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Book Review: She Who Fights Monsters (Book 2 of The Black Parade) by Kyoko M.

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She Who Fights Monsters by Kyoko M.

Source: Kyoko M’s website

Plot Summary (Taken from Amazon): Jordan Amador. 23. New Yorker. Waitress. Investigator for souls with unfinished business, also known as a Seer. Michael O’Brien. 25. New Yorker. Lead guitarist. Commander of Heaven’s Army. The dynamic supernatural duo is in the middle of trying to solve a deadly case. Someone is methodically hunting down and murdering Seers one by one.

After six months with no leads on the killer, Jordan and Michael are forced to work with their worst enemy—the archdemon Belial: a self-professed Prince of Hell who is dead set on stealing Jordan for himself. However, with the archdemon’s help, they pick up on the trail of the serial killer and plan to stop him no matter what the cost. When the shocking truth behind the murderer’s identity is revealed, Jordan begins asking herself if she is still fighting for the good guys or has she become one of the monsters she is desperately trying to stop?

My Review:  One of the best things about this book is the author’s writing style. The thought-provoking epigraphs, humorous pop culture references,  and detailed action scenes from the first book are still present in the second book. In addition, the author does a good job writing this book from two points-of-view, Jordan’s and Michael’s.

Besides the author’s writing style, the way Jordan and Michael’s relationship was portrayed in the book was very well done. You can see how much Jordan and Michael care for each other when they are together and apart. Things like knowing what makes the other tick and using the same “I just kicked your butt” catchphrase show how close Jordan and Michael have become.

In addition, the character development is good. Although new personal demons confront Jordan, she works through them while kicking demon butt. Michael has some anger issues that he learns to handle as he juggles his multiple roles.

Other characters that play an important role include Jordan’s mother and adoptive father, the archangel Gabriel, and the archdemon Belial. Jordan’s mother and adoptive father do a good job guiding Michael and Jordan from above. Gabriel is a strong fighting partner and a caring friend to Jordan. Belial is a complicated factor, but his involvement with Jordan and Michael makes him a striking character.

Finally, the book’s moral is something anyone can relate to. By the end of the book, the reader is shown that sometimes life and people aren’t always black and white. There is a grey area in almost everyone, whether it be yourself, a parent, or a lover.

Overall, this was a great sequel to The Black Parade. If you enjoyed The Black Parade, then definitely read this book.

Related Link:  Book Review of The Black Parade Book 1

 

 

 

End of Summer Music Spotlight: More Afropunk Goodness!

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Summer has flown by fast. My For Harriet internship is just about finished and my fall semester of college starts on Saturday (got an online class that starts on the weekend). To end the summer with a bang, I’m going to share Afropunk music that I’ve discovered since my other summer music spotlight. I’m also including some musicians and downloads I completely forgot to mention.  As in my other music post, I will include free downloads that the musicians have made available. Also, feel free to go to Afropunk.com and sign up for their newsletter for more goodies.

1. Sophia Ramos

Genre: Soul, rock

Free Downloads: ” Freedom is Over” (from the free compilation album Fire in The Dark), “Esperanza“, “Let Me Tell You Something

2.  Songs from the compilation album Fire in The Dark (these are my personal favorites)

“Blak Girls” by Shelley Nicole Blackbushe- an empowering funk song for black women

“On Planet Earth” by California King- a rock ballad about youth and drugs

“The Last Time We’re Here” by The Family Stand- a soulful rock song about redemption

“Fear of Numbers” by Milk Plus- a fierce rock song about the fear of people coming together

Bonus Song I found after I did a Google Search- “Shades of Blue” by The Family Stand

3. Quinn Deveaux and The Blue Beat Review

Genre: rock n’ roll, gospel, blues, jazz, soul

Notable Song: Left This Town

Free Download:  Under Covers (a collection of cover songs that don’t sound like cover songs)

4. Sa’ Ra Charismata

Genre: Progressive conscious pop

Notable Song: Gold Digga

Free Download: Big Man Pharma

5.  Hadassah

Genre: soul

Free Download: Lexicon of Love EP

6. Princess Nokia

Genre: experimental, electronica

Free Download: Metallic Butterfly EP (in the article, click where it says “click here for the download”)

 

Other Free EPs I forgot to mention in past posts

Geechee Goddess Hardcore Warrior Soul by Tamar Kali- soulful, empowering rock

The Roxx Boxx Experience by Divinity Roxx- fun, empowering rap-rock (scroll down, click where it says “free exclusive download” and put in your email)

 

 

 

 

Written by yawriterinthemaking

August 16, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Movie Review: The Lego Movie (2014)

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The Lego Movie

Source: Wikipedia

Plot Summary (Taken from IMDB): An ordinary Lego construction worker, thought to be the prophesied ‘Special’, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis.

My Review:  One of the best things about this film is the animation. The Lego world is so colorful and bright, the viewer will want to jump into the movie. Sometimes, the Lego world looks real enough that you forget its animated.

Another aspect of the film that is good is the voice acting. Will Ferrell is fantastic as both President Business and The Man Upstairs. Liam Neeson is just as great as Good Cop/Bad Cop.  Morgan Freeman lending his godly voice to Vitruvius is perfect. Other highlights include Alison Brie as Princess Unikitty.

Besides the animation and voice acting, the plot of the film was creative, humorous, and heartwarming. The Lego world felt like a hilarious satire of real-life, especially with the theme song “Everything is Awesome!” Yet, behind that world is also a touching message about uniqueness and creativity.

In addition, the film’s universal appeal is good. There’s comedy, action-adventure, romance, and a little drama. Furthermore, the characters are something kids and adults can relate to.

Overall, the film is great.  I recommend this film to everyone.

Written by yawriterinthemaking

August 13, 2014 at 9:04 PM

Book Review: African Mythology A to Z by Patricia Ann Lynch

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African Mythology A to Z

Source: Ebook3000.com

My Review: The best thing about this reference is its content. The book covers mythology from many different African tribes, rather than just the well-known ones. In addition, the book also covers the beliefs and customs for certain animals, objects, and different types of people.

When it comes to its flaws, the only one is how the information is presented. Since there are many different tribes with their own myths, beliefs, and customs, it can sometimes overwhelm the reader.

Also, the index at the back of the book is more useful to someone with prior knowledge of African mythology. It would have been more helpful to have a few pages listing the various African mythology pantheons and where they can be found in the book.

Overall, the book is a great introduction to African mythology. I recommend it to anyone interested in mythology and folklore and anyone who wants to delve into African myth.

Written by yawriterinthemaking

August 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Live Performance Spotlight: “Geechy Joe” by Cab Calloway

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I haven’t done many live performance music video spotlights this year, so I will pick it up again now. As I mentioned during Black Music Month in May,  jazz musician Cab Calloway has become one of my favorite black musicians of the past. He was a charismatic performer with a big voice, smooth dance moves, and amazing scatting skills. Not to mention, a cool enough intellect to create his own slang dictionary known as The Hepster’s Dictionary.

This performance is my number one favorite Cab Calloway performance. Taken from my favorite blues and jazz film Stormy Weather, it is one of Cab Calloway’s most famous appearances. The moment he walks out on stage in his zoot suit, you know you are in for a treat.  Showcasing his vocal range, dance moves, and powerful stage presence, this is an iconic performance that everyone should watch.

 

 

 

Written by yawriterinthemaking

August 9, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Movie Review: The First Grader (2010)

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The First Grader

Source: Wikipedia

Plot Summary (Taken from IMDB): The true story of an 84 year-old Kenyan villager and ex Mau Mau freedom fighter who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford.

My Review: One of the best aspects of the film is the characters. The main character Marugue is a resilient spirit who has survived the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya. After enduring much hardship and tragic losses, Marague wants to better himself by attending school for the first time. His teacher, Jane Obinchu,  is the kind and bold.  Also, the other children lighten the story with song and dance, but a couple of them also bring out the best of Marugue.

Another good aspect of the film is the use of its setting, the country of Kenya in Africa.  It made the experience of the main character Maruge very palpable for the viewer. For instance, you see how simple his house is, a structure made of logs and the surrounding land almost bare except for a small garden and a goat. You also sympathize with him when you see how far he has to walk to get to the primary school.

Besides the characters and the use of its setting, the cinematography made the film powerful. The flashbacks are positioned so that the viewer slowly gets to know Maruge and see how traumatized he is by his terrible past.  The African vocals heard during certain scenes provide a meditative atmosphere for the viewer to think about the film as the movie progresses.

In addition to the characters, setting, and the cinematography, the film provides excellent commentary on the value of an education. One of the most striking scenes in the film involves the adult education school, which reflects so many of today’s public schools. Another powerful scene occurs when Maruge forces education officials to see why good teachers are necessary. Other commentary occurs in the form of lines like, “You never stop learning until you have soil in your ears.”

Overall, this was a very poignant film. Due to the strong violence and empowering message, I recommend this film for high school students and up.

 

 

 

 

Written by yawriterinthemaking

August 4, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Summer Music Spotlight: Afropunk and Black Nerdcore Rappers

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A couple of months ago, I did a post on my top ten Afropunk musicians. Since then, I’ve discovered more Afropunk musicians as well as black nerd core rappers. If you want to get in the know about the newest Afropunk music, go to the Afropunk website and sign up for an account. By doing this, you’ll also subscribe to a free weekly newsletter that will be emailed to you.

When it comes to black nerdcore rappers, it was something I discovered via a post on For Harriet, the blog I’m interning for. Nerdcore is basically rap music about nerdy things like video games and comics as well as other subjects. It may or may not use chiptune, the sound you hear on classic Nintendo Games.

While nerdcore is dominated by white males, there are some black ones too. I’ll get to them later on in this post. For now, let’s get the Afropunk musicians out the way. I’ll even let you know about free downloads if the musicians have any.

1. Maimouna Youssef

Genre: Rap, jazz, pop, soul, spoken word

Some Favorite Songs: I’m A Woman, We’re Already Royals, Tell My StoryBasquiat The Concrete/All Shea Everything

Free Downloads:  The Reintroduction of Mumu Fresh Mixtape

2. Chargaux

Genre: classical with elements of other genres

Some Favorite Songs:  All The PartiesGreat Expectations

Free Downloads: The Gallerina Suites

3. Purple Ferdinand

Genre: Folk

Some Favorite Songs: BirdsWasn’t Taught To

Free Downloads: DragonFly EP (click free download and use your email or Facebook to get it)

4. Estere

Genre: soul with elements of hip-hop and electronica

Some Favorite Songs: I Spy, Reptilian Journey, Culture ClashPity

Free Downloads: Estere mixtape

5. The Objex

Genre: punk rock

Some Favorite Songs: GG. Social Disease, R.S.V.P.

Free Downloads: R.S.V.P. (see above link), Toxic Waste Girl

6.  Cody ChestnuTT

Genre:  soul, funk, blues, rock

Some Favorite Songs: I’ve Been Life, That’s Still Mama, Under The Spell of The Handout

Free Download: Landing on a Hundred (on the right, click Free Mp3  and then Free Download)

Black Nerdcore Rappers

1. Sammus

Some Favorite Songs: Fly Nerd, Cybernetic Armor, America

Free Downloads: Fly Nerd EP, America (see above link)

2.  Mega Ran

Some Favorite Songs: Chun Li (with Ryu Black and Masia One),  Maya’s Song, Infinite Lives (featuring D&D Sluggers)

Free Downloads:  Maya’s Song (see above link), Infinite Lives (see above link)

 

 

 

 

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