For What It's Worth

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

book spotlight & review: abroad by liz jacobs

abroad spotlight

I’m happy to be joining up with the Abroad Promo Tour this week.

Quote from the author about the book:

ABROAD is a story of struggle, love, identity, fear, family, and friendship. It's about finding your people. It's a story of how our cultures can define, constrict, and, ultimately, free us. It's a story of immigration and its fallout, of confusion and clashes and how help can come from the most unexpected places. It's the story I have always wanted to tell, ever since I was a confused, frightened immigrant kid with no recourse but to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings or sink. In many ways, while fictionalized and quite altered, this is my story.


unnamedAbroad by Liz Jacobs
Brain Mill Press
Publish date: June 27, 2017
Subgenre: NA; LGBTQIA

Nick Melnikov doesn’t know where he belongs. He was just a kid when his Russian-Jewish family immigrated to Michigan. Now he’s in London for university, overwhelmed by unexpected memories. Socially anxious, intensely private, and closeted, Nick doesn’t expect to fall in so quickly with a tight-knit group of students from his college, and it’s both exhilarating and scary. Hanging out with them is a roller coaster of serious awkward and incredible longing, especially when the most intimidating of the group, Dex, looks his way.

Dex Cartwell knows exactly who he is: a black queer guy who doesn’t give a toss what anybody thinks of him. He is absolutely, one-hundred-percent, totally in control of his life. Apart, maybe, from the stress of his family’s abrupt move to an affluent, largely white town. And worrying about his younger brother feeling increasingly isolated as a result. And the persistent broken heart he’s been nursing for a while . . .

When Nick and Dex meet, both find themselves intrigued. Countless late-night conversations only sharpen their attraction. But the last thing Nick wants is to face his deepest secret, and the last thing Dex needs is another heartache. Dex has had to fight too hard for his right to be where he is. Nick isn’t even sure where he’s from. So how can either of them tell where this is going?

Goodreads | Brain Mill Press | Amazon

Source: ARC prided by A Novel Take PR in exchange for an honest review

Abroad is a fresh take on the NA genre with a slower pace that feels both realistic and allows the characters to explore identity, culture, sexuality and self discovery in a way that allows all of life’s complexities to shine through. It’s one of the few books I’ve read this that yeah – I got my steamy sex scenes quota filled lol – but I also got to walk in other people’s shoes for a bit and learn something.

At it’s core, Abroad is about the blossoming romance between Nick, a Russian-Jew who immigrated to the US, now a foreign exchange student in the UK, and Dex, a black queer man both attending university in London. It's about the (very) tentative start to their romance, but is also about the changing dynamics between their diverse group of friends and family.

Even though many of the characters have some of the same experiences – being gay or bi sexual for example – the way they deal with it (or don’t) was touched on in a way that I don’t often read. Each character brings something different to their personal experience and therefor, a different way of dealing with and reacting to things, allowing for a more nuanced and inclusive portrayal of their issues. Fear and resentments build and explode and relationships are slowly stitched back together. It was all really well done and a New Adult novel that actually deals with new adult issues.

Despite the summary only mentioning the Dex/Nick romance – there is also the third pov of Dex’s best friend, Izzy. At first I found this kind of jarring because it was so unexpected and I do think it took away from their romance but I do feel it added another layer to the story and the overarching theme of friendships and self discovery.

This is a duology, and while it ends on a HFN note, there is a lot up in the air regarding several relationships. There is no definitive date set for the sequel but I’ve heard that it might be November of this year. So not too long of a wait. I consider this the *how we met book* and the next one will probably be the *all the hard work to the eventual HEA* book. It's not a cliffhanger so don't worry about that but it's not tied in a neat little bow quite yet either.

If you are looking for a New Adult that moves at a slightly slower pace that really gets into the complicated factors of race, ethnicity, LGBQTIA issues and just the idea of feeling like an outsider and deciding what to do with the rest of your life – this is a great book to read.

Author Bio:

Liz Jacobs came over with her family from Russia at the age of 11, as a Jewish refugee.  All in all, her life has gotten steadily better since that moment. They settled in an ultra-liberal haven in the middle of New York State, which sort of helped her with the whole “grappling with her sexuality” business.

She has spent a lot of her time flitting from passion project to passion project, but writing remains her constant. She has flown planes, drawn, made jewelry, had an improbable internet encounter before it was cool, and successfully wooed the love of her life in a military-style campaign. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her essay on her family’s experience with immigration.

She currently lives with her wife in Massachusetts, splitting her time between her day job, writing, and watching a veritable boatload of British murder mysteries.

Connect with Liz: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

tell me something tuesday

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Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.


To request or not to request: how do you limit ARC requests?

I admit to accepting ALL THE BOOKS when I first started blogging. I read fast and I used to love everything so I never imagined a day that I couldn’t keep up with the commitment or that I would dislike so many books. But if you blog long enough it happens.

So I’ll break it down a bit from where the requests come from and how I deal with each one.


This is probably the easiest for me because I don’t get many requests/ARC offers or approvals from the big guys. I do get the seasonal (spring/fall) catalog from Macmillan and I pick 2-3 books.

Author/small pub requests via email

This is how I receive most of my book review requests. To be honest, I don’t accept many these days. I say right in my review policy that I only accept about 2 books per month and that is often the case. If it’s an author I’ve worked with before or an author I’ve been dying to give a try I might make an exception but I try to stick to the one to two per month.


I made a rule for myself last year and have been pretty good at sticking to it so Netgalley is no longer a problem for me.

I requests no more than two titles at a time. I have to review both those titles before I allow myself to requests any more. I’m not limited by titles per month as long as I’m able to read and review them.

I don't even look around on there until I review my two titles.

BookCons – BEA/ALA

For the past several years, this is where I got the bulk of my ARC’s and it’s the cause of most of my overwhelming TBR shelves and burnout. I got an obscene number of books my first BEA – learned my lesson and got less and less each year but it was still too much to keep up with.

I didn’t go to any cons this year so as I finally catch up with reading – it will be interesting to see if I change in regards to accepting/requesting ARC’s. I will no longer have the latest and greatest ahead of everyone else.

Right now that feels great to me TBH. I feel freeeeeeeee – no pressure to read and review on a schedule. I don’t feel envious of everyone’s book hauls. I can wait for and buy books. I’m cool with that. I enjoy ARC’s – I will still requests a few but I’m happy with my low pressure method I have right now.

How about you? Do you request ALL the books? Do you have little willpower to resist when it comes to ARC’s? Or do you like to buy your won books with zero pressure to review?

Monday, June 26, 2017

monday musings

I lost my internet all weekend GRRRR! I had planned a full day of blogging and commenting on Saturday so now I’m way behind on everything. And to make matters worse – I had NO desire to read.It was super hot – 102 degrees heat index – and I was cranky lol


We ended up watching zombie movies and to my surprise there are a couple that I highly recommend.

The first one is Train to Busan – it’s a Korean (subtitled) Zombie movie on Netflix

A workaholic, single father is bringing his young daughter to visit her mother in Busan for her birthday and a zombie apocalypse ensues.

This movie is SO, SO good! It’s got it all – awesome zombie action/gore combined with excellent acting, character development and gut wrenching emotions. I'm still thinking about it today.

The second zombie movie is The Girl with All the Gifts – free on Amazon Prime video

This a British post-apocalyptic zombie movie about a mutated fungal disease that turns people into zombies, or “hungries” as the movie calls them. A small group pf children are immune and are subjected to cruel experiments by a biologist played by glen Close. One of the students is a young girl that is smart, kind and a teacher favorite – setting up the movie to explore what it is to be human and question what race deserves to live or die.

On the book front – I’ll be reading Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally ~ Goodreads

I still need to write reviews for Abroad by Liz Jacobs – A NA, LGBQT that I’m on tour stop for Wednesday, Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and Bad Romance and catch up on 3 days of commenting!

As I'm writing this Monday morning the internet is going in and out again so maybe I won’t be doing any of that. If I disappear for the week – you know what happened. lol