Rockstar Book Tours: Burn by Elissa Sussman

January 22, 2016 Blog Tour, Review 12 ★★★½

Rockstar Book Tours:  Burn by Elissa SussmanBurn (Four Sisters, #2) by Elissa Sussman
Series: Four Sisters, #2
Published by Greenwillow Books on January 19th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy, Young Adult Fairy Tales
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Author, Blog Tour
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Heat Rating:zero-flames

I received this book for free from Author, Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

After helping to rescue Princess Aislynn, Elanor has finally rejoined the rebel camp she calls home. Stolen from her parents at a young age and forced into service by the Wicked Queen, Elanor now wants nothing more than to see the queen removed from power. But Elanor has secrets, mistakes she’s spent years trying to forget, and the closer the rebels get to the throne, the harder it is for Elanor to keep her past hidden away.
With fellow rebels on her side—including Princess Aislynn, Thackery, and the handsome and mysterious Matthias—it is time for Elanor to make a decision. Will she protect her secrets? Or risk everything to save the people she loves?
The thrilling companion to Elissa Sussman’s masterful and original fairy tale, Stray, that will appeal to readers of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and fans of Wicked, Into the Woods, and the Disney princess movies.

ARCREVIEW coverlove fantasy SWOON ya

Burn (1)

An interesting story following a girl named Elanor, part of a group of Orphans living in a mountain, who wants more than anything to see the Wicked Queen gone from power. I never read the first book, thought I owned it, I never got around to it. I enjoy fairy tales, so I was actually a little bummed to find out I missed out on the first book, thought all was not lost, that just means I will now need to actually read it.

I was glad that Burn could read as a standalone, though I must admit, reading book one, still would have helped get the whole background story. Nonetheless, I was able to catch up and things eventually clicked into place. I enjoyed Sussman’s writing. I love the amount of creativity that took to spin this tale, and the entire series shows a lot of potential. Even thought the book started a bit slow for me at first, it did eventually pick up and I found myself truly enjoying the story. I loved him limited the magic was in this book and the role it played in the character’s lives.

I did have a bit of a hard time with Elanor, I think for me there was a bit of a disconnect. I am sure in part it was my own mood when I started the book, but I did end up warming up to her by the end of the story. I enjoyed the character growth as the story progressed.

The swoon worthy romance made me happy :), the adventure was exciting and overall, I really enjoyed the writing and the story. I am looking forward to going back and reading the first book to familiarize myself with this growing world in hopes to better prepare myself for the next book!

 

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a signed paperback of STRAY and buttons. US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

1/11/2016- Dazzled by Books– Interview

1/12/2016- Seeing Double In Neverland– Review

1/13/2016- The Eater of Books!– Guest Post

1/14/2016- RhiReading– Review

1/15/2016- Two Chicks on Books– Interview

Week Two:

1/18/2016- Stories & Sweeties– Review

1/19/2016- Fire and Ice– Guest Post

1/20/2016- Owl Always Be Reading– Review

1/21/2016- Dark Faerie Tales– Interview

1/22/2016- Night Owl Book Café– Review

About Elissa Sussman

ElissaSussman_by_JohnPetaja

Elissa Sussman is a writer, a reader and a pumpkin pie eater.

She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and in a previous life managed animators and organized spreadsheets at some of the best animation studios in the world, including Nickelodeon, Disney, Dreamworks and Sony Imageworks. You can see her name in the credits of THE CROODS, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and TANGLED.

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their rescue mutt, Basil.


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Tour Review: The Isle by Jordana Frankel

January 11, 2016 Review 12 ★★★★

Tour Review:  The Isle by Jordana FrankelThe Isle (The Ward, #2) by Jordana Frankel
Series: The Ward
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 19th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Dystopia
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat Rating:half-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The heart-racing and thrilling sequel to The Ward about a teenage female drag racer who will do anything to save her sister—and a flooded futuristic Manhattan.
Drought season is coming....
The Ward is in trouble—its streets filled with seawater after a devastating flood and its impoverished inhabitants suffering from a deadly disease called the Blight.
Ren, with the help of her scientist friend, Callum, and her racing buddy, Derek, has discovered a cure—miraculous spring water—administering it to her sick sister, Aven. But when Aven is kidnapped by Governor Voss, the malevolent dictator of the United Metro Isles (UMI), Ren must go on a dangerous mission to save her sister, again.
The mysterious healing water is the only source of freshwater throughout the entire UMI—water that Ren had been tasked by the government to discover. Although she refuses to give up the water’s location, Governor Voss has his own selfish reasons for wanting it. And he will do anything to satisfy his thirst for unquenchable power.
But Ren and Aven have more enemies than the governor. An ancient order, the Tètai, has been guarding the magical water for hundreds of years. And they will kill to protect it. With the Ward in desperate need of freshwater and wracked by disease—and deadly enemies at every turn—the sisters face a dangerous journey, marred by mysterious secrets and horrifying truths, to save their friends and neighbors, and a city.

ARCREVIEW coverlove dystopian PAGETURNER ya

The Isle

It feels like forever since the first book came out, but imagine my joy when I finally saw the announcement of the sequel that it felt like I have been waiting for forever for. I almost wished I re-read the first book to brush up on what it left off because The Isle starts shortly after the events of the first and when it takes off, it really takes off.

I found the second book of the series to be pretty faced paced, because before I knew it, I have devoured it in no time. It sets the tone from page one, and it pretty much for the most part, sticks to it.

I warmed up to Ren a bit more. She is still pretty reckless, but I admired her dedication to the people she loves and cares for as well as the lengths she would go to keep them safe, even if the price is her own safety most of the time. I loved the sibling relationship that is going on between Aven and Ren, how true to form it is. This book also happens to be from the point of view of Aven and Ren together, but it was easy to follow.

The romance does take a bit of a back seat in this book, but that’s okay, I did not mind it much. Do I wish there was more? Of course I do, I always do. But, I enjoyed continue to watch Ren develop into the person she becomes at the end of the book. I enjoyed the action and the adventure, and it felt a bit final, so I am guessing this was only meant to be a duology. Sure, there were still moments that made me angry, but the tear jerking moments, and some heartwarming scenes, definitely balances the book out.

I did have a hard time with Aven at some parts. She did remind me a bit of Ren from the last book. A bit reckless, and a total kid when it comes to not getting things her way. To be fair, I believe Aven is 14 in this book, so for the most part, it makes sense. She let her feelings sway her, she made promises she probably couldn’t really keep, and she endangered Ren because of these promises. I can’t say that I didn’t want to throttle her when she asked Ren to save the people when she knew the mission is dangerous, it was like expecting your sister to give up her life for others, it just didn’t seem fair to me.

Overall, I did enjoy this one. I wished it came out quicker than it did, it seemed like a long time to wait for this sequel. I did find it worth it. I enjoyed the authors writing, imagination and the world she had created with this series. I will miss it, but I am looking forward to what else she has in store for us next.

Giveaway:

3 Finished copies of THE ISLE
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

1/11: Night Owl Book Cafe – Review

1/12: Swoony Boys Podcast – Q&A

1/13: Live To Read – Review

1/14: Seeing Double In Neverland – Top 10

1/15: Take Me Away To A Great Read – Review

 

Week 2

1/18: The Cover Contessa – Review

1/19: The Irish Banana Review – Guest Post

1/20: Reads All the Books – Review

1/21: A Leisure Moment – Guest Post

1/22: Emily Reads Everything – Review

About Jordana Frankel

Jordana Frankel

Jordana Frankel is a Jersey native.

She's been a camp counselor, a salesperson of diamonds, a hostess at a southwestern grill, an archivist of rare books, a yoga instructor, and a reading teacher, but her shining moment was when she got to hang out in Walmart for 12 hours a day as the AXE girl.

She received her B.A. in English from Goucher College, graduated and then went to live in Italy for a year. Afterwards she then went for her MFA in Poetry at Hollins University.

But then she graduated and she moved back to NYC.

She got her first job at The Literary Group International as a literary agency, where she'd started as an intern reading queries and then assisted editorially. At Linn Prentis Literary, also a literary agency, she handled foreign sales, picked up gems from unsolicited mail, and helped authors through the publishing process. And then it was onto The Book Report Network where she handled ads and promos for features on Teenreads.com, Kidsreads.com, and GraphicNovelReporter.com.

Jordana is currently writing a (history textbook/)novel entitled THE WARD, forthcoming from KT Books/HarperCollins in 2013. She also teaches creative writing workshops for kids ages 8 to 18 through Writopia Lab, a non-profit organization based in New York City.


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Blog Tour Review: Thicker Than Water by Kelly (Fiore) Stultz

January 4, 2016 Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review 18 ★★★★

Blog Tour Review:  Thicker Than Water by Kelly (Fiore) StultzThicker Than Water by Kelly (Fiore) Stultz
Series: Stand-Alone
Published by Harper Teen on January 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat Rating:zero-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated.
Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until she realized one effective way to take away her brother’s drugs while earning the money she needed for college: selling the pills.
Soon, CeCe becomes part drug dealer, part honor student. But even when all she wants is to make things right, she learns that sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome.
Thicker than Water is an unforgettable dark, harrowing look into the disturbing truth of drug addiction and the desperate love of a sister watching her brother deteriorate before her eyes.

ARCREVIEW PAGETURNER ya

Thicker Than WaterThicker Than Water was a read that I came away with quite surprised. It’s a story told from Cecelia Price‘s point of view about the death of her brother, her involvement, and going through treatment as she awaits trial for his death.

It was an interesting story, and even more of an interesting subject as the author takes on a challenge of tackling prescription drug abuse in a Young Adult novel. It didn’t feel for the faint of heart. The subject was a bit dark, it was scary, and at times it felt difficult to read.

As Cecelia unfolds the events leading up to her treatment, I found her journey a bit hard to follow. There had been times where I found myself stepping away from the book in order to sort out my feelings. It was heartbreaking witnessing the deterioration of not just her brother but the friendship between them. It was also hard to swallow the fact that this ended up being another Young Adult novel with the clueless absent parents who wore rose colored glasses of blissful ignorance. I won’t lie when I tell you that it was annoying the way her father had handled the brother’s addiction, or how he choose to live in denial instead of finding his own son some help. I won’t tell you how ironic it felt that Cece is the one who ends up in treatment. Thought I have to admit, that part stumped me.

But I did enjoy the book, more than I thought I would given the difficult subject. I applaud the author for bringing something like this up to attention. The writing was amazing and quite talented. The story had me hooked and wandering the entire time about what had happened and what made things fall apart. It was well crafted, but the end did kind of surprise me and I am not sure if it was in a good or bad way.

Everything I thought I knew, felt like it wasn’t. Making everything that Cece had ever felt guilty of kind of scratch my head a little. But unfortunately I cannot go too far into why, without ruining the book.

Overall, it was really well written, despite a few problems. The story line was a bit dark, parts of it made me feel bad for Cece and the sibling relationship she lost with her brother, parts of it made it hard to read it.

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THICKER THAN WATER. US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tour Schedule:

 

Week One:

12/28/2015- Ohana Reads– Interview

12/29/2015- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

12/30/2015- FICTION FARE– Guest Post

12/31/2015- In Wonderland– Review

1/1/2016- PLEASE FEED THE BOOKWORM– Interview

 

Week Two:

1/4/2016- Night Owl Book Café– Review

1/5/2016- Fiktshun– Guest Post

1/6/2016- Such a Novel Idea– Review

1/7/2016- YA Book Madness– Interview

1/8/2016- A Dream Within A Dream– Review

 

About Kelly (Fiore) Stultz

Kelly Fiore-Stultz has a BA in English from Salisbury University and an MFA in Poetry from West Virginia University. She received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2005 and 2009. Kelly’s poetry has appeared in Small Spiral Notebook, Samzidada, Mid Atlantic Review, Connotation Press, and the Grolier Annual Review. Her first young adult novel, Taste Test, was released in August 2013 from Bloomsbury USA, and her second, Just Like the Movies, again from Bloomsbury, was releasted in 2014. Forthcoming novels include Thicker Than Water from HarperTeen in 2015.


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Review: The Rosemary Spell by Virginia Zimmerman

December 23, 2015 Review 10 ★★★

Review:  The Rosemary Spell by Virginia ZimmermanThe Rosemary Spell by Virginia Zimmerman
Series: Stand-Alone
Published by Clarion Books on December 1st 2015
Genres: Magical Realism
Pages: 280
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: 3 Stars
Heat Rating:zero-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Part mystery, part literary puzzle, part life-and-death quest, and chillingly magical, this novel has plenty of suspense for adventure fans and is a treat for readers who love books, words, and clues. Best friends Rosie and Adam find an old book with blank pages that fill with handwriting before their eyes. Something about this magical book has the power to make people vanish, even from memory. The power lies in a poem—a spell. When Adam's older sister, Shelby, disappears, they struggle to retain their memories of her as they race against time to bring her back from the void, risking their own lives in the process.

coverlove magical middlegrade

A cute coming of age story about a group of friends that discover a very old book behind a secret door and the events that follow flip their world around.

Rosie, Adam and Shelby are all good friends and pretty much grew up together. Shelby seems to be a year older and is growing out of stuff that Rosie and Adam like to do, their taste and interest change and it is obviously hard for Rosie. Shelby hangs out with other people, and gets excited about boys and not about things that she used to find fun. So when Rosie and Adam discover an old book that ends up being magical and sends Shelby into the void, they must keep repeating a chant in order to bring her out of the void and briefly remember her. Time is running out though, they must dive into Shakespeare work and unravel clues that will lead them to a spell to bring Shelby back before it’s too late.

I liked the book, it was a cute, entertaining middle grade book about friendship, set in magical realism. The writing is simple and great for appropriate age kids who like a bit of fantasy and puzzle thrown into their books.

I did find it a little confusing at times, some parts had left me scratching my head. I was confused how the book seemed to have made them forget everything, including the fact that it was ‘magical’ so it took them a while to figure out that they must repeat a verse in order to remember Shelby. Especially since they found out that the book might be magic, before sending Shelby into the void.

I wish I got through it faster than I did, the book was actually a pretty quick read and overall I did not find it boring, but I did find it a bit repetitive. Maybe the whole forgetting thing didn’t completely work for me. I sort of liked the relationship between Rosie and her mother, but I did not like the way Adam’s parents, especially his father had come across.

Overall, this was my first step into Zimmerman, and I found it pretty enjoyable

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Review: Sock Monster by Stacey R. Campbell

December 15, 2015 Review 14

SockMonster_Banner

Welcome to my tour stop for Sock Monster by Stacey E. Campbell! This is a children’s picture book and the tour runs December 14-18 with reviews. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

SM cover 10-21-15About the Book:
When Billy refuses to pick up his clothes the sock monster comes to teach him a lesson.

Readers review:

Stars

Reviewed by Michelle Robertson for Readers’ Favorite
What is a mom to do to when she walks into your room and finds a shirt, a sock, and more clothes on the floor? Why, she tells you the tale of the Sock Monster, of course. What is a Sock Monster, you ask? Let your shirts, your socks, and pants lie about the room, and you may soon find out the answers you seek!
Sock Monster written by Stacey R. Campbell is a charming children’s pictorial book introducing young readers the concepts of responsibility, tidiness, and consequences. Stacey Campbell knows how to appeal to readers of all ages. The plot of Sock Monster is not only a fun story for children to read or have read to them, but it is also a great resource for parents or guardians to utilize within their home environment. What adult wouldn’t want to find a way to get children to pick up their dirty clothes?
As a parent myself, I can’t speak for all who are around children or have them, but it is nearly impossible to get children to pick up their toys, let alone laundry. Upon reading this book to my young daughter, I asked her, “Do you have laundry on your bedroom floor?” She responded with, “Yes, oh no, the sock monster will visit me tonight, I better go clean it up.” And clean it up she did. Children’s books are meant to educate or entertain small children. Sock Monster certainly does both with its pages filled with vibrantly colored illustrations, and a creatively thought out modern day “folk tale.”

Adorable, charming children’s book told by a mother about a Sock Monster, and how he comes out if one does not pick up his socks. I think this is an adorable way to teach children a lesson about picking up their socks, or even their clothes after themselves. Cute, entertaining, with beautiful illustrations,  the Sock Monster is a hoot for the entire family, not just the children. The author’s imagination shines through her work and delivers a beautiful and joyful book for the little ones, great for beginner and advance readers alike.
The artwork itself was really stunning, I loved how the vibrant visual the picture were, an excellent way to hook and keep the little ones attention.

View More: http://suzannerothmeyer.pass.us/stacycampbellAbout the Author:
Stacey R. Campbell lives in Washington state with her husband and three daughters. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and a dyslexic writer that believes there is no such thing as a bad reader.  She is the author of the young adult novels Hush, Whisper, Scream & Silence, the highly acclaimed middle grade swashbuckling pirate book ARRGH!  and the newly released picture book Sock Monster.

When not at her desk writing she can be found hiking, sailing, or skiing. She enjoys chocolate in any shape or size, too many cups of coffee, and laughing (often too loudly, as her daughters say) with her friends and family.

Stacey is available for classroom visits and loves working with writers and readers of any age; especially those with learning disabilities, like her own.

Learn more about Stacey R. Campbell and her up coming releases by visiting her website at www.staceyrcampbell.com.


GIVEAWAY:
$20 Amazon gift card (INT)
2 winners receive signed copies of Sock Monster (US)
Ends December 23
Prizing provided by the author, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

 

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Blog Tour Review: Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy by Paula Berinstein

December 10, 2015 Blog Tour, Review 11 ★★★½

Blog Tour Review:  Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy by Paula BerinsteinAmanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective, #1) by Paula Berinstein
Series: Amanda Lester, Detective #1
Published by The Writing Show on May 22nd 2015
Pages: 386
Format: Paperback
Source: Author, Blog Tour
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Heat Rating:half-flame

I received this book for free from Author, Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Twelve-year-old Amanda Lester wouldn't be caught dead going into the family business. Just because she's related to Inspector G. Lestrade, that bumbler who sometimes worked with master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, doesn't mean she should become a detective and give up her dream of becoming a filmmaker. Unfortunately, her plans are in jeopardy. Her latest project with the Stick Dog Filmmakers Club and Production Company isn't coming together, and her control freak tendencies have driven away all her actors. If she doesn't make a winning film soon, her parents will insist that she go into the L.A.P.D. young cadets training program, and her budding career will be over. So when Herb and Lila Lester suddenly send her to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives, Amanda resists-until she and her new friends notice drops of blood and weird pink substances in odd places. Are these strange happenings clues to a real mystery or simply part of the elaborate class project the teachers assign every year? The answer comes all too soon. When Amanda's father disappears and the school's cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, the kids are certain that crimes are taking place. Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes's nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn't like nosy little girls interfering in his business.

coverlove middlegrade mystery FED-THE-NERD

Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy banner

This is my stop during the blog tour for Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy by Paula Berinstein. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 30 November till 13 December, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.
So far this series contains 3 books: Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1), Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis (Amanda Lester, Detective #2) and Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle (Amanda Lester, Detective #3).

Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy, was a cute story. It had an interesting concept and room for development and growth of the characters. I do admit, while reading this my initial thought screamed, Harry Potter. A 12 year-old girl is forced away into a boarding school where she learns the skills she needs in order to become a detective. She gets sorted into one of the four houses, which ends up being a house she didn’t particularly want. Sounds fun right?

I enjoyed the story. It was a quick read. Amanda at first is very reluctant when it comes to going to the school. She does not want to be a detective, she wants to be a film maker. I have to admit, 12 years-old seems very young to be worrying about your career, and Amanda was very serious about growing her career. Once she gets to the school and meets a few friends, I think she slowly ends up warming up to the idea. Besides, the school offers her plenty of opportunities to help work on her film-making stuff, and when things start to go downhill in school, including a murder, Amanda and her friends find themselves in the thick of things.

As much as I enjoyed the story, there was a thing or two that did bother me.

As I pointed out before, I felt 12 years old Amanda was too focused on her career, and did not feel like a 12 year old. Maybe the book would have benefited if it was made for an older audience? The age and her ambitions sometimes did not match, but it was definitely written like a middle grade book, which clashed a bit for me. There was a scene about dead bodies, something I feel no 12 year old should witness. The character definitely should have been older. There had been instances that made her look older, and then there had been tantrum throwing that was age appropriate. There was also an attraction to a boy named Nick, once again the age kept swinging up and down for me.

There is a huge pet peeve in the book for me. The parent bashing as I like to call it. It suffers from the bad parent syndrome. The fact that this is a middle grade book made me frown a little. Amanda calls her mother stupid, there is a disconnect, and she hates the fact that her mother does not support her film-making career and is trying to send her away. The parents are portrayed badly in this too. Her mother says that film-making is dangerous, but she sends her off on a career path that can get her daughter killed.

Nonetheless, it has a lot of potential as Amanda carries on at the academy and grows as a character. Plus the artwork for the covers are stunning, absolutely adore them. As a middle grade book, it was also fast and easy to get through, but a few concepts felt a little heavy and confusing for the targeted audience.

 

 

Later books in the series:
Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal CrisisAmanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis (Amanda Lester, Detective #2)
By Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/ detective
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: September 15, 2015

Blurb:
If only Sherlock Holmes’s great-great-grandson weren’t such a dork . . .

There’s a new student at the Legatum Continuatum School for the Descendants of Famous Detectives and Amanda is supposed to work with him. Scapulus Holmes is a descendant of the great Sherlock and he’s crazy about her. Unfortunately she thinks he’s a dork and would rather die than have anything to do with him.

But when the kids discover a dead body encrusted with strange living crystals, Amanda realizes she needs Holmes’s help. If the crystals fall into the wrong hands they could be used for nefarious purposes, and only he knows how to protect them.

Can the detectives keep the bad guys from learning the crystals’ secrets? It would help if they could figure out who the dead body is too. Only if Amanda and Holmes can find a way to work together can they prevent a disaster, and it isn’t looking good

You can find Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis on Goodreads

You can buy Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis here:
Amazon
Amazon Paperback
Barnes & Noble

Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow PuzzleAmanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle (Amanda Lester, Detective #3)
By Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/detective
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: November 15, 2015

Blurb:
Purple rainbows, a mysterious crypt, and pots of gold . . .

Things are not going well for Amanda and the secret detective school. A priceless artifact has disappeared, a dangerous hacker is manipulating matter, and zombies are being seen all over the Lake District.

Then the real trouble starts. When her cousins go missing and her friend Clive is kidnapped, Amanda is forced to turn to someone she’d rather not deal with: her old boyfriend Scapulus Holmes. But then he vanishes too. Now’s she’s sure that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty is involved . . . or is he?

You can find Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle on Goodreads

You can buy Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle here:
Amazon
Amazon Paperback

Paula BerinsteintAbout the Author:
Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.

You can find and contact Paula here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Paula’s blog on Goodreads
The Writing Show podcasts

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy. These are the prizes you can win:
– paperback copies of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1), Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis (Amanda Lester, Detective #2) and Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle (Amanda Lester, Detective #3) by Paula Berinstein (INT)
– 2 winners will each win a paperback copy of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1) Paula Berinstein (INT)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

December 8, 2015 Review 21 ★★★★½

The Impostor Queen by Sarah FineThe Impostor Queen (Untitled, #1) by Sarah Fine
Series: Untitled #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on January 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult High Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat Rating:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

2015 BOOKLOVE coverlove fantasy magical must-read ya

I think I am in love with Sarah Fine’s writing and I have Ali @ My Guilty Obsession  to thank for that. The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine ended up being a buddy read with Ali, to whom I am thankful for introducing me to Fine’s writing.

I loved The Impostor Queen, a well crafted story about a sixteen-year-old girl named Elli who is a Saadela and the next in line to take over when the Valtia of the Kupari passes and leaves her magic to be passed on to the Saadela. When Elli’s Valtia suffers a terrible tragedy and the young girl ends up witnessing the horrid moment of her Valtia’s final breath, the Elders blame Elli for rejecting the magic when it does not enter her. With a help of her handmaiden, Mim, Elli escapes the temple and the cruel fate that awaits her and disappears beyond the village walls where she is rescued by a boy named Oskar.

Now Elli is living among the very people the Elder’s have been trying to force out of the mines, while trying to learn about her own ability that she is asked to keep a secret by the mysterious old healer.

I won’t lie. The story started out kind of slow, but this is a high fantasy, and it is kind of expected. When the story finally picked up, and boy did it pick up, not only was it impossible to put down but I found myself wanting to savor it. I admit, I was a little disappointed and sad that the book has ended. I went through a book withdrawal and it’s been a long while since any book has caused such a reaction out of me.

Fine’s writing is brilliant, her imagination runs wild in the beautifully crafted magical world. I love that there are two forces that make up the magic, fire and ice, and how the two effect the Valtia as well as the magic wielders.

The plot itself was amazing and interesting. It had me so hooked, I wanted and needed to know how it was all going to turn out, what was going to happen next and how Fine was going to leave us at the end of the book. I was so glad to learn that this is part of the series, though as of right now Goodreads lists the series as the Untitled. I also loved that the ending did NOT feel like a cliffhanger.

Let’s talk about Elli for a second. Elli lived a sheltered life in the temple because she was being molded to do what the Elder’s wanted her to do. The only knowledge she really had about anything was what the Elder’s wanted to tell her, so she comes off very naive. Boy does she learns her lessons quickly when she is forced out of the shelter of the home she knew forever and onto the streets and into the winter cold. I really enjoyed watching Elli develop as a character. Her struggles when she is brought to the camp are real. The fact that she suffers a physical “disfiguration” maker her character appear flawed, but at the same time very human.

Though the book is listed under glbt genre under Goodreads, and does have references to it (Elli’s love for her handmaiden) the book mainly follows the romance between a boy and a girl.

Oskar was amazing. Brownie points to him for taking Elli in. Their meeting in an unusual circumstance ended up being quite entertaining. I loved their interaction and the slow simmering romance that had me holding my breath more than once.

The world-building in this book was remarkable, original and very interesting. It is one of those fantasy novels that you cannot help but fall in love with everything, the writing, the world-building, the well fleshed out characters, it just keeps you wanting more. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time and I cannot wait to see where this story goes from here, because the ending totally blew me away.

If you enjoy a high fantasy novel with an incredible world, with talented writing, what are you waiting for? I strongly recommend this book.

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Review: Dead to the Last Drop: A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle + Guest Post + Giveaway

December 7, 2015 Giveaway, Guest Post, Review 17 ★★★★½

Review:  Dead to the Last Drop: A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle + Guest Post + GiveawayDead to the Last Drop: A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle
Series: Coffeehouse Mystery series #15
Published by Berkley on December 1st 2015
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat Rating:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Once Upon a Grind comes a new installment in the Coffeehouse Mystery series.After the White House asks coffeehouse manager and master roaster Clare Cosi to consult on the coffee service for a Rose Garden Wedding, she discovers a historic pot was used as a CIA “dead drop” decades before. Now long-simmering secrets boil over, scalding Clare and the people around her…   Clare’s visit to the nation’s capital is off to a graceful start. Her octogenarian employer is bunking with her in a charming Georgetown mansion, and she's invited to work with a respected curator on the Smithsonian's culinary salute to coffee in America.   Unfortunately, Clare’s new Village Blend DC is struggling to earn a profit—until its second floor jazz club attracts a high-profile fan, the college-age daughter of the U.S. President. Clare’s stock rises as the First Lady befriends her, but she soon learns a stark lesson: Washington can be murder.   First a stylish State Department employee suspiciously collapses in her coffeehouse. Then the President’s daughter goes missing. Is she a runaway bride or is something more sinister in play? After another deadly twist, Clare is on the run with her NYPD detective boyfriend. Branded an enemy of the state, she must piece together clues and uncover the truth before her life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness come to a bitter end.     Includes great American recipes!

ADDICTIVE BOOKLOVE coverlove mystery refreshing

Cleo Coyle strikes again as she brings a new exciting release in her Coffeehouse Mystery Dead to the Last Drop. Clare Cosi has taken a major step by moving to DC to be closer to her boyfriend Mike Quinn. In DC she is managing a new location of Village Blend, DC opened by her owner. Things aren’t going so great for Clare. The opening day was a bust and her Chef with his ironclad contract is causing Clare lots of problems. The problems start to seem minor when the First Daughter, going by the musician’s name on Abby Lane shows up at the coffee house to perform with Gardener and his band mates. Suddenly Clare gets more than what she was willing to bargain for. People who work for the government dying, and the violent kidnapping of the First Daughter has Clare wanted and on the run. Not to mention Mike Quinn, Clare’s boyfriend is having his own share of troubles with his boss and as the two find themselves on the run from special agents, they must find not only the person who committed the crime but also how Quinn’s boss might be connected to it.

Wow! This book literally started out in the middle of the action, hooked me and did NOT let me go. It was fun, it was entertaining, and for book 15 of the series, it was NOT boring.

Somehow Clare moving to DC has opened up like a new chapter not only in Clare’s life but also in the series. It definitely felt like a small revamp, but it was also oh so good.

Coyle really knows how to bring it, with well fleshed out characters that keep you smiling. Her writing has become so familiar, it’s like coming home with each new book, and catching up with old friends.

Clare and her employees are as spunky as ever. Clare and Mike are as wonderful as ever and fear not long time lovers of the Coffeehouse mysteries because Coyle has found and clever way to enfold the old characters into the new book and the new scene. So not only does Matt make an appearance in the book, but the banter between him and Clare is as easy, familiar, and funny as ever.

I loved the writing style. It was fast paced and the chapters are short which is great for a mom like me that absolutely hates putting the book down in the middle of a chapter. There is a lot going on, there is a bit of action, a mystery, and I enjoyed the scenes of Clare and Mike on the run as Clare is retelling Mike the events that happen prior to the kidnapping as they are trying to find who did it before Clare is brought in by the agents.

If you are a fan of cozy mysteries and have not yet read this series, I strongly suggest you give this one a shot. What are you waiting for?

 

guestpost

On the Run in Washington with Cleo Coyle’s new Coffeehouse Mystery

There are worse fates than being on the run with a handsome federal agent—like spending the rest of your natural life in a federal penitentiary. That’s the dilemma Clare Cosi is facing when White House officials come to believe she aided and abetted kidnappers of the President’s daughter and conspired to end the life of a State Department employee.

These capital crimes are the last thing this hard-working single mom and coffeehouse manager expects to be accused of when she opens a new shop in our nation’s capital, but she must solve both mysteries—and discover who framed her—or she may discover firsthand…

Washington is murder.

If you are new to our long-running Coffeehouse Mystery series, don’t hestitate to pick up DEAD TO THE LAST DROP. You can read it as a stand-alone story, and if you like the ride, you have fourteen more in our series to enjoy. But don’t miss this Washington entry. It’s embedded with twists, turns, and hidden secrets about our nation’s capital that were inspired by my own experiences while living, studying, and working in D.C.

1cTo read the prologue and first chapter, click here.

DEAD TO THE LAST DROP is also a culinary mystery, with an appendix of more than 25 wonderful recipes, including a fantastic version of Black Magic Cake with a “secret ingredient” chocolate frosting to die for. 

To see the book’s free Recipe Guide, click here.2c

Here are some of the places Clare Cosi
will take you on her visit to Washington…

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THE WHITE HOUSE 

Clare makes two trips to this grand destination, one at the request of the First Lady, who shares a private lunch with her in the Diplomatic Reception Room, a magnificent oval-shaped space famously redecorated by Jacqueline Kennedy and once used by Franklin D. Roosevelt for his legendary fireside chats.

 

GEORGETOWN4c

This picturesque neighborhood boasts some of the finest examples of Federal period architecture in the country. Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Graham Bell, and John F. Kennedy are among the past residents. It’s here that Clare lands a posh housesitting gig on “Cox’s Row” in a charming mansion that was once part of the Underground Railroad.

 

 

5cTHE SMITHSONIAN

A glittering black-tie party brings Clare to “America’s Attic,” the nickname of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Clare witnesses a fateful meeting here, in front of Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, one of the many fascinating artifacts that celebrate American culture, creativity, and cuisine. Yes, cuisine! As a master roaster and expert on the bean, Clare is asked to contribute her ideas to one of the museum’s newest exhibits, Coffee and the Presidency.

6c

THE JAZZ SPACE

This fictional location is based on a real jazz club in Washington called Blues Alley. The mouthwatering menu of our Jazz Space becomes an important plot point in DEAD TO THE LAST DROP, and the recipes for many of the menu’s items are included in the book. You can even visit our Jazz Space online. Come to our website CoffeehouseMystery.com to learn more.

CLEO’S NEWSLETTER: Contests, recipes, news, fun facts, and videos. To sign up, simply write an e-mail that says “sign me up” and send it to CoffeehouseMystery@gmail(dot)com You will receive a reply with links to past newsletters that include free recipes.7c
 TITLE CHECKLIST: Get a free title checklist with mini summaries of all 15 Coffeehouse Mysteries. To download the list as a PDF document, click here.

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Rules

  • Must be 13 years old or older to enter. (People under must have a parent enter for them)
  • Must be a follower of the blog
  • Winners will be notified by e-mail within 72 hours of the giveaway ending and will have 72 hours to respond to that e-mail or else a new winner will be chosen. So please do not skip the option of putting in the e-mail that you check most frequently.
  • Entries that do not follow the rules will be disqualified.

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CLEO’S NEWSLETTER: Contests, recipes, news, fun facts, and videos. To sign up, simply write an e-mail that says “sign me up” and send it to CoffeehouseMystery@gmail(dot)com You will receive a reply with links to past newsletters that include free recipes.

About Cleo Coyle

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries, now celebrating over ten years in print. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and has written young adult and children’s books. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the national bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. 

PHOTO CREDITS:

1 – Black Magic Cake photo by Alice Alfonsi

2—Alice Alfonsi and her husband, Marc Cerasini, who write as Cleo Coyle. Photo by Alice Alfonsi

3 – White House photo courtesy HiraV, Wiki Commons

4 – Cox’s Row of Georgetown courtesy Library of Congress

5 – Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers courtesy Wiki Commons

6 – Jazz Space photo, no credit

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Blog Tour Review: Return Once More by Trisha Leigh

December 4, 2015 Review 37 ★★★★½

Blog Tour Review:  Return Once More by Trisha LeighReturn Once More by Trisha Leigh
Series: The Historians #1
Published by Bloomsbury Spark on October 20th 2015
Genres: Young Adult Time Travel
Pages: 289
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author, Blog Tour
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat Rating:one-flame

If you could learn the identity of your one true love—even though you will never meet— would you?
Years have passed since refugees from a ruined earth took to space, eventually settling a new system of planets. Science has not only made the leaps necessary to allow time travel, but the process engineered a strange side effect—predicting your one true love.
If you could save your one true love from an untimely death, would you be able to resist?
Sixteen-year-old Kaia Vespasian is an apprentice to the Historians—a group charged with using time travel to document the triumphs and failures of the past—and she can’t resist a peek at her long-dead soul mate in Ancient Egypt. Before she knows it, she’s broken every rule in the book, and the consequences of getting caught could destroy more than just her new romance.
Or would you have the strength to watch him die?
But when Kaia notices a fellow classmate snooping around in a time where he doesn’t belong, she suspects he has a secret of his own—and the conspiracy she uncovers could threaten the entire universe. If her experience has taught her anything, to changing history means facing the consequences. The Historians trained her to observe and record the past, but Kaia never guessed she might have to protect it— in a race across time to save her only chance at a future.

ADDICTIVE BOOKLOVE coverlove PAGETURNER SWOON ya

Return Once More had caught me by surprised. A story about Kaia, a Historian in training who on her 17th birthday discovers the identity of her True Companion and the lengths she goes in order to spend what little time she has with him. Meanwhile, trying to unfold a huge mystery that is being kept secret back in her own home that can change an outcome of their entire society.

Wow, this book truly blew me away. It was amazing, it was well crafted, with likable characters, and a wonderful world building. It was new, it was refreshing and it left me wanting more. Once I started this, I had the hardest time of putting it down, it was nearly impossible. Everything flowed so well, I didn’t even find one dull moment as I eagerly flipped through my kindle pages. Everything felt like it had an outcome which only pushed me to go on, to continue reading. Kaia as a character grew on me. Her story felt emotionally charged. She had so much going on, not only in training and her struggles there, but knowing that her True Companion had died a long time ago, and the whole mess with her brother.

It is also a love story with a love that transcends time. Yes, there is a sort of instance love, but the author kind of prepares you for it and it needed to be done for the sake of the story. It’s a bit more complicated than a simple case of annoying instant-love. I did NOT find it annoying. It was handled delicately and I found it so well done, I do applaud the author. Because it’s not simple and it left my head reeling by the end of the book.

The writing is absolutely beautiful and descriptive in a way that pulls you in and refuses to let you know. The author is immensely talented and it shows through the crafted word. The mystery, the excitement, the well fleshed out characters that jump out from the pages, Return Once More is well worth the read – especially for the lovers of Time Travel books. The plot was exciting, fast paced and packed full of twist and turns that will keep you wondering and going. I myself cannot wait for the next book in this wonderful series. The writing alone is worth it!

Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)

$30 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Trisha Leigh

Trisha Leigh is a product of the Midwest, which means it’s pop, not soda, garage sales, not tag sales, and you guys as opposed to y’all. Most of the time. She’s been writing seriously for five years now, and has published 4 young adult novels and 4 new adult novels (under her pen name Lyla Payne). Her favorite things, in no particular order, include: reading, Game of Thrones, Hershey’s kisses, reading, her dogs (Yoda and Jilly), summer, movies, reading, Jude Law, coffee, and rewatching WB series from the 90’s-00’s.

Her family is made up of farmers and/or almost rock stars from Iowa, people who are numerous, loud, full of love–the kind of people that make the world a better place. Trisha tries her best to honor them, and the lessons they’ve taught, through characters and stories–made up, of course, but true enough in their way.

Trisha is the author of THE LAST YEAR series and the WHITMAN UNIVERSITY books. She’s represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

To learn more about Trisha Leigh, please visit her at trishaleigh.com.

If you enjoy New Adult books or a good contemporary romance, please check out my pen name, Lyla Payne!

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Review: Light of Day by Allison van Diepen

December 2, 2015 Review 34 ★★★

Review:  Light of Day by Allison van DiepenLight of Day by Allison van Diepen
Series: Stand-Alone
Published by HarperTeen on November 24th 2015
Genres: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: 3 Stars
Heat Rating:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Like any other Saturday night, Gabby Perez and her best friend, Maria, are out dancing. But this isn’t just another night. When a mysterious stranger warns Gabby their drinks have been drugged, she hurries Maria home. Sure enough, the next day, Maria can’t remember a thing. Gabby’s shaken by their close call. And she’s not going to stay quiet about it.
She opens up the airwaves on her radio show and discovers an even worse truth: the guy who drugged them was going to force them into prostitution. Then Gabby’s friend Bree never makes it home from a party, and Gabby fears the worst.
Gabby reaches out to the guy who saved her, the gorgeous stranger she knows only as X. As they dive into the seedy underworld of Miami, searching for Bree, they can’t ignore their undeniable attraction. Until Gabby discovers the truth about who X really is and the danger that surrounds him. Can their love survive the light of day?

ARCREVIEW hotmess ya YAROMANCE

This was an interesting story and an interesting concept. It basically follows Gabby an aspiring DJ, who is saved from being drugged at the club by a mysterious handsome stranger named ‘X’ and somehow gets tangled up into a darker world of girls getting kidnapped, pimps and sex trafficking.

The story was a quick read for me. I think in a way the author was trying to spread awareness about this issue that’s so big in this world right now, I just felt as far as the story went, it was a bit unrealistic. Entertaining, but unrealistic.

For me, all the steps that Gabby took felt dangerous and if this was taken by a girl her age in the real world, the girl would be long dead and probably would have hurt a lot of girls in the process for being so reckless. As nice and cleaned up the ending came out, there aren’t a lot of happy endings for a lot of the girls going through this.

In the book, Gabby was trying to find and rescue a girl from her school named Bree, so she uses the radio to spread awareness and is forward about the pimps and actually mentions the name once or twice. Somehow everything works out for Gabby, no one she cares about get’s hurt, only the bad guys. Unfortunately, this is not how it works. If anyone did what Gabby had done, it would never turn out the way it did.

Are there people out there like ‘X’ looking and rescuing the girls that are kidnapped and forced into the sex trade? I don’t know. I did not do a lot of research on that. I do know that sex trafficking numbers are high, that most of these girls never get a happy ending because they are never found, and if someone in real life announced the pimp’s name on the radio – the pimp would probably have disappeared into the night with these girls.

In truth the statistics are real and frightening. I wish the story was handled better, but nonetheless, it was entertaining and I am sort of glad that someone took a bold step to write about this. I just wish the actions of the main character wasn’t so reckless, uninformed and dangerous. Even the messy situation that she gets herself into in the end, she somehow comes out unscratched.

I gave the author 3 brownie points for at least trying.

The Statistics behind sex trafficking from http://www.equalitynow.org:

  • At least 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor.2
  • About 2 million children are exploited every year in the global commercial sex trade.3
  • Almost 6 in 10 identified trafficking survivors were trafficked for sexual exploitation.4
  • Women and girls make up 98% of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.5

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