Upcoming Book Releases: Anticipated September Book Releases

A new month is upon us. So I thought of starting a segment where I talk about the book releases in September that have me interested.

Mind you, there are myriad of reasons for my anticipating these book releases – It could be because the release if by an author I trust to never disappoint me or a book blurb that hooks me in, it might even be pre-release buzz about the book.

Right now I only have hopes that these books won’t let me down. The rest is upto the fates!


 

VENGEFUL

The sequel to VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab’s first adult novel.

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

 

Now, there’s an interesting reason I’m looking forward to this book. I was traumatized by the ending of V.E. Schwab’s earlier “Monsters of Verity” series which made me reluctant to start Vicious, the first installement of Vengeful. By the time I was fully on board thanks to raving compliments by my friends, the sequel was announced. And I decided to wait till the sequel was released before starting the series. It’s finally here and I can’t wait to gorge on this series.

You can pre-order this book from Amazon.

 

JOSH AND HAZEL’s GUIDE TO NOT DATING

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

 

A crazy larger-than-life heroine and a dependable hero? Lots of awkward blind dates? A combination of the good ol’ rommmates and friends to lovers trope? Count me in! It also doesn’t hurt that most of the books that I have read of Christina Lauren have been able to entertain me. I actually have high hopes for this one!

You can pre-order this book from Amazon.

 

SEA PRAYER

 

It’s Khaled Hosseini. Need I say more?

 

You can pre-order this book from Amazon.


 

Fingers crossed that these books would live up to my expectations. I actually had more releases in August that I was looking forward to. September has fallen short of that. But again, I might chance into more gems later in the month. After all, books that pleasantly surprise you are the best.

What about you guys? What books are you looking forward to? Please share the September books YOU are excited about. I’d love more recommendations.

Thanks!

 

Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Recently, I saw a lot of buzz about this book. I knew it would be a heavy read and I wasn’t really in the mood for anything heavy. Maybe that’s why I was underwhelmed by the book when I did read it.

Juliet lost her mother in a car accident. She’s a teenager dealing with the loss of the person she was closest to and who she considered to be her hero. Declan is another teenager dealing with the aftermath of an accident and his own mistakes. Both of them have emotional baggage and come to depend on each other through letters without knowing each other’s identities.

The plot was good but it lacked freshenss. I mean, this is not the first book that has it’s protagonists getting close through mail or letters anonymously and yet hating each other in real life. And then you’ve got your misunderstood outcasts, stepfather being a jerk, ignorant parents. Cliches after cliches. Now, I love cliches as much as the next person. I really do. It’s just the execution of those cliches that left a lot to be desired.

I did enjoy the middle parts where Juliet and Declan interact more in real life and the push and pull they play with the reveal of their identities. That was well done. I also liked the message about how we tend to judge others based on appearances and impressions we get about them through what we hear in the grapevine.

Maybe the problem was me. Because I saw a lot of people talk about feeling emotional after reading the book. Was I the only one who didn’t feel any emotional connection with the book?

Even the conclusion felt lazy to me. I found the resolution at the end with their families to be too facile and unconvincingly simplified. Especially Declan’s family. I wished to see more of his mother. We hear about her redemption but we don’t see it. I also wanted to see more of Juliet’s dad.

Although the book claimed to be a contemporary romance, there was little to no romance in it. Not that the lack of a romance is a problem, but I hate it when books don’t fit into the genres they claim.

I liked the book. I didn’t love it like so many others did. Maybe it’s a problem with me more than the book. So feel free to check it out.

I see that there is a sequel planned for Rev, one of my more favorite parts of the book. So I might even check the sequel out just for Rev!


 

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

TAG : I Spy Book Challenge

So, I’m new and nobody tagged me. But I still wanted to do it. What can I say? I’m an enthusiastic noob who loves these challenges!


The Rules:

Find a book that contains (either on the cover or in the title) an example for each category. You must have a separate book for all 20, get as creative as you want and do it within five minutes!!


 

Food| Transportation | Weapon | Animal

Number| Something You Read | Body of Water | Product of Fire

Royalty| Architecture | Clothing Item | Family Member

 

Time of Day | Music | Paranormal Being | Occupation

Season | Color | Celestial Body | Something That Grows


These are all books I’ve read (some I enjoyed, some I regretted reading). Btw I took a lot more than five minutes. But I had so much fun with this! Hope you do too.

I’m tagging  Mowmee | Tukunjil  | Bristy | Mahjabin | Kaniz

You can ignore this if you want to. No pressure. I just tagged you for fun! And if anyone who wasn’t tagged by me happens to see this and wants to do it, feel free and let me know!

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Back To School

Hello, everyone.  I just discovered Top Ten Tuesday  and REALLY wanted to do it. So, even though Tuesday just ended in my country, I’ll cheat and just follow the timezone of the countries that are still on Tuesday. I’m excited to join in on the fun!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is Back to School/Learning Freebie (in honor of school starting back up soon, come up with your own topic that fits the theme of school or learning! Books that take place at school/boarding school/during study abroad, books you read in school, textbooks you liked/didn’t like, non-fiction books you loved or want to read, etc.)

I’ll go with my top ten list of books that take place at school. I hope I do it right!

Perks of Being A Wallflower

How can I make a list about books with a school setting and ignore this gem? Perks of Being A Wallflower is an all-time favorite for me. This book had so many lines that resonated with me and actually stayed with me for a long time. Here’s to all wallflowers!

Speak

Speak is another book set in school that is so powerful! It is not an easy read. The protagonist Melinda might have faced something that can’t be relatable to everyone, but she as a character is someone any high school student who struggle with helplessness and loneliness can relate to.

On the Jellicoe Road

A favorite book by a favorite author. Set in Australia. This book was emotional. It’s about friendship, family and home. The transition from rivalry of the schools to their friendship was so sweet to read. I laughed, I cried and I reread it countless of times.

Graffiti Moon

This is a Young Adult Contemporary, also set in Australia. Although this book revolves around a high school student but the focus is more on the characters than the school itself. This book is about graffiti artist. It’s a character driven book that’s about friendship, love and mystique of art.

The Catcher in the Rye

Any school based book list is incomplete without The Catcher in the Rye. What hasn’t been said about this book? This book is such an epitome of all things teenage angst and rebellion that every teenager should read it. Even adults should read it just to be reminded of those days of such complexity.

The Start of Me and You

This book is nothing remarkable or trendsetting like The Catcher in the Rye. And yet, there something so comforting in this Young Adult book. I loved the family dynamics, friendships. I loved that there was a big focus on female friendship that I could relate with; and also platonic friendship between boys and girls.

Foolish Hearts

This book was SO good! Claudia is an introvert who likes playing online games with her brother and her best friend. But an unexpected eavesdropping makes her rivals with the ice queen Iris. Their slow evolving friendship was the best thing for me. This book is set around a school play. I loved everything about it. Even the unorthodox love interest Gideon.

This Adventure Ends

Emma Mills has slowly become my favorite author. As you can see by the two entries on the list by her. This book was a fast read. It lives up to its name as the protagonist Sloane goes on an adventure in search of a painting. Sloane was perfect in her awkwardness, sarcasm and loyalty. I loved her friendship with twins Vera and Gabe. Vera and Sloane were #Bestiegoals. And can I say that I want a family like hers?

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Yes, the book that’s become the rage after it’s movie adaption released in Netflix. I’d read the series last year and only liked the first one the best. A strong focus on sisters and family, forbidden crush, fake-dating trope, cultural diversity. Can I just say that I loved how the protagonist was Korean-American and the hero was Mexican-American? And the food! Oh, all that food! How I wish the movie had more food in it aaaand that hate-love equation between sisters!

Harry Potter Series

It would be a crime for a Potterhead like me to make a list of her favorite books set in school. It would also be very easy for me to list the 7 books (Well, 6 since the last book wasn’t really set in Hogwarts for the most part) in the Top Ten list. But I like hardwork.I don’t think any book has able to portray a school more lovable than Hogwarts.

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
So there you go. These are my top ten books set in school that I’ve read. Can you suggest me more books set in school that I should read? A book set in school that is in my TBR is The Hate U Give. Any other recommendations?

 

 

Book Review: Epoch (Transcend #2) by Jewel E. Ann

 

Who do you choose between your soulmate and the love of your life? What are the limits that you can cross for your love? Should you cross them? At what point do you stop looking for answers and let go?  Can you defy your fate? Do you have the right to decide the fate of someone else’s life?

“I think a part of you will be mine to love in every life.”

These are some of the questions that went through my mind while reading Epoch. I never thought I’d be thinking such deep thoughts when I’d read the first of the Transcend, the prequel to Epoch.

Swayze has dreams for her life. Dreams that involve Griffin, the love of her life. And yet, she can remember memories from another life. Memories that makes her aware of exactly who the reason was of the death of the person whose memories she remembers. And although she loves Griffin from the core of her being, she also can’t let go of Nate. Nate who tells her that she is the reincarnation of Daisy, his first love. Daisy – who died the year Swayze was born. Daisy – whose life is so entangled with Swayze that she can’t escape those memories.

Epoch is all about Swayze fighting to learn more of her past. Swayze is not the brave and carefree Swayze we saw in Transcend. She is scared for her life. She knows the man who was responsible for Daisy’s death is roaming freely and she has nothing to prove her claims. She loves Griffin. She wants to grow old with him. But she can’t stop thinking about Nate. He has an allure to her that goes beyond her soul. And Nate’s daughter Morgan too. These two are her connection to a past she can’t let go of. And Griff is the future she wants.

“What if some people are meant to pass through our lives instead of walking along beside us?”

Griffin knows Swayze is the one. He is ready to start his life with her. But Swayze is so hell bent on finding the truth behind her memories, that Griff feels like he’s losing her. He is ready to do anything to make Swayze feel safe. But is that enough?

“I’m not going to watch you self-destruct. I’m not going to watch you fall in love with another man.”

Nate has lost the two loves of his life. He only had his third and final love, his daughter Morgan before Swayze stormed into his love. Discovering his first love and his best friend in her was a relief for him. But now he is conflicted by the separate space Swayze has created in his heart, separate to the part of her that is Daisy. But Swayze is not his and he can’t selfishly keep her from her life, a life which was perfect before she met him.

“It’s just what’s always been in my heart. You died, but I lived and so has my love for you.”

We see these three characters struggle with the curveball life threw at them in Epoch.

This book wasn’t perfect. Many readers might be frustrated by Swayze’s indecision throughout the book. I was frustrated too. But I never got annoyed with her. The author was successful in conveying Swayze’s inner turmoil to me, and I really felt for her. At one point, when Swayze reaches a decision, my heart broke. And then when another twist comes, my heart mended and slightly broke again. But then the epilogue mended my heart again and some more.

This book had a shocking twist that made me actually stop and think about how I felt about it. I didn’t expect that twist from this book. But by the end of the book, I was comfortable with that twist.

Normally, I detest love triangles. And I’m always on a team. But this duology felt more than a mere love triangle to me. It was more than about who she ends up with. I was invested in a happy ending for all three of them, even if neither of them got the girl.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget Swayze, Griff or Nate.

In the end, neither Swayze nor the readers do not get all our questions answered.  But I think there’s a beauty in that. The beauty in letting go.


 

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Book Review: Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10)

 

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can’t-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

Okay. So, this is the tenth and final book of this particular series. A small intro for the people who are not familiar with this series – These books are pure Urban Fantasy. There are not only vampire or werewolves. You get your pick of shapeshifters from wererats to werelions. And that’s only the beginning.

To put it in TV show terms. This series is a mixture of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Except, Kate Daniels is even more badass then Buffy. Yes, I said it.

The author was not at all discriminating in her use of myths in this series. Be it Greek gods, Islamic djinns and ifrits, Roman gods, Hindu gods. You name it. There are 10 books in this series and every book brings a different myth and creatures.

So if you’re a fan of myths and fantasy. You’re gonna love this series. And, this is one of those rare gems which only gets better with each book. In fact, when I started the first book, I wasn’t impressed. The author dropped us in the middle of the universe and it took me time to adjust. But I went along. The second book was better at keeping me engaged. By the third book, I was all in. Hook. Line. Sinker.

In short, this series is hugely recommended by me. If you start the series and stick till the second and third book, you won’t be disappointed.

This series could go on for another 10 books and I’d still gobble it up. I’m still a bit glum that I won’t read more from Kate.

Kate Daniels is a character who has the rare accomplishment of not annoying ME even once in all TEN frikkin’ books. ME. Me who got annoyed by Harry Potter every 50 pages and who found even Elizabeth Bennet irritating at times. So suffice it to say, kate Daniels is the slayer of my heart.

She evolves so much throughout the series. In this final book, she’s a mother. She and Curran were great parents.

The previous books had so much of everything in them, I was never left not entertained.

Just when I thought nothing about this series would surprise me anymore, we get a case of 300 people boiled in a mass grave at the beginning. Creeeeeepy.

As if that’s not enough, she still has her father (a more civilized version of Voldemort, to put it mildly) after her. There are threatening messages from mysterious creatures. There are dragons. There is her 13 month old son who has started to shapeshift to a lion cub.

(Oh, did I mention Kate’s husband? Who’s a warelion? No? Well, there you go. But Kate and Curran are as equal as you can get. They might not have the most epic love story and Curran might not be the most swoonworthy hero ever. But they’re still one of my most favorite couples because they actually have a healthy relationship.)

Anyways, so Kate has a lot on her plates and she doubts she’ll see the end of it. But we have a dozen supporting characters who are thankfully there to help her. Kate who started off as a loner has now a BIG support group. That makes me emotional more than anything else. I’m such a proud reader! You go girl!

Oh on a side note, little Conlan stole the show for me. He was such an adorable mix of a devil, innocent and cuteness. I wouldn’t mind a book all on him.


Anyways…

I loved the book like I loved the other books in the series. But I’m still a little sad that I won’t see more from Kate. No worries, though. We will see more of this universe in multiple spinoffs. But no character will be able to resemble the awesomeness that is Kate Daniels.

You know what would cure me of my sadness? A TV adaptation on this series. Yes please. Pretty please?

And if you want to read a series that has an amazing blend of Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Romance and a billion bucket of FEELS, Kate Daniels is the one for you.


 

My Rating: ★★★★☆

 

 

Book Review: The Simple Wild By K. A. Tucker

There are real physical characters in a book. And then there are settings and places that take form of a physical character themselves. Same was the case for The Simple Wild. The town of Bangor, Alaska became a character in itself.


When I read the book, I could exactly envision the Alaska the author described. It’s always frustrating for me to not be able to envision the settings when I’m reading a book. But, K. A. Tucker was a master in detailing the settings which were not paragraphs upon paragraphs of prose but still enough for the readers to visualize the places.

Calla’s father is a bush pilot in the wild of Alaska, a dangerous job. Her mother married him and out of love moved to the middle of nowhere. But she feels stifled and suffocated there and not long after, decides to move back to Canada., hoping her husband will follow. But Wren’s life is in Alaska. He’s also a closed book and inexpressive. So, despite the love between these two, they are separate.

Calla is now 26 and hasn’t met her father once since her mother left with her when she was just 2. She gets a call that her father is sick right after she gets fired. So she jets off to the wild. With her 2 large suitcases and even larger prejudices. She’s in for big surprises.

I liked Calla’s growth and evolution throughout the book. She starts off as an entitled brat. But slowly and surely, she starts to loosen up and be comfortable in her skin, literally.

Jonah, the main pilot of Wren’s company has a big hand towards that. He’s a bearded “yeti” when we first meet him. And he’s exactly what Calla seems to need to open up to her dad.


Jonah and Calla’s chemistry was off the charts. I loved their interactions and banter.

I also loved Calla’s interactions with her family, especially her step dad and Wren.

The only complaint I had from this book was the culmination of Jonah and Calla’s romance. I was hoping for more from Jonah before that last scene. But that’s nothing compared to how much I enjoyed the book.


My Rating: ★★★★★

Book Review: Not So Nice Guy by R S Grey

Okay. I like a nice rom-com book like any other person. I mean, what’s life without a little fluff? But too much of anything is not to my liking either.

Not So Nice Guy was a like a candy that I enjoy while eating but forget about it the moment after.

Ian and Sam are colleagues and best friends who know everything each other. There was attraction from the first meeting but the timing was wrong because of them never being single at the same time, for a long time. Then there were misunderstandings that each of them were not the other’s type. I found that to be very relatable and was sold on that.

But the instance that forces Ian to decide to act on his feelings felt like a cop-out to me. And the way they went ahead with it felt too ………mundane? I wished for more from their courting phase. But it was still entertaining. Until a mistake by Sam makes Ian decide on an entirely preposterous solution. It took me some time to get over how ridiculous that plot point was.

I still enjoyed the book. A lot. The one liners were funny. And I liked Sam a lot. She’s a bit like me. Clumsy, awkward, lazy, anti-change. I loved her quirks. And I could see how anyone would fall for her. But again, some of her antics felt over the top to me.

Ian was great too. A nice dependable guy. But, a tad bit boring, might I say?

I’m a big fan of friends-to-lovers trope but I need more of a proper plot for me to be engaged, you know?

Anyways, I liked the book. It was funny. Made me laugh. But am I gonna read this again? I don’t think so.

My rating: ★★★☆☆

Book Review: Transcend (Transcend Duet #1) by Jewel E. Ann


“In another life, she was my forever.”

An unexpected tragedy leaves Professor Nathaniel Hunt a widower alone with a newborn baby.

He hires a nanny. She’s young, but well-qualified, with a simple life, a crazy name obsession, and a boyfriend she met at the grocery store.

Over time, he discovers she knows things about him—things that happened before she was born—like a hidden scar on his head, his favorite pizza, and how he cheated on a high school Spanish test.

She speaks familiar words and shares haunting memories that take him back to over two decades earlier when he lost his best friend in a tragic accident.

“I’m afraid of what’s going to happen when you realize I’m not her.”

Transcend is a sexy, mind-bending journey that uncovers possibilities, challenges beliefs, and begets the age-old question: is there life after death?


 

“A single touch can say things twenty-six letters can’t even begin to say.”

Some books stay with you long after you read them. Transcend was one of them.

This book has had me so strongly in its grasp from the very first line. And I was drawn right from the beginning. Some books take a long time for you to slowly drown in it. To engage you from the very first line? That in itself is a gift for an author.

The plot was just as the blurb describes but yet so much more. I don’t want to spoil it for you. Just if you believe in fate, you’re gonna love this book.

However, it’s quite clear that this book plays with the theme of reincarnation. And that was the only thing that had me dubious about starting the book. Reincarnation is not my thing, really. But the blurb had me fascinated and so I went in any way. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

I was afraid about how the book would play out the reincarnation plot but the author handled it in such a believable way. And she wrote the characters so beautifully.

I’m in love with the female protagonist. Swayze was strong, fierce and vulnerable all at the same time.

The two male characters had me so conflicted. Like, they both seemed perfect to me. Griff might just take the award for the best book boyfriend. He seemed so perfect at times that it felt unrealistic. Because let’s face it – not guy can be this perfect. Nate, on the other hand, had my heart aching for him. I felt like splitting Swayze up so that both guys would get their happy endings. Yeah, I’m crazy like that.

“The people in our lives give color to our existence. When we love, we choose to let part of our heart—part of our soul—live inside of another person. Their happiness is our happiness. Their grief is our grief. And when they die … part of us dies too.”

I need to be able to relate with the characters for me to like a book and sure enough, I loved Swayze. Something in me resonated with her. It also helps that Nate and Griff are so polar-opposites and yet equally swoon worthy. I wanted to give them hugs.

This is a read I won’t easily get over. I have high expectations from Epoch now!
Jewel E. Ann, don’t let me down!


My Ratings: ★★★★★


 

Here I Go!

Hey. There are 4 things you need to know about me –

I’m Raya.

I tend to be really lazy. (Except when I read books. I can read 4 books in a day if I try really hard.)

I rant a lot. (Mostly about books. Hence, this website.)
So, yeah. There you go. I’m done with my awkward intro! Yaay!

P.S. My laziness could make me inactive about posting reviews in this website too.