We're 2!!!

Hey Bookworms!!!

We're so excited to be checking in after a long 5 month sabbatical! It was well needed and so productive. We can't wait to share all the new happenings for Lady Bookworm with you all. 

First things first, we want to say...


As we celebrate 2 years, theres a lot to be thankful for and theres a lot to plan for. We hope that you all have enjoyed this journey as much as we have and look forward to what we have in store. 
Wishing you all a blessed and prosperous New Year...filled with lots and lots of great reads!

Our first step of our Birthday/New Year is to invite you all to join our book club! The featured book for the month of January is What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons. This bookclub has no boundaries...so if you aren't physically in South Florida to be at the month end meet up there are still ways for you to take part virtually!


For more info click here or sign up here by emailing us at info@ladybookworm.com

Thank you all again for the continued support and stay tuned for more updates :)

Lady Bookworm x Summer Reading

It's that time again my fellow bookworms :) ...

& with that being said, this means more free time, more relaxation, more warm weather, more outdoor activities, and more READING!

I've compiled the below list, in no particular order, as a recommendation for you all to dive into some awesome reads during Summer '17. I'm sure you guys will find a few interesting books that you haven't read yet. Some quick and easy reads, and of course some that will take you a little longer to get through but I promise you they're all captivating. 


So, here goes:

1. Soundless Cries Don't Lead to Healing by Valencia D. Clay

2. The Wedding by Dorothy West 

3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

4. Broken Keys Don't Unlock Doors: Urban Education from the Voices of the Youth by Southwest Baltimore Charter & Valencia D. Clay

5. The Changeling by Victor Lavalle

6. Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

7. on self love: the remembering by J Chavae

8. He Never Came Home by Regina R. Robertson

9. my mother was a freedom fighter by aja monet

10. How The Hell Did You Do That?! by Octavia Yearwood

11. Bed-Stuy is Burning: A Novel by Brian Platzer

12. Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It  by Charlamagne The God

13. Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica by Zora Neale Hurston

14. Sula by Toni Morrison

15.  Swing Time by Zadie Smith

16. Negroland by Margo Jefferson 

17. The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson

18. BlackAss by A. Igoni Barrett

19. Prose & Cons by Reyna Noriega

20. Paper Wings by April Green

Happy Reading Bookworms!!!

He Never Came Home...

This is for the daughters...
The daughters who deserved so much more than just his DNA.
This is for the daughters who deserved to be a "daddy's girl"...a jewel in his eyes.

I was skeptical about this book ONLY because I knew how much it would resonate with me and I put off reading it for a while. Agate Publishing sent me this book in late April, early May. I was excited to get it but I was nervous to read it. See the thing is, I can relate so much to each and every woman who submitted submitted their essays, short stories, and who have been interviewed to compile this book. It is so relatable to me, and women around me. So much so, that when I told my best friend about it she was like "they should've interviewed us..." We laughed because it was funny but deep down it hurt because we both know how true the emotions are. This beautiful work of art is compiled of 22 Personal Essays, Interviews, and Personal Stories. The pieces each allow us into the real and very raw emotions that the contributors have felt and currently feel. It takes us through all of the stages of loss....sadness, indifference, anger, and acceptance. 

I can tell you guys about my experiences or lack thereof with my dad but I'll save that for another time. He and I are still trying to build on it...

I want to focus on He Never Came Home, Edited By Regina Robertson. Man, this book was phenomenal. Don't get me wrong. It definitely wasn't glitz and glam. It was EMOTIONAL, to the core, but so necessary. There are stories of women who's fathers just seemed to not care, yet their daughters still idolized them..wondering about their greatness...adoring the fact that she was considered his "sugar pie". There are also stories of women who lost their fathers because of death shortly after reconnecting. They felt robbed of time in which they could've gotten to know him. 

I just want to say to Regina, and all of the contributors...Thank You. Thank you for giving us a voice. It's hard to peel away at layers and allow yourself to be vulnerable but in order to attain growth, it is so necessary. One of the eye opening interviews in this book was that of Disney Butler. She spoke about moments in which her father's image would flash across newsreels, he worked in politics, in the movies when she was with her friends. She would burst with excitement and say, "Thats my father! Thats my father!!!" but her friends would never believe her because they'd never seen him. My heart sunk. I felt what she felt. Why should a child ever have to prove who their parent it, mother or father? 

My own personal experiences have made me so set in my ways of certainty. I want to be sure of who I am with. I want a family not just for myself but for my children also. I feel like as a society...as the human race...we are two lax with life. We take it for granted...from our day to day coming and goings all the way to bringing a whole new life...a new being...into this world. So, I guard myself...with the intention of guarding my unborn children. I don't want them to hurt how I hurt. I cannot become apart of the statistic. I read the collateral sent to me with the book and was floored to have read that the US Census Bureau reported that approximately 24 million children under the age of 18 live in a household with out their biological father...that's heartbreaking. So, again, thank you Regina. Thank you to the contributors. This dialogue needs to happen. We need to see and hear about it in order to hopefully break the curse. 

Bookworms...I hope you all snag a copy of this book. 
I was scared of it but know I needed it and now am in love with it. 

You can click the image above to purchase the book on Amazon now. 

Happy Pub Day He Never Came Home!!!


We Should All Be Feminists

I should never call myself a feminist, since feminists are women who are unhappy because they cannot find husbands.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

feminist: (n) - a person who supports feminism. 

feminism: (n) - the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. 

             A short and very quick read, I read this essay in 30 minutes. This book is actually a modified speech that Adichie gave during a TED Talk titled TEDxEuston in December 2012. It was insightful and refreshing. It explored the experiences that Adichie had while growing up in Nigeria. She speaks on the labels given to her by those closest to her merely because she did not want to fit within the mold of being the stereotypical woman. She wasn't interested in staying in her "place". This book is a great eye opener for anyone who needs clarification into why it is so necessary for all of us to be feminists and the meaning behind it. 

             I will be honest, growing up I had a different vision of what a feminist looked like but now that I think about it, I can't even put into words what that would have been or what it would've looked like. I think I owe that all to growth. Being a woman, who was raised by women, I have a better understanding of what it means to be a feminist and why it is important. We're in this for each other and having equality and understanding in so very important. Every woman and man should be feminists. 

Happy Reading :)

I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did. 


#TheLiterarySeries x Octavia Yearwood

Peace to you all!!

Bookworms, I wanted to stop in and let you know how phenomenal the second wave of #TheLiterarySeries was. As always, Yeelen Gallery is the perfect back drop and I cannot thank Ms. Octavia Yearwood enough for writing such a phenomenal piece of literature. 

Author, Octavia Yearwood, & Student Attendee Image by Stefan Grant

Author, Octavia Yearwood, & Student Attendee
Image by Stefan Grant

The youth showed out in numbers!!! Click the above image to see more pictures and videos from Lady Bookworm x Yeelen Gallery Presents: #TheLiterarySeries. This bimonthly supcrition box included 'How The Hell Did You Do That' by Octavia Yearwood as well as 7 Chakra Balancing Crystals and a Lady Bookworm Mini Journal. Last but not least, if you missed this past event you certainly won't want to miss the next one in early June 2017. Purchase the MAY/JUN subscription box for complimentary admission. 

Lindsey Grant, Educator, & Karla Ferguson, Owner & Director - Yeelen Gallery Image by Stefan Grant

Lindsey Grant, Educator, & Karla Ferguson, Owner & Director - Yeelen Gallery
Image by Stefan Grant

A glimpse of the merchandise included in this bimonthly subscription box as well as available for purchase at the last Literary Series event. 

A glimpse of the merchandise included in this bimonthly subscription box as well as available for purchase at the last Literary Series event. 

Beautiful shot of 'How The Hell Did You Do That' by Octavia Yearwood. Image taken by Stefan Grant

Beautiful shot of 'How The Hell Did You Do That' by Octavia Yearwood. Image taken by Stefan Grant

Some of the delicious bites that Vegetarian Delight sponsored for our fabulous event :) Image taken by Stefan Grant

Some of the delicious bites that Vegetarian Delight sponsored for our fabulous event :)
Image taken by Stefan Grant

A beautiful shot by Stefan Grant of Boxed Water, which is better :)

A beautiful shot by Stefan Grant of Boxed Water, which is better :)

We will announce the official date and author in the next week or so :)


Love Always,

Lady Bookworm!!

How The Hell Did You Do That?!

"You may know what you want but how you get it is laced in the unknown..."


            This book was such a brilliant read. So true, so raw, so vivid in imagery...you know those books that you read and you can see the words floating off of the pages? You feel like you're witnessing the story happen right in front of you...that was 'How The Hell Did You Do That?!' by Octavia Yearwood for me. I don't want to give away too much of the story as I got the exclusive leak, *wink* thanks O!!, lol, but let me tell you a little bit about the author because the book and her life go hand in hand. Octavia is a dynamic jill of all trades who's perseverance through life has shaped her into the phenomenal woman that we bear witness to today. She is an author, a mentor, a radio host, an artist educator, amongst so many other titles.

              She is a former foster child, which I think is so important, because we need more stories of trial to triumph. Her story shows our youth today that there is more than what they see in front of them. No matter how difficult the road may seem, if you put the work in and are determined, by the grace of God you will prevail. What I love about her book is that she didn't sugarcoat, excuse my french, shit! It is what it is. She had highs, she had lows, and at the end of the day she still came out on top because she never gave up. 

                How The He'll Did You Do That?! takes us through loss, heartache, self discovery, amongst many other major life events and emotions. What I truly enjoyed about the book was the follow up at the end of each chapter. Not only did the book engulf me in her story but at the end of each chapter it provoked thought. Octavia didn't just write this book to tell us about herself. Every journey she traveled we traveled with her. This story is as much ours as it is hers. At the end of each chapter she asks a series of questions. I answered every single one of them!! You see, this book almost forces you to grow. You might be wondering how...well, the questions at the end of each chapter truly makes you peel away at the many layers that some of us may not even know that we are covered in. Once you peel away at these layers you start to find self and feel balance. 

            This book was thoroughly enjoyable. At times I was on the verge of tears and then at another moment I was dying laughing. I could feel every ounce of her through the pages. I can assure that you all would love diving into this gem! Do yourself a favor and purchase this months subscription box, which features Octavia's debut book and exclusive Lady Bookworm merch :)

Thanks for stopping by Bookworms!


Love Always,

xo theLBW

#TheLiterarySeries x Valencia D. Clay

Hi Bookworms! 

Lady Bookworm x Yeelen Gallery just wanted to thank you all for attending the event and supporting #TheLiterarySeries :)

Please click the group image below to see more images by Nikki Miller Photography on our Facebook Page!

We hope to see you at the next #TheLiterarySeries on Saturday, April 8th, 2017. Same place, same time :)

Oh, and if you haven't yet, please purchase Valencia D. Clay's debut novel, Soundless Cries Don't Lead to Healing: A Critical Thinking Guide to Cultural Consciousness. You will not be disappointed!

The Four Agreements

Hello Bookworms!

I hope you all are well :)

I apologize for the distance but I promise you my time away hasn't been in vain as I've spent it planning, drafting, reading, and executing. For those of you who have kept in touch with our Emailed Updates, Facebook, and Instagram you have either glimpsed or personally witnessed the work that I have been putting in.

Before I dive into updates regarding Lady Bookworm I want to talk to you about a book that I read coming into the new year. This book is called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
This book has truly opened my eyes to something very important, accountability. Often times we forget that the path in which we take and the results that we reap in life are due to the decisions we make. We have control over our lives. In this book, Don Miguel Ruiz guides us through why making these four very important agreements with ourselves will reap much more positive outcomes. 

The Four Agreements that are broken up into chapters are the following:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
  2. Don't Take Anything Personally
  3. Don't Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best

Don Miguel Ruiz starts by thoroughly explaining The Toltec way of life. "Toltec knowledge arises from the same essential unity of truth as all the sacred esoteric traditions found around the world."  The book reminds us that everything in existence is a manifestation of God and that we are all made of pure love and light. He takes us through the journey of human domestication and how that has truly affected the way that we think and act. The Four Agreements allow us to return to our true selves and in turn allow us to be much happier. Now, I am sure it is easy to understand why making these four agreements withy yourself is necessary however doing this is easier said than done. This is where the understanding of domestication comes into play. 

I won't go much further into the book because I have given away a lot of information already and if you haven't read it yet, I would love for you to snag this book and get to it. Client the image above and it'll take straight to amazon.com so that you can purchase :)

If you've read this book already, I would love to know your thoughts in the comments and/or how it has shaped your life for the better. 

Happy Reading!!!

Positive Words, Powerful Results

"kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless"

- Mother Teresa

                 Your words are so important that they can change the daily outcome of your life. I know this to be true because I have adopted this way of life and it has really aided me. I have always, as you all know, been an avid reader and as a result words have always been important to me. They paint a picture, they express feeling, they can make or break someone's day, amongst many other powerful things. At the end of it all words are important! Positive words, negative words, neutral words; they all have an effect on us and those around us. Because of this, why not just focus on using more positive words...?

                  I'm sure we've all at some point in our lives heard that our words and thoughts manifest. I am surrounded by so many people on this powerful journey of overstanding manifestation, overstanding the concept that everything starts and ends with self, and quite frankly if our daily routines are not yielding the results that we would like then we've got to adjust somewhere. 10 times out of 10 the adjustment has to begin from within. That is where the amazing book, Positive Words, Powerful Results by Hal Urban, comes into play. I picked this up for $5.98 in Barnes & Nobles. I was so excited because I love reading books that help push me towards a more positive mind frame. I was excited to read and learn of more ways to speak positivity into my life. To affirm and celebrate what I really want to transpire.

              Hal Urban touches on all of this. He shows us how important we are, not only in our lives but in the lives of others as well. He shows us that we are all teachers. How do we identify the teachers around us? We pay attention because we can learn something from every single person that we encounter, even the ones we don't get along with. He teaches us that words can hurt but they can also heal. We hold the power of determining the impact that those words will have on us as well as on others. I needed this book because often times I care too much about what others think and say. I need to nip that in the bud and I can honestly say that I have gotten much better. I'm not completely 100% with it as of yet but I am making my way. I am sure there are many who need to read this book as well. If you haven't please grab a copy and indulge. If you have, please spread the word of positivity. Positive words do yield powerful results. Start today...

Happy Reading :)

What About Love...?

             Coming to the realization that we all process and react to things differently is probably the HARDEST most simple thing to do...lol That statement probably made no sense but let me explain. It is easy to say that you understand that we are all different and that we all express, love, speak, and act within our own ways but when someone actually exercises that right to be daringly different we are shocked. We are shocked because maybe our moral standards are different? Maybe our expressions or how we wish to receive love are not aligned...

            It's shocking because how dare someone think and/or react differently from us. Many of us cannot see the logic behind it. I have experienced this. I often run into people who aren't as far on their journey as I am or are further in theirs than I am and it used to be hard for me to comprehend their actions. I have learned that the moment we accept our differences and begin to realize that where there is no expectation there is no disappointment we can truly live in peace. The most important people for us to be patient with when it comes to differences are those we love. Take your significant other for example, whether it be boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or life partner...they give and receive love differently. I am sure that there are aspects of their love that is different from yours but as their partner you are to nurture them and try your best to understand their expression of love as they should also do for you. 

            I want to share a book that has helped me understand this concept of Love Languages. The book is titled, The 5 Love Languages | The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. It teaches of a very simple concept. Love is necessary and it begins at home. So, it is imperative that we make an effort to understand the person in which we wish to build a home and life with. Those behaviors will trickle down to your children. I honestly believe that the lack of understanding love and why it is important is why we have so many broken families, so many people who are troubled, etc. We should aim to build love that lasts. Love that goes beyond the wedding and the honeymoon. Chapman sets us up to fully understand and achieve this goal. He lists the 5 Love Languages as the following:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service 
  5. Physical Touch 

I won't give away too much of the book because I want you all to actually read it. The listed love languages, once explained in depth are truly relevant to each and every one of us. Once you read this book you may find out that there are aspects of all 5 love languages that pertain to you but there will always be one that is heightened. That is your primary love language. We can understand our spouses, our children, and our friends much better by understanding what their primary love language is. This book was a page turner because it opened my eyes and lit so many lightbulbs in my mind. You can pick it up at B&N.com or Amazon.com. Enjoy Bookworms!! :)


               Many of us have wished that we had the blueprint for "adulting". We all wanted to grow up too fast and couldn't wait until we hit our 20s to move out of our parents' home and really take control our own lives. I, myself, had some goals set with specific ages in which I'd achieve them and lets just say that life took its own course! lol It's like no matter how hard our parents tried to prepare us we were too stubborn to take heed. Now we are here, and what's to be done? We are trying to figure out life and put the pieces together. 

            Now, it's not to discredit what our parents have taught us but we were just too stubborn. There comes a time when we all grow up and are ready to really live and achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. The problem that I have found, and I know I'm not alone, is that when we are ready to achieve these goals there is no real guidance or support. How do you  know if you are making the right step? How do we survive our 20s in a day and age that is much different from when our parents were growing up?

          Well, I think I found a great blueprint for thriving during our 20s. K. Franco has written a true gem that is simple, straightforward, and to the point. It is her debut novel titled, #THRIVING20s. She gives us 7 awesome steps to take in order to thrive during our 20s. This book serves as a reminder of how awesome life is and just how much we can achieve when we actually collect ourselves and invest in our passion. Franco talks about building habits, the right ones, and how far those will take you. She speaks on relationships and communication. Each chapter is them summarized with "game changers". They enable you to keep your momentum throughout this challenging but fruitful experience, growth. We are learning who we are with every step that we take. That never changes. Having a level head and loving yourself is what will make the journey that much greater. This book was such a pleasure to read. I can't wait to see what else K. Franco has in store for us. Bravo!!!


#THRIVING20S by K. Franco Follow the author:  Instagram | @kfranco917   Click the book to purchase on Amazon.

#THRIVING20S by K. Franco
Follow the author:
 Instagram | @kfranco917

Click the book to purchase on Amazon.

The End of a Hiatus...

       Initially when I decided to create this platform I was eager to get it up and running. Reading is so important to me because it allows me to travel without actually leaving my bed. It allows me to feel certain emotions as well as experience certain things in life without actually becoming too vulnerable. It truly is one of my favorite pastimes and it seemed to be that of so many of my peers....
         I wanted to figure out a way to unite us all in a way that was different from the typical book club. Let's face it, life gets in the way of so many things at times. Whether it be school, work, kids, family, or simply just feeling too many emotions at once that it's crippling. I'm still working through the kinks and aim to really propel this to a level that I may not even be 300% sure of yet. That's the beauty of it though. Riding the wave and seeing where it takes you.    
        That last line in the previous paragraph, "riding the wave and seeing where it takes you...", it's so much easier said than done, right? We have been conditioned to want to control everything. We have a plan or a path we want to take with a desired/expected outcome. When life shifts and bumps us off of that path we are blinded. Stuck in the moment. Trying to figure out how to jump back on the path, getting back to the last step that we stumbled from. At the same time we do not realize that maybe this bump was necessary. Maybe the new route is the one that will tie the journey together and make it worth while. 
       These last few months have been terribly challenging for me, crippling and immobilizing to describe it lightly. Most wouldn't guess though because I don't talk too much. I don't overly express myself or allow too many people to see my vulnerability. It's scary. Not because my mom and dad conditioned me to feel that way (they didn't) but simply because I have never wanted to be too vulnerable in certain areas. Trust is important to me so before I tear down barriers or peel away at layers I've got to trust you. Fair enough, right? I don't like opening the door to unwanted critics. I've been burned too much as it is. Sometimes people spare no consideration for others when criticizing them. 
        What did I do to aid my challenging journey? First and foremost, I won't say that I've made it thru as of yet, however, I am pushing forward. Well some days, as mentioned previously, I couldn't move. I buried myself in emotion until I absolutely couldn't anymore. Not picking up a book for days, not answering phone calls, texts, etc. Meanwhile other days, I dove into poetry and affirmations. Completing two to three books in a day. I've read over 40+ novels and poetry compilations since July 4th. I didn't lose sight of my love for them yet I couldn't bring myself here. To this platform, to write.
       The last two books I picked up, Don't Sweat The Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff by Richard Carlson, PH. D, gifted to me by my ex's parents in 2011, and tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, which I haven't even finished yet, really woke me up. I've always been an anxious person. Wanting to be successful and do things the right way. I'm a planner so by design I always have an outline/to-do list and just want to check things off as I go along. I think hiccups stress me out more than the average joe lol Reading these books, especially Don't Sweat The Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff, reminded me that everything that is happening is what makes the victory that much sweeter. The second chapter, "Make Peace with Imperfection", 9 pages into the book was like my lightbulb moment, my revelation (I've had many). It centered me. Allowing me to regain the confidence to write again. I'll be honest, writing was never my strong suit and it took a while for me to even want to venture into sharing my thoughts because I hate being judged. But I came to the realization several times, which to some may seem like common sense, that people are going to judge you regardless. I constantly have to remind myself of this because I approach people without initial judgement. I allow the interactions and words of the person to really paint the image that they represent...
         To the anxious reader, I urge you to pick up a book from a genre that smoothes your mind. It doesn't have to be anything that I have recommended. What works for me may not work for you but just give it a try. In days that communicating becomes hard, free your mind by reading...

Books featured in this post:

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff...
and it's all small stuff
by: Richard Carlson, Ph.D

tuesdays with Morrie
by Mitch Albom

Thanks for letting me peel away at a few layers...
More to come :)

Endless love always, in all ways!!

16 Poetry Reads for Summer '16

Ello Bookworms!!!!! :)

The summer should be filled with bottomless mimosas and beautiful poetry. 
Today we bring to you our 16 Poetry Reads for Summer '16...


These powerful compilations of poetry will have you mesmerized as the words dance off of the pages. Each piece is handcrafted with care and real raw emotion from the authors. They are powerful, they are moving, they will leave you feeling full...

Full of the fruitful melodies of their thoughts. Poetry is beautiful and I promise these will leaving you wanted more. 

1. Words From A Wonderer, Alex Elle

Published in 2013 @alex_elle

Published in 2013

2. Love In My Language, Alex Elle

Published in 2014 @alex_elle

Published in 2014

3. Whiskey Words & A Shovel, r.h. Sin

Published in 2015 @r.h.sin

Published in 2015

4. Whiskey Words & A Shovel II, r.h. Sin

Published in 2016 @r.h.sin

Published in 2016

5. Milk & Honey, Rupi Kaur

Published in 2015 @rupikaur_

Published in 2015

6. Bone, Yrsa Daley-Ward

Published in 2014  @yrsadaleyward

Published in 2014

7 Neijma, Nayyirah Waheed

Published in 2014   www.nayyirahwaheed.com

Published in 2014 www.nayyirahwaheed.com

8. Salt, Nayyirah Waheed

Published in 2013 www.nayyirahwaheed.com

Published in 2013

10. Black Girl Mansion, Angel Nafis

Published in 2012 www.angelnafis.com

Published in 2012

11. The New Testament, Jericho Brown

Released in September 2014 www.jerichobrown.com

Released in September 2014

12. Beautiful Chaos, Robert M. Drake

Published in 2014 @rmdrk

Published in 2014

13. A Brilliant Madness, Robert M. Drake

Published in 2015 @rmdrk

Published in 2015

14. Beautiful & Damned, Robert M. Drake

Published in 2016 @rmdrk

Published in 2016

15. Black Butterfly, Robert M. Drake

Published in 2015 @rmdrk

Published in 2015

16. The Black Unicorn, Audre Lorde

Published in 1995 www.alp.org

Published in 1995

Bookworms, I hope this post entices you to at least purchase one of these gems.  (Maybe even all of them lol)  Each one of them struck a chord with me and I am sure there is a poem in each of them for everyone. 
These gems evoked emotions that I knew I had but at times had no idea others felt the same way. 

Now, get reading my loves!!!




Lady Bookworm's 15 Sizzling Summer Reads...

Ello Bookworms!! :)

Yesterday was Memorial Day for those of you in the states :) many of you were probably out all day either on the beach or at a barbecue...soaking up the sun and making amazing memories with family and friends. 

Memorial Day is usually the sign that summer is right around the corner approaching with block parties, suntan lotion, beach days, road trips, out of town visitors, and most of all free time to catch up on some good reads. I used to live for summer vacation when I was in high school; even during my earlier university years. It meant that I could read - and not just read whatever assignment was given but I could read what I wanted to. In middle and high school we were given summer reading lists of maybe 20 or so books that we could choose from and that always excited me. Trips to Barnes and Nobles always meant I could get a few books off of the summer reading list as well as pick up a few that I wanted to get started on leisurely. 

Today I'm giving you all my top 15 Summer Reading Recommendations featuring some newbies, that haven't even been released yet but are available for pre-order, and some oldies that are definitely worth the reread :) 

1. Here Comes The Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn (July 19)
This novel takes place in the beautiful island of Jamaica. Dennis-Benn paints not just the picture of a beautiful Jamaica that we have all either seen or heard of but she also exposes the reader to the nitty gritty true thoughts and experiences of the island natives - whether it be the staff at the resort that you are calling home during your visit or the locals that you encounter as you explore this beautiful island. Dennis-Benn writes in Jamaican Patois, which makes the read even more authentic. This is a must read. Buckle up and get ready to experience Jamaica in a way in which you probably haven't before...the true Jamaica. 

2. The 24-Day Conversation with the Universe by Bianca Y. Rose
I previously reviewed this book before it's release in February. As Rose says, "the time for consciousness is always now". She teaches us of the energy we want to surround ourselves with; always good vibes. Her expressions and thoughts may be that of so many of us however most don't or won't express themselves in the manner in which she has. She uses her words to connect us all as her thoughts and experiences jump off of the page. She reminds us of having gratitude, being humble, and staying grounded. Once done reading this you, as well, will want to have a 24-Day Conversation with the Universe to become more rooted and defined as you carry out your life. 

3. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
Many of us know Shonda Rhimes as the woman behind TGIT on ABC. She has glued us to our TVs with shows like Scandal, Grey's Anatomy, HTGAWM, The Catch, etc. Well, if you know anything about Shonda Rhimes then you would know that she is an introvert. Everything changed for Rhimes when her sister challenged her to change her responses to invitations and outings. When that happened she gifted us with 'The Year of Yes'. Rhimes shows us how saying yes can change our lives, for the better. 

4. Whiskey Words & A Shovel (Volume II) by r.h Sin (June 7) 
Most of us know r.h Sin's pieces of poetry from social media. Many of us have screenshot his work and reposted it on our own pages. This is volume II of his compilation of poems. Sin's poetry is expressive and relatable. Poems of love, pain, growth, self discovery, and so much more. This is worth the read for both men and women. His work is beautiful. I would suggest preordering this gem and if you haven't yet pick up volume I at your local barnes and nobles so that you're all caught up for volume II.

5. Give It Back by Danielle Esplin
Oh what a thriller!! You won't want to put this book down as you read through the point of views of the three main characters Lexy, Ella, and Lorraine. The book is suspenseful as well as heartwarming, We experience severe illness, sadness, heartbreak, disappearances, and so much more. Just when you think you've figured it all out here comes a plot twist! Esplin does not disappoint us with this novel. I am dying for another novel from her already!

6. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Heartache and pain is not easy to deal with for every bitter experience there comes sweetness. Kaur divides this book into (4) chapters that takes us through four different types of pain and therefore heals us (4) different ways. This is another book of compiled poems that keeps the reader wanting more. Kaur's style of writing is true to self. Her poems are the poems and experiences of every woman. 

7.  KingSun: The Testament of Sunlight and Water by Gladstone Taylor
Kingsun is a compilation of quotes, poems, and short stories that tells us of the youth as they begin self discovery and self value yet it also tells us of Kingston, JA; a city that has grown, it's citizens have struggled and still do struggle. How does a young man or woman stay focused and balanced with the chaos and dysfunction around them? It takes us on journey through Taylor's conscious mind. Take your time to ensure that symbolism and diction soaks in. Taylor's choice of how he expresses balance and duality, religion, etc is like no other. This chapbook doesn't disappoint. 

8. Her 20 Somethings by Zakiyrah Ficklin
Like many of us in our 20s, Zakiyrah struggled with finding her purpose. She did us all a favor by writing this book that guides us through the 20 things that we need to know in order to survive our 20s. She sets us up for success. This book is similar to an interactive journal. It comes equipped with various exercises for a young woman to execute and gain insight. Every young woman should have this on her book shelf. 

9. Salt. by Nayyirah Waheed
This beautiful compilation of poetry takes the reader on a journey through diaspora blues, self love and care, self exploration, true identity and love.  Waheed's words are clear and breakdown so many barriers. Her writing is extremely honest and raw; beautiful to say the least. Her work truly proves how power words are. Don't race through this beautiful piece. Allow her words to resonate with you. They will evoke thought. 

10. My Voice: A Memoir by Angie Martinez
Most of us know Angie Martinez as the 'Voice of NY'. If you've ever traveled to NY in the 90s or early 2000s then you would've heard Angie on Hot 97. She always had the most exclusive interviews and the artists loved her. She truly kept that station alive. Well, Angie has moved on now to Power 105.1 and still sitting on her throne as the 'Voice of NY'. This memoir features a beautifully poetic forward by J.Cole. That alone should reel you in. Angie takes us through rap radio rivalry, exclusive interviews with artists like Tupac, and even her accidental experience with crack. This is a must read for anyone who appreciates hip-hop and how it has shaped our culture. 

11. A Moment of Silence: Midnight III by Sister Souljah
If you've read the Coldest Winter Ever then you, too, have probably been obsessed with Sister Souljah's writing ever since and have been waiting for some of her new novels to dive into. Well, look no further. If you haven't caught up as of yet then I would recommend you reading the two previous books as this one is the third novel in the midnight series. As usual, Sister Souljah is extremely descriptive and her writing paints clear and vivid images. This novel is passionate, dangerous, tempting and adventurous. Midnight, a young handsome Muslim man, finds himself surrounded by Americans who have different values and morals. After a moment of lost control he risks everything he loves but will he lose it all?

12. Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile
The main character is Charley, an African American single mother who lives in Los Angeles and is struggling to make ends meet. The last thing she thought she would be doing is packing up and moving to Louisiana to become a sugarcane farmer but her father left her an 800 acre farm after he passed - so why not seize the moment? The twists and turns of Charley's life certainly make this book unpredictable. You won't know whats coming up next as she juggles caring for her homesick daughter, being a new farmer, and a jealously bitter brother. 

13. I Love My Love by Reyna Biddy
Many of you may know Reyna Biddy from Tumblr, Twitter, and/or Instagram. She is known for her writing. She paints clear and sincere images of relatable journeys that we have all experienced. Similar to this wave of writing seen by authors such as Alex Elle, r.h. Sin, RM Drake, etc she express herself poetically. The words jump off of the page. This book is a quick read and I am sure you will all be able to relate to her expressions.


14. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (June 7)
What a phenomenal read. This novel begins in 18th century Ghana and travels down 7 generations ending in 20th century Harlem. It tells the tale of two half sisters, who didn't know one another, and their descendants. They lead completely different lives - one as royalty and the other as a slave. Of course this has also altered the outcome of their descendants' lives as well. You won't want to put this down. 

15. Travelers' Tales of Old Cuba edited by John Jenkins
A compilation of short stories from travelers who explored Cuba, its beautiful land and rich culture. There are a variety of stories from the late 1800s to early/mid 1900s. Most of the stories are fictional but they certainly read as history verse propaganda. With the new travel opportunities that are available between the US and Cuba this is certainly worth picking up. This will have you ready to hop on a Carnival Cruise headed straight for Cuba.