Hello friends and Happy Wednesday! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US, and my what a strange year for celebrating holidays. I hope all of you who celebrate Thanksgiving are prepared and have your plans safely made. For the rest of you, I hope your week is going well and you are staying happy and healthy. I am very excited to be back with another tour with Storytellers on Tour, as it’s been a while since I’ve signed up for a book tour with them. This time I’m bringing you River Magic by M.A. Phillips, and this was such a wonderful story! Don’t forget to stop and check out the other tour posts, we all have something different, and there is a giveaway!
River Magic by M. A. Phillips
Published: October 31, 2020 Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing Genre: Magical Realism Age Group: Adult Pages: 324
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Budding clairvoyant Lacey Moran seeks to understand her dreams and find her life’s purpose along the St. Lawrence River. If only her visions of silver arms and Cian O’Connor’s blue eyes were easier to understand! The pieces begin coming together when she encounters a mermaid in the river, joins a group of Druids, and opens herself to romance with an old friend.
Can Lacey overcome her doubts, or is she in over her head?
M. A. Phillips lives in Northern NY with her husband, daughter, and three cats. She is a writer, English teacher, and practicing Druid. Some of her short stories have been published in Stone, Root, and Bone magazine. Her debut, River Magic, is an adult magical realism novel featuring a friends-to-lovers romance, contemporary Pagans, and a vengeful mermaid.
When she isn’t writing, you can find her in the garden, sewing, or enjoying a book with a side of tea. You can read more about her spiritual and creative journey on her blog ditzydruid.com, or on Twitter & Instagram @ditzydruid
I went into reading this really eager for a fun, whimsical, magic story full of Irish Folklore and boy did River Magic deliver! We have a sweet, grounded main character named Lacey, whom we follow through the typical trials of finding yourself and purpose after college. We get a great bit of detail into her past and background that really helps round Lacey and Cian’s characters throughout the story. I adored that it was set along the St. Lawrence River, being a Syracuse, NY native it really allowed me to relate to the small town vibes. I felt that the intertwining of Irish Folklore/Druidry and the judgement and acceptance of personal religious beliefs was well done, and really was a great underlying tone of the book. The growing up aspect was relatable and tasteful, but this really felt more YA or New Adult to me at times. Overall I loved this story, it was charming, eventful and endearing. I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the series!
As a treat, we have some adorable character art of Lacey and Cian to share! I just love it, these are exactly how I pictured them in my mind.
Thanks so much for stopping by on my post for the Blog Tour for River Magic by M.A. Phillips, before you go take a minute to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to take a look at the other stops on the tour, we each have something different to share. 🙂
Hello everyone, and Happy Tuesday! I’m back again with a blog tour for a read that, at times, had me laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. I’m very happy to be able to bring you my review and an excerpt for Pretending by Holly Bourne. This is a slightly feminist, slight satire and full rom com surrounding a woman’s perspective to men and modern dating. Without spoiling anything, let’s jump right in!
Pretending : A Novel
On Sale Date: November 17, 2020
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In this hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel perfect for fans of Fleabag, a woman struggling to move on after a traumatic relationship pretends to be “the perfect girl” in an act of vengeance that goes awry when she finds herself emotionally compromised.
He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’.
April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry. Until she realizes that what men are really looking for is Gretel.
Gretel is perfect – beautiful but low maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not a slut. She’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.
When April starts pretending to be Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Holly Bourne is a bestselling UK-based YA and Adult Fiction author and is an Ambassador for Women’s Aid. In 2019, she was an Author of the Day at the London Book Fair, and was named by Elle Magazine’s weekly podcast as one of “Six Female Authors Changing the Conversation in 2019”. Pretending is her US debut.
There, I’ve said it. I know you’re not supposed to say it. We all pretend we don’t hate them; we all tell ourselves we don’t hate them. But I’m calling it. I’m standing here on this soapbox, and I’m saying it.
I. Hate. Men.
I mean, think about it. They’re just awful. I hate how selfish they are. How they take up so much space, assuming it’s always theirs to take. How they spread out their legs on public transport, like their balls need regular airing to stop them developing damp. I hate how they basically scent mark anywhere they enter to make it work for them. Putting on the music they want to listen to the moment they arrive at any house party, and always taking the nicest chair. How they touch your stuff instead of just looking; even tweak the furniture arrangement to make it most comfortable for them. All without asking first—never asking first.
I hate how they think their interests are more important than yours—even though twice a week all most of them do is watch a bunch of strangers kick a circle around a piece of lawn and sulk if the circle doesn’t go in the right place. And how bored they look if you ever try to introduce them to a film, a band, or even a freaking YouTube clip, before you’ve even pressed Play.
I hate their endless arrogance. I hate how they interrupt you and then apologize for it but carry on talking anyway. How they ask you a question but then check your answer afterward. I hate how they can never do one piece of housework without telling you about it. I hate how they literally cannot handle being driven in a car by a woman, even if they’re terrible drivers themselves. I hate how they all think they’re fucking incredible at grilling meat on barbecues. The sun comes out and man must light fire and not let woman anywhere near the meat. Dumping blackened bits of chicken onto our plates along with the whiff of a burp from their beer breath, acting all caveman, like we’re supposed to find it cute that we may now get salmonella and that we’re going to have to do all the washing up.
I hate how I’m quite scared of them. I hate the collective noise of them when they’re in a big group. The tribal wahey-ing, like they all swap their IQs for extra testosterone when they swarm together. How, if you’re sitting alone on an empty train, they always come and deliberately sit next to you en masse, and talk extra loudly about macho nonsense, apparently to impress you. I hate the way they look at you when you walk past—automatically judging your screwability the moment they see you. Telling you to smile if you dare look anything other than delighted about living with stuff like this constantly fucking happening to you.
I hate how hard they are to love. How many of them actually, truly, think the way to your heart is sending you a selfie of them tugging themselves, hairy ball sack very much still in shot. I hate how they have sex. How they shove their fingers into you, thinking it’s going to achieve anything. Jabbing their unwashed hands into your dry vagina, prodding about like they’re checking for prostate cancer, then wondering why you now have BV and you still haven’t come. Have none of them read a sex manual? Seriously? None of them? And I hate how they hate you a little just after they’ve finished. How even the nice ones lie there with cold eyes, pretending to cuddle, but clearly desperate to get as far away from you as possible.
I hate how it’s never equal. How they expect you to do all the emotional labor and then get upset when you’re the more stressed-out one. I hate how they never understand you, no matter how hard they try, although, let’s be honest here, they never actually try that hard. And I hate how you’re always exhausting yourself trying to explain even the most basic of your rational emotional responses to their bored face.
I hate how every single last one of them has issues with their father.
And do you know what I hate most of all?
That despite this, despite all this disdain, I still fancy men. And I still want them to fancy me, to want me, to love me. I hate myself for how much I want them. Why do I still fancy men so much? What’s wrong with me? Why are they all so broken? Am I broken for still wanting to be with one, even after everything? I should be alone. That’s the only healthy way to be. BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE ALONE. I hate men, that’s the problem. GOD I HATE THEM SO MUCH—they’re so entitled and broken and lazy and wrong and…and…
I was instantly drawn in to this hilarious, and totally relatable, story of one girls trials with Men and modern dating. I was laughing hysterically from the very first paragraph, and found myself sharing a few more chuckles throughout the story. I liked what Holly Bourne did with the premise, using it to shed light on how society has women thinking they need to act in today’s dating world. There were certain aspects of the story that, and maybe it hit a little too close to home, but I felt they were a little over done or too far fetched. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the catfishing aspect of April’s story, as that truly is an issue in current dating society, but that’s just me and my opinions. The ending was cute and wrapped it all up nicely.
Overall I rate this book a 3.5 stars, as I didn’t love it as a whole. I found the humor tasteful, and the heavy subjects well written, but it’s not a book I’ll find myself reading again. Mind you, please take my review and opinions with a grain of salt, as I know many people whom will thoroughly enjoy this story and whom I look forward to hearing thoughts from. I also want to give many thanks to Harlequin and HTP Books for providing me with a free ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Until next time my friends, I hope you are staying safe and healthy and surviving the holiday season!
Hello friends! Happy 7th of November, can’t believe I’m saying that already. I’m so excited to be bringing you this blog tour (so sorry it’s late, I’ve been super sick with a bad sinus infection and unable to read due to vertigo)! I love partnering with Harlequin Publishing and partners to read and review books around their release date, and this one was a big treat. Today I’m bringing you Rescue You by Elysia Whisler. This was seriously the sweetest book ever!
Author: Elysia Whisler
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
Publisher: MIRA Books
Elysia Whisler was raised in Texas, Italy, Alaska, Mississippi, Nebraska, Hawai’i and Virginia, in true military fashion. Her nomadic life has made storytelling a compulsion from a young age.
She doubles as a mother, a massage therapist and a CrossFit trainer and is dedicated to portraying strong women, both in life and in her works. She lives in Virginia with her family, including her large brood of cat and dog rescues, who vastly outnumber the humans.
She needs a fresh start. He’s got scars that haven’t healed. With the help of some rescue dogs, they’ll discover that everyone deserves a chance at happiness.
After a year of heartbreak and loss, the only thing keeping Constance afloat is the dog rescue she works at with her sister, Sunny. Desperate for a change, Constance impulsively joins a new gym, even though it seems impossibly hard, and despite the gym’s prickly owner.
Rhett Santos keeps his gym as a refuge for his former-military brothers and to sweat out his own issues. He’s ready to let the funny redhead join, but unprepared for the way she wiggles past his hard-won defenses.
When their dog rescue is threatened, the sisters fight to protect it. And they need all the help they can get. As Rhett and Constance slowly open up to each other, they’ll find that no one is past rescuing; what they need is the right person—or dog—to save them.
I was hooked after page one, but seriously how can you not love a story with a dog rescue? Constance and Sunny were the cutest sisters ever, and a perfect compliment to each other’s personality. Their compassion for others is proven time and again with each dog they rescue, even if the risks are greater and greater. I found it refreshing that they were written as very down to earth and relatable characters, especially with Constance’s struggle with self-image and finding herself. I think learning to be happy with yourself is one of the biggest struggles for young women in our current society and Elysia wrote it better than I could have hoped for! I really enjoyed the slow burn romance, and found it tasteful and absolutely heartwarming. I feel that it’s really hard to write about veteran’s struggles, especially mental health, and this was accurately but mildly portrayed in the story. Rhett is a character that is hard not to fall in love with, so ladies watch out! I’d definitely want him to be my coach! I rated this 5 out of 5 stars and will definitely be reading this amazing story again! If you’re looking for a heartwarming, light romance, overall feel good story then Rescue You by Elysia Whisler is definitely the book you want.
Happy Sunday friends! I hope you all had a relaxing weekend, and hopefully were able to get outside and enjoy a little sunshine. I’ve had a busy weekend with bookish things between finally being in the mood to read, planning Instagram posts, and blog tours posts. All good things though, and that’s why I’m back again Tonight to bring you a peek into The Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor. This is a YA Contemporary novel sure to warm all hearts of romcom lovers, and lovers of Jane Austen retellings!
THE CODE FOR LOVE AND HEARTBREAK Author: Jillian Cantor ISBN:9781335090591 Publication Date: October 6, 2020 Publisher: Inkyard Press
Jillian Cantor is the author of award-winning and bestselling novels for adults and teens, including In Another Time, The Hours Count, Margot, and The Lost Letter, which was a USA Today bestseller. She has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Cantor lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.
In this contemporary romcom retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma by USA TODAY bestselling author Jillian Cantor, there’s nothing more complex—or unpredictable—than love.
When math genius Emma and her coding club co-president, George, are tasked with brainstorming a new project, The Code for Love is born.
George disapproves of Emma’s idea of creating a matchmaking app, accusing her of meddling in people’s lives. But all the happy new couples at school are proof that the app works. At least at first.
Emma’s code is flawless. So why is it that perfectly matched couples start breaking up, the wrong people keep falling for each other, and Emma’s own feelings defy any algorithm?
I am super excited to dive into this YA RomCom Contemporary as soon as Spooky Season is over. Full Review to come next month! Until then, I am thankful to be able to share this sneak peek into the book.
I’ve always loved numbers a whole lot more than I love people. For one thing, I can make numbers behave any way I want them to. No arguments, no questions. I write a line of code, and my computer performs a specific and very regulated task. Numbers don’t play games or hide behind some nuance I’ve missed. I write an equation, then formulate a definitive and absolutely correct answer.
And maybe most importantly, numbers never leave me. I tell this to Izzy as she’s sitting on her suitcase, trying to force it closed, having just packed the last of her closet before leaving for her freshman year at UCLA, which is exactly 2,764 miles from our house in Highbury, New Jersey. A number which seems insurmountable, and which makes me think that after this day, Izzy’s last one at home until Christmas break, we’ll be more like two strangers floating across a continent from one another than sisters.
“Numbers,” I say to Izzy now, “are much better than people.”
“You’re such a nerd, Em,” Izzy says, but she stops what she’s doing and squeezes my arm affectionately, before finally getting the suitcase to zip. She’s a nerd, too, but not for numbers like me—for books. Izzy is running 2,764 miles away from New Jersey toread, to major in English at UCLA. Which is ridiculous, given she could’ve done the same at Rutgers, or the College of New Jersey, or almost any one of the other sixty-two colleges in our state, any of which would’ve been within driving distance so we could’ve seen each other on weekends. Izzy says she’s going to California for the sunshine, but Dad and I both know the real reason is that her boyfriend, John, decided to go to UCLA to study film. Izzy chose John over me, and that part stings the most.
“I can’t believe you’re actually going,” I say, and not for the first time. I’ve been saying this to Izzy all summer, hoping she might change her mind. But now that her suitcase is zipped, it feels like she’s really leaving, and my eyes start to well up. I do love numbers more than people. Most people.
Izzy and I are only seventeen months apart, and our mom died when we were both toddlers. Dad works a lot, and Izzy and I have barely been apart for more than a night in as long as I can remember, much less months.
She stops messing with her suitcase now, walks over to where I’m sitting on her bed and puts her arm around me. I lean my head on her shoulder, and breathe in the comforting scent of her strawberry shampoo, one last time. “I’m going to miss you, too, Em,” she says. “But you’re going to have a great senior year.” She says it emphatically, her voice filled with enthusiasm that I don’t believe or even understand.
“You really could stay,” I say. “You got into two colleges in New Jersey.” This has been my argument to her all summer. I keep thinking if I say it enough she really will change her mind. But even as I say it, I know it’s probably too late for her to change anything for fall semester now, no matter how much I might want her to. And she just looks back at me with worry all over her face.
“Em, you know I can’t.”
“Can’t or won’t?” I wipe my nose with the back of my hand, pulling away from her.
She leaves me on her bed, and goes back to her suitcase. She shifts it around, props it upright and then looks back at me. “You know what you need?” she says, breathing hard from managing the weight of her entire life, crammed inside this giant suitcase. “To get out there this year. Be more social. Get some friends. Maybe even a boyfriend.”
“A boyfriend?” I half laugh, half sniffle at the ridiculousness of it.
“If you keep busy, you won’t even notice I’m gone.” She speaks quickly, excitedly. There’s nothing Izzy likes more than a good plan, but this sounds terrible to me. “Christmas will be here before you know it—” she’s still talking “—then next year, you’ll be off to college, too.”
Maybe that would be true for her, if I were the one leaving, and if she were staying here. If I were the older one, leaving for California first, Izzy would stay here, spend the year with John and barely even notice my absence. Which is what I guess she’s about to do at UCLA. But I’ve always needed Izzy much more than she’s needed me.
“I hate being social. And I don’t want a boyfriend,” I say. “And anyway, you know what the boys are like at our high school. No thanks.” Mostly, they’re intimidated by me and my penchant for math, and I find their intimidation so annoying that I can barely even stand to have a conversation with them, much less a date. And the few that aren’t? Well, the one that isn’t—George—is my equal and co-president of coding club. He also happens to be John’s younger brother. We’re something like friends, George and I. Or maybe not, because we don’t really hang out outside of family stuff, school or coding club, and I guess in a way we’re supposed to be rivals. One of us will for certain be valedictorian of our class this year. The other will be salutatorian. And knowing George, he’s going to be more than a little bit annoyed when he’s staring at my back during graduation.
“You love numbers so much and you’re so good at coding,” Izzy says now with a flip of her blond curls over her shoulder. She wheels the suitcase toward her bedroom door and stops and looks back at me. “You could always code yourself a boyfriend.” She shrugs, then laughs a little, trying to make this moment lighter.
I don’t even crack a smile. “That’s a really ridiculous thing to say,” I tell her. “Thank God you’re going to be an English major.”
But later, after it all fell apart, I would blame her. I’d say that it was all Izzy’s fault, that she started the unraveling of everything with her one stupid offhand comment on the morning that she left me.
What did I tell ya, sounds really cute right?! Thank you so much to Inkyard Press for inviting me to join this tour, and to NetGalley for the book widget. This I’m sure will be a favorite read next month, and I really look forward to reviewing it.
I’m hitting you with a double whammy tonight! A big thank you to Wednesday Books for inviting me to join in the blog tour for this edgy, exciting young adult historical fantasy adventure called A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe. I was thrilled to get a chance to read this book, and I was not disappointed!
A Nerd Daily YA Debut to Watch Out for in 2020
“Sharply written with a crackling, compassionately determined heroine, A Golden Fury is a vivid ride through eighteenth century Europe with darkness and dread creeping at its corners. Utterly enchanting.” -Emily A. Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints
“An engaging concoction of fantasy, romance, and historical fiction.” – Booklist
“Cohoe situates the supernatural among the historical, referencing the French Revolution and the Enlightenment while…keeping a sense of urgency as Thea struggles with the magical, demonic pull of the Stone.” -Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The attention to detail in the story is excellent. …Thea herself is a confident lead with a strong voice. A solid fantasy to flesh out the world of alchemy that most readers know only from ‘Harry Potter.'” – School Library Journal
“Cohoe transmutes the legend of the Philosopher’s Stone into a dark, intoxicating tale of ambition, obsession, and sacrifice. Prepare for a magic that will consume you.” -Rosamund Hodge, New York Times bestselling author of Cruel Beauty and Bright Smoke, Cold Fire
“Steeped in mystery and magic, Samantha Cohoe’s A Golden Fury immerses readers in beautifully rendered world where magic and science mix, and where the intoxication of power can be deadly. Whip-smart Thea is a heroine readers will root for.” – Lisa Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Magician
A GOLDEN FURY By Samantha Cohoe Set in eighteenth century England, Samantha Cohoe’s debut novel, A GOLDEN FURY (Wednesday Books; October 13, 2020), follows a young alchemist as she tries to save the people she loves from the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone. The streets of London and Oxford come to life as this historical fantasy unravels. Weaving together an alluring story of magic and danger, Samantha’s debut has her heroine making messy decisions as she toes the line between good and evil while it becomes blurred. Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.
While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists. But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die. A GOLDEN FURY and the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final page.
About the Author Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. A Golden Fury is her debut novel.
A Golden Fury: A Novel By Samantha Cohoe Published by Wednesday Books On Sale October, 2020 Hardcover | $18.99 ISBN: 9781250220400| Ebook ISBN: 9781250220417 For more information or to set up an interview with the author, contact: Meghan Harrington at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-307-5556
This was a gripping story set in historical Europe, following a mother daughter duo who are alchemists. The touches of fantasy, with the legend of the Philosopher’s Stone makes this a tale like no other told! It’s like stepping back in time, but in an alternate reality. The characters are well written and the plot line moves along quickly. The reader becomes lost in the writing, escaping reality and following the storyline of Thea as she learns to navigate life towing a fine line between good and evil, and doing her best to save everyone from the curse her mother tried so hard to prevent coming to fruition. Set during the French Revolution, this book is great for anyone who loves historical fiction and fantasy as it combines the best of both worlds!
Thanks for checking out my stop on the tour for A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe! Release date is October 13th, so get your preorders in or make a plan to stop in store for your copy on the big day!
Good evening everyone! Welcome back to booksnbites for another fabulous tour stop for Inkyard Press’s 2020 Fall Reads. I’m late with getting this post up because I truly did not want this book to end and procrastinated the final 50 pages. Needless to say, I have nothing but amazing things to say about it. I am absolutely honored to be able to have received an ARC of Kingdomof Sea and Stone by Mara Rutherford. Thank you to Inkyard Press for inviting me to join this tour, thank you to NetGalley for providing the eARC and Thank you to Mara for writing one of my all time favorite series. I will hug these books a little bit tighter every time I read them.
KINGDOM OF SEA AND STONE
By Mara Rutherford
On Sale: October 6, 2020
Teen & Young Adult; Epic Fantasy; Siblings Fiction
About the Book
“A fabulous interweaving of fantasy, politics, and sisterhood – this unusual, tense tale will have you on the edge of your seat!” –#1 New York Times bestselling author Tamora Pierce on Crown of Coral and Pearl
The Cruel Prince meets Ash Princess in this thrilling fantasy, the much-anticipated sequel to Crown of Coral and Pearl.
Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.
As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…
About the author
Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world with her marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a master’s degree in cultural studies from the University of London. When she’s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. Mara is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor
As far as sequels go, Kingdom of Sea and Stone knocks it out of the park! The character development is exquisite, and we get to finally get a sneak of the elusive people of Galeth. The mystique of these equestrian descendants of a group of Valenians who left the sea was enough to leave me wanting side stories of the Galethians. I have never loved, yet hated, a character more than Ceren. His evil, twisted reality was befitting of the tortured soul he is. I mourned right along with Nor, even though I wasn’t sure why either. I’m still 100% team Talin, but Roan was a fun tasty morsel in this book. I do have to say that I loved the tasteful addition of slight witchcraft to the plot line, and felt that it leaves so much potential for a third book or even some novella or a spin off series. The Kingdom of Ilara is truly one of the most magical, fantasy lands I have ever read. Crown of Coral and Pearl series will forever be one of my favorite Young Adult Fantasy series of all time. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves strong female characters, twin sisters, and oceanic influences.
I hope you all have a great rest of your evening, and thank you for checking out my stop for this blog tour! Please check out this series and let me know what you think. ☺️
Hello and enter if you dare. 💀🖤🧡 Muahahahahahahaha. Ok, but seriously how are you Ghouls an Gals?! It’s been way too long since I last posted and I’ve missed you! I can’t believe we are already a week into October. This year has gone so fast it’s frightening! That might not be the scariest thing about 2020, but I’ll leave it at that. I am super excited for Spooky Season and have put together a fantastic TBR (To Be Read for anyone unsure of that acronym), full of spooky things, witches and monsters! It’s a bit ambitious considering I’m still very much a mood reader, but my mood is currently sitting at “give me all the spooky!”, so I think we’re safe.
Without further ado, here is my October TBR!!
Not pictured are three books I’ve already read and my two current reads.
Order of Dust by Nicholas J Evans
Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Current Read)
ARC of Kingdom of Sea & Stone by Mara Rutherford (Current Read)
October TBR: 🖤The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson 🧡Campfire by Shawn Sarles 🖤The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones 🧡Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal 🖤Prelude for Lost Souls by Helene Dunbar 🧡The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson 🖤The Sun Dog by Stephen King 🧡Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer 🖤Deathless Divide (Dread Nation #2) by Justina Ireland
I hope to get to most of the books on my TBR. I’ve been kinda of slumpy the last couple months, but have high hopes that Spooky Season pulls me out of it! If you’ve read any of these please let me know your thoughts in the comments. Or, if you have some spooky suggestions for me I’d love to hear them!
Happy Saturday my bookish crew!! I hope you’ve had a fantastic day, it was chilly here with lots of sunshine. Loving that Fall is almost upon us, and with it brings lots of great new reads. I am partnering with Harlequin’s YA Branch – Inkyard Press, for their 2020 Fall Reads Tour Program. To kick it off, I am bringing you a sneak into SMASH IT! by Francina Simone. This is a YA Theater Fiction story that sounds like it’s full of spunk and life lessons with a little theater drama. Definitely my kind of book!
By Francina Simone On Sale: September 22, 2020 INKYARD PRESS Teen & Young Adult Theater Fiction 978-1335146502; 1335146504 $18.99 USD 368 pages
About the Book
Olivia “Liv” James is done with letting her insecurities get the best of her. So she does what any self-respecting hot mess of a girl who wants to SMASH junior year does…
After Liv shows up to a Halloween party in khaki shorts—why, God, why?—she decides to set aside her wack AF ways. She makes a list—a F*ck-It list.
1. Be bold—do the thing that scares me.
2. Learn to take a compliment.
3. Stand out instead of back.
She kicks it off by trying out for the school musical, saying yes to a date and making new friends. Life is great when you stop punking yourself! However, with change comes a lot of missteps, and being bold means following her heart. So what happens when Liv’s heart is interested in three different guys—and two of them are her best friends? What is she supposed to do when she gets dumped by a guy she’s not even dating? How does one Smash It! after the humiliation of being friend-zoned?
In Liv’s own words, “F*ck it. What’s the worst that can happen?”
A lot, apparently.
About the author
Francina Simone believes in one thing: authenticity. She writes YA stories full of humor and hard life lessons with sprinkles of truth that make us all feel understood. Her craft focuses on stories about girls throwing caution to the wind to discover exactly who they are and what it means to love. Francina is also known for her BookTube channel, where she discusses controversial topics in books.
If you’re still with me so far (I really hope you are!) then boy do I have a treat for you!! I’m SUPER excited to be able to share this little sneak peak of SMASH IT! with you. This is next up on my tbr list, and will most likely be starting it Tomorrow or Monday. I can’t wait to read it, and I hope this excerpt gets you as excited as I am. Enjoy!
It’s Halloween and I’m the only one in a packed club on Teen Night not wearing a costume. Girls are jumping and screaming lyrics in cheap shiny wigs, and all the guys, dressed in a motley of cheap polyester, are scoping out the dance floor, their gazes hopping right over me. Even the bartender, slinging water bottles, has on pink bunny ears.
This isn’t an I’m seventeen and too cool for dress up moment. I like wearing costumes. I just thought I’d look like an unintentional clown doing it. We’re at a club. Who wears a Halloween costume to the club? Apparently, everyone except this freak in an Old Navy hoodie and khaki shorts. I’m wearing khaki shorts, like a nerdy loser.
Some girl bumps into me and does a double take at the sight of my hoodie. It’s Florida; I know October everywhere else is like that meme of the dog in a wig wearing a scarf because “it’s sweater weather,” but we’re in Florida; the leaves don’t change here. They just fall off sometime between hot-as-fuck and damn-where-that-wind-come-from? So even though this white girl has on a mesh shirt over a nude bra—I don’t know what the hell she’s dressed as—I can tell by her raised brows and attempt to act like she didn’t see me that she doesn’t know what in god’s name I’m doing right now either.
Oh my god. Why am I like this?
This is what I get for not doing the yes thing. My mom bought this book by Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes, and—I’m not going to lie—some rich black lady with a gazillion TV shows shouldn’t be able to tell me, some sad black girl, how to be all, Say yes to the dress! But right now, I’m really wishing I had said yes when Dré asked, Are you sure you don’t want to put on something? It’s a costume party at a club. Don’t you have something sexy? Sexy nurse? Sexy vet? Hell, cut up your hoodie and go as a sexy hobo.
I’m wishing I had scissors or the foresight to go as Sexy Hobo, because now, while my best friends are onstage at the hottest teen club in Orlando, singing their asses off like rock gods, I look like the freak who has no social shame.
The truth is I have too much social shame. So much shame that it seeps out of me like fresh cut garlic on the back of the tongue.
I make eye contact with Eli. He’s on the keyboard, belting out lyrics and twisting in and out of a rap. His voice is the love child of Sam Smith and Adele. He’s all suave and mysterious to everyone here, but I know him as the boy who shaved off half an eyebrow when we were thirteen and those Peretz Hebrew/Palestinian hairy genes started coming in. His mom and dad were on that Romeo and Juliet vibe back in the day, and even though it makes for an epic love story, with real war and faking deaths to escape their families and countries (epic as hell), their genetic combo gave Eli thick brows and hair like nobody’s business.
He smiles at me with his dark brown eyes just under his fedora. Of the three of us, he’s definitely the broody one, writing poems about nostalgia and love.
Dré, on the other hand—he’s got on shades. Who wears sunglasses inside at night? Dré. When we were in middle school, Dré used to hide his Spanish and pretend his name was Andrew. I don’t blame him. Our school had a lot of white kids, and they always asked dumb as hell questions. I always got, “If you can’t get your hair wet, how do you wash it?” One kid asked Dré if Puerto Rican meant legal Mexican in Spanish. The kid legitimately didn’t know. I know our education system is shit, but come the fuck on.
High school has been a game changer for all of us. Our magnet school pulls in kids from all over the county. But now there are too many kids from way too many places. Now we have to be different to fit in—cue Dré’s flashy, Spanish-heritage-day-is-every-day evolution. He’s a self-proclaimed Puerto Rican papi, and he kind of radiates like a sunny day on South Beach.
Then there’s me. In my hoodie, khaki shorts, and Converse, stuck in the middle of a club with hundreds of kids basking in the glory that is Dré and Eli. I look like an outcast from a bad ’90s movie. I’m not uncool, but I do these uncool things as if I’m addicted to self-sabotage.
Mesh Girl looks at me again; she’s probably wondering why Dré keeps pointing and making steamy eyes at me while he spits some rhymes in Spanish. I know she’s thinking, How’d she get him? Girls have asked me that. They see me, with my not-slim body and my brown skin, and say, No offense, but damn, girl, how you got with Dré?
I’m not. Never have, never will. This flashy thing that he’s doing is our signal for me to check his hair. My only job is to make sure it still looks good. I nod and sway to the music, ignoring Mesh Girl’s eyebrows, which are raised to the top of her blond head. Is it bad that I like the attention? I enjoy her envy, even though I’m not the girl she thinks I am.
Some girl dressed like a pumpkin shuffles past me and reaches out to touch Dré’s hand. What she doesn’t know is that he’s transferring half a store’s worth of product onto her fingers. He spends so much time on his hair, we have to speed to school—which is the last thing we should do in Dré’s rusty old car, the Bat Mobile. It’s already two gearshifts away from blowing up with us inside. We call it the Bat Mobile not because it’s cool, but because it looks like a hundred bats dropped turds all over it and eroded the paint.
Even though it’s pretty much trash on wheels, I’m so jealous. I can’t even get my mom to let me practice my learners in her car. The queen of burning out engines thinks I’ll mess something up. Then again, here I am on Halloween, the only girl in the club not having fun because of my shitty choices.
Mesh Girl bumps me with her shoulder. “He’s hot, right?” She’s talking about Eli, and I do a weird laugh thing and nod, because I’m the worst at small talk, and it’s too much to yell, Yeah, I’ve thought that for years. I can like the way he looks, right? That’s normal, right?
She doesn’t seem to care that my laugh was borderline psychotic. “Oh my god, we should totally dance for them. Guys love that shit.” Suddenly this girl that I don’t know from Eve is pulling me toward the stage, and I start freaking out.
I’ve watched enough romance movies to have this scene planned in my head—but those are fantasies, and this is getting too real. People are staring at us as she starts twerking and swinging her arms around.
She waves at me. “Come on!”
Nope. I just smile and shrink back into the crowd. She’s clearly one of those people who really believes in herself—like, no one has ever told her she can’t do a damn thing, because, here she is, shaking her ass like she invented the booty pop.
Mesh Girl isn’t looking at me anymore. She’s dancing and looking at Eli, and—he’s looking at her. I know I’m not supposed to care, because he’s just my best friend and he and Dré are supposed to interact with the crowd—that’s part of the gig—but he’s looking at her and smiling like he’s impressed. He thinks this girl’s half-baked dance moves are cool. He thinks she’s cool.
I can dance better than that. I could be that cool.
Except I’m not.
I’m the girl who hides in the crowd. I’m the girl who isn’t even in costume. And now, the guy I maybe-sorta-like is smiling and singing to the girl who is doing the scary thing, even though she’s not that good at it.
Fuck my life. My crush is about to go up in tired-ass flames like the rest of my dreams. This isn’t the first time I’ve passed up doing what I want because I’m afraid of looking like a clown. It isn’t even the tenth or the hundredth.
Hell, just this morning I walked by a flyer for the school musical auditions, and when the drama teacher offered me one, I did the weird laugh, and—let’s just say she’ll probably never make eye contact with me again.
All I had to do was say yes. All I had to do was tell myself I’d try.
Why am I so chickenshit?
I make my way to the bar and order a soda.
The guy at the bar eyes me as he sprays Coke into my glass. He puts the Coke down in front of me, and just when I want him to walk away and leave me in my despair, he pulls off his pink bunny ears and puts them next to my bubbly soda. “Take these. I don’t want you to stand out.”
I shake my head. Honestly, he’s got long hair and it’s kind of greasy, so there is no way I’m putting that on my head. “I’m cool. Don’t need pity ears, but thanks.”
He laughs, and it’s low-key judgmental. “Yeah, because cool people don’t wear costumes, right? You must be a blast at parties.” He looks around at the club behind me. “Oh, wait.”
Rude. “Look. I happen to be a very cool person, thank you very much.” I shouldn’t talk when I’m in my feelings, because my voice goes up an octave and I can never get my eyebrows to stay still. They’re up in my hairline now, showing the whole damn world that I have no chill.
Dude puts his bunny ears back on and leans on the bar. “Yeah, it’s so cool sitting by yourself at a Halloween party with no costume.” He shrugs. “I’m not saying high school is going to be the best time of your life, but you should get over yourself enough to have a little fun while you can. Otherwise, you’ll be a cool adult sitting alone at a bar wondering why your life sucks.” He stands up, crosses his arms and looks proud of himself.
Is there a sign on my head that says, I’m having a hard time. Please do pile on? I take a deep breath and hate myself, because my first reaction is to smile and nod. But I stare him dead in the eye and say, “Because being a bartender at thirtysomething is so great.” I feel a little badass for saying it, but also super guilty for being a bitch.
“Well, one of us is having fun.” He wiggles his bunny ears. “And the other one is at a party full of kids and only has the bartender to talk to.” He pulls the white towel off his shoulder and starts wiping down the bar. “Don’t forget to tip.” And then he’s moving away and pulling out waters for a group of guys in some anime costumes.
I drop my head to the bar, which, regrettably, is sticky. That turd of a bartender doesn’t know me, but he’s kinda right. Some girl on YouTube—the one with the minimalist white walls that look chic instead of broke as hell—said everyone has a moment in life when there are two paths before them. The cool one where you change your pathetic ways and everything gets brighter and better. And the other one where you die sad and alone.
She obviously knows what she’s talking about, because she manages to make millions of people listen to her talk about hacking procrastination and how to make your room over with just a succulent and a few black-and-white photos strung up on the walls.
I don’t want to be sad and alone, or to freeze every time my moment comes to shine. I want to be the fierce inner beast I know I am. I want Eli to look at me like I’m the only one in the room.
Something has to change, because that bartender and the succulent girl are right. If I don’t, I’m going to disappear like I was never here.
Thanks for joining my stop on the tour! Hopefully I’ve added a fun new read to your tbr, and if you do read it please stop back to let me know how you enjoyed it. I’ll be posting a full review in the next week or two, so stay tuned for that! Until next time….
Hi friends, hope you’re all doing well! I can’t believe it’s September already. You know what that means, start of Spooky Season and Fall is on it’s way! Woohooooo! I always love to load my September, October and November reading up with spooky books. It’s my favorite, and so much fun to read as the seasons change! I have lots of spooky reads coming your way, so be prepared. I truly could not have picked a better book to kick off my spooky reading, than with The Curse of the King by Winnie Lyon. I can’t wait to tell you more about this fantastic book!
“As a young witch descending from the very powerful trio of witches that had cursed Macbeth, the pressure she faces daily is non-stop. When Laura is forced to participate in her school’s rendition of the classic play, she gives herself a single task: breaking the curse once and for all. This task proves itself to be more difficult than she ever could have imagined when a miscast spell leads to the summoning of her dead ancestor, Cecily Wilson, one of the very witches that cursed Macbeth.
As Laura attempts to send her resurrected relative back beyond the veil, she is faced with one of the harsh realities of high school—having a crush on her best friend, Holly. However, things only get more complicated as Holly pines after Peter, a lonely, quick-witted vampire.
While she grows closer to Cecily, Laura sees first-hand the true horrors of being a witch in Elizabethan England as demonic forces arise in her little town of Shipley Hollow.
Can Laura break the curse and save her family name before the curtains rise on opening night? “
My Review –
This was the perfect witchy book to start Spooky Season off with! More and more I am becoming a HUGE fan of retellings, and this Macbeth retelling hit the spot! If you are a fan of witches, breaking curses and Shakespeare then this is a must read. I absolutely loved the coven structure and heritage of Laura and other witch families. The whole keep the supernatural world hush, hush to humans was very suspenseful and I loved that Laura’s bestie just accepted it all no questions asked. Even though the characters are in High School they are still very relatable and easy to like. This was a fast paced and exciting book, and I am sooo happy I picked it up!!
You can get your copy of of The Curse of the King by Winnie Lyon today, it released September 1st!!
Hello book friends, welcome back to booksnbites!! Or maybe I should be welcoming myself back since it’s been a while and life has been absolutely insane. I’m here though, and I’m bringing you a stop on the blog tour for a fabulous new enemy to lovers contemporary romance called Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera. Be prepared for some amazingly steamy scenes, to laugh, and to have your heart melt!
Title: Here to Stay Author: Adriana Herrera Genre: Contemporary Romance Imprint: Carina Press On-Sale: August 25, 2020 Format: Ebook (Trade Paperback & Audiobook formats also available!) Ebook ISBN: 9780369700926 Ebook Price: $3.99 USD Book Description: “Hot, heartwarming, and hilarious…This is a knockout.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Award-winning, highly-acclaimed author Adriana Herrera delivers the sexy, modern enemies-to-lovers romance you’ve been waiting for.
Starting over is more about who you’re with than where you live…
Julia del Mar Ortiz is not having the best year.
She moved to Dallas with her boyfriend, who ended up ditching her and running back to New York after only a few weeks. Left with a massive—by NYC standards, anyway—apartment and a car lease in the scorching Texas heat, Julia is struggling…except that’s not completely true. Running the charitable foundation of one of the most iconic high fashion department stores in the world is serious #lifegoals.
It’s more than enough to make her want to stick it out down South.
The only monkey wrench in Julia’s plans is the blue-eyed, smart-mouthed consultant the store hired to take them public. Fellow New Yorker Rocco Quinn’s first order of business? Putting Julia’s job on the chopping block.
When Julia is tasked with making sure Rocco sees how valuable the programs she runs are, she’s caught between a rock and a very hard set of abs. Because Rocco Quinn is almost impossible to hate—and even harder to resist.
Adriana was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last fifteen years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings.
When she’s not dreaming up love stories, planning logistically complex vacations with her family or hunting for discount Broadway tickets, she’s a trauma therapist in New York City, working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Her Dreamers series has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist and has been featured in The TODAY Show on NBC, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Library Journal and The WashingtonPost. Her debut, American Dreamer, was selected as one of Booklist’s ‘Best Romance Debuts of 2019’, and one of the ‘Top 10 Romances of 2019’ by Entertainment Weekly. Her third novel, American LoveStory, was one of the winners in the first annual Ripped Bodice Award for Excellence in Romantic Fiction. Adriana is an outspoken advocate for diversity in romance and has written for Remezcla and Bustle about Own Voices in the genre. She’s one of the co-creators of the Queer Romance PoC Collective. Represented by Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary.
I absolutely devoured Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera, practically a one sitting book for me and that says a lot. This book was so much more than a cute romance story, it has themes of immigrants rights and child therapy for assistance with tough home lives, among other pertinent struggles in our current world. The characters are likeable, dynamic and so much fun to read! I really enjoyed how much spanish language was used in the book, being bilingual with Spanish as my second language it was a blast to get to read tidbits and understand. That really elevated the level of the story.
I felt that the plot development was extremely strong, and I would love to see an additional book in to make it a series with the main characters or even one of the secondary characters. I love Adriana’s writing style as it flows just like a good conversation. I will definitely be adding Adriana Herrera to my auto-read list of authors and very much look forward to her future books! If you want a fun, cute romance with substance you have to read Here to Stay!
Thank you so much to Carina Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book! I love to participate and share great books!