Lost Stars Review for Star Wars Day

Lost Stars Review

I have always been a Star Wars fan.

 

I wasn’t a fan of the books. I never really wanted to read them until now. The new Star Wars movie has awaken (see what I did there?) my inner child and I want all thing Star Wars now! So I decided to pick up Claudia Gray’s Star Wars book called Lost Stars. I’m so happy that I did.

  • 5 out 5 Stars
  • Age Range: 12 – 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 – 12
  • Series: Journey to Star Wars: the Force Awakens
This thrilling Young Adult novel gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe, from the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire. Readers will experience these major moments through the eyes of two childhood friends–Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell–who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these two star-crossed lovers reunite, or will duty tear them–and the galaxy–apart?
Star Wars: Lost Stars also includes all-new post-Star Wars: Return of the Jedi content, as well as hints and clues about the upcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, making this a must-read for all Star Wars fans.
 
 
 
Tawney’s Review:
 
 
 
I was hesitant at first to read this book because I didn’t know what to think. A whole new universe is opening up to us with the new Star Wars movie. I didn’t want my childhood ruined again as it was when seeing Star Wars 1-3.
 
 

But I was glad I picked this book up! It was epic! Claudia did a fantastic job at bringing her own style to the Star Wars universe. She created two new character, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, who are drawn to the New Empire. We follow Thane and Ciena through very familiar territory and beyond what we know happened in the Star Wars saga. (Excitement dance!)

 

Claudia takes us through Thane and Ciena’s live from the moment they meet to after Return of the Jedi! It was so interesting to see what it was like through the entire Galactic Civil War and seeing Alderaan *tears, sniff sniff* being destroyed. Claudia did a wonderful job at connecting the new characters with old ones. It was fantastic to see these new characters perspective of the Star Wars Trilogy. Not to mention the surprise characters that popped in throughout the book. I won’t mention who. No spoilers here!

Don’t let the Romeo and Juliet blurb fool you. Sure there is romance. Who doesn’t like that? But there is way more to it than that. Adventure, action, and STAR WARS! The characters are well written and relatable. Both Thane and Ciena want to leave their homes to join the Imperial Academy. But as Alderaan is destroyed and the Death Star looms they grow distant. Thane joins the Rebellion and Ciena is loyal to the Empire. Will their love prevail such a divide? I just couldn’t put this book down. Darth Vader would have to pry it out of my hands for me to stop reading.

I really loved this book. It was everything I had hoped it would be. This book is perfect for any age. Any Star Wars fan should read Lost Stars because you won’t be disappointed. And if you’ve never read or seen Star Wars this book is perfect for you! It’s great for first timers. A galactic adventure awaits you at every turn of the page!

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About Claudia

Claudia Gray headshotClaudia Gray is a pseudonym. I would like to say that I chose another name so that no one would ever learn the links between my shadowy, dramatic past and the explosive secrets revealed through my characters. This would be a lie. In truth, I took a pseudonym simply because I thought it would be fun to choose my own name. (And it is.)
I write novels full-time, absolutely love it, and hope to be able to do this forever. My home is in New Orleans, is more than 100 years old, and is painted purple. In my free time I read, travel, hike, cook and listen to music. You can keep up with my latest releases, thoughts on writing and various pop-culture musings via TwitterTumblrPinterestGoodReadsInstagram or (of course) my own home page.
If you want to contact me, you can email me here, but your best bet is probably to Tweet me. I don’t do follows on Twitter, but I follow everyone back on Tumblr, Pinterest and GoodReads.

Love Tawney

Let’s Talk Writing

I’m in a slump. I finished two of my three YA fantasy books that are part of a series. I need to edit them. I need to do many things. But doubt is stopping me.

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There are many things that are causing the doubt to creep into my mind everyday. Here are a few examples: The market is full of so many wonderful YA fantasy books, some agents aren’t taking Ya fantasy submissions because the market is over saturated with them, you have so many ideas you want to move onto the next novel to write, this could be the one! I could go on and on.

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I’m also trying to find some writers to surround myself with. Critique partners, beta readers, or anyone who would be willing to help my writing advance and become better. I would reciprocate that as well. I just would love to find some friends who love books just as much as I do.

Moving is hard. I’ve been in Orlando for a year and half. It’s been tough leaving everything you know behind to start fresh in another state across the country.

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I don’t mind trying new things and doing out of the ordinary stuff. It keeps life adventurous. But you need people to do that with or life is lonely. I love writing in cafes and at home. I love going to writing classes. I love meeting up with people and writing with them. Talking books and where they are in their writing. I have a few wonderful friends that do that with me. I’m so lucky to have them.

I’m always looking for new friends but sometimes you think you find them and they never answer your text or call you back. I think I try a couple of times to get together with them and when I don’t get anything back…I get the hint. I can be a little out there with my personality. I get loud when I’m excited. I like to hug people.

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I’m reading Shonda Rhimes Year of Yes and it got me thinking…I say no a lot too. If it’s too hard I step back and go a different route. I don’t want difficult but isn’t that what makes a person stronger? I moved across country to a place I know no one… that is difficult. So I’ve decided to say yes to the things that scare me, like editing, querying and letting others read my novel. I’m going to be more adventurous and go to writing seminars out of state…by myself. I’m going to meet new people and not be afraid that they think I’m weird. I’m going to be me. If they don’t like me then I will shrug it off because it would be their loss not mine. I’m going to be brave and caring. I’m not going to let my fear hold me back.

So if you see a red head with a huge smile coming your way at a book or writing conference, that’s me. Say hi and be warned, I hug.

Love Tawney


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  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 10, 2015)

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. Her iconic characters—Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating—live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?

Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the before, Shonda’s introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.

And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda’s sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything.

The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn’t marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican and gay). And it chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech; when she learned to say yes to her health, yes to play and she stepped out of the shadows and into the sun; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.

This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too.

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride & Prejudice Review

I love Darcy.

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There is always that one book hunk that stays with you and follows you as you grow up. It was always the dashing-snobbish-oh-so-clever Fitzwilliam Darcy. I have the book in many different formats and all the different movies: Bride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones Diary (and book), Lost in Austen, Austenland (love the book too), Pride and Prejudice miniseries (Colin Firth) and Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightley.  I may be obsessed with this book.

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I dive into any new take on Pride and Prejudice. Some have been great while others have been less satisfying. Eligible is a wonderful modern take on this classic. I couldn’t put it down! Let’s take a look at Eligible.


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  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (April 19, 2016)
  • Language: English

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and ha
ven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When t

eir father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray. Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.

Order your book today!

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Tawney’s Review:

 

There will always be one Pride & Prejudice. There’s no disputing that. Jane Austen can’t be outdone but there are a few stories out there that have resonated with me. Eligible was one of the better Pride & Prejudice adaptions I have read. And I have read a lot.

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Eligible brings Elizabeth, Jane, Darcy, Bingley and the rest of the gang into the 21st century in a humorous story. The characters still have their wonderful personalities but are updated into our world. Liz is a journalist, Jane is a yoga teacher trying to have a baby by IVF and Darcy and Bingley are surgeons. There are plenty of surprising twist that take the characters off course from what we know.

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Sittenfeld did a wonderful job at modernizing the social aspect of Pride and Prejudice with CrossFit devotees, yoga, reality television and much more. There are still the social status issues and prejudice you find in the original with just a few little surprises here and there. I love that Kitty and Lydia have potty mouths. I can totally see them this way.

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The only problem I had was the Wickham character Jasper. He was the only character that didn’t feel true to the original and I had a hard time believing his faults. I really didn’t like his backstory either. It just didn’t seem to fit. But overall it didn’t take me from the story. I was invested from the start.

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Once I started reading I couldn’t put this book down. This is an engaging book that had my attention right away. It was an exciting retelling of my most favorite story full of wit and clever dialogue. The pace was fast and the words still reminiscent of Austen, which kept me entertained

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Should you read this? Yes! It’s a delightful modern take on Pride & Prejudice with great humor. It was fun to see all the characters living in modern America and the mayhem that follows. I highly recommend it if you love the original!

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Love Tawney

Release Day Blitz: The Rose and The Dagger

 

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We’re so excited that THE ROSE & THE DAGGER by Renée Ahdieh releases today and that we get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Renée Ahdieh, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN and a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER and an awesome candle from The Melting Library’s Etsy Store, US Only! So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Let’s take a look at The Rose and The Dagger!


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About The Book:

Title: THE ROSE & THE DAGGER

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Release Date: April 26, 2016

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 432

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks 

 

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

Praise for The Rose and the Dagger:

“Above all there is the shattering, triumphant catharsis of love… In a story about stories, love is ‘the power to speak without words.’ Thrillingly full of feeling.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Fiery romance, a spirited heroine, shifting loyalties… With more than a few heartrending twists and turns.”—Booklist 

 

Read an Excerpt here!


 

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About Renée:

Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, da
nce salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters. She’s also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as an active member of theScience Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

WebsiteTwitter | FacebookGoodreads | Tumblr  |Pinterest | Instagram

 


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN, a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER, and a His Calipha candle from The Melting Library’s Etsy Store, US Only.

 

Ends on May 3rd at Midnight EST!

Rafflecopter 

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Thank you Rockstar Book Tours for  including us on this wonderful celebration!

Love Tawney

Spotlight Thursday: A Torch Against the Night

Today we are excited for Sabaa Tahir’s anticipate sequel to An Ember in the Ashes! We can’t wait to get our hands on this book.

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Check out our review of An Ember in the Ashes here. A must read book! But today we are spotlighting the sequel since the cover has been revealed!

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It’s gorgeous! Not only has Sabaa released the cover but also a sneak peek of the book! She spoils us.

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Let’s take a look at A Torch Against the Night!


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  • Series: An Ember in the Ashes (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (August 30, 2016

A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

Buy Links:

 

 

 

An exclusive sneak peek from A Torch Against the Night has been released and it makes us hunger for more. Read the first chapter here!

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About the author: Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Follow Sabba on twitterPinterestGoodreadstumblr, and her blog!

 


It’s going to be a great year with so many hot anticipated books releasing. My wallet may not like it but my bookshelves will! Bring it!

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Love Tawney

The Land of 10,000 Madonnas book tour!

Today we are happy to be part of a book tour with a heartwarming story!

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Let’s take a look at The Land of 10,000 Madonnas!


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About the book:

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (April 19, 2016)

Born with a hole in his heart, Jesse Serrano dies at 17, and though his loved ones have
always known he would die young, his family and friends are left bereft and confused at how to sort through the grieving process. But Jesse had a plan for his final goodbye: plane tickets and a map to Europe mailed to his cousins, best friend, and girlfriend without much of an explanation as to the trip’s purpose. For his cousins, Cal, Ben, and Trevor, there is the guilt of having been caught up more in the last years of high school than in their cousin’s life, and for his best friend, Matt, and girlfriend Lillian, the trip comes as a shove back into the world after a year of grief. It takes a while for the group to become comfortable with one another, particularly Cal and Lillian. Cal is carrying a notebook titled “Juvenalia” left to her by Jesse, which she refuses to share; Lillian is angry and prideful about sharing the memory of Jesse; and it takes numerous explosive fights for them to break through their protective walls and relate. The group figure out their mission and somewhat resentfully and hopefully trudge their way through Europe on their quest.

Order your book today!

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Tawney’s Review: 

Books are a great resource to go places we are most likely not to go. They take us across the world on an adventure with the protagonist. I’m a sucker for travel books. The Land of 10,000 Madonnas is one of those books.

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Jesse Serrano dies young from a heart condition and leaves expense paid trips through Europe for his friends. The mystery to why he did this is left in clues of Jesse’s handwritten journal for everyone anthey are to take this trip to figure out Jesse’s end goal. But also to help them cope with his death.

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I loved the multiple view points and the short flashbacks. I was happy to get into each character’s head. I didn’t really like some of the characters because a few annoyed me.  Lillian and Cal seemed so selfish acting like this trip was a burden. I just wanted to slap them. Their friend just died! They seemed to forget it was all for Jesse, who by far was my favorite character. We still get to know him through his journals, which is a great way to access that knowledge for the reader. It was intriguing.  I did love the fact we were given a chance to know each character and their connection with Jesse. Each one had a different experience but in the end they were drawn together by their grief.

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Hattemer did a wonderful job at inserting the reader into a vivid descriptive trip. There were humorous parts to keep the story lighthearted and emotional parts on loss to connect with the characters.

Should you read it? Yes! A wonderful story of 3 friends dealing with grief that’s both hilarious and heartbreaking.

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Thank you Random House Kids for sending a copy of The Land 10,000 Madonnas for review. In no way does this affect my opinion.

Love Tawney

Spotlight Thursday: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High

The world loves super heroes….who happen to be all men.

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But now there seems to be a movement and it’s about damn time! We are seeing more movie and book news out there about heroine!

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Random House in participation with DC, is releasing a cool concept of DC Superhero Girls! There are even some cute toys I might have to buy! I’m a Harley Quinn girl so this is fantastic to have all these amazing female heroines together! Check out all the info here.

Let’s take a look at Wonder Woman at Super Hero High!


  • Series: Dc Super Hero Girls
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 1, 2016)

 

This groundbreaking new middle grade series follows DC Comics’ most iconic female Super Heroes and Super-Villains . . . as high schoolers. At Super Hero High, the galaxy’s most powerful teens nurture their powers and master the fundamentals of what it means to be a hero.

Buy Links:

 


 

Tawney’s Review: 

I love the women of DC universe. So it’s nice to see a book about their younger selves. Super Hero High is home to the world’s young future heroes and villains. Enter Wonder Woman, who has never left home before, as the new student. Oh the mayhem that follows!

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Wonder Woman At Super Hero High is the first book in the new DC Super Hero Girls series by Lisa Yee, which focuses on all our favorite female super heroes and villains in their teenage years. A breath of fresh air in a world dominated by male superheroes.

 

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Yee does a wonderful job at keeping the characters traditional to their older selves, while keeping it age appropriate. It’s nice to see Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Hawkgirl, Katana, and more brought to life with new energy and vigor.There are also familiar male faces such as Beast Boy, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Captain Cold, and more, but this book emphasizes the ladies of the hero universe, which by god we needed!  Yee brings some new excitement into this world for young readers. This is a great book with humor, action, drama and girl power.

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It was fun to see Wonder Woman navigate the world of teens and social media with unwanted attention, bullies, the pressure to please parents and more. Lee does a wonderful job at throwing these obstacles together, which all teens experience and can relate too.  One thing that helps Wonder Woman is friendship. Friendship was the heart of the story and the girls around Wonder Woman play a key role in the novel. It was just fun seeing all the characters I grew up with together in one setting. The book ends wonderfully by introducing the next Heroine in the series that makes me yearn for more.

Should you read it? Yes! A fantastic read that takes what we know of the DC world and adds a refreshing new light to the heroines’ younger selves. A super read that all ages would enjoy.

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Thank you Random House for sending a copy of Wonder Woman at Super Hero High for review. In no way does this affect my opinion.

 

Love Tawney