ARC Review: Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

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For fans of We Were Liars, The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl, this powerful psychological thriller with multiple mysteries is set against the backdrop of the megawealthy elite of New York City. Toten delves into the mesmerizing yet dysfunctional world of those who manipulate but seem ever so charming. With its gripping pace and Hitchcockian twists, Beware That Girl will keep readers guessing until the very last line.

The Haves. The Have-Nots. Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?

review3/5 Stars

***I received this ARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review and as part of #FirstInLine 

+++Features some subjects that may be triggers: domestic abuse, violence, mutilation. 

Here’s what I liked:

  • The main characters were complex and a psychological minefield of explosive issues. From psychosis to social disorders to past trauma, there’s a ton of rich, dark, and terrible secrets that threaten to topple the carefully crafted world they’ve created. There are mysteries that slowly unravel, parallel to their overall loss of control. The closer they are to reaching their goals, the harder they fall into fear and paranoia. 
  • Mark Redkin is a textbook sociopath and he’s pretty freaking terrifying. The ease by which he infiltrates the school and preys on these impressionable young (and old!) women will make you take a cold, hard look at screening for the school system and extending background checks beyond one state level, especially when it comes to safety of children. 
  • Kate is a genius. She understands people at their core and uses it to her advantage. Her motives are far from pure, as the story progresses, we learn a little more about why Kate is the way she is. The flashbacks are sometimes cryptic, other times outright traumatic and appalling. The abuse and what Kate suffered through is enough to scar anyone psychologically and Kate’s determination is a coping mechanism. 
  • There were two twists that really threw me. One you might see coming, the other, no way!

Here’s what I disliked:

  • The pacing was abysmally slow, to the point where it took so long for the suspense to build that it kind of fell flat. Scenes that could have added tension and fear to the story abruptly cut off (like most of the chapters when things were getting interesting). 
  • The slow simmer romance building between Kate and Johnny might have added some spice to the story, but hardly anything comes to fruition. Encounters are far an d few between and when they are together, it feels disconnected. The chemistry was floating there and needed an extra push to bring it to the story, but just sat, hovering around everything else. 
  • I don’t know how to explain why this is, but despite everything creepy going on, the activities were mundane, dragged, and were a little boring. I fought to remain interesting. Kate goes and researches, barely makes any headway, and yet there are a billion scenes of her looking through books. Why? The tidbits of information, there needed to be more, more often to propel the plot forward. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Intense reading, 

Jordan

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid

Grin&BeardIt_BlitzGrin&BeardItCoverAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Goodreads

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Sienna Diaz is everyone’s favorite “fat” funny lady. The movie studio executives can’t explain it, but her films are out-grossing all the fit and trim headliners and Hollywood’s most beautiful elite. The simple truth is, everyone loves plus-sized Sienna.

But she has a problem, she can’t read maps and her sense of direction is almost as bad as her comedic timing is stellar. Therefore, when Sienna’s latest starring role takes her to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park she finds herself continually lost while trying to navigate the backroads of Green Valley, Tennessee. Much to her consternation, Sienna’s most frequent savior is a ridiculously handsome, charming, and cheeky Park Ranger by the name of Jethro Winston.

Sienna is accustomed to high levels of man-handsome, so it’s not Jethro’s chiseled features or his perfect physique that make Sienna stutter. It’s his southern charm. And gentlemanly manners. And habit of looking at her too long and too often.

Sienna has successfully navigated the labyrinth of Hollywood heartthrobs. But can she traverse the tenuous trails of Tennessee without losing her head? Or worse, her heart?

authPenny Reid is the USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

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Enter for your chance to win a signed paperback prize pack

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Funny reading, 
Jordan

Promo: Hot Mess by Madeline Antonia Rosenberg

hot messsssAmazon/Goodreads

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Anna McCormick seems like a cliché from her basic coffee orders to her relentless drama; however she is more than meets the eye. Join the journey of Anna and Trevor Sullivan through the laughs, tears and heartbreak. Meet the Clairetown crew – each character is more interesting than the next!

Warning: you may not be able to put this book down!

Anna McCormick is every girl after a break up- she is vulnerable and seeks attention in the wrong places. She is easy to love and hate at the same time. Trevor Sullivan is almost too good to be true. He seems like he is perfect on the surface, but there is much more to him than meets the eye. Benji Shaw is the “perfect” boy next door. He has a bit of a hero complex and wants to fix everyone’s problems. Tanya Rosen is the quintessential popular girl- everyone thinks she has so much confidence but really she is just as insecure as the next girl.

The book takes an unexpected turn and I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

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Pleasant reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Mistrust by Margaret McHeyzer

 Release Date: July 2016
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I’m the popular girl at school.
The one everyone wants to be friends with.
I have the best boyfriend in the world, who’s on the basketball team.
My parents adore me, and I absolutely love them. My sister and I have a great relationship too.
I’m a cheerleader, I have a high GPA and I’m liked even by the teachers.
It was a night which promised to be filled with love and fun until…something happened which changed everything.

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ExcerptDragging myself out of the gymnasium and down the hall, I try and get to the side double-doors. But with no one here to help me, it’s difficult. I need to sit for a moment out on the steps leading to the back field and gather myself.

My legs become heavier as I get to the doors. The cyclone happening inside my head is growing thicker while my vision is so unclear I can barely make out any objects.

Stumbling down the first step, I barely recognize where I am.

“What’s happening?” I think I say.

There’s a cacophony of dense sounds; a combination of white noise, mumbling, and a beat which doesn’t make sense. 

My eyes are now so heavy I can barely open them and my legs are completely weighted as I attempt to make my way down the stairs. I think I’m going to pass out.
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There’s something about the written word that is pure magic.

Possibly it’s the fact there are 26 letters in the English alphabet, and they can create something so beautiful or so empowering they’re capable to change our lives.

How important is it that we break suit and stretch our minds?

I like to think of myself as ‘unique’. My stories aren’t for everyone, and sometimes I may push what you believe to be ‘normal’.

Normal is subjective.

I prefer to be known as a person who’s never been ‘bound by custom’ but is ‘unique by choice’.

I hope you do read and enjoy my stories.

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Enter for your chance to win a $20 Amazon giftcard!
Keep reading, 
Jordan

Cover Reveals: Heroes of Arcania Trilogy by Liz Long

13001310_1080721518653534_7236633590365319623_nHOA_FINAL-ebooksmAmazon Pre-Order/Goodreads

synThe streets of Arcania are overrun with crime, deteriorating as a madman named Fortune makes himself at home. He shows no mercy, striking down anyone in his path – including Nova Benson’s little sister. Devastated, Nova vows to seek justice for her family, but aside from her freak strength and impenetrable skin, how is she supposed to stop a monster like Fortune?

Cole Warner wants to help people. Entrusted to keep his family’s secret, he’s also frustrated at having to hide his gift. He knows he could do more to help in the fight against Fortune. If he could convince his sister Penelope to join him, they might even have a chance at beating him. When Cole meets Nova, he realizes his whole world is about to change. And he’s going to welcome it with open arms.

Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan.

Then again, neither was becoming a superhero.

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Amazon Pre-Order/Goodreads

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Nova will learn it takes more than sheer strength to be a superhero. Her world implodes when Fortune strikes back for all the trouble she’s caused. His dangerous games put everyone around her at risk, especially when he decides to turn Arcania against its precious Heroes. Nova wants to protect Arcania, but how does she save a city that doesn’t want her help?

Cole has no idea how to deal with his sister Penelope, especially now that she’s learned the truth about their family secret. Thanks to Fortune, she’s headed down a dark path, one with no return. Torn between helping Nova and protecting his sister, Cole will be forced to make a choice. Tensions rise as Cole and Nova discover war will come to Arcania if they don’t get Fortune off the streets…or preferably six feet under.

Nova and Cole might have each other, but will they lose everything else in their mission to save Arcania?

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Nova started the fight against Fortune for simple revenge, but now it’s turned into something much bigger. Arcania’s criminals are at each other’s throats, putting the city right in the middle of a warzone. She’ll have to work with a few unlikely allies to end Fortune’s games once and for all. Nova thought she understood what it meant to be a superhero, but will she have to lose herself to truly defeat Fortune?

Fortune has given Cole a choice, one with unbearable consequences. When Cole takes matters into his own hands to save his sister Penelope, he realizes too late he’s another pawn in Fortune’s games. Fortune will use Cole’s gift against his enemies…including Nova. Cole will have to become the hero he always wanted to be if he’s going to protect the love of his life.

Nova and Cole could finally save Arcania from Fortune’s deadly games, but are they willing to sacrifice each other?

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Liz Long is a proud graduate of Longwood University. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her day job includes writing for a magazine publisher in Roanoke, VA.

The Donovan Circus series has best been described as “X-Men meets the circus.” Adult horror story Witch Hearts tells the tale of a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. New Adult PNR A Reaper Made is about a teen Reaper who gets caught between falling in love or saving her sister’s soul. All titles are available for paperback or ebook on Amazon.

To learn more about Liz (including more information on her books, plus writing, marketing, and social media tips), visit her website: http://lizclong.com.

Fantastic reading, 

Jordan

Release Day Blitz: Enigma by Danielle Bannister

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Smashwords/Amazon/B&N/iBooks/Goodreads

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I’m the girl no one sees. The bum on the street corner you avert your eyes from. The child no one loved. The lost soul no one sees fit to save. A person could go crazy being that alone, but not me. I dug myself out of hell and carried the flames with me. Therapists would call me a pyromaniac if they ever found out my secret. I will always remain an enigma; the puzzle piece that just won’t fit.

Since I’m 18, I’ve decided to take charge of my life. Start over. Get a job…then disappear into the populace on my own terms. That was the plan. Until I ended up in Mullen, Nebraska and met Kyle King. He showed me a quiet peaceful life on a farm that was built with love and warmth. The kind of warmth even my precious fire couldn’t provide. Instead of dismissing me like the rest of the world, he chose to look right at me.

Maybe the world wasn’t so cruel.

Or maybe my downward spiral was just beginning.

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Happy reading, 

Jordan

Promo: The Sunset Trilogy by Tonya Royston

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synShe never thought her ability to communicate with wild animals was anything more than a unique gift. But this gift is tied to a long history of secrets that threaten to shatter her one chance at true love…

Laken Sumner isn’t your average teenager. Ever since she realized that wild animals could hear her thoughts, she’s spent more time in the woods with them than with other children. Even her wolf is a better friend to her than most people. She trusts him—so much so that she follows him out into the wilderness in the middle of the night to find a lost little boy. But the boy’s disappearance is only the beginning.

The one bright spot in her life is Noah Lawson, the handsome new town deputy. Charming and mature, he almost seems too good to be true. Then she meets Xander Payne, the new boy at school, who seems to know something about her. But how could that be possible?

As strange things begin to happen in her sleepy New England town, Laken wonders if Xander has something to do with it. Or is it just a coincidence that danger targets her soon after he arrives?

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synEighteen-year-old Laken Sumner has just escaped from a stranger and a pack of wolves in the dark rain on a lonely mountain road. Normally, with her ability to communicate with wild animals, who can understand her thoughts, she wouldn’t worry about encountering the predators. But these wolves didn’t respond to her. She tries to shrug it off, afraid to reveal her fears to Noah, her boyfriend and the deputy sheriff.

But that’s not all she’s hiding. Drawn to Xander Payne, like a moth to a flame, she warns herself to stay away from him. She’s convinced he knows something, and she doesn’t trust him. Besides, Noah is the one she really wants…if only she could be sure of that.

When disaster strikes and Laken is forced to confess her secret to Noah, her worst fears are realized as he drifts away from her. Xander is more than willing to step into Noah’s shoes with Laken, but she refuses to give in to her feelings for him. Because Noah will be back, won’t he?

(Twenty-five cents for every print and ebook copy sold will be donated to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.)

COVER REVEAL PENDING FOR BOOK 3

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Release Date: Summer 2016

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Danger is closing in, threatening Laken and Xander. When Xander’s father reveals the link between them, Laken realizes she must stop at nothing to help them defeat the man looking for them. But when Xander eludes him, Laken is captured instead. Facing an unknown fate, she resolves to fight to the bitter end for her life and her love.

The final and most sensual installment of The Sunset Trilogy, Surrender at Sunrise is fast-paced with non-stop action and  intense romance that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

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ExcerptAn Excerpt from Shadows at Sunset:

Only a few weeks ago, my town had felt so safe. No one even locked their doors, until now…

“Dakota!” I called as I scrambled to my feet. I stood right where I was, watching and listening, but only silence and darkness loomed.

The back door opened, and I spun around as Noah approached with my gray fleece in his hands, his denim jacket already covering his maroon shirt. “Sorry that took so long. I made a quick visit to your bathroom.” He abruptly stopped half-way across the patio when he noticed the fear on my face. Concern swept across his eyes. “Where’s Dakota? What happened? I was only gone for a minute.”

“There.” I turned around and raised my arm to point at the woods. “I saw something, no, I mean someone. Someone was out there.”

I didn’t hear Noah approach, but I felt him behind me when he stopped. “What are you talking about?”

“I saw a shadow, and it wasn’t a moose or a deer or a bear. It was human,” I told him, my eyes glued to the dark, sinister woods.

A loud snarl pierced the silence. Another one ripped at it, and the image of the golden-eyed wolf sinking its teeth into Dakota flashed through my mind. The snarls and growls of what could only be two wolves out for each other’s blood grew louder in the distance. They continued for a minute, and then a sharp, pain-filled yelp cut through the air like a knife, followed by an eerie silence.

“Dakota!” I screamed, my heart racing with panic. I took off, running for the woods. I had to find him, no matter how far I had to go.

Mystical reading, 

Jordan