BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · Romance · RomCom · WomensFiction

Book Review, chocolate cake, peppermint hot chocolate and snow flurries!

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We made it to November, folks! Thank you @avonbooks for my gift copy of ‘Tools of Engagement’ by Tessa Bailey! (pub 9/22)

In Tessa Bailey’s latest rom-com, two enemies team up to flip a house… and the sparks between them might burn the place down or ignite a passion that neither can ignore! 

Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve theirdreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, and the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flippingdisaster.

So, I wanted to use my cute, little pink tool bag in my pics, but then I remembered I gave it to my daughter when she moved out, so heads up, Santa…mama needs a new, pink tool bag set! Instead in my pic you get a peak at my home office along w/ my lunch of homemade sugar-free, gluten-free chocolate cake & hot cocoa.

About the book, first off, can I just say how much I love the name of the fiction competition show: ‘Flip Off’. ‘Tools of Engagement’ is Bailey’s 3rd book in her Hot & Hammered series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. The book is flipping hilarious w/ it’s witty banter, but it also is heart-tugging w/ emotions at times, romantic, & swoony, & filled w/ enough blush-worthy steam to warm you up during these chilly Nov days! (We actually are getting our first snowflakes right now as I write this!)

The whole Hot & Hammered series is wonderful, reality escapism at it’s romantic best & I highly recommend them all! Fans of HGTV’s house flipping & remodeling shows will love this latest installment!

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New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey aspires to three things. Writing hot and unforgettable, character-driven romance, being a good mother and eventually sneaking onto the judging panel on a reality show baking competition. She lives on Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter, writing all day and rewarding herself with a cheese plate and Netflix binges in the evening. If you want sexy, heartfelt, humorous romance with a guaranteed happy ending, you’ve come to the right place.

Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Fiction · Romance · RomCom · WomensFiction

Blog Tour and Pub Day for e-book ‘Why I Held Your Hand’ by Augusta Reilly

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Happy Pub Day & Thank You to @getredpr #booktour & @augustareillyb for my e-copy of ‘Why I Held Your Hand‘ by Augusta Reilly!

Here’s an e-book release that will surely get your blood pumping! There’s a little sugar & a lot of spice in this fairly short, rom-com, available today in e-book form…

Laura Delaney loves her small mountain hometown of North Powell with its quaint charm, stately Victorian homes & surrounding hiking trails. Unfortunately, when it comes to attracting travel dollars, it can no longer compete with the flashy hot springs & ski slopes of nearby competitors.

That’s why she hires a hotshot marketing team to figure out how to inject the old magic back into North Powell’s sagging tourist trade. What she doesn’t expect is for the team to include David Harper. Smart, funny, handsome, & amazing in bed, he’s the perfect man. All she needs to do now is keep their relationship under wraps until the project is over.

But that’s easier said than done when she’s assigned to work with Spence Markham, the company’s offbeat “idea man” & David’s professional nemesis. When Spence suggests hosting a Dickens Festival to revitalize the town’s once-booming holiday season, Laura is thrilled. She’s even more thrilled when Spence falls in love with Powell House, the dilapidated Victorian that Laura hopes to renovate & turn into a town museum. But is Spence falling in love with her as well?

As the Festival nears, Laura’s feelings for both men intensify. Her relationship w/ David has only gotten better—& hotter—& yet she finds herself counting down the days until she can see Spence again. Soon, what started as a simple assignment becomes a tale of two possible futures. But which one will Laura choose?

Why I Held Your Hand‘ is a quick, charming, festive rom-com with small-town atmosphere (that worked well for this small-town girl), & enough romance, spice & steam to keep the heat of summer hanging on! (Seriously, you may need to turn the A/C on for this one!)

Click HERE to order this now on Kindle.
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Augusta Reilly has been writing for women’s magazines and literary publications for two decades. In her earlier years, she was a prolifically (if not proudly) published pulp fiction author whose anonymous literary masterpieces included ‘I Had The New Year’s Baby With Santa!’, ‘Prom Night in the County Morgue!’, ‘My Husband’s Sperm Were Kidnapped and Held For Ransom!’, ‘My Son the Pimp!’, and countless other titles, all of which ended in an exclamation point. She is a graduate of McGill University and lives in beautiful Douglas County, Colorado with her husband, three cats, and way too many kids.

BeachReads · Blog Tour · Book Reviews · Booksparks · Fiction · Romance · RomCom · WomensFiction

Online Book Tour for ‘Kiss My Cupcake’ by Helena Hunting

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QOTD: Do you have a sweet tooth? (I totally do!) Well, have I got a book that will get your taste buds tingling & your heart swooning!

Thank you @booksparks & @readforeverpub for my gifted copy of Helena Hunting‘s latest rom-com, ‘Kiss My Cupcake‘! This book published on 8/11 by Forever Publishing.

*As two neighborhood shop owners battle for business, they prove opposites attract in this outrageously funny romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of ‘Meet Cute, ‘The Good Luck Charm‘ & over a dozen other novels.

Blaire Calloway has planned every Instagram-worthy moment of her cupcake & cocktails shop launch down to the tiniest detail. What she didn’t plan on? Ronan Knight & his old-school sports bar next door opening on the very same day. He may be super swoony, but Blaire hasn’t spent years obsessing over buttercream & bourbon to have him ruin her chance at success.

From axe throwing (his place) to frosting contests (hers), Blaire & Ronan are constantly trying to one-up each other in a battle to win new customers. But with every clash, there’s also an undeniable chemistry. When an even bigger threat to their business comes to town, they’re forced to call a temporary time-out on their own war & work together. And the more time Blaire spends getting to know the real Ronan, the more she wonders if it’s possible to have her cupcake & eat it too.

We actually have one of those axe throwing bars in the next town over & I am still dumbfounded by the very fact that axe throwing while consuming alcohol exists! Cupcakes & adult bev’s, on the other hand…now THAT I am down with!

I just received ‘Kiss My Cupcake‘ a couple days ago & I started reading it that same night! I will probably finish it later today, but so far I am LOVING it! It is hilarious, charming, sexy & very engaging! Hunting does such a great job of creating a sense of place, you can practically smell the buttercream frosting (& bourbon)! I can’t wait to get back to reading it this evening! (& the flavors of cupcakes Blaire whips up in the book will make you drool with confectionery delight!) ‘Meet Cute‘ is also a super engaging, romantic, fun read that I definitely recommend & I will be reading ‘The Good Luck Charm‘ soon, too!

Kiss My Cupcake‘ & Helena’s other books are available now. Look for it at your local indie bookstore today!
(PS: Did you know this Sat is National Independent Book Store Day? What better way to help them celebrate than to support your local (or an online) indie bookstore! You can use BookStoreLink to locate indie bookstores. (PS…Today is the last day to enter the Murderino Monday giveaway on Instagram. Click HERE to go to that post.)

Click HERE to read more about ‘Meet Cute”
Click HERE to read more about ‘The Good Luck Charm’

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. She writes all things romance — contemporary, romantic comedy, sports and angsty new adult. Helena loves to bake cupcakes, has been known to listen to a song on repeat 1512 times while writing a book, and if she has to be away from her family, prefers to be in warm weather with her friends.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · OwnVoices · Romance · RomCom · YAbooks

Book Review: ‘Dating Makes Perfect’ by Pintip Dunn (pub 8/18)

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Thank you @entangledteen for my gifted copy of ‘Dating Makes Perfect‘ by Pintip Dunn! (pub date 8/18)

QOTD: Do you like reading YA fiction or rom-coms? Which one’s did you love the most & recommend? (Please leave a comment. I love to see other readers recommendations!)

The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.
Until now.

In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school.

In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster.

The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him.

If only he weren’t her sworn enemy…

Told in an authentic, Thai-American #ownvoice , ‘Dating Makes Perfect is a contemporary YA rom-com that will warm your heart, make you laugh & sigh out loud, & you may even find yourself GrubHub’ing some local Thai take-out after reading some of the drool-worthy chapters! Culturally immersive, richly layered in emotion, wit, & realistic family dynamics, these complex, well-fleshed out characters will make your heart swoon! And you will adore Winnie & the rest of her sisters!

Overall, a feel-good, coming of age, family dram-com & second chances at love story that you don’t have to be a young adult to enjoy! A perfect summer read!

Click HERE to add ‘Dating Makes Perfect’ to your Goodreads TBR.
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What others are saying about ‘Dating Makes Perfect:

“Dunn, a first-generation Thai American, takes on the enemies-to-lovers romance trope with punchy dialogue and adorable twists while paying tribute to the culture’s prioritization of food and family. A laugh-out-loud YA romance with a smart cast.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
“Sweet, spunky, witty, and wise – I feel in love with Winnie and her sisters. Pintip has a rare knack of blending action and adventure into a contemporary rom-com that keeps the pages turning.” – Abigail Hing Wen, New York Times bestselling author of LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI
 
“A witty culturally immersive romance with enthralling dialogue and captivating characters… A masterful story about family obligations, first crushes, and second chances.” – Nisha Sharma, award-winning author of MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE
  
This book made my Thai-American heart soar. Every detail–from the mouth-watering foods to Winnie’s tight-knit but strict Thai family–serve to tell a story that is authentic, layered, and rings so true.“- Christina Soontornvat, author of A WISH IN THE DARK

“A smart, funny, and endearing portrayal of budding romance, the power of sisterly love, and the pressure to be the perfect daughter.” – Farrah Rochon, USA Today Bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project 
 
“A delicious rom-com concoction that immerses readers in a Thai teen drama they’ll adore. Add a pinch of sister envy, the cute guy you love to hate, immigrant parent dynamics, a few kaffir lime leaves, and you’ll get a dish that’ll keep you entertained until the last page.” – Lydia Kang, award-winning author of Young Adult Fiction 
 
“Bubbling over with charisma and charm, DATING MAKES PERFECT is a swoontasm of adorable characters, sparkling wit, and captivating Thai culture. You will totally want to date this book!” – Darcy Woods, award-winning author of SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS
 
“An absolute feast for readers. The characters are deliciously complex, the family dynamics are rich and intense, and the tension between the main character Winnie and her enemy Mat is drool-worthy. This book will completely quench your hunger for a believable enemies to lovers rom-com!” – Becky Wallace, author of STEALING HOME and FAR FROM NORMAL

“So. Much. Fun! Pintip Dunn’s rom-com is an authentic, hilarious and irresistible love letter to Thai culture–not to mention desserts. Foodies, be warned–don’t read this on an empty stomach!” – Vanessa Barneveld, award-winning author of THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE and THE ABDUCTION 
 

A first-generation Thai American, Pintip Dunn grew up in a tiny town in Kansas. She went on to graduate from Harvard , magna cum laude, with an A.B. & to receive her J.D. at Yale Law School.
Pintip is a two-time RITA® award winner & a NYTimes bestselling author of young adult fiction. Her books have been translated into four languages, & they have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award & a Kirkus Best Book of the Year.
She’s obsessed with penguins, & her childhood dream was to marry someone whose last name was “Gwynn”―so that her name could be “Pin Gwynn.” Alas, she got stuck with Dunn instead, but her husband & 3 children are worth the sacrifice. They all visit Thailand yearly in order to stay connected with her family.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · RomCom

Book review: ‘Loathe at First Sight’ by Suzanne Park

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Thank you @booksforwardpr @avonbooks for my gifted copy of ‘Loathe at First Sight‘ by Suzanne Park! (pub 8/18)

Melody Joo is thrilled to land her dream job as a video game producer, but her new position comes with challenges: an insufferable CEO; sexist male coworkers; & an infuriating—yet distractingly handsome—intern, Nolan MacKenzie, aka “the guy who got hired because his uncle is the boss.”

Just when Melody thinks she’s made the worst career move of her life, her luck changes. While joking with a friend, she creates a mobile game that has male strippers fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Suddenly Melody’s “joke” is her studio’s most high-profile project—& Melody’s running the show.

When Nolan is assigned to Melody’s team, she’s sure he’ll be useless. But as they grow closer, she realizes he’s smart & sexy, which makes Melody want to forget he’s her intern. As their attraction deepens, she knows it’s time to pump the brakes, even with her Korean parents breathing down her neck to hurry up & find a man.

With her project about to launch, Melody suddenly faces a slew of complications, including a devastating trolling scandal. Could the man she’s falling hard for help her play the game to win—in work & in love?

So, this book is not really what it appears to be from the blurb or cover. It’s about 15% funny, rom-com about a Korean woman in the gaming  industry w/ a charming enemies-to-lovers story woven in.

The other 85% is more “let’s get the reader fired up w/ some real, hard hitting, serious issues” such as: toxic work environment, racism, harassment, discrimination, humiliation by co-workers, stalking, online trolls who threaten violence, cyberbullying & misogyny. (The photo comment above & below from the publisher are somewhat misleading. Smart- yes! Hilarious- here & there, maybe.)

I enjoyed ‘Loathe at First Sight’, but it did make me angry & triggered memories from the past where I, too, dealt w/ several of the above issues. I am not a gamer (wait, does Words w/ Friends count?), so learning about the industry was fun. Overall I thought the book was well-written, insightful, & very thought-provoking & I really rooted for Melody & her fight against the patriarchy in a male dominated work place.

Also featured in my Instagram post (pictured at top of blog post) is Park’s other 2020 new release, ‘The Perfect Escape‘, which published in April from Sourcebooks Fire.

The Perfect Escape‘ is a hysterical comedy about a teen boy who teams up with his crush to enter a survivalist competition, only to discover that love is its own battlefield.

Nate Jae-Woo Kim wants to be rich. When one of his classmates offers Nate a ridiculous amount of money to commit grade fraud, he knows that taking the windfall would help support his prideful Korean family, but is compromising his integrity worth it?

Luck comes in the form of Kate Anderson, Nate’s colleague at the zombie-themed escape room where he works. She approaches Nate with a plan: a local tech company is hosting a weekend-long survivalist competition with a huge cash prize. It could solve all of Nate’s problems, and she needs the money too.

If the two of them team up, Nate has a real shot of winning the grand prize. But the real challenge? Making through the weekend with his heart intact…

A great pick for readers who want:

  • comedy books for teens
  • books for teen boys
  • multicultural books for teens

Editorial reviews for ‘Loathe at First Sight’:

Loathe at First Sight bursts with humor, heart, and great energy. I loved it! Park is a hilarious new voice in women’s fiction.” (Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient)

“Hilarious and poignant, Park’s debut sparkles as a great addition to the new voices of the rom com renaissance.”

(Roselle Lim, author of Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune)

“Park gives us the story that only she could create. It’s hilarious, smart, and the rom-com we need!” (Alexa Martin, ALA Award-winning author of Intercepted)

“Park has created a wholly original, smart, fierce heroine (with a hilarious inner voice) who takes on an industry hell-bent on underestimating her…Just like the “entertaining, fresh, snarky” video game she conjures in her novel, Suzanne Park has written a fast and fun debut, putting females in the lead.” (Amy Poeppel, author of Musical Chairs and Small Admissions)

“A smart, funny workplace romance set in the world of video game design.” (Popsugar)

“[A] punchy adult debut set in the world of video game design. Park makes tough topics go down easy by couching them in wry humor and lighthearted romance, and her fierce, snarky heroine is irresistible. This smart rom-com is a winner.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Park’s first book for adults is a funny and feminist geek novel… Readers into both gaming and women’s fiction will scramble for this fast-paced charmer.” (Booklist)

“Melody’s characterization and voice shine throughout. Smart, punchy, and memorable.” (Library Journal)

Suzanne Park is a Korean-American writer who was born and raised in Tennessee. As a comedienne, she was selected to appear on BET’s “Coming to the Stage.” Suzanne was also the winner of the Seattle Sierra Mist Comedy Competition, and was a semi-finalist in NBC’s “Stand Up For Diversity” showcase in San Francisco.

Suzanne graduated from Columbia University and received an MBA from UCLA. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, female offspring, and a sneaky rat that creeps around on her back patio. In her spare time, she procrastinates. Loathe at First Sight is her adult debut. (‘The Perfect Escape’ is her YA debut.)

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