Blog Tour & Giveaway: Holly Freakin’ Hughes by Kelsey Kingsley

Today we have the blog tour for HOLLY FREAKIN’ HUGHES by Kelsey Kingsley! Check it out and grab your copy today!


Title: Holly Freakin’ Hughes
By: 
Kelsey Kingsley
Release Date: 
August 1, 2017
Genres: 
Fiction, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romance

About Holly Freakin’ Hughes:

31-year-old HOLLY HUGHES is happy with her life. She’s a moderately successful teen advice columnist living in a tiny studio apartment on the Upper East Side with her boyfriend STEPHEN and their cat CAMILLE. She has grand plans of marrying Stephen and having his babies, until Stephen announces that he is in fact gay and in love with someone else, his boss ANTHONY. This twist of fate is the beginning of a slew of life-changing events in poor Holly’s life. Her boss fires her from the magazine for being too old, leaving her unemployed and unable to keep her apartment.

With nowhere else to go, Holly moves back to Long Island to live with her younger sister LIZ and 3-year-old niece ANNA, and takes over as Anna’s babysitter until she can find the confidence to get herself back on her feet.

As a part of her babysitting routine, Holly takes Anna on bi-weekly trips to the local bookstore, where they attend Story Time. On one occasion, Anna just so happens to run face-first into 36-year-old BRANDON DAVIS, a tall, handsome man who just so happens to be an international best-selling author of a fantasy book series. Holly is unaware of this bit of information, and remains oblivious as their friendship and love for each other grows.

When Brandon faces his personal qualms toward his career and confesses who he is to her, Holly is left to face her own issues with inadequacy.

The story deals with acceptance for one’s position in life, forgiveness, and overcoming the feeling of simply not being good enough.

Grab Your Copy Today:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUS


my raving review

Holly Freakin’ Hughes came at just the right time in my  life. I have been going through a reading slump, and you guys, this book won me over. The characters always had me laughing and swooning, and more importantly, the story had me cheering on both of the main characters, Holly and Brandon. I really enjoyed Kelsey Kingsley’s debut novel and it was the perfect story to swoon over. 

Told in dual points of view (i.e. Holly and Brandon), I loved that the author takes us into the thoughts and emotions of each character. Both characters have a “romantic” history that they want to hide and forget, and each has their own reason for being so negative towards romantic relationships. However, I did enjoy that their heartaches are what pushes them to search for something better in their lives.

I did, however, prefer Brandon’s character over Holly, because I think he is more rational and more optimistic throughout the book. Even though Brandon is always holding himself back, Holly is always putting herself down. I do not think that Holly gives herself enough credit, and around the 90% mark of the book, I was so mad with her thoughts and reactions (I won’t give away any spoilers, but I was so frustrated with Holly at this point in the book). I’m just glad I pushed through to the ending, which left me smiling and swooning. 

Overall, Holly Freakin’ Hughes is genuine, funny, and a feel good story that made my heart melt. Even though the story has an “insta-love” feel at the beginning, the characters both have an honest and heartfelt chemistry that builds over months and months of conversations, cute banter, and laughs. If you’re in the mood for a fun and heartwarming story, this book is for you.


About Kelsey Kingsley:

Kelsey Kingsley grew up in the great state of New York, and still lives there with her family and a cat named Ethel. When she isn’t writing her fingers to the bone, she enjoys a good (or bad) book, reruns of Frasier, ruining the lives of her Sims, and singing and dancing in the kitchen. She somehow survives off a diet of tea, doughnuts, and French fries. However, she hates cheese and listening to people chew. You’ve been warned.

Connect with Kelsey:

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Enter Kelsey’s Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blogs Taking Part in the Blog Tour:

September 4th
For the love of romance

Capital nerd
A Sky Filled with Sparkling Stars
Readaholic

September 5th
romance as a first language

Books,Dreams,Life
Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog

September 6th
Katy and Zetti’s Book Ramblings

Musings of Madjy
Southern Bred & Read
Read Your Writes Book Reviews

September 7th
A Southern Girls Bookshelf

KT Book Reviews
Seeing Night Reviews

September 8th
Cuz I’m A Nerd

Quesarasera Book Blog
FMR BookGrind

September 9th
The Book Boyfriend Addict

K.T. Castle
My World of Wonderful Thoughts

September 10th
Southern Belle Book Blog

Read-Love-Blog
Lisa Loves Literature
Chatterbooks book blog

September 11th
Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf

Reads & Reviews
Once upon a romance blog

September 12th
Captain Reads A Lot

Always a happy ever after
Lattes & Paperbacks
Adventures in Writing

September 13th
TrashyBibloBlog

Brittany’s Book Blog

September 14th
Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile

Bookishly Yours

September 15th
I’m A Book Shark

September 16th
Reading away the days

What Is That Book About
bad boys and bedtime stories book blog
Textteaser Book Blog

September 17th
Ever After Book Reviews

Jax’s Book Magic
Shelf_Life

September 18th
G & T’s Indie Café

Swoonworthybooks
Susan’s Books I Like
Sweet Reading

 

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If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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Title:
The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli

Publication date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

About the Book:

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. 

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


banner the upside of unrequited

Not very often I will find a book that makes me think, “I wish this book existed when I was in high school.” And The Upside of Unrequited is one of those books I wish I had read during my teenage years. This is the first book I have read by Becky Albertalli (sorry Simon fans), and I loved it! I could really relate to Molly, an introvert with dreams and hopes but is apprehensive and unsure about her life, her weight, talking to boys, and everything in between.

Molly is now one of my favorite young adult characters. She has fire in her soul, but like many introverts that are unsure how to break out of their shell or push against their natural routine, Molly bottles this flame. But what makes Molly different and unique is that she slowly allows her flame to burn and shine. I liked Molly because she is cautious but also daring in the most surprising ways. Molly is a teenager that realistically portrays inner monologues, crushes, and jealousy. She over-analyzes everything, because what teenager doesn’t. Molly is realistic and smart and kind and just the type of person I would want as a friend.

What I also loved about The Upside of Unrequited is Becky Albertalli’s ability to bring to light less talked about subjects that need to be littered in young adult literature. It is 2017, and there are still girls out there who do not see themselves in modern-day stories because they are told they are too big, not the right size, not the right color, pray to a different god, etc. But what I loved about The Upside of Unrequited is that Albertalli’s storytelling challenges the traditional sense of literature, and says: Here world. Here is an introverted girl who is insecure about her weight and talking to boys. Here is a family that has lesbian mothers raising an interracial family. Here are two twins sisters both with unique personalities. Two teenage sisters, one who loves to flirt and date girls, and one who collects crushes and daydreams about kissing boys. This is definitely a positive and eye-opening book for adolescents. 

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Upside of Unrequited because the story is smart, realistic, swoony, and funny. I loved that all of the characters are so unique and different. These are the characters and stories that need to be whispered between shy friends. This is the book that needs to be handed out in the classroom. The Upside of Unrequited is the book that needs to be on every girl’s nightstand, pulled off a library shelf by an overanalyzing teenager, and bought by the person who wants to spend their $20.00 allowance on a book that will not only make them laugh but also make them think. 

star rating

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle 

Spellbook
Title: 
Spellbook of the Lost and Found
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle 

Publication date: June 1, 2017 (UK)/ August 8, 2017 (USA)
Publisher:  Corgi Childrens/ Kathy Dawson Books
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic Realism

SYNOPSIS:

The highly anticipated new book from the acclaimed author of The Accident Season is a gorgeous, twisty story about things gone missing, things returned from the past, and a group of teenagers, connected in ways they could never have imagined.

One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips and jewelry, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won’t talk about, and Olive thinks her best friend is slipping away.

Then seductive diary pages written by a girl named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing estate. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tight to painful secrets.

When they discover the spellbook, it changes everything. Damp, tattered and ancient, it’s full of hand-inked charms to conjure back things that have been lost. And it just might be their chance to find what they each need to set everything back to rights.

Unless it’s leading them toward things that were never meant to be found…

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


banner for spellbook

“If you don’t get lost, you’ll never be found.”–Spellbook of the Lost and Found

Spellbook of the Lost and Found will enchant you from the first chapter. Told in multiple points-of-view, the story unravels with a thread of characters connected by a book/journal–particularly one spell–that promises to help those who seek what they cannot find. But like Newton’s Third Law, this spell conforms to the law of forces, allowing the world to confirm that with every action there is a reaction. So when something is found then something is lost and vice versa.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found is a weaving of words and characters that encompass a story that integrates a tug-of-war battle between the past and the present, the real and the unknown, nature and the preternatural, the lost and the found. It is a web of stories where the past and present are swallowed in at thick fog of lost mementos, forgotten memories, and new discoveries. This story will wreck you with conspiracies, hopeful romances, and haunting secrets. 

In the end, this is a book about sisterhood, friendships, family, and falling in love. And what I loved most about this story is how it beautifully blends magic and reality. Spellbook of the Lost and Found focuses on the reality of sacrifice, love, and what is worth letting go and what are the most important things to search for. I left this story feeling like I was a under a spell, and with any future rereads, I am sure I will uncover other twists and turns that I may have not picked up originally. 

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought the UK edition of this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Book Review: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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Title: 
Love & Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Publication date: May 3, 2016
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

About the Book:

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


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I had such high hopes for Love & Gelato, but in the end the story did not win me over. I really had a hard time connecting with the characters and story plot. In general, I found this story predictable and I was not swept up by the love connection between two of the characters. This story takes place in a matter of days, but I honestly felt like the plot was scattered and dragged over an entire summer. 

Yes, the book does have some great scenes focused on delicious food and beautiful Italian landmarks, but overall Love & Gelato did not have me swooning and I was very agitated by the lack of communication among a majority of the characters. COME ON, TALK TO EACH OTHER. Listen, ask questions, but more importantly stop ignoring the obvious!

Maybe I’m in a contemporary-book reading slump, because I really wanted to love this story after reading all the raving reviews, but I felt no love connection with any part of the book except for one. The best thing about Love & Gelato, the number one person that won me over and had me enjoying each chapter, was Lina’s father Howard. I loved that unbeknownst to him, he instilled a little fear in Lina’s friends and potential boyfriend, hahaha. Howard was so heartwarming, caring, and funny, and he definitely made the book worth reading.  Overall, even if this wasn’t one of my favorite books, it’s still a light and fluffy read that I think other contemporary readers might enjoy. 

1 star rating

My Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

 

Book Review: Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

song of the current
Title: 
Song of the Current 
Author:
 Sarah Tolcser

Publication date: June 6, 2017
Publisher:  Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

About the Book:

Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.

LINKS: Goodreads Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


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Song of the Current did not work for me as a book. During one weekend, I binge read three pirate-y themed books, and this was my least favorite of them. I think the story has a hopeful premise, but in the end, the book fell flat for me. I will keep this review short, and just highlight both the rants and the raves that I had for the book.

Rants: I really had a hard time connecting and liking any of the characters; I found their personalities passive and dull. There is little to no change in character development by the end of the book. I also found the story to be very flat and predictable. I hate to admit it, but I felt bored during my read. At one time, I almost stopped reading the book, but kept pushing myself and convincing myself that it will get better (especially since I enjoyed the banter).

Raves: I liked the romance that brews in Song of the Current. It’s not one-sided and there is not instant-love. I really liked that the characters are very verbal in stating what they want and don’t want in a “relationship.” The banter is definitely worth finishing the book. Communication was one of the most favorable aspects of this novel. And when that communication is snarky and witty, I just had to keep reading. 

NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I received this book in my subscription to UppercaseBox, which I bought with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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Title:
 Daughter of the Pirate King
Author:
 Tricia Levenseller 

Publication date: February 28, 2017
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance

About the Book:

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


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HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL…I can not get over how amazing Daughter of the Pirate King is. I am not a huge pirate-themed book reader (although, Cutthroat Island is one of my favorite pirate movies), but one weekend I decided to binge read three pirate-y books, and Daughter of the Pirate King was by far my favorite out of the three. AND OHMYGOD I WANT MORE! I loved how quick-paced but steady the book read. I adored the swashbuckling characters, the surprising twists and turns, and yes, I swooned over the romance that is filled with playful bickering, irresistible kissage, and sacrifice. 

I love books that turn the tables on stereotypes, so of course, I loved that Daughter of the Pirate King portrayed a well-developed female pirate that was not a “damsel in distress.”  What can I say about Alosa–one of the best female pirates I have ever read. She has all the best qualities that will make you laugh, cringe, and surprise you. She’s snarky, feisty, a badass, a crafty trickster, and ignites ever page with the fire of a thousand suns. And one of the best qualities about Alosa is that she is not stagnant–instead, as her journey throws her into a whirlwind on the sea, she rolls with the punches and allows herself to analyze every situation with a new perspective. Alosa is definitely a person I would want as a pirate captain and a friend. 

I do not want to give too much away, but The Daughter of the Pirate King is filled with mysteries, twists, disguises, secrets, and the best pirate fight scenes. From beginning to end, Tricia Levenseller’s book will have you enchanted and hooked. Every page is something new, something exciting, and a pure adrenaline rush of adventure, swoons, and quick-witted banter. The ending is a nail-biter, and trust me, after reading the last sentence, you will be begging for the sequel. (PLEASE, SOMEONE, GIVE ME THE SEQUEL NOW…). 


NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

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Title:
Blackhearts 
Author:
Nicole Castroman

Publication date: February 9, 2016
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Romance

About the Book:

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay. 

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


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I went into Blackhearts without reading the synopsis. All I knew was that this book was “pirate” themed and I was looking for some ARRRMAZING scenes (hahaha…see what I did there?). To my surprise, after finishing the book, discussing it with the book club I’m in, and then reading the author’s note, I discovered that Blackhearts is a retelling of Blackbeard–a notorious pirate who I had briefly studied in school. Also, to a greater surprise, I did not think this book was very “pirate-y” but that did not stop me from loving it. 

First off, I was a major fan of the slow burn romance that brews in Blackhearts. Not only was a huge fan of the romantic intentions that develop between the main characters, but I love that this relationship is based on the love for books and storytelling, hopes for adventure, and a passion to fall in love with someone based on strength, courage, heart, trust, and ferocity. I won’t give too much away on the relationship that I adored in this book, but I’m telling you, you will LOVE it and you will want to pick up the next book immediately. I need smoochies and I need a happily ever after ending…NOW! They deserve it!

Blackhearts is a fun and unique book. From the first page I was hooked, and the last chapter left me yearning for more of Anne and Teach’s story. The book is told in dual points-of-view, which allows the story to unfold in different perspectives that focus not only on a developing relationship, but also a story focused on challenging social status, race, and gender differences. I loved the diversity littered throughout the pages, and the multiple perspectives add a layer of heartwarming scenes, captivating dialogue, and great desire of wanderlust. Of course the ending comes too soon, but luckily, I immediately bought the sequel Blacksouls and I cannot wait to read it this weekend. 

NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.