December 16, 2018

Series Sunday: Harry Potter Special

(Harry Potter #1-7) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. 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 Harry Potter Special 20th Anniversary Edition Box Set by J.K. Rowling. Yes, I am 20 years late to the Harry Potter bandwagon. The wizardry finally got me! Thanks to Amazon's Black Friday deal, I scored the special edition box set of books #1-7 for only $35 (originally $100)!

Of course I heard of the series, but read nary a page nor seen a minute of the movies. Though I admire how fans Potterheads stan for the series a whole two decades later. Potterheads are like the literary version of the BeyHive. So I ordered the complete bestselling series on a shopping whim and cannot wait to start in the new year. It looks quite nice under my Christmas tree with its redesigned illustrations.
My plans are to buddy read with my 9-year-old niece. We will read a book followed by watching the corresponding movie in the series, then post vlog (YouTube) and blog reviews here. Stay tuned for our journey through Harry Potter fantasy land as we read over 4,000+ pages together!

Author: J.K. Rowling
Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Published: August 2018
Pages: 4,320
Edition: Box Set
Rating: TBD


December 14, 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.

"The forest had claws and teeth."

~ Final Girls by Riley Sager


December 13, 2018

Lit to Movie Review: If Beale Street Could Talk

"I hope that nobody has ever had to look at anybody they love through glass." ~ pg. 12

If Beale Street Could Talk is a black lit classic written by James Baldwin in 1974. Here we are 40+ odd years later and the American justice system is still flawed with an overflow of wrong convictions. Like a blues song whose lyrics get stuck in your head, this short novel is sad but filled with harsh truths.

Fonny is a talented young artist unjustly arrested and locked up. His girlfriend, Tish, and her close-knit family are determined to free him no matter how much it costs. Freedom is priceless, especially when a newborn baby enters the picture. It is a beautiful story of young love, perseverance, and the strength of a black family.

"It was a strange weight, a presence coming into me - into a me I had not known was there." ~ pg. 57

One thing I have to admit though, where did the title come from? Which character lived on Beale Street? To my recollection, I don't remember it ever being mentioned in the book. Let's hope the movie will tie it all together. Check back here to see my rating of the movie, which hits theaters tomorrow!

*Update I am extremely baffled. Why can I not find local showtimes for the movie?! Apparently it is playing in "select" theaters...the closest being 245 miles away. 😐

Title: If Beale Street Could Talk
Author: James Baldwin
Director: Barry Jenkins
Cast: KiKi Layne (Tish); Stephan James (Fonny)
Published: 1974
Pages: 128
Movie Time: 1 Hour, 59 Min
Edition: eBook
Book Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤
Movie Rating: TBD


December 12, 2018


Look at this book cover! Look at that beautiful toned black skin! This is what first drew me to download Harlem, a short story by Eric Jerome Dickey. Although it was previously published in an anthology in 2006, it is now available as an eBook for only $0.99.

"If you were religious, you could call them a recurring set of visions. So I called them nightmares." ~ 10%

A black man is not expected to live to see 25 years old. Self-dubbed "Harlem" is already 23 and counting down his days. He gets sent to an asylum after getting off a murder charge due to insanity plea. To him, this feels worse than regular prison or even death. The only thing getting him through is a beautiful nurse named Daphane.

Harlem convinces Daphane to help him escape. He can free her from an abusive marriage and he, in turn, can be freed from the asylum. What unfolds next is a surprising spill of deadly secrets.

This super quick read can be read in a jaw-dropping few minutes. EJD can deliver in a 30-page or 400-page book, okurrrr!

Title: Harlem
Author: Eric Jerome Dickey
Published: November 2018
Pages: 32
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤



"Besides, my grandmother used to say, 'a new broom sweeps well.'" ~46%

Every year I search for a holiday novella featuring characters of color. This year's treasure is Unexpected by D.L. White. I didn't just like it...I LOVED it! The perfect short story about finding love where you least expect it.

For some, the holidays bring about sad memories and is a reminder of personal tragedy. But when Saidah lets her hair down and agrees to attend a holiday dinner with friends, she is thrown for a loop. Her ex is there acting like the biggest arsehole ever, ruining the tone of Christmas. Saidah escapes and is accompanied by an unexpected guest. The story brings happy holiday vibes from that point on.

Gift yourself by downloading this holiday short eBook. Enjoy reading with a cup of hot cocoa, tea or coffee with a shot of Bailey's. 'Tis the season for good romance!

Title: Unexpected
Author: D.L. White
Published: November 2017
Pages: 68
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤


The Guy Who Died Twice

"Whatever was going on in this house of wealth and privilege, it had clearly been taking its toll on the residents. A wife who appeared to be exhausted. A husband who'd started the day claiming to be a corpse, and ended the day being one." ~ 11%

A man walks into the police headquarters and tries to convince the squad that's he is dead. Of course they explain to him that he is very much alive and breathing, then send him on his way. But a few hours later, the man turns up actually dead. No, this is not a corny joke. It is the strangest case that Detective D.D. Warren has ever confronted. This is the short story of The Guy Who Died Twice.

Even though this new release is part of the Detective D.D. Warren series, it can be read as a standalone short story. It will make a great introduction to the main character and her crime scene analyst husband for those unfamiliar. Lisa Gardner is one of those consistent authors; you can count on great storytelling.

Happy Early Pub Day & Happy Holidays, Lisa Gardner! The Guy Who Died Twice will be available Tuesday, January 8, 2019.

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: The Guy Who Died Twice
Author: Lisa Gardner
Published: January 2019
Pages: 72
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤


December 11, 2018

My Sister, the Serial Killer

"Why should her hands be clean, while mine become more and more stained?" ~ pg. 102

Big sisters take care of little sisters. Big sister Korede takes this mantra to heart. She looks after little sister, Ayoola, in many things despite her bitterness. Ayoola is said to be prettier and Ma's favorite but behind closed doors, she is a sociopath while Korede does the clean-up. Cleaning of what, you ask? Blood. Dead bodies. Evidence. Social media posts. And now Ayoola's third boyfriend in a row is dead. You know what that means?

"Three and they label you a serial killer."

I shy away from books with broken language or heavy dialect. It is too distracting when my purpose of reading is to relax, not to stumble over words and continuously look up pronunciations. Although this novel focuses on a Nigerian woman, I was not deterred from the dialogue or writing style. It was easy to read and follow. The chapters are very short. My only negative is the beginning started off with such a bang that the middle of book seemed to drag. It could've been paced a bit better. But the size of the hardcover was perfect to carry around, allowing me to read at every free moment.

Wait—I lied. There is another petty negative: the page numbers were in a weird design—making it harder for me to determine which page I'm on. Hence, less status updates on Goodreads. My gripes aren't enough to dissuade bookhearts from reading this debut. Get it. Read it in public. Flaunt the cover art. Join the social media frenzy #MySisterTheSerialKiller. Enjoy the side-eyes when people see the title of book you're reading. Most of all, show your support for an author of color.

Title: My Sister, the Serial Killer
Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Published: November 2018
Pages: 226
Edition: Mini Hardvcover
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤