Friday, June 16, 2017

Hi everyone,
One of my favorite reads last year was Laurelin Paige and Sierra Simone's Porn Star so I was very much on the look out for their next collab, and it's here! Hot Cop!

I am also loving the whole I-want-a-baby-but-not-a-man plot line so all the WIN for Hot Cop.

You have the right to remain sexy.

Anything you say can and will be used to get you in my bed.

You have the right to use my body to give yourself a delirious, life-changing orgasm.

If you have trouble...don’t worry, I’m a bit of an expert in that department.

There’s nothing ‘thin’ about my blue line, if you catch my drift, and trust me, I know how to put those handcuffs to good use.


Livia Ward wants a baby before she’s thirty. And even though Officer Chase Kelly is exactly the kind of cocky jerk this librarian has sworn off, he is undeniably hot. Both of them think they can give each other what they want--a few nights of fun for Officer Kelly, a no-strings baby for Livia--but this hot cop is about to learn that sex, babies, and love don’t always play by the rules.

I’m at the steakhouse fifteen minutes early, which is on time in Chase Kelly’s book. I’ve never been late for work or a date a single time in my life; in fact, I’ve always been early, which is a point of pride for me. And Livia walks in at seven on the dot, something that endears me to her immensely, although the moment I register that I, Officer Kelly, am charmed, my mind goes blank.

Just blank.

There is nothing but her.

She walks in on heels that make her legs a mile long, her long hair down in a tumult of soft waves. The maƮtre d' helps her take off her checkered wool coat, and then I.



My heart hammers up in my throat as the blood pools deep in my groin. She’s wearing a bright red dress—so fucking short that I’d be able to finger her easily if we were in a booth, which we tragically aren’t. The red sets off the warm undertones of her bronze skin, highlights the deep brown of her eyes. The lines of it hug the delectable curves of her tits, which are just small enough that she can get away without wearing a bra.

My cock thickens as she begins walking toward me, and I can verify that she is definitely not wearing a bra. Oh God, what if she’s not wearing panties either?

I bite back a groan and push back my chair to greet her as she comes to our table, tugging the hem of my sweater down in one smooth move as I unfold myself to help disguise the effect her presence has on me.
As I step forward to greet her, I notice the color high in her cheeks and the way her teeth dig into the soft coral of her bottom lip.

She looks nervous.

That gives me pause. I don’t mind a woman meeting me cold or shy or overly eager, I don’t even mind a case of the first date jitters—since first dates are pretty much all I go on, I see a lot of those.

But nervous—truly nervous—that bothers me a little. Do I make her feel unsafe? Is it my size? My job?

In a split second, I change gears. I can be patient when it comes to the Kelly Trio, and I find that the idea of wooing my nervous little librarian on date after date doesn’t sound tiresome at sounds delightful, actually. A challenge. A test to see if I’m worthy enough to remove all traces of trepidation from her face and fill her expression with eagerness and surrender instead.

And get more time with this fierce, sweet bookworm all to myself.

I lean in to kiss her cheek, careful to angle our bodies so that I don’t press against her with six feet, two hundred pounds of hungry cop. Instead, I anchor her with a firm hand at her elbow, pleased to feel the goose bumps that spread underneath my touch. And then I brush my lips against her cheek, making sure she can feel them, making sure she gets just the tiniest brush of my scruff as I accidentally-on-purpose slide my jaw against hers as I pull away.

She shivers.

I look down into her eyes as I straighten up, and I’m suddenly aware that I’m supporting a lot of weight in my hand, as if her knees are weak from my kiss.

Well done, Officer Good Times!

Her eyes are wide, the pupils so blown and her irises so dark that her eyes are just huge liquid wells of want, and I feel a familiar tug in my groin knowing that I put that look there.

“I forget how big you are,” she murmurs, her head tilted up to look into my face.

I give her my biggest grin and open my mouth, but she cuts me off before I can say it, shaking her head. “I know, I know. I walked right into that one.”

But the ghost of a smile flits across her lips as I help her into her seat and push in her chair.

When I sit across from her and we start looking at our menus, I notice the smile has vanished and the nervous look is back, along with a determined set to her shoulders. The combination of uneasiness and backbone intrigues and worries me at the same time.

“I don’t know what Megan told you,” I say, “but I don’t bite.”

She looks up from the menu, her teeth back to digging into the plump flesh of her bottom lip.

“Well,” I amend, staring at her mouth, “sometimes I do bite. But only when I really, really want to.”

About Laurelin
USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She's also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn't do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman.

Twitter: @LaurelinPaige
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About Sierra Simone
Sierra Simone is a former librarian who spent too much time reading romance novels at the information desk. She lives with her husband and family in Kansas City.

Twitter: @TheSierraSimone
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Release Date: June 15, 2017 (out now!)
Source of my copy: L. Woods PR/author
Series: Sordid #2
Vasilije Markovic is the prince of the Serbian mafia and one of the most powerful men in Chicago. His smile may be razor sharp, but he’s crueler than the devil.

I’m playing a dangerous game and betting my life I’m going to win. I pretend to be his pawn. I do as he says and move where he tells me, letting him think he’s in control as I position myself for revenge.

Every turn brings us closer. His grin doesn’t seem as evil when we’re alone. Behind closed doors, I welcome his unrelenting and vicious personality. He’s confessed all his secrets, but I’m holding one back and it’s a game changer.

If I survive the board, this pawn turns into a queen. I become the most powerful player and send all the other pieces running. To get what I want, I must make sacrifices, but am I willing to draw the line at him?

Torrid is a standalone companion to Sordid (which was banned by Amazon for being too dark) and it is the story of Vasilije Markovic, the prince of the Serbian mafia, and Oksana, an illegitimate daughter of a rival who was task to infiltrate Vasilije's home.

Torrid is one of those books I don't quite know how to rate because while I found it compelling and I couldn't stop reading it, there were times it made me feel uncomfortable and left a bad taste in my mouth.

Vasilije and Oksana were both complicated characters. Vasilije is dark, dominant and brutal, but he also had redeeming qualities. I hated him at times, but I couldn't hate him entirely--he's definitely an anti-hero. Oksana, while she does submit to Vasilije sexually, she's not a soft heroine either. She's also scary in her own right and she also had her dark moments. Vasilije and Oksana are very well-matched and that's what I loved most about this couple. I'm especially talking about the last few chapters when they became this psycho power couple going after their enemies. 

The sex in Torrid was at times harsh and callous in that it's often tinged with humiliation, which I'm not a fan of. I don't read a lot of dark romances, so this was kind of a new territory for me. However, Ms. Sloane can write a damn sex scene like nobody else. The sex was frequent in this book, but they were never repetitive that I wanted to start skimming.

After I read Torrid I did start reading Sordid right away because I was curious about Vasilije's older brother Luka and why that book was banned from Amazon. As I'm writing this review I am only about 25% and, yeah, I thought Torrid was dark and intense but Sordid is dark times a hundred--talk about leaving a bad taste in my mouth *shudders* and yet again I can't stop reading.

Torrid is my intro to Nikki Sloane's work and I'm definitely keeping her in my radar for dark romances. I don't know if she's going to be writing more books set in the Torrid/Sordid world (I think Oksana's brother Konstantine needs his own book), but if she does I'm going to be one-clicking that shit. 

After reading Torrid (and now reading Sordid), my truly first dark romance read with dubious consent, I may have to rethink my stance on dark romances. I tend to avoid them, but if the writing is good and the characters complex and have depth like in this instance, I find my closet pervy self finds them quite irresistible (as long as the couple are monogamous because I still can't really bring myself to readily pick up books with menage).

Anyway, Torrid is an excellently written edgy, dark romance with dubious consent and set in the violent world warring mafia families. If that's your kind of thing, pick this book up.
About the Author
Nikki Sloane landed in graphic design after her careers as a waitress, a screenwriter, and a ballroom dance instructor fell through. For eight years she worked for a design firm in that extremely tall, black, and tiered building in Chicago that went through an unfortunate name change during her time there. Now she lives in Kentucky and manages a team of graphic artists. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, is married with two sons, writes dirty books, and couldn’t be any happier.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 13, 2017 (out now!)
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #1; Psy-Changeling #16
Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that's exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence--her mind clear of all emotion--Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That's what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious...and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed...

Silver Silence is sort of the spin-off of the 15-book Psy-Changeling series--the start of the Psy-Changeling Trinity series.

You're probably wondering if you have to read the first 15 books in the series, and I'm going to say yes. Okay, I guess you can get away with not reading the other books, because we're introduced to a whole new cast of characters, new developments, different locations, and it's sort of a new world now with the destruction of Silence and with the new alliance between the Psy, the Changelings, and the humans. However, you lose all the back story and the all the rich world-building that already been established. In Silver Silence, the world is expanded and your reading experience is further enhanced if you read the previous books.

Silver Merchant, Kaleb Krychek's senior aide and head of the worldwide emergency response network, is total badass ice queen. And Valentin Nikolaev, the StoneWater bears' alpha, recognized her badass-ness and has been trying to court her since he met her. Not everyone is happy with the new fledgling alliance between the Psy, Changelings, and humans and when Silver became a target and her would-be assassin at large, she takes refuge with the StoneWater clan for her own safety. 

I love Silver and Valentin together and individually--they're just perfect together. Their romance was a slow burn, which I loved. Silver thinks Silence is the only thing keeping her sane, and Valentin challenged her to think that there may be another way. Valentin was the absolute BEST--one of the best Changeling men in the series--Hawke is still my #1, but Valentin is way up there. He is good-natured and fun teddy bear.

Everything I love from the previous books featuring the Changelings--playful clan moments, love of family and clan, lovable alphas--I found here too, with the added pleasure of learning about the bears and how they play and their dynamics with each other. I enjoyed the glimpses we had of previous beloved characters, as well as meeting new ones like Bowen Knight, the leader of the Human Alliance--I know he'll be getting his own book. Silver Silence is a fantastic start to the new story arc of the incomparable and epic Psy-Changeling series. I am so excited to see where Nalini Singh takes the story, but she's an absolute genius so I know she'll take it to unforeseen heights.

I'm keeping this review nice and short, but Silver Silence is a must-read for all long-time Psy-Changeling fans like myself, as well as an entry into this fantastic world for new readers.

Laughing at the cubs’ antics, Valentin jogged down the slight incline and waded into what had to be ice-cold water after kicking off his boots and socks. He splashed the cubs, laughed when they splashed him back. Running so they could chase him, he turned abruptly and chased them back, to their unhidden joy.

Silver took a seat on the grass. When the female bear looked her way, she inclined her head in a silent greeting. The bear did the same, then they both watched an alpha bear play with two energetic cubs, his hands holding rough care for their small bodies.

By the time Valentin made his way back to her, he was drenched and his eyes weren’t human in any way. When he spoke, his already deep voice was so low it felt like thunder against her skin. “Couldn’t resist,” he said, pushing back his wet hair with one big hand. “If you weren’t in recovery and if I wasn’t in terror of Nova’s wrath, I’d have invited you. The small monsters wanted to play with you.”

Silver didn’t get to her feet. “Can we stay here a little longer?” It was patent that Valentin had an extremely high tolerance for the cold, but he might want to dry off.

“Sure,” he said, and, moving away several feet, shook off the wet.

Fine droplets settled on the skin of her cheek, but she didn’t flinch at the unintentional tactile contact. She also controlled her urge to reach up and touch the water where it lay against her skin. There was no reason to do that, and Silver was alive because she only did things that were rational.

Settling beside her, Valentin waved at the cubs as their guardian led their tired forms toward a path in the trees that was at the same level as the stream. “Gentler climb,” Valentin told her.

“They seem too exhausted to make it to Denhome.”

“It’s all an act—they’re hoping for a ride on their aunt’s back.” His tone held the same fond affection she’d heard when he spoke of Dima. “It’d take more than a few minutes’ play in the water to wipe out those two.”

The cubs had played with Valentin for almost a half hour. “They’re hyperactive?”

“They’re baby bears.”

Silver watched as those baby bears turned toward her and rose up on their back paws, as if in challenge. A stern sound from their caretaker, and they dropped down and scrambled to catch up with her. Their bodies disappeared into the trees as dusk began to turn from orange to shadowy gray.

Beside her, Valentin sprawled out, bracing himself on his elbows. His drenched T-shirt clung to the ridged muscles of his abdomen, pulled tight across his pectoral muscles, shaped itself over his shoulders. His jeans weren’t much better, outlining the raw muscle of his thighs.

Valentin Nikolaev was a man of violent physical strength even in human form. Yet he clearly had iron control over it; when he’d played with the children, they’d displayed zero fear of their alpha.

“You thought about where you’re going to live when you escape the bears who’ve kidnapped you?”

When she raised an eyebrow at him, he grinned. “Fringe netter with his own Internet channel sent out a breaking report last night. Pasha—who obviously needs more work duties—made up a fake account and posted a comment swearing to have seen you being pulled into a black van by six burly bears in bear form.”

“You don’t seem too concerned.” Amber eyes and deep voice, he remained very much a bear in human form.

“Well, according to this ‘eyewitness,’ the getaway driver was in bear form, too. Must’ve been tough for him to steer with one paw since he was drinking a beer at the same time.”

“Bears,” Silver said, making Valentin throw his head back and laugh that huge laugh that wrapped around her.

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2017.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: standalone
Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

One of my favorite reads of last year was Julie Buxbaum's Tell Me Three Things so of course I was rabidly wanting to get my hands on What to Say Next.

I absolutely LOVED What to Say Next--I was thinking and thinking whether I loved it more than TMTT. I don't think I do, but What to Say Next was just... more and this has a lot to do with David and Kit's characters.

What to Say Next is written in alternating first person POV between David and Kit, and I so appreciated being able to read from both of their perspectives. Basically, a month ago Kit Lowell's father tragically died in a car accident and she's having a hard time dealing with his passing. She's feeling very out of sorts and feels like there's two versions of her, the old Kit before her dad died, and the present Kit who did not want to deal with her best friends' normalcy when she's feeling like nothing will ever be normal again. So, she found herself sitting next to David Drucker, someone she's known in the periphery and gone to school with her entire life, but never really associated with. David's first words to Kit were "so, your dad's dead," and Kit found David's candidness refreshing.

So begins the unlikely friendship between Kit, who is considered one of the popular kids, and David, who was very smart but kept to himself and seen by the other kids as "weird." It's not mentioned in the synopsis, but I don't think it's a spoiler (it was revealed in the first chapter) to say that David is on the spectrum--considered to have high-functioning autism. David was such a precious cinnamon roll and I wanted to protect him from those awful kids who treated him like trash because he was different. While his older sister Lauren was in school with him, she looked out for him, but now that she's away in college she helped him put together a notebook to help him navigate through high school. Lauren and David's relationship was one of my favorite parts of the novel and I loved watching David come to his own without losing his David-ness.

I also liked Kit's character a lot. Kit was one of the YA heroines that were imperfectly perfect, and I just felt for her throughout the novel. She went through a lot, and there were bombshells that were revealed about parents and the accident that really rocked her world and what she always believed as true. And she reacted to them the way I imagine I would react if in the same situation at her age. I loved the friendship (and gradually became more) that grew between her and David, as well as how her relationship with her mom evolved, especially since she was always closer to her dad.

I love this amazing book! It's relatively short (under 300 pages) but it packs a lot of emotion that were so deep and real. There were also some scenes that just broke my heart, but there was also humor and I swooned (I swooned the hardest in Chapter 38 when David did all the things) and flailed because it's just so GOOD. The love--whether romantic or familial--and friendships and finding your people, your own tribe, were just the absolute BEST. I had a hard time letting go of the characters after I finished reading this book. 

I don't know if anything I said above convinced you to pick up What to Say Next because I have a hard time articulating my thoughts and feels when I love a book so hard, but if you're planning to pick up just one YA contemporary this summer with all the feels, make it this one. After two 5-star books, Julie Buxbaum is on top of my auto-buy authors for YA contemporary of the romantic variety. I am now rabidly anticipating her next book, and it's going to be so hard waiting since What to Say Next isn't even officially out yet. Oh, well, I'll just have to reread Tell Me Three Things and What to Say Next until then.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Release Date: June 1, 2017 (out now!)
Source of my copy: Social Butterfly PR
Series: standalone
When I found an eviction notice taped on my apartment door, I had two options: find a comfortable cardboard box to call home, or move in with Tucker Jameson.

Seeing that cardboard makes me feel itchy, I chose the latter. Which shouldn't be that big of a deal since Tucker is one of my good friends. And because he's still pining after his ex-girlfriend and I'm trying to finish my nursing degree, there is nothing to worry about in the romance department, making my last semester an easy one to conquer.

Boy, was I wrong.

Rules are set, dinners are made, conversations are had, and a shirtless, swoony roommate walks around in nothing but a pair of black briefs, ruining me for every other man.

Before I know it, I turn into a panting, lust-filled woman begging for Tucker to kiss me, touch me, and show me exactly what is hiding under those briefs.

But with great orgasms, comes great consequences.

Tucker might be my friend and roommate but he’s also my best friend's ex-boyfriend, making him completely off-limits. At least that's what my brain is telling me, my heart is speaking an entirely different language.

My Best Friend's Ex is my first book by Meghan Quinn and I very much enjoyed it!

Emma is a nursing student who found herself evicted from her apartment and she only had week to figure out where she's going to live. Faced with a choice between moving in with her friend and fellow nursing student Logan and sharing a 3-bedroom apartment with six guys, or staying in Tucker's (her best friend Sadie's ex-boyfriend) house, she goes with Tucker.

My Best Friend's Ex is a companion to Co-Wrecker, which I haven't read. However, this book does stands on its own. I quickly learned that Tucker is going through a hard time because of his break-up with Sadie (the heroine from Co-Wrecker). Emma is the nurturing type and of course, now that they're roommates, she wants to help Tucker with what he's going through. They started off being awkward, but the more time they spend time together they find themselves falling into an easy friendship complete with some cute banter. Inevitably, Emma finds herself falling for Tucker but, she struggled with her feelings because she knows he's not over Sadie and developing feelings for her best friend's ex is a big no-no.

I really enjoyed both Emma and Tucker's characters and I love that we got both of their perspective. Usually, I'm not a fan of the nurturing type of character because they tend to martyr themselves, but I liked Emma. I felt for her when Tucker did his hot and cold thing because of his doubts and hang-ups. I did understand where Tucker was coming from so I didn't totally fault him for his hot and coldness (except for the one part when he doesn't contact her for weeks after he said Emma is his--damn you, Tucker!). But, the chemistry between Tucker and Emma was HOT, and I loved how they fought their feelings for each other and their cute banter and flirting as they tried to keep their relationship platonic. There's a bit of a slow burn with these two even though both are deeply attracted to each other, which I loved.

If you read Co-Wrecker (and I'm planning to do so soon!), Sadie and Andrew do make an appearance (as well as other characters probably). Sadie, especially, was an important secondary character. I also enjoyed other secondary characters like Emma's friends Logan (who needs his own book) and Adalyn, and Tucker's friends Racer (who is apparently getting his own book!) and Smalls. I really enjoyed the friendships of the characters and hopefully we'll see more of the gang in future books.

My Best Friend's Ex is a fun, swoon-y and hot new adult read. I loved it, and I can't wait to read more by Meghan Quinn. I highly recommend you pick it up, especially if you've read Co-Wrecker because from what I can deduce this book brings Sadie and Tucker's story to full circle. But, even if like me you haven't, you can still enjoy Emma and Tucker's story which was very satisfying on its own.

“Morning,” Tucker’s deep voice rattles off the cabinets. It’s his morning voice, deeper, throatier—if that makes sense—and I hate to admit it, because he’s just my friend, but sexier.

Once my pupils adjust to the light, I take Tucker in. He’s standing in front of the stove, rubber spatula in hand, wearing a white long-sleeve Henley shirt, the top two buttons undone, a pair of worn jeans with a few paint stains on them, and tan work boots. Sweet Jesus, he makes construction look good. Strap a tool belt around his waist and stick him in front of a camera for the benefit of all womankind.

“Morning,” I say in reply, using the counter to help hold up my tired body. “You’re up early. What time do you have to go into work?”

“Around seven thirty. I like to get an early start before the boys come in.” He looks me up and down, a small smile at the corner of his lips. “You look good.” He motions around his head with his hand. “I really like what you did with your hair.”

I turn toward the window in the kitchen and check out my reflection. Sure enough, my long brown hair looks like a lion’s mane poofed out and framing my face with an abundance of volume. Beautiful.

There is no use in taming it, so I leave my hair as is and turn back toward Tucker. “Not many people can get this kind of height while sleeping.” I pretend to fluff my hair.

“Impressive.” He chuckles and then points to the coffee maker with the spatula. “Coffee is done, mugs are above in the cabinet. Grab me a cup, will ya? Eggs will be done shortly, bacon is warming in the oven.”

I do as directed, thinking it’s kind of cute how he’s including me in on his little morning breakfast. “I didn’t even know you had eggs. I was expecting to hit up Dunkin’ Donuts or Tim Horton’s this morning.”

He turns off the stove and reaches for two plates from the dish rack. “I went to Walmart this morning. Picked up a few things.”

“This morning?” I pour two cups of coffee and turn toward him. “What time did you wake up?”

“Four thirty,” he answers casually. “Got a quick run in, did some weights, took a shower and then went to Walmart.” He fills our plates with bacon and eggs and then nods toward the dining room, plates and silverware in hand. “I have a surprise.”

I follow him to the dining room where he flips on the light and reveals a card table fold-out dining set.

“You got a table.” I chuckle, loving that it’s a fold-out card table with matching chairs. Anything is better than the floor.

“And placemats,” he adds, as he lifts two plastic placemats from one of the chairs. “The options were bleak so I went with dinosaurs for me and Trolls for you. Given the look of your morning hair, Trolls was the right choice.” Clever bastard. He sets them on the table and then puts our plates on top of them.

God, it’s too freaking cute. Chuckling, I take a seat and hand him his coffee. “Look at you getting all domestic. I never thought you would be a placemat kind of man, I stand corrected.”

He rests a napkin on his legs, which are spread drastically, almost the length of the table and leans over to fork some eggs into his mouth. “Didn’t want our food to damage the plastic of this high-class table.” I love the humor in his voice, it reminds me of all the good times we had, before the end of his relationship with Sadie.

“Smart man, you want this table to last.”

“Of course, you don’t see fine furniture like this in houses anymore. Everything has to be so sturdy. What ever happened to rickety furniture and living through a meal with the threat of your food possibly kissing the floor at any point in time?”

“The horror,” I joke.

He looks up at me. Some of his hair is still wet from his shower. Pointing his fork at me he says, “Are you ready to be schooled?”

“Schooled on what?” I take a bite of bacon and my stomach jumps in excitement for finally rewarding it for waking up early. All right, I will admit it, getting out of bed was a smart idea.

“It’s Monday, babe. DJ Hot Cock has his song picked and ready to show you what real music is.”

“When was my music taste ever questioned? I like good music.”

“We’ll see.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone. I watch as he flips through it until he lands on the song he wants to introduce me to. He presses play and sets his phone on the table. The light pickings of a guitar fill the small dining room. I don’t recognize the song, but I like the sound of it so far.

Just as I’m settling in to the sweet pickings of a guitar, the distinct voice of Zac Brown chimes in. I’ve known Tucker for loving EMO growing up, so his choice in a country song is very surprising to me, but when I look up at him, pure hometown country boy sitting across from me, it makes perfect sense.

And then the lyrics hit me. My Old Man. Zac sings about his father, hoping he’s proud of the man he’s become. I’m transported back to a dreary day in Whitney Point, where we grew up, when Sadie called me one Saturday morning. I was getting ready for the day. We were in middle school. Tucker’s dad was killed by a head-on collision, the dad Tucker just reconnected with, the dad Tucker had plans on moving in with to get away from his neglectful mom. Those next few days—and weeks—were a whirlwind of sorrow. Attending his funeral, my first ever funeral, seeing the look of devastation on Tucker’s face, wondering what he might be feeling, trying to channel his hurt, it was so much to take on as a teenager.

Glancing up, I take in Tucker’s expression. He’s lost in the music, in the words, just like me. When the song ends, I lean over and place my hand on his, our eyes meet and there is an unspoken understanding between us. I don’t have to say anything about his dad, about the tragedy we went through so many years ago together as friends. It’s all said between this silent exchange.

About the Author
Author Meghan Quinn

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

​Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Source of my copy: Publisher
Series: None
A cappella just got a makeover. 

 Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options. 

 In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for. 

 Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.

Curious by the premise of a girl who disguises herself as a guy to make it big, I jumped into Noteworthy by Riley Redgate with very few expectations other than an entertaining read. When I finished Noteworthy, however, I was more than impressed, for, not only was it entertaining, but also very inspiring and eye-opening. I give it:
When my sister suggested I read Noteworthy for the blog, she likened it to Amanda Bynes's movie She's the Man, a rom-com that also featured a girl disguising herself as a guy in her determination to be recognized for her talents and not be belittled because of her gender. I liked the movie for all of its light humor and romance, and so, I was expecting just as much--and only as much--from Noteworthy.

However, to my surprise, I found Noteworthy to be far from a read filled with humorous sarcasm and swoon-worthy romance (although, it had a lot of that as well). Rather, it was a very intellectual read that included much discussion on the topics of sexuality, agency, poverty, and gender roles as Jordan narrates the story through her witty and candid voice. While reading, I highly appreciated the exploration of themes so relevant to and necessary for today's society. Albeit, such heavy matter made the story slow-paced (my only complaint against it); all the same, with my English professors' lectures echoing in my mind, I became invested in Noteworthy and all that it had to say.

Noteworthy was told in first-person by Jordan, the deep-voiced and female main character who becomes Julian after another rejection to playing a part in her school's musical. From Jordan, the themes of sexuality, agency, poverty, and gender roles are introduced and explored: quiet Jordan guards her heart after a bad break up with her boyfriend of two years and battles between her guilt and frustration over her family's endless struggles that includes much debt, little funds, and few options. With her newfound role as Julian, she strives to strike a balance between her female self and her male self, yet she stumbles along the way when her insecurity, skepticism, and distrust of others threatens her confidence, relationships, and hopes for the future. She has a mouth that has a mind of its own, full of quips and needless apologies, and she questions the meanings of "young lady" and "man up" because she finds all the societal implications behind them completely confusing and unnecessary. She's tall. She's Asian. She's a she with a voice that is supposedly more for a he. Finally, a year ago, while drunk, she kissed one of her best friends, Jenna, and now, while acting as Julian, she is beginning to realize she may be bi.  

Needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed by Jordan and rooted for her all throughout the book.

I was reading Jordan's story during a time when I felt lost and confused myself about who I am, who I wanted to be, and how I wanted to get there, and with that perspective, I found that I related to Jordan on many levels. Like her, I tend to be guarded and shy around others, not trusting that any thing will last forever when all is threatened by Time, Distance and, in general, Life. Also, similar to Jordan, I know the feeling of discouragement one can feel when faced with the fact of having less than others and realizing how that truth narrows the road to material success far more than comfortable. Thus, while understanding these obstacles and knowing Jordan's situation was ten times more difficult than mine, I was amazed by how she faced her problems one by one and overcame them all to the best of her ability. Yes, she laughed; she cried; she lied; and she ran away often to only face the consequences later, but through all her successes and failures, she grew so much into herself, the pains and heartaches were worth it. Also, I loved how she thought through all her experiences--that with each step toward solving her problems and rediscovering herself, she questioned her choices and others' choices and tried to understand how those actions reflected on her and those around her. I garnered wisdom from Jordan's story as much as she did, and now I am forever changed by her noteworthy thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and hopes that will no doubt inspire and motivate others.

Overall, I found Noteworthy full of wit and wisdom--a surprising and interesting combination I absolutely adored. I highly recommend it to any one needing guidance on figuring out who they are or to any one who needs a confirmation that they are not the only ones confused and lost. Truly, you are not, and I hope that this book, along with all those around you who love you, remind you of that.

Also, I really enjoyed the LGBTQIA+ rep in the book. To be honest, I haven't read a lot of LGBTQIA+ young adult novels and I was highly impressed with Noteworthy, especially because it's an ownvoices read.

Read of Noteworthy. Its title literally speaks for itself!