Review: My Riot

⁠My Riot started out with a very scene that felt very poignant: rioting happening in the streets of what would otherwise be a quiet suburb.

I wasn’t sure where the rioting and the main character, Val, a shy, awkward high school student who finds solace in her ballet class, was going to go.

The graphic novels, set in the 90s (but feels very modern), tells the story of how Val grows and finds her voice through friends, ballet, family, and music.

I know, that sounds like a lot and some cliche, but it’s a fun read.

Val decides she wants to learn to play the guitar while she’s grounded. As she’s learning, she jams with her friend Kat over the phone, who’s learning to play the drums because they’ve decided they want to be in a band. And at their first show, they only know a few covers and are screechy and stumble over them. But they love it.

To the point where they keep rehearsing, practicing new songs, and start writing their own. Songs about women’s empowerment, about feminism, and about being a woman in the world.

I adored the illustrations and the subtle use of color in this graphic novel. Enough to give the illusion of movement and shadow while not being full color.

Thank you to @netgalley and @onipress for the review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

Review: Fly for the Both of Us

I can’t decide if Fly for the Both of Us was the most romantic book I’ve red recently, or if it was the most frustrating book I have read this year. And here’s why.

The story follows star-crossed lovers Ben and Kai over the course of four years. They meet at Ben’s dad’s photography studio in Hong Kong, when Kai is there for a modeling photo shoot. Ben is a shy, reserved, nerdy guy, whereas Kai is more sociable and outgoing.

Their romance starts over a “lunch swap,” where they decide to bring lunch for the other person over the course of a few weeks. (This to me, by the way, sounds like a great way to get to know a person and expand your food horizons.)

Once their agreed upon “lunch swap” timeframe ends, Ben and Kai’s relationship keeps going. Through the summer, through the school year, through the next summer, until Kai is offered a modeling gig in LA.

I loved the characters of Ben and Kai – I felt like I knew them, and I know people JUST like both of them. Ben: shy, reserved, feels like he has to hold the whole world together on his own and only focuses on what is directly in front of him. Kai: a little self centered, a little dramatic, a little dense, but always means well and wants to be helpful.

The love, the tenderness and the tension in Ben and Kai’s relationship over the four year time span and the 7,235 miles between them kept me coming back to this story. What drove me crazy was the lack of descriptions of the setting or a sense of place other than “Hong Kong” or “LA.” 

In fact, at one point, Kai thinks “I try to imagine what it’s like to see all of this from Ben’s point of view.” I wanted to scream, “so would the reader! Tellustellustellus!”

I’m fortunate to have visited both locations. I fell in love with  Hong Kong last fall and the promise of that setting and the chance to fall back in love with the city drew me to this book. I would have loved if the buzz and the beauty of Hong Kong had been translated to the page.

Fly for the Both of Us is an own voices contemporary young adult novel, that does contain mild sex, drug use, and eating disorders.

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and E. Mellyberry for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Review: The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and Page Street YA for hosting this tour!

I LOVED this The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice! The story was so immersive and I enjoyed the gender swap retelling of Pinocchio. 

Set in an old world German-style town, I felt like I could walk right in and become part of this town. The town, the shops, the maker’s, even the local pub felt so real. 

And the makers – I loved them all, especially Nan who felt like the big sister to everyone. Taking care of them all, but also a little sassy.

As Pirouette works for the Margrave and she enlists the help of the makers, I fell in love with each of them all over again. Their friendships are so beautiful and honest and the way the come to each other’s aid is heartwarming.

The use of forbidden magic in the town was used well. The tension between Pirouette’s existence and what brought her to life was palpable. And use of magic and its consequences throughout the book helped to thread the tension throughout the story.

I found myself reading through this story quickly; Lisa DeSelm’s writing is engaging and easy to read. I loved that the elements of the Pinoccio story came through, but DeSelm made the story her own.

BLURB

Impressed by the work of the puppetmaster and his apprentice, Tavia’s ruler, The Margrave, has ordered dozens of life-size marionette soldiers to be sent to Wolfspire Hall. When the orders for more soldiers come in with increasingly urgent deadlines, the puppetmaster’s health suffers and Pirouette, his daughter and protégé, is left to build in his stead. But there is something far more twisted brewing at Wolfspire—the Margrave’s son wants Pirouette to create an assassin. And he wants her to give it life.

With Tavia teetering on the brink of war and her father dying in the dungeons, Pirouette has no choice but to accept. Racing against the rise of the next blue moon—the magic that will bring her creations to life—she can’t help but wonder, is she making a masterpiece…or a monster?

COVER REVEAL! Love on the Rocks

Title: Love on the Rocks

A Holiday Springs Resort Series Novel

Author: Kim Bailey

Genre: Contemporary Workplace Romance

Cover Design: Bailey Cover Boutique

Release Date: November 6, 2020

BLURB

Melina Morales is a good girl.  

A hardworking, ambitious, follows-all-the-rules girl. Maybe that’s why her coworkers call her the ice queen. She might care if it weren’t for the looming pile of debt and her family depending on her. But with her dream job on the line, she’s determined to succeed, no matter the sacrifice.

There’s just one tiny, six-foot-something problem…

Zane Wilder is a bad boy.

The Holiday Springs bartender is the guy everyone turns to for a good time—especially the women. Except, lately he’s been unsatisfied. Maybe it’s got something to do with the drunken kiss he shared with Melina, but since he’s not interested in commitment, he figures there’ll never be a chance to find out.

When Melina agrees to one date in return for a favor, they both quickly realize there’s something between them. But it’s going to take Zane a lot more than his fun-loving ways and easy charm to convince the good girl to give him a serious shot.

This time, he’ll have to risk his heart.

Escape to the romantic paradise of Holiday Springs and warm up with your next happily ever after.    


GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55054297-love-on-the-rocks

PRE-ORDER LINKS 

US: https://amzn.to/3luPoHI
UK: https://amzn.to/3nzzSMA
CA: https://amzn.to/3dhrMn4
AU: https://amzn.to/3luPy1M 

AUTHOR BIO

Kim Bailey is a born procrastinator and sarcasm junkie who gets her motivation from coffee and good books. She enjoys lively conversations, usually with imaginary people, and can often be found daydreaming at work.


Most of all, she loves writing about love.

Her romance stories range from small-town contemporaries to action-packed suspense but always have a high heat level. She writes strong-willed women, broody alpha males, deep family bonds, and fiercely passionate lovers.

Kim proudly became a USA Today Best-Selling Author with her contribution to Wanted: An Outlaw Anthology. This charity anthology raised over $5000.00 for St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital.


AUTHOR LINKS

Website: https://www.kimbaileywrites.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimBwrites 

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1445760699055990 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kimberley_Bee 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kimbwrites 

Review: You Know I’m No Good

I absolutely devoured this book! Jessie Ann Foley’s writing in You Know I’m No Good is fast paced and continually left me breathless. Not to mention the short chapters almost always ended in something of a cliff hanger that had me turning the page for just “one more chapter” despite the hour or what household chores needed to be done.

I don’t want to go into too much detail in my review, as I don’t want to give too much away from the story. That said, I don’t typically give star ratings in my reviews, but this is definitely a five-star read.

The reader truly feels and lives through Mia – her pain, her happiness, her sorrow. And when she has that break through emotionally – ahhh! – it cut deep in the feels. 

And then Foley works her author magic, building Mia and the reader back up, bringing both together through the hard work Mia does emotionally. Healing hearts, souls, and relationships.

And the ending! Just, ugh! So much love.

In the span of these pages, Foley broke me down, filled me with hope, and built me back up. She also beautifully opened a dialogue and discusses many tough topics, such as teen drug and alcohol use and self-harm.

Thank you to Jessie Ann Foley and Turn the Page Tours for this hosting this tour of You Know I’m No Good and this free copy in exchange for my honest review.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Sexual Assault, Suicidal Ideation, Drug and Alcohol Use, Self-Harm

GIVEAWAY INFO: Up for grabs is ONE copy of Jessie Ann Foley’s You Know I’m No Good. This giveaway is open to US residents only, and will run from October 9th – October 16th at 11:59PM CST. Enter to win via the rafflecopter link below.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d6/?

BLURB:

From Printz Honor winner and William C. Morris Award finalist Jessie Ann Foley comes the story of one girl’s battle to define herself as something other than her reputation.

Mia is officially a Troubled Teen she gets bad grades, drinks too much, and has probably gone too far with too many guys. But she doesn’t realize how out of control her parents think she is until they send her away to Red Oak Academy, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Minnesota.

While there, Mia starts confronting her painful past, and questions the purpose of Red Oak. After all, if the Red Oak girls were boys, they never would have been treated the way that they are. Amidst the revelations that cause her to question the way that society treats young women, circumstances outside of her control force Mia to discover what happens when she makes herself vulnerable enough to be truly seen by the rest of the world.

AUTHOR INFO

Jessie Ann Foley’s debut novel, The Carnival at Bray, was a Printz Honor Book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, a YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults title, and a William C. Morris Award finalist. Her second novel, Neighborhood Girls, was an ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice and a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults title. Sorry for Your Loss, her third novel, was an Illinois Reads selection. You Know I’m No Good is her fourth novel. Jessie lives with her husband and three daughters in Chicago, where she was born and raised. To learn more about Jessie, visit her online at www.jessieannfoley.com.

Review: Dreaming in a Perfect World

Wow, this book! I don’t even know where to begin.

I was a little thrown off by of the dreams at first in Dreaming in a Perfect World. They are handwritten and scanned into the book. It was startling to encounter something so unclean and raw and unfinished like that in a published book.  However, I also appreciated to see the author’s process, his handwriting, and where the poems came from.

After each handwritten dream are poems that seem to come from that dream.

There were poems in Tavon’s collection that made me stop and think, some that made me smile, and others that were so poignant to the world we are living in today that I just had to set the books aside for a moment.

I had a few favorites from this collection of poetry. The two that resonated with me the most were “Black Student, White Education” and “If I could have a conversation with my 17 year off self here’s what I would say”.

Dreaming in a Perfect World is definitely not a light hearted book of poetry. Tavon touches on difficult topics: race, violence, sexual abuse, mental illness. But, he does so with raw emotion that opens a means for discussion.

Thank you to the author for a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: Love Surreptitiously

Surreptitiously: in a way that attempts to avoid notice or attention; secretively.

Sidney works in content and layout for World Tripping magazine and is up for promotion when the long-time Editor announces that all personnel changes will be put on hold as he retires and introduces a new Editor-in-Chief. 

The story of Sidney and Quinn’s secret affair blooms from there – staying late, sneaking kisses behind closed doors, dates far enough from the office that they hope no one will catch them.

Love Surreptitiously was cute, but definitely not my favorite read of the year. There were a number of times when I didn’t know who was speaking and found myself re-reading dialogue to try to figure it out.

It’s also written 90% in Sidney’s POV, with just little glimpses into Quinns POV. I wish there had been more times when the book switched between them.

The blossoming romance between the two, however, was sweet, and that kept me engaged in the book. And, while absolutely predictable, I truly enjoyed the predictability in the story in this one.

Love Surreptitiously is available now – and is free with Kindle Unlimited.

Thank you to Give Me Books PR and author Tarrah Anders for the free advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54864495-love-surreptitiously

PURCHASE LINKS – $2.99 for a limited time!

US: https://amzn.to/3jwisNZ

UK: https://amzn.to/3boy8QA

CA: https://amzn.to/34T4yBp

AU: https://amzn.to/2EQiVvk

Free in Kindle Unlimited

AUTHOR BIO

Tarrah Anders is a contemporary romance author who is all about the feels, with the twists of sexy mixed in between. Writing has always been a passion and Tarrah loves to share her words, her characters and the world that they live in with her readers. Tarrah enjoys creating characters that you can be friends with, so get ready to make some new friends. 

She is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, but living in beautiful San Diego with her family, while working in Program Management within the social work field.

AUTHOR LINKS

Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/tarrahanders

Newsletter: https://smarturl.it/BEMYBUDDY

Website: https://www.tarrahanders.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/tarrah-anders

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tarrahanders

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tarrahanders

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tarrah.anders.5

Review: Molly

Molly is such a sweet romcom!

Molly is a preschool teacher at a Montessori school, who, after getting fired for her personal honesty policy, finds herself working as the nanny for one of her students, Chloe. Chloe’s single father, Ben is working on his residency at the local hospital, and between his crazy hours there and taking care of Chloe has little time for anything else.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect going into this book. It is classified as sweet/clean romantic comedy, so expectation for the type of romance novel I typically rad had to be adjusted a little.

That said, I really enjoyed Molly and Ben’s perspectives in this book – and it felt more authentic to real life relationships. No immediate sex, or lusty behaviors. Just good old fashioned crushing on the other person and wholesome kissing. (Or, maybe that’s just been my experience with relationships?)

The romantic tension between Molly and Ben is very palpable on the page and their side friendships are incredibly fun to read.

I did have an incredible urge to dye my hair pink while reading this. I know they said blondes have more fun, and I’m a natural red head (fiery and all), but it sounds like “pink hair, don’t care” is definitely the way to go for 2020!

COVER REVEAL: A Very Bossy Christmas

Title: A Very Bossy Christmas
Author: Kayley Loring
Genre: Steamy Romantic Comedy
Cover Design: Kari March Designs
Release Date: October 26, 2020
BLURB

What’s the actual last thing you’d ever want your executive assistant to see you doing the morning after you had hot, drunk, angry sex with her in a terrible hotel room? Dancing around your terrible hotel room to “Come and Get Your Love” like Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy—naked? Yeah. Me too.

And yet, here we are.

This isn’t even the most unprofessional thing that’s happened between us in the past couple of weeks.

The first was when I agreed to let her have Christmas Day off, but only if she goes with me to three family gatherings as my fake girlfriend.
The second was when she caught me belting out a Christmas song on stage in the awful hotel bar.
The third was the hot, drunk, angry sex that followed, but I do not regret it.

And she hasn’t even found out the real reason I need her by my side this holiday season.

I need to pull it together before I do the dumbest, most unprofessional thing of all—fall head over heels in love with the only assistant who’s lasted more than a month at the job and claims to hate me and my moods more than she hates eggnog.

And I’ve seen how much she hates eggnog.


GOODREADS LINK:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54959891-a-very-bossy-christmas


AUTHOR BIO

Before writing steamy romantic comedy novels, Kayley Loring got a BFA in creative writing from a Canadian university and had a fifteen-year career as a screenwriter in Los Angeles (under a different name). She mostly wrote PG-13 family comedies that studios would pay her lots of money for and then never make into movies. In 2017 she decided to move to the Pacific Northwest and write about all the fun stuff that she wasn’t allowed to write about in those PG-13 scripts. Now she’s breathing cleaner air and writing dirtier words. It’s an adjustment she’s happily getting used to.


AUTHOR LINKS

Website: https://kayleyloring.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkayleyloring
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kayleyville
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kayleyloring
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/diuzU1
Audio Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/e3b7l2
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kayley-loring

Review: Spying Under the Mistletoe

I was surprised by how much I loved Spying Under the Mistletoe. I’ve never read a fake-dating romance before this one, so I went  in a little skeptical that I wasn’t going to enjoy the relationship.

But, I absolutely fell in love with Landon (okay, maybe I fell in love with his dog Whiskey🧡). He knows what he wants, he’s focused, and him teaching kindergarten was adorably amusing.

Chloe is a “mafia princess” who has left her family and started life anew. She hasn’t spoken to her grandfather or her cousin – the two men who run the family – in years. But there’s a contract out on her, especially now that her grandfather has been put behind bars.

Landon and his team, while working with the FBI, are brought in to keep Chloe safe, but also to try to draw out her cousin. The story around their relationship kept the story moving, and I couldn’t wait to get back to reading to find out what happened next. 

Spying Under the Mistletoe is the second book in the Love Undercover series by Stina Lindenblatt, but can absolutely be read as a standalone.

Thank you to Stina Lindenblatt and Give Me Books PR for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55119923-spying-under-the-mistletoe

BOOKBUB LINK: https://www.bookbub.com/books/spying-under-the-mistletoe-love-undercover-book-2-by-stina-lindenblatt

PURCHASE LINKS

US: https://amzn.to/3mvGQBE

UK: https://amzn.to/3c6m3Qm

CA: https://amzn.to/2FuQlAv

AU: https://amzn.to/2FK9mhV

B&N: https://bit.ly/3iHd7mW

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3hFXx9Y

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3iHJP7A