{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.

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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*).

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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