A Curse of Roses – Book Review

Title: A Curse of Roses
Author: Diana Pinguicha
Published: December 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fantasy, LGBTQ
Goodreads

Rating: 2 stars
Cover: Like it

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Synopsis:

With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies.

There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic–her curse–has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring the same pain.

If only it were possible to reverse her magic. Then she could turn flowers…into food.

Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse–if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss.

As the Kind of Portugal’s betrothed, Yzabel would be committing treason, but what good is a king if his country has starved to death?

With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more.

She’d sought out Fatyan to help her save the people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction.

Based on Portuguese legend, this #ownvoices historical fantasy is an epic tale of mystery, magic, and making the impossible choice between love and duty…

Happy book birthday to Diana Pinguicha’s A Curse of Roses! Thank you to Entangled Teen and Pinguicha for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Pinguicha writes a fantasy loosely inspired by Portuguese folklore with an own voices spin. Yzabel not only struggles with a magical curse that’s slowly killing her, she struggles with her faith, her role as future queen, and her sexuality in a time where people are rejected for anything apart from the norm. In her self-discovery journey to understand the blessings in her life, including her magic, she learns she has more people who are willing to support her than she ever could’ve imagined.

I was bothered by the pacing of the story, finding much of the middle dry. I also struggled to connect with the characters because anytime they started to show a flaw, someone swooped in and dismissed it as a flaw but a strength. Flawless characters aren’t very exciting. The most redeeming part of the plot was seeing Yzabel work through her frustrating self-hatred and religion-based self-harm, but it did seem to turn around very suddenly. Everything was fixed in the end because all you need is love. I found myself wishing for more depth to the characters and less of an obvious good guy vs bad guy type of story.

Blog Tour – The Christmas Spirit

Title: The Christmas Spirit
Author: Alexandrea Weis
Published: October 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

SOMETIMES IT TAKES ONE BROKEN HEART TO HEAL ANOTHER.

Courtney Winston is a writer on a deadline. Eager to finish her book and get over a recent break-up, she ditches Christmas with her family and retreats to a secluded cabin in the mountains.

Appliances rarely work, and cell service is spotty, but Courtney senses there is more to her rustic rental—something dark and haunting.

Then Peter, the attractive Stone Mountain Lodge owner, and a meddling cook, Mrs. Finn, keep coming around, shattering her peace and offering advice on how to fix her heavy heart.

Courtney grows closer to Peter, but Mrs. Finn warns her of his troubled past. Undaunted, Courtney sets out to win him over. But being with the brooding stranger may end up costing her more than she ever imagined.

Excerpt

She spotted the bridge and decided crossing it would be faster than fighting the ice. Courtney headed toward the arched structure, wishing she had never come with Peter to the magical place.

She stepped over clumps of brush along the shoreline, her boots sinking into thick patches of snow as she hurried to reach the bridge.

The stonework on the steps was like the mantle in the cabin. The same attention to detail reminded her of Peter. Even when he chopped wood, he had to make everything precise.

Her glove brushed the smooth surface of the wooden railing, wondering how many hours the two young men spent building the bridge. That Peter’s beautiful remembrance of his life with his brother should be hidden away in the woods made her sad. If only others could see what they had done.

Then a funny indentation in the railing stopped her cold.

She rubbed the surface, not sure if the imperfection was intentional or just a play of light on the dark wood.

A portion of the railing had been expertly carved away, leaving a name raised in the wood like a bas-relief. The letters were swirled and decorative. This was professional, even, and expertly done. It wasn’t the work of a lovesick schoolboy, but a man who worshipped the woman whose name he’d forever attached to the bridge—Evelyn.

Courtney’s knees became weak as she traced the name she had no doubt Peter etched there. The love he’d borne for the woman became painfully clear.

Her heart grieved, sinking like an anvil in her chest. No one would carve her name into anything, or pine for her after she went off with another. She wasn’t the kind of woman who lived fairy tales. She only read about them in books.

“You found it.”

He was in the middle of the bridge, a few feet away. So caught up in the testament of one man’s love, Courtney had not heard Peter’s heavy boots or felt the bridge tremble under his weight.

“When did you do this?”

He swung his hands behind his back. “What makes you think it was me?”

She glanced at him and tipped her head. “I didn’t realize how much you loved her.”

The thin line was back on his lips. “Neither did she. I carved this right after she married Lawrence.”

She tapped the carving with her hand. “Has she ever seen

this?”

“No. She never came here.”

Goodreads / Amazon

About the Author

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author, screenwriter, advanced practice registered nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable.

Weis writes romance, mystery, suspense, thrillers, supernatural, and young adult fiction and has sold approximately one million books. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.

She is a member of both the International Thriller Writers Association and the Horror Writers Association. http://www.AlexandreaWeis.com

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Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (INT)
$20 Amazon gift card
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Blog Tour – The Ice in Our Hearts

Title: The Ice in Our Hearts
Author: BC Powell
Published: August 2020
Genres: Romance, Sports, Young Adult

Bryce is a snowboarding sensation, a cocky teenager from California with a giant chip on his shoulder called Type 1 diabetes. He competes because he has something to prove.

Daria is a rising star in figure skating, a withdrawn teen from Russia with a tragic past. She competes to provide her family with a better life.

Primed to overthrow archrivals who dominate their sports, they’re both headed to the Winter Olympics. But soon after arriving at the Games, a flurry of ill-timed setbacks threatens to shatter their dreams.

When two teens from halfway around the world meet, they discover an unlikely but undeniable connection. As they gear up for their final shots at medals, they help each other realize the greatest barrier to the top of the podium might be hiding inside their minds.

Take a breathtaking ride with Bryce and Daria as they find true understanding, try to overcome the bitterness of their pasts, and share a romance more meaningful than winning gold.

Written by the parent of a child with Type 1 diabetes.

After the eleven competitors before Bryce had completed their first jumps, Ryan Jones had logged the highest score. Bryce finalized his trick with Mike and strapped his board to his feet. With one hand on Bryce’s back and the other on his hip, Mike pushed Bryce across the snow to the starting area. As Bryce looked out at the Olympic flags over the massive crowd, he momentarily lost his breath. His heart beat faster and faster until it was like a drum roll inside his chest.

He’d been so focused on how his body was feeling through the practice jumps that he hadn’t thought about where he was. This was the medal round at the Olympics. The big air starting area was much different than the one in slopestyle where you couldn’t see or hear the crowd at the bottom of the run. Trying to keep a sudden onslaught of nerves in check, he bent down and rested his hands on his knees. As he inhaled a few deep breaths, Mike leaned down beside him.

“It’s just you and the jump,” Mike said. “That’s all there is.”

After Bryce nodded his head, Mike stepped back from the starting area. When the official starter told Bryce to drop in, he returned to upright. Focusing his eyes on the lip of the kicker, he tried to blur out the enormous crowd in the background. He visualized his take off in his mind and shook his arms by his side. He’d need a lot of speed for this trick.

He suddenly sprang into the air, twisted his body to the right, and hit the steep slope with his left foot forward. Zooming straight down the center of the ramp, he kept his board as straight as he could to max out his speed.

As he sank low to his board, the crowd disappeared behind the kicker. He sailed through the swoop at the bottom of the slope while the radar gun that showed his speed to the spectators flashed eighty-four kilometers per hour—fifty-two miles per hour. He blocked out every sound and narrowed his vision so that only the top of the kicker was in his sight. The only thought in his mind was his timing off the jump.

He hit the lip, burst straight up from his crouch, and twisted to the left. Throwing his shoulders backwards, he rifled his board over his head. He reached his right hand behind his waist and then back through his legs until he snatched the toe edge of his board. Cramping his body in a tuck, he pulled the center of the board as close to his face as he could while hiding his left hand behind one of his boots.

Flipping backwards, his body fluidly spun through the air. He counted the inversions in his head and marked his height over the slope each time it came into view. As he tumbled for the fourth time, he let go of his board and uncoiled his body.

Wrenching his hips to straighten out his board, he waved his arms by his sides to keep his balance. He knew he’d traveled way down the slope, but he was even farther than he expected. When the tail of his board grazed the snow, it was at the last blue line.

Like firm, controlled springs, his legs absorbed the jolt from the landing. With one hand out in front of him and the other extended to his side, he sped towards the finish zone. On the flat span of snow, he rose from his crouch and swung the tail of his board around so his back was to the crowd. Cascades of snow sprayed out from underneath him while he screeched to a stop. As though a mute button switched off in his mind, bellowing cheers hit his ears.

“A quad underflip nine-hundred!” the loudspeaker announcer shouted.

Goodreads / Amazon

BC Powell is a fantasy author from Los Angeles, CA. Described as “a stunning fantasy adventure,” “incredibly original,” and “a wild ride,” his debut science fiction fantasy novel “Krymzyn” was published in October, 2014. “The Infinite Expanse”, the highly anticipated second book in “The Journals of Krymzyn” series, was released in March, 2015.

Powell has a diverse background, having held several creative positions in the entertainment industry, including an executive role at ABC-TV, but writing fiction has been his lifelong passion. “The Journals of Krymzyn” represents, in his words, “finally finding the amazing story I want to tell with characters who are able to bring the story to life.”

He dual majored in journalism and philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. When he’s not writing, he can often be found hiking the hills of Southern California, daydreaming on the beach, or ocean kayaking. He credits his three sons, two currently in college and one in high school, as his inspiration for writing in the new adult genre.

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Tour-wide giveaway (INT)
$50 Amazon gift card
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Book Review/Blog Tour – Heart Sister

Title: Heart Sister
Author: Michael F. Stewart
Published: September 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 5 stars
Cover: Love it

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Synopsis:

After his twin sister, Minnie, dies in an accident, Emmitt’s world goes sideways. He’s lost his best friend and it feels like the family is falling apart without her. But Minnie was an organ donor and Emmitt soon receives an anonymous thank you letter from one of the transplant recipients. Inspiration strikes, and he decides to try and put his sister back together, in spirit. He’s going to track down each organ recipient and film them to show his parents the results of Minnie’s selfless act and help them move on. But when each recipient falls short of his expectations and the star of his film, the girl who received his sister’s heart, refuses to meet him, Emmitt has to turn to extreme measures to find her. What he doesn’t know is that his “heart sister” is hiding an agonizing secret, one that could push Emmitt to the breaking point.

But I also envy people who have courage. I think envy tells us a lot about who we are and what is important to us. I envy the brave. In some ways, I’m still searching for my heart”
(p. 45)

Thank you to Michael F. Stewart, Orca Books, and Xpresso Tours for a free eARC of Heart Sister in exchange for an honest review. You can pre-order it now to read it as soon as it releases in September!

I inhaled this book in 24 hours, and can honestly say it’ll stick with me for a long time. Stewart writes an emotional journey where Emmitt learns how a single death can have a life giving ripple effect to many others. Emmitt is essentially forced to move on from his sister’s death to take care of his parents, who are not coping. So he decides to make a movie about his sister and the lives she changed by being an organ donor in hopes to help his parents begin to heal. During his search, he finds an unlikely group of friends, breaks many rules, and has to radically change his expectations about grief. In his journey of healing, he is broken again.

Stewart writes such a captivating story about the fluid nature of grieving, and the amazing selflessness of being an organ donor. You will be in your emotions this whole book, but it’s okay, because those emotions will latch you onto these characters for a full experience of story. After reading about these transplant patients, after feeling the joy and pain they feel in being given a second life at the expense of another, I hope you research becoming an organ donor yourself in order to fill others with life even in death, just like Minnie.

Purchase Links:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble

About the Author


Michael F. Stewart is an award-winning author of many books for young people in various genres, including Ray Vs. the Meaning of Life, which earned a Kirkus Star and won the Publishers Weekly’s Booklife Grand Prize. and Heart Sister (Summer/Fall 2020, Orca Books). Michael lives in Ottawa.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

 

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL):

1 print copy of Heart Sister
10x ebook copies of Ray Vs the Meaning of Life

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Book Review/Blog Tour – The Good for Nothings

Title: The Good for Nothings
Author: Danielle Banas
Published: August 2020
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: It’s Okay

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Synopsis:

They’re only good at being bad.

Cora Saros is just trying her best to join the family business of theft and intergalactic smuggling. Unfortunately, she’s a total disaster.

After landing herself in prison following an attempted heist gone very wrong, she strikes a bargain with the prison warden: He’ll expunge her record if she brings back a long-lost treasure rumored to grant immortality.

Cora is skeptical, but with no other way out of prison (and back in her family’s good graces), she has no choice but to assemble a crew from her collection of misfit cellmates—a disgraced warrior from an alien planet; a cocky pirate who claims to have the largest ship in the galaxy; and a glitch-prone robot with a penchant for baking—and take off after the fabled prize.

But the ragtag group soon discovers that not only is the too-good-to-be-true treasure very real, but they’re also not the only crew on the hunt for it. And it’s definitely a prize worth killing for.

Whip-smart and utterly charming, this irreverent sci-fi adventure is perfect for fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lunar Chronicles, and Firefly.

“Together we will accomplish great, but possibly not legal, things,” she whispered
(chapter 23).

Happy book birthday to Danielle Banas’s latest release, The Good for Nothings! Thank you to Banas, Xpresso Tours, and Swoon Reads for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Who knew that thieves could be heart-warming? A ragtag group staring two aliens, a human, and a malfunctioning robot are able to make a deal with their warden to journey across space, face indescribable dangers, and bring back a treasure of legends. All in return for their freedom. Or so he says. The whole trip is filled with misadventures, plans of betrayal, acidic plants, budding friendships, and a desire to belong. A typical day in the life of a teenager, right? At least for these four.

Banas writes a creative, fast-paced, adventure tale…IN SPACE. I always forget how much I love sci-fi until I’m knee deep in it. Cora is a moody criminal, an unlikely main character to adore, but you can’t help it when she shows just how much she is willing to do for those she loves (mostly her robot, who is the CUTEST little sidekick!) This team of misfits fit so perfectly together, and because they’re criminals, there’s no line they won’t cross to get what they want.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

About the Author

Danielle Banas is the author of THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME and THE GOOD FOR NOTHINGS. She earned a degree in communication from Robert Morris University, where she spent slightly too much time daydreaming about new characters instead of paying attention in class. When she isn’t writing, Danielle can be found loudly singing show tunes, spouting off Disney World trivia, and snuggling with her puppy. She lives in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

 

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (US only):

Print copy of The Good for Nothings

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Book Review – More Than Maybe

Title: More Than Maybe
Author: Erin Hahn
Published: July 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: Like it

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Synopsis:

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealously-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on a music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke’s singing about some mystery girl on their podcast, and she really, really wishes it was her?

“I’d rather lose myself in a sea of strangers than find myself one-on-one with an acquaintance” (chapter 4).

Hi, Wednesday Books? I’d like to place a preorder for all of Erin Hahn’s books as soon as she writes them. Please and thank you. Also, thanks for the free eARC in exchange for a review, but really, how am I supposed to convince my husband that I need to buy these books now? What have you done?

Luke is in introverted, shy artist, and Vada is confident dreamer, they’re as different as can be. Yet, both have deeply dedicated ex-musician dads, which means their upbringing and their very blood is made up of rock music. It’s the thing that connects them, and it helps them work through their fears and disappointments. Music brings the world together, and Vada and Luke are no exception.

I kinda didn’t enjoy Luke’s brother, Cullen. He was very pushy and didn’t respect his brother. He performs a “self-less” act by leaking Luke’s VERY personal song, but honestly, the fact that he didn’t listen to Luke’s desires made it feel way more like it was about what Cullen wanted. I mean, I guess typical teen stuff, a lot of teens are learning to look outside of themselves and their small world, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. I wasn’t able to attach myself to Cullen like I was to basically everyone else.

Two published books into her career and I already know that I am going to care about every single main character (and most side characters) that Hahn writes. I feel almost like a mama bird, I just want to tuck them all under my wing and tell them everything is going to be alright. I know life seems like a lot to handle right now, but trust me, Erin Hahn has it all figured it, babies. You’ll be alright. The only thing that would just nail me in as a fan girl for life is if I could actually listen to the songs her characters write. However, MAJOR plus, guys. More Than Maybe IS basically a big ol’ playlist. Next time I read this (yeah, you heard me), I’m going to read it slower and listen to every song listed.

Book Review – You’d Be Mine

Title: You’d Be Mine
Author: Erin Hahn
Published: April 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 5 stars
Cover: It’s okay

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Synopsis:

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when  your bad boy image turns into a bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing Youtube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and she isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

 

“I’m not good enough for her,” I say.
Lindy’s lips spread into a blinding smile, and she taps the table with two fingers. “That’s the best thing you could’ve said. Never forget it. If she chooses to love you anyway, don’t you dare let her go” (chapter 25).

I received a eARC of You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn through Netgalley during a time when I didn’t actually have time to read things. So I’ve been slowly making my way through some of those titles. Well, gonna give myself a good ol’ pat on my back for feeling slightly guilty because I’ve found a 5-star book! Y’all. Y’ALL! I loved this book. Loved.

Clay and Annie are compared to Johnny Cash and June Carter (LOVE!) but real life doesn’t look the same as it does on stage. They have a whole mess of things they’re working through, which means they should stay far away from each other, right? Just focus on their music and making the label happy. As the tour progresses and they start opening up about their hurts and their pasts, it become harder and harder to keep priorities straight.

You’d Be Mine is all of the swoony, sunshiny, romantic, sad, deep country sounds all wrapped up into one sweet story that sticks with you (like a country song–duh). It has angst, heartbreak, forgiveness, and new love. Even just thinking of the story is like being reminded of a friend. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go put this book on my wishlist and listen to “I Love You This Big”, which was our first dance song, because country music makes me think of my husband.

Book Review – Air Awakens

Title: Air Awakens (Air Awakens #1)
Title: Elise Kova
Published: August 2015
Genre: High Fantasy, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 5 stars
Cover: Love it

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Synopsis:

A library girl with a secret. A dark and fiery prince. When he awakens her magic, there’s no going back.

The Solaris Empire sone conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all–the Crown Prince Aldrik–she finds herself enticed into his world. Now chemist decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined…

 

“You can read all the books in this library, be wiser than the master himself someday, and  then you will die having never really done anything. You will have only ever lived through everyone else’s experiences” (page 52)

I recently discovered that this series, which has been on my radar for a while now, is on Kindle Unlimited, and when I say I couldn’t put it down, I mean I devoured it! I’m not usually able to get into high fantasy. I usually find even the descriptions and covers to not be engaging to me, and the world building is daunting. I typically am much more drawn to low fantasy, because frequently we are introduced to the magical parts of the world with the main character, which makes it much more of an exciting adventure to me. In Air Awakens, magic is a norm on the Crescent Continent, but it is widely feared because it is strange and unusual. So there still is an introduction to the history through the main character’s discoveries because she is being thrust into the magical parts of her world, when before she feared even being around a sorcerer.

I read some reviews after I finished to help myself formulate my many thoughts, and was surprised to see many people disliked it. So in efforts to articulate why I think it’s a great piece of literature, and since my thoughts refuse to formulate in a nice pretty essay, we’ve got bullet points today:

  • The crown prince is thought to be cold and unapproachable, which is a reputation he built himself because so many people fear magic. He also has a guard on his emotions because magic is heavily influenced by emotions, and he does not want to accidentally cause harm in a slip of his emotions. Any crack in his shield could be fatal. Those that do not understand and fear magic can’t understand this, and instead judge him to be cold and harsh. I feel like there is so much depth here.
  • Deals a lot with economic inequalities, specifically how differently people live within the walls of the palace depending on their status. The economic classes are evidently so important to some people in this world, that when Vhalla starts crossing boundaries, there are those who will do everything they can to not only retain order, but to keep the feared unknown far away.
  • The themes in this book honestly complement the storyline very well and add depth that kept me thinking long after the book was finished.

I finished reading at 1:30 in the morning and immediately turned to my husband and told him I wanted to start the second book instead of sleeping. He looked at me and laughed, as I’m usually unable to stay awake past 10pm.

Book Review – How to Quit Your Crush

Title: How to Quit Your Crush
Author: Amy Fellner Dominy
Published: May 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover:
It’s okay

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Synopsis:

Mai Senn knows Anthony Adams is no good for her – no matter how hard she might crush on him. She’s valedictorian; he’s a surf bum. She’s got plans; he’s got his art. Complete opposites in every way. Vinegar and baking soda, they once joked. A chemical reaction that bubbled.

Yeah, they bubbled. Maybe still do.

Good thing Anthony’s got the perfect plan: two weeks to prove just how not good they are together. Whoever can come up with the worst date–something the other will seriously hate, proving how incompatible they truly are–wins.

Like take a snake-phobe to the Reptile House at the zoo (his idea).

Or a cooking class where they don’t even get to eat the food (her idea).

It’s all about the competition, and it’s meant to help them finally crush their crushes. But it wasn’t supposed to be so hot. Or so fun. And when Mai’s future becomes at stake, will she be able to do the right thing and quit Anthony forever?

“But if you live afraid, you’re not really living. That’s no future at all” (chapter 39).

Thank you Entangled Teen Crush and Amy Fellner Dominy for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review. You can read my review of Amy’s first book in this universe, Announcing Trouble, here.

I read this in a day. Honestly, I don’t even think I put it down after I picked it up. The premise was really new and fun for me, and the depth behind the characters and the things they wish for or are scared of was very engaging.

Mai’s has some trauma in her past that she holds tight to and allows to define what’s important to her. Her family doesn’t seem to realize this because they encourage this behavior with their overbearing ideals instead of encouraging her to discover who she is and give her space for that. As a result, she has a bit of an identity crisis as she starts transitioning into adulthood after graduating high school. What would her life look like without carefully laid plans she’s created with her family? And would being different make her adoptive parents not want her anymore?

Anthony doesn’t fit in Mai’s carefully laid plans, even though she can’t help but practically drool over him. He doesn’t want to think about the future, he doesn’t want to make plans, he doesn’t even want to go to college. He’s definitely not someone she could ever bring home to her parents. Anthony is fully aware that they just don’t fundamentally work. So why can’t he get her out of his head? Why does he want to kiss her so bad?

The two agree that they need to let this crush burn up by having a fling to effectively make themselves unattractive to the other. They plan dates with the intention of turning the other off, but it ends up being way more fun than annoying. In trying to have something light to turn each other off, they end up digging in deep and understanding each other’s fears. I never wanted to stop reading about these two. Their chemistry and their vulnerability really won my heart.

Book Review/Blog Tour – Love on the Line

 

Title: Love on the Line (Women at Work #1)
Author: Kirsten Fullmer
Published: June 2017
Genres: Coming of Age, New Adult, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 3 stars
Cover: It’s okay

Line

Synopsis:

Andrea is an ordinary girl in an extraordinary situation.

She left her comfortable home and family to take a job building a pipeline with her estranged grandpa, Buck. She’s curious about his job, and why her mother dislikes the man. She didn’t expect to uncover buried family secrets, or for the job to be so difficult.

Rooster isn’t a bad guy. He respects women; he was raised by one of the best. But that new girl on the job is too small and feminine. She’s a distraction, plain and simple, and she doesn’t belong on a pipeline. This job is his chance to impress Buck Brennan, a pipeline legend, and no girly greenhorn is going to ruin it for him.

Will Andrea prove herself to her grandfather and forge a relationship with the old man, or will continuous disagreements and unexpected sexual tension between Andrea and Rooster derail their hard work?

Thank you Kirsten Fullmer, Augustine Press, and Xpresso Tours for a free eARC in return for an honest review.

I’ve seen movies where the MC is thrown into a work situation very out of the norm for her and she has to learn and adapt, but this is my first book I’ve read with this scenario. Fullmer clearly did a lot of research in writing this to be able to write the ins and outs of a pipeline career. I enjoyed reading about how Andrea is stretched and pushed in order succeed and do well in a male-dominated career. She does not make it look easy, that’s for sure. I know some people might not love this book because of how much it does actually talk about the work being done, but I found that part fascinating, albeit a little dry. Getting a deeper look at what days on the job look like gave me more of a desire to root for Andrea as she navigates it all.

Rooster and Andrea are FUN. You can genuinely watch them start softening toward each other and realizing that they care about each other, even when the other person makes them want to scream. I wanted more, though. I felt like it was built up so much for such a  short and less passionate relationship.

I also really wanted to see more of the relationship between Andrea and her grandfather being built. We only really see glimpses and it’s hard to walk away feeling like they got to know each other as much as we were told they did. I mean, he’s really a big reason why she took this job, why do I feel like their relationship dynamic was an afterthought.

Some of the writing felt really awkward, mostly when the author refers to Andrea’s family members as “the woman” or “the girl” or “the old man.” Otherwise, as I said, the book felt very well researched and the writing definitely displayed that.

It’s refreshing reading about characters actually working, and working hard, and not just focusing on the romance or family dynamics as many books do. This story wraps all of those elements into one, and I enjoyed the ride.

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About the Author

Kirsten is a dreamer with an eye for art and design. She worked in the engineering field, taught college, and consulted free lance. Due to health problems, she retired in 2012 to travel with her husband. They live and work full time in a 40′ travel trailer with their little dog Bingo. Besides writing romance novels, she enjoys selling art on Etsy and spoiling their three grandchildren.

As a writer, Kirsten’s goal is to create strong female characters who face challenging, painful, and sometimes comical situations. She believes that the best way to deal with struggle, is through friendship and women helping women. She knows good stories are based on interesting and relatable characters.

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