Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review: The Boy in The Black Suit @JasonReynolds83

March 17th, 2015
The Boy in The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Okay, so Im coming dangerously close to neglecting the fact I haven't written this post in like 2-3 months, which is funny, because I read the book in less than a week. I knew if I sat down and wrote the review, I'd have so much to say, and I tend to be very wordy in reviews to begin with.

The Boy in The Black Suit follows the exploits of a 17 year old teenage boy who's mother recently lost her battle with cancer(correct me if Im not remembering correctly folks, I read it in January). With time, he ends up taking a job working in a funeral home, hence becoming "The Boy in The Black Suit."

I normally wait until I've actually started describing my pros and cons before I make a declaration this bold, but I think this book will be the best book I've read all year. Diversity in books is interpreted differently by nearly everyone I know, so when it comes to needing diverse books, what fits for one person, might not fit for the next.

When people say we need diverse books, Im almost positive they're talking about a book like this. The Boy in the Black Suit's leading character Matthew Miller(Matt for short) was a character I really rooted for. I hate the word "relatable" because it suggests "relatable" has to be something specific, or a one-size-fits-all answer. But I related to him more than most characters I've read since I dedicated myself to reading diverse titles.

I know the author's been around longer than I've been reading his work, but he reminds me a bit of author Zetta Elliot. I liked his use of language, mainly because the way I speak is very much like Matthew and his best friend. In fact, I'd always laugh to myself when reading, because the way they spoke to one another reminded of my sister and myself, and we're not even from New York.

One of the strongest parts about the book was Matthew himself. He was a male character, who actually seemed like a real person. A lot of depictions of boys and men tend to read as a fantasy to me, which I get. Readers like to have a fantasy of what is a perfect guy to them, but it just seems overdone a lot of the times.

He was written in a way our media would never depict a black boy, full of vulnerability, rejecting gender roles, and someone not afraid to cry. The kid could throw down in the kitchen, a trait he learned from his late mother. 

I know in Black/Latino homes of the past, boys and men were forced to be what society saw as being men. But this creates so many future issues for men not allowed to express their vulnerability or enjoy things society hasnt deemed "conventionally " masculine.

Let's not forget to mention he's African-American. I wasn't sure if I'd get a character who just reminded me of a default character who just happened to be Black, or a main character who reads too hard to remind me that he's Black, but I got neither. I got Matt. A character that you'd automatically know is a black teen, but in a positive light, that doesn't shy away from being born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.

I live in an oh-so small state called Connecticut, that happens to border NY, but I went to college in Brooklyn, and Im sure the writer is from NY. I mean, anyone can "do" NY, but not everyone can "do" Brooklyn. Reading this book, I was in Brooklyn, and not only that, I loved all the other settings(all the places that brought familiarity, like the Cluck Bucket, lol).

Matthew wasn't a scatterbrain like a few teenage protagonists I read. He had intelligent thoughts, and a big love for Tupac, so I know I would've been friends with a kid like this growing up. I think the only real complaint I had was with a detail in the past, feeling the need to tie it's loose end in the present. But I looked past it for all the other amazing details it had!

Matthew reminded me a bit of my 21 year old cousin. My cousin is religious, so he loves wearing fancy suits all the time. I loved how Matt wore a suit for his job at first as a requirement, but with time, he couldn't imagine himself without one. Not to say all kids should be wearing suits all of a sudden, but it was just interesting how the title wrung it's way in more ways than one throughout the entire book.

It's hard to comment on editing on traditionally published books, especially one like this, because it seems as though editors put a lot of time into making this effort perfect. It's easier to comment when there are mistakes =)

Diversity-wise, Im assuming nearly every character except one, was Black. Could be American, of Caribbean descent, or even of African, but most of the characters were Black. Only one character wasn't Black, and he was a bodega owner from Pakistan. He was cool, I wish I would've seen more of him, or other cultures, but I liked how it didn't feel the need to insert-white-character-here, just to make it "relatable"(there's that word again).

Matt also had a girl he was feeling named "Lovey." They had awesome chemistry, and it's really nice to read a book that focuses on the strength of Black Love, because as a Black women, and an Afro-Latina, everything tries to steer me away from Black Love. No one really says it, but it's true, and I do tend to read more books depicting interracial relationships than the latter.

Also liked how it incorporated texting, in a texting generation. And the way Lovey and Matt flirted is very reminiscent of how it was in neighborhoods I grew up in. If I could, I'd buy this book for everyone I know, because it's just that amazing.

The cover is intriguing, and the title is very catchy. It makes you wonder who is "The Boy in The Black Suit" and what does that mean to him. Character names? I'll say they're uncommonly common. They suit the characters, even though I meet a lot of people with names like theirs, outside of Lovey of course!

Sometimes I wish I would've gotten a better description of the characters who made the most appearances in the book though. Matt mentioned being the color of dark wood, but not much else. I couldn't tell if he was tall or short, and only the characters who walked on with little or no dialogue, were described in the most detail.

But overall, it was an amazing read. Im really looking forward to reading some of Jason Reynold's other books =)

I can't remember everyone, but if I had to choose who I dreamcast as my Matthew and Lovey I'd go for Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as Matt, and Brittany Sky as Lovey!




Just do yourself a favor and get "The Boy in The Black Suit.



Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review: Vitamins and Death by Medeia Sharif

March 1st, 2015
Vitamins and Death by Medeia Sharif

February Martial Artist Spotlight: Edna Lima

So I admit I have no idea who scheduling a post works. This was scheduled to post February 28th, but the damn thing didnt post XD

So my February spotlight is about a day late, so I felt it necessary to add the extra intro. But no worries, 2015 is Twinja Book Review's year to highlight all the women, unknown or not, in the martial arts community.

Introducing February's Martial Spotlight:

Edna Lima

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: Jane by Michelle N.Onuorah+ Ebook Giveaway


So I decided to hop on another blog tour for a book we posted a guest post for last week. I(Libertad) decided to review it as well because the cover really drew me in!!! It's simple but eye catching. It's rare when I actually like Interracial couples on book covers that aren't YA, simply because I hate covers that fetishize Mixed Race unions. This one was really to my liking because the girl on the cover is darker skinned. Believe it or not, that seems like a rare thing these days. So off to my thoughts...

Here's what the blurb tells us about the book:

Orphaned. 
Neglected. 
Damaged and abused.

Jane Daugherty has survived what can only be described as the childhood from hell. After years of mental, physical, and sexual abuse, she has become a fiercely independent young woman - closed off from human connection. Unable to believe in people or their capability to be kind, she has vowed to build a new life for herself so that she never has to rely on, or trust, others again. At 24-years-old, she is fulfilling this vow, successfully working as the youngest tenure-track professor at the University of New York.

 Brilliant and remarkably accomplished, Jane's life takes an unexpected turn when she is reunited with the childhood friend she protected in foster care. Alexa Masterson introduces Jane to the family that adopted her, a family that includes her older brother, Aiden Masterson. Instantly drawn to each other, Aiden and Jane embark on a relationship that will either destroy them both or shape them into the man and woman they were always meant to be. Can what started as lust transform into love? And what will bring about the transformation that they ultimately need?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Diverse Book Tours Presents Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright

http://diversebooktours.com/

Welcome to the "Fire Baptized" Mini tour brought to you by the lovely Kenya Wright. 
If you're in the mood for Urban Fantasy, Diversity and Unapologetic characters, you've found your kryptonite!




Book Title: Fire Baptized
Author Name: Kenya Wright
ISBN Number: 0985023007
Publisher: Pursuit
Page Number: 286
Format (e.g. paperback, ebook, etc.): ebook
Genre(s): Interracial Paranormal Romance

Release Date: Jan 28, 2012



Synopsis:

Since the 1970s humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species: a full moon for Vampires, a crescent moon for Shifters, a pair of wings for Fairies, and the list goes on, for each supernatural species has been tagged and categorized by humans. 

Lanore Vesta is marked with a silver X, the brand of Mixbreeds, second-class citizens shunned by society. She stays to herself, revealing her ability to create fire only during emergencies. All she wants to do is graduate college and stop having to steal to survive. But when she stumbles upon a murder in progress, she catches the attention of a supernatural killer. Now all she wants is to stop finding dead bodies in her apartment. 

Enlisting help from her Were-cheetah ex-boyfriend MeShack and a new mysterious friend named Zulu, she is steered through the habitat s raunchy nightlife. But their presence sometimes proves to be more burden than help, as they fight for her attention. 

While the corpses pile up, and the scent of blood fills the air, Lanore is left wondering: will she find the psycho or die trying?





Click on the pic to be directed to the purchase page!



About the Author:

Writer. Lover. Foodie. Mother. Book Addict.
Masturbator. Comedian. Super Hero. Blogger.

Professional Adventurer.


Stalk her....I mean it, Stalk her!
Kenya is in the league of looking for new minions!
Places of interest she's waiting for you to come out of hiding:

Kenya Wright's Official Site
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter @Kenyawright77

Happy Stalking!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

#BlackHistoryShapesAllHistory

It's Black History Month.

A part of me is grateful of the fight for everyone to know all the contributions Black people have done in the world. A part of me is resentful that Black History is one of the shortest months of the year, and often forgotten not more than a day or two after it ends, particularly the ones who don't care to learn about the Black men and women who've shaped history, and by history, I mean everyone's history.