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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - The Bride Test (The Kissing Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: The Bride Test
(The Kissing Quotient #2)
Author: Helen Hoang
Publication Date: May 14th, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.


Buy LinkAmazon

4.5 “You love her” Stars

I think I liked this a little less than The Kissing Quotient, but I’m not sure why. It was still adorable, diverse, sexy and beautifully written—pretty much everything I need in a romance. It was also super easy to get into, meaning I finished it fast. Khai and Esme were both great leading characters. There was plenty of chemistry between them, and I honestly thought they were perfect for each other. 

Esme’s attempts to seduce Khai, his confusion about his feelings for her, their awkward and adorable first time together, the conversation between Khai, his brother and cousin following that first time, and tons of other scenes made this a memorable read. There were moments I laughed out loud, smiled like a fool and swooned.

Still…there was just something that kept me a little (just a little bit) disconnected and I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe, just maybe it was Esme’s relationship with her daughter and how, though it’s implied that she’s trying to marry Khai to provide a better life to her little girl, I never really felt like that was what was driving her. The daughter was barely present at all in the book, which I also understand because this was about the romance and not her family. Yet, I get the feeling that either the story didn’t need the daughter or it could’ve handled that relationship better. Considering the author’s note at the end, I think the second option would’ve been the best choice.

Despite that, which is really not a big problem considering all the other great elements, I truly believe romance fans will not regret picking up this book. The Bride Test is another example of how a great author can write sexy and fun stories with respectful representation.



*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

*Grabby Hands* Blog Tour & Review - The Good Girl's Guide to Being Bad by Cookie O'Gorman

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: The Good Girl's Guide to Being Bad 
Author: Cookie O'Gorman
Publication date: April 25th, 2019
Category/Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Seventeen-year-old Sadie is tired of being a good girl.



Her Career Aptitude Test results say she's ideally suited for a career in the clergy (aka a nun), and on top of that, she receives yet another rejection. An aspiring dancer/choreographer, Sadie dreams of being featured on Dancer's Edge—but they say she's too sweet, needs more life experience. Her BFF, Kyle, and her oldest friend, 79-year-old Betty, agree: Sadie is in desperate need of a life makeover.

But she'll need a coach.

Sadie doesn't lie, cheat or steal--heck she doesn't even curse (part of the reason she hasn't checked off anything on her "Carpe Diem List"). Sadie doesn't know the first thing about being bad. But Kyle's twin brother, Colton, does. And he's willing to teach Sadie on one condition: she has to do everything he says for the next month.

A dazzling first kiss, two smokin' hot brothers and a bet that changes everything. In this enemies-to-more YA romance, Sadie learns:

Breaking the rules can be fun—especially when it leads to happily-ever-after.



Buy LinksAmazon 
4.5 “Carpe freaking Diem” Stars

ARC provided by the author

Thank you!!!


Cookie O’Gorman’s fourth YA romance was the absolute perfect choice for my long bus drive. It was everything I needed and more swoony than I expected. It was damn hot, too.


This author first made my go-to list when she released Adorkable back in 2016. If you haven’t read that book yet, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life, but you should definitely fix this problem and grab your copy.


Now, four books later (I still need to read her third), I got all the same feels reading The Good Girl's Guide to Being Bad as I did  when I first read her debut. I’m one happy and highly satisfied reader, because this story made me laugh, swoon and fan myself countless times. This means Cookie O’Gorman’s magic is still very much alive!

While she gave me best friends falling in love in Adorkable, now we get enemies to haters with identical twins involved and those elements alone were enough to make me want to devour this book. That’s exactly what I did. The moment I was comfortable in my seat, I started reading and only stopped when I got my HEA.


The Good Girl's Guide to Being Bad is full of famous YA romance tropes: bucket lists that are actually called Carpe Diem lists (or Naught List); nemesis falling in love; hot identical twins; good girls wanting to be a little bad and enlisting a bad boy’s help. But that’s not a problem at all, because in the hands of talented writers, a story full of tropes can still be unputdownable. This one was.

I’m so in love with both Sadie and Colton. Their chemistry was exactly what I look for in romance books; their banter made me laugh and smile so hard; and the way they slowly fell in love filled my slow-burned heart.

Sadie was a likable goody two-shoes, because despite being almost too nice (so much so that she gets a little annoyed with it and decides to add a little more edge and excitement to her life), she was funny, loyal and lovable. It was such a delight to read about a teenage girl who wasn’t embarrassed to have a healthy relationship with her mother, based on honesty, freedom and trust. There’s this scene where she calls her mother to tell her about something “bad” she did, and it made me laugh so hard, but also made me fall in love with her all the way.

I was also 100% into how her best friends where two ladies who were old enough to be her grandmother. Their encounters were always funny, full of love and wisdom that you only get when talking with people who have lived full lives.

For his turn, Colton was the bad boy with a heart of gold. The way he stood up for his twin brother was proof enough that he was one of the nice ways, despite the bad boy image he tried to keep. He had the makings of a great love interest from the start and he didn’t disappoint me.

I feel like I'm already talking too much and I don't want to spoil anything because there's nothing like reading a great book for the first time, right? But be warned that the slow burn and the intensity of Colton and Sadie's attraction might set things on fire (like your reading device), so proceed with caution.

Joking aside, I highly recommend The Good Girl's Guide to Being Bad (and the author's other books) to everyone who loves YA romance. If you're already a fan of Cookie O'Gorman, then keep an eye out for your favorites because there's a scene in this book that will make you want to go back and reread her previous stories immediately.


Cookie O’Gorman writes stories filled with humor and heart for the nerd in all of us. Fiery
first kisses, snappy dialogue, smart girls, swoonworthy boys, and unbreakable friendships are featured in each of her books.

Cookie is a hopeless romantic, a Harry Potter aficionado, and a supporter of all things dork.
Chocolate, Chinese food, and Asian dramas are her kryptonite. Above all, she believes that real life has enough sorrow and despair—which is why she always tries to give her characters a happy ending. She is the author of Adorkable, Ninja Girl, The Unbelievable, Inconceivable,

Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder and The Good Girl's Guide to Being Bad.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cookieogorman/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cookieowrites

Author website: http://cookieogorman.com/

a Rafflecopter giveaway



*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: Descendant of the Crane
Author: Joan He
Age Category/Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: April 9th, 2019
Publisher: Albert Whitman Company

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?
 



Buy LinkAmazon



4 “Politics & Courtroom in Fantasy” Stars

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you, Albert Whitman Company!!!

For avid YA Fantasy readers, it’s rare to come across a book that feels different from everything else out there. Publishers more often than not prefer to invest their money in formulas that have done well in the past—sometimes I hate it, sometimes I understand, because I’ve been guilty multiple times of searching for similar books after I’m done reading something that I liked a lot. Who hasn’t done that?

But isn’t it exciting when you also get to read something amazing that feels unique? Fresh? This is the feeling I got when I finished Descendant of the Crane.

If this intro isn’t enough to convince you to buy this book, then the cover should do it. Have you seen that beauty???

Though this book has a main character that is also a royal, she isn’t your average white princess who also happens to be a special snowflake. Sure there’s something unique about her, but it isn’t the focus of the story in any way or not even the driving force behind her actions. It’s something I’m betting will be explored more in the sequel (and no, this didn't exactly feel like a standalone to me) but it doesn’t make a huge difference in this debut. Hesina, the protagonist, doesn’t rely on magical solutions to fix the problems that arise, most of which she created herself. She makes tough calls—and sometimes doesn’t even make them, which yeah infuriated me a little, but made her more flawed and human.

Hesina isn’t perfect, and neither is the book, which is why I’m not rating it five stars, but watching Hesina (and the book) grow was a fulfilling experience. I’ll be honest here and say I almost stopped reading at some point in the middle, because one of the twists was pretty obvious to me and it irked me that Hesina couldn’t see it. Having said that, I’m extremely happy I kept going because while I was right about the twist, I was SO WRONG about the motivation. It feels like Joan He wrote that final chapter just to tell me: you thought you knew what was going on, huh? Well, I surprised you, didn’t I?

She sure did.

She also surprised me with a few other twists, with a protagonist that made me feel, with a story filled of intrigue and politics, and a debut that deserves a lot more buzz that it’s getting. The narrative is quite smart, the world is inspired by Chinese culture, the writing is good, most of the characters are twisted in a good way (though some of them could use a little more work), there’s a hint of romance and the love interest is someone who interested me from the very beginning. Yes, the pacing is a little slow, but the fact that there’s a murder mystery helps keep readers engage. By the way, I LOVED seeing courtroom scenes in a YA Fantasy. More, please.

Because of all the above, I’m rooting for Descendant of the Crane. I hope this book gets the recognition it deserves. I highly recommend it to YA Fantasy readers looking for a fresh read from a new and promising writer.

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Release & Review - You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: You'd Be Mine
Author: Erin Hahn
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Category/Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Wednesday Books

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

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

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


Buy LinkAmazon
3.5 “Country love” Stars

ARC via NetGalley

Thank you, Wednesday Books

Trigger warning: drugs, suicide, alcohol abuse

You’d be Mine isn’t only a story for country music lovers, but for people that enjoy their YA romances with a little bit of drama and a lot of music.

Told from the POV of two teen country stars (even though Annie is just starting, it’s clear she’s always been one) and how they deal with life on tour while grieving their loved ones. Annie and Clay connect through their love for music (the author couldn’t be more right to say they speak the same language—music) and their pain for the people they’ve lost.

While Annie deals with the loss of her parents in a much healthier way, teen country superstar Clay drowns his pain in alcohol, women and even drugs. And though he’s clearly in a messed up phase of his life, I still ended up liking Clay’s chapters more than Annie’s. It was also true what Annie said about him—Clay just had that something extra, that magical quality that attracted my attention.

Not to say that Annie wasn’t a good character. She was a bit too good and a little bland at times, but she ended up growing on me toward the end. It also helped that I loved her relationship with her cousin, her male best friends and her grandparents. I appreciated the fact that was no drama  between Annie and her cousin and no girl shaming in this novel!

The romance was cute, but I wished it had been bigger somehow. Clay and Annie’s individual paths and pain ended up taking more space then the romance, and while that’s not necessarily a problem, I felt like the book had been marketed in a way that made me believe the romance would be the main plotline and it didn’t exactly feel that way while reading.

Overall, I was happy with how the major and important themes were handled and with how I got a glimpse as the country music world. And while it took me a while to get into this book, once things got flowing, You’d Be Mine turned out to be a really fun read.

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Friday, March 29, 2019

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - Nothing but Trouble (Malibu University #1) by P. Dangelico


Title: Nothing But Trouble
(Malibu University #1)
Author: P. Dangelico
Age Category/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: March 26th, 2019

Nothin but Trouble_Final-high copy.jpg
Reagan Reynolds...
Water polo god.
Owner of a face that belongs under Wikipedia’s definition of drop dead gorgeous.
Too charming for his own good.
But most importantly––the worst driver on the planet.

No, really, I’m pretty sure his blind nana taught him how to drive.

I had no idea who he was until he almost ran me over. And frankly, I kind of wish I still didn’t because then I wouldn’t have a sprained ankle to show for it. And my leg wouldn’t resemble a boa constrictor that’s swallowed a feral pig.

Yeah, it’s that bad.

I’ve spent years saving every penny I’ve ever earned to be able to transfer to Malibu University. And now my entire future––including my scholarship––is in jeopardy.

So I either accept the help he insists on giving me, or lose everything I’ve sacrificed for.

In the meantime, I’m going to ignore the fact that we’re becoming friends.

And I’m definitely going to pretend he’s not turning into the object of my…umm, dirty fantasies.

That’s not happening.

Not even a little.

Because the minute I clapped eyes on him I knew he was nothing but trouble.

ANFB.jpg
Download your copy today!

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2H2Fqgx

Alice
A strong gust of hot air invades the car and Reagan’s hair gets ruffled. It’s been like this the last few weeks. Crazy hot winds picking up now and then. Mine is literally standing on end. I’m forced to hold it down with both hands.
“The Santa Anas,” he says as if reading my mind. I look over and find him smiling at me. “The hot wind.” He swirls his index finger.
I let go of my hair, close my eyes, and let it have its way with me. It stands instantly upright, like I stuck my finger in a socket. I’m sure I look like an idiot but it makes me laugh, a burst of pure joy emanating from my chest that can’t be contained any more than the wind can.
“Nice hair,” he mocks with a teasing smile.
“Thanks, Flipper.”
“I thought we established that it’s not a dolphin.”
“You’re not going to like me saying this, but you’re more dolphin than shark,” I happily point out. He’s always perky and upbeat, likes to socialize, loves all the attention. He’s a dolphin––whether he likes it or not.
He levels narrowed green vengeance on me, offset by a sly smile. “I’m the top of the food chain, babe. I’m all shark.”
“That’s adorable. Especially coming from someone that wears a swim cap like my nana used to wear. Except yours has those darling cinnamon buns over the ears. Like Princess Leia.”
He fights his amusement. “Those cinnamon buns are meant to protect my ears from all the rough, manly activity. And I’m tellin’ on you. I’m tellin’ all the guys you said that.”
The Jeep comes to an abrupt stop. Only then do I realize we’re parked in front of the apartment building where my study group is being held. Scanning the parking lot, I see people I recognize from class pouring out of a car.
My attention returns to Reagan and I find him watching me. His smile melts. His expression grows serious like he rarely ever is. I rake my hair down and get my fingers snagged on a few knots. Unfortunately I’m not the comb-carrying type.
Mental note: purchase comb. Crazy winds are afoot.
“Thank you for driving me.” I look for some sign of what’s going on in his mind and finding the door shut.
“What time should I pick you up?” He reaches out and I lean away, staring at his hand. “Chill, Bailey. You have a piece sticking up.”
“Oh…okay.” He’s trying to be helpful and I treat him like he’s a festering case of the bubonic plague. How embarrassing.
I lean in and he sets about gently brushing down each and every one of my stray hairs, so gently I can barely feel him picking apart the knots. I can feel his breath on my skin. Fresh from a shower, I can smell his shampoo. My scalp tingles and goose bumps break out on my forearms. Lord give me strength.
Release Blitz Teaser.jpg

4 “Water polo is my new favorite Sport” Stars

ARC provided by the author.

Thank you!

I first heard of P. Dangelico when Wrecking Ball came out a couple of years ago, and I was instantly hooked and ready for more of her slow-burn romances. Five books later, I can say I’ll probably read anything she writes and love it.

As a reader who misses New Adult romances, Dangelico’s new Malibu University Series is the perfect fit for me. The first book, Nothing But Trouble, had everything I look for in a good NA romance: likable characters, amazing chemistry, drama, friendship, and slow burn romance.

Alice was a captivating heroine—no surprise there—and I immediately felt a connection to her. And like Alice said, Reagan was a hero with a heart of gold (even though he misbehaved and deserved a good shaking toward the end of the story). Their relationship had a shaky start, but the friendship that soon followed was pretty amazing. I love her Dangelico takes her characters from strangers to frenemies to friends to lovers. This is combination is one of all times favorite tropes, and it worked so well in this story. The slow burn, the longing, the will-they-won’t-they does it for me every single time.

Other positives were the friendship between Alice and her roommates (#girlpower), the little hints of drama in the lives of Reagan’s teammates (can’t wait to read their stories), the unexplored sport portrayed in this story (don’t regret the time spent Googling water sport players) and the heart-breaking relationship between Reagan and his brother.

As you can see, there was a lot to love about this book.


I will say, though, that I wished the ending had been a little different. I wasn’t a fan of how Reagan reacted and what he did, though I can see why he thought he was doing the right thing at the time, but I still wish Alice had made him grovel. Girl, you need to let him feel shitty a little, then you can take him back.


In the end, I was still extremely happy that I had the chance to read this book before most people, and I can barely wait for what one of my favorite authors will write next.

P. Dangelico loves romance in all forms, cuddly creatures (four legged and two), really bloody sexy pulp, the NY Jets (although she’s reconsidering after this season), and to while away the day at the barn (apparently she does her best thinking shoveling horse crap). What she’s not enamored with is referring to herself in the third person and social media so don’t expect her to get on Twitter anytime soon. Oh, and although she was born in Italy, she’s been Jersey Strong since she turned six.


*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.