January 26, 2021

Funny Seeing You Here

01.25.2021 marked the 11th anniversary of www.LiteraryMarie.com ~ Blessings to many years more.

I am on blog holiday until Spring 2021 but I am still turning pages. Experience my real-time reactions while reading via Live Read and Goodreads

Readers are the best writers. Behind every good author is a good copyeditor. Email copyediting inquiries and requests to Editor@LiteraryMarie.com

Email book review requests, literary news to be shared and any inquiries to LiteraryMarie@gmail.com  Please provide an accurate summary of your book(s), include an excerpt, personalize and proofread the e-mail. Provide your preference of where the book review is to be shared (Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, etc.) Your request is usually the first impression. Make it a good one!

Want to know what I am reading next? Follow my TBR (to be read).

Who doesn't love a good bookish meme and reading challenges? Well I host and participate in a few. Check them out here and join me!

There is no guesswork if I like/dislike a book. All reviews include the title, author, publish date, number of pages, edition read, whether it is applicable to a challenge and my honest-to-heart rating.

I'm not just all about books, ya know! Follow my tweets about television shows, music and real life shenanigans. 

Speaking of other forms of entertainment, I am a co-host of Sistah Speak Podcasts where we discuss various television shows and give advice from a Sistah's point of view. Listen to us on your commute, at home or at work when you need a good laugh and hours of commentary.

Have you visited the Home of the Hustlers? Visit Spades Up to shop the Love Wounds and Cheat Code collections. Tis the season for hoodies, hats and joggers!

According to The Migraine Research Foundation, 12% of the population suffers from migraine. Morning migraine attacks affect 50% of us. Add in holiday migraine attacks and it's a triple doozy for me. I may not look it but am included in these statistics. Invisible illnesses are real! Follow my journey through Life of a Migraineur blogmoir that I publish periodically. I share candid information, attempt to translate the pain into words, discuss causes and effects, give status of my treatment and raise awareness.

2020 will forever be in history books. It is the year that everyone in the world became a homebody. It is my prayer that 2021 will bring good health, a strong sense of community, less police brutality, race and gender equality, respect, more recognition, sincere kindness, healing, self-worth and genuine love. Thank You for Your Continued Support. ♠️🖤

Stay Productive and Dominate Everything in Sight Until Prosperous❣️

January 24, 2021

Series Sunday: Fatal Fried Rice

(Noodle Shop Mystery #7) 

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 Fatal Fried Rice, the seventh book in the Noodle Shop Mystery series by Vivien Chien. Forget the noodles; fried rice is on the plate for this new cozy mystery set in a Cleveland, Ohio Chinese restaurant. Lana Lee runs the family business but the closest she gets to cooking is boiling rice, not actually frying it. She decides to go to culinary school. But when Lana Lee finds the class instructor dead, she must clear her name and find the killer.

"It's so interesting how fear seems more pressing in the early morning hours, and then with the light of day, safety and a sense of security return." ~ 68%

I love a good cozy! All I need on any given Sunday is a mystery, a hot cup of tea, sherpa-lined socks and fleece pajamas. Fatal Fried Rice was my latest guest and oh was it worth my time. The narration is relatable as if I'm chatting with a friend. When Lana Lee is going through her thought process or figuring out clues with the help of friends, I feel like I'm right there. 

What I loved most is there are no filler chapters or unnecessary details to throw readers off. Nowadays, mysteries tend to over-explain and bog pages down with needless information. I appreciate how Vivien Chien didn't try to confuse readers but stuck to the entertaining sleuth story. She inserted just enough suspects and revealed the mystery in due time. At around 84%, I still couldn't guess who the killer was so I was surprised when it unfolded down to the last pages.

"Lest you forget, we're women of action." ~ 11%

Normally series are read in chronological order. However, I am fairly new to the Noodle Shop Mystery series and jumped at the opportunity to read the new installment in advance. Reading lucky #7 only makes me want to catch up even more. And I am happy to see book #8 will be released this August. Looking forward to more of Lana Lee!

Happy Early Pub Day, Vivien Chien! Fatal Fried Rice will be available Tuesday, March 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.

Author: Vivien Chien
Published: March 2021
Pages: 320
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

January 22, 2021

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.

"The barbershop was strangely quiet. Only the dull buzz of clippers shearing soft scalps."

~ Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

January 21, 2021

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

"Coffee was introduced to Japan in the Edo period, around the late seventeenth century." ~ pg. 81

In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that serves a special cup of brewed coffee. Local legend says it offers the chance to time travel...with rules of course! Four customers visit the café in hopes of going back in time (The Lovers, Husband & Wife, The Sisters, Mother & Child). The strict rules make it almost pointless but the most problematic rule of all is the trip must end before the coffee gets cold.

This international bestseller was first published in 2015. I was able to get my hands on a brand new library copy published in November 2020. Already it has a long hold list. But don't worry, I will return my copy well before the due date so the next reader can enjoy its wistful story.

Although this book is 272 pages, it is a very quick read. I read the compact hardcover edition so was able to carry it around easily to read the 4-in-1 stories. It is odd at first but the common theme of missed opportunities and relationships made the stories interesting as I read further. Traveling in time is not a new concept in fiction—particularly science fiction genre—but Before the Coffee Gets Cold offers it with a twist. Well done!

Title: Before the Coffee Gets Cold
Author: Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Published: November 2020
Pages: 272
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤

January 20, 2021

It's the Chucks & Pearls For Me

May Today Be the First Day Toward a Better Nation. 
May We Build Better and Unite for the Greater Good.
May We Spread Good Health, Not Malarkey.
May God Be With Cousin Kamala & Uncle Joe. 
May We Wear Chucks & Pearls Today with Joy. 
Amen 🙏🏾


January 19, 2021

Life of a Migraineur: Deal With It

It is a blessing to have all five senses; but it feels like a curse during migraine aura. 
  • Sight ~ I've said this before but let me repeat: light hurts. The sun is an enemy. Sunglasses are a best friend. There is so much pressure behind my eyes that I feel like a living version of cartoon eyes popping out the socket. Shapes turn into little dots and jagged lines. Words on a page or computer are beyond blurry. Street signs are floating green blobs. Then the little dots multiply and take over my vision.
  • Sound ~ I am not being funny when I keep repeating, "I'm sorry, I can barely hear you." Because I really cannot hear. It's like my ears selectively turn the volume down. Every sound is distant. Yet every sound is heard. It's weird. I can't hear someone talking to me but can hear a cotton ball land on carpet. 
  • Smell ~ That Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume I put on this morning? It now stinks. The bacon I may have cooked earlier now smells burnt. The 3-wick candle and nag champa incense burning is usually relaxing and pleasant. But it instantly makes me nauseous now. I only have a few minutes left to take a whiff of lavender-scented Vicks VapoRub before that sickens me too. Oddly enough, I can only stand the smell of Murphy Oil Soap when experiencing migraine aura. Inhaling it settles my stomach too.
  • Taste ~ A strong cup of tea tastes as bland as room temperature water. I could be in the middle of eating then whatever I am chewing might as well be air. Imagine my panic when loss of taste was found to be a proven sign of The RONA. Oh, the many times I panicked wondering whether a migraine was starting or if I was positive for COVID-19.
  • Touch ~ Can't touch much with numb fingers. *insert black girl shrug here* Even worse, the thread count of sheets really do matter during migraine aura. I can feel every single thread prickling my sensitive skin. It makes the extremely cold bathroom floor and forehead compress feel super soothing though. 
This is all before the pain of the migraine itself! Not everyone who suffers from migraines experience aura; not every migraine comes with aura. Over the years, I have learned to appreciate the aura phase because it at least preps me for the attack. I usually have 30-45 minutes to stop whatever I am doing, take medicine, make my way to the nearest dark quiet room and prepare for battle. 

Please know that migraineurs are not being difficult or rude. We are simply trying to manage the pain when asking you to turn the lights off, stop talking, be silent or go away. So the next time you're around someone with a migraine, be considerate and help them deal with it. ♠️💜

January 17, 2021

Series Sunday: Wild Rain

(Women Who Dare #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 Wild Rain, the second book in the Women Who Dare series by Beverly Jenkins. The setting is mid-April in Wyoming Territory. Spring Lee, a woman rancher, is driving through a blizzard when she notices a horse sans rider. Soon after she spots a man covered in snow and limping up the road. 

It turns out that Garrett McCray is a newspaper reporter/carpenter looking to do an article on Dr. Colton Lee for his father's Black newspaper. Instead he is fascinated with Dr. Lee's sister, Spring, the daring woman dressed in a men's shirt, denim pants and a gun belt. She is the epitome of unconventional woman. Spring isn't looking for love but their attraction grows.

"A freeborn man named Harris helped me learn, and it was life changing. Once I began I never stopped. I have a book or newspaper with me wherever I go." ~ 67%

As with other Beverly Jenkins novels, there is a history lesson woven into the fiction. Wild Rain takes place after the Civil War. A period when most women weren't wearing denim but expensive gowns instead. Spring Lee is unapologetically independent too, which impresses oh-so-sweet-cinnamon roll Garrett and sets the tone for a natural romance to unfold. 

What kind of book starts with a woman saving a man? A historical romance by the great Ms. Bev! I am loving the Women Who Dare series. It features women that do not live by society's standard. Women that are free, bold, fierce and comfortable in their own skin. And best of all in Wild Rain, Ms. Bev gives a tribute to women who prefer to be child free. Thank you!!! 

"You are diamond-hard in mind and spirit. You glow inside with the fire of rubies. And you're as vibrant as a sapphire when we make love." ~ 89%

I adore this couple and expect to see them mentioned in the last book of series, as is the custom. Although, Bookhearts not familiar with the Women Who Dare series can certainly read Wild Rain as a standalone. Whether you are new to the series, new to the author, or a longtime fan such as myself, pre-order Wild Rain and plan to read this good Western romance during Black History Month.

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: Wild Rain
Author: Beverly Jenkins
Published: February 2021
Pages: 384
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤