Book Review: This Love Story Will Self-Destruct by Leslie Cohen

This Love Story Will Self-DestructTitle: This Love Story Will Self-Destruct
Author: Leslie Cohen
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

     
This is the classic tale of boy meets girl: Girl…goes home with someone else.
Meet Eve. She’s a dreamer, a feeler, a careening well of sensitivities who can’t quite keep her feet on the ground, or steer clear of trouble. She’s a laugher, a crier, a quirky and quick-witted bleeding-heart-worrier.
Meet Ben. He’s an engineer, an expert at leveling floors who likes order, structure, and straight lines. He doesn’t opine, he doesn’t ruminate, he doesn’t simmer until he boils over. So naturally, when the two first cross paths, sparks don’t exactly fly. But then they meet again. And again. And then, finally, they find themselves with a deep yet fragile connection that will change the course of their relationship—possibly forever. Follow Eve and Ben as they navigate their twenties on a winding journey through first jobs, first dates, and first breakups; through first reunions, first betrayals and, maybe, first love. This is When Harry Met Sally reimagined; a charming tale told from two unapologetically original points of view. With an acerbic edge and heartwarming humor, debut novelist Leslie Cohen takes us on a tour of what life looks like when it doesn’t go according to plan, and explores the complexity, chaos, and comedy in finding a relationship built to last.
I was so happy with this book from beginning to end, especially the end. Eve and her sister have suffered a rough childhood. It's evident when we first meet Eve that she is a basket case in every sense of the word. She goes home with strange men, has one-night stands, and then never wants to see them again. She is restless and not too keen on finding a romantic relationship - that would be too involved.

But then she meets Ben. Ben is the antithesis of Eve in that he has his life in order. His life is planned out meticulously. When they first meet, it's obvious that there is serious chemistry between the two of them. Eve is hesitant to let Ben into her life since its so messy and she doesn't want to subject anyone else to her poor lifestyle choices.

But every time they turn around they keep running into each other and decide to hang out. Slowly, feelings begin to change, which both Eve and Ben find scary. Plus, you find out that Eve and Ben might have a connection between each other in their past. 

During this book Eve goes through a roller-coaster of emotions. While reading this in book in bed, some parts throughout the book made me want to jump up screaming at Eve because her choices were just plain dumb.

The author did a great job exploring the two characters and creating such great arcs for the both of them. It was truly a page turner. I highly recommend this story to anybody because it is amazing and the story is beautiful. 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
This week pick is:

 The Wicked Deep

The Wicked Deep

Author: Shea Ernshaw
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Expected Release: March 6th 2018

           

Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials in this haunting story about three sisters on a quest for revenge—and how love may be the only thing powerful enough to stop them.

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

Book Review: Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

Keep Her SafeTitle: Keep Her Safe
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC
Page: 448
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Suspense

          

Noah Marshall has had a privileged life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that’s been rattling in her closet for years: she doesn’t deserve her commendations or her medals—in fact, she deserves to be locked behind bars for what she did to a fellow officer to save her own reputation. When she finally succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family’s life, she leaves Noah alone to carry the burden of this shocking secret, which she makes him vow never to share.
Gracie Reynolds wasn’t born into trailer park life, but after ten years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it’s all she knows anymore. At least here people don’t care that she is a byproduct of a white mother and a black father. And they certainly don’t care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop. Here, she and her mother can almost forget the shame he brought upon them…until a man who clearly doesn’t belong shows up on her doorstep one night, asking questions.
Together, Noah and Gracie set out to uncover the truth about the Austin police department’s dark and messy past­—but the scandal they uncover is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.

So I have a bit of a confession to make..... Keep Her Safe if my first K.A. Tucker book!


I know, I know! What is wrong with me??!!  I mean it's not like I don't own most of her books, but I just never really got around to reading one. I even have some of her books signed! *le sigh*


Well, now that I confessed, I will be able to tell you that I am so mad for not picking up one of her books earlier! I really loved KEEP HER SAFE! Now, I know that this book is different from the rest, as she mentions it in her acknowledgments, so I think it is safe to assume I will love the rest just as much if not, more.

KEEP HER SAFE is about police corruption and a pretty great suspense book.  I am really good at figuring out the "secrets" or the "killer" in suspense books, so I guessed correctly, but I was still surprised by one little secret. When it comes to suspense books, I make it my mission to figure it out early on in the book. I do the same with movies and it drives my husband mad! LOL  It's just the way I am wired I guess. 

Anywho, I really loved the chemistry between Noah and Gracie. Gracie being my favorite of the two with her take charge attitude. She is truly a firecracker. LOL Noah is a perfect southern gentleman. He is the perfect guy.  Sadly, he has had to deal with a lot of family secrets. Luckily, he has Gracie by his side and together they will unlock secrets that could bring the Austin Police Department to its knees. Well, at least that is the plan. 

I have a thing for secondary characters.  There have been books where I have fallen in love with a secondary character and loathed the main ones. Two of my favorite secondary secondary characters in KEEP HER SAFE is Cyclops and Vilma from Sleepy Hollow Trailer Park. That one-eyed dog and the old Mexican lady made me laugh so hard! LOL You just have to read it and see for your self.  I don't want to ruin it.  But I promise you will be laughing really hard. 

KEEP HER SAFE may be my first K.A. Tucker book, but I can guarantee you that it will not be my last.  Make sure you go out and get yourself a copy!



K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA TODAY, The Globe and Mail, Suspense Magazine, and Publishers Weekly. She currently resides in a quaint town outside Toronto with her husband and 
two beautiful girls.




Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Really Liked but Can't Remember Anything/Much About


* Top Ten Tuesdays (TTT) is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. * * This week's TTT is:  Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Anything/Much About. This was one of the easiest lists to make. There are quite a few, not too many, books that I really loved but don't remember much of what happened. 



I usually like to write a little bit about each book and the reasons they are on this list, but as I started to do just that, I found myself giving repetitive reasons for being on this list.

These are the reasons that these book are on this list:
-I read them quickly and didn't retain much of what happened.
-I read them awhile ago and forgot what has happened as time went on.

On the other hand are reasons I loved these books - characters, world-building, fast-paced, kept me reading, a wonderful story. Even though I can't remember the details, I remember how I felt about them while reading and I really enjoyed each of these books.



Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)  Under Rose-Tainted Skies  Caraval (Caraval, #1)


The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen, #1)  Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, #4)  P.S. I Like You


Swear on This Life  This Adventure Ends

Love, Lies and Spies  Steeplejack (Alternative Detective, #1)

Book Review + Exclusive Interview: Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk


Blood and SandTitle: Blood and Sand
Author: C.V. Wyk
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Age Group: (Upper) Young Adult/Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction


         
The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic―and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus... For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk. Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves. Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation. Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...
"I just think of darkness - total nothingness. It's warm and cool, tiny and infinite all at the same time. And you're alone, but you realize that you've never truly been alone. The universe spins on around us and through us. What makes it unfathomable is what makes it so beautiful. Everything just ... stops."
When she said it like that, with her eyes looking into the distance and her voice drifting on an unseen breeze, it almost sounded beautiful. But Attia knew better. "You speak of death," she said.
Lucretia turned her eyes back to her. "I speak of peace. For some of us, it's the same thing."

The writing, as evidenced by that short quote above, is one of the most glorious aspects of this debut book. Seriously, I could have read this book in one sitting had it not been for personal/professional obligations. Even then, I managed to read it in 3 days.

This dual narrative, from the perspective of Attia and Xanthus, is founded on the battle between "death" and "peace" as we are given an insider glimpse of a world full of powerful men whose sole purpose was to dominate and take control of lands. The setting is some time around 70 BC, and to be honest, I can't remember the last time I read a well-written YA book set during this time which was a welcome gift.

The story begins with Attia, a shackled slave and believed to be the last of her race, is gifted to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome. The gift can only be given to him by his master (Timeus) who is someone you will grow to absolutely despise. Within the house of Timeus, secrets are well guarded within the walls but Attia has several of her own.

She is a trained warrior and strong and is a main character who possesses admirable traits. She makes no excuses and does not falter when she stands up to others based on her steadfast principles, despite being a sheep in a wolf's den. But she is broken, as is Xanthus.

Xanthus perfectly complements Attia. Although he has killed many men successfully fighting battles in the Colisseum, he also has a warm and gentle heart. What the two have in common is the second thing I truly enjoyed of this story. The discussion becomes, who are we really, if we have no home to go back to? How do we define ourselves and is our journey to that self-definition constantly changing? A sign of a great story is one that allows us to ask ourselves these questions long after reading the last page.

So strong female leading character, check; sexy yet conflicted male lead, check; slow-burn romance, check; amazing secondary characters that play just a large of a role as Attia and Xanthus, check. Check, check, check.

I highly recommend this story, especially if you enjoy fast-paced action scenes, complex and interesting characters, and romance that isn't contrived. Seriously, I implore you to check this one out. The only small little gripe I have is that there will be a second book. I would have preferred Blood and Sand to have been a longer, standalone read. But now I have something to look forward to!
As always, happy reading!

Trigger Warning: Historically, the story of the ancient Romans is a very bloody and inhumane one. During these times, gladiators and their fight in the arena was truly a spectator sport and the author does not shy away from including bloody and gory scenes. And because women were truly not appreciated or valued, especially among powerful men, there are instances of physical abuse. If you are not comfortable with these topics, even though they are true to the historical context in which the story is set, this book will not be one for you.



                           
First, I absolutely loved this story and I didn't realize how much I enjoy this period of history. What made you choose this particular story? You give us a little background in the "Author's Note" of the book, and you state that there isn't much documented history when it comes to Spartacus as a man. That we really don't know what his intentions were at the time to lead a revolution. Out of all the fascinating time periods, events, figures we've had over the course of history, why do you think you were particularly drawn to this slice of history? Was it because of the unknown?
Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! The idea for the story kind of came to me in a backward way. One evening, I was just sitting at my computer staring at a blank word doc, my fingers itching to type something, and with absolutely no plot in my head, I ended up writing what would become the first line of the book: They called them slaves. It was a line that begged to tell the story of injustice, identity, and revolution. I knew for sure that I didn’t want to write a futuristic dystopian, even though I’ve loved books in that genre. I was a history major in college with a particular fondness for ancient history. I am also a sucker for movies like Gladiator and 300, and that sentence kind of brought all of those loves together. So, I instead decided to look back and explore one of the oldest and most infamous dystopian societies we know—the Roman Empire.
Maybe you will answer this with my last questions, but did the idea of Blood and Sand begin with the world or with character? And if character, was it with Attia, Xanthus, or both at the same time?
The idea for the book began with the world (and that sentence), but the character of Attia was right on its heels. Once I realized that the book just had to be set in ancient Rome, I was immediately drawn to the enigmatic figure of Spartacus. But writing an origin story for a gladiator and revolutionary as a young man just felt a little too done, too familiar. As soon as I wrote the first scene where Attia escapes through Rome, I knew she was the firestarter I was looking for.
There are many fighting sequences throughout Blood and Sand. Were these particularly difficult to write? Did you have to take a class or "play fight" with others to figure out what body part goes where? And are action scenes particularly difficult for you to write, or do you find them easy whereas other aspects such as dialogue or plot, more difficult?
The action scenes were some of the most fun to write, probably because I watch a lot of action movies haha! They weren’t necessarily easy, though. Plenty of times, I just had to close my eyes and try to remember where everyone’s arms and legs were going. I played those scenes in my head like a movie, and I tried to write them in a clear but entertaining way. The plot was definitely harder. “What comes next?” is one of the most difficult questions to answer well, and I’m still learning and growing as an author. One lesson I’ve taken away from BLOOD AND SAND: outlines are our friends!
This is your debut! Congrats! I assume that most debut authors have full-time jobs or at least, have a job to be able to financially sustain themselves. The reason I ask is because I'm always curious about the delicate balance that exists between working (where there is an obvious reward of money) versus writing, where you don't know if the pursuit of your dream will ever lead to something real and fruitful. How have you balanced these moments? Is self-motivation an integral part to becoming published? Is this the first book you write?
I work full-time, and I’m also going to school for my master’s degree, so balancing what are essentially three different jobs has been a challenge, to say the least. But writing has always been something that I’ve loved doing, and I wrote BLOOD AND SAND before I ever thought about the possibility of being published. It was just a story that I wanted—needed—to tell, and it was my first full-length novel. Motivation certainly played a part in helping me find an agent, but honestly, so did a strong dose of naiveté. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing! I didn’t know enough to be scared of failing. Now, I’m actually grateful for that haha.
How long did it take you to write Blood and Sand from start to finish and do you outline or just go where the story takes you?
The first draft practically burst out of me; I wrote it in about three months. Of course, it went through several rounds of edits before it was finally done, but that first round was like a sprint! I didn’t outline anything for it, which made revisions more complicated. Now that I’m working on the sequel, I’ve definitely invested more time in planning ahead. That being said, I have no idea how my next book (outside of the Spartacus universe) will come about or evolve! I guess every story needs its own way of being told.
Personally, I would have been happy if Blood and Sand was a 500- or 600- page book. But it wasn't and I see there is a sequel. Will the story end with the sequel? And was it your choice to split the story up? I'm curious about your decisions versus decisions by the publisher.
BLOOD AND SAND was planned as a trilogy from the beginning, partly because it was always intended for a younger audience but mostly because the books are almost like acts in a play—they each focus on a different aspect of how the characters grow into the heroes that history remembers. I pitched it that way to my agent, and she and my editor are the only people who know how everything ends! I will say that after discussions with the publisher, the original final chapter of BLOOD AND SAND was cut and is now one of the early chapters of FIRE AND ASH. Authors are often reminded that these are our stories to tell, but there are always points when you have to decide whether or not to take the professional advice of folks who honestly just have a lot more experience than you do. Luckily, my editor has always supported my vision for this series, and I’m incredibly grateful for her guidance.
What other authors have inspired you? And what are you reading now?
Oh, where to start? Early influencers were Marion Zimmer Bradley, Juliet Marillier, Phillip Pullman, and, of course, J.K. Rowling. Later, I was thrilled to discover Dot Hutchison, Robin LaFevers, Suzanne Collins, and Madeline Miller. I just finished “The Song Rising” by Samantha Shannon, who’s another favorite of mine!
C.V., thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I look forward to the next book and I hope this book becomes as successful as it deserves!
Thank you! And I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. It means everything to hear from people when a story resonates with them, so I appreciate this so much. It’s really become my favorite part of being a writer.

 
                                       
C.V. Wyk

C.V. Wyk is the author of BLOOD AND SAND, debuting from Tor Teen in winter 2018. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Wyk now resides on the east coast along with a precocious mini poodle and demanding guinea pig. In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys playing MMORPGs, kayaking, coding, hiking, staring listlessly at blank walls, and nursing a totally healthy coffee addiction.
Find Wyk online at www.cvywyk.com.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by
Book Journey * *
Here is what we Finished, Currently Reading, and what is
Next In line. How about you? These were some fantastic reads and we are so excited to share what we think with you! So make sure you keep your eyes out for our reviews!


Blood and Sand My Enemy Next Door A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell, #3) Daughters of Rome (The Empress of Rome, #2)
Next Year in Havana The Belles (The Belles #1) The French Girl


Lost Crow Conspiracy (Blood Rose Rebellion #2) This Is Not A Love Letter
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