Book Review: Afflicted by Susanne Valenti

AfflictedGoodreads Synopsis

Change carries on the wind, flows through the rivers and grows in the heart of the storm. Once it is set free, nothing can stop it from spreading like poison through the Earth and all its creatures. The planet is evolving and anything that wants to remain will have to adapt. The animals are learning to fight back while the plants grow beyond control. Kaitlyn and her friends must find a way to survive while everything around them becomes stronger and stranger. They can’t trust anything they thought they knew about the world. They can’t even trust each other. Rage and violence twists its way into the hearts of the contaminated: shaping them into something new. Something which cannot feel pity, mercy or love. Kaitlyn’s heart draws her towards the one person she knows can help them but can she find him in time? Safety lies just out of reach and they must find the strength to achieve it. 

Seventy years before Maya discovered the Cage of Lies, Kaitlyn’s world is about to change forever. Afflicted is the first book in the Tainted Earth Saga, an action packed dystopian romance filled with love, uncertainty and danger on every page.


I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Afflicted is the first book in a new series by Susanne Valenti which is a continuation of universe of the Cage of Lies saga but this is the prequel. This takes place seventy years before those events so we’re really diving into the deep end and seeing how everything started.

I was over the moon to once again get the opportunity to read Susanne’s writing as she never disappoints, and that remains true even after finishing this book. She has a way of drawing you in so that you’re curious about knowing where exactly the story will lead.

I must admit that this story started out slow but I understand that since this is the first book and almost the beginning of a new world so speak, some world building needs to take place.

In the Cage of Lies series, everyone was already behind The Wall and living their good lives, but in this book, they still had to get to that point. The contamination was just starting to breakout and no one knew anything. Evolution was rushed by a few years and people as well as the animals were acting totally strange.

I liked the characters well enough but I’m not going to judge them too much as yet because there is plenty room for development. I’ve experienced this author’s amazing character development plots and I can’t wait to go through it again. I liked Lincoln a lot and I know that there’s still a lot he can tell us of the six years he was gone. Katy is a bit…predictable, but as I said, room for development.

I could sense that this was Susanne’s writing because it had the same vibe but at the same time it felt totally different from her other books and I think that’s great. There was nothing repetitive here and I believe that’s what made for an even more enjoyable read.

I can’t wait for the next book but if I must, I shall. I loved every page and the obsession to this series is real!

Read: 8 January 2018
Rating: ★★★.5

Publication Date: 15 December 2017
Publisher: Amazon
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Susanne Valenti

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eARC Book Review: Free by Susanne Valenti

Free: Freedom comes at a price... (Cage of Lies Book 5)Goodreads Synopsis

Alone and surrounded by the enemy, Maya doesn’t know which way to turn. In a prison built of corruption and blind faith, does the truth even stand a chance? All paths lead to this and finding a way through will be the toughest test yet. The might of the city stands against her and she must remain defiant in the face of it. Presented with challenges she never thought possible and changes she couldn’t have imagined, she will need to be stronger than ever before. The fight of her life is coming to an end but will she survive to see her dreams become reality?


I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

When I first started this book I had forgotten so much from the previous books because the wait was definitely a long one but I didn’t need to worry because with each chapter I read, the memories started coming back.

The gang is now in The City and they’re working with their contacts within the wall to get the word out that the Outside isn’t as dangerous as they were led to believe. New characters are introduced and you’d think that that’d be weird and hard to get used to so late in the game but Valenti made them blend in so easily it was as if they’d always been around. One of the people introduced is Cutter. He’s a scary dude and you’d actually be smart to stay out of his way but I actually liked his character a lot. I like what he stood for. Family is everything to this guy and he protects his own.

Naturally there were a few…setbacks in the story that of course was supposed to help the plot but I don’t think that all of them made complete sense. I feel that the beginning of the book dragged mainly because it was mostly from Maya’s POV and I was starting to get a bit annoyed with her. I can’t place my finger on what exactly irked me about her but I didn’t mind her at all when she was surrounded by others.

I certainly hope that there’s another book coming because that ending left quite an opening. There’s basically a bridge between the Outside and The City so I hope the new ‘alliance’ between the two is looked at more closely. Certain things in this book did feel a bit rushed and I felt that too much time was spent on the planning and not enough on the action and that played a part in things going haywire.

There have been further developments in both the characters and the story which is always a good thing to see and I’m definitely glad that Susanne one again did not disappoint in that department. Out of all the books in this series, this doesn’t come close to how I feel about Broken and is not my favourite but I did like it a lot.. I can’t wait to see what new ideas Susanne can produce for us.

Read: 8 October 2017
Rating: ★★★.5

Publication Date: 16 July 2017
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Susanne Valenti

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Comic Book Review: Revival Vol.3: A Faraway Place by Tim Seeley

Revival, Vol. 3: A Faraway PlaceGoodreads Synopsis

For one day in rural central Wisconsin, the dead came back to life. Now the living and the recently returned struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy amidst political and religious conflicts. Officer Dana Cypress is hot on the trail of a man she believes may have murdered her sister Em, but Em herself is on a quest through the snowy woods to find the strange glowing creature that haunts a child.

Collects REVIVAL #12-17.


The people of Wausau, Wisconsin have gotten used to having the revivers walking around. Not all of them like it but some have decided to use these events to their advantage. A few are happy that they get to have another chance with their loved ones. Others…not so much. I reviewed volumes 1 and 2 of Revival, you can check them out here and here.

The story’s been expanded a bit more since vol.2. Turns out those glowy thingies are almost like souls that’s left the bodies and in order for these revivers to pass on and die like they were supposed to. Basically, their souls need to be reunited with their bodies.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 4.41.05 PM

Out of all the characters, Em is still the one I’m most intrigued about. With there being so many POV’s it’s kinda hard to figure out what each person brings to the table exactly but it’s easy to tell that they’re all connected somehow. Dana seems to be caught at a crossroads because while her family is involved in what’s going on, she’s straddling the lines of right and almost wrong. She will have to choose soon. She can’t be both good cop and bad cop.

With the story being expanded even more, we’re getting deeper in and that’s opening up new doors for the plot. At the current moment, everyone’s a suspect but everyone’s also a victim. This is a messed up game of cat and mouse except no one knows who the mouse is or what he/she looks like.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 4.38.22 PM

As I finished reading this comic, the only words that kept running through my head were: ‘The plot thickens!’ That’s exactly what happens. With every volume I read, I fall more and more in love with this story and it’ll be a sad day when it comes to an end.

There are so many things I want to know. So many questions that I have. These new players in the game…who are they and how are they involved exactly?

The writing once again was exceptional and the artwork was amazing as always. Tim and Mike haven’t disappointed me yet and I have faith that they might never do so. After finishing this volume I am so excited to start the next one.

Read: 24 June 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Publication Date: 19 February 2014
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Tim Seeley
Illustrators: Mike Norton | Mark Englert

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Source: screenshots from the digital comic

eARC Book Review: Dream Me by Kathryn Berla

Dream Me

Goodreads Synopsis

Every night Babe dreams of a boy she s never met before named Zat. But Zat is no ordinary daydream. He s actual a human from the distant future, who has travelled back in time to be with Babe in the only way that he can be in her dreams. But the dreams leave Babe more and more tired and pained each morning. Zat is determined to help her, even if it means never sharing dreams with her again.


I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Dream Me is a book that is a love story of sorts told through a science fiction point of view.

I’ll start right off by saying that most of this book was confusing to me. I don’t know what message was trying to be told and it irked me that I couldn’t tell because I felt like I was missing out on some joke.

Here’s what I did get. Zat was from a future Earth where the world and humans had evolved so much that even their appearance was changed. He was often referred to as a dreamer because even though people stopped dreaming ages ago, he was fascinated and obsessed with it, so much so that he was willing to live in and through someone else’s dreams.

As much as Babe spoke throughout the book, I didn’t much get the feel of her as a person. She was kind of the main character but I understood her through Zat’s eyes. The way he spoke about her and expressed his feelings about and towards her helped me know her better.

Even though this book threw me for a loop, I can’t deny that the author’s writing is amazing. Maybe there wasn’t much world building and certain points did seem either slightly forced or rushed but I wouldn’t write her off as yet.

Read: 2 April 2017
Rating: ★★.5

Publication Date: 11 July 2017
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Kathryn Berla

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Wrap Up: May 2017 (and June TBR)

SO delayed!!

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 5.13.14 AM

This Is What a Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries, Communities, and Access to Information The Nightingale Circus (Broken People, #0.5) Supergirl: Rebirth #1 (Supergirl 2016, #1) Secret Wars #0 (FCBD 2015) Secret Wars (2015-) #1 (of 9) Then Comes Love (Then Comes Love, #1) The Giver (The Giver Quartet, #1) Time in a Bottle The Time Keeper City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)

This is What a Librarian Looks Like by Kyle Cassidy

This book needs to be in all libraries. I deserves to be noticed and I think that this was easily one of the best reads for me this year. See review here.

The Nightingale Circus by Ioana Visan

I really enjoyed this novella, as I do with Ioana Visan’s work. I want to read Broken People so I can find out more about the circus and the people that use it as their safe haven. See review here.

Supergirl: Rebirth #1 by Steve Orlando

This was a different and fresh view of Supergirl for me. I enjoyed this short piece and I’m definitely considering reading more about her. See Review here.

Secret Wars #0 by Jonathan Hickman

It’s about time I started this event. I think everything was summed up pretty well in this piece. Review to come soon.

Secret Wars #1 by Jonathan Hickman

I thought this was a pretty good start to the whole event. Definitely got me even more intrigued. Review to come soon.

Then Comes Love by Lindsay Detwiler

A cute, funny, quick read. I really liked this book and enjoyed it tremendously. See review here.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I’ve had this book for a few years and I took way to long to actually read it. I really liked it and I want to read the rest of The Giver Quartet. See review here.

Time in a Bottle by Kathleen D. Tresemer

I had a few issues with this book mainly because the proper trigger warnings weren’t applied but I really did enjoy the writing. See review here.

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

This was definitely one of the better books I’ve read this year. I can’t believe I took so long to get to it. See review here.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

And so the reread continues! I loved this read a lot more the second time around and seeing my babies growing up is always a pleasure. See review here.

Total Read: 10 Books


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Revival, Vol. 3: A Faraway Place The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)

ARCs (I swear this list is getting shorter)

Sleight Heartborn Loving Ashe: Book 1 of the Celebrity Series Soothsayer: Magic Is All Around Us (Soothsayer Series #1) Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale, #1) Unseen (Breaking Free Book 1) Teeth: The First Bite (Teeth, #1) Jaeth's Eye (The Agartes Epilogues, #1) Demolition Love The Labyrinth Eve The Soul Reaper The Tower's Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #1) Can't Buy Forever

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Book Review: The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

13624688Goodreads Synopsis

In this fable, the first man on earth to count the hours becomes Father Time.

The inventor of the world’s first clock is punished for trying to measure God’s greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world – now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began – and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.


Trigger Warnings: Underage drinking, suicide attempt.

I’d never read a book about Father Time before this so I was really looking forward to seeing how Mitch Albom executed the tale of the personification of time itself.

‘”There is a reason God limits our days.”
“Why?”
“To make each one precious.”‘

When I started the book, I thought that it’d be an easy one. I’d finish it quickly and then write out a review and all would be said and done. While the book wasn’t a difficult read or heavy on the heart, I had no idea how I was going to review it. The only thing I was absolutely certain of was that I was loving it.

Father Time, Dor as he was known before he became the inventor of the thing that weighs a lot of us down, is described to be an old man with a beard that’s so long it reaches his knees. I laughed at this description and thought that we’d found a man whose beard was longer than Dumbledore’s. Because Dor can’t resist counting; the moments, the cycles of the moon, breaths…he is ‘punished’ to live in a cave and listen to the consequences of wanting this power caused. How long? Till when Heaven meets Earth.

“Sitting high above the city, Father Time realized that knowing something and understanding it were not the same thing.”

In our current time we meet Sarah Lemon, a seventeen year old girl who doesn’t want more time, she just wants it to stop. And Victor Delemonte, an eighty-six year old man who wants nothing but time. He wants all the time he could possibly get. When Dor’s ‘sentence’ ends, he’s tasked with the job to find these two people and bring them together. He doesn’t know for what yet, but as the book goes on, the plan unfolds and it’s all pieced together.

I can’t really say what emotions I felt while reading this book. Opinions were formed sure, but those didn’t directly relate to what I was feeling at the moment. I had a lot of questions and a lot of them was me wanting to know why? One man wanted to live forever and one girl thought that one guy was the be all and end all of her entire existence.

“Ends are for yesterdays, not tomorrow.”

I really liked this book and thought it was really great. I don’t typically read books that talk about life, the universe, and everything but something about the synopsis drew me in and it was a spur of the moment buy for me. I’ve owned The First Phone Call From Heaven for a while now, but after reading this, I want to read that as soon as possible.

What I liked especially about this book was that to explain the situation, Father Time put things in perspective for Sarah and Victor and he didn’t make the choice for them. He showed them how they got here and what happened after they were gone. The rest was up to them.

I think that Mitch Albom wrote a very beautiful piece. This was inspiring, amazing, and everything in between.

‘”Time is not something you give back. The very next moment may be an answer to your prayer. To deny that is to deny the most important part of the future.”
“What’s that?”
“Hope.”‘

**Not apologising for all the quotes used. They were just too good to pass up.

Read: 22 May 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Publication Date: 1 May 2013
Publisher: Sphere
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Mitch Albom

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Expected Releases for May 2017

May seems to be the month of book releases.

Goodreads synopsis included.

2 May

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2)

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan

Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers? After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . .

Amazon | Goodreads


From Percy Jackson: Camp Half-Blood Confidential (An Official Rick Riordan Companion Book): Your Real Guide to the Demigod Training Camp From Percy Jackson: Camp Half-Blood Confidential (An Official Rick Riordan Companion Book): Your Real Guide to the Demigod Training Camp by Rick Riordan

In response to an awful camp orientation video created by the god Apollo, Percy Jackson and other residents of Camp Half-Blood answer such questions as “What is this place?” and “Do I get to keep the T-shirt?” Newbies can check out the section on the Divine Cabins, read up on Magical Landmarks, and consult the chapter of Training Arenas. But Camp Half-Blood Confidential explores much more than just the buildings and grounds. It includes info that can only be learned from those who live there.

For instance, campers do not always co-exist in peace and harmony. The camp is not run with superior efficiency. Prophecies do not flow forth with great regularity. Sprinkled throughout are stories from heroes who have called Camp Half-Blood home or just passed through on their way to places unknown. Chiron himself introduces the book with a brief history of training based on his millennia of experience. And, of course, there are divine words of wisdom from the god Apollo himself, because . . . well, because the demigod authors would prefer not to be struck down, thank you very much.

Amazon | Goodreads


A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

Amazon | Goodreads


Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #3) by Jenny Han

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Amazon | Goodreads


Saga: Book TwoSaga Book Two by Brian K. Vaughn

At long last, it’s finally time for the second hardcover collection of Saga, the New York Times best-selling series praised by everyone from Alan Moore to Lin-Manuel Miranda!

Created by the multiple Eisner Award-winning team of artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40, Archie Comics) and writer Brian K. Vaughan (The Private Eye, Paper Girls, We Stand On Guard), Saga Book Two continues the action-packed education of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war.

Collecting 18 issues of the smash-hit comic, this massive edition features a striking original cover from Fiona Staples, as well as a brand-new gallery of exclusive, never-before-seen Saga artwork from legendary creators including Cliff Chiang, Pia Guerra, Faith Erin Hicks, Karl Kerschl, Jason Latour, Sean Gordon Murphy, Steve Skroce, and more!

Collects SAGA #19-36.

Amazon | Goodreads


Star Wars: Rebel RisingStar Wars: Rebel Rising by Beth Revis

When Jyn Erso was five years old, her mother was murdered and her father taken from her to serve the Empire. But despite the loss of her parents she is not completely alone—Saw Gerrera, a man willing to go to any extremes necessary in order to resist Imperial tyranny, takes her in as his own, and gives her not only a home but all the abilities and resources she needs to become a rebel herself.

Jyn dedicates herself to the cause—and the man. But fighting alongside Saw and his people brings with it danger and the question of just how far Jyn is willing to go as one of Saw’s soldiers. When she faces an unthinkable betrayal that shatters her world, Jyn will have to pull the pieces of herself back together and figure out what she truly believes in…and who she can really trust.

Amazon | Goodreads


Into the WaterInto the Water by Paula Hawkins

The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense.

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

Amazon | Goodreads

***

9 May

Men Without Women

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

A dazzling new collection of short stories–the first major new work of fiction from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami since his #1 best-selling Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all.

Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic.

Amazon | Goodreads

***

23 May

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2) by Cassandra Clare

Sunny Los Angeles can be a dark place indeed in Cassandra Clare’s Lord of Shadows, the sequel to the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Lady Midnight.

Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

Amazon | Goodreads

***

30 May

One of Us Is Lying

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
 
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
 
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
 
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads Listopia for upcoming May 2017 releases:

 

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