February 23, 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.

"School was hard for me,  for lots of reasons. One was I couldn't read until, like, ninth grade."

~ The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

February 22, 2018

The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook


"After all, we'd reached a point in Detroit—and yeah, I've added fuel to this fire—that unless you actually live in Detroit, you can't say you're from Detroit." ~ pg. 67

Edited by Aaron Foley, The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook is a collection of essays, short stories and poems written by Detroit residents about the neighborhoods they know best.

I have lived in Detroit (and surrounding metro areas) all of my life. There are certain streets and "hoods" that everyone in the city identify with. Yet the city is larger than it looks; there are streets that I have never even heard of. There are so many neighborhoods that the cross-streets blur. So I picked up The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook as a self-test. Let's see how much I really know about the great Motor City in terms of neighborhoods and its stories.

My first impression of the book is its size. Very thin at only 152 pages. Is it really going to cover all of the major neighborhoods? Then I flipped it open to browse pages and was instantly turned off. The font—and this is no exaggeration—is like 7 pt. single-spaced. I closed the book and put it down for almost two weeks debating whether to return it for the eBook version, struggle through with a pair of reading glasses, or simply not read it at all. But I wanted to support the local author so I tried again.

"Need great high schools? Go to Detroit School of the Arts, Cass Technical High School." ~ pg. 24

Second go-round, I browsed the Contents and read the Foreword. The mention of Houston-Whittier and Cass Corridor interested me enough to read further...until I felt eye strain and words began to blur somewhere around page 50 about the oh-so-familiar Mack Avenue. So I set it to the side once again.

Third go-round was a sad realization. I could not finish this guidebook no matter how interesting the subject, how credible the author or how amazing the stories told by talented writers may be. So I skimmed through based on chapter titles. I am sure The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook is a great gift to the book world but the packaging is a thumbs down making it difficult to enjoy.

Title: The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook
Edited by: Aaron Foley
Published: August 2017
Pages: 152
Edition: Paperback
Challenge: Popsugar—A Book by a Local Author
Rating: πŸ–€

 

February 21, 2018

L Dot's Freestyle / We Family

I got bloodlines in Orleans
That explains the VooDoo
Got words and numbers in my pen
Thank God for journals too
Wit and intelligence from Choctaw of Oklahoma
Incense and candles are our usual home aroma
Spirits influence lives of the Sioux
Everyone claims to be Indian though
Every day I see a new freckle
Visual evidence of the Irish speckle
Curvy like a true southern belle
Those southern roots did me well
May not be the same hue as you
But my family's black is magic too
And thank the heavens for motivatin'
Us to excel in our lanes
We break glass ceilings and chains
And we are always expressing
How much family is a blessing
I freestyle so casually
'Cause we family
Boom spadealaka ♠️♥️ Boom spadealaka                                             

February 20, 2018

Meet the Parents


Yes, I hang out with my parents!

We pray. We vacay. We cook for each other. We play cards. We shop. We read. We go to concerts. We frequent restaurants. We group iMessage. We FaceTime. We chill and just talk. We in a whole different mode.

Homie & Chickadee are my support system, my EV.ER.Y.THING, my hearts. ♠️♥️

  

February 18, 2018

Series Sunday: Black Panther

(Black Panther: World of Wakanda #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.

"But you do not yet know what should be shared and what you should keep to yourself." ~ 28%

My Series Sunday pick is the first issue in the Black Panther: World of Wakanda Marvel series by Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey. Ayo and Aneka are young women recruited to an elite task force trained to protect the crown. It is presented as a love story.

For only $0.99, it was an okay eComic short to get me in the mood for the action-packed, highly anticipated superhero movie release. But the story has holes causing Marvel amateurs like myself to be lost. I am not already familiar with any of the characters; it would have been helpful to describe the setting more and at least Ayo and Aneka's past since this is the first issue of World of Wakanda. Although the illustrations were detailed and eye-catching, it was still just okay overall. For these reasons, I will not continue with reading #2-6 in the comic series. I much rather see it live and in color.

Click Image for Marvel Film Info
Yes, it is Black Panther opening weekend! I went to Wakanda and enjoyed every second. So much so, that I want to see the movie again in total cosplay. By the looks of social media, my people showed up and showed πŸ‘πŸΎall πŸ‘πŸΎthe πŸ‘πŸΎway πŸ‘πŸΎout!

If you have not seen Black Panther, read the deets below then immediately close this browser window, open your preferred movie app, buy show tickets, logoff the internet, and head to the nearest movie theater. Thank me later!

Authors: Roxane Gay, Yona Harvey
Consultant: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Color Artist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Illustrators: Afua Richardson, Alitha Martinez
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael P. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Forest Whittaker, Letitia Wright, Sterling K. Brown, Danai Gurira, and more black magic actors/actresses 
Published: November 2016
Released: February 16, 2018
Pages: 36
Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Edition: eComic / Movie
Comic Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€
Movie Rating: 🍿 🍿 🍿 🍿 🍿

 

February 16, 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.


Do you know how long I've...no, WE have waited for today? It is finally Black Panther movie release Friday! Watch the video above where the cast answers the web's most searched questions. #ButFirst...


"Welcome to your training as women and warriors of the Dora Milaje."

Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey

 

February 15, 2018

The Woman in the Window


"A freak to the neighbors. A joke to the cops. A special case to her doctor. A pity case to her physical therapist. A shut-in. No hero. No sleuth." ~ pg. 236

Dr. Anna Fox is locked in her home due to agoraphobia and thus locked out of the world beyond her front door. A tragedy leaves her afraid to venture outdoors. Her safety net is now her home. Her routine includes socializing online in a support group, watching old thriller movies and spying on neighbors through the window.

But one day, Dr. Anna Fox witnesses a possible killing at the neighbor's house across the park. But no one believes her! Did she hallucinate as a side effect of mixing medication with wine? Is she being framed? What is real?!

"I'm falling through my own mind." ~ pg. 209

Stephen King calls The Woman in the Window "one of those rare books that really is unputdownable." Gillian Flynn says, "Finn has created a noir for the new millennium." Two notable authors with an opinion I cannot agree more with. From the point of page one to the very last page at 427, I was deep into this story wondering what could possibly come next. So many twists. Tons of turns. Lots of questionable characters and brilliant writing. I love a book where nothing is as it seems. I see why this new book is published in 36 languages and already in development for the big screen. Well done, A.J. Finn!

It may be early in the year, but I am already claiming The Woman in the Window as a Top Book of 2018. So glad I was nosy enough to notice a stranger reading it at the public library and borrowed a copy for myself!

Title: The Woman in the Window
Author: A.J. Finn
Published: January 2018
Pages: 427
Edition: Hardcover
Challenge: Popsugar—A Book That Was Being Read by a Stranger in a Public Place
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

February 14, 2018

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body


Bestselling author Roxane Gay blesses us with an honest memoir of her body, self-image, food and hunger. It is so relatable, so transparent and so...me. I thank Roxane Gay for being so transparent and willing to share her story. It took guts (pun intended) to be vulnerable in black and white ink. This is definitely a memoir that I will re-read as needed. Hence why I named it one of the best books read in 2017.

Usually I share at least two (2) quotes in a book review but my favorite passages in Hunger are too personal. It is best that readers go into this book with a clean slate having read no excerpts. However, I am inspired to write a couple blogmoir posts fairly soon about my own relationship with food.

LISSEN I rarely buy new releases in hardcover format now. But I used my hard-earned coins to buy the autographed edition of Hunger immediately upon its release. It was worth every copper penny, shiny dime and crisp dollar. The greatest gift I can give my bookhearts on this Valentine's Day is a recommendation to read Roxane Gay's memoir of her body: Hunger.

Title: Hunger
Author: Roxane Gay
Published: June 2017
Pages: 306
Edition: Autographed Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

February 13, 2018

The Spiritual Poems of RUMI


"you've never really listened 
to what God has always
tried to tell you
yet you keep hoping
after your mock prayers
salvation will arrive" ~ pg. 45

Jalaloodin Mohammed Balkhi Rumi was born in 1207, in present-day Afghanistan. His family fled to what is now a major Turkish city. He studied languages, science, logic and Islamic philosophy. It was love and heartbreak that turned Rumi to poetry. And here we are centuries later, thanks to translator Nader Khalili, being wowed by his verses.

"body exists because of me
not the other way around" ~ pg. 14

This collection of poems is separated in three (3) sections:

  1. Pearls from the Deep: poems not previously published
  2. Fountain of Fire: poems chosen from the translator's books
  3. Dancing the Flame: poems chosen from the translator's books

Some of the poems, and almost a whole section, went over my head far as comprehension. I guess I'm not deep or spiritual enough. But I did understand the main message: people can find bliss and freedom through pure love. Across all religions, love is respected. Life is not to be wasted with sorrow or laziness. And this proves why Rumi remains a mystic poet capturing many religions.

The Spiritual Poems of RUMI is a great introduction for readers new to Rumi while also giving fans a fresh collection to marvel over. One of the best features is the artwork and design on opposite pages of the poems. I must say it is a relaxing, enlightening read.

Happy Pub Day! The Spiritual Poems of RUMI 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 Spiritual Poems of RUMI
Author: Jalaloddin Mohammed Balkhi Rumi
Translated by: Nader Khalili
Published: February 2018
Pages: 131
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Popsugar—A Book That's Published in 2018
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

February 11, 2018

Series Sunday: South Seas Shenanigans


"Let's go take care of that woman Georgia style." ~ 4%

My Series Sunday pick is South Seas Shenanigans, the sixth book in the Logan Dickerson series by Abby L. Vandiver. Archeologist Logan Dickerson, VooDoo Herbalist Sleuth Miss Vivee and her new husband are back. The trio never fail to run into a dead body. It is amazing how two 90-year-olds are so sharp to identify rarely heard causes of death. Being in Fiji for a dig and honeymoon is no exception. Murder follows them everywhere!

"Especially since death followed them like thunder followed lightening [sic]. Or should I say, murder." ~ 65%

Abby, I love keeping up with you and for introducing readers to unique characters of color. We need more fictional positive women. However, it is difficult to finish a book when discovering 40+ errors in less than 125 pages that could have been avoided with skilled editing. My professional copyediting offer still stands if interested.

The best part of South Seas Shenanigans is the title. Catchy and oh-so-perfect with the storyline and colorful book cover. Pristine turquoise water. Inviting island hut. Bookhearts, if you are into cozy mysteries and can overlook typos or grammatical errors, then read this latest installment of the Logan Dickerson series. Unfortunately, much as I like the main characters, I cannot continue to spend money or time on poorly edited published work. It seems to get worse by the book—not better. So bookhearts, reading this series was fun while it lasted.

Author: Abby L. Vandiver
Published: April 2017
Pages: 123
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ 

February 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.

"Jalaloddin Mohammed Balkhi Rumi was born in 1207, in the city of Balkh, which is in present-day Afghanistan."

The Spiritual Poems of Rumi by Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi (Translated by Nader Khalili)

February 4, 2018

Series Sunday: Garden Gazebo Gallivant

(Logan Dickerson #5) 

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 very original, huh?" ~ 44%

My Series Sunday pick is Garden Gazebo Gallivant, the fifth book in the Logan Dickerson series by Abby L. Vandiver. Archeologist Logan Dickerson and VooDoo Herbalist Sleuth Miss Vivee are back already with yet another cozy mystery to solve.

Tis the season for a wedding! Logan is busy with wedding prep but a monkey wrench delays plans. A dead body has been found at the gazebo. Miss Vivee, Logan's mom and brother help Logan find whodunit before it is time to say, "I do."

What a good short mystery and surprise ending that I did not see coming. Yet again, Abby, contact me for your copyediting needs. I really want to finish this series out on a good note and not be distracted by all the errors. This would be an easy 5-heart rating otherwise.

Author: Abby L. Vandiver
Published: October 2016
Pages: 132
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

February 2, 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.

"My mother was a cup of sugar. You could borrow her anytime."

Gun Love by Jennifer Clement

February 1, 2018

I Love My Blackness


How are you celebrating Black History Month?

I plan to read and review books written by us about us. I am making a not-so-subtle statement by wearing black all month long. As the only meatball, I will educate the bowl of rice with little known black history facts. And I plan to spread the word that I love my blackness...and yours. ♠️ πŸ–€

  


January 31, 2018

Surprise Me


"We're living in marital Groundhog Day." ~ 23%

Sylvie knows everything about her husband, Dan, and vice versa. They can predict each other's actions, finish one another's sentences and have shorthand conversations. A dream, right? Until one doctor's visit turns their ideal marriage into a long bad dream. The doctor predicts they are both healthy and have a long life ahead. Until death do you part means another seven decades. EEK! The glossy veneer begins to dull. To keep the boringness out of their marriage, the couple concocts a plan: Project Surprise Me. Keep the marriage exciting by surprising each other with spontaneous dates and untold truths.

"We've always been that couple. Blended. Interwined." ~ 2%

This has to unfortunately be the first Sophie Kinsella novel that I did not fall in like with. Surprise Me lacked the signature Kinsella charming wit and humor. It took almost the whole novel to gain interest in the main character and the superficial story line. For once, chick lit was annoying. Be happy you're living another 60+ years with the person you love; don't dread it! Usually I like light chick lit reads but this was a major eye-roll until the last chapters.

Happy Early Pub Day, Sophie Kinsella! Surprise Me will be available Tuesday, February 13, 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: Surprise Me
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: February 2018
Pages: 448
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

January 30, 2018

The Darkest Child



"You 'bout the prettiest little dark-skin girl I ever seen." ~ 7%

Tangy Mae Quinn is the sixth of ten fatherless children born to Rozelle. She bears the brunt of her mother's cruel attitude and outlook on life. Tangy Mae may be dubbed the ugliest in her mother's eyes because of her dark skin, but she is also the brightest. Rozelle pulls all her children out of school at the young age of 12 to earn their keep. Tangy Mae, of course, wants to be the exception to that rule. It is 1958 and she is selected to be one of the few black students to attend an integrated class at a white high-school. (And sadly as I re-read this book in 2018, racism based on the color of skin still persists today. The world is not so integrated all these years later.) Nevertheless, Tangy Mae is schooled in and outside of the building's walls.

"Every child has to learn, and so Mama taught her." ~ 95%

I recommend The Darkest Child for literature lovers. I am talking those that love the writings of Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. It is a difficult read with scenes that force a reading break to get through. There are passages that warrant multiple gasps. And with every page turn, you peel back layers of the story. It is a deep tale told well.

But even this second go-round did not make me like the book more than a 3-heart rating. It was hard for me to relate to the too intense characters. Is this a black family's reality somewhere? Because I still have a major disconnect with Tangy Mae and 'nem. However, The Darkest Child is a classic novel that literature lovers should read at least once.

Happy Re-Pub Day to the late Delores Phillips! The Darkest Child re-release is now available along with an introduction by author Tayari Jones and an excerpt from the unfinished sequel.

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 Darkest Child
Author: Delores Phillips
Published: January 2018
Pages: 397
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

   

January 28, 2018

Series Sunday: Food Fair Frenzy

(Logan Dickerson #4) 

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 was a homicide magnet." ~ 19%

My Series Sunday pick is Food Fair Frenzy, the fourth book in the Logan Dickerson series by Abby L. Vandiver. Archeologist Logan Dickerson and VooDoo Herbalist Sleuth Miss Vivee are back solving murders in Georgia. Everyone is getting sick at the 105th food fair; people are vomiting, turning blue, having chest pains and fainting. Could it be Aunt Martha's Cherry Pie to Die For? Then one person turns up dead with a clue listing nine deadly flowers.

Cozy mystery? Yes.
A couple chuckles? Yeah.
Character development? Sure.
Writing style and delivery? Mmm...not so much.

I love the cute titles in Vandiver's books, especially this Logan Dickerson cozy mystery series. If only the thought and effort behind the titles matched the level of editing and proofreading. The stories are good but I am too distracted by all the errors. I have already downloaded the next two (2) books in this series so will continue. I really enjoy the story lines so let's hope it gets better.

Abby, girl, contact me for your copyediting needs. 

Author: Abby L. Vandiver
Published: August 2016
Pages: 202
Edition: eBook
Challenge: Popsugar—Next Book in a Series I Started
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

January 26, 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.

"Her husband's almost home. He'll catch her this time."

~ The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

 

January 25, 2018

The Rooster Bar


Imagine realizing you've been duped. Been in law school for three years. In over your head in student loans. So close to the finish line yet not ready for the real world. Mark, Zola and Todd attend a third-tier for-profit law school now known for producing graduates that barely pass the bar exam let alone land a good job. Through careful research, the friends learn their school is a chain of others led by one hedge-fund manager who also happens to own a bank that specializes in student loans. It's the Great Law School Scam!

Is there a way out? The trio does the unthinkable: quit law school only a few short months away from graduation and with heavy debt. Mark, Zola and Todd try to expose the scam while making a few bucks in the process and saving their own identities.

John Grisham is one of those authors that I pick up knowing it will be a good ass legal thriller. I am guaranteed to be informed about law, learn about attorneys and their reactions, and be entertained with the personal side of the characters' lives. It is not often Grisham features a woman of color as one of the main characters but he did a very good job portraying Zola in The Rooster Bar. I hope to see her again in a future work of Grisham.

Mystery and legal thriller lovers, add The Rooster Bar to your reading list. It is so worth the read!

Title: The Rooster Bar
Author: John Grisham
Published: October 2017
Pages: 368
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

   

January 24, 2018

The Marriage Lie


No marriage is perfect; but Iris and Will's marriage is close as it can be. Until the morning Will leaves for Orlando on a business trip and another plane headed for Seattle crashes and kills everyone on board. According to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on the Seattle plane. How could that be?

Riddled with confusion and grief, Iris is determined to find out what really happened. Why did Will lie about a business trip? Who is in Seattle? Surely it is a misunderstanding. Iris goes on a quest to see if her marriage is a lie.

Why, oh why, did it take me all damn year long to read this book?! If any book should have been called the next best psycho-thriller, it is The Marriage Lie. I was twisted, shocked and hoodwinked almost the whole book through. It was unputdownable from start to finish. Perfect to read while in for the cold weekend. I won't even tease you with quotes on this one. Go in blind! Trust me!

Title: The Marriage Lie
Author: Kimberly Belle
Published: January 2017
Pages: 352
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

   

January 23, 2018

Lit Tidbits - Nonfiction


Author: Rupi Kaur
Published: October 2017
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ 

I damn near highlighted all of the text in this book of poetry. Only thing left unmarked would've been the art. It is about love, growth, healing and roots. The format is five chapters: wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. How appropriate!










Title: A Good Cry
Author: Nikki Giovanni
Published: October 2017
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ 

No better feeling than to read something by one of the greatest writers ever: Nikki Giovanni. She shares lessons learned by the people who helped shape her. So much truth and inspiration within the pages of this compact book. We really do learn a lot from tears and laughter.










Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Published: March 2017
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ 

Fifteen incredible suggestions on how to empower a daughter to be a strong, proud, independent woman. If anyone questions what being a feminist means, this short book will be a start.











Author: Gabrielle Union
Published: October 2017
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ 

Gabrielle Union was very candid in this collection of essays. She held nothing back and shared stories on her childhood, career, marriage and more. Thanks, girl, for telling us how you really feel!










Author: Gucci Mane with Neil Martinez-Belkin
Published: September 2017
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ 

Even if you don't listen to trap music or never heard of Gucci Mane, read this autobiography! At the very least, it will open your eyes to the struggles of a music artist, a young black man, a drug addict, paranoia and loyalty to a trusted few. This is one of the few autobiographies that I read nonstop. It is written so readers can really see Gucci Mane's transformation to a better, healthier and happier life. Now THAT's real icy!