Monday, July 31, 2017

"Little Boy Lost" by J.D. Trafford Lil' Review

9:30:00 AM


Book: Little Boy Lost

Author: J.D. Trafford

Release Date: July 18th, 2017

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

My Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: In a city divided and broken, this revelation will set it on fire…

Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Little Bird Publicity for the opportunity to review this book.

      So this is going to be a very quick review because I don't have too much to say about this book. This book is marketed as a book about racial unrest surrounding the murders of 12 black boys, and while the does happen, it's about like maybe 1/4 of the book, if that. I felt like the book could have done so much more on the topic of violence against black people, especially black children, and the unrest in our country. As a black girl in America, this is a subject that is very personal to me. I appreciate the prejudices shown in the book and how it highlighted how messed up our system is, but I felt like it didn't do a good enough job. Most of the book followed the main character, Justin, and his everyday life and dealing being a better father for his daughter, which is fine and all, but that's not what the book was marketed as.

      Don't get me wrong, I thought the book was alright. Reading about Justin as a lawyer and all of the politics reminded me a lot of watching my dad as a lawyer growing up and the days when he would take me and my brothers to his law office or court when no one else could watch us. But something about the book didn't feel authentic enough. The author of the book is a white male who is trying to write as a black male. I appreciate that this story is being told, no matter who is telling it, but I feel like we could have gotten a better story if it was from an OWN voice, or at least a PoC who can identify better with the main character. The author no matter how much research he has done can never identify with the struggles an actual PoC has gone through.

Monday, July 17, 2017

"Afterlife" by Marcus Sakey Spoiler-Free Review (MUST READ BOOK!)

9:00:00 AM


Book: Afterlife

Author: Marcus Sakey

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: July 18th, 2017

My Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis: Soon to be a major motion picture from Imagine Entertainment and producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

Between life and death lies an epic war, a relentless manhunt through two worlds… and an unforgettable love story.

The last thing FBI agent Will Brody remembers is the explosion — a thousand shards of glass surfing a lethal shock wave.

He wakes without a scratch.

The building is in ruins. His team is gone. Outside, Chicago is dark. Cars lie abandoned. No planes cross the sky. He’s relieved to spot other people — until he sees they’re carrying machetes.

Welcome to the afterlife.

Claire McCoy stands over the body of Will Brody. As head of an FBI task force, she hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. A terrorist has claimed eighteen lives and thrown the nation into panic.

Against this horror, something reckless and beautiful happened. She fell in love… with Will Brody.

But the line between life and death is narrower than any of us suspect — and all that matters to Will and Claire is getting back to each other.

From the author of the million-copy bestselling Brilliance Trilogy comes a mind-bending thriller that explores our most haunting and fundamental question: What if death is just the beginning?

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Little Bird Publicity for this opportunity to give an honest review.

      You guys, this book was a complete surprise to me. I did not expect to like it nearly as much as I did. The first chapter was real rough, and I mean real rough, almost enough to make me DNF the book. But, I kept pushing onwards, and I'm so glad I did because the book was such an interesting, mentally, and intellectually compelling book that drew me in. I powered through this book in 6 hours, only taking a break two times, once to get McDonald's and another time to take a bath.

      I don't want to give away anything about the plot because the plot is so damn interesting that you should go into it blind. I will tell you that it focuses on what happens after you die and the possibilities death has. It is very much a mental mindf*** and something I have often thought about. If you don't like the idea of thinking about what happens after we die, then this is not the book for you. However, if you are ready for a mindf***, this is for you. The book also analyzes the evil in the world and looks at how bad people turn out the way they are, and it's a really interesting concept. Because there are those people who just crack and do bad shit without a visible explanation, but it's interesting because maybe there is a reason that just is more than what we can conceptually conceive. Nothing about this plot is predictable, save for the the very beginning. There are so many twists and turns that just mess with your head and just make you think. That's what I really liked about this book. It made you think. I also like how it was a combination of paranormal, fantasy, romance, thriller, mystery, and sci-fi all combined into one book.

      The characters were also great in this book. Seeing how they think and handle this situation is just so interesting because it makes you think about how you would handle it. I mean, honestly, if I died and woke up in another level of existence, I have no idea how I would handle it, and that freaks me out. And I love the romance that our main charachters Brody and Claire have. They take their love to the extreme. Like honestly, I would be lucky to ever find someone who I loved as much as these two loved each other. And I really liked Claire because she was a strong, independent, gives no shits women, who puts everyone in their place. She is also an intellectual and handles the situation so gracefully in a way I wouldn't think is possible.

       Overall, this book just makes you feel... woke, yeah that's the word I'll use, woke. It puts into perspective every little aspect of our life and the overall politics of living coupled against death and what really matters. It also really makes you look at the science of living and death and how that interplays with the perceived impossible and fictitious. Here are some quotes that give you an idea of what I'm talking about:

            "Is it really so hard to imagine there's energy to life we don't know how to measure? Some vital, quantifiable connection between ourselves and the universe that doesn't appear under a microscope"

            "It's all energy. The universe began in an explosion. Every element is forged in the heart of a star. There is nothing but energy. With enough energy, existence bends around you like the sea around a sailboat."

      As a scientist, these quotes really resonated with me, and there are others like this that container spoilers that just made me think.

      This book has already been optioned for a movie, and I'm so excited to see how it translates to movie form. I really do think this is something everyone should experience because although it will probably make you uncomfortable and mess with your mind, sometimes it's good to be uncomfortable and to think beyond the possible.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Children's Books

10:00:00 AM


     I'm fairly certain it's been like 6 months since I have done a Top 5 Wednesday. That might be an exaggeration, but it might also be true. Anyway, this one really interested me because I realized it's been quite some time since I've read a children's book, with the exception of "A Monster Calls" by Patrick Ness. I grew up entirely way to quickly, so by 8 years old I was reading adult mystery thrillers mixed in with young adult. So, I'm excited for this because making up this list made me remember these children books that I still love despite all the years that have passed. Here goes nothing in no particular order.

5. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (and basically everything else by Shel Silberstein)

It's interesting that this made the list considering in general I hate poetry, but I absolutely love Shel Silverstein and his poetry. His work is one of the few works of poetry out there that I enjoy. His work is so thoughtful and morbid yet enlightening and happy. It's strange to describe to those who haven't read his work. His work is a staple of my childhood.

4. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

This is one of the first books my mom read to me as a kid, and she continued to read it to me for a long time. This book was her constant reminder to me that I was loved, and I just remember all of the happy and sad feelings attached with this book. It's not the same reading it on my own as compared to when my mom reads it to me.

3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Yes I only read the book so that I could go watch the movie, but that doesn't negate the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was emotional and quite powerful for a children's book.

2. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott 

This is one of my favorite series from middle school. I can remember checking out these books from the library with my friend Catherine and rushing to school so that we could talk about these books. These books combine magic, history, and mythology, some of my favorite things. Also the two main characters are a twins, a boy and girl, and so I always envisioned myself as the twin girl and my twin brother as the guy.

1. May Bird series by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I have reread this series several times, and I continue to love it through time. For a children's series, it's pretty dark and twisted, but that's what I liked about it. It shined light on problems that children have that adults might not take seriously through personifications in this nightmare like world. It has a "Nightmare Before Christmas" type of vibe only WAAYYY darker. 


Honorable Mentions: Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar, Children of the Lamp series by P.B. Kerr, The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, and Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud.

(I know there are a lot of honorable mentions, but when making this list, I couldn't leave them out because I liked them too much and wanted you guys to know about them too.)

      So what do you guys think about my list? See any of your favorites? Have you read any of the books on my list? If so what are your thoughts? Tell me your thoughts down below in the comments. I also want to hear what some of your favorite children books are!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday Tunes: Musicals, Oldies, and Kesha

10:30:00 AM


     This week instead of highlighting one specific genre or album, I'll be talking about three different songs that I have been listening to non-stop like crazy. So here goes nothing, in no particular order.


"She Used to be Mine" from Waitress

Last month I was in a real big musicals phase, and "Waitress" the Broadway musical popped up on one of my playlists on Spotify and I immediately liked it. The song that really got me going though and is my favorite in the musical is "She Used to be Mine". The song was originally written by Sara Bareilles who actually helped write the musical. There is a version she sings and one that the Broadway actress, Jessie Mueller sings, and I much prefer Jessie's version. Even though they are both fantastic singers, I like the sound of Jesse's voice more and I just feel like she brings more emotion to the song. And boy oh boy does the song have such strong emotion. If you listen really closely to the lyrics, there is just so much that is being said that really hits you.

I got bored and decided to do a rough sketch writing thing on Paint

"Killing Me Softly With His Song" by Fugees

Most of you have probably never heard this song before, but it's one of my favorite classic songs. My mom used to play it all the time when I was growing up. I can remember her cooking breakfast in the morning and singing along to this song and while I didn't like it when I was younger, it has really grown on me. I think because I'm older, I understand it more. I just love how the Fuguees all harmonize, and Lauryn Hill has such a beautiful voice. It's not too strong, but still has a power that comes over you. It's like a mixture of gospel, rap, and hip hop, and that combination just works very well.

"Praying" by Kesha

I have always loved Kesha, starting way back in 6th grade (which is crazy to think because I'm going into the 3rd year of university). I can remember going to school dances and rocking out to "Tik Tok" and "We R Who We Are" and all those other great songs. "Praying" is  quite different than her older stuff, but it is a good different, a GREAT different. This song has so much emotion and meaning that her other songs lacked while still being an anthem. She has gone through so much in her career and life and you can really here it in this song. I love how the song starts off kind of quiet and slow but builds up until the end when it's full of energy and power, and I feel like that really represents Kesha's build back into the music industry. I can't wait to hear more greatness from her.


      Well that's all for this week's "Tuesday Tunes". If you guys haven't listened to the songs, you definitely should, and then when you have tell me your thoughts. I would love to hear what you guys think about these three songs from three very different artists.

Monday, July 10, 2017

"Tied Up in You" by Erin Fletcher Excerpt + Review + Giveaway

8:30:00 AM
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Book: Tied Up in You

Author: Erin Fletcher

Publisher: Entangled Teen (Crush)

Release Date: July 10, 2017

My Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Everyone says hotshot goalie Luke Jackson is God’s gift to girls, but the only girl he wants is his best friend, Malina Hall. He’s always known how brilliant she is, but now that he’s “accidentally” kissed her, he can’t stop thinking about her…or wanting to kiss her again. Problem is, things have been a little…awkward since the kiss. Because she likes him, too. Hopefully, but even if she did, their futures—and the ridiculous schedules that come with them—are in the way. And now one of his teammates is showing interest, and the guy has more in common with Malina than Jackson ever will. As her best friend, Jackson should get out of the way. But if there’s one thing he’s learned from hockey, it’s that you have to go for what you want, even if it means falling flat on your face. And he’s definitely falling for Malina.

Disclaimer: This book contains a hot hockey player who goes after what he wants, a super-hot, super-distracting shirtless workout, and the kind of best friends to lovers romance every girl in the friend zone has dreamed of.


      For me, this was a quick, summer, contemporary read which is exactly what I was looking for. It took me like maybe 4 hours to read this in just one sitting. The plot wasn't anything special, and I thought the pacing was very odd, but nevertheless it was still enjoyable. I think I liked the characters more than I did the plot. I loved how there was LGBT+, people of color (Hawaiian), and women in STEM representation. All of those representations really made the book for me. I also enjoyed how it was set in Michigan. It reminded me a lot of home and the talk of the different schools she was applying to in-state took me back to my high school days. So, overall, while this wasn't anything particularly special, and I think it resolved WAYYY to quickly, if you want something to make you smile and that is light, this is the book for you.


Jackson's POV

My hand froze awkwardly in midair as reality slammed into me. Oh, shit. Shit. I kissed my best friend. “Sorry,” I said, jumping up and slamming my leg on the coffee table. “Ow,” I moaned as I turned on the lamp, then turned on the overhead light for good measure.

The look on Malina’s face was one I hadn’t seen before. Her eyes were wide with something—shock? Disgust? Embarrassment?

My cheeks and ears burned. Was it possible for your nose to blush? I was pretty sure mine was. “Malina, I’m so sorry. I was just…” I ran a hand through my hair, struggling to come up with something, anything I could say to excuse what had happened. “I was just so relieved there wasn’t a serial killer or something in the kitchen, and I just…” Nope. There weren’t any more words. There were hundreds of thousands of words in the English language and not one of them was going to help me.

For a long time, she didn’t say anything. A long time. The expression on her face didn’t change. Then she nodded slowly. “Right. Yeah. I was relieved, too.”

She was going to accept my ridiculously lame excuse? Or at least pretend to accept it? “Right? Yeah. Okay. Sorry.”

She frowned. “Just…don’t. Do that. Ever. Again.”

“No,” I said quickly. Spastically quickly. Oh God, my cheeks were still on fire. I couldn’t look her in the eyes. “Sorry. I won’t. It won’t happen again. I should probably go.” Then I winced and said, “Ow,” when I took a step that jarred my bruised leg.

Her frown changed from confusion to concern. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I said, too quickly again. “Fine. Just…bruised my leg. Banged it. I’ll be fine.”

“Do you need some ice?”

“No. No. I’m fine. Sorry again. Thanks for dinner. I’ll see you at school, right?

Sorry.” Instead of coming out like individual sentences, the words kind of blurred together into one big blob of awkward.

Malina got up and walked me to the door. “Yeah. I’ll see you at school.”

I had one foot out the door when she stopped me.


As much as I wanted to keep going, I couldn’t ignore her. I stopped and turned and looked somewhere in the vicinity of her left shoulder. Not in her eyes. Not at her lips or her boobs. Shoulders were safe. “Yeah?”

“I don’t really know what just happened, but it was an accident. We’re still friends. It’s fine.”

I forced a nod and kept my eyes on her shoulder. “Okay. Thank you. Sorry. Good night.”

When I got in my car, I leaned back against the headrest and tried to breathe.

Despite what she said, it wasn’t okay. I’d kissed my best friend. I’d acted like an idiot who didn’t know how to human, not the confident hockey player who kissed girls all the time.

But the worst part? Worse than the kiss or the embarrassment or awkwardness that followed?

I liked kissing Malina.

A lot.

I was screwed.


Enter for a chance to win $5 Amazon Gift Card and Hawaiian swag

About the Author

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Erin is a young adult author from North Carolina. She is a morning person who does most of her writing before sunrise, while drinking excessive quantities of coffee. She believes flip-flops qualify as year-round footwear, and would spend every day at the beach if she could. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics, which is almost never useful when writing books.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday Reads: July 7, 2017

8:37:00 PM

JULY 7, 2017

      This is going to be quick because I don't really have much to say. This week at the lab was pretty chill yet crazy at the same time. Idk it's hard to describe. We've quit several roadblocks so this past week I just spent the entire time reading articles relevant to my research and taking notes. Let me tell you, scientific reading is not nearly the same as reading books for pleasure. Outside of work, I didn't do anything for Independence Day, so it's been pretty boring.

actually me this past week

      I started reading "Cinder" by Marissa Meyer because I've owned this book for forever and I figured it was about damn time I read it. I've only been able to read four chapters, but so far I like it. I don't really have too much of an impression on it because four chapters isn't really much. 

      How was your week? Do anything fun or read anything good? Have you read Cinder? And if you have, thoughts? Tell me all down below.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

June 2017 Wrap Up

10:30:00 AM


      How is the year already half-way over? It's crazy. On the bright side, I completed my goodreads goal of 50 books, which I was confident at the beginning of the year I would not complete. I am way over my goal, and I'm pretty sure I have graphic novels to thank for that. 


So I only read 5 books this month, which is a lot less than last month, but honestly, I was so tired after getting out of the lab that I didn't have the energy to read and I didn't have time to read while I was in the lab. 

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My favorite book was "Always and Forever, Laura Jean" by Jenny Han, which I did not think I was going to read and fully expected not to like. You can check out my review here.

My least favorite book was "The Female of the Species" by Mindy McGinnis. I think it had a great message, I just couldn't get behind how unrealistic Alex was and her mindset and the swift change in personality she seemed to have. I don't know, it could have been good, but it just didn't feel real too me.


My best friend in the whole wide world since childhood came and visited me last minute out of the blue, so I was really happy about that. We got to hang out, explore Cleveland, and hung out with one of my college friends. We went to "Lake View Cemetery" and "Garfield Memorial" where President Garfield's crypt is. It's actually really calm and beautiful there, especially for a cemetery. It's a great escape from the rest of the city. We also went down to Lake Eerie, which I do not recommend you actually go in (I may be biased since I'm from Michigan, but Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake worth swimming in), but it was nice to just hang out on the beach. We explored downtown a little bit and some other areas before going to the "Cleveland Museum of Art". It was just really nice being able to see her and talk with her in person and just enjoy each other's company. Hanging out with her was the first time I had hung out with someone since my summer started in May as sad as that sounds. I had begun to crave human interaction outside of work, and her visiting was just what I needed.

One of the entrances to Lake View Cemetery where Garfield Memorial is located

I went and saw "An American in Paris" with my friend who is also named Sierra, and it was alright. I usually love musicals, but this was just not my cup of tea. It felt more like a ballet than a musical. There was far more dancing than dialogue or singing. Before watching the show, we tried a new Mexican place that just opened up in downtown Cleveland called "Puente Viejo" and it is so good. There are like no Mexican places near my college campus except "Chipotle" and "Qdoba", but those really don't count, so it was super great getting some real authentic food.

An American in Paris in Playhouse Square

Besides that, I've just been working. This month has been a lot more roadblocks and lows than highs, but such is the research process. I'm glad I'm experiencing all of this though because I'm truly learning the research process and what it means to be a legit scientist.

Side note: any watch Rick and Morty? I'm so excited for the rest of season 3 to air in July

Movies/TV Shows

So I watched "Wonder Woman" like 2 times in May and then another time this month while I was waiting for my best friend's bus to get into town. I absolutely love "Wonder Woman". I wasn't completely bought on it the first time, but after watching it 3 times now, I love it so much. It helps that Chris Pine is absolute perfection. If you want to see what my thoughts are on the soundtrack, click here.

When my best friend was in town we went to see "The Mummy", knowing full well it was going to be shit but wanting something to laugh at. To be honest, it wasn't awful, but it definitely wasn't great. I feel like if there is going to be a sequel, the sequel has more potential than this movie, but alas, a sequel will probably never happen because this one was shitty and it's Tom Cruise. It had it's funny moments though. The Brandan Fraser movies will forever be my favorite though.

I didn't really watch TV this month because I've pretty much caught up on most of my shows. I'm slowly rewatching the K-Drama "Oh My Venus" and "Ricky and Morty", but besides that, I've watched a lot more YouTube. I think my attention span might be getting shorter...


This month I've really been feeling movie soundtracks and musicals. I've always liked those two genres. but this past month they've been my jam. I listen to them while at home, in the lab doing science stuff, at the grocery store, etc. I've listened to songs across several musicals and movies, but I've specifically remember listening to the first time the "Wonder Woman" soundtrack, "Dear Evan Hansen", "Kinky Boots", and "Waitress". My favorite song from everything I listened to this month (excluding the "Wonder Woman" soundtrack because that is perfection) is probably "She Used to be Mine" from Waitress. It's such an emotional ballad and I love how chill yet powerful it is. Plus Jessie Mueller has such a lovely voice.

      So that was my month all wrapped up. If you made it this far, congrats and thank you! Let's talk in the comments.

My Rating System

★★★★★ This book is a gift from the literary gods
★★★★ This book was pretty damn good
★★★ This book had potential but missed the bar
★★ I probably didn't finish this book or it was god awful
★ Why does this book exist?



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