June 2, 2023

First Lines Friday + Live Read Announcement

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.

"For Hush Puppies—the classic American brushed-suede shoes with the lightweight crepe soul—the Tipping Point came somewhere between late 1994 and early 1995. The brand had been all but dead until that point."

~ The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

Visit Literary Marie's Live Read❣️ page for live updates/reactions as I read then a final book review.

May 31, 2023

Lit Tidbits: Pithy Picks XI

Hey, Bookhearts! Pithy Picks are such a fun bookish meme! I hope you find a few books below that are worth your time and coins. 

Title: Never Lie 
 Freida McFadden
Published: September 2022
Pithy Review: Newlyweds search for the house of their dreams. When they visit a manor that once belonged to a renowned psychiatrist who vanished without a trace four years earlier, a winter blizzard traps them. The wife finds audio tapes of every patient that lead to the truth of the doctor's mysterious disappearance. I download from Kindle Unlimited from a friend's recommendation. It kept my attention although I figured out the mystery fairly fast.
Quote"My mother always says the only way two people can keep a secret, she says, is if one of them is dead." ~ pg. 252
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Uphill: A Memoir
Author: Jemele Hill
Published: October 2022
Pithy Review: Atlantic journalist and former ESPN SportsCenter co-anchor overcomes a legacy of pain and forges a new path in life despite life's uphill battles. You may remember her as the Black woman who called President Trump a "white supremacist." Tuh—damn the death threats; Jemele faced tougher things while growing up in Detroit and intergenerational trauma. Her unmistakable voice in the journalistic world, online and in the memoir is unapologetic yet eloquent. 
Quote"While journalists are taught to remove their emotions from stories, I turned my pain into perspective." ~ 38%
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️

Title: Spare
AuthorPrince Harry
Published: January 2023
Pithy Review: During my free Audible trial, I decided to listen instead of reading Prince Harry's memoir. I could listen to his voice all day and not get distracted, taking in all the shade, shame, sadness and smiles he has endured from childhood to present. It is revealing and raw. Think of the documentary/interview x 10.
Quote"Heir vs. Spare." ~ 41%
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Chaos Theory
AuthorNic Stone
Published: February 2023
Pithy Review: Am I officially over YA books? I loved Nic Stone's other writing and appreciate she tackled a sensitive subject matter and formed a romance between two teens. One teen is a certified genius living with bipolar disorder and the other is a politician's son running from addition and grief. All the makings of a Mental Health PSA in literary form written for a younger audience.
Quote"Scars exist to remind us of what we've survived." 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️

AuthorLeila Mottley
Published: June 2022
Pithy Review: Named Nominee for Best Fiction 2022 and Best Debut Novel 2022, this novel is about a young nightcrawling Black woman exposed as a key witness in a scandal within the Oakland Police Dept. A lot of quotable passages but the story left my memory before it was even returned to the library. I am more than impressed that the author is only 16 years old...go girl!
Quote"It ain't my place to have a problem with somebody else's survival." ~ 8% 
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️

Title: Hey, Lover
AuthorD.L. White
Published: December 2022
Pithy Review: Whatever Bookheart D.L. White is putting down, I'm picking up! I'm a believer of second chance love stories and soulmates. I also strongly believe we are in people's lives for a season or a reason. It just so happens that the first go-round for Malik and India failed nearly a decade ago but now the chance to rekindle romance is theirs.
Quote"If I have to drag her through another heartache because of you, she will not be able to stop me this time." ~ pg. 190
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️

 Rock Paper Scissors
Author: Alice Feeney
Published: August 2021
Pithy Review: Nominated for Best Mystery & Thriller 2021, highly recommended by a Bookheart, free on Kindle Unlimited AND a domestic thriller? I clicked download so fast. Adam Wright lives with face blindness; he cannot recognize friends, family or his own wife. After ten years of marriage, this is an anniversary he will not forget. There were fitty-lem red flags yet I hadn't put the pieces of puzzle together until 89% through. Now that's a good twist!
Quote"The ability to write a good book doesn't make someone a good person." ~ pg. 36
Recommend or Nah? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

May 30, 2023

Lit to Movie Review: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

"Good posture now makes for a good figure later." ~ pg. 29

Almost 12-year-old Margaret Simon moved to a new city and begins to question adolescence, friendship and growing into a young lady. She meets friends; girl talk revolves around cute boys, first kiss, increasing busts, bras and getting their first period (hilariously pronounced #menstrooation). 

A school project leads Margaret to religion. The different kinds, practices, appearance, prayer and Sunday routine. Her parents let her decide for herself while her grandparents prefer Margaret shares their religious beliefs. She learns that some people go to confession, while others worship with vibrant singing, or visit the Jewish Community Center. 

There are so many religions but Margaret has her own special relationship with God talking to Him about any- and everything without claiming a religion. And this is what makes Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. a classic. Like all girls, she just wants to belong. Margaret is funny and keeps it real. Her thoughts and talks with God can be mature for her age but also full of innocence and logic. 

Chickadee and I read this book multiple times along with lounging in VIP seats at the theater opening weekend. Such a great cast and true to the book! I even bought and re-read from the hot pink faux-leather embossed cover special edition. Great Auntie Judy Blume wrote a character that was as relevant today as she was over 50 YEARS ago!

Author: Judy Blume
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Cast: Margaret Simon (Abby Ryder Fortson); Barbara Simon (Rachel McAdams); Herb Simon (Benny Safdie); Sylvia Simon (Kathy Bates); Echo Kellum (Mr. Benedict); 
Book Published: January 1970
Movie Released: April 2023
Pages: 176
Movie Time: 1 Hour, 46 Min
Edition: Special Edition Paperback
Book Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 
Movie Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 

May 28, 2023

Series Sunday: Misfortune Cookie

(Noodle Shop #9) 

Super Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Binge read installments of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendations below.
  • Include the titles, authors and series names.

"I was used to cleaning up broken glass at the restaurant, and on a deeper level, I wondered if that was a metaphor for my life. Things broke and I worked to fix them, even if it meant sweeping things away." ~ pg. 205

My Series Sunday pick is Misfortune Cookie, the ninth book in the Noodle Shop series by Vivien Chien. Ho-Lee Noodle House, managed by Lana Lee, is famous for its noodles and tea. But the setting in this latest installment takes place in sunny California where a restaurant convention is held. Lana Lee and sister Anna May are invited to stay at their Aunt Grace's posh rental.

Everything is peaches, cream and sunshine until Lana Lee witnesses an argument because a journalist and fortune cookie vendor. Later that night, a woman mysteriously plunges from the roof top. It happens to be the same journalist in the dramatic cat fight earlier but also Aunt Grace's friend. So much for a laid back vacation and restaurant convention...Lana must solve this mystery.

"I often didn't know my next step and I don't think that people—my family included—knew that I winged life more than my eyeliner." ~ pg. 113

Readers are introduced to a new colorful character: Aunt Grace. She serves "Rich Auntie" vibes with invitations to exclusive events, knowing key people in the city, living a single-with-no-kids life of luxury in California. All the more reason to dote on her nieces. I hope to see more of Aunt Grace!

This time, I learned more about Anna May Lee (Lana's older soon-to-be lawyer sister). I used to think she was an annoying tattletale in all of the prior books but now I understand her logic. She's healing from a breakup. She's studying and working hard toward her career goals. And most of all, Anna May cares for her little sister's safety. She only wants for Lana to make better choices.

"The 'look over here' approach." ~ pg. 218

The flow of Misfortune Cookie started off slow, picked up in pace, then slowed down to a slow cruise. Even though the suspect list was short, a lot of unnecessary clues were dropped. Or perhaps it's because I'm finally caught up on the series and have learned the author's style when it comes to whodunit. Either way, it was still a good read; just not the best choice for a fast-paced cozy mystery.

Happy Early Pub Day, Vivien Chien! Misfortune Cookie will be available Tuesday, June 27, 2023.

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: June 2023
Pages: 264
Edition: Galley
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

May 26, 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.

"Colette 'Coco' Weber has relocated to her Catalina Island home, where, twenty years before, she was the sole survivor of a deadly home invasion."

~ What Never Happened by Rachel Howzell Hall 

May 25, 2023

Everything's Fine

"I do think it's healthy for a soul to have some relationships where there's no need to explain anything." ~ 80%

How often have you responded "Everything's fine." when everything is not fine? We either lie to ourselves that we are indeed fine or we don't want to worry someone about why we aren't.

On Jess's first day at Goldman Sachs, she is not thrilled to work with Josh, her white sparring partner from college. They bumped heads before and sure to bump heads again in the workplace. But when Jess finds herself being the sole Black woman on the trading floor, overlooked and underestimated, it is Josh that stands up for her and opens doors of opportunity. Like romance clockwork, their relationship turns to friendship then sparks fly. 

Considering the main character's professional situation, I thought I would relate to her. Welp, her actions squashed that comparison. The snap decisions, the overreacting, the need to talk but not listen made me dislike her within pages. The most annoying part is her saying, "Everything's fine." when she is literally drowning not asking for help. Perhaps the story would've been better if the focus was on Jess's mental health rather than an interracial relationship with all its politics.

Happy Early Pub Day, Cecilia Rabess! Everything's Fine will be available Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

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: Everything's Fine
Author: Cecilia Rabess
Published: June 2023
Pages: 335
Edition: Galley
Genre: Fiction; Romance
Rating: 🖤 🖤

May 24, 2023


"Especially after his grandfather died, she had hurt for Malcolm, and feared for him as a young Black man coming of age in a county with a scarifying racial history, in a country that daily found ways, some deadly, to remind boys like her son that their very existence could too swiftly become tenuous." ~ 1%

There were so many red flags that pointed toward not reviewing this new book. Of my 673 Goodreads friends, not one has read, recommended or shelved this book. A blurb claims that Trial confirms Richard North Patterson's place as "our most important author of popular fiction." Yet I never heard of the guy before now. The final flag wave was that an older white man wrote a book featuring a Black 18-year-old (Malcolm) and his Black single mother who is a voting rights advocate (Allie). Out of curiosity alone, I gave it a try.

How did Patterson prepare to write from the perspective of a life he knows nothing about? Did he try to put himself in Malcolm's shoes? Did he research, wing it or rip from real news headlines? The more I read, the more off the mark it seemed. I began to side-eye something in every single chapter. The only other main character Patterson could possibly relate to was a young white congressman.

Maybe it's my harsh judgment. I don't agree with Malcolm's point of view being written by a polar opposite. Patterson doesn't know the feeling a Black mother gets when her son is driving while Black. When her son should be home and isn't answering the phone. How the son must feel when being pulled over by a white police officer and arrested for murder. How social injustices arise in a trial.

I could go on and on. It all boils down to me not liking the book at all, struggling to finish, wishing the author stayed in his lane. There is no shame in writing what you KNOW.

Happy Early Pub Day, Richard North Patterson! Trial will be available Tuesday, June 13, 2023.

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: Trial
Author: Richard North Patterson
Published: June 2023
Pages: 350
Edition: Galley
Genre: Social Justice Fiction
Rating: 🖤