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The Last Valentine: Love Letters with a Side of Murder/Mystery

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The Last Valentine

When Olivia Villalobos finds a bloodstained love letter she endeavors to deliver it before Chief Inspector Sedeño finds it in her possession.

A city along the southern coast of Puerto Rico emerges in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. Olivia, daughter of a drunkard police investigator who never knew the truth behind her mother’s disappearance, finds a bloodstained love letter in the hidden compartment of her father’s coat. Convinced it belonged to the man recently found dead she sets out to deliver it to the Labyrinth of Love Letters. A mysterious place believed to be an urban legend where the transients of forbidden love leave missives for one another. She enlists the help of Isaac Quintero to find the Labyrinth and they soon realize their quest has opened the door into Old Sienna’s darkest secrets—the perils, madness and depth of tragic love.

Romance/Murder/Mystery
241 Pages
ForeverPoetic Publishing
Expected Publication Date: February 13th, 2017
Preorder a copy here!

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3.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: lots of purple prose and beautiful descriptions; there wasn’t much “plot” to this story; cliched, too-clean ending; I didn’t really connect with any of these characters, though I did empathize with a few; overall entertaining, question-evoking, and complex read

Huge thanks to Felix Alexander and BookTasters for sending me a free digital ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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First things first: this was an interesting, though not necessarily action-packed, read. What I mean is, I was super intrigued and held in pretty deep thrall…but I feel as if certain parts of this might have moved a bit slowly, all together. A lot of this book is internal monologues and ponderments; there is not overall a lot of dialogue. Which I suppose, in a sense, makes sense–these characters are, for all intents and purposes, romantics in their own rights…and therefore given to being lost in their own heads. But it does not, in the end, lend itself to action scenes or quite the right “mood” for what is meant. This read much more like an overreaching love-story, not what turned out to be a sort of murder/mystery.

The characters are intriguing and complex, but I didn’t find myself really “connecting” with any of them. Yes, I was able to empathize with and understand their motives…but I found I didn’t really care for them in the end. I wasn’t rooting for them, or holding my breath in anticipation, or fearing for their safety. I was sort of a neutral ground in the scope of this read–not really swayed or moved by the course of events. Even the characters who were meant to be HUGE in personality, fell a bit flat for me, unfortunately.

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I REALLY enjoyed the purple prose aspect, though. Seeing as Felix Alexander is a poet, I went into this read expecting gorgeous scene-setting and beautiful descriptors, and I was not disappointed in either of these aspects. The scenery, the world, the sounds and tastes–everything leaped to life around me as I read, helping to better “immerse” me in the book. Felix Alexander did a beautiful job painting this world for me.

I was, in the end, a bit disappointed with the ending. While I understand why it was done the way it is, it’s also…very cliche? in books like this, I feel–and in movies, as well. It also sort of took me by surprise, as I hadn’t seen that ending coming quite as soon as it did (or, it felt soon to me, given the way the characters had been described).

This was an enjoyably descriptive, though a bit plot-slow, read. I had a ton of fun following Olivia and Isaac on their journey; I had more fun being immersed in and awed by the scenery and world being built. I recommend this to lovers of old-world secrets, the consequences of forbidden love affairs, and murder/mysteries that feel more like long-winded romances. Felix Alexander penned a love letter around his readers; why don’t you pick it up and read?

5

Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Book Review: The Tokyo Cover Girls


The Tokyo Cover Girls
Jackie Amsden
(The Tokyo Cover Girls , #1)
Publication date: April 28th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

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New York has Jacobs, Paris has Chanel, Milan has Versace and Tokyo has . . . Hello Kitty toilet plungers? With its cute-obsessed catalogue and magazine market, anyone who is anyone knows that modeling in Japan means being at the bottom of the fashion industry. Blake, Jess, and Hailey are doing their best to survive yet another casting where pigtails and toddler-impressions are a must when they stumble upon the opportunity of a lifetime. The prestigious Satsujin company has selected them to compete for a campaign that will transform the winner from commercial nobody to haute couture superstar faster than you can say Vogue Italia.

Of course, nothing is ever what it seems in the fashion world. Just ask all those dead girls . .

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jackie Amsden worked as a fashion model in China, Japan, and Taiwan before retiring at the age of eighteen after one too many agent threats, nude photo shoot requests, and self-loathing-induced Pocky binges. If you’d like to learn more about her decent into the darker side of Asia’s candy-coated modeling industry sign up for free installments of her upcoming memoir and get updates about the sequel to The Tokyo Cover Girls at http://www.jackieamsden.com.


GIVEAWAY:  CLICK HERE!

 


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3Penguins

Quick Reasons: intriguing, entertaining plot; GAAAAAH so much girl hate, whyyyy?!; I was expecting…something different?; slightly disappointed, honestly; some weird typos and missing letters/words throughout; kind of a weird, unresolved ending

Huge thanks to Jackie Amsden and Giselle @ Xpresso Book Tours for sending me a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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So…this wasn’t QUITE what I was expecting, going into this read, and I’m just slightly disappointed about it. I was expecting models and mayhem and murder and intrigue and…. instead, I feel like I got a few minor blips on an otherwise fairly calm radar. Don’t get me wrong–the plot was intriguing, and entertaining, but… I wasn’t nearly as hooked as I thought I’d be. I also wasn’t nearly as enthralled as I’d hoped. There wasn’t, in the end, a whole lot of modeling. There also wasn’t a whole lot of murder. This was more like…flipping on an episode of America’s Next Top Model and instead realizing you’re watching Say Yes to the Dress. I don’t know if that analogy makes sense to anyone but me, but the point is, I went into this read expecting excitement and mayhem and instead got a lot of whining and complaining and stress-eating.

The ending of this book also felt a bit…incomplete. I mean, I KNOW that this is only the first book in the series, so obviously there are going to be unresolved questions and unexplained foreshadows, BUT. The ending for this? Didn’t really give me any semblance of an “ending.” I don’t know if that makes sense… I got to the ending, and was expecting at least another chapter–we aren’t even sure, at the end, if the “bad guy” is gone or if this is only the beginning. And while I don’t have a problem with cliffhanger endings…this one just felt a bit stiff and awkward to me, I guess.

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BUT! The plot was super intriguing, and while there was a LOT of girl-hate going on throughout this book (man, these girls were catty. I mean, sure, they’re models, but HOLY PENGUINS, women, cool yourselves!), I was also pretty entertained throughout. There are quite a few typos and missing letters/words, which made some of the sentences awkward or difficult to read…and most of the characters, unfortunately, turned out to be pretty 1-dimensional in my mind. I still had a TON of fun reading, though, and will probably pick up book two in the future because I’m curious to see what the girls get up to on their next journey.

Overall, this was a quirky and entertaining read that, while disappointing in the end, kept me turning the pages. I wasn’t a fan of all the girl-hate, but the plot was intriguing, and I’m interested in seeing what happens in book two. I’d recommend this to lovers of dramatic mysteries, high-maintenance characters, and just a hint of an unresolved ending. Jackie Amsden kept me guessing with this book–maybe you should give it a chance, too!