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review 2018-03-18 19:17
Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies
Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies - Evy Journey
Title: Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies
Author: Evy Journey
Publisher: Sojourner Books
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four

"Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies" by Evy Journey

My Thoughts....

I found that this novel had a good romantic storyline with a dark twist that will definitely keep you reading. The jest of the story is that Gina comes from a poor family but loved to cook and ends up getting a wonderful Chef's job at a restaurant in the Bay area of San Francisco where she quickly has a life change. Gina's life really changes as she has a different life since her move, working in a rich restaurant and making friends, however, there will be twist and turns that will come from all of this when jealous women [Cristi & Marcia] come out of the woodwork.

This author really gives the readers a interesting romance thriller read with some 'intriguing characters and unforeseen dangers.' What will happen as two guys have a interest in Gina with one of the two being a former boyfriend of Gina's friend. Who will Gina choose...Brent the detective or Leon the rich playboy? What will happen when Gina's began to receive death threats? By the end will these men 'help, harm or be a part of her journey? To get these questions and more answered you will have to pick up "Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies" to see how this story will come out.

I really enjoyed how the author included cookery-themed recipes with tips on how to cook better. This story really will capture the readers attention to the last page.

This novel was from "BookLikes giveaway" and I received this copy from the BookLikes Giveaway contest!
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review 2018-03-18 17:32
Read this
Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route - Saidiya V. Hartman

There are things that I can take for granted. I may not be able to recite my family tree by rote, and there is the question that my paternal grandmother may have been Jewish, but I know that my family hails from England, France, Canada, Lithuania, and Italy. It is something that I have taken for granted. Saidiya Hartman’s book is about, in part, having a lack of that, a lack of sense, and a lack of belonging.

It’s too glib to say that we all feel that sense of loneness. In part this is true, but many of us at least have a sense. Many of us can even break down to country and region, perhaps even a city. 
Hartman has a continent. That’s it. 

But to call this a book about a quest for self or identity is wrong. Hartman’s journey to Ghana, to uncover the story of the common slave – a slave who is not from a family of kings. The idea of a return to Africa is a return to homeland, but as Hartman points out -it isn’t quite that simple. Hartman feels out of place because the history of the slave trade depends upon the lenses – African-American versus African. IF Hartman isn’t American, then she isn’t African either. She is stateless. Her past is a commodity in both ways – as her ancestors were slaves and as their descendent returning.

So, in part, the book is about the different use of language and the different history. About the effects of slavery that we do not fully think about. The question of otherness.

There is much packed into this slim volume and it is the type of book that you mull over for days.

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text 2018-03-13 07:05
Cover Reveal - My Unexpected Love
Title: My Unexpected Love
Series: The Beaumont Series: Next Generation #2
Author: Heidi McLaughlin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 10, 2018 Cover Design: Sarah Hansen @ Okay Creations 
Ben Miller met the love of his life the day he crossed paths with Elle James in their high school cafeteria. New to Beaumont, he took a chance when he approached her. Their first encounter was everything his mother ever read to him about fairy tales. He saw the girl who would be his forever.
From the moment Elle James met Ben Miller they’ve been best friends. Everything they did, they did it together, from late night study sessions, family vacations, throwing bottles off the water tower, going to prom and finally moving to California for college.
However, after the almost tragic accident where she nearly lost her twin sister, Elle’s life hasn’t been the same, and neither has her relationship with Ben.
One fateful decision changes the scope of Ben and Elle’s relationship. For one, it means a new beginning. For the other, it means change.
Heidi is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup and a Highland West/Mini Schnauzer, JiLL and her brother, Racicot.
When she's isn't writing one of the many stories planned for release, you'll find her sitting court-side during either daughter's basketball games.
Heidi's first novel, Forever My Girl, will be in theaters on October 27, 2017, starring Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe.
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review 2018-03-12 07:10
Blog Tour w/Review - Off Campus Set-Up
Title: Off-Campus Setup
Author: Maria Vickers
Genre: M/M College Romance
Release Date: March 7, 2018
Levi Cox left it all behind to go to school in California, but nothing could prepare him for what he discovers when he gets there. Between the university screwing up his living arrangements, the weird meddling old woman who runs the boarding house, and the fellow student who instantly catches his eye, life in Cali is more than he expected, and he isn’t sure he’s ready for any of it. College was supposed to be an adventure, but this might be more than Levi can handle. 
Nathan Orion wants to have fun. That’s what he lives for and it's exactly what his college years are supposed to be about. He’s happy with living the single life and being carefree…that is until the new student at his grandmother’s boarding house crashes into his life. Now he’s been recruited to show the new guy around, and if Nathan has his way, it won't be just on-campus.
Will there be more, or is this only an illusion? Two men thrown together, not expecting anything, but possibly finding so much more than an off-campus setup.
“This book was very enjoyable!” - Under Covers Book Blog
“Such a fantastic book!” - Goodreads Review
“If you love M/M stories, you will love this one.” - Cranky - The Book Curmudgeon 
I remembered everything very clearly. The first time we met, our first kiss, the first time we were discovered in the same bed by a nosey grandmother with bright yellow hair, and then the fallout when I realized everything was nothing more than a wishful fantasy that was never supposed to come true. 
And now I as scanned this room to make sure nothing got left behind, I realized how much I’d changed and how far I’d come. My imaginary world exploded, leaving me shell shocked and pissed off. 
This wasn’t the first time I’d fallen prey to feelings, wasn’t the first time I’d been hurt, but it would be the last. 
I took a step out of the room and closed the door behind me. This part of my life was now over, and a new one had just begun. 
Life as I knew it had disappeared. Poof. Gone without a trace. And any other of those sayings people tended to overuse. 
It was my own fault really. I should have expected it, should have seen it coming, but I hadn’t. And now everything had changed. Good or bad. I didn’t know yet. Should I be thanking her or blaming her? Both maybe? 
As I closed the door on the small space I’d called my bedroom for the past few years, I realized for the first time I didn’t know what I was going to do or what would happen tomorrow…and oddly enough, that thrilled me.
Off-Campus SetupOff-Campus Setup by Maria Vickers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Levi is finally getting to pursue his dream. He has arrived at college with a plan. Until he finds he may not be able to live where he thought. Now he has to hurry or go back home.

Nathan knows it is time to grow up. He has not looked forward to living the life his parents have chosen. He wants to choose his future. When he and Levi crash into one another it is a jaw dropping, eye opener. Will the secrets come out and change the course?

Sweet and tender, this story starts out slow and picks up steam. These characters are learning to become the young adults they know they can be. What they find is they can be stronger as a team. Navigating emotions are always hard, it helps to have someone in your corner.

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Maria Vickers currently lives in St. Louis, MO with her pug, Spencer Tracy. She has always had a passion for writing and after she became disabled in 2010, she decided to use writing as her escape. She believes that life is about what you make of it. You have to live it to the fullest no matter the circumstances.
From a young age, she has always loved books and even dreamed of being an author when she was younger. Growing up in the Navy, she used to weave tales for her siblings and her friends about anything and everything. And when she wasn't creating her own stories, she had a book in her hand. They transported her to another world. She hopes that with her books, her readers have the same experience and that they can relate to her characters. 
Getting sick changed her life forever, but it also opened doors for her that she thought would always be out of reach.
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text 2018-02-24 17:40
Re-reading two essential reads
The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers - Christopher Vogler
Memo from the Story Department: Secrets of Structure and Character - David McKenna,Christopher Vogler

If you want to write popular fiction -- romance, fantasy, mystery, etc. -- Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey is the single most valuable how-to book you can invest in.


Novels are stories, and without a solid foundation in how stories work, you may end up with a hot mess of a plot . . . or no plot at all.


Memo from the Story Department expands on the previous book, and takes the writer into new ventures.  While it's probably sufficient as a stand-alone, I strongly recommend reading The Writer's Journey first.


As I started re-reading Bill Moyers's The Power of Myth a couple of days ago, I realized once again how important the Vogler application was to understanding how myths enter and define our culture.  I wish I could read all the books at the same time!



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