Talk about relevant. Nic Stone managed to write a poignant novel that was not too heavy but light enough to enjoy the story. How she struck that balance is beyond me. There are a few things I want to get into about this book, so let's get started.
As a young Afro-Caribbean woman, Jamaican to be exact, this story strikes a few familiar cords. It brings to the fore, some of the injustices that persons of African descent face. Stone didn't carefully remove the veil but she simply ripped it off in a 'wow-that-didn't-hurt-the-way-I-thought-it-would-but-now-the-wound-is-exposed' kind of way. The struggles that Justyce faced even though he was a Yale bound student, was that he was a young black male. It could resonate with not only young black men but young black women , people from poor backgrounds and other minorities. The issues of racism, classism and interracial relationship were nicely highlighted. These are things that can be touchy topics but Stone so boldly lets it hang out.
From the beginning we know that it wasn't going to be a road well travelled but one less ventured . In a time such as this, where hashtags such as #BlackGirlMagic, #BlackBoyJoy and #BlackExcellence are now frequenting social media , Stone decided to mix that in with #BlackLivesMatter. Everything started to go 'left' for Justyce after his unlawful arrest. This prompted him to go on a journey to understand the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He begins a one sided dialogue by writing letters in a journal addressed to Dr. King about his experiences and his experiment to see if he could embody Dr. King's beliefs, stance and his possible responses. Justyce's eyes are opened and he in turn enlightens those around him to the racial imbalance.
Needless to say classism comes into play. Stone frames it in a way that you have to see it for what it is. Manny's family is not accepted but rather tolerated because they worked twice as hard as their white colleagues and over time amassed wealth and status. But of course are reminded , that they are still viewed as inferior. Manny's dad gave the boys that litte nugget, when he told them about overhearing a young white male use a derogatory term in reference to him. Being who he is, he didn't retaliate but instead chose to 'kill him with kindness'.
Nic Stone gives this story depth by adding an interracial relationship then flipped the script. The version that is not shown a lot where "Mama says, 'Don't bring no white girl home.' " Yes, I'm speaking of Justyce and SJ' s relationship. There are individuals who are colour blind when it comes to love and there are others who aren't. SJ stood by Justyce throughout the journey of the story. She was always vocal about the racial injustices and not being content to turn a blind eye like many do. Somehow, she and Justyce found a place to love each other amidst the chaos of racism. Could this validate the phrase, "Love conquers all."? It was somewhat painfully obvious that both weren't exactly prepared for it as Justyce went with Mel when faced with the choice ; SJ turned him down at a very special turning point of their relationship. Eventually, they were able to see each other inspite of.
It was sad that it took the death of Manny, along with other 'background characters' for the issue of racism to become real to some. Others really didn't change. This is an unfortunate yet authentic reflection of what is happening in the world today. As I said, "Talk about relevant." Nic Stone touched on issues with such finesse that allows the reader to get into the story, get to know the characters and face the issues in the story and in real life.
I loved the daring authenticity, the depth and the message of this book. Kudos to Nic Stone who went there.
I give this relevant and well written book a 4.5 stars out of 5.
#BlackExcellence #BlackGirlMagic #BlackBoyJoy #BlackLivesMatter
Picture the women in the classic fairy tales and then drop them in modern times. Laura Kenyon was absolutely brilliant with her relatable and sassy take on these classics. The stories we were told as kids always had the princes being the rescuers and princesses the damsel in distress. Not something I could actually relate to as a little girl. Then here comes Laura, to paint the picture many women can grasp and understand,
We have Belle, Rapunzel, Dawn, Cinderella and Penelope; each with challenges what women today face. Some that even I grapple with in my personal life. Most of all I felt included . The plot I thought was brilliant. It is not easy to put a spin on stories that are already classics. Classics that are already cemented in the mind of more than one generations. Kenyon not only creates a modern version but she nails it! She answered the complex question for every little girl and boy who asked, "Is there really a 'happily ever after?' " Her reply was full of variety and texture and suited the kids who have now grown up and can understand this very adult answer.
I am a huge Sex and the City fan! *cues Sex and the City opening credits song* Yes, I actually have the song in my playlist. I loved Carrie Bradshaw and Samantha Jones. Kenyon threw in a little Samantha Jones flavour in the modernized character of Rapunzel. She was successful, sexy, sassy and sharp at the tongue. Not to mention her life style of no strings attached sex and the fabulous living. I instantly liked her flair. She was the perpetually single friend and I was here for it honey, yaasss!. Then comes Belle, the soft, doe-eyed romantic. She fantasized about having a loving family but her dreams were persistently stepped on by her selfish husband and his infidelity. Yet we saw her with the help of her friends, grow thicker skin and a sturdier spine as she began a new chapter in her life....without Donner. Cinderella grappled with turning 30, being a mother and queen before she was ready. I'm not in her shoes but I could empathize. Dawn feared her sleeping curse would take her back and Penelope revealed a secret she kept about the fateful night she slept atop those magical peas.
But with everyone facing their own reality, a bigger storm brews. All their happily ever afters were based on fate and magic. It appears, that walking away or breaking from their mold could bring everything crashing down .
Laura Kenyon brought fairy tale to real life with a clever plot, realistic make overs of the characters and made their happily ever after tangible. I was excited to read this book and was not disappointed. Luckily for us the fun and drama continues with two more books. This one is a great read if you like to see ladies save each other and draw strength from each other. I give this one four (4) stars.
In a time when music became nothing more than techno beats and untalented cash cows, here comes Johnny Elias.
Let's start from the beginning. Johnny, Megan and Andy were all lovers of classic standard music. Megan and Andy came from more fortunate homes than Johnny. Their parents made sure they had the best to become their best. Johnny was a foster kid from Brooklyn, working his way through college. That fateful day on the Great Lawns of Central Park in New York, marked the day their lives changed. Johnny was inspired to sing in public by a fellow concert goer, Megan went home to make a deal with the devil and Andy met the love of his life, Jacqui.
This book oozed with passion. The passion for music was evident and that folkes, is how you emote through a story. The fact that original songs were written throughout the book brought an almost unreal amount of authenticity. What's more, is that author Lonnie Ostrow ,has them on his website that you can listen to and I recommend that you do so. I felt so much throughout the story. I felt Johnny's pain, Megan's betrayal and Andy's loyalty to Johnny. As any true friend Andy gave up much to see Johnny through to stardom. Even supported him when it came to Jacqui, who also became a loyal friend to Johnny, til the end.
It was the first time since meeting Professor Delores Umbridge in Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, that I've come across a character that I truly had a strong dislike for. That was simply because she was so well written. Katherine Price is a despicable human being who deserved more than she got.After her first stunt of setting up Megan, I decided I was not going to allow the "Mom-only-wants-what's-best-for-her" excuse, to fly. She was a low down dirty woman who only served herself. Not only did she do things selfishly, but she destroyed the lives of many. Even now, I felt absolute rage and indignation on behalf those she ruined. In a situation like that, I have to say well done to Lonnie Ostrow. Kathrine out of all the characters, was the best written.
Johnny's life felt like a blur, which meant the book felt like a blur. He rose to stardom so quickly. The good thing about it, it didn't feel generic nor forced. It felt like a puzzle piece finally fitting into its place. The recordings, the tours and the music all felt natural. I even understood the blurriness of it all. The speed of success being so quick, gave way for the real personal stuff to simmer just below the surface on a slow heat. You kept wondering when would Johnny get his shot at love? When would his personal triumph come?
Mr.Ostrow touched on a very important topic as well. Domestic violence. Megan was pushed into marrying a monster. First of all, when Gerry blew up the first and second time at someone else, over some petty mess, I saw it. I'm sure Megan saw it too. But the poor sheltered girl, didn't realize that men like that, will turn around at some point and hit you.
The first time he laid hands on her, I was like, "Giiiirl, you betta smack dis fool into next week." She should have known that you have to walk away and keep walking. A man like that will apologize and work his way back in. She, unfortunately, waited until he really went left on her, before she really got rid of him. I must say, she began to gather her strength from there. Even when she stood up to the spawn of the devil, Katherine, I was proud of Megan.
The ending was not what I expected. One could say she fell for him while he sang for her. The two, albeit battered and scarred by life, were reunited in love.
There is so much more that is to be said because this book was written with layers. But I'll save it for another time. If you can't see passed the words, then read it again, only this time with feeling. Lonnie Ostrow did a fantastic job with this one. More than anything else, this book had a soulfulness and emotional range. I give it 4.5 stars.
#writteronfleek #thesewords #poetofthewronggeneration #lonnieostrow
This summer is truly special. It's the first time I'll be doing #SummerReads. My blog hits its first anniversary in August and I have some plans to GET LIT.
This List will be updated as I find more gems to read. Here is the list so far...*claps hands excitedly* I'm so excited!
#thesewords #summerreads2016 #getlit
When I read the first few words, I had no idea of what I was in for. Peter Bailey truly stepped out of the box for this one. He decided that walls, boxes anything to enclose his creativity must be eliminated and he came up with Walk in the Flesh. This book was a different kind of twisted sci-fi, thriller action mix that had me looking at the words like they were going to jump off the page. Let's talk about a few things.
The characters all seemed to have their own agenda. The main characters Neil and Ariana were worlds apart. Until, Neil botched a self termination which is required at the end of every mission. That's when Ariana, a bold pathologist, gets involved. She was a woman in a man's world. Having to fight everyday to prove herself to men who really didn't care or saw a woman fit to be in their field, let alone out of the house. When she gets the severed head that was supposed to be crushed, things go down a slippery slope. After time slipped away from her while examining the strange severed head, Ariana is visited by a salacious security guard and friends who intended to rape her. After hiding while they trashed her office, she was blamed for the damage and fired. To make things worse she was raped one day in the streets.
This is where the story started to make more sense to me. After a series of missions, a scientist trying to expose his boss for the acts Neil carried out and a disgraced pathologist loses her job, Arianna becomes Neil's mission. He was to find out what she knew after doing the autopsy on the severed head. If she knew too much she would be killed. Yet Neil went a bit rogue on the mission. They were ambushed at a meeting place. Neil easily took care of that and they made an escape. The plot was a bit all over the place for my liking and needed a more centralized point to refer back to. Neil was crazy, I get that. But was that the point? The experiment on Neil, was that it? When it's not clear in a plot, it's easy to lose the reader. This made the ending even more bland yet confusing. Neil was shot in the head after being on the lamb for a while. The scientists were all replaced, more guys like Neil were made and we heard nothing more of Ariana who was such a huge part of the story after Neil tried to kill her.
This book had alot of potential. It had a great and interesting concept but the execution could have been better. The characters felt more surface except for Neil. He was the most developed one.
I give this one a 3 out of 5 stars.
Hello, I'm Tammy and I love books! I love writing and reading them. I love them so much I just can't stop talking about them.