NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JANUARY 14, 2020

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


TOUGH GUY by Rachel Reid actually came out yesterday so happy belated to book three in the author’s Game Changers series! This particular match up isn’t a coming out story and, like book one, features a hockey player and a non-hockey player romance. You can check out Hollis’ review here.

LUCKY CALLER by Emma Mills is out today and contemporary fans can rejoice at a spectacular way to kick off the new year! A review with Hollis’ full thoughts will be posted tomorrow.

LOVE HER OR LOSE HER by Tessa Bailey is book two in her Hot and Hammered series. Neither of us loved book one, FIX HER UP (sorry, baby girl), but this one surprised and delighted us both! Look for our review by the end of the week.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

TOUGH GUY by Rachel Reid

They have nothing in common—so why does Ryan feel most like himself whenever he’s with Fabian?

Pro hockey star Ryan Price may be an enforcer, but off the ice he struggles with anxiety. Recently traded to the Toronto Guardians, he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s dynamic LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expects to stumble upon in his new neighborhood is a blast from his past in the fabulous form of Fabian Salah.

Aspiring musician Fabian loathes hockey. But that doesn’t stop him from being attracted to a certain burly, ginger-bearded defenseman. He hasn’t forgotten the kiss they almost shared back in high school, and it’s clear the chemistry between them has only intensified.

Fabian is more than happy to be Ryan’s guide to the gay scene in Toronto. Between dance clubs and art exhibits—and the most amazing sex—Ryan’s starting to feel something he hasn’t experienced in a long time: joy. But playing the role of the heavy on the ice has taken its toll on his body and mind, and a future with Fabian may mean hanging up his skates for good.


Title : Tough Guy
Author : Rachel Reid
Series : Game Changers (book three)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 262
Genre : LGBTQIA+ romance / sports
Publisher : CarinaPress
Release Date : January 13, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 3 star review

HEATED RIVALRY, book two in the Game Changers series, was one of my favourite reads of last year. It came as a complete surprise considering the romance and tone of book one which, while far from bad, was just nothing like the follow up. As a result I was trying to lower my expectations for book three and went in to this one just hoping it ranked somewhere in the middle. And, for the most part, I got my wish.

Ryan inwardly cringed at how rude he must have seemed. He wished he could just wear a sign that said I’m sorry. I am terrible at socializing. Please don’t take it personally.

There are a few elements in this installment that make it stand out — but I don’t want to spoil the nitty gritty of it all — but more or less the majority of my enjoyment came from Ryan. This soft cinnamon roll was dealing with so much, while also thinking so little of himself, and yet despite how contrary to his personality it was, he was always expected to be a fighter. The tough guy (heyyyoooo). He was a bundle of contradictions and I enjoyed how Reid explored that.

Opposite him is a non-hockey player but who comes from a long line of hockey supporters and, when he was young, his family often billeted players, too. But Fabian has no interest in the sport or the typically homophobic alphajerkholes who play it. Except there was that one exception from thirteen years ago..

.. who happens to be Ryan.

This was one of the cuter reunion romances, though not quite a second-chance, and while Fabian didn’t always wow me on page, I did like him. Though I’ll admit I thought he was most enjoyable when amongst his friend group.. who were hilarious. I’m such a sucker for a friend group.

Price! Thank god you are here. This goblin is bothering me.”
Eat my nuts, Rozanov!
No fucking thank you.
Sorry! Sorry. I shouldn’t laugh.
Don’t encourage Rozanov.”
I think I might love him.

The romance between these two, the intimacy involved, is one of the things that stands out to me. Beyond just Ryan, full stop. Adding to the fun were cameos by a certain Russian player and, I mean, any page with Ilya is a page you’re going to love.

So, yes, this definitely wasn’t a new favourite but I did enjoy this read. I do want to say, though, that these endings give me actual whiplash. They are the most abrupt and I don’t understand why. As a result, and because of my overall love for the series and this author, I don’t want them to end. Please will there be more. I ain’t too proud to beg.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

A THRONE OF SWANS by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

In a world where the flightless are ruled by those who can fly…

When her father dies just before her birthday, seventeen-year-old Aderyn inherits the role of Protector of Atratys, a dominion in a kingdom where nobles are able to transform at will into the bird that represents their family bloodline. Aderyn’s ancestral bird is a swan. But she has not transformed for years, not since witnessing the death of her mother – ripped apart by hawks that have supposedly been extinct since the long-ago War of the Raptors. 

With the benevolent shelter of her mother and her father now lost, Aderyn is at the mercy of her brutal uncle, the King, and his royal court. Driven by revenge and love, she must venture into the malevolent heart of the Citadel in order to seek the truth about the attack that so nearly destroyed her, to fight for the only home she has ever known and for the land she has vowed to protect.

Written in rich detail and evocative language, this is the start of an irresistible, soaring duology about courage, broken loyalties and fighting for your place in the world.


Title : A Throne of Swans
Author : Katharine & Elizabeth Corr
Series : A Throne of Swans #1
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 352
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Release Date : January 9, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

I think this will be the final completed read of 2019 for me and the year couldn’t have finished in a better way. What more can a bookworm ask for than a book that you cannot put down and that you think of when you aren’t reading it? A THRONE OF SWANS was all of this and with the most delicious cover too.

This book had the sense of a traditional fairytale but with more identifiable traits in the characters. So, while it had a historical feel, the behaviours and actions had more of a fantastical-contemporary feel, if this doesn’t make sense, just give it a go. The world was unusual and brought a freshness with it, this was a world built on humans that shift into different birds. Aderyn, the protagonist and Protector of her lands, was of swan heritage but she was unable to shift, putting her life at risk.

This world had defined classes, those who could fly and the flightless; the nobles and servants. Some areas in the kingdom were more cruel to the flightless than others. Aderyn was new to her position as Protector and so she had her advisor Lucien and others who tried to influence her, Aron, Seigfried the King. I had no more idea than Aderyn whom she should trust. The world was interesting, the world-building was easy to grasp as it unfurled and the whole context conjured an enticing atmosphere.

There were elements that were unpredictable and some that were predictable but none of that interfered with the enjoyment of the narrative. There was a gentle complexity to the budding relationships in this book with interweaving of characters and crossing-over of affections. All this was secondary to the strong leading story direction which I loved.

The writing was easy to fall into and as I said, the book itself demanded to be read at all times. I cannot believe that I will have to wait a year for the next book to come out, there isn’t a desperate cliff just a desire on my behalf to read on with these characters. This was my first book by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr and I really enjoyed their style and creativity.

Thank you to Hot Key Books and Darkroom Tours for the early finished copy.

LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI by Abigail Hing Wen

For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart? 


Title : Loveboat, Taipei
Author : Abigail Hing Wen
Series : Loveboat, Taipei #1
Format : Paperback ARC
Page Count : 432
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Release Date : January 7, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 – 4 star read

LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI had a narrative voice that just shouted ‘give me more’ vibes and I enjoyed the reading experience. I’ve heard this book heralded as a more mature & Taiwanese ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ and it did give me some of those vibes at times. This is a more mature YA from a sexual perspective but the characters weren’t always mature in their decisions and actions.

This book brought an enjoyable coupling of American-Asian and authentic Taiwan culture as the protagonist Ever was sent to a summer school in Taipei. The students were all sent by their parents for a summer immersion into the language and customs, but that was not the focus for the students. They were rebellious rabble-rowsers, looking to hook-up, drink alcohol, have fun and break the rules.

Straight A’s
Dress like a Nun
Curfew of Ten
No Drinking
No Wasting Money
No Dancing with a Boy
No Kissing Boys

No Boyfriend

A triangle emerged that I wasn’t super excited about but in actuality, it was pretty palatable. Xavier and Rick were two very different characters and the more I got to know them both, the more I thought they were both great friends and potential boyfriends for Ever. There was a lack of tying up of ends in one direction and I am really hoping that book two will journey down this character’s path.

There were friendships that seemed empowering and positive and there were friends to hate with a passion. I struggled a little with Ever’s quick forgiveness and I’m still holding a grudge.

This book is generally fun but it did tackle some serious topics of domestic abuse and exploitation (of which, I’m not going to elaborate on). I appreciated that Abigail Hing Wen actually ‘went there’ with sexual relationships rather than glossing over or pretending that things wouldn’t go that far. This made it a much more tangible story.

I think this was a great author debut and I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book. I enjoyed the Taiwan context as I knew little about the country but I now know just a little more.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the early proof copy.

THE NIGHT COUNTRY by Melissa Albert

The highly anticipated sequel to Melissa Albert’s beloved, New York Times bestselling debut The Hazel Wood!

In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Woodwas just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang.

With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home…


Title : The Night Country
Author : Melissa Albert
Series : The Hazel Wood (book two)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Flatiron Books
Release Date : January 7, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 3 star review

This series has definitely been one of the darker, and bloodier, stories surrounding fairytales that I’ve ever read. And it feels very true, reads so much more honestly, than the versions our generation grew up with. I think it’s that darkness, that depth, that I love most of all. The creativity of twisting these tales, or letting them be their truth, is fantastic. I love it. But there’s also another side of these books that just doesn’t quite line up for me.

In book one, it was Alice’s unlikeable self, the strangeness of the set up, before it finally settled and things were explained. Once again, in book two, it’s the same early chapters where I’m just.. waiting. But this time, I’m waiting it out to understand and see where things are going.. and just how far we’re going to backslide.

This installment does reunite us with a character I didn’t think I missed as much as I did and yet I’m also a little confused about how his presence, and his role, jives with a throwaway line near end of book one? Curious. But anyway I enjoyed his chapters, I enjoyed all the fairytale/Hinterland characters and their backstory woven into their page-time, and I think the eerie disturbing concept around the whole big purpose of THE NIGHT COUNTRY was really interesting and weird, but like, getting there? I don’t know.

Also, I mean, how was it not obvious to an extent? I’m conflicted.

I honestly finished this book with no idea what to rate this. But as I sit here, typing these words, I know : it’s not a four, it’s more than a two, so I guess we’re going with the old faithful three. These are incredibly fascinating and creative books, written so well, but I guess my problem is not always enjoying where it goes? Or how we get from one point to the next? I don’t know, it’s weird. But I’ll definitely keep picking up this author’s books and hoping for a slam dunk win. I think there’s one out there for me.

If you read and enjoyed THE HAZEL WOOD, you absolutely need to pick this up.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

THE MAP FROM HERE TO THERE by Emery Lord

Acclaimed author Emery Lord crafts a gorgeous story of friendship and identity, daring to ask: What happens afterhappily ever after?

It’s senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Weighing “the rest of her life,” Paige feels her anxiety begin to pervade every decision she makes. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be–how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to experience after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever?

Emery Lord’s award-winning storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life’s most important questions.


Title : The Map From Here To There
Author : Emery Lord
Series : The Start of Me and You (book two)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Bloomsbury YA
Release Date : January 7, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

THE START OF ME AND YOU was published back in 2015 but, unlike so many readers, I only read it a few months ago. And I only picked it up after hearing that there was a much-anticipated (or was it unexpected?) sequel to be released. I’ll admit that it was a little rocky for me at times but everything that didn’t quite work.. eventually did. It was such an interesting, and eventually enjoyable, evolution. But the romance is where it didn’t quite ever shine for me.

This time, everything from before is still in play, but different. Things feel bigger in this final year of highschool transition into college, and futures, and being away from family, friends, and loved ones. And particularly for Paige and Max who, in the final pages of book one, admit their feelings, only to then be facing a summer apart.

It’s in the early chapters of THE MAP FROM HERE TO THERE that they are reunited, and in the first real blush of in-person-boyfriend-and-girlfriend, post-all the months where the heart grew fonder, everything is great. Until it isn’t.

I actually so appreciated this approach. It finally sold me on the romance, without making it seem like an excuse to a) have a second book and b) just drag out the real payoff, because I felt so much of what they were both going through to be completely reasonable. But though the romance and angst does take a slightly bigger focus than it did in book one, this is still mainly about friendships. And, wow, the friend group? Amazing. The dynamics are beautiful, the heartbreaks, even the fights, it’s all so great.

Despite this praise, I wouldn’t say this book ever really hit that wow factor moment for me, even though so much of it just.. worked, and it moved me enough to make me weepy. More than once. But it’s in the aftermath, the quiet, the pause for reflection, that I realize just how much I enjoyed this. This really felt like such a great, healthy, realistic, and delightful, portrayal of this time period of one’s life, while still being fun and grounded, and tackling very real emotional struggles and worries. Everything you want for YA audiences (and above!).

Would recommend.

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN by Brigid Kemmerer

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

Find the heir, win the crown. 
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom. 
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.


Title : A Heart So Fierce and Broken
Author : Brigid Kemmerer
Series : Cursebreakers (book two)
Format : eARC
Page Count :
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Bloomsbury YA
Release Date : January 7, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

That moment when the ending gives you an ‘aHA‘ moment that almost redeems a major factor that had been dogging most of the book. But.. doesn’t quite.. do it. So close, though.

Some of the things I disliked in book one were both present in this one and yet not. In some ways some of my issues did mellow; the characters that annoyed me went through a growing pain stage and we’ve come out the other side of it; and the one element I was kind of side-eyeing at the end of book one has completely gone away. And as a result of that, it opened the door for what was one of my favourite parts of this follow up installment.

A lot of this book is going from one place, to another, away again, then elsewhere, and then back to where it all began. There’s a lot of running around. Thankfully some of that is used to further some character relationships, as well as introduce a few new characters — two of whom I really enjoy — so it wasn’t all wandering about without purpose while the clock ran down on the ‘time left to finish book’ countdown.

There were definitely some surprises, some things I didn’t think we’d see until book three (if ever), and particularly one thing.. well, again, it explains a lot. I don’t like it, it doesn’t forgive, but it makes so much sense. I just almost wish it didn’t. How’s that for vaguery..

Anyway, I think based on where we got to with this one, where things are set up to go, some elements of book three will be frustrating (not, like, because of the author, but because of certain situations) in the way of book one, and also totally kick ass. She says, hopefully.

If you liked book one, I think you’ll like this one even more.

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JANUARY 7, 2020

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


THE MAP FROM HERE TO THERE by Emery Lord is a much unexpected (and also nonetheless anticipated) sequel to the author’s 2015 release THE START OF ME AND YOU. Whereas Hollis only read the latter upon hearing of the sequel’s release, and didn’t love it, she actually really loved the sequel. You can read her full thoughts later this week.

A HEART SO FIERCE AND BROKEN by Brigid Kemmerer, on the other hand, is the much anticipated and expected sequel in the Cursebreakers series. Book one wasn’t a big hit for either of us but this sequel went in very interesting directions and made for a more enjoyable, though not perfect, ride. Check out Hollis’ review tomorrow.

THE NIGHT COUNTRY by Melissa Albert is yet another fantasy sequel readers have been waiting for. If you like your fairytales dark and twisty, this is definitely the series for you! This is another one we have a review for so check back on friday for Hollis’ full thoughts.

LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI by Abigail Hing Wen offers fun and frolicks from the US to Taiwan. It’s definitely a mature YA and set in Taipei. The Taiwanese summer camp makes for a memorable read but amidst the fun there are some serious topics. Micky will have a review coming for this. It’s also the first in a series.

JANE ANONYMOUS by Laurie Faria Stolarz is a most unusual contemporary YA that features a kidnapping of a teen and life afterwards as she tries to reintegrate into society. If you seek tension and a thriller ride, this should be a compelling read.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

CHOSEN by Kiersten White

Nina continues to learn how to use her slayer powers against enemies old and new in this second novel in the New York Times bestselling series from Kiersten White, set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom.

And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right? 

The darkness always finds you. And once again, it’s coming for the Slayer.


Title : Chosen
Author : Kiersten White
Series : Slayer (book two)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : SimonPulse
Release Date : January 7, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★


Hollis’ 1 star review

So, listen. My experience with book one wasn’t awesome because the first 60% or so was frustrating af but I thought the ending was intense and interesting and as a result was looking forward to this sequel.

Except CHOSEN was a miserable reading experience without charm, sense, or any kind of joy.

I won’t drag this review out as I imagine, as per usual, I’m going to be an outlier but honestly? Other than name dropping and references, this resembled nothing of the Buffyverse I loved and deviated far from any potential from book one. Everything about this read, the plot, and the characters, was a chore.

I think it’s over, I believe this is a duology, not a series, and I’m not sad about it.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB by Lyssa Kay Adams – double review!

We’re reblogging this one as it I now a double review for THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB ready for its UK release at the end of January.

A Take from Two Cities

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titledCourting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back…

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