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Book Reviews

Review: “On The Come Up” by Angie Thomas

There are many things that are just so right about “On The Come Up”.  It’s subject matter, likeable characters and well-told story are enough to give it high ratings.  I for one gave it just that: a HIGH FIVE for book dopeness.  But that’s not where the artistry ends.

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Review: Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden

I have long been a follower of author and professor, Bernice L. McFadden on social media. Personally I think she is overall an interesting and entertaining follow (Instagram: Bernice L. McFadden). However, I shamefully admit I have not read any of her works until I picked up this book, Sugar. After reading this novel, I will do every thing possible until my last breath to right this tragedy.

Sugar is the story of a woman of ill repute who moves into a conservative Southern town of high morals, at least on the surface. The sequence of interactions, events and relationships built along the way reveal the complexity of the newcomer and the problematic character flaws of the judgmental town dwellers.

McFadden’s Sugar is a delightful, paradigm convicting, insightful look into the intersection of behaviors, traditions and community. I applaud McFadden’s writing talent as Sugar is a masterclass in setting and story artistry. The way she described colors, movements and expressions violently draws the reader into emotional and vivid prose.


Joe stepped into his home just as the long hand on his watch skipped past the two, dawdled a while and then landed squarely on the short hand, which comfortably kissed the three.

Sample line from Sugar.

Reading Sugar is not a spectatorial activity. Be prepared to lose all sense of time as her words grab hold of the reader and plant them in a far away space you can’t and don’t want to leave. Once McFadden is done with you with all certainty, you will know Sugar. You will feel and taste her pain and smell her emotions. Sugar is an experience. I recommend this novel to any adult looking for a great story to read.

Pick up your copy today by visiting Mahogany Books, your local indie bookstore or wherever dope literature is sold.

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Review: Tay Goes To The Game by Phelicia Lang

Someone pleeaassee tell me they had such cool books when I was a child?? Books that had handsome little black boys and girls that looked like me and the little girls I knew. Story lines that are filled with fun times and cool activities. I am so thrilled to join with Multicultural Children’s Book Day (http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com) as a book reviewer for some absolutely fantastic and diverse books that are just like I described.

Tay Goes To The Game, a book graciously gifted to me to review by Phelicia Lang, is a wonderful book for budding young readers especially important to young black boys. This instructional reader is a delightful book filled with self esteem boosts and positive self-perceptions with identifiable figures. I love how the book weaves a fun story and wraps it around a strong family image complete with a central father figure.

There are a few elements that are important to know about this book. One important note is this book is purposefully designed for adults to read with children. The reading tips in the beginning of the book make it super easy to help your young reader flourish and have fun beginning their lifelong habit of reading. Another point is the book includes advancing words that will be a little difficult at first for some readers but will serve as an instructional victory for any young reader. I wholeheartedly recommend this Picture book to any young reader!

Pick up your copy today by visiting the publisher at Me On The Page Publishing.


Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

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Review: Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

If you are like me, your reading selections lead you to occasionally pick the same type of book in consecutive selections. Maybe you go on a crime drama binge or maybe you pick a few historical fiction tiles in a row. I have seen many complain about this issue. But have no fear! I have a perfect reading rut buster: Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.

Book Cover

Friday Black is a unique collection of short stories that aim to tackle societal issues such as racism, consumerism, social justice and more. In “The Finkelstein Five,” Adjei-Brenyah gives us an unforgettable reckoning of the brutal prejudice of our justice system. In “Zimmer Land,” we see a far-too-easy-to-believe imagining of racism as sport. And in two of my personal favorites, “Friday Black” and “How to Sell a Jacket as Told by Ice King”, the author shows the horrors of consumerism and the toll it takes on us all.

I found this book captivating from the opening line all the way through the closing. The author’s artful exaggeration of important themes and behaviors forced me as the reader to comtemplate their societal implication and effect. Personally I could relate to the consumerism focused stories mentioned previously and was immediately drawn to the retail savagery and emotional conflicts of the customers expertly described in the book. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars and recommend to any reader Young Adult or higher.

Pick up your copy today at your local library, indie bookstore, Mahogany Books, or wherever dope literature is sold.

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Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?

THE NARRATIVE OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

As we move from February to March, we move from the cold of the winter to the promise of a rejuvenating spring.  We move ever further away from the history of the past year and plant our feet firmly in to the optimistic future of the new calendar.  We also make a unique transition from an ultra focus on Black History to a finer appreciation of Women’s History.  Although accidental, our group’s choice of #BooksoftheMonth for February and March and my personal reading choice in between seem fitting and inspirational at the same time.

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Electric Arches

I Don’t Know Squat About Black Women…and Other Things Eve Ewing Brought To My Attention

So be honest, Black man.  I mean really and truly honest.  Do you think you know Black women? I mean do you think you know enough about their passions, their goals, how they feel about Black men?  How they feel when they are approached by Black men?  How they feel when they get THE perfect hair care product?  If you were interviewed, do you think you can give a fair assessment of the psyche of the Black woman?  Yeah?  So how much?  Like 10%?  20%?  95%?!?

If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, you sir are delusional! 

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I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons

Synopsis of “I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons”

According to the three people who have seen Kevin Hart and a book in the same room, the answer is clear:

A book is compact. Kevin Hart is compact.

A book has a spine that holds it together. Kevin Hart has a spine that holds him together.

A book has a beginning. Kevin Hart’s life uniquely qualifies him to write this book by also having a beginning.

In his literary debut, Kevin Hart takes the reader on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he’s overcome each challenge to become the man he is today.

And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion.

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