diverse book bloggers

ARC Review of Ripped Pages by M. Hollis

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Ripped Pages by M. Hollis

Publication Date: September 22, 2017.

Publisher: Independently published.

Genres: Retellings, Romance, Young Adult, LGBT, and Fantasy.

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Purchase here: Amazon | GumRoad

Synopsis: 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 a Rapunzel F/F retelling in the format of a novelette.

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Thank you, Maria Hollis, for my ARC of Ripped Pages. 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.

Ripped Pages is a beautiful story that feels fresh, unique, and absolutely perfect. This f/f fairytale feels modern and timeless at the same and is a retelling of the classic story of Rapunzel. Ripped Pages is a short and quick read with only about 60 pages and I do think a lot of people will fall in love with it.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, lived a princess whose name was Valentina. She had long golden hair that her maids loved to take care of because of its beauty and softness. When she laughed, her plump cheeks turned a delightful shade of pink, and her bright green eyes were always lit with excitement over every little thing.

I love how this book was a retelling of Rapunzel yet it had unexpected twists that made it its own. Moreover, this fairytale retelling is diverse and just what I feel is needed in young adult literature. Ripped Pages is filled with cute and precious moments yet still deals with important and heavy topics that are in no way brushed over. These heavy topics are addressed in the beginning of the story in a clear trigger warning. Despite not being able to speak on these matters with authority, I do felt that the way they were handled were in a good way that felt appropriate for the story that was being told. However, like the author mentioned in her TW, proceed with caution since you know yourself the best.

Ripped Pages is a beautiful, soft, and romantic f/f story and is perfect for anyone looking for a book about a girl who after a long time of hardship finally gets her own chance at a happy ending. The main character Valentina is young and has found books as an escape, and throughout this story, she comes to terms with what it means to realize you are worthy of love, happiness, and freedom.

Valentina knew then what she wanted to be, more than anything in the world. A heroine; helping other women, having adventures and lifting curses from enchanted princesses.

Everyone, remember this, once upon a time in a place called earth a little novelette called Ripped Pages, written by a woman called Maria Hollis, came out and anyone who knew what is what knew that Ripped Pages was a book to get. Thus, mark your calendars for September 22, 2017, and buy this f/f fairytale as fast as you can.

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24 Romance Novels By Authors of Color That Cost 2$ Or Less

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Hi everyone in the galaxy and welcome to another blog post of mine. This time it’s all about cheap books, romance novels by authors of color to be exact. If you know me you know that I love ebook sales and diverse romance novels. Anyway, I made this blog post because I have a lot of romance books on my kindle (a lot I’ve read, a lot I’m just dying to read soon). Because of this, I decided to put together a small list of romance novels that are 2 dollars or less on Amazon right now. However, remember that the price is from the American Kindle store and if you’re from somewhere else the sale might not apply to you and/or your country might add taxes which will make the price a bit pricier for you. I hope you guys understand.

Without further ado, here are the romance novels on sale. I’ll mark the free ones with a star (☆) so that you can make sure to grab those even if you don’t have any money at the moment. 

Continue Reading ➞

Saturday Night Author Fever #17 with Zoë Sumra

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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 Zoë Sumra. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

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

I’m a child of the 80s and, as such, a lot of my favourite bands or soloists started their careers in the 70s and continued into the 80s – particularly I’d like to single out Queen and Meat Loaf.  My first published book, Sailor to a Siren, is named after a Meat Loaf song (from 1984… my favourite Meat Loaf periods are probably the 70s/earliest 80s and the 90s, but this one song from the mid 80s always stood out to me).  Sailor to a Siren is a space opera novel: it’s a gangland thriller set on an alien planet, with magic, explosions, and quite a lot of shouting.

Continue Reading ➞

Review of Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

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Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

Publication Date: August 8, 2017.

Publisher: Button Poetry.

Genres: Poetry, Nonfiction, and Mental Health.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository 

Synopsis: Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 5,000,000 views. Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.

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Thank you, Button Poetry, for my ARC of Depression & Other Magic Tricks. 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 poetry collection Depression & Other Magic Tricks is amazing and captivated me from start to finish. It is a book about depression, anxiety, love, and heartbreak. However, I have to mention that based on the synopsis and title I expected the book to be more about mental health and less about romance and heartbreak, which took up a large part of the collection. I don’t mind poems about romance and heartbreak but I did find this collection to give another impression before I started it.

anxiety is the cousin visiting
from out of town
depression felt obligated to
bring to the party.
mom, i am the party.
only, i am a party i don’t want to be at.

My favorite poems in the collection are explaining my depression to my mother a conversation, on releasing light, so my friend tells me she identifies as a mermaid…, sevens small ways in which i loved myself this week, and follow-up a prayer / a spell. There is something absolutely magical about these poems and a few of these have become my all-time favorites. The poems in this collection are well written and beautiful. In comparison to a lot of other contemporary poetry collection I’ve read the poems in Depression & Other Magic Tricks are a bit longer which I thoroughly enjoyed. At times, more depth was achieved because of it.

i held hands,
with my sadness,
sang it songs in the shower,
fed it lunch,
got it drunk
& put it to bed early.

If you want a poetry collection that deals with depression, anxiety, romance, and heartbreak then this collection is a perfect fit. I felt that this book really dealt with mental health in a genuine, respectful and relatable way. Depression & Other Magic Tricks is truly a book to put on your radar if you love contemporary and diverse poetry.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #16 with Miri Castor

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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 Miri Castor. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

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

Hey there! My name’s Miri and I’m a YA SFF author for the Opal Charm series. It follows Opal Charm, a young bisexual black girl through her destiny to save Earth and an alternate world from a mysterious overlord. My books tend to be about self-discovery, love, and the power of friendship!

This is what I think of 70s music: Saturday Night Fever! Disco parties! Black people with the huge fros! 70s music made the 70s a time to be alive.

Continue Reading ➞

Diversity Spotlight Thursday #4 Enemies to Lovers Edition

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Hi readers out there in the galaxy, welcome to my fourth Diversity Spotlight Thursday post. I haven’t done a post like this in a while but I’m so excited to be back. This meme was created by Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks and the point of the meme is to every Thursday feature three books that follow these points,

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed.
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read.
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released.

If you are interested in joining the meme, you can read the rules and see more of how the meme works here.

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A diverse book I’ve read and enjoyed

A diverse book I’ve read and enjoyed is A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. This young adult fantasy is honestly one of my favorite reads of the year. The book has both lyrical writing and amazing characters. The main characters Vikram and Gauri are from enemy kingdoms, where Vikram is courageous and witty and Gauri is headstrong and has a hidden soft side. If you want a book that has an amazing “enemies to lovers” story, with adventures and characters to invest in, A Crown of Wishes is really a great choice. I fell in love with the banter, the love story, the world, and the writing. You can find the book on Goodreads and Amazon.

A diverse book released and on my TBR

However, a diverse book released but I haven’t read yet is We Go Together by Carla de Guzman. It’s a young adult retelling of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and is about Bea and Ben who used to be together and in love but are now are angry, bitter rivals who can’t seem to get along. This book is a #romanceclass novel (and you know how much I love #romanceclass) and on top of that, the “enemies to lovers” trope is always amazing. I’ve had this book on my Kindle for ages but I’m excited to read it soon. Find the book on Goodreads and Amazon.

A diverse book not yet released

Down by Contact by Santino Hassell is a diverse book not yet released that I’m dying to read. Down by Contact is the second book in The Barons series. The reason why I’m so excited for Down by Contact is that I loved the first book, Illegal Contact, and I have a strong feeling the sequel will make me feel the same way. We were introduced to Simeon, one of the main characters of Down by Contact, in the first installment of the series and I’m already in love with him. I can’t wait to see this “enemies to lovers” romance evolve, 2018 could not come sooner. You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon.

What diverse books have you read or am excited to read? Have you also made a Diversity Thursday post? If yes, link it to me!

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Review of When We Wonder by Fatima AlSuwaidi

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When We Wonder by Fatima AlSuwaidi

Publication Date: November 11, 2016.

Publisher: Blurb.

Genres: Poetry.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository 

Synopsis: When We Wonder is a journey through
love and pain,
hurt and healing.
This collection of poetry and prose explore the different aspects of self-struggle and self-discovery,
and all the things that make us wonder.

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Thank you, Fatima AlSuwaidi, for my review copy of When We Wonder. I received this review copy in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion.

When We Wonder has become one of my favorite poetry collections. This book manages to say so much with so little words and there is no doubt in my mind about the fact that When We Wonder deserves endless success and a spot among the more well-known poetry authors currently sporting their names on the bestseller lists. What I love about this poetry collection is that the poems are relatable, beautiful, and will sweep you away.

I fall in love with the idea of people
The ones I created in my head
I create them
With all the things I want them to be
And all the things I want them to tell me
And I fall in and out of love with the idea of them

When We Wonder is easy to read, draws you and it’s just what I look for in poetry. The writing is concise and to the point, and that’s what makes it so good. The book is about love, pain, struggling, and self-discovery while it at the same time also takes you on a journey. I think anyone will be able to find multiple poems in the collection that speaks to them. Moreover, I love how When We Wonder incorporate space and nature into a few of the poems through vivid and beautiful metaphors that feel modern and on point.

Sunsets;
is the universe showing it’s talents
It’s the way it holds the brush
The way it chooses the colors
And the way it paints

I recommend When We Wonder to all contemporary poetry lovers out there. This is a collection by an author of color is one you don’t want to miss out on or overlook. It’s without a doubt a perfect collection that shows you the best and the worst of love, sadness, and self-growth.

I am an ocean
A whole universe is in my head

I am more than the bruises on my skin
I’m more than the bags under my eyes

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Saturday Night Author Fever #15 with Hayley Chewins

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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 Hayley Chewins. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

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

Sure! My debut is called THE TURNAWAY GIRLS and it’s a middle grade fantasy about girls who are trained to turn boys’ songs into gold but who aren’t permitted to make any music themselves. The main character, Delphernia Undersea, sings in secret—and discovers a new kind of magic that changes her whole world. It’s coming out in September 2018 from Candlewick in the US and Walker Books in the UK and Australia.

Music is a huge part of my life. In fact, until I was eighteen I wanted to be a professional singer. I really connected with the singer-songwriter tradition of the 70s when I was a teenager. I loved Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan. I also listened to a lot of ABBA growing up, because my mum loves them. That music is pure happiness to me.

I hardly ever perform, but I still love singing. I’m writing some songs as an accompaniment to THE TURNAWAY GIRLS—hopefully I’ll be brave enough to share them closer to my release date.

Continue Reading ➞

My August in Books {#arcaugust, books read, and book purchases}

Hi everyone in the galaxy! Another month has passed and it’s been a really good one. During August I’ve read a lot of books (to be fair a lot of them were short but who cares, it was still a lot for me) and I’ve also bought a few more books than I usually do. I bought a couple of paperbacks for the first time in months (instead of just ebooks) so I’m very excited about those, both to read and to share them with you guys.

Books Read in August

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I read 12 books in August and I’ve listed them all below in the order I read them in.

The ones I read for ARC August are marked with a star (☆). So, all in all, I managed to read 4 ARCS during August and I’m so happy about it. It was a lot more than I expected I would get through this month.

Continue Reading ➞

ARC Review of East in Paradise by Tif Marcelo

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East in Paradise by Tif Marcelo

Publication Date: September 4, 2017.

Publisher: Pocket Star.

Genres: Contemporary and Romance.

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Purchase here: Amazon

Synopsis: When an entrepreneur and an Army reservist end up in their own reality show fauxmance, they have to decide whether their love exists just for the cameras…or if it’s for real in this warmhearted romance, perfect for foodies and wine lovers!

Bryn Aquino, the former manager of a Filipino restaurant, knows the value of hard work. With a shiny new MBA in tow and an investor, she’s ready to start her own business: a culinary retreat where visitors can relax, cook, and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Dubbed Paraiso Retreats, she leases the childhood home of army reservist Mitchell Dunford—who returned from Afghanistan to revive his family’s vineyard—but finds herself in a bind when her investor pulls out of the business.

When the retreat catches an internet live stream producer’s eye through social media channels, Bryn is offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to document her journey in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Excited, Bryn happily agrees to the arrangement…only to find out that she’s going to have to fake an onscreen romance with her indifferent landlord in order to keep her audience interested.

As Mitchell and Bryn put on a show for the cameras, they find their romance isn’t hard to fake. They’ve got more in common under their bluster, banter, and doubts. As their relationship heats up and the cameras keep rolling, the line between show and reality blurs. And when the pressures of family, business, and the audience stack against them, will their romance survive internet stardom? Or was it just for show?

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Thank you, Tif Marcelo and Pocket Star, for my ARC of East in Paradise. 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.

East in Paradise is the standalone sequel to North to You. The book follows Bryn Aquino, a Filipino business woman, and Mitchell Dunford, army hero, and an expert in all things agriculture and vineyards. East in Paradise takes you on a journey where you are swept away by reality TV, fake dating, delicious food and wine, raw emotions and lots of laughs. If foodie romances, as well as strong and vulnerable heroes and heroines, are your thing, then your next book purchase should be none other than East in Paradise by Tif Marcelo.

This attraction is a conflict of interest, and all wrong. But the electricity between us–it’s palpable. It has both a negative and a positive charge that draws me to him and pushes me away, though equally powerful. And I know he feels it, too.

I love how sweet the romance between Bryn and Mitchell is, their banter is A+ and they really have to work to get their happily ever after. They both have walls that need to be torn down and I loved to see that happen little by little. The end result was that much sweeter because of the hard work and ups and downs Bryn and Mitchell had to get through to get their happy ending. This book has both fake dating and reality TV and I love these tropes so much. Moreover, I love how the story is about more than just the romance between Bryn and Mitchell. Both of them are also trying to start businesses and that’s a whole process, and I like how we get to see that. There is a lot riding on the success of their businesses and we get to see them on every step of the way: the good and the bad, the rewards and the setbacks.

Damn, the woman won’t stop. Her attitude won’t quit; she refuses to submit.
And it fucking turns me on.

Bryn is a remarkable heroine, I love her so much. She is energetic, and always wants to fight and have the last word in discussions and arguments. I’m so glad she was portrayed the way she was because I think it’s rare to see headstrong and opinionated women get celebrated. I relate to her so much, so definitely give me more gutsy, vulnerable and stubborn women in romance. I love it when we see women going after what they want and not being afraid to do it. Furthermore, what I love about Mitchell is the fact that he’s kind, is in love with all things nature, and totally has a green thumb. There is also the fact that he’s a soldier, a captain. Mitchell has PTSD and I loved the way that was shown and handled. We see how he deals with both his anxiety and insomnia and how he gets treatment for his PTSD as his symptoms begin to worsen. I love how this book called out a lot of the stigma that exists surrounding soldiers with PTSD and I’m glad something so significant was brought up in a skillful way that in no way diminishes its importance. Mitchell and Bryn are both fully fleshed out characters that I think many will enjoy reading about and getting to know them.

Another aspect of East in Paradise I loved was the family vibes. We get to see both Bryn’s and Mitchell’s family, and despite none of them being perfect, I love how authentic it feels to see them come with their two cents about the entire ordeal of the plot. It’s also very clear how much Bryn and Mitchell care about their families and thus also care about what the other’s family thinks of them. Another plus was the main characters Camille and Drew from North to You made multiple cameo appearances (which was not surprising considering we were introduced to Bryn in North to You since she’s Drew’s cousin). As for future installments, the information about who the third book is about is still unknown. However, I’d really like to see the next book be about Victoria (Bryn’s sister) or Cody (Mitchell’s brother) since I fell in love with them both from what we saw in East in Paradise.

All in all, I love how Tif Marcelo has brought us two amazing foodie romances that will make you swoon. East in Paradise has the best romance and an amazing cast of characters to get invested in. I love how this book is both light and funny yet still manages to tackle important topics that I can imagine are often just brushed over. If you’re a lover of romance, food, wine and that classic “and they lived happily ever after” then you need East in Paradise on your TBR. Nothing beats a really good romance read and this book is definitely it.

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