November 30, 2016

Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial

"If there is one takeaway from Adnan's story, it should be this—the criminal justice system is not just deeply flawed, it is broken." ~ pg. 394

If you don't recognize the name "Adnan Syed" then just stop reading this review now. I don't know where you have been or why, but clearly you are out of the loop. The loop of a true crime told via the popular phenomenal podcasts called Serial, Undisclosed, and Truth & Justice with Bob Ruff. Additionally, if you are not familiar with podcasts #periodt, then I really encourage you to stop reading this review and get your life together.

Bear with me while I give the gist of this true crime story gone viral. On January 13, 1999, a high school senior in Baltimore, Maryland, named Hae Min Lee went missing. She was later found dead in Leakin Park. In early 2000, Adnan Syed was convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend. By 2013, almost all appeals had been exhausted. But family friend, Rabia Chaudry, believed in Adnan's innocence. She contacted a producer of This American Life, Sarah Koenig, in hopes of finding a journalist to shed light on Adnan's story. Maybe media will help. In 2014, Sarah Koenig's investigation into the murder of Hae Min Lee turned into Serial podcast with more than 500 million international listeners.

"The stress didn't just come from dealing with Muslims, Muslim leaders, Reddit and trolls, though; it also came from the content of the podcast itself, and most importantly, from Sarah." ~ pg. 270

But the story did not end after twelve episodes of Serial. A new podcast titled Undisclosed started featuring Rabia Chaudry. Another podcast popped up titled Truth & Justice with Bob Ruff continuing the investigation. And now we have a new book written by Rabia that presents new key evidence to dismantle the State's (already sloppy) case against Adnan Syed. Told in a hard-to-put-down narrative, the story and crowd-sourced investigation continues.

So is Adnan's Story worth reading? OH EM GEE YES! There are details within these pages that none of the three (3) previously mentioned podcasts revealed. It is page-turning. Beyond gripping. Attention f'in grabbing. Compelling narrative. Mind-blowing documentation and analysis of new key evidence. Never-before-seen letters from Adnan himself and his one theory of what really happened. Need I say more?!

"Maybe I could not prove I did not kill Hae, and maybe I would spend the rest of my life in prison." ~ pg. 219

I rate Adnan's Story 4/5 hearts because I don't believe the author's intention to create doubt in my mind was purposeful. Before reading this 400+ page book, I was firm in my belief that Adnan Syed was innocent. But after finishing this very good detailed book, I am not sure. Rabia, I know your intentions are purest of the pure, but it is my strong opinion that you should have waited to publish this book. If I have doubts now, I am sure other readers do too. But one fact remains: we still need the truth and justice for Hae Min Lee.

Bookhearts, Adnan's Story is a must read if you are still obsessed with Adnan Syed's case like I still am. Feel free to contact me to discuss as you read along. I am bursting at the seams to talk about this book in detail!

Title: Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial
Author: Rabia Chaudry
Published: August 2016
Pages: 410
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥


November 29, 2016

Year of Yes Journal

"Anyone who tells you they are doing it all perfectly is a liar." ~ pg. 205

The Year of Yes Journal will get you all the way together for the new year. The prompts will encourage you to chronicle your own Year of Yes. Its format is organized with monthly themes, daily tracking, notes and encouraging passages from Shonda Rhimes. Although the galley edition is only a sample of the full 400+ page journal, I got a glimpse of the inspirational quotes and writing prompts. Say yes to beautiful and learn why "no" is a powerful word.

We saw how the Year of Yes changed the TGIT creator's life in my review of her bestselling memoir. Now let this journal bring more Yes to your life, bookhearts!

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 honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Author: Shonda Rhimes
Published: December 2016
Pages: 464
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥


November 25, 2016

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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.

"Today's errand had become routine for the woman who was currently calling herself Chris Taylor. She'd gotten up much earlier than she liked, then dismantled and stowed her usual night-time precautions. It was a real pain to set everything up in the evening only to take it down first thing in the morning, but it wasn't worth her life to indulge in a moment of laziness."

~ The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer 


November 23, 2016

A Murder Among Friends

"Now, why don't you tell me from the beginning." ~ pg. 170

Marcus Agaston is a radio station reporter. During the summer of 2005, his friend Catherine, a pregnant surrogate for a gay couple, goes missing. When her body is found, Marcus searches for her killer to bring her justice. Meanwhile, Marcus' childhood friend's persistent demands for money (borderline blackmail) cause Marcus's husband, Sam, to get involved. Betrayal of friendship becomes this story's theme as clues are uncovered. Marcus is beyond shocked when he eventually comes face-to-face with the killer.

"Yes, yes, such a tragic, tragic end...such a horrible situation." ~ pg. 221

Mystery/Crime Fiction is my favorite genre. I love when books keep me guessing, skipping my daily naps to continue reading, turning the pages until I am finished. Criteria of a good mystery novel, to me, is a good enough crime with realistic characters that leads me to doubt whodunnit. I don't need unnecessary details to throw me off the trail. I don't mind characters I love to hate. And I especially love when characters get caught up in some unpredictable shit. Most importantly, I cannot be distracted by tons of grammatical errors (this book has a few typos but not so many that the normal reader's eye will catch). Finally, the mystery has to be damn good! Such is the case in A Murder Among Friends.

"Think it's a serial?" ~ pg. 84

The chapters have catchy yet revealing titles such as, Friendly DisclosureFriendly Questions & Lies, and Unfriendly Confrontation. Although I suspected one of the characters early on, I could not figure out the motive so dismissed my thoughts. Peppered with colorful language and dialogue, the author wrote the characters in fully-fleshed out details making it even more suspenseful to figure out the mystery. As I read along, I wondered could one of the likable characters actually be guilty of this cold heartless murder? Well, I recommend you pick a weekend where you can relax and get all the way into this story to find out.

A Murder Among Friends is a great debut novel that put author Jennifer Lewis Williams on my to-read radar. Bookhearts, you should check her self-published novels out too!

Title: A Murder Among Friends
Author: Jennifer Lewis Williams
Published: April 2013
Pages: 265
Edition: Paperback
Challenge: Popsugar—A Murder Mystery
Rating: ♥♥♥♥

November 22, 2016

Beach Thing

"Carpe dickem." ~ 29%

Ameenah is owner and proprietor of Tikis & Cream, a beachfront smoothie shop located in Black Diamond Isles. On her first official day, she literally runs into Wade, a famous music producer. While he is visiting town for the summer, Wade gets hooked on an orange-flavored Tikis & Cream specialty drink, the homemade orange cranberry muffins and the young lady who makes them. The attraction is mutual so like the mature adults they are, Wade and Ameenah agree to have some fun; just a little beach thing.

"When the summer is up, so are we." ~ 23%

Starting a new business demands all of Ameenah's focus. Meanwhile, Wade is using the time away from busy Brooklyn to concentrate on doing what he does best: make beats. Neither need the distraction but cannot resist the sexual fling. I like how both characters make an agreement to spend their summer together without strings attached. Of course, we know feelings happen but the author writes about Ameenah and Wade's relationship so naturally that I don't even want their summer fling to end. I enjoyed reading of their dates, witty banter and sensual kisses. But a climax kicks into the story because Wade plans to move back to Brooklyn and Ameenah will stay in Black Diamond Isles running her gourmet smoothie shop. So does that mean the beach thing is over?

Despite the title, this book is more than a beach read. In fact, I read it one Sunday morning while cozy in a snuggie on my futon. It is a light-hearted romance with characters of color. Thanks to the author for creating a character like most of us women with "glorious hips" and black men that know their way around the kitchen. I loved the realistic dialogue and descriptive scenery. If only I could be a resident of Black Diamond Bay (and catch the attention of a clichéd tall, dark and handsome baé)!

Beach Thing is recommended for my bookhearts looking for a quick good read. Do yourself a favor; put down the television remote and pick up this book sometime soon!

Title: Beach Thing
Author: D.L. White
Published: September 2016
Pages: 147
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♡


November 20, 2016

Series Sunday: Moral Defense

(Samantha Brinkman #2) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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.

" name's gonna pop out like a piece of toast." ~ 3%

My Series Sunday pick is Moral Defense, the second book in the Samantha Brinkman series by Marcia Clark. (Yes, that Marcia Clark from the O.J. Simpson trial.) Like most defense attorneys, Samantha Brinkman is not concerned about guilt or innocence; it is making sure her clients walk. Sometimes a crime is committed for personal reasons, business reasons, pleasure or justice. Whatever the reason, Samantha's duty is to keep her clients free. But a personal chord is struck when she meets Cassie Sonnenberg, an adopted teenager accused of fatally stabbing her brother and father and responsible for her mother clinging to life in the hospital. As Sam investigates the case and sets out to exonerate Cassie, dark memories of sexual abuse take the case and Samantha's personal life for a spin.

"But there had to be something wicked gnarly going for a whole family to be targeted." ~ 6%

At over 400 pages, Moral Defense is unnecessarily long. About 100 pages could've been removed about side cases not related to the main mystery. In this regard, it reminded me of the famous Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Side stories were thrown in, wasting pages and readers' time. Fine if the author was aiming for 400+ pages in her new novel; however, I would have rather appreciated more detail on the main case instead. That would have earned Moral Defense five hearts.

I recommend this second book of the series to be read if only you read the first book. It will be easier to follow the relationship among Samantha Brinkman and her partners/friends. I still remain impressed with Marcia Clark's writing. I wish she would have quit her day job and turned to fiction sooner.

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 honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Author: Marcia Clark
Published: November 2016
Pages: 426
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♥


November 18, 2016

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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.

"When Adnan was convicted, it thundered three times. The day was bright and sunny, but as we sat there clutching our hands while the foreman pronounced the verdicts, it thundered."

November 17, 2016

The Mothers

"After a secret's been told, everyone becomes a prophet." ~ pg. 148

Sometimes I wonder if I am reading the same book as the front flap describes. Per the description, The Mothers is an urgent and provocative debut about community and ambition, love and friendship, and living up to expectation in contemporary black America. Um, that's not what I got out of it.

I interpret The Mothers to be about the domino effect of a rebellious 17-year-old girl grieving the loss of her mother who committed suicide. Even though Nadia Turner will be the first in her family to go to college (Go, Michigan!), she makes a series of poor decisions. First she dallies with the pastor's son, Luke, a 21-year-old former football player whose injury reduced him to being a local waiter. Bruh has no future or ambition yet Nadia starts a romance that results in a cover-up. (Bet you can't guess what that means in a black church). The secret is hidden from everyone including Nadia's best friend, Aubrey. Fast forward a few years; Nadia, Luke and Aubrey are now adults still affected by their younger selves and that damn secret.

"But we were girls once, which is to say, we have all loved an ain't-shit man. No Christian way of putting it." ~ pg. 87

Maybe because I am not a church goer (Worldwide Church of Snuggie excluded), but I could have done without the mothers aspect of the story. Their role came across as gossipy and I was tempted to skip their narrated sections of the book. I know there are church mothers out there with the best of intentions but this particular story did not need them. The three main characters could have carried the story alone. Wayment...then what would the title be? Ah, well.

"Mothers are selfish." ~ pg. 43

The Mothers reminded me how the actions in our youth shape our future. More importantly, it gives the message that the thought of "what if" can be more powerful than the experience itself. Hard truths exist. Think on that nugget while you reserve this book from your local library. In other words, it is not worth paying the $26.00 hardcover price or immediately adding to your TBR. Not taking anything away from the author's hard work in writing a debut novel; I just want to save my bookhearts their hard-earned coins. However, many of my bookhearts and blogging peers loved this book. Read it for yourself.

Title: The Mothers
Author: Brit Bennett
Published: October 2016
Pages: 278
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♡

November 16, 2016

The True Story of Atticus and Hazel

"And, to be honest, in the cool light of morning, I felt like you might not be all that real, that who you were was exacerbated by a gorgeous night where the stars aligned just right and perfection was fated." ~ 30%

Chemistry is something I have not experienced in real life yet. A good vibe, yes. Instant attraction, definitely. Overwhelming lust, for sure. But the kind of chemistry between fictional characters Atticus Kelly and Hazel Stone is something I have only read about in books. It literally took a second for these two to connect, making it impossible to resist each other. Their chemistry burned too fast like a candle down to the wick. The result is something no one—not readers or the characters themselves—could have predicted.

"It wasn't the kind of drama you create, per se, it was the kind that finds and slams you to the ground unapologetically." ~ 94%

I downloaded The True Story of Atticus and Hazel eBook on a whim. It was recommended on my Kindle app, cost less than $3 and had an eye-catching colorful sketched cover. Never having heard of the author before, I did not know what to expect. None of my Goodreads friends had it listed so I could not rely on their opinions. There were less than thirty reviews to go by since it was published only a week prior. I watched the book trailer below that still didn't give any info. The plot description was vague but Kindle/NOOK recommendations very rarely steer me wrong.

My goodness am I so very glad that I clicked BUY NOW. The characters were fully fleshed out. Hazel is a 20-year-old artist and Atticus is a 26-year-old music producer with a family of happily married parents and handsomer-than-handsome brothers. These two meet by chance at a bar like most characters in contemporary/new adult genre. But a sudden shift happens in the book that forced me to postpone plans for the day until I finished...with smiles then full-on tears!

"An instantaneous enlightenment." ~ 69%

I cannot explain why I was led to read The True Story of Atticus and Hazel or why I connected the way I did; however, I recommend my bookhearts read this emotional story that was clearly written from the author's heart. Thanks for the art at the very end of the book also, Fisher Amelie. It gave this story a perfect bittersweet ending.

Title: The True Story of Atticus and Hazel
Author: Fisher Amelie
Published: October 2016
Pages: 258
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡


November 15, 2016

I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual

"I'm not sure who I side-eye more, though..." ~ pg. 89

I was first introduced to pop-culture critic, Luvvie Ajayi, through Twitter. Her witty tweets and unashamed ability to say what I was really thinking (but can't because: career or whatever to protect) made me an instant fan. Not only is she entertaining but also the executive director of the Red Pump Project, a national HIV/AIDS organization. She isn't called Awesomely Luvvie for nothing.

Now Luvvie presents I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, a debut collection of essays both sharp and humorous to inspire us to do better in our everyday life or else get side-eyedLuvvie's signature writing style and vocabulary is throughout the book. Readers are introduced (or re-acquainted if already a follower) to phrases such as: iSweaterGawd (more polite than swearing to God), alphet (more fun to say than "outfit"), stahp (stop) and UNABLE TO CAN (for when you really can't). Kudos to the editor for maintaining the author's voice. This made I'm Judging You all the more enjoyable to read. Its format is like a good brunch with your friend conversing about life, religion, social media, cultural norms and fame.

"Feeling like you have to go by an alias so the world doesn't butcher your beautiful real name sucks." ~ pg. 103

Speak these truths, Luvvie! You don't know my life! There were so many essays that I nodded my head in agreement about. There were also parts where I was the type of person being judged. I am keeping it real, bookhearts, like the manual encourages. If I know better, I will do better, right?

Books like I'm Judging You make me want to start a local book club again. It is a must-read and heck of a conversation starter. There are for real LOL moments! The book is very well written and formatted covering various relevant topics. It is easily one of my favorite books of the year and will be a holiday gift to a couple of my friends. Readers are guaranteed to be informed, entertained and judged. Do not pass on this new release. Get your judgmental, fuck-deficient life and read I'm Judging You!

Title: I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual
Author: Luvvie Ajayi
Published: September 2016
Pages: 241
Edition: Paperback
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


November 13, 2016

Series Sunday: Dirty

(Raw Family #2) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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.

"Don't ever mistake my femininity as weakness. I will slit your motherfucking throat while reapplying lipstick." ~ 33%

My Series Sunday pick is Dirty, the second book in the Raw Family series by Belle Aurora. From the outside looking in, beautiful 24-year-old Alejandra has a perfect life that everyone envies. She is mob royalty as the wife of Dino Gambino and the daughter of Eduardo Castillo. But behind bedroom doors, Alejandra is a woman more hurt and torn apart than put together. Forced into marriage at a young age, Alejandra accepts her fate as the abused wife of a powerful mob not-so-quite boss. Understanding the philosophy of family and loyalty, she plays the dutiful mob wife until an opportunity arises for her to get out the life. Never did she imagine that other lives would be deeply affected, some even murdered. Enter Julius Carter, the handsome light brown-skinned, blue-eyed handler. Now Alejandra is a dead woman walking in need of saving.

"The expectation of love versus the reality is two completely different things." ~ 90%

Funny you write that, Belle, because the expectation of a sequel versus the reality is also two completely different things. Where is Lexi and Twitch? Yes, there are cameos and a few chapters from Twitch's point of view, but I wanted the whole book to feature these two beloved characters that left me wanting so much more after reading the unconventional love story in Raw. Though the story of Alejandra and Julius is good in its own right, I did not ask for this! Not yet anyway. I did not wait damn near three years for the story told in Dirty

"What the fuck was this little sparrow doing to me?" ~ 53%

Bookhearts, if you followed my March 2014 recommendation to read the first book of this series, Raw, then you should expect the same level of violence, graphic scenes and strong language. This series is not for the easily offended. I put my pearls away while reading Dirty. I sipped red wine that stained my lips instead of my usual cup of hot tea. Get my drift?

Belle, I appreciate the crumbs you dropped on October 31, 2016. But you knew good and well it is not what us fans expected. We need a sequel, not a spinoff! Again, Dirty is a good book but c'mon with RAW: Rebirth because I am ready to see what happens now that {loses wifi signal}

Title: Dirty
Author: Belle Aurora
Published: October 2016
Pages: 393
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥


November 11, 2016

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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.

"We didn't believe when we first heard because you know how church folk can gossip."

~ The Mothers by Brit Bennett 


November 8, 2016

Another Brooklyn

"Let her be who she's trying to become, my father said." ~ pg. 97

August, Sylvia, Angela and Gigi are beautiful, intelligent, talented friends that lean on each other. They were the neighborhood clique of girls. Everyone knew their names but few knew their personal stories. Only within their circle did they know how dangerous the city of Brooklyn was, where predatory men reached for girls in dark hallways, where mothers disappeared and where fathers found religion. Clearly there was another Brooklyn seen through the eyes of these girls.

"Maybe this is how it happened first for everyone—adults promising us their own failed futures." ~ pg. 63

It should go without saying that I recommend Another Brooklyn. The main characters was relatable. Through Jacqueline Woodson's words, I was right there beside the four girls reliving their memories during the formative period of when a girl becomes a woman. Well written!

Thanks much and S/O of confetti to my bookheart Vern for recommending Another Brooklyn. It is proper coming-of-age literature.

Title: Another Brooklyn
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Published: August 2016
Pages: 175
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡


November 6, 2016

Series Sunday: The Trial

(Women's Murder Club #15.5) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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.

"Kingfisher was worse than all of them put together." ~ pg. 54

My Series Sunday pick is The Trial, #15.5 book in the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson. Kingfisher is on trial for murder. Yet he still brings terror to the lawyers, judges, jurors and police involved with his case. How is he calling the shots and making moves under heavy surveillance? Surely there is more to the story than meets the readers' eye.

I have to give it to James Patterson. He's a literary genius, really. He has truly mastered the art of writing, selling and marketing bestsellers. Much respect to his methods. Hence the reason I am currently taking his MasterClass. The Trial, like other BookSHOTS, are necessary to read. If you are not up-to-date on the series, they can be read as a standalone; however, they cannot be skipped when reading the series. Sounds confusing but I find it true. Bookhearts, you will miss something if you read WMC #15 and #16 without reading this #15.5 BookSHOT. And for this reason alone, it was worth reading. Never mind that it held my attention and kept me guessing until the last page. The Trial is a fictional courtroom shocker.

Title: The Trial
Author: James Patterson
Published: July 2016
Pages: 140
Edition: BookSHOT
Challenge: Keeping Up With Patterson
Rating: ♥♥♥

November 4, 2016

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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.

"One day, I was minding everyone's business, scrolling through my Facebook news feed when I saw a picture of someone's dead grandma being prepared for burial. I gasped and then immediately got mad. Who does that?"

~ I'm Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi


November 3, 2016

Here Comes the Sun

"The realization burned her stomach and spread across the width of her belly like the pressure of a child about to be born." ~ pg. 203

Thandi is a young smart teenager with a family looking out for her bright future. Her older sister Margot works overtime at a hotel resort, stashing away her earnings (regular salary and cash from extracurricular activities with male guests). Thandi's mom peddles overpriced souvenirs to cruise ship passengers and tourists to Montego Bay. Despite her family bending over backward to put Thandi through school, she just wants to be an independent woman and pursue her interest in art.

The island of River Bank is full of diverse residents: ambitious, lazy, loyal, betrayers, straight, gay, determined and unfocused. Here Comes the Sun is the story of their self-discovery.

Most of my bookhearts rated Here Comes the Sun four and five stars. So of course, I knew this was a good read. And it started off as such. The characters were passionate about their beliefs and firm in their actions. I liked the strong females until...I didn't anymore. The same beliefs and actions that the characters were so steadfast in, made my eyes roll. Where is the growth? The maturity? The progression? Then I realized it made the book all the more realistic because some people in life really don't mature for the better. As readers, we don't always get the ending we wish for.

I still recommend Here Comes the Sun but there is no rush in reading it.

Title: Here Comes the Sun
Author: Nicole Dennis-Benn
Published: July 2016
Pages: 349
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♡


November 2, 2016

#KillYourTBR2016 November

  • In the Unlikely Event ~ I bought this book when it first released because I was so excited about Judy Blume returning with a new adult novel. I read the first chapter but put it down because it was too much hype online for me to read it objectively. I am picking it up again this month.
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl ~ I read this book twice when I was back in school yet I cannot remember the details. With Election Day coming up, I figured this is the perfect political memoir for me to re-read.

Readers are great writers! November is the ideal month to start writing your own novel and to read books you cannot remember having read or started/never finished. If you are interested in joining this challenge with me, visit Bookish for the deets. Share your progress using #KillYourTBR2016 and #NaNoWriMo2016 on social media. 



"Their antidote to mourning, hunger, heartache, dispossession, reposession, a white: it was the same. Treat it like it isn't there." ~ pg. 47

Solemn Redvine is a girl who lives in a Mississippi trailer park. She senses that a nearby baby may be her half sibling—evidence of an affair between her father and a married woman who lives in their trailer park. Solemn witnesses one tragic incident and it forever changes her life.

I really wanted to like Solemn. I was so impressed with and enjoyed the author's previous book, Upstate. But I could not even finish this book. The writing was scattered. The plot was sketchy at best. It was hard to follow let alone get into. Pass on Solemn, bookhearts.

Title: Solemn
Author: Kalisha Buckhanon
Published: May 2016
Pages: 296
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♡

November 1, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Precision Revision & MasterClass

Dear Bookheart,

You have a novel inside of you. I am sure of it! You may not know the details such as names of characters, the setting or the ending. But do me a favor. Sit down right now and write your first line. Then commit to writing at least one (1) paragraph every day. Not a huge task, right?

I just want you to get this novel on paper and out to the world. We need your story! And I would absolutely love to read and review it. Toni Morrison once said, "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." So start now. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) begins today.

Write a novel in a month!
Track your progress.
Get pep talks and support.
Meet fellow writers online and in person.

I will be your personal cheerleader and copyeditor! Send an email to editor AT LiteraryMarie DOT com for a quote on proofreading, editing and critique services. Mention NaNoWriMo for a discount. You just write; let me worry about the technical stuff. Choose Precision Revision for your literary needs.

While you are writing your novel this month, I am taking the James Patterson Writing MasterClass. I'll post my progress throughout the month if you promise to keep me updated on your writing. Great authors like Maya Angelou, Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes had the same 24 hours in a day that you do. It can be done! No more excuses. Take advantage of the NaNoWriMo support system and my expertise. Remember, there is a novel inside of you. Write your {next} story!



"United in blood and bone."

I do not hand out five hearts reviews all silly willy nilly. I am stingy with my hearts! But I am not hesitant to give excellent reviews where they are rightfully due. The hardcover novel, One, is deserving.

Grace and Tippi are two sisters with two hearts, two lives, four arms but one body. Yes, Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins. They have defied the odds of survival for sixteen years. But time is running out. Something is happening to their joined body and they can't stop it. The girls try to hide the truth and trust each other to make an impossible choice.

The author chose beautiful prose to tell the story of Grace and Tippi. I cannot imagine it being told any other style. My only complaint is I wish the story was told in the point of view of both twins instead of one. just hit me that would defeat the purpose of the title. See! I am still thinking of this book. It was simply damn-near-perfectly written.

Title: One
Author: Sarah Crossan
Published: September 2015
Pages: 400
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡