Well Played (Well Met, #2) by Jen DeLuca

ARC provided by Berkley Romance in exchange for an honest review

Help! I’m a sucker for Renaissance faire romances set in small towns with soft characters and cute friendships :’)

We get to follow Stacey in this sequel/companion novel to Well Met. Well Met was one of my favorite reads of 2019, so I was extra excited for the opportunity to read this one early. I was already in love with the small town setting, and was so pleased to see we get to go back to the Ren faire.

This book had everything I wanted: cozy book shops with a cafe, book clubs, the Ren faire, a cute romance, and themes of friendships and found families. Oh, and if you were a fan of Emily and Simon from the first book, you’ll be happy to know they play major roles in this one, too! But, this story is about Stacey and her accidental friends-to-lovers journey with Daniel. It’s quite the ride, but I should warn you that there is a lot of catfishing going on. So I understand if that may make you feel uncomfortable! (Think: Cyrano de Bergerac…’ish.)

I truly loved this sequel a lot, though! And I cannot wait for Well Matched, where we’ll get to follow Mitch and April! (April quickly became one of my favorite characters since the first book!)

TW: catfishing, talk of a past heart attack, talk of loss of a family member, talks of body image.

Buddy read with Melanie! 💗


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Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn

Thank you to Entangled for the ARC and to Hear Our Voices Tours for hosting the blog tour!


Dating Makes Perfect is an ownvoices Thai YA rom com and as an ownvoices reader I truly had the best time reading it!

This story follows the Tech sisters whose strict Thai parents didn’t allow them to date in high school. But once the eldest Tech twins go off to college, their parents allow the youngest sister, Winnie, to date. But there’s a catch: mom gets to set up the date and chooses the guy (and she sets up each date based on a rom com movie.)

I don’t want to bring up too much of my personal life but as someone who grew up in Thailand AND in the US, I related so hard to all the Thai cultural references (and what it feels like trying to assimilate in a white town in Ohio.) There’s lots of references to Thai foods and customs, and my favorite scene was the Songkran (Thai New Year) celebration. Songkran is one of my favorite Thai holidays and I miss being with my family for that.

What I really enjoyed was seeing how many other Thai characters were in the forefront of this book. Winnie befriends a Thai boy, and she even gets involved in an enemies to lovers romance with a Thai boy. It was just so nice to see Thai people be the focal point of this story. And the sisterhood is so cute as well!

If you’re looking for a light read that has themes of family, friendship, and romance then give Dating Makes Perfect a try! It really made my heart so happy to see a Thai protagonist get her own cute story.


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Blog Tour: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord [Excerpt]

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Welcome to my stop on the Tweet Cute blog tour! Today I am here to share an excerpt from this delightful book by Emma Lord. Tweet Cute hits shelves tomorrow, January 21st, 2020! Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for hosting this tour and for providing a free copy. 🙂


Tweet Cute Excerpt:

JACK

“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”

Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”

“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”

Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”

“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”

“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”

The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.

The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.

“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.

“So . . .”

“So.”

Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.

“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”

“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”

“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”

“I didn’t—”

“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”

“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”

“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”

Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.

“You’re sure?”

I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.

“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”

“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”

Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.

“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”

Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.

Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.

“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.

I raise my eyebrows at her.

“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”

“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”

Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.

“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”

Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—

“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.

I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.

“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”

She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.

I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”


About Tweet Cute:

Tweet Cute_Cover

[Order Tweet Cute]

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.


Author Bio:

Emma Lord

Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.


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Dragons & Tea Book Club: December Announcement!

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Hi, everyone! I hope you’re ready for our last Dragons & Tea Book Club pick of 2019. I truly cannot believe the year is over, and that our book club is almost one year old. I want to thank everyone who read along with us this year. You truly made our book club what it is. Every month I look forward to discussing books with you, and I cannot wait to join you all again in 2020. ❤

Our December pick is a repeat author because we just love her so much and she’s the queen at writing ownvoices representation. We also wanted a lighthearted, short read since we understand the holiday season can be quite hectic for some! So our pick is a holiday romance novella (about 211 pages), and we hope you all enjoy it!


Our December book will be:

MERRY INKMAS by Talia Hibbert

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The Dates & Breakdown:

December 9th: Chapters 1 – 5

December 10th: Chapters 6 – 10

December 11th: Chapters 11 – 15

December 12th: Chapters 16 – 19

December 13th: Chapters 20 – 23

(I believe it is only available in ebook format. It is available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99 with a different cover.)


Don’t forget to join our Goodreads Group!

And we will also follow discussions/your reading journey on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


See you then! ❤

🐉☕ Melanie: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ Amy: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

Dragons & Tea Book Club: November Announcement!

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Hi, friends! It is once again that time of the month for Melanie and I to announce our pick for November! With November being Native American Heritage Month we wanted to read an ownvoices book by a Native author! We’ve heard such great things about the book we chose and are so excited to read along with you all!


Our November book will be:

TRAIL OF LIGHTNING by Rebecca Roanhorse

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The Dates & Breakdown:

November 18th: Chapters 1 – 8

November 19th: Chapters 9 – 16

November 20th: Chapters 17 – 24

November 21st: Chapters 25 – 32

November 22nd: Chapters 33 – 38


Don’t forget to join our Goodreads Group!

And we will also follow discussions/your reading journey on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


See you then! ❤

🐉☕ Melanie: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ Amy: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

Dragons & Tea Book Club: October Announcement!

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Are you ready for our October pick? Melanie and I are excited to read a scary book to celebrate Halloween! We wanted to get in the spooky spirit with this story about a girl whose ghost comes back for revenge, based on Japanese mythos.


Our October book will be:

THE GIRL FROM THE WELL by Rin Chupeco

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The Dates & Breakdown:

October 21st: Chapters 1 – 5

October 22nd: Chapters 6 – 10

October 23rd: Chapters 11 – 15

October 24th: Chapters 16 – 20

October 25th: Chapters 21 – 23


Don’t forget to join our Goodreads Group!

And we will also follow discussions/your reading journey on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


See you then! ❤

🐉☕ Melanie: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ Amy: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

#FridayFrightAThon 2019 Announcement!

Spooky and dark foggy forest at dusk

Hi, friends! I’m so excited to announce that we are bringing back FridayFrightAThon this year! Come join me, Melanie, Jen, and Chelsea as we buddy read four books during the month of October.

So, what is FridayFrightAThon? Every Friday in October we will pick up one thriller to read together. We’ll use the hashtag #FridayFrightAThon on Instagram and Twitter to chat about our thoughts and progress. Feel free to join us in reading one book or all four!

The Schedule:

Friday October 4th: American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan (Note: this is our only non-fiction pick.)

Friday October 11th: The Whisper Man by Alex North

Friday October 18th: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Friday October 25th: The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

Your Hosts:

Amy (that’s me!) @ A Court of Crowns and Quills

Melanie @ Meltotheany

Jen @ Pinot & Pages

Chelsea Palmer


We are so excited and hope you’ll join us this year for round 2!

xx,

Amy

The Right Swipe (Modern Love, #1) by Alisha Rai

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Book provided by Avon in exchange for an honest review.


This was my first book by Alisha Rai and wooooo boy, can she write romance! Don’t let this cute illustrated cover fool you. This book is packed full of racy and steamy scenes.

This book stars Rhiannon, a black woman who came from a poor family and has had to always work twice as hard to prove herself working in a male-dominated field (tech industry.) She is very career driven and smart. She also started her own dating app. While at a conference Rhi sees an old hookup. A hookup who ghosted her in the past. His name is Samson Lima and he’s a retired NFL football player who is currently the spokesperson for a rival dating app.

I think you can see where this is going. And while I knew the enemies-to-lovers thing was coming, I wasn’t expecting Rhi and Samson to reconnect so soon. This was actually a breath of fresh air for me, because sometimes that trope can drag out too long. It was fun reading about their dynamics in the workplace while being in the middle of their angst and sexual tension.

This book also touches on the topic of CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encelphalopathy, which is a degenerative brain disease found in athletes or others who have repetitive head trauma. We learn as part of Samson’s backstory that his uncle (also a former football player) passed away from CTE and he is very involved in CTE research. I’d never read a book that highlighted this condition and appreciated the author bringing awareness to it.

The lack of communication between Rhi and Samson was what ultimately didn’t bring this up to a full five stars to me. But I loved the story so much, and how strong and unapologetic Rhi is. Overall this was such a great book!

Trigger/content warnings: abusive relationship (gaslighting), sexual harassment.

fourstars


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Ninth House (Ninth House Series, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

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ARC obtained from BookExpo in exchange for an honest review.


I really think this is going to be one of those books you’ll either love or hate. Fans of Bardugo will pick up on how perfectly she personifies each character, but please be warned, this is not young adult. This book is very much about healing from past traumas while trying to also survive in a society that’s filled with so much death and darkness.

I will say that I was a bit confused in the beginning because this book jumps a lot between two timelines (the past winter, and the present which is spring.) We follow Alex, a girl who attends Yale University and ends up being recruited into a secret society. Alex has a supernatural ability which makes her a unique society member of Lethe House. Yale also has eight other secret societies where each one deals with their own paranormal/supernatural “specialties.” We get glimpses into each society and learning about them was interesting, yet a bit tedious, at times for me.

The murder of a local woman sets the story in motion as Alex suspects one of the societies is involved. But she’s also dealing with the disappearance of her friend and society “mentor”, Darlington. The story weaves both mysteries together, and at times it would be a bit too slow for my liking. However, I was so immersed in the dark mysteries surrounding the cases and the occult that I still enjoyed reading this very much!

Honestly, I would rate the overall story itself four stars. But once we began peeling back the layers of Alex and Darlington’s characters… I just fell in love with the book. The characters are so well written and, in true Bardugo fashion, their backstories really punched me in the gut. Also? There are ghosts. So that’s major bonus points for me!

I found myself very slowly chipping away at this book just so I could absorb all the information about the societies. But also please use caution as the themes are very dark and heavy. Bardugo said she wrote about her own experiences (and that this book is her way of healing) and she is valid and unapologetic. She does not hold back.

Trigger/content warnings: rape of a minor, drug use, cutting, bullying, gore/medical procedures, sexual assault of a minor, sexual acts under the influence of magic/drugs, parental neglect/abandonment, talks of cancer.

fivestars


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Dragons & Tea Book Club: September Announcement!

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Hi, friends! So sorry for posting this announcement a little later than planned. But fall is almost here so we are gearing up for some spookier reads! In honor of Latinx Heritage Month we thought this ownvoices paranormal book would be such a fun read. Our pick stars a Latinx girl who raises three of her friends from the dead. We can’t wait to buddy read this witchy book with you!


Our September book will be:

UNDEAD GIRL GANG by Lily Anderson

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The Dates & Breakdown:

September 16th: Chapters 1 – 5

September 17th: Chapters 6 – 10

September 18th: Chapters 11 – 15

September 19th: Chapters 16 – 20

September 20th: Chapters 21 – 25


Don’t forget to join our Goodreads Group!

And we will also follow discussions/your reading journey on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


See you then! ❤

🐉☕ Melanie: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ Amy: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads