September 16, 2018

Series Sunday: Name Day


September 16 is the day I was born. The day my first name was given. Without Homie & Chickadee, none of my names would be reality. You are my biggest supporters and I sincerely thank you. Smooches ♠️♥️

  



See Also: Let it Breathe and 313

September 14, 2018

First Lines Friday ~ Nonfiction Culture


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.

"I saw the circle before I saw the kid in the middle. I was nine years old, the summer of 1978, and Marcy was my world." ~ Decoded by Jay-Z (Re-Read)


"Can you recommend a good book? Because I'm a writer, certified book nerd, and all-around bookish enthusiast, people ask me this question all the time. I talk about books like it's my job—and in a sense, it is. I make book recommendations every day." ~ I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel


"On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, I was sitting at my desk in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) in the White House complex, when my assistant, Alexa Pursley, walked in looking perplexed." ~ Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House by Omarosa Manigault Newman

September 13, 2018

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart


"What does it take to make us smile when we feel the sword of anger and hatred sharp against the backs of our peaceful necks?" ~ 54%

Author of Pulitzer Prize-winning The Color Purple, Alice Walker, shares a moving collection of nearly seventy new poems about a life well-lived. The poems are written mainly in 2015-2016. Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart is a peak into her world of love, hope, activism and gratitude. It is a comforting reminder that the arrows we feel in our hearts are not ours alone, but we must learn to remove them.

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart is a bilingual collection. Manuel Garcia Verdecia, a respected poet and writer in Cuba, translated the poems into Spanish. English translation immediately follows each poem in the book. Alice Walker met Manuel back in 1985. Ever since, it has been a renewing spiritual experience working together. I am pleased to learn that Cubans are voracious readers; it makes me want to visit Cuba sooner rather than later. What a pleasure it would be to explore literature there.

"An unbalanced wakefulness can be as treacherous as blind sleep." ~ 30%

Back to the subject at hand...I prepared a tall glass of sweet iced tea, muted all devices and settled in with an advance reader copy (ARC). I expected to be wow-ed. I expected to be in awe. I expected nothing short of greatness. My hopes were met! I took small breaks only to highlight and journal thoughts while reading.

Alice Walker fans, we have been blessed with new free verse. Although some of the poems are written for Muhammad Ali, Jesse Williams, Cynthia Erivo, B.B. King and more public figures, I was able to relate to its meaning. And it didn't go over my head like most poetry or deep prose. No matter the race, gender or political affiliation, Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart is pure inspiration for people of all stages in life. The poems force you to think beyond the page.

"Widespread sorrow and unrest have become the norm of human experience. The world is divided into many groups, many of which are pitted against each other in games of power conditioned by self-interest and expediency. The human family is at a breaking point." ~ 72%

Happy Early Pub Day, Alice Walker. Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart will be available Tuesday, 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: Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart
Author: Alice Walker
Published: October 2018
Pages: 288
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

September 12, 2018

The Dream Daughter


"There were days I missed the comforts of 2018. I missed my laptop computer and cell phone and the Internet more than anything. I missed being able to easily communicate with my friends and clients. I missed being able to look up information in seconds. But 1970 came with a sort of peace I'd never known before despite the turmoil of the war and the racial strife and the startling inequalities. I traded my laptop and cell phone in for a hammock and a book." ~ 12%

How much can one woman take? Carly lost her husband five months ago to the Vietnam War. She is now being told she'll lose her unborn baby as well. It is 1970 and little can be done to fix the heart defect. But her brother-in-law offers hope: he can send her to the year 2001 where medical and scientific advancements are available.

I am not a mother but damn if I wasn't emotionally invested into this book. The Dream Daughter had me on the edge of my reading chair hoping all worked out for the best. Fingers crossed that time travel and an experimental medical procedure really worked to the benefit of a baby's health. The author chose simple dialogue and a glimpse into the mind and uncertainty of a first-time mother thanks to first person narrative. Chamberlain pushed the envelopes of faith and science.

"I did have gumption, didn't I? How many people would leap from an ocean pier in the middle of the night?" ~ 45%

When I know I have a couple free days—as in no work, no plans—I try to pick a book that I can get lost in. A book with a deep enough plot to keep me turning the pages. A book that is worth spending hours reading nonstop. Diane Chamberlain is notorious for writing long stories that touch the heart. But this? This was different from her previous 25 books. She took her time and suspended belief for this one. The Dream Daughter was clearly a well-researched idea and very enjoyable to read. My holiday was by no means wasted!

The Dream Daughter will stick with me long after I've turned the last page. A beautiful reminder that a woman will do anything to save her child, even believing in the unbelievable. Throw misconceived notions out the window and read this new novel.

Happy Early Pub Day, Diane Chamberlain. The Dream Daughter will be available Tuesday, 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: The Dream Daughter
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Published: October 2018
Pages: 384
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

September 11, 2018

The Exes' Revenge


"There's a difference between outside the box and outside the boundaries of sanity." ~ 23%

Three very different women have one thing in common: wanting revenge against the same man. Phillip Rochester is a controlling abusive man. He did not treat any of the women in his life fairly. He chipped away at their self-esteem and used words sharper than a knife blade. The man deserved a slow painful death in my opinion.

Imogene is his current but soon-to-be-ex-wife caught in a messy divorce. He basically put her out of the house and threatened to sue for sole custody of their son. Don't mess with a woman's child; she will snap! And Imogene did. But she was not expecting Phillip's ex-ex-wife and new girlfriend to get tangled up in her plans for revenge. Though he wronged them all, the coincidence was unlikely to be believed.

It is so disappointing when a unique, good storyline falls flat. Something goes awry between the outline and the published book. How does a novel sound so wickedly great in the description but the actual chapters do not support it? Such was the case in Jo Jakeman's debut, The Exes' Revenge. The flow was choppy and the three main characters did not naturally vibe. Yet readers were to consider them a team. Nope, it made the revenge plot seem awkward and forced. Such a struggle to finish reading. But I bet this dark thriller would make a helluva movie! So...

Happy Pub Day, Jo Jakeman! The Exes' Revenge 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 Exes' Revenge
Author: Jo Jakeman
Published: September 2018
Pages: 384
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€

September 9, 2018

Series Sunday: Tethered Souls

(Nine Minutes Spinoff) 

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.

"Some people and relationships aren't meant to be. They're like dead skin. After a while, if you don't slough it off, it starts to itch. When it starts to itch, it annoys and distracts you." ~ 77%

My Series Sunday pick is Tethered Souls, a spinoff novel of the Nine Minutes series by Beth Flynn. Miriam D. Hunter is her name far as everyone's concerned. No one could know her parents' dark background, hence why they left South Florida and never looked back. Death row, murder, robbery, rape and a court case were best kept secret.

Childhood friends, Mimi and Christian, haven't seen each other in years. Not since Mimi's family moved away and they promised to keep in touch. Mimi kept her bargain of the deal and wrote letters but they went unanswered. Until he shows up demanding attention and with secrets of his own.

"The need to possess her, to own her, overwhelmed him with a soul-exposing intensity." ~ 4%

I almost feel ashamed for rooting for these relationships that began as planned abductions. The motorcycle club life is not for the faint of heart. The girls can be too submissive and the guys can be controlling. But I can say their love is on a whole 'nother level that I can't tear my eyes away from reading their stories. I don't understand how to explain this genre: sharp romance? All of their souls bound. *shakes fist at Beth Flynn* Damn, you make characters that I hate to love!

Readers of the Nine Minutes series will be treated with a story of Grizz and Bear's kids. Those unfamiliar with the series can still enjoy Tethered Souls as a standalone novel. Add to your TBR!

Author: Beth Flynn
Published: May 2018
Pages: 426
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

September 7, 2018

First Lines Friday BONUS


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.

"Balancing a tray loaded with dirty glassware, Darrien Summers dodged the masked men and women in evening dress as he made his way through the dining room. The annual Mardi Gras ball at the country club in Williams County, Mississippi, was in full swing, the dance floor so crowded that many guests swayed to the jazz band in the narrow spaces between the tables."

~ Juror #3: Free Preview of First 6 Chapters by James Patterson & Nancy Allen



"Yes, you.
Come here.
Please? I need
to ask you something."

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

September 6, 2018

Something in the Water


"I suppose, at the end of the day, if you're not good-looking, you don't get away with being a bad boy. You just get called a thug." ~ 63%

A honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a couple indefinitely. Erin is a documentary filmmaker married to Mark, an investment banker. They find something in the waters of Bora Bora while scuba diving. It's not their property so do they leave it alone or check it out? Their next decision starts a chain of events that ends with digging a grave.

I am always interested in books that feature a main character working in the world of finance. It was clear that Catherine Steadman did her research and included accurate background information. Or perhaps she was lucky enough to have a close friend/relative that she could run the facts by. Either way, well portrayed.

"He's done garden leave before—everyone who works in the financial sector has to take a mandatory leave between jobs; it's supposed to stop insider trading but it's essentially a two-month paid vacation." ~ pg. 20

Now how can I put this? I tune out any conversation that begins with "at the end of the day" because it irks me to no end. Will the thought change if it were, say...the beginning of a day? Probably not. Could people find a better way to finish an argument? Of course. Urban Dictionary calls it an irritating verbal crutch used by morons and I cannot agree more!

So what do I think about authors that use this annoying phrase in character dialogue? I could certainly do without it. But it fit these characters perfectly. They were idiots from the moment they brought danger home to the very last page. If the author's intent was to make readers dislike the main characters or make an example of what NOT to do while on vacation, then well done. But it took away from the story because I disliked the couple so much. At the same time, it was a page-turner! I couldn't wait to read what they would stupidly do next or if they would finally wise up.

Was this book a waste of my time? By no means! Because at the end of the day, Something in the Water offered me an escape into fiction.

Title: Something in the Water
Author: Catherine Steadman
Published: June 2018
Pages: 342
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

Texas Ranger


"The chorus says that cowboys are never at home and they're always alone, even with someone they love." ~ pg. 91

Texas Ranger was recommended for fans of Alex Cross and Jack Reacher. I absolutely love those two characters in their own right so those are tough shoes to squeeze on swollen toes. When I am out of town, I try to read books in the same setting...so Texas Ranger it is!

Rory Yates is fresh off a case that jeopardized his chances of promotion. He is forced to take some time off and recharge with family in their small hometown. He finds a horrifying crime scene upon his arrival, along with an accusation. He is named a suspect in the murder of his ex-wife.

"That pesky word: jurisdiction. When is anyone going to learn that when there are lives on the line, it shouldn't mean jack shit?" ~ pg. 111

Like a true fuck rules rebel (Jack Reacher), he cannot sit by and let the case solve itself. The detective in him (Alex Cross) starts asking questions and conducting his own investigation. Yates risks his badge, his career and his reputation among everyone he loves to find the killer and clear his own name.

Three days is all it took for Rory Yates to win me over. I wish Patterson would make this a series!

Title: Texas Ranger
Author: James Patterson
Published: August 2018
Pages: 305
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

September 5, 2018

All Your Perfects


"I probably didn't notice because sadness is like a spiderweb. You don't see it until you're caught up in it, and then you have to claw at yourself to try to break free." ~ pg. 93

Quinn and Graham had a perfect love but an imperfect marriage. Memories and secrets built up over the years and are now tearing them apart. Both are committed to saving their marriage though it may be beyond repair. Is love and promises from the past enough to fix the damage?

"If you only shine light on your flaws, all your perfects will dim."
 ~ pg. 10

Oh, bookhearts. How do I explain that All Your Perfects had me all in my feelings? It is a beautiful adult romance guaranteed to evoke emotion. That is all the review you'll get from me. Otherwise, I will go too deep and risk spoilers. Just read it!

Dear Colleen, I don't how you manage to consistently write great novels that focus on women's issues, but thank you. Keep doing you!

Title: All Your Perfects
Author: Colleen Hoover
Published: July 2018
Pages: 218
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

   

You Me Everything


"We're not a family. We are two fragments of a broken couple, superglued together by the most beautiful mistake we ever made." ~ pg. 132

Joy, love and family can be found in the most unexpected places. Jess and her 10-year-old son William spend the summer in a beautiful hotel/restored castle run by William's father, Adam. The grounds are gorgeous. The pool is refreshing. The French food is delectable and the wine selection is endless. Much as Jess wants to relax and enjoy the vacation, she has an urgent mission: make Adam fall in love with their son. But Adam is too pre-occupied with work and a new girlfriend to be bothered. Without being too obvious, Jess tries to encourage a bond between father and son before it's too late.

You Me Everything was everything! What a heart wrenching story of hope, family and togetherness.

Title: You Me Everything
Author: Catherine Isaac
Published: May 2018
Pages: 368
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

September 4, 2018

I Can't Date Jesus


"As previously acknowledged, he must accept BeyoncΓ© as his lord and gyrator. I do not believe in Beytheism. No, no, no." ~ pg. 133

Do you see this title? Read the subtitle too. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Now do you understand why I had to read this new release? It perfectly fits the outspoken person known as Michael Arceneaux. I have followed him on Twitter for quite a while. He is entertaining, funny and a no apologies stan. In this collection of bold essays, released earlier this summer, Michael Arceneaux shares his life experience as a creative gay black man in America. It is far from easy.

"Early self-awareness is a blessing only if who you are comes with a support system and an education." ~ pg. 26

I Can't Date Jesus is written with such candor that it felt like I was just reading a long email from a friend. He writes about growing up in Houston, embracing intimacy and coming into his own identity when the world tells him to do the opposite. As an adult, it is hard to unlearn all the damaging things we were taught as impressionable children. Though he addresses heavy topics like religion, sexual preference and faith, his light humor makes it an easy read. I just wish he wrote more about his writing career and the importance of relocating to fulfill dreams. Fingers crossed that will be the focus of a follow-up book.

"How I wanted to write books and be on television and offer a perspective I felt was missing: working class, southern, Black, gay, country, twerk-friendly, and so forth." ~ pg. 187

This may be Michael Arceneaux's first published book but he is no stranger to writing about social issues. I would recommend I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in BeyoncΓ© for the title alone but the words inside are even better.

It is only right that today I review a book with this title. Happy Born Day, Bey! 🐝

Title: I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in BeyoncΓ©
Author: Michael Arceneaux
Published: July 2018
Pages: 197
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

  

The Proposal


"I don't know if you saw, but the whole proposal has kind of gone viral." ~ 13%

I always wondered what happens when a public proposal goes wrong. Freelance writer Nikole goes to a baseball game with her boyfriend. Little does she know, he chooses this moment to propose in front of 45,000 people and spell her name wrong on the scoreboard! She has no problem saying no. But the reaction from disappointed fans is the worst part.

On a whim, a stranger comes to Nikole's rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He quickly becomes the rebound guy filling her days with food, fun and good sex. Nikole doesn't expect a full blown relationship but soon their hookups become more.

I have the same review of The Proposal as the author's other book The Wedding Date: it was just okay. This author's writing just isn't for me. Perhaps I would have enjoyed The Proposal more if it were a nice short story instead of a full novel. Nevertheless...

Happy Pub Day, Jasmine Guillory! The Proposal 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 Proposal
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Published: September 2018
Pages: 336
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

September 3, 2018

Double Feature Week

Welcome to Double Feature week!

🎡I'm representing for the readers all across the world
(Still) hitting them pages in them chapters, girl🎡

Stay tuned for double the fun and book reviews all week long. Share a post or interact with me on social media to qualify for a special giveaway.

September 2, 2018

Series Sunday: Then Came You

(Accidentally in Love #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.

"On a scale of 'Pray You Catch Me' to 'Freedom' where do you fall on the Lemonading your way through this shit spectrum?" ~ 50%

My Series Sunday pick is Then Came You, the third book in the Accidentally in Love series by Nicole Falls. Damon Patterson is the owner of Sweet Thang Patisserie. His focus is strictly on opening a pastry business. He meets Patricia Payne, a single mom seeking the opposite of a long-term relationship. A chance meeting and immediate attraction launches the two into a friends with benefits situationship. As it sometimes happens, feelings develop. Damon and Patricia fight to keep it cute and casual but love is winning the race.

"This is a pro-Carter household over here."
~ 17%

I buddy read Then Came You with my bestie, Damey. We agree this book is thee choice for a summer feel-good love story. We especially enjoyed all of the BeyoncΓ© references; clearly the author is a stan. I connect most with characters I can relate to: professionally my life is tight but my personal love life is a different beast, much like the characters Nicole Falls created in Then Came You. Add this novel to your TBR whether you are already a fan or new to the series.

Author: Nicole Falls
Published: September 2017
Pages: 221
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€