November 30, 2023

Lit Tidbits: Pithy Picks XIII


Hey, Bookhearts! Pithy Picks are a bookish meme created to help you quickly find books that are worth your time and coins. Just read the pithy review below!


Edited by: Jericho Brown
Published: July 2023
Pithy Review: This is a nonfiction book by Black writers for Black writers. Have a paper or digital notebook and highlighter ready to use. The essays from over 30 Black writers provide encouragement, examples, templates and lessons. Despite the title, it is more of a guide and personal workshop than a how-to book on writing. Diverse voices such as Nikki Giovanni, Jacqueline Woodson, Tayari Jones, and Angela Flournoy together in one book for $12.99. Worth every copper coin. Seriously, buy it now. 
Quote"A good grammarian knows how to write polyrhythmically." ~ 3%
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: Too Late
Author: Colleen Hoover
Published: June 2023
Pithy Review: This novel is labeled CoHo's darkest romantic thriller. Sloan is caught up financially and emotionally with the notorious drug trafficker Asa Jackson. Knowing she is in dire straits and dependent on him, Asa develops a dangerous, disturbing obsession with Sloan. When undercover DEA agent Carter enters the picture, Sloan feels safe and an immediate attraction. But they have to find a way out of this dangerous situation before it's too late. There's sex (sometimes forced), a dash of romance and character un-development. It was okay despite the definitive edition having an epilogue to the epilogue to the epilogue.
Quote"Love shouldn't feel like added weight. It should make you feel as light as air." ~ 75%
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️


Title:
 A Night to Remember
Author: Walter Lord
Published: January 2005
Pithy Review: Everyone knows how the world's largest, most glamorous, ship sank after colliding with an iceberg. In less than 200 pages, Walter Lord retells the history of the Titanic wreckage, its passengers and few survivors, and a vivid retelling of the night to remember. A very informative, gripping read for history buffs.
Quote"God himself could not sink this ship." ~ 19%
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: There's No Coming Back from This
Author: Ann Garvin
Published: August 2023
Pithy Review: Single mother Poppy is on the verge of losing her home when her accountant runs off with her life savings and she's forced to file bankruptcy. An old flame offers her a job on a Hollywood movie set in wardrobe. Poppy is new to this world of movie stardom, iconic costumes and back-lot intrigue. Though she was quite immature for her 50-something age, it's chick lit level funny only worth the Amazon First Reads/Kindle Unlimited download.
Quote"I wanted to hold on to this moment, but there was no speed limit for life, no brakes at all." ~ 12%
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️

November 29, 2023

Holmes, Marple & Poe


"Fear was incomplete knowledge." ~ pg. 97

Holmes, Miss Marple and Poe Investigations is open for business. The three private investigators with untraceable pasts keep their identity secret as they take on cases no one else can touch. NYPD Detective Helene Gray is on a mission to unmask them in a solo investigation as they make headlines. 

We know very little. Brendon Holmes—The Brain—is a science-minded sleuth with a keen sense of smell. Miss Margaret Marple—The Eyes—is a charming snoop who works best undercover. Auguste Poe—The Muscle—is a weapons expert with a weakness for cars and women. Even as readers, we are kept in the dark about the main characters named after the famous Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, Agatha Christie and Edgar Allen Poe. Masterfully done!

"Murder brings out the bitch in me." ~ pg. 38

There are multiple mysteries within this new novel: art theft, kidnappings and an unsolved murder from 1954. As a reader that is easily lost in multiple points of view, I surprisingly kept up with the fast pace and storylines. It grabbed me from the first page and still hasn't let go as I write this review four (4) months later. Who are these people?! Where did they come from?! And where have they been all my fiction-loving life?!

Every new release of Patterson's is the best this, the greatest that. I've come to ignore the overhyped blurbs. But in this case (pun intended), Holmes, Marple & Poe really are "the greatest crime-solving team of the twenty-first century." The chemistry among the partners is strongly felt through the pages. Their minds are constantly analyzing clues, thinking steps ahead. Their intuition is not ignored. Their skill is unmatched. They are perfect in the media. And most of all, all three are lovable, realistically flawed characters!

"Two truths and a lie." ~ 91%

It is unconfirmed whether Patterson will make Holmes, Marple & Poe into a series, but consider this review as my plea. Please bring this mysterious trio back. I have unanswered questions around their identity, history and what brought them together. There is a story brewing underneath this novel that is yet to be told. You heard it here first: Holmes, Marple & Poe is next year's best mystery!

Happy Early Pub Day, James Patterson and Brian Sitts! Holmes, Marple & Poe will be available Monday, January 8, 2024. 

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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: Holmes, Marple & Poe
Author: James Patterson and Brian Sitts
Published: January 2024
Pages: 352
Edition: Galley
Genre: Mystery
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 28, 2023

Sweetness in the Skin


"Yuh auntie...she love you bad bad." ~ pg. 265

Pumkin Patterson is a 13-year-old girl living in Kingston, Jamaica, with her grandmother, Aunt Sophie and mother Paulette. When Sophie is offered the chance to move to France for work, she moves and promises to send for her niece in one year.

But like it so often happens when plans are made, wrenches are thrown. The grandmother dies so Pumkin is left alone with her negative-minded mother. Determined to raise money for the French school entrance exam, Pumkin starts selling baked goods against school policy. Her future is at risk when the school and her mother find out.

"And it feels like someone scooped out the last bit of ice cream from the tub, the last bit of hope being scraped out of my gut." ~ pg. 263

The best part of Sweetness in the Skin were the food references. It is as much of a foodie love story as it is a coming-of-age story. I found myself looking forward to the L'Ecole days to see what dish or dessert would be prepared. My mouth watered over the description of baked goods, especially coconut cake. I even tried preparing pork chops as described with salt, pepper, cinnamon and simmering on a low fire. They indeed fell off the bone!

I always worry about reading books set in the islands because of the language. It is usually hard for me to decipher but I was able to read Pumkin's story without interruption. The only parts I struggled through were when Pumkin's mom talked but I didn't like her much anyway. She was the character I loved to hate.

For a debut novel, Ishi Robinson nailed it! Sweetness in the Skin is funny and heartwarming about a young girl baking her way to the opportunity of a lifetime. Highly recommend adding to your wish list of books to read next year.

Happy Early Pub Day, Ishi Robinson! Sweetness in the Skin will be available Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: Sweetness in the Skin
Author: Ishi Robinson
Published: April 2024
Pages: 280
Edition: Galley
Genre: Multicultural Fiction
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 26, 2023

Series Sunday: The Secret

(Jack Reacher #28) 


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 The Secret, the 28th book in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child and Andrew Child. Eight upstanding people have been found dead across the United States. It is not until a victim takes a fatal fall from a hospital window that a connection is loosely made. The Secretary of Defense organizes a task force and enlists the help of Jack Reacher.

We all know Jack Reacher is an exceptional soldier. He is strong, dominating, intuitive, a sharp shooter and skilled. He races to find the killer and link between the deaths before moving into the dangerous line of sight. The best part of The Secret is knowing that Reacher will get the mission done like no one else can.

"Shoot her and your father's story will never be told." ~ pg .214

It's not uncommon for a long-standing series to drift off. The Jack Reacher series has almost 30 books so my expectations are not as high as the first few books in the series. But I still expect some type of plot to hold my interest. Where is the suspense? Where is the character development? Where is the originality? 

I am disappointed but not enough to stop reading the Jack Reacher series. I will continue reading the earlier books that are more compelling. Loyal Reacher readers and those watching the TV adaptation may be interested in The Secret. 

The Secret is available now.

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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: The Secret
Author: Lee Child and Andrew Child
Published: October 2023
Pages: 237
Edition: Galley
Genre: Mystery
Challenge: Perpetual Jack Reacher
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 24, 2023

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 little girl I walked for hours alone in the silent woods behind my house in Louisiana, singing songs. Being outside gave me a sense of aliveness and danger."

~ The Woman in Me by Britney Spears 

November 23, 2023

November 22, 2023

My Side of the River


"Maybe that's why everything in Mexico tasted sweeter and familiar—we were together. Being there gave us a freedom we didn't have in the United States." ~ pg. 90

In this candid age-progressing memoir, Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez shares her experience as a U.S. born daughter of immigrants. She lived south of the Rillito River in Tucson, Arizona. Crossing into Mexico used to be seamless. Then her parents' visa expired and they were forced to return to Mexico. Elizabeth was left responsible for her younger brother and education.

Imagine living in fear. Imagine having to stay in Mexico when your life is in the United States. Imagine separating from your children and deciding to leave them a world away for a chance at better education. Imagine having to fade into crowds. Imagine working a job you hate in a system that doesn't see your family as humans. On a lighter note, imagine the smell of fresh tamales and watching Disney as a form of escape. 

Elizabeth so honestly shares her experience from early childhood to adulthood with the hopes that readers will understand. She did a fine job translating her Brown girl story to print. 

"For so long college was the end goal, but the goalposts kept moving..." ~ pg. 171

My Side of the River explores themes of immigration, broken families, separation trauma and sacrifices. There are sad moments but through it all, I admire Elizabeth's determination to succeed despite adversities and constantly fighting currents. Usually I recommend nonfiction releases to Bookhearts that like memoirs but My Side of the River needs to be read by politicians to absorb the effects of their views made into laws. 

Happy Early Pub Day, Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez! My Side of the River will be available Tuesday, February 13, 2024.

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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: My Side of the River
Author: Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez
Published: February 2024
Pages: 224
Edition: Galley
Genre: Memoir
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 21, 2023

Hold My Girl


"But something I learned, that we both learned, is love doesn't split when you share it. It grows." ~ 51%

After seven difficult years of trying to conceive, Katherine gives birth to Rose, her IVF miracle child. But it's more than noticeable that Rose's skin is white, her hair is straight and almost blond. It doesn't match Katherine's light-skinned complexion as a Black woman. Bluish-green eyed Tess also underwent IVF at the same clinic but her daughter was stillborn. Now nearly one year later, Tess is consumed by grief, divorced and broke. Just before Rose's first birthday, the fertility clinic calls both women with life-changing news: their eggs were switched.

Motherhood has been Katherine's and Tess's dream. Now neither woman wants to share that claim over Rose. Hence a tense custody battle with racial identity overtones. So very quickly the story turns emotional and left me questioning the definition of motherhood and what makes a mother? Who is to blame and who is deserving? How much is too much to share?

"Was she a good enough daughter, mother, wife, friend? Was she enough?" ~ 74%

I have marinated on this review for months. No exaggeration—I read it back in the summer. I stalked it until it was available for United States book reviewers. The publisher's summary was that intriguing! So when it finally arrived on my Kindle, I was beyond excited to read and review it. I cleared plans and read half of the book in one day. I forced myself to put it down and took my time reading over the next two days. And here I sit, nearly five months later, still thinking of the deeply moving story, the emotional themes, the moral lesson and its memorable characters.

Charlene Carr is officially on my watch list. I will read whatever she releases next and have signed up for author updates. Hold My Girl is so well written that I recommend it to every Bookheart that enjoys grown chick lit. You will view love differently and see why Hold My Girl is the best book I've read in 2023. And to the decision-makers and screenwriters, please adapt this book into a movie! 

Two women. Two eggs. One life-changing switch. Hold My 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: Hold My Girl
Author: Charlene Carr
Published: October 2023
Pages: 432
Edition: Galley
Genre: Family Drama, Grown Chick Lit
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

Made Whole: The Practical Guide to Reaching Your Financial Goals


"Here's the truth: Whatever your net worth is, it's OK. All you have now is a number that gives you something to work with, a point of focus around which you can build your future financial actions." ~ 79%

The Budgetnista is back with a workbook to get our finances in order! In new release, Made Whole: The Practical Guide to Reaching Your Financial Goals, Tiffany Aliche provides hands-on tools to help with budgeting, investing, saving for retirement and even fun money. With rising interest rates and a rocky economy, we all need to live within our means, spend and save wisely. 

Made Whole helps us set realistic financial goals with an easy-to-follow action plan. There are budget sheets, worksheets, checklists and to-do items. Topics include debt, credit, income, retirement, insurance, estate planning and financial planning. She shares hacks for increasing your credit score, picking the right money team and breaks down financial jargon in a down-to-earth style that I appreciate. This workbook is a masterclass that costs less than lunch!

I have taken so many notes and highlights and already implemented ways to improve my own budget so I can stay on track with short- and long-term financial goals. I highly recommend you do the same and get good with money! 

Happy Pub Day to The Budgetnista! Made Whole 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: Made Whole: The Practical Guide to Reaching Your Financial Goals
Author: Tiffany Aliche "The Budgetnista"
Published: November 2023
Pages: 247
Edition: Galley
Genre: Finance Self-Help
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 19, 2023

Series Sunday: The Edge

(The 6:20 Man #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.

My Series Sunday pick is The Edge, the second book in The 6:20 Man series by David Baldacci. Travis Devine is back! He is tasked by handlers to solve the murder of a CIA agent who knew America's dirty secrets. Government officials have immediate concerns over national security. Travis Devine heads to a small coastal town in Maine where the locals have trusted each other their whole lives and strongly distrust any outsider.

"The mind could screw with you in ways you could hardly imagine. In trying to save you, its stressor signals could actually kill you with a heart attack or render you incapable of saving yourself." ~ pg. 15

I love a mystery with lots of suspects and a main character I can root for. Travis Devine has no idea who to trust but tries his best to blend in. His tactics are sharp and calculating showcasing his army ranger background. Baldacci does a good job of keeping the mystery close to the vest until the ending pages in this series. I just wish with each chapter that the suspense built to match Travis Devine's characteristics.

The Edge was nowhere near as fast-paced as the first book of series. The 6:20 Man was a realistic deep dive into dark finance at its finest. I have waited for this follow-up novel for over a year and it's finally arrived on my Kindle. I hurriedly finished other books so I could begin reading this. My hopes were up so I am a bit let down; however, I still recommend it. The Edge is good read but missed that edge, pun all the way intended. 

Happy Pub Week, David Baldacci! The Edge is available now.

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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: The Edge
Author: David Baldacci
Published: November 2023
Pages: 387
Edition: Galley
Genre: Mystery
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 17, 2023

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.

"Passenger train travel was not known to be particularly dangerous, especially in Europe where the machines soared like the wind on rigorously sculpted rails that translated to silky smooth rides."

~ The Edge by David Baldacci

November 16, 2023

The Burnout


"I'm doing the work of three people and keep dropping all the plates." ~ 1%


Hey, Sophie, Hey πŸ‘‹πŸΎ. One of my favorite chick lit authors is back with a romantic comedy titled The Burnout. Sasha has reached her limit. She can't bring herself to reply to another urgent-not-really-urgent email, participate in yet another employee program or even cook dinner for herself. 

Sasha heads to a seaside resort for a reset. But it's the off season and the hotel is in shambles. Plus she has to share the beach with a grumpy dude named Finn. Eventually they are forced to talk and find they're both burned out! 

#RecommendedbySasha ~ 87%

I prefer the Shopaholic series to Sophie Kinsella's standalone books but The Burnout was more than tolerable. I suspect readers will either find it hilarious or boring. It started off funny then turned unbelievably silly. If you are a Bookheart that has experienced burnout, this is a lighthearted spin but it may not be entertaining enough. 

The Burnout 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: The Burnout
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: October 2023
Pages: 403
Edition: Galley
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 15, 2023

Tupac Shakur: The Authorized Biography


"Don't be quiet. Read. Be honest." ~ 19%

The legendary artist, poet, actor and revolutionary known as Tupac Shakur is one of the greatest and most controversial artists of our time. In a new biography, author and screenwriter Staci Robinson is authorized by estate and with the blessing of Tupac's own mother, Afeni Shakur, to share his story and prove why Tupac continues to inspire us today. 

My advance copy of this book is full of highlights from Tupac's backronyms like "Never Ignorant, Getting Goals Accomplished" to his realism of the Shakur name curse to his hard truths of us marching on an anniversary of what we marched 25 years ago. Author Staci Robinson penned a biography with details that I'd never read before and inside knowledge of the man who died far too young.

"'I'm not going to be alive,' Tupac responded." ~ 45%

Not only do I recommend this new release for fans of Tupac, but also fans of biographies, hip hop listeners, old school rap fans, creative artists and especially those with not much knowledge of the often misunderstood Tupac Shakur. It is a celebration of his life. A detailed look into his childhood, family life and decisions made in his meaningful short life. 

Afeni Shakur and the estate chose the right person to write this authorized biography because Staci Robinson does not sugarcoat and tells of Tupac as the man he really was—the ups, down, shortcomings and achievements. The book includes photos, handwritten poetry, musings, letters and more. I encourage public libraries to offer Tupac Shakur in their catalog and for independent booksellers to keep it stocked on shelves. 

Tupac Shakur: The Authorized Biography 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: Tupac Shakur: The Authorized Biography
Author: Staci Robinson
Published: October 2023
Pages: 406
Edition: Galley
Genre: Biography
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 14, 2023

The Grammar Daily: 365 Quick Tips for Successful Writing from Grammar Girl


"Throw out the whiches." ~ pg .21

Throw away the grammatically incorrect and pick up the "write" stuff! In a tip-a-day form, the popular Grammar Girl offers 365 lessons on language in the revised and updated edition of The Grammar Daily. It includes writing tips, quizzes and memory tricks to help improve grammar and writing one day at a time.

"Lay is what happens to objects." ~ pg .34

I feel like if you've read one Grammar Daily, you've read them all. I recommend this updated edition to Bookhearts that are writers, editors and proofreaders to use as a refresher guide. For those new to Grammar Girl, download the podcast and this eBook for practical easy-to-remember advice about style and usage. It is a daily devotional we can all use!

Happy Pub Day, Mignon Fogarty! The Grammar Daily: 365 Quick Tips for Successful Writing from Grammar 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: The Grammar Daily: 365 Quick Tips for Successful Writing from Grammar Girl
Author: Mignon Fogarty
Published: November 2023
Pages: 133
Edition: Galley
Genre: Instructional Writing
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 12, 2023

Series Sunday: A Christmas to Remember

(Blessings #11) 


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 Christmas to Remember, the 11th book in the Blessing series by Beverly Jenkins. It's Christmas in Henry Adams! Both new and current residents of the small town prepare for the holiday and wedding of the city. 

"I've never been to a place where Black folks have lived and flourished for over a century." ~ 5%

Town owner Bernadine Brown is ready to say "I Do" to Mal July. Wedding preparations are in full swing. Meanwhile Brain has broken up with the girl he loves much as physics. Reverend Paula has been praying for someone to share her life with; could the new charming chef be the one? There's a lot going on this Christmas!

Ms. Bev don't miss! The Blessings series is good for the soul. I know I'm in for a 5⭐️ read with every new release. A Christmas to Remember lives up to the name. It is a full holiday novel with all the cozy feels. 

A Christmas to Remember is available now.

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. ~LiteraryMarie

Author: Beverly Jenkins
Published: October 2023
Pages: 300
Edition: Galley
Genre: Holiday Family Fiction
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 10, 2023

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.

"Keith Bridgeman was alone in his room when he closed his eyes."

~ The Secret by Lee Child and Andrew Child 

November 9, 2023

The Price We Pay


"Another sacrifice expected of the Black woman in America—to cope and comply." ~ 78%

Things are never as black and white as they seem. But when it comes to injustice, there are no gray areas. Zenetta Henchman has a nothing-to-lose attitude and a strong personality beyond her young years. She witnesses a fatal shooting that divides her community. A string of racial attacks turn into accusations when Zenetta's father, the only Black police officer on the force, chooses the wrong side of the law. 

Racial injustice, social prejudice, police brutality and wrongful conviction are themes in new YA novel, The Price We Pay. I felt the tension and conflict through the pages. However, I found it hard to stay interested while reading because of my strong dislike for most of the main characters. Zenetta had a powerful voice but didn't use it. She was silent when she should have spoken up and opened her mouth when it was best to stay quiet. Her parents were no better. It was maddening!

I suppose it was the author's intent to prove there is a price to pay for silence. In this regard, well done! I just wish I could sympathize more with the characters.

Happy Early Pub Day, Nikki T. Anthony! The Price We Pay will be available on November 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: The Price We Pay
Author: Nikki T. Anthony
Published: November 2023
Pages: 283
Edition: Galley
Genre: Young Adult Injustice
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 8, 2023

One Blood


"Deeply private like most Black people." ~ pg. 277

Three women are forever tied together by blood, love and family secrets. Grace is barely a teenager when she loses her Maw Maw in post-segregation Virginia. She is shipped up North to live with her Aunt Hattie. Her Aunt firmly left behind her southern roots for the Black socially ambitious world. Grace is a fish out of water and ends up pregnant by the son of a grand dame.

Lolo has it all: a doting husband, beautiful children and a lovely home. She will lie through her teeth to obtain and keep it. Then her daughter Rae finds out she is adopted. About to become a mother herself, Rae faces a powerful reckoning.

Generational trauma is real. One Blood is a classic story of the clichΓ©: hurt people hurt people. It is raw, detailed and a powerful tale spanning from The Great Migration to civil unrest of 1960s to women's equality in the 2000s. I recommend for readers that like family drama, generational tales and novels written about us, for us, by us.

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: One Blood
Author: Denene Millner
Published: September 2023
Pages: 425
Edition: Galley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 7, 2023

The Sisterhood


"When the group began meeting, whether individual members of The Sisterhood had met or not, they knew one another's work well." ~ 14%

Picture this. A Sunday afternoon in February 1977. Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and several other Black women writers met at June Jordan's Brooklyn apartment to eat gumbo, drink champagne and talk about their written work. The group called themselves "The Sisterhood" and would meet once a month over the next two years to discuss literature and liberation.

The Sisterhood: How a Network of Black Women Writers Changed American Culture tells the story of how this legendary community of women changed American writing. Original interviews, meeting minutes and correspondence is shared. Author Courtney Thorsson traces the personal and professional ties that brought the group together and how their work impacts Black women's writing today.

The Sisterhood is an informative book and intimate look into the thoughts of black feminist literary greats. How many times have we as readers wondered, "What was Toni Morrison thinking when she wrote this? What's the meaning behind this plot of Alice Walker's? What is the story behind this photograph on the book cover?" Well we get more than a glimpse in this new nonfiction novel.

I will revisit my highlighted passages often for inspiration and guidance. It provides a cultural background on writing and publishing. A great resource of aspiring and active writers today.

Happy Pub Day, Courtney Thorsson! The Sisterhood 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: The Sisterhood: How a Network of Black Women Writers Changed American Culture
Author: Courtney Thorsson
Published: November 2023
Pages: 286
Edition: Galley
Genre: Nonfiction History
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

Courting Samira


"We were like two magnets, resisting each other." ~ pg. 222

Set in Sydney, Australia, Courting Samira is a rom-com about a 27-year-old Palestinian woman who finds herself in a love triangle. Coming from a traditional Muslim family, Samira has endured her fair share of arranged matches. Outside of the awkward dates in front of parents, she meets the charismatic Menem at a work retreat and is intrigued. But now her childhood friend Hakeem is acting oddly interested. Hence the unexpected love triangle!

I recommend Courting Samira to fans of The Princess Bride and Bridget Jones. There are charming moments that will make readers chuckle. The writing style is heavy on the Arabic culture which I appreciated and learned more about Muslim faith. The author also included a glossary of Arabic terms to help readers with context. 

My only gripe was the humor sometimes translated to immaturity. Courtship is traditional in certain cultures and while it can have funny moments (like dates gone wrong), it should still be taken seriously. Nevertheless, if you are looking for an okay romance read with diverse characters, this is it!

Happy Pub Day, Amal Awad! Courting Samira 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: Courting Samira
Author: Amal Awad
Published: November 2023
Pages: 251
Edition: Galley
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 5, 2023

Series Sunday: The Girl from the Resistance

(Dutch Girls #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.

My Series Sunday pick is The Girl from the Resistance, the first book in the Dutch Girl series by Imogen Matthews. The setting is 1941 Nazi-occupied Holland. Nazis break down the front door of 18-year-old Trudi's home and seize the Jewish couple hiding in her attic. Their two little girls, Rosy and Louisa, are heartbroken. It is Trudi's mission to get them to a safe house under the guise of a German nurse escorting children to a hospital. It is a classic story of escape.

The Girl from the Resistance was just okay. I appreciate the history told in fiction. The slight suspense of getting Rosy and Louisa from the hiding place in the attic to safety was not nearly as nail-biting as it could have been though. Perhaps the series will develop better but I won't continue since the characters were not memorable after I turned the last page. 

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: Imogen Matthews
Published: October 2023
Pages: 293
Edition: Galley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 3, 2023

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 in kindergarten, my class's end-of-year presentation was The Nutcracker Suite. Being slightly plump, rosy cheeked, and all golden curls, I'd been chosen by my teacher to play one of the sugarplum fairies—no small honor. There were playground fights over the sugarplum fairy roles."

~ Courting Samira by Amal Awad

November 2, 2023

Me Without You


"The rush of thoughts slows, and I forget all of the good reasons why we can't have a future, because the present is just potent enough to distract me from them." ~ pg. 59

There is no happily ever after; there is a happy for now. Me Without You is a new novel by NYT bestselling author Kelly Rimmer. We are introduced to two memorable characters. Callum is not looking for love when he sees the beautiful, barefoot Lilah on the local ferry. Their flirty banter causes both to fall hard and fast. But Lilah has no intention of the relationship lasting because her time alive is limited.

Talk about tug on heartstrings! Me Without You hit me in the gut. There's something about stories of terminal illnesses/diagnosis and love that hold a special place in my heart. Rimmer did a wonderful job balancing the facts of Huntington's Disease, optimism and realism. This novel is firmly in my top reads of 2024! Grab your tissue for this one, Bookhearts. Onions will be cut!

Me Without You 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: Me Without You
Author: Kelly Rimmer
Published: October 2023
Pages: 264
Edition: Galley
Genre: Chick Lit Romance
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

November 1, 2023

Homeward


"If you old enough to make grown-up decisions, you old enough to deal with the aftermath." ~ 4%

The setting is Georgia, 1962. Rose Perkins Bourdon returns home without her husband and pregnant with another man's baby. Tragedy strikes her husband in the war. Forced to figure out the rest of her life, Rose finds herself increasingly involved in the Civil Rights Movement. She meets Isaac, whose activism stirs her growth in becoming the woman she always dreamed of being.

Homeward is an emotional story about troubled times of the past. It is a tale of healing but unfortunately, the main character was annoying. She whined about any and everything. Bad things happen to good people; that doesn't mean whine whenever things don't go great. For this reason, it made reading difficult. I just wanted to shake Rose through the pages!

On the flip side, Homeward has a romantic side that helped save the novel. There's just something about a Southern historical novel that tickles my fancy. So I recommend it to Bookhearts.

Homeward 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: Homeward
Author: Angela Jackson-Brown
Published: October 2023
Pages: 416
Edition: Galley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€