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[BLOG TOUR] ARC Book Review: “Don’t Read the Comments” by Eric Smith

[January 21, 2020 – February 4, 2020]

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review. Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith is on sale January 28, 2020.

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

 

My Review:
Everyone should read Don’t Read the Comments because it highlights issues in the gaming industry, has great characters, and the story is so relevant to today. I loved this book more than I originally thought. The way Eric Smith weaves the story between Divya and Aaron’s POVs was done really well, which made the story richer in idea and (reading) experience.

First we have Divya – D1V as she’s known in the online streamers space – who unfortunately gets targeted for online harassment from an unknown (as usual) trolls. I think they target her because she’s woman commandeering a large following in a “male only space.” Based on what they were saying to her, it also seemed like the trolls used her gender as a scapegoat. Whatever the reason, the story brings up important issues faced by not only women in gaming but also toxic online bullies/harassers/trolls. Like everyone else, she is a person before she is a online personality.

Divya is a very caring and strong person. I loved the ways she tries not to become a victim and how she tries to protect her best friend, Rebekah, from reliving similar horrors. I genuinely love Divya’s character for helping her mom live her dream while they are struggling financially.

Aaron I like yet I felt so bad for him. He doesn’t feel his dreams are being supported by his mother and (kind of in a way) by Jason, the developer he’s “working” for. He doesn’t see his self-worth for much of the story until everything comes tumbling down. I didn’t want it to come to that before he realized things. Through Aaron we also get another issue in the gaming (really any) industry; in essence, copyright and protecting one’s work.

The author packs in a lot of pertinent issues (in work, gaming, home life, etc.) and sometimes that can be cause for confusion while reading. I’m impressed  by the author’s ability to talk about so much but not let the reader feel overwhelmed by it all. And all the issues connect together under the same umbrella.

I felt more connected to both characters – Divya’s noble nature and Aaron writing stories for games. They both stand up for what’s right for the greater good. I’m glad the romance element between the two MCs wasn’t at the forefront of what was going on or awkward. It was a sweet romance that slowly built beneath all the chaos.

Don’t Read the Comments is was really really good. We need this important book in these increasingly advancing technological times. The issues brought up are things many people are facing today, especially with cancel culture and double standards. Don’t Read the Comments is inquisitive and compelling – a must read for 2020.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Smith is an author, prolific book blogger, and literary agent from New Jersey, currently living in Philadelphia. Smith cohosts Book Riot’s newest podcast, HEY YA, with non-fiction YA author Kelly Jensen. He can regularly be found writing for Book Riot’s blog, as well as Barnes & Noble’s Teen Reads blog, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. Smith also has a growing Twitter platform of over 40,000 followers (@ericsmithrocks).

Social Links:
Author website: https://www.ericsmithrocks.com/
Twitter: @ericsmithrocks 
Instagram: @ericsmithrocks
Facebook: @ericsmithwrites


READ EXCERPT HERE >>> Don’t Read the Comments – Chapter 1.docx


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TBR At A Glance – 1/21/20

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay | Edited in Paint

CURRENTLY READING

  • Cast In Wisdom by Michelle Sagara (ARC)

 

READING NEXT

  • Fire Dancer by Catherine Jones Payne

  • Snow White with the Red Hair (Volumes 3-5)

  • Yona of the Dawn (Volumes 1-3)

  • An Incurable Case of Love (Volume 1)

  • The Royal Tutor (Volume 12)

 

RECENT REVIEWS

 

REVIEWS COMING SOON

  • JAN 23Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith (Blog Tour/ARC)

  • JAN 27 – Heartsong by TJ Klune

  • JAN 30Cast In Wisdom by Michelle Sagara (Blog Tour/ARC)


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Weekend Writing Prompt #41

PROMPT: Take your favorite book character and place them as the MC of your favorite movie. How would that character solve the conflict of the movie?


CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


And, As Always, Happy Writing!!!


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#PubDay | ARC Book Review: “Feather” by Olivia Wildenstein

Thank you to the Olivia Wildenstein for the e-ARC to read and review!

Image via Goodreads

Genre: New Adult Fantasy
Series: Angels of Elysium #1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: It was supposed to be a quick mission. The only thing quick about it was how rapidly I failed.

With only a month left to earn her missing feathers, twenty-year-old Leigh embarks on a trip to Paris to meet her newest project, twenty-five-year-old Jarod Adler, leader of the Parisian Mafia and the worst kind of sinner . . . a Triple.

If Leigh can get Jarod to accomplish a single act of kindness, she stands to win 100 feathers, more than enough to complete her wings and ascend to Elysium, the land of angels.

What she doesn’t count on is Jarod’s dark charm costing her feathers.

She’s dead set on saving him, and he’s dead set on destroying her.

Until he realizes destroying her wings is also destroying her heart.

A heart he longs to hear beat only for him.

 

My Review:
Warning: graphic sexual scenes and a difficult ending. Not recommended for Young Adults.

I absolutely LOVED this book even after leaving me in tears by the end. Feather was captivating and beautifully tragic. A-MA-ZING!

I couldn’t believe what was happening. I couldn’t believe what Leigh (21) had to go through. Leigh is the epitome of faith, courage, and angelic grace. There was a fascinating contrast between Leigh’s character and all the other characters – a surprising mix of angels and demons (by nature not being) among them all. What you expect an angel to be like is turned on its head in the book.

Leigh is a sweet, kind, honorable person. She is brave and determined through thick and thin despite the threat of becoming a Nephilim if she doesn’t gain the 100 feathers needed to ascend to Elysium. I loved getting to know her oh-so flawed character and see how she changed from page one to the end.

Jarod (25) is a more wicked version of Robin Hood. He is a young man tainted by a dark past. At first he does seem irredeemable. Once you get to know more about him you do see there is some good within him albeit mostly covered in sins. His past is a real tear-jerker and it really pointed out a flaw in humanity and angels.

The aspects of angels Wildenstein creates is really fascinating. Included before the story is a very helpful guide to the different levels of angels and what they can and can’t do. The angel hierarchy is interesting but somewhat sad when you really think about it. There is also a glossary of the French words and phrases used.

I did not expect the high levels of tension or the shocking betrayals. I thought there was still a chance at a happily ever after. But no. Instead, you get a soul-crushing ending. I was crying by the end from the tragedy that unfolds and could not stop.

Wildenstein says she had a difficult time writing this book, knowing the ending, and I don’t blame her. But I’m so glad she will be continuing the story because this book was everything and I need to know the consequences for the actions some of the characters took.

Feather is a must-read and a must-have for your bookshelf. The story is so astonishing. It will take you on a roller coaster of feelings. As of now, Feather is my favorite book of 2020 so far. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It’s worth the read!


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Book Review: “Kamisama Kiss” (Vol. 1) by Julietta Suzuki

Review of Volume 1 only

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel
Series: Kamisama Kiss
# of Volumes: 25
Rating: 4 out of 5

 

ABOUT: Nanami Momozono is alone and homeless after her dad skips town to evade his gambling debts and the debt collectors kick her out of her apartment. So when a man she’s just saved from a dog offers her his home, she jumps at the opportunity. But it turns out that his place is a shrine, and Nanami has unwillingly taken over his job as a local deity!

Nanami has all kinds of new responsibilities she doesn’t understand, dangers she’s unaware of, and a cranky ex-familiar who’s… actually pretty hot. What’s a new-fledged godling to do?

 

My Review: This was a great start to the story. I’ve only watched the anime so this was a nice re-introduction to the story. Reading was a nostalgic experience.

Nanami is alot different than I remember. She is an eh character as of this first volume but I’m sure I’ll grow to like her character more. She’s vocal when she needs to me. She doesn’t allow Tomoe to walk all over her or scare her.

Tomoe is like any other of my favorite white-haired main character. You can tell how deeply the betrayal has affected him. He doesn’t think much of Nanami because she’s human. But I also think he’s projecting his anger onto her. I like his character the most because of his cool attitude.

I can’t wait for more characters to appear. I think they will add a lot of color and humor to the rest of the story.


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#PubDayTuesday | ARC Book Review: “Blood & Ash” by Deborah Wilde

Happy #PubDayTuesday to Blood & Ash!

Thank you to Te Da Media & NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review!

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Urban Fantasy Detective
Series: The Jezebel Files #1
Rating: 3.5/5
Recommend to Others?: Maybe

 

ABOUT: Cold-blooded kidnappers. Long-lost magic. When things get serious, she goes full Sherlock.

Ashira Cohen takes pride in being the only female private investigator in Vancouver. With her skills, her missing persons case should be a piece of cake.

She wasn’t counting on getting bashed in the skull, revealing a hidden tattoo and supernatural powers she shouldn’t possess.

Or the bitter icing on top: a spree of abductions and terrifying ghostly creatures on a deadly bender.

And don’t even get her started on the golems.

Reluctantly partnered with her long-time nemesis Levi, the infuriating leader of the magic community, Ash resolves to keep her focus on the clue trail and off their sexual tension because WTF is up with that?

But with a mastermind organization pulling strings from the shadows and Levi’s arrogance driving her to pick out his body bag, can Ash rescue the captives and uncover the truth or will the next blood spilled be her own?

 

My Review:
This was my introduction into a mystery/thrill/suspense-esque type of book. I found Blood & Ash to be an okay book. It helped that there was a fantasy element to the story. The premise made it sound like this would be a good read but I wasn’t blown away by what happened.

Ashira is a very strong character with an incredibly strong voice and personality. I liked that she is trying to diversify the P.I. business in Vancouver, Canada as the only female detective. Ashira distinguishes herself very well in contrast to everyone else. She takes on so much and doesn’t back down. She’s persistent in the conflict from beginning to end. Her sense of humor wasn’t my kind of humor and there was too much sarcasm where there need to be seriousness.

The author creates an unusual world. I get the magic system but paired with the setting it seemed…off? I was a little confused on the state of the world. And it seemed like some countries became territories so maybe this takes place in the future.

The romance was so-so. It kind of took a back seat to everything else but I think that was intentional in order to explore Ashira and Levi’s relationship more as the series progresses.

I liked the way the book ended. It was more satisfying than anything else. I might read book 2.


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Favorite Books In Yellow

Feather by Olivia Wildenstein
Before Midnight: A Retelling of Cinderella by Cameron Dokey
Daja’s Book by Tamora Pierce
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
Peanut Butter and Jelly by Ben Clanton (review link)
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
River Secrets by Shannon Hale
The Unteachable by Gordon Korman (review link)
The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce
Trickster’s Queen by Tamora Pierce
With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent