Monday, May 29, 2017

ARC Book Review: The Party by Robyn Harding

Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Scout Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Psychological / Suspense / Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover


Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.


Teenagers always seem to get themselves into things they have no idea how to get out of.  That being said I thought the plot of this book was very realistic and I could totally see this happening. For decades teenagers have been sneaking booze into parties, boys and getting into situations that could be potentially dangerous.

The relationship between the teenagers and the drive to be part of the "in" crowd was never my thing or my kids thing so its hard for me to relate to it but I have seen it and seen how intimidating it can be for kids who strive to "fit in". So while these relationships seemed superficial and mean I also found them to be realistic.

I hated Kim, her controlling, greedy and superficial holier than thou attitude reminded me of so many of the women in my area.  This need to be perfect and appear to have the perfect life makes me sick. Her judgement of everyone around her and her inability to see her daughter growing up and need to be treated differently made her shallow and aggravating to me. Jeff just seemed like a beaten puppy desperate to be liked.  His wife is overly controlling and the "incident" that ruined her trust in him was not ideal but it wasn't like she caught him in an affair.  I felt she really dragged out the disappointment in him to extremes and it was really based on a whole lot more than just the "incident".

Lisa the mother of one of the girls at the party is another character that was hard to like. She started out as likable and quickly deteriorated into greed and pettiness.  It was another example of taking things to the extreme with no acknowledgement that her daughters behavior contributed to what happened.

Overall this book is worth reading and was well written.

Monday, May 22, 2017

ARC Review: Mean Little People by Paige Dearth

Release Date: April 2, 2017
Publisher: Fiction with Meaning LLC
Format: Kindle
Pages: 504 pages
Genre: Horror/Mystery/Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Seven year old Tony has two choices: to live or to die.

Tony Bruno just wants to fit in, but the bullies at his school are cruel and relentless. At home, he leans on his mother Teresa for strength and comfort, but she’s no match for his father, Carmen. His father, a fighter and bully himself, hates Tony. He is embarrassed by the child for not fighting back and wishes that Tony was never born.
Then as a teen, in one act of blind courage, Tony fights back shifting the balance of power with his peers. Even after Tony sets things straight with the neighborhood boys, his father continues to terrorize him.

At school, Tony is now respected by his classmates. One day he stands up for a bullied kid named, Salvatore, and the boys become friends. One night, Salvatore commits a horrific crime and Tony suffers the consequences of his friends’ actions. Tony’s punishment changes the course of his life.

All alone and nowhere to call home, Tony sets out to find the life he longs for, one filled with love and acceptance. But nothing comes easily for him, and he is forced to draw upon strength from deep within to survive.

From the dark world he lives in, Tony does unimaginable things to leave his unwanted life behind.


This is a dark book.  Tony is bullied at school, bullied at home by his father, winds up in Juvie where horrible things happen to him, lives on the streets and pretty much raises himself. Just when you think things are in an upswing you get the rug pulled out from under you.  It is an emotional roller coaster of a book.

Paige Dearth really takes you on a ride of survival and pain.  Well written this book sucks you in and keeps your attention as you keep routing for Tony to win at this game of life.  Tony's life is violent, from almost getting lynched by a group of bullies to being kicked out of his house, joining a gang and then ultimately finding a home in the mob. As a Philly girl I loved the setting and Dearth really brings South Philly to life, North Philadelphia has changed a bit from the time this book is set but I remember when it was the gang ridden hell hole she describes.

Its been a few days since I finished this book and its still sitting with me.  Tony is one of those characters who will stay with me for a long time.

Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

ARC Review: The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Disney - Hyperion
Format: Kindle
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: YA Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover

Enter to win a kindle copy of this book! 


Before Verity . . . there was Julie.
When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she'd imagined won't be exactly what she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather's estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family's employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scottish Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister, Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she experiences firsthand some of the prejudices they've grown used to-a stark contrast to her own upbringing-and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.


Before she was Code Name Verity, she was just Julie, a young carefree girl just turning 16 and home for the summer to enjoy her grandfathers estate one last time before it turns into a school. She gets there a few days ahead of schedule and before letting anyone know she has arrived she decides to go on an adventure. She is attacked from behind and winds up in the hospital with no knowledge of what happened.  She befriends her saviors, two young tinkers whose family has been camping on her grandfathers land for a long time.

This book explores the prejudices surrounding gypsy's, the mystery of Julies attack, missing pearls and an ancient boat wreck that might hold more secrets than anyone knew and the coming of age of a truly adventurous woman. Julies new friends are constantly under suspicion from people around her other than her family.  If something goes missing or wrong they are the first ones people blame.  So when a body is found the police look to Julies new friends.

Wonderfully written, keeps you guessing with all the moving parts and different layers. I loved Julie from Code Name Verity and it is wonderful to connect with her again and see how she became a British Spy during WWII. I can't say enough about this book I was so thrilled to receive an advance copy and was bummed that I only got to it recently. Fabulous book.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced e-galley of this book from the publisher from in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ARC Review: Rise & Shine Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick

Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: MIRA
Format: Kindle
Pages: 368 Pages
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover |


Moonstone for empathy. Azurite for memories. Lapis lazuli for truth… In the quiet village of Noon Sun, Benedict Stone has settled into a complacent and predictable routine. Business at his jewelry shop has dried up; his marriage is on the rocks. His life is in desperate need of a jump start…

And then a surprise arrives at his door.

Gemma is Benedict's audacious teenage niece—the daughter of his estranged brother, Charlie. The two Stone brothers had a falling out and haven't spoken in almost two decades, since Charlie left for America. Reckless and stubborn, Gemma invites herself into Benedict's world and turns his orderly life upside down. But she might just be exactly what he needs to get his life back on track…


This was a really sweet story about what it means to be a family, secrets and living in the moment. When Gemma shows up at Benedict's door his whole life changes and so does that of so many in the town.  This young girl shows them all how to live again, through gemstones and jewelry Gemma and Benedict change the lives around them including their own.

Well written, this book keeps you interested with an underlying mystery about why Gemma is there and if her father really knows she is there.  I found myself routing for Benedict and all the townspeople in their quests to be happy.  With just a little encouragement and maybe a magic gem or two the town springs back to life.

I couldn't put this book down it was infectious in its joy and I found the information on different gemstones fascinating.  A truly enjoyable book.

Friday, May 5, 2017

ARC Book Review: My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen by David Clawson

Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: LGBT/Fantasy/YA
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover


Chris Bellows is just trying to get through high school and survive being the only stepchild in the social-climbing Fontaine family, whose recently diminished fortune hasn’t dimmed their desire to mingle with Upper East Side society. Chris sometimes feels more like a maid than part of the family. But when Chris’s stepsister Kimberly begins dating golden boy J. J. Kennerly, heir to a political dynasty, everything changes. Because Chris and J. J. fall in love . . . with each other.

With the help of a new friend, Coco Chanel Jones, Chris learns to be comfortable in his own skin, let himself fall in love and be loved, and discovers that maybe he was wrong about his step-family all along. All it takes is one fairy godmother dressed as Diana Ross to change the course of his life.


Apparently I am on a Cinderella remake ride.  This modern version of the Cinderella story centers around Chris, whose family was down on their luck for a long time, his mother died when he was young and he helped out as his father tried to change their circumstances.  After making a fortune Chris's father meets a new woman and moves them into her brownstone along with her and her two children. After the market crashes taking all of their money and Chris's father, Chris tries to find a place in his new family with his step-mother and siblings.

The rest I'm sure you can guess but either way the addition of Coco Chanel makes this story worth reading.  There is nothing like a snarky drag queen to uplift a story and have you chuckling to yourself.  The dashing prince doesn't find his princesses but rather his prince this time helping bring this story into a modern retelling and makes it accessible to so many lgbt teens who are looking for their dashing prince or princess.

Well written and funny this book holds your attention and is another great retelling of a classic story.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review. 

Silver Dagger Book Tour Cover Reveal: Once a Charmer (Charmed in Texas #3) by Sharla Lovelace

Release Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon | Apple | GooglePlay | Kobo | Nook


Charmed, Texas, is a close-knit small town where people’s dreams of love can come true. That’s
not to say that some people aren’t still waiting, and dreaming . . .

By day, Allie Greene stays busy with her family diner, and keeping tabs on her teenage daughter.
What’s really exhausting Allie, however, are the nights. Not that she minds Bash Anderson unbuttoning her naughty desires—if only in her dreams. But what was he doing there at all? He’s her best friend, and a father figure to her girl. Talk about awkward. Talk about OMG-heat-and-fireworks that are flipping fifteen years of normal upside down. And now, when Allie needs him as a friend more than ever, logic doesn’t stand a chance against his lips and irresistible deep-blue
eyes . . .

Sure, Bash has fantasized about Allie, but there’s no way he’d act on it. She and her daughter are
the closest thing to family he’s ever known. With the exception of one drunken moment fifteen
years ago, he and Allie have stayed on this side of the line—until that impulsive kiss of hers
knocked him on his butt. That’s just one hurdle. Not only does Allie need Bash’s help to save her
diner, but his apiary is in trouble, too. To stir the pot further, they’ve been roped into vying for the
town’s Honey King and Queen contest—a sweet event that’s making them closer than ever.

Something’s bound to come undone. Bash just hopes it’s not the friendship he’s worked so hard
to hold on to.

About the Author

Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs. She is the author of five stand-alone novels including the bestselling Don’t Let Go, the exciting Heart Of The Storm series, and the fun and sexy new Charmed in Texas series. For more about Sharla's books, visit, and keep up with all her new book releases easily by subscribing to her newsletter. She loves keeping up with her readers, and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @sharlalovelace.
Website * Twitter * Facebook

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Book Review: The Circle by Dave Eggers

Release Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback
Pages: 514 pages
Genre: Fiction/Dystopian/sci fi
Buy: Paperback | Kindle


When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.


It almost feels creepy writing a review on a blog about this book.  This is a scary peek into where we are heading if we don't get a handle on technology.  I could relate to so much of what was in this book and not all of it in a good way.  The need people have for immediate feedback, the strive to be in the top percent of bloggers, posters, reviewers... When does technology become a hindrance to life and not a positive enhancement?

Watching the visit to Philadelphia a few years ago by the Pope you could see the hundreds of clergy holding up their phones video taping the Pope walking into the cathedral to give a sermon - no one was actually fully participating.  Going out to dinner you see few young people talking they are sitting there playing on their phones (I am guilty of this occasionally too) We are starting to live our lives through our screens and not actually living our lives.  Everything is snapped, posted and shared with the world. We are forgetting how to interact.

This book read almost like a cautionary tale. The stress of keeping up with twitter feeds, tumblr, facebook, posts, instagram, snapchat, litsy, google+, blogs, podcasts, can be overwhelming and quite frankly I've given up trying. I catch up when I can but don't feel the pressure to keep up.  I'm interested to see how the movie turns out, if it follows the book or has its own agenda.

So read this book, then go out and enjoy the sunshine, or the snow, or the rain or whatever the weather happens to be doing at the moment. Put your phone down while you have dinner with your family and enjoy some screen free time. You are worth it.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

ARC Review: It Started with Goodbye by Christina Joy

Release Date: May 19, 2017
Publisher: Blink
Format: Kindle
Pages: 272 pages
Genre: YA / Fantasy
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night, which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client. If Tatum is reading his emails right, her virtual Prince Charming is funny, smart, and talented—and he seems to think the same about her. Too bad he’s spending his summer across the ocean in Ireland…not that Tatum would be allowed to go on a date anyway.

But over the course of the summer, Tatum will learn that sometimes going after what you want means breaking all the rules. And when Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.


This was a fun read. Its supposed to be a modern take on the Cinderella story but I didn't really catch that until I read it somewhere else.  Navigating family life and still trying to maintain a social life while being on house arrest isn't easy but Tatum seems to achieve it.  Tatum's character was spot on and very realistic, she isn't perfect and she discovers that no one really is, that everyone has flaws and baggage and it is sometimes necessary to look through someone else's eyes at a situation.

Joy really navigates the complexities of a blended family, changing friendships, and young love with ease and insight.  The characters had depth and you could really feel the emotions.  I enjoyed Tatum's stream of consciousness regarding closing valedictions, and the way her playful prince charming would come up with new ones to impress her.  By the end of the book I even had good feelings about Tatum's sister and Step-mother.  Overall this is a great retelling of a classic fairytale.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book through in exchange for an honest review. 

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