Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

23rd Sep 2015 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha SaeedWritten in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books
Pub Date: March 24th 2015
Pages: 277
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?
 
Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

I could not have chosen a better book to complete my Goodreads 2015 reading challenge of 100 books!!

Written in the Stars is a beautiful eye opening novel for anyone who is ignorant in the subject of arranged marriages. I had heard of them before and knew the basics of what it was, but as a Hispanic it is not something I ever felt the need to really learn about. My favorite thing about reading has always been that it gives you the ability to see life through the eyes of someone who isn’t you. Through this story, I was able to see life through the eyes of a scared 17 year old Pakistani-American girl facing a forced marriage.

“My mother always says when you fight destiny, destiny fights back. Some things, they’re just written in the stars. You can try, but you can never escape what’s meant to be.” -Naila

Although Naila’s parents are immigrants from Pakistan, she has only ever known life in Florida, USA. Living far away from their birth country has never stopped them from continuing to practice the same beliefs, religion, and culture. From the age of ten, Naila has been told that she can choose her career, her clothing, and the length of her hair, but who she will marry is not her decision to make. Her future husband will be chosen by her parents.

For a year now, Naila has been hiding her relationship with Saif who’s family is also Pakistani. In this culture, one of the most important things is not doing anything to bring shame to your family’s reputation. Unfortunately, Saif’s family is looked down upon by the rest of the community and is therefor not someone her family would even consider. When Naila’s parents find out of their relationship, they are determined that visiting their roots will change the way she feels.

Naila agrees to make the trip to Pakistan under the impression that they are there to visit family for the summer. What Naila doesn’t know is that her parents are really trying to set up her arranged marriage! Now, she is in a completely different country that is run by a different set of rules. She knows what she wants is back in America, but leaving Pakistan seems impossible when her own family has turned on her.

“I know I will forget many details of this moment, but I will never forget the slap across my face. Or my chacha storming inside, my hands upon the cold concrete floor, the metallic taste of blood in my mouth…” -Naila

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made me feel so helpless and angry! What upsets me the most is that Naila is such a good daughter. She is graduating salutatorian and has earned a scholarship into med school. Even with everything that is thrown at her, she doesn’t want to bring dishonor and shame to her parents. I was obviously not raised in her culture, but a hard working and respectful 17 year old is just a rare gem these days and it made me angry that it wasn’t enough for her parents. They cause her so much heartache and scars that will run deep psychologically.

“Maybe, I think, if I don’t look up, if I simply look down and never look up again for the rest of my life, the feelings buried within will never rise to the surface.” -Naila

Aisha Saeed, the author, made the chapters very short and it allowed the novel to feel fast paced without being rushed or important details being overlooked. I quickly fell in love with her writing style and ability to make a story flow. She leaves an author’s note explaining how although Naila’s story is fictional, arranged marriages are very real. Pakistan is only one country out of the many, including the United States, where forced marriages happen.

“It is my hope that this novel will provide a voice for so many girls who see themselves in Naila and who shouldn’t have to suffer in silence.” -Aisha Saeed

I really enjoyed getting to see the world through the eyes of a different culture! There were words used that I was not familiar with, such as kamiz and salwar, but I never felt lost. Using context clues made it easy to put things together. However, the author includes a glossary in case you need any help!

If you’ve read this story let me know what you thought of it down below. If you haven’t, but have read something similar also let me know. I fell in love with this this story and I’m intrigued to read others like it!

 

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: 13 Stolen Girls by Gil Reavill

7th Sep 2015 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Review: 13 Stolen Girls by Gil Reavill13 Stolen Girls by Gil Reavill
Series: Layla Remington #2
Published by Alibi
Pub Date: August 18th 2015
Pages: 274
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult Fiction, Erotica, Mystery, Suspense
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Perfect for fans of Michael Connelly or Nevada Barr, this gripping Layla Remington thriller from International Thriller Writers Award finalist Gil Reavill plunges readers beneath the glittering façade of Hollywood and into a terrifying underworld where beautiful women can just . . . disappear.
 
Malibu is crumbling. A monster earthquake has just ripped apart some of the priciest real estate on the planet. In a bizarre twist, it has also unearthed a grim secret buried for years beneath one particularly unstable hilltop: a steel barrel containing the mummified remains of Tarin Mistry, the beautiful starlet who went missing more than a decade ago. When Detective Investigator Layla Remington looks into that wretched metal coffin, she realizes she’s just landed the case of a lifetime. 
 
But before Layla even strips off her latex gloves, a pair of hotshot LAPD detectives arrive on the scene and remove her from the investigation. Undeterred, she pursues her own line of inquiry. Risking her badge and her life, Layla’s determination to track down Tarin’s murderer takes her from the rarified air of exclusive canyon communities to seedy downtown sex clubs and the secluded lair of one of Hollywood’s most powerful men. But while Tarin’s case may be cold, her killer is poised to strike again—and in Layla, this depraved sociopath may have just found fresh prey.

13 Stolen Girls is a thriller that follows detective Layla Remington as she tries to solve the case of a murdered young Hollywood starlet. She went missing over a decade ago, but has never been fully forgotten. Between the original detectives wanting their case back and a Hollywood hot shot derailing her investigation, Layla really has her work cut out for her. Now there is a new victim and Layla thinks the two murders may have a connection: a series of BDSM books with a fan base that might not know the difference between reality and fiction.

The only thing that made this story a bit difficult to follow were the multiple names. Every character seemed to have two names and at one point or another the different names would be used. For example, detective Layla Remington sometimes went my Layla and others by Remington. That doesn’t seem confusing at all when it’s only one character, but in a mystery novel with 10+ characters where you are trying to remember as many details as possible, it became a little much at times.

This book mostly follows Remington, but it is told in third person narrative and with this, the author allows the reader to see other angles of the story. This also allowed me to figure out some of the mystery before Remington herself! Gil Reavill did an amazing job at setting up the reader to feel like they were one step ahead of the main character in cracking the case, but then he surprised us all! 13 Stolen Girls is by no means a predictable book and I found myself saying “OMG” out loud more than once! If you like a good mystery, then you’ll really enjoy the thrill this book brings!

Disclosure: Although this is the second book in the series, it is not necessary to read book 1 beforehand.

 

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: Changing Forever by Lisa De Jong

24th Aug 2015 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Review: Changing Forever by Lisa De JongChanging Forever by Lisa De Jong
Series: Rains #2
Published by Author
Pub Date: June 24th 2014
Pages: 286
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
2 Stars

I’ve always let my past dictate my future, letting it paint a picture of exactly what I don’t want to be. Where I don’t want to end up.

Drake Chambers is as arrogant as I am stubborn. A college quarterback, a national star. I thought he was just another one of those guys … the type every girl should stay away from, but he’s carrying more than the weight of the football team on his shoulders.

He unravels the feelings and beliefs I’ve held onto for so long. 

I thought we had it all figured out. Two people who’d finally found their happily ever after, but the past always has a way of sneaking into the present.

With one decision, everything changes … forever.

This Rains series is made up of three companion novels & one novella; each book follows one of three friends. This second book gives us the story of Emery (Kate’s roommate from book 1) & Drake and is told in alternating POVs between these two main characters as they cross that familiar line from hate to love.

Emery is meant to portray a strong female protagonist who is determined to have a bright future no matter how much work it takes. She’s never been the party girl, so skipping college parties in order to study is no big deal.

Drake  is the star quarterback who is counting on going pro to set himself up for a prosperous future. He’s not a fan of the distractions (girls and the parties), but he’d rather do that then be caught in a library.

They both come from a less than ideal family situation, but the main thing these two have in common is how stubborn they are and this caused major frustration for me as the reader! Usually, when crossing the line between hate/love, the characters waver a bit which causes an interesting plot. These two, on the other hand, grabbed that “line” and decided to play jump rope with it! I mean, seriously! There was so much back and forth that it just felt completely unhealthy. As a reader, you want to root for a happy ending, but if this was a real life situation I would’ve told both parties it was best to call it quits. These two had such great banter the first third of the book so the foundation of their relationship was really set nicely, but the constant fighting drained their story. The “twist” in the final chapters also caused for a rushed ending.

Another thing I had a problem with were the inconsistencies. There were quite a few scenes in this second book that were changed from the novella, After the Rain, which was book 1.5 in the series. Ex: In After the Rain, Cory is the person who invites Drake to the party and Beau isn’t too happy about it. That same scene in Changing Forever, Beau is the one who invites Drake and they actually seem like pretty close friends.

The one part of the story I did enjoy was the friendship between Emery and Kate! I’ve always loved a good friendship where there is no drama. The two are genuinely there for each other and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! It also felt really good to see Kate getting along so well after everything she went through in When it Rains.

After having enjoyed book 1, When it Rains, so much, this was really a let down. Luckily, these are companion novels so they can also be read as standalone. I still really recommend reading book 1!

 

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: When It Rains by Lisa De Jong

17th Aug 2015 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Review: When It Rains by Lisa De JongWhen It Rains by Lisa De Jong
Series: Rains #1
Published by Author
Pub Date: September 25th 2013
Pages: 337
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

One night changed my life forever.

Beau Bennett has been my best friend since I can remember. He was my first crush before everything came crashing down, and now he wants more, but it's more than I can give him. Things are different now. I wish I could tell him why, but I can't.

I haven’t told anyone.

I never knew how much I really needed him until the day he left for college, and I was completely alone.

Then one day, Asher Hunt rides into town with his dark, captivating eyes and cocky grin. He doesn't care who I used to be, he's simply breathing life into what’s left. People warn me to stay away from him, but he helps me forget the pain that has held me hostage for so long; something I thought was impossible before he walked into my life.

I’ve been hurt.

I’ve been saved.

And I’ve found hope.

I thought my story was written that night, but now I know it was only a new beginning. Until one secret turns my world upside down…

Again.

I randomly ran across When It Rains by scrolling on Goodreads and there was just something about the cover that caught my eye! After reading the book description I just knew I had to read it asap! My tbr is pretty long but I moved it to the top of my list and I’m very glad to have done so. This is a story that I needed to read. Every now and then it’s good to read a book that completely grabs you by the heart & makes you feel & When It Rains did just that.

This is a story about a 19 year old girl, Kate, who has graduated high school but has decided to stay home and work in the town’s diner instead of going off to college like everyone else. Something horrible has happened to Kate & she has spent the last two years keeping it a secret. In doing so, she has pushed away everyone except for her mom & her bestfriend & first crush, Beau.

Timing has never been right for Beau & Kate; he’s now confessed his love for her, but Kate isn’t whole enough to handle a relationship with him or anyone.. or so she thinks. Beau is willing to give her space while he’s away in college & wait for Kate to be ready, but neither of them were counting on a new guy entering the picture! Asher Hunt wasn’t expecting anything more than fries & a shake when he walked into the diner, but there’s just something about the waitress with the green eyes & now, Kate isn’t the only one with a secret.

It wouldn’t be fair of me to not warn you so here goes nothing: When It Rains isn’t the kind of book that eases you into a plot. You are thrown into it as soon as you open the cover! I had to take a minute to gather my thoughts after having just read the prologue. The writing style is fantastic! We get the deep stuff thrown at us from page 1 and then, as the story develops, we are taken back in time and slowly given more details. Lisa De Jong also did an amazing job at character development and at some point I just decided I was gonna root for both Beau AND Asher! Lol crazy, but true! In the end, I think it was a perfect ending and I felt proud of Kate for how far she had come.

My reasons for this book not having been a full 5 stars will be part of this spoiler section, but I only recommend reading them after having read the book.  I really enjoyed Kate & Beau’s friendship from the beginning! I’m a total sucker for best friends that cross over to a relationship, so I was really rooting for them. Having said that, Asher made it really hard not to root for him as well! I appreciated the way he didn’t care to push for answers but instead just wanted to get close to Kate. View Spoiler » I think the author did a great job at breaking our hearts just enough to keep us reading.  A box of tissues later, I am happy with the ending & am more emotionally prepared for the next book in the series!

I hadn’t heard any buzz for this book, but have any of you read it before? If so, what were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

View Post