book review

Cover Reveal for Ripped Pages by Maria Hollis

Hi everyone, welcome to another fun post I have for you today. I have a cover reveal for Maria Hollis’ next book Ripped Pages and both this cover and the synopsis just blows me away. An f/f Rapunzel retelling? This sounds too damn amazing. I cannot wait to get to read this thing. I know you’re waiting so without further ado here is the cover for Ripped Pages.

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Goodreads link

Release Date: TBA

Summary: Princess Valentina lives a reasonably comfortable life, but after her mother’s death, her father gets tired of taking care of her and locks her in a tower. She spends years on her own, talking to the birds on her windowsill, and reading books with adventures she will never experience. Her plans of running away are usually left for another day because she knows the vast forest surrounding her tower is too dangerous to cross alone.

Until one day, another girl passes by on her horse and Valentina wonders if she’s finally brave enough to seize her chance of freedom.


Ripped Pages is set to be released during the last months of 2017. The exact release date is still yet to be announced. In the meantime, you can read Maria’s other books The Melody of You and Me and The Paths We Choose. You can find her books on Goodreads and on Amazon. If you want to be caught up with all things Maria Hollis and her books you can also follow her on her twitter @_mhollis.

What do you think of the cover? Are you as excited for this book as I am?

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

WhyILoatheSterlingLaneTour

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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.

Publisher: Entangled: Teen.

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, and Romance.

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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, Entangled Teen, for my advanced review copy of Why I Loathe Sterling Lane. 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.

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.

Continue Reading ➞

{The Paths We Choose Release Week} ARC Review of The Paths We Choose by Maria Hollis

The Paths We Choose Release Week: Day One – My ARC Review

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Hi, readers and welcome to day one of my The Paths We Choose Release Week. There are four days left until The Paths We Choose is released into the world and to celebrate I’m releasing a fun new post every day until the book is out. Today I have my ARC review of the book, and as you might have suspected already, I absolutely loved this book.

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The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis

Publication Date: April 6, 2017.

Publisher: Independently published.

Genres: New Adult, LGBT, Contemporary, and Romance.

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Selling points: Strong friendships, chosen family, and girls owning their sexuality.

Purchase here: Amazon

Synopsis: Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.
Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.

A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs. Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.

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Thank you, Maria Hollis, for my advanced review copy of The Paths We Choose. 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.

The Paths We Choose is amazing in its simplicity and grace. It shows us the story of two very different girls, Lily and Mayte, who after a one-night stand start a causal relationship before Mayte leaves for Florida to study her masters. This story is about two women proud of their sexuality and even if their agreement to only be friends with benefits is kept somewhat a secret they are not afraid to be open with what their relationship is, to a certain degree. This book is definitely one I would recommend if you love seeing girls supporting girls and just girls being proud of their sexuality. There is a strong sense of friendship and family, in the sense that family is not blood but instead it’s who you choose to love and stand by no matter what. What I love about Maria Hollis’s books is that she makes you feel as if you are a part of the girl gangs she portrays in her books and that you’re just as awesome and supported as they are. Her books are really positive and uplifting.

The book is told from the point of view of Lily who is non-straight but not comfortable with attaching a label to herself. I think it’s important to see that not taking a label is just as valid as choosing to have one and that no matter what you’re always a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. The most amazing part about Lily, though, is her personality. She is rude, feisty and the most organized out of her friendship group. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and that’s what’s so great about her. However, there is also a lot more to her than that which is why this book was a lot sadder than I expected. Not that I’d say The Paths We Choose is a sad book, but because what Lily went through is a reality for young adults all over the world. Nonetheless, the book shows us hope in the way that Lily has found herself a group of friends that are her family, her chosen family and girl gang. This book also explores what it means to be free, to be who you are and to find what it is you want to do with your life. This book is about girls who are driven and hardworking, they are badass women who survive and can do anything with the support of each other and the strength within themselves. This is something that I think should be celebrated.

“She has the freedom to be who she wants to be. Freedom to love herself without worrying whether other people accept her as she is.”

All in all, The Paths We Choose is a book with lots of hot scenes as well as amazing friendship and family moments that will make your heart squeal out of delight. There are even a few cheesy ship moments that had me fangirling a lot. I’m very weak for those. Maria Hollis knows exactly what to do to make you fall in love with a couple and make your heart sing. The ending was beautiful and realistic, and I love how we see that there is no instant “I love you” moment. Maria Hollis just keeps on impressing me with her work, and I can’t wait to see the rest of this series and her other future work. The Paths We Choose is a book I know many will come to love and enjoy just as I have.

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ARC Review of Assassins: Discord by Erica Cameron

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29618746Assassins: Discord by Erica Cameron

Publication Date: September 5, 2016.

Publisher: Triton Books (Riptide Publishing).

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, and LGBT.

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Selling points: Badass and dangerous girls, girls kissing and explosions.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository 

Synopsis: Kindra’s moral compass has never pointed north, but that’s what happens when you’re raised as an assassin and a thief. At sixteen, she’s fantastic with a blade, an expert at slipping through the world unnoticed, and trapped in a life she didn’t chose. But nothing in her training prepares her for what happens when her father misses a target.

In the week-long aftermath, Kindra breaks rank for the first time in her life. She steals documents, starts questioning who their client is and why the target needs to die, botches a second hit on her father’s target, and is nearly killed. And that’s before she’s kidnapped by a green-eyed stranger connected to a part of her childhood she’d almost forgotten.

Kindra has to decide who to trust and which side of the battle to fight for. She has to do it fast and she has to be right, because the wrong choice will kill her just when she’s finally found something worth living for.

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Thank you, Erica Cameron, for my e-arc of Assassins: Discord. 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.

Assassins: Discord is like those action movies you watch on TV where there are guns, explosions, and car chases. Only in this book, there are more girls than guys. The girls are complex, the girls are kissing and they’re more badass than anyone else. In other words, this book is like those action movies you watch on TV, only a thousand times better. I love Assassins: Discord not only because it’s refreshing and features a storyline that isn’t that often explored in YA but because these teenage girls are flawed, they’re lethal and yet they are just that, teenagers with raw and complex emotions. I also love how inclusive this book is. There are bisexual, asexual, intersex and gay characters and some of them are also of color. Erica Cameron really nailed this book in every aspect there is, it’s sassy, it’s filled with action and once you finish it you’ll literally be begging for more (very much like I am, please when’s the next one coming out *grabby hands*).

“When her eyes focused, a familiar face hovered above hers. One that shouldn’t have been anywhere near here. “Baby, we’ve really got to stop meeting like this,” said a girl with dyed-black hair – her brown roots peeking through – and teasing moss-green eyes. A familiar endearment on the wrong tongue, and familiar eyes in the wrong face.”

Assassins: Discord had me laughing multiple times through the story and the wit, sarcasm, and humor throughout this book is the greatest thing about it. It’s just so damn good. I love how there are turns and twists from start to finish and the biggest one had me literally screaming. I suspected it for quite some time throughout the book but I was still shocked when it happened. Another thing that made Assassins: Discord so great is the character development. There’s a lot of it. We have complex characters, difficult relationships and a lot history that needs to be sorted out. All of the characters start at one point and end at another, with both relationships and dynamics shifting. Even though there’s a lot of action going on there’s also a lot that makes the characters drive the story forward. It’s the best of both worlds.

“They made it behind a huge tree. Kindra pushed Dru face-first to the forest floor, falling on top of her and covering her own ears with her hands, mouth open slightly to equalize the pressure she knew was coming. Less than two seconds later, the grenade exploded.”

I love the ship in this book and how their relationship develops. In the world they live, one filled with danger, death and uncertainty relationships are hard, especially for someone like Kindra. Her family has never been much of a family, they have always been more about the job and less about trust, warmth, and security. To see how Kindra handles this, how she evolves and becomes better, but also stays true to herself is amazing. I love that Assassins: Discord’s main character is a bisexual who is not afraid to be who she is. I love that this book explores a relationship between two girls that are different in a lot of ways but are still drawn to each other and find something in each other they haven’t before.

“That seductive drawl was back, and Kindra shivered. She planned to die before ever admitting she found that sleepy accent ridiculously sexy.”

Assassins: Discord shows us that action filled books centered around girls – girls that are funny, girls that are sassy, girls that are dangerous and girls that kiss other girls – are the best kind of books. This book literally slays every male dominated book and movie ever created. I want more. I want more lethal girls, I want more girls that take risks and I want girls that evolve. Give me the sequel to Assassins: Discord and give it to me now!

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ARC Review of Keeping Her Secret by Sarah Nicolas

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keepinghersecretKeeping Her Secret by Sarah Nicolas

Publication Date: August 22, 2016.

Publisher: Entangled: Crush.

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

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Selling points: Extraordinary f/f romance, magical writing, and diverse characters.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: Two girls. One Kiss.

The last person Riya Johnson expected to run into at her new summer camp is Courtney Chastain—her childhood best friend and the girl who broke her heart after a secret, mind-blowing, life-altering kiss. She definitely didn’t expect to be sharing a bunk bed with her for four long weeks.

Courtney has what every girl wants—she’s beautiful, rich, and the object of every boy’s desire at Camp Pine Ridge. Too bad none of them make her feel an iota of what Riya’s kiss did all those years ago. But Courtney needs to uphold appearances at all costs—even if it means instigating an all-out prank war with Riya as her main target.

Neither girl can stop thinking about the other…but that doesn’t mean they can give up past hurts and take a chance on a future together.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains drinking, sexual situations, and a fairy-tale romance sure to make your heart melt.

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Thank you, Entangled: Crush, for my review copy of Keeping Her Secret. 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.

Keeping Her Secret is a book that stays with you like a beautiful sunset is engraved in your mind for days or even weeks after you’ve seen it. This book is refreshing, beautiful and fills your heart with love and joy. Keeping Her Secret has now become one of my favorite books of all time, I already want to reread it and experience these emotions all over again. You can review a book where you analyze it point after point, however, the one thing that has always had the greatest impact on me is how a book makes me feel. Keeping Her Secret makes me feel a lot, in the best way possible.

“Courtney, I’m bi,” Riya explained.

But Courtney gave her a blank look, and her head twitched. “Bi?”

“Bisexual.”

Riya Johnson is a half Indian bisexual girl and I absolutely love her. She’s brave, sporty yet clumsy and honestly one of the most refreshing protagonists I have ever read about. Seeing such good on the page representation is valuable and precious, and something I wish we got more of. Sarah Nicolas does it so well. What I love about Keeping Her Secret is that it’s in a lot of ways about bravery, and in more ways than one. Riya, who has always had a supportive family, was never scared to come out and has always been true to who she is.

Courtney, on the other hand, is rich and has always been surrounded by people in the social elite, something that has made her conform into being the perfect it-girl. Beautiful and someone all the boys want. However, that’s not who she is on the inside, and that’s what is so beautiful to see. Courtney is brave but in a very different way than Riya. She is willing to go after her passion, ballet, even if her parents do not approve and she is slowly but surely coming to terms with her sexuality. She is finally starting to accept who she is and what she desires after struggling with it for so long.

“David was a beautiful distraction, but she appreciated his six-pack and dimples the same way she appreciated Monet paintings. She acknowledged they were pretty, but she didn’t experience an emotional response to them. Not like she did with Picasso paintings.”

Even though Riya and Courtney are the heart of this story, the side characters are just as amazing. We have Colt, Courtney’s twin brother, who is the most supportive guy in the entire book. He knows about the kiss that happened between Riya and Courtney all those years ago and, though Courtney insists she doesn’t like girls, Colt is very supportive. In fact, in many ways, he knows Courtney better than she knows herself. We also have Dee, who is funny, a total prankster and a really good friend to Riya. These supporting characters make the story more dynamic and captivating than it would have been if they hadn’t been there.

“God, she was so unworldly beautiful, like a river nymph bathing in the moonlight.”

Keeping Her Secret is a story that will stay with me for a very long time. This book had me crying, it touched my heart and gave me so much hope. It’s a book that’s beautiful, funny and absolutely mesmerizing. You will root for Riya and Courtney, you will scream for them in the hopes that they get their happy ending and in the end, you’ll feel alive. Keeping Her Secret is a sweet summer story that will set your soul on fire and make you feel brave and invincible afterward because that’s what these characters are. They are girls loving girls, brave and unstoppable, and no one can get in the way of what they want.

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Review of The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

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The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Publication Date: February 23, 2016.

Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books.

Genres: Young Adult and Historical Fiction.

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Selling points: Captivating story as well as raw and relatable characters.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled.

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Thank you, Wendy Lamb Books, for my advanced review copy of The Smell of Other People’s Houses. 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.

The Smell of Other People’s Houses is a rarity you don’t see often. There’s something about this book that’s so incredibly captivating. The way it’s written and the voice Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock has in this book is so incredibly magical. She draws you in and makes you take the same journey as the characters you read about. Something we don’t often think about is how everyone and everything around us has a distinct smell. Your mom, when you hug her, the smell of her hair is the smell of security. The smell of your house, your school, your lover’s house. Even if you don’t think about, they all smell different and they all represent something different to you. These four main characters that we follow through the book convey this and shows us how something as trivial as the smell can mean so much and how it can play such an important part in one’s life. A perfect example of that is a quote from the first chapter:

“He knew how to French-kiss, which tasted like a forest of promises once I got used to it. Because I was Catholic, and smelled stiff instead of wild, he promised not to do anything but touch me lightly and only in certain places, where the smell wouldn’t give me away when I went back to my own house, which held nothing but the faint scent of mold in secondhand furniture—also known as guilt and sin.”

From the very first page to the last it’s like we’ve traveled through time and space to see these extraordinary, raw and unique journeys that these characters go on. It feels almost otherworldly even if 40 years ago isn’t that far back in time and Alaska is a place most of us know where it is. Nevertheless, The Smell of Other People’s Houses shows us true human emotions, connections, and struggles that are all highly relatable and relevant which is also what makes this book so great. The Smell of Other People’s Houses is complex, diverse, dark and magical. It’s a book I would recommend to everyone who isn’t afraid to read something they haven’t before.

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Review of Roller Girl by Vanessa North

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Roller Girl by Vanessa North

Publication Date: July 23, 2016.

Publisher: Riptide Publishing.

Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Sports, and LGBT.

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Selling points: Female empowerment, amazing f/f ship, and derby.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: Recently divorced Tina Durham is trying to be self-sufficient, but her personal-training career is floundering, her closest friends are swept up in new relationships, and her washing machine has just flooded her kitchen. It’s enough to make a girl cry.

Instead, she calls a plumbing service, and Joanne “Joe Mama” Delario comes to the rescue. Joe is sweet, funny, and good at fixing things. She also sees something special in Tina and invites her to try out for the roller derby team she coaches.

Derby offers Tina an outlet for her frustrations, a chance to excel, and the female friendships she’s never had before. And as Tina starts to thrive at the derby, the tension between her and Joe cranks up. Despite their player/coach relationship, they give in to their mutual attraction. Sex in secret is hot, but Tina can’t help but want more.

With work still on the rocks and her relationship in the closet, Tina is forced to reevaluate her life. Can she be content with a secret lover? Or with being dependent on someone else again? It’s time for Tina to tackle her fears, both on and off the track.

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Thank you, Riptide Publishing, for my advanced review copy of Roller Girl. 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.

Roller Girl is a story with heart. It’s a story that’ll make you smile and feel all warm and fluffy inside. What I love the most about this book is how well done it is, this lesbian romance is about so much more than just love (which all in itself is absolutely amazing). Roller Girl is about companionship, friendship, and women supporting other women.

Wearing the team shirt makes me feel like part of something larger than myself- an “us,” where I’ve been thinking of the other girls as “them.”

What I love about this book is that it’s so positive. Tina Durham, the main character, is a trans woman and throughout the book, we see a lot of what she has gone through and everyone around her is supportive, kind and sees her as an inspiration. Tina is such a lovely person, through and through, who just tries to navigate her life after a divorce. Tina cares so deeply for others and only wants to stand on her own two feet while at the same time be a part of something bigger than herself. A derby team. A group of women who work together, support each other and always have each other’s backs. Tina is a lovely addition to the team and has a positive impact on everyone around her. She inspires others and helps others, without even realizing it.

“You worry that you need people too much, but the way I see it, other people need you- to motivate them, to show them where to find their courage. Yes, they still have to put in the work, but they want to because you believe they can.”

However, in the end, this is a lesbian romance and wow does this book deliver. This romance is sexy, sweet and totally ship worthy. This book will make you go crazy with feels one minute because of something really cute, and the next minute you’ll hope for everything to work out the way you want it to. Read Roller Girl and let all the precious moments fill your heart. You’ll not regret a second of it.

Something in her smile feels like a hello, and a blessing, and a hug all at once.

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Review of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Publication Date: March 8, 2016.

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers.

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, and Romance.

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Selling points: Strong girls, incredible character development, and amazing setting.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him… or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

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Thank you, Faber and Faber Ltd, for my advanced review copy of Rebel of the Sands. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. 

Update 11/12 2016: Since I first read Rebel of the Sands in February I have learned that this book has a very problematic representation of middle eastern culture and people of color. I learned this from listening to multiple people pointing it out on Twitter, and I will in the future not recommend or promote this book in any way knowing it has hurt and/or offended people. I will keep my original review for transparency, but I no longer stand by what I thought before. If you’ve read this book because of my recommendation, I’m truly sorry. If you, like me, want to know more about what good representation in books is, I urge you to follow marginalized writers and reviewers on all social media platforms because they are constantly doing amazing, invaluable work, and deserve all the love and praise in the world.


Rebel of the Sands, where do I even begin with this masterpiece? I loved this story from beginning to end, there is no doubt about it and this debut is the book that should be on everyone’s shelf. I promise you with all of my heart you will love it.

There are so many aspects of Rebel of the Sands that I love but I’m going to highlight a few of my favorites. I absolutely love the main character Amani Al’Hiza who has the most incredible character development I’ve seen in a long time. She is born a girl in a world where girls are seen as something less, however, that never stops her from fighting. This is a constant all throughout the story, however, Amani’s growth is about so much more than that. She went from being a girl who only looked after herself to someone who took care of her own and also decided to fight for something bigger.

The next part I love about Rebel of the Sands is the romance and the otp. The otp truly is amazing and even though the romance is secondary it’s perfectly executed and I literally die for these two. Please give me more I say. Their love is so electric, and it will make you swoon. This is also what brings us to another thing I love about Rebel of the Sands, the plot twists. I’m not going to say a word about what they are but damn I didn’t see them coming and I think I was in shock there for a moment when I realized how it is all connected. So incredibly good, so amazing.

Then we have the setting that is absolutely beautiful, vivid and perfect. The setting is not western which is something I really appreciate. This world Alwyn Hamilton has created is so detailed and rich in its own mythology, religion, and norms and I just love that. I also adore how this book is set in the desert, and how detailed the entire nation and environment is described.

Rebels of the Sands and its characters also shows us that girls can be strong, they don’t have to have special powers yet they can still be twice the man. They can fight better, be stronger and be braver than any man and they are not any less because of their gender. This is a giant plus in my book. I also really appreciate the complex relationships between the female characters which I won’t go into too much of the details. Nevertheless, it has to be said that there will be so many secondary characters you will grow to love, to hate, and some you will have no idea what to feel.  However, that is the magic of it all. To read the story and find out.

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Review of Choosing You by Allie Everhart

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Choosing You by Allie Everhart

Publication Date: September 21, 2013.

Publisher: Waltham Publishing.

Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, and College.

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Selling points: Slow burn romance, mild suspense, and excellent banter.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository 

Synopsis: When Jade is given a scholarship to an elite private college in Connecticut, she sees it as a chance to finally escape her painful past and get a fresh start. She’s determined to succeed and that means keeping her focus on school and not guys. But her plan falls apart her first day on campus when Garret, a rich prep school boy with swimmer abs and a perfect smile, offers to help her move in.

Jade tries to push him away, but she can’t deny her attraction to him and Garret won’t let her. Things quickly heat up between them, but then come to a sudden halt when reality hits and Jade realizes that a relationship with Garret may never be possible. He comes from a world of wealth where there are rules, including rules about who he can date. And not following those rules has consequences.

As the two of them try to overcome the obstacles working to keep them apart, Jade is confronted with another challenge. On her 19th birthday, she receives a letter that her now deceased mother wrote years ago. In it are revelations that explain her traumatic childhood but also make her question the past she’s been running from.

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Choosing You is a book I didn’t expect to love but immensely did. It has been in my Kindle library for quite some time now and I finally decided to give it a try, something I’m now so happy about.

“He gives me a cocky grin. He knows damn well I want to see his nearly naked body. Every girl on campus would like to see that.”

Choosing You is a book filled with wit, banter, romance, wealthy families, and suspense. In my eyes, there are so many things this book is doing right. In a lot of ways, this is a typical rich boy meets poor girl story but the story is so much more than that. It’s complex, with a proper relationship build-up and clear character development.

However, to really convince you of the greatness of this book I have made a list of all the amazing things this book has:

  • Relationship build-up. The romance in this book feels completely genuine. There is no instant love that you see in a lot of books. Sure the attraction is there from the start but the main characters actually get to know each other and become friends, best friends actually, before anything else happens. It is a slow burn book but it’s so worth it.
  • Banter, insults, and wit. From the very first start, this book is funny, it’s real and it’s incredible. Jade and Garret insult each other (it sounds awful but trust me it’s the best), and they tease each other and they’re both so incredibly competitive. It brings a lot to their relationship.
  • Suspense. It’s real, behind the love story there’s an actual story closely connected to the characters that show you how wealthy, influential and political families in the US can get away with anything. Secrets, blackmail and breaking the law without consequence are all things that make this book what it is. However, it should be noted that this storyline is only secondary but oh so exciting.
  • The setting. I love that this book is set at a small elite college where everyone knows everyone except for the newcomer Jade. It adds to the sense of them belonging to two different worlds that later on collide. I also love that this book shows and reflects over different aspects of college culture such as parties, prejudice, alcohol consumption and sports. All of which makes this book more amazing.
  • Real life issues. In this book there is the loss of a parent, growing up with an addicted parent and how this affects us as grown adults. Choosing You shows us how two people from two completely different backgrounds still can have a lot of things in common.

There is so much more to this book than what I have mentioned above but in the end, there is really only one thing I have left to say, read Choosing You, you will not regret it! It should also be noted that Choosing You is free right now at Amazon, so if I were you I’d grab it right away because who says no to a freebie.

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ARC Review of We Awaken by Calista Lynne

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We Awaken by Calista Lynne

Publication Date: July 14, 2016.

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press.

Genres: Young Adult, LGBTQIA, and Fantasy.

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Selling points: Asexual girls, cute romance, and a happy ending.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.

But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.

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Thank you, Calista Lynne, for my advanced review copy of We Awaken. 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.

We Awaken is such an important book, this book shows us that interracial couples within the LGBTQIA community can thrive, survive and get the happy ending they deserve. This book is about two asexual girls and their journey together realizing who they are and how they can be together. We Awaken is a reminder that once sexuality is yours alone, yours to claim, yours not to claim and no matter what, you are valid just as you are.

“No woman in reality could ever possess such grace. That’s how I realized it had to be a dream. Her skin was barely lighter than the dark of night and a hood was pulled so far over her head it was impossible to make out whether she had any hair. The whites of her eyes stood out greatly in contrast to her skin, matching the intense purity of the lace parasol hanging over her right arm. Her clothing was iridescent and looked almost like oil as it reflected cloudy rainbows with her movements.”

I love We Awaken, this book is character driven and there is so much to love about it. We Awaken is about two asexual girl who tackles everyday problems as well as otherworldly problems involving the realm of dreams. However, Ashlinn helping Victoria in the real world can lead to a horrible fate for all of humanity.

What I like the most about We Awaken is how it explores asexuality. Though I can see why some might think this book is very informative I’d say that is not a bad thing. Sure if you google asexuality all of this information will appear, however, if you don’t know what asexuality is it is kind of hard to do this. We Awaken is a young adult book, it’s written for young people and teenagers. They might be confused, or unsure, just like Victoria is. They might not have an Ashlinn to tell them what being asexual means. That is why this book is so important and powerful. It will give teenagers who are finding themselves a place where they can see themselves and finally understand who they are. Nobody else but you can decide who and what you are. There is incredible magic in that. 

“I draped myself over her shoulders as her arms snaked around my waist. It felt safe in her embrace, and she still smelled like summer nights. This was acceptance, not of her but of myself. Our foreheads were so close we were breathing the same air. Who needs kissing when you can share oxygen?”

If you want to read something fluffy, romantic and light then We Awaken is the book for you. It has a perfect mix of fantasy and magic in the real world, with characters you will admire and moments so adorable you will never forget them. In a time where the A is still mistaken for Ally instead of Asexual by huge companies in the world, it’s more important than ever we show the world books like We Awaken. Everyone needs to see that asexual people (as well as everyone else in the LGBTQIA community) can get the happy ending they deserve.

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