Book Review: You and Me and Us by Alison Hammer

In You and Me and Us we meet Alexis, Tommy, and CeCe; a family granted one final summer of togetherness before their lives drastically change.

Alexis is living her dream life working long hours at the business that she cocreated with her best friend. Her partner, a psychiatrist works from home and is more hands on with their teenage daughter CeCe. Alexis and her CeCe don’t have the greatest relationship but Alexis reasons with herself that since Tommy is better with the household stuff and they have a great partnership then things will turn out fine eventually.

Tommy loves his family. His professional training as a therapist helps him to serve as the mediator between Alexis and CeCe. He has a great job that allows him to work from home as he helps his daughter navigate her teenage years. He loves that he’s able to be there to support his Alexis as she focuses on taking her start-up to the next level.

CeCe, a typical teenager, is busy with her school play. She’s falling for her co-star and anticipating going to theater camp for the summer. Her mother is a bit too selfish for CeCe’s liking but Tommy is not only her father but her best friend. So all in all her life is pretty great.

Everything seems to be on-track until the family is dealt a devastating blow where they learn that they have one final summer to live as a family. The trio packs up and heads back to Tommy’s hometown where he met Alexis back when they were teenagers.

During their final summer the family comes to grips with what makes a family a family and what the most important things in life really are.

I really enjoyed this story and gave it 5 stars.

I received this book in exchange for an honest book review from Netgalley.

Book Review: All Heathens by Marianne Chan

A few months ago I agreed to review All Heathens in exchange for an honest review. A few months ago was a different time, not only in America but in the World. There was no global pandemic. We weren’t all working from home and praying that our friends and family members didn’t die on a daily basis.

There was no toilet paper shortage when I agreed to review this book and after reading the blurbs singing Marianne’s praises saying things about how the poems were “full of fire and laughter, airports, and the most unexpected dream-portals.” I couldn’t wait to get my grubby little paws on it.

Marianne Chan is a phenomenal writer. Her observances take the reader on an emotional eye-opening exploration of the highest order. From Momotaro in the Philippines, “And as I arise from the dreamy fluid- oh, the America, which preserves me.” to Counterargument That Goes All the Way Around, “making country out of family, family out of country,

All Heathens is the perfect read during a Pandemic.

Every day as things get worse and we hold our collective breaths I think of this book. I think about how Marianne Chan explores Colonialism. Which makes me think of travel which is a large part of how we got here in the first place.

As our elected officials seem to scramble and make deplorable decisions I think of the priest in Forgive Them for They Do Not Know What. Of him yelling at someone who made an accident. Of what it means to be human and how being human, now more than ever in my history, feels so absolutely fragile.

Like this collection I am full of hope for what will be and I’m so very grateful for the poetry in this collection which is helping me to get through this pandemic.

5 Stars and let’s all agree to be better humans.

All Heathens was released by Sarabande Books on March 24, 2020 and can be purchased from your favorite local literary store or from Amazon.

Book Review: Dub Finding Ceremony by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

I know that people normally begin reviews by giving you a blurb about the book but I think that this blurb on Alexis Pauline Gumbs is too good not to share with the world.

“Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist and an aspirational cousin to all sentient beings.  Her work in this lifetime is to facilitate infinite, unstoppable ancestral love in practice.  Her poetic work in response to the needs of her cherished communities have held space for multitudes in mourning and movement

When THE Alexis Pauline Gumbs is looking for advanced readers for her newest work, Dub on twitter first you jump at the chance. Then you start to fret at least a little bit on whether you are even qualified to write a review on anything written by someone who is essentially a national treasure. But, she trusted you with it so you decide to at the very least give it your best shot. 

Dub is the final volume of a poetic trilogy which began with Spill scenes of black feminist fugitivity. Spill is described as heartbreaking work that pushes the boundaries of art making and scholarship. The second volume M Archive After the end of the world asks the question of how black conciousness and bodies will be archived at the end of the world.

Since receiving Dub I’ve read it three times. The first time it took me over a month because I kept having to put it down as I became overwhelmed from the beauty of her words which she uses to call out the hipocrisy of the world and the way we treat each other and it. I gasped, took numerous sharp intake of breaths, cried and laughed out loud.

The second time I read it I was astounded by how swiftly Alexis pulls you into each piece with the beauty of nature then gut punches you with her observations on climate change, racism, sexism, colonialism, genocide and slavery. 

The third time I read it I fell in love with the first piece from the chapter titled “saving the planet”.

remember, you come from a people who not so long ago didn’t use water that way, that gave back to this land that sweats god’s tears of joy.

 People throw around terms like Genius and Magic frequently but if you open this book, flip to any passage, and don’t feel moved from your soul then I will assume that you don’t have one. 

5 stars aren’t enough for this sacred text but it’s all we got so… 

Dub Finding Ceremony will be released on February 14th 2020 and you can purchase your copy at most major retailers or at your favorite feminist bookstore. 

My sincere thanks to Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Duke Press for the ARC of Dub and the gifts of Spill and M Archive

Book Review: A Sister’s Power

“Already reeling from betrayal, middle sister Coco is fed up with lies—including her own. If she has her way, someone else’s neck needs to be on the line for a change. But soon, Coco’s in deep trouble with the law, her future hanging in the balance . . . Now the only thing that can save her is revealing one last devastating truth.

Struggling with unthinkable loss, Coco’s sister, Burgundy, finds comfort in a colleague’s arms. But her eight-year-old daughter wants no part of him. She wants the life she enjoyed when her father was alive. As Burgundy fights to move on from the shocking tragedy of her marriage, she seeks a silver lining. And against all odds, she wants herself and all her sisters to win. In spite of secrets, lies, deception, and hurt, she will do whatever it takes to support and empower her family. Even if it means risking everything that’s important to her.

Now between revenge, grief, and forgiveness, these siblings will challenge themselves—and all they think they know about each other—in a showdown that may leave them united—or cause them to forever fall apart . . .”

Reading the above premise had me totally invested in this story. Maybe If I would have read the previous books in the series I would have understood the characters more but the story just felt messy for messiness sake. The main character’s sneaking around felt hollow and unbelievable. 


I came away feeling like Burgundy and her sisters need therapy and possibly some Jesus. In real life I’m against corporal punishment but Burgundy’s daughter is one of those kids who make me understand why someone might reach for a belt. She was just way too much.

I really wanted to like this story but it dragged and seemed kind of all over the place. I gave it 4 stars for the premise and the promise. It just didn’t deliver for me personally.

Book Review: We Were Killers Once

What I Liked:

Bridget Quin is a female private investigator, she’s middle-aged, ex-FBI, they describe her as small but mighty and no one’s fool.

The story is based on Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which is based on actual events. There have always been rumors that there was a third person present at those murders and that there were additional victims in FL. This novel is a what-if of those murders, well researched and the premise is plausible.

Once the story gets going it has great pacing and some very interesting characters. 


What I didn’t like:

The connections seem to come out of thin air and only hold up if you don’t think about them for too long while twisting your head to the side, looking over your glasses and squinting.

Also, Why would the Bridget Quin character care so much about her new husband’s deceased ex-wife? This feels believable and dumb. I know we want flawed characters but it annoys me when strong women waste their time and emotions on things that don’t matter.

Someone gets out of jail after so many years and decides to go and hunt down something that likely wouldn’t be found and implicate them unless they go and hunt it down.

I gave this one 3 Stars.

Read if you like badass women who take names, kick butt, and ask questions later.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.  

Book Review: In West Mills

West Mills is the story of members of a small fictional town in rural North Carolina from 1941-1987. During that time period we follow the story of Azalea Knot Centre; a young school teacher determined to live life on her own terms. She likes to read books, drink, dance, and take random men to her home for late-night fun.

Of course, Knot’s past times are frowned upon in her small community and in her home town where her Dentist father and disapproving mother live. Ostracized, Knot finds friendship from her neighbor Otis Lee and his family.

Full of life, love, family, and friendship In West Mills is a phenomenal story about a cast of relatable authentic characters that you could find in any town in the world. They felt like family and I wanted the best for each of them especially Knot who I wanted to simultaneously hug, shake, and scream “GIRL GET IT TOGETHER” at the same damn time.

I gave it 5 stars.

Read if you love Kelly from Insecure and I mean who doesn’t love Kelly from Insecure we all saw the Coachella Episode. 40653132.jpg



Book Review: What Remains True

What Remains True is the story of Jonah and his family; his mother, father, sister Eden, aunt Ruth, and their dog. The story is told from the perspective of Jonah and his family including the dog and tells us what happened the day that Jonah died and whose fault his death was. 

His death has inexplicably changed his family forever.  His mother Rachel spends her days in bed depressed, unbathed, and relying on medication to keep her sedated. She is incapable of doing anything aside from screaming and crying so parenting her remaining child, Eden isnt something that she even knows how to do anymore. Even though we learn through her children that prior to Jonah’s death she was an amazing mother. 

 Eden blames herself  for Jonah’s death like the rest of her family but she’s also annoyed that her family isn’t making any progress towards moving on. She doesn’t want to return to school and be treated like the sister of a dead brother. She wants her life to resemble some sort of normalcy where her father isn’t sleeping on the couch, her mother isn’t drugged out of her mind, and her aunt is living at her own house minding her own business. 


Samuel, Jonah’s father is trying to move on. Trying to work and to take care of his family but how can he take care of Rachel if she can’t stand the sight of him and blames him for his son’s death? So he allows his sister in law Ruth, to reign supreme over the house. Someone has to cook breakfast and take care of Eden. 

What Remains True is beautifuly sad and hopeful. It’s a tale of loss and what comes next when someone dies at a very young age. I enjoyed this book especially the format of the story being told from everyone’s perspective including the dog and a ghost which felt fresh and interesting. 4 stars. 

Book Review: The Black God’s Drums

The Black God’s Drums

Creeper is a young orphan girl who spends her days creeping around New Orleans stealing what she can to survive in the Alternate version of America after the Civil War where New Orleans is a free state and the United States is no longer United. 

During one of her nights out she overhears that someone wants to sell a dangerous weapon. The same weapon that destroyed New Orleans in the past, a thunder storm so powerful it’s bound to knock New Orleans and all of its inhabitants off the face of the earth. 

Only one person, a female captain of an airship can help Creeper capture the man who intends to trade the fate of New Orleans for a precious Jewel. 

Using magic, wit, and the powers of the goddesses Oya and Oshun the two heroines save the day and forge a new friendship where they save not only themselves but the many different groups of people from Confederates, to Haitians, and a couple of mystical nuns, who reside in New Orleans. 

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the Black Girl Magic and the reimagining of a Fantastical America. 5 Stars. 

The Village; My Newest Love.

My new favorite television show is The Village. I have a tendency to fall in love with stories about humans loving other humans in the midst of it all. And The Village has it all. (so far) *fingers crossed like a mug*
I’m on episode three and BABAY When Lorraine Touissant’s character tells her man how heavy it is to have to deal with Cancer and the heaviness that is the sadness and despair of the people who love you, I near bout fell out of my chair.
It’s a conversation that I have with Sheree L. Greer frequently acted out on the screen in such a way that I never imagined was possible.
I’ve been waiting forever for someone to acknowledge this. To talk about what it’s like to be sick or fighting for your life and to also be burdened with the feelings and emotions of all of those around you in addition to every other horrifying thing you’re going through.
“It’s more work for me Ron, being in charge of your pain and mine I don’t have it in me.” Has got to be the best line on a television show this year. At least for me whose Mama and Mama’s Mama are both fighting cancers.
“You’re an organ in my body woman. You fail. I fail.” has me on the floor rolling around with something in betwixt glee and heartache.
It’s like… Grey’s Anatomy… That feeling that I had when I fell in love with it all those years ago and I’m so here for it.
Especially this love and those dance breaks.

Matchmaking for Beginners: Book Review

2 Stars

I wanted to love this book and while I loved things about this book in the beginning my love quickly went downhill.


What did I love about this book: The plot setup was amazing. I LOVED Blix the entirety of her story. If the whole story was about Blix then this would have been a five star review. Enter in Marnie and the story goes sideways. Without spoiling the story I can tell you that Marnie’s primary goal in life is to get married and have a life so simple and boring it would make the average person’s head spin.

The story had so much promise. I would have loved to read more about Blix who was a fresh breath of air of a character and her magical spells that brought people together in life and love but unfortunately the story is really about Marnie. Blix sets the story up for Marnie to have an amazing life but she’d not interested in that.


Even when Marnie is given the opportunity to explore and build an incredible life she only accepts the opportunity so that she can hurry up and get back to her hum drum of a life which wouldn’t be so horrible but she’s an unlikeable and boring character which makes the book a drag.

Read the story for Blix and the magic of matchmaking. Try and ignore how annoying and bland Marnie is.