African Europeans by Olivette Otele | ARC Book Review

African Europeans by Olivette Otele | ARC Book Review

Title: African Europeans

Author: Olivette Otele

Publisher: Basic Books

Published Date: May 4th, 2021

Genre: Non-fiction, History

Source: Netgalley & Publisher

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ .5

Goodreads Summary:

Africans or African Europeans are widely believed to be only a recent presence in Europe, a feature of our ‘modern’ society. But as early as the third century, St Maurice—an Egyptian— became the leader of a legendary Roman legion. Ever since, there have been richly varied encounters between those defined as ‘Africans’ and those called ‘Europeans’, right up to the stories of present-day migrants to European cities. Though at times a privileged group that facilitated exchanges between continents, African Europeans have also had to navigate the hardships of slavery, colonialism and their legacies.

Olivette Otele uncovers the long history of Europeans of African descent, tracing an old and diverse African heritage in Europe through the lives of individuals both ordinary and extraordinary. This hidden history explores a number of questions very much alive today. How much have Afro-European identities been shaped by life in Europe, or in Africa? How are African Europeans’ stories marked by the economics, politics and culture of the societies they live in? And how have race and gender affected those born in Europe, but always seen as Africans?

African Europeans is a landmark celebration of this integral, vibrantly complex slice of European history.


African Europeans by Olivette Otele | ARC Book Review

My Review:

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The Girl That Vanished (Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #2) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

The Girl That Vanished (Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #2) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

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Title: The Girl That Vanished

Series: Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #2

Author: A.J. Rivers

Publisher: Self Published

Published Date: January 10, 2020

Genre: Mysteries, Crime, Fiction, Adult Fiction

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ .5

Goodreads Summary:

Ring…Ring…

One call from her past was all it took to change everything.

A ten-year-old girl has vanished on her way home from camp.
And things took a turn for the worse when another child, a child that Emma knows, goes missing.

Disappearances, death, and tragedies has followed Emma Griffin throughout her childhood.
Her obsession with finding out the truth behind her past was what led her to join the FBI.

It’s been months since the horror of Feather Nest.
After the shocking revelation of the last case, FBI agent Emma Griffin decides to take a much-needed vacation.
But a phone call from Sheriff Sam Johnson, a man from her past, completely derails her plans.
A young girl has disappeared, and another child has gone missing.
With the number count slowly climbing.
Emma must now put her plans on hold, go back to her hometown and face some ghosts from her past.
When a mysterious package appears on her birthday.
Emma can’t shake the feeling that someone is monitoring her every movement.
Someone is getting too close for comfort.
The question is who?

In the close-knit town of Sherwood, the truth is never as it seems.


The Girl That Vanished (Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #2) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

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My Review:

Because I have to. Because someone has to. Pretending it doesn’t exist and not confronting it isn’t going to stop sick people from doing these things. It just makes it easier for them. I decided a long time ago I was going to be one of the people to stand in their way.

This is the second book in the Emma Griffin FBI Mystery series.
The Girl that Vanished has Emma going back to her hometown (her family moved around a lot when she was a kid) to help an old friend solve a missing child case as more kids are continuing to go missing.

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How Y’all Doing? by Leslie Jordan | Book Review

How Y'all Doing? by Leslie Jordan | Book Review

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Title: How Y’all Doing?

Author: Leslie Jordon

Publisher: William Morrow

Published Date: April 27th, 2021

Genre: Non-fiction, celeb, memoir

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary:

Viral sensation and Emmy Award-winner Leslie Jordan regales fans with entertaining stories about the odd, funny, and unforgettable events in his life in this unmissable essay collection that echoes his droll, irreverent voice.

When actor Leslie Jordan learned he had “gone viral,” he had no idea what that meant or how much his life was about to change. On Instagram, his uproarious videos have entertained millions and have made him a global celebrity. Now, he brings his bon vivance to the page with this collection of intimate and sassy essays.

Bursting with color and life, dripping with his puckish Southern charm, How Y’all Doing? is Leslie doing what Leslie does best: telling stories that make us laugh and lift our spirits even in the darkest days. Whether he’s writing about his brush with a group of ruffians in a West Hollywood Starbucks, or an unexpected phone call from legendary Hollywood start Debbie Reynolds, Leslie infuses each story with his fresh and saucy humor and pure heart.

How Y’all Doing? is an authentic, warm, and joyful portrait of an American Sweetheart— a Southern Baptist celebutante, first-rate raconteur, and keen observer of the odd side of life whose quirky wit rivals the likes ofAmy Sedaris, Jenny Lawson, David Rakoff, and Sarah Vowell.


How Y'all Doing? by Leslie Jordan | Book Review

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My Review:

How Y’all Doing talks about Jordan’s jump to new fame through his Instagram exploding during the pandemic due to him just being real and telling stories. I personally do enjoy his Instagram and I’ve loved a few of the roles he’s played over the years so I wanted to pick this book up as it was on the shorter side for a memoir.

In this book, Jordan talks about having to learn how Instagram works and his battles with addiction with alcohol over the years, and how he is sober and has managed to stay sober. He talks about his childhood and his family’s expectations and acceptance of him as an openly gay man who is from the south.
I especially enjoyed the parts of the book where he talked about the different jobs he has had over the years and how he didn’t get into acting until his 30’s and how comedy was something he always did to make people laugh as he loved doing that.
This book while short jumps around different parts of Jordan’s life and we do get to see it well lived as we learn different parts of his life and see where he came from and what he’s still learning today. He gets excited about the little things that happen and I love seeing that in anyone because the little things are what truly matters and show so much more than the big things.

I want to go and read his other book now and see what that one tells as I just love hearing his stories.

The Girl in Cabin 12 (Emily Griffin FBI Mysteries #1) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

The Girl in Cabin 12 (Emily Griffin FBI Mysteries #1) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

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Title: The Girl in Cabin 13

Series: Emily Griffin FBI Mystery #1

Author: A.J. Rivers

Publisher: Independently Published

Published Date: December 24th, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Adult Fiction

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary:

Knock…Knock…
When Emma finds a dead body on her porch with her name written on the dead man’s hand she uncovers a sinister clue to the mystery that has haunted her since childhood.

FBI agent Emma Griffin is sent undercover to the small sleepy town of Feathered Nest to uncover the truth behind the strings of disappearances that has left the town terrified.
To Emma there is nothing that can lay buried forever. Even though her own childhood has been plagued by deaths and disappearances.
Her mother’s death, her father’s disappearance, and her boyfriend’s disappearance. The only cases that she hasn’t solved.
Her obsession with finding out the truth behind her past was what led her to join the FBI.

Now, she must face what may be her biggest case. In Cabin 13 there lies an uneasy feeling. The feeling of her movements being watched.
When a knock on her door revealed a body on her porch and her name written on a piece of paper in the dead man’s hand. Suddenly her worlds collide.
With the past still haunting her, Emma must fight past her own demons to stop the body count from rising.
The woods have secrets. And this idyllic town has dark and murderous ones.
Either she reveals them or risk them claiming her too.

In Feathered Nest, nothing is what it seems.
The Girl in Cabin 13 is about to find out that the dead may have secrets of their own.

The Girl in Cabin 13 is the first book in the Emma Griffin Mystery series, it can be read as a standalone


The Girl in Cabin 12 (Emily Griffin FBI Mysteries #1) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

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My Review:

“Do you really believe it was that simple?

No. Good.

You’re catching on.”

Emily Griffin is an FBI agent on an undercover assignment to redeem herself after she went rogue on her last assignment almost costing them the entire case. This is her only shot to prove that she can be an agent and she must do it alone with very little help from anyone else. Emily is to go to a small town and figure out why all these people from it have gone missing and why some of them have shown up dead.

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The Project by Courtney Summers | Book Review

The Project by Courtney Summers | Book Review

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Title: The Project

Author: Courtney Summers

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Published Date: February 2nd, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary, New Adult, Cults, Realistic Fiction

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ .5

Goodreads Summary:

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died in a tragic car accident, her sister Bea joined the elusive community called The Unity Project, leaving Lo to fend for herself. Desperate not to lose the only family she has left, Lo has spent the last six years trying to reconnect with Bea, only to be met with radio silence.

When Lo’s given the perfect opportunity to gain access to Bea’s reclusive life, she thinks they’re finally going to be reunited. But it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t want to be found, and as Lo delves deeper into The Project and its charismatic leader, she begins to realize that there’s more at risk than just her relationship with Bea: her very life might be in danger.

As she uncovers more questions than answers at each turn, everything Lo thought she knew about herself, her sister, and the world is upended. One thing doesn’t change, though, and that’s what keeps her going: Bea needs her, and Lo will do anything to save her.

From Courtney Summers, the New York Times bestselling author of the 2019 Edgar Award Winner and breakout hit Sadie, comes her electrifying follow-up—a suspenseful, pulls-no-punches story about an aspiring young journalist determined to save her sister no matter the cost.


The Project by Courtney Summers | Book Review

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My Review:

The project is told in dual perspective from the two sisters and is told in two different time periods depending on which sister’s point of view your reading from. I liked both sisters equally and they both had interesting storylines that kept the story going and I loved how everything pieced together.

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The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton | Book Review

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton | Book Review

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Title: The Belles

Series: The Belles #1

Author: Dhonielle Clayton

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Published Date: February 20th, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Source: Owned

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary:

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful. But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orleans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. With the future of Orleans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever. Dhonielle Clayton creates a rich, detailed, decadent world of excess and privilege, where beauty is not only skin-deep, but a complete mirage. Weaving deeper questions about the commodification of women’s bodies, gender equality, racial identity, and vanity with high-stakes action and incredible imagery, The Belles is the must-read epic of the season.


The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton | Book Review

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My Review:

I read this book with Misty for a buddy read.

The Belles is set in a magical Orleans where The Belles can change people’s appearances to whatever they want within reason and make everyone look ‘beautiful’. Camellia is one of the Belles and is the one that the people in the city seem to be like the most, yet things happen that make major changes in her life and cause her to be put into some risky situations. Lots of unknowns were happening throughout this book and because of that were just as in the dark and confused as Camellia is at times. That was good though because of all the world and magical system building that had to happen for this story, so it was nice to always be slowly figuring out what was happening at the Royal Palace and why some people were so tense.

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The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown | Book Review

The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown | Book Review

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Title: The Truth About Keeping Secrets

Author: Savannah Brown

Publisher: Penguin Books

Published Date: March 7th, 2019

Genre: Mental Health, Mystery, YA, LGBTQIA

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary:

Sydney’s dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around their small Ohio town.

He is also unexpectedly dead.

Is Sydney crazy, or is it kind of weird that her dad-a guy whose entire job revolved around other peoples’ secrets-crashed alone, with no explanation?

And why is June Copeland, homecoming queen and the town’s golden child, at his funeral?

As the two girls grow closer in the wake of the accident, it’s clear that not everyone is happy about their new friendship.

But what is picture perfect June still hiding? And does Sydney even want to know?

THE TRUTH ABOUT KEEPING SECRETS is a page-turning, voice led, high school thriller.


The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown | Book Review

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My Review:

This book isn’t so much of a thriller as it is a mystery that deals heavily with grief.

“I realized that if good and bad feelings lived together on a scale, I’d never experience the good equivalent of the badness I was feeling. Ecstasy lives somewhere in the clouds, but misery tunnels deep, deep, to the center of the Earth and out the other side. “

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A Girl Divided by Ellen Lindseth | Book Review

A Girl Divided by Ellen Lindseth | Book Review

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Title: A Girl Divided

Author: Ellen Lindseth

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published Date: August 21st, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Adult, WWII,

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary:

Rural China, 1942. Twenty-two-year-old Eugenia Baker exists in a bubble as yet untouched by WWII. Content to help her father with his missionary work, Genie sees her future as a straight, if narrow, road—until an American pilot arrives, warning them of the approaching Japanese army.

Lieutenant Ted Younan is one of the Flying Tigers, volunteer fighters protecting China from aerial attacks. After rescuing Ted from his downed plane, Genie’s father asks the flyboy to get his daughter across the mountains so she can escape to the United States. To leave her beloved home—much less chaperoned by her father’s overbearing assistant, Nathan—is the last thing Genie wants, but she reluctantly agrees.

Ted is unlike any man Genie has known, and he opens her eyes to the idea of determining her own fate and chasing her dreams. But Genie has her doubts when tragedy thrusts responsibility upon her and the war creates unexpected opportunities, challenges…and temptations. Now, a world away from the woman she was, Genie must discover the woman she wants to be.


A Girl Divided by Ellen Lindseth | Book Review

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My Review:

A Girl divided follows the life of an American missionary’s daughter (Eugenia ‘Genie” Baker) who grew up in China (she was born in America moved to China as a baby) is now having to suddenly go back to America and leave the only life she has ever known behind in China due to WWII. Genie is having to travel with another missionary (Nathan) who her father wants her to marry despite her not liking this man at all. She is also traveling with an American pilot Ted who is also helping her get to America.

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Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft | Book Review

Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft | Book Review

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Title: Down Comes the Night

Author: Allison Saft

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Published Date: March 2nd, 2021

Genre: Gothic, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Magic, Fantasy

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ .75

Goodreads Summary:

He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.

Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.

The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.

With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.

Love makes monsters of us all.


Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft | Book Review

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My Review:

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Stronger, Faster, and more Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton | Book Review

Stronger, Faster, and more Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton | Book Review

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Title: Stronger, Faster, and more Beautiful

Author: Arwen Elys Dayton

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Published Date: December 4th, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction, Short Stories, Young Adult

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ .5

Goodreads Summary:

For fans of television shows Black Mirror and Westworld, this compelling, mind-bending novel is a twisted look into the future, exploring how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimen and what it means to be human at all.

Set in our world, spanning the near to distant futures, Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a novel made up of six interconnected stories that ask how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimens, and how hard that will push the definition of “human.”

This extraordinary work explores the amazing possibilities of genetic manipulation and life extension, as well as the ethical quandaries that will arise with these advances. The results range from the heavenly to the monstrous. Deeply thoughtful, poignant, horrifying, and action-packed, Arwen Elys Dayton’s Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is groundbreaking in both form and substance.


Stronger, Faster, and more Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton | Book Review

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My Review:

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The Castle School for Troubled Girls by Alyssa Sheinmel | Book Review

The Castle School for Troubled Girls by Alyssa Sheinmel | Book Review

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Title: The Castle School or Troubled Girls

Author: Alyssa Sheinmel

Publisher: Sourcebook s Fire

Published Date: March 2nd, 2021

Genre: Mental health, realistic fiction, young adult

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary:

When Moira Dreyfuss’s parents announce that they’re sending her to an all-girls boarding school deep in the Maine woods, Moira isn’t fooled. She knows her parents are punishing her; she’s been too much trouble since her best friend, Nathan, died―and for a while before that. At the Castle School, isolated from the rest of the world, Moira will be expected to pour her heart out to the odd headmaster, Dr. Prince. But she isn’t interested in getting over Nathan’s death or befriending her fellow students.

On her first night there, Moira hears distant music. On her second, she discovers the lock on her window is broken. On her third, she and her roommate venture outside…and learn that they’re not so isolated after all. There’s another, very different, Castle School nearby―this one filled with boys whose parents sent them away, too.

Moira is convinced that the Castle Schools and the doctors who run them are hiding something. But exploring the schools will force Moira to confront her overwhelming grief―and the real reasons her parents sent her away.


The Castle School for Troubled Girls by Alyssa Sheinmel | Book Review

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My Review:

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