Category Archives: Books

books I Read in August

This month I finally got back into the swing of reading! I completed three books this month.

Where the Line Bleeds by Jesymn Ward

This is the third book I’ve read by Jesymn Ward. It follows Joshua and Christophe as they navigate life after high school. Set in a fictional Mississippi town in 2003. I enjoyed following Joshua and Christophe as they did all they could to keep out of trouble and help out their family.

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano was an amazing book. I first discovered this book when Jenna Bush Hager featured it on her Read with Jenna segment on the TODAY Show. This book follows Edward as he is the lone survivor of a plane crash.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson was a good book. This is the second book I have read from Jacqueline Woodson. We travel between two timelines, Aubrey and Idris, and then their daughter Melody. Aubrey and Idris were two teens who caught each other’s eye during school and on one fateful night, created Melody. Idris was 16 at the time. Fast forward to Melody’s 16th birthday and we see her relationship with her parents and grandparents as she prepares for her cotilion, an event that her mother Idris didn’t get to have because of her pregnancy. The time frame of this book is from around 1984 to 2003. I enjoyed this book and it was nice and short.

Rekindling My Passion For Books

I’m annoyed. I’ve been trying to read a book for about a month. I bought the book early last year on a spontaneous trip to Barnes and Noble. I have talked extensively up here about how much I have loved to read books throughout my life. Back in 2017 and 2018 I reignited my love for reading. I read so many books in those two years, I chronicled my Goodreads journeys and book reviews in various blog posts some of which you can check out: here, here, and here. I don’t know why I have fallen off with reading, but it is frustrating me. I actually haven’t even purchased a book since last year. Like WTF?! I even considered re-reading some of the books in my bookshelf, but I can’t get the urge to do that either. Maybe I should take a trip to Barnes and Noble or my local library to get the feeling back. I don’t know. I typically read a variety of genres. I like fiction and non-fiction. Historical fiction is very interesting. I love memoirs/auto-biographies as well. Some of the books I bought last year, I tried to read and didn’t have much luck. I think in total last year, I read 2 of the 4 books that I purchased. Maybe I should try audiobooks. I really don’t know. I’ll see what I end up doing. I certainly have enough books in my bookshelf to try something.

A Tangled Mercy: Book Review

I just finished A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake. It was a very good book.

Genre:Β Historical Fiction

Synopsis:Β After the sudden death of her troubled mother, struggling Harvard grad student Kate Drayton walks out on her lecture and her entire New England life. Haunted by unanswered questions and her own uncertain future, she flees to Charleston, South Carolina, the place where her parents met, convinced it holds the key to understanding her fractured family and saving her career in academia. Nearly two decades earlier, Tom Russell, a gifted blacksmith and slave, grappled with a terrible choice: arm the uprising spear headed by members of the fiercely independent African Methodist Episcopal Church or keep his own neck out of the noose and protect the woman he loves.

Review:Β This book is told in two alternating tales. We meet these characters at a turning point in their lives and journey with them as they make tough decisions that can determine the direction of their future. Without giving too many spoilers, some of the events of in this book will.make you angry or be triggering, but you have to remember this is how life was in Tom’s time. In Kate’s time, an event occurs that rocked her and rocked us when it happened in real life. The theme of this book to me is hope. Hope in the face of hellish circumstances. Hope after tragedy. Hope despite hate.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were relatable and I enjoyed looking up some of the events that were discussed in the book. There are some events that I had not previously heard of so I got to learn some new things. If you enjoy historical fiction, this book should certainly be on your list.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 stars

 

My Year in Books

It has been an eventful year for me in the world of reading. This is the first year I participated and completed the Goodreads challenge, and I have since read some amazing books. I first discussed my reading in this postΒ and updated you guys on my progress later on. Now as we have 2 weeks left in 2017, I’d like to share the books I read to close out the year.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a fantastic book. The characters were relatable, the subject matter was serious yet conveyed in a way that readers could understand. I can’t give a full review because I do not want to spoil it. Certainly a must read for readers of any age. There is a film in the works as well.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

If you are not familiar with the Henrietta Lacks story, you should read this book. Skloot tells Henrietta’s story with the help of the Lacks family and friends. It is a story about race, class, deceit, and medical breakthroughs. Henrietta’s legacy lives on in medical research labs across the world and her contributions to medicine, although hotly contested, should be discussed for years to come.

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a good book. The story centers around our policies and perceptions about illegal immigration and the ways to obtain the American Dream. I had been wanting to read this since it debuted earlier in the year, so I was glad to finally have it in paperback. Certainly everyone sees the premise of the American Dream differently, but reading this book will give you a different perspective that you may not have thought of.

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

In the similar vein of Lucky Boy, Behold the Dreamers tells the story of an immigrant family and their pursuit of the American Dream. Set against the backdrop of the 2008 financial crisis, the characters are faced with tough decisions that will impact their lives and the lives of others. Oprah picked this book as a book club selection, and she was right to do so. This was a great story.

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a really good book. Jesymn Ward bared her soul in this brilliant memoir that tackled poverty, racism, grief, and loss. In the span of four years, she lost five young men dear to her, including her younger brother. Jesymn chronicles her life alongside their deaths as she moves through her history and the history of her hometown DeLisle, Mississippi. She asks questions that are not always easily answered and presents her life and the lives of those she lost as a testimonial and memorial. This was a great book and I look forward to reading more from her in the new year.

Invisible Man Got the Whole World Watching by Mychal Denzel Smith

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Mychal Denzel Smith’s memoir was a recollection of events that I remember from my own childhood and teen years. We are only a few years apart in age, and I remember many of the events he highlighted in his book. Mychal tells the story of his upbringing and how music from Tupac, Biggie, WuTang, Kanye West, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Mos Def impacted his life; as well as how events such as Jena Six, Hurricane Katrina, Lebron leaving Cleveland, and Barack Obama’s election shaped his political views. He details how aspects of Black life often intersect and how the deaths of Black men and women at the hands of police speaks to a larger, rarely discussed part of American history. I enjoyed this book a lot and I felt Mychal talked about issues we in the Black community tend to shy away from.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Similar in storyline to The Hate U Give & All American Boys, this book tells the story of Justyce McAllister and his life at the moment. Justyce is a high school senior on his way to the prestigious Yale University. He is attempting to navigate the world as one of maybe four Black kids at his mostly Caucasian high school and is trying to not follow down the path of many of the boys in his neighborhood. An incident with an ex girlfriend and an overzealous cop leads him to begin writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Justyce is doing all he can to stay afloat when another incident rocks him and his community to the core with him at the center. Nic Stone does a beautiful job in her debut. This book was short, but the story was captivating. I enjoyed her presentation of the characters and the situations they went through.

My Life as A Foreign Country by Brian Turner

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Yeah this book was OK. It just was not what I expected. Presented as a series of untitled journal entries, Brian Turner tells the story of his time as an ArmyΒ Infantryman. He talks about his family history of military service and the situations he faced in the deserts of Mosul at the height of the second Iraq War. Turner is a poet and that was evident in the way he write this book. I have read many fiction and nonfiction stories regarding the war in Iraq this year, and this one just did not do it for me. It was alright, but not as good as some of the other military books I read this year.

So that is a recap of the books that closed out 2017 for me. In total I read 34 books this year. I look forward to reading in 2018 and I already have some books on my TBR. 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate, and Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres are on the list currently. I will als probably visit Barnes & Noble again befire the year ends.

Would You Rather? Book Tag

Thanks to Laura BethΒ for inspiring this post. This is the Would You Rather Book Tag.

Would You Rather: HAVE UNLIMITED MONEY FOR EBOOKS, OR A 5,000 DOLLAR B&N GIFT CARD?

I’ll take that $5,000 B&N gift card please. I have a B&N membership and I would get a world of fun using my member discount with that gift card.

Would You Rather: MEET ANY DECEASED POET OR J.K. ROWLING?

I would like to meet Dr. Maya Angelou. She had a wealth of knowledge that I would love to discuss with her. Her legacy lives on in her books and writings. I’d also like to meet James Baldwin.

Would You Rather: WRITE THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS BOOK OR VISIT THE WORLD OF YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK FOR ONE DAY?

I would like to write the world’s most famous book. No matter the genre.

Would You Rather: CHOOSE ______ OR ______ ? (INSERT CHARACTERS FROM YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL LOVE TRIANGLE.)

I have not read many books with love triangles, but I have watched plenty of television shows with love triangles. I’d choose Jake over Fitz in Scandal, Jackson and April are end game in Grey’s Anatomy, and no matter how many other love interests Rachel Berry had, Finn Hudson was her soulmate.

Would You Rather:Β EXPERIENCE HOGWARTS IN A VERY REALISTIC AND ACCURATE VIRTUAL REALITY, OR TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD FOR A YEAR, AT NO COST.

I would LOVE to travel around the world for a year at no cost. I’ve been to the Bahamas and Mexico on family cruises, but I would love to see Italy, New Zealand, Africa, Canada, and England. As far as the 50 states, Hawaii is my number 1 travel destination, and I would not mind swinging by California and go back to DC to visit the African American History Museum. I love Asheville, NC and would not mind going back there either.