Dec 31, 2017


     IT'S MY BIRTHDAY MONTH! That is to say that in 15 days I'll be starting Chapter 32 of my life and I can hardly believe it. I'm very thankful to still be alive and kicking. It's also my blogs 1 year anniversary! This month is pretty special to me. So to show some serious love to myself I am hoping that this month I read nothing but 5 ⭐ reads (a gal can dream right?) But I do have some really good reads lined up for myself and a reread that if all goes well, I'll like it better than I did the first time and will want to continue on with the series. I'm getting a little ahead of myself, let us talk about the book, shall we? Happy New Year ya'll

     Gem Of The Ocean by August Wilson is the first in the series of 10 plays that he wrote that was to depict the culture and the heritage of African Americans through the ages. His first play is set in 1904 in Pittsburgh where Aunt Easter (the matriarch) runs a boarding house and one night two strangers come for a stay. I have never read or seen this play, but I'm very excited to read his plays in order and see the progression of people decade to decade.
     The Moon Tells Secrets by Savanna Welles. Now if you have been here for some time you might be asking yourself, didn't she have that on her list sometime last year? And you would be correct. But I never got to it then and It has been calling me from my shelves again. But if you are new then I'll give you a quick rundown of the book. It's about a son and mother on the run. The mother is trying to protect the son because he is a shapeshifter/werewolf and someone is after them trying to kill them. I really enjoyed Savanna Welles' other book When The Night Whispers, you can check out my review here.
     Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson is next on my list due to the success I had reading Brown Girl in the Ring last month. I have not a clue what this book is about but I do know that it involves Carnival time and it takes on a Caribbean-colonized planet. I'm really excited about this science fiction/fantasy novel. I'm really excited about the prospect of having another woman writer to add to my favorites. #blackgirlmagic.
     Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus is another book that I don't really know anything about. It's a 140-page novella set in Jamacia. But what really brought me to this book was 1. It was published by 2. It is a steampunk alternate history and 3. It has secrets agents and assassins. I mean really, what about that doesn't somehow sound badass? And have you see that cover? It just looks so interesting.
     Minion by LA Banks. Again you are probably asking yourself, Arlene, didn't you read that book last year and didn't like it? As a matter of fact, didn't you hate the audiobook? Why, yes you are correct on both counts, but again, I made a goal for myself that I would get through this series since I have head NOTHING but really good things from two people that I trust on Goodreads. So again, I will try and see past the bad 90's lingo and just enjoy the story.
     Clay's Ark by Octavia E. Butler is the third book in the Seed to Harvest series. I never want to try and see what is going to happen next in her books because I love the "where and the hell is this story going?" feeling that I get with her books and seeing how each book connects. Now I took a peek at what this one is about and I think I saw something about an alien invasion. Oh man, alien invasion. People with telepathic abilities and now an alien invasion. Okay, I'm gushing now.
     The Long Fall by Walter Mosley is the first book in the Leonid McGill series. I honestly don't even know why I want to start this series by him when a new series of his is coming out next month, but I just can't help it. I believe I've had this book for a while now, just sitting on my shelf and I figured why not?
     So this is what I'll be working on this month. Not really big books, but I'm shooting good, hearty, hard-hitting, 5-star books. What are you starting out this new year with? Any new authors? Any titles you didn't get to get to last year? Have you made any goals for this year? If you have, drop me a line below. Happy New Year, happy reading!



     It's the end of the year, we made it! We made it. I hope your 2017 has been good to you, and I hope your 2018 is even better reading wise and all. I had a good idea of what I wanted to read in December and honestly I knew that I had to read 10 more books to make my Goodreads goal. Out of the 10 books that I had on my list, I read 6 of them. I tried to read Beloved and I just couldn't. It didn't feel like it was the right time for me to read that book. Like just no. But I won't dwell on what I didn't read, but instead, let us get to the books that I did read and enjoyed. What I will say, before I get to the books is that of the ones I read, A Gathering of Old Men and The Hobbit were my least favorite books of the month. And that was really a surprise to me. But You'll see down below what I mean. Enjoy. 
AExtraordinary Union- ⭐⭐⭐.75
     I wasn't sure if I would like this one or even what it was really about. But I was happy to have read it. Despite the personal upsets early this month, I was still able to find some joy in reading. An Extraordinary Union book one in The Loyal League series is the tale of Ellen Burns, a former slave who now works as a spy for the Union Army with a photographic memory has been placed as a maid in a Confederate officers house where she meets Malcolm McCall, a Pinkerton Detective, who is also undercover. They have a bumpy start but soon (there is some instant-love) they fall in love, both knowing that for more than one reason their love is forbidden and that both have jobs to do for the union is tale was a treat. I really liked Ellen as a character, she was strong, sharp-tongued, could quote Shakespeare or anyone else on the drop of a dime. What I really enjoyed was the mix of history and romance and it really reminded me of Beverly Jenkins historical romance books. The second book just came out and I definitely plan on reading the second one in this series. 
Artemis- ⭐⭐⭐
     This is my first Andy Weir book, and I must say, this book was just a joy to read. It was fast-paced, funny, snarky. Jazz Bashara, a Saudi Arabia native who has lived on the moon since she was six years old, is our main character. On the moon, she works as porter picking up things from the docks and delivering them to people on Artemis. But what she really wants to do is be an EVA tour guide and walk on the moon surface. But since she isn't a tour guide and lives in a crapy hovel, she's a smuggler on the side. She's brash, funny and pretty much tells it like it is. While keeping one foot out of homelessness and one foot ahead of the lawman she takes on a job that would seem to end all of her worries when all hell breaks loose. I really liked reading this book and the audiobook narration with Rosario Dawson was just so good. I felt like she brought real life to Jazz and all the other people in her life. I really love it when narrators put real inflections in their voices for different characters. Makes the listen just that more enjoyable. I would say that they only parts that were kind of "boring" were the moments when it can get pretty intense and instead of riding that high you get pumped with all of this extremely detailed science and welding information that really flattens the mood.
The Hobbit-⭐⭐⭐
     I haven't read The Hobbit since high school, and I still cringe at my own memory of having written a poem about The Two Towers in senior year and reciting it in front of my honors English class, but I digress. I still really like this book and the characters. I love the movies. That's what really prompted me reading this books. I wanted to watch the movies so bad I decided to pick up the books instead. I feel like this story is as old as time, being that it was published in 1937, so having to tell you what it about seems foolish. Just know, it's an adventure for sure. And yes, there are songs, some shorter than others. Honestly, I was afraid that this would happen, I would reread a book I once loved and then not give it as high a rating as I did before. I still really liked this book, but it just wasn't as magical as it once was to me.
Brown Girl In The Ring- ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
     What in the world took me so long to get to this book? It was really damn good. Like wow. I was so surprised how many times after I had put it down, I had to pick it back up to find out what happens next. I'm not sure how to explain what the book is about, but I'll try. And sidetone, I found out that a movie was made based on this book just this year. Okay, so The Prime minister of Toronto is in need of a heart, but in the future told in this book, pig hearts are mainly used and human organ transplants is an old tradition not used anymore, but since this Prime minister has the money and the power, she wants to get a human heart instead. To get the human heart in the nick of time, her right-hand man enlists the local crime boss to get a heart. Now that seems simple but for Ti-Jeanne and her grandmother it takes a toll on their personal lives and goes in a whole different direction. This isn't really a good rundown of the book and sometimes, it can be really hard to give information about sci-fi books without being too confusing. I loved the story I liked the characters the magic system. This is Hopkinson's first books and I definitely plan on reading more of her books in the following year. Midnight Robber is probably going to be my next book.
The Warmest December-⭐⭐⭐
     This is a sad tale of alcoholism and its effects on a young girl through her childhood. Kenzie is looking on her hospitalized father both older but he's dying and as she looks on her father praying for his death she looks back her life and how he father terrified not only her but her brother and her mother. Like I said we follow Kenzie through these few days before Christmas as she looks back on her life or lack thereof with her father and how he has shaped who she has become today, an alcoholic herself going to a meeting and such. I liked this book, but it was a hard read and just plain sad. So far out of the eight books by her that I have read, this was probably my least favorite. I think it was because I was getting burnt out on the flashbacks. 
     I have been wanting to get back to this series for a while and I needed something a little light after that emotional doozy of a book. I really liked this book in comparison to Cinder. Scarlet's grandmother has gone missing and one day on delivering some produce, she runs into Wolf who offers to be a field hand on the farm. But due to her grandmother being missing, she declines. Later their paths intertwine and they are on their way to Paris. There's so much going on (Cinder makes an appearance) that I can't really explain what is happening without giving too much of the previous book away. Just know that Throne is hilarious, Wolf is kind and Scarlet is tough and I enjoyed all these new characters but now I'm more invested in this series than I was months ago.
A Gathering of Old Men- ⭐⭐⭐
     This is a tale of a dead white man in 1970s Louisiana on a sugarcane plantation and all the black men in the quarter who decided that today, today they were going to stick together for this cause. It's a bit more than that, but that is the set up for this simply written book. I enjoyed the social commentary on the book and the depth of the characters, but to be honest that's about it. I didn't particularly like the language, some of it was very repetitive and I'm sure the reason for it was something that I just didn't understand. There were moments when I was 1/2 way through it and wanted to stop reading it. It's not a bad book by any means, just kind of boring. 

     My favorite 2017 reread is definitely NOS4A2. As soon as I started this book I felt so damn giddy. Like a kid at Christmas lol *pun intended* I love this book. And it is low-key a Christmas tradition to read it during the holidays. For a 600+ book, it is so good and the narration done by the great Kate Mulgrew is just EVERYTHING. It's hard to give a good explanation of the book, but I've given it a try. So Vic (Victoria) McQueen is a wild child, but she has a gift for finding things and a bridge that helps her get to those things that are lost: a bracelet, a photograph, lost stuffed animals, dead children. Crazy right? And then there's Charles Talent Manx, the villain of this tale. Those dead children Vic happens to find are located in what Charles would say is the beautiful place called, Christmasland. It's a crazy tale, and honestly, I don't want to say too much, and if I get to talking about it too much I'll start spilling spoilers. lol 
     Being the third book in the Lunar Chronicles I wasn't expecting to pick this one up right away but the way Scarlet had ended I just had to know what happened next. It's hard to talk about this one without being spoiler filled but know it was a fast read and we get to meet Cress whom we meet very briefly in book one. She's pretty much the introvert we all can sometimes be, living her life on a satellite between Lunar and Earth being a spy for Queen Levana. This one was fun, but I think this series might not be as magical and high fantasy as I had hoped it to be. But since I only have Fairest and Winter to finish off the series I'll do it. For a 500+ book, you can really fly through it without much thought. It's a good story, lost princesses, evil queens, broken-hearted kings, spies, spaceships, werewolves, mind control. It's got a lot of keywords for me, but still, there is this hindering that keeps it right at PG-PG13 levels, and it makes me feel meh about the whole series. But I can't stop from wanting to read the next one and finding out how this is all going to end. SO what does that really say about it? 
The Green Mile Part 1: Two Dead Girls- ⭐⭐⭐⭐
     I picked up this gem on a straight whim and I have seen the movie many moons ago and while I remember the actors who played in the movie I really like the format in which this was put out. In the foreword King regales us of how exactly he came to publish The Green Mile as a 6 part story, wanting to give his readers that break between these episodes, if you will, to get caught up in the story and salivate for the next one. And I'm not gonna lie, at page 60 in this 90-page installment, I knew I was going to enjoy this story. The story as it is told is set in 1932 and our narrator, Paul Edgecomb is the head screw as a Cold Mountain guard on E Block, aka the Green Mile. And on this strange, what started out a normal day he meets John Coffey, one of the biggest men he has ever met. We also met the rest of the men who call the Green Mile home as well as why they call it that. 
The Green Mile Part 2: The Mouse On The Mile- ⭐⭐⭐.5
     In this installment we get a look more in-depth look at Steamboat Willie aka Mr. Jingles before he becomes the cellmate of Eduard Delacroix and the hatred that Percy Wetmore has for him and what I thought was crazy is that you learn why Delacroix was sentenced to death row but then you see just how cruel Percy can be and it's sad. Also Paul and his urinary infection? My gosh. Me like. 
The Green Mile Part 3: Coffey's Hands-⭐⭐⭐⭐
     In this crazy ass installment, we get to see John do what he does and to the amazement and the unknown. It's hard to get into this one because now we are getting deeper into the story as told by Paul Edgecomb. Just know that this part was better than the second, to me, and I feel like Delacroix better watch out for himself

(Small addition: I ended up finishing The Green Mile Parts 4,5&6, I just didn't really get a chance to review them, but I can say that as a whole I gave the book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was really good. It might be the best Stephen King book that I read, but it was very emotional. And now I definitely plan on watching the movie.)

I Know A Secret- ⭐⭐⭐⭐
     It has been a long time since I have read a Rizzoli and Isles books and as soon as I started this book, I seriously couldn't put it down. I forgot how much I loved Gerritsen's writing and how easy I can get swept up into her Boston PD stories. In this story, book number 12, a young woman is found lying on her bed dead with no apparent cause of death, but her eyes have been removed from her head and placed in her hands. Maura and Jane with the help of some Saints try and piece together her death and the few that follow before the killer can strike again. The link to the past can help them uncover this mystery. This book as very suspenseful, trigger warning for those wary of sexual assault on minors and bullying. I also really like the personal stories lines that happened in both Jane and Mauras lives. Especially Maura, dealing with her mother and a forbidden love interest. Reading this has me lightly jonesing to re-read the whole series again. 
Mind Of My Mind- ⭐⭐⭐⭐.75
     Oh, my goddess! That was so damn good. I couldn't be even madder at myself for waiting 3 months to start the next book in the Seed to Harvest series. What I have learned to love from reading Octavia E. Butler books is that especially in a series the next book is always MORE and there is such a big time jump which at first I didn't like, but when you think about it, they make sense to do, especially when you're dealing with people with amazing abilities. In this second installment, we are giving pretty much the life and times of Mary a descendant of Doro and Anyanwu many generations removed named Mary who becomes bigger than Doro can imagine or handle and it leads to a battle that I saw coming, the outcome was totally unexpected. Reading from Mary's POV was very similar to reading from Shori's POV in Fledging, which is another one of my favorites by Butler.
     And with this, I have completed my Goodreads goal of not just 140 books, but 146! Booyah! And I didn't even have to fluff up my reading this year with a lot of comics. Sadly I haven't gotten to a lot of my comics. But, there's always next year, right? lol 
     If I look back in 2016, I read 32,764 pages across 153 books and this year I read 44,708 pages across 146 books. This year I read 11,944 pages more. Clearly, this was the year of the big books. I'm proud of that. I might have failed with some of my goals but since Denise from ArtBooksLife is hosting #Blackout2018, where we read nothing but African American books and there are two other speculations, which are: 1. To read two women authors a month and 2. Read one independent book a month so that would be just three books a month. So some of the books that I have yet to get to will then be shifted over. I'm really happy with that I read this year. Click the links below to see what my TOP 17 of 2017 BOOKS were and more! 

Dec 26, 2017

Anticipated 2018 Releases

     I don't have many books that I'm really looking forward to in 2018 but here are 18 new releases that I'm slight salivating over. I put them in publication order and have links to the corresponding Goodreads pages where you can read a bit more about each book. Without further delay lets get to it.
Saga, Vol. 8 by Brain K. Vaughn (Saga #8) (JAN 2nd)
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #3) (JAN 9th)
Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor (Binti #3) (JAN 16th)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (FEB 6th)
Moonshine by Jasmine Gower (FEB 6th)
Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley (FEB 20th)

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Legacy of Orisha #1) (MAR 6th)
Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (MAR 27th)
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (APR 3rd)

Paper Girls, Vol 4 by Brian K. Vaughn (Paper Girls #4) (APR 10th)
Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #3) (MAY 1st)
Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (JUN 5th)

Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch (PC Peter Grant #7) (JUN 28th)
Temper by Nicky Drayden (AUG 8th)
Vengeful by V.E. Schwab, I have been waiting for this book since 2016. (Villains #2) (SEPT 25th)

Lethal White by Robert Gailbrath (Cormoran Strike #4) (TBD)
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (The Dar Star Trilogy #1)(TBD)

     This is actually a good looking list and these covers! I know there are some others that are coming out next year (now please remember that the dates of these books can change) but these are the main ones that I KNOW that I will be getting throughout the year, but I just want to share with you all these titles.
     Let me know down below what are some books that you are looking forward to next year, do we share similar interest in certain titles? Let me know and I'll catch up with y'all later.

Dec 25, 2017


     I'd figure I'd do the whole top books of 2017, because to be real, I did read some great books last year and I'm pumped to share them with you. They aren't in particular order, just some great books, that I really loved this year and if you are so inclined, Dear Reader you might pick these up yourselves. I'm not really going to give a lot of detail about each of theses books since I have raved about them in the past.
     If you have read any of these books, hit me up below so we can chit chat about them, I would love to see what you have thought about them. Also what are some of the best books you have read this year? Let me know down below. Link me to your pages or videos whatever you got so I can check em' out, until next time folks.