Tag: 5 stars

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Author: Nic Stone
Published: October 17, 2017

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 21-26, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

Jessica’s Review:

Dear Martin succeeded for me where The Hate U Give failed: It captured the police brutality and racism that sadly does occur on a black teen youth who did everything right.

Dear Martin is a unique novel in the young adult genre: we have a male point of view!  This was quite refreshing as male POVs are a rarity.  This is a short novel ( just over 200 pages) that would be perfect for all teens. There are other subjects addressed that teens face today.

I really liked Justyce! He really is a good kid who finds himself in a bad situation more than once.  You feel all the emotions he experiences.  I really enjoyed the letters he writes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, we really get to know Justyce. I found myself wishing that MLK Jr. was still alive to answer and give advice to Justyce. In some ways I felt I got to know MLK Jr. himself.

Dear Martin takes place in Atlanta and I live in Metro Atlanta, which added to my enjoyment. When certain areas were mentioned  (“Let’s go hike Stone Mountain”: OMG, I’ve been there MANY times!) Nic Stone lives in the Atlanta area so she  is local to me, and I am all about supporting ‘local to me’ authors!

Dear Martin was Stone’s debut novel and I look forward to see what she does next.  Her second novel Odd One Out will be released October 9th. Dear Martin is one that everyone should read!

Dear Martin is very highly recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Open Heart by Elie Wiesel

Author: Elie Weisel
Published: December 4, 2012
79 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Translated by Marion Wiesel

A profoundly and unexpectedly intimate, deeply affecting summing up of his life so far, from one of the most cherished moral voices of our time.

Eighty-two years old, facing emergency heart surgery and his own mortality, Elie Wiesel reflects back on his life. Emotions, images, faces and questions flash through his mind. His family before and during the unspeakable Event. The gifts of marriage and children and grandchildren that followed. In his writing, in his teaching, in his public life, has he done enough for memory and the survivors? His ongoing questioning of God—where has it led? Is there hope for mankind? The world’s tireless ambassador of tolerance and justice has given us this luminous account of hope and despair, an exploration of the love, regrets and abiding faith of a remarkable man.

Kim’s Review:

Elie Wiesel was one of the great heroes of the 20th century! His books have affected and touched so many people and his life has been an influence for good for so many years. He passed away 2 years ago and y’all know I’ve been on a Holocaust literature kick this year. This book is a short and easy read . . . but emotional like you would not believe! I finished reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas right before reading Open Heart, so I was already emotional. Elie Wiesel’s death popped up in my Facebook memories a little while ago and all the criticism and attacks made me angry and nauseous all over again. So, reading Open Heart again was actually more meaningful and emotional for me than the first time I read it.

I’m a strong believer in historical education, especially Holocaust education; reading how Mr. Wiesel questioned his teaching and writing, the information he conveyed, whether or not he said too much, killed me! His impact on the world should never be questioned or dismissed, and yet when he believed he might die, he did just that. I just wanted to cry . . . which I’ll admit, I did.

Another thing that struck me, was the idea that he acted like this was his first brush with death. Some would probably say that sounds ridiculous, considering everything he survived as a young kid; I found it refreshing and inspiring. He said that, in the Jewish tradition, he tried to live and focus on life and not death.

This book shows the mind of an inspirational, unselfish, and brilliant man and causes us to think about many things that either never occurred to us, or that we would rather not think about at all. Overall, I think everyone should read this book, especially now that Mr. Wiesel and many other Holocaust survivors have passed away. It’s encouraging, informative, emotional, heartbreaking, and inspiring all at the same time!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Publication Day Push: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part Three

Today I am helping get the word out on the final part of a three part novella series that I have really enjoyed. It is bittersweet as the journey is over, but this is a novella series I really do recommend you read!  I will be sharing my review for it today.

In case you want to know about the previous novellas in the series before you find out about Part Three, here are the links to my reviews for Part One and Part Two:
Part One
Part Two

Novella Description:

Nothing lasts forever … Gary’s time on earth seems to be coming to an end. His visits are less frequent and his visibility is fading fast. But he still has a mission to accomplish, which involves Hattie and her ability to pass on a heart-rending message.

Best friend Cat’s ex-husband is determined to prove that he deserves another chance, but do leopards really change their spots?

Times are tough for Hattie’s mother Rachel, but where there’s life, there’s hope …

Meanwhile, is there someone already in Hattie’s life who can help her move on when it’s finally time to say goodbye?

Get your tissues at the ready – both for laughter and tears – with the final installment of a trilogy that has been hailed ‘brilliant’, ‘hilarious’, and ‘a great feel-good read’.

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part Three
Author: Audrey Davis

Published: July 23, 2018
101 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 18-22, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Jessica’s Review:

Haunting of Hattie Hastings  is a three part series that has been released little by little since last year.  Audrey Davis has done a superb job of bringing this series to us and pulling us into Hattie’s life. And Gary just keeps showing up!  He is so entertaining.  But what is Gary’s mission and what part will Hattie play in it?  I have become attached to all the characters and after Part Two’s cliffhanger I was more than excited to read this final part of Hattie’s story. You MUST read the first and second parts before reading Part Three.  It is a complete story that you cannot  just drop into. 

This whole series will make you laugh.  This final part I did shed a few tears. I was sad to see the end of the story, but I was also happy as it is a complete story. In addition to the humor there is also seriousness to the story.

Davis has done a splendid job with this series and I look forward to reading more novels by her.

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings series is highly recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author:

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.

Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, fewer farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: ‘There’s been a murrrrder!’

After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancé. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for ‘artistic’ use of naked men’s bottoms.

Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between them, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn’t bode well …

Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it’s packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we’ll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.
It wasn’t until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an online Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Part Two is published on 21 March 2018, with the conclusion following in July. After which she might have a wee lie down …

Contact Audrey:
Twitter @audbyname