April 10, 2019


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 


April 3, 2019

The Confessions of Frannie Langton

"A novel is like a long, warm drink but a poem is a spike through the head." ~ 3%

Frannie Langton is known as "The Mulatta Murderess." In London 1826, Frannie Langton goes on trial for the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Benham. She was their house-girl, maid, slave, seductress, servant, whatever claim fits best. The testimonies are damning. But the mind of the accused is what drew me in; Frannie cannot confess what she doesn't believe she's done.

Then begins a story of a young girl learning how to read on Paradise Plantation, Jamaica. The year is 1812. Thirteen years later, she is moved to a grand house in London. Her duty is caring for Madame Benham and guarding secrets from the Mister. For years she waits to be freed. Until one day she wakes up in Madame's bed, covered in blood, with no recollection of what happened.

"Now, it's a case of gobbling backwards. As if I spent my whole life putting those words in, and now I'm spitting them back out." ~ 12%

How best can I describe the reading experience of The Confessions of Frannie Langton? Hmmm, long. Not long as in the time it took to finish (5 days). Not long as in page length (352). Long as in the unfolding of the story.

There was a lot of background information leading up to the present time at Frannie's trial. Perhaps I was misled by the first line, thinking this would be a fast-moving read full of testimonies and maybe a couple flashbacks. Instead the author took us back in time. And I do understand the author's purpose. Readers had to learn if, or why, Frannie Langton was on trial for murder. No one act happens without reason. I get it. But damn, it was long.

The main character, Frannie Langton, is well fleshed out. So much so, that I felt her anxiety and hopes rise. Just like she waited for freedom, I waited for something to happen soon too. Because maybe then, the story would move along. Get on with the events leading up to the night in question!

"Cut this long tale of yours short, Pears." ~ 92%

Yet this new novel fits comfortably in the historical fiction genre. It is the reason, along with the promise of courtroom drama, that I wanted to read an advance copy. I like how it revealed slaves were taken from Jamaica and the conditions of England in the 1800s. I also like the acceptance of her being able to read and scribe. Her masters did not feel threatened by Frannie's intelligence. In fact, Madame encouraged Frannie to read and often had discussions about book plots. So rare during this era!

Overall The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a good read, appropriate title, interesting characters, but not-so-good pacing. If you pick up this book, get comfortable and know it will take a while for this slow-moving train to reach the station.

Happy Early Pub Day, Sara Collins! The Confessions of Frannie Langton will be available on Tuesday, May 21.

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 Confessions of Frannie Langton
Author: Sara Collins
Published: May 2019
Pages: 352
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€


April 2, 2019

Hollywood Black

"All the black actors worked hard to make use of their screen time, and usually they succeeded, with indelible sequences that linger in the moviegoer's mind long after the film has ended." ~ 26%

I am not a movie person. I don't buy advance tickets to new releases. I don't plan events around a new movie. I do not rewatch movies unless it is an all-time favorite (gut-wrenching Imitation of Life, my kind of musical Purple Rain, or the prize-fighting Rocky series). I cannot quote lines from classic movies such as Color Purple, Coming to America, Friday and such. I can't tell you which actor played in what movie. Like I said, I am not a movie person.

But I do love black history. Hence my enthusiasm to read a new book release titled Hollywood Black: The Stars, The Films, The Filmmakers which spans from the early years of 1905 to the new Millenium. What an outstanding book cover too! This is the definition of a coffee-table, conversation-starter piece. The black and white images and colorful film posters within are just as eye-catching and support the content. I plan to gift this book to a couple friends that will appreciate the true story it tells.

We have all heard the household names like actor Sidney Poitier, actress Dorothy Dandridge, songstress Lena Horne, filmmaker Spike Lee, Claudine or cool cat Shaft. However, Hollywood Black expertly points out lesser known black stars that paved the way. There are a ton more actors, actresses, writers, directors and producers that have been glossed over and deserve recognition. From the era of blackface to modern-day Jordan Peele/Viola Davis and the breaking of stereotyped roles, Hollywood Black serves as a guide.

"The Negro Problem Pictures indicated there was a race problem in the country and led the way to others that would come in the next decade." ~ 38%

To say I learned a lot is an understatement. I gasped while reading about how far blacks have come in the film industry. I had no idea there were films titled as bold as The Dancing Nig. While other movies like my favorite, Imitation of Life, is a tearjerker example of rejection, colorism and white advantage. The funeral scene is still one of the most moving ever! Eddie Anderson went from being paid a measly $35 to earning $100,000/year and was the highest paid black actor. Women like Hattie McDaniel were larger and browner offering mammy-ish comfort on screen to white heroines. Now look...black men and women of all shapes and shades are stars in film both on and behind the camera!

I highly recommend Hollywood Black: The Stars, The Films, The Filmmakers to movie buffs and fellow lovers of black history. If anything, you will be left with a world of knowledge and a long "To Watch" list. May I suggest you begin with blaxploitation cinema? Spring is upon us so get a head start, rent old black films and continue supporting new black films until this Turner Classic Movies book is released in your hands.

Happy Early Pub Day, Donald Bogle. Hollywood Black will be available Tuesday, May 7.

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: Hollywood Black: The Stars, The Films, The Filmmakers
Author: Donald Bogle
Published: May 2019
Pages: 264
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€