September 16, 2014

Lit Tidbits

  • According to a learning at home study, children ages 2-10 read an average of 40 minutes per day.
  • In children's book The Scarecrow's Wedding, the scarecrow smokes cigars. O_O Should smoking be banned in children's books? I vote yes.
  • Barnes & Noble now offers same day delivery!
  • College students' usage of textbooks has declined slightly since digital textbooks and online study guides are offered.
  • When do writers know it is time to quit their day job and work full-time as an author? When is it time to let it go?
  • Random House plans to release a new book series based on the Disney movie Frozen. It will pick up where the movie left off. This is a sure buy for the tots in your life.


September 14, 2014

Series Sunday: Strong Heat

(Strong Family #6)

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 Strong Heat, the sixth (final) book in the Strong Family series by Niobia Bryant. Every family has a love story and this is the sexy book where it all began and will end. I don't read books of a series out of order, but my bestie recommended I try this author so I figured why not start at the roots.

Lisha Rockman is a 25-year-old assistant physical therapist who wants a good man that respects her and family values. Most of the men in Holtsville, South Carolina want one thing—sex. Twenty-six-year-old cattle rancher Kael Strong is still nursing the wounds from his last relationship and is hesitant to get involved with the irresistible Lisha. But their attraction is hard to ignore. This is the love story that sets the stage for future generations of the Strong family.

"The heat. The chemistry." ~ pg. 18

Strong Heat is my introduction to author Niobia Bryant. She is a very descriptive author making it easy to visualize the characters and setting while reading. Long lashes. High cheekbones. Handsome features. Strong jaws. Caramel complexions. How could I not picture the main characters in my head with descriptions such as these? Chapters alternate from present day to way back in the day with Lisha preparing for a date, spraying her pulse points with Charlie perfume. Yes, Charlie! It continues with how Lisha met Kael, how the couple fell in love, and how 40 years later they are still very much happily married.

"Passion is the fire that burns from a heart in love." ~ pg. 71

The generational black love story and small populated town reminds me of series by Beverly Jenkins and Maureen Smith. Even though I started backward and spoiled myself on the love lives of the younger generations, I enjoyed little tidbits of the other characters within this awww-worthy story of fiery passion. Thanks to Niobia Bryant for considering readers who may be new to the series (reading the last book first) by highlighting the romance of the Strong Family siblings in the Interludes. Her writing in Strong Heat set a strong enough impression that I am interested in reading the series from the beginning.

Title: Strong Heat
Author: Niobia Bryant
Published: December 2013
Pages: 224
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥


September 12, 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.

"I don't mean to bitch, but in the future I intend to hesitate before I do a favor for the friend of a friend."

~ L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton


September 10, 2014


"Possibilities: Persistent hallucination. Really long dream. Schizophrenic episode. Unprovoked Somewhere in Time scenario. Am already dead? Like on Lost?" ~ pg. 94

Georgie McCool (real not stage name) is at the peak of her TV writing career. Unfortunately her marriage is in trouble and has been for a while. So it causes further disconnect when Georgie gets the big break of her career and decides to stay behind in California while her husband and two girls spend Christmas in Omaha. Sure the family vacation has been scheduled for weeks, but Georgie cannot pass up the opportunity of a lifetime. Neal has always played the role of understanding husband but Georgie wonders if this was the last straw.

With the help of a magical phone, Georgie communicates with Neal from the past (Christmas 1998) before they were married. Perhaps this is her chance to fix their marriage before it even starts.

Immediately after I finished reading Eleanor & Park, I downloaded Rainbow Rowell's other book Attachments and her new release Landline. I figured if her new release is half as good as Eleanor & Park, then it would be worth my time. Let's discuss the book cover and title first. Who still has a landline?! Seriously. If you were to see this book cover on a bookshelf, wouldn't it grab your attention? It certainly grabbed my interest enough to give it priority in my TBR pile. Surely there is a good story behind this pale yellow antique rotary phone.

"Magic fucking phone." ~ pg. 104

The New York Times calls it a hilarious, heart-wrenching take on love, marriage, and magic phones. I have to disagree. I didn't find it funny; although, it was a good take on love and why couples decide to get married. It is a look at the past and present state of a relationship. I finished the book in two sittings eager to figure out this magic phone situation and hoping for a positive outcome for Georgie and Neal.

While I didn't enjoy Landline as much as Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell did not disappoint. The lady knows relationships and tells a romance story damn well! I am not a fan of supernatural fiction, but the time travel via landline was a very good element to this story. The author again managed to leave me with lingering thoughts days after the story's end. Landline is a recommended quick summer read and poses a question that will generate discussion in book clubs: if you could travel into the past and fix a mistake, would you?

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: July 2014
Pages: 248
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥


September 9, 2014

One & Only

"I should have been thinking about God. Or the meaning of life. Or simply grieving the fact that my best friend was now motherless and my own mother without her best friend." ~ pg. 3

Let me gush over the cover first. It is in one of my favorite colors—a beautiful teal with white large cursive colors and a huge star. The bestselling author's name stands out in yellow letters. Emily Giffin is one of the few authors that I will read any and every release from. The eBook was ready to read on my NOOK on the release date back in May, but once I saw the cover, I had to read it in hardcover. This novel has the perfect cover for reading poolside.

The Chicago Sun-Times call Emily Giffin a "modern-day Jane Austen." No disagreement here. Something Borrowed and Something Blue are in my best list of chick lit books. I was stuck in a rut and unable to read for quite a while. Usually I would dive in reading a new novel the day it is released. However, I waited damn near three months to read Emily Giffin's seventh novel One & Only. I needed the right mindset and beach setting to fully enjoy the story.

One & Only is a story about finding your passion, following your heart, best-friendship, loyalty and forgiveness. What I didn't expect was a sports theme. Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football. To say football is Shea's passion is an understatement. An unexpected death along with encouragement from Coach Carr, makes Shea question every aspect of her sheltered life from her mediocre boyfriend to her unfulfilling job. She is forced to confront desires, fears and feelings.

"The things that make football like life—and life like a game of football." ~ pg. 413

One of the reasons I love Emily Giffin's novels is because she has a knack for making readers like characters we should hate. I always root for the so-called wrong person or be in favor of the wrong relationship. However, Shea was an exception. This time I couldn't bring myself to be in favor of Shea's romantic choice. It was bothersome and weird. Definitely my least favorite novel of Giffin's. I finished reading with very mixed feelings about it.

I think of One & Only as the "one and only" novel of Emily Giffin's that doesn't compare to the rest.

Title: One & Only
Author: Emily Giffin
Published: May 2014
Pages: 416
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥


September 7, 2014

Series Sunday: Unlucky 13

(Women's Murder Club #13)

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.

"...a split-second hesitation could prove fatal." ~ pg. 155

My Series Sunday pick is Unlucky 13, the 13th book in the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson. San Francisco detective Lindsay Boxer is adjusting to her lovely life of being a new mother with an attentive husband, manageable job and best friends. But her world is threatened when a killer from her past resurfaces. Also someone is planting chemical bombs inside burgers that explode when digested. Lindsay must find the mad scientist(s) who is responsible for the belly bombs before there are more murders.

Mackie Morales once posed as a summer intern with the SFPD and cozied up to Richie, all the while committing murders on the side with her dangerous boyfriend Randolph Fish. She was presumed dead but a photo proves Mackie is very much alive and back for revenge.

Crime reporter Cindy seems to be the only one concerned about Mackie's return. She hails caution to the wind, foolishly throws her pen to the side and tries to find the dangerous woman before Mackie finds them.

Meanwhile, Yuki's honeymoon with Brady has a rough start. She can beat the best of criminals in the courtroom but it is scary when she becomes the victim.

With so many events taking place in this 13th installment of the WMC series, the fourth member of the WMC, Claire, was barely mentioned. I would have preferred she was on vacation than the few cameos she made.

Unlucky 13 was distributed evenly between Yuki's disaster honeymoon, the search for Mackie and the belly bomber. However, one of the story lines seems unfinished while the other two were wrapped up abruptly. There is so much going on that the story does not flow. Where was the suspense? Where was the character development? (Lindsay's new motherhood doesn't count because it is not convincing enough.) What happened to the group of four ladies that pooled resources to work together and solve crimes? The dynamic is gone.

Patterson, this is not "the most thrilling" WMC book yet. Try again.

Title: Unlucky 13
Author: James Patterson
Published: May 2014
Pages: 384
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥


September 5, 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.

"Every morning, when I open my eyes to the so-called 'new day,' I feel like closing them again, staying in bed, and not getting up. But I can't do that."

~ Adultery by Paulo Coelho