ARC Review: The Woman With The Blue Star- Pam Jenoff

Title: The Woman With The Blue Star

Author: Pam Jenoff

Publisher: Park Row

Pages: 336

Rating: 5/5

Imagine living in perpetual fear everyday because of your race. Imagine hoping that your family wasn’t next. Imagine getting the opportunity to go and try to escape those that wish you harm. Eighteen year old Sadie Gault and her family are Jewish and have lived in Krakow, Poland for most of their lives. Their lives were pretty peaceful until the Germans invaded. They were forced to move into the Krakow Ghetto. Everyday got progressively worse for all the Jewish families.

One day while the parents of the Jewish children were at work, the Germans raided the homes of the Jewish families, taking children with them. Sadie heard the approaching soldiers and decided to hide in a trunk in her mother’s room. It was only when Sadie heard her mother trying to kill herself that Sadie came out and showed her mother…she’s okay.

Sadie’s parents were afraid and tired of living like this and decided to come up with a plan to finally escape the hell they were living through. With the help of a sewer worker named Pawel, they created a hole and escaped into the sewer system under the most deplorable conditions. Unfortunately, tragedy struck and things for the family became harder for them. Until one day, Sadie decided to explore the tunnels and came face to face with another girl her age through the sewer grate. After that things take an interesting turn.

I must say this book was riveting; The writing was amazing. I will definitely be checking out more of Pam Jenoff’s writing. Wow…just, wow. Huge thanks to NetGalley and Park Row books for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Curby- Alyssa Lynn

Title: Curby

Author: Alyssa Lynn

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages: 54

Rating: 5/5

I’m going to warn you right now you’ll need some tissues for this one. I made the mistake of reading this at 9am only to end up in a mess of tears. Curby is a short story in the POV of Golden Retriever. He’s absolutely a cutie and totally in love with his mom Roxy. He cherishes her and loves being around her. He even has conversations with the other pups that Roxy’s friends have. One day Curby gets some bad news from Roxy’s friend. He didn’t know what happened exactly, but he knows his human friend wasn’t coming back. 

Curby is a must read if you’re an animal lover. It will definitely leave you in your feels. Thanks to Alyssa lyne for providing me with a copy of the book through book sprout in exchange for an honest review. Alyssa lynn always knows how to make my emotions come out. Whether it be laughing, crying, anger, or sadness. She does it all.

ARC Review: Silence is a Sense- Layla Alammar

HAPPY RELEASE DAY!

Title: Silence Is a Sense

Author: Layla Alammar

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Pages: 304

Rating: 5/5

‘Silence Is a Sense’ is a remarkable and thought provoking story of a young woman who fled her country, Syria, that is worn-torn. Currently she resides in the U.K. where she writes columns for a magazine under a false name, The Voiceless. With her writings, she shares her insights as a refugee asylum seeker. She suffers from PSTD from the violence that is shed throughout her country and in the process she has basically become mute. Her editor however, keeps probing for more material and more insight from The Voiceless. But, she’s hesitant on it.

She’s just trying to find her purpose and to try and blend in with the regular people in her neighborhood. Apart from writing for the column, she also likes to observe her neighbors, and what they’re up to everyday; harmless. When a terrible racial involved incident happens at the mosque in her neighborhood, she has to make a decision if she wants to continue being silent or if she’s going to stand up for what she believes in. 

Layla AlAmmar did such an amazing job telling this story. Her writing is pure poetry. It flows so well and she goes into a lot of detail. I will be definitely getting more of her work whenever available. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review

ARC Review: Honey Girl- Morgan Rogers

Title: Honey Girl

Author: Morgan Rogers

Publisher: Park Row Books

Pages: 352

Rating: 5/5

‘Honey Girl’ was just an amazing piece of literature. You must absolutely read it. It has definitely been moved to the pile of books I have that have left quite an impression on me. This book deals with so many issues that many of us have encountered in our 20’s. The feeling of what we’re going to do after we graduate. The constant pressure of not being good enough, especially with not so supportive parents. 

Grace Porter is 28 years old and has graduated and obtained her doctoral degree as an astronomer. Now she’s having a hard time finding a job due to the major systematic issues affecting her not only as a woman, but a black queer woman. It doesn’t help that she feels she needs to live up to her fathers expectations. Seriously, he was the most annoying person ever (I hate parents who can’t let their kids choose their own dreams). To try to get away from all the madness and her own thoughts, Grace goes on a girls trip to Vegas…and well…we all know what happens in Vegas. Grace wakes up the next day, hung over with no recollection of what happened…and…a wife! A wife she remembers as smelling like flowers and sea salt. 

Join Grace on her journey of self-discovering and lookin for the woman who stole her heart. I absolutely loved this book. It showed that it’s ok to not be perfect or have your crap together. I truly admired the tight knitted relationships shown in the book. What you’ll get from reading this book….f/f romance, black women romance, and mental health representation. Huge thanks to Harlequin, Park Row, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Black Girl, Call Home- Jasmine Mans

Title: Black Girl, Call Home

Author: Jasmine Mans

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 200

Rating: 5/5

What a beautiful collection of Poetry from Jasmine Mans. 
I’m a huge fan of poetry and lately I’ve been exposed to a lot of talented writers. 
This book is like an amazing magical elixir. 
The book touches on many subjects that are still important to this day. They included police brutality, mental health, being black in america, LGBTQ issues, rape culture, and many others. This book is one that you will definitely want to re-read over and over as each time you come back to revisit it, it will hit you differently.
Huge thanks to Netgalley for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

ARC Review: MS-13: Steven Dudley

Title: MS-13

Author: Steven Dudley

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Pages: 352

Rating: 5/5

Steven Dudley did a great job writing this book. It was very informative and statistical. It also did a great job explaining how the formation of the gang began, the expansion. Dudley goes on to explain the deportation processes including under the Trump administration. 
The MS-13 is a dangerous gang who use a variety of tactics to instill fear in those who dare to come across their paths, or if they feel in some way disrespected…even if it’s their own members. Ms-13 has expanded to many parts of the world. It’s really incredible to see the number rise year after year. The focuses on some of the lives of the gang members. How they have to live in fear everyday of possibly getting killed by their own members. A sad reality whenever you join a gang. 
El Salvador is full of corruption, racism, violence, poverty, and immigration issues. It’s no wonder many seek refuge in other countries, and turn to violence themselves. I can’t imagine the level of anxiety the country has always been in. 

I believe this book should be used in all Social Sciences classes. Especially those focused on Criminal Justice classes.
Huge thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Blog Tour ARC Review:Girlhood: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices- Masuma Ahuja

Title: Girlhood: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices

Author: Masuma Ahuja

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 256

Rating: 5/5

I absolutely loved this book. What an amazing idea to give the platform to these young girls so they can share their aspirations, dreams, and hobbies. Often times we forget that there’s young women around the world that have dreams and plans for the future, but no way to get an education they aren’t allowed to. This book did an amazing job with telling you everyone’s different stories, while at the same time giving you true facts about the countries these young women come from and a background about their lives. The Diary entries provided by these young women show their day by day routines and their aspirations. Many of the girls started in one country and ended up at another. It’s just amazing to see how young women have so much potential and so many bright dreams for the future of their countries (especially when it comes to the women living in these countries). I think it’s so important to show all girls this book. It deals with a array of issues such as: mental health, sexuality, LGBTQ issues, human rights, and environmental issues.

I had a few favorites like: Alejandra from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Anna from Australia, Chanleakna from Phnom Penh, Cambodia/Australia, Claudie from Pongo Village, Vanuatu. It was just really refreshing to see and read about other young women. I cannot wait to see the finished book with all the colorful photos. I wish nothing but the best for these girls. Huge thanks to Algonquin Young Readers, Workman Pub, and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Below you’ll see a few snippets of the book:

Girlhood comes out February 9th, 2021 and will be available for purchase at:

Amazon|B&N|Books-a-Million

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Blog Tour ARC Review: The Fortunate Ones- Ed Tarkington

Title: The Fortunate Ones

Author: Ed Tarkington

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Pages: 320

Rating: 5/5

The Fortunate Ones takes place in Nashville, Tennessee. The book does an amazing job showing you self awareness and how the white elite are in the south. 
Charlie has had a pretty rough childhood. He grew up in a poor area in Nashville with his mother. At age 15, Charlie’s mother got pregnant and was disowned by her super rich family. Charlie is none the wiser about everything going on around him. He just goes with the flow. His mom and aunt both are bar workers, and he has a black best friend named Terrence who always has Charlie’s back. 

Life for Charlie starts to hit the fish just got real button and he doesn’t know how to feel about it. He also has no idea what’s in store for him. Charlie’s mother gets him a scholarship to the prestigious school named Yeatman (which is an all boys school). This school is full of everything you think it’s full of (let’s keep it PG!). Charlie soon realizes how deep he gets sucked into the underworld of the elite. Where racism and wrong doings are well and alive. Where his “relationship” with his best friend and secret lover takes him down a dark road. 

This book is purely brilliant filled with LGBTQ representation and other issues still relevant in today’s society. Huge thanks to Algonquin, Workman Pub, and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Tour ARC Review: Big Girl, Small Town- Michelle Gallen

Title: Big Girl, Small Town

Author: Michelle Gallen

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Pages: 320

Rating: 5/5

Majella is a 20 something year old young lady who lives in a small Irish town. She lives with her alcoholic mother. Her father has been absent from the better part of her life, and unfortunately she just found out that her grandmother was murdered. You can’t help but feel bad for her right off the bat. Majella is also autistic but has no idea that she is. She is set to a routine everyday. She’s not keen on change, loud noises, bright lights and other things which she has categorized. Some of her favorite things however are: reruns of her fave show Dallas, taking pain pills, eating, and sex. Majella also works at the local fish and chips store. 

To some this story may not be one of those stories that have that “it” factor, but I promise you it’s amazing. Majella is such a unique character and I mean that in a good way. You just have to root for her because she never gives up. She learns to cope with everything around her, and tries very hard to try to communicate with people even though it’s difficult for her. Thank you to Algonquin and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 

Blog Tour ARC Review: Pretending- Holly Bourne

Title: Pretending

Author: Holly Bourne

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Pages: 438

Rating: 5/5

TW/CW: Sexual Assault/Rape

I’ve never read a Holly Bourne novel, but this book really hits you in the feels. I will warn you the subject manner is really heavy. April has gone through a lot, especially in relationships and it has made her scared to be with someone to the point that every relationship she’s tried to start hasn’t lasted more than 5 days. Her last relationship was horrible He was abusive and rapes her. It’s ironic too because she works for a sexual health charity, answering emails from mostly women, stating the situations that they’re in and if it’s considered rape. It’s just all too much for her to bear and she doesn’t know how to deal with all these feelings. April then decides to create an alter ego for herself named Gretel. An inhabited woman, your normal dream girl.

Then there’s Joshua and she starts to realize Joshua isn’t like the others. It’s past the 5 days and Joshua still wants to be with her despite her flaws and trauma. Joshua is the dreamy guy we always read about in books, but then somehow down the line he becomes a douche. Joshua wasn’t that guy. He was supportive and understanding.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the feminism portrayed here as well. After seeing other reviews for Pretending, I have come to the conclusion that I need to read more of Holly Bourne’s novels as she’s always representing feminism and discusses important topics. Pretending isn’t about sappy love stories or getting revenge. It’s about a woman rediscovering herself, about learning not to let her trauma define her. Huge thanks to Hodder & Stoughton,Netgalley, and Mira books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.