Category Archives: Book Reviews

Aos Sí (Viking P.I., #4) by Tommy Ueland

Aos Sí: A Viking P.I. Mystery (Viking P.I., #4)Aos Sí: A Viking P.I. Mystery by Tommy Ueland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Viking PI is back for Book 4!

Tommy Ueland, as his alter-ego, is back with another case for the Viking P.I., and, once again, his girlfriend, Alvide, is the investigator busting his chops. This time, the murder victim seems to have left a clue to his killer by way of a bloody message scrawled near his body. With things pointing in Tommy’s direction, Alvide brings him in, and the police chief, disgruntled with Tommy from a previous encounter, takes advantage of the opportunity to flex his authority. With Alvide angry at him and the evidence supporting an easy resolution with Tommy as the murderer, tempting the police to call it a day, Tommy has no choice but to find the real killer himself.

Aos Sí (a Celtic woodland paranormal creature) is another short, exciting case from the Viking P.I.’s logbook. As always, the dialogue and Tommy’s delivery delights. New readers should start with Book 1, as this entry doesn’t have a lot of backstory to really understand and enjoy the character dynamics. But, even if it did, the previous books in the series are not to be missed. Alvide definitely doesn’t show her good side in this one.

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The Damned Lovely by Adam Frost

A modern mystery but spectacularly reminiscent of early crime and detective thrillers and film noir of the 40s and early 50s.

Sam Goss had been living a traditional life, a college grad, a girl who liked him and liked to cook, and an excellent job with an LA marketing firm, writing ad copy until suddenly he.just.couldn’t.anymore. He felt he needed more, so he quit the job and the girlfriend, eventually ending up sharing an apartment with Nick in Glendale and trying to make it as a writer.

His life mostly revolved around The Damned Lovely, a dive bar owned and bartended by Jiles, a retired cop who rented him a stuffy, dim, windowless box of an office space located in the back of the building. Sam looked up to and respected Jiles in place of his father, who disapproved of his career move. But things were not going great. He was existing month to month as an Uber driver, and he knew he was drinking way too much. However, a small glimmer of light was starting to shine in his life. There was a recent addition to the regular patrons of The Damned Lovely, a beauty in a black fedora who sat at the bar reading a book and sipping her Negroni, not engaging in any conversation other than to order her drink.

Sam was smitten and, as yet, had not gotten up the nerve to approach the young woman. However, when a man at the bar began to hassle her one night, Sam stepped in to stop him, ready for a fight. Unfortunately, when he regained consciousness later in his office, she was gone, leaving behind the bloodied denim shirt she’d used to cushion his head when he’d been laid out on the bar floor. Sam never saw her again…alive.

The Damned Lovely was a genuine page-turner of a book that kept me reading late to get to a good stopping point. The problem for me was the story was so good, with Sam’s ongoing investigation and constant drama, there just wasn’t one. I always wanted to see what was going to happen next.

Sam is a good guy, but he’s worked himself into a hole. His literary agent is a harpy, his roommate is an inconvenient convenience rather than a friend, and his friends are a bunch of barflies with their own troubles. I loved the collection of personalities and stories the author has conceived for The Damned Lovely’s regulars. Everyone has a story. The author has a knack for dialogue and a talent for putting the reader in the story.

The bar itself also has a personality, as does Goss’s Glendale. The moody descriptions set a tone and paint a vivid backdrop for the book’s action and events. I could clearly envision the bar, Goss’s home away from home.

But the plot is what kept me in my seat, or rather on the edge of it. The police investigation goes in a different direction than Sam’s, with twists and turns to follow and some entirely believable red herrings. The clues to uncovering the truth behind the murder are right there, one by one.

With the main character’s alcohol-infused decision-making and struggles, gritty action, sudden violence, moody setting, and overall feeling of impending doom, this modern mystery is spectacularly reminiscent of early crime and detective thrillers and movies. I recommend THE DAMNED LOVELY to readers of mystery fiction, especially those that enjoy the film noir genre of the 40s and early 50s.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary fiction, Mystery, Noir, Thriller

Blog Tour: The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

THE KILLING CODE

by

Ellie Marney

Young Adult Historical Mystery

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384 pages

Publishing Date: September 20, 2022

SYNOPSIS:

A historical mystery about a girl who risks everything to track down a vicious serial killer, for fans of The Enigma Game and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.

Virginia, 1943: World War II is raging in Europe and on the Pacific front when Kit Sutherland is recruited to help the war effort as a codebreaker at Arlington Hall, a former girls’ college now serving as the site of a secret US Signals Intelligence facility in Virginia. But Kit is soon involved in another kind of fight: Government girls are being brutally murdered in Washington DC, and when Kit stumbles onto a bloody homicide scene, she is drawn into the hunt for the killer.

To find the man responsible for the gruesome murders and bring him to justice, Kit joins forces with other female codebreakers at Arlington Hall—gossip queen Dottie Crockford, sharp-tongued intelligence maven Moya Kershaw, and cleverly resourceful Violet DuLac from the segregated codebreaking unit. But as the girls begin to work together and develop friendships—and romance—that they never expected, two things begin to come clear: the murderer they’re hunting is closing in on them…and Kit is hiding a dangerous secret.

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REVIEW:

5 stars!

Engaging characters, an immersive 1940s wartime setting,

and a suspenseful and baffling murder mystery!

The Killing Code was a tense and suspenseful story set during World War II, just outside Washington, DC, on the grounds of a former finishing school for young women. The tension came from several directions: Kit’s constant fear of being unmasked as an imposter, the stress and urgency of codebreaking and the war itself, and a string of gruesome murders perpetrated against young female government workers in DC. In addition, there is a romantic subplot involving two main characters.

The author obviously did a lot of amazing research in crafting the story. There are even quotes from historical figures involved in codebreaking and cryptography heading the chapters, including one from a distant cousin of mine (Colonel Parker Hitt.) I was particularly intrigued by the colossal about-face in the workforce at the time, with women fulfilling positions men had traditionally held. I had never heard about the all-black codebreaking unit working simultaneously with the white unit but segregated from them the entire time.

The main characters, the core group of women trying to track down the serial killer, come from different backgrounds and circumstances. But I felt the buildup of camaraderie and how they became a family. I liked how they used their knowledge and skills gained at work to profile the murderer and make sense of the information they gathered. They hit some snags along the way in their investigations and relationships, but their perseverance takes them through all roadblocks, much like tackling the Japanese coded messages.

The author doesn’t keep the women restricted to quarters either. I enjoyed that the investigations took them “off campus,” and we got to experience the world of Washington, DC, during 1940s wartime. Social settings, transportation, telephoning, and clothing are all mentioned, and I felt immersed in the place and time. However, with one of the main characters, a young black woman, the attitudes toward race during those days were also fully displayed.

With great characters that I could relate to and root for from the beginning, the immersive 1940s wartime setting, and the engrossing and baffling murder mystery, I was glued to this book to the very end. I recommend THE KILLING CODE to readers who enjoy historical mysteries, especially those set in World War II or including codebreaking.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ellie Marney is a New York Times bestselling and multi-award-winning crime author who has gone behind the scenes at the Westminster Mortuary in London and interviewed forensic and technical specialists around the world in pursuit of just the right details for her brand of pulse-pounding thrillers.

Her titles include The Killing CodeNone Shall Sleep, the Every trilogy, No LimitsWhite Night and the Circus Hearts series. She has lived in Indonesia, India and Singapore, and is now based in Australia with her partner and their four sons. 

Ellie has been involved in the creation of the national campaign called #LoveOzYA to promote and advocate for Australian YA literature. She contributed to the critically-acclaimed Begin End Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, and co-runs the popular #LoveOzYAbookclub online. She also co-coordinates an online info-sharing group for Australian women self-publishers. She teaches writing and publishing through Writers Victoria, advocates for Australian women’s writing as a Stella Ambassador in schools, and is a regular speaker at festivals and events.

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September 19th
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Heroes Ever Die (Ken Allen Super Sleuth, #2) by J.A. Crawford

Heroes Ever Die,

Ken Allen Super Sleuth, #2

by

J.A. Crawford

Mystery / Super Heroes / PI
Published by: CamCat Books
Publication Date: August 16th 2022
Number of Pages: 304 pages
ISBN: 0744305926 (ISBN13: 9780744305920)

SYNOPSIS:

Ken Allen has upgraded a bit since his last case, now living in a nicer part of the city and officially hanging out his shingle as a private investigator. After two successful cases, one kept on the ultra-down-low because of the high-profile client, he’s ready to help when his old friend, Ray Ford, is suspected of negligence resulting in the death of two actors on the sets of two different superhero flicks. Ray is being framed, and Elaine, the daughter he’s been keeping under wraps for years, suspects who the real culprit is.

In the meantime, Ken’s own son, Dean, the recently revealed surprise result of a short-term liaison almost 20 years earlier, wants to get to know his dad, and he couldn’t have picked a worse time. With Ken becoming a target of the killer himself and needing to investigate and stop the murder spree, he’s had to put Dean off during this very delicate time in their relationship.

| Amazon  | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound | CamCat Books

REVIEW:

This second in series sparkles!

A fun and entertaining installment in the Ken Allen Super Sleuth series!

As a fan of the debut Ken Allen Super Sleuth mystery, Jove Brand is Near Death (see my review here), I was looking forward with much anticipation to Heroes Ever Die, and I was not disappointed. Ken Allen is a one-of-a-kind private investigator who, although talking about getting old, is still current, relevant, and completely on top of what’s hot and trending. The story is a seamless amalgam of pop culture as we follow him through his days that include an adherence to a keto diet, selfies, smoothies, and the main character literally fangirling over comic book royalty. The author also mixes in movie and television references that are fun surprises. Parallels and parodies of the James Bond franchise and the comic book cinematic universes are the baselines for the series and this book, in particular, and are vastly entertaining. The dialogue absolutely shone in the debut novel and is a high point in the second as well. It’s smart and witty and kept me laughing.

I liked that Ken has officially hung out his shingle (as a private investigator), although this case is still on behalf of a friend. I also liked that Ken’s son, Dean, is still in the picture, and he and his father are working on getting to know each other. Ken is such a likable guy. I enjoyed how he was able to charm the ladies who lunch to report back to him on what was going on in their neighborhood.

Ray Ford, a recurring character from the first book, continues to amaze with his special gadgets, and we discover he has a grown daughter. Elaine is an intelligent and charming addition to the “team.” She lives and works with her father, and her backstory, when revealed, pulled at my heartstrings for both of them. Investigator Stern is a mellower version of herself this go-round, and I like there’s more of a partnership developing between her and Ken.

With all the masks and costumes involved, no one in this story is really who they seem to be. However, we soon realize that this is even more the case with characters who aren’t even in disguise. The story is full of surprises, and I didn’t see the resolution coming. I enjoyed this book so much that I read it in one day.

I recommend HEROES EVER DIE to readers that enjoy up-to-the-minute mysteries, especially those involving the film industry, comic book franchises, and private investigators with martial arts skills.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Book Reviews, Mystery

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky

LORD OF THE FLY FEST

by

GOLDY MOLDAVSKY

Young Adult Horror

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers

Pages: 320 pages

Publishing Date: August 30, 2022

SYNOPSIS:

One of Us Is Lying meets Lord of the Flies meets Fyre Fest in this wickedly addictive and funny YA thriller.

Rafi Francisco needs something really special to put her true crime podcast on the map. She sets her sights on River Stone, the hearthrob musician who rose to stardom after the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. Rafi lands herself a ticket to the exclusive Fly Fest, where River will be the headliner.

But when Rafi arrives on the Caribbean island location of Fly Fest with hundreds of other influencers and (very minor) celebrities, they quickly discover that the dream trip is more of a nightmare. And it’s not just confronting beauty gurus-gone-wild and spotty WiFi. Soon, Rafi goes from fighting for an interview to fighting for her life. And, as she gets closer to River, she discovers that he might be hiding even darker secrets than she suspected . . .

Content Warning: violence, missing persons, and bodily functions

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REVIEW:

Lord of the Fly Fest was a fun and clever story made even more delightful by the allusions and parallels to William Golding’s classic, Lord of the Flies. Rafi is surrounded by social media influencers and one of the few voices of reason on the island. She is a wonderful character, but the author also has a variety of fabulous secondary ones that parody the influencer communities of Instagram and Tiktok. I laughed until I about cried several times over the absurdities the situation created and the exaggerated but realistic portrayals of the various lifestyle influencers still trying to maintain their online habits. Throwing back to the classic foundation novel, one character lovingly calls his followers “piggies.” The author creates a remote island setting, frightening and surreal, reminiscent of the island from Golding’s work, and includes similar names and outcomes that echo the original. There is so much to love about this story, especially if you’re a fan of the Lord of the Flies novel or movies.

But parody aside, the plot is about Rafi exposing River Stone, a young man who has been very kind to her, as a murderer based on very little evidence. She initially feels she is above the shallowness of the rest of the stranded festival-goers (and yes, they are shallow and awful people) but comes to realize she’s not perfect either nor entitled to be so righteous. There is a nice revelation of truths, and mistakes are made, leading to her heartfelt offer and attempt to redeem herself. There is a great wrap-up that closes out the hanging subplots, too.

I recommend LORD OF THE FLY FEST to readers of young adult fiction, especially those who are fans of online social media or social media-related stories or have read Lord of the Flies.

#CaribbeanIsland #LiveYourBestLife #NoThreeHourCruise #WheresMyVilla #AreBananasGlutenFree #DoesThisPigDungMakeMyButtLookFat

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Goldy Moldavsky was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in Brooklyn, where she still lives. Her novels include the New York Times bestseller, KILL THE BOY BAND, NO GOOD DEED (Scholastic), and THE MARY SHELLEY CLUB (Henry Holt). Her books have appeared on numerous Best-Books lists and have been translated to other languages. Her love of 80s movies, 90s boy bands, and horror flicks hugely influences her work. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @goldywrites.

She is represented by Jenny Bent at the Bent Agency.

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Whiskers Abroad: Ashi and Audrey’s Adventures in Japan by Carrie Carter

WHISKERS ABROAD
Ashi and Audrey’s Adventures in Japan
by CARRIE CARTER
Graphic Designer: Stacy Vickers
Fiction / Travelogue / Japan
Publisher: Bayou City Press
Pages: 170 pages
Publication Date: October 6, 2022
SCROLL DOWN FOR GIVEAWAY!

Whiskers Abroad is a lively and charming travelogue featuring a trip to Japan shared by two main characters, Audrey and Ashi, who alternate recounting their versions of events. Audrey, having won the chance to write a magazine article about traveling in Japan, takes along her cat, Ashi. Over the course of a twelve-day trip, the pair visit Tokyo, Wakayama, Shirahama, Kyoto, and Miura Peninsula. Food is of great interest to both, as they sample typical Japanese dishes from ramen to sushi to tuna specialties. They also explore Japanese culture, including food markets, a family farm, temples, and Tokyo nightlife.

Adventures abound, from Audrey losing Ashi in the fish market to Ashi slipping out of the hotel at night to go to a cat café, where he meets an alluring feline. Audrey is still trying to find her place in the universe, while Ashi believes Audrey would sink beneath the waves were he not present to rescue her time and again. Audrey is a dedicated reader of her horoscope, and the prediction for each day offers tantalizing clues as to what’s in store for the pair.

Written by author Carrie Carter and beautifully designed by Stacy Vickers, Whiskers Abroad is both an amusing travel story with unforgettable characters but also a useful guide for tourists going to Japan about such basic travel issues as how to get from the airport to central Tokyo, how to purchase a rail pass, what to visit in Tokyo, and what to eat. Lavishly designed with full-color photographs and arresting page layouts, Whiskers Abroad will delight both your eyes and your sense of adventure.

PRAISE FOR WHISKERS ABROAD:

Whiskers Abroad is simply a delight, offering respite and reflections that bring readers into Japan from different perspectives, capturing a writer’s journey through new foods, a different culture, and a cat’s eyes. It’s very highly recommended for its ability to reach beyond the usual travelogue audiences to immerse all ages in its fun adventure.” The Midwest Book Review

Character Interview

INTERVIEW WITH ASHI THE CAT,

co-author of

WHISKERS ABROAD:

Ashi and Audrey’s Adventures in Japan

 I’m so glad you are taking the time out of your schedule to participate in this interview. This is the first time I’ve ever interviewed a cat.

You were the writer for half of Whiskers Abroad: Ashi and Audrey’s Adventures in Japan. How did you come up with the concept for it?

I saw Audrey typing about the upcoming trip on her laptop for her journal, and I thought I would do the same since I was also going with her to Japan. Of course, it really should have been my perspective only. A traveling cat is way more interesting than a traveling woman.

As a cat, how did you learn to read? With the follow-up question, how did you learn to use a laptop?

Audrey always read stories to me as a kitten. I paid attention to what she said and stared at the pages of the book. Over time, I picked up the meaning behind the squiggles, and read more on my own when she went to work. Eventually, I became literate enough to write. I learned how to use the laptop watching Audrey use it. People think their cats are being nuisances, sitting near a computer, or on the keyboard, but really, we are trying to educate ourselves about these things.

So, can all cats read and write?

Heavens no. They aren’t special like me. Besides, it’s not that they can’t, but most cats don’t have the inclination or desire. You really have to be exposed to stories as a kitten to want to pursue writing. The majority of felines are into the here and now. Writing takes you into the future or the past, so it doesn’t interest them.

Why didn’t Audrey run to the rooftops and shout she had a typing, story-telling cat?

Have you ever seen the Warner Brother’s cartoon with the singing frog? The man that finds him tries to show him off, and no one believes him? That would have happened to Audrey.

But you have a book coming out. Now everyone will know you are a cat writer.

Audrey had it published under fiction.

Will people think I’m crazy because I’m interviewing you?

Most likely, yes. Sorry about that.

What was your favorite thing about Japan?

The food! You wouldn’t believe how fresh and incredible the seafood was. I had oysters for the first time, juicy, flavorful, chewy nuggets of amazement.

Will there be a sequel?

I hope so!  Although I suppose it’s up to Audrey since she’s the one to book the flights and arrange everything. I mean, yes, I can type, and I used the airline website to upgrade to business class, but I don’t have a credit card. It seems hotels and airlines want you to pay for your reservations. I tried getting Audrey’s, but she keeps that in her purse, and even with using my teeth, I can’t get that zipper open.

Any final words?

If you see me out and about, take a photo with me. I love having my photo taken and posted on social media. Also, consider adopting a kitty from a shelter. He will forever love you for it.

Carrie Carter has a profound love for Japan, cats, sumo, dioramas, and eating unusual foods. She has traveled with her husband Jim to Japan fourteen times, so her numerous holidays across her favorite country were the inspiration for her first book, Whiskers Abroad: Ashi and Audrey’s Adventures in Japan. Carrie has run multiple marathons including the Tokyo Marathon, and as expected, Carrie and Jim live with an adorable cat named Frenemy, who was unhappy at not being selected as the model for the book.
Carrie lives in Houston, Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. At home, she loves to cook, design/create Halloween costumes, and daydream about meeting Jacques Pepin. She dislikes overly dramatic music used in reality TV shows. Currently, Carrie is working on her second book, a sequel to Whiskers Abroad, where Audrey and Ashi explore further into Japan and get themselves into even more interesting predicaments.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction

Blog Tour: The Epic Story of Every Living Thing by Deb Caletti

THE EPIC STORY OF EVERY LIVING THING

by

DEB CALETTI

Young Adult Contemporary

Publisher: Labyrinth Road

Pages: 416 pages

Publishing Date: September 13, 2022

SYNOPSIS:

From the award-winning author of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart comes a gorgeous and fiercely feminist young adult novel. When a teen travels to Hawaii to track down her sperm donor father, she discovers the truth about him, about the sunken shipwreck that’s become his obsession, and most of all about herself.

Harper Proulx has lived her whole life with unanswered questions about her anonymous sperm donor father. She’s convinced that without knowing him, she can’t know herself. When a chance Instagram post connects Harper to a half sibling, that connection yields many more and ultimately leads Harper to uncover her father’s identity.

So, fresh from a painful breakup and still reeling with anxiety that reached a lifetime high during the pandemic, Harper joins her newfound half siblings on a voyage to Hawaii to face their father. The events of that summer, and the man they discover—a charismatic deep-sea diver obsessed with solving the mystery of a fragile sunken shipwreck—will force Harper to face some even bigger questions: Who is she? Is she her DNA, her experiences, her successes, her failures? Is she the things she loves—or the things she hates? Who she is in dark times? Who she might become after them? 

Content Warning: anxiety & social media/phone addiction

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REVIEW:

5 stars!

A thoroughly satisfying, modern coming-of-age tale,

full of the discovery of self and wonder of the real world around us.

What an amazing and satisfying coming of age and facing your fears story! The plot follows the main character, Harper Proulx, as she determinedly creates and maintains a “nature girl in symmetry with her environment” persona. It’s an elaborate masquerade, though, as Harper is terrified of everything, thanks to her overwhelming exposure to “the sky is falling” content on social media. The stress of maintaining her brand and FOMO is compounded by her helicopter mom’s relentless push for safety and academic perfection.

This never-ending cycle of “keeping up” doesn’t allow Harper to share her real insecurities, her inner self, or her secret need to find out about her father or her discovery that she’s got half-siblings with her faithful boyfriend, Ezra. This unknown conflicts with her perception of her perfect persona. I loved that her need to know trumps her need for safety and leads to adventure and a quirky “found” family. I loved all of the siblings’ reawakening to the wonders of life, and the setting in Maui is irresistible, full of mystery and beauty.

Told from Harper’s point of view, readers are privy to her thoughts and motivations. I was subtly absorbed into her preoccupation with her social media presence; honestly, it felt normal; she was so effortlessly good at it. In fact, I initially felt Ezra was being overly sensitive. It didn’t feel so all-encompassing until it was missing. I had been sucked into Harper’s life that completely. But the story changes focus to the real people around Harper, and so does she. It is mind-boggling how easily one can shut out what’s right before your eyes and become distracted and absorbed by the allure and massive volume of a “created” online world.

I truly enjoyed the main characters: Harper, Ezra, Dario, Wyatt, Simone, and their new “found” family, including Beau and Greer. I loved that more siblings were occasionally revealed as the story went on. I think it must be a universal desire or need to discover such connections with the many anonymous others out there, hence, the popularity of genetic matching services. And frankly, I could relate to Melissa Proulx, her fears and desires for her child. I can’t believe she wouldn’t hop on a plane to Maui during all this, though.

Author Deb Caletti has crafted a thoroughly modern tale of discovery: discovering self, identity, and wonder. She captures perfectly that blasé feeling, that sense of inurement to what’s going on in the world because of the constant bombardment of news, information overload, and the overwhelming number of calls to action. Her reigniting of wonder felt so pure and simple and joyful.

I recommend THE EPIC STORY OF EVERY LIVING THING to readers of young adult fiction, especially those who enjoy the phenomenon of online life and influencers, the idea of the hunt for DNA relatives, scuba diving, and the around-the-world travels of clipper ships during the mid-1800s.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Deb Caletti is the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of nearly twenty books for adults and young adults, including Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, a finalist for the National Book Award, and A Heart in a Body in the World, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book.  Her books have also won the Josette Frank Award for Fiction, the Washington State Book Award, and numerous other state awards and honors, and she was a finalist for the PEN USA Award. She lives with her family in Seattle.

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September 19th
Pages & Plots – Promotional Post
Boys’ Mom Reads! – Review

September 20th
Kait Plus Books – Interview
Nine Bookish Lives – Promotional Post

September 21st
The Book Dutchesses – Promotional Post
This Soul’s Devouring Words – Review

September 22nd
Literary Liza – Interview
Jen Jen Reviews – Review

September 23rd
Stuck in Fiction – Promotional Post
Forthenovellovers – Review

September 24th
Epic Book Society – Interview
Library of Becca – Review & Favorite Quotes

September 25th
PopTheButterfly Reads – Review
Phannie the ginger bookworm – Review, Playlist & 15 Reactions While Reading The Epic Story of Every Living Thing

September 19th
hodophile_z – Review

September 20th
ninebookishlives – Blogger’s Choice

September 21st
writingrosereads – Promotional Post
anjalisdevouringwords – Blogger’s Choice

September 22nd
literaryliza – Blogger’s Choice
get.outside.and.read – Review, Favorite Quotes

September 23rd
tbrandbeyond – Promotional Post
dreaminginpages – Review

September 24th
library.of.becca – Blogger’s Choice

September 25th
popthebutterfly – Blogger’s Choice
gryffindorbookishnerd – Review

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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary fiction, Young adult

Book Blog Tour & Giveaway: Dangerous Beauty by Melissa Koslin

DANGEROUS BEAUTY

by

MELISSA KOSLIN

Fiction / Christian / Romance / Suspense

Publisher: Revell

Pages: 352 pages

Publication Date: September 6, 2022


SCROLL DOWN FOR GIVEAWAY!


What is the price of freedom?

Liliana Vela hates the term victim. She’s not a victim, she’s a fighter. Stubborn and strong with a quiet elegance, she’s determined to take back her life after escaping the clutches of human traffickers. But she can’t stay safely in America–unless the man who aided in her rescue is serious about his unconventional proposal to marry her.

Meric Toledan was just stopping at a service station for a bottle of water. Instead, he becomes the key to Liliana’s rescue. If he can keep his secrets hidden, his wealth and position afford him many resources to help her. But the mysterious buyer who funded her capture will not sit idly by while his prize is stolen from him.

| Amazon | Baker Book House | Christianbook |


PRAISE FOR DANGEROUS BEAUTY:

“Do not start this book until you have the time to read it in one gulp. This is a really fresh twist on a marriage of convenience with the potential for pages of suspense. The hero and heroine are each hugely compelling, and I just wanted to protect them both. It’s also a sweet story of the healing power of hope. Highly recommend this novel for those who adore romantic suspense with a fresh twist.” —Cara Putman, award-winning author of Flight Risk and Lethal Intent

“Koslin brings the underworld of human trafficking to life in a gripping yet redemptive plot.” –Booklist


Some of Author Melissa Koslin’s

favorite quotes from

DANGEROUS BEAUTY

He needed to keep her safe from the world. And from himself.

* * * * * * *

Meric was standing in front of the open refrigerator guzzling a bottle of water. His hair was disheveled and…there was a rip in the shoulder of his jacket.

“Meric, are you all right?”

He barely glanced in her direction, closed the refrigerator, and headed for the hall. “Fine.”

She considered following him, but when he didn’t look back, didn’t even pause before closing his bedroom door, she turned and went back to her room.

* * * * * * *

“So, it might not really be over. I’m not really free.”

* * * * * * *

Fear wrapped around her like vines. Not fear for herself. Fear for Meric. Could she be putting him in danger?

* * * * * * *

…there were certain things he had to keep from her.

* * * * * * *

He’d just about convinced himself the attack on her had been simply a random act of violence.

…But he still wasn’t sleeping well.

* * * * * * *

“We’re talking about Meric Toledan. You better have your ducks not just in a row but stacked and mortared like a brick wall.”

* * * * * * *

She lay there the rest of the night, trying not to shatter.


Melissa Koslin is a fourth-degree black belt in and certified instructor of Songahm Taekwondo. In her day job as a commercial property manager, she secretly notes personal quirks and funny situations, ready to tweak them into colorful additions for her books. The author of Never Miss, Melissa lives in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband, Corey.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub |


GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

TWO WINNERS:

Each receives copies of Dangerous Beauty and Never Miss + $25 gift card to Bookshop.org

(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 9/24/22.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CLICK TO VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE

FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,

OR VISIT THE PARTICIPATING BLOGS DIRECTLY:

9/14/22Chapter Break Book BlogExcerpt
9/14/22Hall Ways BlogBONUS Promo
9/15/22StoreyBook ReviewsReview
9/15/22LSBBT BlogBONUS Promo
9/16/22Book FidelityCharacter Interview
9/17/22The Plain-Spoken PenReview
9/18/22Boys’ Mom Reads!Notable Quotables
9/19/22All the Ups and DownsAuthor Interview
9/20/22Stories Under StarlightReview
9/21/22Shelf Life BlogTop 5 List
9/22/22Jennifer SilverwoodReview
9/23/22Reading by MoonlightReview

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Filed under Book Reviews, Christian fiction, Contemporary fiction, Fiction, Romance, Romantic Suspence, Suspense

Book Tour: As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh

AS LONG AS THE LEMON TREES GROW

by

Zoulfa Katouh

Young Adult Historical Fiction

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 432 pages

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

SYNOPSIS:

Salama Kassab was a pharmacy student when the cries for freedom broke out in Syria. She still had her parents and her big brother; she still had her home. She had a normal teenager’s life.

Now Salama volunteers at a hospital in Homs, helping the wounded who flood through the doors daily. Secretly, though, she is desperate to find a way out of her beloved country before her sister-in-law, Layla, gives birth. So desperate, that she has manifested a physical embodiment of her fear in the form of her imagined companion, Khawf, who haunts her every move in an effort to keep her safe.

But even with Khawf pressing her to leave, Salama is torn between her loyalty to her country and her conviction to survive. Salama must contend with bullets and bombs, military assaults, and her shifting sense of morality before she might finally breathe free. And when she crosses paths with the boy she was supposed to meet one fateful day, she starts to doubt her resolve in leaving home at all.

Soon, Salama must learn to see the events around her for what they truly are—not a war, but a revolution—and decide how she, too, will cry for Syria’s freedom.

Content Warning: on page death and sexual assault. As well as, descriptions of torture, child abuse and torture, PTSD, starvation, and general descriptions of the horror that comes with war.

For more information or to purchase:

| Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound |

REVIEW:

5 stars!!!

Simply an amazing debut novel based on the ongoing conflict and atrocities in Syria!

As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow is the amazing debut novel by Syrian author Zoulfa Katouh. It is a gripping tale from start to finish and exudes the ever-present fear of the main characters and their neighbors. The story is absolutely heart-wrenching and made even more so with the understanding that it is based on actual events and ongoing conditions in Syria. The tension was constant from the beginning but continued to build as the story unfolded. The author doesn’t pull any punches. There is no softening of the blows of the revolution’s impact on the characters or the reader. There is death and danger at every turn of the page. I had to step away from the story to recover before going on. I can’t imagine the reality of those that cannot.

The story is told in first-person from Salama’s point of view, so we are privy to her thoughts and feelings. The effects of her PTSD manifest themselves in Khawf, who shows up at all hours of the day or night to harangue and taunt her. But Salama is an extraordinary and extremely likable young woman, a real underdog everyone will want to succeed. Amid her desperate daily life, romance finds its way to her, and it is accomplished in a most natural way and satisfying way.

The story isn’t all heartbreak; there are moments of joy and recollections of good times. There are descriptions of life in pre-revolution Syria, college memories, friends and family, food and drink, and mentions of the glories of Syria’s past. Layla and Salama have been best friends since childhood, and they still have some BFF moments, sharing secrets and giggling together when they can, although, under the circumstances, this is infrequent. (This book also presents one of the biggest and most shockingly blindsiding twists I have ever encountered in a plot. All I will say is I totally did not see that coming.)

With its engaging heroine and other main characters and tense, desperate plot, I highly recommend AS LONG AS THE LEMON TREES GROW to readers of young adult fiction and suspense, especially those who enjoy stories based on actual events. Please note that the subject matter is tough and comes with a list of content or trigger warnings.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Zoulfa Katouh is the only person in her family who can’t roll her tongue, but that’s okay because she writes characters who can do so. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Drug Sciences. She is trilingual in English, Arabic and German. Zoulfa currently resides in Switzerland where she finds inspiration in the Studio Ghibli picturesque scenery.

Ever since her Mama gave her a copy of Anne of Green Gables when she was eight years old, she discovered the beauty of books. Soon enough she was sneaking books under her school desk to read while teachers went on about Math and Physics. Her imagination grew, and one day, she had the courage to pen down the stories that roam her mind. And she never stopped!

Her speculative contemporary YA debut AS LONG AS THE LEMON TREES GROW comes out September 13th by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and September 15th by Bloomsbury Kids & YA UK, making her the first Syrian YA author to be published in the US and UK. She is represented by the warrior queen Alexandra Levick at Writers House.

| Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Spotify |

September 12th
The Ink Slinger – Interview
Pages & Plots – Promotional Post
The Scarlet Bookkeeper – Review

September 13th
Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post
Mochas and Madness – Review
Books with Michellee – Top 5 Reasons to Read As Long As the Lemon Tree Grows & Favorite Quotes
PopTheButterfly Reads – Review

September 14th
Stuck in Fiction – Promotional Post
Midsummer Night’s Read – Review
Hijabi’s Read – Review

September 15th
Kait Plus Books – Interview
The Book Dutchesses – Promotional Post
dinipandareads – Review & Favorite Quotes
Book Notes by Athina – Promotional Post

September 16th
The Clever Reader – Promotional Post
Reading Stewardess – Review
Boys’ Mom Reads – Review

September 17th
Nine Bookish Lives – Promotional Post
A Wanderer In Books – Review & Favorite Quotes
Inking & Thinking – Top 5 Reasons to Read As Long As the Lemon Tree Grows
Book Corner – Review & Favorite Quote

September 18th
Melancholic Blithe – Interview
The Bookish Coven – Promotional Post
Clouded Galaxy Reads – Review

September 12th
tbrandbeyond – Promotional Post
timeswithbooks – Review & Favorite Quotes
shanayahreads – Blogger’s Choice

September 13th
iambibliomane – Review
mochas_and_madness15 – Blogger’s Choice
bookswithmichellee – Blogger’s Choice
popthebutterfly – Blogger’s Choice

September 14th
read.cells – Review, Playlist & Mood Board
hodophile_z – Review
lia8.43 – Blogger’s Choice

September 15th
books.andsnacks – Review
maryamofthebooks – Top 5 Reasons to Read As Long As the Lemon Tree Grows, Favorite Quotes & Mood Board
autismreading_mom – Review
dinipandareads – Blogger’s Choice
booknotes_athina – Blogger’s Choice

September 16th
lady_westfall19 – Review
meetcuteromancebooks – Top 5 Reasons to Read As Long As the Lemon Tree Grows & Playlist
skygoddess1 – Blogger’s Choice

September 17th
gryffindorbookishnerd – Review
ninebookishlives – Blogger’s Choice
zanjabeel_z – Blogger’s Choice
delightful.reading – Blogger’s Choice

September 18th
writingrosereads – Promotional Post
mulberryreads – Review
cloudedgalaxyreads – Blogger’s Choice

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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary fiction, Fiction, Historical fiction, Suspense, Young adult

Blog Tour: It Looks Like Us by Alison Ames

It Looks Likes Us

by

Alison Ames

Young Adult Horror

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Pages: 288 pages

Publishing Date: September 27, 2022

SYNOPSIS:

The remote terror of THE THING meets the body horror of WILDER GIRLS in this fast-paced Antarctic thriller.

Shy high school junior Riley Kowalski is spending her winter break on a research trip to Antarctica, sponsored by one of the world’s biggest tech companies. She joins five student volunteers, a company-approved chaperone, and an impartial scientist to prove that environmental plastic pollution has reached all the way to Antarctica, but what they find is something much worse… something that looks human.

Riley has anxiety–ostracized by the kids at school because of panic attacks–so when she starts to feel like something’s wrong with their expedition leader, Greta, she writes it off. But when Greta snaps and tries to kill Riley, she can’t chalk it up to an overactive imagination anymore. Worse, after watching Greta disintegrate, only to find another student with the same affliction, she realizes they haven’t been infected, they’ve been infiltrated–by something that can change its shape. And if the group isn’t careful, that something could quickly replace any of them.

Content Warning: gore and panic attacks

Rep: Queer, Gay, Asexual, and Anxiety

For more information or to purchase:

| Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |

| Indigo | IndieBound |

REVIEW:

5 stars!

Exciting and horrifying plot along the lines of John Carpenter’s

The Thing and Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None

with very likable YA characters

It Looks Like Us was an exciting and fun horror story, with the vibes of the movie by John Carpenter, The Thing, and hints of the great Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I loved the whole setting of a remote science facility in Antarctica and the part the wealthy Anton Rusk plays in putting the teen characters there. These young adult characters represent a variety of personalities, backgrounds, races, and even sexual identities. But no matter their backstory, each one was engaging in their own way and easy to like.

The story fell within both the mystery and horror genres, and both were well developed. The action was non-stop, and there were shocking twists and turns throughout that kept me glued to the pages. The author inserted bits of factual information about Antarctica that I found interesting. However, it is the horror elements that take centerstage. They were imaginative and frightening, and I wish I hadn’t started the book right before bedtime. For those that need to know, as the action and tension ramps up, so does the use of expletives, including some heavy-duty choices.

With its exciting, non-stop action and engaging young adult heroines and heroes, I recommend IT LOOKS LIKE US to readers who enjoy young adult fiction, mystery, and horror stories or are intrigued by a story set in Antarctica.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alison Ames is a writer based in Colorado. Her debut novel To Break A Covenant will be published in fall 2021.

| Website | Twitter | Instagram |

| Goodreads | Amazon |

September 12th
Pluvioreads – Review & Playlist
Althea Is Reading – Review
Modest Hiccup – Top 5 Reasons to Read It Looks Like Us & Mood Board
forthenovellovers – Review

September 13th
Never Hollowed By The Stare – Promotional Post
Boys’ Mom Reads! – Review
The Book Review Crew – Review

September 14th
Pages & Plots – Promotional Post
astralbooks – Review & Playlist
Mallory Books – Review, Journal Spread
PopTheButterfly Reads – Review

September 15th
Nine Bookish Lives – Promotional Post
The Bookwyrm’s Den – Review
Phannie the ginger bookworm – 15 Reactions While Reading It Looks Like Us

September 16th
Stuck in Fiction – Promotional Post
The Bookish Coven – Promotional Post
Kerri McBookNerd – Review
Inking & Thinking – Review & Playlist

September 17th
The Book Dutchesses – Promotional Post
Twirling Book Princess – Top 5 Reasons to Read It Looks Like Us
Forever In A Story – Review & Mood Board

September 18th
Reading Stewardess – Top 5 Reasons to Read It Looks Like Us
Kait Plus Books – Promotional Post
The Nerdy Nook – Top 5 Reasons to Read It Looks Like Us & Favorite Quotes
Jen Jen Reviews – Review

September 12th
kathytrithardt – Top 5 Reasons to Read It Looks Like Us
hooked.by.books – Review
pluvioreads – Blogger’s Choice
modesthiccup – Blogger’s Choice

September 13th
maryamofthebooks – Review & Playlist
melaniereadsbooks – Review
reading.late.into.the.night – Blogger’s Choice

September 14th
tbrandbeyond – Promotional Post
keraalwaysreading – Review
bookdreamr – Blogger’s Choice
popthebutterfly – Blogger’s Choice

September 15th
mostlyreadthings – Promotional Post
finding_joyathome – Review & Favorite Quotes
ninebookishlives – Blogger’s Choice

September 16th
writingrosereads – Promotional Post
daniereads87 – Review
kerri_mcbooknerd – Blogger’s Choice
inkingandthinking – Blogger’s Choice

September 17th
gsreadingspree – Review
shereadytoread – Review & Favorite Quotes
foreverinastory – Blogger’s Choice

September 18th
katiereads23 – Review
quirkylitlover – Review & Favorite Quotes
skygoddes1 – Blogger’s Choice
jenjenreviews – Blogger’s Choice

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Filed under Book Reviews, Horror, Young adult