Tag Archives: social issues

Book Review: Someone to Kiss My Scars – Confronts Social Issues Head On

Someone To Kiss My Scars

By Brooke Skipstone

Disclaimer: Someone To Kiss My Scars is a YA/Adult novel with graphic violence and sex. While it is integral the story, it may be disturbing to some readers.

Hunter does not know who he is. With the exception of a few vague memories, he knows nothing of his past except for what has been told to him by his aloof father. His mother and younger brother died in a car accident and almost everything Hunter and his father had was burned beyond recognition in a storage unit fire. Lately he has been remembering bits and pieces of his former life. But those memories come with a price.

He is not only remembering his past, but he has visions about other people. They come to him in a painful blast. The only way he can stop the pain is to type the stories he hears in his head. Unfortunately, he does not receive happy memories. All of the stories are filled with pain and anger. But the odd thing is, once he receives a memory, the person that held it is now free of the event.

He and Jazz, a girl he becomes friends with at his new school, become even closer when they find a common bond in their pain. Both of them self-harm to get through the events in their past and present. The two of them become stronger together and begin to heal while helping others that have been their enemies become whole again. Is Hunter willing to pay the price to finally know about his past?

Ms. Skipstone meets the social issues of teens and young adults head on. Many taboo topics are confronted and discussed by the characters in this powerful work of fiction. Per the author “Fifty percent of women in Alaska experience sexual violence in their lifetime…” and in the US, “…one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn eighteen…”. These are staggering statistics. The author presents these very difficult topics, as well as others in novel form to bring attention to how this affects those involved as well as the people that love them.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Shirtless Men Drink Free – Hidden Agendas Are Ugly Bedfellows

Shirtless Men Drink Free

By Dwaine Rieves

Jackson Beekman is a rising star in his home state of Georgia. Currently the attorney general, his sights are set on the Governor’s office. But nothing is free in this world, least of all politics. Jackson needs to hedge his bets, so he begins building his campaign team.

Dr. Jane Beekman, Jackson’s sister-in-law, is one of the handpicked circle he chooses for his team.  She brings a personal agenda to the table. Politics are known for quid pro quo, and Jane is no exception. Her mother recently died a painful death due to her lifelong addiction to tobacco. She agrees to work for Jackson, and he agrees to push her agenda of raising the tax on tobacco as soon as he gets in office.

Jackson, like any human, has baggage. The problem with his is it is deep seated and hidden from almost everyone. His brother Price shares the sorrows and secrets of Jackson’s past. Price will keep the family secrets, but unbeknownst to the candidate, someone else from their past may come back to haunt Jackson.

The emotional roller coaster that the main characters ride is lightning fast. Jackson, Price and Jane are complex and complicated, their individual personalities jump from the pages and into the reader’s head.

The depth of this novel is coupled with an easy style that flows beautifully for the reader. It is hard to put this book in a box. It is fiction laced with facts, politics, social issues and human fallibility. The closest I can come to placing a label on Shirtless Men Drink Free is contemporary literary fiction. Contemporary due to the recurring theme of tobacco legislations and known health problems associated with it as well as social issues of today. I add the label “Literary” because Rieves’ beautiful use of the English language is evident throughout the book, but never pretentious.

If you only read one book this year that is not in your usual genre, I highly recommend this brilliant debut novel by Dwaine Rieves, Shirtless Men Drink Free. Read it for the human side of volatile issues that are hot topics in today’s headlines.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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