Blog Tour | Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne | Review

Meet Josephine, the most loveable mischief-maker in Barbados, in a magical, heartfelt adventure inspired by Caribbean mythology.

Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That’s why she’s desperate to make it onto her school’s cricket team. She’ll get to play her favorite sport AND make sure her fisherman daddy is too busy attending her matches to date.

But when tryouts go badly, the frustrated Josephine cuts into a powerful silk cotton tree and accidentally summons a bigger problem into her life . . .
The next day, Daddy brings home a new catch, a beautiful woman named Mariss. And unlike the other girlfriends, she doesn’t scare easily. Josephine knows there’s something fishy about Mariss–she sings in a strange language, eats weird food, and seems to exert mysterious control over everyone she meets.

Josephine knows that Mariss isn’t what she seems … she might not be human! But who’s going to believe her? Can Josephine convince her friends to help her and use her cricket skills to save Daddy from Mariss’s clutches before it’s too late?

Book Links | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What can I say about this book that doesn’t start with the fact that I loved every second of it? It’s rich with culture, heritage and folklore – as well as a main character who speaks with such a clear voice that she’s practically three dimensional. It was such a fun and compelling read from start to finish with writing that just flew by and was completely immersive. There were so many times during this book that I was laughing and I truly enjoyed the glimpse into modern Barbados life and culture. I also really loved the dynamic between Josephine and her father, and the talk of her father’s heritage since he was from Guyana. This book was packed full of so much that I loved and I will definitely be looking for more from this author in the future.

Shakirah Bourne is a Barbadian author and filmmaker. Her first feature film, the comedy-drama, PAYDAY, was screened throughout the Caribbean, USA and UK. She has written three films since its debut in 2013: Two Smart (writer/co-director), Next PAYDAY (writer/producer) and A Caribbean Dream (writer/director). A Caribbean Dream is distributed by Verve Pictures and had a cinema release in London in 2017. The film won several awards, including Best Drama at the National Film Awards UK,  Best International Feature at the Charlotte Black Film Festival and best UK Feature at the London Independent Film Festival.

Her short stories have been featured in many literary journals (see below). Her self-published collection of short stories, IN TIME OF NEED (2013), won the prestigious Governor General Award for Excellence in Literary Fiction. She was a finalist for the BURT/CODE Award for Caribbean Literature in 2018. The Caribbean edition of her middle grade novel, MY FISHY STEPMOM, was published by Blue Banyan Books (2019) and the North American edition, JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA, will be published by Scholastic in 2021.

She was  a Part-time Lecturer at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and is a Part-Time Lecturer in Screenwriting at the Barbados Community College. She currently holds Certificates in Screenwriting from the Barbados Community College and the University of Edinburgh, and an MA (Hons) in Arts and Cultural Management from Queen Margaret University.

Author Links | Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

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Blog Tour | Shark Summer by Ira Marcks | Review

Shark Summer is bursting with vibrant, expressive art….The characters are distinct and relatable…It’s a lovely read!”—Molly Knox Ostertag, author of the Witch Boy series

“Eloquently chronicled in Marcks’s cinematic panels, friendships are formed and repaired, parental relationships articulated, and inner conflicts expressed and resolved. A winning production.” —Kirkus

When a Hollywood film crew arrives on Martha’s Vineyard with a mechanical shark and a youth film contest boasting a huge cash prize, disgraced pitcher Gayle “Blue Streak” Briar sees a chance to turn a bad season into the best summer ever.

After recruiting aspiring cinematographer Elijah Jones and moody director Maddie Grey, Gayle and her crew set out to uncover the truth of the island’s own phantom shark and win the prize money. But these unlikely friends are about to discover what happens when you turn your camera toward the bad things lurking below the surface.

Buy Links | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

I didn’t know a ton about this graphic novel going in but I was prepared for it to be a fun summer story, and it was! I really enjoyed the story as we followed Gayle as she navigated summer in Martha’s Vineyard, made new friends, dealt with a movie crew on location and dove deep into an old legend. She was definitely a complex character with not only issues that a lot of teens face, but she’s also having a crisis of identity due to what happened in her last baseball game, plus those she thought were her friends maybe aren’t as good of friends as she thought. While the plot has lots of components to it, I felt they were all wrapped up really well by the end of the graphic novel.

Ira Marcks is a cartoonist living in Upstate New York with his wife, two cats, a dog, and lots of books he’s been meaning to read. His love for ancient magic and possible futures has led him to create a warehouse of esoteric objects for the Hugo Award-winning magazine Weird Tales and to tell stories about villainous technology for the European Research Council. Shark Summer is his debut graphic novel.

Author Links | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Blog Tour | The Rooftop Party by Ellen Meister | Review

A Host of Trouble…

In this witty and engaging novel, Dana Barry, the Shopping Channel’s star host, stops by the company’s rooftop party to pitch the new CEO her brilliant idea that just might save the flagging business, her job and possibly her love life.

As she chats with the smarmy executive, he backs her into a dark corner. For Dana, it’s a quid pro oh-hell-no. She escapes his lecherous grasp and grabs her drink on her way to the dance floor. Woozy, she blacks out.

When she comes to, the CEO is dead, fallen from the roof. Or was he pushed? And if so, by whom? It’s hard to know, but one thing is certain: Dana was close enough to be suspect.

Sure, she loathed how the creep moved in on her, but she’s no killer. Or is she? Truth is, Dana can’t remember much about those minutes. Now she has to use all her skills to prove her innocence to everyone, including her police detective boyfriend—and herself.

Meister’s latest is fun and breezy, a compelling, suspenseful read that entertains and keeps you guessing.

Buy Links | Harlequin  | Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble  | Books-A-Million | Walmart | Google | iBooks | Kobo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I had never read any books by Ellen Meister before but as soon as I read the blurb and the murder mystery aspect of it – I was excited to get my hands on it. This was such a fun read and could easily be great for a summer beach read as it could be seen as both a mystery and rom-com in some ways. I felt that the interactions between Dana and Ari were handled really well and done in a very realistic manner, which made their relationship super easy to root for. I did realize part of the way in (and checked) that this is a sequel, but I don’t think having not read that book impacted my reading or experience at all – and I’m not sure if I would go back to read the previous book as I really enjoyed this one on its own. The plot moved along really fast and I loved Meister’s writing, it just made it one of those books that I had a hard time putting down since I was really enjoying it and wanted to know what was going to happen.

Ellen Meister is the author of  several novels including LOVE SOLD SEPARATELY,  DOROTHY PARKER DRANK HERE; FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER; THE OTHER LIFE and others. Ellen is also an editor, book coach, ghostwriter, and frequent contributor to Long Island Woman Magazine. She teaches creative writing at Long Island University Hutton House Lectures and previously at Hofstra University. Her latest novel is THE ROOFTOP PARTY. For more info visit ellenmeister.com.

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

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Blog Tour | Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley | Review

Kara Sullivan is definitely not avoiding her deadline. After all, it’s the week of her best friend’s wedding and she’s the maid of honor, so she’s got lots of responsibilities. As a bestselling romance novelist with seven novels under her belt, she’s a pro and looming deadlines and writer’s block (which she definitely doesn’t have) don’t scare her. She’s just eager to support Cristina as she ties the knot with Jason.

But who should show up at Cristina and Jason’s rehearsal dinner but Kara’s college ex-boyfriend, (the gorgeous and infuriating) Ryan? Apparently, he’s one of Jason’s childhood friends, and he’s in the wedding party, too. Considering neither Kara nor Ryan were prepared to see each other again, it’s decidedly a meet-NOT-cute. There is nothing cute about this situation, and a bit of notice to mentally prepare would’ve been nice, Cristina! However, when Kara sits down to write again the next day, her writers’ block is suddenly gone. She has to wonder what’s changed. Are muses real…? And is Kara’s muse…Ryan?

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this fun rom com and the second chance romance that it featured. I wanted to read this book as soon as I read the blurb for it and it gave me exactly what I was looking for. It did start off a little slow, but then really got going and ended up being quite a page turner for me. The writing is witty and the banter between the main characters was one of the best parts of the book. There were certainly some situations that seemed a little unrealistic in some ways, but it’s meant to be a fun romance and it definitely meets that criteria. If you’re looking for a fun romance that is definitely a bookish book, then this one is one for you.

KATE BROMLEY lives in New York City with her husband, son, and her somewhat excessive collection of romance novels (It’s not hoarding if it’s books, right?). She was a preschool teacher for seven years and is now focusing full-time on combining her two great passions – writing swoon-worthy love stories and making people laugh. Talk Bookish to Me is her first novel.

Social Links | Author Website | Twitter: @kbromleywrites | Instagram: @katebromleywrites | Facebook: @katebromleywrites | Goodreads

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Blog Tour | The Bookstore on the Beach by Brenda Novak | Review

For fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Kay Andrews, comes New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak’s newest standalone work of women’s fiction, a big, sweeping novel about family and the ties that bind and challenge us. In this novel, three generations of women from the same family share a house and work together at a bookstore in Colonial Beach over the course of a summer.

How do you start a new chapter when you haven’t closed the book on the last one?

Eighteen months ago, Autumn Divac’s husband went missing. Her desperate search has yielded no answers—she still has no idea where he went or why. After being happily married for twenty years, she can’t imagine moving forward without him, but for the sake of their two teenage children, she has to try.

Autumn takes her kids home for the summer to the charming beachside town where she was raised. She seeks comfort by working alongside her mother and aunt at their quaint bookshop, only to learn that her daughter is facing a life change neither of them saw coming and her mother has been hiding a terrible secret for years. And when she runs into Quinn Vanderbilt—the boy who stole her heart in high school—old feelings start to bubble up again. Is she free to love him, or should she hold out hope for her husband’s return? She can only trust her heart…and hope it won’t lead her astray.

BUY LINKS | Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository | Walmart | Target

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was very excited about the premise of this book when I read it, let’s be honest almost anything featuring a bookstore could pull me in, but I finished this one with a feeling of wanting more and yet, also wanting less. It felt like there were too many different plots and sub-plots to be able to concentrate on any of them fully, and in some instances it felt like there were holes. It would have been nice to have some backstory on her missing husband, since he’s already missing at the beginning of the book. While I did enjoy the story overall, I would have liked some things to be paired down and refined, while I would have liked more from the ending. That being said there were a lot of things I did enjoy in this book, such as the characters and some of the threads being woven in the plots. It was an enjoyable read overall.

Brenda Novak, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, has penned over sixty novels. She is a five-time nominee for the RITA Award and has won the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Bookbuyer’s Best, and many other awards. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million. For more about Brenda, please visit http://www.brendanovak.com.

SOCIAL | Twitter @Brenda_Novak | Facebook @BrendaNovakAuthor |
Instagram @authorbrendanovak | Goodreads

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Blog Tour | The Path to Sunshine Cove by RaeAnne Thayne | Review

She knows what’s best for everyone but herself…

With a past like hers, Jessica Clayton feels safer in a life spent on the road. She’s made a career out of helping others downsize—because she’s learned the hard way that the less “stuff,” the better, a policy she applies equally to her relationships. But a new client is taking Jess back to Cape Sanctuary, a town she once called home…and that her little sister, Rachel, still does. The years apart haven’t made a dent in the guilt Jess still carries after a handgun took the lives of both their parents and changed everything between them.

While Jess couldn’t wait to put the miles between her and Cape Sanctuary, Rachel put down roots, content for the world—and her sister—to think she has a picture-perfect life. But with the demands of her youngest child’s disability, Rachel’s marriage has begun to fray at the seams. She needs her sister now more than ever, yet she’s learned from painful experience that Jessica doesn’t do family, and she shouldn’t count on her now.

Against her judgment, Jess finds herself becoming attached—to her sister and her family, even to her client’s interfering son, Nate—and it’s time to put everything on the line. Does she continue running from her painful past, or stay put and make room for the love and joy that come along with it?

BUY LINKS | Harlequin  | Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Walmart | Google | iBooks | Kobo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Though I’m relatively new to RaeAnne Thayne’s writing, I have been enjoying the titles I’ve picked up from her so far. Even though this book is within a series, it was nice to find that you really don’t need to have read the previous installment. I would definitely classify this one in women’s lit as the romance isn’t the main focus. Here we really focus on the relationship between the sisters as well as dealing with their personal struggles. It was very touching at points, but there were definitely sections of the book where the pacing felt like it slowed down a bit – not to the point of really being detrimental – but it was noticeable to me. All in all I really enjoyed this story and am glad that I got the chance to read it.

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.

Social Links | Author Website | Twitter: @raeannethayne |
Facebook: @AuthorRaeAnneThayne | Instagram: @raeannethayne | Goodreads

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Blog Tour | The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody | Review

A boy who accidentally bonds with a magical Beast must set off on an adventure in the mysterious Woods in this whimsical and cheeky middle grade fantasy debut—perfect for fans of Nevermoor and How to Train Your Dragon.

The last thing Barclay Thorne ever wanted was an adventure.

Thankfully, as an apprentice to the town’s mushroom farmer, Barclay need only work hard and follow the rules to one day become the head mushroom farmer himself. No danger required. But then Barclay accidentally breaks his town’s most sacred rule: never ever EVER stray into the Woods, for within the Woods lurk vicious magical Beasts.

To Barclay’s horror, he faces a fate far worse than being eaten: he unwittingly bonds with a Beast and is run out of town by an angry mob. Determined to break this bond and return home, Barclay journeys to find the mysterious town of Lore Keepers, people who have also bonded with Beasts and share their powers.

But after making new friends, entering a dangerous apprenticeship exam, and even facing the legendary Beast of the Woods, Barclay must make a difficult choice: return to the home and rules he’s always known, or embrace the adventure awaiting him. 

Buy Links | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I am always into middle grade adventure stories, especially when they are fantasy based so I was super excited to get my hands on this one. I really enjoyed the aspect of Barclay not wanting to be a hero or have an adventurous life, it was a nice twist to the typically adventure story. I also really loved the world that Amanda Foody created and in many ways felt like a lot of the settings, based on the way she described them, could be imagined easily. That being said though, I think it was the perfect amount of world building and imagery for the target audience of younger readers and I think a lot of readers would be able to identify with at least one of the characters in the story. I couldn’t put this one down and am eagerly hoping I get to pick up any future books written in this world.

Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After a double life as an accountant preparing taxes for multinational corporations, she now spends her free time brewing and fermenting foods much more easily obtained at her local grocery store. She lives in Boston, MA with a hoard of books guarded by the most vicious of feline companions, Jelly Bean.

Her books include The Shadow Game series and more. Her middle grade debut, Wilderlore: The Accidental Apprentice, hits shelves March 30, 2021, and her next YA novel, All of Us Villains, co-authored with Christine Lynn Herman, releases on November 9, 2021.

Author Links | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Want to check out other posts on the blog tour? You can check them out here!

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Blog Tour | Danger in Numbers by Heather Graham | Review

This Spring, Heather Graham returns with a sultry and shocking standalone thriller about an FBI special agent trying to run from his past and a state police agent bent on solving a horrifying crime, even if it leads the two of them into the web of a vicious cult. Graham deepens the intrigue and raises the stakes in DANGER IN NUMBERS (MIRA Hardcover; March 23, 2021; $27.99).
On the edge of the Everglades, a brutal murder and an eerie crime scene set off an investigation that sends two agents deep into a world of corrupted faith, greed and deadly secrets.

A ritualistic murder on the side of a remote road brings in the Florida state police. Special Agent Amy Larson has never seen worse, and there are indications that this killing could be just the beginning. The crime draws the attention of the FBI in the form of Special Agent Hunter Forrest, a man with insider knowledge of how violent cults operate, and a man who might never be able to escape his own past.

The rural community is devastated by the death in their midst, but people know more than they are saying. As Amy and Hunter join forces, every lead takes them further into the twisted beliefs of a dangerous group that will stop at nothing to see their will done.

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As a big fan of Heather Graham’s other books I was excited to get the chance to pick this one up. I really enjoy her romantic suspense/thrillers and was excited to read this new story that involved cults and ritualistic murders. I would say that she definitely stepped up the intensity of her murder scenes and I found the intricacies of the actual case intriguing.

One thing I love about Graham’s writing is how she gives her characters great back stories and also gives them their own personalities. I really enjoyed how Amy and Hunter learned to trust each other and worked together while their relationship grew. The pacing of this story kept me engrossed, as did the twists and turns and secrets that were revealed.

Heather Graham is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author has written over two hundred novels and novellas, has been published in approximately twenty-five languages and with about 60 million books sold in print in the categories of romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare. For more information, visit her at TheOriginalHeatherGraham.com.

Social Links | Author Website | Twitter: @HeatherGraham |
Instagram: @TheOriginalHeatherGraham | Facebook: @HeatherGrahamAuthor | Goodreads

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Blog Tour | The Setup by Carol Ericson | Review

With a serial killer on the loose…

Secrets get you killed.

Detective Jake McAllister isn’t aware Kyra Chase is connected to a twenty-year-old unsolved murder. He sees his new case partner only as an unwelcome distraction. But with the body count rising, they’ll need to trust each other to help them catch a killer who seems to know more about Kyra than Jake does.

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a start to a new series that so far is more centered on the mystery and suspense than romance, but I felt it was a great introduction to the characters, team and setting. Even though this was a shorter book I found the characters well developed and it was full of lots of twists that kept the pace going. Overall I found the writing to be really compelling and really made the book fly by. It’s a good start to a series and I look forward to the rest of the series.

Carol Ericson lives in southern California, home of state-of–the-art cosmetic surgery, wild freeway chases, and a million amazing stories. These stories, along with hordes of virile men and feisty women clamor for release from Carol’s head until she sets them free to fulfill their destinies and her readers’ fantasies. To find out more about Carol and her current books, please visit her website at http://www.carolericson.com, “where romance flirts with danger.”

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Blog Tour | Stalked by Secrets by Deborah Fletcher Mello

If she wants to know his secrets…

This time it could be fatal.

Journalist Neema Kamau will risk anything to uncover the truth. She’ll even get close to politician Davis Black in order to investigate his possible organized crime connections. But when her professional interest turns personal, Neema knows that she risks losing the story—and the man—if she tells Davis the truth. And the stalker who’s circling them both might rob her of the chance to make things right…

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

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I think this is one of those instances where I should have read the previous books in the series first, as that may have given me more of a foundation, but I did still enjoy this story. The beginning was pretty slow for my taste but once it got going it was an enjoyable read with some good twists. I would say that the suspense was on the low side of suspense, but the romance portion was good. I did feel like the setting and situations were very realistic and probably true in their depictions, and enjoyed how real that felt. I would definitely read more of this author’s writing and may pick up the other books in the series to see if they do lend more to the story.

Deborah Fletcher Mello has been writing since forever and can’t imagine herself doing anything else. Her first romance novel, Take Me to Heart, earned her a 2004 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Best New Author, and in 2009, she won an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for her ninth novel, Tame a Wild Stallion. Born and raised in Connecticut, Deborah now considers home to be wherever the moment moves her.

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