Review: All the Right Reasons

I’ve recently found that I haven’t enjoyed YA romance as much as I used to. However, All the Right Reasons was definitely an exception to this – as the romance for the main character was definitely secondary to the rest of the story.

When Cara and her mom are cast for a dating reality show, they go into the show knowing there’s a payout on the other end. What they don’t expect is producers meddling in budding relationships.

I really enjoyed reading this book – although a lot of the conflicts could easily have been solved with a little communication. The budding relationship between Cara and Connor was super sweet and honest, and seeing how Cara’s mom, Julia, was considering her potential suitors.

I did really like the ending. Although I did kind of guess the surprise twist, I still swooned and couldn’t read it fast enough.

Feature: Swan Song of my Era

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours for including me on this tour!

TITLE:  Swan Song of My Era

AUTHOR: Elsie Swain

PUBLISHER: Okiyoto Publishing
RELEASE DATE: April 13, 2021

GENRES: YA Contemporary

BUY LINKS:

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/swan-song-of-my-era-elsie-swain/1139322877

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Swan-Song-Era-Elsie-Swain/dp/981498924X

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/a/25463/9789814989244

SYNOPSIS:

What happens when Hope Vale, an aspiring Vitiligo make-up artist who wants to eradicate the market of whitening products meets Spes Zrey, an arrogant Hugo-Boss awardee struggling to shape her Designer dream, as they envision reshaping Asia into the next fashion empire together?

Set in Malaysia, this Contemporary Fiction is all about the grueling ambition against all hurdles of reality to break the confinements of Gender and the stereotypes of preferred white beauty in Asia.

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Author’s instagram: ihttps://www.instagram.com/elsie.ilye/

Review: Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found

I couldn’t read Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found fast enough. 

Kingston has moved back to Echo City, the last place his father was seen alive, and King is determined to find his father again. Except King’s Mom wants nothing to do with magic in their lives anymore.

But when King sees a reflection that looks like his Dad in the closed down theater he was last seen in, he makes a plan with his friends to break in and figure out what’s going on.

There were so many twists and turns in this book, and I was on the edge of my seat so often! I could not believe this was a middle grade book!

Book Feature: All the Right Reasons

The Bachelor meets Gilmore Girls in this laugh-out-loud young adult romance about a girl who joins her mother on a reality dating show for single parents—only to fall for a contestant’s son.

Cara Hawn’s life fell apart after her father cheated on her mother and got remarried to a woman Cara can’t stand. When Cara accidentally posts a rant about her father online, it goes viral—and catches the attention of the TV producers behind a new reality dating show for single parent families.

The next thing Cara and her mother know, they’ve been cast as leads on the show and are whisked away to sunny Key West where they’re asked to narrow a field of suitors and their kids down to one winning pair. All of this is outside of Cara’s comfort zone, from the meddling producers to the camera-hungry contestants, especially as Cara and her mother begin to clash on which suitors are worth keeping around. And then comes Connor.

As the son of a contestant, Connor is decidedly off-limits. Except that he doesn’t fit in with the cutthroat atmosphere in all the same ways as Cara, and she can’t get him out of her head. Now Cara must juggle her growing feelings while dodging the cameras and helping her mom pick a bachelor they both love, or else risk fracturing their family even more for the sake of ratings. Maybe there’s a reason most people don’t date on TV.

Book Title: All the Right Reasons

Author: Bethany Mangle

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: February 15, 2022

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56252451-all-the-right-reasons

Book Purchase link:

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/All-the-Right-Reasons/Bethany-Mangle/9781534499034

Author Bios:

Bethany Mangle writes young adult contemporary fiction, but her tastes as a reader are extremely varied. She has a particular love of fantasy and science fiction. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys baking questionable cakes and spoiling her dog.

Her debut novel, PREPPED, was published in 2021. Her second, ALL THE RIGHT REASONS, releases Spring 2022. Bethany is represented by Jennifer Wills and Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency.

Author Links:

https://www.instagram.com/bethanymangle/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19831288.Bethany_Mangle

Review: Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman

I will say up front, I am a cis-gendered white woman who had an average college experience.

Savannah has worked hard throughout high school to make it into Wooddale University on a full scholarship. Except, Wooddale is full of primarily white, wealthy students.

During the fall semester, the statue of the college’s Black president is defaced, Savannah realizes she cannot be quiet and in the shadows during her college years.

I was cheering on and wanted to support Savannah throughout this book. I cried. My heart hurt. I was furious. And I smiled.

The world needs more strong women like Savannah. Women who are willing to stand up and speak up about the world’s injustices.

I started this review stating that I’m just an average white gal. However, I’m an alumna of Cedar Crest College, who had their own reckoning with BIPOC students on campus in the past couple of years.

BIPOC students and alumnae accused the college of using their images and stories in the college’s advertising but not treating them equitably on campus. Four alumnae BIPOC students have launched the grassroots effort named “Pledge Her Our Best,” which states on their website their mission is “To amplify the voices of Black and NBPOC (non Black, people of color) and to support CCC in building a safe and more equitable community for all.”

Because Cedar Crest College – similar to Wooddale in Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman – in majority white, the personal stories shared by the students may not be the same as the other students and alumnae.

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and the author Kristen R. Lee for including me on this tour.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Up for grabs we have THREE (3) finished copies of Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee. This giveaway will be open to US residents only, three separate winners will be chosen. This giveaway will run from January 30th to February 6th at 12 AM. To enter, click the link below!

GIVEAWAY LINK: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d56/?

TITLE: Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman

AUTHOR: Kristen R. Lee
PUBLISHER: Crown Books for Young Readers
RELEASE DATE: February 1st, 2022

GENRES: New Adult Fiction—Contemporary
BUY LINK: https://bookshop.org/a/11727/9780593309155

SYNOPSIS:

A striking debut novel about racism on elite college campuses. Fans of Dear White People will embrace this activist-centered contemporary novel about a college freshman grappling with the challenges of attending an elite university with a disturbing racist history–that may not be as distant as it seems.

Savannah Howard sacrificed her high school social life to make sure she got into a top college. Her sites were set on an HBCU, but when she is accepted to the ivy-covered walls of Wooddale University on a full ride, how can she say no?

Wooddale is far from the perfectly manicured community it sells on its brochures, though. Savannah has barely unpacked before she comes face-to-face with microaggressions stemming from racism and elitism. Then, Clive Wilmington’s statue is vandalized with blackface. The prime suspect? Lucas Cunningham, Wooddale’s most popular student and son to a local prominent family. Soon, Savannah is unearthing the hidden secrets of Wooddale’s racist history. But what’s the price for standing up for what is right? And will telling the truth about Wooddale’s past cost Savannah her own future?

A stunning, challenging, and timely debut about racism and privilege on college campuses.

AUTHOR INFORMATION
Kristen R. Lee is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. After graduating from college, she began to write her experiences attending a predominantly white institution, which led to the first draft of Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman. She’s worked as a mentor for foster youth and has interned in a school setting, where she counseled middle-school-aged children. Writing stories that reflect often-unheard voices is what she strives to do. Learn more about Kristen at kristenleebooks.com.

Review: The Winning Ingredient

The Winning Ingredient was a cute, clean YA romance read.

Bryce is a new student at George Washington High, and the new quarterback on the football team. Mia’s family owns a bakery in town. When Mia is asked to tutor Bryce in science and math, this unlikely duo wind up becoming friends.

I loved the bakery scenes and this definitely made me want to do some baking (I think some cookies might be in my future).

This story reminded me a little of a YA version of The Baker and the Beauty on Netflix. I do wish that the author had included a recipe for the cannoli cookies, because those sounded amazing!

Unfortunately I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and I did find the writing to be a little stiff at times.

As the past and the present collide, one baker and one quarterback team up.

The two might be the winning ingredient in a timeless recipe.

Mia DeSalvo is one tough cookie, who can throw a perfect spiral and bake a perfect biscotti. But, as George Washington High’s top student and ninth-grade class president, she’s thrown off her game when asked to tutor boarding school drop-out and secret-weapon-on-the-football-field, Bryce Fitzgerald. Despite his to-die-for dimples, he’s a total bore. Besides, her plate is already full, trying to save her family’s struggling century-old Italian bakery.

Determined to tackle her family’s business woes, Mia secretly devotes her free time to developing new recipes, with the help of her Sicilian great-great-grandmother’s handwritten cookbook. She soon discovers that blending her own innovations with her Nonna Antoinette’s history may be the key to the bakery’s success.

But Mia’s not the only one with a secret. As rumors swirl around Bryce’s lightning-speed exit from prestigious Chadwick Academy, she’s resolved to get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately, the star quarterback’s bad attitude, mixed with her flaming temper, is a recipe for disaster.

When Mia stumbles upon Bryce’s beautifully written journal, it’s clear his talents aren’t confined to the football field, and there’s much more to the hazel-eyed quarterback than she could’ve imagined. While the journal may hold all the answers she’s looking for, the weight of its heartbreaking words may be too much for her to carry.

With the future of the DeSalvo Bakery and the football State Championship hanging in the balance, Mia and Bryce might just have what the other is missing.

Armed with an antique cookbook and a football, this unlikely pair will discover the importance of embracing an enduring legacy and keeping cherished memories alive.

The Winning Ingredient is a lower young adult novel about unwavering friendship through loss and triumph and is the debut novel for this previously published author.

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Kelly Swan Taylor is a Boston-based attorney and former laboratory scientist. As a competitive runner, racing from sun-drenched Hawaii to frigid Iceland, her first publishing credit was in Simon & Schuster’s best-selling book series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Running for Good, highlighting her experiences in the historic 2013 and 2014 Boston Marathons. Growing up immersed in beloved “Teen” novels, Kelly now crafts her own sweet stories that bridge the gap between middle grade and young adult fiction that is so often forgotten but so sorely needed in the market today. She has a soft spot for the sincere yet flawed character with a kind heart who tries to do the right thing, stumbles along the way, but eventually becomes a hero in everyday life. In her free time, Kelly enjoys traveling and collecting snow globes and race medals from around the world. A proud alumnus of Syracuse University, she cheers her Syracuse Orange from both her sofa and the metal bleachers of the Carrier Dome. She resides in Providence, Rhode Island with her architect husband, Jonathan, and two spoiled geriatric kitties.

Review: Himawari House

Himawari House is a graphic novel for young adults that focuses on foreign exchange students in Japan. The students are learning Japanese in order to work, go to university, and connect with their roots.

I have never felt some many feelings while reading a graphic novel. Anxiety when the students are taking their exams, joy, happiness. I even wept in the two-page life story of their Obaachan neighbor.

I also appreciated that the author wrote the student’s English with an accent. Students of a new language aren’t going to speak it perfectly, and writing the students with an accent made the characters feel real.

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and First Second Books for including me on this tour and for the finished copy of this book!

Book Description: 

A young adult graphic novel about three foreign exchange students and the pleasures, and difficulties, of adjusting to living in Japan.

Living in a new country is no walk in the park―Nao, Hyejung, and Tina can all attest to that. The three of them became fast friends through living together in the Himawari House in Tokyo and attending the same Japanese cram school. Nao came to Japan to reconnect with her Japanese heritage, while Hyejung and Tina came to find freedom and their own paths. Though each of them has her own motivations and challanges, they all deal with language barriers, being a fish out of water, self discovery, love, and family.

Author Bio:

Harmony Becker was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the illustrator of George Takei’s graphic memoir They Called Us Enemy. She currently lives in Mexico City.

Book Title: Himawari House

Author: Harmony Becker

Publisher: First Second

Release Date: November 9, 2021

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Graphic Novel 

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55780534-himawari-house 

Book Purchase link:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Himawari-House-Harmony-Becker/dp/125023557X 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/himawari-house-harmony-becker/1137970897?ean=9781250235572 

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Himawari-House-Harmony-Becker/9781250235572?ref=grid-view&qid=1636300348408&sr=1-1 

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250235565 

Author Links:

https://www.harmonybecker.com/

https://www.instagram.com/hamini/?hl=en

Review: For All Time

For All Time will be a love story for the ages.

It took me a while to settle into Tamar and Fayard’s story and figure out what was happening. Initially I wanted more nitty-gritty details about the characters in the here and now, but after finishing the book, I’m glad the author didn’t bog down the beginning with details that would have become obsolete later.

The beginning of the book I also felt like the timeline bounced around a little unexpectedly, but at the same time, this puts the reader into the same dream-state unsureness of the main characters.

The romance between Fayard and Tamar is what had me coming back to this book, even when I was frustrated and confused by it. I wanted to know what happened to these two, let’s call them “star-crossed lovers.”

I will say, Shanna Miles absolutely breaks my heart in this book, in the way only a good romance can. But, no worries, there is a happy (but ambiguous) ending.

Thank you to Turn the Page Tours, Shanna Miles, and Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers for the advanced review copy and including me on this tour!

SYNOPSIS:

The Sun Is Also a Star meets Outlander in this vivid, utterly romantic debut novel about two teens who relive their tragic love story over and over until they uncover what they must do to change their fate.

Tamar is a musician, a warrior, a survivor. Fayard? He’s a pioneer, a hustler, a hopeless romantic.

Together, Tamar and Fayard have lived a thousand lives, seen the world build itself up from nothing only to tear itself down again in civil war. They’ve even watched humanity take to the stars. But in each life one thing remains the same: their love and their fight to be together. One love story after another. Their only concern is they never get to see how their story ends. Until now.

When they finally discover what it will take to break the cycle, will they be able to make the sacrifice?

BLURBS:

“An unforgettable and artfully crafted romance right down to the very last page.” —Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’

“A romance for the ages. Fresh voices and original predicaments make this one perfect little novel.”

—Stacey Lee, award-winning author of The Downstairs Girl

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Shanna Miles is an author, reviewer and librarian who lives in Georgia with her two daughters, and educator husband and advocates tirelessly for appropriate representation for marginalized people in children’s fiction. Her passion is Paranormal Romance, but she also has a deep affinity for diverse Science Fiction like that of Octavia Butler and Sherri L. Smith. “Willow Born” is Shanna Miles’ latest work.

BUY LINK: https://bookshop.org/a/11727/9781534485976

Review: To Bleed a Crystal Bloom

I almost, almost, DNF’d this book. However, I’m so glad I didn’t! While the beginning of To Bleed a Crystal Bloom was slow and really had me questioning what I was reading, about half way through the action picked up and I could not put this book down! (Seriously, I would fall asleep with my glasses on and my Kindle in my hand!)

Orlaith was the soul survivor of a massacre that killed everyone else – being a 2 year old, she was rescued by Rhyodan, kept in a tower in his dark castle.

To Bleed a Crystal Bloom picks up with Orlaith 17 years later.

The first half of this book was spent setting up Orlaith’s back story, the world, and making the reader understand Orlaith’s emotions. However, it was a little slow for me and some parts felt unnecessary or left me with more questions than answers.

However, at about the 55 percent mark on my Kindle, the action picks up. There’s the Tribunal and the ball, and Orlaith learns more about what is happening outside of her Safety Line. 

The time and detail the author spent in the beginning to describe the world for the reader paid off to make the second half of the book move quickly.

While I did anticipate the one final twist, there are still so many unanswered questions that I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.

Thank you to author Sarah A. Parker and Turn the Page Tours for the copy of To Bleed a Crystal Bloom in exchange for my honest opinion.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Up for grabs, we have a $50 Amazon Gift Card. This giveaway will be open INTL and will run from August 28th to September 5th at 11:59 PM CST. One winner will be chosen. To enter, click the link below!

Rafflecopter Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d50/?

TITLE: To Bleed a Crystal Bloom

AUTHOR: Sarah A. Parker
PUBLISHER: Self-Published
RELEASE DATE: July 24th, 2021

GENRES: ADULT FICTION—Dark Fantasy, Romance, Retellings > Rapunzel
BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Bleed-Crystal-Bloom-Sarah-Parker/dp/B09B2CJ6XJ/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1627495687&sr=1-1

SYNOPSIS:

“What a pretty flower to keep locked in a big, rocky tower.”

Nineteen years ago, I was plucked from the heart of a bloody massacre that spared nobody else.

Small. Fragile.

An enigma.

Now ward to a powerful High Master who knows too much and says too little, I lead a simple life, never straying from the confines of an imaginary line I’ve drawn around the castle grounds.

Stay within. Never leave.

Out there, the monsters lurk. Inside, I’m safe … though at a cost far greater than the blood I drip into a goblet daily.

Toxic, unreciprocated love for a man who’s utterly unavailable.

My savior. My protector.

My almost executioner.

I can’t help but be enamored with the arcane man who holds the power to pull my roots from the ground.

When voracious beasts spill across the land and threaten to fray the fabric of my tailored existence, the petals of reality will peel back to reveal an ugly truth. But in a castle puddled with secrets, none are greater than the one I’ve kept from myself.

No tower is tall enough to protect me from the horror that tore my life to shreds.

To Bleed a Crystal Bloom is a dark Rapunzel reimagining full of immersive imagery and breathtaking angst. A unique new fantasy series perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer L. Armentrout, guaranteed to grip you from the very first page.

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Sarah A Parker

Sarah is an international bestselling author who also writes under the pen name S.A. Parker.

She lives in Australia with her husband and children, and spends her days with her nose in a book or her mind in a world of her own creation.

Her genre of choice is epic fantasy romance, and she thrives off dreaming up complex characters and immersive worlds to get lost amongst.

TOUR: T-Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes

If parents are looking for a book to both teach the alphabet, as well as teach a great lesson, T-Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes is a great option.

The main story and illustrations of this children’s book shows what different animals can’t do – what is difficult for them (like giraffes can’t do gymnastics).

At the end of the book, there are two pages that highlights what the animals CAN do.

Its a great reminder that while you might not be great at everything, you are great at something.

Giveaway Information

Up for grabs is one (1) copy of T-REXES CAN’T TIE THEIR SHOES! This giveaway is limited to US readers only.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d46/?

TITLE: T-Rexes Can’t Tie Their Shoes

AUTHOR: By ANNA LAZOWSKI Illustrated by STEPH LABERIS
PUBLISHER: Double Day Books For Young Readers
RELEASE DATE: June 2021

GENRES: Children’s, Picture book

BUY LINK: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/639603/t-rexes-cant-tie-their-shoes-by-anna-lazowski-illustrated-by-steph-laberis/

SYNOPSIS:

A funny and encouraging alphabetic book about all the things animals CAN’T do but kids CAN! Every parent teaching their children new skills will be happy to have this super-positive picture book on hand.

Bees can’t ride bicycles, penguins can’t play ping-pong, and zebras can’t go zip-lining. No one is good at everything, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying! Here is a funny and encouraging picture book for any child learning how to tie their shoes, ride a bike, spell their name, or do a variety of new things.

Follow a hilarious alphabet of animals, and see all the things they can’t do but kids can—from doing gymnastics to flipping pancakes to playing a xylophone. Along the way, young readers will learn that it’s okay if they can’t do everything; they can still have a LOT of fun trying.

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Anna Lazowski wrote her first picture book for a class assignment in the sixth grade and has been creating stories ever since. Now an award-winning radio producer, Anna has an MA (Journalism) from the University of Western Ontario and a BFA (Hons.) from the University of Manitoba.