Winter is a time when most of snuggle up with a good book. Here are my two picks for the best must reads for Winter 2023.

Historical Pick

I love a good historical read and my pick this time hands down is ‘Ancestry‘ by Simon Mawer.

Synopsis: Beginning with his great-great-grandfather Abraham Block, acclaimed novelist Simon Mawer sifts through evidence like an archaeologist, piecing together the stories of his ancestors. Illiterate and lacking opportunity in the bleak Suffolk village where his parents worked as agricultural laborers, Abraham leaves home at fifteen, in 1847. He signs away the next five years in an indenture aboard a ship, which will circuitously lead him to London and well beyond, to far-flung ports on the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. In London he crosses paths with Naomi Lulham, a young seamstress likewise seeking a better life in the city, with all its prospects and temptations.
    Another branch of the family tree comes together in 1847, in Manchester, as soldier George Mawer weds his Irish bride Ann Scanlon—Annie—before embarking with his regiment. When he is called to fight in the Crimean War, Annie must fend for herself and her children on a meager income, navigating an often hostile world as a woman alone.
    With a keen eye and a nuanced consideration of the limits of what we can know about the past, Mawer paints a compelling, intimate portrait of life in the nineteenth century.

Review: Entrancingly good. The book moves along at good pace and truly allows you to get invested in the characters and the historical time period. I have enough life experience now to truly appreciate the dark and sinister reality that can lie behind beauty and wealth and life changes and trust me this book provides a deep look into each character and their motives. The travel and wear and tear that is worn upon a person is so tangible that I found myself getting sea sick for him! Definite must read for this season.


My favorite, Aya DeLeon, knocks it out the park again with ‘Queen of Urban Prophecy’

Synopsis: A 20-year-old Deza was supposed to be just another hot girl emcee, but when a bonus track strikes a surprising social chord, it rockets her album to the top of the charts—and her record label promotes her to headline their first-ever all-female national tour. As Deza attempts to live up to her new reputation, her inexperience generates tour drama. And when her female DJ quits, the label replaces her with the last thing Deza needs: the sexy guy DJ she flirted with at a club.

But in battling to prove she deserves her success and embracing her power as an activist for Black Lives, Deza starts to feel she can face anything that comes her way—until her label prepares to undermine the all-female lineup in the name of mega-profits.

Now, up against brutal industry misogyny and corporate big money, Deza will need the drive of that scrappy emcee from the South Side of Chicago and the bulletproof cool of a seasoned music professional if she wants to claim a space of respect in hip hop, not just for herself, but for everyone and everything she believes in . .

Review: Aya brings hip hop tours to life with a dash of Love & Hip Hop . I finished this book in under 3 days and was once again impressed with her characters and her story telling. She gives an accurate view of life in hip-hop and pulls no punches. That’s what makes this book so good. She brings the truth to life in a way that the reader really feels like she is peaking behind the doors or on the bus with the artists. It’s just a great read! I promise you will want to read more when you finish this one. Great job Aya!

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