Friday, 22 September 2017

Blog Tour: Fraternize by Rachel Van Dyken - Review & Guest Post

Fraternize (Players Game #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

Publishing Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Skyscape (Available in Canada through Thomas Allen & Son)
Pages: 318
Contemporary Romance / Sports Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Emerson just made her dream come true as a professional cheerleader for her favorite pro football team. But even though the plus-size athlete is breaking down boundaries, she still has to contend with the massive rulebook. Carbs? Nope. Chocolate? Definitely not. Still, Emerson loves her curves, and she’ll rock the hell out of this job even if it kills her. Except for one mandate that is easier read than done. No fraternizing with the players. Problem one is Miller Quinton: Emerson’s first love, first sex, and the guy who still ignites her daydreams and R-rated fantasies. Thrown back together, Miller and Emerson feel the undeniable pull of passion again, even if the conflict that tore them apart seems insurmountable. Then there’s way-too- sexy Grant Sanchez. He has a serious reputation with the ladies, and when it comes to winning someone he wants, he doesn’t let anyone stand in his way. Now Emerson is breaking every rule in the manual. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s part of a wicked little game—one that could steal both her dream and her heart" (Skyscape).

My overall thoughts and review: So as you all know, I'm absolutely on a romance novel kick, but I have to admit that I haven't read any sports romance books :O This is my first one and it is also my first book by Rachel Van Dyken. It surely won't be my last because after finishing this, I may or may not have gone on a little spree on kindle and bought a bunch of her other books. I absolutely loved the premise of this book and I was excited to see what Van Dyken would do with a love triangle. I find love triangles can often really be one sided and it's super clear from the get-go which guy she'll end up with, but in this one, both guys were such great picks. Emerson is such a lovely protagonist to follow because she's incredibly strong and independent, but also shows her vulnerable side. I definitely empathized and found myself in how she discussed body image and her own insecurities. I loved that Van Dyken didn't give us a traditional protagonist. As someone who is not a size zero, it was great to read about someone working hard to be comfortable in their own skin. Definitely one of my favorite parts about the book was Emerson and how hard she worked to achieve her dream of being a cheerleader for the Bucks. Learning about her relationship with her father also totally hit me right in the feels. I loved learning about her past with Miller, and how their friendship developed. They had such a unique relationship together and it was something that surpassed simply friendship. They had a level of understanding with one another that was really special. I really liked Miller as a character even though some moments he was quite childish and I wish he would've taken ownership for what happened in the past earlier. But guys, the reason why I absolutely loved this book so much is Grant Sanchez. What a character. He's arrogant and definitely has that playboy persona, but underneath, there are so many layers to him. The scene when he goes to Emerson's house and plays checkers with her dad is so precious. He doesn't push Emerson and he is willing to wait for her. You can see him falling for her with every chapter, and it was just so incredibly sweet. I loved how it was a story of both second chances and falling in love again. I don't want to spoil what happens, but I LOVED how it ended ;) I also know next to nothing about football, so it was fun learning about how the game worked and just the overall stress that comes with it. I learned a few tidbits like the rookie dinners, coaches expectations, and regime, and I am definitely on board to read more football books in the future. I loved this book so much and I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a heartwarming romance read. There's a bit of everything and I can't say enough good things about it!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)

Author Guest Post
Writing Fraternize was probably one of the most fun experiences I've ever had, mainly because I was able to interview real NFL players (most of them retired). I wanted everything to be really authentic, but I had no clue where to start, so I posted on Facebook asking readers if they had any contacts and if those contacts would be willing to chat with me. Shockingly, I had three people get back to me, all of them willing to talk! One was a doctor for one of the teams, and the two other men were past players who were now retired and enjoying life off the field with their families.

I came up with a list of questions like, is it true that the rookie dinner is basically something that the other team members make you do so that the rookies have to pay for all the food? What kind of things happen during the locker room pre-game pump? Are guys really that mean on the field, what things do they say in a huddle? And a personal favorite, when a kicker misses, are you angry at them?

The answers that I got blew my mind! Especially the one where I found out that one of the rookie dinners ended up costing over 40K dollars. Yeah. Insane, right? Another answer that I heard from a player was that when a kicker misses, the entire team is angry, not because they missed, but because they have one job, and they need to do it. It was said by one of the players I interviewed, that most kickers dont even have to show up for all the summer practices so basically they're out hunting and hanging out, and show up right before pre-season meanwhile all the players are sweating buckets and ready to puke.

For the most part, they all had similar answers about just loving the game. I'm an avid football fan so I basically nerded out over all the answers and honestly wrote this book so fast not because of a deadline but because I had so much fun in this world! I think you guys are really going to enjoy it!

Fraternize Tourwide Giveaway!
The winner will receive 1 copy of Fraternize by Rachel Van Dyken!
Giveaway Details: 
- Canada Only (full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
- Giveaway ends on September 28th at 11:59 am EST
- Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email & will have 48 hours to claim their prize

About the Author
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Follow Rachel:
Website | Twitter | Facebook
Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour! Show some fellow bloggers some love in the comment sections and check out more exclusive Fraternize content. 

Sept. 12 – Between the Spine 
Sept. 13 – Bookish Wanderlove | Instagram: Pattycakess20 
Sept. 15 – Booking It With Hayley G 
Sept. 18 – BookCatPin 
Sept. 20 – Cupcake and a Latte
Sept. 21 – Brains, Books & Brawn
Sept. 22 – Padfoot's Library

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Thomas Allen & Son for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own. 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

[Teaser] In Pieces by Danielle Pearl

In Pieces, an all-new standalone from Danielle Pearl is coming October 10th!

Three years ago she was left in pieces . . . Most college freshmen love the newfound freedom of living on campus, but none of them craves it like Beth Caplan. One ill-fated night when she was fifteen left her locked in a posh prison of private tutors. It's for the best, everyone said, and maybe it was. But after years of hard work and healing, the one person who never thought of her as broken could be the one to break her all over again. And Beth can't seem to stay away now any more than she could all those years ago. 

As soon as David March learned his best friend's little sister was enrolling at his school, he promised to look after her, and promised himself he'd keep a safe distance. But the sweet little girl he'd grown up with has transformed into a gorgeous young woman, and she's attracting attention from people she shouldn't-like the ex who nearly destroyed her and a strange new student with a disturbing habit of showing up wherever Beth goes. But for David, the most troubling discovery is realizing that he doesn't just want Beth to be safe. He wants her to be his. 

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Disclaimer: I have signed up with Social Butterfly PR to help promote this author and her book. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

[Teaser] Scandalous by L.J. Shen

Scandalous, the highly anticipated next standalone in the Sinners of Saint Series by LJ Shen is coming September 29th!

They call him The Mute for a reason.
Hard, cold and calculated, he rarely speaks.
When he does, it’s with disdain.
When he does, his words aren’t meant for me.
When he does, my stomach flips and my world tilts on its axis.
He is thirty-three.
I am eighteen.
He’s a single dad and my father’s business partner.
I’m just a kid to him and his enemy’s daughter.
He’s emotionally unavailable.
And I am…feeling. Feeling things I shouldn’t feel for him.
Trent Rexroth is going to break my heart. The writing isn’t just on the wall, it’s inked on my soul.
And yet, I can’t stay away.
A scandal is the last thing my family needs. But a scandal is what we’re going to give them.
And oh, what a beautiful chaos it will be.

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Disclaimer: I have signed up with Social Butterfly PR to help promote this author and her book. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Cover Reveal: Scandalous by L.J. Shen


Scandalous, the highly anticipated next standalone in the Sinners of Saint Series by LJ Shen is coming September 29th!

Blog Tour: Deer Life by Ron Sexsmith - Review and Author Q&A

Deer Life - A Fairy Tale by Ron Sexsmith

Publishing Date: September 16, 2017
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Pages: 136
Middle Grade

The Premise from the Publisher: "Deryn Hedlight was not having a very good day and it was about to get much worse. He’d read stories of witches as a boy, but never believed for a second they were true. That is, until an unfortunate hunting accident turns his world upside down. What seemed like an honest mistake leads to an altogether unexpected transformation. But poor Deryn wasn’t the only wronged character tied up in these gloomy circumstances and sinister forces. Deer Life tells the story of a kind-hearted boy from Hinthoven and his motheṟs undying love. Mostly though, it’s all about patience, friendship, and heroism where you least expect it" (Dundurn Press).

My overall thoughts and review: I remember working at Second Cup during highschool and always having Ron Sexsmith's music playing in the shop. I've always liked his mellow, soft, melodic tunes, and when I heard he was coming out with a book, I was intrigued. It's always interesting to see people of different professions attempt writing. This book was pitched as a middle grade fantasy but something a bit darker with witches and transformations. The novel also includes some of Ron's illustrations of the characters which was nice since it didn't leave it to the reader to visualize certain characters. I must admit, I had a bit of difficulty reading this book because I felt like it jumped around a lot in terms of conversations and setting. Even though there were designated chapters, I found the pacing a bit difficult to follow. There a quite a lot of characters to follow and I found you didn't really get as much character development/background that you would get with the large number of characters. Sure, I enjoyed seeing Deryn and scenes between him and other characters, but I really wasn't invested in his story. I was more curious about the witch to be honest. I also wished there were more scenes between Claira and Tressa in particular, because I think if given more information about them, I would've loved reading about them. Overall, it was a decent fairy tale, and for a middle grade book, it is incredibly short, so I believe that it could've been expanded a bit more in terms of length for character background. Ron mentions in his Q&A a possible prequel/sequel to explain the witch's motivation which is also good. I did like how the narrator had a role in the text and it reminded me a bit of Tahereh Mafi's Furthermore. All in all, it is a decent middle grade CanLit fairy tale, but I wish there was more character background since I didn't feel particularly connected to any of the characters.

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon and Dundurn

Author Questions and Answers
1. What was the inspiration for Deer Life? 
It presented itself to me one morning while I was still in bed and floating in and out of sleep. At first I thought it was an idea for a movie and so I wasn't sure what to do with it.
2. In the Preface of the book, you mentioned that the story came to you as a morning dream of sorts. Do you still see more of Deryn's story in your dreams?
I don't see his story in my dreams anymore but when I'm walking around I still think about it and see more of the story that isn't in the book.
3. Can you talk a bit about how writing songs is different from writing a novel, in terms of your own process?
With songs you have the luxury of melody and repetition. You can base your second verse on the first verse etc. With writing this book, I felt completely out of my element, I had so many questions along the way, and there were many things I wanted to do but didn't know how to do.
4. What do you hope your readers take away from the book?
I hope the readers like the story and the characters as much as I do.
5. What are you now working on Post-Deer Life?  
I'm working on songs for a musical based on the book and I'm also writing a Prequel/Sequel to Deer Life that I hope will fill in some of the blanks in terms of the witch's motivations and her connection to the Grimsby's. 
Thank you so much, Ron, for stopping by and answering these questions! Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour for more Deer Life content! 
Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Dundurn Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of the book are my own.

Release Day Blitz: Dear Bridget, I Want You by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland