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Category Archives: YA

Feature: Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire

Feature: Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire

A normal day. Until two siblings are accused of crimes they didn’t commit. Come Home Safe explores the pain, the truths, and the hopes that come with growing up as a person of color in America, as well as why “the talk” and discussions about social justice are so important in the community. This engaging YA novel from ABC News legal analyst Brian Buckmire is told in a way that can help foster conversations about what it means to navigate today’s world, as well as inspire ways to work toward change.

When Reed and Olivia left home, they never imagined they’d find themselves questioned, searched, and thrown to the ground by police looking for suspects in recent crimes. As their worst fears become reality, they must find a way to “prove” their innocence and make it home safe once again.

Come Home Safe is perfect for:

Fans of contemporary fiction and true-to-life stories
People interested in social justice and societal change
Parents and teachers looking to start a conversation and have “the talk” with their teens
Anyone looking to better understand America today

From ABC News legal analyst and NYC Legal Aid Society public defender Brian Buckmire, this compelling story draws from real-life advice, lessons, and conversations with attorneys, law enforcement, and the wrongfully accused to help turn the whispers and family discussions about racial inequality and mistreatment into wider conversations, healing, and one day … change.

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About The Author

Brian G. Buckmire is a senior staff NYC public defender in the Criminal Defense Practice and Homicide Defense Task Force at the Legal Aid Society, representing indigent clients in Brooklyn, NY. He is the anchor for Law and Crime Daily, a nationally syndicated show covering the hottest cases and controversies from courtrooms nationwide. He is also a legal contributor for ABC and has covered events like the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, the trials against Harvey Weinstein and R. Kelly, and many more. In addition, he serves on the board of trustees for Coney Island Prep, a charter school in South Brooklyn. Born in Toronto, of Caribbean heritage, Brian, his wife Victoria, and their son Reid live in New York.

Instagram: @thebuckesq
Twitter: @TheBuckEsq

Talking Points

  • How Brian’s own experiences & career inspired the book
  • Tips for parents on having ‘the talk’ with their children
  • How to prepare kids for interactions with the police (& what do when
    things don’t go to plan)
  • The reality of growing up as a person of color in America

Feature: THE DAVENPORTS by Krystal Marquis

Feature: THE DAVENPORTS by Krystal Marquis

A transportive debut romance set in turn-of-the-century Chicago.


EARLY PRAISE FOR THE DAVENPORTS:   ★ “This deftly written series opener examines the lives of Black elites following Reconstruction with a focus on the constraints of women. The strong characterization, developed through alternating third-person perspectives, and descriptive setting lure readers in. A dazzling debut.” Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews   ★ Marquis perceptively explores the history and momentous impact of Black achievements and wealth during an underreported period in U.S. history. Employing expert characterization and complex dynamics, the author presents a cast of take-charge women, undeterred by their struggles and pursuing their passions regardless of expectations.Starred Review, Publisher’s Weekly     “With dazzling prose and whip-smart pacing, Krystal Marquis’s gorgeous debut spirits readers into a world of polished glamor, but also a world shadowed by painful reckonings. Through trial, defeat, defiance, and triumph, its characters offer heart and perspectiveThe Davenports is a fresh, utterly enchanting read, and a much-needed addition to the contemporary canon of Black literature.” 
Ayana Gray, New York Times bestselling author of the Beasts of Prey trilogy  

Debut author Krystal Marquis transports readers to opulent 1910s Chicago in THE DAVENPORTS (Dial Books, on sale January 31, 2023),

the first book in an enthralling duology that interweaves romance, heartbreak, and courage, experienced through the lens of the early 20th century and four distinct perspectives. Olivia, Helen, Amy Rose, and Ruby bring readers along for the ride as they navigate the intricacies of love for the first time. Marquis’ dynamic Black heroines and their romantic adventures—inspired by the family of automobile magnate C.R. Patterson, and the flourishing of Black excellence in the 1900s—are perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory. 

The Davenport family thrives due to the entrepreneurship and ensuing fortune amassed by William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who established the Davenport Carriage Company years prior. While the Davenports and their friends are surrounded by chandeliers, gorgeous gowns, and endless parties, they soon learn that not all that glitters is gold, and love is the hardest lesson. 

Olivia, the beautiful older Davenport daughter, is in the process of fulfilling her obligations to get married until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader, Washington DeWight. Her sister and the younger Davenport daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love—unless it’s with her sister’s suitor, the mysterious Jacob Laurence. Amy-Rose, childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own hair care business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest until family pressures have her scheming to win his heart, just as Harrison Barton wins hers.

The varied perspectives in THE DAVENPORTS offer connections with the characters and look at a time in history rarely seen in young adult novels. With four distinct voices and experiences, ever-changing social environments, a sweep-you-off-your-feet romance, and an exciting cliffhanger, readers will fall in love with the Davenport family and their friends, and be left to eagerly anticipate book two of the series. 

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Krystal Marquis happily spends most of her time in libraries and used bookstores. She studied biology at Boston College and University of Connecticut and now works as an environmental, health, and safety manager for the world’s biggest bookseller. A lifelong reader, Krystal began researching and writing on a dare to complete the NaNoWriMo Challenge, resulting in the first partial draft of The Davenports. When not writing or planning trips to the Book Barn to discover her next favorite romance, Krystal enjoys hiking, expanding her shoe collection, and plotting ways to create her own Jurassic Park.

THE DAVENPORTS by Krystal MarquisDial Books | $19.99 | Ages 12 and UpISBN: 9780593463338 | on sale January 31, 2023  

Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson, who own 75 percent and 25 percent, respectively. With nearly 275** imprints and brands on six continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital English- and Spanish-language trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide. With over 15,000 new titles, and more than 600 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 80 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.

New Year. New Reading Challenge.

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New Year. New Reading Challenge.

It’s that time of year again! As you know, there is nothing more that I love than challenging myself when it comes to the books I read. Whether it’s a new author, series, a genre that takes me out of my comfort zone or being able to tackle some books that have been on my tbr for far too long; I live for a good reading challenge. In the past few years, I stepped up my game not only with the books that I read but also by attempting to clear out that never-ending to-read list. As always, my challenges have been hard, but a ton of fun at the same time.

For 2023’s Reading Challenge, I really wanted to once again challenge myself and kick my never-ending to-read list’s butt!! And I am more than ready for the challenge……

Re-Read a favorite book
A book by an author new to me
A Contemporary Romance
A New Adult Read
A Biker Novel
A Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
A Sports Romance
A Romantic Comedy
A book chosen for its cover
An Accidental Pregnancy Romance
An Older Brother’s Best Friend Romance
A Holiday Romance (any holiday)
A Forbidden Romance
A Billionaire Romance
A Jilted Bride Romance
A Workplace Romance
A Fake Relationship
A Marriage of Convenience
My Favorite troupe
A book with a red cover
A Book with a One-Word Title
A Book with a pink cover
A Book with an illustrated cover
A book set in a different country from where I currently live.
10 books on my TBR
6 New Releases
A Rock Star Romance
A Book picked by a friend
A Dark/Taboo Romance
A Historical Romance
A Reverse Harem Romance
An Enemies to Lovers Romance
A book that will make you Ugly Cry
A book with an Age Gap
A book with Friends to Lovers
A book with a Blue cover
A Book with a White Cover
A Book with no people on the cover
A Book that will be made/has been made into a movie/tv show
A Diversified Read
A Romantic Suspense
A Book with a black cover
A book, where the main character is/, was in the military
A Small-Town Romance
A First Responder (Police Officer/Firefighter/EMT)
A Second Chance Romance
A Dystopian/Science Fiction Romance
A Grumpy/Sunshine Romance
A book with a yellow cover
2 Books that’s been on my tbr for 3 years or more
A Book with a Purple Cover
A Book by my favorite author
A Royal Romance
A book with a Cowboy on the cover
A YA Book
An Insta-Love Romance
An Opposites Attract Romance
A Forced Proximity Romance
A Romance With A Bearded Man On Cover
A Fighter/MMA Book Romance
A Bad Boy Romance
A Bully Romance Romance
A Mafia Romance
A Gothic Romance
A Stand-alone Novel
Finish A Series I Started
2 Novellas
3 Duets
1 Box Set

5 Books I Already Own Per Month

Review: A Thousand Heartbeats by Kiera Cass

Review: A Thousand Heartbeats by Kiera Cass

#1 New York Times bestselling author of The Selection series Kiera Cass is back with her most epic novel yet—a sweeping enemies-to-lovers standalone romance.

“Love has a sound. It sounds like a thousand heartbeats happening at the same time.”

Princess Annika has lived a life of comfort—but no amount of luxuries can change the fact that her life isn’t her own to control. The king, once her loving father, has gone cold, and Annika will soon be forced into a loveless marriage for political gain.

Miles away, small comforts are few and far between for Lennox. He has devoted his life to the Dahrainian army, hoping to one day help them reclaim the throne that was stolen from them. For Lennox, the idea of love is merely a distraction—nothing will stand in the way of fighting for his people.

But when love, against all odds, finds them both, they are bound by its call. They can’t possibly be together—but the irresistible thrum of a thousand heartbeats won’t let them stay apart.

Kiera Cass brings her signature sparkling romance to this beautiful story of star-crossed lovers and long-held secrets.

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“Love doesn’t look like anything.” “Love has a sound. It sounds like a thousand heartbeats happening at the same time. It sounds like the rush of a waterfall or the still of the world at daybreak. You can hear it at night, lulling you to sleep, and, in the middle of your darkesst days, it breaks through like a laugh.”

“It had been fascinating to watch how love chipped the jagged edges from someone, made them sharper in some ways and softer in others. It left me, for the first time, awed by the prospect. Love is complicated. Compicated, but so unexpectedly beautiful.”

“It was so easy. I understood now why anyone dared to let someone else have control over their heart. She could do whatever she wanted. She could throw my heart back into that hurricane, and I would thank her for it. I was hers. I was Annika’s. And there was nothing to be done about it.”

I have been a fan of Kiera Cass’ books for quite some time. She captured my heart with the Selection series and stole it once again with A Thousand Heartbeats.

From the moment my eyes caught the cover of A Thousand Heartbeats, I knew I had to read this book. I mean how could you possibly go wrong with the enemies-to-lovers trope in a fantasy setting? And let me tell you, this book does not disappoint. I was sucked into Lennox and Annika’s story from the very first page. Despite being from two very different backgrounds, Annika and Lennox’s background was very similar. Both of them were broken by the direction their lives took, but their sense of duty kept pushing them along. Lennox and Annika are destined to be enemies but for these two fate has other plans. And so begins an unforgettable, fantastical story of love against all odds and the duty their lives have thrust upon them…

A Thousand Heartbeats is a fantastic read from beginning to end. I loved the plot and the rich scenery. I loved the characters, flaws, and all. I will be the first to admit that this book does start out a bit slow but, honestly, that is to be expected with a fantasy novel. But I promise the pace does pick up around the 40% mark.

As far as characters go, I absolutely adored Annika and Lennox. Annika might have been a princess, but don’t let her status fool you. There is so much more to this girl than meets the eye and she is so much stronger than people give her credit for. And Lennox, 100% had my heart from the beginning. There was just something about him that intrigued me. I loved his sense of duty and how he was desperately trying to right a wrong. Together, these two were destined to be enemies and I love watching their relationship grow and change throughout the story.

In the end, A Thousand Heartbeats was everything I was hoping it would be. I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in this story. If you’re looking for a Young Adult Fantasy novel with an enemies-to-lovers/starcrossed lovers vibe, you won’t want to miss A Thousand Heartbeats.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Review: Four for the Road by K.J. Reilly

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Review: Four for the Road by K.J. Reilly

The Perks of Being a Wallflower meets The End of the F***ing World in this dark young adult comedy about four unlikely friends dealing with the messy side of grief who embark on a road trip to Graceland.

Asher Hunting wants revenge.

Specifically, he wants revenge on the drunk driver who killed his mom and got off on a technicality. No one seems to think this is healthy, though, which is how he ends up in a bereavement group (well, bereavement groups. He goes to several.) It’s there he makes some unexpected friends: There’s Sloane, who lost her dad to cancer; Will, who lost his little brother to a different kind of cancer; and eighty-year-old Henry, who was married to his wife for fifty years until she decided to die on her own terms. And it’s these three who Asher invites on a road trip from New Jersey to Graceland. Asher doesn’t tell them that he’s planning to steal his dad’s car, or the real reason that he wants to go to Tennessee (spoiler alert: it’s revenge)—but then again, the others don’t share their reasons for going, either.

Complete with unexpected revelations, lots of chicken Caesar salads at roadside restaurants, a stolen motorcycle, and an epic kiss at a rest stop minimart, what begins as the road trip to revenge might just turn into a path towards forgiveness.

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Four for the Road is a dark and intriguing novel about four unlikely friends dealing with the messy side of grief. This book is a far cry from what I normally read, but I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the premise of this story. And don’t let the fact that this is a young adult book fool you. This book wasn’t afraid to pack a punch and definitely had me wanting to see what would happen next.

Four for the Road is quite the book to experience. It’s a messy, dark tale of grief with romance and humor sprinkled along the way. And while the writing was a bit all over the place, I couldn’t help but think how well the chaotic flow worked for this type of book and how it perfectly echoed the tone. There’s beauty to be found in a book like this and while the story is heartbreaking and certainly not for everyone, I’m glad to have stepped out of my norm and check this book out.

*I received an ARC copy of this book via the publisher, Simon & Schuster, in exchange for an honest review*

Release Blitz: If I Can Forgive You by Enisa Carter

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Release Blitz: If I Can Forgive You by Enisa Carter

If I Can Forgive You by Enisa Carter is now live!

I moved with my mom to a city at the sea to start a new life. But even though the times when I got bullied in school are long over, my past still hunts me. I have flashbacks and am scared of living. Embarrassing enough, I’m already twenty years old and never had a boyfriend. But then I see this guy at the candy shop, where I work part-time, and suddenly butterflies pop up in my stomach. He looks at me like no one did before. Who is this guy and what is he doing in Wilhelmshaven?
To get a birthday present for my grandma, I went to this candy shop in town. That’s where I saw her. She’s not only beautiful, but kind and sweet. For the first time in years I’m really interested in a woman. She might be the one to save me. But I was too stunned by her appearance to ask her out on a date. Now I cannot stop thinking about her. Still there are two things that bother me: Why does her ocean blue eyes look so familiar to me? And what happens, if she finds out about my dark past?

Download today or read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!


Meet Enisa Carter

Young adult romance author

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Review: Places We’ve Never Been by Kasie West

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Review: Places We’ve Never Been by Kasie West

A sweet and swoony contemporary Young Adult novel about a cross-country family road trip that puts one girl and her childhood best friend on an unexpected road to romance!

Norah hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Skyler, in years. When he first moved away, they’d talk all the time, but lately their relationship has been reduced to liking each other’s Instagram posts. That’s why Norah can’t wait for the joint RV road trip their families have planned for the summer.

But when Skyler finally arrives, he seems…like he’d rather be anywhere else. Hurt and confused, Norah reacts in kind. Suddenly, her oldest friendship is on the rocks.

An unexpected summer spent driving across the country leads both Norah and Skyler down new roads and to new discoveries. Before long, they are, once again, seeing each other in a different light. Can their friendship-turned-rivalry turn into something more?

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My Review

It’s been quite some time since I’ve picked up a Kasie West novel and I’m happy to report that she didn’t disappoint. Places We’ve Never Been is a captivating Young Adult romance that is sure to steal readers’ hearts no matter their age.

When we first meet up with Norah, she’s excited to embark on a road trip adventure of a lifetime. Not only will she be reunited with her best friend, but she’ll also be interviewing with her dream college. However, her excitement is dimmed when she discovers that her bestie, Skyler, has changed into someone she doesn’t recognize. As their summer trip moves along will these former besties be able to mend fences and possibly see one another in a different light? There’s only one way to find out….

Places We’ve Never Been is exactly what I’ve been searching for when it comes to Young Adult reads. This story is well-written and entertaining. It deals with real-world issues and how time changes everyone and everything. I really dug the enemies to lovers vibe between Skyler and Norah. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to these two and if they’d ever find their way back to one another.

If I had to make one complaint about this story is that I thought the conflicts were resolved a little too easily. I still had some things that I wanted to see play out, but sadly didn’t get to see. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely happy with how this story ends, I guess I was just left more when it came to the whole picture.

Overall, Places We’ve Never Been is a wonderful and entertaining story of young love, friendships, and family. This book was filled with all of the sweet and swoon-worthy moments that I’ve come to love and enjoy from this author. And in the end, this book reminded me of just how special Young Adult books can be.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review*

Release Blitz: Secrets Legends Keep by Melissa Winters

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Release Blitz:  Secrets Legends Keep by Melissa Winters

Secrets Legends Keep by Melissa Winters is now live! 

I’m the secret that legends were created to keep.

My life has been a series of plot twists, most of which I saw coming.

Having visions since I was a child, not much can throw me off balance. Until my brother and I are whisked away to the sleepy town of Pandora.

From the moment I crossed the town line, everything changed. Ghostly encounters, cryptic dreams, and deep connections to two local boys have me questioning what to believe. With my heart and my head at odds, I’m racking up enemies when what I need is allies.

There’s something strange going on in this creepy town, and I’m at the center of the secrets.

There are plenty of local legends to be told, but the more I learn about my new home–and my connection to it–the more questions that arise. The campfire stories might actually be truth passed off as myth, and I’m the secret they were created to hide.

Except nothing stays hidden for long.

Download today or read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Download book 2 in the Pandora Chronicles today!

Add them to your TBR!

Secrets Legends Keep:

Lies Legends Tell:

Meet Melissa Winters

Melissa Winters writes paranormal romances featuring vampires, witches and feisty fallen angels. Wine and coffee keep her sane, but have also contributed to her being nocturnal!

She lives in the burbs of Cincinnati with her family who puts up with her constant daydreaming.

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Review: She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

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Review: She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

She’s All That meets What If It’s Us in this swoon-worthy hate-to-love YA romantic comedy from #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Five Feet Apart Rachael Lippincott and debut writer Alyson Derrick.

Alex Blackwood is a little bit headstrong, with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of flirt. She knows how to get the girl. Keeping her on the other hand…not so much. Molly Parker has everything in her life totally in control, except for her complete awkwardness with just about anyone besides her mom. She knows she’s in love with the impossibly cool Cora Myers. She just…hasn’t actually talked to her yet.

Alex and Molly don’t belong on the same planet, let alone the same college campus. But when Alex, fresh off a bad (but hopefully not permanent) breakup, discovers Molly’s hidden crush as their paths cross the night before classes start, they realize they might have a common interest after all. Because maybe if Alex volunteers to help Molly learn how to get her dream girl to fall for her, she can prove to her ex that she’s not a selfish flirt. That she’s ready for an actual commitment. And while Alex is the last person Molly would ever think she could trust, she can’t deny Alex knows what she’s doing with girls, unlike her.

As the two embark on their five-step plans to get their girls to fall for them, though, they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling…for each other.

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She Gets the Girl is a sweet and authentic coming-of-age story. I’ll be the first to admit that this is quite the departure from the normal romances that I read, but I’m really glad to have picked it up and given it a chance.

She gets the Girl pulls you in from the very first page and you just can’t help but root for Alex and Molly. While their story might be YA, it deals with some very heavy, very real issues.

Overall, I found this to be a really entertaining read and loved the way it was written. This is my first book by this duo and I look forward to checking out more from them in the future.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher, in exchange for an honest review*


Rachael Lippincott is the coauthor of All This Time, #1 New York Times bestseller Five Feet Apart, and She Gets the Girl and the author of The Lucky List. She holds a BA in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, she currently resides in Pennsylvania with her wife and their dog, Hank.

Alyson Derrick was born and raised in Greenville, Pennsylvania, a town where burn barrels take the place of recycling bins. After making her great escape to Pittsburgh, where she earned her bachelor’s in English writing, Alyson started her own food truck, but soon realized she much prefers telling stories over slinging cheesesteaks. Alyson currently resides in Pennsylvania with her wife and their dog, Hank.

Release Blitz: THE MATCHBREAKER SUMMER by Annie Raines

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Release Blitz:  THE MATCHBREAKER SUMMER by Annie Raines

A pitch-perfect summer camp rom-com about two teens with nothing in common who come together to help break up a romance and unexpectedly start one of their own….

Sixteen-year-old Paisley Manning has been attending Camp Seabrook since she was a little girl, when her parents ran it together. For the last few years, since her father’s death, she’s been the one helping her mom run the camp behind the scenes. This year, however, will be Camp Seabrook’s last hurrah because Paisley’s mom has met a guy online and they’re getting married. 

Enter Hayden Bennett, who is working alongside Paisley. Paisley and Hayden are like oil and water. She follows the rules, and he seems to live to break them all. But when Hayden catches wind of Paisley’s predicament, he has an idea. If a matchmaker in some computer algorithm caused the issue, a couple of real-life matchbreakers can fix it. 

As they work to break up the happy couple, Paisley discovers that maybe Hayden’s not so bad after all. Has she met her own perfect match in her fellow matchbreaker?

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Annie Rains is a USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author who writes small-town love stories set in fictional places in her home state of North Carolina. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s living out her own happily ever after with her husband and three children.   Follow her online at and @annierainsbooks on Instagram and Twitter!