ARC Review: Always Only You by Chloe Liese

Always Only You (Bergman Brothers, #2) by Chloe Liese

Title: Always Only You

Author: Chloe Liese

Series: Bergman Brothers #2 (companion novel)

Publishing date: August 4th, 2020

Pages: 355

Ren

The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Deadpan delivery, secret heart of gold, and a rare one-dimpled smile that makes my knees weak, Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game—besides, hockey, that is.

I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue. Frankie won’t be here forever—she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.

Frankie

I’ve had a problem at work since the day Ren Bergman joined the team: a six foot three hunk of happy with a sunshine smile. I’m a grumbly grump and his ridiculously good nature drives me nuts, but even I can’t entirely ignore that hot tamale of a ginger with icy eyes, the perfect playoff beard, and a body built for sin that he’s annoyingly modest about.

Before I got wise, I would have tripped over myself to get a guy like Ren, but with my diagnosis, I’ve learned what I am to most people in my life—a problem, not a person. Now, opening my heart to anyone, no matter how sweet, is the last thing I’m prepared to do.

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Thank you to Chloe (the author) for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

I need to start this review by saying that if you have not read the first book in this series of companion novels, YOU SHOULD GO READ IT! I talked about Only When It’s Us in the post about my favorite romance book of 2020 so far because it’s actually my #1 favorite romance I have read this year. You don’t have to read it before reading this one because it’s not a continuation, but do yourself a favor and go read it anyway.

With that out of the way, now I can talk to you about Always Only You, which now has become another one of my favorite romance books of 2020. This is a slow-burn, sunshine x grumpy romance where the grumpy one with the heart of gold is the woman and the smiley, sunshiny character is the man.

Chloe Liese has a special talent that allows her to create wonderful and complex characters who you can’t help but root for. In Always Only You, the heroine is Frankie, an Autistic woman (#ownvoices) with a chronic illness (rheumatoid arthritis) who is hard-working, smart, empathetic, and badass. And the hero is Ren, who is an adorable, considerate, noble and nerdy Shakespeare-loving Hockey player. He is the kind of hero that makes you wish you knew a man like him in real life.

The relationship between Frankie and Ren is so heartwarming. Ren has been pinning for Frankie for years, but since they work together and their relationship is technically forbidden, he doesn’t want to put her in an awkward position and he’s waiting for the right time to confess his feeling. And then seeing Frankie, who has been hurt before by men who have seen her as a burden because of her disability and doesn’t want to try to be in a relationship again, slowly realize that she really likes Ren and that she wants to give him a chance is amazing and it almost melted me. I loved seeing how they both got to know each other better throughout the book and how they complemented each other.  Also, there’s forced proximity (kind of) at one point in this book and they get all domestic and it was so sweet.

Finally, I appreciated that the author managed to show how Frankie’s chronic illness and autism affect her day to day life in smaller and bigger ways, but how she’s still able to have the life she wants and go after her dreams.

I love a series where there are a bunch of siblings in a family and we get romances for all of them, and there are SEVEN Bergman siblings, so hopefully, I still have 5 more wonderful books to read. I need Freya and Aiden’s book, which is the next book, their story is kind of a second chance romance, which is a trope I LOVE! And I also need Rooney and Axel’s story because that’s a relationship that’s obviously going to happen and no one is gonna convince me otherwise.

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5 Reasons to Read Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be talking about one of my most anticipated 2020 releases. After reading and loving Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her next book and I’m so happy to say that I loved Mexican Gothic and I recommend it!

Title: Mexican Gothic

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Published by: Del Rey

Publishing date:  June 30 2020

Pages: 393 

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

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trigger warnings: sexual assault, suicide and child brutality.

Without further ado, here are 5 reasons why you should read this book:

1. Brilliant writing: Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s writing manages to be beautiful and captivating while being simple and unpretentious. The writing in this book is not flowery but it conveys and elicits all kinds of emotions.

2. Captivating main character: Noemí, the main character, is three-dimensional and flawed, while being charming and bewitching. She is vain, flighty, smart, beautiful and strong and I couldn’t help but root for her the entire time.

3. The creepiness: This book is creepy from very early on. Moreno-García made my skin crawl with the simplest scenes, sometimes nothing too scary was happening but with one perfectly crafted phrase, I was spooked. The author used the unknown to set an atmosphere of anticipation and suspense that worked really well to keep the creepiness up while allowing the book to become more and more disturbing as it progresses and as more information is revealed not only about what’s going on but also about the true villains of the story.

4. Effective villains: even in the setting of this book where it’s not clear if there are ghosts, magic or other supernatural things going on, the real villains of the story are manipulative, abusive, disgusting men that you could find anywhere in the world and anytime in history and that’s what makes them so effective. They feel like men you have met and, because of that, it’s easy to feel and relate to the main character’s unease, anger, and frustration towards them. 

5. Perfect setting: setting this book in 1950 Mexico was a brilliant decision. First of all, it gives a fascinating historical background to the story, a society that is changing and accepting some modern and liberal (for the time) ideas while trying to hold onto the old social and religious rules. Moreover, High Place, the house where the story takes place, is a secluded, declining, rotting house with no working electricity and strange echos, and it’s located in a small abandoned mining town in the middle of nowhere, where there are people who are clinging to conservative views. All of it makes it a magnificent setting for the creepiness and the sense of claustrophobia of this story. Beyond that, the setting and time period of this book allowed the author to explore sexism, colonialism, and eugenics in very interesting ways since the main character encounters people who believe that they are superior because of their gender, nationality, ethnicity and that they shouldn’t mix with people of “inferior” genetics. 

Overall, Mexican Gothic is a creepy and disturbing gothic horror novel with a unique setting, perfect for anyone who likes a haunted house stories, gothic classics and diverse takes of old horror tropes.

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Book Review: The House of the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea

Author: T.J. Klune

Published by: Tor Books

Publishing date:  March 17th 2020

Pages: 393 

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

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If you want to read a book that will warm your heart, The House in the Cerulean Sea is the perfect choice! The best word to sum up this book is hopeful: hopeful that things can get better, hopeful that prejudice won’t win and hopeful that just one person can make a difference in many lives.

This book explores the idea that prejudice keeps growing and wins when people, who have the privilege of not being affected by prejudice, stay silent and live comfortably in their bubbles without making an effort to question and challenge the status quo, without advocating for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves and without fighting for the changes that will allow them to be their own advocates.

The way it explores these themes is through a society where there’s a lot of prejudice against magical beings and there’s a whole system that regulates, segregates, and excludes them. The concept of this book is fascinating and well-executed. This book particularly focuses on very special children that are magical in some way. These children are kept separated in orphanages where no one ever gets adopted or schools where no one cares for them. The protagonist of this book is a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youths (DICOMY), who goes to these orphanages and makes sure the children are in a safe environment and while doing so, he has to remain objective and detached. 

And that’s where the magic of this book truly begins, with Linus, the main character. He is very set in his ways, he follows the rules, he’s very anxious about a lot of things, he cares deeply for the well being of the kids and there’s an emptiness in him that he tries to ignore. He’s actually very endearing once you get to know him. It is quickly established that Linus does his job well, he keeps his distance, he is objective and he doesn’t question if the situation these kids are in is right. Once his job is done, he doesn’t check on the kids he meets in the orphanages and he never knows what happens to them after his visit.

The problem is that his lastest assignment requires him to spend an entire month in one of the orphanages. There he meets a group of very special kids, a wise but not entirely nice sprite and the mysterious, sweet, smart man who runs the orphanage. Once he spends time with them and gets to know them, staying distant and objective is not as easy as it used to be. Linus’ character development in this book is phenomenal, and slowly seeing him grow throughout the book, seeing him let go of the rules and understand that the status quo is harmful, is so rewarding

Beyond Linus, the children are the absolute stars of this book. They are cute, funny, lovable and so compelling. Each one has a defined personality and all of them are three-dimensional characters. They all have faced prejudice, sadness, rejection, cruelty, loneliness and they each have their own defense mechanisms because of it. This book does a great job of showing how Linus learns to see beyond those defense mechanisms and how the kids worm their way into his heart and, at the same time, it shows how Linus has to work to earn the kid’s trust and love. In the end, the relationship between Linus and the kids ended up being my favorite part of the book

And then there’s Arthur, the man who runs the orphanage, who is smart, kind, compassionate, and very mysterious. His relationship with Linus is heartwarming and I’m glad we get a male/male romance in a fantasy book. They are both so tentative and sweet. The only thing I will mention is that I wish there were a few more instances of the two of them interacting and connecting, I think it would have made the romance better. Still, it was adorable.

If you want to rest from dark fantasy books and want something that will make you feel happy and hopeful, while still asking tough questions about privilege, prejudice and complacency, I totally recommend this book!

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Book Review: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Title: We Hunt the Flame

Author: Hafsah Faizal

Series: Sands of Arawiya #1

Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publishing date:  May 14th 2019

Pages: 472 

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

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After finishing We Hunt the Flame, I was left with an overall feeling of having read a funentertaining, quick book. I enjoyed my reading experience. Nonetheless, when I think about the different elements of the story, the truth is that I had issues with a lot of things. So I’m in a weird position, where this review may sound negative but my feelings about this book are not. I’m actually looking forward to reading the next book in the series when it comes out.

The start of this book was so promising, I was gripped from the very first page because the author introduced a mysterious, creepy forest which was a very big part of the first few chapters and I was very intrigued by it. The problem was that the amazing set up of the forest was wasted, it was not used at all in the story and something very convenient happened involving the forest that made its existence feel pointless. That was a common problem with this book, the author included interesting concepts or elements to the story, but then it felt like she didn’t know what to do with them, so she did nothing or she did something but it wasn’t well executed.

In terms of the plot, this book hinged on the fact that the characters had to go to an island that was supposed to be this scary, dark place full of evil creatures, and honestly, it wasn’t as creepy or as atmospheric as I was expecting it to be or as the forest in the first chapters of the book was. The author included a lot of fascinating Arabic-inspired mythological creatures, but they didn’t feel as necessary parts of the story, it felt more like she had added them on top of the plot and not like they were integrated to the plot. I wish these creatures played a bigger and more important role in the story because they added a unique feeling to it. Also, when it came to the plot, the twists were predictable, the foreshadowing was heavy-handed and a lot of convenient things happened at the end.

We Hunt the Flame is told in dual point of view; the main characters are Nasir, who was a prince and an assassin and who suffered abuse since he was a child; and Zafira, who was a huntress that fed her village but she had to pretend to be a man because of the sexists’ beliefs in her kingdom. At the start of the book, each perspective felt captivating and necessary because they were showing different parts of the world this book takes place in and different pieces of information from the same puzzle. Nonetheless, as the book progressed and the characters met, the dual perspectives didn’t work as well because the two characters were too similar in personality and both of them were living the same situations.

While the main characters faced a lot of obstacles and challenges while they were on the island, the tension wasn’t there, I was never scared for them. This may have something to do with the fact that, while I liked the characters, I wasn’t very invested in them or what happened to them. Even when bad things happened I couldn’t muster any emotion about it.

Nonetheless, I liked the dynamic between the group of characters and I liked the friendship that was born between all of them. There were 5 characters in the group and they were all very different: there was a flirty, relax but mysterious character, a wise mediator, a moody prince/assassin, a distrustful huntress, and a warrior type. The author did a good job of establishing who each character was without making them a caricature, but it felt like the author forgot the warrior character was there most of the time and only remember when she needed this character to fight or to save the day in pretty big ways.

The romance in this book felt so forced and it mainly consisted of the two characters staring at each other from afar for the entire book. I didn’t felt the connection or the chemistry between the characters. And then there was a big problem with queerbaiting in this book, it happened twice with two different relationships and honestly, there was one relationship in particular between Zafira and her best friend that would have made such a better romance.

Overall, I had a lot of issues with this book, but it wasn’t a bad book. It was a fun and quick read, and it had so much potential, that’s why I’m reading the sequel, I want to see if the author manages to execute well some of her brilliant ideas.

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ARC Review: Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova

Title: Incendiary

Author: Zoraida Córdova

Series: Hollow Crown #1

Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 

Publishing date:  April 28th 2020

Pages: 384 

Renata Convida was a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice & brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest & most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.

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Incendiary has an intricate magic system, vivid characters, twist and turns that will keep you at the edge of your sit and an ending that will leave you wanting more. Can you tell I loved this book? that’s because I really, really did.

Renata, the main character of Incendiary, is a fascinating character. She is not the strongest, the smartest or the most cunning, she is a normal girl that has to deal with a complicated past and with powerful abilities that make her be needed and feared and hated at the same time. The way she deals with her trauma and her guilty, and especially the way her self-recrimination affects her relationships with others and colors all her interactions feels completelly realistic. All the secondary characters are intriguing, especially since it’s hard to know which role are they playing in the large scheme of things. It truly feels like no one in this book can be trusted, which helps build the tension throughout the story.

As a background to these characters, there’s a kingdom and a culture inspired by the Spanish Inquisition, which gives this story a very rich and complex setting and history. In this kingdom, there are characters that are like judges and they are tasked with defending their belief system by eradicating anyone who threatens it. In this case, they believe that the Moria, which are the people with magic abilities in this world, are a threat and they have to be wiped out. The magic of the Moria is fascinating and unique with different types of powers, metals that make them more poweful and special stone that stores memories. It’s unusual to find magic systems that are intricate and interesting and at the same time manage to be easy to understand, but this book delivers just that.

One of the stronger aspects of this story is that it feels like like something bad is about to happen at any moment, Renata is living in the midst of enemies while trying to save her people and enact revange but there are so many secrets and interests at play that the whole book feels like mystery that Renata and the reader have to solve. This tension and sense of danger that build throughot the book are the testament of the excellent writing, which it’s fluid and captivating and it goes well with the fast pace of the story.

Finally, to top all of that off, this book is full of twists and turns and while they are really shocking, there are enough clues throughout the book that it doesn’t feel like the twists come out of nowhere. And the ending is full of truths and revelations that will leave wishing you had the second book in your hands right away.

Are you planning on reading this book? Does it sound like something you would enjoy? Have you read any other book by this author?
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ARC Review: Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras

Title: Island Affair

Author: Priscilla Oliveras

Series: Keys to Love #1

Published by: Kensington Publishing Corp

Publishing date:   April 28th 2020

Pages: 352

Sought-after social media influencer Sara Vance, in recovery from an eating disorder, is coming into her own, with a potential career expansion on the horizon. Despite the good news, her successful siblings (and their perfect spouses) have a way of making her feel like the odd one out. So, when her unreliable boyfriend is a no-show for a Florida family vacation, Sara recruits Luis Navarro—a firefighter paramedic and dive captain willing to play the part of her smitten fiancé . . .

Luis’s big Cuban familia has been in Key West for generations, and his quiet strength feeds off the island’s laidback style. Though guarded after a deep betrayal, he’ll always help someone in need—especially a spunky beauty with a surprising knowledge of Spanish curse words. Soon, he and Sara have memorized their “how we met” story and are immersed in family dinners, bike tours, private snorkeling trips . . . sharing secrets, and slow, melting kisses. But when it’s time for Sara to return home, will their island romance last or fade with the stunning sunset?

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(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Island Affair is the start of a promising and unapologetically Latinx romance series set in Key West and revolving around a group of siblings and their love stories. This first book not only has a sweet romance between two characters with lots of chemistry, it also deals with important subjects like eating disorders, mental health and life threating illness.

From the very beginning of Island Affair, the main characters have so much chemistry, the physical attraction is evident and that works really well with the fake dating trope. Also, this book includes the ‘there’s only one bed’ scenario, which is one of my favorite parts when it comes to the fake dating trope and I really enjoyed seeing it be a part of this story. Moreover, I had so much fun watching Luis charm Sara’s family and get along with them so well even if he did have to survive their interrogation. While it took me some time to actually buy into Luis and Sara’s romantic relationship beyond the physical aspect, they won me over by the end and I was rooting for them to be together.

One of my favorite things about this book is how complicated family dynamics are at the center of the novel. Both main characters have painful histories with their families that affect them in different ways, and throughout this book they reflect about them and try to change the way they engage with their histories and families. I especially liked the development of Sara’s relationship with her family, how they learned to communicate a little better and to be more honest and understanding with each other. At the end, the way eveything was resolved was satyisfing, especially with her sister. I really liked Luis family as well: their banter, their nosiness and their unconditional support, and I’m looking forward to his siblings stories in the next books. But I felt like the resolution to his conflict with his brother was a bit rushed, I’m hoping when we get his brother’s book there’s a bit more about them rebuilding their relationship.

The setting of this book is magical and it was so fun to read about these amazing places in Key West and I hope I can visit soon. Also, the food mentioned in this book made me hungry. Great food in books is always a plus. In terms of the writing, I’ll say that for the most part it is good but at the beginning I had issues with some word choices that didn’t feel natural and kept pulling me out of the story, but that aspect gets better as the story progresses.

If you like romance books that include big complicated families, I really think you will enjoy this one!

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Book Tour: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord | A review of an amazing YA contemporary

Hi everyone! Before getting into the review, I want to thank St. Martin’s Press & Wednesday Books for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for this amazing book and for giving an eARC of it so I could read it. I also want to say that this is my honest opinion about the book and it was in no way influenced by being part of the blog tour.

Title: Tweet Cute

Author: Emma Lord

Published by: Wednesday Books

Publishing date: January 21st 2020

Genre: YA Contemporary

Pages: 368

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

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Tweet Cute is a fun, adorable and witty book full of mouth-watering food, Twitter wars, sassy teenagers and complicated family relationships.

The main characters, Pepper and Jack, are both lovable characters; Pepper is determined and sassy, while Jack is kind and funny and both of them have flaws and insecurities that make them feel like real people. Pepper and Jack’s relationship starts with them feeling a mix between curiosity and irritation towards each other and it evolves into a tentative friendship then a very close frienship and finally a romantic relationship. Seening the development of their relationship is heartwarming and sweet and one of the best parts of the story. This book has a slow-burn, adorable romance between two very different people who have a strong connection.

Twitter plays an important part in the development of their relationship because Pepper and Jack run the social media accounts for their family restaurants and get into an anonymous Twitter war, which was really entertaining to read because both Pepper and Jack can be incredibly snarky and also because the author uses very current references to memes and pop culture to make the Twitter exchanges feel real and be engaging for the reader. Nonetheless, the Twitter war doesn’t remain anonymous for long and it ends up both bring Pepper and Jack closer together but also creating conflict in their relationship.

But Twitter is not the only online space where Jack and Pepper’s lives anonymously entertwine becuase it turns out that they have been talking to each other through an anonymous app for students of their school. After reading the synopsis, it’s easy to believe that this is gonna be a big part of the story, but that’s not the case and it actually feels like adding this element to the story doesn’t really contribute much to Pepper and Jack’s relationship because most of their interactions in the app happen before the book starts. Nonetheless, the few exchanges on the app that are present in the book are entertaining and including this element doesn’t take anything away from the story, so it’s not a big deal.

While the online exchanges play a part in Pepper and Jack’s relationship, this book focuses a lot on their interactions and their connection in real life and that works really well and it makes the story more charming and appealing. Another thing that works really well is the dual perspective because that way we get to know both characters better and they feel more three dimentional but also because it makes this story actually feel like the story of both of them as individuals and as a couple. Lastly, this book does a very good job of depicting complicated relationships with family members, wether it’s with parents or siblings. This element adds depth to the story and it makes it more relatable.

Overall, Tweet Cute is an engaging and entertaining story which focuses on an adorable romance between two characters that are very different from each other but that have an amazing relationship.

Have you read this book? How did you feel about it? Do you agree with my opinion?
About the Author

Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.

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Book Review: Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Title: Love Her or Lose Her

Author: Tessa Bailey

Series: Hot & Hammered #2

Published by: Avon

Publishing date: January 14th 2020

Genre: Romance

Pages: 384

Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippy. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

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I have been waiting to read Love Her or Lose Her since I finished Fix Her Up, the first book in the series, about six months ago. In that book there were glimpses of Rosie and Dom’s relationship that left me incredibly intrigued and I couldn’t wait to find out more, so off course I read it as soon as it came out and while I enjoyed a lot of things about it, ultimately it didn’t live up to my expectations.

I loved Rosie right away and as I kept reading I could relate more and more to her. She is such a strong, brave, determined character that’s flawed and has insecurities, but works to overcome them. And then there’s Dom, I’ll admite that I have my issues with Dom, he’s very alpha male, the protective guy who can be a bit too possesive and he has some very antiquated ideas about being the provider for his wife and men not showing emotions. I think he had internalized a lot of toxic masculinity and it was hurting him and ruining his marriage and he had to work on that, and while he doesn’t completely change these aspects, he learns to see why they are wrong or why they can be harmful and that’s depicted well in the book, even if I wanted to see those realizations taken further. But despite the things they needed to work on indivudually and as a couple, the chemistry between Rosie and Dom was fantastic and it was so evident anytime they were together in this book.

I actually really enjoyed the first half of this book, mainly because of the way it depicted two people that loved each other but that had stopped putting work into their marriage, two people who had to accept that things in their marriage were not ok and that both of them had played a part in getting to the point they were in and both of them had to be commited to try and work through their issues and choose to stay and fight for their marriage. I think the book did a good job of showing that whole process with all its ups and downs in the first half.

Nonetheless, the second part of the book revolved around such a ridiculous conflict and that’s where my issue with this book was. I spent so much of the second half wanting to scream at Dom “JUST TELL HER ALREADY”. This book uses the miscomunitation trope, which is a trope I strongly dislike, and in this book it’s worse because the first half was spent getting the characters to learn to communicate and then the conflict in the second half relied on them not doing it. And while I understand that growing and changing doesn’t happen in a day, so off course there were still going to be problems with the communication, this conflict was so ridiculous that it was pretty annoying. The worst of all is that the conflict dragged for a long time and I was bored. And then the resolution was incredibly rushed and I kept thinking that if less time was spent in such a ridiculous conflict more time could have been spent seeing the characters getting to a good place again.

Overall, there were a lot of things I liked about Love Her or Lose Her, but my enjoyment was severely affected by the conflict in the second half of the story. Nonetheless, I’m still really excited to read the next book in the series, the glimpses of the main couple that are present in this book left me wanting more.

Rating: 3,6 stars

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Book Review: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Title: Reign of the Fallen

Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh

Published by: Razorbill

Publishing date: January 23rd 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 375

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

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Trigger/content warnings: substance abuse, talk of suicide, violence and death

Reign of the Fallen is a book that was on my tbr since it came out two years ago, a book I kept hearing great things about, which is why I finally decided to pick it up. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I hoped.

The beginning of the book is very enjoyable, the world and magic are engaging and it has a lot of unique elements. I loved the idea of a world ruled by people who died a long time ago, but keep coming back because they feel a responsability towards the people in their kingdom. In this world, the Dead have prohibited change, inventions and progress, which I found to be an interesting element of the story that’s used in a very organic way to cause conflict.

One element that I found fascinating and unique in this story is that the Dead have to pay a big price for coming back (they must remain shrouded or risk transforming into zombies) as well as the necromancer pay a big price to bring people back (they only get one life). That’s one element that this book handles well: the price of magic. Nonetheless, I have one problem with the magic system, which is that there isn’t a very clear limit to what healers can do in this book, so it felt like unless a character died inmediately, they always survived even the most horrific injuries and I think that lowered the stakes of the book.

A very important element of this story is that it addresses substanse abuse and addiction in a way that reflects this issue in our world and still makes sense for the story. I think the way this book shows how grief can make people vulnerable to addiction is very important and in general, the way this portraits grief feels realistic and devastating. This book also addresses recovery of an addiction and I think the way the first few days of that process are portrait is well done, but I also think that after those initial days, it almost feels like the character is “cured” and that’s not how addiction works and I’m not sure how to feel about it.

The characters in this book are amazing, particulary the side characters. I have a special place in my heart for Valoria and Jax and they are the main reason I’m considering reading the second book. Something I really loved about this book is how diverse the chaacters are, the main character has brown skin and she is bisexual (which is #ownvoices rep), there are two gay characters and two women that are attracted to other women, one of which is black. All of it is seemesly integrated in the story and it’s not made out to be a big deal in this world. The only character I have an issue with is the villain, because it’s so obvious who it is and worst of all, he is a boring villain with plain motivations, cero cleverness and no depth at all.

Now, it’s time to talk about my main issue with the book. First of all, I don’t understand why having so many options of people that had great chemestry and relationships with the main character, the author had to choose someone who is connected to the main character in a weird and complicated way to be the love interest. I actually liked the main character when she was not with the love interest, but the moment they were together I found them to be nearly insufferable.

But beyond all that, the worst part for me is the dynamic between them, the main character spends a big portion of the book being rude and disrespectful to the love interest without reason and there’s a point where she punches the wall next to the love interest face and the love interest actually thought she was going to hit her and honestly that’s just not an acceptable behavior. Also, the relationship didn’t make sense to me because I couldn’t really understand why these two girls would like each other, it’s like a weird instant connection that comes out of nowhere and it’s based on nothing.

Overall, Reign of the Fallen has an interesting world and magic system, as well as lovable character, but a really boring villain and a terrible romance.

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Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Title: An Enchantment of Ravens

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publishing date: September 26th 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 300

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

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I went into An Enchantment of Ravens with weird expectations that were not met. I thought I was gonna love this book because I had heard that it was romance heavy, it had great characters and a amazing love story, which are things I usually love. I had also heard that it wasn’t particulary strong in terms of plot, world building and magic system, but I was sure I could love it even if that was true. All of these ideas were based on reviews I had read and all of these ideas were wrong.

So let me tell you about what I liked and what I didn’t like about this book:

WHAT I LIKED

The whole concept around the Crafts: In this world, humans can do Crafts while fairies can’t: they can’t cook or write or paint or sew or do anything that involves creating something. They will literally die if they create anything. I think this concept is one of the only unique things about this book and I found it incredibly fascinating. The book addresses in a very brief and superficial but interesting way the idea of what’s the purpose and meaning of life if you can’t create anything and if don’t leave anything behind when you die. I wish there was even more of that in the book.

The way painting and feeelings are entwined: I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say that in this world, fairies can’t have feelings, but as the story progresses, it becomes evident that that’s not exactly true and painting plays a big part of that discovery. It’s something that adds an intriguing and thought-provoking element to the story.

The writing: this book has a beautiful and poetic writing style that isn’t too flowery or distracting from the story.

The twists: The last 40% of this book got better for me just because it’s full of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, so actually became engrossed in the story for the first time in the last 100 pages.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

The characters: I found almost every character in this book, but specially the main characters, two dimentional; their personalities were flat and they felt like characters I have seen before. Also, Isobel was so annoying sometimes and that was my main problem with the first half of the book, I just didn’t like her.

The romance: I could have gotten over the whole instalove thing (and there is instalove, I don’t care what anyone says) if I had believed in the connection between Isobel and Rook, but alas I did not. I didn’t understand why or when they fell in love, it made absolutely no sense to me and even after they were supposedly in love, I didn’t feel like they had any chemistry or real connection. I started to like them together a little bit in the last like 15%, but even then I wasn’t a big fan.

The pace: the first 15% of this book was engaging even if the pace was slow thanks to the beautiful writing. But once Isobel and Rook met this book got so slow, there were like 50 pages of them stumbling around the woods and since I didn’t care for the characters and found them annoying, it wasn’t fun to read. Then things got a bit more interesting but still the pace was slow and then all of the sudden everything started to happen at once. Basically, the pace was all over the place and it negatively affected my reading experience.

The ending: It was ok, it just felt too easy.

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