Blog Tour: Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor Book Review and International Giveaway

Title: Beyond The Moon
Author: Catherine Taylor
Publisher: The Cameo Press LTD
Publishing Date: June 25, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction, Time Travel, Romance, Contemporary
Synopsis:

“Outlander meets Birdsong is this haunting debut timeslip novel, where a strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War and a young woman living in modern-day England a century later. Shortlisted for the Eharmony/Orion Write Your Own Love Story Prize 2019”

In 1916 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a patient at Coldbrook Hall military hospital in Sussex, England. A gifted artist, he’s been wounded fighting in the Great War. Shell shocked and suffering from hysterical blindness he can no longer see his own face, let alone paint, and life seems increasingly hopeless.

A century later in 2017, medical student Louisa Casson has just lost her beloved grandmother – her only family. Heartbroken, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol on the South Downs cliffs – only to fall accidentally part-way down. Doctors fear she may have attempted suicide, and Louisa finds herself involuntarily admitted to Coldbrook Hall – now a psychiatric hospital, an unfriendly and chaotic place.

Then one day, while secretly exploring the old Victorian hospital’s ruined, abandoned wing, Louisa hears a voice calling for help, and stumbles across a dark, old-fashioned hospital room. Inside, lying on the floor, is a mysterious, sightless young man, who tells her he was hurt at the Battle of the Somme, a WW1 battle a century ago. And that his name is Lieutenant Robert Lovett…

Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard, uncaring mental health facility in modern-day England. Two journeys begun a century apart, but somehow destined to coincide – and become one desperate struggle to be together.

Part WW1 historical fiction, part timeslip love story – and at the same time a meditation on the themes of war, mental illness, identity and art – Beyond The Moon sweeps the reader on an unforgettable journey through time. 


review

The setting is 2017, Louisa just lost the person most dear to her, the only one who stuck by her, and supported her – her grandmother. She finds herself on the top of a hill, passes out intoxicated from alcohol and grief, passes out and falls down the ravine, and wakes up in a mental facility. She protests that she is not trying to commit suicide, she was simply sitting on the hill and fell because she was drunk. Her concerns go unheard and she was admitted in Coldbrook Hall Psychiatric Hospital.

In 1916, Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a young, gifted artist, and a man on the forefront of a war. He becomes wounded in the front lines of World War I, and is shell shocked, and is suffering from hysterical blindness. He is then admitted to Coldbrook Hall Military Convalescent Hospital in Sussex, England. He is deeply upset that he can no longer see, paint, and go back to the front lines of the war.

Louisa, still in the psychiatric hospital, explores one of the closed halls that was to be demolished soon. She was simply wandering the corridors, admiring the ruins of the building, and comes across a man who was calling out for help. Louisa finds herself in and out of the man’s life each time she stumbles into the forbidden halls, and realizes that the man is Lieutenant Robert Lovett.

I am a sucker for good war stories, and Beyond The Moon by Catherine Taylor did not disappoint. This kept me intrigued and interested because of the premise and the characters. I really enjoyed how Catherine Taylor introduced and established Louisa and Robert, how they existed outside of each other and eventually how their lives collided.

Catherine Taylor also did a great job in weaving the two timelines and stories into one. Every moment in each individual life and experience was very important to establish the motivations of each character to propel the plot forward. Aside from that, the writing was well researched and the author’s writing style really brought out plenty of feelings with the description of the spoils of World War I.

The romance was also great in my opinion. I honestly looked forward to each moment Louisa was going to come across the Lieutenant. And how their relationship and affection unfolded for each other. And to be very frank, when they were separated, I felt really sad and the motivation to read came from waiting for the moment they would meet again. And the moments in between was so so so good! It showed how each character matured and their motivations and priorities changed, but the love for each other never really left.

If you are looking for a great Historical Fiction that will keep you turning pages, make you fall in love and believe in true love, then I highly recommend Beyond The Moon. It had me believe that a strong and beautiful love can live through tough, trying, and hard times.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for having me on this blog tour as well as Catherine Taylor for a digital copy of the book!

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon


Follow the tour

Click the banner above for more links!

author information

Catherine Taylor was born and grew up on the island of Guernsey in the British Channel Islands. She is a former journalist, most recently for Dow Jones News and The Wall Street Journal in London. Beyond The Moon is her first novel. She lives in Ealing, London with her husband and two children.

Author Links:
Instagram | Twitter | Website


international giveaway

Rachel’s Random Resources, in partnership with Catherine Taylor, is giving away five (5) copies of Beyond The Moon, open internationally!

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

CLICK HERE FOR THE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Coffee Talk: If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

“Per aspera ad astra. I’d heard a variety of translations, but the one I liked best was Through the thorns, to the stars.”

M.L. Rio, If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains was one of those books that I always see on bookstagram. One that I didn’t hesitate to but when we found copies during the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale in Pampanga City. And a book that I had no expectations for but blew my mind completely. It was exhilarating, mind-boggling, and absolutely breath-taking. I loved and savored every moment of it. This is the book that made me realize how much I love a good dark academia, thriller and mystery story.

ABOUT if we were villains

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

“For someone who loved words as much as I did, it was amazing how often they failed me.”

M.L. Rio, If We Were Villains

how’s the brew?

I started reading If We Were Villains while I was on a social media break. I guess it was also kind of a break from reading Fantasy novels back to back and I needed a breather. Plus, I remember getting this book when I and my friends Tris (tristhebibliophile) and Jessie (professionalbookie) went to Pampanga City for Big Bad Wolf and we found a couple of hardcover copies for about $5 and Tris was saying it was a pretty good book so I got a copy for myself because the cover is so interesting and the synopsis was intriguing as well.

So, there it was, in it’s beautiful glory on my shelf. And in late November I picked up the book and decided, this might help me calm down for a bit from my crazy life. Oh boy, was it totally wrong. But worth the emotional turmoil. I was fairly busy with work in November, but whenever I picked up this book, I couldn’t stop reading it. The characters were marvelous, the plot was thick and heavy and full of tension, and I would honestly sneak away from work just to read it in the middle of the day. That’s how hooked I was.

Lucky me, there is an audiobook version on Scribd and so whenever I was in the office, I would listen to it on audio and sometimes I’d find myself gasping out loud and have even stopped working, more than once, just to listen. I’m not a Shakespeare expert or enthusiast by any means, and so there were often moments when I have to look up the references but that didn’t deter me from enjoying If We Were Villains thoroughly.

“How could we explain that standing on a stage and speaking someone else’s words as if they are your own is less an act of bravery than a desperate lunge at mutual understanding?”

M.L. Rio, If We Were Villains

pouring a steaming cup

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve finished If We Were Villains and it still haunts me to this day. I had no expectations or prior information before I went on to read this book, but it has become one of my favorites instantly, top shelf, front and center.

We follow a group of thespians on their final year in a prestigious Art School. These seven Shakespearean individuals are a tight-knit group who prefer each other’s company, in their own lyrical wonderland, than the rest of the world they live in. Richard, Meredith, James, Oliver, Filippa, Wren, and Alexandra come from all parts of the world and their world brought them to Ohio where they made a family of their own in their Castle on campus.

If I was asked to summarize If We Were Villains, it would be very difficult for me. Where do I even begin? Do I tell them about the rich world of thespians and how their lives seem so meaningful and artistic all the time? Shall I talk about the seven characters, how they were absolutely real, three dimensional characters full of life. Do I talk about the dark academia factor, the significance of Shakespeare, and the parallelisms of what happened in the book to the plays that Shakespeare wrote?

This book is filled with so many things, but for me what stood out the most are the characters. Each character felt so real, like they were people I met when I was in university. Or a group of people whom I knew, that shared such a special bond, a special love for each other. M.L. Rio wrote so well the special magic of relationships. The good, happy, communal parts of having friends and relationships. Then there are the nitty-gritty details too, the arguments, the petty fights, the serious ones, physical ones, and the emotional hurt too. I got so attached to each person, that after a certain point in the book, I can’t help myself from tearing up, or feeling my chest tighten.

The beautifully woven and lyrical prose from M.L. Rio was also very captivating. Personally, I have not read a lot of Shakespeare but her parallelisms and quotes from his works didn’t takeaway from the experience of reading If We Were Villains, actually it heightened and highlighted the situations very well. Her writing was also very fluid and not too difficult to follow. It was very enjoyable and the tension and mystery was great as well.

If you’re looking for a book about dark academia, real raw friendships, and found family, then welcome. This is the place that will leave you feeling exposed, emotional, and the possible want to have a group of friends that will ride or die with you, literally.

Book Blitz: The Violinist's Apprentice by Isabella Mancini Blog Tour

Title: The Violinist’s Apprentice
Author: Isabella Mancini
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Publishing Date: January 5, 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Synopsis:

A dark journey through time.

It’s on a group trip to Rome that something terrifying and mysterious happens, whirling musical Clementina back in time to 17th century Italy. Amidst court intrigue and creaking carriages, Rome becomes a chiaroscuro backdrop to her growing feelings for young violin-maker Antonio Stradivari. But soon he discovers that Clementina is not all she appears. She must surely be a witch.  How can she return to the 21st century again? Meanwhile, in an icy corner of the Arctic, a professor plots.

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon


follow the blog tour


about the author

Isabella Mancini is the nom de plume of prolific author Olga Swan, published by Crooked Cat Books.  She has a BA Hons (Open) in English Language and Literature and a lifelong love for writing and language. For 12 years she lived in SW France, but returned to the UK in 2017, where she now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and elderly French rescue dog Bruno.

Previous books by Olga Swan:

An Englishwoman in America
From Paradis to Perdition
Pensioners in Paradis
The Mazurek Express
Lamplight
Vichyssoise
3rd Degree Murder

Author Links:
Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group | Amazon Page: Isabella Mancini | Amazon Page: Olga Swan


giveaway

Giveaway to Win a signed paperback of An Englishwoman in America (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

RAFFLECOPTER LINK HERE

The GOD Game by Danny Tobey Book Review

Thank you to NetGalley, and St. Martin’s Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The GOD Game
Author: Danny Tobey
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi
Synopsis:

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.


review

Man, where do I start? My heart is still pumping from adrenaline. I’m not a gamer to be honest, I don’t even have that much games on my phone but I do like a good thriller and when I read the synopsis of The God Game, I was like, YES ALL HANDS ON DECK. And so I am so glad to have been given the chance to read this early before publication. I really absolutely enjoyed this book. It reminded me of Black Mirror wherein technology mixes in with human morality and values then we get the worst of both worlds where people struggle with the consequence of their actions.

Charlie along with his friends, Vanhi, Alex, Kenny, and Peter consider themselves computer freaks, outcasts and even calls their group “The Vindicators”. One day, they stumble upon a chatbot that calls himself god and the friends ends up receiving invites to a infamous underground game called The GOD Game. The game promises that it will make their wishes come true, and that there is high stakes and big rewards, do well and your wildest dreams come true, fail and suffer consequences that may lead to your death.

Once again, I find myself lured to books that are character driven, but unlike others this was so fast paced and you can see every consequence of actions that were made by each of the characters. Aside from that, the characters are so fully realized, I might know a Charlie, or an Alex that I went to school with. Aside from the thrill and action propelling the story, I loved getting to know the group and seeing the depth and layer to their characters, how they justified the choices they made within the game, and how they handled the events after those choices. There are also heavy handed themes of social commentary that I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about because I just found it too taboo, and it didn’t quite feel right.

I only watched part of Stranger Things because I didn’t find it to my liking but I can see why the blurb said so. It does remind me in part of stranger things, the friend group from IT, a little bit of Ready Player One and Black Mirror altogether. I would say if you want a fast paced book that is about friendship, consequences of your actions, gaming, and morality then read up kiddos! You might just enjoy this one too!

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Bookdepository

Loveboat, Taipei Blog Tour Review + Playlist

Title: Loveboat, Taipei
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Synopsis:

For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?


review

Being an Asian woman and a bookworm, I am so happy to see a rise in representation from published works in the past few years. Loveboat, Taipei is probably the first book I’ve read that focuses on Taiwanese/Chinese experience growing up in America.

Ever Wong is a simple girl whose goal is to make her family happy. We are met with the first chapter of her receiving university admission letters, either rejecting or welcoming her into their school. We are also informed early on that Ever has a deep love for dancing and is involved in school activities that showcases her talent, even with disapproval from her parents, her mother specifically. Determined to perform on a local parade in their town, her parents suddenly tell her that they are sending her to Taiwan on a culture immersion experience that will last for 8 weeks. And Ever, eager to please her parents, drops everything and heads to Taiwan for the trip.

Loveboat, Taipei gives us a glimpse into a very stereotypical Chinese family dynamics and virtues. If you are not very familiar and find yourself reading this book, you’ll probably go, ‘nah, this shit ain’t real, no parents will be like that’. But, being Asian and having felt the kind of pressure Ever received from her parents, I would have to tell you that it is real, and it is still happening.

Asian parents have this expectation that their children should be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and what have yous and if they want to pursue a career in the arts, they would often say that it wouldn’t be enough and that won’t give you a proper living. Hence, putting out the fire of creativity in their children. Personally, I’ve had that expectation that I should be an engineer like my father or the first lawyer of the family. Though what I do for a living isn’t so bad in their perspective, now I’m given the liberty to do side projects that I’m passionate about. I love how real and hard-hitting Abigail was when she wrote about this aspect of the book and didn’t skimp out on the rough details of being Asian.

Something that didn’t really appeal to me as much was the main character, Ever. On the first few chapters of the book, she was described to be a modest, hardworking, and filial child who aims to please her parents. Then when she gets to Taipei on her immersion trip and meets other Asian-Americans, she suddenly turns reckless, even doing things that are opposite of what she was depicted to be, she made too many wrong choices which were mostly the result of feeling competitive of her peers, that because her ‘friends’ did something totally insane, that she should do something twice the insanity. I really did not like her very much.

Another aspect that rubbed me the wrong way was the love triangle – or square. I personally don’t like reading about cheating. It’s not right and inexcusable. And so, the love square in this book just really left a bad taste in my mouth. It was all too soon, too rushed. I won’t say too much because it might be spoiler-y, but if you’re like me who does not enjoy cheating, then this might not be for you.

The character that really got me to enjoy this book is Xavier. He is a Taiwanese boy whose family migrated to the United States. His family is powerful and rich, being one of the biggest business tycoons in Taiwan. A lot of his character was hearsay from the beginning and at first, I thought just another typical playboy. But then as the story progressed, we see that he is actually protecting himself, hiding his real identity, too afraid for his family to find out what he really wants in his life. Personally, his character development was really enjoyable and I hope to see more of him in the second book.

Overall, I really enjoyed Loveboat, Taipei. I’ve only been to Taipei once, and while I was reading the book, I felt like I was transported back in the streets of Taipei, enjoying the cold breeze, drinking milk tea everyday, shopping in Xi Men Ding, exploring the sites with friends, and the street food! It gave a good insight of Asian families and the hurdles of growing up with Tiger parents. Abigail Hing Wen hit the right marks on family, friendship, self discovery and overcoming challenges to find your passions in life.

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Google Books

Special thanks to Harper Collins and The Fantastic Flying Book Club for an advance copy of the book for review and hosting the blog tour. Follow the tour on the image below along with a giveaway!


playlist


about the author

Abigail was born in West Virginia to a family of immigrants: Her mother is from the Philippines and her father from Indonesia, and her grandparents emigrated to those countries from Fujian and Shandong provinces in China. 

Abigail grew up in Ohio and graduated from Harvard University and Columbia Law School. She worked in Washington DC for the Senate, as a law clerk for a federal judge. and now in Silicon Valley in venture capital and artificial intelligence. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. 

In her spare time, she enjoys long walks with her husband and two boys, and hanging out with friends and over 100 family members in the Bay Area. She loves music and dances to it when no one is watching.

Author Links:
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Instagram

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim Blog Tour Review + Favorite Quotes + Playlist

Title: Scavenge The Stars
Author: Tara Sim
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Synopsis:
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide. Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.


Review

Our story starts with Silverfish, also known as Amaya, as her day unfolds on The Brackish. Just a normal day, having been out at sea for 7 years of her life, cleaning fish, diving for pearls and spending time with the rest of the children stuck in the debtor ship. She can almost taste her freedom as her debt was almost up, until she comes across a man floating out at sea, and her humanity gets the best of her that she disobeys Captain Zharo‘s command and saves the man, known as Boon, that costed Silverfish more time on the ship and eventually leads to more conflict. Silverfish finds herself in a bind, and helps Boon escape and eventually offers her the chance to get revenge, in exchange, Amaya will have to help him get his own vengeance against Boon’s greatest enemy, Kamon Mercado.

Cayo Mercado is a recently changed man. He was known as the drunken playboy heir of his family, always out in the gambling dens with his friends, playing cards and filling themselves with drinks. His luck eventually runs out, along with his own and his family’s coffers that his younger sister had to literally pick him up off the gutter and now he is trying to turn over a new leaf for the sake of his family. He finally understand the extent of his actions, so when a mysterious and extremely wealthy aristocrat, Countess Yamaa, comes into their town of Moray, his father urges him to woo her as his beloved sister falls sick to the Ash Fever plaguing the city. And slowly, Cayo’s perspective on his family falls apart as secrets unfold right before him.

When I first saw that Scavenge The Stars was a retelling of The Count Of Monte Cristo, I was extremely intrigued and excited for this book to come out. Though, retellings always have a certain expectation from fans of the original source material because there are certain aspects to them that are well loved by the reader. In my case, I really loved the whole idea of a person who was treated unfairly, transforming themselves and them coming back to their hometown for revenge. And so, I figured that retellings won’t always be extremely accurate but the inspiration is there. And, Tara Sim did not disappoint or skimp out on the angst and revenge. It wasn’t down to a T but again, I didn’t expect it to be so, but the important aspects of what The Count Of Monte Cristo was is in Scavenge The Stars. I think the moment that really got me hooked is when the two protagonists finally crossed paths, I eventually got my nose in the book and left the real world behind.

This is my first time reading Tara Sim’s writing and I will possibly dive in to more of her works. I really loved the pace of Scavenge The Stars. The plot points were dropped and dragged out in the perfect moments that I didn’t feel dulled out reading the book. I actually read this within 24 hours because I wanted more and more of it.

What lacked for me was the sparse worldbuilding. As a person who frequently reads fantasy, I was craving the luscious and expansive world building. I heavily relied on my own imagination on what the certain things looked like. There was also a lack on establishing what each of the towns and cities were, how they differed, and more. Personally, I would have loved more establishment of who the people of Moray were, how they dressed, who they were and how they were different from the rest of the empire.

But alas, what really made this book compelling for me is the characters. Tara Sim created such fully realized characters that I absolutely fell in love with them. They weren’t your typical characters, each one of them had different layers, flawed and nuanced.

There is Amaya Chandra, a child who was sold to a debtor ship where she struggled and a girl who just wanted to go home to her family in time to celebrate her mother’s birthday. A girl who had to change her name to Silverfish while she was at sea, who had to develop a tough, callous facade to survive such a tough life. Then she was driven to avenge herself and her family from the man who has possibly ruined her life forever.

Cayo Mercado has his own demons with his addiction to gambling. Albeit, he is kind, caring and determined. He wants to take charge of his life, and not live in his father’s shadow. Cayo is determined to set things straight for the Mercado Manor and its inhabitants, to whatever good or terrible outcome he might have in the end.

We also have characters that really intrigued me, such as Boon. Although, I personally found him still lacking. I wanted more out of him, why was he driven to hate and anger, who was he really? I wish there will be more in the second book. Aside from the development, I really loved the representation in the book. There was such a diverse cast that it tickled me pink all the way. Overall, this was such a great read and good first book, and if you’re into morally gray characters, vengeful plots, and reveals on reveals, then you’ll probably enjoy Scavenge The Stars.

Special thanks to Disney Hyperion and Tara Sim for the advance copy of the book, as well as The Fantastic Flying Book Club for hosting this amazing tour! Follow the tour by clicking the banner below and check out a US Only giveaway of the book, just click the banner below:

And, there’s a pre-order campaign happening as well! Click the banner below to submit your order form!

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google Books


Playlist


Favorite Quotes


about the author

Tara Sim is the author of SCAVENGE THE STARS (Disney-Hyperion) and the TIMEKEEPER trilogy (Sky Pony Press) and writer of all things magic. She can often be found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California.

When she’s not writing about mischievous boys in clock towers, Tara spends her time drinking tea, wrangling cats, and occasionally singing opera. Despite her bio-luminescent skin, she is half-Indian and eats way too many samosas.

Tara is represented by Victoria Marini at Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Name pronunciation: “tar-ah” (not “terr-ah”).

Author Links:
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest

They're Strictly Friends by Chloe Liese Book Review

Thank you to NetGalley and Chloe Liese for the e-arc in exchange of an honest review

Life’s beauty isn’t seen or heard. It’s felt.

Chloe Liese, They’re Strictly Friends

Title: They’re Strictly Friends
Author: Chloe Liese
Genre: Romance, New Adult
Publication Date: December 9, 2019
Synopsis:

Outright enmity between France and England might be long past, but merry war betwixt two people from bookends of the English Channel comes easily to Lucas and Elodie. Verbal sparring, witty jabs, and a feverish dance of mutual interest, their friendship is a model uneasy détente.

Lucas Edwards is the consummate English gentleman…most of the time. He might get a bit tetchy when his office is a mess, and he’s rather particular about his ties, but otherwise he’s as affable as afternoon tea. That is, until a grim diagnosis sets his future on a downward slope. And while Elodie Bertrand might be the only woman he wants—brilliant math-mind, decadent curves, a Parisian flair for butchering British idioms as well as turning Scrabble into a war of words—she’s the last person he’s willing to make a variable in his negative trajectory.

As far as Elodie can project, she and Lucas Edwards will forever exist torturously tangential. No matter that Lucas’ keen intellect, dry wit, his penchant for Shakespeare and innuendo equally infuriate and enamor her. Because, while he might be deliciously tall and dashing, not to mention the most chivalrous man she knows, Lucas has made it quite clear they must remain “strictly friends”. But when circumstances throw them together, Elodie quickly deduces Lucas isn’t putting her off out of disinterest. In fact, after plotting the points of their every intersection, only one solution remains: he actually feels quite the opposite…

The first Tough Love Spinoff, a standalone friends to lovers, forced-proximity romance. Full of lost in translation laughs, Harry Potter Easter Eggs, a cast of international characters, and an oh-so-satisfying happily ever after.


review

If I’m not reading my usual fantasy novel, I love me a good romance/romcom because I am a sucker for such themes, books, movies, etc. I really enjoy a good romance novel once in a while. So, while I was going through my NetGalley, They’re Strictly Friends by Chloe Liese was one of the top recommended on my dashboard. First, the cover is really quite pretty so I clicked, then the blurb sounds such a good time and so, here we are, a couple hundred pages later.

They’re Strictly Friends is my first read from Chloe Liese, and I was pleasantly surprised with her writing and the themes. It isn’t your typical trope-y love story. On the contrary, it deals with the real hard things in life you may or may not go through with a partner. At the same time, it gives such a real depiction towards certain hardships that people face. The book tackled about the beauty and madness of being in love, and having to share that madness with someone. The struggles of staying in love, and keeping the relationship.

We meet Lucas, he is a full fledged British bloke, he was an ex-football player, representing United and is now facing a crisis in his life and at the same time, trying to hold the reigns on their family business. Then there’s Elodie, fiery, beautiful, and Parisian, she is the epitome of a go-getter. She also experiences a family mishap and she finds herself in London, with her found family and keeping her head in check and her feet on the ground. The blurb made me think that probably, Lucas and Elodie are enemies turned to lovers. But on the contrary, the both of them share a common group of friends. They are affectionate to each other and obviously feel so much more than friendship but there was something being held back. I love the multicultural spin on their relationship, how Lucas is tough and secretive with his feelings, while Elodie is an open book. Their chemistry was great and how they blossomed was such a great ride for me. If you’ve read a few of my reviews, you know I love good full rounded characters, and Chloe Liese did not skimp out on the layers on these ones.

I extremely enjoyed They’re Strictly Friends I was surprised that there is another trilogy that spans the relationship of Lucas and Elodie’s friends, Zed and Nairne. And, best believe those books are downloaded and ready for a marathon this holiday season.

Book Links:
Amazon | Book Depository