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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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#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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2020 TBR List

(*) = recently added titles

ARCs
Don’t Read The Comments by Eric Smith (Jan 28)
Blood & Ash by Deborah Wilde (Jan 14)
Feather by Olivia Wildenstein (Jan 16)

 

MANGA
Yona of the Dawn (Volumes 1-3) by Mizuho Kusanagi*
The Demon Prince of Momochi House (Volumes 8-12) by Aya Shouoto
Vampire Knight (Volumes 15-19) by Matsuri Hino, Translated by Tomo Kimura
Kamisama Kiss (Volumes 1-25) by Julietta Suzuki
Seraph of the End (Volumes 1-15 of 19) by Takaya Kagami, Art by Yamato Yamamoto, Storyboards by Daisuke Furuya
Snow White with the Red Hair (Volumes 3-5)
The Royal Tutor (Volume 12)
Black Butler (Volume 28)
Days by Tsuyoshi Yasuda (Volumes 1-15)*
The Genius Prince’s Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt (Hey, How About Treason?) by Toru Toba (Volume 1)*
Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town by Toshio Satou (Volume 1)
86—EIGHTY-SIX by Asato Asato (Volume 1)*

 

MIDDLE GRADE
Spark by Sarah Beth Durst
After Zero by Christina Collins
The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez*
OCDaniel by Wesley King*
Escape To The Mesa by StacyPlays*
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia*
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

 

YOUNG ADULT FANTASY
We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett*
Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons*
The Sword and the Dagger by Robert Cochran*
Fantasy of Frost by Kelly St. Clare*
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin*
Storm Siren by Mary Weber*
Fireborne by Rosaria Munda*
Ship of Smoke and Steel by Django Wexler*
The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano*
The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
Return of the Temujai by John Flanagan
These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater*
Angel Mage by Garth Nix*
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Angelbound by Christina Bauer
Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Seafire by Natalie C. Parker
Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau-Preto
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Starling by Lesley Livingston
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane
Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

 

Young Adult Contemporary Romance
The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey
If I Stay by Gayle Forman*
Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman*

 

YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION
LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff
Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell
The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

 

ADULT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant*
Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant*
The Bridal Suite by Donna Grant*

 

PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Hot Blooded by Donna Grant
Firestorm by Donna Grant
Blaze by Donna Grant
The Demon Lover Juliet Dark

 

FANTASY
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
Dragon Mount by Jennifer M. Eaton
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
The Starless Sea by Eric Morgenstern*

 

LGBTQ YA/Adult – Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Brothersong by TJ Klune
The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
I’m A Gay Wizard by V.S. Santoni*
Sebastian by Sam Argent*
The Doctor’s Secret by Heidi Cullinan*
The Wolf At The Door by Charlie Adhara*
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller*
Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller*

 

FICTION
Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo*

 

SCIENCE FICTION
Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff
All Systems Red by Martha Wells*

 

ROMANCE THRILLER
The Cost of Honor by Diana Muñoz Stewart*

 

NONFICTION
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty


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#PubDayTuesday: “A Love Hate Thing” & “Dark Alpha’s Redemption”

A LOVE HATE THING by Whitney D. Grandison

ABOUT: When they’re stuck under one roof, the house may not be big enough for their hate…or their love.

When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the wealthy coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares and the feeling of not belonging. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the rough streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything, much less how the rest of his life will play out.

Golden girl Nandy Smith has spent most of her life building the pristine image that it takes to fit in when it comes to her hometown Pacific Hills where image is everything. After learning that her parents are taking in a troubled teen boy, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames.

Now with Trice living under the same roof, the wall between their bedrooms feels as thin as the line between love and hate. Beneath the angst, their growing attraction won’t be denied. Through time, Trice brings Nandy out of her shell, and Nandy attempts to melt the ice that’s taken Trice’s heart and being. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

MY REVIEWhttps://thebookshelfcorner.wordpress.com/2019/12/31/blog-tour-arc-book-review-a-love-hate-thing-by-whitney-d-grandison/

 

DARK ALPHA’S TEMPTATION by Donna Grant

ABOUTThere is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I’m coming for you…

For centuries, my loyalties lie with Death. She is my mistress and master. I am alive only to do what pleases her. And for Death, I shall battle the evil among us until the bitter end to keep her safe.

MY REVIEWhttps://thebookshelfcorner.wordpress.com/2019/12/24/arc-book-review-dark-alphas-temptation-by-donna-grant/


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[BLOG TOUR] ARC Book Review: “A Love Hate Thing” by Whitney D. Grandison

[December 31, 2019 January 14, 2020]

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review. A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison is on sale January 7, 2020.

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

 

ABOUT: When they’re stuck under one roof, the house may not be big enough for their hate…or their love.

When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the affluent coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares and the feeling of not belonging in the posh suburb. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the mean streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything. He doesn’t even care how the rest of his life will play out.

In Pacific Hills, image is everything. Something that, as the resident golden girl, Nandy Smith knows all too well. She’s spent most of her life building the pristine image it takes to fit in. After learning that her parents are taking in a teen boy, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames. It’s the start of summer vacation, and the last thing Nandy needs is some juvenile delinquent from the ’Wood crashing into her world.

Stuck together in close quarters, Trice and Nandy are in for some long summer nights. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
A Love Hate Thing was really really good, better than I thought it would be. The story and characters were crafted to with grace and precision, detailed and full of fault. There was a quiet realness that I appreciated about the book. A Love Hate Thing was deep, meaningful and passionate. One of the best YA contemporary romances I’ve ever read!

Nandy is a pretty cool person but her initial judgments of Trice without knowing him of the present were rightfully off-putting. But I grew to like her as I learned more about who she really is on the inside, not what people expect her to be.

Trice is the model of perfect main character. I felt such a connection with him. He is kind, loyal, thoughtful, intelligent. He made the story. I was especially invested in the story, compelled to devour and revel in page after glorious page.

This book and Trice make you stop and take notice of your surroundings in a thought-provoking way. The conflict was current and real, reflecting the harsh, cold realities of today. It is voices like Trice’s that push through the noise and make people think about who they are, where they come from, and where they want to be going. I loved that we got all view-points on the issues presented within the story because it allowed everyone to be heard. It created open dialogue, which is important in conflicts and disagreements.

I was about 70% through when I felt like the story was over. I couldn’t guess what more there could be or what ends have been left loose. Well there were indeed much more left. However, the conclusion was gratifying.

A Love Hate Thing is remarkable; I recommend this book for sure. It’s such an engrossing read. I appreciate the author for writing such a sublime book that we very much need in today’s world.


Photo by Jennifer M. Photography

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Whitney D. Grandison was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, where she currently resides. A lover of stories since she first picked up a book, it’s no surprise she’s taken to writing her own. Some of her works can be found on Wattpad, one of the largest online story sharing platforms, where she has acquired over 30,000 followers and an audience of over fifteen million dedicated readers.

Social Links: 
Instagram: @wheadee
Twitter: @whitney_DG


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Reading 2019: Best of Middle Grade, Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Manga, ARCs

 

 

 

 


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ARC Book Review: “Dark Alpha’s Temptation” by Donna Grant

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC to read and review. Dark Alpha’s Temptation by Donna Grant is on sale January 7, 2020.

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: A Reaper Novel #9
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I’m coming for you…

For centuries, my loyalties lie with Death. She is my mistress and master. I am alive only to do what pleases her. And for Death, I shall battle the evil among us until the bitter end to keep her safe.

 

My Review:
Note: this book follows Dubhan (a Reaper) and Kyra (a Light Fae).

The story is a quick read as it follows a major battle that happened in Fever (Dark Kings #16). Because of that I didn’t have too many expectations going into this book (insta-love and all that) but it was still enjoyable nonetheless.

You learn more about Kyra than Dubhan, which stinks. Both are very likable people. What I love about Kyra (and I think Dubhan would agree) is her view of the world. It’s very honest and refreshing. She looks on the bright side of life while still being rational. Based on what happens her type of perspective was need to being this new phase of the overall story.

As I mentioned before, Dubhan is nice but he didn’t really add anything to the story. He was a plot device with no character development that tied him to Kyra and the overall plot.

The twists really got me excited for the possibilities for what might happen later on. It’s almost devious and as of now I don’t know how the heroes will prevail, which I’m all for. I like the direct this new phase is going. This book was a good exposition for that.

 

More Reaper series
Dark Alpha’s Awakening #7
Dark Alpha’s Redemption #8

 

More Dark Kings series
Fever #16