August 31, 2017

Water in May

"How's my baby going to love me with only half a heart?" ~ 11%

And so begins the story of 15-year-old Mari Pujols. She believes the baby she is carrying will love her unconditionally and never leave. Not like her mother who took off when she was only eight years old and not like her father who is in prison. It is Mari's hope that this baby will care for her, unlike her abuela. That the baby will stick around more than her on-again-off-again boyfriend. The baby will grow into a little human loyal to her as her two best friends. But doctors discover that the fetus has a birth defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome: half of the baby's heart is missing. Now Mari is forced to make a life-altering decision.

"Never thought I would spend so much time with so many books." ~ 48%

All while reading I kept thinking this story is so realistic. Somewhere, sometime there is a young teenage girl going through this heartbreaking struggle with little to no support. It wasn't until toward the end of the book that I learned Water in May is based on true events. Oh, this makes it an even more special debut. I haven't felt this much sympathy for a fictional character in a long time.

Be warned that Water in May will cause waterworks in your eyes. Also, there is a lot of Spanish language and Dominican slang that may stunt reading; use the glossary at end of the book. I recommend it to teenage moms, younger-than-usual abuelas and young adults. Hopefully it will help families understand small blessings.

Happy Early Pub Day, Ismée Amiel Williams! Water in May will be available Tuesday, September 12.

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: Water in May
Author: Ismée Amiel Williams
Published: September 2017
Pages: 320
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

August 30, 2017

Arrogant Bastard

"It's one thing to have your insides ripped out when a relationship, or whatever the fuck we had, ends. It's another to be eviscerated without explanation and left bleeding and half-dead."  ~ 2%

Killian Knight has searched for Faith for four years. He longs for her. They created chaos together, committed transgressions, ate forbidden fruit, betrayed others and killed for their love. But Faith doesn't want to be found. She wants her stable life back without all the espionage and danger. Faith calls bullshit on the belief that you can't help who you fall in love with. Passion isn't always worth your peace of mind.

"Words that will never make it into poetry history books, but they move me enough to evoke tears." ~ 87%

This is more than just a spy story. It has passion, intense scenes and emotional characters, whose names seemed to represent their personalities too. My first time reading a novel by Zara Cox was good. From the title and description alone, it reminded me of a couple novels by Belle Aurora. But Arrogant Bastard stands out on its own.

The way Zara Cox spun words was like poetry. Some lines (pages) matter and some are filler. But an act of pulling a trigger takes readers through every step of the character's thought process. It makes the drawn out parts worth getting past. I recommend this new release. Plus it'll look pretty on your bookcase thanks to the lovely cover.

Happy Early Pub Day, Zara Cox. Arrogant Bastard will be available Tuesday, September 12.

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: Arrogant Bastard
Author: Zara Cox
Published: September 2017
Pages: 320
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤


August 29, 2017

The Fifth of July

"Summer had barely begun, and it felt like it was gone already." ~ 75%

The Warners spent the past three decades of summers on Nantucket Island. Every one of them knew the island inside and out; every one of them had something to lose. So any of the Warners could have been behind the accident. Do they really want to know how, why or who?

"I clean toilets, not solve murders." ~ 8%

The Fifth of July is told from multiple points of view, including the Warners, the caretaker and the cleaning woman. It was nice to get different perspectives but got confusing really fast. I am not a fan of multiple first-person accounts of the same story so it lost me. By the end of the book, I wasn't even sure if it fully unraveled. This book is unfortunately a pass, bookhearts. Although, I do recommend other works by the author.

Happy Pub Day, Kelly Simmons! The Fifth of July 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 Fifth of July
Author: Kelly Simmons
Published: August 2017
Pages: 288
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤


Seeking Sarah

"Revenge is a confession of pain." ~ 88%

The bond between a mother and daughter is complex. It can be nonexistent or the best friendship ever. Brooke Green has lived with the pain of losing her mother since she was seven years old. Her father did the best he could raising her but couldn't possibly fill that void. Funerals bring out family secrets and Brooke's father's funeral was no exception. Brooke received shocking news: her mother, Sarah, was actually alive.

Brooke doesn't understand how a mother could just abandon her family so she starts searching for Sarah. She finds her living in Atlanta with a brand new family. In an effort to get answers, Brooke works her way into their family for revenge.

What a doozy of a novel! Very well done and page-turning. It is twisted and full of drama. I cannot imagine how a mother could abandon her child, no matter how complicated life may seem. But the author does a good job of conveying emotions of the characters. I dropped my jaw on a couple occasions while reading. Go ahead and add Seeking Sarah to your TBR piles; it is well worth the read.

Happy Belated Pub Day, ReShonda Tate Billingsley. Seeking Sarah 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: Seeking Sarah
Author: ReShonda Tate Billingsley
Published: August 2017
Pages: 320
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Popsugar—A Book That's Published in 2017
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

August 28, 2017

Blogmoir: DAMN.

So I initially started this blogmoir as snippets of my soon-to-be-but-not-yet published memoir. The blog format is a quick collection of stories in this fuckery called life. Although a memoir is still my end goal, some life lessons need to be shared with my online hearts sooner rather than later. Most importantly, this reflection is therapeutic for me.

Being the K Dot Stan that I am and in the tradition of sharing music, this blogmoir post will be guided by lyrics from DAMN. I had the pleasure of seeing these lyrics performed live last month with my bestie. #DAMNwithDAMEY

Pour your favorite beverage (I'm sipping homemade jasmine sun tea), get comfy and read further.

"Life is one funny muthafucka. A true comedian. Well-respected, calm and collected." ~ DUCKWORTH. I try to stay calm and collected whenever life throws a curveball my way. I especially try to avoid stress and worry because it brings on a migraine attack. So yes, I am nonchalant with a lot of things. Sometimes that is seen as me not caring. And honestly, most times I really don't give a flying fuck except when it comes to family, friends, or goals that matter.

"Y'all gotta see that I won." ~ GOD. Have you ever felt unaccomplished? Here's an exercise that helped me. I sat down and wrote all the milestones and goals I have reached. Wrote down all the lessons I learned and even mistakes made. Then rated my life experiences. It may seem like I haven't reached a level of success, but truly I won. And the best part is God ain't through with me yet.

"Pain in my heart carry burdens full of struggle." ~ FEAR. I may look fine but y'all don't know my struggle. You don't know anyone's pain. Social media gives such a false sense of reality. A person only posts the happy times: vacation, bae pics, good food, inspirational quotes or funny memes. Sure it looks like people are living the good life but know that we all carry burdens. It is how we handle them that matters. So now I scroll my social media timelines with tinted cat-eye glasses knowing I am only seeing the good shit. So stop thinking that others don't struggle behind all the filters.

"Books ain't cool no mo'." ~ XXX. This is an alternative fact. A bold-faced lie. Books will never go out of style. I cannot function without my fiction.

"Feeling lovely. Living lovely. This feeling don't drought." ~ LOVE. I took a break from love but think my heart is ready to receive it again. I have loosened my deal-breakers. I let go of a type. I do not disregard as fast. Now dating is lovely.

"Whatever you doing, just make it count. Take me a nap and do it again." ~ LUST. Don't be fooled by the memes that say hustle while others sleep. Nawl, you need rest too. I take daily naps to refresh my brain and bones. Rest helps me to hustle harder during the hours I am awake. So whatever I am doing counts.

"a.m. to the p.m., p.m. to the a.m. funk." ~ HUMBLE. I had to realize I get the same 24 hours as Beyonce. If she can do it, I can too. If Hov puts his pant legs on one at a time to make things happen, so can I.

"Flesh-making, spirit-breaking, which one would you lessen? But He's been perfect." ~ PRIDE. I also learned that I cannot let the smallest thing shake me or break my spirit. Being the only meatball in the rice is exhausting. Uneducated sprites say some dumbass shit. I would work myself harder than a slave that missed the freedom train if I let every little statement bother me. Nothing is worth breaking my creative flow.

"Ain't no limit when I might shine, might grind. Run the atlas. I'm a natural, I'm all right. Loyal to yourself in advance." ~ LOYALTY. I've had so many Mama-I-Made-It / Daddy-Look-at-Me moments in the past year that's its surreal at times. I shine when I am not even trying to. So that makes me a natural success story, right?

"I feel like I'm losing my focus." ~ FEEL. When I get in this state of mind, it is time for a break. I step away from blogging, reading and other commitments. I give myself a hard reset.

"I'mma make it look sexy. I done cried for this shit." ~ ELEMENT. Nothing is worth taking me out of my element. Stay swaggy and meet goals. Don't let the hard work and tears be in vain.

"I'm diagnosed with real nigga conditions. Today is the day I follow my intuition." ~ YAH. Migraines are not just a headache. It is a real debilitating condition. I am eligible for disability, people! So the quickest way to get on my shit list is to disregard my pain or to feign your own.

"I got hustle though, ambition, flow inside my DNA. I was born like this." ~DNA. Some people are blessed to be born with a hustle spirit. Ambition comes natural for us. Others, I truly feel sorry for you. We can't all be bawses, entrepreneurs and self-starters. 🤷🏽‍♀️

"Seemed to be a bit frustrated." ~ BLOOD. Hey, it happens. Everything cannot go my way all the time. If it did, I would not be as grateful. I wouldn't appreciate the good times as much. Life is way more enjoyable when I've earned blessings.

"And that's just how I feel."


August 27, 2017

Series Sunday: Snap Judgment

(Samantha Brinkman #3) 

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 Snap Judgment, the third book in the Samantha Brinkman series by Marcia Clark. Yes, THEE Marcia Clark from the O.J. Simpson trial. Attorney Samantha Brinkman probes into the deadly secrets of a prominent family and is compromised by a threat from her own past.

The daughter of a civil litigator is found murdered with her throat slashed. It's always the husband/boyfriend. But when he dies in what appears to be a suicide, authorities focus on a new person of interest: Samantha's friend and colleague. She will do anything to win the case including bending the law. But how much can she really trust her new client?

"But as far as I could tell, there was no such thing as foolproof—or risk-proof—given the parties we were dealing with." ~ 58%

Before I reached the halfway mark, I lost interest. I understand the storyline was to confuse the jury; but as a reader, I was confused too. Where exactly was this story going and can we get there quicker? The author's writing style wasn't necessarily the issue for me; it was the blah plot. I recommend this book only for continuity purposes. Let's hope it picks up in the next installment.

Happy Early Pub Day, Marcia Clark. Snap Judgment will be available next Tuesday, August 29.

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: August 2017
Pages: 462
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤