Graham’s Delicacies: Characters Interview

graham's delicacies Character Interview Graphic

Today I am so happy to participate in Graham’s Delicacies‘ blog tour! You can read my review to see what I thought of it and get excited for this collection of three novellas all set in the same world and revolving around a group of friends/coworkers finding love.

Today is also a special day because it’s the book’s release date, so you can go ahead and purchase it for yourself at the following links (but please come back and keep reading my post after!).

43498882

Add to Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo

I sure hope you came back because I sat down with three characters (one from each novella) and asked them a few questions each and I love their replies.

flower divider

Interview with Emilie (they/them):

Silvia: Share an easy recipe for those of us (like…me) who can’t bake.

Emilie: I’m assuming you mean something to bake. Well, I recommend starting off with easy stuff like cookies, which don’t really take much time? Or, or, pancakes! Pancakes are tricky and they deal with like the basic of creating soft batter? I’m afraid all of my measurements are… pretty chaotic. Trial and error!

S: Which would you say is the most nonbinary of cakes?

E: Hmmm, I’ve never thought of cakes in the term of gender before… Is it egoistic to say Saffron cake? I mean, it’s that golden yellow that is in the flag!

S: Can you talk about what it’s like working in such a queer positive environment as Graham’s?

E: It’s the simple things like feeling safe; and surrounded by people who are like you and who’d protect you.

flower divider

Interview with James (he/him):

Silvia: How would you describe your relationship with your family?

James: I’d say I have a good relationship. Sure, I’m a bit meddlesome but it’s only because I love them so much.

S: What do you like most about Graham’s?

J: The ability to eat my weight in sugar.

S: Tell us something adorable (and SFW!) that Sam does when you two are alone.

J: Okay, listen, Sam will fight me over this, but he sings to himself while he’s reading. Like, it’s so cute. It starts off as a hum, and it’s totally unconscious when he starts singing. It usually means he’s having a good time. When I asked him about it, after an hour of him arguing he didn’t, he confessed that it’s because he used to listen to music while reading on like public transport.

flower divider

Interview with Alex (they/them):

Silvia: What do you like most about Yujin?

Alex: Is it weird if I say I love his body? You wouldn’t guess that Yujin can easily lift up a couch or assemble an IKEA bookcase just by looking. You’d get distracted by his smile, which is fantastic, or his hair while practically glows in the sun despite it being pretty dark. He also can lift me without hesitation and it’s really fun.

S: If you were a cake, which cake would you be? Which cake would Yujin be?

A: I’d be a latte cake. Don’t ask. I think coffee and cake is a neat combination. Yujin would be a Japanese cake. Fluffy as fuck.

S: Will you ever consider making an Instagram account (maybe with a new phone)?

A: Nope. Have you met my boyfriend? I’d be leaving him indecent comments all the time. I’m not to be trusted with technology. Besides, he has scary fans. You can find me on Instagram on the bakery’s account (and Yujin’s… he kind of posts a lot of beautiful pics, go follow my boo!)

divider-2461548_960_720

Thank you so much to Emilie, James and Alex for agreeing to answer my questions! They also told me they can’t wait for people to meet them and see their love stories unfold, so make sure you get your hands on the book!

Also check out Em’s thread with all the posts of the blog tour so far (and future ones) so you don’t miss all the reviews, characters aesthetics and all that good stuff that other bloggers are posting!

About the author:

author pic

Em Ali grew up on TV and K-pop like many her generation. She learned a lot about how to be a hermit and not interact with people, but she loves to hear from readers!

Links:

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

Advertisements

ARC Review: Graham’s Delicacies by Em Ali // three sweet and super queer short stories with different pairings and just a pinch of angst

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the author for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

43498882

Summary: 

Six people and three love stories all in one bakery. 

Saccharine
Jen goes to work, agonizes over college, and looks forward to the stolen moments in the kitchen. There she can watch Emilie bake love into every morsel. Their delicate friendship takes a step towards a budding romance, but will Jen’s anxiety help them survive their first hurdle?

Delectable
James has never been kissed but he wants to be. Especially by his co-worker Sam, who he can’t talk to without turning into a little jerk. Sam is made of all the good stuff, but will James’ deepest insecurities allow him to kiss the boy?

Ravenous
Alex won’t let some foodie with a video camera bash their beloved bakery, even if it means to be petty. Except they’re nowhere ready for Yujin, the one who got away and is now romancing them. Will Alex’s pride let them see the gold heart the bashful king hides?

Release date: March, 5th

Add on Goodreads

book review - pink

★★★★✩

One word: SWEET.

Graham’s Delicacies follows three different romances revolving around a bakery. Everyone is queer and every romance is differently structured with different tropes and different pairings so there is really something for everyone.

Saccharine follows Jen, a Black bisexual waitress with anxiety, and Emilie, the chubby and anxious nonbinary baker that caught her eye (and her heart). It is the type of story you want to read with a warm cup of tea and maybe a slice of cake or two.

The pining that was hinted at in the first story between James, who’s gay and Mexican-American and has never been kissed, and Sam, his gay Black coworker, is central in Delectable . This story was probably my favorite, I loved James’ characterization and how good Sam is.

The dynamic in Ravenous is closer to enemies to lovers and sees Alex, an Arab-American queer nonbinary baker, trying (and failing) to keep Yujin, his gay Korean-American one night stand and foodstagrammer, at a distance. I loved them both and I am a huge fan of the trope used here.

All stories are extremely positive and inclusive with queer and trans side characters. There are explicit scenes in all of them and I love how clear the consent is on every page. You can see that Em Ali cares a lot about their characters and about the readers, from the note about Emilie’s pronouns to the detailed content warnings at the beginning of the book.

I really recommend this as the kind of cute, not complicated romance that will melt your heart and give you everything you need from a story.

ARC Review: My Fake Canadian Wife by M. Hollis // sapphic fake dating

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

43374942

Summary: When Dora receives a letter from the immigration service in Canada saying she will be deported soon, as her visa is expiring, a friend suggests she marry a woman. Since she doesn’t currently have a girlfriend, faking a relationship might be her only option since she can’t muster the desire to return to school for advanced photograph studies.
Abby is a reserved librarian who seems enthusiastic about helping with the marriage plan. As the two girls get to know each other through dates in snowy Toronto and meeting Abby’s family for Christmas, Dora starts to wonder how much of this relationship they are faking and how much is real.

Add on Goodreads

book review - pink

★★★✩

M. Hollis’s books continue to be a safe haven for queer women and I’m so grateful for her.

This book is about Dora, a lesbian girl from Brasil living in Canada, who has to find a way to not get deported because of her expired visa. One way would be to get married, and when a friend of a friend, Abby (who is pansexual), seems willing to fake a relationship with her, the two have to spend some time together to have proof of their relationship.

What I always love in M. Hollis books is the relaxed atmosphere, which is always very queer-positive and comforting. The writing always goes straight to the point but I wouldn’t say it’s a case of too much tell and little show. It just does what it’s supposed to do, especially in books that are on the shorter side (this one is around 100 pages).

With that said, one of the reasons I love the fake relationship trope is to get to that moment when both characters are so deep into the act that their own feelings start coming to the surface and they forget for a second that the relationship is fake. This is something I didn’t really feel happened in this book, and I sort of missed it. Everything played out very safely and neatly but I wish I could said that I rooted for the couple more than I did. I know it’s supposed to be short, but for a romance, I felt like it ended at what would’ve been the 40 or 60% mark on a full-length novel with a similar premise.

In any case, I really appreciate the kind of stories this author puts out because they always find a way to make you feel safe and seen in your identities. I definitely recommend this book if you want a soft romance that’s low on angst and with a cozy, winter atmosphere.

ARC Review: A Hidden Hope by Laura Ambrose // a cute f/f romance between former critique partners turned enemies

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the author for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

42365427

Summary: Natalie and El used to be writing critique partners, sharing their work chapter by chapter. Falling in love off-page was like the next part of the story. But after a huge falling out, three years have passed in bitter silence.

When they both appear at a science fiction convention in London, Natalie, a struggling writer, wants nothing to do with El, the hot debut novelist who sold her book at auction under a male pseudonym. But over the weekend, ignoring each other–and their attraction–proves impossible, not least because they have several panels together. Can El hope to atone for the mistakes of their past, and is Natalie willing to let hope fly?

Add on Goodreads

book review - pink

★★★★✩

This was a fun f/f romance about former critique partners turned lovers turned enemies turned lovers again (basically one of my favorite romantic tropes ever).

Natalie and El meet again at a book convention in London, three years after their falling out that never got a closure, and they have the chance to fix the past between one panel and another.

It was a fun dip into the author/publishing world (I know we bookworms are always curious about that) and I really liked both main characters. They’re definitely flawed and that’s what made them interesting, but most importantly they both acknowledged what was and what wasn’t working in their relationship and in themselves and tried to work through it. This is a novella so it all had to be done pretty quickly, but the pace worked for me.

You can get the free prequel A Frozen Night if you sign up for the author’s newsletter. I’d recommend maybe reading it after the novella instead of before, but it doesn’t really matter.

If you like f/f romance and a setting that’s intriguing to us bookworms (or if you’re an author yourself) I definitely recommend picking this book up!

TWs: mention of death of a parent, grief

Release Blitz: Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love #4) by Anyta Sunday

Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): October 16, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 69000 words / 285 pages

Order now

Check out my review (spoiler: I gave it 5/5 stars)

40784310

Book synopsis:

It’s a time for searching, and a time for finding, Pisces: keep casting your line and you will hook what you’re looking for.

Zane has it all planned out: land the perfect Meet Cute, fall in love, and live happily ever after.

Should be simple enough if he put his mind to it. A little creativity and some thinking outside of the box, and voila, he’d be married to the woman of his dreams.

It would be perfect.

And it would be before his visa ran out.

But why are his feelings running wild now that the pressure’s on? Why is his picture-perfect plan turning into a muddled mess of morphed metaphors he can’t make sense of anymore?

Just as well he’s met an English professor to help. And even though their first meet is anything but cute, this down-to-earth teacher may just be the realist Zane needs to ground him and give him a shot at love after all.

Don’t cast your line too wide, Pisces. Your perfect catch may already have bitten.

~ – ~ – ~

Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love #4) is an MM opposites-attract romantic comedy featuring an unapologetic romantic and a broken realist.

More wit, banter and bad puns – and even more heart-stopping slow burn!

Can be read as a standalone.

Tropes: friends-to-lovers, slow burn, will-they-or-won’t-they

Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance

Pisces Hooks Taurus 1

Excerpt:

“What is that?”

Beckett’s mum and guests had left, and Beckett had brought Zane and his worldly belongings into an exposed-beam attic with a chain-pull light.

Zane set his box and suitcase against a slanted wall. The small, empty space contained a tiny window, a chest of drawers, and a low futon. Dust spokes glittered under the swaying light.

Beckett pointed at Zane’s box, one brow arched.

Zane laid the bearskin rug on the floor and straightened out the kinks. Beckett gaped at the bear poised as if to eat his ankle.

“I thought it was romantic,” Zane said with a sigh. He rested back on his heels, soft fur against his knees. “Now I’m kinda stuck with the beast.”

“Tough cross to bear.”

Zane grinned. “What’s with the word-wittage, anyway?”

“Word-wittage. Nice alliteration. I like playing with words.” Beckett sidestepped the bear and gestured around the attic. “The wooden slats are creaky, the bathroom is back down the ladder. My sister is returning from Europe Thursday, staying here until she finds her own place. The couch is too small for you, so . . . .”

“I’m totally cool to bunk with you.”

Beckett swept a hand through his hair, gaze darting toward the bed, the window. “There’ll be no bunking.”

Understood. He had a few days to find another accommodation—or convince Beckett that bunking could be fun.

Zane pulled his drawing tablet and stylus from their cushioned compartment. “Did you want to head to Chiffon with your friends? Whatever Chiffon is.”

“It’s a bar where we professors drink pinot noir and pontificate on the pleasures of punning.”

“Um . . . .”

“It’s a pretentious penis party.”

Zane turned around, armed with the supplies he needed to finish—or fix—the comic. “Sounds like a . . . picnic?”

The corners of Beckett’s mouth pulled up. Zane dropped the electronics to the bed and crossed over to the professor.

He tapped a finger against the wine stain at the side of Beckett’s blazer lapel. “Proof that you snorted your wine while we texted? I’ll have it dry-cleaned, if you’d like?”

“It’s not your fault. I’ll sort it out. Use it as an excuse to buy another one.”

Zane caught a whiff of Beckett’s clean scent with a subtle spicing of aftershave. Blue eyes met his, curious and hesitant.

A fat, black spider bungee-jumped from the beam above them and dangled in Zane’s face. He dropped the fingers that had lingered on Beckett’s chest and scrambled to the wall.

“Does a big, strapping man like you need me to remove the tiny bastard?”

“That’s a big, strapping yes.”

A few precise movements later, Beckett trapped the hairy beast in his hands. Insane yet heroic.

The bed squealed as Beckett kneeled on it. Zane crawled next to him, opened the window, and beat a quick retreat as Beckett set the spider free. “The sheets are freshly changed, and you can help yourself to breakfast.”

Fresh bed and breakfast? Lovely. But Zane was more concerned about suicidal spiders. He studied the ceiling with a shudder. “Do you think there are more?”

The window clapped shut, sealing off the cool breeze. “Would you feel better sleeping with my cat?”

Zane’s attention pivoted to Beckett’s hands fitting the lock. Long-fingered, deft, sure. “I’d feel better sleeping with you.”

Beckett let out a strangled sound, swung off the bed, and zipped to the ladder. “Good night, Zane,” he said, and dropped out of sight.

Zane called after him. “Fine, I’ll take the cat.”

Pisces Hooks Taurus 2

About Anyta Sunday:

HEART-STOPPING SLOW BURN

A bit about me: I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.

Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy.

My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, and Thai.

Connect with Anyta:

Author website: http://www.anytasunday.com/

Author newsletter signup: http://www.anytasunday.com/newsletter-free-e-book/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anytasundaybooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anytasunday

Instagram: https://instagram.com/anytasunday

Giveaway: Win an e-book set of 3 Signs of Love books: Leo Loves Aries, Scorpio Hates Virgo, and Gemini Keeps Capricorn or a reader’s choice of back catalog e-book by Anyta Sunday

 

ARC Review: Pisces Hooks Taurus by Anyta Sunday // one of the funniest opposite attract romantic comedies I’ve read

I was sent this book as an advanced copy for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

40784310

Summary:

It’s a time for searching, and a time for finding, Pisces: keep casting your line and you will hook what you’re looking for.

Zane has it all planned out: land the perfect Meet Cute, fall in love, and live happily ever after.
Should be simple enough if he put his mind to it. A little creativity and some thinking outside of the box, and voila, he’d be married to the woman of his dreams.
It would be perfect.
And it would be before his visa ran out.

But why are his feelings running wild now that the pressure’s on? Why is his picture-perfect plan turning into a muddled mess of morphed metaphors he can’t make sense of anymore?

Just as well he’s met an English professor to help. And even though their first meet is anything but cute, this down-to-earth teacher may just be the realist Zane needs to ground him and give him a shot at love after all.

Don’t cast your line too wide, Pisces. Your perfect catch may already have bitten.

~ – ~ – ~

Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love #4) is an MM opposites-attract romantic comedy featuring an unapologetic romantic and a broken realist.
More wit, banter and bad puns – and even more heart-stopping slow burn!
Can be read as a standalone.

Release date: October, 16th

Add on Goodreads

book review - pink

★★★★

Pisces Hooks Taurus is a book you can’t help falling in love with.

The story is about Zane who’s from New Zealand and is due to leave the US in a month unless he marries an US citizen, which he fully intends to do. Except he’s convinced he will marry for love and that will be it. When he’s kicked out of his shared flat he manages to secure himself a place to stay until the end of the month thanks to his brother, and his roommate is Beckett, a professor who’s basically Zane’s opposite.

Zane and Beckett’s relationship starts as hilariously cute and it keeps making you laugh and going aww throughout the book. I mean, I’ve read a lot of Anyta Sunday’s books by now and they never fail to make me laugh so this is really no surprise. I just can’t get over the feeling of careless joy while reading this. It made me feel like Zane, naïve and sweet and caring, and as someone who is much more similar to Beckett, that meant so much to me because I was able to enjoy things in an easy way, without overthinking and second-guessing everything.

I also liked that Zane is just…an average person. He’s not the (conventionally) smartest, he dropped out of high school, he’s very naïve but is willing to learn and put himself out there, and I love that Beckett helps making him feel like he can achieve what he wants despite what society tells him.

Zane is a comic artist and I really liked this aspect because it gave the book a subplot about art and creativity that was interesting to see. He initially works for a writer (as in he only illustrates what the artist tells him to, and anything he adds to the comic by himself is kind of frowned upon by the writer, who basically leaves him no artistic freedom) and later toys with the idea of creating his own comic. I loved that he didn’t magically come up with an amazing outline for his own comic but Beckett, who teaches creative writing, helped him see all the things he could improve and gently showed him towards the right direction without taking his creativity away.

As for Beckett’s character development, I loved it so much. He’s divorced and has given up illusions about love and marriage, so that was interesting to see because it was yet another aspect in which he and Zane were polar opposites.

As for the relationship itself, I loved how low on conflict it was. Yes, there is some conflict because of external causes but mostly it’s driven by Zane not recognizing his own feelings and stuff. I mean, this book is hilarious but also slow burn as fuck.

Other things worth mentioning is that there’s a little bit of an age gap (Zane is 23, Beckett is 30) and that Zane is demisexual (although the word isn’t actually used in canon, which I wish it was, but I suppose he isn’t aware of it – however, the author said she wrote him as demi and I definitely read him that way and ownvoices reviewers did too).

The book is the fourth in the Signs of Love series but it can definitely be read as a standalone. However I do recommend reading the rest of the series either before or after you read this one. There were some adorable cameos from the previous books (Jamie and Theo!!!) as well as from the Love Letters series (seriously go read that series too!), which was super surprising and filled me with so much joy.

Preorder and read this book, you won’t regret it.

ARC Review: Age of Magic (Wish Quartet #4) by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh

I was sent this book as an advanced copy for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

39826756

Summary: A new age has dawned. Will Jo be its savior, or its downfall?
The Society is over and its members are now free in a new world. But freedom is not what it seems, and their true enemy is still at large.

Joining together one last time, the members lend their magic and knowledge to Jo to finally put an end to the madness of Chaos and finally free Snow. There’s no easy path to victory, and securing the future of the new Age of Magic may cost Jo everything.

Will her plan be enough to finally end a divine war that has spanned across thousands of years? Or is this new Age of Magic merely a precursor to the final Age of Oblivion?

Add on Goodreads

book review - pink

 

★★★.5

The conclusion to this series felt very different from the first three books and I can say I’m fairly satisfied with how everything turned out.

The thing I loved the most was the new Age of Magic and seeing how technology and magic and different creatures interacted in this new alternate reality that was created by the destruction of the Society of Wishes. Also the new world politics were interesting even though maybe it’s a little unrealistic that the whole world was divided in so few political areas but for simplicity purposes it was fine.

Contrary to the first three books, this was a lot about plotting and planning and I can’t help but feel like it could’ve been a little shorter. Not that it’s not short already, but it did drag a little for me in some parts, and I can’t help but feel like a lot of the book was “let’s do this thing to show off this world we created” when the Thing didn’t end up having much relevance at the end after all.

The rest made up for it though and I loved the whole part in the Elves’ kingdom, it was basically like reading a high fantasy novel instead of an urban fantasy and I loved the descriptions of the surroundings.

As for the actual conclusion I found it a little bit messy and although there was a lot of tension I never really felt like the stakes were too high. I never felt actually scared for any of the characters and I thought so much time in the novel was spent planning that I already knew exactly what would happen because not enough was left up to my imagination in those last moments, if that makes sense. Everything more or less turned out how everyone expected it to go.

Despite this, I’m still satisfied and finally I saw some other side plot lines have the page time they deserved. I’m particularly talking about a side M/M couple which I found was pretty obvious from book one but still it’s nice to see it actually on page. The main romance between Jo and Snow never actually made my heart beat so I wasn’t thrilled about it here either but it was okay. If you’re easily into soulmates/reincarnation romances you’ll probably enjoy the romance a lot.

The epilogue set the basis for a future spin-off series as was to be expected. I think if I had the next books on my hands right now I wouldn’t exactly skip meals to read them but I’d keep them for later when I’m in the mood for this genre again, which I’m sort of not right now.

I still enjoyed the overall experience of reading this Wish Quartet series and I would recommend it for fans of urban fantasy and/or Elise Kova, even though I still think she can and has done better than this.