March Wrap-Up + April Plans

Yall.

Yall…my reading for this month was trash! I blame Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I was aggravated with how slow this book moved. When I finally got to the end I was like:

wtfbook

So disappointing! I listened to it on audiobook to and from work. I mentioned in my last wrap up that I wasn’t that interested in it, so I should’ve DNF’d it. Nooo, I had to powder through, I just had to know what was going on. By the time I got 80% through the book, I was fast-forwarding through chapters. I didn’t care about any of the characters because they were all boring; I only wanted to know what the hell was going on and why.  I wrote a mini-review on Goodreads if you’re interested. Ugh. After I finished that, I wasn’t in the mood to read anything. I was reading  I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi, but I put that down. It’s not a bad book, I just didn’t feel like reading it.

I’m listening to Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup. My husband has been wanting to watch the movie, but I asked him to wait until I read the book. It was finally on audiobook at the library so I picked it up. I’m about 60% into it and I’m enjoying it. I interested to see how some of the scenes will be played out in the movie.

For the month of April I’m hoping to do better. I plan to read at least 4 books for the month. I gotta find a book that’ll pull me out of the funk that Bird Box put me in. My plan is to go to my TBR pile and pick up whatever calls out to me. Wish me luck.

Oh, there is a Library Book Sale at the end of April. I’m hoping to stumble on some goodies! $20 is my limit…we’ll see about that.

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Perfect Peace by Daniel Black | Book Review

 

perfect peaceBook: Perfect Peace by Daniel Black
Genre: Fiction
Published: March 2010
Pages: 352

The Rundown:
Emma Jean Peace is a mother and wife living in the south during the 1940s. She desperately wants a daughter, but all of her pregnancies far have resulted in boys, six of them. During her seventh pregnancy she is disappointed to discover that it is another boy. Pissed off and full of anguish, she decides to raise her seventh son as a girl. Everything goes as planned until her daughter’s eighth birthday, when she questions Emma Jean about womanhood. Realizing that she can’t hide the truth forever, Emma Jean decides to tell her family and community that her little girl was actually born a boy. This revelation threatens to tear a hole  in the Peace family as they cope with teaching the baby girl of the family how to be a man and navigating the judgement from the community. On top of that, each member of the family is dealing with their on hang-up of self-discovery.

I read this book last month during #ReadSoulLit. Since it was published quite a few years ago, I had no intentions of doing a review on it (because I felt like everyone has read/head about it and I’m just late…as usual). But let me tell you that I have not been able to get this book off my mind!

Daniel Black does a damn good job of using the children in this novel to show how we are conditioned at an early age to view gender-roles, sexuality, and religion. He also shows how the things our parents do to us as children-even when they think they’re doing what’s best for us-follows us into adulthood.

My favorite themes:

  • The consequences of not letting go of old pain. Emma Jean’s decisions are selfish attempts at hiding from the pain she refuses to acknowledge. Gus, Emma Jean’s husband and the father of her seven children, also struggles with childhood pain. This shows in their parenting skills and they end up being not much different than their own parents.
  • The consequences of not allowing yourself to forgive. Emma Jean won’t forgive her mother; she down right refuses to talk about the things she went through as a child and pretends that it doesn’t bother her. This refusal to forgive it what causes her to raise her son as a daughter and damn near destroying her family.
  • The struggle of accepting yourself. Several characters struggle to accept themselves: Perfect (the son raised as a daughter), Gus, and some of the people within the town they live. Trying to be who the family and community expected them to be while hiding who they really were caused them to be full of shame and self-hatred.

Holding onto old pain and not living in your truth can cloud your judgement, causing you to make selfish choices and do more harm than good. It’s hard to let go, to forgive, and to accept your authentic self, but the flawed characters in Perfect Peace reveal why it’s a necessary and important step in the growth process.

Oh! How can I forget about the names! There is tons of symbolism in this book-from the Jordan river that flows through the town, Emma Jean’s obsession with the color yellow, and the name Perfect decides to give her doll-but the names stood out the most to me. It required me to do a little research on the meaning/origin of the names, but it was worth it. The names of everyone in the Peace family and the townfolks all reveal something about the individual. I loved it.

I enjoyed this book. The characters are all damaged and full of drama (exactly how I like my books). I would have liked to see more of Perfect’s journey, though. Let me know if you’ve read Perfect Peace or if it’s on your TBR. I’ll leave you with two of my favorite quotes from this novel:

“You can’t lie a lifetime. Either you gon’ tell the truth, or the truth’s gon’ tell on you”

“But remember this: You’re strong because of your people–not in spite of them.”

 

Rating: 4/5 Stars

February Wrap-up + March Reads

Yes, go ahead and side eye me because we’re almost half way into March and I’m just now writing a February wrap-up. I’ve been caught up in watching people play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and I want to play so bad.!! Anyway, these books…

Last month I participated in #ReadSoulLit. It’s a daily photo challenge, started by Didi of Brown Girl Reading (she has a blog and a Youtube channel), that takes place during February (in honor of Black History Month). The goal of the challenge is to highlight books written by Black authors and encourage everyone to read them more often. I participated through Instagram, but you could use any of your social media accounts.  This was my first year participating and I had a blast! I found some new book readers to follow and I added a TON of books to my TBR list. Check out my Instagram to see my photos from the challenge; also search #ReadSoulLit on Twitter, Instagram, etc to discover some awesome books!

As for what I read during February, I had a pretty average reading month. I’m not a fast reader, so I usually read one book a week. Here’s what I read and what I rated them:

I had a pretty good reading month!

For March, I haven’t been that motivated to read. I’m listening to Bird Box by Josh Malerman on audiobook. It’s okay. The writing is good, but the plot’s not moving fast enough for me. I’m half-way through the book and nothing is happening. I’m only motivated to listen to it because it holds my attention as I drive to and from work each day. I’m also reading Im Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi. If you follow her on Facebook or read her blog, then you know what her writing style and humor is like. I’m not that far into the book, but I’m enjoying it.
In other book related news, the annual LIBRARY OLD BOOK SALE WAS LAST WEEK. YAAAS!!

librarybookhaul

Spent a grand total of $10 on these babies!

I went on the first day and these are the books I snagged. I wanted to go back on the last day, because the book are half-priced, but I didn’t get a chance to go. I’m a little disappointed but I got some great books out of it regardless.

What was your reading month like in February? What do you plan on reading this month?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Review

Sixteen year old Starr Carter spends her time floating between living in Garden Heights (a poor, black neighborhood), working in her dad’s grocery store, and attending a majority white private school surrounded by her rich friends and boyfriend.

While attending a party in her neighborhood, she runs into her childhood best friend, Khalil.  Their re-connection is cut short as  unarmed Khalil is shot and killed by a police officer. The shooting makes national news and Khalil is treated more like a criminal than a victim. Meanwhile, the residents of Garden Heights are pissed and want justice. Soon, Starr’s life is turned upside-down as she struggles to do the right thing and seek justice for her best friend  while also saving face among her private school peers.

thug

Book: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Release: Feb. 28, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 464

Let me jump right in and say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The Hate U Give was inspired by Black Lives Matter and it highlights the injustices Black people (especially those in low-income areas) face at the hands of a government that is supposed to protect them. This novel is about more than that, though.

This book is about what it’s like living in the ghetto. Garden Heights, the neighborhood Starr and her family live in, is plagued with gun violence, gangs, and drugs. I loved that Angie Thomas decided to discuss why these things occur in poor, inner city areas. I also enjoyed the fact that she showed how no matter what, the residents of Garden Heights had each others back when it really mattered.

It’s about what it’s like to be Black in  majority white spaces. When Starr is at her private school and she describes how she is overly conscious of how she comes across to her classmates. She describes how she can’t show anger; she can use AAVE, but not too much; and how she has to constantly talk in an overly friendly tone. Blackness in her school only matters when it allows her peers to feel cool (while they are doing the nae-nae and dabbing). This is all too familiar to Black people who work, attend school, or live in an area were they are the minority.

It’s about forgiveness and second chances. There are a ton of characters in this book who are broken: crackheads, teen moms, gang members, and drug dealers. The Hate U Give showed that regardless of someone’s lifestyle, they are a human being and their life matters.

Finally, it’s about togetherness and doing what’s right even when it’s hard and you’re afraid. When Khalil is shot the neighbors in Garden Heights come together to show their support and love to Khalil’s family.

Even though this is a young adult novel, it tackles some heavy issues from the perspective of a teenage girl. The Hate U Give is a damn good book! It’s 400+ pages, but it’s an easy read packed with so much goodness. I read this a week ago and I’m still thinking about the book!

I would definitely call this a must read.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

note: My copy of this book was an advance reader copy that I received from my job. I work at a bookstore where I have access to tons of ARCs!

it’s been a while.

I’m reeeeal shitty at keeping my blog updated. Usually I disappear because Im lazy. This time around I feel that I have a pretty good reason for being absent. I’ve mentioned before that I quit my job two years ago to go back to school. Well this month started a new semester for me.

When Im not working, I have my face buried in a textbook. Even though my classes are very reading heavy I’ve still managed to get some reading done. Whenever I take a break from studying, I spend about 15 minutes reading a few pages; and when I’m commuting to/from work I listen to audiobooks that I get from my library through OverDrive.

To encourage myself to blog more, I thought I’d share with you a few of the books I’ve read (and my thoughts) and what Im currently reading.

What I’ve Read:

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his black skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their trained cops. But when he delivers an occult page to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

I flew through this book in no time! I listened to it as an audiobook while driving to work, but I wasn’t feelin’ the narrator’s voice. I was still able to enjoy the story, but I felt the narrator for this book should’ve had a smokey, hypnotic voice that would give me the chills and add to the creep factor of this book. I enjoyed it so much I ended up buying it on my Kindle.I think this book would make an amazing graphic novel. I hope Victor gives us more of Black Tom!

The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips “Rozelle favors her light-skinned kids, but Tangy Mae, 13, her darkest-complected child, is the brightest. She desperately wants to continue with her education. Her mother, however, has other plans. Rozelle wants her daughter to work cleaning houses for whites, like she does, and accompany her to the “Farmhouse,” where Rozelle earns extra money bedding men. Tangy Mae, she’s decided, is of age. This is the story from an era when life’s possibilities for an African-American were unimaginably different.”

This book gripped my soul and wouldn’t let go! I’ll just link to my Goodreads review so you can see my full thoughts after reading. I mentioned in my review that I experienced every emotion while reading and even sitting here writing this I find myself getting sad. The Quinn children are still with me and I want to know how they turned out! I got this from the library, but I plan on picking up my own copy.

God Help the Child by Toni Morrison “A young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally, Bride’s mother herself, Sweetness, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.

I didn’t have any interest in reading this book. I was browsing my library’s audiobooks for something to listen to while going to work and I saw this. I enjoy Toni’s voice when she narrates so I decided to give it a try. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I liked the book. Toni did a great job of showing how what our parents do to us and the traumas we experience as children follow us into our adult lives. I did find some of the characters to be underdeveloped; for instance,  I didn’t see the point in Brooklyn’s (Bride’s best-friend/coworker)  triflin’ ass narrative and I had so many questions about the elementary school teacher who narrated a chapter.

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline WoodsonRunning into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

This is another book I didn’t have intentions to read, but it was an audiobook and people have been chattering about it lately so i figured I’d check it out. I enjoyed the writing style, but I felt nothing for the characters. I mentioned in my Goodreads review that they felt so distant. This is considered a novel, but it reads more like a short story. It was over too soon.

Books I’m Currently Reading

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

So far Im loving this. I’m just about 20% done with the book (if you’ve read it, Im currently on Six’s story). If you haven’t read (or heard of) this book, this book follows Hattie Shepherd’s twelve children as they navigate life. I like the audiobook narrator, her voice matches the vibe of the book.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

I just started this book today and I’m intrigued. I just finished the part where Henrietta is getting treated for her cancer and the doctors have discovered that Henrietta’s cells are unlike any other cells they’ve encountered.

 

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them!

Review| The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips

darkestchild

Book: The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips
Genre: Fiction (Historical)
Edition: Kindle E-Book
Published: 2004

I don’t know where to start with this book!

It’s set in 1950s Georgia where Rozelle (Rosie) Quinn is living in extreme poverty with her ten children. She’s a Black woman who’s light enough to pass for white; all of her children are varying shades of light skin, expect for Tangy Mae–she’s the darkest (and smartest) of the children. Rosie dislikes Tangy’s dark skin and she thinks she’s lazy because she would rather get her high school diploma instead of dropping out to find work.

Tangy Mae tells the story of her siblings and the struggles they face at the hands of racism in the south (segregation, lynchings, and the Civil Rights Movement is the backdrop) and their mother Rosie, who is crazy. When I tell you she’s crazy, I mean it! She physically, psychologically, and emotionally abuses her children at the drop of a dime. I was constantly questioning her mental state.

I like how the author showed how children of an abusive, mentally unstable parent wrestle with hating their parent and wishing to get away from them, but also needing and loving them. I also liked that she showed how Rosie’s parenting reflected in how some of the Quinn children (specifically the older ones: Mushy, Harvey,  Martha Jean, and Tarabelle) handled their own problems and treated their spouses.

I give this 4.5 star. I felt every emotion while reading this and I find myself still thinking about the Quinn children, as if they are real. I could not give it 5 stars because I didn’t like what happened with Edna and Tarabelle (two of the Quinn children) towards the end of the book.

This book definitely deserved a sequel!

Note: I also posted this review on Goodreads.

birthday books.

birthdaybook haul

Last month was my birthday and, at my fiance’s expense, I went book shopping!! All of the books I got costed less than $5; I got most of them online at ThriftBooks (I bought one from a local used bookstore). I don’t know about you, but I always get excited seeing what books other people are reading. So, let me show you what I got!

 

The Joy Luck Club-1

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
I’ve been meaning to read this book since 2005/2006. I had to read and analyze an excerpt from this book, titled “Two Kinds,” for a freshman level English class in college. I enjoyed the piece and made a mental note to check out the entire book. Here I am 10 years later and I’m one step away from reading this book: I now own it, now I just need to read the damn thing.

HeLa Immortal

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (nonfiction)
I remember learning about HeLa cells during college, but there wasn’t much said about Henrietta Lacks (besides the fact that the cells were named after her). I studied health & science in college and I’ve always told myself that I would spend more time learning about Black people and the medicine/science in America. When I ran across this book at work, I instantly knew I had to read it.

I Tituba

I, Tituba, Black With of Salem by Maryse Conde
A Black witch? Say what now?! I stumbled across this book on Goodreads. The title had my attention, but once I read the blurb I knew I had to buy it.

Perfume

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
I watched a YouTuber do a convincing review of this book. My favorite genre of books fall in the suspense/thriller category, so when she described this book I threw it on my TBR list with the quickness. This is the story of a man who has an incredible sense of smell. He goes into the perfume industry, but becomes obsessed with the smell of women.

The Between

The Between by Tananarive Due
I want to read more science fiction novels and in my search for Black science fiction authors, Tananarive’s name kept popping up. I have several of her books on my TBR and decided to pick one at random to purchase and start reading. The Between was the one I picked.

Chokecp

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
Yet another YouTuber is the reason I grabbed this book. She was doing a book haul and gave a quick overview of what the book was about. It sounded good, so I checked it out on Goodreads and the reviews sold me.

Fledgling

Fledgling by Octavia Butler 
Another science fiction writer that I want to get into. I picked this novel because several people I’m friends with on Goodreads have given this book high ratings.

in a dark dark wood

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
This book has been a bestseller at my job for a very long time. Brand new, the paperback is $16; I got it as a used hardcover for $6 AND it’s in great condition! I bought it simply because I want to see what all the hype is about. I read the advance reader copy of The Woman in Cabin 10 by this author and it was okay (3 out of 5 stars), so Im hoping this book is enjoyable.

Delicious Foods

Delicious Foods by James Hannaham
Yall, I was told that this book is narrated by crack cocaine. I’m not sure if the entire novel is narrated that way or just a chapter or two, but what the fuck?! That’s right up my alley!!

White Oleander

White Oleander by Janet Fitch 
This book was an accidental freebie that I got from Thriftbooks. Instead of sending me Delicious Foods, I was sent this book. When I contacted Thriftbooks to get the mistake corrected, they told me they would send me the correct book and that I could keep White Oleander (or give it to a friend, donate to a library, etc). How cool is that? I’m not familiar with this book (or the author), but it has pretty good reviews so I think I will give it a read. I’ll let you know what I think of it. Not a big fan of the movie cover, though…

 

Let me know if you have read any of these books or if you’re interested in reading any of them. Or let me know what books you recently bought.

dirty 30.

30 facts_birthday

Birthday Cake” by psd used under CC / modified from original

During the summer of 1986 I decided to burst onto the scene. That’s right, I turned 30 this month! To celebrate, I decided to write 30 facts about me. Maybe we have some things in common.

I can not sleep in a room with the closet door open. Having it open or cracked gives me an uncomfortable, eerie feeling.

I love watching real crime show documentaries. like The First 48, Snapped, and Cold Case Files. Anything on the ID channel.

My favorite color is red. Deeper the red, the better.

One of my goals is to work from home. I don’t have anything to add. I like the idea of working in my pajamas.

I don’t have a best friend. The best friend I had back when I was in elementary school, we stopped talking sometime during college (6 years ago). haven’t talked to in about 6 years. I talk and hang out with people who I consider friends, but I don’t have anyone who I consider a best friend.

birthdaybooks

A few books I got for my birthday!


Reading
is a favorite hobby. As of right now, the last book I’ve read is 72 Hour Hold by Bebe Moore Campbell. I’m starting The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack today.

Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass is my favorite book from childhood. Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye is my favorite book that I’ve read as an adult.

I haven’t added any songs to my iTunes since 2014. Most of the songs in my library are really old. I can’t take many of the songs that are out currently seriously (says ever person as they get older).

Even when it’s 80 degrees in the morning I have to drink coffee. I keep the air in the house and my car cold just so I have an excuse to drink it hot. If I don’t have coffee, then it’s green tea.

Rice, pasta, and potatoes. I eat one of these whenever I eat dinner.

Im more comfortable communicating through writing than I am through speaking. When I speak, I don’t feel that my thoughts come out as concise as they do when I write.

I love being outdoors, but I can’t stand being around squirrels, birds, stray cats and dogs, and insects. Im afraid of them all. They’re sneaky!

I embarrass easily. The embarrassing situation could be happening to me, someone Im with, or a stranger who is next to me I will feel embarrassed no matter what.

I used to LOVE Archie comics as a child. Every time my mom went to the grocery store, I left with an Archie comic.

Im really nosey and curious. Thanks to books and the internet Im able to satisfy my curiosity and be nosey at the same time.

I rarely drink, but when I do my go-to beverage is a Long Island Iced Tea.

As a child, I wanted to be a writer. My teachers praised my writing throughout school, always encouraged me to continue to write, but when I mentioned I wanted to be a writer, I was told not to focus on that as a career. I was encouraged to get a STEM degree. Now as I’m approaching the age of 30, I wish I would’ve followed my heart. I changed my major four times before I eventually withdrew from college.

videogames
I enjoy playing videos games
. I grew up with 2 (of 4) brothers and in order to spend time with them I had to do what they liked to do. One of those things was playing video games. Some of my favorite (that I still play now) include The Sims, Legend of Zelda, Tomb Raider, Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and Animal Crossing.

I read a lot of urban/street literature and erotica in high school. Most of my peers were reading Zane, Sista Souljah, and Omar Tyree, and other well-known street lit authors; I’d never heard of these authors until then. A friend let me borrow The Coldest Winter Ever and I was hooked. Teen/Young adult novels be damned!

Im a hardcore procrastinator. Seeing that I barely keep this blog up-to-date, you already knew that, didnt you? I intended to have this posted on my birthday (the 11th).

I watch YouTube more than I watch TV. BookTube. Gaming channels. Hair gurus. How-to videos. I YouTube just about any and every thing.

I love R&B from the 80s and 90s. Trap music (the southern kind from the 90s ‘00s is my guilty pleasure.

My favorite genre of books and movies are suspense/thrillers. I love being on the edge of my seat, wondering what’s gonna happen next.

I taught myself to play piano when I was 12. I played for maybe a year and stopped all together.

I was a decent artist during my four years of high school. During 12th grade my art teacher submitted some of my work to an art show the school board host annually. After high school I stopped drawing; now if I attempt to draw anything, it looks like 1st grade art.

Im engaged! I’ve been with my fiance for 6 years, we’ve been engaged for a year. We’re not planning a wedding; we’re having a small ceremony and spending the rest of our money on a nice honeymoon.

My fiancé and I are the odd couple. He’s extroverted, talkative, unorganized, inconsistent, witty, and loud. I’m an introvert.

I threw my glasses in a wooded area during elementary school because I hated them. They were the BIG welfare glasses that poor kids wore and I didn’t want my classmates to know that my parents couldn’t afford nice glasses for me. My mom refused to get me another pair, so I from 4th grade to 12th grade without a pair of glasses.

I love being near water. I can’t swim, but I love going to the beach.

I have no fashion sense. If it wasn’t for Pinterest, I would dress extremely basic.

BONUS: Most of the time when people forget my name, they describe me as “the girl/lady who smiles a lot.”

I hope you enjoyed. Let me know if we have some things in common!

Review: Here Comes the Sun


Title: Here Comes the Sun
Author: Nicole Dennis-Benn
Pages: 352
Published Date: July 5, 2016

My copy of Here Comes the Sun is an advance reader copy I grabbed at work (I work at a bookstore). The cover caught my eye first, then I flipped it over on the back and saw it was written by a black author and called dibs on it. I read the first chapter while on my lunch break and I decided to bring it home with me.

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn is set in Jamaica during the early(?)’90s.  We are introduced to Margot who works in Montego Bay at a resort hotel. By day she checks in guest and supervises the hotel staff. At night she sneaks into the rooms of the male guests and provide “turndown” service to make extra money. She also maintains a sexual relationship with the hotel’s heir, a white Jamaican, in hopes that he will make her the manager of a new resort he’s building on the island. Margot’s main goal is to make enough money so  her teen sister, Thandi, can continue to attend private school and go to college. Trading sex for money is not the only secret she hides; she and her childhood friend, Verdene, are secret lovers.

 Margot and her sister live with their mother Delores, a stone-cold bitch. Delores has her own secrets and demons she’s battling, but in her eyes, Margot is the cause of all the problems the family faces and Thandi will be the one who pulls them out of poverty. As Thandi carries the weight of being the family’s ticket out of the slums, she hides secrets of her own. She doesn’t fit in with her peers and is overlooked at school; she blames her dark complexion for making her an outcast. She feels that if she had lighter skin she would be able to accomplish more and live a happier life.

This is a tragedy full of  suffering, sorrow, and betrayal. There is no happy ending, so brace yourself. Majority of the story is narrated by Margot, but you also get Thandi’s perspective of things. It was a roller coaster ride watching Margot and Thandi make one bad decision after another. Margot is determined and fierce; she doesn’t let anyone stand in the way of her pursuing what she wants. However, her determination turns into greed and she ultimately becomes just as callous as her mother–destroying her relationship with Verdene and exposing her sister to the life she worked so hard to protect her from.
Thandi is intelligent and uninterested in being the person her mom and sister are planning for her to be;  she’s also discovering what’s it like to be wanted as a local boy shows interest in her. She allows her need for independence and her longing for acceptance (and love) take her down an ugly path.

All characters were well developed; anytime they were being described or had any dialogue, especially when they spoke in Jamaican Patois, I could picture them clearly. Nicole Dennis-Benn does a great job of showing how racism, colorism, homophobia, and tourism affect Jamaica.  This is a great read that I gave 4 stars on Goodreads. Here Comes the Sun is scheduled to be released on July 5th, so make sure you add it to your summer reading list. However, if you’re planning a trip to Jamaica don’t pack this book!

 

 

Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

uprooted

Let me first say that I don’t read fantasy novels. I think the last fantasy novel I read was the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was in middle school. I can’t say that I like or dislike fantasy novels…I never gravitate towards them when I browsing new books to read. I decided to read Uprooted because my coworkers were hyping it up; they told me that it was like Beauty and the Beast meets Rapunzel. That peaked my interests. The book also had great reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, so I downloaded it to my Kindle.

The Wood is this creepy place that should be  avoided. People and animals that wander into the Wood never come out; the ones that do come out are never the same. The Dragon is a very powerful wizard who protects the surrounding villages from the Wood. In exchange he takes a girl and keeps her in his tower for 10 year. When he releases the girls from his tower, they aren’t the same. They don’t go back to their home village; they move away to become scholars or marry rich.

Agnieszka is a 17 year old girl who is always dirty (even when she attempts to stay clean) and clumsy. Her best friend, Kasia, is perfect: she’s beautiful, smart, friendly, able to cook, clean etc. Everyone is sure that Kasia will be chosen by the Dragon. However, to everyone’s surprise, he takes Agnieszka.

This is all revealed in the first part of the book and Im sucked in! I want to know more about the Dragon and what’s going on in his tower and I want to know what lies within the Wood. Sadly, this story goes from mysterious and intriguing to downright disappointing.

There was no character development. Agnieszka is introduced as a girl who is clumsy and always covered in grim (she seems to prefer it). She doesnt grow or mature and remains whiny; everything she does is done on a whim, she doesn’t think anything through. The Dragon is just as dry. He’s Oscar the Grouch in wizard form. That’s all there is to him. He’s said to be the most powerful wizard in the land, but he seems to be the complete opposite! He does one or two spells and he’s drained and in the middle of a fight he had to pull out his damn spell book to find a spell! I was not impressed.  Kasia has no personality although she’s the only character who underwent any change. The other characters that are introduced are boring and flat.

The romance between Agnieszka and the Dragon was random. When he first took her, the Dragon tells Agnieszka “Look little bitch. I really didn’t want to take your dusty, horse-faced ass, but there is something unique about you. I took you because I was obligated to. Now get out my face, go wash your ass, and put on something nice.” He didn’t say those exact words, it’s just a summary. Throughout the book they cant stand each other. There is no love/hate kind of chemistry, there are no sparks; it’s just pure anger and annoyance between the two; they get along long enough to work together. Next thing you know, they’re laid up in bed together. WTF?! I didn’t see the purpose of it; it didn’t progress the story and it didn’t change her relationship with the Dragon.

I also found it difficult to keep up with time progression. The plot was all over the place,  I couldn’t tell how much time had passed (weeks, months, or a year). There was too much time spent describing surroundings and not enough time spent developing the characters and making sure the plot flowed smoothly. It’s way too much telling, not enough showing.

I think this book is very over hyped. I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads because I enjoyed the first part and the last few chapters were okay (the mystery of the Wood was revealed during the last chapters). As I mentioned, I don’t read fantasy, so maybe that’s why I found the book hard to digest? In any case, it just didn’t do it for me.

Also, I probably shouldn’t take book suggestions from my coworkers. . .