Hungry Hearts Food Crawl – Rain, Sangu Mandanna

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Hello, everybody!! Welcome to my stop for the Hungry Hearts Food Crawl organised by the very amazing CW @ The Quiet Pond and Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads ! I’m so excited to be a part of this blog tour where #OwnVoices reviewers review a story that represents them. I’ve never been a part of something like this before so I’m really excited!! 😀

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From some of your favorite bestselling and critically acclaimed authors—including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco—comes a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of thirteen teens.

A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.

Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.

Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.

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Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon, Mary Fan – Blog Tour

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41150325When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself.

Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.

With incredibly vivid world building and fast-paced storytelling, Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is great for readers who are looking for something fresh in epic fantasy.

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Happiness Begins : The Book Tag

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THE JONAS BROTHERS ARE BACK TOGETHER! THE JONAS BROTHERS ARE BACK TOGETHER!! THE JONAS BROTHERS ARE BACK TOGETHER!!!

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We got a new JoBros album after an entire decade and I am so excited! Yayayay!! I have spent the morning listening to the album on repeat and OMFG these boys just got so much better with time! Let’s just the wait of an entire freaking decade was totally worth it because the new music is so freaking amazing and I LOVE ALL OF IT!

So, in honour of the reunion we all were waiting for, I thought, what better way to celebrate than to combine my love for Jonas with my love for books? And so, the Happiness Begins : The Book Tag was born. I’ve got 10 prompts, all from JoBro songs, and I am super excited to share them with you!

This is my first time making a book tag, so please be gentle. I just hope you guys have as much fun with it as I did! 😀

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Heart of Mist, Helen Scheuerer – Book Review

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34865933In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.

Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.

But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.

The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.

Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.

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Kingdom Cold, Brittni Chenelle – Blog Tour

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43203291Attempted murder, that’s how sixteen-year-old Princess Charlotte’s engagement starts. It seems like the only thing she has in common with Prince Young of Vires is their mutual discontent.

When her kingdom’s attacked, Charlotte’s parents renegotiate her hand in marriage to a handsome stranger with a sinister plan. With the people Charlotte loves dying around her, and her kingdom’s future at stake, the only person she can turn to is the prince she betrayed. But, should she save her kingdom or her heart?

One must fall.

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From Twinkle, With Love, Sandhya Menon – Book Review

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36373464Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

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All of This is True, Lygia Day Peñaflor – Author Interview

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35068735Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . .

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Between The Raindrops, Sydney Logan – Book Review

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39103682Seventeen-year-old Scout Ramsey’s life is a mess. With a dead father and a junkie mom, she can’t imagine things can get worse.

Then her mother tries to sell her for a bag of meth.

After her mom’s arrest, Scout’s forced to switch schools in the middle of senior year. Scared and alone, she pours her heart into her journal and dreams of the day she turns eighteen.

For Wyatt Campbell, senior year is predictable purgatory. Then the new girl steals his seat in history class, and suddenly, school’s not so bad. They bond through their love of music, and Wyatt finds himself falling hard for the journal-loving girl with the sad blue eyes.

Wyatt’s heard the rumors. He knows Scout’s had it rough.

He’s determined to be the one thing in her life that’s easy.

In this captivating teen novel, Sydney Logan weaves a touching story that tackles the heartbreak of addiction, the power of forgiveness, and the wonders of first love.

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*ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

Trigger Warning : Drug abuse, physical abuse, threatening of sexual abuse, mentions of human trafficking.

Between the Raindrops follows the story of 17 year old Scout and her struggles after her junkie mom is jailed and she starts living with her abusive uncle. Everything in her life is in the dumps – her mom, her new home, her uncle, she’s forced to go to therapy and the people at her new school are quick to spread rumours. The only respite in her otherwise bleak life is in the form Wyatt, the cute but mysterious boy she shares most of her classes with and his exuberant sister Zoie, who declares Scout her best friend after their first meeting. Things start looking up for Scout after she befriends the Campbells but everything changes when she finds out that her mother is being released from prison and wants Scout in her life again.

Scout is a good protag. She’s got so much negativity in her life but she still keeps her head up and doesn’t curse at everything and everyone for her misery. She makes do with what she’s got and doesn’t complain. At all. But, that continues to her therapy sessions and she’s very reluctant to share anything with her therapist. Because of all that’s happened to her, she suffers from anxiety and panic attacks so much so that even the touch of a man makes it difficult for her to breathe. But, somehow, Wyatt is the miraculous exception to this rule because she doesn’t react badly when he touches her. Scout is bewildered by this and when she tells her therapist about this, the woman is stumped as well. However, they decide to go into more detail about why Scout didn’t feel negative effects of Wyatt’s touch during their sessions to understand it. I was really looking forward to that, but they never do discuss why it might be that Wyatt’s touch doesn’t affect her badly. I mean, this is the classic ‘love cures mental illness’ spiel and really, I AM OVER IT. That is so not true. Someone cannot just miraculously cure it. You have to work towards getting better – every single day. It is not magic. But, that is kind of how it is portrayed in the book.

I do love how Scout stands up to her mother, though. She doesn’t take any flake from the lady and tells her in clear terms that they can have a relationship only if her mother is clean. She’s rightfully angry at her mom for abandoning her the way she did and she lets her mother know it too. But, as much as she wants, she can’t hate the woman because she is, after all, Scout’s mother – and before her father passed away, Scout’s mother had been an amazing mom. I still love how Scout did what she did and put herself first after putting her mother first for a long time. She did what was best for her and not her mother and that is the way it should be. So, kudos to Scout for that.

Then, there’s Wyatt. Wyatt is a sweet, caring boy who is intrigued with Scout since the first time he sees her. She’s the new girl and she’s as smart as he is, sharing all his AP classes. They spend time together when she starts working at the same diner as him and he starts liking her. Soon, the two of them are in a relationship and Wyatt does everything he can to make Scout smile, especially cause she smiles so little.

But, she soon becomes his entire world and she’s all he cares about. Granted, she’s been going through a lot, but Wyatt worries about everything when it comes to her. He panics if he doesn’t know where she is for a minute. Now, with everything going on in her life, I can kind of understand why he would be worried, but he starts smothering her. And, his parents notice. They waste no time in getting him therapy because they realize that everything that is happening with Scout is affecting him adversely too. This was one of the things I loved about the book. Normally, when a boyfriend/husband/fiance becomes overprotective or overbearing towards their better half because of something bad that’s going on in her life, it’s expected that the woman just take it because the guy is doing it out of love. But, that wasn’t the case here. Wyatt’s parents immediately recognized his problematic behaviour and they made him get help because what he was doing was not right. I LOVED THIS PART A WHOLE LOT.

Zoie is also a great character and I love how she supports Scout no matter what happens and vice versa. Zoie had a few issues during the course of the book and Scout was the first person she turned to for help. Scout was there for Zoie through the whole thing and really gave her all the moral support Zoie could ask for. It was really touching.

The Campbell parents were also welcoming and understanding and they were there for Scout whenever she needed it, especially Wyatt’s mom, Gina. She really took Scout in and loved her like her own daughter. The bond between them was so beautiful and I adored it.

As a whole, this book deals with a lot of heavy stuff, but I really wish that it was handled in a better way, especially the mental illness aspect.

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The Brightsiders, Jen Wilde – Blog Tour

The Brightsiders
Jen Wilde
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 22nd 2018
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult

A teen rockstar has to navigate family, love, coming out, and life in the spotlight after being labeled the latest celebrity trainwreck in Jen Wilde’s quirky and utterly relatable novel.

As a rock star drummer in the hit band The Brightsiders, Emmy King’s life should be perfect. But there’s nothing the paparazzi love more than watching a celebrity crash and burn. When a night of partying lands Emmy in hospital and her girlfriend in jail, she’s branded the latest tabloid train wreck.

Luckily, Emmy has her friends and bandmates, including the super-swoonworthy Alfie, to help her pick up the pieces of her life. She knows hooking up with a band member is exactly the kind of trouble she should be avoiding, and yet Emmy and Alfie Just. Keep. Kissing.

Will the inevitable fallout turn her into a clickbait scandal (again)? Or will she find the strength to stand on her own?

*ARC received as a part of a blog tour. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

Trigger Warnings : Abusive Parents

The Brightsiders, follows the story of teen rock band The Brightsiders and it’s three members – Emmy, Alfie and Ryan, but mostly Emmy. The book starts with Emmy and her girlfriend, Jessie, getting in trouble for underage drinking when they drunk drive and get into an accident. Circumstances are such that Emmy doesn’t have any option but to move into her parents’ house again – the one place she swore she’d never step foot in again. Her friends are worried about her, the press is hounding her, her manager is unhappy with her, she breaks up with her girlfriend and her parents are still the same – high on alcohol and drugs and living their glory days. So, in short, Emmy’s life sucks. She just needs the press attention to fizzle out so that she can move out, but that ain’t happening any time soon. But, when her parents get too much and take one too many things fir granted, she moves in with her friend, Chloe. Life starts looking up after that with her friends surprising her with a cruise in Hawaii and then there’s this new thing she’s got going on with Alfie, her best friend since forever. But, will things keep looking up?

What I loved about this book was the sheer amount of queer characters it had. I mean, I can’t remember one person from Emmy and her friends who’s straight. I think the only straight people in this book are Emmy’s parents, and maybe Sal, the band manager. I mean, there’s so much diversity, I can’t even. And, none of these sexual identities are used as plot points, so that’s a bonus. I loved that.

Emmy, the lead, is a great character. She’s only 17, which means she’s making a ton of mistakes, but the good thing is that she’s learning from them and growing as a person with each hurdle. She faces. I mean, gods, she messed up so very many times in the book, but I love that she did, cause, hello! She’s a teenager. She doesn’t know everything. But, she’s a good person. She’s got her heart in the right place and she always tries to do her best in everything and that’s what matters most. She does her best to be a supportive friend and she listens when someone needs to talk. She tries to find joy in everything around her. She absolutely loves her fans. So, yes. She’s a very good character.

Then, there’s Alfie. His portrayal really awed me. This was the first time I read about a musician who was dealing with anxiety and it was so awesome. I mean, we all think that these rockstars are such confident people with all their swag, but that wasn’t the case here. Alfie was dealing with severe anxiety and performing used to give him panic attacks when the band first started. But, therapy helped him. So, yes. It was nice to see that. I loved him as a friend. So kind and accommodating and comforting and understanding. He was there with Emmy through everything and helped her and supported her.

There was also a lot of drama. Emmy’s parents were straight up a**holes. They didn’t care for her one bit and weren’t above selling personal details of her life to the press. They found faults in everything she did and their sense of entitlement really had me so mad I wanted to hit them at one point. Ughhhhhh. But, I wish their characters were more fleshed out. Like, we understood their motivations for behaving that way with their daughter, but nothing of the sort of was explained in the book.

Also, a lot of drama between Emmy and Alfie could have been avoided if they’d just been honest about their feelings and talked to each other. I mean, I get that they were both scared, but they’d been the best of friends for a very long time and they shouldn’t have had such communication issues.

However, this was a fun read and entirely too addicting because I was unable to put it down once I started reading. Definitely recommend it!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Author Bio:

Jen Wilde is a writer, geek and fangirl with a penchant for coffee, books and pugs. She writes YA stories about zombies (AS THEY RISE), witches (ECHO OF THE WITCH) and fangirls (QUEENS OF GEEK). Her debut series reached over three million reads online and became an Amazon bestseller. Her next book, THE BRIGHTSIDERS, comes out May 2018, and GOING OFF-SCRIPT releases Summer 2019.

When she’s not writing, Jen loves binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix, eating pizza, traveling to far away places and going to conventions in Marty McFly cosplay.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Twitter

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Arch Nemesis, Gabriela Martins – Book Review

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40024094Rodrigo is not very good at being a hero, but he’s convinced that if he catches the speedster who’s been terrorizing the South Brazilian high society and stealing their goods, it’ll be his heroic breakthrough. On top of that, he’s also worried about his grandma coming to live with him and his sister, when the last time they’d seen each other was before Rodrigo’s transition. But it’s okay. He’s got this. He’s totally got this. (Right?)

 

 

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*ARC received in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are my own and in no way biased.*

Arch Nemesis is the story of Rodrigo and his quest to become a better superhero than the one he already is. He’s just an up and coming superhero with only one bad guy under his belt and he wants to stop this thief from robbing people in clubs. Is he able to do it though, is the question.

What I loved most about this story was without a doubt, Rodrigo. He is such an amazing character. He’s just someone who’s trying his best to do the right thing. He’s also sarcastic as hell and absolutely funny. So, yeah. Awesome. On top of that, there’s his relationship with his sister who he absolutely admires and his grandma, who hasn’t spoken to him since he revealed he was trans. The exploration of familial relationships and accepting someone as they are and loving them nonetheless is done so beautifully in this story and it absolutely made my day reading it. Really, so nicely done.

Then, there’s Bibi, Rodrigo’s nemesis, aka the thief he’s been trying to catch. She is also a very good character and I really love her spirit. She’s like… she’s absolutely awesome. Funny and blunt armed with a dry sense of humour and a cool superpower, she’s a great nemesis. Her interactions with Rodrigo never failed to bring a smile to my face. Really. So much fun!!

I absolutely enjoyed reading this short story and you guys should nab it ASAP because it is sooooo good!!

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