Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

 

Synopsis:
Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.

Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.

Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.


TW/CW: Death/Murder, Grief, Gangs, Gun Violence, Sex (talk of sex but no actual sex scenes)

My Thoughts:

I picked this up on a whim, I saw it available at my library, I needed an audiobook and it was by a Black author – win/win.  I hadn’t ever heard of this author or book before, which is surprising because it’s a great read! I will be picking up more from this author.

It follows three black teens, after the murder of Steph (two are his friends, one is his sister) trying to make him a successful rapper by releasing his music and pretending he’s still alive. I was very intrigued about how Steph died and how they were going to pull off this whole scheme. It was a little slow in places towards the middle, but not boring . It did pick up towards the end more but the very end felt a little rushed. Other than that, it was well written. I really liked the author’s writing style.

The setting – It’s set in the late 90s in New York. I absolutely loved this setting, it was so cool and interesting. I love the 90s vibe, it was right up my alley. It made me wish I grew up in the 90s. (I am a 90s baby, but I remember none of it)
I enjoyed learning about the culture of Brooklyn in the 90s and what growing up during this time was like. The hip-hop scene was super cool and a link in the community, which was really lovely to see.

Characters – I enjoyed each perspective the story had. Which is surprising. I really like Jasmine, she was probably my favourite POV. I really enjoyed the friendship that bloomed between Jasmine and Steph’s friends, Quadir and Jarrell. They bonded in their loss of Steph, which was lovely to see that something happy came out of their grief.

Narrators:

This audiobook had full cast narration – which I’m not usually a fan of because there’s usually at least one annoying narrator.  BUT I actually liked all the narrators for this! (Will add them to my approved narrator lists) I’m super picky with narrators, they can completely ruin a book for me.

The audiobook really brought the story and characters to life. The rhymes are really effective in the audio format, I think this would be better than just reading the text. Also, the slang came through well in the audio, it felt natural and authentic. (Not that I’m an expert on Black slang in the States)

Rating: 4 Stars


Books · Diverse Reads · TBR

Recent/Upcoming Fantasy/Sci-fi Books by Black Authors on My TBR

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Hey guys!
I’m trying to diversify my TBR and in light of the BLM I have been exposed to so many books I hadn’t previously heard about! Some of these have been on my TBR a while and some are new additions.

 

Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender

Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender

I have the audiobook for this and I’m excited to get to it soon! I have so many audiobooks this month, I think it’s going to have to wait until July/August.


The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter | Hachette UK

I have been meaning to read this since it came out. I wanted to wait for the paperback, as it would be cheaper but then I ended up liking the cover for the hardback better… Now it’s out of stock. *sigh*


The City We Became by N.K Jemisin

The City We Became (The Great Cities Trilogy): Amazon.co.uk ...

I have yet to read a Jemisin book… I know shame on me. I own two of her books already so I will be reading them soon. I really like the sound of this one! All her books sound so unique and cool, cannot wait to get to them!


The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars (9781335911551): Dow, Alechia: Books

I love sci-fi yet I don’t read enough of it. I especially don’t read much diverse sci-fi, which I definitely need to amend that! The premise sounds interesting, so I’m hopeful!
Side note – the cover is gorgeous!


Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Cinderella Is Dead: Kalynn Bayron: Bloomsbury YA

I got rejected for the NetGalley arc so I’ll have to wait for this to be released. [sad face]
I love retellings!! I need more retellings in my life, always. Cinderella is not as retold often, so I’m eager to see this version!


Here’s two audiobooks I listened to recently, I recommend giving them a listen.
Both are fantasy-ish but have really important themes and messages in them. They’re must reads, in my opinion.

*Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown, audiobook excerpt by ...

Review here!


*The Deep by Rivers Soloman

The Deep: Amazon.co.uk: Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William ...


Have you read any of these? / What SFF books by black authors are you excited for?


UK Charities to Donate to for #BlackLivesMatter

Books · TBR · Wrap-up

May Wrap Up & Mostly Black June TBR 2020

wrap-up-2019

Hi guys!
Happy June!

May wasn’t the best reading month for me, I had finals and my mental health was suffering. I didn’t manage to read as much as I wanted but I still read a few. I’ll keep the wrap up portion pretty short, I won’t discuss each book in this post, I will link my reviews if you wish to know my thoughts!

Firstly, I listened to the audiobook of Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged በAyisha Malik - በGoogle Play ላይ ያሉ ...

Rating: 3 Stars
Review here 


Next, I finished The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

The Kingdom: Amazon.co.uk: Rothenberg, Jess: 9781509899388: Books

Rating: 3 Stars
Review here


Lastly, I finished  *Beach Read by Emily Henry

Rating: 5 Stars
Review here

Here’s hoping I finally get out of my reading slump in June.
I will be posting my TBR soon, keep an eye out for that!


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Currently reading: 
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas – After having to put this down for over a week I want to get back into this and finish it.

June TBR

With everything going on with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I’ve decided to prioritise Black authors this month so I can promote their books as much as possible. I have loads of books by Black authors I haven’t read so I will be trying to get through as many as possible this month!

Definite reads:

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

Let Me Hear a Rhyme - Audiobook | Listen Instantly!(Audiobook)

NicePng_goodreads-png_2331558 (1)I’d never heard of this book before seeing it on my library’s app; it was available right away so I borrowed it. The premise sounds intriguing and it is by a Black author, so perfect!

 


Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Black Brother, Black Brother (Audio Download): Jewell Parker ...

NicePng_goodreads-png_2331558 (1)

Another audiobook from my library. I requested this when it first came out last month and I’m still waiting for it to be available but it estimates June 24th, so hopefully, I’ll manage to finish it before June ends!


*Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Amazon.com: Take a Hint, Dani Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters ...
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Sequel to Get a Life, Chloe Brown.

 I am blessed that I have a NetGalley arc of this! I LOVED the first one (which I kinda wanna reread it before this?!) I cannot wait to read this one! This is one of my highly anticipated reads of 2020. I know it’s going to be a goodie!
(Plus, hello faking dating trope!)


Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Full Disclosure: Amazon.co.uk: Garrett, Camryn: 9780241367063: Books

NicePng_goodreads-png_2331558 (1)

This is LGBT+ – perfect for pride month!
It features a HIV positive character, which I’ve never read about before, I’m looking forward to learning more about it.


Some other Black authored books I own that are potential reads:

The Fifth Season by N.K Jemisin
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Slay by Brittney Morris
The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor
Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender (Audiobook)
Daughters of Nri by Reni K. Amayo (Audiobook)
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

Would love to know your thoughts on any of these if you’ve read them!


Check out my previous post for a list of UK charities to support Black people & equality in the UK.

Books · Review

ARC Review: Kingdom Of Souls by Rena Barron (Spoiler Free)

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Finished cover:

Image result for kingdom of souls uk cover

 

Synopsis:
Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.


My Thoughts:

I really wanted to love this book, I wanted it to be a new favourite but it wasn’t. I was a little disappointed overall.

The worldbuilding – by far the biggest strength of this book. The world was AMAZING. Like seriously great to read about. I loved learning about the world, the religion/beliefs and the magic. It was so cool! Completely different from the typical Medieval Europe type worlds we typically see in fantasy, this African inspired world was so refreshing to read about.

However, the plot was non-existent, for about 200 pages nothing happened. Nothing. It was a bore. I kept hoping it would get better so I pushed myself through it. The vast majority of the book felt like filler, it could’ve been edited down so much.
This book is over 400  pages and everything that happened could’ve been done in half that. It doesn’t pick up until the last 70-80 pages. It just isn’t worth forcing yourself through 350ish pages for it.

The pacing is all over the place, it’s extremely slow and boring for the most part and then when things start to get interesting it’s over in a page or two. It was odd.

Also, I find the arc to be misleading it says: ‘My Grandmother said I will be a powerful witchdoctor someday. I cannot wait that long’ – which is completely wrong and irrelevant?? Her Grandmother never says that and it’s never implied she’s going to be a powerful witchdoctor, it’s quite the opposite? Very misleading.

The concepts and the ideas in this book were really good, I really wish it had worked out well but overall, it was just meh. I don’t know if I’ll continue on with the series or not.

I really wanted to love this. I want to love fantasy by POC authors, with POC characters but this just didn’t do it for me, sadly.

Characters:
Arrah: Bland. I honestly didn’t even remember her name for half the book. Her name is hardly mentioned and she’s such an unmemorable character. She has non-exist character development, not much of arc going on and there’s no uniqueness to her at all.
I just couldn’t connect to her, which is a shame and pretty much a deal-breaker for me.

Side characters: Meh. There were some okay ones. None particularly stand out or are memorable.

This book is another Children of Blood and Bone for me, high expectations, good concept but doesn’t play out well at all. If you liked COBAB, you’d probably like this too. I wasn’t a fan.

Trigger warnings: Blood magic, rape, violence, abusive parents, victim-blaming & trauma.

Rating: 2.75 Stars

Kingdom of Souls is out this Thursday; September 19th!

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Purchase the book here: Amazon UK  | Book Depository


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