Blog Tour Review: The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

I’m so honoured and excited to share my review today as part of the book blog tour for The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed. Special thanks to Shivani at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for reaching out and asking if I’d like to be part of their tour for this incredible book. Thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Goodreads: The Black Kids
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 04 August 2020
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Coming-of-Age
Panda Rating:

Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable 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.

Los Angeles, 1992
Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer.

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. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson.

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?

Buy: Publisher | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Book Depository

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Blog Tour Review: A House is a Body by Shruti Swamy

Today I’m back with another Algonquin book tour for A House is A Body by Shruti Swamy. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This book is out 11 August 2020!

Goodreads: A House is a Body
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 11 August 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction, Short Stories
Panda Rating:

In two-time O. Henry-prize winner Swamy’s debut collection of stories, dreams collide with reality, modernity collides with antiquity, myth with true identity, and women grapple with desire, with ego, with motherhood and mortality. In “Earthly Pleasures,” Radika, a young painter living alone in San Francisco, begins a secret romance with one of India’s biggest celebrities. In “A Simple Composition,” a husband’s moment of crisis leads to his wife’s discovery of a dark, ecstatic joy and the sense of a new beginning. In the title story, an exhausted mother watches, distracted and paralyzed, as a California wildfire approaches her home. With a knife blade’s edge and precision, the stories of A House Is a Body travel from India to America and back again to reveal the small moments of beauty, pain, and power that contain the world.

Buy: Amazon (US)

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#5OnMyTBR: LGBTQ+ Authors

Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!

This week’s prompt is: LGBTQ+ Authors ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

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#WWWWednesday: 13 May

Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

This is going to be a bit of a long one so if you manage to read through to the end, thank you 😉

It’s been a hot minute since I made one of these posts but a nice surprise is that I’ve been reading! …Okay, it’s still mostly blog tour reads but considering how I wasn’t even reading at all at certain points in the last month, it’s good progress! Since I last updated two weeks ago I’ve managed to finish 6 books and lucky for me I enjoyed all of them!

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar ★★★★½
I finished this morning and I’m glad to say that I really enjoyed it (plus this cover is just 😍)! I wish this existed when I was still in school but I still related to it now. I loved the diversity, queer rep, cultural rep and discussions about appropriation, religion and identity. My review for the blog tour is up tomorrow so watch out for that if you want to know more!

The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn by Freya Kennedy ★★★★☆
This was a perfect transition book that left me feeling the warm fuzzies at turning the last page. It’s about chasing your dreams and it’s full of hope despite the many doubts that plague our MC. I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how I really related to Libby. Check out my full review!

Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis ★★★★☆
I took a big step outside my comfort zone to read this horror/thriller and I’m glad to report that I didn’t end up feeling that scared (although I made sure to not read this one at night)! Kat Ellis masterfully builds this sinister and eerie atmosphere throughout the read. I do wish we got more answers though… Check out my full review!

Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter ★★★☆☆
This “dark fiction” was also pretty well outside my comfort zone but I still managed to enjoy parts of it. The characters were lacking but the world building had Scythe, Warcross, Ready Player One vibes that I loved! One thing is for sure: I will never ever buy a 3D printer for home. If you’ve read this, you’ll know why! Check out my full review!

War and Speech by Don Zolidis ★★★★☆
I’ve never read a book about speech/debate but this was so interesting and the MC really won me over. She was snarky and hilarious and I loved seeing her character grow through the read. It was fast paced and fun, and I’m so glad I got to read this one! Check out my full review!

Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff by Della Galton ★★★☆☆
It’s been a while since I read women’s fiction but this one had all the elements to remind me whyI like them. The best parts were definitely the atmosphere/setting! I could picture it so easily and it made me nostalgic for Norwich 💙 (even though it’s not set in Norwich… but still). Check out my full review!

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Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

This Sunday I probably should’ve spent the day in bed reading Auxiliary: London 2039. This is my next blog tour read for next week and I started it last night. I haven’t gotten far into it yet but it’s giving me Warcross, Ready Player One and Scythe vibes, so it has been interesting so far. There are some scenes that have me scratching my head (a little bit in discomfort) because I don’t know if they’re necessary but let’s see what happens. It’s definitely an interesting world — not so far-fetched and futuristic that it’s impossible to believe which is honestly just a little bit scary!

The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.

What are you currently reading?

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#WWWWednesday: 29 April

Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Well, we’re back to my reading taking a hit thanks to Animal Crossing (yes, still)! It’s the second to last day of April and let me just tell you… April was a bit of a failed month for me! Since last Wednesday I’ve still only managed to finish one book and it was a book that I felt went on FOREVER and it was definitely not in a good way!

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan ★★★☆☆
This book had me hitting struggle town hard and I don’t know whether I’m at 2.5 stars or 3. I still haven’t learned how to DNF a book so I pushed onward with it but I just… I don’t even know how I feel. No, I do. I’m annoyed because Nadya was so awful in this book and she completely ruined it for me. I wanted more Gods! More back story to these monsters that people worshipped but instead we got a very frustrating “romance” and a lot of pining. I still need to write my review but… Yeah. No. It just didn’t work for me.

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Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

This Sunday I spent the whole day in bed with Ruthless Gods and I’m so happy to say that I’m done with that book. Finally! Wow. I mean, I know I’ve been gaming a lot but I honestly feel like I’d been reading that book forever. I thought the first book was just okay, it didn’t blow me away like I was expecting it to, but I was hoping I’d enjoy book two more. Sadly, I have even stronger lukewarm feelings for this one… Review will be coming soon if I can write a coherent one! Might just be a mini review… I am picking up Incendiary tonight though, so I’m hoping for a turn around in reading feels with this one!

I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.

What are you currently reading?

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#WWWWednesday: 22 April

Holy wow, can someone tell me where April went to because it has seriously zoomed by! I can’t believe we’re just a few days from the last week of the month. I’m not ready for April to be over because I literally still have all the things to do and all the books to read!

Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Well, we’re back to my reading taking a hit thanks to Animal Crossing (yes, still)! Although we’re quite late into the month of April and my reading game has been thrown completely off this month (because what are books even), I feel like I’m slowly coming off the AC high. I’m not trying to jinx myself but I can feel it. That said, I only managed to finish one book since last Wednesday and it was another blog tour read.

The Silence of Bones by June Hur ★★★★½
This book was so different and so much more than I thought it’d be in all the best ways. I’ve never read a YA historical fiction, murder mystery/thriller before and it was incredible. It’s a bit slow to start but once you get sucked in you can’t put this book down. I’d also never read about this Korean dynastic empire before but despite being clueless to it, Hur’s writing was so immersive and I could still picture it clearly. Loved the characters and the exploration of sociopolitical themes of the era. Did I mention that it’s also highly quotable? Loved it and would definitely recommend it! Check out my full review.

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Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

This Sunday I spent half the day in bed with The Silence of Bones. I’m reading this for a blog tour and tomorrow is my tour date! Have I made much progress? No, and I’m actually concerned about finishing it on time. Yikes! That said, I’m finding it interesting and I’m really enjoying it. There’s so much going on with the sociopolitical dynamics in the plot. It’s such an interesting exploration of a dynastic empire and era that I know basically nothing about. I don’t know why but there’s something about this cover that always makes my brain jump into “fantasy mode” so that already had me shook from the start when I realised this was a historical fiction (I swear I read the blurb before requesting it but my brain just keeps playing tricks on me lol). Hard to believe this is a debut and I gotta say this cover is amazing! I’m looking forward to tucking into this one tonight until well into the morning 😂

I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak;
Ears, but I mustn’t hear;
Eyes, but I mustn’t see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman. As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder. But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

What are you currently reading?

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Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits Blog Tour: Review

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for the re-release of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami. A big shout out to Kelly from Algonquin for asking me to be part of this blog tour! I’m chuffed to have been given the opportunity to read something that’s well out of my usual reads and comfort zone, but I’m so glad I gave this a go! Special thanks to Algonquin Books and the author for providing me a copy of her book as part of this blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 14 April 2020 (re-release)
Genre: Literary Fiction, Cultural Fiction
Panda Rating:

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco. As four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain, author Laila Lalami asks, What has driven them to risk their lives? And will the rewards prove to be worth the danger? There’s Murad, a gentle, unemployed man who’s been reduced to hustling tourists around Tangier; Halima, who’s fleeing her drunken husband and the slums of Casablanca; Aziz, who must leave behind his devoted wife in hope of securing work in Spain; and Faten, a student and religious fanatic whose faith is at odds with an influential man determined to destroy her future. Sensitively written with beauty and boldness, this is a gripping book about what propels people to risk their lives in search of a better future. 

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