The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson | Book Review

Synopsis:


In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

Review:

So I had to DNF this @ 62% I really didn’t want to but continuing on to finish this was making me fall into a reading slump that’s when I know I have to give up reading this.

So this isn’t a bad story at all it’s just all over the place for me. I picked this up for two reasons because I assumed there will be a story about witches and magic and also because of the bookclub I’m in.

Immanuel is basically shunned because of her mother’s sins. There’s talk about a plauge and Immanuel is trying to uncover more about it. Very little talk about witches, and when you do hear from them it’s much later in the story.

I wanted to like this, but this didn’t work for me at all. I didn’t really care for the style of writing. Maybe …just maybe I might pick this back up in the future but for now it’s a 2.5 star

I know a lot of people love this book but when a story is making me dred reading I know I have to stop what I’m reading. Once again not a bad story, it just didn’t work for me.

Rating: 2.5 ⭐⭐

Watch “Buzzwordathon TBR 2021” on YouTube

I have posted my buzzwordathon tbr for the year long reading challenge. Check out my video to see all that I’ll be reading. The buzzwordathon is hosted by booktuber booksandlala and there are themes for each month. You plan your tbr around those themes and just have fun. 😊

Internment by Samira Ahmed | Book Review

Synopsis:
Rebellions are built on hope.

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today. 



Book Review:


 

InternmentInternment by Samira Ahmed
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Internment started out pretty good but then it didn’t live up to what I was hoping for. This story is about a Muslim American family taken from their home forced to live in a guarded camp with other Muslim families. Teenager Layla wants her life back and feels she should help the other families that are locked away.

This story did have a real-world feel to it but towards the middle and the end not so much. Layla was doing things that in the real world she would have gotten killed for. Then she seemed so focused on getting to her boyfriend. In a story like this that is the last thing, I would think about. Yes, Layla contacted her boyfriend to him what was going on but every few pages she seemed that’s all she cared about instead of trying to follow the rules so she or her parents won’t get killed. 

This story did have some scary themes to it, but I guess I’m thinking of things that are in 2020 when hundreds of thousands of families got separated at the border and put into cages. Today this still hurts me!!

Overall this was an okay story not my favorite. It took me a very long time to finish it. I really wasn’t interested at a certain point anymore. But I can say the audiobook was good I did like the narrator. But I’m glad I finished it I don’t think I’ll be re-reading this anytime soon.

Long Way Down By Jason Reynolds | Book Review

Sypnopis: 

An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.


Book Review



 

Long Way DownLong Way Down by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(November 2020)
I re-read this story for the first time in three years and I still love this book. I feel like I have developed a soft spot for this story. This time I listened to the audiobook and I loved this story a lot more the second time around. Great story, great poetry. Always a
5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ read!

(November 2017)
Jason Reynolds is an amazing writer! He was able to take something so real and sensitive and add his cool take and approach to magical realism. 

I went in to this book not knowing what it really was about. I just knew that Jason Reynolds wrote it and I knew I’ll end up liking it. So the story is about Will and Will’s big brother Shawn getting killed and the story unravels from there. 

As I was reading I couldn’t decipher what was real and what wasn’t. It was making me crazy in a way, but in a good way. Certain parts in the book were very eerie and had me thinking about it all through the night. I strongly believe if a book can have me think the way Long Way Down did is a winner in my eyes. 

Jason Reynolds uses verse and poetry to help make this powerful story come to life. His writing style is amazing and grabs my attention from the start. 

I won’t lie towards end of the story I think I shed a few tears because the story was so beautiful and real and most importantly honest. I think anyone who loves Jason Reynold’s work would love this book and people who love books written in verse.

Long Way Down had so many elements that made me think, this is definitely something I’ll be re-reading very soon. And lastly of I love how Jason added his own touch to magical realism within the story. This needs to be a motion picture movie soon that’s how much I loved and enjoyed it!

June – What I plan to Read for the Month #PrideMonth + #GeorgeFloydMurder Discussion in video (Inside Post)

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Synopsis:
Bingo Love is a story of a same-sex romance that spans over 60 years. A chance meeting at church bingo in 1963 brings Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray together. Through their formative years, these two women develop feelings for each other and finally profess their love for one another.

Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid 60’s, Hazel and Mari are reunited again at a bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.
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Synopsis:

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.


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Synopsis:

Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.

One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.

Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .

In K. Ancrum’s signature poetic style, this slow-burn romance will have you savoring every page.


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Synopsis:


Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.

Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.

Minneapolis. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels–about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner.

Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.

Junauda Petrus’s debut brilliantly captures the distinctly lush and lyrical voices of Mabel and Audre as they conjure a love that is stronger than hatred, prison, and death and as vast as the blackness between the stars.


OTHER BOOKS I WANT TO  READ DURING MONTH:


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Synopsis:

Tight: Lately, Bryan’s been feeling it in all kinds of ways . . .

Bryan knows what’s tight for him–reading comics, drawing superheroes, and hanging out with no drama. But drama is every day where he’s from, and that gets him tight, wound up.

And now Bryan’s friend Mike pressures him with ideas of fun that are crazy risky. At first, it’s a rush following Mike, hopping turnstiles, subway surfing, and getting into all kinds of trouble. But Bryan never really feels right acting so wrong, and drama really isn’t him. So which way will he go, especially when his dad tells him it’s better to be hard and feared than liked?

But if there’s one thing Bryan’s gotten from his comic heroes, it’s that he has power–to stand up for what he feels . . .

Torrey Maldonado delivers a fast-paced, insightful, dynamic story capturing urban community life. Readers will connect with Bryan’s journey as he navigates a tough world with a heartfelt desire for a different life.

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Synopsis:


When best friends Tai and Mila are reunited after a summer apart, their friendship threatens to combust from the pressure of secrets, middle school, and the looming dance auditions for a new talented-and-gifted program.

Fans of Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together will love this memorable story about a complex friendship between two very different African American girls—and the importance of speaking up.

Jamila Phillips and Tai Johnson have been inseparable since they were toddlers, having grown up across the street from each other in Pirates Cove, a low-income housing project. As summer comes to an end, Tai can’t wait for Mila to return from spending a month with her aunt in the suburbs. But both girls are grappling with secrets, and when Mila returns she’s more focused on her upcoming dance auditions than hanging out with Tai.

Paula Chase explores complex issues that affect many young teens, and So Done offers a powerful message about speaking up. Full of ballet, basketball, family, and daily life in Pirates Cove, this memorable novel is for fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Jason Reynolds’s Ghost.


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Synopsis:

The only thing more beautiful than Beyoncé is God, and God is a black woman sipping rosé and drawing a lavender bath, texting her mom, belly-laughing in the therapist’s office, feeling unloved, being on display, daring to survive. Morgan Parker stands at the intersections of vulnerability and performance, of desire and disgust, of tragedy and excellence. Unrelentingly feminist, tender, ruthless, and sequined, these poems are an altar to the complexities of black American womanhood in an age of non-indictments and deja vu, and a time of wars over bodies and power. These poems celebrate and mourn. They are a chorus chanting: You’re gonna give us the love we need.


With The Fire on High By Elizabeth Acevedo | Book Review

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Synopsis:
With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.


Book Review:


With the Fire on HighWith the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a good novel! It actually had a mix of what most teen mom’s today that are in school and working and taking care of their kid(s) go through. Emoni’s only dream is to cook in a nice restaurant. She love to cook and she like to add her own touch to her food. 

With her grades almost slipping and taking care of her daughter and working part-time she feels an elective like culinary art’s won’t help her..

This story shows that no matter your situation you can get what you want from life with determination and hard work. Emoni worked hard and never gave up even when they where people telling her to drop out because she was pregnant.

I loved this story loved it even more that I listened to it on audiobook. Elizabeth Acevedo is Queen and I’ll read anything she publishes. Great story!! 5 🌟

April Wrap Up — All the Books I Read In April 2020

So For the month of April, I believed I participated in two readathons and I basically failed both of them, only because of so much that is going on but I did manage to somethings which I shared in a youtube video that I filmed for booktube and my blog. Down below is a video I did for my booktube channel as well as the stats or star ratings and links to the reviews. Hope you all enjoy it. 

Here are my stats for the month of April:
36601937. sy475  Rated 3 Stars — link to review Ghost Squad Review
30075802   Rated 4 Stars — link to review The Princess Saves Herself in This One
27233119. sx318   Rated 4 Stars — link to review Small Ghost
34140219. sy475  Rated 4 Stars — link to review Nectar
32076617. sy475 Rated 4 Stars — link to review The City Born Great

May 2020 TBR — What I Want To Read For the Month

 I will be participating in a readathon hosted by booktuber Mande Garrett [Link to Mande’s video] it’s called the Fire readathon and there are 3 prompts. This readathon runs the whole month of May.

1. The book that has orange, red, or yellow or all of the colors on the cover. — City Born Great by NK Jemisin [already read and rated]
2.Have the word ‘FIRE’ in the title or spelled out somewhere on the book or has a fire on the cover– With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo
3. Read a book that has anything related to fire example Kingdom of Ash— A Phoenix Must Burn by Patrice Caldwell

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Synopsis: With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

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Synopsis: Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.

Authors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.



These next books I want to read if have more time in the month (but won’t make any promises if I’ll get to all of them)–

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Synopsis:
With a bootylicious body like Beyonc� and a face that would put any top model to shame, Toi McKnight has all the cuties coming her way. Who could blame them? She was always rocking the latest fashion trends and hanging at every bangin’ party in the city. But all that came at a price, and now Toi McKnight is the seventeen-year-old mother of a baby boy.



Between bills to pay and adult responsibilities to meet, she’s got zero time for sizzling gossip, chilling with her friends or doing the things she used to. So when unexpected sparks start flying between her and six-foot-two, deliciously fine Harlem, Toi knows she’s got to dead any chance of a relationship fast since he doesn’t date teenage mothers–and she’s vowed to never love again. But every time Toi tries to cut Harlem loose, she falls harder for him. And all the other drama in her life doesn’t help the situation any, especially when her son’s father comes back around. Toi tries to do the right thing, but doing the right thing just may put her on heartbreak express for good.

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Synopsis: 
Will their romance fade with the music?

Bailey’s settled for working in her mother’s salon instead of pursuing her dream. Music. She has the soul of a singer. Melodies speak to her heart. She could face her fear, but that would take courage and ignoring the disapproval of those close to her. When an incredible opportunity comes her way, she must decide whether to take the risk or live in regret.

Jackson’s a musician determined to make it into the business with his band. After years of hard work, his dreams may come true. He can make amends for the past. He can let go of his guilt.

When Jackson and Bailey meet online, their love for music forms an extraordinary bond. Once they both pursue their passions, including the one between them, there’s no going back. But there’s a secret. A secret that will make Bailey question everything. 


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Synopsis:
Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

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Synopsis:

Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?

A crime he says he never committed.

Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.

But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.