Conversations Magazine's #BooksYouNeedtoRead Issue

Conversations Magazine's #BooksYouNeedtoRead Issue
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Tuesday, July 25, 2023

[To You, From Me] My Love Letter to Books


Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. 

As a child that was my favorite past-time, more so than playing with my toys or with my friends. I have always felt a connection with the written word. Fiction and Non-fiction spoke to me in ways that few things were able to. It was no wonder, then, that I knew that being a writer was something I wanted to pursue as an adult. 

This issue of Conversations Magazine shares that love of books with you, the reader. You'll find interviews and features of both non-fiction and fiction for all ages, with the hope that you will find something that speaks to you and those around you.

On the cover you see authors Manswell T. Peterson and Rosalie Turner, both are authors who are able to not just tell stories but inspire their readers, too. That is the gift I have found that books are able to give. They speak a language that resonates in ways that few things can. Sometimes it's just about finding the right book or author to fit your interests.

My hope with this issue is to introduce you to authors you will want to get to know more about as well as stories that will move you to do SOMETHING in your life. Even if writing or reading doesn't seem to be for you, I believe you will find something in this issue that will connect on some level

Enjoy this love letter to books and the authors that write them.

Happy reading! 

Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief of Conversations Magazine/

Mississippi Success Magazine


Author Rosalie T. Turner: Using Fiction to Share the World's Truth


by Cyrus Webb

One of the things I appreciate about author Rosalie T. Turner is how she uses her gift of storytelling to not just entertain but get readers to thinking. I first learned about her through the novel MARCH WITH ME. Now she has an equally powerful book about race and the sacrifices that comes with change called LAYERS OF TRUTH.

We talk about the book and what she hopes readers to take away from it in this conversation.  

·         Rosalie, you and I first connected with your book MARCH WITH ME. What has it been like to see the response to your work?

Cyrus, it’s been so rewarding to me to see the response. When MARCH WITH ME first came out, most people didn’t know about the Children’s March of 1963 which got us the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I especially enjoyed speaking in schools and universities. To see young people become interested in this important civil rights history really touched my heart.

·         Your book LAYERS OF TRUTH is one of Conversations’ Summer Reads for this year. What inspired it?

I like to find topics that most people don’t know about, and few people really know what happened during Freedom Summer. We’ve lived in Mississippi and as I was doing research and setting up the details to bring university students there for a civil rights history tour, I met several of the foot soldiers. I realized how those foot soldiers had put their very lives on the line working to get Blacks registered to vote. Their names would never be in a history book, and I wanted their names to be known. I wanted to say their names and to tell the unknown backstories. I think that’s important.


What I love about your work is that you help us to discuss turbulent times in history in a way that can bring people together. When did your own love of history begin?

I think it’s just in my DNA, Cyrus. All my family loves history. When I was in high school, I read KILLERS OF THE DREAM by Lillian Smith. I think that was the first spark for my interest specifically in civil rights history.

·         Outside of writing you visit a great deal of historical places, especially with young people. Why has that been important for you?

Making those trips with students and others has become the focus of my husband’s and my life. We fell into it unexpectedly when a professor at Texas A & M U-Commerce (my husband’s alma mater) put together a 3-credit hour class with a week’s tour to historic sights and hearing actual foot soldiers as part of it. My husband and I make all the arrangements and during the tour, we give a lot of background information. We do one tour of Alabama and another for Mississippi every year, and have been doing this for 10 years now, reaching several hundred students and adults.

·         What should our audience expect from you next?

 I’m feeling that “itch” to be working on something, but I’m not quite sure what I want to do next. Right now, I'm working on the rewrite of a story about homelessness for the Middle Grade market. However, there are so many little-known avenues to explore in civil rights history and it is so important that we learn that history. I’m always tempted to write something in that line.

·         Any advice you want to share when it comes to others pursuing their own goals and dreams?

I would continually urge people to pursue those dreams, especially when it comes to writing. We all have stories within us, and it is with the sharing of these stories that we are all enriched.

·         Thanks again for the time, Rosalie. How can our audience stay connected with you?

People could go to my website at and connect through that or follow me on LinkedIn or Instagram. Thanks so much, Cyrus, for this opportunity and for all you do and all you are.

One on One with author Sonya Howell Barrow

by Cyrus Webb

 Sonya, first of all congratulations on Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of

 FIRE Inspirations.” What has it been like for you to see the response to the book?

 Thank you.  Also, thank you for allowing me to showcase my book on your platform.

Since the book launch of my FIRE inspirations, my heart has been bursting with pride and joy as I have turned my dream of becoming a published author into the reality.  During the past several weeks my readers have contacted me via email, Facebook messenger as well as in-person just to let me know how proud they are of me and my published works.  Readers really enjoyed reading my FIRE inspirations and emphasized how my bullet comments encouraged them to have a positive mindset.  

  Is inspiring others something you have always wanted to do or felt led to do?

 As a single parent of two African American young men (my heartbeats) and a Retired United States Army Chief Warrant Officer Five with over 26 years of active-duty military service, I have always strived to be an inspiration to others.  I always encourage my children, family, friends, Soldiers and other to develop a positive mindset.  My # 1 motivation to myself and to others is always “so can you” because you can and you will get it done.

 Talk with our readers about the meaning of FIRE for you?

 My inspirations were written with a purpose which are centered around my tagline, “FIRE

Igniting the Joy and Love Within.”

                                                                BE FEARLESS.

                                                                BE INSPIRED.

                                                                BE RESILIENT.

                                                                BE EMPOWERED.

 Each of my FIRE Inspirations is showcased with a color that represents my Authorpreneur Sonya Brand.  BE FEARLESS is represented by Magenta.   BE INSPIRED is represented by Purple.  BE RESILIENT is represented by Red.  BE EMPOWERED is represented by Yellow.  My FIRE Inspirations are a reminder for me to continue to live my best and blessed life.

 My FIRE Inspirations are the chapter names within Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of  FIRE Inspirations,” and Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of  FIRE Inspirations: For Journaling.”  Each chapter was written in an attempt to help ignite the burning desire that is inside each of us.  The bullet comments that follow each FIRE inspiration within the main guide is what enabled me to ignite my FIRE, change my mindset and get out of my own way.   

One of the things you have written about is the importance of self-love. How has that helped you in life?

 Although individuals may have quit on me, I am reminded to never quit on myself.  This is why self-love is very important to me. I am my #1 fan, because I will always love myself first.  Therefore, it is important that I show up for myself and cheer for myself.  More importantly, I will always ignite my FIRE  and take a chance on the Beautiful, Empowered, Triumphant Soldier Girl, that’s me.  So, as I continue to live my best and blessed life I will always “BET” on me.

  Has it been easy for you to embrace your role as a coach, helping others on their own journey?

 No, my journey to embrace my role as a life-coach has not been easy.  Simply because although change is inevitable, some individuals are fearful of change.  These individuals have not chosen to be fearless as they refuse to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.  Individuals who appreciate lessons learned are ready to be inspired as they forge ahead on their life’s journey. Some individuals realize they need to be resilient in order to pursue their purpose with passion. Whereas individuals with the be empowered mindset are unstoppable champions in pursuit of their goals, dreams and ambitions.

 When did you realize that was a gift you had been given?

 Perhaps having the gift came naturally for me.  Especially since the name Sonya has Ukrainian and Russian origins and means “wisdom.”  Because of my natural wisdom and the belief that a better day is coming, I always strive to maintain a positive mindset.  By doing this, it allows me to continuously defy my life’s obstacles by not becoming a statistic. Ultimately, my two heartbeats are my “Why” I overcame many obstacles.  My FIRE inspirations are my “How” I overcame these obstacles.  My upcoming memoir entitled, “SHE IS ME!  Defying My Life’s Obstacles By Not Becoming A Statistic, Book-I:  The Struggle Is Real and Book-II: Smile For Me” provides my “What” obstacles I overcame. 

 Speaking about your experience writing the book, how did Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of  FIRE Inspirations” come about?

 Nikki, my cousin and my very first best friend, recommended that I write my very own inspirational quote guide.  Nikki enjoyed reading my FIRE Inspirations that are showcased on my social media platforms daily and was motivated by them.  Nikki believes others will benefit from reading my FIRE Inspirations too.

 When people finish reading the book what do you hope it does for them?

 After reading “Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of  FIRE Inspirations” I hope readers are inspired to ignite their burning FIRE and never lose focus on being their own best friend.  I hope readers are encouraged to practice mindful journaling by utilizing Sonya’s Little Book Of Quotes A Coffee Table Guide of  FIRE Inspirations:  For Journaling.”  Mindful journaling will allow writers to be present and show up for their emotions.  The journaling guide will allow writers to interpret my FIRE inspirations and write down their own personal thoughts and feelings without interruptions.

  Any advice you want to share for aspiring writers out there?

 The advice that I share with aspiring writers is the same advice that I tell myself, which is, “What are you afraid of?  Tomorrow is not promised.  It is time to take the chance on you.”  I want writers to remember to be grateful to those who tell you “NO!”  The “NO” will continue to force you to BE FEARLESS.  BE INSPIRED.  BE RESILIENT.  BE EMPOWERED.  You are in control of the outcome of “YOUR” own destiny.  Remember that “YOU” hold the pen in your hand to write the future that God has planned for you.  So, it’s Go Time!  Be fearless and write your book.

 Thanks for your time, Sonya. How can our readers stay connected with you?

Readers can connect with me via my social media platforms of LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.  However, the easiest way to access my social media platforms, my Calendly and my website is via my Link Tree URL at

Also, if you would like to stay up to date on all of my upcoming book projects (solo and collaborations), or if you would like to book an appointment with me or to simply get a daily dose of my FIRE Inspirations please visit my website at



Monday, July 24, 2023

Dr. Teresa A. Smith: Bouncing Back Through Her Own Transformation, Helping Others to do the Same

by Cyrus Webb

"Change is challenging."

That is something Dr. Teresa A. Smith aka Dr. TAS knows all too well. She addresses that topic in her book TRANSFORMATION, however, it is an ongoing lesson. 2023 has had its challenges for many, Dr. TAS included. As she continues to come out of the other side she is helping others learn from her own lessons in the new book TRANSFORMATION: The Bounce Back. 

Dr. TAS, it’s great to have you back in Conversations Magazine. Let’s start off with talking about this year. If you had to describe 2023 for yourself how would you do it? 

Thank you so much for having me back in Conversations Magazine. Reflecting on 2023, I would describe it as a year of deep self-reflection and humility. It began with me grappling with an undiagnosed illness that kept me in pain and sidelined for three long months. However, I'm grateful to share that my health has greatly improved. This year has served as a bridge between my past and my future, offering me the opportunity to confront any lingering concerns or emotions that might hinder me from living an authentic life I truly honor. It's about breaking free from the confines of living by others' expectations and embracing activities that align with my internal compass and external goals rather than out of a sense of obligation.

So much of your platform has been about helping others. What has it been like for you to remember the importance of taking care of yourself? 

It’s true that much of my platform has been centered around helping others, but I've also realized the vital importance of taking care of myself. Overcoming my own trauma has been a transformative journey, and realizing that I haven't cared for myself properly was tough. If not for my belief in resilience, I might have found myself curled up in a corner, overcome with shame and self-pity. However, I firmly believe in the power of forgiveness, both from a higher power and from oneself.

 Sometimes, we become our own worst enemies, piling unnecessary stress upon ourselves. Perhaps, we do it out of the belief that it's easier than negotiating with others. I have learned that there's a limit to how many hits we can endure before we find ourselves down for the count. So, I must take the first step if change is to occur.

So many people, especially women, feel they have to put others first. We both know that’s not the proper order. Has that been difficult for you, putting yourself first? 

Every day, I face the ongoing struggle of putting myself first. In the past, I prioritized taking care of others before even considering my own needs. I vividly recall a recent experience with a faculty member I was working with who was trapped in a perpetual cycle of stress and overwhelm. I observed her closely during a Zoom meeting and noticed the range of emotions flickering across her face, including frustration. It became clear that she was teetering on the edge, struggling to balance multiple deadlines. 

During a conversation about her work performance, we delved deeper into her inability to prioritize herself. It was a breakthrough moment when she cried, releasing the weight of unrealistic expectations and beginning her journey toward a Bounce Back. This story serves as a reminder that society often socializes women to endure, take hits, and be unbreakable superwomen. But it's time to transform this mindset because we are not superheroes, and our well-being matters, too.

Transformation: The Bounce Back is not the book you thought you would be releasing in 2023. A lot of our readers might find themselves in a place they didn’t expect to be as well. What has helped you to adjust?

Cyrus, "Transformation: The Bounce Back" isn't the book I initially planned to release in 2023, and I understand that many readers may find themselves in unexpected places as well. Adjusting to these unexpected turns has been an ongoing process for me. I approach it with intentionality and mindfulness, constantly questioning the realism of my expectations. Whenever I sink into the quicksand of unrealistic demands and expectations, I pull myself out by sprinkling positive self-talk and affirmations into my mindset. 

Admittedly, it's a challenging journey. Adjusting may also mean letting go of relationships that were once considered mutually nurturing but were one-sided. It's the price we pay for prioritizing our own well-being. It's not selfish—it's about self-preservation. I've realized that I no longer have the luxury of merely existing; I must embrace life fully and authentically.

Social media is a big deal for us both. How have you used it in your work? Social media plays a significant role in my work, providing a platform for me to share my message and amplify the voices of other like-minded creatives. It's an ever-evolving space, and I'm continuously adapting and finding new ways to connect and inspire through various social media channels.

Being an influencer or person in the public is not easy. It comes with a lot of responsibility. Has that been something easy for you to embrace? 

Becoming an influencer or being in the public eye is far from easy—it carries immense responsibility. Although I didn't set out to become an influencer, my primary focus has always been helping others overcome trauma and offering hope through practical strategies. Embracing the role of an influencer has made me aware of the responsibility that comes with it. I strive for transparency, letting my audience know I have both good and challenging days, just like everyone else. It's how I choose to face and handle those challenges that can make a real difference in my life and the lives of those around me. My goal is always to show up authentically.

You and I talk a lot about the importance of being kind to yourself. How has that helped you when it comes to the expectations you place on yourself and what you’re able to do? 

Our discussions on the importance of self-kindness have been truly transformative. Being kind to myself takes on various forms, and it has been eye-opening to explore this concept. Practicing self-kindness has profoundly influenced my expectations of myself and what I can achieve. Admittedly, it requires considerable effort, which can be disheartening at times. Yet, I've learned not to second-guess the importance of being kind to myself. 

I ask myself, "Are you truly being authentic when you are kind to others but neglecting your needs?" The answer is a resounding "no." To prevent myself from constantly feeling overwhelmed, I've prioritized taking care of myself and ensuring that I am in a good place before extending care to others.

You give the reader a lot of work in TRANSFORMATION: The Bounce Back. What do you hope the book does for them? 

In "Transformation: The Bounce Back," I offer readers a significant amount of introspective work, but I have specific hopes for what the book can do for them. Firstly, I aim to normalize what readers might perceive as abnormal behavior or experiences, letting them know they are not alone. 

Secondly, I want readers to understand that unexpected setbacks happen to all of us. 

Thirdly, I want to foster a community of individuals committed to transforming their current circumstances. Above all, I aim to provide a safe space within the book’s pages for readers to explore their true selves behind any masks they may wear and emerge stronger and transformed.

Sharing one’s story is not easy. What advice would you give to others about the importance of using their story to help others? 

Sharing one's story is undoubtedly challenging, but it carries immense importance. My advice to others considering sharing their stories is this: Never be ashamed of your life or your story. Each of us plays a crucial role in this complex journey called life. Your story might be precisely what someone else has been waiting for, allowing them to experience a complete transformation. Remember, both you and your story are necessary; never diminish your worth or the power of your narrative.

What are you looking forward to during the rest of the year? 

This year, I look forward to making intentional changes, closing the doors on aspects of my life that no longer nourish my true self. Living a balanced and authentic life, fully immersed in my personal expectations, will affirm my resilience and ability to bounce back. That is the most important accomplishment.

Thank you for your time, TAS. How can our readers stay connected to you? 

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story and work with your audience. To stay connected with me, readers can visit, where they can access all my social media platforms, YouTube channel, information about the Transform With TAS Show, my website, and purchase my books.

Manswell T. Peterson: Creating His Own Universe (and Legacy) One Book at a Time

 by Cyrus Webb

Manswell T. Peterson is the kind of author who doesn't wait on opportunities to come his way. He creates his own lanes, follows his own rules and has been able to find success with readers along the way.

Though he has written in many genres, what he has created with The Locrottum Universe stands out currently as his crowning achievement, with characters and storylines that keep readers coming back for me. 

In this conversation we talk about the journey to doing what he loves, what it's been like to create his own universe and advice for others wanting to make their own literary dreams come true. 

Manswell, it’s been amazing to watch your success over the past few years. What has it been like for you to see how readers have responded to your work?

Everyday is still amazing. To see readers from all over the country and hearing from them via e-mail or messenger and to see how they fall in love and hate certain characters, shows me that I am on the right track.

The Locrottum Universe has become a big part of your career. How did it all begin?

I thought about it 10 years ago. Mentally, I started working on the series. Next, the writing began. I watch paranormal and fantasy shows a lot. I saw that there were not different factions all in one series. Therefore, I wanted to create my own fantasy world intertwining several factions.

You have not allowed a particular genre to define you or your writing. Did you always believe in your ability to succeed at any type of writing you chose to do?

Yes. I don’t believe there is a genre that I cannot be successful in; and that is because I will study a genre from every angle. I will look at what’s working and what’s not working. I also pay attention to what the fans are asking for. I then do my best to deliver it.

This issue of Conversations Magazine is focusing on books that will be great for readers to explore as summer reads and beyond, especially for children. You have also written children’s books as well. What led you in that direction?

The more e-mails that I got from parents, the more I was concerned that some kids were looking for a new favorite book. My wife and I created Braylen the Bear & Friends because of the warm heart and caring nature of our son, Braylen. I wanted something that ALL kids could gravitate to. And I believe we pulled it off with this series. With 5 books in the series already out, we have kids asking their parents when is the next one coming. That's exciting to see.

Already 2023 has shaped up to be a big year for you, Manswell. One thing that happened was being able to thank a teacher that meant a lot to you. Tell us about that experience.

Almost 40 years ago, while dealing with my mom with her crack cocaine addiction, one of my middle school teachers saw what I was dealing with. She was there and bought me writing supplies. She even bought me a new pair of Reebok tennis shoes that I had to leave in my school locker every day.  This educator meant so much to my survival and who I am today. 

You have also been out and about meeting your readers in person. What is it like meeting your readers and seeing their reactions?

At one function, I sat next to a mom and daughter reading Locrottum Academy 3. I asked the mom was the book good. When she looked up and saw my face, her smile said everything. She began tapping her daughter on the shoulder and when the daughter finally looked up all she could say was, “It’s You”. She said this about 5 times and I asked if she would like me to sign her book and take a picture. Best feeling in the world to me.

Social media is a big part of how we connect with our audiences. How has your relationship with social media evolved over your career?

It allows me to stay in constant contact with readers in real time. When I first begin writing, this was not possible.

You are also big on trying to inspire others to go after their goals and dreams. Why has that been so important for you?

This is about the next generation of writers. I know I can’t write forever. We have to fill the gaps in the literary world as all authors must at some point bid farewell to readers.

Being half-way through the year, what should our readers expect from you next?

Last year I gave the readers 15 books. My goal this year is to beat that number. I have a summer blitz  planned including a new YA Academy series.

Any advice you have for those who are looking to begin their own career as an author? 

I remember a new author told me that they had the worse payday in history where they only made 50 cents that day. I told them about my worst day…..I only made 17 cents. They looked at me stunned. They knew if I could have a bad day like that and survive, they knew they would also.

Thanks for the time, Manswell. How can our readers stay connected with you? 

They can find me on Facebook , Instagram and Tiktok under Manswell T. Peterson. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

[BOOK REVIEW] With THE WRONG CATCH Dr. Velma Bagby delivers another timely book about dating and marriage

 Let's face it: talking about relationships can be difficult. Especially when people have a different view of what they expect and what they want from a partner. That is why it's good to have books that can address the topic in a safe space like fiction while giving us the truth about what we should want from a mate and even if we're the right catch for anyone at the present time.

That is what Dr. Velma Bagby has been able to do with her CATCH SERIES. Beginning with THE CATCH NO ONE WANTS we saw how the father and daughter team of Greyson and Veronica were able to come together and using fish analogies get a better understanding of where women (and even men) go wrong when it comes to dating and marriage.

With THE WRONG CATCH we see the two of them take the message to the people, allowing other women to better look at themselves and what they are bringing to the table and accepting as well as what they should want from a potential mate. I love how the book builds on the fish analogies with examples of individuals who have exhibited certain traits, however, it does give us the opportunity to see how people can change. 

A book that is entertaining, engaging and delivers some timely counsel for those looking to date and marry, THE WRONG CATCH is a great catch for men and women to read, enjoy and discuss. 

Get your copy of THE WRONG CATCH on Amazon

[BOOK REVIEW] Full of action, intrigue and timely topics, C. L. Green introduces the world to Slim Pickens

 So many times you pick up a book not knowing what to expect, especially when it comes to an author that is new to you. I went into C. L. Green's SLIM PICKENS & THE SPIDER WEBB TATTOO MYSTERY this way. What I ended up with was a book that takes you into the blurry lines that can be right and wrong, and how Slim Pickens is trying to do his part to right the wrongs he sees without going too far over the line.

This is one of those stories that shows how sometimes those who are in power can use that position for bad, and how there will always be people like Slim Pickens who will stand up for the everyday man and woman. Whether we're talking about corruption, the timely issue of trafficking or even taking advantage of the less fortunate, this book moves quickly towards a path of Slim trying to do the right thing and protect those he cares about along the way.

Looking for a new addition to your action or suspense reading list? SLIM PICKENS & THE SPIDER WEBB TATTOO MYSTERY is a great book to consider. 

Get your copy on Amazon

Saturday, July 15, 2023

[BOOK REVIEW] Looking for your victory? William G. Harper, Jr. reminds you it comes by STANDING STILL

 We all know what it's like to be beaten up by life's challenges and situations. Some of them may have been self-inflicted while others seem to be happening to us without case. No matter the reason for it, it can be a lot to handle, even for those of us who have faith in our Almighty God and his promises. 

What can help us deal with the slings and arrows we face? Author William G. Harper, Jr. says the answer lies in STANDING STILL.

In his new book he shares Biblical examples of those who were tested and went through difficulties and what was able to help them endure. Harper also explains that 'standing still' doesn't mean we do nothing. During that time when things are outside of our control THAT is when we have to rely even more on our Father's promises and what He has said he would do for us. 

This is the kind of book you can read and refer to over and over again, reminding yourself of what God has done before and what He can do again. 

Looking for your victory? William G. Harper, Jr. reminds you it comes by STANDING STILL, keeping the faith and watching God work on your behalf. He's done it before. He's promised to do it again! 

Get your copy on Amazon

[BOOK REVIEW] Navigating the challenges of life, MOTHERS VOL. 1 offers a look at what some will do to survive

 Author Ben Burgess, Jr. is known for telling stories that explore themes that we see in real-life. His book MOTHERS VOL.1 is another example of that, taking us into a family dealing with challenges in life that threaten to destroy them all.

We meet Juanita, a mother who is trying to do right by her sons after tragedy made her a single mother. In addition to just trying to make it, she is dealing with health challenges with her son Jerami and the lure of the streets with her oldest Jalen. Will she lose it all while trying to provide a better life for them---or will her family finally get a break?

This story is sure to resonate with readers, mainly because it's something we can all relate to. What would we do if all we loved was threatened? How do you resist the draw of a better life that comes in the streets while also dealing with the consequences? 

Allowing us to explore the family through the different lenses they are experiencing life, the book gives us a look at what they are facing, how they deal with it and the outcome of it all. 

Definitely a book that speaks to the heart and keeps you engaged from the first chapter. MOTHERS VOL. 1 offers a look at what some will do to survive. 

Get your copy of MOTHERS, VOL. 1 on Amazon

Friday, July 14, 2023

[BOOK REVIEW] In Part Two of GIRLS IN SEARCH OF COVER author Pamela Mshana offers healing and hope

 When I was first introduced to author Pamela Mariva Mshana and her book GIRLS IN SEARCH OF COVER Part 1, it was a fascinating look at how the sins and events of the past can heap trauma on generation after generation. Now with Part 2 we get an idea not just of the backstory of the characters but how they try to move forward even when some would love to hold them back.

The character Carmia really shines in this book, mainly because we see her going through all the emotions that are so easy to relate to: hurt, betrayal, helplessness and then healing and hope. I love how Mshana allows us to see how the characters can pull themselves up, drawing on the strength of their ancestors and realizing that better can be possible for them.

This book is one that shows regardless of where you come from there can be a better outcome for you if you choose it. It also reminds us that just like generational curses can exist, they can also be broken. It all begins with the decision to do so. 

Well written and delivered with heart, GIRLS IN SEARCH OF COVER Part 2 offers the reader some closure mixed with some healing and hope.

Get your copy on Amazon

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

[BOOK REVIEW] Isiko Cooks' BRER MACK takes us into the man behind the words who is also dealing with his actions


by Cyrus Webb 

For those who have followed the career of Isiko Cooks you know he lays it all out on the line for readers, both in his fiction and non-fiction. He keeps it real and relatable, and that is part of why he has been able to build the loyal fanbase that he has. 

With BRER MACK: Struggle & Reward we get a different take on the wordsmith, allowing us to see the makings of the man and his career, and sharing how his actions (both good and otherwise) have impacted him and the life he lives. 

This is the kind of book that takes you not just into the career he has made for himself, but the challenges of building a base and readership under less than ideal situations, as well as the wrong choices that have added to his troubles along the way. We see his dealings with those he loved and how by being honest with himself he realized the impact his words and actions can have on others. 

We also get a look at the accolades along his writing career as well as reviews by readers (myself included)  that have come in along the way.

In the end BRER MACK shows not just the evolution of Isiko Cooks. It reveals the continued journey he finds himself on while trying to take a negative and deliver something worthwhile out of it. 

Get your copy of BRER MACK: Struggle & Reward on Amazon

[MOVIE REVIEW] What an extraordinary look at an extraordinary man. Chevalier introduces us to Joseph Bologne

by Cyrus Webb

 I have to admit that before I started hearing about the movie Chevalier I had never heard of Joseph Bologne. That is why I see this film as so important. Though there are those who will argue about how much is real and what is imagined for Hollywood, Chevalier does a great job of introducing many of us to a man who definitely made a mark---and may have paid the price by almost being erased from history.

Taking just the film into account I love how it showcases his competitive spirit and desire to prove he belongs. That is a message that we can relate to even today. It also shows the role of power and politics in life, and how they can come together to either create opportunities or cause havoc. 

It also shows that even though we might try to forget our past it is there to teach us and to at times guide us. We saw that in Joseph's mother and the lesson he was able to get about how some would always see him---and how by fighting he could show he was so much more than another black man.

A story that inspires and is a cautionary tale of what happens when you fly so high you become a threat to the establishment, Chevalier shows how one man was willing to do all in his power to shake things up and make a difference, regardless of the cost. 

Monday, July 3, 2023

[BOOK REVIEW] In FROM SCRATCH David Moscow reminds us of the human contribution to what we eat

 We do it all the time: go out to eat or buy food and cook it at home. How many times, though, have we thought about how we got that food or the humans involved in making it possible.

In FROM SCRATCH David Moscow takes his own curiosity and love of food around the United States and the world to share that story. He lets us into the jobs needed to get food to the consumer and the cost involved for the planet and the workers. You can't help but look at the process in a different way after reading this book. David sees up close and personal what it takes to keep the food chain moving---and the role all of us can play to make sure those involved are taken care of and appreciated for what they do.

The book teaches you about food you may not have personally experienced before but may become curious about. It also allows you to see how the seemingly "simple" things we take for granted have many components and hands involved to bring it to us.

A book that is engaging and educational, FROM SCRATCH paints a picture of the human contribution to what we eat.

Get FROM SCRATCH on Amazon

Saturday, July 1, 2023

[BOOK REVIEW] For Lyn Barrett CRAZY is not just about her journey. It's about loving herself daily.

No matter what we have experienced in life each day is a new opportunity. With Lyn Barrett she is able to chronicle her journey through trauma and living life in the book Crazy: Reclaiming Life from the Shadow of Traumatic Memory.

It's an open, honest look at her life with her alters and what it's been like to find peace among the pieces while realizing the love she deserves---beginning first with herself. What Lyn Barrett gives us is a look at her own healing and reminds us of what is possible if we're willing to do the work.

Love the way the book shows how she puts herself first, and the importance of realizing that her better days can be in front of her.

For anyone dealing with life's challenges CRAZY will inspire you to love yourself, choose yourself and be the best of you.

Get your copy of CRAZY on Amazon