Book Review · Books

Hurricane Summer

***TW: This novel contains content that may be triggering: verbal and physical abuse.***

Tilla gets to accompany her little sister to Jamaica for the summer to visit their dad. She’s one part excited and the other part nervous. Their dad has a history of leaving and shes weary he’s going to do another disappearing act. When they arrive the extended family on their father’s side is waiting for them. They seem all excited, except for her one aunt who seems put off that she has to give up her room for her nieces.

Tilla and her sister meet their assorted cousins and get the lay of the land, out in what’s known as “country”, They get to spend a few weeks at their aunt and uncle’s. Tilla is shocked when their dad mentions he has business to attend to, but that they will later be joining him in the city. Left alone with family they barely know feels awkward. Tilla and her sister have to also, try and figure out the local lingo.

Slowly, Tilla befriends a few of her cousins. Two girls her age, Diana and her friend Zory seem to be nice. One day when she is walking with Diana they bump into Hessan who appears to take a liking to Tilla. The big problem with that is Diana says that her and Hessan are meant to be back together again after being promised to each other in the church.

Hessan and Tilla strike up a friendship, but then another boy seems interested in Tilla. Diana seems to think Tilla is into this other boy, totally clueless as to the friendship budding between Tilla and Hessan. Who will Tilla choose?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield from St. Martin’s Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. This novel is breathtaking. It tackles such heavy subjects as verbal and physical abuse, family dynamics, racial class within a country and racism from within, privilege, and so much more. This novel would make a great book club book to discuss, though it’s not for the faint of heart.

Books

Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield Q & A

What inspired you to write Hurricane Summer?

AB: Hurricane Summer is inspired by all the young women who didn’t feel a sense of protection growing up. I wanted to write a story that brought awareness to the safe spaces we need to create for young women who are figuring out their sexual agency. I was really driven by the father-daughter dynamic, and with this book, I wanted to explore how that relationship could shape the course of a young woman’s life. Tilla is no longer protected by the chastity of girlhood, and we see how quickly society weaponizes her sexuality, and how her pleasure is used for her persecution. Hurricane Summer is a celebration of a young woman’s pleasure and agency, by following her journey in how she reclaims herself and takes it back.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

AB: I love how writing gives me the ability to free my own voice. Too often as creatives, we have to wait for others to tell us that our voice is worthy of being heard. I think that idea is really changing, especially right now, when we look at who is “allowed” to tell stories. I love how much power speaking up has given me over my life. I hope I can continue to do that and inspire others to use their voices as well.

What is the book that inspired you to want to become an author?

AB: Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone,hands down. Tomi was the example for me that you can do anything you put your mind to. She was an incredible mentor to me, and a huge champion for me believing in myself. I hope to pay it forward and be that example for others. We are all worthy.

Book Review · Books

Honey Girl

Grace Porter is a people pleaser through and through. Her dad, Colonel has his daughter’s life plan mapped out for her. She’s worked this path and hauled ass getting her title of Doctor. Her passion? Astronomy. She has her two best friends, Ximena and Agnes and her surrogate family of sorts in siblings, Raj and Meera to help keep her sane. Life seems to be going fairly smoothly until a girlfriends trip to Vegas turns wild.

Grace wakes up with fuzzy memories of the night before. Her clues as to her night are a ring on her finger and a shirt with the word bride scrawled across. What had she done? Grace is always in control of herself and when she finds the note from the mystery woman of the night before she’s shocked back into reality. Who did she end up marrying on a whim?

Ximena and Agnes want Grace to find this mysterious woman. Grace is nervous and yet dying of curiosity. She must have either really fallen for this woman, or the alcohol was supper strong.

Grace is worried this new turn of events will derail her career path, but she doesn’t take vows lightly and desires to do the right thing. When her friends discover the mystery woman’s podcast they listen in. Grace decides to be brave and call in. Will this other woman remember their night in Vegas? Will she want to connect with Grace?

I received my complimentary copy of Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers from Harlequin- Trade Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. This novel is filled with characters who I wish were real. The author does a wonderful job of captivating you from page one. Observing Grace as she wakes up from her wild night in Vegas to discover she has a wedding ring on with no clear memory of what the other woman looks like is an intriguing intro. The sisterhood between Grace, her best friends and her chosen family is playful, thought provoking and also, sweet. The author also, shows the challenge of having divorced parents and juggling your allegiance to them, even when one is a hard ass and other is flighty. This story will stay with you long after the last page. Grab a copy this upcoming spring.

Book Review · Books

How To Build A Heart

Izzy’s dad passed 6 years ago in the war and it still feels like yesterday. Thankfully she has her best friend Roz to cheer her up and her little brother Jack. Izzy enjoys attending her private high school though she struggles with feeling like she fits in. When the new girl in chorus, Aubrey, befriends Izzy, she’s excited to discover this girl is the sister of her best friend’s crush, Sam.

As Izzy gets to know the new chorus girl, she inadvertently gets to know Sam better. Izzy can see why Roz has such a big crush. He’s genuinely nice. The problem is he has a girlfriend that’s quite the b.

When Izzy’s mom discloses they are trying to get approved for a Habitat house, Izzy is thrilled, but then nervous when she realizes Sam and Aubrey will be her neighbors. She shys away from sharing her big secret. She’s not sure how Roz will react if she moves.

I received my complimentary digital copy of How To Build A Heart by Maria Padian, from Algonquin Young Readers and NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own will. This novel is sweet, fast paced and full of true heart. If you enjoy contemporary YA then you will enjoy this book.

Book Review · Books

Always Yours, Bee

Bee and James had the perfect life with their three boys. That is, until the day James insisted on biking to work on a very rainy day. That choice ends in an accident. Bee blames herself as she was focusing on hearing back from her book agent. She did offer to drive her husband, but of course he insisted he’d be fine. James survives, but the mental aftermath is ugly.

What is it like to suffer a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD? What is it like to care for the love of your life who can’t recall their psst and know they are supposed to love you, but it feels brand new to them? Bee has to deal with these changes in James. She gets so wrapped up in helping her husband, Bee doesn’t realize her own depth of trauma. Follow Bee and James on their journey to work through recovering from Jame’s accident.

This memoir is intense, gripping, emotionally draining, insightful, mesmerizing, and hard to put down. I’ve never read Mia Hayes before, but after reading this gut wrenching memoir of hers, I want to read her other books.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Always Yours, Bee by Mia Hayes from Finn Star, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. Thank you NetGalley for always providing memoirs that become all time favorites. This is one of them. I can’t wait to grab a copy when it comes out. Thank you Mrs. Hayes for opening your heart and past, so that others could see there is hope on the darkest of nights.

Book Review · Books

Why She Wrote

I love to read about author’s lives. I find them fascinating and sometimes more interesting than the actual books said authors have written. When I saw this upcoming book a possible option to review I jumped at the chance. The cover is girlie in its pink color and the busts of the women author’s explored between the pages adds a unique charm to the cover.

Inside this book you get a window into the lives of some of the most beloved women authors: Louis May Alcott, the Bronte sisters, Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and many others. Each chapter offers a portion expressed via graphic novel form which makes it even more fun to read. I learned a lot I didn’t previously know. I discovered that some authors I decided I’m not too fond of and others I’m fascinated by.

I received my complimentary copy of Why She Wrote by Lauren Burke, Hannah K. Chapman, and Kaley Bales (Illustrations) from Chronicle Books, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. This short book is an enjoyable and inspiring read. If you are struggling to write that next novel, then you’ll want to add this book to your 2021 library. Thank you NetGalley and Chronicle Books. This book has renewed my desire to write and publish.

Book Review · Books

Affirming

Sally was raised in a Christian church that adamantly believed being gay was a sin and not what God wants. She was devout in her faith and loved her church. She was raised in a strong Christian home where her parents and grandparents showed and reflected their faith to her through how they lived their lives. The challenge came when she noticed she didn’t like boys in the same way her girl friends did. Instead she got crushes on girls. This quandary bugged Sally because she wanted to the do the right thing. She tried, prayed and begged God to change her desires. Nothing worked. When Sally encounters believers who have a different view of monogamous gay relationships between believers what she has tried to believe is challenged. Follow Sally as she goes on a faith journey to figure out just what exactly God wants.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Affirming by Sally Gary from William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. This memoir I couldn’t put down. Sally is candid and not preachy, but kindly shares her faith throughout. She talks about how not only how her church helped shape who she is, but the impact her family had on her with how they showed love to others through their hospitality. I can relate to Sally when it comes to always having different people coming over for dinner or staying with your family for months at a time when you are growing up. Flexibility and patience is key. I think this is an excellent book to help open up an important discussion within the church. If you have read God And The Gay Christian or Torn, then you’ll want to add Affirming to your Christian LGBTQA library collection.

Book Review · Books

Life Under The Apple Tree

If you grew up in the 80’s then you’ll remember the children’s book The Giving Tree. The cover of Life Under The Apple Tree gives off this same vibe as it is a cartoon of an apple tree with a single apple dangling from a branch. I just had to read this story.

Enter into the author’s ordeal starting his life over when his wife passes unexpectedly. The author and his children scramble to find a home to move into. His family cabin becomes a brief respite while they search since their old house sold and their new home fell through.

Things turn sour when financial troubles hit hard. Life gets even more stressful. Thankfully the author has a best friend in the local couple Thaddeus and Christopher. They offer pearls of wisdom under the apple tree. Come sit and listen to their wisdom.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Life Under The Apple Tree by A.P. Roberts from BooksGoSocial, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and are my choice. This story is based on a true story of what the author went through. It is hard to put down and is a swift read. This book is parts magical, convicting and inspiring. I can’t get over how much I love this book’s cover. It brings out the kid in me.

Books · Personal · Self Care · TBR

Overbooked

I love to read. I have ever since I was little. It was second grade when I began to read solo, but still would enjoy my mom reading to me. The books that captured my imagination as a little kid were: The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton, The Little House series, The Moomins series, and of course Dr. Seuss books.

Discovering Booktube was life changing. The first Booktuber that caught my attention was Sasha Alsberg. Her love of reading, books and wait she gets sent books to review? I want book mail. I created a book blog, read 5 books and posted reviews, then searched out companies looking for reviewers.

Fast forward 3 years and I have over indulged. I know I review not merely for NetGalley, but a number of other PR companies. I have a challenge saying, “No,” to requests since I’m already over my head in my ARC TBR, but that one that got away haunts the back of my mind. What if the book I decline to review, is my fave book for 2020?

I do need to be more selective and whittle down my TBR. I’m thankful to be a book blogger. I just don’t want to loose my love of reading because of it.

Book Review · Books

The Grief We’re Given

Poetry is personal. It’s sharing your soul through words to describe life: every crumb, sparkle and devastation. It can rhyme, not rhyme, there are many varieties of poetry. I enjoy writing poetry myself. I find it soothing and calming for me. Plus, it gives me a history of what I have been going through.

The Grief We’re Given is a tour de force on grief. The author displays it in all its mishmash of beauty, horror, and hope. Grief is not a one size fits all emotion. Mr. Bortz handles this subject through his poetry with images that capture you. I felt like I was watching a movie as I read each poem. His descriptions are vivid, colorful and memorable. If you like to read poetry you might enjoy this poetry collection.

I received my complimentary digital copy of The Grief We’re Given by William Bortz from Central Avenue Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. Whoever thought that the topic of death and grief could be displayed so elegantly, with tender care found a gem when they discovered Mr. Bortz and his captivating poetry.