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    Blog Tour Review: SADIE by Courtney Summers

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    Title: SADIE
    Author: Courtney Summers
    Release date: September 4, 2018
    Publisher: Wednesday Books
    Pages: 320
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

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    Description…

    Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

    But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

    When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

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


    The Review

    An incredibly powerful and heart-rending and timely story, SADIE takes readers on a dark and gripping and emotional ride. It is a murder mystery that is instantly heartbreaking, at times horrifying, and always hopeful. It is the story of one sister’s love and unfailing determination to find her sister’s killer and the story of one journalist’s reluctant investigation into that sister’s disappearance.

    West McCray didn’t want to head back to Cold Creek to dig deeper into the disappearance of Sadie Hunter. Her sister, Mattie’s murder the year before was tragic, but he didn’t think that a story about a missing teenager would be all that exciting. He couldn’t have been more wrong.

    As he attempts to follow the events that led up to the Farfield police’s discovery of Sadie’s abandoned car and personal belongings, he finds himself putting together the pieces of a story that is far more ominous and complex than he could have imagined.

    Told through West’s podcasts, interviews and conversations and from Sadie’s point of view, Courtney Summers offers a unique way for readers to get to know Sadie and some of the others who played an important role in Sadie’s life, and to unravel both the mystery of Sadie’s disappearance and the mystery of Mattie’s murder.

    The author penned a story that is nail-biting, enraging, and deeply touching. Her character, Sadie, is strong and courageous and loyal and loving and sympathetic. The journey she asks readers to take is not an easy one – it’s disturbing and heart-achingly sad. But it is an important one.

    From the very beginning, SADIE will grab hold. It will tear at your heartstrings as you mourn for all that has been lost. It will remind you of both the goodness and the evil in this world. It will keep you riveted as you learn what West learns and find out whether Sadie succeeded in her search.

    It is a beautifully and hauntingly written tale that will be unforgettable.

    The Rating


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


    About Courtney Summers

    Photo Credit: Megan Gunter

    Courtney Summers was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada in 1986 and currently resides in a small town not far from there. At age 14, and with her parents’ blessing, Courtney dropped out of high school to pursue her education independently. At age 18, she wrote her first novel and never looked back. Her first book, Cracked Up to Be, was published in 2008, when she was 22. To date, she has authored five novels and is best known for her unapologetic, difficult female protagonists. In 2016, Courtney was named one of Flare Magazine’s 60 under 30.

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    About The Girls Podcast

    THE GIRLS: Find Sadie is the first-ever YA thriller podcast. The Serial-like show is based off the novel Sadie by Courtney Summers. In a brilliant move, Summers scripted periodic chapters of the novel like a podcast script, hosted by fictional radio personality West McCray. The six-part podcast series brings these chapters to life with a 30+ person cast, music, and sound effects and was a collaboration between Macmillan Audio, Macmillan Podcasts, and Wednesday Books. Episode 1 launches on August 1st, and the show will air seven weekly episodes available on all the major podcast platforms. The final episode will feature a bonus interview with Courtney Summers and her editor Sara Goodman.

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    Blog Tour Review: WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU by Ariel Kaplan

    I am thrilled to be a part of the WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU Blog Tour and to share my thoughts about this seriously fantastic sophomore novel by Ariel Kaplan.

    I was drawn in by the title and subtitle. And ever since I read the description I just knew it was going to be one of those books I’d devour in a single sitting.

    If you haven’t yet grabbed your copy, the book’s description and places to find it online are below. And if you’d like to know what I thought, scroll down further for my review.


    About WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU

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    Title: WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU
    Author: Ariel Kaplan
    Release date: August 21, 2018
    Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 352
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    Mischa Abramavicius is a walking, talking, top-scoring, perfectly well-rounded college application in human form. So when she’s rejected not only by the Ivies, but her loathsome safety school, she is shocked and devastated. All the sacrifices her mother made to send her to prep school, the late nights cramming for tests, the blatantly résumé-padding extracurriculars (read: Students for Sober Driving) … all that for nothing.

    As Mischa grapples with the prospect of an increasingly uncertain future, she questions how this could have happened in the first place. Is it possible that her transcript was hacked? With the help of her best friend and sometimes crush, Nate, and a group of eccentric techies known as “The Ophelia Syndicate,” Mischa launches an investigation that will shake the quiet community of Blanchard Prep to its stately brick foundations.

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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

    WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU is the whole package. It has drama, and humor, and romance. It is thought provoking. It offers a mystery to be solved. It has likable and interesting characters. It is instantly engaging and stays that way until the very end.

    Mischa Abramavicius thought she had the college application process all figured out. She had the grades – straight A’s… well, except for that one A-. She had the extracurriculars. Her SATs were competitive. Her essay was well-written. And the schools she applied to were varied enough that she was guaranteed to get accepted to at least one, other than her safety school, even if the competition was especially fierce. Right?

    But when even they decided she wasn’t worthy of admittance, she knew there had to be some kind of mistake. And, once she recovered from the shock, she was going to find out just what happened. Because she didn’t work so hard for so long and her mother didn’t scrimp and save and sacrifice, just to give up without a fight. Even if she wasn’t entirely sure what she was fighting for was what she still wanted.

    Author Ariel Kaplan penned a novel that is clever and funny and thrilling and nail-biting. She created a character in Mischa who is very relatable and, if not always lovable, is likable and compelling. Her mystery provides a number of theories and motives and suspects to choose from. And she asks some important questions about life and choices and self.

    From fierce rivalry, to family pressure and expectations, to economic hardships and unfair disadvantages, the author gave her overachieving character a lot to deal with. Add in an enemy who has every reason to want Mischa to fail, a mother she does not want to disappoint, a group of friends willing to risk their futures for her, a secret whose knowledge could be the cause of her predicament, and a system that makes it almost impossible to uncover the truth of what happened, and Mischa’s plight promises to be riveting.

    And with a quick pace, a few surprise twists, some daring feats, a number of difficult choices, and an unexpected outcome, WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU is a must.

    The Rating


    About Ariel Kaplan

    A. E. Kaplan was born in California and moved to Virginia at the age of seven, where she spent her childhood playing in the woods and reading all the folklore she could get her hands on. She has a BA in history and religious studies from the College of William and Mary and an MLS from Florida State University.

    Now a writer, she lives in Virginia with her family. Her first book, Grendel’s Guide to Love and War, received three starred reviews and was selected as an Indies Introduce book, among other honors. We Regret to Inform You is her second novel.

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    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.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE | GOODREADS

    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?

    AMAZON HC | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | THE ARCANA CHRONICLES | GOODREADS

    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

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    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

    Read an EXCERPT

    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.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | MACMILLAN | GOODREADS

    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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