September 21, 2022

Fall Blog Break

I don't know
who needs 
to read this,
but it's
okay to
take a 

Rest now
so you 
quit later.

Let summer
turn to fall.

For fall is 
proof that
change is 

September 20, 2022

Lit Tidbits: Pithy Picks IX

Hey, Bookhearts! Pithy Picks are becoming my favorite bookish meme! Sometimes books don't need a full review to express my recommendation or unpopular opinion. I hope you find a few books of interest below and learn which books to not bother with.

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

Author: Toya Wolfe
Published: June 2022
Pithy Review: It's the summer of 1999. Fe Fe, Precious, Stacia and Tonya live in building 4950 of Robert Taylor Homes on Chicago's South Side, next in line to be torn down. I won't soon forget this so well told coming-of-age story about finding a home in one's self and community. A favorite read of 2022!
Quote"But people jump out the rope on that game and go separate ways." ~ pg. 136
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Long Past Summer
AuthorNoué Kirwan
Published: August 2022
Pithy Review: No longer the meek teen from small town Georgia, Mikaela is now a successful New York lawyer. But when an old photo resurfaces in a lawsuit, she has to face her old best friend and first love. I would not have picked up this book on my own but it was recommended by a relative and glad it was. Started off strong but fell flat and predictable, making it an overall okay read.
Quote"Ovaries before brovaries." ~ pg. 184
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️
 You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey
AuthorAmber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar
Published: January 2021
Pithy Review: Humor led these sisters to write essays about everyday experiences of racism. From strangers putting their whole hand in hair to figuring out why Karens Karen. It is relatable yet amusing. The stories are a cross between "Happened to me too" and "You can't make this racist shit up." 
Quote"It's never a Black person's job to make sure these people understand why what they're saying is wrong." ~ pg. 15
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️

 Uncharted Waters
AuthorSally Hepworth
Published: August 2022
Pithy Review: The Amazon Original Stories are gems, y'all! A getaway vacation turns sinister when an icebreaker game leads to a seductive twist. You can read or listen in one sitting, which is recommended for the punch it packs in less than 50 pages. So well written that I went in search of a full-length novel by the author. Give me more!
Quote"Nothing worthwhile happens in the comfort zone." ~ pg. 5 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️
 The Candid Life of Meena Dave
Author: Namrata Patel
Published: June 2022
Pithy Review: Meena Dave is a photojournalist with no family, no attachments, no permanent address. Until she unexpectedly inherits an apartment. She is forced to settle down in a community with neighbors, meddling aunties and a culture she never thought possible. Make a cup of chai and settle in for this good read.
Quote"I suppose I could start at the beginning, but to what end? That's a fun sentence." ~ pg. 22
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Ugly Love
AuthorColleen Hoover
Published: August 2014
Pithy Review: Love isn't always pretty. We know this. Miles and Tate know this. Yet they make an arrangement anyway. He doesn't want love; she doesn't have time for love. Don't ask about the past; don't expect a future. Then rules are broken and their love gets ugly. I should've known this was no light chick lit. CoHo made me feel all the feels and heartbreak!
Quote"We tell ourselves we've got this...when we don't have it at all." ~ 21%
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

AuthorJen Lancaster
Published: October 2020
Pithy Review: My funny beloved Jen Lancaster's latest memoir talks about so much: Earl Grey tea, anxiety, side hustles, being Matchy McMatcherson and more. All things I relate to! We are indeed one nation under stress. This book is full of wit and advice. I like this new (back-to-memoir) mode with endnotes containing facts and snarky asides. Perfect publishing time too!
Quote"Comedy is an outlet that can build bridges." ~ pg. 230
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

AuthorLucy Score
Published: February 2022
Pithy Review: This may be better as a movie. Picture this: a Christmas wedding. A sexy stranger. A fictional town with gossip. A donated organ. A recipient with predictable actions. Possible love match. Definitely a recipe for Hallmark or Lifetime Movie Network. But just to read? Hmmm, Bookhearts can pass on this novella.
Quote"What could Hope Falls give that Chicago couldn't?" ~ 79%
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️

Title: Reminders of Him
AuthorColleen Hoover
Published: January 2022
Pithy Review: CoHo...girl...respectfully, why the fuck do you keep writing these books that tear my heart to shreds, piece it back together and send me on my merry way until the next release? This fictional story of redemption was heartbreakingly tender. It left me wondering how long can a person be punished for mistakes? And is everyone worthy of forgiveness and love?
Quote"People need people." ~ 37%
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

AuthorJames Patterson and J.D. Barker
Published: April 2022
Pithy Review: Why, oh why, did you co-sign this dud, JP? Or did you not even bother reading the first draft to see if it followed your outline? Because this one clearly slipped through the cracks. Not Patterson's style at all! Halfway through, I went on skim mode. What should have been a thriller of a brilliant escape artist that destroys the men she loves turned out to be blah.
Quote"You sure you heard screaming?" ~ I don't even remember which page.
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️

Title: Recitatif 
AuthorToni Morrison
Published: February 2022 (first published 1983)
Pithy Review: In ToMo's only short story, two women cross paths. The twist is their races are not revealed. I read this classic carefully twice. Discussed with Chickadee and Bookhearts. We all came up with something different. A brilliant literary demonstration of race, stereotypes and relationships that hold relevant in today's world. Now that's how you write a timeless story and spark debate! 
Quote"Things are not right." ~ pg. 35 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️

September 18, 2022

Series Sunday: Blue Like Me

(Trevor Finnegan #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.

"People check out." ~ 57%

My Series Sunday pick is Blue Like Me, the second book in the Trevor Finnegan series by Aaron Philip Clark. It's been almost a year but I remember the fictional man of color I fell in like with named Finn. The intellectual rookie cop is now former detective/PI. His new occupation is catching LAPD's worst in the act. While on surveillance, he witnesses a presumed dirty cop be killed and his ex-partner wounded by gunshots. Then Finn's Uncle is murdered in what seems to be a connection. The investigation just turned deadly!

Oh, that's not all! Finn is also making an effort to spend more quality time with his father, prepare for a 6-month stay in France, domestic issues with girlfriend and become acquainted with a new person in his life. Whew—Finn has a lot going on!

"I'm a black man running around with a gun at a crime scene where the victims are LAPD officers and two bystanders." ~ 15%

Blue Like Me is suspense at its best! I was shocked at the end of almost every long chapter. Jaw dropped or saying aloud, "Whaaaaaat?!" I've read a ton of mystery in my day so plot twists rarely faze me. But Aaron Philip Clark managed to surprise me a couple times within these 250+ pages. At the same time, he fleshed out the main character Finn a little bit more in this second installment, dropping more personality hints and backstory along the way. I just wish it focused more on a certain storyline. 

While Blue Like Me is the second book in the stories and I highly recommend reading Under Color of Law first, the author gives enough context clues for this to be read as a standalone. The Trevor Finnegan series is a winner...periodt!

Happy Early Pub Day, Aaron Philip Clark! Blue Like Me will be available Tuesday, November 8.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Author: Aaron Philip Clark
Published: November 2022
Pages: 256
Edition: Galley
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

September 16, 2022

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.

"On Friday, June 12th, I woke up at six o'clock and no wonder; it was my birthday."

~ The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank 

September 14, 2022

Blogmoir: VIRGO'S GROOVE❣️

I'm that girl who cannot stop listening to Beyoncé's seventh studio album. I should have known when she proclaimed 🎵all these songs sound good 'cause I'm on that ho🎵 Who starts off an album like this?!

No other album is played from beginning to end in clubs all around. DJs press play and let it ride for 1 hour, 2 minutes. Then be ready to spin the vinyl when you hear 🎵I'm in my bag, bag, bag, bag🎵

It makes me move. It makes me dance. It makes me social. It keeps me company. It's a groove. All the things I didn't know I needed. RENAISSANCE dropped when so many of us can relate to these lyrics.

I literally listen to nothing else. I only paused my listening twice. The first time was an attempt to hear other music so I played Calvin Harris' new album. That didn't last long before my fingers involuntarily pressed play and went back to 🎵please, muthafuckas ain't stopping me🎵 The second time I dared to play anything else was guilt-free because I kept it in the Carter household. A new song titled GOD DID was released with a Jay-Z guest verse—arguably his best but that's a whole 'nother blogmoir post. For four (4) whole minutes, HOV DID on a track. I love when he talks 👏🏾 super 👏🏾 facts 👏🏾

My favorite songs change daily. It depends on which lyrics I wake up to. Not from my alarm but from my head. NO OTHER ALBUM HAS THIS EFFECT on the Bey Hive or the general public. And this is just the beginning; two more acts are going to be released! 

At some point I have to let this album breathe and listen to other music. At least until visuals are out. But for now, I will continue playing the crack-laced RENAISSANCE in heavy rotation, celebrating Virgo season and randomly yelling "UNIQUE" in everyday conversation. 

KU, Classic, Popular and New!

Who just downloaded ten eBooks as if she doesn't have enough to read? Dot Did!

September 13, 2022

What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

"We plotted." ~ 47%

All is well in the Ramirez household until 13-year-old middle child Ruthy disappeared without a trace after track practice. It left the family scarred. Twelve years later, their mother, Dolores, struggles with mental health, weight gain and diabetes. Older sister Jessica juggles a newborn baby and demanding hospital job. And Nina has returned home after graduating college to medical school rejections and a measly retail job in the mall. 

Then one night, Jessica spots a woman with her missing sister's distinctive red hair and beauty mark on a Bad Girls type reality show going by the name of Ruby. After seeing Ruthy/Ruby on TV, the sisters hatch a plan to drive to Boston where the show is filmed. Dolores and her best friend join the sisters making it a family road trip filled with humor and hard truths, told in alternating narration that brings out each character's personality oh so perfectly. 

"Sometimes the wrong people remember you." ~ 15%

Family dynamics in fiction are always fascinating to read. Especially when the family is going through drama like the Puerto Rican family, Ramirez. Their road trip from Staten Island to Boston is one that will make readers LOL while appreciating the culture and light mystery. 

The best part of the novel wasn't even finding out what happened to Ruthy; it was the relationship between Dolores and her two remaining daughters, Nina and Jessica. Another major theme was self-realization and how you see yourself vs. how others see you. This was obviously the author's intent since the road trip to find Ruthy doesn't start until 80% through the book. It was the better story to tell up to very last sentence! 

"In truth, there was nobody I admired more than my sister." ~ 85%

Very good first impression for a debut novel! What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez is equal parts hilarious and intriguing. It explores the familial bonds between mothers, daughters and sisters. Usually I am not a fan of alternating narration, but Claire Jiménez nails it! This story could not have been told any other way. I recommend for chick lit lovers and book clubs for minority women. Get lost in this well written debut featuring strong Brown women! I'll keep an eye out for more from Claire Jiménez.

Happy Early Pub Day, Claire Jiménez! What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez will be available Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez
Author: Claire Jiménez
Published: March 2023
Pages: 240
Edition: Galley
Genre: Chick Lit 
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤