Blog Tour Review: Fine Motor Skills by D.C. Hope

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A quick and fun romance novella

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and D.C. Hope for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and blog tour media kit!

Purchase on Amazon (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3UpoGSO

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#TheWriteReads #BlogTour Review: Clean Sweep by E. B. Lee

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Heartbreaking while being thought provoking and uplifting

Thank you so much to The Write Reads and E.B. Lee for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary ARC and media kit!

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

About the Author

E. B. Lee was raised in Weston, CT and enjoyed the best of a then-rural town and easy access to the high-energy world of New York City. She brings together elements of both in her debut work of literary fiction, Clean Sweep, a heartfelt story of human connection, tough choices, and compassion. Prior to writing, Ms. Lee was a flower farmer and worked in the environmental field. She earned a Masters Degree from Yale School of the Environment and undergraduate degree from Yale. E.B. Lee now writes in North Carolina and Connecticut.

Review

Book CWs

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

Premise

Carli Morris is looking forward to a quiet retirement. Earning billions from the sale of her Madison Avenue ad agency, she dreams of spending her golden years painting and giving back to society. But the heartbreaking discovery of a homeless woman poisoned to death on the streets of Manhattan reopens the wounds of Carli’s own tragic loss.

Realizing her busy career turned her away from the vulnerable, she throws herself on a mission to get the defenseless off the streets. But as she sacrifices her own needs to support others, her new colleague’s mental illness and Carli’s unresolved grief collide in a staggering sequence of events that will alter her life forever.

Can Carli dig deep and make a powerful, personal impact?

Clean Sweep is a dynamic literary novel. If you like moving revelations, gut-wrenching decisions, and life-affirming transformations, then you’ll love E. B. Lee’s enlightening tale.

Review (No Spoilers)

Hi everyone! I signed up for a bunch of tours back-to-back (oops!). Today’s book is an adult literary fiction novel that gives readers a sort of inner look into what it’s like to be homeless. The main character of this novel, Carli, is a volunteer for a place that helps provide for and look after several homeless people in the area. They not only have frequent soup kitchens, but they also do almost daily check-ups and provide medical care when necessary.

The thing I enjoyed most about this book was the fact that it highly emphasized both empathy and respect in regards to those who are less fortunate. Instead of judging homeless people or people with mental illness for their actions or how they look, Carli and her team work to get to know them as human beings while respecting their personal autonomy. They try to get them to find shelters, accept medical help, and overcome addiction, but they never push too hard if the person is not ready or willing to take that step.

On top of the plot about taking care of each of the homeless charges that Carli has, there are also plots revolving around Carli’s missing brother and a possible criminal harming people on the streets. For a book that had a lot of plots going, I felt like it took a while to pick up. I found myself bored for a good portion of the beginning, but once the story finally picked up, it kept my attention much more. I’m not much of a literary fiction reader so this wasn’t really for me, but definitely check this out if you are!


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: The Decoy Girlfriend by Lillie Vale

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A flawed but cute fake-dating/switching identities/celebrity romance

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

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Blog Tour Spotlight: Sun, Sea and Strawberry Shortcake by Rosie Green

Today I’m bringing attention to the romantic comedy Sun, Sea and Strawberry Shortcake by Rosie Green. I’ll take you through the blurb, about the author, and a few tour excerpts!

Premise

It was meant to be a gloriously romantic getaway in Wales for Ruby and Hudson. That was the plan, anyway. But then friends start inviting themselves along, lured by the idea of unwinding in a chocolate-box pretty cottage, wandering the lanes and the coastline, soaking up the sun and the stunningly beautiful Italian-inspired architecture. With Ellie, Jaz, Fen and Madison popping up around every corner, plus another sinister mystery to solve, will the lovebirds ever find time to indulge their desire for sun, sea and . . . strawberry shortcake?

Purchase on Amazon (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3yNV9bJ

About the Author

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. Look out for ‘Clara’s Secret Garden’ out in August 2022.

Follow Rosie on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green88

What readers have to say

I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and couldn’t put the book down. I can’t wait to see what happens next for these characters.

Cindy’s Love of Books

I really enjoyed this story. The characters are all very realistic and I like following their lives through the series of books. 

I Heart Books

This would work well as a standalone. A delightful and quick read, ideal for a relaxing read on an summer evening. This series does not fail to please and draw you in.

Kirsty’s Book Reviews

The multiple perspectives work well to increase the pace of the story and share different aspects of the plot. It also ensures that the reader is not omniscient and is left to make their own predictions about a number of different mysteries that are occurring. 

Ceri’s Lil Blog

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 #BlogTour Review: The Dark Matter of Natasha by Matthew R. Davis

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dark, Unique, Thought-Provoking

Thank you so much to The Write Reads and Grey Matter Press for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

About the Author

Matthew R. Davis is an author and musician based in Adelaide, South Australia.

His work has been shortlisted for, and sometimes won, the Shirley Jackson Awards, Aurealis Awards, Australian Shadows Awards, and the WSFA Small Press Award.

He plays bass and sings in heavy rock/metal bands such as icecocoon and Blood Red Renaissance, dabbles with poetry, video editing, and visual art, and works on projects with his photographer partner.

He is the author of Supermassive Black Mass (novelette, Demain Publishing, 2019), If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (horror stories, Things in the Well, 2020) and Midnight in the Chapel of Love (novel, JournalStone, 2021).

He loves all kinds of metal from Mötley Crüe to Pig Destroyer and his favorite Slayer album is Seasons in the Abyss.

Find out more at www.matthewrdavisfiction.wordpress.com

Review

Book CWs

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

Premise

Natasha stalks the quiet streets of dead-end Lunar Bay like doom in a denim jacket. She’s a grim reminder that some teenagers can never escape the ever-tightening noose of their lives. Burned out and benumbed by a traumatic past, dogged by scurrilous small-town gossip, she finds solace in drugs, sex and Slayer. What horrors have her flat eyes witnessed? And how far will she go in pursuit of the one tiny spark of hope that still flickers in her haunted heart?

When a naïve transplant crosses her path, he’s drawn into shadow and doubt. With his girlfriend ghosting him, Natasha’s fresh introduction to her half-lit world is darkly appealing. Now faced with confusing quandaries—connection or convenience, relationship or exploitation—can he help any of the women in his life?  Or is he just helping himself? The untold tragedies of Natasha’s lonely life may be more than he can handle. And in a town whose history is littered with dead girls, there may be no happy ending for anyone. A tar-black coming of age story, this gritty psychological thriller from Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Matthew R. Davis, eloquently chronicles the crushing gravity of small-town hopelessness, the double-edged catharsis of sex, drugs, and heavy metal, and the brutal weight of youth’s first lessons in accountability.

Review (No Spoilers)

I don’t even know where to begin with this review! The Dark Matter of Natasha is a work of art. Described as as a psychological thriller, I’m more inclined to label it as a thought-provoking piece of genre-defying literary fiction. In fact, I don’t even know what age category this book would fall under. I’m going to go with adult strictly because of the unapologetically dark themes. Despite being a novella, the book manages to cover topics ranging from child sexual abuse, rape, suicide ideation, suicide, murder, drug abuse, and more.

The story follows a completely nameless main character as he recollects the experiences of his life as a teenager meeting a deeply-troubled, yet extremely intriguing, classmate named Natasha. Struggling to figure out who he is and what he wants, Natasha is the perfect distraction for him to focus on. As readers we discover just how much one persons traumatic past can affect so many people around them. Due to the short nature of the book and its captivating story, it is extremely easy to read in one sitting. Included in my copy was also a preview of another one of Grey Matter Press’ books (and a book I read and reviewed previously), Resembling Lepus, which was a nice little gift. If these two book are any indication of the types of stories Grey Matter Press produces, friends, they are definitely a publishing company to keep your eye on!

The Dark Matter of Natasha is as weird as it is beautiful. I have no doubt that it will leave a lasting impression on anyone who reads it.


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: A Wish for Jo by Audrey Davis

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A solid sequel in the enchanting and magical small town we first encountered in A Wish for Jinnie

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and Audrey Davis for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and blog tour media kit!

Purchase on Amazon (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3y161Um

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Blog Tour Review: Jingle Bells in June by Rosie Green

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rosie Green is really hitting my emotions hard in these Little Duck Pond Cafe books!

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and Rosie Green for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and blog tour media kit!

Purchase on Amazon (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3Q0ZY9m

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Book Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a cute and fun romance novel! Definitely recommend if you’re not opposed to the premise of teacher/grad student relationships.

Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation found in this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!

Premise (from Goodreads)

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding… six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

Review (No Spoilers)

Okay, I 100% feel the need to preface this review by saying I had no idea this was supposed to be a Reylo Fanfic; send help. Once I learned this, I simply proceeded pretending that I hadn’t. I honestly can’t stand the Reylo pairing (or that entire film disaster that was The Rise of Skywalker), so really that was the only way I had a hope of enjoying this book as it’s own product.

The Love Hypothesis is a fake dating workplace (academic) romance with a dash of hate-to-love. I know that the nature of the romance (grad student and tenured professor) will be off putting to some people, but I think the book handled that dynamic fairly well. It was only when there was a second pairing of this type featured in the book that I got a bit weirded out and skeptical about whether or not the author just secretly has a professor kink thing going on. If that kind of thing make you uncomfortable, you might want to give this one a pass for now.

That being said, I really enjoyed the characters in this book and the dynamic between them. As someone who has a Masters in a STEM field and is currently a PhD student (not in STEM), I was a bit worried about how things would be portrayed, but the author herself was a PhD STEM student, so I have no doubt that her experiences helped make the characters and plot realistic.

I will give a bit of a warning that this book does deal with sexism/misogyny and sexual harassment, but I thought Ali Hazelwood did a good job of not pushing that story arc too long or too far. It occurs fairly late and is resolved fairly quickly. I would definitely say the part I most enjoyed about this was the grumpy x sunshine dynamic and the strong friendships portrayed throughout. I admit that I’m still not sure how I feel about Adam’s character, being that he is a bit of a condescending jerkface and I’m not quite sure that he ever really learned this about himself, even by the end of the novel. I’ll just have to be satisfied with my headcanon that he got better.


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 #BlogTour: The Carnival of Ash by Tom Beckerlegge

An adult literary alternative history novel perfect for fans of commedia dell’arte

Thank you so much to The Write Reads, Rebellion Publishing, and Tom Beckerlegge for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary ARC and media kit!

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

About the Author

Tom Beckerlegge grew up in the northwest of England in a house filled with books. Writing as Tom Becker, he won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize with his debut novel; The Carnival of Ash is his first adult book. He lives in Enfield with his wife and young son.

Review (First Impressions)

Book CWs

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

Premise

Cadenza is the City of Words, a city run by poets, its skyline dominated by the steepled towers of its libraries, its heart beating to the stamp and thrum of the printing presses in the Printing Quarter.

Carlo Mazzoni, a young wordsmith arrives at the city gates intent on making his name as the bells ring out with the news of the death of the city’s poet-leader. Instead, he finds himself embroiled with the intrigues of a city in turmoil, the looming prospect of war with their rival Venice ever-present. A war that threatens not only to destroy Cadenza but remove it from history altogether…

Initial Thoughts (No Spoilers)

Welcome back to my blog! Today I’m doing something a bit different and posting some initial thoughts/impressions for a tour book rather than a full review because I’m around 60% through this novel and think that I’ll actually restart it from the beginning now that I have a better idea of how to read it.

Depending on where you look up information about The Carnival of Ash, you’ll get different impressions of what the novel is exactly. Goodreads and several blurbs available online (such as via Amazon and Simon and Schuster) have this tagged as an adult fantasy novel, but in reality it’s more of a literary historical fiction book with some fantasy elements. As many of my fellow reviewers have pointed out, the genre that best encapsulates what The Carnival of Ash is would probably be commedia dell’arte. It reminded me a lot of The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros.

The writing of this book is beautiful, and the overall plot is one that could be read as several short stories that intertwine with each other, rather than one singular plot. As you make your way through the novel, you’ll get to meet several characters, all with different (often over-the-top) personalities and dramatized story arcs. Depending on how good you are with keeping up with people’s names, I might suggest that you keep a handy character/plot guide next to you as you read for easy reference. I’m extremely bad at remembering which character is who so it’s always useful for me to have something like that, especially for 600 page novels like this one.

The tour has over a week left! If you’d like to follow along with the rest you can find the tour schedule here.


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.

Book Review: Resembling Lepus by Amanda Kool

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A speculative fiction police procedural with a unique and interesting premise.

Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation found in this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!

Premise (from Goodreads)

Earth’s sixth mass extinction has ended, and in its wake a post-dystopian civilization has struggled to rebuild after a global cataclysm shattered its ecosystems and propelled all life to the brink of eradication.

In a world where the air is unhealthy, food is strictly rationed, and the energy consumption that triggered the destruction is highly regimented, scientists experiment with artificial biospheres to secure survival and techno-mimicry to breathe life into long-dead species. It’s an unavoidable surveillance state where every living thing is tracked, numbered, and categorized.

In this fledgling society born out of catastrophic loss and now challenged with a new reverence for all life, a lone detective is haunted by a series of murders traumatizing the populace. Assisted by a medical colleague, she finds herself entangled in a crisis with far-reaching consequences and dangerous repercussions that threaten the fragile balance of all existence.

What is the impact on humanity when mankind is required to play god to the creatures they have all but destroyed?

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

Review (No Spoilers)

First off, big thank you to Grey Matter Press for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! I was particularly excited to make a connection to a publisher that operates in the same city as me. I can’t wait to see what other stories they are producing.

The surrounding premise of Resembling Lepus is an extremely interesting one. Taking place in a world very similar to ours, there are a few stark differences. After almost single-handedly killing off all of the world’s natural resources, society has undergone a huge paradigm shift in which non-human animals are now respected just as much as humans. On top of that, as a form of recreating the nature that they lost, humans have also invented a way to make imitation beings (both human and animal) that can be recycled when needed.

The novella is formatted like a police procedural, following a detective as she attempts to find a serial murderer who has been strangling rabbits and leaving them with a ribbon around their necks. Unfortunately, unlike many police procedurals and mystery novels that I’ve read, I didn’t feel like the reader was ever really involved in attempting to solve the case. Due to the short nature of the story, I didn’t feel like I had the information needed to come to a proper conclusion until right before the detective made her deductions.

Speculative fiction is a genre that I find particularly fun to read because they never seem as far-fetched as some of the science fiction novels that I’ve read in the past. There are no space battles or time travel, just a society much like ours that has made the same mistakes we are currently making right now. I find the exploration of where society is heading to be both intellectually stimulating and potentially groundbreaking. As as a result, a part of me feels like this novella would have worked better as a full-length novel. Giving the story 100+ more pages to unfold would have helped solve the issue of the mystery being solved too quickly, while also giving readers a fuller picture of the surrounding world’s circumstances. I ended the book wanting to know more. How many species did we successfully kill off and how many did we successfully save? What is the quality of vegetation and the atmosphere? What other scientific advancements have we made as a whole? All in all, Resembling Lepus was a quick and enjoyable read. I’d love to see what other ideas this author has nurtured and published in her other works.

Resembling Lepus was just release this week and is currently $0.99 on Kindle! You can check it out at the link above!


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.