April 21, 2024

Series Sunday: The 24th Hour

(Women's Murder Club #24) 


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 24th Hour, the 24th book in the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. The writing duo is back with the latest installment of kick-ass friends in the Women's Murder Club. The book opens with Sergeant Lindsay Boxer, Medical Examiner Claire Washburn, Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano and crime writer Cindy Thomas gathered at San Francisco's finest restaurant to celebrate a birthday and a wedding. 

Before the women can raise their glass for a toast, there's a loud disturbance. On instinct, Lindsay runs toward the scream and finds a woman has been assaulted. Claire examines the victim. Lindsay makes an arrest. Yuki takes the case. Cindy covers it in the media. 

"But it was the title on the first page that chilled me." ~ pg. 101

Patterson and Paetro are great at making sure every character plays a major role. In The 24th Hour, each of the WMC members are showcased in their professional environment along with their personal lives. It is a good balance making it an easy read. Although there was a main mystery, two other minor subplots were explored but didn't add much to the story. There was even another murder very late in the book...welp, at the 24th hour true to the title. It felt more like filler.

Was this latest installment good or nah? I cannot give up on this series after investing so much time into these characters. However, something drastic needs to happen to give this series a reset. I recommend The 24th Hour for followers of the series for continuity purposes but take your time getting to it. If you're new to the WMC series, you will enjoy the beginning books far more than the recent releases.

Happy Early Pub Day, Patterson and Paetro! The 24th Hour will be available Monday, May 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Published: May 2024
Pages: 317
Edition: Galley
Genre: Mystery
Challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson
Rating: 🖤 🖤

April 19, 2024

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.

"Here is how you destroy a life."

~ Think Twice by Harlan Coben

April 17, 2024

Diary of a Dying Girl


"Read a book with a character that resonates with me." ~ pg. 215

Diary of a Dying Girl is a collection of Mallory Smith's unflinching diary entries about slowly dying of a terminal illness, Cystic Fibrosis. Many of her feelings were too difficult to share while alive so she kept them in a password-protected journal. Diagnosed at age three with an illness that attacks the internal organs, she lived to the fullest on borrowed time. 

The title is what initially grabbed my attention with this new release. What could the diary entries of a dying girl be about? How honest are her journals? Will it help loved ones understand? Will her thoughts mirror mine? Not as a dying girl but as a girl living with a chronic illness.

"It's a blessing and a curse not to look sick—a curse when I need accommodations but am not given them because of the perception that I'm too healthy—but mostly, it's a blessing. I am not branded by illness on a daily basis. If I choose to disclose, it's just that: a choice." ~ pg. 18

Diary of a Dying Girl is full of happy and struggling moments. She writes about love, sex, volleyball, the environment, school, friends and family. Toward the end of the book are diary entries from loved ones that give more perspective to her illness, hospitalization and last days.

Mallory Smith passed away at 25 years old, two months after receiving a double lung transplant. Her words will live on in this memoir. It is beautifully written with the innocence of a young intelligent girl with legit fears and wisdom beyond her years.

Happy Early Pub Day! Diary of a Dying Girl will be available Tuesday, May 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: Diary of a Dying Girl
Author: Mallory Smith
Published: May 2024
Pages: 315
Edition: Galley
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 

This Summer Will Be Different


"I don't want to be a stop along your journey. I want to be the destination." ~ 82%

This summer they will keep a promise. This summer they will not give in to temptation. This summer will indeed be different. It was supposed to be a one night stand between a tourist vacationing and a local. But Lucy discovers that Felix is her best friend's younger brother and deemed off-limits. Oops...small world! So they vow to never repeat that night.

Each year, Lucy revisits the island for fresh coastal air and quality time with her best friend Bridget. And each year, she is drawn to Felix's bed while trying to keep her heart out of it. When Bridget suddenly escapes to the island just a week before her wedding, Lucy drops everything to handle the crisis. What she doesn't expect is to confront her feelings toward Felix while there.

This Summer Will Be Different is recommended for fans of forbidden/hidden love stories. It is an easy predictable read that moves at a steady pace with alternating time periods. It is the classic formula of chick lit that is light for springtime reading.

Happy Early Pub Day, Carley Fortune! This Summer Will Be Different will be available Tuesday, May 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: This Summer Will Be Different
Author: Carley Fortune
Published: May 2024
Pages: 280
Edition: Galley
Genre: Romance
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 

April 16, 2024

The Good Ones are Taken


"The perfect partner who's also your best friend? That's goals." ~ 70%

Maggie wants to find her Prince Charming and a date to her friends' weddings so she tries online dating. As the maid of honor in both weddings, she is tasked with finding a date along with bridal party duties. After finding frogs, she meets a handsome doctor that might be the one.

Meanwhile, her male best friend Garrett points out all the red flags and encourages her to keep looking for the right match. Maggie just wants him to be happy for her but things come to a head when Garrett admits he can't if he's not with her. When he blurts out his feelings, Maggie has to choose between a friendship and a seemingly perfect guy.

The Good Ones are Taken is a friends-to-lovers rom-com that is perfect for spring reading. Taj McCoy knows how to hook a reader into a slow burn romance that will make you blush, giggle and root for a happy ending. The characters are like your best friends IRL. Pour a fruity adult beverage, open the windows for a breeze and enjoy this cutesy comedic book. 

Happy Early Pub Day, Taj McCoy! The Good Ones are Taken will be available Tuesday, April 23.

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 Good Ones are Taken
Author: Taj McCoy
Published: April 2024
Pages: 295
Edition: Galley
Genre: Romance Comedy
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤

April 14, 2024

Sistahs Be Readin' Book Club





Series Sunday: If Only I Had Told Her


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 If Only I Had Told Her, the follow-up to If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin. Finn has always been in love with Autumn. She's not just the girl next door. She's more than his mother's best friend's daughter. It is obvious to everyone but Autumn. Even Finn's best friend, Jack, cannot deny their chemistry when seeing them together. But Jack wants to protect Finn from heartache if the feelings aren't reciprocated.

"Not wanting to be dead isn't quite the same as wanting to be alive. There's a gray space in between where one knows the desire to keep breathing should lie but is coolly absent. This is the space I occupy." ~ pg. 283

We already know how the story ends. Especially if you've read If He Had Been With Me. It is an extremely sad love story. But this follow-up is mostly Finn's point of view; if only he had told Autumn how he felt, things may have ended differently.

Do you want a good cry? Do you want to feel nostalgic? Are you in the mood for fictional grief? Say less. Add If Only I Had Told Her to your reading list. Told in three different perspectives (which I usually hate but this story could be told no other way), this love story brims with truth and tragedy. A beautiful tale Laura Nowlin told.

Author: Laura Nowlin
Published: February 2024
Pages: 416
Edition: Paperback
Genre: Romance
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

April 12, 2024

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.

"I have big dreams and big goals. But also big limitations, which means I'll never reach the big goals unless I have the wisdom to recognize the chains that bind me."

~ Diary of a Dying Girl from the journals of Mallory Smith

April 10, 2024

A Calamity of Souls


"Law is blind if you colored, honey. It don't see us, no how, no way." ~ pg. 48

Set in the south 1968, a racially-charged murder case brings a duo of white and Black lawyers against an unfair justice system to defend a wrongfully-accused Black man. A wealthy white couple is found brutally murdered in their home. Jerome Washington, a Black man, is found at the scene and immediately arrested. 

Jack Lee, a white lawyer, has never handled a murder case let alone fought racism but decides to represent Jerome. Desiree DuBose is a Black lawyer from Chicago that has argued in the Supreme Court. She has the experience and attention of the media to partner with Lee in a legal battle against the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The stage is set and the hard-to-read novel really begins. What follows is a string of events and revelations far greater than the outcome of a murder trial. Baldacci revisits the Civil Rights era in this fictional mystery. Interestingly published during a sensitive time in real life.

"You let coloreds start thinkin' they're equal to us, then where are we white folks?" ~ pg. 98

David Baldacci is one of those authors that I will read whatever he releases. Auto-add to TBR! I know a good read awaits. I know the mystery will grip me from beginning to end. However, A Calamity of Souls is unlike his other novels. A little too To Kill a Mockingbird-ish.

Given the topic, I expected to feel empathetic toward the main Black character but never quite connected. The sub-characters were almost more developed. The courtroom drama was underwhelming. The ending way too predictable. I understand A Calamity of Souls was over a decade in the writing but it could have been fine tuned a bit more.

Happy Early Pub Day, David Baldacci! A Calamity of Souls will be available Tuesday, April 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: A Calamity of Souls
Author: David Baldacci
Published: April 2024
Pages: 438
Edition: Galley
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 

April 9, 2024

Ella


"She could levitate on top of a note, sustain it and ride away on it." ~ 71%

You think of one woman when you hear the name "Ella" and that's Ms. Ella Fitzgerald, the famous singer and dancer of the 20th century. Debut novel Ella is a fictional retelling of her early years. When her mother dies, 15-year-old Ella leads a fast life of working for the mob, being incarcerated and dancing for pennies in Harlem. Finally in November 1934, she appears on Amateur Night at the Apollo. Older and wiser, she becomes the Ella we have come to know.

Ella is an okay read but could have been more substantial for a debut. I cannot quite pinpoint what disinterested me early on. Perhaps it was the writing style (nonfictional narrative rather than dialogue) or the imbalance of the highs and lows of Ella's life. I was not familiar with the deets of her teenage years so this part was interesting but overpowered her triumphant years. While I appreciate adversity, I would have appreciated the novel if she were celebrated more.

Happy Early Pub Day, Diane Richards! Ella will be available Tuesday, May 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Title: Ella
Author: Diane Richards
Published: May 2024
Pages: 294
Edition: Galley
Genre: Biographical Fiction
Rating: 🖤 🖤

April 7, 2024

Series Sunday: Iron Flame

(The Empyrean #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 Iron Flame, the second book in the Empyrean series by Rebecca Yarros. No one expected Violet Sorrengail to make it past Threshing yet here she is second year at Basgiath War College. It is full of pain, a test of endurance and a fight for power. Violet's body may be frail but her wit and will of iron is unmatched.

"Magic requires balance." ~ pg. 564

Does a book make you call off work for a bereavement day? Does a book cause you angst? What book has you giving a knowing nod to strangers when you see them reading it in public? Does a book make you literally throw it across the room then leave it sitting overnight? Only to wake up, be reminded of its ending and step over it? IRON MUTHAF'N FLAME! 

I was not into fantasy before The Empyrean series but I am oh so glad to be here. If I thought I loved me some dragons before, they are my spirit animals now. Once again, Rebecca Yarros had me saying fuck bedtime to read until the wee hours. I jumped down rabbit holes for hours on BookTok to find fellow readers and watch reaction videos. I discussed this book with any and everybody both online and IRL! My head is still swirling with reactions and theories.

Just like Fourth Wing, instead of me saying more, I am going to share my live updates and favorite quotes of Iron Flame then let you decide whether it is worth adding to your TBR. I will be waiting here to welcome you aboard The Empyrean fly or die skies. And best believe, I pre-ordered the special edition of The Empyrean book 3 titled Onyx Storm expected to be published 01.21.2025.

Title: Iron Flame
Author: Rebecca Yarros
Published: November 2023
Pages: 640
Edition: Hardcover
Genre: Romantasy
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

April 5, 2024

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.

"On any other day the dead quiet coming from this room would have concerned no one, because the elderly couple usually napped peacefully, sat stationary as cats, or read their twin King James Bibles in silence, aged fingers turning pages replete with wisdom, tranquility, and violence."

~ A Calamity of Souls by David Baldacci

April 2, 2024

One by One


"Sometimes it's better not to know." ~ pg. 256

A week off with no young children and no work responsibilities. Just hiking and hot tubs with friends. This is what Claire signed up for when she planned a vacation with her husband, Noah, and two other couples. From the very beginning, there is a conflict between the main character and her husband. They are disconnected, marriage on the rocks and trust is lost. 

The story literally moves along introducing each new character as they are picked up for the road trip. Good 'ole Boy Scout Jack has a secret that will damage the friend group. His wife, Michelle, is a workaholic and not very well liked among the women. Claire's best friend, Lindsay, brings along her new smart-mouthed plastic surgeon boyfriend Warner. So many mixed personalities in one vehicle!

"Maybe there's other stuff I don't know about him from his past." ~ pg. 152

Then the real thrill begins when the fairly new minivan inexplicably breaks down. They are forced to hike the rest of the way to their reserved inn. The woods aren't easy to navigate with no cell service, an unreliable map printout, an old compass, trail mix, beef jerky and two bottles of water to share. 

This is where Freida McFadden shines. Not only did the author perfectly set the scene with the right amount of suspense and character background, but she leads readers down a rocky path of WTF is happening?! What unfolds is a dark twisted thriller where a group of friends, lost in the woods, fall one by one until it is shockingly clear: only the killer will return home alive.

"I was a mistake. People correct mistakes." ~ pg. 87

I loved every fast-paced chapter. Clues are dropped. Personalities are revealed. Animosity escalates. The anonymous killer narrates chapters here and there providing hints and motives. It is a game of #whodoinit? Who is the hunted and the hunter? Who is the anonymous narrator and are they reliable? 

One by One kept me on the edge for more. There are eye-rolling moments, sometimes so ridiculous it is funny, but often a twist I didn't see coming when it came. I am glad the publisher decided to reprint this 2020 release so it pushed to the top of my radar. Highly recommend!

Happy Pub Day, Freida McFadden! One by One 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: One by One
Author: Freida McFadden
Re-Published: April 2024
Pages: 260
Edition: Galley
Genre: Thriller
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 31, 2024

Series Sunday: Fourth Wing

(The Empyrean #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 Fourth Wing, the first book in the Empyrean series by Rebecca Yarros. Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail prepared her whole life to enter the Scribe Quandrant—a quiet safe life of books and history. But her tough-as-talons mother has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become dragon riders.

Never mind that Violet's bones are brittle and her stature petite. No worries that there are fewer dragons willing to bond so cadets will kill to better their own chances. And the rest would kill her just because of her last name, like Xaden Riorson—the ruthless wingleader of the Riders Quadrant. Yet the war outside the kingdom's failing protective wards grows more deadly and Violet suspects leadership is hiding a secret. It seems the only way out of Basgiath War College is to graduate or die.

"Hope is a fickle, dangerous thing. It steals your focus and aims it towards the possibilities instead of keeping it where it belongs—on the probabilities." ~ pg. 130

I am not into fantasy. I am not a big romance reader. But I do love me some dragons. And I most certainly listen to my Bookhearts when they make a recommendation. I cannot deny I am a sucker for an awesome cover that looks good on display. So this is how the holiday hardcover edition of Fourth Wing with a stunning revamped cover, black sprayed edges, new endpages, detailed map and bonus chapters ended up in my hands. If nothing else, I thought, this book will look pretty on my bookshelf.

BAYBEEEE, once I started reading though...unputdownable! I was lost in the halls of Basgiath War College. No amount of BookTok videos prepared me for the enemies-to-lovers-to-chosen-family trope. I did not expect to fall in love with the dragons. I did not believe my heart would connect to fictional characters to the point I would shed a tear, cringe, hoot and holler. I read over 500 pages of this world that Rebecca Yarros masterfully built, stayed up many a night and still wanted more.

When it comes to Fourth Wing, it deserves every sharp point of these five stars, every curve of these five hearts! This novel is brutally good! Believe the hype. Instead of me saying more, I am going to share my live updates and favorite quotes then let you decide whether it is worth adding to your TBR. I will be waiting here to welcome you aboard The Empyrean fly or die skies.

Author: Rebecca Yarros
Published: May 2023
Pages: 518
Edition: Holiday Hardcover
Genre: Romantasy
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 29, 2024

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.

"...in grasping my pen and putting my hand to page, I felt as though I existed for the first time. I was the property of no one save myself. Therefore, I could freely give of myself to those I loved, no?"

~ The American Daughters by Maurice Carlos Ruffin 


"The egg I had for breakfast this morning didn't taste rotten, but these days, it was not always easy to know about the state of the food one ate because of the many ways merchants could mask spoiled food."

American Daughters by Piper Huguley  

March 26, 2024

Black & Irish


"Where are you really from?" ~ pg. 75

In honor of Irish-American Heritage Month and St. Patrick's Day, I read an advance copy of Leon Diop's and Briana Fitzsimons' new nonfiction book titled Black & Irish: Legends, Trailblazers & Everyday Heroes. Very quickly, I realized this was a literary gem worthy of taking notes on.

Black & Irish is an informative, beautifully illustrated book featuring people of color that are not so well-known. I learned, made annotations and did further research on a few of the Black Irish people featured. Without these legends being in the spotlight, I probably would not have known their contribution to the community. 

I am slightly disappointed by the scope of the research. Most of the people featured were from the same place of Nigeria. It was more-so a celebration of Nigerian-Irish trailblazers. I am sure there are more Black people in Ireland to be recognized.

Nevertheless, this new release is indeed a celebration of actors, athletes, icons, activists, influencers and trailblazers. The stunning addition of illustrations by Jessica Louis add vibrant color to each profile. The layout reminds me of the Rebel Girls series. I recommend Black & Irish to educators and readers of nonfiction for an inspirational read.

Happy Early Pub Day, Leon Diop and Briana Fitzsimons! Black & Irish will be available Tuesday, April 9.

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: Black & Irish: Legends, Trailblazers & Everyday Heroes
Author: Leon Diop and Briana Fitzsimons
Published: April 2024
Pages: 178
Edition: Galley
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

March 24, 2024

Series Sunday: The Good, the Bad, and the Aunties

(Aunties #3) 


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 Good, the Bad, and the Aunties, the third and final book in the Aunties series by Jesse Q. Sutanto. Newlyweds Meddy and Nathan are spending the Chinese New Year with family. A former beau of Second Aunt's shows up at the Chan residence with extravagant gifts hoping to rekindle. But one particular gift, included by accident, was intended for a business rival.

What follows is an entertaining story of the Aunties agreeing to return the gift, trying to retrieve it and becoming pawns. Of course it turns disastrous. It is up to Meddy to save them all. As usual, the Aunties are one-upping one another while Meddy's goal is to protect her family at all costs. 

"Not weed tea. Jasmine tea!" ~ pg. 110

I found the story to just be okay. There was no character development. Perhaps because this is the final book of the series, the author chose not to delve more into Meddy and the meddlesome Aunties. It is disappointing when a reader wants to learn more about characters but the author just doesn't deliver. It is especially disappointing when the main character is increasingly annoying throughout the formulaic story.

The Aunties series started out with a hilarious entertaining bang in Dial A for Aunties, turned ridiculously unrealistic in Four Aunties and a Wedding then ended on a meh note with The Good, the Bad, and the Aunties. Nevertheless, it will make you chuckle along the way.

Happy Early Pub Day, Jesse Q. Sutanto! The Good, the Bad, and the Aunties will be available Tuesday, March 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. ~LiteraryMarie

Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto
Published: March 2024
Pages: 212
Edition: Galley
Genre: Mystery Romance
Rating: 🖤 🖤

March 15, 2024

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 might think that the idea of being Black and Irish is a relatively new thing. However, Black and Mixed-Race people have been present in Ireland for centuries, some dating as far back as the 1700s."

~ Black & Irish: Legends, Trailblazers & Everyday Heroes by Leon Diop and Briana Fitzsimons; Illustrated by Jessica Louis 

March 13, 2024

Lit Tidbits: Pithy Picks XV


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 reviews below!


Edited by: Ashley Elston
Published: January 2024
Pithy Review: Evie Porter has a loving doting boyfriend, a white picket fence with a garden and a fancy friend group. The only catch is that Evie Porter does not exist. Her anonymous boss gives her an identity and a location. It's up to Evie to learn everything about the town, its residents and her mark. This would be better suited as a short thriller or TV mini-series than a full length novel. The adaptation would be better, I bet.
Quote"It's because you're not ready to tell me the truth and I'd rather you not lie to me." ~ pg. 181
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️


Title: I Hope My Voice Doesn't Skip
Author: Alicia Cook
Published: June 2018
Pithy Review: I fell in heart with this poet's mixtape series so felt obliged to read her other works. Like a vinyl record, this collection is sorted into EP (shorter poems) and LP (longer prose and songwriting). It is heartfelt. Although a few lines spoke directly to me, this collection was not as good as her other poetry.
Quote"Tell me my eyes will clear. Tell me I will smile again. Tell me how to heal—I didn't hear you the first time." ~ 13%
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️


Title:
 Two Women Walk Into a Bar
Author: Cheryl Strayed
Published: January 2024
Pithy Review: This short memoir is about family secrets, grief and reconciliation. Cheryl's mother-in-law is given weeks to live. As the family goes through her final days, Cheryl reckons with their complicated relationship. The women accept their differences and find healing in saying goodbye. It makes you go hmmm.
Quote"But there's a spiritual component to dying. To some degree, people need to release whatever's holding them here before they can make the transition." ~ pg. 15
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: Worst Wingman Ever
Author: Abby Jimenez
Published: January 2024
Pithy Review: A couple falls in love before they officially meet in this short romance. Holly is a hospice nurse but this time the patient is her own grandmother. Upon leaving one evening, she finds a Valentine's Day card with a freaky coupon on her windshield. Turns out it was not meant for her. The amusing mistake leads to a cute game of "Tag, You're It" and a lovely exchange of anonymous notes and acts of kindness. This story is a reminder that strangers can care and we are always meant to be where we are at the right time.
Quote"Take responsibility for your own unhappiness." ~ 72% 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
⭐️


Title: Drop, Cover, and Hold On
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Published: January 2024
Pithy Review: An earthquake traps a woman inside her favorite bakery with its impossibly rude and insufferably handsome owner on Valentine's Day. In her signature style of writing, Jasmine Guillory introduces characters that are easy to like, relatable and carry on engaging banter that makes this easy to read in just one sitting eating your favorite pastry. It is a cute short story of finding love when and where you least expect it. 
Quote"Resting...smile face?" ~ pg. 23
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: Fires to Come
Author: Asha Lemmie
Published: February 2024
Pithy Review: Any short story that begins with an 8-year-old asking her Papa if he kills people, is worthy of reading in one sitting. Abandoned as an infant and raised by Italians, Carlotta has never quite fit in as the only Black person in her neighborhood. She ventures to Harlem, home of the great Renaissance, jazz and love in the air. Then the dynamics of her adoptive family shift and Carlotta has to decide where she belongs. This short story dares to defy fairness, convention and gender roles.
Quote"Everyone always does what's best for themselves. It is the oldest law of nature." ~ pg. 32
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️


Title: Fallen Grace
Author: Sadeqa Johnson
Published: February 2024
Pithy Review: Another eShort in the Amazon Original Stories Blaze collection that can be read or listened to in one sitting. Bubbles Jones is a single mother in segregated Virginia pushing back on societal prejudice, her own family's judgment, a hypocritical pastor father and the betrayal of a lover. She has a lot to escape in order to forge a life ahead for her and a newborn baby. This one packs a punch with a message in less than 50 pages.
Quote"All that singing and carrying on you do every week in the name of the Lord, and you're going to put your flesh and blood out on the street because you're afraid of church gossipers?" ~ pg. 26
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️