November 19, 2019

Life of a Migraineur: Rules

  • Get 8-10 hours of sleep.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • No extremities.
  • Beware of sensitive skin.
  • Do not eat chocolate.
  • Avoid strong smells and loud noise.
  • Avoid bright light and sun glare.
  • Stay inside if high barometric pressure.
  • Not too much or too little caffeine.
  • Take daily meds on time.
  • Do not look forward to events.
  • Be prepared to miss out on life.
  • Appreciate every pain-free second.
  • No stress...PERIODT.

November 17, 2019

Series Sunday: Dirty Daniel

(Mickey Stanislawsky #1) 

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 Dirty Daniel, the first book in the Mickey Stanislawsky series by Jennifer Lewis Williams. Oh, how I love new series! They bring new adventure to the fictional side of my brain and a bright smile on my face. What makes Dirty Daniel so special is the author. I know when I pick up a Jennifer Lewis Williams novel, that I am in for a twisted mystery featuring colorful characters.

"A deacon's job is never done." ~ 50%

Meshelle "Mickey" Stanislawsky is a new detective. She is assigned her first murder case barely one hour into the position. A janitor at the New Birth Free Pentocostal Church was found dead. No blood, no prints, no wounds. There is a congregation full of shady suspects; everyone from the Reverend to the widow seems to be hiding dirty secrets of the victim's and their own.

Let me set the stage of my reading experience of Dirty Daniel. I purposely waited until the weekend to start reading. I did not want to limit my reading time because of an early morning. I poured a glass of wine and made a snack plate of colby jack cheese, hard salami, sweet hot mustard and a sleeve of Ritz everything-flavored crackers. I had no plans other than getting lost in this new novel.

"The authorities knew who ordered the deed, but they could not prove it. Someday, I will. You can believe that." ~ 20%

Like most good mysteries, I started page one and kept reading until the wee hours of the night. I did not realize it was almost two in the a.m. until I got up for water. I checked my progress and saw how engrossed I was into the fictional life of Mickey, her ex-boyfriend-now-detective-partner and her first murder case. I read half of the book in one sitting!

Mickey is a strong, smart, bi-racial woman. Even though the story is told in third person, the author shares Mickey's inner thoughts. Along with her detective skills and will to solve cases, Mickey is a keeper at both the Peaceton Police Department and my home library. I am looking forward to the next installment of this well-paced series and highly recommend Dirty Daniel for my mystery bookhearts.

Title: Dirty Daniel
Author: Jennifer Lewis Williams
Published: October 2019
Pages: 196
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤


November 15, 2019

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 was born without a voice, one cold, overcast day in Brooklyn, New York. No one ever spoke of my condition."

~ A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum


November 13, 2019

Lit Tidbits: Pithy Picks II

Title: The Winner
Author: David Baldacci
Published: December 1997
Pithy Review: LuAnn Tyler won the lottery! She always dreamed of a better life for her and infant daughter. Far away from their small town and her no-good boyfriend. But there's a catch with the winning ticket: leave the U.S. forever and change her identity. But it becomes a high-stakes game when she breaks the promise that made her rich. Now the lottery winner has to fight a financial mastermind. This book was a buddy read with Chickadee and a colleague. What a spin it took us!
Quote Grab"All of these illusions would be remembered by even the most casual observer." ~ pg. 9
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Eff This! Meditation
Author: Liza Kindred
Published: October 2019
Pithy Review: This book was like a gift I didn't know I needed. It takes a lot for me to focus and sit still long enough to meditate. My mind doesn't turn off completely. But the 108 tips, tricks, ideas and lessons within are powerful tools that actually helped me. Good for those feeling down, anxious, stressed or overwhelmed. Thanks to the author for my meditation break-through. I will refer to this book for months to come.
Quote Grab"Take a digital detox day." ~ pg. 114 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Even the Stars Look Lonesome
Author: Maya Angelou
Published: April 2014
Pithy Review: What is Africa to me? How poor were you? What problems does fame bring? Can you sing the praises of sexuality? These are just a few questions asked while Maya Angelou talks about things she cares about most. Her wisdom on such a wide variety of topics is a gift for my soul. 
Quote Grab"No, I am merely observing that paltry creatures such as ourselves, who labor two-thirds of our lives to oppose gravity and remain erect, require some time to laze on sofas, relax before fireplaces, to recline on white beaches under a benevolent sun." ~ pg. 51
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: You Won't See Me Coming
Author: Kristen Orlando
Published: January 2019
Pithy Review: L The first two books of this series were outstanding! So I didn't expect the final book of trilogy to disappoint much as it did. Reagan and Luke are walking targets forced into hiding. The plan is to keep a quiet safe live. But when someone close to the pair is being kidnapped, they defy all Black Angel orders and risk blowing their cover. Why won't this girl just sit down somewhere and chill?! 
Quote Grab"Disappointed. One of the worst words a parent could say." ~ pg. 61 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️

Title: Hurricanes
Author: Rick Ross & Neil Martinez-Belkin
Published: September 2019
Pithy Review: Rapper Ricky Rozay chronicles his life amid Miami's crack epidemic and his rise to fame. Candid. Vivid. Controversial. This revealing memoir is all that with no apologies. He could've wore a shirt on the book cover though. From a young age to current day, Rick Ross paid close attention to the smallest of details and made methodical moves. That's a Virgo for ya! Grab some lemon pepper all flats from Wing Stop and start reading.
Quote Grab"Do you know what I mean when I say this shit is deeper than rap?" ~ pg. 97 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Beautiful Ones
Author: Prince
Published: October 2019
Pithy Review: My favorite artist. A philosopher. A famous spiritual being. The Artist formerly known as..., The Sign, The Kid. The Oh Great Purple One. The reason little ole' 3-year-old me sang at the top of my lungs to anyone that would listen. The actor/creator of one of my favorite movies ever. The musician/writer/singer of my all-time favorite song which is also the title of this new much-anticipated-didn't-think-it-would-ever-happen memoir. Need I say more? Okay, I will say a little bit. Prince began writing this memoir before his death. The Beautiful Ones is full of photos, thoughts, scrapbook items, lyric sheets and explanations. He really lets readers in to his private world. But the best part in this whole memoir—for a stan like me—is the original treatment for Purple Rain. I almost cried like a dove. See what I did there?
Quote Grab"Handwriting is a lost art in need of resurrection." ~ pg. 86
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: 19th Christmas
Author: James Patterson
Published: October 2019
Pithy Review: A new holiday novel for the Women's Murder Club! Kind of early for Christmas but I'll take it. The biggest heist ever is hitting San Francisco on Christmas Day. Lindsay and the girls are running ragged around the city with chaos, traps and false alarms. This criminal may be their match.
Quote Grab"If this circumstance isn't exigent, I don't know what is." ~ pg. 262
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Never Have I Ever
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Published: July 2019
Pithy Review: Mommies Book Club gone wrong! Or better yet, when blackmailers blackmail each other right back. This book reminds me of the old TV series Revenge (which is getting a reboot in 2020) meets the daring Never Have I Ever game of secrets. Roux takes Amy on a complicated round of a clever game. Remember the past always comes back!
Quote Grab"No one walks around holding their ugliest sin in the palm of their hand, staring at it. Our hurts are heavy, and we let them sink." ~ pg. 74
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️

Title: I'm Telling the Truth But I'm Lying
Author: Bassey Ikpi
Published: August 2019
Pithy Review: I honestly only have one word to describe this deeply personal collection of essays: RAW. Bassey bit no tongue in navigating Bipolar II, anxiety and depression. And what made it so compelling is knowing Bassey was honest but also possibly telling readers lies. Just! Read! It! And might I suggest the physical copy because the book cover is so fitting and eye-catching.
Quote Grab"I turn the purple bruises of memory into lipstick-stained kisses, the crushing weight of life into neck-nuzzling embraces." ~ pg. 45
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Better Than This
Author: Beth Flynn
Published: July 2019
Pithy Review: Let me explain my moment of panic. I am usually very good at keeping up with new releases, especially in series/trilogy/spin-off novels. So imagine my surprise when Better Than This (a Nine Minutes spin-off novel) appeared in my feed. And it released back in July! Seriously how did this slip under my radar for like four months?! Anyhoot, I downloaded the eBook immediately and read it nonstop. It features Barbie Jean Anderson and a storyline that debates whether men and women can't be friends, along with proof that time doesn't heal all wounds so they just scab over.
Quote Grab"Like two lovers tightly woven into each other's arms, my anger and grief melded together and formed an animalistic fury like I'd never experienced." ~ pg. 192
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bookhearts, I hope you enjoyed these ten (10) pithy reviews. This is what happens at year-end when I catch up books I have not shared my opinion on. No matter the genre—suspense, non-fiction, family drama, memoirs or dark romance, there are recommendations here for everyone. As always, continue sharing your good reads (or stay aways) with me. Happy Reading! 

November 12, 2019

Big Lies in a Small Town

"I could appraise it, admire it, dissect it. But I didn't envy the artists for being able to create it." ~ 89%

Diane Chamberlain takes it back to 1940 in North Carolina. An artist wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office. Of course she accepts. What she didn't expect was to work in a town full of prejudices, secrets, lies and even murder.

Fast forward to modern-day time. Morgan Christopher is not where she wants to be in her career. By taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, Morgan serves a 3-year-stint in a women's correctional facility. Until a generous, mysterious person arranges her early release in exchange for an art deal. She must restore an old post office mural. What she discovers in the decrepit mural changes her life.

The thing about Big Lies in a Small Town, and most of Diane Chamberlain novels, are they are so compelling while reading. I get totally engrossed into the deep story and its many layers. But a week or so after having read the last page, the story leaves my memory. It does not stick. In fact, I had to skim through notes just to write this review since it's been over a month since finishing. Does that make a good read, at least in the moment? Yes.

Happy Early Pub Day, Diane Chamberlain! Big Lies in a Small Town will be released on January 14, 2020.

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: Big Lies in a Small Town
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Published: January 2020
Pages: 400
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤

November 10, 2019

Series Sunday: Layla's Love

(Ivyhurst #2) 

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 Layla's Love, the second book in the Ivyhurst series by Ava Bleu. First of all, let us marvel at the book cover. Scroll back up. Isn't it enticing? Tasty-looking? Pique your interest? It certainly fits the story perfectly. Layla Smith is the owner of Layla's Gourmet Pizza Shop. It is a charming restaurant with a set of regulars. Somehow Layla remembers everyone's orders soon as they walk in the door. She makes the customers feel at home while serving gourmet pizzas that I could just smell through the pages of Adobe.

"Didn't your Mama ever teach you to read a room?" ~ pg. 11

One particular customer is Raymond, a handsome businessman that orders double cheese pizza every Wednesday night. Layla's employees encourage her to live her best life and date Raymond. Love may be the next best gourmet topping on her specialty menu. Meanwhile, the New Ivyhurst community members want Layla's support and pressure her to attend meetings. Layla, however, has no interest in the local politics. Can't a girl just make pizza and be happy?

Every now and then, I will pick up a romance book or novella. I can only do romances in small doses. However, I absolutely love Ava Bleu's descriptive writing style. There is no fluff. No annoying cheesy dialogue. I only wish the story was longer so, as you can imagine, I am looking forward to more.

Although Layla's Love is the second book in the Ivyhurst series, it can be read as a standalone. No worries in being lost; you will enjoy the story and the characters just as much. It is a very entertaining read with bits of humor, blushing moments and a realistic cute love story. Go ahead, order in your favorite pizza and download the eBook now!

Disclaimer: This book was received directly from the author 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: Layla's Love
Author: Ava Bleu
Published: August 2019
Pages: 80
Edition: PDF
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

November 8, 2019

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.

"My Mother's Eyes. That's the 1st thing 👁 can remember. U know how U can tell when someone is smiling just by looking in their eyes? That was my mother's eyes."

~ The Beautiful Ones by Prince