ARCs, YA Contemporary, YA Fiction, YA Romance

ARC REVIEW: Kiss Collector by Wendy Higgins (Dec 2018)

Male, female, and all the other ways we categorize each other – we’re all just people – individual personalities, making mistakes and trying to get by.

Synopsis: When seventeen-year-old Zae Monroe gets cheated on by the only guy she’s ever loved, then watches her parents’ marriage crumble, she decides to forget about relationships and turn the tables on the boys of the world. It’s time to take what she wants, and what she wants are kisses. Athletes, musicians, poets, and bad boys—their lips are all on her agenda, and it’s time to collect. Zae proposes a contest with her friends to see who can kiss the most boys during spring break.

To be published on December 18, 2018 by HarperTeen

e-ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review

Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Romance

Themes: squad, friendships, foreign travel, foreign languages, dating, emotions, feelings, divorce, family, siblings, high school, classes, poetry, prom

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I’m taking back my life, one kiss at a time.

I have to say, I was a little bit underwhelmed – I was expecting it to be more lighthearted than it turned out to be. There was a little bit too much drama than I cared for and Zae wasn’t really that likeable.

I’ve never read a book by Wendy Higgins before, but Kiss Collector didn’t quite make me keen to pick any of them up.

All that said, the only reason I didn’t DNF this and kept going are those poems (Wendy sure knows how to write those poems…) and the little mystery about the poet (I mean, I figured it out right away, but I still wanted the confirmation 😅)

Ode to the straw that fits in the pouch that rests in your hand.

The straw that meets your lips, pink as blossoms.

The proud, cylindrical piece of plastic that stands up to greet you with its chest out, ready to be used by you, to quench you.

Oh, to be that straw, partially submerged in 66 percent fruit juice,

And partially submerged in your mouth. Enjoy, little straw, enjoy.

Thankfully, it did have a very sweet ending, that made me just a little bit less regretful for reading it… but then I did find another book boyfriend so maybe it was worth it after all. Now, if only I actually get to finishing those #SwoonySaturdate drafts I have in mind…

Have you read any of Wendy Higgin’s works before?

Do you like poems embedded within novels?

Sincerely Peachy (1)

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ARCs, YA Fiction, YA Romance

ARC REVIEW: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera (Oct 2018)

I guess that’s any relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.

My synopsis: Arthur is an intern at a high-powered New York law firm, with big dreams and a big future. Ben just went through a bad breakup and to make matters worse, he has to see his ex in summer school. The two meet and sparks fly – but will those sparks only last one summer?

To be published October 9, 2018 by HarperTeen

e-ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review

Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Romance, YA Coming-of-Age, YA Romantic Comedy

Themes: LGBT, dating, finding each other, New York, city life, moving on, breakups, Broadway, fandom, writing, fantasy fiction, destiny, fate, the universe, best friends, friendships, bumps in relationships

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Before anything else – Fansens, you’re going to love this – the title is inspired by Dear Evan Hansen‘s track “Only Us” and the book (at least, the ARC is!) is actually divided into 4 different sections: What If, It’s Us, And Only Us, and the epilogue, What if it’s you and What if it’s me?

I always thought love was about the showstopper moments. No dialogue, no filler. But if the quiet parts are filler, maybe filler’s underrated.

That said, What If It’s Us is a sure-to-be-loved contemporary romance that immediately starts out with a hilarious meet-cute scene. I literally laughed out loud.

It’s your typical summer romance – Ben is an NYC resident with no big hopes for the future, and Arthur is a promising young man headed to one of the Ivy Leagues. The question is whether they will pursue a romance such as theirs when they well know that they will part ways after the summer, in a few weeks.. then a few days. Then add to that countless Broadway references… countless. I mean, this book have me obsessed with Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton within a few chapters! I wouldn’t quite call myself a full-fledged Hamilfan or Fansen yet, but I’m quite sure I’ll be a pretty easy convert, all I need is to go and watch the shows on Broadway… hopefully some time this year??

Like I said, the romance between Arthur & Ben is pretty straightforward and pretty much what you’d expect from this genre. What I particularly enjoyed is the friendship between Ben and Dylan – they’re best friends and Dylan is so funny and his personality is pretty much a scene-stealer!

Dylan cuddles up next to me and Samantha accepts it because if she’s in this for the long run, this is her new life.

I love friendships like this. It’s so precious. There’s also Arthur’s best friends and his office squad – this story is just overflowing with great friendships, and it’s one of its major themes.

Other than the fact that it totally made me love Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly memorable read, but it’s definitely one you should check out if you’re already a fan of either Becky Albertalli or Adam Silvera – meanwhile, I couldn’t tell which POV was written by whom… if I have to pick, I mostly liked Arthur’s chapters 🙂

Thank you HarperCollins for my review copy!

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Thanks for reading!

BTW, Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers out there – and to your families ❤

Are you planning to read What If It’s Us?

Have you read any books by Becky Albertalli and/or Adam Silvera, and did you like it/them?

Sincerely Peachy (1)

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ARCs, YA Fiction, YA Thriller

ARC REVIEW: Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson (May 2018)

But the truth is so much simpler, and so much more complicated.

Synopsis: Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide. Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive.

To be published on May 29, 2018 by Razorbill

Print ARC provided by publisher through BookishFirst

Genres: YA Mystery & Suspense, YA Romance

Themes: abusive relationships, lies, sex with a minor, elopement, running away, regret, starting over, addiction, parenting, acting, Shakespeare

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Simply told – the lies they never told me? Well, it’s that this was going to be more predictable than the little murder-mystery I found while reading an upcoming YA scifi, This Splintered Silence or that mysterious poet in the upcoming YA contemporary romance, Kiss CollectorSo for a thriller’s predictability level, that’s pretty bad.

It was that “shocking ending” promised in the promo and the ARC foreword that set my standards really high. I don’t quite remember the exact wording anymore, but I was super excited going into this.

At the time, I was impressed with myself, when I thought I only guessed part of the twist less than halfway through. But then as the novel approached the climax, I just kept guessing little bits and pieces, found lots of obvious lying around within the text. But yet, I convinced myself – oh, I bet the author is trying to misguide me here only to throw that shocker in the end. So needless to say, until I turned that last page, I was still expecting that so-called “shocking ending” which is only ever THE satisfying solution to a suspenseful read. Alas, I saw all of it coming. EVERYTHING. And I didn’t know who to blame. I don’t even read that much thriller…

…life is messy, and weird, and hard, and no one story is the absolute truth.

On a positive note, I thought it was fun to read the parallel POVs and neither Gabe nor Elyse was particularly irritating, so that’s a plus. Also, I did particularly enjoy the Romeo & Juliet rehearsal scenes – oh to parse Shakespeare’s play and characters, what joy!

Overall, for anyone looking for a thriller that will keep you guessing, I wouldn’t particularly recommend this – instead I’ll suggest you read Bad Girls with Perfect Faces (I didn’t even know I was supposed to be guessing, so I never saw the twist coming, read it in one sitting, too!) or One of Us Is Lying (I guessed this before the big reveal, but it kept me guessing anyway! I was never 100% sure throughout).

The tl;dr version: find something else to read 🙂

Thank you Penguin Publishing Group for my review copy!

Thanks for taking the time to read my review 😉 you’re always appreciated!

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When you read mystery / suspense / thrillers, do you try to guess the twist? Can you usually guess it?

Can you recommend any great similar reads?

Sincerely Peachy (1)

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ARCs, YA Action Adventure, YA Mystery, YA Scifi, YA Thriller

ARC REVIEW: This Splintered Silence by Kayla Olson (Nov 2018)

I think most things begin to fracture without anyone realizing it’s even happening, a sort of splintered silence that gives way all at once under too much weight, and without warning.

Synopsis: Lindley Hamilton has been the leader of the space station Lusca since every first-generation crew member on board, including her mother, the commander, were killed by a deadly virus. Lindley always assumed she’d captain the Lusca one day, but she never thought that day would come so soon. And she never thought it would be like this—struggling to survive every day, learning how to keep the Lusca running, figuring out how to communicate with Earth, making sure they don’t run out of food. When a member of the surviving second generation dies from symptoms that look just like the deadly virus, though, Lindley feels her world shrinking even smaller. The disease was supposed to be over; the second generation was supposed to be immune. But as more people die, Lindley must face the terrifying reality that either the virus has mutated or something worse is happening: one of their own is a killer.

To be published November 13, 2018 by HarperTeen

e-ARC provided by publisher on Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review

Genre: YA Sci-Fi, YA Action & Adventure

Themes: survival, friendships, relationships, growing up together, evolving bonds, science, technology, space station, leadership, stepping up, grief, trust, asking for help, virus, mutation, murder, contagion, space, stress, pressure

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Nothing quite like what I expected, This Splintered Silence is a surprising mix of familiar and well-loved genres: mostly scifi, somewhat dystopian, a little romance and a healthy amount of mystery, thriller, and suspense. If you liked Kayla’s debut novel, The Sandcastle Empire, this one will come as a pleasant surprise – it’s a sort of evolution, retaining all of the qualities I loved in TSE – strong character development, engaging plot, incredible prose, solid world-building – and then it ups it a few more notches!

I’ve been ruled by fear for far too long now. I refuse to bow down any longer.

Although the plot is certainly engaging, I would say that TSS is more character-driven than anything. Written in Lindley’s POV, the focus is on how she’s reacting more than what’s happening around her. It’s about how Lindley deals with leadership and the pressure and stress that comes with the role, but also with how she decides on what to trust, who to trust. It’s really quite astonishing to get into the mindset of such an intense character like Lindley!

Their words sounded like whispers pricked with a thousand splinters as they fought hard, just to be heard. Until the silence took over and, one by one, the stars went out.

I first fell in love with Kayla’s prose in The Sandcastle Empire, and this only rekindles my love for it. The words fall so naturally together on the page – it seems effortless. I’m not really sure how to describe it, but there’s a distinct trademark in it, quite inexplicable. Maybe it reminds me of a modern Tolstoy – Tolstoy can write countless scenes of groups of people merely sipping tea but never do they seem too dull, but also never overly elaborate. I say this because one of my favorite chapters in the book is just the main character eating chocolate – and it’s forever seared in my memory!

The stars flicker, a hundred thousand fireflies frozen in flight.

But my favorite parts are also the metaphors that aren’t far-fetched at all but are so unique and I’m all admiration! I wish I could come up with half the stuff that she comes up with!

I would have loved some more details about the world, but it’s solid enough to not leave you distracted about it. The entire mood of the novel kept me on my toes – and there was this point in the novel where you can feel the fraught nerves, the intensity of the situation – when things have reached the tipping point.

…we can’t afford to make assumptions. We make assumptions, we die.

For the few of us who appreciate a love triangle, there’s something to be excited about – it’s not at all the focus, but the few scenes dedicated to it are really good – the love interests are totally swoonworthy!

We’ve not done this before, and now that we have, how have we never?

Overall, if you couldn’t tell yet – this was everything I was hoping for and more! I tried to wait it out before I wrote this review to give myself some time to tone down my enthusiasm to a more reasonable proportion. Part of me is so happy I got to read this early, but part of me is regretful because that means I have to wait who-knows-how-long for Kayla’s next novel! I highly recommend it to those who like scifi / mystery / thriller / survival reads!

Thank you to HarperCollins for my review copy!

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Have you read The Sandcastle Empire? If you have, did you like it?

Do you think you’ll add This Splintered Silence to your TBR?

Sincerely Peachy (1)

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Adult Fiction, ARCs, Contemporary, Romance, Women's

ARC REVIEW: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (June 2018)

Synopsis: Stella Lane comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases – a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. With her Asperger’s making getting close to someone even more difficult, Stella concludes that she needs lots of practice – with a professional. A biracial stunner, escort Michael Phan agrees to help Stella check off all the boxes on her lesson plan, from foreplay to more-than-missionary position, making her crave his expertise – and convincing her that love is the best kind of logic…

To be published June 5, 2018 by Berkley Jove

Print ARC provided by the publisher through BookishFirst, in exchange for an honest review

Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since.

In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT, which comes out in June 2018 with Berkley.

She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.

Other upcoming novel (Jan 2019): 

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction

Themes: love, romance, sex, dating, relationships, autism, being different, familial duty, obsessive behavior, responsibility, family, career, economics, calculus

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This was kissing. Kissing was glorious.

Quirky and lovable characters, smart dialogue, sexy romance – all complete the equation for a perfect guilty pleasure read! The Kiss Quotient is much sexier than anticipated, and it will be sure to satisfy many readers, in more ways than one.

Stella is the kind of character you can’t help but adore – she is refreshingly straightforward and she knows what she wants. She is so passionate about her job – she genuinely loves and is great at what she does – and I love that. Rarely do we see characters like Stella. As far as I can remember, this is the first time I’m reading an autistic character’s POV, and it’s fascinating – and also probably half the reason why I enjoyed this book so much! To make things even better, our main love interest, Michael Phan, also gets his own chapters! I have so much to say about Michael, but I’m saving that stuff for a #SwoonySaturdate entry!

This isn’t the usual slow-burning romance, but Stella and Michael’s story is just as delicious. It starts out really fast – it’s almost like a marathon that starts out with a 100 meter sprint and then slows down to jogging pace. It initially starts out very physical – intensely physical – and then all the baggage of both characters come out: the insecurities, secrets, painful pasts…. you know the deal. I loved reading their parallel emotions / thoughts on the same situation – and I think these do a great job of emphasizing how miscommunication and the many factors leading to it can easily get things complicated! 

Overall, this definitely gives Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game a run for its money, and I’m so glad I got to read it! I won’t be surprised if I decide to reread it later on 😛

If you’re looking for your next romance read, I would highly recommend you grab a copy of this one when it comes out in June!

Thank you Penguin Random House for my review copy! 

And thank you for reading! And watch out for a #SwoonySaturdate entry featuring Michael Phan 😉

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Have you heard of The Kiss Quotient and are you excited to read it?

What are some contemporary romance reads you’d recommend?

Sincerely Peachy (1)

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Acknowledgements Feature, ARCs, YA Contemporary, YA Fiction, YA Romance

ARC REVIEW: From Twinkle with Love by Sandhya Menon (May 2018)

So remember this day. Remember this moment. And go explore the universes. They’re waiting.

My synopsis: Twinkle Mehra is an aspiring filmmaker and she chronicles her life in a diary addressed to various female directors (i.e. Sofia Coppola, Mira Nair) she looks up to. A self-proclaimed wallflower/groundling, she is eager to transform into her shiny, ideal self and finally gain the respect and attention of the silk-feathered hats population and she thinks dating the smart, athletic, and popular Neil Roy will get her there. But another opportunity presents itself when Neil’s identical nerdy, groundling twin Sahil Roy offers to work on a movie with her as her producer for the upcoming Midsummer Night festival. 

To be published May 22, 2018 by Simon Pulse

e-ARC provided by the Simon & Schuster through Edelweiss+ 

Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Romance

Themes: Indian culture, fimmaking, aspirations, dreams, best friends, friendships, love, soulmates, romance, future, the stories we tell, popularity, parent-children relationships, finding yourself, identical twins

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I don’t think I’m wrong when I say people won’t be disappointed! I have not read When Dimple Met Rishibut from what I’ve heard about it, I knew that this will be a cute contemporary read – I actually am planning to pick it up soon because of this 🙂

From Twinkle with Love is a cute and lovable story of a dreamer, told in a unique diary-like format – Twinkle’s personality, passion, and wit is sure to pull you in! I’ll definitely be watching out for future works by Sandhya Menon.

First of all I’d like to mention, I just love that we’ve reached the day and age when people from different backgrounds and cultures get the representation they deserve. I love the openness that the reading community is evolving into! In previous years, I would never have imagined that I’ll be picking up books with so much diversity in it, and this is a shoutout to the authors who didn’t get cowed by the resistance/barriers and courageously told their stories, but also to the people who helped pave the way and make these kinds of books happen >>> THANK YOU. 

I absolutely loved the characters. I appreciated Twinkle’s passion for filmmaking – I enjoyed all the film references (even though I sadly did not get all of them). She wore the coolest shirts!! Sahil was this nerdy but equally passionate guy – he was insecure in some ways (but that’s okay, aren’t we all?) that you just want to hug all the time. He’s so dependable, and I just want to say all the good things, but you just have to wait for next #SwoonySaturdate post for that! Another character I will especially mention is Victoria Lyons – I was really surprised by her, but I don’t want to say any more than that!

You’re kind of cool in a weirdly quirky way. It draws people in.

Another super cool part is when we get some other POVs throughout, not in any predictable way, but it just kind of pops in out of nowhere, and I thought that was so much fun and very interesting.

The plot itself kept me going because I like when there’s a production element in the plot – I just have to watch Dracula now! It was so much fun reading about how they picked costumes, and all the planning that went into the film. I think I enjoyed that the most, and also how the “big day” turned out to actually be “the big day.”

And of course, this review won’t be complete without my comments on the romance! I am totally sold on it, and I thought it was super cute and I was all in! It was so honest, and just adorable in every way.

But when I see you… every time, Twinkle, I feel those golden fireworks inside me. And the only reason I can think of is that you have some kind of chamatkaar. You must be a special kind of miracle.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this very much! It gave me some The Outcasts / Can’t Buy Me Love film vibes, and the whole film production theme reminded me of Emma Mill’s Foolish Hearts. I can’t wait to hear everyone’s thoughts on it once it comes out next month!!

Thank you Simon & Schuster for my review copy!

Thanks for reading! Also, because my words cannot possibly be better than the author herself, I included a special message for you from the author below…

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS FEATURE (the words of Sandhya Menon):

Last, but far from least, this book is especially for you. You, who stumble but refuse to fall. You, who refuse to dim your shine. The world desperately needs your voice, your courage, your heart. Twinkle on. 

Sincerely Peachy (1)

 

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ARCs, YA Contemporary, YA Fiction, YA Romance

BOOK REVIEW: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Fiction was fine, but real life was the true freak show.

My synopsis: Passive-aggressive Penny is ready to move on to college. Through Jude, her roommate, she meets Sam – the baker, the intellectual, the aspiring filmmaker, the hottie. Their paths cross again during a not too ideal situation and decide to be each other’s “emergency contacts.” When they share their deepest selves to one another, they can’t deny the attraction between them, but will they risk their perfect friendship for a chance of romance? 

Published March 27, 2018 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

e-ARC provided by Simon & Schuster through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review

Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Romance

Themes: friendship, parenting, mother-daughter relationship, poverty, rape, film, writing, baking, college, soulmates, love, trusting people, hiding from people, texting, digital communication, relationships, dating, sex

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I got approved for the ARC of this just a few days before release date – and I finally read it especially after reading Sumaya’s review!

Mary H.K. Choi’s Emergency Contact is a lighthearted YA contemporary romance read that’s sure to make you fall in love with its characters – it’s a heartwarming story of friendships, of passions, and of love.

I have to say, at first, I didn’t think I was into the writing because of the first scene – but then the more I read, the more I was able to relate to Penny – I’m so glad I gave it a chance!!  I also really liked that the text alternated between the POVs of Penny and Sam, and how the two voices are represented very well.

You’ve always spoken fluent me.

It was so much fun to read how Sam and Penny’s relationship develops. There’s that hint of romance all throughout because they are so special to each other, but I loved that it was less focused on the romantic parts of a relationship, but rather in the elements that truly make relationships last: healthy conversations, trust, dependability, openness, sincerity. What Penny and Sam had, it was something really special.

“Even so,” she said. “You’re the best person I’ve ever met. And my favorite.” “And you’re mine,” he said.

There were so many important themes in this novel – and I really liked this one point the novel makes about parenting:

But sometimes it’s so incidental that these people are the parents. Beyond the biology of it. It’s not as if they had to pass a test or unlock achievements to be the ones making the decisions. Sometimes they’re actually stupid. Certifiably dumber than you, but as their kid you’d never think to know that.

Another element of the plot that I really enjoyed is how it explored the passions of the characters. Sam’s baking and filmmaking, as well as Penny’s writing. Unlike in most novels, they weren’t just mentioned in passing, instead several scenes were dedicated to them going through the process of how they chased their passions.

you know how you can make a sound on a piano. Anyone with fingers can do it intuitively. You hit keys they make noise. Writing and reading then rewriting and then editing is how you make a melody. It’s the same for everyone. It’s not about raw talent or having such a big ego that you think what you have to say is so important. Or who your parents are and what they do. It’s the practice of it. Doing it until you’re good.

I loved that we got to see several snippets of what Penny was writing. Her story about the Anima was such an interesting concept, and it reminded me a lot of this K-Drama I watched called W: Two WorldsI wanted to read the entire thing (I want it to be real, just like how Carry On! was later published after Fangirl).

I fell in love not only with the main characters, but also some of the other characters. Jude, I realized, is the most likeable female non-MC ever – she’s just so kind and generous, but in a genuine way! I found myself looking forward to reading scenes with her in it!

When Penny left a banana on her desk as an offering, Jude rejected it. She refused it by putting it on Penny’s work chair, so when Penny went to write, she sat on it. As tiny passive aggressive revenges went, it was adorable, and it killed Penny that they couldn’t laugh about it.

Later on, I also appreciated Mallory’s character. The friendship between Penny, Mallory, and Jude is just so #SQUADGOALS.

I know what you mean though. God, can you imagine? She’d probably die trying to save a bus full of orphans.

As you probably could tell, I enjoyed Emergency Contact immensely – and I’d totally recommend it if you’re looking for your next contemporary read. I expect it to be on the list of my top contemporary reads for the year ❤ It’s perfect for fans of Fangirl and Everything, Everythingand I’m sure that it will be most appreciated by aspiring writers!

Thanks for stopping by! Also, check out my #SwoonySaturdate with Sam Becker!

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Have you read Emergency Contact, and what did you think??

Who’s your emergency contact? Are they a family member or a friend or a SO?

Do you believe in the idea of soulmates? 

Sincerely Peachy (1)

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