The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give. Angie Thomas. 2017. Balzer + Bray. 469 pages. [Source: public library.] Ever so often, a book’s hype will precede itself in a way that makes it impossible to ignore, no matter how oblivious I am. The first I’d heard about The Hate U Give was when news of its film adaptation came out.  That Amandla Stendberg would play the protagonist piqued my interest. But it wasn’t until everyone around me – book lover or not — started buzzing about it that I picked it up. My bad. I’ve since learned my lesson. The Hate U Give is centered on Starr, a 16-year-old black teen who straddles the line between two worlds: Garden Heights Starr is the daughter of a former gang member who struggles to find her place in her urban neighborhood and Williamson Starr is a popular scholar-athlete at a prestigious private school across town where nobody knows her family backstory or home zip code.  She has to constantly balance being black enough to navigate her neighborhood in the shadow of her dad’s past while being palatable enough for her suburban peers to accept her as one of the “good ones.” It’s a precarious balance, but…

Prudence

Prudence. Michele Kimbrough. 2014. 356 pages. [Source: Kindle Unlimited.] Prudence, I’m pleased to say, was a more substantial book than I was expecting. From its description, I figured I’d read a largely predictable, yet entertaining story about a woman who falls in love with her long-time friend while trying to comfort him through their mutual grief. That is, at best, an oversimplification of the story; it’s honestly a mischaracterization.  It’s more akin to a reawakening, wherein the main character has to reconcile her vision of her life with the reality of her truth.  Admittedly, I had to reread the book synopsis to check my own assumptions. Maybe I misread it.  That’s not the case, but I actually enjoyed this “catfish” moment.  The result was a book that constantly kept me interested and needing to figure out what secret was going to pop out next. The book is centered on Prudence Payne. She’s a disgraced up-and-(was)coming attorney who is in a long-term relationship with a married man whose wife is well aware. She’s still reeling from the death of her best friend to cancer. She’s not even on speaking terms with her mother, and her father’s never been in her life.  She’s…

Everything I Always Wanted

Everything I Always Wanted. Stephanie Nicole Norris. 2017.275 pages. [Source: Kindle Unlimited.] It’s a long-known “fact” that men and women can’t be platonic friends. Shelby and Sebastian, however, have bucked that assumption for decades. Instead, they’ve been each others’ rock, supporting the other through the ups and downs of life.  Now they’re at the height of their careers — Sebastian’s a sought-after photographer and Shelby’s an internationally-known painter — and their friendship is stronger than ever. The catch is that everyone around them seems to think they’re too stupid to realize they’re in love with each other. Sebastian and Shelby are mostly endearing, and it’s refreshing to see their genuine friendship. They are devoted to each other without ulterior motives, with Sebastian taking it upon himself to be Shelby’s protector. That kind of complicates her relationship with Alan, who she’s been with for nearly a year.  Shelby finds herself between a rock and a hard place in how to manage the men in her life. She wants to honor her relationship with Alan and needs to cut Sebastian off to give it a fair chance; however, she doesn’t want to give up the one person who’s closest to her.  Also, she…

Adore You

Adore You. Nicole Falls. 2016. 166 pages. [Source: Kindle Unlimited.] Love is messy. Sleeping with your ex’s brother is messy squared.  Alas, that’s where Devorah finds herself. She grew up with the Taylor brothers, Ellis and Everett, along with her friend Cadence. The four were nearly inseparable due to their mothers’ sorority bond.  It seemed to go without saying that she and Everett would marry after dating through high school. And they were on that path until he fell in love with her roommate (no hard feelings there … seriously). Devorah and Ellis instead chose to pursue their physical interest in each other, but that’s where she draws the line. She refuses to let him get closer than he already is, though it mostly seems like a losing battle. She’s afraid of how it will look if she settles down with her ex’s brother, particularly since their mothers are a big part of her life. She’s convinced their judgment will be swift and strong, and she’s not about that life.

Bad Habit

Bad Habit. Blu Daniels. 2015. 168 pages. [Source: Kindle Unlimited.] What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment. I devoured Misconceptions, and I just had to know more about Braxton Earwood.  He left a bad taste in my mouth in the first book, because he treated his girlfriend (?)/babies’ mother so horrifically while she was pregnant.  I came into this book expecting him to have had a “come to Jesus” moment after the birth of the quadruplets and be good for once. That’s not quite what happens here. The book starts with Braxton basically forcing Alex to marry him. His outward excuse is that if they aren’t legally married, the costs of her healthcare will bankrupt the family.   She reluctantly agrees, and Braxton feigns that he’ll be a devoted-ish husband.  I found it difficult to ascertain, in the beginning at least, whether Braxton was capable of viewing their marriage as more than a legal contract. It was clear that although Alex was a reluctant bride, she was also willing to throw herself 100% into their partnership beyond just a legal level. If it was possible, this book made me dislike Braxton even more. His outlook on life and interactions with friends, family, and…