4

Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Forbidden Dance

 

Forbidden Dance
(Lover’s Dance, #1)

by Deanna Roy
Publication date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

She was hidden from the world. Then he arrived.

An emotional new novel from six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy

For four years, I’ve lived in almost total seclusion. Homeschooled, forbidden from social media, seeing no one other than the dancers at Dreamcatcher Academy, where I teach ballet to little girls in wheelchairs.

Then Blitz arrives.

He’s the disgraced host of Dance Blitz, a bawdy reality show where Blitz sleeps with as many dancers as possible while looking for his perfect partner.

At least he was. A few weeks ago, he got kicked off his own show.

He’s at my academy for a publicity stunt, and my wheelchair ballerinas are his ticket back into the public’s good graces.

I intend to hate him and stay as far away as possible. But when he looks at me, I can’t resist. Before I realize what’s happened, we’re sneaking into back rooms, dancing, kissing, planning dates away from the cameras and the wrath of my family.

But I’m afraid. I have a secret at the academy, a small, wonderful, terrible secret, and if I stay with Blitz, the world will find out.

____________

Forbidden Dance is a full-length standalone HEA, although fans who fall in love with Blitz and Livia can continue the series to follow more of their love story

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

 

Author Bio:

Deanna Roy is the six-time USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction.

She is a passionate advocate for women who have lost babies. She has several books on the subject, including her bestseller FOREVER INNOCENT, a romance about a couple whose baby is taken off life support at seven days old.

She has run the website PregnancyLoss.Info for fifteen years, including many large spin-off support groups both online and in person.

To learn about new releases, sign up for her subscriber list at http://deannaroy.com/news. She has regular giveaways in conjunction with major pregnancy loss events.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!
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3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: an unsolved mystery/plot hole; deliciously dramatic, believably human; I just cannot EVEN with that early plot twist; adorable, butterfly-inducing romance; steamy, sexy scenes; loved the addition of dance; cute, snarky banter

Huge thanks to Deanna Roy, Chasey Shay Press, and Xpresso Book Tours 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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Let’s start with the light and easy lifting first, shall we? These characters are SUPER adorable–especially together! I am, as I’m sure you all realize, a HUGE sucker for “bad boy turned good” stories. Unrealistic though this may be (I mean c’mon, a person only changes if THEY want to change) I find myself swooning on my penguin feet each time I run across this trope in my romances. I can’t help it, I suppose–I’m hopeless when it comes to love. BUT AS I WAS SAYING before I distracted myself… these characters are adorable and endearing and totally what I needed in a read like this. I loved falling in love with them, and contemplated more than once trying to shove myself into these pages to bask in the glory of their romance up-close and personal (I mean, seriously, who needs boundaries when love is involved?! Privacy?!?!?! What even IS that?! Let me just drool on you a little bit, okay?!)

The familial relationships were…interesting, to say the least. I was a bit confused, even at the end, about why her family–especially her father–reacted so harshly to her circumstances. It doesn’t make much sense to me that a grudge like this could be held onto for SO long–and with such determination! I mean, I get that perhaps her family at first would “crack down” on the rules a little and all, but…for four years?! To be holding on so hard?!?!?! When she’s older and officially an adult?!?!?! WHAT EVEN HAPPENED HERE?! It didn’t help that, in the end, I felt there was a bit of a plot loop or plot hole happening. We are told pretty early on WHY her family is so adamantly against her having a life…but…I don’t feel like we got the whole story. There seem to be moments where pieces almost fall into place…only to be ignored or shoved aside. Her father is pretty emotionally abusive and terrible throughout the entire read, but we’re never told exclusively what his problem really is. There were also hints that he somehow did something BEFORE “the issue” to upset the family, but…that’s also glossed over and not explained. Overall, I felt very confused about certain aspects of the backstory.

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The romance is believable and realistic, though, and made the butterflies dance in ALL the right places for this penguin reader (which is probably a bad thing. Have you seen penguins around butterflies?! It gets messy.) I fell in love with Blitz pretty early on, and adore the addition of dance into the drama. It made for a delicious, steamy, sexy love affair–and you all know how much I love my love, especially when it’s dramatic! The snark and sassy banter between the main duo was endearing and entertaining, to boot, which made this read even more enjoyable for this penguin’s fluttery heart.

This was, in the end, a dramatic, entertaining read…though a bit lacking on the answers front in certain instances. While I adored the main characters and their steamy love, I was a bit let down by the familial interactions and reactions. Livia has a TON of character growth throughout the journey, though, and I was tempted to applaud her when she finally stood up for herself and stopped backing down on what she wanted–you go, girl! I definitely recommend this to lovers of steamy contemporaries, complex and messy families, and realistic roMESSes. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this duo in the future. Take your spot at the bar and point your toes, penguins; let the dance begin.

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4

Blog Tour, Excerpt, Teasers, Giveaway, and Review: Operation Prom Date

OperationPromDateTour

Operations Prom Date Cover.pngOperation Prom Date
(Tactics in Flirting #1)
by Cindi Madsen

YA/Contemporary/Romance
230 Pages
Entangled:  Crush
Publication Date:  March 13th, 2017

Kate ships tons of fictional couples, but IRL her OTP is her and Mick, the hot quarterback she’s crushed on since, like, forever. With only one semester left of senior year, it’s now or never if she wants to land him in time for prom. Since she’s flirtationally challenged, she enlists Cooper Callihan, the guy who turned popular seemingly overnight but who used to be a good friend.

Cooper lives and breathes rowing, but his partner just broke his wrist. When he remembers Kate’s good with a set of oars, he strikes a deal: help him train, and he’ll make sure her crush notices her. Only he didn’t know how addicting spending time with her would be. Or how the more successful the Operation is, the more jealousy he experiences.

The mission has been set. The troops have their marching orders. But what if the target is the wrong guy all along?

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains stargazing, accidental swimming, and poker swindling. This kissing practice will melt your ereader…and give you a new couple to ship


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OPD6OPD5

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N| Kobo | TBD | iBooks

EXCERPT:

“That’s Klaus,” Kate said. “Don’t worry, he’s got a much better temperament than his namesake.”

“Oh? And who is he named after?”

“An original vampire. From the show The Originals? Technically he was on The Vampire Diaries first, but they did a spin off, and anyway…” She scooped up the creature as she sat on her bed. “Klaus kills for fun—the vampire. This Klaus is too lazy to do much of anything.”

I sat next to her on the bed, still taking in her collection of figurines.

“That’s my Funko Pop collection. I paired them up the way they should be on the shows.” She gestured at one in a green hood and the blonde figure next to him with the glasses. I realized it was from Arrow.

            “I ship Olicity the hardest.”

“‘Ship’ them?”

“I want them in a relationship. Like I’d put them in a ship together so they’d be forced to see they’re perfect for each other, bribe the writers to get them together, ship them. Partnership, friendship, please-God-put-them-in-a-relationship-already ship them.”

“Oh-kay.”

“It’s a common phrase. Oliver and Felicity are totally my OTP, which means one true pairing, if you haven’t somehow heard of that, either. I also ship Alexa and Clarke on The 100 a crazy amount, and I was pretty mad at the writers for a while, but something happened and…well, I won’t spoil it, but I might’ve teared up. Then of course there’s Stydia and Captain Swan”—she pointed at a blond figure wearing a red jacket and a goateed dude with a hook for a hand—“I used to be all about Damon and Elena, but there toward the end, I shipped her and a coffin. Which sounds mean, I know, but vampires don’t technically die, so a bit nicer?”

“I’m still judging you too much for saying ‘ship them the hardest’ to judge you for the vampire stuff.”

She smacked my arm and I laughed. Honestly, I was also trying to keep up with all the words she’d spouted, trying to make sense of them. We’d spent the past few afternoons on the boat, and the more time I spent with her, the more amused I was by her, even though I only understood about half of what she said.

Klaus crawled higher on her lap and she rubbed his chin. I never knew a lizard could smile, but damned if the thing didn’t grin. Kate caught my eye. “Just call me Khaleesi, mother of dragons. Or dragon, as it were. Please tell me you at least get that reference.”

Game of Thrones. I’ve only read the first book, though. Okay, half of the first book, but I meant to pick it back up. But then I sort of just watched the show instead.”

She glanced around like someone might be listening and then leaned in. “Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve never read the books.”

I leaned a few inches closer, until I could see the different shades of green in her eyes. “Your secret is safe with me.”

“You’re starting to have a lot of my secrets, so I certainly hope so.”

            Unexpected warmth swirled through my chest. I’d never thought I would want to be a secret keeper, but there was something about having Kate’s trust that made me proud to be one.

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Cindi MadsenAbout the Author:

Cindi Madsen is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

If you’re interested in ARCs, interviews, and/or blog tour information please contact the publicity department at publicity@entangledpublishing.com

Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Copy of OPD Blog Tour Giveaway

Giveaway:
Kate Hamilton’s OTP Prize Pack, including two Funko Pops: The Green Arrow and Felicity*

*NOTE: A $20 Amazon gift card will be substituted in the place of the prize pack if the winner is international.

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bookreview

4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: realistic, believable romance; lots of delicious angst and drama; this took me back to my younger years; entertaining snark, endearing characters; strong focus on familial relationships; huge personality, vibrant voice

Huge thanks to Cindi Madsen, Entangled: Crush, Chapter by Chapter, and Netgalley for sending me a free galley 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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I know, I know–I’ve been reading WAY too many contemporary romances lately. I just can’t help myself, penguins! LOVE IS LOVE IS LOOOOOOVE, and it makes my life complete! Or…maybe I’m just a bit off my rocker? I don’t know. Regardless, I’ve been LOVING the amount of love I’m reading, so…I don’t intend to change it anytime soon? Don’t worry. I’m sure someday I’ll get tired of the cliches and tropes and move along to my next obsession, but right now? I believe in a thing called love, and I ain’t giving up on the reads just yet.

That being said–this book? Super adorable with a side of give me your boyfriend, please. Because seeeeeeriously, penguins, Cooper is exactly the type of book boyfriend I fall for. Or, at least, ONE of the exact types, because let’s be honest–I’m down for a lot of different book boyfriend types. (Which…explains why I root for the villains and the sweeties equally, I suppose) Cindi Madsen took me right back to my high school days with this read–I remember being somewhat like Kate, in fact. A lot awkward, a lot shy, and a lot unsure just exactly what I wanted (from life OR boys). The nostalgia caught me hardcore…and I enjoyed every delicious moment!

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There are some hugely entertaining snark moments woven throughout this read. I especially loved Kate and Cooper’s interactions–they were funny, heady with chemistry (invisible though it was to the two of them), and super endearing. Coupled with some emotionally heavy scenes–especially between Cooper and his dad–this book was gold. I really enjoyed watching these characters interact with and react to each other/the world surrounding them. I also loved that, while there’s a bit of jealousy stemming from each of the main duo, there aren’t any heavy moments of girl hate or violence.

Cindi Madsen helped me revisit my high school days with this endearing, snarky read–and I loved every delicious minute of it. The characters are well-rounded and the romance is believable. There’s a twinge of jealousy in a few places…but that jealousy doesn’t go much farther than a twinge. I definitely recommend this to lovers of contemporary romances, high school angst, and well-matched characters. Start your checklist, penguins; let the countdown begin!

 

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9

All In: Because Sometimes, a Risk is Worth the World

bookreview

All In (Full Tilt, #2)

SPOILERS FOR FULL TILT….

Reeling from her loss, Kacey Dawson is grieving and heartbroken, her addictive demons hauling her back into the alcohol-soaked abyss she worked so hard to crawl out of. Kacey teeters on the edge of oblivion, and must fight her way through the pain, to build a new life for herself with her music, and somehow fulfill the promise she made to Jonah…one she feels is impossible to keep.

Theo Fletcher has a secret burning in his heart, one that he holds close, while he struggles to keep strong for his family that is falling apart. His mother’s health is fragile and his father’s disapproval is breaking him down. Theo is afraid if he follows his heart, he’ll fail, and not just himself, but his brother who believed in him when no one else did.

Drawn together by their pain, Theo and Kacey slowly build a friendship, re-forge old ties, help each other to heal, and give one another the courage to reach for their dreams. Together, from the depths of grief and guilt, they learn to laugh again, to trust again, and quite possibly find something beautiful and lasting amid the shattered pieces of their broken hearts.

PLEASE NOTE, this novel is NOT a standalone. It is highly recommended one read Full Tilt first to get the entire arc of the story and to avoid spoilers.

Full Tilt #2
New Adult / Romance / Contemporary
296 Pages
Publication Date:  October 11th, 2016
Get a copy here!

Other books in the duet:

Full Tilt (Full Tilt, #1)

See my Review for Full Tilt (Full Tilt #1) RIGHT HERE!

 

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: emotional, dramatic, explosive conclusion to a book duet; I feel like I was wrung out and hung up to dry; complex, well-rounded characters; so many heavy subjects handled with sensitivity and grace; poignant, powerful series

Huge thanks to Emma Scott and Netgalley for sending me a free galley 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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This was such an explosive, emotional, heart-wrenching conclusion to a journey, penguins. And this book? Took some of the hardest, most challenging subjects…and made me really think about them. Honestly, Emma Scott has a knack for approaching a heavy topic with grace and sensitivity while making readers rethink their opinions. I’ve only read this series by her so far, but each book in the duet challenged my ways of thinking and made me approach the world in different ways after reading.

 

These characters are, at the beginning of this read, utterly broken. They are shattered, lost, unsure of themselves or the world around them–and for good reason. This doesn’t make them bad characters…it just means they are more well-rounded and complex than we left them off in the first book. They make mistakes. They do silly things, or lie about the ways they feel to keep others from hurting. They are, in essence, completely human–and I adored them all so much for it. The ways they face and deal with grief throughout just brought so much growth and emotion to them.

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I think the most profound–and uplifting–growth is seen between Theo and his dad. Throughout the entire series, they’ve had such a stilted and out-of-touch relationship…it was amazing to watch them, finally!, come together and find a common ground to stand on. To watch them learn how to respect each other, and accept the differences between them. Seriously, though, each character has an amazing amount of growth, and it was this that touched me the deepest.

 

This was an emotionally-driven journey, and I am so happy to have taken the ride. The characters are realistic and well-rounded, their reactions/interactions are endearing, and the way Emma Scott approached the heavier topics was tasteful and poignant. I recommend this series to lovers of contemporary romances, a look into the ways people handle grief, and families coming together after a loss. Strike a chord and hit the high notes, penguins; the crescendo will change you.

0

The Quest for Humanity: Slightly Confusing, though Intriguing, Narrative

bookreview

MUDMEN - The Quest For Humanity

What if you thought you could play a better god than God?

Mudmen is a story unlike anything you have ever seen before. It all starts with a half-crazed dwarf scribbling furiously on a piece of paper while the world outside his little cottage is ravaged by a great storm. There is an artifact in his possession which gives him power over all else, but that artifact is stolen by the very creatures that he gave birth to in his frustration – these creatures are what we come to know as the Mudmen.

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Mudmen #1
Science Fiction / Fantasy
88 Pages
Publication Date:  January 31st, 2017
Get a copy here!

3Penguins
Quick Reasons: intriguing, entertaining premise; I was a bit confused on some of the key aspects; definite feel of an “oral narrative”; this felt a little unfinished; I didn’t feel a sense of connection with the characters or the story

Huge thanks to Shitij Sharma for sending me a free galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

I have to admit, penguins–I was SUPER intrigued by the premise of this book. I thought there was perhaps a bit of something akin to Terry Pratchett happening here, and I was so excited for that. The idea of Mudmen, and of starting anew after the “cleansing” of the world, seemed like it might be right up my alley.

 

Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with the execution in the end. As intrigued as I was by the premise and the stories being woven throughout, I felt at times that I was missing key pieces of information. I wasn’t able to “picture” what was happening–the scenery felt flat, the characters didn’t stand out or set themselves apart. There was something here, and I was intrigued…but I never really got the answers I wanted, either. I felt like I was thrown into the middle of a story that I should already have known the beginning of, instead of being taken on a journey.

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I was also unable to form any sort of connection to the characters or the adventure. There is quite a bit happening in this book, but I feel perhaps the timing of things was a bit off–instead of being able to take my time getting to know the characters and their quirks, figuring out where they were or what their goals were… I was thrust into the middle of a race to the finish. It felt rushed, in other words–instead of feeling as if I had all the information I needed for such a journey, I was left a bit confused and uncertain of what had just happened.

 

Still, the premise was intriguing, and I’m interested in the world that Shitij Sharma created for us. While I was confused about some of the finer world-building details, I loved the feel of “oral narrative” that was woven throughout the text, and would be interested in learning more about this world/these characters. I recommend this to lovers of origin stories, oral narratives, and interesting characters. Break out of your shells, penguins, and crack this journey open.

2

Blog Tour, Teasers, Giveaway, and Review: ALEX

 

ALEX: Perfect Opposite Book One
(Extended edition)

Zoya Tessi
Publication date: January 23rd 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Their wishes were simple and modest. Fate had other things in store though, and she can be a real bitch sometimes.

All he wanted was to get the job done and somehow to endure those long months playing nanny to a spoiled little rich girl. Without strangling her with his bare hands in the process. Well, it is going to be much easier said than done.

All she wanted was to escape the past and live like any other girl. Her plan definitely didn’t include the arrogant, tattooed savage, with his awful mohawk and lack of social graces, whose only mission was to stick real close and mess up her life.

But, people aren’t always what they seem to be, are they?

Goodreads / Amazon

Alex Zoya Tessi teaser 01Alex Zoya Tessi teaser 02Alex Zoya Tessi teaser 04

Author Bio:

Zoya spent years doing volunteering work all across Europe, from cleaning school basements in Northern Russia to excavating Stone Age artifacts in Euskadi (the Basque country) and renovating castles from the middle ages in Southern France. She always dreamed of working with ‘Doctors without borders’ somewhere out in Africa, but ended up doing an ‘ordinary job’ in one of the smaller European countries.

Her greatest passion is devouring each and every book that comes within her reach.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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GIVEAWAY!
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bookreview

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: you fooled me, book; emotional, dramatic, entertaining; love the love happening here; realistic, though sometimes slightly annoying, characters; some of the reactions/interactions were a bit over the top; that 89% mark almost broke me

Huge thanks to Zoya Tessi and Xpresso Book Tours for sending me a free digital 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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Okay, penguins. I’m sure you’re all sitting there in front of your computers looking at this review like, “ANOTHER romance?! Really, Beth?! REALLY?! What is wrong with you?” Well… I’ll be honest. I? am really very fond of romances. Love is the hope that keeps me going in the world. I LOVE, love, okay? And lately, I’ve been feeling a mighty need for more “happily ever afters” in my world, because let’s face it–happily ever afters are what make my little penguin heart go pit-a-pat-a-pitter. Yes, I know that’s not a real word. No, I don’t particularly care to change it.

This romance was at turns wholly realistic…and over-the-top. I’ve always been a fan of the “enemies to lovers” stories, and that’s exactly what we get here…but I felt like a few of the character reactions (especially from Sasha’s end) were a bit unrealistic and came off rather “spoiled-brat” esque. HOWEVER…the snark is super on point, especially in the moments Sasha and Alex are alone together. I fell in love with them early, thanks to their snark and sass–the moments they tear each other apart verbally were some of the most entertaining, best scenes in this book. So while Sasha was, at points, a bit childish in my mind…I forgave her easily, because she was pretty adorable at the same time.

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AND THAT 89% MARK! I swear, I about threw my tablet across the room when I hit that point, because TARNATIONS, penguins, that moment hurt. It was like I’d found the most perfect pebble ever….only to accidentally swallow it and get it lodged halfway down my poor penguin throat. I spent the next 7% of the read on tenterhooks, trying to convince the book to stop hurting me (trust me, there was a LOT of threatening happening!) Luckily, the book knew better than to leave me with such a broken mess of heart, and quickly fixed the world around me before the close.

This was, in the end, a snarky, dramatic, and entertaining read. Alex and Sasha were believable in their interactions, though perhaps (in a few cases) just a bit childish. There were some unbelievably surprising plot twists laced throughout the story, and the plot was fast-paced and complex. I definitely recommend this to lovers of star-crossed lovers, heartbreaking plot twists, and well-rounded characters. I cannot wait to pick up another Zoya Tessi book in the future! This book put me in chains, penguins; why don’t you join me in my prison?!

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20

Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Queens of Geek

 

Queens of Geek
by Jen Wilde
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult

Three friends. Two love stories. One convention.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Queens of Geek, an empowering young adult novel by Jen Wilde, is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Jen Wilde is a writer, geek and fangirl with a penchant for coffee, books and pugs. She writes YA stories about zombies (AS THEY RISE), witches (ECHO OF THE WITCH) and fangirls (QUEENS OF GEEK). Her debut series reached over three million reads online and became an Amazon bestseller.

When she’s not writing, Jen loves binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix, eating pizza, traveling to far away places and going to conventions in Marty McFly cosplay.

Jen lives in a sunny beachside town in Australia with her husband and their cheeky pug, aptly named Heisenberg.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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4.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: super important morals/lessons; these characters are quirky and lovable; LOVE the love happening here; authentic, real-life reactions and interactions; awesome character growth; THIS is a coming-of-age done well; beautifully endearing

HUGE thanks to Jen Wilde, Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tours, and Netgalley for providing 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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I just can’t even with how adorable this book was, penguins. Seriously?! it wins my week. Let’s just talk about that cover to start with, okay? That pink! That pink is EVERYTHING. Honestly, the pink hair on the cover was the very first reason I knew I needed this book in my life–for one, because at the time I had never seen a cover like it before. For two…I mean, that hair makes a statement, okay?! And it was a statement I was desperate to hear. Having finished the book… I have to admit I was totally right about that.

Which brings us to…the morals. There are some heavy subjects running through this read, including mental health. Jen Wilde approached each obstacle with a clear “end goal” in mind…and came out on top of this journey, in my opinion. The subjects are approached in sensitive, subtle ways…only to be body-slammed by the moral message later on. Like the cover, this book makes a loud and important series of statements–and comes out with head held high and chin up. The character growth and “coming-of-age” journey within these pages will have readers viewing the world–and themselves!–in new, confident ways. And that, in my opinion, is such an important thing to have achieved.

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The characters are complex, endearing, and believable. I was rooting for these three from the very beginning–and laughing, crying, hurting, celebrating right along with them. This read sucked me in from page one, and refused to let me loose. I am only a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see the world from Jamie’s perspective. Headed into this, I was rather expecting it to be split into three POVs. Instead, I only got to glimpse things from two. Still, Jamie came to life for me regardless–and I adored his interactions with Tay just as much as I adored watching Charlie fall for Alyssa. Each relationship was realistic and adorable, so it wasn’t hard to love the characters as much as I loved their journey.

Overall, this was an amusing read filled with pop and nerd culture. I really loved all the references played throughout the pages. The characters are adorable, their relationships are realistic, and I had an absolute blast watching them grow and come into their own throughout this book! I cannot WAIT to pick up another Jen Wilde book in the future! I definitely recommend this to lovers of pop culture, diverse reads, and books with some heavy-handed subjects. Don your mask and meet me at midnight, penguins; we’ll take the world by storm yet!

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3

Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Traveler

 

Traveler
(Traveler, #1)

by L.E. DeLano
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: February 7th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

A teen writer discovers that every mirror is a portal into an alternate version of her life in this romantic YA fantasy by author L.E. DeLano.

Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all teacakes, pirates and fantasy lifestyles…Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it… this Jessa is going to live.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

L.E. DeLano is a YA novelist rep’d by Barry Goldblatt Literary agency, author of the upcoming “Traveler” (Swoon Reads/MacMillan 2017) and lifelong writer. Her work has been featured on various online outlets and she lives in Pennsylvania with two very adventurous kids and two very ridiculous cats. In her spare time, she writes (of course) and binge-watches way too much Netflix.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!
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bookreview

4.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: GAAAAAH, why must you hurt me, book?!; entertaining, complex, realistic characters; TIME TRAVEL FOR THE WIN!; there’s also a sort of mirror worlds/through the looking glass thing happening that I adore; I need book two, and I need it now–give it or risk a temper tantrum!

HUGE thanks to L.E. DeLano, Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tours, and Netgalley for providing me with a free digital 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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I think the wounded penguin noises I made after this read might have been loud enough to scare the entire WORLD, guys. Seriously. My heart? Broken into itty bitty pieces I could never hope to glue back together. I need book two…and I mean NEED, as in I will not survive without it, as in I am putting the fate of my poor penguin soul in its hands. Which is probably not the best idea, considering it doesn’t come out until next spring at the earliest. BOOK, WHY YOU HURT ME SO?!

Let’s just…try to be rational and coherent for a minute, okay? There is something deliciously “through the looking glass/mirror-worlds” happening in this book that I adored from the get-go. I’ve always been a sucker for alternate realities/time travel (perhaps that’s the daydreamer stuck in me?), so when I read the blurb for this book however long ago it was, I immediately knew I needed to read it. And as I hoped, I wasn’t disappointed in the least! The plot is intricately-woven and beautifully done, a crescendo of action and emotions that left me a sobbing wreck at the end. I mean…what more could I ask of a book?!

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The characters and their relationships/interactions are fairly believable and complex. While there were a few moments of trope to be found, the drama of the plot and the intrigue of the mystery enthralled me throughout…and the use of alternate realities helped, in a sense, to keep me somehow grounded. I LOVED stepping through the mirror with Jessa, in fact, and seeing the different ways she “altered” in each place. And Finn…. I just…. Let’s just not talk about Finn right now, okay? My penguin heart can’t handle it.

Basically, I NEED BOOK TWO! And I need it desperately. I think I left a large part of my heart trapped in the pages with Jessa, and I need the second book to retrieve them. Someone, PLEASE, give me book two sooner than next spring when it’s promised?! PLEAAAAASE?! I definitely recommend this to lovers of time travel/alternate realities, complex and entertaining personalities, and fast-paced enthralling action. Take a step through the mirror with me, penguins; let’s help save the world.

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3

My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen: A Snarky Reinvention of a Well-Loved Fairy Tale

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My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen

Chris Bellows is just trying to get through high school and survive being the only stepchild in the social-climbing Fontaine family, whose recently diminished fortune hasn’t dimmed their desire to mingle with Upper East Side society. Chris sometimes feels more like a maid than part of the family. But when Chris’s stepsister Kimberly begins dating golden boy J. J. Kennerly, heir to a political dynasty, everything changes. Because Chris and J. J. fall in love . . . with each other.

With the help of a new friend, Coco Chanel Jones, Chris learns to be comfortable in his own skin, let himself fall in love and be loved, and discovers that maybe he was wrong about his step-family all along. All it takes is one fairy godmother dressed as Diana Ross to change the course of his life.

My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen is a Cinderella retelling for the modern reader. The novel expertly balances issues like sexuality, family and financial troubles, and self-discovery with more lighthearted moments like how one rogue shoe can launch a secret, whirlwind romance and a chance meeting with a drag queen can spark magic and light in a once dark reality.

YA / Contemporary / Romance / Fairy Tale Retellings
336 Pages
Sky Pony Press
Expected Publication Date:  May 2nd, 2017
Preorder a copy here!

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: just a bit stereotypical; love the humor and personality of the voice; entertaining, endearing, wholly recreated characters; I was sucked in from start to finish; tons of delicious angst, drama, and fun; the snark is on point; LOVE how David Clawson made this retelling wholly his own

Huge thanks to David Clawson, Sky Pony Press, and Edelweiss for sending me a free digital ARC of this read in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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By now, I’m sure ALL my loyal penguins know full well that I am all about retellings. They are the bread to my readerly sandwich, after all! I am ALSO all about snarky characters, uniquely individualized reads, and reinvented story lines (especially if it’s a retelling being reinvented)! There’s nothing quite like stepping into a world you’re pretty sure you’ve seen from every angle…and being proven wrong.

 

 

David Clawson did exactly this for me with this title. I’ll be honest with you guys–when I stumbled upon this title on Edelweiss and saw it was up for instant download, I didn’t think twice. I read the title, laughed out loud like a lunatic, and promptly hit “download.” I didn’t even stop to read the blurb, which means, when I picked this book up to read…. I had no idea it was a retelling. It took only a couple of pages for me to realize that’s exactly what I was reading…and only a couple more after that to realize it was going to be entirely different from the story I thought I already knew. David Clawson took this fairy tale, and molded it into his own witty, snarky, entertaining beast–and I ADORED every second of it!

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This was a fast-paced, entertaining read with some well-written, complex, and wholly unique characters. Trust me, penguins–this is not the Cinderella cast you know, but that doesn’t mean you won’t love them to tuna fish pieces. Honestly, I feel like the relationships sewn and nurtured in this book are SO MUCH BETTER than those I’ve been reading in the recent months. They are realistic, they grow and change as the characters do, and they’re all, in some tiny way, flawed…but they’re also easy for readers to relate to. In the original Cinderella story, and the subsequent retellings I’ve had the pleasure of reading/watching… I was never quite sure WHY the stepmother and sisters hated Cinderella so much. There never seemed to be an actual reason. David Clawson approached this in a new and unique way, and managed to wrap it up in the process!

 

 

I had a ton of fun with this book, and while it leans a bit heavily on certain stereotypes, I feel the personality and uniquely individualized characters really set this apart from other Cinderella retellings. The snark was heavy-handed, the morals (being true to yourself, feeling comfortable in your own skin) are handled with sensitivity, and I just ADORED me some Coco Chanel Jones–seriously, one of the best characters EVER! I recommend this to lovers of fairy tale retellings, diverse reads, and a strong focus on the sewing and building of familial relationships. If you’re seeking YOUR Prince Charming, maybe you should wear shoes that are much too big for you…you never know whose face you’ll kick one into!

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Secrets of a Reluctant Princess

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soarp-coverSecrets of a Reluctant Princess
by Casey Griffin
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Blurb:

At Beverly Hills High, you have to be ruthless to survive…

Adrianna Bottom always wanted to be liked. But this wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. Now, she’s in the spotlight…and out of her geeky comfort zone. She’ll do whatever it takes to turn the rumor mill in her favor—even if it means keeping secrets. So far, it’s working.

Wear the right clothes. Say the right things. Be seen with the right people.

Kevin, the adorable sketch artist who shares her love of all things nerd, isn’t exactly the right people. But that doesn’t stop Adrianna from crushing on him. The only way she can spend time with him is in disguise, as Princess Andy, the masked girl he’s been LARPing with. If he found out who she really was, though, he’d hate her.

The rules have been set. The teams have their players. Game on.

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Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N| Kobo | TBD | iBooks

casey-griffinAbout the Author:

Casey Griffin can often be found at comic conventions on her days off from her day job, driving 400 ton dump trucks in

Northern Alberta, Canada. As a jack of all trades with a resume boasting registered nurse, English teacher, and

photographer, books are her true passion. Casey is a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel finalist, and is currently busy

writing every moment she can.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Information: 

  • One (1) winner will receive a signed copy of Secrets of a Reluctant Princess + a Tiara!

Find the giveaway RIGHT HERE!


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3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: Adrianna/Andy has a super entertaining, snarky, vibrantly-written voice; this was a roMESS if I’ve ever read one; that director is absolute slime; lots of angst and drama; the hilarious banter between the characters is SPOT ON; I could literally “see” each of these people in the pages

HUGE thanks to Casey Griffin, Entangled: Teen, Chapter by Chapter, and Netgalley 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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Hear ye, hear ye! On behalf of the Porcelain Princess (toilet thrones now 25% off at the door!) I present to you….my review! And what a grand thing it shall be, because… Wait, wait, cut. Okay, sorry penguins–my fingers got away from me. I just couldn’t help myself! But this is a great way to start off–because this book? FILLED with snark, attitude, and just the right amount of teenage drama and hysterics. Seriously, if you’re looking for an entertaining read with a HUGE personality, you need to pick up this one–I promise it won’t let you down!

Having skimmed a few other reviews on goodreads, I can tell you it seems a majority of the readerly population was a bit… put off? by Andy/Adrianna’s attitude and personality. HOWEVER…this was not the case on my end. I really enjoyed how snarky and strong-willed she is. While there were, admittedly, a few moments I cringed over (her decisions are, as the rest of humanity, rather flawed in some instances) I ADORED how much voice and spunk Casey Griffin managed to shove into each and every page. I found myself giggling aloud, dropping my jaw at some of the twists, and even raging alongside Andy as the world seemingly fell apart around her. I was thoroughly and immensely amused by her antics and her reactions to everything happening, and loved how much “growth” I saw in her throughout the read.

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The plot is fairly predictable in some places–I mean, it IS a YA Contemporary Romance, after all. There are bound to be a few tropes and cliches along the way, right? But Casey Griffin managed to tell this story in a unique and inventive way, in my opinion–the “Bathroom Business” and ensuing reality TV show turned roadside disaster made this a quick, entertaining read. The focus on “being true to yourself” really helped to tie the story together in a seamless, engaging way, as well.

In the end, I proclaim this an enthralling, snarky, angsty read! I cannot wait to see what Casey Griffin delivers in the future–the amount of unique voice and personality she packed into these pages has me begging my liege for more. If you’re seeking a quick, witty read with a ton of attitude, look no further than this one! Just promise not to drop it in the toilet, okay? Soggy pages are not good for reading.

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4

Blog Tour, Excerpt, Giveaway, and Review: A Ghostly Mortality

A Ghostly Mortality

by Tonya Kappes

on Tour February 28 – March 30, 2017

Synopsis:

A Ghostly Mortality

That ghost sure looks . . . familiar

Only a handful of people know that Emma Lee Raines, proprietor of a small-town Kentucky funeral home, is a “Betweener.” She helps ghosts stuck between here and the ever-after—murdered ghosts. Once Emma Lee gets them justice they can cross over to the great beyond.

But Emma Lee’s own sister refuses to believe in her special ability. In fact, the Raines sisters have barely gotten along since Charlotte Rae left the family business for the competition. After a doozy of an argument, Emma Lee is relieved to see Charlotte Rae back home to make nice. Until she realizes her usually snorting, sarcastic, family-ditching sister is a… ghost.

Charlotte Rae has no earthly idea who murdered her or why. With her heart in tatters, Emma Lee relies more than ever on her sexy beau, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross…because this time, catching a killer means the Raines sisters will have to make peace with each other first.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal

Published by: Witness

Publication Date: February 28th 2017

Number of Pages: 336

ISBN: 0062466976 (ISBN13: 9780062466976)

Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #6

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Lawdy bee.” Granny scooted to the edge of the chair and lifted her arms in the air like she was worshiping in the Sunday morning service at Sleepy Hollow Baptist and the spirit just got put in her.

I sucked in a deep breath, preparing myself for whatever was going to come out of Zula Fae Raines Payne’s mouth, my granny. She was a ball of southern spitfire in her five-foot-four-inch frame topped off with bright red hair that I wasn’t sure was real or out of a L’Oréal bottle she’d gotten down at the Buy-N-Fly.

“Please, please, please,” she begged. “Let me die before anything happens to Emma Lee.” Her body slid down the fancy, high-back mahogany leather chair as she fell to her knees with her hands clasped together, bringing them back up in the air as she pleaded to the Big Guy in the sky. “I’m begging you.”

“Are you nuts?” My voice faded to a hushed stillness. I glanced back at the closed door of my sister’s new office, in fear she was going to walk in and see Granny acting up. I sat in the other fancy, high-back mahogany leather chair next to Granny’s and grabbed her by the loose skin of her underarm. “Get back up on this chair before Charlotte Rae gets back in here and sees you acting like a fool.”

“What?” Granny quirked her eyebrows questioningly as if her behavior was normal. My head dropped along with my jaw in the “are you kidding me” look.

“Well, I ain’t lying!” She spat, “I do hope and pray you are the granddaughter that will be doing my funeral, unless you get a flare up of the ‘Funeral Trauma.’ ” She sucked in a deep breath and got up off her knees. She ran her bony fingers down the front of her cream sweater to smooth out any wrinkles so she’d be presentable like a good southern woman, forgetting she was just on her knees begging for mercy.

“Flare up?” I sighed with exasperation. “It’s not like arthritis.”

The “Funeral Trauma.” It was true. I was diagnosed with the “Funeral Trauma” after a decorative plastic Santa fell off the roof of Artie’s Meat and Deli, knocking me flat out cold and now I could see dead people. I had told Doc Clyde I was having some sort of hallucinations and seeing dead people, but he insisted I had been in the funeral business a little too long and seeing corpses all of my life had brought on the trauma. Truthfully, the Santa had given me a gift. Not a gift you’d expect Santa to give you, but it was the gift of seeing clients of Eternal Slumber, my family’s funeral home business where I was the undertaker. Some family business. Anyway, a psychic told me I was now a Betweener. I helped people who were stuck between here and the ever after. The Great Beyond. The Big Guy in the sky. One catch . . . the dead people I saw were murdered and they needed me to help them solve their murder before they could cross over.

“I’m fine,” I huffed and took the pamphlet off of Charlotte Rae’s desk, keeping my gift to myself. The only people who knew were me, the psychic and Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, my hot, hunky and sexy boyfriend. He was as handy as a pocket on a shirt when it came time for me to find a killer when a ghost was following me around. “We are here to get her to sign my papers and talk about this sideboard issue once and for all.” Granny stared at me.

My head slid forward like a turtle and I popped my eyes open.

“I’m fine,” I said through closed teeth.

“You are not fine.” Granny rolled her eyes so big, I swear she probably hurt herself. “People are still going around talking about how you talk to yourself.” She shook her finger at me. “If you don’t watch it, you are going to be committed. Surrounded by padded walls. Then—She jabbed her finger on my arm. I swatted her away with the pamphlet.

“Charlotte Rae will have full control over my dead body and I don’t want someone celebrating a wedding while I lay corpse in the next room. Lawdy bee,” Granny griped. I opened the pamphlet and tried to ignore Granny as best I could.

“Do you hear me, Emma Lee?” Granny asked. I could feel her beady eyes boring into me.

“Don’t you be disrespecting your elders. I asked you a question,” she warned when I didn’t immediately answer her question.

“Granny.” I placed the brochure in my lap and reminded myself to remain calm. Something I did often when it came to my granny. “I hear you. Don’t you worry about a thing. By the time you get ready to die, they will have you in the nut-house alongside me,” I joked, knowing it would get her goat. The door flung open and the click of Charlotte Rae’s high-dollar heels tapped the hardwood floor as she sashayed her way back into her office. The soft linen green suit complemented Charlotte’s sparkly green eyes and the chocolate scarf that was neatly tied around her neck. It was the perfect shade of brown to go with her long red hair and pale skin.

“I’m so sorry about that.” She stopped next to our chairs and looked between me and Granny. She shook the long, loose curls over her shoulders. “What? What is wrong, now?”

“Granny is all worried I’m going to get sent away to the nuthouse and you are going to lay her out here.” The words tumbled out of my mouth before I could stop them. Or did my subconscious take over my mouth? It was always a competition between me and Charlotte, only it was one-sided. Mine. Charlotte never viewed me as competition because she railroaded me all my life. Like now. She’d left Eternal Slumber with zero guilt, leaving me in charge so she could make more money at Hardgrove’s Legacy Center, formerly known as Hardgrove’s Funeral Homes until they got too big for their britches and decided to host every life event possible just to make more money.

Excerpt from A Ghostly Mortality by Tonya Kappes. Copyright © 2017 by Tonya Kappes. Reproduced with permission from Witness. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Tonya KappesTonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys’ high school games with a pencil and paper in hand.

Catch Up with Tonya Kappes on her Website 🔗, Twitter 🔗,
& Facebook 🔗

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Tonya Kappes and Witness Impulse. There will be 1 US winner of one PRINTED set of The Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1-6 by Tonya Kappes. The giveaway begins on February 27th and runs through April 2nd, 2017.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


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3.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: I was a tiny bit confused about some plot things; entertaining, snarky, head-strong character; love the setting and dialect; love that a loose end played on throughout is used as a mini introduction to the next book; I might just have to pick up the rest of this series!

Huge thanks to Tonya Kappes, Witness Publishing, Partners in Crime Tours, and Edelweiss for sending me a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

First things first: I went into this book KNOWING I hadn’t read any of the previous books in the series. I knew, going in, that this might potentially lead to some confusion about the world and/or characters. I warned myself the confusion might, at times, be more than anticipated. So I wasn’t blind or oblivious to the fact that there might, reading this, be problems waiting for me. This being said… I was pleasantly surprised when I managed to get through most of this read without a hitch! While some past events went unexplained or were left up to me to figure out for myself (the relationship between Emma Lee and Jack Henry, for instance)–I was able to piece them together fairly easily, and remain convinced of the world and characters. Of course, there was still a little bit of confusion about certain things…but in the end, I was able to dive into this story and remain curious and enthralled throughout. This basically boils down to this for potential readers: while I still recommend starting at the beginning (because I’m usually that type of reader) you could pretty easily slip into the story later on if you want or need to.

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The characters are realistic and entertaining. Emma Lee was a snarky and head-strong character throughout the read; not once did she allow anyone to talk down to her, or sway her mind once she’d set it, or tell her what to do. I really loved following her on her ventures to find her sister’s killer–while it’s clear from the get-go that she’s not a professional detective or cop, she made the journey quick and fun. The moments with her sister were mixed parts aggravating, endearing, and totally believable; the moments with Granny, who’s a spitfire all her own, were both hilarious and heart-wrenching.

 

I had such a fun time following the clues in this murder-mystery, I’m considering picking up the rest of the series (and starting from the beginning this time)! This was an entertaining, snarky, believable read with some wild and head-strong characters. I recommend this to lovers of cozy mysteries, sleuthy characters, and small towns with big hearts. Follow the clues, penguins, and see if you can figure out who the killer is before the big reveal! I promise you’ll be just as surprised as I was!