The Hate U Give #SummerofRealness #YANovels

Hi bloggers and fellow readers!

I am back again with the latest novel in the #SummerofRealness #YA reading venture.

This time, it is to reveal The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It is a play on the acronym THUG and is about a teenaged girl named Starr who loses her friend Khalil to police brutality. In today’s world, it is so unfortunate that our black youth are experiencing the same injustices our grandparents and great-grandparents experienced.

I think the true magic of this work lies in the timeliness and realness of the story. Starr is the narrator and she must navigate two worlds: In one world she is a resident of Garden Heights where gangs line the streets and schools are filled with over-sexualized teens profanity and overall detrimental behaviors, but Starr attends Williamson on the other side of town where she becomes “Williamson Starr”- she changes her accent and enjoys being the “non-ghetto black chick.

What you must know is this: there is romance, there is violence, but there is the tie of familial love as well.

Surprise! It is a movie and The Hate U Give will arrive in theaters October 19th 2018.

**Side Note: I did not get to finish this story because the loan period expired at my library, however, the overwhelming amount of positive reviews this book has received is astounding. Over 2,000 five stars on Amazon.

Let me know what you think 🙂

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A Letter to Sons, ‘Between the World and Me’ Review

between world

Every once in a while I read a book that forces me to highlight everything that jolts me fully awake. The words and the way the author stitches them together creates a story that is gold. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me is that book. It is a letter to his son but I think it is a letter to sons, daughters, sisters, mothers, fathers-everywhere.

 “You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable.”(Between the World and Me)

When I began reading Between the World and Me, the first word, Son– drew me in. I knew this would be an exploration of words and memories and advice. Coates draw us in with his play on words and symbols as he warns his son that although he is growing into consciousness in this new social media world where there is more access for black people- the Dreamers(those who have captured, beat, and raped us) are still hunting us but in different ways. I like how Coates does not come right out and tell his son not to like non-black people. In fact, his warnings are in the form of smooth connecting thoughts from this world and the past- stitched together.

Black life is cheap, but in America black bodies is a natural resource of incomparable value.”

Coates talks of his son’s reaction to the Michael Brown event and how the officer got off. Coates reminds his son, “I did not tell you it will be okay. It will never be okay because I have never believed it.”

A crucial moment where a black body is defined by how it is broken.

Between the world and me is definitely a book everyone should be picking up and reading over and over again because although we can love the world…the world knows the value of a black body and unfortunately for us, the black body is seen as expendable even a black child’s body. Again, Coates renders this truth in a way that is palatable and nutritious while still delivering much-needed vitamins to the soul.

I highly recommend this work.

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It’s That Awkward Silence When You Ask Me…

 

blackboard question
Image Credit: Pixabay

 

Awkward

A simple Google search on “awkward moments” will bring up a whopping, gazillion sites claiming the Top 20, Top 10, and Top 31 awkward moments we face. Well, my awkward moment could be considered blasphemy, and it would have been placed in my personal journal but I decided to publicize it: I have awkward moments when someone asks me if I am a Christian. Here are my reasons.

First, before you think it is because I am ashamed of my Lord and Savior, I implore you to believe that is not the case. The problem is I have very slim good experiences with Christians. I think we can commend them for the food and clothing programs, but many can be very rude and I remember a church’s deacon avoiding me and my husband at a cookout because we once asked for a little financial assistance, but they did not avoid us when we donated money and paid “tithes and offerings” beforehand. Christians tend to be church folk and do what is most easy and comfortable for them.

A pastor told me that helping someone in need and expecting those in the church to lend a hand is “Secular thinking”. to Telling the person to pray to Jesus is more appropriate…according to him.

That is reason number one.

If you ask me if I am a Christian, I may clam up and kind of shoot my eyes left and right so I won’t look at the judgment in your gaze. Yes. Awkward moment of silence there but I will not apologize for it because of reason number two.

Reason number two for my awkwardness when asked if I am a Christian, is the history of Christianity. Let me put it bluntly. A few years ago, I would proudly say “I am a Christian” and I even put it on the About Me page here-proudly. But I live a filmy residual, ghost-like kind of life of intersectionality: I am Black. Female. Christian. At any time, I have to be all three.

Blacks had Christianity whipped into them. Women, in the bible and in churches are not seen as powerful, productive light(unless it’s the infamous unattainable goal of being the Lady of Proverbs 31).

Moving on, I may ignore you if you are a Christian and talk too much, too loud, and too harshly about certain groups of people you are uncomfortable with. Count me out. I am not going to bash the LGBTQI community. I will not say the “poor need to pull up invisible bootstraps”, I will not think that the only people on earth who need help is across the globe- we all need help all over the globe, maybe in different stages and degrees.

Point blank, you may hear me moan, groan, tap my foot, tap my pen or ignore you if you come at me with questions about Christianity.

Just kidding. I’m not that mean, but there may be an awkward silence for a moment.

Don’t know why this topic of Awkward made me spill all these beans, but there you have it.

~Ericajean

‘Belle and the Beau’ #AfricanAmericanHistorical, #TruthInFiction

belle and the beau

Belle and the Beau by Beverly Jenkins

Published by NYLA Publishing(2002)

Ebook ISBN: 978-1641970174

www.nyliterary.com

I had the absolute pleasure of reading yet another one of Beverly Jenkins’ book. This time a YA Historical Fiction called Belle(Belle and the Beau). I enjoyed every second of this book and learned one very important fact that blew my mind. Here is a brief summary of this sweet book:

“After a grueling escape north, Belle Palmer is free, yet lost and alone. Separated from her father on the harrowing journey, Belle has nowhere to turn until she finds shelter with the Bests, the first free family she’s ever known. For the first time in her sixteen years, Belle is able to express herself freely-except where her feelings for a certain dark-eyed young man are concerned.

Daniel Best is headed for great things. Educated and handsome, at eighteen he is full of the promise and dream of his people, and is engaged to the prettiest (if the most spoiled) girl around. So when a bedraggled stranger arrives in his household and turns into a vibrant, lovely young woman, his attraction to her catches him entirely by surprise.”

-Blurb is from Goodreads.com

The reason I love Jenkins’ writing so much, is that you can tell she not only does her research but cares about the characters she weaves into the historical fabric. Belle is described as tall, dark-skinned, with short hair and very pretty. She ran away from slavery and was found literally by the boy she will fall in love with.

The events in the novel felt all too real, but that is because slavery was real. Not an imagined history. Belle was unable to read but could sew and cook very well, there were slave catchers in the story that caused a visceral reaction in me and then there was the sweet, building romance between her and Daniel.

I liked Daniel because he was eighteen but already so serious, because helping the slaves is serious business and though he was “kind of engaged to Francine”, an equally beautiful girl- something about Belle made the man in him stand out, but there’s a reason why he feel he must marry Francine even at the cost of his own true love…

Now, the part that blew me away was August 1st. Do you know the history behind August 1, 1834?

No?

In the book, Belle learns that Daniel Best and his family do not celebrate July 4th. They do not celebrate it because what sense does it make to celebrate America’s freedom from the British, when the blacks were still slaves? So, instead, the Best family celebrate August 1st– the day the British freed the slaves in the West Indies.

Neat, huh?

Told you there is always some truth in fiction. Especially historical fiction.

The next book in this duology is called Josephine. I really hope you check these books out and let me know what you think!

For more honest book reviews like this one, please subscribe to get the scoop early.

Hugs,

~The Write Web

3 Things I Learned While Reading ‘A Fistful of Honey’ #TruthInFiction

a fistful of honey

Published by Transformation Press(2015)

ISBN-13: 978-0-9966384-0-1

Get A Fistful of Honey book on Amazon or BarnesandNoble and other retailers TODAY!

Want to read a story that reflects what is happening in the world and in black communities specifically? Want a book that can tell a great story while adding action, romance, and the dark wisdom for a painfully delicious novel you can’t stop thinking about?

Here is a brief summary of this amazing book:

Her world is ending, but only she can stop all of existence from meeting the same fate…

This stunning novel begins when a pending divorce and job loss force Alena Ford out of her elite life in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and into a gritty section of Brooklyn. Stripped of everything, she is forced to face the demons of her past and the ghosts in her heart. When Alena befriends her eccentric neighbor Gloria, the woman’s stunning amethyst necklace and Black Madonna painting draw her into a world of ancient secrets, dark forces, and powerful magic.

It is a world in which black women are divine. Alena finds that it is up to her to save humanity from a universal evil, the Shetani. To succeed, Alena must first conquer her own darkness; if she loses, the fate of the world is at stake. A brilliantly crafted story that seamlessly grapples race, oppression, divinity, and the redemptive power of forgiveness. 

-Blurb taken from Amazon

Let’s Talk Color

In the book, Alena is deeply hurt that the one man she wanted, a chocolate man-only seemed to gravitate to light skinned women and so when they finally reconnect, she shares her hurt and he reminds her that many men lusted after her and she learns that her own low self-esteem placed her in the path of a man who is not her race but who could not love her either, only as an exotic piece of the puzzle(this isn’t always the case, there are some happy IR relationships of course).

Anyway, I thought it interesting that this conversation takes place in the book because right now on social media there is a light black versus dark black discussion going on and it is pure silly. Attractive is attractive, who cares about the skin paint?

Is It All Just Spiritual?

Right now, many blacks are beginning to question all they’ve been taught. In the novel, Alena meets her Maker and other Ancestors and she learns that we were taught only part of the truth and the revealing of that Truth is beautiful and was enough to make me re-learn what I thought I knew.

Is God black? White? Male? Female? Truthfully, we don’t know and can’t know in this realm,  in this flesh. What I do know is that love transcends all of that and Alena had to rely on Love to get her though.

Current Events In Literature

I saved this one for last because it is too depressing to think of.

With all of the police brutality going on and of course the recent Starbucks incident, it makes you wonder: Is America falling behind? Why aren’t we progressing in humanity?

In A Fistful of Honey, the police are filled with hatred for the blacks and a little black boy is killed while going to the store for his mother. It is the most sickening and hurtful part of the book.

This is not to say that the blacks were saints in the story, but isn’t that reality? None of us are saints but we do not deserve to be lynched either. So the final showdown in the book gave me goosebumps and I hear there is a sequel too. I am so ready for it!

Want more Truth in Fiction? Subscribe and let me know which books you think I should consider for review here.

~The Write Web

‘Deadly Sexy’ by Beverly Jenkins Review Plus #TruthinFiction

deadly sexy

Deadly Sexy by Beverly Jenkins

(Try Sexy/Dangerous as well. Such a pleasing romp of a story!)

This book has literally nothing but five stars on Amazon! No kidding!

This week I had the absolute pleasure(always is while reading a Bev Jenkins novel) of reading Deadly Sexy. I tell you, I just can’t stay away from her books and now that my Freading.com account is back on track, I am back to my bookworm-y ways. Anyway, check out this snippet of my Goodreads review about the sports agent and glamorous JT “Jessie” Blake!

Deadly SexyDeadly Sexy by Beverly Jenkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was just as sexy and juicy as Sexy/Dangerous. Beverly Jenkins knows how to tell a story. In this one, JT “Jessie” Blake is a hardcore sports fan and sports agent. A glamorous and intelligent woman who hadn’t even thought about love…until one day her car breaks down and a handsome trucker comes to her rescue. Reese Anthony is stunned by the beauty along the side of the road, but whoever sabotaged her car is out for blood and they will do anything to have her miserable… or dead.

Who knew that a conversation over fat, yummy cherries would put these two together? I enjoyed their banter and I especially had a warm heart for the Anthony brothers. Reese Anthony is from a line of men who can cook, woo a woman, they are seriously HOT, and super intelligent businessmen. JT likes Reese immediately, and to me, it happened much to fast- I needed more hard to get action to prolong the “fun” you know?

View all my reviews

There is truth to every piece of writing, including “time stamps”. You can tell the time period of a book by the media used, certain slanguage, style of dress, etc. In Deadly Sexy, I was thrust back to 2007. Remember when we did not have all of this social media? Back then you had to literally turn on the television to try and get up to the minute updates or listen to the radio, basically there was just blogging, Myspace, and email? I know, it does not seem too long ago, like say, 1955- but still in the novel I noticed these things.

In the story, JT receives a call about her going to rehab. Apparently someone’s “publicist” had alerted the news networks(by phone and email) of this blatant lie. I was just thinking that in 2018, instead of JT having to go through her lawyer(which in some cases you should do anyway), she could have sent out a Tweet and some DMs totally canceling the slander.

Also, the phones mentioned in the book are either “phones” or “Blackberries” and now we have sophisticated technologies built into our Smartphones today. We can email, fax, go on social media, chat, go on Instagram, Skype- anything.

So, it was interesting noticing how business was truly conducted then compared to now; we  don’t truly need a middle person to be our PR.

Excellent novel by the way! Featuring strong, black women who are not only gorgeous but intelligent, sweet, and can cook a mean meal!

For more truth in fiction articles, please subscribe and I love comments so let’s chat!

E is For Electric Red Ebony #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z

electric red.png
Image designed by Ericajean using Canva/Photo by Godisable Jacob

 

This poem is a part of the A to Z blog Challenge. Please consider joining, participating or Connecting with some wonderful blogs!

Electric Red Ebony

Holds down a job or two or let’s say three to care for her three. I know her and I don’t because we are just coworkers-cubicle to cuticle our hands pounce the keys, nails to keys and we mouth over headsets to potential customers but I know her. I know during lunch she sometimes pop gum turns down my offer to buy her a lunch and she is constantly on her outdated phone to chastise the babysitter before the afternoon drifts to dark and the company windows are dark eyes watching its minions drone on their fifteen minute breaks

Electric Red Ebony talks smack sometimes and her language leaves desire and is not the best; she has a pretty smile when something is funny or if we watch something together comedic on YouTube- again, she is nice or can be, but I know her. I know her situation, her could be me. We are we, but not two peas

Electric Red Ebony had another destiny. She is thankful for her kids, call them miracles and blessings but the men she gave immortality are curses and deadbeats and her voice changes, it cracks it becomes Mad Black Woman Black and she rolls her slender neck and her chewing  gum sound like gunshots popping from her mouth. Me, hailing from deep space sparkle, am meek and Kawaii but product of the hood and I understand her. She could be me, I, her.

We leave together, I offer to share a ride she turns it down head up in pride, head up in red crimson clouds. A cloud that rains upon her yet not on me. She has a yellow cab get her, I have an app for Lyft- “We can share” I say. She waves me off: “Got no time to share. I can make my own way.”

Her heels are nine inches long, her hair is ten feet tall, her eyes are almond shape, she is all ebony and pretty, but when she speaks- when she speaks- when she speaks to me her voice is a whisper of dreams and failed relationships and people she’s buried. If you don’t know her she talks loud, protective of her rights and she can be blacker than black

Copyright©2018 Erica Jean Smith