Blog Tour Review: Imagining Elsewhere by Sara Hosey

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

An unputdownable paranormal thriller with a fascinating premise.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Sara Hosey 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: 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: Never Coming Home by Kate Williams

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Ten influencers stranded on and island where they’re getting picked off one-by-one; who will survive?

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

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#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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Series Review: Bridgerton (Season 1-2)

Hello friends! I believe I’ve only done one other tv show review (for Hannah Montana a long time ago), but I’ve been wanting to do this post ever since I finished season two of Bridgerton.

Before I get start on my thoughts, I want to warn you that:

  1. I have not read the books this show is based on
  2. I do not like this show
  3. There will be spoilers in this!

If you’re still interested in reading what I have to say after that, keep scrolling!

My Thoughts

Let’s break this review into multiple parts.

The Casting

I have nothing against the casting done for this tv show. I honestly didn’t know who any of these people were before I watched this other than Freddie Stroma , Anthony Head, and Julie Andrews.

Similar to many other viewers, I was intrigued that this show took on a sort of colorblind culture when casting. I initially believed it was simply the choice of the show-makers to have a nice diverse cast and that we were just pretending this took place in a sort of alternate universe where race doesn’t matter. However, at some point a Black character (Lady Danbury, I believe) mentions that the reason racism doesn’t “exist” in this show is because the king fell in love with “one of us”, erasing everyone’s bigotry. I honestly didn’t like that they added that little footnote to the show because it felt very naive and unrealistic to just say that one person’s actions could undue the harm and hatred of others. I’m curious to know what other people thought about this.

I am also aware that there was some controversy that the casting, though diverse, was colorist. Certain viewers believed that the main POC characters were light-skinned, with the darker-skinned characters being portrayed as villains. It should be noted that this controvery happened prior to the casting announcements for season two. I don’t particularly agree with this belief seeing as I don’t think of Lady Danbury nor Will Mondrich as villainous characters, but I can understand why some people might have been unsatisfied.

He always somehow looked confused/startled/turned on at the same time. Maybe I just don’t find him attractive?

As far as the acting goes, I was pretty happy with everyones acting. In particular, I think many of us enjoy the expressive faces that certain characters have in most of their scenes (*cough* Eloise and Benedict *cough*). My only real issue is probably with Jonathan Bailey (the actor who plays Anthony) in season two. It felt like he was just constantly making the same weird expression in all of his scenes. I think it was supposed to be sexy(?) but I wasn’t into it.

The Characters

I hate so many of the characters in Bridgerton that I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to like. The following characters are people I do not at all care for in the show:

  • Daphne Bridgerton
  • Anthony Bridgerton
  • Kate Sharma
  • Penelope Featherington
  • Colin Bridgerton
  • Marina Thompson
  • Lady Portia Featherington
  • Siena Rosso
  • Lady Cowper

The top five people were either the main characters in seasons 1-2 or will be in season 3, so I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be cheering them on, even though I 100% don’t want to.

I think the point the books/show is trying to make is that even our heroes are flawed, but I think it goes way too far, honestly. The characters constantly manipulate, violate, and abuse each other for their own self gain. Why should I hope for their happy endings?

I will say that I do adore some of the characters in the show. Namely:

  • Simon Basset (The Duke of Hastings)
  • Eloise Bridgerton
  • Edwina Sharma
  • Lady Danbury
  • Prince Friederich

The Story

In season one (based on The Duke and I), the story follows the love between Daphne Bridgerton and The Duke of Hastings. I was enjoying this for the first few episodes until I decided that I did not like Daphne. From the very start of the show, the Duke is pretty much open and honest about all of his intensions, but Daphne repeatedly ignores the things he’s saying because she’s attracted to him. For example, he tells her that he doesn’t want to get married and instead of going with the amazing match of Prince Friederich, she decides to use the Prince to make the Duke jealous with the hopes of wrestling a proposal out of it.

Now, do I really have to talk about the rape? Before the Duke and Daphne agree to get married, he warns her that he cannot have children. She says it’s totally fine and that she wants to marry him anyways. She later finds out that what he meant was not that he was incapable of having children, but that he doesn’t want to have children. Instead of, I don’t know, having a conversation about the misunderstanding, she rapes him (i.e. she tops him in bed and makes it so he can’t pull out when he’s ejaculating which is what he had been doing previously). He, understandably, feels upset and betrayed by this.

I had hoped that the show was going to make this a teachable moment about the different types of rape, consent, communication, etc., but this is not at all what happens. Instead we get the two characters yelling at each other with Daphne saying that the Duke “lied to her” which like, bro, calm down. He didn’t lie to you; he just used the word “can’t” instead of “wont” when he said he can’t have children and you made an incorrect assumption.

Perhaps the part that annoyed me the most was the fact that because the show didn’t condemn Daphne’s actions as rape (and eventually kind of sided with Daphne by making the Duke change his mind about children in the end), viewers soon ended up arguing that it wasn’t in fact rape. I can’t even begin to tell you how harmful that storyline (and the audiences reaction) must have been for rape victims.

Moving on to season two where the story follows head of house Anthony Bridgerton and his hate-to-love romance with Kate Sharma, the sister of the woman he is official courting.

Listen, I’m a huge fan of the hate-to-love trope, but I hated both of these characters from the get go, so I found their “romance” super annoying. The woman that Anthony is official courting, Edwina Sharma, was one of the nicest, purest cinnamon roles on the planet. I can’t believe both of them would put her through the emotional rollercoaster that they did instead of just being honest at literally any point.

In reality, Anthony and Kate were kind of a perfect match in that both of them were meddling, manipulative, and selfish when it came to “helping” their siblings find a match during courting season. We saw the worst of Anthony’s meddling in season one with Daphne, and Kate does basically the exact same thing in season two with Edwina. They were the epitome of “you don’t know what’s best for you. I know what’s best for you”. I hate-watched this entire season just because I wanted to know what was going to happen to all the other character arcs.

Overall Enjoyment

I know that I spent a lot of the previous sections ragging on this series, but it honestly makes great television. It is very clear to me that Shondaland knows how to make compelling TV shows, regardless of how flawed and hatable their characters/plots may be.

What we have with Bridgerton is a show that is 100% bingeable and is sure to continue to be popular. It’s almost impossible to only watch one episode at a time, as each one leaves you wanting to immediately start the next.

I hated so many of these characters and found the main romantic plots to not be worth my attention, but I never once thought about DNFing the show. Watching Bridgerton was like a car crash, and you can bet your bottoms that I’m going to be tuning into (and probably hate-watching once again) season three.

Blog Tour Review: Mystery in the Palace of Westminster by Sarah Lustig

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The first cozy mystery novel in a new upper MG/lower YA series.

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and Sarah Lustig 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/3HslW16

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The Sunshine Blogger Award (Part 1)

I was tagged on this several times starting in 2020 and I’m finally getting to it! Thank you to Ashley, Livy, Kate, Ellie Mai, and Kerri for tagging me!

Since I was tagged by several people who all have different questions, I’ll have to combine the questions and split this into multiple posts (so that it doesn’t get too long). Sorry it took me so long to respond!

What Is The Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How Does It Work?

  • Thank the blogger (s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

The Questions

What is your favorite genre to read?

I’m a fan of most YA genres and I’m also a huge fan of new adult/adult romance novels.

What nonfiction book(s) are your favorite?

I don’t really read non-fiction but I have slowly been reading more and more. So far my favorite would probably be Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi.

Do you read multiple books at once or just one?

I try to read one at a time but lately I’ve been starting several books at once. I’m part of several book club/blog tours every month so that contributes to reading more than one book at a time.

What other hobbies do you have besides reading?

I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles, though we typically listen to an audiobook while we do them. I also enjoy going for walks and watching movies, shows, hockey, and football.

Do you have a reading goal for 2020? If so, how is it going?

LOL I’ll change this question to 2022 to account for my failure to post this in 2020. My reading goal for this year is 100 books and I’ve already read 99 lol. I guess I should have aimed higher?

What prompted you to create a blog?

It was the fact that my memory is horrible. I would read books and then forget a month later whether I liked them or what about them I liked/didn’t like. I figured that starting a blog where I write reviews of the books would encourage me to remember my experiences.

What is your favorite trope?

I love hate-to-love/enemies-to-lovers in romance novels. I don’t know why but the angst and the pining is amazing.

What is your least favorite trope?

I absolute despise the love triangle trope. I hate it so so so much and it can sour any reading experience I’m having regardless of how good the book is. I really don’t know why it’s so popular still because I haven’t met anyone who likes it (I’ve met a few who are indifferent).

What fictional world would you like to visit?

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Basically all the worlds I’m thinking about right now are dystopias so I probably shouldn’t want to visit one of those BUT if I did have to, I think I would like to visit the world in The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg. There’s like a Disney Land type of theme park that sounds like it could be fun if you ignore all the terrible things going on behind closed doors.

What book disappointed you this year?

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How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days sounded like it was going to be right up my alley as an adult romance novel. Unfortunately it was incredibly unrealistic and the main characters were hot messes. It felt like they were teenagers but they were actually in their 40s I believe.

What is your favorite cover from 2020?

I’m going to change this to 2022 but the book I chose is actually one I read in 2020 AND 2022. I’m not actually sure if this question means the book was supposed to be published in 2020/2022 but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro has a gorgeous cover so it’s what I decided to choose. I put my Instagram photos of the cover above. You can follow me there @jenjenreviews.

What is the most recent book that you added to your TBR?

Preorder on Amazon (affiliate link)

I honestly somehow don’t remember adding this book to my TBR, even though it says I added it on the 8th of this month. It’s not out yet so maybe I was trying to remind myself to preorder it.

How do you add books to your TBR?

It’s mostly books that I see either when I’m exploring stores or scrolling through Instagram and Twitter. I’m a huge cover buyer so if the cover is gorgeous, I’m likely to add it to my TBR.

I’m also a subscriber to several book boxes so those books automatically get added to my TBR.

What was your most recent 5 star read? And why was it 5 stars?

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I read this in March for a blog tour and it was so good! I have an entire blog post dedicated to it so you can read about my thoughts here.

Favourite TV series to binge and where can I find it?

Supernatural is a series that I’ve rewatched from the beginning like 6 times. I haven’t caught up though (I’m currently in season 11 with Rob and the furthest I got on my own before starting it from the beginning with him was Season 13 episode 6.

As for where you can watch it: it’s on Netflix!

What book/series would you love to get an adaptation?

I would like to see an adaptation of Truly, Devious because I’m a huge fan of mysteries. It’s also one of the few series that I actually read all the way through. Most of the time I end up kind of burning out mid-series and not finishing it.

Which adaptation do you hate the most?

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I remember absolutely hating the adaptation for Eragon by Christopher Paolini when I watched it. I also hated Twilight when I watched that adaptation but it’s now one of my favorite things to hate-watch.

What is your most anticipated release of 2021?

I suppose this should be changed to 2023. The short answer is that I have no idea. I’m horrible at keeping track of book releases and since we’re only in June right now, it seems too early for me to know.

Favourite thing to snack on whilst reading?

I don’t have a favorite reading snack because I don’t like to eat and read and if I do, I usually just eat whatever is around me at the time. I’m too clumsy and messy to try and eat anything complicated while reading.

Who’s an author you haven’t read but would love to?

I’ve never read any Sarah J Maas but I’m not sure I’d “love” to read her since I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews of both her and her books.

What is your favourite thing about reading?

I enjoy getting lost in the lives of random made up characters. Life is a mess and so if a book can capture me enough to make me forget about it, it’s an amazing experience.

What was the last book that surprised you?

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Before Takeoff was a book I literally just read last week and it was absolutely bonkers in the best way possible. It’s like Jumanji if Jumanji were a contemporary romance novel. You can read my full review here.

What is your favourite book series?

I don’t have one because I don’t actually have many favorite things and I have a really bad habit of not finishing series (woops). I’ll name The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater here since it’s one that I managed to finish that one and enjoyed it quite a lot.

Is the book always better than the film?

I’d say with everything that I’ve watched, this is true. However, I think it’s not a fact but rather a common occurrence. Books and film are totally different mediums for how to tell a story so they’re going to have to differ a lot. I think a lot of people don’t keep this in mind and focus on difference more than they should.

What was the last book you DNFed?

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I don’t DNF books often so I’m having a hard time remembering. It might have been Fool Me Twice at Christmas by Camilla Isley. It was promoted as a cute fake dating story but the main character was literally cheating on her boyfriend and I couldn’t handle it. I ended up having to switch to a spotlight for this blog tour.

What is your favourite setting for a book?

I don’t have a favorite setting but I think I’m a fan of workplace/school settings. I’m not 100% sure though.

What title would you choose for your own autobiography?

OH MY GOD. I was literally thinking about this question a few months ago when I was toying with the idea of trying to write one for my future self. I couldn’t come up with a good title though so I still don’t know.

What 3 things would a book need to include to make it a must-read for you?

  1. A beautiful cover
  2. A romance without a love triangle
  3. An interesting premise

Which genre do you like least and why?

I’m not a fan of fantasy because I often find that they’re too wordy and I get bored of them very easily. I’ve tried a few of them and got mixed reactions so I’m still trying to figure out how to determine which ones I should read or not.

What’s been the most popular post on your blog?

Technically it’s the Trope-ical Readathon Information page, but that probably doesn’t count. The next non-readathon post that’s the most popular is my review for With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. Shoutout to Dave from TheWriteReads because he’s the reason that post has so much love.

Which are your favourite book blogs to visit?

All of my TWR gang! We have a group chat on Twitter where we share our blog posts so I’m most often on their blogs.


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 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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