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Book Review – LOVE YOU S’MORE (The Campfire Series) by Beth Merlin

 

LOVE YOU S’MORE (Campfire Series #3) by Beth Merlin

LOVE YOU S’MORE (The Campfire Series #3) by Beth Merlin

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Having successfully designed the wedding gown of the century, Gigi Goldstein is on top of the world – that is until it all suddenly comes crashing down around her. When the paparazzi captures her and Perry Gillman in a compromising moment the night of the royal wedding, she finds herself entangled in a scandal of global proportion. Convinced her carelessness has ruined every relationship in her life, she’s surprised and moved by her boyfriend, Gideon’s, sudden proposal of marriage and accepts it without a second thought.

Four months later, Gigi’s living at Badgley Hall contemplating an entirely new kind of life, while guilt, regret, and obligation keep calling her back to her old one. Will Gigi stay in South Gloucestershire, marry Gideon, and become the Countess of Harronsby?

Or, will unfinished opportunities and an old flame bring her back across the pond to confront her past and reclaim her future?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
This is the final book in The Campfire Series, and it wraps up Gigi and Perry’s story with a heartfelt bow. Author Beth Merlin brings her dynamic characters back for a final performance, and it’s well worth the wait. After the royal wedding blew up in spectacular fashion, Gigi has retreated to Badgley Hall with Gideon to escape the limelight and regroup. But she soon realizes she doesn’t really fit in Gideon’s world either. As tabloid fodder, she doesn’t feel at home in English society and Gideon’s friends aren’t making things any easier. The longer she practices to be the future Countess of Harronsby, the more she misses designing. It’s in her blood, after all. Gigi has some tough choices to make once again, and this time, it’ll be harder than ever.

Plot
The plot moves along at the perfect pace, with plenty of unexpected twists. Because this is Perry and Gigi’s story, I might have known loosely how it would end, but not how it would get us there, and that was the most fun of all. Once again, the author does a masterful job of providing detailed descriptions, bringing her world to full, colorful life.

Characters
All of our favorites return, but the addition of some fun, new characters only adds to the vivacity of the cast. Merlin is a master at creating fully fleshed out characters that are people you’d love to hang out with. Even though they inhabit a world none of us could ever hope to be a part of, they remain down-to-earth and relatable in the best possible ways.

What I Loved About LOVE YOU S’MORE
1. Fashion.
Once again, we’re deep in the fashion world with vivid descriptions that make the couture jump off the pages.

2. Jamie and Thom. Now the dads to twins, these two got their HEA, and it’s so satisfying.

3. Gigi. She’s more poised now than ever before. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it.

4. Perry. He’s the same McDreamy-esque guy both Gigi and I fell in love with way back at Camp Chinooka.

5. Ending. A perfect wrap up to one of the best escape-read series I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

Bottom Line
A perfect ending to the series!

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About the Book
Title: LOVE YOU S’MORE
Series: The Campfire Series #3
Authors: Beth Merlin
Publisher: Firefly Hill Press
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo

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Author Beth Merlin

Author Beth Merlin

About the Author
Beth Merlin has a BA from The George Washington University where she minored in Creative Writing and a JD from New York Law School. She’s a native New Yorker who loves anything Broadway, rom-coms, her daughter Hadley, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be some of the most formative of her life. One S’more Summer is Beth’s debut novel.

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Where to find Beth Merlin
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

Book Review – THE RUMOR GAME by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra

 

THE RUMOR GAME, a stand-alone young adult contemporary by New York Times Bestselling author Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra

THE RUMOR GAME by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra

 

4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
“A juicy, elegant, absolutely flawless thriller with a twist. It’s the diverse Gossip Girl we’ve been waiting for!” —Tiffany D. Jackson, New York Times best-selling author of Grown and White Smoke

“Explosive.” —Entertainment Weekly

All it takes is one spark to start a blaze.

At Foxham Prep, a posh private school for the children of DC’s elite, a single rumor has the power to ruin a life.

Nobody knows that better than Bryn. She used to have it all—the perfect boyfriend, a bright future in politics, and even popularity thanks to her best friend, cheer captain Cora. Then one mistake sparked a scandal that burned it all to the ground.

Now it’s the start of a new school year and the spotlight has shifted: It’s geeky Georgie, newly hot after a summer makeover, whose name is on everyone’s lips. When a rumor ignites, Georgie rockets up the school’s social hierarchy, pitting her and Cora against each other. It grants her Foxham stardom . . . but it also makes her a target.

As the rumors grow and morph, blazing like wildfire through the school’s social media, all three girls’ lives begin to unravel. But one person close to the drama has the power to stop the gossip in its tracks. The question is—do they even want to?

From Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra, authors of the Tiny Pretty Things duology (now a Netflix series), comes another edge-of-your-seat social thriller perfect for fans of We Were Liars and Cruel Summer.

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My Review
High school drama has never been so dramatic. When a scandal hits an elite DC private school, no one is safe. Three daughters of some of the most powerful people in Washington become embroiled in a dangerous game of rumors and online bullying that goes beyond just out of control into a careening disaster with victims well beyond the prep schoolers. Senior Bryn has a shattered reputation after she let her anger at her cheating boyfriend take control of her actions, even unintentionally. Now, trying to reclaim her spot as the queen bee, she elicits the help of her shy, Desi neighbor, Georgie. But Georgie has massive issues of her own, so when the rumors start swirling around her, she turns to Bryn’s ex-BFF, super popular, Cora, to out the perps and regain control of her life. With so many behind-the-scenes maneuvering and games being played with peoples lives at stake, the fallout will be wide and detrimental.

Plot
The plot was interesting with several unexpected twists. It centers on the rumors swirling around campus and online. The comments are brutal and they impact all three girls’ lives. The whispers, stares, and snide comments in the hallways at school means the online rumors don’t stay online. So even if they wanted to delete their social apps to escape the bullying, they really can’t. It’s a well-written story of how cyberbullying can take a toll on even the strongest individuals and tear their lives apart.

Characters
The characters were absolutely the best part of this story. All three main characters are really well developed, deeply flawed, and worthy of the way we come to care about them.

What I Enjoyed About THE RUMOR GAME
1. Own Voices.
The authors helped bring their diverse characters to vivid life the way only #ownvoices authors can.

2. Fighting Back. I love stories where victims turn the tables on their bullies, but this had a twist that made it more realistic than just a feel good kind of story. Because even when you fight back with good intentions, you can leave unintended damage in your wake.

3. Consequences. The consequences for all were the natural fallout of bad behavior and I felt like everyone more or less got what they deserved.

4. Indian Food. Georgie has an interesting relationship with her food, but the way she described it all in detail left me salivating for some samosas and biryani.

5. Baez. Cora’s long-term childhood friend turned boyfriend was as loyal as they come. I hated that he got caught up in all the drama, but he remained so devoted to Cora, it was heartwarming.

Bottom Line
An intense look at the devastation wrought by online bullying among teens, told with heart and grace.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: THE RUMOR GAME
Authors: Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: March 1, 2022
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 502
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay | Disney Hyperion

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Author Dhonielle Clayton

Author Dhonielle Clayton

About Dhonielle Clayton
Born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Dhonielle spent much of her childhood hiding beneath her grandmother’s dining table with a stack of books. As an English teacher at a ballet academy, Clayton rediscovered her passion for children’s and young adult literature. To ground herself in the canon, she pursued her Masters in Children’s Literature from Hollins University before receiving her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. She is a former middle school librarian, where she pestered children to read and curated a diverse collection. An avid traveler, Dhonielle’s lived in several foreign countries, but she’s now settled in Harlem, where you’ll find her writing late into the night, lurking in libraries, and hunting for the best slice of New York pizza. She is the COO of We Need Diverse Books and the co-founder of Cake Literary. The co-author of the dance dramas Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces, as well as the upcoming Rumor Game, Dhonielle is the author of the New York Times bestselling YA fantasy series The Belles. Find her on the web at DhonielleClayton.com or on Twitter @brownbookworm..

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Where to find Dhonielle Clayton
Goodreads | Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram | BookBub

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Author Sona Charaipotra

Author Sona Charaipotra

About Sona Charaipotra
The author of the YA doc dramedy Symptoms of a Heartbreak, SONA CHARAIPOTRA is not a doctor — much to her pediatrician parents’ chagrin. They were really hoping she’d grow up to take over their practice one day.

Instead, she became a writer, working first as a celebrity reporter at People and (the dearly departed) TeenPeople magazines, and more recently contributing to publications from the New York Times to TeenVogue. She was also the editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen blog. These days, she uses her Masters in screenwriting from NYU and her MFA in creative writing from the New School to poke plot holes in her favorite teen TV shows — for work of course. She’s the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent, and the co-author of the YA dance dramas Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces (now a Netflix original series!), as well as the upcoming psychological thriller Rumor Game. Her follow-up to Symptoms will be the YA contemporary romp How Maya Got Fierce, which draws on her magazine world experience and is pitched as the Bold Type meets Younger. She’s a former We Need Diverse Books board member. Find her sharing pictures of her kids and her chai on Instagram @sonesone2, talking writing and books on Twitter @sona_c, or pinning gorgeous lenghas and her favorite Indian food on Pinterest...

Where to find Sona Charaipotra
Goodreads | Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram | PinterestBookBub

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Book Review – ALL OF US VILLAINS (All of Us Villains Series) by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

 

ALL OF US VILLAINS, the first book in the young adult magical fantasy series, All of Us Villains, by New York Times bestselling authors Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

ALL OF US VILLAINS (All of Us Villains Series #1) by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

An Indie Bestseller!
An Indie Next Pick!

The blockbuster co-writing debut of Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman, All of Us Villains begins a dark tale of ambition and magick…

You Fell in Love with the Victors of the Hunger Games.
Now Prepare to Meet the Villains of the Blood Veil.

The Blood Moon rises. The Blood Veil falls. The Tournament begins.

Every generation, at the coming of the Blood Moon, seven families in the remote city of Ilvernath each name a champion to compete in a tournament to the death.

The prize? Exclusive control over a secret wellspring of high magick, the most powerful resource in the world—one thought long depleted.

But this year a scandalous tell-all book has exposed the tournament and thrust the seven new champions into the worldwide spotlight. The book also granted them valuable information previous champions never had—insight into the other families’ strategies, secrets, and weaknesses. And most important, it gave them a choice: accept their fate or rewrite their legacy.

Either way, this is a story that must be penned in blood.

The All of Us Villains Duology:
#1) All of Us Villains
#2) All of Our Demise

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My Review
Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games. That’s the best way to describe this amazing tale of a group of teens, fighting to the death, to see whose family will control high magick until the next generation of champions. Each family chooses one champion to represent them in the tournament. There is only one survivor and the family of that survivor will be the powerful for at least a generation. Which means they’ll stop at nothing to ensure their champion is the winner. Including cheating, bribery, coercion, and even sacrifice. The story is told from the point of view of four champion, all with their own concern, motives, and desires. There were so many unexpected twists that this became the page-turner I needed to keep me engrossed, reading late into the night.

The story starts with various teens vying to be selected as their family’s champion, but soon, the sinister nature of the tournament becomes apparent. But unlike The Hunger Games, these magical kids want to sacrifice themselves for the fame, the glory, and of course the power. Even though only one can win, each believes they will be the winner. But the further into the story we go, the more we learn about these champions and that not all are created equal. Not just in their abilities, but in their motivations and desires. And one champion in particular has an idea, crazy as it sounds, that could end the tournament once and for all, and maybe just maybe save all their lives in the process.

Plot
The plot is complex with so many moving parts and balls in the air, it’s an intense read. With so much going on, there was action or drama of some kind on every page. So many secrets, lies, and power plays, the story moves at a clipped pace, without ever becoming exhausting. It also never got confusing, which can happen when there are a lot of levers in play. The authors did a masterful job of plotting an intriguing tale, giving us surprises and twists at just the right times, and foreshadowing everything.

Characters
This might be my only complaint. I often confused to two female protagonists. Though they serve different purposes, their personalities were very similar, while the two male leads, were as different as night and day. The other minor issue I had with the characters is that most of the non-narrators tended to fade into the background, with only a few exceptions.

What I Loved About ALL OF US VILLAINS
1. World Building.
Spell casting, and spell making, and spell rings, oh my! The level of world building was off-the-charts good.

2. Setting. The fictional town of Ilvernath was such a key factor in the story, it was almost a character itself.

3. Magic. I really love the take on magic the two authors weave into their story. It’s different from any other magic I’ve read in the genre.

4. Twists. There were so many twists and turn, that I came to expect the unexpected, but still managed to be surprised all over again.

5. Ending. While this is the first half of a duology, I liked the ending that left me breathless for more rather than a frustrating cliffhanger.

Bottom Line
A fabulous dark tale of magic, friendship, and loyalty that left me ready for more. I’ve already preordered book 2!

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About the Book
Title: ALL OF US VILLAINS
Series: All of Us Villains Series #1
Authors: Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: November 9, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Dark Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

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New York Times Bestselling Author Amanda Foody

Author Amanda Foody

About the Author
Amanda Foody is the New York Times and indie bestselling author of All of Us Villains, the Wilderlore series, the Shadow Game series, and more. Her work has appeared in publications including Buzzfeed, Popsugar, Culturess, and Amazon selected All of Us Villains as the Best Young Adult Book of 2021. Originally from Pennsylvania, she lives in Boston, MA with her partner and their orange tabby, Jelly Bean. When not writing, she unironically loves to cook. You can find her on Instagram @amandafoody or on her website, www.amandafoody.com..

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Where to find Amanda Foody
Goodreads | Website | Instagram | Amazon 

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New York Times Bestselling Author Author Christine Lynn Herman

Author Christine Lynn Herman

About the Author
CHRISTINE LYNN HERMAN is the New York Times and indie bestselling author of novels about magic, monsters, and growing up, including All of Us Villains, The Devouring Gray duology, and The Drowning Summer.

Christine resides in Somerville, MA, with her partner and cat. To learn more, follow them on Instagram @christineexists, sign up for Christine’s newsletter, or visit christinelynnherman.com.

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Where to find Christine Lynn Herman
Goodreads | Website | Instagram | Pinterest | Amazon

Book Review – DARK CIRCLES by Caite Dolan-Leach

 

DARK CIRCLES, a standalone adult psychological crime story by Caite Dolan-Leach

DARK CIRCLES by Caite Dolan-Leach

4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
An embattled actress becomes entangled in a dark conspiracy at a spiritual retreat—and starts a true crime podcast to try to break the case—in this chilling novel about fame, violence, and our morbid fascination with murder, from the acclaimed author of Dead Letters.

“[An] evocative, character-propelled thriller.”—Publishers Weekly

Olivia Reed needs a break. She doesn’t want to think about her name plastered on tabloids or be reminded of her recent meltdown on a Manhattan street. Her micromanaging publicist has just the thing in mind: a remote retreat in upstate New York—the House of Light. It’s not rehab; it’s a Spiritual Center, a site for seeking realignment and personal growth. There will be yoga and morning meditation, soft bamboo-blend fabrics and no shortage of crystals to cleanse her energy.

But Liv will soon find that the House of Light is filled with darkness. A prickly local, Ava, informs her that something twisted is lurking behind the Light’s veneer. There have been a series of mysterious suicides committed by women caught in the Light’s web, and no matter who Ava talks to, no one believes the Center is involved. To find out what’s really happened and put her celebrity to good use, Liv starts a podcast, seeking to connect the dots and expose the Light’s true intentions. Because beneath the glowing skin of the Light’s inhabitants lie rotten souls, and Liv starts to wonder if anything—even her own life—is how it appears.

Caite Dolan-Leach brings her tantalizing voice, her gift for atmosphere, and a cast of delightfully devious and absorbing characters to this riveting novel of suspense.

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My Review
This was an intriguing read. It starts off with troubled actress, Olivia Reed, being taken to a rehab facility, known as the House of Light, and spirals from there into a mystery within a mystery and peppered with several interesting surprises. While there was lots of mystery and intrigue, there wasn’t enough action to make this a full five stars from me.  Plus, Olivia, or Liv, is a less than likable character without enough growth to change my opinion of her. After some very new-age spiritual orientation, she more or less reluctantly settles into her time there, going with the flow with leaders with names like Dawn, and Rain, and Mud Puddle. Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the picture. These people are crystal-channeling, Birkenstock-wearing, robe-clad cult leaders and Liv has too many street smarts to be fooled by their promises of “finding the light.”

It’s only when she meets her wacky neighbor, Ava, that she begins to suspect there may be something more sinister going on. She manages to get herself kicked out, but Ava has ignited a desire in her to uncover the truth. This leads her to conducting her own investigation and launching a true-crime podcast surrounding the deaths of a number of women once associated with the House of Light. Liv has made more than her fair share of mistakes in the past, but that doesn’t stop her from having inappropriate contact with Ava’s husband. That particular storyline was very much in character with who Liv is, but it made her very difficult to connect with. Her rate of self-absorption never really resolves, unfortunately, as the mystery unfolds.

The closer she gets to uncovering the truth, the more she feels like she’s in danger. But what she uncovers will rock her world and leave her questioning nearly everything about her own life.

Plot
As I mentioned above, I didn’t find enough action in the plot to keep me riveted to the pages. But it’s not boring and it didn’t drag; it’s just not a page-turner. The author did a good job of foreshadowing, but enough that I figured out some of it before the big reveal. Some other elements of the overarching mystery were surprising enough to make up for that, though.

Characters
While the characters were all really well developed, I never liked Liv. I would have liked to have seen a positive change character arc for her, but I also understand that not everyone needs that. But we spend so much time inside her head, it would’ve been nice. While she does acknowledge some of the stuff she did was wrong, she’s still doing dumb stuff right up to the very end.

What I Enjoyed About DARK CIRCLES
1. Mysteries.
A love that there were a series of mysteries rather than just a single one. The missing and dead women, Olivia’s missing mother, her father’s true motives, and more, were expertly woven throughout.

2. Setting. The fall setting in the northeast U.S. set a great tone for a dark and twisted tale.

3. Writing. I really enjoyed the author’s voice and how she interwove the podcast narration into the the narrator’s tale.

4. Olivia’s Lack of a Driver’s License. Yes, her reason was she lived in New York, and didn’t really need to know how to drive, but a lot of Gen Z and Millennials aren’t bothering to learn how to drive, and that felt really authentic to me.

5. Surprises. There were enough interesting surprises to make of for the lack of overt action, making this a satisfying read.

Bottom Line
A dark tale with intrigue and fully-fleshed out characters.

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About the Book
Title: DARK CIRCLES
Authors: Caite Dolan-Leach
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: May 10, 2022
Genre: Adult Psychological Crime Drama
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

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Author Caite Dolan-Leach

Author Caite Dolan-Leach

About the Author
Caite Dolan-Leach is the author of Dead Letters and a literary translator. She was born in the Finger Lakes and is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the American University in Paris..

 

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Where to find Caite Dolan-Leach
Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Amazon

Blog Tour – Review + Giveaway – YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING by Shani Michelle

 

Welcome to the blog tour for YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING, a standalone young adult paranormal thriller, by Shani Michelle

Welcome to the blog tour for YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING, a standalone young adult paranormal thriller, by Shani Michelle. See below for information on the book, buy links, my five-star review, and details on her giveaway.

YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING, a standalone young adult paranormal thriller, by Shani Michelle

YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING by Shani Michelle

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
A teen girl who sees visions of the past must use her gift to save a kidnapped classmate in Shani Michelle’s high-stakes YA thriller You Should Have Seen This Coming!

Hayden sees the past. Just touching an object will occasionally give her flashes of the previous owner’s memories. And if that memory happens to be a deeply hidden secret, then she has no problem making you pay for your crime, in cash.

Cassie sees the future, and it sucks. She will randomly wake up from dreams filled with disasters that she feels compelled to stop, and she would really like to stop watching her boyfriend fall in love with someone else!

But when Cassie tries to warn Hayden that her latest blackmailing scheme is a trap, she knows she’s really in trouble. All her visions warn her of the upcoming kidnapping, nothing she does stops it. And it’s all Hayden’s fault!

Can Hayden’s gift help her find Cassie before it’s too late?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
This is the book I’ve been waiting for! Shani Michelle’s young adult thriller grabbed me from the opening pages and never let go. Cassie sees the future. She sees her now ex-boyfriend falling for the new girl, Hayden. Hayden sees the past, but as the new kid in town she doesn’t share that information with anyone. When Cassie sees her own kidnapping, she does everything she can to prevent it, but sometimes destiny has other ideas. With a troubled past, the town isn’t convinced foul play was involved in Cassie’s disappearance. But her best friend, Audra, and ex, Brody, are positive Cassie wouldn’t just run off. Though they have no idea what Hayden is capable of, they know there’s some sort of connection between Cassie and Hayden and solicit Hayden’s help in finding Cassie before it’s too late. The dynamic that results from this unlikely trio makes for some of the best conflict in the book.

Plot
The story centers around finding Cassie once she goes missing, but the various subplots, involving the mystery around Hayden’s mom and the sheriff and Cassie’s relationship with Brody, help support the main plot. With so many twists and turns, I devoured the story to find out what happened next.

The Characters
The author does an amazing job of creating uniquely differentiated characters with alternating first person point of view. Not something easily done. From Hayden’s tortured past, to the mysterious disappearance of Cassie’s mother, the author crafted layered characters with believable flaws combined with just the right amount of positive traits to make the cast come to life.

Top Five Things I Loved About YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING
1. Visions. This is one of my favorite supernatural abilities. And having one character who can see the future and one who can see the past was twice the fun.

2. Twists. Some things were predictable but many others were beautifully crafted twists I never saw coming.

3. Hayden. She’s snarky, irreverent, and complex — the best combination.

4. Pacing. The story unwinds at the perfect pace, with short chapters that kept me reading far too late.

5. Cassie. She may not always make the best choices based on what she sees in her visions, but her heart’s in the right place, making her someone you can’t help rooting for.

Bottom Line
Intense thriller with a fast pace and wonderful characters made this a fast, exciting read.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING
Author: Shani Michelle
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: April 12, 2022
Pages: 362
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Thriller
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay

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Author Shani Michelle

Author Shani Michelle

About the Author
Shani Michelle is the author of YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING. She also works in TV news. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her husband, family, friends, reading, watching way too much TV, and coming up with new story ideas. (She’s also written several rom-com and middle grade novels as Shani Petroff).

 

 

 

Where to Find Shani Michelle
GoodreadsTwitter | Instagram

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Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour – Review + Giveaway – THE STARS FORGOT US by R.J. Garcia

 

Author R.J. Garcia is unveiling the cover to THE STARS FORGOT US, a young adult paranormal suspense, releasing March 30, 2022

Welcome to the blog tour for THE STARS FORGOT US, a standalone young adult paranormal suspense, by R.J. Garcia. See below for information on the book, buy links, my five-star review, and details on her giveaway.

THE STARS FORGOT US, a standalone young adult paranormal suspense, by R.J. Garcia

THE STARS FORGOT US by R.J. Garcia

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Fifteen-year-old Jacob Kelly would love to go back to simpler times. Before his parents’ divorce and the onset of his brother’s Schizophrenia. But when he returns to his hometown, things feel off. After a series of strange occurrences, Jacob fears his new house is haunted or worse yet, he is losing his mind.

To his surprise, Jacob discovers a mysterious teenage runaway, Sanctuary Daniels, living in the house. She reveals she has been kept by a figure known only as Mother, in a place where downstairs children are languishing prisoners, and upstairs children do Mother’s bidding.

Jacob’s investigation into Sanctuary’s allegations, along with their budding romance, are cut short when she is reclaimed by evil beings. Beings who unleash terror upon Jacob and his family. Now he must journey to a real haunted house to save his first love and fight for his very life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
This was such a fun read! It starts off with a bang and just keeps going. Fifteen-year-old Jacob, his single mom, and his mentally ill older brother, Michael, move back to their hometown, and into a house that may or may not be haunted. The fact that Michael hears voices doesn’t help Jacob when he starts to hear a girl’s voice coming from inside his house. After all, schizophrenia can run in families. But it’s more than just voices with someone writing on the walls of his closet. Soon Jacob is seeing things, or someone specifically — Sanctuary (Ary) Daniels, the first girl he ever crushed on in middle school, who mysteriously disappeared before he moved away.

But nothing is as it seems. Ary tells a horrific tale of abuse at the hands of her foster mother, but she also tells obvious lies about how she ended up in his house, only making everything else she tells him suspect. But Jacob is drawn to her, and not just because she was his first crush. There’s something about her that makes him trust her more than not. And that’s when things get really interesting.

Plot
The story flows really well and kept me turning the pages. Chapters are short and full of action and mystery that never stops coming. The romance is sweet and well done. The author does a masterful job of weaving in twists and turns that leaving you needing to know what happens next!

The Characters
I love all the characters. They’re all so interesting and fun; like the kind of people you’d want to hang out with. You know, without all the dangerous stuff happening on-page. Jacob is sweet, Michael is multi-faceted, their mom acts like you’d expect a mom of teen boys to behave — I cannot overstate how rare that is in YA. Ary is by far the most intriguing character, with good reason, which I will not spoil for you.

Top Five Things I Loved About THE STARS FORGOT US
1. Jacob. He has his flaws, but he’s one of the good ones.

2. Twists. Just when you think you have it all figured out, you realize you have no idea what’s going to happen next.

3. Lucas. Jacob’s cousin, and one of his best childhood friends, is deeply layered. He kept me guessing on what his angle really was.

4. Pacing. The story moved at a perfect pace, keeping my interest throughout.

5. Ary. Her sweet innocence and complex nature made her an enigma that was a fun change from many YA love interests.

Bottom Line
Fun fast read with excellent pacing and wonderful characters! This makes me want to read more by R.J. Garcia.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: THE STARS FORGOT US
Author: R.J. Garcia
Publisher: Midnight Tide Publishing
Release Date: March 30, 2022
Pages: 298
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Suspense
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR

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Author by R.J. Garcia

Author by R.J. Garcia

About the Author
R.J. Garcia is a wife and proud mom. She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has published several non-fiction pieces. She has been writing short-stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels!

 

 

Where to Find R.J. Garcia
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – BLUE by L.E. DeLano

 

Welcome to the blog tour for BLUE, a standalone young adult contemporary, by L.E. DeLano

 

BLUE, a stand-alone young adult contemporary romance, by L.E. DeLano

BLUE by L.E. DeLano

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
When Blue Mancini’s mother picked her name, it ended up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A year ago, Blue’s brother, Jack, was involved in a car accident that killed the father of her classmate, Maya Rodriguez. Luckily for Jack, he got out of a manslaughter charge and into a plea bargain thanks to the top-notch lawyer hired by Blue’s wealthy parents.

The fallout is now affecting Blue as Maya returns to school determined to carve out a pound of flesh from the only member of the Mancini family she can reach. On top of that, Blue has a demanding mother, a father who’s never around, a drama-addicted best friend, and a secretive new guy who’s determined to make Blue his own personal cheer-up project. It’s a perfect storm of misery.

When Maya’s social media taunts and in-person digs finally push Blue to retaliate, they find themselves in afterschool detention and forced into a project meant to foster cooperation and civility. As the layers of their tangled drama unravel, Blue learns more about Maya’s life—and her own sense of privilege—when secrets are revealed that cast a new perspective on everything in Blue’s world.

 

 

 

 

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My Review
This may be my favorite read of 2021. High school junior, Blue, is as blue as her name. Her older brother, Jack, recklessly drove after a party and was involved in an accident that killed a man. A man with a wife and three children. The man may or may not have been partially to blame, but he’s dead. Though Jack was under the legal limit, he was also underage and drinking. Blue’s life is forever altered, but so is Maya’s, the daughter of the man killed, who also happens to go to Blue’s private school. Maya blames Blue for the loss of her father, even though Blue had nothing to do with the accident. The bullying at school as a result of Maya and her possy of friends is unrelenting, but as with everything, there are always two sides to every story.

After Blue and Maya get into a classroom altercation, they’re stuck in detention together where the school counselor is determined for them to learn how to co-exist in the school, forcing them to work together on a school club. It goes anything but smoothly, but Blue and Maya learn that neither of them is who they assumed the other to be, and that everyone has secrets they don’t want the world to know. And that includes Blue’s new boyfriend, Devon, who is hiding something so horrible, she isn’t even sure she wants to know what it is.

Plot
The story centers around Blue and Maya’s relationship. The way Maya treats Blue early on, I was hoping she wouldn’t get a redemption arc, but by the time I got halfway in, I was rooting for it. The author does an amazing job of creating sympathetic, yet flawed characters that pull at you. Blue may live in a big house and have lots of money, but she discovers her life isn’t so different from Maya’s after all. A strong subplot is her relationship with Devon, and it may go down in history as one of my favorite teen romances.

The Characters
All the characters are amazing. I loved Blue and Devon from the very first scene. Neither is perfect, but they’re so easy to adore. Maya grew on me. She’s got a massive chip on her shoulder, but for good reason. She deals with racism, classism, and dark family secrets in addition to losing her father. She makes it hard to love her, but she still manages to dig her way into my heart through amazing character development and writing by the author.

Top Five Things I Loved About BLUE
1. Blue. She’s perfectly imperfect. She’s kind, but she still makes assumptions about other people. Her heart’s in the right place, but she still manages to say the wrong thing far too many times. She realizes she lives a life a lot of other kids don’t, but she still takes much of it for granted.

2. Devon. The boy with the dark secret who still manages to be so upbeat most of the time is my soulmate.

3. Maya. The life she’s lived, the secrets she keeps, the burdens she carries all shape who she is, and as I got to know her, my animosity toward her melted away and I just wanted to hug her.

4. Secrets. The secrets everyone carries slowly unfold at just the right pace to keep me turning the pages.

5. Plot. I absolutely loved the plot. The author did a masterful job of making me feel all the feels, even when I didn’t want to.

Bottom Line
My favorite read of 2021 so far! Loved the characters, the story, the writing, everything!

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: BLUE
Author: L.E. DeLano
Publisher: Gaze Publishing
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Pages: 244
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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Author L.E. DeLano

Author L.E. DeLano

About the Author
L.E. DeLano comes equipped with a “useless” Theatre degree that has opened doors for her in numerous ways. Though mostly raised in New Mexico, she now lives in Pennsylvania with two adventurous kids and two ridiculous cats. When she’s not writing (which is almost never), she’s binge-watching Netflix and planning road trips.

Her debut novel, TRAVELER was selected as a Keystone To Reading Secondary Book Award finalist for school year 2018-19 by the Keystone State Reading Association (KSRA) and also voted one of The 20 Most Beautiful Books in the World for 2017 by MTV UK.

 

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Where to Find L.E. DeLano
Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – DAGGER HILL by Devon Taylor

 

Welcome to the blog tour for DAGGER HILL, a standalone young adult scifi thriller, by Devon Taylor

 

DAGGER HILL, a young adult scifi thriller, by Devon Taylor

DAGGER HILL by Devon Taylor

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers’ creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked.

Magic always leaves its mark.

All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn’t interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds.

When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic – and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn’t responsible — at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth…before anyone else turns up dead.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
I was in the mood for something different, and DAGGER HILL delivered! Set in 1989, before everyone had a smartphone, four friends hang out during their summer before senior year, each dealing with different issues associated with coming of age, when the world as they know it comes crashing down around them in the form of a military plane. Before the plane crashes into Dagger Hill, the kids see someone parachuting out of it. And Gabe sees someone in a gas mask pick up and carry their injured friend, Kimberly, to safety. At least that’s what he thinks. Until the army begins to interview them and they realize something more is going on, and no one knows where Kimberly is. Or the man in the “bug” mask.

Plot
The story is gripping from early on and never lets go. The author uses a fun method for his storytelling — a combination of first person, newspaper articles, third-person, and interviews to bring his tale to life. It makes each chapter different from the last and helps reveal the information to the reader in a unique way. The plot unfolds at a steady pace with lots of twists and turns.

The Characters
The characters are awesome. Each of the main characters, Gabe, Sonya, Charlie, and Kimberly, are complex, with secrets, worries, and problems of their own as they try to hold onto childhood for one more summer. The adults, from Gabe’s police chief dad to Sonya’s scientist dad, to the army officials and doctors, are just as varied and complex as the main characters, making this more than just a plot driven tale.

Top Five Things I Loved About DAGGER HILL
1. Pacing. The story MOVES. But at the right pace. I stayed up late devouring the story but without becoming overwhelmed. It was perfect.

2. Setting. I love both the small town and the era it was set in. It feels modern, but without all the high-tech stuff that can interfere with a good thriller. Plus the music and movie references were a fun blast from the past.

3. Characters. While this is primarily a plot-driven tale, the character development is off-the-charts good and will stay with me for a long time.

4. Twists. So many good twists that left my jaw hanging open.

5. Storytelling. I love the way the author unfolds his tale using different techniques for a unique approach to a really unique story.

Bottom Line
Fabulous, fun, un-put-downable read!

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: DAGGAR HILL
Author: Devon Taylor
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Pages: 287
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

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Author Devon Taylor

Author Devon Taylor

About the Author
Devon Taylor was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two daughters. His day job consists of sneaking around the house with ninja-like stealth to avoid waking up his kids. When not writing, reading, or tediously typing out text messages with all the correct spelling and punctuation, he spends his time with his family. THE SOUL KEEPERS is his debut novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Find Devon Taylor
Goodreads | WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Young Adult Book Review + Giveaway – MARK OF THE WICKED by Georgia Bowers

 

Welcome to the blog tour for MARK OF THE WICKED, a standalone young adult fantasy by Georgia Bowers

 

MARK OF THE WICKED, a standalone young adult fantasy, by Georgia Bowers

MARK OF THE WICKED by Georgia Bowers

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers’ creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked.

Magic always leaves its mark.

All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn’t interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds.

When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic – and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn’t responsible — at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth…before anyone else turns up dead.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
I had no idea what I was getting into with this book, but I’m so glad I requested a review copy! MARK OF THE WICKED is enthralling, impossible to put down, and filled with the types of characters that are so complex, you don’t know whether to love them or hate them. I started off not much liking Matilda. She uses her magic to harm those she considers her enemies. The only problem is, if she harms someone with magic, she is scarred for life; their name carved into her face. But Matilda has learned how to hide her scars from everyone, so at the outset, it seems like she suffers no consequences for her actions. She’s angry, spiteful, and nearly impossible to sympathize with. At first.

When she meets Oliver, though, we get to see a side to Matilda that was missing — the reasons for the things she does. She reveals her deeper fears and her darker pain that she resorts to magic to help her cope, the way an alcoholic turns to booze to numb the pain. But there is something more sinister than Matilda afoot, with grisly animal deaths that somehow keep pointing to Matilda. But with her mother acting suspicious, her grandmother not having spoken in three years, and Matilda’s blackouts, anything is possible.

Plot
MARK OF THE WICKED is superbly plotted, with intertwining plots. Debut author, Georgia Bowers, creates intrigue with her storytelling. The pacing is perfection. Set in a small town in England, with a dark history, similar to that of Salem, Massachusetts in the states, her backdrop comes alive, becoming a part of the story as much as the characters.

The Characters
Speaking of characters, for me anyway, the ability to create an antihero like Matilda, and make us root for her the way we rooted for Walter White in the first few season of Breaking Bad, is a rare talent and Bowers does it masterfully. Supporting characters, like Matilda’s classmates, Erin, Oliver, her mother, and grandmother, are more than just cardboard cutouts and stereotypes. It would have been easy for the author to make someone like Ashley a less than sympathetic character, but even she has more depth than just the class queen bee.

Top Five Things I Loved About MARK OF THE WICKED
1. Magic. The magical world building is amazing and really adds to the plot and character development.

2. Characters. Their depth and complexity made this a book I couldn’t put down.

3. Plot. The story is unforgettable, with a number of twists and turns that made this a book I couldn’t put down.

4. Redemption. Matilda’s character arc is the opposite of Breaking Bad as she learns some brutal, valuable lessons about life, love, and what it means to be a good citizen.

5. Storytelling. The author does an amazing job of weaving in threads that stick with you, gnawing in your brain, that keeps you reading to find out what they mean.

Bottom Line
A stellar debut novel by an author I cannot wait to read more from.

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: MARK OF THE WICKED
Author: Georgia Bowers
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: August 10, 2021
Pages: 287
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

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Author Georgia Bowers

Author Georgia Bowers

About the Author
Georgia Bowers lives in Bedford, a small market town in England. When it was time to decide what to do with her life, she was obsessed with two things: books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It seemed sensible to follow in the brogued footsteps of Rupert Giles, so she became a librarian, though sadly not the demon fighting kind. But there’s still time.

Ever since her mum told her that witches used to meet in the woods near their village, she’s been obsessed with witchcraft and the paranormal. When she was a teenager, a weekly habit of Point Horrors satisfied her thirst for chilling tales before she moved on to reading Stephen King. These days she likes to give her nerves a break every now and then with a good YA romance.

After completing a course in writing YA fiction she was a winner in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Undiscovered Voices. Since then she has dabbled with stories of chosen ones and ghostly best friends until she conjured up the magical ingredients for her debut novel, Mark Of The Wicked.

Where to Find Georgia Bowers
Goodreads | WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Book Review + Giveaway – AMENDS (Diana Hawthorne Supernatural Mysteries) by Carissa Andrews

 

Welcome to the blog tour for AMENDS, the second book in the adult urban fantasy/mystery series, Diana Hawthorne Supernatural Mysteries, by Carissa Andrews

Welcome to the blog tour for AMENDS, the second book in the adult urban fantasy/mystery series, Diana Hawthorne Supernatural Mysteries, by Carissa Andrews. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, my review, and details on her giveaway.

AMENDS, the second book in the adult urban fantasy/mystery series, Diana Hawthorne Supernatural Mysteries, by Carissa Andrews

AMENDS (Diana Hawthorne Supernatural Mysteries #2) by Carissa Andrews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
For as psychic as she is, shit goes sideways far too often around Diana Hawthorne.

Diana now has everything she ever wanted–her memories, and the soul mate she didn’t realize she was missing. There’s just one problem… the old gods expect her to make amends for her absence. And her work starts now.

But time lost at the oracle isn’t the only thing she has to atone for. Her friend Demetri was stripped of his powers–and it was all her fault. If she could just set things right, she’d feel a whole lot better about moving forward. Unfortunately, Demetri wants nothing to do with her and knows exactly how to keep her out of his head.

To make matters worse, in the age of social media, Diana’s abilities have gone viral. People from all over the world are clambering to get on her books. One case, in particular, hits her radar and despite herself, she can’t shake it. A 14-year-old boy is wrapped up with a deadly governmental agency and he’s scared to death. And he should be–they want to weaponize his power.

Torn between what was and what is, Diana struggles to fully embrace who she’s becoming. Will she be able to help Demitri and make things right? Or will her new role mean leaving the past behind?

Calling fans of KF Breene, Shannon Mayer, and Shayne Silvers! If you like snarky-fun humor, gripping supernatural scenes, and twists that leave you spellbound — then you will LOVE Carissa Andrews’ world built especially for Diana Hawthorne.

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My Review
She’s baaaack! Diana Hawthorne from ORACLE returns with a whole new host of problems. If you haven’t read ORACLE yet, be aware there are mild spoilers head for book 1. Our favorite psychic/goddess is back, along with the rest of the cast, with a new mission — fix the problem she created for Demitri, and oh yeah, make amends for her past. Now that Diana finally knows who she is (the big question in book 1), with Blake by her side again, just as annoying and steamy as before, she has her work cut out for her. While Diana attempted to live in the past before, she’s now thrust into the twenty-first century with a vengeance she cannot ignore, which only complicates what she needs to do.

AMENDS picks up right after where the first one ends. This time, Diana will be forced to choose between her two worlds or find a better way to straddle them, all while still carrying a heavy dose of guilt over Demetri’s loss of powers she fully blames herself for.

Plot
As with book 1, AMENDS has an intense plot with solid subplots, including ones that span at least two books and definitely a third. Andrews does a stellar job with plotting, weaving the pieces together brilliantly. She ups the stakes this time, which was hard to do, considering we were dealing with a child sex-trafficking ring in book 1, but she manages to pull it off, generating another unputdownable page-turner.

Characters
Once again, the characters are complex and fun. Bringing in new characters, like the curmudgeonly Kyros, who is the oil to Ren’s water, along with favorites from Greek mythology, including Apollo. The “will they or won’t they” between Diana and Blake is only further intensified, making this even more delicious. Especially since they now both have the added insights of who they each other truly is.

What I Enjoyed About AMENDS
1. Greek Mythology.
I absolutely love this part of the book. The author incorporates the mythology with expertise, that only adds to the story.

2. Diana. She really grew on me over the course of ORACLE, so by the time I started AMENDS, I already loved her. She’s more her than ever, now that she has her memories back.

3. Blake. The man with the perfect ass is less of a mystery, making him much more fascinating.

4. Kyros/Ren. The battle of the assistants is worth the price of admission alone!

5. Psychic Powers. I’ve always been fascinated by this particular trope, and the author does a great job of brining the supernatural to the modern world without making things too easy for Diana and crew.

Bottom Line
Better than the first, AMENDS is a wild page turner with a fantastic cast.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
Title: AMENDS
Series: Diana Hawthorne Supernatural Mysteries #2
Authors: Carissa Andrews
Release Date: July 23, 2021
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy/Mystery
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR

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Get Caught Up on the Series

Book 0.5: THE FINAL FIVE
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR

Book 1: ORACLE
Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR

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International Bestselling Author Carissa Andrews

Author Carissa Andrews

About the Author
“An author emerges from the depths of Minnesotan waters. Sci-fi/Fantasy is my pen of choice.”

Carissa Andrews is a Minnesota-based genre-bending author who writes a combination of science fiction, fantasy, and dystopia. When not writing her own books, she’s busy reading them. Carissa’s internationally bestselling trilogy, The Pendomus Chronicles, is now in digital, print, and audiobook formats. She has hit the scene as an up and coming speculative fiction author who uses a mix of scifi and fantasy, twisted in modern mythology and alternative history. Check out The Final Five, Oracle, Awakening, and Love is a Merciless God!

Carissa has big plans for 2020. Check out her upcoming series, The Windhaven Witches. For more information on their release, visit Carissa Andrews’ author website: www.carissaandrews.com and sign up for her newsletter notifications. She lives in central Minnesota with her husband and brood of five kids. Not to mention, her insane husky puppies, Aztec and Pharaoh.

Carissa is also a freelance graphic designer, writer and content creator, social media manager, and marketing professional. She writes consistently on topics of science, technology, art, writing, photography, graphic design, health, self-improvement, and more. Her articles can be found published across the interwebs. Carissa is also a Top-Rated Freelancer on Upwork, and can be contacted for freelancing opportunities: http://bit.ly/UpworkCarissaAndrews.

Where to find Carissa Andrews
Goodreads | WebsiteFacebook Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

 

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Book Review + Giveaway – TELL ME S’MORE (The Campfire Series) by Beth Merlin

 

Welcome to the blog tour for TELL ME S'MORE, the fourth book in the adult contemporary romance series, Campfire, by Beth Merlin.

Welcome to the blog tour for TELL ME S’MORE, the fourth book in the adult contemporary romance series, Campfire, by Beth Merlin. See below for information on the book, buy links, my five-star review, and details on her giveaway.

TELL ME S’MORE, the fourth book in the adult contemporary romance series, The Campfire, by Beth Merlin

TELL ME S’MORE (Campfire Series #4) by Beth Merlin

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
“A beautifully written contemporary romance, with plenty of enjoyable comedy, it challenges us to evaluate our lives and make big decisions on who we want to be and not necessarily what everyone expects us to be.” – Adventures in Lit about The Campfire Series

Camp Chinooka was supposed to be a place of inspiration, the place where Perry Gilman would finally compose his symphonic masterpiece. But four years later, Perry Gillman isn’t any closer to his dream of becoming a world renowned musician. Instead, he fell love in with Gigi Goldstein and he thought that love would be enough. Now, struggling to find the right subject for a new musical while hustling as a piano player at a local jazz bar, he can’t help but measure his own shortcomings to his famous father’s monstrous success. So, when he stumbles onto the idea to write a musical about the life and times of Elizabeth I, everything finally changes. The musical is an international sensation and suddenly, Perry is on the fast track to super stardom.

However, fame and success come at a price. When his relationship with Gigi is thrown into a tailspin, he must decide whether to follow his dream for which he fought for so long or sacrifice it all for true love.

Told from Perry’s perspective, Tell Me S’more shows that there are two sides to every story and a cost to every choice.

 

 

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My Review
While billed as book four in the series, I’d recommend reading it after book two and before book three. It fills in nearly all of the gaps between books one and two, but I’d read it after the second one so it doesn’t spoil any of the best surprises. After Camp Chinooka, Perry and Gigi are making a go of it in New York. Perry plays piano in a nearby jazz club at night while Gigi and Jamie work on getting G. Malone off the ground. But Perry is hitting one creative roadblock after another, and after he suffers a particularly rough setback, he takes stock of the project he’s been working on for the past four years, Frostbite, a retelling of Shakespeare’s, The Winter’s Tale.

When tragedy strikes at home, Perry rethinks everything in his life, and begins to formulate an idea for a musical based on Elizabeth I. In the vein of Hamilton, the work unfolds with the level of detail Merlin is famous for, and I’d go see this right now if it was a real musical. However, as Perry’s successes pile up, his relationship with Gigi begins to crumble, and he will be forced to choose between his two greatest loves.

Plot
I ultimately knew what was going to happen going into it, because it’s essentially the same thing from Perry’s point of view, but since most of it happens between the end of book one and the beginning of book two, it does fill in some gaps. It ends at the conclusion of book two, and nicely sets up the third book. It’s well-told, as all Merlin’s books are, but doesn’t move quite as fast as book two. Still, it’s an engaging read and Perry’s character is so fully developed, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The descriptions of his process for creating Elizabeth was riveting, and his heartache is palpable, endearing him to me forever. I know I was on the fence about Perry vs. Gideon after book two, but now I’m solidly in Perry’s court.

Characters
It’s the same cast I’ve already grown to know and love, but from a different perspective, plus a few new characters thrown in the mix. They’re all very well crafted and believably unique.

What I Loved About TELL ME S’MORE
1. Elizabeth I.
I loved seeing the process for this musical coming to life. I’d buy tickets to go see it tomorrow if it was a real thing!

2. Perry. He has redeemed himself and I’m now rooting for him.

3. Music. I’ve always been in awe of the way musicians write music, and feel like I have a better understanding of the process now.

4. Annabelle. I liked her in book two and love her even more in this one. She and Gideon both got raw deals, but I’m pulling for them both to get their own HEAs.

5. Ending. Gut-wrenching and fitting for this story. Loved it, even though it made me cry.

Bottom Line
Can be read as a standalone, but packs SO much more emotional punch if read after book two.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: TELL ME S’MORE
Series: The Campfire Series #4
Authors: Beth Merlin
Publisher: Ink Monster, LLC
Release Date: April 27, 2027
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo

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Author Beth Merlin

Author Beth Merlin

About the Author
Beth Merlin has a BA from The George Washington University where she minored in Creative Writing and a JD from New York Law School. She’s a native New Yorker who loves anything Broadway, rom-coms, her daughter Hadley, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be some of the most formative of her life. One S’more Summer is Beth’s debut novel.

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Where to find Beth Merlin
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram

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Book Review – S’MORE TO LOSE (The Campfire Series) by Beth Merlin

 

S’MORE TO LOSE (The Campfire Series #2) by Beth Merlin

S’MORE TO LOSE (The Campfire Series #2) by Beth Merlin

5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
Four years after her life-changing summer at Camp Chinooka, Gigi Goldstein has a second chance at her dream career. As her design house takes the fashion world by storm, it attracts the notice of Victoria Ellicott, the fashionable British socialite who just happens to be engaged to the future king of England. When Gigi is chosen to design the royal wedding dress, she’s forced to confront her ex-fiancé, Perry Gillman, now a successful composer with a hit show on the West End of London.

When Gigi learns Perry’s been dating Victoria’s sister—who rivals her in looks, style and sophistication—Gigi can’t help but feel inadequate. Her world crumbles as she develops a creative block so debilitating she fears a wedding dress of royal proportions is never going to happen. Not even her budding relationship with the handsome and wealthy Viscount of Satterley can make her forget Perry. While the world gears up for the wedding of the century, Gigi is on the brink of buckling under the immense pressure of the uncertainties of her future and the failures of her past.

Can Gigi overcome her creative paralysis and design the dress of Victoria’s dreams? Or will everything slip through her fingers now that she has even s’more to lose?

 

 

 

 

 

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My Review
This was a case where the second book in the series was better than the first. The title, S’MORE TO LOSE, is the perfect way to describe how the stakes are higher this time around for Gigi and Perry. Set four years after ONE S’MORE SUMMER, book two finds Gigi and Perry established in their respective careers, but apart. It takes at least half the book for the reader to fully understand what happened between them that set their relationship into a death spiral even as Perry’s musical about Elizabeth I takes the world by storm at the same time that Gigi and Jamie’s new label, G. Malone, is getting the kind of recognition they both dreamed of.

With G. Malone in the running to design the wedding gown for the bride of the next king of England, the spotlight couldn’t be brighter. But when she runs into Perry in London, old feelings and insecurities coming racing back, leaving her no choice but to return to Camp Chinooka to get her groove back. Gigi grows as an individual and as designer in the one place that never ceases to inspire her creativity. But nothing is ever that easy, and Perry’s new love interest could ruin everything for Gigi and Jamie, just as Gigi is finally moving on with Gideon, the charming Viscount of Slatterley.

Plot
I felt like this story moved faster due to the backstory being told in book 1. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns that made this one much more fun for me to read. I was heartbroken at first to find that Gigi and Perry had broken up, but Gideon grew on me from nearly the beginning. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding a royal wedding, and I felt much more drawn into the world of fashion this time around. I could almost see the pieces in my head, the author’s descriptions were so vivid.

Characters
I loved seeing Gigi’s growth in this book and not repeating the mistakes of her past. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t make new mistakes, because she does, and they come back to bite her in the arse big time. New characters, like the bride-to-be, Victoria, and her sister, Annabelle, and Gideon are welcome additions to the cast.

What I Loved About S’MORE TO LOSE
1. Fashion Design.
While I love looking at beautiful clothes, the whole couture thing has never been something I was interested in. Until now. I loved all the description of the gowns, the clothes, the fabrics, the details.

2. Character Development. Seeing how Gigi has grown since the first book was one of my favorite parts about the sequel. Something many books in a series fall flat on.

3. London. I’ve only been to London once, but I felt as if I was back there again through the author’s descriptions.

4. Camp Chinooka. A nice way to circle back to the s’more theme of the series.

5. Ending. Another perfect happy-for-now ending with the promise of more to come in book three.

Bottom Line
A fun, flirty, heartwarming romance with all the elements of a page-turner.

Disclaimer
I was provided with a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book
Title: S’MORE TO LOSE
Series: The Campfire Series #2
Authors: Beth Merlin
Publisher: Ink Monster, LLC
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR | Barnes & Noble | iBooksKobo

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Author Beth Merlin

Author Beth Merlin

About the Author
Beth Merlin has a BA from The George Washington University where she minored in Creative Writing and a JD from New York Law School. She’s a native New Yorker who loves anything Broadway, rom-coms, her daughter Hadley, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be some of the most formative of her life. One S’more Summer is Beth’s debut novel.

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.

.

.

.

.

Where to find Beth Merlin
Goodreads Website | Facebook Twitter

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