Sunday Happenings- March

Yeah, so I didn’t quite get to all of the books that I wanted to last month. In fact, I didn’t read anything on the list. Which is why I don’t do TBRs. So, I think I will just talk about what I am currently reading and see how this goes next month.

I am currently reading:

The Knight (The Patrick Bowers Files, #3)

The Knight by Steven James- this is the third book in the Patrick Bowers files. I am actually almost finished with it, may even finish it when I am finished with this post. I like Patrick as a character, he is not the friendliest or the most patient investigator. He is full of contradictions and surprises. While in the end, the case usually comes together the actual investigating part is messy and full of dead ends. Much like a real investigation would be. With this installment, James proves that he is not only knowledgeable in investigating techniques and monstrous real-life like bad guys, but also in classic literature. It’s been a while since I have read the first two books in the series, but it wasn’t hard to get into this one, In fact I found that I missed it.

Where Hope Begins

Where Hope Begins by Catherine – I just started this one, so I’ve read the first couple of chapters. While I have not been hooked just yet, I am comfortable waiting for it. I read West’s The Memory of You for review and was pleasantly surprised.

What I will Read Next:

Strong Enough to Die (Caitlin Strong, #1)

Strong Enough to Die by Jon Land- I know that I will be reading this next because it’s a library book and I don’t think I can renew it. But this is a series that I have wanted to start for a long time and when I accidentally came across it while looking for another book, I took it as a sign that I was supposed to start it.


Who knows what will happen after that?


Always Shine!


Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

February 28, ,2017 – Balzer & Bray

464p – Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary

Purpose: Review, #offmybookshelf

Source: Edelweiss, Publisher, Bookshelf

5 stars

I was given a copy of this title, free, en exchange for my honest opinion. 

his is another book that talks about a white police officer shooting a black male. But make no mistake, it is also a book that stands out on its own. You have probably already heard of this book, as it came out and took the world by storm. I am not one that ever feels that a book deserves a bunch of hype, but in this case I can understand it. It is good for so many reasons, but it is not a perfect book. (I have yet to find one that is.)

Starr is at  party in her neighborhood when shots are fired. Her old friend, Khalil is there with her and quickly gets her out and safely away. While heading to her house or her father’s store, they are pulled over by a white officer for  a busted headlight. While Starr is mentally reciting the lessons of how to behave when pulled over by the police, it is apparent that Khalil did not receive those lessons.  As the police is making his way to the car, Starr does ask if there is any drugs in the car. What could have simply been a routine stop quickly escalates into a homicide. This is due to both Khalil’s mouthiness and the officer’s fear/prejudice/choice.

**With the rising number of shootings, people -black people in particular- have been having conversations with their kids about what to do when you are pulled over by the police? Is it necessary? If you have taught your kids to be respectful of authority then no it’s not. Because, regardless of your opinion of the police or your socio-economic circumstance the police are in a position of authority. EVEN IF YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG. I have been pulled over before and was told that I resembled a suspect that the police were looking for. No I didn’t believe them, but I was still respectful. Sometimes, it’s not about being right, it’s about doing the right thing.**

Starr then struggles with how to reconcile what has happened, with the way the world reacts and how the police handle the situation. It’s murder to Starr and every other black person that was not there that night. But the police do not see it as such. This brings up a lot of emotions, one that just didn’t make much sense to me. She felt that by being with Chris, she was somehow betraying Khalil. After a year of dating, you’re just not realizing that your boyfriend is white and now you think you’re betraying your race? In reality, all of these feelings would have come up at the beginning of their relationships and not now, and they would have been resolved  by this point. Especially with Big Mav as a dad. So, I’m calling flag on the field.

**I am with a white man, I have two biracial babies. My dad always had something about white people. I did not go to a school that was dominantly white, but I was constantly the only black person around.  And before anyone thinks that you only date white guys cause that’s all you’re around, bull. It’s a choice to date outside of your race-regardless of what your race is. It doesn’t happen by accident, so you can’t wake up one day and realize dude my boyfriend’s white. Yes, there are some things that make the differences in race more apparent.  But I’m calling foul on Starr’s sudden realization. **

As Starr deals with the loss of Khalil and with what the news is reporting about him, she is learnign that there is more to him than even she knew about. And she has to come to terms to that. At the same time the communities around her are reacting. Either by trying to figure how to deal with the anger and the hurt that they feel or by trying to get justice in a situation that is all too familiar to them.

This is bringing to light so many things for Starr, not just with her community, but with her family and her fellow classmates. She is learning so much,  she is learning to use her voice but most importantly, she is joining the conversation.

This book is powerful, not just because of the content of its pages. It is joining the conversation. It is lifting back the covers and giving the world an inside peek at how things really are -as much as  a work of fiction can. The Hate U Give acts as a window into Starr’s story that is at once all to familiar and completely foreign-depending on a reader’s own experiences.  Thomas does an amazing job in creating characters that are real and emotionally authentic.  She has taken a situation that is in itself already complex and controversial and pulled back to give 360• view of it. There’s surprises. there’s humor and there’s truth. Truth about the pain, the anger and the feeling of being lost in your own world.


Always Shine!

Book Round Up- Kid Edition

I am curating my library as well as my kids’ library.  Which means that I will be reading books that have been on our shelves to determine whether or not to keep them or checking them out from the library to see if I want to purchase them. So here are my thoughts for the last 6 books that I’ve read so far—

I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871 (I Survived, #11) (Library) I liked this. It was easy to read and nicely balanced between survival action and historical information. This is a big series, so I am not sure if this is something that I will invest in until my kids are old enough to say that they want it. I do know that I will be using select books as supplemental material.

Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club, #1) (Library) This was very nostalgic for me. I remember reading it as a kid. Again, this is a big series, so I will not be buying the whole series. I may buy the first couple as placeholders and to share it with my kids, and buy more as they say they want more. Re-reading it was fun, and I remember why I liked it so much. I think that it is a series that kids today would also enjoy.

Mrs. Jeepers on Vampire Island (The Adventures Of The Bailey School Kids Super Special, #6) (Little Free Library) I don’t know where I was when this series first arrived on the scene, but I am sorry that I missed it the first time around. But I am glad that I came across it now. I enjoyed it and want to check out more. Again, as appears to be a pattern, this is a big series. So I will be waiting for my kids to ask for it before investing in it.

Nate the Great and the Big Sniff (Personal Library) Okay, I didn’t like this one. It was simplistic and I wasn’t too impressed with it. While I know that my kids will all go through the stage where the simplistic writing will be necessary…I didn’t find this story interesting enough to check out more from the series.

Santa Claus Doesn't Mop Floors (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, #3) (Library) Again, I enjoyed this series. Eddie it the ringleader of trouble. It was short, but still fun and gave a nice glimpse of the characters. The ending was a little quick, but I still want to read more from this series.

Crash (Stay Alive, #1) (Personal Library) I liked this story. I found that it would be good to talk about survival as well as group dynamics. You got multiple reactions to the situations and that helped make it believable No one character was perfect and knew everything. They all made mistakes. Some characters didn’t survive the entire experience. I did like the fact that there were survival tips at the beginning of each part. I will be getting the rest of the series.

What you should know:

Books that I don’t plan on investing in (currently or later) are still books that I plan on continuing to read from my public library.

Books that I don’t enjoy will be donated or sold, but I won’t be keeping them in our collection.



Do you  have a children’s book that you  think everyone should read and/or own? Let me know in the comments below!!


Always Shine!

Sunday Happenings- February

I don’t do monthly TBRs because I never follow them. But I am going to try a monthly theme and see how that goes. February’s theme is “Finish”. I want to work on books that I’ve started but have yet to finish. And finish any series that I’m close to finishing.


Throne of Glass by Sarah J Mass

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke


The Great Library by Rachel Caine (1 book left)

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (1 book left)

The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jamisin (2 books left)

Wish me luck!

What are some books that you need to finish?


Always Shine!

DNF Review: The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q, #1)

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Department Q #1

August 23, 2011 – Dutton Adult

395 p. -Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Political

Source: Netgalley, Publisher

Purpose: Review

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Full disclosure: this is one of the very old titles that I just hadn’t read or reviewed.  I am slowly working through my backlog of titles, hoping to catch up in the next century. Because it is so old, I no longer have the downloaded galley and I ended up checking out the audio-book from my library. So, I can’t say if I would have a different opinion if I had read it myself instead of listening to it.

My Thoughts:

I am not sure what I was expecting with this novel. I guess I was thinking it would be more about the investigating of cold cases, but that’s not what I got. At least not in the first 30% of it. I found this slow and hard to get into. The time jumps, as well as the character jumps made it more confusing than it needed to be.  I didn’t like the main character.  It appeared that he was kind of waiting around until he was fired, but he didn’t really want to be fired. I think he came back to work too soon. He didn’t seem to be interested in working, let alone actually investigating or solving a case. The final thing that really turned me off of this book was the politics.

I don’t know maybe this book would be better if read in print or digitally instead of listening to it. I am pretty good at not judging a book by the narrator though, let me know if you’ve read this and think I should give it a second chance.



Always Shine!


January Wrap-Up

I used to do these all of the time, and then stopped. Then I tried just talking about my favorites and least favorites. Well, I am just going to show the statistics of what I read and then show what I read in images. January was a decent reading month.

Here are the Stats:

Total Books Read: 16>> Digital: 4 – Print: 9- Audio: 3   Review Books: 5

Total Pages Read: 4100   Average Rating: 3.6

Here are the Books:    

          Dark Screams: Volume One Nate the Great and the Big Sniff Mrs. Jeepers on Vampire Island (The Adventures Of The Bailey School Kids Super Special, #6) Santa Claus Doesn't Mop Floors (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, #3) To the Moon and Back (Baxter Family #3) I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871 (I Survived, #11) Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club, #1) Explanatorium of Nature The Unyielding (Call of Crows, #3)

                                        The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) Blood of the Earth (Soulwood, #1) Forces of Nature                                                                                                                       Love Story (The Baxter Family, #1) Shadows of Hope The Dog Who Came for Christmas Wolves (I Bring the Fire, #1)


Always Shine!

Featured Post: Top 10 Reasons to Read Darby Karchut

If you  have been with me this month than you know that I have featured the author, Darby Karchut, on my blog.  If you  are a long time follower, then you have probably seen all of the reviews for her books and know that I am unashamedly a huge fan of hers. While we have moved from fan and writer to friends, I am still honest about my opinions. As my friends know, you may not like what I say and you may not agree with it, but I am honest.  I thought that I would end this month’s feature with a top ten list.  And I will do my best to not go on and on about it.

10. She is not a one hit wonder. I have read all of her novels starting with the Griffin series and ending with Stone’s Heart, and I have yet to be disappointed with anything that I’ve read.

9. She’s got something for everyone. She has written middle grade (Finn Finnegan), young adult (Griffin), adult (Bannerman Boru under Darby Kaye) and adult contemporary-ish (Stone’s Heart).

8. She is a writer who writes good books, with characters you love! I’ve been there from the beginning, she has gotten so much better with each book.

7. She will talk to you! Go to her Facebook page, and write a message. See what happens? –Okay, to be honest, maybe she just talks to me and Kelly, and a random few other people. But she always responds to me so I’m happy. J/K I have written messages/emails to a variety of authors, all of whom are busily working and crafting their next novel, and I know that their world does not (and should not revolve around me), but it still amazes me that she actually responds. To be fair- Kevin Hearne, Jonathan Maberry and Eric Devine have also been pretty chatty when I’ve dropped them a message. But this post isn’t about them so….

6. She is actively involved in the care and literacy of young minds. She is involved in writing retreats, and book clubs for middle schoolers. (Addendum- I am not sure if she is still doing book clubs, I think she is. )

5. She is constantly working on something. Did you  hear that she has another book coming out soon? Del Toro Moon is scheduled to release this summer! So it’s the perfect time to jump on the DK Fan-wagon!

4. She shares what she knows. There have been many conversations about writing, the craft, advice and encouragement from her to me.

3.  Darby has a genuine heart for what she does- I follow her on Facebook, and I have talked with her about multiple aspects of writing. Not just as an author to an aspiring author. But as an author is interested in her reader and their concerns. We have shared deep thoughts on diversity in writing, on being authentic in writing characters different than ourselves.

2. Darby Karchut is a friend. I don’t remember how this blossomed into a friendship. I think I may have sent her the link to the review that I had done for her first two books, Griffin Rising  and Griffin’s Fire, (something that I did and still try to do when an author/publicist has sent me a request to review a book). And she responded with more than a thank you.

1. I need more people to help me convince to write a fourth Griffin novel……

In all seriousness, Darby Karchut is an amazing author and even better person. So if you still haven’t started reading her books, now is the perfect time to start.  Not sure which series to begin with? Let me know what kind of books you like and I can make a suggestion. (But, full disclosure – it will be completely biased.)


Always Shine!