Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Heartbreak U by Johnni Sherri


Heartbreak U Johnni Sherri
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Four diverse young women meet after attending a very popular HBCU; each at a crossroads in their lives. Born and raised in the heart of Brooklyn, Franki doesn’t take crap from anyone. After relentlessly being hurt by the men in her life, she finds herself using them for the one thing she believes they’re good for. Sex. But when she’s labeled for her promiscuity and a new tragedy strikes, how will she recover? Paris, on the other hand, has led a life of privilege out in Beverly Hills; one that didn’t include very many minorities in her circle. When her mother sends her off to an HBCU in hopes that she’ll reconnect with her people, she finds herself culture shocked. Asha, the local girl, is a complete slacker when it comes to school and anything else that doesn’t align with her future plans of becoming a basketball wife. She is a user and a mastermind manipulator that will ultimately have to pay a price. Then lastly there’s Hope, the good girl. Raised by her father and brought up in the church, she’s been sheltered most of her life. But when she falls hard for the big man on campus and gets her heart crushed to pieces, will she persist? 

Told from each character’s distinct point of view, this narrative is about each young woman navigating the dynamics of sex, love and heartbreak in college. Being outcasts in their own right, these four young women ultimately forge a very unique bond.
Heartbreak U is heavily romance and relationship-based. It is thoroughly entertaining, but the girls lacked the closeness I was expecting. 
Paris, Asha, Hope, and Franki are from four different worlds. They could likely, if possible, be from four different universes. They differ in every way. And, when the four came together as roommates, the differences were stark.
College is a precarious time for any adult, and watching these four ladies navigate college, love, and life—brought back memories. My experience at college wasn't nearly as dramatic but I remember showing up to campus and moving into my dorm—not having the slightest clue who I was, or what I would be doing. It is an opportunity for growth and self-discovery, and it is also so for the four.
Though the ladies had little-to-nothing in common, there was a shared growth process, which mostly took place in their relationships. There were a lot of firsts: first love, first times, first time for opening up.
They learned a lot about themselves as it pertained to how they navigated love. There wasn't a lot of self-discovery outside of that. It was the relationships they developed, romantically, that brought about change, growth, and revelation. 
While I didn't completely understand every single relationship, there were takeaways from all of them: Learning to love completely, letting go of inhibitions, learning to trust and re-finding your faith, and learning to be open-minded. 
The characters are like onions, and now that I'm aware we're getting more stories, we've just barely revealed the first layer.
Asha was hard to love. She brushed the girls off and typically gave off attitude, but you get to see a little of why she's like that. Hope is a sheltered church girl with so much to learn—and learn she does. Franki's had a tough-go but with the love of a preacher's kid, learns that there's more to life than the hurt she's had to and continues to experience. Paris is spoiled. Attending this HBCU is the first time she's been in a place where she's not the only black person. She seems to take in all in stride, just barely being shocked by it all.
The book is good. But, there's a lot more to dive into. The story ends off in a cliff-hanger, which was shocking. There's no sign that this book is a series—so the way the book ended took me by surprise. I'm still not sure if this is a good or bad thing. I'll let you know when the next book releases.
The book is worth getting into, if not for its realistic take on college life. Though I found the lingo to be a little dated (I'm from New York, we've stopped saying Ma as a term of endearment some time ago. So, hearing it always catches me off guard.) the book is very now, and I think readers of any age will appreciate this take on college life.
I will warn you this book contains rape. So, if this is a trigger—do not pass go. While I felt that portion of the book isn't handled as well as I would have liked—I respected that it was included. Only because this is a part of college life that's normally ignored, so I respect the author for trying to talk about it. It's delicate. So, this is fair warning. 
It unpacks a lot, and for a series, it's a great start. I'm interested to see where the author takes this story and the characters. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Going Through "Power" Withdrawals? 10 Urban Fiction Novels To Feed Your Need Until The Show's Return

Aerial View and Grayscale Photography of High-rise Buildings

I don't know about you, but as a Power fan my favorite part of the show is hearing the theme song:
"They say this is a big rich town," will have any Power fan ready to go.

I was inspired to create this post because I miss having something to tune into every week—I'm having tv withdrawals. I need something juicy and dramatic to watch. I look forward to the show's return.

I know people shy away from Urban Fiction—but pull your nose down, sis. There are good titles out there—and here are a few I think you should try:

I don't think Teri Woods gets enough credit for being a pioneer in Urban Fiction. 




5. Hood Rat by K'wan (Standalone)




10. Alibi by Teri Woods (Series)

Friday, March 22, 2019

Romance Novels Written by African American Authors I've Read That I Would Have Voted For if #RITASSOWHITE Didn't Exist and The Playing Field Was Level

Pink Flower Petals and Pink Envelop on Top of Sand

There are a few things I can honestly say I'm passionate about. Books and black voices are two of those things, I am passionate about. 

I knew nothing about the RITAS. I'm still in the dark about some specific details. However, I couldn't help but notice the list being specifically and almost wholly "white." This doesn't surprise me. I've been watching authors of color take a back seat in literature for quite some time now. The shock more so comes from the ignorant comments being made that belittle and demean works by authors of color as if they are not worthy for a nomination, let alone to win. That's disgusting and people need to and can do better than that. 

Without getting myself all worked up, here are a bunch of romance novels written by authors of color (mostly black) that I've read that I would have definitely nominated and voted for. 

Does not include thugs, drug deals, the mob, or ebonics. *Please read this in the most sarcastic voice you can muster*

These novels are in no particular order but were released last year.