Faith and Diego are from completely different worlds. Faith is the all-American princess; dance captain; student helper and daughter of the local pastor. She is considered to be one of the good girls; the girl who won’t let you down. However, this hasn’t always been the case. Underneath the long skirts and good deeds lies Faith’s deepest darkest secret; a secret she cannot let anyone know otherwise her world will come crumbling down around her.
Tattooed and buff, Diego is the living perception of a gang member. He has, however, left his gang lifestyle both in Cuba (where he is originally from) and in his past. The past has a funny way of creeping up on you though and whilst he battles everyday with trying to make a life for himself in America he is also battling with a local gang who are trying to recruit him as a member. Throughout all of this he is haunted by the memory of what happened to him and his family in Cuba and what made him and his father run away to America to begin with.
Beside their social differences both Diego and Faith have more in common than they originally thought and it is no surprise that they are attracted to each other. Can they be together or will their differences drive them apart?
Before You is a classic Romeo and Juliet-esque romance; the two young lovers torn apart by outside influences. You could dismiss this book and say that you have read it all before but you would be foolish to do so.
The reason that Before You is so different from all the rest is due to the verisimilitude of the storyline. Gang culture is a fervent issue in America – especially among American youths – so the setting instantly draws you in. The storyline being set among high school students reminds you how difficult being young and in love can be, the pressures that you face – from your peers, teachers and parents – add on to that the instability of knowing who you are or who you are meant to be just adds another layer of intrigue to this story.
Besides all that, you really root for these characters to make it. There are some truly heart-stopping moments in this novel and Hart really manages to toy with your emotions but that is what makes it great.
I loved Before You. It is a good (an at times heartbreaking) novel of the power of love. You should read it and if you don’t…well more fool you.
Before You by Amber Hart is available from July 29th 2014
Amalia is living the dream; renting an apartment in New York (albeit a flat share), working towards her degree; she has great friends and a gorgeous boyfriend and plans to spend the summer in Brazil. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, falling for her friend Michael probably wasn’t the best idea. However, as she pushes her feelings for Michael aside the rest of her world crumbles around her. Her boyfriend Nick dumps her, she systematically argues with her friends and she starts neglecting her college work.
On the plus side, Michael starts showing her some attention…even though he has a girlfriend.
Will Amalia be able sort her life out?
Firstly, let me say this book had a lot of potential. It has a classic storyline of girl-has-boy, girl-loses-boy, girl-finds-new-boy as she discovers something about herself. The problem is that I failed to care about the characters because the plot was undeveloped. Everything happened at warp speed and there was not enough processing time given.
For example, Amalia was completely in love with her boyfriend but then by the end of chapter one she was in love – not just was attracted to – another character. So whilst we are meant to believe that Amalia was in love with Michael she seems overly devastated when Nick breaks up with her. It was inconsistencies like this (and plenty of others) that made the book uncomfortable to read.
Besides this, the text was littered with silly spelling mistakes that broke my concentration. A reader should not spend time correcting the grammar of the writer.
Overall, the book had potential to be something light hearted and enjoyable, however, due to inconsistencies in the text I found it to be an underdeveloped story that needed much more work before publication.
What Happens to Men when they Move to Manhattan? by Jill Knapp is available July 24th 2014
Hudson has it all figured out. He is going to be a doctor; he already has his admissions interview with the Dean of the University of Mississippi. Everything is going according to plan However, when Leila pulls into Hudson’s fathers mechanic shop, he knew his life was changed forever. He couldn’t say how or why but he knew she was special.
Bree is a drifter. She wanders up and down lonely highways night after night thumbing for a lift. She keeps herself to herself, distancing herself from her past. She is a tough kid with protective emotional barriers surrounding her. That is until she meets Leila. Leila somehow brings out the truth in Bree. Bree swiftly learns that no matter where you run to your past will always be one step behind you.
On Elliot’s prom night he is nearly run over by Leila. He is already having a pretty crappy night but being run over takes the biscuit. Leila is the driver that nearly mowed him down. That night she becomes his saviour convincing him not to give up on love. She pushes him into a series of wacky adventures (much like the ones that happen in the 80s movies that he keeps referencing) to try and win the heart of the girl he loves.
Sonia feels likes she is betraying the memory of her boyfriend. Sam died of a brain haemorrhage but his family have kept Sonia at the heart of it. However, Sonia feels guilty because she has fallen for another man. So now she is torn between her new boyfriend and her ex’s family. It all comes to a head when they are both taking part in the wedding of Sam’s sister; it is too much for her to take so Sonia runs away. During her turmoil she bumps into Leila who becomes a confident and a superhero trying to get Sonia back to the wedding.
Firstly, let me say I loved this book, not only the unique and quirky stories that were in it but also the clever style in which it was written. I loved that Leila, who was clearly the protagonist, was presented as a secondary character in the lives of the people she met.
What I also loved was that all the characters all had something missing. Something that they were searching for and that it took Leila, who was arguably missing for the largest thing, to help the other characters to find/realise it. The stories had a clever fluidity about them. It is almost a book about the kindness and good nature of strangers along with the surprises that the people that you love can give you.
What can definitely be said is that YA is currently kicking ass in the fiction world.
Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid is available from August 1st 2014
Due to my excessive gluttonous nature when it comes to all things book like I excessively clicked the request button on NetGalley and ended up with a butt load of books to read. Yes, I know that I have an over flowing kindle and no less than four book shelves but hey I have learned my lesson the hard way…kind of. Ok, so yes I keep checking NetGalley for the latest offering but really I think we can all agree that this isn’t my fault. It is in fact the fault of the publishing groups that keep on saying yes to me (if any of you are reading this please don’t stop…I love you).
That being said I have decided to take control. I have seven books that I am going to try and read over the next week that are due for release and hopefully if I get those read I will be able to go back to the list of books that have already been published but I have yet to review them.
The books on this week’s list are:
What Happens to Men when they Move to Manhattan? by Jill Knapp
Published: 24th July 2014
Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
Published: 29th July 2014
Before You by Amber Hart
Published: 29th July 2014
Since You’ve Been Gone by Anouska Knight
Published: 29th July 2014
The Atlas of Us by Tracy Buchanan
Published: 31st July 2014
Where Love Lies by Julie Cohen
Published: 31st July 2014
What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy
Published: 31st July 2014
Wish me luck J
Russian born Alena has decided to leave her country to come to the UK to find work. Like many migrants, Alena believes that the answer to hers and her family’s financial woes lies in the opportunity laden London. Having had her work placement set up by a family friend Alena travels to the UK full of optimism and dreams of a better life that includes financial stability, opportunity and designer clothes. What Alena isn’t prepared for is that her dream is a fallacy. Nor is she prepared for her dream to become a nightmare.
Someone well versed in the woes of everyday life in the UK is Dave. Dave is trying to get through each day under the radar; just do his job, get paid and go home. This is a rigmarole that suits the quiet life that he craves. He once had dreams of travel but all that has passed now. However, a chance encounter with Alena throws his world completely off kilter.
Can Dave’s peaceful nature quiet and calm the storm that is Alena’s life?
I won’t lie to you Thirst is a hard novel to read. Not because it is composed of difficult vernacular or in a different language but purely because Kerry Hudson gives the full nitty gritty on a dark and sinister topic; that topic being human trafficking and having immigrants being sold into the sex trade. At times I felt as if my heart was literally breaking for Alena. What made it worse is that she seemed to be unable to forgive herself for her situation; almost like she believed she deserved to be treated like a piece of meat on a market stall. It was truly harrowing.
But this is what makes Hudson such a good writer. She had my heart in my mouth with the desperation of Alena’s situation.
Dave’s story somewhat parallel’s Alena’s in the fact that they both get themselves into situations that they feel that they have no control over. Dave is trying to fulfil the wishes of his dying mother and gets himself trapped by a set of circumstances that were never part of his life plan. Both of the characters are trapped. Not only by what life puts in their way but how they both feel responsible for the way things are.
Their love story is lovely to follow. I think what makes it so enjoyable is the coy innocence of it all. You see them both giving the bare minimum of themselves away, slowly peeling away layers as their relationship grows. It was rather lovely to read.
Thirst is a quirky love story but be warned, if you read books for pure escapism then this book isn’t for you as it does deal with difficult subjects and has a very real insight into the sinister underbelly of the life that some immigrants face.
Thirst by Kerry Hudson is available now.