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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: “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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Book Review: “Just Ask!” by Sonia Sotomayor, Illustrated by Rafael López

Full Title – Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Books, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges—and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.

~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Just Ask! embodies the idea of “sharing in our similarities, celebrate our difference.” Rich in color, bold in storytelling, this book offers an emphatic glimpse into children with disabilities and how they navigate the world. It teaches us to be patient and kind and to ask questions to improve understanding.

The illustrations are just gorgeous. They spread across page after page in bright colors and charming details. You feel at peace when looking at the pictures as the community comes to life. The characters are diverse, courageous, and happy in who they are. The make uniqueness cool.

Just Ask! is a must read for all ages; I highly recommend it!


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#PubDayTuesday: “A Cowboy Like You” by Donna Grant

Thanks again to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review.

Image via NetGalley

A COWBOY LIKE YOU
by Donna Grant
(my review)

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Series: Heart of Texas #4
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Mostly Yes

 

ABOUT: In the Heart of Texas, a heartthrob cowboy may get his second chance at love…

Danny Oldman, the handsome Lone Star sheriff, is still single. He tells himself, and anyone who asks, that he is married to his job—and what matters most is keeping the people of his beloved Texas hometown safe. The truth? Danny still hasn’t gotten over his high school crush. She moved away after graduation and took Danny’s heart with her.

Skylar Long never thought she would have to flee Houston and return home—where it all began for her. But that’s what happened after the man of her dreams turned out to be an actual nightmare. Now, Skylar is desperate to escape her obsessive boyfriend. Nothing shocks her more than seeing Danny again and realizing that their long-ago attraction is more powerful than ever. But can she and Danny find a way to fight against Skylar’s wealthy, powerful ex who is dead set on tearing them apart?


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Waiting On Wednesday – 11/20/19

Welcome to another Waiting On Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.

This Wednesday I am waiting on The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. It’s expected publication is March 17, 2020.

Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvernboo, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.


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#PubDayTuesday: “Crying Laughing” by Lance Rubin

Thanks again to Knopf Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review.

Image via NetGalley

CRYING LAUGHING
by Lance Rubin
(my review)

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: Winnie Friedman has been waiting for the world to catch on to what she already knows: she’s hilarious.

It might be a long wait, though. After bombing a stand-up set at her own bat mitzvah, Winnie has kept her jokes to herself. Well, to herself and her dad, a former comedian and her inspiration.

Then, on the second day of tenth grade, the funniest guy in school actually laughs at a comment she makes in the lunch line and asks her to join the improv troupe. Maybe he’s even . . . flirting?

Just when Winnie’s ready to say yes to comedy again, her father reveals that he’s been diagnosed with ALS. That is . . . not funny. Her dad’s still making jokes, though, which feels like a good thing. And Winnie’s prepared to be his straight man if that’s what he wants. But is it what he needs?

Caught up in a spiral of epically bad dates, bad news, and bad performances, Winnie’s struggling to see the humor in it all. But finding a way to laugh is exactly what will see her through.


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2020 Books I’m Interested In Reading [Jan-June]

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay

Ashlords by Scott Reintgen

January

3Princess Ballot by Jaymin Eve & Tate James

7Snow White with the Red Hair (Vol. 5) by Sorata Akiduki

14The King’s Questioner by Nikki Katz

21Ashlords by Scott Reintgen

28Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith

 

February

11If You Only Knew by Prerna Pickett

25Rebelwing by Andrea Tang

 

March

3Havenfall by Sara Holland

3Snow White with the Red Hair (Vol. 6) by Sorata Akiduki

17The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

 

April

7Kind of Famous by Mary Ann Marlowe

7It Sounded Better In My Head by Nina Kenwood

21Rick by Alex Gino

 

May

Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen

TBA – Becoming Briana by Terri Libenson

5Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen

12Forged in Fire and Stars by Andrea Robertson & Andrea Cremer

19The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

 

June

2Again Again by E. Lockhart

30Flame by Donna Grant