December 8, 2019

Series Sunday: Criss Cross

(Alex Cross #27) 


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.

"Was I a stand-up guy? I'd cut corners. I'd planted evidence. Was I one hundred percent blue? And what would it do to me if M somehow revealed my darkest secret?" ~ pg. 248

My Series Sunday pick is Criss Cross, the 27th book in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson. The book hit different when the master detective is the subject of the investigation. The story begins with Alex and his partner, John Sampson, witnessing the execution of a killer they helped to convict. Hours later they are called to the scene of a copycat crime. A note signed by "M" is found on the corpse, then again near severed heads and other homicides. Was an innocent man put to death?

I have never seen Alex Cross this numb, this off his game, this behind on a case to let a criminal outfox him over and over again. The villian, simply known as M, ran circles around my favorite fictional detective. And James Patterson, in his signature short chapters, wrote just the right amount of suspense to work readers' investigative minds. I swear I was the fourth partner, trying to solve the mystery along with Alex, Bree and Sampson.

Meanwhile Alex's younger son, Ali, is featured in the subplot. He has a new obsession with riding mountain bikes and meets a training mentor. It was a little out of character for Alex to be okay with Ali riding with a strange adult man. That aside, it was nice to read more about Ali in Criss Cross before reading his new self-titled young adult series. Maybe his biological mama will, at the least, be mentioned there. Stay tuned for my review of Ali Cross in the new year.

"It was maddening to think that M was staying three steps ahead of me. Or was he three steps behind, following me?" ~ pg. 182

I see what James Patterson is doing with Criss Cross. This latest relese is for the Alex Cross fans. Several past cases are referenced so a newbie would be lost. There is no obligatory paragraph introducing the main or supporting characters. You either know them or you don't. I guess Patterson figures if you haven't read his shit by now...🤷🏽‍♀️ After all, Criss Cross is #27 in a series.

So I am going to follow his lead. If you are an Alex Cross fan, do not skip this one. I suggest a reading buddy (Hey, Chickadee, Hey 👋🏽) so you can discuss the mystery, possible suspects and remind each other of good 'ole Kyle Craig. If you are new to the series, start at the very beginning and work your way current. Consider it marked with my stamp of recommendation!

Title: Criss Cross
Author: James Patterson
Published: November 2019
Pages: 387
Edition: Hardcover
Challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

 

December 6, 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 had been three days since my friend disappeared and I was starting to think the worst might have happened."

~ Ali Cross by James (Jimmy) Patterson 

 

December 3, 2019

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick


"Stepped on a tin, mah story ends." ~ 65%

Zora Neale Hurston made a name for herself in the 1920s. She was the only black student at Barnard College. During this time, she wrote short stories to capture African American culture. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is a collection of eight (8) stories found in the archives. Themes include love, independence, migration, racism and social class.

Bookhearts, this review is difficult. How do you rate a new release by a deceased legendary author? A writer of remarkable classics. One of the greats! How do you rate a new book filled with all the elements of a Harlem Renaissance novel but is not easy to follow?

"Ah dont keer HOW yuh take it." ~ 43%

There are a couple stories that touched the literary side of my heart. Other stories that were just okay. However, I struggled through the entire collection because of the dialogue. It totally threw me off. I understand the language is indicative of how people spoke during this time, but it was so hard to keep up with. I spent more time trying to decipher a sentence than enjoying the story itself. This definitely took the pleasure out of my reading experience.

The cover is a work of colorful art though. So eye-catching! And I found the title fitting once I finally completed the short story collection. Is this enough reason to read a book? Well, it is your choice. Go ahead and pre-order. Or wait to read other reviews. Then decide if this collection of short stories from the Harlem Renaissance tickles your fancy.

Happy Early Pub Day to the late Zora Neale Hurston! Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick will be available Tuesday, January 7, 2020.

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: Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick
Author: Zora Neale Hurston
Published: January 2020
Pages: 192
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤

 

December 1, 2019

Series Sunday: Little Fires Everywhere

(Little Fires Everywhere - HULU TV) 


Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read or watch an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

My Series Sunday pick is Little Fires Everywhere, the television mini-series based on the novel, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I am already pleased with the few details that have been released; for example, the casting seems on point. It will star Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon. There is no firm premiere date but the series is set to air on HULU in early 2020.

Bookhearts, if you have not yet read this book after my high praise recommendation back in 2017, then do so before the eight (8) episode mini-series airs. Circle back so we can chat!

 

November 29, 2019

First Lines *Black* 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.

I am not reading anything today but Black Friday sales ads and price tags. Tis the Season!

 

November 26, 2019

JAY-Z: Made in America


"Meanwhile, Jay is ambushed by double entendres, and instead of turning them over to English authorities, he plays judge and jury and gives them long sentences." ~ 29%

Your fave could never be labeled one of the best poets ever. Your fave would not publicly apologize to his wife via a whole album. Your fave is not the fifth black billionaire. Surely your fave could not stay relevant for so long. Your fave just cannot. Periodt.

From rap to boardroom to his own lane, JAY-Z is deeper than just a former street hustler turned rapper. He beat the odds! So when I got the opportunity to read and review an advance copy of JAY-Z: Made in America, being the superfan that I am, imagine my glee!

Writer Michael Eric Dyson delves into the biggest themes of JAY-Z's career, from hustling to rapping to boardroom to art collector and more. His music mirrors his life. However, Dyson takes it a step further. He examines the role that JAY-Z plays in our society today while relating the music to themes such as politics, race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. Dyson also highlights the many accomplishments and business ventures. With a Foreword by Pharrell, this nonfiction read will feel like a master class on one of the greatest artists of our time.

"What's better than one billionaire? Two. 'Specially if they're from the same hue as you. Y'all stop me when I stop tellin' the truth." ~ 89%

Let me break down this recommendation. For general music or memoir fans, this book will give perspective on lyrics as it relates to JAY-Z's life over the years—both personally and professionally. For fans, you may get insight into the meaning behind some of JAY-Z's bars.

For Hov stans, like myself, you will devour this book. You will start reading from the very beginning word until the very last, follow along with playing the corresponding tracks, digest the interpreted lyrics, enjoy the hip-hop references and admire JAY-Z's brilliance. All along thanking Dyson for bringing a few things to your attention.

"His rolling or clipped cadences, his dense or simple descriptions, his slow or sped-up observations about life unfurl like a thickly knitted quilt cast over shivering bones." ~ 4%

I cannot imagine the amount of research that went into the publication of JAY-Z: Made in America. But it is quite evident that Dyson left no stone unturned in his analysis study. In fact, I suggest it as prerequisite reading before listening, at length, to classic albums like The Blueprint, 4:44 and Reasonable Doubt. This book will help music listeners know and understand what they're listening to (without skimming through it) and provide reason as to why JAY-Z is influential in America. Minus the few tangents of hip-hop history or politics, Dyson could not have written this any better!

Happy Pub Day, Michael Eric Dyson! JAY-Z: Made in America 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: JAY-Z: Made in America
Author: Michael Eric Dyson
Published: November 2019
Pages: 240
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

 

November 24, 2019

Series Sunday: Cleaning the Gold

(Jack Reacher #23.6) 


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 Cleaning the Gold, book #23.6 in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child and Karin Slaughter. Why did I just discover this mid-series-mini-collabo-whatever-you-call-it short story? It is perfect to finish off my Perpetual Jack Reacher reading challenge for the year. Just published in the spring, apparently it has been years in the making but escaped my notice until now.

"The last pieces of the puzzle: Former MP. Currently homeless. Mercenary. Ass kicker. Gold cleaner. Cop Killer." ~ pg. 22

Will Trent goes undercover at Fort Knox. His current assignment is investigating a 22-year-old murder. The suspect is Jack Reacher, also in Fort Knox bringing down a dangerous criminal ring operation in the military. Though there is a bigger conspiracy at play that force the two men to team up and play nice...for now.

Authors Lee Child and Karin Slaughter are friends and fans of each other's writing. Of course they've had conversations on what their series characters would do if they met. Welp, it happens here! Jack Reacher meets Will Trent in Cleaning the Gold. It is fifty (50)* pages of not knowing who wrote what and watching a friendship unfold between legendary characters. I may not care for the cover (bye, flag) but the content sure held my attention. Glad I came across this one!

Authors: Lee Child & Karin Slaughter 
Published: May 2019
Pages: 81 (31 pages of sneak peek, authors' letter & fluff)*
Edition: eBook
Challenge: Perpetual Jack Reacher
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

 

November 22, 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) or adaptation.
  • Share the first line(s) of the show/movie.
  • Include the title and author.

"I should have known that you would be here." 

The E! channel is playing not one, not two, but ALL six of the Harry Potter movies! My DVR is about to be so full. I should probably start reading the box set now. 

 

November 19, 2019

Life of a Migraineur: Rules


  • Get 8-10 hours of sleep.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • No extremities.
  • Beware of sensitive skin.
  • Do not eat chocolate.
  • Avoid strong smells and loud noise.
  • Avoid bright light and sun glare.
  • Stay inside if high barometric pressure.
  • Not too much or too little caffeine.
  • Take daily meds on time.
  • Do not look forward to events.
  • Be prepared to miss out on life.
  • Appreciate every pain-free second.
  • No stress...PERIODT.

November 17, 2019

Series Sunday: Dirty Daniel

(Mickey Stanislawsky #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 Dirty Daniel, the first book in the Mickey Stanislawsky series by Jennifer Lewis Williams. Oh, how I love new series! They bring new adventure to the fictional side of my brain and a bright smile on my face. What makes Dirty Daniel so special is the author. I know when I pick up a Jennifer Lewis Williams novel, that I am in for a twisted mystery featuring colorful characters.

"A deacon's job is never done." ~ 50%

Meshelle "Mickey" Stanislawsky is a new detective. She is assigned her first murder case barely one hour into the position. A janitor at the New Birth Free Pentecostal Church was found dead. No blood, no prints, no wounds. There is a congregation full of shady suspects; everyone from the Reverend to the widow seems to be hiding dirty secrets of the victim's and their own.

Let me set the stage of my reading experience of Dirty Daniel. I purposely waited until the weekend to start reading. I did not want to limit my reading time because of an early morning. I poured a glass of wine and made a snack plate of colby jack cheese, hard salami, sweet hot mustard and a sleeve of Ritz everything-flavored crackers. I had no plans other than getting lost in this new novel.

"The authorities knew who ordered the deed, but they could not prove it. Someday, I will. You can believe that." ~ 20%

Like most good mysteries, I started page one and kept reading until the wee hours of the night. I did not realize it was almost two in the a.m. until I got up for water. I checked my progress and saw how engrossed I was into the fictional life of Mickey, her ex-boyfriend-now-detective-partner and her first murder case. I read half of the book in one sitting!

Mickey is a strong, smart, bi-racial woman. Even though the story is told in third person, the author shares Mickey's inner thoughts with readers. Along with her detective skills and will to solve cases, Mickey is a keeper at both the Peaceton Police Department and my home library. I am looking forward to the next installment of this well-paced series and highly recommend Dirty Daniel for my mystery bookhearts.

Title: Dirty Daniel
Author: Jennifer Lewis Williams
Published: October 2019
Pages: 196
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

 

November 15, 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.

"I was born without a voice, one cold, overcast day in Brooklyn, New York. No one ever spoke of my condition."

~ A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

 

November 13, 2019

Lit Tidbits: Pithy Picks II


Title: The Winner
Author: David Baldacci
Published: December 1997
Pithy Review: LuAnn Tyler won the lottery! She always dreamed of a better life for her and infant daughter. Far away from their small town and her no-good boyfriend. But there's a catch with the winning ticket: leave the U.S. forever and change her identity. But it becomes a high-stakes game when she breaks the promise that made her rich. Now the lottery winner has to fight a financial mastermind. This book was a buddy read with Chickadee and a colleague. What a spin it took us!
Quote Grab"All of these illusions would be remembered by even the most casual observer." ~ pg. 9
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: Eff This! Meditation
Author: Liza Kindred
Published: October 2019
Pithy Review: This book was like a gift I didn't know I needed. It takes a lot for me to focus and sit still long enough to meditate. My mind doesn't turn off completely. But the 108 tips, tricks, ideas and lessons within are powerful tools that actually helped me. Good for those feeling down, anxious, stressed or overwhelmed. Thanks to the author for my meditation break-through. I will refer to this book for months to come.
Quote Grab"Take a digital detox day." ~ pg. 114 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: Even the Stars Look Lonesome
Author: Maya Angelou
Published: April 2014
Pithy Review: What is Africa to me? How poor were you? What problems does fame bring? Can you sing the praises of sexuality? These are just a few questions asked while Maya Angelou talks about things she cares about most. Her wisdom on such a wide variety of topics is a gift for my soul. 
Quote Grab"No, I am merely observing that paltry creatures such as ourselves, who labor two-thirds of our lives to oppose gravity and remain erect, require some time to laze on sofas, relax before fireplaces, to recline on white beaches under a benevolent sun." ~ pg. 51
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: You Won't See Me Coming
Author: Kristen Orlando
Published: January 2019
Pithy Review: L The first two books of this series were outstanding! So I didn't expect the final book of trilogy to disappoint much as it did. Reagan and Luke are walking targets forced into hiding. The plan is to keep a quiet safe live. But when someone close to the pair is being kidnapped, they defy all Black Angel orders and risk blowing their cover. Why won't this girl just sit down somewhere and chill?! 
Quote Grab"Disappointed. One of the worst words a parent could say." ~ pg. 61 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️


Title: Hurricanes
Author: Rick Ross & Neil Martinez-Belkin
Published: September 2019
Pithy Review: Rapper Ricky Rozay chronicles his life amid Miami's crack epidemic and his rise to fame. Candid. Vivid. Controversial. This revealing memoir is all that with no apologies. He could've wore a shirt on the book cover though. From a young age to current day, Rick Ross paid close attention to the smallest of details and made methodical moves. That's a Virgo for ya! Grab some lemon pepper all flats from Wing Stop and start reading.
Quote Grab"Do you know what I mean when I say this shit is deeper than rap?" ~ pg. 97 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: The Beautiful Ones
Author: Prince
Published: October 2019
Pithy Review: My favorite artist. A philosopher. A famous spiritual being. The Artist formerly known as..., The Sign, The Kid. The Oh Great Purple One. The reason little ole' 3-year-old me sang at the top of my lungs to anyone that would listen. The actor/creator of one of my favorite movies ever. The musician/writer/singer of my all-time favorite song which is also the title of this new much-anticipated-didn't-think-it-would-ever-happen memoir. Need I say more? Okay, I will say a little bit. Prince began writing this memoir before his death. The Beautiful Ones is full of photos, thoughts, scrapbook items, lyric sheets and explanations. He really lets readers in to his private world. But the best part in this whole memoir—for a stan like me—is the original treatment for Purple Rain. I almost cried like a dove. See what I did there?
Quote Grab"Handwriting is a lost art in need of resurrection." ~ pg. 86
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: 19th Christmas
Author: James Patterson
Published: October 2019
Pithy Review: A new holiday novel for the Women's Murder Club! Kind of early for Christmas but I'll take it. The biggest heist ever is hitting San Francisco on Christmas Day. Lindsay and the girls are running ragged around the city with chaos, traps and false alarms. This criminal may be their match.
Quote Grab"If this circumstance isn't exigent, I don't know what is." ~ pg. 262
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: Never Have I Ever
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Published: July 2019
Pithy Review: Mommies Book Club gone wrong! Or better yet, when blackmailers blackmail each other right back. This book reminds me of the old TV series Revenge (which is getting a reboot in 2020) meets the daring Never Have I Ever game of secrets. Roux takes Amy on a complicated round of a clever game. Remember the past always comes back!
Quote Grab"No one walks around holding their ugliest sin in the palm of their hand, staring at it. Our hurts are heavy, and we let them sink." ~ pg. 74
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️


Title: I'm Telling the Truth But I'm Lying
Author: Bassey Ikpi
Published: August 2019
Pithy Review: I honestly only have one word to describe this deeply personal collection of essays: RAW. Bassey bit no tongue in navigating Bipolar II, anxiety and depression. And what made it so compelling is knowing Bassey was honest but also possibly telling readers lies. Just! Read! It! And might I suggest the physical copy because the book cover is so fitting and eye-catching.
Quote Grab"I turn the purple bruises of memory into lipstick-stained kisses, the crushing weight of life into neck-nuzzling embraces." ~ pg. 45
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: Better Than This
Author: Beth Flynn
Published: July 2019
Pithy Review: Let me explain my moment of panic. I am usually very good at keeping up with new releases, especially in series/trilogy/spin-off novels. So imagine my surprise when Better Than This (a Nine Minutes spin-off novel) appeared in my feed. And it released back in July! Seriously how did this slip under my radar for like four months?! Anyhoot, I downloaded the eBook immediately and read it nonstop. It features Barbie Jean Anderson and a storyline that debates whether men and women can't be friends, along with proof that time doesn't heal all wounds so they just scab over.
Quote Grab"Like two lovers tightly woven into each other's arms, my anger and grief melded together and formed an animalistic fury like I'd never experienced." ~ pg. 192
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


♠️🖤
Bookhearts, I hope you enjoyed these ten (10) pithy reviews. This is what happens at year-end when I catch up books I have not shared my opinion on. No matter the genre—suspense, non-fiction, family drama, memoirs or dark romance, there are recommendations here for everyone. As always, continue sharing your good reads (or stay aways) with me. Happy Reading! 

November 12, 2019

Big Lies in a Small Town


"I could appraise it, admire it, dissect it. But I didn't envy the artists for being able to create it." ~ 89%

Diane Chamberlain takes it back to 1940 in North Carolina. An artist wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office. Of course she accepts. What she didn't expect was to work in a town full of prejudices, secrets, lies and even murder.

Fast forward to modern-day time. Morgan Christopher is not where she wants to be in her career. By taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, Morgan serves a 3-year-stint in a women's correctional facility. Until a generous, mysterious person arranges her early release in exchange for an art deal. She must restore an old post office mural. What she discovers in the decrepit mural changes her life.

The thing about Big Lies in a Small Town, and most of Diane Chamberlain novels, are they are so compelling while reading. I get totally engrossed into the deep story and its many layers. But a week or so after having read the last page, the story leaves my memory. It does not stick. In fact, I had to skim through notes just to write this review since it's been over a month since finishing. Does that make a good read, at least in the moment? Yes.

Happy Early Pub Day, Diane Chamberlain! Big Lies in a Small Town will be released on January 14, 2020.

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: Big Lies in a Small Town
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Published: January 2020
Pages: 400
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤

November 10, 2019

Series Sunday: Layla's Love

(Ivyhurst #2) 


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 Layla's Love, the second book in the Ivyhurst series by Ava Bleu. First of all, let us marvel at the book cover. Scroll back up. Isn't it enticing? Tasty-looking? Pique your interest? It certainly fits the story perfectly. Layla Smith is the owner of Layla's Gourmet Pizza Shop. It is a charming restaurant with a set of regulars. Somehow Layla remembers everyone's orders soon as they walk in the door. She makes the customers feel at home while serving gourmet pizzas that I could just smell through the pages of Adobe.

"Didn't your Mama ever teach you to read a room?" ~ pg. 11

One particular customer is Raymond, a handsome businessman that orders double cheese pizza every Wednesday night. Layla's employees encourage her to live her best life and date Raymond. Love may be the next best gourmet topping on her specialty menu. Meanwhile, the New Ivyhurst community members want Layla's support and pressure her to attend meetings. Layla, however, has no interest in the local politics. Can't a girl just make pizza and be happy?

Every now and then, I will pick up a romance book or novella. I can only do romances in small doses. However, I absolutely love Ava Bleu's descriptive writing style. There is no fluff. No annoying cheesy dialogue. I only wish the story was longer so, as you can imagine, I am looking forward to more.

Although Layla's Love is the second book in the Ivyhurst series, it can be read as a standalone. No worries in being lost; you will enjoy the story and the characters just as much. It is a very entertaining read with bits of humor, blushing moments and a realistic cute love story. Go ahead, order in your favorite pizza and download the eBook now!

Disclaimer: This book was received directly from the author 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: Layla's Love
Author: Ava Bleu
Published: August 2019
Pages: 80
Edition: PDF
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

November 8, 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.

"My Mother's Eyes. That's the 1st thing 👁 can remember. U know how U can tell when someone is smiling just by looking in their eyes? That was my mother's eyes."

~ The Beautiful Ones by Prince 

November 6, 2019

Red at the Bone


"What haunts you?" ~ pg. 114

Longtime bookhearts know that I do not favor books with too many points of view, multiple characters and jumping time periods. However, Jacqueline Woodson moves back and forth in time with her new novel, Red at the Bone. And I loved every word of it!

History and community play a huge role in our experiences, relationships and the life of a new child. The book begins in 2001; it is the evening of 16-year-old Melody's coming-of-age ceremony. She makes a grand entrance like a true young lady to the music of The Great Purple One (Prince) in a custom-made dress. Sixteen years earlier, Melody's mother was measured to wear the same exact dress. However, that ceremony never took place as planned. And so the story unfolds in themes of ambition, identity, gentrification, social class and parenthood.

The narration is so, so right! I almost want to read Red at the Bone all over again. #Dassit

Title: Red at the Bone
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Published: September 2019
Pages: 208
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

 

November 5, 2019

Finding Chika


"Tell me my story." ~ 6%

For years, Mitch Albom has graced us with fictional stories that made us think. Characters that stuck in our minds. Wisdom and quotes to last a lifetime. Finally, the bestselling author shares his own true story. The memoir is heartbreaking, joyful, sad yet full of life. Finding Chika is about a little girl, an earthquake, and the making of a family.

"There are many kinds of selfishness in this world, but the most selfish is hoarding time, because none of us know how much we have, and it is an affront to God to assume there will be more." ~ 13%

Chika is a young Haitian orphan born three days before the record-breaking devastating earthquake in 2010. By divine design (my words, not his), Chika was placed at The Have Faith Haiti Mission Orphanage that Mitch Albom operates in Port au Prince. With no children of their own, the children of the orphanage have become family to Mitch and his wife, Janine. So when Chika is diagnosed with an illness that cannot be cured in Haiti, Mitch and Janine bring Chika and a mountain of hope back home to Detroit. And so begins a two-year-journey literally around the world to find a cure and healing.

"Your voice was a weather vane, it told us how your wind was blowing." ~ 44%

The book is told in brilliant hindsight narrative with conversations/visions between Mitch and Chika. Through the pages, readers can feel their special bond, the unconditional love, the struggles of healthcare, the lengths family go to help one another and the celebration of life. The words are so descriptive that I could hear Chika's voice as if she were in the room with me. I could feel Mitch and Janine's desperation to find healing no matter the expense. Finding Chika has easily earned a spot in my Top Books of 2019. So well done!

Happy Pub Day, Mitch Albom! Finding Chika 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: Finding Chika
Author: Mitch Albom
Published: November 2019
Pages: 208
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

 

November 3, 2019

Series Sunday: Crank / Glass / Fallout

(Crank Trilogy) 


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.
"Meth. The monster. It's a bitch on the body but damn do you fly." ~ pg. 69

My Series Sunday pick is a triple-feature! Crank is the first book in the trilogy of same name by Ellen Hopkins. Glass is the shattering sequel. And Fallout is the monster of a conclusion.

Crank is the disturbing story of a relationship between Kristina, a character based on the author's own daughter, and "the monster" known as crank/crystal meth. This highly addictive drug was first introduced to Kristina while visiting her usually absent father. Then came more drugs, more lies, more dangerous boys and more flow of crank.

"The look on Mom's face is indescribable—a mixture of disbelief, panic, and rage." ~ pg. 244

In Glass, Kristina thinks she can control her addiction to glass/crystal meth. Now she has a baby to care for. But the everyday pressure of being a teen mom calls her back to the drug. She needs it to stay alive and will sacrifice anything—even her baby. But her mind is playing tricks. We all know that and so does her concerned mother.

Finally in Fallout, the verse comes to an end. Almost twenty years later, Kristina's family still feels the effects of her addiction to crank. Told from the point of view of her children, readers see them follow the wrong path to sex, drugs, abuse, alcohol and partying. The thread that ties them together brings hope and an urgency to break the cycle.

"Catching a buzz is one thing. Yanking the devil's tail is just plain stupid." ~ pg. 16

Addiction is real. It affects the brain and actions of the person and even more-so, loved ones. Even through the detailed personal prose, I cannot imagine how author Ellen Hopkins dealt with her daughter's addiction to drugs in real life. A struggle is an understatement. Her strength, angst, resignation and acceptance are prominent through the 1,500+ pages. As I read each passage, I am thankful that Ellen Hopkins opened her windows to give us readers a peek inside.

TRIGGER WARNING! This trilogy is easy to read based on the poem style but the content is very heavy and sensitive. No wonder the publication spans six (6) whole years. The author and readers alike needed a breather. Crank started this trilogy with a punch to the gut. The story really hit me. But like a first high, the next two books didn't meet the same chase. However, it is hard to miss the message: Addiction is never just one person's problem!

Title: Crank
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Published: October 2004
Pages: 356
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

Title: Glass
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Published: August 2007
Pages: 508
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤

Title: Fallout
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Published: September 2010
Pages: 681
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤

November 1, 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.

"The Game was Roux's idea. More than an idea. A plan. She made it up herself, this shotgun of a game. She packed it tight with salt and metal, counting on collateral damage, too, but she aimed it straight at me. She said it was like Never Have I Ever, but not any version I'd ever played."

~ Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

October 15, 2019

Life of a Migraineur: Coconut Oil

Regardless of what Lizzo claims, everything cannot be healed with coconut oil. But thank God for prescription medication because AIMOVIG 💉 and Propranolol 💊 is still working wonders. The number of migraine attacks have decreased by half! If you suffer from chronic pain, do not give up. Do not give in. One of these days, you too will find a treatment method that helps you live your best life. Now excuse me while I do just that.