Thursday, February 28, 2019

Blog Tour Guest Post—Tarot by Marissa Kennerson

Publisher: Rzorbill
Hardcover288 pages
Published February 19th 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy

Anna was never supposed to exist. Born of a forbidden union between the Queen and the tyrannical King’s archnemesis, Anna is forced to live out her days isolated in the Tower, with only her mentors and friends the Hermit, the Fool, and the Magician to keep her company. To pass the time, Anna imagines unique worlds populated by creatives and dreamers—the exact opposite of the King’s land of fixed fates and rigid rules—and weaves them into four glorious tapestries.

But on the eve of her sixteenth birthday and her promised release from the Tower, Anna discovers her true lineage: She’s the daughter of Marco, a powerful magician, and the King is worried that his magical gifts are starting to surface in Anna. Fearing for her life, Anna flees the Tower and finds herself in Cups, a lush, tropical land full of all the adventure, free-spiritedness, and creativity she imagined while weaving.

Anna thinks she’s found paradise in this world of beachside parties, endless food and drink, and exhilarating romance. But when the fabric of Cups begins to unravel, Anna discovers that her tapestries are more than just decoration. They’re the foundation for a new world that she is destined to create—as long as the terrors from the old world don’t catch up with her first.

The Villain

I love writing villains. I find it easier to imbue a “bad guy” or gal, with positive traits than riddling protagonists with flaws. (But the latter is for another post.) It’s such fun to layer a villain with a backstory and try to draw empathy – to a point – from the reader. I also like writing villains to the point of no return after we’ve drummed up all that complexity

The Hierophant King

Let’s take a look at Tarot’s villain, the Hierophant King. The Hierophant King was deeply hurt when the love of his life fell in love with his best friend. I mean, who wouldn’t be? He’s a king, he’s isolated and he doesn’t have a way to process the betrayal and grief he has experienced. His wounds cauterize into something black and thorny inside him, and this informs every decision he makes. Not a great thing in a ruler. Think: angry, bitter…vengeful

And yet…the Hierophant King is not all bad. I mean, okay, he did lock Anna in the Tower for 16 years, but if you can get past that for a moment (and I’m not saying you should…), you notice his ambivalence towards her. At the beginning of the book, when the King discusses Anna’s fate with his top advisor,Senator Bassett, he is undecided on how to proceed. He wrestles with his role as leader, his personal demons, and the idea that perhaps he could and should have raised her as his own daughter. We really see this when the King realizes Anna has escaped and the Tower has fallen. After calming his nervous and scared subjects, he walks amid the cheers and admiration of his peoplerealizing the enormity of his mistake in not taking care of her. In many moments throughout the story, despite his rigidity, we also witness a charismatic warmth and gregariousness about the King that inspires devotion, comfort, and admiration in his subjects. So, while the King is no angel, I hope I’ve created him with layers of character traits that feel human and real.

As a tarot card…

It’s easy to read the Hierophant King in the tarot deck as a symbol of religion and zealotry in its worst form. (Just as our Hierophant King created his fixed fates in answer to theoverwhelm of his hurts.) With the help of different writings about tarot, I understand that the Hierophant card is really representative of a heady mix of spirituality, intuition and intellectual pursuit. It’s about study and the ephemeral quality of divinity and all things spiritual.

About the Author:
Marissa Kennerson received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Before earning her master’s degree in psychology and art therapy, she worked for Wired and Glamour. She’s the author of the YA cult-suspense novel, The Family, which she did not write from personal experience, since the only cult she’s ever been in is the cult of YouTube makeup tutorials. She lives in California with her husband and son. Look for her new book, TAROT, out with Razorbill in 2019.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review—Crashing into Her (Love on Cue #3) by Mia Sosa

Publisher: Avon Impulse
Published: February 19, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Source: e-arc
Rating: 4 Stars

Relationships are a thing of the past for Eva Montgomery. Her current motto? You can’t spell “manipulative” without man. But Eva has needs, and a one-night-stand at her best friend’s wedding is the perfect way to kick off her new approach to singledom. Then a job opportunity puts her in the same city with the guy she can’t forget . . .

Anthony Castillo is a perpetual bachelor—no strings, just flings—a status he maintains by being honest about his intentions and never looking back. So why is he still thinking about the firecracker of a woman who rocked his world at his cousin’s wedding? It’s a question he refuses to answer, until she comes crashing back into his life, taking his emotional walls down with her.

When her father doubts her ability to make it in LA, Eva vows to go big and prove him wrong. With her athletic background, she’s an ideal candidate for stunt work. But first she’ll need training, and the instructor is none other than her former hookup, Anthony Castillo. Except he’s not as cocky as she remembers and he’s definitely still sexy as sin. The only problem is . . . Anthony doesn’t want her anywhere near his stunt school—or his heart.

This is the first book I’m reading in the Love on Cue series and the first I’m reading from the author herself. I’m now hooked beyond reasonable doubt. Eva and Anthony were nothing short of amazing. Falling in love with them was inevitable.

Readers looking for a sexy and funny romance will no doubt end up loving this. The two main characters have chemistry out of this world—and they’re an interracial couple. I can’t stress that enough. That was my favorite part of the story. That and the fact that the hero was so swoon-worthy. He was honest. He was perfect. Anthony was the type of hero we wished was real. 

I want to touch up on how happy I am that publishers are started to give us more diversity in books. Romance is about making the impossible, possible. And it never caters to just one—it caters to all. Join the millions of us who read and breathe romance! Because Anthony and Eva are the best!

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

About the Author:
Mia Sosa is an award-winning contemporary romance writer and 2015 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Finalist. Her books have received praise and recognition from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Library Journal, The Washington Post, Book Riot, Bustle, and more.

A former First Amendment and media lawyer, Mia practiced for more than a decade before trading her suits for loungewear (okay, okay, they’re sweatpants). Now she strives to write fun and flirty stories about imperfect characters finding their perfect match.

Mia lives in Maryland with her husband, their two daughters, and an adorable puppy that finally sleeps through the night.

To learn more about Mia and her books, visit


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Review: The Simple Art of Flying by Cory Leonardo

Publisher: Aladdin
Published: February 12, 2019
Genre: Middle Grade
Source: Print ARC
Rating: 5 Stars

About The Simple Art of Flying:
Sometimes flying means keeping your feet on the ground… Born in a dismal room in a pet store, Alastair the African grey parrot dreams of escape to bluer skies. He’d like nothing more than to fly away to a palm tree with his beloved sister, Aggie. But when Aggie is purchased by twelve-year-old Fritz, and Alastair is adopted by elderly dance-enthusiast and pie-baker Albertina Plopky, the future looks ready to crash-land.

In-between anxiously plucking his feathers, eating a few books, and finding his own poetic voice, Alastair plots his way to a family reunion. But soon he’s forced to choose between the life he’s always dreamed of and admitting the truth: that sometimes, the bravest adventure is in letting go.

The Simple Art of Flying has got to be the cutest and funniest books I’ve read in a very long time. That’s not an exaggeration either—the main characters are birds who are just so misunderstood. Especially Alastair. He deeply cares for his sister, Aggie. She’s sweet and grounds her grumpy brother. 

Then there’s Fritz and Bertie who I equally loved. Both really brought the story to life. Fritz is the twelve year old boy that ends up buying Aggie. While Bertie is the one who gets Alastair. All our broody bird wants is to get back to his sister. The shenanigans and adventure we’re taken on is both endearing and amazing. 

I adored this story like no other. It’s a melt your heart and dance like no one is watching type of book. You know the kind—quirky and makes you feel so good! The characters make this reading experience so much better than I could have ever imagined. I look forward to reading more from Leonardo. 

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

About the author:
Cory Leonardo grew up believing she’d replace Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune, but when that didn’t pan out, she decided she’d turn letters and phrases in a different way (but minus the glittery dresses, sadly). A born and bred upstate New Yorker, she currently lives in the Syracuse area with her husband and three plucky children.


Cover Reveal – THE WEDDING DEAL by Cindi Madsen

About the Book:

The rules are about to change…

Former quarterback Lance Quaid just inherited the most losing team in the NFL. He’s got only a few weeks until draft day to turn things around, and after firing more than half his staff, he can’t do it alone. Thankfully, his HR manager is more than capable, if only she’d stop focusing on “due diligence” and stop looking so sexy while she’s yelling at him. 

Charlotte James has made a life out of following the rules. But nothing could have prepared her for Lance Quaid––he’s a human resources nightmare. The man is brash, has no filter, and, as her new boss, is constantly relying on her to cover his ass. Which is admittedly quite nice. 

When Lance begs her to join him on a trip down the coast for his brother’s wedding so they can finalize details––on a strictly business basis––she agrees...after they fill out the necessary forms, of course. Away from the office, though, sparks start flying as the team starts coming together. But both of them know anything more than the weekend would be a colossally bad idea––after all, the extra paperwork would be a nightmare.


About Cindi Madsen:

Cindi Madsen is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children. 

Cindi’s Media Links:

Author Website:  
Author Street Team/Facebook Group:


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Cover Reveal—Ms. Baker by Lea Coll

Today we have the cover reveal for Lea Coll’s MS. BAKER. Check it out and be sure to grab your copy March 26th!

Title: Ms. Baker

Author: Lea Coll

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 26th

About Ms. Baker:

Ever since Jack protected Samantha from a high school bully, the two have been friends. But she wants more from the sexy firefighter. Too bad Jack has always seen her as the shy sweet girl, who can’t stand up for herself.   She can’t resist his boyish smile when he stops by the bakery for coffee. Or stop herself from bringing baked goods to the fire station.   It’s time to prove she’s all grown up and can take care of herself.   And show him, she’s done being friends



Exclusive Excerpt:

My eyes traveled around the room until I saw Jack leaning against the counter by the coffee machine in his department-issued navy blue shirt, blue cargo pants, and boots. I flushed to find his eyes on mine. I couldn’t get the feel of his hands or lips out of my head. He made no move to grab a donut, so I walked over to him. “Not hungry this morning?” I asked. “Oh, I’m always hungry,” he said, his eyes steady on mine as he took a sip of his coffee. After the dream I had, I couldn’t help but take that comment literally. “You should eat an apple cider donut before they’re gone," I said, my heart pounding, I turned to grab a plate to hide my face, but Jack grabbed my hand pulling me back. “Don’t worry about it, I can get it myself,” he said. The movement knocked me off balance and I fell back onto his hard chest. His arm came around my middle to steady me. “Whoa there,” he whispered into my ear, as his body curled around mine. “I said I can get it myself. You’ve been on your feet all morning. Why don’t you sit down and rest?” I heard the guys joking around me, but couldn’t follow their conversation. “Samantha?” Jack’s voice caressed my ear again. “Yeah?” I asked, breathing in the smell of coffee, and leaning my head back a little to look up at him. His eyes crinkled in amusement and his lips tilted up into a smile. “Are you going to sit down?” His chest was warm on my back, and my hands instinctively gripped his bare forearms, which were wrapped around my waist. I wanted to sink back into him even more, but I reluctantly moved out of his hold, feeling the loss of warmth immediately. I shook my head to clear it and pulled a stool from the island to sit down. The guys were still standing around the counter, but the box of donuts was almost empty.  

Catch Up on the Series!

About the Author: Lea Coll worked as a trial attorney for over ten years. Now she stays home with her three children, plotting stories while fetching snacks and running them back and forth to activities. She enjoys the freedom of writing romance after years of legal writing. She grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and currently resides in Maryland with her family.

Connect with Lea:

Website | Facebook


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Review + Excerpt—The Good Ones (Happily Ever After # 1) by Jenn McKinlay

Publisher: Berkley Books
Published: February 5, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Source: Print ARC
Rating: 3 Stars

A romance bookstore owner finds her own happily ever after with a single dad in a new romance series from the New York Timesbestselling author of Every Dog Has His Day.

Ryder Copeland is an accomplished architect and one heck of a father...not to mention tall and sexy. He's everything a hero should be, and Lord knows, Maisy Kelly has read enough of her great-aunt Eloise's romance novels to recognize one when she sees one. But like all fairy tales, Maisy can't help but wonder if this Prince Charming is too good to be true...

Ryder is drawn to the shy, curly haired professor who hires him to convert the Victorian house she's inherited from her aunt into a romance bookstore. Attracted to a woman for the first time since his divorce, Ryder finds himself wishing for a future with Maisy that he knows is impossible. Ryder has never wavered from his plan to leave the small town of Fairdale, North Carolina, so he can give his daughter the life she deserves. But suddenly he's not so sure. And the closer he gets to Maisy, the harder it's going to be to walk away...

A zip zap of electricity and the intense feeling that this man could alter her life course with a snap of his fingers. It shook her to the core.

Do you know what I love best about classic tales of romance? The ability to make me beyond happy—in a world that likes to bleed darkness, sometimes we need a little pick me up. And The Good Ones delivered beautifully. Although it did have its faults; it still managed to be a sweet love story that I enjoyed. 

The good ones are always either fictional or taken or gay.

Maisy Kelly is on her way to making a bookstore full of none other than romance novels left by her late great-aunt. She needs to transform the house into the bookstore full of happily ever afters. That’s where Ryder comes in—architect, single father, emotionally unavailable, and man most likely to be on a cover of your latest romantic read. The two together have an instant connection. Ryder doesn’t do relationships but there’s something about Maisy that makes him think twice about it. 

I didn’t feel like Ryder was emotionally not there when it came to his feelings. He was a good guy and it was clear from the start that he couldn’t take his eyes (or lips!) off Maisy. The two take part in a couple of sexy stolen kisses. I never thought the two wouldn’t make it though. Ryder seemed way too invested in Maisy than he would like to admit. It was only a matter of time...

The story moved at very slow pace at times and it took me awhile to finish the book—which is unusual for me. It was those instances that I would lose the connection I felt to the two main 
characters. Especially the connection between the both of them being together. Then something would happen between the two and I’d be reminded why I like them so much. I still wish the story moved along a little faster.

I think readers will love this book because the heroine is a booklover and romance fanatic—much like 

most of us. She was relatable and didn’t give in to any of Ryder’s BS. I liked that a lot! The secondary characters were awesome! So I look forward to reading more stories in the Happily Ever After Series

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

When Jake took off his cowboy hat and pulled her close, Claire wrapped her arms around him and the two became one. When they kissed she knew they were making each other a promise for today, tomorrow, and forever. Clare sighed. For the first time in her life, she knew that no matter what happened this man, who was her partner and her best friend, would be by her side. For all time.

    Maisy Kelly closed the book and pressed it to her chest and sighed. Jake Sinclair, the perfect man, why did he reside only in the pages of a book? It wasn’t fair. She was twenty-nine and none of the men she’d ever dated had been even remotely as caring or charming as Jake Sinclair. 
    Knock knock knock.
    Maisy blinked. Someone was at the door. No, no, no. She had a book hangover and she didn’t want to deal with the world right now. 
    Knock knock knock.
    They weren’t going away. Maisy rose from where she’d been seated on the bottom step of the stairs. In theory, she was supposed to be cleaning out her Great Aunt Eloise’s house, in reality she was binge reading Auntie El’s hoarder’s trove of romance novels. It wasn’t making the task, which was heartbreaking to begin with, any easier.
    Knock knock knock.
    “All right, all right,” Maisy grumbled. “I’m coming.”
    She strode to the door and yanked it open. Probably, if she had bothered to glance 
through the peep hole she would have been prepared, but she hadn’t and she wasn’t.

 L   Standing on her front step, looking impossibly handsome and imposing, was a cowboy.
 Maisy glanced down at her book. On the cover was the artist’s rendering of Jake Sinclair, in jeans and a white shirt, leaning against a split rail fence, with a brown cowboy hat tipped carelessly over his brow. Maisy could practically hear the cows mooing in the background. 
    She glanced back up. Jeans, white shirt, and a cowboy hat. This guy had it all going on, except where the artist had left Jake’s face in shadow and not clearly defined, this guy was a full on 3D HD of hotness, with full lips, faint stubble on his chin, and quite possibly the bluest eyes Maisy had ever seen this side of the sky. She had a sudden urge to poke him with her pointer finger to see if he was real.
    “Mornin’, Miss,” the man drawled, drawled!
    Miss? Huh, she hadn’t been called “Miss” since she’d started teaching at Fairdale University. Why would he…she glanced down.
    She was wearing her favorite floral Converse All-stars, ripped up denim shorts, and her old Fairdale University sweatshirt, the one with the sleeves that hung down past her hands, oh, and she had on no makeup and her hair was held back by an enormous pink headband. She probably looked like one of her college students, possibly a freshman.
    In that brief shining moment, she was certain if it was possible to die of embarrassment, she would expire in three…two…one. She gave it a second. Nope, still standing. Damn it.
    “Listen, I’m sorry, sir, but whatever you’re selling, I’m not interested—,” she began but he cut her off.
    “Oh, I’m not selling anything,” he said. He looked confused. “This is three-twenty-three Willow Lane, right?”
    “Yes, it is. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back--,” she let her voice trail off, hoping he’d get the hint. He didn’t.
    “I have an appointment with a Ms. Kelly,” he said. “Or Mrs. Kelly, I’m not sure.”
    Maisy knew she didn’t have any appointments today. That was why she’d indulged herself in a good long reading sesh. This guy was probably a hustler, trying to con her to buy some property insurance or new windows. Ever since she’d inherited this monster of 
a house from Auntie El she’d had all sorts of scammers climbing out of the cracks in the sidewalk, trying to get her to refinance or buy a security system. It was exhausting. 

    The man met her squinty stare with one of his own. He shrinkled up one eye and mimicked her look of disbelief right down to the small lip curl. The nerve! Then she saw
 the twinkle in his one open eye, and Maisy couldn’t hold it. She burst out laughing. 
    He grinned at her and her ire diminished as she noted the cowboy had a sense of humor. Okay, she decided to give him a break and at least take his name and number. 
    “I’m sorry,” she said. “What was your appointment with Ms. Kelly about?”
    “It’s about the house, actually,” he said. “My name’s Ryder Copeland. I’m a restoration architect, and you are?”
    “Ryder Copeland?” Maisy’s eyes went wide. “But our appointment isn’t until tomorrow, you know, Tuesday.”
    “Today is Tuesday,” he said. 
    “No, it isn’t,” she said. “It’s Monday.”
    “Sorry, it really is Tuesday. Wait,” he said. “Our appointment? You’re Maisy Kelly?”

About the Author:
Jenn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several mystery series and will be debuting a new women's fiction series in June 2017, starting with the title About a Dog. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets and her husband's guitars.

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