Category Archives: Marion’s Favorite Books

Marion’s favorite books that he has reviewed.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 92: Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

Does a son have to repeat his father’s transgressions and life choices?

It seemed like S.A. Cosby was trying to answer that question in his thrilling third novel, Blacktop Wasteland. I have seen this novel posted on my Instagram feed recently and several Goodreads friends posted about the book and I had to read it.

Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an excellent mechanic, devoted husband and father.  He has tried to leave the life of street racing and crime behind.  However, his auto mechanic shop direly needs business and Bug’s resources have hit the breaking point.  He takes part in one more robbery to steal diamonds from a local jewelry store.  In his desperate situation, Bug sees this opportunity as his only way out.  However, easy money never comes easily and Bug learns the painful lesson that a life of crime never solves your problems.

Bug reconnects with a former associate that tells him the robbery of a jewelry store will be quick, easy, and foolproof. Of course, nothing is foolproof, and the heist gets the attention of a local criminal kingpin and Bug may have crossed paths with the wrong person. Bug’s family is pulled into his last excursion of crime and it nearly costs him everything.  He hatches a plan to save his family and gets revenge on everyone that pulled him back into that life.

It has been a long time since I read a book that gave me holy s-word moments. Cosby’s fast-paced “southern noir” thriller kept me turning pages and got me invested in Bug’s journey out of darkness. Also, I appreciated how he brought up Bug’s connection to his father and how dangerous idolatry can become.

Blacktop Wasteland joins my favorite reads list of 2021 and Cosby’s visceral writing had me seeing Ving Rhames or Don Cheadle as Beauregard “Bug” Montage in a movie adapted from the novel. I’m looking forward to reading more of Cosby’s work and highly recommend this powerful, ultraviolent novel.

Can an all-time favorite book be reread?

Can you one of your all-time favorite books be read more than once and is still an all-time favorite? That’s the question I’ve been coming to terms with after reading Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler for the third time recently. Parable of the Sower is on the shortlist of my all-time favorite books… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 91: Sabrina and Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

I love book cover art.  I was scrolling through my Goodreads page recently and noticed one of my friends add Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine to their TBR list.  The beautiful cover got my attention, and I bought book the next day. Sabrina & Corina is the debut book of Kali Fajardo-Anstine and has… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 90: Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez

“Lies have short legs.” That is the opening sentence of Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez.  Camila Hassan says this proverb and opens a window into her double life as an Argentinian high school student by day and a Futbol player known as Furia after school.  Camila has kept her secret of playing Futbol from her… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 89: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I’ve had my eye on Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work over the past several years. I downloaded her first novel, Signal to Noise, on my Kindle a couple of years ago and her fourth novel, Mexican Gothic, I have seen throughout social media recently.  Moreno-Garcia’s work has been popular for some time. Gods of Jade and Shadow… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 88: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

“And so, by circuitous and unpredictable routes, we converge toward midcontinent and meet in Madison, and are at once drawn together, braided and plaited into a friendship. It is a relationship that has no formal shape, there are no rules or obligations or bonds as in marriage or the family, it is held together by… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 84: The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

“Grace meets you exactly where you are and it doesn’t leave you.” I heard the author Anne Lamott say this quote on the Tim Ferriss podcast a couple of days ago and knew this would be the opening sentence to my latest book review.  Grace would be the proper view about Malcolm X’s life after… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 83: Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce

If you live to be 110, how would you look back at your life?  With Fondness? With Regret? Missed Opportunities? Or At Peace? The protagonist of Denny S. Bryce’s debut novel, Wild Women and the Blues, gets to answer that question. Honoree Dalcour is in mid-1920s Chicago during the heart of the jazz age where… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 82: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

What does it mean to being smart? It seems we have judged intelligence by IQ and rational knowledge throughout human history. However, there was a book published over twenty-five years ago that challenged the notion and looked at emotions as an important factor regarding intelligence. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman presents a claim that it… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 80: Planting Stories (The Life of Librarian & Storyteller Pura Belpre) by Anika Aldamuy Denise & Paola Escobar

The joy I get in reading with my daughter Norah is you learn about someone that you have never heard of before.  This is the case with the book, Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar. Pura Belpre was the first librarian of Puerto Rican… Continue Reading