March 22, 2019

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

March 20, 2019


"Sometimes, she would look in the mirror just to point out the little lines to me. I told her they were my love-lines. As they would deepen, so would my love for her." ~ pg. 50

If only finding your true love was simple as reading between the lines! Single mother, Fordham Price, juggles her job, ten-year-old daughter and mother. She would love to be in a relationship but who has the time? Especially since Fordham is stepping in for a pregnant co-worker. She is tasked with delivering the company's reality read.

Everything happens for a reason! It was divine timing for Fordham to discover a submission from a widower. His words catch her attention and gives all the feels. She wants a love like this! But like many modern working women today—myself included—is it possible?

"I'm celebrating love. It is so much better the fourth time around." ~ pg. 6

First of all, let us admire the cover. It is definitely the most modern cover I've seen in a while. It features what almost every woman carries in her handbag daily: iPhone, iPad/tablet, eyeglasses and a cute shade of lipstick. Good look!

Every part of a book is important. From the book cover to the carefully worded synopsis to the names chosen. It has an impact on the reader. Unfortunately, it was hard for me to adjust to the main character's name. I stumbled as I read along because while Fordham is a unique name for a fictional character, it does not roll off the tongue or match the femininity of her personality.

I did however like the romantic misadventures of web-crawlers and funny submissions. It gave the story a light comical feel with the balance of seriousness. So I forced myself to finish reading to see if, or when, it would hook me in. Nothing in particular stood out after reading the last page. But do not let this discourage you from reading Love-Lines. It may be the kind of slower paced contemporary romance novel you like to read in between intense books.

Disclaimer: This book was received directly from the author's management company for review purposes only. In no way does it influence my review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Love-Lines
Author: Sheri Langer
Published: Febuary 2019
Pages: 281
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤

March 19, 2019

Run Away

"You work hard. You save. You plan. There are virtually no major life decisions you make that are not in some way based on your finances." ~ 12%

Imagine losing your daughter to drugs and an abusive boyfriend. She does not wish to be found, but you cannot help but look. Then by chance, you see her in Central Park. Hardly recognizable but you know this is your daughter and that she is in trouble. So like any parent, you beg her to come home. Of course, she runs away. And of course, you follow; not knowing it will lead to danger, murder, hard decisions and tough love.

I usually love any and everything Harlan Coben writes. So I was super disappointed when I settled in with a piping hot cup of chai black tea to read an advance copy of his new release, Run Away. My tea ran cold as I struggled through the first couple chapters. Maybe I was just tired and losing focus. So I paused reading and picked it up again later. This time it was even harder. I could not connect with the main character, let alone empathize with his situation. The storyline jumped all over the place without a smooth transition. It fell flat. In fairness, maybe the book got better but I did not finish (DNF).

Nevertheless, Happy Pub Day, Harlan Coben! Run Away is now available.

Disclaimer: This book was received directly from the publisher for review purposes only. In no way does it influence my review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Run Away
Author: Harlan Coben
Published: March 2019
Pages: 400
Edition: Galley
Rating: DNF

March 17, 2019

Series Sunday: The Passage (Part One)

(The Passage #1) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

My Series Sunday pick is The Passage, the first book in trilogy of same name by Justin Cronin. The Fox TV adaptation airs on Mondays 9/8c. I had no clue this book existed before the television series started. I stay away from the undead and science fiction genre. I admittedly rolled my eyes when friends insisted, "But this is different!" Nine (9) episodes and 232 pages in...color me hooked!

What really won me over is a video that young actress, Saniyya Sidney, posted to Instagram. I felt her humble excitement as she discovered her face on the cover on bookstands. How awesome is that! So I ordered the TV Tie-in paperback edition immediately, added the show to my DVR schedule then posted my own Instagram video.

"How long would a human being live if there were no cancer, no heart disease, no diabetes, no Alzheimer's? And we've reached the point where we need, absolutely require, human test subjects." ~ pg. 46

I don't want to get spoiled in the TV series and the paperback is a thick book at almost 900 pages. It is separated into five (5) sections that I will use as guidelines to post reviews. Therefore, each part will have its own rating. So welcome to Part One: The Worse Dream in the World! The theme is survival. Amy Bellafonte is an orphan, abandoned by her mother at age six. She is pursued and imprisoned to be a key player in a government experiment. Special Agent Brad Wolgast senses something endearing about the young girl when he tracks her down. Instinct tells him to abandon his bosses' mission and protect her from the shadowy bad guys. But the experiment, like a show, must go on.

I absolutely love the chemistry between Amy Bellafonte and Special Agent Brad Wolgast (played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar). The book goes into more detail as to the lengths Agent Wolgast goes to save Amy's life. There are tear-jerker moments and also times when I cheer aloud for a small victory. The two-hour television finale was nothing short of amazing, as is first section of the book. 

Title: The Passage
Author: Justin Cronin
Published: December 2018
Pages: 232 of 854
Edition: TV Tie-in Paperback
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤


March 15, 2019

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s).
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"This is a book about women. This is a book about girls who had a ton of fear and personal flaws and faced insurmountable obstacles but did amazing things anyway. This is a book about those who came before us, who knocked up against that glass ceiling and made a tiny fissure or a full-on-crack."

~ Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen 

Perfect Read for International Women's Month (March 1-31) 

March 13, 2019

A Piece of Cake

"I had been learning in 'street' rooms, while other children were learning in classrooms." ~ pg. 465

My goal was to read a good—no, captivating—memoir this month of March. Instead of spending more money buying a book when I have tons unread on my physical and eBook shelves, I browsed through my Kindle/NOOK library and found A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown. My purchase date was over 10 years ago! Oh, there were petty reasons why I never cracked the eBook seal. The content was too heavy. The book was too long (over 500 pages). I was not in the mood for non-fiction...blah blah blah. But no more excuses! I cleared my palette and finally read A Piece of Cake.

La'Vette went by many names. Her momma called her Cup. Her daddy called her Punkin. Everybody else called her Vette. Her real birth name, though, was Cupcake. And she lived a hard knock life after finding her mother dead. Since that moment, her life was fucked up. She was taken away from the only father she knew, thrown into the foster care system, forced to prostitute at age eleven, joined a gang just to belong to something, and succumbed to drugs and alcohol. She was brutally and involuntarily thrown into tough maturity. Need I remind you this is a memoir?

"Nobody wants to get struck by lightning, so everyone's afraid of it. Who the fuck's afraid of a cupcake?" ~ pg. 135

So many emotions while reading this true story. I wanted to choke the adults harming this abandoned black girl. I hated that her childhood was stolen; forced to fend for herself at an unbelievable age. I wanted to hug her and reassure it would get better. I wanted to pimp slap her when she gave into temptation. I needed Cupcake to be alright. But most of all, I wanted to see Cup win. I wanted A Piece of Cake to end on a good note telling a helluva testimony. And that it did!

"I didn't realize how silent silence was." ~ pg. 421

So why only 4 out of 5 hearts? There were chapters upon chapters dedicated to her excessive drug usage lifestyle. Maybe the repetition was purposefully to show that Cupcake got drunk, went to work, got high, went to sleep, got drunk, went to work, got high, went to sleep, got drunk, went to work, damn near overdosed, skipped sleep... It was a bit overkill after 50 or so consecutive pages of this routine. However, the overall themes are what's important: survival, addiction, and trust (whether it is trusting God, family, friends or self-esteem). Heavy topics, I know. What a deep book that kept it all the way real.

Title: A Piece of Cake
Author: Cupcake Brown
Published: January 2006
Pages: 534
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤


March 12, 2019

Daddy Was a Number Runner

"'It's a shame,' Daddy said, 'the way the racketeers can change a number anytime they want to as if the thousand to one odds against hitting ain't enough for them.'" ~ 40%

Daddy Was a Number Runner is a classic fiction account of a year in the life of a 12-year-old black girl growing up in Harlem during the Great Depression (1934). Francie Coffin feels trapped by race and class. She lives in an urban ghetto yet she strives to experience life outside the streets of Harlem. Within the city, it is survival of the fittest. Everyone, including Francie and other children, play the numbers. Small winnings keep their hope alive to hit big and move. That hope is what keeps people going, making it another day to spend another dollar.

This coming-of-age story has its funny moments but is mostly sad. As readers, we see that small glimmer of hope just isn't enough. We see their dreams not being fulfilled. We see their days blend into one big routine. And it hurts when the book ends with a simple yet powerful word spoken by Francie herself: "Shit."

"But that sweet feeling hung on and I loved all of Harlem gently and didn't want to be Puerto Rican or anything else but my own rusty self." ~ 79%

I had no idea Daddy Was a Number Runner, with a Foreword by James Baldwin, existed until it was mentioned in My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers. Thank goodness it was. I had the pleasure of buddy-reading it with Chickadee during our flight travels. We share the same overall review: The philosophy behind the plot could have been explored more. It was good while reading, but nothing stood out days after turning the last eBook page. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Title: Daddy Was a Number Runner
Author: Louise Meriwether
Published: December 1970
Pages: 240
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤