Review: Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan

Note: I was provided with an advance reader copy by the author. It was my decision to review the novel and receiving a copy in no way influenced my opinion of the novel or this review. 

I am a sucker for a second-chance-at-love story. It’s one of my favourite tropes. Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan definitely fits the bill.

Early on, the reader gets to see how Kimba and Ezra first meet and become best friends as children. Their friendship and their loyalty to one another is intense and a precursor to love. Life separates them as pre-teens, and it’s many years later when they’re reunited. From there, we’re pulled into a very intense and gratifying love story.  

What I loved about Queen Move: Kennedy is a master at creating credible and three-dimensional characters who are so strong, so well-drawn that they seem to have lives of their own. They live, they breathe and you believe in them completely. Whether it’s her protagonists, Kimba and Ezra, or her secondary characters, you believe in them. I also love how she weaves in history in this story — for those of us who were children during the time of Atlanta child murders, we remember the fear and how it left a pall over a part of our childhood. Kennedy weaves this into the beginning of the story, reminding us of how fearful and watchful black parents especially were even in the days following the arrest of Wayne Williams. 

But what I appreciate most is that Queen Move is a very realistic love story. Like real life, Kimba and Ezra’s story is not always smooth sailing. It’s messy, full of twists and turns. It’s two adults dealing with everything that life and love throws at them. 

My rating? 5 stars.


Highly recommended.

First Look: Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan

QUEEN MOVE BY KENNEDY RYAN

“Combining sweet nostalgia with the important issues Kennedy never shies away from, Queen Move is nothing less than wonderful. I couldn’t put it down and never wanted it to end!” 

— Alexa Martin, Author of Intercepted

Queen Move, an all-new powerful second chance standalone from Wall Street Journal bestselling and RITA® Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan, is coming May 26th and we have your FIRST LOOK!  

Make sure to enter on Kennedy’s site to win a QUEEN BOX, stuffed with a signed paperback and all the things you’ll need to treat yourself like a queen!

Prologue

Kimba

Two Years Before Present

Is there anything sadder than a daddy’s girl at her father’s funeral?

My mother’s quiet sniffs a few seats down give me the answer.

A grieving widow.

“He was a good man,” someone in the long line of mourners offering condolences whispers to her.

Mama’s head bobs with a tearful nod. In this day and age, she still wears a pillbox hat and veil. It’s black and chic like Mama, channeling tragic Jackie Kennedy or Coretta Scott King. My father was not just a good man. He was a great man, and everyone should know he leaves behind a widow, grieving deeply, but ever-fly. I squeeze the funeral program between my fingers, glaring at the printed words.

Joseph Allen leaves behind a wife, Janetta, three children, Kayla, Keith and Kimba, and six grandchildren.

He leaves behind.

Daddy’s gone, and I don’t know how to live in a world my father does not inhabit. The casket is draped with sweet-smelling flowers in the center of the funeral tent. When we leave the cemetery, it…he will be lowered into the ground with unfathomable finality, separated from us by white satin lining, six feet of dirt and eternity.

Kayla, my older sister, sobs softly at the end of our family’s row. Her four children watch her carefully, probably unused to seeing their unshakeable mother shaken and reduced to tears. Even I’d forgotten how she looks when she cries—like she’s mad at the wetness streaking her cheeks, resentful of any sign of weakness.

It’s not weak to cry, Daddy used to say. It’s human.

“But doesn’t the Bible say even the rocks will cry out?” I’d challenged him when I was young, loving that something from Sunday school took. “So maybe tears aren’t just for humans.”

“You’re getting too smart for your britches, little girl,” he’d said, but the deep affection in his eyes when he kissed me told me he was pleased. He liked that I asked questions and taught me to never accept bullshit at face value.

I miss you, Daddy.

Not even a week since his heart attack, and I already miss him so much.

Humanity blurs my vision, wet and hot and stinging my eyes. I want this to be over. The flowers, the well-dressed mourners, the news cameras stationed at a distance they probably deem respectful. I just want to go to the house where my parents raised us, retreat to Daddy’s study and find the stash of cigars that only he and I knew about.

Don’t tell your mother, he used to whisper conspiratorially. This will be our little secret.

Mama hated the smell of cigars in the house.

“Tru.”

Who would call me by that name? Now, when the only people who use it, my family, are all preoccupied with their own pain? A tall man stands in front of me, his thick, dark brows bunched with sympathy. I don’t know him. I would remember a man like this, who stands strong like an oak tree. A well-tailored suit molds his powerful shoulders. Dark brown, not quite black, hair is cut ruthlessly short, but hints at waves if given the chance to grow. His prominent nose makes itself known above the full, finely sculpted lips below. His eyes are shockingly vivid—so deep a blue they’re almost the color of African violets against skin like bronze bathed in sunlight. No, a man like him you’d never forget. Something niggles at my memory, tugs at my senses. I’d never forget a man who looked like this, a man with eyes like that…but what about a boy?

“Ezra?” I croak, disbelief and uncertainty mingling in the name I haven’t uttered in years.

It can’t be.

But it is.

Keep Going!

Read the REST of the prologue and enter the QUEEN BOX giveaway on Kennedy’s website:→ kennedyryanwrites.com/queen-move-prologue

**QUEEN MOVE will have the special pre-order and release week price of $3.99. After that, the price will increase.**

 

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

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SYNOPSIS 

The boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have…

Dig a little and you’ll find photos of me in the bathtub with Ezra Stern.

Get your mind out of the gutter. We were six months old.

Pry and one of us might confess we saved our first kiss for each other. 

The most clumsy, wet, sloppy . . . spectacular thirty seconds of my adolescence.

Get into our business and you’ll see two families, closer than blood, torn apart in an instant.

Twenty years later, my “awkward duckling” best friend from childhood, 

the boy no one noticed, is a man no one can ignore.

Finer. Fiercer. Smarter. 

Taken.

Tell me it’s wrong. 

Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have. 

When we find each other again, everything stands in our way–secrets, lies, promises.

But we didn’t come this far to give up now. 

And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine.

ABOUT KENNEDY RYAN

A RITA® Award Winner, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling Author, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

Kennedy and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour and many others. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but has a special passion for raising Autism awareness.The co-founder of LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable book auction, she has appeared on Headline News, The Montel Williams Show, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for ASD families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

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Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

I really enjoyed reading Beth O’Leary’s The Switch, an entertaining story about a grandmother and granddaughter who decide to “switch” lives for two months with the grandmother moving into the granddaughter’s loft apartment in London while the granddaughter moves into the grandmother’s cottage (and takes over all her grandmother’s activities) in Yorkshire. This is so much more than a simple “changing places” story — it tackles grief and its consequences, losing oneself in work (and other people’s expectations), frustrated dreams, etc.

Loved the multigenerational cast of characters and all the situations they got themselves into. Highly recommended! 

By the way, check out Beth’s other book (which I also enjoyed), The Flatshare.

Review: The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell

I am a big fan of gothic mysteries and intricate storylines, and The Caretakers delivers in spades. 

I wanted a book I could really get lost in, with plenty of suspense and realistic and compelling characters. I especially loved delving into Tessa’s story. Her guilt and how she struggles to deal with it at the same time as she deals with the loss of her mother and the familial tension that ensues, is riveting. 

The Caretakers is the sort of book that keeps you up at night – you want to know what will happen next, so you keep turning the pages without caring a jot about the time or where you have to be the next day,

One of the things that I loved with The Caretakers was the attention to detail. Maxwell does a fantastic job of describing the setting, of taking her time to pull the reader into the story so that it has an almost cinematic feel. 
And, unlike many other books in this genre, the ending is perfectly paced and satisfying. 

So far, The Caretakers is one of my favorite reads of 2020. Highly recommended!

Disclosure: The links in this post are affiliate links. If you choose to click and purchase from the link, I will receive a small commission which will help with paying for the costs of running this site.

Cover reveal: Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan

QUEEN MOVE BY KENNEDY RYAN

Queen Move, an all-new beautiful and unforgettable second chance romance from RITA® Award-winning and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kennedy Ryan, is coming May 26th and we have the stunning cover! 

The boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have…

Dig a little and you’ll find photos of me in the bathtub with Ezra Stern.

Get your mind out of the gutter. We were six months old.

Pry and one of us might confess we saved our first kiss for each other. 

The most clumsy, wet, sloppy . . . spectacular thirty seconds of my adolescence.

Get into our business and you’ll see two families, closer than blood, torn apart in an instant.

Twenty years later, my “awkward duckling” best friend from childhood, 

the boy no one noticed, is a man no one can ignore.

Finer. Fiercer. Smarter. 

Taken.

Tell me it’s wrong. 

Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have. 

When we find each other again, everything stands in our way–secrets, lies, promises.

But we didn’t come this far to give up now. 

And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine.

**QUEEN MOVE WILL HAVE THE SPECIAL PRE-ORDER AND RELEASE WEEK PRICE OF $3.99. AFTER THAT, THE PRICE WILL INCREASE.**



PREORDER TODAY!

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Cover Designed by Asha Hossain Design
Photography by Sophia Barrett Studios
Model: Lashae Dennie

ENTER TO WIN

Cover Celebration Giveaway! Enter for a chance to win a $50 gift card and a signed paperback of Queen Move.

CLICK HERE

ABOUT KENNEDY RYAN

Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller and RITA® Award Winning author, Kennedy Ryan, writes about women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always worked with charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys raising Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine and Frolic, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta Autism families, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

CONNECT WITH KENNEDY RYAN

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAMREADER GROUP | AMAZON | PINTEREST | BOOK + MAIN

NEVER MISS A RELEASE

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Review: The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts

Imagine you work for a magazine called Posh! and your boss asks you to interview the most eligible titled bad-boy bachelor in the country? That’s Polly’s situation in The Plus One. We follow the previously unlucky at love reporter as she embarks on a whirlwind relationship with Jasper Milton, a sexy and too handsome for his own good aristocrat who’s got a reputation for being a playboy. 

The Plus One is a total rom-com with a fun and irreverent tone of voice and relatable characters. I thought the premise of how Polly and Jasper meet worked really well and hooked me from the beginning. However, the last few chapters left me feeling like something was missing, or as though the ending was rushed — which is a little frustrating since I enjoyed the rest of the book. 

And because the last third of the book felt so rushed, I give the book three stars. Would I recommend the book? Yes. It was a fun read and I really liked the characters and the premise. It was fun and frothy with just enough serious bits.

I just hated the ending.

New Release: Baby I’m Yours by Carrie Elks

Title: Baby I’m Yours

Author: Carrie Elks

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: Feb 12, 2020

Cover Designed by: Najla Qamber

Two tiny lines that change everything…

Doctor James Tanner is gorgeous, successful and decisively single.

He’s also a widower with a broken heart.

When he meets a beautiful woman on a fateful night out, their chemistry shocks him to the core.

Harper Hayes is irresistible. 

With her pink-tipped hair and tantalizing smile, she makes him forget all his pain.

One night together won’t hurt, will it? 

One night to get her out of his system. 

Then he’ll leave in the morning without a backward glance.

But actions have consequences, and this one will change their lives forever.

And when Harper sees those two little lines she knows exactly what that means.

Now she just needs to find her baby’s father.

What a shame she doesn’t even know his name…

Buy Links 

AMAZON US LINK: https://amzn.to/35F6taf

AMAZON UK LINK: https://amzn.to/35F6taf

AMAZON UNIVERSAL LINK: http://mybook.to/BabyImYours

GOODREADS LINK:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48672424-baby-i-m-yours

BEGIN THE SERIES WITH LET ME BURN (Angel Sands Book 1) for FREE in KU: mybook.to/LetMeBurn

Excerpt 

“I’m sorry I walked out that night,” he said when he closed the break room door behind them. “I don’t usually do that kind of thing.”

“Walk out after a night of amazing sex?” She raised an eyebrow.

“I meant having the amazing sex in the first place. But yeah, I don’t usually walk out without a word either.” He shook his head. “It was an asshole thing to do. The least I could have done was taken you to breakfast.”

“Don’t worry. Breakfast was included with the room. And it isn’t your midnight ghosting I wanted to talk about.”

“It isn’t?” 

“Nope.” She glanced at the door, as if to make extra sure it was closed. “Look, this is embarrassing and not at all how I imagined spending my day. I’d assumed I’d never see you again, and I was okay with that. Or as okay as you can be after waking up to an empty bed.” She took a deep breath. “So anyway, the thing is, I didn’t give you an STD that night, but you did give me something.”

“You think I gave you an STD?” He shook his head. “I couldn’t have.” She was the first person he’d had sex with in three years. “You’ve got the wrong guy.”

“I haven’t.” She pulled her lip between her teeth, her gaze meeting his. “It wasn’t an STD you gave me, James. It was a few extra sperm; I’m pregnant.”

Advance Praise For Baby I’m Yours

‘It had me smiling a lot and crying quite a bit too, definitely one that you should get ASAP..’ – A Book Lover’s Emporium Blog ★★★★★

‘A story that will touch your heart and have you cheering for James and Harper until the very end!’ – Merry, Booksprout reviewer ★★★★★

‘Baby I’m Yours has just shot straight to #1 as my favourite book in this amazing series!’ – Clare, Goodreads reviewer ★★★★★

‘One click this you will not be disappointed.’ – Mrs Kebab’s Book Blog ★★★★★

‘Grabbed my heart. Love this series. So ready for more’ – Teresa, Goodreads reviewer ★★★★★

About The Author

Carrie Elks writes contemporary romance with a sizzling edge. Her first book, Fix You, has been translated into eight languages and made a surprise appearance on Big Brother in Brazil. Luckily for her, it wasn’t voted out. Carrie lives with her husband, two lovely children and a larger-than-life black pug called Plato. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found baking, drinking an occasional (!) glass of wine, or chatting on social media.

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/CarrieElksAuthor/

FACEBOOK GROUP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CarrieElksWaterCooler/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/CarrieElks

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/carrie.elks/

NEWSLETTER: http://www.subscribepage.com/e4u8i8

WEBSITE: https://carrieelks.co

Review: The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews

Title: The Winter Companion

Author: Mimi Matthews

Publication Date: 11 February

Available for preorder

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Yet again, Mimi Matthews delivers a deliciously addictive and wonderfully written love story with The Winter Companion. This time, we delve into the lives of Neville Cross and Clara Hartwright. If you’ve been following the Parish Orphans of Devon series, then you’ve already had glimpses of Neville. Of all the boys (now men) who’d grown up together in the orphanage, I was always most curious about Neville, especially considering the injury he’d sustained from his fall from the cliffs. We get more insight into his life and how his BTI has affected him and the choices he’s made along the way.

With the coming Christmas holidays as the backdrop, Matthews sets the stage for a very nice slow-burn love story. We have Neville, painfully shy at times and more at home outdoors than in drawing rooms making small talk, and Clara, a paid companion to Mrs. Bainbridge who longs to learn and know more–but held back because of her gender and a secret from her past. Already from their first meeting, thanks to an elderly pug called Bertie, we know that Neville and Clara are meant to be. The question is how will it come to pass. And their path to love is very satisfying.

There are so many things that I loved about The Winter Companion: the richness of the setting, how Matthews weaves in the cast of characters we recognize from previous books in the series, how even the secondary characters come across as fully realized people and not simply as props… I could go on. But the most important factor for me in loving this book was how Matthews writes about Neville and his brain trauma injury. Gaining insight into how it has affected his life and how he’s tried to deal with it…as well as the initial resentment he felt at being the one left behind…made me as a reader feel such empathy for him and gave me a better understanding of why Neville never strayed far from the abbey.

I also enjoyed that Matthews allows us time to get to know Neville and Clara. They’re complex characters and having the chance to find out how life’s experiences made them who they are gave even more depth to their story.

If you like historical romance, then I think you’ll love the Winter Companion. For me, reading this book was pure pleasure. Highly recommended!

Review: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun AgeSuch a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s not often that I get to read a novel set in my hometown of Philadelphia, so I was pretty excited to read Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age.

So what’s the premise? Emira is a young African-American woman who, at the age of 25, doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life. She’s graduated from Temple University with a so-so GPA, and she’s babysitting for the Chamberlains, who’ve recently moved to downtown Philadelphia from New York. All of her friends are getting “real” jobs or have them already and Emira is feeling like a failure compared to them. Alix Chamberlain, her boss, is a successful blogger/influencer with a publishing deal, a husband who’s a news anchor on a local TV channel, and two picture-perfect daughters–even if Briar, the oldest, tries her nerves. Two unexpected events lead to both women examining their identities, race, friendship, love, and trust.

As much as I enjoyed reading the story, I felt like the alternating points of view were a bit unbalanced. I wanted more of Emira’s side of the story. Too often, it felt like Alix’s actions and worries were more in focus. Emira sometimes felt like an enigma whereas Alix was an open book.

Still, I really enjoyed reading Such a Fun Age and I am looking forward to reading Kiley Reid’s next novel.

View all my reviews

Book Blitz: Love and Hiplife by Nana Prah

LOVE AND HIPLIFE BY NANA PRAH

Lamisi Imoro will do anything to complete her PhD before the extension is up. It doesn’t matter who dies, leaves her high and dry, or hates her guts, she’s on fire. But, her supervisor wants to prove just how much he’d love to see her fail by throwing obstacles to thwart her from reaching her goal. Desperate for help and nowhere else to turn, she’s forced to ask for the assistance of the hiplife artist who once saved her from a nasty fall. She finds that their scorching attraction is a problem and is determined to tamp her rising emotions because nothing will stop her from getting what she set out to accomplish.

Blaise Ayoma is on the verge of taking African Francophone countries by storm with his new style of music. Learning how to sing in French without butchering the beautiful language is harder than he thought. Multi-linguist, Lamisi is the key to his success. When his presence in her life puts her in danger, will he end the budding relationship in order to keep her safe?

AVAILABLE ON
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ABOUT NANA PRAH

Nana Prah first discovered romance in a book from her eighth-grade summer reading list and has been obsessed with it ever since. Her fascination with love inspired her to write in her favorite genre where happily-ever-after is the rule. She is a published author of contemporary, multicultural romances. Her books are sweet with a touch of spice. When she’s not writing she’s reading, over-indulging in chocolate, and enjoying life with friends and family.

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