June 19, 2024

Just for Fun



Cowboy Carter and Willie Jones said it best.
🎡 Time moves quickly and so do I. Time heals everything. I just need to get through this. 🎡

June 18, 2024

Lit Tidbits: Pithy Picks XVI


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!


Title: Eruption
Author:
 Michael Crichton & James Patterson
Published: June 2024
Pithy Review: Two bestselling writers co-author this brand new thriller. Michael Crichton, creator of Jurassic Park and Westworld, had a story he'd been working on for years before his untimely death in 2008. His widow held onto the notes and partial manuscript until she chose the right author to complete it. None other than the world's most popular storyteller: James Patterson. Eruption is supposed to be a blend of Patterson's signature pace and Crichton's concept of a volcanic eruption and a terrifying military secret. Instead it was overhyped, clichΓ© heavy and not gripping enough for me to read more than 50 pages.
Quote"See for yourself." ~ pg. 42 
Recommend or Nah? DNF


Title: The Teacher
Author:
 Freida McFadden
Published: February 2024
Pithy Review: Eve and Nate's marriage is on autopilot. They live together, work together, eat together, repeat. They're both teachers are Caseham High School where a recent scandal involving a teacher-student affair rocked the community. At the center of it all is Addie. She's ostracized, bullied and a student in both Eve and Nate's classes causing hella mistrust between the couple. It's the Freida Effect! This is my seventh book read of this author and I consistently feel like a bra tangled in wet laundry, thrown in the dryer with no lingerie bag, twisted in the laundry basket with fabric softener sheets and other clothes waiting to be folded. πŸ—£️UNTANGLE, CLASP AND PUT ME AWAY, FREIDA!  
Quote"Every time I think I've experienced the worst day yet, there is a new winner." ~ pg. 129
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️



Author: Kandi Steiner
Published: October 2021
Pithy Review: Fifth anniversary edition. That's how long this romance has sat in my TBR waiting patiently to be read. I don't what I expected but it wasn't this. Fitting considering whiskey tastes better aged. This is not an alcoholic's story. Instead it is a best friends to lovers story full of angst and hope. Took me through all the feels. It is best to go in blind reading this thique novel so just take my word for it and READ. 
Quote"If I was whiskey, then she was the barrel that held me, that helped me age, that made me better." ~ pg. 439 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: The Other Side
Author: Kim Holden
Published: June 2019
Pithy Review: How did I miss this book that's been published for 5 years?! Thank goodness it was listed in my Kindle Unlimited recommendations. There are two sides to every story: reality and the other side that matters. Toby is a 17-year-old self-proclaimed asshole. He trades maintenance work in exchange for a roof over his head. Every day he wants to give up. Then a young lady moves into the building and brings light to Toby's dark world. This book is heavy heavy but so worth the read!
Quote"I wear my depression like a winter coat, zipped up tight to my chin and bulky—a barrier that smothers out the rest of the world. No one has ever asked me about it because I hide it." ~ pg. 148
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: I Hope This Finds You Well
Author: Natalie Sue
Published: May 2024
Pithy Review: A light LOL summer read! Jolene is constantly irritated by her incompetent co-workers that have no boundaries. She writes petty email postscripts changing the font color to white so no one can see. Well, one of her emails is exposed so now she's subject to termination, sensitivity training from HR and rigorous email restrictions. But somehow she gains access to everyone's private emails and DMs so uses the intel to save her own job. I haven't enjoyed a heartwarming office comedy since Holly's Inbox. From the very first page, I fell in love with the main character and her witty inner dialogue. The writing style was so engaging that I was in the cubicle right along with this quirky set of co-workers. (That's me...the Morale Booster with the scented hand cream.) 
Quote"This place could easily be a case study." ~ pg. 61
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: The Idea of You
Author: Robinne Lee
Published: June 2017
Pithy Review: Chosen as the Sistahs Be Readin' BOTM; otherwise, it would have sat on the shelf unnoticed due to the older woman/younger man trope. Also I find it off-putting that the author had to write white characters as a Black woman because her previous book with a Black protagonist could not sell. So unfair considering she is a good writer so her stories should sell regardless. As a result, I was not as into the romance as I would have liked. I kept thinking how fame was affecting their relationship and loved ones. Never mind the 20-year age gap (ewww!) Was reclaiming happiness really worth it? I will wait to watch the movie adaptation with the Sistahs for our Patreon commentary to see if I like it better.
Quote"You let me unfold you." ~ pg. 361
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Title: Lucky Me
Author: Rich Paul
Published: October 2023
Pithy Review: I'll be honest; I didn't know who Rich Paul was until I saw him sitting courtside revealed to be Adele's boothang. Who was this handsome Black man dating one of my fave music artists? I headed to the Google streets and discovered
 he is a highly successful sports agent. He was more than LeBron's friend. I wanted to know more about this successful businessman so I borrowed his memoir from my local library. What I got were valuable rules of life! Early on, Rich Paul's deck of life was stacked against him forcing him to play the hands he was dealt. Through a well-written, detailed, vulnerable view, Rich Paul takes readers from the very beginning moment of when his parents met to his present-day success sharing thoughtful lessons learned from his relationship with his father—the true heart of this memoir. I have so many highlights and take-aways! Bonus points for the title Lucky Me being named after one of his all-time favorite Jay-Z songs.
Quote"I define a hustler as someone who is never complacent, always thinking two steps ahead of everyone else. Someone who can manage the transitions If things turn upside down, a hustler adapts to being upside down without missing a step." ~ pg. 26
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️
⭐️⭐️

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: πŸ–€

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! πŸ€” 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: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

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 her 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.

I read The Housemaid is Watching as soon as it auto-delivered to my Kindle. I expected Millie to be her usual naive self. But GIRL...you are just NOW wondering what Enzo has done and is capable of doing?! It was time for this story to come to an end because I couldn't take more of Millie's blind trusting assumptions and really how many more neighbors or employers will fit the MO of this trilogy? While it was nice to see Millie as a homeowner, wife and mother, it was far more interesting with her as the housemaid. The quote below sums up my opinion perfectly. Hey, the author said it; I didn't.

"The third in a series usually isn't that great, so it's not his fault." ~ pg. 300

Author: Freida McFadden
Published: April 2022
Pages: 329
Edition: eBook
Genre: Thriller
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

Author: Freida McFadden
Published: February 2023
Pages: 311
Edition: eBook
Genre: Thriller
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€

Author: Freida McFadden
Published: June 2024
Pages: 341
Edition: eBook
Genre: Thriller
Rating: πŸ–€ πŸ–€ πŸ–€