May 10, 2022

Live Read Alert

LiteraryMarie.com is taking a late spring break. But I am still active in these #innanet streets. 

Visit Literary Marie's Live Read❣️ for updates and reactions as I read Will by Will Smith followed by James Patterson by James Patterson.








May 8, 2022

Short Story Sunday: Keri on the Loose

(Southern Belle Insults #5)


Short Story Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read a short story.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

"There was no trace of that bashfulness she used to have in that face now!" ~ 41%

Janet is back with another life-altering wig switch. And now she's daring enough to wear leather leggings, quits her job and full advances on her barista crush. Keri on the Loose is my least favorite of the series. Good thing it was less than 30 minutes to read/listen. I actually switched to audiobook halfway through to see if it would grab my interest more. But nope, just as ridiculously boring.

I am moving on to the next in series. Might as well finish! You can easily read or listen to these all at once too. 
Authors: Keke Palmer with Jasmine Guillory 
Published: November 2021
Pages: 29
Edition: eBook
Series: Southern Belle Insults
Genre: Humor Fiction
Rating: 🖤 

May 6, 2022

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.

"This morning, I got up at quarter to six. Late for me. I made strong coffee and oatmeal with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a touch of cream. I leafed through the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal. Then I took a deep breath and started this ego-biography that you're reading."

~ James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My Life *preview*

May 4, 2022

Say Her Name


"He wore his blackness with the softness of a loving embrace, but also with the tough texture of polished armour ready to deflect the unfairness of life." ~ pg. 11

Author pairs are tricky. Everyone cannot pull it off successfully. There is almost always an author with a prominent voice and the shift in storytelling is obvious. However, Mitchell and Carter write wonderfully together in this new thriller titled Say Her Name.

Eva is a biracial woman, adopted daughter of Cherry and Carlton "Sugar" McNeil. They are the only parents she's known, wanted or needed since the formal adoption when she was eight years old. The story begins with the double blow of Cherry's death and Eva's own suspension from work. With time on her hands and against Sugar's advice, Eva joins a DNA database. It is time to discover who she was before she was theirs.

"But that's the thing with families. Seamless simply hides all the cracks." ~ pg. 161

From the moment Eva gets a positive hit on her DNA to the very last page, Say Her Name moves at a quick thrilling pace with twists. The authors take readers through a dark puzzle, the merciless underside of society and the unfortunate truth of black women disappearing without a word. There are no search parties. There are no names made public. There are no media pleas for their return.

It is enough to make you angry. Yet to read about it in a well-told fiction novel was a push in the right direction. I hope it helps bring awareness to this societal issue, the safety of black women and human trafficking. 

But far as the book goes, my feelings have changed. My immediate reaction upon finishing the book was to rate it 5🖤. I have since changed it to 4🖤 the more I thought about details forgotten later in the book, silly actions of the main character and some unrealistic parts of the mystery. Just to be clear—this new novel is still a good read! I will try more from this bestselling author duo even though Say Her Name wasn't as perfect as I originally thought.

Title: Say Her Name
Author: Dreda Say Mitchell & Ryan Carter
Published: April 2022
Pages: 308
Edition: eBook
Genre: Thriller
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 

May 3, 2022

If He Had Been with Me


"I love him in a way I cannot define, as if my love were an organ within my body that I could not live without yet could not pick out of an anatomy book." ~ pg. 74

Finn and Autumn were meant to be together. Joined at the hip since their mothers (best friends) gave birth. They live right next door and attend the same schools. But something happens to shift their dynamic. Perhaps they've just grown apart and hang in different circles; Finn being the most popular guy in school while Autumn hangs with the misfits. Yet she imagines them being together sometimes.

Since the first page we know how the story ends. It was raining. Finn was driving down a slick road while arguing with his girlfriend Sylvie. Normally people think it's not important what they were arguing about. But Autumn knows because she was the cause and there's another story beyond the facts.

"It was the sort of happiness that fools you into thinking that there is still so much more, maybe even enough to laugh forever." ~ pg. 22

I got a free 4-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited when I upgraded my Kindle PaperWhite. I randomly scrolled through books and added a bunch to my library. This one caught my eye because of the title and ominous cover. Well my free subscription is expiring soon so I went through all of my downloads. I returned a lot and kept others to devour in a personal read-a-thon. There was something about If He Had Been with Me that whispered, "Keep me! Read me now!"

"I want to savor this wonder, this happening of loving a book and reading it for the first time, because the first time is always the best, and I will never read this book for the first time ever again." ~ pg. 141

So here I am trying to find the right words to give this novel the review it deserves. The best I can come up with is the quote above from the book itself. The author clearly had readers in mind when she wrote these lines. Because I just finished reading If He Had Been with Me and am frozen in place. I have been sitting in the same spot since I read the last paragraph. I will not forget this story. I felt the printed words. I am in disbelief. I am heartbroken. I am a believer that sad things can be beautiful.

Title: If He Had Been with Me
Author: Laura Nowlin
Published: April 2013
Pages: 333
Edition: eBook
Genre: YA Romance
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 

May 1, 2022

Series Sunday: By the Book

(Meant to Be #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.

"This was like those fairy tales about girls held captive by monsters. Except, opposite." ~ 19%

My Series Sunday pick is By the Book, the second book in the Meant to Be series by Jasmine Guillory. This series features contemporary takes on classic Disney princesses. Isabelle started off so optimistic, beginning her career in publishing right out of college. Fast forward a few years and she's now 25 years old, still living at home, still an editorial assistant with no promotion in sight and the only Black employee at the publishing house. You know the story—overworked and underpaid.

In an effort to be seen as valuable, Isabelle jokingly agrees to babysit a high-profile author who has failed to deliver his long-awaited manuscript. Beau Towers welcomes Isabelle into his home with a scowl and jaded attitude. But through her encouraging pep talks, his story begins to spill onto the page as well as his feelings. Is it meant to be?

"You can fix bad writing, you can't fix a blank page." ~ 33%

A book about writing a book. Gotta love it! I related to the main character within the first two chapters. She started her career strong and immediately after college graduation (✔️). She was the happy-go-lucky employee with ambitious dreams (✔️). Within a few years, she looked up and realized she was the only Black employee (✔️). How exhausting! But for a bit of excitement, she took on a challenge at work and hoped for a happy ending—or at least a bigger paycheck (✔️).

How can you not love a reimagined fairy tale for the new generation? Meant to Be #2 is a love story where the romance happens slowly but we see it coming way before the couple does. By the Book gives the lovey-dovey feeling with a classic twist. I recommend this super cute novel by bestselling author Jasmine Guillory. 

As the author says, By the Book is dedicated to "all the Black girls who loved books and wanted to be princesses." Add to your TBR with the friendly reminder to read between the lines. Pun intended.

Happy Early Pub Day, Jasmine Guillory! By the Book will be available Tuesday, May 3.

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: Jasmine Guillory
Published: May 2022
Pages: 320
Edition: Galley
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

April 29, 2022

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 was eleven years old, my father decided he needed a new wall on the front of his shop. It would be a big wall: roughly twelve feet high by twenty feet long. The old wall was crumbling, and he was 'sick-o'-lookin' at it."

~ Will by Will Smith

April 27, 2022

Love Radio


"Detroit, what up doe!" ~ 3%

What initially attracted me to Love Radio was the setting: my beloved city of Detroit. Secondly, it features a main character that loves music. Last of all, the author is Michigan-born. The description says this new YA novel is Hitch meets The Sun is Also a Star. How can it not grab my interest? 

Prince is a teenage self-professed love doctor with a popular radio show. DJ Love Jones' advice on the Detroit radio station is quite popular and valued. But the true test is if he can take own advice and fall in love. Dani is a girl with a plan: graduate high school with honors, earn a scholarship and become a famous author in NYC. She is not looking for love or checking for the confident radio DJ. Dani gives Prince three dates to convince they can fall in love.

Love Radio is not just a lovesick romance among high schoolers. It also deals with heavier issues such as sexual assault and illness. Even with this balance, it follows a common road that young adult books tend to follow. There was no element of surprise but more-so running through the pages because I knew what was coming next...and it did. For this reason, well-read adults can pass on this new release; this is fit for young readers.

Happy Early Pub Day, Ebony LaDelle! Love Radio will be available Tuesday, May 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: Love Radio
Author: Ebony LaDelle
Published: May 2022
Pages: 320 
Edition: Galley
Genre: YA Romance
Rating: 🖤 🖤

April 26, 2022

The Gravity of Missing Things


"The gravity of all these painful, missing things weighed me down. Way, way down." ~ 76%

Violet's mother never misses her performances. So why isn't she in the audience? Once the curtain closes, Violet is told heart-stopping news: Flight 133 has disappeared. Her mother is the pilot. Suddenly, social media is full of conspiracy theories, the news is on her front lawn and her priority is finding out what really happened. There is no way her mother crashed the plane on purpose. So why did her mother leave a note and box of letters behind for Violet's eyes only?

The author took a great risk in writing about a disappeared flight. We all remember the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that disappeared in March 2014. Now we have the fictional Flight 133 that disappeared over the ocean, with no wreckage, no distress signal, no bodies. It was obvious that Marisa Urgo researched and learned the lingo while writing in a young adult voice. Very well done!

"It would've hurt far less." ~ 15%

As if the disappearance isn't a big enough plot, there are a couple captivating side stories! There is nothing like a twist that comes out of nowhere yet makes perfect sense. There was a certain point I wanted the story to move along faster but that was my own impatience at Violet finding out the truth.

I recommend the appropriately titled The Gravity of Missing Things for all Bookhearts. I savored reading it over the course of five (5) days only to have it test the definitions of closure and a satisfying ending. Yet here I am still thinking about it. This is what I call a successful debut novel!

Happy Early Pub Day, Marisa Urgo! The Gravity of Missing Things will be available Tuesday, June 7.

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 Gravity of Missing Things
Author: Marisa Urgo
Published: June 2022
Pages: 320
Edition: Galley
Genre: YA Mystery
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 

April 24, 2022

Short Story Sunday: Sophie Dreams Big

(Southern Belle Insults #4) 


Short Story Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read a short story.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

"You feel like everyone around you is a reflection of who you have to be or that everything said wrong to you should become who you are." ~ 72%

For the last installment of this series, I chose to listen. What a treat! Keke Palmer with the narrating voice of Lady Miss was hilarious. I could just hear the confidence exude from former pushover, shy girl Janet. The new wig named Sophie brings balance into her personal and professional life. The insults were still there but gave just the right amount of push to make Janet stand on her own.

Southern Belle Insults short series marked finished! You can read or listen to these all at once too. 
Authors: Keke Palmer with Jasmine Guillory 
Published: November 2021
Time: 29 Minutes
Edition: Audiobook
Series: Southern Belle Insults
Genre: Humor Fiction
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 

April 22, 2022

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.

"There's a small wooden cross staked into the ground on the side of the road with the date of his death written on it."

~ Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover 


 

April 20, 2022

She Memes Well


"While they may look simple, memes and gifs are nuanced forms of language." pg. 25

Abbott Elementary is the funniest new sitcom. Every other line is a hoot. The characters and facial expressions are every.thing. All thanks to comedian Quinta Brunson. So I had to find out more on the person behind the show.

In this personal, and of course, funny collection of essays, Quinta focuses on trying to make it when you're broke and finding the humor in everyday life. As an added bonus, she shares classic lists of the shows, songs, movies and memes that made her into the talented woman she is today.

"Of course my expressive-ass face gave some of the best reactions." ~ pg. 95

"HE GOT MONEEEEY!" Quinta is the master of going viral and creating content to entertain the masses. She began writing and developing for BuzzFeed and producing more viral videos. Now she is gracing the pages of her debut essay collection adding "author" to her list of impressive titles. 

She Memes Well is guaranteed to make readers LOL. You should have seen the looks I got in public while reading! I highly recommend my Bookhearts add She Memes Well to TBR lists and S1 of Abbott Elementary to watch lists. Both are hilariously entertaining while addressing real issues. 

Title: She Memes Well
Author: Quinta Brunson
Published: June 2021
Pages: 218
Edition: eBook
Genre: Memoir Humor
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 

April 19, 2022

Real Life, Real Love


"Conversations matter." ~ 52%

RaaShaun "DJ Envy" and Gia Casey have been together for 27 years (married for 20). They've been through growing celebrity, a public cheating scandal, a miscarriage and birth of six children. In Real Life, Real Love they explore the chronology of their romance, answer questions from fans and provide a guidebook with valuable tools for relationships. It appears that nothing is off limits and everything is laid on the table for us readers to understand their love and learn from it. 

I am a daily listener of The Breakfast Club on my morning commute. Over the years, I heard tidbits of DJ Envy's relationship with Gia. He speaks with pride about his marriage and children. But not until this book did I realize the extent of their love. I praise them for being transparent about the early stages of their relationship, infidelity, career, challenges and rewards of parenting. The life lessons were abound and shared. This might be the closest we get to a cheat code, y'all.

"There's a saying that there can't be a testimony without a test, and there's always a mess before the message. We've had the tests and the messes; we can let somebody else skip that part." ~ 88%

Don't think of Real Life, Real Love as an entertainment love story. Don't even think of it as a memoir. I put it in the category of "Black Love For Real." The overall themes are faith and restoration. It is for every reader no matter your relationship status: single, engaged, married, divorced, dating or complicated. It was very interesting to read about the evolution of their lives from the age of 15 to present. Hopefully their lessons are music to our ears.

Happy Pub Day, DJ Envy and Gia! Real Life, Real Love 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: Real Life, Real Love: Life Lessons on Joy, Pain & The Magic That Holds Us Together
Author: RaaShaun "DJ Envy" & Gia Casey
Published: April 2022
Pages: 256
Edition: Galley
Genre: Nonfiction Relationship
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 

April 17, 2022

Short Story Sunday: The Wedding Setup


Short Story Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read a short story.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

"Isn't that serendipitous?" ~ pg. 8

Ayesha Shetty is doing everything to be a dutiful daughter. Not wanting to see her mother hurt anymore, she took on her late brother's role in the family business. Put aside her grief, her dreams, her independence and even the man she loved. Now it's her best friend's big, fat Indian wedding and her wedding date is a setup. A man that checks all her mother's boxes. But Ayesha must choose between putting herself first or making the family happy.

This was a light romance to quickly read on a Saturday afternoon. An okay short story about second chance love and happiness.
Author: Sonali Dev
Published: January 2022
Pages: 36
Edition: eBook
Genre: Romance
Rating: 🖤 🖤 

April 15, 2022

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.

"It is autumn in Paris, City of Light. Vincent's in her scarf—the one she always wears—wrapped twice like death."

~ Half-Blown Rose by Leesa Cross-Smith


 

April 13, 2022

Shine Bright


"'Diva' is an honorific often applied derisively to modern women pop stars. Sometimes, that title is taken on as an empowered self-identification." ~ 10%

Before I delve into this book review, please take a look at this beautiful eye-catching cover! Such a vibrant orange with flowers surrounding a gold album. It shines bright as the title.

Shine Bright is a blend of biography and music history with Black women as the foundation. There is a short list of people qualified to write such a book; Danyel Smith is the best author for it. She has written pieces of this history for years through essays, as an editor for Vibe magazine and as a music critic. Now she dives all in with this intimate narrative along with her own memories.

The story of Black women in pop begins with an 8-year-old among a slave ship in July 1761. She grew into a woman who sang her poems by the name of Phillis Wheatley. The author feels a personal connection with this Black woman genius and dreams of her often. The stories continue featuring the Drinkard family, Gladys Knight, Peaches, Deniece Williams, Mariah Carey and more.

"To scream at a show, to get drunk on bass vibrations, to sing memorized lyrics loudly in unison with people you don't even know?" ~ 38%

Reading Shine Bright was an experience. It was like sitting down with Danyel Smith in front of a retro record player as she put on different albums and told stories. There's just some music that puts you in a certain headspace. There are songs that hold memories. But the history behind the music are the real gems in this book. Danyel Smith shares those moments with readers and gave damn good arguments on why her favorites are her favorites. 

The appreciation for Black women in pop leaps off the pages. It goes without expressly saying that I recommend Shine Bright. Place your pre-order. Reserve at the library. Secure your copy! Share the fact that Black women created meaningful music. 

Now excuse me while I go create a playlist on Tidal—if Elliot Wilson hasn't already—and continue the praise of Black women musical masters.

Happy Early Pub Day, Danyel Smith! Shine Bright will be available Tuesday, April 19.

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: Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop
Author: Danyel Smith
Published: April 2022
Pages: 320
Edition: Galley
Genre: Nonfiction Music
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

April 12, 2022

Take My Hand


"The story of my welcoming you into my life, of my decision not to marry or bear children, is complicated." ~ 2%

History + Fiction = A Damn Good Novel 

The bestselling author of Wench is back with a new release titled Take My Hand. Bookhearts, drop everything and reserve this book at your local library or bookstore. This one is for my social justice Bookhearts, my historical black fiction lovers, my believers that history repeats itself. Be warned: this story will linger long after the last page is read.

Civil Townsend is fresh out of nursing school with a plan to make a difference in her Black community. She works at the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic in Alabama, 1973. Her first week on the job leads her to new patients—a pair of 11- and 13-year old sisters on birth control. Neither have children, let alone sexually active. But they are poor, Black and receiving welfare benefits so the government deems it necessary to have the girls on birth control.

"Now, you know how some white folks feel about Black bodies. They think we can tolerate pain better than them." ~ 22%

Civil's job was just to give the shot and keep it moving. But this doesn't sit right on her spirit. Then one day she shows up to find the unthinkable has happened and there's no fixing the damage. It shaped Civil's future and forever changed the course of the young girls' lives.

It breaks my heart that Take My Hand was inspired by true events not even 50 years ago. It puts into perspective women's rights and how little things have changed when it comes to our bodies, our choice. Dolen Perkins-Valdez wrote of reproductive injustice and informed readers via fiction of a terrible wrongdoing. She has raised awareness and definitely tapped into the emotional impact of the real-life case of Relf v. Weinberger. So well done! 

Happy Pub Day, Dolen Perkins-Valdez! Take My Hand 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: Take My Hand
Author: Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Published: April 2022
Pages: 368
Edition: Galley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 

April 10, 2022

Short Story Sunday: Chelsea's Werk Week

(Southern Belle Insults #3) 


Short Story Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read a short story.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

"Do I look like I'd allow cheap synthetics on this gorgeous dome?" ~ 81%

Janet ain't so shy anymore! She's now strutting around in a wig named Chelsea that is straight, long and the color of two-day-old corn husks. She is werking it with the newfound confidence. She legit becomes a different person with each wig and it's a funny concept for short stories. But Chelsea was a lot annoying making this one less enjoyable. 

I am still moving on to the next in series. You can easily read or listen to these all at once too. 

Title: Chelsea's Werk Week
Authors: Keke Palmer with Jasmine Guillory 
Published: November 2021
Pages: 29
Edition: eBook
Series: Southern Belle Insults
Genre: Humor Fiction
Rating: 🖤 🖤

April 8, 2022

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.

"Milan was the first person Feyi had fucked since the accident."

 You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

April 6, 2022

Blood Sugar


"Did I get away with it three times, just to later be accused of murdering someone I truly loved and didn't kill?" ~ 61%

Never mind that Ruby is a murderess. She just isn't guilty of THIS murder in question. She's an animal-loving therapist capable of feeling empathy, having long-lasting friendships and adoring her husband. When readers first meet Ruby, she is being accused of murdering her husband. Ironically, this is one murder she did not commit.

The narration in Blood Sugar alternates between Ruby being interrogated at the police station and her memories of past crimes. It is meant for readers to like Ruby and even sympathize with her being wrongly accused. A great debut thriller idea but it just fell short.

Stories are not complete without three (3) parts: beginning, middle and end. A perfect novel has a perfect balance of these key parts. Unfortunately in Blood Sugar, that balance was off. I appreciate a good backstory but geez. It should not take damn near half the novel (~ 40%) to get to the victim in question. By the end of the novel, I lost interest and still found the main character extremely unlikable. I recommend bookhearts skip this one.

Happy Early Pub Day, Sascha Rothchild! Blood Sugar will be available Tuesday, April 19.

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: Blood Sugar
Author: Sascha Rothchild
Published: April 2022
Pages: 336
Edition: Galley
Genre: Thriller
Rating: 🖤 🖤 

April 5, 2022

Gathering Blossoms Under Fire


"Lord, this is some thick shit Black women must get through." ~ 12%

What if you had the opportunity to read fifty (50) years worth of sixty-five (65) journals and notebooks from a Pulitzer Prize-winning author? Well you WILL in exactly one week! 

For the first time ever, the edited journals of Alice Walker are gathered like blossoms for your reading pleasure. Journal entries from 1965-2000 reflect her complex, passionate, intimate details of her life as an award-winning author, artist, writer, human rights activist, women's advocate, friend, daughter, lover, wife, mother and citizen.

An array of events are shared with such great detail as if they happened yesterday. She explores how it felt to march in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement, her interracial marriage in the South, the trials and triumphs of being a Black woman, enduring relationships both erotic and toxic, her bond with only daughter, the making of The Color Purple and insight into each decade.

"It is a primer for people of all ages who wish to live free lives. It is both a deeply personal journey and an intimate history of our time." ~ 1%

Listen...I enjoyed Gathering Blossoms Under Fire more than any fiction she ever wrote. Classics included! It is something about her open thoughts, vulnerable prose, nonjudgmental observations and perception of life that was addicting to read. It kept me interested throughout and even prompted my own journal entries when it came to financial goals/savings. (Yes, she even shared personal budget entries!)

The format of Gathering Blossoms Under Fire is genius! Organized by decade, it is easy to follow and witness her personal growth. Major social issues are addressed and her opinion is not minced. It feels like a gift to read the diary of a literary legend. I dare not spoil its contents so let me stop this review here. Bookhearts, please know The Journals of Alice Walker is recommended to all Bookhearts that appreciate the work of Great Black American novelists.

Happy Early Pub Day, Alice Walker! Gathering Blossoms Under Fire will be available Tuesday, April 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.

Title: Gathering Blossoms Under Fire
Author: Alice Walker
Published: April 2022
Pages: 512
Edition: Galley
Genre: Nonfiction Journals
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

April 3, 2022

Short Story Sunday: The Evil Mother


Short Story Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read a short story.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

"The Tower plus the Moon and the Ten of Swords." ~ pg. 9

From the bestselling author of Handmaid's Tale, comes a new short story by Margaret Atwood.

Life is hard for a teenage girl in 1950s suburbia. On the outside, her single mother dresses in starched dresses, pearls and aprons. But there is mysterious liquid in a jar and an herb garden. Tarot card readings of a boyfriend with a fatal end. Whispers of the wacky homemaker. As the daughter comes of age and her mother becomes more outlandish, maybe witchcraft is real.

Bookhearts, grab The Evil Mother while it is *free* with any Amazon First Reads book until April 7. Amazon Original Stories rarely miss. And this was a 5-heart read!

Title: The Evil Mother
Author: Margaret Atwood
Published: April 2022
Pages: 32
Edition: eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤