Wednesday, November 22, 2017

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Release date: January 16th 2018
Publisher: Soho Teem
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape--perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a "suitable" Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City--and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she's only known from afar. There's the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya's last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?

About the Author
Samira AhmedSAMIRA AHMED was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in Batavia, Illinois, in a house that smelled like fried onions, spices, and potpourri. She currently resides in the Midwest. She’s lived in Vermont, New York City, and Kauai, where she spent a year searching for the perfect mango.

A graduate of the University of Chicago, she taught high school English for seven years, worked to create over 70 small high schools in New York City, and fought to secure billions of additional dollars to fairly fund public schools throughout New York State. She’s appeared in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Fox News, NBC, NY1, NPR, and on BBC Radio. Her creative non-fiction and poetry has appeared in Jaggery Lit, Entropy, the Fem, and Claudius Speaks.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: Stranded with the Navy Seal by Susan Cliff

Series: Team Twelve #1
Release date: November 1st 2017
Publisher: Harlequin
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

For one navy SEAL, danger and passion are brewing in paradise 

Working on a cruise ship was supposed to be the perfect distraction for chef Cady Crenshaw. Instead, it made her the perfect target. Abducted and thrown overboard into foreign waters, she has only one shot at survival…and it comes at the hands of an irresistible ally. 

Navy SEAL Logan Starke's protective instincts were locked and loaded the moment he met Cady at the ship's bar. When a violent struggle to take down her captors leaves Logan and Cady stranded on a deserted island, he leaps into rescue mode. But the hot sand and the even hotter attraction between them can't be denied…and temptation could be the deadliest threat yet.

*Publisher approved request via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this one, from start to finish. It felt like I was reading a modern-day version of the Blue Lagoon, but with a lot more flavor and heat. And the main characters are way more interesting than the movie stars. I loved Cady's knowledge as a chef and all she offered to the story, not only with food but her cautious personality is something I can relate to and I liked how fierce and unafraid she was of speaking her mind. 

Logan's military background made him intriguing. He had experienced so much in war and his strength and protectiveness were admirable, even though sometimes it made me cringe along with Cady when he would dive into danger. 

I wouldn't say the story was suspenseful or action-packed through and through, but there were some thrilling moments, not only involving dangerous people, but the main characters' time on the island had its share of crazy. And their moments of vulnerability were both entertaining and frustrating.

Overall, great premise, wonderful writing that's fluid and fast. Both characters got on my nerves in little ways, but they still made me laugh and sympathize with them too. And I'm happy that by the end of the story they just let it all go and trust in each other. Another thing I have to mention is the setting. It was described subtly but nicely. It was as if I could smell the salty air, taste the seafood, and bathe in the waterfall along with them. It's just a good story that will certainly warm up your cold nights. I'm looking forward to learning about Logan's comrades as the series progresses. 

Susan CliffAbout the Author
Susan Cliff is a longtime romance reader, part-time writer and full-time California girl. She loves to daydream about exciting adventures in faraway places. Her Team Twelve series features strong Navy SEAL heroes falling for unique women. |

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Release date: January 23rd 2018
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Alice is secretly asexual, and that’s the least important thing about her.

She’s a college student, has a great job, amazing friends, and is fine being single—nope, that’s a lie. Alice wants rom com-grade romance: feels, cuddling, kissing, and swoons galore—as long as it doesn't lead to having sex.

After her last relationship ends with soul-crushing parting words from her ex, Alice swears off relationships for good. Stick a fork in her, she’s done. Everyone Alice tries to date is so sure love and sex have to go together, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to convince them otherwise.

But when Alice experiences instant attraction for the first time with her coworker Takumi, she doesn’t know what to do. If Alice tells him the truth, it can only end in heartache. But there’s something about Takumi that makes him worth the risk…

About the Author
Claire Kann hails from the glorious Bay Area where the weather is regrettably not nearly as temperate as it used to be. She has a BA in English/creative writing from Sonoma State University, and works for a nonprofit that you may have heard of where she daydreams like she's paid to do it. Let’s Talk About Love is her debut novel.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Review: Alone by Cyn Balog

Release date: November 7th 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
You’re never really alone in this new suspenseful novel from the author of Unnatural Deeds, which Kirkus praised as “a PG-13 version of Gone Girl.”

When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they're not going back to the city…or Seda's friends and school. 

As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.

Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

*Publisher approved request via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had no idea I would end up liking this story and all its craziness as much as I did, with how slow the first few chapters were and me not really being pulled in by the main character. But once things started to pick up and the situation went awry, I became well-investigated and needed to know if my suspicions were accurate, especially about Seda. I knew she wasn't all the way there, but I did not see her remarks toward the end coming. 

Before I get into why this dark and twisted story ended up entertaining me, I have to address the fact that there were just too many siblings. I mean, I like kids but for a book of this nature, it was way too many for me. I couldn't keep up with who was who and by the time the mystery was underway, I'd forgotten all about them. As for the mother, she needed to have some senses knocked into her. She was just not realistic and wasn't as concerned about her children's best interest as she ought to be. Children shouldn't be uprooted and brought to a place like that, I don't even care if she would eventually sell the place. I just strongly feel that she should never have done such a thing. And I also can't believe she didn't figure out the severity of Seda's mental state. That very reason shows how detached she was.

Anyway, back to the overall plot. I had suspected the group of teens from the moment Seda spotted them before the blizzard, and when they just happened to get stranded nearby it became even more clear to me something was up. But I had no idea the mother was going to bring up doing such a game in celebration of her teen daughter's birthday, and when scary things started happening I began second-guessing myself. Was it all real? Or were they all messing with Seda? I had to wait until the very end. And boy was that an ending, especially when the truth was revealed and that book cover made sense at last. I honestly had no idea it would play out like that and I love how the story ended with me having questions. One thing, in particular, I'm curious to know is what will happen once the mother knows?

Overall, great writing and interesting concept. Although it started out slow, I was still intrigued by the story for the most part and it held my attention in the sense that I wanted to figure things out and understand Seda's character better. I recommend reading this if you're looking for a spooky psychological thriller with a twisted ending.

Cyn BalogAbout the Author
Cyn Balog is a normal, everyday Jersey Girl who always believed magical things can happen to us when we least expect them. She is author of young adult paranormal novels FAIRY TALE (2009), SLEEPLESS(2010), STARSTRUCK (2011), TOUCHED (2012), and her most recent release: DEAD RIVER (2013). She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters.

She also writes under the pen name Nichola Reilly. Nichola Reilly is Cyn Balog's post-apocalyptic fantasy-writing alter-ego. The first book in her series, DROWNED, will be releasing from Harlequin TEEN sometime in 2014, followed by a sequel, BURIED, in 2015.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

Release date: January 16th 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic--and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus....

Roma Victor. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to build an empire--an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master's favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end--and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus....

C.V. WykAbout the Author
C.V. Wyk is the author of BLOOD AND SAND, debuting from Tor Teen in winter 2018. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Wyk now resides on the east coast along with a precocious mini poodle and demanding guinea pig. 

In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys playing MMORPGs, kayaking, coding, hiking, staring listlessly at blank walls, and nursing a totally healthy coffee addiction.

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