I Should Have Never Joined A Gang Review

Picture books are a way for authors to tell a story to people of all ages through powerful images and compelling almost-poetic writing. This book truly tries to reach out to the readers, leading them in the shoes of a young boy who gets wrapped up in the wrong crowd. He simply wants to fit in and have popular older friends in the neighborhood, but then a drive-by shooting turns his entire life upside down. The main character doesn’t understand how those who promised to be his friends would beat him as a part of an “initiation,” and he starts to realize that those who claimed to be his family were truly just using him. But by then, it might be too late.

Although this book is a picture book, it is definitely not appropriate for young kids. It has a few graphic pictures/scenes that would just be too much for an elementary schooler. A middle schooler might pretend to dislike the picture book, but the message will definitely stick. Even I am thinking about it hours later as a college student. I do think that some of the best good that this book could do would be to teach adults the mindsets behind some gang members. The kids hanging out in front of the liquor store aren’t hardened criminals, they are kids who are on the wrong path and who think that they are having fun with their friends. Maybe more adults will have more sympathy after reading this simple picture book.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for an eye-opening story of the truth about many gangs.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 books


London Lady ARC Review

London LadyClaire Fisher works as a hostess in London’s Double R Club, and she is just happy to be making more money. Then, she finds herself in love with a man named Lucky, who just happens to work for the owners of the club. The club is owned by the Kray Twins, who are notorious mob bosses. Even though her boyfriend might want to eventually leave the mob, the Kray twins will never allow him to do that. Soon, she is just as involved as he is, and the gangsters that are stalking Lucky begin to stalk her as well. Lucky says that he will protect her, but after a tragic accident, she truly believes that Lucky will get the both of them killed.

This book is historical fiction based on the real gangs and mobs in London of the 1960s. I knew a little bit about American gangs, but nothing about gangs in the UK. This mob seemed to be exactly like the Mafia that ruled some parts of the US in the 60s. Lucky got himself in and couldn’t seem to get himself out, and Claire was involved simply because she wanted a job. It wasn’t a good situation for anyone, and it even spoke about how other gangs were no different. The Kray Twins may have seemed like tyrants, but every mob boss was at the time.

I’ll admit, it was a little tiring reading about Lucky and Claire’s romance. They seemed to always be fighting, Lucky not wanting to leave the mob, and Claire kicking him out. But then she would just let him back in, and they would start the cycle over again. It did not seem to be a healthy relationship at all, even if Lucky was supposed to be her “soulmate.” The danger that Lucky didn’t seem to understand that he was putting her in also wasn’t healthy.

I enjoyed reading about the other characters far more than I enjoyed reading about Claire and Lucky’s love life. Chris and Ginny are a lesbian couple in this story that had a happy relationship, even though Chris had ties to the mob. They had their ups and downs, but for the most part, they were just happy being together. I would have liked a whole story from their point of view, talking about how they got together and how they really just complimented each other so well. Definitely made the story worth reading.

This story does have its fair share of gore as the mob of London was quite violent at the time. I can’t say much about the really bad parts as they have a lot of spoilers in them. Just don’t read if you are the faint of heart, especially not the end. I had to take a break when I was reading that, just to relax from the suspense.

The setting was just as gritty as the topic of the book, and I wanted to read more about how the streets of London were so seedy back in the 1960s. It’s interesting to read about that in-between time when England wasn’t fully rebuilt from the wars and was still trying to get back on its feet. This was definitely a time where bosses like the Kray twins could come to power and take over the streets.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a realistic novel depicting the gangs and mobs of London in the 1960s, or anyone looking for a gory action-thriller novel with romantic themes.

I received an advance copy of this book from BookSprout and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mad Dogs Review (Cherub Book #8)

Mad Dogs (Cherub, #8)

Gabrielle and her boyfriend Michael are on a mission to infiltrate the gang “Slasher Boys”. Everything seems to be going well, but when Gabrielle goes to deliver something to a contact, she is stabbed nearly to death by a member of a rival gang: the Runts.

While James and Dana are assisting the instructors in the last few days of basic training, James returns to campus early. Then he is made aware of Gabrielle’s condition and is asked to take on the mission with Bruce in her place. He has to use his former relationship with Junior from Class A to his advantage in order to get into the criminal world.

Large tries to blackmail Lauren so that he can keep his job, but she works with Kyle to try to get him fired.

This book did tone down on some of the things that irritated me about James in the other titles, however, it still had its bad moments. The one thing that upset me the most was when James pretended to like Large’s daughter in order to blackmail Large into leaving Lauren alone. That just seemed wrong to me, teens dating someone’s daughter to get to her father.

Nevertheless, I actually enjoyed the story. I especially liked hearing about what Junior had been doing with his life since we left him in Class A, and I hope that the rest of the series continues to reunite us with the characters the kids interacted with in previous books.

The only character who I wanted to know more about was “Wheels”. He seemed pretty interesting to me but because he was not a main character he did not receive as much time focusing on his backstory.

I would recommend this series to older teens who want to read a developed and long spy series, and who do not mind adult themes.

Overall Rating: 3/5