Blog Tour ARC Review: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman- Julietta Henderson

Title: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman

Author: Julietta Henderson

Publisher: Mira Books

Pages: 400

Rating: 5/5

When you’re twelve years old and your best friend dies life can be very hard. Norman Foreman loses his best friend Jax suddenly and he is left with a empty hole in his heart. Jax was an amazing kid. He was caring, outspoken, and he helped Norman come out of his shy and quiet shell. They had a five year plan set as a comedic duo. You see, Norman and Jax loved comedy and they made sure to always put on a show. Their dream was to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Even Sadie, Norman’s mom, misses Jax. Not only was he an amazing friend to her son, but he made her home lively with his presence, often getting into little schemes. Being a single mother, Sadie lost her dad (whom was also a comedian; not so successful though) a year before she had Norman. Her grief and heartbreak led her to questionable behavior, such as drinking and having one night stands. As a result, she doesn’t really know who Norman’s father could be. She often feels she’s not a great mother, considering she can’t do anything to get her son out of his misery. It doesn’t help either that her boss is a pain in the butt. After she spills all her woes on her co-worker, whom comes up with a plan to help Norman and Sadie look for his real father.

This book was simply amazing. It’s a story about friendship, love, family, and never giving up. The way Julietta brought the characters to life was refreshing and she really takes you on an adventure with all the different characters she brings aboard this road trip. Huge thanks to Mira books, NetGalley, and Harlequin 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.

ARC Review: Grown- Tiffany D. Jackson

Title: Grown

Author: Tiffany D. Jackson

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 384

Rating: 5/5

TW/CW: Microaggressions, attempted sexual assault, grooming of a minor, controlling relationships, emotional, physical, and mental abuse

“One thing I know about fish: you keep them on land too long, they’ll die”.

Let’s just say that this book is still on my mind long after reading it. That’s how amazing it was. It made me feel so many emotions and I just couldn’t wait to review it. The book opens up with an intense scene. Enchanted Jones wakes up with a massive headache with no recollection of what happened. She also notices something that she perceives as beet juice all over the floor. The beet juice is everywhere! All she can think about is if Korey sees the beet juice he will be angry. The thing is Korey isn’t waking up. Is he dead? Of course there’s a lot of events and situations that have lead up to this moment. Enchanted Jones is a 17 year old girl with big dreams. She loves to sing and all she wants is to sign with a record company. She loves belting the oldies she used to listen to with her grandmother. Enchanted lives with her parents and sibling who Enchanted is always caring for especially since her parents are working extra hard to make ends meet. She’s tired of the same routine and she finally wants to be discovered and be given that approval she wants and deserves.

After her friend Gab encourages her to enter a singing competition, she meets r&b singer Korey Fields who slowly makes her dream come true. He approaches her and offers to give her singing lessons for free, which eventually ends up in her signing a contract (as well as her parents), and getting on a record label. Little do Enchanted’s parents know the death wish they just signed for them and her daughter. Everything seems okay until Korey starts getting controlling and possessive of Enchanted. Enchanted’s parents don’t agree with the relationship has with Korey (whose 28). Alas, Enchanted is smitten and blinded by Korey’s charm. She ends up touring with him and that’s when he shows his true colors. What he does to Enchanted is horrible, demeaning, trifling, and will surely want to make you punch a wall. Korey’s abuse gets so out of hand that Enchanted starts to question her own mental health. I will warn you that the subject manner is heavy, so read at your own discretion. Tiffany Jackson gives you a dark picture of the things that go on in the entertainment business. It really wakes you up. This story was powerful and riveting. Easily one of my fave YA reads of this year. Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

You can purchase “Grown” in audiobook, hardcover, and kindle here. You can also connect with the author at their social medias:

Twitter|Instagram|Website

PopCulture Readathon Book #3: Clap When You Land- Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: Clap When You Land

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 417

Rating: 5/5

TW/CW: Sexual Assault, Death of a parent , Grieving, Harassment, and Stalking

Elizabeth Acevedo has done it again with her beautiful writing in verse form, but she also brings awareness to something that’s almost always swept under the rug. Tragedies not fueled by politics. Acevedo’s “Clap When You Land” is centered around a real life tragedy. On November 12, 2001 American Airlines flight 587 en route to the Dominican Republic crashed into a neighborhood in Queens, NY. At first terrorism was said to come into play, as this was around the time September 11th happened. 265 people died on board and 5 people died on ground. It was a national tragedy. However, when it was discovered it wasn’t a terrorist attack, the media coverage ended. The Dominican community was devastated and left without answers and broken hearts.

‘Clap When You Land’ follows the lives of Camino and Yahaira. One lives in Santo Domingo and the other lives in NYC. They’re both oblivious to each other’s existence until they lose their father in a airplane crash. The flight was en route to DR. Their father was living a double life, and through this whole tragedy they were able to connect with each other despite the differences in living conditions. Both girls are fighting their own issues, but Camino feels unprotected without her father the most. Especially against the town pimp”El Cero”. El Cero is a creep and consistently stalks her everywhere she goes. She’s tired of this life. She just wants to go to Columbia and study premed, but she’s torn between that and the love for her land. Once they finally connect they both realize their father wasn’t who they thought, even though he was perfect in their eyes he definitely had some major flaws. 
I absolutely loved this beautifully written story. It shows how a tragedy can bring you close and help you grow. Both of these young ladies helped each other in ways they thought they couldn’t. Acevedo has done it once again with this heart wrenching novel. It will definitely have you in your feels.

ARC Review: Smash it- Francina Simone

Title: Smash It

Author: Francina Simone

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: N/A

Rating: 5/5

I jumped into this novel without knowing who Francina Simone was. I saw this cover and and the blurb and I knew I had to read it. 
Francina Simone did amazing delivering this masterpiece that deals with major issues that teenagers deal with everyday…especially young adult females. She touches on the topics of body positivity and acceptance, dating, friendships, sex, and being African American in a problematic white society.
I really love Olivia’s character. She decides to make a F*ck it list and vows to make it her year to accept herself, be brave, and just go for things and not be scared anymore. The first thing on her agenda is going to try out for a rap version of the Othello play at her school. Her friendship with her friends was admirable as well. Simone did an amazing job with putting us in the shoes of a 17 year old and having us imagine ourselves being there at that very moment going through everything with her. Thanks to Simone for reminding us that it’s okay to be ourselves and that we shouldn’t be so harsh with ourselves either. Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: How to Build a Heart- Maria Padian

Title: How to Build a Heart

Author: Maria Padian

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 352

Rating: 5/5

“You understand that no one is just a color, like crayon”
-Maria Padian, How to Build a Heart

Nice the passing of her father who was a Marine 6 years ago, Izzy and her family have been moving constantly. Each place being smaller than the last.

Things seem to be going okay. She’s going to a good school, she’s part of a popular cappella group, and most of all her family has been selected by “Habitat for Humanity” for a new home. They’re super excited. Being in the cappella group also comes with some extra perks. She becomes friends with Aubrey, whom is a new recruit. Aubrey is also the sister of the super hunk from school, Sam. The boy Roz, Izzy’s friend, has had a total crush on for the longest.

Even though she starts feeling comfy and at home, she doesn’t want her friends, school peers, and even Sam to know that she’s low incomes and needs a scholarship to continue her studies. And most of all, she doesn’t understand why her extended family wants nothing to do with them. Of course, those secrets come out into the light. Follow Izzy on her journey through secrets, jealousy, and friendships. I really enjoyed Maria Padian’s writing. Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers 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.

ARC Review: The Sound of Stars- Alechia Dow

Title: The Sound of Stars

Author: Alecia Dow

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: 400

Rating: 5/5

“If we get separated and you have to choose between life and joining us, choose life, okay? Live. Live for us. Breathe for us. Survive for us.”

Janelle Baker aka Ellie is a 17 year old girl who survived a alien invasion. The aliens are named Ilori. Most of the population is gone. It’s Ellie, her parents, and a select few. Human emotions are nonexistent….and are punishable with execution! Ellie however, is a rule breaker and believes everyone should have access to literature. She keeps a secret library, but when a book goes missing…Ellie fears the Ilori will find it, track it back to her, and she could be killed. 
We then meet M0Rr1s (Morris). Morris was created in a lab to feel absolutely nothing. When he finds Ellie’s lab, her greatest fear comes true. Morris has to take her to be executed. But something remarkable happens. Morris finds himself attracted to music…human music. Their love for art brings them together and embarks them on a journey. A journey filled with music and books. The premise of the book is set in the future. I really dig the banned books theme to it. It reminds me of fahrenheit 451 meets Judge Dredd vibes. Dow did a great job with this book. Thank you to Inkyard press and Netgalley for a copy of this book in a exchange for a honest review.

Review: Dylan McFinn & the Sea Serpent’s Fury- Liam Jenkins

Title: Dylan McFinn and the Sea Serpent’s Fury

Author: Liam Jenkins

Publisher: Liam Jenkins

Pages: 184

Rating: 5/5

“Many thousands of years ago, creatives were considered the most important people in the communities. Stories, songs, poems, and paintings were all considered sacred tools and moral compasses from which people learned and receive guidance. But the importance of creativity has been forgotten along with storytelling and it’s important role within a community”
-Liam Jenkins

Where do I start with this amazing and magical book? The beginning is best. It opens up with little kids gathering around Dylan as a older man, to hear about what happened many years before…when Dylan was just a boy, when he knew he had special powers.
We meet Culburt McFinn aka The Captain. A man with good ole heart that helps everyone around town. After a drunken night at the Neptune’s Tower ( a hangout for sailors). As he takes a dip in the ocean he comes across a lovely face…Varuna. After The Captain goes to hell his buddy Marvin pickup plastic from the ocean, he’s taken down under by Veruna. Many think she’s a mermaid, but she’s a Lapatian. And she’s going to show The Captain a magical place. A place where there’s a whole new world where a great and dangerous secret lies. Lapatia is the underground world Varuna is from. Lapatia was once protected by the sea guardian known as Lapoto, whom was part barracuda part human. He guarded the island and the lapatians. He also made sure the people had a safe passage to the mainland. He was also a whopping 11feet tall. Then there was Kadavul at over 2o feet tall, Kadavul was part man/ part shark and he was jealous of Lapoto and wanted to claim all the Fijan and Samoan Island. One day the two giants collided. As a result the mainland broke off. After Lapoto defeated Kadavul, Kadavul felt bitter and sank the island. Some of the villagers ran away and others stayed and adapted to their new life. Varuna and the rest of the Lapatians vowed to keep the oceans clean, and that’s where The Captain comes in. Varuna explains to The Captain that he needs to stay and continue to help the Lapatians protect their waters…he accepts. 

Flash forward to 14 years later

The Captain and Varuna are married and have 2 boys. Axneus (10) and Dylan (13). Both are characters in their own ways. The Captain decided to take the two boys in a trip to the captains homeland. But things have changed and for the worst after the disappearance of The Captains old friend. While The Captain and his sons explore around the day, Axneus discovers a stone that possesses some secretive powers which will flip this family’s life upside down. 

My thoughts on this masterpiece….it was amazing! Jenkins did an amazing job describing the characters and making them come alive in your imagination. He made you really believe you were there experiencing everything. Axneus was super annoying and may times I wish I could reach through the book and slap him. Dylan was selfless and and not selfish like his younger brother. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter in this saga.