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–€

 

October 8, 2017

Series Sunday: Haunted

(Michael Bennett #10) 

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.

"I recognized the connections between the cases—drugs, young people, dealers with no conscience." ~ pg. 191

My Series Sunday pick is Haunted, the tenth book in the Michael Bennett series by James Patterson. Detectives need vacations too. He packs up the family and settles on a small town in Maine, based on a former partner's referral. But his vacation turns into work when local kids start disappearing and bodies turn up in the woods.

Oh, how I miss these Bennett kids in between books! And of course, wise old Father Seamus and the lovely Mary Catherine (which I gave a side-eye to in Haunted. I hope she isn't hiding something to be revealed later in the series.). This novel focuses on one of the kids in particular: Brian. He had been caught selling drugs. I guess all ten children cannot be picture-perfect. Breaks my fiction heart!

"It felt like I had a hole in my heart." ~ pg. 118

I am new to this co-author, James O. Born. What a good first impression! Some of the language was out-of-the-norm for a Patterson novel but it worked. The story still flowed. Instead of building up to suspense in his customary short chapters, there were quick jabs that came out of nowhere! This surprise element kept me turning the pages until I was finished reading.

I hope to read more of James O. Born's work in a future collaboration with good 'ole James Patterson. Must I wait months and months for the next book? This series just keeps getting better!

Title: Haunted
Author: James Patterson & James O. Born
Published: September 2017
Pages: 319
Edition: eBook
Challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

October 6, 2017

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.

"I woke up hot that morning. Came out of a sound sleep with my face tingling and my nightgown stuck to my body."

~ The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore

October 5, 2017

One of Us Is Lying


"Because we're living in a telenovela." ~ pg. 201

People go far to protect secrets. But so far as to commit murder? Five students walk into detention. Four students walk out alive; one is dead. Everyone is a suspect. One of them is lying.

The Brain, Bronwyn, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. The Beauty, Addy, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. The Criminal, Nate, is on probation for drug dealing. The Athlete, Cooper, is an all-star baseball pitcher headed for the draft. The Outcast is Simon; he created a gossip app focused on his classmates. Simon was found dead on Monday. Blind item posts about all of the other students were scheduled to be posted online Tuesday. Someone killed Simon to be sure that post did not publish.

Don't let the genre fool you. This book is one of the better YA mysteries. Some reviewers compare One of Us Is Lying to Pretty Little Liars. I cannot agree or disagree because I didn't watch that show. But if it has anything to do with young people and not knowing who is telling the truth...then yes. The author expertly wrote a story where the narrators were unreliable yet seemed honest. I truly didn't know which one was lying. So I felt compelled to read nonstop until the very end. And wow!

P.S. Don't you love it when the cover so fits the book?

Bookhearts, I recommend One of Us Is Lying. Perfect quick read on a chilly day indoors.

Title: One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Published: May 2017
Pages: 360
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

October 4, 2017

This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare


"Adulthood is all about waiting to take your pants off." ~ pg. 30

Born a "cynical, suspicious, forty-five-year-old divorcΓ©e" to a polygamist and subway singer, Gabourey was special. You know Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe from her breakout role on PreciousEmpire and The Big C. She always seemed like the coolest girl ever to be friends with. Comedy with no effort. A contagious smile. Foodie. Hard worker. All-around fun. So of course I wanted to read her memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare.

Gabourey tells her truths in this revealing book. She discusses heavy topics such as her eating disorder, panic attacks and depression. She is very candid about working in a phone-hoe factory and reactions to social media comments. Not only is This Is Just My Face a funny recollection of Gabby's life, but it is also full of lessons. I learned never to marry for a green card; it just ain't worth it. Believe in psychics...sometimes. Finally someone else wishes for special sarcasm font. And to MYOB: Mind Your Own Body.

"You came into the world by yourself, and the next person's lungs don't help you breathe." ~ pg. 34

I am glad this book was written in chronological order as a memoir rather than a collection of essays. Otherwise, it would have been less clear to see how the universe worked in Gabby's favor and how certain situations led to change. I encourage my bookhearts to read this unconventional rise to fame, good health and happiness.

To the author herself: Kudos for writing your own story!

Title: This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare
Author: Gabourey Sidibe
Published: May 2017
Pages: 188
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

October 3, 2017

The Stolen Marriage


"The tears. The regret. The terrible grinding guilt." ~ 9%

1944 Hickory, North Carolina. A 23-year-old named Tess DeMello marries a stranger in a small town. Yes, this is a historical romance. But there is also racial tension and hardships from the aftermath of World War II. Her husband, Henry Kraft, hides money, keeps secrets and shows no interest in consummating their marriage. It is a loveless relationship.

Everyone in Hickory respects Henry but not new wife, Tess. She is an outsider and blamed for a terrible accident. Then a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town and Tess, having earned a nursing degree, begins to work at the hospital. Tess saves lives while her own may be in jeopardy thanks to her husband's mysterious behavior.

"You can tell a lot about a person by the way a child takes to them." ~ 62%

Tess begins her story with a crisis and grew stronger rest of the book. This is something all of us can relate to. Sometimes it takes a huge boulder in the road for us to stand on two feet and make the most of our current situation. We have no choice but to be strong. And then, like Tess, we cannot undo anything so might as well move forward. This makes the main character so relatable and likable.

I look forward to Diane Chamberlain's compelling new novels. When it is time for a new release, I am sure to spend hours reading a good book; The Stolen Marriage is no exception. It is a historical romance that would be perfect for a Hallmark or Lifetime movie. It is a research-heavy book and the author clearly did her homework. I so respect that.

Happy Pub Day, Diane Chamberlain! The Stolen Marriage is now available.

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: The Stolen Marriage
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Published: October 2017
Pages: 384
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

We Were Eight Years in Power


"This would not happen again, and everyone knew it." ~ 79%

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy is a strong reflection on America during the Obama years. Not only is it an examination of our country but also a roadmap of Ta-Nehisi Coates career as a black writer and eight (8) of his previously published articles. It gives a glimpse into his thoughts and behind-the-scenes of his writing assignments from 2008-2016.

"It was as if I had spent my years jiggling a key into the wrong lock. The lock was changed. The doors swung open, and we did not know how to act." ~ 13%

This nonfiction book is also a history lesson. Coates brings up things that even I hang my head in shame because I didn't know the full true story. It seems I am one of the few blacks to study The Civil War. He also mentions black and white supremacy, mass incarceration, hip-hop, reparations, call-outs, slavery, economic issues and other difficult topics that need to be discussed in the black community but are often glossed over. His writing style is more personal perspective than a politically correct rhetoric. This is a fine line for journalists so kudos to Coates!

If you are looking for an in-your-face, my President was black, more power to our people book then this is not for you. On the flip-side, this is not a book for those committed to whiteness (which you probably aren't reading this review anyway). At almost 400 pages, it brings a deeper vibe than Between the World and Me. It is for intelligent minds to digest and discuss. It is for readers ready to receive knowledge. It is motivation for bloggers. It is for the average person of color to read and reflect on those eight years of "Good Negro Government." And alas, it is for open-minded Americans.

Happy Pub Day, Ta-Nehisi Coates! We Were Eight Years in Power is now available.

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: We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Published: October 2017
Pages: 384
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

October 1, 2017

Series Sunday: No Middle Name

(Jack Reacher Series) 

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.

My Series Sunday pick is No Middle Name, the Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories by Lee Child. It is comprised of eleven (11) previously published short stories and one (1) new novella. There is a central theme: Jack no middle name Reacher never has a destination yet trouble seems to always find him.

This series is still new to me, as I have only read the first book and a prequel. But I was so eager to read something new and this seemed like the perfect travel book. So glad I picked it up. It gives a good description of the main character's background, personality, family and career. I highly recommend this collection for both new and old series fans. It is the ultimate Jack Reacher reading experience!

Author: Lee Child
Published: May 2017
Pages: 432
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

September 29, 2017

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.

"This story began, as all writing must, in failure."

~ We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates 



πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“– 




"I looked down the barrel of my Glock 19 service weapon."

Haunted by James Patterson & James O. Born

September 28, 2017

Rosie Colored Glasses


"When one world rubbed against another." ~ 1%

Rex Thorpe is a man with a plan. He has strong morals and always prepared. Rosie is the opposite; she craves spontaneity. She flits here; skips there. Never a steady presence. Rex and Rosie meet in an unconventional way. Their romance is sudden. Then came marriage and children: Willow and Asher. Years go by with series of events happening and then divorce comes. Rosie Colored Glasses tells the story of this family focusing on central themes like love, bliss, self-medication and extreme loneliness.

Titles mean everything! It is often the first thing you notice about a book besides the cover. So was this an attempt at the clichΓ©: looking through life with rose-colored glasses? Because if so...nice try. Rosie wasn't even looking through life with clear vision let alone following her line of view! Some call it eccentric, but she was too loopy when it came to love, life and basic interaction. Thus making it hard to embrace her as the main character.

Willow, however, was more relatable. She wanted to see the good in all people. She had firm beliefs in her little world and darnit if anyone would tarnish them. As an eleven-year-old, Willow tries her best to adapt to newly divorced parents and two households. But she really wants to spend all her time with mom Rosie. Unfortunately, Willow learns the hard way that Rosie has her own demons to deal with.

"Determination to get to love."
 ~ 88%

Rosie Colored Glasses was not incredibly heart-breaking. It did not cause tears or draw sympathy from me. The writing style of alternate narration was done very well though. It is what kept me interested seeing points of view from the past and present. This can be tricky for a debut novel but the author definitely made it work.

Happy Early Pub Day, Brianna Wolfson! Rosie Colored Glasses will be available February 18, 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: Rosie Colored Glasses
Author: Brianna Wolfson
Published: February 2018
Pages: 336
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

This Is Not A Love Letter


"Do you see #chriskirk?" ~ 53%

Chris Kirk is a responsible, smart, athletic, funny and kind high-school senior. He is heading off to college on a full-ride baseball scholarship. Almost everyone in the small town loves him. His little sister adores him. His best friends are loyal. His girlfriend of nine months thinks his laughter is like a gulp of cold water on a hot day. He's the sparkle in his mom's eye. A guy like Chris Kirk doesn't go missing.

Police do not suspect foul play. In fact, authorities believe he ran away. But as the search continues, accusations of racism in the small town arise. After all, Chris Kirk is one of the only black boys in this white community. Could it be more to his disappearance? A hate crime or harassment gone too far? Why is Jessie receiving frightening threats now?

"I just packaged my heart in bubble wrap." ~ 70%

I want to reach through my Kindle and give a group hug. I want to join the search for Chris Kirk and give him a strong shake. I want to hold Jessie and tell her it'll be okay. These characters had my heart on the page and twisted it with every new day. Instead of chapters, the book is set up as dates and times surrounding Chris' disappearance and narrated by the girlfriend, Jessie. Every Friday since they've started dating, Chris wrote Jessie a love letter shaped as an airplane. Now she is writing a letter of her own. She may not know it yet, but as readers we see she is falling in love with him. The emotions of all friends and family leap off the pages.

"Did you know that we release a hormone when we get sad, which actually causes the throat to swell up?" ~ 8%

No exaggeration. No fib. I legit cancelled my plans for the day to finish this book. I got zero steps on the Fitbit. I didn't want to leave the house for food so I cooked a frozen pizza and stayed in just to finish reading. Not many books can hold my attention like this. Not many plots can make me read nonstop. And I am stingy with my five (5) hearts! So consider this a high compliment, author Kim Purcell and a strong recommendation, bookhearts.

Happy Early Pub Day, Kim Purcell! This Is Not A Love Letter will be available January 30, 2018. Yup, you have to wait for the publication of this greatness.

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: This Is Not A Love Letter
Author: Kim Purcell
Published: January 2018
Pages: 368
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

September 27, 2017

A Messy, Beautiful Life


"If only all of life were that simple—a morphine-drip for the soul." ~ 34%

I like to read books with settings in places I recently visited. So it was a pleasure to read an advance copy of A Messy, Beautiful Life that takes place in the north suburb of Chicago. The colorful cover reminds me of the Osaka Garden, with beautiful Japanese landscape, a waterfall, bonsai trees and foot bridges. It was my hope that the story within would be just as beautiful.

The problem with judging a book by its cover is...well, it can be misleading. And while the book cover and title is literally beautiful, the subject matter is not. Life can indeed be messy and downright ugly sometimes, especially if finding out you have a rare cancer called chondrosarcoma. As such is the life of 17-year-old Ellie. Her life is at its very best and very worst simultaneously; hence, messy and beautiful. She tries to be strong, funny and brave for her mom, friends, improv group and that hot guy. She doesn't want them to watch her die. So Ellie puts on a smile and tries her damnedest not to cry. #LiteraryBars

"I prefer tumorously challenged." ~ 47%

Sorry if you are on the verge of crying mere minutes into my book review. Sometimes we need a reminder to appreciate life to the fullest, the importance of family and building friendships. Author Sara Jade Alan writes about cancer and love in such a tender comforting way through well-developed characters and, at times, perfect dialogue.

I'll be careful not to compare this new release to that other cancer book that shall remain nameless but made me boo-hoo-wet-face in between pages and in movie theater. Nope. Instead I will say, fans of TFIOS should add A Messy, Beautiful Life to your immediate reading lists because I know you will appreciate this good read. And the cover is so public-friendly!

Happy Early Pub Day, Sara Jade Alan! A Messy, Beautiful Life will be available Monday, October 2.

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: A Messy, Beautiful Life
Author: Sara Jade Alan
Published: October 2017
Pages: 212
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

September 26, 2017

Don't Let Go


"The past does not simply die away. Whatever happened here still haunts these grounds." ~ 20%

Detective Napolean "Nap" Dumas has no family and few friends. His life has been this way since his senior year of high school when his twin brother and friend were found dead on the town's railroad tracks. Immediately after, Nap's girlfriend disappeared without logical explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching for the woman he considers the love of his life and also the truth behind his twin brother's death. When familiar fingerprints turn up at a murder scene, Nap is forced to investigate the abandoned military base near where he grew up and also look into a secret conspiracy club.

Few things are certain. One is that author Harlan Coben will deliver a bestselling thriller that I will no doubt cancel plans in order to read the page-turning novel nonstop. It will be full of suspense. It will raise my eyebrows and get the sleuth in me going. It will introduce a new, or familiar, character that is well-developed. The story will occupy my mind for hours on end and most likely be one of my top reads of the current year. New fiction release, Don't Let Go, is no exception.

"I know your pain now. It's like...it's like being members of the worst club imaginable." ~ 54%

Nap Dumas is probably one of the most emotional characters belonging to Harlan Coben. Through careful dialogue and narration, I was able to pick up on Nap's thought process and feelings. I felt Nap's frustration when he hit a roadblock that didn't mesh with his theory. I smirked at his smart ass remarks when talking to a character that didn't understand his dry humor. I related to his quest for answers and need to pry open doors from the past. And though I am not a person who loves the idea of ghosts, I did not mind Nap talking to his dead brother throughout the whole book. And oh, fans will be delighted to read a cameo of Myron Bolitar within its pages. Reading Don't Let Go allowed me to escape the real world for a day to get lost in a story based on a legend.

Happy Pub Day, Harlan Coben! Don't Let Go is now available.

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: Don't Let Go
Author: Harlan Coben
Published: September 2017
Pages: 400
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

September 24, 2017

Series Sunday: P is for Peril

(Kinsey Millhone #16) 

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. 

My Series Sunday pick is P is for Peril, the 16th book in the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton. My fave Private Investigator is knee deep into a case involving a missing man, his angry ex-wife, his carefree current wife and unfinished business. She doesn't even realize that the man she's attracted to has a fatal secret. Kinsey doesn't realize until it's too late that a killer is standing right before her eyes.

What a letdown! Especially after reading one of the best books of this series (O is for Outlaw). This one just fell flat. Why do I expect more of Kinsey's personal life when it's never been the basis of this whole series?! It is not the fault of the author; I get that Sue Grafton wants to focus on solving mysteries and not too much on the main character. But can I get another morsel here?

Of course this does not discourage me from continuing the series. In fact, I am eager to catch up now. You should too!

Author: Sue Grafton
Published: October 2000
Pages: 532
Edition: eBook
Challenge: Perpetual Kinsey Millhone
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€