Book Review of The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

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The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Publication Date: February 23, 2016.

Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books.

Genres: Young Adult and Historical Fiction.

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Selling points: Captivating story as well as raw and relatable characters.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled.

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Thank you Wendy Lamb Books for my advanced review copy of The Smell of Other People’s Houses. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

The Smell of Other People’s Houses is a rarity you don’t see often. There’s something about this book that’s so incredibly captivating. The way it’s written and the voice Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock has in this book is so incredibly magical. She draws you in and makes you take the same journey as the characters you read about. Something we don’t often think about is how everyone and everything around us has a distinct smell. Your mom, when you hug her, the smell of her hair is the smell of security. The smell of your house, your school, your lover’s house. Even if you don’t think about, they all smell different and they all represent something different to you. These four main characters that we follow through the book convey this and shows us how something as trivial as the smell can mean so much and how it can play such an important part in one’s life. A perfect example of that is a quote from the first chapter:

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Book Review of Roller Girl by Vanessa North

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Roller Girl by Vanessa North

Publication Date: July 23, 2016.

Publisher: Riptide Publishing.

Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Sports, and LGBT.

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Selling points: Female empowerment, amazing f/f ship, and derby.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: Recently divorced Tina Durham is trying to be self-sufficient, but her personal-training career is floundering, her closest friends are swept up in new relationships, and her washing machine has just flooded her kitchen. It’s enough to make a girl cry.

Instead, she calls a plumbing service, and Joanne “Joe Mama” Delario comes to the rescue. Joe is sweet, funny, and good at fixing things. She also sees something special in Tina and invites her to try out for the roller derby team she coaches.

Derby offers Tina an outlet for her frustrations, a chance to excel, and the female friendships she’s never had before. And as Tina starts to thrive at the derby, the tension between her and Joe cranks up. Despite their player/coach relationship, they give in to their mutual attraction. Sex in secret is hot, but Tina can’t help but want more.

With work still on the rocks and her relationship in the closet, Tina is forced to reevaluate her life. Can she be content with a secret lover? Or with being dependent on someone else again? It’s time for Tina to tackle her fears, both on and off the track.

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Thank you Riptide Publishing for my advanced review copy of Roller Girl. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Roller Girl is a story with heart. It’s a story that’ll make you smile and feel all warm and fluffy inside. What I love the most about this book is how well done it is, this lesbian romance is about so much more than just love (which all in itself is absolutely amazing). Roller Girl is about companionship, friendship, and women supporting other women.

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Book Review of Choosing You by Allie Everhart

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Choosing You by Allie Everhart

Publication Date: September 21, 2013.

Publisher: Waltham Publishing.

Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, and College.

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Selling points: Slow burn romance, mild suspense, and excellent banter.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository 

Synopsis: When Jade is given a scholarship to an elite private college in Connecticut, she sees it as a chance to finally escape her painful past and get a fresh start. She’s determined to succeed and that means keeping her focus on school and not guys. But her plan falls apart her first day on campus when Garret, a rich prep school boy with swimmer abs and a perfect smile, offers to help her move in.

Jade tries to push him away, but she can’t deny her attraction to him and Garret won’t let her. Things quickly heat up between them, but then come to a sudden halt when reality hits and Jade realizes that a relationship with Garret may never be possible. He comes from a world of wealth where there are rules, including rules about who he can date. And not following those rules has consequences.

As the two of them try to overcome the obstacles working to keep them apart, Jade is confronted with another challenge. On her 19th birthday, she receives a letter that her now deceased mother wrote years ago. In it are revelations that explain her traumatic childhood but also make her question the past she’s been running from.

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Choosing You is a book I didn’t expect to love but immensely did. It has been in my Kindle library for quite some time now and I finally decided to give it a try, something I’m now so happy about.

“He gives me a cocky grin. He knows damn well I want to see his nearly naked body. Every girl on campus would like to see that.”

Choosing You is a book filled with wit, banter, romance, wealthy families, and suspense. In my eyes, there are so many things this book is doing right. In a lot of ways, this is a typical rich boy meets poor girl story but the story is so much more than that. It’s complex, with a proper relationship build-up and clear character development.

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ARC Review of We Awaken by Calista Lynne

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We Awaken by Calista Lynne

Publication Date: July 14, 2016.

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press.

Genres: Young Adult, LGBTQIA, and Fantasy.

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Selling points: Asexual girls, cute romance, and a happy ending.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.

But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.

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Thank you Calista Lynne for my advanced review copy of We Awaken. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

We Awaken is such an important book, this book shows us that interracial couples within the LGBTQIA community can thrive, survive and get the happy ending they deserve. This book is about two asexual girls and their journey together realizing who they are and how they can be together. We Awaken is a reminder that one’s sexuality is yours alone, yours to claim, yours not to claim and no matter what, you are valid just as you are.

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Book Review of Dreaming of Antigone by Robin Bridges

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Dreaming of Antigone by Robin Bridges

Publication Date: March 29, 2016.

Publisher: Kensington Books.

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, and Romance.

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Selling points: Deals with heavy topics such as addiction and abuse. It is a story about forgiveness and love, and it is magically written.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: Every star has its own path…

“I can’t ever be the blazing star that Iris was. I’m still just a cold, dark satellite orbiting a star that went super nova.”

Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, in fact—including a drug problem. Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she—the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe—is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him.

Heartwrenching, smart, and bold, Dreaming of Antigone is a story about the jagged pieces that lie beneath the surface of the most seemingly perfect life…and how they can fit together to make something wholly unexpected.

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Thank you Kensington Books for my eARC of Dreaming of Antigone. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Be aware that this story deals with topics such as suicide, abuse, and addiction.

Dreaming of Antigone is a tragic story about a family surrounded by loss, heartbreak, and secrets with Andria and her twin sister Iris at the center of it all. Iris died of a drug overdose six months ago, something Andria, her family and their friends are still struggling with. Andria is now trying to continue her life through her grief, in a world where she’ll discover that not everything is as it once seemed.

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Book Review of Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember

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Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember

Publication Date: April 21, 2016.

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press.

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, and LGBT.

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Selling points: Magical creatures such as unicorns and mermaids, girls loving other girls and girls saving the day.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.

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Thank you Julia Ember for my review copy of Unicorn Tracks. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember, I mean what do I even say? I’m absolutely in love with this piece of literature. It is a story rich in culture, magical creatures and girls. There is so much to appreciate and love about Unicorn Tracks, but most of all I love how it is a story about two girls who come from two very different places in the world with very different experiences. We have the main character Mnemba, a girl who has been through so much and who has so much depth. She is an amazing person with a huge heart. Then we have Kara Harving, a girl with a sparkling personality and wonder in her eyes.

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ARC Review of Claire by Abigail Strom

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Claire by Abigail Strom

Publication Date: April 26, 2016.

Publisher: Smashwords Edition.

Genres: New Adult, College, and Romance.

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Selling points: Character growth, amazing romance, and the best friendships.

Purchase here: Amazon

Synopsis: It’s sophomore year, and Claire Stone has sworn off romance. She’s just gone through a breakup and she wants some time to find out who she is on her own. The only flaw in her plan is her friend (and hot quarterback) Will McKenna, who’s a walking temptation to forget all about her singlehood pledge.

Will has had a thing for Claire since freshman year. Now that they’re both single, he wants more from her than friendship. But Claire doesn’t want to be anyone’s girlfriend right now, and with football season underway, Will’s got issues of his own to deal with.

When an injury on the field changes everything, Will and Claire are driven apart. But when the two of them end up trapped together in a snowstorm, they’re forced to deal with each other again. Can they confront their feelings without ruining their friendship? Or will their friendship turn into something more?

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Thank you Abigail Strom for my eARC of Claire. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Claire by Abigail Strom is a book I thoroughly enjoyed. It was sweet, it was honest and it was more than just a plain and simple college romance. Why you may ask? Because the focus of this story isn’t romance, even if it is a love story. The story is about friendship and knowing who you are without having a guy (and a relationship) define you. It’s such a strong and powerful message. Yes, we feel lust, attraction, and love. However, we are so much more than that, women shouldn’t be defined by their men and I think it’s so great that Strom really puts this in the center of her story.

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ARC Review of Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

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Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

Publication Date: April 19, 2016.

Publisher: Razorbill.

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, and Humor.

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Selling points: An amazing main character who is a fangirl, super hilarious, coming of age story.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her pot-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them…until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett’s stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off.

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Thank you Razorbill for my advanced review copy of Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw is funny, witty and a book I think a lot of us can relate to. Scarlett is a fangirl and a fanfiction writer of her favorite TV show Lycanthrope but when the show gets canceled Scarlett becomes devastated. When her old friend and crush Gideon starts becoming popular on top of it all she decides to write fanfiction based on her fellow classmates.

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ARC Review of Catch You by M. H. Soars

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Catch You by M. H. Soars

Publication Date: April 12, 2016.

Publisher: Infinite Sky Publishing.

Genres: New Adult, Romance, and Contemporary.

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Selling points: Quality banter, amazing romance and crime solving.

Purchase here: Amazon

Synopsis: Pride and Prejudice meets Veronica Mars in this new Love Me, I’m Famous novella.

Kimberly
I had always thought Owen Whitfield fit the mold of the brainless jock perfectly. Group of idiot friends? Check. Vapid girlfriend? Check. Ego bigger than the moon? Check. As long as he stayed out of my way, coexisting with his kind was doable. Until one day our worlds collided, changing everything. He pissed me off so badly that I had no choice but to give him a taste of his own medicine. Little did I know that my act of revenge would come back to bite me in the ass. How was I supposed to know Owen would turn out to be the best partner in crime I could hope for?

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I never paid much attention to Kimberly Dawson, but I knew who she was. Ice Queen was what we called her. She was gorgeous, no one could deny that. But she was also a condescending bitch which was enough reason for me to stay the hell away from her. She thought I was a dumb jock and that was okay until she came crashing into my life. Against my better judgment, I let her embroil me in her shenanigans, forcing us to spend too much time together. It was my doom. She got under my skin, she was all I could think about. I never thought I would be the knight in shining armor to anyone, not until she came along.

Author’s Note: Due to mature content, this novella is recommended to readers 18+.

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Thank you Infinite Sky Publishing for my eARC of Catch You. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Catch You by M. H. Soars reminded me of why I love to read books. I’m sure people have a thousand different reasons but one of the things I value the most is when a book makes me feel something. A good plot and well-built characters are of course also very important to me but often these come hand in hand. Catch You made me laugh, squeal and truly enjoy myself. There might even have come a moment where I was literally screaming at the book because of some very exciting scenes. It was just that good.

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Book Review of More Than Fashion by Elizabeth Briggs

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More Than Fashion by Elizabeth Briggs

Publication Date: July 30, 2015.

Publisher: Elizabeth Briggs Books.

Genres: New Adult, Romance, and Contemporary.

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Selling points: A reality show like Project Runway, super steamy romance, witty and strong main character.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: They’re enemies who will do anything to win…including each other.

When Julie Hong wins a spot on a fashion design reality TV show, she celebrates by picking up a hot English guy in a hotel bar. But too many drinks leads to a night of embarrassment and a major hangover, and wow is she glad she’ll never see him again. Until the show starts, and he’s on it too.

Julie quickly realizes she’s out of her league among the other designers, and Gavin Bennett, with his cocky grin and sexy accent, is her biggest competition. Julie can’t decide if she wants to kiss him or kill him. Or both.

After she’s almost kicked off, Julie convinces Gavin to pretend they’re sleeping together for the camera. The ploy works, but as they get closer to the show’s finale their fake relationship starts to become too real. But only one of them can win the show—and they might both end up heartbroken.

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Thank you Victory Editing for my review copy of More Than Fashion. I received this review copy in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion.

“Even though they were my competition, I felt a kinship with them. We were creators chasing after a shared dream. We all wanted the same thing: to win.”

More Than Fashion is a fun, light and entertaining new adult book. The book is a reality show in the form of a contest between a bunch of people who all want to be a successful fashion designer. The construction of the show is very much like Project Runway, and I absolutely love this concept. I personally love fashion, even if I’m not very good at it, so imagining the dresses and outfits was really an extra bonus for me as to why I enjoyed More Than Fashion so much. What I also really liked was how the main character, Julie, was somehow a part of this show even if she had a lot of stuff working against her and how this contest gave her a real chance to fulfill her dream. If only she can win.

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