*clicking on each book cover will take you to it's Amazon page*
Author: Kennedy Ryan
Publication Date: March 2, 2017
My Rating: 5/5
Author: Kennedy Ryan
Publication Date: March 2, 2017
My Rating: 5/5
Resisting an irresistible force wears you down and turns you out.
I’ve been doing it for years.
I may not have a musical gift of my own,
but I’ve got a nose for talent and an eye for the extraordinary.
And Marlon James – Grip to his fans – is nothing short of extraordinary.
Years ago, we strung together a few magical nights, but I keep those memories in a locked drawer and I’ve thrown away the key.
All that’s left is friendship and work.
He’s on the verge of unimaginable fame, all his dreams poised to come true.
I manage his career, but I can’t seem to manage my heart.
It’s wild, reckless, disobedient.
And it remembers all the things I want to forget.
*must read the prequel Flow before moving on to this book, go get it, it's free!!*
First of all I don't appreciate how fucking good this book was!! When I say I fell in love with this book, I FELL IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK!!!! I read this like 2 weeks ago and I'm just now trying to get my thoughts out coherently. I've been wanting to get my thoughts out since I finished the very last page, but I was in such a big book hangover that it wasn't even possible for me to try. So my apologies if this review is a hot ass mess, but I have to rave about my new favorite book baby!!
I had so much fun buddy reading this book with one of my main boo's Ari over at The Daydreaming Bookworm!! If you haven't visited her blog before then please go do so ASAP!! And definitely go and check out her review here.
Marlon James, or Grip as he's known by his fans, is a hot up and coming rapper busting into the big spotlight. Born and raised in the mean streets of Compton, he's no stranger to the harsh realities of life. Drive by shootings on the daily, growing up in a single parent home with a mother that does the best she can with what little they have, and facing the unfair injustices of growing up black in a time where having a darker skin tone can mean life or death. Knowing that he wanted a way out, not only for himself, but also for those he loves, Grip is determined work his ass off and achieve his dreams.
"So here in these streets, in my neighborhood, what happens to a dream deferred? It explodes."
When a once in a lifetime opportunity chance to attend a prestigious performing arts school in a better area is presented for his great writing skills, Grip's mom and teacher push him to go so that he can see something better than what's around him
It's at this school that he meets in his best friend Rhyson, and later gets the chance to meet and become friends with Rhyson's sister Bristol. One week during the summer is all it takes for them to see that there might be something special between them, but after a situation occurs they decide to keep things on a friendly level, especially since Bristol starts managing his career.
Things go as can be expected with lingering feelings in the air, but Bristol tries everything she can to fight the feelings.
Growing up the way Bristol did she learned to keep her emotions in check from a very young age. With two parents who's main focus was on her brother and his big career, she often got left in the dust at home with various nannies that raised her. After seeing how cold and indifferent her parents are towards one another she has built up a fear of love because she doesn't want end up like them, and more importantly her mom. She's a very headstrong woman determined to make a name for herself without relying on her parents and her name for any help. She knows that being with Grip, and even worse, being hurt by him, could really do some major to her already fragile heart. But what it she let her guard down and allowed him to love her wholeheartedly? Could it possibly turn out better than she could even imagine?
"So confident, and it didn't come from having money or fame or anything else. Just confident in himself, It came from somewhere I couldn't even relate to, but it was completely authentic and magnetic."
I've said it before and I'll say it again, there are some books that come along and completely take you by surprise in the best way possible. They come and along and grab you mind body and soul. They make you feel, think and go through a roller coaster of emotions, and in the end you come out feeling like a better person.
I've been fortunate enough to come across of few books that have done this for me and I am so completely happy that Grip is going on that list. I didn't really know that to expect reading this new to me artist, but I had heard great things about her other series so that was enough for me. Plus Grip being a black male character, and rap being thrown on the book as well had me pre-ordering this baby early and keeping my fingers crossed for a good read.
Good doesn't even begin to describe just how freaking amazing this book was for me. I'm telling you guys right now, there are not enough words in the world that can even come close to adequately describe how spectacular this book is, or how much I love it!!
There wasn't a moment of this book that I didn't love and if I could give it an infinite amount of stars I would in a heartbeat, but 5 will have to do for now.
Never have I ever read a book that did such a fantastic job of showcasing the often times harsh experiences that black people are sometimes subjected to. It was the most refreshing thing in the entire world to open a book and see things that are so important to me, things that I can relate to wholeheartedly being shown in a New Adult book. Seeing something that is usually not put into my favorite genre made my whole year so thank you so much to Kennedy Ryan for writing this book!! Thank you so much for showing that a book with a black male mc can and will sell to people of all races. Thanks for showing that no matter the content matter people can and will pick it up and love the shit out of it. Thanks for not being too scared to talk about the injustices of young black men in our country. If you want to read more about why Ryan tackled a book with this topic, and hear more of what she as to say on it then I highly suggest you read her interview on Huffington Post here.
Now if some of the racial issues you hear about in this book turn you off in any way, please don't let it. I promise that the book is written in such an amazing way that there is a great balance of steam, and rawness that will keep you hooked!! I laughed reading this, I cried my eyes out at many points, and by the end my heart was so fucking full and I had to take a week just to get myself back together. I was in the worst best book hangover in my ENTIRE life and I wasn't even upset about it because I just sat back and thought about everything that I read all over again and savored the feels I had.
If you're a regular visitor of my blog then you know just how important characters are for me when reading a book. I feel like they can easily make or break a book in a snap. Every single character in Grip was so well done and so complex (well... maybe except for one particular jerk lol.) I fell so in love with Bristol's character because she was such a bad ass headstrong woman that knew what she wanted and didn't want in life. I never found myself annoyed by her or her actions because I feel like she was so good at going about things in a realistic way. Even though it seemed like she had a perfect life in the eyes of other people she still had some deep flaws and hardships that made me want to give her a big hug. She never once let her parents name or money get her ahead in life, she was always determined to make her own way, and struggle her way from the bottom so that she could prove her worth not only to others but also to herself.
And another thing that really sealed the deal with me and her character was how willing she was to learn everything about Grip. Since they were in an interracial relationship there were certain obstacles they had to face that some couples would never have to deal with. There were a lot of aspects in Grip's life that she didn't fully understand such as the racial profiling that is done by some police, and instead of telling Grip be was being dramatic or dismissing it, she was open and willing to hear what he had to say about these issues. She was always open to listen to the harsh experiences that he faced and she never once judged him, instead she fought harder for him and their relationship.
"He hasn't met a love like mine. My love is Pandora's Box. Grip snapped my hinges and pried me open."
And as for Grip, lawd Jesus I would marry that man in a heartbeat!! Bristol is one lucky girl and I can't even hate on her because they made such a great couple. He was such an amazing man and I LOVED reading the chapters that were told from his POV. He was such a complex character, and a lot of his story broke my heart and had me crying for him. But I was also so damn proud because although he was handed some rough things in life, he overcame each and everyone of them and came out a stronger and better man than what society expected from him. Seeing the growth in him from beginning to end was so amazing!! And he definitely deserved a woman like Bristol because she supported and was there for him 100%
"Not my music, not my money, not fame, or anything I dreamed would satisfy what comes close to what I feel when she looks at me like that."
I could honestly go on and on about my love for this book and never shut up. But instead I'm going to try and hold back so that you all can go out and experience this book for yourselves. Trust me when I say that this will quickly become a hit for you and will leave you breathless!! I'm so happy to say that Grip is one of my TOP reads of 2017!!
Author: Dylan Allen
Publication Date: February 15, 2017
My Rating: 2.5-3/5
As a little girl, I saw my father destroy the family he claimed to love. I watched my mother waste her life dreaming of a man who left her without a second glance.
As a woman, I don’t dream, I work. I don’t fall in love, I focus. I would never let anything as frivolous as love distract me.
Until I meet Simon. A gorgeous, brilliant young architect with dark eyes, a sweet smile, and a dirty, dirty mouth. He sets me on fire, and suddenly all I can do is dream…of his hands, his lips, his body. Of a heart good enough and a love strong enough to make me believe in happily ever after.
But Simon has secrets that are even deeper than mine. Will our pasts destroy everything we’ve worked for? Or will we find the courage to rise to the challenge and fight for the love we share?
Rise started out pretty promising and I was hooked from reading the prologue. In this story we follow Addie, a young woman with a traumatic past thanks to her father. As a successful accountant he brought a lot of hardships to his family when he stole money and fled the country, leaving behind his wife and three children. As a result her family had to face the world on their own, and go through tons of negative attention from the world.
Now years later Addie is living in London where she has built herself up working at a very successful law firm. It's on a day out with her closest friend that she meet the handsome Simon. She is drawn to him from the start, but because of her past she is scared to trust in someone new. She knows all too well just how much the people closest to you can end up disappointing you. Addie has to decide if she wants to continue living the way she is, which is alone with something missing in her life, or take a chance on love and see just where it can go.
I was really looking forward to reading this one, and I was really hoping that it would be a knockout, but sadly this book just didn't live up to my expectations. Like I stated, the prologue started out very good and I found myself drawn to Addie as she discovered that something bad was happening in her family. Even the few chapters after the prologue were good to me and I was looking forward to seeing how the story would play out. But unfortunately that's where the good started to end for me. I ended up having several issues with this book and they took a lot away from me as far as enjoyment.
Before I get on with my issues I do want to say that there were a couple of things that I liked about the story, the first of which being that the two main characters in this book Addie, and Simon were black. There's so few black characters in books nowadays so seeing them in a New Adult book was very exciting for me. The second thing I really liked was the plot itself. I don't want to spoil, but there were some good things that were brought out.
Some of my biggest issues that I had with the story would have to be the main characters, because I had so many issues with them. I felt that Addie was an extremely selfish person throughout the story, there were so many times I wanted to smack her upside the head for being just overall annoying or for being mean to her mom. Because of this I couldn't form a connection with her anymore like before. I think the issue with her mom was unnecessary and was just thrown in to bring more unnecessary angst to the novel. Yes I can see why she was upset with her, but I don't think it was anything to be that mean over. And even though she tried to do better, she still treated her mom, and even the rest of her sisters like shit a lot of the time. By the time she really did make some changes the book was over, I would've really liked to see her make more effort throughout the book so that we could feel like there was more of a resolution to their problems. As a reader I felt very unsatisfied.
I also wasn't a big fan of Simon, although he was a good guy, there was something about him I just couldn't connect with. He was just very awkward to read for me. From the way he talked to Addie, to some of his actions. I definitely think his character needed some more refinement overall.
One of my final issues was with the way to story went itself. And even though I enjoyed parts of it like I said before, there were too many issues that overpowered the good. I think there were a lot of inconsistencies with the story, and even a few plot holes. I also think there was a serious case of insta love that made the romance not enjoyable for me. I would've loved to see the characters really take the chance to get to know each other so that their relationship could be more believable, and I also think this would've helped them not have so many unnecessary issues as time went on.
In the end Rise was a promising book by a debut author that had a ton of potential, but unfortunately there were way too many issues for me personally. I think that there needed to be some more refinement with the characters and the story itself in order for it to really reach it's full potential.