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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.

“If you think my image is shitty now, just wait until a housekeeper or a PA finds out I like fucking guys. Gavin Brawley, the Barons’ alpha asshole, being bisexual will be a lot more sensational than golden boy Simeon experimenting at the club while wasted.”

My favorite part about Illegal Contact is definitely the characters. We have Gavin Brawley who is an American football player who is under house arrest because of an aggressive encounter. However, despite the first impression the world has of Gavin we soon learn there is so much more to him. First of all, he’s bisexual, something he has kept a secret because of how homophobic the football world is. Moreover, what the world doesn’t see is that Gavin is loyal and would do anything to protect his friends and teammates, his chosen family. Not to mention, despite being a very angry and blunt person Gavin has a soft side that you get to see more and more of as the story progresses. My friends and I have unofficially dubbed Gavin as a bisexual king. He’s just, you know, so majestic. There is also Noah Monroe, the other main character, a gay man, who only wants to do good in this world and help LGBT youth. He’s also not afraid to call it like it is and is a total badass at times. However, after an awful incident, he’s without a job, in need of money, and decides to apply for the job as Gavin’s personal assistant. Noah who knows nothing about football is nerdy and loves to read books. In a lot of ways, Gavin and Noah are such different people but as they grow closer and closer they find that there is a lot of common ground between them.

“The warmth in my chest and butterflies in my gut made it plain as day that my miserable ass really fucking liked him. In the hand-holding kind of way, not just the ass-pounding way.”

This leads me to the romance between Gavin and Noah, and let me tell you, it’s simply amazing. I mean they have such amazing banter, which is heightened because of the whole ordeal of them disliking each other in the beginning. Everything just progresses from that. You can slowly see them falling in love with each other and the readers know this is real love even before the characters themselves do. It’s so precious, they’re so precious, this is everything I could ever want from a good romance. I love how these men become all soft for each other, they just want to be there for each other and love one another. It’s so beautiful. At first sight, they look like they could never be a match but towards the end you know there is no better pair than Gavin and Noah.

Moreover, there is also a lot about sports in this book (since you know it’s a sports romance) and I love how Illegal Contact really called out how homophobic and toxic the football community is but also showed us how being a team is about teamwork, commitment, and family. The book also discusses how white sports media is and how in sports calendars the majority of players shown are white and how that does not represent what teams actually look like. Illegal Contact shows you both the good and the bad about the sports world and does so in a way I think many will appreciate.

All in all, if you want a quality romance novel about two men falling in love then look no further. Illegal Contact is funny, sweet and hot and is a perfect blend of everything you could wish for in a sports romance. This m/m story will knock you off your feet and have you singing your praises before you hit the halfway mark. You deserve this content in your life, make sure you put Illegal Contact on your radar.

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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.

But Dee was not angry.

She had walked willingly into a fairy tale, in a world where she could trade her heart for her freedom. She may as well have donned a red cloak and strode into a darkened forest.

She had always known there would be wolves.

I chose this.

The Hearts We Sold is about Deirdre “Dee” Moreno who goes to boarding school to escape her parents who are alcohol addicts and have emotionally abused her during a large part of her childhood. When she loses her scholarship due to budget cuts she is put in a difficult situation. With nowhere else to turn she goes to a demon. Demons are a daily part of the world in The Hearts We Sold where they grant wishes in exchange for body parts. Because of her situation, Dee does the unthinkable, she trades her heart in exchange for money so that she can continue to attend her school. After the deal is made, she is introduced to the demon’s troop, a group of heartless teens who are supposed to do the demon’s bidding for two years, in which he has their hearts. When their two-year period is over, the teens get their hearts, and their freedom, back.

James’s expression softened. “Look, I get it. You’re panicking right now.” He edged closer, until she had no choice but to look him in the eye. He made a motion as if to touch her arm, but then his hand fell away. “A demon just ripped your heart out. By all rules of the universe, you should be dead. I should be dead. But you know what we’re going to do in the meantime?”

“What?”

“Live,” he said.

I feel that what makes this book so amazing is definitely the characters. The main character Dee, who is Latino, really has been through a lot in her life and has never been able to rely on anyone. However, throughout this book, we see her meet James and form a connection, a friendship, and something more. James is an artist, he paints and he’s really good at it. He’s soft, funny, and kind, and I love how good Dee and James are for each other. However, despite the soft and cute romance that grows between Dee and James in this book, I would not call this book a romance novel.

Except for Dee and James, there were also a lot of other characters that played a large role in this book, and I love how diverse this group of teens was. There is Cora, a black girl and one fourth of the heartless troop, and Gremma, who is Dee’s boarding school roommate, a lesbian, and a total badass, and Riley, a trans girl who shows up towards the end of the book and who complements the group in the best way. This book is about relationships, survival, love, and trust, but most of all about friendships. You will, ultimately, root for these characters because of how close you feel to them and their connections with each other.

The Hearts We Sold is perfect for readers who love young adult books that feature the supernatural and high stakes, with characters you can relate to and will fall in love with. This book will surprise you, break your heart, and leave you with an ending that is bittersweet. However, you will love every minute of it. Make a deal with a demon, and get yourself a copy of The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones. 

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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.

Continue Reading ➞

August 2016 Wrap Up

August has been a great blogging month for me, I posted x posts all together and have gained a lot of new friends in the blogging community. As August is the last month of summer I have tried to enjoy as many day as I can, especially since I just started university again earlier this week and I have to focus on that. On Friday I leave for an 8 day vacation to Mallorca, Spain and I cannot wait to enjoy this beautiful island all over again. Since Sweden didn’t have much of a summer this year then I’ll definitely make the most out of this week. Updating will be a bit slower than usually but I still have a few posts scheduled for you.

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Lets summarize August, now shall we!

Books Read

As you can see I’ve only read two books this month (I think I’m unfortunately in a reading slump) but I have reviewed them both and the reviews are linked below.

Books Reviewed

Other Bookish Blog Posts

First of all, I decided to attempt ARC August and though I did fail tremendously, you can read about the goal I set up for myself here.

Amy and I did another Moody Book Monday with the theme All Good Things Come in Threes,

This month I decided to join the band wagon and started doing Top Ten Tuesday posts. I love lists and a lot of their themes are just so exciting. I knew I just had to do a few of them. You can read my posts here,

When I started doing Top Ten Tuesday I stumbled upon the meme Waiting on Wednesday which is all about books we are anticipating, I knew I had to join that as well so here are my choices this month,

I of course posted several Freebie Friday posts this month. I definitely recommend you check them out. If you missed a week you might be lucky and find a book that’s still free!

I have also published a few book discussion posts, some book recommendations as well as a book tag I loved making,

Lastly, I introduced the Writing Cave part of my blog,

How was your August? Which books did you read? If you posted something you liked in particular then send the post to me, I’d love to read it!

ARC August 2016 TBR

Today is the first day of August and I’ll be partaking in an event called ARC August created by Octavia and Shelly at Read.Sleep.Repeat. I really couldn’t be more excited, I have quite a few couple of ARCs that I want to get through this month and joining this event will really push me to get those review copies behind me.

So which books will I be reading? Well first of all we should look through which ARCs I actually own. Mostly I have a bunch I got throughout the year on Netgalley, and the ones I currently have on my Netgalley shelf are,

Another ARC I also have, which was given to me by the author is,

All in all I have 9 ARCs that I can choose from and read but considering the fact that August is going to be a pretty busy month for me I’m not sure I’ll be able to get through them all. The goal I’m going to aim for is 4, about one ARC per week. Will I make it? I’m not sure but I’m excited to find out!

Are you partaking in ARC August? Which books are you going to read this month? Let me know in the comments or on my Twitter.