Blog Tour Review: Barb The Last Berzerker by Dan & Jason

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A hilarious and entertaining graphic novel that is sure to please parents and kids alike.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond as well as Dan & Jason for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary ARC and media kit!

Book Information

Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Publishing Date: September 28, 2021

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power meets Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man in this sidesplitting graphic novel about a young Berzerker who has to rescue her fellow warriors from the evil villain Witch Head before he destroys the world!

Barb is a Berzerker, one of a group of warriors sworn to protect the land of Bailiwick from the scourge of monsters that plagues it. But the fearsome crew seem to have met their match in the nefarious Witch Head. Using power from his magical sword, he tricked the Zerks and took them captive. Only Barb was able to escape—and she took Witch Head’s Shadow Blade with her.

Now it’s up to Barb to free her fellow warriors so they can stop Witch Head from taking over Bailiwick. On the way, she’ll battle vampire goat fiends, snot goblins, and a giant with serious foot odor issues (but don’t mention that to him—he’s very sensitive about it). Luckily, she’s got her best friend, Porkchop the yeti, to help her.

But the power of the Shadow Blade has a mind of its own, and the deeper Barb gets into her quest, the harder it is to keep the blade’s awesome power under control.

Purchase/Information Links:

About the Authors

Dan Abdo and Jason Patterson are long-time partners, best friends and co-creators of the animated comedy series Rocket Monkeys. Their credits also include developing shows for Disney, Sesame Workshop, Fox, and Nickelodeon, not to mention directing lots and lots of animated commercials.

Review (no spoilers)

If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here.

Whenever I agree to do a tour (or buddy read) for a middle grade book, I’m always a bit skeptical on whether or not it’s a good choice. I’m entering my late 20s and I’ve gotten to the point where my much-beloved YA novels are starting to not have the same shine they once did. Why should middle grade books be any different?

I am so happy that I keep being proven wrong. This book was an absolute hoot.

Barb the Last Berzerker is the story of a young Berzerker (Zerk for short) who finds herself tasked to save her loved one— alone. Thankfully, she befriends a (completely adorable) yeti monster named Pork Chop (😍) who teams up with Barb to help her on her quest. The majority of the graphic novel follows Barb and Pork Chop as they make their way to the North in search of allies, experiencing several episodes of hoodwinks and hijinks on the way.

Even as an adult, I found this book outrageously entertaining. I was laughing out loud by the second page, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with Barb, Pork Chop, and everyone else they ran into along the way. On top of that, the novel tackles several important moral lessons in its chapters. It is full of themes of friendship, loyalty, and compassion. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of graphic novels, middle grade books, and humor.

Barb the Last Berzerker released on Tuesday! You can grab yourself a copy at any of the purchase links listed above!

Shadow Stained by Rachel Hobbs: Tour Schedule

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!

TheWriteReads‘ tour for Shadow Stained by Rachel Hobbs starts very soon! To help you all follow along with the tour, I’ll be listing the tour schedule below (using the reviewer’s Twitter username) along with links to where you should be able to find the posts on that day.

If you’re interested in subscribing to TheWriteReads’ mailing list for information on future tours, click here!

October 9

@afangirlreviews
@Vinjii
@goodreadsmob

I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts! Shadow Stained is already out on the shelves; its sequel releases in November! Pick up/pre-order your copies today!

Blog Tour Spotlight & Giveaway: Fool Me Twice at Christmas by Camilla Isley

Today I’m bringing attention to the romantic comedy Fool Me Twice at Christmas by Camilla Isley. I’ll take you through the blurb, about the author, giveaway information, and a few tour excerpts!

Premise

There are two types of relationships: fake and real.

Chuck and Kate’s used to be real, oh-so-real. But after she broke his heart four months ago, leaving him, it became all just pretense for the sake of their entwined families.

With parents who are best friends and business partners, it’s not easy for Chuck and Kate to announce they’ve split up. But with the holidays looming over them, they can no longer keep pretending.

They head home for Christmas, determined to tell the truth—and end up accidentally engaged instead. The more they try to pull apart, the more the Universe seems to push them back together, shortening the road to the altar. And when just-for-show kisses stir up forgotten feelings, things get even more complicated.

Now, with the midnight hour approaching, will Chuck and Kate’s relationship turn out to be fake or real?

Purchase Links:

About the Author

Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband on an adventure abroad.
She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading–duh!–cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies–popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

Social Media Links:

Giveaway (Open INT)

Giveaway to Win 3 x e-copies of A Christmas Caroline by Camilla Isley (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

What readers have to say

I give this book 5 out of 5 tiaras because of the tangled web Kate and Chuck wove for themselves! Just when you think this is it, something else happens to throw their entire plan apart!

Books Lattes & Tiaras

I loved the chemistry between Chuck and Kate and their families were both a lot of fun. I greatly enjoyed the chocolate business as the backdrop as it was well-integrated into the story and makes you crave it while reading.

Chonky Books

This book is certainly full of laughs and surprises, but I do wholeheartedly recommend it.

Eatwell Reads-Well

I just loved this gorgeous story.  It’s filled with romance, chocolate, Christmas and hilarious, cringeworthy situations.  Yes, this is a feelgood tale with wonderful romantic moments and I think that is simply perfect!

Book Escapes with BabsW67

Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

Blog Tour Review: Sidelined by Kara Bietz

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A feel-good high school sports romance

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond and Kara Bietz for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary ARC and media kit!

Book Information

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: September 21, 2021

An emotional YA romance about small town secrets, high school football, and broken hearts.

Julian Jackson has a short to-do list for his senior year at Crenshaw County High School in Meridian, Texas: football, football, and more football. He knows he’s only got one chance to earn a college scholarship and make it out of his small town, and keeping his head down, his grades up, and his cleats on the field is that one chance. And then Elijah Vance walks back into his life, throwing all of his carefully-laid plans into a tailspin.

Elijah and Julian used to be best friends, maybe even on their way to something more than just friends. But three years ago, Elijah broke into the school to steal money from the coach’s office, and Julian was the one who turned him in. After that, Elijah and his family disappeared without a trace. And now he’s back, sitting at Julian’s grandmother’s kitchen table.

But time and distance haven’t erased all of their feelings, and Elijah knows that he finally has a chance to prove to Julian that he’s not the same person he was three years ago. But with secrets still growing between them and an uncertain future barreling towards them, it may be harder to lean on each other than they thought.

Purchase/Information Links:

Content and Trigger Warnings

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

About the Author

Kara Bietz was born in New England but currently resides just outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her family. Her first novel, Until I Break, was a Texas Library Association Spirit of Texas Reading Program selection. Her newest release, Sidelined, is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.
When she’s not writing, you can find Kara hanging out with her family, singing show tunes to her dogs, and adding to her impressive pen collection. 

Review (no spoilers)

If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here.

Look at how cute that cover is!!!! It’s the first thing that drove me to sign up for this tour. Add the cute cover to the idea of an enemies to lovers/second chance gay romance and I was sold.

The blurb for Sidelined actually makes this novel sound more dramatic than it is—I would say this is a feel-good YA contemporary that proved to be a nice and chill comfort read for me. While there are a few dramatic twists and turns, there were handled fairly quickly and fairly well. To be quite honest, the book was so chill that I worried about so many bad things happening but none of them did—and I’m grateful for that. Sometimes it even felt as if the author had written in more conflict in a previous draft and then decided to remove it in the end while keeping the initial set up. Either way, I wasn’t complaining!

One of the things that I absolutely loved about this Sidelined was that there is practically a complete absence of homophobia. I was worried that it would be a prevalent part of the plot since its a football story that takes place in a small town in Texas, but everything was totally fine. It can be incredibly draining to read contemporary after contemporary where the queer protagonists have to deal with rampant discrimination and bullying. It was nice to have a break from that.

If you’ve read many of my previous reviews (particularly in YA novels) you’ll know that two of my pet peeves are unlikable main characters and lack of communication. While there is a bit of lack of communication in Sidelined, I was actually very satisfied with how well Julian and Elijah seemed to work through conflicts while sharing relevant information. On top of that, I liked both of them despite their individual downfalls, and. I wanted them both to get their happy ending. I was even a huge fan of all of the side characters. I would definitely read a spin-off about Bucky and Camille; there’s so much potential there.

Overall, I was a big fan of this book! If you’re a fan of YA contemporaries with cute romantic sub plots, definitely give this a try!

Sidelined released yesterday! You can grab yourself a copy at any of the purchase links listed above!

Blog Tour Review: It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A complex novel about misunderstandings, sibling love, and misplaced good intentions.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond and Farah Naz Rishi for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!

Book Information

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: September 14, 2021

After Kiran Noorani’s mom died, Kiran vowed to keep her dad and sister, Amira, close. Then out of the blue, Amira announces that she’s dating someone and might move cross-country with him. Kiran is thrown.

Deen Malik is thrilled that his older brother, Faisal, has found a great girlfriend, even if it’s getting serious quickly. Maybe now their parents’ focus will shift off Deen, who feels intense pressure to be the perfect son.

When Deen and Kiran come fact to face, they silently agree to keep their past a secret. Four years ago–before Amira and Faisal met–Kiran and Deen dated. But Deen ghosted Kiran with no explanation. Kiran will stop at nothing to find out what happened, and Deen will do anything, even if it means sabotaging his brother’s relationship, to keep her from reaching the truth. Though the chemistry between Kiran and Deen is undeniable, can either of them take down their walls? 

Purchase/Information Links:

Content and Trigger Warnings

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

About the Author

Farah Naz Rishi is a Pakistani-American Muslim writer and voice actor, but in another life, she’s worked stints as a lawyer, a video game journalist, and an editorial assistant. She received her B.A. in English from Bryn Mawr College, her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School, and her love of weaving stories from the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s probably hanging out with video game characters. You can find her at home in Philadelphia, or on Twitter at @farahnazrishi.

Review (no spoilers)

If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here.

Let me tell you something: Farah Naz Rishi has range. I previously read her novel I Hope You Get This Message which was a kind of end-of-the-world sci-fi novel and really enjoyed it. It All Comes Back to You is a contemporary (with romance vibes), and it has become clear to me that I thoroughly enjoy her writing style, regardless of genre. It is easy to read and somehow relaxing, even when you’re reading things that are frustrating.

Writing this review is going to be difficult for me, because I have such conflicted feelings about the plot/characters of this novel. It relies solely on the miscommunication/lack of communication trope, which is something I despise, but I was actually totally okay with it in the beginning. The story has a strong emphasis on sibling protectiveness, and I can admire that, especially when so many YA novels have dysfunctional family relationships between siblings. You often don’t think clearly when it comes to family, so the initial premise made sense to me.

The thing that I had the most trouble with, and the reason I had to rate this three stars, was that I thoroughly disliked Kiran. Without her self-righteousness, almost every problem in this book would have been solved quickly and efficiently. She does completely deplorable things in this book, and I felt like the severity of how terrible she was being was completely downplayed. Even the blurb seems to place the plot-blame on Deen when Kiran was 100% the real issue. The more I read, the less I wanted her to have a happy ending. While I could understand her motivation for wanting to do what she did, her actions were indefensible for me. Instead of having a civilized talk to work things out, she decides that the way to go about things is to lie, cheat, and manipulate. I really wanted her to have more character growth than she got.

Deen, on the other hand, was the perfect foil to Kiran’s character. They both have a strong devotion to protecting their siblings, but they show it in contrasting ways–and Deen’s way was less destructive overall (though very self-destructive). While Kiran is constantly stirring up trouble because she refuses to acknowledge her sister’s autonomy, Deen is just trying to do his best to ensure that he brother is happy. Deen was the main reason I continued with the book despite not liking Kiran. Every time I got to his chapters, it was a much-needed break from Kiran. Deen was far from perfect, but he was much more personable and relatable.

Other things I really liked about It All Comes Back to You were the amazing side characters (I loved Amira and Vinny), as well as the completely adorable flash back texts. They were almost nauseating with how cute they were. I imagine they were the reason this book gets marketed as YA romance when it’s really a YA contemporary. Past Kira and Past Deen were the most charming couple before their relationship fell apart. The present-time anonymous messaging component also added a layer of cuteness to the story, but it was definitely not to the same extent as the text messages from the past.

As I said previously, I very much enjoy Farah Naz Rishi’s writing style. I’d recommend trying this book out (and/or I Hope You Get This Message) if it sounds even vaguely interesting to you, because I think she’s someone who will appeal to a wide range of people. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for her next book.

It All Comes Back to You releases tomorrow! You can grab yourself a copy at any of the purchase links listed above!

Blog Tour Review: The Girls are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Scary, chilling, and thrilling.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond and Sarah Glenn Marsh for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!

Book Information

Genre: Young Adult Horror
Publishing Date: September 7, 2021

The Conjuring meets Sadie when seventeen-year-old podcaster Dare takes an internship in a haunted house and finds herself in a life-or-death struggle against an evil spirit.

Dare Chase doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Privately, she’s a supernatural skeptic. But publicly, she’s keeping her doubts to herself—because she’s the voice of Attachments, her brand-new paranormal investigation podcast, and she needs her ghost-loving listeners to tune in.

That’s what brings her to Arrington Estate. Thirty years ago, teenager Atheleen Bell drowned in Arrington’s lake, and legend says her spirit haunts the estate. Dare’s more interested in the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death—circumstances that she believes point to a living culprit, not the supernatural. Still, she’s vowed to keep an open mind as she investigates, even if she’s pretty sure what she’ll find.

But Arrington is full of surprises. Good ones like Quinn, the cute daughter of the house’s new owner. And baffling ones like the threatening messages left scrawled in paint on Quinn’s walls, the ghastly face that appears behind Dare’s own in the mirror, and the unnatural current that nearly drowns their friend Holly in the lake. As Dare is drawn deeper into the mysteries of Arrington, she’ll have to rethink the boundaries of what is possible. Because if something is lurking in the lake…it might not be willing to let her go

Purchase/Information Links:

Content and Trigger Warnings

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

About the Author

Sarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult novels and children’s picture books. An avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life, she’s been making up words and worlds ever since.

When she’s not writing, Sarah frequents the pottery studio, volunteers her time to sighthound rescue, and raises awareness about her autoimmune disease, Type 1 diabetes. She often enjoys pursuits of the nerd variety, from video games to tabletop adventures. She’s never met an animal or a doughnut she didn’t like.

Sarah lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and their tiny zoo of four rescued sighthounds, two birds, and many fish. She is the author of Fear the Drowning Deep, the Reign of the Fallen series, and several books for younger readers.

Review (no spoilers)

If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here.

I don’t consider myself someone who reads many horror novels, mostly because I’m a huge scaredy cat, but I’m trying to branch out. I’m a sucker for a good mystery and horror novels are often a mixture of mystery and terror, which makes them seem like a good option. I read this book late at night right before bed, and I will admit that The Girls Are Never Gone left me with some lingering unease as I tried to fall asleep. Thankfully I was tired enough that I eventually passed out.

The Girls Are Never Gone does an amazing job working with the “Is it Supernatural?” trope. If you don’t know what this trope is (it might be called something else) it’s basically when the book you’re reading is constantly toying with the idea that the events might be supernatural/paranormal or might eventually be scientifically/rationally explained away at the end. The reason this trope worked so well in this novel is because the main character, Dare, is a skeptic, but her love interest, Quinn, is 100% convinced the place is haunted. The third girl in the house, Holly, is on the fence and tends to play both sides. Giving the reader these three girls who are all experiencing the same terrorizing events but under very different lenses allows for us to kind of choose which girl to levitate towards (hehe) depending on how we feel about ghosts and hauntings personally while getting a more complete picture of what is happening.

As far as the writing goes, this book was written pretty solidly and the book has a good amount of rep. Dare is bisexual/pansexual (I don’t think she’s ever explicitly labelled) with Type 1 Diabetes. Quinn is Puerto Rican from her dad’s side and is sapphic (again I don’t know if she is explicitly labelled either). I was a bit unsure about how to feel about the diabetes rep because Dare is basically constantly checking her blood sugar levels throughout the book, so much so that I felt like it was beginning to affect my immersion in the story. However, I think this was the entire point, to expose readers to the reality of what it means to have to monitor your blood sugar almost constantly and the effect it can have on day to day life. I don’t have diabetes and my mom is Type 2, not Type 1, so definitely check out what OwnVoices readers have to say about it.

The pacing was very solid throughout the book and picked up quite a lot in the last 20% or so as the tension comes to a climax. The ending was slightly predictable (in my opinion), but there was one unexpected final twist that I thought was an amazing decision. Overall, I really enjoyed this experienced and I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more Sarah Glenn Marsh books and for more YA horror in general.

The Girls Are Never Gone released last week! Pick up your copy today!

Blog Tour Review: The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Another amazing mystery novel by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond and Jennifer Lynn Barnes for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!

Book Information

Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Publishing Date: July 13, 2021

Intrigue, riches, and romance abound in this thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Inheritance Games perfect for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.

The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions – including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons.

Thanks to a DNA test, Avery knows that she’s not a Hawthorne by blood, but clues pile up hinting at a deeper connection to the family than she had ever imagined. As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture – by any means necessary.

With nonstop action, aspirational jet-setting, family intrigue, swoonworthy romance, and billions of dollars hanging in the balance, The Hawthorne Legacy will thrill Jennifer Lynn Barnes fans and new readers alike.

Purchase/Information Links:

Content and Trigger Warnings

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a “practice book” and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen.

Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She’ll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Review (no spoilers)

If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here.

This book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021, and I’m happy to say that it didn’t disappoint! Its predecessor The Inheritance Games was one of the best YA mysteries (if not the best) that I’ve ever read. When I found out that TBR and Beyond Tours was doing a tour for this, I screamed all through the sign up process. If you want to read my review of The Inheritance Games, you can click here.

Since I loved The Inheritance Games so much, I couldn’t stop myself from comparing the two novels. Although I didn’t enjoy this novel as much, I remain incredibly impressed with Jennifer Lynn Barnes and her writing. Not only does she have a writing style that keeps me interested and compelled, but it is also clear just how much brain power goes into her stories. I read a fair amount of YA mysteries and something that usually bothers me about them is that the main characters almost always do something completely stupid for reasons I never understand. While the characters in The Hawthorne Legacy do frustrate me sometimes, it always because they were emotionally reacting to something in a way I didn’t like, not because they were being unnecessarily foolish.

I read a few reviews before sitting down to write this and some people have complained about the pacing of the story because a lot of the action happens at the very end. While I agree that pace at the end of the book picked up quite a lot, I was perfectly fine with the pacing of the rest of the novel. The reason I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ mysteries is because she keeps my brain churning in the most satisfying way throughout the novel, and there was no lack of that here. I never felt like the book was going “too slow” because my thoughts never stopped moving.

Something that I think I should mention in this review, just in case some of my readers are like me when it comes to tropes: this book was a love triangle going on. This was hinted at in the first book, but explore more in this installment. I’m someone who normally can’t stand love triangles, but somehow Jennifer Lynn Barnes made it work for me. I’ve never rooted for all sides of a love triangle before, yet that’s what I found myself doing here. I honestly think that no matter what the outcome of the triangle will be, I will be fine with it. It’s amazing that Jennifer Lynn Barnes was able to pull it off so well.

If you’re on the hunt for a thrilling YA mystery novel definitely check this series out. I’m very much looking forward to the next installment! The Hawthorne Legacy came out earlier this week, so you can pick up your copy today!

Blog Tour Spotlight: Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

Today I’m bringing attention to the book Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez. I’ll take you through the blurb, about the author, and a few tour excerpts!

Premise

An intense high-stakes story about five friends and the deadly secret that could send their lives up in flames, perfect for fans of Karen McManus and E. Lockhart.

In Gap Mountain, California, everyone knows about fire season. And no one is more vigilant than 18-year-old Hannah Warner, the sheriff’s daughter and aspiring FBI agent. That is until this summer. When Hannah and her best friends accidentally spark an enormous and deadly wildfire, their instinct is to lie to the police and the fire investigators.

But as the blaze roars through their rural town and towards Yosemite National Park, Hannah’s friends begin to crack and she finds herself going to extreme lengths to protect their secret. Because sometimes good people do bad things. And if there’s one thing people hate, it’s liars.

Book CWs: For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

About the Author

I received my B.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley. I’m fascinated by underdogs and power dynamics between groups of people. 

I’m the author of LIES LIKE WILDFIRE, a teen thriller soon-to-be published by Delacorte Press, and two middle grade book series, each published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, THE GUARDIAN HERD (a quartet) and RIDERS OF THE REALM (a trilogy). Before this, I self-published a middle grade fantasy called THE PET WASHER. 

When I’m not writing, you’ll find me galloping my little black mare through the foothills of Sonoma County or teaching free creative writing workshops to kids and adults at various branches of our local library system. 

The Healdsburg Literary Guild selected me as their 2019/2020 Literary Laureate for my work in building literacy in my community. It is an honor I hold dear. I am also the current SCBWI Sonoma County Coordinator and a volunteer on the Sonoma County Library Advisory Board.

I live in Northern California with my husband, three children, and more than my fair share of pets!

What readers have to say

Lies Like Wildfire is the epitome of high-octane, fast-paced action, and was the absolute perfect binge-read. I struggled to put it down throughout, and when I wasn’t reading fervently, I was thinking about the characters and worrying about what would happen next. Needless to say, it’s a book that stays with you after finishing, too.

Feathered Books

This book is a complete page-turner, and I think everyone’s going to struggle to put it down once they start. It’s a fantastic YA thriller and I can’t wait to read more from this author, because there’s nothing I love more than messy characters doing awful things and trying to dig themselves out of it again.

Inkandplasma Reviews

Everything about this was just brilliant, from the setting, to the characters and plot. Lies Like Wildfire is a ride from start to finish, so many elements and variables were thrown into the mix, I didn’t see half of it coming.

Fantastic Book Dragon

It is described as a YA book, so as a 30 year old reader who doesn’t really read much YA, it came as a surprise to me how much I enjoyed it. The writing is simple and accessible, the structure easy to follow, but the plot and themes are definitely engaging for adults of all ages.

Ceri’s Lil Blog

Lies Like Wildfire is an intense, emotional and addictive story about secrets and lies and the cost that they can have on yourself and those around you. It is an edge of your seat read that I would highly recommend.

everywhere & nowhere

Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

#TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour Review: The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Incredibly cute. Definitely a comfort read!

Thank you so much to The Write Reads, Aria Fiction, and Olivia Lara for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary digital copy and media kit!

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

About the Author

As a child, Olivia not-so-quietly ‘observed’ (AKA bothered with countless questions) her grandfather — who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania — edit hundreds of books. And when he wasn’t editing, he read. Everything, all the time. Just like her father, who wrote short sci-fi stories, and was set on building the largest library she’d ever seen and her mother who’s never found without a book…wherever she goes. Her love for words came naturally, and after studying marketing, communications & photography, Olivia worked as a journalist for a newspaper and news television network in Romania.

An unapologetic citizen of the world, she spent a few years in Greece, Sweden, France, before settling in sunny California with her photographer husband and young daughter, where she works in marketing and writes. Oh, and let’s not forget the ever-growing menagerie that completes the family: Pumpkin, the Maine Coon mix, three black cats and a siamese kitten.

When she’s not writing or thinking about writing, she reads (across genres), watches old movies and collects vintage books, vinyl records, and eerie paintings. She loves traveling (and can’t wait until she can do it again, safely), swimming, biking, hiking and of course, photography.

SOMEDAY IN PARIS, her debut, published by Aria Fiction/Head of Zeus in May 2020 became a B&N, Apple, Kobo and Amazon Top 100 Bestseller and was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Awards 2021. Her second novel, THE MEETING POINT, a contemporary romcom set in Northern California, is set to be published as an e-book on September 2, 2021 and in paperback in December 2021 in the UK and March, 2022 in the US.

Keep up with Olivia: twitter || instagram || facebook

Review

Book CWs

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise

What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend’s phone holds the directions to true love?

‘Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend’s phone?’

‘He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I’m the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.’

And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.

So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn’t expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more…

Come on this 5* journey to love, laughter and back again, perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Josie Silver and Sally Thorne.

Review (No Spoilers)

I’m going to be honest, when I read the blurb for this book, I had no idea what the heck it was about. I signed up purely because Dave doesn’t do many romance novels and I’m always down to read some romance. That being said, I’m incredibly happy that I joined this tour. The Meeting Point was lovely from start to finish, and it was the exact type of book that I needed right now.

These past few weeks of my life have been absolutely chaotic. In fact, my original date for this tour was August 31st, but Dave was kind enough to give me an extension. I was a bit worried that my poor mental state would stop me from reading this in a timely manner, but I read the entire thing in one sitting! The writing style is both very readable and very light. I easily flew through the pages and never felt like I had to force myself to continue.

In addition to the light and comfortable writing style, the plot itself was also very cozy and nice, which is something my currently-emotional self deeply appreciated. I can definitely see this book becoming one of my go-to comfort reads in the future. Since, like me, you might be confused about what the blurb is about, let me give you a brief non-spoilery summary of the premise. Feel free to skip the next paragraph if you wish.

The Meeting Point follows Maya, an almost thirty year old woman, who has been with her boyfriend for around 5 years. When Maya flies out to try to surprise him for her birthday, her texts are returned by a Lyft driver who has not only recovered her boyfriends lost phone, but has also just seen him in the arms of another woman. In a twist of events, Maya and the driver end up texting throughout the entire day as he leads her on an impromptu text-driven adventure. Maya soon realizes that she’s not as sad about her cheating boyfriend as she should be. In fact, this new and exciting connection with this unknown man is leading her to believe that she’s been missing out on life, love, and happiness. But will she ever find out who he is?

The only real reason I rated this a 4.5 (really a 4.25 I think) instead of a 5 was simply because so much of the plot relied on lack of communication/unnecessary secrets, which is one of my least favorite things. Maya spends basically the entire book not telling people the truth for no good reason. The “plot-twist” was also very predictable and I felt like it should have happened earlier but was once again pushed far back in the timeline because of unnecessary secret-keeping. Regardless, I still found the story to be incredibly captivating and romantic. I’m not even a fan of insta-love, but this book might have actually changed my mind. I read it while my partner was at work and the cuteness level made me miss him immensely. (Rob, can we go on all of the romantic dates now please??)

I received a digital arc for the blog tour, but you best believe that I am going to get a physical copy as soon as I can. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a light read, as well as fans of outrageously cute rom-coms. The Meeting Point just came out this past week, so be sure to pick up your copy today!


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