Weekly Check-In (#9)

Banner

Hey everyone! We are approaching the last full week of June. Not much has been going on my way. My son started his summer football training and I have been struggling to get back on a semi-normal schedule lol. I did get a little reading done this week. I read:

This is My America by Kim Johnson

Money Devils by Ashley & JaQuavis

The Passport by Nako

#birthdaygoals by AshleyNicole

The Delay by Danielle Allen

Unfinished by Daynice Cochran-Rives

Looking ahead, I am participating in a group read of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. This starts tomorrow, June 22nd. I have heard nothing but great things about this book and can’t wait to start! I also hope to read “ A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” for an upcoming book discussion but that depends on how long it takes me to read ‘The Vanishing Half”.  I am so far behind on reviews, so I plan to catch up at some point this week.

On June 26th and 27th, I’ll be virtually attending the Indie Love 2020 Author Takeover & Virtual party. I’m super excited about it. I plan on buying some books by the authors that will be in attendance soon before my no spend July begins. : ( lol.

So, how was your week? 

Celebrating Juneteenth

Today is June 19th which means…Happy Juneteenth!

105455655_140484357641270_7416095859741611828_n

What is Juneteenth?

The sad reality is that the history of Juneteenth has not been taught in schools. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, two years after Abraham Lincoln ended slavery, enslaved people found out that they were free. Today Juneteenth is a celebration!!! It is also known as Jubilee Day, Liberation Day or Freedom Day.

I’ve gathered a few resources and activities to celebrate Juneteenth. Some are directly related to the holiday while others celebrate the black culture and all that it entails.

What to Watch

  • When They See Us- Netflix ( Ava DuVernay)
  • 13th- Netflix ( Directed by Ava DuVernay)
  • Watchmen (HBO- currently free to stream this weekend)
  • The Hate You Give ( based on the book by Angie Thomas. Currently streaming for free on all digital platforms )
  • Just Mercy ( Based on the book by Bryan Stevenson. Currently streaming for free.)
  • Homecoming:A Film by Beyoncé -Netflix ( Sheds light on the importance of HBCUs)
  • Black-Ish
  • Selma
  • Sherman’s Showcase- Hulu

Books to Read

There are so many books out there, so I am sharing a list that I came across.

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/the-read-down/juneteenth

 

 

My Juneteenth Playlist

Anything by Nina Simone

Freedom- Beyonce/ Kendrick Lamar

Formation- Beyonce

Already- Beyonce

Lift Every Voice and Sing

Alright- Kendrick Lamar

DNA- Kendrick Lamar

This is America- Childish Gambino

Lovely Day- Bill Withers

A Change is Gonna Come- Sam Cooke

Black & Proud- James Brown

Wake Up Everybody- Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

Brown Skin -India Arie

Golden- Jill Scott

Brotha- Angie Stone

What’s Going on- Marvin Gaye

Precious Lord-Mahalia Jackson

Celebrate- Earth, Wind, & Fire

Family Affair- Sly & the Family Stone

Rise Up- Andra Day

Virtual Events to Attend:

Juneteenth Book Fest. : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu–Ur5D1oWHD3JOM9rODxw

Official Website

https://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm

Mini Review +Five Thoughts I Had While Reading (#4)

Novellas are typically short stories. Doing a quick Google search I found out that they are usually 60- 120 pages. It’s hard to review a novella without giving too much away so I decided to do mini book reviews for the novellas that I read along with a few thoughts I had while reading .

53497351._SY475_

Synopsis:

“Arianne’s birthday goals aren’t the kind you wish for when blowing out your birthday candles. They’re the kind you put in work for. Except that one about getting Kammal in her bed…”

My Review:

4/5 stars 

“#birthdaygoals” is the first book that I have read by AshleyNicole. This book was good and straight to the point.  I laughed so much while reading it. Definitely loved the bond between these sisters/ friends. I would have loved just a little more connection between Arianne and Kammal. I think I might just have to start the #birthdaygoals tradition myself. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Five Thoughts I Had While Reading #birthdaygoals:

  1. Ohhh, this is a fun idea. I might have to steal it.
  2. I know she is not praying for that! lol
  3. Second-hand embarrassment alert!
  4. No, she did not!
  5. Carole Baskin!

Self-Care Sunday

Self-Care Sunday

It is Sunday and as a lot of you know I love to practice self-care in a variety of different ways. It is so important to take time out for yourself whether it is daily, weekly , or monthly. You cannot pour into other people when you yourself are running empty.  You deserve to be your best self mentally, physically and emotionally.  I have compiled a random list of ten ways I like to practice self-care.

  1. Reading-Ok, y’all had to know that this would be on the list, lol. Reading provides an escape while also providing  entertainment. Oftentimes, I find myself transported into the pages of the books that I’m reading. I love to read a variety of different genres. I mean it is just a stress free activity… until a character does something totally crazy and unexpected,lol.
  2. Journaling- I find journaling so therapeutic. Some journaling exercises that I like to do include writing letters to myself as well as writing letters to others (that I don’t mail out of course lol). Writing out my thoughts, fears, feelings, etc has really helped me out. I have so many notebooks and journal supplies. I also have a variety of guided journals that I use. Don’t get me started on my pen collection! Journaling prompts are also helpful when I can’t think of something to write about.
  3. Spending time in nature- To know me is to know that I have an irrational fear of frogs and I don’t like bugs/ insects of any kind ( ladybugs and Roly-polies not included), not to mention my allergies… now that I think about it, a lot of wildlife scares me lol, but moving on. Even though I have these fears, I try to spend a little time outside as often as possible. There are so many benefits to getting fresh air and sunlight. I love the idea of hiking and camping and really getting out there. I might have to try it out one of these days lol.
  4. Listening to music- we all know that old saying, “ Dance like nobody’s watching”. I live by it because believe me no one is watching lol. I have absolutely no rhythm, but you can’t tell me that I am not America’s Best Dancer. I love listening to a variety of music. I love discovering new music/ artists.  If you are an author reading this, I love when authors include playlists in their books. I have discovered so many new artists that way.
  5. Saying no- this one is pretty straightforward. It is 100% ok to say no to something you are uncomfortable about or simply do not want to do. No is a full sentence.
  6. Meditation- meditation can be done in a variety of ways. Sometimes I do guided meditation with the help of YouTube videos. Other times, I simply sit in silence while clearing my thoughts, breathing, and affirming. The time I spend meditating varies but I try to meditate very often. Ten minutes each day is the minimum that I go for. Meditation has really helped to soothe my anxiety.
  7. Unplug- when I am feeling particularly sluggish or overwhelmed, I know it is time to back away from technology. Turning off the news, limiting/ logging off of social media, etc are all ways that I unplug.
  8. Spend a day doing nothing- Every now and then, I just like to spend the day doing absolutely nothing. I might catch up on some shows I’ve DVR’d. Maybe binge watch a show on Netflix. I don’t do this often, but it feels great when I do and I find that I am so refreshed and productive afterwards.
  9. Treat yo self!- Sometimes I just like to treat myself. It does not even have to be some big elaborate purchase either. New books, a trip to the spa, mani/ pedi, trip to the salon, etc.
  10.  Talking with friends- It is so important to have people in your life that you connect with. People who you can vent to, talk to, support, etc. I don’t have many friends but the few I do have are super important to me. I love my little tribe.

So, there you have it. Ten ways that I like to practice self-care. This is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other ways I practice self-care. Maybe I will do another list in the future. *Wink* What are some ways that you like to practice self-care?

Mini Review+ Five Thoughts I Had While Reading (#3)

Novellas are typically short stories. Doing a quick Google search I found out that they are usually 60- 120 pages. It’s hard to review a novella without giving too much away so I decided to do mini book reviews for the novellas that I read along with a few thoughts I had while reading .

103413961_3287317548160855_2476021158159179517_n

Synopsis

“Catching last minute flights is a part of the job when you’re hired to photograph events all over the country. Usually everything goes according to plan.
But when I was hired to document the Juneteenth celebration in Galveston, Texas, I had no idea my plans were going to be derailed.
The woman who scuffed my sneakers and didn’t apologize ended up having the seat next to me. Yeah, she was beautiful, but I was not feeling her at all.
And then our flight was delayed.”

My Review

4.5/ 5 stars 

“The Delay: A Juneteenth Hot Holiday Hookup” is the latest installment in the Hot Holiday Hookup novella series by Danielle Allen. All installments are standalones. This installment tells Trenton Davis’s story. Trenton is headed to Galveston, Texas after being hired to photograph and document a  Juneteenth celebration. After a chance encounter with India Davis at an airport terminal, things take a very steamy turn when their flight is delayed.

I really enjoyed this book. I have not read any of the other installments of the Hot Holiday Series so I definitely love that they can be read separately.  This was a very easy read. I finished it in one sitting. Trenton and India were both fun characters. The story progressed at a steady pace. I loved the information about Juneteenth that was told throughout. There were definitely some laugh out loud moments as well. Overall, this was a steamy, fun read with the perfect pinch of drama. I look forward to reading  more from Danielle Allen in the future.

Five Thoughts I Had While Reading ” The Delay: A Juneteenth Hot Holiday Hookup” by Danielle Allen.

 

  1. Cue the flashback music!
  2. Oh, this is really happening?! Where’s my fan?
  3. Well aren’t we nosy?
  4. Honey? On fries?!…I’ll pass.
  5. How dare Danielle Allen disgrace Scar like this, lol.

“The Delay: A Juneteenth Hot Holiday Hookup” by Danielle Allen  releases on 6/14/ 2020

Review: The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2) by Maureen Johnson

39893545

Synopsis:

 All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.

For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life. 

My Review

4/5 stars

“Where do you look for someone who’s never really there? Always on a staircase but never on a stair.”

“The Vanishing Stair” picks up shortly after the events of Truly Devious. I love the characters in this book and all of their quirkiness. Stevie is the perfect detective although she is not without flaws. I really enjoyed seeing the character development and growth from not only her, but with other characters in the book as well. The new characters were a perfect addition to the plot. The Ellingham Academy setting has a way of just fully immersing me into the story. Maureen Johnson can definitely set the scene.

There were so many little twists and turns throughout this book. As with Truly Devious, I really liked how the timeline alternated between past and present. Present day finds Stevie still reeling from the events of book one while trying to continue her quest to find out who was behind the Truly Devious Case. The past adds so many hints and layers to the story. There were a few things that stopped this from being a five-star read for me. The beginning was a little slow. It took a little while for the story to really get going. However, when it picked up, it really picked up! And the ending…that ending…that cliffhanger of an ending! I kept flipping and re-flipping pages like I was missing something, lol. I need answers! Did this book fall into the dreaded middle book curse? Maybe just a pinch. No more than a pinch! Thankfully, I already have part three, The Hand on the Wall, and can dig right in. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was full of suspense, quirkiness, and mystery.

TW: graphic murder, suicide/talk of suicide, tight spaces/ claustrophobia
Rep: LGBTQ+, anxiety/ mental health

Review: Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves

38255372

 

Synopsis 

“An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.


Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging can stick with readers the rest of their lives–but it doesn’t come around as frequently for all of us. In this timely anthology, “well-read black girl” Glory Edim brings together original essays by some of our best black female writers and creative voices to shine a light on how we search for ourselves in literature, and how important it is that everyone–no matter their gender, race, religion, or abilities–can find themselves there. Whether it’s learning about the complexities of femalehood from Their Eyes Were Watching God, seeing a new type of love in The Color Purple, or using mythology to craft an alternative black future, each essay reminds us why we turn to books in times of both struggle and relaxation. As she has done with her incredible book-club-turned-online-community Well-Read Black Girl, in this book, Edim has created a space where black women’s writing and knowledge and life experiences are lifted up, to be shared with all readers who value the power of a story to help us understand the world, and ourselves.

Contributors include: Jesmyn Ward (Sing Unburied Sing), Lynn Nottage (Sweat), Jacqueline Woodson (Another Brooklyn), Gabourey Sidibe (This Is Just My Face), Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing), Zinzi Clemmons (What We Lose), N. K. Jemisin (The Fifth Season), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage), Nicole Dennis-Benn (Here Comes the Sun), Rebecca Walker (Black, White and Jewish), and more.”

 

My Review:

Rating: 4/5 stars

     “Well- Read Black Girl” is an anthology of essays by various authors such as Tayari Jones (An American Marriage ), Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming ), Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing ) and many others. This book was an amazing experience of Black Girl Magic.

As a self proclaimed ” Well- read Black Girl” myself, I could relate to many of the stories that were told throughout. This book really made me reflect back on some of my own reading habits as well as think back to the how, why,  and wheres of when I fell in love with reading. Diverse books are super important. I really appreciated how they compiled a list of all the books that were discussed and put it in the back for easy reference. My to-read  list has grown tremendously with the recommendations found in this book. Overall, this book was simply inspiring.

Goodreads Monday (#6)

It’s Monday so you know what that means! Time for another Goodreads Monday! This segment is brought to us by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do is pick a random book off  of  your Goodreads to-read list and highlight it! For this Goodreads Monday, I chose “Akata Witch” by Nnedi Okorafor.

32968540

Synopsis

“Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?”

That cover is so stunning! Has anybody read this one yet? Is it on your TBR? 

Weekly Check-In (#8)

Banner (1)

The first week of June 2020 is officially a wrap. I have been so busy with homework and getting things ready for my son’s football training that I have barely had time to read. I did manage to finish up two books this week. They were “Last Chance to Love” by B. Love and “Well Read Black Girl” which is an Anthology.

Both were good reads. My review for Well Read Black Girl will be up later this week and you can check out my mini review for “Last Chance to Love”  here. I also started The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson and it is so good! I’m super excited about being back at Elingham Academy. I should be finished with it later today or tomorrow at the latest.

Looking ahead at the week, I’m still debating about what my next read will be. I have some ARCs I need to catch up on. I added some new books to my collection…I’m just all over the place right now lol.

My week was pretty good. How about yours? How are you doing? Let me know in the comments! I look forward to hearing from you! Have a fantastic week!

Mini Book Review + 5 Thoughts I Had While Reading

Novellas are typically short stories. Doing a quick Google search I found out that they are usually 60- 120 pages. It’s hard to review a novella without giving too much away so I decided to do mini book reviews for the novellas that I read along with a few thoughts I had while reading .

53750418._SY475_

My Mini Review: 

   “Last Chance to Love” by B. Love was such a cute second chance romance. I could totally relate to it in various ways. Although it is a novella, it read like a full-length novel. The plot was refreshing. The characters were well developed. There was one moment where I just had to put the book down like “ I know this is not about to happen!” lol. I cannot wait to read more from this author in the near future.

Five Thoughts I Had While Reading “Last Chance to Love” by B.Love:

  1.  I love a book with disclaimers.
  2. Fluffy Cakes!
  3. This book is giving me all the Hallmark feels.
  4. I just know that this is not about to happen!
  5. Anybody that binges How To Get Away wtih Murder is ok with me.