Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson

Format: Print, 192 pages

After reading my own copy, I realized that I had a review galley.

This is a year of change for Ryan Hart. Her dad has a new job, so they have one less car and they have moved to a different house. But Ryan is known for always trying to see the best in things. She finds a challenge in trying to find her talent that she can do for the talent show.

Ryan is a fourth grader whose name means “king” which means that she’s a leader. Her parents encourages her to live up to her name. This year she is given a lot of opportunities to do just that – as it is a year full of changes. Ryan is compared to Ramona Quimby, and though it’s been a while since I’ve read it I do plan on sharing it with my daughter. Now I am glad to find another one to share with her. This is super cute. My favorite thing about this is that it’s a positive black family. There is the normal sibling fighting, but you also see them supporting each other. There are some fails and some successes. It is so fun to see things from Ryan’s perspective. I can’t wait for the next one.

Always Shine!

Special Feature: Childhood Favorites with Tasha from Amaysn Reads

This is a collaborative post that I am doing with my new bookish friend, Tasha, Amaysn Reads Blog. The way that it will work is that each month we will pick a book from our childhood and we’ll either reread it or read it for the first time. Than we’ll talk about our thoughts before and then our thoughts after.

Tasha’s pick:

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhough.

This is about a girl who wants to be a spy. She does this by writing down everything about the people that she encounters, friends, family and strangers. She writes all of her observations in a notebook. Then one day she loses the notebook.

Tasha: I remember picking this book up after I watch the movie with Michelle Tratchenberg. I loved the movie and I even walked around with my own notebook for a while. I really related to Harriet’s awkwardness and her inability to make friends. I remember the book being bigger but it’s a one sitting book. LOL 

Me: Honestly, I don’t remember this from my childhood. I don’t remember anything about the book, but I do remember the movie. It came out when I was in high school and I am sure that I watched it, I was a fan of Nancy Drew so why not? But either the movie didn’t make a lasting impression or I am too old to remember. Who knows at this point?

Tasha: Whew! This is one of those instances where I should have left this childhood favorite, in childhood. Harriet M. Welsch is an only child who lives with her mother, father, and nursemaid. She is an aspiring writer and spy. She keeps a notebook where she writes all of her thoughts in it. When the notebook is found by her classmates, school isn’t so much fun. Harriet is indeed mean. She has some redeeming qualities, but the author doesn’t bother to flesh those out. I felt like in the end there was no consequences for Harriet’s actions and that she was never held accountable. I don’t even have time to get into the amount of fat shaming in this book. Unfortunately, my first pick for this project was a bust

Me: Sorry Tasha, I know that this was your pick and that you had fond memories of this one. But, ummm I didn’t finish this. Harriet was mean. That wasn’t what bothered me. I guess I found it kind of dry. You would think that a little kid spying on people would be interesting. But her observations weren’t all that excited. The way that she gathered her “intelligence” could have been fun with a hint of danger from discovery. But instead they were weird, and bland. 

My Pick:

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

This is the story of 10 Year old Annemarie Johansen, who is living in Nazi occupied Denmark. Without intending to, Annemarie plays a vital part in saving her best friend Ellen and other Jews when the relocation of Denmark’s Jews begins.

Me: I remember reading this in elementary school. I remember it being sad, but I also connected it with friendship. I don’t know if it was because of the friendship in the book of because of the circle of friends that I had at the time. I also remember wanting my own Star of David. It will be interesting to see what I think after I’ve read it, as this will be the first time that I have reread it since elementary school. 

Tasha: Okay, I have never read a Lois Lowry.  At least not that I can remember. I don’t know what it was about her books but I never picked one up. I used to see people reading Number the Stars from the 6th grade library but I never wanted to read it. Maybe I’ve always had an aversion for World War II literature. I don’t really know what this is about but I believe it has something to do with Jewish people and concentration camps.

Me: This is the first time that I’ve read this since I was a kid.  And I am sure that it was a vastly different experience. I can now see how brave Annemarie was, and that this story is about so much more than friendship. It is sad that people had to go through this, but it was also hopeful that there was still people who risked it all just to make things a bit better even when it cost them their lives. I loved the parallel between Annemarie and Little Red Riding Hood as she travels through the woods.I think that Lowry did a great job of balancing the tension throughout the story and maintaining the childlike perspective. I think Annemarie is vastly different than the female characters held up as heroines today. It seems like characters today have to have an overwhelming amount of information before they act. And they never handle that information with any care or concern. I say that knowing that I’ve complained about characters not knowing everything and had they known everything they would act differently. But that is kind of the point, had Annemarie known everything she would have acted differently and would not have accomplished what she did.  Okay so this is turning into a tangent. In the end, I am glad to have reread this. I found the afterword very informative, because it separates what was the author’s embellishments and what was historical fact.

Tasha: Yeah! So, I can totally read a World War 2 story and not hate it. 10 year old AnneMaria was so sweet and felt like a realistic. I found really interesting the Nazi occupation of Copenhagen so interesting because I had never heard of it. Also I like stories that talk about resistance, however small, and how people during Nazi-occupation would do things to preserve their community. I liked seeing these things happen though a child’s eyes and I can see how this could be appealing to children even now. The author really captured the story and what it would be like for a kid. This one definitely holds up.

Always Shine!

Children’s Book Round Up #2

The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm #1) by Michael Buckley

Source: Off My Bookshelf

This is the book that I picked out to read with my niece – a long time ago. She didn’t want to read it and so it sat on my shelf until I finally picked it up. I did plan on reading this aloud to my son- but honestly? It’s not a very good read aloud. But it was a very fun story. I’m just sad that it took me so long to finally pick it up. I really liked this one. And a bonus is that the parents are not dead! Sabrina and Daphne are placed with their grandmother- who they believed was dead. On top of everything they find out, their grandmother is a little weird and tells them that fairytales are real. Daphne immediately believes but Sabrina isn’t convinced until a giant takes their grandmother. They stumble and fumble around and make make mistakes. But they embrace who they are enough to solve the mystery – with a bit of help. This was a great beginning to a series and I can’t wait to continue.

Cake Pop Crush (Wish #1) by Suzanne Nelson

Source: Off My Shelf

To be honest, I am not sure why I got this – I think a later book in the series caught my attention. However, I did like this, I thought it was a sweet story and pretty relatable too. I would have enjoyed reading this when I was younger. Ali is a pretty typical middle schooler, except that she loves baking. This book is about so much more than just baking though. Ali has to gain confidence in herself and in her talents. She has to learn to speak up for herself and deal with awkward -but normal- boy issues. I am glad that I read it and will be saving it for my daughter.

Artemis Fowl (#1) by Eoin Colfer

Source: Off My Bookshelf

This is a highly recommended children’s/middle grade series, and that is what originally caught my attention. Then I saw a preview for the movie and my son wanted to watch it so. I did what readers do- I picked it up to read it. This wasn’t high on my priority so I had low expectations. And was pleasantly surprised. Artemis is not just about a genius billionaire kid. The book highlights his genius-ness and his family’s life/career of crime. But, it kind of downplays the fact that he is 12. In the end, that’s kind of important. My favorite characters, though> It was definitely the fairies — Holly Short, Commander Root and Foaly to be exact. In this case, they are the good guys so it’s easy to root for them. It helps that they are so likable. This was a great start to a series, I like the writing and the character interactions.

#booktemptingchallenge PopCulture Readathon Wrap-up and Changes

FYI: It’s been a while, but I am here. I will be focusing most of my time on my other blog WOSFF Women of Science Fiction and Fantasy. But I will not be leaving this blog all together. For now, I will be posting (consistently – if not frequently) on this blog Tuesday and Thursdays. I will be doing blog tour promos, readathon & series wrap-ups, general reviews (all of the reviews that do not fit WOSFF categories will be here) and the two ongoing series that I have (Childrens Book Round Up and All My Maybes). Except for the reviews that I’ve already got scheduled what you will not find here are reviews for books that I am reading just for fun. I am hoping to find a balance between these blogs and future plans.

The first thing that I want to do is wrap-up the last two readathons that I’ve participated in. After that, you will see reviews for childrens’ books and the updates/results for my Curating my Children’s library series. I will have another installment of All My Maybes ready at the end of August (hopefully).

To start, I want to wrap-up The Book Tempter’s TBR Challenge hosted by Runalong The Shelves

The Stand
  1. The Chunky Boi (Pick a book over 500 pages)
'Salem's Lot

2. The Newbie (Choose a book recently acquired)

The Fairy-Tale Detectives

3. The Old-timer (Choose the oldest book on your TBR)

Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction

4. The Collector (Pick an anthology)

When Death Comes Stealing (Tamara Hayle, #1)

5. Do Not Transcend Genre (A Random book from your favorite genre)

6, 7 &8 Three is Company (Read a trilogy or 3 books in a row from a series)

Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World

9. Face Reality (Read a nonfiction book)

The Best of All Possible Worlds

10. Broaden Your Horizons (Read a book from someone not from the UK or US)

A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2)

11. Randommm(The third books from the left/bottom of the second shelf)


12. Treat Your Shelf (Read Your Favorite book or something new from your favorite author)

In July, I participated in the PopCulture Readathon Round 1 was 90s movies. Initially, I planned on reading for each board. In the end, I stuck with 1 – Thrill Ride.

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)

Read a book that includes magic

Cycle of the Werewolf

Book with a creepy/haunted feel

Unravel the Dusk  (The Blood of Stars, #2)

Book with supernatural creatures

Part of Your Nightmare (Disney Chills, Book One)

Read a book in your second favorite genre

I am glad that I participated in these readathons, I was able to get through some of the books that I’ve been wanting to get to and got to other books quicker than I would have normally. While I may not have read for as many boards as I would have liked, at least I got 4 in a row

Blog Tour: Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks + Excerpt

Lies Lies Lies by Adele Perks

August 4, 2020 – MIRA Books

448 pgs – Adult

Book Summary:

LIES LIES LIES (MIRA Trade Paperback; August 4, 2020; $17.99) centers on the story of Simon and Daisy Barnes. To the outside world, Simon and Daisy look like they have a perfect life. They have jobs they love, an angelic, talented daughter, a tight group of friends… and they have secrets too. Secrets that will find their way to the light, one way or the other. Daisy and Simon spent almost a decade hoping for the child that fate cruelly seemed to keep from them. It wasn’t until, with their marriage nearly in shambles and Daisy driven to desperation, little Millie was born. Perfect in every way, healing the Barnes family into a happy unit of three. Ever indulgent Simon hopes for one more miracle, one more baby. But his doctor’s visit shatters the illusion of the family he holds so dear. Now, Simon has turned to the bottle to deal with his revelation and Daisy is trying to keep both of their secrets from spilling outside of their home. But Daisy’s silence and Simon’s habit begin to build until they set off a catastrophic chain of events that will destroy life as they know it. 

About the Author

Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North-East England. Her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000 and since then she’s had seventeen international bestsellers, translated into twenty-six languages, including I Invited Her In. She’s been an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa. She’s lived in Italy, Botswana and London, and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband, teenage son and cat.



May 1976

Simon was six years old when he first tasted beer.

He was bathed and ready for bed wearing soft pyjamas, even though it was light outside; still early. Other kids were in the street, playing on their bikes, kicking a football. He could hear them through the open window, although he couldn’t see them because the blinds were closed. His daddy didn’t like the evening light glaring on the TV screen, his mummy didn’t like the neighbours looking in; keeping the room dark was something they agreed on.

His mummy didn’t like a lot of things: wasted food, messy bedrooms, Daddy driving too fast, his sister throwing a tantrum in public. Mummy liked ‘having standards’. He didn’t know what that meant, exactly. There was a standard-bearer at Cubs; he was a big boy and got to wave the flag at the front of the parade, but his mummy didn’t have a flag, so it was unclear. What was clear was that she didn’t like him to be in the street after six o’clock. She thought it was common. He wasn’t sure what common was either, something to do with having fun. She bathed him straight after tea and made him put on pyjamas, so that he couldn’t sneak outside.

He didn’t know what his daddy didn’t like, just what he did like. His daddy was always thirsty and liked a drink. When he was thirsty he was grumpy and when he had a drink, he laughed a lot. His daddy was an accountant and like to count in lots of different ways: “a swift one’, “a cold one’, and ‘one more for the road’. Sometimes Simon though his daddy was lying when he said he was an accountant; most likely, he was a pirate or a wizard. He said to people, “Pick your poison’, which sounded like something pirates might say, and he liked to drink, “the hair of a dog’ in the morning at the weekends, which was definitely a spell. Simon asked his mummy about it once and she told him to stop being silly and never to say those silly things outside the house.

He had been playing with his Etch A Sketch, which was only two months old and was a birthday present. Having seen it advertised on TV, Simon had begged for it, but it was disappointing. Just two silly knobs making lines that went up and down, side to side. Limited. Boring. He was bored. The furniture in the room was organised so all of it was pointing at the TV which was blaring but not interesting. The news. His parents liked watching the news, but he didn’t. His father was nursing a can of the grown ups’ pop that Simon was never allowed. The pop that smelt like nothing else, fruity and dark and tempting.

“Can I have a sip?” he asked.

“Don’t be silly, Simon,” his mother interjected. “You’re far too young. Beer is for daddies.” He thought she said ‘daddies’, but she might have said ‘baddies’.

His father put the can to his lips, glared at his mother, cold. A look that said, “Shut up woman, this is man’s business.” His mother had blushed, looked away as though she couldn’t stand to watch, but she held her tongue. Perhaps she thought the bitterness wouldn’t be to his taste, that one sip would put him off. He didn’t like the taste. But he enjoyed the collusion. He didn’t know that word then, but he instinctively understood the thrill. He and his daddy drinking grown ups’ pop! His father had looked satisfied when he swallowed back the first mouthful, then pushed for a second. He looked almost proud. Simon tasted the aluminium can, the snappy biting bitter bubbles and it lit a fuse.

After that, in the mornings, Simon would sometimes get up early, before Mummy or Daddy or his little sister, and he’d dash around the house before school, tidying up. He’d open the curtains, empty the ashtrays, clear away the discarded cans. Invariably his mother went to bed before his father. Perhaps she didn’t want to have to watch him drink himself into a stupor every night, perhaps she hoped denying him an audience might take away some of the fun for him, some of the need. She never saw just how bad the place looked by the time his father staggered upstairs to bed. Simon knew it was important that she didn’t see that particular brand of chaos.

Occasionally there would be a small amount of beer left in one of the cans. Simon would slurp it back. He found he liked the flat, forbidden, taste just as much as the fizzy hit of fresh beer. He’d throw open a window, so the cigarette smoke and the secrets could drift away. When his mother came downstairs, she would smile at him and thank him for tidying up.

“You’re a good boy, Simon,” she’d say with some relief. And no idea.

When there weren’t dregs to be slugged, he sometimes opened a new can. Threw half of it down his throat before eating his breakfast. His father never kept count.

Some people say their favourite smell is freshly baked bread, others say coffee or a campfire. From a very young age, few scents could pop Simon’s nerve endings like the scent of beer.

The promise of it.

Excerpted from Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks, Copyright © 2020 by Adele Parks. 

Published by MIRA Books

Book Tour: Single Mom’s Second Chance + Excerpt

The Single Mom’s Second Chance by Kathy Douglas

What It’s About:

She could use a shoulder to lean on…“We’ll get through this. I promise.”

Facing the fight of her life after a cancer diagnosis, widow Roz Martin is forced to ask her estranged brother-in-law to help care for her children. Being there for his nieces and nephew is a no-brainer for gym owner Paul Stephens. But being there for the woman who’d betrayed him by marrying his half brother is hard. Especially when he discovers the feelings he once had for Roz never died…

Author bio: Kathy Douglass came by her love of reading naturally – both of her parents were readers. She would finish one book and pick up another. Then she attended law school and traded romances for legal opinions.

After the birth of her two children, her love of reading turned into a love of writing. Kathy now spends her days writing the small town contemporary novels she enjoys reading.

Kathy loves to hear from her readers and can be found on Facebook.

Author links

Sales links:

Here’s the Excerpt:

Paul drummed his fingers on his desktop. “Do you want to get to the reason you barged into my office today? I’m sure it wasn’t just to look at me.”

Roz’s face grew hot as she struggled to keep from staring at him. As a teenager, he’d been dedicated to clean living and his body had reflected that. The years had been very good to him. He was six feet two inches of lean muscle. His brown skin glowed with good health, and his face was beyond hand-some, even with his eyes narrowed with irritation.

She took a breath but the word cancer clogged her throat, leaving her unable to speak. To her horror, her eyes filled with tears and her vision blurred. Blinking back the moisture, she forced herself to talk. “I need your help.”

“With what? Not that it matters. The answer is no. We don’t have that type of relationship. Remember? If you’d thought it through, you could have saved yourself the trouble and me the time and aggravation.”

“Are you still holding what happened when we were kids against me?”

“No. But I’m not willing to pretend that we’re friends either. And since Terrence has died, we are no longer family.” He made air quotes with his hands making it clear he’d never accepted her as part of the family.

“Do you consider my kids your nephew and nieces? Are they still your family? Do you still love them?”

“Of course I love them. What do they have to do with this favor of yours?”

“Everything. If not for them I wouldn’t be interrupting your workday.” The annoyed look on his face indicated that her time was coming to an end. Since there was no easy way to say it and she doubted the word would affect him the way it affected her, she just blurted it out. “I have cervical cancer.”

He blinked and jerked as if she’d given him an electric shock. “What?”

“You heard me.” She couldn’t say it again. Her voice wobbled and one of the tears she’d tried so hard to hold back escaped and then slid down her face. She brushed it away, hoping he hadn’t seen it. She didn’t want Paul to see her cry. He might accuse her of using her tears as a weapon, and she wasn’t pre-pared for that battle.

His mouth moved but no sound emerged. She could relate. She’d been floored when her doctor had delivered the news. Though she’d been sitting down, her knees had shaken like Jell-O in an earth-quake. Even now, it was a struggle to stand. But she couldn’t worry about his state of mind. She needed to get to the point of this meeting. “I’m going to be undergoing chemotherapy and having surgery soon.”

When he simply stared at her, his face devoid of all expression, she continued. “I won’t be able to take care of my kids. I have friends who will help me but that won’t be enough. I’m going to need live-in help. Hiring someone is out of the question. I don’t want my kids to have to adjust to a stranger in the house in addition to dealing with my illness. If there were someone else I could go to for help, I would. But there isn’t. Your mother offered to postpone their cruise again, but I can’t ask them to do that. Your father needs to get away from here in order to move past his grief and start living again. So I need someone—you—to come to Sweet Briar.”

Paul’s head was swimming and he fought against a sudden wave of dizziness. Cancer. Roz had cancer. The word echoed in his brain, then slammed repeatedly against his skull. It didn’t make sense. How could she be so sick?

She looked fine. She’d always been slender, with small breasts, a tiny waist and slim hips, but, upon closer examination, she did appear a little thinner than she’d been at Terrence’s funeral last year. Her white top was a bit loose and she kept adjusting the strap, preventing it from slipping off her shoulder. Although her face was as beautiful as ever, the spark in her eyes had been replaced by fear and her brown skin looked dull. Her lips trembled as she tried to smile. Apparently, her mouth refused to cooperate, and after a moment, she gave up the attempt.

“I know it will be inconvenient for you, but you’re my only hope. I’m determined to get well fast, so you shouldn’t have to stay for long. And Nathaniel is old enough to help with Megan and Suzanne.”

It took a minute for her rapidly spoken words to register. Was she still trying to convince him? Was she that uncertain that she could rely on him? “Of course I’ll come. Whatever you need.”

Her body sagged in relief. “Thank you.”

“Did you think I’d say no?”

“To be honest, I wasn’t sure. I’d hoped you’d say yes but I came prepared to be turned down.”

Considering that he’d initially said no before knowing what she needed, there was nothing he could say in his defense. “When did you get your diagnosis?”

“A week ago.”

A week? And she hadn’t said anything to him? “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

Her eyes widened. “Are you kidding me? We haven’t spoken a civil word to each other in years unless there was someone else around. As you just pointed out, we’re neither family nor friends.”

The words sounded so much crueler now. He’d been unnecessarily harsh. Shame battered him, leaving him speechless.

“My oncologist is working on a treatment plan. He’ll have it together by Friday, with dates and schedules. I’ll check with you before I confirm any-thing with him, to make sure you’re available first.”

“You don’t have to do that. I’ll be there whenever you need me to be.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that.”

Always Shine!

The Black Booktuber Tag

Okay So I am only a booktube spectator. I saw this tag and decided that I wanted to do it too. And here we are. This tag was created by Mariama over at Readinginblk. I saw the video on Zoe’s channel, Zoe’s All Booked.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a mom of 2- a 5 year old boy and a 3 year old girl. I have been blogging (most of the time inconsistently)for over 10 years, but I am determined to change that . I enjoy reading just about everything, except literary fiction. My go to genres are Fantasy, Sci-fi, Mystery and romances.

Who’s a black author you love that a lot of people don’t know about?

Sharon M. Draper

Sharon Draper, is an author that I wish that I read as a kid. I discovered her while looking for books for an after school book club. We read Out of my Mind and the kids were hooked. We had kids that were not readers, who couldn’t wait for the next meeting all because of her book. She is also an author that I hardly ever hear anyone talk about.

Favorite book about the black experience

This Is My America

This is My America by Kim Johnson – I decided to go with a book that I read this year, and this is an arc that I read last month. It releases on the 28th of this month. Tracy’s dad is scheduled for a murder that he claims he didn’t commit. So she has been consistently writing Innocence X in hopes that they will take his case and help free him. Then her brother is accused of murder and he takes off running, hoping that he will be able to prove his innocence. You can out my full review here.

Favorite book by a black author


Kindred by Octavia Butler. This is the book that I’ve re-read the most. It’s the book that I’ve given out the most. It’s the book that I’ve rebought the most. Dana as a character speaks to me. Butler was the first author that made me feel as if what I wanted to be ( a published author) was possible.

Recommend a black +queer book

You Should See Me in a Crown

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson Liz Lighty is a senior in high school and she has planned on Pennington College. When she finds out that she won’t be getting the scholarship that she had been counting on, she decides to run for prom queen. If she wins she will get a scholarship and still be able to go to Pennington. Things get complicated when she reconnects with a old friend and falls for the new girl at school. Guys… I love this book. So much more than I thought that I would. It is most likely going to end up as my favorite book of the year. I still don’t like Gabbi. You can read my review here.

Recommend a book with a black person on the cover

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor This is Sunny Nwazue. She lives in Nigeria and she is albino. In this book she discovers that she is a free agent, and has latent magical powerful. She discovers a whole other world full of magic and other mythos. This is a series that if you haven’t read it, then you definitely should. It is also the first book that I read to my daughter (she was a baby and won’t remember it so I guess I’ll have to read it to her again. )

Recommend a book by a black author that makes you happy

Bring on the Blessings (Blessings, #1)

(I could say You Should See Me in a Crown again, but …. I resist). Bring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins I believe that this is the first book by Beverly Jenkins that I’ve read, and it caused me to fall in love with her as a writer. Bernadine Brown caught her husband Leo cheating, and divorced him. She walks away with millions. and then buys a town. Henry Adams is one of the few surviving towns founded by freed slaves.

Recommend Some Black Booktubers (Creatives)

Romance – Stephanie from Steph’s Romance Book Talk

Romance – Bree from Bree Hill

Sci-Fantasy – Tori from Tori Morrow

Arlene from locpressedbooks

Anissa from booksandmelanin

Lexie from Library of Lexie

Curlytop Reads or you can find her on bookstagram

Sydney from Pages of Syd

Ashley from Pagesinthestars

BriAna from Positively BriAna Reads

Tasha from Amaysn Reads

Amber from Cozy Nature Reads

Talk About a Book by a Black Author that’s coming in 2020 (or 2021 oops)

Four books that I would devour right now if I had them in my hands.

Reaper of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, #2)

Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron – releases February 18, 2021

The Year of the Witching

Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson – releases July 21

Witches Steeped in Gold (Witches Steeped in Gold, #1)

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon. Smart – releases April 20, 2021

Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn-releases September 15

Tag Some Black Booktubers (Creatives)

Amber from Cozy Nature Reads

Tasha from Amaysn Reads

BriAna from Positively BriAna Reads

Ashley from Pagesinthestars

Sydney from Pages of Syd

Curlytop Reads or you can find her on bookstagram

Lexie from Library of Lexie

Anissa from booksandmelanin

If you want to do this tag… I’m tagging you. Spread the love and share it!!!

Always Shine!

Book Tour: A Reunion of Rivals by Reese Ryan

I am here with another book by the amazing Reese Ryan! Ryan is definitely an author to keep your eye on.

What it’s about:

Sparks in the boardroom and the bedroom…
She can’t let anything derail her passion project,
Not even a second chance with the sexiest man alive…
The deal that could bring Quinn Bazemore’s career back from the brink has one catch:
she must
partner up with her ex-lover Max Abbott. Quinn can’t forget the pleasure-filled summer they shared.
But now she’s butting heads over business strategy with the mouthwatering marketing VP, even as their reawakened desire threatens to expose her deepest secrets…

Time got away from me, so I didn’t get a chance to pick this up. But it definitely will be read next month. Until then, feel free to read this excerpt:

Excerpt, A REUNION OF RIVALS by Reese Ryan

“Morning, Max.” A wide smile spread across Dixon Bazemore’s face as they both rose to their feet and shook hands. The old man had been the owner of Bazemore Orchards longer than Max had been alive. “Good to see you, young man.”

“You, too, Mr. B.” Molly’s instincts about the reason for the meeting had been right. Why else would Dixon Bazemore be here? Still, he asked, “What brings you to see us today?”

“We’ll go over everything during the meeting,” Max’s father interjected. “We’re waiting for one more person.”

Max glanced around the table. All of the members of the executive committee were present. His grand-father and father. His brothers Blake and Parker, the operations VP and CFO, respectively. Blake’s wife, Savannah—the company’s events manager. Zora, him and his father’s admin, Lianna, who was there to take notes.

“Who are we—”

“I’m sorry. I got a little turned around finding my way back here from the parking lot. But I’ve got your portfolio, Grandad.”

Max snapped his attention in the direction of the familiar voice. He hadn’t heard it in more than a decade, but he would never, ever forget it. His mouth went dry, and his heart thudded so loudly he was sure his sister could hear it.

“Peaches?” He scanned the brown eyes that stared back at him through narrowed slits.

Quinn.” She was gorgeous, despite the slightly irritated flare of her nostrils and the stiff smile that barely revealed her dimples. “Hello, Max.”

The good to see you was notably absent. But what should he expect? It was his fault they hadn’t parted on the best of terms.

Quinn settled into the empty seat beside her grandfather. She handed the old man a worn leather portfolio, then squeezed his arm. The genuine smile that lit her brown eyes and activated those killer dimples was firmly in place again.

Max had been the cause of that magnificent smile nearly every day that summer between his junior and senior years of college when he’d interned at Bazemore Orchards.

If that has grabbed your attention, there’s good news A Reunion of Rivals is now available!

Reese Ryan writes sexy, contemporary romance featuring a diverse cast of complex
characters. She presents her characters with family and career drama, challenging love interests and life-changing secrets while treating readers to emotional love stories with unexpected twists. Past president of her local RWA chapter and a panelist at the 2017 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Reese is an advocate of the romance genre and diversity in fiction. Visit her online at ReeseRyan.com.

Where to Buy/ Add to Goodreads

Indie Bound



Always Shine!

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books for the second half of 2020

I know, I know! It’s been a while since I have participated in TTT, but I am trying to find balance and to get my life together. In case you don’t know Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. And it’s easy to participate- check in to see what the week’s theme is, make your post, link it to the page AND check out other blogs.

This was pretty easy to make this list, because I limited my sources. I used my list of upcoming e-arcs that I plan on reading and preorders. While I am definitely excited about a lot more than 10 books, here are the ones that I will definitely get to ASAP!

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (Adult/Thriller) -Sept. 15, 2020

When No One Is Watching

Grown by Tiffany Jackson (Young Adult/ Contemporary) – Sept. 15, 2020


Hide and Seeker by Daka Herman (Middle Grade/Horror) -Sept. 15, 2020

Hide and Seeker

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Adult/ Fantasy) -Oct. 13, 2020

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky, #1)

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (Young Adult/Fantasy)- Sept. 15, 2020

Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)

Wayward Witch by Zoraida Cordova (Young Adut/Fantasy)-Sept 1, 2020

Wayward Witch (Brooklyn Brujas, #3)

Ink & Sigil by Kevin Hearne (Adult, Fantasy) -Aug. 25, 2020

Ink & Sigil (Ink & Sigil #1)

Spells for the Dead by Faith Hunter (Adult/ Urban Fantasy) -July 28, 2020

Spells for the Dead (Soulwood #5)

Hollowpox The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend by (Middle Grade/ Fantasy)

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole ( Adult/Romance) – Dec. 1, 2020

How to Catch a Queen (Runaway Royals, #1)

**Bonus** Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron (Young Adult, Fantasy) -Feb. 18, 2021

Reaper of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, #2)

** Bonus ** Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart (Young Adult, Fantasy) – April 20, 2021

Witches Steeped in Gold (Witches Steeped in Gold, #1)

What are some titles that you are looking forward to?

Always Shine!

Medlar Mystery Wrap-Up

I am not sure how many books are going to be in this series, but I received book 3 for review. Since I went back and read the first two, I thought it would be easier to review all three books together.

A Willing Murder by Jude Deveraux Medlar Mystery #1

This is the first book in the series. In this one, Kate moves to Lachlan, Florida to get to know her father’s sister, an aunt that her mother doesn’t seem to like. She is hoping that she will get to know more about her father. Kate also discovers that Jackson Wyatt is living with her Aunt Sara, and she takes it upon herself to ensure that he is not trying to take advantage of her aunt. They are brought together by the discovery of long buried bodies at one of Jackson’s construction sites. They investigate when they discover that the victims that Jackson was once close to.

I accidentally requested the third book for review from Netgalley. So I got this one from my library. This is my first Deveraux book and I think that I will be investigating her backlist. My favorite part of this was the 3 main characters and the dynamics that they have with each other. They are funny and there are so many times that I was laughing out loud. And the ending with the punch that was given? That made my heart so happy. To be completely honest – I was right about who was involved from the beginning. But, I didn’t mind because my guess only took me so far, and the writing made me want the entire story. The classism that was heavily present is dampened as the truth comes to light. And, I am super glad that the sheriff really was on the side of justice and was willing to work with/through Kate, Sara and Jackson to get to the truth.

A Justified Murder Medlar Mystery #2

In this one, the trio are back to investigating another murder. But the suspects are closer to home than they think. As they investigate the murder they discover that the victim may not be much of a victim at all.

I enjoyed this one, just not as much as the first one. The dynamics between the trio was still there and I really like that. But, this mystery was a bit different and I am not sure that I’m. 100% behind it. It was more complicated and they weren’t sure who or what they were looking for two-thirds of the way through the book. This is what bothers me. I think I would have enjoyed this more if they knew the truth about the victim sooner. I wasn’t surprised by the ending. In fact, there’s a detail that no one- Sara in particular- picked up on. (Tea v. Red Wine). But I did like it. With some slight interruptions, the case is solved.

A Forgotten Murder Medlar Mystery #3

This is the third book in the series and takes place at Oxley Manor in England. Sara, Kate and Jackson travel there under the pretense of vacation and research. But really, Sara wants to attempt to solve a 20 year old missing persons mystery that turns out to be a murder.

I was given a digital copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. Ok, So I was actually looking forward to picking this up. I enjoyed the first two and felt the series was finally finding it’s footing. This was definitely going to be good. Until it wasn’t. 30% into I gave up. I’m not sure exactly what wasn’t working -the setting, the new cast of characters, or my own lack of curiosity. Combined it made for a torturous read. The first two mysteries had a personal connection . This one appeared to be completely random and there wasn’t a stake or anything to invest in

Will I come back to this series? Possibly. I won’t be revisiting the third book and it doesn’t make me anticipate the next one. To be quite honest, since I don’t have any of these books in my personal collection there’s a pretty good chance that I will simply forget about it.

Have you read any of this series? Or anything else by Jude Deveraux?

Always Shine!