Thursday, December 31, 2020

Most Anticipated New Releases, January 2021

January 5
One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite
A shockingly powerful exploration of the lasting impact of prejudice and the indomitable spirit of sisterhood that will have readers questioning what it truly means to be an ally, from sister-writer duo Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite, authors of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour
For fans of Sorry to Bother You and The Wolf of Wall Street—a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems.

January 12
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
International phenomenon Angie Thomas revisits Garden Heights seventeen years before the events of The Hate U Give in this searing and poignant exploration of Black boyhood and manhood.

The Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson
Called "wholly engrossing" by New York Times bestselling author Kathleen Grissom, this harrowing story follows an enslaved woman forced to barter love and freedom while living in the most infamous slave jail in Virginia.

You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar
Writer and performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers Amber Ruffin writes with her sister Lacey Lamar with humor and heart to share absurd anecdotes about everyday experiences of racism.

January 19
The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard
Upstairs, Downstairs meets Parasite: The acclaimed author of The Talented Ribkins deconstructs painful African American stereotypes and offers a fresh and searing critique on race, class, privilege, ambition, exploitation, and the seeds of rage in America in this intricately woven and masterfully executed historical novel, set in early twentieth century that centers around the black servants of a down-on-its heels upper-class white family.

January 26
In this reissue of Lola Shoneyin’s award-winning debut novel with a brand-new introduction, a riveting tale unfolds when a prosperous Nigerian family is thrown into turmoil after the patriarch marries a young, well-educated fourth wife who threatens to expose his other wives’ hidden secret.

Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells by Michelle Duster
Journalist. Suffragist. Antilynching crusader. In 1862, Ida B. Wells was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi. In 2020, she won a Pulitzer Prize.

Just As I Am: A Memoir by Cicely Tyson
At last, the Academy, Tony, and three-time Emmy Award-winning actor and trailblazer, Cicely Tyson, tells her stunning story, looking back at her six-decade career and life.

A Glimmer of Death by Valerie Wilson Wesley
Award-winning author Valerie Wilson Wesley launches a thrilling new mystery series set in New Jersey, featuring a multicultural cast, and starring a caterer-turned-realtor with the gift of second sight…

Sunday, December 27, 2020

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole

Is there anything Alyssa Cole can’t write? She already hit it out of the ballpark with this year’s New York Times bestselling “When No One is Looking,” and she continues her winning streak with “How to Catch a Queen.” Who drops two books in two completely different genres in the same year and excels at both? Is Alyssa Cole the Jay Z of authors, out here with an encore? 

Now can I get an encore, do you want more 
Cooking raw with the Brooklyn boy 
So for one last time I need y'all to roar 

 Any who, what makes Cole’s latest worthy of four crowns? As she always does, this author doesn’t give us mousy women who don’t know themselves or their self worth. Shanti has wanted to be a queen from a young age and has done the work mentally, academically and physically to prepare herself. So while she wants to be the True Queen of Njaza, she’s not about to settle for anything less than being honored and respected by her future husband for all of her qualities. She’s a woman who’s bringing a lot to the table and knows it. And we love to see it. 

 Sanyu is a reluctant king. Kinda like Simba, he’s not ready to be king, but with his father’s passing (no Scar), he has no choice other than to assume his place on the throne. And because tradition says he needs to be married before being crowned, a bride (Shanti) is found for him. Apparently works better than regular dating sites, because the stories I could tell! But I digress. 

What really works well in this HEA is the characters relying on each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Shanti builds Sanyu up when he falters and he recognizes areas where he’s fallen short in their relationship and rectifies it. Their partnership is so swoonworthy. 😍😍 I don’t want to say Alyssa Cole can do no wrong, but if I did, who would argue with me? 

Thanks to @williammorrowbooks / @avonbooks for sending this my way!

Second Chance on Cypress Lane by Reese Ryan

I love, love, love a good small town romance. And if you set it in a southern town or a coastal town, any place with quirky characters who are all up in each other’s business or one of a kind festivals? You might as well buy me a ticket there because I’ve already packed my suitcases (in my head) and started planning how soon I can move to this imaginary place. All of this to say, Reese Ryan has created a cozy little town in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and I can’t wait to read more about this town and its characters. 

 When small town girl made good returns to town with her tail tucked between her legs, no one in town bats an eye. Dakota’s father and her best friend, Sinclair, are overjoyed at her return, and so is her high school boyfriend, Dexter. Of course Dakota still has the hots for him, though she won’t admit it to anyone, not even herself, and he has the hots for her, but they both try to play it cool. In the hands of a less experienced author, this storyline could have been predictable and just a little cheesy. Reese Ryan, however, doesn’t make the focal point of the story about will they or won’t they. 

 Our girl Dakota gets to focus on family issues, friendship issues, employment issues. What I’m saying is she’s a grown woman whose life doesn’t revolve around whether or not she’s going to hook up with a man. But if she does? When she does? Steamy! 😅😅😅 

 Can you tell how much I enjoyed Second Chance? I started reading it on my lunch hour and skipped TV watching so I could finish it the same day. Thanks to @readforeverpub for sending this one my way. I saw so many potential couple matchups while reading it and I’m so looking forward to returning to Holly Grove Island in 2021.

Top 10 Reads of 2020


10) 𝑮𝒊𝒓𝒍, 𝑾𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏, 𝑶𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 by Bernardine Evaristo - 2019 Booker Prize Winner, Girl, Woman, Other connects the lives of 12 Black British woman while telling each ones story in a series of shorts.

 9) 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑺𝒆𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒕 𝑾𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒏 by Sheila Williams - This book was an absolute "can't put down, must finish reading this or I won't be able to sleep because I'll be wondering what the characters are doing" read about three women who connect because of their secrets. 

 8) 𝑩𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝑨𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 by Jacqueline Woodson - Before the Ever After explores the story of a family affected by CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy through a child's eyes. 

 7) 𝑩𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑪𝒐𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒆 𝑮𝒆𝒕𝒔 𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒅 by Toshikazu Kawaguchi - This debut novel asks what would you do if you could travel back in time ... and you only have the amount of time it takes to drink a hot cup of coffee. 

 6) 𝘾𝙡𝙖𝙥 𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙇𝙖𝙣𝙙 by Elizabeth Acevedo - Some books go hand in hand, yes? This is the perfect companion piece to Tayari Jones' Silver Sparrow. Sisters, secrets, dipping daddies. 

 5) 𝙁𝙞𝙛𝙩𝙮 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙨 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙍𝙖𝙞𝙣 by Asha Lemmie - Post-WWII biracial Black & Japanese girl trying to find her place within her family and in Japan. All of the yeses! 

 4) 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘝𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘏𝘢𝘭𝘧 by Brit Bennett - It is everything. E-v-e-r-y-THING! Well developed characters, well thought out story lines, unpredictable. There's nothing I didn't love about this book.

3) 𝘙𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 by Rita Woods - If Octavia Butler, Tananarive Due and Toni Morrison wrote a book, it would be Remembrance. 

 2) 𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘕𝘰 𝘖𝘯𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘞𝘢𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 by Alyssa Cole - Cole might possibly have written the scariest take on gentrification that I've ever read or seen. 

 1) 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑺𝒆𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒕 𝑳𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝑪𝒉𝒖𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝑳𝒂𝒅𝒊𝒆𝒔 by Deesha Philyaw - Church lady or not, every woman can find a little bit of themselves within these pages. It's an absolutely brilliant read. 

What books are on your top 10 list for the year?