Bloog Tour | The Lying Club by Annie Ward | Review

From the acclaimed author of Beautiful Bad comes an explosive new novel of revenge, murder and shocking secrets—where the victims aren’t who you might think. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Lucy Foley, and Liv Constantine.

Three women. Two bodies. One big lie…
A tangled web of lies draws together three women in this explosive thriller of revenge, murder and shocking secrets.

At an elite private school nestled in the Colorado mountains, Natalie, an office assistant, dreams of having a life like the school moms she deals with every day. Women like Brooke—a gorgeous heiress, ferociously loving mother and serial cheater—and Asha, an overprotective mom who suspects her husband of having an affair. Their fates are bound by the handsome assistant athletic director Nicholas, whom Natalie loves, Brooke wants and Asha needs.

But when two bodies are carried out of the school one morning, it seems the tension between mothers and daughters, rival lovers, and the haves and have-nots has shattered the surface of this isolated, affluent town—where people stop at nothing to get what they want.

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The way this book sounded I was thinking it might be along the lines of housewives type of drama but it ended up being far more than that. It does have a slow beginning and takes a while for the story to truly unfold, but that isn’t to say it is a hard read at all, just a slower pace. It’s the kind of book where you don’t really like anyone, but you’re still trying to figure out who might be good or bad and when everything truly came together it suddenly really picked up. If you’re looking for a book that is full of tons of twists and turns, this is definitely a thriller that would fit the bill.

Annie Ward is the author of Beautiful Bad. She has a BA in English literature from UCLA and an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first short screenplay, Strange Habit, starring Adam Scott, was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award winner at the Aspen Film Festival. She has received a Fulbright scholarship and an Escape to Create artist residency. She lives in Kansas with her family.

Social Links | Author Website | Twitter: @_annie_ward | Facebook: @anniewardbooks | Goodreads

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell by Taj McCoy

A debut rom-com about a plus-size heroine who gets a full-life makeover after a brutal breakup, with the help of an irresistible cast of friends and family, a kitchen reno, and a devastatingly handsome contractor.Savvy Sheldon spends a lot of time tiptoeing around various aspects of her life: her high-stress and low-thanks job, her clueless boyfriend, and the falling-apart kitchen she inherited from her beloved grandma who taught her how to cook and how to love people by feeding them. When Savvy’s complacency (and her sexy new lingerie) reaches a breaking point, she knows it’s time for some renovations.

Starting from the outside in, Savvy tackles her crumbling kitchen, her waistline, her work/life balance (or lack thereof,) and last (but not least): her love life. The only thing that doesn’t seem to require effort is her ride-or-die squad of close female friends. But as any HGTV junkie can tell you, something always falls apart during renovations. First, Savvy passes out during hot yoga. Then, it turns out that the contractor she hires is the same sexy stranger she unintentionally offended by judging based on appearances. Worst of all, Savvy can’t seem to go anywhere without tripping over her ex and his latest ‘upgrade.’ Savvy begins to realize that maybe she should’ve started her renovations the other way around, beginning with how she sees herself (and loves herself,) before she can build a love that lasts.

Buy Links | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million | BookShop.org |  Google Play

Rating: 3 out of 5.

When I originally heard about this book I felt like it was going to be a fun book that tackled some very current issues. There was great pacing which made it easy to fly through and the writing style was really easy to consume. Initially though I did have some issues with how Savvy reacted to the feedback of others, even though her reaction was a very reasonable and common one. That being said I was happy for her as she decided to turn the negatives into positives and better herself. One thing I will say is this book will likely be very triggering to any one with body issues as there is definitely fat shaming and lots of diet culture talks that I know can be hard for some to read. Overall, Savvy’s journey was entertaining and full of reflection and learning how to love yourself.

Oakland native and attorney Taj McCoy is committed to writing stories championing black and biracial women of color, plus-sized protagonists, and characters with a strong sense of sisterhood and familial bonds. When she’s not writing, she may be on Twitter boosting other marginalized writers, trying to zen out in yoga, sharing recipes on her website, or cooking private supper club meals for close friends.

Social Links | Author website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Happy reading!

Review | The Me You Love In the Dark Series by Skottie Young

Writer SKOTTIE YOUNG (I HATE FAIRYLAND, Deadpool, Strange Academy) and artist JORGE CORONA (NO. 1 WITH A BULLET, Super Sons, Feathers) follow up their critically acclaimed series MIDDLEWEST with a brand-new haunting tale. An artist named Ro retreats from the grind of the city to an old house in a small town to find solace and inspiration without realizing the muse within is not what she expected. Fans of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman will enjoy this beautiful, dark, and disturbing story of discovery, love, and terror.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Having really enjoyed I Hate Fairyland I was excited to see something new from Skottie Young. The Me You Love In the Dark was very twisted and had touches of almost Lovecraft type elements. What at first seems to be a ghost ends up being something else. It has themes of obsession, madness and very dark horror. Though it’s a short series, it is not for the faint of heart and there are some truly dark sequences and themes. It’s much more than Ro trying to find her muse again, that’s just the surface level of the story.

Happy reading!

Review | Secret Identity by Alex Segura

It’s 1975 and the comic book industry is struggling, but Carmen Valdez doesn’t care. She’s an assistant at Triumph Comics, which doesn’t have the creative zeal of Marvel nor the buttoned-up efficiency of DC, but it doesn’t matter. Carmen is tantalizingly close to fulfilling her dream of writing a superhero book.

That dream is nearly a reality when one of the Triumph writers enlists her help to create a new character, which they call “The Lethal Lynx,” Triumph’s first female hero. But her colleague is acting strangely and asking to keep her involvement a secret. And then he’s found dead, with all of their scripts turned into the publisher without her name. Carmen is desperate to piece together what happened to him, to hang on to her piece of the Lynx, which turns out to be a runaway hit. But that’s complicated by a surprise visitor from her home in Miami, a tenacious cop who is piecing everything together too quickly for Carmen, and the tangled web of secrets and resentments among the passionate eccentrics who write comics for a living.

Alex Segura uses his expertise as a comics creator as well as his unabashed love of noir fiction to create a truly one-of-a-kind novel–hard-edged and bright-eyed, gritty and dangerous, and utterly absorbing.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I thought the premise of this book was really interesting, especially with the mixed media aspect of it. It took on a somewhat tumultuous time in comic history. The pacing of the writing was a little slow, but the experience was immersive to say the least. You are invested in Carmen’s overall story and the struggle she faces in the comics industry, but also the mystery. Carmen as a character was compelling and all of the components of her personality, past and more were woven really well into who she was and her actions. While it was a slow building story it was gripping and kept me going until the last page.

Happy reading!

Review | What’s Your Sign?: A Guide to Astrology for the Cosmically Curious by Sanctuary Astrology

You don’t have to be famous to dance with the stars—you just need a healthy dose of cosmic curiosity. Explore astrology and dive deep into your birth chart with Sanctuary, featuring insights from the interactive app that go way beyond your horoscope.

What’s your sign? It’s not just a pickup line anymore, it’s a whole way of looking at the world. With the explosion of astrology into popular consciousness, anyone can access the deeper meaning of the cosmos and delve into the unique and personalized insights of their birth chart. This book guides beginners and enthusiasts alike through the signs, planets, and basics of astrology, helping you understand why not every Leo is the same, and why you might be reading their horoscope wrong. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert at identifying the paths to love, money, and magic that the stars hold for you.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I feel like interest in astrology has gained a renewed interest in previous years, so something like this book – a digestible guide regarding not only the different signs and their characteristics but all of the components that go into your birth chart. It is obvious because of references within the book that the author’s have an app and suggest trying it out, but not to a point where it felt like they were pushing. This book was written in a easy to understand way and would be a great resource for anyone wanting to dip their toes into astrology and lean more.

Happy reading!

Smile and Look Pretty by Amanda Pellegrino

A juicy, fun yet piercing debut novel, Smile and Look Pretty tells the story of four assistants working in media who band together to take on their toxic office environments in the ultimate comeuppance—pitched as Sweetbitter meets Whisper Network.

Online they’re The Aggressive One, The Bossy One, The Bitchy One, and The Emotional One. In real life, best friends Cate, Lauren, Olivia and Max all have one thing in common—they’re overworked, overtired, and underpaid assistants to some of the most powerful men in the media and entertainment industries. When they secretly start an anonymous blog detailing their experiences, their posts go viral and hundreds of other women come forward with stories of their own. Confronted with the risks of newfound fame and the possibility of their identities being revealed, they have to contend with what happens when you try and change the world.

Gripping, razor-sharp, and scathingly funny, Smile and Look Pretty is a fast-paced millennial rallying cry about the consequences of whistleblowing for an entire generation, and a testament to the strength of female friendship and what can be accomplished when women come together.

BUY LINKS | Bookshop.org | Amazon | B&N | Target | Books-A-Million | IndieBound | Kobo | Apple Books | Google Play

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There are a lot of titles that have come out as of late concerning a lot of recent and current events and this is definitely one of the stand outs on the fictional front for me. Tackling the #metoo movement and showing the lives and work experiences of the four leads – Cate, Lauren, Olivia and Max – was really well done for the most part. There were perhaps some moments of immaturity on their parts, but it gave some authenticity to their personalities in some ways. The book itself was well written and the last section of the book was definitely the best part. I enjoyed the author tackling such a current and relevant topic and writing a great story out of it.

Amanda Pellegrino is a TV screenwriter and novelist living in New York City whose writing has appeared in Refinery29 and Bustle. Smile and Look Pretty is her debut novel.

SOCIAL LINKS | Author Website | Instagram | Twitter

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | Killing Time by Brenna Ehrlich | Review

Killing Time follows a true-crime obsessed teenage girl who sets out to uncover a killer when her favorite teacher is murdered. With a dual POV that sends the reader back twenty years, this engrossing and twisty thriller is perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Karen McManus.

Summer in Ferry, Connecticut has always meant long, lazy days at the beach and wild nights partying in the abandoned mansions on the edge of town. Until now, that is.

Natalie Temple’s favorite teacher has been murdered, and there’s no way this true-crime obsessed girl is going to sit back and let the rumor mill churn out lie after lie. Not if she has anything to say about it – even if she has to hide her investigation from her disapproving mom and team up with a new boy in town with a mysterious smile and a talent for making fake IDs.

But the more Natalie uncovers, the more she realizes some secrets were never meant to be told.
With two interwoven mysteries, Killing Time is a deathly warning to a generation of murderinos: what happens when the stories we’re chasing finally catch up with us?

Buy Links | Bookshop.org | B&N | Amazon | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Google Play | Kobo |
Apple Books

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I really wanted to love this story as the description sounded right up my alley. A focus on true crime and solving a murder? Yes. While I did enjoy the story overall, there were definitely some things that detracted from my reading experience. I did not really enjoy the voice of the main character, to me she was a bit too harsh.

The overall mystery I felt was solid and fun to unravel as the story went on. While I didn’t love the main character, the way her and her mother’s perspectives wove together. So overall, the story was a positive for me. The writing style was also excellent and the pacing felt solid, so I would definitely read from this author again.

Brenna Ehrlich is a journalist, YA author, and editor who has worked everywhere from MTV News to Rolling Stone. She resides in New Jersey with her husband Morgan and their two cats, Nimbus and Hazel. She enjoys horror movies and romcoms in equal measure.

Social Links | Author website | Twitter | Instagram

Happy reading!

Review | Thirteens by Kate Alice Marshall

A sleepy town with a dark secret–and the three kids brave enough to uncover it.

Twelve-year-old Eleanor has just moved to Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother was killed in a fire. Her birthday, which falls on Halloween, is just around the corner, and she hopes that this year will be a fresh start at a new life. But then one morning, an ancient grandfather clock counting down thirteen hours appears outside of her bedroom. And then she spots a large black dog with glowing red eyes prowling the grounds of her school. A book of fairytales she’s never heard of almost willingly drops in front of her, as if asking to be read. Something is wrong in the town of Eden Eld.

Eleanor and her new classmates, Pip and Otto, are the only ones who see these “wrong things,” and they also all happen to share a Halloween birthday. Bonded by these odd similarities, the trio uncovers a centuries-old pact the town has with a mysterious figure known as Mr. January: every thirteen years, three thirteen-year-olds disappear, sacrificed in exchange for the town’s unending good fortune. This Halloween, Mr. January is back to collect his payment and Eleanor, Pip, and Otto are to be his next offering…unless they can break the curse before the clock strikes thirteen.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Having enjoyed Rules of Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall, I’ve been wanting to pick this one up for a while. Now I’m kind of mad at myself for not picking it up sooner because I loved it. While the setting and story took some time to come together, I felt it was a good pacing for the intended audience. This story contained just the right amount of spooky and wrongness to set up the curse upon the town and was a strong beginning to a series. Marshall’s writing style had a great flow to it and I felt had just as much atmosphere as her writing for slightly older audiences. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series since I have to know what happens with Eleanor, Pip and Otto!

Happy reading!

Review | Rebel Girls Climate Warriors: 25 Tales of Women Who Protect the Earth

With fairytale-like stories about Greta Thunberg, Autumn Peltier, and Rachel Carson, Rebel Girls Climate Warriors: 25 Tales of Environmental Allies spotlights the world-changing work of women on the frontlines of the fight for climate justice. Meet conservationists, activists, water protectors, philanthropists, authors, and other women from all over the world who have stood up to polluters and used their amazing talents to protect the planet. Climate Warriors is part of the award-winning Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series.

Join Greta Thunberg for a climate strike. Plant a tree with Wangari Maathai. Stand with water protector Autumn Peltier. And turn trash into profits and independence with Isatou Ceesay. Rebel Girls Climate Warriors tells the stories of the ingenuity and commitment of these women and more, including Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood, Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei, Indigenous Ecuadorian leader Nemonte Nenquimo, and Thai landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom.

This collection of 25 stories follows in the footsteps of the New York Times best-selling series Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. It is illustrated by female and nonbinary artists from around the world.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was really excited to pick up this newest installment in the Rebel Girls line and was pleasantly surprised to find that the majority of the women included in this installment were people I’d never heard of. There was a very diverse group of people, from different backgrounds, countries and walks of life, which was really nice to see. I also really appreciated that in this volume there were a number of QR codes that could be scanned to learn more about these individuals, making a way for younger readers to expand their knowledge and learn even more than what is included in the book. I’d say this is a solid installment to the series and inspirational so more people can get involved.

Happy reading!

Review | Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye

This is what they deserve. They wanted me to be a monster. I will be the worst monster they ever created.

Fifteen-year-old Sloane can incinerate an enemy at will—she is a Scion, a descendant of the ancient Orisha gods.

Under the Lucis’ brutal rule, her identity means her death if her powers are discovered. But when she is forcibly conscripted into the Lucis army on her fifteenth birthday, Sloane sees a new opportunity: to overcome the bloody challenges of Lucis training, and destroy them from within.

Sloane rises through the ranks and gains strength but, in doing so, risks something greater: losing herself entirely, and becoming the very monster that she ahbors.

Following one girl’s journey of magic, injustice, power, and revenge, this deeply felt and emotionally charged debut from Deborah Falaye, inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology, is a magnetic combination of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin and Daughter of Smoke and Bone that will utterly thrill and capture readers.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

First and foremost, I am loving seeing so many books that have come out recently and are coming out that feature different culture’s mythology and folklore. I love being exposed to stories that are inspired from or draw directly from these sources.

The story itself had me a bit raw at some points because it was so powerful. The world itself comes across very dark and gritty and the pacing made the book a super fast read. Every time I thought there might be a bit of a breather there was a twist and the story was moving on. That’s not to say it was too fast, I’d say it was pretty perfect in that way.

The characters were super complex and I absolutely loved the main character. She was written in such a real way, struggling through the difficulties she faced instead of sailing through. I’m not going to say much more simply because I think you should go into this story not knowing a ton – experience it as it is and enjoy the ride.

Happy reading!