Going Hard by Kelsey Browning

imageSlick sports agent Griffin Steele is living the highlife in Los Angeles, far from the shadow of the North Carolina mountains where he grew up. But when his hometown falls on hard times and needs his help, Grif reluctantly agrees to commute between coasts. He never expects the lush scenery, in the form of pretty tomboy Carlie Beth Parrish, to be such a temptation.

After an impetuous one-night stand with Grif Steele fifteen years ago, hardworking blacksmith Carlie Beth has tried to make a living and raise her daughter in the hometown she loves. Then, too-sexy-for-his-Rolex Grif blows back into town like the perfect storm, making Carlie feel less like a thirty-something mom and more like an infatuated teenager.

When a stalker targets Carlie Beth, Grif can’t help but step in to protect her. But once he discovers the fourteen-year-old secret she’s been keeping from him, will he embrace the truth or will he turn his back on Steele Ridge and Carlie Beth forever? 


Carlie Beth impressed me with her feisty attitude and her fierce devotion to he daughter. 15 years after Grif left for LA she has carved out a life for herself and Aubry in Steele Ridge. When Grif arrives back home all the old feelings come to surface again.

Grif is grudgingly back in his hometown, he really doesn’t want to be there but when he sees Carlie again it’s hard for him to let go of what happened all those years ago.

I loved the chemistry between them, Carlie tries to deny it but she doesn’t want to get hurt again, and who can blame her? Grif is also trying to get past an incident that happened back in LA  and isn’t very trusting at this point either.

Aubry is a teenager who doesn’t miss a thing when it comes to her mother. She is witty, sharp, and a determined young lady who has the best qualities of both her parents. When she shows up Grif at a corn hole game he can’t help but like her attitude that reminds him of her mother.

There are a few twists in this book about things going on in town and with Grif and Carlie Beth. The interaction between them and Aubry is realistic and fun to read.  It’s got a bit of everything in here, romance, mystery, and wonderful characters.

This is a collaboration series between Kelsey, Adrienne Giordano, and Tracy Devlyn each writing a book. Going Hard is the first in the series. There was a prequel novella that was available through the writers newsletters. You don’t have to have read it to know what happens in this book.

ARC provided by author in exchange for a fair and honest review

4/5 stars



Buy: Amazon UK




March Books

Here’s a look of what we are reading and reviewing in March. 


Out March 1. Goodreads Info

  Out March 15. Goodreads

  Out March 15. Goodreads
  Out March 31. Amazon



 Out March 1. Goodreads

  Out (hahaha) March 8. Goodreads
  Out March 17. Goodreads
 Out March 7 & March 28 (2-part serial). Goodreads

Other Books of Interest:

  Out March 1. Goodreads

  Out March 8. Goodreads
  Out March 8. Goodreads 
 Out March 22. It’s a standalone.  Goodreads
  Out March 29. Goodreads

  Out March 29. Goodreads
Tell us what book(s) you are excited to read. 

Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane



Zelda and Lisa are twins, Zelda is a retired CIA agent who specialises in forensic botany and her sister Lisa is a bit of party girl who has gotten involved with a drug dealer. When Lisa’s boyfriend looses her in a high stakes poker game to a Mexican drug lord Zelda steps in to take her place hoping to find out more about the drug lord to take him down. When she arrives she is then passed along to an even more powerful and violent man by the name of El Gorrion and that’s when things get worse.

When the plane carrying Zelda lands and she is about to be turned over to El Gorrion’s men someone comes along and slaughters all of the men at the air field and takes Zelda with him. This strangers fighting style reminds Zelda of a well known killer, Kabakas, someone Zelda has been tracking and fascinated by. But Kabakas was to have died in a fire and the man who has taken her is Hugo.

As things heat up in a land war between El Gorrion and Hugo will Zelda get the info she needs to save her sister and help her former CIA colleagues or will she get caught up in the destruction of the land and help the man who rescued her?

I enjoyed this book, there is a lot of different plot lines going on that keep it interesting and fast paced. I loved how Zelda went from getting info out of Hugo via a ‘coldfuck’ to getting feelings for him. It’s very well written and kept me reading far into the night. The botany bits, which I thought would be a bit dull weren’t and the sex scenes were steamy and hot! Both characters are battling inner demons and the stories into their background were interesting. This is the first book I have read by Carolyn Crane and it won’t be my last! It is book four in a series but it can be read without having read the others.

ARC received from author in exchange for a fair and honest review

4/5 stars


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Book Summary:



When her estranged sister is won in a card game by a brutal drug cartel, Zelda knows what she has to do: take her place. Save her. Focus on infiltrating the shadowy group–and try not to think about why she left the spying game years ago. She’s slept with dangerous criminals before; she can do it again.

Hugo Martinez is one of South America’s most lethal and wanted men, a legendary mercenary living on a windswept mountain. Even at the height of the war he wasn’t in the habit of taking women captive, but the American whore has seen his face. And he and the orphan boy need a cook. He shouldn’t want this woman, but there’s something so unusual about her…

Meanwhile, Zelda finds herself falling for her captor…but is he the killer she’s been hunting all these years?


Crane Author Photo

About the Author


I am a RITA-winning author of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of love and adventure (and erotic & dark romance as NYT bestselling author Annika Martin). My books have been published by Random House and Samhain, and I also go the indie route. I work a straight job as a marketing writer, I love to read in bed and run, I’m passionate about helping animals, and I make my home in Minnesota with my husband and two cats.


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter



Giveaway Information


(1) $75.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice & open internationally)

(32) Digital Copies of either Against the Dark, Off the Edge or Into the Shadows (winner’s choice & open internationally)


Rafflecopter link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1c9cd1c919/?



Blog Tour Stops


Monday, May 18, 2015


Straight Shooting Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.straightshootinbookreviews.com

Romance Junkies (Excerpt): http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog

Ramblings From This Chick (Guest Post): http://ramblingsfromthischick.com

Under the Covers Book Blog (Guest Post): http://www.underthecoversbookblog.com

Lush Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.lushbookreviewss.blogspot.com

Badass Book Reviews (Review): http://www.badassbookreviews.com

Urban Girl Reader (Excerpt): http://www.urbangirlreader.com


Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Happiness is a book (Review): https://happinessbook.wordpress.com

Reading by the Book (Excerpt): http://www.readingbythebook.com

That’s What I’m Talking About (Review): http://twimom227.com

Cricket’s Chirps (Review): http://www.cricketschirps.com/

The Romance Dish (Review): http://theromancedish.com

The Book Review (Review): http://www.cluereview.blogspot.com


Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Em & M Books (Excerpt): http://www.emandmbooks.com

Ex Libris (Guest Post): http://www.stella.exlibris.com

Herding Cats & Burning Soup (Interview): http://www.herdingcats-burningsoup.com

The Book Nympho (Review): http://thebooknympho.com/

Long and Short Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.longandshortreviews.com

Love Affair with an E-Reader (Review): www.loveaffairwithanereader.blogspot.com


Thursday, May 21, 2015


Paranormal Haven (Interview): http://paranormalhaven.com/

Becky on Books (Review): http://beckymmoe.com

Amy’s Blog (Excerpt): http://www.amymanemann.blogspot.com

So Many Reads (Excerpt): http://www.somanyreads.com

Angela Quarles Blog (Excerpt): http://www.angelaquarles.com/blog

Goldilox and the Three Weres (Review): http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com


Friday, May 22, 2015


Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell (Review): http://books-forlife.blogspot.com

Blogging by Liza (Excerpt): http://lizasblog-liza.blogspot.com/

Bring Your Own Book Club (BYOB) (Review): https://www.facebook.com/byobclub1.0

Peaces of Me (Interview): http://www.suespeaces.blogspot.ca/

Ariesgrl Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.ariesgrlreview.com

C. K. Crouch (Review): http://ckcrouch.com/

Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond


16 year of Jules Maroni is a third generation circus performer, she is a high wire walker just like her fatherHer family is reduced to third rate circuses for reasons unknown to her. When they are given an invitation to join the prestigious Cirque American she is desperate for her family to accept and for them to be recognize for the talent they are. She wants to spread her wings and try more daring things like her heroine Bird Millman, but she feels that as long as they are stuck where they are she will never realize her dreams. What she doesn’t know is that there is a family secret, one that has kept them out of the limelight for a reason. As the family grudgingly accept the invitation things start to go Jules’s way but behind her quest for fame things start to go wrong and turns deadly.

This is a truly engrossing book! It wasn’t what I was expecting in a circus book but that’s what makes it different. The characters are lively and enthralling, the lifestyle is written wonderfully and the politics of a large circus surface as well. There is a whole lot of plot in this book, romance, old family rivalries, lots of drama and plot twists that you don’t see coming. Some of the high wire scenes with Jules makes your heart jump into your throat! It’ so well written that it actually feels real and believable. This book is a gem and one that needs to be read.

5/5 stars


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One Breath away by Heather Gudenkauf


Augie and PJ Baker are staying with their grandparents in Broken Branch Iowa after their mother was burned in a fire back in Arizona. While their grandmother has travelled to Arizona to look after their mother in the hospital they stay with their grandfather, who is a cattle rancher. While PJ settles in and gets along with his grandfather Will, Augie isn’t fairing well and hates being there. Word gets out that there is a gunman in the school and it’s a scramble to find out not only who it is but also why he has taken a classroom of student’s hostage.

There are quite a few characters who feature in this book and while the bulk of the story takes place in the school there are a lot of flashback story telling by the main characters. While it helps with who is who and why they are where they are and how they got to this point in their lives I thought it went too deep into some things that just didn’t matter. The story dragged on and I felt that the book was too long to get to the thrust of the story, which was who was the gunman. I did figure out about a third into the book who it was and once you find out why he did it, the story fell flat.

I was captivated at the start of the book but at the half way point I got bored and it just wasn’t holding me as much as it did at the beginning.

There have been many books written about school shootings and I have read a few of them. The best non-fiction one was Columbine, which I guess is the definitive one. As far as fiction ones, Nineteen Minutes and The Hour I First Believed were two of the better ones, this one just fell flat and it was tedious. This is the first book I have read by Heather Gudenkauf and I wasn’t impressed.

2.5/5 stars



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Buried Agendas by Donnell Ann Bell



A devastating secret drove her from the man she loved. Will a deadly secret lead her back to him?

Diana Reid is a journalist who left her hometown of Diamond Texas after breaking up with her fiancé Brad Jordan after his grandfather exposed a secret about her MIA father. She has spent the last 8 years keeping her past buried away, she keeps secrets that she doesn’t want exposed while exposing the secrets of others. She gets a cryptic message about deaths that are going on at Jordan Industries including a veiled threat against her mother. She decides to go back home and undercover to try to figure out the mysterious deaths and prays that none of the Jordan clan discover what she is up to.

Brad Jordan never truly got over losing Diana, but has moved on with his life and is now mayor of Diamond and is engaged to Susan, the HR manager of Jordan Industries. He gets a phone call saying that there is something going on in the family company. He doesn’t believe it at first but events piling up make him start to change his mind.

I loved this book; it is one of those that keep you reading til the small hours of the morning. I got so involved with the characters that they feel real to you. I got lost in the book and was cheering Diana along. This book had it all, the romantic back-story, intrigue, loads of secrets and suspense. What I also liked about this book is that you had romance and chemistry between Brad and Diana but there weren’t any sex scenes and it worked out so well that you didn’t miss it or need it. At the end I sort of figured it was going to end one way, but I was wrong. It is a book that you can fall into and become so involved in it that the outside world doesn’t exist. It’s the first book I have read by Donnell and it certainly wont be the last!

Book provided by author.

5/5 stars


About the Author

Donnell Author Photo reisize


Donnell Ann Bell grew up in New Mexico and today lives in Colorado. A homebody at heart, she concentrates on suspense that might happen in her neck of the woods – writing SUSPENSE TOO CLOSE TO HOME. She is the author of The Past Came Hunting, Deadly Recall and Betrayed, all of which have been e-book best sellers. Buried Agendas is her newest release. Along with veteran police officer Wally Lind, Donnell co-owns Crimescenewriters, a Yahoo group putting law enforcement experts together with writers. Donnell loves to hear from readers.


Author Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads


 Giveaway Details

As part of the blog tour, Donnell will be giving away 5 copies of Buried Agendas (US/Canada only) and

5 Dammit Dolls (US/Canada only). Fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter!

Not sure what a Dammit Doll is? Well, here is the little saying that each doll comes with:

Whenever things don’t go so well and you want to hit the wall and yell, here’s a little dammit doll that you can’t do without. Just grasp it firmly by the legs and find a place to slam it. And as you whack the Stuffing out yell, “Dammit, Dammit! Dammit!

Dammit Dol4 (1)


Rafflecopter Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1c9cd1c911/







Diana curbed a jealous retort and moved to the nightstand. She yanked open a top drawer and withdrew the want ads she’d skimmed early that morning after she’d checked in. In bright red, she’d circled, Help wanted, mailroom clerk, Jordan Industries. High school diploma, drug test required.

“If your fiancée recognized me, I’d be behind bars. I deliberately failed my typing test and listed no experience on the application.”

For the first time, he smiled. The old Brad, the Brad she thought she knew. “What name did you use?”

“Candace Armstrong.”

“Okay.” He motioned to the letter. “So how can a mailroom employee find out what the author meant by ‘people are going to die’?”

“The same way I do every story, by asking questions.”

“Who’s Ronnie?”


Brad pointed to the tattoo on her ankle.

“Oh,” Diana smiled. “He’s no one.”

Brad’s gaze shot to her face, and for a second, she thought she saw pain. Don’t be absurd. The man’s engaged. Irrationally, Diana felt betrayed.

“Seriously, he’s no one. Ronnie doesn’t exist. And neither does this tattoo. It’s henna, and part of my disguise.”

Brad shook his head and he scowled. “You swear to me you didn’t talk to Liz this week.”

“I swear, I haven’t spoken to her . . .” But maybe I should.

“Give me one reason to go along with this?”

Diana lowered her head. She wanted to tell him because the Brad Jordan she’d once known stood for integrity and honesty. The Brad Jordan she’d loved, and unfortunately still did, had wanted to make a difference. She couldn’t believe he’d run for a mayoral position if that wasn’t still true.

Lifting her head, she met his gaze. “Because you know I had nothing to do with that letter, and you want to know what’s going on, too.”

As he traversed the dingy hotel room, Diana sensed he was wavering. He’d asked too many questions to turn her away now. If he said yes, she had a long list to accomplish before Monday. She’d take her physical, head for El Paso, and spend her weekend at the library researching Jordan Industries.

Brad stopped pacing. “I have no doubt that you’re worried about your mom. But when you said you weren’t out to hurt me or Jordan Industries, were you being truthful?”

“I meant every word.”

“All right. I’ll give you two weeks to investigate if you go along with the following conditions.”

She swallowed. “I’m listening.”

“If, after two weeks, you’ve found nothing, you’ll give up this charade and go home.”

She stared back at him. Diana could easily agree to Brad’s terms. She expelled a pent-up breath. “I accept that condition.”

“Second, you will never report a word of what you find or release a word to the media. If you do, I have more than enough witnesses to prove you entered Jordan Industries illegally, and I’ll file charges against you.”

Hurt morphed into anger. “Are you saying if something’s going on, you won’t report it?”

“Not at all. I’ll be the first one to call the police.”

“Then . . . I don’t understand.”

He unrolled his sleeves and grabbed his tie. “I’m saying no way in hell will I allow negative information against my family’s company to benefit your career. I don’t trust you, Diana, especially after what I saw today. We’ll see if you’re really concerned about your mother, or if you’re after a story.” Brad opened the door. “You don’t have to agree to the second part of my conditions right now. I’ll have my answer when you don’t show up on Monday.”


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Blog Tour Stops


December 8, 2014

CK Crouch: http://ckcrouch.wordpress.com

Reading by the Book: http://www.readingbythebook.com/?zx=85dd92d8b0eb840f

Storeybook Reviews: http://storeybookreviews.com


December 9, 2014

The Book Review: http://www.cluereview.blogspot.com

Happiness Is A Book: https://happinessbook.wordpress.com/

Romance Reviews Today: http://www.romrevtoday.blogspot.com/


December 10, 2014

My Book Addiction and More: http://www.mybookaddictionandmore.com

Shattered Hearts Reviews: http://shatteredheartsreviews.com/

So Many Reads: http://www.somanyreads.com


December 11, 2014

Em & M Books: http://www.emandmbooks.com

Harlie’s Book Reviews: http://www.harliesbooks.com/

Lush Book Reviews: http://lushbookreviewss.blogspot.com/

Romance Junkies: http://www.romancejunkiesreviews.com


December 12, 2014

A Little Bit of R&R: http://alittlebitofrnr.com/

Amy Manemann’s Blog: http://www.amymanemann.blogspot.com




Book Review: Stranger on the Shore by Josh Lanyon

10155216_10101700702994575_5550919188911807228_nFor some odd reason, this book kept making me think of Murder, She Wrote. I just kept expecting Angela Lansbury to pop in and be all like: By Joe, I think I got it! I was really caffeinated when I read this book. It was the butler!! Not really.

So, Jarrett Arlington is the head of the Long Island Arlington Empire (super wealthy people). He invites an investigative journalist named Griffin Neptune Hadley (his parents might have been stoners) to the Winden House estate to investigate the disappearance of Brian Arlington that happened 20 years ago. The kidnapping happened during the family’s Midsummer Nights themed party, and even though they paid a ransom, Brian was never returned. So what happened to Brian? Is he still alive? Bum bum bummm.

Despite having permission from Jarrett, Griff is met with some resistance from the rest of the family (a very eccentric family, I mean seriously eccentric. There’s all kinds of quirky characters in this special batch of crazy). There is a lot of resistance from the family friend and lawyer, Pierce Mather. Pierce immediately has it out for Griff, and doesn’t want him to write the book about the family. Despite this warm welcome, Pierce makes Griff swoon…weak at the knees…twitterpated. Dang Pierce and his good looks and confidence.  So, as Griff dives deeper into the mystery that is Brian, he becomes even more drawn to Pierce. I mean of course he does, we are in a m/m romance. But with the mutual attraction between the two of them, there is still distrust. We are in a mystery novel as well. I mean, come on people…

Enter suddenly, Leiland Alvin, a man claiming to be Brian. This has been one crazy week for Griff! Now Pierce and Griff must put aside their differences and join forces to prove that Leiland is a fraud! Will they be able to work together? Can their love survive the suspicious accidents and creepy phone calls? Where’s Brian?! Jessica Fletcher probably knows.

In all honesty, you don’t have to be Jessica Fletcher to figure it all out. The answers are handed to you fairly early, if you pick up on them. But this doesn’t detract from the book. I found it a fun and light read. A nice mix of mystery and romance, with just a few weird parts (thanks for the sex, let me collect some DNA). Although Lanyon is pretty formulaic in his writing, I am a fan, and I’m excited to read some more of his work.

A doll house or maybe a piece of wedding cake.

4/5 stars


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Dirty Little Secrets by LIliana Hart


I recently met Liliana and was a shamed to say that I had never read any of her books but I soon rectified that and read Dirty Little Secrets.

Jaye Graves, an ER doctor, has recently returned home to Bloody Mary Virginia following the death of her parents in a suspicious car accident. Not much happens in Bloody Mary except for gossip and games of poker and as she settles into the family mortuary business when a friend of hers is found murdered. Jack Lawson, the town sheriff and best friend of Jaye, is on scene and suspects the husband of the murdered woman, as it was common knowledge that he was an abusive spouse.

A famous writer shows up just after the murder to do some research for a new book and he shadows Jaye in order to gain information about violent deaths. While Jaye eventually lets him follow her around and the two strike up a romance.

More murders take place and each of the dead have secrets that are coming to the surface. Fingers get pointed and tempers flair as each body is found.

Wild theories about who the murderer is float around, frenzied gossip abounds in the small town and each person has their own ideas of what could be going on.

To be honest I can usually suss out who the killer is but this book kept me guessing right until the end and even then! This is a twisty, windy book in that way. It also struck the right balance of romance and mystery. I am glad to have met Liliana and have found a new author to enjoy reading and can’t wait to start the other two books in this series!


5/5 stars


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Then and Always by Dani Atkins


Rachel and her friends are celebrating one last time together before they all go their separate ways off to university when a tragic accident happens shattering Rachel’s life forever.

5 years later she goes back to her hometown to attend her best friends wedding when tragedy strikes her again in a freak accident leaving her wondering what is going on and what has happen to her. Life seems to be giving her a second chance at things and to find the happiness she deserves.

I want to say more but to do so would give away a bit too much away plot wise. I read this book in a day and a half and wanted to know what happens and it kept me guessing for about ¾ of the book before I sorta figured things out. There is a lot of emotion in this book, a lot of pain but eventually happiness. I wasn’t sure at first where this book was going as it was a bit of a rollercoaster of events and twists that keep you hooked and wanting to keep reading.

If you liked the movie Sliding Doors then this is the book for you.

ARC provided by Netgalley

5/5 stars


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Book Review: Spirit by John Inman

5199022I’m not sure where the sudden involvement of ghosts in gay romance novels came from, but I like it. Toss a murder, a hot young stud, an unexpected love affair, and a spooky-ass ghost with a weird sense of humor into Jason’s summer plans, and you’ve got the makings for one hell of a ride. There’s also an arthritic dog named Thumper.

Jason Day is a video game designer, gay and single. His sister, Sally, goes on a four week vacation with her boyfriend, Jack; leaving Jason to babysit four-year-old nephew, Timmy. Timmy is crazy smart for his age. He’s also cute, funny, inquisitive, and manipulative; making him a giant handful for Jason. One of my favorite parts of the book was the fact that Timmy basically took over. He constantly stole the show.

I will say though, that I have always found kids to be a little creepy, and Timmy is another example why. Shortly after his arrival, Timmy starts talking about the man in the basement. Cause that’s not creepy. But Jason just leaves it to the boy’s imagination, even though his house was built in 1923 (which is a reasonable age for it to have paranormal activity). Something interesting we find out is that Jason bought the house from Sally. She sold it to him after her husband and Timmy’s father, Paul, disappeared one day. I’m guessing he just went out for a pack of cigarettes.

Enter Timmy’s uncle from his dad’s side, Sam! He happens to be in town on secret business and because he’s hot, Jason tells him to stay with them instead of a hotel. There’s an immediate attraction between to the men (this is an m/m romance after all). Jason had met Sam once before at Sally and Paul’s wedding, but they really hit it off now.

Now that Sam’s staying in the house, Timmy’s ghost friend becomes more active. As he (yes I called him a he…not sure if that’s Spoiler Alert worthy) makes himself more apparent, even to Sam and Jason. But don’t worry, he’s a friendly ghost. He spends most of his time playing and hanging out with Timmy. The only time there’s an issue is when the phone rings and Jason isn’t allowed to answer it for certain people. I think that’s vague enough to not give anything else away.

As the days go by, Jason and Sam develop a sexual relationship. And we all know that leads to love, let’s not forget the genre I’m reviewing. Their mutual concern for Timmy’s welfare, and their budding love, makes them want a simple life, one without a ghost. So they work together to find out who the ghost in the basement is and what he needs to move on to the afterlife.

There’s a lot more to the plot, but with the limited settings and cast of character, if I wrote more I’d basically be giving away the whole story. I can only recommend reading it to find out for yourself. You might not be surprised by the outcome, but it’s a still a quick fun read, full of mystery and humor. Seriously, Timmy will have you giggling throughout the chapters. But be warned that there are sad moments though too, especially with the ghost and some involving Timmy as well. Luckily, there’s only a few of those moments sprinkled throughout.

Timmy accepted with stoic resignation, although I did hear him mumble something about chicken poop and peckerheads

4/5 stars


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