Book Review – Stealing Home

Title: Stealing Home

Author: Becky Wallace

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Publication date: July 9th, 2019

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Fight for your dreams, even if it means breaking a few rules.

Seventeen-year-old Ryan Russell has life perfectly planned. If she keeps up her hard work, one day she’ll take over the family business: owning the Buckley Beavers, a minor league baseball team, and become one of the only female General Managers in the sport.

But when the newest member of the Beavers, child-phenom Sawyer Campbell, shows up, Ryan’s carefully laid plans are thrown a major curveball. Sawyer is far more charming than the arrogant jocks she usually manages, his ambition rivals her own workaholic nature—and he’s completely out of bounds. Fraternizing is against every rule in the Beaver’s handbook.

Then Ryan’s divorced parents butt heads over the future of the Beavers, and her mom plans to sell her shares to a business group known for relocating teams. If this happens, Ryan’s dreams of becoming GM disappear. In a bid to save her future, she partners with Sawyer to use his star power to draw in sponsors who will keep the team in Buckley. But the more time she spends with him, the more impossible it becomes to play by the Beaver’s rules, and she can’t afford a strikeout on the path to her dreams.

Full count with two outs, Ryan’s one pitch away from losing the whole ball game.

Review

Stealing Home follows main character’s Ryan and Sawyer as they mutually fight for the futures they’ve been working towards their whole lives. Ryan wants nothing more than to be the General Manager of her dad’s minor league baseball team, The Buckley Beavers. She puts all of her spare time and effort into the team. Sawyer is trying to make it big in the MLB to help keep his family’s watermelon farm afloat. When Sawyer is drafted and sent to the Beavers, they have a chance to help each other out, or cause each other to fail in their dreams.

I thought Stealing Home was super cute. I’m a baseball fanatic, have been my whole life, so I adore reading baseball related books. Sawyer and Ryan were so cute together, even when they were trying not to be. They are both stubborn and motivated individuals, which is why they work so well together. The romance is very PG, with some long, lingering glances and heated exchanges.

The supporting characters are the reason I docked this book a star. Ryan’s mom and dad are not great characters (although they get SOME redemption at the end). I really felt bad for Ryan having to deal with them as people. Also, I felt like it was kind of ridiculous that she was 17 and doing all of the grunt work for her dad – like she didn’t have a life. I know it was her choice, but what dad does that?

Overall, this was a very cute, contemporary, sports novel. I enjoyed reading it and read it all in one day. It was fairly light and easy to read. Fans of Jenn Bennett and Brigid Kemmerer should check this one out!

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – The Stone Rainbow

Title: The Stone Rainbow

Author: Liane Shaw

Publisher: Second Story Press

Publication date: September 17th, 2019

288 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Jack Pedersen is finding life complicated ever since he came out to his mom. Even though she’s been doing her best to be understanding, it’s obvious to Jack that his mom still wants to cry every time she says the word gay. Complications go into hyperdrive when a new student arrives at school, and Jack starts experiencing feelings he’s never allowed himself to feel before. When a near tragedy turns life upside down, Jack realizes it’s time to stop hiding from himself and everyone around him, and he decides to organize his small town’s first Pride Parade.

Review

**Thank you to Second Story Press, Netgalley, and Liane Shaw for providing me an ebook copy of The Stone Rainbow in exchange for an honest review**

Trigger Warning: homophobia, suicidal ideation, violent acts

Jack is a high school senior who is going through a lot. He lives in a very conservative, small town that doesn’t accept who he is as a homosexual male. He was saved by his friend Ryan after walking into a river without being able to swim. Unclear if he was trying to commit suicide, but he was very overwhelmed about not being himself. Now he’s known as the suicidal, gay kid, which isn’t the best in high school. He is just trying to keep his head down and make it to graduation.

That is, until Benjamin shows up as the new Vice Principal’s kid, and Benjamin is out and proud. Jack is instantly attracted to Benjamin but has no idea how to be attracted to someone, or even date someone. Benjamin also has these crazy ideas about bringing their small town out of the dark ages – like hosting a Pride Parade. Jack has to face his fears about homophobia and expressing himself. When the unimaginable happens, Jack is forced to make a choice…

The Stone Rainbow was a good representation of many areas of the United States. It’s a coming of age story that I’m sure many can relate to and find comfort in. It brings up a conversation around sexuality that has been growing over the last few decades in this country.

I did enjoy this book but it did not wow me. Worth a read, and those who really enjoy contemporaries will enjoy this. There is awesome LGBTQIA and disability representation here, with most of the main cast falling into either category.

Happy reading, book friends! 🙂

eARC Review – We Met in December

Title: We Met in December

Author: Rosie Curtis

Publisher: Avon Books UK

Publication date: September 5th, 2019

376 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

What if you couldn’t get away from the one who got away?

This December, unlucky-in-love Jess is following her dream and moving to Notting Hill. On the first night in her new house-share she meets Alex, the guy in the room next door. They don’t kiss under the mistletoe, but there’s still a spark that leaves Jess imagining how they might spend the year together – never mind the house rule against dating…

But when Jess returns from her Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started seeing Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into the man of her dreams – and, apparently, the woman of his.

Jess is determined to move on and spend the year falling in love with London, not Alex – but what if her heart has other ideas?

Review

**Thank you to Avon Books UK, Netgalley, and Rosie Curtis for providing a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

I was excited to read this book because it was Christmas themed (and of course I’m looking forward to Christmas in the middle of September) and because it seemed like a lovely romance/love story. I ended up being disappointed with this one, and I’m pretty bummed about it.

Jess is 29, living in a small town in England, and just broke up with her boyfriend of several years. She is working a job she doesn’t love, and when she is offered a promotion she realizing this is NOT the job she wants to be in forever. She applies to a publishing house in London and gets it, to her surprise, and makes the move to pricey London. Miraculously, her college friend Becky inherited a multi-million dollar home in Notting Hill and is willing to rent a room to her for pennies. She moves in, and there is immediate romantic chemistry between her and another house mate, Alex. Problem is, Becky has a no relationships clause in the lease to cut down on drama. We Met in December follows Alex and Jess in their life for about a year in London.

Alex and Jess met about 3% into the book. And then proceed to have the. slowest. burn. romance. ever. A year of time goes by and they are still just friends – no flirty glances, no almost kisses, no anything. They both date other people, and most of the book is just random happenings of all the characters. I really didn’t feel like the plot was moving forward at all.

It was well written, I will say that. I never wanted to DNF the book, I kept holding out hope that something would happen. It wasn’t a bad story, just not at all what I was expecting and it was disappointing for me.

If you enjoy contemporary books with light romance, We Met in December will be right up your alley. Just because it wasn’t an insta fave of mine, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be for you!

Happy reading, book friends! 🙂

Book Review – Fix Her Up

Title: Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1)

Author: Tessa Bailey

Publisher: Avon Publishing

Publication Date: June 11, 2019

400 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

New York Times bestseller Tessa Bailey launches a super sexy new series featuring the blue collar men who work for a HGTV-esq house flipping business.

After an injury ends Travis Ford’s major league baseball career, he returns home to start over. He just wants to hammer out his frustrations at his new construction gig and forget all about his glory days. But he can’t even walk through town without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his buddy’s little sister, who is definitely not a kid anymore.

Georgette Castle has crushed on her older brother’s best friend for years. The grumpy, bear of a man working for her family’s house flipping business is a far cry from the charming sports star she used to know. But a moody scowl doesn’t scare her and Georgie’s determined to show Travis he’s more than a pretty face and a batting average, even if it means putting her feelings aside to be “just friends.”

Travis wants to brood in peace. But the girl he used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman who makes him feel whole again. And he wants her. So damn bad. Except Georgie’s off limits and he knows he can’t give her what she deserves. But she’s becoming the air he breathes and Travis can’t stay away, no matter how hard he tries…

Review

Maybe it was the way she only reached his shoulder that sent protectiveness surging up to his jugular, while somehow—at the very same time—he wanted to seek refuge in her.

Fix Her up, tessa bailey

Okay, so I have been wanting this book pretty much since the day it came out because I saw so many people loved it on bookstagram. I was wandering around Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, DE and thought it was the perfect time to buy it. Knock one off my to buy list while supporting a local business. BEST. IDEA. EVER. I picked it up right before we were driving back to Baltimore so I had the WHOLE drive to read it. I just about finished it before we got home, but once we unloaded the car I dove right back in! Finished it all up in one day.

I fell in love with Georgie’s character within the first few pages. She was such a complex character (which frankly isn’t something you see much from smutty romance novels) who knew what she wanted. She had the best banter with Travis, which is something I could never do with the person I had been in love with forever. It was amazing to see her progression through the story and with Travis.

Travis was a great character too. He was just coming off a failed baseball career, living in his home town, living down his Two Bats nickname that he got from sleeping with everyone in America apparently. He also had this deeply sad part of him and believes he deserves the worst in the world. His type of character is my favorite in romance novels.

The side characters were good and obviously served their purpose in getting Georgie and Travis to the ending. The plot moved along well and hit all those Romance Novel check boxes. I don’t read Romance or Adult Contemporary super often, more just as a palate cleanser after the barrage of YA Fantasy I throw at my brain. But when I do, there are certain aspects I look for and this book had all of them.

Also, the smut. I mean come on, it had to be discussed right? Fix Her Up had a good level of smutty content without being too in your face, Fifty Shades style. There was mostly anticipation to the deed, which was honestly the best part. There’s this scene during a family dinner party that I needed to read again, for scientific purposes of course ;).

This book is the start of what appears to be a series where Fix Her Up’s side character become the main character and looks at their love story. Rosie and Dominic are up next in Love Her Or Lose Her, publishing in early 2020. You bet I’m picking up my copy!

Happy reading, bookish friends 🙂

June Haul

Hi friends! I had a much smaller haul this month than I did in May. I somehow managed to be more conscious of my bank account (even though I technically was on a buying ban and shouldn’t have gotten any!) In my defense, two of these were from book boxes and three were purchased as a gift from my father! In reality, I really only bought two books, which is a huge improvement!!

Okay, so below is my breakdown!

BOOK BOXES:

My June OwlCrate and ShelfLove Crate arrived this month.

  1. Sorcery of Thorns – Margert Rogerson (exclusive cover)
  2. The Kingdom – Jess Rothenberg (artwork on reverse of dust jacket)

FROM POPS:

I went on vacation earlier this month with my dad, and I text him while I was packing my suitcase and told him I wasn’t sure my luggage would be under the weight restriction because of the books I was bringing (mostly kidding). But he told me if I left a few at home he would replace them in San Diego, so I got three books out of the deal! Score!

  1. Malice – John Gwynne
  2. The City of Brass – S. A. Chakraborty
  3. Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

AMAZON:

I decided after reading an ARC of Call It What You Want that I needed to preorder it, and I needed more in my cart to get the free shipping – so of course I had to get another book too!

  1. A Thousand Perfect Notes – C. G. Drews (aka Paper Fury)
  2. Call It What You Want – Brigid Kemmerer

Tell me if you got any of these books, or have read any! And tune in tomorrow for my June Wrap Up post!

Happy reading, friends!

Book Review – Autoboyography

Title : Autoboyography

Author : Christina Lauren

Publisher : Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

407 pages

Rating : 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

Review

“His smile ruins me.”

-Christina Lauren, Autoboyography

So last weekend I went to the Baltimore County Public Library to FINALLY get a library card. My boyfriend was very much on board with that decision as it means I will buy fewer books (at least, I let him believe that). I picked up five titles that I recognized from bookstagram but wasn’t necessarily interested in enough to buy. Autoboyography was one of them, as I tend to go on YA Fantasy kicks and forget that I also really like YA Contemporary. So, this was my change up book and holy smokes I read it all in one sitting. My favorite books are the ones that can make me invested in the character’s and their happiness.

Tanner Scott is an awkward high school senior who falls immediately in love with an unavailable college boy. His awkwardness in social situations with Sebastian had me cringing in embarrassment for him, which is the mark of a well-written novel in my eyes. Why is Sebastian unavailable you ask? He is a Mormon, and well, expected to be straight. Bit of a dilemma for a bisexual boy from the West Coast, where he is used to being accepted for his sexuality. In Utah, he has to hide the truth from everyone, as the religion is pervasive in the community. Even his mother is originally Mormon, until she was excommunicated.

Let’s get back on track. This novel had all the pieces I look for in Contemporary. When I pick up a Contemporary novel, it should be a fun and easy read. I was able to quickly dive into this world and immediately root for these characters. So let’s start there. Tanner and Autumn have a boy/girl friendship that will stand the test of time. There is the unfortunate reality that Autumn has some more than friends feels for Tanner, but it just adds to the drama of their dating life. These two are going through life just trying to survive until they can move out of Utah, as neither of them are Mormon. In walks Sebastian, the sexy TA for their Novel Writing class. He is sent immediately to help Tanner (who like any boy is behind on school work) and it was love at first sight, except for the reality that it won’t be able to work. Sebastian is deeply invested in his religion; his father is the bishop and he is only putting off his mission as he is publishing a novel and has to go on his book tour first. He fully believes in his religion and the rules set by the church, which is admirable. I love all these characters, and want to treasure them forever.

The problem, now, is that Sebastian also loves Tanner, but can’t accept that sexuality. It is expected that he marry soon, and marry a woman. He and Tanner have this deeply contentious and illicit tryst as the book continues. The hidden romance tickles that deep part of me that loves secrecy and sneaking around. NO ONE can know about them, which obviously won’t work forever. I won’t post any serious spoilers, but the middle-end is amazing and a beautiful sentiment to true love and self-acceptance.

Christina Lauren’s writing style flows easily and allows you to get sucked into this world where religion is everything and outsiders are to be kept at a distance. It is a coming of age story and the LGBTQIAP rep is so needed at this point in time. It gives me heart when characters casually have same sex relationships and the rep honestly needs to continue to grow. Add in the complexities of sexuality and religion? And you have my attention.

Go pick this one up if you’re looking for a heartwarming, easy, beach read that will make you internally cheer for the character’s triumphs and cringe for their awkwardness.