Friday, September 23, 2016

New Books Coming Your Way, September 27, 2016

A Change of Heart by Sonali Dev
352 p. (Fiction; India)

Dr. Nikhil ’Nic’ Joshi had it all—marriage, career, purpose. Until, while working for Doctors Without Borders in a Mumbai slum, his wife, Jen, discovered a black market organ transplant ring. Before she could expose the truth, Jen was killed.

Two years after the tragedy, Nic is a cruise ship doctor who spends his days treating seasickness and sunburn and his nights in a boozy haze. On one of those blurry evenings on deck, Nic meets a woman who makes a startling claim: she received Jen’s heart in a transplant and has a message for him. Nic wants to discount Jess Koirala’s story as absurd, but there’s something about her reckless desperation that resonates despite his doubts.

Jess has spent years working her way out of a nightmarish life in Calcutta and into a respectable Bollywood dance troupe. Now she faces losing the one thing that matters—her young son, Joy. She needs to uncover the secrets Jen risked everything for; but the unforeseen bond that results between her and Nic is both a lifeline and a perilous complication.

Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository | IndieBound

Holiday Temptation by Donna Hill, Farrah Rochon & K.M. Jackson
384 p. (Fiction; romance)

’Tis the season to satisfy your holiday desires with this festive trio of sexy stories…

Drama professor Traci Long spends her free time at the CoffeeMate cafĂ©, pursuing her true passion—writing her own plays. Meanwhile, sexy barista Noah Jefferson is doing his best to distract her. But once they get involved, past betrayals make Traci wary. She’s right that Noah is keeping something from her—but it might be something that will make this Christmas as sweet as a rave review—and steamier than her favorite chai lattĂ©…

A Christmas-time tragedy took photographer Miranda Lawson’s holiday spirit with it. Since then, she’s traveled the world, determined to outrun her demons. This year she’s off to Istanbul. But the scenery isn’t the only gorgeous site she spots through her camera lens….Kyle Daniels loves Christmas, but he’s looking for escape too—and soon he and Miranda find it in each other’s arms. Yet their connection doesn’t end there. Maybe staying put isn’t such a bad idea after all—especially when there’s someone to celebrate with…

Unstoppable real-estate developer Ross Montgomery is under orders to get some holiday R&R. A cruise to Miami on his yacht, “The Serenity,” is the perfect place to start—especially when he meets his new personal chef, Essie Bradford. Between her calming presence, her amazing food, and her delectable beauty, Ross just might develop a taste for the good life. And when the two discover they have a lot in common—including an irresistible attraction—the next course may be a spicy New Year…

Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository | IndieBound

Tanya Tania by Antara Ganguli
224 p. (Fiction; India/Pakistan)

The first letter in Tanya Tania a novel in letters, is from Tanya Tilati, a Pakistani student at an American university, in the winter of 1996. The letter is to Tania Ghosh, her mother’s best friend’s daughter in Bombay, India. Except this is not her first letter. Tanya and Tania wrote thirty-eight letters to each other between the summer of 1991 and January 8, 1992 when they abruptly stopped. Until now.

It is 1991. Mangoes, biker shorts, and liberalization are in. Hips, boom boxes, and Whitney Houston are out. The letters reveal mysteries at home and hazards at school. They introduce two young women who work at the homes of the two girls. Chhoti Bibi has been sent to Tanya’s house because she bit her husband on her wedding night. Nusrat, a mute girl who washes dishes at Tania’s house, listens intently to her diatribes, makes funny faces in the mirror and looks grave when Tania talks about her bad-ass boyfriend.

The letters begin to reflect growing uncertainty in India and Pakistan. In Tanya’s house, her American mother has gone from quiet to silent. Tania is terrified her father is having an affair. But then something happens that makes these heartaches pale. Nusrat disappears.

Through an unlikely friendship between two girls coming of age in two countries that are coming of age, Tanya Tania makes us question identity: Indian and Pakistani, Hindu and Muslim, rich and poor, educated and uneducated.

Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository | IndieBound

Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family
by Daniel Bergner
320 p. (Non-fiction; biography)

Ryan Speedo Green had a tough upbringing in southeastern Virginia: his family lived in a trailer park and later a bullet-riddled house across the street from drug dealers. His father was absent; his mother was volatile and abusive.

At the age of twelve, Ryan was sent to Virginia's juvenile facility of last resort. He was placed in solitary confinement. He was uncontrollable, uncontainable, with little hope for the future.

In 2011, at the age of twenty-four, Ryan won a nationwide competition hosted by New York's Metropolitan Opera, beating out 1,200 other talented singers. Today, he is a rising star performing major roles at the Met and Europe's most prestigious opera houses.

Sing for Your Life chronicles Ryan's suspenseful, racially charged and artistically intricate journey from solitary confinement to stardom. Daniel Bergner takes readers on Ryan's path toward redemption, introducing us to a cast of memorable characters--including the two teachers from his childhood who redirect his rage into music, and his long-lost father who finally reappears to hear Ryan sing. Bergner illuminates all that it takes--technically, creatively--to find and foster the beauty of the human voice. And Sing for Your Life sheds unique light on the enduring and complex realities of race in America.

Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository | IndieBound

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

#BookReview: BEACH THING by D.L. White

Who among us hasn’t dipped our toes in a friends with benefits situation only to find ourselves falling just a little bit for the person we swore was just a temporary thing, or as my friends and I called it in college, something to do. You know how it is. The summer comes upon us, the sun is out, days are longer and you’re feeling good about life. Finding someone to do the horizontal hokey pokey with on those warm summer nights is an added bonus. (I’m talking about single people. You married people need to go get your groove on with your spouse.) Summer flings are great, right? No long-term commitment, just three short months of bliss and then you go on your merry way and I go on mine. Or do I? Author D.L. White tackles this very topic in her latest, Beach Thing.

Ameenah Porter has left the mean streets of New York behind for a simpler life on Black Diamond Isles. Actually, life in New York wasn’t that mean. The daughter of well-respected restauranteurs, Ameenah has been groomed to take over the family business. However, she’d rather move to Black Diamond into the house her grandmother left her and start her own business on the board walk.

Wade Marshall is a super producer for one of the hottest rappers in the game, hopefully not one that insists on shouting his name out in every song he produces though. (I’m looking at your Diddy, DJ Khaled, Rodney Jerkins, etc. Y’all know who you are.) He’s come to Black Diamond to work on some beats while his most important artist, and best friend, Gage Coleman takes a vacation in Jamaica with his family. Wade has never been the long-term relationship man. He can barely tolerate women spending the night and keeps an arsenal of excuses on hand. But the day he bumps into Ameenah Porter coming out of Tikis & Cream, everything changes.

I’ve told you all repeatedly that I don’t do romance. Very few authors keep my interest because their story lines are so formulaic, but D. L. White creates great characters and give them even better story lines. Her character interactions feel authentic and not forced. Beach Thing is a perfect read for the beach or otherwise and I’d love to see more from the characters. I’ve already whined to the author about the possibility of a book two or three. Much like Farrah Rochon makes me want to pick up and move to the small Louisiana towns in her Bayou Dreams series, D. L. White has me ready to pack my bags for Black Diamond Isles.

147 p.
Published: September 2016
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from author, opinions are my own.

Purchase: Amazon