The Last Single Girl by Bria Quinlan and Caitie Quinn – A Cute and Fun Book Review

Title: The Last Single Girl
Autho
rs: Bria Quinlan and Caitie Quinn
Publish date: 2012
Pages: 150
Genre: Chick Lit

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About the Book

Has this ever happened to you? Your girls night out turns into a couples night out…only you don’t have someone to “couple” with? This is the dilemma that Sarah is finding herself in. She was supposed to have a fun night out on New Years Eve with three of her single girlfriends. Only while they all travel back home for Thanksgiving, they all find a beau. Well, all except Sarah. So now she’s left with finding a man so she’s not the seventh wheel on NYE…so much for “girls night!”

But it’s ok. She has two months to find a date. Easy peasy. She signs up for eLove. After all, “The internet had found me everything else of import over the last few years. An apartment, a job a car….that Kate Spade bag. So yes, I had some confidence in the internet.” So she creates a plan: talk to guys she thinks she’ll have fun with, meet up with her top five, then set a date with one of them. She picks a mutual day-date spot – an adorable little coffee shop – and starts meeting the guys. Only one thing after another goes wrong on these dates…

“Dating Truth #4: There’s always another fish in the sea…it’s just that we keep dumping toxic waste in the water so who knows what you’ll catch next.”

Will she ever find a guy to bring out? And how many more times is she going to embarrass herself in front of John, the coffee shop owner?

My Thoughts

Well hello there, The Last Single Girl, aren’t you just absolutely adorable?!

I thoroughly enjoyed this light, fun read. It’s short – I read it in one day. And I was sad it was over. But thankfully it’s the first in a series. I’ve bought the second book and added the others to my to-be-read list.

Sarah is a very likable character. She’s independent and funny. She doesn’t pity herself. She doesn’t even think she needs a boyfriend – just doesn’t want to be the seventh wheel.

Understandable. Right?

The relationships are believable and not at all over the top. Sometimes you like those romance novels that feel like a fairy tale, but they’re just that. Fairy tales. This is not that. This story could have easily happened to you or your best friend.

If you’re looking for a cat and mouse chase of a romance book with lots of steamy action, this is not your book. But if you’re looking for a fun escape with a rather realistic plot, that is sweet as can be, not cheesy, and has a happy ending, this is your book!

My rating: 4/5 stars

Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes Book Review

Title: Not Without Laughter
Author:
 Langston Hughes
Publish date: 1930
Pages: 256
Genre: Fiction

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Well it seems I haven’t met a Langston Hughes piece of work that I didn’t love. But it’s true. Yet another beautiful work by the literary great.

Not Without Laughter is a novel about Sandy – a young boy living with his family in small town Kansas in the 1910’s.

It is a powerful novel that addresses racism, segregation, and slavery. Hughes has such a way to bringing the reader into the story he’s painted; becoming one of the characters. It’s a gift he has.

A few chapters into this book, I realized Sandy’s grandmother must have been old enough to be a freed slave. When I made that realization, it hit me hard. I don’t feel like 1910 was that long ago. And yet people living in that time, were slaves.

As a white American it’s easy to think that slavery and segregation was something that happen “a really long time ago” but in reality, it wasn’t. And as we witness daily, racism hasn’t gone anywhere.

Reading these stories are important.

Brining these characters to life is important.

And I am so grateful for Hughes and his words.

“There ain’t no room in this world fo’ nothin’ but love, Sandy chile. That’s all they’s room fo’ – nothin’ but love.” – Aunt Hager (Sandy’s grandmother), Not Without Laughter

There is still so much to learn. So much to do. So much change to be a part of.

5/5 stars

Nigeria: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Title: My Sister, the Serial Killer
Author:
 Oyinkan Braithwaite
Publish date: 2017
Pages: 226
Genre: Fiction
Location: Nigeria

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About the Book

Korede and Ayoola are sisters. Korede, the older of the two is a nurse. She’s dependable, smart, responsible, and always looks after her little sister. Ayoola, well, she’s pretty and men like her. Ayoola calls Korede and asks her to help dispose of a body. Yet another boyfriend she killed. This makes three. “We take him to where we took the last one – over the bridge and into the water. At least he won’t be lonely.

Korede loves her sister and continues to protect her, especially since all of the murders have been in self defense. Right? That is, until Ayoola starts dating the doctor that Korede secretly loves. Will she be able to protect the doctor? Will her sister ever get caught?

My Thoughts

Ever wonder how to get rid of a body? Well Korede can tell you: “First, they gather supplies. Second, they clean up the blood. Third, they turn him into a mummy. Fourth, they move the body. Fifth, they bleach.”

Ooooh this one was good.

Really good. It’s dark. It’s funny. It’s wicked. And I’m sad it’s over. This is a very easy read that you will not want to put down.

At first, I really didn’t like Ayoola at all. How could I? She’s a serial killer! Three murders makes a serial killer…Korede looked it up.

“Ayoola has her knife with her, since she carried it the way other women carry tampons.”

But the more we learn about the sisters and how they were treated growing up, the more their story makes sense. It’s always weird rooting for a serial killer. But in the end, I kind of rooted for the serial killer. At least a little.

This was a fun and light-ish read. Yes, there’s death and murder, but Oyinkan Braithwaite writes in such a way that you don’t feel depressed and heavy. There are twists, turns, and interesting characters that will help you navigate this mystery. The ending is satisfying and yet leaves you with a few things to wonder.

I purchased this as a physical book. Instead of donating to make room on my bookshelf, I’m going to hold onto it and read it again.

My rating: 5/5

Buses Are a Comin’: Memoir of a Freedom Rider Book Review

Title: Buses Are a Comin’: Memoir of a Freedom Rider
Author:
 Charles Person and Richard Rooker
Publish date: April 27, 2021
Genre: Memoir

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I received an advanced copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press in return for my honest review. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press.

We wanted opportunity that those who had opportunity never thought about as opportunity.” – Charles Person

This is what the Freedom Riders were riding for. These men and women (both black and white) wanted the same treatment for everyone no matter the color of their skin. Ordering from the same lunch counter as white people, sitting next to a white person on the bus, using the same restroom as a white person. The problem was, “Small acts deemed inappropriate for people of color had big consequences… Defying the system could get you killed.” – Charles Person

What a necessary and timely memoir. Charles Person is one of the Freedom Riders from 1961 and this is his story. His memoir is written in a relaxed and inviting tone. It’s easy to follow, get lost in the pages, and feel comfortable with Person. He pulls you into the story. It’s easy to become consumed with his words.

We have an ominous history as it relates to race equality and human rights. It’s something that we clearly are still facing today. Reading this book was painful. It hurts to know this is how people were treated not that long ago. It hurts to see that so much really hasn’t changed. And that’s what makes this book essential.

These are the stories we need to read. These are the stories we need to know. The only way we can grow is by becoming uncomfortable and doing the hard work.

In every era, it takes a bus of change to lead the way to new senses of belonging. … To reach those aspirations others must board the bus a comin’ for them. The ride will not be easy, but it will be necessary. It always has been. It always will be.” – Charles Person

Overall Thoughts

This book was very well written. I found myself consumed in the pages. Thank you, Charles Person for doing the painful work 60 years ago. Thank you for your continued service over the past several decades. And thank you for your words today. This is an essential read. If I were a high school history teacher, this would be required reading for my class. I will be recommending this to everyone I know.

 My rating: 5/5 stars

More Magic from My Favorite: The Short Stories of Langston Hughes Review

Title: The Short Stories of Langston Hughes
Author:
 Langston Hughes
Publish date: 1996
Written: 1915-1963
Pages: 299
Genre: Short Stories

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He’s brilliant. He’s an artist. And he’s magic.

I fell in love with the writing of Langston Hughes while reading his first memoir, The Big Sea. He’s best known for his poetry, but his memoir was nothing short of amazing. So I knew I needed to read more. Since then, I’ve purchased 11 of his books and reading everything of his I can get my hands on.

His short stories did not disappoint. The Short Stories of Langston Hughes is an anthology of 47 short stories written between 1915 (when he was in high school) and 1963 (almost his entire life). The stories are all different, but the common thread is life during the times for people of color. Some stories are funny, some are sad, but they are all beautiful.

My two favorite stories are…

One Friday Morning, a story of strength and courage. A young black girl receives a scholarship for her art only to find out that the scholarship was taken from her because of the color of her skin. Her teacher, a Irish woman tries to comfort her, “…America is only what we who believe in it, make it…we still have in this world of ours democracy to make. You and I…”

and

Breakfast in Virginia, a story of friendship and kindness. Two soldiers – who are black – have been told they can’t sit in the white dining cart (even though they are clearly fighting for this country!). A white patron dismisses the waiter, takes the two soldiers to his private car and treats them to breakfast with him. The exchange between one of the soldiers and the white man stuck with me, “‘This here time, sir, is the first time I ever been invited to eat with a white man. I’m from Georgia.’ ‘I hope it won’t be the last time,’ the white man replied. ‘Breaking bread together is the oldest symbol of human friendship.'”

It’s really interesting reading Langston Hughes right now. We are at a pivotal moment in our country regarding race and equality. These stories were written between 57 and 105 years ago by Langston Hughes. But sadly, many of them could have been written today. It’s important that we read these stories. That we know these stories. So we can grow and learn and be better. And stop making the same horrible mistakes generation after generation.

Now, onto the next work of art by Langston Hughes.

My rating: 5/5 stars