August 14, 2019

Summer Status Symbol ⚓️ is on Summer Holiday⚓️
But 🏁The Reading Continues Here

August 13, 2019

For Black Girls Like Me

"My round face. My dark brown eyes. My skin the color of ditch water. Muddy river. One of these things just doesn't belong." ~ pg. 96

Have you read a book labeled as fiction but it seemed too real? Too memoir-ish? I get the sense that author Mariama J. Lockington drew upon her own personal experiences to write For Black Girls Like Me. That made it all the more better. It was as if she spilled childhood memories onto the page in lyrical prose. WAYMENT...I just noticed the author and main character have the same initials: M.J.!

Makeda June Kirkland is an 11-year-old black girl that feels like a question mark. Her parents and big sister are white; she is adopted. No matter how much love is in the family, Makeda can't help feeling left out and wondering how it would feel to grow up with a family that looks like her reflection in the mirror. Brown glowing skin, locs, natural hair, teeny-weeny afro and all!

"Do you remember the first black woman to ever wash your hair? What did it feel like? Did it hurt? Or did it feel like home?" ~ pg. 134

Talk about a book that has you in your feelings—whew! At times I wanted to hug young Makeda, let her know life would get better and to keep presenting herself as the young smart black girl she is. And other times, I wanted to back-slap bullies and reassure her white parents.

For Black Girls Like Me has sensitive themes such as depression, self-discovery, racism, identity, friendship and the impact of music; but the chapters are short (loooove!) with letters and poems sprinkled throughout.  I was on a roll after I got past the absence of commas and oddly placed periods. I finished the 300+ page book in only two days. Not nearly enough time to flaunt the beautiful cover while reading in public.

I recommend this novel as a buddy read for moms and young adult daughters, grandmamas and young granddaughters, book exchange clubs for middle schoolers and best friends in 4th-8th grade. Order it for school library. Gift a copy. Add to summer reading list. Just get it! Share it! Then discuss this heartbreaking yet necessary coming-of-age story.

"In this house we believe:

Title: For Black Girls Like Me
Author: Mariama J. Lockington
Published: August 2019
Pages: 321
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


Toni Morrison: A Literary Legend

It took years of maturing before I could read a Toni Morrison novel in its entirety. The characters were complex. The storylines were layered. The messages within were on a deeper level. I avoided discussions of her work because it simply went over my head.

But when I finally sat down to watch interviews—where she kept it all the way real—I noticed her grace and urgency to introduce characters and deliver prose that no one else could. Her writing lives on while her spirit rests in paradise. A literary legend indeed! 

August 11, 2019

Series Sunday: Alibis & Angels

(Sister Lou Mystery #3) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

"Women don't have what it takes to make the hard decisions necessary to run an organization, much less a town." ~ pg. 156

My Series Sunday pick is Alibis & Angels, the third book in the Sister Lou mystery series by Olivia Matthews. Louise "Lou" LaSalle is Briar Coast's Sleuthing Sister. Her amateur team includes her handsome no-longer-single nephew, Chris, and investigative reporter, Shari. The trio finds themselves solving a murder in order to prevent another.

Sounds like someone didn't give up murder for Lent. The mayor's director of finance, Opal, died from a slip-and-fall down the steps of a municipal building. To most, it seems like a freak accident. But the mayor believes it was done on purpose and that she was the real target. Opal was wearing Mayor Heather's coat and driving the mayor's car. After all, it is a critical election year and she's been receiving threatening letters too.

"Falling is the second leading cause of accidental deaths, not just in this country, but around the world." ~ pg. 38

Like the two previous books in the Sister Lou mystery series, there were characters I did not like then suddenly pity when they're accused of murder (Sister Marianna) or intended for murder (Mayor Heather). Somehow, author Olivia Matthews makes me put aside my feelings for the character and get wrapped into their story. Alibis & Angels was slower and unnecessarily longer but still a light cozy mystery worth reading.

I'm sad to be caught up on this series. What amateur sleuth am I supposed to read about now?! But you—my dear bookhearts—are lucky. You can begin reading the Sister Lou mysteries! In fact, I encourage you to go ahead and download the eBook(s). A cozy mystery for less than the price of a bagel with cream cheese and bottled water. You're welcome!

Author: Olivia Matthews
Published: February 2019
Pages: 368
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


August 9, 2019

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author. 

"Today the computers would tell Senator Gilbert Hennington about his impending campaign for reelection. The senator knew from experience that the computers did not lie."

~ The Spook Who Sat by the Door by Sam Greenlee 

Bookmark and visit Literary Marie's Live Read to see my live updates and final book-to-movie adaptation review of The Spook Who Sat by the Door, a black literature classic written by Sam Greenlee in 1969.

This 50-year-old novel focuses on civil rights and black militancy. Dan Freeman is enlisted and becomes the first black CIA agent. After mastering agency tactics, he retires. On paper, he works with the youth in Chicago. In actuality, he's training black youth to be Freedom Fighters. His goal is to ensure black people's rights and equality for all. If that means overthrowing the white government, so be it. No one suspects the spook who sat by the door.

I had no interest whatsoever in reading this book until Nipsey Hussle's reference on Victory Lap album and interviews. And to discover there is a movie adaptation too! In the spirit of 🏁THE MARATHON CONTINUES, please join me in live reading The Spook Who Sat by the Door.

August 7, 2019

Speaking of Summer

"If a secret is in the open with just one other mind besides the one keeping it, then it is no longer a secret. It's a fact." ~ pg. 93

On a cold night in December, Autumn Spencer's twin sister, Summer, walks to the roof of their brownstone and is never seen again. The door is locked. There is only one set of footprints in the snow. More worriedly, authorities do not care about another missing black woman. So Autumn must investigate and search for Summer on her own.

Honestly, I don't know what I expected but it wasn't what I read. While the cover is stunning and colorful, the subject matter is not. The title may include the word "summer" but it is not light reading. Nor is it a simple missing persons case. The blurb is so far off.

"If Summer joined legions of other Black women trying to eek out concern for our lives and became a hashtag, then I would become open to scrutiny and intrusion my fragility couldn't withstand." ~ pg. 15

Less than 50 pages in, I determined I did not like the main character, Autumn. While her search for missing twin sister seemed genuinely desperate, something was off. It took about halfway through for me to figure out the mystery. The first person narrative and background story is what kept me reading.

Author Kalisha Buckhanon clearly put her time, research and thought into writing Speaking of Summer but again, it does not hold true to the synopsis. A fast paced thriller it is not. More like a dark story of victim invisibility and characterization. It is perhaps a call for action about missing black girls/women. Keep this in mind should you decide to read it.

Title: Speaking of Summer
Author: Kalisha Buckhanon
Published: July 2019
Pages: 294
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


August 6, 2019

You are a Badass at Making Money

Nonfiction/self-help books are so hard to review. Maybe because I only read a handful and very picky. The subject needs to make sense. The life of the author needs to be interesting enough. And the advice given should be relatively easy to follow yet a challenge. After the last page is done, I expect to have learned something, uncover a thing or two about myself, ditch excuses and shape my reality.

Such is the case for Jen Sincero's You are a Badass at Making Money. In thirteen (13) chapters, the author managed to get my attention and put my green highlighter (for money tips...get it?) to use. No matter the size of your bank account or the emptiness of your wallet, this book is a frank guide to making more money and changing words that come out of our mouths into universe manifestation. Mindsets will change!

I always pay attention to numbers, especially those in my accounts, expenses, savings and residuals. I am very clear at how much money I have coming in and going out (down to the dollar). I pat myself on the back for maintaining a budget and being mindful of my financial goals. However, I am not rich yet. Is anybody really rich in today's economy? We can all adopt a badass attitude toward making and spending money wisely.

While I did not agree with everything in the book, I had a lot of takeaways by the end. Below are a few quotes that I will definitely revisit and journal about:

  • "Imperfect = I'm perfect." ~ pg. 239
  • "Let us not forget that money is currency and currency is energy." ~ pg. 230
  • "Charge what you're worth." ~ pg. 222 
  • "Worrying is praying for stuff you don't want." ~ pg. 126
  • "If it's on your mind it will soon be in your lap." ~ pg. 118
  • "The more money you have, the more freedom you have with your time." ~ pg. 103
  • "Bum-rush your fears." ~ pg. 80
  • "Money always comes to you through other people." ~ pg. 68

Did the quotes I shared above interest you enough to read You are a Badass at Making Money? If so, I wish you luck on your new approach to making the money you deserve. If not, add it to your reading list anyway. And if you are already satisfied with the amount of money you make, throw some coins my way via Cash App: πŸ€‘ $LDotMarie 

Author: Jen Sincero
Published: April 2017
Pages: 269
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


August 4, 2019

Series Sunday: When to Stop Reading?

(Pick a Series. Any Series.) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along. Today is merely a discussion. Please chime in! 

When is the right time to stop reading a series? 
  1. When the storyline is far beyond recycled.
  2. When the characters are no longer relatable.
  3. When the author's authenticity is questionable.
  4. When the series is drawn out and needs to end.
  5. When the plot is spoiled thanks to social media.
  6. When the author's real life bleeds into the series.
  7. When the series develops a cookie-cutter formula.
  8. When the publishing company delays new releases.
  9. When the author's writing style changes for the worse.
  10. When the (insert your reason to stop reading a series here).

August 2, 2019

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"For many Democrats and African-Americans alike, 2020 just can't come soon enough. It's not merely a 'Dump Trump' sentiment, but also about the deep hope for new and improved policies that affect Black lives."

~ Talking Politics and Black America: EBONY Exclusive with Sen. Kamala Harris by Melissa Knowles on July 31, 2019