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

 A Standalone Contemporary Romance
New York Times Bestselling Authors Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland