Review: If My Body Could Speak, by @blythe_baird

Title: If My Body Could Speak
Author: Blythe Baird
Rating: 5/5 stars

If My Body Could Speak is about fighting for the space one takes up in a world that would rather they take up none at all. Blythe Baird deftly and uniquely charts a course through various modes of womanhood and women’s bodies. Through love, loss, and the struggles of disordered eating, If My Body Could Speak uses sharp narratives and visceral imagery to get to the heart of a many-layered existence, speaking to many generations at once.” (description from Goodreads)

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Yet another amazing collection that Button Poetry has put out. I bought a copy knowing only that I have yet to be disappointed by the publisher’s previous titles. Now, having read Baird’s poems, I can say that I was blown away and wish I had more from the poet to read.

The poems are filled with honesty and beauty, all while not shying away from heavy subject matter. Baird could easily be my new favorite poet. I’ll be keeping on eye out for anything new from now on!

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If you’d like to buy a copy of this book, you can find it on:

Button Poetry | Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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About the Author:

Blythe Baird is a 19-year-old actress, poet, and feminist. In 2014, she represented Chicago as the youngest competitor at the National Poetry Slam. In 2015, she returned to NPS representing the Twin Cities Unified team. 

Her work has been published or featured by The Huffington Post, Ashton Kutcher, A-Plus, Write Bloody, EverydayFeminism, Button Poetry, Chicago Literati, Banango Street, and Wicked Banshee, among others. She is currently studying creative writing, women’s studies, and ASL at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. 

With three nominations at the ICFF including Best Picture, Baird takes on the role of Stephen Baldwin’s daughter in Auslynn Films 2015 indie feature “The UnMiracle.” 

In the past year, Baird’s poetry has gone viral on the internet. Her poem “Girl Code 101” has been utilized in academic lesson plans across the globe, featured in Occidental College’s updated “The Vagina Monologues,” and holds the state title for Poetry Interpretation at Colorado’s national speech tournament.

Find out more:

Cover Reveal: Anyone But You, by @Chel_C_Cam

You can read this F/F Adult Contemporary Rom Com on
March 19, 2019

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Things are going great for Sutton Kay, or at least they were. Her yoga studio is doing well, she’s living with her best friend, and she just got two kittens named Mocha and Cappuccino. Sure, she doesn’t have a girlfriend, but her life is full and busy.

Then her building is sold and the new landlord turns out to be the woman putting in a gym downstairs who doesn’t seem to understand the concepts “courtesy” and “don’t be rude to your tenants.” Sutton can’t get a read on Tuesday Grímsdóttir, but she can appreciate her muscles. Seriously, Tuesday is ripped. Not that that has anything to do with anything since she’s too surly to have a conversation with, and won’t stop pissing Sutton off.

Sutton’s life gets interesting after she dares Tuesday to make it through one yoga class, and then Tuesday gives Sutton the same dare. Soon enough they’re spending time working out together and when the sweat starts flowing, the sparks start flying. How is it possible to be so attracted to a person you can barely stand?

But when someone from Tuesday’s past shows up and Sutton sees a whole new side of Tuesday, will she change her mind about her grumpy landlord? Can she?

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While you wait for this book to be released, here’s a little teaser to sink your teeth into…

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Only one person was in the room. One person for all that noise. They had their back to me, a weight bar rested on their upper back, with huge black weight plates on either end. Slowly, they squatted down and then pressed back to standing.

I forgot about the music for a second while I watched their legs flex. The person was only wearing shorts and a sports bra and their back glistened with sweat in the low light. This place was definitely in need of some more lighting. The dim corners added more to the prison vibe.

The person squatted again, making a little grunting noise as they stood up again. I should probably stop staring, or at least make my presence known. I definitely needed to stop staring at the person’s ass.

“Excuse me,” I said, but they couldn’t hear me over the music, so I stepped closer. “Excuse me!” I yelled, and the person slowly pivoted, weight bar still on their back. Dark hair, tan skin, piercing blue eyes. That was all I saw, and I almost stumbled backwards. I’d never seen someone so intimidating in my life.

“You shouldn’t sneak up behind people when they’re lifting heavy things,” she said, popping the bar off her back and letting it slam into the floor and bounce a few times. She walked over to the sound system and turned the music down. Blessed relief. I could finally hear myself think.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know how else to get your attention. The music was a little loud.”

One dark eyebrow raised.

“Can I help you?” The irritation radiated off her in waves. What if I was a potential customer? Not a very good first impression for this gym.

“Yes, I own the studio upstairs,” I said, pointing upward, “and your music is too loud. It’s messing with my classes.” Her eyes narrowed.

“Is it,” she said, and it wasn’t a question.

“Yes. The base pounds through the floor and it’s distracting. It was hard enough with the construction, but I thought once that was over, things would go back to normal.” I’d never had issues with my downstairs neighbors before. They’d even given me free croissants every time I’d come in, and a few of their baristas had come to class. I wasn’t getting any free croissants now. Just dirty looks and layers of hostility.

“Look, I’m not asking a lot. Just turn it down. Or get some headphones. Are you planning to make it that loud when you open?” I hoped not.

She stepped over the bar and walked closer to me, but it was only to reach for a water bottle that sat on a bench beside where I stood. I took an involuntary step back.

“I’m planning to do whatever I want,” she said, taking a swig of water. “This is my gym.”

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If that wasn’t enough to hold you over, you can read Chelsea’s other F/F romances that have already been released. I suggest:

Style

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

and

Violet Hill (3 novella series)

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times/USA Today/Internationally Best-selling author from Maine who now lives and works in Boston. She’s a red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader, and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, getting brunch with her partner, tweeting, and playing fetch with her cat, Sassenach. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Find out more:

Review: Meant to Be, by @AlisonBliss2

Title: Meant to Be (Perfect Fit #3.5)
Author: Alison Bliss
Rating: 4/5 stars

Alison Bliss returns with a novella in her popular Perfect Fit series. These laugh-out-loud romantic comedies feature curvaceous heroines finding love and convincing us that confident and sexy comes in all shapes and sizes.

Sidney Larson always thought dark-haired, blue-eyed Brett Carmichael was sinfully sexy, to say nothing of the muscular mechanic’s talent with his hands. But Sidney so didn’t have time for Brett’s overbearing tendencies when they were together so she broke things off. Now a chance encounter brings Brett back into her life, and Sidney can’t help but notice intriguing changes in her ex. So what’s stopping her from revisiting their scorching-hot chemistry?

Since Sidney dumped him, Brett’s made major life adjustments, thanks to therapy and a long, hard look at himself. Sure, he’s still intense but he knows how to focus his energy on his career, not on trying to control a fantastic woman like Sidney. Brett finds the sweet, generous brunette more seductive than ever, but now that he’s finally worthy of her, will she be willing to give him a second chance?

24,000 words” (description from Goodreads)

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I wanted to read this novella almost on a whim. I know of Alison Bliss and I own two of the three Perfect Fit novels. I just haven’t read them yet. When Meant to Be jumped in front of me I figured it was the best way to dive into Bliss’ series. I was definitely right to do so.

Like many novellas, for me, Meant to Be gives me both a taste of the author’s writing and a taste of the series in a short amount of time. I read this one fairly quickly for me and it was hard to put down when life told me to. I really enjoyed Brett and how Bliss wrote him. He’s flawed, he knows it, he’s making a constant effort to change for the better. Sidney is a strong woman, doesn’t want to give into her heart for good reason. These two have been apart for a year, but as the title suggests, some things are just meant to be. The journey won’t be easy, but reading that journey was a great Valentine’s Day treat for me!

I’ll definitely be visiting this series again soon.

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You can buy this book from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Alison Bliss is a best-selling, award-winning author of humorous, contemporary romances. A born and raised Texan, she currently resides in the Midwest with her husband, two kids, and their dogs. As the youngest of five girls, she has never turned down a challenge or been called by the right name. Alison believes the best way to find out if someone is your soul mate is by canoeing with them because if you both make it back alive, it’s obviously meant to be. She writes the type of books she loves to read most: fun, steamy love stories with heart, heat, and laughter. Something she likes to call, “Romance…with a sense of humor.”

Find out more:

Review: The Kiss Quotient, by @HHoangWrites

Title: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1)
Author: Helen Hoang
Rating: 5/5 stars

“A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…” (description from Goodreads)

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I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book since it came out last year. Now that I’ve read it myself, I can see what other people loved about it. And I can’t wait until the next book comes out in a few months.

I’m glad there are authors like Helen Hoang getting books out to readers. This book had so much in it that I haven’t found in other romances before. More diverse books are starting to hit shelves, but I feel that The Kiss Quotient is set apart from my recent reading list in many ways. In this book Hoang created a heroine with Aspergers trying to navigate the dating world. I loved Stella’s character and getting inside her head a bit in the various situations she’s in throughout the book. I feel that I could easily relate to the thoughts going through her head much of the time.

Michael was also a great character. He’s a Vietnamese-Swedish male escort/clothing designer. That’s a lot right? Michael is a great guy and I couldn’t picture anyone else being good enough to help out Stella in the ways that he did. While I’m sure it’s been done before, the escort/client fake relationship was a new twist on the fake relationship trope for me. Made me more of a sucker for the trope with the way Hoang wrote the book.

The Bride Test is the next book in this series and I’m going to devour it when it’s released. I’m expecting great things from Hoang after reading The Kiss Quotient. (No pressure Helen!)fancy lineresize

You can buy this book from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since.

In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT.

She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.

Find out more:

New Release: False 9, by @MeganErickson_

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A mouthy soccer stud virgin meets the secretive new girl on campus… 

The last time I got laid was… oh right. Never. The only game I have is on the soccer field, where I mostly exist to make my teammates look good. I don’t get the glory or the girl, and in true Lavin Saint fashion, the first impression I make to the gorgeous new girl on campus is chair-crashingly, soul-crushingly bad. 

Bianca Santos seems undeterred and even intrigued by my inability to form coherent sentences around her, which is why it sucks when I find out she’s my coach’s niece. Off limits. 

Except Bianca doesn’t listen to that memo, and the more she focuses on me with those beautiful brown eyes, the less I care about the real possibility of being relegated to the bench. So when I find out she’s hiding something that’s threatening her, I’m done playing passive defense. I’m on the offensive now, no matter the risk—my sport, my sanity, or my life. 

This time, I’m getting the glory. And the girl. 

False 9 is a standalone romantic comedy with some sports, a bit of action, and a whole lot of sarcasm. HEA and no cliffhanger. 

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Want a copy of this book? You can grab it at:

Amazon

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About the Author:

Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestseller and former journalist who switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own romance hero and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.

Find out more:

(One of) My 2019 Reading Challenges

Hi everyone! Hope you enjoyed 2018’s Holiday Romance Month. I had fun compiling the list of books to feature and sharing them with you. I feel it’s a great way to end the year and I hope you feel the same. If you missed any of those posts, you can find the entire list HERE and just for fun, here’s the list from 2017, as well.

With the holidays coming to a close and life getting slightly less hectic, it’s the time of year when reading goals are set. However, I don’t normally set reading goals for myself. I don’t count my Goodreads “goal”. That’s just a number that is easily accomplished if you read picture books and short stories. We’re not kidding anyone with setting 200 as a goal. I do it often. (I set it at 50 or so this year just to try something new.)

For 2019 I want to try something different. Well, if you’re a long-time reader this won’t seem too different. Back in 2014 I basically set this same challenge for myself (Click HERE and HERE to see that mess). I want to read at least two classic novels this year. This doesn’t seem like a hard challenge, but I’m a reluctant classics reader. Most of the ones I’ve read were audiobooks. It’s not cheating or anything. Audio makes it easier to get passed outdated language and long drawn out boring parts. It’s been a great help in the past. Not this time! This time I want to read the text. I want it to be a challenge.

What I need from you, friendly neighborhood readers are recommendations. I’d like to read classics from two vague categories: “regular classic” and “modern classic”. I won’t get more specific since everyone will think differently about those terms. I don’t even know how I’d define them (maybe pre-1920 and 1950-1990? I don’t know).

Please comment on this post, message me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads (message, not recommendation please), or Instagram. Or send me a message through the blog’s contact form. And please, without spoilers, help sell the book to me. I don’t want just a list of books. I’d like to feel compelled to read them based on other reader’s opinions. You can see which books I’ve read and haven’t read by searching through my Goodreads shelf.

HRM – Ring in the New Year with New Year Themed Books…wow, that’s a long post title, isn’t it?

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Holiday Romance Month is coming to a close. I was able to feature many, many more books this year than I expected and I hope you’ve been able to expand your holiday reading TBR because of it. I discovered new books as well as new authors. It’s always a fun way to end the year.

Another fun way to end the year is with books that take place at the years change over. That’s what this final HRM post is all about. It’s not as easy to track down New Year themed books, but I was able to put a little list together to rind in 2019. I hope you check some out. And don’t think that just because the holiday season is coming to a close that you can’t read a holiday themed book. Sometimes the best times to read them are when the holidays are far away. I find it true at least.

Hope you enjoyed this years Holiday Romance Month. I’ll be back with more next December. But if you ever want to share other holiday romances with me or my readers, just let me know. I’m always open for overloading my TBR!

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

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