Book Review: The Legs Are the Last to Go by Diahann Carroll

Ms. Carroll didn’t always paint herself in the best light, but she was pretty honest, and that is what I appreciate about this memoir. I listened to the audio version of this book, as I often prefer to do with memoirs, and I am so glad that I did. She was a wonderful performer and listening to her felt more like listening to a story rather than just hearing her read. I’m aware that she had published her autobiography years prior to her publishing this memoir, but I felt that she gave quite a few details about her younger life to help catch the reader up to speed on where she was with her experiences later on in life.

Read More »

Book Review: Just As I Am by Cicely Tyson

I absolutely adored this memoir. I picked it up because I was a fan of Ms. Tyson’s and was saddened when she passed in January 2021. Pretty much every movie and television role I have seen her in during my lifetime has involved her providing some sort of wisdom or maturity. In my mind, she’s always been Mother Tyson because she’s always someone’s mother who keeps everyone’s feet on the ground. In her nine decades of life, I figured she’d have some pretty good stories and life lessons to share.


I was pleased to learn how relatable Ms. Tyson was. The stories she told about her immediate family during her childhood and adolescence, her perspective on marriage and single motherhood, her view on racism and society as a black woman starting from the 1920s and beyond were all gems.

Read More »

Book Review: Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

This is the third book by Tiffany D. Jackson that I have read/listened to in the past two months. The topics and headlines she bases her novels on are tough, heart-wrenching, emotionally draining, and outright terrifying because they are real life. 


Grown involves sexual abuse, physical abuse, profanity, and some other uncomfortable topics. This story sparked a lot of emotions for me, so I may go off on a tangent here and there. Forgive me in advance.

Read More »

Book Review: A Time to Kill by John Grisham

A Time to Kill by John Grisham

Finally, I took the time to finish this today while I practiced my crochet skills. Great storytelling. I enjoyed the narrator for the most part, except when he did female voices. I was definitely caught up in the storytelling. I watched the movie as a child and later as an adult. I don’t think I’ve watched it since I became a parent, but listening to the book and listening from a parent’s perspective made me appreciate the actions of the man on trial.

Read More »

My Thoughts on The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Part 1

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Seen and unseen connections. Who sees you when you’re not looking? I like to believe that I have my own angels, one of them being my mother, who have my back and keep me away from devastation. I have made it to page 55 so far and the main character, Eddie, has died and meet the first person out of the five people mentioned in the title in Heaven. It seems to me that the author, Mitch Albom, is trying to illustrate how connected we all really are without realizing it. He shows us how our actions may affect someone else, maybe even a stranger, and how we may never know it until it is our turn to transition to the other side.  

Read More »

Currently Reading: The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

I think most people can agree that 2020 has been interesting, to say the least. In my case, I had my fair share of highs and actually prospered where many people struggled in the midst of all the mess, but I have also suffered great loss.

Just before the pandemic I lost my mother to heart failure. A few months after she passed away I lost an uncle, her baby brother, suddenly. As of this writing, just a little over a month ago I lost another Uncle, the last of my mother’s living siblings on her maternal side and one whom I cared about dearly, to cancer.

Through all of that, if you’ve skimmed one of my more recent posts on the blog or Instagram, you’ll know that I spent some time as an over the road expediter. During those long drives cross-country I was able to catch up on some reading via audiobooks. One author in particular I had started reading was Mitch Albom. I had heard of him quite some time ago and had started reading his most well-known book, Tuesdays With Morrie, but never finished it until I listened to it while I was on the road. That led me to listening to another book of his called The First Phone Call From Heaven.

As I sit here now contemplative and curious of all things spiritual, I have another book of his called The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I’m not new to spirituality. My mother would’ve told anyone that I was gifted, chosen, or blessed with some gift. I’ve taken the route of candles and tarot cards but I’m very familiar with the Baptist church and non-denominational Christianity. I try to let god tell me who it really is rather than people. Still, I certainly believe there is an afterlife and now I have several angels I can call by name.

The books by Albom that I have read so far all deal with living, dying, grief, and love in some way. I started Tuesdays with Morrie long before my mother passed send only recently finished it. There were many lessons in that book about love and loving while you have the opportunity. I’m interested to see how many more ways Albom can express that sentiment. I haven’t written a book review in quite some time, but I’m looking forward to writing this one. I’m feeling like writing something, anything, is what needs to happen for me right now.

Affiliate disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link. Should you click on the link or make a purchase through the link I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. It just helps me to pay the bills and offer free content to you.

Book Review: Hunger by Roxane Gay

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself

I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

My thoughts:

I had been wanting to read this book for a couple of years. The title and subject matter had me intrigued as a plus-size woman myself. I wasn’t familiar with Roxane Gay before I listened to this book, but I am going to be reading/listening to some of her other books in the future. As for Hunger, I have mixed emotions about this book.

My mixed emotions are not because I think this is a poorly written story. I keep calling it a story even though it is not, it is a memoir. It is the author’s truth and personal experience with life. Lately, I have really been into listening to audio versions of memoirs read by the authors themselves because I just love biographies and learning about people and individual psychology. Listening to Gay speak was fine. I thought she did a great job of telling her story. However, it is the story itself that I have conflict with.

Gay’s story is not necessarily a pleasant one. In fact, it isn’t for the faint of heart at all, especially if you have dealt with traumas similar to hers. It is difficult to listen to her describe the wrongs done to her body by other people, which led to the mistreatment of her body at her own hands, which led to her overall perspective about how society sees her and how she sees herself because of her body.

Going into it, I thought the book would merely be a reflection over being plus-size, however, Gay’s story is more sophisticated than that, as most of our stories are. I guess I regretfully thought the presentation would be more shallow. Then again, I wasn’t aware of who Roxane Gay is before this book.

I appreciate her story and her storytelling. It wasn’t like a cohesive chronology of her life, but pieces. As I was listening, I felt like she was reading a series of journal entries or personal essays, which I didn’t mind at all. I thought that she expressed herself clearly for the most part. However, there were times where she would introduce ideas or past experiences or personalities and then say that it was too difficult to speak about or that she just didn’t want to speak about them and I found that a bit annoying. She doesn’t have to speak about anything that she doesn’t want to. However, whenever she did that, I felt like I was being left hanging waiting for and wanting more details and would have to force myself to forget that she brought up certain things.

Some of her thoughts about society and human behavior I disagree with, but it was interesting to hear. Some of the thoughts and experiences as a large person I could directly relate to. I’m not super morbidly obese, but I have always carried extra weight and know what it is like to have to explain to some people that I can’t always move the same way that they do or fit in the same places.

Roxane’s story is not an easy one to consume. I can’t say that I enjoyed it—it is never enjoyable for me to listen to/read a description of a sexual assault– but it is one that I can appreciate. As difficult as it was for me to listen to in some parts, I imagine must have been even harder for her to write and relive. Overall, I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

If you are interested in checking it out for yourself, I’d recommend getting it from the library. If you’d like to own a copy for yourself, you can purchase from Amazon*, Books-a-Million, & Barnes and Noble.

If you enjoy this website and want to support, you can either buy me coffeebuy my book, or shop in my eBay store.

*This is an affiliate link. I may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase using my link. This doesn’t cost you anything and it helps me to stay online and produce more content for you.

Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I listened to the audiobook version of this book. I only listened to about half of it and never finished and there are a few reasons for that. First, the voice actor was terrible. Her voices for different characters were unbelievable and the pace at which she read the book was a bit slow. When I increased the speed on the app it sounded like the narrator was actually reading at a normal pace.

Second, the book is a little too long, in my opinion. Without increasing the speed of the audio, the book was nineteen hours long. This leads me to my critique of the actual story. I didn’t care for it. I watched the movie version when it was first in theaters and felt extremely disappointed when it ended because I felt it did not live up to the hype. I figured, maybe the book will be better. That’s usually the case with most books made into movies. After listening to the audiobook, I don’t feel like it that’s true for Fifty Shades of Grey.

There was nothing likable about Christian Grey to me. There was nothing likable about Ana. I really wanted to like them. I really wanted to be interested in the build-up between them and watch their relationship evolve. However, they bored me to tears. Even at times where Christian showed what were supposed to be redeeming qualities, he still came across like a controlling a**hole to me. I didn’t feel the chemistry, I wasn’t impressed by the sex scenes (perhaps I’ve read too many erotica books to really appreciate this) and I just kept waiting for something to happen when nothing ever did. It’s the same way I felt while watching the movie.

I borrowed this audiobook from the library and I didn’t get a chance to finish listening before my rental expired. However, I didn’t want to. I may muster up enough patience to borrow it again to finish it, but I doubt that will be anytime soon.

If you are interested in checking it out for yourself, I’d recommend getting it from the library. If you’d like to own a copy for yourself, you can purchase from Amazon*, Books-a-Million, & Barnes and Noble.

If you enjoy this website and want to support, you can either buy me coffeebuy my book, or shop in my eBay store.

*This is an affiliate link. I may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase using my link. This doesn’t cost you anything and it helps me to stay online and produce more content for you.

Book Review: Kiss Me Before You Say Goodnight by Keith Kareem Williams

IMG_20181209_135830951

Available for purchase on Amazon and directly from the author on social media.

Synopsis:

On a humid, hot summer afternoon in New York City, Omari walks onto a bar and spots a gorgeous, mysterious woman on the brink of tears as she watches her home country getting completely crushed in the World Cup of Soccer on the big screen television. Omari can’t take his eyes off of the beautiful woman so he buys her a drink, sits down at her table and after some pleasant conversation, finds out that her name is Andressa. What starts off innocently as a few drinks shared between strangers quickly leads to a scorching-hot, erotic night of passionate sex. However, what should have been the beginning of a steamy romance goes awry in a way that Omari never saw coming as he gets caught up in the deadly entanglements that Andressa was still trapped in. Her dark, dirty little secrets put both of their lives at risk.

My thoughts:

I haven’t had much success with reading books this year. Kiss Me Before You Say Goodnight is the only book that I have finished, though I’m hoping to add at least one more before the year ends. As a matter of fact, I may make time to skim through this one again very soon. Why? Because in the day that it took me to read this book, I forgot about all of my troubles and focused solely on the amazing chemistry between the two main characters, Andressa and Omari, and the drama that unfolded as a result of their relationship.

Williams jumped right into the steamy action in the first chapter and kept me hooked for the remainder of the book. The plot isn’t overly complicated and neither are the characters, which I appreciated. Andressa was as dangerous as she was beautiful and Omari was whipped. In some parts I found myself going crazy over some of Omari’s decisions regarding Andressa, but then I remembered that I, too, have been foolishly in love (in lust) and made some questionable choices as a result, so I couldn’t judge him too harshly.

I appreciated how quickly the story moved, but I didn’t want it to end. Spoiler: The ending leaves the opportunity for another book, so maybe there will be one in the future! While I won’t say that this is my absolute favorite book from Keith Kareem Williams, (Glass Goddesses, Concrete Walls still holds that title) this one ranks high on the list for me.

Check out Keith Kareem Williams’ social media below:

http://reemafterdark.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/keithkareemwilliams

Book Spotlight: The Darkest Loop by James Fant

So, I have been doing as much reading as I can during the month of August and now the reviews will be published in September. Here’s the first one of the month. The Darkest Loop by James Fant. Check it out, support the author, and, as always, thank you for your continuous support of my blog and literary efforts.

If you’ve kept up with either of my blogs, then you’ll already be familiar with James Fant. I wrote a review of his book CoEd several months ago, which you can read here. In turn, he reviewed my novella Reflection in the Music. He recently approached me again about his newest publication, which is appropriately set to be released today, called The Darkest Loop. Here’s the synopsis:

Dallas Anderson is stuck in a time loop that repeats Labor Day 2001 to September 11, 2001. He thinks he must prevent the terrorist attacks to break the loop. But each loop challenges that theory, igniting a fiery romance between him and his best friend’s sister and exposing the dark truth behind Déjà vu.

I can’t think of anything that I disliked about this novel. Although the theme of deja vu is nothing new—I wrote a short story playing around with the idea about a year ago—and plenty of movies and books exist that tackle the subject, I really appreciate the direction that Mr. Fant went with this one.

Click here to continue reading >>> https://letarawritesbookreviews.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/book-spotlight-the-darkest-loop-by-james-fant/

Source: Book Spotlight: The Darkest Loop by James Fant