THE RIGHT SWIPE by Alisha Rai

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup.

The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:
– Nude pics are by invitation only
– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice
– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…


Title : The Right Swipe
Author : Alisha Rai
Series : Modern Love (book one)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : HarperCollins/Avon
Release Date : August 6, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis / Micky
Rating : ★ .5 /


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

So I didn’t love this, which is obvious, and there’s a bunch of reasons for that but it’s mostly because I didn’t like the characters. Specifically, Rhiannon.

The plot opens up with our heroine fixated on the fact that she wants to buy up this eHarmony-esque dating site, one of the OG sites of its type, to expand her own app-based dating service. We see her drive, we see her reminisce about the one that got away, and who happens to be the new face of her competition’s marketing campaign? The one who got away. The one she almost threw her rules out the window for. And boy does she have a lot of rules.

The girl is.. rigid. Uncompromising. Unforgiving. Hard to forking love and, as a reader, hard to endure. I don’t want to be dismissive of the heroine’s very real trauma and trust issues but holy forking shit did she also make this a brutal read. She’s something of a shark when it comes to business, she’s successful, all that, all of which are positive things that loads of women get flak for, so it’s unfortunate I found this kind of character so frustrating, but she’s also problematic. She skirts very very close (and sometimes crosses the line) into outright manipulation of the hero — as well as relying on an emotional debt she feels she’s owed (and maybe sorta is but not in this particular context) — and it felt gross. She constantly doubted him, (falsely) accused him of this that or the other thing, was totally hypocritical.. and it was just hard. I am exhausted from it.

She’s not the only drawback THE RIGHT SWIPE, though. The hero, for all his goodness, didn’t do much for me. There’s a whole secondary plot line surrounding brain injuries and concussions (which makes for the second or third time I’m reading of this particular issue in sports-ish romances — not a complaint, just an observation) and a whole lot of baggage that Samson is carrying around but, back to my point, it didn’t do much for me. Which is rather how I feel about the story itself.

What didn’t frustrate or exhaust me just.. did nothing.

There were a few side characters that lightened some of the load of the plodding, and that helped a bit, but not enough. Infact, a certain eccentric aunt did the opposite of what I think she was supposed to do — which was charm the reader. Even she annoyed me. Or, maybe more to the point, I didn’t care and so, again, I was unmoved.

The writing made for an easy read but the plot, the people, the point? Nope. I have yet to determine if I’ll read on in this series. I think it hugely depends on which side character will get the spotlight and I’ll definitely have to pay closer attention to the plot. It’ll have to really draw me in for me to push on in this spinoff. I’ve loved Rai’s books in the past, in particular her Forbidden Hearts series had so much greatness, but this one just totally missed the mark for me.

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


Micky’s 3 star review

THE RIGHT SWIPE has a synopsis that bites, a cover that entices and an inside that lacked something in execution for me. A dating app mogul is how I would describe Rhi (Rhiannon). She’s all hard lines, walls up to the sky and even a little harsh with those that she loves, her family and friend. Her life’s ambition was work, work over family, work over her friend and work over down time. I found her so very hard to like and that was my biggest struggle with this book.

Samson Lima, ex-NFL player and minor shareholder in his Aunt’s rival app to Rhi’s Crush app was everything opposite. He was kind, patient and a large gentle soul. I really liked Samson’s character and in particular, his background family story which was rich and detailed. I get that these two were opposites but I remained forever uncertain that Rhi deserved Samson’s affection and more.

This isn’t about not tolerating a women in the mogul position, a reversal on that trope found in so many romance books, it is about how Rhi was written right to the end, she was so harsh. For me, it was also about Rhi and Samson’s lack of ‘more’ until the final pages. I felt all we got was friends with benefits and I was ready to move beyond that from halfway through the book.

What I did enjoy was the general storyline focus of the battle for the matchmaker app and also the background story of concussion in football players. There was some weak resolution for both, however. The harrassment in the workplace storyline was the strongest and it gave me all the feels. All that said, it was a relatable and contemporary storyline for the age group of the main characters.

THE RIGHT SWIPE was an okay read but it didn’t grab me in the way that previous Alisha Rai books have. I am interested to see character beyond Rhiannon in this series, particularly her friend Kirsten.

Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for the review copy.

HEARTSTOPPER VOL 1 & 2 by Alice Oseman

Volume One

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…? 

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.

Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…

From the author of Solitaire and Radio Silence comes a bind up of the first two chapters of Heartstopper, an ongoing webcomic.


Volume Two

Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. An LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between: this is the second volume of HEARTSTOPPER, for fans of The Art of Being Normal, Holly Bourne and Love, Simon. 

Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie’s gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t. 

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself. 

Heartstopper is about friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us. 

This is the second volume of Heartstopper, with more to come.


Title : Heartstopper Vol 1 & 2
Author : Alice Oseman
Series : Heartstopper
Format : Paperback Graphic Novel
Page Count : 278/315
Genre : YA LGBTQIA+
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : February 7, 2019/July 11, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★/ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Volume 1 – 5 stars

What a blissful, sink-into-the-story book this was. I was engaged from the first block and page with first Charlie and then Nick. It had my heart and my emotional buy-in immediately.

The protagonist, Charlie is 14, he’s gay, mature but knows his identity. He’s emerged of the other side of his coming-out and survived some intense bullying. Nick is in the year above in their boy’s school and he’s 16 and straight. These two are in the same form and their friendship is just gorgeous to observe evolving. The gentle interest, slow touches and flirtation were absolutely captivating.

Charlie’s identity as a gay young person was handled well in this storyline; he didn’t have it all sorted. Even better, I appreciated how Nick’s character and sexual identity emerged, how he handled his growing feelings and how natural these two were alongside one another.

There was realistic depiction of other friends reactions to both Nick and Charlie as individuals but also as friends, not all positive and empowering of course. The storyline of Ben was tough reading but gave some important representation of power, abuse, assault and broke through the stereotypical perception of these issues for young people.

I can’t describe how much I adored the illustration of this story brought to life. Alice Oseman narrated the story well but conjured it into being with the visuals of the characters and nuances of their characteristics.

This was an empowering read and I loved it.


Volume 2 – 5 stars

HEARTSTOPPER 2 blew me away as equally as Volume 1. This was cute but so real and raw. This volume deals with Charlie and Nick’s evolving relationship but it has a specific focus on Nick’s search for a sexual identity. It was quite beautiful.

Charlie was all insecurity and disbelief in this story, he had a sense of undeserving which was no doubt part of the bullying legacy he’d experienced. I loved the small snippets of Charlie’s family who were full on support and love. His sister cracked me up with her swift appearances and en-pointe observations (sip, sip). There was also a great concerned dad moment.

Heartstopper Vol 2 (p, 461). Written and Illustrated by Alice Oseman

Nick’s storyline was intense to watch and read, full of beautiful emotion and difficult confusion. What came across throughout his story arc was what a bloody, great guy Nick was. He was just a great human, with admirable morals and natural loyalty. His nervousness with Charlie was adorable and these two together packed all the welcome heart thumps, all at once.

Friends had more of a focus, both good and bad in this book. Alice Oseman dealt with stereotyping, so-called good-natured (not so good-natured) teasing and exposed these experiences for what they were – unacceptable. However, this was a credible and tangible storyline where of course Nick and Charlie were encountering challenges and prejudice.

Heartstopper Vol 2 (p.433). Written and Illustrated by Alice Oseman.

I simply could not be more enamoured than I am by this series. I continued to adore how Alice Oseman illustrated the emotions, chemistry and feelings on the page. I cannot wait until Volume 3 is ready.

Thank you to the publisher and amazon for this review copy.

SARONG PARTY GIRLS by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Just before her twenty-seventh birthday, Jazzy hatches a plan. Before the year is out, she and her best girlfriends will all have spectacular weddings to rich ang moh – Western expat – husbands, with Chanel babies to follow.

As Jazzy – razor-sharp and vulgar, yet vulnerable – fervently pursues her quest to find a white husband, the contentious gender politics and class tensions thrumming beneath the shiny exterior of Singapore’s glamorous nightclubs are revealed. Desperate to move up in Asia’s financial and international capital, will Jazzy and her friends succeed?

Vividly told in Singlish – colourful Singaporean English with its distinctive cadence and slang – Sarong Party Girls brilliantly captures the unique voice of a young, striving woman caught between worlds. With remarkable vibrancy and empathy, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan brings not only Jazzy, but her city of Singapore, to dazzling, dizzying life.


Title : Sarong Party Girls
Author : Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 320
Genre : Contemporary, chick-lit
Publisher : Allen & Unwin
Release Date : August 1, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★


I’m going to be rather brief in my review on this one because it was a struggle to be engaged or stay engaged with this read. SARONG PARTY GIRLS feels initally like a light read with vapid characters, I could see quite quickly that that most of the characters were deeper than first glance but I struggled nonetheless to make connections with them.

Singapore life for the rich and entitled was like many that of the young and rich in other cities but with a different cultural landscape. These women were aiming to secure a white, western man but all did not go to plan. The tale completely immerses the reader from the first page in Singlish – a patois of the region which although was comprehensible, it was difficult to get lost in the words or story because I was constantly trying to make meaning and connections between words.

Overall, this read wasn’t for me.

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the review copy.

GOOD GUY by Kate Meader – double review!

He’s a Special Forces veteran making his pro hockey debut. She’s a dogged sports reporter determined to get a scoop. She’s also his best friend’s widow…

Fans can’t get enough of Levi Hunt, the Special Forces veteran who put his NHL career on hold to serve his country and fight the bad guys. So when his new Chicago Rebels bosses tell him to cooperate with the press on a profile, he’s ready to do his duty. Until he finds out who he has to work with: flame-haired, freckle-splashed, impossibly perky Jordan Cooke.

The woman he should not have kissed the night she buried her husband, Levi’s best friend in the service.

Hockey-stick-up-his-butt-serious Levi Hunt might despise Jordan for reasons she can’t fathom—okay, it’s to do with kissing—but her future in the cutthroat world of sports reporting hangs on delivering the goods on the league’s hottest, grumpiest rookie. So what if he’s not interested in having his life plated up for public consumption. Too bad. Jordan will have to play dirty to get her scoop and even dirtier to get her man. Only in winning the story, she might just lose her heart…


Title : Good Guy
Author : Kate Meader
Series : Rookie Rebels #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 322
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : July 30, 2019

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ 


Micky’s 3 star review

I’ve really enjoyed all of Kate Meader’s Chicago Rebels series and this is a new series in the same team, so I’m not sure why this is a different series name, but I was down with more from this context. If you too have enjoyed the Chicago Rebels, you will enjoy the familiarity of the management, characters and team.

GOOD GUY was about the oldest rookie in hockey. Levi was out of the special forces (Green Berets) and back to hockey which was his plan before he enlisted out of college. Now in his early 30s, everyone had their eye on him, especially Jordan, a reporter tasked with getting the inside scoop. Jordan and Levi’s previous connection was a barrier and facilitator.

These two were like chalk and cheese, grumps and bubbles. It was definitely interested and there was tangible chemistry which I enjoyed. These two had banter and there was honesty.

“I can’t really help that I have resting scowl face, Jordan. I’m not the most expressive guy.”

In actual fact, I thought he put his heart out there, but I found Jordan hard at times. Jordan had her reasons and there was a whole misogynistic storyline that took on a life of its own towards the end. Points scored for that element of the story.

All that said, this start to the series didn’t wow me. I think I struggled with Jordan as a character and Levi was truly a good guy and perhaps they weren’t the fit I envisaged together. I found the hump in the road a bit predictable as was the solving of the problem.

I know I’m not done with this team and I have an inkling of who might be the next Rookie Rebel. I think Elle might be in a future storyline too as there’s lots of mystery there. This was an enjoyable read, even if I wanted a bit more.

Thanks to the author and netgalley for the early review copy.


Hollis’ 2 star review

So maybe I read this too soon after wrapping the original series, maybe I should’ve given that space.. and maybe I should round up my review of HOOKED ON YOU. Because GOOD GUY? Wasn’t great for me.

I think this story’s biggest downfall is it’s just trying to unpack a lot of things. Grief, death of a spouse, a rough upbringing, a desire to give back, sexism in the workplace, misogyny in general, internet culture, conflict of interest relationship, a sorta-but-not-really second chance romance if we consider ‘almost’ a second chance.. all that and cameos, and repercussions, from as far back as book one in the Chicago Rebels series, plus all the life updates for the couples from the original books. Phew. That was a lot to just sum up, never mind read about, whilst still enjoying the Cinderella story of this team of hockey misfits and a slowburn romance we’re somehow supposed to believe in.

I didn’t love Levi but he’s an all-around paragon of virtue and low self-worth so you can’t hate him. I didn’t love Jordan even though she’s a tough, hard working, woman in a male-dominated industry, who is focusing on a career previously set aside by marrying young and supporting her now dead husband — though, to expand, I didn’t love the reporter dynamic because even though we’re told she’s not got a malicious bone in her body.. she did some shady things, sat on a lot of information, and used not-quite-above-board tactics to get what she wanted..  all of which are couched in nicey-nice and conflicted feelings but.. nonetheless.. yeah, this dynamic was the extra bit that didn’t work for me — and to poop on her feels like pooping on women as a whole. I didn’t feel much chemistry, didn’t love the romance, the only bit I liked about them together was some of the brutal, forthcoming, honesty that defined most of their interactions.

What saved this book from being a total wash is the ever fun cast of side characters and hockey personalities that sprinkle the pages and the background. I’m not sure how I feel about what I assume is to be the next couple but I guess we’ll see.

This low rating, and disappointment, aside I would still recommend this author and these hockey books (and I might even investigate her firefighter ones as this is the second book she’s had cameos, and dropped some not-so-subtle backstory, about couples and people from those other works). They are fun and sexy and relevant and often quite funny. This is definitely the biggest outlier for this reader. So, take this review with a grain of extra salty salt — as always.

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

A HIGHLANDER WALKS INTO A BAR by Laura Trentham


The timeless romance, soaring passion—and gorgeous men—of Scotland comes to modern-day America. And the rules of love will never be the same… 

Isabel Buchanan is fiery, funny, and never at a loss for words. But she is struck speechless when her mother returns from a trip to Scotland with a six-foot-tall, very handsome souvenir. Izzy’s mother is so infatuated by the fellow that Izzy has to plan their annual Highland Games all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. The Highlander’s strapping young nephew has come looking for his uncle…

Alasdair Blackmoor has never seen a place as friendly as this small Georgia town—or a girl as brilliant and beguiling as Izzy. Instead of saving his uncle, who seems to be having a lovely time, Alasdair decides he’d rather help Izzy with the Highland Games. Show her how to dance like a Highlander. Drink like a Highlander. And maybe, just maybe, fall in love with a Highlander. But when the games are over, where do they go from here?


Title : A Highlander Walks Into A Bar
Author : Laura Trentham
Series : Highland, Georgia #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : St Martins Paperbacks
Release Date : July 30, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

I think I shot myself in the foot a bit with this read because I had self-hyped it such a lot. I loved the title, I loved the synopsis and the cover is pretty cute too. However, for me, this was just a cute, okay read; it didn’t blow me away like I wanted. That said, I want to tell you what worked and some of things that didn’t.

Firstly, it’s important to understand going into this that it is set in the US not in Scotland, if you’ve read the synopsis, you’ll know this. It is a story of two couples coming together in a mirrored way. Rosie and Izzy (mother and daughter) run an estate that is a piece of Scotland in Georgia, US. Izzy’s mother returns from a Scottish trip with a highlander as a ‘souvenir’. Soon enough, his nephew Alasdair comes to investigate who has captured his uncle’s interest and what her intentions are. From this, Izzy and Alasdair find themselves thrown together for practical reasons.

I found Rosie and Gareth’s story incredibly cute, even though their story was very much in the background. The secrets and lies were less appealing and made for something of a predictable plot point. I found Izzy to be a character that was rather difficult to get to know and this was a barrier to liking her overall. Alasdair was infinitely more likeable. The chemistry between Izzy and Alasdair made for the best part of the book.

My main issue with this story was pacing and the slow sense of the story moving along. I can’t quite put my finger on why I felt a difficulty pushing through but it was pretty consistent. I’ve read and loved Laura Trentham’s books before, so I know this isn’t her normal style of pacing.

The story wrapped up in an amusing and sweet way, also laying the foundations for book two. I am undecided whether I will continue with this series.

Thank you to netgalley and St Martins Press for the review copy.

EVVIE DRAKE STARTS OVER by Linda Holmes

In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn’t correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy’s childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and he can’t figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button.

When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken–and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they’ll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they’ve broken, the plans they’ve changed, and the secrets they’ve kept. They’ll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance–right up until the last out.


Title : Evvie Drake Starts Over
Author : Linda Holmes
Format : Paperback arc
Page Count : 304
Genre : Women’s fiction, romance
Publisher : Hodder Paperbacks
Release Date : June 25, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Linda Holmes took a story that was rather ordinary and turned it into something quite special. Evvie Drake was like many women, many people; she didn’t feel good enough, she felt the guilt of life and her past and she was afraid to live and be happy.

Evvie had reasons for being this way, but she also had a lot of secrets, not the bank-robbing kind, but secrets that she didn’t tell anyone. Evvie was grieving and yet she felt that she wasn’t. She had lost her place in life, her autonomy and her sheer existence seemed about keeping an appearance of a widow and not hurting other people. The pacing of this story was perfection, as was the timeline. Nothing happened in an instant, time passed tangibly and the changes and evolution in her life were realistic. Evvie as a character was flawed and endearing.

Evvie had an amazing friendship with Andy, I loved how they were so genuinely there for one another. Everyone needs an Andy in their life, but their dynamic changed and that was pretty tough to read. Andy however, brought Dean, her tenant into her life. Dean was a uncomplicated man but he had some difficult problems to work through and he needed a break from New York. Small town Maine brought that escape for him. A slow friendship between these two developed and it was everything unputdownable. I devoured this storyline and these two together and apart. Their romance was one of the most believable stories I’ve read in a long time in contemporary fiction.

EVVIE DRAKE STARTS OVER is a debut, a fantastic one. Linda Holmes has shown in one book her ability to craft believable characters you want to read more about, pace the story with refinement and leave you unable to put the darn book down. I am going to be recommending this book all over because I believe it is that good. You don’t need to know any more than this is a book that needs and deserves to be read widely.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.

OUR STOP by Laura Jane Williams

What if you almost missed the love of your life?

Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.
Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died.

One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:
To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?

So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.


Title : Our Stop
Author: Laura Jane Williams
Format : e-ARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : Contemporary romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : 13 June 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating: ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 2.5 -3 star review

I feel pretty ambivalent about this read, it was okay and it was definitely a book that built as it progressed but despite the cutest cover, the lovely synopsis, it just didn’t wow me. However, it was a sweet story that probably would make a good summer holiday read.

This is a book of missed opportunities and maybes which I’ m beginning to see is a trope that I struggle with. I get frustrated after a number of ‘nearly’ moments. I mean, how long can you spin that on without the reader tiring and needing the couple to meet?

Daniel was a cute guy, there was nothing to dislike about him and I felt that he was not the problem with the nearly moments. Nadia, however was a bit of a hot mess, always carrying a coffee stain and running late. Considering this story was about seeing one another on a certain train, the being-late-bit really did get in the way. Nadia frustrated me throughout.

These two do meet in the end but I think I may have been a bit beyond the moment at that point and I struggled to appreciate the overall build to the culmination.

Laura Jane Williams wrote with wit and had a light approach to narrative. I would read her again with a trope that I am more tolerant of. Lots of people have loved this book, so I am in the minority but I do think that others will also struggle with the drum roll that goes on rather long.

Thank you to Readers First for the review copy.

CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT by Brigid Kemmerer

From the author of the Zoella Book Club-pick Letters to the Lostcomes another emotionally complex, romantic story about two teens struggling to unpick the grey area between right and wrong, perfect for fans of John Green and Jennifer Niven.

Rob had it all – friends, a near-guaranteed lacrosse scholarship to college and an amazing family – but all that changed when his dad was caught embezzling funds from half the town. Now he’s a social pariah. 

Maegan always does the right thing. But when her sister comes home from college pregnant, she’s caught between telling their parents the truth about the father and keeping her sister’s trust. 

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a project, they form an unexpectedly deep connection. But Rob’s plan to fix his father’s damage could ruin more than their new friendship …


Title : Call It What You Want
Author : Brigid Kemmerer
Format : Library ebook
Page Count : 379
Genre : YA contemporary 
Publisher : Bloomsbury YA
Release Date : June 27, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★  ★ ★ ★ .5


4.5 stars

I’ve been meaning to read Brigid Kemmerer’s books both the fantasy and contemporary for ages and now I’m kicking myself for not reading her sooner. I started with her newest release and this tragic yet hopeful tale drew me in immediately. I had such a busy work week this week and yet, I read in spare moments because I could not put this down.

CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT is about two teens who are school pariahs for very different reasons. Rob was certainly in the most awful, heart punching situation day-in and day out. Rob was such a deep, appealing character, his feelings and emotion were slowly and cleverly revealed throughout the book and his situation just evoked all the emotions. Meagan was an outcast for less dramatic reasons but her similar social situation and a school project threw them together.

Rob and Meagan had a bucket full of family issues and they were slowly able to confide in one another. The growth of their friendship was just lovely to observe but it wasn’t an easy road by any means. Rob’s home situation made for difficult reading at times and the twist to why that had all happened made for some unexpected plot developments that I really appreciated.

This story had a coming-of-age feel to it that reflected the issue of finding your own values in the face of some very grey and downright awful behaviour and actions. Whilst the connections, romantic and otherwise made for great reading, what really captured my imagination in this book was the character development of Rob through his family situation. I had moments of fear for Rob’s path and so it kept me hooked right till the end. I could have totally coped with an epilogue to this story and I’m a little sad that didn’t happen.

So, if you’re like me and you’ve not read Brigid Kemmerer, make good on this and get out there and start. I have her fantasy lined up and her two other most recent YA contemporaries.

MAGIC BREAKS by Ilona Andrews

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear… 


Title : Magic Breaks
Author : Ilona Andrews
Series : Kate Daniels #7
Format : library ebook
Page Count : 402
Genre : paranormal fantasy
Publisher : Ace Publishing
Release Date : July 29, 2014

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Holy Curran, Hugh and Roland on a cracker. What an insane read that was considering I struggled with the pacing initially but I ended up loving it.

Ilona Andrews had a whole spiel at the beginning of this book that heralded the unexpectedness of where it ended but I didn’t expect THAT. What a story of trial and tribulation this was with Kate showing her vulnerability and strength synonymously. There were passages that made my heart ache and eyes leak because I’ve become so damn attached to the characters in this book; so attached (shakes head at myself, already mourning the end of this series). I also felt the loss of an inanimate (questionable) object very keenly in this book and the substitution didn’t wholly comfort.

There were newer characters at the fore in MAGIC BREAKS that has me questioning where they might fit in future books, particularly Robert, Dessandra and Cuddles. Someone hold my sides, because I have a snickering attachment to Cuddles. Old favs also were there, bringing the banter and I adore Andrea, Derek, Christopher, Doolittle and Barabas. Talking of Andrea, how her and Kate communicate just gets me.

“Of course they’ll be fine.”
We looked at each other and made a silent effort to believe our own bullshit.

So if you thought you knew who was the baddie and who are the goodies, get ready to challenge those ideas because MAGIC BREAKS will break your freaking mind over this. When can I read the next?

LIES by Kylie Scott

Betty Dawsey knows that breaking things off with Thom Lange is for the best. He’s nice, but boring, and their relationship has lost its spark. But steady and predictable Thom, suddenly doesn’t seem so steady and predictable when their condo explodes and she’s kidnapped by a couple of crazies claiming that Thom isn’t who he says he is.

Thom is having a hellish week. Not only is he hunting a double agent, but his fiancée dumped him, and thanks to his undercover life, she’s been kidnapped.

Turns out Thom is Operative Thom and he’s got more than a few secrets to share with Betty if he’s going to keep her alive. With both their lives on the line, their lackluster connection is suddenly replaced by an intense one. But in his line of work, feelings aren’t wanted or desired. Because feelings can be a lethal distraction. 


Title : Lies
Author : Kylie Scott
Format : eARC
Page Count : 195
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : July 21, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

Every single thing about this read was unexpected, even taking the unusual synopsis into mind. This was a fast-paced, thrilling romance with bucket loads of story and plenty of twists. It was also consistently amusing with characters I couldn’t help but be pretty enamoured with.

What is super interesting about this story and how it starts, is that the ‘going wrong’ part of the relationship happens right at the beginning, in unholy style. So, you could almost call this a second chance kind of story but at break-neck speed. It was like a cross between a snarky, funny romance and ‘Die Hard’. Interested?

The heroine, Betty is unconventional, partly because she starts her journey with taking no more messing from Thom. She was over him, the relationship and she was empowered. Everything spiraled from there and Betty was resilient, strong but with heart. I loved her snark, her refusal to be put in a corner and I read about her with total interest.

There’s a crack in the ceiling high above my head. Fitting, given that there’s an even bigger and even more destructive fault line running smack bam through my life. Move over, San Andreas, Thom Lange has you beat.

Thom was definitely the character to be revealed but also I felt pretty distrustful of him, with a slice of ‘why are you so swoony’? It made for addictive reading watching these two connect for the second time. It took me time to believe in him and I understood Betty’s anger towards him.

Thom is basically a machine. Like some killer robot sent from the future to fuck up my love life.”

Alongside the great storyline was a tangible chemistry that also made for compelling reading. Everything about this read was addictive and I read it in less than 24 hours. The twists kept coming and from 80% my jaw was dropped and I was suspicious. This story was an unusual and welcome offering from Kylie Scott who has amazed me with her ingenuity on this one.

Thank you to Social Butterfly PR and Kylie Scott for the early copy.


About Kylie Scott

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, 2014 & 2018, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films.

Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

Connect with Kylie Scott
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