Sister of the Chosen One by Colleen Oakes & Erin Armknecht | Review

Sister of the Chosen One by Colleen Oakes & Erin Armknecht | Review
<strong>Sister of the Chosen One</strong> Book Cover
Sister of the Chosen One Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy Curtis Brown Studios ebook 277 pages Goodreads

“Action-packed, empowering, and comic-book vivid, Sister of the Chosen One will have you cheering.” – Natalie Mae, Author of The Kinder Poison

Valora Rigmore understands pressure. As the Chosen One (resident telekinetic, superstar and model girlfriend) her life revolves around it. According to an ancient prophesy, Valora is destined to fight Erys, a terrifying individual with the power to control monsters. Valora is worshipped at school, in the press and by her parents, but as the battle with Erys looms near, the cracks in her perfect façade are beginning to show.

Her twin, Grier Rigmore understands disappointment. A curvy bookworm perpetually in the shadow of her sister’s legacy, Grier’s life is one long humiliation after another. However, as Valora’s fandom reaches an unbearable fever pitch, an interesting new boy and a clever teacher spark Grier’s curiosity about her own powerful gifts.

When Grier’s star begins to rise, so do more questions, like: who is truly the Chosen One, and will two sisters at odds survive long enough to understand the answer?

Best described as Harry Potter meets Mindy Kaling, Sister of the Chosen One is a darkly funny, female empowered YA epic about siblings struggling to connect with each other, free themselves of labels and save the world in the process.

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I was provided a free digital copy of this novel through YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Initially drawn to the cover of this book, and then the synopsis, I decided to give this book a read. I am so glad I did because I loved this novel.

Told from the perspectives of twin sisters, Valora and Grier, Sister of the Chosen One masterfully weaves an action story with personal struggles. As time passes, we see events unfold through the eyes of both sisters. Sometimes scenes slightly overlap, which was interesting, but I think it worked with the narrative.

The heart of this story is the sisters. Both characters are well-rounded and extremely relatable. Even with the fantastical elements, these are two teenagers who are looking for understanding. I felt for these characters and found myself relating to their feelings.

The people in this story have magical powers, to a degree, and are gearing up for a fight with the big bad. Although this has fantasy elements, I think that many readers would enjoy it. It was an exciting look into different abilities and a world filled with magic and monsters.

I did find some plot points predictable from very early on. However, since this wasn’t part of the central theme, I’m willing to overlook it.

Overall, I think this was very well put together. It kept my interest from the beginning and brought forth many emotions. I wish I had a book like this when I was a teen. I’m sure this is a standalone novel, which makes me sad because I would be very interested in reading more about these characters and their adventures.

About the Authors

Colleen Oakes
Colleen Oakes

Colleen Oakes is the bestselling author of books for both teens and adults, including The Black Coats, Queen of Hearts Series, and The Wendy Darling Saga. She lives in North Denver with her husband and son. You can visit her at, on her Author Colleen Oakes Facebook page, on Instagram (@colleenoakes), or on Twitter (@ColleenOakes_).

Erin Armknecht
Erin Armknecht

Erin Armknecht lives in St. Louis with her husband, son, and rescue dog. Sister of the Chosen One is her debut novel. You can find her Twitter @EisforErin and on Instagram @erinarmknecht.


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Veil of Secrets by G.A. Charnock | Review

<strong>Veil of Secrets</strong> Book Cover
Veil of Secrets Secrets of the Veil #1 Paranormal Romance ebook Goodreads | Amazon

Everybody has a past. Some just don’t know what it is yet…

Alice has long been intrigued by the couple she serves in Amo Mangiare every Friday.

There’s an unsettling tension between brooding, multi-millionaire businessman, Victor Davies, and his glamorous companion that she can’t put her finger on.

So when she receives a hand-written cry for help from the mysterious Eva, Alice knows she can’t ignore it.

As events and coincidences conspire to lure her deeper into Victor’s territory – a strangely bewitching world full of luxury, intrigue and unanswered questions – Alice is never sure who she can trust.

But it’s only when Alice’s past comes calling and a long-buried secret is finally unearthed, that she must confront the ultimate truth.

You can never escape your destiny…

I received a digital copy of this novel through Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.


This story was a wild ride.

Alice, a journalist by day and waitress by night, finds herself in the middle of a mystery when a woman asks for her help one evening. This woman happens to be the dinner companion to Victor, a millionaire and a businessman. Alice soon finds herself entering Victor’s world, and it is full of secrets. Torn between unsettling occurrences and her growing feelings, Alice must decide if she can trust Victor or run in the opposite direction.

This story is challenging for me to review because I enjoyed the novel and had issues with it. I would categorize Veil of Secrets as paranormal suspense with romantic elements. The romance level was low. The main characters had an attraction to each other, but it took most of the book for them to act on it.

Alice and Victor work well together as a couple. They respect each other. Even given the tension and unease in their situation, you could see the potential in their relationship. Misgivings about Victor eased as the mystery unraveled. However, I want to know more about these character’s backstories. The side characters tell a little, but I wanted to learn more, especially given the ending.

Veil of Secrets had three different mysteries going on, and although concluded by the end of the book, it was almost too much. I felt that the central mystery was intriguing enough to carry the novel. Even so, the pacing was steady, and the multiple plotlines intertwined nicely. Many secrets came out in the last third of the book, and with those answers came many more questions.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel and think readers of romantic suspense will as well. As the first novel in a series, the plot serves to develop our characters and the mystery elements that will carry over into subsequent books. The ending grabbed my interest, and I want to know more about these characters and their continuing journey. 

Originally Published on Reedsy Dicovery.

Author Interview with Jordan Riley Swan

Author Interview with Jordan Riley Swan

Hey everyone, please welcome to the blog author Jordan Riley Swan. Their newest book, The Heart’s Bidding was published earlier this month and is a fun contemporary romance. Get to know this author a little better and don’t forget to check out the novel (links below).

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

According to my first one-star review, I should have changed the entire book. Hahaha. But seriously, I’m proud of what I ended with. If left to my own devices I would rewrite it into eternity, but at some point, you have to release it into the wild.

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Holy crap, the whole thing was a learning experience from beginning to end. I only hope I learn as much every time. We should always be getting better at our craft, and I think this one proves it (if you compared first draft to last draft I’d hope you’d agree.)

If your book were made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I don’t know enough actresses’ names to answer that. But I can say I got my dream narrator to agree to read it (Xe Sands) and that makes me happier than it being turned into a movie would.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

This isn’t a typical romance. I don’t really hit the tropes like most people would want, just keep that in mind as you go through it. Whether that makes the book better or worse I leave to you.

What is your favorite part of this book and why?

The van ride in chapter three. It was fun to write. A lot of my later work in other novels resembles it more than the other chapters inside this one.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I’d hang out with Bridgette. She’s the kind of no-nonsense woman I’d totally date if she were my age (and you know, real). We’d go to a concert and she’d belittle the fact that I have no idea who the singer is and ask me why I even bothered to come. 

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

There is a seed of a real person in every character. Usually, it’s a mixture though. I might take a personality trait from one person and combine it with a trait from another person and then describe the physicality of a third person. A few of them were made up whole cloth as I don’t really know anyone like my true love in this book, Bridgette. LOL

Do your characters seem to hijack the story, or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? 

I felt like we worked together. They pushed me into storylines I wasn’t suspecting and I threw them for some curves that they didn’t like in response. But at the end of the day, I felt like I was in charge.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.

Every so often a book enters into a genre that is of the genre but doesn’t follow the rules exactly. This is that book. Maybe you’ll find it frustrating, but the readers who want to try something a little different may just find this a perfect match for them.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

About ten or so. Three from my misspent youth. Several recently, but a few of those will eventually be published.

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?

I’m allergic to strong scents. LOL. But I imagine with Kay doing so much painting and furniture repair it would smell like sawdust and milk paint.

What did you edit out of this book?

About 30k words. Hahaha. The first draft was nearly the size of an epic fantasy. I had to drop several subplots and dial back some of the background characters. Did it hurt? Yeah. Is it a faster, better read now? Absolutely. Will I overwrite my next novel like that again? Probably. I guess I didn’t learn enough after all. 

The biggest subplot that got sacrificed was about a male character who was also crushing on the main hero but couldn’t confess it because the said character has to hide the fact he’s gay because of small-town and old men at auction prejudices. It had to go for multiple reasons, but I will reward him with his own book down the line.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?

I have been blessed with the opportunity to pick a few brains of my real-life hero’s for advice after meeting them at conferences. I can say with certainty that there are few, more rewarding things, then having a hero be as cool in person as they seem in their writing.

Fun Fact?

Fact (not sure how fun it is): I chose my Pen name based on its androgynous nature. I researched the top hundred names shared by both boys and girls and picked Jordan and Riley out of them. I did this because I knew I’d be writing in both romance and fantasy and wanted the reader to associate my gender with whatever preconceived gender they assigned to the genre. Besides, I doubt too many people would buy a romance novel with the name Bernie on the cover. I mean, that does make me sound like I’m a Jewish sex machine, but might not be the best sales tactic for sweet romance…

About the Book

The Heart’s Bidding by Jordan Riley Swan 

Genre: Clean Contemporary Romance 

Published: September 7, 2020

304 pages

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Kaylee Heart would rather run through a roaring fire than endure even a minute of public speaking. Put in an eighty-hour workweek? No problem. Shut down her grandfather’s gold-digging girlfriend? Easy peasy. Stand in front of an auction crowd and call for bids? Show her the exit.

So she has no idea how Gerald, the golden-voiced auctioneer she’s been crushing on at the local auction house, can find the courage to stand on stage every week, with all those eyes on him. But as cruel fate would have it, she is about to find out.

Her family antique shop, the Vintage at Heart, has tripped over one financial hurdle too many and Kay is propelled, full speed, into her biggest phobia—the spotlight.

With terror chasing her, she’ll have to fight to keep the family business from closing forever. Even if the battle takes place in front of a live crowd.

About the Author

Jordan Riley Swan is a wild word hunter living in the far and dangerous reaches of rural Ohio. He spends his nights tracking down big-game stories, capturing them in paper cages, and training them to be better tales.

The Heart’s Bidding was the first novel he’d dared to use the keys of his typewriter to release back into the wild.

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Fable by Adrienne Young | Review

Fable by Adrienne Young | Review
<strong>Fable</strong> Book Cover
Fable Fable #1 Young Adult, Fantasy Wednesday Books Hardcover 368 pages Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

I was provided an eARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


I haven’t read a lot of young adult literature lately but devoured Fable this past weekend. This novel by Adrienne Young is the first book in a fantasy duology. The second book, Namesake, comes out in March.

Four years ago, Fable was abandoned by her father on an unforgiving island. While there she was forced to survive among thieves and traders. Using skills learned from her late mother, Fable is trying to make it off the island to prove herself worthy and join her father’s crew.

I really enjoyed this story. Although fantasy, I think that readers of many genres will enjoy this book. And let me be clear, this isn’t a pirate tale.

Fable is a strong, smart female lead. Even when she is enlisting the help of others, she finds ways to be useful. Fable’s backstory unfolds throughout the novel and I thought the author did a nice job weaving needed information into the narrative.

There are several side characters and each one approaches Fable in a unique way. It is easy to see how each character’s personality fits with the others. However, I don’t feel that we’re given enough. I want to know more about these characters.

I am happy to say there is no love triangle. There is a love interest. The relationship has a slow burn. These are two characters who shouldn’t be together but can’t fight their connection forever.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. The pacing was spot on and there was a nice balance between action and character development. The author did a good job world building. I could imagine what each of the places and people looked liked. Fable also didn’t feel like an introductory novel. I think because it is part of a duology, not too much time was wasted explaining things.

Anyway, this book ended on a cliffhanger and I’m dying to read the next installment. Luckily, I’ve already been approved for an ARC, so I don’t have to wait long.

Trigger Warnings: Violence, Murder, Death of Parent

My Fallen Saint by J. Kenner

My Fallen Saint by J. Kenner
My Fallen Saint Book Cover
My Fallen Saint Fallen Saint #1 Contemporary Romance, Suspense Martini & Olive ebook 374 pages Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Charismatic. Confident. Powerful. Controlling.

A brilliant investor with a Midas touch, Devlin Saint turned a modest inherited fortune into billions, and now operates one of the world’s foremost international philanthropic organizations. He’s a man determined to help the underprivileged, to fight injustice, and to make the world a better place. And that at least is true.

It’s not, however, the full truth.

Because Devlin Saint is a man with a dangerous secret. One he’ll do whatever it takes to protect. And when investigative reporter Ellie Holmes turns her attention to an unsolved murder, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue and passion as Devlin draws her closer and closer. But as the intensity and sensuality of their relationship grow, so do Ellie’s suspicions. Until she is no longer certain if the heat between her and Devlin is real, or only a facade he constructed to hide his dark and twisted secrets.

Preorder this book and receive a free bonus short story. Click here for this exclusive offer!

My Fallen Saint series coming soon.

Machiavellian by Bella di Corte | Review

Machiavellian by Bella di Corte | Review
Machiavellian Book Cover
Machiavellian Gangsters of New York #1 Romance, Suspense ebook 456 pages Amazon | Goodreads | BookBub

I hungered to be seen.

There were three things I knew about Capo Macchiavello:

He was gorgeous.

He was reclusive.

He was considered one of New York’s most savage animals.

And he wanted me as his wife. A simple arrangement – you do for me, I do for you. Nothing owed, no expectations. Except for one: never leave.

Life was never that simple, though. By the age of twenty-one, I was parentless, jobless, and homeless, and I had come to learn the hard way that nothing was ever free. Even kindness comes with strings.

Capo might’ve been the only man to ever see me, but I had made a vow to myself: I would never owe anyone anything. Most of all, the man I called boss.

I killed to stay hidden.

Mariposa Flores thought she owed nothing to no one, but she owed everything…to me, the ghost the world had once called The Machiavellian Prince of New York.

Machiavellian is the first of three books set in the savage world of the Gangsters of New York series.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for participating in the blog tour and providing a review. This review contains my honest opinion of the novel.


This was an entertaining story and not exactly what I suspected.

Our main characters find themselves together in an agreement, but not everything is what it seems. They each have a motive but secrets are divulged as the story develops that create complications. Capo and Mari were and interesting pair. Both are independent and head strong characters. However together, they really work. I appreciated that this novel showed their relationship grow. You were given small moments where the couple got to know each other and saw growth in each of them. Not everything was about sexual tension.

There was a bit of violence in this novel. It is a mafia story after all, so that is to be expected. The scenes weren’t explicit, but I wouldn’t recommend to readers who are sensitive to violence and assault. I also found the arrangement to be off putting given the power dynamics at play, but character development helped ease this.

Overall, I found myself devouring the novel and couldn’t put it down. Although long, the pace was well balanced, and I didn’t lose interest in the slower moments. I thought that the author did a good job creating the world around the characters and I developed an interest in many of the side characters as well.

Trigger Warnings: Violence, Murder, Rape, Homelessness

About the Author

Bella Di Corte has been writing romance for seven years, even longer if you count the stories in her head that were never written down, but she didn’t realize how much she enjoyed writing alphas until recently. Tough guys who walk the line between irredeemable and savable, and the strong women who force them to feel, inspire her to keep putting words to the page.
Apart from writing, Bella loves to spend time with her husband, daughter, and family. She also loves to read, listen to music, cook meals that were passed down to her, and take photographs. She mostly takes pictures of her family (when they let her) and her three dogs.  
Bella grew up in New Orleans, a place she considers a creative playground.
She loves to connect with readers, so don’t hesitate to email her at if you’d like to reach out. 

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Review

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Review
Mexican Gothic Book Cover
Mexican Gothic Gothic, Horror, Historical Fiction Del Rey Hardcover 301 pages Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.


The minute I heard about this novel, I knew I needed to read it. And I am so glad I did.

I love gothic novels and they don’t get made much anymore, so I was really excited about this read. This novel has all your major gothic tropes and perfectly blends horror with romance. You have a secluded location, insanity, eroticism, nightmares, and more. The horror level on this book wasn’t very high and the gore was also minimal. There are definitely spooky moments, but I feel that a lot of the tension is more psychological. You were really trying to figure out what was going on and who this family was.

Pretty early on, I thought that I had this book pegged. I was convinced that I knew the twist. And I was half right. But the rest of it blew my mind. Looking back I see things that I missed and I appreciated that the author gave hints without completely spoiling the surprise. The pacing was steady and I didn’t feel that there were lulls. The scenery of this story was very descriptive and the house became just as interesting as the characters.

Overall, I thought this was fantastic. It is a conversation starter and felt fresh and new. I kept giving my family updates as I read it and have recommended it to a ton of people. So now, I am recommending it to you.

Trigger Warnings: Hallucinations, Racism, Incest, Sexual Assault/Attempted Rape, Violence, Murder

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole | Review

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole | Review
<strong>When No One is Watching</strong> Book Cover
When No One is Watching Alyssa Cole Mystery, Thriller, OwnVoices Harper Audio Audiobook 8 Hours, 30 Minutes, 5 Seconds Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rear Window meets Get Out in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed and New York Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…

Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.

But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.

When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


This was an interesting read and I’m glad that I listened to it.

A predominately black neighborhood in Brooklyn is going through changes. Neighbors are leaving left and right and white people are moving in. Businesses are closing and then reopen, catering to a new type of customer. The neighborhood is going through gentrification, a not uncommon problem.

This story is told from two perspectives: Sydney, a black female, and Theo, a white male. This provides an insider/outsider perspective and I thought was a clever way to show the social issues through different eyes. Sydney has lived in the neighborhood most of her life and she is trying to hold on to her family home. Theo recently moved in with his girlfriend.

Sydney and Theo soon begin a friendship and try to understand each other given the circumstances. The evolution of their relationship felt organic and their conversations brought racial and social issues to the front. The pair soon find themselves wondering if the changes happening may be caused by more sinister schemes.

I found the overall plot interesting and liked that this thriller took real-life issues. Not only was this a thriller, but educational on current social issues that plague many communities across the country. What makes this story scary is how realistic the problems are. I don’t have first-hand knowledge of the racial topics, so I’m not going to get in-depth about it, but I appreciated what the author was trying to achieve and hope to see more novels like this in the future.

I did find the plot slow-moving in the beginning. It took about half to the book to establish characters and for more thriller aspects to be displayed. It really picked up in the last third and I felt that it moved very fast at the end. I also found the twist to be predictable. I did like the open ending, however, and thought it was very fitting for the story.

As this was an audiobook, I very much enjoyed the narration. I liked that there were different narrators portraying Sydney and Theo. The change is voices helped keep up with the story and made the characters more real. It was well-read and kept my attention and they did a good job.

Trigger Warnings: Violence, Murder, Racism

Play to Win by Ja’Nese Dixon

Play to Win by Ja’Nese Dixon

I’m happy to be part of this blog tour and giveaway promoting Ja’Nese Dixon’s newest novel.

Play to Win book cover

Play to Win

Southern Gentlemen, Book 1 

Ja’Nese Dixon

Contemporary Romance

Goodreads | Amazon


Kamal’s an ex-football player. Jayda’s a single mother uninterested in another relationship until she sees Kamal with her daughter.

Every rejection will only make his victory sweeter. He plans to lick, taste, and devour her like the delicacy she is until the world, her ex, and Jayda recognize his name tatted on every inch of her curvy body.

Kamal never plays by halves, and Jayda has a thing or two to show this deviously handsome player. But when the past runs an interference, they’ll learn in matters of the heart there are no rules.

About the Author
About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author, Ja’Nese Dixon pens tales of romance in various subgenres, including romantic suspense and sweet romance. But her favorites are the ones that manage to keep readers sitting on the edge of their seats lying to themselves about reading “just one more chapter”.
She is an avid reader and coffee drinker living in Houston, Texas with her husband, three children, and diva dog. Visit her at
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Excerpt | Poisoned Primrose by Dahlia Donovan

Excerpt | Poisoned Primrose by Dahlia Donovan
Poisoned Primrose book cover

Poisoned Primrose 

Motts Cold Case Mystery #1 

by Dahlia Donovan

Genre: Cozy Mystery 

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Autistic, asexual, and almost forty, Pineapple “Motts” Mottley flees London with her cat and turtle to a quaint cottage in Cornwall. She craves the peace of life in a small village. The dead body buried in her garden isn’t quite what she had in mind, though.

Unable to resist her curiosity, she falls directly into a mess of trouble and runs head-first into the attractive detective inspector, Teo Herceg. She tries to balance her business with the investigation, but as the killer focuses on her, staying alive becomes trickier than advanced origami.

Will Motts survive the onslaught of murderously bad luck?

Can she solve the mystery before it all spins out of control and off a cliff? 

Read to the bottom of this post to enter a giveaway! (Limited time)


Chapter One

A cat, a turtle, and a Pineapple walk into a cottage…. That’s it. That’s the punch line of my life choices.

“Well, here we are.” Motts closed the solid wooden front door to her new cottage, leaning back against it and releasing a pent-up sigh. She opened her bluish-grey eyes to stare at all the boxes, plastic bins, and bags. “Bugger. You’ve no one to blame but yourself for this, Pineapple Mottley.”

Pineapple Meg Mottley had been so named because her mother had craved nothing but the tropical fruit during her one and only pregnancy. There’d only been one issue. No one ever called her Pineapple; her uncle had nicknamed her Motts as an infant, and it stuck.


The plaintive cry came from behind one of the boxes. Motts moved quickly to lift up her precious cat. Cactus was a tortoiseshell Sphynx cat; she’d found the poor dear at a shelter and fallen head-over-sneakers in love. He buried his head in her shoulder-length brown hair, purring his little heart out.

She stroked the suede-like downy fuzz covering his wrinkly body. “What are we going to do about this mess? Want to help me unpack? No?”


What have I gotten myself into?

When her auntie Daisy had passed away, Motts had taken the inherited cottage as a sign. London had always been overwhelming to her senses. Polperro was a much quieter place with a slower pace suited for her autistic needs.

She loved Polperro. Her parents were both originally from Cornwall. A lot of her family lived in the area, as did her ex-girlfriend.

Despite having spent many a holiday with family at the cottage, Motts found herself overwhelmed by the sudden change. This was a terrible idea. I should’ve sold the house. I am such a silly fool.


Take a few deep breaths.

Match Cactus’s purring. 

You’re going to be okay.

“Ahh!” She jumped when a rapid knocking on the door jolted her. “For goodness sake.”

“Motts? You okay?” 

She spun around and yanked the door open to find the welcome sight of her ex-girlfriend, Pravina Griffin, and Vina’s twin brother, Nish. “I’m….”

How do I finish the sentence?


In the middle of the biggest mistake I’ve ever made?

Just slightly overcome by irrational fear?

Nish moved forward to take Cactus from her arms while Vina led her inside. “Amma is bringing over supper. She wanted to let the sambar simmer a little longer. She even made your favourite kind of rice.”

The Griffin twins took after their Tamil mother, Leena, who’d been a Bollywood star before falling in love with Cadan Griffin, a Cornish-Indian cricket player. They’d settled in Polperro to run a coffee shop and bakery. Griffin Brews had been around for thirty-plus years, and now their children managed it, allowing their parents to retire early.

Leena and Cadan had welcomed Motts with open arms even before she’d briefly dated their daughter. Motts and Vina had realised over the years that their close bond felt more like that of siblings. They’d dumped each other but remained the best of friends, where they’d started in the first place.

“Let’s talk about something less daunting than unpacking. How goes the dating life? Did you fill out a dating profile on the site I emailed you?” Vina plucked Moss, Motts’s turtle, out of his travel terrarium. “Well?”

“No, I didn’t. There’s no box to check for asexual, biromantic autistic.” Motts gently took Moss to return her to a safer place. “No touching the turtle.”

About the Author
About the Author

Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress.  She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters.  An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.

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