Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Hate U Give book review

My rating: 5 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.62 stars
Inside Cover: Sixteen-Year-Old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends.  The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer.  Khalil was unarmed.  Soon afterward, Khalil's death is a national headline.  Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger.  Starr's best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming.  When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protestors take to the streets and Starr's neighborhood becomes a war zone.  What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night?  And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.  But what Starr does or does not say could destroy her community.  It could also endanger her life. 
"T-H-U-G L-I-F-E, The Hate U Give Little Infants F*** Everybody, meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the but when we wild out."  Tupac
My Thoughts:
WOW!  Imagine a picture of someone with their mouth open wide, well that is my response.  With all the racial tension in this country, this book spelled out true emotions regarding this hard topic.  The main character, Starr Carter is me when I was 16.  I grew up in the city where life was/is hard.  Where violence, drug dealing, gangs, and drama was or is still a problem.  Where children grow up in a lifestyle where it is hard to get out of.  Starr knows what life is like in both worlds and switches her specific persona with each location.  Once both worlds are combined, Starr is unsure how to be herself.  The emotions described from the characters in the books, especially of the main character are pure, honest, and real.  If you have never witnessed a police shooting or someone being killed especially at a young age, the author clearly defines how it can affect you mentally and emotionally. 
I recommend everyone to read this book.  White, black. Rich, poor.  City dweller or suburban resident.  Democrat, Republican. EVERYONE!  Our country is plagued by hate and violence therefore talking with those who seem different from us is hard.  We have opinions that we love to share but often lack respect.  This book will put you in perspective of those who are victims of gun violence, police brutality and poverty.  If you need great, urban read with Tupac quotes and young adult slang, this book is for you.  If you are looking for a book that makes you think of other people than yourself, this book is for you.  If you stand against racial discrimination and police brutality, this book is for you. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fall TBR 2017

It has been rainy and cool for the past couple of days, so with Labor Day in the rear view mirror, the Fall season seems to have started a few weeks earlier.  I am eager to enjoy the fall season with great books while wrapped up in a blanket and sipping on hot tea or coffee. 

Each month since the beginning of the year, I would create a TBR list of books that I would like to read during the month.  However, I would either forget to read the books or read other books and neglect the books on the list.  So after thinking about how to create my TBR's, I have decided to create seasonal TBR's.  Each season is about 3 months which gives me time to read all of my books and add new ones. 

My Fall TBR includes:

1 "The Coldest Winter Ever" - Sister Souljah

2 "The New Jim Crow" - Michelle Alexander

3 "Fatal Trust" -Todd Johnson

4 "The Proving" - Beverly Lewis

5 "Everything, Everything" - Nicola Yoon

6 Black and Blue

7 "Uninvited"-Lysa Terkeurst

8 "Coming of Angels" - MJ Banks

I know there are many great book releases this fall, so I am excited to see which book I grab to read.  If you have a TBR list or a list of books that you would like to read.  Comment and share!! I love to see what others are reading or planning to read. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

"Amish Weddings" Leslie Gould Amish Weddings

My Rating: 3 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.43 stars

Back cover: Gregarious Rose Lehman, who's always the life of the Amish youth singings, is determined  to marry the bishop's son, Ruben Byler - until the handsome Army buddy of her future brother in law shows up in Lancaster County.  In comparison to Trevor, Reuben seems downright boring.  Trevor shares Rose's sense of fun and adventure, and her easygoing disposition.  When her sister Lila is injured in a devastating accident, Rose finds herself with more freedom than she's ever experienced in her life.  Only Reuben seems to notice, but he never voices his concerns.  Part of her relishes the freedom she's found with Trevor, but the other part wishes Reuben would finally express his love and "fight" for her.  Have her choices ruined her best chance at love, or is there another path to happiness she just hasn't seen yet?

Amish Wedding is Book 3 in the Neighbors of Lancaster County and focuses on the younger Lehman sister, Rose.  Rose is a fun character who seems to be the life of the party in her Amish community.  She hopes to marry her bishop's son, Ruben however after meeting Trevor an army friend of her brother to be, she finds herself drawn to his easygoing nature.  Rose finds herself in a tough predicament, since her sisters gets injured in an horrible accident and Rose now has to be the "mom" of the family and finds out some disturbing news.  Rose know has to make tough decisions, those ones that she thought she would never have to make. 

I enjoy reading Amish fiction due to being  an urbanite it helps me escape my fast paced reality and enter into the country life of the Amish.  I think despite that this is a book on the Amish, I feel as women, we might have felt like Rose at one point.  Being with one man, but drawn to another.  Making important decisions that will affect your future.  Being heartbroken and torn.  It was easy to get lost in Rose's world, because she is like that friend that you just want to save and help. 

Since this book  is in a series, I recommend reading the first 2 books before reading this one, since you can learn and follow the characters.  Also, if you are new to Amish fiction, research some of their language, since there are a few Amish words that many might not understand.  My overall rating was a 3 out of 5 stars.  It was a great read and I enjoyed it, however I felt as though the beginning of then book was slow.  Also, the ending was rushed but still left you wondering what the future will be for Rose.  I am hoping to see if Leslie Gould would create a book to finish off the series, since I would love to know what might happen in the future for the Lehman family. 

This review is based solely on my opinion. I was only compensated with a free copy of the book.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"The Underground Railroad" book review

"The Negro's story may have started in this country with degradation, but triumph and prosperity will be his one day." Colson Whitehead
 My Ratings: 5 stars
Goodreads Ratings: 4.06 stars
"The Underground Railroad" follows a young woman, Cora who is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia.  She befriends a man name Caesar who tells her all about the underground railroad, which can lead them to freedom.  Of course, this path to freedom does not come easy and leads Cora into some painful situations.  She faces death, hate, and mistrust on this road.  She grows up and begins to find her true self and strength on this journey.  
We all have heard stories about the underground railroad, read books, saw movies, or was taught about this secret path to freedom.  As I read this novel, I must say this was one of the best accounts of history.  I wondered how old Cora was in this story, but being a slave you didn't have a birthday.  I wondered about her family members, however her family could have been sold off, since as a slave you watched your family get sold to other slave owners. 
Being a slave at that time was horrible.  The living conditions were poor, food was scarce or you were given scraps to eat.  You were raped, beaten, and killed all because you were black.  As a slave or if you were free, you were injected with diseases such as Syphilis to help doctors find cures or medicine to fight those diseases. Or if you were a woman, you forced to sterilization just for being what people thought were "ugly" or "too stupid".   Also, while traveling on the underground railroad, you were reminded that your life is on the line by rows of dead bodies hanging on trees.  I guess reminding those slaves that if you slip up and get caught or make a mistake, you will join those dead bodies. 
As an African American, I could not fathom what my ancestors would have went through.  While reading this book, I had to stop many times because well the same hate described in the book is being displayed within our society.  It seems as though it is easy to hate, judge, or hurt those who are different from you or  hate those you  don't understand. 
One point I learned about this hate was that as an African American you are generationally taught to not trust white Americans.  Cora was taught by her mother and grandmother about the abuse they went through and then Cora witnesses this same abuse and mistrust first hand.  Imagine Cora having a family, she would share the same judgements to her children that what she went through and then it goes on and on.  This applies to many African Americans in our country.  They were told stories, then personally they either were hurt by a white American or witnessed something that confirmed that truth and they go on to teach their children to fear  white Americans and then it gets past on and on.  In order to stop this generational curse or hate, we must identify this hate, and acknowledge that it must not continue. But let's face it, that is unrealistic.  So our job is to respect each other and our differences and understand that it is better to love one another than to live in hate.

"And American, too is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes, believes with all its heart that it is their right to take the land.  To kill Indians.  Make war.  Enslave their brothers.  This nation shouldn't exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty.  Yet here we are."

This review was based solely on my opinion and I was not compensated for this review in anyway.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Bruised and Broken

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
This weekend was a wild one.  It started off great with a soul food platter for dinner and ended with a trip to the hospital.  My little 3 year old broke his little finger on Friday evening which prompted a change to my weekend plans. 
As my little man is resting and recuperating and we are actively praying for his healing.  As my little one is bruised and in pain, I can only have sympathy for him since I know what it is like to feel brokenness. 
As a born again Christian, I know what it is like to feel broken.  I know all about the heartache, the pain, the restless nights, the frustration, and loneliness.  I know what it is like to numb the pain that I am feeling with my own remedies such as alcohol, medication, music, or another person.  Or I have tried to stop the pain with many things which actually made the pain worse.  
This feeling of brokenness is similar to the pain my little one must have been feeling.  The sadness, the restlessness, the pain, the frustration with might have felt as a never-ending pain, and weakness.  We tried to end the pain by our kisses and hugs, medication, and our own remedies of hand soaking and ice.  Then we tried to numb the pain with distraction of movies, music, and games.  Every option that we tried didn't work.  The pain was still there and I believe our remedies made the situation worse.
We as a fallen world, we try everything to stop the pain we are feeling or attempt to numb the pain.  We try to figure out ways to take the pain away, but with every attempt our pain seems to get worse and worse.  Just like dealing with my little one's pain, the only way to end it is to seek the doctor.  With his expertise and knowledge he can tell us what is going on and what we must do to end the pain and fix the injury. 
Our doctor is not the man or woman in the white coat in the office or hospital, but the man who will give us a white robe and that sits with the Father.  This man understands our pain since he felt that very same pain on the cross.  This man has the power to heal every broken bone, heart, and mind.  This man is Jesus. 
We were eager to get my son some help and figure out what was going on.  Our guess was right that my son had indeed broken his finger.  Our hearts dropped and we were worried, but the doctor gave us instruction on how to handle the injury. 
One great thing about being a Christian is to know that we too, have instruction on dealing with our pain.  We must understand that first we are a sinner in pain, acknowledge our need for a Savior (doctor), repent, and ask for forgivness of trying to heal our pain ourselves.  We must understand that we are not alone in this journey called life and that we should follow the commandments or instructions (Bible).
Yes, dealing with pain and brokenness is hard.  To have our doctor or Jesus confirm our brokenness, and confirm that it was brought on by rebellion or in my son's case not listening to the rules about horseplay, is a big pill to swallow.  But please know that once you humble yourself to the doctor, he will take away any pain and replace it with joy. 
If by any chance you feel that brokenness described, the only thing I can say to do is pray and surrender to Christ.  He will listen to you and will be there for you.  If you need someone to pray for you, my email is always open. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

"Monster" Book Review

Monster (Walter Dean Myers novel) cover art.jpg
"Monster" Walter Dean Myers
My rating: 2.5 stars

Goodreads overall rating: 3.69 stars

Inside cover: Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie.  Maybe I can make my own movie.  The film will be the story of my life.  No, not my life, but of this experience.  I’ll call it what the lady who is the prosecutor called me, Monster.  "You think we're going to win?"............. "It probably depends on what you mean by "win" "
The month of February, which many identify as Black History month has ended.  One reading goals that I want to work on this year, is to read more African American books or books written by African American authors.   “Monster” is the first book on my TBR list. 
I had this book for sale in my used bookstore for awhile and I decided to read it.  My first reaction from the cover was that this book was going to get my heart broken for a child who is in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit.  Well, my theory or guess was right.  A teenage boy was wrongly convicted of crime and seemed to be described as one of the situations of wrong place, wrong time; guilty by association. 
The story is in play or script form.  The scenery is created by the narrator of the story, which is the young teen.   He enjoyed drama and media so creating a movie about his experience with the legal system help him stay sane in a dysfunctional situation.  The young man dealt with late night crying in the jail, fighting that lead to physical harm or even death of the inmates and lack of support for those who are trying to fight for him in court.  Many of his so called friends betrayed him and many decided to use this man as a crutch to get out their own prison sentence.  This young man endured trouble after trouble and at times felt alone.  While reading my heart ached and tighten because all I wanted to do was to scream at the judge and lawyers that this boy is innocent.
The story is in play or script form.  The scenery is created by the narrator of the story, which is the young teen. I don’t mind script form writing, however I was unable to connect with the characters.  There should have been better character description with each scene change.  With script form, I wish a character introduction was included in the beginning of the story, to better understand or connect with the characters.
With this being a YA (young adult) novel, I was disappointed. I yearned for more description of the characters and description of the prison.  I know that the author was trying to have the reader understand life of an African American teen dealing with the injustice of the judicial system, however I was hoping for more displayed in the book. 
Even with a low rating of this book, it would be a great read for a teenage boy to read to see how being at the wrong place at the wrong time can get you in trouble.  Also it teaches about the injustice that people of color deal with at any given time.  It seems as though time after time we watch the news or read in the paper about the injustices people of color face and sadly some of us might have been in a situation similar to this young man.  Our hearts often break because of the lack of justice there are for people of color and after reading this book, I still feel heartbroken.  The horrible names, nasty attitudes, and the lack of compassion that the prosecutor, judge, and law enforcement displayed in this book, help revealed us to the grim reality that these situations happened daily in the lives of people of color.
This review is based solely on my opinion and was not compenstated in anyway.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Blog Ahead Mini challenge

So today is the end of February, which I am sad since Black History Month is now over. However, I am looking forward to continue with my African American literature.  Which was a goal of mine to read this year. 

Tomorrow is the 1st of March and its a fresh start to create new goals, work on projects, and of course for myself, read more books.  I have been really relaxed with blogging and I want to write more on this little old blog.  So, I am joining Anna Cade at to create some blog posts.  I figured this is a great challenge since the Lent season for Christians will begin tomorrow, March 1st and I would like spend more time reading and writing then scrolling on social media or indulging in crappy tv. 

I have plenty of books that I will be reviewing, some Christian and other fiction and non fiction books.  I will also include some posts regarding my TBR or To Be Read list and some other book lists that can help others find that book they are searching for.  So stay tune for some upcoming posts.