abuse · black literature · book review · books · diversity · Family · own voices review · Racism · reading · secrets

Memphis by Tara Stringfellow {Book Review}

Blurb:

In the summer of 1995, ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father’s violence, seeking refuge at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis. Half a century ago, Joan’s grandfather built this majestic house in the historic Black neighborhood of Douglass–only to be lynched days after becoming the first Black detective in Memphis. This wasn’t the first time violence altered the course of Joan’s family’s trajectory, and she knows it won’t be the last. Longing to become an artist, Joan pours her rage and grief into sketching portraits of the women of North Memphis–including their enigmatic neighbor Miss Dawn, who seems to know something about curses.

Unfolding over seventy years through a chorus of voices, Memphis weaves back and forth in time to show how the past and future are forever intertwined. It is only when Joan comes to see herself as a continuation of a long matrilineal tradition–and the women in her family as her guides to healing–that she understands that her life does not have to be defined by vengeance. That the sole weapon she needs is her paintbrush.

Inspired by the author’s own family history, Memphis–the Black fairy tale she always wanted to read–explores the complexity of what we pass down, not only in our families, but in our country: police brutality and justice, powerlessness and freedom, fate and forgiveness, doubt and faith, sacrifice and love.

Review:

What a punch this story packed in less than 300 pages. I could not put it down and when I was forced to put it down to participate in the real world, I couldn’t wait to get back to it.

Memphis follows the lives of the Joan, her mother, her sister, her aunt, and her grandmother. When Joan, her, and her sister flee from their father in the middle of the night, they end their journey in North Memphis. They return to the home Miriam grew up; The one her mother always said she could come home to.

The story is told from different points of view and throughout a timeline. Each of the women have their own demons to battle and they learn how to live with one another, especially with a dark cloud hovering over their lives. The strength and resilience that these women show during their lives keeps them going even when times seem as though everything is going to end.

I loved how the author blends the history of the family along with the history of Memphis.

Tara Stringfellow came into the publishing world swinging and I can’t wait to see what she does next. This story proves that women, especially black women, can overcome just about anything that is thrown at them. They find solace in things they love

π•Žπ•™π•šπ•π•– 𝕀 π•–π•Ÿπ•›π• π•ͺ𝕖𝕕 π•₯π•™π•šπ•€ π•“π• π• π•œ, 𝕀 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 π•₯𝕠 𝕝𝕠𝕨𝕖𝕣 π•žπ•ͺ 𝕣𝕒π•₯π•šπ•Ÿπ•˜ π•’π•Ÿπ•• π•₯π•’π•œπ•– π•“π•’π•”π•œ π•žπ•ͺ π•£π•–π•”π• π•žπ•žπ•–π•Ÿπ••π•’π•₯π•šπ• π•Ÿ. 𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕒𝕦π•₯𝕙𝕠𝕣 π•₯𝕣𝕦𝕝π•ͺ 𝕀𝕙𝕠𝕨𝕖𝕕 𝕠𝕦π•₯ π• π•Ÿ π•žπ•ͺ 𝕑𝕠𝕀π•₯ π•₯π•™π•šπ•Ÿπ•œπ•šπ•Ÿπ•˜ 𝕀𝕙𝕖 𝕔𝕠𝕦𝕝𝕕 𝕓𝕦𝕝𝕝π•ͺ π•’π•Ÿπ• π•₯𝕙𝕖𝕣 π•£π•–π•§π•šπ•–π•¨π•–π•£ 𝕨𝕙𝕠 π••π•šπ••π•Ÿβ€™π•₯ π•–π•§π•–π•Ÿ 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 π•’π•Ÿπ•ͺπ•₯π•™π•šπ•Ÿπ•˜ π•Ÿπ•–π•˜π•’π•₯π•šπ•§π•– π•₯𝕠 𝕀𝕒π•ͺ π•’π•Ÿπ•• 𝕨𝕙𝕒π•₯ 𝕀𝕙𝕖 π••π•šπ•• 𝕀𝕒π•ͺ π•šπ•€ π•₯𝕣𝕦𝕖. 𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•žπ•–π•Ÿ π•šπ•Ÿ π•₯𝕙𝕖 π•“π• π• π•œ 𝕒𝕣𝕖 π•₯𝕣𝕒𝕀𝕙. π•Šπ•–π•©π•¦π•’π• 𝕒𝕓𝕦𝕀𝕖𝕣𝕀, 𝕑𝕙π•ͺπ•€π•šπ•”π•’π• 𝕒𝕓𝕦𝕀𝕖𝕣𝕀. 𝕀 𝕕𝕠 π•Ÿπ• π•₯ π•”π• π•Ÿπ••π• π•Ÿπ•– π•“π•–π•™π•’π•§π•šπ•Ÿπ•˜ 𝕒𝕀 π•šπ•— π•ͺ𝕠𝕦’𝕣𝕖 𝕓𝕖π•₯π•₯𝕖𝕣 π•₯π•™π•’π•Ÿ π•€π• π•žπ•–π• π•Ÿπ•– 𝕓𝕖𝕔𝕒𝕦𝕀𝕖 π•ͺ𝕠𝕦 π•‘π•¦π•“π•π•šπ•€π•™π•–π•• π•ͺ𝕠𝕦𝕣 π•—π•šπ•£π•€π•₯ π•“π• π• π•œ. π•Žπ•– 𝕒𝕣𝕖 π•“π• π• π•œ π•£π•–π•§π•šπ•–π•¨π•–π•£π•€ 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕒 π•£π•–π•’π•€π• π•Ÿ. π•Žπ•– π•¨π• π•Ÿβ€™π•₯ π•π•šπ•œπ•– 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕣π•ͺπ•₯π•™π•šπ•Ÿπ•˜ π•’π•Ÿπ•• 𝕨𝕖 π••π• π•Ÿβ€™π•₯ 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 π•₯𝕠, 𝕓𝕦π•₯ π•œπ•–π•–π•‘ π•žπ•–π•€π•€π•šπ•Ÿπ•˜ π•’π•£π• π•¦π•Ÿπ•• π•’π•Ÿπ•• π•ͺ𝕠𝕦’𝕣𝕖 π•˜π• π•šπ•Ÿπ•˜ π•₯𝕠 π•£π•¦π•Ÿ π•šπ•Ÿπ•₯𝕠 𝕒 π•£π•–π•§π•šπ•–π•¨π•–π•£ 𝕨𝕙𝕠 π•¨π•šπ•π• 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 π•₯𝕙𝕖 π•₯π•šπ•žπ•– π•₯𝕠𝕕𝕒π•ͺ.

Rating:

1 Golden Girl, well basically at this point it’s Stan.

Content Warnings:

Sexual assault of a child and domestic abuse, and death of a parent.

Blog Tour · book review · books · Family · Historical fiction · love · secrets

The Keeper of Happy Endings by Barbara Davis {Suzy’s Approved Book Tour}

Blurb:

Soline Roussel is well schooled in the business of happy endings. For generations her family has kept an exclusive bridal salon in Paris, where magic is worked with needle and thread. It’s said that the bride who wears a Roussel gown is guaranteed a lifetime of joy. But devastating losses during World War II leave Soline’s world and heart in ruins and her faith in love shaken. She boxes up her memories, stowing them away, along with her broken dreams, determined to forget.

Decades later, while coping with her own tragic loss, aspiring gallery owner Rory Grant leases Soline’s old property and discovers a box containing letters and a vintage wedding dress, never worn. When Rory returns the mementos, an unlikely friendship develops, and eerie parallels in Rory’s and Soline’s lives begin to surface. It’s clear that they were destined to meetβ€”and that Rory may hold the key to righting a forty-year wrong and opening the door to shared healing and, perhaps, a little magic.

Review:

If you’re looking for historical fiction but don’t want to concentrate on a war, this is a good book to pick up. Now, World War 2 does play a part in the story but it is not the main background for the story.

You have Soline whose story is told both in β€œpresent” day 1985 and also in the past in the 1940s during the World War and Rory’s story is told in 1985. The two timelines merge fairly quickly as there is a connection between Rory and Soline that neither of them realize.

This story focuses on love, loss of love, and growth. Both of these women have experienced events in their lives that contribute to how they live their everyday lives. Their coming into each other’s lives helps them heal and discover life again.

Rating:

3.5

Availability:

Available now in paperback, ebook, and audio.

A special thank you to Suzy’s Approved Book Tours for having me along for this book. Also, a special thank you to Barbara Davis and Lake Union Publishing for my gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.
Mental Health

Untitled by Kala S.

Step right up. Take a ride you didn’t sign up for. A ride that no one else is taking, but they’re watching you, wondering why you’re getting on this ride, alone.

You get on this ride, no one to strap you in or give you the safety speech. You have no idea what’s going on. You don’t even know why you’re on this ride and you don’t know anything about it.

The incline is so fast, and yet so slow. You don’t have time to adjust. You only know that something may not be quite right, but again isn’t that how everything is? In fact, it almost feels good except for the loop-d-loops you’re on that send you into a crazed state of being.

The descent is slow and speeds up at the oddest points. You can’t keep up; when you think it’s okay, it’s not. When it seems it can’t get worse, it eases up. And remember, you’re on this ride alone, no one is helping. Everyone is just watching or walking on by.

When you get to what you think is the end, IT’S NOT! It’s just time to start all over. And this ride goes on and on. When you reach out for help, no one understands. To them it’s just a ride. A ride that you should just be able to get off of. A ride you shouldn’t have chosen to take.

A ride that you should be able to control.

abuse · addiction · book review · books · crime · Family · love · mystery · psychological thriller · reading · secrets · Thriller

Thrilling and Satisfying: Just some quick thoughts on some recent thrillers

I don’t read thrillers very often but recently I came across three that blew my mind. Two of them were from authors whose work I have not read before and the other was from an author whose work I am familiar with. Here are those books and my thoughts!

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

Blurb:

AN ORDINARY LIFE

Leigh Coulton has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She has a good job as a defence attorney, a daughter doing well in school, and even her divorce is relatively civilised – her life is just as unremarkable as she’d always hoped it would be.

HIDES A DEVASTATING PAST

But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood which was far from average… a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and finally torn apart by a devastating act of violence.

BUT NOW THE PAST IS CATCHING UP

Then a case lands on her desk – defending a wealthy man accused of rape. It’s the highest profile case she’s ever been given – a case which could transform her career, if she wins. But when she meets the accused, she realises that it’s no coincidence that he’s chosen her as his attorney. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he knows what happened twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades running.

AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT

If she can’t get him acquitted, she’ll lose much more than the case. The only person who can help her is her younger, estranged sister Calli, the last person Leigh would ever want to ask for help. But suddenly she has no choice…

Review:

This is my third Karin Slaughter standalone novel and once again she does not disappoint. The story may be difficult for some readers because of the content and the possible triggers. Karin usually writes thrillers that are tough on the nerves but does it in a fashion that does not make a reader feel shame about enjoying the story.

How does a person face the possibility of having to defend someone who claims to know the deepest, darkest secret that has been carried around for years. A secret so shocking that worlds will rock and fall apart if the truth gets out. How far should this person be willing to go to keep that secret? Defend the psycho who knows the truth or fight back like before?

This story also shows how one event can affect people differently, how a person doesn’t always see the truth of what happened to them until it is almost too late.

Deep, dark, twisted.

Rating:

4 Golden Girls

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

Blurb:

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest.

He says his wife couldn’t be more proudβ€”though no one has seen her in a while.

Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential.

All he wants is for his colleaguesβ€”and the endlessly meddlesome parentsβ€”to stay out of his way.

It’s really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

Review:

This is the first Samantha Downing book that I have read and it was a nice introduction to her writing. This book might make one think twice about sending their child to private school after this book.

Parents all want teachers who want the best for their children but sometimes that can come at a cost that is paid for by death. Is it really worth it? Can a school afford to have a teacher who thinks they really know what is best for the students and is willing to do anything to show that?

A story about deception and misdirected care. Those poor students, parents, and teachers. Especially the teachers. Be careful in the teacher’s lounge.

Rating:

3 Golden Girls

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Blurb:

Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.

The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.

Derek’s father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.

Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys.

Provocative and fast-paced, S. A. Cosby’s Razorblade Tears is a story of bloody retribution, heartfelt change – and maybe even redemption.

Review:

What a story! Daddies showing up and showing out. Kicking asses, blowing shit up. Talk about unconditional love, even if it seemed to have shown up too late. Cosby wrote the hell out of this story. I bet my daddy would have been just like Ike and Buddy Lee if something happened to me. I loved how these men decided to do what was right and didn’t just stand by when it seemed that the killers of their sons weren’t going to be brought to justice.

These fathers may not have been the best to their sons when they were alive, but they are willing to stop at nothing in order to find out who killed them and why.

The flow of the story, the grittiness. No punches held back(literally).

Rating:

4 Golden Girls

black literature · book review · books · contemporary fiction · diversity · own voices review · Racism · reading · secrets · short story collection

The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans {Review}

Blurb:

Danielle Evans is widely acclaimed for her blisteringly smart voice and x-ray insights into complex human relationships. With The Office of Historical Corrections, Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters’ lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters who are experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love, and getting walloped by griefβ€”all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American historyβ€”about who gets to tell them, and the cost of setting the record straight.

In “Boys Go to Jupiter,” a white college student tries to reinvent herself after a photo of her in a Confederate-flag bikini goes viral. In “Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain,” a photojournalist is forced to confront her own losses while attending an old friend’s unexpectedly dramatic wedding. And in the eye-opening title novella, a black scholar from Washington, DC, is drawn into a complex historical mystery that spans generations and puts her job, her love life, and her oldest friendship at risk.

Review:

Short story collections have been showing up and showing out(or maybe I’m just late to the game). This particular collection was no different. Each story draws the reader in making them think they are reading for pleasure but in reality they are ingesting gems that they didn’t know they needed.

Need a story about passing? Pick this collection up and make sure you pay close attention to the title sharing novella. Need a story showcasing white privilege at its finest? You’ll find that in this collection as well.

The thing that always made me veer from short stories is the feeling that you don’t get any closure at the end. I didn’t get this feeling when reading this collection. Danielle Evans does a great job with this. Her endings leave a little room for thought and speculation but not so much room that the meat of the story is lost.

I listened to the audiobook but I will be getting a physical copy because there are stories I want to visibly revisit.

This book was brought to my immediate attention from @gettbr. I signed up for their tailored book recommendation subscription and this was one of the first books I was recommended. Definitely check out this service. I just received my second set of recs and can’t wait to see what I’ll pick next.

This was the book to put a crack in my reading slump and I’m so glad for it!

After being informed that The Stacks podcast had two episodes about this book, I had to go listen to them. In episode 147, Traci discusses the book with Danielle without spoilers but it was a great insight into her writing. In episode 148, Traci and her guest Deesha Philyaw take a deeper dive into the book(spoilers for this episode). After listening, I know that I will be revisiting this collection once I get a physical copy.

Rating:

4 Golden Girls

addiction · black literature · book review · books · crime · diversity · legal thriller · own voices review

While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams {ARC Review}

Blurb:

Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, is doing her best to hold her life together–excelling in an arduous job with the court while also dealing with a troubled family. When the shocking news breaks that Justice Wynn–the cantankerous swing vote on many current high-profile cases–has slipped into a coma, Avery’s life turns upside down. She is immediately notified that Justice Wynn has left instructions for her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney. Plunged into an explosive role she never anticipated, Avery finds that Justice Wynn had been secretly researching one of the most controversial cases before the court–a proposed merger between an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm, which promises to unleash breathtaking results in the medical field. She also discovers that Wynn suspected a dangerously related conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington.

As political wrangling ensues in Washington to potentially replace the ailing judge whose life and survival Avery controls, she begins to unravel a carefully constructed, chesslike sequence of clues left behind by Wynn. She comes to see that Wynn had a much more personal stake in the controversial case and realizes his complex puzzle will lead her directly into harm’s way in order to find the truth. While Justice Sleeps is a cunningly crafted, sophisticated novel, layered with myriad twists and a vibrant cast of characters. Drawing on her astute inside knowledge of the court and political landscape, Stacey Abrams shows herself to be not only a force for good in politics and voter fairness but also a major new talent in suspense fiction.

Review:

Woah, what a ride. I finished this book in the wee hours of the morning because I could not sleep and because I was so invested. I was excited to get an early copy of this book but I still went into it a little hesitant. I’m glad I did because it exceeded all that I could have thought it was going to be. The style of writing, the plot, and the characters were all I could have wanted and more in a legal thriller.

I don’t want to say too much about the story itself because I feel the reader needs to go in and experience this one on their own without having too many preconceived thoughts in mind.

This book was fast paced and very engaging. You are able to connect with the characters and follow the story even with the presence of legal and scientific jargon used.

It’s always fun to read a book in a genre that you like but it’s even better when that book is written by someone who looks like you. I hope that Ms. Abrams blesses us with another legal thriller in the future and I plan on checking out her previously published romance novels.

Rating:

4 Golden Girls

Availability:

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook on May 11, 2021

A special thank you to Double Day books for this gifted copy.

abuse · addiction · books · diversity · Family · Literary Fiction · love · Racism · reading · secrets · Women's fiction

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia {ARC Review}

Blurb:

In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt.

From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals–personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others–that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots.

Review:

Do you know what is better or just as good as a book that is 350 plus pages? A book that is less than 250 pages but packs a powerful punch. That is exactly what you get when you decide to read Of Women and Salt. I was not fully prepared for the story that I was going to ingest when I picked up this book. I honestly thought it was going to be one of those deep, but quick reads. Boy, was I wrong.

This story follows women who are dealing with the world thru addiction, immigration, abuse, and love. The different points of view showcase how complex the world is for women. It shows how women have to deal with so much trauma and at the same time fight to survive. Especially women of color.

I found myself so invested in Jeannette’s story and followed her point of view very closely. She not only had to deal with her addiction, she also had to deal with childhood abuse and hold on to a secret about her father that doesn’t surface until after his death. Her mother, Carmen is completely clueless as to what has gone on in her home. At first I was very angry with Carmen and thought she was just clueless but as more of her story develops you understand that she has demons that she hasn’t dealt with herself.

Ana’s and Gloria’s story is also one that is full of heartbreak and desperation. The lengths a mother goes to in order to provide and protect her family, especially her children. The same can be said for Carmen’s mother, Delores. That was a relationship I wanted to see if more developed after the revelation of what Carmen saw as a child.

In all, this 200 page book could have easily been a 350 plus page book with all the intensity that it had packed into it. I don’t know how Ms. Garcia did it but it is well appreciated. This book was a much better read than some other books that I have read that feature the subject of immigration and racism.

Rating:

4 Golden Girls

Availability:

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook on March 30, 2021

A special thank you to Flatiron Books for my gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

book review · books · civil rights · crime · movie review · Racism

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson {Book and Movie reviews}

Blurb:

An unforgettable true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to end mass incarceration in America β€” from one of the most inspiring lawyers of our time.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned.

Just Mercy tells the story of EJI, from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.

One of EJI’s first clients was Walter McMillian, a young Black man who was sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman that he didn’t commit. The case exemplifies how the death penalty in America is a direct descendant of lynching β€” a system that treats the rich and guilty better than the poor and innocent.

Review:

Let start by saying, it took me a minute to get my emotions together after finishing the book and watching the movie. This was the first time I ever read the book and watched its movie right after. This was also the first book about this subject that I introduced to my son. He found it very informative but also sad.

While the focus of the movie is on the Walter McMillian case, the book focuses on that case and the many cases of others on death row facing similar or worse fates than Walter.

Before I decided to read this book with my son, I had a pretty strong opinion about death row. I was a person who thought that it was a waste of money to let those on death row have such long sentences before being put to death. After reading this book, my opinion has most definitely changed. I see why they have long sentences. If it weren’t for those long sentences, so many would not have the chance to fight for their freedom or lesser sentences.

The writers and director of the film did such an amazing job with the casting and how the movie was done. There were some noticeable things that were either changed or left out, but it didn’t take away from what was there.

Not only did Walter’s story tug at my emotions, so did the story of Herbert Richardson. A man who fought for this country and was damaged mentally. While he did commit his crime, being punished by being put to death because the justice system isn’t equipped with handling suspects with mental or emotional illness is unacceptable. Had the military and the justice system done better, he would have had the change to repent from his crime while also getting the help that he needed.

Stevenson did a great job bringing to light about the many children that have been sent to death row when they aren’t even close to being the age of 18. Having to spend their lives in prisons when they are at an age where they don’t even fully comprehend what is being done to them. This also shows how horrifying the justice system can be. Some of these children didn’t even commit the crimes that they are accused of or they have committed crimes that adults aren’t even being sent to death row for. The children go in traumatized and if they are lucky enough to come out they are in even worse conditions. It’s even worse for those who have already been damaged.

I would highly recommend both reading the book and watching the movie. This book is great on audio and is narrated by Stevenson.

Rating;

4 Golden Girls

Availability:

Available now in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook

abuse · black literature · book review · books · crime · diversity · Family · Historical fiction · Literary Fiction · love · memoir · own voices review · Racism · reading

3 Minute Book Reviews featuring: Raceless, The Rib King and Just As I Am

Raceless by Georgina Lawton

I enjoyed listening to this memoir on audio. Georgina narrates it herself. I couldn’t imagine being one race and being raised by another race and my parents not tell me what race I am or even try to incorporate aspects of that race into our daily lives. Ignoring race doesn’t make it go away. Georgina has to battle with self identity as a child and even more so as an adult. She uses her experience to help others that have been in her situation and to educate the masses who are familiar with and follow her work.

I received both a review copy and finished copy of this book from Harper Perennial in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:

4 Golden Girls

Availability:

Available now in paperback, hardcover in some places, ebook, and audiobook

The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard

This book was the type of historical fiction that I needed to take a break from my usual WW2 historical fiction. The story follows two black domestic workers, Sitwell and Jennie who work in the house of the Barclays. At first glance Sitwell appears docile and mild mannered. However, we find out later that is not the case. He is definitely the definition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jennie appears to be young and naive but she is actually resourceful and strong willed.

I would say that their behavior at work is to be able to keep their job and their behavior outside of work is their true nature. Something these days we call code switching.

I like this book because of the timeframe it is written in and it is not only historical fiction, there is a bit of a mystery/thriller aspect thrown in. This was also a story that tests its characters humanity.

I received a gifted finished copy from Amistad Books

Rating:

3 Golden Girls

Availability:

Available now in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook

Just As I Am by Cicely Tyson

I would like to take a moment of silence to honor the late Cicely Tyson.

I knew the moment that this book came across my radar that I needed to have a copy and read it. I have the physical copy of this book but I felt I wanted to listen to the audiobook and I am glad that I did. Cicely narrates a small section at the beginning but does not narrate the entire book. Robin Miles does an excellent job of narrating Ms. Tyson’s story. I’ve heard her narrate another memoir that I enjoyed call Diamon Doris.

Anyway, Ms. Tyson’s story is one of greatness but not without some pain. She took life’s lemons and made them work. Her work ethic was like no other that I’ve ever heard about in Hollywood. I learned so much about her and about celebrities in this memoir. I knew of her relationship and marriage to Miles Davis but I had no idea that he was such a lost soul.

Ms. Tyson was a force to be reckoned with. She didn’t let anything stand in her way. I admire how she took life by the horns. Her story is inspiring and educational. I am grateful that she was able to get her story written down before passing. That way her story is fully hers.

Rating:

4 Golden Girls

Availability:

Available now in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook

book review

The Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson {Review}

Synopsis:

Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Brown was promised her freedom on her eighteenth birthday. But when her birthday finally comes around, instead of the idyllic life she was hoping for with her true love, she finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half-Acre, a jail where slaves are broken, tortured, and sold every day. Forced to become the mistress of the brutal man who owns the jail, Pheby faces the ultimate sacrifice to protect her heart in this powerful, thrilling story of one slave’s fight for freedom.

Review:

This year I have decided that I want to continue my journey reading historical fiction, but I wanted to venture outside of the usual WW2 era.

This book was definitely the step in the right direction. Taking place before the Civil War during the most intense part of slavery in the south, Johnson throws you into the life of Pheby. Immediately you realize that she is not a typical slave. She knows how to read and she doesn’t have to perform the duties of either a field or house slave. She and her mother are favored by their master, Jacob.

After the death of a fellow slave, Pheby is summoned to work in the Big House and then begins her troubles. Working for the mistress of the property proves to be hard and stressful. Things continue to go downhill for her. The promise of freedom is the only thing that keeps her going. However, she has no idea what is in store for her.

After things take a turn for the worse, Pheby finds herself on the way to the auction block. Because of her light complexion she is saved from the auction block only to be sent into a life that is just as bad.

This book was intriguing and infuriating at the same time. There were times that I wanted to reach in the book and shake the life out of Pheby but at the same time I felt sorry for her. The things she risks and goes thru in order to protect her children. I also felt that she put herself in certain situations that she didn’t have to be in.

Johnson weaves the story intricately, keeping your attention and drawing in your emotions. While the book doesn’t give you the ending that you hope for after all Pheby has gone thru, it is an ending that is infuriatingly realistic.

Rating:

3 Golden Girls

Availability:

Available now in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.