Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Review: Crown of Lies - Pepper Winters

Crown of Lies (Truth and Lies Duet #1)
by Pepper Winters
Published: January 31, 2017
Genre: Mystery, Dark, Romance

From New York Times Bestseller, Pepper Winters, comes a delicious sinful hero.

“I met the man I wanted. But then he vanished, and a new man claimed me instead. My father approved, my colleagues congratulated, and behind closed doors, I was bedded by a stranger.”

Noelle Charlston lives a fairy-tale life: a doting father, a powerful job, and a future blessed with financial security.

However, two meetings with two men changes her happy existence forever. First, she meets the man who makes her heart sing. Three years later, she meets the man who makes her blood quiver.

Broken-hearted from a teenage romance, Noelle’s freedom is no longer hers. It belongs to the stranger her father believes is her perfect match. The stranger who pulls his lies over everyone he touches.

Including her.

Seduced and manipulated, Noelle gives into the mysterious Penn Everett. The lies he spins, the truth he hides, the mystery he weaves—it’s all enough to slowly erode the woman she is and turn her into something else.

Until her past collides with her present.
And it’s her turn to lie.
To everyone…including herself.

4.5 Stars

"'Wrong.' His teeth nipped my throat. 'I hunted you.' Truth lay in that tiny paragraph, but I couldn't decipher it."

Told from Elle's POV, we meet her at a low point in her life and follow in her footsteps as she ages gracefully, until she meets Penn, the man who changes how her world spins. Driven by lust, the two come to an agreement built on a mutual desire, but Elle is not prepared for the harsh memories their connection uncovers in her mind. With flashbacks into a great and terrible time in her life, twenty-five year old Elle has not let go of the boy she first had feelings for at 19 when he saved her, known only to her as Nameless. Penn brings back these feelings, in good ways and in bad ways, but she has no idea who he truly is. He's alluring and mysterious, she wants to know more, but she's unwilling to face the danger he may bring to her life as well. Nameless and Penn occupy her thoughts, they own her mind, body, and soul, but there's harsher darkness lurking much closer to home.

"The world had been a vibrant adventure before. Now, it was a cesspool of criminals"

 "He was just a man. This was just a city. But every footfall felt different. Every breath and glance and heartbeat."

Mysterious and sultry, Crown of Lies is Pepper Winters' newest release and the first in a new duet titled Truth and Lies. Featuring an innocent heroine and a dark, brooding hero; readers will be swept up in the story that reveals more secrets than truths. Told from Elle's POV, she is suffocated by leading a life handed down to her by her father; she may be an heiress and a CEO, but she's never truly lived. I was astonished by how Pepper Winters made Elle so relatable, despite her life being so very different than the one I live. She's a bit quirky, terribly naive, but stubborn and determined, as well as a bit more romantic than she believes herself to be. Penn Everett, what a name. He's as handsome as the name gives away, but he's closed off, crude, and under Elle's skin. I was torn between dislike and lusting after him as I do my other book boyfriends. Their connection, though obviously driven by chemistry, is both sexy and uncomfortable to read, because it's so easy to see that the two are only barely scratching the surface.

"I couldn't think with him so close. I could on feel. and by God, I could feel. Everything."

Allowing lust to guide them, Elle so easily sets her questions to the side, the story shrouded in mystery as the two focus only on their passionate affair. I knew right away that there had to be more to Penn, even if we do not entirely know what yet. Then there's the minor characters, with her father, his business partner, and his partner's son, Greg, leading a secondary story line that's easy to forget until it rears its ugly head. As the past and the present intertwine, Elle fails to get the answers she needs to know the truth, and is swept up into lies that leave her locked in the darkness and hurt by all who surround her. I was so intrigued by the mysterious element of Crown of Lies, especially when it is revealed that the past and the present had more ties than I ever expected. I loved that Pepper Winters wrote what comes across, at first, as a contemporary romance, but is tinged with her descriptive, dark writing. I loved that I too was swept into the passion just as Elle was, only to be shaken back to reality when another snippet of truth was revealed. Like Elle, the reader is left in the dark, only seeing what she sees and feeling as she feels.

"Lust wasn't just a word; it was an ax that cut all chains of propriety. It was the gun that shot common-sense dead. Lust was a kidnapper and killer all in one."

The Truth and Lies duet promises to be a dark, mysterious, and sexy read that readers won't be able to put down. Ending on a cliff hanger, fans won't have to wait long for the truth to be revealed in Throne of Truth, coming February 28th. Beautifully written, my highlights prove that, Crown of Lies was an intriguing story that enthralled me from the very start, holding my captive for hours while I read, allowing for no interruptions.


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