Becoming [MINI REVIEW]

“In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. 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, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments.

Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.”

Edition: Hardcover

Release Date: November 13th, 2018

Page Count: 426

Publisher: Crown (Imprint of Penguin)

My Rating: 5/5 stars ★★★★★

Mini Review

I was only 9 years old whenever Obama was sworn in as President of the United States. I don’t remember the election at all and unfortunately, didn’t start truly learning about him and his family until I was about fifteen. But, I did know about Michelle Obama. I watched her speak out about children’s health on TV and I saw her changes whenever it came to school lunches. She worked hard to improve the health of children across America and as a child, I could tell.

I picked up this book out of pure admiration for the former first lady. I loved seeing how laid back, independent and strong she was. She was unapologetic and always herself — that’s why I loved her. In her book, she goes through her life in chronological order from when she was younger growing up in Chicago to her position as first lady. Hearing her talk about living is Chicago was humbling. It was so nice to hear someone so influential talk about the hard things they had to overcome in order to get to where they are. I loved hearing about her experiences in college too. As a college student myself, I saw bits and pieces of myself in her. Her ambition was mutual and I wish I worked as hard as she did.

I think the most interesting part about this book for me was listening to her speak about whenever Barack Obama was getting into government work. She was already working for Chicago’s government at the time as an assistant to Richard Daley. Quick note, I had no idea she worked in the government at the time of Daley’s career. I read a book about him once and can’t believe the things he did. Anyways, back to what I was saying! I loved hearing about how Barack Obama took off so much time to finish writing his book, taking it as far as leaving the country to isolate himself for work. I loved how Michelle decided that corporate law wasn’t for her and went into something that’s more community oriented like city government work. Hearing her speak about her intentions as the First Lady and what she wanted for our country was so heart warming. I can’t believe the things people said about her and her family. It broke my heart whenever she talked about how it made her feel.

Overall, I gave this book five out of five stars because I was never bored. I listened to her talk about growing up in the space above her aunts, going to Princeton and Harvard Law, her family, and her time as First Lady. I would recommend this to anyone, honestly. I think anyone could learn from this book while also learning about Michelle Obama’s life as well.

I apologize if this review isn’t too in-depth. I was reading this book for pure enjoyment and ended up finishing it all in one night so my thoughts are completely scattered. I just thought I’d let you know some of my thoughts anyway!

 

Buy this book for yourself at your local bookstore or at Barnes & Noble!

This Will Be My Undoing [REVIEW]

 

“From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’ highly-anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today—perfect for fans of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists.

Morgan Jerkins is only in her twenties, but she has already established herself as an insightful, brutally honest writer who isn’t afraid of tackling tough, controversial subjects. In This Will Be My Undoing, she takes on perhaps one of the most provocative contemporary topics: What does it mean to “be”—to live as, to exist as—a black woman today? This is a book about black women, but it’s necessary reading for all Americans.”

Edition: Paperback

Release Date: January 30th, 2019

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Harper Perenial

My Rating: 5/5 stars ★★★★★

Mini Review

I originally picked This Will Be My Undoing at work on a whim. I hadn’t heard of it but I often scan the social sciences section for new feminist non-fiction because it’s my favorite. I want to embrace reading more diversely, especially in terms of feminist lit, because it’s incredibly important to me to learn, read and share these stories with you. I bought this book because Roxane blurbs it and states Morgan Jerkins is, “a writer to be reckoned with.” So, of course, I bought this book immediately.

I think this might be one of the first feminist non-fiction books I’ve read that focused solely on life as a black woman. I ended up listening to this on audiobook and couldn’t stop. I love the way Morgan Jerkins writes. She’s incredibly talented and lyrical when it comes to writing. Her way of describing situations and memories is so captivating.  Her writing is definitely the first thing I noticed whenever I started this book and it’s why I ended up giving it five stars.

Her story was beyond interesting, emotional, and deeply personal. She’s able to tell her story throughout separate essays that still relate to each other. This book has so much depth to it and I would only hope that people are able to listen to her write and to learn. It hurt knowing the things she goes through daily just because she is both black and a woman. One of the parts that truly got me was listening to her speak about elementary/middle school. I believe this part is in the very beginning but everything she said just resonated with me.

I’m looking forward to reading more of her work because I truly loved this book. I ended up giving it five stars because none of it was ever boring, the writing was brilliant, and her story was so, so, important. I would highly recommend you pick this up if you’re into this genre of feminist non-fiction or are looking for more diverse reads!

 

Buy this book for yourself at your local bookstore or at Barnes & Noble!

 

LGBT+ YA Releases of 2019 pt. 1

 

What’s more exciting than a new year full of new LGBT+ releases? Here’s part one of my blog posts sharing with you all the LGBT+ releases for this year. Let’s support them by pre-ordering, adding them on Goodreads, and of course, reading them!

1. I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver [May 14th, 2019]

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.”

2. The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Kahn [January 29th, 2019]

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.


But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?”

3. Song of the Dead  (Book #2) by Sarah Glenn Marsh [January 22nd, 2019]

“Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom’s borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia’s waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.

Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can’t help being mesmerized by the new magic–and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.

Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria’s mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won’t be enough to save their fates.

In this enthralling, heartrending sequel to Reign of the Fallen, Odessa faces the fight of her life as the boundaries between the Dead and the living are challenged in a way more gruesome than ever before”

4. You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman [March 5th, 2019]

“Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.”

5. Kings, Queens and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju [May 7th, 2019]

“perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.


Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.
 “

6. Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian [June 4th, 2019]

“It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He’s terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he’s gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media’s images of men dying of AIDS.

Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance…until she falls for Reza and they start dating.

Art is Judy’s best friend, their school’s only out and proud teen. He’ll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.

As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won’t break Judy’s heart–and destroy the most meaningful friendship he’s ever known.”

7. Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi [June 11th, 2019]

“Sana Khan is a cheerleader and a straight A student. She’s the classic (somewhat obnoxious) overachiever determined to win.

Rachel Recht is a wannabe director who’s obsesssed with movies and ready to make her own masterpiece. As she’s casting her senior film project, she knows she’s found the perfect lead – Sana.

There’s only one problem. Rachel hates Sana. Rachel was the first girl Sana ever asked out, but Rachel thought it was a cruel prank and has detested Sana ever since.

Told in alternative viewpoints and inspired by classic romantic comedies, this engaging and edgy YA novel follows two strongwilled young women falling for each other despite themselves.”

8. the Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown [April 16th, 2019]

“Before, Jessica has always struggled with anger issues, but come sophomore year that all changes when Vivi crashes into her life. As their relationship blossoms, Vivi not only helps Jess deal with her pain, she also encourages her to embrace her talent as an artist. And for the first time, it feels like the future is filled with possibilities. After In the midst of senior year, Jess’s perfect world is erased when Vivi suddenly passes away. Reeling from the devastating loss, Jess pushes everyone away, and throws out her plans to go to art school. Because art is Vivi and Vivi is gone forever.

Desperate for an escape, Jess gets consumed in her work-study program, letting all of her dreams die. Until she makes an unexpected new friend who shows her a new way to channel her anger, passion, and creativity. Although Jess may never draw again, if she can find a way to heal and room in her heart, she just might be able to forge a new path for herself without Vivi.”

9. These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling [May 29th, 2019]

“Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans. 


But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.”

10. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia [February 26th, 2019]

At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.


On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?”

Please note that this is PART ONE of many posts sharing the LGBT+ releases of 2019. I just couldn’t fit them all in one. Isn’t that lovely?!

Let me know if you’re getting any of these releases!

Pick these up at your local book store or Book Depository | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble!

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