Once and Future Review

I love Arthurian tales. I have always loved Merlin and Excalibur and seek out new tales to be told.

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Today’s review is a gender swapping, sci-fi LGBT twist to the legend of King Arthur. Not to mention a gorgeous cover.

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Let’s take a look at Once & Future.


 

Once & Future by [McCarthy, Cori, Capetta, Amy Rose]

I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.
 
Now I’m done hiding.
 
My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.
When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.
No pressure.
Order here

Tawney’s Review: First off wow. This was a very imaginative retelling. McCarthy and Capetta did a wonderful job and keeping the Arthurian legend real while giving life to a newer futuristic storyline.
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There is very much a diverse cast of representation from race and sexuality in this book. Merlin seems to be aging backwards and in this version he’s young and loves K-pop! Not to mention that he does spells in song form and he loves men. He is the humorous character you just kept help but love. Ari is our King Arthur and she is so strong and motivated that it’s hard not to connect with her, especially with her heart wrenching romance with Gwenivere.
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I loved Firefly and I felt this book gave me a little something I was missing from that series… a great sci-fi! The pace was swift and the description vivid. The only problem I had was it felt a little rushed at the end and I wanted more! Once and Future was fun, suspenseful and adventurous. I look forward to the sequel.
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Should you read it? Yes! A Fun gender swapping Arthurian tale with lovable characters and a sci-fi twist.

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Spotlight: The Forever Series by Tara Gallina

Today I’m here to tell you about a steamy romance that may be flying under your radar.

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Tara Gallina’s The Forever Series is a sizzling series full of romance, sex and Sebastian!

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Let’s take a look at the books and why they are just the perfect sexy romance you need right now.


My best friend has been obsessed with Sebastian since our freshman year in college. She wants him to herself, which is fine by me. He’s a paycheck, a means to an end goal. He’s temporary. But he’s also tempting—the way he looks at me, the things he says, the way he touches me… If I’m not careful, I might do something I’ll regret. ~Ainsley Belle

THE FOREVER SERIES
At twenty, Ainsley knows it’s time to follow her own dreams and not the future her that was planned for her—a future she never wanted. Losing her job couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Sebastian Gianni isn’t the ideal boss, but he has a position to fill and Ainsley is desperate. The sexy twenty-two-year-old comes from money, owns a successful business, and graduates from college in three months. He has his life together in a way Ainsley could only dream.
No wonder her best friend is obsessed with dating him. Even his ex-girlfriend is determined to get him back, although threatening him seems like the wrong approach. Ainsley would be a fool to fall for the guy, too.
By no means, should she trust him. He has more secrets than anyone she knows, which makes her wonder if the mafia rumors about him are true. It doesn’t matter that he’s a good listener, and sweet and protective at times. That playful flirty side he shares with her alone means nothing. Right?
When a kiss turns into a secret romance neither can give up, Ainsley learns the truth about Sebastian’s corrupt family and why his ex-girlfriend won’t go away. A future together is near impossible and comes with a risk that could get them both killed—or give them everything they’ve ever wanted.

Tawney’s Review: I highly recommend this book! I received an ARC for a review and couldn’t have been more pleased with this sexy romance!  There is wonderful chemistry and a smoldering passion between Ainsley & Sebastian. As their relationship develops you can feel the tension and the passion waiting to explode. There are also many thrills with Sebastian’s rumored connection to the Mafia. I couldn’t stop reading this novel and binge read it until the very end. And wow what an ending! If you are looking for a good sexy read with wonderful characters and some thrills, than Risking Forever is the one for you.


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The sequel to Risking Forever: vol 1. Continue the story.

The toga party and sheet draped loosely around my body didn’t make me kiss him. The alcohol and near attack by a drunk douche didn’t make me either. I can’t even blame it on the flirty dare Sebastian gave me a moment before I claimed his lips with a gentle kiss. While each contributed to the incident, I did it because I’m selfish.
For once in my life I took what I wanted. I didn’t think about anyone else but myself. I wanted a kiss, and I got a lot more. I figured it’d be good. I just didn’t know how much I’d grow to crave it—crave him.
No one can find out about us. If they do, I could end up homeless, friendless, or worse, in danger. It’s not like what we do in secret changes anything—other than my feelings for him. He’s as unattainable as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. At least now I know the truth about his family and why his life isn’t his own.
He made me an offer I refuse to accept. If I don’t find a way to separate my body from my heart when we’re together, I’ll end up as trapped as he is. ~ Ainsley

Tawney’s Review: So glad to be returning to Ainsley and Sebastian! Daring Forever takes us right where Risking Forever left off with Ainsley and Sebastian growing closer and closer. Now here’s where things get steamy as you can just feel the heat radiating between the two. Sebastian’s mystique starts to peel away and we get to see the real man behind those layers rather than the tough persona. The dialogue between the two is fantastic as they banter and flirt. Tara does a wonderful job at keeping the chemistry between the two sizzling. The description is vivid and you can feel every glance and yearning from Ainsley. And can we just sit and drool at these covers? I highly recommend The Forever Series if you are looking for a sexy read with steamy characters and hot tension. I can’t wait for the third instalment!

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The final installment to the Forever Series—for now.

It happened. I knew it would. I fell for him. The revelation didn’t rise within me like an orange sun emerging from the ocean. This wake-up call was more of a slap to the face. And now that it’s out, the silence from Sebastian has me wondering if I’ve lost my hearing.
What did I expect, for him to love me back? He’s made it clear since the beginning that can’t happen. This is on me. Walking away would be the smart choice. I have dreams to follow, and a new life to start far away.
If only I could take Sebastian with me. If only I could convince him the risk is worth the reward. If he knew he could escape his father without harm, he’d go. Not just for me but for himself. He may not love me, but he cares. I wouldn’t have given myself to him, if I had thought otherwise. ~ Ainsley

Tawney’s Review:  It’s the conclusion to Sebastian and Ainsley’s story and I couldn’t wait to see the outcome of this smoldering romance.  Sebastian and Ainsley have been through it all and author Tara Gallina likes to pull at your heartstrings. She does a wonderful  job at immersing the reader right with Sebastian and Ainsley. Her description and detail just paints the vivid picture of the complications that the couple go through. You can’t help but connect with Sebastian and Ainsley, rooting for them all the way. I couldn’t turn each page fast enough, as the pace was swift and some parts intense to the point I wanted to peek to the ending to see what happens. Well I didn’t and it was worth the read! There is such a connection between Sebastian and Ainsley that you feel it too as Tara takes you on a suspenseful fulfilling conclusions to their love story. 

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Just when you think it’s over here is another book in The Forever series with Sebastian’s point of view!

 

Hiring Ainsley was a mistake but firing the little beauty when she’s broke seems unfair. Besides, I like being around her. She doesn’t want anything from me like everyone else. She’s not aggressive or forceful. She’s sweet, unexpected, and, damn, if she isn’t getting under my skin. If I’m not careful, I’ll drag her into my arms, my bed, and into the dark pit of my world—a place she doesn’t belong. A place I don’t belong, but a place I might be able to withstand if she’s with me. ~ Sebastian Gianni

Sebastian – Risking Forever is the companion novel to, Risking Forever: vol 1, and told from Sebastian’s POV. **Warning**This novel contains spoilers that aren’t revealed in Risking Forever: vol 1 until mid-point in Daring Forever: vol 2. I kept the stories separate to maintain the mystery and suspense in Risking Forever and recommend reading the other 2 first.

Tawney’s Review: If this series couldn’t get any better we get Sebastian’s point of view! We get to hear his thoughts and perspective on Ainsley. Author Tara Gallina does a wonderful job at bringing Sebastian to life and taking on the man’s perspective. I was not disappointed. I do suggestion readers read this book once they finish with the series and Ainsley’s point of view. It was immensely fun and heartbreaking to follow Sebastian. You wanted to both hug him and hit him at the same time. This was the companion novel we needed. I immensely enjoyed this book.

Order the series here!

 

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And so the big question now is what’s next Tara? Because we need more romance from you!


About the Author:

Tara GallinaTara Gallina grew up breathing the salty air in a small town near Clearwater Beach, Florida. The sun and sand were her playground, bathing suits and jean shorts her go-to wear.

After moving to Orlando, FL with her hubs, she left the workforce to enjoy motherhood and rekindled her love of writing. While romance is one of her favorite genres, she writes young and new adult and has a soft spot for retellings.

She has two furry writing companions who often steal her seat when she’s working: a mini shih-poo named Bella, and an exotic cat named Tigerlily but who answers to Kitty because the menfolk in the house like it better. Speaking of kitties, she is obsessed with Hello Kitty, has a pink office, thinks everything is better with sparkles, freezes in temperatures below seventy, and is happiest when visiting local hotspots like Disney World or Harry Potter with her family.

Follow Tara: Website * Instagram *Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

 

 

 

XL Review

  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 26, 2019)
  • Order here!

 

WIll Daughtry is a late bloomer–at least, that’s what everyone tells him. On his sixteenth birthday, Will is just shy of five feet, and he is bitterly resigned to being tiny forever. His only comforts are his best friend and stepbrother, Drew (6’3″), and their pal Monica (5’10”), the girl Will’s been quietly pining for since fifth grade. Everyone else literally overlooks him. But with them, he feels whole. That is, until things take an unexpected turn, and he realizes he’s really and truly on his own.

That’s when he starts to grow. And grow fast. Astonishingly fast. For the first time, Will’s happy with his stature, and the world’s at his feet (for a change). People see him differently; more important, he sees himself differently. But the highest heights come with some low, low lows, and his most precious relationships suffer excruciating growing pains. Will has to figure out what to do with himself–and all of this new “himself” he never expected to have.


This book was a refreshingly cute YA.

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Being a teen is already hard with preparing for college and growing up, but add in some flaws and sometimes being a teenager just sucks. Will is short for is age barely making it to 5′ foot and those that surround him always tower above him. His best friend is his stepbrother Drew who happens to be a basketball star and Monica…who is taller than him by a foot.

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And with flaws there is always those that bully teens who are different. This book tackles a variety of teen angst from bullying, jealousy, friendship, and the need to be accepted. I found the plot interesting and lighthearted. It had its humorous parts and also sad parts and Brown’s writing was descriptive with a fast pace.

The humor was great but I think teenage boys would be more interested in this book than girls. Though any girl could understand the struggles of being abnormal, it’s more relatable to boys. Will finally grows and grows and it’s fun to read and watch the conclusion play out.

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Should you read it? Yes, an interesting viewpoint on being an abnormal teen and struggling with it while navigating friendships and school.

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The Silent Patient Review

The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

Order here!


Tawney’s Review:

I love Thrillers. The Silent Patient caught my eye at the bookstore with its intriguing cover and plot.

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The book starts off with a murder, like every other thriller! A wife kills her husband but never states why she did it. Alicia remains silent and hasn’t spoken with anyone regarding Gabriel’s murder. There is a shroud of mystery around the deed and the criminal psychotherapist Theo wants to uncover those answers. So he takes a job at the hospital she is imprisoned in and starts to weed his way into her mind.

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There were many great scenes of dialogue between Theo and Alicia but little character development. The pace was slow at the start of the book and quickened toward the end, finishing a little too abruptly. It wasn’t as suspenseful as most thrillers nor was it engaging. I would find myself putting the book down and doing other things. I usually finish a thriller in one full sitting. This one I just couldn’t get into. I didn’t get that palpitating heartbeat turning each page for answers. 30 pages in I knew what happened.

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Unfortunately, there was no big mystery for me. I felt like I could guess what happened next so once I finished the book I was sorely disappointed and left unsatisfied.

This book wasn’t my cup of tea and I would recommend better thrillers like The Last Mrs. Parrish or the The Other Woman, but many people seemed to have liked it and the book has been opted for the big screen.

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Should you read it? Yes, even though it wasn’t my fav you might like it.

 

Parkland Speaks Blog Tour: Review

  • Order here!
  • Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (January 22, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1984849999

 

 

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School share their emotional journeys that began on February 14, 2018, and continue today. This revealing and unfiltered look at teens living in the wake of tragedy is a poignant representation of grief, anger, determination, healing, and hope.

The intimate collection includes poetry, eyewitness accounts, letters, speeches, journal entries, drawings, and photographs from the events of February 14 and its aftermath. Full of heartbreaking loss, a rally cry for change, and hope for a safe future, these artistic pieces will inspire readers to reflect on their own lives and the importance of valuing and protecting the ones you love.


 

Tawney’s Review: The collection of essays, poems, pictures and art were moving. With such a tragedy that had happened at this school and told by survivors some of these stories will wreck you.

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It was very eyeopening to read their experience during and after the horrors of that day. What they went through and felt draws a connection for the reader to these survivors. You feel for them. You cry with them. Very powerful words and art by students who should have never been through an experience like this.

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Should you read this? Yes! A book every teen or adult should read on a tragedy that brought loud voices to be heard.

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The Break Line Review

 

  • File Size: 1322 KB
  • Print Length: 362 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0440001471
  • Publisher: Berkley (January 29, 2019)
  • Order here!

 

Officially, Max McLean doesn’t exist. The British government denies all knowledge of the work he does on their behalf to keep us safe. But Max and his masters are losing faith in each other. And they’ve given him one last chance to prove he’s still their man.

Sent to a military research facility to meet a former comrade-in-arms, Max finds the bravest man he ever knew locked up for his own protection. His friend lost his mind during an operation in West Africa. The reason? Absolute mortal terror.

Max is determined to find out why.

Ahead lies a perilous, breathtaking mission into the unknown that will call into question everything that Max once believed in.

Acting alone, without back-up, Max lands in Sierra Leone with his friend’s last words ringing in his ears: ‘They’re coming, Max. They’re coming . . .’

The Break Line is a debut dripping with authenticity and menace. Smart, unputdownable and packed with irresistible set pieces and jaw-dropping plot twists, this is a thriller like no other.


 

Tawney’s Review: I am a sucker for thrillers.

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Max McLean is an assassin working for the British Intelligence office. He always follows the rules until one day he lets a target live. Oops!

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This target, a woman who doesn’t fit the information he was given, knows his face. That’s a problem and because of this she must die. But Max doesn’t do that and breaks protocol. He’s a true killer who was trained to do his job without emotion. So now his bosses are wondering if he is uncut for the job and disposable. They have two choices for Max’s fate; promote him or kill him.

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He is sent to Sierra Leone where something terrible is happening. Of course Max seems to get in trouble in all the wrong places with the CIA, African rebels and Isreal’s intelligence service. And that was what was fun to read! How was Max going to get out of all this chaos?

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This thriller had fast pace plot with heart pounding action, which kept you at the edge of your seat. There was always a feeling of dread that came over me when I knew Max was about to get into a dicey predicament.  The author does a wonderful job at explaining Max’s world and the vivid detail helps set the setting. I love anti-heroes books and this was no exception. Max was strong and bold but had a conscience. It was fun to follow this complex character and root for him until the very end of the book.

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Should you read this? Yes, a fast pace debut thriller with action that grabs your attention until the very end.

 

Stain by A.G. Howard Review

I loved today’s book! Not only did the cover attract my attention but the storytelling drew me into a world full of descriptive characters and settings. I love fairytales.

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Let’s take a look at Stain by A.G. Howard.


 

Hardcover: 512 pages

After Lyra—a princess incapable of speech or sound—is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest . . . disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra’s rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight—for she is his true equal. As Lyra finds her way back to her identity, an imposter princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.


Tawney’s Review:

There is always magic when you read one of A.G. Howard’s book.

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Lyra was mute, a fact that made me happy. I welcome disabled characters! She is far different than her father or the other’s of the court. With silver eyelashes and moonbeam hair she must stay in the dark or the sun will burn her. When Lyra’s father, the king, is killed she finds her world torn apart as her memories are taken and she masquerades around as a boy names Stain.

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The world building was fantastic. Two kingdoms separated by the sun and the moon. Eldoria lives above with the blazing sun that constantly sails across the sky while Nerezeth lives below in the dark with the moon. There was no info dumping nor was it pushed upon you. You learn through out the book different quirks for each kingdom and its people. The description was vivid with each detail of color or landscape gorgeously set upon you with clear distinction. You fall into this world easily!

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The characters were easy to like though I much preferred Lyra to Vesper. Vesper is her betrothed, an arrange marriage set up by their parents to unit the kingdoms, and waits for his bride to come to him…and we know his bride is in quite a predicament! Lyra had many obstacles but she overcame them all and was a strong character you rooted all the way for.

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Should you read this yes! An enchanting fairytale with grit and a strong female lead that takes you into a gorgeously created world of two warring kingdoms.