Review: The Love Sisters Series by Christina C. Jones

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Am I the only one that looks for book recommendations even though my TBR list is ten miles long? When I saw this series recommended not once, but twice in the same week…well, you know I had to get to reading lol. Simply said, I devoured this series in no time! Each book focuses on one of three Love sisters.

I Think I Might Love You 

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“I Think I Might Love You” was the first book that I have read by Christina C. Jones. This book focuses on Jaclyn Love. She is a hot mess but she’s working on it and I love her! I knew I was in for a good read as soon as the book started lol. This book was absolutely hilarious! I definitely laughed my way through the entire story. It was a very cute romance with very relatable characters. I love how the story naturally progressed. It did not feel rushed at all. I absolutely love Jaclyn and Kadan. ❤

Highlights of this book included a hilarious scene with Miss Thing. 

I Think I Might Need You

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“I Think I Might Need You” is the second installment of the “Love Sisters Series”. This installment focuses on Joia Love. This story gave me all the feels and I loved Joia and Teddy’s relationship, although Joia did work a nerve a time or two, lol. The plot was super sweet and even a little unexpected. Teddy, Teddy, Teddy. ❤

Highlight of this book… “Man…give me my baby. I’m about to go.”- Teddy 

 I Think I Might Want You

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“I Think I Might Want You” is the final book in the “Love Sisters” series and it focuses on Jemma Love. I hated to see it come to an end but this book definitely ended everything with a bang. This was the steamiest of all three books. I loved Jemma and Levi’s relationship. Both are dealing with their own personal issues and issues with love. I also enjoyed getting an update on everyone in the epilogue. I’m always sad when it’s time to say goodbye to the characters I’ve grown attached to but this series ended perfectly. ❤

Highlight of this book was the epilogue ( and did I mention the steaminess?!) 

Final Thoughts

   I enjoyed this series so much. The sisterhood that Jaclyn, Joia, and Jemma had was amazing. Not only were they sisters but they were best friends as well and I loved it. Overall, these were just fun, realistic reads and I’m so glad I read them. Sidenote: look at those adorable covers.

I enjoyed each book but if I had to put it in order from my most favorite it would be:

I Think I Might Love You

I Think I Might Want You

I Think I Might Need You

I have claimed my seat in the Christina C. Jones fan club. Definitely looking forward to reading more from her in the very near future.  

 

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

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1. Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2020:
 
The books pictured are my top 5 of the year so far.  I have really read some great books this year so far and definitely could not narrow it down to one, lol.
 
2. Best Sequel You Read So Far in 2020
 
Down Among the Sticks and Bones ( Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire
 
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:
 
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
 
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
 
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
 
There’s Always Hope by Johnni Sherri
 
A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir
 
5. Biggest disappointment
 
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
 
6. Biggest surprise
 
A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum
 
7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you)
 
New to Me-Alexandra Warren
Debut- Holly Jackson
 
8. Newest fictional crush
 
Jah from Jah by Alexandria House
 
9. Newest favorite character
 
 Paris from the Heartbreak U duology by Johnni Sherri
 
10. Book that made you cry
 
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
 
11. Book that made you happy
 
I Think I Love You by Christina C. Jones
 
12.  Most beautiful book you’ve acquired this year
 
Although the release date was pushed back until 2021, it would definitely have to be The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. Stunning cover and the book is amazing! 
 
13. Favorite Review You’ve Written this Year
 
“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett
 
14.  Six books you need to read by the end of the year?
Carter Girls by Desiree
Haunted by CCJ
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson
Happiness in Jersey by Jacinta Howard
Storm and Fury by Jennifer Armentrout.

Review: “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett

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Synopsis

“From The New York Times -bestselling author of The Mothers , a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.”

My Review

4.5/5 stars

“All there was to being white was acting like you were.”

I have been hearing about “ The Vanishing Half” for some time now. Even though it is not in a typical genre that I would rush to check out, something just drew me to this book. On a whim, I decided to read it and I am so glad that I did.

At first, I was a little taken aback by the alternating timelines and scenes that wove between past and present and back again, sometimes very abruptly and without warning. I quickly fell into step with Brit Bennett’s amazing storytelling and did not want the book to end. This is not just Desiree and Stella’s story. It is also Jude and Kennedy’s. I loved the various point of views. The characters came alive and were very well developed. Each character in this story served as a  piece of a puzzle and it was so enthralling to sit back and watch the pieces fall into place.  Stella was a character that infuriated me, but I also pitied her at the same time. Colorism has been a huge issue in the Black community for quite some time. “Passing” is not unheard of. “The Vanishing Half” puts these issues straight to the forefront. It was truly thought-provoking, emotional, and poignant.  I would definitely recommend. I look forward to reading more from Brit Bennett in the future.

ARC Review: “This Is My America” by Kim Johnson

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Synopsis:

Dear Martin meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting YA novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.

Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?

Fans of Nic Stone and Jason Reynolds won’t want to miss this provocative and gripping debut.”

My Review:

5/5 stars

Time is running out…

Seven years ago, Tracy’s dad was arrested for murder. A murder Tracy is sure he did not commit. With his execution date drawing near, Tracy will stop at nothing to prove his innocence. But everything comes to a halt when Tracy’s brother, Jamal, is accused of murdering a white classmate. Will Tracy be able to save them both or will her family crumble ?

Time is running out…

“This is My America” is a glimpse at real life racial issues in America. While reading, I had to remind myself that this book was not set in the 1960’s but instead is set in the modern-day United States. This book touched on a variety of complex issues when it comes to race in America. The media’s bias was one of them. We see it every time we turn on the news. Other topics included lack of diversity , interracial relationships, duty versus self, and various areas of systematic racism . This book was heavy and even a little difficult to read at times given the present climate of the country. But it was so needed and necessary.

In short, this book held my attention from page one. There were moments that I was overcome by grief, by rage, by hope. The characters were all well developed and each one served a purpose. I loved the mystery aspect of it as well. As a mother to a Black male, this book definitely resonated with me in many, many ways. Tracy is a fierce, determined female lead who will stop at nothing to protect her family . I am in awe that this is a debut novel. I also enjoyed reading the author’s note and list of resources that were included at the end of the book. I cannot wait to get a physical copy for my bookshelf. Definitely a must read in my opinion. Perfect for fans of The Hate You Give, Just Mercy, Dear Martin, and more.

 

Release Date: July 28th

Mini Review+ Five Thoughts I Had While Reading (#3)

Novellas are typically short stories. Doing a quick Google search I found out that they are usually 60- 120 pages. It’s hard to review a novella without giving too much away so I decided to do mini book reviews for the novellas that I read along with a few thoughts I had while reading .

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Synopsis

“Catching last minute flights is a part of the job when you’re hired to photograph events all over the country. Usually everything goes according to plan.
But when I was hired to document the Juneteenth celebration in Galveston, Texas, I had no idea my plans were going to be derailed.
The woman who scuffed my sneakers and didn’t apologize ended up having the seat next to me. Yeah, she was beautiful, but I was not feeling her at all.
And then our flight was delayed.”

My Review

4.5/ 5 stars 

“The Delay: A Juneteenth Hot Holiday Hookup” is the latest installment in the Hot Holiday Hookup novella series by Danielle Allen. All installments are standalones. This installment tells Trenton Davis’s story. Trenton is headed to Galveston, Texas after being hired to photograph and document a  Juneteenth celebration. After a chance encounter with India Davis at an airport terminal, things take a very steamy turn when their flight is delayed.

I really enjoyed this book. I have not read any of the other installments of the Hot Holiday Series so I definitely love that they can be read separately.  This was a very easy read. I finished it in one sitting. Trenton and India were both fun characters. The story progressed at a steady pace. I loved the information about Juneteenth that was told throughout. There were definitely some laugh out loud moments as well. Overall, this was a steamy, fun read with the perfect pinch of drama. I look forward to reading  more from Danielle Allen in the future.

Five Thoughts I Had While Reading ” The Delay: A Juneteenth Hot Holiday Hookup” by Danielle Allen.

 

  1. Cue the flashback music!
  2. Oh, this is really happening?! Where’s my fan?
  3. Well aren’t we nosy?
  4. Honey? On fries?!…I’ll pass.
  5. How dare Danielle Allen disgrace Scar like this, lol.

“The Delay: A Juneteenth Hot Holiday Hookup” by Danielle Allen  releases on 6/14/ 2020

Review: The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2) by Maureen Johnson

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Synopsis:

 All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.

For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life. 

My Review

4/5 stars

“Where do you look for someone who’s never really there? Always on a staircase but never on a stair.”

“The Vanishing Stair” picks up shortly after the events of Truly Devious. I love the characters in this book and all of their quirkiness. Stevie is the perfect detective although she is not without flaws. I really enjoyed seeing the character development and growth from not only her, but with other characters in the book as well. The new characters were a perfect addition to the plot. The Ellingham Academy setting has a way of just fully immersing me into the story. Maureen Johnson can definitely set the scene.

There were so many little twists and turns throughout this book. As with Truly Devious, I really liked how the timeline alternated between past and present. Present day finds Stevie still reeling from the events of book one while trying to continue her quest to find out who was behind the Truly Devious Case. The past adds so many hints and layers to the story. There were a few things that stopped this from being a five-star read for me. The beginning was a little slow. It took a little while for the story to really get going. However, when it picked up, it really picked up! And the ending…that ending…that cliffhanger of an ending! I kept flipping and re-flipping pages like I was missing something, lol. I need answers! Did this book fall into the dreaded middle book curse? Maybe just a pinch. No more than a pinch! Thankfully, I already have part three, The Hand on the Wall, and can dig right in. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was full of suspense, quirkiness, and mystery.

TW: graphic murder, suicide/talk of suicide, tight spaces/ claustrophobia
Rep: LGBTQ+, anxiety/ mental health

Review: Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves

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Synopsis 

“An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.


Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging can stick with readers the rest of their lives–but it doesn’t come around as frequently for all of us. In this timely anthology, “well-read black girl” Glory Edim brings together original essays by some of our best black female writers and creative voices to shine a light on how we search for ourselves in literature, and how important it is that everyone–no matter their gender, race, religion, or abilities–can find themselves there. Whether it’s learning about the complexities of femalehood from Their Eyes Were Watching God, seeing a new type of love in The Color Purple, or using mythology to craft an alternative black future, each essay reminds us why we turn to books in times of both struggle and relaxation. As she has done with her incredible book-club-turned-online-community Well-Read Black Girl, in this book, Edim has created a space where black women’s writing and knowledge and life experiences are lifted up, to be shared with all readers who value the power of a story to help us understand the world, and ourselves.

Contributors include: Jesmyn Ward (Sing Unburied Sing), Lynn Nottage (Sweat), Jacqueline Woodson (Another Brooklyn), Gabourey Sidibe (This Is Just My Face), Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing), Zinzi Clemmons (What We Lose), N. K. Jemisin (The Fifth Season), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage), Nicole Dennis-Benn (Here Comes the Sun), Rebecca Walker (Black, White and Jewish), and more.”

 

My Review:

Rating: 4/5 stars

     “Well- Read Black Girl” is an anthology of essays by various authors such as Tayari Jones (An American Marriage ), Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming ), Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing ) and many others. This book was an amazing experience of Black Girl Magic.

As a self proclaimed ” Well- read Black Girl” myself, I could relate to many of the stories that were told throughout. This book really made me reflect back on some of my own reading habits as well as think back to the how, why,  and wheres of when I fell in love with reading. Diverse books are super important. I really appreciated how they compiled a list of all the books that were discussed and put it in the back for easy reference. My to-read  list has grown tremendously with the recommendations found in this book. Overall, this book was simply inspiring.

Mini Book Review + 5 Thoughts I Had While Reading

Novellas are typically short stories. Doing a quick Google search I found out that they are usually 60- 120 pages. It’s hard to review a novella without giving too much away so I decided to do mini book reviews for the novellas that I read along with a few thoughts I had while reading .

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My Mini Review: 

   “Last Chance to Love” by B. Love was such a cute second chance romance. I could totally relate to it in various ways. Although it is a novella, it read like a full-length novel. The plot was refreshing. The characters were well developed. There was one moment where I just had to put the book down like “ I know this is not about to happen!” lol. I cannot wait to read more from this author in the near future.

Five Thoughts I Had While Reading “Last Chance to Love” by B.Love:

  1.  I love a book with disclaimers.
  2. Fluffy Cakes!
  3. This book is giving me all the Hallmark feels.
  4. I just know that this is not about to happen!
  5. Anybody that binges How To Get Away wtih Murder is ok with me.

Review: “More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are” by Elaine Welteroth

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Synopsis: 

“In this part-manifesto, part-memoir, the revolutionary editor who infused social consciousness into the pages of Teen Vogue explores what it means to come into your own—on your own terms.
Throughout her life, Elaine Welteroth has climbed the ranks of media and fashion, shattering ceilings along the way. In this riveting and timely memoir, the groundbreaking journalist unpacks lessons on race, identity, and success through her own journey, from navigating her way as the unstoppable child of an unlikely interracial marriage in small-town California to finding herself on the frontlines of a modern movement for the next generation of change makers.
Welteroth moves beyond the headlines and highlight reels to share the profound lessons and struggles of being a barrier-breaker across so many intersections. As a young boss and often the only Black woman in the room, she’s had enough of the world telling her—and all women—they’re not enough. As she learns to rely on herself by looking both inward and upward, we’re ultimately reminded that we’re more than enough.”

 

My Review: 

4/5 stars

     “More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are” by Elaine Welteroth had so many gems and words of wisdom throughout. I really appreciated the foreword by Ava DuVernay. While I was not at all familiar with Welteroth before reading this book, it was certainly interesting to read about her own experiences growing up as well as becoming the woman that she is today. Her stories of race and not fitting in were definitely something that I could relate to on a personal note. Actually, there were many aspects to this book that I related to. I struggle with anxiety quite a bit. I would have loved for her to touch a little bit more on how she balances it all.

There is just so much that can be taken away from this book. It is a book of self-love, empowerment, and refusing to conform to the world around us. It did have some slow moments, but I enjoyed it for the most part. This book was so easy to read, and it felt like I was chatting with an old friend while reading. I am absolutely full from this book. I feel like I need to write the quotes out and randomly post them around my house as little reminders. Overall, I felt it was a very motivational memoir that was full of life lessons.

Review: ” A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” by Holly Jackson

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Synopsis

“Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.”

Rating: 5/5 stars 

Review: 

     It always surprises me when a debut novel is done in such a way that I am shocked it is the author’s first book. “ A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” has been on my TBR since last August. When I saw that some reading buddies of mine were doing a group read of it, I absolutely had to join in on the fun. First of all…mind blown! Never saw it coming, never saw it coming, never saw it coming, and did I mention….I never saw it coming lol. Each and every time I thought I had it figured out, something else happened that left me reeling.

This book features a wide range of diverse characters. The main character is Pip. She is a strong lead who has a love for crime solving and journalism. For her senior capstone project, she has decided to solve a murder. A murder that happened five years ago and left her small-town reeling. The murder of Andie Bell. I will not get into all of the characters within this because I would have to break out the red string myself. What I will say is that everyone was well developed and served a purpose.

One thing I really loved about this book was the format that it was written in. It alternates between chapters and “files” or “ forensic notes” as I liked to call them. This included Pip’s notes, interview transcripts, maps, journal entries, and more. It really added a fun aspect to the read. The pacing was fantastic. It started off strong and never fizzled out. This book reminded me of all my favorite detectives. It was the perfect mix of Harriet the Spy, Veronica Mars, and Nancy Drew. There were so many red herrings. Everyone was a suspect in my eyes. “ A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” was as addictive as it was fun. I cannot wait to read the sequel as well as the other upcoming books in this series. I could definitely see this adapted into a Netflix series or something along those lines.

Trigger warnings: violence, death, death of a pet, drugging, talk of sexual assault, kidnapping

Is “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” on your TBR? Have you read it?