December 28, 2019

Best You Ever Had

Friendly Reminders from the Best You Ever Had


01.25.2020 marks the 10th anniversary of www.LiteraryMarie.com ~ Blessings to many years more.

Readers are the best writers. Behind every good author is a good copyeditor. Email copyediting inquiries and requests to Editor@LiteraryMarie.com

Email book review requests, literary news to be shared and guest blogger inquiries to LiteraryMarie@gmail.com  Please provide an accurate summary of your book(s), include an excerpt, personalize and proofread the e-mail. Provide your preference of where the book review is to be shared (Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, etc.) Your request is usually the first impression. Make it a good one!

Want to know what I am reading next? Follow my TBR (to be read).

Who doesn't love a good bookish meme and reading challenges? Well I host and participate in a few. Check them out here and join me!

There is no guesswork if I like/dislike a book. All reviews include the title, author, publish date, number of pages, edition read, whether it is applicable to a challenge and my honest-to-heart rating.

Do you follow my live tweeting of television shows and music? I do the same for books! Experience my real-time reactions while reading. Visit my Live Read and Goodreads pages for updates.

Speaking of other forms of entertainment, I am a co-host of Sistah Speak Podcasts where we discuss various television shows and give advice from a Sistah's point of view. Listen to us on your commute, at home or at work when you need a good laugh and hours of commentary.

According to The Migraine Research Foundation, 12% of the population suffers from migraine. I am included in this statistic. Invisible illnesses suck! Follow my journey through Life of a Migraineur blogmoir that I publish periodically. I share candid information, attempt to translate the pain into words, discuss causes and effects, give status of my treatment and raise awareness.

Do you have time for a final friendly reminder? Because I don't know who needs to read this but...πŸ—£ Be grateful for the good and hard times of 2019. Take heed to the lessons. Learn from the mistakes. Repeat the success. Create opportunities. Hustle. Get uncomfortable. Realize your purpose. Let me be among the first to say that 2020 will be a year of vision. It won't be perfect but look forward anyway. Stay Productive and Dominate Everything in Sight Until Prosperous❣️

Thank You, Smooches and Spades Up ♠️πŸ–€

December 27, 2019

My Year in Blogmoir


Blogmoir: A memoir in blog format of events and people in this fuckery called life.
03.06.2019 Fake Smile
04.10.2019 Nonstop
06.05.2019 Have for Half

Life of a Migraineur: Share moments of my life with migraines.
10.15.2019 Coconut Oil
11.19.2019 Rules

  

My Year in Books



   

December 26, 2019

Top 10 Books of 2019

'Twas the night before Christmas when I chose the best books I've read this year. It is my most diverse selection yet including mystery, romance, suspense, lust/erotica, young-adult, family drama and science fiction genres by authors both white and of color, male and female, seasoned and debut. No matter your preference, there's a novel for every bookheart. Find your next favorite!

Please note this list is purely my opinion. It is not influenced by social media, authors, other readers, my mama or yours, fellow reviewers or publishers that may have provided advance copies in exchange for my honest review. I would spend my hard-earned coin on all ten (10) of the books listed below. (*including a classic re-read)


10. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry* by Mildred D. Taylor

9. The Winner by David Baldacci

8. Before We Were Wicked by Eric Jerome Dickey

7. Seeds of Deception by Arlene L. Walker

6. The Edge of Midnight by Beverly Jenkins

5. Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

4. 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons

3. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

2. Recursion by Blake Crouch

1. A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

 

December 25, 2019

Memes & Reading Challenges of 2019


2019 Goodreads Challenge: Read 69 books in 2019. 
Challenge Met: Read 86 books this year. (125% of goal)

https://www.goodreads.com/review/stats/2924016-literarymarie#pages
2019 Page Count Challenge: Read 19,000+ pages in 2019.
Challenge Met: Read 26,193 pages this year. (138% of goal)

Keeping Up with Patterson Challenge: Read books in the Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club, and Michael Bennett series by James Patterson.
Challenge Met: Read 3 KUWP books this year.
04.07.2019 18th Abduction (Women's Murder Club)
11.13.2019 19th Christmas (Women's Murder Club)
12.08.2019 Criss Cross (Alex Cross)


Perpetual Kinsey Millhone Challenge: Continue to read books in the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series by Sue Grafton.
Challenge Met: Read one Kinsey Millhone book this year.
06.23.2019 T is for Trespass

Perpetual Jack Reacher Challenge: Continue to read books in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.
Challenge Met: Read 2 Jack Reacher books this year.
03.09.2019 The Fourth Man
11.24.2019 Cleaning the Gold

Live Read: Post comments/reactions in real time as I am reading a book.
08.08.2019 The Spook Who Sat by the Door by Sam Greenlee

Lit Tidbits: Share current literary news.

 

December 24, 2019

Top 10 Covers of 2019

Book Covers Matter! It is the most important feature of a novel and is usually the reader's first visual impression. If I am not familiar with the author and the cover looks like shit, I am not choosing the book. I will overlook it or pass on to the next. But if it grabs my attention from a shelf and stands out, then I am most definitely choosing it. 
While reading the book, I still take the cover under consideration. Does it accurately represent the story or the characters, especially those of color? Is it reading-in-public-friendly? Will it spark a conversation? Is it recognizable? Is it a play on words or images? Does the cover make you stare? And most importantly, is it true to the title? 

These are the factors I considered when choosing the best book covers of 2019.

 

December 22, 2019

Top 5 Series of 2019


5. Better Than This by Beth Flynn (Nine Minutes Spin-off)

4. The 18th Abduction by James Patterson (Women's Murder Club #18)

3. T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone #20)

2. Rebel by Beverly Jenkins (Women Who Dare #1)

1. Crank by Ellen Hopkins (Crank #1)


 

My Year in Sistah Speak Sunday


02.10.2019 Celebrity Big Brother 2
02.17.2019 Ask the Sistahs
03.03.2019 Game of Thrones Rewatch
06.30.2019 Claws
07.07.2019 Queen Sugar

December 21, 2019

Best Adaptation of 2019

Hello, You

The book is always better than the movie for a multitude of reasons, right? But sometimes an adaptation surprises us and is even better. Such is the case for You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. No contest—thee best adaptation of 2019!

A charming young man, played by Penn Badgley, goes to extreme measures to insert himself into the lives of those he is obsessed with. It is dark, suspenseful and downright addictive. Binge-watch S1 (10 episodes) before S2 premieres on December 26. Watch the trailers here then queue Netflix for a thrilling ride.

December 20, 2019

Top 10 First Lines of 2019

The first line(s) of a book is the reader's first impression. It sets the tone. Some are famous. Most are meh. Others cause a gasp. A good first line solicits an immediate reaction: Ooh🀩 Do tell🧐 Aww😍 Whaaaaat😳 Well damn😡 Oh my🀭  And so, below are the best first lines I've read this year. 


10. "My last marriage was made in heaven." ~ Even the Stars Look Lonesome by Maya Angelou

9. "Everyone hated a fat woman, but none more than she hated herself." ~ Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers

8. "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

7. "I was pregnant at thirty. Divorced at thirty-one. Lost at thirty-two." ~ Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

6. "My trial starts the way my life did: a squall of elbows and shoving and spit." ~ The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

5. "She's sitting at the bus stop checking the likes on her Instagram feed and doesn't even notice the man with the gun until he's almost next to her." ~ The Chain by Adrian McKinty

4. "For many Democrats and African-Americans alike, 2020 just can't come soon enough. It's not merely a 'Dump Trump' sentiment, but also about the deep hope for new and improved policies that affect Black lives." ~ Talking Politics and Black America by Melissa Knowles - Ebony July 31, 2019 Issue

3. "Four months from now, on a secluded beach in Turkey, Davis Winger, who came thousands of miles to start over, will drop his towel and paperback on the sand, wade into the sea, and end up under the tire of a Hyundai that has just come screeching over an embankment. He will be trapped under that car, pinned to the seabed with one final breath crowding his lungs." ~ A Beginner's Guide to Free Fall by Andy Abramowitz

2. "The day I came squealing and squalling into the world was the first time someone tried to kill me." ~ Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

1. "When the boy was four, he asked his father why people needed sleep. His father said, 'So God could unfuck all the things people fuck up.'" ~ The Travelers by Regina Porter

 

December 18, 2019

A Woman is No Man

How should I begin this?

*Three days later*

So good yet so very sad.

*One week goes by*

See, yeah cause no.

*Six more days pass*

Okay, last review of the year.

*Like an hour ago*

Review ain't gon' write itself.


"Telling a story wasn't as simple as recalling memories. It was building on them and deciding which parts were best left unsaid." ~ pg. 42

In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. As a young Arab-American lady, she does not want to get married but it is expected. Her grandparents demand that tradition is followed. It seems that history repeats itself. There was a time when Deya's mother, Isra, didn't have a choice either. She left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam and raise a family in America.

Unfortunately, Isra is not around to help guide her daughter. Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, until a mysterious note literally lands on her doorstep alluding otherwise. Told from alternate points of view and time periods, a powerful story unfolds about secrets in their community and the dark effect of traditions.

"Books were my armor. Everything I'd ever learned growing up, all my thoughts, dreams, goals, experiences, it all came from the books I read. It was like I went around collecting knowledge, plucking it from pages and storing it up, waiting for a chance to use it." ~ pg. 149

A Woman is No Man is stuck in my head like I just read the last sentence. Like these characters were friends of the family. Yet I cannot form the words to tell bookhearts why it deserves a spot on their reading lists. It is indeed a must-read for any multi-cultural woman. I believe every woman of color would relate. It is not the average holiday novella. Far from it! It is not a sweet romance either. In fact, I barely smiled while reading. In place of a grin was that lump in throat right before you cry. I would have shed a tear had I not put the book down to focus on something else for the moment. I'm a fast reader but it took me daaaaaays to complete it. To no fault of the writer though! There is such good pacing, character development and engaging dialogue that scenes/conversations took a leap off the page and got tangled up with my own emotions. The author, Etaf Rum, let readers inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America. Of course I heard about arranged marriages but it is so much deeper than just marrying a stranger and moving to a far land. Children having children. Reading is forbidden. Having no voice in matters that involve your body or livelihood. The pressure of being judged in your own community. Even sadness is like a cancer. Well maybe not to this extreme but I got the message. Point most certainly taken, Etaf Rum! I felt such empathy for Isra and Deya—fictional characters, need I remind you. I learned to appreciate my own culture and freedom. Because this book right here will have you grateful for life's liberties no matter how fucked up it may seem at times. Americans, y'all...we are privileged. I'll remember this story for a while. A Woman is No Man is THAT type of debut novel.

And yes, I am fully aware that my review is a rambling paragraph. ✌🏾

Title: A Woman is No Man
Author: Etaf Rum
Published: March 2019
Pages: 290
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

December 17, 2019

Lit to TV Review: Small Doses & I Be Knowin'


"There are all kinds of black women. All of our stories are relevant to the unique experience of what it is to be a sista. Whether you are from the 'hood or the high horse, ebony or beige, bald or rockin' inches, you are us." ~ pg. 23

One of my many cousins insisted that I watch Amanda Seales's HBO stand-up comedy debut, I Be Knowin'. I gave in one bored evening and found myself slapping my knee laughing, waving my hand at the TV saying, "GIRL, YES!" and "I know that's right!" When she described the process a professional black woman goes through when communicating at work, whew! In that hour, Amanda was me and I was Amanda.

I had totally misjudged Amanda Seales based on social media. I had only known her as the annoying friend on the popular television show, Insecure. Supposedly she was kicked out of some party. Who knows—I half paid attention. But the comedy special made me cast all impressions to the side and watch with an open mind. I so related to the jokes and willing to bet you will too.

"'Per my previous email' really means, 'I guess you gon' just ignore the fact that I already said this, huh?'" ~ pg. 41

The next logical step was to read her new book, Small Doses: Potent Truths for Everyday Use. It is filled with insightful essays. Non-fiction works sometimes bore me but Amanda Seales held my attention with comical retellings, intellectualism, Black American girl lessons and illustrations designed by the author herself. Amanda Seales engages readers with funny truths shot from the hip even though Small Doses is a more serious tone than I Be Knowin'.

Chickadee and I had an HBO & Girls' Night to watch I Be Knowin'. You should too! Invite some of your girls over to watch it. Then buy, borrow or share Small Doses. Let's meet back here for a good laugh.

Title: Small Doses: Potent Truths for Everyday Use
Author: Amanda Seales
Published: October 2019
Pages: 227
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

Title: I Be Knowin'
Premiere: January 2019
Show Time: 1 Hour
Genre: Comedy
Network: HBO
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

December 15, 2019

Series Sunday: New Year Brings New Books


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 are the four (4) new releases pictured above that I am looking forward to in 2020. A new year brings new books! Click the links below for deets.

  • On the Corner of Hope and Main - Blessings #10 by Beverly Jenkins
  • One of Us is Next - One of Us is Lying #2 by Karen M. McManus
  • 20th Victim - Women's Murder Club #20 by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
  • Blindside - Detective Michael Bennett #12 by James Patterson & James O. Born
  • Z is for Zero - Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series by Sue Grafton 😒