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Blog Tour, Excerpt, Giveaway, and Review: Friend (with Benefits) Zone

Friend (With Benefits) Zone
by Laura Brown
on Tour June 26 – July 13, 2017

 

Friend (With Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown

Book Details

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Published by: Avon Impulse

Publication Date: June 27th 2017

Number of Pages: 384

ISBN-13: 9780062495594 (ASIN: B01EFM8NC0)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Synopsis:

I’m ridiculously attracted to my best friend.

Today is a bad day. The worst actually. After dealing with the constant manhandling that comes with being a cocktail waitress at a dive bar and surviving a date from hell, I see an eviction notice slapped on the door of my sketchy basement apartment. Great.

When my best friend Devon shows up at my door and uses his stubborn charm (emphasis on stubborn) to get me to move in with him, I give in. We’ve had about a million sleepovers since we met in the kindergarten Deaf program, but this time it’s different because I can’t stop thinking about his hard body covering mine, every single night.

I know Devon would do anything for me, but I’m afraid what I want to happen will ruin our friendship forever. And the more time we spend together in close quarters, the harder it’ll be to resist the spark of attraction I’ve always felt. But maybe it’s possible to have the best of both worlds: keep the one relationship I can’t live without and indulge in an attraction I can’t deny.

I guess the only thing we can do is try…

Read an excerpt:

I was still staring at my notebook when a light flashed by my tiny window. Outside someone stood with a flashlight, shining it into my apartment. I didn’t need to adjust to the light to know who that someone was with the one, two, three blinking pattern.

It took five steps to stomp over to the door. Dev came in once I wedged it open. He pushed the door closed.

“You can’t have your clothes back,” I signed, even as I was grateful to see him. When Dev was around, even this place sorta felt like a home.

“I don’t want my clothes back. Not now, at least. I wanted to make sure you were OK.”

I held out my hands, showing that I was fine. Even if I did scan my coffee table and breathe in relief that the eviction letter was face down in a crumpled mess.

He studied me, searching for all my little tics that spelled I was in trouble, tics only he knew. I blanked my face; otherwise he would latch onto there being a problem. A big one. Dev shoved a hand through his hair, those wavy locks rioting into one massive sexy-as-hell bedhead. I missed the days when he was a spindly little thing, before he grew into this hunk I could never unfriendzone. He meant too much to rock the boat, and I didn’t dare risk losing him. He scratched at a day’s worth of scruff, the black stubble contrasting with his pale skin. Then he kicked off his shoes, tossed his coat on the back of a chair, and plopped down on my bed in a way that had to have a spring or two digging into his back.

He didn’t budge.

I wanted to laugh. Forget me time—neither one of us had given the other the right to be alone since we first met. Still, I couldn’t let go of our usual bickering match. “Go home.”

He folded his hands behind his head, not moving. I crossed my arms. A few seconds later he sat up, grabbed my laptop off the floor, and flipped it open. “We’ll watch a movie.”

“My laptop can’t handle Netflix. You know that.”

He closed the laptop. “Right. Forgot.” He unlocked his phone and placed it on the bed.

“Tiny viewing tonight?”

“You refused to come to my place.” Underlining meaning: we could have watched on a large flat-screen TV.

Since there was no budging him now that he had settled in, I climbed onto the bed with him. He picked up the phone so we could watch, and I settled my head on his chest.

I didn’t pay much attention to the action flick he put on. Most days I loved the intensity of those movies. Tonight, those explosions felt too close for comfort. Instead I made a mental list of my options. Had to before Dev found out. He’d want me to stay with him. And being cuddled up with him, I had to admit, had potential. More so when I placed my hand on his firm stomach and took in a deep breath of the ocean scent of his soap. Problem was, I needed to be on my own two feet. The last person to take care of me—my mother—had failed. I couldn’t trust anyone else.

Not even Dev.

***

Excerpt from Friend (With Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown. Copyright © 2017 by Laura Brown. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Laura BrownLaura Brown lives in Massachusetts with her quirky abnormal family. Her husband’s put up with her since high school, her young son keeps her on her toes, and her three cats think they deserve more scratches. Hearing loss is a big part of who she is, from her own Hard of Hearing ears, to the characters she creates.

Visit Laura on her Website, Twitter, Facebook, & Goodreads pages!

 

Visit these Tour Hosts for More on Friend (With Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown:


Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Laura Brown and Harper Collins. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Signs of Attraction by Laura Brown. The giveaway begins on June 24 and runs through July 14 2017.

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bookreview

4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: believable, realistic, awesome characters; SO STEAMY I CAN’T EVEN!; mature subjects handled with sensitivity and poise; I am much more open-eyed on hearing impairments/deaf culture after this read; just enough drama and angst to keep my penguin heart cold

Huge thanks to Laura Brown, Avon Impulse, Partners in Crime Book Tours, and Edelweiss for sending me a free egalley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

So once again, I find myself on the other side of a book I never even took the time to read a blurb for–and feeling SO very glad that I went into this read blind. I was honestly surprised with what I discovered between these covers–and what a steamy, sexy cover it is. I mean, just LOOK at him, with his brooding face and black leather jacket and… GAAAAAH. Someone, quick, find me my partner in crime and bestest panda buddy Annelise–those abs are just BEGGING her to lick them!

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This romance was steamy and heart-wrenching in turn. I have always been a fan of “friends” to “lovers,” and this story BEAUTIFULLY encapsulates that journey in a dramatic, angsty, fear-for-the-outcome way that kept me enthralled and entertained. The love between Jas and Dev was believable and endearing, and I loved learning about them from not only THEIR POV…but from the other’s as well. The fact that these characters are also diverse and well-rounded only made me fall even more in love with them. Honestly, I’m going to be picking up more of Laura Brown in the very near future–I had such a great time rooting for (and shouting at) this couple. Their dynamics and antics are just… AGGGGGGH, I just want to hug them both!

 

This was a super fun, light-hearted (though still painful at times!), and diverse read–and I adored every minute of it! The characters are well-rounded, the romance is believable, and the angst only helped to cement me more fully into their journey. I definitely recommend this to lovers of contemporary romance, complex growth stories, and the flight from “friends” to “lovers.” Sparks are flying, Penguins; take a seat and watch the show!

 

 

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Blog Tour, Teasers, Giveaway, and Review: Freak

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This is my stop during the book blitz for Freak by Erin Lee. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 27 June till 3 July. See the tour schedule here.

FreakFreak
by Erin Lee
Genre: LBGT/ Contemporary
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 29 June, 2017

Blurb:
Regret Comes in Every Color of the Rainbow

Based on Erin Lee’s novella, Her Name Was Sam, Freak is the story of Kelly and Morgan, the mother and sister of Sam Harris, in the aftermath of her suicide. Bullied for being brave enough to show her true colors to the world, Sam has been gone exactly one year and Kelly and Morgan are left to tackle the grief that comes with regret in her absence.

But Sam’s story is far from over…

Through the love of Willow, a teenager intent on standing up for her “Freak” best friend at all costs, Ryan is able to finally come out to family and friends. His transformation from ashamed to proud with Willow’s help gives new meaning to Sam’s story and how things could have been.

Because love comes in all shades too.

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You can find Freak on Goodreads

You can buy Freak here on Amazon

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Erin LeeAbout the Author:
Erin Lee is a freelance writer and therapist chasing a crazy dream one reality at a time. She is the author of Crazy Like Me, a novel published in 2015 by Savant Books and Publications, LLC, Wave to Papa, 2015, by Limitless Publishing, LLC and Nine Lives (2016). She’s also author of Alters, Host, and Merge of the “Lola, Party of Eight Series,” When I’m Dead, Take Me As I Am, Greener, Something Blue, Once Upon a Vow and 99 Bottles. She also penned Her Name Was Sam, an LGBTQ awareness novella. She is author of Losing Faith, and co-author of The Morning After with Black Rose Writing. These days, she spends her free time working on the sequels to this novel, Jimmie’s Ice Cream and Thing Fifteen.

Lee is a co-founder of the Escape From Reality Series. She, along with authors Sara Schoen and Taylor Henderson, are working with twenty other authors to bring the hopes, dreams, fears and terrors of a tiny fictional town alive. The town and its setting is exactly the type of place a man like Jimmie might escape to as the bodies thawed.

Lee holds a master’s degree in psychology and works with at-risk families and as a court appointed special advocate. She cannot write horror with the lights off. However, these days, she’s getting braver and dimming them. She’ll get there . . .

You can find and contact Erin Lee here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Freak. One winner will win a signed paperback of Freak by Erin Lee. US only.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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bookreview

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: loveloveLOVE the juxtaposition of colors; really, this whole novel is a juxtaposition; the experimentation with the paranormal/death was heart-breaking and well-done; complex, well-written characters; love to love the love; this read was not what I was expecting going in

Huge thanks to Erin Lee and Lola’s Blog Tours for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for a voluntary honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

Slight trigger warning for sensitive readers: the first half of this book is, at times, a bit difficult to read. Mature subjects such as suicide, grief, and bullying are woven into this story, so please keep this in mind if you’re bothered by or uncomfortable with reading such things. While the subjects are handled with sensitivity and tact, these characters do struggle with and are surrounded by them daily–so please, keep yourselves safe while reading! That being said, these characters are gorgeously written. I really loved how Erin Lee juxtaposed this entire novel–in the first part, looking at a family dealing with grief after the suicide of a loved one. In the second, a family banding together to try and heal a dear friend. This method of compare and contrast was gorgeously handled–and so thought-provoking to read!

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The use of colors throughout was also beautifully done, though I feel it might have been even more intriguing if the colors that head each chapter were the ONLY colors mentioned in that passage. Of course, this is mostly wishful thinking–I know how difficult it is, as a writer, to try and limit oneself like that, and can’t imagine trying to pull it off. Still, I found it interesting that, in the first section of this read (for Sam) the colors are described normally–the names are common, like orange, red, yellow. In the second section (for Willow) the colors have vibrant, alternative names–things like citrus and plum. Each section, however, shares two very distinct colors–black and white. This is sort of a yin-yang way to wrap each section up–and tie the two halves of the novel together.

 

This novel was a gorgeous, though challenging, read–and I thoroughly enjoyed the way Erin Lee wove this story together. While it tugged at heartstrings and, at times, hurt to read… I came out of this with a different viewpoint. The juxtaposition was a really effective, beautiful way to pair and piece these characters together. I definitely recommend to lovers of beautifully complex personalities, the realities of emotional turmoil, and reads that pack a moral punch. Take a paintbrush to the world, Penguins; this rainbow’s bound to stick with you.


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Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: It Could Happen

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It Could HappenIt Could Happen
by Mia Kerick
200 Pages
New Adult / Romance / LGBTQ+
Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: June 5th, 2017
Get a copy here!

Three misfits, mismatched in every way—Henry Perkins, Brody Decker, and Danny Denisco—have been friends throughout high school. Now in their senior year, the boys realize their relationship is changing, that they’re falling in love. But they face opposition at every turn—from outside and from within themselves. Moving to the next level will take all the courage, understanding, and commitment they can muster. But it could happen.

Henry is a star athlete and the son of religious parents who have little concern for the future he wants. Brody is a quirky dreamer and adrenaline junkie, and Danny is an emo artist and the target of bullies. Despite their differences they’ve always had each other’s backs, and with each of them facing a new and unique set of challenges, that support is more important than ever. Is it worth risking the friendship they all depend on for the physical and romantic relationship they all desire?

In this unconventional new adult romance, three gay teens brave societal backlash—as well as the chance that they might lose their treasured friendship—to embark on a committed polyamorous relationship.

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About the Author:

mia kerickMia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com.

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Giveaway!

$25 Gift Card

Click right here to go to the Rafflecopter!


bookreview

 

3Penguins
Quick Reasons: cutesy contemporary; loveloveLOVE the love happening; not much depth overall; endearing, though not real complex, characters; believable romance, though the butterflies didn’t take wing for this read

Huge thanks to Mia Kerick, Dreamspinner Press, and YA Bound Book Tours for sending me a free egalley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

This was a super cute, contemporary LGBTQ+ read. The characters were endearing and entertaining, and face some realistic and difficult struggles in the course of their journey. I really adored watching their relationship blossom from friends into something closer; the connection between them was believable and so super easy to root for. I particularly loved watching them face and overcome the odds together–there was a lot of strength written into this relationship, and I really admire that Mia Kerick wrote them first and foremost as friends, as that helped make their connection even more realistic for me as a reader.

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However, while there are some nail-biting moments, overall I didn’t feel as if there was much depth to this journey. The characters don’t really grow much apart from their discovering the inner turmoils of their feelings for one another, and nobody outside their circle really does much in the way of growing or accepting. Which, on one hand, is probably realistic…but on the other hand, made me, as a reader, just a little bit angry. I suppose I went into this book looking for more than I got in the end, which disappointed me. So while I’m super happy with the love that happened, and the relationship growth between the boys… I wasn’t entirely convinced with the rest of the characters, or the rest of this read. Unfortunately, it just fell a bit flat for me personally.

 

So, to recap: I LOVE the relationship between the boys–it’s super realistic and endearing. The story and the rest of the characters, unfortunately, fall a bit flat for me–possibly because I went into this read looking for something deeper than what I received. I’d recommend this to lovers of diverse romances, contemporary fiction, and journeys with a few slight bumps along the way. Keep your eyes open, penguins; a love like this? It could happen.

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Girl on the Verge

 

Girl on the Verge
by Pintip Dunn
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

 

Author Bio:

Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her debut novel, FORGET TOMORROW, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the novella BEFORE TOMORROW.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at http://www.pintipdunn.com

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: CREEPTASTIC CREEPO for the win!; I actually REALLY admire the way Pintip Dunn handled this book; there’s some awesome stuff happening with plot and characters; fast-paced, chilling read; I couldn’t put this down once I picked it up; this read is bound to stick with me

Huge thanks to Pintip Dunn, Kensington Publishing, and Xpresso Book Tours for sending me a free egalley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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I have, in recent weeks, read a TON of books with creeptastic creepo characters…and I’m LOVING it. I’m having a huge blast stepping just a little outside my “normal” reads and, instead, straight into some uncomfortably wonderful journeys. There’s something about mixing it up that, I guess, has been calling my name LOUDLY lately–and books like this one, from Pintip Dunn, are helping to answer the call.

AND THIS BOOK, PENGUINS! I can’t even begin to explain how wild and unexpected this journey was, so I’ll instead break it down into some of the finer points. First things first–Pintip Dunn did something super interesting (and, now I’ve put the pieces together, TOTALLY AWESOME) with the POVs in this title. See….one perspective is written in first person, while the other is written from third. For the first few chapters, I kept asking myself WHY it was like this. It wasn’t until the very end, the BIG reveal (which I, unfortunately, sort of caught onto at the 65% mark in one of my infamous–and rather annoying–epiphany moments) that I realized the actual reason behind this. Of course, I can’t tell YOU what it is, because that would be spoilery and awful of me–but trust me, it is AWESOME, and I am tipping my hat to Pintip Dunn for having the foresight and forethought to do this from the get go. I just…. gaaaaaah! If you’ve read this book and you’re not sure what I’m talking about, feel free to message me on any of my social media or email outlets–I’d be happy to talk specifics!

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These characters are beautifully rendered. They are complex, and struggling with some pretty heavy things–things I haven’t necessarily seen tackled in other books thus far. I also really love all the nods to this family’s culture and heritage–it helped to more fully round out the characters and the story for me, as a reader. The plot is fast-paced and tense, with a ton of foreboding and a sense of “race to the finish” that picks up almost from page one. Also, the character reactions and interactions are wholly believable, and easy to understand or empathize with.

Overall, I really enjoyed my first foray into Pintip Dunn’s work, and will for sure be picking her up again in the future! These characters are well-rounded and complex, and the plot is super dramatic. While I easily picked up on the biggest “reveal” of the story, I REALLY loved the way Pintip Dunn played with POVs. I definitely recommend this to lovers of thrillers/suspense, creeptastic characters, and fast-paced action! Don’t get too close, penguins; this pact is dangerous!

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Violet Grenade

VioletGrenadeTour

Violet GrenadeViolet Grenade
by Victoria Scott
366 Pages
YA / Contemporary
Entangled Teen
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017

BLURB:

Domino: A runaway with blood on her hands.


Cain: A silent boy about to explode.

Madam Karina: A woman who demands obedience.

Wilson: The one who will destroy them all.

Her name is Domino Ray.

But the voice inside her head has a different name.

When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position at her girls’ home in secluded West Texas. With no alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval…and falling for Cain, the mysterious boy living in the basement.

But the madam has horrible secrets. So do the girls in the house. So does Cain.

Escaping is harder than Domino expects, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the danger living inside Domino’s mind.

Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

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VictoriaScott_Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Victoria Scott is the acclaimed author of eight novels for young adults including FIRE & FLOOD, THE COLLECTOR, and VIOLET GRENADE. She is published by Scholastic and Entangled Teen, and is represented by Sara Crowe. Victoria’s novels are sold in fourteen countries, and she loves receiving reader emails from at home, and across the world.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

* Signed paperback of The Collector, a signed paperback of Titans, and a signed galley of Hear the Wolves.*

CLICK HERE to go to the giveaway!


bookreview

5Penguins
Quick Reasons: darkly atmospheric; life-ruiner; heavy handed, mature topics; this read was a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode; intricate, complex characters; Domino and Cain are SO adorable, I can’t even; the snark is on point

HUGE thanks to Victoria Scott, Entangled Teen, Chapter by Chapter Book Tours, and Netgalley for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Okay, penguins. I have FULLY INTENDED to pick up a Victoria Scott book for, like…several years now. There are several I’ve had my eye on. I have one on my kindle just waiting for me to look its way. So WHY, OH WHY, did it take me so long?! I just… I honestly don’t have an answer. But I’ll start with this: I am so, so glad that I decided to start with THIS book. Because this book?! is a gem, and I’m not sure Victoria Scott’s other books would have touched me quite so deeply as this one. I will warn you, though: there are some very heavy, mature subjects broached in this read. This is a very darkly atmospheric, bone-chilling read, so if you’re all about the butterflies and unicorns and rainbows…this book might not be the best fit for you.

That being said, this penguin? absolutely ADORED the journey. It’s been a while since I last picked up a book that promised darkness and angst and hushed secrets in forbidden rooms…and that’s exactly what I found waiting here. Victoria Scott twisted and tore every page with emotion, and I am so blown away with how much her words wrung me out and left me bleeding. There is a loud, vibrant talent seeping through every sentence: the power to ensnare and enthrall readers. The ability to mute the real world and push the imagination to the forefront. Victoria Scott took me on a roller coaster, whirlwind journey…and I fell in love from page one.

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These characters are complex and intricate. The balance of snark with sensitively handled, heavily mature subject matter was beautiful and well-done. While there are a few characters that fall to the very bottom of the “redeemable” pile in my mind, I feel as if Victoria Scott did a gorgeous job in rounding each personality fully and showing them in several altering lights–to allow readers a more completed picture of them, as individuals and as a whole. And penguins, did they leap to life for me; not only was I ensnared by the gorgeous writing, the dark atmosphere, the fast-paced and thought-provoking plot… I was also swept up by the characters. And not just one or two of them– ALL of them.

I am just so, SO happy the first Victoria Scott novel I picked up was THIS one. Victoria Scott wrote a darkly mysterious, intriguingly painful read–and she wove the heavy subject matter so beautifully and sensitively into the journey. I definitely recommend to lovers of shady characters, questionable motivations, and atmospheric reads. I officially cannot WAIT to pick up my next Victoria Scott novel; if the writing is as gorgeous as in this book, I’m in for a real treat. This read’s a ticking time bomb waiting to explode; why don’t you open the cover and start the countdown, penguins? You know you want to.

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Blog Tour, Excerpt, Giveaway, and Review: Living in the Shallows

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Living in the Shallows
by Tani Hanes
Genre: NA Romance
Release Date: October 28th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Aileen Foster is half Japanese, rocky smart, brilliant at the piano, and really, really poor. She also likes to keep herself to herself; “an arm’s length sort of girl, with a very long arm”, as someone describes her in Living in the Shallows. Through her professor, she gets an amazing job for the summer in Japan as an interpreter for popular boyband UK Crush, who are making a movie.

When she meets the boys, she’s shocked by their openness, kindness, and frank physicality. She’s never met anyone like these guys before, who live so raucously, emotionally, and they awaken feelings she’s never had, particularly Theo, the acknowledged flirt and womanizer of the band. She travels with them as they film the movie, falling more and more under the spell of these amazing boys, who themselves are charmed by the presence in their midst of an intelligent, articulate female who isn’t a crazy fan; who hadn’t really even known who they were before this job:

Gethin, the ginger Welshman, who keeps his feelings to himself, but won’t hesitate to throw a punch if he thinks someone he cares about is being hurt;

Matthew, the gentle Scot, who is so beautiful that it almost hurts to look at him sometimes;

Ronan, the fun loving Irishman who loves to laugh;

Theo, the emotional English boy who loves with his whole heart, but seems to bounce from one beautiful woman to the next.

Eventually, Tink, as she’s known to the boys, realizes that she has to make some decisions about life and living that she never thought she’d have to make. Classical piano has been her whole life, and she is woefully unprepared to deal with the river of emotions released by being with these boys, Theo specifically. How can she give her heart to someone, anyone, when she never ever, thought she’d have to, let alone want to?

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Buy Link: Amazon

Check out sample chapters of the sequel, Diving Deep, on Wattpad!

Excerpt:

I woke up to the sound of the knob on the interconnecting door being rattled.

“Hey! What’s going on in there then?” Ronan yelled from the other side. “Theo! Is Tinker Bell in there with you? She’s not in her room!”

“Good lord,” Teddy groaned. “That boy could raise the dead, honest to god.

“Shut up, Ronan!” he shouted.

“But Theo, Tink’s gone! We can’t find her! Is she in there?” Ronan roared.

“Fuck. Yes! We’re SLEEPING! Now leave us alone, please!” He rolled over.

I laughed and got out of bed. “Forget it; it’s probably time to get up, anyway.”

He rolled back over and covered his face with his pillow.

I picked up my UK Crush shirt and unlocked the door. The knob immediately turned and the door opened to show Ronan and Matty standing on the other side, one looking avidly curious, one looking upset and concerned.

Teddy appeared behind me, shirtless and crazy haired, eyes still bleary with sleepiness. “She had a nightmare and I was the only one awake. All we did was talk and then sleep, so get your minds out of the gutter, you two. I’m going to take a shower.” And he turned around and walked away.

They looked at me. I nodded. “Really, that’s what happened.”

Matty looked at me. “You okay now? All better?”

I kissed his cheek on the way by. “All better, truly, thanks for asking.” And I, too, headed for my room to shower.

SAMSUNG CSCAbout the Author

My name is Tani Hanes, and I am a 51 year old substitute teacher. I’m from central California and am a recent transplant to New York City. The most important things to know about me are that I’m punctual, I love grammar and sushi, and I’m very intolerant of intolerance. The least important things to know about me are that I like to knit and I couldn’t spell “acoustic” for 40 years. I’ve wanted to write since I was ten, and I finally did it. If you want to write, don’t wait as long as I did, it’s pointless, and very frustrating!

Author Links:

Website |GoodreadsTwitterFacebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Wattpad

GIVEAWAY:

CLICK HERE FOR THE GIVEAWAY!


bookreview

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: cutesy contemporary; LOVE the relationships built in this read; diverse setting with some quirky, unique characters; complex dynamics; the snark is great; I’m a sucker for boy band romances; this was so adorable, I think my penguin beak rotted

Huge thanks to Tani Hanes and YA Bound Book Tours for sending me a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way changed my read of or opinions on this book.

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Oh, my penguins. This was such an adorably sweet read. I mean, that’s not saying much really–I’m a huge sucker for boy band romances, as I think I’ve stated a time or two before in my reviews. But this one! This one was so cutesy, I think my penguin beak might have rotted just a little bit–and that’s not a bad thing at all, trust me!

I think my favorite part of this entire thing, though, were the relationships we got to see be built and steadily grow. The snark is delicious and entertaining from the start. Aileen’s reactions to and interactions with the boys only became more entertaining and amusing the further into the plot I got. The relationships are complex, realistic, and too endearing for the good of all readers–if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself wishing you were part of the crowd.

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The plot is what you’d expect from a cutesy contemporary read such as this–not filled with action, but there is a TON of drama and angst. There is a love triangle, but it’s brief…mostly because the love triangle quickly becomes a love, er… quintet? Quintuple? I mean seriously, it’s more amusing than it is annoying–Aileen ends up kissing each of the boys, though in different settings and, in a few instances, for different entertaining reasons. Trust me, you won’t mind the roMESS at all–because it’s the best kind of romess to have in a book.

This was, in the end, a highly entertaining, snark-tastic, roMESS of a read. I cannot wait to dive into the second book, as soon as it becomes available–I’m not sure where it’ll lead our characters, but I’m betting there’s bound to be more drama and kissing involved. I’d recommend this to lovers of boy band romances, cutesy contemporaries, and wonderfully realistic relationships. This book sang a lullaby to my heart; why don’t you turn your tv off and take a listen?

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10

Four Real: This Book BURNS with Hot and Steamy

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Four Real

Her love was greedy. Their love was infinite.

Lead singer of the start-up band Four Real, Tricia Donahue left her hometown with one question. How can you love three men at once? She’s convinced herself that it can’t be done—not without living up to her family’s infamous reputation. Now, years later, lead guitarist Michael Hill is touring with world famous TRE, far removed from the small town band he once called his family. Home will never be the same until he makes things right. Keyboarder, Pete Morello and drummer, Marty Pierce were always close, but when the one girl they ever loved disappeared from their life, their casual threesomes and life’s hard knocks revealed the feelings they share for each other. Reunion time for four best friends with unfinished business means they will finally face the music. Fantasy…meet reality.

Erotica/Romance
158 Pages
Publication Date:  December 5th, 2016
Get a copy here!

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: this book is FULL of the hot and steamy; mature audience recommended; there are some heavy subjects broached; complex, well-rounded, entertaining characters; I loved the focus on relationships within these pages; super fun, quick read

Huge thanks to Alyssa Turner and Xpresso Book Tours for granting me early access to a digital ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Let me get this out of the way before anything else: this book is NOT for readers uncomfortable with polyamorous relationships. This is not a “one guy, one girl” kind of book, so if you’re expecting or wanting to find that…you should probably put this one down and step away. Find something else to read. Also, there are some mature themes and subjects broached throughout–please keep this in mind! This book is definitely not going to be for “everyone,” so if it doesn’t work for you, that’s okay!

That being said. I. LOVED. this book! I actually just went and bumped my penguin rating up a tiny bit because it was, having thought about it, a smidge too low for how I feel about this book. The characters are complex, well-rounded, and super entertaining. I’m not going to lie: I’ve always been a sucker for “love between band mates” books…and this book met that criteria beautifully. On top of that, the characters are realistic and diverse, while not being too cliche or “in your face” about their differences. They are human, and real, and I loved each of them equally. It doesn’t hurt that they practically leaped off the page at me. I was, at times, a bit frustrated by Tricia; she came off very flighty and cowardly at times, and that didn’t mesh at all with the vibe I expected her to put off going into this read. Once I wrapped my head around her and her character quirks, though, I enjoyed her much more. Of course, each of the boys in this are immediately bae–I just couldn’t choose between them if I tried! #multiplebookboyfriends #forthewin #Imnotashamed

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Alyssa Turner knows how to weave a relationship and make it realistic, and the relationships built upon and explored throughout these pages are one of my favorite elements. The friendship–gone so long with so many things unsaid and so many subjects unbroached–felt cohesive and natural even after so much time had passed in the characters’ lives. Reading this, I felt an outsider looking-in on a group of friends I could only HOPE to someday be as close to. The fact that a deeper, stronger relationship is woven into and throughout that friendship only helped to make these friends/lovers FEEL like the real deal to me. There are so many different types of love divulged and explored throughout this read, and each of them is just as natural and just as true-to-life.

I had a TON of fun reading this, and cannot WAIT to dive into more of Alyssa Turner’s novels! This book helped to give me a glimpse into a different type of love and intimacy, and I enjoyed every moment of it immensely. The relationships felt cohesive and realistic, the characters are well-rounded and entertaining, and there are several moments hot and steamy enough to leave even the most seasoned romance reader blushing. I recommend to readers who appreciate friendship-turned-love plots, deliciously sexy romps, and journeys of self-discovery. Alyssa Turner caught me in her snares with this one; maybe you should dance the dance, too!

2

The Boxer and the Butterfly: A Romance Full of Floats and Stings

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The Boxer and the Butterfly

Autumn Chamberlain has everything: a rich family, connections and a perfect GPA. Autumn’s satisfied being the perfect daughter until she engages in a game of dare and loses.

Her punishment for destroying school property? Tell her parents and face the consequences or tutor bad boy, Mickey Costello. The problem? He’s the principal’s nephew and has more demons than Autumn could’ve ever imagined.

Living life on the edge, Mickey’s everything she isn’t. Once tutoring begins, he shows her a world where everything that glitters isn’t gold. As their attraction grows, long buried secrets resurface. Inside the ring Mickey’s never lost a fight, but when tragedies come back to haunt him, he’ll have to conquer past sins, guilt and a hate crime that pushes them both to the edge. Can Mickey fight his way through his troubled past to have a future with Autumn or will the truth shatter them both forever?

YA/Contemporary/Romance/Diverse Reads
353 Pages
Evernight Teen Publishing
Publication Date: October 21st, 2016
Get a copy here!

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: some mature themes and situations; these characters are endearing and easy to love; tons of character growth; intense scenes; some unexpected plot twists; just a small case of, “woah, slow down, you’re moving too fast!”; whirlwind romance; diverse loves/characters

Huge thanks to Sasha Hibbs and Evernight Teen Publishing for sending me a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Firstly, penguins–there are some mature themes and situations in this book. There is one scene, in particular, in which a hate crime takes place. There is also a mention of parental, physical abuse. The main male character, Mickey, is ALSO a fighter in an underground boxing ring–and several fights are detailed from the POV of our narrator. If you are a sensitive reader or are easily triggered by acts of violence or abuse, please make sure you keep yourself safe. This might not be the read for you.

That being said–there is SO MUCH character growth happening in these pages! I will be honest: at the start of this read, I really loathed Autumn. She was snooty; she was spoiled, even if she didn’t realize it. She came off as the kind of character I generally don’t like. BUT. I promise you, penguins, she changes–and quickly. Autumn shows so much growth throughout this journey, I was left with a cricked neck, so hard was I craning to keep up with her as she ran. Autumn’s parents also make quite a shift in their ways at the end of this book, and Mickey has a growth journey all his own. In all, this book most closely focused on growth…and the ways it can both drive us apart and bring us together. The many, MANY ways it can change us, touch us, push us.

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This plot is FAST. In fact, I found myself doubting, at times, the romance aspect itself–I felt as if Autumn and Mickey weren’t so much falling in love, as throwing themselves off a cliff in hopes of flying. Of course, this doesn’t mean it was badly written–there was, it turns out, a reason for the set up. The rest of the events were well-paced and believable–and there were several moments I was sure my heart had stopped. This is a heart-wrenching, beautiful read with so many important subjects and morals; Sasha Hibbs did a great job crafting this to make exactly the points she wanted to.

Overall, this was a fluffy romance with just the right touches of danger and drama. I really enjoyed following Autumn and Mickey on their journeys–both together and apart. It seems every character featured had some small amount of growth, some tiny lesson to both learn themselves and share with readers. I will be seeking out more of Sasha Hibbs in the future. For now, I recommend THIS book to readers of contemporary romance, star-crossed loves, and journeys that pack an emotional punch. This read is a knock-out; why don’t you step into the ring and take it on?

2

In A Gilded Cage: This Rapunzel Prefers Strawberry Sundaes

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In a Gilded Cage

Lucci Grimley is indeed alluring—crowned with a mane of long blond hair, and blessed with an enchanting musical talent that draws a brave rescuer to a high tower hidden in the forest.

However, this modern-day Rapunzel is a young man, sold as a child to the wealthy and childless Damien Gotham for the price of a fast car and a pile of cash. And Lucci’s heroic prince is William “Prin” Prinzing, a handsome college student and star soccer player, hired to care for the grounds of the lavish Tower Estate. Prin climbs an extension ladder rather than a long golden braid to gain access to Lucci’s second floor bedroom window, ultimately penetrating the secrecy surrounding the cloistered young man.

Friendship, and soon romance, blooms. The tower captive eagerly gives his loving innocence to his brave rescuer, which sends the strict and reclusive Gotham into a frenzy of jealous rage. With Prin, Lucci gets a taste of real life, and he wants more. Together, the young men must face Gotham’s ruthlessness and pay the price of liberating Lucci.

Romance (M/M) / Erotica / Retellings / Diverse Reads
166 Pages
Evernight Publishing
Publication Date: October 21st, 2016
Get a copy here!

3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: fluffy, steamy, adorable romance; I’m branching out again!; a disturbing, dark take on Rapunzel; seriously, the “father” was terrifying; quick read with lots of adorable, quirky moments; I love?! this relationship; diverse read!

Huge thanks to Mia Kerick, Evernight Publishing, and YA Bound Book Tours for sending me a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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As per usual lately, I want to start with a trigger warning for sensitive readers: there are some violent scenes, and there is abuse (mostly emotional/mental), present in this book. Please be careful, and keep yourselves safe!

Also, this book explores some very mature themes/ideas. There are several explicit M/M sex scenes. Ideas like abuse, human trafficking, self-discovery, self-harm, and diverse love all play a role in this read. If these upset you or make you uncomfortable, this is probably not the right fit for you. Keep that in mind!

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All that being said: I REALLY enjoyed this journey! The characters are endearing and adorable. I easily empathized with and found myself rooting for them both, in very different ways. I feel like the romance itself might have been just a little bit rushed, though. Given how little Lucci was allowed to experience the world, the insta-love on his end makes sense–Will is the first person to actually interact with and treat Lucci decently, so of course he’d be star-struck and infatuated. Will, after all, represents hope for Lucci. But I’m not sure it’s entirely believable, especially on Will’s end of things. He accepts his feelings toward Lucci almost TOO easily, in my opinion (having never been interested in anyone prior to this), and he doesn’t seem to struggle with it at all. Perhaps he’s just super resilient and adaptable, but I had a hard time believing it.

This was a quick read with some gorgeously written moments. I sat down intending to only read a small part of this…and ended up finishing it off within a couple of hours. The plot is well-paced, and I adored the ways Mia Kerick wove inspiration from Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretelthroughout the story. It’s a darker take, though–Lucci especially, while coming out stronger and standing on his own at the end, remains traumatized. So if you’re going into this read expecting a “magical happily ever after”…well, you won’t find it here. The ending is happy, of a sort, but it’s not all magically better.

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Overall, I enjoyed this read. The characters were mixed parts snarky and endearing; the plot was driven and easy to slip into; and the subject matter was just dark enough to test my comfort zone. I will be keeping an eye out for Mia Kerick in the future–I can’t wait to see where she leads readers next! I recommend this to readers of diverse romance, journeys that make a statement, and stories inspired by fairy tales. This was exactly the adorable, steamy, dark romance I’ve been craving! Now, on to the next one.

4

Saving Hamlet: With Two Worlds on Your Shoulders, You Gotta Stand Tall

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Emma Allen couldn’t be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club’s production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she’s rocking a new haircut that’s sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma’s promoted to stage manager with zero experience, her best friend Lulu stops talking to her, and Josh–the adorable soccer boy who’s cast as the lead–turns out to be a disaster. It’s up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.

One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life’s latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage’s trap door . . . landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.

It’s London, 1601, and with her awesome new pixie cut, everyone thinks Emma’s a boy–even Will Shakespeare himself. With no clue how to get home, Emma gamely plays her role as backstage assistant to the original production of Hamlet, learning a thing or two about the theater, and meeting an incredibly hot actor named Alex who finds Emma as intriguing as she finds him. But once Emma starts traveling back and forth through time, things get really confusing. Which boy is the one for her? In which reality does she belong? Will Lulu ever forgive her? And can she possibly save two disastrous productions of Hamlet before time runs out?

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

molly-boothABOUT MOLLY BOOTH:

Molly Booth grew up homeschooled in Massachusetts with her four boisterous siblings. She stage managed for three different community theatres in high school. Her first college was Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown, MA; she then went on to study writing, literature, and Elizabethan history on a very cold hill at Marlboro College in Vermont. There, she wrote the first drafts of Saving Hamlet, her debut novel, coming 11/1/16 from Disney Hyperion. Her second book, Nothing Happened, will be coming spring 2018.

Molly also writes for The Mary Sue, and sometimes other sites like HelloGigglesThe Tempest, and McSweeney’s.  She spends most of her time snuggling her adorable dog Suzie, pet rats Meg and Marigold, and Harriet the queen cat.

She’s represented by Alex Slater at Trident Media Group, and edited by Kieran Viola at Disney Hyperion.

 

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram

Interested in winning a finished copy of this awesome read?!  CLICK BELOW (US entrants only, please)–

Giveaway:  THREE (3) Finished Copies of Saving Hamlet!


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4.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: hello, well-written diversity!; hugely entertaining; loaded with snark; love the mix of sci fi and historical fiction; complex, awesome characters; realistic “love” story; I laughed out loud–loudly!; such an entertaining, hilarious journey

Huge thanks to Molly Booth, Disney-Hyperion Publishers, Irish Banana Tours and Netgalley for granting me early access to this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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I have a confession to make, penguins. Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of only skimming a book’s blurb once…and then going into the read basically blind. This is, in my opinion, the best decision I’ve ever made–because I never know for sure what to expect when picking up a book. It’s also, often, an exciting adventure. Take THIS book, for instance–I forgot everything about the blurb…except that there was something to do with Shakespeare/Hamlet. Imagine my surprise–and delight!–when the plot REALLY got underway and the time travel began! What I guess I’m saying is, if you’re the type of reader who lives for adventure, maybe you should think about adopting a similar habit.

Which is a round-about way of saying I ADORED this read! Particularly the diversity. There are several key characters from the LGBTQIA communities–and they are possibly the BEST and most well-written characters I’ve come across in YA fiction recently. They are complex, well-rounded, and individualized; they are in NO way the “token” diverse characters so many novels fall into the habit of employing. Lulu and Stanley (the two) were also my FAVORITE characters from this book, though only outranking the rest by just a little. I blame their fiercely independent and snarky tendencies–they were just too awesome to NOT love immediately.

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The plot is multi-layered and interesting. While not necessarily filled with a ton of action, I found myself on tenterhooks throughout the entire read–always wondering what was going to happen next. There are so many life lessons/morals floating throughout, including: self-confidence; self-love; acceptance; and tolerance. While Emma is on a journey toward confidence in and acceptance of herself, the rest of the crew face their own struggles and life lessons. There is so much going on, from page one–but Molly Booth blended everything into a seamless, cohesive, heart-wrenching, hilarious journey.

This was such a fun, awesome read–I am definitely impressed, and will be impatiently awaiting Molly Booth’s next release. I recommend this to lovers of time travel, diverse characters, and realistically-written romances. Also, a love for Shakespeare doesn’t hurt. Pick this book up, penguins–and let the giggle fest begin!

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