Book Review: Burro Hills by Julia Lynn Rubin

Burro Hills

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: ARC provided by Netgalley
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Publisher: Diversion Books
Point of View: First Person (Jack)
Genres & Themes:  M/M Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+,Young Adult, Drugs, Violence, Homophobia


In a town like Burro Hills, you either figure out who you are or die trying.

Seventeen-year-old Jack has lived in the troubled California town his entire life. He hides the truth about his sexuality from everyone, including his best friend Jess and his childhood rival and drug dealing partner, Toby. Keeping your head down, Jack knows, is the best way to survive.

But when Connor, a fearless new arrival, enrolls at school, he sees right through Jack’s façade. Jack finds himself falling for Connor, and the feeling is mutual―but their relationship will set into a motion a series of events with lasting consequences. After a falling out with Jess, Jack is worried to see her growing close to the manipulative Toby. To make matters worse, Jack is becoming increasingly paranoid that Toby will expose his relationship with Connor.

As tensions rise and more secrets come to a head, Jack cuts off ties with Toby. Hungry for revenge, Toby comes after Jack, jeopardizing his budding romance with Connor and the life he’s tried so hard to salvage in Burro Hills.


I feel like any time I do review these days, it’s because I thoroughly enjoy a novel I’m reading (or I absolutely hate it and just need to share my thoughts lol).


Burro Hills completely took me by surprise. From the beginning, I almost didn’t read it. First, because this has been in my anticipating title list for so long, that when I saw it on the Netgalley site, I thought it was another book and that they had stolen the graphic design, especially the font. Only for me to realize that it was the book in my mind I was comparing it to. And then, I got into this slump.

Yes, that dreaded slump.

I didn’t feel like much of anything, but I decided to go with Burro Hills. Now that I think about it, maybe it was calling to me, and I’m glad I picked up that call.

Burro Hills is where Jack lives, a town full of drugs, disappointment, and dead-ends. This is a novel about a guy finding himself in the midst of so much wrongness and toxicity; from the school to the parents to his friends.

And then there’s Connor.

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The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang Blog Tour!

THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER Join us for a blog tour for Jen Wang’s wonderful upcoming graphic novel — The Prince and the Dressmaker! This book is the story of a prince who hires a dressmaker to make dresses for him to wear … and in the process,...




Guys! The Prince and the Dressmaker Blog Tour has commenced! This beautiful graphic novel by Jen Wang is out February 13, 2018!

Read the official synopsis: 

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia—the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances—one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.


As part of the blog tour, each blogger gets to pick their favorite panel from the book.

My favorite panel:

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Let me tell you, narrowing it down to just one was hard. I loved all of the interactions (even the sad ones) of Sebastian and Frances, but one that I just kept going back was that of Sebastian and his father. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I just love stories where acceptance comes especially from the parents. Plus, seeing the King in a dress is a plus. Horray for supportive fathers!

Check out my 5-star review here! 

Meet the Author!

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Jen Wang is a cartoonist and illustrator currently living in Los Angeles. Her works have appeared in the Adventure Time comics and LA Magazine. She recently illustrated Tom Angleberger’s Fake Mustache.  Her graphic novels Koko Be Good and In Real Life (with author Cory Doctorow) were published by First Second.
ALSO! Check back on Valentines Day for your very own dressmaker valentine cards!

Book Review: Gemini Keeps Capricorn (Signs of Love #3) by Anyta Sunday


Gemini Keeps Capricorn (Signs of Love, #3)My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: ARC provided by A Novel Take PR
Publication Date: December 18, 2017
Publisher: N/A
Point of View: Third Person (Wesley)
Genres & Themes:  M/M Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Sports, Romance, Football


Sometimes, one stubborn Capricorn is all it takes… to drive Wesley Hidaka to crazy, flirtatious lengths.

Wesley loves annoying his RA, Lloyd Reynolds. He just can’t help it. Lloyd is focused, decisive, grounded. He has this amusing ability to follow rules.
Of course Wesley wants Lloyd to break one… or three hundred.

Sometimes, one smirking Gemini is all it takes… to have Lloyd laying down the law and marching Wesley straight back to his dorm room.

It doesn’t stop Wesley teasing again. And again. And again…
But damn. Lloyd doesn’t crack easily. He’s full of principles. He’s unshakable.
He’s the perfect friend to have when Wesley needs help. Like with his truant brother and his old high school principal.

Sometimes, one little lie is all it takes… to find Wesley fake-engaged to his off-limits RA.

What can he say? It seemed like a good idea at the time…

* ~* ~* ~*

“Gemini Keeps Capricorn” serves up a double shot of cluelessness, with a side of rock’n’roll and topped with a slow burn HEA.
It can be read as a standalone.

Tropes: friends-to-lovers, slow burn, will-they-or-won’t-they, fake fiancé
Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance


I’m done.

Done…doubting Anyta Sunday, that is!

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A Survival Guide to Miami’s Book Fair

If you live in Miami or South Florida you know that we rarely get book fairs down here. We’re so south that we’re not even considered south, and so people don’t really venture down here. Book tours? One (1) bookstore hosts them and that’s maybe once a year. Okay, I’m exaggerating, it’s maybe once every five or six months. Book signings? Again, that same bookstore, and the rare Barnes & Noble bookstore that host them one or two every year. Book fairs? Glad you asked. We get the one, the official Miami Book Fair that’s hosted every year during November. It’s a week long event that culminates in a weekend street book fair.

During that week, different authors hold panels and then during the weekend, vendors and books signing are held in the Miami-Dade College Wolfson campus.


I live for this book fair.

I die waiting for that week in November. That one weekend once a year.

This is a guide for surviving and living the Miami Book Fair.

First, make sure you take cash with you. Yes, they accept credit/debit cards, but life hack: If you pay with a card they’ll charge you tax. If you pay with cash, rarely (because there are cases where they do) do they charge you the tax.

Second, build your author schedule. It’s easy to get lost and enthralled by the many book vendors, the food, and the music. Also, the heat is suffocating. You’re in Miami. Miami doesn’t care about the actual season you’re supposed to be in. So, you’re not going to want to take out your schedule and plan whilst you’re in the middle of foot-traffic.

The Miami Book Fair schedule is up almost a month in advance it allows you to build your schedule. Use it!


Third, get there early. The book fair closes at 6 pm. That time goes by quickly. Know the saying, “life flies by when you’re having fun.” Well, it’s true. Especially when you’re reading blurbs and trying to run from one author to the author whilst trying to eat some raspados.

Okay, so this leads me to my pros and cons of the Miami Book Fair. Listen, Miami is a CITY. Like an “everyone knows about Miami” type of city. So, there should be more attractions, right? Let me let you in on a little secret. Miami is a scavenger hunt for finding fun things to do. The thing is Miami is good for beaches and clubs. Sure, there are museums, but you better believe I’ve been to all of them at least 15 times.

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Obviously, I’ll be looking at all the book events. The thing is I hear about YALL Fest, BOOKCON, BookExpo, so forth. The thing that they have that Miami Book Fair doesn’t?

ARCS. I’m not trying to say the only reason to go to events is to get Advance Reader Copy’s but the thing is MBF doesn’t offer any exclusive content. Last year I saw a book subscription box service. This year? They weren’t in attendance. Harlequin teen came last year. This year? Nothing. Harpercollins was there, but they had a small selection of showcase books. There were three ARCS, the rep told me he might give them out on Sunday.

The thing was there are barely any discover selection each year. This year I noticed there were barely any teen books. If there were, they’re the same bestseller books you can get at Walmart or a B&N. And they’re at full price. Books & Books had the same selection of bestseller books.

There really isn’t new and exciting books. There are no Penguin teen, or Random House booths.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Miami Book Fair. I have to. It’s the only I can go, but I think they need to step up their game. I’ve got for the past 7+ years, and I see less content each year. I’m a bookseller and so I rather get books with a discount, because some of the content isn’t worth getting at the booths.

Nonetheless, I can hardly wait for November 2018.


Book Review: Down by Contact (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell

Down by Contact (The Barons, #2)

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: ARC provided by NetGalley
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: InterMix
Point of View: First Person (Simeon and Adrián)
Genres & Themes:  M/M Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Sports, Romance, Football


Two rival football players begin a game with higher stakes than the Super Bowl in this steamy romance from the author of Illegal Contact.

Simeon Boudreaux, the New York Barons’ golden-armed quarterback, is blessed with irresistible New Orleans charm and a face to melt your mama’s heart. He’s universally adored by fans and the media. Coming out as gay in solidarity with his teammate hasn’t harmed his reputation in the least—except for some social media taunting from rival linebacker Adrián Bravo.

Though they were once teammates, Adrián views Simeon as a traitor and the number-one name on the New Jersey Predators’ shit list. When animosity between the two NFL players reaches a boiling point on the field, culminating in a dirty fist fight, they’re both benched for six games and sentenced to joint community service teaching sullen, Brooklyn teens how to play ball.

At first, they can barely stand to be in the same room, but running the camp forces them to shape up. With no choice but to work together, Simeon realizes Adrián is more than his alpha-jerk persona, and Adrián begins to question why he’s always had such strong feelings for the gorgeous QB…



Santino Hassell knows how to write sex scenes.

That is all.

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I’M BACK! With a 2018 Book Review: The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis

The Dangerous Art of Blending In

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: ARC provided by Edelweiss
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Point of View: First Person (Evan )
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, M/M Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+


Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn’t know where he fits in. His strict Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend Henry has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer.

Tired, isolated, scared—Evan’s only escape is drawing in an abandoned church that feels as lonely as he is. And, yes, he kissed one guy over the summer. But it’s his best friend Henry who’s now proving to be irresistible. It’s Henry who suddenly seems interested in being more than friends. And it’s Henry who makes him believe that he’s more than his mother’s harsh words and terrifying abuse. But as things with Henry heat up, and his mother’s abuse escalates, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by avoiding attention at all costs.


Have you guys ever reblog those tumblr post about books that tear your heart being your favorite? The one about the mom asking the person what their favorite book is? the sad one? they say, and the person replying, “WHICH ONE?” You know, because there are so many favorite, sad books?

Yeah…I can’t relate.

I’ll 100% admit it. I am the biggest wimp in the world. I just can’t. Listen, I could read it, but I probably won’t ever pick up the book again. And I could totally have a hearbreaking-esque book as my all time favorite, just never be able to reread it.

On each book cover, in the title box, he’s written: 

For Every Normal Day.

I feel the tears come rushing down. “You remembered.”

He nods. Softly, he says, “It’s a start.”

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Book Review: Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell

Illegal Contact (The Barons, #1)

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: ARC provided by A Novel Take PR
Publication Date:August 15, 2017
Publisher: InterMix
Point of View: First Person (Noah & Gavin)
Genres & Themes: Romance, M/M Romance, Contemporary, Sports, Football


The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…


Santino Hassell might have 31 distinct works, according to Goodreads, but do not be misguided—he’s just getting started. Every work keeps getting better and better. His tagline is Get Hasselled, and, trust me, once you read one of his books you get sucked into his books and you get an inkling of what Hasslled means.

Illegal Contact was that for me. A wild ride from beginning to end. With characters like Gavin, a football player who has been sentenced to house arrest after an altercation, and Noah, a guy who has just been fired from his previous job who now finds himself considering any job, even as a person assistant to a guy know for his anger-management issues.

There’s three things you should know about Gavin and Noah, respectively.


—Doesn’t give a fuck.

—Unless he cares for you.



—Noah doesn’t really like football

—or football players.


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