Tag Archives: fiction

Book Review: Real Men Knit by K.M. Jackson

Berkley
TBP May 19th, 2020
320 Pages

When their foster-turned-adoptive mother suddenly dies, four brothers struggle to keep open the doors of her beloved Harlem knitting shop, while dealing with life and love in Harlem.

Jesse Strong is known for two things: his devotion to his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, and his reputation for breaking hearts in Harlem. When Mama Joy unexpectedly passes away, he and his brothers have different plans on what to do with Strong Knits, their neighborhood knitting store: Jesse wants to keep the store open; his brothers want to shut it down.

Jesse makes an impassioned plea to Kerry Fuller, his childhood friend who has had a crush on him her entire life, to help him figure out how to run the business. Kerry agrees to help him reinvent the store and show him the knitty-gritty of the business, but the more time they spend together, the more the chemistry builds. Kerry, knowing Jesse’s history, doesn’t believe this relationship will exist longer than one can knit one, purl one. But Jesse is determined to prove to her that he can be the man for her—after all, real men knit. – Goodreads

I was very excited for this book. Focusing on a man who not only was adopted but is dealing with grief and knows how to knit, were topics that I was all for. But by the end of the book I was disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed because of lack of writing skills or pace but more so this book felt like a foundation to a bigger novel. So many different topics were passed over. I wanted more details in Mama Joy’s past, background information on the store, more character background and more character description.

I found it really hard to believe that Mama Joy did not teach or leave any information about how to run her business with her boys or even on paper. Kerry knew pretty much everything but it still baffled me how ‘Mama Joy did not write anything down. So that was on my mind but also the fact that the reader knows nothing about the store itself. If the author took more time to give the store a story, I would have believed this story much more.

Also character development as well as character background is pretty much non-existent. The whole issue/conflict in the novel is lack of communication. Kerry stresses so much that she is a grown woman but acts like a middle schooner throughout the entire book. I don’t understand why.

What did love about the book was the slow burn romance. I didn’t think the conflict of the novel was going to be lack of communication and more so Jesse sleeping with most of the city, so it was interesting that the author highlighted that but didn’t make that the issue. Like the author was very specific on who he slept with as well as their interactions with Kerry.

The breakout character for me was actually Jesse’s brother Damian. I really was intrigued by his hard ass and anger. I would love to read his story next.

With that being said, this wasn’t a bad book and I would recommend it as a introduction to this author. I just wish there was more added to it.

Overall,

2 Pickles

Book Review: Watching from the Dark by Gytha Lodge

Random House
TBP Feb 25th, 2020
352 Pages

Aidan Poole logs on to his laptop late at night to Skype his girlfriend, Zoe. To his horror, he realizes that there is someone else in her flat. Aidan can only listen to the sounds of a violent struggle taking place in the bathroom—and then the sound of silence. He is desperate to find out if Zoe is okay. But then why is he so hesitant to call the police?

When Aidan’s cryptic messages finally reach them, Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens and his team take the case—and discover the body. They soon find that no one has a bad word to say about Zoe, a big hearted young artist at the center of a curious web of waifs and strays, each relying on her for support, each hiding dark secrets and buried resentments. Has one of her so-called “friends” been driven to murder? Or does Aidan have the biggest secret of them all?- Goodreads

Creepy. . . is probably the best word I can describe this book after I was finished, which was late in the evening.

It was a good read despite the creepy vibe I got from reading it. I think what made it creepy for me is the fact that it is told from alternate viewpoints including Zoe. Reading the last days of a woman you just saw murdered and reading it from her pov, was tough to read.

The pace of the novel was great. It is a classic who done it novel and there are so many options of who can do it. But here was my issue with this book, every single person (minus the detectives) were problematic, selfish and down right horrible to Zoe and she became who she was at the end by not only the killer’s action but those she held dear to her as well.

The author left a lot of openings for who could have done it and there were twists throughout the book. However, it was very clear that the author just didn’t know what to do with those characters and their development. After everything was said and done no one (but the killer) was held accountable for their any of their actions and it was disappointing to see.

This is what caused the book to go from a 5 to a 3.

Something I would like to note is that I did not read the first book and at no point did I feel I needed to. Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens and his team were fantastic detectives and it would have been nice to see the author add more development on them. Their own personal lives were mentioned but nothing too deep, which is fine as the focus was the case. I feel that if you are going to talk about it make sure you back up what you say so there could be a reason why it was mentioned.

Would I say this book is predictable? Some. The author, as I mentioned, adds a lot of different paths where the ending can go but you aren’t exactly surprised at the end but what does surprises you is the how. Seriously, there are a few wow moments and all I could think about is “its not the destination, its the journey.”

Overall, very good read.

3 Pickles

2020 Cover Love

If you recall from last year (hehe) I did a series throughout the year called cover love to high new releases and their beautiful covers. Its 2020 and I am still keeping that ball rolling.

 

Beyond the fact that these books look gorgeous and will look absolutely stunning on my bookshelf, they sound fantastic.

What books are you looking forward to so far this year?

Book Review: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Knopf Books for Young Readers
TBP Oct. 29, 2019
288 Pages

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.

Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too. 

Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on..- Goodreads

What I loved about this book is that it touches upon well focuses upon a topic that is rarely discussed. Children who are born with HIV do not really get a chance to tell their story. The only person that I can think of IRL prior reading this book is Hydeia Broadbent. I feel like this book was inspired by her.

This book is a great conversation starter and it is full of information, strength and some adorableness.

Simone is such a cutie. For a 17 year old, she is one of those girls that hold onto her innocence for dear life. It makes absolute sense why she is pretty sheltered; like she has HIV and has had it her whole life. It just gets too much as you keep reading the book. Like the author lays it on pretty thick. But she was genuine and I love the fact that the author was able to convey this.

The romance within this novel is A+. Miles and how he initiated their dating had the biggest smile on my face. Their emotions aren’t teenagers who are high on hormones. There is development in their relationship, its tested and there is value in Simone and Miles as more than just a couple. I thought it was great.

Here is what I didn’t like about the book. It was predictable. From the moment, Simone received the note, the reader or at least already knew what was going to happen. It really was not hard to figure out.

That was really the only thing about this book that I couldn’t get past . . . oh I lied. I hated the fact that Simone’s parents did not have any boundaries. What grown as man is going in to the GYN appointment with their 17 year old daughter? Like I get it, it was her first time going HOWEVER, there are several lines crossed by those parents and I was not feeling it.

Overall, a good read. I would recommend it.

3 Pickles

Quick Five© with Ben Galley

          Courtesy of Ben Galley

Name: Ben Galley

Who is Ben?  An author of dark and epic fantasy with a musical past.

Books: Emaneska Series, The Scarlet Star Trilogy, The Chasing Graves Trilogy, Heart of Stone

Buy: Amazon and Barnes and Nobles

If you haven’t heard of The Write Reads, you are missing out. They have introduced book bloggers to new book bloggers and almost most importantly, they have introduced readers to new authors. Take Ben Galley, for instance.

The Ultimate Blog Tour has introduced me to a Canadian author who is leaving a stamp not only on dark and epic fantasy but also the self-publishing world. His books, which are detailed and full of world building, will leave you waiting more.

Enjoy this insight to an author you should become familiar with.

When writing a book, how do you balance being a reader and being a writer?

Most days, the bulk of my time is devoted to writing, however, I think it’s highly important for a writer to be a reader, and so I try to sneak in at least half an hour of reading. I believe reading keeps a writer’s mind sharp, as well as subtly teaching language, new ideas, and of course, adding a great deal of enjoyment and escapism!

Why did you choose to write epic and dark fantasy? What lead you to that genre?

I’ve always been a fantasy fan. The first book I ever read was The Hobbit and shortly after that, Lord of The Rings. From there I devoured any fantastical fiction I could find, and I’ve developed a huge passion for the genre. It was only natural that I started writing in the same genre, and I haven’t looked back since! I’ve dabbled in subgenres here and there, from military fiction to weird west, but there’s always been a strong fantasy streak in what I write.

You state that you used your knowledge of the music industry and being an independent artist to help with your route to self-publish your book. Can you explain a little bit of how?

During my time at the Academy of Contemporary Music, I was taught a wide range of methods for being self-sufficient as an artist as well as an entrepreneur. That included developing marketing and business skills, as well as learning how to produce and sell media directly to the consumer. When I switched from music to the books, I saw a large amount of parallels in the industry, and realised I could apply my knowledge to being an indie author. That was one of the reasons I chose to go self-published.

What does literary success look like to you and with that definition in mind, are you successful?

I’ve always been driven to achieve the highest levels of success possible, perhaps to my own detriment, but it’s just how my brain works! For me, that success looks like being a household name in fantasy, and it’s a goal I’m still aiming for, and writing towards. I’m very proud to be making a full-time living from my books, and that is a benchmark that I deem to be successful. I’m just looking forward to what the future brings!

Final and random question, you own an acre of the moon?

I do! Or at least, a company sold me an acre. I’ve always hoped it was legitimate, and I guess I’ll find out whenever I get up there to colonise it! I know one thing, and that is I’m using it to open the first lunar bookstore.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BenGalley

Website: https://www.bengalley.com/

Book Review: The Rosie Result (Don Tillman #3) by Graeme Simsion

Text Publishing
Published Feb. 5th, 2019
376 Pages

Don and Rosie are back in Melbourne after a decade in New York, and they’re about to face their most important project.

Their son, Hudson, is having trouble at school: his teachers say he isn’t fitting in with the other kids. Meanwhile, Rosie is battling Judas at work, and Don is in hot water after the Genetics Lecture Outrage. The life-contentment graph, recently at its highest point, is curving downwards.

For Don Tillman, geneticist and World’s Best Problem-Solver, learning to be a good parent as well as a good partner will require the help of friends old and new.

It will mean letting Hudson make his way in the world, and grappling with awkward truths about his own identity.

And opening a cocktail bar.– Goodreads

It has been some time since I completed a series. I am one of those readers that avoid reading the last book of a great series because I don’t want it to end. The reason I decided to read this is simple. It was an ARC lol and I wanted to read it, soak it in and share my thoughts.

I thoroughly enjoyed this series. Graeme has a way of opening your eyes to people you would have never given a second thought to. Or to people that you’re like huh . . . I wonder what they are about but you never talk to them. This series isn’t overly complicated in setting or even characters. It is simple but with an explosion of emotions and thought.

This particular book, the last one to the series, goes through several topics including parenthood, platonic and intimate relationships, race (just briefly) and happiness. What stuck out to me was something that Don and myself almost missed.

Sometimes you get caught up in saving others that you forget what is most important. Yes, your true priority will always be in your mind but there can be several different reasoning for what you are currently doing that will distract you from it. When this clicked in my head, when it clicked in Don’s head, I knew instantly what Graeme was doing with this book and I was all for it.

Was this read slow? Yes, it was. Was it, sometimes, painfully detailed? Yes. However, Don has always been that character to provide more information or think more deeply than others and it only made sense that he stayed this way. I was so glad to see that after getting married, raising a child that Don and Rosie did not change who they were but made it fit for each other because they loved each other and the life that they built.

However, as much as I think this book was a solid read. Something was missing. Like the two previous books, this focuses on Don and how he navigates life and the people that are in it. But the interactions with his son and Rosie did not feel genuine in a way. There wasn’t enough Rosie in the book. There wasn’t enough care on their relationship and this was huge for me as she is the cause for the entire series. Yes, it focuses on their son but there were very specific topics that included her and yet she wasn’t present. I wanted more Rosie.

Overall, solid book, great series that I would recommend to anyone that is looking to step out the box a bit.

3 Pickles