December 28, 2018

Top 10 First Lines of 2018

The first line(s) of a book is a reader's first impression. It sets the tone for the remainder of the book. Some are famous. Others are meh. The sentences below are the best first lines I've read this year. Click the title for my previously published review of the books featured in Top 10 First Lines of 2018.

10. "I saw the circle before I saw the kid in the middle. I was nine years old, the summer of 1978, and Marcy was my world." ~ Decoded by Jay-Z (Re-Read)

9. "Dear Fellow Book Lover, There are few things as satisfying and as long lasting as a beloved book. My favorite books have become the touchstones in my life; I remember where I was when they found me, why they spoke to me at that particular time, and how I'd often passionately recommended them to my friends. Many of my favorites still sit on my bookshelves as a reminder of the wonderful experiences they've brought to me. In quiet moments, I pull them from the shelves and revisit them like old friends." ~ The Great American Read by PBS (Currently Reading)

8. "Her husband's almost home. He'll catch her this time." ~ The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

7. "This is a story about Annie, and it begins at the end, with Annie falling from the sky. Because she was young, Annie never thought about endings. She never thought about heaven. But all endings are also beginnings. And heaven is always thinking about us." ~ The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

6. "There are two kinds of people in the world, those who leave home, and those who don't." ~ An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

5. "My mother was a cup of sugar. You could borrow her anytime." ~ Gun Love by Jennifer Clement

4. "I hear the crack of his skull before the spattering of blood reaches me." ~ Verity by Colleen Hoover

3. "Someone needs to turn the heat down out there. I'm about to sweat my wig off." ~ Murder with Macaroni and Cheese by A.L. Herbert

2. "I'm afraid of heights, snakes, normalcy, mediocrity, Hollywood, the initial silence of an empty house, the enduring darkness of a poorly lit street, evil clowns, professional failure, the intellectual impact of Barbie dolls, letting my father down, being paralyzed, hospitals, doctors, the cancer that killed my mother, dying unexpectedly, dying for a stupid reason, dying painfully, and, worst of all, dying alone. But I'm not afraid of power—which is why I work in the White House." ~ The First Counsel by Brad Meltzer

1. "I did not want to write to you. I wanted to write a lie. I did not want to write honestly about black lies, black thighs, black loves, black laughs, black foods, black addictions, black stretch marks, black dollars, black words, black abuses, black blues, black belly buttons, black wins, black beens, black bends, black consent, black parents, or black children. I did not want to write about us. I wanted to write an American memoir. I wanted to write a lie." ~ Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon


December 27, 2018

Memes & Reading Challenges of 2018

2018 Goodreads Challenge: Read 88 books in 2018.
Challenge Met: Read 101 books this year. (115% of goal)
2018 Page Count Challenge: Read 28,000+ pages in 2018.
Challenge Met: Read 30,110 pages this year. (108% of goal)   

Live Read: Post comments/reactions in real time as I am reading a book. 
11.13.2018 Becoming by Michelle Obama

Keeping Up with Patterson Challenge: Read books in the Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club, and Michael Bennett series by James Patterson.
Challenge Met: Read 3 KUWP books this year. 
04.15.2018 17th Suspect (Women's Murder Club)
10.28.2018 Ambush (Michael Bennett)
12.09.2018 Target (Alex Cross)

Perpetual Kinsey Millhone Challenge: Read books in the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton.
Challenge Met: Read 3 Kinsey Millhone books this year.
04.22.2018 Q is for Quarry
11.04.2018 R is for Ricochet
11.11.2018 S is for Silence

Perpetual Jack Reacher Challenge: Read books in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.
Challenge Met: Read 3 Jack Reacher books this year.
06.03.2018 Die Trying 
10.21.2018 Past Tense

Lit Tidbits: Share current literary news.

US vs. UK: Compare covers of books released in US/UK.
05.28.2018 US vs. UK


December 26, 2018

Top 10 Books of 2018

There are certain books that leave an impression upon me long after I've turned the last page. 'Tis my literary duty to list the best books I've read this year. The créme de la créme; top shelf, ya know?

Please note that my list is purely my opinion. It is not influenced by authors, other readers, fellow reviewers or publishers that may have provided advance copies in exchange for my honest review. I would spend my hard-earned coin on all of the books below.

Click the title for my previously published review of books featured in my Top 10 Books of 2018

10. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn    

9. Lagging Indicators by Jennifer Anglade Dahlberg

8. Final Girls by Riley Sager

7. The President is Missing by James Patterson & Bill Clinton 

6. A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

5. If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin      

4. Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith 

3. Verity by Colleen Hoover

2. The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

1. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

December 25, 2018

Top 10 Covers of 2018

Be Merry and Give Books for Christmas!

A book cover is the most important feature of a novel. I always wonder why the author or publisher chooses a particular image to represent the story within the book. Does it grab my attention from a bookshelf? Does it represent the author or characters, especially those of color? Does it really portray the plot? Is it appealing and public-friendly? Most importantly, is it true to the title? These are the factors I considered when choosing the best covers of books I've read this year. 

Click the title for my previously published review of books featured in my Top 10 Covers of 2018. 

10. Lagging Indicators by Jennifer Anglade Dahlberg 

9. You Can't Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

8. Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A.L. Herbert

7. South Seas Shenanigans by Abby L. Vandiver

6. Tethered Souls by Beth Flynn

5. Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith

4. Harlem by Eric Jerome Dickey 

3. Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

2. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

1. Black Girls Must Die Exhausted by Jayne Allen 


December 24, 2018

Top 5 Nonfiction/Memoir of 2018

Photo Cred: NY Times

This year was full of powerful, inspiring memoirs by people of color. Click the title for my previously published review of the books featured in my Top 5 Nonfiction/Memoir of 2018.

5. Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

4. Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

3. Mother of Black Hollywood by Jennifer Lewis

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama