What’s Your Story Wednesdays: J. Cerrone – Hood Politics

 

Title: We Survived It

Hood Politics is a gritty true to life crime novel about a homicide, a lone witness and a far reaching conspiracy that two Philadelphia police officers must uncover. Single young mother Yolanda, unwittingly witnesses the murder of a mid-level drug-dealer in North Philadelphia. Rocky and Antoine, a pair of hard-boiled homicide detectives are assigned to the case. Yolanda reveals details about what she saw, unknowingly sparking an investigation which threatens to rock the city’s political structure to its core.

Author: J. Cerrone

Philadelphia native, J. Cerrone, wrote his first work, “Prodigal,” at age nineteen, but chose to rewrite the book over ten years later, due to its true-to-life content. Cerrone’s real life experience with the streets and the justice system created a new path for himself and embarked upon writing a second book, “Illegal Life: A North Philly Story.” He later founded Paper-Chase Publications. J. Cerrone is also an avid reader and lists Donald Goines and Mario Puzo among his favorite authors.

 

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City on Fire

My city is burning. Erupting in waves of savage fury spurned on by generations of abuse. We didn’t light the spark but we happily fanned the flames, chanting and dancing around each ember crying to the heavens to be seen. We used your false promises and denials as kindling. Your blatant disregard for our lives as gasoline. We did not ignite the blaze sweeping through the streets.

For generations we owned no wood, nor matches. Were forbidden to learn how to make a pyre, dragged from this world long before we even knew who discovered the first flint.

Yet we are often blamed for the destruction that follows the fire. As if, we are the ones who so carelessly stacked gunpowder and dynamite in a corner and walked away, flinging our cigar ash behind us. As if we could even spare the time to do such things like procuring weapons of mass destruction. Or would have the desire to fling cigar ash if we had it.

We who are barely even considered alive.

Who cannot even walk down the street. Go to the store. Go for a jog. Sleep in a bed curled safely in our lovers arms. We can’t be children in a toy store. We can’t be families at a picnic. We can’t be students. Or caretakers or even police officers off the clock. We cannot be.

So why would you ever think us responsible for the fires? For the rage tearing through your fantasies? For your facade crumbling? We who never had a chance to feel free in this new land. Who were always persecuted for simply being. We did not engulf our cities in flames, but we also did nothing to put out the blaze.

Bleu’s Reviews: Conjure Women

Conjure Women focuses on three very different women of the same plantation. Told primarily from the perspective of Rue, daughter of esteemed conjure woman and favorite of Marse Charles Miss May Belle. Rue also happens to be trusted friend and confidant of the master’s daughter Varina. As the story swings from the past during May Belle’s reign as Queen of conjure on the plantation to present day Rue who has taken on the mantle as healer in the Resurrection – era village that is all that remains of their old home. Following the birth of “Bean”;  a child with unusual eyes, and the seasonal appearance of a traveling preacher, a sickness takes hold of the towns children. The townspeople are ready to turn their backs on Rue and towards their faith. As Rue works to find a cure, she begins a path at uncovering everyone’s secrets including her own.

Post – read I still can’t pinpoint exactly where this is located and I’m perfectly okay with that. Every main location was so well crafted I feel like I was blended into the story with them. My favorite would be Atakora’s description of the woods, the darkness of it how the fog seemed to emanate from it. The woods in post civil war village became a character in itself. I also loved how Rue interacted with the land itself, hiding coins in trees as she’d seen her mother do. How she often crouched low to the earth to pick flowers and herbs even the detail in which she described finding the herbs from different spots. I absolutely love a well built world and this book has it in spades.

The story is more about Rue than anyone else but seems to focus on Rue and how she maneuvers around other people. She is often measuring herself against her mother’s accomplishments. She feels a weighty responsible to look after the town and its children despite a clear and present threat to herself and yet she persists to ensure the people who live there are looked after and well cared for. Just as she had always served and cared for Varina throughout their upbringing. She often lets Varina lure her into mischief and I only say let because I feel like Rue at times doesn’t even attempt to speak up. The relationship she shares with Varina is a complex one that seems more maternal at times than what it truly is. The rivalries between a lot of the characters twists the theories of faith, magic and deception. What is illusion when belief becomes a tangible thing? Each of the characters in the book seem to be holding a secret and as the story progressed Atakora peeled back another layer until the final secret was brought to the light and true freedom could finally come.

 

Overall I 100% loved this book!

 

Its my first 5-star read of the year and I have loads more reading to do. As a debut novel I’d have to say Afia Atakora should be super proud of herself. Conjure Women was an amazign read. It was well written, i was into the story and genuinely felt something from start to finish. My goodreads feed was flooded with updates and I was able to finish this beauty in about three days.

 

I will be doing a live zoom discussion with #ALLTHINGSLIT Book Club to discuss Conjure Women be sure to check my social media for more information about that ❤ Can’t wait to chat with everyone soon.

 

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What’s Your Story Wednesdays: Simone Roberts – We Survived It

Title: We Survived It

“We Survived It,” is a collection of powerful stories, poetry and encouragement by women who have survived all the test, trials and darkness of life. From the desolation of loss, to the barren place of pregnancy complications, to mental warfare; this book is sure to encourage, uplift and inspire.

Author: Simone Roberts

Simone Roberts is a recent graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine where she studied to obtain her MS in Organizational Development and Leadership. Her first book was entitled “My Deepest Thoughts,” written in Middle School. She has performed her poetry at various events around the tri-state area. In 2010, Simone had her piece “Breaking the Generational Curse,” published by White Oak Press nationally. September 2013, she self-published her project “Life Through Her Eyes.” Through Her Eyes Productions, LLC is a company whose mission is to inspire women to share their stories through all art forms.

 

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What’s Your Story Wednesdays: Naturally Bookish – The Twilight Saga

Title: Twilight (The Twilight Saga)

What can be said about this series that true Twi-hards don’t already know? Though it only took three months to write, Twilight, stole the hearts of pre-teens worldwide and created an international phenomenon that has grossed over $3.3 billion in worldwide receipts at the Box Office. The series was written by Stephenie Meyer whose Mormon faith influenced her characters and style of writing. Publishing of the books began in 2005, and ended in 2008 as production of the first movie began. The books are published through Little, Brown and Company and has been translated into over 38 languages. Though praised for it’s popularity, The Saga is often harshly criticised for ‘poor writing’, stripped down characters and the belief that Bella is a ‘damsel in distress’.

Author: Stephenie Meyer

An author who has probably had her name mispelled even more than mine, Stephenie Meyer attributes her name as  a gift from her father, Stephen. She was awarded a National Merit Scholarship, and used it to pay her way to Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah. An English major, her concentration was in literature instead of creative writing. She  says can’t write without music, and her biggest muse is, the band, Muse.

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What’s Your Story Wednesdays: Kahlil “Mr. Residuals” Jackson – The Twelve Laws Of Success

 

Title: The Twelve Universal Laws of Success

Described as a success-cookbook filled with recipes for personal change and growth.  The Twelve Universal Laws of Success is said to be perfect for readers who want to quickly learn the laws of success and put their knowledge into action. Each universal law is presented showing its biblical and metaphysical foundations while demonstrating step-by-step action techniques to apply the law and get results. A self-help book that uses Biblical principles to facilitate personal development.

Author: Dr. Herbert Harris

Dr. Herbert Harris is an author, speaker and retired attorney. He is a graduate of Columbia University in New York City who has authored numerous books including How to Make Money in Music, a highly popular guide book to the music industry, The Golden Twelve Universal Rules for Achieving Success and Power Thoughts for Your Success.

Herbert’s most popular book, The Twelve Universal Laws of Success, provides an organized, straight forward, step-by-step approach to basic success principles and the laws of the universe under which they operate. It is an international best-seller in numerous countries including Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, India, Italy, Mexico, Romania and Saudi Arabia.

 

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What’s Your Story Wednesdays: Pearline Cooke of T.A.G & T.A.G. Dolls – Matthew 7:6

 

Title: Matthew 7:6

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast. ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them. under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Book: The Bible

 

The Bible is not a single work but a collection of works from a wide variety of authors, such as shepherds, kings, farmers, priests, poets, scribes, and fisherman. Authors also include traitors, embezzlers, adulterers, murders, and auditors. The word “bible” is from the Greek ta biblia, which means “the scrolls” or “the books.” The word is derived from the ancient city of Byblos, which was the official supplier of paper products to the ancient world. Over 100 million copies of the Bible are sold each year. In 1631, a publishing company published a Bible with the typo “Thou Shalt Commit Adultery.” Only 9 of these Bibles, known as the “Sinners’ Bible” exist today. The full Bible has been translated into 532 languages. It has been partially translated into 2,883 languages.

 

 

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That African Girl Dolls

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What’s Your Story Wednesdays: Jeannine A. Cook of Harriet’s BookShop – She Came To Slay

Title: She Came To Slay

A new way to look at one of the nation’s most influential women, She Came To Slay, shares Filled rare outtakes of commentary, an expansive timeline of Harriet Tubman’s life, new photos as well as those already in public domain, and commissioned illustrations. She Came To Slay includes sections like, “Harriet By the Numbers”, detailing her life by the number of times she went back down south, approximately how many people she rescued, the bounty on her head etc.  as well as a section titled “Harriet’s Homies”,  dedicated to those who supported her over the years.  She Came To Slay is a insightful mix of pop culture and scholastic diligence proving that Queen Harriet  absolutely deserves her crown and her permanent place in our nation’s history.

Author: Erica Armstrong Dunbar

Very little is available about Erica Armstrong Dunbar outside of her professional and scholastic achievements. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, Pa.  Erica Armstrong Dunbar has had a notable academic career. Currently a CHARLES AND MARY BEARD PROFESSOR OF HISTORY at Rutgers University. Dunbar specializes in African-American and US History as well as Women’s and Gender History. After Attending University of Penn she then earned an M.A. and Ph.D from Columbia University. Her first book was A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City, published by Yale University Press in 2008. Dunbar taught at the University of Delaware before joining Rutgers in 2017. In November 2018 Dunbar was named joint winner of the Frederick Douglass Prize for Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge.

 

 

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Blu Moon Fiction – Unboxing: T.A.G Dolls

 

Inspired by the culture of her people. Reesema Cooke started That African Girl dolls after seeing a lack of representation of melanin skin tones for little girls of color. “When i see little girls of color/ ethnicity playing with Caucasian dolls i start to wonder. Do we not have enough representation of ourselves in the doll at the store?” That question set the seamstress/entrepreneur to task at creating a doll line that was one of kind while still encompassing all of the Black Girl Magic we hold dear.  T.A.G Dolls are for those little people that want a doll that looks like them.

I discovered the line during some dress shopping for my besties wedding. One of the bridesmaids is the owner of T.A.G. As soon as I saw the handcrafted dolls I knew I had to have her make me one. So I requested she make me the Noel Bleu doll.

My Doll is wearing blue shades, a blue velour jumpsuit, matching bow and blue sneakers. Her skin color is chocolate and her hair is ombre blue. Pre-Made dolls like mine are $30. She offers custom doll options between $40 – $50 and free shipping on all purchases.