Blog Tour Review: Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A cute coming-of-age romance with amazing character development

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

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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: The Edge of Summer by Erica George

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A story about loss, grief, and learning to love.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Erica George 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 Review: Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A coming-of-age story about two queer girls struggling to survive at a not-so-welcoming school.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Dahlia Adler 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 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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Blog Tour Review: Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A wild and entertaining, yet extremely unrealistic, ride.

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

Book Information

Genre: YA Thriller
Publishing Date: May 10, 2022

In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly.

The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons her toward a new life where she will be tied to no one, free and adrift. Then Frankie, a step-cousin she barely knows, figures out what she’s plotting, and the plan seems like it’s ruined. Except Frankie doesn’t want to rat her out. Frankie wants in. The girls vault into the unknown, risking everything for a new and limitless life. But there are some things you can never run away from. What if the poison is not in the soil, but in the roots?

This pulse-pounding thriller offers a nuanced exploration of identity, freedom, and falling in love while your world falls apart.

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

Wendy Heard is the author of two adult thrillers: The Kill Club and Hunting Annabelle, which Kirkus Reviews praised as “a diabolically plotted creep show from a writer to watch.” She’s Too Pretty To Burn, which Kirkus called “a wild and satisfying romp” in a starred review, marks her YA debut. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America, is a contributor at Crimereads.com, and co-hosts the Unlikeable Female Characters podcast. Wendy lives in Los Angeles, California.

Author Links:

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 the most unrealistic young adult thrillers that I’ve read, but it was also an incredibly wild and thrilling ride.

Dead End Girls follows two teenagers who decide to fake their deaths and run away. As you could imagine, there are several hitches in their plan, leading them to eventually end up on the run from the police when their scheme is discovered. There were a few things that I was skeptical about from the very beginning of the novel regarding the believability of the plot (even something as simple as the details about TSA not being right), but I do feel as though YA thrillers aren’t supposed to be the most realistic of stories. That being said, the realism only gets worse as the book progresses, so this is definitely a suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride kind of book.

Wendy Heard does an amazing job at keeping the reader hooked. Watching Maude and Frankie’s plans slowly unravel and fall apart was like watching a car crash—you can’t look away. The fact that the characters themselves are not actually that likable contributes to this crash-and-burn effect. You kind of hope they succeed, but you also kind of hope they fail. In fact, I was reading this book late at night (around 3am) and wanted to go to sleep but just couldn’t get myself to put it down. The end 15% or so of the book in particular is sure to hold your attention hostage.

Dead End Girls was released yesterday, so don’t forget to grab your copy at the links above!

Blog Tour Review: Duet by Elise Broach

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A tale about family and friendship that readers of all ages will enjoy.

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

Book Information

Genre: MG Mystery
Publishing Date: May 10, 2022

A musically gifted bird, a piano-playing boy, and a real-life mystery involving three artistic geniuses

Welcome to the world of Mirabelle, a young goldfinch who loves to sing and dreams of becoming a musical star. She lives with her family in the backyard of a piano teacher, and she is quickly intrigued by Mr. Starek’s newest pupil. Michael Jin is an eleven-year-old keyboard sensation, but lesson after lesson, he refuses to play.  With the prestigious Chopin Festival looming at summer’s end, how will he be ready in time?  Mirabelle is responsible for Michael’s breakthrough—to her own astonishment, she sings the Chopin piece he is beginning to play at the piano. It is their first duet.

Thus begins a secret adventure that will take Mirabelle and Michael further than they ever imagined—in music, in friendship, and in solving the mystery of a lost piano that could be worth millions.  A house full of treasures holds the clues. There, Mirabelle, Michael, and their friend Emily will make an important discovery that links the great composer Frederic Chopin, the trailblazing author George Sand, and the French Romantic painter Eugene Delacroix.

A fast-paced, history-rich mystery will have young readers hooked as they root for boy and bird in this beautifully told novel, full of emotion and suspense.

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

Elise Broach is the author of more than twenty books for young readers, including board books, picture books, early readers, middle-grade mysteries, and young adult novels. Her picture book, My Pet Wants a Pet, was named Parents Magazine’s Best Picture Book of 2018. Another picture book, When Dinosaurs Came with Everything, won the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award and was Time Magazine’s #1 Children’s Book of the Year. Her middle-grade novel, Masterpiece, was a New York Times bestseller and also won the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award. Elise’s books have appeared on more than a dozen state reading lists. She lives in Connecticut and teaches creative writing at Yale University

Author Links:

Review (no spoilers)

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

I will admit that I forgot I had to post today and rushed to read this book in less than 24 hours. That being said, I enjoyed it immensely!

Duet is told through first-person narration from the point of view of a female goldfinch named Mirabelle. That’s right, a bird. I thought it was going to be weird reading from this perspective, but it actually worked really well. The plot follows Mirabelle as she befriends a young boy who is taking piano lessons in order to prepare for a Chopin music competition. As the relationship between them grows, the reader is introduced to several fun facts about birds (of all kinds) and music (including musical history). As an adult, I thought these incorporated facts were absolutely lovely. I can imagine that this is one of those books that is enjoyable and educational for parent and child alike. Also present in the narration are also several lessons about the joy, pain, and sacrifice that comes with loving and being loved.

The book was marketed to me as a middle grade mystery, but I’m going to go ahead and say it’s a middle grade contemporary. There were a few mini-mysteries thrown in, but not enough for me to say that it entered the mystery genre itself. Regardless, this is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone interested. The only reason I took away a half star was because there is a point in the story where the characters decide to disobey the law, and it’s portrayed as a good thing. I’m not sure that’s the right message to be sending to a young and impressionable audience and I think it could have been problematized a bit more.

Feel free to check out the tour schedule above to see what others on this tour have to say. Duet comes out tomorrow, so don’t forget to grab your copy!

Blog Tour Review: Jordie & Joey Fell from the Sky

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An important story about loss, love, and the importance of family.

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

Book Information

Genre: MG Contemoprary
Publishing Date: April 19, 2022

Twin brothers Jordie and Joey have never met their parents. Maybe it’s because they aren’t from this planet?

When another kid at school tried to force Jordie to show him the “crop circles” on his back that prove he’s an alien, it was Joey who took the kid to the ground. And when the twins got kicked out of their foster home because Joey kissed the other boy who lived there, it was Jordie who told him everything would be okay. And as long as Jordie and Joey are together, it will be. But when the principal calls their current foster mother about a fight at school, the boys know she’ll be done with them. And, from spying in their file, they also know they’re going to be separated.

Determined to face the world side by side rather than without one another, Jordie and Joey set off to find their birth parents. From Arizona to Roswell to Area 51 in the Nevada desert, the twins begin a search for where they truly belong. But Jordie’s about to discover that family isn’t always about the ones who bring you into the world, but the ones who help you survive it.

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

Judi Lauren was born in the Midwest and misses those winters. She now resides in an area where the bugs are way too large. She has an unnatural obsession with Chicago, Dean Winchester, and Friends (the TV show.)

Judi is represented by Heather Cashman of Storm Literary Agency, where she writes books for kids and teens about family, friendship, and surviving impossible things.

In her spare time, she also works as an editor at Radish Fiction. You can connect with her on Instagram @judilauren.

Author Links:

Review (no spoilers)

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

I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this novel. Kids with strange crop circle scars on their spines? Aliens?! I haven’t read too many books about aliens nor watched many movies/shows with them, so it was refreshing to hear more about the history of abductions and sightings. Throughout the book, the readers get several clips of moments from history in the form of blog posts. I admit that I haven’t actually verified whether these sightings and supposed-abductions are from real history or simply made up by the author, but they were a joy to read regardless.

Jordie and Joey Fell from the Sky follows the story of two twins (and their friend Nadia) who are on the hunt to figure out who they are. Having been abandoned at one week old in the middle of a crop circle with identical crop circle marks on their spines, Jordie is convinced that he and Joey must have been dropped onto Earth by their alien parents. In an attempt to figure out more about their past and possibly uncover the identities of their parents, the three children travel to Roswell and Area 51 in a hunt for answers.

The overall plot of Jordie and Joey Fell from the Sky is very standard and predictable. However, I still thought it was an important read, especially for its target audience of middle school readers. It’s a story about loss, about love, and about the importance of family.

Jordie and Joey Fell from the Sky is out now, so if you’re interested, definitely check out some of the links listed above!

Blog Tour Review: Love From Scratch by Kaitlyn Hill

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Incredibly cute new-adult love story with a generous serving of feminism

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

Book Information

Genre: NA Romance
Publishing Date: April 5, 2022

This summer, Reese Camden is trading sweet tea and Southern hospitality for cold brew and crisp coastal air. She’s landed her dream marketing internship at Friends of Flavor, a wildly popular cooking channel in Seattle. The only problem? Benny Beneventi, the relentlessly charming, backwards-baseball-cap-wearing culinary intern–and her main competition for the fall job.

Reese’s plan to keep work a No Feelings Zone crumbles like a day-old muffin when she and Benny are thrown together for a video shoot that goes viral, making them the internet’s newest ship. Audiences are hungry for more, and their bosses at Friends of Flavor are happy to deliver. Soon Reese and Benny are in an all-out food war, churning homemade ice cream, twisting soft pretzels, breaking eggs in an omelet showdown–while hundreds of thousands of viewers watch.

Reese can’t deny the chemistry between her and Benny. But the more their rivalry heats up, the harder it is to keep love on the back burner…

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

Kaitlyn Hill is a writer, reader, and sweet tea enthusiast who believes that all the world is not, in fact, a stage, but a romance novel waiting to happen. Her debut novel Love from Scratch comes out 4/5/22 from Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House.

Kaitlyn has a BA in Sociology/Anthropology and German Studies, which means that she can tell you way too much about the Communist Manifesto in Karl Marx’s mother tongue. Before landing on writing, she worked in roles from city government intern in a small German town to Haunted Mansion Maid at Walt Disney World, and most recently, at her hometown public library.

Aside from books, Kaitlyn’s favorite things are giraffes, ABBA, and excessively long naps. She lives with her real life romance hero in Lexington, Kentucky.

Author Links:

Review (no spoilers)

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

Y’all, this romance novel was so incredibly cute. I was literally grinning my face off at the end when a particular scene happened and that one scene single handedly elevated my rating half a star. I want to start off this review by mentioning that this is pegged as a YA romance novel, but I would definitely say it is a NA romance instead, as I’ve written above. The main characters are both 18 and recent high school graduates. The novel follows these two interns as they’re thrust into a sudden workplace partnership filming cooking videos under a segment titled Amateur Hour. I don’t know about you, but all of that screams new adult to me.

There are so many glorious tropes thrown into this one. We have workplace romance, food themes, and rivals/workplace competition. While there were a few tropes that I could have definitely done without such as workplace misogyny (a particularly taxing trope for me as a queer woman of color in a cis-het white male dominated field) and miscommunication (boo!), the main and supporting characters were just so lovely that I couldn’t really be upset for long.

One of the many things that I think this book handled really well was feminism. Misogyny and sexism in the workplace and on the internet is something that basically every woman can attest to. This book tackles this head on and fights back in a way that I was particularly proud of. We had some fantastic male allies come to bat as well as a healthy dose of women supporting women. While I do think it could become a bit preachy at times and that there could have been a bit more intersectionality with trans/non-binary folks, I thought it was really well handled.

This is definitely a book that I’ll file under comfort reads for future sad times. I see myself revisiting these characters and this story multiple times in my future.

Love From Scratch is out now, so if you’re interested, definitely check out some of the links listed above!

Blog Tour Review: The Matchbreaker Summer by Annie Rains

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A coming-of-age novel about the important of open communication

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

Book Information

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publishing Date: April 5, 2022

A pitch-perfect summer camp rom-com about two teens with nothing in common who come together to help break up a romance and unexpectedly start one of their own

Sixteen-year-old Paisley Manning has been attending Camp Seabrook since she was a little girl, when her parents ran it together. For the last few years, since her father’s death, she’s been the one helping her mom run the camp behind the scenes. This year, however, will be Camp Seabrook’s last hurrah because Paisley’s mom has met a guy online and they’re getting married.

Enter Hayden Bennett, who is working alongside Paisley. Paisley and Hayden are like oil and water. She follows the rules, and he seems to live to break them all. But when Hayden catches wind of Paisley’s predicament, he has an idea. If a matchmaker in some computer algorithm caused the issue, a couple of real-life matchbreakers can fix it.

As they work to break up the happy couple, Paisley discovers that maybe Hayden’s not so bad after all. Has she met her own perfect match in her fellow matchbreaker? Underlined is a line of totally addictive romance, thriller, and horror paperback original titles coming to you fast and furious each month. Enjoy everything you want to read the way you want to read it

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

USA Today bestselling author Annie Rains lives in a small, coastal North Carolina town, full of lovable folks, scenic downtown areas, and breathtaking nature—similar to the towns she writes about in her books. Annie’s love of reading and writing grabbed hold of her at a young age and never let go. Her first book was published in 2015, and she’s been writing heartfelt, page-turning stories ever since. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s reading from her never-ending TBR stack on her bedside table, taking long walks while plotting her characters’ happy endings, and living out her own happily ever after with her husband, three children, feisty rescue cat, and mischievous dog.

Author Links:

Review (no spoilers)

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

What should you do when your mom is willing to sacrifice everything you know to move with her new boyfriend? That is the question Paisley Manning finds herself forced to answer when her mom suddenly announces not only that her boyfriend is moving, but also that both of them will be going with him. As a result, the camp that Paisley’s late father helped build–and that Paisley loves–will have to be sold to accommodate the impending move.

It’s her last summer at Camp Seabrook (called Camp Starling throughout the novel) and Paisley decides that the best course of action is to team up with rule-breaker Hayden Bennett in an attempt to break up her mother’s happy relationship. No relationship, no move. What could possibly go wrong?

The Matchbreaker Summer is a young adult coming-of-age story that teaches readers lessons about being true to oneself, the importance of honest communication, and the acceptance of necessary change. This novel was a quick and easy read for me, and the overall plot arcs were pretty darn cute. My main complaint is that I think it was marketed to the wrong audience.

The book is labeled as young adult, with the main characters being 16, but both the writing and the story would have much better fit characters who were younger in age. While I could believe that Hayden and the other camp counselors were 16, Paisley’s character struck me as strangely immature. Her motivations and actions didn’t seem aligned with her age, and I kept finding myself imagining she was around 13 years old instead. There are admittedly several times where her more mature aspects come out, but that also happens with younger teens as well, so I do think her character still would have worked better if she were of younger age.

That being said, I very much appreciated the commitment to emphasizing the importance of open communication to avoid/solve problems. The adults in this book (aside from the select few) were actually very supportive and caring, which is kind of unusual for YA contemporary novels. I wish more books had healthier depictions of adult-teen relationships like this one.

The Matchbreaker Summer was just released yesterday, so if you’re interested, definitely check out some of the links listed above!