Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Blog Tour: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover


Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Publishing Date: December 10, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance - Amazon Publishing
Pages: 366
Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

The Premise from the Publisher: "Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike. Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body. With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together" (Montlake).

My overall thoughts and review: Before I begin my rambling review, I want to preface that I have not read a Colleen Hoover book before. I know many of my friends love her work, but I'll be honest, I've always been a bit reluctant because I was worried about how "heavy" some of the books are - emotionally. I can firmly say that after reading this book, Colleen Hoover, has a fan for life in me - why did I wait so long to read a book by her?! That being said, I'm so excited now to go back and read her backlist because I love her writing so much. Hoover immediately draws the reader in with her stories, and just the wait she writes from first person perspective is incredibly captivating.

This story follows a mother and daughter and both of their love stories, and how everything kind of intertwines at the center of it all. We have a mother who doesn't want her daughter to repeat her mistakes by getting pregnant too young, but we also have a daughter that wants to break free of some of her parents over-protectiveness. The story moves back and forth from Morgan's perspective (in the past and now in the present), to her daughter, Clara. We learn about Morgan's relationship with Clara's father, Chris, and how that was inextricably linked with her sister, Jenny, and Chris' friend, Jonah.  A tragic accident happens, and many things are revealed which really shook up the household, and Morgan is left to deal with it all, along with Clara and Jonah. While all of this is going on, Clara finds herself drawn to a boy who is known for the mistakes of his father, rather than who he really is. It's an interesting dynamics because during this time of grief, when Clara and Morgan should turn to one another, they find themselves pushing the other even further apart. So you can see how they find their way back to one another during the course of the book. I loved all the characters a lot, even when they frustrated me. I could see why they acted a certain way, and while I didn't always agree, I think it says a lot for someone to step back and be able to understand why certain actions happened. Clara drove me a bit insane towards the end, but I understood that her anger was coming from grief and frustration due to what she was dealing with. I don't want to say too much to spoil any of the plot points, but there's three stories going on here, Clara and Morgan's mother-daughter story, and then their respective romantic relationship stories. It seems like a lot, but Colleen Hoover pieced it all together so well!

This book poses so many intriguing questions that really make you stop and wonder. Would certain relationships have flourished if there wasn't a particular circumstance? Do you sometimes get it wrong with who you are supposed to end up with? And in terms of grief and death, how do you know when it is appropriate to move on or rather, how long do you mourn for? There's so much tangled up here from family dynamics, relationships (romantic and friendships), to grief and trauma. But also finding yourself, and chasing after your dreams.

This book will definitely break your heart a few times, but by the end of it, I promise Colleen Hoover does mend it all, and kind of makes it all right again. It felt incredibly authentic, and even though in a way, there's definitely a HEA, the book emphasizes how relationships can change with certain factors affecting it, but it can definitely grow from it. It reminds us that certain things in life are incredibly big challenges, and ultimately, it's the stuff that is most challenging that is most worth it in the end. If you want a book that will basically make you feel ALL the emotions, this is definitely the read for you!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

About Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including the bestselling women’s fiction novel It Ends with Us and the bestselling psychological thriller Verity. She has won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance three years in a row—for Confess (2015), It Ends with Us (2016), and Without Merit (2017). Confess was adapted into a seven-episode online series. In 2015, Hoover and her family founded the Bookworm Box, a bookstore and monthly subscription service that offers signed novels donated by authors. All profits go to various charities each month to help those in need. Hoover lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. 

Follow Colleen:

Tour Wide Giveaway

The winner will receive 1 copy of Regretting You by Colleen Hoover!

Giveaway Details: 
Canada Only (excl. Quebec—full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
Giveaway begins on December 9th and ends on January 5th, 2020 at 11:59 pm EST
Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email & will have 48 hours 
to claim their prize

PUT RAFFLECOPTER LINK HERE

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour:

Dec. 9 – Erin @ Sleep Less, Read More
Dec. 10 – Allyssa @ Between the Spine
Dec. 11 – Christine @ Padfoot’s Library
Dec. 12 – Amanda @ Stuck in YA Books
Dec. 13 – Guylaine @ Two Dogs & a Book
Dec. 16 – Krystal @ Stellar Book Blog
Dec. 17 – Milana @ A Couple Reads
Dec. 18 – Lisa @ RemarkablyLisa
Dec. 19 – Xandria @ Beautiful Bitch Book Reviews
Dec. 20 – Beth @ Fuelled by Fiction

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour. All opinions are my own.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Blog Tour: Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward


Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Publishing Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance - Amazon Publishing
Pages: 300
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "I’d never forgotten him—a man I’d yet to meet. Griffin Quinn was my childhood pen pal, the British boy who couldn’t have been more different from me. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, we became best friends, sharing our deepest, darkest secrets and forming a connection I never thought could break. Until one day it did. Then, out of the blue, a new letter arrived. A scathing one—one with eight years of pent-up anger. I had no choice but to finally come clean as to why I stopped writing. Griffin forgave me, and somehow we were able to rekindle our childhood connection. Only now we were adults, and that connection had grown to a spark. Our letters quickly went from fun to flirty to downright dirty, revealing our wildest fantasies. So it only made sense that we would take our relationship to the next level and see each other in person. Only Griff didn’t want to meet. He asked that I trust him and said it was for the best. But I wanted more—more Griff, in the flesh—so I took a big chance and went looking for him. People have done crazier things for love. But what I found could change everything" (Montlake Romance).

My overall thoughts and review: Vi and Penelope are some of my favorite writing duos and when I read the premise of this book, I was so excited because their last book with Montlake also had a writing component in it: Hate Notes - and I LOVED it, so I just knew I would love this one as well (you can read my full review here)! I was so intrigued with the idea of pen pals from childhood to adulthood, and the relationship growing and becoming more. As someone who had many pen-pals over the years, there is just something so special about sitting down and writing a letter to someone, and then receiving the letter after.. This part really struck a chord with me because even though my fiance and I live together, we still occasionally write notes and letters to each other ♡♡

I really liked both of them right off the bat. I loved Griffin's POV because he was someone in a position of power and fame but he also showed a really vulnerable side which I loved. He teases a bit, but he also just is kind of a dork and makes jokes a lot. I also found Luca's character to be extremely realistic with all the anxieties she was dealing with. I loved that despite the beautiful relationship, Vi and Penelope handled grief, trauma, and anxiety in a really tasteful way that felt authentic, but also worked to contribute to the story in a larger way. Griff and Luca communicated for many years, but when a tragedy happens, Luca steps away and stops writing him. Years later, he sends her an angry letter one night after a few too many drinks, and it starts up again when she writes back to tell him what really happened about why she stopped writing him. They pick back up again, and I just LOVED their letters so much. They still had the same rapport from years past, since they were writing to one another since they were 7/8 years old, but now as adults a lot has changed. You also get to see snippets of their older letters during their teen years and just seeing how much they relied on one another and how they were really good friends through the letters. They shared their hopes, desires, and fears, and just seeing how the letters were very important to both of them at particular moments in their life tug at my heartstrings.

When they do finally meet in real life, both open up about their careers and circumstances. It seems on paper that there's no way their relationship work. Everything Griffin has to go through as a singer is Luca's living nightmare, but despite that, Griffin works so hard to show that he wants to make it work. He goes above and beyond and I just loved seeing how hard he worked to show her how much he loved her and was patient and understanding with her agoraphobia and anxiety. I loved seeing them fall in love and just who they were when they were with one another. Their relationship was so swoony, and Vi and Penelope delivered on some very sexy moments ;) There are some mentions of a weird furry sex toy, but I mean, everyone has their own kinks, so each to their own!

I also loved Luca's therapist, Doc, who played a big role in the story, helping Luca, but also being a sort of middle person with Luca and Griffin, to make sure Luca was feeling supported and safe at all times. He was quite quirky, but he really was a father figure for Luca when she needed one.

If you remember my review of Hate Notes, you know that I absolutely loved that, but I think this is my favorite Vi and Penelope book yet. I loved the characters so much and I just loved how there was such a great balance of strength and vulnerability in them. The characters also really resonated a lot with me and I think that's why this book means so much to me. I saw a lot of myself in Luca, and I saw a lot of my fiance in Griffin, and in many ways, I felt like I was reading a bit of my life (without the careers of a rock star and a NYT bestselling author of course). But it just reminded me of what Doc says to Luca in the book: "We're a lot like the lovebirds. You don't need to pair up in order to live. But when the lovebirds pair up into a monogamous relationship, they become calmer and more stable" (193), and I think that just perfectly sums up a good relationship. You don't need to be together, but when you are, it just works out and feels right, and it works not out of need, but just because.

I LOOOOVED this book a lot. I'm already dying to reread it and swoon over Griffin and Luca more. If you are looking for a sweet, romantic, and sexy romance that handles themes of grief, mental health, and overcoming your fears, this is definitely the read for you! Please pick it up, you won't regret it!!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

About Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward:
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared on more than one hundred bestseller lists and are currently translated into twenty-six languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children, where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than twenty novels. A former television news anchor, Penelope has sold more than two million books and has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list twenty-one times. She resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.

Together, Vi and Penelope are the authors of Dirty Letters, Hate Notes, and the Rush Series. For more information about them, visit www.vikeeland.com and www.penelopewardauthor.com.

Follow Vi:
Website ­čí¬ http://www.vikeeland.com/
Facebook Readers’ Group ­čí¬ https://www.facebook.com/groups/ViKeelandFanGroup/ 
Goodreads ­čí¬ https://bit.ly/1BqOVww 

Follow Penelope:
Website ­čí¬ http://penelopewardauthor.com/ 
Facebook Readers’ Group ­čí¬ https://www.facebook.com/groups/PenelopesPeeps/ 
Goodreads ­čí¬ https://bit.ly/1WOnzrz

Tour Wide Giveaway
The winner will receive 1 copy of Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward!


Giveaway Details: 
Canada Only (excl. Quebec—full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
Giveaway begins on November 11th and ends on November 28th at 11:59 pm EST
Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email & will have 48 hours to claim their prize


Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour: 

Nov. 11 – Xandria @ Beautiful Bitch Book Reviews
Nov. 12 – Erin @ Sleep Less, Read More
Nov. 13 – Milana @ A Couple Reads
Nov. 14 – Joy @ Joyous Reads
Nov. 15 – Allyssa @ Between the Spine
Nov. 18 – Wendy @ Cupcake and a Latte
Nov. 19 – Lisa @ RemarkablyLisa
Nov. 20 – Jacyln @ Literary Treats
Nov. 21 – Amanda @ Stuck in YA Books
Nov. 22 – Christine @ Padfoot’s Library

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

[Blog Tour] In The Unlikely Event by L.J. Shen - Review

ITUE - BT banner

"Romance masterpiece" - Kylie Scott, New York Times bestselling author

From USA Today and #1 Amazon bestselling author L.J. Shen comes a new, contemporary romance with heart-wrenching twists and laugh-out-loud moments.

In The Unlikely Event is available now!

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Batch Reviews #17

Sidelined by Suzanne Baltsar (✮✮✮✮ - 4/5 stars)
Publishing Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 320

My Review: Baltsar is a new author to me and this was such a lovely pleasant surprise! I wasn't sure what to expect going into this, but right off the bat, I knew I really liked Charlie Gibbs. She is a new coach in a new town, and I just love that she immediately defies all "normal" conventions in the coaching world. She's good at what she does, and she is a no bullshit kind of person. That being said, because she is the new head coach at this school, she also finds herself making some enemies unfortunately, and one particular one was Connor McGuire, who wanted her job to begin with. I loved seeing them just get to know one another better, surprise each other, and fall in love. They both had such strong family ties too which was nice to see emphasized, and I was so happy to see Charlie also gain a little friend group with the girlfriends of Connor's guy friends. This was such a fun, sweet, and funny romance read. I definitely need to go back and read her last book because I want to see how Piper and Blake got together.

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository

Kickin' It (Red Card #2) by Rachel Van Dyken (✮✮✮✮½ - 4.5 stars)
Publishing Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: Skyscape - Amazon Publishing
Pages: 252

My Review: RVD is one of my favorite romance authors, and if you read my review for the first book in this series, I wasn't overly enthused about it. I will admit that I did hold off on reading this one right away because I was worried I wouldn't enjoy the story. However, this was really great. I loved Matt when we were first introduced to him, and this one follows his love story. He is agent extraordinaire, dealing with players like Slade and Jagger. He's good at his job, but he's also a great friend. He has a younger sister who wants to follow in his footsteps, and when she moves in with him, she also brings her friend along: Parker. Parker is a soccer player who is looking for a team, but she needs to rework her image because she is primarily known as the girl who punched her coach on live television. We quickly learn why Parker did that to begin with, and the book tackles sexual assault in the sport industry, and the pressures players may feel; unfortunately from those who are meant to support them. Although they drove each other crazy at first, Matt even begins coaching her as well to help her career, and they start to open up to one another. Matt is incredibly swoony and I just loved how he just wanted to take care of Parker, but he also knew she could stand on her own and her potential. This was a short read but it definitely packed a punch. It had all the things I love in RVD books: good banter, swoony characters, and just really sweet moments. The only thing that disappointed me was that Jagger's "hea/love story" was also thrown into the mix here, and I really wished he had his own book as well. That being said, if you love RVD books, this is definitely one you have to check out. It reminded me of her other series featuring Fraternize and Infraction: fun and accessible sports romances.

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader's copy from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.

Love on Lexington Avenue (Central Park Pact #2) by Lauren Layne (✮✮✮✮½ - 4.5 stars)
Publishing Date: September 17, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 288

My Review: Lauren Layne is also one of my favorite romance authors ever, but if you remember from my last review of the first book in this series, I mentioned wishing that it was sexier. Unfortunately, this one definitely didn't have much sex in it, despite the fact that sex was talked about quite a lot. That being said, I just really enjoy Layne's writing, and I love the characters she creates and just how lovable they are. I think going into this, you just have to readjust expectations of how "sexy" it is, but know that once again, Layne gives us the best characters and chemistry. This story is the second HEA in the Central Park Pact. This time, it follows Claire, who is trying to come to terms with her late husband's death. Her late husband who cheated on her, and has officially made her just not want to have a relationship or marriage ever again. Claire is looking to just get a face lift on her old NY brownstone. She meets her new contractor, Scott, who is a good friend of Oliver's (from the last book). Immediately, they have this kind of disdain for one another because they are so different, but the close proximity definitely means they have to get to know one another. We quickly learn why Scott is never in a place for so long and why he chases these contractor jobs. We also learn that it's more than just getting over her husband and dealing with his death, she also just wants to find herself again. I also want to note that the chapters do include like a date, so while it's nice to see a timeline, I did feel that it all happened really quickly, especially the ending. However, I just really loved how they went from just a contractual business thing, to kind of confidants, to kind of friends, and finally lovers. I loved seeing that progression happen for them. As always, Layne also is really good with friend groups, and I loved seeing Naomi and Oliver again, but also seeing Audrey and Clarke (I can't wait for their story next). While this read wasn't as sexy as I would've liked, I loved Claire and Scott's story a lot. I also love Scott's dog Bobsie who was featured because they moments were adorable, and I have to admit, I got a touch of wanderlust after reading this and missed New York and Paris instantly. If you haven't read Layne yet, what are you waiting for? I promise you won't be disappointed, her writing has an addictive quality to it!

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository


A Lie for A Lie (All In #1) by Helena Hunting (✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars)
Publishing Date: October 15, 2019
Publisher: Montlake - Amazon Publishing
Pages: 288

My Review: I will always read and love anything written by Helena Hunting.. it's just a given. I love how she is able to bring us such lovable characters, funny and sweet moments, and sexy aspects all in one. Full disclosure: I have not finished the PUCKED series, but I know this is like spin-off series of sorts. The lead in this book is the newest captain for the hockey team that Alex Waters played on. It's nice to see some familiar faces from that series right in the beginning of the story. We first meet Rook, who is forced to go to his teammate's kids birthday party at a aquarium. He's kind of been down in the dumps because while in Alaska for a trip, he met someone and fell in love, but due to some circumstances, they were unable to connect with one another after the fact. The book begins with him seeing her again at the aquarium. Hunting then takes us back in time and we see how Lainey and RJ came to get to know one another and fall in love during their time in Kodiak, Alaska. We see how they got together and I just loved how they just opened up around one another. Lainey is dealing with some anxiety from a past event and I just loved how sweet and attentive RJ was with her! Safety cuddles were the cutest. I loved seeing them "fall" for each other once again and adjust to their new life together. You got to see her win over his sister and friends, but see him win over her family. There's a pretty big twist and it was so awesome to see it all come together. I just loved this book. It made my heart so full after so if you are looking for a fun feel-good romance, definitely pick this one up today. I'm already eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in the series!

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader's copy from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, 8 November 2019

[Cover Reveal] In The Unlikely Event by L.J. Shen

ITUE - CR banner

Sometimes you meet people who are out of this world, so you make them a part of yours.

In the Unlikely Event, an all-new must-read contemporary romance from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen, is coming November 19th and we have the gorgeous cover!

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Blog Tour: I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi - Review

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

Publishing Date: October 22, 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 432
Young Adult Sci-Fi

The Premise of the Book: "Seven days. Seven days. The Earth might end in seven days. When news stations start reporting that Earth has been contacted by a planet named Alma, the world
is abuzz with rumors that the alien entity is giving mankind only few days to live before they hit the kill switch on civilization.
For high school truant Jesse Hewitt, though, nothing has ever felt permanent. Not the guys he hooks up with. Not the jobs his underpaid mom works so hard to hold down. Life has dealt him one bad blow after another — so what does it matter if it all ends now? Cate Collins, on the other hand, is desperate to use this time to find the father she’s never met, the man she grew up hearing wild stories about, most of which she didn’t believe. And then there’s Adeem Khan. While coding and computer programming have always come easily to him, forgiveness doesn’t. He can’t seem to forgive his sister for leaving, even though it’s his last chance. With only seven days to face their truths and right their wrongs, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths collide even as their worlds are pulled apart" (HarperCollins).

My overall thoughts and review: When I first read the premise of this book a while back, I was intrigued because I mean, if a higher power, or aliens deemed that humans were treating the planet badly and that they would come and wipe out humanity, I wouldn't say "you're wrong" - I can definitely see it, and this book right off the bat reminds us that maybe how we treat the earth is not so particularly great. The story follows 3 main characters and how they all deal with the news that the world is ending soon. You are first introduced to Jesse who hasn't really known some permanence, and it's always been easiest for him to just not get close to someone, and the book began with him having to come to terms with another hook up ending. He attempts to stay strong, but it's clear that it does hurt him. Financially, Jesse and his mother are struggling, so when news comes of the world ending, he simply says that they are too broke to worry about it anyways. On the other hand, we have Cate, who is struggling with her mom who is a schizophrenic. With the impending news of the world ending, she decides to venture out and look for her father. And lastly, we have Adeem, who is great at computer science and programming, and despite the anger he feels towards his sister, he decides to go look for her. I will say the representation in this book was handled really well (there's a lot here in terms of race, sexuality, class, mental health, etc), and I genuinely was pleased that they were all able to cross paths in some way. I will say, out of all the characters, I definitely cared most about Jesse and I kept reading quickly to get to his chapters. He's a character that I just really empathized with, especially his relationship with his mom. Overall, I enjoyed Rishi's writing. I liked that despite the impending fate our characters faced, there was some lightheartedness thrown in the mix, and of course, a sort of hopefulness, that it could work out in the end, but even if it didn't, we'd all be ok anyways. If I could accurately comp this, it definitely had some Scythe vibes with the aliens being a sort of higher power, and the some aspects that tug at your heart strings were reminiscent of Adam Silvera's books. I look forward to seeing what Rishi tackles next in her writing!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮½ - 3.5/5 stars

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

About the Author
Farah Naz Rishi is a Pakistani-American Muslim writer and voice actor, but in another life, she’s worked stints as a lawyer, a video game journalist, and an editorial assistant. She received her B.A. in English from Bryn Mawr College, her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School, and her love of weaving stories from the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s probably hanging out with video game characters. You can find her at home in Philadelphia, or on Twitter at @far_ah_way.

Disclaimer: An advanced e-reader's copy of the book was provided by Glasstown Entertainment for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own. 

Friday, 11 October 2019

Blog Tour: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo - Review

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Publishing Date: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pages: 480
New Adult / Adult Fantasy / Supernatural / Occult Fiction

The Premise from the Publisher: "Galaxy "Alex" Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale''s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she''s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world''s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What''s the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale''s secret societies. Their eight windowless "tombs" are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street''s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living" (Flatiron).

*Warning: there are instances of rape, sexual assault, abuse, self-harm, suicide, murder, violence, and drug related content.* 

My overall thoughts and review: I'm not as familiar with her writing as a fan would be (I've only read one book by her and it was the Wonder Woman book), and honestly, after I read this, I wonder if perhaps this book wasn't simply for me. This book has made all the splash in the book community because it is Bardugo's departure from YA, and this book lives in New Adult / Adult Fantasy and Sci-Fi. It was described as really dark, but as more reviews came out for it, more alluded to various trigger warnings of dark content. Basically, whatever you can think of that might be a trigger, is probably in this book. Still, that did not deter me since I was insanely curious. More on that later.

The story follows Galaxy/Alex, who gets a sort of "second chance" at life after something traumatic happens to her, and she's sent to Yale University (yes, THE Yale) as a student. While she had to drop out of highschool, this new role for her at Yale includes her pretending to be a freshman student, but by 'night' she is to follow up on any illicit activities that may happen at the university with some secret societies. You are thrown right into it in the beginning of the book when she has to witness a prognostication. You see her balance this student life and also get entangled with Bonesmen, ghosts, and more. It felt like the first 100 pages was a bit slow, even though I understand that it was needed to lay the foundation of the text. I really liked Darlington from the moment we got his chapter with his POV. You get to hear about him from Alex's perspective, but I just knew he was my kind of character. It definitely ramps up after that as we start to learn more and more about this world, and also what really happened with Alex prior to these Yale adventures.

I mentioned above the warnings/triggers associated with the text. While Bardugo's writing is truly captivating and she actually makes the reader feel like they are right there while all of this is unraveling, I had to put the book down a few times and just walk away. I knew it was dark, but it was easy to just say it was dark, rather than experience those particular scenes on the page. I do think being in the right headspace is needed for a book like this, and knowing that yes, you can go into it knowing that it's "dark" but be prepared for a lot more. I believe there will be more in this series to come, so that's exciting because it does end in a way that doesn't feel satisfying. I am more intrigued now to pick up Bardugo's other books, especially Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. I really love her writing and how she's able to build the eerie atmosphere. While I really loved getting to know the characters, and learning more about this world, for me as a reader today, I found this to be too dark for me, hence my rating. I think fans of Bardugo will enjoy seeing the writer demonstrate her flexibility and brevity, and just seeing this new side to her writing. If you feel you can handle the dark content, then I do think this would be the perfect time of year to read this with the month of Halloween.

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮½ - 3.5/5 stars

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository


Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Raincoast Books for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Review: Park Avenue Player by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward



PARK AVENUE PLAYER IS LIVE!
 A Standalone Contemporary Romance
New York Times Bestselling Authors Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin 

Publishing Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 528
YA Fantasy

The Premise from the Publisher: "Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned. As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage. Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all" (HarperCollins)

My overall thoughts and review: Full disclosure before I write my review: I have not read a lot of YA this year. My reading interests definitely shifted more towards contemporary romance and manga, and I found myself not loving all of the YA fantasy I was picking up, so I really did take a break from YA fantasy. I had heard really good things about this book at two book events now and they comped it to Sarah J. Maas in a way where it was mature/sexy, and I'll be honest that kind of sold me alone. The lovely team at Indigo Teen also sent me a copy so I dove in, and I knew from the first two chapters I would be hooked. I found myself trying to pace my reading, to savor it so I didn't finish it so quickly. And when I finished, I wanted to flip right back to the beginning and start all over again.

FRIENDS. I LOVED THIS BOOK. I knew that it would be an interesting dynamic because you follow the lead, Lou, who is a witch on the run, and of course she finds herself in a weird predicament: married to a Chasseur, a witch hunter no less! Mahurin gives us dual perspectives and that honestly made the reading experience so much better for me. If you are going to write about a romance, you need two perspectives!! Lou is on the run from her mother and you don't really know why in the beginning, but it is a heist to steal a ring that may protect her and hide her that starts off the book. From there, a series of events happen that lead her to Reid, our witch-hunter. I loved their dynamic right from the start! They were both from different worlds, but as they had to be around each other often, they softened up around each other, and just got to know one another. I love the enemies to lovers trope so much, and Mahurin did a great job executing it here. Their story was incredibly swoonworthy, and I just loved how sex positive the book was. This may be something to flag for younger readers, since it does mention sex explicitly, but for those romance and YA readers, this is definitely a treat for you all.

In addition to that, the world building was fantastic in the book. It felt like France and all the lore surrounding the history of the Church and the witches really tied the story up nicely. The story was more than Lou and Reid's relationship, and it also emphasized the broken relationship between man and witch. The end of the book hinted at another coven which we'll see in the second book of this duology, so I'm super excited to learn more about this world.

Lastly, you know I'm all for a good group of friends to go alongside the main characters, and I just loved, loved, LOVED the secondary characters Coco and Ansel. They added so much to the story, but they were also such lovable characters on their own. I can't wait to see more of them next book.

All in all, like I said above, I LOVED this book. I'm a little bit sad that I have to wait for the second part of this duology, but I honestly can't wait to dive back into this world. This was a fantastic YA fantasy read, and truly, I haven't loved something like this since SJM, so well done, Mahurin! If you haven't read this yet, what are you waiting for? This is a MUST read. And if you have read it, please come talk to me about it on twitter or email. I want to talk all things Serpent & Dove, and I'm about ready to make t-shirts that say Lou & Reid 5eva.

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Indigo OR Indigo Book Box feat. Serpent & Dove

Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.* #IndigoEmployee 

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

[Excerpt Reveal] Park Avenue Player by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward


Park Avenue Player
Release date: 9/23/2019
A Contemporary Romance Novel
New York Times Bestselling Authors Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

#IndigoYAPreview | September 15, 2019


This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to attend Indigo's YA Preview, hosted by the folks who run Indigo Teen. It's always such a great time to get together with fellow bloggers and talk all things YA. They featured a ton of books for us to learn about and I'm going to share my most anticipated releases for the rest of this year and early next year. If there's anything I didn't touch on, I did tweet a lot a few days ago if you want to go back and check my archives. I will most likely be doing some more posts featuring lists as we gear up for the holiday season featuring a lot of the books that I won't mention today, so be on the lookout for that! Lastly, let me know below in the comments what books you are most looking forward to and why!


Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Review: Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

Publishing Date: September 10, 2019
Publisher: first second
Pages: 320
Young Adult Graphic Novel

The Premise from the Publisher: "The graphic novel Are You Listening? is an intimate and emotionally soaring story about friendship, grief, and healing from Eisner Award winner Tillie Walden. Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou.This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak-and a startling revelation about sexual assault-culminating in an exquisite example of human connection. This magical realistic adventure from the celebrated comics creator of Spinning and On a Sunbeam will stay with readers long after the final gorgeously illustrated page" (first second).

My overall review and thoughts: It's been a while since I've read a graphic novel since I primarily read manga. But when they pitched this book at the #TeensReadFeed Raincoast Preview not too long ago, I was definitely intrigued by it! They described it as a magical realism text, drawing inspiration from Miyazaki. The story follows Bea and Lou, who end up on a road trip together. Bea is running away from home and Lou is trying to take some time to get over the death of her mother. They knew of one another from the neighborhood they grew up in, but not much more than that. As they travel together, they get to know one another and their anxieties, and just really open up to one another. They also pick up a furry friend along the way, D, a cat. They make a pact to get the cat home safely, but they are followed by some strange men. It's when the book definitely blends into that magical realism territory. The ARC copy I got was mostly in black and white with some teaser color pages, so I had a look through the finished copy in-store and it's just stunning. The black and white was lovely, but seeing the final product, it's definitely worth picking up. It follows two people who were running away from something and in the trip together, they just find themselves, but also a new friend in each other which was really nice to see. The book tackles themes of family, friendship, sexual assault, sexuality, and loss. I think fans of Walden's previous books will definitely enjoy this one. It kind of reminded me David Arnold's Mosquitoland!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮½ - 3.5/5 stars

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader's copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

[Release Blitz] Truly Yours by Kennedy Fox - Review

Truly Yours, the anticipated conclusion of Mason & Sophie's story is HERE from Kennedy Fox! 

This is a friends-to-lovers roommate romance filled with drama, suspense, and, of course, plenty of angsty slow burn goodness you've come to expect in a Kennedy Fox book!

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Review: Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

Publishing Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Amazon Publishing - Montlake Romance
Pages: 204
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Once, I would never have imagined myself here. But I’m settled now. In a place I love, in a home I renovated, spending time with new friends I adore, and working a job that fulfills me. I am reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future. Then Garrett Frost moves in next door. He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging force of nature that disrupts the careful order of my life. I recognize the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. I fear I’m too fragile for the storm raging inside him, too delicate to withstand the pain that buffets him. But he’s too determined…and too tempting. And sometimes hope soars above even the iciest desolation" (Montlake Romance).

My overall thoughts and review: So I have to admit something... I haven't read a book by Sylvia Day before this one. I know, shocker! I remember her Crossfire series becoming really popular after the hype of 50 shades died down, but for some reason, I just didn't get around to them. As I primarily read romance and contemporary now, I will definitely make it a purpose to go back and read them. This is Day's return after a few years since her last release in 2016. This is a short novella that follows a doctor who is trying to get settled in a new place, but she ends up falling for her next door neighbor. I will say that right off the bat, I was surprised by how fast things moved, but then again, I had to remind myself that it was a shorter story/novella. Teagan and Garrett's chemistry was off the charts, and I loved seeing them just get to know one another. In addition to that, I liked that Day even gave us fully fleshed out secondary characters such as Roxy and her husband. I know that this takes place in the Crossfire world, and I will read it again once I've tackled that series, just so I can make all the connections needed.  There's a lot wrapped up in here and it feels more than simply a short story that has some steam in it. You learn more about both characters and I just loved delving deeper into their back stories. The twist is quite a twist, as I definitely had to flip back to double check that I got it all. If you are looking for a steamy short read, I would definitely recommend this one! I think this would make a nice stocking stuffer for the romance reader in your life too as the holiday season approaches.

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository
Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Thomas Allen & Sons. for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own. 

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Review: Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Brazen and the Beast (The Bareknuckle Bastards Book 2) by Sarah MacLean 

Publishing Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Avon Books / HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Historical Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "The Lady’s Plan: When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun. The Bastard’s Proposal: When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price. An Unexpected Passion: Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts" (Avon).

My overall thoughts and review: It has been a year since the first Bareknuckle Bastards book came out and you can read my full review for Wicked and the Wallflower here! Sarah MacLean's book was my introduction into historical romance, and I will always read anything she's written. I'm still working through her backlog, but she is an insta-buy author for good reason. This story brings us back to the world of Covent Garden, and this time the story follows Dev's brother, Whit AKA Beast. The story begins with him being tied up in a carriage and meeting Lady Henrietta Sedley who is on her way to a brothel to be "ruined" - she has plans for what she deems "The Year of Hattie" - to move past the courtship and get straight to taking over her family's business. If she is "ruined," marriage isn't on the table any longer, and she's hoping her father can take her seriously to take the reins. There's an instant attraction between the two and they come up with an agreement that would help both. Hattie knows of the person who stole from Whit, and Whit promises to "ruin" her. However, it becomes more than the agreement and you see a relationship forming between the two. Things get further complicated when they become business rivals. I loved that despite the back and forth we got at times with the two, they both were incredibly respectful of one another and you can instantly see all the love there. I loved their love story a lot and seeing them become a team together. Everything was just incredibly romantic and I loved seeing how Whit treated Hattie like a goddess AND warrior.

The book also gives us an inside look into Dev and Whit's family history a bit more and we learn more about their 'evil' half-brother, Ewan, who is the antagonist to the story. He is angry and determined to ruin the Bareknuckle brothers because it is his belief that they took Grace away (their sister) and she died (when in reality, not everything is as it seems). I'm so pleased to learn that the next book is Ewan and Grace's story. I just adore this world that MacLean has put together with such charming characters, vibrant backgrounds, and strong relationships. I mentioned for the previous book that upon finishing I just wanted to hug the book, and I can definitely say the same for this one. *cue me hugging all of Sarah MacLean's books* Whit and Hattie's story is a lovely romance read. Sarah MacLean honestly sets the standard for historical romances for me, and you definitely don't want to miss out on this one!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

[Blog Tour] Handle with Care by Helena Hunting - Review and Q&A

Handle with Care by Helena Hunting

Publishing Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "HE WANTS TO LOSE CONTROL. Between his parents' messed up marriage and his narcissistic younger brother, Lincoln Moorehead has spent the majority of his life avoiding his family. After the death of his father, Lincoln finds himself in the middle of the drama. To top it all off, he's been named CEO of Moorehead Media, much to his brother's chagrin. But Lincoln's bad attitude softens when he meets the no-nonsense, gorgeous woman who has been given the task of transforming him from the gruff, wilderness guy to a suave businessman. SHE'S TRYING TO HOLD IT TOGETHER. Wren Sterling has been working double time to keep the indiscretions at Moorehead Media at bay, so when she's presented with a new contract, with new responsibilities and additional incentives, she agrees. Working with the reclusive oldest son of a ridiculously entitled family is worth the hassle if it means she's that much closer to pursuing her own dreams. What Wren doesn't expect is to find herself attracted to him, or for it to be mutual. And she certainly doesn't expect to fall for Lincoln. But when a shocking new Moorehead scandal comes to light, she's forced to choose between her own family and the broody, cynical CEO" (SMP).

My overall thoughts and review: We have been so lucky with summer with two releases from Helena Hunting from the Shacking Up series! I was so excited when this book was announced earlier in the year because it follows Lincoln Moorehead; I was curious to learn abut the older brother of the annoying Armstrong from Hooking Up. We also learned in Making Up, that Lincoln and Griffin are quite close and are basically more brothers than cousins. Add in the fact that I love a good office romance, I was sold. I really, really, really loved this book. I found myself with a permanent smile on while reading this book. Because Lincoln is returning to NY after being away for so long, he has more to adjust to than simply his new role as the CEO of Moorehead Media. There he meets Wren, who has been named as his handler of sorts. She has helped smooth over Armstrong's indiscretions in the media before, and she has new responsibilities now to help do the same for Lincoln. Except Lincoln is nothing like his younger brother at all. We both learn that they both adjust to these new roles thinking it's only temporary because Lincoln thinks that as soon as he finds a replacement, he's out of NY, and Wren thinks that she'll only have to handle the Moorehead brothers until she gets her reference. I loved their banter and their arguing in the beginning of the book, and just seeing themselves soften around each other. With how much time they spent together, it's a no brainer that they have this undeniable chemistry. Interwoven in the love story is of course some family drama from the Moorehead side. I'm glad we got to see a bit of their upbringing, and see maybe why Armstrong is the way he is (doesn't mean I like him any more, but good to understand the circumstances). As always, I love when other characters in previous books are mentioned as well (Lex and Amalie!!). It's an fun and incredibly sweet read about falling in love and family. In the typical Helena charm, it is also quite sexy as well. I loved this book A LOT. Lex is still my #1 but Lincoln is a very close 2nd now. If you haven't read any of the Shacking Up series books, what are you waiting for? Please go out and pick up Handle with Care TODAY! Once you read the book, you'll be able to appreciate how adorable the cover really is! ;) I'm not fully sure if this is the last book in the series, but I'm happy to say that this series will forever be one of my favorite romance series ever. Every book has been consistently top-notch!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars

Available for purchase at:
US Macmillan, Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

Author Q&A 
Q: What project(s) are you currently working on?
A: I just finished the third book in the All In Series, which the first book will be releasing this fall. Next I’m starting a standalone, but I also have a new series I’ll be starting soon, and I have a book idea or two for secondary characters in the last two books of The Shacking Up series, as well. It’s safe to say that my writing schedule is planned for the next two years!

Q: What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
A: I like hanging out with my daughter and craft. Recently we went camping, which was a fun experience, although I grew up with a family cottage so we would spend a lot of the summer there.

Q: Name three things on your desk right now.
A: Broken Knight by LJ Shen, Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey, Resist by K. Bromberg, Undeniable by Melanie Harlow, The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros (still gives me the chills when I think about it), Verity by Colleen Hoover.

Q: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
A: The banter between Wren and Linc and writing a grumpy, jerk hero who really isn’t a jerk but sure acts like one!

Q: What would you like us (the readers) to take away from your story?
A: That families aren’t perfect and people can make mistakes, yet still grow from them.

About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by St. Martin's Press for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own. 

Monday, 26 August 2019

HCCFrenzy's Summer 2019 #FrenzyPresents | August 25, 2019

It feels like a hot minute since I last posted an event recap of sorts. I was lucky to be invited to HCCFrenzy's yearly #FrenzyPresents where they gush about all the upcoming releases. It's always a fun time because they highlight books they are most excited for, we are treated to delicious snacks, and I get to see all my blogger friends in one place. It was so big this year that there had to be two sittings! :O


We also got to hear from and meet Jasmin Kaur, author of When You Ask Me Where I'm Going. She read us some passages from her upcoming book (can I just say, I love the way she reads? I found that she really highlighted the silent moments in poetry and the way her voice carries so much emotion. I had chills while she was reading some stuff). Her book is a collection of poetry, free verse, short stories, and some illustrations. The arc copy we received looks beautiful and I can't wait to see the finished copy this October! I can just tell that so many of my friends who read poetry will absolutely adore this book.


All the decor as per usual was stunning. The folks of HCCfrenzy exude the idea of #shelfgoals. They even had a cute bingo activity that some bloggers won some books for. I'm going to highlight the books I'm most excited for and the release info: 



Butterfly Yellow by Thanhh├á Lai (Sept 3/19) - story of displacement and follows a young refugee from Vietnam who moves to Texas. It is a story of family and finding one self. As a Vietnamese-Canadian, I am extremely intrigued by this book and I'm so glad that I received an ARC in the swag bag. Be sure to stay tuned for a review of this! I plan to read it very soon. 

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite (Sept 3/19) - the HCC staff showed a cute intro video featuring Maika and Maritza and they just seem so down-to-earth and I can't wait to pick up this book. They hope that the message will be universal because it is a story of mothers and daughters and it is an inside look into Haitian culture! 

Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan (Sept 10/19) - this book already has movie news which is so awesome to hear! I've been hearing a lot of buzz about this online, and to learn that it is being comped to Juno and has a road trip element of sorts? I'm sold!! 

Break in Case of Emergency by Brian Francis (Sept 10/19) - this book follows a 15 year old who has to live with her grandparents because of the death of her mother by suicide. The HCC staff mentioned that this book was a balancing act of dark and light because years later, the protagonist's estranged father shows up and mentions that he is gay. I can't wait to see how this story all comes together. Every staff member mentioned that they absolutely loved this. 

Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance by Jennieke Cohen (Dec 3/19) - as an avid romance reader, this is definitely my most anticipated read of the list. Historical romance with some mystery, Jane Austen elements, and what the HCC staff said was basically Victorian tinder. Please sign me up! 

When You Ask Me Where I'm Going by Jasmin Kaur (Oct 1/19) - as mentioned earlier, this beautiful collection is a mix of prose, short stories, and illustrations. Kaur has divided the book into six sections and she touches on various topics such as feminism, sexuality, mental health, cultural dynamics, and more. Having had the chance to hear her read 3 passages, I can just tell this one will be spectacular! 

What books are you most excited to read this Fall? Let me know in the comments! As always, many thanks to the lovely hardworking team at HCC for a lovely Sunday morning!