Blog Tour | A Brambleberry Summer by RaeAnne Thayne | Review

A new season leads to a new beginning in New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne’s latest heartwarming romance!

Will the secrets of her past…

Prevent her from having the future she’s always wanted?

Rosa Galvez’s attraction to Officer Wyatt Townsend is as powerful as the moon’s pull on the tides. But with her past, Rosa knows better than to act on her feelings. When Wyatt and his adorable son become Brambleberry House’s newest tenants, Rosa finds her resolve slipping. Her solo life slowly becomes a sun-filled family adventure—until dark secrets threaten to break like a summer storm.

Add A Brambleberry Summer to your Goodreads!

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If you’re looking for a fun and easy read for the summer this is definitely a good one. It’s very much a low angst story and is really light and heartwarming. There are certainly some moments of tension, but nothing that is extreme. I really liked the relationship between Rosa and Wyatt, but also the one between Rosa and Wyatt’s son. I also love that it was set in Oregon, as it’s a beautiful state, so it’s pretty much an auto buy location for me. Thayne’s writing in this book was light and refreshing and made this story a perfect summer read.

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.

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

Happy reading!

Review | 21 Questions by Alexandria Rizik

In Laguna Beach, California, sixteen-year-old Kendra Dimes is preparing for the 2010 USA Surfing Prime West. She’ll be competing this year in honor of her brother, who was a surfer too, but who died from a drug overdose. Kendra has suffered anxiety attacks ever since her brother’s death, and surfing is what’s been helping her heal.

Brock Parker is the new bad boy at school; he deals drugs to the high school clientele for his parents, who work for a Mexican drug lord. Though Brock and Kendra come from two different worlds, sparks fly when they meet at the homecoming dance—their attraction is magnetic. When they start a game of 21 Questions one night, they begin to learn more about each other—and, surprisingly, about themselves too. But some questions aren’t answered with the whole truth; after all, Brock can’t tell Kendra what his parents do for a living.

As Kendra and Brock experience all of life’s most exciting firsts, they prove that even when life throws you the perfect storm, you can make it through and come out stronger than before. 21 Questions is a coming-of-age journey packed with passion and heartbreak, risk and romance.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was not expecting this one to hit me in the feels the way it did, but it did. Don’t let the summery beach cover fool you, this is a book containing some very real and heavy issues, mostly in the realm of drug use and selling. While the romance between Kendra and Brock is very much at the forefront, it is not the only focus. We get to see both of their points of view, which I felt really added to the story and all the different aspects of subjects that were included. Being someone who actually lost their older brother to drugs Kendra’s story hit especially hard – including her coping mechanisms, internal dialogue and specific memories of her brother. So much of the events and actions of people based on past experiences (especially Kendra’s) were so spot on in those situations.

Rizik’s writing flowed really well in both viewpoints and I really enjoyed the characters she crafted. There were a couple characters that I didn’t enjoy, but even they had some redeeming factors (and all teenagers can have moments of cringiness…so realistic). There were also characters who I really felt for and wanted to know more about, which is a sure sign that they are well crafted. Keep in mind that there are definite trigger warnings for death of a loved one, drug use, drug dealing, grief and more.

Alexandria Rizik is an award-winning filmmaker and the author of two books, the poetry collection Words Written in the Dark and the children’s book Chocolate Milk. She was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she was brought up by a large Armenian family. She received her bachelor of arts in English literature from Arizona State University. Alexandria’s love for writing began when she was a young child: her aunt bought her a journal and told her to write her a story, and the rest is history. Her favorite part about writing is being able to write the happily ever after that doesn’t always happen in real life. Besides writing, Alexandria loves yoga, wine, and family time. She lives in Scottsdale, AZ. Learn more at https://www.alexandriarizik.com.

A huge thank you to SparkPress for sending me a copy of this book so I could review it! Come back on release day (8/3) for a Q&A that I was able to have with Alexandria!

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | Redemption on Rivers Ranch by Kathy Douglass

The return of his childhood friend

leads to the fresh start he never expected

Horse rancher Carson Rivers has his own emotional demons. There’s no place in his life for a divorced single mom pulling at his heartstrings. But when Gabriella Tucker and her adorable children move next door—the place of her favorite childhood memories—Carson’s tempted to help the heart-guarded beauty make more adult memories. Maybe Gabriella and her kids are the healing balm he’s been yearning for…

Add Redemption on Rivers Ranch to your Goodreads!

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

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this sweet friends to lovers romance. Sometimes it can be hard when a romance includes kids, but I felt the inclusion of Gabriella’s kids and how Carson interacted with them was really well done. The writing style was easy to read and made this a quick and fun read. Though the steam level is relatively low it was still a great story. The characters and their emotional baggage was really well written and their actions were believable as they moved from friends to lovers.

Kathy Douglass came by her love of reading naturally – both of her parents were readers. She would finish one book and pick up another. Then she attended law school and traded romances for legal opinions.

After the birth of her two children, her love of reading turned into a love of writing. Kathy now spends her days writing the small town contemporary novels she enjoys reading.

Kathy loves to hear from her readers and can be found on Facebook.

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

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison | Review

When a bad boy in need of a second chance meets a good girl who is off limits, sparks fly and forbidden friendship forms in this edgy own-voices romance, perfect for fans of Katie McGarry and Kristina Forest.

They were supposed to ignore each other and respect that fine line between them…

Guillermo Lozano is getting a fresh start. New town, new school, and no more reckless behavior. He’s done his time, and now he needs to right his wrongs. But when his work at the local community center throws him in the path of the one girl who is off limits, friendship sparks…and maybe more.

Regan London needs a fresh perspective. The pressure to stay in her “perfect” relationship and be the good girl all the time has worn her down. But when the walls start to cave in and she finds unexpected understanding from the boy her parents warned about, she can’t ignore her feelings anymore.

The disapproval is instant. Being together might just get Guillermo sent away. But when it comes to the heart, sometimes you have to break the rules and be a little bit reckless…

Buy Links | Bookshop.org | Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Google Play | Kobo | Apple Books

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Having read Whitney D. Grandison’s previous book and enjoying it, I was excited to pick up this one. I did really enjoy it and found it to be a complex read that tackled a lot of very present and modern issues. I really enjoyed Guillermo’s character and felt that out of everyone he was the most three dimensional character. While this book had a little bit of a slow start, once you get invested in the story it really moves along. Not only do the characters pull you in, but the fact that things such as consent, hard past events and more. There were certainly some moments that perhaps were a little frustrating, but they didn’t impact the story in a negative way. All in all I really enjoyed this one and found it to be a great read!

Whitney is dedicated to telling stories about teens of color and teens in difficult but relatable situations. Some of her works can be found on Wattpad, one of the largest online story sharing platforms, where she has acquired over 30,000 followers and an audience of over fifteen million dedicated readers. Outside of writing, she is a lover of Korean dramas, all things John Hughes, and horror films. Whitney currently lives in Akron, Ohio. She is the author of A Love Hate Thing and The Right Side of Reckless. Visit Whitney’s website http://www.whitneydgrandison.com and follow her on Twitter @whitney_dg and Instagram @wheadee.

Social Links | Author website: www.whitneydgrandison.com | Twitter: @whitney_dg |
Instagram: @wheadee

Happy reading!

Review | The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

A small book for anyone in search of hope, looking for a path to a more meaningful life, or in need of encouragement.

Happiness occurs when you forget who you’re expected to be. And what you’re expected to do. Happiness is an accident of self-acceptance. It’s the warm breeze you feel when you open the door to who you are.

Years ago, Matt Haig began writing notes to his future self. These notes were meant as gifts to his future self: offerings of hope to help himself through anything from the darkest periods of his life to a not-so-great day. As time went on, he added new thoughts and stories, and he turned them into The Comfort Book so that everyone could draw on this well of reassurance and encouragement. Each of its short meditations gives a new perspective on life and all of its highs and lows–small islands of hope for anyone looking for a more fulfilling, more uplifting way through life. Incorporating a diverse array of sources from across the world, history, science, and his own experiences, Haig offers warmth and reassurance, reminding us to slow down and appreciate the beauty and unpredictability of existence.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ve loved what I’ve read of Matt Haig’s writing so far, so when I heard about this one I had to pick it up right away. It spoke to me so much – I’m not someone who tabs or annotates (except in poetry collections) but this one now has a ton of tabs because there were so many passages I wanted to go back to at a later time. It’s a collection of vignettes and passages, ranging from a few lines to a couple pages, some discussing Haig’s emotions and experiences and other being more introspective, about the world or about figures in the past. Though this is a book you can read passages from here and there, there is a clear story/journey throughout the book. The theme is mainly on hope, but also encompasses so much more. Keep in mind that Haig talks very openly about his experiences with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts (which he’s talked about in his other nonfiction books), but it’s good to know if these subjects trigger you.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | One Week to Claim it All by Adriana Herrera | Review

She’ll inherit an empire…but only if she can resist her ex—in this Sambrano Studios novel by Adriana Herrera.

She’s on track to be the new CEO.

Her ex is the only one standing in the way.

When Esmeralda Sambrano-Peña unexpectedly inherits her father’s media empire, it ruffles more than a few feathers. And no one is more conflicted about it than Rodrigo Almanzar. Esmeralda knows her father’s longtime protégé—and her ex-lover—wants the executive job for himself. Making matters worse, their renewed passion grows undeniable with every late-night meeting. Will Rodrigo prove to be the perfect partner in business and pleasure…or her professional undoing?

Add One Week to Claim It All to your Goodreads!

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This one definitely sounded fun when I heard about it, so I had to pick it up. I loved the way it was written and the characters that were introduced. It really felt like it was a telenovela and was such a quick and entertaining read. I really loved Herrera’s writing style and felt that she pretty perfectly crafted the hate to love elements, which can often be hard to do well. I was not expecting the number of twists or drama that this included, but pretty much enjoyed every moment of reading it!

I’m also excited to share and excerpt of this book with everyone –

Esme’s chest fluttered with an ember of hope and longing at her mother’s words. Ivelisse was right, she’d been killing herself for the past five years—trying and failing to get her projects off the ground, but she could not get a break. Because her ideas weren’t “commercial” enough, or relatable to the “mainstream” audience. She was tired of getting doors shut in her face because she refused to compromise. As head of Sambrano Studios she could make her dream come to life. Put shows out there that reflected all the faces of Latinx culture.

If she wasn’t pushed out by Carmelina first.

“Mami, that woman is never going to let me stay. And I don’t want to sink to her level.” Ivelisse had been a wonderful mother, gentle and kind, but she was a fighter when it counted, and the mention of her old foe lit a fire behind her eyes.

“Carmelina won’t know how to fight you, baby. That woman has never done a day of work in her life. When you go in there—smart, competent, full of fresh ideas—that board won’t know what hit them.” That ember was now a tiny flame fueled by the faith Esme’s mother had in her. Still, she’d learned the hard way not to trust anything that came from her father.

“But won’t the board have someone picked out already? Someone that doesn’t come with the drama that I will certainly cause?”

Her mother averted her eyes at her question and that gave Esme pause. “Mami?” she asked wearily as she scanned the paper in her hands again, looking for whatever her mother wasn’t saying. And when she got to the very last paragraph she understood. Her body flashed hot and cold, just from reading that name. There in black and white was the last push she needed to jump right into an ocean of bad decisions.

“Him?” she asked tersely, and from the corner of her eye she saw her mother flinch.

Rodrigo Almanzar, her father’s protégé and the person who for years had been the only tie she had to Patricio. The man she’d given her heart and her body to only to have him betray her when she needed him most. The man whose very name could still make her ache with longing and tremble with fury. How could it still hurt so much after all this time?

She felt tired. Tired of this damn thing hanging over her head. Tired of all the complicated feelings she had about everything having to do with Sambrano Studios. Especially when it came to the tall, brawny, arrogant bastard who was probably hoping she’d do the very thing she’d been considering. Let her pride and her baggage make her decision for her.

And she might have, if he wasn’t the one who’d end up as president and CEO. She wouldn’t do it out of greed, or even to appease her mother, but she would do it out of spite. Rodrigo had betrayed her just so he could continue as her father’s lapdog. Now she’d take the thing he’d sold his soul for…just when he thought he finally had it.

“Actually,” she said, standing up, already feeling the fire in her gut that usually preceded her doing ill-advised things. “You’re right.” The four women in her living room were all looking at her with varying degrees of anticipation. “I’ve been saying for years that if given the chance to shoot my shot I wouldn’t hesitate to take it. This isn’t exactly how I’d hoped to get it, but now that I do, I’m not wasting it. Tomorrow, Sambrano will get its new president and CEO.”

Her mother eyed Esme with suspicion, probably guessing what had been the deciding factor for her change of heart, while her aunt Yocasta crowed with delight, “Ay, Ivelisse, what I wouldn’t give to see the look on Carmelina’s face when Esme walks into that boardroom tomorrow.”

Esme smiled wryly at her aunt, but her mind was already racing toward the other shocked face she was looking forward to seeing.

Adriana Herrera was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last 15 years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings.

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

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | What Happens in Miami by Nadine Gonzalez | Review

When a man on a mission is derailed by a beautiful woman, will one night ever be enough? Find out in this Miami Famous novel from Nadine Gonzalez.

Will one night be his undoing?

Alessandro Cardenas isn’t stepping out on the Miami art scene only for the hottest parties. Someone is forging his late grandfather’s paintings—and he’s determined to uncover the culprit. But when he crosses paths with gallerist Angeline Louis, the boundaries between mystery and seduction become blurred. Does Angeline suspect his ulterior motives…even as she surrenders to his kisses? Does she have secrets of her own? Or can Alessandro trust that their once-in-a-lifetime connection is real?

Add What Happens in Miami… to your Goodreads!

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

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I found this a quick and enjoyable romance that was a fun read, but didn’t blow me away. Sandro by far was the most developed and complex character in my opinion so I really enjoyed reading about him, but a lot of the story itself didn’t feel realistic. This is absolutely fine as it is fiction, but sometimes it does jolt me when a character’s behavior or attitude isn’t quite realistic. That being said I still really enjoyed this story and the writing style, it was a great quick summer read.

Nadine Gonzalez was born in New York City, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Eventually, she moved to Miami, Florida, and fell in love with the people, weather, and lifestyle. She started her first novel while in law school and her modern romances reflect this vibrant city and unique mix of cultures. 

Nadine lives with her Cuban American husband and their beautiful son. For more visit her website: www.nadine-gonzalez.com

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

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Last Little Secret by Zuri Day | Review

Will a secret child stand in the way of business? Find out in this Sin City Secrets novel by Zuri Day.

Is she willing to risk it all

for one more night with the boss?

Thanks to a year-long hiatus, interior designer Samantha Price is desperate for a new project. But the only client she can land is Nick Breedlove, a former one-night stand who’s dominated her fantasies ever since! The real estate billionaire agrees their partnership is strictly professional—even as his flirting promises more. If Sam gives in to their passion…will Nick learn the truth about their baby son?

Add The Last Little Secret to your Goodreads!

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was my first Zuri Day book, but I found I really enjoyed her writing style and how the story itself flowed. Miscommunication and a secret baby aren’t my favorite tropes to read, unless they are done well and for the most part I felt this one was done pretty well. I really enjoyed the chemistry between the main characters and there was enough of the side characters that it makes me want to check out the other books in the series to see who they are about. Though this is the 4th book in the series, I felt it could easily be read as a stand alone if you wanted, I didn’t feel like there was anything I didn’t understand or anything that confused me.

Award-winning author Zuri Day snuck her first Harlequin romance from her older sister’s collection and was hooked from page one. Knights in shining armor and happily-ever-afters spurred a lifelong love of reading. Zuri now creates these stories as a full-time author. Splitting her time between the stunning Caribbean islands and southern California, and always busy writing her next novel, Zuri still loves to connect with readers via Zuri@ZuriDay.com.

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

Happy reading!

Review | Ghosts of Salem: Haunts of the Witch City by Sam Baltrusis

Nestled on the rocky coast of Massachusetts, Salem is a city steeped in history and legend. Famous for its witch trials, the storied North Shore seaport also has a dark history of smugglers and deadly fires. It is considered one of New England’s most haunted destinations. Inside Howard Street Cemetery, the ghost of accused witch Giles Corey wanders among the gravestones. Outside the Ropes Mansion, the ghost of Abigail Ropes can be seen peeking out of the windows. The Gardner-Pingree House on Essex Street is host to the spirit of sea captain Joseph White, a man whose murder in 1830 inspired literary giants like Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Join author and paranormal journalist Sam Baltrusis on a chilling journey through the streets of Salem as he chronicles the historic haunts of the Witch City.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Well, first things first – anyone who uses Ghost Adventures as a source gets a little side eye from me… That being said, I didn’t have an issue with any of the actual quotes from Nick (of Ghost Adventures).

Now on to what I really thought – I really enjoyed this compilation of locations/stories from Salem. I felt the writing style was solid – with any book that deals with history and legends you are going to get some dryness and dense sections, but I felt it was balanced really well between history and story telling. There were some instances where things were repeated which threw me a little, but the author did usually have a note that the subjects were referenced elsewhere in the book. The pictures that went along with the different sections were interesting and definitely added an element to the book as it was helpful to see named locations. Also, most of the sources sounded really interesting (besides Ghost Adventures) so I now have a list of other books I’d like to track down and pick up.

Happy reading!

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

Make sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour here!

Happy reading!