December 21, 2014

Series Sunday: Captivated by You

(Crossfire #4)

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. 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 Captivated by You, the fourth book in the Crossfire series by Sylvia Day. The book begins with *surprise, surprise* an argument scene that ends with sex. Break up to make up seems to be Gideon and Eva's theme. Their secret marriage is causing lack of trust rather than bringing the two closer together. To say their relationship is complicated is an understatement.

"You two are whack jobs separately. Together, you're a goddamn nut house." ~ pg. 51

I had to enforce the 50-page rule. Given the benefit of the doubt, I read a few more than fifty pages. The Crossfire series deteriorates with every new installment. Why the author is dragging this series out to a rumored five books total is beyond me. To milk money out of readers? To keep fans reluctantly reading the up-and-down relationship of this wounded insecure couple? I am not asking for a happy ending but for the love of fiction gods, put these characters to rest before they are permanently ruined.

Title: Captivated by You
Author: Sylvia Day
Published: November 2014
Pages: 316
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥


December 19, 2014

First Lines Friday

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

"Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family. No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure."

~ We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


"Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet."

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng


December 18, 2014

Not My Father's Son

"Memory is so subjective. We all remember in a visceral, emotional way, and so even if we agree on the facts–what was said, what happened where and when–what we take away and store from a moment, what we feel about it, can vary radically." ~ pg. 23

Memoirs are my fave genre. Very scarce on my 2014 reading list. So when I came across this particular memoir, I downloaded the eBook with the quickness. Squealing, "Alan has a memoir! Yasssss!" For those unfamiliar with Alan Cumming, he is a 49-year-old Scottish actor that currently plays Eli Gold on the CBS television show The Good Wife. He starred in a one-man staging of Macbeth on Broadway. He hosts Masterpiece Mystery on PBS. He is the master of eyebrow acting and also directs, produces, writes and sings. Watch the video clip below of Alan Cumming describing his metamorphosis into character Eli Gold.

"Finally, the scariest thing about abuse of any shape or form, is, in my opinion, not the abuse itself, but that if it continues it can begin to feel commonplace and eventually acceptable." ~ pg. 227

Alex Cumming was a complicated man. He often frightened his family, doling out violence, taking out his own personal anger on others. His son, Alan Cumming, would often bear the brunt of it. The father and son had not seen or spoken to each other in over ten years when producers of genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? approached Alan to appear on the show. His father, Alex, had a shocking secret and his maternal grandfather's mysterious death could be explored.

"It was all very Lord of the Flies, and I was Piggy." ~ pg. 44

In the beginning of the memoir, I had to keep reminding myself to separate Alan Cumming from Eli Gold. This is not the fictional background story of a campaign manager/chief of staff. This is the real-life story of a Scottish man recalling dark memories. Once I mentally separated the two, I was all in.

"Life can be so fucking bleak, I thought." ~ pg. 202

Not My Father's Son is recommended for memoir lovers, nonfiction readers, aspiring actors, abuse victims and Alan Cumming fans. It is a sometimes humorous, sometimes dark, witty, incredibly brave true story.

Title: Not My Father's Son
Author: Alan Cumming
Published: October 2014
Pages: 231
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♡


December 17, 2014

One Plus One

"There's no room in my life for the whole one-plus-one thing." ~ pg. 192

Sure you think your life sucks, but there is always someone worse off. Take Jess for example. Her husband runs off leaving her struggling with two jobs and raising two children alone. Her teenage stepson is being bullied and her maths whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that she can't afford. Jess always taught her kids to do the right thing but what if doing one wrong thing will help her family?

Ed is a millionaire geek whose life is unraveling because of one stupid decision he made. He happens upon Jess, her two kids and stinky dog on the side of the road. Usually selfish and obnoxious, he acts the opposite and offers them a ride. A lot can happen in a very nice car over a three-day span. The road trip is comical, enlightening and surprising.

"That whole 'do as you would be done by' thing? Well, it only works if everyone else does it." ~ pg. 245

This is unbelievably the first novel I've read by Jojo Moyes. Her books have been on my reading radar forever. Thanks to the Chick Lit Book Club, I was finally encouraged to read one. It wasn't the traditional love story. Not predictable, often surprising. It is a bittersweet story that I enjoyed reading majority in one afternoon.

My first experience reading a Jojo Moyes novel was impressive enough to make me pick up another straightaway. (Me Before You recommended by the librarian.) Check out the brief interview below of author Jojo Moyes discussing the characters and new novel The One Plus One.

Title: One Plus One
Author: Jojo Moyes
Published: July 2014
Pages: 368
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥


December 16, 2014

This Star Won't Go Out

This Star Won't Go Out is the life and words of Esther Grace Earl. The best summary of this nonfiction book is from its first lines. It is a collection of letters, journal entries, sketches, photographs and essays that tell the story of Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16 from complications due to thyroid cancer. The Introduction is by John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, who dedicated his bestseller to Esther.

Memoirs like this are always hard to review. It is an emotional read. How do you recommend a book that is going to make readers sad, yell "Fuck cancer!" or remind them of sick relatives/friends? Le sigh. So instead I will focus on the positiveness of this memoir. Throughout all of her sickness, Esther remained positive. Sure, she had angry painful days. But for the most part, she was happy and brought joy to many. She appreciated life and the moments she graced the world with her presence. This book really is a beautiful collection that displays her life and words.


To Esther Grace Earl: High five, girl! You did it! You are a published author.

Title: This Star Won't Go Out
Author: Esther Earl with parents Lori and Wayne Earl
Published: January 2014
Pages: 431
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥


Gray Mountain

The year is 2008. Oh, what a struggling year that was for working and retiring Americans. John Grisham's new hero, Samantha Kofer, was no exception. She is suddenly furloughed by the world's largest law firm. She is offered an unpaid internship at a legal aid clinic. She may, or may not, get her old job back after one year.

In a matter of days, Samantha goes from earning $180,000/year in base salary on Wall Street to working for $0.00 in Brady, Virginia helping "real people with real problems."

John Grisham's novels always bring out the murky side of litigation. We all know laws are broken, regulations are ignored, innocent people are blamed and grand juries decline to return an indictment. But Grisham's novels go beyond a regular mystery. In Gray Mountain, the dangerous world of coal mining is explored and Samantha prepares the first lawsuit of her career.

Grisham's legal thrillers are hit or miss for me. Most are classics, some are adapted to really good movies and others are meh. Gray Mountain was a hit. I was engrossed in the book and didn't want it to end. I also learned a lot about the coal mining industry. I hope to read another mystery featuring Samantha Kofer again soon.

Watch the book trailer below of Gray Mountain by the "master of the legal thriller." Then add this book to your shelves to read soon.

Title: Gray Mountain
Author: John Grisham
Published: October 2014
Pages: 368
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡


December 14, 2014

Series Sunday: Burn

(Detective Michael Bennett #7)

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. 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 Burn, the seventh book in the Detective Michael Bennett series by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. The detective and his family are finally coming home to New York City after being forced into Witness Protection. Instead of being rewarded for bringing down a crime lord, he is demoted to a mayoral pet project in Harlem whose mission is to help the city's most vulnerable victims. Political bullshit basically.

Meanwhile on the home front, the moment I've been dreading since book one of the series finally happens. A biological parent of one of Bennett's ten adopted children shows on the doorstep threatening to take custody. EEK! As if working NYPD isn't enough stress.

"That you were always just one knock on the door from being taken away." ~ pg. 317

The last couple books of the Detective Michael Bennett series had me literally hanging on every word, tipping my chair over in suspense. But Burn was not thrilling. Sure it had its uh-oh moments but nothing of the same danger level. The commercial for Burn is way misleading. It is NOT the hottest book. It seems books five and six were the peak of the series and it is going downhill. Please prove me wrong, Patterson and Ledwidge. Please.

Title: Burn
Authors: James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
Published: September 2014
Pages: 401
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥