April 7, 2020

Highest in the Room


Please Note: I interrupt this peep show to inform that LiteraryMarie.com is on Easter/Spring break. Wisely take this time to catch up on book reviews, lit tidbits and my blogmoir. Also review my Everybody vs. The RONA list of things to do while staying at home. Quarantine & Read Responsibly.

April 5, 2020

Series Sunday: A Deadly Inside Scoop

(An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery #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.

"Women, when they commit murder, like to use poisons and heavy objects. Men like guns and knives." ~ 54%

My Series Sunday pick is A Deadly Inside Scoop, the first book in the new Ice Cream Parlor Mystery series by Abby Collette. There is no fiction sweeter than a charming cozy mystery set in an ice cream parlor. The bonus is if it features a woman of color. Introducing Bronwyn "Win" Crewse! The recent MBA grad left New York to return home and run the family's ice cream parlor in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. She has worked hard to renovate Crewse Creamery from a novelty shop with a lottery machine to an upscale spot with a view of falls and custom ice cream made in-house by hand.

Just her luck, there were construction delays causing opening day to fall on the same day as early first snow. Who wants ice cream on a cold winter day? The entire first day goes by without any customers. What is worse is Win finds a body in the snow in the wee hours. It is not her business and she has no interest in solving the murder until her father is named a suspect.

"Dead Guy was Puppy Guy?" ~ 36%

Like all small town cozy mysteries, murder rarely happens. The small town outside of Cleveland, Ohio, is no exception. Though the pacing is a bit off. The dead body wasn't discovered until the very last sentence of Chapter 6. The victim was finally identified a third into the book. Kind of a late start to the mystery peppered with minor grammatical errors. Nevertheless, Win and her slightly annoying best friend, Maisie, are natural amateur sleuths. I like their teamwork, ideas and dialogue. Win's supportive close-knit family is also a bonus. I'm looking forward to the next book in series and recommend to all.

Kudos to the author for her descriptive narrative. I could picture the entire look of the shop through words. It was the right amount of detail without becoming too wordy. I could almost taste the ice cream flavors: Ghoulish Blueberry with fresh blueberries from a local farm; Caramel Corn made with actual corn from a cob; Cherry Chocolate Chunk Amaretto; Pralines and Cream made with sweet caramel, salty pecans and split vanilla beans. Even better, the author gifts readers with select ice cream recipes. What a yummy treat!  

Happy Early Pub Day, Abby Collette! A Deadly Inside Scoop will be available Tuesday, May 12.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Author: Abby Collette
Published: May 2020
Pages: 384
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

April 3, 2020

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 clack of Cole Haan oxfords announces Preston's arrival over the din of hits from the nineties and bar conversation. He likes to make an entrance, and tonight is no different."

~ A Thin Line by D.L. White 

   

April 2, 2020

I Tried to Change So You Don't Have To


"You can hustle and strive and work your ass off and plan for the future and make vision boards and to-do lists and set your eyes on the prize and then, when you least expect it, everything can blow up in your face and you're back to square one." ~ 81%

How many of us can relate to the statement above? In a new inspiring memoir, titled I Tried to Change So You Don't Have To, Loni Love stops trying to conform, embraces her flaws and tunes into her potential. Despite her last name, Loni grew up in a not-so-loving home. Without giving away her entire life's story, she went from growing up in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects to earning an engineering degree then making it in show biz. It was not an easy journey.

Loni Love has worn many hats and crossed many paths in her young lifetime. She has been places and experienced more than most people ever would. This fact makes the book cover so perfect! Most importantly, Loni Love stayed true to herself through all phases of her life. It is indeed admirable. I appreciate her straight-talk, the funny lists at the end of every chapter and her sharing embarrassing mistakes, accomplishments and necessary changes.

"I got material out the wazoo." ~ 61%

I am a daily viewer of The Real where Loni Love is one of five co-hosts (all women of color). Her point of view is always appreciated and well spoken. However, I do not find her hilarious. Every now and then she delivers a funny one-liner. And her bits about cubicle life, that one black person in the office and a hard-knock life was chuckle-worthy. But I expected more LOL moments from a comedian.

When reading a memoir, I keep in mind that all things are not as it seems. Truth may be embellished. Situations may be lightened up. The line between fact and fiction might blur. Hence why I read all memoirs with a side-eye. I Tried to Change So You Don't Have To was no exception. My eyes rolled every time Loni Love mentioned the projects where she grew up on the east side of Detroit. "Brewster-Douglass" was mentioned over 60 times. This is no exaggeration; I started to count. Also, I find it very hard to believe that Loni Love graduated from Cass Tech High School, one of thee best public high schools PERIODT, but never once met with a college counselor. She goes so far as to question whether the school even had one. I call bullshit.

"That's a truth some people take a lifetime to learn." ~34%

But there are other sections where Loni Love talks about relationships, a career and opening up to change that resonate with me. For example, numerous people have suggested that I throw deal-breakers out the window and try online dating. I shoo those ideas away every time. But there was something about the way she words her own story of finding love that made me think hmmm, maybe I should approach dating differently.

Overall, Loni Love meets her purpose of providing readers with life lessons. Reminding us to be true to self and not conform to society's definitions. We control our own destiny. I may have issues with some content of the book but it does not negate her success, drive and spirit. I recommend it for every woman of color needing some real talk.

Happy Early Pub Day, Loni Love! I Tried To Change So You Don't Have To will be available Tuesday, May 5.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: I Tried to Change So You Don't Have To
Author: Loni Love
Published: May 2020
Pages: 272
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 31, 2020

The Business of Lovers


"Philosophies collided. Reality and fantasy had a big disagreement." ~ 5%

I wait on new Eric Jerome Dickey releases like clockwork. Every April, I can count on a page-turning, sexy fictional novel that shows a colorful portrait of hard-to-forget characters. In The Business of Lovers, we meet two (2) brothers and three (3) women.

Allow me to introduce them. Dwayne Duquesne is hard on times. The formal child star has just been fired from his latest acting role and is broke after paying child support. He returns home to check on his teenaged son and to hopefully make amends with the spiteful mother of his son. Brick Duquesne is taking a break from the corporate world. He put his job on hold after a health emergency and nasty breakup with a woman he still loves. Brick spends his days playing security and chauffeur to escorts. His neighbor, Penny, is a college student in debt. Mocha Latte is a former engineer looking for real love. Christiana is a Cuban refugee playing pimp. It is not long before the trio convinces Brick to become an escort himself. Let the story sexily begin!

"Coochie for cryptocurrency?" ~ 39%

The title is perfect. Dickey pens a page-turner about the family we are born to, the family we choose and the business of lovers. It is oh so unconventional but it flows like a classic EJD novel. Signature clipped sentences. Characters searching for life's purpose while loving on one another. Emotional turmoil and internal debates on morality. Relationships based on lust and less trust. Cash only professions. And an unforgettable cast with alternating points of view. All elements of a good book!

So why not a solid 5⭐️ rating? Through some of the engaging dialogue between the characters, a few interesting things were mentioned that could have been expanded upon. It would've given a deeper look into the psyche of Dwayne and Brick. More background on Penny, Christiana and Mocha Latte would have been appreciated to fully understand why they chose sex work. Sure it was mentioned in a paragraph or two, but more character development could have added layers to the story.

Hopefully this prompts the author to revisit these folks in the near future. Maybe they can cross paths with other Dickey universe characters like Gideon, Margaux, Destiny or Ken Swift. Just the thought excites me! (If none of these names sound familiar, my dear bookheart, you have some reading to catch up on.)

"Time is the novocaine for the toothache in my heart." ~ 89%

Before I go, let me have my chance to shine. Thank you for the acknowledgment. You are welcome, EJD, for my being a loyal reader because without my help, you'd be sitting in a cubicle from 9-5pm unhappy, battling all the characters' voices in your head with co-workers that disregard your previous emails and wishing you were traveling around this great world writing for readers' pleasure. You too are the best of the best!

Happy Early Pub Day, Eric Jerome Dickey! The Business of Lovers will be available Tuesday, April 21.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: The Business of Lovers
Author: Eric Jerome Dickey
Published: April 2020
Pages: 400
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 29, 2020

Series Sunday: 20th Victim

(Women's Murder Club #20) 


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.

"These vigilantes outnumber us." ~ pg. 201

My Series Sunday pick is 20th Victim, the 20th book in the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro. Three public figures. Three bullets. Three cities. Same damn time. Then more murders. Each one of the victims are shot and killed with the target precision of a professional. Also, each victim is found with a large quantity of illegal drugs. This is not recreational use; it is drug-dealing level. Someone wants these criminals off the streets. Vigilante on the loose? Justice shooter? Or stone-cold killer?

The Women's Murder Club (Homicide Detective Lindsay, Chief Medical Examiner Claire, Crime Journalist Cindy and Assistant District Attorney Yuki) scramble to solve their independent cases while keeping a healthy work-life balance. Two of the women are on the outs professionally, while another struggles with ethics/morality and the last woman is standing after a health crisis.

"Got a whole lot of parts on the floor of the shop, but can't make a car." ~ pg. 97

Have you ever read a series and started to dislike one of the main characters? Surely it is not just me. Well, Cindy, the nosy ass crime journalist, really grated my nerves in 20th Victim. What an annoying selfish friend she has become! I dreaded every chapter where she was the point of view. It made me appreciate the other three main characters more. It doesn't help that the lack of suspense and murder mystery took a backseat.

My new dislike for one of the characters is not enough for me to stop reading the Women's Murder Club series. I am still very much a fan. I still look forward to new releases even though 20th Victim was not a fast-paced thriller as the rest, despite the signature short chapters that I love. But please, authors I beg of you, reconsider the character development.

Title: 20th Victim
Author: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Published: May 2020
Pages: 348
Edition: UK eBook
Challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson; Popsugar—A Book with "20" in the Title
Rating: 🖤 🖤

March 27, 2020

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 learned everything I know about love, life, and getting ahead in one of the last places most people would ever want to live: the infamous Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects, on Detroit's down and dirty east side."

~ I Tried to Change So You Don't Have To by Loni Love

   

March 25, 2020

The Overwhelming Event

Everybody vs. The RONA



Most states have issued a shelter-in-place. It is not a suggestion; it is an order. Please take it seriously. Whether you are an introvert loving the opportunity to do what you already do, or an extrovert climbing the walls with nothing to do, I have compiled a list of fitty-lem ideas. Yes, I sat down and created this long ass list—all of which I plan on doing myself during quarantine—so you don't have to. Let's stay home!

  1. Read a book.
  2. Write letters.
  3. Call distant relatives.
  4. Organize photos.
  5. Start dream journal.
  6. FaceTime friends.
  7. Binge-watch TV.
  8. Listen to podcasts.
  9. Take a Masterclass.
  10. Wash your hands!
  11. Play Monopoly.
  12. Play Spades or Uno.
  13. Update your goals.
  14. Re-arrange furniture.
  15. Revamp your website.
  16. Create music playlists.
  17. Write quotes on a post-it.
  18. Update/create vision board.
  19. Plan next vacation.
  20. Stop touching face!
  21. Take daily naps.
  22. Reorganize closets.
  23. Research a charity.
  24. Write a short story.
  25. Start your novel.
  26. Start a donation pile.
  27. Delete phone apps.
  28. Find a therapist.
  29. Make homemade gifts.
  30. Disinfect all hard surfaces.
  31. Take your time and shave.
  32. Create a realistic wish list.
  33. Scrub your phone contacts.
  34. Gather tax documents.
  35. Sort and clean jewelry.
  36. Host a virtual dance party.
  37. Join a virtual happy hour.
  38. Clean fridge/freezer/cabinets.
  39. Brainstorm ways to hustle.
  40. Make alcohol-based sanitizer.
  41. Draw in adult coloring book.
  42. Stand and admire self in mirror.
  43. Explore homes for sale online.
  44. Compare insurance quotes.
  45. Take care of mental health.
  46. Set a budget and cut spending.
  47. Practice language in Duolingo.
  48. Download three (3) credit reports.
  49. Pamper (facial/pedicure/massage).
  50. Deep-condition hair or beard.
  51. Stay Home. Stay Well. Save Lives.
  

March 24, 2020

It's Not All Downhill From Here


"And when I die, I don't want it to be because of some stupid shit I did to myself. Or because of what I didn't do for myself. And from the look of things it does not look like we get a do-over." ~ 77%

There is nothing like a sudden change of plans that makes you re-evaluate what you're doing for the rest of your life. For 68-year-old Loretha, it is the unexpected death of her husband to make her put things into perspective. She has to summon all her strength and push on with the help of lifelong friends. Lo is determined to prove her good-intentioned mother, her jealous twin sister, her estranged daughter and everyone else that it really isn't all downhill after a certain age and circumstances.

By the third chapter, the book had me asking aloud, "damn, is it all downhill from here?!" It was too early in the story. But oh how I appreciated the timing of it all. McMillan's writing style remains the same in that she covers an extended period of time but only highlights the major moments. No mundane or unnecessary chapters. No filler paragraphs. And it didn't feel like big plot holes or character development jumps. Like a true friendship, you can go weeks without speaking but catch-up like you never missed a beat.

"Nobody should have to hide who they are inside to please people on the outside." ~ 20%

The women in It's Not All Downhill From Here go through some shit. Death, addiction, age, illness, parenting and unconditional love. Yes, it's a lot but also what makes it a good novel. This is what grown black women go through every single day. We carry the weight of the world and our families. We often put others' needs before our own. As an unfortunate result, we neglect our own health and goals in the process. Does it mean life goes downhill when we reach a certain age? No, and Lo proves it between these pages. I appreciate McMillan's writing characters that grow along with me.

Bookhearts, you have one week to gather your coins and settle in for this new novel! I would not call it a page-turner but more like a steady read. There were times I wanted to yell at a character to stop procrastinating, stop bullshitting, ask and accept help, or reach through the ink and shake some sense into her. And at other times, I could read with background noise and not miss much. I recommend It's Not All Downhill From Here for close girlfriends and female book clubs. You will most certainly relate and have a good long conversation about friendship and life's unexpected trials.

Happy Early Pub Day, Terry McMillan! It's Not All Downhill From Here will be available next Tuesday, March 31.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: It's Not All Downhill From Here
Author: Terry McMillan
Published: March 2020
Pages: 368
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

 

March 22, 2020

Series Sunday: Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu TV

(Little Fires Everywhere E1-E3) 


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

My Series Sunday pick is Little Fires Everywhere now playing on Hulu TV. The intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. Per the mini-series description, the story explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, the ferocious pull of motherhood and the danger in believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

Oh, I've only patiently waited 2 ½ years for Little Fires Everywhere to adapt to the television screen. Seriously, ever since I read this novel back in 2017, I have wanted to see it play out with a bomb cast. What better duo than the beautiful Kerry Washington (whom I loved as Olivia Pope in Scandal) and the talented Reese Witherspoon (rocking her role as Madeline in Big Little Lies). They bring such chemistry to the screen.

Having already read the novel, I hold high expectations of this TV mini-series. Especially because I subscribed to Hulu TV just to watch it. So far the first three (3) episodes meet my expectations and now I'm feening for the other episodes. As I mentioned, Kerry Washington as Mia Warren and Reese Witherspoon as Elena Richardson have great chemistry. I pick up all of their emotions as they interact. The supporting cast is most certainly holding their own too. Even though I know the outcome, it is still interesting to watch it play out.

Tune in with me! The remaining episodes will stream every Wednesday per the schedule below. And if you have not read my original high praise review, do so now. I will be back with my final review of the TV adaptation after the finale. In the meantime, follow my live tweet thread. Click the title link below for the official trailer and extras. Happy Watching!

Episode Guide
03.18.2020 E1 "The Spark"
03.18.2020 E2 "Seeds and All"
03.18.2020 E3 "Seventy Cents"
03.25.2020 E4 "The Spider Web"
04.01.2020 E5 "Duo"
04.08.2020 E6 "The Uncanny"
04.15.2020 E7 "Picture Perfect"
04.22.2020 E8 TBD

Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Cast: Reese Witherspoon (Elena Richardson); Kerry Washington (Mia Warren); Huang Lu (Bebe Chow); Lexi Underwood (Pearl Warren); Joshua Jackson (Bill Richardson); Megan Stott (Izzy Richardson); Rosemarie DeWitt (Linda McCullough)
Book Published: September 2017
Show Premiere: March 18, 2020
Book Pages: 336
Show Time: 1 Hour per episode
Genre: American Drama
Edition: Hardcover
Book Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤
Show Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 20, 2020

First Lines Friday *Quarantine & Read*


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). Aside from THE RONA updates.
  • Share the first line(s). From anything except THE RONA updates.
  • Include the title and author. Excluding media about THE RONA updates.

"Deacon Cuffy Lambkin of Five Ends Baptist Church became a walking dead man on a cloudy September afternoon in 1969. That's the day the old deacon, known as Sportcoat to his friends, marched out to the plaza of the Causeway Housing Projects in South Brooklyn, stuck an ancient .38 Colt in the face of a nineteen-year-old drug dealer named Deems Clemens, and pulled the trigger."

~ Deacon King Kong by James McBride 

March 19, 2020

The House of Deep Water


"And once you could determine what a woman needed, you could give it to her, even while taking everything else: her time and money, her breath and sweat, her love, her mind, her youth." ~ pg. 155

In debut novel, The House of Deep Water, three women return home to little 'ole River Bend, Michigan, with good intentions. It is as if they never left. That creepy man is finally caught for hurting children in his basement. Sisters bond together despite their personal struggles. A mother returns to her abandoned children only to ask estranged husband for a divorce. All the love affairs, secrets and scandal come out! There really is no place like home.

"There's no complication, nothing binding them together, so that each day they spend with each other is a choice. She wants to continue choosing him. She wants that freedom." ~ pg. 65

Bookhearts know that I am not a fan of multiple characters. At first, I had a hard time keeping them all straight but fell into a groove before I reached the 50-page mark. Each person in this small Michigan town of River Bend had a story to tell with interesting history. Every person experienced pain and proved that life must move on.

This new grown-woman novel is full of gems that perfectly state how women feel and are treated. I have so many highlights from different characters' point of view. It really makes you think and appreciate mature womanhood, love, freedom, community and family. Author Jeni McFarland, I have my eye out for your work now! Very well written.

Happy Early Pub Day, Jeni McFarland! The House of Deep Water will be available Tuesday, April 21.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: The House of Deep Water
Author: Jeni McFarland
Published: April 2020
Pages: 325
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

   

March 18, 2020

Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire


"It takes a village, but there are no villages." ~ 47%

Be the most glorious you that you can be! Jen Hatmaker guides readers in being Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire. As women, we are quick to people-please. We put others' needs and wants before our own sometimes. Until we wake up one day and realize we have put our own goals and dreams aside. Stop shape-shifting! It is time to start living out our purpose, showcase our gifts and be empowered to say no all while being genuine.

I am a big fan and follower of Jen Hatmaker, having read all of her books. I am beyond picky when it comes to spiritual / Christian / Bible books. The author has to be knowledgable, trustworthy and relatable. She meets all of my criteria. In fact, her modern girl Bible Study series is my absolute favorite. So when I saw a new book to be released, I jumped on the opportunity to read and review an advance copy.

"Or identify specific relationships, decisions, or beliefs that need the warm light of honesty." ~ 94%

Oh, Jen. What happened here? Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire was like a summary of all previously published books. It offered the same guide, advice and similar essays. It is a great recommendation for those unfamiliar with Jen Hatmaker's non-fiction work. But if you are a faithful fan like myself, unfortunately this new release will be the same 'ole pep talk.

Happy Early Pub Day, Jen Hatmaker! Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire will be available Tuesday, April 21.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Complete to Being Glorious You
Author: Jen Hatmaker
Published: April 2020
Pages: 224
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤

March 17, 2020

Darling Rose Gold


"The debt between a child and her mother could never be repaid, like running a foot race against someone fifteen miles ahead of you. What hope did you have of catching up?" ~ 78%

Mother-daughter relationships are fragile. You are either best friends or tolerant of each other. In Rose Gold Watts case, her relationship with mother is complicated. For the first 18 years of her life, Rose Gold believed she was seriously ill. Allergic to everything, practically lived in the hospital and used a wheelchair. Neighbors held fundraisers to help with medical expenses. The whole community took on the burden because no one could figure out what was wrong. As it turns out, her mother, Patty Watts, was the cause.

The novel begins with Patty Watts being released from prison after five years. With nowhere to go, Rose Gold takes her in. Of course the entire community is against the idea and has not forgiven Patty. What kind of mother tortures and lies to her child? But they both want to reconcile and build a healthier mother-daughter relationship. But has Patty really forgiven her daughter for testifying against her? And is Rose Gold still the naive darling little girl?

"But nobody wants to hear the truth from a liar." ~ 98%

Oh what a twisted tale this weaved! Darling Rose Gold is such a great debut novel. I admit that I do not give debuts a fair try sometimes. The book cover, synopsis and book blurbs have to catch my attention. All criteria met so I was excited to try someone new. And let me tell you, bookhearts, Stephanie Wrobel is now on my watchlist; Darling Rose Gold deserves a spot in my best books of 2020. She did that!

Happy Pub Day, Stephanie Wrobel! Darling Rose Gold is now available.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Darling Rose Gold
Author: Stephanie Wrobel
Published: March 2020
Pages: 320
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

  

March 15, 2020

Series Sunday: What to Read During THE RONA Quarantine

(Name of Series - YOU tell ME!) 


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 post is a Call to Action for all of my bookhearts. Due to THE RONA and the possibility of a self-quarantine, readers should be prepared with a pile of books to occupy time. Reading fiction and periodically stepping away from the news will keep you balanced.

Is your local library closed? Is there a book on your shelf you've been meaning to read? Is it time to re-read a favorite novel? What about that invitation to borrow a book or two from a bookheart? No matter the circumstance, there is no better time to share your faves and suggestions on what to read next.

Please recommend book series! Below is additional information about my reading tastes to assist in your recommendations.

  • Length: average of 300 pages per book
  • Installments: 2-25 books in series
  • Rating: average of 3 stars and above
  • Genre: willing to try outside of my norm
  • Characters: preferably of color and relatable
  • Tone: humor or intense, but not emotionally draining 
  • Author: actively writing additional books in series
  • Publisher: big house, independent or self-published
  • Language: English; no slang or strong dialect
  • Popularity: open to all (over-exposed to little known)
  • Point of View: first person; little to no alternating
  • Style: broad (light and cozy to literary prose)

Please send your series recommendations via comments, Goodreads or Twitter. If you are an author or publisher, please send a direct message or email with an excerpt. Thank you much and stay well!

March 13, 2020

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.

"Cindy Thomas was tuned in to her police scanner as she drove through the Friday morning rush to her job at the San Francisco Chronicle. For the last fifteen minutes there'd been nothing but routine calls back and forth between dispatch and patrol cars. Then something happened."

~ 20th Victim by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro 

 

March 12, 2020

Little Secrets


"Rage, on the other hand, will get shit done." ~ 16%

Intriguing cover with a mysterious woman. Interesting title given that no secret is little. Frightening storyline: 240 seconds was all it took for someone to steal Marin's four-year-old son. Fast forward one year and the search goes cold. Marin hires a private investigator to continue the case where police left off. Instead of finding her son, she finds out her husband is having an affair with a younger woman. And even worse, the woman may have kidnapped her son.

"Men wreck their own homes." ~ 52%

Little Secrets has the makings of a good suspense story. It held my attention in the beginning then tapered off. I hung in there because it passed my 50-page mark and was not so bad that I could not finish. I hoped it would reel me in, throw a curveball or take a turn for the wow. Instead it was easily forgettable once I finally finished. Maybe other readers will enjoy Little Secrets more; for me, it was just okay. 

Happy Early Pub Day, Jennifer Hillier! Little Secrets will be available Tuesday, April 21.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Little Secrets
Author: Jennifer Hillier
Published: April 2020
Pages: 352
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤

   

March 11, 2020

Wow, No Thank You.


"When is the last time an actual human interaction made you laugh more than a meme did?" ~ 12%

In Wow, No Thank You., Samantha Irby writes essays about adulthood, aging, marriage, moving from Chicago to lil 'ole Kalamazoo, freelancing and famous life. Her self-deprecating humor had me laughing with her versus at her, sometimes in public which garnered strange looks but ah well. I just continued chuckling and held the Kindle up as an explanation. From the very first chapter until the hilarious end, I nodded my head in agreement and said "me too, girl" aloud too many times to count.

Women nearing or in their 40s will most certainly relate. Do you randomly check your phone to see what others are saying in the Twitter streets? Is the Amazon Prime driver a regular to your mailing address? Do you have a bedroom television set? No? Just me and Samantha Irby? Be honest with yourselves. Let Wow, No Thank You. liberate and entertain you.

Happy Early Pub Day, Samantha Irby! Wow, No Thank You. will be available Tuesday, March 31.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Wow, No Thank You.
Author: Samantha Irby
Published: March 2020
Pages: 288
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 10, 2020

Black Widow


"The Jews have shivah plates and seven days of mourning, whereas we have two days of intensely focused pain and chicken." ~ 47%

Columnist Leslie Gray Streeter found love in her late thirties. She is Christian and black; Scott was Jewish and white. They fell in love, moved in together, got married and started the process of adopting Brooks, a lovely baby boy. Out of nowhere, Scott had a fatal heart attack at the young age of 44. Life flipped upside down!

My heart goes out to anyone who lost a spouse. I cannot imagine having your soulmate taken unexpectedly. Instead of letting grief take over, Leslie took a different approach to widowhood. From planning a Jewish funeral while being a black Baptist to adopting a son alone and finding hope. This nonfiction book is the story of dealing with loss and celebrating life.

I give a lot of credit to James Patterson. He is one of my favorite authors. So when he offers a blurb, I believe it. According to Patterson, Black Widow is a portrait of widowhood that "will make you laugh and cry, sometimes on the same page." And by gosh, he was right! Leslie Gray Streeter writes about losing her husband in a very candid funny way. It is sad but also really, really funny. Black Widow is the literary example of laugh so you won't cry.

Leslie Gray Streeter talks about her unexpected widowhood like readers are a best friend. She gives it to us straight and holds no thought back. From the first page, it is a no judgment, sympathetic zone. I wanted to reach through the pages to hug her and Brooks but also share a chuckle. It takes a strong brave woman to put her honest feelings to paper. I am not a widow, yet I still found Black Widow to be helpful. I guarantee it is like no other widowhood journey book; hence, I will recommend to any widow I come across because it is that damn good!

Happy Pub Day, Leslie Gray Streeter! Black Widow is now available.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Black Widow: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like "Journey" in the Title
Author: Leslie Gray Streeter
Published: March 2020
Pages: 272
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Popsugar—A Book with More Than 20 Letters in its Title
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 8, 2020

Sistah Speak Sunday: Fringe

Sistah Speak: FRINGE Podcast

All four Sistahs are rewatching and podding Fringe from a Sistah's point of view!

Listen Now 🎧 S1 Recap: 1 Hour, 3 Minutes
Listen Now 🎧 S2 Recap: 1 Hour, 54 Minutes

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Visit our social media pages for a daily episode guide and description. Use the hashtags to follow the discussion online. 


March 6, 2020

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 live for a glamorous lifestyle blog featuring some gorgeous ingenue with piles of secret wealth that she never divulges to the unsuspecting slobs on the other side of the screen."

~ Wow, No Thank You. by Samantha Irby