to do something ‘different‘ with their books – such as the writing style, but only rarely does it work.

Now that I got that off my chest, on to the book itself:

For a Sci-Fi book, I think it lacks Sci-Fi.  Jason, the main character, is an alien with a built in computer.  He’s built to resemble a human, he bleeds their blood, etc.  If anything, this kid’s just bionic.  I don’t get any alien vibes from him.  More Terminator, less Fifth Element and it never goes into much details about himself after that so it really just becomes this silly “special teenage boy” story which was kind of disappointing.

This book for me started off on a higher note the gradually fades as we head towards the end.  Normally, I feel a good dedication can make for a promising story:

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Then not too long into the book, we run into a pretty funny scene where Jason tries tequila to revive the same icky response he got from peanut butter only to accidentally get super wastey pants.

Again, another promising indication that this book is going to be heading in a great direction!  But, my train ride stopped here and I should have gotten off at my stop.
Now, this book tends to be a bit confusing (another thing I seem to share in common with some of my fellow reviewers), so before I clarify this, I’m going to explain a scene I reallllly disliked and then I’ll elaborate on the confusing aspect of this.

The cop scene.  Ugh, talk about leaving a bad taste in my mouth.  I don’t care what’s been going around the media these days but most cops aren’t naturally that abusive.  Yes, some are very intense BUT THEY DO A DANGEROUS JOB and should NOT expect a stranger to not harm them.  They need/should be on their guard at all times.  People are nutso nowadays.  On top of how over the top the cops in this book were written out to be, you have a car full of middle school students driving like the little fucking tards that they are at that age and egging on the cop by being COMPLETELY disrespectful to him!  I really can’t stand how cops are being portrayed in this scene!  It’s unrealistic and obnoxious.  I guess the way the middle school kids reacted was normal, they’re all entitled and sooo cool at that age, so that seemed somewhat accurate, but nonetheless, this was a little tasteless.  Yes, it’s a book, but I don’t like over the top reading unless it’s purely made up.  For example: authority of another world.  I don’t want to all of a sudden feel like the author is preaching their personal views on me, which is exactly what I got from this scene and several others from this book.  This isn’t an autobiography so don’t make me feel like I’m reading one.

Now, as I read further into the book, my opinion on the above scene changed a bit.  I went from being pretty agitated to maybe having an understanding of it.  I keep getting hints throughout this book that it’s not based in the U.S. with such terms being used as “kilometers” but there hasn’t been a clear definition that I recall of where they’re located.  I assumed the U.S. without any indication (because being that’s where I’m from that’s obviously my destination of natural choice) as well as the author’s mini bio on the back cover (stating he’s been to Colorado and lives in Cali – CALL ME CRAZY IF THAT’S NOT ANOTHER INDICATION).  Therefore, I don’t know how law enforcement is perceived in other locations around the world.  I would only continue to be upset with said scene if it represented the law upholders I know in the U.S.

So if you hadn’t figured out I was confused on the location of this book, between the police scene and a little further into the book, there was no indication of past, present or future change and when they were in the vehicle in the police scene, it was mentioned that they were in the 10th grade.  Now my question is, why is Jason’s dad letting a bunch of middle schoolers go to a beach house alone and acknowledging and condoning underage drinking?  The back says Jason’s 22 but the pages are saying otherwise.  Whatdafuq?!  I’m so confused!  AND YET, THIS IS ANOTHER CONFUSION I SEEM TO SHARE WITH FELLOW REVIEWERS (not all, but some, chill out).  If this kid is actually 22 and his sister is going to drink as well, who is younger than he mind you, then how old could SHE possibly be?  Also, if they’re of legal drinking age whenever that might be for where they’re located, then why do they need daddy’s permission??

At this point, if you haven’t caught on, I’m getting more and more disinterested and my rating of this book keeps going down.  I started speed reading just to get through this.

Let’s move on to the hurricane scene, shall we?

A hurricane rarely comes on as a surprise.  That’s one of the benefits of hurricanes (if such a thing from a natural disaster) is it forms and you usually get a few days to decide whether or not you’re gonna pack up your shit and leave town or prepare to hopefully not be blown away or carried on by flooding.  The hurricane in this book just shows up out of nowhere and apparently not one person watches the news or checks the weather which I have a hard time believing.  This does not happen!  Hurricanes are not tornadoes!  They don’t just show up and leave in a matter of minutes!  Hurricanes last dayssss!  I live on the East Coast.  I’ve been through several hurricanes.  They have to form and this one just basically blinked itself into existence.  Now you may be thinking I’m a picky reader but I can’t help it and I won’t help it.

How should I conclude this…. hmmm… this book obviously gave me a lot to talk about.  That being said, I might have been harsh but I don’t think this book is awful.  I like the concept, I just think this book needs some fine tuning and different paths to follow.  I would be willing to pass this book on because not everyone reads the same or has the same opinions and I’d be curious to see other views.

But as another all too harsh opinion I am going to share (which this book has influenced but it wasn’t the majority rules vote on this decision) is I am done with self published books – or at least taking a very long needed break.  I think self publishing is the worst thing to happen to books next to ebooks.  Anyone can now write a “book” and “publish” it.  I do feel bad for the very rare books that are self published and are great (such as Galadria: Peter Huddlestone and The Rites of Passage by Miguel Lopez de Leon) and that I might be avoiding now because I have found some.  But they are so few and far between and I’m tired of wasting what little reading time I have on these at the moment.  Not saying that all well known published books are automatically fantastic but at least I know the writing will be put together.

Happy Reading! xo

UPDATE:
I wrote this review a little while ago and got caught up in life and wasn’t able to get around to posting it.  Upon editing this, I found some photos on my phone of pages that I wanted to quote/point out.  Instead of trying to squeeze it into the above words, I’m just going to post them down here and give a quick two cents on each one that will back up conversations I had above:

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Pg. 177: Okay – I hate rape scenes. I was not a fan of these TWO scenes, but if you’re going to write one…. can we use the word fuck or any other word but do… I can’t imagine a person as disgusting as a rapist choose to use the term “I’m going to do you….”
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Pg. 251: Another example of a personal opinion thrown into a fictional book.  I don’t know where this dude’s from, and by dude I’m referring to the author, but he clearly hasn’t lived where I lived aka Chicago or currently in VA.  The people I’ve driven around, including myself, are aggressive as shit.

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Pg. 64: Another thing I felt was a personal issue that the author threw into the book… it made me laugh and wonder if he’s had any personal issues in this department.

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Pg. 29: Alas, not all is negative!  This last sentence made me laugh!

2016 February Bookhaul

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Total Books = 16
Total Price = $13.62

I almost forgot my early month thrift going when I first started putting my books together!  Somehow, I forgot to add them to my haul list :O *gasp*

Barnes and Noble – $7.50
1.) Doctor Who The Encyclopedia by Gary Russel; paperback

Thrift Store – $6.12
1.) The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan; hardcover
2.) Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling; paperback
3.) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; paperback
4.) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson; paperback

Giveaways – FREE
1.) Emotions by Arnulfo Cantarero; paperback: A special thanks to the author, Arnulfo Cantarero, for sending this my way!  Please check him out on Goodreads!
2.) Galadria: Peter Huddleston and the Rites of Passage by Miguel Lopez de Leon; paperback (via Goodreads giveaway)
3.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling; paperback (special thanks to @thebookelves Instagram giveaway)
4.) Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs; paperback: (special thanks to @thebookelves Instagram giveaway)
5.) Orchards by  ; paperback: (special thanks to @thebookelves Instagram giveaway)
6.) Delirium by Lauren Oliver; paperback: (special thanks to @thebookelves Instagram giveaway)
7.) Unwind by  ; paperback (special thanks to @thebookelves Instagram giveaway)
8.) Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Mists of the Three Lakes by Miguel Lopez de Leon; paperback: (A special thanks to the author, Miguel Lopez de Leon, for sending this my way!  Please check him out on Goodreads!)
9.) Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Knights of the Leaf by Miguel Lopez de Leon; paperback: (A special thanks to the author, Miguel Lopez de Leon, for sending this my way!  Please check him out on Goodreads!)
10.) Atlantia by Ally Condie; hardcover: (special thanks to @author_jenniferparr Instagram giveaway)

ARCs – FREE
1.) America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie; paperback

Not a bad month guys, not a bad month…

Happy Reading! xo

The Painted Lady by Amanda Moncrefe

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Book Description:

Sometimes the risks may not be worth the sacrifice…

Asha St. Claire is a young single mother who was willing to sacrifice whatever it took to secure financial freedom for her and her little boy. She believed those sacrifices finally paid off when she won a full academic scholarship to Natchez State University, a remote Mississippi college hundreds of miles away from her Chicago home-town. What she wasn’t aware of, however, was that in order to accept the scholarship, she would be forced to leave her son behind. Determined on becoming economically secure, Asha sacrifices her immediate wants, accepts the scholarship, and permits temporary custodial rights of her son to her mother in order to pursue her degree.

Still reeling from the separation from her son, Asha is completely caught off guard when she meets Delphi, a man who not only rattles her focused and well laid plans for the future, but also every sensory nerve that makes her a female.
Delphi has everything Asha could ever want; however she finds he often holds back if pressed to reveal his past. Can she trust him enough to move forward and build the secured future she’s dreamed of? Or is his constant hesitation a sign that he is completely wrong for both her and her son?

Delphi Allen is a man who knows what he wants-and what he wants is Asha. In his single-minded pursuit, he chooses to ignore past events in his life that could negatively impact both their futures. Can he convince Asha that her current choices won’t make her happy without revealing secrets he’s tried to forget?

Or will his decision and her sacrifice ultimately cost them both?

My Rating: 0/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received The Painted Lady by Amanda Moncrefe for free via Goodreads giveaway in exchange for a review. Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest. That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

The cover is so pretty and intriguing – but this is NOT the book I thought it was going to be.  I read up to page 35 and I can’t do it anymore.  I just didn’t like the content (and wouldn’t have entered the giveaway for this book if I had known).  IT’S VERY DIRTAYYYY!  I’m no prude, but I prefer my porn on screen and less “I’m gonna poke your ass all day in class..” type of thing….

Okay, since this is my blog, I’m going full force.  I was a little nicer on GR and the like, because I know I wasn’t the right audience for this and I’m not a complete dick.  It’s not fair for someone to judge something that they don’t like in the first place.  It’s like me saying a song is terrible because I can’t stand the genre of music.  Doesn’t make it a terrible song because I don’t like the style, get mah drift?  Again, I did not know this going in to the book.  BUT – this is my blog.  If the author or whoever cares to read a good review on this book and made it this far – wellll – that’s their fault.

One thing that threw me off – this is an urbanish book.  Red flag numero uno.  The other thing was how disgusting the males treat the females.  This dude is really gonna poke some girl in the ass while she’s in class because he likes “making her squirm” and then I get a wonderful description of how wet her pants were getting – again I only read 35 pages and this isn’t the first descriptive content you get to read OH and these people barely know each other.  If someone even accidentally touches my ass like that, you guarantee if I’m in class, my pencil’s going straight through their hand.  Glad this author writes about self respecting women.

Don’t get me wrong, I can read sex scenes, I’m down with the putang!  But there’s a right way of writing it and then there’s a pathetic way.  Needless to say, this writer did the latter.

So yeah, unless you want to read a rude, hard nippling, ass poking, disrepectful piggish book – YOU’VE FOUND IT!

Summary: Men are disrespectful pigs and women are eager tramps.

Also, I’m sad this book has a small setting in Chicago.  Being I’m from the Chicagoland area, I know we’re better than this…

This book is so stupid, I can’t even turn it into a craft.  What a waste of a pretty cover.

Happy Reading! xo

Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Rites of Passage by Miguel Lopez de Leon

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Book Description:

The GALADRIA trilogy is about Peter Huddleston, a lonely boy who discovers that he is the heir to the throne of the amazing golden realm of GALADRIA! Armed with his trusty boomerang, an assortment of magical trinkets, and his friendly white tiger, Rune, Peter charges into dangerous and magical adventures in this action packed series! Filled with watermelon sized ladybugs, ancient oracles, enchanted weapons, water dwelling monsters, a 3000 room manor, and a troop of lovable, kooky characters, the GALADRIA series is an exciting collection you’ll cherish!

My Rating: 4/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Rites of Passage by Miguel Lopez de Leon for free via Goodreads giveaway in exchange for a review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

This book is so cute and fun!  I entered this giveaway several times and was excited to find out I had finally won!

It’s a super quick read, only 159 pages long and I would definitely classify it as a middle grade read.  It’s a pretty basic concept story but with it’s own fun twists!  Each character has their own huge, identifying personality, different from the others which makes it a memorable, quite silly at times, read.  But don’t let that fool you – there’s also some eeriness lurking along with a great battle 😀

For us older people, this is a great breaking book (in between reads) to just relax and enjoy the ride!  For the younger, this would be more than a ride but an experience.  I would definitely recommend this for people who want an easy read with whimsical characters full of adventures around every corner with a touch of magic!

I really hope to one day get my hands on the 2nd book so I can continue following Peter and see what he does with Galadria :]

Happy Reading! xo

The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston

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Book Description:

Lie, torture, kill—there’s nothing Chris and Derek wouldn’t do for their younger brothers…

When Chris wakes up tied to a chair in a dark basement, he knows that he’s trapped—and why. He shot and killed Derek’s little brother. He had his reasons, but no matter how far Derek goes to uncover the truth about that night, Chris’s story won’t change. It can’t. There is far too much at stake…
Derek is desperate to prove his brother didn’t deserve to die. And if kidnapping his brother’s killer is the only way to the truth, than he’ll go to extremes. But Chris’s truth is far more dangerous than Derek could have imagined, and knowing could cost both their lives…

My Rating: 2.5/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston for free via Sourcebooks Publishing in exchange for a review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

Let’s start off with: the dedication – his kid was inspiration?  Either they have a crazy back story or he means inspiration to keep writing.  Let’s hope that’s what he means 😛

I’m kind of tired of reading these books about siblings that get along.  I grew up with 2 brothers.  That’s now how it works when your 10 and 16.  Especially angsty 16 and confused 10.  Even through tragedy, it’s usually short lived.

^Okay so, I tend to write out my thoughts as I go and if I’m being honest, my opinion did change a bit on this.  I later understood more of the “protective brother” thing at the plot twist.  Turned out to not be as cliché lame as I thought BUT it did also make me think the main character was a little nutso.

This book wasn’t HORRIBLE – but it was a little predictable and I just clearly couldn’t relate (besides the main thing happening here, I also dislike most sports SO sitting through all of the baseball parts was a bit of a struggle,  I really didn’t care), nor was I feeling any emotion the author was going for.  I didn’t feel sad/scared/anxious/sympathy… I really just wanted to see how the book ended.  And yes, it made my eyebrows rise, it was worth reading once, but then I threw it to the side and probably won’t ever touch it again.

And for the sake of being petty, I hate the page breakers.  I looks like someone dropped their fat tipped marker on the page.  Ew.

I don’t typically like these type of stories, but if there’s a HUGE twist in the end that blows my mind, then of course I’m gonna love it!  But this just didn’t have that and it just fell kind of flat.  I personally wouldn’t hand this out as a recommendation.

If you read this, let me know what you think!

Happy Reading! xo

The Adventures of Miss Petitfour by Anne Michaels

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Book Description:

Miss Petitfour enjoys having adventures that are “just the right size – fitting into a single, magical day.” She is an expert at baking and eating fancy iced cakes, and her favorite mode of travel is par avion. On windy days, she takes her sixteen cats out for an airing: Minky, Misty, Taffy, Purrsia, Pirate, Mustard, Moutarde, Hemdela, Earring, Grigorovitch, Clasby, Captain Captain, Captain Catkin, Captain Cothespin, Your Shyness and Sizzles. With the aid of her favorite tea party tablecloth as a makeshift balloon, Miss Petitfour and her charges fly over her village, having many little adventures along the way. Join Miss Petitfour and her equally eccentric felines on five magical outings — a search for marmalade, to a spring jumble sale, on a quest for “birthday cheddar”, the retrieval of a lost rare stamp and as they compete in the village’s annual Festooning Festival. A whimsical, beautifully illustrated collection of tales that celebrates language, storytelling and small pleasures, especially the edible kind!

My Rating:  4/5

**I would like to start off by saying that I received The Adventures of Miss Petitfour by Anne Michaels for free via LibraryThing giveaway in exchange for a review.  Although I am super grateful and excited for any opportunity at receiving a book for free, I am also very strict with being honest.  That being said, giveaways do not impact my reviews.**

Well…. this is one of those “whoopsie” moments.  I entered in giveaway based on the first few words I saw such as “Mary Poppins” and “16 cats” and was sold!  NOT realizing this was a children’s book 😄

Either way, I still read it.  This was an adorable book!  I wish my niece were more than 4 months old, cause I’d totally give it to her!  This is a perfect book for a little girl (but not THAT little, let’s face it, she doesn’t even know I’m her aunt yet..).

Can I point out these crazy cute illustrations throughout the book (done by: Emma Block):

And the super cute built in pink ribbon bookmark <3<3 Which is kind of dangerous when you live in a household full of kitties.  I was attacked several times.  You would think someone writing about 16 kitties would kno – WAIT A MINUTE!!

This:

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..is the town I hope to live in one day!

And the last thing that I thought was just so neat was how you learn as you read, but this was incorporated in a way that’s fun and being apart of the stories, you don’t feel like your learning (nor would you have to stop to look up the word/definition).  Very thoughtful!

So being this IS a children’s book – I would definitely recommend it to little girls.  Can’t really say an age group because I haven’t been around many kids but I would assume 5-8 years old?  I don’t know.. you tell me 😛

Happy Reading!