Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.
And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?
Trigger Warnings (credit goes to the author) * manipulative friendship * mention of casual drug usage (weed, not shown on the page) * alcohol consumption (on page) * alcohol abuse (a character drinks and parties to the point of dehydration and sleep-deprivation; two characters get wasted and are too drunk to fully consent to sex with each other)
Why should you read Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale ?
There was safety in things staying the same. A year from now, five years from now, all I wanted was for us to be the same, doing things together, being the people we’d always been. I didn’t want to be the kind of friends who drifted apart after high school, the kind who could live in the same town and still be strangers. I didn’t want to think about fall and college and uncertainties.”
I signed up for this blog tour because I was intrigued by the idea of a light hearted contemporary- which I was seriously lacking- and of beaches and baked goodies. Small Town Hearts fulfilled all of my expectations and beyond. I loved every bit of the book and I finished it in a day .. and let me just say I deserve some credit ’cause I read it while cursing at my digestive system. Yes, it was a terrible day but Small Town Hearts totally occupied my heart and not my stomach and uh, thank god for that.
uggghhh okay, I’m gonna stop with the puns now.
Small town Hearts is perfectly set up in a little town in Maine and the descriptions of the beach, lighthouse… everything made me dive right into the book. Don’t even get me started on all the glorious foods that are mentioned in the book🤤🤤 Babe is our protagonist who is openly bi, works as a barista and also provides baked goodies..yum. Babe is such a sweet, lovable and RELATABLE character. She has got everything planned out for the summer or so she thought.
Babe had thought that this summer would be perfect as she wanted to spend it with her childhood friends Penny and Chad. Things start to wrong the moment she reaches Penny’s houseboat and Penny ends up asking her help to finalise a break-up with Chad. This is the moment when I’m like spewing curses at Penny and later at Chad. Besides saying “what the f***” and other such lovely words, I found myself thinking of my ex best friend.
Maybe Penny wanted to friends with Babe..I mean who wouldn’t?..but she took advantage of her every now and then. Babe’s actions were so damn relatable that I couldn’t unglue my eyes off of the book.
After a messy scene which ultimately led to the break up of Babe, Penny and Chad, Babe finds solace in her baking, with her friend and co-worker Lucy and one of the latest “summer boys” in town a.k.a Levi.
Levi is apparently a teenage blond god and soon, he becomes close with Babe but there’s the tiny negative point about him: he’s a summer boy. A summer boy is not here to stay forever and Babe is afraid of getting too close because she knows he’ll leave soon. This is not the only problem Babe was facing. Guess what? Her ex-girlfriend Elodie is back in town for the summer too! So, what should Babe do? Will she rekindle her relationship with Elodie or take a leap of summer love with Levi?
I love reading contemporaries and before starting this blog, the genre was a popular choice of mine… so I read a LOT of contemparies . I can say with absolute certainity that Small town Hearts is one of the best debut and contempoary read of all time. Lillie Vale’s writing will suck you in from the first page and you’ll wish that you could be sucked into that seaside town. The writing feels so calming and sumptuous at the same time. Tip: Do not read this book on an empty stomach or well, *ahem* a bad one.
Overall, I highly recommend this book if you love reading about bisexual protagonists, summer love, friendships, bittersweet endings, yummy food(yum Black forest cake), beaches. I can’t go on.. *screams this is torture and want to reread the book*..Okay. PLEASE BUY THIS BOOK and I would love you if you used my BD affiliate link to do so!
Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Connect with Author Lillie Vale here or here
Did you enjoy reading my review of Small Town Hearts?Do you think you’ll read it?Or,have you already read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and check out my Instagram creative post here . As always, thank you for reading!
Trigger warnings include self-harm and parental abuse.
REVIEW | WHY SHOULD YOU READ WICKED SAINTS ?
“We’re all monsters, Nadya, some of us just hide it better than others.”
-Emily Duncan, Wicked Saints
This was a bloody book. I mean that literally. Blood is the currency, if I may use that word.
Wicked Saints is the story of a girl who is touched by divinity, a monster with secrets and a prince who wants nothing but to save his country from ruination.
Wicked Saints reminded me a bit of the Grisha trilogy , but in a darker, more gruesome way. It is set in a place where countries are at war with each other and our three protagonists-Nadya, Serafin and one other boy-might bring a stop to the war or cause utter ruination.
The story starts with Nadya who is a cleric touched by the gods. Clerics are people who can perform magic but with the aid of one god. However, Nadya can communicate with all the gods and they grant her powers whenever she is in need of them. Sounds simple? It isn’t. Nadya has lived a simple, secluded life within the walls of a monastery but she is soon about to realize just how much danger her powers will land her in.
Nadya doesn’t have to wait for long to start using her powers as the monastery is soon attacked by an enemy prince who is a powerful Blood Mage. Despite being aided by powerful gods, Nadya’s powers are not enough to save everyone and she is forced to flee with a friend.
While on the run, Nadya and her friend stumble upon three rebels who want a similar outcome as Nadia does. Malachiasz -the leader of the three- is from a country who at war with her’s so he should be her enemy but Nadya is too desperate to ignore help. In return, the three ask Nadiya’s help to infiltrate the palace of the enemy but it will be too late for Nadya to realize that she is not the only harboring a dangerous secret…
I loved this new concept of magic, even if it was too bloody. There was no clear good or bad sides. I mean, I questioned Nadya’s faith as much as I did Malachiasz’s. The plot picked up about halfway through the book(for me) and I couldn’t put it down after that.
An achingly mournful half-smile caught at his lips and it took all of Nadya’s willpower not to kiss him again.
-Emily Duncan, Wicked Saints
The ending was unbelievable. It was a total 180 than the ending I had predicted. After closing the book and immediately wanted the sequel in my hands.
Why should you read this book? If my review didn’t convince you to pick this book then I wouldn’t know why. I can tell you why you shouldn’t pick up this book. If you have read the trigger warnings above and you feel that this isn’t for you then don’t pick it up. If you are someone who is not the audience for the said trigger warning then, what’re you waiting for?
Overall, this was a fantastically wicked fantasy novel from Emily A. Duncan and I need the sequel now!
Thanks to Macmillan International for providing me with an ARC in exchange of an honest review.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Author: Connect with Author Emily A. Duncan here .
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date(US): 2nd April 2019
ARC: 400 Pages
Do you think you’ll read Wicked Saints? If you’ve already read the ARC, let me know your thoughts down below!
What are your thoughts on trigger warnings: Do you like them to be on top, before the review or after? If you’re a blogger, do you include trigger warnings in your social media reviews?