Friday, June 26, 2015

Donations in Memory of the Emanuel Nine

Program at the Charleston NPHC Prayer Vigil on Saturday
Several of you have asked about ways you would like to help the families of the Emanuel Nine or donate funds in their memories.  Here is a short list (which will probably grow in the next few days) on ways you can help.

Picture I took at Mother Emanuel when I visited the church on Tuesday

The biggest fund is the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.  This fund will help family members with funeral and burial expenses.  Any remaining money will go to the AME Church, in which the leadership will determine how to use it.  There are three ways to donate:

1. By check to:
Mother Emanuel Hope Fund
c/o City of Charleston
Post Office Box 304
Charleston, SC 29402

2. Stop by any Wells Fargo Bank nationwide and make a donation.

3. And texting 'prayforcharleston' to 843-606-5995 or going to  Passcode is FAMILY.

Another fund that was started is the Lowcountry Unity Fund. The Unity Fund will be used to address racism and economic inequality in the African American community. It will be run by the Coastal Community Foundation and you can donate to the fund on their website.  The foundation will also oversee the Mother Emanuel AME Scholarship Endowment, which will be used towards scholarships for students in the African-American community.  The endowment was started by the InterTech Group and the Zucker family.

You can also donate to Mother Emanuel directly at

Lowcountry Ministries has started a fund in memory of the Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney. These funds will be used to support local initiatives that the reverend was passionate about. There are three ways to donate:

1. By check to:
Lowcountry Ministries – Reverend Pinckney Fund
c/o The Palmetto Project
6296 Rivers Avenue #100
North Charleston, SC 29406

2. By donation online at

3. And texting 'prayforcharleston' to 843-606-5995 or going to Passcode is PINCKNEY.

Charleston Southern University has started a fund in memory of Sharonda Singleton.  Funds will go towards educational expenses for her son Chris (who is a student and plays baseball for the school) and any remaining funds will go to a baseball enrichment center that will be named in Sharonda's memory.  You can donate to the Singleton Memorial Fund at or by mail at:

Charleston Southern University
Advancement Office
PO Box 118087
Charleston, SC 29423
(address the check to Singleton Memorial Fund on the memo section)

A tribute to Cynthia at the Main Library
There are three ways to honor Cynthia Hurd, who was a librarian at Charleston County Public Library for over 30 years.

1. CCPL has set up a fund in Cynthia's memory.  The money will go towards educational programs at the St. Andrews and John L. Dart libraries (she was a manager at both libraries during her career).  You can donate through PayPal through this link or mail a check to:

Charleston County Public Library 
 c/o Cynthia Graham Hurd Memorial Fund
 68 Calhoun Street
 Charleston, SC 29401

2. The Charleston Friends of the Library, which is the nonprofit organization that supports CCPL, will also accept donations in her memory. You will have to tell them that it's in memory of Cynthia Hurd and they will set aside the money raised for programs at St. Andrews and Dart.  You can donate on their website or mail it to the previous address (instead of Charleston County Public Library, use Charleston Friends of the Library).

3. Cynthia's brother and his family has started a fund to provide books at Freedom Schools in the Charlotte area (where they live).  Click here to donate.

Again, thanks for all of the messages, support and prayers that my city and I has received over the last week.  Funerals started yesterday and will go on until the middle of next week.  Please keep the families and friends of the victims in your thoughts and prayers as they say goodbye to their loved ones and as they begin life under a new normal.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Prayers for Charleston

Hey ya'll.

Today's normally the day I post Book News You Can Use, but not today.

As many of you had heard, my hometown was struck by an unthinkable tragedy Wednesday night. Nine people were shot and killed at (Mother) Emanuel A.M.E. Church, right in the heart of downtown Charleston.

Some of you may have also heard that I knew three of the victims.  The pastor was a state senator who represented the area that my parents live in. Another was the manager of the library that I often go to and would have conversations about library issues and life in general.  And one was a member of my beloved Delta and was in my alumnae chapter.

Many of my friends and neighbors lost loved ones during this tragedy.  And our area has gone through so much already this year, with the killing of Walter Scott (who several of my family members knew), a killing of a mother who was driving her car and just left a Mother's Day celebration, another woman who was killed in her car while she was on the way to visit her son, an attempted killing of a cop, Caitlyn the dog (because animal cruelty leads up to harming adults) and two young people (including a 5-year-old) shot and paralyzed - one being at the wrong place at the wrong time and the other seeking help from cops.

Please keep everyone who was affected in your thoughts and prayers.  Yesterday was rough and the next few days will be hard for everyone.  Thanks to everyone who has reached out to me on Facebook and Twitter, checking in on me. I really appreciate it. My community and I will remain #charlestonstrong.

Picture is from Fried Green Pickles.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mailbox Monday 6/15/15

More books came in the mail last week so it's time for another edition of Mailbox Monday!

All of the books today came from Harper Books.  Two will be released in July and everyone knows the third book.

Crooked Heart
You Don't Have to Live Like This
To Kill a Mockingbird (to reread in time for the release of Go Set a Watchman)

Do you see any books that you would like to read? Hit me up in the comments section! Thanks to Harper for the ARCs!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Book News You Can Use 6/12/15

Relax in Paradise Vincent Bugliosi.

Congratulations to the winners of the Nebula Awards!

Congratulations also go out to Juan Felipe Herrera, who was named U.S. Poet Laureate!

I hope the person who stole the new 50 Shades of Crap Gray manuscript did the world a favor and threw it in the recycling bin.

The new Robert Galbraith book has a cover and a release date.

The Fault in Our Stars was the best-selling e-book of 2014.

Authors, just stay away from Goodreads reviews.

Kim Kardashian impersonator Glee star Naya Rivera landed a memoir deal.

A new book about Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown says that Whitney was extorted over a possible lesbian affair and gives theories on what happened to Bobbi Kristina.

A cover has been released for Sara Bareilles' book.

I already had mixed feeling about making movies based off the Flyy Girl series (because the first one is the only one worthy of a movie), but I really can't see Sanaa Lathan as Tracey.

A TV show based on Manology will be on OWN next year, with authors Tyrese and Rev. Run hosting.  If Rev. Run was hosting, I would be for it because his advice in the book was good. Tyrese on the other hand...#sideeye

Why didn't anyone tell me that the Invisible Life musical is now a reality and will be at the Apollo this month?

Comic and South Carolina native Aziz Ansari will be in Charleston July 11 to promote his new book, Modern Romance.

NPR is looking for your favorite romances in books!

An employee at TOR Books spoke out about racism and sexism among the science fiction book community on her personal Facebook page. Her boss didn't like it and responded. Most of  the science fiction community was hot, hot, hot and supported the employee.

Author Farai Chideya compared the suicide of Kalief Browder to Ota Benga (while referencing Spetacle).

A memoir was released about a man's journey with his dreadlocks while dealing with the politics of African-American hair.

Looking a summer reading challenge? Written Magazine has a 30 Books in 90 Days challenge.

More summer reading suggestions for the teens and tweens!

An Alabama attorney has launched an effort to have libraries in barbershops.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Ultimate Betrayal

I received an ARC from Grand Central Publishing and Netgalley.  Opinions are my own.

Drama in the Black Family continues in Kimberla Lawson Roby's new book, The Ultimate Betrayal, which is out TODAY!  This book focuses on Alicia, Curtis' oldest daughter, and her best friend Melanie.

Alicia is engaged to Phillip, her first husband.  They broke up years ago because of Alicia's addiction to shopping and her affair with Levi, a drug dealer.  Levi's been locked up for a few years and now he's out of prison. And wants Alicia back.  Will she stay faithful to Phillip or will the Black genes kick in and cause her to be unfaithful again?

Melanie has a weight problem. Or so she thinks. She's the ideal weight for her height, but constantly thinks that she's fat.  Will her weight problems cause her to loose her marriage and her life?  And what's up with the money that her husband Brad keeps taking out of the bank account?

If you are a fan of Kimberla's previous books, you will not be disappointed.  There are some twists and turns in this book that you will enjoy. But I am going to go on a little rant about the ending of one of the story lines without (hopefully) giving it away.

SOMETHING REALLY BAD happens to one of the main characters in this book.  The ending left me feeling like I just watched the end of a Tyler Perry movie, where someone does something bad and even something worst happens to them (if you have seen Temptation, you know what I'm talking about).  Did this person do something bad? Yes.  Did they deserve what they got at the end of the book? NO. I understand there are consequences for your actions, but I don't agree that they should be that drastic and that's God's way of punishing you.

On the other hand, I have been getting bad vibes from another character in this book since The Best of Everything.  I remember talking to a friend about this character after The Best of Everything was released and she said though that the character was nice. I totally disagreed with her.  There was always something fishy about that character.  Looks like this character's true colors come out in this book and I was right all along!

Like I said before, if you are a fan of the dealings of the Black Family, this book is for you!  If you are in South Carolina (or nearby), Kimberla will be at the Sandhills Books-A-Million in Columbia this Thursday at 6:30 p.m.  I won't be able to go due to work obligations, but I hope that a big crowd shows up (after seeing Eric Jerome Dickey there a few weeks ago, I don't think that's going to be a problem).  Happy Reading!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Mailbox Monday 6/8/15

More books came in the mail last week, so it's time for another edition of Mailbox Monday!

I was suppose to receive both of today's featured books from Harper Books several months ago when ARCs were available.  Since they ran out of the ARCs, I was able to get the finished copies!  They are:

Pleasantville (the sequel to Black Water Rising, which I loved several years ago)
Finding Samuel Lowe (which was written by a soror)

Do you see any books you would like to read? Hit me up in the comments section!  Thanks to Harper for the books!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Book News You Can Use 6/5/15

Congrats to Jacqueline Woodson for being named Young People's Poet Laureate!

Congrats also go out to Ali Smith for winning the Baileys Women Prize!

Flannery O'Connor was recently honored with her own USPS stamp.

Be on the lookout for a signed copy of To Kill A Mockingbird that is missing from Blue Bicycle Bookstore.

Maybe the book will show up in the auction where Harper Lee's letters are being sold.

Judy Blume gave some advice to the people of the Internet.

Why is there another 50 Shades of Crap Gray book coming out?

Showrunner Shonda Rhimes will be releasing her memoir in November.

Also working on their memoirs are Gabourey Sidibe and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Speaking of possible memoirs, publishing insiders are wondering how much a Bruce Caitlyn Jenner memoir would be worth.

Wendell Pierce's book about Katrina and New Orleans' recovery now has a cover.

Pharrell's book for children also has a cover (with lots of happy kids).

Essence Magazine featured the recent Anguilla Lit Festival.  I would like to go one year!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's father was recently kidnapped in her native Nigeria.

British writer Malorie Blackman had to develop a thick skin when she was the country's Children's Laureate.

Recent Mailbox Monday feature Spectacle was featured in The Grio.

The blog formally known as Reads for Pleasure is now Read in Colour.

Even though school's out (at least here in South Carolina), you can donate books to teachers and librarians through a new program called BookMentors.

Here are some books your teen or tween can read while they are enjoying their summer break.

Picture is from this website.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mailbox Monday 6/1/15

Another book came in the mail last week, so it's time for another edition of Mailbox Monday!  Today's book is one I've been waiting for and it was released last week.  I received an ARC of Balm from Harper Books.  As you may know, this book has been on several summer reads lists.

Is this a book you are interested in reading?  Hit me up in the comments section!  Thanks Harper for the ARC!