Review: The Skin I’m In

The Skin I'm In
The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The Skin I’m In” by Sharon G. Flake was amazing…the author really weaved a very good story together describing how, as a teen, you go through peer pressure from your so-called friends and, sometimes, just don’t end up doing the right thing. She also does a great job of depicting the thoughts of Maleeka who just doesn’t like the skin she’s in…until a teacher came along that changed all that, and made her realize that it’s okay to be who you are and like who you are.
Miss Saunders has a blotch of white patch on her face, but that doesn’t stop her from being the best she can be with what she’s got. The author even goes into Miss Saunders own insecurities about herself making readers feel, who will probably most likely be pre-teens, that teachers have feeling to and go through the same thing we go through.
I thought this book was awesome for the age group it was written for…it will definitely be a book that I recommend to pre-teen and teens I know. “The Skin I’m In” could also be a great read for anyone who’s having issues with accepting themselves for who they are.

I give it 5 stars.

P.S.  “The Skin I’m In” was provided on-loan from my local library.

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Review: Stealing Candy

Stealing Candy
Stealing Candy by Allison Hobbs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Stealing Candy” by Allison Hobbs was riveting, suspenseful, played with my mind and down-right dirty all at the same time. Being an avid reader, it’s very rare that I discover a book that can do that all for me, but I’ve really suceeded here. Ms. Hobbs paints a picture that’s leaves you so open and so vulnerable that you can’t help, but come back for me. She sheds light on a very important social topic – sex trafficking…detailing the story of an ex-con named Bullet who believes twenty-something prostitutes are too old to mess with for his pimp game so he prefers to go for what he calls “his candy.” He has stolen three underage girls and, by using manipulation, violence and head-games, has forced them into selling their “goodies” for cash to support his lifestyle, his bankroll. He eventually has them believing that they even can grow to love this life, and theirs is better off with him because nobody else cares. But, he forgot about one person…Saleema Sparks. She decides to search for one of the girls, and ends of gaining so much in the process…love, self-worth, self-examination, but she also gets murder.
“Stealing Candy” had me on the edge of my seat…even while I was grocery shopping because even though I always have my 3-year old daughter right there with me anyway, I found myself pulling her closer, making sure she was within my eyesight. My 10-year old niece was with me as well, and I kept saying to her “Stay near me…you need to stay close to me.”

I give it 5 stars.

P.S.  “Stealing Candy” was recommended and provided on-loan by my co-worker, Gwen Clark.

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Review: Miles Away… Worlds Apart

Miles Away... Worlds ApartMiles Away… Worlds Apart by Alan Sakowitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Miles Away…Worlds Apart” by Alan Sakowitz was very enlightening…detailing the crime committed by Scott Rothstein, Sakowitz sends us through a world mixed with crime, greed and mystery…even murder. All the makings of a really great read, and best of all, everything’s true. He describes in great detail the dealings of Scott Rothstein, how he brings his Ponzi scheme to life and the experiences of Mr. Rothstein’s downfall of himself and the people around him.

However, what places “Miles Away…Worlds Apart” in a class all by itself, is that Sakowitz also compares the life of Scott Rothstein to the hospitality, kindness and values of his family and friends, and people in his community. By doing this, he engages his readers to learn of a different world where greed is not the driving force and riches are not the goal, but where people are actually valued and their worth and respect is the same across the board.

While reading this book, I learned a lot…I learned how easy it is to get caught up in something that can tear your world apart. I learned that some people will sacrifice their family and friends, and even their business to get what they want. On the other hand, I also learned a lot about kindness and love, and what another person will do, even if they don’t know you, to help you get what you need and want.

I give it 5 stars.

P.S.  “Miles Away…Worlds Apart” was received courtesy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Other People’s Children

Other People's ChildrenOther People’s Children by Joanna Trollope
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Other People’s Children” by Joanna Trollope was a really good read, and probably one of the most honest books I’ve read in a while. During this novel, Ms. Trollope tackles and wrestles with an issue that seems to permeate throughout society, no matter where you are residing. She takes the issues of separation, divorce, stepparents and the children that are left behind to pick up the pieces, and molds them into a workable art from which her readers(s) can learn from.

Ms. Trollope starts out with Josie, a woman who is getting married to another man who is not her son’s father. She left him, and, instead of coping with a man she didn’t really love for the sake of her son, she decides to deal with three children that were derived from a man she really loves. Another part to that story is the mother of these three children, Nadine. Eventually unable to care for her children, she has no choice but to let them go live with their father and stepmother, who they’ve fought tooth and nail every step of the way. At the same time, the father of the boy whose mother married another man finds the love of his life, but, because “his” daughter has an attachment to him that she just can’t break loose, and he will not deal with, he ends up losing her. And, he’s still dealing with his daughter and her attachment issues in the end.

The well-known myth of having a stepmother is also brought to light in this novel. The stepmother, especially in fairytales, is made out to be the villain, the ugly witch, and the lesser parent. She’s more often than not portrayed to be the evil one who is always trying to conquer the innocent; for example: Cinderella or Snow White. However, Josie and Elizabeth seem to break these myths by trying their best to make sure everyone gets along, and everyone carries their part.

“Other People’s Children” was a real delight to read…it held my attention all throughout.

I give it 4 stars.

P.S.  “Other People’s Children” was provided on-loan from my mom, Loretta Rhodes.

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Review: A Bright New Morning: An American Story

A Bright New Morning: An American StoryA Bright New Morning: An American Story by Phil Mitchell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“A Bright New Morning: An American Story” by Phil Mitchell was okay…bringing a patriotic message, Mitchell discusses, throughout the book, his home state of Chicago, his beginnings, and the people that he has met while working as a trolley driver. While his message was important, to be honest, I did have some difficulties while trying to complete this book. Aside from the grammatical errors, Mitchell never fully completes any thought he brings up…many parts are scattered around, and even though some points that are presented hold validity, they are not completely explained.

Mitchell also relays to the reader that he is a musician, and he has written songs that relate to the message that he is desperately trying to spread, that it’s time for America to come back together, and we all need to work in unity to achieve this goal. His music does support his effort…I previewed the songs that were on his album, “America, ” and they were pretty good.

Overall, Mitchell has a strong message, a message that needs to be heard. And, should he decide to re-publish his book, I would strongly suggest an in-depth revision to tie up any loose ends that are still hanging. If he decides to go that route, I believe the revised copy along with his album will get him steps closer to the goal in which he is trying to acheive.

I give it 3 stars(the book was okay, but his music bumped the stars up a notch.)

P.S.  “A Bright New Morning: An American Story” was provided courtesy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuffor colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” by Ntozake Shange is a powerful choreopoem that explores many different arenas: rape, sexually-transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy, abortion, murder, etc… It is written in a way that conveys to the reader the physical and emotional stance of the women in the play. While delving into many social topics that seem to plague all women(not just colored girls) today, Shange creates an atmosphere in which these women are made comfortable to address these issues when they would, otherwise, not want to draw the attention. Such as the poem that addresses unplanned pregnancy and abortion – “i cdnt have people lookin at me pregnant i cdnt have my friends see this dyin danglin tween my legs…nobody came cuz nobody knew once i was pregnant & shamed of myself.”

Personally, this choreopoem spoke volumes to the corners of my mind and my heart, that is, the poem and Tyler Perry’s movie, “For Colored Girls” off of which this poem is based. Unlike “Precious” based on Sapphire’s “Push,” I did not read the book first. As a matter of fact, I’m happy that I had an opportunity to view the movie before reading. I believe it really helped a lot in that this is my first time reading a choreopoem. The characters in the movie really brought the stories and issues to life, and, as previously mentioned, these are topics that touch all women, not just colored girls.

I give it 5 stars.

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P.S.  “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” was provided on-loan from my local library.

Review: Push

PushPush by Sapphire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Push” by Sapphire was very disturbing, but awesome and intriguing all at the same time. It was a real testament of faith of the human spirit and proves that we can succeed over any situation if we are determined. The main character, Precious Jones, is in a difficult situation. She is living under abusive and incestous conditions, and, already slacking in school, she finds herself pregnant for the 2nd time.

Not wanting to expose the other students to pregnancy, a school official suggests an alternative school for Precious. It is here, along with her teacher, that she begins to find herself and discover who she really is…without the daily beatings and without the frequent sex. Moreover, Precious realizes that family does not always consists of those that have your blood, but those that have your best interests at heart.

Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry collaborated and produced “Precious,” a movie rendition of “Push,” and it was okay. However, having first read Sapphire’s words and the story that she told, my imagination mixing together with her words was much, much better.

I give it 5 stars.

P.S.  “Push” was obtained from my personal library.

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