Review | Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don’t Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality the dangers experienced in skin and body and blood and a diagnosis of HIV positive. “Some of us are killed / in pieces,” Smith writes, some of us all at once. Don’t Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes America–“Dear White America”–where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

With current events I’ve been hearing more and more about this poetry collection, so I knew I had to check it out. Be forewarned, this collection is not for the faint of heart. Smith’s use of language and the raw imagery created is amazing, heart wrenching and very in your face real. The collections takes on a lot of current and continuing issues in society regarding racism and prejudices. The collection in and of itself is beautiful, but at times hard to read emotionally – which I think it should be. This is the type of writing where you should slow down and actually absorb what is being said. All in all it’s an amazing collection of poems that definitely shouldn’t be missed.

Happy reading!

August Reading and Life Plans

So anyone who follows my content may have noticed that for the last couple months I have been more loose about my planning because mentally I acknowledge I’ve been struggling. I’ve admittedly been in a bit of a reading slump and if you’ve read my NaNoWriMo posts, a writing slump as well. I’m determined to break this cycle and get back in my groove with some planning.

So what is the plan I’ve come up with? I’m not going to be super strict with myself and I am going to simply work on getting back on track. My day job responsibilities have ramped up even though I’m working remotely, so that is a priority and I have to recognize my own limits.

So in short, the goals I am setting for myself are as follows:

-Read more of my backlist books, and get back to listening to more audiobooks like I was doing previously.
-Try to carve actual writing time out, and decide on a project instead of floating between a few different ones.
-Really do some preparation for November’s round of NaNoWriMo so that I’m ready to hit the ground running.
-Get better about my daily tracking. I have a reading bullet journal set up, but in the last couple months I’ve gone from updating every day, to updating maybe once a week.

That being said, this might not happen. I have to concentrate on self care and taking care of my mental health – so if I can’t accomplish all of these things, then that’s ok.

Take care of yourselves and happy reading!

Kindle Deals | 7/31

Hey everyone, it’s that time again. I thought I would see if I could find some more good deals to share with you all. As always make sure to check the price before you buy as it may have changed. Now, let’s get into the ones I found today.

The Black God’s Drums ($3.99) – In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air–in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.

But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.

Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God’s Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.

Silent in the Grave (1.99) – “Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.”

These ominous words are the last threat that Sir Edward Grey receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, he collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

Prepared to accept that Edward’s death was due to a long-standing physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that her husband was murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers damning evidence for herself, and realizes the truth.

Determined to bring the murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward’s demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.

And Then There were None ($1.99) – Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a isolated mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…

Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters | Excerpt

Megan Harris had hopes of seeing the world, but at twenty-five she’s never even left Florida. Now a wedding invitation lures her to Quebec…in February. When her ex-friend Scarlett offers to be her plus-one (yeah, that’s a whole story) and suggests they turn the journey into an epic road trip, Megan reluctantly agrees to the biggest adventure of her life.

A week together in a car is a surefire way to kill a crush, and Scarlett Andrews has had a big one on Megan for years. The important thing is fixing their friendship.

As the miles roll away, what starts as harmless road-trip games and rest-stop dares escalates into something like intimacy. And when a surprise snowstorm forces Megan and Scarlett to hunker down without the open road as distraction, they’ve got a bigger challenge than making it to the church on time: facing the true nature of their feelings for each other.

Buy Links | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play |Kobo

I’m currently reading this one and thoroughly enjoy it, so I will be reviewing it soon. Today, enjoy an excerpt from the book to see if it’s something you might want to pick up!

Megan hadn’t brought a lot of clothing on this trip, anticipating getting to do laundry at some hotel along the way, but she had a couple of nice outfits in addition to the dress she planned to wear for the wedding. She selected an emerald green sweater dress from her suitcase. She was normally more of a jeans kind of girl, but this dress made her feel cute, and it felt very Nashville when she paired it with some knee-high boots. She gathered up her clothes and undergarments and headed for the bathroom.

When she left the bathroom, Scarlett was pinning up her curls into two buns up near the top of her head. It was one of the cutest hairstyles she wore, and one that always made Megan wish for something other than her own super-straight brown hair. Scarlett looked away from her hair when Megan entered the room, her gaze skimming down Megan’s body in a way that made Megan burn up inside.

Before Scarlett could say something, whether it was going to be a compliment or not, Megan blurted out, “I don’t know what to do with my hair.”

Scarlett tapped her lips, studying her like she was an interesting painting. “You want me to curl it?” Scarlett asked.

“My hair doesn’t curl.” Megan had never had any luck with that. “It’s too fine.”

Scarlett tucked the final bobby pin into her own style and walked over to Megan, running her hand through Megan’s hair. The contact sent a chill all down Megan’s spine. Oh, she wanted Scarlett to keep touching her like that.

“It’s pretty fine.” Scarlett gathered up a bunch of Megan’s hair in her hands. Megan shivered. Hopefully Scarlett wouldn’t notice the shiver. “It would curl if you didn’t wash it so much. You need it to get dirty.”

Megan laughed, and it sounded breathless coming out. “I don’t really do dirty.”

Scarlett still had the hold on her hair, and she tipped Megan’s head back to look at her. “You sure about that?”

The unspoken after last night hung in the air between them. Megan sucked in a breath, her lips parting, and their gazes locked. Then it was like Scarlett had suddenly realized what she said, and she slid her hands out of Megan’s hair and backed away. “Your hair is cute just like it is. You don’t need to do anything to it.” She turned toward the mirror again and fumbled with her makeup bag. Was it Megan’s imagination, or were Scarlett’s hands shaking? “You, uh, ever think about cutting it?” Scarlett asked.

Megan was still rattled and warm all over. It took her a moment to process Scarlett’s words. “Oh. Yeah, actually. Sometimes I think about a pixie cut. Cutting all of it off. But I get nervous.”

“It’s a big step. But you’ve got the perfect heart-shaped face for it.” Scarlett glanced over, then back at the mirror. “If you ever want to do it, there’s probably a million great salons along our road trip. Could be a fun change. And it grows back.”

She was talking fast. Megan was having a hard time thinking. “Yeah. Maybe. I’ll…do my makeup.”

She had the new makeup from Sephora to try, and while it wasn’t her area of expertise, she put together what she hoped was a good look—not super fancy, but she didn’t end up looking like a clown, either. When she returned from the bathroom, Scarlett was done.

“What about lipstick?” Scarlett asked.

“I’m wearing some.” Megan resisted the urge to touch her lips in reflex.

Scarlett frowned. “Nude?”

“It’s light pink.”

“You need a bold lip. Something really red. It would bring the whole look together.”

“I don’t have anything really red.” Megan stuck with all light pinks whenever she got makeup, which wasn’t very often. Red was showy and ostentatious, and she wasn’t the type of person to try to get noticed.

Scarlett rummaged in her bag and pulled out a lipstick. “Here. Let me.” She touched Megan’s chin, gently tilting her head back, and then began to apply the lipstick with focused precision. Megan tried not to shiver as Scarlett held her face perfectly still, her attention locked onto Megan’s lips. When she finished, they held that pose, and desire flared up in Megan like a flashover. She wanted to lean forward and ruin that perfect lipstick against Scarlett’s berry-red mouth.

RITA™ Award-winning author Elia Winters is a fat, tattooed, polyamorous bisexual who loves petting cats and fighting the patriarchy. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school, where she also runs the drama club. In her spare time, she is equally likely to be found playing tabletop games, kneading bread, cross-stitching, or binge-watching Marie Kondo. A sex educator and kink-positive feminist, Elia reviews sex toys, speaks at kink conventions, and writes geeky, kinky, cozy erotic romance. She currently lives in western Massachusetts with her loving husband and their weird pets.

Connect with the Author | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Review | The Mall by Megan McCafferty

The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When I first heard about this book, I was beyond excited – set in the 90s, in a mall? Sign me up. As someone who grew up in the 90s, I was all about the nostalgia I hoped this would make me feel. It was all that and more, I found myself frequently having bouts of full on laughter as I read this book. Yes, it’s absolutely cheesy and over the top at times, but let’s be honest – so were the 90s. The mystery/treasure hunt aspect was a surprise and so fun to read – it was like The Goonies set in a mall.

Hilarity aside, it was also a story about Cassie and her journey through this last summer in her hometown. She went through a transformation, which was not always through good decisions, but in the end she learned so much about who she really wanted to be.

Thanks so much to Wednesday Books for sending me an ARC of this one! The Mall is out now, so be sure to pick up a copy!

Happy reading!

Cover Reveal | Touch of Evil by Cecy Robson

Today I am excited to share the cover of Touch of Evil. International and award-winning author Cecy Robson shares the newest novel in her Weird Girls urban fantasy series. The tenth book in the Weird Girls series and first novel in the Touch series featuring Emme Wird.

Touch of Evil

Available October 13, 2020

The award-winning Weird Girls series has continued to delight fans with breathtaking paranormal romance stories told through Celia and Taran’s point of views. Now it is the youngest sister, Emme’s turn to share her story with readers.

Emme Wird, the healer and powerful telekinetic, hasn’t had the best luck with males. Her sisters have found their mates and their forever loves. After a series of disastrous dates, Emme will settle for a decent meal and polite conversation. 

When the pack member Emme had dinner with is found dead, it is up to Emme and her werewolf pal Bren to solve his murder. But spine-tingling danger and touches with evil have ways of bringing close friends closer in ways neither would have expected. 

Could the male Emme has searched for be right in front of her, as he has been all along? Or will evil snatch him away from her, just as it did once before?

Amazon | iTunes | B&N | Kobo | Goodreads

Read an Excerpt

There’s a naked werewolf standing in front of me.

Let me kindly explain.

There’s a naked werewolf—a man who can change into a werewolf—standing naked, in human form, in front of me.

They do that a lot, change from beast to full naked glory. Typically, it’s pre and post bloody battle for the sake of the world and to protect its unsuspecting human populace. However awkward, I’m used to it.

“Like what you see?” he asks.

Make that sort of used to it.

He flexes and gives a little thrust to show off what he thinks are some delectable goods and oh, my…he has three testicles.

I slap my hands over my eyes. I take it back. I take it all back. I’m not used to all this.

“Emme,” Ted asks. “Did you just gag?”

I’m not a rude person.

I’m not a liar.

            “Yes?” is my response.

Ted is a lot bigger than me. He’s also stronger and can snap my spine without changing to his beast counterpart. I keep my hands over my eyes. As a nurse by trade, and a supernatural fighter by sheer terrible luck, I have seen things, ugly, frightening, and unexceptionally evil things, and I’ve encountered creatures so menacing mere thoughts reduce me to trembles.

I draw the line at extra testicles.

The sound of slapping and bouncing skin causes me to shrink inward. Ted seems to be putting on quite the show. Honestly, it sounds like a one-man juggling show involving best-left-covered body parts.

I’m tired of dating Teds.

And humans, they wouldn’t survive me or the world my sisters and I were thrown into.

No, in order to be with me you must have something special.

And I’m not referring to what Ted is currently playing with.

My hands slip away from my face when I sense his approach.

“In my world, I’m revered for my virility,” he says to my back.

“Mm-hmm,” I reply. I pity the packmate forced to run behind him.

Ted is either referring to his obscenely large member weres are known for (“They’re built for attracting females,” my perky sister once explained) or the extra semen sack dangling halfway down his thigh. Neither impress me and neither does Ted.

I carefully step over the second of two discarded pizza boxes and make my way toward the exit.

My steps slow as I reach the door.

I turn to me left, then to my right. Something else is here.

Dread and resentment drag their long spindly fingers across my skin and hate coats my tongue.

I’m scared and on guard, and it’s not because of Ted.


About the Author

Cecy Robson is an international and multi-award-winning author of over twenty-five character driven novels. A registered nurse of eighteen years, Cecy spends her free time creating magical worlds, heart-stopping romance, and young adult adventure. After receiving two RITA® nominations, the Maggie Award, the Award of Excellence, and a National Reader’s Choice Award nomination, you can still find Cecy laughing, crying, and cheering on her characters as she pens her next story.

Website | Twitter | Facebook |Newsletter | Instagram | BookBub

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Review | With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After loving the Poet X, I was super eager to get to this book, but was hesitant because I didn’t know if I would enjoy Elizabeth Acevedo’s prose as much as I loved her verse. I needn’t have worried because honestly, I loved it just as much. She paints the imagery of her characters and their lives so beautifully, the format of the writing doesn’t matter. My heart hurt for so many of the characters in this book, not just Emoni, and I also rejoiced in their victories and achievements. Everyone went through different growth and setbacks, everyone had their own secrets and history, and I just loved it. Plus her descriptions of all the food featured in the book made me wish I could taste all of the dishes and experience them the same way Emoni did.

This book has really cemented Acevedo as an auto buy author, no matter what format she writes in. I love the raw truth and heart she brings to her characters and the overall story and absolutely can’t wait to read more.

Happy reading!

Camp NaNoWriMo | Update

Well here we are almost at the end of July, which means almost the end of Camp NaNoWriMo and sadly I again didn’t do as well as I’d hoped.

Let’s be real, anyone who isn’t suffering from some shift in their mental health, concentration, etc during this global pandemic is extremely lucky. I’ve had a hard time concentrating on anything, in a lot of instances I’ve been able to push through, but writing has been hard.

I’ve been doing more reading and editing of my work than writing, but at least I was able to write a few thousand words. It’s better than nothing but I wish I could have gotten into the groove more.

How did everyone else do? Happy writing!

Harlequin Christmas in July Sale | $1.99 Holiday ebooks

Harlequin is having another great sale right now and I just had to tell you all about it! Until the 28th they have 130 Christmas themed ebooks available for only $1.99, which is a savings of 40-70% off.

These prices are available on both their site and through Barnes and Noble Nook, make sure to check out the links below!

Harlequin.com | Barnes and Noble NOOK

Make sure to pick up the titles that sound good to you before the sale ends! Happy reading!

Review | Moonstruck Vol. 2 – Some Enchanted Evening

Werewolf barista Julie and her supernatural friends try to unwind at a party, but a conniving fraternity of fairy bros has other plans for our heroes. With one of their friends trapped in the frat house and the winter solstice (a notable night of magical mischief) looming ever-closer, it’s up to the amorous werewolves and gregarious centaur to save the day.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was hoping to love this volume as much as I loved the first volume, but couldn’t quite get there. The constant fighting between Julie and Selena. I did appreciate that Selena got called out on her behavior, but there was just a little too much. I still loved the characters (let’s be honest, Chet is the most precious being) and the art style, but overall the story just didn’t gel for me.

Obviously Julie and Selena have a lot of things to work out, but some of the constant misunderstandings and arguments just really dampened the story for me. The fairies and their storylines were cool, but felt a little disjointed and incomplete.

I’m still interested to see what comes next, but a little worried that I won’t like it if it continues in the same vein.

Happy reading!