Category Archives: reviews

Before We Disappear by Shaun David Hutchinson Audiobook Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young man must decide between the woman who has given him a home and the young man who has stolen his heart in turn of the 19th century America in author Shaun David Hutchinson’s “Before We Disappear”. 

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The Synopsis

It’s a new star-crossed romance about the magic of first love from the acclaimed author of We Are the Ants and Brave Face, Shaun David Hutchinson.

Jack Nevin’s clever trickery and moral flexibility make him the perfect assistant to the Enchantress, one of the most well-known stage magicians in turn-of-the-nineteenth-century Europe. Without Jack’s steady supply of stolen tricks, the Enchantress’s fame would have burned out long ago.

But when Jack’s thievery catches up to them, they’re forced to flee to America to find their fortune. Luckily, the Enchantress is able to arrange a set of sold-out shows at Seattle’s Alaska–Yukon–Pacific World’s Fair Exposition. She’s convinced they’re going to rich and famous until a new magician arrives on the scene. Performing tricks that defy the imagination, Laszlo’s show overshadows the Enchantress, leaving Jack no choice but to hunt for the secrets to his otherworldly illusions. But what Jack uncovers isn’t at all what he expected.

Behind Laszlo’s tricks is Wilhelm—a boy that can seemingly perform real magic. Jack and Wilhelm have an instant connection, and as the rivalry between the Enchantress and Laszlo grows, so too does Jack and Wilhelm’s affection. But can Jack choose between the woman who gave him a life and the boy who is offering him everything?

It’s a stirring tale about the magic of love from award-winning author Shaun David Hutchinson.

The Review

This was such a magical read (pun intended)! The author does an incredible job of crafting an alternate history setting with a magical realism story element while still incorporating the hardships and struggles of not only that era but the struggles of the youth in the LGBTQ community. The theme of family and finding one’s place in the world was felt in every chapter of this book, and really captured the heart of the narrative.

The characters were so engaging to read. The alternating perspective of protagonists Jack and Willhelm were so interesting to see unfold, as they came from very different paths in life by the time they found one another, and yet found a sense of belonging and home within one another’s lives. The background of magic, both real and more illusion-based, was fascinating to see unfold, especially considering the era of the narrative.

The Verdict

A brilliant, heartfelt, and engaging YA Magical and LGBTQ Historical Fiction, author Shaun David Hutchinson’s “Before We Disappear” is a must-read (and listen) book of 2021.  The perfect book to grab as we head into the fall season, the balance of history, magic, and LGBTQ-forward romance was amazing to see in this novel, and I look forward to reading more of this amazing author’s work. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in West Palm Beach, Florida, Shaun grew up twenty minutes north in the town of Jupiter. He has three brothers (two older, one younger) and a half-sister.

Shaun attended Jupiter High School before going on to Florida Atlantic University, where he studied medieval and renaissance literature. Shaun has also studied emergency medicine, gaining his EMT certification, and firefighting. Ultimately, he ended up working with computers designing databases, building apps, and coding websites before publishing his first book, The Deathday Letter.

Shaun currently lives in Seattle, WA and works full time as an author. In his free time, he enjoys baking, running, designing 3D environments for virtual reality, and reading.

http://shaundavidhutchinson.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Before-We-Disappear/dp/B08TSPMKS2/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1632448823&sr=8-1

Live for Joy by Anne Scottlin Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Anne Scottlin takes readers on a journey of spirituality and self-growth in her book, “Live for Joy”.

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The Synopsis

Anne Scottlin delivers fresh motivational insights and succinct morsels of philosophy to help inspire your practice of self-awareness and to cultivate a mindset of authenticity and joy. Paired with extraordinary art and photography, these inspirational messages create a visually stunning feast for the senses.

Whether you consume this book in one sitting or keep it close-at-hand for quick infusions of courage or moments of contemplation, you will find it an indispensable tool to support you in tapping into your best version of yourself.

The Review

This was a powerful and moving work of philosophy and introspective work that blended nuggets of thought-provoking sentiments with artwork and photography that captured the essence and tone that the author was going for in this book. The imagery and tone always brought the reader to the present moment, taking away the worries of the past and future and instead focusing on moments as they were happening. 

What really stood out was the philosophical wellbeing that the author employed in the reader’s minds and how the author’s messages of hope and fulfillment spoke to the reader in a personal way. The balance of the images and inspirational messages found with one another struck quite the emotional chord and expanded upon several aspects of life that readers will find relevant to them, from relaxing and taking one’s time in life, to connecting with your creative force and so much more. 

The Verdict

A memorable, thoughtful, and engaging read, author Anne Scottlin’s “Live for Joy” is a remarkable philosophy and spiritual read. The emotional pull of the author’s messages and the theme of living in the moment and finding fulfillment in one’s present life was such a beautiful message that inspires hope and love in the reader’s hearts. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!


Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

ANNE SCOTTLIN is an author, consultant and specialist in emotional well-being. She leads innovative corporate training on work-life integration and individual fulfillment. A podcaster and influencer, Scottlin’s popular Twitter feed draws millions of views a month and she produces a compelling weekly show. Her energy and enthusiasm attract clients worldwide to her workshops, retreats and her flagship program, The Power of Joy Transformation.

A uniquely gifted teacher, Anne’s singularity springs from the blend of her academic background, entrepreneurial experience, and unusual upbringing. She also draws from her personal quest for joy, self-actualization and global vision. An aesthete deeply inspired by nature, mindfulness and excellence, Anne’s approach is one of compassion, honesty and high standards.

Anne lives in Santa Monica, California, with her husband and two Mini Schnauzers. When she’s not working with her clients or writing a new book she enjoys wilderness hiking, world travel, and recharging outdoors in her favorite hammock. One of her best kept secrets is that she is a Medieval history hobbyist with a special interest in medieval women writers.

https://www.annescottlin.com/

Little Owl by Lauri Schoenfeld Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A mother must find a way of unlocking her past, saving her marriage and discovering the truth behind her daughters disappearances in author Lauri Schoenfeld’s “Little Owl”.

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The Synopsis

Adaline Rushner is a woman in pieces. Her daughters have gone missing, and although the authorities seem to have found their bodies, something still isn’t right. Her husband, Cache, can’t bear the pain and wants to move on, but Adaline can’t shake the feeling they’re still alive. She even starts seeing them in the house, though Cache does not. Adaline wonders whether this current tragedy has something to do with the misfortune and painful experiences she suffered in her own childhood, but her memories have gaps in them that she can’t quite close on her own.

After Adaline and Cache move to Salt Lake City, everything gets even stranger. Local cop Officer Abbott thinks Adaline’s distinctive owl necklace may somehow link to his own missing daughter. Adaline’s neighbor Maggie offers assistance and comfort, but Adaline suspects her of hiding other truths from her. Adaline tries to prepare for her girls’ eventual return while investigating her own past forgotten traumas, but a threatening message urges her to let the past stay forgotten. Can Adaline find the truth and save her marriage to Cache, or will the tangled web of memories from her past keep her from moving on?

Author Lauri Schoenfeld’s psychological thriller is a suspenseful tale of family trauma, discovering our inner strength, and understanding the power of forgiveness.

The Review

Wow. This was my first thought after reading this incredible thriller. The character growth was outstanding in this narrative. The heartbreak and tragic nature of the protagonist and her refusal to accept the loss of her daughters was such a natural and emotional reaction that any parent would likely be able to relate to in those circumstances. Her relationships and the twists and turns the narrative takes to force the readers to question if Adaline is truly having a break from reality due to the loss of her children, or if something far more sinister is afoot.

The thing that really drew me into this narrative was the atmosphere and theme of trust that the author played with. One thing I always look for in a thriller is if you can guess right away who the true “culprit” is, or if the story is so rich that you can’t make up your mind either way. This novel was definitely in the latter category, making me question everyone and truly shocking me several times over the narrative. 

The Verdict

A haunting, shocking, and entertaining thriller, author Lauri Schoenfeld’s “Little Owl” is a must-read novel of 2021! Honestly, this book captured the same shock and wow factor that Dean Koontz’s “False Memory” did, not necessarily by shocking with the revelation but the actions and twists the narrative took readers in. The final revelation of what happened to these children and who is responsible will absolutely be a jaw-dropper of a revelation, and make this story really stand out! If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Lauri Schoenfeld currently resides in Utah with her husband, three kids, and dog, Jack Wyatt Wolverine. She’s a child abuse advocate, a Nancy Drew enthusiast, and is part cyborg. Teaching creative writing classes to her community is one of her favorite things to do when she’s not having long conversations with her characters. Visit her at www.laurischoenfeld.com

https://www.instagram.com/laurischoenfeld/?hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/laurischoenfeldevents/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B094YTXTFH/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F58205041-little-owl%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DtcaeVHp5mn%26rank%3D2&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Passages: Death, Dementia, and Everything in Between by H.M. Gooden Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The subtle notes of pain and joy and everything in between that we as a people experience in life are explored through poetry and prose in author H.M. Gooden’s “Passages: Death, Dementia, and Everything In Between”.

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The Synopsis

Life is full of surprises;

full of laughter, love, and losses.

This collection explores the transitions between highs and lows through poetry and prose.

May you find the words on these pages as much a balm to guide you through rocky seas as they have been for me.

The Review

This was such an emotionally driven and heartfelt read. The author and poet does an incredible job of bringing life’s most simple and beautiful (and sad) moments to life, and capturing the raw emotions that go through us all in those personal moments. The balance the author found between the moments of reflection on personal moments and experiences with the actual poetry that acted as snippets of moments in time was expertly crafted in this collection.

The heart of this book was the depth of emotion the author dived head-first into and brought to the surface for readers to experience. The way the author was able to relay such personal experiences and the memories of her life and somehow write it in a way that felt personal to the reader as well brilliantly allowed the reader to feel the very real connection we all as a people share with one another. 

The Verdict

An emotional roller-coaster that takes readers on a journey of life’s darkest and brightest experiences, author H.M. Gooden’s “Passages” is a must-read poetry collection of 2021. The engaging way the author relayed their own experiences to the reader and made it feel personal to everyone who read it was fascinating and heartfelt to see unfold, and the artistic way the poems were delivered really created a stark visual in the reader’s minds that is not to be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

H. M. Gooden has been scribbling on everything since she first learned how to hold a pencil. While often told that her handwriting was atrocious, she persisted, and upon discovering computers and learning how to type, she realized that she was no longer limited by her (admittedly) messy writing.

Unfortunately, life, work, and family have conspired to make it only possible to write in the wee hours or at coffee shops, so most of her love of reading and writing are indulged at times when only vampires and insomniacs abound.

In October of 2017, her love of writing and the characters in the world she created burst into public view in her first book, Dream of Darkness, which follows the adventures of a group of girls fighting evil with abilities that H. M. Gooden would love to have.

When not writing fantasy, H. M. Gooden writes non-fiction pieces exploring the emotions and situations that arise in her day job as a rural family doc. As a result, 4 am has never been busier, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sign up to H. M. Gooden’s newsletter for information on upcoming releases and other random musings at

https://www.subscribepage.com/hmgooden

Heretics (Nel Bentley #4) by V.S. Holmes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

In the ashes of utter devastation, adventurer Nel Bentley must decide where her true loyalties lie and find a way to prevent Earth’s total annihilation in author V.S. Holmes’s “Heretics”, the fourth novel in the Nel Bentley series.

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The Synopsis

Without Earth, Nel has nowhere left to run

Hot-tempered Dr. Nel Bently is not cut out to save the world. After her last project ended in fire and death, Nel must put aside her distrust of just about everyone and embark on a lo-fi search for a deadly radio transmission.

Earth’s survivors are torn between the austere superpower of IDH and the high-tech grassroots Los Pobledores. At every turn more allies go missing and Nel questions where everyone’s true loyalties lie–and on which side Lin will fall when a line is finally drawn.

They need experts. They need firepower. But it looks like the only thing standing between Earth and devastation is Nel: archaeologist, asshole, and functioning alcoholic with anger issues.

The Review

A powerful new entry into this exhilarating and inviting sci-fi series! Author VS Holmes has crafted a marvelous and emotionally-driven new narrative that highlights the struggle to go back home again, and how our past determines who we will become in the future. The world-building and the way the author wove in similar conflicts and struggles our own world is facing today into the very sci-fi-centric narrative was amazing to see come to fruition, and allowed readers to feel more connected to the narrative. 

This book, much like the rest of the series, all blossomed from the incredible character development the author has created here. Nel is such a complex and engaging protagonist, as her often destructive personality clashes with others in her field and yet her sense of what’s right and wrong becomes a leading light in the darkness around her. The relationship between Nel and Lin felt not only passionate but real, as their personalities may clash often, but their love for one another is felt on a very deep level. The twists and turns the author took these two amazing characters throughout this novel will leave longtime fans reeling and on the edge of their seat for the next book in this series.

The Verdict

A memorable, heart-pounding, and engaging sci-fi read, author V.S. Holmes’s “Heretics” is a must-read sci-fi novel of 2021! The world-building and mythos that the author employs here, as well as the tension and mystery surrounding who Nel can and cannot trust, make for some truly entertaining reading. The cliffhanger ending leaves open a host of possibilities for the future of this series, and readers will be hard-pressed to find a more emotionally charged and action-packed sci-fi novel with an LGBTQ-forward roster of characters to get behind. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

V. S. Holmes is an international bestselling author. They created the REFORGED series and the NEL BENTLY BOOKS. Smoke and Rain, the first book in their fantasy quartet, won New Apple Literary’s Excellence in Independent Publishing Award in 2015. In addition, they have published short fiction in several anthologies.

When not writing, they work as a contract archaeologist throughout the northeastern U.S. They live in a Tiny House with their spouse, a fellow archaeologist, their not-so-tiny dog, and own too many books for such a small abode. As a disabled and queer human, they work as an advocate and educator for representation in SFF worlds.

http://www.vsholmes.com/

Interview with Author Denise Bossarte

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I have alwasy been a writer. I wrote short stories and poems in elementary and high school. And enjoyed creative writing and journaling as an outlet into my adulthood. I got more serious about writing and publishing when my friend and I created a “novel” club to help with the sci-fi book he was writing.I enjoyed the creative process and was inspired by his success in self-publishing (he was later picked up by 47North Amazon imprint).I decided to try my hand at publishing a series of beach poems I had written and had an artist friend do the accompanying illustrations- just to try out the self-pulishing process from end to end. From there, I decided to work on a fantasy novel that had been begging for some attention. I ended up writing the award winning novel Glamorous and 3 novellas in that series.   

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2) What inspired you to write your book? 

I had wanted to share my story of abuse and healing for a long time. My husband encouraged me saying my story could help other survivors. But being a survivor with what I would consider PTSD, my memories were not always accessible or cohesive, and often difficult to put in the context of the other events in my life. I thought if I couldn’t write a detailed memoir then I couldn’t share my story.Then the news came out about Dr. Larry Nassar and his abuse of hundreds of female gymnasts and my heart broke for them. Those women need healing help, I thought to myself. If I can’t write a memoir, I can write about all the things I did to help myself on my healing journey. So their stories inspired me to write a book to help all survivors heal from their abuse.  

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

The abuse was not their fault. They have the strength to let go of the hold the past has on them.They are capable of healing from the abuse and living a life they love. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Self-help was the best way to share my story and the activities for healing that I had incorporated into my healing journey. I didn’t just want to write about my abuse. I wanted to create a blueprint for others for helping them on their healing journey. I wrote the book I wished I had had when I started my healing work!  

5) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Twitter. I can share about my book and about the various healing activities I enjoy practicing.  

6) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there? 

Read a lot of good books in your genre!

Do your research for the genre you want to write in to learn what works for genre from storyline, characters, book covers, etc.

Connect with other authors and find ways to share your writing with people who can give constructive criticism to your work. Their are author groups online, so no need to limit yourself to who is local!

When you are finished writing, get a good editor to help you take the book to the next level.


 7) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?


 Right now I am focusing on my other artistic talents – photography. I teach contemplative photography and am working on putting together an online course. There are several novels playing around in my head, so you might see some of these stand alone novels some time in the future! 

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Author Bio


Denise Bossarte is an award-winning poet, writer, photographer, and artist. Denise is a certified meditation facilitator and contemplative arts teacher. She is an information technology (IT) professional working for a large urban school district. Denise holds a BA in chemistry, an MS in computer science, and a PhD in developmental neuroscience. And she is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Awards

Thriving was Quarterfinalist in the 2019 BookLife Prize Nonfiction Contest, Self-help Category (as  an unpublished manuscript.)

Thriving was honored with a GOLD AWARD by the Nonfiction Book Awards, via the Nonfiction Authors Association! https://nonfictionauthorsassociation.com/book-award-winner-thriving-after-sexual-abuse/.

Check out the awesome review here: https://thrivingaftersexualabusebook.com/awards/
 
And Thriving was selected as a semi-finalist in Non-fiction in the 2021 Kindle Book Awards! Finalists announced Oct 1st, Winners announced Nov 1st.  https://www.thekindlebookreview.net/2021-book-award-semifinalists/
 
Thriving was selected by Kirkus Reviews Indie editors for the August issue. According to Kirkus Reviews, less than 10% of Indie authors are selected for this. The review is 1 of 35 reviews in the Indie section of the magazine! You can read the full review here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/denise-bossarte/thriving-after-sexual-abuse-break-your-bondage-to-the-past-and-live-a-life-you-love/
 
And finally, Thriving’s book cover was selected as a finalist in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards Best Book Cover – Adult contest. https://www.thewsa.co.uk/finalists2021/

Social Media

https://thrivingaftersexualabusebook.com

https://thrivingaftersexualabusebook.com/blog/

https://twitter.com/AmThrivingAfter

https://www.facebook.com/thrivingafter

https://www.linkedin.com/in/denise-bossarte-phd-39975841

Any Dumb Animal by AE Hines Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author and poet AE Hines shares his memoir in a unique in-verse collection of poetry detailing the life of a gay man born and raised in the South, who came of age during the AIDS crisis in his acclaimed book, “Any Dumb Animal”.

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The Synopsis

Any Dumb Animal (Main Street Rag, 2021), the debut poetry collection by AE Hines, presents a memoir-in-verse as told by a gay man raised in the rural South who comes of age during the AIDS crisis. Flashing back and forth in time, a cast of recurring characters and circumstances are woven into a rich tale of survival and redemption, exploring one man’s life as a queer son, father, and husband, over a span of more than thirty years.

The Review

These poems were so incredibly emotional and moving to read. The mark of a truly great poet and writer is always when they can convey in words the emotions that ran through them at that moment, and I can say that the conflicting thoughts and emotions that the poet underwent here were felt greatly. The struggle to understand ourselves and our own identities are hard enough in this world, but the author and poet’s struggle against a toxic relationship with his father and later his own marital struggles really elevates these conflicting feelings tenfold.

What really stood out to me was the near cinematic and storytelling quality that the poems themselves took on. Each poem painted an image in the reader’s mind as the overall narrative of the writer’s life took shape. The balance the author found between the raw emotions these events evoked within himself and the narrative approach to these poems made this collection feel so alive and passionate in its delivery. 

The Verdict

A heartfelt, heartbreaking, and engaging collection of poetry, author AE Hines’s “Any Dumb Animal” is a must-read book of 2021! The narrative quality of the poetry and the way the author was able to relay something so personal to himself and make it relatable to the reader as well as incredible to see unfold. I felt myself tearing up as the author’s words pierced my heart and I felt his pain, making this a true one-of-a-kind story that everyone should read for themselves. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

AE Hines (he/him) grew up in rural North Carolina and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. His poetry has been widely published in anthologies and literary journals including I-70 Review, Sycamore Review, Tar River Poetry, Potomac Review, Atlanta Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal and Crab Creek Review. He is winner of the Red Wheelbarrow Prize and has been a finalist for the Montreal International Poetry Prize. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Writing at Pacific University. Follow him on TwitterFacebookInstagram.

The Fire Starters (Nicholas Foxe Adventures #3) by Jackson Coppley Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Adventurer and history-searching hero Nicholas Foxe returns, this time racing against the clock to stop a guild of fire starters who trace their origins back to the days of Ancient Rome as a plot to target places in the United States in author Jackson Coppley’s “The Fire Starters”, the third book in the Nicholas Foxe Adventures series.

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The Synopsis

In The Fire Starters, Nicholas Foxe uncovers a guild of pyromaniacs that traces its roots to ancient Rome. Were these modern-day fire starters responsible for the fire at Notre Dame? Were they responsible for a firebombing at The London Eye? Do they now have targets in the United States?

Nick finds an important clue deep in the ruins of Nero’s buried palace and realizes the fire starters work has just begun. The lives of thousands are at stake. Can Nick and his team stop the fire starters before it’s too late?

The Review

Jackson Coppley has done it again! The perfect blend of deep dives into history and mythology from around the world and incredibly rich and complex character development, the third book in the Nicholas Foxe Adventures series was an instant hit. As a fan of history, I loved the author’s research and the highlight of Ancient Rome and the surrounding cultures of the age of Emperor Nero showing off during the early chapters of the book, while also adding very human and personal character connections to highlight the danger and mystery that our world houses.

The thing that always makes a Nicholas Foxe adventure stand out for me is that the protagonist, Nicholas, remains vital to the narrative, and yet allows the story to develop fascinating characters with backstories that feel solid and well-developed, whereas some thrillers tend to have rushed character development instead. Having Nicholas’s connection to newcomer Ray Woodward was an amazing way of introducing this mystery of the fire starters, and gave the narrative a much more rich connection between the history and the characters overall.

The Verdict

Indiana Jones meets The Da Vinci Code, author Jackson Coppley’s “The Fire Starters” is the perfect next chapter in the Nicholas Foxe series. The novels feel so cinematic and engaging, that one can only hope these stories make their way to the silver screen someday. The way the author makes history feel more alive and pronounced than it has in a long time in the literary world is great to see unfold, and I do hope that fans and I alike will be treated to more Nicholas Foxe Adventures in the future! If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jackson Coppley weaves stories from a sophisticated knowledge of technology and a keen sense of adventure. Coppley travels the world with his vivid imagination at work to create exciting stories with characters readers feel they know.

https://www.jacksoncoppley.com/

This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two students from very different walks of life find themselves working together after they discover the body of a young teen girl floating off the coast of their small town, and discover students from both the local prep school and reform school all have secrets to hide in author Gabriella Lepore’s “This is Why We Lie”. 

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The Synopsis

Riverdale meets One of Us Is Lying in This Is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore, a standalone thriller following two teens who discover a body off the coast of their seaside town. As they search for the killer, they will learn the students of both the local prep school and the nearby reform school will do anything to protect their secrets.

Everyone in Gardiners Bay has a secret.

When Jenna Dallas and Adam Cole find Colleen O’Dell’s body floating off the shore of their coastal town, the community of Gardiners Bay is shaken. But even more shocking is the fact that her drowning was no accident.

Once Jenna’s best friend becomes a key suspect, Jenna starts to look for answers on her own. As she uncovers scandals inside Preston Prep School leading back to Rookwood reform school, she knows she needs Adam on her side.

As a student at Rookwood, Adam is used to getting judgmental looks, but now his friends are being investigated by the police. Adam will do whatever he can to keep them safe, even if that means trusting Jenna.

As lies unravel, the truth starts to blur. Only one thing is certain: somebody must take the fall.

The Review

A truly gripping and engaging thriller for YA and murder-mystery fans, author Gabriella Lepore has crafted a mind-bending tale of suspense and secrets that readers will not be able to help to fall into. The twists and turns that this novel takes both for the characters and the narrative itself are truly captivating, and the author does a fantastic job of setting up solid pacing to peel back the layers of this mystery one by one. 

The growth of the characters was what drew me into the narrative, to begin with. The emotional depth that both protagonists have gone through in their pasts, and how these two young people who have had to learn to trust only themselves and have experienced hard family lives make their way to one another in the midst of great tragedy was so enthralling and mesmerizing to see unfold and really tugged at the heartstrings as well. This in turn really balanced out the emotional beats with the suspense and drama of this murder mystery and small-town life. 

The Verdict

Pretty Little Liars meets Riverdale, author Gabriella Lepore’s “This Is Why We Lie” is a must-read YA Mystery of 2021! Perfectly crafted and shocking as the final reveal of the killer is shown, this novel delivers powerful characters that readers might be able to relate to, and a great exploration of both the contrast and similarities people from different walks of life can truly have. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this incredible book today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Gabriella Lepore is a YA author from South Wales in the United Kingdom. She lives in the countryside with her husband James and daughter Sophia. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found exploring the coastline. She enjoys cups of tea, bookstore coffee shops, stormy beaches, and autumn days.

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/this-is-why-we-lie/9781335418609 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-is-why-we-lie-gabriella-lepore/1138317761 

Powells: https://www.powells.com/book/this-is-why-we-lie-9781335418609 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/This-Why-Lie-Gabriella-Lepore/dp/1335418601

Target: https://www.target.com/p/this-is-why-we-lie-by-gabriella-lepore-hardcover/-/A-82007842 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Gabriella_Lepore_This_Is_Why_We_Lie?id=eqsJEAAAQBAJ

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/author/gabriella-lepore/id1153311848

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/this-is-why-we-lie 

SOCIAL LINKS: 

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Here is an Excerpt from “This Is Why We Lie”

JENNA

Gardiners Bay at dawn is my secret. There’s a moment, right before the day starts, when the ocean is bathed in amber light. That first golden breath of morning. Everything is still, apart from the pelicans gathering near the water, their plump bodies shuffling along the shoreline. Sometimes I sit on the promenade for hours with my legs suspended over the pebble beach below, just watching the night turn to day. Watching the darkness turn to light.

It’s often like this, just me and the birds. The only other people I tend to cross paths with at this hour are fishermen wearing heavy-duty gear and hugging their thermoses. They sit on the benches and swig their hot drinks while skimming the daily newspaper. Then they leave. A little while later, their boats drift out onto the water.

Today, though, I’m the only one here.

I raise my camera and adjust the focus, capturing the new light as it spills over the ocean. In the muted daylight, the silver tide is a murky, dull gray and frothing as it slaps against the shore.

“Help! I need help!”

My eyes dart across the shoreline. There’s a boy on the stretch of beach at the foot of Rookwood Cliff. He’s kneedeep in the water, fully dressed.

He shouts again.

I spring to my feet and run along the promenade. Ducking beneath the boardwalk railings, I jump down to the pebbled cove.

The soles of my feet sting at the impact of the stones beneath my Converse. I scramble toward him, my footing slipping on the damp pebbles.

It’s then that I recognize him.

Adam.

His jeans are soaked to the thigh. He’s wading through the shallows, his legs tangled in fishing net and seaweed. And a body lies limp in his arms. A girl. She’s swollen, her skin has turned purple, and one arm is swinging downward with the momentum of Adam’s labored movements.

I press my hand to my mouth.

“Call an ambulance,” he shouts.

But all I can do is stand there, paralyzed by the sight. He lowers the girl onto the sand and begins CPR, breathing into her mouth.

It’s too late, I want to tell him.

She’s already dead.

Excerpted from This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore, Copyright © 2021 by Gabriella Lepore. Published by Inkyard Press.