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review 2019-02-06 02:01
Let's start with the stars...
Road of No Return - K.A. Merikan,Wyatt Baker

I cannot lie I struggled with this one...more so than I've struggled with any book in a while...so at the end of it all I'm giving the story 2.5 stars because...it was ok at best and 3.5 stars are for Wyatt Baker. The narrator for this and a new to me narrator at that. Mr. Baker gave this story character, color, depth and definitely added to the interest.

 

To say that there were things I liked and things I didn't enjoy in equal measure is a definite understatement. So let's start with one of the MCs...'Stitch' I had a lot of thoughts about Stitch...most of the time I found him to be annoying, irritating, self absorbed beyond belief and from start to finish I never warmed up to this character even when we got those glimpses of him with his little girl...truly the only redeeming moments that Stitch was given...well, those and the occasional interaction with with his ex-wife...but still when all was said and done for me Stitch's annoying as hell factors were more and far greater than the few moments of 'hey maybe...just maybe there's a decent person here...nah, forget it the moment passed.'

 

Now I have to say for the most part I did like Zak a lot more than Stitch but still not finding my self to be overly concerned with his happiness and well being. Truth be told I was kind of hoping that Zak would cut his losses and move on where Stitch was concerned...needless to say I was disappointed.

 

The overall plot of a biker trying to leave his gang and find a better life for himself was what intrigued me and had me wanting to listen to this audio book and while the story didn't work as well for me as I'd hoped it would I am more than willing to give props to the authors for not shying away from the fact that life as a biker is violent, brutal and dangerous in ways that few of us can truly imagine...it's not glamorous and fun, there are no heart and flower moments to be  had and often times it's a life that's almost impossible to escape.

 

I once had a friend tell me about how his sister left home with a biker when she was sixteen. He also told me about how she came home a year later...just a year and at the end of it all how he explained it was that she came home 'a lot older and a lot wiser' and maybe it wouldn't have seemed so bad if he didn't have tears in his eyes when he told me this. We never talked about it again but it always stayed with me and I found myself remembering that conversation as I listened to this book and as I listened to the last part of the story I really didn't need to use a lot of imagination to imagine the level of violence portrayed as being something that could be possible...so while there were a lot of reasons that this wasn't a viable story for me it was definitely a story that I could imagine as being something firmly entrenched in reality.

 

So in spite of my dislike of Stitch and a couple of the other members of the 'Coffin Nails' I can definitely respect the effort that went into creating this story and as I said at the beginning the narrator absolutely did the story justice so props to all...this one may not be my thing...it's definitely a thing and if you're a fan of these authors and this series you should probably check out the audio and decide for your self whether or not it's your thing.

 

*************************

An audio book of 'Road of No Return' was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-01-26 08:08
Book Blitz: The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick with Giveaway
The Princess of Baker Street
Mia Kerick
Published by: Harmony Ink Press
Publication date: January 22nd 2019
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult

“Always wear your imaginary crown” is Joey Kinkaid’s motto. For years, Joey, assigned male at birth, led the Baker Street kids in daring and imaginative fantasy adventures, but now that they’re teenagers, being a princess is no longer quite so cool. Especially for a child who is seen by the world as a boy.

Eric Sinclair has always been Joey’s best friend and admirer—Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel—but middle school puts major distance between them. As Eric’s own life takes a dangerous turn for the worse, he stands by and watches as Joey—who persists in dressing and acting too much like a Disney princess for anybody’s comfort—gets bullied. Eric doesn’t like turning his back on Joey, but he’s learned that the secret to teenage survival, especially with and absent mother, is to fly under the radar.

But when Joey finally accepts who she is and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies make her life such a misery that she decides to end it all. Eric, in turn, must decide who he really is and what side he wants to stand on… though no matter what he chooses, the consequences with be profound for both teens, and they’ll face them for years to come.

Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?

 
EXCERPT
 
Every day’s basically the same—it’s like the lunchtime bullying plan is set in stone, and it’s only the end of September. And it’s way worse than it was last year, even though he sat alone then too. Travis gets to sit at the jock table, seeing as he’s on the county football team. He starts in on Joey as soon as he sets his rear end on the bench and drops his lunch tray onto the sticky table. For Travis, “bullying Josie” is sort of like a bad habit he just can’t kick. But I’m pretty sure he’d say it’s more like a hobby he’s real good at.
 
“All the way through sixth grade, Kinkaid wore a dress, like, every day after school—I kid you not.” He announces this loud enough for the jocks and the entire hot-girl table, and of course, lonely Joey, to hear. And even though Joey wasn’t hiding that he wore his mom’s purple dress after school when we all played together, blabbing about it makes me feel like we’re ratting him out.
 
An imaginary knife stabs into my gut and twists around. I try not to squirm and to keep my face blank, but it’s next to impossible because my belly hurts like I’m having a baby.
 
“You’ve got to be kidding me—he wore a freaking dress?” Miles Maroney is always the first guy to jump in whenever things start getting mean and dirty. “But I betcha Josie looked cute, if you go for gays.”
 
We all laugh, and I mean all of us.
 
I laugh even though I don’t want to. Because I still remember how it was: Joey was the Princess of Baker Street, and Travis and Emily and Lily and me all looked up to him as much as middle school kids look up to the guys on the soccer team now. Joey was the neighborhood kid with all the best ideas. None of us cared what he wore out to play—not even Travis.
 
“What a freaking princess!” yells Noah Mayer, and we all laugh some more because Noah is the starting forward on the soccer team, and we pretty much have to laugh at everything he says when he’s trying to be funny, or he won’t pass to us. Maybe I forgot to pay my brain bill, but I know how shit like this works.
 
Author Bio:
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son, heading off to college. (Yes, the nest is finally empty.) She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing scholarship essays. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it’s a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled people in complex relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for Young Adult e-book Fiction, among other awards.

Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology. Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com or visit at www.miakerickya.com to see what is going on in Mia’s world.

 
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text 2019-01-21 15:57
BLOG TOUR, REVIEW & #GIVEAWAY - The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick
The Princess of Baker Street - Mia Kerick

The Princess of Baker Street is an emotional story about a young girl who was born a boy. She doesn't fit in, gets bullied, and yet she tries to remain true to herself, even when faced with opposition. The whole story is told from the viewpoint of Eric. He was once her best friend - when she could wear dresses and not be judged for it; when she could be a princess without condemnation. However, life has changed for both of them now they are in middle school, and Eric can't be with her now as he would like to be.

This story is simply amazing. You will feel for Joey as he faces the bullies and tries to hang onto his friendship with Eric, no matter the cost. You will also feel for Eric as he copes with things no young child should have to. Something has to break, and it does. Both of these characters reach rock bottom, and yet they both pick themselves up and carry on, head held high.

This is a gritty story, dealing with hard issues for anyone to deal with, let alone 13-year-olds. It isn't a dark book though, the silver lining shines through. There were no editing or grammatical errors in this book, and the pacing was smooth. The story flowed exceedingly well, and lessons are there to be learnt by everyone. I loved this story, and would love to read more - both about these characters, and also anything else by Mia Kerick. Absolutely recommended by me.

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

Source: archaeolibrarian.wixsite.com/website/single-post/2019/01/21/BLOG-TOUR-REVIEW-GIVEAWAY---The-Princess-of-Baker-Street-by-Mia-Kerick
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review 2019-01-16 02:06
WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF THE INCREDIBLE JOSEPHINE BAKER
Josephine Baker's Last Dance - Sherry Jones

Josephine Baker is someone I had known about since my elementary school days in the mid-1970s, when I first saw her profile in a calendar celebrating what was then Black History Month. I was fascinated to learn that she had gone to Paris in 1925 and made herself into a superstar in France and across the world. 

"JOSEPHINE BAKER'S LAST DANCE" was given to me last month as a Christmas gift. The essence of the novel has as a centerpiece, what was Josephine Baker's last great stage performance in Paris in April 1975. The author uses it as a springboard to take the reader back to Josephine's early years in St. Louis, where she was born in poverty in 1906. I very much enjoyed seeing Josephine as she grew and matured. Hers was not an easy life. There is much in the novel that conveys the struggles and abuse that she endured. America was then an unwelcoming and at times, brutal and dispiriting place for its black citizens. Baker gets into vaudeville as a dancer in her mid-teens and eventually, the gateway to stardom opens and Josephine arrives in Paris with La Revue Nègre . 

The only part of the novel I found fault was its description of Josephine Baker's service in World War II as an intelligence agent and member of the French Resistance. The time sequences which covered the early war years seemed at times nebulous and compressed. If the reader had little or no knowledge of how the French defeat to Nazi Germany impacted the country in June 1940, he/she would be led to think that the resistance movement to the Germans developed overnight. That was not true at all. There was, initially disillusionment and fear when the Germans entered Paris - which had been declared an open city by the French government - on June 14, 1940 - and compelled the French to sign an armistice 8 days later. It would be several months to a year before an incipient resistance movement began to take shape in France as the Germans solidified their power and authority there. 

There was also a mention in the novel which indicated that Josephine Baker made the acquaintance of the courageous British spy Krystna Skarbek, a Pole (aka 'Christine Granville') during the early days of the German Occupation. That is simply untrue. (I read a book in 2015 about Krystyna Skabek's wartime service --- 'Christine: SOE Agent & Churchill's Favourite Spy'. Krystyna Shabek did not get to France until the summer of 1944. Earlier, she had been engaged in espionage work since late 1939 in German-occupied Poland, the Balkans, and Egypt.) That is why I am taking away 1 star and giving "JOSEPHINE BAKER'S LAST DANCE" 3 stars.  Outside of that glaring, historical inaccuracy, it is a very good novel which brought out the real Josephine Baker in so many interesting ways.

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review 2019-01-15 20:55
The Princess of Baker Street
The Princess of Baker Street - Mia Kerick
The kids of Baker Street grew up playing together to the fanciful games thought up by Joey Kinkaid.  Joey was called the Princess of Baker Street since his games often included Joey in a princess dress being rescued by his best friend, Eric Sinclair.  Now, the kids of Baker Street are in Eighth grade and things have changed, the four friends have found themselves in separate cliques.  Eric has opted for the route of survival, especially since is mom isn't often around.  Eric hangs around with his friends on the soccer team.  Joey doesn't exactly fit in anywhere, he would much rather wear his mother's dresses to school than the button up shirts and slacks that his father insists on.  When Eric and Joey are paired as study buddies, their friendship rekindles.  However, when Joey begins to show up to school in girl's clothing, Eric's allegiance is divided between his friends and his need to fly under the radar.
 
Timely and relevant, The Princess of Baker Street reaches into the awkward, transitional years of middle school for a group of students, including the Joey who is realizing that he has always been a girl.  Told through Eric's point of view, the voices are sincere and realistic for eighth graders.  Everyone seems very self-concerned and are worried about where they will fit in.  Eric's journey is just as important as Joey's.  I felt for Joey as he dealt with an absent mother and the decision to be Joey's friend even if it would cost his popularity.  Eric's struggle with his feelings for Joey as he slowly comprehends that not only is Joey a girl, but that he has always seen Joey as a girl as well- a girl that he likes.  With these understandings comes big changes and responsibilities.  Not all of the changes are handled very well by everyone and reinforces that none of these issues should be handled by the kids by themselves.  Insightful and pertinent, The Princess of Baker Street is an important and heartfelt read that can be enjoyed by middle grade through adult readers. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 
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