Book Review: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Illegal Contact

Title: Illegal Contact

Author: Santino Hassell

Published by: InterMix

Publishing date: August 15th 2017

Genre: Romance, M/M

Pages: 251

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

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This book is full of banter and chemestry between the main characters, Gavin and Noah, which was my favorite part of the book. Their dynamic is entertaining to read about from the beginning. This is definitely a slow burn but there’s a instant attraction that’s very obvious even when the main character have a rocky start to their relationship. Once they’re together, they become so soft and precious and you can help but root for him.

Gavin is the type of character that doesn’t make a good first impression, he is hot tempered and can come off as rude, but you fall in love with him because of the loyalty he has to his friends and the passion he feels for the sport he has dedicated his life to. Also, the bisexual rep is fantastic and I love the fact that even when it was a secret Gavin was so unapologetic about it with the people that knew he was bisexual.

On the other hand, Noah is a good son, a good friend and he wants to help LGBT youth.  He’s nicer and polite, but my first impresion of him wasn’t the best either; he wasn’t taking his job seriously and I understand that sometimes doing your best in a job you don’t want is hard, but at the same time going to an interview unprepared,  being late to work and making excuses is unprofessional and I was a bit frustrated with him, but he gets over it quickly and starts to do a good job, so I got over it and at the end I really liked him as a character as well.

I think those are the most important things to know about this book: it has characters you’ll fall in love with and the banter and chemestry between them is incredible and makes their dynamic captivating. Other things that were really well  done: the discussion about homophobia in sports and the fact that the side characters are also compelling and their relationships with the protagonist are really interesting.

Rating : 4 stars
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Mini Reviews: Poetry Collections

Mini Reviews

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

the sun and her flowers

From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.

Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.

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The first few poems are about heartbreak and they were  beautiful and so infinetly sad, but so relatable as well. Having being through a break up recently, these poems made me cry my eyes out. I felt so incredibly heartbroken when I read them, but also I felt so relieved that someone else felt that way, that someone else understood. I also felt so very grateful that she shared those poems with the world.

There was a part of this book that was all about immigration and refugees, and it talked about those things in such a powerful, raw and heartbreaking ways. The poems where she talks about  immigration were intimetly woven with the story of her parents and that made it feel so much more authentic. Also, the poems she wrote specificly to her mother were beutiful, sad, heartwarming, devastating, everything at once.

There are in this collection a lot of  poems that are written in a style that’s not my favorite, these short poems that feel more like a sentence than like a poem. Also, the poems about love were my least favorite. I felt like in some of the poems, love became the thing that gave meaning to life and it’s strange because in so many of the other poems Rupi Kaur talks about life having meaning in itself, so it was like a step backwards when she talk about love in this all consuming and kind of dependant way. Maybe no one else felt this way, but it bother me.

Rating: 4 stars 

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The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One by Amanda Lovelace

the witch

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

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I definitely liked the first book in this series, The Princess Saves Herself in this One, more than this second installment. There are a few poems in this collection that I really liked, but most of them were  just ok for me.

I do think Amanda Lovelace writes about some important topics. I’m glad this type of poetry collection exists that deals with feminist issues, body positivity, sexual assault, self-love, etc. But I feel like the way these topics were explored in this collection became repetitive.  Also, the poems in this one didn’t evoke any emotion from me, which was weird because I feel like I usually relate to poetry that deals with these topics.

I feel like overall themes of the book, witches, witchcraft and witch hunts were interesting and they were present in all the poems. There was a lot of consistency in the collection, both in terms of the overall theme and the different topics it explored. But,  as I was saying before, my main problem with this book is that i didn’t feel touched or connected to a lot of the poems and most of them didn’t provoke any emotion in me.

Rating: 3 Stars
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Mini Reviews: Grumpy Farmers, Ambitious City Girls & Romance

Mini Reviews

I read two romance books with similar concepts recently and I thought it would be a good idea to do some mini reviews of both of them.

Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen


The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago. At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

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  • The chemistry between the main characters is off the charts! I’m not kidding, it’s great! It also helped that I really like the main characters.
  • This book is steamy. There’s an outside shower and they have sex there!!! (it was really hot). If you don’t like books that are explicit and steamy, maybe this isn’t for you. BUT I love them, so…
  • There’s lots of sassy banter, which I love!!!! Really, it’s one of the things that will make me love a ship.
  • There are so many mentions of food, which I usually don’t like in books (don’t judge me!), but in this book is done really well. I felt the passion the main character, Audrey, has for cooking.
  • The family aspect is GREAT! Griffin’s family is the best.
  • There’s a bit of angst but it wasn’t dragged out too much, which is always a plus in romance and new adult books, because things can get way too dramatic.
  • I couldn’t put this down, I just wanted to keep reading. The writing flowed so well and made the story easy to read and captivating.
  • Overall, this was a fun, entertaining and steamy read with great characters and it keep me captivated the entire time.
Rating: 4 stars

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After We Fall by Melanie Harlow 
After We FAll

Jack Valentini isn’t my type. 

Sexy, brooding cowboys are fine in the movies, but in real life, I prefer a suit and tie. Proper manners. A close shave.  Jack might be gorgeous, but he’s also scruffy, rugged, and rude. He wants nothing to do with a “rich city girl” like me, and he isn’t afraid to say so. But I’ve got a PR job to do for his family’s farm, so he’s stuck with me and I’m stuck with him. His glares. His moods. His tight jeans. His muscles.  His huge, hard muscles.

Pretty soon there’s a whole different kind of tension between us, the kind that has me misbehaving in barns, trees, and pickup trucks. I’ve never done anything so out of character—but it feels too good to stop. And the more I learn about the grieving ex-Army sergeant, the better I understand him. Losing his wife left him broken and bitter and blaming himself. He doesn’t think he deserves a second chance at happiness. 

But he’s wrong. I don’t need to be his first love. If only he’d let me be his last

Goodreads | Amazon 
  • The main characters had lots of chemistry. LOTS OF CHEMISTRY.
  • There’s so many hot scenes. They have sex in the woods! (that sounds really uncomfortable, but wild and hot? Kind of) Again, if you don’t like your romances steamy, maybe this isn’t for you.
  • This has PTSD representation, I don’t think it was bad but I don’t feel like I’m the right person to comment on the rep (I didin’t find any #ownvoices reviews).  BUT, I can say that this shows therapy in a positive light and love doesn’t cure mental illness, both things are fantastic!
  • It was tiny bit too angsty for me. The things is that Jack, the main character, had such a heartbreaking backstory that there was no way this wasn’t angsty. That’s why I prefer romance books with main characters that have  problems and issues -but not extremely tragic backstories- because that reduces the angst levels.
  • The characters weren’t my favorite, especially Jack, he was a bit too rude and too harsh for my taste, and even if he had a tragic backstory that doesn’t excuses the way he behaved sometimes.
  • Overall, this was steamy, entertaining and very, VERY ANGSTY. It was a fun read but I did have some problems with it.
Rating: 3,4 stars 
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Book Review: Act Like It by Lucy Paker

Act like itTitle: Roomies

Author: Lucy Parker

Published by: Carina Press

Publishing date: November 30th 2015

Genre: Romance

Pages: 199

This just in: romance takes center stage as West End theatre’s Richard Troy steps out with none other than castmate Elaine Graham

Richard Troy used to be the hottest actor in London, but the only thing firing up lately is his temper. We all love to love a bad boy, but Richard’s antics have made him Enemy Number One, breaking the hearts of fans across the city. Have the tides turned? Has English rose Lainie Graham made him into a new man?

Sources say the mismatched pair has been spotted at multiple events, arm in arm and hip to hip. From fits of jealousy to longing looks and heated whispers, onlookers are stunned by this blooming romance. Could the rumors be right? Could this unlikely romance be the real thing? Or are these gifted stage actors playing us all?

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The thing about this book is that there was no chemestry between the characters throughout the first half of the book and that made connecting with the story and enjoying the reading experience difficult for me. I understand and I think it was interesting that the author wanted to establish how much the two main characters didn’t like each other and how there wasn’t any attraction between them before the whole fake relationship started. BUT I feel like that part of the book was way TOO LONG.

I feel like my main problem were the choices made in terms of the writing. As I was saying, the pacing was slow and it took too long to get to the fun part of the book were the relationship between the characters developed, which made the beginning feel boring. Also, it was told in third person point of view and for this type of story, I feel like it doesn’t work for me. It’s easier to connect with the characters when the story is told in first person point of view.

Nontheless, after the main characters finally started to become friendly towards each other everything changed for the better. The were cute moments, lots of banter, even some playfulness and incredible chemestry. I really liked the main character, Lainie, she was smart, kind and sassy. On the other hand, Richard was rude, mean and conceited, but he could be thoughful and sweet as well. I liked the fact that he didn’t just completly changed his personality once they got together.

The background of this book is London’s West End, so there’s a lot of theater talk and celebrity culture, which made this book interesting and more enjoyable.

Overall, I think that even if it’s a little slow and boring at the beginning, this book picks up and then it becomes an amazing romance full of banter, chemestry and lovely moments.

Rating: 3 stars
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Book Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren


Title: Roomies

Author: Christina Lauren

Published by: Gallery Books

Publishing date: December 5th 2017

Genre: Romance

Pages: 368

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

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The main character in this book, Holland, is struggling to decide what she wants to do with her life, she is a writer and it has been 2 years since her graduation from a master degree and she is starting to feel like a failure because she doesn’t know what she wants to do next with her degree and her talent. I feel like a lot of times the main characters in books have very specific goals and dreams and I like the fact that this book portraits the struggle of not knowing yet in a very relatable and realistic way. This was especially relatable for me, because I’m about to graduate from University and I’m feeling the pressure to decide what comes next even if I’m not sure yet about what I want to do.

Other aspect I really love about this book is the relationship between the main characters, there’s so much chemistry! Calvin is a charming and talented guy. I liked the whole fake marriage trope was handled in the book, because if you marry someone you barely know there are going to be more than a few awkward moments and this book shows that.

The backdrop of this book is Broadway and that makes it a lot more interesting. The focus is definitely in the musical part and in the love both of the main characters have for music. That makes the romance so much better because it easy to understand the connection between the two main characters.

The main problem I have with this book was the portrait of female friendship, I can’t understand why the main character can’t find love and keep her best friend. It’s like girls can’t be friends without jealousy and meanness.

For the most part this is fluffy and fun, and even if there’s a bit of angst, everything resolves easily, and it’s not stretch out too much, which I appreciated.


Rating: 3,8 stars
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Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green


Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Published by: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Publishing date: October 10th 2017

Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary

Pages: 288

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

Amazon | Goodreads 

Things I liked:

– The OCD and anxiety representation: This book has #ownvoices representation for OCD and it shows, the depictions of intrusive thoughts in particular are so vivid that it’s easy to empathize with the frustration, the feeling of inevitability and the feeling of being out of control that the main character experiences. In terms of the representation, other aspects that are very well done are: 1) the fact that mental illnesses are a life long struggle and 2) other people don’t understand, even the ones that try to understand have moments were they just don’t, or sometimes it’s just too much for them.

– Positive view of therapy: this is so important and it’s missing from so many books that deal with mental health, even if lately there’s more and more that have positive representation of therapy.

– Love is not a cure: John Green stays away from the love ‘fixes’ people trope. Davis was not a cure for Aza’s mental illness. Also, John Green doesn’t shy away from showing how some actions that for a lot of people are easy like kissing can be difficult, awkward and embarrassing to someone with a mental illness.

-Aza is a quiet person and that’s amazing: Aza is incredibly quiet, and she is ACTUALLY incredibly quiet. A lot of times in books, a character is described as quiet and then you see them be social butterflies and it’s disappointing. So, Aza is quiet and intelligent, and she thinks a lot and as someone who is quiet, I think that’s amazing.

-Davis is a great love interest: He is considerate and patient and such a good big brother. I loved the relationship between Davis and Aza.

Things I didn’t like:

-Some aspects of Aza and Daisy’s friendship: Daisy didn’t understand Aza’s OCD and anxiety, so she felt like Aza didn’t care about her, when in reality Aza was just trying to survive her mental illness and she didn’t have energy for much else. The main problem is that Daisy said some pretty hurtful and harsh things and then she gave a half assed apology, after that everything was resolved too easily and there were things that weren’t addressed.

– Pretentious characters that are a bit unrealistic for the way they talk: This is always a problem with John Green’s characters, I knew what to expect and I didn’t mind that much. But still I feel like it’s important to mention it because it takes you out of the story sometimes, when it’s hard to suspend one’s disbelief at the way the characters talk like they are philosophers.

-It has a weak plot: The plot is introduced shortly at the beginning and then it’s kind of mentioned throughout the story when characters make loose comments about it, but nothing else really happens with the plot until the very end. They do solve the mystery and that help me feel like the plot wasn’t an entire waste of time.

Rating: 4,2 stars

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Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper

Title: Stalking Jack The Ripper

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Published by: Jimmy Patterson

Publishing date: September 20th 2016

Genre:  Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Pages: 326

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

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A little story about me and this book

I recieved this book in exchange for an honest review a long time ago, I was supposted to be part of the blog tour that took place like 9 months  ago. A lot of things happened in my personal life at that time and they made it impossible to read and review this book. I actually read the first two pages and I didn’t enjoy them, but I didn’t know if it was me because I had so much going on or if it was the book.

This January I finally decided to give this another try and I ended up really enjoying this book. It actually has one of my new favorite ships, which is one of the main reason that I enjoyed this book so much. I didn’t post my review back in January because I was gonna wait until the release date of the second book was closer, but since the arc copies of book 2 are starting to make it to readers, I feel like this is a good time to help increase the excitement for this series.

Without further ado, here’s the review!

The review

Stalking Jack the Ripper is set in 1888 and it’s based on the murders commited by Jack the Ripper, who terrorized London with his brutality during this time. The author takes full advantage of this premise and she makes this a very atmospheric book, with fog, a mystery vibe and a eerie feel to it. At the same time, there’s a lot of grusome scenes and imaginery, there’s blood and organs and this is very descriptive when it comes to how the victims were murdered.

In the midst of this background, there’s Audrey Rose, the main character, an extremely intelligent girl that spends the book struggleling and defying the gender restrictions of her time. She is definitely not, what in her time would have been considered, a proper lady,  she spends her days opening dead bodies and she is fascinated by anatomical dissection.  It’s amazing to have a main female character in a YA book that it’s into science or a science related field, because it doesn’t happen that often. Going back to Audrey, for someone so intelligent, she is incredibly reckeless and impulsive, and in her desire to not conforme to society’s gender ideas she puts herself at risk repeatedly throughout this book.

On the other hand, there’s Thomas, the other main character in this book, he’s also incredibly intelligent and has really good deduction skills. Another very important thing about Thomas is that he’s a complete flirt and his responses are always witty and sarcastic.  Also,  he is really arrogant and he doesn’t try to hide it. Both  Thomas and Audrey are very strong-willed, and that makes the dynamic between them incredible, they work well together but there’s also a lot of chemestry that goes beyond crime-solving partners. There’s banter and bickering but also smart conversations. Honestly, this is a swoon worthy romance.

The problem with this book is that the mystey aspect is a bit a predictable, really early on is easy to tell who Jack the Ripper is.  Nonetheless, the book keeps you wondering when the main characters are gonna realise who the culprit is and that manages to keep the suspense alive.  Another minor issue with the book, is that  Audrey and Thomas do a lot of ‘stalking’’ throughout the story and that ends up helping little to solve the crimes. The ‘stalking’ is a bit pointless and it reveals to be more reckless than courageous.

Rating: 4,2 stars

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