Checkmate: This is Beautiful by Kennedy Fox (Review)

34875065.jpgRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Romance

Synopsis: Kayla Sinclair is a saint and real life Angel.
She wears her heart on her sleeve and inspires me to be a better person.
Rescuing dogs, feeding the homeless, volunteering at the local food pantry are just a few of the ways she gives back to others, although no one has ever been there for her.
Falling for her was inevitable, losing her will destroy me.

Letting someone in didn’t come easy, but she made me want to try for the first time in years.
Her bubbling personality and kind spirit make it impossible to forget a girl like her.
But when tragedy strikes and she loses all memory that our relationship ever existed, my worst nightmare comes to life.

I’ll do anything to remind her of the love we shared. I know it’ll be an uphill battle, but I won’t walk away without a fight. Whoever said all is fair in love and war never played by my rules.

Checkmate, Angel.

My thoughts: Kennedy Fox knows how to grip a reader and keep them on their toes, when reading a sequel. I loved following Logan and Kayla as they fell in love in This is Dangerous, and I loved seeing their relationship shift and develop in this novel as well. Logan was such a sweet character and I loved how Kayla grew and gained confidence while chasing her dreams. One thing I really enjoyed, besides the character development, was seeing Logan interact with his daughter who played a large role in the story. All the relationships shown in this novel were so wonderful to read about, and I only wish that I got to see more of their lives. Read More »

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Dare by Natalia Jaster (Review)

34593534Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult

Summary: A Hotheaded Prisoner

They say she’s mad—made of madness, made of fire. In a cage by the sea, Flare dreams of escape. She yearns for the day when she’ll flee to a place only she knows, a hidden world of mystical waters and gilded sands.

The island is calling to her. And she won’t let anyone keep her from it.

Especially not him.

A Coldhearted Prince

They say he’s cruel—crowned of cruelty, as cold as ice. A prince whose gaze cuts like the incisions he administers within his lab. Jeryn has sailed beyond his kingdom for the Trade, to bargain for those wild, imprisoned fools that make his skin crawl.

By law, they’re subjects meant for experimentation. And easy to despise.

One in particular. A girl seething at him from behind bars, with burning eyes and ready fists.

A Mythical Shipwreck

But on the cusp of transport, the tide rages. That uncharted island awaits, a dark tangle of foliage where creatures slither in the mist and poisons lurk in the flora.

Stranded, the prince and prisoner must fight to survive. In this mysterious rainforest, they must band together . . . if they don’t slay one another first. Or become something more to each other.

Something just as dangerous.

*Second book in a duology: same universe, different couple. Can be read as a standalone, though it’s recommended to read TRICK first. Mature YA: sexual content and language. Intended for readers 17 and older.* 

My thoughts: Dare uses one of my favorite tropes which is when two people who are polar opposites are stranded somewhere and have to rely on each other to survive. Specific, I know, but some books do use this trope, and Dare delivered it perfectly while also speaking out about society’s views of mental illnesses. It was such an interesting mix of survival and two characters learning and changing over the time they spent together on this mystical island. Read More »

27 Hours by Tristina Wright (Review)

28526192DIVERSE READ: Biracial, Latinx, Trans, Nonbinary, deaf, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, gay rep.

Genres: Young Adult, LGBTQIAP+, Sci-Fi

Summary: Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero. 

My thoughts: 27 Hours was such an interesting and inclusive sci-fi read that so many people will feel represented while reading it. The story follows a motley group of teens as war rages when chimeras begin to attack colonies built on the moon. The group of strangers-turned-friends has 27 hours to fight for their lives and countless others as they face hardships, revelations, and twists and turns along the way. Read More »

Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn (Review)

31428017

DIVERSE READ: Thai-American MC + Diaspora

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery

Summary: How far would you go to belong?

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

My thoughts: The Girl on the Verge is a wonderful diverse mystery thriller that also discusses what it’s like to be a PoC in America. It follows Kan who experiences diaspora because she doesn’t truly feel as though she is Thai enough or American enough to fit in at home or in school. This novel explores what it’s like to be a Thai-American and mixing those cultures together while Kan is also dealing with a roommate who tries to steal her life as the days progress. 

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The Lady of Royale Street by Thea de Salle (Review)

32620396.jpgBOOK #3 IN THE NOLA NIGHTS SERIES

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Romance, Adult, Contemporary, Erotica

Summary: From the New York Times bestselling author of the NOLA Nights series comes a rollicking, sexy tale of opposites attracting in the midst of wedding planning.

Alex DuMont is everything his brother Sol isn’t: regimented, serious, and devout. Between twelve-hour workdays, service to the church, punishing daily workouts, and bi-weekly therapy sessions, Alex is, as Sol once put it, “a kettle perpetually whistling as it boils itself to death.” So when Sol announces his marriage to Arianna Barrington, heiress and society sweetheart, Alex is the absolute worst choice to be his best man. Sol asks anyway and Alex reluctantly agrees. It’s only a week, after all, and Alex should be able to stop himself from throttling his big brother for a meager seven days. Probably. Maybe.

Theresa Ivarson is Arianna’s best friend and the maid of honor. A decorated photojournalist who interrupts her globetrotting to stand beside her friend, Theresa is beautiful, witty, and unafraid to speak her mind. So when she is faced with working with the best man from Hell, a Viking who doesn’t know how to smile, is bossy, and about as pleasant as a cactus, the sparks are bound to fly—and not in the good way. To make matters worse, Sol and Rain’s wedding planner was hit by a bus the week before their special day, and Alex and Theresa find themselves at the center of a list-ditch effort to pull the wedding together. But when you can’t decide if you want to kiss or kill someone, something’s bound to break.

My thoughts: The Lady of Royale Street is an adorable and quick read following the previous two novels in the NOLA Nights series by Thea de Salle. It centers around Sol and Rain’s impending wedding day and the mishaps that keep occurring beforehand. Alex, Sol’s reluctant best man and brother, must work together with Theresa, Rain’s snarky maid of honor, in order to get things running smoothly before the big day, if only they could get along for more than five minutes. Read More »

Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell (Review)

34346381.jpgDIVERSE READ: Bisexual MC + Gay MC

Rating: ★★★★★

Genres: Romance, Sports, Contemporary, LGBTQIAP+

Summary: The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

My thoughts: Illegal Contact was such a pleasant surprise, for me. I am not the biggest fan of novels centered around sports, so I was hesitant to pick up this novel, but my friends have hyped up this story so much that I had to see what it was all about. And, somehow along the way, Gavin and Noah’s story centering around love and life and football captured my heart and kept me reading until I finished this story in one sitting. It offered me everything I needed from a tension filled relationship to some heart felt moments and fantastic character development which made this one of my favorite reads of 2017.Read More »