Of course, I couldn't start this post off without mentioning one of my FAVORITE bookstores ever right in the heart of the Bull City, LETTERS bookshop! What I love most about LETTERS is the cute and cozy feel the store creates, and PLUS they have a pretty sick music corner! I LOVE to explore my city, and this chill spot right off Main St is the way to go! As a book lover and adventurer like myself, Letters Bookshop might catch your eye with its creative storefront signage (another cool way to invite bookworms in). With a well-organized selection of used and new books, this friendly store offers great staff-picks and recommendations for any book connoisseur. Open until 8pm Tuesday-Saturday, why not make it a stop on your downtown date night?
Blue Bicycle Books Charleston, SC
I absolutely LOVED exploring this bookstore during my first trip to Charleston! My girlfriend and I were just finishing up our millionth scoop of ice cream, when we ran across this cute and eccentric bookstore right off 420 King St downtown and wondered inside! I absolutely love to find local bookstores during my travel ventures, and this place was absolutely adorable! With an impressive selection from military history, to young adult fiction, this bookstore is a MUST SEE! I really loved the different reading rooms especially the kids reading nook! This was the bookstore that I purchased The Hate U Give x Angie Thomas, which is now my book of the month of November! Open from Monday-Saturday 10am-7:30pm and Sundays 1pm-6pm, this bookstore is a wonderful mix of good vibes and must reads! You will not be disappointed! :)
Posman Books Atlanta, GA
This amazing bookstore I found while exploring the heart of Atlanta! Located in the center of Ponce City Market, this NYC transplant bookshop opened just over a year ago and has blessed bookworms across the city ever since! The cool aspect about Posman is that it has only two other locations, both of which are located in the Big Apple, and both of which are highly sought in Rockefeller Plaza and Chelsea Market. With endless books, merchandise, children's section, greeting cards, and stationary, you can't help but fall in love with the feeling! I love that this bookstore has a special area for the classics alongside with bestsellers. What I love most about this bookstore is that it offers fun book/author events, signed editions and other dope community events for visitors and residents of Atlanta, so don't hesitate to pick up a flyer on your way out! Open Monday-Saturday from 10am-9pm and Sundays 11am-6pm, if you're looking for a place with an amazing book selection WITH Booze Pops located right across the breezeway, this is the place to go!
UncleBobbie's Coffee & Books Philadelphia, PA
Now, I haven't visited this bookstore yet, but I hear nothing but AMAZING things about it! Owned by Marc Lamont Hill, host of BET News, Hill created Uncle Bobbie's in honor of his late uncle, Bobbie Lee Hill, a war veteran of WWII who introduced him to his love for books. During his youth, Hill visited his uncle’s home in North Philadelphia where he was exposed to books by African-American authors, Black Enterprise and Jet magazines.What I love about this bookstore is that it is black-owned. Sorry, had to throw the black card in there! BOOM. I follow this bookstore on Instagram, and I LOVE the black feeling it has. I love that it not only serves amazing coffee with a dope arrangement of books, but they hold black events here as well! It is definitely on my list of places to visit when I make my way to Philly for a cheesesteak, and I can't wait to experience it! One piece that stuck with me that Hill said was, "Black bookstores were where I developed my sense of identity. It's where I discovered the world. It's where I got a different curriculum than what school gave me. So for me, I thought it was important to pay it forward and to build something for the community in the same vain. My life is better because I had those places and I want to create them for the next generation." Open from Monday-Thursday from 7am-9pm, Friday 7am-11pm, and Saturday from 8am-11pm, and Sunday from 8am-7pm, check out this amazing bookstore!
Mahogany Books Washington, DC
Lastly, another place that I have not yet visited but can't wait to explore when I travel back to the DC area is Mahogany Books! I have already read Black Girl Magic x Mahogany Browne through this bookstore, and it was AMAZING! Still one of my favorite reads to this day! Taken straight from their website, "Mahogany Books is a local independent bookstore that believes in social entrepreneurship We take a leadership role in the African American community by promoting reading, writing, and cultural awareness as tools to improve self-esteem, self-love and ultimately our communities to enrich the lives of motivated individuals." There are not enough black owned bookstores, and I love seeing them across my timeline on social media and especially visiting them when I travel! It's amazing how many times I've heard from the black community that reading is "boring" or how it doesn't share a big of an interest as makeup, fashion, hair, food etc shares in the black community. Reading is so important, and I love that Derrick and Ramunda instill this within their business and their household. SUPER DOPE! Definitely can't wait to visit! Open Tuesday-Friday from 11am-7pm, Saturday from 10am-7pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm, this is a must stop when I visit DC next! Who's coming with me? :)
Forced to be a single mother by the selfish and deceitful acts of her ex-boyfriend, Aiyanna Hayden is finally ready to move on. During the last six years, she has built a good life for herself and her daughter. With a thriving career, supportive friends and family, and a quasi-relationship, she should be satisfied. But she is plagued by her fear of loneliness and never finding her one true love. She doesn’t want to be single, but she refuses to settle. While enjoying an overdue vacation with her closest friends, she meets the perfect man, all-star NBA player, Channing Alexander.
Within weeks, a relationship most women could only dream of becomes her reality. However, Aiyanna soon realizes that her celebrity romance is cursed by a barrage of internal and external complications. Can Aiyanna look past the women, the haters, and her own insecurities in order to find happiness with Channing? She may not find the answer until it’s too late.
Happiness, love, friendship, and forgiveness: Aiyanna wants it all, but is it even possible? Could the old adage be true; must all good things come to an end?
*Excerpt from Amazon review*
"No Tears, Just Tea"
Happy Wednesday readers! I am back this week with a new read that was sent to me for review called Trust Issues x Berchet! Woooo chileeee...let me collect my wig as this book read my entire life! I am usually typically nervous about stepping out of my comfort zone with reading new reads by new authors, but I am so glad that I stepped out on a little bit of faith and a sprinkle of Black Jesus because this book was actually pretty good! Trust Issues is everything a story is made of, and what I loved most about it was that it took me on a wild journey! I love a good drama mixed with some suspense to keep me on my toes of what will happen next! The characters were alive and engaging, and I connected with Aiyanna so well throughout the read. I am Aiyanna. Aiyanna is me. I found myself silently rooting for Yanna, Rece and Channing throughout the book, and really was excited to see how the stars would align with them, and how their relationship will intertwine in the future. I absolutely loved Holly who reminds me of what true friendship looks and feels like. Let me tell you something. EVERYONE needs a Holly. A friend that no matter what crazy idea or thought you come up with, they are riding for you and supporting you. No matter how many dumb mistakes you make, sis is THERE okay?! That's what friendships are for!
I think the biggest critique I have given authors that request my feedback is when creating your characters for your novels, make them come alive! I want to relate to the characters in some way, shape or form. I want to feel like I am there with them experiencing their journey. THAT is what readers want! We want to go through a series of emotions when reading your book whether that means to curse, cry, laugh, smile, whatever! We want to FEEL. The FEELING is what turns a good book into a GREAT book! If I can read your book and rave over it, finish it in a span of a day, pull life lessons from it, AND my good wig is snatched all at the same time? That's a GREAT book! Good books are books that you finish and you're like okay, that was cool. It's like an "ok" date. You didn't hate it, but you know you're going to leave them on read the next day type of vibe. Also, what takes a good book to a GREAT book is the ENDING! It's the last kiss at the end of the date! Pop that tic-tac and go for the kill! Endings make or break books! I can't express how many times I have read a book that was SO good throughout that I couldn't wait for the end, GET to the end, and think, "What the hell is this?" It's like eating some tired runny Velveeta mac and cheese at Thanksgiving! NEXT! (Have I struck a nerve?) We ALL know that the mac & cheese makes or breaks the Thanksgiving dish! Think of that as your ending! Will I be invited to cook the mac & cheese again next year, or am I one bite away from barely being allowed to bring the plastic plates? C'mon SIS! As readers, we want you on the mac & cheese committee with the grandmas and the aunties, so MAKE US PROUD!
Overall, this book told an excellent story. It had me on the edge of my seat, and was definitely a page turner! The storyline was not over the top, but was believable! Of all the characters, my favorite was Holly. I loved her loyalty to Aiyanna throughout! Definitely reminded me of my best friends and the bond that we share together! I also loved Channing, because it's rare that loyal black men are depicted positively in novels, and I thoroughly enjoyed that! When I review books, I believe in honesty. Honesty is what you need as a new author, because you have to develop the meat and potatoes first. You have to see what people like or don't like. You have to build your writing tone and take time to develop those characters and tell that story. The art of storytelling is what takes you to the next level. THAT is what takes you to NY Times Best Seller level!
I would like to thank Berchet for allowing me to review this book and share my feedback! I definitely see amazing potential, and very curious of what she comes up with next! Thank you for allowing me to spill my tea and share my light with you! If you are into drama or romance, this book is definitely for you! Everyone has trust issues...what's yours? Thank you for reading!
Meet the Author!
Berchet is a native of Norfolk, VA. She holds a bachelor of arts in legal communications from Howard University, and a master of science in educational psychology from George Mason University. While she is "Berchet" to readers, two little people, her son and daughter, call her "Mommy". She resides in the District of Columbia metro area, where she is also the owner of a company that provides publishing and professional services. She is currently working on her second release, Kissing in the Dark, a collection of erotic short stories. Trust Issues is her debut novel.
"Writing has always been a passion. Over the years, writing has given me joy, healed my heart, and allowed me to express my craziest thoughts. I am a strong believer in the power of writing and reading. After reading my first Eric Jerome Dickey book, in ninth grade, I began to fall in love. What started out as a hobby, became something more. On my 24th birthday, I purchased a notebook from Target, and started writing my debut novel, Trust Issues. Working full-time, returning to school, birthing two children, and life in general, kept me from focusing on this dream for many years. But now, I'm ready."
Hi! My name is MargoLynette, and I am truly a free-spirited woman. I march to the beat of my own drum, and go wherever the wind takes me! I am currently building my brand, More Than Just Food w/ MargoLynette. This name speaks for itself! I always get asked about dope places to visit while I'm traveling. I decided to compile a list of my favorite places in these different cities, and share them with the world! My future goal is to create an atmosphere for people to socialize, network and just let their hair down! I want people to have the ultimate experience, and not just leave with a full belly. Be sure to follow me and my food journey on Instagram @justafoodiemln and please leave me comments and messages with suggestions on places to travel and new foods to try!
More Than Just Food w/ MargoLynette!
K: What is your inspiration behind writing? M: Inspiration for me comes from anywhere. Most times I’m either reading a book or having a casual conversation with someone. Honestly, whenever I write poetry it either stems from whatever I’m feeling or a random word that I see. I know that sounds crazy but it’s true. My mom used to make me read the dictionary when I was younger, so I’ve always had a fascination with words.
K: When did you first discover your love for writing? M: I discovered my love for writing when I was in the fourth grade! As students, my Language Arts teacher gave us a prompt about who our hero was. I wrote about my Uncle and how he was a Gulf War Veteran. I distinctly remember her reading my essay and crying. She pulled me to the side and told me how wonderful my essay was, and that it moved her to tears. I knew from that point on that I possessed a gift, and I have been writing ever since!
K: I know that mental health awareness is a huge trending topic! Why do you feel that mental health is discouraged in the black community? M: To be completely honest, I feel as if our people don’t fully trust any medical personnel. You have to remember that back in the day black people were used for experiments, i.e. The Tuskegee Experiment, the story of Henrietta Lacks, and The Eugenics Movement. Not to mention, I think most of the time, my people rely heavily on religion to “heal” them. We’re taught to pray about our situation and let God handle it, but in the meantime we are waiting in vain and suffering in silence. We have to do BETTER! I’ve learned in my short-lived life, that there isn’t anything wrong with seeking help in moments of darkness.
K: In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up to tackle the world again? M: Honestly, I used to isolate myself from the world because that’s what I thought would help me regain my focus. After taking a step back, I realized that in order to build myself back up I need love. I need to be surrounded by those who love, support me and have my best interest at heart. To go along with that, counseling sessions have helped me deal with some deeply rooted issues I’ve been dealing with as well. Most of my culture is against it, but I’m all for anything that helps a person stay in tune with their mental state.
K: What is your no-fail go to when you need inspiration or creative direction? M: I had to think about this one because I gather my creativity from all types of things. For food/cooking, I watch The Food Network, specifically Chopped. I just enjoy how the contestants are given random ingredients and in addition, they must make a meal out of it in order to win the prize money. Writing is a tad bit different. Most of the time it stems from conversations with those closest to me, and things I see on social media or television. It really all depends on which direction I’m trying to take.
K: What quote or saying inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love? M: “If better is possible, then good is not enough.” I am not sure who the originator of the quote is, but my high school basketball coach would tell us that when we needed to step our game up! This quote reminds me that I can always do better. Better is in me. I just have to dig deep and accomplish the task at hand.
K: What characteristics do you most admire in other creative women? M: I admire their tenacity! I love how they make lemonade out of lemons. I admire how they keep pursuing their dreams in spite of naysayers. Their drive and motivation inspires me to keep accomplishing my goals and dreams!
K: In honor of #SoulfulSunday, what are ways that you replenish your soul? M: My favorite things to do are burn incense and listen to my vinyls. The smell of incense puts my mind at ease along with the sultry sounds of my old school R&B vinyls in the background. Talking to my love after a long workday makes my soul smile as well and gives me the extra push that I need to keep going!
K: Describe your cooking process! Do you have any fun, crazy routines that you do before each meal? M: Ah man, so don’t think I’m weird, but I love cooking to slow jams! Haha! I don’t know what it is about that type of music, but I’m telling you that my food tastes so much better after I’ve listened to “Love Scene” by Joe, lol.
K: Are there any chefs of today that inspire your cooking, and how does it manifest in your work? M: Lately, I’ve really been into Darius Williams. He’s a Chef and food blogger that has taken over the Atlanta food scene. His style of cooking evolves from soul food and he puts his own original spin on it. I think that reading his blog and watching his videos have opened my eyes and palette to try different ingredients in the dishes that I make. I try to incorporate international ingredients from various cultures with my meals.
K: Being apart of the cooking world, what do you feel distinguishes a good cook from a GREAT cook? M: I feel that a good cook is well trained, doesn’t take many risks and doesn’t really go against the grain. A GREAT cook doesn’t play it safe, isn’t afraid to try new things and most of all they cook from the heart! Food made with love always tastes better!
K: Of all the places that you have traveled around the world, which place would you say has the BEST food? M: I’ve traveled all across the world, but I think that Barcelona had the best food that I have ever tasted. Barcelona was amazing because they use fresh ingredients vs. here in the United States, we use more processed ingredients. This alone added that extra pop to each meal! I came across this local restaurant there a couple of years ago, and I ate the best tomato soup that I have ever tasted. Campbell’s better watch out!
K: So I know that you have your brand, More Than Just Food! What inspired you to create this, and what is the biggest sacrifice you've made in starting your new brand? M: Truthfully, I needed a side hustle. The key to being a millionaire is having multiple streams of income. I figured that I would figure out what I’m good at and make it work in my favor. There are no sacrifices that I’ve made. I feel that sacrifices only focus on what you’ve loss and not what you’re gaining in return. Nothing is ever a sacrifice to me. I’m always getting back everything I worked for!
K: Tell us more about More Than Just Food! What do you want your foodies to know? M: More Than Just Food is centered on food, drinks and desserts that I find while traveling to different places. I travel with my girlfriend a lot and we’re always on the hunt for good food. Why not create a list of the places that we’ve tried for others to enjoy? I feel that this makes everyone’s life just a little bit easier.
K: Are you working on any new projects that we can look forward to in the future with your brand? M: Right now, I’m in the process of completing my ServSafe Certifications so that in the near future I can start my mobile bartending business. Following that, I would love to create a cookbook with some of my recipes! What can I say, I’m a goaldigger!
K: What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs? M: My advice would be to hone your craft, whatever it may be. Always look for ways to build your brand. Seek advice from likeminded individuals. Set small goals. Always have a plan and never lose sight of it. Last but not least, never give up!
K: How can readers discover more about you and your work? M: You all can follow me on Instagram @justafoodiemln to see more of my travels, restaurants and recipes. I love interacting with my followers, so don’t be shy, I don’t bite!
I would like to send a special thank you to MargoLynette for taking time out of her schedule to interview with me! It was super fun doing this interview, and I had a blast talking food, mental health, and more with such a free-spirited, amazing individual! Her wise words of wisdom and thought-provoking anecdotes has really strengthened and humbled me as a writer and entrepreneur of my own! I can't wait to see more amazing foods and awesome places to visit from you! Thank you for sharing your light with us! Below, check out some amazing foods from her favorite places from Instagram! I must say, D E L I C I O U S! Thank you for reading, and thank you for allowing me to share my soul with yours! Happy #SoulfulSunday!
Happy Sunday and welcome back! I know some of you are giving me the side eye like, "Where have you been?!" haha and I can explain, I promise! These past few months, I have been revamping and working with an AMAZING creative designer to do what I like to call, a majorrrrr makeover! I wanted to add a more fun, bright creative feel to the site, where you all can have easy access to everything! We wanted to create a more uniform feel to add that extra POP to the site that I felt was missing! We are also working to add a "Shop" section for those of you inquiring about apparel! Be on the lookout for more fun accessories such as mugs, journals, fun pens, buttons, etc to be added as well! Thank you all for your amazing suggestions! I'm listening, and I'm here for you! Thank you so much to all of you for being so patient and understanding during this crazy time of rebuilding, reconstruction, and most of all, RESETTING! Now, since that is out of the way...
#SoulfulSunday! Well if you have been following me for sometime now, you may remember #SundayRESET right? Still similar concepts, but this time I decided to add some soul to my attitude now baby! :) I decided to create #SoulfulSundays as a way to showcase amazing authors, writers, entrepreneurs, musical artists, visual artists, and more! There are so many amazing people right under our noses that we don't even know about! I wanted to take at least two Sundays out of the month to showcase these amazing people as a way to allow readers to connect! I LOVE interviewing, so it is truly a pleasure for me to dig deep and ask all of the burning questions! I find it so much fun to get to know other awesome people by digging deeper into their craft!
I want this experience to be a way for all of you to see that everyone has to start somewhere! No dream is too small, and there are so many amazing resources out here for EVERYTHING and EVERYONE! I love what I do as a blogger, but honey, I had to start somewhere too! A pencil and paper were not enough for all of these cooped up ideas, so here I am, and you can do the same if not MORE! Our first #SoulfulSunday guest is not only my best friend in the entire world, but my sweetie who is a PHENOMENAL writer/cook! It is always so amazing shooting with people who are super inspiring and amazing at what they do, and I can't wait to hear your thoughts! Our special guest is not only a great cook, but she is also a dope individual, and it was so fun shooting this interview with her! I hope you all have fun with this segment, but most of all, get inspired! Remember, the sky is the limit, and you are too far up to come down now! I hope you continue to enjoy Sundays and Wednesdays with me, and welcome to our first #SoulfulSunday of November! :)