BOOK NOTES: A Breakdown of the Latest Urban Reads


“Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.” –Angela Carter

“Sometimes the rap game/ reminds me of the crack game.” –Nas

Book Editor’s Note: Recently, I won a Kindle Fire in a brief essay contest from TVOne. The Fire is a totally awesome tablet, and it has opened me, an analog girl in a digital world, up to the world of digital publishing. Online outlets such as Kindle Direct Publishing helps hundreds of people a year fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors, while sites like allow authors to prepare their books in digital and hard copy formats. These alternatives and countless others are important to self-publication, because the “book game,” can be as hard to break into as the “rap game.” Major publishing houses are few, and securing that coveted “deal” is especially challenging for urban authors.

With that in mind, this month, salutes some of the newest and hottest independent fiction authors, doing their own thing, their own way:

“Guestlist” by Jay Fingers
A freelance writer, blogger, and journalist, Jay Fingers has contributed to Billboard, soulhead, and Skin & Ink, as well as other publications. A self-professed “dandy, alcoholic, and playboy,” he recently completed his debut independent novel, “Guestlist”.

The standout debut is at the top of this list, and soon to be at the top of many others. The book is a funny and intriguing behind-the-scenes glimpse into inner workings of New York City nightlife among the Black, upwardly mobile crowd with lots of new money to burn. “Guestlist” is a page-turner from beginning to end, and one of the best independent books I’ve read in a long time.


“A Hood Chick’s Story Parts 1, 2, 3” by LaShonda DeVaughn
Most “’hood” books, especially those written by women, have a strong female character at their center. This woman is usually one who has survived any number of adversities and is now working to accomplish a goal, which usually to amass a large amount of money. Tiara is a girl from the ‘hood of Boston who struggles through all three parts of her story to find love and money. Tiara dates drug dealers and basketball players on her quest, and while the story sounds superficial on its surface, the “A Hood Chick’s Story” series is actually pretty good and well-worth its inexpensive download from Amazon.


“Swag & Floss” by Monica Marie Jones
The author of six books, Monica Marie Jones is making a healthy living as an Amazon author. Jones has also contributed to “Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul”, and “44th”, a coffeetable book about President Barack Obama. She is also a freelance columnist and hosts a radio show,  “Marketing and Motivation Mondays with Monica Marie Jones”, in her hometown of Detroit. Many of Jones’ fiction titles are less than $5 in the digital format.


“The Leak” by K’wan
A well-known name in the area of urban fiction, K’wan utilized Amazon’s digital distribution channel the way many artists use mixtapes. He released a book, “The Leak,” for free as a prequel to his upcoming novel, “Welfare Wifeys”. An Essence Magazine best-selling author, K’wan Foye is the author of over a dozen books and is now distributed by a major publisher after years of independent success.

There are hundreds of other urban fiction titles available in digital format, and as this technology grows, so will the authors and aspiring authors who create it. Visit your favorite online bookstore for the latest in urban fiction… and keep reading!

Biba Adams is a Senior Staff Writer for, and is currently working on her first novel, with a free, short story, “All So Simple Then”, available now on Follow her on Twitter (@BibatheDiva).