June 19, 2019

Juneteenth Dedication

Take a moment to reflect, rejoice and celebrate Juneteenth. We are because our ancestors were risk-takers, brave hearts and fearless leaders. Be proud, carry on the legacy and remember those we lost.

06.19.2019 is dedicated to my cousin. Heaven couldn't wait for you.

And to everyone else: Live and Love free-ish! 

  

June 18, 2019

The Escape Room


"How much trouble could four investment bankers get into in a locked elevator?" ~ 96%

An escape room challenge becomes a life-or-death situation. Four young professionals participate in a team-building activity. Emotions and imaginations rise when the lights go out and they are trapped. But the cryptic clues are more like dangerous truths. Terrible deeds they committed climbing up the corporate ladder are revealed. It becomes clear that someone has to die in order for others to survive.

Was it realistic? For sure. Especially for people that have participated in an escape room before with only minutes left on the clock to decipher senseless clues and no escape in sight. Oh, just me? Okay. Well, the feeling of being trapped is real. Teamwork becomes every man looking out for him/herself. Then when you finally escape, you think of how you overanalyzed the whole scenario. Kind of how I felt about this new book. I overanalyzed the storyline so the ending fell flat.

"This is too fucking real for my liking." ~ 11%

There was so much buildup in The Escape Room. Lots of information for readers to wade through. Perhaps it was the author's tactic for a suspenseful thriller; although, it seemed like filler material. It gave me R.L. Stine Fear Street vibes. I loved those but I was not expecting it from The Escape Room. Nevertheless, I finished reading with a sense of nostalgia for the simpler times of thriller. 

Happy Early Pub Day, Megan Goldin. The Escape Room will be available Tuesday, July 30.

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 Escape Room
Author: Megan Goldin
Published: July 2019
Pages: 352
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

June 16, 2019

Series Sunday: The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind

(Unknown Series #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.

My Series Sunday pick is The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind, presumably the first book in a series by Jackson Ford. (It is not categorized as a new series but the story continues in a book to be released later.)

Why did I choose to review an advance copy of The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind? Well the cover grabbed my attention first. Random objects are flying in space such as a pair of Chucks, a rubik's cube, cup of coffee, movie theater popcorn bucket and a yellow rubber ducky. I read the title next and now I am reeled in. This must be good, right?

"Hell has nothing to do with fire." ~ 86%

The ever so witty Teagan Frost has psychokinetic powers. The government uses her secret skill for odd missions. It's all paid fun and games until a dead body turns up at the last job site. Guess who is suspect #1? Teagan has 24 hours to clear her name and protect her beloved hometown of Los Angeles. S/O to Slauson Ave πŸ’™

The easygoing writing style and language makes the main character so darn likable! Too bad this book is better suited for young adults; the dialogue is simplistic with sprinkles of juvenile cursing and the storyline itself is nothing to mull over. Us grown folk will lose interest real fast and grow bored very quickly. If it were not for the main girl, I would have given up reading far sooner. Yes, I like easy reads in the warmer months but not this basic.

If you are looking for a book to occupy a teenager during the summer school break, this is ideal. And just maybe they will be interested in Random Sh*t Flying Through the Air where the story continues.

Happy Early Pub Day, Jackson Ford. The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind will be available Tuesday, June 18.

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.

Author: Jackson Ford
Published: June 2019
Pages: 352
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

June 14, 2019

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.

"It was a midnight like any other at the store. The lights were on out front, the door unlocked, the grate rolled halfway up. Dapper Dan's Boutique was open."

~ Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem by Daniel R. Day 

June 12, 2019

One Night in Georgia


"Not only do we have to contend with white racists, we also have to contend with racism within our own race. The lighter you are, the better you are is slave plantation bullshit." ~ 21%

It is the summer of 1968 (before my time). It is an unfortunate part of our history marked by the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., race riots and political protests. Zelda Livingston, Veronica Cook and Daphne Brooks head to Atlanta for their senior year at Spelman College.

As is the case for most longtime friends, the three women come from different backgrounds. Zelda comes from a line of freedom riders. Veronica grew up privileged and wealthy, strongly believing in racial uplift. Daphne lost her black mother to suicide and was abandoned by her white father. These young black women have every intention to create lasting memories on this road trip.

I cannot imagine having to travel with a special guidebook to find racially friendly gas stations, food or rest stops. Yet these women had to. Things start going awry as they reach the Mason-Dixon line. A racially hostile situation leaves a white person dead and one of the girls holding the smoking gun.

"Do something spontaneous for once in your boring life. Don't think, do." ~ 6%

Chickadee and I often talk about how not much has really changed between the 60s and today. The world is still divided by race. Blacks are still stereotyped and wronged. Black men are often mistaken for real criminals all because of a general description. And Black women hold families together carrying the burdens on their bare shoulders. It is disheartening. Reading what little I did of One Night in Georgia was a reminder.

If that was not clear enough, let me say it directly: I DNF (did not finish) One Night in Georgia. The premise seemed promising but it was way too much dialogue. Enough saying; more describing! I read further than my 50-Page Rule because I really wanted to get through it but nope. I hope someone else has better luck getting through it.

Happy Early Pub Day, Celeste O. Norfleet. One Night in Georgia will be available Tuesday, June 18.

Disclaimer: This book was received directly from 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: One Night in Georgia
Author: Celeste O. Norfleet
Published: June 2019
Pages: 304
Edition: Galley
Rating: DNF

June 11, 2019

Recursion


"The neural impulses from your taste buds and your ears get transmitted to your brain, which processes them and dumps them into working memory—so by the time you know you're experiencing something, it's already in the past. Already a memory." ~ pg. 37

What makes a woman leap to her death from a Manhattan rooftop? Something called False Memory Syndrome. Law officer Barry Sutton begins to investigate her suicide and this mysterious disease that afflicts people with vivid memories of a life they actually never lived.

Meanwhile, neuroscientist Helena Smith is developing technology that allows people to relive memories and possibly remake them. If all goes well, her mother and other patients will be able to remember a time before dementia and Alzheimer's. Imagine if we could go back in time and re-do moments of our lives. Make different decisions. Accept offers. Avoid bad choices. Decline a path taken. Spend more or less time with people. Just imagine! Well through the narration of Barry and Helena's alternate chapters, readers get a glimpse at what could be.


"Fearlessly genre-bending, consistently surprising" is a blurb by Karin Slaughter used to describe Blake Crouch's new novel, Recursion. Truer words were never spoken about this new book. It cannot fit into a genre box. It's a little bit of realism in a fiction setting with a science fiction base and moments of suspense. Most of all, it is downright unputdownable!

I thought Blake Crouch was at his best with Dark Matter, which still holds a place in my mind. But Recursion took me for an inescapable loop. It is the kind of book I carried and broke out reading everywhere! Any lull in my day for a solid week was filled with reading about Helena and Barry. Oh, how I wish we get to see these characters again. Especially after that ending that left me flipping invisible pages for more!

Need I say more, bookhearts? Add Recursion to your TBR with an open mind. Be prepared to throw away your concept of time, memory and reality.

Happy Pub Day, Blake Crouch! Recursion is available today.

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: Recursion
Author: Blake Crouch
Published: June 2019
Pages: 324
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

June 9, 2019

Series Sunday: A Prince on Paper

(Reluctant Royals #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 A Prince on Paper, the third book in the Reluctant Royals series by Alyssa Cole. I don't usually do this but I read out of order. What had happened was I started reading the first eBook of series, A Princess in Theory, when I got the opportunity to read an advance copy of the newest book, A Prince on Paper. So I put the first book on hold and dived into the third. Yes, completely skipping the second book but I was surprisingly not lost.

Nya Jerami is looking for her Prince Charming. So far he only exists in a virtual dating game. But when Nya returns home to Thesolo for a royal wedding, she finds the real-life celebrity prince she loves to hate. Meanwhile, Johan von Braustein is playing games with paparazzzi. He even creates a fake engagement! Readers will root for their fake romance to become a happily-ever-after.

"Reassurance had never felt so shitty." ~ 26%

The series jumped left. It is no fault to the author though; the writing is on point. It was the characters and main storyline that barely held my attention. Maybe because I was so into the first book when I put it aside to start this one. For lack of a better word, A Prince on Paper felt silly. I am a series addict but this is not the book for me. Regardless...

Happy New Pub, Alyssa Cole! A Prince on Paper 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.

Author: Alyssa Cole
Published: April 2019
Pages: 381
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

June 7, 2019

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.

"Before noon the residents of Central Harlem were already stewing in the sweltering mid-August heat. It was the hottest summer on record, with unrelenting temperatures that tipped close to 100 degrees."

~ One Night in Georgia by Celeste O. Norfleet 

June 5, 2019

Have for Half

So in an effort to save money and not be wasteful, I am challenging myself: Have for Half.

For the second half of 2019, I will not spend money on things I already have. I admit to buying things I do not need just because it is on sale. And surely I cannot be the only person that gets carry-out immediately after buying groceries. Because who wants to go home, put groceries away AND cook dinner? Well no more.

Instead of stimulating the f'ed up economy, I will stimulate my savings. When I have the urge to buy something I already have, I will transfer half of the cost to a savings account. Then use the extra money for vacay/travel expenses, paying down debt and retirement fund. Here are specific rules I have set for the next six (6) months:


  • Eat the food I already have. For example, no more Del Taco if I already have ground beef in the freezer and taco fixings in the fridge. No more large sweet teas from McDonalds when I have a variety of loose teas at home to make a pitcher full. No more eating out of a fast food bag when fresh fruit and veggies are ripe for eating at home.
  • Wear the shoes I already have. After organizing my shoe closet, I counted 83 pairs of shoes. This includes sandals, boots, flats, sneakers and (majority) heels. I don't count flip flops because I don't consider them real shoes; fight me IDC. Anyway, I can only wear one pair at a time and really, how many pairs of black pumps does a chick really need?
  • Wear the clothes I already have. Another bad habit is buying a new outfit for special events. Or worse, buying the same item of clothing in all available colors. Why come if I already have dresses for all occasions, umpteen jeans, a multitude of sweaters, shirts for days, tons of pants both business and casual, tanks in damn near every style and color, and dresser drawers full of more clothes? Most importantly, I don't need to buy another piece of clothing because πŸ—£MY MAMA IS A SEAMSTRESS! 
  • Wear the jewelry I already have. Everyone knows jewelry is an investment. You are never broke if you have gold, silver and diamonds. It does not help that I am an accessories gal that loves bling. But there is really no point in buying more Alex & Ani bracelets, for example, when I already have over a dozen. I don't need to wear a ring on every finger and five gold chains looking like Mrs. T out in these streets. 
  • Listen to the music I already have. I pay $9.99/month for Tidal. There is no logical reason in spending an additional $1.29 for singles or whole albums on iTunes. I understand artists should be supported for their music so I'mma just keep listening to music through the streaming service only. They collect more royalties and sales via Tidal anyway.
  • Read the books I already have. If you cannot already tell, I have a black belt in reading. I get plenty free books for review purposes and own enough books that I have an actual library at home. So why do I still stalk Amazon for book deals and purchase in one click? I have at least 80 unread books so need to read what I already got! 
  • Use the skincare products I already have. Yeah so I kinda hoard skincare/hair products. Masks, cleansers, facial mists, pore strips, aromatherapy oils, toners/astringents, scrubs, body butters, beauty bars, smell goods, perfumes, lipsticks, balms, glosses, blushes, eyeshadows, hand creams, edge control gels, blasΓ© blah. I seriously have enough to last a lifetime. I don't care what new product line is hitting the stores or what the next "micellar water" trendy item for the summer is...don't need it.
  • And to keep it all the way real, wear the hair I already have. 🀣

Blogmoiring about this personal challenge will hold me accountable. But I need your help. Check on a chick! See if I am sticking to my Have for Half plan. Or better yet, join me! Let us do better together.

  

June 4, 2019

In West Mills


"She love them damn books of hers more'n she love me." ~ 11%

Did you ever read The Turner House? What about The Twelve Tribes of Hattie? Well, this new novel appropriately called In West Mills is of the same vein. It is an intimate story about a woman nicknamed "Knot" that no one understands but accepts as a member of their rural community. Sheeeeeit, Knot can barely understand herself but she is determined to live life as she sees fit. Oftentimes, that means moonshine, literature and male company.

Never mind the town gossip. It means nothing in comparison to Knot's family disowning her. Having no communication with her family back home and living alone in a shack, she relies on her neighbor, Otis Loving. But Otis is so eager to help that he unknowingly puts his wife and family second to Knot. This is oh-so-apparent thanks to the author's writing style. The story is set in a majority black community— dubbed West Mills—in rural North Carolina. It covers decades: 1941-1987 so readers can see how much time passes but little as nothing changed. And there is never a dull chapter.

"And ain't nobody studdin' you and them 'ol secrets you got." ~ 60%

In West Mills deserves more credit than my review can offer. It brings about issues in the black community, the importance of communication and how we are quick to ASSume a situation. The storytelling is smooth and the main characters are well defined. My only negative feedback is the dialogue was hard to read in beginning. As chapters went on, I still was used to the language so it slowed my reading down a bit. However, the story wouldn't have been the same with formal words showing no southern accents. The author knew what he was doin'

Happy Debut Pub Day, De'Shawn Charles Winslow! In West Mills 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: In West Mills
Author: De'Shawn Charles Winslow
Published: June 2019
Pages: 272
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

June 2, 2019

Series Sunday: The Seduction Expert

(The Seduction Expert #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.

My Series Sunday pick is The Seduction Expert, the first book in series of same name by Saya Lopez Ortega. One of the most anticipated romance books of 2019 is a stretch but it is entertaining. Just look at the cover! It has the image of a shiny red stiletto over a skyline—very Sex and the City-ish.

Have you ever heard of a seduction expert? Women hire Baroness to take control of their love lives. She handles their single status, relationships, breakups and affairs. She is a superwoman that dedicates her life in service to helping women succeed in seduction. Her network includes a clever attorney and a devoted assistant. But an unexpected encounter flips Baroness' carefully planned personal life and business all around.

"When clients foolishly think they can teach you your job." ~ 18%

I would not characterize this book as plain romance. It is more romance-with-a-twist. Without giving the plot away, it chronicles the business and personal life of Baroness with little detailed focus of her clients. And thank goodness because a couple of the women seemed too desperate, clueless or silly. Baroness' life was far more interesting and the writing just flowed.

It is not often I wish this but...The Seduction Expert could have been 100 pages longer. Kudos to the author for creating a hate-to-love main character and a helluva cliffhanger. It literally ends with "To Be Continued" so come on with it! Give me more of this series please.

Happy Debut, Saya Lopez Ortega. The Seduction Expert 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.

Author: Saya Lopez Ortega
Published: May 2019
Pages: 178
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

May 31, 2019

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.

"Dear readers, it's been four years since my last novel...but in those four years, it feels like the world has changed for all of us, but especially for women."

~ Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

May 29, 2019

Searching for Sylvie Lee


"When somebody disappears and does not return within three days, there are usually only four main possibilities: suicide, murder, kidnapping, or flight." ~ pg. 103

Much is to be said about a book named "most anticipated" by publications such as Marie Claire, New York Post, Huffington Post, Book Riot, Goodreads, Popsugar and Thrilllist. The excitement really builds when the description alone is a gripping tale. It is further confirmation when an advance copy is granted by the publisher. Which leads me to this moment...reviewing one of the best books I have read so far in 2019.

Sylvie is the successful older daughter of the Lee family. She was raised by a relative in a foreign place—the only Asians in the area—until she rejoined her family in America at age nine. Too young to understand that her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep her. Far as Sylvie is concerned, she was not invited back home until she was needed to help care for younger sister, Amy.

Amy has always looked up to Sylvie. She showered her big sister with adoration and unconditional love. She is affected the most when Sylvie visits their dying grandmother back home and then disappears. Overcoming her fear of traveling alone, Amy boards a flight and retraces her sister's movements in a foreign land. Nothing is simple; she uncovers deeply rooted family secrets and the painful truth.

"I think that wherever you are, to live in the world as a white person is a completely different experience than a person of color. Discrimination is invisible to them because it does not affect them." ~ pg. 214

Jean Kwok masterfully leads readers down a road of mystery into the lives of a Chinese immigrant family. In Searching for Sylvie Lee, she illustrates how different a situation may be for a non-citizen. How procedures can change on foreign land. How language is a hinderance when not understood or communicated properly. But also, Kwok shows how even families can lose their identity.

The chapters alternate between narrators in a near daily account. Usually this confuses my sometimes simple mind and I tend not to like past-present storytelling with multiple points of view. However, it works in this novel. In fact, the story couldn't have been told any other way. We discover the truth at the same moment the characters do, making this a suspenseful page-turner.

"Efficiency infused with a careless insouciance." ~ pg. 183

Searching for Sylvie Lee was my companion on the treadmill for a good week. I walked for miles and burned hundreds of calories without realizing because I was so into this complicated immigrant family. At just over 300 pages, it is the perfect length. I was not quite ready to let go of the characters but the ending was right on time.

I finished reading with a message loud and clear: culture can divide us. How appropriate in today's times! So if you have not guessed already, I definitely recommend spending your coin on this new family drama/mystery novel by an author of color.

Happy Early Pub Day, Jean Kwok! It was so nice to interact with you on Twitter. Searching for Sylvie Lee will be available Tuesday, June 4.

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: Searching for Sylvie Lee
Author: Jean Kwok
Published: June 2019
Pages: 304
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

May 28, 2019

This Stolen Life


"You chose me as an asset?" ~ 79%

Soma is a shy young woman in a new country. She moved from Sri Lanka to Yorkshire, U.K. to become a nanny. Every day is a challenge. Imagine learning a new language, trying new food and adapting to different living routines. Who has time for love? But she cannot help emotions when she has an instant attraction to her employer's cousin. Though hiding her past may pose an issue.

A story that started off compelling turned into meh. While the characters were relatable and the culture of Sri Lanka was well detailed, the story itself turned out just okay. We all know the past comes back to haunt so I would have liked a more unpredictable ending.

This Stolen Life 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: This Stolen Life
Author: Jeevani Charika
Published: May 2019
Pages: 282
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

May 26, 2019

Series Sunday: Rebel

(Women Who Dare #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.

My Series Sunday pick is Rebel, the first book in the new Women Who Dare series by Beverly Jenkins. We are introduced to a new historical character: 28-year-old Valinda Lacy, set in New Orleans, 1867. It is the aftermath of the Civil War. The backdrop is a busy city of newly freedmen, ambitious women of color, wealth and societal class.

Val is temporarily in town for one sole mission: to educate newly emancipated adults and young children. Her intended husband is away securing a newspaper deal so she has limited time to teach the community before heading back north. Then danger strikes. After discovering her school is destroyed, Val is cornered by sinister men who intend her harm. A brave man named Captain Drake LeVeq comes to her rescue.

"The thought came to her that no man had the right to be so handsome, observant, or have the ability to charm her so effortlessly." ~ 45%

The handsome Drake recognizes Val's determination to succeed and help the community. His own mission as an architect is to rebuild New Orleans. He absolutely admires Val but knows she is intended for another. But maybe he can convince her to believe in a love match rather than marry another man out of obligation.

Rebel is so well written. It is informational, captivating, romantic and funny at times. It also addresses racially charged situations and the power of passion. In such a cynical time when marriages were arranged, it gives light to relationships made out of genuine love. Most importantly, this new novel features a strong black woman determined to better her surroundings and not afraid to rebel when necessary. She is certainly a woman who dares!

Once again, I look forward to the history lessons behind every new historical fiction book written by Ms. Bev. Rebel is no exception. The years 1863-1877 are known as the Reconstruction Era in America. Such promise for our nation! Yet here we are today in 2019...

Happy Early Pub Day, Ms. Bev! Rebel will be available Tuesday, May 28.

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: Rebel
Author: Beverly Jenkins
Published: May 2019
Pages: 384
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

May 24, 2019

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.

"We should start back," Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them. "The wildlings are dead."

~ A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I'm baaaaack! Fresh off the HBO Game of Thrones fleet. Perhaps the book that started it all will give me greater satisfaction than the final season. πŸ™„

April 10, 2019

Nonstop

Let's take a pause from book and migraine talk.

Remember the old days of recording on VHS tapes? Then upgrading to DVR with the ability of fast-forwarding through commercials? Technology has spoiled us. Instead of watching a TV show week-to-week, waiting seven whole days for a cliffhanger to be addressed, streaming services have taken over. We can binge-watch whole seasons! We can sit for hours watching episode after episode, lifting a finger only to click "yes, I am still watching."

Below are shows I am enjoying this spring season and consider binge-worthy.

What do you watch nonstop?

  • The Good Fight ~ I love and hate CBS. Love that a non-censored legal drama features a majority black cast starring the intelligent Cush Jumbo, the striking Audra McDonald, coming into her own Rose Leslie, Nigerian actor Nyambi Nyambi, sassy Sarah Steele, Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart and THEE Delroy Lindo. Hate CBS for charging an access fee to watch exclusively online. It is worth every bit of ratings and gives no fucks when it comes to politics, current events and language. This show needs more exposure for its greatness! 
  • The Resident ~ I may call Conrad "Cary Agos from The Good Wife" but he has single-handedly made this new medical show a favorite. The cast is colorful too with Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Manish Dayal and Shaunette RenΓ©e Wilson.
  • Shameless ~ Season 9 just wrapped and I already miss this shameless family. The heavy themes include alcohol addiction, mental illnesses, teenage pregnancy, abandonment, imprisonment, interracial relationships, lesbian/gay relationships, entrepreneurship, parenthood, sibling reliability and anything else you can think of. 
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel ~ My timeline is responsible for half of the shit I watch. If it weren't for the online buzz, I would not have started watching this hilarious, set in the 1950s web series.
  • Grey's Anatomy ~ The longest running medical drama for good reason. New episodes still steal my breath away and hold my attention.
  • This Is Us ~ The evolution of Randall and Beth's relationship is probably the best episode yet. I am guaranteed an hour of good TV whenever this show airs.
  • 9-1-1 on Fox ~ The emergencies are ludicrous and sometimes so fake it is comical. But the personal lives of the rescue and police team are what make this show a must-watch.
  • American Gods ~ So good that we podcast it: Sistah Speak: American Gods
  • Black Monday ~ I will watch anything with Don Cheadle. Periodt.
  • Game of Thrones ~ What are you doing on 04.14.2019 at 9pm ET?
  

April 9, 2019

Before We Were Wicked


"When the sun went down, the needs came out to breathe." ~ 5%

One moment can alter the course of your life. Ken Swift is out hurting people for cash to pay his way through college when he lays eyes on Jimi Lee. He playfully claims to be her boyfriend on the first chance meeting but the intention is a one-night stand. He has college to finish and Jimi Lee is heading for Harvard after a gap year in native land. Neither have time for a committed relationship. But their sexual chemistry is too strong. When Jimi Lee becomes pregnant, their different worlds become forever entwined leading to a cultural clash, passion, infidelity and raw emotion.

This is what a prequel looks like! Before We Were Wicked is a full introduction to Ken Swift. No guesswork; this character is fleshed out well. It begins in the 90s when pagers were a means of communication and internet chat rooms were a thing. It flows right into the first page of Bad Men and Wicked Women which was released exactly one year ago.

Eric Jerome Dickey is known for writing expertly from a woman's point of view. But this prequel is a reminder that the author can write just as well in a male's voice. In fact, it gave me insight into a man's inner thoughts while in a relationship. For that alone, Before We Were Wicked is worth reading.

"People never talked about the stress a man felt when he was trying to keep the ship from sinking, when he felt like he was on the Titanic throwing water out with a teacup, and no one was helping him keep what he had afloat. It felt like for every cup of water I threw away, someone threw in two gallons of piss." ~ 72%

Bookhearts, you have exactly one week to gather your coins. Reserve a weekend to read this star-crossed love lust novel because you will not put it down.

Happy Early Pub Day, Eric Jerome Dickey! Before We Were Wicked will be available Tuesday, April 16. You're welcome for the love and turkey bacon. πŸ˜‰

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: Before We Were Wicked
Author: Eric Jerome Dickey
Published: April 2019
Pages: 368
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

   

April 7, 2019

Series Sunday: The 18th Abduction

(Women's Murder Club #18) 

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 The 18th Abduction, the 18th book in the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro. Five years ago, Detective Lindsay Boxer teamed up with husband Joe Molinari to protect San Francisco from an international war criminal. A case of three missing teachers turn into murder, prostitution, strippers, steakhouse and more.

"Schoolteachers doing double duty as naughty girls." ~ pg. 291

It usually takes the entire Women's Murder Club to solve a mystery but not this time. Reporter Cindy Thomas still takes any surprising revelation she can get on the record. Yuki is only present during customary beer/lunch breaks and one brief chapter. But Claire, as Medical Examiner, plays a key role. Other characters to the forefront in The 18th Abduction are Lindsay's partner Conklin, boss Jacobi and husband Joe. It's just Lindsay and the guys!

Listen. I read this book in one day. Patterson & Paetro used all the writing tools for this new release: suspense, action, realistic crime, multiple settings, reader engagement and trademark short chapters. Good thing I didn't have any plans except to take cold meds, nap, read, eat soup, repeat.

"I wasn't yet convinced that the dots, in fact, connected."
 ~ pg. 200

Fans of the Women's Murder Club series will be pleased with this new release. It is definitely good enough to hold us until the next book is released later this year. You may not like how the Club takes a backseat to Joe Molinari but it is worth it in the end. I enjoyed every page! It earned a spot on my top series reads of the year already. Yeah, that good!

Side Note: Why are books often available in the UK before the US? For example, The 18th Abduction was released on March 7 there but will not be published until April 29 here. And as evidenced in the US vs. UK bookish meme, the covers are different and sometimes better. I'm just saying...

Author: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Published: March 2019
Pages: 348
Edition: UK eBook
Challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

  

April 5, 2019

First Lines Friday


First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"Everyone hated a fat woman, but none more than she hated herself."

~ Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers