31 May 2015

Still I Rise by Roland Laird & Taneisha Laird

Published: Sterling, 2009

# of Pages: 240

Source: Book Outlet, Purchased Copy

Goodreads Blurb/Summary: "Still I Rise is a critically acclaimed work with an impressive scope: the entire history of Black America, told in an accessible graphic-novel form. Updated from its original version—which ended with the Million Man March—it now extends from the early days of colonial slavery right through to Barack Obama’s groundbreaking presidential campaign. Compared by many to Art Spiegelman’s MausStill I Rise is a breathtaking achievement that celebrates the collective African-American memory, imagination, and spirit."


My Thoughts/Review: 

Still I Rise is a compelling novel that captures, in beautiful drawings and sketches, the history of African-Americas from the time of slavery to the presidential election of 2008. Highlighting some of the most profound activists, athletes, politicians, writers, artists, etc Laird makes an attempt to thoroughly describe and discuss the plight and improvements of African-Americans in the US. What truly caught my eye in this work was the level of detail in the drawings. The artist, Elihu "Adofo" Bey clearly spent a considerable amount of time and effort building and constructing the perfect images to align with the text. Although solely in black and white, his work added a certain flare and beauty to the story. 

Laird, clearly from the amount of detail, spent a great deal of time going through countless documents to fulfill his research needs. The book begins with an extremely detailed account of the beginnings of slavery and slowly slips into the slave rebellions and uprisings. With fluid writing the reader is engaged in a certain aspects of history that often go untold. Laird continues this detailed and fully expressive writing up until the dissection of the Civil Rights Movement and present African-American history. It is at this point that Laird looses his ability to fully address and identify the details of this significantly prominent movement. I truly believe that had the text of the book been extended there would have been a greater appreciation for detail. From this point on the text of the graphic novel was rushed and loosely thrown together. 

While I appreciated the narrators, a male and female humorously adding side notes to the story, I felt as though the female character focused too heavily on the negative side of the historical discussion. Yes, there have been injustices that have occurred against many African-Americans throughout history; however, every "non-black" individual did not take part in those injustices. In fact, Martin Luther King's famous march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama included more than just African-Americans. It is great points of diversity such as these that were seemingly omitted from the text.  I felt as though this character simply relied too heavily on the "blame game." 

Although I found flaws in the lack of detail and negativity displayed by one of the narrators, I did find the book to overall be a good insight to African-American history. There was quite a bit of information that I found to be both new and rewarding. I would recommend this graphic novel for its opening to a study of African-American history, but I would not solely rely on it as a primary source. It gives great encouragement to know not only the history of America that is taught in the textbooks, but also the history that often goes unnoticed. 

Rating: 3.5 Stars 

30 May 2015

29 May 2015

Friday Reads 5.29!!

Here is what I plan on reading this weekend!! What do you plan on reading? Have you read any of these books? 

Book Name: Americanah
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Genre: Literary Fiction 
Page Count: 588
Publication: 2013

"Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-rule Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hope to join her, but with post 9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. At once powerful and tender, Americanah is a remarkable novel of race, love, and identity by the award-winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 

Book Name: Dorothy Must Die Stories
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: Novella/Fantasy/Paranormal
Page Count: 377
Publication: 2013-2015

"Long before Amy Gumm got swept away from a Kansas trailer park..Dorothy Gale received a package on the night of her 16th birthday: a pair of red high-heeled shoes. Dear Dorothy, the note read, I thought about silver to match the ones you lost, but in the end I decided that red was more your color. I think you know what to do with them. And with a knock of her heels, Dorothy returned to the magical land that made her a star--and Oz would never be the same again."

Book Name: For Colored Girls
Author: Ntozake Shange 
Genre: Poem 
Page Count: 88
Publication: 1975

"Passionate and fearless, Shange's words reveal what it meant to be of color and female in the twentieth century. It has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country."

Book Name: Still I Rise
Author: Roland Laird with Taneshia Nash Laird
Genre: Graphic Novel
Page Count: 217
Publication: 1997

"Still I Rise traces the epic struggles and victories of African-Americans in the face of racist obstacles and unfathomable hardships. It follows the rise of slavery; the Nat Turner Rebellion; military contributions of African Americans; the birth of modern integration; Freedom Summer; the emergence of Black Power; the Million Man March; and Hurricane Katrina. The insightful text is sometimes acerbic, other times perceptively humorous, and always powerfully honest."

27 May 2015

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I'll Never Read

So just recently I became of part of the Top 5 Wednesday family, a group, that discusses and blogs about five novels that are related to a specific theme chosen each week. Last week's theme included choosing 5 debut novels that were completely and utterly amazing. Here is a look at what I chose last week: 

This week's theme included choosing five novels that we would NEVER decide to read in our lifetime. Some novels that appear on my list are a part of series and even one or two may surprise you!!

26 May 2015

25 May 2015

Author Spotlight: J.K. Rowling

Every Monday I will be spotlighting or highlighting some of my favorite authors. This will be a "Author Spotlight" series. For the first in the series I will be spotlighting one of my favorite authors of all time: J.K. Rowling.

23 May 2015

Dark Confessions of an Extraordinary, Ordinary Woman by Jenn Sadai

Publication: February 2014

# of pages: 103

Source: Amazon Kindle E-Book

Goodreads Publisher's Blurb: "Dark Confessions of an Extraordinary, Ordinary Woman follows the author on her journey from a drug-addicted theif who felt trapped in an abusive relationship to a confident and capable marathon-runner. It is filled with intense drama, troubled romance, and all sorts of dirty little secrets."


My Thoughts/Review:

"Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."

Sadai's novel is not one of YA contemporary romance or fantasy flowered with magical powers, alternative worlds, and perfect endings. It is an awe-inspiring, break-taking introduction to what most adults spend their lives running away from; and that thing is what we like to call reality. I'm not one for allowing myself to become emotionally entwined in writing reviews. I typically keep them clear, straight-forward, and lanced with objectives. However, I can not resist the temptation in stating that Sadai's story, with some variation, reflected my life and thought process just three weeks ago. No, I have not experienced the brutality that is so closely aligned with a physically abusive relationship; however, the lack of self-esteem/self-worth resonated so close to home.

It is not just my own personal experience that makes Sadai's novel a true gem. She offers each and every reader a life lesson about letting go of the past, taking responsibility and accountability for one's actions, and last, but not least understanding the value of one's life. Through her story, told in such simplicity, but depth, Sadai has the ability to make readers truly reflect and take into account their life's purpose. Her writing is, in more ways than one, therapeutic. She hasn't simply conscripted her confessional for readers like myself, but also for her own sense of consciousness, a way to forgive herself and those that may have disappointed her. While many may argue that her writing is developed in too many facts and lacks enough emotion, it is in these facts that she faces the truth. Too many of us hide behind colorful language and excuses instead of facing the truth for what it is, understanding that what is done is done and the only step to make after is to forgive and move forward. I admire the strength and courage in any individual that recognizes and lives by this concept.

Proving that her story has so much to offer, Sadai has truly fulfilled her dream of becoming a published author. I truly hope to see more from her in the future. While her book is laiden with cliches (she does state this in the novel), it is in these same statements that myself, Sadai, and so many others have finally found peace, courage, strength, and self-worth. Positive attitudes reap positive lives.

Thank you Sadai.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

22 May 2015

Friday Reads 5.22.15

What are you planning to read this weekend?

So every Friday I have a plan to let booktubers and book bloggers know what I play on reading for the upcoming weekend. This Friday I will be reading (or at least starting) the following books: 

Book Name: Americanah 
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Genre: Literary Fiction 
Page Count: 588
Publication: 2013

"Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. At once powerful and tender, Americanah is a remarkable novel of race, love, and identity." 

Book Name: The Titan's Curse (#3 Percy Jackson)
Author: Rick Riordan 
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Greek Mythology
Page Count: 312
Publication: 2007

"When Percy Jackson receives an urgent distress call from his friend Grover, he immediately prepares for battle. He knows he'll need his powerful demigod allies at his side; his trusty bronze sword, Riptide; and...a ride from his mom. The demigods race to rescue to find that Grover has made an important discovery; two new powerful half-bloods, whose parentage is unknown. But that's not all that awaits them. The Titan lord, Kronos, has set up a devious trap, and the young heroes have just fallen prey. Hilarious and action packed, this third adventure in the series finds Percy faced with his most dangerous challenge yet--the chilling prophecy of the Titan's curse." 

Book Name: Tom Jones
Author: Henry Fielding 
Genre: Classic
Page Count: 801 pages
Publication: 1749

"Tom as been raised by the Squire Allworthy to love virtue, and he truly wants to do good. But Tom's inability to control his temper and his hearty appetite for food, drink, and the opposite sex get him kicked out of Allworthy's estate and separated from his one real love, Sophia Western. So begins Tom's journey from the English countryside to the teeming city of London." 

Book Name: Saga Vol. 2
Author: Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Genre: Graphic Novel
Page Count: 144
Published: 2013

"Thansk to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and alien monstrosities, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters something truly frightening: her grandparents!" 

21 May 2015

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Page

Published: HaperCollins, 2015

# of Pages: 293 

Source: Books-A-Million, Purchased Copy

Goodreads Blurb/Summary: To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman's heart, steal the Scarecrow's brain, take the Lion's courage, and then Dorothy must die...

But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and the mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy's only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she's only just scratched the surface of Oz's past--and that Kansas, the home she couldn't wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust--and who is really Wicked?" 

"In this dark, high-octane sequel to the New York Times bestsellingDorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm must do everything in her power to kill Dorothy and free Oz.


My Thoughts/Review: Ladies and gentleman, Danielle Paige has done it once again! In her second installment of the Dorothy Must Die series, Paige beautifully and successfully continues the story of Amy's descent into the twisted and dark world of Oz. What's truly unique and captivating about this book is Paige's ability to give the reader further insight to the internal struggle and battle of our main character Amy. 

In the first novel, the reader is given the opportunity to perceive Amy as this young, naive, and quite frequently bullied teenage girl who is thrown into a power struggle between what we originally thought was good vs. evil. However, through the pages of The Wicked Will Rise we see a new found confidence and power in Amy, a power, ironically, that has the ability to both build and destroy her as a character.  As Amy tries to rectify the "mistakes" made in this last novel she must truly decide her own fate, identity, and gain a pinch of faith in who she is and who she will become. 

Paige's writing has a sense of fluidity about it that always seems to catch my attention. She utilizes words to create a sense of imagery that places the reader in the world of her characters. In this novel she truly captures Amy's struggles with her identity. While reading, I, like Amy, felt the beckoning issue of what it feels like to have so much power, yet fall so closely between doing what's considered to be right and what's considered to be wrong. Even the brief dialogue between Princess Ozma (who may not be as lost as we think) and Amy warranted a greater sense of meaning. It is not easy for an author to convey so much depth and meaning when so little is said and Paige beautifully accomplishes this task. 

The plot of the book was relatively slow at first and took some time to catch my attention especially since the first novel moved at such a quick pace; however, I think Paige wanted to utilize this novel to build towards a greater and more in-depth finale. This novel was less about action and more so about self-discovery and the dangers hidden in the power and beauty of OZ. The ending truly was a twist that was greatly unexpected, one that I had no power to see coming. With a cliff hanger that left me at the edge of my seat, Paige once again reminded me that nothing is ever as it seems in the beautiful land of Oz. 

Rating: 4.5 Stars

If you're interested check out my video review of her first novel Dorthy Must Die below: 

Welcome to Bookishrealm Reviews

Hey book bloggers!! This is Ashley also known as the bookishrealm and I would love to welcome you to "Bookishrealm Reviews." On this blog you will find my latest reviews of books, videos from my booktube channel, challenges I'm participating in, as well as other various posts. I'm fun loving and care free and try not to take myself too seriously. Life, as we know, is wayyyyy too short.

My love for reading began at an early age. In fact, I don't really remember a time when I wasn't reading a book. As I got older I discovered the world of booktubing and decided to make my first videos further illustrating my love and passion for the world of reading. This blog, like my booktube channel, is an extension of my love for books and my desire to share with everyone how I feel about the books I read. I'm truly invested and committed in providing readers with true and thoughtful insights and reviews. Please feel free to comment and begin a discussion about any book that I review.

If you would like to submit a book to me for review please contact me at bookishrealm@gmail.com. Please be sure to check out my review policy before contacting me.

If you would also like to see reviews, tags, hauls, and wrap-ups in the form of videos please check out my booktube channel http://www.youtube.com/bookishrealm. Below is the "introduction" video I use on my booktube channel.