ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: The Prince and Her Dreamer by Kayla Bashe

SUMMARY

42274652Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: December 12, 2018
Received From: Review copy from the author

Clara feels stifled by the life that’s been planned out for her, and clings to her only hope that something more might be possible: a mysterious book given to her by her Uncle Drosselmeyer, that recounts the tales of the magnificent warrior woman known as the Red Prince.

Decades ago, Drosselmeyer trapped the Red Prince in the form of a doll to save her from the Rats. When the magic of Clara’s selfless admiration restores her to human form, she and Clara must find a way to stand against the Rats once and for all if they hope to enjoy the life they’ve always longed for…

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ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Touch Up by Katey Hawthorne & JA Rock

SUMMARY

41220246Publisher: Self-pub
Release Date: October 15, 2018
Received From: Rose & Thorns Reviewer List

Last year, twenty-three-year-old actress Dina Gilbert snagged the lead in the summer’s biggest blockbuster. It wasn’t easy: she’s black, openly queer, and has actual curves she refuses to let people Photoshop. Now, overwhelmed by sudden fame and homesick for Georgia, she’s becoming someone she doesn’t recognize. Maybe that’s why she’s out partying her face off most nights.

Enter Colleen Thomas, an ex-model turned photo editor whose issues with her own body are only surpassed by her issues with other peoples’. Colleen knows the rules but Photoshops Dina’s magazine cover anyway, incurring the wrath of Dina and her fans. And, okay, maybe that cover image was unbelievably sexy even before Colleen’s alterations. So what? Dina’s not fooling anyone with that girl-next-door, I-eat-Snickers-in-my-Golden-Globes-dress BS. Colleen knows a train wreck when she sees one.

Tensions rise even more when Colleen and Dina have to work together at the Rose Social Club’s annual charity gala. When they realize they have something in common, no one is more surprised than they are. The sexual chemistry doesn’t hurt either. Their differences could either be a source of strength—a life raft in the heaving waters of Hollywood—or the makings of a titanic crash.

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ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

SUMMARY

36639897Publisher: Flux
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Received From: NetGalley

The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger. But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta.

To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.

She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.

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ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Off Limits by Vanessa North

SUMMARY

51ZyVQj6UPLPublisher: Self-pub
Release Date: September 24, 2018
Received From: Review copy as part of Rose & Thorns review team

By day, Natalie Marshall is the Thorns Ladies’ Social Club’s perfect concierge: resourceful, observant, immaculate. But she turns her phone off when the night concierge arrives, and then she’s Nat: the raunchy lead singer of Vertical Smile—notorious for lewd lyrics and sexually-charged performances.

Rebecca Horvath isn’t used to asking twice—for anything. As the scion of one of Hollywood’s most powerful film dynasties, she’s waited on, pampered, fawned over—spoiled. So when she asks the cute front person of her favorite queer punk band to be her date to a charity auction, she isn’t expecting the whispered “no,” or for the singer to disappear without even thanking her for the martini.

For Natalie, two worlds colliding spells professional catastrophe–her on-stage antics definitely violate the club employees’ standards clause. For it to be Bex Horvath—a perennial gossip-pages feature—who discovers her secret is terrifying.

When the focus of a criminal investigation at work brings Nat’s double life to the attention of her employer, everything spins out of control. Bex is there to prove there’s more to this party girl than meets the eye. Nat might have to trust her with her secrets, but her heart? That’s off limits.

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ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Thrall by Avon Gale & Roan Parrish

SUMMARY

41570429Publisher: Philtre Press
Release Date: September 27, 2018
Received From: A Novel Take PR

Dating Sucks & Love Bites

Happy couple Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra have begun to garner national attention for their quirky New Orleans true-crime podcast, Shadowcast. When Lucy’s brother Harker disappears while researching the popular new dating app Thrall, they’re thrown into a real-life mystery. Aided by their social media expert, Arthur, and Harker’s professor, Van Helsing, they follow the trail, hoping to find Harker before it’s too late.

When their investigation crosses the path of a possible serial killer, the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur. And as they race against the app’s countdown clock, so does the line between friendship and love. What starts as a flirtatious rivalry between computer-savvy Arthur and techno-averse Van Helsing becomes much more, and Mina and Lucy’s relationship is tested in the fires of social media.

As they get down to the wire, the group discovers that nothing on their screens is as it seems—including their enemy.

A modern retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

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Reviews for Already Published Books

REVIEW: Angels Can’t Swim by Alexandra McCann

SUMMARY

40752201Publisher: Self-pub
Release Date: June 22, 2018
Received From: Review requested by the author

Angels Can’t Swim is an original, honest coming-of-age novella that examines what goes on behind the scenes for three college swimmers. Jenna, Maggie, and Eden are each incredibly different in their personalities and struggles, yet under pressure they must come together in this compelling story of friendship and what it means to be a good teammate. While balancing the pressures of swimming at a high level and also dealing with the realities of college life, the three young women grow immensely as individual people and in their bonds with each other. In portraying these bonds, the novella tackles important issues such as eating disorders and what it means to be an LGBTQ young person. This intense, unforgettable novella is a must-read for young adults, college students, and all people who wish to take a glimpse into a world not often seen.

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Reviews for Already Published Books

REVIEW: Concerto in Chroma Major by Naomi Tajedler

SUMMARY

39078770Publisher: Interlude Press
Release Date: July 12, 2018
Received From: NetGalley

Alexandra Graff, a Californian living in Paris, is a stained-glass artist whose synesthesia gifts her with the ability to see sounds in the form of color. When she’s commissioned to create glass panels for the new Philharmonie, she forms a special bond with the intriguing Halina Piotrowski, a famous Polish pianist. As their relationship develops, Alexandra shows Halina the beautiful images her music inspires. But when it comes to a lasting future together, will Halina’s fear of roots and commitment stand in the way?

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ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Toil & Trouble Anthology

SUMMARY

36426163Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Received From: NetGalley

A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

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Reviews for Already Published Books

REVIEW: The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

SUMMARY

31246717Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Received From: Edelweiss

Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Abby knows it’s a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes.

Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She’s somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.’s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story?

But when Jordi’s photography puts Abby in the spotlight, it feels like a betrayal, rather than a starring role. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?

Is this just Abby’s summer of fashion? Or will it truly be The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles)?

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Reviews for Already Published Books

REVIEW: Queerly Loving (Volume 2)

SUMMARY

38217839Publisher: Queer Pack
Release Date: February 15, 2018
Received From: Review copy from one of the authors

In part two of Queerly Loving, our authors bring you short stories with characters across the fantastic queer spectrum, with endings that will leave you warm and smiling. Trans love interests, demisexual characters trying to find their way in the world, bisexual characters dealing with a heartbreak in the best way, and lesbians on escapades.

Dragons roar into life, dystopian futures unfold, mermaids enjoy space voyages, and modern-day adventures will curl your toes and make you cheer. There are first kisses, friends that are like kin, and aromantic characters discovering their place among a queer-normative family.

Get ready for your queer adventure.

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