June 28, 2016

First Comes Love


"Almost everyone describes the immediate aftermath of death the same way—as a surreal blur, at least for those in the inner circle, in charge of the details." ~ 12%

Sisters Josie and Meredith are opposites. Josie is impulsive and outgoing; Meredith is thoughtful and reserved. So when a tragic accident happens, their reactions are drastically different thus pushing the sisters further apart. Fifteen years pass and the sisters are at a crossroads. Josie is single at 37 years old and wants to be a mother more than anything but can't find a decent man to marry. Meredith is married and raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter, yet has regrets. The hashtag happy life she portrays on Instagram isn't so. As the anniversary of their family tragedy nears, the sisters realize they need each other and that ultimately, first comes love.

I can spot an Emily Giffin novel anywhere with its signature font on a simple pastel book cover. But First Comes Love is a bit different than usual. I barely recognized it at first glance. Do I spy cursive font on a bland coral (plain white on hardcover edition) cover? Why, yes I do.

The book cover is not the only thing that was different. I usually bond with the "wrong" or "bad" character in Emily Giffin's novels. I empathize with cheaters, disloyal friends and side chicks. So reading the synopsis of First Comes Love led me to assume I would root for a certain sister. Hmmm, not so. I disliked the sisters equally. No fault of the author at all. In fact, Emily Giffin wrote such descriptive personalities of the main characters that I was constantly irked by their dialogue, actions and jabs at each other. Even though they were not likable, I was still engaged in how their fictional lives progressed and still cared about how their story ended. But fair warning, it does not have the lasting charm effect of Something Blue, Something Borrowed or Where We Belong.

Chick lit book clubs and fans, try reading First Comes Love for a summertime selection. Happy Pub Day, Emily Giffin!

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 honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: First Comes Love
Author: Emily Giffin
Published: June 2016
Pages: 304
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Popsugar—The First Book I See in a Bookstore
Rating: ♥♥♥

 

June 26, 2016

Series Sunday: Cross Kill

(Alex Cross #23.5) 


Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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 Cross Kill, #23.5 in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson. The killer from Along Came a Spider, the very first Alex Cross book, is back from the grave like he promised. Gary Soneji has been dead for over ten years but Alex Cross swears he saw him shoot his partner, John Sampson. Whaaaaa?!

"Gary Soneji in the flesh. As if he hadn't been blown up and burned, as if he hadn't spent the past decade in a box under six feet of dirt." ~ pg. 46

From the first page of this BOOKSHOT, it lived up to its promise: lightning-fast story, devour in a few hours, impossible to stop reading and original content. I abso-nanamama-lutely loved it! And just an FYI to my bookhearts following the Alex Cross series, Cross Kill ends with a cliffhanger that will leave you hanging on to Patterson's last word until the next novel releases. You cannot skip this one!

Click here to learn more about BOOKSHOTS. Then download the app on your mobile device/tablet to start reading the perfect summer choice for my Keeping Up with Patterson reading challenge.

Title: Cross Kill
Author: James Patterson
Published: June 2016
Pages: 105
Edition: BOOKSHOT
Challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

 

June 24, 2016

First Lines Friday


First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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.

"Time is a tricky thing... When you wanted to savor something, it would speed by in a blur. When you wanted to get past something, it would drag on forever."

~ First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

 

June 22, 2016

All at Sea


"Then I read about my own family's tragedy in my newspaper, and the only thing I could think was: they can't be talking about me." ~ 2%

I was hooked from the first lines. Click here to read my First Lines Friday feature then return to this review; I'll wait.

I know your interest is piqued. Mine was too. From that point on, I could not stop reading All at Sea until I flipped the last ePage. Even then I googled articles for more information and pictures. Decca Aitkenhead's memoir begins with a life-changing event. On a hot morning on a beautiful beach in Jamaica, her four-year-old son is playing by the water's edge when a wave pulls him out to sea. Her significant other, Tony, immediately tries to save their son's life. Only one lives. Tony drowns right before their eyes.

Going back in time, Decca recalls her relationship with Tony. They were quite the improbable couple—she is an award-winning journalist; he was a drug dealer. But against all odds and despite naysayers, their love and family grew.

"Without Tony I am limp and bleeding, because half of me is missing." ~ 88%

The cover is relaxing but the content is heavy. All at Sea is not the best book to read oceanside or at the beach. It is not light-hearted though it leaves you with hope. It was fitting that I read it during a rainy summer day. Decca Aitkenhead's honest descriptive writing hit me in the gut. I felt her raw grief. All at Sea is a true story of love and loss that I recommend to all bookhearts. You may not want to read it now during summer vacay but definitely add it to your TBR.

All at Sea will be re-published in August.

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 honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: All at Sea
Author: Decca Aitkenhead
Published: April & August 2016
Pages: 166
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡


 

June 21, 2016

A House for Happy Mothers


"With a surrogate they not only brought home their baby, but helped a poor woman lead a better life." ~ pg. 30

Priya has a loving husband and great career but what she wants most is the child she's unable to have. After three miscarriages and three failed IVF treatments, Priya considers surrogacy. Overseas in a Southern Indian village, Asha is married and raising two children. Asha and her husband can barely keep a hut roof over their heads let alone afford a better education for their gifted son. Selling her womb would make money but no one in the village would approve. Through the Happy Mothers House, the two women are forever linked together.

A House for Happy Mothers is a feel-good book. I genuinely felt happy when I finished reading it. I am sure overseas surrogacy happens often in the real world so it was nice to get some insight on how cultures and new lives are brought together.

I have not read Amulya Malladi's other highly rated novels, The Mango Season and Serving Crazy with Curry, but I downloaded both eBooks. Color me impressed with how she weaves a warm tale featuring women of color, Indian culture and economic status. I recommend A House for Happy Mothers to all bookhearts and especially to women's book clubs that read diversely.

A House for Happy Mothers is available as of June 1, 2016.

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 honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: A House for Happy Mothers
Author: Amulya Malladi
Published: June 2016
Pages: 304
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Popsugar A Book That's Guaranteed to Bring Me Joy
Rating: ♥♥♥♥

 

#KillYourTBR2016 June


  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ~ A series AND a movie? *iSqueal* Following a family tragedy, a boy follows clues left by his grandfather that take him to an abandoned orphanage. The movie adaptation release date is September 30, 2016.
  • Nerve ~ A mysterious stranger and a high school senior plays a popular online game that takes a sinister turn. EEK! The movie adaptation release date is July 27, 2016.
  • Me Before You ~ A young and happy-go-lucky woman becomes a caregiver to a wealthy cynical banker left paralyzed from an accident. This adaptation is in theaters now!
I plan to see all of the above movie adaptations. Stay tuned for my book and movie reviews to see which is better. If you are interested in joining this challenge with me, visit Bookish for the deets. Share your progress using #KillYourTBR2016 on social media.

 

June 19, 2016

Series Sunday: A Sinful Calling

(Reverend Curtis Black #13) 


Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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 A Sinful Calling, the 13th book in the Reverend Curtis Black series by Kimberla Lawson Roby. She is one of the few authors that I "shelf stalk." I stay current with new releases and blessed to have received an advance copy for my honest review. This 13th installment of the series is a doozy, bookhearts!

"Doing things tit for tat never works." ~ 74%

A Sinful Calling is a literary soap opera. Dillon, the Reverend's firstborn child, does not fall far from Adam and Eve's apple tree. Though his actions are almost identical to his father's, he is determined to be a bigger and better Reverend. Marital issues be damned. His goal is to create a mega-church with a larger congregation. It is Dillon's top priority to destroy the infamous Reverend Curtis Black.

Alicia, the Reverend's second oldest child, is also estranged from the family. Still grieving the loss of her ex-husband Philip, she deals with adjusting to her new marriage to Levi, the former drug dealer she had an affair with. The only confidante she has is brother Dillon. Alicia even left her father's church to join Dillon's congregation as COO. But it all makes Alicia hide a disturbing secret that threatens her life and those around her.

"Well, I think one of the saddest things I see are phony Christians." ~ 34%

Some series are only good for a few novels. A lot of series fall off after ten books. But Kimberla Lawson Roby continues to write a strong Reverend Curtis Black series with thirteen books to date. The central themes are still revenge, church scandal and family drama; although, it began on a slower tamer pace and didn't pick up until thirdway through. The main characters in A Sinful Calling—Dillon, Raven, Alicia and Levi—remained true to their fictional personalities making it a little predictable as to their actions. But a famous Kimberla twist threw me for a loop.

Was A Sinful Calling worth my shelf stalking? Yes! Such a fitting title. So grab it when published on June 21, 2016.

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 honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: A Sinful Calling
Author: Kimberla Lawson Roby
Published: June 2016
Pages: 336
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♡