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: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

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: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

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: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

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: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€
Show Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

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: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

   

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: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

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: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

  

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: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

   

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: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

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: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

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

#TheFWordIsBack Tweet Hashtag
#SSFringeRewatch Tweet Hashtag
@_SistahLM on Twitter
@SistahSpeakCast on Twitter
Sistah Speak Podcast on Facebook

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

 

March 5, 2020

Troop 6000 & My Scout Experience


"But this new troop was unique. It belonged to girls who did not know where they belonged." ~ 33%

I was a Girl and Boy Scout for a brief stint. One of my best friends was a member of the cool scout society. She participated in amazing after-school activities, wore a vest full of earned patches and had a group of friends outside of our normal school buddies. When it came time for cookie season, I wanted in! Well it was short-lived because I ate more cookies than I sold, couldn't recite the oath on demand, was nowhere near outdoorsy and had no interest in making s'mores by a fire I should've helped build.

The same best friend invited me along on a camping trip the next summer. Her dad was the leader of a Boy Scout troop. I was game for the promise of sun, splashing in a lake, throwing darts and the shooting range with cute slightly older boys. I packed a super girly Strawberry Shortcake sleeping bag, blue gingham swimsuit and a book to read for the road. We were so excited on the way to camp and was good and hungry by the time we arrived and unpacked.

The boys pitched tents and started a campfire while my best friend and I settled into an indoor cabin. Silly me was expecting a restaurant-style dinner. Imagine my disappointment and disgust when I realized dinner was some kind of campfire hash with canned sardines and saltine crackers as an appetizer. At that point, I knew I wasn't going to make it a whole weekend as a Boy Scout. I went home the very next morning before the sun could even think about rising.

"The Girl Scouts were more than just cookies, field trips, and sleepovers. Selling cookies promoted self-confidence and improved math proficiency; volunteering encouraged compassion and a sense of community; the tasks required to earn badges taught a wide range of practical skills and discipline." ~ 14%

I have much respect for Girl Scouts. It is more than just a notion. It takes real commitment, dedication to service and a strong community. It is an honor and a lifelong membership. So I was super excited to see a new book to be released about the true story of Troop 6000: The Girl Scout Troop That Began in a Shelter and Inspired the World.

Giselle Burgess was a young mother of five when life hit her hard. Even though she had a full -time job, the steadily increasing rent and mounting bills made her fall behind and an eviction soon followed. She entered the New York City's shelter system. The family of six lived in a single hotel-like room with only two beds and one bathroom for nearly a year.

"What good are keys if you don't have a home?" ~ 63%

In an attempt to help her daughters and other girls living in the shelter, Giselle found a way for them to not feel shame of being homeless. They could develop skills, form friendships, and serve the community while at it. She established the Girl Scouts of Greater New York Troop 6000 in the homeless shelter. In time, it expanded from one shelter to fifteen in NYC and more around the United States. Around this time in 2017, homelessness had increased in the country. Journalist, Nikita Stewart, followed Troop 6000 for more than a year and witnessed the success, challenges, highs and lows of this unique group of girls, passionate leaders and dedicated parents.

Unlike my own scouting experience, the true story of Troop 6000 is so joyful and is a reminder of how something great manifests when we come together for a common goal and purpose. The level of support is admirable. I am glad that Nikita Stewart used her journalistic abilities to pen a book about such a good true story. And thank God for Giselle Burgess being a go-getter willing to share details of her life story. It is both inspiring and a pleasure to read.

Happy Early Pub Day, Nikita Stewart! Troop 6000 will be available Tuesday, May 19. In the meantime, tis the season to buy boxes of girl scout cookies! πŸͺ

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: Troop 6000: The Girl Scout Troop That Began in a Shelter and Inspired the World
Author: Nikita Stewart
Published: May 2020
Pages: 304
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

   

March 4, 2020

In Five Years


"And I think that maybe that is what love is. Not the absence of space but the acknowledgment of it, the thing that lives between the parts, that thing that makes it possible not to be one, but to be different, to be two." ~ 69%

We all have a rehearsed answer to the oh-so-asked question: Where do you see yourself in five years? Dannie Cohan, a lawyer in Manhattan, is asked this question during the most important interview of her career. Of course she lands the job. Then accepts her boyfriend's marriage proposal. It seems Dannie is on the right track with her five-year-goal.

Then a vision changes her whole life. She drifts off to sleep after saying "yes" to marriage (how romantic, right?) and wakes up in an unfamiliar apartment, a different engagement ring on her finger and an entirely different man beside her. The date on the TV news scrolls by: December 15, 2025! The very detailed vision continues until Dannie wakes up back in 2020, chalking it up to a weird dream.

Should she live differently knowing what may come in five years? Or should she continue down the path of where she wants to be? And what does it mean when she meets the mystery man in real life? All of this plays out in the new chick-lit novel, In Five Years, by Rebecca Serle.

I expected something cute, clichΓ©, and very similar to a book I read almost nine years ago titled 29. Oh, was I wrong! It was more substance than I expected with a dose of irony. I predict this new novel will be on bookshelves everywhere for readers pondering where their own lives will be in five years. Anything can happen!

Happy Early Pub Day, Rebecca Serle! In Five Years will be available Tuesday, March 10.

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: In Five Years
Author: Rebecca Serle
Published: March 2020
Pages: 266
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Popsugar—A Book with a Main Character in Their 20s
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

March 3, 2020

These Ghosts are Family


"The story is short: It begins with a woman getting fed up; it ends with her dying." ~ 90%

But first, there is a 69-year-old Jamaican man named Stan who once faked his own death. And so These Ghosts are Family begins. He meets his firstborn daughter, a home health aide, as she shows up to work to care for the father she thought was dead all this time.

We see the consequences of Stan's decision throughout the family tree from Jamaica to present-day Harlem. Their lives could have been completely different had Stan taken a different path. Through alternating time periods, readers witness a family forming and fracturing over generations. Themes include loss, growth, infidelity, migration and the common struggle.

These Ghosts are Family is a family saga that is interesting yet hard to follow at times. I was all in for some of the characters' individual stories whereas I was lost on a couple others and had to slow down to digest exactly what the author intended. It turned out to be a well thought-out tale. I can best describe this debut novel as a challenging read worth your time.

Happy Pub Day, Maisy Card! These Ghosts are Family 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: These Ghosts are Family
Author: Maisy Card
Published: March 2020
Pages: 224
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€



March 1, 2020

Series Sunday: Ali Cross

(Ali Cross #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 Ali Cross, the first book in self-titled series by James Patterson. Can you hear me squealing? Imagine my delight when I saw that James Patterson started a new book series featuring the son of the great Alex Cross? You read right; Ali Cross is now a kid detective!

"He was an intelligent, creative kid, but he also tended to fixate on whatever was in front of him, at which point he was more pit bull than wise old owl." ~ pg. 36

Ali Cross would love to follow in his father's footsteps. He is eager for a mystery of his own to solve. But when his friend goes missing, it is more than a notion to find him. At the same time, a string of burglaries target the neighborhood and even Ali's house is hit. With his father preoccupied with his own case, Ali takes it upon himself to find his friend solo. He discovers clues are not always what they seem. Being a sleuth ain't easy!

Ali Cross is perfect for parents/aunts/uncles that are Alex Cross fans and want the young children in their life to start a new mystery series. It is very kid-friendly and age appropriate. What more could you want in a buddy read? I totally recommend for readers age 10-13.

Title: Ali Cross
Author: James Patterson 
Published: November 2019
Pages: 189
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€