Review: Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Happy book birthday to Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

Title: Till Death
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: standalone
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Romantic Suspense/ Mystery
Links:

Blurb:
In New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s gripping new novel, a young woman comes home to reclaim her life—even as a murderer plots to end it. . .

It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.

First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.

But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last.

My Review:
A gripping suspenseful read with a fantastic romance to boot, Till Death is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

I was very intrigued to read this book as it’s a new departure for Jennifer Armentrout and I was interested to see how she would pull it off. Well, my reigning fave author has just proven she can turn her hand to any genre and deliver a knock-out story.

Sasha fled her hometown ten years ago in the aftermath of a hideous kidnapping at the hands of the serial killer known as The Groom. She left behind a mother and a boyfriend she loved and started a new life away from all the horrific memories. But she returns home to the Inn she has always dreamed of running and things pretty much pick up where they left off. Her college boyfriend is now hot FBI agent Cole Landis and his reappearance in her life the minute she shows up in town tells you all you need to know. Their romance was cut short due to her ordeal ten years ago and it’s obvious both of them never forgot the other.

Any fans of JLA that are worried about lack of romance – let me reassure you, you will not be disappointed. Cole and Sasha are an amazing couple and their chemistry is electrifying. They reconnect slowly but surely and it was an integral part of the plot. Cole feels like he let Sasha down ten years ago so he’s determined to protect her this time. And, boy, does she need it because strange things are happening around her and women are missing, and it’s clear that she is being targeted again.

Cole is one of the best book boyfriends Jennifer has written. He was suave, charismatic, intelligent, protective, hot, loyal, and I could add so much more but you get the gist. I loved him, and he was quite a different male character for Jen to write which I appreciated. Sasha was a great heroine. She was strong and brave despite all she had been through. I also loved her mother.

JLA perfectly blends the romance with the suspense and everything builds to an explosive climactic scene that was superbly written. I had chills all over reading the last few chapters.

The only reason this is a four-star review is the fact that I guessed the who and the why early on (like ridiculously early on) and it dented my enjoyment. I was hoping I was wrong but as more clues were dropped I knew I was right. While one part of me was mentally high-fiving myself for figuring it out so early, another part of me hated that it was so predictable (to me anyway.) Now, if you don’t read a lot of romantic suspense or mystery/thrillers I don’t think you will work it out, but I spent years reading thrillers/crime novels and one of the reasons I stopped reading them was because it was too easy to work out the plot twists and that was the case with Till Death. That doesn’t detract from the fact this is a very well-written book with a decent plot, perfect pacing, great world building, and complex characterization.

Overall, I can say this was a great read and mean it, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to Jennifer’s fans or fans of romantic suspense.

I’d like to thank the author and her assistant for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Blitz: Amanda Lester series by Paula Berinstein


This is my stop during the book blitz for the Amanda Lester Series by Paula Berinstein. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 30 January till 5 February. You can see the tour schedule here. There is a guest post to read, links to all the books in the series and a giveaway!

About the Amanda Lester series
The Amanda Lester series is a Middle Grade/ Young Adult Mystery series.
The series contains 5 books so far and at least 2 more books are planned. The first four books are also available bundled in a box set. And the first book is also available in audiobook format. The currently published books are:
– Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1)
– Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis (Amanda Lester, Detective #2)
– Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle (Amanda Lester, Detective #3)
– Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret (Amanda Lester, Detective #4)
– Amanda Lester and the Red Spider Rumpus (Amanda Lester, Detective #5)

The First book in the series:
Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1)
by Paula Berinstein

Blurb:
Amanda Lester wouldn’t be caught dead going into the family business. Her ancestor, Sherlock Holmes’s colleague Inspector G. Lestrade, is a twit. Nevertheless her parents refuse to see his flaws, and she’s going to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives whether she likes it or not.

When Amanda arrives at the dreaded school, she considers running away—until she and her new friends discover blood and weird pink substances in odd places. At first they’re not sure whether these oddities mean anything, but when Amanda’s father disappears and the cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, they’re certain that crimes are taking place.

Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes’s nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn’t like nosy little girls interfering in his business.

You can find Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy on Goodreads

Get the e-copy for free!
The e-copy of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy is free now on all vendor sites! Grab your free copy here:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

Get the Audiobook!
You can buy the audiobook of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy here:
Audible
Amazon
iTunes

Listen to a sample of the audiobook here on Soundcloud.

Guest Post: Romance in Amanda Lester’s world
My first crush came at the age of six. At thirteen I fell deeply in love. Because love was so central in my young life, I wanted a romantic relationship to lie at the heart of my stories for tweens and teens. In fact this relationship is so important to me that I actually think of my series not as mystery but as a love story between a flawed girl who thinks big and a boy who’s full of fire.

Writing about young love is tricky though. When we first meet Amanda and her friends they are twelve and thirteen, so while they have romantic feelings they don’t always recognize or feel comfortable with them. Amanda herself denies that she has them for an entire year. Only her friend Amphora, who is truly boy crazy, pursues this aspect of her life. So in the first three books I kind of dance around the issue, depicting flashes of longing and affection but not much more. But in Book 4, after they’ve known each other for a year, the kids start to realize what they’ve been feeling for some time.

Amanda resists as long as she can. In fact she would probably never admit that she was in love unless you pushed her. When her friend Simon points out to her that she loves a certain boy (no spoilers here) she denies it. She’s so wrapped up in her filmmaking and learning to be a detective that she doesn’t even think about romance. Boys aren’t important to her except as fellow detectives or thorns in her side. It’s not that they repulse her. She just doesn’t have the time—until one day love hits her like an earthquake.

Over the course of Books 1 through 6, two boys fall in love with Amanda. Now I know that some readers don’t like love triangles, but I adore them, and Amanda’s isn’t the only one in the series. My feeling is that triangles evoke tension in a story, and allow us to feel that wonderful angst we crave when reading.

As I see it, this angst is the price you, the reader, and I, the writer, pay for the joy of experiencing the true love between soul mates that lies at the heart of the series. The light in the lovers’ eyes, the way their hearts soar, the deep bond they share—that’s what lies beneath the mysteries. My lovers free each other from the chains that bind them, grow and struggle and learn together as they discover who they are as people and where they fit in the world.

Make no mistake, it’s a rough road Amanda and her friends travel. Romance in my books is no fairy tale. But I believe the journey is all the more fulfilling for its difficulties, and all the sweeter. It’s that belief that moves me and impels me to tell my story. Because in the end, love is what life is all about.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about how I do my twists and turns.

All five books in the series

Buy the whole series on Amazon!
The first Amanda Lester book is free and book 2, 3, 4 and 5 are only 0.99$ per book or can be bought as part of a box set. Links to each book on Amazon are below:
Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1)
Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis(Amanda Lester, Detective #2)
Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle (Amanda Lester, Detective #3)
Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret (Amanda Lester, Detective #4)
Amanda Lester and the Red Spider Rumpus (Amanda Lester, Detective #5)
Amanda Detective box set Books 1-4
The Amanda Lester series page

The Amanda Lester books on other vendors
The Amanda Lester series is also available on other vendor sites. Get the books on B&N, Kobo, iTunes and Smashwords.

About the Author:
Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.

You can find and contact Paula here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Paula’s blog on Goodreads
The Writing Show podcasts
Newsletter

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of the Amanda Lester series. These are the prizes you can win:
– One winner will win all 5 Amanda Lester books in paperback.
– Two winners will win a set of all 5 Amanda Lester books in e-format.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano


Today is my stop during the blog tour for Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano! I share my review with you today and there’s a tour wide giveaway!

Title: Lost Girls
Author: Merrie Destefano
Series: standalone
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Young Adult Mystery
Links:

Blurb:
Fight Club meets Black Swan—Rachel wakes up in a ditch to find she doesn’t remember the last year of her life, and that everything—including herself—is vastly different than she remembers.

Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grammy’s quilt, worrying about geometry. Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life.

She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: she’s popular. She wears nothing but black.

Black to cover the blood.

And she can fight.

Tell no one.

She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.

But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad, sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still craves—the rush of the fight, the thrill of the win—something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed…

The only rule is: There are no rules.

My Review:
Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano was a great read and one I had a very hard time putting down.

The premise of this book sucked me in and I was intrigued from the very first page. I loved how the author got stuck right into the story straight away and it captured and held my attention the entire time.

Rachel wakes up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised and worse for wear with no recollection of how she got there and memory issues which seem to have erased a year of her life, even though she was “only”missing for the previous two weeks. The story unfolds one layer at a time until Rachel starts to piece together all the hidden aspects of her life and her kidnapping.

I loved the setting for this book and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by mentioning the underground fighting club because the book is being pitched as Black Swan meets Fight Club which is a very accurate comparison. I love YA that is a little darker, a little grittier, and this one ticked those boxes. Fair warning – don’t read this if you don’t like reading about the seedier side of growing up as a teen as there are drink, drugs, violence, and underage sex all either graphically depicted or subtly implied/mentioned. I have no issue with those things because it realistically describes part of modern teen culture. I know not every teenager engages in such activities but some do and it bugs me no end when reviewers criticize authors for accurately portraying such situations. This shit is real. Deal with it.

Rachel was a very well developed character – not always likeable, it has to be said, but she was very credible. I felt for her as she grappled to solve the puzzle pieces and it was difficult to know who to trust.

I adored Dylan and I know he was a bad boy in a lot of ways but he loved her so good and it was hard to fault him for his mistakes, especially when he seemed genuinely regretful.

The tension was cranked to the max in the last few chapters and it was edge-of-the seat reading.

The writing was excellent if a little overly descriptive at times for my taste, but there’s no denying this author’s talent.

There are two reasons this is a four-star rather than five-star read. 1) The romance was very thin on the ground and I wanted MORE Dylan, but that’s more of a personal choice so most readers probably won’t be put out by that. 2) The decision Rachel made at the end was so stupid I was actually hollering at my Kindle in utter frustration. She knew it was a bad idea, her instincts were screaming at her to avoid the place, and she’d had enough recollections at that stage to understand she might not come out of it alive, yet she still went into it completely ill-prepared. That irritated the heck out of me. It made no sense and it wasn’t realistic, and I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief.

I loved the note the author included at the back of the book and it really added authenticity to the story. Fair play for sharing that with your readers.

All in all though, this was a well-written, highly-addictive read that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to readers who enjoy intriguing mysteries set within an edgy world and a little bit of romance to spice things up.

Thanks to Entangled Teen for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
CURRENTLY A FULL-TIME NOVELIST and magazine editor, Merrie Destefano’s next novel, LOST GIRLS, releases on January 3, 2017. Her other novels include AFTERLIFE and FEAST, both published by HarperCollins, and FATHOM, which was self-published. The editor of Victorian Homes magazine, she has also been the editor of American Farmhouse Style, Vintage Gardens, and Zombies magazine, and was the founding editor of Cottages & Bungalows magazine.

With 20 years experience in publishing, she worked for a variety of publishing/broadcasting companies that include Focus on the Family, The Word For Today, and PJS Publications (now Primedia). Besides editing and writing, her background includes print buying, writing/producing radio promos, directing photo shoots, developing new products, writing jacket copy for books, creating sales media packets and organizing direct mail campaigns.

Born in the Midwest, she currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time.

Links:

Giveaway
There’s a tour wide giveaway. Below is a list of prizes you can win, all prizes listed below will be given to one prize winner. Prizes listed are for a US winner only; if an International winner is chosen, the prize will be a $50 Amazon gift card.
• 1 – Kindle Fire Tablet, black: 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB, 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, with the Alexa cloud-based voice service—just press and ask.
• 1 – digital Kindle copy of LOST GIRLS
• 1 – Pack of 14 vintage-style Swan Lake postcards
• 1 – pr. Black Swan earrings, handmade by author
• 1 – “Always” temporary tattoo

For a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Cover Reveal: Amanda Lester and the Red Spider Rumpus by Paula Berinstein

Today is the cover reveal for Amanda Lester and the Red Spider Rumpus by Paula Berinstein! I’ll show you the cover and there’s a cover reveal wide giveaway!

amanda-lester-and-the-red-spider-rumpusTitle: Amanda Lester and the Red Spider Rumpus
Author: Paula Berinstein
Series: Amanda Lester, Detective #5
Release Date: 1 November, 2016
Genres: Young Adult Mystery/ Detective
Links:

Blurb:
It only takes a moment to spill a secret.

The detectives have managed to keep Legatum Continuatum’s secrets safe for more than a hundred years, but that could soon change. Amanda and her friends have discovered that the red spiders of Ambleside possess a talent that could expose everything.

Unfortunately, Amanda’s new stepfather knows about them too, and his plans are deadly. The kids try to get to the spiders first, but their attempt to save them just complicates matters. Then Amanda disappears and it falls to her friends to save the day. If they fail, she could die. The situation has never been more critical. The problem is that only one person knows how to find her, and they don’t trust him.

Get the first Amanda Lester book for free!
Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy is free! Get your copy of the first Amanda Lester book here:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Smashwords

paula-berinsteinAbout the Author:
Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.

Links:

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
Giveaway!
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Amanda Lester and the Red Spider Rumpus. One winner will win a 30$ amazon gift card.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review: Risk of Exposure (Alpha Ops #6) by Emmy Curtis

RiskofExposure4_RGB300Title: Risk of Exposure
Author: Emmy Curtis
Series: Alpha Ops #6
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Links:

Blurb:
He is a trained professional—but nothing can prepare him for the hottest mission of his life. Assigned to protect his boss’s daughter, British former SAS operative Malone Garrett breaks the first rule of covert surveillance—don’t make contact. And especially don’t take your mark out to dinner, then agree to a rooftop quickie. But now that Mal has Abby in his arms, he has no intention of ever letting her go.

Abby Baston told herself it was a hit and quit, a one-nighter with a hot, handsome stranger whose hands were trained to take action. Working undercover for the CIA, she can’t risk anything more. But when an international crisis ignites, Abby must make a call: trust Mal with her secret—and her heart—and partner up, or lose everything in a split second . . .

My Review:
High-octane well-written romantic suspense. This was a fab read – punchy, fast-paced, packed full of witty banter and smoldering sexy times, and a healthy dose of action scenes.

Malone was such an ass at times, but a loveable one. Abby had a cranky side too. Together, the sparks flew. They had this explosive chemistry that jumped off the page. Seriously well written. Both were complex characters, loners because of their jobs, and not used to letting others in. I did find the progression from that state of mind to ‘love and marriage’ way too quick, but it didn’t dent my enjoyment.

The plot was complex and solidly progressed though I did feel it was a little rushed at the end. I enjoyed the world-building, setting, the background of political intrigue and espionage, the CIA and military angles. Really interesting.

I hugely disliked how Abby fecked off on Malone at the end. On the one hand, she seemed happy to blast her boss out of it and then she capitulated, on the other hand, heading back to the States on his orders with her tail between her legs. That was a little inconsistent for my liking.

The writing was very good and pacing was decent.

Overall, this was a great read.

Actual rating 3.5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

Alpha_Ops_Series

Start this series with the novella Dangerous Territory for only 0.99$!
Links:

Author_EmmyCurtisAbout the Author:
Emmy Curtis is an editor and a romance writer. An ex-pat Brit, she quells her homesickness with Cadbury Flakes and Fray Bentos pies. She’s lived in London, Paris and New York, and has settled for the time being, in North Carolina. When not writing, Emmy loves to travel with her military husband and take long walks with their Lab. All things considered, her life is chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny. And if you get that reference…well, she already considers you kin.

Links:

Cover Reveal: Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret by Paula Berinstein

Today is the cover reveal for Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret by Paula Berinstein. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ SecretAmanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret (Amanda Lester, Detective #4)
by Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/detective
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: March 31, 2016

Blurb:
What does a dusty old secret have to do with peacocks?

Everything, as it turns out. When Amanda is knocked off her skateboard by a rare all-blue peacock, she learns that the species harbors a vital secret she must race to uncover. But before she can unravel the mystery, a startling archaeological discovery turns all of Britain against the detectives and threatens their very existence.

As old enemies gather strength and new adversaries emerge, Amanda finds herself dealing with hysterical teachers, a disappearing mentor, a mysterious poisoner, and a would-be magician. With so much at stake and so little time, the last thing she needs is to fall in love.

You can find Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret on Goodreads

You can pre-order Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret here:
Amazon

Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret first Darktower class excerpt:
On Monday Amanda and her friends had their first class with the new logic teacher. It was a scary affair. The pirate was rude, strict, and humorless, and now he smelled like cigars. Probably drank grog too, by the look of him, Amanda thought, whatever that was.
The first thing Professor Darktower said, in a really loud voice, was, “Alice in Wonderland is not fun!” No introduction, no “Good morning,” nothing. The statement was so abrupt and the message so out of any context that every kid in the class dropped something, gasped, choked, or bit their tongue, even if they weren’t chewing. Then he said, “In this class we will read nothing but Lewis Carroll—Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, the whole shebang. These publications are no laughing matter. You think Tweedledum and Tweedledee are funny? The Mad Hatter is a joke? Alice is cute? BALDERDASH!”
This extremely loud exclamation caused poor Dreidel to fall off his chair and twist his knee. But Professor Darktower would not let him go to the nurse. “Detectives are not sissies,” he said. “You will stay here and learn to be absolutely, impeccably logical. Got that?”
The boy nodded up and down and attempted to hide his pain. It was obvious that he was hurt, though, because he kept grimacing every time he tried to move his leg. Amanda was so outraged that she refused to keep quiet. “He’s hurt. He needs medical attention.”
The huge man fixed her with a stony stare and said, “Then he’s out of my class. Do you think, missy, that when you’re out battling the likes of Blixus Moriarty you can take a time out and go to the nurse? Now stop acting like a girl and be a detective. And as for you, laddie, one more sissy incident like this and you’re out of my class. Got that?”
Dreidel nodded again but Amanda was furious. She opened her mouth to protest, but Ivy tugged on her sleeve and gave her a low “Uh uh,” and she realized that her revenge would have to wait. But revenge she would have, and it would be a doozy. The man was worse than a boor. Why, he was even ruder than an arch-criminal. Even Blixus had never been as bad as that. She wondered what Professor Darktower’s parents must be like to produce a son like him.
There was something she could do right then and there, however. She reached into her bag and surreptitiously texted Dreidel: “R U OK?” “Y,” the response came almost immediately. Of course he would say that. Dreidel was a trouper. And then it hit her that he hadn’t gone off to Skye after all. She was glad, not just because he’d stayed to support Legatum, but because he was a good guy and a great lab partner. She texted back a smiley and let it go for the time being.
Darktower glared at the class and said, “As I was saying, there are equations and syllogisms in these volumes that underlie every word, and we’re going to find them. You will be responsible for finding them. Then, for your term paper, you will be expected to arrange them in a different way that’s still logically valid and write the text they would produce. Is that clear? I repeat: this task is not humorous or fanciful. It is deadly serious work, and you won’t be able to build ironclad cases unless you can master it.”
The man made about as much sense as that strange page Amanda had found. Sometimes it was hard to understand Professor Ducey, but not like this. What did he mean, equations and syllogisms underlie every word? It sounded like he was saying that the books had been translated into English from math. You could read an equation out loud, of course, and you could translate it into Spanish or Chinese, but how could you—OMG. This was storytelling, just like the way she and Holmes had done when they’d put together the training film about a cyberforensics problem, except with math rather than words.
She glanced over at Holmes and found him looking at her and smiling. He’d got it too. He gave her a quick wink and then everything exploded.
“MR. Holmes!” bellowed the teacher. “Out, NOW!” Holmes looked astonished, then got up and walked out of the room. “MISS Lester!” the teacher continued. Amanda was surprised. “Oh, you thought I didn’t know who you were,” the man said. “I want you to take your things, find Mr. Holmes, and wait in my office. Is that clear?”
“But—” Amanda said.
“OUT!” he roared.
Amanda felt the strongest urge to stick her tongue out at him again, but she managed to control herself and abstained. She picked up her bag and followed Holmes out into the hall.
“What in the world was that?” he said when she’d caught up with him. He looked confused, as if he didn’t know quite what to do with himself.
“The man is a lunatic,” said Amanda. “He wants us to go to his office.”
“But the class just started,” said Holmes. “It will be fifty minutes.” Gosh, he looked good. His eyes seemed to be on fire. She looked away for a second.
“All I know is that’s what he said.”
He shook his head but he was smiling. “You know, the dumb thing is that up until he had his little meltdown, he was making sense.”
“You got that too?” she said, matching his grin.
“Of course. You taught me.”
“I did, didn’t I?” she said. She felt absolutely triumphant. It was a wonderful feeling after that ridiculous scene in the classroom. “Who needs him?”
“I guess we do,” said Holmes. “If we want to stay here.”
“You’re not thinking of going to Skye?” she said.
“Never. Not even for Professor Ducey.”
And then, instead of worrying or fuming or plotting revenge, the two of them cracked up so hard they had to hold their stomachs.
When they calmed down enough to speak, Holmes looked at her with mischief in his eyes and said, “You know what this means, don’t you?”
She threw back her head and laughed. “We have forty-five minutes to do whatever we want.”
“Come on,” he said. “Let’s go.”

Paula BerinsteinAbout the Author:
Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.

You can find and contact Paula here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Paula’s blog on Goodreads
The Writing Show podcasts

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret. You can win a 50$ amazon gift card. Open international.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Cover Reveal: The Daydreamer Detective by SJ Pajonas

Today is the cover reveal for The Daydreamer Detective by SJ Pajonas. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

The Daydreamer DetectiveThe Daydreamer Detective (The Daydreamer Detective #1)
By SJ Pajonas
Genre: Mystery/ Cozy Mystery
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 31 march 2016

Blurb:
Luck? Forget it. Mei Yamagawa is fresh out of it. She’s just been downsized from her 3rd job in five years and her bank account is dry. Now, to keep her head above water, she must leave Tokyo and move back to her rural Japanese hometown. And there’s nothing worse than having to face your old rivals and ex-boyfriends as a failure while starting life over as a farm girl.

But when her best friend’s father is murdered, and her best friend is named the main suspect, Mei turns her daydreaming ways towards solving the crime. Between dates disguised as lunches with the town’s hottest bachelor chef, searching for clues, and harvesting sweet potatoes, Mei has a lot of non-paying work cut out for her.

Will she catch the killer before her bad luck turns worse? Or will she fry in the fire with the rest of her dreams of success?

You can find The Daydreamer Detective on Goodreads

You can pre-order The Daydreamer Detective here:
Amazon

The Daydreamer Detective teaser 1

The Daydreamer Detective teaser 2

SJ PajonasAbout the Author:
Stephanie (S. J.) is a writer, knitter, amateur astrologer, Capricorn, and Japanophile. She loves foxes, owls, sushi, yoga pants, Evernote, and black tea. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing or spending time outside, unless it’s winter. She hates winter. Someday she’ll own a house in both hemispheres so she can avoid the season entirely. She’s a mom to two great kids and lives with her husband and family outside NYC. They have no pets. Yet. When it comes to her work, expect the unexpected. She doesn’t write anything typical. Find her online at http://www.spajonas.com.

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Review: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Thicker than WaterTitle: Thicker Than Water
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Mystery fantasy
Links:

Blurb:
On his own

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

My Review:
This was a gripping, intense, suspenseful read with an original concept and superb writing that hooked me instantly.

Both Charlotte and Thomas were likable main characters and I enjoyed both their voices and perspectives. Character and plot development were steady and consistently built and I enjoyed the slow-burning romance.

I really felt for Thomas – he was in a crappy situation that kept getting crappier. It’s obvious from the start that there is something that doesn’t quite add up about him, but I still wasn’t expecting the paranormal shift which happened about 60% in. It took me by surprise and I felt the book halted for a chapter or two until I got my head around what was happening. Then the pace picked up perfectly and I enjoyed this new angle.

Charlotte was a strong female lead and I loved how she wasn’t afraid to stand up to her family, and to defend Tom, even though she had some niggling doubts.

The romance was perfect and I felt the chemistry between them.

This is my first Brigid Kemmerer book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I loved it, and I adored her writing style. Very slick and professional and the words flowed smoothly on the page. I’m not sure if there is going to be a sequel. I think there’s enough meat there for one but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I would recommend this book if you enjoy contemporary YA romance with a paranormal twist.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Blog Tour: Vanquished by S.E. Green

Vanquished BT Ban
Today is my stop during the blog tour for Vanquished by S.E. Green. I’ll share my review of this book and there’s a giveaway.

Vanquished-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalTitle: Vanquished
Author: S.E. Green
Series: standalone
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Fantasy/ Mystery
Links:

Blurb:
For a price, the world’s most powerful people can explore their darkest desires. On a private island hidden in the ocean they may hunt humans for game, attend gladiator-style fights, participate in elaborate orgies, and freely indulge in all the deadly sins within the cosplay of ancient times.

Abducted from their life in Miami, Valoria and her younger sister wake up in this secret society, wherein Valoria is condemned to the fights and her sister is taken away to become a sex slave.

Now “property” of a sadistic tyrant, Valoria joins other men and women captives who are forced to fight and maim for others’ enjoyment, to run in their hunts, and participate in deviant fantasies. And she’s under the cold, watchful eye of Alexior, a hired trainer with his own agenda for being involved in the twisted decadence.

After surviving several near-death ordeals, a defiant Valoria focuses on her training and against all odds soon becomes a favorite. But she fights for one thing and one thing only—to be reunited with her sister and to be freed.

But promises of freedom are sometimes just manipulative lies . . .

My Review:
Valoria (not her real name) and her sister Lena are kidnapped and taken to a mysterious island where the rich and powerful rule supreme. If you are not one of the elite you are either a slave or a recruit/warrior. Valoria doesn’t know where her sister is so she makes a deal with her captor Dominus and becomes his most prized warrior possession.

I was intrigued when I read the premise and couldn’t resist requesting a review copy, even though I hoped it wouldn’t be too gruesome. The themes are dark and twisted but not too graphic, thank God; I would not have had the disposition to read it otherwise. The elite are disgustingly depraved and most of their actions were totally deplorable. Valoria was a great MC. She had to make some very tough choices, but her sole motivation was her desire to find and rescue her little sister. She tried hard to hold onto her sanity, her conscience, and her humanity. Not an easy task in a world without morality.

At first I struggled to visualize the world and I was a little confused as to what was going on – was it all a fantasy or an actual real place? As the story progressed, it was made clear that it was an actual place, hidden from society at large, where the rich could indulge their sick fantasies. The scary thing is I don’t think this is beyond the realm of plausibility. (Shivering profusely.)

The author keeps us guessing over Alexior and his real agenda – was he a friend or a foe? Initially, I thought Camille had a dual agenda as she told Valoria that Dominus had bought her sister when that wasn’t the case. But it all made sense in the end. Character development is strong and there are some very decent secondary characters.

The first half of the book dragged a little in parts and I found myself skimming but the second half more than made up for that, and I really enjoyed the last few chapters in particular. The very end felt rushed and I would have liked more of a glimpse into the future – I can’t imagine the trauma and stress of having lived through an experience like that and I wonder how the characters adjusted.

The writing was very good and overall this was an enjoyable read.

S.E. GreenAbout the Author:
S. E. Green (aka Shannon Greenland) is the award winning author of the teen thriller, Killer Instinct, a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers; the teen spy series, The Specialists, an ALA Popular Paperback and a National Reader’s Choice recipient; and the YA romance, The Summer My Life Began, winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award. Her books have been translated into several languages and are currently on numerous state reading lists. Vanquished is her debut novel for adults.

Shannon grew up in Tennessee where she dreaded all things reading and writing. She didn’t even read her first book for enjoyment until she was twenty-five. After that she was hooked! When she’s not writing, she works as an adjunct math professor and lives on the coast in Florida with her very grouchy dog. Find her online everywhere @segreenauthor.

Links:

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Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

dont look backTitle: Don’t Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: standalone
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Mystery/ Suspense/ Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

My Review:
Sammy wakes up bloodied and battered with no recollection of where she is, or how she got there. This is further confounded when she can’t even remember her name, or who she is. Her family arrive at the hospital to reclaim her and that doesn’t jog her memory. Her brother Scott, his girlfriend Julie and Carson the sorta-boy-next-door all try and help her to piece back the memories of her life. She discovers that she wasn’t a very likable person and quickly realizes this is a ‘second chance’ that most don’t get.

Her best friend Cassie is still missing and her body is subsequently discovered prompting the police to begin a murder investigation, with Sammy prime suspect.

Her parents have a non-existent relationship and the family atmosphere is tense, heightened by Sammy’s obvious distaste towards long-term boyfriend Del and some serious crushing on Carson.She quickly discards the majority of her so-called friends, who are in the main nasty and bitchy.

Sammy’s mind is playing tricks on her as she suffers hallucinations/visions, surges of memory/recollections, eerie images of dead Cassie, and mysterious warning notes that are left in close proximity.

It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of JLA’s writing and I adore the Lux, Covenent and Dark Elements series. This is the first contemporary novel I’ve read from JLA and while I thoroughly enjoyed it, it didn’t hook me as much as the other books did. The romance is quite muted compared to her other novels, and I missed that. Because boy can JLA write great romance scenes.

However, she has deftly developed the mystery/suspense theme within this novel and as a reader, you constantly wonder whether Sammy is being told the truth by those around her, and continuously ponder who is trustworthy. I did guess the culprit pretty early on – the clues are subtly embedded throughout the story – but I constantly questioned myself, and switched my mind a few times.

The writing was sublime, and the pacing bang-on, as usual. I don’t think the dialogue was as engaging as normal, lacking the humorous/satirical element that is regularly found in her fantasy books, however I felt the characters were a bit more unique and individual as a result.
I finished this book in less than 24 hours, and that says it all really.

Another epic read from writing power-house Jennifer L. Armentrout.