Category Archives: Uncategorized

Book Review | Blog Tour |The Swordsman’s Lament by G.M. White

Belasko thought he was beyond intrigues and machinations. But when the grief-stricken King demands vengeance, Belasko discovers he is expendable. His options are clear… find the real killer or satisfy the royal bloodlust.

With the forces of the palace mobilised against him he is thrust into the city’s bleak underbelly and must fight to discover the truth. With betrayal around every corner he must form unlikely alliances. Can the veteran warrior survive long enough to protect his friends and prove his innocence?- Goodreads

This is a good start to a series. I was surprised to have been invested into this book in such a short amount of time. Belasko is an interesting character who knows his stuff.

Belasko is unconventional in the sense that he already lived his life, did his fighting and now he just wants to take care of his students. I like this version of a hero. As a reader, I don’t see it often but in movies I see it a lot.

Although I wish he did more to give me that action pack I am the world’s deadlish former soldier, he is a old man (old for the book) just trying to live his life without mess.

I liked the characters of this book and the world building but it was slow. The book was dreadfully slow. About 20% into the book it lost steam. Which is unfortunate because there is good foundation within this book.

Overall, there is something about this book that makes you want to pick up book two.

3 Pickles

COVER LOVE 2020 | FALL EDITION

The greatest season of the year is coming. That’s right fall. And I am excited to do a Cover Love post to share all the new books that are coming out this fall.

If you are new here, I take time to express my love of some beautiful covers for new books coming out. You can a look at my beginning of the year cover love here and my spring cover love here .

So who is ready to spend all the moneys or live at the library? Lol

What books are you all looking forward to?

Book Review: The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

Disney-Hyperion
TBP July 7th 2020
304 Pages

Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?
Duke Crenshaw is do done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight.
Only problem? Duke can’t vote.

When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn’t spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right. And that’s how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote.

They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva’s missing cat), it’s clear that there’s more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.- Goodreads

TW: Death of a Sibling 

If there wasn’t a more timely book currently out there right now, I don’t know where it is. This book is important. It focuses on the importance of voting BUT it also focuses on the importance of who you surround yourself with, race, trauma, stereotypes and community.

This is the first book I’ve read by Colbert  and I was pleased with it. It packed a bigger punch the summary makes it seem and I was expecting the different issues that written. I guess I should have assumed given the fact that this is a political novel (so to speak).

The romance was so far behind that I don’t actually consider it a romance. Duke and Marva have a mutual interest but I am not sure its chemistry. The fact that voting brings them together is fantastic and I love it. But if it wasn’t for the fact that Marva’s boyfriend was selfish and exhibited allyship fatigue (-_-) she would have paid Duke no attention.  However, I liked the fact that there was willingness to try because not everything has to be insta love and things can take time to grow.

The pace of the novel was great. The entire book was detailed without feeling like a run own. And going back to its timeliness. . . this book is important and not just because it stresses the importance of voting but also what someone can do for their community outside of them voting.  It was touching and thought-provoking.  It makes you think.

Overall, I liked this book and would recommend it.

3 Pickles

 

Book Review | Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West

Park Row
TBP June 16th 2020
352 Pages

When Ruby King’s mother is found murdered in their home in Chicago’s South Side, the police dismiss it as another act of violence in a black neighborhood. But for Ruby, it’s a devastating loss that leaves her on her own with her violent father. While she receives many condolences, her best friend, Layla, is the only one who understands how this puts Ruby in jeopardy.

Their closeness is tested when Layla’s father, the pastor of their church, demands that Layla stay away. But what is the price for turning a blind eye? In a relentless quest to save Ruby, Layla uncovers the murky loyalties and dangerous secrets that have bound their families together for generations. Only by facing this legacy of trauma head-on will Ruby be able to break free.- Goodreads

TW | Incest, Rape, Abuse, Violence, Murder

This book is heavy. It is emotionally draining heavy piece of literature that I have no idea how the author was able to write it and I hope that she is okay.

And honestly, I wish I can stop the review there. Not because this wasn’t a good book. It was good. Different point of views, which means you got the full story, its messy (good messy), its deep and it gives everyone and thing a voice.

History goes deep, especially history with secrets and while reading this book all I can think about is this someone’s truth? If it is, dang. Not only was I invested in this story, my heart and emotions was completely wrapped into what was going on.

This book isn’t just about Ruby or Layla. It goes way further than that. Its excellent writing to add so much without feeling like the book is dragging or overly complicated.

This is a good book but if you are not emotionally strong enough, then do no read this book. If you are, good luck.

4 Pickles

Book Review: Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices

Amulet Books
TBP: May 5th, 2020
272 Pages

Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it’s the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it’s the gift-giving and holiday parties to come that day.

Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.- Goodreads

I did not convert to Islam until I was in my twenties. However, for years as a teen I identified as a Muslim as my parents were studying and taught my siblings what they learned. With that being said, I want to note that although I have never experienced the Muslim way of life as a teenager, I felt extremely connected to this book as an adult.

These stories are simple yet complicated and have an extreme depth of emotion. They are not only reflective but informative. Each author adds in information about Islam that I was extremely happy to see.

But what stood out to me in the most surprising and wonderful way was to see Black stories. What I mean by this is the first story within this novel is about a Bi-racial girl spending time with the African side of her family (this was written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow). Having this as the first story was powerful and intended as stories about Black Muslims are rarely heard. I appreciated it as well as seeing other Black authors within this book ( Candice Montgomery and Ashley Franklin).

Before writing this review, I sat and thought about what was my favorite story and it was Perfect by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, Generous by Asmaa Hussein and Searching for Blue by N.H. Senzai. All the stories within this book were amazing but these three stood out. All the stories connected with a theme of well obviously about EID but about growth, love, and self-discovery. It flowed very well.

Overall, there is nothing that I didn’t love about this book and I am so happy I was able to read it.

4 Pickles

The Minis

Self-Published
Jan. 1st, 2020
131 Pages

 

A genie that needs true love in order to escape her lamp?

I am all for it. I loved this book but would have love truly loved if there was more fantasy involved. The author brushes over a lot of the fantasy to focus on the romance, which was fantastic by the way. But as a fantasy lover, there is a lot of good stuff here and would love to see it grow.

B. Love should write more fantasy novels and make them longer.

4 Pickles

A retired NFL player, Colton, takes over his father’s business and falls for the star employee of the company, Whitney. He doesn’t realize that they met before and she hates his guts.

Self-Published
Sept. 16th, 2019
169 Pages

The romance was forced. The author did her best to create a build up but it was rushed and didn’t make sense. There is history between the two but there isn’t at the same time. What I mean to say is their history is so short and the author uses that to create a conflict that isn’t structured very well.

What was cute about this novel was how Colton broke the ice so they can get to know each other. It was super cute.

However, that didn’t save this novella.

1 Pickle

Pink Cashmere Publishing, LLC
Published May 16th, 2017
242 Pages

What do you get when you have a landlord who is also a popular natural hair blogger rents to a womanizing corporate man? This book. 

I loved this book and it was all because of the womanizer named Ryan Boye. I didn’t really care for Angela. She was a bit too desperate for me at times and she had unrealistic expectations too soon. But Ryan. He did his thing and when he didn’t just wait around for things to happen. He has self-aware and very actionable. I loved him.

There is one scene in this novel and all I could think of was the wedding scene in “A Different World” if you know you know.

4 Pickles

 

Manga Monday: The Voynich Hotel by Seiman Douman

Seven Seas
Published July 24th 2018

After a series of tragic events, Taizou decides to make a break with his past and go on a vacation to the tiny island nation of Blefusco. Little does he know that his hotel is a hot spot for contract killers, drug dealers, ghosts, and a coven of immortal witches. So much for rest and relaxation…- Goodreads

This review is on all three of the books.

I felt mislead reading this series. I was promised comedy, supernatural, murders and assassinations. It didn’t deliver, which was extremely unfortunate because there was a lot the author could and should have done.

You ever read a book or watched a series that was jammed packed with everything within the first book or first season? That is what this felt like. There series is three volumes that pack a lot of information, a lot of paths, a lot of depth but only gives you surface level conversations.

It really was like reading a pilot. The characters were great. Every single one of them brought something to the table and it fit well into the bottom plot of the story. However, the “romance” was trash. It was forced, weird and the author did no way to build it up. It just happened. It was one of the most uncomfortable interactions I have read.

Why did I finish reading the series? Because the way the manga was written and all the little details made you want to see more. It gave you hope that something was going to happen. And I was super disappointed once it ended.

I really wanted to like this manga. It had promises of something huge. But it wasn’t fleshed out enough.

Overall,

1 Pickle

Goal Check 2020

New Year and new goals (kind of).

Instagram Goals

I have pretty much given up on Instagram in the sense of bookstagram. I am not consistent with book photos and plus that take a bit more work than I have the strength to do right so. So I am leaving the bookstagram world be. I don’t need to be on every piece of social media, so I won’t. But if you do want to follow me instagram.com/niaboothangs

Motif by Tanya Goals

I did super well this year with the blog. Between me interacting more on Twitter and joining various group boards (some worked out, others didn’t) my following count for the site is currently sitting at 411. Last January I had 242 followers, so I did pretty well in 2019. Unfortunately, I didn’t reach my goal of 500 so I am adjusting this year, to make the goal of 1000 :) Shoot high or go home.

Twitter Goals

“If nothing else I have done a fantastic on Twitter this year. This statement still stands because in January I had 569 followers and now I am at 918 followers. And these followers are fairly active, so I am super pumped about that. My goal has changed. Instead of 1000, I want 1500 by the end of the year. The plan is to do a book giveaway when I hit that goal.” <—- this was last yeah. I am currently sitting at 1,161 followers. No, I didn’t hit my 1500 goal but technically it was a stretch goal. Overall, I am happy as heck. This year the goal is 2000 and I still plan on doing a giveaway at 1500.

Book Goals

Other than the Goodreads Book Challenge, my only book goal is to participate in more readathons and possibly doing some reading buddies. Last year I lowered my Goodreads Challenge to 170 and I exceed it by nine. This year it is at 170 again. This was a comfortable goal as I was able to take breaks not feel overwhelmed and just read. I will sit at this number forever.

__________________

Overall, I took about a month long break from blogging, social media and some reading. It was great. I really needed it and I should probably plan more scheduled breaks throughout the year as opposed to pulling one at the end of the year.

What type of goals do you have this year?

Book Review: Timothy Mean and the Time Machine by William A.E. Ford

Self Published
January 17th 2019

With Timothy Mean’s amazing imagination and time machine, anything and anywhere is possible!

Join Timothy on a magical rhyming adventure as he skips through time and pranks with pirates, gets daring with dragons, and even teases a T-Rex! – Goodreads

I would like to thank the author, William A.E. Ford for reaching out to me and sending me an arc to one of the most adorable picture books, I have read in a long time.

Timothy Mean builds this time machine at a point of looking for something new to do and as fast as he can think of it, he goes to another time period.

What I loved about this is it gave me the Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day feel. Yes, they are two different books but something about this read made me feel very nostalgic and I was for it.

I loved the artwork. Its whimsical with bold colors that doesn’t take away too much from the text.

 

Author Interview: Johanna Nield

Hey Guys!

I have had the most amazing pleasure to conduct an extended Quick Five interview with author Johanna Nield.

Author of the New Beginnings series, Ms. Nield is excited to share the re-release of her series, after self-publishing, with the UK publising company Cranthorpe Miller.

Y’all I cannot tell you how great this interview was. To be able to dig deep wth Ms. Nield about changing from self-publishing to sponsored publishing, to find out more about her as a writer and what she views as sucess was extremely exciting.

I hope you enjoy this very open interview.

You can find Johanna Nield on her website at http://www.johannanield.co.uk/ Facebook and Goodreads.

___________________________________

Your book New Beginnings was originally published in 2010 but it looks like it is getting its own “new beginning” now. 😊 How do you feel about where your book is going, nine years later?

I’m delighted with its magnificent make-over! I self-published New Beginnings to please family and friends who wanted to read more than the extracts I’d been sharing, but I knew it needed a professional touch. The Cranthorpe Miller team have helped me improve and update my novel and I love the way it’s turned out.

Since the book was published nine years ago, how has the book and your writing changed since its original release?

The plot remains unchanged, but it has been updated to reflect current times, to clarify some events and references, and to shed some unnecessary passages. My writing has developed significantly over the years, particularly in terms of achieving more concise descriptions. The writing challenges presented by my university course helped me to cultivate my narrative voice and to identify my strengths and weaknesses as a writer but I view my development as a writer as an ongoing process because there’s always something new to learn.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a series?

For me, the most difficult thing is knowing when to stop! The second and third books in my series continue on from New Beginnings but I haven’t yet reached the end: books four and five are bubbling away on the mental backburner. It’s often difficult to remember who did what and when, so my character notes and plot timetable are extremely important for keeping me on track.

How do you balance being a reader and a writer when writing a book?

As a reader, I know what I like and dislike in a book and I bring that to my writing. If I don’t want to read something, then I’m less likely to write it. For example, a turn-off for me is stuttering dialogue, littered with “Um” and “Ah …” and long pauses. Yes, people do talk that way but for me it’s not an engaging way to present a conversation. Reading also lets me see how other tales are crafted, the best of which give me something to strive towards. I once put down a book and cried because the writing was so exquisite, and I almost gave up as a writer because I felt I couldn’t emulate that level of expertise. Thankfully, as many best-sellers have shown, writers are as different as the readers who enjoy their work.

Do you do any research for your books? If so, how does your research look like?

I needed to update my knowledge of NVQ modules for New Beginnings, and to ensure I used correct medical terms. Our local reference library is always my first option and I then supplement the information gained there with internet searches. I’m careful to only use reliable and certified sites to ensure the material I use is up-to-date and correct.

To change the subject slightly, what is it about literature or the overall the written word that drew you to becoming a writer?

Words have always fascinated me. I have loved reading from an early age and writing quickly became a joy. Words can be immeasurably powerful and the ability to express oneself with carefully chosen phrases is a gift of genius in some, in the same way as those who create beautiful artwork. I consider myself an eager apprentice, frequently enthralled by perfect prose.

How has the publishing world been for you? Is there any advice you would give a new author?

The publishing world has been instructive, challenging, supportive and developmental. Most of the rejections I’ve received over the years have been constructive and encouraging, and feedback from all quarters is always invaluable. I’m under no illusion that my life will change but I’m delighted that my life-long dream has come true. My advice to new authors is “Write. Don’t worry about how good it is, just write. Then read it, think about it, and write again. And never even think about giving up.”

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?

Writing has always been a spare time activity as I work full-time and have family commitments. If writing didn’t captivate me, I think I’d be an artist because I love to paint and draw. Creativity is extremely important to me: it’s my way of relaxing and switching off from the demands of the day.

Is there anything that you dislike about the process of becoming either a published author or writing?

No! Writing is an exciting, exhilarating, wonderful experience! There is always something to learn and there will always be opportunities to improve, to try new genres and styles, to experiment with different subjects and eras – there are worlds waiting to be written about. The process of becoming a published author is also exciting, exhilarating, wonderful … and a very steep learning curve! If I could change anything about that process, I would make myself better at self-promotion as that is a skill I lack.

Finally, what is your definition of success as a writer?

For me, success as a writer comes when a reader enjoys what I’ve written and understands what I’m trying to say. It’s not about sales or best-seller lists; for me, hearing that someone likes my work is far more important and rewarding than knowing I’ve sold a certain number of books. The opportunity to engage with readers – to hear their feedback (good and bad) and to learn from them what works and what doesn’t – is far more valuable than potential fame for out-selling another author.

###