Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Word or Two From Me..."Urban Lit" or Nah...

  So... let me begin by saying Thank You to anyone who reads my reviews here, on Goodreads, or after having clicked a link on my Twitter blasts. I am new to this book review thing, although I've been doing it for years. Simply, this blog came about because I read, a lot, and felt I needed to release my ideas or thoughts I had after reading a novel I've been gifted by publishers or authors. I appreciate friends who support me and know how serious I take reviewing novels. Sadly, I don't review as often because I work full time and am currently enrolled to finish my education, but I appreciate the few that take the time out to hear my voice.

My reason for this "editorial" is to say that I've been approached by authors who write in many different genres yet my personal go-to are mysteries or suspenseful reads. The type of books you'd find in the airport and frequent the bestseller lists. These books aren't difficult to analyze, summarize, or fall into any literary category. They are simply fun to read. I don't deny these works are "easy". Yet, I have been asked why I choose these novels instead of books written by people of color.

My ex-boyfriend and I frequently debate my inclination to act "white" or assimilate into "white" culture more than black. His argument is based on the fact that 85% of the shows I watch are cast with an all-white lineup such as The Big Bang Theory, Family Guy, Monk, or even the B-Horror films I seek on Netflix. My response is always that the "black" shows or movies always seem to be lacking something. Their is a beginning, a middle, and an end.  There is no character development, scenery description, or an attempt to deviate from the black caricature we portray in film.

I could have easily suggested no people of color write novels like John Grisham or Stephen King. I like suspense, blood, crime, good guys finding the bad guys and prevailing. The literature that infests the "urban" market is littered with bad guys that only further glamorize thug life, or women who hate men.  Don't get me wrong, I love Terry McMillan, and I love that she continues to portray black women as unbreakable, I can't believe that none of the men in her works are just as amazing. Not every black male abandoned their family. I was blessed to know a few in my own family.

My point is this, I can't enjoy SOME black literature because it glamorizes the hustle life, making role models of women who are only famous after having a child with someone who put in the work to get where they've gotten, or the bitter single woman who's hellbent on proving her worth because of a man. I refuse to spend the previous little time of leisure I do have on novels written as Love & Hip-Hop scenes.

The authors I commend are the Toni Morrison's, Victor Lavelle's, Cynthia Bond's, Colson Whitehead's, and Gloria Naylor's to name a few. Their content is true to the Black American narrative yet thought-provoking and inspiring. Sure, I love a good raunchy title such as Kimberla Roby Lawson thrown in the mix, but she doesn't feed into the social bias Black Americans have been... forced into.

Eric Jerome Dickey used to be my favorite author as a teen. Milk in My Coffee was too hard to ignore. To this day, The Coldest Winter Ever haunts my mind. Although there have been followup novels (that my ex speaks highly of) I can't bring myself to read them. I outgrew Sister Souljah and her character "Midnight" because I no longer have space in my world for their lifestyle. I wish I didn't have to marry the two topics because they are rightfully two different issues but... after having been a victim and witness to the senseless killing and murder of people in the black community by others in our community and then... having to defend our worth to the recently emboldened closet racists or "alt-right"... or whatever they call themselves, I think back to what I've read in my 33 years.  And I have read a lot.  A LOT!!! Reading is my hobby. Some say that but their reading is limited to the latest Zhane novel or Dickey that has quite frankly turned to smut.

PURE UNADULTERATED SMUT...

The last title I picked up by him contained more sex than actual plot.

Anyway, I've gone off on a tangent.

My point now, and then with my ex, is that I don't read novels written by people of color (generally) because there's no depth, very little character development, an obsessive amount of drama or simply feeds into the image most white people think we are. The rapper, drug-dealer, the unruly vagrant that deserved the excessive force that has any black man assuming if they are pulled over, there is a greater their life will be ended instead of simply going home with a simple traffic ticket or citation.  I can't even express how many comments I've read that proclaim "if you don't resist you don't______" insert dumb-ass statement there.

No I'm not suggesting we conform to "white" culture, but I do suggest we as a people, a community, as a family take responsibility in giving the police and white American's reason to believe we're animals, murderers, guilty of contempt... We argue this system wasn't made for us yet we defend those who come in direct conflict with Common Law. Common Law? The basic right to live; To life... Children are being murdered on our streets... yet no one is outraged? The outrage only seems to surface when it's a cop that murders one of us.  AND YES! I know the inner-city crime is something else, I won't review favorably a novel that glorifies hustling, fucking up (having sex with an athlete or celeb as income), or Reality TV show reboots. Sorry,

I love my black people who have made their space in entertainment. My reviews are reserved for those who see past their "urban literature" audience and inspire their readers to grow. I hope I got my point across... if not... hit me up. I am happy to respond to any and all inquiries.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Review: The Late Show by Michael Connelly

The Late Show by Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly is back with another hit with The Late Show. I just have to say, I love this author. I was first introduced to his work viaThe Lincoln Lawyer. Of course my initial interest was due to Matthew McConaughey starring in the movie and I have the he's definitely one of my celebrity crushes. 


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Review:Stay With Me by Aybami Adebayo

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo


As promised, I am providing a review on Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo. Stay With Me is the gripping literary novel that follows the story of Yejide and Akinyele and their marriage and ultimate dissolution throughout the years. To say this novel isn't interesting a moving would be a lie and those who have read know that "if a lie travels for twenty years, even a hundred years, it will take one day... for the truth to catch up with a lie."

Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

First off, let me pat myself on the back for flying through this novel so quickly. It appears lately no matter how much I love or hate a novel, I still read it at snail's pace. This time was different. I came, I read, I reviewed, then conquered. With that out of the way... let's get to it!

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg is the second novel I've read from her. Berg introduces us to Arthur, Maddy, and Lucille. Each going through life, alone so-to-speak, but determined to make it better. With the company and aide of each other, they form a makeshift family that blood couldn't make better or closer.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Review:Black Privilege by Charlamange tha God

Black Privilege by Charlamagne Tha God

To say Black Privilege:Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create Itwasn't compulsively readable, I'd be making the understatement of the century and I'll gladly expound on that matter in this review. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review: The Switch by Joseph Finder

The Switch by Joseph Finder



The tendency to imagine how the movie would look plagues me with every Joseph Finder novel I read. The Switch is written like a high-octane thriller that never settles down for that precious thing we call breath. We simply have to strap in and hold on tight. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Review:The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

The Devil Crept In




The Devil Crept In is the second novel I've read by Ania Ahlborn. After having enjoyed Brother I was anxious to see if Ahlborn would thrill me with another read. The Devil Crept Indid not disappoint but is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you're not into horror, blood, guts and things that go bump in the night stay far far away.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: In Full Color by Rachel Dolezal

In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World




In the interest of full disclosure, I did not finish In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World. I hate even having to read it, then rate it without following through. When I don't finish a book, no matter how badly I want to, I can't help but feel as if I failed the writer. After all, the author did take their time to tell a story, get it edited, and bravely put it out there to be scrutinized. What could possibly be scarier and here comes someone like me, a so-called reviewer, doesn't even finish the book and has the nerve to give it a rating.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Review: A House Divided by Donna Hill

A House Divided by Donna Hill



A House Divided is Donna Hill's solo novel about an up and coming journalist Zoie Crawford. Just as her career is taking off, she's called back home to New Orleans because her grandmother died. She's riddled with guilt the whole time since they were close but she never got around to visiting her since her ambitious nature wouldn't allow her the time off from work. Avoiding her family didn't entice her to come home even with her grandmother's impending death.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Review: One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline



I'm on the fence with a 3 and 4 star rating for Lisa Scottoline's One Perfect Lie but more on that later. Scottoline is a favorite of mine so I was anxious to get this read and it doesn't disappoint with the first few chapters locking down the reader. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: The Lost Order by Steve Berry

The Lost Order by Steve Berry

I practically spent my entire Sunday trying to get through Steve Berry's latest Cotton Malone historical thriller. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm usually Berry's biggest fan. I always look forward to reading the adventures of the least retired, retired Magellan Billet recruit than the next person. The Malone series is always packed full of thrills, close calls, double crosses, and pure excitement.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Review: Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor

Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor  Gloria Naylor, author of The Women of Brewster Place, grants the world another chance to read why she's considered a literary champion. When I began reading Naylor's Linden Hills I was not familiar with her works nor had any inclination to be. Oh how foolish I have been all these years. I didn't realize until the last word that I missed her voice.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel




The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel is one of those stories that is haunting in the fact that it lingers in the back of your mind for a long, long time. Engel explores the darkness that hides in every family and what it means to love and be loved. To be placed under a spell that death seems like the sweetest escape. 


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

The Sleepwalker is the third novel I've read by Chris Bohjalian and by far my favorite. Before I dive into my review I must credit this author with hooking his readers from page one. The Sleepwalker manages to dominate that interest and never relinquishes its grip. Suffice it to say, I did not have to sleepwalk through this novel. (That's all I got for word play... I promise).