BOOK TOUR Review: “Beauty and the Book Boyfriend” by K.M. Galvin

BOOK TOUR Review:

A review by Brit.

Bellamy Strong has it all. She’s the author of a bestselling series, and she’s about to embark on an epic book tour/road trip with her best friend (who also happens to be her assistant and publicist). It’s a bit surreal that this all happened because of the book series she wrote in high school. Her social anxiety and self-image as a “nerdy girl” have made her feel like an awkward person to this day. Though she’s going to have to get over that soon when she meets Caleb—the tall, golden and handsome man who’s accompanying her on the road trip. He’s being paid to pose as her protagonist’s love interest, i.e. the character she created to be her image of the perfect man.

Caleb is a model, but not the kind of model you would expect him to be. He’s gorgeous but also acutely aware of how he’s perceived by everyone around him. His attraction to Bellamy is first fostered by a desire to protect her from her own social anxiety. But as time goes on, he truly admires Bellamy’s work at such a young age and can’t believe she doesn’t regard herself as highly as everyone else who knows her. The result is a detour from the romance-as-self-esteem stereotype that can happen when the main character is painted as an ugly duckling. Caleb’s affection for Bellamy grows alongside her coming to terms with her own social anxiety. It inspires him to show off his own nuance.

The plot was against the grain for a romance book, especially for an unlikely lover plot. There were moments where I didn’t truly buy the extent of Caleb’s physical lust for her. The “I love you” moment also felt like the author wanted it to happen but it wasn’t natural to the characters. But Caleb and Bellamy’s buildup and the head-over-heels nature of it all felt very natural. Every character has something to like about them, and the road trip nature of the story worked very well for getting to know them. Galvin has built a very natural relationship that i hope will come back in future books.

My rating: 3.5/5 stars.

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BOOK TOUR Review- Beauty and the Book Boyfriend by K.M. Galvin

About the Book

Title: Beauty and the Book Boyfriend

Author: K.M. Galvin

Genre: Contemporary Romance

When Bellamy Strong started writing, it wasn’t with the intention of becoming the next phenomenon. It was…to be blunt she had no friends. School is rough on the anti-social. It’s even harder publishing your books and the world decides it wants a piece of you.

Now her series is ending and her publisher is demanding she show up for her fans. End her reclusive persona. A three month, worldwide book tour dressed as Makyla, the lead character in her book. As for Maxsen, the love interest, her fans pick model Caleb Pace to play the role during a casting contest. No big deal right?

What happens when your fantasy comes to life and turns out better than you imagined?


**Recommended for ages 18 and up**

Author Bio

K.M. has a coffee addiction that’s just begging for an intervention and an obsession with music that borders on unhealthy. She’s undefeated in the Office trivia and looking for her own Ron Swanson while she writes. The entire Twenty-Something series is now available.

Links

Twitter: @kelsiegalvin
Instagram: @authorkmg
Website: http://kelsiegalvin.wix.com/kmgalvin
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7750593.K_M_Galvin
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/K.M.-Galvin/e/B00I80Z2JI

Preorder on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XJ7Y6MT/

Book Excerpt:

Growling under my breath, I bend down and begin shoving my stuff back into my bag.

“Here, you forgot this,” a deep voice says from behind me. Still crouched, I spin on the balls of my feet and immediately fall flat on my ass when I see who’s behind me.

Standing above me is Max. My Max. But that’s not possible, right? Maybe I’m having a psychotic break; the stress of the series is causing me to hallucinate.

Max bends down, bringing us to eye level. His face is millimeters from mine. He lets out a breath and it washes over me. Actual breath. From his lungs. In. My. Face. I gulp in air, finally able to breathe, and that’s a little better. I blink.

“Huh?” I croak. Brilliant.

“I said you forgot this,” he responds, his voice filled with laughter as he waves a tampon in front of my face like a magic wand.

Goddammit, it’s a super.

My face fills with so much heat I’m surprised it doesn’t singe my eyebrows straight off. Jumping to my feet, I scrutinize him carefully. He follows my movements, standing to his full height, and holy hell he’s tall.

At least a foot taller than my 5’4.” Just like I’d imagined. His hair is a dark auburn, so dark it looks like spilled blood at midnight; so dark it looks black until the sun hits it. His eyes are honey-brown, almost supernatural in their color.

It’s supposed to be unreal because he’s not real. What the frick?!

His face looks as if it’s carved from granite. In fact, every inch of him is defined. Light golden skin is stretched tightly over his muscles, and even though he is wearing a loose work out tank and track pants, I can tell he’s hard all over. I can tell because that’s how I wrote him. I’ve known him for almost ten years now.

“Are you ok?” he asks, his eyes crinkling at the corners with concern.

So many thoughts and words, too bad they’re all trapped in my throat. My hand rises on its own violation and… I poke him.

I poke his chest.

I touch him.

Holy effing shit!

“Oh my God!” I whisper-yell. Am I dreaming? I pinch myself hard and yelp. Nope, I’m awake. “Oh my God. This is not happening!”

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Review: “The Mediator Book 1: Shadowland” by Meg Cabot

Review: “The Mediator Book 1: Shadowland” by Meg Cabot

A review by Vanessa.

Susannah Simon has a special gift. Well, she wouldn’t call it a gift, really, because it certainly comes with its obligations. Namely, the requirement that she speak to and help out all of the dead people whom she can see. As much as she would prefer to ignore them and be a normal high school sophomore, their reasons for hanging around sometimes interfere with her life; and her life has enough interference already. Her mother has married a really nice guy named Andy, and although Suze approves of him for her mom she’s not so happy about the moving from New York to Carmel, CA. Or being stuck with three new annoying stepbrothers, and changing schools, and leaving her one and only friend behind. What’s worse is that her new home has an unwanted guest residing in her bedroom. His name is Jesse, and he was so obviously young, handsome, with six-pack abs, lovely dark eyes, and gorgeous hair when he died. Suze doesn’t like having him as a distraction when she is trying to adjust to all the changes. But he is not the only distraction she finds.

Suze is startled to find several surprises waiting for her at her new high school. There is Heather, the very angry and dangerous dead girl haunting her locker. Then there is Father Dominic, the school’s principal, who it turns out is a mediator just like her! Suze doesn’t know what to think about meeting someone like her for the first time ever, and fitting in with other kids at the school. It seems like things might be ok in her new life. But Heather has some very dark revenge to enact and Suze is just getting in her way. Plus her youngest new stepbrother, a sweet and super smart kid who Suze actually likes, seems to know way more than he is saying. She’s always taken care of things all on her own, but this time it might be too much for her. Can she stop Heather, and protect the people in her life that she is really starting to care about?

As always, Meg Cabot delivers a wonderfully well told story of young life, but this time with a supernatural twist. Her famous Princess Diaries series may have put her on the map as an author but this series showcases her ability write in the paranormal genre as well. Her characters are totally engaging, and utterly realistic. The supporting characters fit right into all the expected tropes, but at the same time each of them holds their own interest for the reader. They might be typical, but they are so great to read it just doesn’t matter. Suze is both a “typical high school girl” and a very unique character. She struggles with school, friends, boys, raging hormones, and annoying brothers. She thinks about fashion and clothes, and what it would be like to be kissed.  But in between all that she struggles with suppressing her own emotions to accommodate the happiness of her mother, the ever present influence of death, the moral implications of forcing a ghost to cross over unwillingly, and the guilt that comes with being forced to lie to her family and friends for their own good. She also harbors a quick temper and some violent tendencies that make her an ever more interesting character. The only drawback to this book would be that some of the stereotypes might be embraced a bit too willingly. But even then, the characters cannot be described as boring or one dimensional. I love this series, and I would recommend it to young, and adult readers alike.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

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Review: “Faith, Volume One: Hollywood and Vine” By Jody Houser, Francis Portella, Marguerite Sauvage, Andrew Dalhouse

Review: “Faith, Volume One: Hollywood and Vine

A review by Amanda.

Faith Herbert is a sci-fi nerd, comic book lover, and an all-around geeky girl. She’s also a superhero. Faith is a psiot; a human with supernatural abilities. Orphaned at a young age and raised by her grandmother, Faith’s nerdy dreams came true when her special talents made themselves known. She joined a team of other psiots called the Renegades and created the alter ego Zephyr. She used her telekinetic ability to fly and move objects to help people, and formed close relationships with her teammates.

When the story begins, Faith has left the Renegades for an unknown reason. She has created a new identity as Summer Smith, a journalist at an online magazine, and still uses her Zephyr persona to help people in Van Nuys, California. Bored and looking for superhero action, she stumbles across something dangerous involving missing psiots. Faith is determined to solve the mystery and save the day, but may have gotten in over her head…

Faith is a non-Marvel, non-DC superhero comic from Valiant. It stood out from other comics on a superficial level because the protagonist didn’t fit the standard superhero appearance – she was fat. Readers know this solely because of the art. Her weight was never mentioned by any character, not even in her own thoughts, which was both unexpected and invigorating. Faith, the character, was loveable and goofy. She was a Joss Whedon fan and made several nerd references that felt like nods to beloved franchises. She had a romantic life but it didn’t dominate the plot. The story was a bit slow to start and some aspects were not made entirely clear, such as why she left the Renegades. More background on the supporting characters would also have been beneficial. Perhaps future issues provide more depth. Overall, this was a nice comic – not action-heavy, and light on the details, but still a fun read. Its most attractive features are the humor and relatability of its main character. This volume is comprised of the first four issues.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

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Review: “Souljacker: A Lily Bound Novel” by Yasmine Galenorn

A review by Amanda.

Lily O’Connell is a Fae woman living in Seattle’s Blood Night District. The Fae, along with Weres and vampires, revealed their existence to humans several decades ago, mostly to everyone’s benefit. Lily’s closest friends are a witch named Dani and a human called Nate, as well as her cat Whisky who isn’t exactly what he seems. She runs a private salon called Lily Bound that allows her to feed her succubus appetite without killing anyone. When a prominent, married, Were-client is murdered in her home, which is also her place of business, the trouble has only just begun. Now she must contend with the wrath of a grieving widow, as well as the shock of discovering that the killer is not finished yet – and Lily and her friends may be on his list of future targets. Is teaming up with a private investigator, who also happens to be a chaos demon, a good idea or a recipe for disaster?

This was the first book in the Lily Bound series. The most interesting aspect of this story, without giving spoilers, was the circumstances surrounding the murders. The world-building of human and non-human society was well done and made sense. The characters were very superficial; what you see is what you get, with perhaps one exception. There were no hidden agendas or suspicious motives anywhere, which was a bit disappointing. Since this was the first in a series that, of course, may change in later books. The overall plot was predictable for anyone who has read an urban fantasy series. Fans of Yasmine Galenorn’s Otherworld and Indigo Court series may enjoy Souljacker, as well as those who like Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series, and Seanan Maguire’s October Daye series.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

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Review: “Windsinger: A Darkhaven Novel” by A.F.E. Smith

Review: “Windsinger: A Darkhaven Novel” by A.F.E. Smith

A review by Vanessa.

Again I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to review this series. This is the third installment of the Darkhaven series, the first of which I reviewed in July 2015, and the second in Jan 2016.

Ayla Nightshade is the overlord of Darkhaven, the ruler of the city of Arkannen and all of Mirrorvale, mother of three small children, and wife to her captain of the Helm, Tomas Caraway. It is a lot to balance, especially when she is the only known Changer left in Mirrorvale, and her enemies are many. But she hopes to have one less enemy, that of the neighboring kingdom who has been the most recent trouble for her, Sol Kardis. After fending off attacks by their assassins a few years earlier, all Ayla really wants is to find a peace treaty with them and move on with living her life and helping her people. She wants to make Arkannen a thriving center for trade and commerce and give all of her people the chance at peaceful and prosperous lives. Indeed, Arkannen will be receiving a marvel of new technology from their neighboring kingdom of Parovia. The Windsinger is a giant airship which Ayla hopes will inspire her people in their own technological advances.

Tomas Caraway is happy to be the father of Ayla’s two small daughters and their adopted son Marlon. Though he still finds doubt in his ability to lead the Helm, he has been successful at recruiting some of the best and most loyal to aid him in protecting Ayla and his family. And he will need them the most when the emissary sent by Sol Kardis dies at the hands of a poison that seems like it could only have come from Ayla herself. Ree, Penn, and Zander have been serving in Arkannen since the events of several years past. Ree is a respected female member of the Helm. Despite his family’s hatred of Captain Caraway, Penn has proven to be a loyal Helmsman as well. But Zander, discovered as the son of a prominent Sol Kardis councilor, didn’t make it into the inner circle of trust or the Helm. But he serves as a fifth ring weapons master, and he has no desire to go home. With the death of the emissary from Sol Kardis, all of these loyal friends will have their own part to play in keeping Ayla and her young family safe, and protecting their home of Mirrorvale. Meanwhile, Tomas has some plans of his own and a spy that might help him along the way. There is treachery within the very halls of Darkhaven, maybe closer than even Tomas realizes. Can they avert war and disaster and find the real culprit in time?

Masterful world building abounds in this third installment to the Darkhaven series. The characters as always are multifaceted and engaging. Ayla’s strength and leadership is not at all hampered by her decision to marry Tomas Caraway. They are as always a team, where he is happy to support her as a ruler and she relies on his support and wisdom as any wise ruler would. Her physical abilities as a Changer make her the bigger, stronger, and more imposing character, but that is not a detriment to Tomas or any other character in the story. Tomas is a wonderfully flawed but lovable strength in Ayla’s life. Ree as the first and best female Helmsman has her struggles. As readers we get to admire her determination and independence as someone who is simply human and makes the best of the life she has made for herself. Even Penn and Zander get their perspective in the story, and we get to learn more about them. Penn is struggling with his separation from his family, and Zander’s experiences as essentially an immigrant in Mirrorvale are as relevant to our own world as any in the book. All of these weave together in a wonderfully fantastic read that does not disappoint.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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Review: “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card

A review by Brit.

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is a very special little boy. At the age of six years old, he is selected to attend “battle school,” an academy for children and pre-teens believed to have innate gifts for strategy and warfare. The planet Earth is at war with a race of aliens nicknamed the “Buggers.” Ender’s the third child in his family, only allowed to be born because his brother Peter was too cruel for battle school and his sister Valentine was too passive. The high-ranking adults of the world think Ender may have the gifts necessary to save the world. In fact, it seems like they’re betting on it.

Once in the battle school, Ender is quickly isolated and pitted against the other students (mostly boys) in the school. The leaders at hand are seeking to make him a leader. He’s a tactical genius who tries to be civil but is ultimately suspicious of anyone who tries to be friendly. Against all odds, Ender gains friends among those the school leaders would deem his subordinates. He grows and develops skills. But he’s soon promoted to higher ranks, reinforcing just how much he is ruled by the adults around him. On the outside, Peter and Valentine are hatching their own plans to help the world… which may or may not involve Ender.

I did my very best to enjoy this book (which I consumed in audiobook format), but all in all the exposition blended in too much with the dialogue. Characters blended together, their speech often sounding the same. The book fell into the unfortunate science fiction stereotype of having too much action and not enough character development for the action to feel meaningful. There were few instances where Ender, his classmates, and siblings actually spoke as if they were the ages they were prescribed. Even genius children still sound like children. I would only recommend this book to those seeking to know more about a science fiction classic. But for someone looking to learn more about science fiction, I would advise them to stay away from Ender’s Game. It will leave you apathetic to Ender and the plight of his world.

My rating: 2/5 stars.

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Review: “Mask of Shadows” by Linsey Miller

Review: “Mask of Shadows” by Linsey Miller

A review by Amanda.

Sallot Leon is a gender-fluid teen who has survived by fighting for money and robbing nobles. A chance encounter with a noble lady leads Sal to an exciting and dangerous new life. While robbing the intriguing Lady Elise, Sal discovers a poster advertising auditions for a position with the Queen’s Left Hand – her elite team of guards and assassins. Anyone may try to join the auditioners; they need only bring proof of their skills.  This may be the only way for Sal to exact vengeance on the Lords and Ladies responsible for the destruction of Sal’s homeland.

The main character Sal was clever, sneaky, and incredibly self-aware. The gender-fluidity was written with care and grace. The story was entirely told from Sal’s perspective, and Sal instructed inquiring minds to address them based on their appearance – “she” and “her” when she was dressed in feminine attire, “he” and “him” when he was wearing masculine clothes, and “they” and “them” when their clothes were neutral. This may seem confusing, but the character was written in such a way that gender truly did not matter. Gender fluidity was regarded as an oddity in this book, and Sal does express frustration with bigoted behaviors, but most of the characters accepted Sal as-is after a simple explanation about preferred pronouns. Readers got to know Sal as just “Sal”; an intelligent and shy person with a morbid sense of humor, who got flustered when romance was involved. Sal was quite likable, if stubbornly single-minded, and readers will find themselves emotionally invested.

The supporting characters were varied and had their own agendas and agency, although several could benefit from more definition. The plot moved at a quick and steady pace, with a lot of action nicely balanced with drama and romance. The world-building was fairly simplistic which was not a detriment to the story, but more details would have been welcome.  Fans of Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series, or Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series may enjoy this book.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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