Review | Virtually Yours by Jeremy Holt

Shouldn’t finding a life partner be more challenging than ordering a pizza? Welcome to Virtually Yours, a virtual dating app that provides all the proof of being in a relationship without actually being in one. With her career front of mind, Eva Estrella joins Virtually Yours, after a nudge from her sister, to alleviate some family pressure as she continues to look for her dream job in journalism. While Max Kittridge, a former child star in the middle of a divorce, takes a gig at Virtually Yours servicing multiple clients as a fake boyfriend. As they navigate their current circumstances, both Eva and Max find that sometimes what you’re looking for is right in front of you.

Virtually Yours is a rom-com for the digital age from writer Jeremy Holt and artist Elizabeth Beals. This exciting new collaboration includes letterer Adam Wollet, book designer Tim Daniel, and editor Kat Vendetti. Together, they present a refreshing take on a beloved genre that will appeal to anyone familiar with love in the time of the internet.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Virtually Yours follows Eva and Max who have had two completely different life experiences, and have their own issues to work through. Max is forever remembered for his role in a movie when he was a teenager and has had a lot of issues with his past relationships. Eva has a mother who thinks all her problems would be solved if she would just find a man, when she’s trying to find a job.

When her sister finds the app, Virtually Yours, that essentially gives you everything you need to prove you have a partner without actually having one, Eva is able to placated her mother and find a job. Max is able to utilize working at Virtually Yours to help himself heal and find purpose in his life. After a number of near misses in real life, they finally meet without realizing that they are interacting through the app.

I really enjoyed all the different issues this graphic novel explored, and loved seeing the relationship building between Eva and Max. I always appreciate when there’s diversity in a story without it feeling forced and this one was perfect in that aspect. I loved all of the characters and how they were individual and unique, there are some side characters I’d love to see explored more in their own stories.

Virtually Yours is currently available on Kindle Unlimited, so make sure to check it out – happy reading!

Kindle Deals | 8/21

It’s that time again. I was in need of some retail therapy so I decided to find some good deals and share them with you all. As always, make sure to double check the prices when purchasing.

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke ($2.99)Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

Full of fierce girls, bloodlust, tenuous alliances, and unapologetic quests for glory, this elegantly spun tale challenges the power of storytelling—and who gets to be the storyteller. 

Toil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft ($3.99) – Scorn the witch. Fear the witch. Burn the witch.

History is filled with stories of women accused of witchcraft, of fearsome girls with arcane knowledge. Toil & Trouble features fifteen stories of girls embracing their power, reclaiming their destinies and using their magic to create, to curse, to cure—and to kill.

A young witch uses social media to connect with her astrology clients—and with a NASA-loving girl as cute as she is skeptical. A priestess of death investigates a ritualized murder. A bruja who cures lovesickness might need the remedy herself when she falls in love with an altar boy. A theater production is turned upside down by a visiting churel. In Reconstruction-era Texas, a water witch uses her magic to survive the soldiers who have invaded her desert oasis. And in the near future, a group of girls accused of witchcraft must find their collective power in order to destroy their captors.

This collection reveals a universal truth: there’s nothing more powerful than a teenage girl who believes in herself.

The Babysitters Cover by Kate M. Williams ($1.99) – Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria cooking. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

Blitz | The Promise Kept by Maggie Mae Gallagher

The Promise Kept
Maggie Mae Gallagher
(Echo Springs, #2)
Publication date: August 19th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Cybil Roe gave her heart away thirteen years ago only to have it wind up shattered. With painstaking determination, she has rebuilt her life into something to be proud of today. Yet all her future plans are upended when the only man she has ever loved returns to Echo Springs. Nor does it help that he seems bound and determined to draw her back into his life. Cybil vows to stay away from him, no matter what seeing him all the time does to her resolve.

Miles Keaton wiped the dust of his hometown off his shoes years ago, never expecting that life would lead him back to the place where he had begun. Coming home to Echo Springs, to Cybil, to start a new law practice and a new life is a risk he never thought he’d take. She hates him – with good reason. Years ago, he walked away when she needed him the most. But now is he back, and intends to argue the case of his life, one more important than any he has debated in a courtroom, because she is the one woman he cannot live without.

Can Miles convince Cybil to take a second chance on him, or will a secret she has kept all these years destroy any future they might have?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

PLUS! Book 1 – The Fixer Upper – is only 99¢ for a limited time!

EXCERPT:

“Oh, yes. Right there,” she murmured.

Cybil sighed at the strong hands kneading her tense shoulders. Golden sunshine warmed her skin. Azure waves lapped against the pristine, ivory sand not fifteen feet from where she lounged on a luxurious padded chaise. Her tanned skin glistened in the sun. The coconut scent from her suntan lotion wafted on the gentle breeze and mingled with the salt from the ocean waves. The simmering heat of the tropics caused perspiration to bead on her forehead and evaporate with the light wind. The sunglasses perched on her nose shaded her gray eyes from the radiant sunlight.

It was without a doubt a perfect day.

The light breeze played with the loose tendrils of her inky hair while the sexy-as-sin Pablo—he of the broad, tanned shoulders, gorgeously thick black hair, and soulful eyes—massaged her shoulders with his long, talented fingers. The man had the most wonderful, gifted hands and knew precisely where to exert the most pressure. And those thumbs of his were singularly skilled at ferreting out every ache and pain.

God, she had needed this getaway—away from the cold, the snow, the dreaded holidays, and nonstop work.

She muffled a moan.

Cybil couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt this relaxed. She could still taste the lime and salt from her frozen margarita. And she was a breath away from suggesting to Pablo that they take the massage indoors to her beachside bungalow. The thought of those hands massaging other regions of her body left her achy and needy. It had been so long since she had been with a man. Since this was a vacation, she didn’t have to worry about getting attached. Cybil moaned as he dug into a knot on her left shoulder.

Pablo lowered his face. Cybil shivered, heady anticipation humming along her skin. Was he going to nibble on her ear? Suggest naughty, decadent delights to be had if they retreated indoors? She was ready and willing for anything the guy had in mind.

“Purrr.” A cold, wet nose pressed against the side of her cheek where it met her ear, amplifying the sound. The purr increased in tenor. Something tickled her nose.

Cybil cracked an eye open. A pair of golden eyes stared at her with expectation and determination, with a side of feline disdain that she had yet to acknowledge him.

Author Bio:

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

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

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter


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Blog Tour | The Dazzling Truth by Helen Cullen | Review

Poised to celebrate Christmas Eve on a beautifully scenic island off the coast of Ireland, the Moone family’s holiday is instead marred by tragedy. So begins Helen Cullen’s stirring family saga, THE DAZZLING TRUTH (Graydon House; August 18, 2020; $17.99 USD). Maeve and Murtagh Moone’s love story began in 1978, at Trinity College. As an aspiring actress and potter respectively, the two creative spirits were drawn to each other in an intense and lasting way, able to withstand almost anything, even Maeve’s bouts of crippling depression and anxiety. For a short time, anyway.

Marriage and children are the next chapters in the Moone family story, but Maeve struggles to reconcile her old life with that of the wife and mother she is supposed to be. Until one heartbreaking Christmas Eve in 2005 changes everything. Now each member of the Moone family must learn to confront the past on their own, until one dazzling truth brings them back together towards a future that none of them could have predicted. Except perhaps Maeve herself.

Buy Links | Harlequin  | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Books-A-Million | Powell’s

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this story about a family and their struggled over three decades. I will say, as someone who personally struggles with anxiety and depression, this was at times a little hard to read because it was discussing aspects of things I deal with myself. So if you deal with similar things, be mindful going in.

That being said this was a beautiful and heartbreaking story. Even though the story starts out with a tragic occurrence, we then go back to when Maeve and Murtagh first met and then follow them through their relationship. There are many good times, but there are also days where Maeve’s bad days creep in, and the story shows the impact those days have on the whole family.

It really was a lovely story about family and love, but make sure you have tissues handy when giving it a read.

HELEN CULLEN wrote her debut novel, The Lost Letters of William Woolf, while completing the Guardian/UEA novel writing program. She holds an MA in Theatre Studies from University College Dublin and is currently studying further at Brunel. Prior to writing full-time, Helen worked in journalism, broadcasting and most recently as a creative events and engagement specialist. Helen is Irish and currently lives in London.

Social Links | Author Website | Twitter: @WordsofHelen |
Instagram: @WordsofHelen | Facebook: @WordsofHelen | Goodreads

Happy reading!

Review | When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I so wanted to really love this book and the writing and story were beautiful, but I just didn’t find myself connecting with it. I do feel that there are some very important conversations and revelations that happen in this book that could be very helpful to someone going through a similar experience. I did really enjoy the magical elements of this book, but I just kept wanting more. I wanted more things explained, and while some things get answered at the end of the book, I wanted so much more.

That being said, I still really enjoyed the story itself as we followed Sam and Miel and got to experience the ups and downs of their relationship as they simultaneously tried to protect and care for each other while also learning things about themselves. I definitely recommend the book as it was a beautiful story.

Happy reading!

Review | Violet Tendencies by Kate Dyer-Seeley

Britta Johnston and her aunt Elin are delighted that their Portland floral boutique is part of the city’s Rose Festival, which draws thousands to the Pacific Northwest for dragon boat races, fireworks, and other attractions–capped off by a big parade. They’re building a float that’s sure to rock the judge’s boat . . . until a gang of angry protestors shows up. The group, who call themselves Dark Fusion, are decidedly not into flower power, and they want to take down the system . . . including the upcoming extravaganza.

Then their leader is strangled with a garland of violets–and Britta finds the body. With tensions running high and so much at stake, there are plenty of suspects, from the Grand Marshal to a longtime volunteer to a former Rose Queen. But before Britta and Elin can stem the violence, the case is going to get even more explosive . . .

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I love the Rose City Mystery series for a number of reasons, but firstly because of how Dyer-Seeley describes Portland and flowers. I really enjoyed this installment in the series, as we follow Britta and Elin as they create a float for the Rose Festival Parade as well as deal with a group of anarchist protesters who are focusing on the parade and making sure it doesn’t go to plan. Britta, as always, is a strong woman who wants to find out the truth, though that often ends up in her getting into sticky situations. I loved the further depth that Tomo had in this book and would have loved even more about Pete as he and Britta continued their will they/won’t they relationship. Also, learning more about Elin’s past was a great interjection and really filled out her character even more. All in all a great mystery that will leave you changing your mind on how the killer is just as much as Britta.

Happy reading!

Review | Robots Vs. Fairies

A unique anthology of all-new stories that challenges authors to throw down the gauntlet in an epic genre battle and demands an answer to the age-old question: Who is more awesome—robots or fairies?

Rampaging robots! Tricksy fairies! Facing off for the first time in an epic genre death match!

People love pitting two awesome things against each other. Robots vs. Fairies is an anthology that pitches genre against genre, science fiction against fantasy, through an epic battle of two icons.

On one side, robots continue to be the classic sci-fi phenomenon in literature and media, from Asimov to WALL-E, from Philip K. Dick to Terminator. On the other, fairies are the beloved icons and unquestionable rulers of fantastic fiction, from Tinkerbell to Tam Lin, from True Blood to Once Upon a Time. Both have proven to be infinitely fun, flexible, and challenging. But when you pit them against each other, which side will triumph as the greatest genre symbol of all time?

There can only be one…or can there?

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Anthologies are one of my favorite things to read and this one has been on my ‘currently reading’ stack for quite a while, so I’m super happy to have finished. While there wasn’t really any stories that I didn’t enjoy, there were a lot that were just ok. Entertaining and enjoyable, but didn’t blow me away. I did enjoy the back and forth, plus the letters from each author about their stance and a little more about their stories, but I just found myself really wanting more, and there were a few stories that took me way too long to read. All in all, it was definitely a fun read and there were a few stories that were stand outs for me.

Here’s a full breakdown of how I felt about each story-

Build Me a Wonderland by Seanan McGuire – 4 stars
Quality Time by Ken Liu – 3 stars
Murmured Under the Moon by Tim Pratt – 4 stars
The Blue Fairy’s Manifesto by Annalee Newitz – 3 stars
Bread & Milk by Sarah Gailey – 2.5 stars
Ironheart by Jonathon Maberry – 3 stars
Just Another Love Song by Kat Howard – 4 stars
Sound & Fury by Mary Robinette – 3 stars
The Bookcase Expedition by Jeffrey Ford – 3 stars
Work Shadow/Shadow Work by Madeline Ashby – 3 stars
Second to the Left & Straight On by Jim C. Hines – 3 stars
The Buried Giant by Lavie Tidhar – 3 stars
Three Robots Experience Objects by John Scalzi – 4 stars
Ostentation of Peacocks by Lila Bowen – 4 stars
All the Time We’ve Left to Spend by Alyssa Wong – 4 stars
Adriftica by Maria Dahvana Headley – 2 stars
To a Cloven Pine by Max Gladstone – 3 stars
A Fall Counts Anywhere by Catherynne M. Valente – 3 stars

Happy reading!

Weekend Reading Plans

So where I am it’s already around 3 p.m. in the afternoon on Saturday, but I still thought I would discuss my reading plans for the weekend. I’ve got a lot of ARCs to read and it is ARC August so I’m hoping to make good progress. Since this weekend is projected to be some of the hottest days of the year in my neck of the woods, camping on the couch with a stack of books near the AC is not a bad thing to do.

I’m in the middle of a few different books, so those are definitely top priority on my list. I would really like to tackle my review books because there are so many books I have wanted to request, but haven’t allowed myself to because I want to get more caught up, so the weekends of August will hopefully be devoted to those books (as well as others in my half finished pile).

With that said, wish me luck and it things do well I’ll do an update post to catch up tomorrow evening (fingers crossed)!

Happy reading!

Review | Camp by Kayla Miller

Olive and Willow are happy campers!

Or are they?
 
Olive is sure she’ll have the best time at summer camp with her friend Willow – but while Olive makes quick friends with the other campers, Willow struggles to form connections and latches on to the only person she knows – Olive. It’s s’more than Olive can handle! The stress of being Willow’s living security blanket begins to wear on Olive and before long…the girls aren’t just fighting, they may not even be friends by the time camp is over. Will the two be able to patch things up before the final lights out?

After reading Click I was excited to pick up the next installment and follow more of Olive’s adventures. Kayla Miller perfectly captures real life situations that kids go through. This story ticks a lot of boxes as we follow Olive and Willow to summer camp, and Olive – being an extrovert, starts making friends immediately and dives into summer camp, while also spending a lot of time with Willow. Willow, who is homesick and feels like she only has Olive, sees things from a different perspective. It’s a great look at young friendships, making new friends and learning that you don’t have to be the only person in someone’s life. I really enjoyed the story, though sometimes Willow’s reactions to things seemed a little over the top. The message that it would give young readers would help them navigate friendships of their own as well as enjoy a great story about two friends going to summer camp.

Happy reading!

Cover Reveal | A Sweet, Soft Glow by Joshua Magnotta

A Sweet, Soft Glow
Joshua Magnotta
Publication date: December 15th 2020
Genres: Adult, Thriller

In the ten years since John Malley lost his wife and daughter, he has slowly faded into obscurity in a rural Pennsylvania town. He spends his days at the local bar and tries to numb the pain of his loss. That is, until Ted’s Dead Rose Tavern becomes the home of the biggest mass killing in the history of the town. John, the lone survivor of the killing-spree, is forced on the run. He heads north where he hopes to hide out at his brother’s house.

Meanwhile, in New York City, young Melanie Parker investigates a disturbing new trend she discovered online. From what she has learned, metallic black bands worn along the forearm are responsible for some form of mind control. Skeptical of this theory, Melanie embarks on a night time excursion that places her in the middle of a riot in the middle of the city. Melanie fights for her life as chaos spreads throughout the city.

As John witnesses the events in New York, he is compelled to take action. But once in the city, John is forced to confront his past.

Add to Goodreads


Author Bio:

Josh Magnotta has been a resident of northern Pennsylvania for most of his life. Throughout his early life and teenager years he was an avid writer but during college drifted away from the passion as work and other priorities took precedence. In 2014 he graduated from college and soon began working swing shift in a factory. It was here, during off shifts where Josh would read during the night to stay awake, that his passion for writing was rekindled. After leaving the factory-life behind Josh went back to college and began work on his first novel, A Sweet, Soft Glow. He has since been writing ever since.

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