ARC Review: Keep My Heart in San Francisco by Amelia Diane Coombs

Title: Keep My Heart in San Francisco
Author: Amelia Diane Coombs
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 400 Pages
Publication Date: July 14th, 2020

Summary: Caroline “Chuck” Wilson has big plans for spring break—hit up estate sales to score vintage fashion finds and tour the fashion school she dreams of attending. But her dad wrecks those plans when he asks her to spend vacation working the counter at Bigmouth’s Bowl, her family’s failing bowling alley. Making things astronomically worse, Chuck finds out her dad is way behind on back rent—meaning they might be losing Bigmouth’s, the only thing keeping Chuck’s family in San Francisco. And the one person other than Chuck who wants to do anything about it? Beckett Porter, her annoyingly attractive ex-best friend. So when Beckett propositions Chuck with a plan to make serious cash infiltrating the Bay Area action bowling scene, she accepts. But she can’t shake the nagging feeling that she’s acting reckless—too much like her mother for comfort. Plus, despite her best efforts to keep things strictly business, Beckett’s charm is winning her back ways that go beyond friendship. If Chuck fails, Bigmouth’s Bowl and their San Francisco legacy are gone forever. But if she succeeds, she might just get everything she ever wanted.

I received an ARC of KEEP MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO in exchange for an honest review, and I'm so glad that I did, because this book was so sweet and delightful! So without further ado, let's get into my review!

As the summary explains, Chuck Wilson wants to do anything possible to stay in San Francisco, the city of her heart. But when her family's bowling alley is going under with no savior in sight, she takes things in her own hands. Because if Bigmouth's closes, not only is that part of her childhood is gone, but also she's going to have to move to Arizona. Which she's desperate not to do. The only problem? The plan to save Bigmouth's involves her ex-best friend, Beckett, with whom she had a particularly nasty falling out with the year before. But can they come together to save Chuck's future, or will she be catching the next flight out of her favorite place in the world?

I really enjoyed reading this book! I thought it was a super cute romance and save-the-day story, and I'd also never really read anything with bowling as such a main focus before, so I thought that was really interesting. (My dad is a big bowler, so this is definitely the kind of story he'd love!) The story itself was really cute and funny and kept me hooked from the beginning right up until the end. I read almost an entire half of the book in one sitting because I couldn't put it down because I always wanted to know what antics Chuck was going to get up to next. I've also never been out west at all (I know, I know!!! I've skipped right over California to visit my brother, who lives in Hawaii, but that's about it), so seeing Chuck's devotion to her city and all of the little things she loves about it was really cute and made me really eager as a reader to visit San Francisco one day. It's definitely been added to my destinations bucket list, that's for sure!

My favorite character in this book was definitely Beckett. I thought he was so funny and his sarcasm really made me laugh out loud. I also thought he was such a great guy, even when Chuck had her moments where she didn't see it. I was cheering for him from pretty early on and I thought he was so sweet and hilarious and adorable. I also really liked Chuck's character, and how determined she was to save her family's legacy. The fact that she knows what she wants and doesn't stop until she gets it -- and never turns her back on her family -- was really inspiring for me to see as a reader. And then...I don't really want to keep talking and accidentally spoil how things shake down between her and Beckett, but all I'll say is that some things come to light about the night that their friendship broke up that neither of them are expecting.

(Minor spoilers in this paragraph, so skip to the next one to avoid them!) My only question that I had about the book is the fact that if her dad had been planning for everything to work out fine in the end, when did he think he was going to tell Caroline about Bigmouth's? I just felt a little confused and a little bit like things were wrapped up a little too neatly, especially since so much of the book is about the predicament seeing like there was no logical and possible way out of it other than the bowling hustle. I didn't hate the ending by any means, I just felt a little thrown off because it seemed like there were such simple and easy solutions to the problems that were so monumental for so much of the book. And Beckett's dad comes back but we don't even hear much about it or about how his mom reacted or any of that story.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading KEEP MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO. It was a sweet, adorable story about coming together and piecing together the past to help save your future. It was also the first book I've ever read with a bowling alley setting, which I thought was really fascinating and cool and different. If you're looking for a sweet summer read to pick up and give you all the feels with some surprising twists, then I definitely recommend picking up this one! 


2020 Debut Author Interview: Erica Waters!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun this year as well! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2020 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!
At the end of 2019, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Erica Waters and her novel GHOST WOOD SONG, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Erica on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Erica Waters

Erica Waters writes YA contemporary fantasy with a Southern Gothic feel. She's originally from the pine woods of rural Florida but has made her home in Nashville, TN, where she's learned to love bluegrass and has even starting learning banjo. Her best friends are two scruffy little rescue dogs named Nutmeg and Luna.

Keep up with Erica: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Erica: Thank you! Being a debut author is both exhilarating and stressful. I’m so excited to have a book published, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that readers never see. And of course now that my book will be available for people to read, it’s also available for them to love, hate, comment on, and review. Finding out what people think about a piece of writing you worked on for years is a little overwhelming. 
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
Erica: For me, the best part of the writing process is drafting. I love spinning a new story, meeting new characters, and creating a brand new world. It engages me totally and completely, and there’s really nothing else like it. The hardest part of the process is developmental edits. This is when you work with your agent or editor to shape and improve the book. Sometimes this can mean massive changes—pulling a book to pieces after you’ve just spent months putting it together. In the end, it’s always a better book, but the process itself can be messy and painful.

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the inspiration for GHOST WOOD SONG?
Erica: Inspiration for GHOST WOOD SONG came from several places--my grief after losing my dad, memories of growing up in a haunted house, and a whole lot of bluegrass music. But here's how I got the idea for the ghost-raising fiddle: One day, I was upstairs writing in my attic office when I heard someone playing a banjo. We have a few banjos in our house, but I was the only one home. When I went downstairs, the music stopped. So that got me to thinking about a connection between ghosts and bluegrass instruments, and Shady’s ghost-raising fiddle was born!

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?
Erica: My favorite character to write was Orlando, Shady’s friend and bandmate. He’s a budding entomologist, a peacemaker, and a joker. I always felt happy when Orlando was in a scene. The most difficult was Sarah, Shady’s bandmate and crush. She can be very closed off, critical, and impatient. It was a challenge to write a flawed character that readers might still care about and even root for.

The Book Bratz: Music is a large part of this fantasy novel. Why did you choose to incorporate it? 
Erica: Like I said above, this novel was largely inspired by bluegrass music. The main character is named after a famous Appalachian ballad called “Shady Grove” that I was listening to a lot around the time I started writing. Bluegrass is filled with a longing for home and family, which fits perfectly with the themes of GHOST WOOD SONG. Folk music plays a large role in the book too, especially murder ballads, which really amped up the eerie atmosphere of the novel. Music is its own kind of magic, and I tried hard to capture that in the book.

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from GHOST WOOD SONG?
Erica: Of course, I want my readers to be entertained—on the edge of their seats, swearing, crying, cheering—all that. But I hope that readers walk away from the book with a greater sense of hope, and if they’re going through something hard and painful, I hope my book helps them find a way out of the darkness.

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of GHOST WOOD SONG in the future, or do you have other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
Erica: GHOST WOOD SONG is a stand-alone novel and I don’t plan to return to that world, although I’ll admit I find myself missing the characters. My next book, out from HarperTeen in summer 2021, is another contemporary fantasy. I can’t say much about it yet, but I’ll share this much: it’s about Southern witches, is set largely on a nature park in Tennessee, and has two badass girls as narrators. This is my first time writing a dual-POV novel, so it has been fun and challenging to take on. I’m also writing a spooky haunted house middle grade novel that I’m having a total blast with. 

53098065. sx318 sy475

Title: Ghost Wood Song
Author: Erica Waters
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 21st, 2020

Summary: Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie debut, where the boundary between reality and nightmares is as thin as the veil between the living and the dead. If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept. Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness. But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets. In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing. Family secrets, a gorgeously resonant LGBTQ love triangle, and just the right amount of creepiness make this young adult debut a haunting and hopeful story about facing everything that haunts us in the dark.

Thank you so much to Erica for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about GHOST WOOD SONG and can't wait for it to be out in the world on July 21st

excited excitement GIF

ARC Review: This Is My America by Kim Johnson

Title: This Is My America
Author: Kim Johnson
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Hardcover, 416 Pages
Publication Date: July 28th, 2020

Summary: Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time--her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy's older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a "thug" on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town's racist history that still haunt the present?

I received an advanced copy of THIS IS MY AMERICA in exchange for an honest review. We were also given the opportunity to interview 2020 debut author Kim Johnson as part of our debut series, and hearing from her about bringing this debut to life was incredibly awesome. (If you're interested in reading that interview, we have it linked at the bottom of this review!) I'm so glad that I got a chance to review such a spectacular book, and now I have the opportunity to share my thoughts here with you all. So without further ado, let's get into my review!

As the summary explains, Tracy's father is currently in prison for a crime he didn't commit, sentenced to death, and he has less than a year left until his execution date. So when the book starts out, we see Tracy already doing everything she possibly can to fight for his innocence and to make sure the public knows what really happened so she can get her father justice -- including sending letters for seven entire years to Innocence X, hoping they'll help exonerate her father. But in the middle of working hard to save her father, her older brother Jamal finds himself being pinned as the murderer of a white girl that he didn't kill, and now Tracy has to fight to protect and clear his name at the same time that she's also racing against the clock to save her father. And while she works hard to save both of them, some horrifying secrets about her town come to light and hint that she may be up against more than she originally realized.

I absolutely LOVED reading this book. Kim Johnson's storytelling abilities are incredible -- I tore through this entire book in such a short period of time because I couldn't put it down and always wanted to know what was going to happen next. Watching the mystery unfold and finding new clues and shocking plot twists kept me gasping and eagerly turning pages. I wanted to see Tracy get justice for her father and for Jamal, and with each passing day in the story and all of the plot points that kept unfolding, I found myself more and more shocked and unable to put the book down. I loved the mystery element of this book so much, and I loved the fact that Tracy decided to take matters into her own hands to try to seek justice. The way she dug for clues and thought to look in places that law enforcement brushed over had me cheering her on from start to finish. She's probably one of the most driven and persistent characters I've ever read, and I loved her from the very first second that she walked onto the page.

I also think that THIS IS MY AMERICA is a vital look at the unfairness of the justice system in the United States -- as mentioned in the blurb and in the editor's note, the broken system unfairly decides who receives the stars and who received the prison stripes in our country. Even though Tracy's father has a solid alibi and several witnesses who could attest to his innocence (and they have!), their small town has chosen to believe that he was guilty because he was Black and therefore seen as an outsider in their circles, which made the crime easier to pin on him. The same goes for Jamal when Angela's body is discovered, and it's clear to see how quickly the entire town thinks he's guilty solely because he is Black and because his father was on death row for supposedly murdering two people. THIS IS MY AMERICA is an in-depth, incredible story that brings these flaws and this corruption to light. I don't want to spoil what happens throughout the book in terms of the cases because I really think you should read it yourself, but all I'll say is that the secrets come out and the things that Kim Johnson brings to light about Tracy's small Texas'll be both very shocked and sadly unsurprised at the very same time. 

In terms of characters, my favorite was definitely Quincy. Not only was he hilarious and teasing Tracy so many times that it made me laugh out loud, but he was also there whenever she needed him, ESPECIALLY when she needed someone there the most. He never let her down and stood by her side to help fight for justice for both her father and her brother, never giving up on her even when it felt like others may have. His character was super sweet and touched my heart and yes, I definitely found myself swooning over the way he was always there for Tracy. An A+ character in my book! 

Overall, I absolutely loved reading THIS IS MY AMERICA and I'm so grateful that I was able to be given an ARC to review. If you're looking for an emotional, amazing read that tackles the very serious subject of the flaws in the criminal justice system and all of the innocent Black lives that are tied up in cases they didn't commit, because the justice system sees only what it wants to see and not necessarily what it should see, then you definitely need to pick this one up. This book made me look deeper into the system's flaws and also appreciate those who work tirelessly to right the wrongs of those who are wrongfully convicted. I wish I could give this a million more stars!

Read our interview with Kim Johnson by clicking HERE!


Interview With Paper Lanterns!

Image Credit: Eleanor Brayden 

Today on the blog, we have an interview with Paper Lanterns, a new, independent journal focused on all things regarding teens and YA literature. This is such a special and exciting project, so today we're interviewing Ruth, one of the Paper Lanterns staff members, to give some insight into the project and where eager readers can find it! So without further ado, let's get into it:

Cover Artwork: “la gente es colorida” by Allie Rafferty, designed by Fiachra Johnston

From Ruth: Paper Lanterns is a new literary journal, founded in January of this year by Grace Kelley, Amy O’Sullivan and me, Ruth Ennis. Based in Dublin, Ireland, we aim to promote the voices of young people across the world. This journal provides new and exciting content for a teen and young adult audience. It is also perfect for enthusiasts of teen and YA literature; from teachers and librarians, to parents and youth workers.
Keep up with Paper Lanterns: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / YouTube / Goodreads

The Book Bratz: First of all, what exactly is Paper Lanterns?
Ruth: Paper Lanterns is a new literary journal, founded in January of this year by Grace Kelley, Amy O’Sullivan and me, Ruth Ennis. Based in Dublin, Ireland, we aim to promote the voices of young people across the world. This journal provides new and exciting content for a teen and young adult audience. It is also perfect for enthusiasts of teen and YA literature; from teachers and librarians, to parents and youth workers. The journal is divided into three sections. Our Creative Writing section showcases work from talented teens, as well as work from adult writers of teen and YA literature, tied in with beautiful artwork and photography. The Features section includes essays on trends in the YA literary scene and inspiring observations from our younger contributors on the world around them. You can also expect some exciting interviews from authors and literature enthusiasts. Our Reviews sections offers an insight into the latest books for teens and young adults, from readers younger and older. You will also find details of our seasonal book club, where we discuss a book for older teens and a book for younger teens on our social media and on Goodreads.
The Book Bratz: What made you decide to start Paper Lanterns?
Ruth: It all started last year. Grace, Amy and I met during our masters degree in Children’s Literature in Trinity College Dublin. It was Grace’s idea, she noticed that there was a gap in the Irish market for a journal dedicated to teen and YA literature. While the literary journal scene is vibrant in Ireland, most were aimed towards an adult audience. There were some that focused on children’s literature, such as the Children’s Book Ireland Inis Magazine and The Caterpillar, and while they included some teen and YA literature, they focus largely on content for a younger audience. Grace approached Amy and I with her idea and of course we were eager to be involved. So, on New Year’s Day 2020, we launched our website and announced we were open for submissions. We accept poems, flash fiction, short stories, essays, artwork and photography from anyone over the age of thirteen (adults included!). Our only criteria is that the content is suitable for a teenage audience. The primary goal of Paper Lanterns is to project the voices of young creatives and to highlight topics that are important to them. 

The Book Bratz: What are some of the features that were in the latest edition of Paper Lanterns? 
Ruth: Our features section for issue one had an interesting array of topics! Our big author interview was with Sarah Crossan, who recently completed her term as Laureate na nÓg (Children’s Literature Laureate). We spoke to her about her time as the Laureate, her experience writing verse novels, and her transition from teen to adult literature. We also interviewed bookseller Karina Clifford, who is the creator of the #ReadIrishWomenChallenge. This online challenge is a daily prompt for the month of April to celebrate books written and illustrated by Irish women. We also had an insightful article by Ben Screech discussing the representation of mental health in teen and YA literature, both in contemporary literature and texts from the twentieth century. Lastly, our junior essayist Rebecca Downey wrote an empowering piece about her idol, ballerina Michaela DePrince, and the importance of diverse representation in the books she reads. 
In our creative writing section, we had lots of inspiring work from the under-eighteen category with topics of environmentalism, ghost stories, and that warm feeling of curling up with a good book. We also had fantastical tales of teenage queens, the love of the arts, and poignant stories about body image. We had an exciting range of book reviews from both teen and adult readers. There are some well-known titles from the past year, as well as the latest and upcoming titles you won’t want to miss. Our reviews section has an informative content warning guide to help teen readers navigate content best suited for them.
The Book Bratz: What was your biggest struggle when deciding to start Paper Lanterns?
Ruth: I think I’d have to say CoVid-19 was our biggest challenge! When we started out in January, nothing could have prepared us for the complications that arose due to the pandemic. We originally planned to publish issue one in March, but as Ireland entered lockdown, it just wasn’t feasible. Instead we published in April, in a way we never expected. We hosted an online launch on YouTube (you can watch it here), that was exciting to figure out and arrange! But we are in awe of the support we’ve seen from enthusiasts of the journal, from those who donated to our fundraisers, to those who pre-ordered issue one, to the bookshops who stocked the journal and have made it available to their local area. Small businesses like ours rely on the goodwill of those who are eager to support us: we wouldn’t be here without them. 

The Book Bratz: What's your dream feature? (Ex. A book/topic you'd love to cover, an author you'd like to work with, etc.)
Ruth: Great question! It’s a tough one, but I would love to attend the Young Adult Literature Convention in London and cover it for the journal. I’m told it’s the place to be for anyone who enjoys teen and YA literature. There’s a real buzz that comes from cons like these, and I’d love to get the chance to see what makes YALC so special. 
In terms of an author I’d love to interview, I think I’d have to say Suzanne Collins. This is probably because The Hunger Games are at the forefront of my mind, due to an upcoming feature in issue two on the topic, as well as the release of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes earlier this month. Though I don’t know if I would have any insightful questions to ask, other than “how did you make them so good?”! 
We’ve been getting submissions looking to cover some really interesting topics! There is a real mix of wanting to analyse different themes in books, both contemporary and older texts: for example, mental health, representation, nostalgia, and interconnected literary mediums. I’ve no doubt that we will continue to see never-ending creativity from those who submit as they explore and discover teen and YA literature. 

The Book Bratz: Where can interested readers check out Paper Lanterns?
Ruth: Check us out online!

You can order a copy of issue one here (we ship internationally!):

The Book Bratz: If readers want to submit to Paper Lanterns, how can they do so?
Ruth: We’d love to receive your submissions! We will be reopening submissions for issue three in late July / early August. We accept poetry, flash fiction, short stories, essay proposals, artwork and photography from anyone over the age of thirteen, from anywhere in the world, and there is no entry fee. Our only criteria is that is it suitable for a teenage audience. For more details and to submit, you can visit our website at:
If you can’t wait to send something into us, then you should enter our Right Here, Right Now flash fiction competition. There is a small entry of €3.00 (roughly $3.40) and all proceeds go directly towards our production costs and paying our contributors. The winning entries will receive a prize of €15.00 (roughly $17.00) and their work will be published on our website. The competition closes on July 13th. For more information and to submit you can visit our website at:

Good luck!

Thank you so much to Ruth for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about Paper Lanterns, and if you are too, you can check it out here!

Also, here's the information for the Right Here, Right Now flash fiction competition in case you want to check that out as well:

 cat book reading read GIF

Blog Tour: The Sullivan Sisters by Kathryn Ormsbee

Hey everyone! Today on the blog, we're part of the blog tour of Kathryn Ormsbee's THE SULLIVAN SISTERS, so we have a spotlight to show you! Let's get right into it!

52768177. sx318 sy475  
Title: The Sullivan Sisters
Author: Kathryn Ormsbee
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 384 Pages
Published June 2020

Summary: Time changes things. That painful fact of life couldn’t be truer for the Sullivan sisters. Once, they used to be close, sharing secrets inside homemade blanket castles. Now, life in the Sullivan house means closed doors and secrets left untold. Fourteen-year-old Murphy, an aspiring magician, is shocked by the death of Siegfried, her pet turtle. Seventeen-year-old Claire is bound for better things than her Oregonian hometown—until she receives a crushing rejection from her dream college. And eighteen-year-old Eileen is nursing a growing addiction in the wake of life-altering news. Then, days before Christmas, a letter arrives, informing the sisters of a dead uncle and an inheritance they knew nothing about. The news forces them to band together in the face of a sinister family mystery…and, possibly, murder.


Kathryn Ormsbee
Kathryn Ormsbee writes books, cooks food, & records podcasts in Oregon. She is the author of YA novels LUCKY FEW, TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY, and THE GREAT UNKNOWABLE END (Simon & Schuster). Kathryn also writes Middle Grade fantasy novels as K.E. Ormsbee. She is the author of the WATER AND THE WILD series (Chronicle Books and Gumption Press), THE HOUSE IN POPLAR WOOD (Chronicle), and the upcoming sci-fi adventure MIDNIGHT ON STRANGE STREET (Disney-Hyperion, January 2020). Kathryn likes clothes from the 60s, music from the 70s, and movies from the 80s. She is from the 90s. You can visit her online at or follow her on Twitter & Instagram @kathsby. 

We'd like to thank Simon & Schuster Children's for allowing us to be a part of this blog tour and collaborating with us to put up this spotlight post! If THE SULLIVAN SISTERS sounds like the kind of book you'd be interested in, make sure you add it to your TBR!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between!

This Week's Theme: Books On My Summer TBR!
This week's theme is actually a rewind in order to celebrate TTT turning 10 years old (!!!), so we're revisiting the "Books on my 2019 TBR" and turning into "Books on My Summer TBR"! So without further ado, let's get into some books that are on my summer list right now, in no particular order:

1. THE HEIR AFFAIR by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

44132049. sy475

2. LOVE HER OR LOSE HER by Tessa Bailey


3. YOU HAD ME AT HOLA by Alexis Daria



51589631. sx318 sy475

5. THEY WISH THEY WERE US by Jessica Goodman

43785478. sy475

6. ACCIDENTAL by Alex Richards


7. PARTY OF TWO by Jasmine Guillory

49099926. sy475

8. THE HONEY-DON'T LIST by Christina Lauren


9. THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jimenez

41945163. sy475


53066661. sx318 sy475

So those are ten books that are on my summer TBR! What are yours? Comment down below and leave the link to your own TTT posts so we can check them out!

Spotlight: In a Pickle by Cindy Dorminy

Hey everyone! Today on the blog, we have Cindy Dorminy and her latest book, IN A PICKLE. We even have a book trailer! Let's check it out!

Title: In a Pickle
Author: Cindy Dorminy
247 Pages
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Published June 2020

Summary: After years of crying in her sweet tea, Regina finally has her life in order. She has a great job, wonderful friends, and a successful fiancé. But when the town council decides to do something special for this year’s Pickle Festival, life gets a little briny. As a former Pickle Queen, Regina has a chance to win fifty thousand dollars if she participates in a three-day photo scavenger hunt, but she must compete with her former Pickle King, Clint. He’s the guy who ripped her heart out when he left to play professional baseball and never looked back. Clint Sorrow is as famous for starting bar fights as he is for stealing bases. Years ago, he vowed to never step foot back in Smithville, but when he finds out there’s a chance his baseball contract may not be renewed, he jumps at the opportunity to show his team he’s not a liability. As a bonus, he’ll get to spend time with Regina, the girl he left… and never stopped loving. When Clint gets wind of Regina’s engagement, he decides he must stop it before she does something they’ll both regret. But Clint has a secret that will not only destroy her plans but may cause him to be benched for life.

Find IN A PICKLE on: Amazon / Bookbub / Goodreads

If you're interested in watching the book trailer, you can check it out by clicking HERE!


Cindy Dorminy
Cindy Dorminy grew up on a steady diet of popcorn (the kind you pop in a sauce pan), Tab (pre-Diet Coke), and movies for teenagers. She can't let a day go by without quoting a line from one of her favorite films, so quirky dialogue is a must in her stories. When she's not at her research coordinator day job, Cindy is writing funny love stories, walking her dog, or slinging iron the old-fashioned way.

We'd like to thank Cindy for collaborating with us to put up this spotlight post! If IN A PICKLE sounds like the kind of book you'd be interested in, make sure you add it to your TBR! :-)

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Dream by Whitney Dineen!

The Dream
Whitney Dineen
(The Creek Water Series #4)
Publication date: June 21st 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

Ashley has loved the same boy since high school. She knew Davis Frothingham was special even before he championed her at her senior prom. She also knew he was completely out of her league.
Years later, her attraction for him is still there, but Davis? He doesn’t even remember her.
When Ashley is tasked with being the nurse for Davis’ terminally ill grandmother, she’s thrown back into his world. More than anything, she wants him to remember her, but that recollection could come at a price of its own.
Can Ashley accept that she’s good enough for Davis? And can Davis learn to love a girl from the wrong side of the tracks?
Find out in this delightfully fun romcom about love and life in Creek Water, Missouri!
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
I don’t meet his eyes. “No.”
“Why not?” he wants to know.
“Do you have a girlfriend?” I retaliate.
“I don’t.”
“Why not?”
“Point taken,” he concedes.
We’re sitting and staring at each other when Davis puts his hand on mine. He clears his throat in preparation to speak. A wave of anticipation washes over me, and I subconsciously hold my breath like I’m deep sea diving without an oxygen tank.
He’s probably not going to say, “Ashley, I’ve known who you were since the moment I saw you in the nursing home. I’ve secretly loved you since high school and wanted more than anything to tell you the depth of my feelings ever since, but I was afraid you’d turn me down.”
I’m fully aware I’m having some kind of mental break here, so you’re just gonna have to bear with me. I’m pretty sure he isn’t going to declare, “You’re the woman of my dreams and I long to hold you in my arms until the end of time.”
Chances are he won’t conclude this imaginary monologue by picking me up and carrying me out of the restaurant so he can take me to his house and ravish me. But the bottom line is that we’ll never know because just as he opens his mouth, a voice behind me says, “Davis Frothingham? My heavens, how long has it been? You look positively wonderful!”
Davis’s eyes move upward as he sees my unwelcome ghost from adolescence past. “Jessica. I didn’t know you were back in town. Are you visiting for long?”
“No, sir.” I can hear the interest in her tone as clear as day. “I just moved back to Creek Water. I thought for sure Beau would have told you.”
If Beau is involved, that probably means she’s buying a house, which would mean she’s not planning anything temporary. Crap. Why the heck is everyone coming back?
“Welcome home,” he tells her. Then he motions toward me. “This is …”
But before he can say my name, she looks at me and declares, “Oh hey, it’s you, from the bathroom!” She’s as excited as if I were a long-lost sorority sister.
“Hey,” I somehow manage while my throat constricts in terror. The Jessica Holt I know from high school would full on poop a brick if she knew she was being nice to FelAshleyO MoanRow. The good news is that Davis never said my name, and Jessica is so self-absorbed she doesn’t seem to care who I am.
The waitress comes over and delivers several plates including the filet, a lobster tail, and a caesar salad. As delicious as everything looks, I’m not sure I’ll be able to eat a bite of it.
“Do y’all work together or something?” Jessica asks once our food is situated. How insulting. She should assume we’re on a date considering our close physical proximity—side-by-side, not across from each other— but the thought doesn’t appear to occur to her.
I let Davis answer the question. “I work alone, carving furniture,” he says, not offering any other explanation.
“That’s right,” Jessica declares. “I have a couple of clients I’d like to send your way. Maybe I can stop by your workshop sometime this week.”
“Sure,” Davis replies. “I’m on the first floor of the Creeky Button Factory. Just ring the bell and I’ll let you in.”
“I can’t wait,” she enthuses. Then much less excitedly, she adds, “I guess I’d better get going. We just finished dinner and my folks are waiting in the car.” She lingers as though Davis might invite her to join us and perhaps even offer to take her home afterward.
I can’t let that happen, so I boldly put my hand on Davis’s arm and announce, “Don’t let us keep you. Have a good night.”
Davis’s mouth turns up at the corners into a lopsided smile like he’s trying to keep from laughing out loud. Then he tells his ex-girlfriend, “It was nice seeing you, Jessica. Have a good night.”
Jessica does not look happy. I want to take out my phone and snap a picture of her, so I can enjoy her expression at my leisure. Being that wouldn’t paint me in the best light, I don’t do it. But oh, boy, if I did, I’d print a hundred copies and hang them all over my trailer.

Author Bio:
Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries -- not always in that order.
Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers' Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers' Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017


We'd like to thank the awesome team over at Xpresso Book Tours for allowing us to be a part of this tour! If THE DREAM sounds like the kind of book you'd be interested in reading, don't forget to add it to your TBR!