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Showing posts from 2019

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin


Yeine Darr was never looking to rule. She only came to Sky by request of her grandfather, Dekatur Arameri, a man she had never set eyes on before. Yeine’s mother had abdicated the throne and left for the North to be with Yeine’s father. Now both of her parents were dead, she was the ruler of the Darr in the North but considered a barbarian. But when she kneeled in front of her grandfather and he recognized her as kin, she knew other things were at play. Yeine didn’t realize it would be a fight for the throne and she didn’t realize the gods enslaved to the Arameri were involved and that her life was a stake. I was not prepared for this book to start off the way that it did. I’ve read Jemisin before so I was expecting amazing world building, an intense and intricate plot and beautiful writing. But she came out in the first chapter hitting readers with a dark chaotic action sequence that put Yeine’s life at risk in the most disturbing way poss…

The Black Rose by Tananarive Due

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The Black Rose by Tananarive Due


Have you ever wondered about the life of Madam CJ Walker? Well, of course you’ve heard of her. Without her we would have never had pressing combs and our scalps would have more than likely been a mess. Madam CJ Walker built an empire around Black women’s hair care products. The Black Rose is a historical fiction based on the life of Madam CJ Walker, born Sarah Breedlove. Due used research conducted by Alex Haley and created this novel which looks at the many trials, tribulations and successes experience in both love, family and business by Madam CJ Walker. After reading the first few pages, I knew this would be a novel I really enjoyed, because Due is a beautiful writer. She creates detailed worlds with her words, sewing the atmosphere, culture and scenery together in a way that transports readers to that time and place. I felt like I was with Walker as she traveled through the streets in her luxury vehicle and again when she lost her parents and was fo…

The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake

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The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake



I’m making it a point to read classics written by Black authors this year and The Skin I’m In is the first for this year. It’s the story of Maleeka, a young girl in seventh grade who is constantly harassed because of the darkness of her skin and bullied because she’s poor. She is constantly being manipulated by other girls in her grade and it’s taking a toll. When a new teacher comes to her school, with a scarred face the kids find another target. But this teacher, Ms. Saunders, takes a liking to Maleeka. Intimidated and angered by this at first, Maleeka rejects her kindness. Overtime things change but Maleeka has to find her own strength before she can stand up to her abusers. This book has been sitting on my bookshelf screaming to be read for at least a year. Now that I’ve read it, I have a lot of emotions. This book is so painful because it hints at the worst part of people and how some of those traits can appear in young people. Kids can be cruel.…

Uglies by Scott Westerfield

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Uglies by Scott Westerfield



After spending four years with other Uglies in a dormitory, pulling all kinds of tricks, you finally grow up and become a Pretty on your sixteenth birthday. That’s what Talla had been looking forward too. Her best friend Peris was three months older than her, living lavishly in New Pretty Town, going to fancy parties, dressing up and having the time of his life. Alone and lonely, that was when Talla met Shay. Shay would turn sixteen the same day Talla would! But Shay wasn’t sure if she wanted to be a Pretty. And the stories she told Talla about a place where your looks didn’t matter, where you could live without looking pretty like everyone else, seemed appalling to her. But when Shay runs away Talla might not have a choice of whether or not she wants to be a Pretty. Someone might have just stripped that choice away. This new world Westerfield created where you become a Pretty and everything is perfect, everyone looks the same, no troubles, no care is downr…

Let me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson with lyrics by Malik "Malik-16" Sharif

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Let me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson with lyrics by Malik "Malik-16" Sharif


They had no idea if this plan would really work. Steph was dead but that didn’t mean his memory had to be. All the tapes he had under his bed, the cd they found, the notebooks filled with lyrics all seemed like possibilities to Steph’s two best friends Jarrell and Quadir and his little sister Jasmine. It gave Jarrell and Quadir a chance to put their best friend on the map. And Jasmine only agreed to help if they promised to help find out who killed her big brother. They had a chance to make Steph a legend, a star. But there were so many things they didn’t know about Steph and there was no way they could have known how dangerous his lyrics could be.
Everyone handles grief in different ways and I find it very interesting the way these three characters handle their grief by continuing to love and honor their friend through his novel. This is as much a novel about three teenagers dealing with grief a…

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

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The Crossover by Kwame Alexander


I am absolutely loving the amount of Middle Grade/Young Adult novels that I am seeing in verse. In the hands of capable authors like Kwame Alexander they are absolutely extraordinary. This is the first novel I’ve read by Alexander and needless to say I plan on eventually owning them all if any of them are anywhere near the level of skill that is on display in this one. The Crossover is the story of twelve-year old Josh Ball, the only kid his age that can dunk. He’s on the same team as his very talented twin brother Jordan. Their mom is the assistant principal at their school, so their education is just as important as their skills on the court. And their dad, now retired, once played on a championship European team. While Josh has his eyes on a championship, Jordan only has eyes for his girlfriend. With the two seemingly longing for different things, a fracture occurs that not only affects the family, but the team. This book was good because as much as …

How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

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How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee


This is a story about family. It’s a story about war. It’s a story about surviving. A story about living after loss. It’s a story of healing and a story about the passing of time. It’s a story of teenage girl taken from her family during World War II and forced to live for years in a brothel as a comfort woman. It’s the story of a women married to a man for decades, who both suffering from the pains of war, never really knew each other or shared their past. It’s the story of a boy whose grandmother left him with a truth that he doesn’t know how to share. This novel takes place in Singapore during both World War II and the early 21st century. It focuses heavily on the atrocities committed by the Japanese during the war and the affect that had on the Chinese communities during and after the war for generations to come. Lee did a beautiful job weaving these stories together and creating these characters. She created such interesting family dynamics that…

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

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With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo


This is one of those books that once you start reading it you can’t put it down. The words just flow through the page, the characters become your friends and you feel entwined in their lives. This story of Emoni, the seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican mother, doing her best to raise her child, finish her senior year in high school and working when she can to help her abuela financially is extremely well done. Emoni loves to cook and that loves is poured into every creation she makes, bringing those who try her food to feel unexpected emotions. Some people call what she can do in the kitchen magic. But she still has a baby father to contend with, classes that she struggles with and a fear of what the future will hold. When an opportunity arises to take a Culinary Arts class at her school, she hesitates but only for a second.
I didn’t want this book to end. I honestly could have devoured a hundred more pages of this novel. I was way to caught up in…

Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older

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Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older


This is the story of a group of young orphans, led by our main character Magdalys, who lived at the Colored Orphan Asylum in New York during the Civil War. That is before it was burned down in the Draft Riots leaving Magdalys and her friends homeless and in search of the other orphans who they fear have been kidnapped by the magistrate, Richard Riker and sent down south to slavery. Did I mention they escaped on the back of brachiosaurus? A brachiosaurus they may or may not have been controlled by Magdalys’s mind? Because dinosaurs are alive and well in this historical fantasy novel and they might be the key to helping Magdalys find her friends and hopefully her family.
I don’t know where to begin with this novel! I had so much fun reading it but it’s set in such a horrible point in our history that shrouds over it. In Dactyl Hill Squad you have this incredible adventure novel, where dinowrangling is real and it’s nothing to ride on a Triceratops p…

The Book of Flora by Meg Elison

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The Book of Flora by Meg Elison


And now we have the very last book in the Road to Nowhere series. It has been quite the ride, journey and experience. This review will hold spoilers for the first two books, but I will try my best not to spoil this last book in this review.
It has been over one hundred years since the Dying has taken place. And the army is on its way to Bambritch Island. The refugees have been pouring in. The leader, sometimes described as a man other times described as a woman, has been destroying cities, killing everyone including pregnant women all in the search for “frags”. Flora had heard of frags, people who can impregnate themselves and have living children, before but had always dismissed it as a myth. As the army comes closer, she reflects on the last 40 years in hopes of understanding why someone could have their sights set on Bambritch. The suspense was killing me throughout this book! We know that danger is coming but we also have absolutely no idea how Flora…

The Book of Etta by Meg Elison

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The Book of Etta by Meg Elison


This book is the second book in the Road to Nowhere series. The first book, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife¸ was more about the immediate survival of the species, while this book is generations removed from the sickness, or The , that took place in the first book. There will be some spoiler regarding The Unnamed Midwife, so I would definitely suggest at the very least checking out that review before reading this one. Etta has known Nowhere as her home her entire life. But Eddy, the male persona she inhabits as she raids has never seen Nowhere as his home. The two are the same and yet they are different. Who Etta chooses to love is frowned upon in Nowhere, where women should be having babies or helping bring babies into this world. Etta knew that was never her calling. She was meant to be more like the Unnamed Midwife, whose stories she had known since childhood. The midwife was who she wanted to be like, helping women in any way she could. Eddy hates the …

Wildcard by Marie Lu

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Wildcard by Marie Lu


Wildcard is the sequel to Warcross. There will be some spoilers regarding Warcross in this review so if you haven’t read the first book I would definitely recommend doing so before reading this review. That is the only disclaimer you are going to get! Moving on. It’s been weeks since Hideo’s algorithm took over the Neurolink. People have been turning themselves in for past crimes to the police. Crime is at an all time low. And the Dark Web is slowly fading due to all of the people reporting details to the police. And while the general public has no idea what has happened, Emika knows it’s because of Hideo. Because he has taken away choice and is forcing people to do no harm through his algorithm. But Emika can’t forget the person she saw when the algorithm took over. The man standing in all black, whose identity showed as Sasuke Tanaka, Hideo’s brother whom everyone assumed was dead. Could Zero really be Sasuke? Was he actually trying to stop Hideo? Why hadn’t he g…

How We Fight White Supremacy by Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin

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How We Fight White Supremacy by Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin


Have you ever asked yourself how you fight white supremacy? You’d have to define it first and then understand what it means before you could answer that. But once you understood what it meant and how you were affected by it, could you say how you fight white supremacy? It’s a question I’ve battled with for the last few years. Definitely more so since 2016. I don’t know if I have a single answer for that, especially when sometime just existing as a Black woman in the United States feels like an act of resistance. I gravitated towards this book because I wanted to see what other people had to say and how other people are fighting back. If nothing else, this book has shown me that there are many different ways to fight. People will do what they are capable of doing, and fight in the best way they know how. This book is a collection of many things. It has poetry, essays, interviews, question and answer sessions and music. It’s…

Warcross by Marie Lu

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Warcross by Marie Lu

Emika never thought she would meet Hideo Tanaka. She was an eighteen-year-old bounty hunter, facing eviction from her tiny studio apartment. She had been watching the Warcross tournament just like millions of other people. But when one of the competitors grabbed a power up, worth thousands of bucks, she couldn’t resist hacking into the system and grabbing it. What she never expected was to glitch into the game the moment she touched it! Now her face is plastered everywhere. Everyone knows her name and Emika is terrified she is going to be arrested. When she finally decides to call the number back that’s been calling nonstop, it’s Hideo Tanaka, Warcross creator, who wants to meet her. I picked up Warcross the day after throwing in the towel on a historical fiction novel that was leaving a bad taste in my mouth. This is exactly what I needed to get me out of that funk. Warcross is a really entertaining young adult science fiction novel that follows Emika’s journey fr…

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

This book doesn’t waste words and I won’t either. This is amazing. Written in verse it’s the story of Xiomara, a young woman who expresses herself through the poems she writes in her diary. Her and her twin brother are first generation immigrants from the Dominican Republic. They both are constantly having to navigate what it means to have a family steeped in culture and tradition, while also living as a teenager in the U.S. She has a body that screams for attention and fist that have grown weary from fighting. But now the words on the page that express all of frustrations, fears and dreams are finding their way out through the poetry club she begins attending to avoid her confirmation class. I loved this. I loved it because Acevedo was able to pack so much world building, so much life, so much development into each poem. Her world, Xiomara’s world, unfolded beautifully on each page. It’s powerful and it resonates and it questions the relationships she h…

Becoming by Michelle Obama

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Becoming by Michelle Obama


“I’m an ordinary person who found herself on an extraordinary journey. In sharing my story, I hope to help create space for other stories and other voices, to widen the pathway for who belongs and why.”
I didn’t rush to read this book. A lot of it had to do with my own mental space and stressing about the state of the union. Would this book written by the first Black First Lady of the United States really give hope or would it be just another reminder of how far we’ve fallen? I decided instead to read this book as my first #readBlackwomen selection for this February for Black History month. I finished it in three days and if life hadn’t intruded, I would have finished it one day. This book is incredible.
Michelle Obama is the only person who should ever be allowed to write about Michelle Obama No one will have more intimate knowledge of her life, and no one will ever be able to articulate in anyway near as beautifully as she did the story of her life. It begin…

The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova

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The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova


I’m not sure when was the last time I’ve read a book about mermaids. After reading Cordova’s Brooklyn Bruja series I knew I had to read more of her writing style which I absolutely loved. The Vicious Deep isn’t as compelling as her newest series but it is still highly entertaining and a really fun ride.
Meet Tristan. You know this guy. We all know this guy. The girls think he’s cute. He one of the best swimmers on the team and he’s fun to be around. He’s also a lifeguard. And on the day the storm came he ran out into the waves to save the life of woman he saw flailing in the water. He was found days later somehow still alive. Many other people didn’t survive that day. He’s felt weird ever since. The next thing you know he’s lying on the bathroom floor and his legs have turned into fins! There’s a lot his mother hasn’t told him about her family, the family he has never known. Like the fact that he is actually a Merman and a descendant of the Sea King,…

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

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Lethal White by Robert Galbraith


This is the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series. There won’t be any spoilers for this book, but if you haven’t read the first three there are spoilers abound.
I’m just going to jump right in with the review and skip the blurb. This book picks up exactly where the 3rd book, Career of Evil, left off. Thankfully, because one of the main reasons why I was itching to get this book in my hand was to find out what Robin chooses to do: Does she stay with Matthew or does she leave? The answer is complicated. But with the prologue we jump right back in, not necessarily into another case but right back into the dynamics of Robin and Cormoran’s relationship, now partnership, friendship? That relationship for me is the driving point of the story. No matter how wrapped up I am in their cases, I am also constantly wondering what the state of their relationship is or will become. Now let’s jump into the actual case at hand. Billy, an obviously mentally ill young …

The Mother of Black Hollywood by Jenifer Lewis with Malaika Adero

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The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir by Jenifer Lewis with Malaika Adero


Jenifer Lewis. When I think of Jenifer Lewis the very first thing that pops in my mind is “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” But the more I think about it, the more movies come to mind, “Corrina Corrina,” “The Preacher’s Wife,” my son’s favorite movie “Cars.” She is in so many movies and has been around in showbusiness damn near my entire life. When I heard about this memoir it was one I knew I would eventually get my hands on enjoy.
Lewis writes just like I would imagine she talks. I heard her voice in my head the entire time I was reading this story. All the exclamations, the singing, the joy, the anger, it’s all there. I found her story very interesting. I found her honesty moving and her resilience inspiring. One thing I also appreciated was how she embraced and relays her sexual nature. She never hides from it and in many ways details her escapades. Judge her if you want to but she is telling her truth.
I do…

The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard

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The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard


I blame the series “Black Sails” for why I enjoyed this so much. The characters that I watched avidly on Starz for four seasons were real and in all of their glory and truth on these pages and I really enjoyed learning of the real history. Woodard with this book, chronologically tells the history of the Golden Age of Piracy. He starts with the roots of piracy, focusing on the why and how of piracy. But he also focuses on the early lives of four of the men whose names are the most well known in pirate history. Three are the pirates Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy, Charles Vane and Edward “Blackbeard” Thatch. The other is the man credited the most with helping to end piracy, Woodes Rogers. But if you are like me, the fan of “Black Sails” there are plenty of other names you’ll recognize as well like Jack Rackham and Hornigold. Woodard tells this story of pira…

Moby Dick by Herman Melville, A reread many years later

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Moby Dick by Herman Melville



I’m so disappointed with this reread. I had really fond memories of this book. I read it while in high school, well over a decade ago, and genuinely enjoyed it. I was looking forward to this reread. All I’ve felt the majority of this read through was frustration.
This is the story of Ahab and his pursuit of the white whale, Moby Dick, that caused him to lose his leg. At its bones this is what this novel is about. Unfortunately, Melville decided to also provide a course on whaling throughout the novel which stops any kind of natural flow from occurring. At times you don’t know who the narrator is because Melville changes throughout and at times it felt like Melville was just talking. If none of the nonfiction stuff was included and this was just a streamline novel about Ahab’s monomaniacal thirst for revenge against Moby Dick it would have been epic! But it’s not! The story meanders, Melville wanders and then suddenly readers are thrown back into the story!

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

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Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

I saw children I know in the pages of this book. I heard their voices. I saw their experiences. I read the words and envisioned these children that I knew. What Woodson did with this novel is open the door for children to be children but at the same time talk about things in a way that we never give them credit for. In a way that’s open, beautiful and honest not only with themselves but with each other. Harbor Me is a novel that looks at how hard it is to be a child coming of age right now and how they can open up to one another when given the space and opportunity. This story is simply the conversations of six kids, whose teacher gave them time to be together and they formed an unforgettable friendship.
Woodson chose to tackle some very relevant and yet heavy topics: deportation, police brutality, death, race, and privilege. I thought she did this in a way that was both respectful of all these topics and deeply honest and upfront as well. She didn’t sug…

Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

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Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom


Thick. If that isn’t an apt title for this collection than I don’t know what is, because this is a thick book. Not thick in the amount of pages, but absolutely full of relevant and necessary information. It isn’t curing cancer or solving climate change. But it is giving a voice and analytical eye to the way we treat, judge, measure, love, hate and depict Black women. I knew after the very first essay in this collection that I was willing to analyze and absorb everything that Cottom had to write. And write she did, absolutely beautifully. As a Black woman I have been making it a point to not only think critically about my own situation and positioning in this disturbing time in our history, but to also think critically about the experiences of other Black women. I see Cottom doing the same thing in this collection, but in a way so composed that I could never imagine myself capable. Each of these essays take a measured look at the relati…