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We Should All Be Feminists by: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [Review]

We Should All Be Feminists
By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Writing, Non-Fiction, Feminism, Essays, Social Justice
Release Date: July 29, 2014

Synopsis:

An eBook short.

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.

With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.

Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists

 

Book Review

Though rooted in the backdrop of Nigerian culture, We Should All Be Feminists offers not only a universal reach, but a current perspective when it comes to gender inequality. Like others who have come across this little gem, I found this book insightful, thought provoking and relatable.

Though the hurdles and restrictions I face in America differ from that of Nigeria, it was difficult to read the way in which a mere class monitor position (that she rightfully earned) when she was 9-years-old was passed over to a boy in her class based solely on fact that her classmate was male. Being born with a quick mind and an even quicker tongue, I doubt that without the years of practicing the act of counting to ten (sometimes five) in my head that I would be able to respond or graciously address the systematic gender injustice Adichie describes.

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Cover Reveal For: Songs of Insurrection (Dragon Songs #1) by J.C. Kang

Happy New Year & Happy Friday, Peeps! ^_^

So, I have an exciting post for you all. Today marks the official relaunch day for Songs Of Insurrection by J.C. Kang. Previously know as The Dragon Scale Lute, book one of the historical, mythological, epic-high fantasy/Adventure, sorcery fiction, Dragon Songs (previously the Daughter of The Dragon Throne) series. As you can see on my blog, I’ve followed this series since early last year, and while I liked the old cover, the new one looks amazing.

In case you’re new to the series, here’s a bit about Songs Of Insurrection:

Only the lost art of evoking magic through music can prevent Cathay from descending into chaos. Blessed with an unrivaled voice, Kaiya dreams of a time when a song liberated enslaved humans from their orc masters.

Maybe then, the imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool. 

When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan uncover a brewing rebellion, the court hopes to appease the ringleader by offering Kaiya as a bride.  Obediently wedding the depraved rebel leader means giving up her music.

Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.

And now… The moment we’ve been waiting for…

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End Of The Year: 2016 Wrap Up Post

Another year comes to a close. 2016 threw quite a few punches my way that I wasn’t expecting, both professionally and personally. Some of the good, like my dotsons Willow & Chase, and some not so great.

 

Me, Tay with Willow & Chase

My sister and I with Willow & Chase on Christmas 2016 ^_^

As it were, like many other people, I’ll be teetering into 2017 with one eye open and not with a complete full-stop attitude. While I did not check off as many book goals or writing goal that I originally planned to this year, I am very happy with what I have accomplished.

DIversity Reading Challenges Banner Stiched 2016 for blog posts
Hard to say how I did with these two. I originally pledged a  4th Shelf: 19-24 books level on my post here,  with a list of 10 subsidiaries books with specific guidelines.  I was only able to read 5 categories out of those 10.  These are just a few of those:
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Audiobook Review: In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

In The Country We Love: My Family Divided
By: Diane Guerrero
Narrator(s): Diane Guerrero
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Autobiography,  Politics, Immigration, Social Injustice
Rating: 3.5 stars
Publisher: Audible Studios
Length: 9 Hrs and 10 Min
Type: Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Synopsis:
Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents and brother were arrested and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family.
In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country.
There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven’t been told. Written with Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families likes the author’s and on a system that fails them over and over.

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Book Review: Mandate Of Heaven (Daughter Of The Dragon Throne #4) by J.C. Kang

Mandate Of Heaven (Legends of Tivara, Daughter of The Dragon Throne #4)
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology, High Fantasy/Adventure Fiction, Sorcery
Release date: December 7, 2016
I graciously received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis:

Kaiya escapes her ordeal at the hands of the Teleri Emperor, only to return to a homeland beset by enemies on all sides, and crumbling from within.

As a teenager, she quelled a rebellion with the Dragon Scale Lute. As a young adult, she vanquished a dragon with the power of her voice.

Now, robbed of her magic by grief, Kaiya must navigate a web of court intrigue to save the realm before it falls. Only she can lay claim to the Dragon Throne on behalf of her unborn sons—whether the father is the lover who perished rescuing her, or the hated enemy who killed him.

In the final story in Kaiya’s saga, she must rally a nation, repel invaders, and prove to the world why her family alone holds the Mandate of Heaven.

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The Golden Son by: Shilpi Somaya Gowda Book Review

the-golden-son-pb-coverThe Golden Son
By: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Family Fiction, Medicine/ Cultural Fiction
Release Date: November 29th 2016
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Synopsis:

The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of Secret Daughter returns with an unforgettable story of family, responsibility, love, honor, tradition, and identity, in which two childhood friends—a young doctor and a newly married bride—must balance the expectations of their culture and their families with the desires of their own hearts. The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, the golden son, carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas, at one of the busiest and most competitive hospitals in America.

When his father dies, Anil becomes the de facto head of the Patel household and inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village’s disputes. But he is uneasy with the custom, uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage demonstrated by his father and grandfather. His doubts are compounded by the difficulties he discovers in adjusting to a new culture and a new job, challenges that will shake his confidence in himself and his abilities.

Back home in India, Anil’s closest childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives. Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena’s romantic hopes, and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice that will hold drastic repercussions for herself and her family. Though Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart, their lives eventually intersect once more—changing them both and the people they love forever.

Tender and bittersweet, The Golden Son illuminates the ambivalence of people caught between past and present, tradition and modernity, duty and choice; the push and pull of living in two cultures, and the painful decisions we must make to find our true selves.

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Hidden Figures by: Margot Lee Shetterly Book Review

hidden-figures-pb-coverHidden Figures
By: Margot Lee Shetterly
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, History, Science, Feminism, Space
Release Date: December 6 2016
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Synopsis: 

The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.

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A Writer’s Update: A Month Away (Give Or Take Several Days)

Hiya,

So, I had decided to take some time off, sort of speak for the month of November to rethink a few things, make some outlines, make a few lists and just a general plan for the next few months now that I’m not in the safe, cozy and familiar isolation that was my solitude.

I think it would be tactful to go without mentioning though that the break was much needed in the sense that I was sort of grappling with that reoccurring feeling of being spun around in this uncreative void. This break was not only on my blog, but it was also on all of my social media platforms, and it even included a slight step back from interacting with a few of my friends on occasion because I felt so incredibly and embarrassingly lazy.

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Go Ahead (Pt. 3 Of Stages)

Hiya,

So for this part of the Stages titled Go Ahead, I have molded a kind of continuation from Pt. 1, I Want Out, but solely from the other half’s perspective. I’ve been sitting on this part for quite some time now because it seemed like it was missing something. It wasn’t until recently that I realized it was the way that it was because my creative buzz for this part of the series intended it to be; short, sweet and to the point  🙂

Go Ahead (Pt. 3 Of Stages)

Go ahead
And replace the laughing memories with your cruelty

Go ahead
And erase that love between us like it never existed

Go ahead
And show the world who you really are

Go ahead
And completely freeze me out of your life

Go ahead
And forget the talks and dreams we painted for the rest of our lives

Go ahead
And nurse that bitterness until you feel warm at night

I’m no longer restless, choked up, or sad
So, go ahead because I’ll be the one celebrating in the end

 

As always, thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post.  ^_^

Until next time,

Gia.

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Certainly, Possibly, You By: Lissa Reed Book Review (+ Giveaway)

Certainly, Possible,You (Sucre Coeur Series #2)
By: Lissa Reed
Genre: F/F Romance, LGBTQ+, Contemporary Fiction, Rom/Com Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
Release Date: October 6th 2016
Publisher: Duet Books/ Interlude Press
Received an ARC copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Sarita Sengupta is in her last semester of grad school and has finally realized she doesn’t have a career plan, a girlfriend, or a clear outlook on life. She works as a pastry shop’s head decorator, but is otherwise drifting without direction until a friend’s birthday party ends with her waking up in surprise next to Maritza Quiñones, a pretty ballroom dancer whose cheerful charm and laser focus sets Sarita on a path to making all of the choices she’s been avoiding.

Book Review

Told in the present, third-person perspective, Certainly, Possibly, You brings a humbling, yet relatable perspective as the reader follows along with Sarita—Sucre’s top cake designer and ambitious PHD student trying to sort out her existential career path problem—and Maritza (Mari). The part-time pizza shop worker and full-time ballroom dancer–as their relationship tries to blossom and bloom amidst the two’s hectic schedules.

There were so many moments and scenes that made me fall in love with these two as a couple and as individual characters. From their awkward and shy encounters, to their blunt openness with one another and the sexy, gravitational pull that sparks when they’re around each other, but I ultimately had to give this book 3.5 star rating mainly because I became too bothered with one secondary character’s involvement with Mari and Sarita’s story.

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The Opposite Of Everyone by: Joshilyn Jackson Book Review

The Opposite Of Everyone
By: Joshilyn Jackson
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 11, 2016
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Amazon | B&N | HarperCollins

Synopsis: 

A fiercely independent divorce lawyer learns the power of family and connection when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged mother in this bittersweet, witty novel from the nationally bestselling author ofSomeone Else’s Love Story and gods in Alabama—an emotionally resonant tale about the endurance of love and the power of stories to shape and transform our lives.

Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern oral tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birth name Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding secrets of her own, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.

These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a mysterious note: “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”

Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.

The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us, and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us . . . and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.

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Book Review: Fairytales For Lost Children By: Diriye Osman

Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Short Stories, Cultural/Somali, LGBTQ+ Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Folklore
Publisher: Team Angelica Publishing
Release Date: September 1, 2013
I Graciously Received A Copy Of This Book In Exchange For An Honest Review
Synopsis:
Fairytales For Lost Children” is narrated by people constantly on the verge of self-revelation. These characters – young, gay and lesbian Somalis – must navigate the complexities of family, identity and the immigrant experience as they tumble towards freedom. Using a unique idiom rooted in hip-hop, graphic illustrations, Arabic calligraphy and folklore studded with Kiswahili and Somali slang, these stories mark the arrival of a singular new voice in contemporary fiction

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Book Review: Firestorm (The Sword Of Light Book #2) By: Aaron Hodges

Narrator(s):David Stifel
Unabridged Audiobook: 9 hrs and 58 mins Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Magic, Fantasy, Adventure, New Adult Fiction, Mythology
Release Date: August 18, 2016
I Graciously Received A Copy Of This Book In Exchange For An Honest Review
Synopsis:
The Gods have fallen.
The Three Nations are in chaos. 
Archon is coming. 
The company are surrounded, trapped on the blood-soaked sands of Malevolent Cove. With them they carry the only hope of the Three Nations: Enala, wielder of the Sword of Light. But the girl is mad, catatonic, her mind lost in a chasm of grief. She lies helpless before the power of Archon.
Meanwhile, Eric is close to mastering his magic. But Alastair is gone; there is no one left to protect him. The perilous force yearns for its freedom, and Eric alone stands against it. To prevail he must break the shackles of his past. He must face the last ghost of Oaksville.

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Sept. 28th Blog Tour Date

The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, And (Getting) Happier by: Cathi Hanauer Book Review

By: Cathi Hanauer
Genre: Non-Fiction, Feminism, Essays, Memoirs
Rating: 3 stars
Release Date: September 27, 2016
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Synopsis:

More than a decade after the New York Times bestselling anthology The Bitch in the House spoke up loud and clear for a generation of young women, nine of the original contributors are back—along with sixteen captivating new voices—sharing their ruminations from an older, stronger, and wiser perspective about love, sex, work, family, independence, body-image, health, and aging: the critical flash points of women’s lives today.

“Born out of anger,” the essays in The Bitch in the House chronicled the face of womanhood at the beginning of a new millennium. Now those funny, smart, passionate contributors—today less bitter and resentful, and more confident, competent, and content—capture the spirit of postfeminism in this equally provocative, illuminating, and compelling companion anthology.

Having aged into their forties, fifties, and sixties, these “bitches”—bestselling authors, renowned journalists, and critically acclaimed novelists—are back . . . and better than ever. In The Bitch Is Back, Cathi Hanauer, Kate Christensen, Sarah Crichton, Debora Spar, Ann Hood, Veronica Chambers, and nineteen other women offer unique views on womanhood and feminism today. Some of the “original bitches” (OBs) revisit their earlier essays to reflect on their previous selves. All reveal how their lives have changed in the intervening years—whether they stayed coupled, left marriages, or had affairs; developed cancer or other physical challenges; coped with partners who strayed, died, or remained faithful; became full-time wage earners or homemakers; opened up their marriages; remained childless or became parents; or experienced other meaningful life transitions.

As a “new wave” of feminists begins to take center stage, this powerful, timely collection sheds a much-needed light on both past and present, offering understanding, compassion, and wisdom for modern women’s lives, all the while pointing toward the exciting possibilities of tomorrow.

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Book Review: True Colors Of Betrayal (Daughter Of The Dragon Throne #3) by J.C. Kang

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True Colors Of Betrayal (Legends of Tivara, Daughter of The Dragon Throne #3)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology, Fantasy/Adventure Fiction

Release date: August 30, 2016

I graciously received a ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The world knows Kaiya as the Dragon Charmer. After vanquishing the Last Dragon with the power of her voice, all she wants is to return to a quiet life of anonymity. Instead, the Emperor tasks her with an onerous task: negotiating with the aggressive Teleri Empire for the extradition of her cousin, who tried to murder the imperial family and usurp the Dragon Throne.

The mission reunites her with her childhood friend Tian, now an assassin-spy who loathes killing. He is no longer the adorable, gullible boy from her memories, any more than she is the adventurous, sweet girl from his. Instead of rekindling nostalgia for a youthful innocence they both yearn for, their reunion ignites a mutual hatred.

When the Teleri Empire breaks off negotiations, Tian must help Kaiya escape. Orcs, Ogres, and enemy soldiers stand between them and home, and their volatile relationship could get them captured… or killed.

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Sept. 16th Blog Tour Date

Not Your Sidekick by:C.B. Lee Book Review (+Giveaway)

Sept. 16th Blog Tour Date

Not Your Sidekick
By: C.B. Lee
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre:LGBTQ,YA,Comics, Sci-fi, Super heroes, Romance, F/F
Release Date: September 8, 2016
Publisher: Debut Books/ Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer
Buy it everywhere & anywhere ^_^

Goodreads | B&N | Interlude Press | Amazon | iBooks |Smashwords | Kobo | Book Depository | Indiebound | All Romance eBooks

Synopsis:

Welcome to Andover, where superpowers are common—but not for Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers when an internship for Andover’s resident super villain allows her to work alongside her longtime crush Abby and helps her unravel a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

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Book Review: For Today I Am A Boy by Kim Fu

For Today I Am A Boy
By: Kim Fu
Genre: GLBTQ+, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, YA Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Mariner Books
Synopsis:
At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, “powerful king.” To his parents, newly settled in small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant father’s dreams of Western masculinity. Peter and his sisters grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents’ home. Though his father crowned him “powerful king,” Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl. With the help of his far-flung sisters and the sympathetic souls he finds along the way, Peter inches ever closer to his own life, his own skin, in this darkly funny, emotionally acute, stunningly powerful debut.

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Book Review: The Unforgettables by: GL Tomas

The Unforgettables
Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Interracial Romance, Learning Disability
Rating: 4.5 stars
Release Date: September 12 2016
Publisher: Rebellious Valkyrie Press

Received An Advanced Reader Copy in Exchange for An Honest Review.

Synopsis:

Neighbors and best friends Paul and Felicia hoped they’d be friends forever. But as they change, so does their friendship. She shouldn’t have kissed her…He shouldn’t have liked it. Starting school changed everything.

Book Review:

I am always excited for the new mix of characters and stories GL Tomas graciously share with us with their books because I genuinely feel like I’m glancing in at the lives of real people who you can connect with each and every time. Paul and Felicia from The Unforgettables were no exception to the rule.

Whatsmore, reading anything by them always sparks inspiration in me to dive into another new world. Particularly when I’m in a reading slump. So, when I heard about their newest book about two superhero/comic booking loving friends who decided to give themselves alter egos and pair up as a formidable duo, naturally I jumped and squealed at the chance like any normal person would. What I loved so much about this book was the fact that the main characters Felicia and Paul were nearly polar opposites. Aside from their mutual love for comics and superheroes’, they weren’t that similar, but I feel like that is what made them work.

Paul—the social butterfly, who thrived on crowds and at social events, and Felicia—the quiet, smart and observant killer soccer player, who was completely content to forever walk the line of solidarity for the rest of her life (or at least until she finished high school). The two came together in such a beautiful, awkward teenage shuffle.

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Book Review: The Salarian Desert Game by: J.A. McLachlan

The Salarian Desert Games
By: J. A. McLachlan
Genre: YA Fiction, Sci-fi, Adventure
Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Publisher: EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

Goodreads| Amazon

Synopsis:

What if someone you love gambled on her life?

Games are serious business on Salaria, and the stakes are high. When Kia’s older sister, in a desperate bid to erase their family debt, loses the game and forfeits her freedom, Kia is determined to rescue her. Disguised as a Salarian, Kia becomes Idaro in order to move freely in this dangerous new culture. When she arrives on Salaria, she learns it’s a world where a few key players control the board, and the pawns are ready to revolt. Kia joins the conflict, risking everything to save her sister. As if she doesn’t already have enough to handle, Agatha, the maddeningly calm and unpredictable Select who lives life both by-the-book and off-the-cuff shows up to help, along with handsome Norio, a strong-willed desert girl with her own agenda, and a group of Salarian teens earning their rite of passage in the treacherous desert game.

What can an interpreter and former thief possibly do in the midst of all this to keep the people she loves alive?

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Book Review: Hostile Takeover (John Lago Thriller #2) by: Shane Kuhn

Hostile Takeover (John Lago Thriller #2)
By: Shane Kuhn
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Humor
Rating: 2 stars
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Synopsis:

Professional assassin John Lago faces off against his deadliest adversary yet—his wife—in Hostile Takeover, the exciting sequel to Shane Kuhn’s bestselling debut The Intern’s Handbook, which the New York Post called “a sexy, darkly comic thriller.”

At the end of The Intern’s Handbook, John tracks down his nemesis Alice but instead of putting a bullet in her head, he puts a ring on her finger and marries her. Together, they execute a hostile takeover of Human Resources, Inc., the “placement agency” that trains young assassins to infiltrate corporations disguised as interns and knock off high profile targets. As HR’s former top operatives, they are successful until conflicting management styles cause an ugly breakup that locks John out of the bedroom and the boardroom.

But when Alice takes on a new HR target, John is forced to return to the office battlefield in a role he swore he would never play again: the intern. What starts out as a deadly showdown turns into the two of them fighting side by side to save HR, Inc.—and their marriage.

“Those who like Dexter will love John Lago” (Booklist), and in Shane Kuhn’s sequel to The Intern’s Handbook, readers will be rooting for this smart, witty antihero to come out on top.

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Sept. 8th Blog Tour Date

The Yard by Aliyyah Eniath Book Review (+Giveaway)

Sept. 8th Blog Tour DateThe Yard

By: Aliyyah Eniath
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Religion
Released Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books
 
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Purchase Links: Amazon

Synopsis:

A story of love and redemption, set in Trinidad, that exposes the fault lines in Indo-Muslim culture. Behrooz is brought to a familial complex, The Yard, to live with a devout and extended family, where he struggles to belong. He forms a childish alliance with Maya, a wilful and rebellious girl, and his guardian’s daughter. After they share a night of adolescent tenderness, Maya, fearing retribution, flees to London. Behrooz painstakingly rebuilds his life and marries another. When tragedy strikes, Maya returns to her childhood home. There, she and Behrooz must face up to old demons. Can their love endure? Even after Maya is dealt the most righteous” blow of all?

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A Blogger Update: Wow, It’s Been A Looong Time

Hey There:

So, I’ve moved a lot in the past six and a half years, but none of those experiences were enough to prepare me for last month’s move. 😐 Not only did I have to pack and split up all of my stuff for two different destinations (and make multiple trips over the course of three days). Not to mention settling in with a new dog whose internal setting seems to be permanently notched at crazy and wild. Whatsmore, following the move, I unfortunately was put in a position where I simply didn’t have the space or time to sit down and enjoy the books I put aside and planned to read for August.

I was so stressed and upset that I didn’t have time to read that when I was finally able to sit down and dive into the stack my stack of books, I found that I really only wanted to immediately get started with certain ones. It was in that moment that I realized it was time to stop doing the #2016TBRpile reading challenge and the #2016audiobookchallenge. While I enjoyed finally getting to that large stack of books that have been just sitting on my shelf, not all of the books were making me particularly giddy or excited to get through them.

Not like the books I’ve read for the tours I’ve been apart of or the books authors have actually reached out to me with and asked for a review.  And reading should be fun. It is fun! Reading the material and books that only I want to was the main reason I began book blogging in the first place and I’d like to get back to that feeling of excitement and thrill of sharing great stories and authors with all you lovely people ^–^.

Of the books I’ve read/started that I’ve enjoyed and had so much fun getting into in August were:

Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee (upcoming tour book)

Does My Head Look Big In This? by: Randa Abdel Fattah

True Colors Of Betrayal by: JC Kang ( Book #3 of Daughter of The Dragon Throne) Even though I’m only over the half way mark with it, I think this might be my favorite of the series. It’s soo good.

The Salarian Desert Series by: J. A. McLachlan

The Yard by: Aliyyah Eniath (upcoming tour book)

Just to name a few. I’ve also read a few kids books with my cousin now that school has started back up, but I don’t really think that they count for this particular list. 🙂

All in all,  Willow and I are finally feeling more settled and I’m already starting to feel like my natural, reader self ^__^ Let the wave of book reviews commence!

Thanks so much for reading and sticking around with me.

Until the next post (very soon),

Gia.

Aug. 11th Blog Tour Date

The Big Thing by: Phyllis Korkki Book Review

The Big Thing
By: Phyllis Korkki
Genre: Self-Motivation, Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Creativity
Rating: 3.5 stars
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: August 9, 2016

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Synopsis:

A New York Times business journalist explains why it’s important for people to pursue big creative projects, and identifies both the obstacles and the productive habits that emerge on the path to completion—including her own experience writing this book.

Whether it’s the Great American Novel or a groundbreaking new app, many people want to create a Big Thing, but finding the motivation to get started, let alone complete the work, can be daunting. In The Big Thing, New York Times business writer and editor Phyllis Korkki combines real-life stories, science, and insights from her own experience to illuminate the factors that drive people to complete big creative projects—and the obstacles that threaten to derail success.

In the course of creating her own Big Thing—this book—Korkki explores the individual and collaborative projects of others: from memoirs, art installations, and musical works to theater productions, small businesses, and charities. She identifies the main aspects of a Big Thing, including meaningful goals, focus and effort, the difficulties posed by the demands of everyday life, and the high risk of failure and disappointment. Korkki also breaks down components of the creative process and the characteristics that define it, and offers her thoughts on avoiding procrastination, staying motivated, scheduling a routine, and overcoming self-doubt and the restrictions of a day job. Filled with inspiring stories, practical advice, and a refreshing dose of honesty, The Big Thing doesn’t minimize the negative side of such pursuits—including the fact that big projects are hard to complete and raise difficult questions about one’s self-worth.

Inspiring, wise, humorous, and good-natured, The Big Thing is a meditation on the importance of self-expression and purpose.

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Book Review: The Ballad Of Black Tom by: Victor LaValle

By: Victor LaValle
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Short Story
Rating: 3.5 stars
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: February 16 2016
“Don’t you mind people grinning in your face. Bare this in mind, a true friend is hard to find. Don’t you mind people grinning in your face…”
Synopsis:

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Seven

Well this month just kind of flew by, didn’t it?!…

Happy Saturday, Fellow Book Lovers:

I think I might have mentioned this before a little while back, but I will be moving (again) come the beginning of August. With the addition of my darling little pup  this past month, preparing to move and packing? I am beyond grateful I was able to stick to the reading schedule I made and consume all of the stories that I did this month. In addition to the list below, I also tackled   Sorcerer To The Crown by: Zen Cho,  Hammer Of Witches by Shana Mlawski  and Dragon Charmer by J.C. Kang

Something new I also did this month was space out my reviews instead of waiting until the last week to post them all =) And you know what? It makes things a whole lot easier! Go-figure. I’m going to try to stick to this new method if time (and the puppy) allows me to. Also, with my tablet still out of commission, I will have to wrap up my #RockmyTBR pile challenge until I buy more books as the others I was hopping to read for that particular challenge are locked away on my tablet. It isn’t a complete lost, seeing as how I’ve just joined another reading challenge in June ^_^.

I think that just about covers for all of my updates. Now, on with the reading challenges review wrap-up.

Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

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Book Review: Friction by Sandra Brown

Friction
By: Sandra Brown
Rating:
1 star not a favorable review
Genre:
Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Romantic Suspense
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Released Date:
August 18th 2015Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Synopsis:

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?

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Book Review: Fading Amber (The Cambion Chronicles #3) by Jamie Reed

Fading Amber (The Cambion Chronicles #3)
By: Jamie Reed
Rating:
5 stars
Genre:
Paranormal,Fantasy,Romance,YA Fiction
Publisher:
K-Teen/Dafina
Released Date:
December 24th 2012

Synopsis:

After falling for a Cambion and then turning into one herself, Samara never thought her senior year could get any more complicated. The gaps in her memory, the mysterious deaths and the constant danger that threaten her once quiet town have a common thread: Tobias, a demon with a lot of enemies. He’s also Samara’s other soul mate and he’s suddenly disappeared. But Samara isn’t the only one who wants to find Tobias. His enemies are getting closer and their plans for retribution could mean deadly consequences for Samara and her true soul mate, Caleb.

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Book Review: If You Could Be Mine by: Sara Farizan

If You Could Be Mine
Rating: 3.8./4 stars
Genre:
YA, Romance, GLBTQ, Contemporary,Culture, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Released Date: August 20th 2013

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?

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Audiobook Review: Six Of Crows (Six Of Crows#1) by Leigh Bardugo

Six Of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
By: Leigh Bardugo
Narrator(s): Jay Snyder, Brandon Rubin, Fred Berman, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark,Elizabeth Evans,Tristan Morris
Rating: 3 stars
Genre:
YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fiction
Length: 15hrs & 9 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Publisher: Audible Studios
Released Date: September 29, 2015

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | B&N

Synopsis:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Book Review: Dragon Charmer (Legends of Tivara, Book #2) by J.C. Kang

Dragon Charmer (Legends of Tivara, Daughter of the Dragon Throne Book #2)
By: J.C. Kang
Rating:
4 stars
Genre:
Historical Fiction, Mythology, Fantasy/Adventure Fiction
Released Date:
June 1st 2016

Review Copy Received From  Author In Exchange For An Honest Review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:

Princess Kaiya has a voice that could charm a dragon, but her homeland’s ambitious lords consider her little more than a singing fool. With the Dragon Throne of Cathay at stake, her status as the last unmarried child of the ailing emperor overshadows her musical talent.

Potential suitors see her as a stepping stone. One ruthless cousin would rather step on her gravestone. Not one to get walked over or buried, Kaiya is holding out for the exiled foreign prince who first inspired her to sing.

Conspiracies eat away at the empire from the inside, while aggressive neighbors wait to consume what’s left. With her brothers unwilling or incapable of leading, Kaiya faces tasks worthy of an imperial princess: defuse escalating conflicts between rival lords. Negotiate peace with foreign powers. Beguile a dragon.

The magic of her voice is raw and unproven, but Kaiya finds mentors in unlikely places. An elf courtier. An ancient healer. A martial arts master. And an evil sorcerer. She’ll need their guidance to survive the final showdown with a dragon who has no intentions of being tricked by twice.

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Audiobook Review: Sorcerer To The Crown ( Sorcerer Royal #1) By Zen Cho

Sorcerer To The Crown (Sorcerer Royal #1)
By:
Zen Cho
Narrator:
Jenny Sterlin
Rating:
4 stars
Genre:
Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Magic
Length: 13hrs & 9 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Publisher: Recorded Books
Released Date:
September 1, 2015
Synopsis:

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

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Book Review: Hammer Of Witches by: Shana Mlawski

Hammer Of Witches
By:
Shana Mlawski
Rating:
3.8 stars
Genre:
Historical Fiction, Mythology, Religion, YA, Fantasy, & Paranormal Fiction
Publisher: Lee & Low/ Tu Books
Released Date:
May 12th 2015
Ages 12 & Up
 Review Copy Received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 Synopsis:

Baltasar Infante, a bookmaker’s apprentice living in 1492 Spain, can weasel out of any problem with a good story. But when he awakes one night to find a monster straight out of the stories peering at him through his window, he’s in trouble that even he can’t talk his way out of.

Soon Baltasar is captured by a mysterious arm of the Spanish Inquisition, the Malleus Maleficarum, that demands he reveal the whereabouts of Amir al-Katib, a legendary Moorish sorcerer who can bring myths and the creatures within them to life. Baltasar doesn’t know where the man is—or that he himself has the power to summon genies and golems.

Baltasar must escape, find al-Katib, and defeat a dreadful power that may destroy the world. As Baltasar’s journey takes him into uncharted lands on Columbus’s voyage westward, he learns that stories are more powerful than he once believed them to be—and much more dangerous.

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Six

Okay, need to focus and do this quick…

Hiya:

So, I only have about an hour or so to get this post up and running before I’m off chasing the new pup around. :-/. Which means my reviews might be shorter than expected, but also yay for less reading? Regardless, I have three new reviews for you below, as well as a reminder about the other book reviews I’ve posted this month: Wander This World by: GL Tomas, The Mother by Yvvette Edwards & Delilah by Angela Hunt. Now, on with the rest of the reviews.

Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

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Book Review: Greywalker (Greywalker #1) by: Kat Richardson

Greywalker (Greywalker #1)
By: Kat Richardson
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fiction, Ghost, Mystery
Rating: 2.5 stars
Release: October 3rd 2006

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

When Harper comes to in the hospital, she begins to feel a bit …strange. She sees things that can only be described as weird-shapes emerging from a foggy grey mist, snarling teeth, creatures roaring.But Harper’s not crazy. Her “death” has made her a Greywalker-able to move between our world and the mysterious, cross-over zone where things that go bump in the night exist. And her new gift (or curse) is about to drag her into that world of vampires and ghosts, magic and witches, necromancers and sinister artifacts. Whether she likes it or not.

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Book Review: Demon Within by: Alex Westmore

Demon Within (The Silver Legacy #2)
By: Alex Westmore
Genre: YA Fiction, GLBT,  FF Romance, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
Release: Sept. 14th 2015

Publisher: Broad Winged Books

Review copy provided by Diverse Books.

Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:

Heartbroken but not alone, Denny Silver finds her body overtaken by an ancient force so powerful she risks losing herself completely to its dangerous agenda. As if hunting and killing demons wasn’t hard enough, now the demons are after an innocent, young girl whose Wiccan womb seems the perfect incubator for their hell spawn. Like Denny can just stand back and let that happen.

She can barely control herself or her demon these days, so how in the hell is she supposed to protect the world? Add to all this the fact that her brother now faces the death penalty for a crime he didn’t commit, her mother is a vegetable, and her little sister has been removed from her protection, and—yeah—it’s been one hell of a fucked up year for Denny.

Desperate, she seeks help from the last place she expected to look: the local coven. She knows their help comes with a price tag. Will it be too high to pay? Can they help her level the playing field in a supernatural world bent on destroying all she holds dear? Find out as Denny and her merry band of supernatural rejects attempt to save Savannah from certain doom in Demon Within.

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Audiobook Review: The Wrath And The Dawn by: Renee Ahdieh

This audiobook was amazing. 🙂

The Wrath And The Dawn
By: Renee Ahdieh
Narrator(s):
Arianna Delawari
Rating:
4.5 stars
Genre:
YA Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Cultural Retellings,
Mythology, Magic
Publisher:
Listening Library
Format:
Unabridged Audiobook
Length: 10hrs and 38 mins
Released Date:
May 12th 2015

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | Audible

Synopsis:

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights.

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

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Book Review: Delilah:Treacherous Beauty (Dangerous Beauty #3) by Angela Hunt

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty (Dangerous Beauty #3)

By: Angela Hunt

Genre: Biblical Fiction, Historical Fiction

Rating: 3 stars

Release Date: June 7th 2016

Publisher: Bethany House

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
A Complex and Compelling Glimpse at One of the Bible’s Baddest Girls  Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself.

When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits

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Cover Reveal For: Daybreak Rising (Embers Of Redemption #1) by: Kiran Oliver

Happy Friday, Peeps! ^_^

So, I have an exciting post for you all today. On September 21, 2016, the F/F fantasy DAYBREAK RISING will be arriving to an e-readers near you from Torquere Press! Today, we get a first look at the amazing cover, designed by the amazing artist Kris Norris over at Torquere.

Here’s a bit about DAYBREAK RISING:

22-year-old Celosia Brennan spent sixteen years being raised as the heroine her nation needed. A dual-touched Elementalist with both the power to conjure fire and see glimpses of her future, Celosia was the best hope at overthrowing the oppressive Council in a mission called Daybreak, an attempt to secure justice for the massacre of her people and so many others. There’s just one problem: she couldn’t. Celosia broke down after realizing the enormity of her task, and is struggling to make things right while the blood of her fellows stains her hands.

Now branded a failure, Celosia desperately volunteers for the next mission: taking down the corrupt Council with a team of her fellow elementally-gifted mages. Leading the Ember Operative gives Celosia her last hope at redemption. They seek to overthrow the Council once and for all, this time bringing the fight to Valeria, the largest city under the Council’s iron grip. But Celosia’s new teammates don’t trust her—all except for a powerful ice Elementalist named Ianthe who believes in second chances.

With Council spies, uncontrolled magic, and the distraction of unexpected love, Celosia will have to win the trust of her teammates and push her abilities to the breaking point to complete the Ember Operative. Except if she falters this time, there won’t be any Elementalists left to stop the Council from taking over not only her country, but their entire world.

 

So here it is…The moment we’ve been waiting for…

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Wander This World by: GL Tomas Book Review (18+)

Wander This World  (18+)

By: GL Tomas

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: New Adult Romance, Paranormal, Horror, Interracial Romance

Publisher: Rebellious Valkyrie Press

Release Date: May 7th 2016

Review copy received from authors in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:

Some people are just attracted to darkness…

Penley thought he had his life figured out. So why does his world turn upside down when Melanie Blue walks back in it?

Melanie’s lived a thousand lives–possibly taken even more. Targeted by serial killer, she’ll find she has more to worry about than resisting own her nature.

When Penley and Melanie’s path collide, they’ll find that want and need often lead to the same thing.

Will Melanie lose everything when she meets her match?

Book Review:

Like many of the New Adult narratives by GL Tomas, Wander This World offers unique and fresh character perspectives that go against expectations of the genre in the best way. For instance, an unconventional vampire, a creepy and (almost) darker character other than said vampire—that’s learned to curb her blood lust with mint chocolate—and Doctor Who.

I mean, need I say more?

Well, since you insist, I loved how this book had this dark and ominous undertone throughout the book that was entirely separate/independent from that fact one of the main characters is a vampire. Presented in both first and third person perspective, I think every reader will feel the horror/fear factor when it comes to the sadist, serial killer in this book. I mean I almost felt bad for him when Melanie turned on him—almost.

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The Mother by Yvvette Edwards Book Review

THE MOTHER
By: Yvvette Edwards
Genre:Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Publisher: Amistad
Release Date: May 10th, 2016

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HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 Synopsis:

From the critically acclaimed author of A Cupboard Full of Coats comes a provocative novel of a mother enduring the loss of her child, illuminating some of the most important and troubling issues of our time.

Marcia’s husband, Lloydie, expresses his tender love for his wife each morning by preparing a cup of tea and setting it by her bedside. This routine was part of the wonderful, secure life they had built, complete with a brilliant and handsome sixteen-year-old son, Ryan.

Then the unimaginable happens, and in a single moment Marcia is stripped clean of everything she had presumed was hers for keeps. Ryan, not the kind of boy to find himself on the wrong end of a knife, is brutally murdered. Consumed by grief and rage, she is forced to carry the weight of the family’s pain. She has to assume the role of supporter for her inconsolable husband, who has distanced himself and created a secret life. She must also bridle her dark feelings and endure something no mother should ever have to experience: she must go to court alone for the trial of her son’s killer, Tyson, another teenage boy. As the trial takes apart her son’s life and reassembles it in front of strangers, Marcia, always certain of Ryan’s virtues, finds her beliefs and assumptions challenged as she learns more about her son’s death and of Tyson’s life.

The Mother is a moving portrait of love, tragedy, and survival—and of the aftershocks from a momentary act of cruel violence that transforms the lives of everyone it touches.

Book Review:

It only took about twenty-four hours to get through this book, but a full hour to compartmentalize all of my thoughts. Broken up in a manner of a few days, the reader follows Marcia Williams’ first person narration, as she attends the trial of the boy accused of stabbing and killing her sixteen year old son, Ryan, whom it is perceptibly clear she loved dearly.

The effects of the first person perspective in this book are truly ones that that will grab a hold of the reader from page one. The pain, disconnection, emptiness and pure desperation Marcia William’s character emits at the need to know and understand the reasons behind her son’s abrupt death were almost crippling.

Nonetheless, this book was sad and powerful in such a low-key and abrasive way. Beside the context of this story, I really enjoyed the themes that woven into the narrative: class prejudice, racial stereotyping, parental methods, “suburban” vs. “urban” life styles and neighborhoods, gang involvement and the loss of a loved one from illegal weapon possession.

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Read Diverse Books Year-Round & Diversity On The Shelf 2016 Book Reading Challenges

Hiya, Guys:

So, I realize that I’m a little late to the Diversity On The Shelf 2016 book challenge here, but I’m not new to the game ;).

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I’ve already read about 12 or 13 diverse books this year (by authors of color), so I’m aim for the 4th Shelf: 19-24 books to complete this year. And based on the bit of research I’ve done so far, I’m going to have to list a few books I know I can get my hands on ie: Audiobooks and Physical copies from Amazon, thriftbooks and the library as my tablet (where I read most, if not all of my ebooks) has almost officially broken up with me and refuses to allow me access to all of the ebooks it’s holding captive -___- The rules for this challenge are simple: read books by and/or about people of color throughout the year to encourage other readers to have a more diverse reading experience and to support diversity in the publishing industry. Quoting challenge creator Akilah, over at The Englishist

And for the Read Diverse Books Year-Round, (which just started this month and is a variation of the first challenge), I’ve made a list of ten options that are subsidiaries of this particular challenge just below. And while these two reading challenges go hand-in-hand, the books of this #readdiversebooks2016  will have a few cross overs, but my ultimate goal is to stick to and only count books that have been written by/are about people of color, QPOC/LGBT characters books and characters with disabilities.

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Author: Patrick Smith

2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Five

I’ve finished so much this month! 😄

Hiya, Guys:

May, for me, was a pretty good book month based on the material I got through. And just in case you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to check out my recent non-blog or reading challenge book review posts for, The Fold by: Peter Clines & Game of Fear by: Gledé Browne Kabongo. Two very different books with unique twists entirely their own.

I’d also like to mention that besides my #2016readingchallenge books, I will be reading The Mother by: Yvvette Edwards  for a June 15th blog tour date and Wander This World by: GL Tomas. (I love these girls) :-). Now without further ranting, I present to you the reviews for this month’s reading challenge books.

Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

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Book Review: Game Of Fear by: Gledé Browne Kabongo

Game Of Fear
By: Gledé Browne Kabongo
Genre: YA Fiction, YA Romance, Suspense, Mystery
Rating: 2 stars
Release: February 24th 2016

Review Copy Provided by: Xpresso Tours

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

A desperate act, an explosive secret, and a diabolical enemy—all part of a treacherous game, with no limits.
Overachieving good girl Abbie Cooper has her future all planned out. As senior year at her elite private school kicks off, she has one simple goal: get into the Ivy League. But at St. Matthews Academy, nothing is ever simple. The pressure is overwhelming, the secrets are dirty, and the games are wicked. Abbie has a dirty secret—one that could destroy her chances of getting admitted into Princeton, and the lives of those closest to her.

One morning, she discovers a note in her locker with the warning, “I know what you did”. Then a photo arrives in the mail. It captures her most shameful deed—the shocking blunder she can never erase, in glorious detail. Someone is out to ruin her, but who and why? The answer lies with the sender of the photo, a mysterious girl known only as The Avenger. For a price, she assures Abbie her secret will remain safe. There’s only one problem: The Avenger may not exist at all. If Abbie doesn’t uncover her true identity before acceptance decisions are made, it’s game over…

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Book Review: The Fold by Peter Clines

The Fold
By: Peter Clines
Genre: Scifi Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Mystery/Thriller
Rating: 3.5 stars
Release: June 2nd 2015

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

STEP INTO THE FOLD.
IT’S PERFECTLY SAFE.

The folks in Mike Erikson’s small New England town would say he’s just your average, everyday guy. And that’s exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he’s chosen isn’t much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he’s content with his quiet and peaceful existence.

That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step.

The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the Door is completely safe.

Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems—and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret.

As his investigations draw him deeper into the puzzle, Mike begins to fear there’s only one answer that makes sense. And if he’s right, it may only be a matter of time before the project destroys…everything.

A cunningly inventive mystery featuring a hero worthy of Sherlock Holmes and a terrifying final twist you’ll never see coming, The Fold is that rarest of things: a genuinely page-turning science-fiction thriller. Step inside its pages and learn why author Peter Clines has already won legions of loyal fans.

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Book Review: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania by: Erik Larson

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of The Lusitania 
By: Erik Larson
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical Literature, WWI, War/Military
Rating: 4.5 stars
Release: March 10th 2015

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.

Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.

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Audiobook Review: Why Not Me? By: Mindy Kalling

Why Not Me?

By: Mindy Kaling
Narrator(s): Mindy Kaling, Greg Daniels, & B.J. Novak

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor, Autobiography
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Format: Unabridged audiobook
Length: 4hrs and 57 mins
Released Date: September 15th  2015

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | Audible

Synopsis:

In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

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Book Review: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda By: Becky Albertalli

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
By: Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA Fiction, GLBT, Realistic Fiction, MM Romance, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 stars
Release: April 7th 2015

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

 

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Under Ground (Under Ground #1) Book Review by Alice Rachel (+ Giveaway)

May 20th Blog Tour Date

 

Under Ground (Under Ground, #1)
By: Alice Rachel
Publication date: October 30th 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
Rating: 3.8 stars
Synopsis:

Love is a taboo, a mere fantasy— foreign, unreachable, and dangerous.

Raised in a society where women have no rights, seventeen-year-old Thia Clay holds little hope for a bright future. When her parents sell her into marriage to elite member William Fox, Thia slowly gives in to despair. William is nothing but a cruel, selfish young man with no other interest than to serve his own.

Born illegally and forced to hide from the authorities his entire life, nineteen-year-old Chi Richards is an active member of the Underground—a rebellious group seeking to overthrow the government.

Chi only has one goal—to rescue his parents from the work camp they were forced into.

Meeting Thia was never part of the plan, and neither was falling in love with her.

If caught in their forbidden relationship, Thia and Chi could face a death sentence, and when devastating secrets surface from Chi’s past, Thia has to rely on her instincts to make a choice that could save her or destroy her forever.

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Audiobook Review: Voyage of The Defiance: Breaking Free Pt. 1 by S.E. Smith

Author: S.E. Smith
Voyage Of The Defiance: Breaking Free Pt.1
Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman
Publisher: Susan E. Smith
Unabridged Audiobook
Length of Production: 7hrs & 56 mins
Year of Publication: 12-15-15
Rating: 1.5 stars  :/

Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary
Copy received graciously from Audiobookjukebox in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

An act of defiance that will either kill her or change her life forever…

Sixteen year old Makayla Summerlin enjoyed one thing in her crazy, messed-up existence: hanging with her friends at school. Her life is uprooted when she suddenly finds herself forced to live with the grandfather she barely remembers.

One act of defiance will change her life forever when she sets sail in her grandfather’s old sailboat after she has trouble adjusting to her new home. On a journey that will challenge everything she has ever believed about herself, Makayla must overcome her fears if she, and a surprising stowaway, are to survive.

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You & I (Pt.2 of Stages) Banner

You & I (Pt. 2 Of Stages)

Hiya,

So for this part of the Stages titled You & I, I have incorporated three elements: the passing of a loved one, a friendship ending and a romantic relationship coming to an end. This installment ties in with I Want Out, but on a slightly different level because of the other perspectives included within this poem as well as the dual perspectives You & I offers to the reader.

You & I (Pt. 2 Of Stages)

You’re the only person I let see me cry
You’re the only one who stays up late talking with me on the phone when I can’t sleep

I can remember when we said our goodbyes on that stale, hot August day
I can remember the way the light in your eyes faded as you slipped away

You’re the first person I want to share my good news with
You’re the only one who understands my jokes with just a look

I want to stop you, chase you down, and make you change your mind
I want to go back to hanging out in the park and talking on the porch at night

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