I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

EVERY MISSING PERSON HAS A STORY.

In her small town, seventeen-year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again.

At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way.

When another little girl in town goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much of her own story is she willing to reveal in order to uncover the truth?

Review

Dee Skinner’s life changed the moment she witnessed her best friend getting abducted at seven years old. Ten years later, she still lives in the same town, but in a different house. Sibby is a ghost that haunts Dee every day. She’s the girl who wasn’t taken. That guilt weighs her every action down.

She wasn’t able to help Sibby, but she finds a way to help others who have gone missing. As an anonymous podcaster, the Seeker, she hosts a true-crime podcast called Radio Silent. She focuses on missing person cases and works with the Laptop Detective Agency to find new leads and to find the missing.

Nearly ten years to the day, another girl goes missing in her town.

Dee struggles, wanting to stay away from the case but at the same time wanting to help find the missing girl. Is Sibby’s abduction related to Layla’s? A well-timed e-mail sends her down the rabbit hole to find out what has happened to both girls.

What I loved about the format of this novel, was the fact that the podcast scripts were included. I’m a huge true crime junkie and podcast lover. Being able to see how Dee worked to keep herself anonymous but she worked hard to help get answers from these families was exciting. She was determined to find answers and finally put in the work that her Laptop Detective Agency had been doing since episode one.

Dee meets Sarah, the attraction is immediate, but they balance each other. Where Dee is headstrong and throws caution to the wind, Sarah talks her off the ledge and finds a way to make sure they are safe from harm. Their romance takes a backseat to the plot, but the relationship was normalized in a way I wished my high school years could have been. She and Sarah got to go to the Winter Formal together, her parents didn’t make her sexuality seem anything but normal.

The action was a bit slow in the beginning, but once it got going? I couldn’t put the book down. I needed to find Sibby and Layla. I needed to make sure Burke was going to be okay by the end of it all. I had an inkling of who took Sibby, but the result for Layla? I wasn’t expecting that at all.

Get your copy here

First Time by Stella Starling

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Cody McPherson is a high school senior everyone says is destined for the NFL. Simon Andrews is the transfer student who doesn’t want any attention. It’s 2007 and no one is out at Hamilton High School, but there’s a first time for everything, and when biology tutoring sparks the kind of chemistry not found in textbooks, 2007 starts to look like the year that there will be a lot of firsts at Hamilton…

First Time is a coming-of-age gay romance novella of approximately 34,000 words. Every Stella Starling romance takes place in the same interconnected, contemporary world, and First Time is a prequel to Cody and Simon’s present-day love story, which will be told in the novel Second Chance, scheduled for release in 2019.

The Review

This was such a sweet read 😍 I wish there had been more. I love a good coming of age, first-time, YA Romance. And this had everything you could want for a mature reader (I say mature because there is a sex scene towards the end that definitely steps over into the NA genre)

Cody McPherson is the star of the football team and is expected to make it to the big leagues. He just needs to get his biology grade up to par to keep playing and to make sure he keeps those scholarships he’s been offered. He’s been keeping his head down, not looking at his team mates in the locker room and managed to get away with not dating throughout high school because he was focusing on football. Simon Andrews is a nobody and just wants to make it through high school without causing any waves and to make sure he gets a scholarship so he can finally be himself without any barriers.

Cody has been fighting his attraction to Simon since Simon started tutoring him. He’s smart, kind, funny, and sweet. He’s everything that Cody wants but thinks he can’t have. Simon thinks Cody is a straight jock that’s completely off limits. They are so cute with each other. They both get flustered, stumble over their words when they are around each other, and dissolve into shy smiles and laughter. It reminded me of the first relationship jitters that everyone gets. You’re happy, excited and want everything all at once. This was exactly how they were with each other.

Cody’s friends melted my heart. They were supportive and had his back, just like they would have on the football field. They had me smiling and laughing with how they were with both Cody and Simon. It didn’t matter that they were gay, or from different ends of the high school social ladder. They were there for each other.

By the time I finished reading this, I was in such a good mood. It was exactly what I needed.

I wish there had been more tutoring scenes, awkward dates and maybe meeting Simon’s mom scene. I know it’s a novella, and there’s a full length book featuring their second chance romance, but I just needed more!! I’m definitely going to be reading more by Stella Starling.

Get your copy here!

 

 

 

 

Struck by Victoria Kinniard

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary:

Capes are stupid.
Superheroes are just wishful thinking.
True love doesn’t exist.
I’m not a hero.
Well…not yet.

***

A seventeen-year-old hacker, a group of teenage superheroes and one hell of a family secret come together to form the perfect storm.
Are you ready to get struck?

The Review

I have a weakness for Superheroes and YA books. So I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read Struck. 

Ethan is a small-town hacker who already knows how to his own version of justice done until he was struck. Now he’s trying to figure out what exactly his power it is and how the Lightning Project is going to be doing good for the world. I loved Ethan. He is so freaking sarcastic and witty he had me cackling at times. Everyone needs a friend like Ethan in their lives.

Ethan doesn’t also immediately buy into the Lightning Project. He challenges it like a teenager would. He wants to know as much as he can about the Project and to understand it before he accepts his new role. I enjoyed all the other characters as well. They helped push the story along and each proved vital to the story line in their own ways. I particularly enjoyed Esther and her teasing nature. She was fun for more than just her powers.

I enjoyed the romance between Ethan and Adam. It wasn’t all roses and there were moments that I wanted to shake both of them but they got their act together. But they were sweet to each other in that teenage way. I loved the little flirty moments mixed in with all the action. It made this extremely fun to read and I’m looking forward to the next installment.

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Into the Mystic Volume Three

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summaries: There are nine lesbian/bisexual paranormal short stories contained in this volume of short stories.

It Started Before Noon – All stories must begin somewhere.

Heart’s Thaw – A frozen heart is no match for ignited passions.

Fire and Brine – Of all the bars in all the world, Alice had to wander into Cassandra’s. Are either of them ready for what comes next?

Dance with Me – Can a werewolf and a vampire put aside their differences to catch a thief in the Windy City?

My Cup of O Pos – Not every visit to the ER has to be stressful.

Home – A stray, an alpha, and a question: Where does she belong?

Swoon – Falling in love is tough when you’re a cursed pirate.

The Hunt – A first bite is never easy for a teenage vampire.

By Candlelight – A girl and her ghost await a funeral.

 

The Review(s)

Not having previously read the last two volumes of the Into the Mystic collections, I wasn’t expecting what I actually got. The cover had me thinking, like time travel, witches, Scottish highlands but that’s not what I got. Now I can say each of these stories were great in their own ways. Some of the authors are now on my list to watch for future work or previous publications.

I have come to realize that there are going to be stories I absolutely love and need an entire novel written about the characters, and then one or two that I’m not fond of. It’s just personal preference. If you’re looking for erotica, that’s not what you’re going to get in this collection. There’s one story, Fire and Brine by Lis Valentine would be the one that went more in that direction. The rest have a gentle, kind romance about them.

It Stated Before Noon by Ava Kelly is probably one of the three stories I wish there was more of. That’s how much I loved it. The concept wasn’t one that I had seen before. A muse planting and cultivating inspiration (comedies, tragedies, dramas, but never romances) tickled me. A romantic and a scientist working together, learning about life and falling in love? I was smiling the entire time.

Home by K. Parr hit my weak spot. I love a good werewolf story, and then you’ve got a little bit of an age difference. Yeah, buddy. A young bitten wolf is trying to figure her way out in the world and she ends up in the backyard of an alpha who makes her feels whole. And that ending *sigh* it was perfect.

Swoon by Artemis Savery was completely unexpected. Sirens, they aren’t my thing. But a lesbian siren who is morally conflicted with taking the voice of a woman she loves? It was beautiful, crushing and hopefully all at the same time.

The Hunt by M. Hollis and By Candlelight by Ziggy Schultz were YA stories. The Hunt had a vampire youth going on her first hunt and I squealed with how adorable she was. By Candlelight, it was a bit darker but the thing is it’s what anyone would hope for when they pass. The communication between the ghosts and the ending left me feeling warm.

Fire and Brine by Lis Valentine, is a steamy quick read.

My Cup of Pos by L.J. Hamlin, the title is a little unfortunate until you actually read the story and understand what it means. I think it was intriguing to see a disabled vampire and an explanation of the disability was extremely important because you don’t get that very often in books.

Dance With Me by Michelle Frost was okay. I think it would have made an excellent full-length novel. A PI werewolf with a vampire client. The two don’t mix or do they?

Overall, this is a great collection of stories. I would definitely recommend checking into these collections to find new authors to read because that’s exactly how I’ve been finding a bunch of my new TBR list.

It can be purchased Here!

Fake It by Victoria Kinnaird

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Four out of Five Stars

Book one of the Keswick Chronicles

The Summary: Jack Daveyson grew up with a guitar in his hands and his head full of melodies. Ten years after writing his first riff, he knows exactly what he wants to do with his life – graduate high school, escape Wayville and hit the road with his band, Forever Fading Echoes.

But it’s a bit hard to launch a band without a singer. Enter JJ Keswick.

JJ is everything Jack isn’t: rich, confident and popular. He also happens to be one of the best singers Jack has ever heard.

Jack reluctantly lets JJ into his band and into his life. The spark between them in the practice studio grows into something neither of them were expecting – a love that threatens to tear their lives apart.

The Review

Fake It by Victoria Kinnaird is a YA book that encompasses everything I love about the YA genre with the LGBTQ appeal as the cherry on top. I’m not a fan of teenagers getting into alcohol as much as JJ did (it’s a personal thing and I live in New Orleans so I know kids can party) but it wasn’t overly done. Jack laid down the law on JJ showing up under the influence to band practices and gigs. Having someone put that rule down, made me go, okay, I’m going to keep reading.

In the beginning there was a lot of play on the typical character types and makes them into something more. Jack isn’t just the gay kid who gets bullied and JJ is not just a rich-kid throwaway. There were times where I could pinpoint that certain characters were just like my friends back in high school. It felt like I was part of that world while I was reading.

The imagery of each setting, the record store, JJ’s house, Jack’s house, I could see these places in my mind.

The struggle Jack faces, deciding on college or pursuing his dream of having a legitimate band and skipping college that hit home. I know how hard it was for him to make that decision, to tell his dad what he chose and he was going to do it no matter how hard it was. I didn’t go that route and now I have a useless degree, work in retail and follow my dream on the side. I wish I could have been as brace as Jack was.

Absolutely loved this and can’t wait to read the next in the series!

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