June 16, 2024

Series Sunday: Queen Charlotte

(Bridgerton) 


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

"It causes one to wonder: Is the Queen's knowledge of how to make a good marriage nothing but talk?" ~ pg. 1

My Series Sunday pick is Queen Charlotte, based on the Bridgerton series on Netflix by Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes. Let's start with an inside scoop. In January 2022, Shonda Rhimes called author Julia Quinn with news that Netflix had greenlit a Bridgerton prequel series about Queen Charlotte. A couple months later, JQ suggested writing a novel based on the show. Shonda wrote six scripts and JQ adapted into a novel. Script flipped!

It is Bridgerton season on Netflix! I have binge-watched the newly released episodes and thoroughly enjoy the romance. Surprisingly, I have not indulged in reading the books first. I much rather watch the glamorous ball gowns, extravagant wigs, handsome suited men, town gossip and royals on the screen rather than read pages. However, I made an exception for Queen Charlotte.

"So shut up, do your duty to our country, and be happy!" ~ pg. 11

A King and Queen met for the very first time on a sunny day in September 1761. They were married within hours. I call this the original Married at First Sight. Charlotte was a beautiful, headstrong, intelligent German Princess. Not exactly what the British Court had been seeking in a spouse for King George III. Thrust into a new role, Charlotte navigates politics, mental illness, language and love.

I expected Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story to be a cute historical romance. It did not pass my 50-page Rule. I marked as DNF on page 59 because I much rather watch than read why Queen Charlotte and King George III is considered one of the greatest love stories of the British Royal Family. Keep doing your thing on Netflix, Shondaland and JQ!

Find me in the Twitter, Threads and iMessage streets to talk more about Bridgerton!

Author: Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes
Published: May 2023
Pages: 339
Edition: eBook
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: DNF

Sistah Speak Sunday: Summer Series

We have a full summer of shows to podcast:
  • 06.02.2024 Mayor of Kingstown S3
  • 06.16.2024 House of the Dragon S2
  • 07.17.2024 Big Brother US S26
  • 07.21.2024 Snowpiercer S4
  • Date TBD for P-Valley S3
Visit our social media pages!

Sistah Speak Productions Official Website

June 14, 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.

"Rocky Balboa, the underdog palooka who fought his way to box office super-success, burst into popular culture in 1976. Now, 45 years later, tourists still run the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Marching bands play "Gonna Fly Now" as halftime entertainment. High school football teams get wild-eyed to "Eye of the Tiger." Rocky's legacy endures."

~ 45 Years of Rocky Balboa: Underdog. Fighter. Champion. by LIFE Magazine

June 11, 2024

DNF of 2024 So Far

Bookhearts, you are familiar with my 50-Page Rule. I am generally picky about adding books to my TBR but sometimes the dark side Kermit whispers, "add to your collection anyway." Then I become real particular about which books I spend my time reading. I'll give 50 pages (or 15%) but #dassit.

I marked seven (7) books as DNF so far this year. The purpose of this post is to share my reason(s) in an effort to help books find its intended audience. May these books find a new home where they will be finished and enjoyed.
  1. Eruption by James Patterson and Michael Crichton ~ Overhyped and clashing writing style.
  2. When Cicadas Cry by Caroline Cleveland ~ Too slow. Lacks originality.
  3. House of Glass by Sarah Pekkanen ~ Pivotal moments lack development. Useless deets.
  4. One of Us Knows by Alyssa Cole ~ Cannot quite name what it is but nope.
  5. A Mythical Case of Arson by Melissa Erin Jackson ~ Just not flowing.
  6. Missing White Woman by Kellye Garrett ~ Falling short already.
  7. The Fury by Alex Michaelides ~ Started off interestingly different (not in a good way).

June 9, 2024

Series Sunday: TBR So Far


This is a friendly reminder that you can view all books on my TBR here. Below is a list of the series books I am most looking forward to reading in the coming months.
  • 06.11.2024 The Housemaid is Watching (The Housemaid #3) by Freida McFadden
  • 07.23.2024 A Thousand Broken Pieces (A Thousand Boy Kisses #2) by Tillie Cole
  • 10.08.2024 Love After Midnight (Winter Santiaga #3) by Sister Souljah
  • 10.22.2024 In Too Deep (Jack Reacher #29) by Lee Child
  • 11.25.2024 The House of Cross (Alex Cross #30) by James Patterson
  • 01.02.2025 Holmes is Missing (Holmes, Margaret & Poe #2) by James Patterson
  • 01.21.2025 Onyx Storm (Empyrean #3) by Rebecca Yarros

June 7, 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.

"Someone like me was never supposed to be in my position."

~ Lucky Me by Rich Paul 

June 5, 2024

Slow Dance


"It had to be romantic. First love, reconnection..." ~ pg. 59

Back in high school, everyone though Shiloh and Cary would end up together but they were just best friends with hopes and dreams beyond north Omaha. Shiloh went to college and Cary joined the Navy. Promises to keep in touch fall by the wayside. Fast forward fourteen years and they see each other at a mutual friend's wedding. Life is nothing like they planned but the connection is still there.

I heart Rainbow Rowell but Slow Dance was a huge miss for me. Shiloh was annoying from the very first chapter with her inner dialogue of "is he here, is he not, of course he is, oh no, what do I do, what to say, blah blah blah." Girl, get it together! Add in Cary's miscommunication and it was impossible to like either of the main characters.

"Almost assuredly not." ~ pg. 132

Where is the smooth storytelling? The sudden alternating chapters between past and present did not help the story move along. I understand background is needed to portray the second chance trope but there was a better way to deliver without disjointed flashbacks. The awkward writing of Slow Dance led to a slow pace.

All readers want in a romance is a HEA. At page 51, I considered marking the book as DNF when I realized I didn't care how it ended. But I continued reading on the strength of the author. Welp, it took 350+ pages when all these characters needed was a mature conversation instead of a boring walk down memory lane and predictable ending. Leave this one off the shelf, Bookhearts.

Happy Early Pub Day, Rainbow Rowell! Slow Dance will be available July 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: Slow Dance
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: July 2024
Pages: 357
Edition: Galley
Genre: Romance
Rating: 🖤

June 4, 2024

Sync


"Love might sprout leaves today, bud tomorrow, blossom next week. But when will it wither?" ~ pg. 52

What a powerful story wrapped in a simple 4-letter title. Sync begins with a promise of protection. At the age of three, Storm took on the job as big brother to keep twin sister Lake safe. It is the eve of their 17th birthday and neither knows where the other is. Sadly, they were separated in the foster care system. But there is hope their thoughts are synchronized.

Told in dual perspectives through unsent letters, the teenage twins fight their way through the foster care system back to each other in perfect sync. This novel will make readers think about different paths taken, who to trust and the blessings/flaws of the foster care system. Bookhearts, the content is heavy heavy. Whew—it can be a lot!

"Oh, she isn't like a tyrant. More like a concrete wall." ~ pg. 432

Sync is told in Ellen Hopkins' signature novel-in-verse style. It doesn't feel like almost 500 pages because the heartbreaking story holds on tight until the captivating climax and emotional ending. I just wish the title came into play a bit more allowing the twins to directly interact. Or maybe that was intentional...hmmm! 🤔 No one writes YA tackling triggering themes like Hopkins.

Happy Early Pub Day, Ellen Hopkins! Sync will be available on August 27.

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: Sync
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Published: August 2024
Pages: 482
Edition: Galley
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤

June 2, 2024

Super Series Sunday: The Housemaid Trilogy

(The Housemaid / The Housemaid's Secret / The Housemaid is Watching) 


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 Super Series Sunday pick is The Housemaid series by Freida McFadden. So far, it consists of The Housemaid, The Housemaid's Secret, and The Housemaid is Watching (due June 11). Introducing Millie: a young woman, recently released from prison, living in her car desperate to start fresh. She lands a job as a housemaid to the Winchesters.

Millie cooks, cleans and cares for their daughter. But something is off. Nina tells strange lies, the daughter wears white frilly dresses all the time and Andrew seems like a broken man. By the time Millie realizes her small attic bedroom door only locks from the outside, it is too late.

"There's something about this room that's making a little ball of dread form in the pit of my stomach." ~ pg. 9

Freida...girl..the twists! The memorable scenes! The masterful storytelling in The Housemaid is chef's kiss. I don't want to give the story away but just know it will have you frantically turning the pages until the surprising end. This thriller is on par with Gone Girl, The Woman in the Window and The Girl on the Train. That's all you need to know, Bookhearts!

The sequel titled The Housemaid's Secret picks up with Millie's new housemaid job. The Garricks have a stunning penthouse with a fancy kitchen. But Millie has not met Mrs. Garrick or seen inside the guest bedroom. Millie hears her crying behind closed doors and notices blood on nightgowns when doing the laundry. Shit jumps off when Millie finally knocks on the door and sees inside. While The Housemaid's Secret was not as gripping as the first book, it was still a page-turner. I figured out the twist but Freida threw me for a loop about halfway through. A brilliant set-up!

"For women having issues with their husbands, she helps them out. Takes care of it for them." ~ pg. 207

In the third installment titled The Housemaid is Watching, Millie's past is far behind. She used to clean other people's houses; now she lives in a quiet cul-de-sac with a huge yard for kids to play and a ride-or-die husband. Even though she is wary of new neighbor, Mrs. Lowell, she accepts a dinner invitation. In true naive Millie fashion, she dismisses red flags: being greeted by a maid with a cold stare, a warning to be careful of neighbors and a shadowy figure watching her family.

Return to this post on or around June 11 for my review of book #3, The Housemaid is Watching. I plan to read it soon as its auto-delivered to my Kindle. See you back here soon, Bookhearts!

Author: Freida McFadden
Published: April 2022
Pages: 329
Edition: eBook
Genre: Thriller
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

Author: Freida McFadden
Published: February 2023
Pages: 311
Edition: eBook
Genre: Thriller
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

Author: Freida McFadden
Published: June 2024
Pages: 341
Edition: eBook
Genre: Thriller
Rating: TBD