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: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤