October 31, 2021

Series Sunday: Fear Street: Part One 1994

(Fear Street #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 or watch an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

My Series Sunday pick is Fear Street: Part One 1994, the first movie in the Fear Street film trilogy on Netflix based on the book series by R.L. Stine. What better weekend than Halloween to finally watch?

The movies are not based on one specific book but Fear Street: 1994 draws heavily upon Fear Street Cheerleader Saga: The First Evil. From what I remember in the book, two newcomer sisters desperately want to make the cheerleading squad. Soon as they're named to the team, horrific things happen.

In the Netflix adaptation, there are brutal slayings at the mall, including a cheerleader at Shadyside High. A teen girl in the band and her friends take on the ancient evil responsible for the murders.

Talk about memories! The first scene takes place in B. Dalton bookstore located in Shadyside Mall. The cashier answers a call on a big block phone with a long ass antenna. She stacks the shelves with books by an author named Robert Lawrence. The music—specifically Snoop Dogg's Gz and Hustlas—is so 90s! The murders are brutal, bloody and sudden just like in the book series. The suspense is borderline corny and there is no parental figure in sight damn near the whole movie. Again, just like the classic books. It is all so nostalgic and I loved it!

Title: Fear Street: Part One 1994
Author: R.L. Stine
Director: Leigh Janiak
Cast: Kiana Madeira (Deena); Benjamin Flores Jr. (Josh); Olivia Scott Welch (Sam); Julia Rehwald (Kate); Fred Hechinger (Simon)
Book Published: 1992
Movie Released: June 2021
Movie Time: 1 Hour, 47 Min
Book Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€
Movie Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ 

October 29, 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.

"We live in the dregs of Queens, New York, where airplanes fly so low that we are certain they will crush us."

~ Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades 


October 24, 2021

Series Sunday: Better Off Dead

(Jack Reacher #26) 


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.

"They said they'd cut my eyelids off, to make sure I saw everything." ~ 28%

My Series Sunday pick is Better Off Dead, the 26th book in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child and now his brother, Andrew. Pick a fight with Reacher and soon find out you are better off dead. Hence the perfect title!

In a huge plot twist, the latest installment of the series begins with our main character dead on a slab in a morgue. Panic set in immediately since I am nowhere near ready for this series to end. The story rewinds to a few days prior when Reacher is doing what he does best—roaming west with no destination—when he comes upon a Jeep crashed into a tree with a woman slumped over the wheel. 

Enter Michaela Fenton, an army veteran turned FBI agent searching for her twin brother who is mixed up with some dangerous people led by a mysterious man named Dendoncker. He rules from the shadows and rarely comes into sight. But leave it up to Reacher to seek Dendoncker out and help find a missing person.

"There was nothing to suggest the place was owned by a murderer. That it was the hub of a smuggling operation." ~ 58%

For those unfamiliar, I am reading the Jack Reacher series in the most untraditional way (backward). I read every new book soon as its published (S/O to the publisher for an advance copy); in between new releases, I read from the beginning of series. Each book may be read as a standalone and the mysteries do not overlap so it is not confusing. There is nothing much to Reacher's personal life that needs to be revealed in chronological order far as I can tell. And might I say, this series continues to impress me with its thrilling storylines, attention to detail, descriptive action and consistency. 

Don't let the page count fool you! I know 520 pages sounds like a big ass commitment but I assure you Better Off Dead is fast-paced, full of action and a really good mystery that will keep you interested. I turned the pages faster than Reacher could disarm a threat. It only took a few days for me to read the entire book and I actually want more! This brother duo is doing an awesome job co-authoring what I now call the Jack "Fucking Fearless" Reacher series.

Happy Early Pub Day, Lee and Andrew Child! Better Off Dead will be available Tuesday, October 26.

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: Lee and Andrew Child
Published: October 2021
Pages: 520
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

October 22, 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.

"We could start the story of this book when you texted me to ask if we could talk, and I thought you wanted to continue our ongoing conversation about wallpaper and landscaping—but what came before that? When did the idea for this book come to you?"

You Are Your Best Thing edited by Tarana Burke and BrenΓ© Brown

October 19, 2021

Carefree Black Girls


"What does it mean to claim 'carefree' when Black women at all intersections are often not always afforded the privilege to walk through the world unbothered?" ~ 81% 

Oh, we are going deep deep! This was my thought upon reading the first couple pages of Carefree Black Girls: A Celebration of Black Women in Popular Culture. At a time when she was falling apart, Zeba Blay wrote essays about Black women to put herself together again and get through. She became reacquainted with joy and freedom. 

Zeba Blay touches on subjects relevant to black women: daring to exist in a fat body, not acknowledging blackness, strong black leads, losing ourselves in something other than own pain, mental illness/depression, healthy and damaging manifestation and severe procrastination. Listen, it gets real within these 240 pages. I finished this non-fiction eBook with lots of highlights and annotations.

"I feel like I'm running out of time to be happy." ~ 77%

Zeba Blay claims this book as an offering. Fact! As Black women, we are acutely aware of our influential existence and the stereotypes (Angry Black Woman, THOT, Mammy, etc.) it holds in American society. But to be carefree is to be empowering. So well said in this collection of essays. So thank you to Zeba Blay for that 2013 viral tweet that coined the term #carefreeblackgirl. It created a positive space for celebration and freedom for black women online.

Happy Pub Day, Zeba Blay! Carefree Black Girls 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: Carefree Black Girls
Author: Zeba Blay
Published: October 2021
Pages: 240
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

October 12, 2021

The Party Crasher


"You can be 'over' something and still discuss it, surely?" ~ 11%

It's been over two years since Effie's parents got divorced. Since then, she's been estranged from her father and feuding with his much younger girlfriend. And now, Greenoaks, the country house that Effie grew up in, has been sold. They are throwing a grand party but Effie is originally left off the guest list, then receives a last-minute invitation to which she declines. No surprise there.

Then Effie remembers her beloved childhood Russian dolls are still hidden in the house. What better chance to retrieve them than when everyone is busy celebrating...hence, party crasher! As she sneaks around Greenoaks, she overhears conversations, reveals secrets and sees her family in a different light. The Party Crasher is meant to be lighthearted and funny but ends up a silly mess.

"I'm actually losing it." ~ 33%

...AND my interest! I never thought I would utter these words but, am I over Sophie Kinsella?! Please let it not be so! There was a time that I eagerly read every new release, got lost in the frivolous lives of cheeky characters, enjoyed the British English dialect and giggled at the ridiculousness of the situations in stories. Mindless chick lit reading at its finest. But The Party Crasher was a struggle to finish!

Was it the main character? Effie was annoyingly not honest with herself. She refused to confront the past and learn from mistakes. And the idea of the whole party crashing thing was just silly. By the end, I realized a whole bunch of nothing happened in the 300+ pages I spent precious time reading. Usually I would have given up at page 50 but kept on because of my loyalty for the author. Bookhearts, take my word for it and pass on this. #IssaBust 

Happy Pub Day, Sophie Kinsella! The Party Crasher 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: The Party Crasher
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: October 2021
Pages: 368
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€

October 5, 2021

Bad Fat Black Girl


"In the past, trap seemed to be at odds with the rest of my identity as a feminist. I'd been advocating for Black women, leading organizing efforts around issues like free access to birth control, and teaching incoming freshman about rape culture. But now it no longer seemed contradictory to be bumping Gucci or Jeezy at full volume while whipping Sandy around campus." ~ 4%

Sesali Bowen is the self-proclaimed trap feminist. The funny fearless entertainment journalist grew up on the south side of Chicago and learned early on how to hustle, champion other Black women and navigate fat phobia, poverty, friendship and self-love. Her love of trap music led her to hip hop journalism where she soon found the balance between feminism and hip hop.

Bowen treats us to personal essays in this debut memoir titled Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist. The cover is very eye-catching and matches the content. She shares how trap music lyrics often conflicts with her support of Black women and being a feminist. Phrases like "bad bitches" and "top notch hoes" float across tracks that she may sing along to but not necessarily overlook. Neither does it diminish her confidence or own identity. 

"When people joke that 'Knuck If You Buck' is an old Negro spiritual, they're referencing the surge of emotion and adrenaline Black folks feel when it comes on." ~ 31%

I can certainly relate. I can rap along to a lot of songs and still be able to disconnect myself from the women described in lyrics. I know my worth. I know what I am and what I am not. I am one of the most polite people you will ever meet but will still rhyme Diamond's verse word-for-word like I'm a fighter. I still advocate for women's rights but you can't tell me I'm not the Susie that Gucci thinks he loves. And Bowen totally understands and translates this well! 

Bad Fat Black Girl will probably be dissected by scholars or music critics. I found it to be an agreeable, entertaining read and recommend for others. You don't have to like trap music to enjoy but it will definitely enhance your reading experience of this new memoir.

Happy Pub Day, Sesali Bowen! Bad Fat Black Girl 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: Bad Fat Black Girl
Author: Sesali Bowen
Published: October 2021
Pages: 272
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

Per My Last Email


"I don't take to flummery." ~ 12%

There are only so many times to say, "checking status" or "following up" or "circle back." I am certainly tired of prefacing emails when I have to repeat myself with "per my last email." As I am sure the recipients of such emails probably feel a certain way. Well there is a new hilarious guide titled Per My Last Email: Curious Words and Clever Phrases to Vivify, Excite, Delight Your Work World to help reinvigorate your vocabulary with alternatives to stale corporate lingo.

I've been in Corporate America for 19 years and picked up a few odd phrases such as, "full plate" when I am overextended with work, "water-cooler talk" when office gossiping, and claiming to give "110%" when that's not even possible. Thank goodness to author Stephanie K. Wright for writing an informative fun book of phrases to boost your communication game and revive your meetings all while remaining appropriate.

Per My Last Email is the resource you didn't know you needed for work or professional communication. Since reading and heavily highlighting, I have used many of its suggestions. I must say the responses I receive are positive and dare I say, productive! The author has clearly tried and proved these methods are effective. Add this to your nonfiction pile, Bookhearts, and thank me later!

Happy Pub Day, Stephanie K. Wright! Per My Last Email 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: Per My Last Email
Author: Stephanie K. Wright
Published: October 2021
Pages: 128
Edition: Galley
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

October 1, 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.

"He put his foot in those greens."

~ Body and Soul Food by Abby Collette