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review 2018-08-06 02:27
Review: After Tupac and D Foster
After Tupac and D Foster - Jacqueline Woodson

1994 was a huge year for me. I was fifteen and, looking back, I feel like that was the year I broke free from my cocoon of childhood. Music played a large part. I had two older brothers. We watched a lot of MTV. I distinctly remember the moments that stirred my emotions on several occasions that year: seeing for the first time Nas's “The World Is Yours,” Ahmad's “Back in the Day,” and Wu-Tang Clan's “C.R.E.A.M.” '94 was also the year I began to take notice of 2Pac. 2Pac's music hadn't hit me hard all of a sudden like the others; however, by the following year, no other rapper compared.

I expected to find some of the nostalgia of those years in Jacqueline Woodson's After Tupac and D Foster. Here's a novel set during that period, a young adult novel that uses Tupac Shakur as a central image. I expected something from this novel—something very poetic and edgy, something contemporary, something like the feeling of emergence, something familiar—but what I got instead was something else entirely.

If this novel reminded me of anything, it was of that time prior to emergence. It reminded me of playing with friends on the school playground, running around the neighborhood, and of my elementary school library. It reminded me of Judy Blue. Not the nostalgia of Yo! MTV RapsFresh, or even Skee-Lo. No—Judy-freakin-Blume. Now on the surface, this may seem like a poor comparison. Any time Blume is mentioned, my first thought has always gone to the hilarious Fudge. But Blume wasn't always so humorous. Ignore that hilarity from Blume for a moment and what do you have? Socially conscious fiction. Subjects considered taboo for children. And at its core, a tale of friendship. All things you find in After Tupac and D Foster.

Now, I haven't read a lot of Blume. And this is the first work I've read from Woodson. So I wondered if the comparison was way off. I turned to Google: Woodson cites Blume as a major influence; Blume and Woodson were both born on February 12 (astrology everyone!); Blume is actually Woodson's mother (okay, I made that one up). Maybe not enough to convince the masses, but I'm sticking by it.

So with the Blume comparison in mind, I’m a little shook by this Young Adult label. With its largely simple plot, its focus on friendship and skipping rope, this novel brings to mind the books a ten or eleven year old would read. But I guess this label probably has to do more with content. After Tupac...may be a little too edgy for your average school librarian. Still, despite my opinion that this book is rather juvenile, it does have a little bit of depth to it and is certainly not an entirely light read.

As a fan of Shakur, I turned to this book hoping to find something I'd left in my teenage years. It's not in here. Frankly, I feel the Shakur connection to the novel is weak. It adds a few parallels for the story of D Foster, but largely I think it detracts from the novel. The characters try to convince me that they are passionate about Shakur and his life, but their dialogue around him feels more like a Wikipedia entry, not someone closely following his status. Then it hit me: Woodson, born in 1963, an author from a generation before Tupac, is writing to a generation that came after. Perhaps the stilted references to Shakur were a lack of generational understanding on the author’s part (though I don’t think this is entirely true of Woodson), or they could’ve been an attempt to speak to a generation that wouldn’t relate to the passion. For someone who was especially shaped by those years, such as myself, the sentiment is misplaced.

Still, I liked this book and I think it has so much to do with that earlier nostalgia, that of reading Judy Blume for the first time. It's refreshing to see that a new author has been handed the torch and is carrying on the legacy. Who would I recommend this book to? That’s a tricky one. The content, the maturity, the scope, the literary merit—they’re all over the place and point to different audiences. Looking at everything, I think After Tupac and D Foster can appeal to readers in several groups, but would probably be most appreciated by those very mature readers in upper elementary or middle school. And if Judy Blume herself hasn't read this book yet, I think she should.

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review 2018-08-01 16:37
Driving Whiskey Wild - Melissa Foster

My Thoughts…

 

The Whiskey Family is tough, tattooed, and run a biker club.   I love everything about them.     Along with all of that they are true to themselves, have strong family values, and work hard for what they want.    Driving Whiskey Wild is Bullet’s story.     He is fighting so many demons.   PTSD from what he saw and experienced in war is the cause of many of his issues.   Bullet just needs the right woman to help him beat those demons.  

 

I like that both Bullet and Finlay have experienced life.   They have had rough times and still managed to come out on the otherside.   They are not privileged, they have had to work to earn their way in the world.    They both have reasons for not feeling like they could be loved again.    Together Bullet and Finlay just make sense.   They can understand each other, support each other, and love each other because they are alike in so many ways.   

 

If you are familiar with Melissa Foster and are looking for a sweet, loving, tender book Driving Whiskey Wild is not it.   This is a hardcore, in your face, tough book.   There are many sweet, loving, and tender moments but there is also a lot of swearing and hard conversations being had.     

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text 2018-07-30 02:15
Reading progress update: I've read 360 out of 480 pages.
Holding Strong - Lori Foster
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review 2018-07-28 14:54
Rescued by Love - Melissa Foster

AUDIOBOOK NOTE...What an amazing narrator… BJ Harrison is wonderful. He has a great cadence in his voice, a perfect tone, and wonderful feelings with his words. He tells that story of Addison and Jake perfectly. He takes Melissa Foster’s words and makes them come to life. While listening to the story I feel the characters come to life, their stories become realistic, and leave me wanting for so much more.

Addison and Jake are one-night stand pros, no feelings involved, no worries about the next day. That is until they hook up together. After circling each other with innuendos for months it finally happens and it is more than they ever expect. The “rules” are broken and everything changes for them.

I am not big on one night stands but it seems to work for them. I enjoyed the circling of these two and it was impossible not to feel the sparks between the two of them well before they hooked up. The heat and attraction was amazing,

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review 2018-07-18 18:02
Bayside Heat (Bayside Summers #3) by Melissa Foster
Bayside Heat - Melissa Foster

 

The heat is on. Foster steps into the season with a whole lot of sunshine and a hint of heartache. Bayside Heat is a tempting walk down memory lane with two friends afraid to risk their hearts. Serena wanted forever, but Drake never made a move. Relocated to the friend zone, she's given up hope of ever having more. When a once in a lifetime opportunity comes her way, will Drake face his fears and listen to his heart? Funny, sunny and sweeter than honey.

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