September 30, 2020

Ties That Tether: Virtual Book Tour Stop


"Sweet and forbidden—that's how I remember it tasting. It was everything I wanted and couldn't have." ~ 5%

Marie Claire includes this new release in its 2020 Books You Should Add to Your Reading List. Elite Daily lists it as Books Featuring Interracial Relationships You Should Read In 2020. It is one of Betches 7 Books by Black Authors You Need to Read This Summer. Well, I'm here to tell you when a new novel has this many co-signs, it is worth believing the hype. In this case, my Bookhearts, you can most certainly take my word for it. Ties That Tether is such a good read in winter, spring, summer or fall!

Can I first take a moment to gush over the book cover? What a colorful image of a beautiful black woman with a handsome white man in her eyesight. The background print gives it an ethnic vibe. It is definitely a book to be read while in public or on display in a local bookstore. It would quickly catch a browsing eye!

"There's a grip around my heart, squeezing the life out of it until it's a shriveled, raisin-like thing." ~ 77%

Let me tell you more. Azere is a single Nigerian woman with Canadian citizenship. At only twelve years old, she promised her dying father that she would marry a Nigerian. It is her mother's mission to find the perfect Nigerian so she routinely sets up dates hoping for a match made of Edo descent. Despite her one simple dating rule, life happens and Azere ends up having a one-night stand with a white stranger. Then it evolves into something way more. She knows her mom would strongly disapprove. Does Azere follow her heart and fight for happiness? Or should Azere accept her fate and give in to an arranged marriage?

Photo Credit: Borada Photography
Ties That Tether may be fiction but it addresses real life situations. Tradition, heritage, interracial couples, culture preservation and acceptance are just a few themes. It is not your average arranged marriage story. Nor is it simply about a woman falling in love with the wrong man. Kudos to Jane Igharo for writing characters' voices with easy to read dialect and informative enough for a reader to understand the story's conflict.

"They were scared she would marry outside her ethnicity and lose her heritage. I think it's a fear lots of immigrants face, you know?" ~ 83%

For book clubs, it is sure to start a lively debate! There are discussion questions included to help guide the discussion. If you choose to read it solo, as I have, you will probably have moments of sympathy, eye rolling and gratefulness that it's not you in Azere's shoes. Though it is important to note this actually happens!

Ties That Tether reminds me of a modern-day fairy tale. It gives Family vs. Everybody vibes. My only gripe was the swift revelation of a secret. It was too rushed for no evident reason. Had the secret been given more than a few pages, it could have added even more realistic value to the story. However by the end of the novel, I had a sense of Nigerian culture and expectations. We can only hope love wins in the end, right? Needless to say, I recommend Jane Igharo's debut novel, Ties That Tether. What a perfect title, by the way!

Happy Blog Tour Day! Ties That Tether 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: Ties That Tether
Author: Jane Igharo
Published: September 2020
Pages: 336
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

September 29, 2020

Happy Born Books!

How fitting that my birth month has so many new books I'm geeked to read! Reviews to come.



September 27, 2020

Series Sunday: Nasty Nevin

(Mickey Stanislawsky #2) 


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.

"A short paragraph under the caption extolled her as the first African American detective in Peaceton." ~ 90%

My Series Sunday pick is Nasty Nevin, the second book in the Mickey Stanislawsky series by Jennifer Lewis Williams. Meshelle "Mickey" Stanislawsky is a fairly new detective in the Peaceton Police Department. As she is heading out to celebrate her birthday, she gets called to a murder scene. So much for partying! 

Elsewhere in Texas, an ex-con by the street name of Vee-8 has a vendetta against anyone named Stanislawsky. Parole and uncanny resemblance be damned, she needs revenge. Meanwhile, Mickey's partner named Detective Daniel Ladenster is busy addressing threats, hanging out with drug dealers and solving burglaries. Whew—it's a lot going on!

Before I delve into how truly nasty Nevin is, can we marvel at the book cover? How striking! It features a colorful sunset and an apartment building that looks to be full of tenants judging from the lit windows. The title is a nice clean font in bold red. The best image on the cover is a pair of pearly pumps stained with blood. It definitely piqued my interest! I intend to purchase the physical book so it can be displayed in my home library. It practically screams, "I am a Mystery! Read Me Now!"

Nasty Nevin is full of characters with personalities revealed in due time. I have a love-hate relationship with Mickey's partner, skeptical of a new love interest, and can't help but smile whenever her four-legged best friend, Boomer, is mentioned. There are also times when I want to kick Mickey's ass to action quicker. She usually trusts her instinct but I wish she'd put two and two together a lot faster.

"One came home right after the perpetrator left, we think, and the other was asleep at the time." ~ 18%

I will devour a good mystery within days. However, it took eleven (11) whole days to finish Nasty Nevin. Why? Because most of my reading is done before bedtime. It creeped me out like a horror movie! Nevin broke into women's apartments, left shit (literally) in their bathrooms and stole lingerie from dresser drawers. I could only read during daytime. Not too many books have that effect. Damn good writing!

Must the Mickey series come to an end? I am even more curious to find out more about Mickey, the father she idolizes and potential murder adventures this smart detective will undoubtedly solve. I am a sucker for a series and not ready to say goodbye to Detective Stanislawsky. Give me more unsettling crimes in Peaceton, Jennifer Lewis Williams! But if the author insists on ending as a trilogy, I look forward to reading how this character is wrapped up in Vicious Victor. In the meantime, Bookhearts, I recommend reading Nasty Nevin in the daylight hours. Thank me later!

Title: Nasty Nevin
Author: Jennifer Lewis Williams
Published: August 2020
Pages: 255
Edition: eBook
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

September 25, 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.

"Culture is important. Preserving it, even more important. It's the reason I've always abided by one simple dating rule."

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo 

September 22, 2020

This Is My America


"Four hundred years, and we still ain't American to them, T. All that blood. We built America. Black labor built the greatest nation in the world for free." ~ pg. 298

I am often asked how I choose books to review. Easy answer: I review every book that I read from 5-star ratings down to DNF (did not finish). Then I am asked what grabs my attention the most? Another easy answer: the book cover, then the author, then the description and title. I have a very simple system. Then there are the rare times where all four (4) criteria is met upon first look. Thus the case for Kim Johnson's This Is My America.

Let's begin with the book cover: a beautiful black girl with perfectly arched brows, full lips painted in red matte lipstick, dangling earrings that look like a pair of handcuffs, hair braided with the slightest trace of baby hair blended into the red, white and blue stars and stripes of the U.S.A. flag. How fitting for the title: This Is My America. This is Kim Johnson's debut novel yet her leadership in social justice organizations and mentorship to Black student activists is known. I would say she is qualified to write about racial injustice against innocent Black men and the effect on their families left behind.

"My fists unclench. How long have I been holding myself ready to fight?" ~ pg. 377

Tracy Beaumont is a persistent 17-year-old. Every week she writes a letter to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father get off death row. He is an innocent Black man running out of time. Yet after seven years, Tracy remains hopeful. She knows her father is wrongly accused but it seems her efforts to free him is going unnoticed.

Then one night, police arrive pounding on the door ready to arrest Tracy's older brother, Jamal. Within minutes he goes from being a smart, promising track star to a thug on the run. Jamal is now accused of killing a white girl. A Black boy being seen hanging over a dead white girl's body is not good, even in present-day. Tracy is determined to save both her father and brother and investigates what really happened while uncovering a racist history in their small town.

No exaggeration, this debut novel deserves every bit of 5 hearts. From the first lines to the last word of Author's Note on page 398, it is gripping. This Is My America lived up to the hype. It is very well written and paced. Though it is fiction, it is very much an example of injustices in real life. That alone makes readers think whether young adult, grown, black or white. This Is My America is a literary revelation that I highly recommend!

Title: This Is My America
Author: Kim Johnson
Published: July 2020
Pages: 406
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

September 20, 2020

Series Sunday: Coming Soon!


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 a spotlight on the series' books I am most looking forward to. I will definitely read each book soon as its published or available as an ARC. Look for the reviews soon!
  • 09.29.2020 Dear Justyce (Dear Martin #2) by Nic Stone
  • 10.27.2020 The Sentinel (Jack Reacher #25) by Lee Child
  • 11.17.2020 A Promised Land (The Presidential Memoirs #1) by Barack Obama
  • 11.23.2020 Deadly Cross (Alex Cross #28) by James Patterson
  • 01.07.2021 The Russian (Michael Bennett #13) by James Patterson
  • 01.12.2021 Concrete Rose (The Hate U Give Prequel) by Angie Thomas
  • 02.09.2021 Wild Rain (Women Who Dare #2) by Beverly Jenkins
  • 03.09.2021 Fatal Fried Rice (Noodle Shop Mystery #7) by Vivien Chien 

 

September 18, 2020

W.A.P.

🎡 🎡 🎡 πŸŽ΅ 🎡 🎡 πŸŽ΅ 🎡 🎡 πŸŽ΅ 

There's some books in this house.
There's some books in this house.
There's some books in this house.
There's some books in this house.

I said, certified reader. Seven days a week.
Written-ass pages. Make that book game weak.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
Yeah, you finna read some written-ass pages.
Bring a Kindle Paperwhite for these written-ass pages.
Give me everything you got for these written-ass pages.

Read it up, y'all. Catch a plot.
Extra large and extra hard.
Put these pages right in your face.
Swipe your finger like a bookmark.

~ LM's First Lines Friday Freestyle© 

 

September 15, 2020

Grown


"I mean, I ain't a black woman or nothing, but I guess I kinda get it. No one ever believes y'all." ~ 90%

Seventeen is grown, right? At least that's how Enchanted Jones feels. Age ain't nothing but a number to 28-year-old R&B artist Korey Fields. He's a superstar with no one around to tell him no, especially his protΓ©gΓ©s. He grooms them and makes promises of a successful music career all while robbing the cradle. 

Add locked rooms, sex tapes, high school hangouts and young black female victims to the story. Sound familiar? Then a plot twist! Enchanted Jones wakes up with bloody hands and no recollection of the previous night. Korey Fields is dead!

"I feel like summer. I feel like crashing waves, hot sand, sticky ice cream cones, smoky charcoal, and fireworks wrapped up in skin." ~ 19%

Grown is clearly inspired by R. Kelly and the very public allegations of abuse. There are way too many similarities ripped from the headlines and documentaries to think otherwise. At first, this was uncomfortable to read and I was unsure whether to continue. It was the opening chapter that kept me reading. I had to finish and see who killed Korey Fields.

Bookhearts, be warned this new novel mentions abuse, assault and addiction. It can be triggering and difficult to read but it respectfully addresses the issues. Thanks to the author for using her literary voice. Well done! And applause for this gorgeous book cover that originally grabbed my attention. It's great to see a black woman with natural hair (recent big chop, maybe?) wearing a pair of gold door-knocker earrings grace the cover. I see you, grown brown girl! 

Happy Pub Day, Tiffany D. Jackson! Grown 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: Grown
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Published: September 2020
Pages: 368
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

 

September 13, 2020

Sistah Speak Sunday: Patreon


Are you looking for a podcast hosted by diverse women? Are you already in the Sistah Speak Nation? Most of all, did you know the Sistahs are on video now?! 

Join us on Patreon for premium content. We love and appreciate your support!


September 11, 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.

"My calendar is full of dead people."

~ The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult 

 

September 4, 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.

"When I awake, I am eye-level with a puddle of beet juice soaked into the carpet, soft fibers cushioning my cheek. The beet juice is dark, thin, dried sticky between my fingers."

~ Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

 

September 1, 2020

When No One is Watching


"They're gonna learn today." ~ 78%

Alyssa Cole brings reality into fiction with new release, When No One is Watching. Sydney Green is born and raised in Brooklyn. But "For Sale" signs are popping up everywhere and the neighbors she grew up knowing are disappearing. Sydney teams up with a neighbor, Theo, to organize a walking tour: "Displaced: A People's History of Brooklyn." While digging into history and channeling their frustration, feelings turn into fear. Where do people really go when gentrification pushes them out?  

Characters are key to the success of a story. When No One is Watching is told from alternating points of view: Sydney and Theo. I found one character's narration way more interesting than the other. I believe the story could have been told with just one POV. Although, I understand why the author chose this writing style. This was my only dislike.

Is When No One is Watching the book version of Get Out? Could be! The gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood is a sinister thrilling read that I definitely recommend. It kept me flipping the ePages, reading all day because I wanted to see where in the heck the story dummy mission was going. The suspense build-up was excellent with a crashing end that earned a "Woop Woop" yelp from my dropped jaw. There's room for a sequel too!🀞🏾

Happy Pub Day, Alyssa Cole! When No One is Watching 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: When No One is Watching
Author: Alyssa Cole
Published: September 2020
Pages: 364
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€