March 31, 2021

Broken (in the best possible way)


"Treat yourself like you would your favorite pet. Plenty of fresh water, lots of rest, snuggles as needed, allow yourself naps." ~ 41%

As a fan of Jenny Lawson, I am familiar with her struggles with anxiety and depression. In new release, Broken, she shares her experience with treatment. It is told with brutal honesty and humor. Each essay is relatable to anyone with a chronic illness. 

My favorite part of Broken is "An Open Letter to My Insurance Company." I nodded my head in agreement so much that I almost got a crook in my neck. It spoke to my soul and will also speak to yours if ever had to call an insurance company for coverage, pre-approval or assistance with a claim. There are also light-hearted essays like ideas she would pitch to Shark Tank and how "awkwarding" brings us together.

"'Stet' is my favorite verb, and it is the dryer setting I live my life in." ~ 75%

I read each chapter with the sense that Jenny just gets it. She knows how it feels. Her stories are sometimes heartbreaking but always genuine. It is pleasure to read her memoirs in advance. Bookhearts, add this to your TBR and pre-order now!

Happy Early Pub Day, Jenny Lawson! Broken will be available Tuesday, April 6.

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: Broken (in the best possible way)
Author: Jenny Lawson
Published: April 2021
Pages: 288
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤

   

March 30, 2021

Just My Luck


"Can you imagine pulling out of a lottery syndicate the week before your numbers come up?" ~ 5%

Imagine winning the lottery! Not just a regular 3- or 4-digit hit but millions! None of the syndicate could imagine their weekly $5 contribution to a lottery ticket would be a winner. Lexi, Jake and friends played the same numbers for 15 years. The frimily (friends that are like family) played and carried on life as usual with dinner parties, summer barbecues and playdates with children. 

Who is lying? It is hard to determine which story is the truth once the lottery league starts to investigate claims to the winning ticket. Someone either made a life-changing mistake or is a shark. To Lexi and Jake's recollection, their friends pulled out the week before saying it was a waste of money since they never hit big. But now that their numbers fell in the jackpot, they claim such a conversation never took place.

"It had all the elements to titillate the morbidly curious, the wickedly gossipy: a lottery win, an extravagant lifestyle, illicit sex and shocking violence." ~ 97%

Well said. The quote above best summarizes Just My Luck. This is a story of luck, trust and the dark side of wealth. It quickly gripped me and never let go until the very last page. I am a sucker for a good twist. Just My Luck had twist after good twist after good ass twist! Adele Parks put on her thinking cap for this one. I highly recommend it for drama readers and lottery players. 

Happy Early Pub Day, Adele Parks! Just My Luck will be available Tuesday, April 6.

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: Just My Luck
Author: Adele Parks
Published: April 2021
Pages: 384
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 28, 2021

Series Sunday: A Game of Cones

(Ice Cream Parlor Mystery #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.

"It's not revitalization. It's gentrification." ~ 5%

My Series Sunday pick is A Game of Cones, the second book in the Ice Cream Parlor Mystery series by Abby Collette. No case is too cold to crack! Being an amateur sleuth takes skill. You have to come up with something the police hadn't already thought of. You likely already have a personal relationship with the suspects, assuming you live in a small town. So needing to put aside your bias and truly solve a murder while running your small business is impressive!

Bronwyn "Win" Crewse is the resident amateur sleuth working her second murder. But let's back up a bit. Crewse Creamery is the only black-owned shop in a predominantly white suburb called Chagrin Falls in Ohio. The family business has been in the same spot for 56 years. But when a big city developer comes to town with plans to build a mini mall, you can imagine the reaction he got from long-term business owners and residents. It is hard to identify his killer when everyone has a motive.

"People will treat their business like it's their baby." ~ 72%

Bookhearts know that I love a cozy mystery. Sprinkle in delightful supporting characters and easy-to-follow-in-real-life recipes. The key ingredient, though, is the main character. I found Win a bit loopy-minded at times but overall she is a likable character. Abby Collette has a way of developing female leads of color that can easily be a cousin or neighbor in readers' lives.

Too bad I was not offered a physical copy of A Game of Cones. It has a title that will draw attention from GoT fans and such a cute cover featuring chocolate manicured hands holding single scoop vanilla and strawberry ice cream cones. (The cat is a bit random so I'mma just ignore it.) Not only is it an appealing book cover but the story within is perfect for light spring reading.

Happy Belated Pub Day,  Abby Collette! A Game of Cones 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.

Author: Abby Collette
Published: March 2021
Pages: 352
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 26, 2021

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.

"As a child growing up in Detroit, I had internal struggles I never shared. Feeling accepted by others and like a failure were two of the many challenges I faced."

~ Sorrow to Shero: Pain, Power, and Peace by Dr. Jeannita Bussle
 
 

March 24, 2021

The Man Who Lived Underground


"All members of oppressed minorities hold an innate understanding of it." ~ 93%

Major literary events come around every so often. Richard Wright is the legendary author of Native Son. In about a month, the public will be graced with The Man Who Lived Underground, a previously unpublished novel from the 1940s. 

A black man is picked up randomly by the police after a brutal murder. Fred Daniels is taken to the precinct and tortured until he confesses to a crime he didn't commit. Let me remind you at this point that the same shit happens today in 2021 that happened when Wright wrote this nearly 80 years ago. EIGHTY YEARS AGO. Okay back to my review...

"Sign the paper, boy!" ~ 10%

After escaping, Fred takes up residence where no one can find him—underground in the sewers below the streets of Chicago. You can imagine all the possible things he witnessed, feared and experienced. All the while trying not to become the black criminal that society expects of him. The author also depicts the religious impulses among "Negroes" using his grandmother's life as a model. Add in the narrative of being falsely accused and this novel is still relevant today.

The Man Who Lived Underground was written in a different era. When lynching and beatings were widespread. When grown black men were called a "boy" by white men. It is a powerful novel in its full form. But what I enjoyed most was the essay at the end. What a treat to glimpse into Wright's motivations behind writing such a timely novel.

Happy Early Pub Day to the late great Richard Wright! The Man Who Lived Underground will be available Tuesday, April 20.

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 Man Who Lived Underground
Author: Richard Wright
Published: April 2021
Pages: 250
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 23, 2021

Lit Tidbits: Pithy Picks VI


*in my best Jay-Z voice* Guess who's bizzack! I may have taken an extended blogging break but I most certainly did not pause reading. Allow me to catch you up!


Title: The Wrong Family
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Published: December 2020
Pithy Review: A retired therapist with a grim diagnosis looks for a peaceful place to live out the rest of her days. From the outside, the Crouch family seems perfect. Until she overhears a conversation. She really shouldn't get involved but maybe this revelation will help her make things right. Atone n'shit. A lot happens under this one roof!
Quote Grab"Wolves know when they're being raised by bears." ~ 25% 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: Homie
Author: Danez Smith
Published: January 2020
Pithy Review: It's hard to survive in a country overrun by violence. It's even harder to remember reasons for living. Then family and friends show up and is ultimately your saving grace. The poems are about friendship, redemption, racism, queerness, and most of all blackness. Which leads me to the REAL title of this book...well, you have to read it to figure that out. 
Quote Grab"Everybody love Lassie but what about Sounder?" ~ 25% 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️

Title: Inside the NBA Bubble
Author: Jared Dudley
Published: February 2021
Pithy Review: This is a behind-the-scenes look inside the NBA lockdown by LA Lakers' Jared Dudley. It begins with the team's reactions to Kobe Bryant and Gianna passing followed by the protests surrounding the deaths of Brianna Taylor and George Floyd. The pandemic basketball season was about more than just winning games. Jared Dudley shares his memories of inside the bubble in a vacant Disney World for nearly 100 days with 350 players and personnel from 22 NBA teams. They did it, y'all! A whole championship season under quarantine! You can read this quickie in one sitting (and for free with Prime membership).
Quote Grab"No offense to the other leagues, but this is a league that has its shit together." ~ pg. 13 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Kindest Lie
Author: Nancy Johnson
Published: February 2021
Pithy Review: Ruth is a Black engineer married to a man that is hoping to start a family. But Ruth never got over the baby she birthed and left behind—when a teenager. Obviously she needs to confront the past before moving forward. She returns home and finds the city plagued with racism, unemployment and family secrets. It makes you wonder, what does a wife owe her husband? What does an educated black woman have in common with a young white boy in a factory town?
Quote Grab"All my skinfolk ain't kinfolk." ~ pg. 55
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Open Water
Author: Caleb Azumah Nelson
Published: April 2021
Pithy Review: Two young people meet in a London pub. Both are Black British. Artists falling in love. A gorgeous cover featuring black faces. The makings of a beautiful love story. But I didn't get that far. I tried though. The writing style was like a memory of highlights instead of true storytelling.
Quote Grab"The happy ending is never universal." ~ 27% 
Recommend or Nah? DNF

Title: Concrete Rose
Author: Angie Thomas
Published: January 2021
Pithy Review: This prequel to The Hate U Give was everything I wanted it to be. It takes place seventeen years before THUG. Maverick Carter is the son of a former gang legend who is in prison and a hardworking mom. A real man takes care of his family so Mav makes money the only way he knows how: dealing drugs. When Mav finds out that he is a father, it isn't so easy slinging, going to school and raising a baby all at the same time. So when offered a chance to go straight, he takes it! This book is kind of like "All My Hood Children" in the best way possible.
Quote Grab"If it won't help the rose grow, you've gotta let it go." ~ pg. 215 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

   

March 21, 2021

Series Sunday: Win

(Windsor Horne Lockwood III #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.

"This isn't a John Grisham man-against-the-system novel—in reality, the little man can't stand up to it." ~ 74%

My Series Sunday pick is Win, the very first book in the new Windsor Horne Lockwood III series by Harlan Coben. Ever since binge-reading the Myron Bolitar series years ago, I quickly established that Win was my favorite side character. His loyalty, genius and wit won me over. To finally see him featured in a series of his own is beyond exciting. I want to scream to his grandmama, "Win made it!"

What happens when a dead man's secrets literally fall into the hands of a vigilante antihero? Over twenty years ago, Win's cousin Patricia was kidnapped by men who murdered her father. She returned after being locked in an isolated cabin for five months. She escaped but so did her captors. That's not all that was stolen. Two pieces of art were stolen and never returned until now...

An authentic Vermeer painting was recovered in a dead man's penthouse. It, along with a Picasso painting, were stolen from the Lockwood estate. It seems obvious to investigators who killed the dead man. Surely it's someone who wanted their items back. A briefcase with the initials WHL3 was also found at the scene. And now the story gets going...Win is the main suspect! 

"Articulate." ~ 59%

In this first installment, Win does what he does best: solve mysteries, deal karma, kick ass and look dapper all at the same damn time. There are many references to Myron throughout the book but not one cameo. I was disappointed that Myron didn't make an appearance until I was greeted by another familiar character. I love it and cannot wait for the second novel! Harlan, put the Netflix show writing on hold please. I need more Win like yesterday!

Happy Belated Pub Day, Harlan Coben! Win is available as of Tuesday, March 16.

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: Win
Author: Harlan Coben
Published: March 2021
Pages: 400
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 19, 2021

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.

"You probably just picked up this book thinking, What the shit is this all about?"

~ Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson