4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · feminism · mental health · non fiction · POC

New Release | What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape by Somalia Abdulali



What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape by Sohaila Abdulali

Published: November 27, 2018

Publisher: The New Press

Pages: 224

Genres: non fiction, feminism, POC

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: learning more about rape culture, validation for survivors of sexual assault a continuation of the Me Too Movement 

Foodie Vibes: whatever food you want because it’s your body



Sohaila Abdulali was gang-raped as a seventeen-year-old in Mumbai. Indignant at the silence on the issue in India, she wrote an article for an Indian women’s magazine questioning how we perceive rape and rape victims. Thirty years later her story went viral in the wake of the 2012 fatal gang rape in Delhi and the global outcry that followed. In 2013, Abdulali published an op-ed in the New York Times called “After Being Raped, I Was Wounded; My Honor Wasn’t” that was widely circulated. Now, as the #metoo and #timesup movements blow open the topic of sexual assault and rape, What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is a brilliant and entirely original contribution to our understanding.


Drawing on her own experience, her research, her work with hundreds of survivors as the head of a rape crisis center in Boston, and three decades of grappling with the issue as a feminist intellectual and writer, Abdulali examines the contemporary discourse about rape and rape culture, questioning our assumptions and asking how we want to raise the next generation. She interviews survivors whose moving personal stories of hard-won strength, humor, and wisdom collectively tell the larger story of how societies may begin to heal.


Abdulali also explores what we don’t say. Is rape always a life-defining event? Does rape always symbolize something? Is rape worse than death? Is rape related to desire? Who gets raped? Is rape inevitable? Is one rape worse than another? How does one recover a sense of safety and joy? How do we raise sons? Is a world without rape possible?

Both deeply personal and meticulously researched, What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is a rallying cry and required reading for us all.



Thank you to NetGalley, The New Press and Sohaila Abdulali for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always an honest review from me.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is a book we need to be talking about more. When the author started talking about rape in India, few people were discussing the topic. Now more people are, especially with the #MeToo Movement. But culturally there’s still more to be done. This book helps explain many of these concepts. Most people know and believe that rape is bad. It gets ambiguous for some people when it comes to the actual definition of rape, consent and micro agressions, rape culture and its contributions to actual assaults, sexual harassment and more. It’s shocking to me, but not completely surprising, that many people don’t understand these nuances. 

I like that the author educates the reader about the nuances of rape culture. It doesn’t come across as preachy, but more like “here’s some information that you might not know. Let me share it with you.” I think most people could learn something , if not a lot of extremely important information. 

The only negative aspect of the book is that it could be a trigger for some people. So read with caution and please take care of yourself.

Overall, another extremely relevant book to continue on with the discussion of the #MeToo conversation. Give it a read, and let’s start talking!


When was the last time you talked about sexual assault? Was it formal, informal? How did the conversation go?


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4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · POC · Urban Fiction

ARC Review | In These Streets by Shelly Ellis



In These Streets by Shelly Ellis

Published: November 27, 2018

Publisher: Dafina

Pages: 352

Genres: contemporary fiction, contemporary romance, POC, urban fiction 

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: friends who grew up together, flawed but relatable good characters

Foodie Vibes: wine and a nice dinner — while trying to impress the right people 


They beat the odds and turned their lives around. But now three best friends will go head-to-head with ambition, deception—and each other . . .
Derrick. Ricky. Jamal. One’s responsible; one’s still a player; one’s upwardly-mobile. Sentenced to the Branch Avenue Boys’ Youth Institute at twelve, they grabbed the chance for better futures. They stayed tight even when their lives diverged—but the times . . . they are a-changing.
New deputy mayor Jamal is anti–corruption, which means severing ties with Ricky, now a “criminally-adjacent” businessman. But political power plays and unrequited love will lead Jamal to a lethal choice . . .  
Ricky doesn’t mind running a front for DC’s biggest drug dealer, but when he pursues a sexy customer at his strip club and discovers she’s a cop, any wrong move could end Ricky’s good times permanently . . .
Now the Institute’s new leader, Derrick is torn between his job and his fiancée, Melissa. But when a cute new instructor who supports him and his mission arrives, he wonders if he should leave Melissa behind, not the Institute. However, this dilemma is nothing compared to a problem brewing right under his nose, and the fallout will strike at the heart of the three friends’ bond—and put more than their survival on the line . . .



Thank you to NetGalley, Dafina and Shelly Ellis for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

In These Streets centers around Derrick, Ricky and Jamal. The 3 friends had a tough life growing up. Each guy has achieved various levels of success in their life, some legal and some not.

The book explores male friendships, their relationships with significant others, careers choices, moral choices and more. I really liked that the author explored the multidimensional character of each person. No one is perfect. Each person’s reasoning, behind their actions, was explained so you understood them even if you didn’t agree with their choices. I also enjoyed the diverse representation. Also a gay male black character is in the book, which isn’t always talked about. I was really invested in the stories and enjoyed reading them.

However, some of the romantic relationships were unfaithful. And you know me, I’m not a fan of that. But mostly, people are good human beings. 

Overall, a very enjoyable and in depth read. Loved the character exploration and development. Highly recommend!


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4 Star Books · Book Reviews · Chick Lit · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · fiction · POC · romance · Women's Fiction

Busted in Bollywood by Nicola Marsh



Busted in Bollywood by Nicola Marsh

Published: July 3, 2012

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Pages: 302

Genres: chick lit, romance, contemporary romance, fiction, POC

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: fun books that make you happy, Bollywood movies, great friends, cross continental romance

Foodie Vibes: authentic Indian treats made and enjoyed with loved ones



Shari Jones needs to get a life. Preferably someone else’s.
Single, homeless and jobless, Indo-American Shari agrees to her best friend’s whacky scheme: travel to Mumbai, pose as Amrita, and ditch the fiancé her traditional Indian parents have chosen. Simple. Until she’s mistaken for a famous Bollywood actress, stalked by a Lone Ranger wannabe, courted by an English lord, and busted by the blackmailing fiancé.
Life is less complicated in New York.
Or so she thinks, until the entourage of crazies follows her to the Big Apple and that’s when the fun really begins. Shari deals with a blossoming romance, an addiction to Indian food and her first movie role, while secretly craving another trip to the mystical land responsible for sparking her new lease on life. Returning to her Indian birthplace, she has an epiphany. Maybe the happily-ever-after of her dreams isn’t so far away?



I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Entangled Publishing, and Nicola Marsh for an ebook copy. As always, an honest review from me. 

One word to describe this book: FUN! It’s a feel good book filled with great Indian food, romance-love and arranged, wonderful friendships, fun cultural adventures, and just enough family drama to keep things interesting. When I think about Busted in Bollywood, I am filled with images of color, Indian delicacies, and pure joy. The book version of a Bollywood movie, that I can’t get enough of.

The story is set in New York City and India, both bustling vibrant cities, perfect for this whirlwind of a story. I loved the underlying focus on true relationships – family, friendships, and romantic. It’s not just a silly book, but is filled with great depth. 

Occasionally I wasn’t sure about the main character’s relationship. And I wanted to hear more about her friend’s relationship. 

But overall a fun joyful book that I highly recommend, to put you in a good mood.


Have you watched a Bollywood movie before? What did you think?

3 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · mystery · POC · Urban Fiction

New Release | Triple Threat by Camryn King



Triple Threat by Camryn King 

Published: October 30, 2018

Publisher: Dafina Books

Pages: 320

Genres: contemporary fiction, urban fiction, POC, contemporary romance, mystery

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to: readers who want a behind the scenes look at fame in the elite sports world, fans of indecent love gone wrong, Law and Order SVU, justice

Foodie Vibes: healthy fueling meal of salmon, green salad and whole grains — prepared by a personal chef



Mallory Knight knows all too well how perfect lives can be illusions. And after surviving an elusive stalker and a wrenching investigation, this determined journalist wants to profile someone whose life is an open book. Superstar athlete Christian Graham seems to be the real thing—and he’s the kind of honorable, understanding man Mallory never thought she’d find. He also knows rejection and loss…and their instant attraction burns too hot to resist. Until she gets a strange anonymous lead. Until her instincts uncover secrets that make every generous public gesture seem like a lie—and turn every seductive touch into a trap. Now, with her career and reputation on the line, Mallory won’t stop pursuing the truth—even if real justice devastates everything she can’t afford to lose…



Thank you to NetGalley, Dafina Books and Camryn King for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Triple Threat is the story of a journalist trying to investigate the death of her best friend. It was ruled a suicide after some sloppy police work, but Mallory knows better. The evidence doesn’t add up. She uses her resources and skills learned during her career to obtain justice for her friend.

It took me awhile to get into the story. The first 50 pages or so, I didn’t really care about it, but the story and characters slowly grew on me over time. Also there are a lot of people/circumstances that are interconnected but the connections weren’t made clear until later on in the book. The more I know, the more I enjoyed it. Also, certain characters’ disregard for women definitely bothered me. He wasn’t all bad though.

Now onto the positives. The book gives a behind the scenes look at very successful professional athletes. Specifically the world of basketball. Showing the good an athlete can do with their fame was great. The mystery aspect was intriguing too. It reminded me of an episode of Law and Order SVU. So definitely a plus in my book!

Overall some hits and some misses with Triple Threat. Great representation of professionals in an urban setting.


How far would you go to find justice for your friend?




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3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · history · non fiction · POC · politics

New Release | We Can’t Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies and the Art of Survival by Jabari Asim



We Can’t Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies and the Art of Survival by Jabari Asim

Published: October 16, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 208

Genres: non fiction, POC, politics, history

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: African American history, justice

Foodie Vibes: family meals made with love



In We Can’t Breathe, Jabari Asim disrupts what Toni Morrison has exposed as the “Master Narrative” and replaces it with a story of black survival and persistence through art and community in the face of centuries of racism. In eight wide-ranging and penetrating essays, he explores such topics as the twisted legacy of jokes and falsehoods in black life; the importance of black fathers and community; the significance of black writers and stories; and the beauty and pain of the black body. What emerges is a rich portrait of a community and culture that has resisted, survived, and flourished despite centuries of racism, violence, and trauma. These thought-provoking essays present a different side of American history, one that doesn’t depend on a narrative steeped in oppression but rather reveals black voices telling their own stories.



Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Jabari Asim for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

We Can’t Breathe describes the injustices and outright atrocities committed against black lives throughout U.S. history. Spanning from before the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement to current day. 

A great compilation of important historical moments and movements. Some information I knew, some was new to me, and all was put together to form an impactful book. The author combines facts with anecdotes from his life for the biggest impact and understanding.

However, at times some chapters seemed disjointed from the common theme of the book. It was all relevant important information, but those sections took me awhile to make sense of them, in terms of the greater story. Also some chapters captured my attention more than others, but this is common in many non fiction books.

Overall, an important relevant book that many people should educate themselves with.