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Finding Frances by Kelly Vincent | Book Review Tour | Giveaway 

I am delighted to join the review tour for Finding Frances by Kelly Vincent today! My thanks to Marianne & Judy at Goddess Fish Promotions for my stop and the review copy!

This post is part of a virtual review book tour organised by Goddess Fish Promotions, a Contemporary/ YA novel available now. 

Kelly Vincent will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card! Come back every day to interact with Kelly and to increase your chances of winning. Thanks for stopping by and lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

See below to sign up for the GIVEAWAY.

About the Book

Retta Brooks thinks her life is on track after convincing her overprotective mom to stop home-schooling her and allow her go to Buckley High. She comes home from a night out with friends to find that her whole world has changed, and she has extremely hard decisions to make. Not to mention finding the answers to questions some people would rather she not know. Is she strong enough for what lies ahead?

Read an Excerpt…

I observed the room while I ate. There seemed to be a lot more talking than actual eating. And kids were moving around all over the place, table to table, chatting with different people.

Then I watched the cowboy from Media Studies— Jack—walking purposefully toward me. Was he going to talk to me?

“Hi,” he said when he stood before me.

“Hi.”

“Why don’t you come sit with us?”

My face warmed. Did he think I was pitiful for sitting all by myself? And did I want to sit with him and his friends? What if they were all country like him?

He laughed. “Don’t worry, everybody’s nice.”

Now I was embarrassed by my overly long silence. “Okay, that sounds cool.” Then I added, “Thanks.”

“We’re over in the east corner, by the fire exit.”

I stood up—the chair screeched again—and picked up my tray. We snaked around tables to get to the corner table. He sat down, and the only open chair was next to him, so I set the tray down and squeezed in between him and a girl with long, blonde hair. A different one from the girl in English. There were lots of blonde girls here. I faked a brave face just as Jack said, “Hey, guys, this is Retta.”

My Thoughts…

Kelly Vincent’s Finding Frances is a wonderfully insightful and intriguing coming-of-age story about a girl searching for her family’s history.

As the story opens, Retta Brooks is being home-schooled by her apparently obsessive and possessive mum, Jenny. Retta has managed to persuade her mum to send her to the local Comprehensive – Buckley High School. Although language geek Retta has not mixed with others, be they either children of a similar age or adults, nevertheless, she manages to find herself a few friends on her first day. What follows is a fascinating and exciting tale as the reader gets a glimpse into the life of a girl being allowed to grow-up surrounded by both friends and foes. But there is one massive problem – Jenny. Retta’s mum hasn’t always been totally honest with her, so Retta dives headlong into her mother’s past, desperate to seek the truth about her mum and consequently, herself. But what will those discoveries reveal, and to what end?

With its fair dolloping of typical teenage angst including; anxieties relating to acceptance; fitting-in; first love; and friendships, to name only a few, Kelly Vincent’s Finding Frances was a great read. The author’s characterisation was spot-on, regardless of whether the particular individual curried favour with me or not, as all had their relevant parts to play. Apart from Retta, who was clever, surprisingly outgoing and respectful, I also liked Jack for his perseverance and good-nature. I took rather a dislike to Retta’s Aunt Samantha virtually from her first emergence, as she appeared mistrustful and secretive, and I couldn’t quite shake off that feeling.

The plot was evenly paced – quick enough and easy to follow, but never allowing for boredom or tedium to take root, holding my interest perfectly. Kelly Vincent’s writing was elegant and mature, not always seen in the YA genre. The ending was unexpected though fulfilling, and it befitted the story.

Overall, Finding Frances is a delightful novel and I recommend it with confidence, so please don’t miss out!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Goddess Fish Promotions at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

Kelly Vincent wrangles data weekdays and spends the rest of her time playing with words. She grew up in Oklahoma but has moved around quite a bit, with Glasgow, Scotland being her favorite stop. She now lives near Seattle with three cats who definitely help her write her stories. She’s also working toward the Red Earth Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Oklahoma City University.

Author Links: Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | Website | Instagram

Book links:

Giveaway!

Kelly Vincent will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

Click below to enter and good luck!

Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!

March 9: Andi’s Young Adult Books
March 9: Enchanting Reviews
March 16: Lost in a Book After a Day of Social Work
March 16: The Avid Reader
March 23: Fabulous and Brunette
March 23: Brianne’s Book Reviews
March 30: Harlie’s Books
March 30: Phoebe’s Rainbow World

Until Next Time, 

Featured

A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison | Blog Tour | Book Review 

I am delighted to join the blog tour for A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison today! My thanks to Harlequin Publishing for the invitation to join. I was gifted a copy of A Love Hate Thing to read in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Info and Rating

Hardback, 464 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Inkyard Press
ISBN 133501604X (ISBN13: 9781335016041)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Romance / Contemporary                             Ages 13 And Up

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

Book Summary

A fantastic enemies to lovers romance about an It girl whose world is upended when a boy from the past moves into her house after tragedy strikes. For fans of Ibi Zoboi’s Pride, Mary H. K. Choi and Samira Ahmed. Wattpad author Whitney D. Grandison’s traditional publishing debut.

When they’re stuck under one roof, the house may not be big enough for their hate…or their love.

When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the affluent coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares, and the total feeling of not belonging in the posh suburb. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the mean streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything. He doesn’t even care how the rest of his life will play out.

In Pacific Hills, image is everything. Something that, as the resident golden girl, Nandy Smith knows all too well. She’s spent most of her life building the pristine image that it takes to fit in. After learning that her parents are taking in a former childhood friend, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames. It’s the start of summer vacation and the last thing Nandy needs is some juvenile delinquent from the ’Wood crashing into her world.

Stuck together in close quarters, Trice and Nandy are in for some long summer nights. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

I Thought…

Whitney D. Grandison writes very enjoyably about friendship and love in this coming of age story.

After recovering from being shot, seventeen-year-old Tyson Trice finds himself living with the well-off Smith family – Maxine (Max) and Parker their daughter, Nandy and adopted Thai son, Jordy. Having spent most of his life, so far, surviving the rough streets of Lindenwood, Trice, as he likes to be known, doesn’t care about anyone or anything. Meanwhile privileged Nandy has spent most of her young life concerned about her image and status in her hometown of the Pacific Hills, California. Having just discovered that her parents are bringing a juvenile delinquent into the family home Nandy fears for her summer holiday plans, as well as her well-cultivated, golden girl reputation. With the two of them living under the same roof, will the house be big enough for all their hate and love?

A Love Hate Thing is told from the alternative viewpoints of Nandy and Trice, an approach that generally works very well for me in this type of story. I anticipated having some problems identifying with both of the main characters, not being a part of the intended audience or target group, although I was surprised to find that this wasn’t the case.

It was fascinating to learn about Trice and Nandy’s former close friendship when they were both aged nine. Both Nandy and Trice face real prejudices as they get to know each other again. I found that protagonist Trice’s viewpoints in particular, were a revelation both in the trauma of his past and the way he believes himself to be undeserving of better things. Whitney D. Grandison’s portrayal of loyal and intelligent Trice being catapulted into Nandy’s world of the über-rich is engrossing and poignant, especially as image and conventionality in Pacific Hills are everything. Trice’s strength and gentleness is arresting as is the need to hide his ingrained grief with impassiveness and a hard exterior.

I gradually grew to enjoy the character of Nandy. Although she displays class prejudice towards Trice in the beginning, I understood where her opinions stemmed from. Her friendliness, kindness, and welcoming nature gradually shone through. I really relished reading about Nandy’s diverse and congenial group of friends which was a very strong element of the novel for me.

Nandy and Trice each struggled with their vulnerabilities and it was interesting to watch them let down their guards as the story progressed. A Love Hate Thing is a gritty character driven story about the potential for change. It is about love, acceptance, friendship, loyalty, trust, and second chances. It also takes a good look at the problems society has with race and social status.

From the first chapter till the last, I found myself connecting with this compelling story. From Nandy and Trice’s personal development to their relationship with one another, I felt as though I knew them personally.

Read A Love Hate Thing if you are partial to a good coming-of-age story full to the brim with interesting characters, strong on bittersweet and sugarcoated friendships and plenty of angst.

Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin-Inkyard Press and the author, Whitney D. Grandison for the complimentary copy. This is my honest and totally voluntary review.

Meet the Author:

Whitney D. Grandison was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, where she currently resides. A lover of stories since she first picked up a book, it’s no surprise she’s taken to writing her own. Some of her works can be found on Wattpad, one of the largest online story sharing platforms, where she has acquired over 30,000 followers and an audience of over fifteen million dedicated readers. Connect with Whitney on Instagram or Twitter.

Buy Links: HarlequinAmazonBarnes & NobleIndie BoundKoboBooks-a-MillionGoogle Play

Until Next Time, 

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton | Review

Book Synopsis

An utterly wonderful début novel of love, crime, magic, fate and a boy’s coming of age, set in 1980’s Australia and infused with the originality, charm, pathos, and heart of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The mind can take you anywhere you want to go.

Eli Bell’s life is complicated. His father is lost, his mother is in jail, and his step-dad is a heroin dealer. The most steadfast adult in Eli’s life is Slim – a notorious felon and national record-holder for successful prison escapes – who watches over Eli and August, his silent genius of an older brother.

Exiled far from the rest of the world in Darra, a seedy suburb populated by Polish and Vietnamese refugees, this twelve-year-old boy with an old soul and an adult mind is just trying to follow his heart, learn what it takes to be a good man, and train for a glamorous career in journalism. Life, however, insists on throwing obstacles in Eli’s path – most notably Tytus Broz, Brisbane’s legendary drug dealer.

But the real trouble lies ahead. Eli is about to fall in love, face off against truly bad guys, and fight to save his mother from a certain doom – all before starting high school.

A story of brotherhood, true love, family, and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe is the tale of an adolescent boy on the cusp of discovering the man he will be. Powerful and kinetic, Trent Dalton’s début is sure to be one of the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novels you will experience. 

My Thoughts

If I had to describe this novel in three words they would be emotional, effortful and impactful in more or less equal measures.

After having read “Boy Swallows Universe” I feel that I am completely indebted to Trent Dalton! This book has all the components that make a really fantastic story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of love and friendship, not forgetting the feelings of hope, desperation and failure. Trent Dalton has drawn a remarkable young narrator to adore in Eli, growing up in his vastly dysfunctional family. 

There were instances where this was a very difficult read for me, being as it was a little like sitting on a roller-coaster, however, it was extremely worthwhile even though, by my standards, it was a fairly lengthy novel. 

 I enjoyed “Boy Swallows Universe” so much and I’m hoping to read more by Trent Dalton soon…

[Thanks to Edelweiss, HarperCollins UK and the author, Trent Dalton, for my free ARC of #BoySwallowsUniverse in exchange for an honest review.]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

Potency

Potency by Aubrey Hadley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The beautiful front cover and compelling premise lured me into choosing to read “Glow : Book I, Potency” by Aubrey Hadley, a book about apocalypse and alienation.

The Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome has appeared in New York, and it has wiped out an entire homeless shelter.

The same night of the outbreak, Harper, a seventeen-year-old girl, stumbles across a glowing figure in the desert outskirts of her neighbourhood. As her suburb goes on lock-down, Harper finds herself isolated from her friends and family, and soon begins to suspect that the events – though thousands of miles apart – may have something in common. Harper must find her bravery and embark on a plot-twisting adventure that will have her looking for answers in unexpected places and different worlds.

Although this book is not from one of my normally preferred genres and it is a longer read than I normally choose, it was still a really enjoyable novel. I can’t say that I’ve ever read anything exactly like it, or even similar. If you are into vampires or spectres then this isn’t for you. It’s just something totally innovative and fresh and that is why I liked it.

The main characters, whilst not necessarily particularly likeable, were a good fit for the story. As for the ending, I usually prefer one that is a little more definitive, unless it is meant to be a cliffhanger.

Overall, whilst it wasn’t one of my best-ever reads, I would recommend this book by Aubrey Hadley. I am guessing that there will be a sequel to “Glow : Book I, Potency,” so I will look out for it.

[Thanks to #NetGalley and the publisher, Ruby and Topaz, for a free ARC of #Glow in exchange for an honest review.]



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The DNA of You and Me

The DNA of You and Me by Andrea Rothman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is a brilliantly unique debut novel about scientific discovery versus love. “The DNA of You and Me” begins when Emily Apellis, the protagonist, is told that she is to receive a great award in the scientific community. The author, Andrea Rothman, then takes the reader back to when Emily first started studying the science of smell and the choices she made along the way.

Justin McKinnon has hired new graduate student Emily to study the science, however, Justin hasn’t told Emily that two other scientists in the lab, Aeden and Allegra, are working on a very similar topic, and their findings may compete with Emily’s own research.

Emily is extremely focused and driven. She’s always been more comfortable in the science lab than making small talk with strangers. Unfazed by competition, analysing DNA data is her favourite thing. To Emily’s great surprise, her rational mind is unsettled by Aeden. As they shift from competitors to colleagues and then to something more, Emily begins to see a future where she may not end up alone. But when Aeden decides to leave the lab, it becomes clear to Emily that she must make a choice – will she follow her research or follow her heart?

Andrea Rothman’s writing style is quite special in this novel as she manages very nicely to create characters that could have been rather boring, though, in fact, were anything but. The same can be said for the story-line. For some, science is not necessarily the most riveting of subjects, however, there is a brilliant and a very appealing mix of romance, love and scientific detail in “The DNA of You and Me”.

Completing each chapter with a thought, appreciation, something to dwell on or ruminate about before moving forward, was a neat and clever touch by Andrea Rothman. This quick and pleasant read really holds its own and I recommend that you get a copy!

{Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins UK/ William Morrow for the free copy of this book and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}



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