Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Something Old, Something New by Darcie Boleyn - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Annie's ex-husband Dex is marrying Trevor, the love of his life. Annie has agreed to give Dex away. They were always better as friends than as husband and wife. Annie's secretly still in love with her first ex-husband, Evan. She has children from both men. Her marriage with Evan stranded because he couldn't handle being a young dad. Annie's used to running a busy household by herself, while also working as a teacher, but she'd love to be in love again, to have someone by her side who supports her unconditionally. She once thought she'd found this with Evan and later with Dex, but both marriages didn't work out, will she be able to have it again and keep it this time?

Annie is a thirty-nine-year old mother, who doesn't particularly love her job, but works as a teacher because it pays the bills. She's always taking care of others and puts her own dreams aside for her loved ones. She has three wonderful children and several pets to look after. She's also there for both of her ex-husbands, she's a good friend and a loyal daughter. However, sometimes it's nice if she doesn't have to do all the work and doesn't have to manage everything and everyone on her own. Will she find romance again and have her happily ever after?

Something Old, Something New is a hilarious feelgood story. Darcie Boleyn's honest and open writing made me laugh out loud plenty of times. Annie's life is chaotic. She has adorable children, who sometimes make messy and incredibly funny mistakes. I loved the heartwarming way Darcie Boleyn's describes Annie's family adventures. Annie is a kind mother, she's doing the best she can, she's gentle and sweet and she's independent. I liked her fiery spirit and the fact that she can laugh about herself when she messes up is charming and refreshing. She's a beautiful main character, inside and out, and I enjoyed reading about her family, romantic journey and fabulous furry friends.

Darcie Boleyn has a fantastic sense of humor. I love how she knows no shame and writes the most amazing scenes about situations that everybody recognizes and would rather forget. She makes every part of family life accessible by writing about it in a gorgeous authentic way. This makes her stories an absolute joy to read. Something Old, Something New is original, entertaining, endearing and surprising. I loved this terrific romantic story.


If you love hilarious romantic stories Something Old, Something New would be a perfect choice.

About Darcie Boleyn

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night.

Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate.

Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.




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One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will receive a wonderful Summer at Conwenna Cove prize consisting of a signed bookmark and a postcard with a message from Darcie Boleyn. Two runner ups will win an unsigned bookmark and postcard.

 The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Can Dreams Come True? by Krysten Lindsay Hager - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Cecily's crush, singer Andrew Holiday, will shoot his new video in Cecily's hometown. Cecily has a boyfriend, Zach, but secretly she's always loved Andrew from afar. When one of her friends asks Cecily to accompany her to her audition for Andrew's video Cecily is happy to agree. She doesn't have much acting experience, but would love to be an actress. This sounds like a great chance and she also gets to meet her idol. The directors are looking for the ideal girl next door to play one of the parts in the video and Cecily is perfect for it. It's a dream come true, but will Zach and Cecily's friends like that she's been given this chance?

Andrew's lyrics mean something to Cecily, it's like he gets her and that's exactly the way she feels when they talk as well. Cecily might have a boyfriend, but that doesn't mean she can't be friends with Andrew. However, Zach starts to behave differently from the moment she's been given the part. Will their relationship survive or will she lose her first real boyfriend? Hanging out with Andrew is something Cecily's always fantasized about, is he just as nice in reality and what will happen when they get to know each other better?

Can Dreams Come True? is a heartwarming story. Cecily deals with regular teenage problems. She's insecure about her looks, she feels she isn't beautiful enough because most of her friends are much more mature. She loves reading a good book and prefers stories over parties. She's a gentle and friendly person and doesn't always notice when someone is treating her badly. I loved how Krysten Lindsay Hager describes her world. Not all teenagers are confident and sophisticated and she perfectly captures the out of your depth feeling that often comes with it. She does this with a fantastic sense of humor and plenty of insight and empathy, which makes her story funny and feelgood, but gives it a nice layer of depth at the same time.

Krysten Lindsay Hager has written a story about a topic a lot of seventeen-year-old girls dream about, meeting their idol and being part of his video. It's a fabulous subject for a story and Krysten Lindsay Hager's execution is flawless. Can Dreams Come True? constantly made me smile and I kept having flashbacks from when I was a teenager myself, which made the story extra entertaining to read. I loved that the writing style suits Cecily's feelings so well, it gives the story a realistic feeling, which is sweet given the theme. I absolutely loved Can Dreams Come True? and highly recommend this cute, amusing and enchanting story.


If you love sweet YA about cute pop stars, friendship and being yourself you should definitely read Can Dreams Come True?, it's a fun read for both teenagers and adults.

About Krysten Lindsay Hager

Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Bellbrook Times, and on Living Dayton.


Website // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Amazon 


1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I write young adult books and I love to read. I’m also an old movie fan (I love Elizabeth Taylor movies, Rock Hudson movies, and Audrey Hepburn ones).

2) You write about very recognizable teenage issues like self-esteem, relationship problems, friendship, trust and fitting in. What’s the inspiration behind your stories about these topics?

Whenever I was going through a difficult time when I was a teen, I’d turn to books to escape and I’d often find comfort in those books especially if the characters were going through something like I was. My middle school years were difficult dealing with friends, frenemies, and cliques. I also see a lot of high school girls post about relationship issues where they see red flags, but don’t quite know how to handle it.

In my books I have my characters deal with these same situations and hope that this will show readers they aren’t alone in what they’re dealing with. I like to showcase different scenarios to show different things that might help them through that situation. I love hearing from readers who say they were helped by my books.

3) Can you describe the main characters of Can Dreams Come True? in eight words each?

Cecily: funny, real, imaginative, introverted, music fan, dreamer, authentic, overthinker

Andrew: famous, funny, dreamer, deep thinker, real, laidback, old-fashioned, sentimental

Lila: loyal, funny, strong, opinionated, trustworthy, blunt, open, sarcastic

Allie: trustworthy, down-to-earth, introvert, blunt, thoughtful, loyal, introspective, shy

Harlow: popular, fame-seeking, ambitious, self-centered, insecure, blunt, extravert, dramatic

4) Cecily has the chance to meet her huge pop star crush, something a lot of girls her age dream about, how did you get this idea and who was your pop star crush when you were Cecily’s age?

I wanted to show a different side of those books that have the girl meet the dream guy—I wanted it to deal with all the anxiety and also the funny parts and to have her wonder if the fantasy of the guy could hold up to the real person. When I was much younger, I had a huge crush on George Michael and I still liked him when I was Cecily’s age. I also had a couple crushes on some basketball players like Grant Hill, Jalen Rose, and Toni Kukoc.

5) What’s the difference between a real friend and a frenemy and what does true friendship mean to you?

A real friend wants the best for you and will be there for you in the hard times. A frenemy doesn’t enjoy seeing you succeed unless it helps them in some way and they bail if things get tough. To me a true friend is there when you’re dealing with difficult times and doesn’t run when things get uncomfortable.

6) If you could give your seventeen-year-old self some good advice, what would it be?

I would tell myself not to worry about what other people think. There were things I wanted to do and try out for, but I worried about what people would say and held myself back.

7) The main characters of your stories are sweet and fascinating regular girls, struggling with issues like popularity, being pretty enough and knowing how to behave in certain situations. What makes them so appealing to write about?

I write the characters I wish I had had as friends back then and the girls I needed in my life at the time. I think people will really like Cecily’s best friends: Lila and Allie. Allie is more down to earth and blunt, and Lila is the funny friend who will analyze the screenshots to death with you. They’re loyal, supportive, and funny.

8) You love cute clothes, makeup, notebooks, accessories, etc., where does this love come from and how do you use it for your stories?

I was really into fashion when I was in high school. I used to read Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar—all the fashions magazines really. I used to try to do my makeup like the supermodels in the magazines! I modeled a little bit, but I really didn’t find it fun, so it was more about clothes and makeup for me. My friend and I used to go to department stores when they’d have famous makeup artists visit like Bobbi Brown. Now I go shopping with my characters in mind—especially with accessories. I have bags and jewelry that I write into my stories and then share pics of on Instagram. I wrote about a bag I wanted for the Cecily book I’m working on and my husband bought it for me for Christmas!

9) If you could be part of the music video of a star you admire, whose would it be and why?

I like Ed Sheeran’s new stuff and I like Jon Connor’s music a lot. I’d love to be in a video of Jon’s. Ed’s music is catchy and I play it a lot when I’m working. I love Jon’s work and I have had to delete stuff off my ipod to make room for more of his music! He’s from Flint and that’s where I was born and I went to college there.

10) What are your plans for the future?

I’m working on the second Cecily Taylor book. I won’t give any spoilers, but she visits New York City with Andrew for a bit! There’s a lot of funny bits in it along with drama and romance!


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a Can Dreams Come True? book cover journal and signed bookmarks from Krysten Lindsay Hager.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Key of Mystery by K.H. Mezek - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Anniek

Sera is a spoiled girl who walks amongst the popular crowd at school. She and her friends are thinking about which dresses to wear and the latest must-have shoes. All of this changes when Sera's father dies mysteriously. It turns out that he's been taking out all of the money that was in their accounts and now there's nothing left. Sera, her brother Salem and her mother have to get used to a more humble life and have to move into a trailer. Sera's mother is not really supporting her children and only thinks about herself. Salem is involved with a gang and becomes more and more distant every day. Will they be able to get through their grief and become a family once more?

All that Sera's father left was a black box with a key inside. Sera wears this key around her neck and feels very protective about it. Sera has doubts about her father's death being an accident and she's been having terrible meetings at night with horrible creatures. Will she be able to keep herself safe?

 Key of Mystery is a gripping story. I liked Sera from the start. She has so much to deal with, but she takes everything with her head held high. Sera is a smart girl and she's incredibly loyal towards the people around her. Sera knows she's in danger and still puts others before herself all the time. I loved to read about her journey and the way adjusts to her new life. Will Sera find out which door will be opened by the key she holds so close?

Key of Mystery is an amazing story about a young girl who has become a very important person to the supernatural world. Sera's once so ordinary world is now filled with vampires, nasty smelling zombies and mysteries. I love the idea of a secret chamber that can only be opened by an enigmatic key. K.H. Mezek doesn't give away everything at once, she skillfully divides her suspense, and I liked to follow this road together with Sera. Key of Mystery ends with a spectacular cliffhanger and I absolutely can't wait to read the next book in this series.


If you enjoy reading supernatural stories filled with secrets you should definitely read Key of Mystery. Please keep in mind that it's the first story in the Night Angels Chronicles and that there's an open ending.

About K.H. Mezek

Karen Hunt aka KH Mezek is, more than anything else, an adventurer. For the past two years she has been traveling the world, from the minarets of Istanbul, to the Sahara Desert, to the jungles of Costa Rica, writing her YA Urban Fantasy series, NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES.

Karen is the co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated youth, and the founder of the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting youth in remote areas through art and writing.

She is a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing and kick-boxing trainer. Her love of travel and adventure started as a child when her family escaped out of Egypt right before the 6 Day War, lived in a 17th century castle in Switzerland and smuggled Bibles into communist countries, along with many other exploits.

It’s hard to say where her adventures will lead her next, but her bag is packed, her passport is up to date and she is ready to go.


Website: https://khmezek.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/karenalainehunt
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/330000.Karen_Hunt_KH_Mezek


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Key of Mystery by K.H. Mezek.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Alice in Wonderland Books & Santoro Tin, Notebooks & Mug Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win Alice in Wonderland Books and a Santoro Eat Me tin and Drink Me notebooks and mug. Good luck!

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Wicker King & The Legend of the Golden Raven by K. Ancrum - Book Reviews, Interview & Giveaway

Reviews by Suze

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Jack and August are best friends, but they're also more than that. Jack once saved August's life. Now it's Jack who needs to be saved, but his situation is incredibly complicated. Jack has hallucinations and a fantasy kingdom becomes part of his everyday world. It's difficult for him to know the difference between what others are experiencing and what he alone sees. Jack's parents are never there and August also doesn't have a stable home situation, so they're on their own. August is responsible for his friend's wellbeing and deals with it by trying to make Jack's world become reality. They go on an adventure, but what they're coping with together is bound to spiral out of control and when it does it will have grave consequences.

August and Jack only have each other to fall back on. August has to make sure there's enough money to pay the basics at home, which doesn't give him the opportunity to have a rich social life. Jack used to be a talented rugby player, but his hallucinations are standing in his way. There are few people who know what the two friends, who might feel more for each other than just friendship, are dealing with, nobody is close enough to them to figure it out. Their sanity is at stake, what will happen when matters come to an inevitable peak, can they handle the aftermath and will their love and friendship survive?

The Wicker King is a beautiful heartbreaking story. August and Jack have a deep complex bond. There's mutual understanding, unequal friendship and unconditional love. They find themselves in a situation they're too young and inexperienced for to deal with, but they only have each other, so they're finding their way, even if it isn't the most healthy or right one. I was impressed by how K. Ancrum describes their struggles, she does this with so much understanding and insight. I loved the special connection Jack and August have. It's pure, twisted and painful, but it's also precious and promising. There are many contrasts in this book, the real world versus Jack's fantasy world is another one I absolutely loved. K. Ancrum makes it come to life in a fantastic emphatic way that greatly moved and impressed me.

The Wicker King is a brilliant book. I can't praise this story enough. It has so many gorgeous emotional layers, the love K. Ancrum writes about is unconditional and profound. She's written a thought-provoking story that's compelling, poignant and innovative. The artwork that accompanies the story makes it come to life in a great vibrant way. There are drawings, documents and maps for example that are giving the story so much extra detail. The Wicker King is dynamic, filled with restless energy, raw, tragic, hopeful, delicate and incredibly alluring. I highly recommend this mindblowing story.


If you love beautiful emotional stories about teenagers dealing with what life brings them the best they can, The Wicker King is an absolute must-read.

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August and Jack are different, but they are friends. August is a misfit and Jack is popular, Jack is rich and August is poor, August can easily run a household and Jack is clueless about everyday tasks, but they have an unbreakable connection. They complement each other and that is what Jack needs when he starts losing his grip on reality more and more.

Jack tries to show August the fantasy world he sees. They're having a hard time staying on the right track, maintaining their sanity. There's a prophecy Jack needs to fulfill, is it a good idea to actually chase it and what will happen when they give it a try?

The Legend of the Golden Raven is a short companion novella to The Wicker King. It gives some more insight into Jack's world. It was really interesting to read about Jack and August from a different perspective. The world Jack is living in because of his hallucinations is detailed and realistically portrayed, which makes it come to life in a beautiful way. I was impressed by the amazing way the stories complement each other.

K. Ancrum has written a beautiful heart-rending story filled with love, pain, hope and friendship. I loved how complex the relationship between Jack and August is and The Legend of the Golden Raven shows a new side of their already multifaceted bond. I loved reading this impressive novella, it's a part of The Wicker King story I wouldn't have wanted to miss.


The Legend of the Golden Raven should be read after The Wicker King. I wouldn't advise you to read it as a standalone, but it's a fantastic addition to a beautiful story. I highly recommend you to read both.

About K. Ancrum

K. Ancrum grew up in Chicago Illinois. She attended Dominican University to study Fashion Merchandizing, but was lured into getting an English degree after spending too many nights experimenting with hard literary criticism and hanging out with unsavory types, like poetry students. Currently, she lives in Andersonville and writes books at work when no one is looking.


Website // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads


1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I’m a bookish 26 year old who lives in Chicago. Like Jack and eventually August as well, I’m bisexual and neuroatypical (ADHD; depression/anxiety). In my free time, I like reading fan fiction and wasting hours on tumblr. :D

2) August and Jack have a complex relationship, can you tell a bit more about it?

The Wicker King is a friends to love romance. However, August and Jack’s friendship is unhealthy and co-dependent because both boys are being neglected by their families. That neglect leads them to rely on each other in increasingly desperate ways until it begins to cause problems. Additionally, Jack is attracted to August while August struggles with identifying his romantic orientation. Over time, these facets of their relationship grow and change until they are left in the shattered remains of their lives and the only thing left between them is an understanding that at the end of the day, the one thing that has remained pure and strong between them, is mutual love and care.

3) Your story is about neglect, illness and disbalance, what inspired you to write about these topics and how do you prepare to write the difficult scenes?

I wrote about these topics because they are very personal to me and I believe that youth who deal with these issues need to see a thoughtful representation of them in media. In order to make sure that I was writing thoughtfully and accurately, I prepared to write these scenes by doing intensive research. I spent months studying and having interviews with psychologists so that I could make sure that my portrayal was accurate---not just to the problems presented, but also to the time period that it was written.

4) What does true friendship mean to you?

Friendship is about equality, respect, support, selflessness and empathy. Friendships with disparate power structures can be manipulative, friendships without mutual respect are self-serving. Friendships without mutual support don’t offer either person any refuge, Friendships built on selfishness aren’t enriching and friendships without shared empathy causes damage to both participants. Friendships come in different levels of course and no one should be expected to maintain these with all their friends at all times. But lasting bonds tend to feature these qualities and they are important.

5) You’ve written a beautiful letter at the end of your story, what advice would you give teenagers in a similar situation?

Thank you! I tried to say what I wished someone had said to me and my friends when we were all struggling. I think that if you notice that a friend is struggling with mental illness you can do any of the things the friends in The Wicker King did.

You should ask them if they are okay (Peter and Roger), offer them resources if you can find any (Peter and Roger), check up on them every so often even if it's just something small like a text (Peter and Roger). If you have the time and resource, offer them a safe space to talk about their feelings (Rina), Try to still have fun with them even though they’re struggling (Gordie), If you can’t do anything to really help, doing things to make them happy really helps too (Alex).

If you yourself are struggling with mental illness, reaching out and finding help is very important. Its very scary sometimes and adults around you may not always leap to help you unprompted. But, the faster you’re able to get help, the better off things will be. If the people around you are failing you, reaching out to healthcare professionals on the internet or over the phone can help as well. In the back of The Wicker King there are some crisis resource contacts in case any readers need immediate help.

6) You write about a love that becomes twisted but is beautiful at the same time, how did you find the balance between this?

It was easier than it sounds! At the center of the book there is a singular description of love and I just stayed consistent to it. To August and Jack, love is shown through expressing care. August feels loved by his absentee mother because she shows that she loves him by care (teaching him to cook, brushing and cutting his hair, etc) and he understands the effort it takes for her. August then expresses his love for Jack by caring for him. Jack shows his love for August by accepting that care and providing care for August when August gets tired. Rina melts August’s heart by being the only girl in the book to show him love through care, and then captures August’s heart for good by showing care to Jack. Jack falls for Rina because she reminds him of the care he receives from August and is excited by August also being cared for by her.

The only thing that “twists” is the type of care being provided between August and Jack. Touch starved, exhausted from being in control, overburdened with responsibilities, August craves being touched roughly and gently dominated. Physically and psycho-socially deteriorating, Jack provides these releases to August which gives them both the strength to continue their journey for better or worse. This is why, when all is solved and the burdens they were holding are removed, what is left is still that care. That desire to care--which can now be used to heal---and along with it, a fierce and enduring love.

7) Jack is suffering from hallucinations, how did you handle the research for this and was it hard to write these scenes?

I did a lot of book research. I actually read case studies and medical texts about his specific hallucinatory disorder ‘Peduncular Hallucinosis’ until I was sure about how he would describe it to August. The hardest part of writing it was the aspect of it where there is no auditory element. All of the things that Jack knows about this world, he learned in silence. So instead of Jack saying “these people told me this and that” he says things like “They write about you on the walls.”

8) You write about teenagers with many problems, what’s the inspiration behind it?

Teenagers have a lot of problems! I wanted my first book to be impactful and supportive—particularly if it was to be the only book I’d succeed at getting published (which is what I thought while I was writing it). I wanted to showcase a scenario where teenagers are shown to be supportive and strong and trying their hardest even if things were still not going very well. I think that when given difficult situations, teenagers tend to be that way. Whenever bad things would happen when I was a teenager, the first people to jump to help were fellow teenagers—even if that help wasn’t ultimately the best solution. I wanted to respect that aspect of teenagers because I feel like it deserves to be elevated.

9) You support fellow authors, what’s the first advice you usually give an inspiring author?

Don’t be the first person to reject yourself. So many writers I wrote alongside while working on The Wicker King kept telling themselves that there was no way they’d ever manage to get published and to this day, none of them have. Even when I was querying I would get hate mail on tumblr for “putting my work out there even though it wasn’t the best” and it still isn’t the best! But I didn’t let that stop me from putting my work in front of professional people who could reject me…and through rejecting me, teach me how to better provide what publishers wanted. If I had told myself that I shouldn’t even try because I wasn’t “good enough” I wouldn’t have been able to grow.

10) What are your plans for the future?

I have 5 new books that I’m working on currently. 4 are set in the same town as The Wicker King and 1 is unrelated. My newest book will be published March of 2019 and it’s about two girls who love space! It's called The Weight of the Stars. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36952571-the-weight-of-the-stars.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed hardcover copy of The Wicker King and a handwritten author's note. One runner up will win a signed hardcover copy of The Wicker King.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.