Review: Toffee

Toffee

This will probably be a quick review as this was a super quick yet incredibly powerful read. I have yet to read a Sarah Crossan book that didn’t shatter me on every level.

I have to state that there are TRIGGER WARNINGS within this story: abuse, domestic violence, mental illness. That being said, these topics are tough, raw, and hard to read, but they were handled with the utmost care and delicacy. They were not thrown in to help move the story along, they were necessary and beautifully woven into the story in a way that made the story heart-warming yet gut-wrenching at the same time.

Allison’s character was complex, well developed, and believable. I swear Allison was someone I could have known in real life, someone I could have grown up living down the street from. I want nothing more than to be able to help her with a kind word, a hug, or something more. Either way, she was utterly amazing and I connected with her from page one.

The overall story was so full of emotion that I could not turn the pages fast enough. I just had to know what happened to Allison and the lonely lady, Marla. Their story gripped me and never let me go. While this was a gripping and unafraid story, it was not for the faint of heart. I cannot stress that enough – there were some pages/chapters that were downright horrific to read, but that did not make them any less important. Everything in this story was raw and I loved it. I am upset that I did not read this sooner.

I will forever be a Crossan fan and I will urge everyone to read her books. Nearly all of them are written in verse and will stay with you for a very long time (in the best way possible). Please give this a chance if you have not already.

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Books Left Unread #178

Wallpaper-Books

Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

Death Prefers Blondes by Kelly Caleb Roehrig

Death Prefers Blondes

Gah, no good reason I haven’t read this yet. Have you read it?

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ARC Review: Heartwood Box

Heartwood Box

**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.**

This was blurbed to be Stranger Things meets The Lake House. How does a reader say no to something like that?! Sign me up! It was a valid description, however, the overall story itself felt messy, jumbled, and crammed with too many side stories. I was confused as to what the overall focus of the story was supposed to be. I read sci-fi, contemporary, mystery/thriller, and coming of age. Make up your mind! This would have been so much better as either a sci-fi or mystery/thriller, but certainly not all four genres forced into one.

The contemporary side of the story lacked any real emotion or depth. I never felt a romantic connection between Araceli, the protagonist, and the random boy she was writing letters to. It came across as insta-love and we all know how I feel about that topic. If this had been a contemporary by itself, I would have DNFd without giving a second thought.

The mystery/thriller side of the story was lacking as well because I never felt a sense of urgency. I never felt that Araceli and her group of stereotypical friends were ever in any danger. They were disappearing but I was more curious about why but I wasn’t loosing sleep over this question.

This story had potential but the execution was what ruined it for me. The story had no flow whatsoever. The conversations between character felt forced and awkward. I found myself skipping and skimming a lot of the dialogue just so I could get through this. By the time I got to the end of the story, I was so disappointed. The ending felt rushed and unfulfilling.

I was not able to connect to any of the characters as they felt shallow and undeveloped. I didn’t know their likes, dislikes, characteristics, or anything substantial. I only knew the basic information on Araceli so I could not ever get behind her or her actions. Everything that the characters were good at felt convenient. There is a dance team at the new school Araceli attends and it’s the peak of popularity? Oh good! Because Araceli happens to be amazing at dancing. There are a lot of people disappearing in this new town that Araceli moved to? Swell! Her parents happen to be investigative reporters and know their way around war zones so she knows just what to do! Give me a break. Solutions just came too easy and they were not believable at all.

I am not upset that I read this book, I adore this author, but the overall story that I read was not what I expected.

Books Left Unread #177

Wallpaper-Books

Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

Somewhere Only We Know by Kelly Maruene Goo

Somewhere Only We Know

I think I haven’t read this one yet because I’m waiting for the audio… have you read it yet?

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THE LIGHT: HOUSTON TEXAS Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway

Title: THE LIGHT: HOUSTON TEXAS

Author: Joe M. Solomon

Pub. Date: June 11, 2019

Publisher: NES Publishing

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 538

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksKobo

March Madness has begun and college basketball playoffs are heating up, not that Robert Walker—a graduate student from Texas—particularly cares. He has decided to skip classes for the day, sleep in, and get some rest. Unfortunately, a brief spat on the phone with his fiancée makes that impossible. Hoping to take his mind off of it, he scans through TV channels in search of entertainment and instead finds one news report after another that warns of violence erupting in the streets.

People are randomly and savagely attacking one another all along the East Coast from Maine to Florida. Some speculate it may be related to strange lights that have appeared in the sky above the outbreaks. Before any solid conclusions can be drawn, however, the brutality spreads, sweeping across the country until it hits Houston, then proceeds on to the West Coast. Robert, a handful of classmates, and a few others manage to survive the first wave and find themselves in the midst of civilization’s blackest hour, surrounded by pandemonium, bloodshed, and masses of people who have been stripped of their humanity. Hours later, as those strange lights continue to dominate the sky, the vicious horde undergoes a new transformation.

There is no escaping the horror. Unable to reach his fiancée by phone, Robert sets out to find her, joined by a small ensemble of fellow survivors. The thirty-five miles they must cover are fraught with danger, and their terror grows with each step they take as they witness the genesis of a new Earth. Can they find a way to stop it? Will they even survive it? 

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Excerpt:

Puffy house shoes. “Ma,” Robert said, then raised the phone to his ear. “Ma, what’s going on?” Static swelled over the line. “Hello? Ma? Ma!”

“I’m here, Bobby,” Ms. Walker said, barely audible above the static. The alarm and urgency infusing her voice frightened him more than everything that had happened thus far.

“We have to get outta here!” Alex shouted.

“Quiet!” he shouted back at her. Then, in a calm voice, he said to his mother, “Talk to me.”

“My father called from Chapel Hill—”

Static.

“—that people had gone mad, killing each—”

Static.

“He said it was happening all along the East Coast. The news didn’t know what—”

Static.

“The president was attacked by two of his own Secret Ser—”

Static.

“He—”

Static.

“—beating him and—”

Static.

“—if he’s alive or dead.”

“We have to go,” Big Walt said and hurried to the window to survey the area. “I think we can make it if we go now. Right now!”

Robert raised a hand and motioned for Big Walt to stop speaking for a minute.

Alex moved to stand in front of the door and curled both hands into fists. Kicking off her house shoes, she bounced like a boxer waiting for her moment to knock out an opponent.

Static.

“—ad,” she said softly. “Robert.” Her voice rose a bit.

“What happened, Ma?” Robert asked as he placed an index finger in his other ear.

Big Walt unlocked the window and raised it to its full height. He looked toward the sky. “Humph.”

“Ma, I can’t hear—” He broke off. “Wait. Big Walt, what are you doing?”

“I have to live, my friend,” Walt said. “Good luck.” He pushed the screen outward with both hands, letting it fall into the flowerbed four feet beneath the window. In one fluid motion, Big Walt dove outside.

Alex glanced over one shoulder. “Where’s Big Walt?” She dashed over to the window with Robert on her heels.

Big Walt ran toward the parking lot where a female student had rammed her car into the automatic gate. With tight fists, two male students beat on the semiconscious woman. Her tired sobs and weak battle against the duo proved fruitless.

Bellowing a war cry, Big Walt struck both students with his fists and knocked them backward. They looked like the crooks in the old Batman TV show when they tumbled almost exaggeratedly over the curb.

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About Joe: (No author Photo)

Joe Solomon earned both master’s and doctoral degrees from Rice University and is a writer, a director, an independent filmmaker, and a composer.  His first novel—a supernatural thriller entitled The Darkness: Giger, Texas—reached #2 on Amazon’s Best Seller list and is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. His next novel—The Light: Houston, Texas—will release June 11, 2019. He has also completed a collection of short stories that arose from the macabre and will release next year.

An award-winning screenwriter, Joe has completed seventeen screenplays and nine stage plays. He has also been very active in the independent film industry, directing four short films, one feature film (post production), and six music videos. His screenplays have won Best Screenplay at the Mediterranean Film Festival (Cannes, France), been Official Selections at the Beverly Hills Film Festival, been a Finalist in the American Movie Awards, won the Final Draft Screenwriters Award, won the Screenwriting Showcase Award, reached the Second Round in The Sundance Feature Film Program, and been a Finalist in the Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition. His music videos have won Best Music Video at the Honolulu Film Awards, the Silver Remi Award for Creative Excellence at the WorldFest Houston International Film Festival, won the Maple Leaf Award at the Canada International Film Festival, been an Official Selection of the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema—Milan, been an Official Selection of the Switzerland International Film Festival, won Best Director—Music Video in the Honolulu Film Awards, and been a Finalist in the American Movie Awards. They have also been Official Selections of many additional international film festivals.

Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway Details:

4 lucky winners will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card, International.

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Giveaway Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2946/?

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

6/4/2019- BookHounds– Interview

6/5/2019- Book Sniffers Anonymous– Excerpt

6/6/2019- Simply Daniel Radcliffe– Review

6/7/2019- Tyto Forest– Excerpt

Week Two:

6/10/2019- fictitious.fox– Review

6/11/2019- Lifestyle of Me– Review

6/12/2019- The Tired Buyer– Interview

6/13/2019- Burgandy Ice– Excerpt

6/14/2019- Two Chicks on Books Interview

Week Three:

6/17/2019- Pacific Northwest Bookworm– Review

6/18/2019- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt

6/19/2019- Owl Always Be Reading– Guest Post

6/20/2019- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review

6/21/2019- Bookbriefs– Review

Week Four:

6/24/2019- Smada’s Book Smack– Spotlight

6/25/2019- Don’t Judge, Read– Interview

6/26/2019- KayBee’s Bookshelf, A Literary Blog– Spotlight

6/27/2019- A Gingerly Review– Review

6/28/2019- PopTheButterfly Reads– Review

Week Five:

7/1/2019- Reads & Reviews– Review

7/2/2019- Jaime’s World– Excerpt

Queen of Ruin Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

About the Book:

Title: QUEEN OF RUIN (Grace and Fury #2)

Author: Tracy Banghart

Pub. Date: July 2, 2019

Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers

Formats: Hardcover,  eBook, audiobook

Pages: 336

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleAudibleB&NiBooksKoboTBD

A fierce sequel full of sisterhood, heart pounding action, betrayal, and intrigue in the royal court in a series that “breathes new life into the feminist story of oppression and resistance” (Publisher’s Weekly).

Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi’s sister, Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its leader.

Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.

Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build something better in its place.

The stakes are higher and the battles bolder in Tracy Banghart’s unputdownable sequel to Grace and Fury.

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Review:

I’m going to make this a down and dirty review because I really want you to pick up the book. 🙂

This book ROCKED with Girl Power! and it had me pumped! Nomi and Serina really found themselves in this sequel and I was here for it. I loved them in the first book and loved them harder in the second. They found had their character arc and discovered what they were capable of and who they were supposed to be. It was nothing short of amazing.

The second half of the book was so action packed that it went by quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I would have liked a minor/short epilogue chapter to give me ultimate closure on the characters I’d bonded with over the two books.

This book was full of all of the ships: sister relationships and love relationships. I wanted all of the ships! The way the sister relationship was written was brilliant. This wasn’t the Katniss/Prim type of relationship where one always needed to be protected. Both girls were strong, fierce, and a force to be reckoned with. The romance ships were also really good, but I’m not going to spoil anything for you.

I cannot get over how many feels I have for this book. It was just as good as the first book and I hope you read it, if you haven’t already.

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About Book 1:

Title: GRACE AND FURY (Grace And Fury #1)

Author: Tracy Banghart

Pub. Date: July 31, 2018

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 320

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, AudibleB&NiBooks, KoboTBD

In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.


Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.


Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

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About Tracy:

Tracy Banghart grew up in rural Maryland and spent her summers on a remote island in northern Ontario. All of that isolation and lovely scenery gave her the time to read voraciously and the inspiration to write her own stories. Always a bit of a nomad, Tracy now travels the world Army-wife style with her husband, son, cat, and sweet pupper Scrabble. She wrote Grace and Fury while living in Hawaii.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

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Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of QUEEN OF RUIN, US Only.

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Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2950/?

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

7/1/2019- Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews– Review

7/2/2019- PopTheButterfly Reads– Review

7/3/2019- Jena Brown Writes– Review

7/4/2019- What A Nerd Girl Says– Review

7/5/2019- It Starts at Midnight– Review

Week Two:

7/8/2019- Do You Dog-ear?– Review

7/9/2019- A Gingerly Review– Review

7/10/2019- Smada’s Book Smack– Review

7/11/2019- Starlight-Reads– Review

7/12/2019- Books Coffee and Repeat– Review

ARC Review: Stealing Home

Stealing Home

**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.**

This book was downright ADORABLE! It was perfect to read for summer and I really hope everyone puts this on their TBR if they have no already.

Short recap: Ryan Russell has wanted nothing more than to one day take over ownership/running the hometown Minor League Baseball Team, the Buckley Beavers. It is all she has ever known and her one dream. This dream is on the verge of not happening when her mom announces that she wants to sell her shares/portion of the team. Can the new hot ball player, Sawyer Campbell, be the change needed to keep the Beavers where they are? Can Sawyer and Ryan be enough to change her mom’s mind? Can Sawyer help Ryan realize that she is amazing enough on her own and get her to break her one rule of not dating ball players?

This was one of the sweetest stories I have read in a while. What is it about reading baseball stories during the summer months that makes the story that much better? I don’t know what it is but I’ll take it! I devoured this in two short days and then had a hangover from it. Well done, Wallace! I hope you are happy.

The characters really made the story for me. The MC, Ryan, felt like she had a wonderful character arc. I found myself constantly rooting for her. I wanted her to have everything she wanted – prove that as a female she could handle running a ball team, make tough decisions, discover herself, build relationships with family and friends, all of it! Sawyer was probably the sweetest love interest I’ve read in a long time. His innocence really came across the pages and that cannot be easy to do but Wallace nailed it. His backstory was one that tugged at my heartstrings and I found myself wanting to give him a hug. Same with Ryan, I wanted to be friends with her, maybe share a coffee with her to let her know everything would be okay. Together these two were amazing. They were the ying and yang in the best way possible. Dare I say they are now on my OTP list? I think so!

The storyline itself was unique and kept my interest, as I did read this in two short days. I was completely invested in what was going on and could not turn the pages fast enough. I simply had to know what was going to happen (I wasn’t disappointed!)

Have I tempted you enough to get the book? Are you curious enough to check it out? Borrow it from your library or order from your local indie store, whatever you need to do to get your hands on this – do it. I highly, highly recommend it.