December 18, 2018

Life of a Migraineur: Fanotlettinme Be Mice Elf

I am overwhelmingly thankful of all the support from dear family, friends and fellows-in-chronic-pain in response to my most revealing blogmoir post: Life of a Migraineur: What's Free. I continue to receive such motivating comments since it has been read and shared on social media. A big thanks to my Chickadee, who takes the time to share my testimony and screenshot every reply since I'm not personally on FaceBook. Again, it is nice to know people empathize with my struggle to migraine relief. So as promised, I am keeping y'all updated. Grab your holiday beverage of choice (eggnog with shot of Bailey's for me) and settle in for another long post.

A mere nine hours after I published Life of a Migraineur: What's Free, claiming good health and not wanting to jinx myself, I was hit with a very bad migraine episode. I remember talking about a TV show (A Million Little Things) then feeling a stab of pain. It was quick. So I shifted in my seat away from the ceiling lights and kept up the conversation. Until someone said I was turning pale and my eyes were dull. Was I bored? No. Was I thinking about something else? No. It was symptoms of getting sick with a migraine. I immediately got up, took my meds and drove home. Willing myself to not throw up before I got there. I made it.

This migraine turned into the kind where I sleep on the cold bathroom tiled floor until the bouts of vomiting stop. Until I get enough strength to climb into bed with a cold aromatherapy compress and freezer pack. Until the Tramadol finally stays down and begins to take effect. Hours passed. Then days. I couldn't track the time of day because blackout window treatments did what they do: block all light and sound.

It started Thursday evening. I didn't come to until I heard water running in the main bathroom. Did I leave a faucet on? No, Chickadee was washing her hands. I sat up and called her name, asked what time it was: Saturday afternoon. She let herself in when I wasn't answering my phone or iMessages. I found my phone buried under the comforter. Judging from missed notifications, I was out of it for almost 40 hours. The amount of time worked weekly in a full-time job. Think about that. Time is lost in the life of a migraineur. 

Obviously the free miracle drug is not fully in my system yet. It never promised to completely eliminate my migraines. I just didn't think I would get a severe one so soon after the first dose. On the bright side, that was the only severe migraine I had since the first injection about 2 1/2 weeks ago! I got another migraine last night but it didn't last nearly as long. I was also prepared for it because of the unusual weather. It may not feel or seem like any improvement but numbers don't lie. 'Tis the season for results!
Yet I now understand why I got a burst of energy after taking the first injection. Because ever since, I have been exhausted. Oh, I'm TIRED tired. Like no energy, out of breath too easily, naps turn into full night's sleep type of exhaustion. And the minor body soreness I experienced? Well, now I feel heavy like I am 500 pounds dragging around dead weight. This leads to no longer being as active or productive. I haven't danced in my living room or gone to hustle class. I haven't started water aerobics as planned. It takes longer to read through a book that would normally be a page-turner. I'm even too tired to walk from bedroom to kitchen for a snack. Wayment—that one's a good problem to have. And I did help decorate my Christmas tree!

I don't have the energy or physical strength to do much. All of my focus goes into one task at a time. As I am typing this, the television and music are off because the noise is too distracting. I already got sidetracked into watching the candle flame flicker across the room for a good two minutes. Seriously just watching the lit three wicks. I can't sing lyrics AND type too. Following what's happening on a TV show AND writing this post at the same time just ain't possible. It's too much. I fear that my brain can no longer split into multiple tasks. Have I become simple-minded? Is this dumbing-down a side effect? What exactly is not letting me be myself?

December 16, 2018

Series Sunday: Harry Potter Special

(Harry Potter #1-7) 

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 Harry Potter Special 20th Anniversary Edition Box Set by J.K. Rowling. Yes, I am 20 years late to the Harry Potter bandwagon. The wizardry finally got me! Thanks to Amazon's Black Friday deal, I scored the special edition box set of books #1-7 for only $35 (originally $100)!

Of course I heard of the series, but read nary a page nor seen a minute of the movies. Though I admire how fans Potterheads stan for the series a whole two decades later. Potterheads are like the literary version of the BeyHive. So I ordered the complete bestselling series on a shopping whim and cannot wait to start in the new year. It looks quite nice under my Christmas tree with its redesigned illustrations.
My plans are to buddy read with my 9-year-old niece. We will read a book followed by watching the corresponding movie in the series, then post vlog (YouTube) and blog reviews here. Stay tuned for our journey through Harry Potter fantasy land as we read over 4,000+ pages together!

Author: J.K. Rowling
Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Published: August 2018
Pages: 4,320
Edition: Box Set
Rating: TBD


December 14, 2018

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 forest had claws and teeth."

~ Final Girls by Riley Sager


December 13, 2018

Lit to Movie Review: If Beale Street Could Talk

"I hope that nobody has ever had to look at anybody they love through glass." ~ pg. 12

If Beale Street Could Talk is a black lit classic written by James Baldwin in 1974. Here we are 40+ odd years later and the American justice system is still flawed with an overflow of wrong convictions. Like a blues song whose lyrics get stuck in your head, this short novel is sad but filled with harsh truths.

Fonny is a talented young artist unjustly arrested and locked up. His girlfriend, Tish, and her close-knit family are determined to free him no matter how much it costs. Freedom is priceless, especially when a newborn baby enters the picture. It is a beautiful story of young love, perseverance, and the strength of a black family.

"It was a strange weight, a presence coming into me - into a me I had not known was there." ~ pg. 57

One thing I have to admit though, where did the title come from? Which character lived on Beale Street? To my recollection, I don't remember it ever being mentioned in the book. Let's hope the movie will tie it all together. Check back here to see my rating of the movie, which hits theaters tomorrow!

*Update I am extremely baffled. Why can I not find local showtimes for the movie?! Apparently it is playing in "select" theaters...the closest being 245 miles away. 😐

Title: If Beale Street Could Talk
Author: James Baldwin
Director: Barry Jenkins
Cast: KiKi Layne (Tish); Stephan James (Fonny)
Published: 1974
Pages: 128
Movie Time: 1 Hour, 59 Min
Edition: eBook
Book Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€
Movie Rating: TBD


December 12, 2018


Look at this book cover! Look at that beautiful toned black skin! This is what first drew me to download Harlem, a short story by Eric Jerome Dickey. Although it was previously published in an anthology in 2006, it is now available as an eBook for only $0.99.

"If you were religious, you could call them a recurring set of visions. So I called them nightmares." ~ 10%

A black man is not expected to live to see 25 years old. Self-dubbed "Harlem" is already 23 and counting down his days. He gets sent to an asylum after getting off a murder charge due to insanity plea. To him, this feels worse than regular prison or even death. The only thing getting him through is a beautiful nurse named Daphane.

Harlem convinces Daphane to help him escape. He can free her from an abusive marriage and he, in turn, can be freed from the asylum. What unfolds next is a surprising spill of deadly secrets.

This super quick read can be read in a jaw-dropping few minutes. EJD can deliver in a 30-page or 400-page book, okurrrr!

Title: Harlem
Author: Eric Jerome Dickey
Published: November 2018
Pages: 32
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€



"Besides, my grandmother used to say, 'a new broom sweeps well.'" ~46%

Every year I search for a holiday novella featuring characters of color. This year's treasure is Unexpected by D.L. White. I didn't just like it...I LOVED it! The perfect short story about finding love where you least expect it.

For some, the holidays bring about sad memories and is a reminder of personal tragedy. But when Saidah lets her hair down and agrees to attend a holiday dinner with friends, she is thrown for a loop. Her ex is there acting like the biggest arsehole ever, ruining the tone of Christmas. Saidah escapes and is accompanied by an unexpected guest. The story brings happy holiday vibes from that point on.

Gift yourself by downloading this holiday short eBook. Enjoy reading with a cup of hot cocoa, tea or coffee with a shot of Bailey's. 'Tis the season for good romance!

Title: Unexpected
Author: D.L. White
Published: November 2017
Pages: 68
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


The Guy Who Died Twice

"Whatever was going on in this house of wealth and privilege, it had clearly been taking its toll on the residents. A wife who appeared to be exhausted. A husband who'd started the day claiming to be a corpse, and ended the day being one." ~ 11%

A man walks into the police headquarters and tries to convince the squad that's he is dead. Of course they explain to him that he is very much alive and breathing, then send him on his way. But a few hours later, the man turns up actually dead. No, this is not a corny joke. It is the strangest case that Detective D.D. Warren has ever confronted. This is the short story of The Guy Who Died Twice.

Even though this new release is part of the Detective D.D. Warren series, it can be read as a standalone short story. It will make a great introduction to the main character and her crime scene analyst husband for those unfamiliar. Lisa Gardner is one of those consistent authors; you can count on great storytelling.

Happy Early Pub Day & Happy Holidays, Lisa Gardner! The Guy Who Died Twice will be available Tuesday, January 8, 2019.

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 Guy Who Died Twice
Author: Lisa Gardner
Published: January 2019
Pages: 72
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


December 11, 2018

My Sister, the Serial Killer

"Why should her hands be clean, while mine become more and more stained?" ~ pg. 102

Big sisters take care of little sisters. Big sister Korede takes this mantra to heart. She looks after little sister, Ayoola, in many things despite her bitterness. Ayoola is said to be prettier and Ma's favorite but behind closed doors, she is a sociopath while Korede does the clean-up. Cleaning of what, you ask? Blood. Dead bodies. Evidence. Social media posts. And now Ayoola's third boyfriend in a row is dead. You know what that means?

"Three and they label you a serial killer."

I shy away from books with broken language or heavy dialect. It is too distracting when my purpose of reading is to relax, not to stumble over words and continuously look up pronunciations. Although this novel focuses on a Nigerian woman, I was not deterred from the dialogue or writing style. It was easy to read and follow. The chapters are very short. My only negative is the beginning started off with such a bang that the middle of book seemed to drag. It could've been paced a bit better. But the size of the hardcover was perfect to carry around, allowing me to read at every free moment.

Wait—I lied. There is another petty negative: the page numbers were in a weird design—making it harder for me to determine which page I'm on. Hence, less status updates on Goodreads. My gripes aren't enough to dissuade bookhearts from reading this debut. Get it. Read it in public. Flaunt the cover art. Join the social media frenzy #MySisterTheSerialKiller. Enjoy the side-eyes when people see the title of book you're reading. Most of all, show your support for an author of color.

Title: My Sister, the Serial Killer
Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Published: November 2018
Pages: 226
Edition: Mini Hardvcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


December 9, 2018

Series Sunday: Target

(Alex Cross #26) 

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've been weak-kneed and grateful a thousand times since it happened." ~ pg. 144

My Series Sunday pick is Target, the 26th book in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson. A coup! Prime Targets! Soldiers! Tanks! Martial Law! Target promises to bring the political heat in this new thriller. Newly promoted Chief of DC detectives, Bree Stone (Alex's wife), faces a hard ultimatum. Solve the case or lose the position. Meanwhile, Alex is tasked by the new President to work closely with FBI leading a national crisis level investigation.

"Forget following the money," I said. "Let's play follow the Bitcoin." ~ pg. 308

It is bad enough when I compare books to other authors' books. But it is a fine line when I compare books written by the same author. Maybe it is because I am still stuck on the greatness of Patterson/Clinton's My President is Missing. But Target missed the mark a bit. I would expect a heck of a lot more suspense if the Head of State, Cabinet members, and other key positions in the government are picked off one by one thanks to snipers. Bottom line: the story had potential to be a page-turner but fell a tad short. Patterson, I KNOW you can do better. But thanks for the okay read anyway. It is always nice to check in on the Cross family.

Title: Target
Author: James Patterson
Published: November 2018
Pages: 432
Edition: Hardcover
Challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

December 7, 2018

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.

"People called me Harlem. I dubbed myself after that dangerous city that I'd never seen."

~ Harlem by Eric Jerome Dickey


December 6, 2018

Life of a Migraineur: What's Free

Visiting my Neurologist is bittersweet. Sometimes I am excited for new advancements in treating migraines, eager to try whatever is new on the market. But that means I still suffer from migraines. I have been with the same Neuro since I was eleven years old. He knows all my history. I know all the nurses; they have watched me grow up just as I've watched their children grow up through pictures. Yet I will never get used to their greeting smiles every time I enter the office. It is one of pity. It is one of empathy because they know my history with migraines and my continuous search for a cure. And none of us ever say goodbye by saying, "see you later" because it is our hopes that I won't see them again in three (3) months. Maybe by then I will know what's it like to be free from migraines.

Treatment is only good for so long. I believe the daith piercing is still very helpful. My overall number of migraines did indeed decrease. The last dosage adjustment of daily meds seems to have helped also; the migraines are less severe. But as of this year, I developed a new kind of headache triggered by the weather, humidity percentage and pollen count. It would come and stay dull for days. Unlike a migraine that would take up residence on one side of my head, this new type of headache started in back of my head then worked its way around. Also unlike the severe migraines I am used to, I could still function with this new type. Sure, it slowed me down a bit but I wasn't immobile. Sometimes it would go away and sometimes it would develop into more. So how was I to treat it? And what exactly is it?

Bad News: My Neurologist and his resident explained this new type of headache pain is still a migraine in my case. I still have aura associated. It lasts far too long. But instead of literally knocking me out and causing nausea, it torments me slowly. It nags. It teases. It ignores the eviction notice.

Good News: The number of severe migraines has drastically gone down. Never mind that in its place are a cluster of small migraines. It is possible that a new approved drug can help me further. Aimovig is dubbed the "miracle migraine medication" and is a breakthrough according to studies and patients worldwide. In May 2018, it became the first medication to be FDA-approved for the prevention of migraines. Users report 50% less migraines. Therefore, allowing people like me to live their best life without the inconvenience of chronic pain. And it's not a daily pill. It is an injection taken only once a month. That's needle and done. No doc visit. I can self-administer. #DASSIT

Sounds great, right? Except my health insurance does not cover it. The Neurologist warned me that my wack ass (my words, not his) insurance would most likely deny the claim. Before I got in the car good, the pharmacy was calling me. They received my doctor's prescription order and attempted to fill it. However, the insurance denied coverage. The retail cost is $679.99 so would I like to continue with the prescription order? Let me say it louder for the people in the back hard-of-hearing. πŸ—£ONE INJECTION COSTS ALMOST $700 PER MONTH!

First of all, why should I have to choose between paying for medical treatment and paying rent? I cannot afford that out-of-pocket cost. I crunched numbers. I re-adjusted my budget multiple times. I was ready to cut off cable, lower wifi speed, and keep the heat on bare minimum (rationalizing that my fitty 'lem snuggies would keep me warm). I was going to host a "Shop My Closet" party to sell clothes and handbags that I barely wear anyway. I was ready to stop eating meat to save money and become an instant vegetarian. But I can't eat romaine lettuce because of the E. coli outbreak. By the way, did you know E. coli is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of people and animals? So who the fuck keeps shitting on the lettuce?! Anyway...I even considered a GoFundMe; I have seen way worse reasons for crowd-funding. At least my purpose is for a cure and better quality of life.

I prayed. I prayed harder. Then I let it go. The doctor's office said given my medical history, I qualified for a discount and though it wasn't a sure thing, the pharmacy should accept it. My Neurologist's office provided a history of my file listing all other medications I've tried over the years. Basically to prove that this specific treatment is the next logical step. Meanwhile, I asked for my coverage claim to be resubmitted but again, insurance would not cover a single copper penny.

So I went to the pharmacy to pick up the new 'script. It was about to hurt my heart to swipe my card for $679.99 but the medicine is worth a try. It could be a miracle drug. I could be the next person splashing in waves on the beach in informercial saying how it changed my life. I, at least, owed it a chance. And if it's meant for me to try this new treatment, the Lord will work it out like I asked Him in prayer. The pharmacist greeted me with a smile (not the empathetic kind but the "I got everything on your Christmas wish list" kind of smile). And this is the part where I started crying in the middle of pharmacy. The discount was honored. My total amount due was $0.00 for a whole year.

Listen. I didn't walk out. I praise danced my way to the car. I lifted one hand to say "Hallelujah" and the other hand had a tight grip on the prescription bag. I am so grateful. So appreciative that I have a team of support looking out for me. No doubt my parents prayed on my behalf. So blessed to have a God that favors me. Whether the injection works or not, I learned a lesson in faith.

It has only been five (5) days since my first preventative injection. Thanks to Chickadee for administering it for me. I was far too nervous—as evidenced in my shaky hands while recording it. So far, it holds true to its purpose. No obvious side effects except an immediate burst of energy. I was running around my place doing a load of laundry, emptying the dish washer, wiping wood surfaces, cleaning mirrors, and reorganizing my shoe closet according to color and type. And I still wasn't tired. Hours later, I forced myself to sleep by cranking the diffuser with extra drops of lavender and chamomile essential oils. The next day my body felt stiff and heavy (joint pain is a common side effect) but I was fine after soaking in an epsom salt bath. If these are the only side effects I experience, I am totally okay with that.

I don't want to get my hopes up. I don't want to jinx it either. Yet I am claiming good health. I so want this "miracle treatment" to work well with my two (2) daily migraine meds as the perfect cocktail. This is a long journey and I am buckled in for the free ride!

December 5, 2018

Black Girls Must Die Exhausted

"I am Tabitha Abigail Walker, a black girl in contemporary America, and I am personally and emotionally spent. It's not even 11 a.m. and I already feel as exhausted as my egg supply."
~ 8%

Yes, we must. Living the life of a black girl is beyond exhausting. Yet we persevere every day. Circumstances can push us to the grave prematurely. We are hit with disappointment when we don't meet the standards set for us. Get good grades, go to college, succeed in a career, get married, have children... But in reality, those things don't happen often in that order.

When 33-year-old Tabitha receives an unexpected diagnosis from the doctor, she panics. Tabitha has less than six months to have a baby naturally. This was not the plan! With the help of her best friends, she tests modern medicine, a ticking biological clock and how to become a wife and mother quick.

I must admit that I judged this book by its awesome cover. The title was a bonus. I skimmed over the description because I assumed it would be just as creative as its cover design. The story must match, right? Little did I know that it was mostly about having children (which is something that highly disinterests me). For this reason, I could not relate to the main character. But look at what good writing skills can do! Author Jayne Allen, from Detroit, wrote in such a way that I felt invested in Tabitha's journey and rooted for her throughout the book. Black Girls Must Die Exhausted may not relate to your own personal experience, but it's a good read.

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: Black Girls Must Die Exhausted
Author: Jayne Allen
Published: September 2018
Pages: 402
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


December 4, 2018

Heavy: An American Memoir

"I had to sit and listen to hundreds of talks from you and your friends telling me no black hoodies in wrong neighborhoods, no jogging at night, hands in plain sight at all times in public, no intimate relationships with white women, never drive over the speed limit or do those rolling stops at stop signs, always speak the king's English in the presence of white folk, never get outperformed in school or in public by white students, and most important, always remember, no matter what, white folk will do anything to get you." ~ pg. 83

How many of us got that talk from Big Ma or Granddaddy? How many of our black parents warned us that you have to be twice as good to get half the credit? Sad how we still have to prove ourselves and calculate our every move in this land of the free. Kiese Laymon lays it all out in his new memoir.

Heavy: An American Memoir needs no convincing to read. The literary awards speak for its powerful true story. Essayist/Author, Kiese Laymon, lends to readers the heavy burden of being a black man in today's America. He explains what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, family and a nation does to a black body.

"Reread the books that mean the most to you. Lock your doors. Walk in groups. Strive for protection. Edit your work." ~ pg. 111

Kiese Laymon holds nothing back as he shares personal stories about sex, obesity, anorexia, writing, gambling and more. Definitely a must-read for young black men and the women standing beside them. Heavy is...well, heavy. So brace yourselves; it could be triggering but is more-so insightful.

Title: Heavy: An American Memoir
Author: Kiese Laymon
Published: October 2018
Pages: 256
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


November 13, 2018

Becoming: A Live Read

Happy Pub Day, Michelle Obama!

Hi, bookhearts! If you follow me on Twitter, you are familiar with my live tweeting of television and award shows. I sometimes live tweet my reactions while listening to new music too. So I figured, why not do the same thing for books?

I am going to "live read" Becoming, a memoir by Michelle Obama. She needs no introduction but deserves all the recognition: Former First Lady of the United States, mother of two down-to-earth daughters, wife to the first black President of the United States, one of the most iconic women of our era, initiator of a more active and healthy nation, advocate of women and girls worldwide and proud South Side Chicagoan. And she can dance too! Becoming is Michelle Obama's revelatory story in her own words, on her own terms.

I am settled in with the new hardcover edition, a cup of hot Lady Grey tea sweetened with raw honey and a touch of creamer, Walkers shortbread cookies and snug in my faux fur throw with the fireplace lit. I am in my reader's element excited to begin reading. I encourage buddy reading so here's the Reading Guide for book clubs and others reading along with me. Bookhearts, revisit this page to see my live updates and final book review.

11.14.2018 I have the hardcover and the eBook so I can read on-demand.

11.16.2018 First Lines Friday: "When I was a kid, my aspirations were simple." It is only the Preface and already I relate to Michelle Obama. As kids, we have simple thoughts as to what our future should be. Think about it—not once has a child said they look forward to paying bills, working overtime, dating or infertility. Common answers are doctor, lawyer, mother or sports player. So it really is one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up?

11.18.2018 Clearly I am taking my time reading this one. Absorbing every word because there are lessons to be learned within her reflections. For example, Chapter 1 is a story of her first piano recital. She was used to practicing on an old piano. So when seated in front of a sparkling baby grand piano, she was hesitant. Where to place her fingers? Where is the middle C key? There will be a time in our lives when we are taken out of comfort zone. Take a breath. Focus. And excel.

11.20.2018 "It takes energy to be the only black person..." I work in an industry dominated by older white men. Sixteen years in this career and I am sadly used to being the only meatball in the rice. As I move deeper into the industry and expand my professional circle, I am the only poppy seed in a bowl of salt. A young black chick is the last person expected in the room. So when Michelle Obama broke down how it takes energy to be the only black person...whew! I felt that. This is turning into a blogmoir post, let me get back to the book.

11.21.2018 "I'm not raising babies. I'm raising adults." It seems Mama & Daddy Robinson had the same parenting method as my parents.

11.22.2018 Since I am not behind the wheel, I am back-seat reading while en route to spend Thanksgiving with family. Ah, it is the little things in life that I am thankful for.

11.23.2018 The BECOMING ME section was very informative. Well-paced and set the stage for rest of the book. As I begin reading the second section, BECOMING US, a thought hits me. I could be missing out on "my" Barack! When Michelle met him, he didn't have a car, smoked cigarettes, was not fully settled in profession, and other things that are on my dealbreaker list. I need to ditch my box-checker mentality. I could be blind to a whole husband! Let this be the reason I open my eyes and "let my insanely high standards slip."

11.24.2018 "He'd get dinged up and stay shiny, like an old copper pot." Now that's #goals! I am halfway through the book where Barack Obama was chosen to speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. That 17-minute speech was a pivotal moment, with Michelle by his side. I am forced to reflect myself. Where did my own story take a turn? Have I even reached that moment yet? Or am I too stuck in expectations and following the path of a To Do list? For sure this memoir is teaching me to ditch unhappiness in any situation that is not fulfilling. Throw my hands up and let the roller coaster do its thing. Reach continuously toward a better me. (I am aware this live reading is turning into a long ass journal entry or blogmoir post. You will deal!)

11.25.2018 The storytelling is truly mesmerizing. A working-class black girl from the South Side of Chicago became the best First Lady of the United States. Read that sentence again; I'll wait.

11.29.2018 "I'm an ordinary person who found herself on an extraordinary journey." And oh, what a journey it has been. Reading Michelle Obama's memoir is a must. It is not an option. It is more than a mere suggestion. Consider it required reading for every dignified minority whose voice should be heard and whose existence should be known.

Color me invested in the Obamas. I downloaded Barack Obama's memoir, Dreams from My Father. And I am catching up on all of the book promotion interviews, starting with Carpool Karaoke. Jam along with us by pressing play below. 🎡This is for my girls🎡

11.30.2018 Seventeen days. It took me seventeen whole days to finish a 400+ page book. Why? Because I did not want the story to end. Because I soaked up every syllable. Because I took my time reading and related each chapter to my own life experiences. In fact, all of my bookish buddies are taking their time with this one. Let me attempt to explain why.

Becoming is like a homemade meal. You are excited while grocery shopping for the ingredients (checkout in your online cart or purchasing in a brick and mortar bookstore). You get home and lay everything out on the counter (admire the book, read the description again as if it even matters at this point. Change your social media status to "currently reading.") Start preparing the meal and cooking (crack open the book and read a few chapters). Once the meal is finished cooking and you smell the aroma, your mouth is watering. You've waited for this moment of tasting your home-cooked dish. Closing your eyes in ecstasy on the first bite. But you don't want to rush it! Take your time eating (reading) until the last forkful (page). Look down at your clean plate (closed book) with a smile. What a satisfying meal (book)! Now pass on the recipe (recommendation) to friends, co-workers, loved ones, or gift a fellow American.

This memoir is so well done. Thank you for sharing your unique story with such grace, Michelle Obama.

Title: Becoming
Author: Michelle Obama
Published: November 2018
Pages: 426
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 11, 2018

Series Sunday: S is for Silence

(Kinsey Millhone #19) 

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.

"Every little bit helps. It's like working on a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box." ~ pg. 86

My Series Sunday pick is S is for Silence, the 19th book in the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series by Sue Grafton. Thirty-four years ago, Violet Sullivan headed to the annual fireworks display. She was never seen again. Some say she ran off with a lover. Some say her husband killed her. But it was never explained for Daisy, the 7-year-old daughter she left behind. Now Daisy wants closure. What really happened to her mom?

"Oh, do tell. I love irony." ~ pg. 112

S is most certainly not for "superb" as critics claim. S is for Silence is possibly the worst in the series. No suspense. Mundane dialogue. Boring case. I hope it is not downhill from here. Especially considering the author passed away before finishing the alphabet series with Z

Author: Sue Grafton
Published: January 2005
Pages: 309
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 9, 2018

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.

"Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough, and looked don't-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time."

~ American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

This book is a perpetual read. I don't want to read further than where the television series is. No spoilers and no prior knowledge before I see the scenes played out. I am so looking forward to its return in 2019 along with the Sistah Speak: American Gods podcast. 

November 8, 2018

Lit Tidbits: Pithy Picks

Author: Maurice White
Published: September 2016
Pithy ReviewMaurice White charts the rise of his legendary music band. Like their music filled with horns, vocals and stage presence, this band is solid in their unity. Music remained a priority in Maurice White's life and it showed with every song. After reading this memoir, it is evident why Earth, Wind & Fire remains the best concert I ever attended, continues to lift moods and inspire artists still today.

AuthorMaureen Smith
PublishedNovember 2016
Pithy Review: I waited years (no exaggeration) for this book and was quite disappointed when it released as Part One with the promise of Part Two in 2017. Well, guess what? It is damn near 2019 and no Part Two in sight. And the romance was lackluster at best when I finally made it around to reading this. So I am done with this series and this author for a good little while. Serialized novels are a gimmick and I want no parts...pun intended.  

TitleBurial Rites
Author: Hannah Kent
PublishedSeptember 2013
Pithy Review: Inspired by a true story, this novel is about the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in the 1820s. She awaits execution surrounded by a priest and farmer's family. I unfortunately DNF because of the writing style and subject. I somehow purchased two (2) copies of this book so send a message if interested and I will mail you the hardcover edition. 

AuthorJane Green
PublishedJune 2017
Pithy ReviewI cannot fathom having to watch someone intentionally die. Yet the "sunshine sisters" are set to task when their disinterested, often absent mother invites them over as a final wish. She stockpiled pills and is ready to take her last breath surrounded by jazz and her three daughters. Jealousy, illness and secrets fill the room. This novel is an example of judging a book by its cover; it is nothing like the sunny beach scene shown.

AuthorJenny Lawson
Published: April 2012
Pithy ReviewI literally LOL'ed a few times in the beginning of this book. Like shake-my-head-this-girl-is-nuts-but-funny type of laugh. But somewhere in the middle it lost its appeal. Maybe it was too many jokes bound into one book. It started to seem forced like a comedian losing touch with a live audience. But I like Jenny Lawson's tactic in trying to find humor in every situation.

TitleBad Mommy
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Published: December 2016
Pithy ReviewI would normally not read a book with such an un-relatable title. I am not a mommy and mine is certainly not bad. But it caught my attention when the author released a new cover and title. I Can Be a Better You is the type of psychological title that brings pause. Fig Coxbury buys a house on West Barrett Street. Not because it's her dream home in a nice neighborhood. But because everything she desires is right next door: the husband, the child and the life. EEK!

TitleThe Sock Wars
AuthorMaia Sepp
Published: December 2012
Pithy Review: This Top 100 Digital Bestseller sat on my NOOK long enough. Lucy is a workaholic financial planner. She is thrown out of routine when her aunt dies in a car accident. With no remaining family alive, a ticking biological clock and a milestone birthday approaching, she moves into an inherited house. As she settles into a life of sock thievery, she realizes too much time was spent fixing other people's lives and not fully living her own.

Author: Brad Meltzer
Published: March 2001
Pithy Review: I saved the best for last. On a random day, I was conversating (it's a word now...look it up!) with a colleague. Somehow books came up and we started trading recommendations. I asked him to let me borrow one of his favorite books ever. A book that held his attention and didn't drag like most books over 500 pages sometimes do. The very next day, a thick paperback was sitting on my desk with a sticky note simply saying, "Enjoy but I want my book back." After promising to return his paperback in pristine condition, I started reading. Setting: White House. Themes: murder, secrets, drugs, cut-throat antics. Characters: extremely interesting but can't trust worth a damn. Rating: every bit of 5 stars. This book caught every second of my attention. I kinda want to add it to my own collection but promises to bookhearts cannot be broken.

Bookhearts, I hope you enjoyed these pithy reviews. This is what happens when the end of year is approaching and I clean my TBR list (which is down to 85 books. Go me!) Whether you like fiction, comedy, memoirs, chick lit or thriller, there are recommendations here for everyone. Happy Reading!