Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Reviews: Fight to Forgive + Skeletons in the Closet


Fight to Forgive by J. Leigh Bailey

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Recent college grad Aaron Elliott is a pro when it comes to avoiding conflict. So when he hears his mother and stepfather plan to sell the family’s rambling summer retreat, it takes everything in him to object. The lake house is where he feels closest to his late father. It’s where he fell in love with his best friend…and it’s where he let family pressure decide his future rather than following his heart.

A combat injury has naval officer James “Freddie” Fredrick dry-docked, possibly for good. But the pain in his shoulder is nothing like the hurt he feels when he sees Aaron back in town. It’s been four years since the love of his life left without a word—and though Freddie would give anything to deny it, the heat between them hasn’t faded.

Once upon a time, Aaron let Freddie go without a fight. He won’t screw up their second chance to have a happy ending. But unless he makes peace with the past, Freddie won’t be able to face their future.


Review: J. Leigh Bailey is a favorite of mine so I'm always excited to see that they have a new book coming out. In Fight to Forgive, the book takes place in the present day with Aaron and Freddie reconnecting after years apart. However, the book has flashbacks to help the reader understand their previous relationship. It starts with the two meeting and then continues on until they are a couple and then finally we reach the moment where everything changed and Aaron ran off instead of talking to Freddie, because he hates confrontation. While I can understand both of the boy's sides, this is one of those books where all could have been fine if Aaron had just talked to Freddie. At the same time, despite there not being a story, the boys also wouldn't have had a chance to grow up and evolve, and I think it was important that they did.

While I really enjoyed this one, I did want to push the two together multiple times throughout the book and yell "stop being so stubborn and open up!" Alas, it does happen eventually. I feel like Fight to Forgive is easy to predict in a variety of ways, which isn't a bad thing. Most romances are fairly easy to predict after all. I would say you have to have some patience with these two, but I really liked the overall story. There are some nice and also some not-so-nice secondary characters to get to know as well!


Skeletons in the Closet by Kayla Bain-Vrba

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: It's no secret that Riley used to practice dark magic, but he gave it up gladly when he fell in love with Landon. But Riley has spent the last year trying to shield Landon from just how dark his past really was, desperate to keep him safe and hold on to their fragile relationship.

Then Dyami, Riley's old partner, returns to town and threatens to kill them both if Riley doesn't return to his old ways…

Review: Skeletons in the Closet is a novella but it was an interesting one! I really liked the premise that these two, Riley and Landon, could do magic. I wish the book was longer actually! However, this novella is about these two men who have been dating for a little while and while Landon knows that Riley used to do dark magic, he doesn't fully know the details and Riley is always afraid he's going to hurt Landon.

The past appears in the form of a girl who Riley used to work with and she's not ready to let go of dark magic anytime soon. Riley and Landon end up in the middle things, marking a true test to their relationship as Riley might have to use his dark powers to save them.

Like I said, it's an exciting premise, and it's one I wish had filled up a larger book, but I still really enjoyed the novella. It's easy to feel for Riley. He wants desperately to change but he's afraid that if he uses his full powers, they will be dark and not light, like Landon. As much as Landon says he understands about Riley's past, it's also easy to see his side of things. Granted, Landon isn't that worried about Riley until he starts to see dark magic in action. Finally, while this novella focuses largely on magic and the like, there are some graphic sex scenes in the beginning and end, so definitely an adult title!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Reviews: The Haters + Gena/Finn



The Haters by Jesse Andrews 

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryFor Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It's pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It's three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they're in Ash's SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.

Review: Okay, to be honest, I didn't really like this one. It was almost a DNF for me mainly because I have a lot of books to read and I just didn't want to invest time in something I wasn't really liking. However, I persevered, because I was curious about how things would end and it wasn't all bad. Overall, the characters felt realistic. The actual adventure of running off and doing a tour isn't that most realistic, but it's not unrealistic, if that makes sense. It's something that could happen; it just felt a bit strange to be reading about these teens that did that. Anyway, I haven't read Andrews' debut Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and I hear great things about it, so I do want too. I just wouldn't say this one was a favorite of mine. It's definitely middle-of-the-range. I wouldn't recommend it per se, but I could see people really liking how the teens spoke and acted like real people. Boys might enjoy it more than girls, with all of the guy humor, though!


Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Gena and Finn would have never met but for their mutual love for the popular show Up Below. Regardless of their differences—Gena is a recent high school graduate whose social life largely takes place online, while Finn is in her early twenties, job hunting and contemplating marriage with her longtime boyfriend—the two girls realize that the bond between them transcends fanfiction. When disaster strikes and Gena's world turns upside down, only Finn can save her, and that, too, comes with a price. Told through emails, text messages, journal entries, and blog posts, Gena/Finn is a story of friendship and love in the digital age.

Review: Now this is a book that I really loved. For one thing, it's easy for me to relate to as I have met a lot of great people online - whether we ever met in person or not. We've talked about the things we love, especially when it deals with some sort of fandom or nerdy love. For Gena (pronounced like Jenna) and Finn (two girls) they bond over the TV show Up Below. They start to write each other about their lives and the things they are going through. Finn is a bit older than Gena and she's living away from her family with her boyfriend, but she's not sure she really wants to marry him. As for Gena, she's dealing with absent parents, mental health, and something of a secret that is revealed later.

As these two communicate, and especially after they meet in person, their friendship starts to blur a bit. Do they love each other as more than friends? Is one of them more in love than the other? It's an interesting question and it was great to see this in a book. It's easy, especially with girls, to see how friends could start to fall in love if they get too close to each other. Obviously this doesn't happen with all best girl friends, but it is something that probably happens more often than people realize.

I loved the different formats -we get journal entries, text messages, emails, etc. It's a lot of fun and it makes the story move quick, but also allows you an intimate look into both of these girl's worlds.

Gena/Finn comes out May 17th - pre-order your copy now! 


Both of these books fall under the Unique Formatting Book Challenge. I explained Gena/Finn, but The Haters does as well; it's just a bit more difficult to explain! I have everything linked up (including the monthly link up) under the page Unique Formatting Book Challenge - just look under my header for the link! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hosting Blog Tours for LGBT+ Books

source
Hello everyone!!

I've been tweeting about this for a bit now but I know not all of you are on there, or even follow me (though if you want too - @shootingstarmag), so I thought I'd share this in a more prominent post here.

There a lot of blog tour companies out there, and I think it's great. Authors and books need more love and a bit more push sometimes with so many titles coming out all the time. However, I am starting a blog tour company that focuses solely on LGBT+ books. These won't all be YA titles, and they won't all be Adult titles. I like to read a mix of LGBT+ books, so I want to do more of what I can to spread the word.

However, I need blogger help! Through Twitter, I've had a lot of people say they would wish to help, but I could always use more, especially before I start really spreading the word to authors. If you are interested, I just need your email. That's it! You will get emails once I start working with authors. These emails will include details on the book and author and what we're looking for - reviews, guest posts, social media help, etc. If you are interested in the book and helping out, you will just write me back and let me know what you want to do!

That's it! Simple enough, right? So yes, please do let me know if you wish to be included on my blogger list. Also, I'd love it if you could spread the word to your fellow readers in case they want to help out!

Oh, and if any authors are reading this: get in touch if you have a future LGBT+ title that could use some help! I can't promise to work with every author, but I will do my best!

-Lauren

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Blog Tour: Static by Eric Laster + Two Great Giveaways



Welcome to Day #7 of the #STATIC Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of #STATIC by Eric Laster (4/19/16), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Eric and 10 chances to win a copy of #STATIC, as well as a chance to win a 6-in-1 Bluetooth Entertainment Center in the Grand Prize Giveaway!

Recording Punk Rock by Eric Laster

Whenever he’s not scribing, Eric records punk rock and presses it to vinyl.

As a writer, I spend most of my time being as precise as I can, choosing the right words and stringing them together in sentences I find pleasing; sentences, paragraphs, the pacing of chapters—there are so many details to consider in every piece of writing, and I can never be too detail-oriented.

Recording punk rock allows me to indulge in overall attitude instead of details. When I write and record punk, I embrace messiness—spewing emotions without painstaking forethought. And this might sound weird, but for me it’s also a celebration of anger. Punk allows me a cathartic release from the strictures of the everyday and acts as a steam valve through which I vent some of the worst aspects of my personality (though I do exaggerate and poke fun of this over-the-top version of myself). Curiously, when I “sing” punk I become a character, which in the end is not unlike being a novelist or short story writer.

Parsing the whys of my interest in punk is dangerous. The music should be heard and felt, and certainly not dissected by the one playing it. You can check out some of Eric's music on Bandcamp.

*****

Stop by Pretty Little Memoirs tomorrow for the next stop on the tour!


Blog Tour Schedule:

April 18th – The Book Cellar
April 19th – Once Upon a Twilight
April 20th – Fall Into Books
April 21st – Twenty Three Pages
April 22nd – The Fandom
April 25th — Book Briefs
April 26th – Shooting Stars Mag
April 27th – Pretty Little Memoirs
April 28th – A Belle’s Tales
April 29th – The Reader and the Chef

Buy: Amazon
Follow Eric: Twitter | Facebook | InstagramWebsite
When Curtis Brooks starts receiving phone calls from his older brother Wilt, who’s been dead a week, he’s sure it’s to help him find evidence that will lead to a murderer’s arrest. But Wilt claims he wasn’t murdered; his calling, meant to help him adjust, is standard protocol for newly deceased at the Aftermart—a kind of inescapable, ever-expanding Walmart filled with discontinued products. Wilt’s death ruled a homicide, Curtis embarks on a dangerous plan to find the killer, which soon has him scheming against a billionaire and floundering toward love with his brother’s ex-girlfriend Suzy, all while struggling through high school and his single mom’s poor choices. Why does Wilt help Curtis win over Suzy, even as he organizes a rebellion at the Aftermart? Who’d wanted him dead? Curtis risks his life to answer these questions, in the process forging a bond with his brother unlike any they’ve ever had.
A New Yorker by birth, Eric Laster lives in Los Angeles. After a successful stint as a best-selling ghostwriter, Eric re-launched under his own name with the middle-grade novel Welfy Q. Deederhoth: Meat Purveyor, World Savior.  Whenever he’s not scribing, he records punk rock and presses it to vinyl.
GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY
a Rafflecopter giveaway
ShootingStarsMag Giveaway:

I was given the opportunity to offer up one copy of Static by Eric Laster for giveaway.
You must be in the U.S. or Canada
You must be at least 13 years of age or have permission of parents to enter
Once I pass along your information, I am in no way responsible for the book getting to you
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Guess Who Is Going to BEA 2016?

Guess what you all? I'M GOING TO BEA! I'm so excited, because while I was lucky to attend last year, I never met any bloggers and I knew I really wanted to do that this year. Plus, it's in Chicago so I don't have to fly this time around which is great with the lame delays last year that meant I got to BEA late. Sigh. At any rate, my sister was finally able to say she could attend (she wasn't sure because of work, etc.) and she went with me last year, so all we had to do was click the email we had been sent that automatically registers us for this year's convention. I hear BEA is going back to NYC next year and that means I probably won't be able to attend one of these again; at least not for years to come! All this to say that I'm really happy that the schedule of it worked out, and for the rest of it (money, etc.) I'll just make it work!

Anyway, I know some of you who are going but now that I'm officially signed up, please remind me! Any way we can meet up? Are you doing anything where you're meeting other bloggers and don't mind me and my sister tagging along? I signed up for the BEA Blogger Dinner - well, I signed up for information; it depends on when the dinner is held. We should basically be in Chicago for Thursday and Friday in terms of when we can see people, so those nights are free! Granted, I don't want to make my sister do just bloggy stuff if she's not up for that, so I'll have to figure out plans. I think she'd love to meet all of you too though!

So yes -are you going to BEA? If you don't mind sharing, what hotel are you staying in? You can always DM me on twitter (@shootingstarmag) or email too if you don't want to lay it all out there online: lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

What books are you looking forward to?

Do you know of any LGBT+ books/authors that are going to be there/featured? Right now I know History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera and I am desperate to get an ARC of that one!

-Lauren

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dirty by Kylie Scott Book Tour

Alicia here, with another post about Dirty. (Apologies to those who saw this post earlier and there was nothing there. Apparently I forgot to actually put everything up. Sorry!) Enjoy!

--------------------------------





Are you ready to get Dirty? 
Dirty is Book One in Kylie Scott’s Dive Bar Series. 



Order your copy of DIRTY here:
Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1MetF1F




Blurb
The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

Lydia Green doesn't know whether to burn down the church or sit and
cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it's with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she'd marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he's all wrong-maybe it's time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what's wrong with getting dirty?



Excerpt
“Once upon a time,” he began, voice low and measured. “There was a princess. A beautiful, occasionally annoying princess.”

“What was her name?”

“Ah, Notlydia.”

I frowned. “Her name is Notlydia?”

“You wanted a story, I’m giving you one. Shut up.”

“Whatever.”

An even heavier sigh from the man. “Anyhoo, Notlydia was all set up to marry this prince. We’ll call him Prince Bag of Dicks.”

“Works for me.”

“But on the day of her wedding, when she was wearing this sweet dress that served her tits up like they were a fucking platter—”

“Is this an R-rated story?”

“Please,” he said, sliding an arm around my bare waist. And I let him. “R is for rubbish. If you don’t get to see any penetration then you’re wasting your time. This is XXX.”

I laughed.

“So on the day of her wedding to Prince Bag of Dicks, Notlydia kisses him and he turns into a big slimy two-headed toad with terrible breath and even worse foot odor.”

“Whoa.” I rested my head back against his shoulder. “Poor Notlydia.”

“Hell of a plot twist, right?”

“Never saw that one coming.”

“Mm.” He rested his cheek against the top of my head.

“What happens next?”

“Well, she’s completely freaked out, of course.”

“Of course.”

“And she takes off into the woods. She’s running through bushes, jumping fences, climbing trees, you name it. Nothing’s going to stop her from getting the hell away from that toad, Prince Bag of Dicks.” He took a sip of beer. “Unfortunately, she loses her fancy dress along the way. She’s just down to some skimpy underwear and a corset and with all that jogging through the forest, it’s barely holding her in. One decent breath and there’s going to be nipple out there for all the world to see.

Did I happen to mention she’d been voted Best Rack in the kingdom four years running? Anyway, eventually she finds this small cottage. Now, what you don’t know about Notlydia is that she has a shady past.”I tried to look up at him. But with the angle, all I got was stubble and cheekbone. “That doesn’t sound like Notlydia.”

“Be quiet.” A hand covered my mouth. “Notlydia’s a dirty, dirty girl. Got a bad side like you wouldn’t believe. A little breaking and entering is nothing to her. So into the house she goes. But she’s all muddy from running through the woods, see? She can’t let people see her like this, she’s a princess, for fuck’s sake.”

The hand remained over my mouth. Which was fine, I had nothing to add to his pornographic fairy tale.

“Notlydia gets in the shower and starts soaping herself. There’s lots of bubbles and steam, and she’s a modern woman so there’s a bit of self-love. She even finds time to wash her hair, shave under her pits. Things like that. But then the owner of the cottage wakes up and hears the water running. He stomps into the bathroom saying, someone’s using up my hot water. Notlydia cries out, not me, not me.”

He craned his neck, meeting my gaze. “See, babe, what did I tell you? That Notlydia is a filthy little liar.”

I looked up to heaven. No help was forthcoming.

“Someone’s using up all my soap, says the owner. Not me, not me, cries Notlydia.” He put his lips next to my ear. “She should be ashamed of herself, shouldn’t she? If ever a busty princess deserved a spanking.”

I bit at the palm of his hand, teeth catching at the fleshy mound beneath his thumb.

“Ow.” He laughed, pulling his hand free. “Then the owner said, someone’s been fingering herself in my shower.”

“Stop!” I put my hands over my ears, trying desperately to hold in my laughter. “This is the worst story ever. The Brothers Grimm are rolling over in their graves.”

“Notlydia throws back the shower curtain and says, oh yeah, big boy, that was me. Come and get it. And they have wild sex all over the cottage.” Vaughan’s body jerked beneath mine as he laughed his ass off. “The end.”

“No way. Notlydia is virtuous and pure. She’d never pull that sort of shit.”

“Nah.” He chuckled. “It all happened exactly as I said. Dirtiest princess in all the land.”

“Like hell. The owner of that cottage was a pervert and a deviant. Why, he would have picked the lock on a chastity belt. She never stood a chance.” Difficult to maintain my pious stance, given I’d started laughing so hard tears were pouring down my cheeks. The funny bastard. “I want to know more about this cottage owner. What’s his name?”

“I don’t know. Let me think . . .” He rested his chin back on top of my head. “He definitely isn’t Prince Charming.”

“He could be!”

Silence.

“If he wanted to. Or not. Whatever,” I added weakly. Crap. “Let’s go back to not talking.”

I was a moron.

We’d been all relaxed and laughing. Me and my idiot mouth. Way to go, Lydia. Just shout out any old impossible daydream to the dude who’s made it clear there was no future “we.” If someone could just direct me to the nearest brick wall, I’d knock a little sense into myself.On the other hand, it was two stupid words. Surely he could have ignored the last hundred years of Disney perpetuating slick-haired young royals gallivanting around the countryside saving hot babes in distress. For the sake of getting along. God knows, Chris never had any problems ignoring or placating me. I’d seen his thoughtless gorgeous smile aimed my way a hundred times. No, a thousand. If only I’d recognized it for what it was.

Ugh. Just the thought of it made me want to punch the douche all over again.

Maybe I needed a bit more than a week to get over that catastrophe. The money would help. Substantially. I’d never imagined that compromising my morals and taking hush money from such foul woe-begotten assholes would feel so good. Maybe I should sell out more often.

“This, ah, this Prince Charming of yours,” he said haltingly.

“Yes?”

Vaughan shifted beneath me, pushing out a heavy breath. “I mean, it doesn’t make sense, does it? Why would he be in a cottage instead of a castle?”

“Well . . . his parents, the king and queen of the neighboring kingdom, died in a terrible accident.”

I stayed perfectly still, waiting to see how he’d react.

“I see.”

“And it hurt him so bad he just, he didn’t want to be a prince anymore.”

Nothing from him.

“Bad things happen in fairy tales sometimes.”

A grunt.

“It’s not fair, but it happens,” I said, feeling my way with more caution than skill. “The prince loved his parents and the castle had too many memories.”

“Hmm.”

“So he ran away into the woods too.”

“Doesn’t sound like much of a prince if he can’t handle his shit,” he said.

“Princes are just men too, human beings. I don’t think a crown or a penis gives you magical invulnerability to loss and pain.” I stared at the wall, thinking the problem through. “Life is hard.

Terrible things happen. We all have feelings. We’re all just flesh and blood, trying to do our best.”

“Running away from problems isn’t doing your best.” His voice echoed around the small room, the same as around in my head.

What with holding the Coeur d’Alene title for runaway bride of the year, I had no answer. None at all. So much for my half-assed wisdom.




Twist  (Book Two) in the Dive Bar Series by Kylie Scott releases on November 22nd!

Pre-order your copy of  TWIST here:
Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/22fTwKK

About the Author:



Kylie is a long time fan of erotic love stories and B-grade horror films. She demands a happy ending and if blood and carnage occur along the way then all the better. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and one delightful husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

Kylie is represented by Amy Tannenbaum at the Jane Rotrosen Agency, New York.

Stalk Kylie Scott: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Win a Signed ARC of The Raven Boys OR A Signed HC of The Raven King



Maggie Stiefvater recently announced tour dates where she'll be talking about and signing The Raven King, the final book in the Raven Cycle series. In honor of that, I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway for all of you! 

Please Note: First off, I am planning on attending this signing so I will have The Raven King signed. I'm hoping to ALSO have an ARC of The Raven Boys signed (good for you collectors!) However, I can't say how many books they will let you get signed. Plus, I'm not responsible if something goes wrong and I cannot attend the signing. If I can't get the books signed for whatever reason, the giveaway for unsigned copies are STILL going on, so don't worry about that!

Prize: Either a signed ARC of The Raven Boys or a signed Hardcover of The Raven King (right now I'm planning to just give one away, but we'll see how many people enter and if I can get both signed). 

Open To: This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada! Sorry, but I just can't afford any more shipping cost. HOWEVER - If you are International and want to enter and pay for the shipping if you win, go ahead!

Ends: Thursday, May 5 as my signing is Monday, May 9th! 

Bridge the Gap Review: The Rabbit Back Literature Society


The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen

Review by Lauren

source: copy from library; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryOnly very special people are chosen by children's author Laura White to join 'The Society', an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: Ella, literature teacher and possessor of beautifully curving lips. But soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual, 'The Game'? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura's winter party, in a whirlwind of snow? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her? Slowly, disturbing secrets that had been buried come to light...

Review: This book is really not one you can explain. It's something you just have to dive into and see what you think. It's also not a good book to rate, per se, because it's a weird novel. Weird things happen, weird characters do weird things. Yeah, weird. That doesn't mean it was bad though. It was definitely well-written and inventive. It kept me reading because I very much wanted answers and to know what was happening with this literature society, especially the creator, Laura White.

I'll say right now though that you will be left with some questions. The author answers some things, but this isn't a book that completely wraps up with a nice little bow. I suppose it wouldn't work well if it had been though. A friend of mine saw that I was reading this one and she sad it was "weird, but good." I know, I know, I'm using the word weird a lot and not really explaining things. But to be honest, if you want to read this book, the less you know, the better! I feel like this might have worked better for me as a film. It just seems like certain things would have translated better - then again, this is an English translation of a Finnish novel, so who knows if that changed the novel at all? I still think the book is meant to be fantastical though. It's not completely contemporary, as it does deal with some supernatural or fantasy elements. Some of these things aren't given meaning, like I mentioned before, but it does add a layer to the overall story.


This book is written by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen who lives in Finland, making this is a Bridge the Gap book (an author who lives in a country other than your own). Feel free to use this button and link back to my blog if you read a Bridge the Gap book!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Dirty by Kylie Scott Release Day Blitz

 Alicia here, with the release day blitz for Dirty. Yay!!!! I've already read and thoroughly enjoyed this one, and now it's your turn! 
---------------------------------










Are you ready to get Dirty? 
Dirty is Book One in Kylie Scott’s Dive Bar Series
is FINALLY here! 

NOW LIVE!

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1MetF1F



Blurb
The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

Lydia Green doesn't know whether to burn down the church or sit and
cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it's with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she'd marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he's all wrong-maybe it's time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what's wrong with getting dirty?





About the Author:



Kylie is a long time fan of erotic love stories and B-grade horror films. She demands a happy ending and if blood and carnage occur along the way then all the better. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and one delightful husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

Kylie is represented by Amy Tannenbaum at the Jane Rotrosen Agency, New York.

Stalk Kylie Scott: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bridge the Gap Review: The Taste of Ink by Francis Gideon + Music Pick


The Taste of Ink by Francis Gideon

Review by Lauren

source: copy from publisher; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryTrevor Dunn has never gone to the Calgary Stampede, in spite of living in the city all his life. He would much rather listen to music and draw comics in his basement than hang out with a bunch of cowboys. When his sister drags him to the Stampede’s opening parade anyway, Trevor is drawn to a cowboy sporting a green hat.

Charlie opens Trevor’s mind to the world of country music and country boys. But then an old flame appears in the middle of the festival and Trevor is torn. He adores Charlie, but Mathieu—a punk singer turned acoustic crooner—was Trevor’s first love, and Trevor lost him by being too afraid to chase the dreams they shared.

When the Stampede ends, Charlie will go back to Toronto, Mathieu will go back on tour, and Trevor will go back to his basement. Realizing that’s not what he wants, Trevor enters a mechanical bull-riding contest in hopes of winning the heart of his true love—or maybe both of them. This time, fear won’t stop him from going after what he wants.


Review: First off, I love the publishing company Dreamspinner Press. They publish some really great m/m fiction. However, that doesn't mean everything they put out there is right for me. The Taste of Ink is one of those books. It had a lot of promise and I liked the characters overall, especially Trevor Dunn, because he's someone who normally stays inside working on his comics instead of going out. It was easy to relate to him. His sister gets him out of the house though for the Calgary Stampede and he ends up meeting Charlie, who shows Trevor the world outside his bedroom. Of course, there is plenty of time inside a bedroom. This is a romance after all.

To be honest though, the book went in a direction that I didn't expect and it just didn't work for me. I don't want to spoil things. If you really want to know, just ask me! Otherwise, you'll see how it goes if you do decide to read this one. I rated it 3 stars on Goodreads (I don't always rate books, but you never know...) and that was mostly because it's not an awful book, but it wasn't the best and it personally didn't work that well for me. I'd be curious to check out something else by the author though!

Music Pick-

Based on the title, I immediately thought of the song "The Taste of Ink" by The Used. I looked up the lyrics to remind myself of them and realized that they do fit really well, especially if you look at the song from Trevor's point of view. What do you think? I've included a video with the lyrics, instead of the actual music video, so you can really hear what the song is about!



I live in the United States, which means any author who isn't from the U.S. counts toward Bridge the Gap. Francis Gideon lives in Canada, and this is where the book takes place! If you read a book by an author NOT from your country, feel free to use the photo above and link back to my blog!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Post (15): Hosting LGBT Book Blog Tours + Instagram Love


Sunday Post is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Oh goodness, it's been awhile since I've done a Sunday Post so this one will be a bit different. More of an update on things than focused on past or upcoming posts.

-Lauren

1. First off, I wrote this on Twitter but haven't gotten a reply yet, so I thought I'd share here too. Does anyone know how to make a graphic for Instagram? There is a "feature" of sorts that I want to start doing over there, but I need a graphic for some of the posts. It's just something fun and different, I think. Also, follow me if you like! I'm having fun trying my hand at bookstagram, among other things!

2. I'm hosting a follower giveaway for a signed AND personalized copy of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I'd love for you all to enter - I'm afraid it's only open to U.S. and Canada but hopefully I can make some sort of of international giveaway work in the near future. I made a little graphic if you want to share the giveaway!


The blood spatter aspect was inspired by Evie Seo's design on Society 6 for this book.

3. Since I'm not going to really look back at previous posts (but feel free to do so), I did want to share my Saturday post in case you all missed it. It went up a bit later than I wanted. It's a review of the first book in a new middle grade series called Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee. I really loved it!

4. Survey of Sorts: I did this on Twitter, but not all of you are on there or follow me, so I'll post here too - if I do a social media giveaway, where do you want to enter? Twitter, Instagram, or Your Choice of Either? I'm leaning to your choice - as that's what Twitter wanted, but just checking!

5. FINALLY - I'm going to start doing blog tours for authors who write LGBT+ books. Well, that's the plan...I have to contact authors and get the word out more. However, I wanted to start a master list of sorts of bloggers who would be interested in learning about these blog tour opportunities. I just need your email! You aren't required to help with every book (obviously!) The idea is to just get the word out when I do start working with authors and those bloggers that can or wish to help with that particular book can reply back! Please spread the word about this too if you can - even if you don't want to sign up. I'd like to have a good list going before I offer my services! If you DO want to take part - just leave me your email below or email me: lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee


Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee

Review by Lauren

source: copy sent for review; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryThis groundbreaking new middle grade series follows DC Comics' most iconic female Super Heroes and Super-Villains . . . as high schoolers. At Super Hero High, the galaxy's most powerful teens nurture their powers and master the fundamentals of what it means to be a hero.

Review: This is such a fun start to a new middle grade series! Obviously, this book follows Wonder Woman as she begins her time at Super Hero High, but you also get to know about a lot of the other super heroes too. Based on the cover, you would think this was an all-girl's school but it's not! There are boys from Beast Boy to Hal Jordan (Green Lantern). It does seem like there are more girls than anyone though, which is nice!

It was fun seeing all the various super heroes interact. I've read a fair few comics and seen enough movies to recognize most of the names, but that doesn't mean I didn't 'meet' some new people. One of my favorite comic book characters is Harley Quinn, and she's Wonder Woman's roommate. I love how Yee took their personalities and molded them for a teen. For Harley, she's always bouncing around and in a good mood, filming her schoolmates for a web series she calls HQTV. If you know the comics, then of course Harley wouldn't really be at a school for teens with super powers. She doesn't become her alter ego Harley Quinn until she's older and meets The Joker. Regardless, I felt like Yee did a good job keeping to the heart of their characters, at least who they might be before they grow up - because not all of these super heroes end up good. Some end up super villains, and this is noted in the book!

While this is a suitable book for middle school, I do think older readers might enjoy it too! It's fun to see comic book characters in a setting other than comics. As for Wonder Woman, she's a really great character. She's very strong and capable, but Yee shows that she has stress and insecurities too. She doesn't always do the right thing, but she tries. One thing to keep in mind about Wonder Woman is that she grew up on Paradise Island with a bunch of other women, so she doesn't really understand boys (not that there is a romance in this one, just a crush)...and she also takes things quite literal, kind of like the picture book character Amelia Bedelia. It was fun and quirky most of the time though!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It's a quick read and it's a series that I'd love to continue!

Friday, April 15, 2016

How to Dress for a Music Fest


If you're interested in attending the Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio this June, you might be curious to know which acts will be performing on which days. Just take a look at the photo above and you'll get all your answers! No, you aren't given the exact time they are performing, but this will help you decide which day you want a ticket for, if you aren't aiming for the whole weekend!

Anyway, today I also wanted to talk about the perfect looks for summer festivals. I like attending Bunbury and other local music fests, but I also like local school festivals and other events that take place during the summer months. It might be hot out and you might be rocking to some music, but that doesn't mean you can't be cute and comfortable! I tend to go for shorts and a t-shirt for Bunbury so I don't overheat too much, but let's see what other options are out there-


Sometimes a little less is more when attending a music festival, especially if you know it's going to be crazy hot! I love this "I Want To Live in a Music Festival Forever" tank top from Etsy shop Flowfox Designs. You can choose from a variety of colors and sizes, so something for everyone. I featured the red color on here, but again, you have options, which I love, because so many cute shirts are dark colors and that's not the best for being out in the sun all day because it will trap the heat.


When I go to a music festival, I tend to wear a t-shirt or something with short sleeves and I like to go for a white or a really light color. I love this Minnie Mouse Floral Football Tee from Torrid for those reasons. Plus, it just looks really comfy and wearing something pop culture related to a music fest can be a lot of fun. The idea is that you don't wear a shirt with the band you're seeing, but music fests make that harder since you're seeing so many acts! If you want to follow that rule, though, go with something pop culture related instead!


If you're going to a music festival, you want to be just as comfortable on top as you are on the bottom. Not to be too gross, but if you sweat a lot, you probably won't want to wear a dress or a skirt. It would be better to go with shorts or capris even to keep yourself a bit more covered and make the sweat a little less noticeable. I'm not sure I could pull off these above shorts, but if you can, they would make a great addition to your music festival outfit as they are Black and White Music Note Shorts from Hot Topic.

Now that you have a basic idea of what to wear, let's focus on the extra additions that you might wear or bring with you!


Keeping yourself hydrated is the number one priority if you are doing anything outside during the summer. That's why I love this Hydration Pack from Etsy shop Steezy Pack. You can choose from a few designs and they are created to carry up to two water bottles up to 30 fl oz. Sure it's a bit like a fanny pack, but those are making a more stylish comeback, so why not grab one of these to help carry your water as well as your keys, phone, and other little items?


Temporary tattoos are becoming a huge hit with adults these days, with new and cool designs. Nowhere better to rock these tattoos, especially the metallic kind shown above, than at a summer music festival. You can get the tattoos above at Etsy shop Shimmer Tatts. Just search Etsy for all sorts of designs and colors though!

My final notes would be to make sure you have something to carry your money, phone, or other items if you need to bring them. Think about a cute fanny pack, a small cross-body purse, or even a light-weight backpack. Don't put too much in it though or it'll start to weigh you down as the day goes on! Think about bringing a water bottle too! I know Bunbury Music Festival allows you to bring one and there are water stations to fill up throughout the day. Otherwise, you'll be stuck buying a lot of water as the day goes on! Obviously these 'fashion' tips are for girls, but I feel like the same basic ideas apply for all those guys out there too!

Any outdoor summer plans you can wear these items for?--- let me know!

-Lauren

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey


The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey

Review by Lauren

source: copy from BloggingForBooks; all opinions are my own

Official Summary-GoodreadsChris Bailey turned down lucrative job offers to pursue a lifelong dream—to spend a year performing a deep dive experiment into the pursuit of productivity, a subject he had been enamored with since he was a teenager. After obtaining his business degree, he created a blog to chronicle a year-long series of productivity experiments he conducted on himself, where he also continued his research and interviews with some of the world’s foremost experts, from Charles Duhigg to David Allen. Among the experiments that he tackled: Bailey went several weeks with getting by on little to no sleep; he cut out caffeine and sugar; he lived in total isolation for 10 days; he used his smartphone for just an hour a day for three months; he gained ten pounds of muscle mass; he stretched his work week to 90 hours; a late riser, he got up at 5:30 every morning for three months—all the while monitoring the impact of his experiments on the quality and quantity of his work. 

Review: I've always liked certain nonfiction books, especially memoirs. However, in the last year or so, I have started to branch out and try more nonfiction books that I've come across. This was easy to do when I was working at a public library because I'd often browse the shelves or see what other people checked out and returned.

At any rate, when I saw this book available for review, I had to grab a copy! I don't always read this type of "self-help" books with changing myself in mind, but I do find what they have to say very interesting. Plus, I love this new trend of doing something for a year, experimenting and researching what works best. I discovered this with the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and now I try and find similar books when I can. This is what Bailey did to write The Productivity Project. This was a topic he had been fascinated with for years, so it wasn't new to him.

However, by not accepting any jobs after graduating college and dedicating a whole year to this topic, he had more time and abilities to be able to research productivity and figure out what works and what doesn't work to make yourself more productive. For example, multi-tasking doesn't work, even if you think it does. You're still putting half the effort into each piece of work, instead of fully focusing on one chore/job/assignment. Working less but more diligently is better than working longer hours, because after awhile, you aren't really working as hard. Longer hours doesn't equal more work finished. These are just a couple things that Bailey took note of in his book.

Overall, I really liked this book. It was a fairly quick read. There are definitely tips and ideas that I think are worth checking out, especially if I'm involved in a big project. It's good to know what will make me more effective!