Friday 31 December 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance / Coming of Age
Publication Date: 12th April 2012

Book Description:
When Eleanor first meets Park, she thinks he's obnoxious. When Park first meets Eleanor, he thinks she's weird. It is hate at first sight. But as they suffer each other's company in silence on the bus rides from and to home every day, Eleanor and Park realise that first impressions can be deceiving.

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I've been meaning to read this book ever since it first came out. I know it's been almost a decade now, but better late than never. It would be easy to describe Eleanor and Park as two weird outcasts who fall in love over the course of a few weeks as they sit together on the bus journey to school. But Eleanor and Park are far more complex than that. There is a lot more to Eleanor and Park than meets the eye, something these characters both acknowledge when they start sharing their passion for storytelling, specifically comic books. When Eleanor and Park first meet, neither one liked the other, but once Eleanor gets a peek at Park's comic books, something changes between them. Soon they're sharing comic books and mix tapes.

I won't lie. It was hard to ignore the racial stereotypes running throughout the book, but I'm choosing to focus my attention on other aspects of the story that were easier to digest, which is the story about two outcasts learning to love and accept what they least like about themselves by  accepting each other just the way they are. I wouldn't say I was one hundred percent sold on Park's portrayal as an outcast considering he was liked by many girls in his school, was often described as being cute, and even the bully of the school seemed to have a certain level of respect for him. He definitely wasn't your typical loser, far from it, actually. Being the only Asian kid in his community, I did sympathise with the constant stereotypes he faced on a daily basis. I felt there should have been more focus on the effects being the only Asian kid in town had on Park emotionally and mentally, but there wasn't much said on how Park felt, like perhaps he felt ostracised, which would explain why he liked to keep to himself and  keep from drawing attention to himself being that he was an easy target. I didn't fully believe Park's father's animosity towards him. He didn't like Park because he thought his son was too feminine or perhaps because he thought Park might be gay? When Park started bringing Eleanor over to their house, his father still seemed somewhat displeased with Park, so I couldn't grasp what the actual deal was with his father. He marries a Korean woman, has a child with her and then dislikes his son because he isn't how he wanted him to be? What? Personally, I quite liked Park. He was a likeable character with great taste in comics and music. He's a kid trying to find his place in the town and his home. I so wish he had a better story arc because there was so much potential for his character, but it just felt as though all the interesting things that could have been explored were shoved under the carpet. Still, he was a pleasant character who treated Eleanor like a princess, so he's okay in my book.

Eleanor's portrayal was a lot easier to contend with. She had a neglectful mother and a violent stepfather and with her dress sense and hair, she couldn't help but stand out in a crowd. Eleanor has no luck in the parent department. Becoming friends with Park was the escape she needed. Her stepfather, Richie, despises Eleanor for reasons that are not fully explored, however, he hated her enough to have thrown her out of her home a year ago. Eleanor's mother is little to no help when it comes to protecting her children from the hostile environment they live in. When things escalates at home, Eleanor is left with no option but to flee, and her only help comes from a family member we know little to nothing about. At least we know she liked this family member, so that's better than nothing, I suppose. Eleanor went through a lot and is quite bold and brave. I liked that she had insecurities even though she pretended as though she care what others thought about her. She was a guarded character, which was understandable given her upbringing. I liked how her character unfolded. It didn't feel forced. I think that's what I liked most about the interaction between Eleanor and Park: how natural it felt. Their relationship felt real.

I liked the slow buildup of the romance and chemistry between Park and Eleanor. I liked that they started off as friends before progressing into a romantic connection. I found Eleanor's story more interesting to read about than Park's as I found Eleanor's family issues were better explored and made more sense when it came to understanding the interaction between her and her family. I would have liked a little more info on Richie other than the fact that he was a bully. Some context would have given the story more depth. It would have also been nice to have had a more developed character in Eleanor's mother. A lot of the characters appear as just empty vessels, filling the space. What's the motive behind their actions? What's their backstory?

I'm not a fan of the ending, but I won't say I hated it entirely. It just wasn't satisfying. I just wanted a little more. Overall, this was a good read with a lot of potential to be great. Eleanor and Park were interesting characters. The story just needed more depth and more fleshed out characters to make it feel more complete.


Rating: 3 Star
Source: Own Copy

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Book Blitz & Giveaway - Imperfect by Holly Carr

Author: Holly Carr
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2021
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance / Suspense

Book Description:
She isn’t looking for love. He’s running from it.

A workplace crush is supposed to be light-hearted. Frivolous, even. Just some daydream inspiration to make the hours go faster, or to fill in twenty boring minutes.

Sam isn’t ready to develop actual feelings for someone. Not with Logan still looming so large in her heart, and especially not when the subject of her infatuation is her new employer.

Alex doesn’t plan to fall in love ever again. Not after what happened with Victoria.

But fate seems determined to begin an unwanted love story, and a tentative romance blossoms as Alex and Sam battle the malicious sabotage of a rival company.

That is, until Alex’s evil ex-wife re-enters his life, threatening to take custody of their daughter.

Sam’s determination to help the desperate man stand up for himself brings the two would-be lovers closer, but Victoria’s antics only highlight to Alex the dangers of leaving himself vulnerable.

Can Sam convince him to set aside eleven years of stanch celibacy and give into his feelings?

And just how did he get that mysterious scar on his face?

This contemporary romantic suspense novel is perfect for readers with a soft spot for a hesitant love story, a single dad, and a relatable heroine.

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Sunday 26 December 2021

Book Blitz & Giveaway - Guardians of the Mask by Haley Kate

Guardians of the Mask
Author: Haley Kate
Publication Date: June 8th 2017
Genre: Fantasy / Historical

Book Description:
An extraordinary golden mask is in the hands of an ordinary boy…

It’s a mask entrusted to great warriors and heroes, thought to be lost in the sands of time. It can summon immortal armies, grant unimaginable strength and heal mortal wounds.

The golden mask has reappeared. And now it’s in the hands of Rafe, a hard working, loyal and at times mischievous teenager who thinks he is of little importance.

But he is wrong. Rafe is chosen by the mask and destined to become as the warriors of legend.

With the powers of the golden mask, he is the only one who can keep the kingdom safe when it comes under threat.

But not everybody thinks the mask should be in the hands of a common boy. When an eccentric Prince finds out the mask is in the hands of a common boy, he decides to interfere with destiny.

Armed with his own dark forces, he threatens to bring the kingdom to its knees.

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Saturday 25 December 2021

Christmas & New Year Giveaway - Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card

Christmas & New Year Giveaway
December 25th to January 23rd

Here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Open to entrants 13+ worldwide

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Wednesday 22 December 2021

Cover Reveal - The Gunslinger's Guide to Avoiding Matrimony by Michelle McLean

The Gunslinger’s Guide to Avoiding Matrimony
(Gunslinger, #2)
Author: Michelle McLean
Published by: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: July 26th, 2022
Genre: Adult Comedy Romance / Western

Book Description:
This gunslinger has two rules, and he’s about to break both of them for her in this next installment of the laugh-out-loud western romcom from Michelle McLean.

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About the Author
Michelle McLean is a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl who is addicted to chocolate and Goldfish crackers and spent most of her formative years with her nose in a book. She has degrees in history and English and is thrilled that she sort of gets to use them. Her novel Truly, Madly, Sweetly, written as Kira Archer, was adapted as a Hallmark Original movie in 2018.

When Michelle’s not working, reading, or chasing her kids around, she can usually be found baking, diamond painting, or trying to find free wall space upon which to hang her diamond paintings. She resides in PA with her husband and two teens, the world’s most spoiled dog, and a cat who absolutely rules the house. She also writes contemporary romance as USA Today bestselling author Kira Archer.

For more info on Michelle and her work, please visit her website at

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Sunday 19 December 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon by Eve Cabanel

Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon
Author: Eve Cabinet
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Twenty Two House Publishing
Publication Date: 23rd October 2021

Book Description:
A moon elf’s journey to undo a dragon’s curse illuminates the power of friendship.

Two courageous friends adventure through lands of unicorns, fairies, and magical rainbows to confront a terrifying beast with a surprising wish.

In a beautiful enchanted forest lives a moon elf named Eli and her friend Luna. When Luna’s baby bunny is turned into hard rock candy by magical sugar crystals, the friends begin a journey to do the impossible to reverse the curse: confront the terrifying and legendary Hallowshine dragon for a drop of its healing saliva. 

In their journey to find the dragon, Eli and Luna meet magical creatures and travel through various dreamy lands including the Abyss of Time, a marvelous unicorn’s kingdom, a whimsical fairy’s home, and a waterfall with enchanted golden shoes.

The friends race against time to find the mysterious dragon and a magical lesson is learned about how love, friendship, and acceptance can heal all if you have courage and believe in yourself.

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Eli and her best friend, Luna, spend their days exploring the enchanted forest, but something terrible is happening that has the creatures of the forest running scared. These strange crystals are turning anyone who touches them into hard rock candy. When tragedy strikes Luna's baby bunny, Eli and Luna must face their fears and venture into the dangerous forest to seek a cure before Luna's baby bunny is lost to them forever.

This was a beautiful tale of friendship and courage. What wonderful illustrations. So bright and colourful. It will definitely draw the attention of curious young minds. Despite how much I love the book, I had to deduct a star due to the grammatical errors that cropped up in places. Apart from that, this was a wonderful journey that I thoroughly enjoyed.


Rating: 4
Source: Author

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Blog Tour & Review: No Good About Goodbye by CT Lotta

An incautious, funny, coming-of-age tale for mature teens and adult readers…

By CT Liotta


Gut Pulp, 308 pp.

Fifteen-year-old Ian Racalmuto’s life is in ruins after an embassy raid in Algiers. His mother, a vodka-drunk spy, is dead. His brother, a diplomat, has vanished. And, he’s lost a cremation urn containing a smartphone that could destroy the world.

Forced to live with his cantankerous grandfather in Philadelphia, Ian has seven days to find his brother and secure the phone—all while adjusting to life in a troubled urban school and dodging assassins sent to kill him.

Ian finds an ally in William Xiang, an undocumented immigrant grappling with poverty, a strict family, and abusive classmates. They make a formidable team, but when Ian’s feelings toward Will grow, bombs, bullets and crazed bounty hunters don’t hold a candle to his fear of his friend finding out. Will it wreck their relationship, roll up their mission, and derail a heist they’ve planned at the State Department?

Like a dime store pulp adventure of the past, No Good About Goodbye is an incautious, funny, coming-of-age tale for mature teens and adult readers. 308p.

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Monday 13 December 2021

Book Blitz & Giveaway - Only Sometimes by Felicia Blaedel

Only Sometimes
(The Without Filter Series, #3)
Author: Felicia Blaedel
Publication Date: December 9th, 2021
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Book Description:
Disagreeing from the first time they meet, Noah and Niko know exactly how to push each other’s buttons while they fight the intense pull between them. But when they’re forced to work together, they might realise that their connection runs deeper than frustration and lust.

Niko is driven and ambitious, even when it’s misconceived as cold and measured. Her latest project is her great-grandmother’s nature organisation. Niko is determined to see it thrive again and hopefully understand herself and her broken family better in the process. Getting a handle on her inconvenient feelings is a must too.

Noah has made a promise to set things right and honour his eccentric grandfather’s hard work. Even when that means taking on an active role in a small nature organisation, while hiding his true identity. He is busy enough as it is with university, work, and late nights of writing. Still, he can’t help but care about the organisation. Or the fierce woman who always seems to make his life harder.

Only Sometimes is a new adult frenemies to lovers romance set in Copenhagen, Denmark (with a getaway to a gorgeous Swedish forest). It’s book three in the Without Filter Series, but it can be read as a complete standalone. Only Sometimes is a steamy slow-burn romance, and it contains spicier content than the previous two books in the series.

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Sunday 12 December 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Express Your Big Emotions With No Hitting - Teaching Toddlers Self Control by Grace Love, PhD

Express Your Big Emotions With No Hitting: Teaching Toddlers Self Control
Author: Grace Love, PhD
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publication Date: 21 November 2021

Book Description:
Discover a fresh new way to combat hitting behavior with your toddler -- help them manage their big, scary feelings in a positive way.

Has your smiling bundle of joy turned into a little monster overnight?

Can a playdate turn into a tantrum in the blink of an eye?

Do you ever cringe in horror when another parent tells you your child has hit theirs at nursery?

Rest assured: you’re not alone. You’ve probably heard of the ‘terrible twos’, and it’s such a common phrase for a good reason.

When your child is going through the toddler stage of development, they’re experiencing deep emotions that they don’t yet have the language to express.

Sadness, anger, frustration, and even tiredness can all come out in aggressive behavior, often in the form of hitting others.

But just because this is a normal stage of development, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do about it.

By understanding what your little one is going through and helping them to understand and deal with their emotions, you can set them on the path to gentle and aggression-free play.

Express Your Big Emotions With No Hitting is a book with a difference: it’s not a children’s book; it’s not a parenting book… It's a book designed for both you and your child to help you navigate this challenging time together.

Your child will be made aware of their behavior -- through a simple, relatable story and beautiful illustrations, your child will learn everything they need to know about why they sometimes hit people and what they can do instead.

Read the story with your child, and then settle down with a coffee and learn the psychology behind your child’s behavior, before getting ready to implement tried-and-tested strategies for dealing with hitting behavior in toddlers.

In Express Your Big Emotions With No Hitting, you’ll find a simple and rewarding way to deal with hitting -- hand-in-hand your child. You’ll discover:

  • A delightful story to read with your child to involve them in the process from the very beginning
  • Clear insights into why your child is behaving this way so you can understand exactly what you’re dealing with 
  • Practical strategies for handling your child’s behavior in the moment
  • How to recognize your own reactions and manage them to promote positive behavior in your child 
  • Clever tactics for preparing for potential hitting scenarios before they happen 
  • How to recognize when your child’s hitting may be a sign of something deeper
  • A simple 3-step plan for managing aggressive behavior 
  • Helpful language and phrases you can use with your child to promote the behaviors you want to see

And much more.

If you’re at your wits’ end with your toddler’s hitting, take heart. This phase will end, and there are things you can do to help them get there.

Tackle the problem head-on with your child. Use this book as a tool to help you become a feelings-managing team and learn positive behavior together.

If you’re desperate to help your toddler express their emotions without hitting, then scroll up and click “Add to Cart” right now.

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Oftentimes when you hear the word parenting or you hear people having discussions about parenting, the topic can become very rudimentary whereby miscommunication between parent and child is usually attributed to either the child simply being ill-tempered or unruly or the parent accused of being unprincipled, which can sometimes make one miss the essentials required to create an effective solution for building a friendly and safe environment that suits both parent and child. This book certainly skips the rudimentary education and heads for the target: attentiveness, persistence and problem solving strategies. Simply being aware that a child is misbehaving will not resolve the issue. The only way to solve a problem is to first establish the cause behind the problem. Dr Love highlights both the aggression toddlers can exhibit when they feel frustrated and angry but also various reasons for why they might feel the need to lash out.

It's definitely a book that should be read by both parent and child, preferably together, as I expect children will want to elaborate on some of the points raised throughout the book. I thought the language was age appropriate. The illustration was cute. I thought they could have been a little brighter in colour so they could pop out a little more, but they did the job.

This was an insightful and enjoyable book with workable solutions for any parent having difficulties communicating with their toddlers.


Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Author

Friday 10 December 2021

Book Blast & Giveaway - Buccaneer's Spit: A Race for the Treasure by J.E. Thompson

Buccaneer's Spit: A Race for the Treasure
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
Publication Date: October 18, 2021
Language‏: English
Paperback pages: 352
ISBN-10: 1455626074
ISBN-13: 978-1455626076

Book Description:

"Buccaneer’s Spit is a fast-paced mystery adventure with artful plot twists and turns. When twelve-year-old Callie reluctantly visits her grandfather in Charleston, SC little does she know what lies ahead. With buried secrets, bad guys and suspenseful encounters, readers of all ages will be kept on the edge of their seats." Elizabeth Geitz

In this middle-reader mystery, twelve-year-old Callie's parents send her to South Carolina alone for a spring break visit with her grandfather. Joined by a rambunctious Jack Russell Terrier and a friend with a secret of his own, she's set on revealing what the adults in her life are keeping from her. This STEM focused coming-of-age story features a girl/boy dynamic with a bit of pirate mystery and ecological danger thrown in. The adventure includes a prominent secondary character with dyslexia and is set in OpenDyslexic typeface. Perfect for high-low or reluctant readers and fans of The Goonies!

You can purchase Buccaneer's Spit: A Race for the Treasure at the following Retailers:


Photo Content from J. E. Thompson

About the Author
J. E. Thompson began his career in finance and left Wall Street after catching the writing bug in 1994. He has written four successful adult thrillers garnering much praise and recognition. When his daughter asked him to write something for her, Thompson began researching middle grade fiction. His first foray into the genre, The Girl From Felony Bay, did well earning status as the Winner Best Children’s Book (Southern Indep. Booksellers), and Finalist for Children’s Best Book Award in SC, GA, ME, NE, KS, MD, Junior Library Guild Selection. Now firmly entrenched in writing, Thompson is on his third mystery adventure for middle grade readers. He makes his home in South Caroline, a frequent setting for his books.

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*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

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Thursday 9 December 2021

Book Blitz & Giveaway - Accidentally In Love by Danica Flynn

Accidentally In Love
(MacGregor Brothers Brewing Company, #1)
Author: Danica Flynn
Publication Date: December 7th, 2021
Genre: Adult Contemporary Holiday Romance

Book Description:
At thirty-five and single, I’m tired of the dating game. Tired of men who look at me and say, “You’d be prettier if you shed a few pounds.”

There’s only one man I want a future with — my grouchy friends with bene fits, Nolan. But he’s adamant about keeping things casual.

All that changes when one night we get careless, and those pink lines show up on the pregnancy test months later.

Nolan wants to do right by me. He wants to give me what I’ve been searching for, but I’m pretty sure he’s only doing it out of obligation. It’s not like the bearded brewmaster loves me like I love him.

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