April 26, 2010

Quote of the Week

"When I got my library card, that was when my life began." -- Rita Mae Brown

April 19, 2010

How Do You End A Story That's Not Yours?

Saffron Dreams is a fiction novel written by Shaila Abdullah, a Pakistani-American author based in Texas. It is an emotional tale of lost love, unexpected twists of fate, and survival. In a span of 41 days, the main character, Arissa Illahi, went from a blissful married life to bleak widowhood, escaping an attack, ostracized by stereotypical people, and the realization of raising an unborn son alone.

Arissa lost her husband in the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11. After going through the Ground Zero rubble trying to find limbs that will identify her husband, she is forced to realize he is not coming back. He’s gone forever. In going through her husband’s belongings she finds a finished manuscript of 65,000 words. She knows it was his dream to be an author and have his book released. After careful thought, Arissa decides to finish it herself. But how do you end a story that’s not yours?

This book isn’t about how wonderful life is. She isn’t looking at the world through rose-colored shades. Instead, she shares her struggles and lets the readers know that life truly is full of surprises. I believe this story will help the lives of people who were directly affected by 9/11. It will let them know its okay to grieve for lost ones and they aren’t alone.

This is one of the few books that took me through many emotions while reading it. At moments I was elated, others I was just as confused as the main character. What new challenges would life bring as the days carry on? The author, Shaila Abdullah, writes such a descriptive depiction of Arissa's emotions that it translates to the reader. I highly recommend this book for people who have suffered from the loss of a loved one.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

April 18, 2010

Directory for Self-Publishers

The 2009 Writer Watchdog is a self-publishing directory with over 200 useful resources and helpful advice from publishing experts. If you are interested in knowing your options, comparing services, and having a directory of resources at your fingertips, the Writer Watchdog 2009 edition is a must.

What makes this directory different from other self-publishing guides? It not only provides essential resources, but it saves money. Most of the listings offer a discount for services and permission to contact directly. An example of the listings include resources for book design, book printing, book review, website hosting, and consultation. The 2009 edition has expert articles that explain ways to avoid self-publishing traps, how to prepare a manuscript for submission, and how to publish under your own imprint. As a bonus, the book includes a record keeping section in the back for notes and a log of your progress.

The most useful section is the articles that provide invaluable information. Please note this is not a manual or guide, but simply a directory that leads you to where information can be found and who to contact. It would have helped if the resources were in alphabetical order and an index for quick reference. Hopefully the 2010 edition has these updates.

Rating: ♥♥♥

I would suggest using the Writer Watchdog as a supplement to Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual. This is the Bible to all self-publishers. With both manuals, you will be on the right path to self-publishing your very own book. Good luck and check back soon for a review on a related book, Stephen King's On Writing.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Who Confesses?

James Patterson’s eighth installment of The Women’s Murder Club starts off with a bang. A school bus turns out to be a mobile meth lab and explodes. Before our favorite investigators Rich Conklin and Lindsay Boxer are on the scene, we are introduced to a new murder. Reporter Cindy Thomas discovers the death of “Bagman Jesus.” He appears to be a homeless saint brutally murdered. The police sweep under the rug due to yet another investigation of numerous killings of high-profile millionaires.  Cindy takes it upon herself to look further into solving the murder of “Bagman Jesus” and discovers he isn’t a saint after all. Yuki, the Assistant D.A., is involved in a huge trial and love interest with a doctor. Claire is overloaded with autopsies and stumped with producing the reports.

There are a lot of storylines going on. Although, none of them are really intriguing or the usual suspense-filled plots that us James Patterson fans are accustomed to. This book falls short and just didn’t hold my interest. I found myself reading it just to finish and move on. Perhaps it was because of the multiple storylines, the ridiculous twists, or the romance portion. Either way, I hope the WMC series is better the ninth time around.

Rating:  ♥♥

Don't forget to check out the FREE preview of The 9th Judgment below. Read the first 26 chapters!

Lives of Naughty Readers

Velvet does it again with another installment of The Black Door series. We meet four new women who come together for a book club. Each woman leads a different life, with different drama, and even different sexual preferences.

Naomi has the hots for her hubby. However since she gave birth to their son, their sex life is nonexistent. Her husband simply lost an attraction. Will he ever get it back? Kennedy meets Nigel in the sky, literally. She is a flight attendant and falls in love with a mysterious frequent flyer. But is Nigel who he really claims to be? Tyler just ended a relationship and needs a break from women. However an unsuspecting twist comes along and stirs up the love lives of these women. 

While the women of the book club were interesting, I was disappointed. Naughty rarely focused on The Black Door. It should have written as a stand-alone novel. If you are looking forward to reading about the other Black Door characters or the adventures that go on beyond the doors of the Black Door, this is NOT the book.

Rating:  ♥♥

Quote of the Week

"I put things down on sheets of paper and stuff them in my pockets. When I have enough, I have a book." -- John Lennon

April 15, 2010

April 11, 2010

April: Youth Financial Literacy Month

April 2010 is Youth Financial Literacy Month. What are you going to do?

I encourage you to help the youth learn responsibilities of finances at an early age. Take the time to teach your child how to earn and budget their allowance. Show them the importance of saving and spending wisely. Learning savvy financial skills as a young child will prepare our youth for a fiscally responsible future.

Visit the public library for illustrative books that teach the value of money. Check your local credit union for products specifically for youth, such as a passbook savings or student checking. (Notice I didn't recommend a bank). Help your child manage the account. Remember, the goal is to make more deposits than withdrawals. It only makes cents!

Quote of the Week

"wonderful thing about a book, in contrast to a computer screen, is that you can take it to bed with you." -- Daniel J. Boorstin

April 7, 2010

Coming Soon!

Half of the excitement in a new book is the anticipation of its release. I can't hold my excitement in any longer and want to share a few titles of books that I am eagerly waiting for. Pre-order your copies today, post your thoughts, and stay tuned for upcoming reviews from yours truly! 

Title: The 9th Judgement
Author: James Patterson
Release Date: April 26, 2010
Description: Lindsey's desire for her partner threatens to tear apart both her engagement and the Women's Murder Club. A young mother and infant child are gunned down. The same night another murder happens in San Francisco. One of the killers forces Lindsey to put her own life on the line.

Title: My Fair Lazy
Author: Jen Lancaster
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Description: A memoir of a reality television addict's attempt to discover if not being a dumb ass is the new black, or a culture-up manifesto.

TitleHeart of the Matter
Author: Emily Giffin
Release Date: May 11, 2010
Description: Tessa, the sister of Dex featured in my favorite book Something Borrowed, narrates this story of her and her possibly adulterous husband.

Title: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Release Date: June 5, 2010
Description: Twilight fans will be enthralled with the story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse. This book is a combination of danger, mystery, and romance.

TitleIn My Father's House
Author: E. Lynn Harris
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Description: Before he died last year, E. Lynn Harris wrote the first installment of a new series about a bisexual owner of a Miami modeling agency.

Title: Sizzling Sixteen
Author: Janet Evanovich
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Description: Our favorite hilarious female bounty hunter is back with more adventures. She has inherited her Uncle's lucky bottle. Question is: who will she get lucky with? The hottest cop in Trenton, Joe Morelli, or the dark and dangerous security expert, Ranger?

Title: Private
Author: James Patterson
Release Date: June 28, 2010
Description: A former CIA agent is deep into the investigation of a multi-million dollar NFL gambling scandal, the unsolved slayings of 18 schoolgirls, and the murder of his best friend's wife. This book is a sleek, exciting thriller.

Title: Thin, Rich, Pretty
Author: Beth Harbison
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Description: The story of three women that believe happiness is the next dress size down, the next dollar figure up, or the next appreciative glance from a stranger. Guaranteed to strike a chord for my divas that ever looked in the mirror at their reflection, at their checking account balance, or stepped on the scale and said, "If only..."

TitleFly Away Home
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Release Date: July 13, 2010
Description: A family of women seek refuge in an old beach house.

Title: Darius Jones
Author: Mary B. Morrison
Release Date: July 27, 2010
Description: The characters made famous in the Soul Mates Dissipate series return. Life for Darius has never been better. He's the MVP of basketball, has a family of his own, and a better relationship with his parents. But the drama really begins when his wife, Fancy, ends up in a coma with a 50/50 chance of survival.

Title: Tempted By Trouble
Author: Eric Jerome Dickey
Release Date: August 17,  2010
Description: Set in the city of Detroit, a married couple suddenly finds themselves without jobs in the wake of the auto industry recession. After two years of trying to live honestly, they realize that honesty just doesn't pay the bills. The husband realizes that destiny has a different plan for him when his wife disappears and a bank job goes wrong.

Title: Mini Shopaholic
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Description: Our favorite shopaholic, Becky Bloomwood, is back. Need I say more?

Title: Don't Blink
Author: James Patterson
Release Date: September 27, 2010
Description: New York's Lombardos Steakhouse is famous for three reasons: the menu, the clientele, and the gruesome murder of a mob lawyer.

Title: Cross Fire
Author: James Patterson
Release Date: November 15, 2010
Description: Our favorite Detective Alex Cross deals with a sniper, the postponed wedding to his fiance Bree, and contact from his deadliest adversary. The Mastermind Kyle Craig is in D.C. and will not stop until he eliminates Cross and his family for good.

Title: Midnight 2
Author: Sister Souljah
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Description: The second volume of Midnight will link A Gangster Love Story and The Coldest Winter Ever. 

April 4, 2010

Ramona and Beezus Hit The Big Screen

You heard it here first! Ramona Quimby and her big sister Beezus will hit the big screen on July 23! For those that want to refresh, check out The Complete Ramona Collection by Beverly Cleary which is available on Amazon.com.

Click here for a free trailer of the new film!

Total Eclipse of Erotica

I haven’t read a Zane book in years. They were all starting to sound alike and I was tired of the overly saturated with sex scenes and corny language. But when I saw the title, it piqued my interest. The cover was even different than her others. I’m glad that I gave Zane another try.

Total Eclipse of the Heart is a fiction novel divided into three (3) sections. Part One – Solar Eclipse is the obscuration of the light of the sun by the interposition of the moon between it and a point on Earth. We meet Brooke Alexander, a waitress with low self-esteem and battling weight issues. She is deep in love with Patrick Sterling, a prominent attorney. So in love that it makes her blind to his womanizing ways. Patrick’s bad days far outweigh the good days.

We are also introduced to Damon Johnson, one of “the last good men.” He’s married to Carleigh, a woman who doesn’t realize how good she’s got it. Damon has dreams to leave his secure six-figure job in Corporate America and become an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, Carleigh thinks his idea is a joke and doesn’t support him like a wife should. Instead she mocks his “silly dreams.”

Part Two – Lunar Eclipse is the obscuration of the light of the moon by the interposition of Earth between it and the sun. A tragic accident causes Damon’s and Brooke’s lives to intersect. They crash into each other’s world and are forced to deal with it. The plot takes an unexpected turn as they deal with the aftermath of the Labor Day accident and reflections of their own relationships.

Part Three – Total Eclipse is when the surface of the eclipsed body is completely obscured. This is when the story gets really intense. The lives of Damon and Brooke intertwine even further as they continue to lead separate lives.

The characters in Total Eclipse of the Heart are different than those in a typical erotica novel. Zane writes with more depth and less raunchiness. I found myself trying to predict the ending and was hit with yet another shock on the very last page!

Maybe you were like me and stopped reading Zane. Or maybe you’re a hardcore fan of hers. Either way, this story is worth reading. There is a handy readers club guide located at the end of the book. The questions are sure to spark your curiosity and drum up conversation with friends. A few sample questions are: Do you think that people who want multiple lovers should simply stay single? How important is it that your lover makes adjustments for you?

If this summary and review is not enough to pique your interest and read this heartfelt love story, then I don’t know what else to say.

Rating:  ♥♥♥

Happy Resurrection Day!

Dear Lent,

This was the first year that I took you seriously. As you know, I sacrificed all of my liquid cracks: Starbucks Vivanno banana chocolate smoothie, Pepsi, and McDonald's sweet tea. Our time together has been valuable and precious. I will forever remember these last 40 days and nights. But now Easter has arrived and we must come to an end. Thank you for the learning experience.

Until next time,

L. Marie

Quote of the Week

"The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances." -- Robert Flatt