Anthology, ARC, blog tour, Four Star Book, LGBT, ya

🌈 Out Now Blog Tour 🌈

🌈 Title : Out Now
🌈 Author : Saundra Mitchell
🌈 Publisher : Inkyard Press
🌈 Publish Date : May 26, 2020
🌈 Genre : LGBT, Anthology
🌈 Book Form : E-ARC
🌈 Pages : 416
🌈 Dates Read : May 17 – May 19
🌈 Rating : 🌈🌈🌈🌈

Thank you to Inkyard Press for an invite to this blog tour and a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

A follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Out anthology, Out Now features seventeen new short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash prom…aliens run from the government…a president’s daughter comes into her own…a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer…a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. Teapots and barbershops…skateboards and VW vans…Street Fighter and Ares’s sword: Out Now has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page!

This essential and beautifully written modern-day collection features an intersectional and inclusive slate of authors and stories.

– Inkyard Press

Before I get into these stories, I just want to say you do not need to read All Out in order to enjoy this! These are all short stories spotlighting various LGBT characters and are all amazing in their own right! There were 16 short stories in this anthology. They explored so many sexualities.

My favorite story was a tie between What Happens in the Closet and The Coronation. What Happens in the Closet is about vampires who crash a homecoming dance. Austin gets locked in a closet with his arch-nemesis while hiding from them. They are not the sexy vampires we know and love. Of course, while in the closet, they find love.
The Coronation is about a trans boy and girl who are being given to the Gods but they decide to fight back. This read very much like a fantasy that picked up right when the action started. Once it ended I was yearning for a whole book!

There weren’t any bad stories in this book. There were some that featured gods and goddesses, some that read like ya contemporary love stories, and fantasies. There is something for everyone in this book! It was 416 pages long, but didn’t feel like it. I flew through it!

I recommend this to anyone who is LGBT, loves their stories, is an ally, or who wants to learn more about different sexualities. You will be sure to find a story you love.

Can’t wait to get your hands on Out Now? Order it here!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound
Books-A-Million | Apple Books | Google Play

Saundra Mitchell has been a phone psychic, a car salesperson, a denture deliverer and a layout waxer. She’s dodged trains, endured basic training and hitchhiked from Montana to California. She teaches herself languages, raises children and makes paper for fun. She is the author of Shadowed Summer and The Vespertine series, the upcoming novelization of The Prom musical, and the editor of Defy the Dark. She always picks truth; dare is too easy. Visit her online at www.saundramitchell.com.

Until next time…

ARC, blog tour, contemporary, Four Star Book, Romance, ya

🏊‍♀️ Breath Like Water BLOG TOUR 🏊‍♀️

🏊‍♀️ Title : Breath Like Water
🏊‍♀️ Author : Anna Jarzab
🏊‍♀️ Publisher : Inkyard Press
🏊‍♀️ Publish Date : May 19, 2020
🏊‍♀️ Genre : YA, Contemporary, Romance
🏊‍♀️ Book Form : E-ARC
🏊‍♀️ Pages : 416
🏊‍♀️ Dates Read : May 16 –
🏊‍♀️ Rating : 🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️🏊‍♀️.5

Thank you to Inkyard Press for an invite to the blog tour and a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This beautifully lyrical contemporary novel features an elite teen swimmer with Olympic dreams, plagued by injury and startled by unexpected romance, who struggles to balance training with family and having a life. For fans of Sarah Dessen, Julie Murphy and Miranda Kenneally.

Susannah Ramos has always loved the water. A swimmer whose early talent made her a world champion, Susannah was poised for greatness in a sport that demands so much of its young. But an inexplicable slowdown has put her Olympic dream in jeopardy, and Susannah is fighting to keep her career afloat when two important people enter her life: a new coach with a revolutionary training strategy, and a charming fellow swimmer named Harry Matthews.

As Susannah begins her long and painful climb back to the top, her friendship with Harry blossoms into passionate and supportive love. But Harry is facing challenges of his own, and even as their bond draws them closer together, other forces work to tear them apart. As she struggles to balance her needs with those of the people who matter most to her, Susannah will learn the cost–and the beauty–of trying to achieve something extraordinary.

This book so was so beautiful. It was lyrical, it was descriptive, it was heartbreaking and joyous. And it was so so real.

First let me get out these trigger warnings. I don’t do them often, and nothing is super graphic, but I do want to mention the book contains struggling with mental health and self harm.

Okay, so. Susannah is a world champion swimmer. The summer after she won, she hit a growth spurt, and hasn’t been the same since. Dave has always been her coach. He’s an Olympian, so he knows what it takes to get there. This year, he hires a new coach, Beth. Susannah swears she won’t swim for her, but after finally having enough of Dave’s abusive behavior, she swims for Beth and gets better. But does she have what it takes to make the Olympics?

Along with swimming, this book mainly features Susannah’s relationship with Harry, another boy on the swim team. It is her first love. I love books about first love. The feelings are all new and exciting, and you’re just fumbling around, and it’s just great. Their relationship turned out to be so much deeper than I expected. It’s nice to see a deep, meaningful relationship between high schoolers.

Breath Like Water also showed some strong family bonds. The relationship with Susannah’s parents and sister was a huge part of the book and I loved it. I feel like I don’t get a lot of that in ya contemporaries, so it’s always a nice surprise when I do.

If you love ya contemporaries, with strong familial bonds and a backdrop of sports, this book is for you!

Want to read Breath Like Water right now? Buy it here!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound
Google Play | Apple Books

Anna Jarzab is a Midwesterner turned New Yorker. She lives and works in New York City and is the author of such books as Red Dirt, All Unquiet Things, The Opposite of Hallelujah, and the Many-Worlds series. Visit her online at annajarzab.com and on Twitter, @ajarzab.

Are you planning on reading Breath Like Water? Have you already read it? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

ARC, blog tour, contemporary, Four Star Book, LGBT, ya

We Didn’t Ask for This BLOG TOUR

HUGE THANKS to Harlequin for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour!

🗝️ Title: We Didn’t Ask for This
🗝️ Author: Adi Alsaid
🗝️ Publisher: Inkyard Press
🗝️ Publish Date: April 7, 2020
🗝️ Book Form: E-ARC
🗝️ Pages: 352
🗝️ Genre: YA, Contemporary, LGBT
🗝️ Dates Read: Mar 30 – Apr 4
🗝️ Rating: 🗝️🗝️🗝️🗝️

Thank you to Inkyard Press for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

From Adi Alsaid, the acclaimed author of Let’s Get LostNever Sometimes Always, and North of Happy

Every year, lock-in night changes lives. This year, it might just change the world.

Central International School’s annual lock-in is legendary — and for six students, this year’s lock-in is the answer to their dreams. The chance to finally win the contest. Kiss the guy. Make a friend. Become the star of a story that will be passed down from student to student for years to come.

But then a group of students, led by Marisa Cuevas, stage an eco-protest and chain themselves to the doors, vowing to keep everyone trapped inside until their list of demands is met. While some students rally to the cause, others are devastated as they watch their plans fall apart. And Marisa, once so certain of her goals, must now decide just how far she’ll go to attain them.

– Inkyard Press

FIRST OFF! I want to share this awesome preorder incentive that goes along with the book’s theme of being environmentally friendly!

Preorder ends tonight at 11:59pm so be sure to preorder now!! Here are the links:

| Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound |

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into We Didn’t Ask for This. I was very pleasantly surprised. I read my first Adi book last month. After reading this, I know I need to read all of his works!

This story is told from one all-knowing POV, but has a huge cast of characters. Thankfully, they are all introduced slowly and with a great background, so I had no trouble keeping up with who was who. I loved the one POV. It gave you little hints or glimpses of what was to come after all of this was over. That really elevated the story for me.

These students go to a private school who has a lock in for high schoolers once a year. This year, Marisa decides to stage a protest during the lock in. She is an avid snorkler and diver, and hates seeing the coral reefs slowly dying off. The kids are stuck in the school for a whole week. Four of them are chained to doors.

Marisa has a list of 30 demands she wants met before she lets everyone out. All the kids have connections – parents are celebrities or ambassadors or huge sports stars. She is banking on one of them being linked to the Lokoloko resort – the main place she wants shut down.

We Didn’t Ask for This isn’t just about Marisa though. Like I said, there is a huge cast of characters – 10 or more. You see them form bonds, friendships, and relationships during tough times. That gives you hope these relationships will last well beyond when this is over. All of the characters had very distinctive voices and actions. This helped to tell them apart. I want to applaud Adi because I think it’s very hard to one, have that many characters in a novel, and two, have them all have distinct voices! He did it so well!

This was a quick read. I know my dates read doesn’t reflect that, but yall, my kid refused to let me read this week. The 30 mintues to an hour a day I got to read I read about 10%-20%. The pace was great and it kept me hooked! I had to see how they were going to get out and what demands ended up being met!

I highly recommend if you are a fan of YA contemporary or Adi. I’m definitely going back to read the rest of his works!

Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He’s now back in Mexico City, where he writes, coaches basketball, and makes every dish he eats as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he’s lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas and Monterey, California. His books include Let’s Get Lost, Never Always Sometimes, and North of Happy. Visit Adi online at http://www.SomewhereOverTheSun.com, or on Twitter: @AdiAlsaid.

Is We Didn’t Ask for This on your tbr? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

ARC, blog tour, Historical Fiction, LGBT, three star book, ya

🎵 Music From Another World BLOG TOUR 🎵

🎵 Title: Music From Another World
🎵 Author: Robin Talley
🎵 Publisher: Inkyard Press
🎵 Publish Date: March 31, 2020
🎵 Book Form: E-ARC
🎵 Pages: 384
🎵 Genre: YA, LGBT, Historical Fiction
🎵 Dates Read: Mar 22 – Mar 23
🎵 Rating: 🎵🎵🎵.5

Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultrareligious aunt relentlessly organizes antigay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.

Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.

A master of award-winning queer historical fiction, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley once again brings to life with heart and vivid detail an emotionally captivating story about the lives of two teen girls living in an age when just being yourself was an incredible act of bravery.

– Inkyard Press

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this book. I knew it was epistolary style, which is my favorite. Sharon and Tammy were randomly paired as pen pals during the summer. This story it told through diary entries and letters to one another.

Tammy is a closeted lesbian living with her ultra-conservative, Christian family. They have even joined political campaigns against LGBT people. Sharon is still trying to figure her life out. She lives in San Francisco with her closeted gay brother and her mom.

Tammy and Sharon both had very distinct voices. I loved that it was super easy to follow who was speaking. I loved watching their pen pal letters grow into a friendship and then more. All of the side characters were interesting and had their own voices, too. There were a couple I would love to learn about if they had their own novel!

Music from Another World was a super quick read that was easy to follow. I’d recommend it if you like LGBT novels or historical fiction – this was set in the 1970s when Harvey Milk was elected.

Thanks again to Inkyard Press for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour! This was a great read!

Robin Talley studied literature and communications at American University. She lives in
Washington, DC, with her wife, but visits both Boston and New York regularly despite her moral
opposition to Massachusetts winters and Times Square. Her first book was 2014’s Lies We Tell
Ourselves. Visit her online at robintalley.com or on Twitter at @robin_talley.

Will you read Music From Another World? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

ARC, contemporary, Four Star Book, review, Romance, ya

💔 Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak ARC Review 💔

💔 Title: Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak
💔 Author: Adi Alsaid
💔 Publisher: Inkyard Press
💔 Publish Date: April 30, 2019
💔 Book Form: E-ARC
💔Pages: 384
💔Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
💔 Dates Read: Mar 3 – Mar 7
💔Rating: 💔💔💔💔

Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The summer after senior year is not going as eighteen-year-old Lu Charles expected: after her longtime boyfriend unexpectedly breaks up with her, Lu can’t write a single word, despite the fact that her college scholarship is tied to her columnist job at hip online magazine Misnomer. Then, she meets Cal.

Cal’s ever-practical girlfriend Iris is looking ahead to her first year of college, and her plans do not include a long-distance boyfriend. When Lu learns that Cal and Iris have planned to end their relationship at the end of the summer, she becomes fascinated and decides to chronicle the last months the couple will spend together.

The closer she gets to the couple, the more she likes them, and the more she wants to write about them. The summer unfurls, and Lu discovers what it really means to be in love. On the page, or off it. The book is touching exploration of love and how it shapes us both during a relationship and after it has ended.

– Goodreads

This is the first book by Adi Alsaid, but I know it will not be my last. I was instantly pulled into Lu’s story and couldn’t wait to see what happened.

In the beginning, and throughout the whole book, really, I wanted this weird relationship with Lu and the couple she eavesdropped on – Cal and Iris. I wanted Lu and Iris to become bffs. They seemed to instantly click and they jsut had a nice flow to their friendship. However, Lu met Cal before she met Iris. He sat beside her on a bench where they talked in fake French accents and helped French tourists find their way. They seemed to have instant chemistry and I really wanted Cal to be the one to mend Lu’s heart.

For a while, this weird situation seemed to work. Lu started hanging out with Cal and Iris together, then separate. When she and Cal were together, it seemed like a romantic connection. When Lu and Iris were together, they seemed like they had been friends forever.
Lu had a best friend before all this went down – Pete. He might have been my favorite. He was asexual and Lu described him as her wise old uncle, which he thought was pretty fitting. He was funny and smart and gave the best advice.

Lu was eavesdropping on Cal and Iris because she writes a love column. Since her boyfriend broke up with her, she had writer’s block. She was listening to what she thought was their breakup for inspiration. This is really the central plot of the book – Lu working through her heartbreak so she can write again. Besides, her whole future lies in this column. She has to keep it to get her scholarship to go to NYU for journalism.

Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak was such a quick, fun read. It made me laugh out loud at times. It also took me back to my past days of high school romance when a break up was totally the end of the world.

I would recommend this book if you like YA romance contemporaries – but the ending will surprise you! I want to say more thoughts about the ending, but I’m scared it’s spoilery so I will refrain.

Have you read Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

ARC, contemporary, Five Star Book, ya

Don’t Read the Comments ARC Review!

  • Title: Don’t Read the Comments
  • Author: Eric Smith
  • Publisher: Inkyard Press
  • Publish Date: January 28, 2020
  • Book Form: E-ARC
  • Pages: 368
  • Genre: YA, Contemporary
  • Dates Read: Jan 10 – Jan 12
  • Rating: ★★★★★

Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard press for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

– Goodreads

Omg yall. This book. It’s my first 5 star read of the year and so deserving of every single star it gets. Don’t Read the Comments is a great look at the sexist nature of the video gaming community. That just because you are a female, you automatically aren’t as good as a male. Like, honestly. What do genitals have to do with gaming skill? NOTHING.

I’ve been gaming since I was 15. I started with Halo online, then went to World of Warcraft. I’ve tried various other MMO’s, FPS’s, everything. And no matter how good I am, if I speak, I’m either just trying to find a boyfriend or I’m a boy who hasn’t hit puberty yet. It’s so annoying, so I felt what D1V did. I knew how it was – people saying nasty things about you because they think you don’t belong. It was so nice to have that rep. To have a strong, GOOD female gamer, who didn’t let them see her break. She was so brave and so strong. Even when she got doxxed. If you don’t know about doxxing, check this out. It happened to a lot of females in the gaming/geek world and it it SO.SCARY.

Okay, now you see why the books means so much to me. I imagine it will mean a lot to the female gaming community who are also readers. Let’s get into this book review, shall we?

I first featured this book on my First Impressions Friday post. I read the first chapter and was immediately hooked. I was so interested in Divya, or D1V as she is known online. I immediately felt a kinship with her and her best friend, Rebekah. They were part of the streaming community, which is something I so desperately wanted to do back in the day.

In the next chapter you meet Aaron, a casual gamer who also plays Reclaim the Sun. The descriptions of the game make it sound like No Man’s Sky. Which I immediately had to play. I’ve logged three hours since finishing the book. Anyway…

A doxxing group attacks D1V and her armada of followers. She has to start over in game. She happens to meet Aaron when grinding to level back up. They end up playing together a lot, growing a friendship, then something more.

The romance was definitely in the background of this book. The main focus was D1V and Rebekah and how they have been attacked over and over. Both physically, verbally, and mentally. I think a lot of people don’t understand what it’s like to be in their position until they’ve been there. No, I’ve never been physically attacked, but I have been verbally and mentally.

There were so many great references in this book. All kinds of games, gamer news sites, and pop culture. I think I highlighted about 10 of them! It was so fun to read! The dual POV was so fun, too. I loved getting both sides of the friendship and romance.

I feel like I just rambled at the beginning of this, but this book is so important to me. I was so fortunate to get an ARC. I would recommend this to anyone in the gaming community or who loves geeky things!

There’s also an amazing pre-order incentive going on! Check it out here!

Until next time…

ARC, Four Star Book, thriller, ya

Day Zero ARC Review!

  • Title: Day Zero
  • Author: Kelly Devos
  • Publisher: Inkyard Press
  • Publish Date: November 12, 2019
  • Book Form: E-ARC
  • Pages: 432
  • Genre: YA, Thriller, Doomsday
  • Dates Read: Nov 19 – Nov 23
  • Rating: ★★★★

Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

If you’re going through hell…keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

– Goodreads

Four stars for this doomsday YA adventure!

Jinx is trying to navigate life with her mom’s new husband and her new step siblings. Most important though, she’s just trying to get her guild to defeat the newest raid. This is when I knew I loved Jinx. She reminded me of me in highschool. My only thoughts were about playing WoW and I wanted to be the best! Raiding was my favorite time of the week.

The day of the raid, disaster strikes. Five of the biggest banks get blown up and her dad And stepdad are to blame. Thankfully her dad was a doomsday prepper, so she knows how to survive.

Jinx was my favorite character. Her emotions and reactions just seemed so real. Plus, she’s a female raid leader, so major points in my book. She takes care of her baby brother, who is a type 1 diabetic. It was nice to see that rep too! All of the supporting characters were great, too. I loved the relationship between Jinx and her stepsister, MacKenna.

The action was great. I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen. Despite the 432 pages, I got through this book pretty quickly.

I would definitely recommend. I haven’t read a ya book like this one before! It was a unique concept that had great execution. Can’t wait for book #2!

Until next time…