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:

Continue reading “African Europeans by Olivette Otele | ARC Book Review”

Dangerous Waters (Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #8) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

Dangerous Waters (Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #8) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

Title: Dangerous Waters

Series: Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #8

Author: A.J. Rivers

Publisher: Self Published

Published Date: August 28th, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Adult Fiction

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ .5

Goodreads Summary:

She was terrorized, afraid, and desperate for help.
But her hopeless pleas would never be answered. No one would come to her rescue.
Now her body lays lifeless, floating in the water.
The girl could not escape the deadly and sinister secrets that Windsor Island holds…

It’s been a year since the body of FBI agent Emma Griffin’s ex-boyfriend was found on the beach.
His death remains as mysterious as ever, the truth has yet to be revealed.
Emma still cannot escape the feeling of guilt, regret, and grief that follows her daily.
Until a girls night with her best friend brought an unexpected surprise.
A week-long-all-expense paid vacation to an exclusive island resort.
Being in paradise should be the perfect way to clear her mind… But, when a body turns up and girls start to go missing. Disturbing secrets about the resort are coming to the surface. Turns out paradise is just an illusion, and the truths behind the dangers on this island are far more disturbing than Emma and her friends could ever imagine.
Emma isn’t content to let any secrets lie hidden. She’s going to find the culprit behind the murder and the disappearance.
Even if it means she gets taken too.

Will Emma be able to survive “paradise” and get off the island alive?

Dangerous Waters (Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #8) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

My Review:

Warnings: Cult, blood, death.

This one can be read as a standalone as it is the start of a new background mystery that doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the previous one in the first seven books.

Dangerous Waters starts with Emma still dealing with what happened at the end of book seven. But we also see her getting the chance to go on an all-expense-paid trip to a private island. Sam can’t go because of a case he’s working on so instead she takes Bellamy and Eric with her.

Continue reading “Dangerous Waters (Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #8) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review”

Getting My Netgalley Under Control | Restart

Getting My Netgalley Under Control | Restart

Getting My Netgalley Under Control is a new monthly post I’m going to be doing to get my Netgalley percentage back up and to read the books I’m requesting in a more timely manner. Thank you to Robin from Paperbacks and Planners for the idea.

The idea behind this post is to help hold myself accountable and to give all of you a sneak peek at some of the reviews you can expect to see in the future from me. Currently, my Netgalley Percentage is at 57%, while I know I’ll never get it up to 100% I do want it to get as close to 80% or higher as possible. This is going to be a very slow and steady process, but it’s one I’m hoping will be a fun one.

If you remember at the end of last year I was working really hard on this, but then life and feeling overwhelmed from this task took over. Making it so I stopped updating this challenge. Now though I’ve decided to make some slight changes to this challenge to hopefully make it easier for me to stick with. 

  1. I will be making a tbr each month of around 10 books, 5 backlist, and 5 new or upcoming releases. 
  2. Now I won’t be reading all of these books each month. My goal is still to read around 4 each month. 
  3. Some month’s books might roll over from previous months, or I’ll be making a completely new tbr. It just depends on what my mood is and what I think I will actually enjoy reading. 
Continue reading “Getting My Netgalley Under Control | Restart”

The Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto | Book Review

The Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto | Book Review

Title: The Obsession

Author: Jesse Q Sutanto

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Published Date: February 2nd, 2021

Genre: Realistic Fiction, mystery, contemporary, YA

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ .5

Goodreads Summary:

A classic sort of love story… except somebody might wind up dead.

Nobody knows Delilah like Logan does. Nobody. He makes sure of it by learning everything he can through her social media and watching her through a hidden camera he has trained on her house. Some might call him a stalker. Logan prefers to be called “romantic.”

But after Logan sees Delilah killing her abusive stepfather, he realizes there’s still more about her to discover. His sweet, perfect Delilah isn’t so perfect after all.

Delilah knows she should feel guilty, but all she feels is free. She’s so over the men in her life controlling her. Except Logan saw what she did, and he won’t let her forget it.

Delilah is done being the victim. And she refuses to be a character in Logan’s twisted fantasy. If Logan won’t let her go… she’ll make him.

The Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto | Book Review

My Review:

Trigger Warnings: Abusive relationships, death, drug use, stalker/obsession.

“Maybe, if I played it right, I could give them both what they wanted.”

The Obsession was one of those books that I wasn’t sure if I would like or not, but I did and it was such a quick read for me.

Delilah’s mom is dating a guy that is not only abusive but is also a detective making it so they are in a very tough spot when it comes to how to get away from him and the situation they are currently in. 

“Because, Delilah, I’m meant to save you, and I’m not one to turn away from destiny.”

However one day Delilah sees a chance to do just that and takes it and it somehow doesn’t get pinned on her. Because of what she did her stalked now has blackmail on her and is forcing her into a relationship. From here is where the book really kicks off because we see Delilah having to deal with both what she did and now having to deal with fake dating her stalked who thinks they are really dating. It’s a precarious situation but one that Delilah handles as best as she can.

She does get some help from her best friend which ended up being vital in being able to do what she does to get away from her stalker.

Overall I enjoyed this book a lot and ended up reading the majority of it in one day! Delilah is one of those characters that was constantly surprising me with not only what she was able to do, but also how she went about things. She’s smart and finds ways not only to help provide for her family but also in how to get out of terrible situations as well. This book was so much better than I thought it would be and I can’t wait to read more by this author in the future!

I’m really looking forward to this getting a second book after the cliffhanger that this one ended on.

Ann Fights for Freedom by Nikki Shannon Smith | Book Review

Ann Fights for Freedom by Nikki Shannon Smith | Book Review

Title: Ann Fights for Freedom

Author: Nikki Shannon smith

Publisher: Stone Arch Books

Published Date: February 1st, 2019

Genre: Childrens, Historical Fiction, Middle grade lower

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ .5

Goodreads Summary:

Twelve-year-old Ann understands there is only one thing to be grateful for as a slave: having her family together. But when the master falls into debt, he plans to sell both Ann and her younger brother to two different owners. Ann is convinced her family must run away on the Underground Railroad. Will Ann’s family survive the dangerous trip to their freedom in the North ? This Girls Survive story is supported by a glossary, discussion questions, and nonfiction material on the Underground Railroad, making it a valuable resource for young readers.

Ann Fights for Freedom by Nikki Shannon Smith | Book Review

My Review:

“Good and bad come in every size, shape, and color.”

My library had this as a digital title where it reads the book to you, which is why I wanted to try it out. If your library has this feature and you have a young reader who is still getting used to reading longer books I feel like this is a good option. It had a real narrator doing the voice as a regular audiobook would, which is so much better than the usual mono-tone reader that happens a lot in the read-a-long ones I’ve seen for kids.

The story itself is an informative one that follows Ann and her family as they try to find their own path along the underground railroad. Ann and her family do get separated for a little bit, which leads Ann to have to be the leader of her mom and her younger siblings. While this was scary for her it was also a good thing, because it gave her mom the strength she needed to keep going. It mentions some of the realities of slavery in a kid-friendly way that shows some of what was happening while also not being too much.

I look forward to seeing what this author does in the future.

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson | Book Review

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson | Book Review

Title: The Year of the Witching

Author: Alexis Henderson

Publisher: Ace

Published Date: July 21st, 2020

Genre: Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Witches, YA

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ .5

Goodreads Summary:

The Handmaid’s Tale for a new generation . . .

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy.

The daughter of a union with an outsider that cast her once-proud family into disgrace, Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol and lead a life of submission, devotion and absolute conformity, like all the women in the settlement.

But a chance mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood that surrounds Bethel – a place where the first prophet once pursued and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still walking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the diary of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realises the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her . . .

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson | Book Review

My Review:

“What I want is to make sure this never happens again. I want a world where sins are atoned for. A world where evil men suffer for their wrongdoings.”

This is one of those books that I’m still not really sure how I feel about it even though it’s been a few weeks since I read it. 

As a whole, at times this book was rather confusing, and at other times it was like so many cults that we hear about it. It was truly a mix of both magical elements and cults all at the same time. I did enjoy reading this book and I get all the hype around it. 

“The  plagues were birthed through me and because of that they’re my burden to bear, no one else’s”

Ezra and Immanuelle while an unlikely pair considering whose children they were ended up being able to work together to change the course of what was happening. Most of this was done with Immanuelle as she figured out what her own mother had done before she died out of desperation and rage when it came to the prophet. Her mom had done something unforgivable by making a deal with the maidens in the dark woods but no one knows what it was or why she did it. Well, that is until Immanuelle is desperate to stop the plagues and save her family from dying in them. 

Ezra helps her by getting her the ability to have access to the info she needs and a possible way out to get to someone that her mom knew before she went into the dark woods. 

All of what they are doing though is illegal and what makes it even worse is the fact that Immanuelle’s mom was a witch and Ezra’s dad is a prophet. 

“People do foolish, reckless things when they’re desperate to find ways to escape themselves”

Overall I liked this book. Immanuelle figuring everything out on her own while also navigating the precarious balance of following all the prophet’s rules while also learning who her mom was and why the dark woods are so bad. I don’t want to go too much into the world set up cause I don’t want to give anything away just know that this book does have similarities of cults mixed with paranormal elements of witchcraft and all that they can bring with them. 

The ending of this book though. Was not expecting all of that to go down the way it did. It did finish up nicely in some ways, there is, of course, the unknown of what the future holds for everyone after but even without another book I feel pretty content with how this one ended. 

“For the dream of making their home something better than it was, so those who followed in their footsteps would never know the heat of a pyre, or the pain of its flames.”

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams | Book Review

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams | Book Review

Title: While Justice Sleeps

Author: Stacey Abrams

Publisher: Doubleday

Published Date: May 11th, 2021

Genre: Mystery, Contemporary, Thriller/suspense, adult fiction, legal

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary:

While Justice Sleeps is a gripping, complexly plotted thriller set within the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, is doing her best to hold her life together–excelling in an arduous job with the court while also dealing with a troubled family. When the shocking news breaks that Justice Wynn–the cantankerous swing vote on many current high-profile cases–has slipped into a coma, Avery’s life turns upside down. She is immediately notified that Justice Wynn has left instructions for her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney. Plunged into an explosive role she never anticipated, Avery finds that Justice Wynn had been secretly researching one of the most controversial cases before the court–a proposed merger between an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm, which promises to unleash breathtaking results in the medical field. She also discovers that Wynn suspected a dangerously related conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington.

As political wrangling ensues in Washington to potentially replace the ailing judge whose life and survival Avery controls, she begins to unravel a carefully constructed, chesslike sequence of clues left behind by Wynn. She comes to see that Wynn had a much more personal stake in the controversial case and realizes his complex puzzle will lead her directly into harm’s way in order to find the truth. While Justice Sleeps is a cunningly crafted, sophisticated novel, layered with myriad twists and a vibrant cast of characters. Drawing on her astute inside knowledge of the court and political landscape, Stacey Abrams shows herself to be not only a force for good in politics and voter fairness but also a major new talent in suspense fiction.

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams | Book Review

My Review:

“I inherited evil, but I didn’t create it.”

Avery Keene is a law clerk for Justice Howard Wynn on the supreme court. She has worked extremely hard to get to where she is now all while dealing with things in her personal life that she tries to keep hidden from everyone else when it comes to her mom. With Avery having grown up the way she did though it made her crafty and to know the value of what she truly has now, and seems to make her an even better law clerk. This entire book starts though with Justice Howard Wynn getting into trouble, and then going into a coma, and Avery getting power of attorney over him.

“In an age of terrorism, he held fast to the notion of freedom, refusing to permit desperation to rob us of our humanity. “

This leads Avery on a hunt to figure out why this happened to Justice Howard Wynn and why she now seems to have a target on her back.

“Save us. Forgive me.”

Continue reading “While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams | Book Review”

Admission by Julie Buxbaum | Book Review

Admission by Julie Buxbaum | Book Review

Title: Admission

Author: Julie Buxbaum

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Published Date: December 1st, 2020

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic fiction

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ .5

Goodreads Summary:

It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She’s headed off to the college of her dreams. She’s going to prom with the boy she’s had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer–at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood.

As she loses everything she’s long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?

Admission by Julie Buxbaum | Book Review

My Review:

Chloe is kind of your typical rich kid. She has a lot of stuff handed to her, but she also does have to work hard for her grades. We see this for a lot of the other kids at her school, but we also see the extra help they get with tutors and internships and things like that stand out on college applications.

Now while Chloe could have gotten into a school that she was happy with, her parents really really wanted her to go to SEC and would stop at nothing to make that happen.
We see through flashbacks what all went down to lead to the college admission scandal being found out and if Chloe did know anything or not. This is a big part of the story, because if she did know she could be charged alongside her mom so she is going back through all of the memories she can to see if she did know or not the choices that her parents were making for her.

Overall I liked this story. I found it very entertaining and I had fun with it. Chloe did learn and change throughout the book. We saw her go from being kind of just there as a person, to actually caring about things and trying to do better. Something that stuck out to me a lot in this book that I had also been thinking about when the whole college admissions scandal happened was how this was done for the parent’s benefit, not the kids. We saw that throughout this book with Chloe and with the others she was talking to who were also dealing with this type of situation. I like how that was talked about because it does show that it was about the parents and that the kids were smart enough to get into a good college, just not the type of college that their parents wanted to brag about to all their rich friends. Which is sad but it’s reality. Buxbaum goes through all of this throughout her story while also throwing in other real-life consequences and struggles that families deal with to make this story not be 100% about the college admissions scandal but also about one family’s life as a whole from Chloe’s perspective.

After having read this one I do want to read more by Buxbaum in the future because I did enjoy this one.

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh | Book Review

Would anybody like to buddy read the second book in October?

Reading With Wrin

Reign of the Fallen (Reign of the Fallen, #1) by Sarah Glenn Marsh #bookreview #fantasy #ya #debutauthor #razorbill #death #necromancer #youngadult #LGBTQIATitle: Reign of the Fallen
Series:Reign of the Fallen #1
Author:Sarah Glenn Marsh
Publisher: Razorbill andListening Library
Published Date:January 23rd, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA, YA
Format: Audiobook

My Rating:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary:
Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training…

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The Girl and the Deadly End (Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #7) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

The Girl and the Deadly End (Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #7) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

Title: The Girl and the Deadly End

Series: Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #7

Author: A.J. Rivers

Publisher: Independently Published

Published Date: June 30th, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Adult Fiction

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary:

Small towns have secrets. The dark mysteries of Emma’s life are ready to be told.

It has been more than a year since Emma Griffin stumbled upon a clue behind the dangerous secrets of her past. Now, she has the answers at her fingertips.
The only question is will she survive long enough to find them?

As Greg struggles to recover, Emma keeps watch over him.
She’s desperate for answers, answers locked inside him.
And she will do whatever it takes to keep him safe.

Her dangerous cat and mouse game with Catch Me, leads her to discover more about Dean and how their pasts truly collide. Is she who she has always believed? Or does her uncle know more about her than she would ever want to know?

One thing is for certain, a small town full of deadly secrets still has more to tell.

The Girl and the Deadly End (Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #7) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review

My Review:

Trigger Warnings: Mentions of rape, attempted kidnapping, drugging, and mentions of abusive relationships.

I can’t promise you everything is going to be by the book. I might not follow the rules. I might not do things the way other people would want me to do it. I’ll do what needs to be done.

The Girl and the Deadly End was a nail-biter at times especially as it got towards the end of the book.
Emma is dealing with Greg showing up again and him now fighting for his life as well as just the all-around security issues that she keeps having due to two different people it appears stalking here.

Continue reading “The Girl and the Deadly End (Emma Griffin FBI Mysteries #7) by A.J. Rivers | Book Review”

A Death Struck Year by Makiia Lucier | Book Review

A Death Struck Year by Makiia Lucier | Book Review

Title: A Death-Struck Year

Author: Makiia Lucier

Publisher: HMH Books for young readers

Published Date: March 4th, 2014

Genre: Historical Fiction, 1918 Pandemic, Young Adult

Source: Library

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary:

A deadly pandemic, a budding romance, and the heartache of loss make for a stunning coming-of-age teen debut about the struggle to survive during the 1918 flu.

For Cleo Berry, the people dying of the Spanish Influenza in cities like New York and Philadelphia may as well be in another country–that’s how far away they feel from the safety of Portland, Oregon. And then cases start being reported in the Pacific Northwest. Schools, churches, and theaters shut down. The entire city is thrust into survival mode–and into a panic. Headstrong and foolish, seventeen-year-old Cleo is determined to ride out the pandemic in the comfort of her own home, rather than in her quarantined boarding school dorms. But when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can’t ignore the call. As Cleo struggles to navigate the world around her, she is surprised by how much she finds herself caring about near-strangers. Strangers like Edmund, a handsome medical student and war vet. Strangers who could be gone tomorrow. And as the bodies begin to pile up, Cleo can’t help but wonder: when will her own luck run out?

Riveting and well-researched, A Death-Struck Year is based on the real-life pandemic considered the most devastating in recorded world history. Readers will be captured by the suspenseful storytelling and the lingering questions of: what would I do for a neighbor? At what risk to myself?
An afterword explains the Spanish flu phenomenon, placing it within the historical context of the early 20th century. Source notes are extensive and interesting.

A Death Struck Year by Makiia Lucier | Book Review

My Review:

Contains mentions of: blood, death, virus, pandemic.

Reading this book while were still in the middle of a pandemic might not have been my smartest idea. Do I see similarities yes there were some. But it also made it all seem so much more real because this is something that did happen in 1918-1920.

Cleo Berry is sent temporarily to a boarding school while her brother and sister-in-law have to go to San Francisco for a honeymoon and a meeting for work for her brother. This leaves her with a bunch of her classmates when the pandemic starts.
She ends up leaving the boarding school and going home on her own, while there she decides to help out the red cross who is asking for help. This is where the majority of the book takes place and where we meet not only Cleo’s new friend Kate, but many others who she gets close to during this time of loss, and fear.

Continue reading “A Death Struck Year by Makiia Lucier | Book Review”