Book Review · Books

Stormland

It seems like it’s the end of the world in this dystopian, futuristic novel where a rag tag bunch find themselves stuck in Stormland, where the weather never lets up. South Carolina has become a wasteland of decrepit buildings, people stranded and hooked on drugs. Things appear bleak. It’s a world where friend and foe can flip like a switch. Who can you trust? Will the storms ever stop?

An ex US Marshall and an ex serial killer arrive in Stormland to band together to explore the underbelly, to find out whose behind these mysterious deaths happening. The strange thing is there’s a place in the skull of the victims where something had been inserted. Are there any other clues these deaths have in common? What was inserted and why?

Received my complimentary copy of Stormland by John Shirley from Blackstone Publishing, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are my own and my own choice. This novel has a bit for everyone: adventure, futuristic concepts, romance, family drama, and more. If you love mystery, intrigue and adventure then you may enjoy this novel.

Book Review · Books

Hurricane Summer

***TW: This novel contains content that may be triggering: verbal and physical abuse.***

Tilla gets to accompany her little sister to Jamaica for the summer to visit their dad. She’s one part excited and the other part nervous. Their dad has a history of leaving and shes weary he’s going to do another disappearing act. When they arrive the extended family on their father’s side is waiting for them. They seem all excited, except for her one aunt who seems put off that she has to give up her room for her nieces.

Tilla and her sister meet their assorted cousins and get the lay of the land, out in what’s known as “country”, They get to spend a few weeks at their aunt and uncle’s. Tilla is shocked when their dad mentions he has business to attend to, but that they will later be joining him in the city. Left alone with family they barely know feels awkward. Tilla and her sister have to also, try and figure out the local lingo.

Slowly, Tilla befriends a few of her cousins. Two girls her age, Diana and her friend Zory seem to be nice. One day when she is walking with Diana they bump into Hessan who appears to take a liking to Tilla. The big problem with that is Diana says that her and Hessan are meant to be back together again after being promised to each other in the church.

Hessan and Tilla strike up a friendship, but then another boy seems interested in Tilla. Diana seems to think Tilla is into this other boy, totally clueless as to the friendship budding between Tilla and Hessan. Who will Tilla choose?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield from St. Martin’s Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. This novel is breathtaking. It tackles such heavy subjects as verbal and physical abuse, family dynamics, racial class within a country and racism from within, privilege, and so much more. This novel would make a great book club book to discuss, though it’s not for the faint of heart.

Books

Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield Q & A

What inspired you to write Hurricane Summer?

AB: Hurricane Summer is inspired by all the young women who didn’t feel a sense of protection growing up. I wanted to write a story that brought awareness to the safe spaces we need to create for young women who are figuring out their sexual agency. I was really driven by the father-daughter dynamic, and with this book, I wanted to explore how that relationship could shape the course of a young woman’s life. Tilla is no longer protected by the chastity of girlhood, and we see how quickly society weaponizes her sexuality, and how her pleasure is used for her persecution. Hurricane Summer is a celebration of a young woman’s pleasure and agency, by following her journey in how she reclaims herself and takes it back.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

AB: I love how writing gives me the ability to free my own voice. Too often as creatives, we have to wait for others to tell us that our voice is worthy of being heard. I think that idea is really changing, especially right now, when we look at who is “allowed” to tell stories. I love how much power speaking up has given me over my life. I hope I can continue to do that and inspire others to use their voices as well.

What is the book that inspired you to want to become an author?

AB: Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone,hands down. Tomi was the example for me that you can do anything you put your mind to. She was an incredible mentor to me, and a huge champion for me believing in myself. I hope to pay it forward and be that example for others. We are all worthy.

Book Review · Books

Willing

Liz has had bad experiences with men. Her ex husband was a cheater and the man she thought would repair her heart, Roland, wasn’t quite over his wife who had passed. Since she didn’t want to put her sensitive heart on the line Liz decides to just keep it purely to having sex. No heart involved, just simple gratification. Loveless encounters can only appear satisfying to your heart only for so long. When Liz decides to have a romp with her friend’s twenty-something year old son, she realizes some reevaluation is needed in her life.

Liz tries to distract herself with her photography business. Capturing beautiful brides and handsome grooms. The life she had hoped to have. When she meets up with an old friend, Darius, he suggests for her to get away for the winter to GA. He hints about a friend of his, Christopher who she might jive with, who needs a house sitter for his brother’s house. Liz is intrigued and decides to be adventurous.

Georgia is very different from her place in Vermont. The warm weather is a balm to her soul. Her dog, Obie loves exploring the property where this house is. Her landlord Christopher is definitely a hunk. She doesn’t want to get distracted by this handsome man as she’s needing to be inspired again with her photography. When the attraction is shown to be mutual Liz has to decide if she’ll let him in. Is there ever too perfect a man? Can Liz trust again?

I received my complimentary ARC copy of Willing from Blender Publishing, care of Smith Publicity. The views are mine and my own choice to share. This novel first off is intimidating by its size. I don’t normally read this thick of a book. It felt like a Stephen King length book. The thickness of this book is a big detractor I think for someone to choose this book. Aside from it being really long, it’s not merely erotic scene after erotic scene; though this novel is definitely for 18 and over. There is an in-depth storyline. The way that Georgia is described makes me want to go visit. It sounds gorgeous, not to mention Vermont is supposed to be lovely. The characterization isn’t phony. Relationships can be messy. They aren’t like a movie. We can try to portray it as such, but underneath it isn’t always what it seems. I feel this novel explores relationships and how to learn to trust again when you’ve burned in the past.

Books

Amelia Unabridged Q & A

Question: Who inspired you to create Amelia’s character?

Answer: Amelia’s story was largely born out of my own “what next” question when I graduated from college, but her character makeup was influenced by her circumstances. While she and I share a love of reading, the rest of Amelia’s personality belongs almost entirely to her. She came to me fully formed, which is rarity for my writing style.

Question: Are you going to write a sequel?

Answer: I never say never, but I feel like I left Amelia and Nolan in a good place. There are other worlds I want to explore, for now!

Question: How much did HP have as inspiration?

Answer: I tried very hard not to draw from a specific fantasy series as my inspiration for Orman, instead gathering all of my favorite aspects of many different stories and funneling them down into the bits that you see Amelia and Nolan read, but it’s hard not to nod to the juggernaut that is the Harry Potter fandom when you’re writing a book about readers and writers.

Book Review · Books

Honey Girl

Grace Porter is a people pleaser through and through. Her dad, Colonel has his daughter’s life plan mapped out for her. She’s worked this path and hauled ass getting her title of Doctor. Her passion? Astronomy. She has her two best friends, Ximena and Agnes and her surrogate family of sorts in siblings, Raj and Meera to help keep her sane. Life seems to be going fairly smoothly until a girlfriends trip to Vegas turns wild.

Grace wakes up with fuzzy memories of the night before. Her clues as to her night are a ring on her finger and a shirt with the word bride scrawled across. What had she done? Grace is always in control of herself and when she finds the note from the mystery woman of the night before she’s shocked back into reality. Who did she end up marrying on a whim?

Ximena and Agnes want Grace to find this mysterious woman. Grace is nervous and yet dying of curiosity. She must have either really fallen for this woman, or the alcohol was supper strong.

Grace is worried this new turn of events will derail her career path, but she doesn’t take vows lightly and desires to do the right thing. When her friends discover the mystery woman’s podcast they listen in. Grace decides to be brave and call in. Will this other woman remember their night in Vegas? Will she want to connect with Grace?

I received my complimentary copy of Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers from Harlequin- Trade Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. This novel is filled with characters who I wish were real. The author does a wonderful job of captivating you from page one. Observing Grace as she wakes up from her wild night in Vegas to discover she has a wedding ring on with no clear memory of what the other woman looks like is an intriguing intro. The sisterhood between Grace, her best friends and her chosen family is playful, thought provoking and also, sweet. The author also, shows the challenge of having divorced parents and juggling your allegiance to them, even when one is a hard ass and other is flighty. This story will stay with you long after the last page. Grab a copy this upcoming spring.

Book Review · Books

I Love You To Pieces

Olivia appears to have a charmed life. Her father is rich, so she is not in need of want when it comes to accommodations, but the one thing missing is her mother’s love. No, matter what Olivia does it seems to grate on her mother’s nerves. Her times of respite come when gets to visit her grandmother. At her grandmother’s house Olivia’s stress can melt away while looking for seashells on the beach.

When incidents with Olivia’s mother turn sour, Olivia is whisked off to live with her grandmother. Peace reigns, but then Olivia has to return to life with her mother. Olivia can’t wait for her father to return from one of his business trips, but then the unthinkable happens. Olivia is crushed as her father was her protector. After a dire incident involving her mother, Olivia’s grandmother takes matters into her own hands. Olivia has got to be protected at all costs. She is sent off to a private boarding school.

With Olivia’s best friends by her side her as an adult, life seems to be normalizing after her rocky childhood. After a few incidents of Olivia waking up with different nail polish on and mystery items she’s wondering what’s going on. Why can’t she recall some evenings? Why does she wake up feeling hung over when she hadn’t drunk the night before?

I received my complimentary digital complimentary copy of I Love You To Pieces by Lori Flynn from Austin Macaulay Publishers, care of Booktasters and the author. The views are mine and of my own choice. This novel is nail biting. I can’t fathom growing up in a home with a mother as monstrous as Olivia’s. This story is one of great challenges, but also, shows how the gift of true friendship and a love interest can spur you on to survive.

Book Review · Books

How To Build A Heart

Izzy’s dad passed 6 years ago in the war and it still feels like yesterday. Thankfully she has her best friend Roz to cheer her up and her little brother Jack. Izzy enjoys attending her private high school though she struggles with feeling like she fits in. When the new girl in chorus, Aubrey, befriends Izzy, she’s excited to discover this girl is the sister of her best friend’s crush, Sam.

As Izzy gets to know the new chorus girl, she inadvertently gets to know Sam better. Izzy can see why Roz has such a big crush. He’s genuinely nice. The problem is he has a girlfriend that’s quite the b.

When Izzy’s mom discloses they are trying to get approved for a Habitat house, Izzy is thrilled, but then nervous when she realizes Sam and Aubrey will be her neighbors. She shys away from sharing her big secret. She’s not sure how Roz will react if she moves.

I received my complimentary digital copy of How To Build A Heart by Maria Padian, from Algonquin Young Readers and NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own will. This novel is sweet, fast paced and full of true heart. If you enjoy contemporary YA then you will enjoy this book.

Book Review · Books

I Lost My BFF

Friendship can be a tight rope walk we are all still learning how to balance. If you are searching for an age appropriate book for your preteen on the topic of friendship, then I recommend the upcoming: I Lost My BFF. This short story is about Sophia and her best friend Camilla. They do everything together at school and hangout on the weekends as well. One day Sophia notices that Camila is hanging out with a different girl. That’s fine, but when Sophia feels intentionally left out she feels even worse. Doesn’t Camila miss their friendship? Are they still even BFF’s? Follow Sophia on her journey to learn the ebb and flow that friendship brings.

Even being an adult I gleaned a lot from this little book for kids. I think we always crave to have that one best friend that stands by our side unconditionally. That’s a nice dream, but we can’t hog others from also, making best friends. Learning that friendship flows. Some are for a lifetime and others are temporary. The latter hurts because you get so excited, but we can’t see from the other’s person’s view that there is a particular reason we are placed in their life and when that has been fulfilled, then it’s time for them to move on.

I received my complimentary digital copy of I Lost My BFF by Jennifer Licate from Boys Town Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. This book brought back quite a lot of friendship memories from grade school and navigating friendships. I would recommend this for kids and their parents. Adults can glean a lot from this story.

Book Review · Books

Questions Of Perspective

Dave is an attorney who works at befriending his colleague John. The two become great friends. One day John doesn’t come to work for a few days without any warning or preamble. Dave is concerned so he offers to go check on John. When he arrives at John’s place his landlord acts drunkenly surprised that his tenant is MIA. He allows Dave to go into John’s appointment to see if he’s home, but there is no one there. The only inhabitant is his cat, Peaches. Since Dave feels bad for the cat he asks the landlord if he can watch over Peaches till John is found. The landlord seems fine with that.

Dave tries to locate John, but can’t. He’s utterly disappeared. After a year goes by Dave is out briefly during his work lunch break and bumps into John. Understandably he’s furious that John just abandoned his job and cat. What John shares briefly with Dave is what it’s like to be God and know/see everything. Dave in confounded. John explains that he, himself have become God. Dave is skeptical, but the glimpse John allowed Dave to have changed Dave. Living a mundane existence didn’t cut it any longer, so Dave decides to change his life. Journey with Dave as he processes what it’s like to have his friend become divine and how he works to answer the questions John/God pose to Dave.

This novel was outside the box. We have enough challenges with the Western view of God, but what if one of your closest friends became God and then life started not going as you planned? What if God wouldn’t answer your prayer? The characters are memorable. I like how Peaches goes on hikes with Dave, leash free.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Questions Of Perspective by Daniel Maunz from Black Rose Writing, care of TLC Book Tours and the author. The views are mine and my choice.