Tag Archives: angie thomas

Still Listening

Due to the climate in our country, I don’t feel like I can do what I normally do on the first Wednesday of the month and talk about what I read last month. I will move that blog post to next week. There are so many really great resources being shared right now that help describe and explain that Black experience in America, white supremacy, and systemic racism. One link that was passed around on Facebook and other social media sites was this list of various articles, books, and documentaries which is a great start.

Last year, I read two of the books that are being suggested (one of which is on the above list). I’ve already shared my thoughts on these books, so I will link those reviews here.

The first is I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown.

The second book I read last year was White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. I didn’t write a review for this book on my blog because I was taking a break at the time. I did, however, write a review on GoodReads which I will link here.

Both of these books are excellent. There are also some really good Black Fiction writers that I would recommend if nonfiction isn’t your genre. Tomi Adeyemi has written two books in her series, the first being Children of Blood and Bone which is based on African mythology. There is also The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and her second book (not a series but set in the same world), On The Come Up. And finally, If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson, which I read with the Life’s Library book club. It’s not her most recent or most famous piece, but it is really good. Her backlist is definitely on my TBR list.

Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy a fresh perspective on the world. Diversity brings creativity and beauty to the written word. It can help us grow in empathy and understanding, prodding us on to action.

February Favorites

This month is the shortest of the entire year, but I still had a few things I really enjoyed. Here are the favorites.

Book of the Month

This was a solid five star read for me. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas is her second book written in the same neighborhood as her first, but I wouldn’t call it a sequel. I wrote a review for it here.

Baby

Sam is starting to be so interactive and fun. It feels like he is learning new things every day. It’s been neat to play with puzzle toys like the Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks with him. And when he puts the right shape in the holes, we dance around and celebrate. We received this as a hand-me-down gift, but I found the exact one on Amazon.

Beauty and Fashion

I’ve been using the Moroccan Gold Series Treatment Mask once a week for the past month, and I love it. It smells so good and my hair is so soft after I use it. I got this from my winter FabFitFun box. Another win for me.

Like most subscription boxes, I can get you a bit of a discount and they will also give me a discount. The Spring box is going to be shipped next month and I already made my choices, so I’m anticipating some great products. You can still order the Spring box. Here’s the link for the discount.

Entertainment

Still chipping away at my TBW (To Be Watched) list. This was one that came out last November and we watched on Redbox.

Clara arrives at her Godfather’s house and follows the string to her gift, which is a path to a beautiful, magical place first discovered by her mother. But the world is in trouble because one of the realms is trying to take over the other realms. And Clara has to learn to trust and believe in herself to prevail.

The movie was stunning. The sets, the costumes, just gorgeous. There were also beautifully choreographed ballet sequences throughout the movie. It is a good way to introduce little ones to ballet. Plus, Misty Copeland (the famous ballerina) is in the movie and dances in the credits. So awesome.

It’s definitely a good watch and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend.

What are some favorites you have been enjoying this month?

All disclaimers have now moved to my About Me page.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas: A Review

On the Come Up

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Angie Thomas did it again. I absolutely loved this book. I was turning page after page with anticipation, fully engrossed in the plot.

The story takes place in the same neighborhood but after the events of her first book, The Hate U Give. In this one, the main character, Brianna Jackson or Bri, has dreams of becoming a rapper and getting her family out of poverty. Her mom is a recovering drug addict after her dad dies and struggles to make ends meet. She gets presented with an opportunity to see her dreams come to life, but there is definitely a cost. And she may have to compromise who she is to pay it.

I love the way Thomas writes her characters. I was rooting for and frustrated with Bri through most of the book. She seemed to always let others dictate her actions. No one is perfect in this story, either. Everyone has their flaws and deal with those flaws in different ways. And it shows racism in a different way as well, especially with the way hip-hop lyrics are seen by white American suburbs and the integration of students from poorer areas into nicer schools. There is so much complexity there that I think Thomas does a good job of working through in this story. There is a lot that happens to Bri that was out of her control, but how she reacts isn’t always perfect either and sometimes even exacerbates the problem.

There is a lot of profanity in the book, so be aware of that. There are a few kissing scenes, but nothing detailed or explicit. There was one robbery in the book that involved a gun and her father is killed before the story starts, but as far as explicit violence, there is some implied but nothing that happens “on screen”.

Just like her other book, this is another highly recommended one for me. I love her writing, and the raps included were really well done. Great read!

February TBR

This year, I’m trying to read four books a month. I completed this goal last month with It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst, Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness, Devian by Shanna Bosarge, and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I might do something with all my classic reviews at the end of the year, or maybe towards the middle of the year, we shall see. But the other reviews are linked above.

This month is Black History Month, and I thought it would be interesting to read only black authors this month. So, here is my line up.

For my nonfiction, I’m reading I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown. This has been on my TBR since last year, and a friend of mine read it and said it was a good read. Also, I follow her on Twitter, which is really where I find a lot of the authors I enjoy.

For my classic, I’m reading A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. This is my classic pick for the month. I think I read this in high school, but I don’t remember it. I wanted to switch up my classics and read a play, so this was a good match.

For YA Fiction, I’m reading On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. I read her first book, The Hate U Give last year and really enjoyed it. This book takes place in the same neighborhood but follows the story of another girl who faces homelessness while trying to make a name for herself as a rapper. It isn’t pictured above because it comes out tomorrow.

And finally, my Adult Fiction will be Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse. This was a random but fascinating book. I like Sherlock Holmes, and I came across his second book, Mycroft and Sherlock, at the library. When I realized it was the second book, I stopped reading it and placed the first book on hold. And yes, this is the basketball player. Apparently, he is a huge Sherlock fan. I’ve already started this one and it’s already fascinating.

I’m also reading A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit for the Life’s Library book club and Reviving Old Scratch by Richard Beck for another book study, but they are on different time frames. The four books above I will try to actually complete this month.

What are you reading this month?

Favorite Books of 2018

Reading has slowed down significantly as the holiday season arrived.  Plus, I’ve been spending a good portion of my time in November putting together furniture.  Still, I thought it would be fun to look back over the books that received five stars.  I definitely saw some trends that I thought I would share with you.  All of the links will send you to my reviews of each book.

Favorite New Author:  This year, I started following Victoria “V.E” Schwab on social media.  I had heard of her books, and that people really loved them.  So, I started with The Archived series, which I checked out of the library.  I absolutely loved both The Archived and The Unbound.  Which led me to pre-order her new middle-grade book, City of Ghosts, which I again, of course, loved.

Favorite YA Books: In addition to the above books, I also really loved a few newer authors, as well as a couple of authors I was already familiar with their writing.  Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi introduced me to a new African mythology, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was a poignant and beautiful contemporary novel about grief and racism.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Thunderhead (the second book in the Scythe series) by Neal Shusterman and Library of Souls (the third book in Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series) by Ransom Riggs.  I’ve read Unwind by Shusterman many years ago, which I liked.  I’ve also been reading Riggs’ series for a couple of years now and plan to read this next book (which I already own) Map of Days that continues the story of his Peculiar series.

Favorite Adult Books: All of the adult authors I enjoyed this year were new to me.  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was an impulse buy that I really enjoyed and probably prompted more impulse buying this year than I have in a long time.  How to Stop Time by Matt Haig made me tear up at the end.  It actually answers the question of how to stop time through this fictional, magical story.  And What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty was a surprise because it wasn’t the main story that made me love it so much, but the subplot of her sister and infertility that kept me turning the pages (and I think I cried at the end of this one, too).

Favorite Non-fiction/Memoir: Kathy Khang’s book Raise Your Voice is a perfect narrative of this moment in history.  It challenged the reader to face the excuses used to stay quiet when we need to speak up.  And on a completely different level, Anne Bogel’s book, I’d Rather Be Reading, was a perfect collection of essays for any reader to relate to.

All of these authors have inspired me in so many different ways and prompted me to see life from new perspectives.  I think they have all taken a part in shaping me this year, and I look forward to seeing what new favorites will come into my life next year!

What are some of your favorites? 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: A Review

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very popular book last year, which came out as a movie in October, so I thought it was appropriate to read it now.
The book is so good. It’s pretty fast-paced, and I felt totally immersed in this world throughout the entire story. The content of the book is pretty heavy, dealing with racism, grief, and injustice, but it’s really appropriate for today’s culture.
The story is about a girl named Starr who witnesses her friend get shot by a police officer. She and her friend are black and the officer was white. In her everyday life, Starr straddles two worlds – one in the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the other in a predominantly white private school where most of her friends and life are. When this shooting happens, her worlds start to come apart and she has to find out who she really is.
The character transformation is honest and beautiful. I don’t really want to go into any spoilers but she really is stretched through the whole story and by the end finds out what it means to be her authentic self. There are also some minor characters who go through transformations as well – facing their own prejudices and realities.
There is profanity in the book. In fact, Starr’s younger brother has a thing going with their dad that when he cusses, the brother gets a dollar. The brother gets a lot of money in this book.
There is also sexual content as well. While there are no real sex scenes, there is talk about it and heavy makeout scenes. I did find that the sexual content was approached well and handled responsibly.
There is also violence in this book. Of course, there is the shooting, but there are also riots, fighting, and other violence that happens throughout the book. I felt that it was also appropriate considering the story.
Overall, this is a great book, perfect for this generation. I felt like it was written well and gave a lot of really good perspective. Highly recommend!