Book Review: The Fog

The Fog
Amanda McKinney
(A Berry Springs Novel)
Publication date: December 4th 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Romance

Former Marine turned ballistics expert, Wesley Cross is known around town for two things, his rugged good-looks and cocky attitude—until he finds his ex-girlfriend lying in a puddle of blood in his basement. The scene screams setup, but the discovery of a rare gem and a puzzling autopsy suggests the murder goes much deeper than that. Wesley will do whatever it takes to clear his name, including calling in a notoriously headstrong—and sexy—scientist.

While most little girls were playing dress up, Gwyneth Reece was digging in the dirt collecting bugs. Now one of the top forensic entomologists in the country, Gwen reluctantly accepts a job from a pushy cowboy and travels to the small, Southern town of Berry Springs. Heavy storms are brewing, and when she’s forced to check into the creepiest hotel she’s ever seen, she instantly regrets her decision to help out the former Marine.

Following up on a tip, Wesley heads to the Half Moon Hotel but quickly realizes his visit was not by chance. The killer lured him there, and suddenly everyone from the uptight bellman to the wealthy couple just passing through town become suspect. Bodies begin to disappear, and Wesley knows the killer will do anything to get to him…. including hurting the woman who’s kept his head spinning since he first laid eyes on her.

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My Review

Such an interesting couple, Wes and Gwyneth form a lovely couple, with lots of bumps on the way. But that′s how you start an amazing story. Add to that a creepy killer and a murder scene with a message to send and you have a great book.

I loved ”The Fog” quite a lot and I loved all the clues I had to follow together with the main characters. With the crime solving process, a former Marine (Wes) and a hot scientist end up recognizing their attraction (that′s not a spoiler, since everybody knows how these stories end). The road until they get there is very intense and starts very early in the book. Even from the first pages, we are directly sent into the action. This is something that I like, since it made me go on reading and find out more and more.

Speaking of, this is a book very easy to read and the writing is captivating and the plot is easy to follow. What I′m saying is that it′s very easy to get lost and forget about the time. I read it in one sitting, so …. I rest my case.

Yes, the love part could have used a little more brushing, since they start of pretty fast. But I like the balance between the characters. He is very demanding and bossy (quite annoying sometimes), but Gwyneth is not easy to push around. I loved that she maintained her personality. She is definitely not the weak kind.

Lots of twists and turns, many great scenes, that is how ”The Fog” manages to retain the readers between the chapters. I loved it. 4 stars – Enjoy!

 

Author Bio:

Award-winning author of romantic suspense and mystery, Amanda McKinney wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries peppered with steamy love scenes, and include the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES and the BLACK ROSE MYSTERY SERIES, with many more to come.

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Time for Pixels: Field of Yellow

Emotions behind the lenses of a camera. We bring you our Time for Pixels series – photos ment for your soul.

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When all is grey and cold, a little reminder of the brighter side of things is what we need to bring that spirit up. A reminder of suny and warm days, when all we have are laughter, friends and happy moments.

With this field of yellow, we hope to bring you that small dose of optimism. Enjoy it and keep it with you always 😉

Book Review: Paper Girl

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Paper GirlPaperGirl_1600
by Cindy R. Wilson
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release date: December 4th 2018
Entangled Teen

Summary:

I haven’t left my house in over a year. My doctor says it’s social anxiety, but I know the only things that are safe are made of paper. My room is paper. My world is paper. Everything outside is fire. All it would take is one spark for me to burst into flames. So I stay inside. Where nothing can touch me.

Then my mom hires a tutor. Jackson. This boy I had a crush on before the world became too terrifying to live in. Jackson’s life is the complete opposite of mine, and I can tell he’s got secrets of his own. But he makes me feel things. Makes me want to try again. Makes me want to be brave. I can almost taste the outside world. But so many things could go wrong, and all it takes is one spark for everything I love to disappear…

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My Review

 

“Paper Girl” is for me one of those books that stick. I loved it so much that I am even afraid to review it, as my words are too little to express the value that, again, at least for me, it contains. There are mixed opinions out there and in the following lines, I will do my best to justify my rating and my feelings.

First page got me hooked. An online discussion between BlackKnight and Rogue2015, on a chess board, is my firs delight. From here onwards, I looked forward for their discussions and their banter over who is better and not only that. The comfortable feeling they both have with one another is heartwarming.

Second page has the following quote:

When there were two kids in a family and one kid couldn’t leave the house without her chest clamping tight in panic like a bear trap, then you really had 1.5 kids because .5 of one kid was defective.

Zoe has agoraphobia, anxiety, panic attacks and a lot of pressure to overcome her situation. Her family has offered her all the help a family can offer, including professional help. Jackson has family issues that keep him away from home, leaving out of his car, tutoring for money, hoping to gather enough to pay for college. Two main characters with issues and an author that treats both of them with so much respect, it’s overwhelming.

While the relationship between the two is intense and interesting to say the least, what made me love the book even more, was how Cindy R. Wilson detailed every step Zoe has to take in order to overcome her fears. Starting with the many specialists that have seen her until the “good” one comes around (underlining the fact that a doctor may be well trained, but it’s the comfort the patient has towards the person that matters) and following her goals, accustoming herself again with others, first in her safe zone and then slowly moving forward.

There are a lot of metaphors hidden in the book as well. Even the online discussions lead to metaphors of real life. But the most important of them is the universe Zoe creates out of paper. Her own world, created after her own preference.

BlackKnight: Kind of the same thing, right? Chess and real life. It’s all strategy.

I have spoken so much about Zoe and so little about Jackson, mainly because I see her as the masterpiece of this book. But he is not at all less important. He is a teenager forced to think like a grownup. However, it’s visible the author paid more attention to Zoe and her struggles, than with Jackson.

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There are so many things to discuss here and probably a new article will follow, with spoilers for sure, where I will go deeper into this book. The objective reviewer in me has to admit that a stronger reason behind Zoe’s condition would have worked better for the story and also there are some items in regards to the secondary characters that are not well done. Because of that, I feel compelled to give 4 out of 5 stars, but this book will remain close to my heart for a lot of time now. I don’t know how to say THANK YOU in the proper way, so I’m doing it with capital letters. Cindy R. Wilson is amazing!

Note: I would not recommend the book to those of you having anxiety issues or more severe conditions of the sort as it may trigger unwanted emotions. However, for those brave enough, you will see how tiny steps can mean so much in overcoming a difficult emotional state.

 

About the Authorcindy_wilson

Cindy lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and loves using Colorado towns and cities as inspiration for settings in her stories. She’s the mother of three girls, who provide plenty of fodder for her YA novels. Cindy writes speculative fiction and YA fiction, filled with a healthy dose of romance. You’ll often find her hiking or listening to any number of playlists while she comes up with her next story idea.

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Audiobook review: Murder in Keswick

Author: William Todd

Narrator: Ben Werling

Length: 2 hours 38 muntes

Publisher: William Todd

Released: Oct. 16, 2018

Genre: Mystery

While on a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District to get away from the toils and troubles of London, Holmes and Watson find no respite. As soon as they exit the train, they hear news of a grisly murder making its way around the murmuring commuters. A local aristocrat, Mr. Darcy, has been found missing his head!

And that very night, the wealthy widow finds a stranger in her home who, upon seeing her, abandons his plans and quickly leaves. She believes the intruder to be the murderer of her husband who is now after a large sum of cash she keeps in the house safe.

Unsure if the would-be thief is the murderer or an opportunistic burglar, Holmes devises a plan to catch the burglar, all the while investigating the murder of Mr. Darcy. Follow Holmes, Watson, and the local constable Mr. Wickham as they untangle the mystery surrounding a Murder in Keswick.

I have been writing online since the early 2000’s, primarily writing horror stories in the style of Poe and Lovecraft. I was the 2nd most popular author on the website storiesbyemail.com for two years before moving on. I had my first book, a Victorian era horror compilation called Bumps in the Night, published by Mystic Moon Press just a week before they closed their website and never saw my hard work pay off. Afterwards I took publishing into my own hands, became an Indie author and haven’t looked back. My first self-published book was Dead of Night, another compilation of Victorian horror stories, published September 2016 by Createspace and on Kindle by KDP. After its publication I left my comfort zone for mystery and wrote a short story about Sherlock Holmes in the Conan Doyle style. I loved it so much I then did a longer story A Reflection of Evil, both published in 2017 through Createspace and KDP. I have just release Beyond the Gossamer Veil, another compilation of both Victorian and modern supernatural/horror stories and am in the beginning stages of my third Sherlock Holmes installment.

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Narrator Bio

Ben is an award winning actor and voice over professional, who has performed all across the United States. From Shakespeare to Neil Simon, he has displayed a versatility and diversity in the characters and dialects he has portrayed. Ben received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Leading Actor as abusive talk show host Barry Champlain in Eric Bogosian’s TALK RADIO, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor as Prosecutor Villeforte in Alexander Dumas’ THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, also in Chicago. He has worked with an extensive list of theaters in Chicago over the last three decades: Steppenwolf, Bailiwick, Famous Door, Next, A Red Orchid, Raven Theater, First Folio, Writer’s Theater, Buffalo Theater Ensemble, as well as Utah Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory, Madison Repertory, and Allenberry Playhouse in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. He is an Ensemble member of Shattered Globe Theater in Chicago. For almost a decade he was the voice of the Adler Planetarium, hosting live shows and pointing out the stars, planets and constellations on the big dome. Ben has an eponymous weekly vlog on YouTube, that he films, produces, edits and narrates. He lives in Chicago with his wife Amy, two dogs and three cats.

2 hours of mystery solving with the amazing Sherlock Homes. That’s a fantastic way to spend the time, especially in a grey evening. William Todd does a great job of “refreshing” the stories and the murder case he creates is very interesting and very fitting for a detective of Sherlock’s caliber.

The short story managed to meet almost all my expectations. We have a very interesting murder case that interrupts Shelock and Watson’s attempt at a vacation: a decapitated body, with no traces of blood in a community where the biggest crime is theft at the local fare. So imagine the joy on the local constable when finding out that the great detective Homes and Doctor Watson are willing to help.

The main traits of Homes are well captured; we have a veritable detective, as we already know him from the original stories. Same goes for Doctor Watson. What I would have wanted is a bit more of those fun interactions between the two. I wanted to smile more often at their exchange.

Whenever I hear about Sherlock Homes, it’s impossible not to think about the series with Benedict Cumberbatch. For me, it’s not possible to have a better Sherlock. So I associated the character attitude and narration to what I saw in those episodes. That’s why the narration did not fulfill my expectations. Ben Werling does a great job, his voice is clear and easy to understand. But I would have preferred a little more disguise in his voice, especially when it comes to the female characters. Also, maybe a little more of that beautiful English accent would have been welcomed.

I take a special note to discuss the audio production, which was spectacular. There are background sounds and music that help the reader feel the atmosphere of the time, or the scene that is described. We can hear train sounds, wood burning, things crashing, the “Sherlock”music. I loved it so so much! Big points for that!

Specifically because this is an audiobook, I wanted more from the narration, so my 4 stars are in relation to that. Otherwise, I loved the sorry, I loved the audio production with those additional effects. I do encourage you to give it a try. It’s an interesting experience!

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by William Todd. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

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Book Review: Stranded for Christmas

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A snowstorm. Her much older business partner. A snowstorm changes Laura Holiday and Russ Matheson’s relationship forever. Contemporary Romance fans will love this sexy holiday romance from New York Times Bestselling Author Noelle Adams!

About Stranded for Christmas:Stranded for Christmas2

 

Title: Stranded for Christmas

Author: Noelle Adams

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: December 4, 2018

Publisher: Noelle Adams

Series: Holiday Acres #4

Format: Digital eBook

Digital ISBN: 9781386913887

Stranded for Christmas (Holiday Acres #4)

A snowstorm. Her much older business partner. One very hot night.

Laura Holiday doesn’t believe in romance. Her life revolves around her work and her six-year-old son. The last thing she wants is a fling with her friend and business partner, Russ Matheson, who is emotionally unavailable and thirteen years older than her. But one night in a snowstorm changes their relationship forever.

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Pre-order:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

My Review

I wish I read the previous books in the series, because “Stranded for Christmas” is such a beautiful love story, with two main characters with a lot of baggage and a lot of trust issues. In just under 150 pages, we have a very emotional relationship that left me breathless at times.

Laura and Russ have more than family history behind. They have their own experience that keeps their hearts always well protected. It’s difficult for both to trust, it’s difficult to start something with their hearts on the line. But Mother Nature has other plans. I lived with them all their intense moments, I lived their fears, their doubts and took their risks together.

Maybe I am too emotional now, because I’ve finished it just an hour prior to writing this review. I liked what I’ve read, I like the characters, I hate that I didn’t read the other stories. There are some parts that were a little forced and some misunderstandings that could have been solved very easy, but I cannot but recognize how dear this book is to my heart.

All in all, 4 stars and my love and devotion to the author for this lovely, lovely story!

Other Books in the Holiday Acres series:

Stranded on the Beach2Stranded on the Beach (Holiday Acres #1)

A forced vacation on the beach. The man who broke her heart. A second chance at love.

Rebecca Holiday’s sisters force her to take a two-week vacation on the beach for some much needed rest, but then she runs into the man who broke her heart, the only man she’s ever loved.

When they decide to spend time together, it’s only supposed to be closure, but what they might discover is a second chance at love.

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

Stranded in the Snow2Stranded in the Snow (Holiday Acres #2)

An unexpected snowstorm. The man she hates the most. One very hot night.

Olivia Holiday does not expect to spend the weekend stranded in a romantic cottage during a snowstorm with the one man she resents the most. Scott Matheson is a player and holds a grudge against her family, and she really shouldn’t find him so hot. They share a deep history as well as an attraction, and it all comes out as they’re trapped together for one hot night.

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

 Available:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

Stranded in the Woods2Stranded in the Woods (Holiday Acres #3)

A surprise snowstorm. A grumpy recluse. One very hot night.

When Penny Holiday gets stranded during a snowstorm, she has to seek refuge with Kent Matheson, a childhood friend who lives like a hermit and has never forgiven her family. Kent is everything she shouldn’t want, but feelings are awakened in his cabin in the woods that don’t disappear when the snow finally melts.

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

About Noelle Adams:Noelle Adams Photo

Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she reads any book she can get her hands on and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.

She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.

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Audiobook Review: Barking Up The Wrong Bakery

Author: Stella St. Claire

Narrator: Machelle Williams

Length: 5 hours and 6 minutes

Series: Happy Tails Dog Walking Mysteries, Book 1

Publisher: Relay Publishing

Released: Jan. 4, 2018

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Some people would kill for coffee….

Olivia Rickard would kill to keep everything just the way it is. She’s got a gorgeous boyfriend who loves her, a supportive sister to lean on, and a dog walking business that’s briskly barking away. But just as she’s getting comfortable, her sister suddenly wants to buy an entire brownstone with her, and her boyfriend looks like he’s going to pop the question at every opportunity. Changing the status quo has always been disastrous for Olivia, and now everything is changing at once….

What Olivia needs is a distraction, and she’s found one in stumbling upon Yvette Dunn dead in her coffee food truck – drowned in a vat of fresh coffee. Olivia starts out as an unlucky bystander to the crime, but she’s forced to dig in deeper when it looks like her sister could be involved in Yvette’s death.


Olivia is running out of time in regards to the mystery, the mortgage, and the marriage. She’s going to have to solve all three problems – and quick – or face a future most foul.

Stella lives and breathes cozy mysteries! With her head always buried inside these books, it’s no wonder that she would put pen to paper to bring her own cozy mysteries to life. The words flew onto the page, and she’s already teeming with ideas for the next cozy mystery series.
With her trusted canine by her side, it seemed only natural to be inspired by her beautiful beagle Doogle and the many hours they spent walking through scenic New England villages. When Stella’s not reading books, she’s off on road trips, exploring every nook and cranny in neighboring towns, seeking inspiration for her next book.
She’s keen to see what her fellow cozy critics think of her new cozy mystery so please leave a review and share your thoughts with Stella.

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Narrator Bio

As an audiobook narrator with 23 years of experience moving audiences with her voice through corporate facilitation and public speaking, Machelle knows how to connect with the intent of the author to bring their vision to life. Her compelling yet casual voice draws the listener close, transporting them deep into the story and keeping them hanging on every word with full attention and anticipation.

Machelle’s voice is nuanced and delivers reads that range from soft and soothing to dramatic and smoky. She specializes in Mysteries & Thrillers, but her Bespoke repertoire also includes Non-Fiction, Religious, Urban and Noire.

Machelle is based in Northern Virginia with her two Boston Terriers, Daphne and Lilah, and her fully equipped studio from which she provides quick turn-around of professional quality recordings.

When you need a narrator to take your listener to the edge of their seat and their breath away – trust the telling to Machelle.

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For me, this book was like a break from my usual romance books, a beautiful, welcomed break. Although this is not that far from the tree, “Barking Up The Wrong Bakery” has a good mystery, a (sometimes nosy) main character, a bit of romance and a bunch of cute dogs. It’s that type of story that makes you feel comfortable.

Olivia finds one of the owners of her favorite coffee shop dead when arriving for her usual dose of caffeine. Being a fan of stories involving detectives, she takes the opportunity to “practice” what her favorite investigator “thought” her in the many books she listened to. And also because she is nosy and can’t stay away, especially when told not to get involved. Still, it’s impossible not to find something in her for every woman or girl that reads this book.

She is clumsy, but smart, not willing to settle down, yet liking her own routine with waking up to read a few pages in the middle of the night. She knows she has the best boyfriend ever, but the thought of spending her entire life with the guy scares her. Andrew really has the biggest patience ever.  He accepts her with all her flaws and is willing to set the pace Olivia needs and wants. They are lovely together!

The mystery is well constructed. I had no clue who the killer was, but to be honest, I was more interested in the romance aspect and I was distracted by Olivia’s personality… and the dogs! The town atmosphere is very realistic as well. We have the town gossip, the envy and policeman who is so surprised he actually has real police job to do. It was funny and interesting at the same time.

The narration was not bad, but I wanted more voice acting. The audio quality was ok, Machelle Williams is doing a great job expressing emotions, but sometimes is difficult to differentiate between the characters, when it comes to listening to them speak. The book is written in such a way that is not possible to confuse them however.

All in all, this book gave me a nice feeling. The small town life, the relatable main character, a very nice and simple romance, a good mystery – what’s not to like? 4.5 stars J

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Stella St. Claire. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

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Book Review: Scythe

Scythe
Christina Bauer
(Dimension Drift Worlds, #1)
Publication date: April 24th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult

“Fans of A Wrinkle in Time can’t missDimension Drift!” – Christina Trevaskis, The Book Matchmaker

Truth time. I go to a Learning Squirrel High School. Don’t judge.

On second thought, judge away. Learning Squirrel is one step above attending class in a junkyard. But what do you expect? Everything’s made out of garbage these days. At least, I have my freelance work to keep Mom and me housed, clothed, and fed. How? I’m your regular high school science geek for hire, except my work manipulates space-time. The good news is that these gigs pay really well; the bad news is that the government likes to kill people like me. Whatever. I’m not worried; hiding from their detection systems is easy for me.

Then I screw up one of my illegal projects. Badly.

In fact, things go so sideways that my house slips into two-dimensional space-time. The shift only lasts for a few seconds, but that’s long enough to set off a dozen government alarms. If those goons track me down, Mom and I are as good as dead. Long story short, I need to pay someone off, hide the evidence, and keep us safe.

Unfortunately, that means asking the Scythe for help. He runs the local underground crime scene and has absolutely no conscience…Or at least, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. It’s hard to think straight when a guy’s that hot in an ‘evil Mafioso kingpin’ kind of way. Most importantly, the Scythe is a crime lord who can conceal my slip-up with a few clicks on his minion’s computer keyboards. But the man has his price. In this case, the Scythe wants me to finish a certain dimensional prototype for him in twenty-four hours. I can do it, but it might mean Learning Squirrel High gets blown up in the process. Oh yes, and there’s also my new hot classmate who may or may not be an alien…and he says he’ll do anything to help me.

This job won’t be easy, but I’ve gotten out of worse scrapes. Maybe.

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My Review

„Scythe” is another good start for an awesome series. There are many reasons why I liked it, but at the same time, there are a couple of reasons why I did not enjoy it as much as I would have wanted.

Starting with the positives, I like the universe, with the political system, the dimensions and all that alien stuff. It sounds complicated, but the author has a way with words that makes everything natural. And this is another reason why I like it. I have also read/listened to “Angelboud” by this same author. While in case of „Angelbound” I was not a fan of the narration, the author did an amazing job with the writing. So I know what to expect.  I even like the heroine and how she does her best to set the things on the right path, trying to correct her own mistakes. She is not perfect at all, but this makes her more real.

Now on the negatives. The romance was too quick. These two have barely been introduced and one cannot live without the other. Not my cup of tea. No, not at all. I wanted to see a “bigger” evil. I wanted the negative characters to be more evil, but to be honest, this is a short book, so …. No room for much development here.

However, I do see this series as so much more and I cannot wait to see what happens next. “Schyte” opens a lot of doors and I cannot wait to see what’s next J Happy Reading guys! Oh, 4 stars here !

 

 

Author Bio:

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. The first three books in the series are now available as audiobooks on Audible and iTunes.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

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