Damaged Goods by Jennifer Bardsley – Review and Blog Tour Goodies

DAMAGED GOODS.jpgMonth9Books – Tumblr

Rating: 5/5 Stars!

Happy Monday all! Today is my stop on the blog tour for DAMAGED GOODS (Blank Slate #2) by Jennifer Bardsley. I had the pleasure of reviewing an early copy of Genesis Girl (Blank Slate #1) before it came out, and it blew me away. I can honestly say that DAMAGED GOODS some how surpassed the awesomeness of Genesis Girl!

The high attention and fast-paced storyline of DAMAGED GOODS had me rushing to flip the page through every scene. This book gets more into detail about Blanca’s life as an ex-Vestal. Her struggles and feelings of mistrust are palpable throughout the entire novel. I felt for Blanca. It was like I was experiencing every emotion she went through. At times I was very frustrated because I know I would have reacted completely differently than Blanc did, but that’s the beauty of this book. It kept me thinking.  As the ending unfolded I couldn’t believe what was happening. I had guessed it ALL WRONG! The The ending is a bit cliffhanger-ish but so perfect. I am already anxiously awaiting book #3 in the series. I need it RIGHT NOW.

Below you’ll find the book synopsis, author info, as well as a pretty awesome giveaway!

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DAMAGED GOODS (Blank Slate #2)
Author: Jennifer Bardsley
Pub. Date: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&NTBD

Blanca has everything she ever wanted, a hot boyfriend named Seth and the loving support of her foster father, Cal. She’s finally escaped the abusive control of her birth father, Barbelo Nemo, and her tortured childhood at Tabula Rasa School.

But the scars of Blanca’s Vestal upbringing run deep, especially when the FBI start asking questions. Blanca feels abandoned by Seth who is hunting for Lilith, Blanca’s only blood relative. The Defectos, a support group of Vestal-Rejects, offer Blanca comfort instead.

While the Vestal order crumbles, Chinese rivals called the Guardians rise to power and wrest control of important Tabula Rasa contacts. Now Blanca’s life is in peril once more, and this time, Blanca struggles to recognize friend from foe.

About Jennifer:

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Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for the Sunday edition of The Everett Daily Herald. She also blogs at Teaching My Baby to Read with the mission of sparking a national debate on the important roll parents play in education. Jennifer is a graduate of Stanford University and a member of SCBWI. She lives with her husband and two children in Edmonds, WA.
GENESIS GIRL was released in 2016 and is about an 18 year-old girl whose lack of a virtual footprint makes her so valuable that she is auctioned off to the highest bidder, the sequel  will come out in 2017. Jennifer is represented by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Literary AgencyLLC.
Follow the Jennifer on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Goodreads.

Giveaway Details:
(1) winner will receive a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You Set ($20 value), US Only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
Week Two:
1/23/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Interview
1/23/2017- Jenn Blogs Books- Review

1/24/2017- Read Coffee and Teen– Excerpt
1/24/2017- Michaela Daphne– Review

1/25/2017- So Few Books– Interview
1/25/2017- Book Review Becca– Review

1/26/2017- Quillable– Guest Post
1/26/2017- Rockin’ Book Reviews– Review

1/27/2017- LILbooKlovers– Interview
1/27/2017- The Starving Bookworm– Review

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Release Day – DAMAGED GOODS by Jennifer Bardsley

I am so
excited that DAMAGED GOODS by Jennifer
Bardsley releases today and that I get to share the news!

If you
haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Jennifer Bardsley, be
sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz
also includes a giveaway for a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You Set ($20 value), US Only
courtesy of Month9Books. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the
Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About The Book:

Title: DAMAGED
GOODS (Blank Slate #2)
Author: Jennifer
Bardsley
Pub.
Date:
January 17, 2017
Publisher:
Month9Books
Format: Hardcover,
Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD
Blanca has everything she ever wanted, a hot boyfriend named Seth and the
loving support of her foster father, Cal. She’s finally escaped the abusive
control of her birth father, Barbelo Nemo, and her tortured childhood at Tabula
Rasa School.
But the scars of Blanca’s Vestal upbringing run deep, especially when the
FBI start asking questions. Blanca feels abandoned by Seth who is hunting for
Lilith, Blanca’s only blood relative. The Defectos, a support group of
Vestal-Rejects, offer Blanca comfort instead.
While the Vestal order crumbles, Chinese rivals called the Guardians rise
to power and wrest control of important Tabula Rasa contacts. Now Blanca’s life
is in peril once more, and this time, Blanca struggles to recognize friend from
foe.


Title: GENESIS
GIRL (Blank Slate #1)
Author: Jennifer
Bardsley
Pub.
Date:
June 14, 2016
Publisher:
Month9Books
Format: Hardcover,
Paperback, eBook
Pages: 280
Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood
has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the
Internet. 

Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a
virtual footprint makes her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca and
those like her are sold to the highest bidders.

Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But
the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is.
All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost
impenetrable. 


By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only
chance of escape is to go online. 



Excerpt

I look to where he points, and the flash of thumb-cameras blinds me. Vestals
must never have their pictures taken by random people. That privilege belongs
to the companies that purchase them and market a Vestal’s privacy one
advertisement at a time. I reach my arms out by instinct, to protect my face
from the public. “I’m fine with it,” I lie, pulling my hands down. “But we
better leave now or we’ll be late to the restaurant.”

“My dad can wait a few minutes.” Seth scoops me in his arms.

“Blanca!” one of the spectators calls. “And Veritas Rex! Is that really
you?”

Seth holds up his hand and wiggles his finger-chips. “The one and only!”
Then he dips me back for a kiss.

I stiffen like cardboard. “Stop it,” I mumble, trying not to squirm. All
I can think about is the cameras, my face flashed worldwide and weirdoes
slobbering over my private moment with Seth. 

“We’ve got to go or we’ll be late.”

Seth kisses my nose. “I didn’t know you were so punctual.”

“Yes.” I pull myself out of his grasp. “Cal’s waiting.” The sooner I put
my helmet on and get back on my motorcycle, the better.

“Blanca,” a man calls as we ride away. “I love you! I’ve watched you all
year!”


Underneath my jacket, I shiver. The fame that surrounds me is chilling.

About Jennifer: 
Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for the
Sunday edition of The Everett Daily HeraldShe
also blogs at Teaching My Baby to Read with
the mission of sparking a national debate on the important roll parents play in
education. Jennifer is a graduate of Stanford University and a member of SCBWI.
She lives with her husband and two children in Edmonds, WA.
GENESIS GIRL will release in 2016 and is about an 18 year-old girl whose
lack of a virtual footprint makes her so valuable that she is auctioned off to
the highest bidder, the sequel  will come out in 2017. Jennifer is
represented by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Literary AgencyLLC.

Follow the Jennifer on FacebookTwitterInstagram,
and Goodreads.





Giveaway
Details:

(1) winner will receive a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You
Set ($20 value), US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Holiday Giveaway – Amazon Giftcard

Hello all and Happy Holidays! It has been quite some time since I last posted on my blog, but I am changing that in the new year! As a sort of welcome back to blogging I have teamed up with 10 of my favorite bookstagrammers to bring you a giveaway for a $100 Amazon gift card. This is open internationally. Just click on the rafflecopter link below and follow the step by step instructions. Quick and easy! The giveaway ends on December 19th at midnight! Good luck to all who enter 🙂

Amazon giveaway.jpg

December 16th – 21st
Multi-Bookstagrammer Giveaway

How to enter:

1. Follow all 11 bookstagrammers via the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

2. For extra entries, post two of your friends in any of the hosts giveaway posts – this counts as two entries! Include your link in the Rafflecopter giveaway below. This can be done daily!

3. For extra entries, repost the giveaway and include your link in the Rafflecopter giveaway below. This can be done daily!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter contest.

Void where prohibited.

*This giveaway is in no way associated with Amazon, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media it may be shared on,.*

Winner will be confirmed before announced (must be following all 11 hosts when winner is announced).

Book review – The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund

The Crow Girl is easily the most difficult book I’ve ever reviewed. Part of that is the length. 784 pages! I could also say that this is probably one of the most complicated and complex story plots I’ve ever read. Be that as it may, I really enjoyed reading it. WARNING: content discussed in this book is of a sensitive nature and may upset, confuse, and trigger certain readers. Thank you to A.A. Knopf for sending me an advance copy.

 

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Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

Goodreads description

The newest crime novel sensation: In this shocking and suspenseful psychological thriller, a police detective must confront a hideous evil that forces her to question how much suffering one person can inflict upon another before creating a monster.

In a Stockholm city park, police discover the hideously abused body of a young boy. Detective Superintendent Jeanette Kihlberg heads the investigation, battling an apathetic prosecutor and a bureaucratic police force unwilling to devote resources to solving the murder of a nameless immigrant child. But with the discovery of two more mutilated children’s corpses, it becomes clear that a serial killer is at large. Jeanette turns to therapist Sofia Zetterlund for her expertise in psychopathic perpetrators, and their lives become increasingly intertwined, professionally and personally. As they draw closer to the truth about the killings–working together but, ultimately, each on her own–we come to understand that these murders are only the most obvious evidence of a hellishly insidious evil woven deep into Swedish society. As viscerally dramatic as it is psychologically intense, The Crow Girl is a tale of almost unfathomably heinous deeds, and of the profound damage–and the equally profound need for revenge–left in their wake.

 

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My honest review:

Wow. Where to start with this behemoth of a book. If I was asked to describe this book for it’s psychological aspects it would be like walking down a hallway with 100 doors and 100 keys. Every time you finally found one key to match one door, every door and every key switches again. My mind was left reeling every time I picked up this book. I still don’t think I caught every clue that was written. But, although this book was long and complicated I loved the story. It is unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

With a book this long there are bound to be a lot of characters. Sure there are the main characters throughout the book but the secondary characters, the victims, were some of the ones that really hit me the hardest. The topics of The Crow Girl are not easy to handle. Child abuse, cults, multiple personalities, child trafficking, and PTSD to just name a few. The scenes are graphic and gory. You find yourself feeling emotions that you can’t believe because what you have read is unbelievable.

I know I keep going back to how long this book is, but I can tell you it is completely necessary that it is this long. To shorten it would be taking away it’s main characteristics. The length adds so much complexity. The authors (yes there are two of them) weave such a tight and tangled web that you don’t know which way is up half of the time. Despite it’s page count, I have to say this felt like a very fast read. I was so sucked into the story that I didn’t notice how much time passed as I read. My eyes couldn’t read the words fast enough to satisfy the knowledge my brain was craving.

As the book started to slowly wind down to the end I realized that I couldn’t trust anything that I had previously read. I didn’t know what was real anymore. To say the ending was mind-blowing is a huge understatement. The twists and turns that I’d come to expect throughout this novel only accelerated as the ending came into view. Once pieces of this giant puzzle started finally fitting together I couldn’t believe I had been wrong from the start.

This book is definitely for a more experienced thriller reader. I think fans of horror novels would like it as well. The topics it deals with are hard to get over. Do not let the length of this novel hinder you from reading this book. However, be prepared for a major book hangover when it’s all over.

 

I’ve included a link below to an interview with both authors that make up Erik Axl Sund below.

LitHub interview with Ilana Masad

Find the authors below ∇

Author website

Facebook

* Buy the book here *

 

Book review – Liar Liar by M.J. Arlidge

Wow, it’s been a long time since I wrote a book review. The past 6+ weeks have been absolutely crazy. I can’t even say that I was reading a ton and forgot to post. Unfortunately, I was just busy adulting and basically living life the whole time.  But I digress, I am here to talk about books!

M.J. Arlidge writes one of my favorite crime thriller series featuring D.I. Helen Grace. I started reading this series right before the second book came out, and I’ve been hooked every since. I am especially grateful to Berkley/ New American Library for sending me an advance copy. Being able to read an early copy of one of my auto-buy authors was a huge treat.

 

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Rating: 4/5 stars!

Goodreads description:

Detective Helen Grace gets caught in an inferno of death and destruction in the red-hot new thriller from the author of Eeny Meeny, Pop Goes the Weasel, and The Doll’s House

Detective Helen Grace has never seen such destruction. Six fires in twenty-four hours. Two people dead. Several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground…

With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes.

One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her…

 

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My honest review:

Right off I want to talk about this cover. I’m a sucker for a great cover. That being said I thought the cover for Liar Liar was perfect. The more I read the book the more I realized how fitting it really was. A gorgeous cover that perfectly matches the story plot of the book is a definite thing of beauty.

As the synopsis above states, this book is not about your typical serial killer. Yes people die, and yes it’s pretty gruesome. However, adding the element of a serial arsonist is a very nice twist on the usual serial killer character. Some series start getting predictable as they move forward. The same problems happen the same way each and every book. Some authors even have a formula developed to help them write books faster by simply plunking in details into designated places. This is NOT at all how M.J. Arlidge writes. This is the 4th novel in the series, and the arsonist villain was a perfect change. It kept the series interesting and alive for many books in the future.

Throughout the book a suspect seems nonexistent or there are too many suspects. This added to the complexities of an already complex storyline. I liked the many rabbit holes the case dropped into. At times you felt a hopelessness that things could never be solved. I suspected I knew who the arsonist was halfway through the book, but I was happily wrong. I love getting blindsided by a surprise conclusion. The excitement and anticipation helped the plot move along quickly.

Throughout the book we slowly learn a bit more about D.I. Grace. To say she is a complicated character is a monumental understatement. In The Doll’s House (book 3) we learn a lot more of her past and the skeletons hidden in her closet. Now that a lot of the past has been told we are seeing some of the subtle, softer sides of Helen Grace. She is slightly more relatable and definitely seems more personable. One of my favorite parts of this series is learning more about her character and seeing how she evolves.

I know I’ve touched on it before, but the arsonist angle was seriously a nice change up for book 4. It was a breath of fresh air, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I originally thought I would. There are some scenes in Helen’s personal life that might be a bit much or hard to understand for some readers. I like the subplot a lot and think it adds another level of complexity to each book. But please just be advised. I think most mystery and thriller readers will easily have no problems with that addition.

Interact with M.J. Arlidge at the links below ∇

Twitter

Author info

Wikipedia Bio

 

*Buy the book here*

Click here to order a custom Liar Liar mini book

 

 

Book review – The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Before I start my review I feel like I need to post some disclaimers about this review. First, Nora Roberts is one of my top 10 favorite authors. Second, Nora Roberts is also one of my auto-buy authors (see first point). Third, when I was given the opportunity to receive an ARC of The Obsession I’m pretty sure I screamed so loudly my husband thought something was wrong (hehe). But seriously, I love Nora Roberts’ books and The Obsession was no exception.

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Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

Goodreads description

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

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My honest review:

My favorite type of novel that Nora Roberts writes are her thrillers. There is always an element of romance to them, but it is in no way overwhelming nor the main point of the novel. That remains true for The Obsession.

The first few chapters are extremely intense and involve a very sensitive subject matter. Naomi is only a preteen when she uncovers that her father is a serial killer and rapist. Her childhood is spent moving around trying to protect her and her brother from the horrible things their father did. By the time Naomi is an adult she is a successful yet reclusive photographer trying to hide her family’s past.

Naomi stumbles onto the town of Sunrise Cove, WA and immediately falls in love with a run down, secluded manor house. Despite the odds against her she slowly starts to fall in love with Xander, the town mechanic, part bar owner, rock band leader, and all around great guy. Xander slowly breaks down Naomi’s defenses even as something sinister seems to be happening in the tiny town of Sunrise Cove.

One thing I love about Nora Roberts’ novels is that she never makes the male love interest also be the bad guy. I like knowing I can trust at least one person throughout the novel. From the first introduction you know Xander is great for Naomi. He is a grounding force who loves hard and protects harder. When women start turning up tortured, raped, and murdered Xander rallies his friends and family to help keep an eye on Naomi. I loved Xander’s character. He is a macho man without being a chauvinistic pig. He main concern is to keep Naomi safe from the psycho who is terrorizing the town.

I had a feeling I knew who the murderer was fairly early on in the novel. This did nothing to spoil the novel for me. I loved the intensity and suspense throughout the novel. I was constantly on the edge of my seat. The ending was PERFECT! I didn’t want the book to end any other way. This will be my newest highly recommended Nora Roberts book. Now I’m hoping that they turn it into a Lifetime movie 😉

THE SWAY by Ruby Knight – Cover Reveal

Welcome to the cover reveal of “The Sway” by Ruby Knight.  The Sway is a fantasy novel, releasing on 17 May 2016. I was given the incredible opportunity to beta read this book when it was just an idea. I cannot wait to get my hands on the final copy! 

Title: The Sway
Author: Ruby Knight
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 17 May 2016

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Her mission is to get close to him for inside information. 

His mission is to kidnap her for a supernatural militant group. 

Recruited in her teens for a life of espionage, Julia Caldwell, now 19, is theyoungest CIA agent on record. Her mission is simple: get close to Cole Thomas for intel on his father, a known and dangerous weapons dealer. As she grows closer to Cole, something is off. He might not be who she thinks he is. And worse, his mission will put an end to hers.

Always believing the government’s story that her purpose in life was to keep the world safe, Julia doesn’t know who to trust or who to believe. But now, THE SWAY has a different story—a different purpose for her—that goes well beyond all she ever imagined.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ruby wrote her first book during her senior year of college and hasn’t stopped writing since. She graduated with a degree in History and a minor in Psychology. When she isn’t manically writing stories on her laptop,  coaching a high school dance team and teaching high school history– You can find her playing with her adorable little boy. She is from San Diego but was raised in Northern Utah. Her dad nicknamed her Rube at a young age and it always stuck. She currently lives in Utah under the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains. Ruby loves to read all things New Adult and Young Adult. She is a wannabe yogi and shamelessly indulges in TV shows like Quantico, Scandal, and The Blacklist. You might find her with a Diet Dr Pepper with coconut flavor in it on most days, as this is what she considers to be water.

Connect with Ruby at her Website, Facebook and Twitter.

This event is organized by Pen & Ink Book Tours.

 

Book review – Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley

Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beasley was released a few days ago, and I have to say that this book is one-of-a-kind. I loved every second of reading it. The Goodreads description and my honest review are posted below.

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Rating: 4/5 stars! 

Goodreads description

Two sisters share the surprising highs and cringe-worthy lows of social media fame, when their most private thoughts become incredibly public in this fresh and funny debut novel.

Sisters Cassie and Sid Sunday have not done a bang-up job of keeping in touch. In their defense, it hasn’t been easy: life veered in sharply different directions for the once-close sisters. Today, beautiful and big-hearted Sid lives an expat’s life of leisure in far-off Singapore, while harried, iPhone-clutching Cassie can’t seem to make it work as a wife and a mom to twin toddlers in Manhattan.

It doesn’t help that Sid spurns all social media while Cassie is addicted to Facebook. So when Sid issues a challenge to reconnect the old-fashioned way—through real, handwritten letters—Cassie figures, why not?

The experiment exceeds both of their expectations, and the letters become a kind of mutual confessional that have real and soul-satisfying effects. And they just might have the power to help Cassie save her marriage, and give Sid the strength to get her life back on track.

But first, one of Cassie’s infamous lapses in judgment comes back to bite her, and all of the letters wind up the one place you’d never, ever want to see them: the Internet…

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My honest review:

I was immediately drawn to both Cassie and Sid. Two sisters that couldn’t be more different. Sid the beautiful yet carefree sister, a bit of a free spirit, who lives in Singapore with her two children and rarely-home husband. Cassie is the typical New York-type sister. She’s more conscience about her looks, her New York style, and whether she’s keeping up with all the latest big city fads.

Their letting writing experiment starts as a way to repeat and preserve history. The romantic notion of having physical copies of correspondence is a huge attraction so much so that Cassie takes it upon herself to keep hard copies of each letter they send and receive. She scans each letter into her computer then uploads them to a (supposedly) private blog. By the time Cassie realizes that her blog is no longer private the damage has been done.

My absolute favorite part of this book was the actual letters. They were about real-life problems that anyone could experience. The emotions shown cut right to the heart. I found myself invested in the sisters’ lives. I wanted the best for them. I wanted them to make everything work out for the best. Each letter dives deeper into the human psyche of what each woman is dealing with half a world apart from each other.

Since this book deals with real life situations and problems that many people face today at times it can almost be painful to read. My heart hurt multiple times because Cassie or Sid were hurting. Their problems don’t just go away like a magical fairytale. They have to work at it. They have to admit defeat in some cases, and they both have to grow and mature if there is any chance for them to find happiness.

This book reads like nonfiction. I had to remind myself several times that the letters, characters, life situations, and consequences were all fiction. I devoured each chapter and letter. I found myself thinking about Cassie and Sid were doing while I wasn’t reading the book. (I know, I know they are fictional characters). I will only touch briefly on the ending by saying this…. IT. IS. PERFECT. There’s no fairytale poof that makes everything magically ok. The conclusion is real. It shows the faults of all the characters and if or how they can get past them

I highly recommend this book to any reader of any genre. You will love Cassie for her spunk and you’ll love Sid for her loving and grounded spirit. I think I’ll always wish that I could actually meet them in real life. If you haven’t done so already, PICK UP THIS BOOK ASAP!

Find Lisa Beazley at the links below ∇

Author Website

Facebook

Twitter

Purchase on Amazon here

huge thank you to New American Library for sending me a copy of this book!

 

Book review – The Cracked Spine

Happy book birthday to THE CRACKED SPINE by Paige Shelton! This is the first book in the new Scottish Bookshop Mystery. Available now at all major book retailers.

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Rating: 5/5 stars!

Goodreads description

In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn’t know much about what she’s gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she’ll be working with “a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes,” and Delaney can’t wait to get started.

When she arrives, she meets her new Scottish family; also working at the Cracked Spine are Rosie, perpetually wrapped in scarves, and who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected. An unexpected bonus is Tom the bartender from across the street, with his piercing eyes, and a rolling brogue — and it doesn’t hurt that he looks awfully good in a kilt.

But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact — a previously undiscovered First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays — goes missing, and Edwin’s sister is murdered, seemingly in connection to the missing folio. Delaney decides to do some sleuthing of her own, to find out just what the real story is behind the priceless folio, and how it’s connected to the tragic death, all without getting harmed herself.

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My honest review:

The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton is a fantastic cozy mystery. From the first page I was drawn into the small town, big heart feel of Edinburgh. I’ll admit that I have a huge obsession with novels, but especially mysteries, set in the British Isles. I love the landscape, the accents, the characters, the local slang, and the pubs. Paige Shelton does a fantastic job painting the setting for this novel. I could almost smell the dewey grass and pipe smoke wafting in off the cobblestoned street.

The characters are just as unique and original as the setting. The first character you meet is Elias the cabbie, and you know from this immediate encounter that Delaney is going to fit in just right in Edinburgh. There is a decent amount of characters in the novel, especially as the mystery progresses. I never had any issues keep each character straight. From Rosie and her dog Hector to Hamlet, Edwin, Aggie, and Tom each person felt genuine and at times very real. I could easily imagine giving Hector a good ear scratch or catching Tom about town in his kilt. I found myself laughing along with the many anecdotes that Delaney encounters. I did feel like I barely got to know most of the secondary characters. This mystery mainly involved Edwin, Delaney, and Hamlet so I hope to find out more about the other characters in later novels.

I found this cozy novel to be a bit more suspenseful than is the norm in cozies. The murder was multi-faceted and the true killer was a surprise at the end. Although the suspense was high for most of the novel, it was a book I enjoyed reading late into the night with no fears of nightmares or disturbed sleep. The perfect whodunit!

I loved every second that I was absorbed into The Cracked Spine. This is a perfect cozy-yet-suspenseful mystery. The characters were realistic and genuine, the setting is gorgeous, and the mystery kept me guessing until the very end. I guarantee that this will be one of my top cozy mysteries of 2016!

 

Find Paige Shelton at the links below ∇

Author website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

A huge THANK YOU to Minotaur Books for sending me an early copy of this novel!

 

Book signing with Harlan Coben

Last night I had the opportunity to go to a book signing (my first EVER!!) for Harlan Coben at my favorite indie book store, Chester County Book Company. Lisa Scottoline was also there as an interviewer. She happens to be a huge fan and friend of Harlan Coben’s, and it definitely showed during the author discussion.

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Now I know this was my first book signing but the interactions between the authors was fantastic. I’ve never laughed so hard listening to someone describe the inspirations for their novels. Both authors were HILARIOUS! They joked. They shared stories.  They talked like friends sitting in someone’s backyard. Lisa and Harlan seemed to genuinely enjoy spending time with their readers. Their love for what they do, no matter how hard, was obvious.

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When it came to the actual book signing Harlan was so nice. He made small talk with each attendant and even made jokes with me about how I brought my mom along! (THANKS MOM!) I will always remember this not just because it was my first book signing, but also because of the amazing personalities of both Lisa Scottoline and Harlan Coben. I can’t wait for me next book signing! I am definitely going to keep my eyes open for the next Coben/Scottoline signing for sure.

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The exact moment that Harlan Coben realized I brought my Mom with me 🙂

 

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I laughed the ENTIRE time I talked with him.
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A great author, hilarious speaker, and an all-around fantastic person! 

A HUGE THANK YOU TO CHESTER COUNTY BOOK COMPANY FOR HOSTING THIS EVENT!

Chester County Book Company