Friday, May 1, 2015

ARC REVIEW: Limbo (The Joy Valentine Mysteries #1) by Amy Andrews

Title: Limbo
Series: The Joy Valentine Mysteries #1
Author: Amy Andrews
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Published: May 1st 2015
Format: eARC | Pages: 280
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Source: Author
★★★✩ (3.5/5) Stars!

Amy Andrews | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Six Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum in Amy Andrews’ fresh, funny, sexy urban-family noir about a country singer who almost made it, a private investigator who’s seen too much and a mother who will cross all barriers to save her child.

When ex hillbilly-punk rocker turned cadaver make-up artist Joy Valentine is visited by the ghost of a high-profile murder victim begging for Joy’s help to find her kidnapped baby girl, Joy knows from experience the cops are going to think she’s crazy.  So she takes it to the one guy she knows who won’t.

The last thing disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator Dash Dent expected is a woman from his past turning up to complicate his present with a nutty, woo-woo story. The problem is he knows Joy is telling the truth and he can’t ignore the compelling plight of baby Isabella whose disappearance six months prior transfixed the nation.

Discounted and discredited by the police, Dash and Joy work together to uncover the mystery and find Isabella, with a whacky supporting cast including Eve, a brothel madam; Stan, an excommunicated priest; Katie, Dash’s ten-year-old daughter; and two horny goldfish. It’s a race against time and against all odds – but the real battle for Dash and Joy might just be keeping their hands off each other. 

I received a copy of this book, from the author, in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway either my review or my rating!

This book was so different and unique, I mean, just read the blurb! It makes you sit here and scratch your head wondering if all of that could even work. I know I did. I think had anybody else asked me if I wanted to read it I'm sure I would have thought this probably wouldn't have been a ME type of book and I would have found a polite way to say thanks but no thanks! Thankfully it was Amy Andrews who asked me and I did read it because when it comes right down to it, it was very much a ME book and I had so much fun reading Limbo.

I really enjoyed the murder/kidnapping mystery of the book. I mean, there was lots of other stuff going on that was funny and at times steamy like every other Amy Andrews book I've ever read, but I was so invested in trying to figure out the who, the how and the why. That's what really kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could. And the paranormal aspect to Limbo made it that much more intriguing. A cadaver makeup artist who has a history of seeing ghosts? It's a fantastic and fun idea.

There are so many unique and complex characters in this book. Joy Valentine is, well she's hard to describe. I mean, anyone who voluntarily puts makeup on and makes bodies presentable for funerals I will never understand! It's just creepy! But she's a lot of fun. She's very quirky and funny, yet at the same time she also had moments where she was very frustrating. One of the things I loved most about her though was how open minded she could be when it came to people's lifestyle. Though I guess if you wear black nail polish, have a pink streak in your hair, rock out to Johnny Cash and see the ghost of the body your patching up with putty and probably do need to have a very open mind and personality.

I always end up falling hard for the guys that Amy creates and Dashiell Dent is no different. The name alone is all kinds of sexy! If the mystery of the book is half of what had me turning the pages, Dash would be the other half. He was just so fascinating. He's a scruffy PI who's very smart and good at what he does but also he's a very sweet and doting single dad. Every time his daughter Katie would be around his place to visit I just wanted to aww because he had such a great relationship with her and she had almost this hero worship thing going for him. It was really sweet.

The relationship between Dash and Joy was a mixture of hilarious, steamy, sweet and very frustrating! I loved how well they worked together on the case. How naturally, and easily they would bounce ideas of each other while they were investigating. Joy is obviously not a detective of any sort but she was every bit as important part of figuring things out and it was fun watching her really throw herself into everything. On a more intimate level, despite the major age difference between them, Joy and Dash had such an intense chemistry and all I can hope is that by the end of the series these two will come to their senses and quit fighting...well, everything!

I think the only thing that made it difficult for this to be a smooth read through for me, and had me stop and rereading a lot, is the fact that I'm not very familiar with a lot of Australian slang or day to day lingo and so there were phrases or words that would come up that I wasn't familiar with. I've never really immersed myself in that area, so there were times I'd come across something that I wasn't sure of and I'd figure it out just by what was going on in the scene or with the sentences surrounding it. Though that's not the fault of the book that is more on me really.

This was quite a bit different than the other stuff I've read from Amy Andrews but I loved that about it. It was fun and quirky and I am totally hooked. I can't wait to find out what happens next and what other cases fall into the laps of Joy and Dash. Or what's to come of the endearing brothel madam Eve, or the funny and intriguing priest who puts messages up on his church sign like Who's your daddy? Ah! I adore Stan! There is just so much fun in this book and if you're a lover of mystery, romance and paranormal, although the paranormal at least in this first book is very light and in the beginning, then I highly recommend this book. You get all three mixed into one and as I've already said about a hundred times in this review it's such a fun read!

I'm very thankful to Amy Andrews for the opportunity to read and review this book. I'm hooked and I can't wait for more!!

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