THE WINDOW by Amelia Brunskill Blog Tour Review

I am so thrilled to be a part of the tour for Amelia Brunskill’s debut, THE WINDOW, which releases next week. This is such an incredible book and so, so, so much more than a mystery.

If you’d like to know a bit more about what I thought, my review follows further below. If you’d like to know more about THE WINDOW or Author Amelia Brunskill, keep scrolling for details about them both and links to find them online.


About THE WINDOW

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Title: THE WINDOW
Author: Amelia Brunskill
Release date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

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Description…

Secrets have a way of getting out. . . .

Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside–it’s hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess’s life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn’t add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it’s a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she’s looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn’t the only one with secrets.

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NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


The Review

THE WINDOW is so much more than a mystery, though it is is quite the intriguing one. It’s a compelling and moving story about identity, about relationships, about sisters, about friendship, and about secrets and the dangers in keeping them. It is a highly addictive, perfectly paced read that will keep you captivated, with a main character who is different and interesting and determined and instantly likable.

Jess Cutter thought she knew everything about her identical twin sister Anna. But she didn’t know her sister was sneaking out at night. She didn’t know who her sister was dressing up for. She didn’t know exactly when Anna started keeping secrets.

But she did know her sister’s death wasn’t an accident. She did know that people weren’t telling her everything about what happened that night or what they knew about Anna. She did know enough about her sister to know that something else was going on.

And whatever it took, she was going to find out the truth.

With a diverse pool of potential suspects, several clues for Jess to find or miss, revealing teases from Anna herself, a number of people who appear to know more than they are letting on, and quite a few possibilities as to what, how, and why, Author Amelia Brunskill has made her story suspenseful and riveting. But she didn’t stop there.

She created a character in Jess who isn’t your typical sleuth. She isn’t curious or nosy. Her aversion toward connecting or interacting with people makes her an unlikely detective/heroine. It is her desire to problem-solve, to make things make sense, and her need to understand her sister that drive her and ultimately solve the puzzle.

THE WINDOW is as much a drama as it is a mystery. It is tragic and sad and heartbreaking. It has moments that are uplifting and empowering and hopeful. It is a story that’s just so easy to fall into, get hooked, get lost in, and fall in love with. It’s a phenomenal debut and a read that will not easily be forgotten.

The Rating

Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.


About the Author

Amelia Brunskill was born in Melbourne, Australia, but she grew up mostly in Washington state where she picked a lot of blackberries, read a lot of books and failed to properly appreciate the epic beauty of the mountains and the Pacific ocean. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in psychology and art from the University of Washington and her master’s in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Chicago, where she eats as much Thai food as possible and works as a librarian.The Window is her debut novel.

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TO KILL A KINGDOM by Alexandra Christo Blog Tour Review

I am so excited to be a stop on the TO KILL A KINGDOM Blog Tour. From the moment I saw the cover and the tagline I was intrigued.

But when I read the description I knew Alexandra Christo’s TO KILL A KINGDOM was going to be one of those stories that I’d want to devour in a single sitting just to find out how everything ended – and it was. It was so completely unputdownable.

If you’d like to know what else I thought, my review follows below. If you haven’t yet heard of this book, which comes out next week on March 6th, check out the bookish details below. And if you’d like to connect with the author on social media, links to places you can find her online follow at the end of the post.


About TO KILL A KINGDOM

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Title: TO KILL A KINGDOM
Author: Alexandra Christo
Release date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 352
Foramts: Hardcover, audio, eBook

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Description…

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most–a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen and or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby–it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good–But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

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Note: This review is based on an ARC and eARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


The Review

A multitude of battles and skirmishes, oceans of bloodthirsty creatures, a seemingly impossible quest, a golden prince, and a cold-hearted princess are just some of what make TO KILL A KINGDOM unputdownable. Powerful magic, vengeful and ruthless killers, deception, lies, betrayal, stolen hearts, and romance make it unforgettable.

The Sea Queen’s mandate that every siren must add a heart to her collection only once a year, on her birthday, must be followed. Even by her daughter, Princess Lira. But when the chance to steal a prince’s heart a few weeks early presents itself, she can’t resist.

She knew that breaking the rules might incite her mother’s wrath. But she never thought her actions would ultimately lead to the punishment her mother chose to inflict – one that turned her into her enemy, leaving her weak, vulnerable, and separated from her home.

Determined to impress the Sea Queen and prove just how valuable and clever and brutal she could be, Lira set her sights on the heart of the Midasan prince, Prince Elian. Even in human form she would show her mother that she was the Prince’s Bane and had no shred of humanity that would render her unworthy of reigning when the queen stepped down.

Prince Elian never wanted to take the throne and be forever trapped in Midas. He was only ever happy when at sea, hunting down the sirens that lured ships’ captains and crews to their deaths, and pursuing the siren known only as the Prince’s Bane.

When he learned of an object that had the power to destroy the Sea Queen and every last siren, he would do whatever it took to find it. Even if it meant trusting in fairytales. Even if it mean entering a soul-crushing bargain. Even if it meant relying on someone he knew he should never trust.

Alexandra Christo penned a most delightful, fierce, action-packed, vicious, captivating, and immensely entertaining tale. Her monsters are monstrous. Her heroes are deadly. Their adventures are enthralling. Their quest is formidable. The fights are savage. The romance is unlikely. The outcome is unpredictable.

And with one enemy in the dark, another filled with uncertainty, and two kingdoms on the line, TO KILL A KINGDOM is guaranteed to be a gripping, thrilling, and all-consuming, tentacle-filled read.

The Rating


About Alexandra Christo

Alexandra Christo decided to write books when she was four and her teacher told her she couldn’t be a fairy. She has a BA in Creative Writing and works as a copywriter in London, both of which make her sound more grown up than she feels. When she’s not busy making up stories, she can be found buying far too many cushions and organizing food crawls all over the city. Alexandra currently lives in Hertfordshire with an abundance of cacti (because they’re the only plants she can keep alive).Alexandra is the author of To Kill a Kingdom.

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THE TRAITOR’S GAME by Jennifer A. Nielsen Blog Tour Review

I am super excited to be a part of THE TRAITOR’S GAME Blog Tour and to be sharing my review post on its release day.

Yes, the wait is finally over for Jennifer A. Nielsen‘s THE TRAITOR’S GAME, so if you’ve been dying to read this first book in the new series you’ll be able to grab a copy today!

If you haven’t yet heard of this new release – which is seriously, seriously, awesome – all sorts of info is below, along with a link to an excerpt. And if you’d like to join to conversation to talk about what you think about Kestra and Simon and all that happens, join the conversation on social media using #TheTraitorsGame.

Of course if you want to know why it’s called THE TRAITOR’S GAME or discover the meaning behind the tagline – Motives Will Shift. Secrets Will Emerge. – you’ll have to dive in to find out.


About THE TRAITOR’S GAME

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Title & Series: THE TRAITOR’S GAME (The Traitor’s Game #1)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Release date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 400
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

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Description…

Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well—and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.

The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what—and who—it is they’re fighting for.

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NOTE: This review is based on an eARC and ARC received by the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A finished Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


The Review

THE TRAITOR’S GAME is instantly and completely riveting, immeasurably intriguing, and filled to the brim with action, deception, secrets, lies, betrayal, and heartbreak. The dual POV both reveals and teases. The world is elaborate and interesting and dangerous and thrilling. The characters are captivating, mysterious, challenging, defiant, and a bit untrustworthy. The story grips and twists and surprises and leads to a phenomenally astonishing ending that hints at just some of the amazingness to come in the sequel.

Kestra knew the Dallisors had enemies. With her father willing to do Lord Endrick’s bidding, there were bound to be those who despised her family. She just never imagined how many or who she’d have to protect herself against. And she never thought a time would come when she could be coerced into helping them.

Simon took an oath to stand with those looking to take back the throne, those seeking to defeat Lord Endrick. The rage he felt toward Kestra Dallisor for her betrayal was just fuel on a fire already burning. He never imagined his allegiance would be questioned or that he’d be the one to question it. He never dreamed he might one day have to protect the person he hated most in the world.

Jennifer Nielsen went so far above and beyond with this first book in her new series. Her world and characters stand out – corrupting magic, remarkable and deadly creatures and weapons, an alluring myth, exciting and treacherous and conniving friends and foes. The plot is electrifying and jam-packed with harrowing chases, lethal assaults, intricate plans, difficult choices, shaky alliances, unanticipated outcomes, devastating losses. The pace is fast, the writing suspenseful and engaging and detailed, and the ending worth every nail-biting moment leading up to it.

If you like your heroines fierce, your heroes protective, their loyalties divided, their missions complex, their motivations hidden, their lives full of secrets, THE TRAITOR’S GAME is an absolute must.

The Rating

Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.


The Trailer


Praise

About Jennifer A. Nielsen

Jennifer A. Nielsen is the acclaimed author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Ascendance Trilogy: The False Prince, The Runaway King, and The Shadow Throne. She also wrote the New York Times bestselling Mark of the Thief trilogy: Mark of the Thief, Rise of the Wolf, and Wrath of the Storm; the standalone fantasy The Scourge; the historical thriller A Night Divided; the second book in the Horizon series, Deadzone; and Book Six of the Infinity Ring series, Behind Enemy Lines; and The Traitor’s Game, the first book in a series of the same name.

Jennifer lives in northern Utah with her husband, their three children, and a perpetually muddy dog.

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Review: THE DARK CALLING by Kresley Cole

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Title & Series: THE DARK CALLING (The Arcana Chronicles #6)
Author: Kresley Cole
Release date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Valkyrie Press
Pages: 350
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook

The Description…

New intrigues, adventures, and stunning revelations fill the penultimate installment of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s electrifying Arcana Chronicles.

In a world teetering on the edge . . .

When Evie receives life-changing—and possibly game-changing—news, she has trouble believing it. Why doesn’t she feel any different? Is it possible someone she trusts might be lying?

With enemies at every turn . . .

Tensions seethe inside the castle of lost time as Evie starts to doubt her own sanity. Answers can be found outside their stronghold, but will Death help her find them—or prevent her from learning the truth about her future and Jack’s possible survival?

Darkness beckons. 

A mysterious, sinister power begins to affect the Arcana in its path. Forced out into the wasteland alone, Evie must depend on unexpected allies. But as a battle with Richter looms, can her new alliance defeat the Dark Calling before hell reigns on earth?

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Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the author’s publicist in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


The Review

Unexpected. Heartbreaking. Shocking. Surprising. Intense. Amazing. Game-changer. THE DARK CALLING will make jaws drop – many, many times. It promises twists that are astonishing, unforeseen, exciting, fascinating, epic. A new player is revealed. A few players make their exit. Others make their power plays. And several players struggle just to survive.

With the game nearing its end, the post-Flash world is falling even further into ruin, causing some cards to weaken – from hunger, from loss of power, from madness. The Fool continues to make moves, pushing players toward an outcome he has not yet revealed. The final card makes itself known with devastating consequences. Plans and alliances have to be reassessed. And the Empress will have far more to deal with then she could ever have imagined.

With food supplies running low, and desperation growing among those that remain in the Ash, the safest place for Evie is with Death. But when his home turns from haven to danger zone, she’ll have to take her chances with the slavers, baggers, and others not in her alliance. Players like Richter and Zara.

Unable to tap into the strongest of her powers, in mourning and stunned by the turns of events that made her go on the run, out of contact with Matthew, and unsure about what comes next, she’ll have to trust in the tenuous alliance she has with a card she defeated in the past, find a way to reach an ally she does trust with her life, keep ahead of those in pursuit, find food that doesn’t involve cannibalism, and learn how to defeat her newest nemesis.

Kresley Cole is a master at keeping the thrill, the heat, the heartache alive well into a series – and she brought that mastery to this installment in spades. It is nail-bitingly suspenseful. There are a multitude of surprises. There are tragic, heart-rending losses. There is enough romance in a single kiss to more than satisfy.

The game continues on toward its seemingly inevitable, cataclysmic conclusion. But how it will end remains a mystery. Who the victor will be has yet to be divulged. Whose alliances will hold is undetermined. Who will even be capable of fighting in the final installment is unknown. And whether Evie will give herself over to the Red Witch is still uncertain. All of which guarantee a gripping and wildly entertaining read with the promise of an even more extraordinary, astounding, breathtaking series conclusion.

THE DARK CALLING is exceptional, riveting, unpredictable, unforgettable, must-devour, and well worth the wait. Those who have been looking for answers will finally have them. Those who can’t get enough of the Empress’s complicated love life will be satiated. Those looking for an edge-of-your-seat page-turner will be perched precariously on the very edge of their seats, flying through every single page. And those not looking to be left on the edge of a cliff at the story’s end will be over-the-moon happy, but just as eagerly awaiting the next installment as if they were.

The Rating

Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.


About the Author

Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers series, and five award-winning historical romances.

A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings.

Her IAD books have been translated into 23 foreign languages, garnered 3 RITA awards, a Hall of Fame induction, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad.

Cole lives in Florida with her family.

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Other Books in the Series

Review: WINNER TAKE ALL by Laurie Devore

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Title: WINNER TAKE ALL
Author: Laurie Devore
Release date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Imprint
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

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Descripton…

For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win.
For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game.
They both have everything to lose.

Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.

Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?

Visceral and whip-smart, Laurie Devore’s Winner Take All paints an unflinching portrait of obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection.

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NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


The Review

There is a lot to love about Laurie Devore’s WINNER TAKE ALL. It is an exciting, emotional roller coaster of a read. It sheds light on a number of issues – the disparity between the rich and those less fortunate and between women and men, boys and girls. It shows how striving to be the best is not always a good thing, and can cause one to lose sight of who they are and what’s really important. It has a strong, if flawed, heroine. And it has romance, and humor, and drama, and heartbreak.

Nell Becker wants to be the best. And she would be if Jackson Hart weren’t standing in her way. With his looks, his charm, his money, and his gender, everything comes easy to him. Which only makes Nell want to beat him all the more.

But in order to win she will have to do whatever it takes. Even if it means playing dirty and becoming someone she never thought she could be. And she will have to decide whether her reputation, her friendships, her health and her heart are worth destroying if that’s what it means to defeat her nemesis.

Author Laurie Devore packed a lot into her novel of rivalry gone awry. It wasn’t just a fiery but toxic romance. It wasn’t simply a story of secrets, lies, betrayal. There was much food for thought about economic and gender inequality, hypocrisy, infidelity, alcoholism, obsession, competition.

And while many of these issues were woven seamlessly into the story, there were a few instances where they felt inorganic or heavy-handed and it became more about the issue than the characters or the story itself.

The most interesting, intriguing, maddening, fascinating part of the story was the author’s choice of heroine. Nell is not the most likable of characters – to put it mildly – and isn’t the most obvious choice to be a paragon. At times her behavior is downright appalling. She’s driven, ultra competitive, judgmental, selfish, stubborn, reckless and arrogant. But she is strong – her mistakes and failures do not make her pitiable or turn her into a victim. She goes after what she wants – even if a bit too ruthlessly. She’s a fighter. And she does, eventually, learn from her mistakes – which, for some, might be too late for her to earn her redemption.

Whether you champion Nell or despise her, WINNER TAKE ALL is a compelling, thoroughly entertaining, and emotionally-charged read that sparks and sizzles and will keep readers riveted.

The Rating

A note about the cover: I have some major cover love for WINNER TAKE ALL – and not just because I did notice exactly which match is raised.


About Laurie Devore

Laurie Devore was born and raised in small town South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University. She now lives and works in Chicago, where she misses the charms and contradictions of the south every day. In her spare time, she reluctantly runs marathons, watches too much TV, and works a “y’all” into every conversation. She is the author of How to Break a Boy.

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