ARC Review: Color Me In- Natasha Diaz

Title: Color Me In

Author: Natasha Diaz

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 373

Rating: 5/5

Naveah Levitz is trapped in two different worlds. Her parents recently split up and she has to travel and stay in between two places. Her grandfather’s home in Harlem and her childhood home in White Plains with her dad. For a while Naveah has felt she didn’t belong anywhere. As a bi-racial kid it’s hard to feel any level of acceptance anywhere…including within her own family. Naveah has only been exposed to her white side (she’s half black and half white). Her cousins and her aunt are trying to connect her with her black heritage, while her bone head father tries to to show her her Jewish roots. Evening going as far as preparing her for Hebrew school and throw a bat Mitzvah (3 years too late). His purpose for it….so she doesn’t lose her head and act too “black”. It’s even worse because her cousin Jordan is consistently reminding her she isn’t welcomed into the black community. Especially since Naveah is too blinded about what’s going on within the black community. Things start to get even more tense between her and Jordan when Jesus, Jordan’s long time crush starts to fall for Naveah. With all this plus all the problems at her white preppy school, Naveah finds comfort in her poetry and her mother’s diary that she happens to find in her grandfather’s attic.

I want to thank the author for sharing her experiences a multi-racial individual through this book. She even explains it at the end of the book. It was really though provoking and insightful. There were numerous characters mentioned in the book. But it was easy to keep up with them and I didn’t feel feel overwhelmed by them.

*Stevie- Naveah’s best friend whose also bi-racial (White and Chinese). A talented dancer and performer. He’s an amazing friend overall.
*Abby- I hated this girl with everything in my soul. The things that she would say were disgusting and I often wanted to jump through my phone and wanting to punch her in the throat. I’ve dealt with a Abby at my previous job and let me tell you…I’m really starting to hate the name Abby.
*Jesus- Towards the beginning of the book I wasn’t really feeling Jesus. I thought he was going to be one of those guys and honestly I was anticipating him turning into a dog. I think I started to partially warm up to him towards the end of the book.
*Rabbi Sarah: At first she was annoying to me, but I warmed up to her once I saw that she was down to earth.

There were other characters in the novel. I think the two characters that I hated the most were Navaho’s dad and his new stupid girlfriend Ashleigh. Holy crap what a bunch of turds. I will warn you some of the content in the book will anger you. So be on the lookout for racism, name calling, and sexual assault. It was frustrating enough reading about, I can’t imagine someone going through it. The a book makes you feel all the feelings I did while reading it…you know you have a banger.

Overall the book was fantastic and I really enjoyed it. I devoured it in two days. A story that deals with the true meaning of friendship, love, and dealing with with a difficult family….and of course learning how to accept the true you. 5/5 for me. Thank you to NetGalley and Delacorte Press 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: Tweet Cute- Emma Lord

Title: Tweet Cute

Author: Emma Lord

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 368

Rating: 5/5

Big League Burger was a family owned restaurant that somehow blew up overnight in success. They quickly became popular and they started to open many more locations. Pepper is a normal kid. She goes to school, she’s on the swimming team, and is on social media…but not how some people make think or know about. She’s actually the mastermind behind her parents’s twitter account for their restaurant.

We meet Jack and his brother. Everyone praises Jack’s brother and Jack always seems to be in his brother’s shadow. He just wants to feel special too. He still however helps out his family in their deli. When he discovers that a family recipe for grilled cheese has been stolen by Big League Burger, he gets upset and begins a twitter war with BLB. But, what no-one knows is that Jack has invented an app where he talks to Pepper on and pretty soon….sparks start to fly between them.

It’s a cute read with lots of social media referencing and yummy treats mentioned. I am a total sucker for a good book with yummy treats. It’s pretty cool seeing a book with two restaurants going at it, when realistically you see it in today’s society as well.
Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Harlequin Blog Tour- ARC Review: Tigers, Not Daughters- Samantha Mabry

Title: Tigers, Not Daughters

Author: Samantha Mabry

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 288

Rating: 5/5

We Start off with all four Torres sisters trying to escape their hellhole home…away from their awful father. The Torres sisters consist of Anna, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa. With no direction taking them anywhere, the Torres sisters decide to escape in the middle of the night and thanks to their nosey neighbors they were caught. A couple of months later Ana falls to her death from her window.

The family falls completely apart. Everyone stricken with grief…dealing with Ana’s death in their own destructive ways. Jessica is the only one whose really providing for the family, while at the same time dealing with her own grief issues and a abusive boyfriend. Iridian loves to write and just be alone with her thoughts, and Rosa is focusing on the more spiritual side of things…including a loose Hyena in town who she thinks could be Ana reincarnated. But, there’s something no-one was counting on..strange supernatural things have been happening in the Torres home since Ana’s death. Mysterious writings on the wall, mysterious shadows, and mysterious laughter. The Torres sisters think that it’s Ana trying to communicate with them. Even possibly try to run them out of the home they’ve known so they can finally be free of their fathers tyrannical behavior. 

Tigers, not daughters was so beautifully written. Amazing prose. Mary makes you feel the words with every sentence written. The book makes you really realize how much grief changes a person. To what extents they go through to fight the demons. I’ve been seeing ‘Tigers, Not Daughters’ to ‘Little Women’. I’ve never read ‘Little Women’ but, I will definitely put it on my TBR list. Thank You to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for providing me with a physical copy of an ARC in a exchange for a honest review. 

Tigers, Not Daughters comes out March 24, 2020.

Harlequin Blog Tours-ARC Review: The Henna Artist- Alka Joshi

Title: The Henna Artist

Author: Alka Joshi

Publisher: Mira Books

Pages: 368

Rating: 5/5

I never knew a book could take on such a magical journey. Everything about this book made me enamored for it. Taken place in the 1950’s in India, Lakshmi escaped her abusive marriage when she was a teenager. She headed to the city of Jaipur where she made a huge name for herself has a Henna artist. While other henna artist used basic lines, dots, and triangles, Lakshmi’s art spoke volumes and told stories about the women. The wealthy clients believed her art could bring back straying husbands and make the women have babies.

With her newfound stable income Lakshmi was able to afford her first home. Then the unthinkable happens and her ex-husbnd pops back into her life….and with a special guest. Her 13 year old sister Radha whom she had no idea even existed. This book takes you on a incredible journey of family traditions, secrets, revenge, and forgiveness. I loved how the author used her writing to give you a glimpse into the Indian Culture. I will admit, just like everyone has said in their reviews, the character list is quite intimidating at first. But, I had no problem keeping up. Oh, the author also provided an index in the back of all the words used in the book that were italicized.

I really enjoyed it and if you’re looking for an adventure to another world and country without having to fly in a airplane…this book is for you. Huge thanks to NetGalley, Mira Books, and Alka Joshi for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Harlequin Blog Tours- ARC Review: The Sea Glass Cottage- RaeAnne Thayne

Title: The Sea Glass Cottage

Author: RaeAnne Thayne

Publisher: Mills & Boon

Pages: 384

Rating: 5/5

I’m a sucker for cozy and generational stories. Reading: The Sea Glass Cottage felt like reading one of my other fave authors. Debbie Macomb, whose stories give you all the feels The Sea Glass Cottage has.
Olivia Harper is a entrepreneur that lives and makes a living in Seattle. She’s been trying to keep it together, especially because she’s dealing with PTSD. A while ago she was in a coffeehouse and a barista got brutally attacked. It weighs so heavily in her mind because she froze when everything happened and she wasn’t able to help the barista. She receives a call that adds on to her already stressed out life.
Her mother, whom she already has a rocky relationship with has fallen off a ladder and broken a few bones. She immediately drops everything and heads to her mother. In the back of her mind she’s hoping she can rekindle their relationship as mother and daughter. Three generations of women with baggage, secrets, teenage angst, men issues, and everything else you can imagine under the sun. Will they be able to leave the past behind them and turn over new leafs? Will they become a happy family?

I really enjoyed this book and I related a lot to Olivia. Even though she’s been treated like crap by her family, she still manages to be there for them…or maybe we’re just pushovers?
Thank you to NetGalley, Mills & Boon, ,and HarperCollins for a copy of this awesome book in a exchange for a honest review!

ARC Review: The Nightshade Cabal- Chris Patrick Carolan

Title: The Nightshade Cabal

Author: Chris Patrick Carolan

Publisher: The Parliament House

Pages: N/A

Rating: 5/5

TW/CW: Abduction, Death and Murder and Gore

“The inspector always says there are two main motivations for money, love, or money”

We are taken on this brilliant steampunk adventure in 1880 Halifax, Novia Scotia. Issac Barrow is one of the last technomacers (magical abilities that affect technology or magical powers that are gained through the use of technology).Issac gives us some major Sherlock Holmes vibes. In a era where magic is a bit of taboo, its also very good and real in this story.

Dealing with Necromancy (the supposed practice of communicating with the dead, especially in order to predict the future), Issac Barrow goes on a adventure looking for Emily Skye. I find that if you enjoy magic and steampunk adventures this novel is for you. Especially with the chatter about different advanced gadgets. I’m looking forward to reading more from Carolan. He definitely has a way with descriptive words and telling a story. Thank you to the Parliament Press House for giving me a copy of the book for a honest review.