Reviews

Book Review | Harlem Rhapsody by John Nuckel

2020.06-call for bloggers - JN

*Book given by the frolic blog tours in exchange for an honest review*

HarlemRhapsody-cover-flatDescription: In the days of prohibition and the Harlem Renaissance, Owney Madden, gangster and Cotton Club owner, has a plan to defeat the tyranny of Tammany Hall. He’ll whack mob kingpin Arnold Rothstein. Harlem Rhapsody follows this turbulent era (1927-1937), from Duke Ellington’s debut at the Cotton Club, to the unsolved murder of Rothstein, and the machinations of a secret organization, the Volunteers. Based on true events and real people (The Belle of Broadway; Titanic Thompson; Lucky Luciano) Harlem Rhapsody is the second book in The Volunteer series about Teddy Roosevelt’s band of men who, with financial assistance from J.P. Morgan and John Rockefeller, fight to take down corruption and Tammany Hall.

 


What I Liked

Before I get into this review, I just want to make sure you all know that Harlem Rhapsody is book two in The Volunteers book series. The first book in the series is called Drive by John M. Nuckel. I suggest you check that one out if this review sounds like something you might enjoy!

First and foremost, I loved how researched this book was. This book takes place during the prohibition era in the US, where alcohol consumption was against the law, unless you had a prescription. This book revolves around the corruption of the time period. Some of the themes include speakeasies, crooked cops and politicians, inequality, and organized crime. While reading this book, it was apparent that the author knew a lot about this time period as well as landmarks such as The Cotton Club, which I suggest you click through and learn more about. It is rare where an historical fiction leads me to research new topics and honestly, I felt the extra research added to my reading experience. Also, the references and appearances of historical figures is fun for someone who enjoys history.

As stated, this book showcases corruption during this time period. One of the things that stood out to me was the opening “scene” itself. It showed the political unease and “sneakiness” in not only the US, but also abroad. It showed how horribly people could have been treated. The corruption of the shown in this novel includes people in power being paid to look the other way, especially when it came to illegal alcohol consumption. Some even coming into the speakeasies themselves! But, this book took a look at those who were in charge, who ran the networks that fueled the illegal activities and how they were in a constant duel for power. This book really was filled with action and had a lot going on in it. It was interesting to see the inner workings of these “secret” organizations. I felt like I was reading the equivalent of a mob movie, which for me is good, because I have been on a true crime kick as of late.


What I Didn’t Like

The one fault that I found with this book was from time to time things dragged a bit, but I feel like that will not be the case for everyone. For me, when it did drag it was for a very short period of time.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I felt like this was a really interesting historical fiction set in a very corrupt time period. If you like reading about the prohibition era, groups vying for power, corruption and even true crime I feel like this book might have something for you. Also, a nice bonus is the short chapters! I am a reader who cannot stop until they have reached the end of the chapter, so personally this was a huge plus!

4stars


Author Links

John-Nuckel-lg

Website
Twitter
Instagram
@johnnuckel
Facebook
@johnnuckel

Book Information

Publication Date: December 20, 2019

Publisher:  Independently published

List Price: $11.99

ISBN: 978-1676954545

Pages: 220 pages


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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Tay from Frayed Books | House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Someone Picks My Books

Hello and welcome to another installment of Someone Picks My Books, this month I had the honor of Tay one of the duo running Frayed Books picking my book! You should check out her work as well as her co-blogger Missy, they are both wonderful! As you can see from the title Tay picked out House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas.


One Sentence Review

An action packed adventure that was inventive and somehow was also boring? kinda?


Book Description

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

Sarah J. Maas, credit where credit is due, the world and lore created for this book and series down the line is wonderful. Even within the first chapter you can see the effort and time she put into crediting backstories, magic systems, and a society as a whole. Within this magical society you follow quite a few characters, the most appealing aspect being they are 20 year olds. Can I get a yay for some new adult? I personally love reading books that are new adult because I relate the most with it. I truly wish there were more and this book ticked that box for me.

Another bonus about the characters is the dynamics between them. I really thought the way the characters interacted with one another was portrayed for the most part well. There were even a few parts where I thought to myself, “yeah, I’v seen people do that before to each other” even though it is a fantasy novel.

What I Didn’t Like

Sadly, there were quite a few things I did not enjoy about the book. The first being even though there was a lot going on, I was bored at times while reading. The main reason I ended up giving it the rating I did was because the last section of the book turned it around for me.

Another aspect that stood out to me were the plot twists in this tome. The first one, I can honestly say made me mad. I kinda wanted to just put down the book at this point because I was so mad and reading is not meant to make someone this angry. I did continue though, but the twists weren’t much better. While the rest did not make me as mad they were quite predictable and I figured them out without much effort.

Overall

Overall, I thought this was an average alright read, it had its good and bad points to it. The biggest positive being the world and lore of this world by Maas, I feel like a lot of great stories could come out of it in the future, which is great because this is a series. The dynamics are great as well, even with the slow burn romance, I do hate insta-love so the slow burn was much appreciated. I feel like if you look into this book and you feel like you are going to like it, go for it, get it from the library.

3stars


Next month I am reading a book that was picked by Belle who has a great blog called Belle Can Read. She is very kind and you should all check her out!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Evelyn Reads | Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Someone Picks My Books

Hello and welcome to another one of my Someone Picks my Books post! This month Evelyn over at evelynreads.com has picked my read. I was very excited when she picked this months pick because I have read other works by this author and really enjoyed it and I have seen many others have loved this book. I guess I should tell you that the book is Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. This is the first adult book I have read and the longest book I have read by this author so I am curious to see is her talent flows into this age group and length.


Book Description

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.

Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.

Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.

Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.

Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained. – goodreads.com


Review

I decided that I am going write this post more like my traditional review format where I talk about what I liked and didn’t like and then my overall feelings.

What I Liked

As with other works by Seanan McGuire the worlds she creates is very imaginative, but this is imaginative in a very different way than the there works I have read by her. One of the standout things in this book for me is the mixture of alchemy and science. While  I have read quite a few books with these aspects in them, I have never seen them combined in such a way. It was refreshing and interesting, part of my wishes that I saw more of it.

Also, if you know me science fiction isn’t really my thing…like at all. I don’t know what it is, but I am unlikely to enjoy a book with science fictions details in it with a few rare exceptions of 11/22/63, Jacky, and a few others. I have to say that this book also makes that list for me. I think the reason that it does make it on that short list is because it has an old world feel to it, which I love. It is almost like a spooky gothic modern science fiction book? It is really hard to pinpoint what this book truly is because I feel like McGuire melds together so many things so seamlessly.

On top of everything I also mentioned I found it really interesting the “rules” of this world when it came to particular characters interacting as well as the “government”. I felt like a lot of these aspects were shown and not told to me, which was great. Sometimes books that have such “out there” things in them the author can come across as if they are showing an unknowing child something. McGuire just goes through the story and you don’t miss anything.

What I Didn’t Like

One of the things I did not fully like about this book was that in the start I felt like one section of interaction could have been cut and not a ton would have been lost. This is just a personal thing and I feel like a lot of people enjoy seeing these sections interactions. They are still written in a really enjoyable manner and I didn’t feel like I had to seriously push myself to oread them, but I did find myself going “again?”

Overall

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I am so happy that Evelyn picked this for my to read because honestly, while I enjoyed McGuire’s other works I am fairly certain I would not have picked it up. That is the beauty of this series. This was a very imaginative book with a very gothic/dark/old world feel to it that I was craving. On top of that it was well written had great characters.


Next month I am reading a book that is picked by Melinda at Basement Bookcase!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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Goals

Luna’s Weekly Book Photo Challenge | September 2019

#lunaseptember19

So, if you could not tell from the title of this post. I wanted to try something new and fun. One thing I always enjoy watching and trying to participate in are book photo challenges.  As I said, I try to, but I am horrible at sticking to them on a daily basis so I thought I would create my own that better fit me. Thus, the birth of Luna’s Weekly Book Photo Challenge!

I decided that I can commit to a weekly photo to post on twitter as well as instagram and I hope some of you could join me by using #lunaseptember19 on both of these platforms. I would really love to see what everyone comes up with.

To help everyone out I decided to make a handy little image you could save on your computer or phone so you could reference it throughout the month. I placed the date, prompt, and the hashtag so it is all together in one handy spot.

Anyway, thanks for reading this not so normal post from me and I hope you will join me!


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Lists & Recommendations

February 2018 | Books I Am Excited About

NewReleases12:17

This month I am overly excited about four awesome books. I have a mixture of young adult contemporary, LGBTQ+ anthology, historical fiction, and women fiction. I cannot wait to share them all with you.

Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties by Camille Pagán

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Release Date: February 27th , 2018

At fifty-three, Maggie Harris has a good marriage and two mostly happy children. Perpetually anxious, she’s also accumulated a list of semi-reasonable fears: falling air conditioners, the IRS, identity theft, skydiving, and airbag recalls. But never once did Maggie worry that her husband of nearly thirty years would leave her.

On the day Adam walks out the door, everything that makes Maggie secure goes with him. Only then does she realize that while she’s been busy caring for everyone else, she’s become invisible to the world—and to herself.

Maggie cautiously begins to rebuild her life with a trip to Rome, a new career, and even a rebound romance. But when a fresh crisis strikes and an uncertain future looms, she must decide: How much will she risk to remain the woman she’s just become?

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

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Release Date: February  13th, 2018

London, summer 1763.

At nineteen, Anne Jaccob is awakened to the possibility of joy when she meets Fub, the butcher’s apprentice, and begins to imagine a life of passion with him. The only daughter of well-to-do parents, Anne lives a sheltered life. Her home is a miserable place. Though her family want for nothing, her father is uncaring, her mother is ailing, and the baby brother who taught her to love is dead.

Unfortunately her parents have already chosen a more suitable husband for her than Fub. But Anne is a determined young woman, with an idiosyncratic moral compass. In the matter of pursuing her own happiness, she shows no fear or hesitation. Even if it means getting a little blood on her hands.

A vivid and surprising tale, The Butcher’s Hook brims with the color and atmosphere of Georgian London, as seen through the eyes of a strange and memorable young woman.

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages Edited by Sandra Mitchell

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Release Date: February  27th, 2018

Take a journey through time and genres and discover a past where queer figures live, love and shape the world around them. Seventeen of the best young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens.

From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.

Don’t Forget Me by Victoria Stevens

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Release Date: February  13th, 2018

Seventeen-year-old Hazel Clarke is no stranger to heartbreaks, and being sent to live with a father she’s never met is the latest in a string of them. Even the beauty of eastern Australia isn’t enough to take her mind off her mother and the life she had to leave behind in England. But when Hazel meets the friendly, kindhearted Red and his elusive twin, Luca, she begins the slow process of piecing together a new life—and realizes she isn’t the only one struggling with loss. As friendships deepen and love finds its way in, Hazel also learns that when you truly love someone, they are always in your heart.

This sparkling debut novel is a touching testament to coming of age, falling in love, and finding home in unexpected places.


What books are you looking forward to this month?

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Reviews

Review | The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Book Review

18302455*I received this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Description

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

What I Liked

First off I will say that The Hazel Wood is nothing like I have read previously. I was expecting a generic fairytale laced story turned evil, but I got something different…better. I will add that the fairy tale aspect does not overly come out to play right away. I know for some people who have read the description are under the impression this will happen, but I enjoyed the slow build. For me this made the story better. The way the story was structure I was waiting for it, waiting for those who live at The Hazel Wood to strike. The suspense I felt throughout this book was immense.

Another thing I enjoyed were the characters and their relationships. I felt like the characters stayed true to themselves even when the plot took twists and turn down the rabbit hole. When I was surprised by their actions or their reactions, it still felt like something the character would do. I also enjoyed the relationships and dynamics between Alice, her mother, Finch, and many more characters  I don’t want to spoil. The relationships felt real because they showed their faults and everything wasn’t perfect. I find that sometimes relationships are not realistic in books because they are just so perfect. But this book showed dynamic relationships, both over all positive ones and negative ones. I will admit I found myself hating a particular character and I was not expecting myself to feel that strongly.

Lastly, Writing was beautiful – I could picture everything. I could picture Alice riding in cars, sleeping in motels and bedroom. I could see The Hazel Wood and all the normal and magical twisted places she visits. Her writing was laced with imagery and it worked very well. A nice little bonus is that Melissa Albert makes references to many literary works, both modern and classic works. I appreciated each ones of these from Harry Potter to Wilkie Collins.

What I Didn’t Like

One of the negatives of this book was there were a few times I felt that things were a little to easy, but I felt it did not take away from the story in any way. This was the only fault I found and as you can see, it is a pretty minor one.

Overall Thoughts

This was one of my favorite fairytale inspired stories. I ended up staying up past midnight to finish it and I have not done that in a long time. The writing was beautiful, the build up was perfect, and the characters and dynamics were done very well. If you are even slightly interested in this book I suggest you pick it up either from the store or your local library once it comes out. I would be surprised if you ended up disappointed.


I loved this book so much I actually made my first aesthetic for a book.


Book Information

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: January 30th 2018

List Price: $16.99

ISBN: 9781250147905

Pages: 368


*I received this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

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Tags

TAG TUESDAY | The Entertainer Blogger Award

Tag Tuesday

Tag Tuesday

A big thank-you to Misty for tagging me, you should all check her out. Her blog is wonderful!

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Add these rules to your post.
  • Answer all the questions below.
  • Display the award picture in your post.
  • Nominate 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring and most important of all ENTERTAINING!

Why Did You Start A Blog In The First Place?

I started my blog to have a place to talk books with others. While some of my friends read, they are not as into it as me and read different books than me. While I love hearing about books I never heard of and reading some of them sometimes I just want to fangirl about a book that my friends would have no interest in at all.

What Is Your Favorite Book?

I would say my all time favorite book is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. When I was younger I fell in love with the March family and it really sparked my creativity. To this day I reread it often and I still enjoy it immensely.

What Do You Dislike The Most?

I dislike when people are not considerate or compassionate towards other people. I often find myself getting mad when people are nice enough when people hold the door open for someone and they ignore them. For me it is not difficult nor does it take a lot of energy to say, “Thank-you”.

What Is Your Favorite Food A The Mall?

When I am at the mall I always eat Taco Bell. Tacos have been my favorite food since I was a little girl and while I make them at home Taco Bell is my go to when I am out and about.

What Is Your Favorite Past Time?

In my free time I am usually reading, watching youtube, or crafting something.

I Nominate: Anyone who would like to do this tag, I know it has been around longer than my blog so I am not sure who has or has not done it. If you haven’t and would like to please feel free to consider yourself tagged. 


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Tags

TAG |What Makes Me Happy

 

Tag TuesdayI was tagged by the wonderful Misty over at mistysbookspace, you should really check her out!

List 5 Things That Make You Happy

  1. My plants. I love nature and love being surrounded by it. I currently have a moon cactus, an ivory tower, a sunset jade, and a Zebra plant indoors. If you follow me on Instagram and/or twitter you have seen them in my story or in a tweet. Here is a picture of some of my plants before I repotted them.
  2. Going on walks with my boyfriend. I love going on walks it is a time where I can unwind and it is just me and my boyfriend without distractions.
  3. Finding a new favorite book!
  4. Decorating. I enjoy interior decorating I am always changing my room as well as other rooms around the house.
  5. Good conversations, to me there is nothing better than having a good conversations with another person.

List 5 Songs That Make You Happy

My music tastes are all over the place and depend on my mood, but lately these are the top five songs that make me happy. Each is linked to a youtube video so you can listen if you would like.

  1. Flyleaf – Set Me On Fire
  2. The White Stripes – ‘Icky Thump’
  3. Sia – Chandelier
  4. Imagine Dragons – Believer
  5. PSY – GENTLEMAN

 

I TAG:

Flavia @ flaviathebibliophileblog

Charlotte @ charlotteannelise

Plus anyone else who would like to do this tag. If you have done it please leave the link in the comments I would love to read them!


 

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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

DIY | Bookstagram Background

diy

Supplies:

  • wood
  • wood glue
  • Saw (optional)
  • pencil
  • tape measure
  • something heavy or vice grip
  • stain (optional)

Instructions:

Step One: Lay Everything Out and Plan

Now that you have all of your supplies it is time to get to work. Now I picked up a pack of  wood flooring so my wood snapped together for added structure. Using regular wood is also great, I just love things being very sturdy.

 

 

 

In this step is it very important to plan how you want your background to look. You have a few options you can have your wood planks all the same size like a picnic table or you can stagger them like flooring. In this picture you can see I lined up all of my wood and marked with a pencil where I want to cut my wood. Now I wanted the planks to be staggered so not only did I mark my planks to be cut  the same size, I also marked the random cuts I needed to make. Either way is great, just make sure you measure and plan because once the wood is cut you wont be able to change it.


Step 2: Cut, Be Careful!

While cutting you can either have it done at a local hardware store if you know your dimensions or you can do it at home. You can use a hand saw or a power saw (use at your own risk), but I *highly advise you to ask someone who knows what they are doing* with these tools. They can be very dangerous. If you are younger ask an older family member to help you. Below you can see all my planks of wood cut up.


Step 3: Place the Wood Back Together


At this point place your planks back in the right order. If you cut your wood so it is staggered you can make this step easier by numbering your pieces of wood. This way they are easy to keep track of and you will not waste time trying to find the right pieces to put back together.


Step 4: Securing


To secure the pieces of wood together by cutting another piece of wood to run the length across both the top and bottom of the backside of your backdrop. To see a visual of this you can look at the picture below. You can either secure this by using nails, screws, or wood glue. I used wood glue. If you use wood glue as well make sure you follow the directions on the bottle.


Step 5: (Optional) Let it Dry

If you are using wood glue it is essential that you make sure the wood does not shift while it is drying. I used a vice grip and a very heavy bucket to ensure this. You do not need fancy tools for this, anything heavy will do. Once it is completely dry you are ready to take beautiful pictures on a brand new background.


Final Product

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