Review: Pigeon-Blood Red- Ed Duncan

Title: Pigeon-Blood Red

Author: Ed Duncan

Publisher: Book Publicity Services

Pages: 204

Rating: 5/5

Pigeon-Blood Red was an emotionally and heart racing crime novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is my first Ed Duncan novel and I will say, I love his style of writing and I will definitely be reading more of his work. 

The story focuses on Rico, Rico is a hitman (the way I see it)for a Chicago gangster named Litvack. Litvack has asked Rico to hold a beautiful Pigeon-Blood Red necklace; worth a lot of money. After the necklace lands in the hands of someone who it doesn’t belong to, Rico has to figure out a way to get it back from the thief. Not only that, but he’s also dealing with another score he has to handle. Confused by everything and also dealing with his own personal issues, Rico soon realizes how things take a turn for the worse. 

It so happens more people get involved into Rico’s mess, and he’s given orders to take them out as well. Rico’s conscience gets the best of him and he starts questioning if this is all a big coincidence or is there something else going on? I do have to say that I was really invested in Rico. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in another book…who knows…we might get it. Huge thanks to Book Publicity Services and Ed Duncan for reaching out to gift me a copy of the 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

ARC Review: Everywhere You Don’t Belong- Gabriel Bump

Title: Everywhere You Don’t Belong

Author: Gabriel Bump

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Pages: 264

Rating: 5/5

TW/CW: Parent abandonment, Police brutality, Murder, Gang Violence

This is one of the books that you MUST read. Claude grew up on the Southside of Chicago. He was abandoned as a young child by his parents (I resonated with this). and moved in with his grandmother whose was a activist and loved Claude with all her might, but despite that, Claude was sad and hurt that his parents gave up on him. He often cried about it and who could blame him. 

Many other events triggered him as well growing up in Chicago. Events such as a young man getting shot by a cop for simply helping out a neighbor and feeding their cat. Of course, the cops thought negatively of this young man without knowing who he was. They assumed he just wanted to rob someone. As you can imagine riots did ensue. Gangs were terrorizing Chicago, and more and more people were getting killed. Fed up with all the injustices and the constant toxic environment he was around, Claude decides to move to Missouri and attend College there as well. When he gets there he assumes that he was going to get away from things; start a new beginning. He quickly finds out that running to another state wasn’t going to stop the same injustices he was trying to get away from.

I absolutely loved this book. What an amazing story. A story that unfortunately is still relevant in today’s society. This story made you mad, made you want to cry, and made you want to laugh. I loved it, and I think you will too. Special thanks to Algonquin Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review: I Stop Somewhere- T.E. Carter

Title: I Stop Somewhere

Author: T.E. Carter

Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan

Pages: 320

Rating: 5/5

“Nobody ever wants to be inconvenienced by all the things that happen to girls.” 
― T.E. Carter, I Stop Somewhere

TW/CW: Name calling, slut shaming, body shaming, bullying, sexual assault, physical assault, victim blaming 

“I Stop Somewhere has left me speechless. The writing was absolutely flawless and brilliant, not to mention strong and impactful. This book has has definitely left a lasting impression on my mind. I will warn you that the subject matter in this book is strong and there’s a lot of graphic sexual abuse.

Ellie is in High School and it’s been hell for her. She feels like an outcast, she’s constantly getting teased and bullied, and her self-esteem is non-existent; to everyone around her she’s non-existent. She’s constantly thinking that she’s not good enough for anyone or pretty enough. Maybe those problems and insecurities stem from her non-existent relationship with her mother. Ellie’s mother ran out on her and her father. Things since then have been pretty rocky in her life. She’s making decisions that can possibly make things worse for her, but she just wants people to know who she is’ she wants to feel loved. That’s where Caleb Breward comes in. If you think he’s this dreamy guy that falls helplessly in love with Ellie…well you aren’t going to find that here. I’d rather prepare you for the eye opening events that you’re about to experience. Hollow Oaks is a broken town. Most of the residents being forced out and having to leave their personal belongings in homes. That’s where Wayne Breward comes in and buys them. His sons and him have absolute access to these houses to do whatever their little evil hearts desire. 

The story alternates from present day to the past where Ellie finds herself in a terrible crime that has her feeling trapped. As a person whom was never noticed, no-one even bothers to look for her. She has to continuously see more girls getting assaulted, and hoping they will come forward so someone can care….so someone can care enough to look for her and bring justice to all the victims. If you have read reviews about this book that says this book is about rape culture, misogyny, privilege, being wealthy, and the legal system being rigged…then yes, this book is exactly that. Carter does an amazing job telling the stories of those who are voiceless, those who blame the victims, blame their clothes, their personalities, and lifestyles. She does this all through Ellie’s eyes. 

I don’t think I need to say enough. Reading this book is necessary. Especially the author’s note. She explains what prompted her to write this book. This book is easily one of my favorites of this year.

Review: Felix Ever After- Kacen Callender

Title: Felix Ever After

Author: Kacen Callender

Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Pages: 354

Rating: 5/5

I’m trying to convey into words the emotions that I felt after reading ‘Felix Ever After’. Often times I found myself overwhelmed with emotion and thinking about this book at all hours of the day (I’m not even exaggerating). There a comes a time when a book will find you and capture your heart….and this book is no exception.
Felix Love is a transgendered teenager who just wants to find someone to love him the way he deserves to be loved and find out who he truly is. He’s had it pretty rough and I just wanted to be his best friend and tell him everything was going to be okay. Felix is in a summer program along with his best friend Ezrah and his nemesis and ex-friend, Declan; The program is art based. Felix is dreaming about going to Brown University, but of course there’s the slime that is Declan, whose making Felix’s life a living nightmare. After someone makes a gallery of Felix’s pre-transition days, he’s on the hunt for the person who did it, but while he’s scheming his plan for revenge, Felix ended up getting into a huge pickle and love triangle in the process.

Felix has so much to deal with including not having is mother in his life, because she chose a new family over him and his dad. I can truly relate with Felix’s pain here, and I believe that’s why this book made me so emotional. Felix has 477 undrafted e-mails that are for his mother. Every time he decided he wants to send one, he ends up changing his mind….because let’s face it she won’t read them anyway right? There’s no greater pain than having your mother not love you, and I hated seeing Felix in pain over this. He had to deal with that and the imbecile people he went to school with on a daily basis like Marisol and Declan….(man don’t even get me started on Marisol, Austin, and Declan).

I’m just at loss for words for this book, all I can say is GO GET THIS BOOK!! It has so much LGBTQ representation, it has gender identity talk, and many important subjects and topics you should educate yourself on.

Reindeer Readathon 2020-TBR

Hey all! I’m a bit late with this blog post, but I’m happy to announce that I’m taking part in the ‘Reindeer Readathon hosted by Breakeven Books. This is how it works. There’s 9 Team Prompts all based on Santa’s Reindeer and are worth different points. The 9 prompts are below:

  1. Dasher- 15pts: A book with a one word title
  2. Dancer- 10pts: A companion or a sequel
  3. Prancer- 15pts: A book with a map in it
  4. Vixen- 25pts or 20pts: A book with a fox on the cover (strong female lead)
  5. Comet- 30pts: A book you find intimidating
  6. Cupid- 10pts: Read a genre you love
  7. Donner- 15pts: A book with something hidden inside (under dust jacket, chapter heads, art etc.)
  8. Blitzen- 20pts: A book with some sort of struggle (internal, war, battle etc.)
  9. Rudolph- 20pts: A book where the main character doesn’t seem to fit in (outsider/misfit)

People will be given a team (I am part of team Misletoe) and you do as many prompts as you can. Everytime you finished a prompt, you fill out the point sheet. There’s also 2 extra prompts for points. They are

  1. Christmas Star- 15pts: A book over 500 pages (this has to be in conjunction with another prompt and doesn’t count as it’s own prompt)
  2. Sleighing It- 50pts: If you complete all your prompts including christmas star, you can redo another prompt of your choice.

So, yeah, that’s the readathon. Unfortunately, signups are over, but I thought I’d share what it was. Below is my TBR for this readathon. The crossed out prompts are the completed ones. I will update this post as I complete each prompt.

  1. Dasher- Che: A Revolutionary Life- Jon Lee Anderson and Jose Hernandez
  2. Dancer- Rich People Problems- Kevin Kwan
  3. Prancer- The Lady Rogue- Jenn Bennett
  4. Vixen- Anna K.- Jenny Lee
  5. Comet- The Priory of the Orange- Samantha Shannon
  6. Cupid- Felix Ever After- Kacen Callender
  7. Donner- Carols and Chaos- Cindy Ansley
  8. Blitzen- Black Girl, Call Home- Jasmine Mans
  9. Rudolph- I Stop Somewhere- Te Carter

Thanks so much for reading peeps!

Happy Reading and Writing!

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.

ARC Review: Lyrics & Curses- Candace Robinson

Title: Lyrics & Curses

Author: Candace Robinson

Publisher: Midnight Tide Publishing

Pages: N/A

Rating: 5/5

“Lyrics and Curses” is a amazing 80’s inspired novel. There’s awesome music, there’s paranormal elements, romance, and lots of adult and teenager drama. When I saw the beautiful cover, I just knew I had to get my hands on it. I loved the art in the beginning of the chapters and the 80’s songs the author chose for the beginning of the chapters as well. It’s definitely refreshing to see. 

Lark and Auden are high schoolers who have been around each other before, but don’t really hang out as much. The cool thing is when they’re able to do so, all they have to do is go right into each others jobs; they work right next to each other. When they are together they share 80’s lyrics with each other. They also notice something peculiar when they hang out. They see and hear things, but what can it be? Is it just their imagination? or has their town gone under some kind of spell?

Candace Robinson does an amazing job letting us into Lark and Audens’s lives. Lark has two sisters and a shaky relationship with her mother. Auden has had a pretty bad life too. He lost his mother and father, both in different ways, but devastating either way. Auden however, has what I call, backup parents. Lark and Auden definitely have had some pretty rough lives, but their perseverance and determination was admirable. I’m really looking forward to book #2, because that cliffhanger though. ‘Lyrics and Curses’ is available for purchase. Thanks to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Tour ARC Review: Foreshadow- Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma

Title: Foreshadow

Author: Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 352

Rating: 4/5

I went into this book a little nervous because I don’t really read short stories a lot, and I really never heard of any of these authors….buttttt…that’s the point. To bring more attention to diverse authors in a very popular genre like YA is today. Personally I loved the diversity in these short stories, but I will also say that a lot of them aren’t for me. However, they were very well written, and I loved how after every story, Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Red Suma sort of talked more in depth about the stories. This included a authors note, discussing the writing style and a few prompts to get the readers thinking and perhaps starting a discussion in their head about the story.

As a person who would love to write one day, I found these discussions and little authors notes fulfilling because it makes you see what works as a writer. Each story is amazing in its own way and they have a strong voice to them. There are many genres to choose to your liking. There’s science fiction, romance, there’s some dark and scary ones, even ones with a lot of fantasy elements to them. There’s a lot of other controversial topics
(i.e stories about the Venezuelan Government) that will definitely have you thinking and want to discuss with a fellow reader. It’s really refreshing to hear 13 author’s voices through their writing that shows the appeal towards YA. Hopefully by reading this book it will inspire you to find yourself and the strengths you didn’t know you had. Thanks to Algonquin Young Reader, Algonquin, and NetGalley for copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Also helps that I have a physical copy to show off on my shelf. 

You can purchase ‘Foreshadow’ at the following links:

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Books-a-Million