Flashback Friday · Weekly Themes

Flashback Friday (May 26)

FLASHBACK FRIDAY (BLUE)

This week’s Flashback Friday trilogy is a recent backlist item for Rebekah Weatherspoon that I think y’all should pick up!

The main character, Kayla, is a fat, bisexual, black woman who knows what she wants and rarely hesitates to go after it. She’s intelligent as hell, funny, sarcastic, and creative. She’s a loyal friend, and always makes time for those she loves and trusts, and the relationship between herself and her young sisters is the most adorable.

The love interest, Michael, starts out as her Sugar Daddy, a mutually beneficial agreement they come to when they meet during a time when Kayla is recently down on her luck, but it soon turns into more. He’s sweet and gentle, but firm when called for, and unfailingly honest. He cares for Kayla so tenderly that you can’t help but fall for him a bit yourself.

Their relationship moves fairly quickly, due to the length of the books, but the speed with which they date, fall in love, and marry is not a detriment to the story. Where in some cases it might be difficult to reconcile, with these two, you can just feel how right it is for them. They’re so sweet and loving you’ll feel like you need to hit up the dentist to get cavities taken care of.

The Books

26209241SO SWEET (Sugar Baby, #1)

Desperate times call for desperate measures…

And desperate is the only way to describe Kayla Davis’s current situation. Out of work and almost out of money to cover her bills, Kayla finally caves to her roommate’s nagging and follows her to Arrangements, an online dating site that matches pretty young women with older men of a certain tax bracket.

Convinced this “make-rent-quick” scheme will surely fail – or saddle her with an 80 year old boyfriend – Kayla is shocked when Michael Bradbury, Internet billionaire and stone-cold salt and pepper fox, offers her a solution to all her financial troubles.
It’s hard enough for Kayla to accept his generosity, but what’s a girl to do when the wealthiest man she’s ever met is a dream in and outside of the bedroom?

30070753SO RIGHT (Sugar Baby, #2)

First comes love. Then comes…the most ill timed proposal in history?

Kayla Davis never dreamt she’d meet sexy, considerate, and seriously sweet Internet billionaire, Michael Bradbury, but ten months after Michael went from Sugar Daddy to for real boyfriend she can’t imagine spending another day without him. Cohabitation is totally working—throw in a puppy or two and Kayla has her happily ever after wrapped up in a perfect little bow.

Until she finds out Michael might have bigger plans for their future, like marriage, kids, and ownership of a professional sports team. Kayla is more than ready to join Michael on this amazing ride through the next chapter of their lives, but first she needs to catch her breath and see if Michael is ready to be a part of a team and not just the boss.

31552639SO FOR REAL (Sugar Baby, #3)

Even the best laid plans can go completely off the rails…

After pulling off the perfect wedding, Kayla Davis, now Kayla Bradbury, need only sit back and enjoy her wonderful life with her amazing husband, internet billionaire and NBA franchise owner, Michael Bradbury. The two are so head over heels for each other that finding creative ways to extend their honeymoon a whole year seems likes the only logical next step in their fool-proof plan for happiness.

Too bad life has other ideas for the newlyweds. With personnel hiccups in her small business, a husband balancing dual CEO responsibilities, and news that there will be not one, but two unexpected additions to the Bradbury crew, Kayla needs to totally reconfigure her life if she has any hope of keeping things afloat.

Flashback Friday · Weekly Themes

Flashback Friday (May 12)

FLASHBACK FRIDAY (BLUE)

Today’s Flashback Friday featured book is

EN EL TIEMPO DE LAS MARIPOSAS by Julia Alvarez!

This is another book that I read for school that was incredibly eye opening for me. In the Time of the Butterflies was the first look I had into the Dominican Republic and the horrors faced there during the 60’s.

The story is historical fiction, and the author took some liberties in plotting out the lives of las mariposas, but the harsh realities are all based in fact and are something we all should know about and be aware of.

I still have my battered copy from high school sitting on my bookshelves.

The Book

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Set during the waning days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960, this extraordinary novel tells the story the Mirabal sisters, three young wives and mothers who are assassinated after visiting their jailed husbands.

From the author of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents comes this tale of courage and sisterhood set in the Dominican Republic during the rise of the Trujillo dictatorship. A skillful blend of fact and fiction, In the Time of the Butterflies is inspired by the true story of the three Mirabal sisters who, in 1960, were murdered for their part in an underground plot to overthrow the government. Alvarez breathes life into these historical figures–known as “las mariposas,” or “the butterflies,” in the underground–as she imagines their teenage years, their gradual involvement with the revolution, and their terror as their dissentience is uncovered.

Alvarez’s controlled writing perfectly captures the mounting tension as “the butterflies” near their horrific end. The novel begins with the recollections of Dede, the fourth and4990183 surviving sister, who fears abandoning her routines and her husband to join the movement. Alvarez also offers the perspectives of the other sisters: brave and outspoken Minerva, the family’s political ringleader; pious Patria, who forsakes her faith to join her sisters after witnessing the atrocities of the tyranny; and the baby sister, sensitive Maria Teresa, who, in a series of diaries, chronicles her allegiance to Minerva and the physical and spiritual anguish of prison life.

In the Time of the Butterflies is an American Library Association Notable Book and a 1995 National Book Critics Circle Award nominee.

Flashback Friday · Weekly Themes

Flashback Friday! (May 5)

FLASHBACK FRIDAY (BLUE)

Today’s book is one that is really important to me and I would implore everyone to read: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. It takes place in the Deep South, and the main character is a girl named Cassie. Her family is one of the very few Black families in and around her town who own the land they live on.

The first time I read this book, I was in sixth grade. Back then, I don’t think I fully recognized the brutal truths and realities Cassie and her family, friends, and neighbors were faced with, outside of a basic sense of “these white people are treating Black people really badly,” but I knew this book was important.

My copy of ROT, HMC is well-worn and still has a place on my bookshelves, but it’s been years since I’ve read it. My perceptions of privilege and race have changed a lot since I was in elementary school, so I think it may be time for a reread soon.

THE BOOK

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ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY by Mildred D. Taylor

Why is the land so important to Cassie’s family? It takes the events of one turbulent year—the year of the night riders and the burnings, the year a white girl humiliates Cassie in public simply because she’s black—to show Cassie that having a place of their own is the Logan family’s lifeblood. It is the land that gives the Logans their courage and pride—no matter how others may degrade them, the Logans possess something no one can take away.

Flashback Friday · Weekly Themes

Flashback Friday! (April 28)

FLASHBACK FRIDAY (BLUE)

Who’s ready for another backlist book to read and love?

This week’s book is…

ACCORDING TO HOYLE by Abigail Roux!

I am not generally a huge fan of Westerns, but Abigail Roux has the master’s touch when it comes to these stories. You can tell that she has put a lot of time and effort into studying the time period in order to make the novels feel realistic. And she really does do an incredible job of sucking you into the story and holding you there, so you feel like you’re riding right along with the four main characters as they reluctantly journey together.

Also, this book has some A+ rep! All four of the main characters are queer (homosexual and bisexual). Additionally, there are two disabled characters–one of the mains is mute and uses a kind of ASL-like shorthand when he can, and another character is missing a few fingers.

THE BOOK:

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By the close of 1882, the inhabitants of the American West had earned their reputation as untamed and dangerous. The line between heroes and villains is narrow and indistinct. The concept that a man may only kill if backed into a corner is antiquated. Lives are worth less than horses. Treasures are worth killing for. And the law is written in the blood of those who came before. The only men staving off total chaos are the few who take the letter of the law at its word and risk their lives to uphold it. But in the West, the rules aren’t always played according to Hoyle.11002101

U.S. Marshals Eli Flynn and William Henry Washington are escorting two prisoners to New Orleans for trial when they discover there’s more to the infamous shootist Dusty Rose and the enigmatic man known only as Cage than merely being outlaws. When forces beyond the marshals’ control converge on the paddlewheeler they have hired to
take them downriver, they must choose between two dangers: playing by the rules at any cost or trusting the very men they are meant to bring to justice.

 

What BACKLIST book would you recommend everyone read?

Flashback Friday · Weekly Themes

Flashback Friday! (April 21)

FLASHBACK FRIDAY (BLUE)

Hey, y’all!

I want to do a weekly post on BACKLIST books. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, too often, people see shiny new books coming out and don’t check out books that are a bit older. There’s, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But.

I think it’s time we gave those books some lovin’, don’t you?

In the FLASHBACK FRIDAY series, I’m going to boost at least one book/series/author per week. Hopefully this will encourage others to do it as well, and maybe inspire people to go check out those backlist books and support some great authors.

So without further ado, our first FLASHBACK FRIDAY SPOTLIGHT is…

GEMMA DOYLE TRILOGY by Libba Bray!

This trilogy is one of my absolute favorites! I binged it during high school, and every so often, I revisit the books.

I love the story of this girl, Gemma, discovering this world of magic that she had no clue about before and finding her place in this new reality she’s faced with. It’s so interesting to watch her navigate the every day life of Victorian England and boarding school, while forming tenuous friendships with other girls as they delve deeper into the magical mysteries. Each of the main four girls are so dynamic in their own ways, and it is such an amazing journey to watch their character development.

Also, this trilogy was one of my very first introductions to queer characters. There are two girls who are in a relationship, and baby queer Leah was so fascinated by their interactions and overall devotion to each other.

There are some epic action scenes, a ton of mythological creatures, an enemies-to-lovers dynamic between Gemma and her love interest, and so much more.

Trigger warnings for self-harm/cutting, drug usage, parental death, involuntary drugging

THE BOOKS:

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A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY (Gemma Doyle, #1)

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy—jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order.

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REBEL ANGELS (Gemma Doyle, #2)

Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain…

The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.

But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

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THE SWEET FAR THING (Gemma Doyle, #3)

IT HAS BEEN A YEAR OF CHANGE since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a laudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds. The Order – the mysterious group her mother was once part of – is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence’s burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.

What BACKLIST book would you recommend everyone read?