Book Review: Shango by James R. Curtis

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Title – Shango

Author – James Roberto Curtis

Publication – January 1st 1996

Publisher – Arte Publico Press / Abantu Audio

Genre – Adult, Fiction, Mystery.

Miguel is Cuban American, with the accent on American. But beneath the surface of his sun-drenched Miami lifestyle lurks an evil that threatens to destroy him. The chance reading of a newspaper article reporting a stolen skull and the ritualistic murder of a petty drug dealer pitches Miguel into battle with an underworld dominated by santeria in this spell-binding and engrossing novel.

Shangó is the Yoruba deity of fire, thunder and lightning. He was the fourth king of the ancient Oyo Empire, the West African center of culture and politics for the Yoruba people. Shangó was a feared and respected warrior; strong and powerful, dreadful and magnificent, he is the personification of masculinity. Notorious for his great sexual philandering, Shangó not only is passionate in love, but also is famous for his sudden changes in temper and potential for violent behavior. When a subordinate chief challenged his rule, many townspeople were impressed by the chief’s feats of magic and deserted Shangó. Defeated in the eyes of the majority of his subjects, Shangó left Oyo and committed suicide by hanging himself in the forest. His faithful followers, however, claimed that he really ascended to the heavens on a chain. They claimed that his disappearance was not death but merely the occasion of his transformation into an orisha or “black saint”.

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Book Review: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

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Title – The Belles (The Belles #1)

Author – Dhonielle Clayton

Publication – Febuary 6th, 2018.

Publisher – Disney-Hyperion

Genre – Fantasy & Young Adult 

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

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