Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Bout of Books - Day One Update

 Hi reader friends!  I'm coming to you with a lovely Bout of Books Update.  It's been a good week so far (and it's only Tuesday.)

So, what did I do on Monday you ask? Well, here's what I read:

Books Started: 4
Books Finished: 0
Pages Read: 92 

Books I'm Currently Working On: 

The Final Girl Support Group - Grady Hendrix
The Lost Apothecary - Sarah Penner
Kate in Waiting - Becky Albertalli
Hollowpox - Jessica Townsend 

Are you doing Bout of Books? How are things going for you?  If you're not doing Bout of Books (join us) tell me what you're reading anyway! 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Ace of Spades - Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Title: Ace of Spades
Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé 
Format: E-Book
Rating: 5 Stars

Devon and Chiamaka are students at the elite Niveus Academy.  They are both smart, talented, and the only black kids at this school.  This is not by concidence.  However, Chiamaka and Devon haven't thought about the why of this until their senior year when they both get assigned to be the head students. After this happens, things start to get not just scary but downright terrifying for these two kids. 

Devon was a surprise vote for the head boy, because up until that point he went through school with only one person he called a friend, but it was more like someone who was just friendly so Devon called it a friendship.  Anyway, that's how he and Chiamaka get to know more about each other.  It's also how they realize they are both getting messages from someone calling themself Aces. 

I don't want to give away what happens throughout the book because if you haven't read it yet, I want you to be surprised and to enjoy every minute of this book.  So let me say this:

I loved the characters in this book.  Let me be more specific: I love Devon, Chiamaka, and Devon's mom.  I hated all the other characters.  The characters are so well written and really show how fear and terror can affect people. The two main characters also show a lot of smarts in this book as well because they research and learn so much about their schools twisted history. 

The characters also played well with and off each other, in the sense that what happened between them and what built up worked.  Each character was also very distinct (and in many cases was a complete fuckwad in their own right.) 

Ace of Spades did a great job of setting up the story and ramping up the terror and the twists with each passing page.  There were so many holy crap moments in this book that I wanted to throw my kindle across the room.  The book was gripping and terrifying and so horrific and I loved it all.

This book also did a great job of delving into the world of systemic racism and the way white people have really gone to great lengths to push down black people (you know it's true.  We have not been good.)  The way this book looks at how education has impacted black people, the way poverty has impacted black people, and the way all of that has continued to benefit white people is not surprising, but it is a topic that we all need to continue to talk about and read about. 

I was shocked at just how deep the events in the book went, and how every single person at the school, and the alumni, and so many more, were involved in the events that happened to Chiamaka and Devon.  I kept thinking it couldn't possibly get any worse, and then bam - it was just truly terrifying.

I highly recommend this book to all readers.  This is one thriller every single person needs to get their hands on right now.


Saturday, August 14, 2021

Bout of Books

 Hi reader friends!  Guess what time it is?!  It's time for another round of Bout of Books.  Naturally I'll be participating again and I can't wait.

Are you unsure what Bout of Books is? Here is a great description of the event:

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 16th and runs through Sunday, August 22nd in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are reading sprints, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For all Bout of Books 32 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

If you're interested you should definitely sign up and join in the fun!  

Thursday, August 12, 2021

All Boys Aren't Blue - George M. Johnson

Title: All Boys Aren't Blue
Author: George M. Johnson
Format: E-book
Rating: 4 Stars 


In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren't Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson's emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.


George M Johnson has written a memoir that is compelling, eye opening, heartbreaking, and absolutely necessary.  I certainly cannot even pretend to know what it was like for George growing up as a queer black kid, but I can say he tells his story in an unflinching way that is still gentle and wonderful for all ages, not just for teenagers.

George M. Johnson did write this memoir as a way to reach teens and show them what it was like for him growing up as a black queer kid in the 90's, but this book is written in such a way that adults who may wonder about the issues Johnson and other kids may have gone through could benefit from this book as well.  

Johnson has a calming yet sincere way of writing about his life and his family. He introduces us to his nanny, quite possibly the most influential person in his life, and his parents, his cousins, his line brothers from his frat, and so many other people who became important to him and important for him throughout his teenage years. Johnson was fortunate enough to have many family members who loved and supported him, and even though he had a lot of things happen that were heartbreaking he knew he had a support system that would stand by him. That was amazing to see, and it made me very grateful, because a lot of queer kids don't have that. Many more black queer kids have even more difficult times than white queer kids.  I am certainly not saying that white queer kids don't have a hard time, but come on - you know we've never ever had to worry about things the way the black community has.

This book is so well written, and covers Johnson's life so well - it really is a must read memoir for all ages.  I can't think of a single bad thing to say about this book, and would recommend it to everyone of all ages.