November 9, 2017

Lodak Blue

🎡 I don't blog now, I make resting moves 🎡

Perhaps my latest migraine was a sign to slow down. Simplify. Relax. So I am taking a blogging break. I will still have an online presence through Twitter, Goodreads and Instagram. You can still listen to me on new Sistah Speak podcast episodes. And my hearts IRL can always call, iMessage or come see me.

Until next post...

November 7, 2017

4:44 a.m.

So I was fine just the night before. Sipping a Redd's apple ale, snacking on hard salami and cubed colby cheese. I took my nightly migraine medicine as usual. Then around 4 o'clock in the morning, nausea woke me out of my sleep. I stumble in the dark to the bathroom. Made it in just enough time before I vomited up my favorite snack. It wasn't until I stepped away from the toilet that I recognized the pain. Le sigh. A migraine.

I reach for the cabinet to grab my medicine. It should kick in quickly since I caught it at the onset. Or so I hope. But mere minutes from swallowing the powder, it comes right back up. Money and pain relief literally down the drain. I am not sure how much of the medicine, if any, reached my blood stream before I threw it up. In about 4.5 hours, the Cambia will be completely out of my system. Then it will be safe to take another dose. But by then, it is pointless. Because migraine medicine only works effectively if taken at the first sign. Not hours later. So I have to suffer.

I crawl back to my bedroom, grab two pillows and a snuggie. Then I collect my frozen compress from the freezer. Back to the bathroom I go to camp out. You see, it is much easier—and cleaner—if I just sleep on the cold bathroom floor during a migraine attack. The toilet is right there for the bouts of nausea. And somehow the cold darkness is relieving. I drift in and out. Incoherent. Barely sleeping. Only feeling. The throbbing pain on one side of my head. The neck pain that prevents me from stretching out of this fetal position. The tingling in my fingers and toes. The numbing everywhere else. I feel it all.

I start the timer. Because at 72 hours, I am eligible for urgent care. The only sound I leave on is the alarm. iPhone off. iPad off. MacBook sleep. Doorbell disconnected. Blackout curtains closed tight. Any stream of light is blocked. The tiniest sliver of light or the faintest sound is magnified. It hurts to see. It hurts to hear. It hurts to inhale. Dear God, it hurts to feel.

Fast forward to when I am able to nibble on saltine crackers and a coke. I look at the time. No, where is a calendar? It can't be. I lost two (2) whole days of my life! This is my normal. This is the oh-so-unfortunate Life of a Migraineur.

November 5, 2017

Series Sunday: Chasing Down a Dream

(Blessings #8) 

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.

"Sometimes we women, particularly women of color, think we can ignore the cracks in our souls by just keeping it moving." ~ pg. 170

My Series Sunday pick is Chasing Down a Dream, the eighth book in the Blessings series by Beverly Jenkins. This book of the series is special because I finally had the chance to attend a live book signing in Detroit to have my copy signed and accompanied by a hug from Bev Jenkins herself! It took me a while to come down from that high so I put off reading it for a while. On a hot-as-July-day-in-October, I made a fresh mason jar of sweet sun tea and cracked open Chasing Down a Dream. 

The matriarch of Henry Adams, Tamar July, has a hate/hate relationship with the black sheep of her family. So imagine her surprise when asked to plan the funeral of a cousin. After a storm, Gemma finds two siblings walking alongside the road. She takes them in and tries to become their foster mom. But Social Services will not allow a white woman to foster black children. On a happy note, Jack and Rocky are planning their wedding. Despite personal drama, the town comes together to lend a hand. Hard to believe it has been five (5) years in this town but now it is experiencing some real deal growing pains.

"How long do the mistakes you make in life follow you?" ~ pg. 221

I have said this many times before but will repeat: I am a resident of Henry Adams in-my-head. The characters are my fictional neighbors. We come together for the greater good of our community. We respect our elders. We teach our youth. We support our peers. Chasing Down a Dream is oh so heartwarming and leaves me with a feeling that family really matters.

This is why I love the Blessings series. The books never lose sight of the spirit of Henry Adams and how it came to be. What a great escape from the real world! 

Author: Beverly Jenkins
Published: July 2017
Pages: 326
Edition: Paperback
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

November 2, 2017

Hola, Morocha!


"Why the hell did you carry your black ass to a place where black folks were vanishing?" ~ 7%

In a new inspirational, funny travelogue, Jennifer Poe takes us on an adventure to Buenos Aires from the eyes of a black woman. At only 22 years old, she booked a one-way ticket to Argentina. Yet soon discovered it was the land of few and far between black people. Part memoir and part travel guide, Hola, Morocha! highlights the ups and downs of her trip. Witty essays cover everything from not speaking Spanish to finding a place to get her black hair did. Being black in Buenos Aires is entertaining!

"Hey, black girl, hey!" ~ 4%

Literary Marie, meet Jennifer Poe.
Jennifer Poe, meet Literary Marie.

LISSEN, this eShort story reads like a conversation with your friend after she returns from an international trip. She keeps it real. She shares the real scoop. And she doesn't regret any part of the experience. With this in mind, it is a no-brainer that I highly recommend Hola, Morocha! for a reality dose of culture shock. And I am obsessively stalking the author's website and Goodreads for the release of a literary travelogue follow-up.

Title: Hola, Morocha! A Black Woman's Adventures in Buenos Aires: Culture Shock
Author: Jennifer Poe
Published: July 2017
Pages: 67
Edition: eBook
Challenge: Popsugar—A Book Involving Travel
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

   

November 1, 2017

Little Fires Everywhere


"Don't get attached." ~ pg. 121

Everyone plays by the rules in Shaker Heights, Ohio. The layout of the winding driveways, the color of the houses, the high expectations of students and the conduct of its suburbanites is all planned. No one plays the rules more than Elena Richardson, journalist and mother of four. Single mother and artist, Mia Warren, arrives into town with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from Mrs. Richardson. It takes no time for all four children to be drawn to Mia and Pearl. Soon the families are woven together along with secrets, patterns and daily living.

When a custody battle over a Chinese American baby divides the town, Mia and Elena are on opposing sides. The past does not stay in the past and true motives are revealed. Above all, the pull of motherhood is strong.

There are so many individual story lines within these 336 pages but it was easy to follow them all and become interested in each outcome. Like any book with multiple main characters, there are those I really like and those I don't care for at all. But Celeste Ng wrote the good and bad sides to let the readers decide on their own who to like, dislike or be indifferent about. At times it was hard for me to pick a side. It only added to the theory of intertwined fates.

It is rare for a book to tug at my heart strings. It is even more rare for me to remember a story line so vividly with all the books that I read in short periods of time. So I did not expect my reaction once I finished reading Little Fires Everywhere. I didn't expect to think about these characters or hope for a follow-up book. I didn't expect the feelings it left me with and, most of all, the question of morality. This novel is a perfect reminder to not make judgment because you never truly know what you might do in the same situation...until it actually happens to you.

"What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?" ~ pg. 258

What is right? What is wrong? What is love? What is obsession?

Bookhearts, be prepared to ask yourself these questions while reading this new release by the talented author, Celeste Ng. And you'd better have a friend close by that read this book too because you will be anxious to talk about it.

Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Published: September 2017
Pages: 336
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

October 31, 2017

Summer of the Cicadas


"They have yet to invent a test for invisible lumps." ~ pg. 35

After attempting a self-mastectomy, Viola Moon escapes south to a small historically black university. She is determined to leave her summer stay at a mental health institution in the past. But Viola finds herself alienated surrounded by southern elite classmates, kids from two-parent households, and a Greek system she doesn't understand. Uncomfortable and alone, Viola is forced to confront the past and heal in order to keep sane.

"Can you imagine the consistent strain of having to double think every move, every word, every thought." ~ pg. 70

Summer of the Cicadas was recommended by my Ace Boon Bookheart, Vern. She loved it but warned it is not a feel-good novel. Well said. By page 8, I was hit hard with emotions but prepared. I knew a story was about to unfold that would weigh heavy on my fictional heart.

TBQFH (to be quite fucking honest), I am not sure how to feel about this book now that I finished. I am thoroughly confused and unsure of what I just read. What was real, imagined, history or present-day? Is there a CliffsNotes version? Because this story most certainly went over my head. Can a bookheart help me out here?!

"You, peopleless girl, are a nigger." ~ pg. 94

Summer of the Cicadas reminds me of a school-assigned book in English class. The writing is on a deeper level. The main character struggled through life due to a mental illness. It is original but made me flinch at times; calling this novel "heavy" is an understatement. It can be very triggering. But like those good 'ole classics we had to read in school, you need a friend to discuss it with before writing that book report. Then years later, you realize it is very well written and the story sticks with you long after turning the last page.

So would I recommend reading Summer of the Cicadas? Yes! Read it. Digest it. Discuss it.

Title: Summer of the Cicadas 
Author: Cole Lavalais
Published: December 2016
Pages: 206
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€