For YA & Adult Readers!

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Blog Tour Event: The Devil's Daughter, Plus a cozy giveaway

FBI Agent, Eden Collins is going catch a killer!
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Tawny Weber's Call to Honor Release Event

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Amanda Hocking's dazzling new read FREEKS, now available!

Bestselling author Amanda Hocking draws readers inside the dark and mysterious world of Freeks.
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A Romance as Sweet as Strawberry Wine!

How do you know if a first love is made to last?
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Sohpie Kinsella's new read #MyNotSoPerfectLife is witty and fun

Part love story, part workplace drama, this sharply observed novel is a witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Quirky YA Comic Book: Mer (Review)

Twilight meets the legend of Atlantis in this gripping graphic novel from writer Joelle Sellner and artist Abby Boeh. After the death of her beloved mother, Aryn’s father has moved her family to a new town hoping for a fresh start. At first things seem to be going well—Aryn is making friends and has even caught the eye of one of the hottest guys in school. But there are dark forces moving under the surface that Aryn cannot see; and her new crush may not be … human.
Joelle Sellner; Abby Boeh (Artist)
Pub Date: 4/19/17
Roar Comics (Lion Forge)
Genre: YA, Comic Books/Graphic Novels
Amazon | B&N

Mer is such an amazing comic book! Joelle Sellner captures the heart of the teen voice which pairs equally well with the illustrations drawn by Abby Boeh.

After the death of her mother, Aryn's dad moves their little family to Connecticut. A new school means Aryn has to start all over and make new friends and a new life for herself. She makes quick friends with Julia Silverglade. She also happens to move in next door to the ultra hottie, Adrian, who is a little more than human. He and his friends, Rafe and Tressa, are Mers from Atlantis.

The story progresses quickly and even so I didn't want it to end. Aryn is fierce and sassy, the kind of character I love to read about. She struggles with the grief of losing her mother, but the friendships she forges help her get through it. The romance between Aryn and Adrian is exactly what you might expect from YA relationships, gushy and squeal worthy!

I hope there's another volume coming after this one, because this story was not enough. The snarky, quirky characters made Mer a fun read that can't be missed. I recommend it to everyone, especially YA readers who love the mythology of mermaids and other fantastic sea creatures.
*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Blog Tour: In Farleigh Field (Review)

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.
In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II
Rhys Bowen
Pub Date: 3/1/17
Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Amazon | B&N

In Farleigh Field is a historical fiction novel that blends spy action and romance into a story that everyone can enjoy. Rhys Bowen, author of the Molly Murphy mysteries, crafts an intriguing read set in the thick of World War II.

I was quite surprised when this story fully engaged me from the very beginning to the end. I'm not a big history buff and war reads aren't my forte, but In Farleigh Field touches on more than either of those topics. Farleigh Place, the home of the Westerham family, has become occupied by soldiers. Two of Lord Westerham's daughters, Margot and Pamela, are assisting with the war effort although their actual duties are not to be disclosed to their family or friends. During the war the people are cast into a manner of living in which they have to be secretive, to keep sensitive information from reaching the wrong ears, and learn how to live with less. Everyone feels the pressure and suspicions arise as some seem to be doing too well, even with all the rationing, and everyone is aware of the possibility of infiltration by German spies. When a soldier crashes to his death onto Farleigh land with no identification, Ben Cresswell is sent home to investigate. As an agent of MI5, he is also assisting in the war efforts in London.

As the story unravels Ben travels along the country working to uncover a devious plot and sniff out traitors. Along the way readers get a genuine feel of what it must have been like for people during that era. While some, like the RAF pilot Jeremy Prescott, want to fight hard and party even harder others just hoped the war would end soon. Rhys Bowen masterfully weaves in a multitude of different perspectives on the war. Some want the Germans to invade while some couldn't think of what the country would come to should that happen. In Farleigh Field is a lively account even as the characters face dangerous situations.

In Farleigh Field is a story for everyone. There's romance to lighten the serious tone and a sense of adventure that will keep you reading. Rhys Bowen hit all the right notes in this World War II drama!
*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty mystery novels. Her work includes the Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1900s New York City, and the Royal Spyness novels, featuring a minor royal in 1930s England, as well as the Constable Evenas mysteries about a police constable in contemporary Wales. Rhys’s works have won fourteen awards to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and MacAvity awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans from around the world, including the 12,000 who visit her Facebook page daily. She is a transplanted Brit who now divides her time between California and Arizona. Connect with her at 

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Monday, February 20, 2017

A Mystery that Ends Unresolved: Cut to the Bone (Review)

For fans of the TV show The Fall, this debut thriller is a fresh spin on a classic police procedural that explores the psychological implications of a life lived online. 

For fans of the TV show The Fall, this debut thriller is a fresh spin on a classic police procedural that explores the psychological implications of a life lived online.

Ruby Day is a young vlogger, a rising star of YouTube, and a wholesome role-model to millions of teenage girls. And she is missing. Detective Inspector Kate Riley, the head of a new high-powered team of detectives, and Detective Superintendent Zain Harris, the newest member of the team and a poster boy for multiracial policing, are brought in for what they expect to be a routine runaway. Then a video of a wild-eyed Ruby running through the woods and begging for her life is posted online. Amid mounting hysteria and heightened media coverage calling for Ruby’s safe return, Riley and Harris must decode the dark secrets of this seemingly squeaky-clean internet darling. Their hunt leads them to a smug ex-boyfriend who hungers for online fame of his own, a culture of online cyber bullying by anonymous thugs, and a corporation of ruthless advertisers who exploit online celebrities for their network of eager consumers. It becomes increasingly clear that the case is more complicated and nightmarish than Riley and Harris could have imagined. And the videos keep coming . . .

This debut novel is a slick, contemporary police procedural that explores the dichotomy of public life and one lived online. For fans of Megan Abbot and Kimberly McCreight, Cut to the Bone provides a harrowing glimpse into the friendships, ambitions, and secrets of the internet generation.
Cut to the Bone
Alex Caan
Pub Date: 3/7/17
Skyhorse Publishing
Genre: Mystery/Police Procedural
Amazon | B&N

I'm a big fan of the mystery genre. Whenever I fall into a reading or T.V. slump I know where to turn because mystery offers a wide range of options. From the classic whodunit to the traditional cozy I'll find something to perk me back up. Cut to the Bone, Alex Caan's debut novel, is of the police procedural variety, however, it's one mystery that left me off-kilter.

To me mystery is like pizza. I always expect it to be good, because it has simple elements put together to make something fantastic. You really can't go wrong, but sometimes you find a slice that just doesn't cut it. For me that slice is Cut to the Bone. Ruby Day is a vlogger who goes missing and is later seen on a video of her murder. The reason for this crime is unknown although the detectives first assume it stems from cyber bullying or tension between Ruby's producers, Mindnet.

Reading this story was honestly a source of frustration. Mostly towards the middle and end, which left many plot points unresolved. Not only did a particular lead in the case of Ruby's kidnapping/murder get pushed aside, because it really had nothing to do with Ruby's murder, it was left blowing in the wind. Why let the characters pursue a lead to that depth that would not tie into the main crime. I understand the concept of using red herrings to make it seem as though the story is going in one direction when actually the answers lie elsewhere, but Caan put explicit attention on one lead that didn't even touch on the true culprit's motivations. The connection was stretched very thin. Then, the true culprit came out of left field with no previous suspicions placed on that character.

I love when mystery follows a course that I can't get a jump on, but this story left no clues for me to attempt at making my own conclusions. Just waiting for Kate Riley and her team to recover information, dig for clues, and interview suspects wasn't enough for me. Even when interviews took place, like when Riley interviews Ruby's parents, the dialogue is forced in a repeated series of questions and answers. Every scene should serve a purpose, whether it's revealing a secret that leads to more clues or that a-ha moment when the detective finds a new way of looking at the case, but I'm sure readers don't want to sit through that type of dialogue to reach the purpose. Instead of adding suspense it makes me feel like the author is trying to slow walk me to a point that could just be stated.

Police procedurals highlight the aspects of how police detectives solve crimes using certain methods like technology or forensics. I think Caan stuck with those aspects but overshadowed the usefulness of those tools by dumping too much detail into the scenes. If used in the right way a substantial amount of explanation can be used to give readers a feel for the techniques used, but here it seemed like overkill.

Another aspect of police procedurals is a touch on the main character's dark past or drive to be on the force. There was some of that involved in Kate Riley and Zain Harris' characterization, but there were too many vibes that somehow Kate's past was going to pop up during the story. So while I'm waiting for something to happen to Kate she doesn't have an opportunity to confront her past. The story reverts to its original purpose -- to solve the Ruby Day kidnapping/murder.

Whether I loved the concept used to develop a mystery, or not, by the end of the novel the mystery has to click and there be closure. I can appreciate where the author might have been going with Cut to the Bone, but the elements used to create this story just didn't fit in a way that made sense to me.
*eARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

Previous Review: Splinter by Sasha Dawn

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mystery Falls Flat: Splinter (Review)

Sixteen-year-old Sami hasn't seen her mother in ten years—and neither has anyone else. The police suspect Sami's father had something to do with her mom's disappearance, but Sami's never believed that. Her mother chose to abandon her and start a new life. It's that simple.

But now, evidence has emerged about another missing woman who used to be involved with Sami's dad. Coincidence—or evidence that the cops have been right all along?

As Sami investigates, she's forced to question everything she thought she knew about the dad who's always been there for her and the mother who supposedly abandoned her. And if her dad didn't kill her mother, what did happen?
Sasha Dawn
Pub Date: 3/1/17
Carolrhoda Lab
Genre: YA Mystery
Amazon | B&N

In Sahsa Dawn's young adult mystery Samantha is searching for her mother. Over the years she has received postcards from whatever new place her mother has been with the numbers 7 and 11, her mother's favorite numbers. But why hasn't she come back for Sami like she promised? The police believe Sami's mother would have never left without taking Sami with her, but Sami hopes that is the case because, if not, there's only one other option.

Readers fall into Sami's story as the detective in charge of finding her mom reveals that there have been new developments to the case. They're making new connections that trace back to Sami's dad and his most recent wife Heather. The plot starts out strong: engaging readers and building up to what you might expect to be a complex mystery. Unfortunately, the story doesn't unfold in layers, but rather runs around in circles until the author finally decides to reveal what happened to Sami's mom. When the moment arrives to put the puzzle pieces together it doesn't add up to a strong finish. Where mysteries are usually webs of people, places, and actions connecting throughout the plot, Splinter proves to be more one-dimensional. For instance, a few characters are talked about, who could be key to cracking the case, but never fully brought into the picture. They remain in the peripheral instead of being brought into the thick of things for readers to analyze and flag as potential suspects. It's very emotionally driven as it focuses on Sami keeping up with her personal relationships in the heat of a scandalous case.

I loved the concept and would have loved it even more if Sami took on a more amateur sleuth role. Her role in the story was very passive. She asks questions and stumbles upon clues that she doesn't realize are clues until someone points it out. If you're looking for a traditional mystery, Splinter isn't it. However, if you want a young adult contemporary novel with elements of suspense you've hit the jackpot.
*eARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Powerful and Informative: Dreamland Burning (Review)

Some bodies won’t stay buried.
Some stories need to be told.

When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family's property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past... and the present.

Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what's right the night Tulsa burns.

Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, Jennifer Latham’s lightning-paced page-turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important question about the complex state of US race relations – both yesterday and today.
Dreamland Burning
Jennifer Latham
Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Pub Date: 2/21/17
Genre: YA, Contemporary/Historical
Amazon | B&N

Dreamland Burning is a powerful, informative novel that sheds light on the 1921 race riots in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jennifer Latham impressively ties together the motions of that fateful year to modern day race relations.

I wondered how this story was going to work. It's told in alternating perspectives of modern day teen Rowan Chase and Will Tillman who was alive during 1921. Rowan discovers a skeleton in her home that leads back to Will's time. In the present she pushes to find answers while Will's story is superimposed to reveal some of the truths she seeks. Turns out this blend of contemporary and historical fiction works cleverly! I love that this isn't one of those stories where the MC's life is completely changed by the end of the novel. Instead, this is a story of awakening. Rowan is forced to acknowledge the racial issues still prevalent in the world that affect her, even if she's only half black. Will is a character that you think you might hate, but you can't because he's so open with his mistakes. So willing to admit when he's been wrong and has to do better. Reading the experiences of two completely different characters who are learning similar life lessons is the biggest part of what kept me reading and desperate to reach the end. I came to admire Rowan and Will because of their drive to do the right thing when it became clear that they could be apart of something bigger than themselves.

One thing that I didn't like is that the modern black women are portrayed stereotypically. Not all black woman have afros or 'press' their hair. In my reality black hair is much more versatile. I'd be happy to find a book that characterized black woman as they actually see them, not as how they might expect to see them. This was a point that I kept coming to whenever a black female character was introduced, but it didn't lessen my overall experience of the story.

I want everyone to read Dreamland Burning! It's a story that gets your brain moving and thinking about what you would have done in either Rowan or Will's situation. It's a story you won't soon forget, especially because it's so relevant.
*ARC won via NOVL early reviewer program in exchange for an honest review*

Previous Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James
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Monday, February 13, 2017

Unexpectedly Disappointing: Gilded Cage (Review)

For readers of Victoria Aveyard and Kiera Cass comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule—and commoners are doomed to serve.


Our world belongs to the Equals—aristocrats with magical gifts—and all commoners must serve them for ten years.

But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty—but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?
Gilded Cage
Dark Gifts #1
Vic James
Pub Date: 2/14/17
Del Rey (Random House Publishing Group)
Genre: Fantasy
Amazon | B&N

Gilded Cage is the first novel of Vic James' Dark Gifts series. The fantasy series follows a cast of characters on different sides of a political battle. In this alternate Britain, aristocrats with special powers, or Skill, rule over ordinary, Skilless, people. The commoners must spend 10 years of their lives as slaves to the aristocrats. There are few of the aristocracy who would see the slavedays law abolished, but the majority revel in the power of their society.

I had high expectations of Gilded Cage, but unfortunately they were not met. I wasn't immediately hooked into the story and instead read on hoping for something to grab me. Gilded Cage is like a foundation story. The parameters of the world are established and the main players of the story are pinpointed, and that's the most this story accomplished. I expected to be able to connect to the characters who were oppressed and had a reason to fight for their freedom, or fight for the safety of their family. However, the characters were one dimensional and not impressive, like Luke and Abigail. I thought they were going to be the sparks to ignite revolution. Instead, they let others manipulate and prod them into actions that were thwarted or amounted to more trouble. Though I appreciate the fast pace of the plot and the efforts to add action and excitement, it wasn't enough to make me want more.

I walk away from Gilded Cage unsatisfied and strangely unmoved. It's rare that I find myself unhappy with a fantasy read, but Gilded Cage just didn't do it for me.
*eARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

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