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–€

 

October 29, 2017

Series Sunday: Sistah Speak Queen Sugar

(Sistah Speak: Queen Sugar) 


Special Series Sunday is a meme hosted by Sistah LM. I encourage all of my fellow podcast hosts to play along.
  • Listen to an episode of a podcast series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the podcast title and episode info.

My Series Sunday pick is Sistah Speak: Queen Sugar S2E11. Listen to the Sistahs discuss the OWN original television series from a Sistah's point of view here. After listening, refresh your page and be prepared to LOL as the Sistahs talk about wicker sex, puffer fish and S2E12.

Podcast: Sistah Speak Productions
Co-Hosts: Sistah A, Sistah J, Sistah K and Sistah LM
Time: 2 Hours, 23 Minutes


October 27, 2017

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.

"The police had taken my pistol the day before but I wasn't without heavy arms. I'd been stockpiling weapons at the studio. Glocks, MAC-10s, ARs fitted with scopes and hundred-round monkey nuts. All out in the open for easy access. I was in Tony Montana mode, bracing for a final standoff."

~ The Autobiography of Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane with Neil Martinez-Belkin

 

October 26, 2017

Turtles All the Way Down


"Everybody disappears eventually." ~ pg. 82

Much as I tried not to have high expectations from John Green for the book following The Fault in Our Stars, I have to admit I did. I knew it would not be another tearjerker or cancer book. I knew it would involve finding someone or something, because that's kinda John Green's signature theme. So when I read the synopsis, I seemed pretty on target on what Turtles All the Way Down is about.

Sixteen-year-old Aza and her best friend are eager to claim a $100,000 reward if they find the missing fugitive billionaire. The only information they have is through the news and hearsay until Aza rekindles a childhood friendship with the billionaire's son. Solving this mystery is a good temporary distraction but Aza is still fighting to stay ahead of the tight spiral of her own thoughts.

"Whoever is authoring me, let me up out of this." ~ pg. 211

Main characters with special quirks hold a place in my heart. I immediately empathize and root for his/her happy ending. From the first chapter, readers learn that Aza is as unique as her name. She cannot control spiraling thoughts, OCD or worse-case scenarios playing in her head. Her anxiety is through the roof yet she tries hard to control it through therapy and breathing exercises. Sometimes authors miss the mark when writing characters with mental health issues. But John Green deserves a pat on the back for his portrayal of Aza.

"Maybe you don't choose what's in the picture, but you decide on the frame." ~ pg. 277

What I still cannot figure out, however, is why he chose this title. Yes, it is catchy and stands out. But it was only referenced once and (to be petty) makes a lengthy hashtag. There are so many more titles that could've been chosen for this story. But the cover I understand! This is a small complaint of mine that should not deter you. Nor should my average 3-heart rating stop you. Turtles All the Way Down is just moreso for young adults and will leave little impact or discussion for more mature readers.

Title: Turtles All the Way Down
Author: John Green
Published: October 2017
Pages: 286
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

October 25, 2017

US vs. UK


The UK is my hometown glory but I live in the US. The US vs. UK bookish meme compares book covers published in the two countries. We left off on a tie last time so let's break it! Enjoy the battle of the book covers below, bookhearts!

US (top) ~ UK (bottom)

  • Say Nothing ~ I would most certainly pick up a book with a hand pressed against a window versus plain red cover with white font. UK wins!
  • The Sunshine Sisters ~ Nothing says sunshine like the US cover. It features a sandy beach with the bluest of blue ocean. But the UK cover reminds me of a salmon dinner. US wins!
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine ~ The US cover has a lady standing with her arms folded. It is the universal symbol of body language saying, "I am completely fine. Nothing is wrong with me." I like the UK cover with the stick figure house but not for this story. US wins!
  • Ginny Moon ~ When I think of the moon, I think of stars and astrology. Nothing about the US cover screams that. A ladder, really? But the UK cover looks so mystical. UK wins!
  • Dark Matter ~ I am torn on this one. This story is such a mind-fuck that it deserves a cover that will have you shake your head, rub eyes twice and question what you're looking at. It is a-maze-ing fiction. So which cover fits best? US wins! 

Total: US 39; UK 38

If the book covers pique your interest, click the title for my review (if available). In the meantime, which covers do you favor?

 

October 24, 2017

All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of THE WIRE


"THE WIRE keeps getting better, and to my mind it has made the final jump from great TV to classic TV." ~ pg. 189

Who did the character research? Is there a real Omar? How did Idris Elba feel to have Stringer Bell killed off the show? Was Snoop a killer in real life? Was it awkward on set to have kids around not even old enough to vote? Which universities use the show to teach film theory or criminal justice? Was THE WIRE the golden or bastard child of HBO?

As a huge fan of THE WIRE, I claim to know almost everything there is to know about the series, the set, the background and the real-life inspirations behind characters and season plots. I can talk about it in depth and answer most of the questions above. But after reading All the Pieces Matter, I realized I barely knew the real scoop. I learned so much more! There has been a great deal of analysis and critique of THE WIRE since its final episode aired in 2008. But nothing like All the Pieces Matter that gives a behind-the-scenes take on everything from how it was created to its powerful end.

"You don't write for anybody but the story, for yourself and for your idea of what the story is." ~ pg. 177

At almost 300 pages of strictly dialogue, this is not the type of book you can curl up with and read in a couple sittings. After all, it is non-fiction. But thanks to the author for formatting it as an oral history rather than long ass paragraphs. Instead it is like overhearing a conversation among friends simply reminiscing.

"Baltimore and THE WIRE would become eternally linked in an increasingly layered relationship." ~ pg. 77

I suggest reading it at a slower pace to digest what the cast, directors, writers and crew are saying about their experience working on THE WIRE. Most importantly, All the Pieces Matter dives into what other books about THE WIRE barely touch on—the show's main character: City of Baltimore. One thing is for sure: fans will appreciate this inside story and understand more of the best television series to ever air. This is the uncut truth...16 years after its first episode aired.

Happy Early Pub Day, Jonathan Abrams! All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of THE WIRE will be available Tuesday, February 18, 2018. Hard to believe it has been almost 16 years since the first episode premiered on 06.02.2002  Let this book take you down memory lane!

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: All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of THE WIRE
Author: Jonathan Abrams
Published: February 2018
Pages: 280
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

October 22, 2017

Series Sunday: You Don't Know My Name

(Black Angel Chronicles #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.

"You think you'd be happy with the picket fence life?" ~ pg. 112

My Series Sunday pick is You Don't Know My Name, the first book in the Black Angel Chronicles series by Kristen Orlando. Seventeen-year-old Reagan is a student, fighter, faker and a spy. A lot, right? She is used to living life with a go bag on the ready, moving in the middle of the night, changing identities and lying to every friend she's ever had. Trained in weaponry and the best Krav Maga from birth, Reagan is expected to follow her parents' footsteps and join a top-secret agency called Black Angels. They save lives, rescue hostages and stop terrorism. It is a life of looking over your shoulder and never getting attached...until Reagan falls in love with the boy across the street.

"You don't understand what it's like to sit in a room completely helpless and wait to hear if the people you love are dead or alive." ~ pg. 157

The series title, Black Angel Chronicles, reminds me of an old television series I really enjoyed titled Dark Angel. It starred Jessica Alba, and like the main character in this book, she was raised and trained to be a super soldier. Hmmm, I wonder if this is where the author got the book's idea. Nevertheless, the story was interesting and somewhat unpredictable.

I am very easily annoyed at YA books that star characters with unrealistic dialogue and personalities. But this was certainly not the case. Reagan is an example of a strong, mature teenager with lots of responsibility; she balances it well with schoolwork and a social life when possible. The story is enough to keep adult readers turning the pages too. Bookhearts with teens: this is a pick for you!

"They're unequivocally shaken and won't tell me why." ~ pg. 90

Do I have to give you more reasons to try reading this book for you or the young reader in your life? You Don't Know My Name is suspenseful, fast-paced with well-developed characters and kept me interested throughout. I am already stalking the bookish net for an advance copy of the second book (to be released in January 2018). What a strong start to a series!

Author: Kristen Orlando
Published: January 2017
Pages: 220
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

October 20, 2017

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.

"Dear Morocha, If you're reading this letter, then you're probably: 

     a) thinking about visiting Buenos Aires.

     b) curious about what it would be like for you, since there aren't many black folks there."

~ Hola, Morocha!: A Black Woman's Adventures in Buenos Aires: Culture Shock by Jennifer Poe

October 19, 2017

Spoiler Alert

When you're browsing through hashtags of the book you're currently reading and see a spoiler...

Experience. Ruined.

How do you handle spoilers?

October 18, 2017

Of Mess and Moxie


"Fangirl your friends." ~ pg. 212

I have been reading Jen Hatmaker ever since her first book (of which she admits to cringe at now). I find her words are for the average modern woman. I always feel like I'm having chips and salsa with neighbors on the screened-in porch. I especially like how she shares without shame triumphs, tragedies and oopsies (like driving to the wrong city for a field trip). Her paraphrased scriptures are hilar: It is how God created us: He said, "Let there be moxie!" and it was good.  She ain't subtle either; there is no having to read between the lines with her.

So I make a point to add Jen Hatmaker's books to my personal library. I may not read them right away, but know when it's time to pluck it off the shelf. For instance, I knew it was time to read this new release, Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life, when my therapist asked me to describe my life in one word. I answered: unaccomplished. And thought, I have a book to help me through this! It was time for Jen Hatmaker to offer me uplifting insight to a joyful way of living.

"But if we absorb the full counsel of Scripture and acknowledge that God sincerely loves us and gave us a whole world of gifts and joys, we discover many secular things we love are actually sacred."
 ~ pg. 23

Don't roll your eyes! This is not a preachy book. I repeat: this is NOT a preachy book by an uppity know-it-all Christian. Okay, continue on...

Surely I am not the only woman in these streets that feel overwhelmed and stuck in circumstances. I get anxious just writing a daily to-do list. Like, how am I supposed to juggle and complete all of this?! Well it seems this is normal behavior. This is what moxie is all about. Jen Hatmaker shares how to have fun, be responsible, clean, pray and still have time for a nap. She writes how possible it is to fall in love with the lives we have now as opposed to the lie of "someday."

Of Mess and Moxie is for us all! The 20-somethings bursting into adulthood. The 30-year-olds in the thick of stretch marks and halfway through life. The 50s and up women who raised kids, has many achievements and still look good. Jen Hatmaker reminds that we got this together!

I am not a big reader of nonfiction so when I do read it...pay attention! I don't write these reviews for nothing. There must be a valuable lesson I am looking to learn or information I am eager to receive and thus share. However, nonfiction books have sections that are not relevant to my current level in life so I simply skip it. Yup, I admit it! So in full disclosure, I skipped all chapters and references to motherhood, children and athletics. 🀷🏽‍♀️  Though I, Literary Moxie Marie, can recommend everything else in Of Mess and Moxie!

But for the record, I still feel unaccomplished. More on that in a blogmoir post coming soon.

Title: Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life
Author: Jen Hatmaker
Published: August 2017
Pages: 266
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

October 17, 2017

US vs. UK


The UK is my hometown glory but I live in the US. The US vs. UK bookish meme compares book covers published in the two countries. It has been a mighty long while since I had fun with this meme. Enjoy the battle of all the book covers below, bookhearts!


US (top) ~ UK (bottom)

  • The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat ~ Much as I like the homely feel of the US cover with green landscape surrounding a small downtown diner, the UK cover is so much better featuring the brown legs of the three (3) main characters I just wanted to reach out and hug. UK wins!
  • One of Us Is Lying ~ Even though the UK cover shows four people in a line-up stance, the US cover fits the story better of four (4) high school students questioned about a murder that happened in detention. Plus the font in the US cover resembles handwriting on the lined paper covering the characters' faces. US wins!
  • The Hate U Give ~ Hmmm, these covers are almost opposites; black and white pun intended? The US cover has a white background featuring a young black girl holding a sign. The UK cover has a black background with a side profile of a young black girl. I have to go with the cover that best represents the novel. The main character stood for a message she believed in. And she is sporting a cute afro. US wins!
  • The Stolen Marriage ~ The US cover seems so sad with a young lady looking out of a window on a heavy rain day. Actually, the UK cover could seem sad too with the a lady passenger traveling solo. I would be more likely to pick up the latter. UK wins!
  • But Then I Came Back ~ Oh, this is too easy. Beautiful 3D flowers with pink font or chunky yellow cursive font with two measly white flowers? C'mon now. US wins! 

Total: US 36; UK 36

If the book covers pique your interest, click the title for my review. Stay tuned for another US vs. UK meme soon to break this tie! In the meantime, which covers do you favour?

 

October 15, 2017

Series Sunday: The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat

(The Supremes #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.

"Not knowing any better, I listened to what I was being told about myself and grew up convinced I was a little brown warrior." ~ 4%

My Series Sunday pick is The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat, the first book in The Supremes series by Edward Kelsey Moore. Don't let the old school title or homely cover fool you. This is not a book about the Motown divas, Supremes. It is not about a small town diner. Dubbed the "Supremes" by high school friends in the summer of 1967, three black women have leaned on each other for four decades through best and worst times. But this year is a true test of their friendship and faith. Clarice is humiliated by a cheating husband. Barbara Jean is rocked by a youthful love affair. And Odette engages in the most terrifying battle of her life.

"We overlooked each other's flaws and treated each other well, even when we didn't deserve it." ~  12%

One thing is certain in their lives. Every Sunday, The Supremes are guaranteed to meet at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat, the first black-owned business in downtown Plainview opened in the mid-1950s, for delicious food, juicy gossip, realistic banter and sometimes tears. These are funny, strong women with real shit happening. They are sassy with a bite of truth serum in their dialogue.

"We found out about Mama seeing ghosts at a Thanksgiving supper back in the 1970s."
 ~ 2%

Ghosts are mentioned very early on in the book. This was almost a deterrent for me. Something about ghosts and spirits doesn't bode well in my mind so I block them. I know they are real. I know they speak to some people. But if I think too long about ghosts, my head will hurt. However, I was not too bothered by the Mama ghost and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt ghost—who was good at picking out who was about to die. I don't think this story could've been told as well without their presence.

Book Clubs: you have to add this to your monthly selection. It will make for serious yet funny discussions. You are guaranteed to recognize yourself or a close friend in the lives of the Supremes.

Thanks to my Chickadee for recommending this feel-good-down-home novel!

Title: The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat
Author: Edward Kelsey Moore
Published: March 2013
Pages: 322
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

   

October 13, 2017

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.

"Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down."

~ Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng 

 

October 12, 2017

Hidden Women


"There were no parades for Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Miriam Mann, Mary Jackson, Annie Easley, Christine Darden, or any of the other human computers." ~ pg. 74

It would be impossible to go into space without mathematicians. Like Katherine Johnson in 1962, we [black women] are used to being essential but unseen. In 1958, Miriam Mann became NASA's first black female engineer. Before that in 1949, Dorothy Vaughn became the first black manager there. These women literally made it possible for U.S. rockets and astronauts to go into space. This is no small feat. Add in the daily struggles of being a colored woman in a segregated world and the resistance experienced. The amazing result and work of these women is an important part of history that I am glad is being told.

"It was another thing entirely to ask for a black woman to do the job." ~ pg. 7

I recommend Hidden Women for young readers. This is an easy-to-follow history story perfect for Black History Month. It includes a timeline of events, glossary, further reading list, critical thinking questions and sources. There are pictures of Apollo 1, Centaur, astronauts and of course, the women. For my bookhearts with young children or in education, I highly suggest this book. Not only does it spotlight the three (3) women we have grown to appreciate but other less-known, second generation of black women who worked behind-the-scenes at NASA. They used their expertise to help the United States. We can all excel in math and science. We can also literally reach for the moon. Show young people that we are crucial to success.

Happy Early Pub Day, Rebecca Rissman. Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race will be available February 1, 2018.

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: Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race
Author: Rebeca Rissman
Published: February 2018
Pages: 114
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

October 11, 2017

Genuine Fraud


"The presentation of self in everyday life." ~ pg. 44

How many times can someone reinvent themselves? Plenty. Turns out all you need is skill, disguises, and a willingness to commit a murder, or two. Genuine Fraud focuses on two main characters. Imogen is a runaway heiress; Jule is a social chameleon. They form an intense friendship that is told chronologically backwards.

Orphan like Annie ✔︎
Temper like Jane Eyre ✔︎
Money hungry like Pip ✔︎
Talented like Mr. Ripley ✔︎
Criminally sexy like Letty ✔︎
Ambitious like Becky Sharp ✔︎

It has been a couple weeks and I still cannot summarize what I read in Genuine Fraud. I have no words other than author E. Lockhart did it again. I have the same WAYMENT-HUH-WHAT-JUST-HAPPENED feeling as when I finished her other novel, We Were Liars. I was a little bit more prepared this time because I know what E. Lockhart is capable of in her writing. Also I picked up early on that it was a modern version of The Talented Mr. Ripley and a sprinkling of other characters that I mention above. Sound twisted enough? It is!

Title: Genuine Fraud
Author: e. lockhart
Published: September 2017
Pages: 272
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

October 10, 2017

The Changeling


"An apologetic mastermind." ~ pg. 205

A box of books stamped IMPROBABILIA and recurring dreams are all Apollo Kagwa's father left when he disappeared. Now that Apollo is a father himself, anxiety and parental obsession kicks in. The dreams return and his wife, Emma, starts acting weird. It becomes clear this is more than postpartum depression; something more troubling is going on. Before Apollo can seek help, Emma vanishes.

Desperate to find his missing wife and child, Apollo is taken through the underworld. This is where it turns WTF. He goes on a journey through a forgotten island, a graveyard, a forest, stomping grounds of immigrant legends and a place from his past. What a whirlwind of discovery!

"It's not a baby." ~ pg. 143

I love it when I get an aha! moment while reading a book. It is that feeling of figuring out what the fuck is going on after piecing together clues, characters and plot lines. This aha! moment kicked in rather late for me in The Changeling. I was not confused; the story was just really well-paced. Even though it is a retelling of a classic fairy tale, this novel is still thrilling as ever. High five, Victor Lavalle.

Thank goodness for the good judgment of my bookhearts. I wouldn't have looked twice at this novel had it not been for a good rating by Read in Colour. It is so not a genre I normally read. But there are some people that I trust their recommendations no matter what. Thus, I borrowed The Changeling from my public library and got to reading! Now it's your turn. TAG—you're it!

Title: The Changeling
Author: Victor Lavalle
Published: June 2017
Pages: 431
Edition: Hardcover
Challenge: Popsugar—A Bestseller from a Genre I Don't Normally Read
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€