Happy Sunday friends, it’s the end of January and I just can’t believe we are one month into 2021 already! I’m super excited to end January with a review of this fantastic ARC of Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green. I cannot truly express how excited I was when this book showed up in my mail! Firstly, I absolutely LOVE surprise book mail (especially when it comes from Celadon), and secondly one of my 2021 reading resolutions was to read more Non-Fiction and True Crime. So it was actually quite convenient when Last Call arrived. I was immediately drawn in by the cover and back cover blurb, as the Last Call Killer was a serial killer I was not familiar with.
As described by Celadon, “Last Call brings to light the little-known history of the Last Call Killer and the gay men he preyed upon in New York City throughout the ’80s and ’90s. This thorough investigation is beautifully told as a heartfelt elegy toward the men and their lives. You’ll find Last Call is both a gripping true crime book and a human interest story about the men whose deaths were buried by the system that failed them during a time of skyhigh murder rates and the AIDS epidemic.”
My Review –
This was a very interesting blend of the history of the treatment and prejudice of the gay community in NYC throughout the years and how it played into the murders committed by the Last Call Killer and the investigation that took years before Richard Rogers was finally sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. It was a little slow at first, as Elon built the stage for the reader to understand why the first murder weren’t taken so seriously. As the pieces of the puzzle came together I just couldn’t stop reading! I loved the addition of the forensic science, very intriguing! Between the history of prejudice and the AIDS epidemic, the victims lives and the investigation details, I felt that Elon Green did beautifully with his elegy to the lives of the men targeted by the Last Call Killer. This was a very well executed narrative on the tragedy committed by the hands of the Last Call killer and how after years he was finally brought to justice.
I hope you enjoyed my review of Last Call:A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green, and if this interests your reading palate you will be able to get it in stores or online in March 2021!
Stay tuned for my upcoming reviews in February. I’ll be trying to keep with the theme of romance, in some way or another, in honor of February and Valentine’s Day. I’m really not one to celebrate this holiday, but with everything that’s been going in the past year I felt that we needed more love in our lives. Y’all know I love to read, so I’m sharing that with you. 🙂
Hello again, my friends! Coming back at ya for blog tour #2 of 2021. Man these have been some great reads, and some that I am really looking forward to devouring one blustery weekend here in Western, NY. I started reading Wrong Alibi last night while I lay in bed with insomnia. Man, what a start! Grabbed me right from the first chapter, so here’s to hoping it stays that way. In the mean time, let’s dive in to what Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd is all about!
WRONG ALIBI Author: Christina Dodd ISBN: 9781335080820 Publication Date: December 29, 2020 Publisher: HQN Books
New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd writes “edge-of-the-seat suspense” (Iris Johansen) with “brilliantly etched characters, polished writing, and unexpected flashes of sharp humor that are pure Dodd” (ALA Booklist). Her fifty-eight books have been called “scary, sexy, and smartly written” by Booklist and, much to her mother’s delight, Dodd was once a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. Enter Christina’s worlds and join her mailing list at www.christinadodd.com.
Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd delivers an all-new thriller, featuring a bold and brash female protagonist.
WRONG JOB Eighteen-year-old Evelyn Jones lands a job in small-town Alaska, working for a man in his isolated mountain home. But her bright hopes for the future are shattered when Donald White disappears, leaving her to face charges of theft, embezzlement—and a brutal double murder. Her protestations of innocence count for nothing. Convicted, she faces life in prison…until fate sends her on the run.
WRONG NAME Evie’s escape leaves her scarred and in hiding, isolated from her family, working under an alias at a wilderness camp. Bent on justice, intent on recovering her life, she searches for the killer who slaughters without remorse.
WRONG ALIBI At last, the day comes. Donald White has returned. Evie emerges from hiding; the fugitive becomes the hunter. But in her mind, she hears the whisper of other forces at work. Now Evelyn must untangle the threads of evidence before she’s once again found with blood on her hands: the blood of her own fam
Man, sounds captivating and like a wild ride right? Also, let’s give that cover a mention!! I get the shivers just looking at it, even though it’s 27 degrees here in NY right now. So now that I’ve hopefully piqued your interest, I’ll share a snippet of the book with you. Buckle up and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times! LOL.
Midnight Sun Fishing Camp
Eight years ago
Five and a half hours a day when the sun rose above the horizon. Storm clouds so thick, daylight never penetrated, and night reigned eternal. Thirty below zero Fahrenheit.
The hurricane-force wind wrapped frigid temperatures around the lodge, driving through the log cabin construction and the steel roof, ignoring the insulation, creeping inch by inch into the Great Room where twenty-year-old Petie huddled on a love seat, dressed in a former guest’s flannel pajamas and bundled in a Pendleton Northern Lights wool blanket. A wind like this pushed snow through the roof vents, and she knew as soon as the storm stopped, she’d be up in the attic shoveling it out.
Or not. Maybe first the ceiling would fall in on top of her. Who would know? Who would care?
The storm of the century, online news called it, before the internet disappeared in a blast that blew out the cable like a candle.
For a second long, dark winter, she was the only living being tending the Midnight Sun cabins and the lodge, making sure the dark, relentless Alaska winter didn’t do too much damage and in the spring the camp could open to enthusiastic fishermen, corporate team builders and rugged individualists.
Alone for eight months of the year. No Christmas. No New Year’s. No Valentine’s Day. No any day, nothing interesting, just dark dark dark isolation and fear that she would die out here.
With the internet gone, she waited for the next inevitable event.
The lights went out.
On each of the four walls, a small, battery-charged nightlight came on to battle feebly against the darkness. Outside, the storm roared. Inside, cold swallowed the heat with greedy appetite.
Petie sat and stared into a dark so black it hurt her eyes. And remembered…
There, against the far back wall of the basement, in the darkest corner, white plastic covered…something. Slowly, Petie approached, driven by a terrible fear. She stopped about three feet away, leaned forward and reached out, far out, to grasp the corner of the plastic, pull it back, and see—
With a gasp, Petie leaped to her feet.
No. Just no. She couldn’t—wouldn’t—replay those memories again.
She tossed the blanket onto the floor and groped for the flashlights on the table beside her: the big metal one with a hefty weight and the smaller plastic headlamp she could strap to her forehead. She clicked on the big one and shone it around the lodge, reassuring herself no one and nothing was here. No ghosts, no zombies, no cruel people making ruthless judgments about the gullible young woman she had been.
Armed with both lights, she moved purposefully out of the Great Room, through the massive kitchen and toward the utility room.
The door between the kitchen and the utility room was insulated, the first barrier between the lodge and the bitter, rattling winds. She opened that door, took a breath of the even chillier air, stepped into the utility room and shut herself in. There she donned socks, boots, ski pants, an insulated shirt, a cold-weather blanket cut with arm holes, a knit hat and an ancient, full-length, seal-skin, Aleut-made coat with a hood. She checked the outside temperature.
Colder now—forty below and with the wind howling, the wind chill would be sixty below, seventy below…who knew? Who cared? Exposed skin froze in extreme cold and add the wind chill… She wrapped a scarf around her face and the back of her neck. Then unwrapped it to secure the headlamp low on her forehead. Then wrapped herself up again, trying to cover as much skin as she could before she faced the punishing weather.
She pointed her big flashlight at the generator checklist posted on the wall and read:
Hawley’s reasons why the generator will fail to start. The generator is new and well-tested, so the problem is:
LOOSE BATTERY CABLE Solution: Tighten.
CORRODED BATTERY CONNECTION Solution: Use metal terminal battery brush to clean connections and reattach.
DEAD BATTERY Solution: Change battery in the autumn to avoid ever having to change it in the middle of a major fucking winter storm.
If she wasn’t standing there alone in the dark in the bitter cold, she would have grinned. The owner of the fishing camp, Hawley Foggo, taught his employees Hawley’s Rules. He had them for every occurrence of the fishing camp, and that last sounded exactly like him.
The generator used a car battery, and as instructed, in the autumn she had changed it. This was her second year dealing with the battery, and she felt secure about her work.
So probably this failure was a loose connection or corrosion. Either way, she could fix it and save the lodge from turning into a solid ice cube that wouldn’t thaw until spring. That was, after all, her job. She shivered. So much better than her last job, the one that led to her conviction for a gruesome double murder.
“Okay, Petie, let’s grab that metal battery cleaner thingy and get the job done.” Which sounded pretty easy, when she talked to herself about it, but when she pulled on the insulated ski gloves, they limited her dexterity.
Out of the corner of her eye, a light blinked out. She looked back into the lodge’s Great Room. The nightlights were failing, and soon she really would be alone in the absolute darkness, facing the memories of that long-ago day in the basement. Good incentive to hurry.
She grabbed the wire battery connection cleaner thingy and moved to the outer door. There she paused and pictured the outdoor layout.
A loosely built lean-to protected the generator from the worst of the weather while allowing the exhaust to escape. That meant she wasn’t stepping out into the full force of the storm; she would be as protected as the generator itself. Which was apparently not well enough since the damned thing wasn’t working.
She gathered her fortitude and eased the outer door open.
The wind caught it, yanked it wide and dragged her outside and down the steps. She hung on to the door handle, flailed around on the frozen ground, and when she regained her footing, she used all her strength to shove the door closed again.
Then she was alone, outside, in a killer storm, in the massive, bleak wilderness that was Alaska.
Well folks, that’s all I have for you tonight! Stay tuned for my full review, I’ll have that up sometime early next week after I finish the book. I hope this is something that you’ll want to read, and if you do end up picking it up please leave me a comment to tell me your thoughts! I love to know when someone reads a book I’ve recommended or mentioned. Stay tuned, I have a few ARCs from Celadon and some Indie Tours with Storytellers On Tour coming up. All sorts of awesome books spanning multiple genres coming at ya! In the meantime, stay healthy and stay safe.
Welcome friends, to my first blog tour of the New Year!! Here’s to hoping for a healthy, happy 2021. Hoping to be able to share a lot of great books with you, and we’re kicking it off with a murder mystery. I am excited to bring you some information and an excerpt on Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg. This is a Sherlock Holmes style murder mystery with a willful, independent female main character. I’m really looking forward to reading this in the next week or two, and of course will share a full review once I finish it. Until then, let me give you a little tid bit.
Author Bio: T.A. Willberg was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and holds a chiropractic masters degree from Durban University of Technology. MARION LANE AND THE MIDNIGHT MURDER is her debut novel and launch of her detective series. She currently lives in Malta with her partner.
Book Summary: The letter was short. A name, a time, a place.
Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder plunges readers into the heart of London, to the secret tunnels that exist far beneath the city streets. There, a mysterious group of detectives recruited for Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries use their cunning and gadgets to solve crimes that have stumped Scotland Yard.
Late one night in April 1958, a filing assistant at Miss Brickett’s receives a letter of warning, detailing a name, a time, and a place. She goes to investigate but finds the room empty. At the stroke of midnight, she is murdered by a killer she can’t see―her death the only sign she wasn’t alone. It becomes chillingly clear that the person responsible must also work for Miss Brickett’s, making everyone a suspect.
Marion Lane, a first-year Inquirer-in-training, finds herself drawn ever deeper into the investigation. When her friend and colleague is framed for the crime, to clear his name she must sort through the hidden alliances at Miss Brickett’s and secrets dating back to WWII. Masterful, clever and deliciously suspenseful, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a fresh take on the Agatha Christie-style locked-room murder mystery, with an exciting new heroine detective.
Doesn’t this sound like a fun read?! I am sooo excited to read it!! There is something about reading murder mysteries in Winter that I find cozy. Does that make me weird? LOL. Maybe it’s the fact that winters in Western, NY are cold and blustery, so that adds to the mood of the story. Well, now for the big treat!! Here’s a little snipper of the story.
THE SECRET STEALER
Somewhere in London Friday, April 11, 1958 11:40 p.m.
Envelope encased, the carrier cylinder traveled through miles of pneumatic pipes from its place of origin to the dark, deep dungeon of the Filing Department—falling neatly from the end of the pipe and into the corresponding receiver box, as if by some magical, invisible postman.
A bell chimed as the envelope landed in receiver box fifty-five.
Michelle White’s eyes shot open as she lurched back from the edge of sleep. She blinked at the flashing yellow light on the noticeboard above her. It was her job to ensure all letters were sorted out the minute they arrived: those that met agency requirements were to be organized by date and slipped into the Inquirers’ in-box for later investigation. Those that did not went straight into the rubbish bin, and those of which she was unsure what to do with, into a looming pile on the desk. But crime and crookedness had been on the decline the last few weeks in London and so, assuming the letter would be a lead on something petty, Michelle White staggered across the Filing Department in no particular hurry.
She lifted the lid on receiver box fifty-five, the endpoint of a six-mile pneumatic tube that fed off from a letter case hidden in Passing Alley in Farringdon.
Envelopes and letters pulled from the receiver boxes were usually addressed to the agency in general: Dear people under the ground, or similar.
But tonight was different.
To Miss M. White, Inquirer.
It was odd, yet she couldn’t help smile at the thought of it. Michelle had once dreamed of becoming an Inquirer; she had come so close to the reality, too. But she was just not good enough. Not clever enough, not brave or talented enough. Not quite anything enough.
Ten years ago, at the age of twenty-two, she’d been recruited from a textile factory where she’d toiled long hours as a quality control assistant. But like everyone who came to work in the sunless labyrinth, Michelle had swiftly and without much consideration renounced the liberties of her previous, lackluster life in exchange for the opportunity to begin a new and thrilling vocation as an Inquirer, where she’d hoped to finally make use of her very particular set of skills.
But things had not quite turned out that way, which is why—instead of scouring London’s streets for criminals and delinquents—Michelle had ended up here, spending her evenings as the night-duty filing assistant in the establishment’s dullest department. In fact, had it not been for her other, far more satisfying role—that of Border Guard, protector of the secret—then perhaps she would have quit years ago.
But now Michelle wondered, as she stared at the envelope in her hand, how whoever had sent it knew where she worked or why they had considered her the worthy counsel of their troubles. She ran her thumb over the words—Miss M. White, Inquirer—as if they might be absorbed through her skin and become true.
For a moment, she was reluctant to open the envelope, concerned it might be a joke. One of the young apprentices playing a trick. She clenched her jaw at the thought, breathed, then entered the letter’s details into the register file: time and date received, receiver box number and her initials. But when she opened the envelope and read the final detail—the nature of the inquiry—her breath began to quicken.
The letter was short. A name, a time, a place and one simple revelation. And yet it unleashed a torrent of angst.
Several weeks ago, something had gone missing from her handbag—something invaluable, irreplaceable, something that might dredge up a secret long since buried across the Border. At first she’d been so certain of who had taken it, and for countless nights thereafter she’d turned in her sleep, anxious the nasty thief would soon come looking for the paired device she kept locked in her private office, and with that the secret would be uncovered.
But if the letter she’d just received was to be trusted, Michelle’s anxieties had been misplaced—the secret had already been discovered. She wasn’t sure how, or even why, but if she followed the letter’s directions, she might soon find out.
Though sirens of warning blared in her head, Michelle had already made up her mind. Of course she could take the letter to someone more qualified than herself, but it had been addressed to her—whoever had sent it had entrusted her with this, a most precious and urgent secret. And besides, as the letter had said, if only for tonight, Miss White was an Inquirer.
As instructed, she lit a match and held the letter under the flame. Once the paper had turned to ash, she packed up her things, grabbed her handbag, locked the office and rushed up the staircase toward the library. She stopped at the lock room gate, far on the other side of the grand hall of glorious bookshelves. The gate was ajar, just as she’d expected.
She stepped inside, pausing immediately as a wave of something cool and cutting passed in front of her, a curious thing. She rubbed her eyes and looked around the dully lit room, at the hundreds of steel drawers, safes in which were kept the agency’s most hallowed files and documents. The lock room, with its thick walls and high ceiling, was always chilled, but tonight it felt particularly so.
Something split from the wall behind her. She turned to the sound but saw only a shadow move across the room and something that looked like a large black box being removed from inside the wall. She hesitated, then moved a little closer. But it came again—a wave of cool air, dancing in front of her. She dabbed her eyes with the cuff of her sleeve; they were now surely playing tricks on her, for everything had turned to a strange blur of nothing. Michelle started to panic, her thoughts as unfocused as her eyesight. Her head began to spin. Her limbs to tingle. This might have been the moment she ran for her life, out of the lock room and away from the evil she now knew had been waiting for her there. But terror had immobilized her. There was nothing she could do to get her legs to move, not even when she heard the rush of footsteps, some behind her, some in front. Not even when she felt the brush of air against her neck.
“What’s happening,” she asked in a staggered groan. “I know you’re there…I know it was you…” She trailed off, the words in her head no longer making sense.
She dropped her handbag. Something hard rolled out and across the floor. She was too disorientated to realize what it was.
In a drawn-out moment that seemed to last forever, Michelle’s senses grew dull and viscous. She could no longer trust her eyesight, her ears. She might have seen an amorphous shape crouching in front of her. She might have seen it lift something from the floor. Certainly, however, she felt the sharp burn of a cold, ragged blade as it sunk quickly and easily through the delicate skin across her throat.
Warmth, darkness and nothing more.
Excerpted from Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder @ 2020 by Tessa Gukelberger, used with permission by Park Row Books/HarperCollins.
Well, I hope you enjoyed that sneak peak into Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg. If this sounds like something you might enjoy, please snag a copy for yourself! Thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned for more to come. I hope you have a fantastic weekend, and stay healthy my friends!!
Hello friends! Hope your December is going well, I’ve been super busy but still managing to read quite a bit. Lately with my 50 hour work weeks it seems that audiobooks are my saving grace, but it was refreshing to have the time to read an eBook every now and then. I’m ecstatic to be bringing you this stop on the Tour for The Last To See Her by Courtney Evan Tate. I’ve always enjoyed a good mystery or thriller, but this book makes me want to read more of them. Can’t wait to tell you more about it, so let’s get started!!
THE LAST TO SEE HER
Author: Courtney Evan Tate ISBN: 9780778309413 Publication Date: December 15, 2020 Publisher: MIRA Books
Courtney Evan Tate is the nom de plume (and darker side) of the New York Times and USAToday bestselling author Courtney Cole. As Courtney Evan Tate, she is the author of Such Dark Things and I’ll Be Watching You. Courtney grew up in rural Kansas and now lives with her husband and kids in Florida, where spends her days dreaming of new characters and storylines and surprising plot twists and writing them beneath rustling palm trees. Visit her on Facebook or at courtneycolewriters.com
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Courtney Evan Tate’s The Last to See Her (MIRA; 12/29) is a twisty, fast-paced domestic suspense about sisters, secrets and betrayal–for fans of B.A. Paris and Riley Sager.
Genevieve, a writer, is about to finalize her divorce from her cheating husband Todd. So when her sister Meg, an ambitious physician, has a convention to attend in New York City, she invites Gen along to celebrate her return to single life. It will be a perfect sisters’ getaway in the big city! But things go awry when, on their first evening at the hotel, Gen decides to take a late night walk and disappears without a trace. Eventually she is officially declared a missing person.
Suspicion soon falls on her sister Meg, who was the last person to see her.
Through twists and turns, it is revealed that Meg has been sleeping with her brother-in-law Todd… And then there is a question of a newly purchased insurance policy that just has just gone into effect before Gen’s disappearance. Both Todd and Meg deny any knowledge of it.
But has an actual crime been committed? Can it be proven? And if so, who is really the guilty one?
Intriguing, am I right?! This description grabbed me immediately, and had me itching to get my hands on the full story. Ohh let me tell you, I was not disappointed one bit!!
There were a lot of moving pieces to this story, some unveiled slower than others, but all were extremely well crafted. The characters were realistic, some likeable and some absolutely loath some, and the twists surprising! The detail in which the characters were crafted was exquisite, and the plot arcs were creative and like one of those rollercoasters where you start to build up speed to go over the big hump and get a thrill, but then slow back down only to build up speed again for the next thrill. I could not put this book down, and practically read it in two sittings. I am always take great pride in figuring out how it’s going to end, but just could not figure this one out. As frustrating as it was, I enjoyed this story so much more knowing when I read the last page that I had never seen it coming. If Courtney’s books are as good as this one then I’ll be making it a point to read the rest of them.
Thanks for stopping by, and hopefully I’ve added another book to your TBR. You really won’t regret it!!
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 email@example.com 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. ☺️