Being Myself…with Grace

Heya,

Today I took a ‘rest day’ from working out. Part of it is because I woke up late and part is because I don’t feel good. Just nauseous and hot flashes, boy don’t we love being women? 

But I also feel good about it. When I first decided to take a rest day, I thought oh no, this is how the quitting starts. Then I reminded myself to allow space for grace. I don’t feel well and I need to work more on my health and less on my goals. They go hand in hand and neither could happen without the other. So it’s a mental health day. 

Mind you, part of it might be due to the fact that I stayed up late, and then I went to Walmart at 8 am to buy chili fixings. I spent a hefty amount of time cooking and the only time I really got to take a nap was when Naomi threatened to ruin the apartment. 

The chili was really good. Check out my Instagram story to see the fix! (@JadeBethJ)



***

Something great happened the other day. I posted on social media about how I was so excited about Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour. I also said that I didn’t have the money to buy it right now. I’ve been on EVERY waiting list possible for a while. Then a woman reached out to me and said that she sees my posts in the book groups and appreciates how I’m always positive and helpful. She said that I have great vibes and she’d like to buy the book for me. 

Wow, right!? 

We chatted for a little bit and she ended up emailing me an Amazon gift card to buy Black Buck (as well as a little extra for other books I might want in the future). Not only did it make me happy to get a book I’ve been dreaming about, but it made me realize that the way we move on social media is seen by so many. 

It’s an obvious thought, but I never really care who’s watching because I am who I am. In-person I am just as awkward, nerdy, overly excited, and overly talkative as I am online. It’s wild because I can definitely be too much for people but they just aren’t my people! Not everyone is going to like me and it’s taken me a long time to discover that it has nothing to do with me. I’m a drama queen who loves books, crying at mushy things, and turning the channel the moment I get second-hand embarrassment. Now, people who watch me without interaction don’t really KNOW me, know me, but they get pretty darn close. 

So I got a book for simply being myself. My heart is happy. 

Good Readdance,

Jade

12 Books Releases by by Black Authors in 2021

Heya,

I found a list of 35 books written by black authors that are coming out in 2021. The article titled “35 Must-Read 2021 Book Releases by Black Authors” was posted recently on Marie Claire’s page. After going through each book, I found several that I plan to read! I’m so excited about it! Here’s my list! Add them to your Goodreads, like I did, or preorder them! Are you planning to read any of these books?

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  1. Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

This quick-witted satirical debut follows a young man who transforms almost overnight from an unambitious Starbucks employee to a ruthless salesman after a chance encounter with the CEO of NYC’s hottest tech startup. When tragedy strikes, he resets with a new goal: helping young people of color infiltrate America’s sales force.

Available January 5, 2021

  1. Angel of Greenwood’ by Randi Pink

Isaiah Wilson and Angel Hill attend the same school in the Greenwood area of Tulsa, Oklahoma—known as Black Wall Street—and hold different views on how to defeat racism. But when a vicious white mob storms the community of Greenwood on May 31, 1921, leaving the town destroyed and thousands of residents displaced, Isaiah, Angel, and their peers discover who their real enemies are.
Available January 12, 2021

  1. ‘A Glimmer of Death’ by Valerie Wilson Wesley

Fans of cozy mysteries will love this novel about caterer and psychic Dessa Jones who takes a job at a real estate firm when her bakery company goes bust. Her new boss, Charlie, is an abusive jerk, so when he’s found brutally murdered, his many victims become the suspects. As Dessa follows the case, she realizes that she needs to do something fast before she’s either the next victim or the primary suspect.

Available January 26, 2021

  1. ‘This Close to Okay’ by Leesa Cross-Smith

Recently-divorced therapist Tallie Clark is heading home when she saves a man from jumping off of a bridge. Told through both Tallie and the man’s perspective, this is a touching story about two strangers who meet under the worst of circumstances, but end up finding love and healing within each other.

Available February 2, 2021

  1. ‘The Gilded Ones’ by Namina Forna

One of *the* most talked about books of the year is this West African-inspired feminist fantasy set in a patriarchal society, where a woman’s worth is tied to her purity. When Deka bleeds gold—the color of impurity—at the blood ceremony, she’s presented with two choices: stay and be subjected to torture at the hands of her former community, or leave and join an army of girls just like her to fight for the empire. The novel has already been auctioned for a TV adaptation.

Available February 9, 2021

  1. ‘The Conductors’ by Nicole Glover

In a post-Civil War Philadelphia, Hetty Rhodes, a magic user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad, solves murders and mysteries with her husband, Benjy, that the white police ignore. When one of their friends is found murdered in an alley, they set out to find answers, but their search leads them to unexpected revelations that will change everything.

Available March 2, 2021

  1. ‘Act Your Age, Eve Brown’ by Talia Hibbert

The final installment in The Brown Sisters trilogy centers on the flightiest Brown sister, Eve, who sets out to prove herself to her parents by getting a job at a B&B. However, the rigid, perfectionist owner, Jacob, is instantly put off by Eve. When she accidentally hits him with her car, he’s forced to accept her help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen, and his heart.
Available March 9, 2021

  1. ‘Wild Women and the Blues’ by Denny S. Bryce

In 1925 Chicago, the jazz capital of the world, Honoree is trying to dance her way to the top at Dreamland Café, where she socializes with celebrities. In 2015, grieving film student Sawyer Hayes seeks out the 110-year-old Honoree to get answers for his thesis on the legendary filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux. As the past meets the present, it’s a final chance for Honoree to truly be heard and seen before it’s too late.

Available March 30, 2021

  1. ‘Love in Color’ by Bolu Babalola

Following its earlier U.K release last summer, Bolu Babalola’s debut collection, Love in Color, is finally getting published in the U.S. In the anthology, Babalola retells the most beautiful love stories from around the world focusing on the myths, folklore, and history of West Africa, Greece, and the Middle East.

Available April 13, 2021

  1. ‘Sorrowland’ by Rivers Solomon

Sorrowland follows Vern, a young girl who flees the cult-like commune where she was raised to provide a better life for herself and her children. But even in the forest where she has gone, she is a hunted woman. To protect her family, Vern transforms into something terrifying and powerful that may just help her break free from her past. Sorrowland is a powerful story about motherhood, survival, and the cruel treatment of Black bodies.

Available May 4, 2021

  1. ‘The Other Black Girl’ by Zakiya Dalila Harris

 With an adaptation already in the works at Hulu, Zakiya Dalila Harris’s debut novel is one of the most highly-anticipated books of the year. When Nella Rogers, an editorial assistant at the predominantly white publishing firm, Wagner Books, meets Hazel, she is initially thrilled to no longer be the only Black girl at work. Then, the threatening notes start appearing, and Nella can’t help but wonder if Hazel is behind them.

Available June 1, 2021

  1. ‘Seven Days in June’ by Tia Williams

This beautiful love story follows an erotica writer, Eva, who’s juggling her career and single motherhood when she reconnects with the love of her life, Shane, who’s now a famous literary author. However, Eva’s not sure she can trust the man who broke her heart, and she wants him out of her life—after she gets some answers, of course.

Available June 8, 2021

Book Review: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past.

Link to Book

Heya,

One of the things I enjoyed while listening to this book is the narrator. I loved her voice, her inflections, the way she did mama Vignes’ voice, and the emotions felt from her throughout. This is one of the greatest things about audiobooks. You can get into the world of the characters as if they are real. Love it!

It seems weird that I – someone who can not pass for white – found myself relating to Stella V more than her sister. Someone who started over, created new opportunities for herself, recreated who they knew themselves to be, dropped all of her family and moved on with her life (although, I held on to the last few toxic tethers for years before I finally knew what was good for me), and finally struggled with the guilt of it all. I felt that fear she had when she had been passing for white for so many years and the mere presence of a black couple (moving into her all-white community) threatened to reveal her secret. She’s just as strong a character as her twin who is dealing with an abusive partner and single mom life, and her mother whose husband was killed by a white man for no reason.

The Vanishing Half hits so many marks for me. So much so, you want to take a pen to it (or a handy notebook) and point out all the parts that you’ve been through, or know someone who’s been through, and write a long journal entry about how it’s affected your life. Oh, that was just me? Sorry.

I never understood true colorism until I was a teen. Before I had dealt with racism from other foster kids (white) and the white kids at the private school I went to but I didn’t realize it could come FOR me from my OWN people. The Vanishing Half dives deeply into the importance put on skin complexion – not just ‘color’ – in society and among family relations. There’s this part in the book when one sister returns home and everyone is wondering who that ‘dark’ girl is (her daughter) and it puts into perspective the ‘one drop’ rule. One drop of white – to black people – and you’re white. One drop of black – to white people – and you can’t EVER be white. Not even a little bit. You can’t put it on your bank documents, you can’t claim it at school, you can’t say you’re white to your white friends, and you can’t mark ‘White/Caucasian’ when getting a job.

Another interesting thing about the novel is the fact that it spans several generations. Often, I worry that there isn’t a chance to truly get to know our main characters if we make time jumps. Of course, there is no worry with Brit Bennett. The transition from one generation to the next is as smooth as butter. Not only do you see the issues of colorism from the white-passing Vignes twins but you also see it through the white daughter of one twin and the black (and dark-skinned) daughter of the other. You also get to see the world modernize, how things change in opinion about black people, and the job and educational opportunities afforded to them as time moved on.

I would definitely recommend this book, and not just to the black readers of the world. White people, and any POC, should glean the wealth of cultural knowledge between its pages. If I had to give this book a star rating I would give it 4.5 stars! If you’ve read this book please let me know in the comments! How did you feel about the points hit in this book? How do they relate to your own life?

P.S. If you have any books you’d love for me to read, please leave them in the comments!

Link to Book

Good Readdance,
Jade

Black Owned Bookstores

Heya!

A while ago I compiled a list of Black Owned bookstores from all over the US, that I thought were pretty cool, and I’ve decided to finally share them with you. Most of these were shared with me, just as I take suggestions here, I do on other social media boards as well!

Here are a FEW links and a few names with locations!

AALBC

A New Generation of African-American-Owned Bookstores

The FBI’s War on Black-Owned Bookstores

54 BLACK OWNED BOOKSTORES IN AMERICA

BOOK ENDS: BLACK-OWNED BOOK STORES TO SUPPORT DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Olive Tree Books

Medu and Shrine of Black Madonna in Atlanta

Pan African Connection Bookstore. Dallas, TX 

Black and Nobel, West Philly, PA

Community Bookstore, New Orleans, LA

If you can think of any others, or know of one in your neighborhood or city that isn’t on this list, COMMENT THE NAME OR LINK BELOW!!

Let’s support Black and Local businesses as well as others!

Happy Readdance,
Jade

Readers Suggest: Books by Black Authors

Heya,

So, I recently asked readers “What are some of your favorite books by AA (Black) authors?”

I had an out pouring of suggestions from multiple genres. I’m going to share some of those with you! Maybe you’ll find something that you like. Maybe you will find ‘that one book from way back when’ you really liked is actually by an black author. Not that it changes your opinion of said book…I just want to elevate, promote and excite the world about my community! Below are books that I have not yet read!

One thing that I thought was really crazy: I had more people sending me book suggestions in my ‘open’ book groups on Facebook than the ones for POC. Struck an odd bone to me.

Anyway! Here are a few that I thought were interesting…and a tiny snippet of their synopsis (from Amazon).


Fiction

The Inheritance Trilogy, by N. K. Jemisin (Epic Fantasy- name is almost like mine) Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king.

Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle (Fantasy/Horror): Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table… He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (YA): Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (Lit Fiction) Jojo is…trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

The Wedding Date, Jasmine Guillory (Romance): Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (Thriller/Crime): When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules–a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. He travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders–a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman–have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment.

NonFiction

Hunger by Roxanne Gay (Memoir): In her phenomenally popular essays…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.

The Color of Water by James McBride (Memoir): McBride retraces his mother’s footsteps and, through her searing and spirited voice, recreates her remarkable story

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison (Memoir/Dissertation? This one got a raving review!): America’s foremost novelist reflects on themes that preoccupy her work and dominate politics: race, fear, borders, mass movement of peoples, desire for belonging.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (Race Relations) At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document.

Memoir Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (Memoir): Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. I heard this one is great on audiobook because he narrates it himself!

Becoming: Michele Obama (Memoir): As First Lady of the United States of America – the first African-American to serve in that role – she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world. I have a hard cover version of this book that I bought pre-order! (Yes, I’m excited about that.)

A Promised Land: Barak Obama (Memoir): This one wasn’t suggested to me because it wasn’t out yet but I had Michele and knew I had to come back and add her husband! In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

 
Good Readdance,
Jade

African American Literacy and the “A.A. Community” Page

Heya,

As an African American writer I’ve realized just how much I need to portray ‘us’ as we want to be seen, need to be seen, in all of my books. I am dedicating a category to Black Authors because I want to lift up my community and support them in anyway that I can. Awareness is a great way to do so.

One of the first things I plan to highlight in this tab are black owned bookstores. It is important for black people to be given the gift of reading. Historically, it’s not something we are supposed to do. It’s a different day and age now. We have a chance to rise up and become better than we were. Catering to communities without reading and writing materials should be a priority. We should have every opportunity available to enhance our minds, souls and to educate ourselves. This isn’t something we can expect to be given to us. As current standards show, we must do it in our own communities.

That being said, we also have to use the resources given to us. Them being there for us to take is not enough! If we are given a bookstore but we never go in…how does that help us? If we are given a safe place to read and to enjoy the company of other scholars but we defile it, trash it and destroy its sanctuary…how does that inspire other would-be black business owners? Please share your thoughts on this. Comment what you think is the best way to help with literacy in the African American Community.

So keep watch of the “African American Community” page! If you want to support a black author or find a black owned bookstore follow the blog and hit this tab! I’ll be updating soon!

If you’ve read any books by black authors lately that you really enjoyed, feel free to write them in the comments below! Send me a link! Share the love! I’m always looking for great suggestions and plan to keep this tab up to date with new posts.
Happy Readdance,
Jade

Book Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it?

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary’s fate now lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?

Although I was adopted, my parents still took in foster kids until after I graduated from high school, and still do today. In my opinion, you could akin our house to a group home. That, along with Mary’s feelings of abandonment, was one of the biggest things that made me actually interested in reading this book. I wanted to see if the writer would show the truth of the system or if it would sugar coat it and all the characters would be singing Kumbaya in the living room while wearing knee length dresses. It shocked me how raw the story was, how Mary really came alive and you could feel her emotions. It went into the issues of falsified evaluations and issues with desensitized social workers. Allegedly shows the true side of the majority of foster parents and their interactions with the downtrodden.

Allegedly by Tiffany D Jackson


I wasn’t prepared for how the story would really trigger me. After being unwanted, unloved and rejected I definitely understood her thoughts. After my own experiences with infant loss, the basis for the story squeezed my heart and then Mary’s fears for her own child and the outcome of it’s future, due to her circumstances, pushed me over. Halfway through the book I had to stop for a breather before I could pick it back up.

Having a strained relationship with my own biological mother, Mary’s love and hate for her mother twisted me in circles. The story goes into the deepest corners of a mother-daughter relationship that is based on lies and false hope. It’s relatable in a way that will make you cry or shake your head in frustration. It’ll make you wonder at the secrets you’ve kept and whether speaking on them would serve you or hurt others. I would definitely recommend this book. Black, white, old, young, anyone should pick it up. It’s a beautiful story about the consequences of life, of protecting the ones we love and also ourselves.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I saw this book in a facebook group for black women who like to read. I was on the fence about it. I believe this is actually one of the first books by a black author that I’ve read in years. I’m not a fan of books that are about thugs, violent baby daddies and angry absentee fathers. I’m will admit that this is what I was expecting when I first joined the group. No, not because I’m ‘prejudice’ against “my own people” but because I joined a group before and a lot of the books that were suggested were that type. I left because I didn’t want to be stifled and no one wanted to discuss anything that wasn’t The Coldest Winter Ever, a book that I took a quick dislike to as a child. So many of the women suggested the book and, after reading it, so many of them came back with shocked responses. I figured, if so many of them were that into it then why not? I’m definitely glad I picked it up!

If you’ve read this book, if you liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you have any book suggestions for me to read or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,

Jade

Link to Book

Reading Black Authors

I recently read a book by a black author and I loved it. It had nothing to do with the author’s race or our connection through ‘blackness’. I never really cared what race wrote what book, it’s never had any bearing on my thoughts of the book. I have never wanted to limit myself and I refuse to let anything stop me from reading. If it’s a great story, I’ll read a book by any race.

Recently, I joined a facebook group for black women that love to read and it’s really blown my mind. The camaraderie, the honesty, and the uplifting comments really made me feel like I belonged. As an introvert, that’s a huge deal. Members posts the books they are currently reading or their views on an upload. So I chose one book they suggested to me, and I will be doing a review on it, but I really liked it and in turn I picked up 3 other books I saw posted to the group. Once you gain my trust, I might just start listening to you.

Sometimes I’m not too sure about the suggestions I get. Before, when I was just randomly asking out to the world, I’d have people suggest political books, which I’m not very fond of (Am I going to read Fire and Fury? I have no idea). I’ve had someone suggest I read overly religious books, fire and brimstone types, and I’m usually iffy on those as well. I can be a stickler, with no real guidelines, but usually I will pick it up and crack it open.

Whenever I ask for suggestions people want to know what I’m looking for and I can’t really answer that question. I tell them to just give me their favorites, nothing political, nothing religious but people like to push their favorites so…eh.

I love to read different genres. As a kid I started with Julie Garwood’s The Wedding and fell in love with romance. I went through phases of Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha Christie and wild wonders like James Patterson’s Angel Experiment series and Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. I didn’t move into non-fiction and biographies until I got older. On Writing by Stephen King, Steve Jobs, and Shark Tales by Barbara Corcoran were a few that I loved.

I can’t really choose an ultimate favorite genre because I’ve read so many books and I’ve loved so many that fit different criteria. I’m a big fan of mystery, romance, and psychological thrillers but I’m also an avid reader of paranormal romance, futuristic science fiction and oddball humor. I like to hear about different walks of life but I love it to be in story form. I’m not a fan of the fifth grade history book biography theme.

I am African American and I write but I never thought it was a big deal. There was nothing in my upbringing that told me black people can’t be writers. No one, other than those who told me to choose a career that was going to make money, told me I couldn’t succeed at being an author. I’ve been reading adult novels since I was seven and it never crossed my mind that people thought this was incredulous. I’ve never pulled up the authors profiles to check and I’ve never seen a “Written by a Black Author” sticker on any covers in Barnes and Nobles. Have you?

That being said, I do want to support my own people. I do feel that it’s important that they know we are reading their novels and are behind them 100 percent. Since joining this facebook group, I’ve heard about more black authors than ever in my entire life.  As a bibliophile and book addict I’ve obviously added a ton of novels to my To Be Read file. I’m very excited. Hopefully I will find more gems like Allegedly, a book by Tiffany D. Jackson. I have a few more on my list, suggestions from the group, and will be doing reviews on them here. If you have any thoughts on this or if it’s a thought you’ve had let’s chat!

Good Readance,

Jade

 

P.S. If you have any suggestions send ’em right over! Don’t be afraid!