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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‘Feversong’ The Tear Jerking Finale #TruthInFiction

feversong

 

Feversong by Karen Marie Moning(Fever Series, #9)

Published: Dell Mass Market Edition(2017)

ISBN:978-0-399-59365-9

I just finished the most amazing, emotionally gripping, tear-jerking dark romance fiction ever and what I learned from the book, is the one lesson that binds us all: We are powerfully fragile.

So, yes. I did shed a few tears over this one. This commonly happens if I have stuck with a series for a while and if an author really knows what they are doing. A tale that has stuck with me for the better part of 11 years, hits its conclusion.

So here is the gist of the Feversong. I will try to be concise because it is kind of a  complex story.

  • The world is being eaten by giant black holes and only the Song of Making can (possibly) eradicate them.
  • Mac is the possible hero and she must wield the song, but how?
  • The Sinsar Dubh(evil, psychotic presence) book, thrives inside of her and turns her into this brutal, blood slinging killing machine-thus, the Song of Making shall not happen anytime soon– we think.
  • Her relationship with the “atavistic” and superbly hot Barrons still ignites the pages, but now Jada/Dani is scorching the story with her love triangle between Ryodan and Dancer. Ryodan is thousands of years old, sexy and methodical as well as an immortal beast while Dancer has the most soulful, arresting eyes and is about 17(?) with a huge…brain. He is crazy smart and handsome.
  • Instead of trying to figure out the freaking song to repair earth, Mac must get herself together or she will lose herself and all she loves.

Again, tear-jerker. Lots of stuff I did not expect.

The Fever series takes place in Dublin, Ireland and the characters are of human and fae origins. Then you have some monsters that will give you nightmares. Ever hear of the Crimson Hag? Her dress is made of guts.

Enough said.

The lesson I learned from this entire series is that being just human is a gift. The fae can barely show emotion and do not understand the big, boundless emotion called Love. But it is this part of us that can undo us or make us strong. Make us fragile, or powerful.

Sometimes in life, we get caught up in thinking we are just so beyond reproach. That we are above the ants and roaches and grass we tread on. We really do! Yet- check this out- we all eventually expire.

In the novel, the group of friends including the Nine immortals(man those dudes are hot, Dang!) But that’s not important.

They all realize that earth could end in a week or less.

How would you spend your life if you knew you had exactly one week to live here?

Read the book. Read the freaking series.

Live. Breathe. Love. Please?

In the meantime, you can visit Karen Mare Moning’s website to find her voracious readers’ comments and the latest book which I will have to purchase as soon as possible.

I love sharing what I read, and if you have suggestions about a book you’ve read or if you are a Fever fan, consider commenting and/or sharing this post.

Sincerely,

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!

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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

‘Brilliant Green’ Asks: Are Plants Intelligent? #BookReview

brilliant green
Brilliant Green Cover Design Courtesy of Island Press(2015)

 

Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence

Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola

Island Press 2015

I am floored by the amazing facts I learned about plants. The facts are overwhelming and too much to cover in this review but I will say that I am convinced that not only are plants intelligent, but could rule the world if we kindly step aside. Overall this was a magnificent piece of work and proved it’s point.

From Darwin’s studies to philosopher’s thoughts and to religion, plants have been around for hundreds of millions of years and even though we step on them, pull them at their roots and consider them “non-mobile”, plants do move around, they can be carnivores, all while providing medicines for us and oxygen.

“But plants are sessile-they can’t move from one place to another-and so they’ve evolved in a different way, constructing a modular body without individual organs.” (Brilliant Green, 2015).

Now, this is where the book gets way deep. Check this part out:

“In biology, we call a species dominant when it obtains more living space at other species’ expense…”

So what species dominate the earth?

Not the animals.

Not us.

Plants do!

At least 99.9 percent of the earth. We human species comprise a mere 0.3%! Also, what constitutes intelligence?

If you think having a brain makes you intelligent, then after the reasoning posed in this book, you will clearly see that separatee from the body, is the brain even smart?

Along with these deep ponderings and research, I had a fascinating time learning more about the Venus Fly Trap and the Gourd, two plants that actually eat animals/insects! I knew about the Venus Fly Trap, but to understand the science of these plants is where the magic really begins.

I could go on and on about this wonderful book and there is so much more, but I highly recommend it for those interested in plants, gardening, environmental science or just good reading.

 

*Book provided for review by Netgalley and Island Press

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~The Write Web

The Jade Temptress(The Lotus Palace, #2) #TruthInFiction

 

jade temptress
Cover Design Courtesy of HQN(Harlequin)

Hey everyone! I’m back here with The Jade Temptress, Book 2 of the Lotus Palace Series. This book was AMAZING!

There was more passion, murder and intrigue, and the lure of the infamous Pingkangli.  If you want to read this book the FREE way you may be able to read it on loan from Freading.com(if your library participates) or you have the option purchasing on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Send me a comment/email if you are interested in receiving this fascinating book on loan. Now, on to the summary…

Welcome to the infamous Pingkang Li–home of the celebrated Lotus Palace courtesans, and a place of beauty and treachery…

Charming and seductive, Mingyu is the most sought-after hostess in the pleasure quarter. She has all men wrapped around her finger–except Constable Wu Kaifeng, the one man she can’t resist, the only man to have placed her in chains.

Wu Kaifeng’s outwardly intimidating demeanor hides a reluctant, tation she presents threatens to destroy them both when a powerful official is murdered and they find themselves on a deadly trail. Amid the chaos, a forbidden affair could change Mingyu’s fate forever, for following her heart is bound to have consequences…

~Summary taken from Amazon

 

In this book, there is mention of Goat Hours, Classic Tea and I learned more about the “Red Light District” of China.

“The Market Gong sounded  the Hour of the Goat”(12).

Don’t think that the Chinese Zodiac only refers to the year you are born. Nope. The Hour of the Goat is roughly 1p.m. to 3p.m. I love how the book referred to the hours in this way and according to Wikipedia, most Asian countries like Korea, Japan,and Vietnam use these as hours too. I was born in the year of the Dog by the way.

Second, Mingyu knows a lot about tea and how to serve it well. The book mentions about the Classics of Tea, so once more I hunted for some information about tea(I love tea!). The characters in the story are refreshed and relaxed around the simple act of pouring and drinking tea.

The Classic of Tea by Yu Lu is a treatise on the beauty of and making of tea. The original is gone and the earliest manuscript goes back to the Ming Dynasty actually, however the link provided will give a breakdown the mysterious importance of this drink. I’m thinking of ordering the book myself.

Finally, let’s talk about the Pingkangli or the “Red Light District”

In my last review of the Lotus Palace, I mention how the Chinese courtesans are more than prostitutes, they are musicians, poets, and overall hosts to a great many men of different statures of life.

But the brutally honest truth is these are women/girls are courtesans belonging to brothels. Some brothels more lavish than most like the one Mingyu is from.

According to the book Red Light Districts: The Lives of Sex Workers Postsocialist China,

“The owners received 30 percent of the profit for their courtesan while the courtesan(prostitute) received 70 percent.”(37)

In the novel, Mingyu is basically a slave to Madame Sun. In fact, this almost makes Constable Wu believe he can never have Mingyu because she is often courted by and has lain with rich men.

In the Red Light Districts book, it details the lives of those men who do take a courtesan as a wife and often they learn the hard way that the courtesan is used to a lavish lifestyle and marriage does not last if the money doesn’t.

So that’s it for this installment of Truth In Fiction. I absolutely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it!

Any questions or if you have inquiries about books you think I should review here, let me know.

~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!

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