21 June 2012

Summer Reads 2012: The Streets Are Sizzling, Hot!

On this occasion of the Summer Solstice, 2012, I thought it would be a good idea to offer up my top Street Lit picks for summer reading. I've decided to feature mostly independent authors to pay homage to the foundation from which 21st century Street Literature emerges ... from the self-publishing hustles of authors writing, publishing, and promoting their own works. These works are also very different, offering unique approaches to the genre with "a tale of urban terror," and stories that show how whole communities are devastated when even just one child is devastated. Enjoy these reads. I've provided information for how you can best order these books for your collections.


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Tecori Sheldon. 2012. When Truth Is Gangsta.
NY: Strebor on the Streetz.
978-1-59309-397-6 | $13.00 US | Paperback, 348 pages

***STARRED PICK*** Tecori Sheldon (aka Thomas Slater) has crafted a story that is not only well-written, but is action-packed and keeps you on the edge of your seat, as if you are literally, watching a movie in your head. He sets up the action scenes so convincingly that for me, a very sensitive reader, I could viscerally feel the suspense and terror of the shoot-outs and grisly gangster activities. The plot and characters are well-developed: protagonist Ruffneck is indeed psychopathic, but you truly understand how and why he became the monster he became, sometimes out of circumstance, and other times out of the need to survive. 

Synopsis: Ruffneck's name is Walter Story, Jr. He is the namesake of a father who was a major drug kingpin with a team of other powerful men. Walter, Sr. and his wife were both brutally murdered in front of 8-year-old Junior. In a moment's instant, the young boy witnessed the murders of his parents and committed murder,  himself, as well. These deeply traumatic events created a darkness in Ruffneck that was pretty much suppressed until he experienced some time in prison. Coming out of prison, Ruffneck had a need to avenge his parents' deaths, as there were many questions unanswered, as well as many truths he needed to know and understand about who his father was, and how such a powerful man came to die such an ambushed, violent death. However, in his quest to learn these things, Ruffneck became more like his father than he perhaps intended. However, the chain of events were set in motion, and it was too late to turn back the hands of time. Ruffneck had started a vicious street war with the ruthless men responsible for his parents', as well as his grandmother's and cousin's deaths. Ruffneck does have a soft side to him, and when his enemies seek to harm more members of his family, Ruffneck's rage rains savagely, with everyone getting drenched. Justice is served, street-style.

Available on Amazon when you search for When Truth Is Gangsta.
Mr. Slater is on social media via Facebook.

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Joy Deja King. 2012. Boss Bitch. Bitch Series.
Collierville, TN: A King Production. 
978-0984332540 | $15.00 US | Paperback, 224 pages

AN ESTABLISHED BRAND, this a MUST-HAVE. I would be remiss if I did not pay proper respect to the wonderful veteran author, Joy Deja King, and her immensely popular Bitch series. Deja King is a major author in the street lit genre, having penned several works (including not 1, but 3 series) that has garnered her an intensely loyal readership. I was recently speaking at an event talking about Street Lit with librarians. One librarian shared that in her library, it is elderly, Anglo American women who come in asking in low, husky whispers, "You got that Bitch series? The next one come out yet?" :-) The female protagonists in King's series are strong, resilient characters who stick to your imagination, as you find yourself seeking out the next installment time and again!

Synopsis: From the book cover: "Precious Cummings and her daughter Aaliyah Mills Carter must protect the family empire as an unknown enemy tries to step in and take the throne. Can mother and daughter get past their differences and unite as one or will they stay at odds and risk having their loved ones torn apart? The saga continues to unfold in Boss Bitch." 

Boss Bitch, available on Amazon, is a definite beach-read.
Ms. King is active on social media via the following outlets:
Facebook: JDKfangpage
Twitter: @joydejaking
YouTube: joydejaking
Website: www.joydejaking.com

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Darrell King. 2012. Deadly Phine: A Tale of Urban Terror. 
Washington, DC: Darrell King Productions. 
978-1466062726 | $14.95 US | Paperback, 226 pages

A MUST READ. This novel is a straight no-chaser look at how behaviors really are a matter of life and death, especially when drugs and sex are a means for survival and to escape poverty. This novel is a crime fiction / sci fi / horror blend with non-fiction facts about the real-life atrocities concerning HIV/AIDS in inner city American communities. Ignore the cheesy book cover, this story is a good one; informative and entertaining at the same time.

Synopsis: Valentino is a handsome, rich, Puerto Rican drug dealer who is a carrier of an extra potent form of HIV, called HIV5X. A veteran of the U.S. military, Valentino is a willing participant in a government-run experiment to test the effects of this mutated strain of the HIV virus on unsuspecting low-income city dwellers.  In exchange for cash and a cure for himself, ladies' man Valentino hits the bricks hard, transmitting the disease to as many women in the hood as possible, unleashing a reign of terror to reduce the population of inner cities throughout the US. The evil shadow of Valentino's bio-terrorism is a U.S. military agency, seeking to conduct a 21st century biological experiment on lower class citizens who are deemed expendable. This novel is interwoven with important scientific facts about the devastating effects HIV/AIDS in Latino and African American communities. This story makes you question what is really free will when you are impoverished? 

Deadly Phine is available on Amazon.
Darrell King is active on the following social media platforms:
Facebook: Darrell.King946
Twitter: @Fuskieboy

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Vanna B. Fancy: Handbags, Heels & Hard Times. 
Philadelphia, PA: Hope Street Publishing.
978-0985351502 | $15.00 US | Paperback, 190 pages

GOOD A/YA READ. This novel was a pleasant surprise. It is nicely written, and is suitable for mature YAs as the protagonist is a high school Latina living in inner city Philadelphia, searching for her authentic identity. There will be many teen readers who will relate to protagonist, Maribel "Fancy" Alvarez. 

Synopsis: Maribel is a quiet, mousy public high school student who is lonely and would like to be one of the popular girls. She meets a friend named Shawn (a girl) who helps Maribel come out of her shell as the new and improved, Fancy. Fancy graduates high school and lives her roaring 20s as a fake socialite. On the outside she wears the finest clothes and makeup and goes to all the VIP parties. But in reality, she lives in the hood and can barely make ends meet. When she meets up with a handsome, wealthy man named Aaron, she realizes she wants true love and a real life. However, everything and everyone are not what they appear either, so Fancy experiences a series of dramas that inspires great change for her life.

Here is a book trailer for Fancy:


Fancy is available on Amazon.
Vanna B. is present on the following networks:
Facebook: vannabonline
Twitter: @msvannab
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And those are my Street Lit picks for Summer 2012!

PRE-PUBS:
Additionally, there are a couple of titles that are not published yet that you should look forward to:

Author T. Styles of Cartel Publications will be releasing part 3 of her Raunchy series.

Raunchy 3: Jayden's Passion (August 2012)


The long-anticipated second installment to Ashley & Jaquavis' Murderville Trilogy is scheduled for release.

Murderville 2: The Epidemic (August 2012)


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