ARC Review: Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year- Vincent Meis

Title: Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year

Author: Vincent Meis

Publisher: Spectrum Books

Format: e-book

Pages: 239

“Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year” is centered around 14 year old Colton who lives in San Francisco with his two dads. He discovers acceptance, first love, deception, and disappointment all within a year. His trip to Thailand was one of self-discovery for Colton.
Growing up with his two dads Colton always felt a little different, and he felt they didn’t understand what it’s like being a black teenager. Colton starts to question his roots and where he came from. He decides he wants to meet his surrogate mother. Unfortunately, that meeting didn’t go as he planned and he’s left with this hole in his heart and confusion.

Colton has already went through so many emotions this year. From his first kiss with the girl of his dreams, to having to deal with a long distance relationship, to having to deal with racism from one of his family members, to his dad getting sick. It was just all too much for Colton to bear.
“Colton’s Terrible Wonderful Year” is a coming of age story that deals with a lot of issues set in 2020, when the whole world was uncertain for everyone, especially a teenager. Issues such as: racism, the pandemic, and the BLM movement. Just like every teenager, Colton is becoming “woke” and starts to realize everything going on around him.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. I would’ve definitely finished it on one sitting if it wasn’t for my adult responsibilities :). The author did amazing addressing teenage dilemmas, capturing the love amongst Colton and his diverse family, as well as the drama, and navigating relationships. I also enjoyed the trip we took to Thailand through the author’s writing; Beautiful scenery, and temples. I really commend the author for creating such a fun and diverse set of characters, as well as including different sexualities as well.

Overall, this book was excellent. Touching on a lot of important topics. I’m a huge lover of YA so I already knew the intended audience and writing. I will definitely be reading more of Vincent Meis’s books in the future. Special thanks to @bibliophile.nat (Instagram) and @vincentmeisauthor (instagram) for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Released: 3-4-2023

Blog Tour ARC Review: Big Girl, Small Town- Michelle Gallen

Title: Big Girl, Small Town

Author: Michelle Gallen

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Pages: 320

Rating: 5/5

Majella is a 20 something year old young lady who lives in a small Irish town. She lives with her alcoholic mother. Her father has been absent from the better part of her life, and unfortunately she just found out that her grandmother was murdered. You can’t help but feel bad for her right off the bat. Majella is also autistic but has no idea that she is. She is set to a routine everyday. She’s not keen on change, loud noises, bright lights and other things which she has categorized. Some of her favorite things however are: reruns of her fave show Dallas, taking pain pills, eating, and sex. Majella also works at the local fish and chips store. 

To some this story may not be one of those stories that have that “it” factor, but I promise you it’s amazing. Majella is such a unique character and I mean that in a good way. You just have to root for her because she never gives up. She learns to cope with everything around her, and tries very hard to try to communicate with people even though it’s difficult for her. Thank you to Algonquin and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 

Harlequin Blog Tours ARC Review: She’s Faking it- Kristin Rockaway

Title: She’s Faking It

Author: Kristin Rockaway

Publisher: Graydon Press

Pages: 384

Rating: 5/5

This is my first book from Kristin Rockaway and I absolutely loved it. Bree Bozeman feels like crap. She has a job at Grubgetter as a delivery driver, she has a crappy car that finally died on her while making a delivery and ignoring her check engine light that started flashing 3 weeks ago, she lives in a crappy space on top of someone’s garage, her last relationship failed, and one of her professors from college said to her that she doesn’t have what it takes for med school. Something that made her leave school. Life is just really hard for Bree and she just wants something good to happen for once.

Her sister Heather, whom has the best of intentions to help her sister, can come off as standoffish, judgmental, and annoying. With her obsessive organizing business and her husband being a orthodontist. Heather doesn’t need to worry about struggling. You have to admire Bree’s tenacity to better herself though. She may hate her job, but she does it so well. After finding out about a social media influencer, she decides to make her own Instagram and finally chase that lifestyle she so desperately was seeking. Her life seems to be going right on track including finding a hunky guy after creating her social media profile, but at what cost? I really enjoyed this beach read and definitely would recommend it. Huge thanks to NetGalley and Graydon House for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Harlequin Blog Tours-ARC Review: Sister Dear- Hannah Mary McKinnon

Title: Sister Dear

Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon

Publisher: Mira Books

Pages: 384

Rating: 5/5

Yet another amazing thriller that I have to add to my physical book library. Eleanor was raised by a toxic mother. She suffers from crappy self-esteem, she’s antisocial, and dislikes her body thanks to all the body shaming her evil mother has bestowed upon her. Eleanor has also lost the only person she’s ever known as her father to cancer. 

As she’s grieving him she finds out that he isn’t her father after all. She finds out her real father is a wealthy business man with a beautiful wife, and a daughter named Victoria. Of course her real father wants nothing to do with her. She’s instantly infuriated. She should should be living that great life, she should be in Victoria’s spot, she should be living that happy life. Instead, she lives in a crappy home with her mother and overall she’s just a unloveable miserable person. After finding out about Victoria, Eleanor vows to share that glamorous life with her sister…after all sharing is caring right?

I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. I definitely have found another thriller author who I will be reading more from. McKinnon has a way with words. Even though Eleanor was a bit cuckoo bananas you can’t help but feel sorry for her. That’s how well written this book was. Huge thanks to NetGalley, Mira Books, and Harlequin Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Kingdom of Grape- Raimo Strangis

Title: The Kingdom of Grape

Author: Raimo Strangis

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Pages: 84

Rating: 5/5

We meet Donnie Drake in the beginning of the story. It talks about the kingdom he’s from: “The Kingdom of Grape”. As with anything, The Kingdom of Grape was separated by wealth and stature. Donnie lost his parents when he was young. He moves into a orphanage and lives his life. As a special young man according to the ladies who gushed to King Earl Grape when he would visit. At the age of 18 years old the King gives the okay for Donnie to become a messenger. Donnie is happy and sets off with his horse Pinot to deliver messages to people’s doorsteps. One of which is Lady Gates. She’s a resident of Grape and holds something special…the ancient seeds of Grape. on his many journeys he also passes by the castle where The King, The Princess, and his son reside. He’s head over heels in love with the princess. She’s kind and treats all her people equally. But, he knows it could never for the princess is due to marry Duke The Red. After the Duke’s father led the army to victory during the Civil Battle. The King and his father made a vow to wed their children. 
After Donnie rescues Lady Gates from a fire and save the ancient seeds, Donnie also has a run in with Duke The Red. That run in completely turns things around for Donnie and The Princess. But there’s two evil people that are ready to do all they have to do to stop the king from making Donnie the next king. Even if it means ending the king’s life himself. 

I absolutely loved this book even though it was a children’s book. The illustrations were so detailed. I loved how the author used the different types of wine names to incorporate them into the story. After all the kingdom produced grapes and wine is made from grapes. It was a cute and heroic story that also focuses on good and evil. Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday

February 25th- Characters I’d follow on social media.

Don’t forget to check out Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl for more Top Ten Tuesday info and posts.

Have there ever been times you’d wish your favorite characters from a book actually had a social media and you could follow them? What content do you think they’d post? Below are my top ten characters I’d follow on social media.

  1. Cather (fangirl)- Cather would probably have a twitter being that she loves to write fan pics, she would participate in pittmad and nanomomo. She’s have a insta with some quotes and pics of her and her friends.
  2. Juliet (Juliet Takes a Breath)– Juliet is definitely someone you want to follow on social media. She has a no nonsense attitude and her content would definitely post about feminism, racism, and the LGBTQ community. She’s my fave.
  3. Jack (The Shining)- Oh man! Jack was a weird one. I would be afraid yet intrigued about following him on social media. Would he post dark content with subliminal messages….or would he be more like a writer and let us know about his latest WIP?
  4. Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)- Let’s admit it, we all know that Snow White would have a tumblr page full of cute quotes, cute animals, and flowers.
  5. Lei (Girls of Paper and Fire)- I would definitely follow Lei. I know she would go for some aesthetic direction for her social media. She has takes no crap from anyone.
  6. Xiomara (The Poet-x)- No words need to be said here. Xiomara knows how to capture you through her writing. Fluid and full of style and passion.
  7. Christian Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey)-Oh admit it, even if you hated him….your nosey butt would still follow him on social media…all you kinksters know it.
  8. Miranda (The Devil Wears Prada)- Let’s be real…Miranda Priestly was an icon….excuse me…fashion icon.
  9. Emoni (With the Fire on High)- I could see Emoni doing a cooking youtube channel. She’s amazing in the kitchen.
  10. Eleanor (Eleanor and Park)- She’s awesome! Period!

Thats’s it folks. Looking forward to next weeks topic. I have so many ideas.

Review: Hurricanes- Rick Ross & Neil-Martinez Belkin

Title: Hurricanes

Author: Rick Ross & Neil-Martines Belkin

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Pages: 288

Rating: 4/5

Rick Ross was born named William Leonard Roberts. He starts writing about his childhood, his parents and their transition to Miami. Ross met a lot of people on the way to his musical career. But, it took 10 years for him to catch his break. Along the way of his musical career he went through a lot of issues with the law, got caught up with guns and drugs, and of course hung around the wrong type of people. I mean the music industry in itself can be a pretty shady business just like anything out there. “Port of Miami” was the album that got him that recognition after ghost writing for so many artists. It was pretty cool that he knew artists like Trina, Trick Daddy, P.Diddy (yuck), Kayne West(yuck), and many others before hand. 
Ross came into Miami when the crack epidemic was at a all time high. Major weight was being pushed and a lot of the music people he’d associate with or he knew about were being caught up in the drug game and getting pretty hefty prison sentences. That’s one of the things I disliked about Ross in the book. He was very money hungry. I see nothing wrong with wanting to live comfortable or whatever but, he was so stuck on being rich that sometimes he made some pretty crazy choices to get that money. 
Ross also goes on talking about this best friend’s death and how he found him dead at 45 in his tub from heart disease. With this discovery it seems it ticked something off in his head and he decided to create some lifestyle changes. I enjoyed the book but, I really wish he would’ve gone more in depth with his weight loss, his tattoo removals, etc.

Review: More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark- Alvin Schwartz

Title: More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

Author: Alvin Schwartz

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 100

Rating: 5/5

I read this very scarcely when I was a kid. I kept seeing the books around, but I never actually picked them up until I went to target the other day. I bought 1 and 3 (no more #2). I read both of them in less than an hour. These are definitely great stories to tell around a cool campfire. Some may be a bit strong for smaller children. The great thing that adds that horror factor is the black and white illustrations. These books are definitely a treasure that must be kept forever. I’ll list some of my favorites below:

The Wreck-

The Bride-

Wonderful Sausage-

The Deadman’s Hand-

The Brown Suit-

Review: Mirror, Mirror- Jen Calonita

Title: Mirror, Mirror

Author: Jen Calonita

Publisher: Disney Books

Pages: 344

Rating: 5/5

After reading Part of Your World, I knew i had to continue reading this book series. Even though they’re written by different authors, they all seem to pull me into these books. We all know what happened in the original Snow White story and how it ended right? Well, this book has a twist.

We meet Ingrid, who in this story is Snow’s aunt. You see Ingrid had a sister named Katherine who was the original Queen. But because of Ingrid’s jealousy and cruelty tragedy hits and both the seat for King and Queen were opened. Because of this event Ingrid takes place on the throne. She now has the responsibility of her niece Snow and of everyone in town and in the castle. As Snow grows older, Ingrid’s hatred, jealousy, and possessiveness grow more by the day and Snow is forced to be alone…isolated from everything and everyone. Because of Ingrid’s lies and deceit, Snow White is obvilvious to the chaos surrounding her beloved castle. She also has no idea that the Queen wants something else…something wicked…something horrifying. 
As the story progresses you come into the seven dwarfs from the original story with a little more in-depth look into their life and how the reign of terror of the queen has affected them. Oh and of course you can’t forget the prince 😮 This book was a real easy and fast read but, it was enjoyable to me. Calonita takes you on an adventure with Snow White and the seven dwarfs to claim back her throne and give the people the life they deserve.

The Secret Life of a Book Blogger Tag

I stumbled upon this awesome tag on SepiaReads‘s blog and decided to give it a go.

How long have you’ve been blogging?

❀I’ve been blogging for over 10 years, from when Xanga was around, to when I jumped ship on blogger, then tumblr, and now here I am at wordpress. I’ve been more consistent with blogging the last five years though.

At what point do you think you’ll stop blogging?

❀Probably when i can’t anymore.

What is the best thing about blogging?

❀The best thing about blogging is being able to share my thoughts on books that I love, or that are a buzz around social media. I basically love sharing my passions with everyone.

What is the worst thing? What do you do to make it okay?

❀One of the worst things of blogging would have to be the popularity contests. Smaller bloggers deserve love too man! Besides a lot of times not everyone can get a domain or be able to design their websites for themselves or pay someone else at the very moment like a lot of bloggers have. Doesn’t make those blogger’s websites any less worthy than those who are popular. When things like this happen, usually I keep doing what I love doing…which is reviewing books and reading them. Numbers don’t faze me…being genuine is.

How long does it take you to make/find pictures to use?

❀Depending on what type of post it is it can take me a few minutes to an hour or more.

Who is your book crush?

❀Don’t have one lol.

What author would you like to have on your blog?

❀Even though I know my blog would never get to that level, I would love to have Stephen King and pick his brain for a bit.

What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

❀I usually blog at night, so that would have to be my pajamas.

How long does it take you to prepare?

❀Usually it takes me a day to prepare my blog posts. I usually like to write a hard copy first before I actually type it up.

How do you feel about the blogging community?

❀I think it’s beautiful that we’re all united by our passion of books and writing. Now can we stop making it a competition please?

What do you think one should do to create a successful blog?

❀Consistency for sure, interaction, creative ideas (change it up a bit), and an overall love and passion for what you do.