The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor

The Shark Club

Ann Kidd Taylor

Set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico, in a picturesque and quaint beach town, The Shark Club is a bittersweet story about the power of forgiveness, and the promise of true love.

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“A quintessential summer read.” Marie Claire
 
A warm and wonderfully vivid novel about taking second chances—in life and in the sea
 
One summer day on the beach in Florida, two extraordinary things happen to Maeve Donnelly. First, she is kissed by Daniel, the boy of her dreams. Then, she is bitten by a blacktip shark.
 
Eighteen years later, Maeve has thrown herself into her work as a world-traveling marine biologist discovering more about the minds of misunderstood sharks. But when Maeve returns home to the legendarily charming and eccentric Hotel of the Muses where she was raised by her grandmother, she finds more than just the blood orange sunsets and key lime pies she’s missed waiting for her.
 
While Maeve has always been fearless in the water, on land she is indecisive. A chance meeting on the beach with a plucky, irresistible little girl who is just as fascinated by the ocean as Maeve was growing up leaves her at a crossroads: Should she re-kindle her romance with Daniel, the first love she left behind when she dove into her work? Or indulge in a new romance with her colleague, Nicholas, who turns up in her hometown to investigate an illegal shark-finning operation?   
 
Set against the intoxicating backdrop of palm trees, calypso bands, and perfect ocean views, The Shark Club is a story of the mysterious passions of one woman’s life: her first love and new love; the sea and sharks that inhabit it.


Advance Galley Reviews

Not what I expected but was pleasantly surprised. Lots of romance, drama, mystery, humor, and intrigue. Liked the characters and story flow. Did not see the ending coming.......not expected. Did not know about shark finning. Horrible. This book was hard to put down. Enjoyed this book and would recommend!

I was a big fan of The Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd so when Penguin offered to allow me to read an advanced copy of a book by the iconic author's daughter as a part of their First to Read program, I was ecstatic. What I learned is that each author must be appreciated based on their own work and not be compared to authors that have come before them. Ann Kidd Taylor's work is completely different from the southern fiction that I enjoyed from Sue Monk Kidd, but still just as fun. The Shark Club takes place, primarily, in an island hotel in the Gulf of Mexico. Maeve and her brother lost their parents when she was very young and moved into their grandmother's hotel. The twins are friends with Daniel, a boy who is grieving the fact that his father left him and his mother unexpectedly. When Maeve is bitten by a shark and saved by Daniel, she falls in love with both Daniel and sharks. Soon after her engagement to Daniel, she travels to finish her dissertation so that she can study sharks full-time. When she is away, Daniel fathers a child by another woman, breaking Maeve's heart and ending the engagement. When Maeve returns to the hotel after a trip studying sharks, she has to face Daniel, who is now the hotel's head chef, and an illegal shark finning operation in the area. The characters were a little bit predictable in the book and, while the shark finning mystery was a bit of a surprise, it was also a little bit anticlimactic but I actually enjoyed reading this book. It is a wonderful beach book. Even though it addresses issues like animal cruelty and infidelity, it still had a laid back feel and I enjoyed the romance between the characters. I really love Taylor's easygoing writing style. While it was very different from Sue Monk Kidd's southern fiction, I really liked Taylor's Florida-based novel. It is a great book for someone who enjoys women's fiction or romance novels, especially if they also love animals.

I honestly did not believe when I chose this book to read that it would be about a group of people who formed a club based on their love of sharks. A great summer read since the story takes place in Florida, right on the ocean. It's a pretty fast paced read too. I could have done without the love triangle between Maeve, Daniel and Nicholas. But, it needed some romantic suspense I guess. I enjoyed the real mystery. I had heard about shark finning in the past, but I got emotionally invested reading about what this does to the sharks, the shark population and for what?? Maeve's relationship with Hazel made me keep reading this book when I would have put it down and picked up something with a bit more teeth. If you are looking for a quick beach read with a bit of romance, mystery and science, this is for you.

I went into The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor with little to no expectations. This is the first novel I’ve read by this author, so I wanted to keep an open mind about the story. And, you know what? The Shark Club wasn’t half bad. There were a lot of things I particularly liked about this story. The Shark Club is a character driven novel. A lot of time was devoted to developing the characters and their relationships. There was even a little bit of a mystery going on. This book was mainly about the main character, Maeve Donnelly, returning home to her life after a research trip where she got to study sharks up close and personal. The Shark Club focused on Maeve’s relationships—both new and old—between friends, family, and old loves. At some parts, this book felt like a lot of other contemporary novels that I’ve read, but Maeve’s background and occupation is what made the story interesting. I don’t see marine biologists portrayed in fiction very often. I’ve seen it mentioned in passing, but I rarely come across a book that specifically deals with it in the way The Shark Club did. The plotline with the sharks was interesting, and I wish there would have been more of the technical stuff involving Maeve’s job. The mystery was there. However, just like the marine biology side of the story, the mystery seemed to take a step to the side when considering other aspects of the story. Still, the mystery was pretty good. Overall, I enjoyed The Shark Club.

I have been an avid lover of sharks, so when I saw The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor available, I just had to request it. This book was a great summer beach read that was about a woman living her dreams and finding the strength to trust her instincts in life and love. Maeve Donnelly will never forget the day that she kissed the boy she loved and then was bitten by a shark. The scar on her leg just reminds her of the love that she has for the creatures and she takes many research trips around the world to study them. Coming back after one of those trips to the Hotel of the Muses run by her grandmother, she gets a little tripped up running into the boy she loved and left because he is now the chef of the hotel. With a shark finning operation happening not to far away, a cute little girl inviting her to Shark Club, and trying to decide if she should give her ex-fiancé a second chance, Maeve has a lot to deal with this summer and you can't help but follow along to her story. Definitely recommend.

Maeve is kissed by a boy and bit by a shark right after--beginning two life long obsessions. As an adult, she swims with the sharks, and the boy, Daniel, still has a big part of her heart. Though her life is more complicated than that, of course. I enjoyed Maeve--she's passionate and imperfect, sweeping you along with her interests, willing to risk her heart, with family problems, love life problems, and work problems like anyone else. Even if you're not much interested in sharks--and why not, they're pretty cool--there's plenty else about dreams and love, taking responsibility for your own actions, and one very cute little girl. A fast read, drawing you into Maeve's world above and below the water, with a satisfying ending.

An adorable fast and light read; perfect for the beginning of summer. I liked Maeve a lot and her passion for sharks and ocean life. The Florida setting was perfectly described and definitely made me crave a trip there. There is nothing negative that I can say about this book. The story line is somewhat predictable, but the characters are likable, the setting is great, and you learn a little bit a sharks.

An enjoyable story that is a perfect summer read. It was a nice blend of romance, family drama and even a mystery thrown in. The characters were engaging and I just loved Hazel and her curiosity. The ending was ok for me, although it felt a little rushed. I was hoping for a different ending. Hazel's relationship with Maeve and the Shark Club was great. I found all of the information on sharks and marine life very interesting. This is the first book I have read by Ann Kidd Taylor, but it won't be the last!

I really enjoyed this book! I moved to the Florida Panhandle 30 yrs ago because of my love of anything "saltwater". My second love is reading and therefore this book was a dream for me to read and review. I absolutely loved the Hotel of Muses and agree with statement on page 3 where author describes it as a "hotel on Ecstasy". with book talks, book trolleys, each room named after an author. I liked the characters in the book and the new facts I was able to glean about sharks. Ann Kidd Taylor has written a great beach read and I look forward to her next one!

I really enjoyed this story about a woman who has to confront her past so she can move on in life. Liked the characters a lot and the author's style of writing. My only wish is that this story was longer; enjoyed the plot but wish the story was fleshed out a bit more. Plot points were resolved very quickly, would have liked to have seen them delved into more. Great summer read!

Ann Kidd Taylor's "The Shark Club" is a good beach read. The Hotel of the Muses, the setting for much of the book, is a place where any reader would love to spend time while on vacation. While the characters are fairly predictable in their actions, the author has peopled her novel with folk the reader can care about. An added bonus is the fascinating details about sharks, their habits, the dangers they cause and the dangers caused to them by humans. I'm glad that Penguin's First to Read program gave me an opportunity to read this ARC.

A nice romance, in a nice setting, with a hotel I'd love to visit. I mostly enjoyed reading this, but the details about sharks wasn't really my cup of coffee.

A nice, relatively light summer read. Maeve, Perri and Hazel were all great characters - funny, independent, and full of personality. I found all of the shark and ocean details interesting, as I never knew much about either. It was refreshing to read a romance plot that was more realistic - Maeve actually had logic and backbone! I'm glad she didn't give up what made her happy, and recognized that what she and Daniel had was more wishful thinking than reality. The illegal finning mystery seemed a bit like an afterthought, as if the author didn't think there was enough "going on" in the book so she added something. It wasn't really necessary, and it was wrapped up a bit too quickly and neatly.

This was a quick, enjoyable read. I had a hard time getting into it at first, but things picked up towards the middle. The setting and details were beautifully described. Maeve was a interesting character, but a bit hard to relate to because of her single-minded obsession with sharks, often at the expense of her personal relationships. Although Maeve's relationship with Nicholas seemed a bit rushed, the love triangle was well handled and the author managed to keep some suspense until the last few chapters. Overall, I would recommend for some light, unique summer reading.

The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor is very enjoyable and easy to read. It is a story about Maeve who as a girl was bitten by a shark and from that moment on dedicated her life to shark research. Being out at sea in foreign countries for months as at a time Maeve returns to her childhood home, Hotel of Muses. She returns to her grandmother, brother and her job but she also runs into her ex-fiancé Dan. Maeve is then caught in a love triangle between her ex-fiancé Daniel, her coworker Nicholas and her work with the sharks. Who wins out in the end, you will have to read to find out. Even though her choice isn't the one that I was hoping for I understand why she went in the direction she did. Thank you First To Read for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book.

As I sit down to write this review, I still have some mixed feelings. On the plus side: 1) I loved the setting, and I so loved the idea of the Hotel of the Muses - who wouldn't want to stay at such a book-themed hotel? 2) I loved the relationship between Maeve and Daniel's daughter 3) I loved the character of Perri - I do wish she had been a little more developed and more of a key player in the storyline 4) I liked learning more about sharks and marine biology, but at points it was a bit much. On the downside: 1) The shifts in Maeve's feelings for both Daniel and Nicholas were too fast and not quite believable. I recognize we all struggle with our feelings for people at times, but this was a bit much for me 2) The overall pacing of the novel was very uneven, mostly due to the relationship issues that Maeve experienced 3) Maeve's relationship with her brother held some potential, but needed to be more fully developed. Overall, I would recommend this read, but I think with a little more editing, this could have been an outstanding novel!

I wish the hotel of the muses was a real place. The place sounds amazing. This book is good for a light read. I enjoyed the book, but the story is a little forgettable.

I liked a lot of things about this book. Maeve is a smart, introspective character who shows maturity in her feelings and her actions. Hazel was just adorable, and I wish the Hotel of Muses was a real place. The ending felt a bit incomplete and it certainly wasn't the one I was hoping for. Most of the characters were well-developed. The pace and plotting of the story is good and I think it will make great summer reading.

Love this book just what I needed to get ready for the summer

It is a perfect, light, enjoyable read for the summer. I was glad to have the chance to read this book in a similar setting, Florida. Surprisingly, shark fishing was an actual activity choice when we were there. Even though they are not shark-fin fishing, it still made me feel bad for the sharks. So no fishing, just reading on the beach. Forgiveness and pretend nothing has happened are two different things. If I were Maeve, I would have done the same thing. I like how the story develops and comes together. All the characters are likable. The Hotel of Muses, Perri, and Hazel are as cute as they are can be. Oh, how I love classic love triangle stories. Should she choose her first love/childhood best friend, or the man with a similar passion. I had no idea whose is Maeve going to choose until the last 2 or 3 chapters, love it. However, the actual ending feels a little rush. If you are looking for a light read, I would recommend this book. 4 out of 5 stars Received a free temporary e-copy from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.

Quick, light read. Good summer read. Liked the characters and was very happy with the ending. Loved the idea of the Hotel of Muses. Quirky enough to be original. Would like to read more from Ms Taylor.

I really liked this book. I loved the setting and the quirkiness of the Hotel of the Muses. I was torn in my feelings for who I wanted Maeve to end up with. I enjoyed all the info about the sharks and thought it was just enough so that I didn't want to skim over it. The ending felt a bit rushed and I am not sure how I felt about it but I enjoyed the book very much.

The Shark Club is a fun and original summer read. Given heavy involvement of actual sharks it might not be beach reading but it is very enjoyable. Taylor has crafted a modern heroine in Maeve. She's a career girl (marine biologist with a PhD) in the sciences no less. She'd like a personal relationship but the sharks come first. Maeve and her twin brother becomes orphans at the age of 6 and are subsequently raised by their grandmother, whom they call Perri, thus setting up this eclectic story. There are some compelling twists and turns in the story which were fun. I think this will be on a lot of must read summer lists. I was given this book in Penguins first to read program.

The Shark Club is (or is trying to be) a little bit more than your average, predictable beach read. It is definitely predictable, and the description alone promotes it as a beach read, but it also has some "feel good" elements and moments of self-reflection. I devoured it in a day; mainly because I was curious to see the progression of some of the characters, but the only one who truly ever evolved was the protagonist. The author's use of imagery and similes are very vivid. It makes the book flow nicely and assists the reader's imaginative film reel. There is some dry humor tossed in among the dialogue, witty puns interlaced throughout the text that play upon the nautical theme, and it does make for a quick fun read, but parts were lacking. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars (truly a 3.5) because some of the ideas in the novel were pretty cool i.e. The Hotel of the Muses and its rooms dedicated to various authors. I'm not sure if the author was going for a beach read or wanted it to be a bit more serious, but that extra glue was missing. For one, except for the protagonist who happens to be the narrator of the story (and maybe that's why I am missing the point), is the only fully developed character. Everyone else is one-dimensional and float in and out of the text. You would think a twin brother who is mentioned so frequently would have more to do with the story when he is such a huge part of the turbulence in her life. Also, the mystery/troubling aspect was mentioned once in the first 100 pages and not touched again until the end. The book could have been that much better if that storyline was unraveled a bit more. Maybe it is supposed to be a love story and the author did not want readers to take away the mystery as a main point, but it seemed pretty flat. They could have completely edited it out and it would have made little difference, but needing another plot device to move the story forward. For someone who flipped out so wildly on a cop for her true passion and someone so dedicated to her career, it seemed off that she merely was upset for a day about the damage done by a family member. I am purposely being vague otherwise it gives away too much. If it was supposed to be only a love story, her love interests, Daniel and Nicholaus, are not very strong. Daniel can at least be filled-in by comparing him to a past lover a reader may have had, but Nicholaus is barely there and his backstory is about three sentences. I think there were too many ideas going on and it needed to be better focused. Either this is a story about Maeve's passions: sharks/her career, those two men, and family, or it's some disjointed, pro-environment, thriller/romance beach read that never quite came together as one specific thing. While that compost sometimes works, it does not in this case. Overall, I would still give it a read because it is enticing purely as story-telling goes and it's a tiny bit deeper than your average beach read (no pun intended). On a final note and as a personal preference, I enjoy when a writer reveals what the title means within the novel, and that happens several times here.

I love when I finish the final page of a book with a big smile on my face and a huge sigh of goodness on my lips. This book did that for me. From the first pages when I met Maeve and discovered what led to her fascination with sharks to the final moments when I discovered what life choices she would make and why, I was simply riveted to the page and cheering her on. I found myself greatly admiring her for her ability to make difficult life choices and discovering what truly mattered to her, rather than letting life just lead her along. I loved her dedication to the thing she loved, even though that thing, a shark, had injured her many years before. The setting in the book, The Hotel of the Muses, was a bit of a character in itself and of course it's affiliation with all things bookish was fabulously delicious, as was the beautiful ocean. I loved the moments spent on the beach and in the ocean with the sea creatures, those moments came alive for me and had me wishing I was there. The whole cast of characters just felt like family to me, and I loved so many of them. There were some very tender moments and the emotion that ran through the whole book made me so very happy. I highly recommend this book to lovers of family drama, mixed with a little mystery, and topped off with a fabulous heroine who makes the whole book worth reading. She's divine. And I loved everything about this glorious book.

A light, enjoyable read. The Gulf of Mexico setting was beautiful and easy to imagine. So many details to really put you there without bogging you down with paragraphs of description. It was really well done. I loved all the information about sharks and Maeve's connection with them. Relationships are explored: old loves, the connection between twins, and the bond you can form with a child. There was a little bit of a love triangle feel going on that I could have done without, but it was light. Considering how much of a part Daniel played I would have liked to get to know him more. This was a very Maeve-centric novel and he felt a bit 2D. Overall, add in a little mystery and suspense and this novel was a nice mix of things. A nice summer read.

This book was a fun, light book that goes a little beyond your average beach read. Between a love triangle, family drama, and a secret finning operation, a lot of things happen--most of which are tied up too quickly at the end. The author could have easily written an extra hundred pages, but she instead rushed things along and left an unsatisfying ending. What I appreciated about this book is the unconventional focus on sharks. I could easily see a beach read book about a marine biologist obsessed with dolphins, but not sharks. I thought that was an interesting angle. Additionally, the focus on shark finning was also interesting and the book highlighted a serious issue that I was not aware of previously. Overall, I enjoyed this book but I wish that the author had taken the necessary time to give a full conclusion.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. It was a fun summertime/beach read with that same theme. It is a fast read and interesting in that sharks are not often used as subjects for books. I enjoyed the book with it's family theme and life journeys, but was disappointed at the end. I felt that the book was wrapped up too fast and insufficiently. Maybe this means that there will be a sequel coming? The characters are well-rounded and likeable. Interesting to read about places and things I am familiar with. Not sure you'll look at the ocean the same after reading this book.

The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor is a great summer novel about a woman, Maeve, who studies sharks for a living, having been bitten by one as a child. Her shark studies provide a nice backdrop to this story of her personal life, when she comes back home to Florida, the site of young love and heartbreak, and confronts feelings of regret, second chances, and learning to let go. I think I'm not alone in loving the bits about the sharks the most. Maeve's work as a conservationist and researcher of sharks was by far the most unique thing about this book, and sets it apart from just being a novel about regret and growth and self-discovery. This book would make a great summer beach read. It's nice and easy, engaging, with enjoyable, relatable characters, and is well-accompanied by the smell of sunscreen, the crash of waves, and the warmth of sunshine.

This was a great novel about regrets, love, forgiveness, and family. It had a little bit of suspense thrown in also and a ton of shark information. It was neat to learn so much about the sharks. It held my attention and left me wanting to know how it ended. I would definitely recommend this novel to others.

A good beach/airplane read. This is an adventure and romance novel and a fun, easy read. Maeve was an eandearing character for me, her two love interests were opposite enough to make the story interesting. Would have liked a little more development of the two grandmothers, who are quirky people. The writing was quite okay but the ending seemed a bit rushed. Might have added some detail to the bad guys in the story. Would I buy this book? Yep perfect for a relaxing beach read.

Short and sweet tale about second chances and learning to let go. I admit to not liking Maeve at first, but she definitely grows as a character. Daniel, on the other hand, is part of the reason why I didn't rate this higher. I'm not going to spoil it for other readers, but let's just say that I'm really happy things end like they do. My one bone of contention (besides Daniel) is that Taylor went thru all the trouble of setting up some danger and intrigue only to settle things in the most vanilla way possible. I was expecting some action and it felt a bit of a let down. Overall, it's not Earth-shattering, or even much of a must-read, but the writing is solid and I enjoyed it.

I'm conflicted with this book. On one hand, the book was interesting and talks a lot about sharks in a completely different approach, but I felt like it had a hard time wrapping it all together nicely. What should've been the climax to the end felt really rushed and I kept expecting another twist but nothing came. The story was enjoyable, just felt it needed more development.

I found that I could not get into this book. I think I got stuck in the thought of someone who had been attacked by a shark would then want to spend time with them.

Maeve was bitten by a shark when she was twelve and dedicated her life to studying those very animals. After returning from a research trip, the shark whisperer finds life on land is more difficult to navigate than in the water. Betrayed by her brother and confused with her love life, Maeve focuses on hunting down who is responsible for finning sharks off near her childhood home. Love is woven throughout the narrative, love for sharks, love for her job, love for the ocean. Love defines Maeve, her motivations, her activism and her beliefs. Fascinating details and interesting characters make for a charming read. Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

I have always been fascinated with diving. This is an intriguing story about a person's love of sharks and diving. Maeve and her twin Robin were totally different. All the characters were well developed. It's a great summer beach read. Although Maeve's romance with Daniel didn't work out she tried and moved on without regrets.

Set in Florida, this book centers on marine biologist, Maeve Donnelly (also known as the "shark whisperer") balancing her personal and professional life, past and present. The author deftly draws real characters in Maeve, her twin brother- Robin, and their friend from childhood, Daniel. Every detail was important to the plot, tugs on every emotion, and I didn't feel that there were any loose ends to the story. I especially loved the Hotel of the Muses! An enjoyable read for anytime, but I would highly recommend it for the summer. Thanks to First to Read- Penguin Books USA for the free copy of this book.

I enjoyed the writing style and overall story in this book. Maeve is a resilient character that used a shark bite to develop an instant love and adoration for sharks and the ocean. I sure wish I could understand why Daniel was appealing to her. He seemed to be insecure and controlling. However, I can understand why she was so drawn to Hazel. Rekindling the romance did not work, but at least Maeve no longer had regrets. I will be seeking more novels by this author in the future.

This book was very different from anything I've ever read before. There is definitely some creepy moments during the dives... The book was a bit too short and could have used more development. But overall, I did enjoy this read. If you love the ocean and are fascinated by sharks and diving and marine life this is the book for you.

Since being bitten by a black tip shark at a young age, and very nearly dying,Maeve has been in love with two things. Her childhood friend Daniel and sharks! She turns those loves into an engagement with Daniel and becomes a very celebrated marine biologist. She loses the first love when Daniel makes a mistake she can't forgive and fathers a child with another woman. Her second love is in danger as there is a shark finning operation taking place at her home in Palermo, Florida, a tropical island paradise on the Gulf. Maeve and her twin brother Robin have lived there in their grandmothers hotel since their parents perished in a plane crash when they were six. The story explores her fascination with these creatures that most people abhor. She returns to the hotel after a research trip away and accidentally meets and engages with Daniels child, a little girl named Hazel. Hazels mother has died and Daniel. has become the hotels new chef. She is drawn to the girls intensity and intelligence and they form a Shark Club, hoping to help heal the girls grief. Along the way Maeve must learn how to heal herself . There is a lot involved in the book, beautiful setting, wonderful marine information about the Sharks, the sea, the Eco-system, The shark finning operations do exist illegally and Maeve puts herself in danger to undercover a very close and hearybreaking truth. This is not a light hearted read but is a wonderful one, full of beauty in nature and hope .

As someone who always been fascinated with ocean, I was attract by the story line. The story line was captivating even if I wish some subject were a bit more develop. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book when she was in her element or the time she pass with hazel. The end could have been a bit more develop, It felt like the author was in a rush to finish the book. Overall tough, the book a really good ans its definitely a must have for the summer. Hope she will do a sequel with Hazel!

This was an enticing read that I couldn't put down. The storyline kept me intriguied, and while parts of the story were predictable, that kept me reading. I would have loved to have the storyline with her brother developed a little more throughout the book. Without giving anything away, I found myself just as torn as Maeve as she decided which path to eventually take in the end. I look forward to reading other titles from this author. This will be a great summer beach read!

I really enjoyed this book. I think the ending felt a bit rushed, but all in all it was a really interesting story with a lot of unique elements. The descriptions of the shark finning operations were hard to read, but it's an important topic that I've never really thought about before. It's not a heavy, depressing story though. It's a nice summer beach read, with aspects of both mystery and romance and an important environmental message. Definitely recommended.

As someone who once dreamed of spending her life in the depths of the ocean as a marine biologist, this book really lured me in. It was fun learning facts about sharks here & there while also witnessing the main character get swept up in a love triangle that she really had no business being in. My only problem with this book was that the issue she got into with her brother (no worries, no spoilers here) kind of seemed like an after thought; had that aspect of the storyline been more developed this book would have definitely received a 5/5, but sadly I have to drop it down to a 4/5. Overall though this was an awesome book & I'll definitely be buying it once it's released in June to reread on the beach this summer??

 


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