The Between by Tananarive Due

The Between: A Novel

The Between: A Novel by Tananarive Due

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Initial reaction: This book is like a shiny old school car that you admire as it drives by and you just want to ride in it and touch the buttery soft leather interior. It is a beaut!! This is what this book was for me. Gorgeous writing!! OMG!! I’m fangirling over some writing, okkk!!

This book is about a man named Hilton, who as a little boy, experienced 2 extremely stressful situations. Most notably, he experienced a near-death experience, where his grandmother saved his life. In turn, she dies saving him, and now, Hilton believes, the universe is hellbent on making him pay for escaping death when he was a kid. In addition, his wife has received death threats from a white supremacist who is out to get the first Black appointed judge from continuing her career. Hilton then becomes obsessed with protecting his family from these racist attacks, while trying to figure out what is going on with his mental health.

There is an unbelievable amount of tension that is at work in Due’s words, that magically pulls you through this book with deftness and curiosity. Due has impeccable writing!! Flawless! You hear me?! Perfect writing! She leaves nothing out! This story gripped me from the very beginning and did not let me go until the end. I consumed this book in 2 days, and I didn’t want it to end at all. Her character development led me to believe that all her characters were real! They were so well-developed, that you can’t tell me these characters don’t exist.

Due talks about a wealth of topics here so superbly that I cannot write a review that would do this book justice. You just have to read it!

She talks about:
– Racial hostility towards Black people (police sanctioned violence towards Black boys specifically)
– White supremacy and terrorism
– Hate crimes
– Black family structure
– Mental health illness (specifically Schizophrenia and stigmas)
– Grief
– Death
– Marriage
– Importance of police living in neighborhoods they serve (Black policemen)
– Dreams and interpretations vs. superstitions

I had slept on Tananarive Due for awhile now. I’ve had her book, My Soul to Keep for such a long time that now after reading The Between, I will be reading her other book. I’m ashamed at myself for waiting this long to read her work.

This book completely dissolves the line between fantasy and reality, and Due does so in such a way that as a reader, you become lost and question what’s real and what’s not in this book as you go along. Her plot twists, and tense action/thriller scenes make for a great read. Very compelling read, and the writing keeps you guessing to the very end while keeping you on pins and needles all the way through this book.

Awesome awesome awesome!! 5 stars.

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Black Under by Ashanti Anderson

Black Under

Black Under by Ashanti Anderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You might not be ready for this book, cause I know I wasn’t. However, it’s here and this book is not going anywhere. Ashanti Anderson has done a truly remarkable job here. In a short book of 30 pages she has blown my mind. She is a master storyteller, phenomenal linguist, and artful creator in her wordsmithing. You cannot categorize her work. She cannot be fit into a box, and will likely shoot out of a cannon if you try to manipulate and mold her work into something it’s not.

This book, Black Under, defies what poetry is supposed to look like, what it’s supposed to read like; how it’s supposed to make you feel.

Her metaphors are rapturous, and makes me want to live in her words forever. She is unflinching and unapologetic as she digs deep into our history. We are Black AF, and Black Under, and she demands everyone to know as such.

Some poems that will forever be etched in my mind are:
– Ode to Black Skin
– Slave Ship Haibun
– The Body Recalls
– Answer to an Earnest Prayer

Poetry is very subjective. Though these poems may not fit for many, you cannot deny the genius of Anderson’s words. Her words go within. Under your skin. Taking hold to every captive thought. This collection deserves all the attention and praise. Very well done.

Thank you to the author Ashanti Anderson, and Nanda at Coriolis, and Black Lawrence Press for this amazing collection and I cannot wait to hear more from Ashanti Anderson.

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The Perfect Find by Tia Williams

The Perfect Find

The Perfect Find by Tia Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I inhaled Seven Days in June in about a 48 hour timeframe. So, you know I had to pick up her book that is being turned into a television series, “The Perfect Find.” Her most recent novel, Seven Days in June, was impeccable, so I just knew anything I picked up from her was going to be divine.

The Perfect Find, for the most part, is a really good standalone romance novel that can completely captivate a reader and pull them all the way into the story, like you are a fly on the wall. I was totally engaged, eyes wide open, fully immersed from the very first page.

Tia Williams is telling a story about a 40 year old woman who is trying to rejuvenate herself after a major break up and life change in her career. She also talks about several real world issues regarding older women, dating, late-stage career shifts, financial security, dating younger men and the cougar behavior, childbearing/rearing after 35, and haters. She covers the entire social stratum in this book and what it means to be a single 40 year old Black woman with no children, trying to make a comeback in her life. Imagine, How Stella Got Her Groove Back meets Living Single.

The story made for some really good drama and tension in this book. I was completely drawn in and on the edge of my seat as all the juicy details was just coming to life right before my eyes. The book had the right amount of tension, tea, and haterade coming to life in this book. I was hanging on for dear life for the majority of the ride. However, there came a part of the book , about 2/3rds in, where I felt like it was too drawn out and became boring, but it picked back up, and the ending was well worth it.

I really enjoyed the attention to detail that Williams had for this story. I gleaned a ton of various messages from this book, which provided a great deal of encouragement to women all around.

Some of the themes that I found in this book were:
– Independence
– Resilience
– Determination
– Starting over
– Dating, commitment, red flags
– Career women
– Feminism
– Late-stage parenting
– Relationships
– Friendships
– Cougar behavior
– Dating
– Sex

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The story had a perfect balance between wit, charm, and romance. My only critique is that about 2/3rds in, the story gets bogged down tragically with minutae, but it does recover, and the ending is definitely worth it and makes up for the portion of the story that tanked. 4.5 stars

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Just as I Am by Cicely Tyson

Just as I Am

Just as I Am by Cicely Tyson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Ms. Cicely Tyson was an amazing human being. She has definitely lived an extraordinary life, and I’m so grateful to have been alive at the same time as she.

Ms. Cicely was a spunky, ingenious, compassionate, loving, hard working woman who captivated the hearts and minds of millions of people over a nine decades long life. She was definitely living her best life to the very last minute, and I’m so thankful that she finally let us in to her life behind the scenes.

Tyson came up during America’s most critical times, and she persevered every step of the way since she was born. She arrived on the scene with a purpose already foretold by God, and she intended to live her life according to God’s will and his purpose for her life.

Ms. Tyson set the record straight on numerous topics, including her actress work on the stage, her relationships with her family, her relationship with Miles Davis, and how she set herself up to live in God’s purpose as best as she could. Many people hail and look up to Ms. Cicely Tyson, but she reiterates many times how she’s a flawed individual and that she has made mistakes, just like we all have. She tells us that we all process life differently and that our experiences are not all the same. However, she encourages us with God’s words and his promises for our lives if we only submit to His will and allow him to work through us. Ms. Cicely Tyson was very transparent about her life and the decisions she made throughout, and I was deeply appreciative that she didn’t hold back, but was able to bare her soul and release the things she at long last wanted to say.

I learned a great many history lessons in this book, that really set me on a path to do more research about people she discussed that are/should be in our history books. This book also shared numerous gems that fell like gentle wisdom cascading down to my brain, and I imagined that I was sitting at the feet of an elder who was sharing not only intimate details, but life experiences that she went through to share wisdom, and to articulate how we are all just human beings and we experience the same/similar issues.

I loved how Ms. Cicely didn’t compromise herself, and that she always stayed true to herself. She made sure she was treated with dignity and respect, and deeply considered her platform and intentions with her morale compass on a regular basis. She was constantly well aware of her station as a Black woman, and how she had to fight and show up to prove that she could do the work. She never gave up on herself and truly put forth 110% on everything she did.

The section about her daughter was truly sobering and inspiring. Understanding the timeframe and immense pressure surrounding her circumstances we don’t know what we would have done in her situation. I’m glad that she got the opportunity to still be apart of her daughter’s life, I did feel a bit sad every time she was mentioned because you could literally feel the strain in the relationship by just the words used when her daughter was mentioned.

Ms. Cicely Tyson was a very spunky young lady. The way she talked about her relationship with Miles Davis, to the white male patriarchy that she had to deal with in Hollywood and on the stage was entertaining. I was laughing and crying right along with Ms. Tyson as she shared anecdotes and stories about everything she encountered.

To have lived 96 years, wow, her life was a life well lived. She shared a great amount of wisdom in these pages. I felt like there was a sheen of wisdom layered on top of the pages I read. You could just feel the wisdom and knowledge dripping out of these pages. As a reader, I felt like I was sitting at the feet of a dear ancestor, soaking up our history and stories and just relishing in their experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed her memoir, and the writing was phenomenal!

Many themes she expressed in this book was:
– Feminism
– Womanism
– Independence
– Spirituality
– Preservering
– Steadfastness
– Empowerment
– Black pride
– Humble
– Child of immigrants
– Watching addiction ravish a loved one
– Domestic violence/abuse
– Motherhood
– Generational trauma

I would definitely recommend this book to others. 5 stars.

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The Spook Who Sat by the Door by Sam Greenlee

The Spook Who Sat by the Door

The Spook Who Sat by the Door by Sam Greenlee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have I been living under a rock??? Like, why haven’t I read this book before?? Wow. This book is mind-blowing and deeply engaging all at the same time. I was initially interested in this book after a number of friends had nothing but great things to say for this book. I prioritized it this year after I made my reading challenge this year. This book was published before I was born, and it immediately put me into a mindframe like I was talking to my dad about ‘back in the day.’ There are some late 60’s/70’s vibe to it in regards to the vernacular used in the dialogues between some characters. I feel like I’ve just heard a story from my dad and his brothers, and it was an amazing experience to live in and read about in this racial climate we have going on right now.

This book has undertones of Black Panthers, Garveyites, Martin vs. Malcolm approach to violence, Black bourgeoise, Vietnam era, and NAACP all rolled together.

This book satiricalizes some ideals from the Civil Rights era, and the continued fight towards equality of Black Americans.

Major themes in this book discuss:
– Capitalism
– Colonial theft
– Imperialism
– Socialism
– Anti-Black sentiment
– Integration

Last year, I read a book titled, N*gga Theory, that kind of relates to this book, but in a nonfictional way. However, the premise is that Black people are not a monolith, we are victims of white supremacy, and the continued oppression to our people contributes to the demise of our communities and population. The Spook Who Sat by the Door, spins a similar view of the actual problems the Black community face on a daily basis and satiricalizes it in such a brilliant way that you cannot ignore the messages and gems that are left in its wake. The truth is being shared here in 100% authenticity, in between the satirical fiction that laces this book. Although for 1969, this was satire, in 2021, well, this could definitely be a possibility. It’s definitely not far from the truth.

Sam Greenlee shares the frustrations Black people have with the government, and with white supremacy. The constant need for Black people to have to appease ‘the white man’ or stay true to self and struggle. The never-ending terrorism from police brutality. The constant harassment in corporate America from macro/micro-aggressions. While Greenlee builds tension and mystery in this book, it poses as a metaphor as to how the pressure is building up in our community, sending us closer and closer to a boiling point. Ready to strike back and put pressure on systems that continue to create and perpetuate systemic racism.

“I dig being Black and the only thing I don’t dig about being Black is white folks messing with me.”

This book is timely and a classic. Unfortunately, this book is still relevant and the reader can truly understand the past as it relates to our current present day. Although some progress has been made, it is clear that we are still far away from our ultimate goal. In our current racial posture, and with Black Lives Matter as our emerging national movement, this book is a great compliment to ponder on while you think about the present day racial tension that still exists.

This book will be on my most recommended book list from now on. Great read. 5 stars.

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Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

Black Buck: A Novel

Black Buck: A Novel by Mateo Askaripour

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read and bookmarked a couple of bookstagrammers’ thoughts about this debut novel from Mateo Askaripour. I have thoroughly enjoyed their takes on how they have felt about this book [See their posts: @readingwithglamour and @_britt_lit] I also read articles and interviews about this book with the author to get his take on how his novel is looked at in the world, and who this book is meant to be read by.

I almost wrote an alternative review to really express how I felt, but I think that type of review would come across as polarizing and I don’t want to give that impression that it’s an ‘us vs them’ type of reaction. However, this does deserve some sort of “Black only” review and a politically correct (PC) review, I just don’t know if I’m the person to give that type of perspective.

With all that being said, I will say this… this book will take you to many places emotionally. As a Black person, this book angered me, made me laugh, made me cry, made me second guess some sh*t in my life, make me wish a mf would, made me disassociate with some problematic white people, made me cheer, boo, and say ‘hell yea,’ on more than one occasion. This book comes at you hard and fast, and will break walls (literally breaks the 4th wall) while reading this debut novel.

The author states that this book is written to Black people for Black people, and that if a white person is reading this book, to consider themselves an honorary Black person. Hmmm…. yea, that threw me too. Which made me think, “is this book satire??” There is a lot of commentary regarding the “satire” categorization of Black Buck. An interview I read stated these words: “Askaripour wields a sharp satirical blade to deliver social commentary.” Who said? Did Mateo say that?? No. Mateo said that “the humor in the book is meant to be an inside joke to Black people” and that if he had white people in mind while writing this he wouldn’t have written it. He also states that he didn’t set out to write satire. So why are people calling this book satire?? Even the interviewer in the article I read continuously referred to this book as satire that could double as a self-help book. Multiple sources continue to put this book in the satire column as if to make this book palatable or even comical. THIS BOOK IS NOT SATIRE!!!

In my opinion, what this book does is squarely look into the faces of non-Black people and show them how they look and treat Black folk when they try to “save us from ourselves.” When they treat us as commodities or pets or special projects/experiments that are handled with a certain type of care. This book breaks open a huge hole… spying into the world of those who are the only Black in spaces. How whiteness constantly tries to shrink us to fit their narratives a bit easier. To shorten our names, or even rename us for their pleasure and comfort. How some white people try to direct our lives to “help us” cause they think we need it. We also see the direct result of Black people who get caught up in a world where white attention sucks us dry and makes us do things that puts us into the “not all skinfolk is kinfolk” box. The person I thought of the most in this situation was AG Daniel Cameron. He got duped into thinking that the white people in his circle, would actually help him. He is the actual Black Buck who got tricked into turning his back on his own community. Who lives for the attention and gaze of the whites to get ahead and trample on the Black folk who put him there to begin with. He gets no sympathy from me, just like Darren got no sympathy from me by the end of the book.

The author also stated that he intended for this book to be a guide for Black people who wanted to be successful in sales. He wanted Black people to be able to pick up tips and pointers on how to really get good in this world of sales. He also wanted to warn Black people about the dangers of getting caught up in the power that can suck all the humanity out of a person when they rise to the top, especially in startup companies. Mateo takes extraordinary care in describing how this culture can destroy everything around you if you let it. I really appreciated how he showed the dangers of what could potentially happen when you let that power get to your head, and the dynamics of his relationships that were affected.

This book is not absurd, to be honest. As much ridiculousness that goes on in here, it’s not absurd. This stuff does happen to Black people on a daily basis. Being the only Black person puts you in a position that is hard and unique. It is important to constantly remind yourself of who you are, just like the old gargoyles on the street that constantly reminded Darren of who he was and where he came from. At the end of the day, as a Black person, you will always be Black. What that means is that you can’t trust the system cause the system wasn’t designed with us in mind. It was designed to keep us out. The minute they don’t need you, you are out in the cold alone with no help. Having to tuck tail and run back to where you came from, all to be slapped in the face by the same people who look like you, and become ostracized.

Black Buck was hard to read sometimes. It can be seen as polarizing. Divisive. Ridiculous. Absurd. Controversial. Movies that came to mind were: Glengarry Glen Ross, Boiler Room, Death of a Salesman, Pursuit of Happyness, etc.

I bounced around the spectrum of feelings with this book. I hated it. Loved it. Was aggravated. Was sad. Was happy. Was furious. Was inspired. Was sympathetic. Was apathetic. The list could go on. For every positive reaction, there was a negative reaction right around the corner waiting for me. I hated the name ‘Buck’ for Darren. I hated that he even accepted this and made it apart of his character. I hated that he wanted to be Buck, and that he embodied this persona even though it hurt everything in his life. I hated that he was hated. Yet, I didn’t care what happened to him at the end. He deserved that sh*t!

My words are all a jumble, but if you read this book, you might understand why I feel the way I do. especially if you are Black and have ever been caught in spaces as ‘the only.’ This book spins diversity, sales, accountability, success, inclusiveness, exclusiveness, opportunities, capitalism, racism, and hard work into a new perspective. Mateo Askaripour, what in the world is going on in your brain? I can’t wait to see what you have next in store. Congrats on raising hell and killing us with your words. I hated to like this, and liked to hate it. You fucked me up. 4 stars.

Sidenote: Zeno Robinson made this audiobook a great experience. I would highly recommend listening to this book. His girl voices ain’t that great, but he did a fantastic job!

Thank you to Libro.FM (, Mateo Askaripour, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for this book in exchange for a fair and honest opinion.

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Everywhere You Don’t Belong by Gabriel Bump

Everywhere You Don't Belong

Everywhere You Don’t Belong by Gabriel Bump

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coming of age story. Claude McKay Love is being raised by his grandmother and her gay male friend Paul, after his parents abandon him at the age of 5. We learn about the South Shore in Chicago, Claude’s friends, and how he copes with the abandonment of his parents, being raised by his grandmother and Paul, navigating the pressures in his life, going to college, and figuring out life in general.

Claude seems to be in a perpetual state of sadness as he deals with the adversities of life. He’s trying to find a place in life for him, but all he realizes is that no one wants him (Black male) and he’s trying to figure out what to do with all of that.

Gabriel Bump introduces so many issues that are really timely and necessary.
– Racism
– Abandonment
– Atypical childhood
– Black Neighborhoods
– Black Trauma
– Socioeconomic issues
– Coming-of-age
– Adulting
– Gang violence

Many parts of this book read like a collection of short stories, and not a cohesive novel, but eventually it all came together for me at the end. Although I really enjoyed the prose-like narrative, I kept trying to figure out what kind of novel this was developing into. The first half of the book read with such power and dark wit, that I loved it. The second half of the book where Claude grows up more seemed much more serious and showing how he was all about trying to be a good, righteous, successful, assimilated, cultured, and lovable person, and pursue his dreams as an adult.

In the end though, we see Claude realize what’s the same and what’s different. The way in which he should go, and what’s at stake, Claude has to make some tough and decisive decisions.

Overall, this book is spectacular and highly recommend to the YA community. I highly suggest that you keep an open mind and think outside of the box with this book. Don’t let the beginning get you snagged. The entire book is worth its weight in gold!

Thank you to Algonquin books and Netgalley for providing me with an advance copy of this book for a fair and honest review. Definitely excited to be apart of the blog tour celebrating the release of Everywhere You Don’t Belong by Gabriel Bump.

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The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans

The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories

The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories by Danielle Evans

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So a little back story…

I read her debut short story book, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self” and I felt punk’d by the reviews I had seen of the book. I couldn’t even force myself to finish her first book. I believe in second chances, and so I chalked the first one up to it being debut. The second book should have a slight bump up in everything to solidify the newcomer as a writer in the field. However, listening to this book made me feel suffocated and I didn’t like that at all.

There is not enough balance in these short stories to make it cohesive for me. I got lost honestly, and didn’t know where these stories were going. I listened to this book and for the life of me, I only kept going because it became background noise while I was working. I couldn’t really pay attention to what was being said because the stories did not grab me one iota to keep me interested. To me, this book is a reflection of the current culture and presented a deep introspection that left me out of the loop. I felt like an observer who had no permission to enter the conversation or experience.

The way she writes makes me confirm the reason why I do not like short stories. This is not in any way meant to be a negative critique to her writing, as she writes well, its just not in a way that allows me to have an experience with her work. I literally got nothing from this book, and that truly sucks as a book reader, who wants to have an experience with Black women’s work.

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The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane with Neil Martinez-Belkin

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane is about his life, and how he hit rock bottom before he made significant changes in his life for the better.

This autobiographical account of Gucci Mane is very transparent and raw. He talks about his upbringing, his move from Alabama to Georgia, and how this shaped him at a young age, and the life he became involved with due to him being in this type of impoverished environment.

I’ve never been a fan of Gucci’s music, and this memoir did not make me want to run out and cop his music or become a fan. However, it did allow me to see a flawed human make it from nothing to something and live to tell about his journey.

Gucci talks about the drugs, the addiction, the music, the violence, the hustle, the dope game, prison stints, drug rehab, the countless arrests, parole violations, the miscalculations in business, the money, the women, the madness and chaos of the (t)rap game, the rap beefs with other artists, like Jeezy, and the lessons he learned along the way.

Many people may have come to read about how he got in the game, how he pioneered the way for trap music, and how he made his money, or came to get more info on the beef between him and Jeezy, but the story of Gucci Mane was very interesting to say the least, and much better than I expected. I applaud him for telling his side of his story and allowing this account of his life (in his own words) serve as a turning point.

However, Gucci glosses over most of his “law issues” as nothing or that all of these run-ins with the law was caused by some force outside of himself, but the “law issues” seemed to all be self-induced and quite preventable. He basically self-sabotaged himself for most of his adult life. Unable to stay out of trouble, and believing that the police and others (including the court system) were out to get him.

I also felt he had a bit of megalomania, and made very poor financial decisions, legal decisions, behavioral decisions, emotional decisions, and he was quite mentally unstable for a long time. Finding out that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder doesn’t surprise me, seeing how erratic his behavior was throughout his rap career, but it seemed like he was surrounded by enablers and very few people who cared about him.

I can see this book as a tale of “rags-to-riches,” but I also can’t really sympathize with his frequent self-induced prison stints that didn’t have to happen. He was in a bad cycle of repeating the same mistakes over and over, and he couldn’t ever break from it until his last prison sentence that forced him to go through withdrawals from drugs, from violent behaviors, from poor choices, and life in general. I’m not a proponent of Black men in jail, but prison really did save Gucci’s life.

Overall, the book doesn’t offer any real take-aways or lessons to learn, but mostly is a book for his fan base and any one who is interested in learning about the “Trap God,” Gucci Mane LaFlare. Gucci allows you to see into his life in whole, and doesn’t shy away from anything. I applaud his candor, humor, and realness in discussing his troubled past. I hope that he continues to stay on the straight and narrow path, and continues helping others to not go down the same path as he, but offer real help and mentorship to keep young men and women from repeating some of the same mistakes he made in life. I rate this book a 3.75/4.

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American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

American Spy

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What do you think of when you hear “American Spy?”
Drama? Action? Plot twists? Cliff hangers? Crime? Mystery? Excitement?

Yea, this book wasn’t hitting on anything. Written as an Epistolary novel, this book tells the story of Marie Mitchell, a Black female protagonist who is embarking on spy missions in Burkina Faso to upend the Communist leader, Thomas Sankara, for the United States.

First off I want to say what I liked about this book. The author was brave and bold in her ideas about the premise of this story. We don’t read many stories with Black American spy women who work for the government, getting involved in high espionage profile cases. I also applaud the author in telling this story from the woman’s perspective of working in a male dominated career, during the 80s, and how the Cold War affected everything in the world. This book is also supposedly a journal to her two sons, left in case anything happens to her.

The topics discussed in this book:
– Misogynoir
– Social justice issues
– Feminism

However, even after all of that goodness that I just shared, this book was equally boring! The epistolary novel format did not work for me. The story jumped around a bit too much in the narration aspect for me to settle into the actual plot of the story. I felt like there was so much missed here as far as action, drama, mystery, suspense, crime, excitement… like the synopsis of the book was more exciting then the actual book!

Marie Mitchell, is supposed to be a brilliant spy. So much so that she already knows what she’s being asked to do without it even being said. However, if she was so brilliant, why did she get caught up in falling for the okey-doke later on in the book? The plot has so many holes and missing pieces that the plot suffers in its execution. The pacing, the storylines, the backstories, the events that happen in the book was just so underwhelming, that I’m still scratching my head to figure out what I missed.

Initially I was hooked but also put off because I wasn’t really understanding what POV this book was written in, but once I got the hang of it, I was able to grasp onto the story. However, initially it was fast paced, and mysterious, and thrilling… and then, the story kind of closed in on itself internalizing everything, and then opening back up at the end. I think the author wanted the reader to be engaged and immersed in the plot from the very beginning, but then after the first quarter of the book, you kind of get lost in the minutia of detail, and then slip and fall trying to find your way to the end. There is also a totally unconvincing romance plot that leaves you asking more questions then it’s worth, but it’s kind of the crux of the story, so you are left floundering for details hoping for more engagement. Overall, this book was boring, disengaging, and full of unwanted minutia. I have such high hopes for Black women writers, and especially for Black women protagonists, but this book was underwhelming and fell flat for me. I rate this book a 2.5.

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