Review: Passion on Park Avenue

For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page.

This one was such a fun roller coaster ride. In it we primarily follow Naomi, but also Clair and Audrey, who all find out that they were in relationships with Claire’s husband the day of his funeral. They form a fast friendship and a pact to look out for each other.

A lot of the book has to do with holding grudges and how to move on from them, people changing and also takes a look at what Alzheimer’s not only does to those who suffer from it but those around them. While this was a great romance between Naomi and Oliver, it had much more depth than I expected. Layne really dove into their feelings and internal conflicts between each other.

I really loved the banter between them and their friends/family. The writing style was so fluid and easy that it made for a really fast read.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour: Don’t Read the Comments

Slay meets Eliza and Her Monsters in Eric Smith’s Don’t Read the Comments, an #ownvoices story in which two teen gamers find their virtual worlds—and blossoming romance—invaded by the real-world issues of trolling and doxing in the gaming community.

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…And she isn’t going down without a fight.

Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-A-Million Kobo Indie Bound Google Play

I was super excited about this book when I heard about it. Being a gamer myself I’m very aware of the toxicity that can be found in the gaming community, especially when it comes to female players, so having a book that tackles this head on was such a joy to see.

I was not disappointed at all and can easily say that Don’t Read the Comments will likely appear in my favorite books of the year list. It not only discussed the gaming community and how celebrities in that community are treated, but also addressed other issues in the gaming community, different family dynamics and issues and so much more. The discussion regarding how Divya guards her identity and information out of fear of being pursued or doxxed is something that is seen in a number of industries, not just the gaming community.

I fell in love with so many of the characters, even when they perhaps weren’t acting the best. They were all moving cogs within the story that contributed greatly to the plot. There were also wonderfully inserted moments of humor that not only lightened the events, but perfectly added a realness to the story.

This was really such a wonderful read and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Eric Smith is an author, prolific book blogger, and literary agent from New Jersey, currently living in Philadelphia. Smith cohosts Book Riot’s newest podcast, HEY YA, with non-fiction YA author Kelly Jensen. He can regularly be found writing for Book Riot’s blog, as well as Barnes & Noble’s Teen Reads blog, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. Smith also has a growing Twitter platform of over 40,000 followers (@ericsmithrocks).

Social Links: 
Author website: https://www.ericsmithrocks.com/
Twitter: @ericsmithrocks 
Instagram: @ericsmithrocks
Facebook: @ericsmithwrites

Happy reading!

Blog Tour: A Love Hate Thing

When they’re stuck under one roof, the house may not be big enough for their hate…or their love

When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the affluent coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares, and the total feeling of not belonging in the posh suburb. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the mean streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything. He doesn’t even care how the rest of his life will play out.

In Pacific Hills, image is everything. Something that, as the resident golden girl, Nandy Smith knows all too well. She’s spent most of her life building the pristine image that it takes to fit in. After learning that her parents are taking in a former childhood friend, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames. It’s the start of summer vacation and the last thing Nandy needs is some juvenile delinquent from the ’Wood crashing into her world.

Stuck together in close quarters, Trice and Nandy are in for some long summer nights. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

Buy Links: Harlequin Amazon Barnes & Noble Indie Bound Kobo
Books-a-Million Google Play

I don’t read a ton of contemporary YA but the premise of this one piqued my interest and I wanted to check it out. It was definitely a compelling story that delved into subjects such as stereotypes, perceived status, racism and more. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the representation, but I really enjoyed the progression of the story and characters. There were characters that I wish we’d had more of an insight into, as they were a little two dimensional. I found myself wanting to know more about their back stories so that I could understand some of their actions, but since they weren’t the main characters I do understand why there wasn’t more about them.

The pacing and switching off of the POVs made this a really fast read and the story kept moving really well. There were definitely some sections that made me anxious because of what was happening which to me is a good sign of the quality of writing. Overall this was a really compelling and worthwhile read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Whitney D. Grandison was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, where she currently resides. A lover of stories since she first picked up a book, it’s no surprise she’s taken to writing her own. 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.

Social Links: Instagram: @wheadee
Twitter: @whitney_DG

Happy reading!

Blog Tour: Husband Material Review and Q&A

Told in Emily Belden’s signature edgy voice, a novel about a young widow’s discovery of her late husband’s secret and her journey toward hope and second-chance love.

Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.

Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.

But soon a shocking secret surfaces, forcing Charlotte to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at new love arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.

Buy Links: Harlequin Amazon Barnes & Noble Indie Bound Kobo
Google Books

If you had to sum up this book in one word it would definitely be cute or adorable. It’s a fun and sassy romantic comedy that tackles grief, interactions with those you may have a new relationship with and finding new love. Charlotte is very data oriented, but it’s somewhat of a shield for her so she can keep herself safe. There’s definitely some avoidance on her part and a lot of ways in which she needs to come to terms with some things and grow.

I would definitely go into this book with the idea that it will be a fun read and for the most part light but full of heart. I could have used a little more dimension to some of the characters, but overall I did enjoy the adventure that was this book and would definitely recommend it.

EMILY BELDEN is a journalist, social media marketer, and storyteller. She is the author of the novel Hot Mess and Eightysixed: A Memoir about Unforgettable Men, Mistakes, and Meals. She lives in Chicago. Visit her website at http://www.emilybelden.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @emilybelden.

Social Links: Author website: http://www.emilybelden.com/
Twitter: @emilybelden
Instagram: @emilybelden
Facebook: @emilybeldenauthor

Q&A With Emily Belden

Q: When you begin writing a love story, do you know how you want it to end? Or do you decide as you develop the plot?
A: I generally have an idea of how I want things to wrap up, but what I always struggle with is that final sentence. How do you know you’re REALLY there? I often ready my theoretical last sentence out loud, followed by saying “The End”, and if it feels like it has a certain “ring” to it, then I can shut the laptop. If not, then I know it’s not my stopping point. Wrapping up that final thought with a bow on it is super important. It’s what I want when I read a book, at least.

Q: How was it to write about grief, pain and love for the same character?
A: It was new. That’s really the best word to explain it. HOT MESS has so many autobiographical elements to it (i.e., restaurant industry know-how, dating an addict, etc.) but HUSBAND MATERIAL was all unchartered territory for me. I realized right away that in order to write about the grief of losing a spouse/partner, I had to curate a focus group of real-life women like Charlotte and really learn from them to bring the level of authenticity and nuance needed to successfully write the book.

Q: What type of love stories do you like? Or were there ones you looked to as you began writing Husband Material?
A: I like really unexpected love stories. In today’s literary landscape, there’s certainly a formula that is pretty common. So it’s the books that break or stray from that formula that really do it for me. I like stories where it’s not innately clear who the protagonist is going to end up with. Even with HOT MESS there’s a moment where (I hope) the reader is like “OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING” insofar as Allie’s love story goes. Same with Charlotte in HUSBAND MATERIAL.

Q: Do you prefer to write by planning ahead (ie outlining, etc) or just go with the flow as inspiration hits?
A: I prefer to go with the flow. My general writing pattern is banging out 1-2 chapters at a time and then ending my work with a bulleted list of what I think needs to happen next. That way, when I open up my laptop and start to write the next 1-2 chapters, I’m not totally lost or forgetful of where I left off. It helps me figure out what would make sense in the flow of the pages.

Q: When did you know you wanted to become an author? What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR list?
A: It’s been my only god-given talent since I was a little kid. It started with really creative letters to Santa or the Tooth Fairy. I won a contest to be a kid reporter for the Chicago Tribune when I was 12 years old and after that, my fate was sealed. I knew I wanted to write at the highest level I could! I am currently reading a book called Lulu’s Cafe by an author who is also repped by my agents, Browne & Miller. I really love it and can picture it as an adorable Hallmark Movie.

What that’s it for this post, thanks again to Harlequin for inviting me to this blog tour and allowing me to participate. Happy reading!

Review: The Hashtag Hunt

The only reason Lauren entered the Hashtag Hunt was for the $10,000 grand prize. She needed seed money for her startup, and it sounded easy enough: twelve hours to text twelve photos to someone called the Wizard. For hashtag number five, Lauren needs a #HottieInTheWild, and with the help of her best friend, Ivy, she finds the perfect subject.

The only reason Brenner entered Barkley’s Pub was to have beers with Scott, an Army brother back in town. The reunion is interrupted when a woman is caught crouched in a dark corner, taking pictures of Brenner. Lauren explains, and though embarrassed, she accepts Scott and Brenner’s offer to help with hashtag number six.

While hunting for hashtags, Lauren finds adventure and romance with her #Hottie, but she must stay focused to beat the clock and win the cash. 

I didn’t know much of anything about this going in, but it was an incredibly fun adventure that takes place all in one night. We follow Lauren who is competing in The Hashtag Hunt. Along the way she meets new people, has some adventures that are a little out of her comfort zone and finds new friends.

There are definitely some elements that you have to suspend disbelief for, but this book was so fun I had to give it five stars. It was that good based on enjoyment alone, while also briefly touching on some heavier subjects regarding the individual characters.

All in all this was a great time and I would definitely pick up other books by this author.

Happy reading!

Review: The Way You Make Me Feel

Synopsis: Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

With Maurene Goo’s signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

I’ve wanted to pick up one of Maurene Goo’s books for quite a while, so I was glad to finally get to this one. While it was often pitched as a contemporary romance, I feel it is so much more than that. It explores aspects of all different types of relationships whether they be friendships, romantic relationships or family relationships. The characters on the surface are simple, but Goo gives them depth and individuality that is refreshing. The way they play off each other and the ways that different characters grow and change, Clara especially.

Clara is a little unlikable at the beginning, but as the book progresses her motivations and reasons for her behavior become more apparent. She’s been very careful to distance herself from things to keep from truly getting hurt and watching as she slowly lets more people in and changes is wonderful.

There were a ton of moments that made me laugh and the banter between the characters were priceless. It’s own voices for Korean representation, which I love (my partner is Korean so anything featuring Korean characters, culture, history or mythology is pretty much auto-buy for me). Overall it’s a wonderful story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Also as a sidenote, how gorgeous is that cover? I’m in love with pretty much all her covers.

Happy reading!