Breathe Again, Sydney Logan – Book Review

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30630473Carrie Malone has seen enough heartbreak to last a lifetime.

Her family’s demons gave Carrie the courage to move away from home and leave her past behind. Now a college senior, she stays busy with her classes and her job at the diner. It may sound boring to some, but to Carrie, the very best thing about her new life is that every day is calm and blissfully uneventful.

That all changes the night Josh Bennett walks into her diner.

With his dirty designer suit and mud-caked shoes, Carrie’s not sure what to think about the broken man sitting at her counter. She’s even more confused when he doesn’t touch his coffee . . . and leaves his Rolex watch as a tip.

Josh Bennett has nothing to live for.

Starved for affection and deep in despair, he’s looking for a tender touch. A kind word. A giving heart.

A shattered and broken Josh finds himself standing on a city bridge, looking down into the freezing river that will undoubtedly bring an end to his pain.

He’s prepared to jump.

He’s prepared to die.

He’s not prepared for the pretty waitress who finds him there by the water’s edge.

When two lost souls find each other in the dark of the night, can they give each other a reason to breathe again?

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*ARC received in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

This story. Just this story. *sighs*

I have cried like a baby in this. God, so much sadness and heartache. Both Carrie and Josh have lost so much in their lives and they’re just trying to put it all behind in the past, but God! Their loss is terrible and I don’t even know how they got past it. I mean, how can someone get over such momentous grief? It becomes a part of them, following them everywhere. Just like it’s shown in the story.

But, I love how brave Carrie is in the face of adversity. She’s actually, genuinely, honest to God trying to move forward with her life and leave her past behind. I commend her for that. And despite everything, she is such a kind, thoughtful person. So, I like her for that even more. I mean, she has so many reasons to be bitter and cruel, but she doesn’t let those reasons win. She fights them and tries to be the best person she can be. I admire her strength and her courage. I admire how she’s so understanding and such a pillar of support to Josh, helping him get his life back after he breaks. It’s beautiful to read.

And, then, Josh. His story made me cry. So bad. What he’s lost, what he’s gone through, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It just makes my heart ache so bad, seeing how he is now, how he’s going through motions after the one incident tore his life apart. I wanted to go inside the story and give him a huge tight hug. I wanted to hug him and never let him go. It was a treat to see how he got his life back in order after Carrie came into it and how she was there for him every step of the way. I loved seeing Josh transform from a broken man with no will to live into this amazing, caring person who was full of love and gratitude.

This book is so well written and so beautiful. I adore it. I have a lot of feels for it. It’s amazing, beautiful and just the best thing ever. I adore this book a whole lot and all fans of romance out there must go and read this pronto!

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The Star Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi – Book Review

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25203675Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

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The Star Touched Queen is the story of Maya. Maya, a princess of Bharata, has a terrible horoscope which states that her marriage will result in death and destruction. Because of this, she is shunned in the palace. All the bad things that happen around her are blamed on Maya’s horoscope, stating that her presence was the bad omen which made bad things happen. Maya just wants people to stop treating her the way they do. She dreams of being a scholar, because she knows that after knowing her horoscope, no one will want to marry her and she couldn’t descend to the throne as she is a girl. But, her life changes when her father arranges for a swayamvara, for her to chose a groom for herself from a platoon of princes, for a political alliance. Maya choses Amar and starts to fall for him, but he has his own secrets, which cause a rift between them and leave Maya in a place where she is fighting, not only for her own life, but for that of the world.

What I absolutely loved about the story was the writing. It was lush and beautiful, full of imagery and context and simile. The narrative is captivating and you can’t help but love it. Yes, the extreme amount of ‘purple prose’ used got on my nerves in places, but it was such a refreshing change to read something like this. A feast for the eyes. This book is extremely well written with SO MANY PRETTY WORDS. I adore that!

The plot is basic and simple. I think that is the beauty of it. The motivation of characters to act the way they do is simple – love, jealousy, revenge. It shows how far a person can go to just extract revenge for something they believe is the fault of someone else. The whole book revolved around the revenge plot of one woman who felt that Amar had wronged her.

I liked Maya, the MC, an okay amount. She started as this headstrong girl who wanted to break free of the patriarchy and carve her own path herself. I really admired that about her. But, halfway through, she did such a stupid and naive thing. I mean, I couldn’t believe she did it. Her character arc for the first half had shown that she was reluctant to trust anyone, but then, suddenly, she’s blindly trusting this one person, just because she saw one memory of the two of them together. I didn’t like that part. I mean, Amar had been trying to gain her trust for half the book and she didn’t trust him, was quick to write him off, but she trusted this person within seconds of meeting them. It didn’t make any sense to me. Especially since the story started moving forward only from there.

And then, there’s Amar. He was an enigma and mystery in the beginning of the story and he stayed that way till the end. Literally. By the end of the story, all I knew about Amar was what job he had and that he loved Maya unconditionally. That is it. Amar and Maya had maybe 10 complete, meaningful conversations in the story and more than half of them were before Amar could tell Maya anything about him and his kingdom. I would have liked to know more about Amar, about who he is as a person. Is he kind, smart, charming? Or is he villainous and cruel? I don’t know. I wish I did.

The worst disappointment about this book is how stilted the romance is. Maya and Amar both are prima facie great characters and they had amazing chemistry in the beginning. Their relationship could have been beautiful, but, it was not explored in the story. I wish they had interacted more, spent more time together, gotten to know each other. Amar appears after 5 – 6 chapters in the story and the second half is virtually free of him. He only appears in the last 30 pages. So, yes, he didn’t have much screen time, but what time they had together is glossed over, just saying that Amar was showing Maya around the palace and all its intricacies. They could have been a great couple and I wish that their relationship had been given more screen time. I really do.

What I absolutely adored about this book was all the references to Indian Mythology that were scattered throughout the book. Some of them wove into the main theme beautifully and some were mentioned in the passing as stories and folk tales, but I loved them all. It felt so good to read about them.

I felt that this book could have been so much more beautiful if the author had explored Amar’s character more. There were good things and bad things, but overall, reading TSTQ was a beautiful journey and I enjoyed it, for the most part.

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13695109Roshani grew up in Georgia, where she acquired a Southern accent but does not use it unless under duress. She has a luck dragon that looks suspiciously like a Great Pyrenees dog. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Uncanny Magazine, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. She is the 2016 finalist for the Andre Norton Award, and a 2016 Locus finalist for Best First Novel. Her short story, The Star Maiden, was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

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In The Hope Of Memories, Olivia Rivers -Book Blitz

 

 

In the Hope of Memories
Olivia Rivers
Publication date: March 21st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Hope is dying.

Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and they’ll solve the problems haunting their lives.

Hope is dead.

Two days after her heart fails, Hope’s friends are thrown together:

Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.

Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline.

Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.

And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.

Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hope’s scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hope’s graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on.

Hope is within reach.

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EXCERPT:

“Wait!” I slam my hand against the door to stop it from clicking shut, wincing as the splintered wood digs into me. “I’m looking for Hope. Hope Jackson. She said she’d be here.”

The dude shakes his head. “She’s dead.”

My heart stutters a fast and hard beat, like it does right when I get tackled on the field. “No. No, she’s not. She’s the exact opposite of dead. Today is her eighteenth birthday. Her birthday party is about to start right now.”

Official Reason Number Infinity it Sucks to Be Going Blind: When you can’t see right, you can’t stop a fist from colliding with your face. The dude’s knuckles crash into my jaw, and I yelp, more out of shock than pain. I’m about to pound my own fist into the freak when he starts talking again, this time in a tone that’s actually kind of pissed.

“She’s dead, you jerk! You really think it’s funny to joke about that?”

“I’m not joking!” I rub at my jaw with the back of my clenched hand. Part of me is itching to mess up this guy’s face, but a larger part is starting to panic. “You’re the one with the wrong info,” I say, silently praying I’m right. “Hope isn’t dead.”

The dude stares down at his hand and slowly curls and uncurls his fingers, like he can’t quite believe he just threw a punch. Then he whispers, “You’re not messing with me?”

“No! What kind of sick joke would that be? Like I said, I’m just trying to find her birthday party. I got an invite from her, I swear. It said to come here.”

“Oh.”

Apparently, this conversation isn’t weird enough for him, so he has to add in some awkward silence. Fan-freaking-tastic. Just when I’m starting to think he’s slipped into a coma, he says, “Sorry I punched your face.”

I take a deep breath. “Just tell me where her birthday party is, okay?”

“I told you, there is no party. Hope is dead.”

“Christ, are you seriously going to make me explain this again? She’s not dead. It’s her birthday today. As in the day when you celebrate a person being alive.”

“It would have been her birthday,” the dude says, slipping back into his strange monotone. “But now she’s dead.”

The seriousness in his voice makes my gut twist, and for a moment, I wonder if maybe he hurt Hope. My hand edges toward my pocket, but just as I’m considering grabbing my cell phone and dialing 9-1-1, I see a tear trickle down his cheek. It looks strange on his expressionless face, but another tear quickly follows, and then a third. He sniffs and turns away, wiping his right eye on the battered sleeve of his hoodie.

“What happened?” I ask, my voice a cracked whisper. All sorts of scenarios rush through my head—Hope’s plane crashing on vacation, a car accident, getting caught in a wrong-place-wrong-time shooting…

“You don’t know?” the dude asks.

“No. Was it in the news?”

The smallest beginning of a frown tugs at his lips. “Of course not. Why would the news report about a stroke victim?”

“Stroke?” I repeat. “She had a stroke? What…why? What triggered it? She’s a health freak.”

He blinks slowly and then says again, “You don’t know?”

 

Author Bio:

Olivia Rivers is a hybrid author of Young Adult fiction. Her works include the independently published novels “Frost Fire” and “In the Hope of Memories,” along with the traditionally published novel “Tone Deaf” (Skyhorse 2016.) As a certified geek, she enjoys experimenting with new publishing technologies, and her online serials have received over 1,000,000 hits on Wattpad.com. When Olivia isn’t working as a writer, she’s a typical teen attending college in Northern California. Olivia is represented by Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, and nothing thrills her more than hearing from readers.

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Grim Fate, S.L. Bynum – Book Blitz

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About the Book

Grim Fate coverTitle: Grim Fate (Grimly Ever After Series Book 2)

Author: S.L. Bynum

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

After achieving the impossible by saving her boyfriend, Shilah, from Death, Xia learned she is to become the next Angel of Death. Luckily she has years before she must accept her new position, so there’s still time for her to be with Shilah without interruption…that is, until the current Death begins training her. As she learns more about her upcoming responsibilities, she realizes a future with Shilah might be difficult, especially when a tragic event nearly tears them apart. After they get through it, they end up closer than ever and become more physically intimate with each other, leading Xia to terrifying new heights and making her wonder how far a grim reaper can go with a human being.

During one of her training sessions with Death, Xia meets the other Three Horsemen: Pestilence, War, and Famine. They feel she isn’t worthy of the title “Death”, and she wonders if they’re right. However, if she can’t fulfill her duty as the new Angel of Death, the consequences for the world of the living will be dire.

In Grim Fate, the second novel of the Grimly Ever After trilogy, S. L. Bynum continues the love story of Xia and Shilah, filled with more stakes and tension than before…and delivers another shocking ending that will change everything.

Author Bio

Author photo(1)S. L. Bynum fell in love with writing at the age of twelve, when she wrote a rendition of The Three Little Pigs for her little brother’s homework assignment. Her grim reaper character, Xia, from the Grimly Ever After series, is based off her own experience with romance in her teen years. S. L. Bynum is twenty-six now and besides books, she loves desserts, fashion, dancing (when she’s alone), warm weather, and playing video games. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her family.

                     

Links

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