Tag Archives: adult

Mid Year Cover Love

As you recall in January, I did a post called 2019 Cover Love and there are so much more great looking books being released this year, I just had to do a mid year one.

Which are your favorites? And what books coming out this year that I should be looking for?

Book Review: The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada and Holly Lorincz

St. Martin’s Griffin
TBP June 111th, 2019
288 Pages

Angel Gomez only wants to get through nursing school and earn enough to support her mother and her son, Jose. Her bartending job helps bring in some extra cash, and the last thing she’s interested in is flirting or men in general.

Caleb “The Duke” Lewis is an up and coming star for the Yankees, known for getting around. However, his last breakup left him distracted and made him turn to drink. When he’s caught by the Yankees manager at a party instead of training, he’s suspended and sent back to the Bronx to get his head straight.

Angel and Duke’s worlds collide one night at the club and sparks fly. Though Angel wants nothing to do with Duke, he has no intention of letting her slip through his fingers. She isn’t star-struck by his fame, and this might be just what he needs to get things in order. He’ll do anything to convince her…even make her an offer she can’t refuse.- Goodreads

I requested this book purely because of the author. I was first introduced to Evelyn Lozada because of the VH1 show Basketball Wives. Not something I am or was really into but she gets your attention and not necessarily in a good way. Fast forward and she is engaged to a big time baseball player and has his child. This is the second reason why I picked up the book because I thought is it about her relationship? Hmmm I can’t say if it is or if it isn’t but I can talk about this book.

It feels like a draft. Not even feels like it the book from beginning to end this book reads like a unedited draft. The transitions between Angel’s voice and The Duke’s is horrible. And I don’t mean that lightly. You will be reading in the The Duke’s voice and about what he has going on and then the very next sentence it will be Angel. This is confusing because these transitions happen in the middle of a thought or a conversation in the middle of the chapter. Confusing and frustrating as you go through the book.

Another thing about this was when Angel spoke Spanish it felt forced. Angel is Puerto Rican and this is known from the beginning. However, she doesn’t speak Spanish in the book expect two times when something happens. I think this was Lozada’s way to remind the reader that Angel wasn’t white, however I felt since that is a big deal then there should have been more insistence of her speaking her language.

I finished the book, in one day and I did because I liked the story. I liked Angel but felt that she could have been less stuck up and more realistic as a single mother. She let her emotions cloud her judgement and what was right and wrong. I liked The Duke and his troubled self. However, with both of these characters there wasn’t development, we are to assume that it happens because of the ending. Lozada did not take the time for the two to build their romance and get to know each other. They were thrown together in the worst times of their lives and expected to be adults, although The Duke (who I wished was called Caleb more in the book) has not acted like an adult since he got money.

I strongly believe that with more work, this could be a great story. It was thrown together and as I stated before it reads like an unedited draft. There were several topics in the book that could have lifted the overall story, could have provided character development and as a reader, I could have gotten to know more about Angel and Caleb as a couple and not two individual people forcing something.

Overall,

2 Pickles

Book Review: Wonder by Christina C. Jones

Warm Hues Creative
Published Jan 22nd 2019
238 Pages

It all came down to me. 

The one who followed the rules, never went looking for trouble – I kept to myself. I just wanted to take care of my family. To not constantly look over my shoulder, worried about the things that went bump in the night. 

I just wanted to survive. 

But that wasn’t meant to be. 

As luck – or fate, or something – would have it, the trouble found me. 

I followed a rabbit through the wreckage of a half-ruined world to get back what was mine, and wound up at the end of it. 

In Wonderland. 

But there’s nothing magical about it. – Goodreads

Now the summary you see above gives you vibes of a cliche story about Alice in Wonderland in a post apocalyptic world. This book is far from a cliche and one of the best Alice in Wonderland retellings I have read in a very long time.

Let’s start with the obvious. How did the author incorporate the classic story into her own? She did it without sucking the life out of her own story. There are a lot of subtle things from the original story that if you aren’t fully familiar with, you will not get it.

For instance, Alice is a woman named Aly (Alyson), the Mad Hatter is a man named Mad (Maddox), Chester is a woman named Ches (Franchesca) and the Queen is a woman named Ruby.

Are there other references to Alice in Wonderland, yes there are but the names didn’t click for me, minus Aly, until after I finished the book and began to rethink the book. And when they did click, I couldn’t stop smiling. I love when authors do little things like this because they turn out to big things.

The incorporation of Alice in Wonderland to the author’s own story was tastefully done. The author stayed true to the story she wanted to tell by adding elements from Alice in Wonderland that enhance what she wanted to portray as opposed to drowning you in  scenes you are familiar with. Alice in Wonderland was what caught my attention to read the book but it wasn’t why I kept reading.

What really blew me away were the characters. Let me first off start by saying, I loved Aly and Mad together. Their attraction for each other grew into something and I was all for it. They were real with each and understanding and the passion they had for each other was on a omg level that we can only strive for in our life lol

I also loved the fact that they remained two individual people coming together as opposed to being Aly and Mad all the time; that whole smothering thing can be super annoying to read.

But what stole the show was Ches & Ruby. They were two of the best women I have read in a very very long time. For the first time ever, I was rooting for the Queen. Ruby is badass and I was so ready to hate her. I was waiting for her to mess up, to ruin everything but at the end of the day I wanted to be her friend.

In regards to Ches, I liked her but like Chester the Cat, she was a complicated soul. I was hoping that the author would give more details about Ches because the author was going around her back story. It wasn’t until the end that I was like OH! Things were implied and even at the end they weren’t bluntly stated and you know what? I am alright with that. Again, this was tastefully done.

The story is told in Aly’s point of view as well as Mad’s. I wouldn’t have enjoyed it any other way. I literally can go on and on about this book, so if you read it and want to chat about it let me know because I am in love.

5 Pickles. 

Book Review: in her mind by Phoebe Garnsworthy

Self Published
Published 2017
215 Pages

Elke Sinclair doesn’t care to fall in love.

And life for the 25-year old in Bondi Beach is as chilled as it sounds.
Her days are filled with fun parties and good friends, while she soul searches for a career that she’s passionate about.

But it only takes one person to change all of that.

When Elke meets Lincoln, a dangerously sexy foreigner, she believes that he is her destiny and that the universe has sent him to her for a reason. As Elke falls madly in love, an unhealthy obsession for perfection begins, and it overtakes her friendships, her goals and even her sanity!

Will Elke find herself before it’s too late? 
Or will she remain the fool forever? -Goodreads

*short review and maybe a harsh review*

I didn’t like Elke. She was a spoiled brat that met someone who turned her out and she couldn’t be an adult about it. She spent her time in the beginning of the complaining how she doesn’t have her life together but lacks the motivation to do anything, so she keeps complaining and then latches onto someone that makes her blood boil.

Do not get me wrong being in love can be rough but being in love for the first time as an adult is something I may not wish upon anyone. Elke took it to the extreme but after completely the book that is her personality. She knows nothing about balance and I’m not exactly sure if she learns this at all.

I wasn’t sucked into the world, although I could see it clearly. The author did a good job describing and shaping this world but it was nothing new. The world was hipsters, fairly wealthy people in California; who have particular tastes and who love to drink, party and have sex.

The book didn’t have any grit, anything I can hold on to and say wow. I didn’t relate to Elke or the surround characters. I thought she was selfish, self centered and needed a kick in the butt. What happens to her sucks, but it didn’t change how selfish she was.

Overall,

Zero pickles

Short Review for a Short Story: Harlem by Eric Jerome Dickey

Dutton
Published Nov. 15, 2018

When Harlem gets off on a murder charge due to insanity, the asylum he’s sent to feels worse than death, with one exception: the beautiful nurse Daphane. As their relationship grows, so do the stakes: she has the ability to help him escape, and he has the ability to set her free from her abusive relationship.

Yet Harlem has one big secret: he was perfectly sane when he committed his crime. But in the end, Daphane’s own secret may be the deadliest of all. . . .- Goodreads

It has been a very long time since I have read a Eric Jerome Dickey book. My top is Friends and Lovers and I am thinking about doing a re-read for it but that is another story.

I came across Harlem during the December crunch trying to find short stories and mangas to meet my Goodreads goal. Since I have a previous love for Dickey, I decided to pick it up even though I was side eyeing the summary.

Harlem is not likable by any means but he is real; a lot more real than I expected. His bluntness took me by surprised but so did his past trauma. I was fully expecting this to be a I did what I did because of my past but I really am a good man. Completely ready to completely trash this book because of that.

However, that was not the case. Harlem is unapologetic, from beginning to end but he wants this woman Daphane and she wants him despite his flaws. My problem with this book was simply I couldn’t take listening to Harlem speak. Even as I write this, his voice is in my head and I am just like dude, shut up.

His interactions with Daphane came off really strange to me that is until the end of the novella. At that point everything made sense, even though I couldn’t deal with Harlem. The ending to this novella is what saved it from being rated a 1 Pickle out of 5 Pickles.

Was the pace good? Yes, steady with the promise of something big about the happen. Was the conclusion satisfying? Yes, nothing in me wants to read more about Harlem or Daphane. Was it well written? I can say that it was for what it was. This novella is the definition of short story, so you walk in wanting a quick read and leave feeling that is exactly what happened.

Will I recommend this book? Ehhh that I do not know.  Because not only are there are a lot of trigger warnings i.e. abuse, child abuse, murder but I also didn’t like the book.

Overall,

2 Pickles. 

New Adult Book Review: The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

Central Avenue Publishing
TBP October 1, 2017
288 Pages

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own. -Goodreads

This story was inspired by Christina Rossetti poem, Goblin Market (which is listed below the review.) Before reading this, you need to know that this is a new adult book. This means that there is sexual content not suggested sexual content but full blown sexual content with characters under the age of 25.

I was immediately sucked into this book. The story of goblins is something I don’t touch too much. Its not as if   don’t like their story, I guess it isn’t as popular within the channels I run through to look for new books but its something I am going to look into.

Anyway… as I said I was sucked into this book but the intensity I had reading into the beginning died. . . slowly but it died. It wasn’t as if the story was not interesting. It was but the author took a little bit too much time of having the characters run around the issue. I felt that the resolution was too easy found and there wasn’t enough fight or intensity leading up to the conclusion as there was with the sex scenes.

I also didn’t think there was a enough mythology in the book. I wanted something deeper in the overall story. I wanted more history and color overall in the story. I felt that the focus was too much on the relationships and not on the goblins their story, their end game or anything such as that. The story was fairly straight-forward and I’m not a fan of that.

Despite the story hitting a slow patch, despite the lack of mythology and color, it provide a quick read and it introduced me to a new author.

2.5 Pickles (for a good foundation)

The Minis

These Precious Scars by Emily Suvada is the background information you didn’t know you needed until you read it. Listed as the 0.5 to the This Mortal Coil series it provides a quick story about how the kids came to be who we know and love. Does it add to the overall story? Not really. But it fills the time; not only the “I need a quick read in between reads” but the time in between books. Because This Cruel Design doesn’t release until the end of the month (October 30th).

3 Pickles

Capture by Beverly Jenkins was a random Kindle buy and it was because the author tweeted about this book on #nationalpriateday. I fell in love with the cover first and then with the summary. ” . . . a stunning young slave and a roguish privateer share forbidden passion on the high seas. (-goodreads).” The book itself was much more than I had hoped for. The history was rich and the author was able to dig deep into it without dragging the story.  Also there was a hopefulness and a need to look into the history of Black priates and just to see who, what, when and where. I fell in love with this book and although it is the third book to a series, it feels like a complete standalone.

4 Pickles

Legacy by Necole Ryse is like but unlike the stories you read where the kid who grew up without a silver spoon in their mouth gets sent to a elite school. The biggest difference is its an all Black Ivy League school. So you know I am here for this. What is great about this book is the mystery that pulls everything together. I didn’t care for Raevyn Jones, the MC, but everything else around her strengthen the story. Althought I wasn’t too invested in this book to contiune the series, it is a solid read.

3 Pickles

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab reminded me of A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano, which is such a good book that I am mildly upset the author didn’t make this into a series. But because I saw similaries with these two books, City of Ghost didn’t hit that paranormal spot for me. Yes, this is a middle school book and I have zero issue with this. I enjoy books for middle schoolers just as I enjoy books for young adult. So the intended age range did not bother me. I see why people love Ms. Schwab writing so much but I didn’t within this book. Between the MC talking in her head and a mind reading ghost responding as if she is talking almost every other sentence, it just wasn’t for me. However, it is a solid read that I can see many people enjoying. But if you liked this book, then you’ll love A Curious Tale of the In-Between.

2.5 Pickles

[YAY for mini reviews] <3

The Gradual Disappearance of Jane Ashland by Nicolai Houm

Tin House Books
TBP: October 9th 2018
228 Pages

An American woman wakes up alone in a tent in the Norwegian mountains. Outside a storm rages and the fog is dense. Her phone is dead. She doesn’t have a map or a compass or any food. 

How she ended up there, and the tragic events of her past emerges over the course of this slim, gripping novel. We discover that she’s a writer with a bad case of writer’s block – she hasn’t written a word since her husband and daughter died in a tragic car crash. As we watch Jane’s life spiral out of control, we also see how she got here – her troubled parents and loving marriage. – Goodreads

*Short Review*

I have a hard time reading books, in which the author does this really big circle around an issue or the point before actually getting to it. This makes for a long drawn out experience that I am not up for.

In this read, the author relied heavily on intrigue to keep me reading the book. You’re constantly wondering what is going on with Jane and why is she so melancholy and blah to everything around her. You know about the death of her husband and daughter but there is something more to what is going on. The author takes beating around the bush literally and that is what killed the book.

But beyond this, the author breaks down grief, regret and well I wouldn’t necessarily say forgiveness because you don’t believe it actually happens. . . more like acceptance. This wasn’t a bad book but it was too drawn out for me to fully enjoy it.

2 Pickles

Book Review: Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep

Harper Voyager
October 2nd, 2018
480 Pages

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.- Goodreads

Jumping right into this, I didn’t think I would like this book. For the first 4 chapters, I wasn’t into it. I was having a hard time figuring out how gladiator connected with Evie’s story. But not too long after I mentally said, this isn’t going to work, everything started to work.

Such a great read. What pleased me the most about this book was Evie is a grown woman. 28 years old and not some 17 year old girl trying to get by and have a better life. I loved the fact that this was centered around an adult. But most importantly, I loved Evie.

She was such a likable character; sassy, strong, knowledgeable and not whinny. She did what she had to do to not only to survive but to help those as she can. She was honest with herself and with those, as need be.

Man, she was great and I rooted for her throughout the entire book.

Let’s talk about the gladiator aspect of this book. The author made this an important part of the book but it wasn’t exactly the center. What I mean by this is Evie didn’t jump in being a fighter, therefore, it wasn’t always about blood, swords and fight. This was more of a behind the scenes with fighting that transitions into something more. It was well done and the fighting scenes came you exactly what you want and expect when you think of gladiator. The only thing missing was someone shouting “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!”

Another high point of this book was the romance and the lack thereof. It was great to not have to see two people trying to save the world but also trying to fall in love. Evie knows what she wants; especially after being denied so many things after so many years. However, with this been said, I do suspect that the author will add romance within the next novel. It would honestly make sense after some things not happen.

Once I got through my reading hump in the beginning of the book, I couldn’t put it down and didn’t. I was kept at the edge of my seat as Evie kept growing and kicking butt. Were there twists and turns? After the explosion, not really but that is perfectly okay because you don’t leave this book wanting any other than the second book. I was sucked into this story; between the surrounding characters, the fighting and just genuinely good writing I throughly enjoyed myself.

As much as I love history, this is one of this rare cases, I am glad the author did not spend a lot of time dipping into the past.

Overall,

4 Pickles