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.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Review: Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien

Release date: August 15th 2017
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels. 

They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life. 

But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world. 

Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever. 

Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.

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

This was an intense story. I must admit I was frustrated with Lucy's character. It pissed me off that she would constantly place herself into gangs and live a dangerous lifestyle. I mean, I know teens can be rebellious and that in real life many fall into the wrong crowd after growing up in a bad neighborhood or having gone through terrible situations. But in Lucy's case, I felt like she was just a spoiled, attention-seeking brat that constantly put her sister and mother through hell. Then again, the mother was a whole other situation. 

This woman wasn't the best, and her lack of self-worth kept her from her true potential as well as hindered her ability to parent. Lucy overpowered her all the time. There was just no structure, no rules. Nothing. In fact, the mother would just lean on Ruth for everything, which wasn't fair because Ruth deserved to live her own life without doing her mother's job and always being the one that had to keep it all together. I really liked her character and wanted her to succeed, especially after she found such a good relationship. But that all got damaged because of Lucy's destructive ways.

Anyway, all that being said, it was an interesting story with nice writing, and I like how things ended up for each of the women. It shows that no matter what you go through in life, you could always turn your life around. Yes, even though Lucy got on my nerves and my emotions were all over the place from beginning to end, I liked the story.

About the Author
Jessica TherrienJessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), and SharpPoint Press (China).
Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is the author of Carry Me Home, a YA contemporary fiction novel, and a kid’s picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction.
Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two young sons. She is working on an adult novel and a middle grade fantasy series.

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Rules of Rain by Leah Scheier

Release date: December 5th 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

A dramatic new novel about the bond between a teen and her twin brother.

Rain has taken care of Ethan all of her life. Before she even knew what autism meant, she's been her twin brother's connection to the hostile world around him. She's always prepared—when her father abandons them, when her mother gets sick, when Ethan is tortured by bullies from school—Rain is the reliable, stable one holding them all together. She's both cautious carer and mad chef, preparing customized meals for her family and posting crazy recipes on her cooking blog.

Each day with Ethan is unvarying and predictable, and she's sure that nothing will ever change—until one night when her world is turned upside down by a mistake she can't take back. As her new romance with her long-time crush and her carefully constructed life begins to unravel, she discovers that the fragile brother whom she's always protected has grown into a young man who no longer needs her. And now, for the first time, she finds that she needs him.

Leah ScheierAbout the Author
Leah Scheier is the author of Secret Letters and Your Voice is All I Hear. She was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. As a child, Leah was inspired by her favorite authors, Arthur Conan Doyle, Lloyd Alexander, and C.S. Lewis to dream up tales of adventure and romance. Now grown up with daughters of her own, Leah works as a pediatrician and continues to create new stories.

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