Book Review: Fire On The Island

I read another book by Timothy Jay Smith and I can happily say that I will keep reading his books. This one was called Fire On The Island by Timothy Jay Smith and is actually being released into the world today!

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Synopsis: FIRE ON THE ISLAND is a playful, romantic thriller set in contemporary Greece, with a gay Greek-American FBI agent, who is undercover on the island to investigate a series of mysterious fires. Set against the very real refugee crisis on the beautiful, sun-drenched Greek islands, this novel paints a loving portrait of a community in crisis. As the island residents grapple with declining tourism, poverty, refugees, family feuds, and a perilously damaged church, an arsonist invades their midst.
 
Nick Damigos, the FBI agent, arrives on the island just in time to witness the latest fire and save a beloved truffle-sniffing dog. Hailed as a hero and embraced by the community, Nick finds himself drawn to Takis, a young bartender who becomes his primary suspect, which is a problem because they’re having an affair. Theirs is not the only complicated romance in the community and Takis isn’t the only suspicious character on the island. The priest is an art forger, a young Albanian waiter harbors a secret, the captain of the coast guard station seems to have his own agenda, and the village itself hides a violent history. Nick has to unravel the truth in time to prevent catastrophe, as he comes to terms with his own past trauma. In saving the village, he will go a long way toward saving himself.

Just like his other book, The Fourth Courier, I really enjoyed this one because it feels like it gives you a lesson on culture while portraying a great romantic thriller at the same time. You learn so much about this little village in Greece and the culture surrounding it which is fascinating to me and really made me feel like I was there while this plot progressed.

The characters were are very real and had their own nature to them. The book is told in a bunch of different perspectives of various people that live in this village and I think it was perfectly blended to facilitate one good storyline. It’s like a puzzle that you are slowly putting together and trying to figure out what that end picture will look like and when you finally do, its not what you expected but you still like it none the less.

I enjoyed the fact that it had LGBTQ+ representation in it because I am bisexual and like to see more of that represented in books. I feel like I relate a lot more with the characters. I will admit that there were some parts of this book that got my heart racing a little bit (in the romantic sense).

Overall, I would check out this book if you want to feel like you travelled to a beautiful country and took part in an investigation while actually not even leaving the comfort of your couch.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author in ebook format to read and give an honest review.



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I am so grateful to everyone on booktube that has supported me and I wanted to say thank you so so much for helping me get to 1500 subscribers!! I did a Q&A where I answer all your questions (book-related or not) and hopefully, this is as entertaining for you as it was for me to make! Check out the video below:

Book Review: Thirst Trap

I have been good friends with the author Zachary Ryan and I have to tell ya that he just keeps them coming with all of his great books! This time I read Thirst Trap by Zachary Ryan and it was great!

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Synopsis: Tragedy comes in all forms, and you never know how you’ll deal with it. Four friends have all dealt with their fair share of struggles. Dillion, an aspiring writer with writers block because of his brothers sudden death, Jesse the emotional stunted drink thanks to his boyfriend’s suicide, Ivan the abused victim just looking for a place to call home, and Leo the stubborn romantic trying to get his friends to open up, while keeping his issues close to his chest.

With these four friends, they avoid all their elephants in the room like a death card agreement between Dillion and Jesse, Ivan completely hoping his abusive lover with change or even Leo focusing on his friends problems instead of his own. Can these four friends learn to embrace and accept their own tragedy or will they be stuck in the past?

Zach just keeps hitting me with all the feels and I am okay with that! He wrote a book of purely LGBTQ+ characters and it follows all 4 of their stories which include tragic occurrences and things that I would never wish upon anyone. They deal with all of these things and it shows so much emotional growth. Having people that you can count on to be there for you and help you through situations like this is why I like seeing that kind of friendship dynamic portrayed in a book because it promotes healthy relationships.

Speaking of healthy relationships, this book deals with a lot of unhealthy ones and shows growth in those areas too. I found myself wanting to reach out to the characters and help them because I could see some of the situations they were in and just wanted to get them out.

The book hits on a lot of serious topics and I think is a great read because it explores them and shows how the situations you are in don’t define you as a person. Normally, I go for Zach’s books because they are dramatic and sometimes a little smutty but this time, it was really cool to see another side of his writing and it showed me that he has a lot of range as a writer.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in hardback format by the author to read and give an honest review.



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My boyfriend chose all the books that I had to read in June. Find out what I thought about his choices! Check out the video below:

Book Spotlight: Between Love and Murder

Welcome to the blog tour for Between Love and Murder by Chris Bedell! Read on for an excerpt from the book and a chance to win a digital copy!

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Publication Date: April 21, 2020

Genre: YA Thriller/ LGBTQ+

Publisher: Willow River Press

September 2018. 17-year-old Chad becomes intrigued by the new kid—Archie—when they flirt during their first interaction. But Chad’s best friend, Mallory, asks Archie out first. Pursuing Archie allows Mallory to get revenge against Chad who recently rejected her. Except Chad refuses to lose Archie to Mallory. Not when he might have a real chance at love—Archie identifies as bisexual like Chad. Although if Chad wants Archie, then he must eliminate Mallory as the competition. Even if doing so means proving she was involved in the disappearance of her ex-boyfriend, Tommy.

Three months later—December 2018. Tommy resurfaces, and Mallory accidently kills him while Archie and Chad are witnesses. Mallory, Archie, and Chad can’t go to the police, though. Mallory blackmailed Tommy to leave town last Fourth of July with a sex-tape after discovering Tommy cheating on her. And Archie, Chad, and Mallory must unite if they don’t wanna go down for murder. Except Chad is even more threatened of Mallory now that he and Archie are dating—Chad remains uncertain if Mallory harbors lingering resentment for rejecting her. If Chad wants Mallory gone, then he must continue making difficult choices. Even if destroying Mallory means Chad pretending to be Mallory’s friend while finding a way to implicate Mallory in Tommy’s death without him and Archie getting in trouble.

If you like the nonlinear storytelling of ABC’s HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER and the toxic love triangle of WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT, then BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER is the book for you.

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Excerpt

BEFORE

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2018

Expecting complete honesty was pointless.

Like with Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, or when a friend got a questionable haircut. Both the kid and friend could discover the truth without anyone playing the villain. Or like right now while I stood next to my locker in the school hallway. My best friend, Mallory, couldn’t have said what she had. Yet I didn’t have an ear wax problem, so the chances of her comment being misheard were slimmer than time travel happening.

I blinked. “Come again?”

She tugged at her backpack strap. “I’m sorry, Chad; I’m not trying to be awkward. I just couldn’t lie anymore.”

“Don’t apologize for your feelings.”

Telling her not to feel bad shouldn’t have been the best response I came up with. Doing so only prolonged the inevitable: deciding about whether honesty or a fib was best. However, there was no right reaction to finding out Mallory had a crush on me. Some events—such as her revelation—couldn’t be anticipated no matter how many A’s I earned in school.

Mallory bit her lip. “We’ve been spending a lot of time together since July.”

I chuckled. “We’ve always been close.”

“Not since I started dating Tommy.”

I scratched the side of my head. “What’d you expect to happen?”

Available on Amazon

Giveaway: For a chance to win a digital copy of the book, click the link below!

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About the Author

Author Pic

My previous publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Entropy Magazine, Chicago Literati, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, among others. My debut YA Fantasy novel IN THE NAME OF MAGIC was published by NineStar Press in 2018.

My 2019 novels include NA Thriller BURNING BRIDGES (BLKDOG Publishing), YA Paranormal Romance DEATHLY DESIRES (DEEP HEARTS YA), and YA Thriller COUSIN DEAREST (BLKDOG Publishing). My 2020 novels include my YA Thriller I KNOW WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED (BLKDOG Publishing), YA Contemporary I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN (Deep Hearts YA),  YA Thriller BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER (Between The Lines Publishing), YA Sci-fi DYING BEFORE LIVING (Deep Hearts YA), and YA Thriller LOVE HIM/HATE HIM (Between The Lines Publishing). I also graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2016.

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Blog Tour Schedule

June 8th

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

I’m All About Books (Spotlight) https://imallaboutbooks.com/

Life’s a Novelty (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/

June 9th

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

The Faerie Review (Review)  http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Sophril Reads (Spotlight) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

June 10th

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

Inked and Blonde (Review) https://inkedandblonde.blogspot.com/

June 11th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Indies Review (Spotlight) http://indieproreview.blogspot.com/

Stine Writing (Review) https://christinebialczak.com/

June 12th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Review) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours



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I did the Breakfast Booktag! Listen to me talk about breakfast foods and pair books with them. Check out the video below:

Book Review: Confessions Of An Old Man

This book seemed like a very interesting read and Chris gave us his perspective on it. This one was called Confessions of an Old Man: How Millennials are Being Robbed by Munir Moon.

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Confessions of an Old Man is about how the next generation is being robbed of their future and what can they do about it. The goal of the book is to get Millennials angry enough to actively engage with the American political system and take control of their destiny instead of their future being decided by rich old white men. It is a statement of collective guilt that places the responsibility on my generation, the baby boomers, for dealing a bad card to their children and grandchildren. My generation controls the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidency, so we cannot shirk from the responsibility.

Millennials and the iGeneration combined are called the MI generation in this book. They are defined as those who were born between 1980 and 2018, and they represent about 150 million Americans or 32% of eligible voters.

I enjoyed this book, and found many of his arguments familiar (his reference section shows we have read the same material).

Munir Moon is a boomer who doesn’t use lazy stereotypes about the MI generation. He doesn’t blame them for not buying houses because they’ve spent too much money on things like “avocado toast” (That was an actual argument).

Moon knows his generation drove up the cost of education so that it has outstripped inflation and wages. He knows young professionals today are saddled with student debt decades longer than the boomer generation. He knows house prices have sky-rocketed and many Millennials can’t afford to buy houses because of school debt, stagnating wages, and vanishing permanent jobs in favor of free-lance non-benefit jobs. He knows that the system his generation built is being used to siphon money from lower and middle classes to the very rich because of the magical belief that money from the rich will trickle down to everyone else.

He has some good suggestions for fixing this. For example, if student loans are forgiven it could potentially pump trillions of dollars into the economy as 44 million graduating students would now have more income to use in the economy, to buy houses, to raise families earlier. He says there should be a third party that represents the silent majority aka the Independents. A third party makes good sense and is already working in multiple countries (this means the US probably won’t try it—and I’m only half-joking). And he tells the MI’s to go into politics to change the system.

In his book, he tries not to assign blame to one particular party. He uses generic both-sides-at-fault comments. However, nearly all his specifics of why the system is rigged point at Republicans. He lists their bills, their legislation, their tax cuts that favored the top 1%, and their resistance to enacting legislation that recognizes equality for everyone. Women are about half the population but are only 20% of House/Senate and only 5% of them are Republicans. That 5% is now lower because after the 2018 election the number of women in the Republican party went from 23 (in Moon’s book) to a record low of 13.

His generic both-sides-at-fault often fall into the “false equivalence” category. For example, he equates the Republican tax cut where 82% of the benefits go to the top 1% with Obama’s automaker bailout in 2008. But, the automakers repaid their obligations ahead of schedule, and even the conservative Forbes magazine later praised Obama as his initiative added 640,000 auto industry jobs, resulted in 1.55 million workers paying taxes on good jobs, and fueled economic growth of their communities. By contrast, an investigation into the top Fortune 500 companies showed 80% of the increased revenue from the Trump tax cut going to investors through buybacks and dividends rather than to their employees.

An amusing example is when he says elements in both parties are moving to the extremes in their respective parties. We already know what extreme right looks like, but what does extreme left look like? Turns out “extreme” left is pretty much what all other developed countries have. Since all those countries rank far above the US in every quality of life index perhaps the US should adopt those “extreme” policies? And no, those extreme policies are not “socialism”. Politicians bring up that Cold War boogeyman to fight against progressive policies that provide safety nets. Ironically, even Canadian politicians use the socialism scare tactic unaware that the policies we already have are what the US calls socialism when Bernie Sanders suggests them for the US.

A third example of trying “both-sides” was even more amusing. He calls Hilary Clinton’s election a colossal failure and that she won’t go away. Clinton received 2.9 million more votes than Trump. That’s 48.2% of the vote to Trump’s 46.1%. Not a colossal failure by any definition. Also, the only reason she kept appearing in the news was because Fox and Trump were “but her emails” despite several investigations and exonerations.

I think there are a few flaws in Moon’s section on US healthcare system reform (caveat: I’m Canadian so I’m not fully informed on how the US system actually works—thank God—so I could be wrong about flaws). His suggestion on fixing US healthcare is to take the existing free-market approach and try a different type of free-market approach.

It is the free-market approach that makes the US system a disaster. A different free-market system just means a different type of disaster. It’s rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Why not adopt one of the many successful models other countries use?

I also thought his logic defending his new market system was flawed.

We procrastinate in getting regular health checkups, wait until a medical incident occurs, and then end up in the emergency room

It’s not procrastination if you’re making the difficult decision between medical care and food or rent, something no other developed country worries about.

He continues,

However, Americans are incentivized to procrastinate in maintaining a healthy lifestyle because they know that they can always go to the emergency room and be taken care of.

There are many documented reasons why people don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is not one of them. If they can’t afford a trip to the doctor, they know they can’t afford an exorbitant trip to the emergency room.

Another flaw in his new free-market approach is when he says each person should shop to find the best price for the best procedure. He needed an MRI for his back. He was in too much pain to wait two weeks so he phoned around, found a place in suburb of LA, and got in the next day for $350 instead of $450.

Many people can’t afford even the “cheap” payment of $350. Many do not have cars. Public transport can be an hours long affair with numerous connections so you may need babysitters or take time off work (more expense; also imagine doing public transport while in constant pain).

Many people wouldn’t have an idea of where to start to get a good deal. People have enough difficulty finding decent car insurance rates, and decent healthcare insurance. And, many people may not even have the internet so they’d have to do a trip to a local library or café (again, while in pain or not feeling well) so they can work out all the necessary steps required. Stress and anxiety also make it harder to cope with complex interactions. People who are on the spectrum may also have difficulty doing any of the above.

In short, the people who need healthcare the most (the poor, those with mental health issues, the vulnerable, the neurodiverse) are the ones who will again fall through the free-market system cracks just as they do the old system.

Regardless, Moon’s book is refreshing as it shows even the older generations see things need to change, and that the MI generation is already changing society (Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Climate, Equality, LGBTQ, Women marches). His book could be seen as a depressing litany of things that are wrong in the US system, but instead leaves you feeling optimistic about the future.

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in an ebook format by the author to read and give our honest review.


Check out Sean Carlson’s brand new novel called Road To Emmaus: The New Deal which is available now on Amazon! Here is a synopsis of the book: In the midst of the Great Depression, newly elected US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt offers a new deal for the American people. An advisory team, coined the ‘brains trust’ build the foundation of his government’s policies which will impact American families for generations to come. But can human intervention and a new alignment of ‘truths’ resurrect a shared hope powerful enough to save a nation from itself?The dusty road of human history cuts through the heart of every soul. Our search for truth is not easy travel as the deadly allures of myth and deceit call us by name, presiding behind altars of ruin. The illusion is set. And lost in the forgotten timelines of a world under seige, an ancient promise remains.All of recorded history is an understanding of the pieces of ourselves that have come before and the road that remains. This journey is both and ’embarking on’ and a ‘leaving of.’The history of yourself precedes you – going back to the beginning. No piece of history in the cosmos or on earth is exclusive of you. From an exiled apostle imprisoned in the heart of the Roman Empire to Cambodia’s killing fields and South America’s secret horrors. You wear the scars. From a litany of underground movements and failed revolutions, to the fabled utopian kingdom of Camelot, the claim for truth has worn many faces.The long cold war between the icy dominion of Kalashnikov and a succession of presiders struggling to raise the chalice to the parched lips of the world continues. The battle remains yours to fight.You were a part of the old deal and are an even bigger part of the new deal. The dead hand of the past is no longer the end of us. Our history is not confined to the past nor is it bound to the laws of earthly dimension. It is as timeless and free as you. The road awaits…

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You can buy the book here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/0995270295/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_awdo_t1_ixPHEb9GMG63M



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I am all settled in to the new house and am getting back into the swing of things. Here is my TBR for the Bookemon Readathon! Check out the video below:

Book Review: Sculpt Yourself

I read a book by a YouTuber! Yes, my friend Savy Leiser wrote a book called Sculpt Yourself and it was the last book I read to complete my NEWTS during the magical readathon! Man oh man can this girl write!

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Synopsis: LIPAMORPH is the drug that lets you sculpt yourself. It’s how so many female celebrities in the mid-2010s remained so thin while having such large butts. It loosens up the fat in your body, allowing you to choose your own proportions. And it’s just been legalized for sale in Chicago.

AMBER is a 24-year-old tech support worker by day, gay feminist blogger (and bad-sitcom aficionado) by night. She’s been vocal about her disapproval of Lipamorph from the beginning, seeing it as another tool to reinforce patriarchal beauty standards; but as Lipamorph becomes more common, Amber’s dissenting voice starts to matter less and less.

JUDIE is Amber’s younger sister, and seemingly her complete opposite; she loves pop music, pretty latte art, and dating men. After struggling with hating her body for most of her life, Judie has become borderline reliant on Lipamorph for self-confidence, much to Amber’s dismay.

KELLY is an artist currently working for the marketing firm on the floor above Amber’s office. She’s whip-smart, proudly bisexual, and strikingly beautiful…and she’s the woman Amber’s fallen in love with.

I liked this book quite a bit. Savy has this way of writing dialogue that just flows so well. She can carry a story on dialogue alone because all of her characters interacted in fun and exciting ways. They all had different ways of dealing with their personal issues and that is why it was nice that she split the story into different perspectives so you got to understand where everyone was coming from when they had their opinions.

The Lipamorph drug was cool. Who would have thought up a drug that lets you mold your body ft around your body to wherever you want it. I can definitely see this being a dangerous thing if it were real. All the characters had very different opinions on it and it was very enlightening to see some fight against it while others embraced it.

I love that there is so much LBGTQ+ rep in this book. It is seen in a positive light too because it shows some unhealthy relationships and talks about certain expectations that people in the community sometimes have to deal with that can get overlooked very easily.

I love the whole “Fight the system” vibe Amber brings to the table. She really fights for what she believes in and cares about people.

Plus, there are so many fun foods that the characters eat that I have never tried before but am curious to now (like BBQ nachos).

Overall, it was an entertaining book with what I believe was a positive message and you should give it a try!

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads!

Disclaimer: I was given a free ebook from the author to read and give my honest review.


I finally finished the NEWTS and did my wrap up where I discussed all the books I read over the month of August (spoiler: I read 9 books).

ACTUAL NATURAL HEALTH & WELLNESS PRODUCTS, INC.

Book Review: The Infinite Noise

Another day and another book read! I took part in a buddy read with my friend Josh from highliterature.com and he actually suggested this book as it was on his TBR. It is called The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen and is contemporary with some sci-fi aspects to it (superpowers).

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Synopsis: From Lauren Shippen, the creator of the beloved and award-winning podcast The Bright Sessions, comes the first novel in a series that follows the struggles and discoveries of three teenagers with supernatural abilities who end up on the couch of Dr. Bright, a mysterious therapist who specializes in atypicals.

“What if the X-Men, instead of becoming superheroes, decided to spend some time in therapy?” (Vox on The Bright Sessions).

This book was ok. It didn’t have a very big synopsis which was alright because it left it open to the imagination but I guess I expected more from it. When it mentions the X-men in a quote about it, you would think that it has to be good right? Wrong. It wasn’t horrible but there was a lot lacking.

First off, I did enjoy the development of relationships. As Caleb and Adam become friends, you see different sides of each of them that exposes their feelings and shows how they react to different situations.

Caleb’s chapters were a little too much for me because they were overly descriptive. I found them hard to get through as I would get lost in the depiction of how he was feeling. I also believe that the author wanted to express the struggles of his power so kudos because I could feel the frustration as well. *Not sarcastic, I actually believe she did a good job with this*.

Adam’s chapters were more relatable and fun. He was a nerd and the goody two shoe type which is kind of how I felt that I was like in high school so I connected with his character.

The plot progressed kind of slowly which brought it down a bit and overall, not much happened. I was hoping for something with a little more action in it since the characters have weird powers but there were no battle scenes or anything like that. It was more a studious version of an origin story where they learned how to handle their powers.

It might be time to pick up another fantasy book to satisfy that action craving I am having.

I would recommend it if you want a contemporary book about young love. Also, it is very much LGBTQ+ positive so if you want another book with a healthy representation of this, then you have found your book.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and Book Depository and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by my friend Josh from highliterature.com to buddy read with him. This was my honest opinion on what I thought about the book.


I recently did the “Do I Have That Book?” tag and I had so much fun making this video! I would love if you could check it out and leave a like or comment what you thought!

The Moscow Mule Box - Vices Reserve

Book Review: Red, White & Royal Blue

Netgalley!! Thank you, thank you. I got approved to read an ARC of Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and I crushed it over my vacation to Ireland/Scotland. This one was read on many of the buses during the day tours to cool landmarks.

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Synopsis: A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

This book was freaking adorable. The main character Alex represents a millenial perfectly. He is the poster child for America and everyone knows who he is. He goes on a little bit of a self discovery where he finds out more about himself in ways he didn’t think he would (and they involve a prince).

This book is a great representation of a healthy LGBTQ+ relationship that spurs from a friendship. And by friendship, I mean that they hate each other and then are forced to be friends to appease the media and then actually become friends and then more. It made me so happy to see that they made each other happy. The way that they feel about each other is hard to express but Casey McQuiston made the love feel very real and something that one hopes for in a relationship.

Also, Nora is the epitomy of awesome. She is Alex’s best friend and is bisexual, 100% amazing and very sarcastic but will always get to the point right away. She is that friend that will tell you how it is even if it is difficult for you to see.

His sister June is also such a sweetheart. She is so caring and does everything a protective sister can to make sure that Alex is well looked after and stays out of trouble. She is the sister I would want if I had siblings.

The only thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of was the political aspect of the book. I love that they made the president a female for 2020 but aside from that, I am not really into politics and tend to avoid that subject in conversation. However, it was done in a way that kept it interesting and easy to follow so the book still progressed at a nice pace.

Overall, I would recommend this book. It is a fun LGBTQ+ book with a lot of new ideals that our future could really use and it just made me happy to read it.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Book Depository and Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me as an ARC kindle version by Netgalley to read and give my honest review.


I did some book hauling while I was away on vacation because who doesn’t like UK book covers. Check out the video below to see what book I picked up!

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Book Review: High School Queens

Hey bookworms! I am just finishing up my vacation and I have some reviews for you since I managed to crush a couple books while I was away. I will also have a post coming soon about my vacation and everything I did. But for now, here is my latest review. This one was called High School Queens by Zachary Ryan.

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Synopsis: They all thought they did a masterful job of keeping their secrets close to their chest. These stupid fools thought they were the high court of this kingdom, but they had no clue who was really pulling the strings. You might wonder to yourself, who would be that heartless to make them backstab their friends, expose other’s secrets, and lose their morals? You don’t need to know who I am, but you better remember my name, The Marked Queen.

Danielle, Andrew, Delilah, Aman, and Jasmine all are now faced with a mysterious villain whose one goal is to ruin each of their lives. They must protect their secrets at all cost, or they’ll be the next victim on Marked Day. They know what’s at stake, and they’ll stop at nothing to continue being: the rich spoiled girl, the normal teenager, the girl who isn’t banging the principal, the straight vlogger, and the girl who isn’t her dad’s punching bag. What happens when The Marked Queen changes up the game just in time for prom? Will each of our favorite puppets survive? Or are they willing to backstab each other just to keep up their personas? The only thing lost at this prom wasn’t going to be their virginity.

So, I have never read a book that was this dramatic before. BUT, I absolutely loved it. I was skeptical when I started it but quickly fell into the dramatic high school atmosphere of what the popular kids must feel like. They were so savage to each other with insults and backstabbing, it was very intense.

I have never seen Gossip Girl but based on what I have heard about the show, I feel like this book is very similar and may have drawn some inspiration from it.

All of the characters were very easy to follow and I enjoyed learning about each of their stories. There was LGBTQ+ inclusion in this book which was a plus for me as I believe it was represented well in how it was spoken about and reacted to.

Every chapter would end with the marked queen talking to you and I really liked this because it would leave it as a question of what devious thing was going to happen next. She speaks with spite and disdain for the characters as if she is above them all and it makes sense when you find out who she is.

I honestly want to read the next book in this series. It has its hooks in me and I can’t get enough of it. This might just be my sassy side coming out for this one because I am not like any of the characters in real life but I guess I like the drama in a setting where I am not a part of it. This must be why reality TV is becoming something I like to watch.

Overall, I would recommend this one to anyone who wants a dramatic, fast-paced book about some teens just trying to get to prom. If you have any sass at all, you will like this book.

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and Book Depository or find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format by the author to read and give an honest review.


Is anyone taking part in the Harry Potter Magical Readathon? Here is my video showing the books I chose to read for my OWLS! Let me know in the comments if you are participating.

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Book Review: The Fourth Courier

Hey bookworms! I have another review! It has been a while but I have been working on reading, making videos and planning a trip so that is why. This time, I read an advanced reader’s copy of The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith.

The Fourth Courier (Arcade)

Synopsis: It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it’s feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

I quite enjoyed this book. It is a nice feeling when an author sends you a book to read and you have no idea what you are going in to but then find yourself caught up in this web of mystery and intrigue.

The characters were well fleshed out and they had just enough backstory to let the reader know all the details they needed to for the story to progress.

There is a heavy influence of LGBTQ+ in this book which I wasn’t expecting from this type of genre but I must say I am happy in the way it was used and glad that genres are branching out and including this type of representation.

I felt myself wanting to know what would happen next and kept myself up late at night to just get through the next chapter…..and then the next one…..and so on. This made me pretty tired at work for a couple days as it was a recurring situation :P.

Polish is also a part of my ancestry so it was interesting to read a book that was set in Poland. I had never really thought about the country or what it looks like over there but the book gave me a pretty good visual image of the economy and what it takes to survive day to day in such a place.

Overall, it wasn’t perfect. It had its little flaws where I would questions a character’s decisions sometimes but it was a solid novel with an intense sequence of events and I would be happy to read more by this author in the future.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author to read and give an honest review.

The author also provided us with an interview he conducted. Check it out below to get to know about him a little bit more.

Timothy Jay Smith (S#1)

THE FOURTH COURIER: AN INTERVIEW WITH TIMOTHY JAY SMITH

You have a new novel coming out, The Fourth Courier, set in Poland. What’s it about?

The Fourth Courier opens in the spring of 1992, only four months after the collapse of the Soviet Union. A series of grisly murders in Warsaw suddenly becomes an international concern when radiation is detected on the third victim’s hands, raising fears that all the victims might have smuggled nuclear material out of Russia.

Poland’s new Solidarity government asks for help and the FBI sends Special Agent Jay Porter to assist in the investigation. He teams up with a gay CIA agent. When they learn that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb is missing, the race is on to find him and the bomb before it ends up in the wrong hands.

My novels have been called literary thrillers because I use an event or threat—a thriller plot—to examine what the situation means to ordinary people. In The Fourth Courier, Jay becomes intimately involved with a Polish family, giving the reader a chance to see how the Poles coped with their collective hangover from the communist era.

How did you come up with the story for The Fourth Courier?

The Fourth Courier book goes back a long way for me. In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and Solidarity won the first free election in Poland in over sixty years. In the same year, Mikhail Gorbachev introduced new cooperative laws in the Soviet Union, which was an area of my expertise. I was invited to the Soviet Union as a consultant, which led to my consulting throughout the former Soviet bloc, eventually living for over two years in Poland.

At the time, there was a lot of smuggling across the border between Russia and Poland, giving rise to fears that nuclear material, too, might be slipping across. While on assignment in Latvia, I met with a very unhappy decommissioned Soviet general, who completely misunderstood my purpose for being there. When an official meeting concluded, he suggested we go for a walk where we could talk without being overheard.

I followed him deep into a forest. I couldn’t imagine what he wanted. Finally we stopped, and he said, “I can get you anything you want.” I must have looked puzzled because he added, “Atomic.”

Then I understood. In an earlier conversation, there had been some passing remarks about the Soviets’ nuclear arsenal in Latvia, for which he had had some responsibility, and apparently still some access. While my real purpose for being there was to design a volunteer program for business specialists, he assumed that was a front and I was really a spy. Or perhaps he thought, I really did want to buy an atomic bomb!

Have you always been a writer?

In the sense of enjoying to write, yes. I actually wrote my first stage play in fourth grade and started a novel in sixth grade, but I didn’t become a full-time fiction writer until twenty years ago. The first half of my adult life I spent working on projects to help low income people all over the world. I always enjoyed the writing aspects of my work—reports, proposals, even two credit manuals—but I reached a point where I’d accomplished my career goals, I was only forty-six years old, and I had a story I wanted to tell.

What was the story?

For over two years, I managed the U.S. Government’s first significant project to assist Palestinians following the 1993 Oslo Accords. One thing I learned was that everyone needed to be at the negotiating table to achieve an enduring peace. So I wrote a story of reconciliation—A Vision of Angels—that weaves together the lives of four characters and their families.

If anybody had ever hoped that a book might change the world, I did. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to bring about peace in the Middle East, but I’ve continued writing nevertheless.

The Fourth Courier has a strong sense of place. It’s obvious that you know Warsaw well. Other than living there, what special research did you do?

Warsaw is a city with a very distinctive character. It’s always atmospheric, verging on gloomy in winter, and the perfect location for a noir-ish thriller.

I had left Warsaw several years before I decided to write a novel set there, so I went back to refresh my memory. I looked at it entirely differently. What worked dramatically? Where would I set scenes in my story?

It was on that research trip when all the events along the Vistula River came together for me. There was a houseboat. There was Billy’s shack, and Billy himself whose “jaundiced features appeared pinched from a rotting apple.” There were sandbars reached by narrow concrete jetties and a derelict white building with a sign simply saying Nightclub. Fortunately, Billy’s dogs were tethered or I wouldn’t be here to answer your questions.

My main character is an FBI agent, and I didn’t know much about it. A friend, who was an assistant to Attorney General Janet Reno, arranged a private tour of the FBI’s training facility in Quantico. That was before 9/11. I don’t think that could be done now. Maybe for James Bond himself but not for a wannabe writer.

If I was going to write a novel about smuggling a portable atomic bomb, I needed to know what a bomb entailed. Weight, seize, basic design, fuel? How would a miniature bomb be detonated? So I blindly contacted the Department of Energy. I explained what I wanted and was soon connected to an atomic expert who agreed to meet with me.

We met on the weekend at a Starbucks-like coffee shop in Rockville, MD. We met in line and were already talking about atomic bombs before we ordered our coffees. He had brought basic drawings of them. He was an expert and eager to share his knowledge.

Can you imagine having that conversation in a café today, openly looking at how-to schematics for building an atomic bomb while sipping skinny lattés?

You’ve mentioned ‘scenes’ a couple of times. I know you also write screenplays. Do you find it difficult to go between the different formats or styles?

The sense of scene is crucial to my writing. It’s how I think about a story. Before I start new work, I always have the opening and closing scenes in my head, and then I ask myself what scenes do I need to get from start to finish.

I think it comes from growing up in a house where the television was never turned off. My sisters and I were even allowed to watch TV while doing homework if we kept our grades up. Sometimes I joke that canned laughter was the soundtrack of my childhood. I haven’t owned a television for many years, but growing up with it exposed me to telling stories in scenes, and it’s why my readers often say they can see my stories as they read them.

For me, it’s not difficult to go between prose and screenplays. In fact, I use the process of adapting a novel to a screenplay as an editing tool for the novel. It helps me sharpen the dialogue and tighten the story.

In your bio, you mention traveling the world to find your characters and stories, and doing things like smuggling out plays from behind the Iron Curtain. Was it all as exciting as it sounds?

It was only one play, and yes, I confess to having an exciting life. I’ve done some crazy things, too, and occasionally managed to put myself in dangerous situations. Frankly, when I recall some of the things I’ve done, I scare myself! By comparison, smuggling a play out of Czechoslovakia in 1974 seems tame. But I’ve always had a travel bug and wanted to go almost everywhere, so I took some chances, often traveled alone, and went to places where I could have been made to disappear without a trace.

It sounds like you have a whole library full of books you could write. How do you decide what story to tell and who will be your characters?

I came of age in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, so I developed a strong sense of social justice. That guided my career choice more than anything, and when I quit working to write full-time, it was natural that I wanted my books to reflect my concerns. Not in a “big message” way, but more in terms of raising awareness about things that concern me.

For example, take Cooper’s Promise, my novel about a gay deserter from the war in Iraq who ends up adrift in a fictional African country. It was 2003, and in a few days, I was headed to Antwerp to research blood diamonds for a new novel. I was running errands when NPR’s Neal Conan (Talk of the Nation) came on the radio with an interview of National Geographic photographer Jodi Cobb about a project on modern-day slavery. It was the first time I heard details about human trafficking, and was so shocked by its enormity that I pulled my car off the road to listen.

I decided on the spot that I needed to find a story that touched on both blood diamonds and trafficking. When I went to Antwerp a few days later, I visited the Diamond District as planned, but also visited a safe house for women who had been rescued from traffickers.

In The Fourth Courier, you team up a white straight FBI agent with a black gay CIA agent. Even Publishers Weeklycommented that it seemed like an ideal set-up for a sequel. Do you plan to write one?

Probably not. My to-be-written list is already too long.

I’m close to finishing the final edits on a book set in Greek island village, which is more of a mystery about an arsonist than a thriller. I’ve already started a new novel set in Istanbul about a young refugee who’s recruited by the CIA to go deep undercover with ISIS. I’ve never written a novel set in the States but I have the idea for one.

To date, my books have been stand-alones with totally different settings, characters, and plots. I try to write what I like to read: smart mysteries/thrillers with strong plots and colorful characters set in interesting places. I suppose like me, I want my stories to travel around and meet new people.

You’ve had gay protagonists or important characters since your first novel over twenty years ago when gay literature had not yet become mainstream. How would you say that affected your choices as a writer, or did it?

Friends warned me that I shouldn’t become known as a gay writer because it would pigeonhole me and sideline me from consideration as a serious writer. At the time, I think the general public thought gay books were all about sex and more sex. Of course, already there were many emerging gay literary writers; it was more stigma than reality.

The world of thrillers and mysteries is still largely uninhabited by gays. Hopefully I am helping to change that. I also hope that my novels expand my readers’ understanding of homosexuality in the places where I set them. In The Fourth Courier, the gay angle is key to solving the case. In my other novels, too, the plot turns on something gay, and the way it does is always something that couldn’t have happened in the same way anywhere else because of the cultural context.

What do you want your readers to take away from The Fourth Courier?

What motivated me to write The Fourth Courier was a desire to portray what happened to ordinary Polish people at an exciting albeit unsettling moment in their country’s history. I hope my readers like my characters as much as I do—at least the good guys. The people are what made Poland such a great experience.

The Fourth Courier is my thank-you note to them.


I also released a new video onto book tube recently so feel free to watch it here and make sure to like and subscribe if you like it!

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Author Interview: Shelby Eileen

What is new with my favorite bookworms? I was perusing Twitter, doing Twitter things when I came upon a post about another blogger that wanted to do guest posts and in general just connect with other bloggers. So I reached out to her and am glad I did because she is an amazing person and super nice. It is always great to make new blogging friends.

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Shelby Eileen is a queer Canadian writer in a perpetual state of stress concerning her unmapped future. Eileen studied at Brock University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature. She uses the knowledge and skills gained from her degree throughout her daily life, even if others hardly notice that she does so. One of her many dreams is to live alone in a little apartment with a cat and good writing energy. Her published works include; soft in the middle, sunfish, Sunshine, Sadness, and other Floridian Effects, and Goddess of The Hunt. In her free time, you can find her listening to audiobooks, crocheting, or sending pictures of corgis and Jake Gyllenhaal to her friends. The next thing she hopes to tackle after another poetry collection or two: romance novellas! Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @briseisbooks.

We conducted a Q&A with her as she is a budding author with her poetry collections and we wanted to learn more about her. Without further ado, here is our Q&A session!

Author Q&A

What is your top read of 2019 so far? 

Definitely, without a doubt, The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty.

What is your favorite book friendship? 

Ginger and Daniel from 2 of my favorite romance books by Roan Parrish- Small Changeand In The Middle of Somewhere.

Most anticipated book release of 2019? 

Oof, there’s many, but The Fever Kingby Victoria Lee, I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver, and If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann.

How many books are in your TBR Pile? 

TOO MANY (definitely 100+).

Who is your favorite author? 

Madeline Miller. She writes my favorite Greek myth/historical fantasy books; The Song of Achilles and Circe.

How did you start writing? 

I’ve always taken advantage of writing classes if they were offered at school – in high school and university. I recently did a creative writing workshop, which was amazing and helped me get in touch with how fun and therapeutic writing is. I think what got me into writing in a more serious way was the drive to depict the under-represented parts of me; my queerness, my religion, and my fatness.

Where is your favorite reading spot? 

My bed.

How long have you been an author? 

I’ve been a published author since December 2017.

What do you like about reading? 

I love how much I learn through reading, the community that comes with it, and how sentimental and comforting certain books can be.

If you had to describe yourself in a book title, what would it be?

Let’s Talk About Love (by Claire Kann) … I think I just read so much romance it kind of permeates my brain lol. Also, as a writer and a human, it’s so important to me to distinguish different types of love (romantic, platonic, familial, etc), and lift them all up as being equal and significant.

Great answers Shelby! This interview was an amazing success. I am always joyed to connect with book lovers of all ages, sizes, and sexual orientations. This book blog is about honesty in reviews and having an open dialogue with other bloggers/authors. I strongly encourage you to go follow Shelby on social media to stay up to date with her books that she is writing!

Shelby was nice enough to send me copies of her poetry books for a giveaway! So if you would like to enter, just click on the image below. We will be announcing 2 winners in 1 week. Good luck!

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There is a new book on the block that I am promoting. This one is called Justice Gone by Nick Lombardi. Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans. You can get it here: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1785358766/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_ca-20&linkCode=as2&camp=15121&creative=330641

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