In the Dark, Soft Earth by Frank Watson/NetGalley Mini Review

In the Dark, Soft Earth by Frank Watson
Publisher: Plum White Press
Genre: Poetry
Format: ebook
Length: 232 pages
Release Date: July 7, 2020

**I received a complimentary copy of ‘In the Dark, Soft Earth’ from NetGalley and Plum White Press, in exchange for an honest review**

My Thoughts

In the Dark, Soft Earth was a lovely collection of poetry. Frank Watson manages to create thoughtful imagery with his phrases, centering on life’s precious moments. The chapters (labeled as Books), categorizes the purity and essence of the human spirit. Watson’s poetry manages to capture raw emotions such as desire, longing and frustration. These are human emotions that everyone endures throughout life, and his poetry reflects such a vast array of feelings.

Along with reading stories, poetry is my usual go-to when guiding people people through their situations. A poem paints a picture of a given emotion and thought process. I feel that Watson’s work provides such a selection of prescriptive imagery in helping people identify with their experiences. I would definitely recommend In a Dark, Soft Earth to those searching to assist people through the written word!

Rating: 4/5 Stars


Synopsis

Dig into this delectable journey through the dark, sensual, and ravishing poetry of Frank Watson. Ruminate the searing to the sultry as you absorb this haunting lilt of burning carnality. The poems ignite rapid and surprising shifts in focus and perspective as they twist and turn your preconceptions, allowing the implications to linger in your thoughts.

Vignette verses explore the workings of love, nature, spirituality, and dreams with sprinklings of tarot symbolism and jazzy blues. Together these verses contemplate the subtle underpinnings of a soft earth.

What do you think of In the Dark, Soft Earth? Would you put this book in your TBR? Feel free to share in the comments!

Connect With Me:

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon | A Review

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: June 9, 2020

My Thoughts

If there’s a story that speaks about the power strong female connections can bring to empower one’s self esteem, it’s The Boyfriend Project! I wish I had a very close female squad like Samiah, Taylor and London in my life. All three women supported each other throughout joys and struggles, beginning with the viral dating mishap that brought the trio together!

The Boyfriend Project follows Samiah Brooks as she bonds with two other women, Taylor and London. Their first encounter was established through Twitter, as each woman realized that they were seeing the same man. After kicking him to the curb, the trio agree to meet weekly and share their life goals, setting the stage for successful lives without dating. Samiah’s journey becomes complicated when a new employee, Daniel, comes into the scene. Harmless playful banter between the two characters become very affectionate, and Samiah wonders how she can maintain her pact with her kindred spirits while navigating through her feelings toward Daniel.

Along with steamy romance, The Boyfriend Project also covers the pressures of being Black and female in the workplace. Samiah constantly feels the pressure to succeed in everything she does, for even slipping for a moment can bring disaster. As Samiah confides to Daniel, “It’s as if I’m living under a microscope, as if I’m expected to fail at any moment…I’m carrying the weight of some many others on my shoulders.” Samiah is at the top of her game in a successful company, yet she’s very aware that it could change for her in an instant.

The Boyfriend Project features strong, independent women succeed in professions they love. Samiah is strong in the technology field, London is a top rated pediatrician, and Taylor is in the works of branching out her thriving personal trainer clientele. Which each woman faces occupational and personal challenges throughout the story, they turn to each other for support and friendship. They gather to vent during hardships and congratulate during success. I feel like this tight knit circle among women is something you rarely see in stories, and I’m here for it!

I had a wonderful time reading The Boyfriend Project! If you want a story filled with romance and strong female bonds, this is the book you should turn to!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis

USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon launches a new series about three young women who become friends when the live Tweeting of a disastrous date leads them to discover they’ve all been duped by the same man.

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

What do you think of ‘The Boyfriend Project’? Feel free to share!


Connect With Me:

Daisy’s Big Night by Sandra V. Feder/Book Review

Daisy’s Big Night by Sandra V. Feder
Illustrator: Susan Mitchell
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Length: 116 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Source: eBook
Release Date: March 1, 2014

I read Daisy’s Big Night as part of my read aloud task for children in my school district. Daisy is a huge lover of words, and shares a fun night at a poetry party with Mrs Bookman. Shortly after this event, Daisy’s teacher Ms. Goldner plans an ‘end of year showcase’ to highlight the skills her students possess. While Daisy is unsure of what she could bring to the showcase, her friends and family guide her to realize that her gift with words is something valuable to offer.

I really enjoyed reading Daisy’s Big Night, since it’s a chapter book centered around the love of poetry for kids. I love writing poetry, and value this form of the written word as a creative artform. Children benefit from poetry since it provides an outlet for expression for their developing voices! I also appreciated Susan Mitchell’s illustrations, as they feature Daisy interacting with everyone she meets!

I recommend Daisy’s Big Night for anyone that loves reading about children practicing poetry. This is a lovely book to give to children!

Synopsis

The third addition to the well-received, illustrated chapter book series about word-loving Daisy. In her latest adventure, Daisy is faced with a dilemma about what to exhibit at her class’s end-of-the-school-year Student Showcase night. An invitation to a grown-up poetry party sets off a series of events that eventually lead Daisy to the realization that the perfect solution to her problem has been with her all along — in the green notebook covered with purple polka dots in which she collects her favorite words. Author Sandra V. Feder has created a likable, enthusiastic character early readers will be drawn to, and as self-described Delightfully Different Daisy ventures into the world of poetry, they’ll happily follow along. The easy-to-understand explanations of ode, haiku, rhyme and free verse, along with short examples of each, make this book an excellent resource for a unit on poetry or as a tie-in to an elementary school’s celebration of poetry month in April. The inclusion of Daisy’s Wonderful Word Lists at the end (the lists are named by category, such as rhyming words, pairs of words, made-up words and quiet-time words) offers a terrific jumping-off point for students to begin their own lists of words. Overall, Daisy offers children a unique new perspective on how to think about words and how much fun it can be to play with them. The book is illustrated with just enough line drawings by Susan Mitchell to keep young readers engaged.


What are your thoughts on Daisy’s Big Night? Feel free to share!

Connect With Me:

Heir of Ashes by Jina Bazzar | Book Review

Heir of Ashes (Roxanne Fosch Files #1) by Jina S. Bazzar
Received Copy from Author
Length: 434 pages
Format: eBook
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: November 10, 2018

My Thoughts

**I received a complimentary copy of Heir of Ashes from the author, in exchange for an honest review**

I knew I was in for a ride at the first couple chapters of Heir of Ashes!

Roxanne Fosch is on the run from the Paranormal Scientists Society, who stole her childhood away when she was 12. This story begins a little over a year after she escaped from the PSS, but now Roxanne faces new, dangerous challenges! Along the way she meets Logan, a supernatural being who blames the PSS for tragic changes in his life. I was very intrigued with Logan’s abilities as a vampire/werewolf hybrid, and his interactions with the main character were bonded halfway into the story. While I wanted to learn more about Logan’s abilities, I still enjoyed this supernatural world!

I loved all the plot twists in Heir of Ashes, and there was non-stop action throughout! Roxanne (now living under a different name) lived through many complications while captured with the PSS. She’s also endured many obstacles in her adventures, yet she stands as a very fearless woman. The PSS sees her as a definite threat, as she is not one to mess with! I love a story entwined with supernatural abilities and strong female characters, and Heir of Ashes certainly lived up to that!

Definitely read Heir of Ashes if you’re a fan of fantasy and the supernatural realm!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis

Roxanne Fosch had a perfectly normal life at the age of twelve. Cool, popular, pretty, smart. Her dreams of a perfect, successful and prosperous future seemed well within her grasp.
By the time she was twenty-two she had become a commodity. A fugitive. She was being hunted.

As Roxanne embarks on the dangerous quest to search for half-truths about her past, she discovers she’s not just an abnormal human, but a rarity even among her Fee peers.
She is hunted by scientists, keen to exploit her extraordinary abilities, as well as other beings far more dangerous whose plans for her she cannot fathom.

What are your thoughts on Heir of Ashes? Feel free to share!



Connect With Me:

‘Kiss and ‘Telle?’ by Nadine C. Keels/Book Review

Kiss and ‘Telle? by Nadine C. Keels
Length: 100 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Novella Acquired from the Author
Release Date: April 29, 2020

My Thoughts

Thank you Nadine C. Keels for providing me a complimentary copy of Kiss and ‘Telle?, in exchange for an honest review!

This was quite a lovely, romantic story! Kiss and ‘Telle? follows Chantelle and Dennis, the maid of honor and best man at their friends’ wedding. Both characters have feelings for each other, yet don’t exactly know how to express their feelings. When a collaboration begins between Chantelle and Dennis, things become even more unexpected!

While both characters have clear feelings toward one another, the book is clean romance. It’s great for readers who love playful, romantic banter and flirtations in their stories, yet wholesome displays of affection. Both Chantelle and Dennis work hard to have success in their work lives, and each turn to writing as an outlet for their creative hobbies. Although they are aware of the risks and pitfalls that come with relationships, the journey toward personal happiness is a bit more complex. This novella also has warm side characters (Alexis and Arthur) who offer supportive guidance when complications arise.

Kiss and ‘Telle? is listed as a novella, featuring characters from Keels’s novel Hope Unashamed. A sneak preview of the novel is included. You will love Kiss and ‘Telle?, as it has romantic chemistry and the valuable life lesson of patience through adversity.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Synopsis

If only this type of thing were as easy as it looks in chick flicks.

Ever since her college days, Chantelle has had growing feelings for Dennis, a swaggering and smart geek-at-heart who’s got romance coming out of his ears. At least, he talks as if he’s mastered the art of dating, but how would Chantelle know if it’s true? She’s never gotten to experience Dennis as anything more than a close friend.

But wait! A huge opportunity comes along that could impact both their personal and professional lives. This may lead to the perfect time for Chantelle to tell Dennis what he means to her.

It may also be time for some of Chantelle’s own words about love to come back to bite her.

Oops.

Connect With Me:

‘Inconvenient Daughter’ by Lauren J. Sharkey/Book Review

Inconvenient Daughter by Lauren J. Sharkey
Publisher: Akashic Books/Kaylie Jones Books
Length: 232 pages
Genre: Fiction
Acquired through NetGalley
Release Date: June 23, 2020
(CW: domestic violence, sexual assault)

Synopsis

A vibrant and provocative debut novel that dispels myths surrounding transracial adoption.

Rowan Kelly knows she’s lucky. After all, if she hadn’t been adopted, she could have spent her days in a rice paddy, or a windowless warehouse assembling iPhones—they make iPhones in Korea, right? Either way, slowly dying of boredom on Long Island is surely better than the alternative. But as she matures, she realizes that she’ll never know if she has her mother’s eyes, or if she’d be in America at all had her adoptive parents been able to conceive.

Rowan sets out to prove that she can be someone’s first choice. After running away from home—and her parents’ rules—and ending up beaten, barefoot, and topless on a Pennsylvania street courtesy of Bad Boy Number One, Rowan attaches herself to Never-Going-to-Commit. When that doesn’t work out, she fully abandons self-respect and begins browsing Craigslist personals. But as Rowan dives deeper into the world of casual encounters with strangers, she discovers what she’s really looking for.

With a fresh voice and a quick wit, Lauren J. Sharkey dispels the myths surrounding transracial adoption, the ties that bind, and what it means to belong.

A debut novel on our Kaylie Jones Books imprint.

My Thoughts

Thank you to NetGalley and Kaylie Jones Books for providing me a copy of Inconvenient Daughter, for exchange of an honest review!

Inconvenient Daughter tells the story of Rowan Kelly, a girl struggling with her identity as a transracial adoptee (Rowan is Korean, adopted by an American family) living in Long Island. The story takes you through Rowan’s life, while simultaneously following her account at a hospital after a traumatic encounter.

The story describes Rowan’s struggle trying in vain to establish a maternal bond with her adoptive mother, yet the demons of feeling like an outsider follows her every moment of her life. Rowan’s foray into relationships is a string of harrowing life lessons, causing her to believe that her life will forever be one of abandonment. The need to reach out to a loving, maternal figure is a constant theme in Inconvenient Daughter. The absence of a biological mother paints a picture of detachment in every encounter she has. The friction between Rowan and her adoptive mother is also constant.

Lauren J. Sharkey does not hold back in documenting Rowan’s emotional experiences in her young adult years. There are some parts that are uncomfortable to read, as Rowan experiences severe hardships once she’s in the outside world. Through all of the challenges she receives in life, Rowan manages to move forward and rebuild her purpose in life. Rowan’s journey in discovering and valuing herself is an immense, uphill battle.

I really enjoyed Inconvenient Daughter, as it’s a powerful account of a young woman’s search for identity and family bonds!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Do you think you will add Inconvienent Daughter to your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

Connect With Me:

Maddy McGuire CEO: Bring Back the Bees by Emma Bland Smith/A Review

Maddy McGuire, CEO: Bring Back the Bees
Author: Emma Bland Smith
Length: 112 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Calico/Magic Wagon
Release Date: August 1, 2018

As part of a summer assignment, I began reading children’s books to remotely distribute to families in my school district. Being a lover of books, I found this to be an ideal opportunity to expose myself to more children’s fiction, and share my thoughts on them!

Maddy McGuire is a young girl who has natural business skills. While visiting a museum with her family, Maddy becomes aware of the decline in bee colonies. Right away, Maddy and her friends take on the task in bringing a bee hive to her school. During their journey, Maddy discovers that fostering a neighborhood bee colony takes a lot of footwork. Through some tricky situations and teamwork, Maddy learns that bringing an huge idea into fruition requires a community effort!

Bring Back the Bees has diverse representation. Maddy’s close friend Amina is from Syria, and the book provides a brief back story from a previous installment about Maddy’s efforts in making Amina’s family welcome in the neighborhood. Although the story is fiction, it provides some factual information in becoming a young entrepreneur to benefit your community.

This book is definitely beneficial for grade school children who are interested in learning about helping community members through teamwork. It’s great reading material for educators to offer students!

**This book is part of a series, but you don’t need to read them back to back to learn about Maddy and her friends!**

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis

On a trip to the science museum, Maddy learns that bees are fast becoming endangered. As someone with a strong concern for the environment (and a keen love of honey!), she wants to bring a hive to her school. Unfortunately, the beekeeper at the community garden is struggling with her business. Maddy comes up with her sweetest plan yet: a honey-focused booth at the farmers market. The profits will save the beekeeper’s business and the beekeeper will give Maddy’s school its own hive. Maddy’s learned a lot about business, but things get sticky when she translates her skills to the conservation world. Aligned to Common Core standards and correlated to state standards.

Do you enjoy reading Children’s stories? Feel free to share!

Connect With Me:

Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon/Book Review

Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Revell
Book acquired through Revell Reads Blogger Program
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 31, 2020

My Thoughts

**I received a complimentary copy of Starfish Pier through Revell Reads Blogger Program, in exchange for an honest review**

Starfish Pier is a romantic story with a slow build. It gives the backstory of Steven and Holly, two people with opposing viewpoints on life. The tension in their love story only deepens after Steven’s details from his difficult past are revealed.

This story is layered with religious undertones; Holly is a strong pro-life advocate, and her resolve to find value in every life is felt from everyone around her. Despite being a new resident of this seaside Oregon community, Holly’s calm demeanor is welcomed by her students and other members in the area. While Steven is a bit intimidated by the cause Holly strongly holds to her heart, he is equally drawn to her heart.

Starfish Pier also focuses on Patrick (Steven’s brother), as he fights alcohol addition. This story plays the role of Patrick fighting the battle of the bottle, as his habit threatens to repeat the dangerous cycle his father lived through. Patrick grapples with his addiction, but there is nurturing guidance on his side from his wife and other townspeople.

While I felt that Starfish Pier kept drifting to many storylines within Steven’s family (and the sudden tale about the cannon), I did appreciate that this story that teaches about the power of forgiveness. Love and understanding can only come through patience.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Synopsis

A year ago, ex-Delta Force operator Steven Roark left the rigors of combat behind to run fishing charters in Hope Harbor, decompress, and talk some sense into his kid brother. Business is good–but making peace with his past is more challenging than he expected.

First-grade teacher Holly Miller leads a quiet, low-profile existence–until she’s recruited to advocate for a cause that’s dear to her heart. When she solicits Steven’s assistance, sparks fly–especially after they find themselves on opposite sides of an issue that disrupts their placid seaside community.

As these two seemingly incompatible souls search for common ground, might they discover a deeper connection–and find that love can banish darkness and light the way to a future filled with promise?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites you back to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

Connect With Me:

‘Beach Read’ by Emily Henry/A Review

Beach Read by Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Purchased through Book of the Month
Release Date: May 19, 2020

My Thoughts

Getting your writing ‘mojo’ back after traumatic life experiences is such an challenging learning journey. This is the struggle January Andrews faces in ‘Beach Read’: accustomed to penning several successful romances, January faces the biggest challenge of her career upon losing her relationship and her father, while discovering unsettling truths about her family. She spends the summer in Michigan in a friendly competition of sorts with Gus Everett, a former classmate, rival author, and neighbor. Both Gus and January go to great lengths to show the secrets of their writing genres, while getting into some adventure (and sharing more than writerly advice) along the way!

‘Beach Read’ has many humorous moments, and I found myself laughing at the awkward moments January found herself in with Gus while getting accustomed to their new status as neighbors. Meeting other community members in the small Michigan community also came with its share of unexpectedness! In addition to getting acquainted with others, Gus and January’s constant banter was pretty engaging, especially when they shared tips about bettering their craft.

I also felt a lot of empathy for January, as she is faced with the quandary of making a deadline for writing the next bestselling novel while trying to sort out her complications. For the first time, January fails to see a ‘happily ever after’ in her life. She is in an uphill battle in finding peace within herself, as the perfect bonds in her regular life are shattered. Re-learning how to trust is not an easy thing to do, and Emily Henry does nice work in showing the difficult process to trust in others again.

I recommend ‘Beach Read’ to those searching for a light-hearted romance with the added twist in a character rediscovering their life’s purpose. It was very enjoyable!

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

What do you think of Beach Read? Would you want to add this book to your TBR? Feel free to share!

Synopsis

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Connect With Me:

Book Review: Love, Art & Other Obstacles by Sadira Stone

Love, Art & Other Obstacles by Sadira Stone
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Length: 354 pages
Book 3 in Book Nirvana series
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 18, 2020

My Thoughts

**I received a copy of Love, Art & Other Obstacles, for exchange of an honest review**

When I began reading Love, Art, and Other Obstacles, I thought it was going to be another novel heavy on romantic content and not much else. I was pleasantly surprised at what I discovered! This story follows the tale of Margot and Elmer, two people competing for a top prize at an arts contest in Oregon. While they are in direct competition for this generous prize, they are also navigating the realm of relationships! Elmer is very flirtatious, yet his heart is thrown into a tailspin after his wild trysts with Margot. Meanwhile, attachment is the last thing on Margot’s mind as she is in a complicated long-distance relationship with her girlfriend Darcy (who’s equally interested in playing the field herself).

While this book is heavy on the romance, there is also the theme of a found family with both Margot and Elmer. Both people suffered difficult childhoods, and each found a respected community to thrive. Through the vibrant art community in Oregon, Margot is also introduced into an artistic community that allows her freedom that her upbringing wasn’t offering.

I also loved how it was the female character in this story that had a very difficult time making a decision on commitment! In many books the male character has a hard time getting tied down, yet it’s Elmer who tries his all to make Margot have eyes only for him. It was a journey seeing Margot’s struggle as she tries to resolve what she needs for her own happiness, while fighting the demons of her past.

I found Love, Art, and Other Obstacles to be a sexy, engaging read! I recommend this book for those who like having a twist thrown in to romantic stories!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis

Shes a free spirit. Hes a one-woman man.

Rejected by her family for her bisexuality, graphic artist Margot DuPont yearns for a life with no fences, no limits, and no family ties. Between college, work at Book Nirvana, and an art competition, she barely has time for her part-time girlfriend much less a flirtation with her competitor.

Dumped into the foster system at a young age, ceramics artist Elmer Byrne craves a big, loving family of the heart. His artist family almost fills that need, but something is missing…until Margot. But when he offers his heart, her thorny defenses shatter him.

Thrown together in an art competition that could jump-start one artist’s career, but not both, their irresistible attraction forces them to reconsider the meaning of success.

What do you think of Love, Art, & Other Obstacles? Feel free to share in the comments!

Connect With Me: