Review

Hannaford Prep by J. Bree

This will be a compilation review of the entire Hannaford Prep series by J. Bree. There are four books in the series: Just Drop Out, Make Your Move, Play the Game, and To the End. I’ll be reviewing them as one but this will also be a spoiler free review, so there’s no worry there.

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Hannaford Prep is a New Adult romance series featuring plenty of violence, sexual situations and language, and a polyamorous relationship.

This is the story of Lips, a girl from the slums who grew up in foster care and worked her way to a coveted scholarship to the prestigious Hannaford Prep. She faces a whole new world of rich people and their egos, politics, and manipulative and controlling tendencies. But for Lips it’s not really anything new as we learn she has a dark and dirty past that’s prepared her for just about anything.

After she starts off the school year on the wrong foot with some of the most powerful kids in the school, Lips has a lot more to handle than just schoolwork.

What comes out of these rivalries is what really makes this series amazing. The relationships Lips forms through the series are the kind I love to read. She gathers the perfect found family for herself, with people who would fight and die for each other. Their struggles really drive home the concept that blood does not make a family, that the family we choose for ourselves can be so much stronger than the one we happened to be born into.

The way each character grows and develops through the series is fantastic, something I constantly search for in the books I read. The best part of all their relationships is the clearly strong bonds between other characters, not just their bonds with Lips. This isn’t just a story of a girl who finds romantic love. She finds so much more than that.

Another awesome thing to point out is how badass Lips is. If you have an aversion to extreme violence, or don’t like MCs who have no qualms about committing extreme violence against others, then you might not want to read this one. I for one loved it, how bloody and harsh and terrifying the story could be. Lips and her family truly are ruthless and deadly.

All in all, this was an incredible series with so many characters I fell super hard for. I already want to reread it. But for now I’ll settle for impatiently waiting for J. Bree’s next book, The Butcher of the Bay, which will be a prequel spin off of sorts telling the story of one of the best characters from this series. I need it now.

I rated each book in this series with 5 stars.

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Review

Falling North by Alyson Santos

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I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Falling North is an incredible story of two brothers, Xander and Matty, who fought their way through hell into the spotlight only to be told they weren’t quite good enough. Their manager decides to hire a marketing specialist named Lydia to help rebrand and rework the band into something incredible. But her job becomes much harder when demons from the brothers’ past resurface and she also finds herself falling fast for the band’s gorgeous drummer.

This review is going to get a bit personal, and I  would apologize for that but isn’t finding ourselves in books one of the best parts of reading? As I’m sure I’ve made evident before, Alyson Santos is one of my absolute favorite authors. She is an unfailingly lovely person who adores her readers and treats us all like friends. Her books have this uncanny way of clawing into my very soul. The first book of hers I ever read was Night Shifts Black, which is one of, if not my one, absolute favorite books. It came to me at a point in my life when a story like that was exactly what I needed to save me.

Each of Alyson’s books since then has been just as incredible, but never quite affected me the way NSB did. Now, though, Falling North is a real contender. I saw myself in Xander, Matty, AND Lydia in so many small ways. Their individual struggles and demons spoke to mine. Their journey to reclaim their pain and refuse to let it hold them down anymore inspired me so much. This was an incredible story of multiple beautiful characters who were so broken in their own individual ways that they couldn’t see how amazing they each were. Watching them all help each other discover those truths was so beautiful. It was so gratifying to read about their growing confidences in themselves, in each other, in their accomplishments. I bawled my eyes out so many times over the little successes they achieved. I also bawled my eyes out over the agony and pain and darkness they had to struggle through to get there.

This has been a very difficult time for me in my life. A lot of factors triggering a lot of horrible thoughts and feelings that I’ve tried so hard to push away and ignore, or to just drown out with anything I can find to distract me (usually books.). But reading Falling North helped me to realize that I can’t hide from the pain. I need to take control of it and not let it control me.

I am literally crying as I write this review, that’s how powerfully this book affected me. And I know I can’t be the only one. Alyson’s words have this way of speaking to her readers on a deep, personal level. At least for me, I’m not just feeling for these beautiful characters she creates; I’m not just crying for them and what they go through; I’m feeling a connection to them, and I’m crying because I get it. Somehow, she creates these fictional people who feel so real because the things they go through are so real. And I will forever be so grateful to read her stories and have these raw emotional moments that have helped me in so many ways over the years.

This was, hands down, the best book I’ve read so far this year. Even for a reader who can’t personally relate to what Xander and Matty go through, it’s an incredible and emotional read, and I would highly recommend it to just about anyone.

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Falling North was released on April 23, 2020

Uncategorized

ONE WEEK Till Falling North!!!

Who says you can’t fly through the fall?

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Turner Artist Management Urgent Action Item:
✔ Save Falling Back North from implosion.
When your agency’s newest artist shows signs of collapse, you jump on the problem. When it involves a potential rift between the brothers who form the band’s soul, you throw your Hail Mary.

So I did—by hiring a respected marketing goddess to save them. But when demons run deep and the stakes are extreme, it might prove too much for the band’s drummer and leader who’s been carrying them all since childhood. Enormous pressure compounded by impending heartbreak, what’s an agency to do?

See, I’m just the manager. The story that follows actually belongs to my client Xander Silva and the innocent marketing siren about to blow him to shreds.

Because now that both brothers have their hearts set on the same woman, everyone’s desperate to know:

Who is LYDIA CARMICHAEL??

PREORDER NOW!

Catch up with the series!

Book 1: Rising West

Review

Sword in the Stars by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

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“Ari Helix may have won her battle against the tyrannical Mercer corporation, but the larger war has just begun. Ari and her cursed wizard Merlin must travel back in time to the unenlightened Middle Ages and steal the King Arthur’s Grail—the very definition of impossible.

It’s imperative that the time travelers not skew the timeline and alter the course of history. Coming face-to-face with the original Arthurian legend could produce a ripple effect that changes everything. Somehow Merlin forgot that the past can be even more dangerous than the future…”

 


I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

As I’m sure you all know, I adored Once & Future and I was so happy to be given the chance to read and review its sequel as well. It took me a little while to get to it (due to personal reasons, nothing to do with the book itself), which is why I am posting this today, Sword in the Stars‘ release day.

Sword in the Stars was just as action packed and exciting as its predecessor. There was humor and heart and angst. Not to mention a few gut punching plot twists that I absolutely did NOT see coming.

SPOILERS AHEAD

After the events of book one, Ari and her Rainbow Knights have found themselves thrown back in time to the land of the very first Arthur. They’re goal is to find an object that can help them defeat Mercer, while also doing everything they can to not mess up the timeline. Naturally, as is expected with any story involving time travel, this proves to not be the easiest of tasks.

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The best part of this time travel plot is the way the authors put their own vision into the past. They took what we perceive that time period to be and they made into something even more amazing and beautiful. Once again I was overwhelmed by the amount of diversity in this story. It was just wonderful.

Once again, the best part of this story is the bonds between Ari and her friends, who are really more of a family than anything else. And as I said in my review for Once & Future, my favorite of all these bonds was that of Ari and Merlin. They really truly would do absolutely anything for each other. The lengths they actually DO go to for each other just, OMFG

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So many amazing characters full of so much heart and love. These are the kinds of characters I wish were real. Not just because I would love to be their friend, but because every person out there who has to hide who they are from the world deserves to have someone like these characters in their lives. They raise each other up. They accept each other and they fight to change the world so others will be accepted as well. I love each and every one of them so much.

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On to something personal. I owe this duology so much. If it weren’t for Once & Future (and specifically Lamarack), I might not have figured out that I’m non-binary. Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta gave me, and I’m sure many other, such a gift when they wrote this story. I’ll forever be grateful.

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Sword in the Stars was released today! Go grab a copy! 

 

Review

Very Bad Wizards by C.M. Stunich

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“My little dog, Toto, just shifted into a man. A gorgeous, chiseled beast of a man. That was about thirty seconds before the storm hit and he clutched me against his naked body while wild winds raged all around us.

Yeah, we’re seriously not in fucking Kansas anymore.
There are male witches with toothy smiles, a man with a tin arm, and some wizards. Some very, very bad wizards–and they’re all interested in me. Romantically. How … interesting.

Oh, and then there’s Dorothy, the girl who’s claiming that she’s the good guy, and I’m the bad one, all because the power to control storms sleeps in my fingertips.

My name is Ozora, Oz for short, and I’m a girl from nowhere, destined for somewhere.”


I’m not gonna lie, the blurb for this book had me skeptical. But that was my fault for imagining the tiny Toto from the 1939 film turning into a sexy guy. That mental image made it hard for me to take the concept seriously. But I should have known better. C.M. Stunich has never let me down before, and Very Bad Wizards was no different.

This was a very cleverly done retelling (though it’s a bit more like a sequel) with all of Stunich’s trademark sass, angst, and plenty of heart stopping action. She took a classic tale of a girl dropped into a bright colorful land full of whimsy and magic and turned it into one of a girl dropped instead into a colorful world where that color is dangerous. The denizens of this Oz are to be feared, nothing is quite what it seems, and certainly nothing is as harmless as it may seem. There’s danger and uncertainty around every corner. And, of course, as is necessary in one of Stunich’s brilliantly penned stories, there’s plenty of hot guys. Each different than the last and as unique and deep as you’d want a cast of characters to be.

I especially loved the twisted nods made to the source material, like an Easter egg, only darker.

I feel it’s necessary for me to mention that I love retellings. I love any kind of story that takes a classic tale I love and makes it into something new and unique. However, before this I’d only read one Wizard of Oz retelling and it was massively disappointing. I felt seriously let down and I’d been hoping since then for a different retelling to come along and make up for it. This is definitely the retelling I was waiting for. Very Bad Wizards is the Wizard of Oz retelling we deserve.

Even if you don’t love the Wizard of Oz in general, this is still a good read to check out.

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Check out Very Bad Wizards on Goodreads!

 

The Sunday Post

No Post on Sunday – 3/29/2020

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Hello, lovelies! Happy Sunday. I hope you’re all staying safe and happy during this difficult time for our world. And I hope all of you that are stuck at home have plenty of good books to keep you company.


This Week’s Posts

Last week’s Sunday Post

Top Ten Tuesday – March 24th


Personal Life Update

This past week was fairly mild. My son started back at school on Monday, but my daughter was off for another week. We spent most of the week doing some mild spring cleaning and preparing for both kids to be doing their schooling from home. It’s going to be a trial.

My husband and I spent the night at a friend’s house; our first night away from our kids since they were born. It was a much needed outing, though. We all played Cards Against Humanity and watched Clue (which my husband had never seen before). The only downside was that we had to get up at 5:30 AM to make sure we were home before the kids got up.


Reading Update

Sadly, with only 2 days left in March, I can now say I read way less this month than last. And, unfortunately, that’s the only update I have for reading.


This Coming Week

I’m going to try to squeeze in at least one more book before the end of the month. I also have a few reviews planned to go up in the coming days.


Not too much of an update, but there it is.

Thanks for reading and see you next Sunday!

XO Kerry

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Romance Novels

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Hello, lovelies, and happy Tuesday!

Today’s topic is a genre freebie, so after giving it some thought I decided to give some love to one of my favorite genres that I don’t talk about much. I discovered I have a strong love of romance novels (especially adult romance) a few years back, and have since discovered more specific niche genres within that category that I love very much. But, since my one true literary love is YA fantasy/sci-fi, I never really felt like I could talk about it a lot, but I want to change that. So today I’m going to list 10 of my favorite romance novels. Some of them are adult, but some are also YA. However, the YA ones are still more mature than the typical YA books I love to read. Also, within this genre, my absolute favorite sub genre is reverse harem. And I am really excited to talk about some of my favorites. So let’s get to it!


 

The Vixen’s Lead (Kit Davenport #1) by Tate James

This is a seriously brilliant reverse harem series with some epic supernatural elements, kickass characters, wonderful plot twists, and a badass heroine that I would want to be best friends with.


Groupie (Rock Hard Beautiful #1) by C.M. Stunich

This was the very first reverse harem I ever read and I’m so glad. It’s a dark, twisted, but so beautiful story of a girl who’s lost absolutely everything finding more love and happiness than she ever thought possible. I’ve reread it like a million times and it never fails to make me all warm and fuzzy.


The Secret Girl (Adamson All-Boys Academy #1) by C.M. Stunich

I actually reviewed this whole trilogy after the final book was released. This might be my absolute favorite series from C.M. Stunich (who I’m sure you can tell is one of my favorite authors.) It’s a more lighthearted bully romance reverse harem with a lot of mushy love stuff and a ton of suspense.


The Plan (Breakbattle Academy #1) by Ruby Vincent

I’m currently reading the last book in this series, which was just recently released. Not gonna lie, I’m struggling a bit with the last one, BUT the series up till now has been amazing, so I’m sticking with it. This is another bully romance reverse harem, a bit lighter on the bullying, but definitely not lacking in the romance. It’s so sweet.


Stepbrother Inked by Violet Blaze

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this one, but seriously it was amazing. It’s takes a taboo subject (step-siblings with feelings for each other) and handles it in the sweetest way. Definitely lots of angst and tension and conflict, but so much beautiful emotion.


Rising West by Alyson Santos

I was proud to be a part of the team promoting this book and got to read an ARC. It was so achingly beautiful, which is unsurprising from Alyson Santos. She’s a genius.


Havoc at Prescott High by C.M. Stunich

Yet another reverse harem from C.M. Stunich (y’all noticing a trend?). This one is amazing. Instead of the trend of a normal girl attending some prestigious school for rich snobs, Havoc instead is focused in a lower class society. It was so refreshing to read about kids who grew up in less than nice neighborhoods and had to struggle through their childhoods. I found it more realistic and relatable. Plus, the MC is amazing and I love her.


Lick (Stage Dive #1) by Kylie Scott

Now, this was the first adult romance series I ever read outside of the Nora Roberts books my mom used to lend me. And while I was massively disappointed in the last book in the quartet, the first three hold a very special place in my heart.


Pack Ebon Red (The Seven Mates of Zara Wolf #1) by C.M. Stunich

Another one I am currently in the middle of. I just started the third book in the series but I already know this is gonna be an absolute favorite. This is right up there with Kit Davenport in terms of brilliantly written supernatural creatures and societies, not to mention just wonderful characters as usual. Seriously, C.M. Stunich never fails to make me fall in love not only with all the gorgeous unique guys she writes, but her kickass heroines as well.


Night Shifts Black by Alyson Santos

And my number 1. My absolute favorite book. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll keep saying it, this book changed my life and saved me. I will never stop singing its (and Alyson Santos’) praises.


Thanks for reading! Come tell me a genre or sub genre outside what you typically go for that you really love. And if you have any recommendations, let me know!

See you all next Tuesday. Happy reading!

XO Kerry

The Sunday Post

No Post on Sunday – 3/22/2020

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Hello, lovelies and happy Sunday!

I know I haven’t posted one of these in a little while, and while I can blame that in part on me having the flu, it’s also because I was just having a rough time keeping up with things. But here I am, so let’s dive in!


This Week’s (Month’s) Posts

Rising West by Alyson Santos – Review

Top Ten Tuesday – March 17th

Because I’ve been so behind these are the only two posts I’ve made since my last Sunday Post.


Personal Life Update

So, a whole lot has been happening lately, not just for me but the whole world.

I had the flu for about a week, which was just miserable, but it’s gone now. My son, however, seems to have caught it, so now we’re taking care of him.

With all the quarantines and curfews and everything else going on because of this virus, my own life hasn’t altered very much beyond being more cautious about going out in public. My daughter is off school for another week and then will be doing distance learning (still waiting to find out exactly how that’s going to work.) My son, who already does online learning, starts school again tomorrow. My husband still goes to work each night and probably will continue to do so through this whole thing. He works in a hospital, so his job is definitely crucial.

Outside of all that, I started planning my daughter’s 6th birthday party, which will be at the end of May. She wants a Frozen 2 theme after we saw a really cool cake at Publix, so I’ve been scouring Pinterest for party ideas. It’s gonna be super cute. Both of my kids have been hardcore obsessed with Frozen 2 the past couple months; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard one or both of them belting out Into the Unknown at random hours of the day AND night. I love it, though. That soundtrack is bomb.


Reading Update

I’ve continued to read as much as possible, and have a few books I need to review soon. Most of them are part of a series, so my plan is to review the series either as a whole, or up to the last book, and then review the last book on its own. Don’t ask me why, it makes sense in my head.

I just finished reading Very Bad Wizards, the lastest release from C.M. Stunich. It was seriously so good.

Right now I am currently back to reading Sword in the Stars by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy.

My Goodreads goal is now at 18 out of 50 books. If I keep up this pace for the next couple months, I think I’ll up my goal to 60.


This Coming Week

This week I plan to start participating in OwlCrateAThon so I can maybe possibly start actually reading the mountain of past Owlcrate books I haven’t touched.


What are you currently reading? Do you have any specific reading plans/goals at the moment?

Thanks for reading!

XO Kerry

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: 2020 Spring TBR

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Hello, lovelies and happy Tuesday!

I hope you’re all staying safe out there during this craziness. I’m suffering from a mild case of the flu right now, which has made it difficult to keep up with posts lately. That and my kids had the flu before me. But I’m determined to make myself get back to it. So here I am!

Anyway! There are a lot of books I want to get to soon, and quite a few new releases coming out in the next few months. So here is my tentative 2020 spring TBR.


 

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

Cemetery Boys by Aidan Thomas

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

Sword in the Stars by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

Aurora Burning by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Nightworld by L.J. Smith (reread)

Reverie by Ryan la Sala

The Guinevere Deception by Kirsten White

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (reread)

Hawk by James Patterson (not on Goodreads yet)


Tell me what books you’re most looking forward to reading this spring!

As always, thanks for reading and see you next week.

XO Kerry

Review

Rising West by Alyson Santos

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Turner Artist Management Urgent Action Item:
 
✔ Find a new frontman for Burn Card.
 
When one of your top artists loses their lead singer to a solo career, you jump on the problem. When it also involves a devastating breakup with the band’s queen bee, you drop everything and run.
 
So I did—run. To the east, where I found a young single father so mesmerizing, his talent almost makes you forget he comes at a price. Enormous potential steeped in personal tragedy, what’s an agency to do?
 
See, I’m just the manager. The story that follows actually belongs to my client Liberty Blake and the enigmatic heartthrob whose world is about to be blown apart.
 
Because now that the industry wolves have the scent, everyone’s desperate to know:
 
Who is MASON WEST??


Y’all, I’ll tell you who Mason West is. Mason West is one of the best damn characters I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. He is genuine and sweet and hardworking and has no true idea how special he is.

This was an incredible story of a man finally getting the chance he deserves to follow his passion. Mason is a young single dad whose daughter is his entire world, but whose heart and soul also bleeds music. His self doubt and insecurities were refreshing in a male lead character. Mason is so willing to do everything asked of him without fighting back because he’s too afraid to rock the boat and possibly ruin something too good to be true. What he doesn’t realize is that he deserves the whole world and then some. His journey of learning that, to recognize his own worth, is amazing. I cried for him so many times.

Then there’s Liberty, our hardened female lead who is strong willed, passionate, and so talented, yet also awkward as all hell. I loved seeing this tough as nails badass girl act like a total dork at times. The best part about Liberty is that no matter how solid an opinion she seems to have about someone (namely Mason) she is more than willing to accept that she’s wrong and change her perspective.

The way these two grew together, both as individual people and together, and the way they helped each other without always realizing they were doing so was just beautiful. Their relationship was this bright light in a story riddled with heartbreak and darkness.

Every other character that filled out the main cast was just as well written as these two. From Mason’s sweet little cupcake of a daughter, Brooklyn, to Liberty’s twin brother Aaron (whom I would die for), and the other members of the band. Even the band’s manager, Sam. Each one was complex and unique and felt like real people. I loved them all.

Once again, Alyson Santos has penned not only a beautiful story, but a literal work of art. I felt like I was going through all of these ups and downs right alongside Mason and Liberty. I cried for them, laughed with them, my freaking heart bled for them. I’m a little sad that book two won’t focus more on the two of them, but as usual I canNOT wait to get my hands on anything Alyson writes.

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Rising West is available for purchase now AND is available on Kindle Unlimited!

Listen to the original song “Says Who”, inspired by the book and written by Alyson Santos and Christian Lopez, performed by Acoustic Pursuit.