Saturday Night Author Fever #13 with Ines Bautista-Yao

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Ines Bautista. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Ines, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

First of all, I love 70s music. When we were teenagers, my friends and I used to follow this 70s band called The Groove. We would attend their gigs and dance the night away. The drummer even had an afro. My favorite song was “Dancing Queen” by Abba. I was around 17 when this happened, I felt like the song was written for me. Ha ha!

But today, I am no longer 17 and I don’t have time to go dancing anymore. The only dancing I do is to Hi-5 whenever my daughters want to watch and dance together. I’m a mom to two little girls, one is 9 and the other is 3. They are my life and I have devoted my days to raising them. I write on the side, whenever I find the time.

I used to teach high school and freshman college English and literature and I used to be the editor in chief of a children’s magazine, then later, a teen magazine. I was also the editor of the chick lit books published by the same magazine company. I also used to and still write lots of feature articles. Today, I do all my writing and editing from home, in school, in Starbucks waiting for my kids while they’re in school, or on my bedroom floor while the kids are asleep.

I wrote my first book, One Crazy Summer, when my eldest daughter was three years old and took three-hour naps. I had actually started it when I was pregnant but shelved it because I thought it sucked (after thinking it was awesome haha). Then three years later, I stumbled across it again and wanted to know what was going to happen next. So I tried typing a few words and didn’t stop till I had a novella that I pitched to my publisher. They accepted it and published it and I came out with my second book, What’s in your Heart, two years later. I now also indie publish. It’s the best way to come out with books quickly. It takes a while for publishers to come out with books, and when you do it yourself, you’re in control.

The books I write are mostly sweet young or new adult romances. I love that age because everything is fresh and new but covered in so much angst and pain and confusion. I love having my main character figure her life out and grow up alongside an adorable boy who is usually hopelessly in love with her.

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ARC Review of The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember

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The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember

Publication Date: August 22, 2017.

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press.

Genres: Fantasy and Young Adult.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository | Harmony Ink Press

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

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Thank you, Julia Ember and Harmony Ink Press, for my ARC of The Tiger’s Watch. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

As Julia Ember’s third published book, The Tiger’s Watch manages to still contain all the things I love about Ember’s work and continue to surprise me with new stories and concepts. The Tiger’s Watch is about Tashi, who is nonbinary, genderfluid, and uses they/them pronouns. Throughout the book, Tashi’s pronouns are respected and the few times someone uses the wrong pronouns for them, it’s immediately called out and corrected. The world we see in The Tiger’s Watch is filled with magic and culture, and Tashi among other selected are inhabitors: “As inhabitors, we all bonded with one animal at the age of eight, and our life force linked to theirs.” At first, the connection between Tashi and their golden tiger Katala reminded me of Sense8 with how they can enter each other’s minds and take over each other’s bodies. In their country, Tashi learned to become an inhabitor at an academy specifically meant for children, poor or orphaned, to be trained to become inhabitors and spies, with the ability to wield their unique magic.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #12 with Tif Marcelo

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Tif Marcelo. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Tif, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

Thank you for having me, Olivia! I’m the forthcoming debut romance author of the Journey to the Heart series (Pocket Star), with three books to be published this year. I’m a military spouse, a mom of four, a U.S. Army veteran and registered nurse. Which basically sums up why I’m shackled to my coffee pot and Passion Planner.

And, without giving my age (though I’m so blessed to have reached this point in my life), I am a lover of 70’s music, due to my mother’s extensive vinyl collection, which I continued to play through to my teen years in the 90’s.

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Twelve Diverse Books Flying Under the Radar

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Hi everyone, welcome to my new blog post with a few diverse books I love but feel are underrated and are flying under the radar among book circles. In this blog post, I have 12 diverse books that I’ve read and loved, that also have less than 50 reviews on Amazon. Moreover, some of the books also have less than 100 ratings on Goodreads. I have marked these books with a star (✯). These 12 books are in need of some love, and I hope you’ll find a new gem to read and review among these.

The first four books that I definitely feel need more loving are,

 

  • Bearly a Lady by Cassandra Khaw (). Goodreads & Amazon link. This book is about a fat bisexual woman of color who also happens to be a werebear and a fashionista. The ship is really cute, and I love how they play scrabble together.
  • Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duell (). Goodreads & Amazon link. Fragile Chaos is about the god of war and his sacrificial bride. This ship is on fire, there is serious chemistry, and I love the entire world with the gods and goddesses.
  • The Little Queen by Meia Geddes (). Goodreads & Amazon link. This is a novella written in the style of a fairytale about a young queen who goes on adventures to learn about herself and on her journey falls in love with another young girl.
  • The Paths We Choose by Maria Hollis. Goodreads & Amazon link. This book is a new adult story about two girls in a no strings attached relationship who fall in love and find out that there is something more between them.

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ARC Review of Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

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illegalcontact1Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Publication Date: August 15, 2017.

Publisher: InterMix.

Genres: Romance, Sports, LGBT, and Contemporary.

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Purchase here: Amazon

Synopsis: The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

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Thank you, InterMix, for my e-ARC of Illegal Contact. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell has become one of my favorite romance reads of the year and has shown me how romance is done right. This dislike to love story between Gavin and Noah will surprise you and draw you in like you never saw coming. If you want a sports romance between two men that manages to be both cute, sexy and has that little extra look no further. Illegal Contact is it for you. As my first Santino Hassell book, Illegal Contact has cemented me as a fan and I need to read the rest of Hassell’s work as soon as I can.

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ARC Review of The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

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The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Publication Date: August 8, 2017.

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Science Fiction.

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Purchase here: Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

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Thank you, Hachette Book Group, for my advanced review copy of The Hearts We Sold. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Emily Lloyd-Jones’s novel The Heart We Sold is an amazing book and for me, it has cemented her as an author you should have on your radar. There are so many aspects of The Hearts We Sold I love and the fact that I went into this book with little to no expectations and hints of what would happen just made the journey all that more entertaining, beautiful, and heartbreaking. Readers should be aware, this story is both soft and dark: you will laugh, cry and swoon, and the ending is not your typical “and so they all lived happily ever after” because that is not the kind of story The Hearts We Sold is. This is a dark tale where there’s danger, and girls become knights in shining armor to fight demons and monsters, both literally and figuratively, and nothing is guaranteed or as it first seems.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #11 with Charlotte Hamilton

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Charlotte Hamilton. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Charlotte, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

Well, I’m 21, Scottish, part unicorn, mermaid and firebender. As for my books they can be summed up with one phrase: queer, magic ladies. Sometimes I step away from SFF but most of the time, there’s an element of magic in my stories. LAMBS CAN ALWAYS BECOME LIONS is a f/f Robin Hood retelling novella that I’m super proud of! And I love 70s music, even if I am more of an 80s gal.

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SURPRISE: I’m doing #ARCAugust ✯ Featuring My Entire August TBR

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Hi, galaxy travelers and readers! As the title of this post suggests, I made a last minute decision to, for the second year in a row, join ARC August hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. Last year I thought it went so-so for me since I didn’t read the books I wanted to go through during the month. However, I’m excited to give it another shot this year. Especially since I’m actually reading a lot more this summer. I’m very excited to share my August TBR with you all.

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The ARCs I want to get through during August are the following,

 

I have a few ARC requests pending so I might also add a few more books to my TBR before the month is over. I’m really hoping I’ll be accepted for them, but we’ll see how it goes.

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ARC Review of The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman

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The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman

Publication Date: August 1, 2017.

Publisher: Independently published.

Genres: Romance.

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Purchase here: Amazon

Synopsis: There are only two reasons why Nina would come back home to Cincamarre–one, if Auntie Delia promises to stop butting into her business, two, if her father died and she was made to ascend the throne to be queen.

Unfortunately for her, it was the second thing that brought her home.

As a princess who’s sunk a yacht and been caught kissing popstars, it’s easy for her aunt, the regent, to think she’s ill prepared for the throne. But Nina doesn’t think that having to fake date Felipe, the handsome, squeaky clean Prince of Concordia was the best solution for that.

Nina’s ready to learn the ropes of her new role and make it hers, and reconnecting with Felipe only makes her want to be a better queen. But is the monarchy ready for Queen Nina?

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Thank you, Carla de Guzman, for my advanced review copy of The Queen’s Game. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

I am in love with The Queen’s Game and this contemporary romance story featuring Filipino main characters. As soon as I saw the blurb I knew I had to read it. I have a weak spot for contemporary royalty and mix that with #romanceclass and you know it’s a winner. This story features a princess, Nina, and a prince, Felipe, who grew up side by side because of their neighboring nations, Cincamarre and Concordia. Later on, in life, they reunite when Nina returns after several years of travel to attend her father’s, the king’s, funeral. What then begins is a story of a fake relationship that turns into something real. This book has royalty, fake dating and childhood friends; this book has it all.

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ARC Review of Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

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Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Publication Date: August 8, 2017.

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Mental Illness, and Romance.

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Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: A stunning novel on love, loss, identity, and redemption, from Publishers Weekly Flying Start author Brandy Colbert.

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.

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Thank you, Hachette Book Group, for my advanced review copy of Little & Lion. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Little & Lion is my favorite read this year and truth to be told, I love it in a way that is hard for me to describe. There are some books that you read that you just know will mean a lot to you and Little & Lion was definitely that for me. When I heard this book was being released, many months ago, I just knew I had to read it. My expectations were sky-high and for that reason, I was also scared to start it. However, as it turns out, the book exceeded all of my expectations.

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