Normally at this point in the week, I have a pretty good idea about what I want to read. Not this week. I have three library books that I’ve been waiting for from the library that I finally have my hands on but I don’t want to read them right now. I have e-books that I am behind on and really want to read, but again not right now. This beauty came this morning and I’ve already started it, so this is all that I know that I will be reading. The rest will be a surprise.


Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards, #1)

Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

Crown of Shards #1

Thanks Harper Voyager for sending this to me!

Always Shine!


Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers


Sadie by Courtney Summers

September 4, 2018 – Wednesday Books

311 pgs. – Young Adult, Contemporary

Purpose: Review, #offmybookshelf, Kindle

4 ****

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

If you want to read the Goodreads summary, click here.

This is a pretty dark contemporary, so it’s really hard to say that I liked it. So I will say that I liked the writing skill of the author.  It’s an uncomfortable read, as you will likely come to the truth of what happened to a young Sadie long before she gets around to telling you.

I actually chose to listen this as an audiobook, and I’m glad that I did. Half of this story is told in the form of a podcast, as the journalist is trying to retrace Sadie’s steps in hopes of finding her.  I found this to be a heartbreaking story that is not only all too familiar, but all too real. It is as if Summers chose to used Sadie to tell an “any Jane” story.  Girls go missing all of the time. Girls are abused by relatives/friends of the family all of the time. Girls take the abuse to protect their younger siblings all the time. Truth be told, this same thing happens to boys as well. People invite monsters into their homes all the time. So frequently, that you would think that people would think twice before doing so. And it happens across socio-economic backgrounds.  (Stepping off soapbox…)

This was an uncomfortable story to hear, but I think that was the author’s intent. But I also think it is an important and powerful read. I like the balance between the search for Sadie and Sadie’s progress in her goal. It all comes together in a painful ending that is far from satisfying.  It is definitely worth checking out, and I will be looking into Summer’s backlist of books.

Always Shine!

Review: God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers by Hannah C. Hall

God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers

God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers by Hannah C. Hall 

May 29. 2018 – Thomas Nelson

20 Pgs. – Children’s, Fiction, Inspirational

Source: Booklook, Publisher

5 *****

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

To read the book’s summary, click here.

This is a cute book with simple prayers that little children can say. It covers grateful prayers, prayers seeking help and prayers asking forgiveness. Each prayer has a scripture that is attached to it. The prayers rhyme. making them almost musical. The pictures are vibrant in their colors and my son enjoyed flipping through it to look at them. This is a puffy book with board pages, so my youngest was also able to enjoy it as well. I am glad to have this as a part of our collection.


Always Shine!

DNF Review: Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins

Gone to Ground

Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins

March 1, 2012 – B Books

352 pages – Adult, Suspense/Thriller, Inspirational

Purpose: Review, #kindlecleanup,

Source: Publisher, Netgalley


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

I am slowly making my way through my backlog of Netgalley. I am listening to the ones that I can find on audiobook, to help. This is a title that I listened to on audiobook, through Scrib’d

I have to admit that I chose to listen to this on audio because I thought that this would be a quick listen, and it already had all of the markers of a story that I would enjoy, I DNF’d this title at 52% because I just didn’t care about it.  There wasn’t any characters that I really liked, there weren’t any real suspects, and the plot wasn’t engaging, I made it this far because I wanted to give the book a real shot, but other than that there wasn’t any motivation to pick up the book.

The small town has been plagued with a serial killer, without any real clue as to who it is. Now three ladies believe that they know who the killer is, and they all suspect three different men.  On the surface it sounds like a good story. But there was too much bumbling around, with the police and the three self- declared investigators.

I really wanted to like it, at least enough to finish it. But, I didn’t.

Always Shine

DNF Review: Upgrade by Rana Florida

Upgrade: Taking Your Work and Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary

Upgrade by Rana Florida 

Taking Your Work and Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary

September 4, 2013 – McGraw-Hill Education

256 pages -Nonfiction, Adult, Self-Help

Purpose: Review

Source: Publisher, Netgalley

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

Sometimes you come across a book that you read at the completely right time in your life, making you enjoy it more than you may have at any other time in your life. And sometimes just the opposite happens, you read a good book at the wrong time and you don’t get out of it what you could have. And I think that the latter is what happened with this book. Had I read it when I was first approved for this title, I may have taken everything that was offered in this book and ran with it. Instead, there wasn’t enough her to hold my attention.

To be fair, I didn’t make it very far into this book. I didn’t finish the first chapter, had it been available on audio, I may have continued. I enjoyed what I did read from the first chapter. I did get some things out of it, in fact I had a conversation with a friend about how I felt inspired. But, then it kept going. I think the first chapter had 54 pages in it and I was done after around page 30. It just went past the point where I felt it made sense.  I was interested in the rest of the book, but not enough to power through, especially if it was filled with extra long chapters that just kept hammering home the point. Maybe I am wrong and there is more to it than that.  But I didn’t stick around to find out.



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!

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!