ARC Review: An American Summer- Alex Kotlowitz

Title: An American Summer

Author: Alex Kotolowitz

Publisher: Nan A. Tales

Pages: 282

Rating: 5/5

An American Summer is a riveting inside look in to the lives of those living in the rough areas of Chicago. Stories of young men who grew up surrounded by the ever growing violence in chicago. Chicago is known for related violence, low income, and segregated neighborhoods. Most of the violence being tied into gang violence.
The author interviewed social workers, police officers, convicted killers, politicians etc. The young men being interviewed basically were forced to join these violent gangs to protect either themselves or their families. They believe in the “No Snitching” rule and frown upon law enforcement.

This book gives you an insightful look at how terrifying it is just to walk down the street with a fear of possibly getting shot or being a victim of some type of violent crime. One young man in particular talks about being a kid and killing a gang rival and 20 years later still thinking about it. Things like that just mess with your mental stability. It’s so heartbreaking seeing what these young men are going through. What could have been done to prevent all this? I think every school, including colleges and universities that deal with Criminal justice need to have this book in their curriculum. It’s definitely one of those eye opening books. I’m so glad I had a chance to read this. This is one of those books that sticks with you forever. Thank You to NetGalley and Nan A. Talese for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Nanaville- Anna Quindlen

Title: Nanaville

Author: Anna Quindlen

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 162

Rating: 5/5

“Where I once led, I have learn to follow”
-Anna Quindlen

I’ve always loved Anna Quindlen’s writing. Always full of spunk and quirkiness. This memoir speaks about Quindlen’s experience of being a grandma. It’s so refreshing to see her take this role and transition from mom mode. One of my favorite chapters would have to be the “No’s” chapter. I’m sure that’s one of the most hardest parts of being a grandmother. Knowing you no longer have that control, or can create the rules. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but, most have gone through it or will eventually go through it.
I picked up this book because I was raised by my grandmother, sadly she passed away in 2017 and have been pretty out without her. I wanted to read something heartfelt about the love of a grandmother. I really enjoyed it and I recommend it to anyone whose a soon to be grandmother or who already is. Thanks to NetGalley and Radon house for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine- Maika and Maritza Moulite

Title: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Author: Maika and Maritza Moulite

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: 432

Rating: 5/5

When an incident at her school gets Alaine almost suspended, she is told to go back to her country and complete a internship at her aunt’s non-profit organization. Its called PATRONAL, which is an app created to help fund children in need in Haiti. While in Haiti she’s able to learn more about her country, and of course develop a cute crush on one of the interns. The book is full of lots of Haitian history and culture(I would’ve liked if this also talked about beautiful areas in Haiti). She learned quite a bit of her family history as well….especially when there’s a curse involved.

Follow Alaine as she takes you through her island, and some rather heart wrenching moments, especially those involved with her mom. I think it’s so important to see how she dealt with her moms dementia. That was honestly one of my fave parts of the story (not in a messed up way). Another great thing about this novel is that it’s written by two sisters. Kudos to Maika and Maritza Mountie. You created a beautiful story full of representation. Thank You to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I definitely need a copy of it on my shelf.

ARC Review: Carnegie Hill- Jonathan Vatner

Title: Carnegie Hill

Author: Jonathan Vatner

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Hill Books

Pages: 352

Rating: 2/5

We meet Pepper, a 33 year old woman with no job, no life, and no ambition. She just moved out of her parent’s house and lives with her fiancee Rick. She lives in Chelmsford Arms, a NYC apartment complex for the snooty and hight and mighty.

Holy crap the amount of characters in this book and the majority that I didn’t care for. What bunch of boring and troubling people. Rick was just a hot mess and a piece of crap (you’ll see if you read the book), Birdie is trying to spice up her relationship with her husband George, but they’re both lost and confused me. Francis just complained too much like Pepper, and Caleb just had a normal life which was bland.

I don’t know, this book just did not do it for me. The writing was horrible, the characters were so flat that I couldn’t even relate to them. I’m not saying I wanted to have an exact depicted life of a fictional character, but I wanted to at least go: “Man I know how they feel”. The author could’ve done better. Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Dunne books for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Curse of the Evil Librarian- Michelle Knudsen

Title: Curse if the Evil Librarian

Author: Michelle Knudsen

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Pages: 336

Rating: 5/5

I remember taking out ‘The Evil Librarian’ a few years ago from the library. I remember devouring it within two days. I had no idea it was going to be a trilogy and I happily checked out the second book and devoured that one too. Now we’re here on the third and final installment of the series. I was very glad to see in depth analysis of the characters. I’m a sucker for knowing the backgrounds of characters.

We continue with the spunky Cynthia and accompany her on her senior year of school, where she hopes she doesn’t have to deal with anymore evil librarians. However, that’s the not the case. Mr. Gabriel is back and more evil than ever! He’s like the Michael Myers of Librarians…HE JUST WON’T DIE!..everytime Knudsen brings him back, he’s badder and better than ever. That’s what I think keeps making this series so good. We have to stan the characters for having grown up and taking matters into their own hands. DEFEAT THOSE DEMONS! And that’s what brings them closer together. I really enjoyed this book. Brought back a lot of good memories back. Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Reframing Poverty- Eric Meade

Title: Reframing Poverty

Author: Eric Meade

Publisher: Canyon House Press

Pages: 212

Rating: 3/5

This book will definitely provoke some heated discussions. Often times I caught myself wanting to hurl the book against the wall, but I remembered I it was a ebook and my phone would’ve gotten destroyed. But, seriously this book is a well researched and analyzed work on poverty. And the question is how can you put something down you’ve never experienced?

Often times Insee a lot of people putting down others who are going through poverty. They quickly presume that they’re lazy, unmotivated, on drugs, or are on Government assistance. This books touches on all the emotions linked to it and approaches the problems from different perspectives. But beware! You’ll need an open mind and lots of patience while reading this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Canyon House for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

ARC Review: Small Spaces- Katherine Arden

Title: Small Spaces

Author: Katherine Arden

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 218

Rating: 4/5

I’ve had this book for quite sometime and I don’t what took me so long to read it. ‘Small Spaces” is Katherine Arden’s debut middle grade book. I absolutely loved the spooky vibe it gave off. Arden really knows how to tell a story. 
We meet Olivia Adler who goes by the name Ollie. Ollie is a quiet girl who likes to be alone, enjoy the company of her books, and riding her bike. She lives with her dad whom is a solar panel salesman, but whose true gift is being creative….including being an amazing cook and baker. They live in their house that people call: ‘the egg house” because of the easter egg colors her dad painted it. After a situation happens at school and Ollie flees the scene, she goes to her fave river to ride her bike and relax. She then comes across a strange and distraught woman trying to throw a book in the river. Ollie being the book lover she is takes the book from her and runs off. When she gets home, she begins reading it. She falls into a trance by reading the tale. The tale is about a girl named Beth and two young men who are brothers. The brothers are fighting over the girls love, but they also make a deal with someone called: “The Smiling Man”. A highly sinister character who will grant you a great significant wish, but at a cost of course. Ollie is so engrossed in the tale until she goes on a school trip to a farm called: “Smoke Hollow”. When she gets there she learns about its haunted past and the eerily similarities to the tale she’s reading.
When it’s time for the class to go back home, their school bus breaks down and the creepy bus driver says: “Best get moving, at nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you” and with that Ollie’s wristwatch gives her a warning:”RUN”! and so she starts a chilling and scary adventure through a corn maze, the woods, and with scarecrows. While on this scary adventure we also meet Coco Zintner and Brian Battersby.

I absolutely loved this book even though it was scary and kept you on the edge of your seat, it also teaches you about friendships, standing up for what you believe in, and how to deal with grieving. Yes! grieving. Ollie losing her mom made a huge impact on her behavior overall. Huge thanks to NetGalley and G.P Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers of a copy of this book in a exchange for a honest review.