The New Edition Story

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Last night, the New Edition Story debuted on BET. I always wanted to know what happened behind the scenes with the New Edition R&B music group. The original New Edition members consist of Ralph Tresvant, Ricky Bell, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, and Michael Bivins. Johnny Gill joins the music group later. Back in the 80’s, we didn’t have the internet. So, we would hear rumors about what was going on. We see their humble beginnings growing up in the projects. You can see the budding attitudes and egos emerging in youth. We got a chance to see how the boys’ mothers react to their success. It was a pleasure to finally see Lisa Nicole Carson back on the screen. She has been away from the movie industry due to personal issues. The only critique I have so far is that the young boys cast to play Ricky and Ralph should have been switched. Ricky Bell looks more like Ralph Tresvant to me.

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(From Left to Right: Ralph Tresvant, Mike Bivins, Ricky Bell, Bobby Brown)

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Lisa Nicole Carson plays Ricky Bell’s mother.

Their manager, Brook, did the best he could helping the boys prepare for talent shows. As the boys’ success grew, the mothers voted Brook out due to issues with the contract. Brook really loved the boys and wanted to see them successful. The producer, Maurice Starr, played by Faizon Love is to blame for the boys not getting paid. The mothers were literally given a check for $1.87, after the tour. New Edition had a number one song and they were still living in the projects. It saddens me to see stories like this where these 70s and 80s music artists are duped out of millions of dollars, due to shifty contracts. And, unfortunately, New Edition was a victim to this.

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(From left to right: Luke James stars as Johnny Gill, Elijah Kelley stars as Ricky Bell, Keith Powers stars as Ronnie DeVoe, Algee Smith stars Ralph Tresvant, Woody McClain stars as Bobby Brown and Bryshere Y. Gray stars as Michael Bivins.)

I’ve been a fan of all the guys for years. And, I’ve also followed their solo careers. I remember playing my Heartbreak cassette tape nonstop. In my youth, I had a little crush on Bobby Brown. He was confident, energetic and feisty on stage. He was an awesome entertainer. And, Bell Biv DeVoe (BBD) rocked! In my opinion, BBD was so ahead of their time.  Today, we are still rocking to their song “Poison”. And, Ralph Tresvant’s song “Sensitivity” still gives me the giddy school girl feels. And, Johnny Gill’s juicy voice still gives me chills. I plan to continue watching the miniseries for the next 2 nights. Will you join me?

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Check out a couple of my favorites songs by New Edition, Bobby Brown, and BBD.

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“We Are The Ants” Book Review

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Henry is constantly getting abducted by aliens. His mother is a stressed out chain smoker. His grandmother is developing Alzheimer’s. His brother is about to have a baby with his girlfriend. And, his boyfriend committed suicide.Yes. Henry Denton has a sucky life. This review will have spoilers, because I need to get some things off my chest. You have been warned.

I hate this book. Henry whines during the entire book about how it was his fault that his boyfriend killed himself. He clearly suffers from Stockholm syndrome. This guy Marcus, he was dating, berates him, insults him, harasses him, and even physically abuses him along with his friends. And, every single time Henry goes back to Marcus to comfort HIM. I was disgusted by this book. Henry had the audacity to call a close friend psycho who he thought was defending him while at the same time making excuses for Marcus using him as a punching bag. And, to top it all off, his abusive brother beats him up too. I didn’t know someone could get beat up that many times.

There are only like 2 chapters in the whole book about him getting abducted by aliens. The aliens abduct him because they have chosen him to determine if the earth is worth saving from annihilation. The rest of the book is just Henry drenched in self-loathing while he abrasively tramples over the lives of others close to him. No matter what is going on in the lives of others, he always manages to turn it back around to his questions about the earth’s worth and his issues with not knowing why his boyfriend killed himself. Basically, he was leaning toward allowing the world to be destroyed because HE didn’t want to live. So, yeah, let’s just kill everyone.

I get what the author was trying to do. The author was trying to show how destroyed Henry was that his boyfriend killed himself, but it didn’t translate well. This book gets high ratings on Goodreads and I don’t understand why. For me, it’s hard to rate a book with a high rating when I hate the main character along with the story entirely. All this book left me wondering was why the so-called aliens abducted such a pathetic human being to decide the worlds fate.  In the end, Henry being abducted by aliens wasn’t even real. The premise of the aliens abducting him was the main reason I picked up this book. Clearly, I gave this book 2 stars out of 5. I didn’t give it a 1 star rating because it obviously succeeded in extracting emotions out of me.

Reading Diverse Books

I don’t read enough diverse books. Let me tell you why.

When I was younger I had more mental space to delve into books about oppression, discrimination, and inequality. Being a mother of 3 with a full-time job, I’m overtaken by worry due to our recent developments in government.  Everyone seems to be talking at the same time about their needs and fears. The more I learn about this world, the more I reach for light reads. Once I get home from work, my ears are ringing and my eyes are tired from overexposure. Living in New York does not help. There are times when I can’t even hear myself think. Escapism is usually my main motivation for reading, along with my love for storytelling.

Until yesterday. I learned that Christina Marie, along with a few other bloggers and YouTubers, is hosting a Diverse-A-Thon. This reading marathon challenges you to read as many diverse books by POC and other marginalized groups you can for 7 days (Jan.22nd-Jan29th). During those 7 days, there will be a read-along for “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. I’m so glad that I own this book. There will be discussions on twitter and we are urged to use the hashtag #diverseathon.

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A yearlong challenge for Reading Diverse in 2017 has also been launched. Not only are we encouraged to read diverse, we are also challenged to read books by POC or other marginalized groups with stories about those same groups. For example, Toni Morrison is an African American writer who writes about African American people. If you participate you will have a chance to win prizes for posting diverse book reviews and various book posts. It sounds like fun.

On my 2016 Wrap Up/2017 Reading Resolutions post, I mentioned that I want to dedicate a month to reading Toni Morrison books. And, currently, I’m reading “We Are The Ants” by Shaun David Hutchinson. This book is about a gay teenager who is abducted by aliens. I also believe the writer is from the LBGTQIA community. I am reading diverse and didn’t even notice. I have some problems with this book. I will explain in a book review coming soon. Listed below are some more diverse books I plan to read this year.

Last year, I read “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon. I thought it was such a cute feel good book. I decided to give her next novel a try “The Sun is Also a Star”. This book deals with love, deportation, and science vs. fate.

“Behold the Dreamers” by Imbolo Mbue is about a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem. Sounds good to me already.

I’ve heard so many great things about “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi. Let’s also take in that beautiful UK cover. Yes, I ordered it from bookdepository.com. I had to wait a few weeks for it. Ta-Nehisi Coates says, “Homegoing is an inspiration”. There we have it. I can’t wait to dive in.

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Speaking of Ta-Nehisi Coates, I want to read his memoir “The Beautiful Struggle”. “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi broke my heart, but it was much needed medicine. His honesty and eloquence was so refreshing. Can’t wait to see what and who had a hand in making him the man he is today. Great writer.

This will be my first time reading Zadie Smith. Seems you either love her writing or you hate it according to booktube. I want to find out which side I’m on.

The premise of “A Brief History of Seven Killings” has such an interesting premise. He seems to have an unique take on Bob Marley’s attack in 1976. This book won the Man Booker Prize. It’s long and I’m up to the challenge.

I haven’t been reading enough memoirs so I plan on reading “Men We Reaped” by Jesmyn Ward.

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These library books are due back to the library January 30th. I better get to moving fast. I will probably end up checking them out again so I can have more time. I heard about both of these books on booktube and I’m intrigued.

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And, last but not least, I plan to read “Song of Solomon” and “Sula” by Toni Morrison. I’ve already read “The Bluest Eye” and “God Help the Child” and I love her beautiful prose. Her style is pure poetry. Can’t wait.

“The Unseen World” Book Review

26530317Ada has to be the coolest laid back 12 year old ever. (aside from my daughter, of course) David, her father, is an excellent computer scientist who homeschools Ada. He takes her to work with him in the computer lab and allows her to be influenced by his co-workers. Due to her exposure to his world, she is a lot smarter than other kids her age. After David develops Alzheimer’s disease, it’s discovered that his past is quite controversial. It seems that he is not who they thought he was. Virtual reality also plays a huge part in this book.

This book receives high ratings on Goodreads and rave reviews on youtube. I was a bit skeptical, but I decided to place it on hold at my local library. It turns out that Liz Moore proves to be an excellent storyteller. Usually, it takes me a week to finish reading a book.  It only took me a few days to finish this one. This book is quite long, but you won’t feel it dragging. The pacing is perfection. I never felt bored. There were no filler chapters, in my opinion. Every piece of information was vital to the story. The chapters were short so you always got the feeling of progression. I really enjoyed the relationships between humans and machines in this story. The theme of love overlaps throughout this book: the love of father and daughter, computer love, forbidden love from the past, and a love that was there the whole time.

Even though the book was narrated by a child, I never had an eye rolling moment. Ada was very mature and it was a pleasure to see the world through her eyes. I soaked up all the information trying to piece together David’s mysterious past. It felt like I was a part of the investigation. This book is not predictable. Nothing happened the way I thought it would.  I encourage you all to pick this book up. You will not be disappointed. Of course, I gave this book 5 stars out of 5 on Goodreads.

Love Unrestrained

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I want a love that transcends
Vows
Rings
Ceremony
Honeymoon
Ritual
Something old
Something blue
White picket fence
House with 2 car garages
Golden retriever
Carriages
The American dream

I want a love that cannot be contained
Not even in a room with
Bling’d out new pussy
Distracting hips
Licked lips
Big guns
Even jeans with juicy bulges
Can keep us from it

A love that inspires
A captivating love
A love much like a ray of sun dancing over rippling waters
A love that is so late, but you are so glad you are ready
A love unrecognizable at first glance
A sacrificing love happy to give it all
A love with the desire to learn from its subject
A love willing to admit “I don’t deserve you”

A love
Not patronizing
Not proud
Nor lies
A love only stealing kisses while you sleep
Not your identity
A love willing to bare the naked truth
Free falling knowing the safety net is you
A love changing in shape
To accommodate all that you know and are soon to find out
A love free to go
But for reasons you can’t even explain
Stays around nosey with intrigue
A love not requiring the utterance of the words
“I love you”

 

*throwback* originally posted on blogspot 2/15/2014

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” Book Review

9780375751516I finished reading this book last week. It took me some time to get my thoughts together on what I felt about this book. The story is about a young very attractive man, named Dorian Gray, who sits for his portrait to be painted by Basil. After being influenced by the philosophies of the painter’s friend, Lord Henry, Dorian begins to be troubled by the reality that his beauty will one day wither away. He becomes jealous of the painting and unknowingly casts a spell on himself and the painting by wishing that the painting will grow old while he remains young and beautiful.

Dorian seemed to be an empty vessel not having ideas or beliefs of his own. It was easy for Lord Henry’s unorthodox philosophies to negatively influence Dorian shaping his ideas, opinions and character. After Dorian hurt someone very dear to him, he later notices that the painting has altered in its appearance. With every evil act and as time passed the painting altered to display his true demons and aging while he stayed young and attractive.

This book was written in the 19 century, so the writing was wordy and a bit challenging at times. I found myself stopping to look up words to get an understanding of what was being said.  The middle portion of the book was the hardest to get through. Around chapter 11 I almost stopped reading due to boredom. Oscar Wilde unnecessarily elaborated on insignificant aspects of Dorian’s life while leaving out vital parts of his life that would have painted a better picture of how far he slid down the rabbit hole of evil.

Overall, Lord Henry proved to be the most interesting character in this book with his many interesting epigrams on life. Dorian was annoying with how easily he was manipulated. One thing I found very interesting was how Dorian attempted to confess, towards the end, some of the evil things he was doing. Those closest to him refused to believe him because they couldn’t pass over his good looks to see his true character. This theme in the book made me think of how superficial society is today and how a pretty appearance easily garners praise without deep examination of the character.  I gave this book 3 stars out of 5 because I found it to be wordy and very boring. In my opinion, it took Oscar Wilde too long to get to the point and the ending was blatantly obvious.

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2016 Wrap up/2017 Reading Resolutions

Last year, I did not participate in the Goodreads reading challenge. However, I did keep up with my reading. In 2016, I read 14 books. They are:

  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison – 4 stars out of 5 – audio book
  • The Martian by Andy Weir – 5/5 – audio book
  • The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce by Paul Torday – 5/5- paperback
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – 2/5 – hardback/library
  • Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman – 5/5 – hardback
  • Soundless by Richelle Mead – 3/5 – hardback – review
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – 5/5 – hardback/library
  • The Humans by Matt Haig – 5/5 – hardback/library – review
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – 3/5 – hardback/library
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker  – 4/5 – hardback/library – review
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – 3/5 – hardback/library
  • Kindred by Octavia Bulter – 5/5 – paperback
  • The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey – 3/5 – paperback
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – 5/5 – paperback

The favorite book of the year was “The Humans” by Matt Haig. There were so many quotable phrases. It was refreshing and comical to get a look at humans from an alien’s point of view. I love it. I can’t stop thinking about it. I ended up buying my own copy. The worst book of the year was “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart. I hate this book with a passion. This book attempted to be suspenseful and did a horrible job. I just wanted it to be over. I hated every single person in this book. It was painful to read. The only reason why I finished it was because it was a short read.

There is a big no reading gap in 2016 from June to December. TV took over my life during that time. I DNF (did not finish) “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell. It was entirely too slow for me. I own this book. So, I plan to go back to finish it in 2017. I also DNF “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman. I just wasn’t in the mood for this kind of book at the time. I plan to check this out from the library again this year to give it another try. I put down “Jane Eyre” and “the long way to a small angry planet” as well. I really don’t know why I put them down because I was enjoying them. I definitely plan on finishing them in 2017.

In 2017:

  1. I want to continue to utilize my local library.
  2. I want to dedicate one month to reading Toni Morrison’s books.
  3. As stated above, I want to finish books I DNF.
  4. I want to start reading trilogies.
  5. I want to give Harry Potter another chance.
  6. I want to read some memoirs and/or nonfiction books.
  7. I want to read more adult/literary fiction.
  8. I want to post more book reviews and writings to this blog.
  9. I want to read 25 books in 2017. Below find some books I want to read this year.
  • The Unseen World by Liz Moore – book review
  • The Book of Harlan by Bernice McFadden
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (A Sequel to Six of Crows)
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab (book 1)
  • Sula by Toni Morrison
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – book review
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – book review
  • Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinsonbook review
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (book 1)
  • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (book 2)
  • The Mothers by Brit Bennett

To name a few…

add me – https://www.goodreads.com/BEbooks