Thursday, February 21, 2019

Mini Review: Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom. New York: Random House, 2014. 256 pp. 
Rating: Don't Bother

Please be advised: Mini review contains slight spoilers.

I won a complimentary ARC in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. 

What did I just read? Like really, what did I just read? I have so many questions and no answers. What's up with the father? Is he an alcoholic? What happened to all of his dead wife's money? Why is he stealing money from Iris? By the end, I still hadn't figured out if Edgar had a breakdown after Charlotte died.

Although I love historical fiction, I loved nothing about Lucky Us. The book cover hinted at something good and the blurb promised a wonderful treasure within its pages. Oh, I was going to love this book. Not! I couldn't have been more wrong. What started out as a pleasurable reading experience quickly soured. The book didn't make any sense to me. There is little to no plot as everybody is all over the place. Plus, I held no affinity for any of the characters. Lucky Us is a dismal story with depressing characters and gloom leaping off each page. 

*Click on the book cover or title link for book summary. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Review: Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Jay Coles. Hachette: New York, 2018. E-book.
Rating: Decent

Complimentary e-galley provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads SummaryWhen Marvin Johnson's twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it's up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

If I were to judge this book by its cover alone, I would give it a raving five stars. Sadly, that is not the case. There were a few things I liked about the book and plenty I did not, actually, down-right hated. So, for this review, I'm deviating from my normal review style and using a bullet format.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Calling Me

Almost a year ago now, on January 31, while conducting research for my book, I came across a poem by Georgia Douglas Johnson entitled, "Calling Dreams." I posted it along with the photo at the bottom of this post to my Facebook and Google+ pages, however, I didn't post it to my blog. To post the poem and photo on my blog without an introduction seemed an inadequate expression of what I was feeling. Although my social networks are me and are true to my being, my blog is an actual extension of me. There is no room for pretense; even if I wanted to, I couldn't. Here you get all of me: the strength, wisdom, vulnerabilities, insecurities, failures, and successes. So to have posted it would have been like expecting others to interpret my emotions for me instead of processing and working through them.  

For much of my life, I've imprisoned myself in a box, cognizant of my abilities, but afraid, no, terrified of myself. I knew once I unleashed my gifts, there would be no going back. Once More erupted from the bowels of my existence in 2015, the box ceased to exist. 

Words are guides and the right words strung together are guideposts. 
"[...] I was to realize that my discomfort was due to the fact that I was operating far, too far, beneath my level; or in other words, I had more to give than was being demanded and I was being weighed down by the residue. (James Baldwin, Just Above My Head, 389)
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that "Calling Dreams" still lingers within my being close to 12 months later.  As I prepare to transition into a new season in my life, I call myself to walk worthy in the life of which I was purposed. 

I leave you all with "Calling Dreams" along with the perfect picture, in my opinion, for this poem.

"Calling Dreams"
The right to make my dreams come true
I ask, nay, demand of life,
Nor shall fate's deadly contraband
Impede my steps, nor countermand.
Too long my heart against the ground
Has beat the dusty years around,
And now, at length, I rise, I wake!
And stride into the morning break!

-Georgia Douglas Johnson, 1922

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mini Review: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Jandy Nelson. Brilliance Audio, 2015.
Rating: Striking
I'll Give You the Sun is a story of family, sibling rivalry, grudges, loss, disappointment, art, love, forgiveness, and magic. It is the story of a competition gone wrong. At times, the language can be too flowery, but for the most part it is beautiful. I was a little lost in the beginning as to what was actually happening since I was listening to an audiobook; however, if it had not been for the audiobook, I would've given up after the first few pages and missed out on a gem of a story. I plan to reread the book in a physical format so I may enjoy with my eyes that which I previously enjoyed with my ears. 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Read-A-Thon Is Here!

Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon is here. Bring on the books! First up: 

Note to self: Update on the day of the event not days...60 days to be exact...after the event. Must do better!

Update: 6/28/18--Well, my doable reading goals went unattained. My morning started off as usual with a tutoring session at 10:00 a.m. Once finished, I immediately headed home and began reading. I made it to p. 50 of Salvage the Bones before I stopped reading...couldn't get into it. The flashbacks randomly plopped in the middle of passages threw me off. I will eventually revisit the book. Although I didn't finish the meditation audiobook as I'd planned, I did begin listening to The Supreme's at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat, which I finished on May 7th. Unfortunately, I forgot to track how much of the book I had listened to by the close of read-a-thon.

As of now, I'm planning to participate in the next read-a-thon in October. Hope you'll join me! 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dewey's 24-Hour Read-A-Thon Spring 2018

April was fast approaching and I knew a notice would be hitting my inbox any day. While I awaited the official notice, back and forth, back and forth, the pendulum swung as I decided whether or not to participate in read-a-thon this spring. My hand clutched the swaying pendulum stopping it on "no" in part stemming from the drastic change my life has undergone in the last four months. Adaping not just to motherhood, but motherhood of a sixteen, now seventeen-year old, having someone with me all of the time, being responsible for someone other than myself, changing job responsibilities, appointments, errands, and all of the running around has been a challenge. Keyword: balance. The balance I have yet to master.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: Peas and Carrots

Tanita S. Davis. Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 2016.  279 pp.
Rating: Decent

I debated whether to write a review for this book mainly because the writing is unremarkable and it was just an okay read to me; however, in subject matter this is a narrative that needed to be written. Oftentimes when we think of foster children, our minds are automatically wired to visualize children of color despite the stark reality that children of all races and ethnicities flow in and out of foster care trapped within an imperfect system. This story had to be written if only to demonstrate that black families foster more than just black children. It's important that I reiterate this because a few months back, a friend asked a question that I took exception to. For a brief moment, she shedded her friend cloak for that of a stranger. "How are you going to respond when someone asks you why you chose a white child, when there are so many black children in the system?" is the question she posed to me.

To understand this question, you must know that I'm a single Black woman with no kids who is the foster parent of a white teenage girl. There is so much I could say in response to her question, but the bottom line is that ALL children need love, a loving home, and a safe living environment. Period. End of discussion.

Months later my friend confessed that finally she understood that it wasn't about race, but about a child who yearned for a stable, loving home and a woman who has always wanted to be a mother and has an abundance of love to give.

With that said...on to the book review.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

How a Kid Who Didn’t Read a Book Until He Was 17 Grew Up to Become a Literary Star by Nora Krug

All it takes is the right book to get students hooked on reading or in Reynolds' case, a rap album with incredible lyrics.

Reposted from The Washington Post


Jason Reynolds can empathize with kids who don’t like to read: He was 17 before he read a book cover to cover. It’s a fact he’s shared with thousands of kids in classrooms and auditoriums across the country, as a cautionary tale.
“It’s not something I’m proud of. It’s not cool,” he told a group of seventh-graders in Stafford, Va. “The truth is, my life was made infinitely more difficult because I didn’t read any books. But I didn’t read any books. That’s my story. That’s my truth.”

Monday, October 2, 2017

This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis - Book Trailer

I'm so excited for this book! "Phantom Heart" the short story beginnings of Mindy McGinnis' upcoming novel, This Darkness Mine," appears in the anthology, Among the Shadows:13 Stories of Darkness and LightI was thrilled to learn that the story had been expanded into a full-length novel. I read Among the Shadows last fall. Although I liked "Phantom Heart," the story ended just as soon as it seemed to really begin. I need a good psychological thriller in my life right now. I cannot wait to get my hands on this book! 

Sunday, July 2, 2017