02 October 2012

New Reads: For Your Fall Collection

This article focuses on women authors telling women's stories in the hood. These titles will make nice additions to your fall collection for urban literature / street lit.

Miller, Karen Quinones. An Angry-Ass Black Woman. Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing. NY, NY, 2012. ISBN: 978-1-451607826 | 288 pages | Paperback | $15.00 USD

Annotation (from back cover): This sassy, shocking autobiographical novel captures the racial tensions, the hardships, and the bonds that formed between families and neighbors growing up poor in Harlem.

Review: Karen Quinones Miller gives us an inside view of what it was like to grow up poor in Harlem, NY, during the 1960s and 1970s and emerge into womanhood with a rare courageousness for overcoming some dark adversities. Miller's story chronicles the hardships she experienced to pull herself up and out of poverty to become a renowned author.  The protagonist tells her story in a series of flashbacks captured as memories of a comatose Karen lying in a hospital bed. Immobilized, Karen's memory soars as she vividly recounts days growing up poor, and how that poverty affected herself and her siblings. From drug addiction and drug dealing to incest, rape, mental illness, and domestic violence, the protagonist Karen has seen it all, and thus has every reason to be an angry-assed black woman. Reminiscent of the classic Manchild in the Promised Land, Miller's story will appeal to young adult and adult readers who can relate to the harsh experiences that Karen was able to overcome. Highly recommended for all public library collections.

McGill, C. HBIC: Head Bitch in Charge - A Series. Synergy Publications. Brooklyn, NY, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-975298091 | 256 pages | Paperback | $14.95 USD

Annotation (from back cover): Take a walk in the shoes of Elle Mitchell. She came up in the church but quickly became fascinated with the underworld. The youngest sister of three, Elle has something to prove. Street smart and book smart, she will stop at nothing to get rich quick. Determined, Elle sets out to be the Head Bitch In Charge. 

Review: Caroline McGill is author of the popular tale, A Dollar Outta Fifteen Cent" (2004). In this first volume of her new series, HBIC, Elle is an ambitious young woman who grew up in the church, but forms a drug crew of herself, her sister Twyla, and their cousin, Needra, to make it big in the world. The three girls made a fearsome trio of drug dealers better known as HBIC. The group is determined to rule the streets and own their profit. However, they run into some ruthless competition, from the demonic Chelsea who enjoys torturing women, to their own cousin, Olan, who they eventually must leave behind. Laced with some violence and graphic sex scenes, HBIC, is a well-written and crafted novel that will gain the attention of adult readers of the genre. Recommended for adult collections in public libraries.

Todd, Cori. THE RED IN HER EYES. XLibris Corporation. 2011. ISBN: 978-1-465357175 | 210 pages | Paperback | $17.99 USD

Annotation (from back cover): All it took was one pleasure-filled dream to get Trystan's fantasies twisted around the man who once stood as the center of her life and the man of her dreams, Trey Armstrong. Now that he has resurfaced, she can't seem to shake the feeling that something just isn't right ... a feeling that only Trey can explain.

Review: This is a love story about college sweethearts, Trystan and Trey, who try to reunite years later when they have grown to become different people in a different place and time. The author,  Cori Todd, frames this novel around R&B love songs. Each chapter is themed with a different song that helps to shape the context of the story as it unfolds. For example, chapter 32 is entitled "How Do I Breathe?" a song by the R&B singer, Mario. Todd's use of familiar music titles is an effective device that entices the reader to create background music in their mind as they read each chapter of the book. This technique makes reading the story more engaging and helps to keep the reader aware that they are in another world, a dream world, a fictional world of story. Older teens and adults will enjoy the passionate love story that is full of ups, downs, and turn-arounds. Recommended for older teens and adults in the urban literature collection; could also fit for the romance genre.


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