Catherine Miller

Thrall (Deridia, #3) by Catherine Miller Review

    Thrall (Deridia Book 3) by Catherine Miller 3 Stars!

Slow.
Useless.
Failure.

Ness had always tried to do as the masters told her, tried to fulfil her expected purpose within the time allowed. She was a thrall and nothing more. Every pain was a lesson, every hurt was for her betterment. And someday, perhaps, she could earn honour enough to serve the Narada in a household.

But when the masters tire of her repeated failures to produce the allotment required of her, she is chosen, not for the death she expects, but to serve as payment to a people she has never seen, whose ways are strange and utterly impossible for her to accept.

Taken in by a man who claims that he is not her new master, she is troubled when he does not comprehend the defective nature of the thrall he has been given, and how unworthy she is to be in his service.

And, perhaps even more concerning, his persistent belief that she is no slave at all.

Review

I am a fan of this series and was happy to read another slow burning romance in this world.

Our heroine is Ness. We are deep in her point of view. We slowly see her get acculturated to being not a slave and having a self and value.

The hero is kind and he has to adjust as well.

This is a very sweet romance. I like the pace. However, more details of the non humans and the culture would have made of a stronger read but overall a pleasure.

Trade (Deridia Book 2) by Catherine Miller Review

    Trade (Deridia Book 2) by Catherine Miller 4 Stars!!

Gullible.
Foolish.
Weak.

She had always done as she was told. She dug in the sands until her fingers bled so that her people could have something to barter. She packed up her sparse belongings without complaint when it was time to flee the Wastes, leaving behind the only home she’d ever known, and the site of the bittersweet memories she carried of her lost family. It was easier that way, to obey and not to question, knowing her own judgement to be faulty.

But when her people learn that the exchange for living on alien land and securing their safety is the price of one of their unclaimed women, the limits of her compliance are tested, as she is given in marriage to a man she does not want from a species and clan she does not know.

Only to discover that he feels precisely the same about their ill-begotten trade.

She was a Marzon now.

And she had no idea what that meant, other than giving up her clothes, her home, her people, all for a man who like to scowl and grunt and sigh.

“By what name shall she be called?” Sladec asked, and she eyed him with confusion.

She opened her mouth to answer, to finally inform them both that she most certainly had a name and it was important, no matter what Machrus had said, but the voice that gave answer was not her own.

But came from her husband instead.

“Renna. Now wife of Machrus of Krahl.”

 

Review

I love Catherine Miller’s character driven Science Fiction with a long slow burn.

The world building is very good and the ache of grief and loss is this book is compelling.

The hero and heroine are both so wounded it hard to like them at first because they hold so much of themselves as private but as they heal and come to love each other, we come to love and know them too.

If you liked Mercy, the first book in this series, you should like this one as well. It has similar themes of an arranged marriage and culture adjustment,. It also has some of the same drawbacks of not getting the hero’s point of view and some information held back too long to enjoy a full rich HEA. I would have loved a lush epilogue.

I would be very happy to read another romance in this world.

Cat’s Best Romance Reads of 2016

Moonshadow - Thea Harrison First Step Forward (The Grand Valley Series Book 1) - Liora Blake Her Naughty Holiday (Men at Work) - Tiffany Reisz Beard Science (Winston Brothers Book 3) (Volume 3) - Penny Reid Bittersweet (True North Book 1) - Sarina Bowen Dark Deeds (Class 5 Series Book 2) - Michelle Diener The Wall of Winnipeg and Me - Mariana Zapata The Bird and the Sword - Amy Harmon A Promise of Fire - Amanda Bouchet Fall (Hold Book 3) - Claire Kent

I had a great reading year with so many 5 Star reads.  And I needed it with so much going wrong. Here is a little sweet to ease the sour of this day.

 

Here are my best Romance Reads of 2016 (published in 2016) in no particular order..

 

1. Dark Deeds by Michelle Diener Excellent Science Fiction Romance. 

 

Rescue might just be the death of her.

Far from home . . .
Fiona Russell has been snatched from Earth, imprisoned and used as slave labor, but nothing about her abduction makes sense. When she’s rescued by the Grih, she realizes there’s a much bigger game in play than she could ever have imagined, and she’s right in the middle of it.

Far from safe . . .
Battleship captain Hal Vakeri is chasing down pirates when he stumbles across a woman abducted from Earth. She’s the second one the Grih have found in two months, and her presence is potentially explosive in the Grih’s ongoing negotiations with their enemies, the Tecran. The Tecran and the Grih are on the cusp of war, and Fiona might just tip the balance.

Far from done . . .
Fiona has had to bide her time while she’s been a prisoner, pretending to be less than she is, but when the chance comes for her to forge her own destiny in the new world she’s found herself in, she grabs it with both hands. After all, actions speak louder than words.

 

2. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata Watching them fall in love is the best slow burn. 

 

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

 

3.The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon Excellent magic world building. 

 

Swallow, daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heaven or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would sell his soul and lose his son to the sky.
My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.


But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

 

4. A Promise of Fire  by Amanda Bouchet A great adventure romance with magic! 

 

Catalia “Cat” Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods-and her homicidal mother-have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

 

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm-until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone

 

5. Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole  Perfect. Loved every moment. 5 Stars.

 

Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don’t court trouble by upending the status quo, but it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Sofie’s spent half her life being prim, proper, and reserved—as if that could bring her mother back—but the nonviolent protests happening across the South bring out her inner agitator.

Ivan Friedman has devoted his life to boxing, loving the finesse of a well-delivered punch and the penance of receiving one. His family escaped from Europe before the horrors of WWII, and Ivan decides to help fight injustice in their new country, even if it goes against all his instincts as a fighter.

When Ivan and Sofie meet, they realize that their pasts are intertwined and—with the sparks that fly between them—perhaps their futures will be too. With everything in their society lined up against them, will Sofie and Ivan be able to beat the odds? Or will their chance at love be destroyed by the tumultuous times they live in?

 

6. Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen A great second chance romance.  5 Stars.

 

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

 

7. Beard Science by Penny Reid A delight in every way. I would marry Cletus. No joke but I love Jennifer. 5 Stars!

 

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.

 

8. Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz The perfect morsel of a book. 5 Stars.

 

Clover Greene would sooner crawl into her oven than host family for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet another annual ritual of too much food, served with a side of criticism over “Clover’s Bad Life Choices.” This year, she needs to distract them all—with a handsome fake boyfriend. And she has the perfect guy in mind.

 

Contractor Erick Fields is the poster boy for sexy single dads, and Clover has been secretly crushing on him for ages. She certainly wasn’t expecting Erick to agree to her insane charade…or to add lots of hot, wicked sex to the deal. If they can pull it off, the worst Thanksgiving ever might give them something to be really thankful for!


9. First Step Forward by Liora Blake Opposites Attract doesn’t get better than this. 5 Stars. 

 

Pro-football player Cooper Lowry is off the field and into some trouble—in the form of a very alluring, very free-spirited apple orchard owner named Whitney Reed—in the first installment in Liora Blake’s all new Grand Valley series.

After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers.

Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope.

Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage.

Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.

 

10. Moonshadow by Thea Harrison An amazing heroine! 5 Stars! 

 

Her past is a blank, her future uncertain….

Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the U.K. to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.

He has given his body and soul to fight for his people….

Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting his people’s resources can they hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.

When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.

Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.

As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless Hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.

Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love…

 

 

Honorable Mentions!

 

1. Wait for It by Mariana Zapata

2. Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell

3. Fall by Claire Kent

4. Hold Me by Courtney Milan

5. Mercy by Catherine Miller

 

What were your favorite reads of the year? 

 

 

Original post:
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Mercy (Deridia #1) by Catherine Miller Review

Review:

Mercy (Deridia Book 1) - Catherine Miller

Dishonourable.
Unwanted.
Outsider.

Such are the slurs cast upon Rykkon, however undeserved. As the only village healer, his people cannot cast him out entirely, but there is little comfort in such a life when he has long known that no mate from his clan would willingly join with him. It is a lonely fate, but one Rykkon has learned to accept. That is, until one tense exchange between his people and the humans brings him an offer he simply cannot ignore.

The humans are not their slaves. Nor their property. Nor of any great concern. But neither are they free. It is by the provisions of the Arterians they scrape out a sorry existence in the Wastes, and by their goodwill alone that they continue to survive. Scavenging for hasart beetles under the two suns is the only life the desperate colonists have known since their ancestors first landed on the desolate planet. It was all they knew. It was all they hoped for.

Until one day, a young female dares to ask for more.

“Wait.”
The entire group stilled, staring at him as he continued to regard the female.
She glanced up sharply, her brow furrowed and her gaze cautious. As right it should be.
“I will take you for a mate.”

 

 

Review

 

This is a lovely slow paced, character driven science fiction romance.

 

The hero is a healer and an outcast. He is beta to his bones and exactly what the heroine needs to trust and heal. Hard choices are carefully explored making the internal conflicts engaging.

 

The heroine is resilient, practical, and brave. They are both a product of how they have been treated and the romance is sweet and real.

 

The hero keeps secrets a bit too long but that is my only complaint.

 

Good world building and they save each other in so many ways.

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Best Science Fiction Romance Novels of 2016

Dark Minds (Class 5 Series) (Volume 3) - Michelle Diener Forged in Shadow (Dark Planet Warriors Book 5) - Anna Carven Mercy (Deridia Book 1) - Catherine Miller Exile - Colleen Vanderlinden Sarazen's Claim, Book One - Isabel Wroth Warrior: A Scifi Alien Romance (Galactic Gladiators Book 2) - Anna Hackett Assessing Survival (Mechanical Advantage) (Volume 1) - Ms. Viola Grace Jaz's Warriors (Bondmates Book 2) - Ann Mayburn Soros: Alien Warlord's Conquest (Scifi Alien - Human Military Romance) - Vi Voxley

So, I went nuts for Science Fiction Romance this year. I have always been a big fan but this year I couldn’t get enough. I am hoping on a huge surge in this romance subgenre.

Here are my favorite Science Fiction Romance Novels published in 2016.

Please let me know If I missed your favorite!

My lists are never in any particular order.

1. Dark Minds (Class 5 Series Book 3) by Michelle Deiner
2. Forged in Shadow (Dark Planet Warriors, #5) by Anna Carven
3. Sarazen’s Claim by Isabel Wroth
4. Mercy (Deridia Book 1) by Catherine Miller
5. Exile by Colleen Vanderlinden
6. Assessing Survival by Viola Grace
7. Warrior (Galactic Gladiators Book 2) by Anna Hackett
8. The E.T. Guy (Office Aliens Book 1) by V.C. Lancaster
9. Jaz’s Warriors by Ann Mayburn
10. Soros by Vi Voxley

The list with blurbs!

1. Dark Minds (Class 5 Series Book 3) by Michelle Diener

he mind is the most powerful weapon of all . . .

Imogen Peters knows she’s a pawn. She’s been abducted from Earth, held prisoner, and abducted again. So when she gets a chance at freedom, she takes it with both hands, not realizing that doing so will turn her from pawn to kingmaker.

Captain Camlar Kalor expected to meet an Earth woman on his current mission, he just thought he’d be meeting her on Larga Ways, under the protection of his Battle Center colleague. Instead, he and Imogen are thrown together as prisoners in the hold of a Class 5 battleship. When he works out she’s not the woman who sparked his mission, but another abductee, Cam realizes his investigation just got a lot more complicated, and the nations of the United Council just took a step closer to war.

Imogen’s out of her depth in this crazy mind game playing out all around her, and she begins to understand her actions will have a massive impact on all the players. But she’s good at mind games. She’s been playing them since she was abducted. Guess they should have left her minding her own business back on Earth…

2. Forged in Shadow (Dark Planet Warriors, #5) by Anna Carven

Sergeant Arin Varga has a problem on her hands. She’s supposed to be in charge of a squad of peacekeepers. That’s something she would normally handle with ease, except that now her people are stuck in Earth’s orbit on a doomed superfreighter. To make things worse, they’re being held hostage by a group of very threatening, very menacing silver-skinned Kordolians, who are insistent that all they want is safe passage to Earth to kill oversized insects.

One particular alien, who goes by the name of Rykal, seems be constantly getting inside her personal space. He isn’t just threatening, he’s friendly and threatening, and if Arin isn’t careful, that could become a major problem.

3. Sarazen’s Claim by Isabel Wroth

One hundred and fifty years ago the most powerful countries of Earth built and launched five ships. Ships meant to carry what remained of humanity out into the space beyond their known galaxy to find a new home. As a third generation botanist, it never occurred to Clary Starborn that she might some day be in charge of anything other than her little lab.

That changed the day their ship was attacked by an alien species straight out of myth.

As commander of the Sarazen armada, Tarek had seen some poor excuses for spacefaring vessels. The one currently being attacked by the Na’ah was to date, the worst. So primitive in its design, Commander Tarek was fascinated it had even survived the harsh vacuum of space. Or the time it had taken to launch it. The species was unfamiliar to him, but initial scans suggested the beings within here somewhat intelligent. Though the ship was outside Sarazen territory, it was his duty to eradicate the Na’ah wherever he encountered them.

He had not anticipated that by his actions, the course of his life would be forever changed.

By a soft, delicate being who studied flowers and trees. One scent, one touch, was all it took to be Claimed.

4. Mercy (Deridia Book 1) by Catherine Miller

Dishonourable.
Unwanted.
Outsider.

Such are the slurs cast upon Rykkon, however undeserved. As the only village healer, his people cannot cast him out entirely, but there is little comfort in such a life when he has long known that no mate from his clan would willingly join with him. It is a lonely fate, but one Rykkon has learned to accept. That is, until one tense exchange between his people and the humans brings him an offer he simply cannot ignore.

The humans are not their slaves. Nor their property. Nor of any great concern. But neither are they free. It is by the provisions of the Arterians they scrape out a sorry existence in the Wastes, and by their goodwill alone that they continue to survive. Scavenging for hasart beetles under the two suns is the only life the desperate colonists have known since their ancestors first landed on the desolate planet. It was all they knew. It was all they hoped for.

Until one day, a young female dares to ask for more.

5. Exile by Colleen Vanderlinden

Two races fight for what remains of a dying planet.

For generations, the Maarlai, an alien race who fled the destruction of their own home world, have lived silently, hidden, exiled on Earth. They watched, year by year, as humanity destroyed what was once a planet full of hope and promise.

Unable to idly watch as the planet dipped further into destruction, the Maarlai left their hidden villages and went to war with what was left of humanity. With the death of the last great human king, the Maarlai found themselves victorious and vowed to protect and restore the planet that had sheltered them for so long.

A treaty made, an alliance formed.

Shannen of House Lyon is a member of the last of the human royal families. While they bend knee to the Maarlai ruler, her people have not forgotten their former greatness, the years of bloodshed and horror… or the memory of their fallen king.

To ensure a lasting peace between their two peoples, Shannen and three other prominent human women are sent to the Maarlai capital. One of them will wed the future Maarlai king, cementing the peace between former enemies.

When Shannen finds herself married to the Maarlai warrior, she discovers a whole new world… and freedom unlike anything she could have imagined. When war threatens once again, she will need to decide where her loyalties truly lie.

6. Assessing Survival by Viola Grace

A woman under repair with a skill for assessing survival meets a previous acquaintance who is now more than a match for her.

In the year 2280, Earth has been at war for a decade. The Splice take the humans they capture and use them for parts. Sending bots in place of humans didn’t work, but taking the wounded and turning them into cyborgs has enabled Earth to push the Splice away from Earth. The combination of metal and man is turning the tide in a war that no one could have imagined.

Adaptation Base is where the wounded are recycled into enhanced warriors, and when a terrorist action takes out the administration, the newest cyborgs will have to take things into their own hands.

When Stitch comes to, her position as an assessment officer is still valid, but her new location on the front lines means a lot of adjustment. The men she had designed from the wounds out are now her team, and finding the one who had flirted his way into her heart—after all this time—leaves her vulnerable to his mechanical advantage.

7. Warrior (Galactic Gladiators Book 2) by Anna Hackett

Weapon, brute, gladiator, warrior… Sirrush warrior Thorin has been called many things. As a warrior of his people, he was a dark, dangerous weapon until even his own family were too afraid of him. Sold into slavery in the Kor Magna Arena, he has long ago earned his freedom. Now he enjoys the violent but rewarding life he’s carved out for himself. Until he rescues one small, smart, and perplexing female from alien slavers.

Regan is determined to make a place for herself in her new home. She may not have the skills to fight in the arena, but she’s smart and knows she can help…even as she fights her attraction to the big, bold, and fascinating Thorin. She knows he’ll never be interested in her. But when Regan catches a glimpse of her cousin across a crowded market, she needs help to mount a rescue, and it comes in the form of the gladiator she desperately wants. A gladiator hiding a dark, uncontrollable secret with the power to destroy them both.

8. The E.T. Guy (Office Aliens Book 1) by V.C. Lancaster

It’s 2266, and Lois Kennedy is an Intake Officer for DETI, the Department of Extra-Terrestrial Immigration.

Zir is a refugee from the planet Teiss, working in DETI’s I.T. department.

Lois and Zir just can’t get along. As far as she’s concerned, he’s rude, abrasive, and condescending. She wants nothing to do with him. So why does he never leave her alone? He must be crazy if he thinks there could ever be anything between them… right?

9. Jaz’s Warriors (Bondmates Book 2) by Ann Mayburn

Growing up in Harlem, Jaz Brooks never imagined that there would be a day where she’d have two smoking hot alien husbands, Mavet and Xentix, who worshiped her. Or that she would be living on a Kadothian spaceship stationed on one of Saturn’s moons as an Earth Ambassador. And she certainly never imagined her bondmates would be encouraging her to take a third husband, but that’s exactly what’s happening.

Tandar Glycin has been fighting the Hive in the distant Bel’Tan galaxy for so long now he’d given up hope of ever finding his Matriarch. When word reaches him that his blood brother, Mavet, has bonded an Earth female Tandar is both elated and worried. Vicious rumors abound in the Bel’Tan galaxy about how horrible Earth women are and he worries that Mavet has taken a monster as his wife. When he first meets Jaz he quickly realizes that not all of the stories are true, and that the Lord of Life has blessed him with a kind, beautiful, and feisty alyah who is going to make him work to win her heart.

10. Soros: Alien Warlord’s Conquest by Vi Voxley

at Edwards is a woman who doesn’t consider failure as an option. As a bounty hunter, she’s seen the worst that the galaxy has to offer and she’s not afraid of it. Or, at least she thought she’d seen the worst. But a certain Corgan warlord might just change her mind on that.

Soros is more myth than man. The warrior who has trained all the warlords of note, he is feared and respected, lauded and despised in equal measure. Wanting no part in the wars being waged between his own people with the recent upsets in Corgan society, the warlord still finds himself getting swept away in the madness, held at sword-point by one of his own students.

It only takes one woman for this warlord to realize that he can remain neutral no longer. It only takes one night for him to realize what is at stake – not only the universe, but her safety as well.

Being pushed by impossible odds, Soros and Kat have no other choice but to push back. No wonder that they can’t help but keep finding one another in all that tragedy.

Can Soros become more than a myth and claim his rightful place on the side of good, or are some sacrifices just too hard to make? Can Kat capture her bounty one last time?

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