Thursday, May 24, 2018

Review—The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Publisher: Berkley Romance 
Published: June 5, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Source: Print ARC
Rating: 4.5 Stars 

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

The Kiss Quotient first had me when I heard about how adorably awkward the heroine, Stella was. I’ve now read and finished the book, only to realize that while she may be adorably awkward, she’s so much more than that. Stella is the type of character that has you wishing she were your best friend because she’s so completely honest and kind. It’s hard not to fall in love with her charm and naivety. 

Stella is need of some loving—more like she needs help perfecting the act of intimacy. So she does what any intelligent and wealthy woman would do and hires an escort. Enter Michael—said escort. One of the coolest (and best) things about the book is the fact that all the roles were reversed. Instead of a wealthy man picking up an escort; it’s the woman. Think Pretty Woman in reverse! Stella has the status and the money, even if she doesn’t quite fit the mold of how an insanely rich person would act. 

Michael is just trying to survive and help out his family the only way he knows how—by selling his body for money. When he and Stella meet for the first time, she treats him as an equal, not someone that she’s paying for

intimacy. The thing is, Stella starts wanting his expertise in more than just sex. Michael doesn’t do repeat clients for many reasons though. So why can’t he stop thinking of her?

I loved, adored, and cried such happy tears while reading this book. It’s one that’s completely unique to the genre, in my humble opinion. I loved the fact that the hero is Vietnamese (well part anyways) and the heroine has Aspergers. Huang brings us something completely fresh and in the process will hopefully help open the eyes of those who don’t understand autism as well. I feel like this is a changing point for the autistic community (and those with other forms of disabilities) as a whole. You aren’t alone. 

Diverse books are absolutely something we need more of—and this one will most certainly not disappoint. It’s smart and sexy—a lethal combination! Seriously, if you’re in need of something sexy yet romantic, and a hero that genuinely cares about those around him, including the heroine, pick this up. You won’t regret it! These characters will stay with you long after you finish reading. 

About the Author:
Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt—Piece of Work by Staci Hart


Piece of Work, an all-new sexy and hilarious romance from Staci Hart, is available NOW!

Marble isn’t the only thing that’s hard at this museum.
His body is as chiseled as Adonis. His lips are as sculpted as David. And his ego is the size of the Guggenheim.
You know the type—wolfish smile and the gravity of a black hole. The kind of man who sucks all the air from the room the second he enters it. My cocky boss thinks this internship was wasted on me, and he doesn’t hesitate to let me know.
But he’s wrong, and I’m going to prove it to him. If I can stay away from his devil lips, that is. Lips that cut me down and kiss me in the same breath, leaving me certain he’s on a mission to ruin my life.
And maybe my heart.

Bodies could be satisfied easily. 
Minds couldn’t.
 And hearts were impossible to slake.

Piece of Work is my first read ever from Staci Hart—she writes smart and simple. The heroine, Rin, was so damn relatable I could weep. The opening scene had me giggling because it’s something I would do! Then she meets the hunkalicious man that is Dr. Lyons, and the story takes off!

Rin took an internship at The Met and it’s nothing like her. Meaning that’s she’s just a regular gal who doesn’t feel like she fits in well with the flashy and sophisticated crowd. She likes to remain invisible. But invisible she is not—no matter how hard she tries. 

“But it was her lips that summoned me, commanded me without a word, a deep shade of crimson spotlighting their bewitching shape; narrow on her face but ample and alluring, her top lip was as thick and luscious as the bottom. I envisioned them parting to whisper my name.”

This is a dual POV novel, so it was nice being able to see Court’s perspective on things and what he thinks of Rin. Even though she likes to blend in, she decides to get a make over—which gives her confidence she never knew she had. Court notices of course; how could he not? She’s smart, beautiful, and kind. While he may be a douchebag at times, you could see he had heart. I loved watching him grow!

I’ll be blunt...the book was hot! Rin and Court balanced each other out so well. She was the ying to his yang; the Elizabeth Bennett to his Mr. Darcy. I liked that even after Rin’s appearance changes, she still remains the awkward and fun-loving woman we fell in love with. The story is full of passion, romance, and a hero that could set s girls heart (and body) on fire!

*Thank you to the author for providing a copy for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
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He smirked and flipped up his sunglasses. Bastard. “You’re early,” I clipped. “I would have had my assistant text you, but she’s currently bedridden.” You could have texted me.” “I didn’t have your number,” he said simply. “Oh.” His eyes shifted to look behind me, and I turned to find my friends standing me in a row with my suitcase in front of them, my messenger bag on top, and fake smiles on all their faces, lips together, their judgment about as quiet as a foghorn. “These your roommates?” “Yup,” was all I said as I turned and took my suitcase, hugging each of them down the line with promises to text when we landed. And then I turned to Court, rolling my suitcase in front of me like like a riot shield. I tried to pick it up to carry it over the threshold, but it was heavy, and before I could get far, he’d swept it out of my hands like it was a loaf of bread and not fifty pounds of mascara and shoes. I waved at my friends, who offered encouraging smiles and hand gestures, and I closed that door, immediately regretting every decision I’d made to bring me to the moment I turned around. He stood at the door to the backseat, holding it open for me like a gentleman, which I knew he was not. But the look on his face of regret and deference, under the hard shell of his brooding, was almost too much to bear. So I did the only thing I could. I ignored him. I ignored his gorgeous lips as they tilted and the sleek cut of his jaw as I walked past him. I ignored the sight of his long legs as he climbed in next to me and the smell of him that made me want to grab him by the lapels of his jacket and bury my nose in his chest. The driver took off, and I busied myself in my bag, looking for my headphones and book. His eyes were on me. I pretended like I didn’t notice. “You’re not wearing lipstick,” he stated. Headphones, headphones, headphones. “It’s an international flight, Court. Of course I’m not wearing red lipstick for a ten hour flight.” A pause. “Rin, I—” Aha! I popped in my earbuds the second they were in hand. His lips flattened, his face unamused. Rin, his lips said, but I smiled and shrugged, pointing to my ears. “Noise canceling,” I said way too loud. His chest rose and fell with a sigh I couldn’t hear—I’d already turned on music, a playlist we’d built the night before geared toward resisting douchery and unwanted-slash-totally-wanted advances—and he reached into his own bag, a leather affair at his feet, his hand disappearing into the bag and reappearing with a book, which he handed to me. He watched me with his expression shrouded as I paused, my eyes on the offered book. An image of Penitent Magdalene by Tintoretto filled the cover, and I met his eyes, pulling my earbuds out by the cord. “I thought you could use this. For your proposal,” he said, giving nothing away. “I…A colleague of mine wrote it, so if you have any questions, I can connect you. If you want.” I took it from his hand, surprised and disarmed. “Thank you,” was all I said. He opened his mouth as if to speak again, but closed it, and with a nod, he reached back into his bag for his own book. Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. I put my earbuds back in place, trying not to bite my lip, but it found its way between my teeth despite the effort at the sight of him sitting there, dressed like that, reading Margaret Atwood. After giving me a thoughtful gift, a book he knew I would want, one I would need for my dissertation. Court Lyons made about as much sense to me as a scrambled up Rubik’s Cube. I leaned against the door as I flipped through his gift, doing my best to sort through the rush of questions and confusion as Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s sang about being cheated by the opposite of love. And I found I knew exactly the feeling.
About the Author
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics. StaciHart.jpg
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Guest Post—Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully

Hello everyone! I’m so happy to bring you a very special  guest post from debut author, Daniela Tully. Today she talks about German fairytales! Please make sure to support her by picking up a copy of her novel. Without further ado...
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Published: April 10, 2018
Genre: historical; mystery
When Maya was a girl in Germany, her grandmother was everything to her: teller of magical fairy tales, surrogate mother, best friend. Then, shortly after Maya’s sixteenth birthday, her grandmother disappeared without a trace, leaving Maya with only questions to fill the void.

Twenty-seven years later, her grandmother’s body is found in a place she had no connection to: the Montgomery Resort in upstate New York. How did she get there? Why had she come? Desperate for answers, Maya leaves her life in Germany behind and travels to America, where she is drawn to the powerful family that owns the hotel and seemingly the rest of the town.

Soon Maya is unraveling secrets that go back decades, from 1910s New York to 1930s Germany and beyond. But when she begins to find herself spinning her own lies in order to uncover the circumstances surrounding her grandmother’s death, she must decide whether her life and a chance at true love are worth risking for the truth.

A fairy tale – and a farewell letter, lost for 46 years.
I still remember that afternoon clearly. It was the year 1990, and I had just arrived home from school. Coming in the house, I found my grandmother sitting with my mother at the kitchen table, sobbing, in her hand an envelope yellowed with age; from the upper right corner, Adolf Hitler gazed sternly at me from an oldstamp. We had barely touched on World War II at school, and I had never been too good in history classes anyway, as my interest in history only woke up decades later. So it took me a while to piece it all together: my grandmother had a twin brother, a German fighter plane pilot, who died during WWII. As he felt his death nearing, he wrote a farewell letter to my grandmother and their mother, at the end of 1944. That letter, however, was held up in the East, when the Russians came in and assumed power, and only reached my grandmother in 1990 when the Berlin Wall came down… forty-six years after his death.
Of course I had heard of WolfgangHe would come up in conversation with other relatives,occasionally, when the past was discussed – orrather, as is common among older folks,tirelessly retold. I was 14 years old in 1990 and sick of those stories, and often turned my attention to something else when an old anecdote would pop up again, an anecdote of which I could recite each and every single word! One of them was the story of my grandmother, and how she ploughed the field in Milse, a tiny suburb of Bielefeld, at the age of 16. While pregnant with my father. That day, she had meant to get married. But back in those days, yohad toregister an engagement with the town hall, and when my grandmother wanted to marry my grandfather (whom I never met), his fiancé came in and objected. My grandmother returned home and ploughed the field, for all the villagers to see that she wouldn’t marry – that she was carrying a bastard child. 
It was my father, really, who had to suffer most: born in 1943, he was a ‘Kriegskind, a War Child. After the war, my grandmother had to work to provide for her child and motherwhile my great-grandmother, my father’s grandmother, looked after my father. They were a family of three: my great-grandmother had lost two husbands and all her other kids between two world wars, in battle or to sickness. It was always said that my grandmother was the least favored child– and yet she was the one who survived and took care of her mother after everyone else had abandoned herDuring my father’s childhood, better-off aunts would come by and take the kids to the movies – but my father was turned away at the car door. Why? Hewould ask, with pleading eyes. “Just ask your mother,” the beastly aunts would say. When my father did something wrong, like landing in the river instead of on the other side, while playing in the woods, his grandmother would say “This is too much,” would go up to the attic vowing to kill herself, slam the door shut behind her, wait for my father to break down crying, screaming, “Don’t do it”. Then she would topple over the chair next to her, listen to his screams and crying some more, and then step out and enclose my sobbing father into her arms, bathing in his confessions of love, and promises never to do something wrong again. 
Clearly, after all her losses, this woman was damaged goods – and so was my father. The first time I remembered there was something wrong with him was when he had an anniversary at work -- he was a director at a branch of a mid-sized local bank – and when we came home after the celebrations, one of the balloons they had given me at the party slipped out of my hand. My father couldn’t sleep that night, so badly did he want that balloon back. He developed several neuroses over the years: becoming a compulsive hoarder was one of them. He was incapable of parting ways with certain objects, mostly papers. He gathered and picked up papers of all kinds, such as receipts, wrappers, bills, bank forms. All this was a result of his childhood. It had been suppressed for decades, and still, it came back to him to haunt him in this form, until he finally sought medical advice. 
His psychiatrist was amazed: it was rare, he said, for someone like him, with his past, to be successful in a job, and have a family – and certainly couldn’t have wished for a better father.But it showed me, in my early childhood, that the past never rests; it is always with you. And our understanding of time always fascinated me. I myself am someone who has a hard time to forgive my own past mistakes; I often am full of regrets. And then years later, my husband and I watched Kung Fu PandaAnd Master Oogwaysaid: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is amystery, today is a gift. That’s why they call it the “present.”. This sentence never left me. 
And so I started thinking: what if your understanding of time wasn’t temporal but spatial? What if the times become places, each a separate realm, whose inhabitants are never supposed to cross over, as otherwise they’d upset the balance of the universe? And then, someone does. Queen Floda. Which in reverse, of course,reads ‘Adolf’.
In my novel Hotel on Shadow Lake, the fairy taleprovides my protagonist Maya with the last piece of the puzzle, in her search for the truth behind her grandmother’s disappearance. Ironically, given the nature of the fairy tale, it acts as a bridge, not a separation – a bridge between the past and Maya’s future.

About the Author:

Since early childhood I have dreamt of exploring the world outside of my birthplace, the mid-sized city of Bielefeld in Germany. Too young to yet fulfil my wanderlust, I escaped into the world of storytelling, and - as soon as I was able to read - was always seen with a novel plastered in front of my face. In fact, for many years, I wanted to become a librarian. Instead, I chose a different path and dove into the world of audio-visual storytelling: first, with film making. I began my career working with famed director Uli Edel while completing my film studies, which allowed me to work on sets all over the world. Once I met my husband, on one of those films, I settled down in Munich for a while, and first became head of script development at a film production company in Munich, and then a network executive of original programming at one of Germany’s major private networks. After this I moved to the United Arab Emirates, where I had been hired to help develop the country’s film industry. Through our company’s partnerships with Hollywood, I was involved in projects such as the critically-acclaimed Fair Game, box-office hits Contagion and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as the Oscar-winning The Help. However, as nice as it is to be able to include these titles on my resume, I sometimes felt, especially with other films I produced, that the art of story telling in film making can be compromised by the number of cooks in the kitchen. And so I sat down one day and started writing my own story, the first of many to come.


Blog Tour Review—Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson

Publisher: Razorbill
Published: May 29, 2018
Genre: YA Contemporary/Mystery
Source: Print ARC
Rating: 4.5 Stars


"A compulsive page-turner with a shocking twist--get ready to stay up all night!" --Sara Shepard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars

"This conversation-starting page-turner is...Fatal Attraction meets Big Little Lies." --Kirkus Reviews
     Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide.

     Quiet, shy Elyse can't believe it when she's cast as the lead in her Portland high school's production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn't sure she's up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye--someone she knows she absolutely shouldn't be with--she can't help but be pulled into the spotlight.

     Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable--breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She's not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever.

     Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive.

Holy moly! I finished the book in three hours. I meant to read a few pages before bed, but then I couldn’t stop reading. This was so damn good! I just thought I’d throw that out there. There’s a juicy forbidden romance plotline, betrayals, crazy ex-girlfriends, and pretty much spending the whole book wondering how everything comes together. 

Oh boy, did it deliver! The twist was perfection that I didn’t even see it coming. It was so obvious but I still didn’t see it. I love a good mystery. I’m the story we follow two separate characters—Gabe and Elyse and the side characters, Catherine, Sasha, and Aiden. All these characters lives are entwined in some kind of way. Gabe is dating Sasha—she’s crazy and manipulative though, so luckily he sees the light and breaks it off. 

That is until he starts getting threatening texts on social media that he knows pinpoint to Sasha. But proving it’s her is only half the battle. Then Gabe meets Catherine in an unusual way and he obviously can’t stop thinking about her. Catherine’s got secrets that leave her guarded and somewhat standoffish. Gabe wants her anyway. 

Elyse has always been okay with being in the shadow of someone else’s spotlight. Her home life isn’t great, so she does what she can to get by. The day she wins the coveted role of Juliet in Romeo + Juliet, is the day her life changes. And not for the better—though she wished it was. 

I want to shout on the rooftop at the top of my lungs how much I loved this story and the characters. It wasn’t a complex story but it did pull at my heartstrings. The biggest thing an author can do, is make me feel all the feels. Once that happens, I usually become a fan for life of said author. If you’re looking for a story that seems quiet in presentation but takes a mean punch in the end, don’t hesitate to read this! I dare you to try to put it down after the first chapter. 

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon UK


Jennifer Donaldson graduated from Reed College and received her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently lives in Austin with her family.


May 14 – Brooke Reports – Playlist
May 15 – Lindseyybooks – Review + Insta Photo
May 16 – Lo’s Lo-Down on Books – Review 
May 17 – Novel Grounds – Book Aesthetic and Creative Instagram Picture
May 18 – Little Bookworm Reviews – Review + Book Aesthetic

May 21 – Just Add a Word – Review + Book Aesthetic
May 22 – The Nerdy Girl Express – Review
May 23 – The Lovely Books – Review
May 24 – Next Book Review – Creative Picture
May 25 – Snarky Yet Satisfying – Creative Instagram Picture

May 28 – Coffee Cocktails and Books – Review + Book Tag
May 29 – HelloJennyReviews – Creative Bookstagram Picture
May 30 – Young Adult Reads – Review
May 31 – Seeing Double In Neverland – Review + Creative Photo


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cover Reveal—Whole Lotta Frogs by Samantha Harris


My name is Lennox Brooks and I’ll admit, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I don’t take the big risks, I cover my insecurities with snark, I’ve shown my crazy a few more times then I would’ve liked, and I’ve been trying, and failing at love pretty much since I first grew tits. 

Weirdos, Mama’s boys, the over-coiffed, and underwhelming, I’ve been out with them all, just read my blog. I’ve got horror stories that would curl your toes and singe your nose hairs, but none of them compare to the toad who started it all, Ellis Walker. 

He was the boy next door, the charming, infuriatingly gorgeous one who broke my heart and disappeared without a trace. Now he’s back and determined to throw my life into chaos, dredging up painful memories just when things were getting good. 

But the thing is there are always two sides to every story.

I’ve spent the better part of my life hating him for everything he put me through, but without that resentment clouding my judgment how will I ever resist him? 

Love is complicated, appearances are deceiving, and sometimes you have to kiss a whole lotta frogs before finding your prince.

I got ready in a fury and reread Ellis’s invasive text three times while I fixed my hair and makeup, shaking my head each time and fighting back a smile.

I still hadn’t answered when I started walking the six blocks to Sawyer’s apartment. I’d barely stepped off the stoop of my building when my phone rang.

“You never answered my question,” Ellis said.

My lips curled up at the corners. “Of course, I didn’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s none of your business.”

“Len, your nudity is absolutely my business. In fact, I’m the CEO of that luscious body and I’m a hands-on kind of leader.”

I shook my head, unable to hold back my smile any longer. “Wow, you managed to turn a creepy text into an even creepier metaphor. Kudos to you.”

Ellis laughed. “Are you?”

“Am I what?”

“Naked,” he said. “I’m about the hop in the shower and I need a visual to, you know, help me finish the job.”

“You’re unbelievable.”

“Unbelievably sexy you mean.” I could hear the grin in his voice.


“Seriously, though,” he said. “What are you up to?”

“Well.” I took a deep breath, the ice-cold air burning my nose. “If you must know, Sawyer offered to make me dinner. I’m on my way to his place.”

“Really?” he asked. “Great!”

I stopped short on the sidewalk my feet frozen to the pavement. People around me grunted their disapproval and moved around me as I stood glued to the concrete.

“Great?” What happened to throwing his hat in the ring?

“Yeah. I’m starved; I’ll meet you there in ten.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I love his food—man, that guy can cook. Best decision I ever made, going into business with him. Even if he’s trying to steal my woman.”

“Ellis!” I shouted into the phone. An elderly woman pulling a grocery cart behind her glared at me for my outburst. I mouthed my apologies to her then returned to my phone. “So help me God if you show up at Sawyer’s…”

“What’s the big deal? I’m friends with him. He’s friends with you. We can all have dinner together, it’ll be fun.”

“You aren’t invited.”

“Oh, Len, I’m hurt. I thought we were moving forward. We’re friends, aren’t we?”

I sighed. “Yes, we’re friends.”

“And friends sometimes eat together?” I groaned, not liking the route this conversation was taking. “Sawyer and I are friends, which I expect might change when I tell him how I feel about you. Oh, what the hell—we’ll just leave him out of this and you and I will just go ourselves.”

“Smooth, Ellis,” I said. “Real smooth.”

“I am pretty smooth if I do say so myself. Not to mention devastatingly handsome, and moderately charming.”

“Only moderately?” I asked.

“Yes, but don’t worry; I grow on you.”

I took a deep breath to calm my nerves and closed my eyes. “Please tell me you are not going to show up this evening.”

Ellis laughed. “Relax. I won’t be interrupting your little dinner.”

“Thanks.” I checked the address and looked up at Sawyer’s building. The door to which was sandwiched between a dry cleaner and a greasy pizza place. “I’ve got to go. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay,” he said. “Lennox?”


He didn’t say anything right away. I just stood there, the cold wind biting at my fingertips.

“Don’t—," he started, his voice sounding almost pained.

“Don’t, what?”

I stood there listening to him breathe on the other end.

“Nothing.” He sighed.

I groaned and rolled my eyes. “Bye, Ellis.”

Samatha “Sam” Harris lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband David and daughter Ava. Born in Florida, she migrated north which most people agree was a little backwards. She has been an artist all of her life, a Tattoo Artist for more than ten years, and a storyteller since she was a kid. 

Sam has a slightly unhealthy love for Frank Sinatra, classic movies, and Jazz and Blues music, but her first love will always be reading. From Romance, to Thrillers, to Historical Fiction and everything in between, she loves to become a part of the story. As a writer she tells the stories that she would want to read.

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