January 19, 2018

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. 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.

"I have this secret little vocabulary for my husband. Words I've invented, just to describe him."

~ Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella


January 18, 2018

Lit Tidbits - Fiction

Author: Kyra Davis
Published: October 2017
Rating: 🖤 🖤

Mystery writer and amateur sleuth, Sophie Katz, takes on a stalker case when her boyfriend Anatoly passes it up. Only a few chapters in and of course the stalker sets his eyes on Sophie herself. An adventure turns into an obsession. Le sigh. Why am I still reading this series? It is predictable as ever.

Author: James Patterson
Published: November 2017
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

An attack at the Thanksgiving Day Parade: is it a holiday terror or something personal? Detective Michael Bennett is on a manhunt to find out. I love these BOOKShots. They pack a powerful punch! 

Author: Gail Honeyman
Published: May 2017
Rating: ðŸ–¤ 🖤 🖤 

Eleanor Oliphant has a routine life: no social interactions, frozen pizza and vodka on weekends, and phone chats with Mummy. She is the definition of a quirky loner. But her habits change when she meets Raymond, IT guy at the office. It seems Eleanor is capable of finding friendship and love after all. This novel won so many awards but was just okay to me. Overrated.

Author: Lesley Nneka Arimah
Published: April 2017
Rating: ðŸ–¤ 🖤 🖤 

Named as one of the most anticipated books of 2017, this debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends and the places they call home. It started with a bang. I literally dropped my NOOK and shouted, "Nooooo!" I was chasing that reaction through the rest of the stories. Never quite got it again but was worth the ride.

Title: The People vs. Alex Cross (Alex Cross #25)
Author: James Patterson
Published: November 2017
Rating: ðŸ–¤ 🖤 🖤 ðŸ–¤ 

This time? Oh, THIS TIME? Alex Cross is the one on trial for murder. Branded as a trigger-happy cop with an authority complex, Alex Cross faces trial on the other side of the law. When his former partner, John Sampson, asks his help with an ongoing case, Alex risks what is left of his career. From the corners of the dark internet to the courtroom in media spotlight, this latest book in the Alex Cross series had me O_O until the very end.

Title: Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Published: October 2017
Rating🖤 ðŸ–¤ ðŸ–¤ 🖤 ðŸ–¤

Take a look at the cover. I wasn't sure if I could handle another book of this topic along with the nonsense in today's real world news. But Nic Stone did a wonderful job with bringing this story to pages. It is reminiscent of the "loud music" race relations case. Main character Justyce and his best friend, Manny, are riding in a car with the music turned way up. An off-duty cop riding beside them is furious. Shots are fired. And guess who is under attack in the media? Le sigh. In a letter written to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Justyce looks for justice and answers.

Author: Kim Holden
Published: May 2015
Rating: ðŸ–¤ 🖤 🖤 

Yes, it took me two and a half years to drum up the emotions necessary to get me through this follow-up novel. I am still...STILL...tore up about Bright Side. But this simple black cover kept haunting me whenever I opened my Kindle. Read me! So I did. Now my face is wet with tears. Grief is tough but worth it when the healing comes.

January 17, 2018

Without Merit

Colleen Hoover is one of my trusted authors. I barely read the synopsis before downloading or purchasing a new release of hers. It is pretty much guaranteed to be worth my time and coins. She keeps it real when it comes to emotions, family drama, friend interactions and relationships. Without Merit was no exception.

"No one would be able to determine from the outside of our house that our family of seven includes an atheist, a home wrecker, an ex-wife suffering from a severe case of agoraphobia, and a teenage girl whose weird obsession borders on necrophilia." ~ 7%

No family is perfect; however, the Voss family is far from normal. They live in what used to be a church. The mother lives in the basement and never leaves. The father is remarried to the mother's former nurse. And oh, they had a son who is not allowed to eat any treats. The eldest siblings appear perfect—maybe too much. And Merit is the secret keeper.

Along with keeping everyone's secret, Merit collects trophies she hasn't earned. That's right. She goes to antique shops and buys trophies for her collection. During a visit, she meets Sagan. He is witty, a good kisser and ideal. Too bad he is already involved with Merit's own twin sister. The more Sagan hangs around, the more Merit observes her family's behavior. Fed up with all the family lies, Merit explodes. She shatters the happy family illusion and comes daringly close to losing those she loves most.

"Fucking dazing." ~ 72%

Although the main character is a young adult, the author made her mature. Adults will not be bored reading this book and could actually relate. We all belong to a family that no doubt has secrets, triumphs and traditions that could earn a side-eye or two. I would love a follow-up sequel but if not, Without Merit is a great standalone novel that I totally recommend.

Without Merit is available now!

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 my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Without Merit
Author: Colleen Hoover
Published: October 2017
Pages: 384
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤


January 16, 2018

Everything Here is Beautiful

"One doctor I'd spoken with explained that such episodes could be triggered by stress, or drugs, or trauma, or exhaustion. Or sometimes, nothing at all." ~ 5%

Older sister Miranda is fiercely protective of her younger impulsive sister, Lucia. When their mother dies and Lucia starts to hear voices, Miranda fights for her sister's needs and a proper doctor's diagnosis. Lucia goes through a marriage, leaving her husband, having a baby and making other life-changing decisions all while trying to escape her own mental illness. Meanwhile her sister struggles with when and how much to help.

Let me preface this review by saying I am very critical with books about mental health or a chronic illness. Even with a fiction genre, it is important the author stays true to fact and not wing it when describing a diagnosis, character's actions or symptoms. Because I have done a lot of personal research, I can easily tell when an author is bluffing their way through. I am relieved to report that Mira T. Lee seems to have done her research in Everything Here is Beautiful. 

But mental illness was not the main story line. Family drama took the driver's seat. The main characters had to make tough decisions, know when to take a step back, and when to intervene on a relative's behalf. And sometimes, we have to let go and save our damn selves.

"She is not resentful by nature." ~ 68%

The author did a good job with pacing the story but it was just okay. Nothing about this novel stands out. It was not a page-turner but more a steady read. I recommend it for readers that don't mind taking a slow journey through a book. The bond between these two sisters will eventually grip you.

Happy Pub Day, Mira T. Lee! Everything Here is Beautiful is now available.

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 my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Everything Here is Beautiful
Author: Mira T. Lee
Published: January 2018
Pages: 368
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Popsugar—A Book About Mental Health
Rating: 🖤 🖤


January 15, 2018

2018 Memes & Reading Challenges

2018 Goodreads Challenge: Read 80 books in 2018. 

2018 Page Count Challenge: Read 24,000+ pages.

Keeping Up with Patterson Challenge: Read books in the Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club, and Michael Bennett series by James Patterson. BOOKSHOTS are a bonus!

Perpetual Kinsey Millhone Challenge: Continue to read books in the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series by Sue Grafton.

Perpetual Jack Reacher Challenge: Continue to read books in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge: Read a wide range of 50 books spanning topics.

First Lines Friday: Share the first line(s) from current read(s).

Series Sunday: Share a review/recommendation of a book in a series.

Lit Tidbits: Share current literary news.

US vs. UK: Compare covers of books released in US/UK.

Life of a Migraineur: Share moments of my life with migraines.

View all of Literary Marie's Memes and Reading Challenges here.

December 28, 2017

My Year in Blogmoir

Life of a Migraineur: Shared moments of my life with migraines.
03.24.2017 Like Cranes in the Sky 
11.09.2017 Lodak Blue

My Blogmoir: A memoir in blog format of events and people in this fuckery called life.
03.02.2017 Lent Goals
05.27.2017 Thick of It
08.28.2017 Blogmoir: DAMN
09.20.2017 Chat w/Chickadee
11.07.2017 4:44 a.m.
11.09.2017 Lodak Blue

My Year in Books