ARC Review: Recommended For You by Laura Silverman

Title: Recommended For You
Author: Laura Silverman
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Paperback, 272 Pages
Publication Date: September 1st, 2020

Summary: Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. And with her moms fighting at home and her beloved car teetering on the brink of death, the store has become a welcome escape. When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to at least fix her car, if none of her other problems. The only person standing in her way? New hire Jake Kaplan. Jake is an affront to everything Shoshanna stands for. He doesn’t even read! But somehow his sales start to rival hers. Jake may be cute (really cute), and he may be an eligible Jewish single (hard to find south of Atlanta), but he’s also the enemy, and Shoshanna is ready to take him down. But as the competition intensifies, Jake and Shoshanna grow closer and realize they might be more on the same page than either expects… 

I received an advanced copy of RECOMMENDED FROM YOU from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and I'm glad that I did, because this was a very enjoyable book!

As the summary explains, Shoshanna works at Once Upon, an independent bookstore that she loves more than anything in the world. But when she gets a new co-worker who doesn't even read (gasp!), she's determined to show him who runs the place. That is, until their boss announces a company-wide bookselling competition with a hefty cash prize. Then she's ABSOLUTELY determined to show Jake Kaplan who's boss. But competing against one another inevitably means that there will be some curveballs and surprises, and as the competition heats up, maybe so do their feelings...*wink wink*

I enjoyed reading this book. For starters, working at an indie bookstore has always been my dream and I never got a chance to, so I spent a majority of this book living through Shoshanna, and also I was swooning for moody, broody Jake Kaplan from the start. At times, it felt like Shoshanna was a little bit immature, but at first as I was reading I didn't even want to focus on that because I know that I am, in fact, a slightly older reader (currently 22!), so I just chalked it up to me being a little bit older and the fact that I am no longer YA's initially targeted audience (which...ouch! How did we grow up so fast???). But then other characters in the book brought up how Shoshanna tended to react quickly and often with immature methods to things both with her friendships and the bookstore, and I realized that the immaturity was actually a part of the story's narrative, and how Shoshanna learns to combat that and still be sensitive and determined and kind with her passions while also handling them in other ways (such as keeping secrets or avoiding embarrassing PA broadcasts, LOL!). So once I figured that out, I was able to see Shoshanna's incredible character arc from the beginning of the story until the end, with her learning the depths of what it means to be a good friend, and a good companion, and a good competitor...and also the important life lesson that things are not always going to go your way, nor will you always be able to fix all of your problems on your own, and you have to trust others and trust in the process. It was a really great and heartwarming story.

In terms of pacing, I think the second half of the story captured me a lot more than the first. I spent a lot of the first half of the book just wondering where the story was going, because there was a lot of build-up but I just didn't find myself absolutely captured and glued to the book's pages. Like I said, Shoshanna starts off as pretty immature, which made it feel a little difficult for me to connect with her because some of the decisions she makes (without spoiling it, all I'll say is the way she treats her friends, and even sometimes how she competes against Jake), but as the story goes on and the other characters around her teaching her about how, as I mentioned above, sometimes life throws you curveballs that you can't handle on your own, or at all -- sometimes you have to let other people work out their issues, or trust in the process. So for the second half of the book, where the competition really starts to heat up and there are some surprising curveballs thrown in, I was absolutely captured by the story and finished all the rest of it in one sitting. It just took a little bit of time to get into for me, but just because I had that issue doesn't mean that you will, so you should definitely still give this book a try!

Overall, I enjoyed reading RECOMMENDED FOR YOU. I may have had a hard time getting into it at first, but overall it was a sweet, funny read about friendship and antics and surprises and growing as a person that I soaked up while sitting in the pool and getting some sun, and it definitely left me with happy, satisfied vibes. If you're looking for a new read to pick up, then you should definitely consider checking this one out! 


2020 Debut Author Interview: Rebecca Coffindaffer!

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 Rebecca Coffindaffer and her novel CROWNCHASERS, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Rebecca on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Rebecca Coffindaffer

Rebecca Coffindaffer grew up on Star Wars, Star Trek, fantastical movies and even more fantastical books. She waited a long time for her secret elemental powers to develop, and in the interim, she started writing stories about girls and magic and spaceships. These days she lives in Kansas with her family, surrounded by a lot of books and a lot of tabletop games and one big fuzzy dog. 

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

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Rebecca: Thank you! It's such a strange feeling! You're so excited to finally achieve this dream you've been working toward, but publishing takes time, so there's so much waiting, especially at the beginning, where it still doesn't feel real exactly. These last few months have been a lot busier -- more excitement to see it all coming together, more nerves because it's starting to go out into the world and be reviewed. Especially with all the stuff 2020 has brought to the table, so to speak, it's been a day-by-day navigation of emotions.
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
Rebecca: I am not a big fan of drafting, especially the first draft because it never comes out exactly right. I'm a big plotter, so I like the phase when I'm just scribbling down all my world-building and story ideas and trying to fit them together like a puzzle into a larger outline and goal. 

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the inspiration for CROWNCHASERS?
Rebecca: I tend to approach a book from one of two directions -- either I think up the MC first and then develop the world around them or I think up the world first and then try to discover what story I want to tell inside it. CROWNCHASERS was definitely a character-first story -- Alyssa Farshot's voice and attitude, this kind of Han-Solo-meets-Kara-Thrace persona, that was the real driving force behind it.

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest?
Rebecca: I don't generally default to first person, and I have to say that Alyssa's character naturally fit first person and was SO MUCH FUN to write. I could write her voice forever. I think writing some of the other crownchasers was more difficult -- giving them space to have nuance and their own arcs that are in constant development even when they're not on the page.

The Book Bratz: What made you choose to delve into writing a YA space opera? Was planning it difficult, since it's so complex?
Rebecca: I have such a longtime love of scifi, from Star Wars to Star Trek when I was little, to Battlestar: Galactica and The Expanse. Give me all the dramatic stories about humanity and love and politics all set on spaceships hurtling between planets. I'm in. And honestly, aside from having a very long list of planet names to keep track of, I don't mind the complexity. Figuring out new worlds and keeping all the connections straight is right up my alley. 

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from CROWNCHASERS?
Rebecca: I think I mostly want readers to enjoy the ride. I want them to feel like they're onboard a spaceship with Alyssa and just getting swept up in her sense of fun and adventure. In my wildest dreams, I hope it drives a bunch more readers to explore YA scifi because I think it's such a fantastic genre to escape into.

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of CROWNCHASERS in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
Rebecca: CROWNCHASERS is the first in a duology, so the sequel will be coming out Fall 2021. It'll focus on all the repercussions of Alyssa's decisions in the first book and how that affects the throne and the future of the empire. It's currently in the revision stage with my editor at HarperTeen. After that...well, I have lots of other ideas and projects, a lot of them stepping into that blended gray area of science fantasy, which is another favorite space of mine to play in. They're all in story infancy stage, though, so hopefully I can share more about them when they're fully formed.

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Title: Crownchasers
Author: Rebecca Coffindaffer
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 29th, 2020

Summary: Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship? But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne. Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.

Thank you so much to Rebecca for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about CROWNCHASEERS and can't wait for it to be out in the world on September 29th

Excited George Costanza GIF

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Dating Mr. Darcy by Kate O'Keeffe

Dating Mr. Darcy
Kate O’Keeffe
(Love Manor Romantic Comedy Series, #1)
Publication date: August 25th 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

Is it a truth universally acknowledged, that a girl must compete on reality TV to win a modern-day Mr. Darcy’s heart?
Clothing designer Emma Brady is having serious doubts about how far she’ll go to promote her new activewear line. Sure, being on a reality show would be great for business, but is putting up with Mr. Darcy-wannabe Sebastian Huntington-Ross really worth it?
Sebastian is straight out of an Austen novel. But it’s hard to focus on his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders and wickedly sexy accent when all Emma can see is his pride, arrogance, and smug demeanor.
But Sebastian has a secret reason for being on the show, and when Emma figures out what it is, her heart warms to him—without her permission.
Will Emma hold fast and keep the aristocratic Sebastian at arm’s length? Or will she put her reservations aside when the lines between reality and “reality show” start to blur?
How on this sweet Earth did I get myself into this position?
I’m not talking metaphorically or spiritually or anything like that here, you understand.
Oh, no. I’m being much more literal.
Right now, I’m all alone in the back of the limo, whizzing through the outskirts of Houston on my way to some ranch out in banjo territory. I’ve managed to remove my mic, which was a feat all its own, and now I’m wrangling with my Timothy leggings. With an almighty effort, I pull them up to my thighs, my dress bunched up under my chin. Ever bunched up a sequin dress under your chin? Not comfortable.
As the car turns corners, my task becomes increasingly complex. Just when I scoop my butt up off the seat to pull the leggings up, the car turns, and I go crashing into the door. Luckily it’s firmly shut or I’d be splattered across the road somewhere.
By the time I’m halfway done, I’m hot and sweaty and panting like I’ve gone three rounds in the ring with Muhammad Ali. Or some other boxer from this century. (Fighting’s so not my thing).
My leggings finally in place, I heave a sigh of relief. Time for my Timothy top. I pull my sequined dress over my head, only for it to get snagged on my hair.
I tug at the dress. It pulls at my hair but it holds tight. I tug again. This thing is not budging.
The car begins to slow. I peer out the smoky glass window and see a large house at the end of the long drive. It looks like a ranch in the middle of nowehere.
Panic begins to set in. I need to get this darn dress off and pull on my T-shirt over my strapless bra, and I need to do it now.
As the car slows to a stop, I yank on the dress, hard, only to cry out in pain as my hair refuses to untangle itself from the many sequins.
I hear a car door thud closed and know the driver is about to walk around to open my door.
No! We can’t be here already!
Think, Emma, think!
In just my leggings and strapless bra, my dress acting as some sort of weird hair extension, I’m not only going to be the laughing stock of the nation, but I’m sure the Mr. Darcy wannabe will send me home before he can say “that one was totally cray cray.” Penny’s and my dream will amount to nothing.
With probably less than about three seconds to go before the driver reaches my door, I ditch the near-impossible hair issue and focus on getting my top on. I grab it out of my clutch and loop one leg through, then the next. With a strength that would impress Wonder Woman herself, I yank the top up over my thighs, and begin to loop an arm through one side. So far, so good. All I’ve got to do now is loop the other arm through and …
The next thing I know, the wall I’m leaning up against gives way and I fall backwards out of the privacy of the limo and land with a thud on my butt.
As my butt meets the hard, unforgiving ground, the wind is instantly sucked out of me and the pain sears. Trying to regain my balance, my legs flail in the air like I’m some kind of insect that can’t get itself back up. At least twelve different cuss words erupt from my mouth. Cuss words my mother would blush to hear me say.
Everything goes quiet around me.
Smooth, Emma. Real smooth.
“Well, that was quite an entrance,” a voice says.

Author Bio:
Visit and sign up to her newsletter so you never miss out on new releases and great book deals again! Follow her on Bookbub to learn about deals on her books. Just cut and paste this link into your browser:
Kate O'Keeffe is a bestselling author of fun, feel-good romantic comedies. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke's Bay, New Zealand with her family, two scruffy dogs, and a cat who thinks he's a scruffy dog too. He's not: he's a cat. When she's not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), traveling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.
Visit to sign up to her newsletter to keep up to date on new releases, great deals on books, and more.

We'd like to thank the awesome team over at Xpresso for allowing us to be a part of this book blitz! If DATING MR. DARCY sounds like the kind of book that you'd be interested in, don't forget to add it to your TBR!


Blog Tour: Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine

Today on the blog we have an except of ROAD OUT OF WINTER by Alison Stone, which we're so excited to share with you! So without further ado, let's get into it!


Title: Road Out of Winter

Author: Alison Stine
Publisher: MIRA
Paperback, 320 Pages
Publication Date: September 1st, 2020

Summary: Wylodine comes from a world of paranoia and poverty—her family grows marijuana illegally, and life has always been a battle. Now she’s been left behind to tend the crop alone. Then spring doesn’t return for the second year in a row, bringing unprecedented extreme winter. With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherous. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wylodine and her small group of exiles become a target for its volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow. Urgent and poignant, Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for a place hope might take root. 

I used to have dreams that Lobo would be arrested. The sheriff and his deputies would roll up the drive, bouncing on the gravel, but coming fast, too fast to be stopped, too fast for Lobo to get away through the fields. Or maybe Lobo would be asleep, and they would surprise him, his eyes red, slit like taillights. My mama and I would weep with joy as they led him off. The deputies would wrap us in blankets, swept in their blue lights. We were innocent, weren’t we? Just at the wrong place at the wrong time, all the time, involved with the wrong man—and we didn’t know, my mama didn’t know, the extent. 
But that wasn’t true, not even close. 
I sold the weed at a gas station called Crossroads to a boy who delivered meals for shut-ins. Brown paper bags filled the back of his station wagon, the tops rolled over like his mama made him lunch. I supposed he could keep the bags straight. That was the arrangement Lobo had made years ago, that was the arrangement I kept. I left things uncomplicated. I didn’t know where the drugs went after the boy with the station wagon, where the boy sold them or for how much. I took the money he gave me and buried most of it in the yard.
After his station wagon bumped back onto the rural route, I went inside the store. There was a counter in the back, a row of cracked plastic tables and chairs that smelled like ketchup: a full menu, breakfast through dinner. They sold a lot of egg sandwiches at Crossroads to frackers, men on their way out to work sites. It was a good place to meet; Lisbeth would come this far. I ordered three cheeseburgers and fries, and sat down.
She was on time. She wore gray sweatpants under her long denim skirt, and not just because of the cold. “You reek, Wil,” she said, sliding onto the chair across from me.
“Lobo says that’s the smell of money,” I said.
“My mama says money smells like dirty hands.”
            The food arrived, delivered by a waitress I didn’t know. Crinkling red and white paper in baskets. I slid two of the burgers over to Lisbeth. The Church forbade pants on women, and short hair, and alcohol. But meat was okay. Lisbeth hunched over a burger, eating with both hands, her braid slipping over her shoulder.
“Heard from them at all?” she asked.
“Not lately.”
“You think he would let her write you? Call?”
“She doesn’t have her own phone,” I said.
            Lisbeth licked ketchup off her thumb. The fries were already getting cold. How about somethin’ home made? read the chalkboard below the menu. I watched the waitress write the dinner specials in handwriting small and careful as my mama’s.
“Hot chocolate?” I read to Lisbeth. “It’s June.”
“It’s freezing,” she said. 
And it was, still. Steam webbed the windows. There was no sign of spring in the lung-colored fields, bordered by trees as spindly as men in a bread line. We were past forsythia time, past when the squirrels should have been rooting around in the trees for sap. 
“What time is it now?” Lisbeth asked.
I showed her my phone, and she swallowed the last of her burger.
“I’ve got to go.”
“Choir rehearsal.” She took a gulp of Coke. Caffeine was frowned upon by The Church, though not, I thought, exclusively forbidden. “I gave all the seniors solos, and they’re terrified. They need help. Don’t forget. Noon tomorrow.”
The Church was strange—strange enough to whisper about. But The Church had a great choir; she had learned so much. They had helped her get her job at the high school, directing the chorus, not easy for a woman without a degree. Also, her folks loved The Church. She couldn’t leave, she said.
“What’s at noon?” I asked.
           She paused long enough to tilt her head at me. “Wylodine, really? Graduation, remember? The kids are singing?”
“I don’t want to go back there.”
“You promised. Take a shower if you been working so my folks don’t lose their 
“If they haven’t figured it out by now, they’re never going to know,” I said, but Lisbeth 
was already shrugging on her coat. Then she was gone, through the jangling door, long braid and layers flapping. In the parking lot, a truck refused to start, balking in the cold.  
I ordered hot chocolate. I was careful to take small bills from my wallet when I went up to the counter. Most of the roll of cash from the paper bag boy was stuffed in a Pepsi can back on the floor of the truck. Lobo, who owned the truck, had never been neat, and drink cans, leaves, and empty Copenhagen tins littered the cab. Though the mud on the floor mats had hardened and caked like makeup, though Lobo and Mama had been gone a year now, I hadn’t bothered cleaning out the truck. Not yet.
The top of the Pepsi can was ripped partially off, and it was dry inside: plenty of room for a wad of cash. I had pushed down the top to hide the money, avoiding the razor-sharp edge. Lobo had taught me well.
I took the hot chocolate to go.

About the Author:

Alison Stine lives in the rural Appalachian foothills. A recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), she was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She has written for The Atlantic, The Nation, The Guardian, and many others. She is a contributing editor with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

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

Thank you so much to Alison and the awesome MIRA team for allowing us to host this tour post! If ROAD OUT OF WINTER sounds like something you'd be interested in, make sure to add it to your TBR!

Waiting on Wednesday: Ebonwilde by Crystal Smith

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read! 

Title: Ebonwilde (Bloodleaf #3) 
Author: Crystal Smith
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: June 1st 2021
Get ready to be swept away, seduced, and swindled in the wickedly vicious third and final installment in the Bloodleaf series that Laura Sebastian called “enchanting, visceral, and twisty.” Welcome to Ebonwilde. Come and find me. Aurelia’s last words haunted Zan. Left with the task of finding and reviving Princess Aurelia, Zan sets off on his own adventure to find her and return the gift she sacrificed for him—her life. But not all is what it seems, and Ebonwilde is more dangerous than anyone can predict.

Check out my review of Bloodleaf here and my review of Greythorne here

I finished Greythorne the other day and that ending has killed me,  I can't wait for next summer when Ebonwilde is out and I can know for sure how this story is going to end for Aurelia, Kellan, Zan and the rest of the gang. Crystal is by far one of my favorite authors and she continues to surprise readers with new plot twists and beautiful imagery. To say I am excited is the understatement of the year! 

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so we can stop back!

Top Ten Tuesday: Questions I Would Ask My Favorite Authors

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: Questions I Would Ask My Favorite Authors

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a really exciting one, because it made me sit back and think -- if I had a chance to talk to some of my favorite authors, what would I ask them? So without further ado, here are ten questions (in no particular order!) that I would ask my favorite authors:

1. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

2. In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process?

3. What's the hardest?

4. What's one genre that you've always wanted to write but you haven't yet?

5. What's your writing/editing process like?

6. How the heck did you *make it*?

7. Do you have any interesting writing rituals?

8. Who would be your dream writer to collaborate with?

9. Do you have any regrets about anything you've published?

10. If you could go back and do anything about your writing career differently, what would it be and why?

So those are ten questions that I'd ask my favorite authors! What are yours? Comment down below and let me know!

Amber's NetGalley Pile! (Part 2!)

Happy Monday! 🤩 I did a NetGalley pile a few months and it was a lot of fun to make and I loved hearing what everyone was excited to read. So, I made an updated one with mostly new titles that I have been approved for! I'm not going to lie, I get request happy and start requesting anything that catches my eye. Which tends to get me in a lot of trouble. Luckily, I have a lot of free time at the moment, so I hope to blow through this list pretty quick! 

If you aren't similar with NetGalley or what it is, check out this post to learn more about here!

Fall 2020 Titles:



2021 Titles:


I am super excited for all of these titles, but Phoenix Flame, Dustborn and These Violent Delights are at the top of my anticipation lists! 

Have you read any of these yet or are you looking forward to them? What books have you  read from NetGalley recently? Let me know in the comments below!