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.

Blog Tour – Sticks and Stones

Title: Sticks & Stones
Author: Dianne Beck
Published: March 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Sticks and Stones - eBook.jpg

Synopsis:

When fifteen-year-old Emily Greene wakes up to police banging on her door, she is shocked to see her mother arrested on drug charges.

Uprooted and in disbelief, Emily moves to a new town to stay with her grandmother, known as Crazy Carol for her outspoken faith and quirky behaviors. As if the arrest isn’t enough, kids at her new school immediately begin to stereotype and judge her based on the news they’ve heard about her mom.

Emily is sure her mother’s fiancé is to blame for the crime. He has conveniently disappeared since the day of the arrest. She’s determined to find him, and prove he’s at fault. But something awful happens, shaking her world yet again.

After this string of tragedies, Emily starts to question God, but is gently and consistently reminded by her grandmother, through stories she tells of all the sticks, leaves, and stones she collects, that God is her good and faithful parent.

Emily must learn that the words others say about her don’t matter, that her mom’s mistakes don’t define her, and she is always deeply loved by her heavenly father. If only she can learn to forgive herself.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

I have to get my mom out of jail. She’s Tiffany Greene, the one who sang me to sleep when I was four, brought my dying pet goldfish back to life when I was seven, stayed up all night with me to make a model of a California Mission with homemade dough when I was nine.

Now that I’m fifteen, she’s the only real family I’ve got, and she’s not capable of committing a crime. She’s too nice. Richard Holder, her fiancé who recently moved in with us, is the one who should be in jail. But at six in the morning, when the police knocked on our front door, Richard was conveniently missing.

I woke up to fists pounding on the front door that winter morning, shouting voices, “Police! Open up!” Next, the scurry of Mom’s slippers, the opening and closing of cabinets and drawers, my mom’s voice, high-pitched and frantic.

“I need to talk to my daughter. Please let me talk to her.”

I sat up in my cozy, pillow-filled bed, rubbed my eyes to see if I was dreaming. Mom appeared in my doorway. She wore the long T-shirt she always wore to bed, green sweats with my Chaparral High track team logo on the side, and her black coat with the furry Sherpa lining I always loved. It was clear that she just threw on whatever was in easy reach. She swung her head to flip her tousled brown hair out of her green eyes. Everyone said we looked so much alike, more like sisters than mother and daughter.

But now, with her wrists handcuffed behind her, and her pretty face twisted in grief, it was impossible not to feel like we were both losing everything in an instant. What was happening?

“Okay, say what you need to say.” The stocky policeman refused to look at me. He kept his eyes on Mom. Jared, my closest friend and also, unfortunately, Richard’s son, ran in behind her.

“What’s going on?” Jared’s crystal blue eyes blazed. His hands grabbed Mom’s petite shoulders. “Tell us what’s happening!” At six foot two, he made her look so tiny, so fragile. His anger made him seem even larger.

“Jared, Emily, I’m so sorry. Call my mother — tell her you need to stay with her.”
Mom stared at Jared, like she was expecting him to understand and follow her orders. In the awkward stillness that followed she said, “That’s all I can tell you right now, I’m sorry.”

Jared’s chest heaved up and down like he’d been running, his mouth quivered. “Yeah, whatever, I’ve heard that line before. Us kids aren’t allowed to know anything, but we still have to live with all your problems.”

“I love you guys. You’re the best, okay? Please remember I love you and um, know that I’m sorry.” Tears showered her face.

I hated seeing her helpless, unable to even wipe her tears because of her cuffed hands, or to make things better for us like she always did. I knew this couldn’t be her fault. My mom was a good mother. She worked long hours as an emergency room nurse. We lived in a nice home, in a quiet neighborhood, in beautiful Southern California. Things like this didn’t happen to families like ours. ”Why are you letting them take you? Where’s Richard? Why aren’t you fighting back?”

She looked down at her feet, opened her mouth like she wanted to say something, but nothing came out. I ran to her, wrapped my arms around her waist. I breathed in her scent, a mix of her bath soap and vanilla perfume, felt a tear fall on my arm. I put my finger on that tear and let it soak into my skin where it would stay with me.

 

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About the Author

Dianne Beck has spent the majority of her career teaching students ranging from Kindergarten through adult. No matter what age, her biggest goal is to encourage her students to be their own unique selves, to have confidence in who they are, and to follow their passions.

Dianne’s debut young adult novel, Sticks and Stones, was inspired by her years of teaching, where she saw so many students struggle with varying issues, and also experienced how an understanding ear and relevant literature could make a significant impact on their lives. She hopes young people as well as adults can find faith and strength, like her main character Emily does, even when things seem to be falling apart.

Dianne is motivated daily by her faith in God, her husband, and her four adult children. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading, sipping coffee, browsing a bookstore, or pursuing a part-time faith and fitness ministry at http://www.ofcommonground.com.

Website

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (INT)
$25 Amazon gift card

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Book Review – I Hate You, Fuller James

Title: I Love Hate You, Fuller James
Author: Kelly Anne Blount
Published: March 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads

Rating: 3 stars
Cover: It’s okay

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Synopsis:

I hate you, Fuller James.

I hate your floppy hair and your lopsided grin and those laughing blue eyes that always seem to be laughing at me.

I hate that you’re the most popular guy in school and I’m still the girl who sneezed and spit out her retainer on someone at the middle school dance. It’s just such a cliché.

I hate that I’m being forced to tutor you in English and keep it a secret from everyone. Because otherwise it might put our basketball team’s chances at winning State in jeopardy, and even though I hate you, I love basketball.

I hate that it seems like you’re keeping a secret from me…and that the more time we spend together, the less I feel like I’m on solid ground. Because I’m starting to realize there’s so much more to you than meets the eye. Underneath it all, you’re real.

But what I hate the most is that I really don’t hate you at all.

Happy book birthday to I Love Hate You, Fuller James by Kelly Anne Blount! Thank you Entangled Publishing and Blount for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

A hate-to-love romance AND a sports romance? Two of my favorites. Bring. It. On.

Wren and Fuller actually have a lot in common, they just never knew until they were thrown together in an annoying tutoring set up. Both put family above all else, both are very driven to pursue college and their future careers, both live and breathe basketball. The only difference is, they live in two completely different worlds.

Fuller is the best basketball player this school has ever seen. He’s also part of the popular crowd and the reason Wren gained a horrible nickname and lost her best friend in middle school.

Wren doesn’t mind being an outsider anymore. She’s worked HARD to move past all the bullshit and has two best friends and her family that would do anything for her. Next step is to leave the rest of the people from high school in her dust.

I really loved seeing inside each of their worlds, particularly through the dual perspective writing. Their romance is whirlwind and exciting, I just wish there was a little more build up from Fuller’s side first. We see a glimpse of his tough guy act, but we don’t really see enough to know why it’s there in the first place, or to give more meaning to his softened personality when he starts falling for Wren. He’s fully able to recognize that he’s a big jerk and possibly has a history of being shallow, but why? I wish he had been a little more introspective, and that we had gotten more of a look at his daily life before Wren got stuck with him.

I thoroughly enjoyed two of my favorite tropes wrapped in one for this YA romance. While I wanted more depth and character growth, I still had a lot of fun with this book.

Book Review/Blog Tour – Tweet Cute

Tweet Cute_Blog Tour Banner Onsale

Title: Tweet Cute
Author: Emma Lord
Published: January 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: Like it

Tweet Cute_Cover

Synopsis:

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming—mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese—that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life—on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate—people on the internet are shipping them??— their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

“It’s the thousands of miles and winding roads that stand in the way of Pepper now and Pepper then, and I’m not even sure who either of them are anymore.”

Happy book birthday to Emma Lord’s debut novel, Tweet Cute! Special thanks to Emma Lord and Wednesday Books for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review! This may be a debut novel, but I’m ready to line up for Lord’s next book!

Pepper has been the new girl at her super competitive private school for a couple years now, ever since her parents split and her mom moved her from the small town vibes of Tennessee to the heart of New York City. The only way she feels she can fit in and catch up with her classmates is by pushing herself the be the best. She’s neck to neck as the best in school, she’s swim captain, and she’s even the best (or trying to be) at being a mediator between her bitter sister and her mom. She’s even the best at helping her mom with her family-restaurant-turned-coorporate-company, especially with witty tweets when the social media “specialist” struggles.

Jack just wants to be recognized as himself instead of being confused with his mega popular, diving team captain brother. His parents have been grooming him to take over the family restaurant for forever, and he’s positive it’s because they don’t think he’ll go as far in life as his twin. What will they say when he tells them he’s got other interests? Specifically of the app development variety. When he discovers that a chain burger company has stolen his beloved grandma’s secret grilled cheese recipe, it’s too much to stuff away on top of all his self-doubt. This means war—of the meme category.

Pepper and Jack’s spit-fire personalities will keep you engaged from the first page. They are both dedicated to their respective parent’s restaurants, to the point that their school work and college applications might take the hit. Yikes. While they juggle all the moving pieces in their lives, you can’t help but root for them to figure it all out, while melting from the budding romance.

Lord writes a very current storyline without too much name dropping that will cause it to age badly. It’s a sweet coming-of-age story about two teens who are learning who they are and what they want instead of what’s expected of them. The writing was engaging and endearing, taking the reader on a fun emotional ride.

Purchase Link

About the Author

Emma Lord.jpg

Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online on Twitter.

Blog Tour – Woodhouse Hall

Title: Woodhouse Hall
Author: Sara Marks
Published: October 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Amelia is stuck in the worst dorm on campus for a whole year! She’ll have to make the best of it in Woodhouse Hall and her roommate Jenna will be her new best friend, Amelia’s sure of that. Jenna’s sweet personality and openness to new things incite the matchmaking-genius in Amelia to find the perfect boyfriend for her new bestie. She shoots high by attempting to entice Eric, the President of the Student Government, to fall for her roommate. Amelia’s past success makes her confident they will be a couple in no time. When that turns out to be a disaster, she is forced to face the lies she’s told herself about her strengths and her assumptions about the people she loves. Over the year, Amelia learns who she is, what she wants, and how to fight for what’s really important.

This novel, inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, will have you laughing, crying, and finding a little of yourself in one or all of the characters.

Excerpt

Adam and I took the last shift of the day to check in the freshmen. I agreed to this to thank Adam for helping me find a room. Jenna’s parents had taken her out shopping for room supplies and dinner. Adam and I had our own dinner at the table while we checked in students. It was our payment for taking the shift.
“Do you like Jenna?” Adam asked me as we took charge of the check-in desk.
“She’s sweet,” I said.
“She seems to like crafts as much as you.”
“Maybe more than. I’m not that crafty, only knitting.” I watched her put her stuff away; she likes all crafts. I saw watercolors, tie-dye, yarn, scrapbook paper, and stickers.”
“It was cool of her to help me out.”
“She wants to decorate our door each month. I told her to do whatever she wanted with it.”
“Really? I was expecting you to dominate everything in the room.”
I exaggerated rolling my eyes, making sure Adam noticed. This was not the first time he had said this to me. It felt like he always told me this when I made a new friend, including when we moved in as Freshmen and I met Gwen for the first time.
“Amelia, you’re an alpha female. You tend to forget there are other people with their own desires.”
“What does that even mean? What’s an alpha female?”
Adam didn’t get to answer as the next wave of freshmen came into the building.
“It’s like an alpha male, but, you know, a woman,” Adam said picking up the conversation again after the rush died down. “You’re always the center of attention, you think you know what’s best for everyone, and you push until people do what you want. Look at what you did to Gwen and Steve.”
“I helped two people find love. You make that sound bad,” I said, pretending to be confused but really irritated that he wouldn’t understand.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Sara Marks is a librarian with two masters degrees and plans to never stop getting over educated. She likes the idea of having all the academic regalia she can ever possess. She cries at nearly every movie she sees (ask her about when she cried at a horror movie), but it’s full-on weeping for Disney animated movies. She loves reading nearly every genre but likes to write women’s fiction, romance, and even horror. You have to balance out the reality of the world if you’re going to be a hopeless romantic! Her heroines are women who don’t want the expected life, rarely worrying about their age, weight, marriageability, or fertility.

Website / Facebook / Goodreads

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (INT)

A copy of each 21st Century Austen book (autographed), + tons of swag

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Blog Tour – The Fixer Upper

Today I am sharing an excerpt for a sweet sounding new release by Maggie Mae Gallagher, The Fixer Upper. I can’t wait to get a chance to read this! Be sure to check out the rest of the tour for reviews and extras by clicking the banner above.

Title: The Fixer Upper (Echo Springs, #1)
Author: Maggie Mae Gallagher
Published: September 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Abby Callier is more in love with Shakespearean heroes than any real man, and she’s beginning to wonder if there is life for her outside the pages of a book. It doesn’t help that her esteemed parents tend to view her as they would one of their science experiments gone wrong. On the eve of finishing her dissertation, she escapes her staid existence to live in the house she inherited from her Great Aunt Evie in the small town of Echo Springs, Colorado. Because, let’s face it, when a woman starts comparing her life to horror films, it might be time for a break.

Sheriff Nate Barnes believes in law and order and carefully building the life you want. In his spare time, he has been remodeling his house in the hope that one day it will be filled with the family he makes. But Nate doesn’t like drama or complications and tends to avoid them at all costs. And yet, when Miss Abigail Callier, his newest neighbor, beans him with a nine iron, he can’t help but wonder if she might just be the complication he’s been searching for all along. It doesn’t hurt that he discovers a journal hidden away by the previous tenant and decides to use Old Man Turner’s advice to romance Abby into his life.

Abby never expected her next-door neighbor, the newly dubbed Sheriff Stud Muffin, to be just the distraction her world needed.

The problem is she doesn’t know whether she should make Echo Springs her home, or if this town is just a stopover point in her life’s trajectory. And she doesn’t want to tell Nate that she might not be sticking around—even though she should because it’s the right thing to do, the honest thing—because then all the scintillatingly hot kisses with the Sheriff will come to an abrupt halt. Did she mention that he’s a really great kisser?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks

Excerpt

Abby opened the door to two delivery men wearing Styman and Sons logos on their polos. Greg Styman Junior and Teddy Styman were the sons part of the company. They were both relatively attractive guys in a down-home Mayberry type of way, and were young—far, far too young. While Abby might be nearing her twenty-ninth birthday, these two reminded her of students—fresh-faced, with that innocent wide-eyed wonder of youth that people tended to lose by their mid-twenties.

One of the things that had drawn her to the local appliance shop, instead of heading into Denver and one of those big-box stores to make her purchase, had been their willingness to haul away the old freezer free of charge. Styman and Sons would strip it and refurbish any of the old parts that weren’t rusted or still viable and resell them online. It made Abby feel like she was doing something good for the environment because the whole thing wouldn’t end up in a landfill.

Abby was standing on her porch, watching the two guys pull her handy-dandy new deepfreeze from the truck, when she was flattened.

She’d barely had time to issue an umphff before she was on her back on the ivory wooden porch, a hulking brute covered in dark black fur towering over her. She lay on her back, trying to assess the damage as a large, wet, pink tongue slobbered over her face. From this angle, she could tell there were a few parts of the roof overhang that needed to be fixed before winter arrived.

Her hands slid into the soft, short fur, attempting to move the massive beast as it said hello with an almost rabid enthusiasm. Abby would have had better luck moving one of the fourteen footers nearby.

“Rufus, stupid mutt, get off her.” Abby heard the deep baritone filled with abject horror.

Rufus, the mammoth Great Dane, listened about as well as a toddler playing with his favorite toy and, instead of moving off her, decided he really wanted to cuddle and lie on top of her. Her breath whooshed out of her again at the dog’s impressive weight. He had to outweigh her by twenty pounds.

“Jesus, Rufus.” Nate Barnes tugged and yanked the hulking beast of a dog off Abby’s prone form. Rufus seemed to think that meant Nate wanted to play and wrestle around. They skirmished on her porch for a minute or so, until Rufus spied a rabbit and took off after the poor creature.

She was starting to push herself up, mentally assessing the damage, when Nate held out a hand to her, a mask of apology adding a deep line to his furrowed brow. “I’m so sorry. Are you all right? He’s harmless, really. The lamebrain just thinks he’s more of a lap dog and doesn’t realize how big he is.”

Abby felt a few brain cells faint as she accepted his help, placing her hand in his much longer one, noticing that the fingers were rough with calluses.

“It’s okay,” she said as she gained her feet, only to be shocked—and a little turned on—as he ran his hands over her, checking for injuries. As much as she tried to rationalize that it was a police-style frisking, a low burn ignited in her belly. Before she did something entirely stupid, like invite him in where he could give her body a private inspection, she batted his hands away. “No harm done. He seems like a big lover.”

Nate smiled sheepishly as he retreated a step, and it did nothing to lessen his impact.

She almost sawed her tongue in half. See? I shouldn’t talk to people, ever. Especially not after Sheriff Stud Muffin put his hands all over her. The action had short-wired and fried her brain, leading to her precarious foot-in-mouth disease. As if he knew she had been talking about him, Rufus loped back up her porch, making a beeline directly for her or, better yet, her crotch, as he planted his wet nose there by way of greeting.

“Rufus, get off her. Jesus, I’m sorry. He’s normally not like this,” Nate explained, more than a little flummoxed and embarrassed as he tried to yank him off.

It was nice to know the guy was human. After their initial and rather violent meeting, she’d wondered if he was a superhero in disguise. She had hit him with the golf club with her full force and the guy had barely flinched.

About the Author

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Giveaway

Giveaway details (INT)
$50 giftcard
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Book Review/Blog Tour

Title: Risking It All
Author: S.M. Koz
Published: June 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: Like It

Risking

Synopsis:

A high-achieving teen who’s determined to become a fighter jet pilot is matched up with an accused criminal at an elite military boarding school in SM Koz’s YA novel, Risking It All.

Paige knows exactly what she wants—to graduate from Wallingford Academy and become a pilot in the US Air Force. She’s inherited her father’s no-nonsense attitude and whip-smart intelligence, all of which have made her the perfect Wallingford cadet.

Wallingford Academy is the last place in the world Logan wants to be. But after his girlfriend borrows his car and commits a crime, Logan takes the fall and ends up there with hopes of striking a decent plea bargain. For him, graduation can’t come soon enough.

When Paige is asked to mentor Logan, it’s the perfect opportunity to prove her leadership skills—but she doesn’t account for the feelings that start to develop or the baggage from Logan’s past which could threaten both of their futures.

A very happy book birthday to Risking It All by SM Koz! Thank you to Koz, Swoon Reads, and Xpresso Book Tours for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. You can click the banner above to follow the tour for more reviews and excerpts.

Paige has had her whole life planned out for as long as she can remember. All she wants in life is to follow her fathers footsteps…well, almost. Being a student and cadet at Wallingford Academy is everything she could ask for to help her achieve her dreams. While Logan doesn’t have his whole life mapped out, or really any of it, Wallingford is the exact opposite of what he wants. His bad attitude could really hurt his chances in court, but how else is he supposed to respond to this torture?

Paige and Logan are as opposite as can be, but that’s the best part. The more time they’re forced to spend together, the more those differences help round out each other’s personalities. They are able to learn things from each other that neither expects. The character growth in this story is absolutely captivating to watch–and it really feels like you’re right there in the sidelines, watching. As each hurtle comes, Paige and Logan find themselves learning more and more how to loosen their closed hands and open themselves up to new perspectives.

I’ve read one other book by Koz, so I was not surprised how engaging the writing was. The military aspect of this story was a very cool addition; I haven’t read any books about this career area, but it was quite the enjoyable premise. It allowed for situations that really helped flesh out the characters and helped me connect with them. I was on board from chapter one. There were moments where I would get frustrated at Logan for not coming clean, and therefore digging himself in a hole more and more. But if he had come clean, we wouldn’t have this beautiful story between him and Paige. This hate-to-love is a win for me.

Purchase Links:
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

 

About the Author

SM Koz was born in Michigan, but moved to North Carolina for college and never left. She enjoys traveling, camping, hiking, photography, reading, spending time with foster kids who call her house home, and learning new things. When she’s not creating online training for pharmaceutical companies (her day job) or writing, Koz can be found at the local community college taking courses on various topics ranging from digital art to HTML to desktop publishing. SM Koz has written six novels. Although her stories differ by genre, ranging from contemporary realism to sci-fi to fanfiction, two things they all have in common are a young or new adult focus and romance. If you’d like to learn more about SM Koz, check her out on social media.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
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Book Review – Game Plan

Title: Game Plan (Varsity Girlfriends #4)
Author: Kayla Tirrell
Published: May 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Goodreads

Rating: 5 Stars
Cover: It’s okay

cover

Synopsis:

I’ve only got one shot to win his heart.

I’ve had a crush on Preston Royce for as long as I can remember. Only, I’ve never told him, or anyone, because he doesn’t see me that way. (And because his sister, Charlie, happens to be my best friend!)

But when Preston’s girlfriend breaks his heart, Charlie comes up with a plan to get them back together–a plan that involves Preston and me pretending to date.

Yeah, it’s a bad idea cozying up with a guy who’s still in love with his ex, but it may be my only chance to get close to him before we graduate high school. He thinks we’re faking.

Meanwhile, I’m falling more in love with him…

Game Plan is perfect for anyone who likes their sweet romance with a dash of drama. It is the fourth book in the Varsity Girlfriends series.

“Every time I felt like I’d made some progress in turning mine and Preston’s fake relationship into something real, she showed up and reminded me exactly where I stood. I was a placeholder, and my only purpose was to make Beth jealous” (chapter 14)

Happy book birthday to Game Plan, by Kayla Tirrell! Thank you for a free copy in return for an honest review.

My heart is bursting from my chest! The utter sweetness of this story completely oozes off the pages in the best way possible. I’m so happy that we get to revisit the Royce family in a whole separate book, but now with a deeper look into the character of Preston. My heart is SWOONING for Daria’s and Preston’s fake relationship. Have I mentioned before how these types of stories are my favorite? The only sad thing is that basketball season is basically over at the beginning of the book, so there’s not much action on the court for a sports romance.

Daria is struggling to define who she is and what she wants. Her parents have a very clear idea of who they think she is, but all the options outside of their plans is overwhelming. All she knows for sure is that her best friend’s brother stole her heart many years ago and she might die from embarrassment if they found out. Which is probably why she said yes to Charlie’s harebrained idea for Daria to fake date Preston. Nothing can go wrong there, right?

I was rooting for Daria the entire time. It felt so familiar to revisit this town and all the people around them that help shape their every day lives, but I think that’s what makes this story, making a full circle back to book one, all the more sweeter. There’s no one else I wanted to root for in the whole series more than these two.

Book Review – Courtside Crush

Title: Courtside Crush (Varsity Girlfriends #1)
Author: Kayla Tirrell
Published: February 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Goodreads

Rating: 4 Stars
Cover: It’s okay

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Synopsis:

So much for senior year being the best part of high school.

It all started when I caught my boyfriend cheating on me.

I did what any girl would do—I got revenge. Of course, it didn’t stop there. Thanks to a condemning video, I also got eight weeks of community service and athletic probation right before basketball season is supposed to start. (There goes my spot as captain!)

Thankfully there’s a guy at Marlowe Junction’s Helping Hands who makes passing the time more enjoyable. He’s gorgeous, funny, and a huge basketball fan.

Too bad he’s also my brother’s biggest enemy…

Courtside Crush is a modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, perfect for anyone who likes their sweet romance with a dash of drama. It is the first book in the Varsity Girlfriends series.

“There was just something special about drama that brought everyone out from the woodwork. These were people I didn’t talk to on a daily, or even weekly, basis. Why did they think they had special privileges?” (chapter 16)

Happy book birthday to Kayla Tirrell’s Courtside Crush. Thank you, Kayla, for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Charlie is mad. She isn’t always one to stay out of trouble in the first place, but now her potential for athletic scholarships is in jeopardy because she just wanted to teach Anderson a little lesson for making out with girls who are not Charlie. Really, he’s the one at fault here. Even her super protective step-brother agrees. To make things worse, now she has to spend every Saturday volunteering with Marlowe Junction’s Helping Hands or she’ll be expelled! At least there’s a cute guy stuck there, too.

This book has all the feel-good romance of a YA contemporary, mixed with the ever present drama of high school, plus an endearing, supportive family. What I loved the most was that I didn’t feel like I was being told that Charlie’s family was close, or that her best friend was supportive and sassy, or even how sweet of a guy Jackson is, but rather I was shown it by getting a vivid window into their lives. This is captivating writing for me. Charlie’s struggles are so raw and seemed to never end—constantly dealing with bad news after bad news with hard decisions all mixed in. In the end, you’re absolutely rooting for her as she learns about who she is, and how to stand up for herself when the world sends wave after wave to knock her down.

Tirrell’s Courtside Crush is a fun sports romance with a refreshing style of storytelling for the genre. Tirrell’s writing stayed away from cliche, overly descriptive scenes and characters, which helped me emerge in the book completely because I was allowed to use my imagination. The character development was pretty wonderful, and I found myself completely drawn into Charlie’s family dynamic. I will definitely be looking into Tirrell’s other books.

Book Review/Blog Tour – Triplicity

Title: Triplicity
Author: J. Mercer
Published: January 2019
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads

Rating: 4 stars
Cover: It’s okay

Triplicity

Synopsis:

One week on an Alaskan cruise, three teens, and an endless trail of lies.

Enter a series of thefts on board and they all fall under scrutiny. Though Navy acts a proper preacher’s daughter, she did end up with someone else’s purse in her hands, and Jesse knows way more than he should about what’s gone missing. Isaiah, however, is the one with motive—enough money and he could get back to his ranch. Each holds a piece of the truth, but exposing the thief could damn them all. They must navigate through the lies they’ve told, choose between standing together or saving themselves, and decide if innocence is worth facing their ugliest secrets.

*For readers of Kasie West and Jenny Han.*

“I guess that’s what I wanted to see next—real love…the kind that weathered storms” (Day 4).

Happy book birthday to J. Mercer’s Triplicity. Thank you Mercer, Bare Ink, and Xpresso Book Tours for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. Don’t forget to click the banner above to follow the rest of the tour for reviews and excerpts.

Mercer’s writing uncovers a serious of thefts on a cruise ship with a delightful level of mystery, paired with lots of finger pointing to up the stakes. The three random teenagers—Navy, Jesse, and Isaiah—are thrown together through cruise events, endless flirting, and increasing suspicions. They all come with their own baggage, their own dreams, and their own motivations. Following their individual perspectives as the week on the ship unfolds adds the perfect amount of tension to the plot. I’m in love: with the characters who are more than meets the eye, with the plotting and the accusations, and with this wonderful storytelling that brings it all together. You will not want to be torn away from the events on the Triplicity cruise, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Purchase Link:
Amazon

About the Author

J. Mercer grew up in Wisconsin where she walked home from school with her head in a book, filled notebooks with stories in junior high, then went to college for accounting and psychology only to open a dog daycare. She wishes she were an expert linguist, is pretty much a professional with regards to competitive dance hair (bunhawk, anyone?), and enjoys exploring with her husband–though as much as she loves to travel, she’s also an accomplished hermit. Perfect days include cancelled plans, rain, and endless hours to do with what she pleases. Find her on Facebook @jmercerbooks or online at http://www.jmercerbooks.com.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook

Giveaway

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$25 Amazon gift card

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