MLK Giveaway Hop

The MLK Giveaway Hop is hosted by The Caffeinated Reviewer & Mocha Girls Read !

Image created by Mocha Girls Read

Welcome to my stop on the MLK Giveaway Hop, which is hosted by The Caffeinated Reviewer & Mocha Girls Read.  The giveaway will last from Monday, January 18, to Monday, January 25, 2020.

Thank you to Harper Teen, Simon Teen, and Mahogany L. Browne for allowing me to receive finishing copies of the following books. Originally, these novels were meant for my Instagram Kwanzaa Giveaway. But, I wanted to give back to my subscribers for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Cover of The Black Kids
Author, Christina Hammonds Reed

Synopsis: This coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots. Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year. Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne

Author, Mahogany L. Browne

Synopsis: A novel-in-verse about a young girl coming-of-age and stepping out of the shadow of her former best friend. Perfect for readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Nikki Grimes. 

Cover of Chlorine Sky

She looks me hard in my eyes
& my knees lock into tree trunks
My eyes don’t dance like my heartbeat racing
They stare straight back hot daggers.
I remember things will never be the same.
I remember things.

With gritty and heartbreaking honesty, Mahogany L. Browne delivers a novel-in-verse about broken promises, fast rumors, and when growing up means growing apart from your best friend.

Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

Cover of Early Departures

Synopsis: Justin A. Reynolds, author of Opposite of Always, delivers another smart, funny, and powerful stand-alone YA contemporary novel, with a speculative twist in which Jamal’s best friend is brought back to life after a freak accident . . . but they only have a short time together before he will die again.

Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know he’s about to die . . . again.

He also doesn’t know that Jamal tried to save his life, rescuing him from drowning only to watch Q die later in the hospital. Even more complicated, Jamal and Q haven’t been best friends in two years—not since Jamal’s parents died in a car accident, leaving him and his sister to carry on without them. Grief swallowed Jamal whole, and he blamed Q for causing the accident.

Author, Justin A. Reynolds

But what if Jamal could have a second chance? An impossible chance that would grant him the opportunity to say goodbye to his best friend? A new health-care technology allows Q to be reanimated—brought back to life like the old Q again. But there’s a catch: Q will only reanimate for a short time before he dies . . . forever.

Jamal is determined to make things right with Q, but grief is hard to shake. And he can’t tell Q why he’s suddenly trying to be friends with him again. Because Q has no idea that he died, and Q’s mom is not about to let anyone ruin the miracle by telling him. How can Jamal fix his friendship with Q if he can’t tell him the truth?

Ways to enter the contest

To enter to win all three novels, you MUST:

  • Be subscribed to my blog via email or on WordPress
  • Like this post
  • Comment below with your favorite Young Adult read y an African or African-American author from 2020
  • An extra entry a piece will be given for anyone who follows me on Instagram (@IntrovertInterrupted) and twitter (@MakeItLITerary) and shares a photo or link to this giveaway. Tag me on each platform, so I can count your entry!

Happy Reading!

Adira

Ruby Red Trilogy Review

I gave this series a solid 5 stars and also added these two books onto my favorite of all times list. 

Ruby Red

The Ruby Red Series by Kerstin Gier took me by surprise. When I initially picked up Ruby Red, the first novel in the series, I was expecting a quaint story about a teenage girl who time traveled and a few historically relevant scenes that made for just another angsty teen fantasy novel. However, what I got was a fun and witty story about a girl named Gwyneth who inherits her family’s “time traveling” gene instead of her cousin, Charlotte who was believed to be the apparent heir for sixteen years. Unlike Gwyneth, Charlotte was thoroughly trained to handle being a time traveler and was initiated into the society’s secrets through private lessons since the time of her birth.

Ill-prepared for her new job Gwyneth makes up the rules as she goes along. From falling in love with her time traveling partner, Gideon, to being introduced to the infamous Count Saint-Germane, leader of the secret time traveling society (who has long been dead), Gwyneth proves that she is not just an accessory to anyone else’s agenda. Instead, she searches for clues in the past and the present with the help of her best friend, Leslie and the ghost and demons who follow her around.

Sapphire Blue

To make matters even more interesting, Gier has stretched the cast of the series across different time periods, which gives the story a Clue like feel. Each characters’ motives come off as suspicious and it seems that Gwyneth can only trust herself, which causes the series’ plot to be full of suspense.

The first book in the series is geared more toward character formation and unraveling who Gwyneth is and what role she plays in the time travelers’ mystery. However, Sapphire Blue has a bit more action than Ruby Red. In this second installment readers get to see Gwyneth travel back in time more and converse with her ancestors, which allows her to obtain more answers to her questions about why she must time travel.

Also, in Sapphire Blue, the love connection between Gwyneth and Gideon becomes more apparent. Gier constructs this weird dynamic between these two characters in her first book and it only gets more complicated as the series goes on. At first, it seems like Gideon likes Gwyneth. Then, it seems like he hates her. THEN, it’s like okay, maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t…in short, his character holds a lot of secrets. None of which, are really revealed until the end of Sapphire Blue.

Gideon’s character seems to be good however, my actual feelings toward him changes continuously throughout the first two books. When he’s first introduced, I just assume that he is a sort of secret bad guy. Later on, it’s revealed that he was mostly raised by the secret society and was unable to 

Emerald Green

actually spend time with other kids besides Charlotte. Therefore, the fact that Gwyneth is his new untrained time traveling sidekick is a little much for him to bear. Yet, he outwardly warms toward her, but still gives multiple hints that he would rather work alone. This places him on the potential bad guy list along with like 50 other people.

This series is definitely one that I would recommend. Sadly, with this new installment comes a new cover design. Gone are the beautiful original jeweled covers and instead, readers will see a dark-haired girl in various colored ball gown standing next to a clock-tower. I am hoping that I can find a copy of the final book with the original cover since these books are translated from German into English.

Happy Reading!

Book Spine Poetry Challenge (Bout of Books 7.0)

Today marks the ooficial start of Bout of Books‘ Read-A-Thon! The first Challenge is the Book Spine Poetry contest held by Escape Through The Pages. Here is my first attempt at book spine poetry:
In the land of Invisible Women 
The Duff 
Maps 
What Is The What 
The Whole Story of Half A Girl 
Ruby Red
(and) WICKED
(…a) desert flower


*words in parentheses were added.

Hope you all enjoyed my novice attempt at poetry (^_^).

Cheers!

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger Book Review

I gave this book 5 stars.

Kody Keplinger’s novel, The DUFF is the type of book you could read at any age and connect to. The main character, Bianca is a tough as nails girl who’s heart has been hardened by the pains of love. Adamant about never falling in love again, she chooses to enter into an “enemies with benefits” relationship with Wesley, the notorious womanizer of her high school who has problems of his own. Together the two teenagers work through their problems in the form of..ahem…advanced cardio for the grown and sexy. However,  even with their preconceived rules of “no feelings” being involved, Bianca and Wesley learn the hard way that love can infiltrate your heart when you least expect it no matter how hard you plan.

Keplinger’s characters are well developed and likable. Even though Bianca does come off as cynical at times, the reader gets shown that her feelings of anger and frustration are justified. The way that this character antagonizes over being “the duff” a.k.a the designated ugly fat friend, is something that is especially well portrayed by the author and made into a relatable point for anyone who chooses to read this book due to the fact that most people have felt like the dud of their circle of friends at one point of their life or another.

On the flip side, Wesley’s character while clearly placed into the cliched role of being resident bad boy is endearing opposed to annoying. Even when he makes Bianca feel ashamed of herself by calling her the duff, it’s apparent that his character is battling his own set of demons and does so only as a knee-jerk reaction to his pain.

Keplinger’s choice to use cliched roles in her work is balanced off by the fact that her storyline is solid. Never does the reader feel as if they are being rushed off into a tidy conclusion. Instead, the author paces the story so that her audience can get the full benefit of watching the character’s lives come undone and then slowly pieced back together again. Both Bianca and Wesley’s character are funny, interesting, and sarcastic enough to keep readers entertained and willing to stick wound to finish Keplinger’s story. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is in need of a good chick-lit book or who just loves a good novel about bad boys and strong opinionated female leads. Yet, I would caution against letting younger readers begin this book being that it is meant for a mature audience due to explicit sex scenes throughout the novel.

Book Publishing Screw Up

While re-deciding what books to read this week I encountered a funny publishing mistake.

For the last year, I have been dying to read All Roads Lead To Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith. I finally broke down and ordered a copy from Thriftbooks.com over winter break as a Christmas present to myself. I didn’t get around to actually having time to read the book until this week and was gung-ho to add it to my TBR pile for this weekend until I opened it up….

…It turns out that my copy starts at Chapter 3. At first I thought that this was totally normal and that this book was the type of book where the storyline circles back around. I thought this because the novel is a travel memoir that has been written about Smith’s account of spending a year traveling and discussing Jane Austen books with different book groups in Latin America. Sadly, this is an ill conceived thought. According to Amazon First Looks, my book should have started some 30+ pages ago with the Author’s Note.

Le sigh…I guess I’ll have to write to the company I bought the book from and ask for another copy. I seriously can’t wait to read this book. Anticipation is literally swelling inside me and putting me on a book high.

smh…Anticipation is the devil in disguise.

Going To The Edge Of Crazy: A Book Review On "32 Candles" by Ernessa T. Carter

I gave this book a solid 5 stars!!!

Ernessa T. Carter’s book, 32 Candles kept me entertained from start to finish.

Davidia Jones is an outcast at her school and unloved by her mother. Growing up as a dark-skinned African-American girl in her southern Mississippi town, she learns to fold in on herself and become numb to others’ taunts about her skin tone. Add to this the fact that Davidia refuses to speak at all, and it’s a recipe for disaster. However, once she reaches high school, the unthinkable happens……..she falls in love with James Farell, the newly arrived small-town football player and resident rich boy.

While James fails to acknowledge her presence, Davidia takes matters into her own hand and uses her Molly Ringwald-playbook to win James’ love. Unfortunately, James’s sisters have something else in mind and set off to make Davidia’s life hell. Fleeing from her small town after a prank goes too far, Davidia hitchhikes to Los Angeles with a female trucker. Here she changes her name to Davie Jones and becomes a sultry lounge singer. Seventeen years later, James walks back into Davie’s life and this time, she’s ready.

Davidia/Davie’s character is one of those characters that worm their way into the reader’s heart and forces them to become invested in the character’s story. Davidia’s character is well constructed and feels authentic to the reader. Even when she exacts her revenge on the Farell family, the reader has sympathy for her and may even want to help her payback the rich snobs who caused Davidia pain in high school by bullying her.

The author’s pacing for this story helps drive the story’s action. This is helpful in building the story steadily to climax and keeps the reader interested. The storyline also felt well though out and was easy to relate to whether you were popular in high school or an outcast. While the novel does span over a time period of roughly twenty-eight years, the pacing of the story never has the reader feeling the urge to hit fast forward on Davidia’s story.

Carter’s novel is definitely one that I would recommend to anyone who wants a taste of revenge or who just loves a good novel about a girl coming of age in the 80’s. However, I would caution that this book is meant for a mature audience since there are some heated scenes within the novel that may not be appropriate for a younger audience.

Cheers!

Dreams of Murder: A Book Review of "The Nightmare Affair" by Mindee Arnett

I gave this book 5 stars!!!!

This book was absolutely amazzzzzzzzing! I happened across The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett on Amira from AmirasBookReviews on YouTube during her list of anticipated books of 2013. During her synopsis of the book, I heard one of my favorite words for describing any book….MAGIC! That’s right! This book stars a magical cast of characters who are students at a magical boarding school (think Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins not, Harry Potter) and looking for clues to solve who’s behind the murders at their school. 

Fortunately, Arnett doesn’t take the normal character route of other YA writers and instead makes her main character, Dusty a nightmare. Not nightmare as in a whiny, obnoxious character but, nightmare as in a magical character who feeds off others’ dreams to obtain her magical powers. The story starts off with Dusty breaking into her crush, Eli’s room to “feed.” While doing so, she notices vast differences in Eli’s dreams. For starters, Eli’s dreams are in color and he’s dreaming of a murder. Thus begins one of the best paranormal/fantasy books I’ve read since I finished Hawkins’ series.

Arnett takes readers on a journey to find out who is killing the Keepers, a group of three magical beings one from fairykind, darkind (i.e., nightmares, demons, etc.), and witchkind. These Keepers are protecting some secret within the story. To solve this mystery, Dusty has to pair up with Eli allowing the two to become a dree-seer pair, a duo who help each other see into the future through dreaming.These two along with Dusty’s best friend, Serene, a siren become junior detectives pursuing the killer using all types of wacky tricks to stay ahead of the murderer and their teachers who have warned them to stay put.

With this book, I didn’t feel as if the author was reaching or even using recycled cliches to tell the story. Arnett’s characters felt fresh. The story line drives you to keep reading even when you think you know who the killer maybe. Dusty’s character is also relatable in the fact that, even though readers may not have magical powers, they may have experienced feeling like an outsider before, a feeling that Dusty often feels. I would definitely recommend this book to anybody who loves a good “who done it?” series or who just loves fantasy fiction.

With Brothers Like This, Who Needs Boyfriends: A Series Review of The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

I finished reading the first two books sometime in February 2013.

I gave the City of Bones 5 stars and City of Ashes 4.5 stars. I am currently reading City of Glass.

Sooooooo…this book review is going to be a general review of what I think about the series so far.

Things I Like About The Series:

1. Cassandra Clare’s description of the Shadowhunters’ world is phenomenal. We’re talking kickbutt, over the top action, in-depth mythology, jaw dropping magical realm, coo-koo villains type of good. Clare makes her characters believable if not annoying. I never felt as if she was stretching the reality of her world too far to a point where it was like,”ummmmm…okay if you say so, I guess portals can be opened in the sky and weird crap can reign down on Earth.” Her writing style really makes you feel like this magical world she created exist somewhere.

2. Two words: Magnus. Bane. The way that Clare integrates today’s social issues into her novels didn’t feel preachy nor, unrealistic. I knew that Magnus’s character was a fiercely fashionable warlock and I was totally okay with that. His dialogue in the novel was sarcastic and witty and added life in places where the novel could have easily turned into a constant battle loop. I especially looked forward to hearing what outfit this warlock had thrown together for each random adventure the Shadowhunter crew went on.

3. Clare integrated so many supernatural characters into her novel I couldn’t even keep up. The way she used the creatures (i.e., werewolves, demons, demon hunters, etc.) was fresh and exciting as well. Often times, this genre of YA gets saturated with the same type of storylines and for Clare to pick up these time worn archetypes and dust them off and breathe new life into them left me seriously impressed. I was especially in love with Luke and his ragtag gang of werewolves.

4. The fact that these novels aren’t written from a dystopian point of view sent me into a gleeful dance…seriously how many ways are authors and film directors going to imagine our end? The creation by Clare of a world that is slotted into ours made me pretty excited and interested at what would happen next.

Now…..

Things I AB-SO-LUTE-LY ABHORRED About This Series:

1. How many time can Clary fall in love with her brother or someone who is supposed to be her brother? I seriously need her to be given a portable family tree so that she can know who is and who isn’t her family so she can stop exchanging saliva with her brothers. smh Even if her brothers/psuedo-brothers are extra fwine incest is still disgusting. Clary seriously just needs to find a nice werewolf or vampire and settle down away from the Shadowhunter men….speaking of Clary…

2. Once again…smh…Clary’s character is seriously one of the more annoying female leads that I’ve seen in YA. In the beginning, I was totally rooting for her but somewhere between the second book’s end and the third book’s beginning, I became frustrated with her outside of her above mentioned tendency. It seems to me like Clary suffers from “helpless syndrome,” an affliction that gets handed to pretty female characters who really have no real weight in stories except to be the damsel in distress and get thrown around the story by authors to drive books’ action. Clary’s character needs to be schooled in Shadowhunting 101 or giving training in her new “gift” so that she can be made useful instead of forcing everybody into uncomfortable situations with her helplessness since she needs to be rescued every few chapters.

3. I sometimes feel as if Clare is dragging certain things out and could skim a good 100/200 pages from each novel. There are times when I have to refrain from skipping ahead due to Clare’s longwindedness.

4. Valentine’s character probes a question I’ve always had about men who become evil dictators. At what point in these men’s rise to power do their followers/society not realize…hmmm…this man is a psycho? I swear Valentine’s back story made me skeptical that absolutely NO one saw the telltale signs that this man was fifty shades of cray. Even Jace defends his “father” to a fault causing me to want to shake him and yell, “WAKE-UP!, HE IS CRAAAAAAAZY!”…But, I digress.

Love it or Hate it, Clare’s depiction of life as a shadowhunter is totally making me want to dig into the back of my closet and pull out my black hoodie along with my black converse and ride into the night to hunt demons…ok maybe just ride on over to my local Half Price Bookstore but, still, I totally love this series.

Sidenote: How many city’s are in the Shadowhunter world?

Reading Fairy Tales As An Adult: Cinder #BookReview

Note: Minor spoilers are included in this review

Quote from the book, Cinder:

"On the fifth step, she heard the bolts snap. The wires tore loose, like tendons stretched to the max. She felt the loss of power at the base of her calf...." - Marissa Meyer

I gave this novel 5 stars! Cinder was EVERYTHING!

You know how you see certain books in other people’s reviews and just side-eye the book and think, “really?… how old are you again? Fairy tales are for kids!” Yeah…This was one of those times where I was totally wrong!


Cinder’s story starts two centuries into the future after Earth has gone threw a destructive Fourth World War and the world is broken into new factions known as The Earthen Nations and their enemy, Luna a.k.a “The Moon.”In what we would now consider to be Asia, Cinder, a cyborg girl lives in New Beijing and works as a mechanic. Orphaned at a young age and lacking a sufficient memory of her childhood, she is adopted by the Linh family and taken in as their third daughter. However, once her stepfather dies after falling ill with the Leutomitis Plague, Cinder’s life becomes a fictional Hell. Not knowing who she really is, Cinder lives life as an outcast and her stepmother’s personal verbal punching bag. Yet, things start to look up one day when the Prince of the Eastern Commonwealth (a.k.a Asia) stops by her mechanic booth and gets her to fix his droid. From there, the fun begins. Love sparks start flying and secrets become the backdrop to a kick butt storyline.

Things that I enjoyed about this story:
1. Marissa Meyer seems to have thoroughly thought out what pieces of the Cinderella fairytale she would use to create her story. Instead of just extracting the whole tale, Meyer takes what she needs and leaves the rest of the tale alone. Her story never feels as if it was written between the lines of the Grimm brother’s fairytale or in between the scenes of the Disney film adaptation. Meyer’s story takes on a life of its own standing in the forefront in a saturated genre of literature where most stories have already been re-written to death. Her characters are well thought out and so is her setting for the story. Which brings me to point #2…

2. The setting of Meyer’s story made me extremely happy due to me not really being a fan of dystopian novels. I always feel as if dystopian writers are trying to prove something when they write about worlds that have gone wrong in their quest for perfection/one country dominance/etc.. Yet, Meyers makes me feel as if this world has naturally evolved even though she makes it clear that their was once a war that took place. Unlike her contemporaries though, she doesn’t force the issue of gore and death or other bad things upon the reader.

3. The technology in this novel was so cool! I really felt like the portscreens were really just amped up smart phones and this made me a little giddy about where technology might go in the future (LOL I know…how very nerdy of me). Cinder’s BFF/Sidekick was one of my favorite characters. Iko, a humorous droid kept me laughing continuously whenever she oogled over the Prince or did some other human-like thing to cheer her buddy.Also, the ball scene where Cinder drives the car through New Beijing’s streets seriously amused me. LMBO It was like a slight PSA about what’ll happen if we don’t learn to clean-up our Earth and recycle and all that Jazz.

4. The ending was also my favorite part of the novel besides the ball scene when Cinder danced with the Prince/Emperor. The fact that Cinder is ended with her in jail makes me giddy at what’s going to happen next. I always feel like the best stories end with the character in a hard place.

Overall, Cinder was an excellent read. That I am glad that I picked up. I am now a true believer that fairy tales are not just for kids.