Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

42201435Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

Expected Publication: August 6, 2019

384 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

Review: I’ve heard great things about K.A. Tucker’s books so I was really excited to get a chance to review an early copy of her newest book. The premise of this romance sounded so cute. I love the whole high school romance being reignited years later. Piper was a really strong female character in a business world typically dominated by men which of course meant that she had to deal with a few assholes who didn’t take her seriously. I wanted to punch Tripp square in the jaw for the way he acted around her. I loved Pipers friends from camp, Ashley and Christa. It’s so great that they were able to stay such good friends over the years. And Kyle was the perfect first true love. The book is written in alternating chapters between the past when Piper was 16 working as a camp counselor and the present when she is 29 and in the process of taking over her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm. I’m usually not that into that kind of story layout with the back and forth but I think it really worked well with this book. If you’re looking for a swoony romance, I suggest checking this book out when it releases on August 6th. I will definitely be reading more of K.A. Tucker’s books in the future.

4 Stars

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

41733208. sy475 Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa (Shadow of the Fox #2)

Published June 25th 2019 by Inkyard Press

304 Pages

Goodreads Summary: One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

Review: Last year when I read Shadow of the Fox, I was blown away. It was such a great, original fantasy and I loved all of the Japanese folklore and myths that Julie Kagawa tied in. So when I got a review copy of the sequel, Soul of the Sword, I was ecstatic.

Beware going forward if you haven’t read Shadow of the Fox. This is a review for book 2 so there will be some spoilers from the first book because that’s pretty unavoidable.

This was such a great sequel! There was so much action and adventure that picked up right where Shadow of the Fox left off. I was so nervous to see what was going to happen with Tatsumi after he was possessed completely by the evil Hakaimono. It was so nerve wracking following Tatsumi/Hakaimono traverse the countryside wreaking havoc in his effort to free Hakaimono from the curse of the sword altogether.

One thing that surprised me, in a good way, was how close Okame and Daisuke were becoming. There were some definite vibes going on between the ronin and the samurai that had me totally shipping them 100%.

I couldn’t believe the ending! It was so incredibly intense! I really can’t wait for the next book and it’s going to be really hard waiting an entire year for it. This series has it all. Humor, action, adventure, romance, you name it. If you haven’t read book one yet, I highly suggest you check it out.

5 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

41592780Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Published June 11, 2019 by Atria Books

416 Pages

Goodreads Summary: From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes, comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.

Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?

Review: I had never read a book by Jennifer Weiner before this but knew that she is a pretty popular author so I was pretty excited that the publisher asked me to review this one. The characters of Jo and Bethie felt like they were written in a way to represent all women. Each of them face individual struggles that break your heart as you read them. Jo isn’t your typical teenage girl. She has a secret that she is terrified of it getting out. But she also wants to be able to live the life she wants without people treating her differently. Bethie becomes a victim of abuse from a family member who should have been there to protect her. As both sisters grow up and experience various hardships, their biggest challenge is realizing who they are and figuring out what they want out of life. Are they going to settle for what’s easy or are they going to work for the life they want? Reading their journey, both individually and together as sisters, was really moving. One thing about this book that really impressed me was the whole scope of the book. The author managed to fit in so many issues including race, religion, and sexual assault. The characters participate in everything from the civil rights movement as Jo actively participates in weekly demonstrations for equality, all the way up to the current #metoo movement. The book spans several decades so there were times when it seemed to drag on a little too long but overall I really enjoyed this book. This story will stick with me for awhile.

4 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Ash Family by Molly Dektar

41573546The Ash Family by Molly Dektar

Expected publication: April 9th 2019 by Simon & Schuster

352 Pages

Goodreads Summary: When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.

At nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds herself compelled by his promise of a new life. He ferries her into a place of order and chaos: the Ash Family farm. There, she joins an intentional community living off the fertile land of the mountains, bound together by high ideals and through relationships she can’t untangle. Berie—now renamed Harmony—renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear.

Thrilling and profound, The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness, and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging.

Review: Okay, let’s try this again. Long story short, I had a nice, long review ready for this and WordPress deleted it.

I must admit that during the first 25% of this book, I contemplated putting it down and DNFing it. I normally find these types of scenarios fascinating but for some reason I just did not click with this main character, Berie. I felt like she was overly naïve and a bit stupid if I’m being perfectly honest. Who in their right mind would go off with a random guy they met at a bus stop to join his off-the-grid commune in the mountains?! Especially considering the way this guy is described. He sounds super dirty, and a bit slimy. At one point, it was described in detail that his pants are basically water proof because they are never washed and are incredibly grimy. And his feet smell like vinegar. Yeah… no thanks. And yet, Berie seems to idolize him and almost falls in love with him at first sight.

When Berie arrives on the farm, she is told not to talk about the past… the “fake world” as they call it. Everyone has left their “fake world” name behind and have been given a new name by the man who created this family, Dice. Everyone works for the good of the family. Berie, now called Harmony, is put in charge of taking care of the sheep. She tries to gain the trust of both Bay and Dice so she can go on one of their protests. So many crazy things happen that make you really wonder why anybody agreed to live there. Everyone shares everything. Clothes, beds, partners, etc. No couples. No children. No leaving unless given a task or permission.

I was bit underwhelmed by the ending. Shit hits the fan but then it seems to end just as quickly as it began. I felt like the ending could have been drawn out a little more but I don’t want to say how because that would give it away. Overall, I’m kind of in the middle on this book. I didn’t not like it, but I also didn’t really like it. If you are interested in cults and commune type scenarios you might be interested in reading this book.

3 Stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

34733250Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor, illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Expected publication: September 12th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

256 Pages

Goodreads Summary: In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first date—as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.

Review: Earlier this year, Strange the Dreamer was my first experience with Laini Taylor’s words.  I instantly fell in love with her writing.  So I was really eager to get into her previous series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  When I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I really loved Zuzana’s character.   She was so spunky and had a great sense of humor.  Her friendship with Karou reminded me a lot of my own friendship with one of my best friends.  When I heard about Night of Cake and Puppets I was so excited to be able to read about how Zuzana and Mik come together because, let’s face it, they’re absolutely adorable.  I’m a big sucker for romance and big romantic gestures so this seemed like it was going to be a really great read. Plus there is just something special about having Laini and her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, teaming up to take this book to the next level.  I read this ARC in a few hours because I could not put it down!  The first section is from Zuzana’s POV and it totally took me back to those times when I had a huge thing for a guy and wasn’t sure how to approach that.  I also really loved the little flashback stories of when Zuzana and Karou first became friends. One of the things I really love about Laini Taylor’s writing is that it is so visually descriptive without overdoing it so it is really easy to visualize the scenes in your head.  I’ve dreamed of going to Prague for years and with her help, I feel almost as if I have been there.  When it got to the section from Mik’s POV, I couldn’t help but swoon.  This story was everything I hoped it would be and more.  The illustrations that were included in the ARC were absolutely incredible so I can’t wait to see how they look in the final copies!

5 Stars

I received a copy of this from The Novl in exchange for an honest review.