Friday, January 31, 2020

Melinda's Mini Reviews for January (Part 2)

Melinda has a few mini reviews for you today, from 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 Stars.

American Love Story by Adriana Herrera
Publisher: Carina Press (October 7, 2019)
Series: Dreams, 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance (Queer, M/M)

No one should have to choose between love and justice.

Haitian-born professor and activist Patrice Denis is not here for anything that will veer him off the path he’s worked so hard for. One particularly dangerous distraction: Easton Archer, the assistant district attorney who last summer gave Patrice some of the most intense nights of his life, and still makes him all but forget they’re from two completely different worlds.

All-around golden boy Easton forged his own path to success, choosing public service over the comforts of his family’s wealth. With local law enforcement unfairly targeting young men of color, and his career—and conscience—on the line, now is hardly the time to be thirsting after Patrice again. Even if their nights together have turned into so much more.

For the first time, Patrice is tempted to open up and embrace the happiness he’s always denied himself. But as tensions between the community and the sheriff’s office grow by the day, Easton’s personal and professional lives collide. And when the issue at hand hits closer to home than either could imagine, they’ll have to work to forge a path forward…together.

Where to Buy*:
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Melinda's Review:

What I love about this book is that it’s a ‘we’re on opposite sides’ book done in the best way possible. Because Patrice and Easton are not actually on opposite sides and let’s be real – in 2019/2020 most of us cannot handle reading books that brush aside the very real issues of racism or homophobia or police violence. Herrera not only doesn’t brush aside those issues but confronts them extremely head on AND includes Afro-Latinx friends getting HEAs.

Patrice is a Black economics professor and a very active activist, fighting for justice, whereas Easton is an ADA in Ithaca, where there has been a recent run of police discrimination and racism. The conflict between these two managed to be extremely real and relevant to current events, but also balanced with their steamy romance. There’s so much complexity and nuance to this story and Herrera managed it extremely well.

4 1/2 STARS!

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Publisher:  Inkyard Press (January 28, 2020)
Genre: Contemporary YA (M/F)

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Melinda's Review:

This book is probably going to be very hit or miss for people. I’ve seen some people say if you don’t like gaming this isn’t for you – but I don’t like gaming and I loved it so much! So, as always, YMMV. Honestly, I couldn’t even believe this was written by a man because Divya was so well written. She’s this massive gaming star with sponsors that pretty much everyone in the gaming world knows. But she has a very difficult home life and when she begins to experience targeted harassment and bullying in the game world it’s too much for her to handle – and the way that is all expressed in the book felt so true to life from every experience I’ve had or seen of other women online.

Aaron has to deal with his familial expectations and working on a huge gaming project he’s proud of, but can’t share with them because of those expectations. I thought that Smith brought Divya and Aaron together in the game in such a cute way and anyone who’s grown up with the internet can relate to their relationship grow purely online. This whole book felt like a major love letter to gaming but also to online friendships and to nerdery in general, and I really feel like that’s relevant to so many interests of my reader friends that I hope a ton of them check it out.


The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Publisher: Avon (February 4, 2020)
Genre: Contemporary Romance (M/F)

A wedding planner left at the altar? Yeah, the irony isn't lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina's offered an opportunity that could change her life. There's just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.

Marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he'll be working with his brother's whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancĂ©e. And she loathes him.

If they can nail their presentation without killing each other, they'll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina's ready to dish out a little payback of her own.

Soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn't interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again...

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Melinda's Review:

The set-up of this one really appealed to me because how can I not be interested in a romance between a woman and the man who essentially helped his brother leave her at the altar? Lina was a female MC who I immediately liked because she is such an independent, driven career woman. I was incredibly interested in her take on weddings as a wedding planner who…didn’t like weddings lol. I adored her big Brazilian family so, so much along with the different cultural touches that were added along the way. Those were what made the book stand out in an excellent way to me.

However, Max didn’t work as well for me. He was definitely fleshed out and a fully rounded character but I was left wondering exactly why he felt so badly for so long about his role in the wedding disaster. And for that matter, I never really got the sense that Lina really ever cared that much for her ex. I enjoyed Max and Lina together, I loved Lina on her own, but I wanted a little more on the details I got hung on up. There were a ton of fun scenes and I love Mia Sosa’s writing though and will be looking forward to more from her.

 3 1/2 STARS! 

Thanks for the reviews, Melinda!

Want to know a bit more about THE WORST BEST MAN? I have a great guest review for it going up on the blog tomorrow so be sure to check back. :)


Until Next Time,

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