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BLOG TOUR Why I Loathe Sterling Lane (Review, Giveaway + Guest Post)

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Hi, readers and welcome to my blog post for the Why I Loathe Sterling Lane blog tour. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait to share my review with you guys. Also, don’t miss a guest post by the author Ingrid Paulson in which she shares five rules to create the perfect prank. There’s also a giveaway, don’t miss it.

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Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, and Romance

Rating: sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5

Purchase here: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N | KoboiBooks

Synopsis: Per her 537 rules, Harper Campbell keeps her life tidy—academically and socially. But the moment Sterling Lane transfers into her tiny boarding school, her twin brother gets swept up in Sterling’s pranks and schemes and nearly gets expelled. Harper knows it’s Sterling’s fault, and to protect her brother, she vows to take him down. As she exposes his endless school violations, he keeps striking back, framing her for his own infractions. Worst of all, he’s charmed the administration into thinking he’s harmless, and only Harper sees him for the troublemaker he absolutely is.

As she breaks rule after precious rule in her battle of wits against Sterling and tension between them hits a boiling point, she’s horrified to discover that perhaps the two of them aren’t so different. And maybe she doesn’t entirely hate him after all. Teaming up with Sterling to save her brother might be the only way to keep from breaking the most important rule—protecting Cole.

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Thank you so much, Entangled Teen, for my advanced review copy of Why I Loathe Sterling Lane by Ingrid Paulson!

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is a book that really surprised me. I did not expect to feel as invested in this book and the main characters as I was. However, it did take me a while to get there. Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is about Harper, her twin brother Cole, and Sterling, the new guy at their boarding school. Harper and Sterling are opposites and quickly become rivals, constantly trying to up one on the other through masterful pranks. Things get pretty wild. However, despite this, they decide to cooperate to help Cole get out of the trouble he’s gotten himself into. I really liked Why I Loathe Sterling Lane a lot because it brought something new. The way the book is structured is unique because the chapters aren’t named chapter 1, chapter 2, etc. but instead, the chapter headings are reasons why Harper loathes Sterling. They really make you anticipate every time a new chapter begins. It was awesome.

“I’m glad you found someone to stroke your already sizable ego. But I think you’ll find I’m not susceptible to your games.”

“You know, that almost sounds like a challenge.” There was a quiet menace in his voice that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

The best part about Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is definitely the fact that it’s the trope hate to love. The masterful pranks are amazing, the chemistry and tension between Harper and Sterling is legendary, and the banter is on fire. I love it when rivals/enemies turn into lovers. It’s one of the best tropes out there. I also liked how in the beginning Harper was very much alone, her only friend her twin brother Cole. However, as the events of the book progressed Harper went more and more out of her comfort zone and did things she never had before. I really love the friendship that developed between Harper and Kendall. I also love the sibling dynamics in this book. The fact that Harper would do anything for her brother is just beautiful. I love it when characters have each other’s backs. More of this in Young Adult books, yes, please.

Even if I ended up loving Why I Loathe Sterling Lane I have to say that the first half of the book did not impress me. It took me about 50 % of the book to get invested in the characters and the story. Also, some of the character’s actions were at times infuriating. I definitely wish the dynamics between the characters and more of their motives had been clearer from the start since that would have improved the first half of the book. Nonetheless, it really did turn around and the second half was truly magnificent. Another downside was the fact that the words crazy and lunatic were used once which was really unnecessary.

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane is perfect for young adult readers who love a good hate to love story. They will fall in love with the banter, the pranks, and the ship. I know I did. There are amazing sibling vibes in this one, lovely friendships and a rivalry between the two main characters that will blow you away. It is very electric. If all of that is your thing, you definitely need to check Why I Loathe Sterling Lane out.

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Review of Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

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Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

Publication Date: June 10, 2017

Genres: Romance, Contemporary, and Adult

Rating: sliceofcake5

Synopsis: Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect. What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

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Disclaimer: I’m not Filipino but I’ve consulted with a friend, who is a Filipino-American book blogger, about the issues I had with this book. 

I really wanted to love Dear Aaron, I really did. The plot and premise of the book check off a lot of boxes for me when it comes to things I want to find in romance novels. Slowburn romance, online friendships, and just general cuteness. The couple did make me mushy and that is why I’m all the more disappointed that Dear Aaron is really disrespectful and problematic. I really won’t recommend this book to anyone based on the comments made in this book, which will be discussed in more detail later.

To summarize the book is essentially about Ruby Santos and Aaron Hall who start emailing and texting while Aaron is deployed in Iraq. They get to know each other and become very close. It is a pen pals-to-friends-to-lovers story with a strong element of the legitimacy of online friendships.

The main character, Ruby Santos, is Filipino which we find out about 9 % into the novel when Aaron and Ruby are emailing each other. What is written is the following,

“The only reason my parents moved here (Texas) was because of my mom’s family. My dad hated living here. He says the humidity reminded him too much of the Philippines when he was a kid.”

The fact that Ruby is Filipino is only ever mentioned in one other scene, which is where things get really disrespectful. At this point in the novel Ruby and Aaron have met up, are on vacation together and are out having dinner together with a couple of Aaron’s friends. They are ordering food and Aaron’s friend orders frog legs. This spurred a discussion about food, in which Ruby started telling the friends about Filipino cuisine that her dad eats.

“I’ve had cow tongue a few times. That was good actually—” “Cow tongue?” that was Brittany. “Yeah. They sell it all over the place in Houston. I’ve had dinuguan—” “What’s that?” Max asked. I scrunched up my nose, remembering eating that way too clearly. “It’s a Filipino dish that my dad made me try. Its pig intestines, kidneys, lungs, heart, and the snout cooked in its blood—” At least four of them said a variation of “eww” that made me grin. “I know. My dad claimed it was dessert, like pudding. He loves it. I can’t eat pudding anymore because of that, no matter what color it is.” “I’m not going to be able to eat pudding anymore after that….” Mindy trailed off. “That’s not the worst,” I started to say before I shut my mouth.

That was one part of the scene, soon thereafter another Filipino dish is discussed.

“I’ve never tried it, but my dad has a bunch of times—” “What is it?” Max asked. “It’s called balut. I’ve watched him eat it and I didn’t gag, and I’m pretty proud of myself for it—” “What is it?” “Jesus, Max, give her a second,” Aaron chimed in, his big hands resting on the table. I squeezed my fingers between my thighs and just got it over with. “It’s a duck embryo in its shell.” Four sets of eyeballs blinked.

After that, the friends have awful reactions and it’s described as “Four different people made dry-heaving and gagging sounds.” It is also made clear that everyone thinks this is gross, including the main character Ruby who claims that she and her siblings have never tried it and claims nothing grosses her father out food wise. This was all very disrespectful. I cannot imagine being Filipino, thinking this book represents you and then having their cuisine treated like this. It was cheap and lazy both in the way the author shows that the main character is Filipino and how somehow this is how the main character connects with Aaron’s friends. It could have been done in literally any other way which would have been less problematic and hurtful. However, my problems don’t end there. Later on, during the same scene, when Ruby and one of Aaron’s friends are alone they continue the discussion in which the following was said,

“You can’t really tell you’re Filipino, except for the shape of your eyes.” She blinked. “That sounds really racist. I’m sorry. Mindy’s been rubbing off on me this week.” I snorted. “I get it. My mom has really red hair and she’s super pale. I got a weird mix of both of them. No one can ever tell what I am.”

This is racist and isn’t called out anywhere in the book, in fact as you can read the main character just brushes it off. In a lot of ways, it feels like the main character being Filipino is just added there as an extra bonus. The representation is lazy, superficial, disrespectful and potentially harmful. Moreover, other issues I had with Dear Aaron is the ableist language used. The words crazy and insane were used multiple times. I particularly did not like the following two sentences “You guys either like the crazy or need a new radar” and “Because she’s a crazy person.” There are more examples similar to these two (I searched and the word crazy is used 58 times).

All in all, I say be aware of all of these issues before thinking about buying this book. I had high hopes, especially since the author’s other books are very hyped up among friends and the general romance community. I’d say read reviews and check out her other books instead of this one. Dear Aaron left me disappointed and in need of a romance novel with a similar premise because damn this had so much potential. Someone out there, give us the diverse online friends to real life friends to lovers story we all deserve. I’ll drop all of my coins on it.

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Review of The Secrets I Keep by Alex Casso

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The Secrets I Keep by Alex Casso

Publication Date: May 23, 2017

Genres: Poetry and Abuse

Rating: sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5

Purchase here: Amazon

Synopsis: The Secrets I Keep is a poetry collection about mental illness, as well as child abuse and the lingering effects it has. Through it, Alex Casso bares their soul and proves that, despite everything, they are a force to be reckoned with.

About the author: Alex Casso is a bi aroace-spec and nonbinary SFF author and poet. They spend most of their time playing videogames or listening to podcasts like The Adventure Zone and MBMBaM. They’re also a baby DM for an amazing D&D group and enjoy making their players suffer (in all of the best ways).

You can find them on Twitter and Patreon!galaxyreview

Thank you so much, Alex Casso, for my copy of The Secrets I Keep. I really appreciate you sending it to me!

The Secrets I Keep is a beautiful poetry collection with 24 poems about abuse and mental illness. This collection is a fast read with poems that will really capture your attention. It’s a collection that’s heart touching and empowering. The poetry collection tells a story about surviving abuse and the strength that exists within the survive. The style of the poems in The Secrets I Keep is one I love and my two favorite poems from the collection are the following.

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I recommend this collection if you want to read a poetry collection that is easy to read, deals with a serious topic that’s also very important. The Secrets I Keep is a raw collection that will grab you and hold you tight, take you through a journey and end on a note that is fresh and hopeful.

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Review of Cold Sober by Theresa Sopko (Poetry Collection)

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coldsober1.jpgCold Sober by Theresa Sopko

Publication Date: April 21, 2017

Genres: Poetry and Love Poems

Rating: sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5

Purchase here: Amazon

Synopsis: A girl with no plan to fall in love realizes there is no choice in the matter.

Cold Sober is a delicate and organic collection of poems that chart the journey from skepticism to fulfillment. With the genuine tone of somebody discovering love and navigating a relationship for the first time, it is impossible not to feel the surprising wonder as you turn each page. Sopko’s words are a slowly blooming bud, taking readers from apprehension and distance to trust and intimacy. Cold Sober asks all of the questions, addresses all of the fears, and acknowledges all of the beauty within the perfect storm that is falling in love.

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Thank you to the author, Theresa Sopko, for my review copy of Cold Sober to read and review!

Cold Sober is a beautiful poetry collection about love and everything related to it from beginning to end. I really love that we were taken on a journey in this collection and how it really came full circle with the last poem referring back to the first one in a really beautiful way. The poetry collection Cold Sober is filled with imagery that is clear and to the point and I think if you’re someone who likes simpler poetry this collection is really recommended. There were several poems that spoke to me, but two of my favorites are PET PEEVE and IN TONGUES. However, there were truly a lot of gems in this collection.

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The more poetry I read the more I enjoy the wide range of different poems and poetry collections that exist. Cold Sober is about love, the feeling of expectations in the beginning of a relationship, and intimacy. The purest form of love, where everything is electric even when two people are barely touching each other. I really appreciated that. If you want to read about love, Cold Sober is an excellent choice.

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What To Read Summer of 2017 {Diverse Books Releasing In June, July & August 2017}

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Hey there, bookish people! Can you feel the summer vibes in the air? I certainly can. June is unofficially the beginning of summer here in Sweden and you know what’s just the best part about that? All of the free time, lovely weather and the big stack of amazing books you can *finally* devour. To celebrate all of this I thought I would write a blog post with all of the diverse books releasing this summer, in other words, all of the books releasing in June, July and August. There are so many of them and a lot of them are very anticipated reads for me. Do you have a book you’re dying to read this summer?

I’ve tried putting all of the diverse books I could find in this post, however, if I missed one please let me know so I can add it. The plan is to continuously update this post with any releases I might have missed. This summer is long and filled with so many diverse book releases. I can’t wait to read them all. In this list diverse books includes books with marginalized characters and books by marginalized authors, some who may not have diverse characters in their books.

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The books releasing in June are listed below in the order of their release date. All of the Goodreads pages will be linked together with where you can buy/pre-order the book if that option exists.

  • June 1 – The Story of Lizzy and Darcy by Grace Watson. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 2 – Mature Content by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 5 – North to You by Tif Marcelo. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 6 – Everything All At Once by Katrina Leno. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 6 – Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger. GoodreadsAmazon links.
  • June 6 – Perfect Ten by L. Philips. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 6 – Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 8 – Grrrls on the Side by Carrie Pack. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 13 – Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 13 – Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 13 – Want by Cindy Pon. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 27 – Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 27 – If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak. Add it on Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • June 27 – The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Goodreads & Amazon links.

These are the diverse books set to be published in June. If I missed any, let me know so I can add them right away. If there is a title that doesn’t fit, let me know about that too.

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Now onto July. The books releasing in July are listed below in the order of their release date. All of the Goodreads pages will be linked together with where you can buy/pre-order the book if that option exists.

  • July 4 – The Tower of the Antilles by Achy Obejas. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 6 – After the Sunset by Lilah Suzanne. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 11 – Refuge by Dina Nayeri. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 11 – Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 11 – Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duell. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 18 – The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 20 – Brush Strokes by E.S. Karlquist. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 25 – Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 25 – Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 25 – Lucky in Love by Kasie West. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 25 – The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 25 – Solo by Kwame Alexander & Mary Rand Hess. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 25 – Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • July 26 – Walking on Knives by Maya Chhabra. Goodreads link.

These are the diverse books set to be published in July. If I missed any, let me know so I can add them right away. If there is a title that doesn’t fit, let me know about that too.

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Lastly, we have August. The books releasing in August are listed below in the order of their release date. All of the Goodreads pages will be linked together with where you can buy/pre-order the book if that option exists.

  • August 1 – New People by Danzy Senna. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 1 – Sour Heart: Stories by Jenny Zhang. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 3 – Absolutely, Almost, Perfect by Lissa Reed. Goodreads and Amazon links.
  • August 8 – Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 8 – The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 8 – The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 8 – The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 15 – Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 15 – Home Fire: A Novel by Kamila Shamsie. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 17 – Blended Notes by Lilah Suzanne. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 22 – The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember. Goodreads link.
  • August 22 – The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 29 – Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 29 – Starswept by Mary Fan. Goodreads & Amazon links.
  • August 29 – You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow. Goodreads & Amazon links.

These are the diverse books set to be published in August. If I missed any, let me know so I can add them right away. If there is a title that doesn’t fit, let me know about that too.

Disclaimer: I haven’t read all of these books so I cannot speak for the representation present in them. However, if you know that any of these books are problematic please let me know so I can delete them from this list.

Do you have a specific book release you’re excited about this summer? Do you know of one I missed?

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Saturday Night Author Fever #4 with Rachel Lynn Solomon

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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 Rachel Lynn Solomon. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

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

My debut novel, YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE, will be out next year from Simon Pulse! It’s a dual POV YA contemporary about twin sisters who receive opposite results from a genetic test for Huntington’s disease. It contains protagonists who are practicing Jews, a complex sister relationship, all-consuming first love, and a lot (I think!) of moral gray areas.

I love 70s music! My mom is a huge disco fan, so I grew up around that, but as a teen, I started getting into new wave. There’s something so exciting as a teen about discovering music for yourself, digging back through the decades to find what moves you. The Cure is my favorite band, I imagine because my angsty teenage heart related to their gloomy, poetic lyrics. I also listen to a lot of David Bowie, Blondie, and The Clash.

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{#SUMMERFEELS BLOG TOUR} Review of Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology + Giveaway

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Welcome to the blog tour for Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology. Today I have my review for this amazing book and a giveaway where you can win a gift card and a few books. You definitely have to join in on the fun!

SUMMERFEELS-cover-ebookSummer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology

Publication Date: April 30, 2017

Genres: Romance, Contemporary and Anthologies

Rating: sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5

Selling points: A lot of short stories, there is something for everyone to enjoy during the summer.

Purchase here: Amazon | Print Copy (the Philippines only)

Synopsis: Summer loving happens so fast, as you’ll find with Summer Feels, an anthology of 23 stories of love under the summer sun by #romanceclass authors. Savor the candied thrill of firsts—first loves, first kisses, first solo vacations—and the bittersweet triumph of second chances. Tour the Philippines as the stories take you to mountain retreats and island paradises. Let the magic of the hot sun, clear blue skies, and lots of love take you on a roller coaster ride of feels. With stories ranging from sweet to sexy, there’s sure to be something for any fan of romance.

Featuring stories by: Elea Andrea Almazora • Erleen Alvarez • Ella Banta • Rachelle Belaro • H. Bentham • Halina Cabrera • Charlie Dio • Mina V. Esguerra • Elizabeth Galit • Georgette S. Gonzales • Ami Granada • Irene Jurado • Catherine Lo • Arlene Manocot • Bianca Mori • Eris Peñaluna • Farrah F. Polestico • Kit Salazar • Miel Salva • Fay Sebastian • Kate Sebastian • Yeyet Soriano • Marian Tee

About #romanceclass:

#romanceclass is a community of authors who attended various writing workshops organized by Mina V. Esguerra, readers of books by those authors, and readers of English-language romance books by Filipino authors. Visit romanceclassbooks.com to see the full catalog of books!

Giveaway

For this giveaway, you have the chance to win a gift card, some swag and even a copy of the book. You don’t want to miss out on the chance.

Prizes:

  • International: Amazon gift card worth $25
  • Philippines Only: Print books from some of the authors:
    • My Dutch Billionaire by Marian Tee
    • Kate, Finally by Yeyet Soriano
    • Old Enemies Make the Best Lovers by Kate Sebastian

Enter the giveaway here: a Rafflecopter giveaway, and good luck to you, I hope you win!

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Thank you to the authors and editor Kate Sebastian for my e-ARC of Summer Feels and the chance to read and review this book for the blog tour!

Summer Feels is a book that’s cute and hot, and that makes you want to go to the ocean to take a dip to cool down. I doubt any other anthology will soothe your cravings for a good summer read like this one. The anthology starts out slow with short stories that are cute and lovely, and that will make your heart flutter and then gets hotter and hotter with every story. Towards the end, you will definitely need a fan and/or a dive straight into the ocean. The best part about this anthology was that I got the chance to read short stories both from #romanceclass authors I have loved and admired since before and also new ones where I want to devour every book they have ever written.

I do believe there will be at least one short story (but probably, very likely, a lot more) for everyone. We see so many tropes that I love in this one that I know if you are a romance fan, you will want to devour Summer Feels like you devour an ice cream on a hot summer’s day. Only this anthology lasts way longer, and will probably make you warmer instead of colder. However, you will love it. While I gave this anthology 4 cake slices as a whole, I had a lot of favorites that I believe are worthy of 5 cake slices and I really want to really highlight them here. They made me fangirl, squeal, laugh and just feel as if I was in the middle of the best summer ever which is just what I love about these short stories.

The following short stories were all favorites of mine. Fall for Me by Miel Salva made me fangirl and fall in love with the characters that I cannot wait to read more about in the future. Then there was The Game of Twenty Questions by Elizabeth Galit which was second chance romance with stargazing, a soft spot for me. Moreover, Guide for a Day by H. Bentham also really stole my heart away with this m/m romance where a tour guide and the journalist that was given the tour fall in love. Secondhand Wanderlust by Erleen Alvarez was amazing with its travel vibes, a backstory of sisterhood and a girl finding love while also stepping out of her comfort zone. Four Basic Principles by Bianca Mori was really unique and had second chance romance and beautiful ocean scenes. Wedding Night Stand by Mina V. Esguerra was a really hot short story that makes me want to read the full book where these characters are from, it was just the best. There is also An Overdue Adventure by Kate Sebastian which had a bit of a hate to love story with childhood frenemies together with a bittersweet backstory and beautiful nature scenes. Lastly, Butter Sunset by Halina Cabrera which was steamy and had lots of food references that made me crave seafood. These short stories were all beyond amazing, and I will definitely be checking out these author’s full books in the near future.

An issue I had with a couple of the stories was that a few slurs and harmful words were used. The words crazy, gypsy and queer were all used in inappropriate and harmful ways and were completely unnecessary for the stories. They could have easily been deleted.

All in all, this is a summer themed anthology you should definitely have on your radar. If you love reading romance and finding new authors at the same time, there is no better choice than this anthology. There are so many adorable and hot stories in Summer Feels: A #romanceclass Anthology, you will most likely fall in love with a lot of couples in it. In Summer Feels you will see enemies turned into lovers, childhood friends, romances with second chances, men with beards, female soccer players and so much more.

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Freebie Friday #9

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Happy Friday my readers!

How are you all doing? I hope this fine day is treating you just the best, which is exactly what you deserve. This week I’ve been working hard on my English grammar course so there hasn’t been a lot of time for blogging. But, it’s Friday today and you know what that means, is that a drumroll I hear in the distance, FREE BOOKS! This week the two free books I’m recommending are Caught Up in Love by Mia Black and Counterfeit Dreams by Sasha Ravae. Both of these two books are adult romances written by marginalized authors. They have great ratings on Goodreads so I’m excited to read them. Check out the books below.

Remember guys, the books I recommend are free the moment I publish my post but I can never guarantee they’re free for long so once you see it, grab it! That’s what I do.

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Five Days of Romance: Day 1 – Romance Book Recommendations

Hi fellow readers, and welcome to Five Days of Romance. For five days, including today, I’ll be posting romantic bookish posts in celebration of Valentine’s Day, and this lovely time of romance. I’ll be posting the following posts,

  • Romance Book Recommendations (today, see below)
  • Romantic Book Postcards (Feb 12, 2017)
  • Book Girlfriends (Feb 13, 2017)
  • Recipe for the Perfect Date (Feb 14, 2017)
  • Anticipated Romance Reads (Feb 15, 2017)

Stay tuned the following week, because you don’t want to miss these posts and get that romance on. There is something for everyone!


This first day of Five Days of Romance I have some romance book recommendations for you all. I specifically have 14 books that I’ve read and loved. These books are a mix of Young Adult, New Adult and Adult books, and they all have diverse characters in one way or another.

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These 14 Romance novels are ones that I really love. They all vary a lot in style, age of protagonist and story, but they have all mesmerized me in one way or another. I really recommend them, and they’re perfect in time for Valentine’s Day. A good romance novel is just what you need when love is in the air.

  1. The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen. New Adult, sports, disabled protagonist.
  2. Rumor Has It by Farrah F. Polestico. Young Adult, theater, Filipino main characters.
  3. We Awaken by Calista Lynne. Young Adult, Fantasy, asexual protagonist.
  4. Keeping Her Secret by Sarah Nicolas. Young Adult, camp, bisexual Indian protagonist.
  5. Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour. Young Adult, Hollywood, gay biracial protagonist.
  6. The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis. New Adult, pansexual protagonist.
  7. The Unforgettables by G.L. Tomas. Young Adult, Haitian-American protagonist.
  8. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkes. Young Adult, forbidden love, Mexican love interest.
  9. Complementary and Acute by Ella Lyons. Young Adult, boarding school, gay protagonist.
  10. Roller Girl by Vanessa North. Adult, sports, trans lesbian protagonist.
  11. More Than Fashion by Elizabeth Briggs. New Adult, reality TV, Korean-American protagonist.
  12. Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra. Young Adult, Fantasy, Filipino main characters.
  13. Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan. Young Adult, gay Persian protagonist.
  14. Prep and Prejudice by Miren B. Flores. Adult, Filipino main characters.

Have you read any of these books, are you excited to read any of them? Do you want to get that romance on with a cozy book?

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Review of First Position by Melissa Brayden

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ac8239918332a2152e54ee0ef2f56414ef2d4658.jpegFirst Position by Melissa Brayden

Publication Date: August 16, 2016

Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Adult, Lesbian

Rating: sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5

Selling points: Diversity in ballet, opposites attract and beautiful character development.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository 

Synopsis: Anastasia Mikhelson is the rising star of the New York City Ballet. She’s sacrificed creature comforts, a social life, as well as her own physical well-being for perfection in dance. Even her reputation as The Ice Queen doesn’t faze her. Though Ana’s at the peak of her career, competition from a new and noteworthy dancer puts all she’s worked for in jeopardy.

While Natalie Frederico has shown herself to be a prodigy when it comes to ballet, she much prefers modern dance and living on her own terms. Life is too short for anything else. However, when the opportunity to dance with the New York City Ballet is thrust upon her, it’s not like she could say no. Dealing with the company’s uptight lead is another story, however. When the two are forced to work side-by-side, sparks begin to fly onstage and off.

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Thank you Bold Strokes Books for my copy of First Position!

First Position is a really great book. It’s a book I want to say I love, even if it has its flaws. This book explores the ballet community, injuries, love, emotions, and unexpected change, and it does it so well. First Position is a book about opposites attracting, the passion within, and in the end, it also explores what’s truly important in life.

“Jeans and a soft-looking white T-shirt. No dance clothes. No shoes. Ana looked like a person. A very pretty person, in fact. Her hair was down, and it fell just past her shoulders in subtle waves, thick and dark.”

What I love about First Position is slowly but surely getting to know Ana and Natalie. This book is about rivals turning into lovers, and to see that in a ballet environment with two girls is absolutely amazing. They go through so much, both good and bad, and at times this book even made me cry. It is raw, genuine and isn’t afraid to explore topics that professional athletes often face. Seeing Ana and Natalie grow, both as individuals and as a couple is something I love about First Position. They constantly challenge each other, support each other, and their love for each other is one I think is really important.

“The music began and they leapt into motion. Dancing side by side. Ana took her by the hand and led her upstage, never breaking eye contact. Natalie moved into her body and then away, just as always, only this time her temperature climbed. She spun. They danced, Ana’s hands on her waist, her stomach, her thighs. The flashes of emotion, the give and take of the characters, added a whole other element, and dancing through that dynamic with Ana…had her body thrumming beneath Ana’s touch.”

This story is electric, magical and if you are a fan of books about ballet then First Position is a must read in my book. It shows its reader that ballet does not have to be a white and straight space, where there is only room for classic dances between men and women. This book shows us that there can be so much more, and that is the most captivating thing about it. This book breaks boundaries within the ballet and dancing world, and it is not afraid to do so.

The biggest flaw this book had, and the reason I cannot give it five cake slices, is Audrey, one of the major side characters. In the book, she made several comments that really just felt wrong. Honestly, I wish her character had been completely cut out from the book, or just changed because she served no purpose and did more harm than good.

“What? Do I look worried? I’m not worried. That is just my Russian face.”

All in all, First Position is a story about love, acceptance, trauma and finding where you belong in the world. It’s beautiful, funny and a little bit sad, but what First Position really managed to make me feel is hopeful. Sometimes life doesn’t end up the way you expect it to, but that just means new doors open, and a beautiful new thing is waiting for you.

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