The Lowriders (V, #2) By Josh Holliday Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Josh Holliday returns as a force of nature as he explores firsthand experiences of the Latino community in East Los Angeles in the 1970’s in his novel The Lowriders (V, #2). Here is a quick synopsis:

The Synopsis

This story evolves around several young Latino people who populate the Barrio section of southeast Los Angeles in the mid to late 1970’s.

It focuses on their lowrider cars, their habits, style of living, and use of marijuana.

The reader will see how they connived their way in and out of tight ordeals staying one step ahead of the law in their various exploits.

The author lived in East L.A. from 1969 to 1971 and experienced some of these same adventures.

The Review

This is an interesting look into the lives of the Latino community in the area in the 70’s. As a Hispanic man with a deep love and respect for my culture and family, it was interesting to see the hardships and struggles the Latino community faced and continue to face at this time. While this book dives into a very specific group of the Latino community and does not represent all Latinos, the culture of this area and the times themselves and how they played a role in the Latino culture in that era was fascinating to see unfold. It was also a great opportunity to see the extreme treatment those in the Latino community suffer at the hands of the police, often being treated ten times more harshly than a caucasian person who had committed similar crimes.

The Verdict

Overall this was a fast paced read, filled with personal stories and images that reflect an era not too far removed from our own. While the book would do well with some further editing, the overall story allowed audiences to delve into the vast and rich culture of the Latino community in East LA at that time. Be sure to grab your copy of The Lowriders (V, #2) by Josh Holliday today!

Rating: 7/10

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lowriders-josh-holliday/1129557611?ean=2940156066803

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Under A Coyote Moon (Vol I of V) by Josh Holliday Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The struggle of illegal immigrants entering the United States gets a new perspective in author Josh Holliday’s novel “Under A Coyote Moon (Vol I of V)”. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

A (Memoir of Migrant Forced To Travel 2,000 Miles From El Salvador Atop Trains & Swim The Rio Grand River) and other True stories of migrants travels and troubles and prices they had to pay to reach the Mexican/American border; then how they managed to sneak across and enter the U.S. complete with 50 Color Images to enhance the stories.

The Review

Now in full disclosure to the audience and the author, I myself lean more to a democrat way of thinking and political mindset than Republican. I mention this not because I like talking about it often, but in this day and age there are many topics that I feel need to be spoken about in an open and honest way. This book brings up a major topic of debate that is incredibly relevant and needs to be discussed. Before I begin I want to applaud the author for contributing 25% of proceeds to help children caught up in the illegal immigration struggle. No matter what side you fall all, everyone should agree that children are innocent and shouldn’t be persecuted.

The author does a great job of highlighting the struggles of immigrants entering the United States illegally. While it may be illegal, the horrors they face in their home country forces these innocent people to flee for their lives, believing in the promise the US once represented of hope and a beacon for all the world to look up to. Sadly because of their desperation and need for safety, others take advantage of their situation. From the tight border patrol agents doing what is mandated and capturing anyone crossing the border, to the criminal “coyotes” and those running stash houses for immigrants who mistreat those crossing the border and keep them for days or even weeks until they are paid.

For me as a reader and reviewer, I must approach this and look at the topic from my own belief in a democratic society. The need to help and stop the heinous mistreatment of immigrants and the horrible policies of the current US administration is something I fully believe in. While a system of vetting immigrants is smart, locking up and separating children from their families and punishing those seeking to escape violence and persecution (i.e. abused women and children, young men seeking to escape gangs who want them to join them, families fleeing police brutality, etc) is horrendous and needs to be stopped.

The difficult thing is this topic can be very divisive, as are all politics. While I personally feel immigration and the current state of immigration shouldn’t be politicized, it’s the way things are for now. We are talking about peoples lives here, and we should be respectful and willing to lend a hand. The propaganda surrounding immigration can be discounted with a little bit of research and open mindedness. While I am a democrat, pro-Obama person, I try to keep an open mind and look at things from both sides. Yes gang violence in South America is a problem, as are drugs. Yet not all illegal immigrants are part of the problem. Instead they are seeking to escape those problems, and if given the chance could help improve our nation as a whole. We are a country of immigrants after all, who settled here (and conquered, let’s face it), seeking to escape persecution themselves, do we not owe it to the people south of the border to give them that same chance?

This review is a lot longer than most, but I feel passionately about this topic and live in a time where one cannot be silent and sit on the sidelines. I applaud the author for showing both sides of the immigration struggle, as it shows that no matter what our differences may be, the recognition of great injustice and the need for acceptance is a universal trait we can all get behind. While there are a handful of grammatical errors that could be improved in future novels, this first entry into the series showcases the author’s commitment and detailed research into the topic. Impressively the stories told reflect the real life struggles of many immigrants, both from the point of fleeing their homes to being trapped by criminals on both sides of the border and the hardships they have to endure for most of their life because of their “illegal” status.

The Verdict

Overall this was a fascinating read. While I may disagree on some points from a political belief’s standpoint, I do agree that immigration is an issue that needs a fair, safe and caring approach. I think the author did a great job of showcasing the struggles of immigrants based on his interviews with some of those immigrants. If anything, this book makes me yearn for the day where we can truly be a nation of equals, no matter what your race, gender, sexual orientation, or even nation of origin. I believe in the original idea for the United States, which was to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. While the nation has it’s dark moments in history, (like we face now), I have to hold onto hope for a brighter, more accepting and peaceful tomorrow. If you haven’t yet pick up your copy of Josh Holliday’s “Under A Coyote Moon (Vol I of V)” today!

Rating: 7/10

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1129615945?ean=2940156146307

About the Author

Josh is a former carpet layer and carpenter who lived and worked in California from 1970 to 2000. He now lives in Florida where he divides his time between writing interesting books, managing Real Estate part-time and playing the Blues-Harmonica.

Additionally he plays bottleneck guitar and writes songs.

The Bagman’s Buddies by Josh Holliday Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Corrupt politicians and a massive FBI operation bring author Josh Holliday’s novel The Bagman’s Buddies to life in a thrilling investigation like no other. Here is the synopsis:

This book recounts the likely events and explosive encounters that happened in the nightime as well as the day time during a ‘Sting’ Operation against Tennessee legislators and Senators.

Some plead guilty and some took it to trial and were found guilty. Most of them squirmed trying to get out of it before it went down.

Complete with many Color Images to portray the events.

The investigation and subsequent book written here delves into the realm of political thriller and crime drama, showing the corruption and power struggle within the Tennessee government. The book starts off with a literal bang, showing the dark depths these government officials are willing to go to in order to cover up their deceptions, and by book’s end readers will see who cooperated, who tried to slink away and who stayed to fight to bring this corruption to light. Based on true stories of an actual sting operation in the area, the author does a great job exploring the various aspects of the investigation and those involved, from the undercover agents working as the infamous “bagmen” to the surveillance crew, the victims who found themselves double crossed and the Senators themselves.

The only advice or criticism I would offer for the author would be separating dialogue from the other paragraphs and implementing quotations. This addition can help the story flow more freely and naturally. Other than that the book was well written and told the story well. The use of visuals highlighted the investigation perfectly, creating a natural flow to the story that doesn’t always translate in other books.

Overall this was an amazing read. Filled with humor, relatable characters and a fascinating political thriller that will have readers eager to dive into the case this novel is based on. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Josh Holliday’s The Bagman’s Buddies today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bagmans-buddies-josh-holliday/1129597519?ean=2940156096831

Runnin Buddies: (A True Story, Vol II of V) by Josh Holliday | REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This is an adult level book and has graphic content. Drug use, as well as some triggering sexual encounters and subject matter is involved in the book. The author has made clear he does not support drug use or the actions herein, but told the story as events occurred. If situations like this trigger you, be warned.

The continuing tales of the drug fueled, crime ridden 60’s and two men who dove head first into the era come to life in author Josh Holliday’s novel Runnin Buddies: (A True Story, Vol II of V). Here is the synopsis:

The gripping story of two young adventurers just out of high school in the late 1960’s. Drugs are rampant in society in California. Follow them as they barely escape drug deals, confrontations with the police, smuggling across the International Border with Mexico, a risky trip into Arizona, and the final “Bust” at the Mexican border. Your eyes will bulge at some of the true adventures they skated though. Several times they barely escaped death. Based on true lives lived in this book II of V Books, a Series.

Once again this series continues to highlight the shocking, often deplorable actions of those fueled by sex and drugs in the 60’s. Using graphic and detailed images to highlight the stories told within, the author goes to great lengths to showcase the power of drugs and highlight the toxic, misogynistic and often heinous acts used against women in that era. In today’s day and age that sadly still occurs, but more often than not public support and the use of the internet has allowed victims to come forward, share their story and rally support to highlight these crimes. Yet in that era, when drugs and sexism ran rampant, not only were women more susceptible to these crimes, but convinced themselves it either didn’t happen or just went along with it out of fear. The author highlights these acts to show just how toxic this mentality is to have and to show how we can do better to teach future generations to respect one another and to view these acts for the crimes that they are.

The author did a great job of highlighting the way people living a life like this often miss the signs to change their ways. The book begins where the first left off, with one of the buddies in jail and the other lost without him. Yet rather than learn from his friend’s mistakes and making a change, he finds himself where many drug addicted people find themselves, and that’s back in the thick of it, tumbling further down the rabbit hole into disparity and illegal acts that they don’t even see themselves. While the book is graphic, (and on a technical note to the author, I would recommend going through the book and looking for grammatical and spelling mistakes more thoroughly. They didn’t hamper the story whatsoever but using quotations in dialogue will help separate the thoughts and make it easier to see who is speaking), the book’s importance of showing the rampant drug use and unspoken crimes committed in that era can help us to learn from the past and grow as a society, especially in this era of so much political turmoil, sexual harassment and abuse scandals, and global uncertainty.

Overall this was a fascinating, sometimes uncomfortable but wholly necessary read. The author did a wonderful job of highlighting these events and showing the way those involved in these crimes rationalize their actions so much that they believe their own lies. As the series looks to continue in book three, one can only hope the people involved in the true story this book is based upon will see “the light” and find a way to end these actions. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up Runnin Buddies: (A True Story, Vol I and II of V) by Josh Holliday today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GN4FHNC/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0

Runnin Buddies: (Based on a True Story, Vol I of V) by Josh Holliday | REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This is an adult level book. Drug use, as well as some triggering sexual encounters and subject matter is involved in the book. The author has made clear he does not support drug use or the actions herein, but told the story as events occurred. If situations like this trigger you, be warned.

A tale of two young friends lost in a world of petty crimes, drugs and dangerous adventures take center stage in author Josh Holliday’s Runnin Buddies: (Based on a True Story, Vol I of V). Here’s a quick synopsis:

The gripping story of two young adventurers just out of high school in the 1960’s. Drugs are rampant in society in California. Follow them as they barely escape drug deals, confrontations with the police, smuggling across the International Border with Mexico, a risky trip into Arizona, and the final “Bust” at the Mexican border. Your eyes will bulge at some of the true adventures they skated though. Several times they barely escaped death. Based on true lives lived in this book I of V Books, a Series.

The author completely enraptured me with the tales of friends Roby and Roger. As a Southern California resident myself, I could perfectly imagine the chaos and drug fueled life these two led while living and traveling in the area. This book does an excellent job of exploring not only the affects drugs had on the two men, but the various ways this era of history produced some of the issues we still face in this world. From misogony and rampant drug use and addiction to spiking drinks, smuggling and drug deals gone wrong, this book has it all.

The one thing I would recommend for the author would be to be careful of formatting issues. At certain points the story would suddenly shift into dialogue or continue onto a new part of the story without any punctuation to indicate the shift. It’s a minor thing but some readers who focus on technical aspects may notice this throughout the story. However it wasn’t enough to take me completely out of the story. The author was spectacular at showing the lines these two crossed, and the adventures they went on in their drug fueled lives. The author also explores very dark topics that rose as a result of this era of drugs, such as sexual situations that would be appalling in our day and age, but sadly were an everyday part of life in the 60’s and beyond. The author gets inside the mind of someone so lost into this drug fueled state that they rationalize their actions at every turn, leading to some tough and very adult subject matter. It’s written with honesty and gut wrenching detail, bringing to light the mindset and era that defined the lives of so many, and the causes we as a society are now taking up to stop those same practices from repeating themselves today and in the future.

Overall this was an informative, mind blowing look into the 60’s era California drug scene and those caught in it’s addictive embrace. While the subject matter can be tough and difficult to read at times, the importance of learning from the past and exploring the roads that led to these events is important as we move forward as a society, so that we may learn to identify the problems of the past and create a brighter future. It was an engaging tale that has me interested to learn more about the adventures of these two men and how they came out the other side, and whether or not they were able to leave behind that life once and for all. As the first in a series, this book did a great job hooking the reader, and explored this era with detail and attention that it so rightfully needed. If you enjoy adult looks at historical eras and how the drug epidemic impacted the lives of so many in the past, then be sure to grab your copy of author Josh Holliday’s Runnin Buddies: (Based on a True Story, Vol I of V) today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Runnin-Buddies-Based-True-Story-ebook/dp/B07GJWZRMF/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1536932978&sr=8-2&keywords=%22The+Runnin+Buddies%22