August 28, 2016

Series Sunday: Sistah Speak on Inside Pop Podcast

Series Sunday is a meme hosted by Literary Marie (Sistah LM). I encourage all of my fellow podcast hosts to play along.
  • Listen to an episode of a podcast series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the podcast title and episode info.

The Sistahs had such an amazing time at Podcast Movement 2016 and the Sistah Speak First Annual Family Reunion. In fact, I am still in a blissful hangover.

We were asked to join the Inside Pop Podcast with hosts Amita Patel and Sean David Johnson. We had a great time discussing pop culture including our Big Sells - Sistah Style. In Episode 41, the Sistahs were interviewed; Episode 42 features the first of our four Big Sells. Listen here to learn how I made history on Inside Pop!

Make it a Sistahs weekend! Visit our new website Sistah Speak Productions!

August 26, 2016

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"My cup of tea is on the bedside table. It is where he has always left it; every morning of the eighteen years we have been married he has made me a cup of tea, brought it up, and left it on the side, and normally that's all it is; a cup of tea on the side. But today is not a normal day."

~ The Mother by Yvvette Edwards


August 23, 2016

The Couple Next Door

"Each tries to pretend for the other." ~ 52%

No babysitter? No problem; just leave the baby at home. Anne and Marco make the foolish decision to leave their baby Cora home alone while they attend a party next door. They come back home to the front door ajar and an empty crib. It appears Cora has been taken.

Anne blames herself. Yes, it was Marco's idea to leave the baby alone but she agreed. Now they look very suspicious. The family starts to unravel and question one another. With a relentless detective on the case, layers of lies and complicated truths are revealed.

"The parents have just become his prime suspects." ~15%

Captivating. Spinning. Suspenseful. Character development. Well woven mystery. Just when I thought I had the story all figured out—like whodunnit, why and how—the author threw another curveball in. The couple times I put the book down, I was thinking about what would happen next. How crazier than cray will it get?

I dare not compare it to that other #1 psychological thriller but it was pretty damn close. I would very much like to see The Couple Next Door on the big screen someday soon. In the meantime, I will recommend this book to anyone who listens.

Happy Pub Day, Shari Lapena! The Couple Next Door is available today. Get your copy, bookhearts!

Disclaimer: This book was received directly from the publisher for review purposes only. In no way does it influence my review. The opinions I have expressed are honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena
Published: August 2016
Pages: 320
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


August 21, 2016

Series Sunday: The Hostage

(The Hotel #1) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

My Series Sunday pick is The Hostage, the first book in the Hotel series by James Patterson. VIPs gather in London for the grand opening of the world's most exclusive luxury hotel. One uninvited guest makes quite the appearance from the fortieth floor. The Head of Security scrambles to catch the killer before more lives are taken hostage.

"Where was the killer heading next in this seemingly endless brutal game of chase around the building? And what could be the motive for such vicious attacks?" ~ pg. 58

I estimate 80 of the 93 pages to be action. Yes, this story is high-impact, pun intended. Not a dull moment making it very easy to finish The Hostage in one sitting. This short eBook is perfect for a summer visit to the park or a quick commute home from work on the transit.

Click here to learn more about BOOKSHOTS. Then download the app on your mobile device/eReader to start reading this quick action-packed story.

Title: The Hostage
Author: James Patterson
Published: June 2016
Pages: 93
Rating: ♥♥♥


August 19, 2016

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"So," said the young priest. "I think that I'm the man you're looking for."

~ Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters 


August 18, 2016



Two families are extremely close. They share food, clothing, rides into town and more. Their children play together often. So when one family loses a son, the other family literally gives their son, LaRose, and arranges for shared visits with the birth family. LaRose becomes the link between the Irons and the Raviches.

LaRose is LaDud. I couldn't even stretch it to my 50-page Rule. It was enough of a struggle to finish the first chapter. I should have known when I read the first line:

"Where the reservation boundary invisibly bisected a stand of deep brush—chokecherry, popple, stunted oak—Landreaux waited."

Description is fine but sometimes simple is better. One of Stephen King's number one writing rules is to not use a complex word when a common word will do. Do not say "divulged" when you can say "said." Read the first line again. There is a better way to describe a guy stalking a deer. Could you even tell what he was doing?

Is it just me? I may judge a book from it's first line but will give it a fair chance. LaRose did not pass. Back to the library it goes.

Title: LaRose
Author: Louise Erdrich
Published: May 2016
Pages: 372
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥


August 17, 2016


"Right now she was tired of feeling sorry for white people." ~ pg. 184

Is it ever a good time to read a book with a serious historical subject matter? Especially when we still fight for freedom and equal rights in 2016? It is summertime and the racial violence continues all over the United States. I tried putting off reading Lazaretto until the fall season when leaves and a crisp breeze would be my setting outside the window. I had already borrowed it from the library and renewed it twice. Honestly, I only picked it up now instead of later to avoid late fees. What I did not expect when I cracked open the hardcover was to be reminded how small the world is.

"The earth had not tilted to make him know this truth; the heavens had not opened to a thousand angels singing; the river had not reversed its course, or turned to blood, or wine, or run dry." ~ pg. 314

Lazaretto begins in post-Civil War Philadelphia as a young black woman, Meda, gives birth to a baby fathered by her wealthy white employer. After being told that her child is dead, Meda dedicates her life to working in an orphanage and becoming a surrogate mother to two white boys. Meanwhile, the midwife's teenage apprentice, Sylvia, still feels guilty about the lie she was forced to tell Meda. She puts all her energy into working at Lazaretto, the country's first quarantine hospital south of Philadelphia. It is suddenly put on lockdown when an act by one man has a domino effect.

I am very picky with historical fiction. The book has to have the right balance of fact and fiction. The characters must have depth with a personality appropriate to the era. For example, I will give a serious side-eye if a story based in the 18th century mentions color TVs. One slip and I am done with the book.

Kudos to author Diane McKinney-Whetstone for keeping it time appropriate yet entertaining. I see why she is the two-time recipient of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association's Literary Award. Lazaretto is recommended to bookhearts that like historical fiction and slower paced stories. Take your time with this one!

Title: Lazaretto
Author: Diane McKinney-Whetstone
Published: April 2016
Pages: 334
Edition: Hardcover
Challenge: Kill Your TBR—Read Diversely
Rating: ♥♥♥