Blog Tour & Giveaway: What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

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What I Like About You Cover Image
Title:
What I Like About You
Author: 
Marisa Kanter
Publication date: April 7, 2020
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Can a love triangle have only two people in it? Online, it can…but in the real world, its more complicated. In this debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson, Marisa Kanter hilariously and poignantly explores what happens when internet friends turn into IRL crushes.

Is it still a love triangle if there are only two people in it?

There are a million things that Halle Levitt likes about her online best friend, Nash.

He’s an incredibly talented graphic novelist. He loves books almost as much as she does. And she never has to deal with the awkwardness of seeing him in real life. They can talk about anything…

Except who she really is.

Because online, Halle isn’t Halle—she’s Kels, the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with covers and reviews. Kels has everything Halle doesn’t: friends, a growing platform, tons of confidence, and Nash.

That is, until Halle arrives to spend senior year in Gramps’s small town and finds herself face-to-face with real, human, not-behind-a-screen Nash. Nash, who is somehow everywhere she goes—in her classes, at the bakery, even at synagogue.

Nash who has no idea she’s actually Kels.

If Halle tells him who she is, it will ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. Not telling him though, means it can never be anything more. Because while she starts to fall for Nash as Halle…he’s in love with Kels.


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Marisa Kanter’s What I Like About You is the perfect contemporary novel to vicariously experience through this current quarantine. As a dedicated YA reader, the main character is a teen book blogger who pairs her reviews with cupcakes. She fangirls about YA books, fellow bloggers, authors, and even BookCon.

The novel is a whirlwind of emotions that focuses on friendships, grief, family, love, and finding a path in life that suits yourself, your personality, and your mental health. Kanter’s novel provides an exceptionally believable outlet for teens trying to find their voice through a world bombarded by dreams, future jobs, college options, alternative career paths, and the positive and negativity that comes from social media outlets. Halle’s story is constant page-turner, and although the miscommunication or the lack of communication throughout the pages causes chaos in her life, the learning steps she takes along with her family and friends will make your heart ache in the best possible way.

♦ giveaway

You guys, I am so excited to team up with Simon & Schuster, and host a giveaway for What I Like About You. In order to win a hardcopy of What I Like About You , just click on the picture below and follow the instructions on the Tweet. 

WILAY Giveaway

Please note, one winner will receive a finished copy of What I Like About You courtesy of Simon & Schuster. The contest is U.S. only and ends on April 28, 2020. Good luck!

 

about the author

Marisa Kanter Author Photo (credit to Sam Cheung)


Marisa Kanter has worked in publicity for major publishers and covered YA books for MTV. Currently, she works in sales, on the distribution side of the publishing industry. She can often be found searching for the best iced chai in NYC, or reading on the 3 train. What I Like About You is her first novel. Follow her at marisakanter.com

♦ tour schedule 

Week 1
3/30/2020 Novel Novice BookHighlight W/ Giveaway
3/31/2020 Book Bratz Review
4/1/2020 The Novel Knight Author Guest Post
4/2/2020 Book Princess Reviews Review
4/3/2020 eleven thirteen pm Author Q&A
Week 2
4/6/2020 Vicky Who Reads Creative Post
4/7/2020 Pub Day (Marisa) Creative Post
4/8/2020 Kayla Reads and Reviews Author Q&A
4/9/2020 The Heart of a Book Blogger Author Q&A
4/10/2020 Mary Had a Little Book Blog Review
Week 3
4/13/2020 Jen Ryland Reviews Review
4/14/2020 Love in Panels BookHighlight W/ Giveaway
4/15/2020 Forever and Everly Review
4/16/2020 I’m All Booked Up Review
4/17/2020 Awkwordly Emma Author Q&A
Week 4
4/20/2020 Rants & Raves of a Bibliophile BookHighlight W/ Giveaway
4/21/2020 Read By Tiffany Author Q&A
4/22/2020 A Court of Coffee and Books Review
4/23/2020 From the Library of Alexis Review
4/24/2020 Bookishly Jules BookHighlight W/ Giveaway
Week 5
4/27/2020 Lost in a Book Review
4/28/2020 Pages and Pugs Review
4/29/2020 Skye’s Scribblings Review
4/30/2020 Kait Plus Books BookHighlight W/ Giveaway
5/1/2020 We Live and Breathe Books Review

 

Blogger Note: A huge thank to Simon Teen for inviting me on this blog tour and providing me a free copy of What I Like About You to read and review.  All fangirling, statements, and opinions in this review are my own.

Blog Tour: Raving Review of We Are the Wildcats by Siobhan Vivian

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we are the wildcats
Title:
We Are the Wildcats
Author: 
Siobhan Vivian
Publication date: March 31, 2020
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports

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Synopsis:

A toxic coach finds himself outplayed by the high school girls on his team in this deeply suspenseful novel, which unspools over twenty-four hours through six diverse perspectives.

Tomorrow, the Wildcat varsity field hockey squad will play the first game of their new season. But at tonight’s team sleepover, the girls are all about forging the bonds of trust, loyalty, and friendship necessary to win.

Everything hinges on the midnight initiation ceremony—a beloved tradition and the only facet of being a Wildcat that the girls control. Until now.

Coach—a handsome former college player revered and feared in equal measure—changes the plan and spins his team on a new adventure. One where they take a rival team’s mascot for a joyride, crash a party in their pajamas, break into the high school for the perfect picture.

But as the girls slip out of their comfort zone, so do some long-held secrets. And just how far they’re willing to go for their team takes them all—especially Coach—by surprise.

A testament to the strength and resilience of modern teenage girls, We Are the Wildcats will have readers cheering.


raving review

As a novel solely focused on a field hockey team, We Are the Wildcats alternates between six of the teammates’ perspectives. The book focuses on a 24-hour time period, and Siobhan Vivian masters writing this short period of time into a very steady paced story that seamlessly flows.

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As a very character driven book, I loved that each of the field hockey players provide a definitive voice through each of their chapters. Not only is the story focused on comradeship, but we delve into each of the girls’ backstories, focusing on their relationship with their family, friends, and their toxic Coach. The story steadily unravels as each character’s thoughts, doubts, successes, and even worries about the upcoming season are revealed.

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The main element that I loved about We Are the Wildcats was the focus on female friendships. As a team, these girls have each other’s backs on the field, but throughout the pages, they also begin escaping that individual mindset of “putting yourself first.” As the chapters unfold, we delve deeper into the characters being there for each other in and off the field. I love that they surpass stilted or lack of communication, which was often offhandedly implanted by their Coach. If you are fan of determined and fierce female characters that have each other’s back, I highly recommend that you add We Are the Wildcats to your TBR.

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Blogger Note: A huge thank to Simon Teen for inviting me on this blog tour and providing me a free copy of We Are the Wildcats to review.  All fangirling, statements, and opinions in this review are my own.

Blog Tour: Raving Review of The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

The Midnight Lie
Title:
The Midnight Lie
Authors:
Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy,

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Synopsis:

Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.


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I am a huge fan of The Winner’s Trilogy, and once again Marie Rutkoski did not disappoint with her new novel The Midnight Lie. This novel is a beautiful sapphic fantasy filled with the most memorable characters. Rutkoski’s storytelling is very melodic and beautifully entrancing from page one. Focused on an orphan named Nirrim, the novel becomes a centerpiece for self-discovery, while Nirrim also tackles and confronts the abuse and the lies inculcated throughout her life. 

The complexity of relationships and the classism of Nirrim’s world are key components molded and manipulated throughout the book. Although Nirrim is seen as naive, innocent, and a knowledge seeker; her bravery, maturity, and ability to tackle and understand the threats around her, shine brightly throughout the pages. And while in prison for bravely returning a bird, Nirrim meets Sid–a very talkative, mysterious, seductive, and charming character that I loved as Nirrim’s character foil. The banter and scenes between Nirrim and Sid are humorous, sweet, and sexy. 

As the first book of a series, The Midnight Lie is such an engaging and fascinating read. I found Nirrim to be a very gifted and beloved heroine; I loved that her story is both emotionally and action driven. And after that jaw-dropping ending, I cannot wait to see how the series unfolds in the next book. 

Note: A huge thank you to Fierce Reads for inviting me on this amazing blog tour and providing me an ARC to read and review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that all quoted material is not final and may change in the final publication of the book.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review & Favourite Quotes of Red Hood

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Title:
Red Hood
Authors: Elana K. Arnold
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: February 25, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Fairy Tales

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Synopsis:

You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.

And the wolf is angry.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.


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As a novel mainly told in second person point of view, Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold is a very jolting and raw story. The main character, Bisou, does not shy away from being so up front, straightforward, and brutally honest when it comes to her actions, emotions, and womanhood. Closely based off the didactic fairy tale, “Little Red Riding Hood,” Red Hood proposes the same moral stance–“always be aware and cautious, because every one has a hidden agenda.”

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Similar to Buffy in the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the main character in Red Hood depends on her menstrual cycle to fight and hunt, in her case, werewolves. Throughout the book, Bisou is bombarded with conflicts that relate to the gruesome and tense scenes of protecting herself and the women around her. The author does an excellent job of allowing Bisou’s narrative to become part of the reader’s own story, throwing you in the thick of every nail-biting choice that Bisou makes.

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Red Hood has some very terrifying and tense moments, but overall this novel is a constant page turner. The book explores so many modern issues that are often socially avoided: periods, teenage sex, rape, abortion, slut-shaming, toxic masculinity, and domestic violence. Filled with female empowerment, justice, and self defense, Red Hood will leave you in shock and awe.

Red Hood quote 3

 

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WIN a copy of RED HOOD  (USA only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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authorELANA K. ARNOLD is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning young adult novels and children’s books, including the Printz Honor winner Damsel, the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of, and Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat and its sequels. Several of her books are Junior Library Guild selections and have appeared on many best book lists, including the Amelia Bloomer Project, a catalog of feminist titles for young readers. Elana teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in Southern California with her family and menagerie of pets.

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TOUR SCHEDULE

 

Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Harper Teen for providing me an e-ARC to read and review for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that all quoted material is not final and may change in the final publication of the book.

Raving Review: The Bromance Book Club

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Title: The Bromance Book Club
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Publication date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.


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My contemporary romance binge-reading marathon is at an all-time high this month, and, guess what, I am ready to rave about another great book. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams was such a heartwarming swoon-read. After a slow start at the beginning, I later found myself constantly flipping through the pages.

As a background to the novel, Gavin and Thea were quickly married after finding out they were pregnant. After years of Gavin playing professional baseball and Thea giving up her dreams in the art world to take care of their twin daughters, the stubbornness and miscommunication between the couple boils over and starts to impact their marriage. While Thea’s answer is a divorce, Gavin vulnerability spirals. But Gavin refuses to let go of his family, and realizes that his marriage, his wife, and his daughters are worth fighting for. And then swoops in Gavin’s teammates, who have created a romance book club, which they use as manuals to help them understand their partners–their needs, wants, dreams, aspirations, and most of all, how to finally have the courage to open yourself up. 

One of the main reasons I adored The Bromance Book Club was because communication is a strong element that the characters start using and focusing on throughout the novel. Once the characters crack that communication barrier, the characters become more realistic and relateable. Along with some romantic scenes, the story is littered with both serious moments that make your heart ache and comedic moments that will make your whole body shake with laughter. The main characters, and a lot of the side characters, really made this novel the rom-com I needed in my life. 

Blogger Note: I received this book as a gift from my good friend Shannon. I was not asked to review or promote the book. I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All fangirling, statements, and opinions in this review are my own.

If it’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: A Review of The Map from Here to There by Emery Lord

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Title:
The Map From Here to There
Author: Emery Lord
Publication date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★

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Synopsis:

Acclaimed author Emery Lord crafts a gorgeous story of friendship and identity, daring to ask: What happens after happily ever after?

It’s senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Weighing “the rest of her life,” Paige feels her anxiety begin to pervade every decision she makes. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be–how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to experience after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever?

Emery Lord’s award-winning storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life’s most important questions.


banner for The Map from here to there

Well, you guys, it’s official, Emery Lord is a contemporary writing queen. Throughout The Map from Here to There, Emery made me swoon, cry, and laugh. My anxiety peeked at the most vulnerable and heartbreaking moments, but in the end, after calming my hammering heart, I highly enjoyed Paige’s story and her ability to battle the stress that ensues during her senior year of high school.

As a sequel to The Start of Me and You, one of my all-time favorite contemporary books, The Map from Here to There will tug at your heartstrings. Lord’s passionate writing gives life to the most realistic and dynamic characters. She immerses the pages with familial dynamics, strong female friendships, and swoon-worthy relationships. Her knack to encompass anxiety, mental health, adolescent decision making,  and the streaming thoughts of panic and worry of a teenage girl’s future endeavors bursts throughout the novel. I could not put this book down.

Although The Map from Here to There is a sequel, the book can be read as a standalone tracing Paige’s journey through her senior year and focusing on big choices regarding college, her future, anxiety, and deeply rooted relationships. This novel is filled with hopes, dreams, struggles, and frustrations; it’s a must read for contemporary bibliophiles. Lord’s writing surrounds you like a comforting hug, as Paige, Max, and her friends deal with life-changing decisions while truly finding themselves one step at a time. 

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Blogger Note: Last year, I received this book as a gift from the author during a book event. I was not asked to review or promote the book. I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All fangirling, statements, and opinions in this review are my own.

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway Lucky Caller by Emma Mills

I am thrilled to be hosting a stop on the LUCKY CALLER by Emma Mills Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours! Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

Title: LUCKY CALLER
Author: Emma Mills
Pub. Date: January 14, 2020
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 336

With the warmth, wit, intimate friendships, and heart-melting romance she brings to all her books, Emma Mills crafts a story about believing in yourself, owning your mistakes, and trusting in human connection in Lucky Caller.

When Nina decides to take a radio broadcasting class her senior year, she expects it to be a walk in the park. Instead, it’s a complete disaster.

The members of Nina’s haphazardly formed radio team have approximately nothing in common. And to maximize the awkwardness her group includes Jamie, a childhood friend she’d hoped to basically avoid for the rest of her life.

The show is a mess, internet rumors threaten to bring the wrath of two fandoms down on their heads, and to top it all off Nina’s family is on the brink of some major upheaval.

Everything feels like it’s spiraling out of control―but maybe control is overrated?

PRAISE FOR LUCKY CALLER
A well-crafted, bittersweet comedy of errors filled with realistically flawed
characters and taut, witty dialogue. – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

raving review

Give me an Emma Mills book and I will devour it within hours. And guess what, Lucky Caller was no exception. Although the novel started off slow, the steady pace allowed the weaving of Nina’s old memories with her current situation as a senior unfold into the happily ever after ending I was hoping for.

Nina is awkward, but her dry, sarcastic sense of humor was the perfect ingredient to add to her radio broadcasting group. While being grouped with fellow flawed and truly relatable students, Nina and her radio group of misfits provide endless scenes of laughter, bickering, and great 90s-themed music. Nina at times seemed stagnant, but with the push of her radio peers, sisters, her mom, and future stepdad, Nina opens up and provides the reader a realistic outlook of teenage life, mixed-family dynamics, and the rekindling of old friendships.

Lucky Caller is more than a contemporary novel; it’s a pages upon pages of pragmatic circumstances littered with familial problems, adolescent issues, bumbling acts of kindness, and high tension of breaking promises and unfortunately making common mistakes. This book ticked all my boxes: a quiet, sweet, and easy to talk to cinnamon roll of a boy; swoons galore; original characters; and a strong sisterly bond. Emma Mills has a knack of crafting the perfect books that effortlessly mingle witty characters into chaotic situations, and Lucky Caller doesn’t lose that representation of flawed characters trying to make sense of the messy world that surrounds them.

about the author
About Emma:

 

Emma Mills is the author of First & Then, This Adventure Ends, Foolish Hearts, Famous in a Small Town, and Lucky Caller. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and has recently completed a PhD in cell biology.
 
 
 
 
giveaway
 
Giveaway Details:
3 winners will win a finished copy of LUCKY CALLER, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
1/6/2020
Review
1/6/2020
Review
1/7/2020
Review
1/7/2020
Interview
1/8/2020
Review
1/8/2020
Review
1/9/2020
Review
1/9/2020
Review
1/10/2020
Review
1/10/2020
Review
Week Two:
1/13/2020
Review
1/13/2020
Review
1/14/2020
Review
1/14/2020
Guest Post
1/15/2020
Review
1/15/2020
Review
1/16/2020
Review
1/16/2020
Review
1/17/2020
Review
1/17/2020
Interview

 

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway of Finding Mr. Better-Than-You by Shani Petroff

Title: Finding Mr. Better-Than-You
Author: Shani Petroff
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: January 14th 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

A heartbroken teen, with the help of her best friends, goes on a quest to find the perfect boyfriend, and in the end learns that some things are more important than boys in Shani Petroff’s fun YA contemporary novel Finding Mr. Better-Than-You.

Camryn Roth has it all planned out: a perfect senior year with her friends and then it’s off to Columbia with her boyfriend, Marc. But the first week of school, everything falls apart. Not only does she not have enough extracurriculars for her dream school, her relationship falls to pieces when Marc publically dumps her!

With the help of her two best friends, Camryn is determined to pull her life back together. Step one, more extracurriculars. Step two, get over Marc and find someone better.

Shani Petroff’s newest rom-com is a love letter to friendship: to those who help you find your true self, stand by you no matter what, and support your plans even when they know they’re doomed.

Praise for Shani Petroff:

“Fans of holiday movies, rom-coms, and ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ will enjoy My New Crush Gave to Me . . . Petroff’s festive story will have readers baking gingerbread cookies and buñuelos at any time of year.” —VOYA, on My New Crush Gave to Me

“A worthwhile read. Flirty and fun.” —Booklist, on Romeo & What’s Her Name

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play


raving review

As a very engaging and fast-paced high school romance, Mr. Better-Than-You threw a few curve balls my way. Camryn Roth is ready to rock her senior year of high school. She and her high school sweetheart are deeply in love and they both have the same dreams to attend Columbia for college. But Cam’s world is thrown into a whirlwind after meeting with the school counselor and then later having her heart broken at a local diner. After moping and piecing together her broken heart, Cam takes initiative to improve her college resume, her love life, and even herself.

Cam is a rom-com aficionado. As a dedicated fan of romantic comedies, she lives and breathes romantic tropes. However, when her own happily ever after ending is crushed, she takes matters into her own hands. On a mission to find a boyfriend better than her ex-boyfriend, Cam’s definition of love changes throughout the novel and morphs into self-appreciation and the value of friendship.

One of the most unexpected things about Mr. Better-Than-You is that this book is not your typical rom-com. While dating shenanigans ensue throughout the pages, Cam’s mindset of love is altered and molded into a variety of understandings of “what is love?” As a must-read, I highly recommend this book to readers who are fanatics of watching female friendships blossom and characters who take initiative into finding their true selves through heartache, laughter, and the support of the people around them.

about the author


Author Bio:

Shani Petroff is a writer living in New York City. Please visit her website at http://www.ShaniPetroff.com.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

giveaway

Win a hardcopy of Mr. Better-Than-You

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review: Crier’s War by Nina Varela

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Title:
Crier’s War
Author:  Nina Varela
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, LGBT
Rating: ★★★★★

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Synopsis:

After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.

Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.

Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.

Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.


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Alright, I am saying this right now, but this might be my favorite book of 2019. I’ve only  had one book this year that I gave 5 stars, and Crier’s War is definitely my second 5-star worthy read of 2019. As a constant-page turner, I often found myself lost in the themes of rebellion, political power, humanity, and elaborate world-building.

Varela’s writing is so engaging, rich, and lush; the characters are so vibrant and dynamic; and the mix of alchemy and machination allows this novel to effortlessly mesh fantasy and science into a world of Automa (artificial intelligence) overruling humans. The author masterfully molds all these complex elements into the most beautiful and enthralling story.

As Varela’s debut novel, and the first book in a duology, do yourself a favor and add Crier’s War to your TBR asap. As an own voices novel with a slow-burn queer love story that had me swooning, Crier’s War flawlessly and emotionally drives her two main characters, Crier and Ayla, into conflict and determination to seek out their own motives–motives and narratives immersed in rage, revenge, vulnerability, epiphanies, an enemies to lovers romance, and surprising betrayals. 

 

Blogger Note: Thank you so much to Wunderkind PR for sending me a free copy of Crier’s War to read and review. 

Book Review & Mood Board: Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai

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Title:
Butterfly Yellow
Author:  Thanhha Lai
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Fiction

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Synopsis:

In the final days of the Việt Nam War, Hằng takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms—and Hằng is left behind in the war-torn country.

Six years later, Hằng has made the brutal journey from Việt Nam and is now in Texas as a refugee. She doesn’t know how she will find the little brother who was taken from her until she meets LeeRoy, a city boy with big rodeo dreams, who decides to help her.

Hằng is overjoyed when she reunites with Linh. But when she realizes he doesn’t remember her, their family, or Việt Nam, her heart is crushed. Though the distance between them feels greater than ever, Hằng has come so far that she will do anything to bridge the gap. 


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Butterfly Yellow is an emotionally driven novel told in multiple POVs; more specifically in the points of view of Hằng and LeeRoy. Hằng is a Vietnamese refugee traveling to Texas in search of her younger brother, Linh, who was taken to America during the Vietnam War. And LeeRoy is an eighteen-year-old whose main aspiration is to be a cowboy. The interactions between this unlikely pair allows the novel to flow so beautifully. 

Determined to find her brother, Hằng internally struggles with her own PTSD and her hard journey from Vietnam to Texas. Not only is she physically exhausted and vulnerable, but she is also conflicted with coping with emotional distress, survival, hunger, and language boundaries.

On his way to meet his rodeo idol, LeeRoy is unwillingly pushed to drive Hằng on her quest to find her brother. LeeRoy’s quirkiness and straightforward attitude provide a comedic relief to Hằng’s feisty stubbornness and her heartbreaking journey. Although the dialogue between the characters is often stilted, it becomes a learning process and a great facilitator that instills the friendship between these two characters.

Overall, the pacing of this novel is wonderfully steady. Each chapter is short and to the point, while the words flow like a beautiful poem. I quickly connected with the characters within a few pages of meeting them, and from there on, I enjoyed their paths that often unfolded into mosaic of heartbreak, love, determination, and the idea of accepting your mistakes and moving forward.

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Blogger Note: Thank you so much to Wunderkind PR for sending me a free copy of Butterfly Yellow to read and review.