October 30, 2010

Cross Fire Treat

Good news goblin dolls & gents! 

Wedding bells are ringing. Our fave detective, Alex Cross, is set to marry girlfriend Bree. But the plans are put on hold when a series of political murders hit Washington, D.C. Then he gets a phone call from Kyle Craig. The Mastermind is in D.C. determined to destroy the Cross family once and for all.

Click below to read the first 30 chapters FREE of James Patterson's new book in the Alex Cross series. It hits stores Monday, November 15, 2010. You may pre-order a copy from the link provided above.

Enjoy this Cross Fire treat!

October 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Literary Marie's Tuesday Teaser:

"I do not agree that it is imperative that you 'buy a few little things for the sake of your health.' Nor can I issue you a 'prescription to go shopping.'" 

~ p. 180, Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

October 24, 2010

Good-bye To All That Crap

Raquel Azorian, marketing assistant at a movie and television production company, is trying to get ahead in Hollywood. She’s done everything possible to earn a promotion and the attention of the VP at Belmore Corporation. When least expecting it, Belmore’s golden man has taken a romantic interest in Raquel. Meanwhile, Raquel’s home life is a mess. Her annoying, whining mother has left her father and moved in with Raquel. Her unfaithful brother and cupcake-obsessed sister-in-law aren’t getting along either.

Suddenly, Raquel is targeted and instead of getting the promotion, is subjected to office and Hollywood politics. She’s forced to say good-bye to all that.

I won this book in a Notorious Spinks giveaway. I must admit it was sitting in my TBR pile for a while, but I finally picked it up and read. It took me a few pages to like the main character, Raquel. My first impression was that she’s a workaholic. It was all she cared about. But then she reminded me of myself. She’s a young witty lady moving up in the corporate ladder, not taking crap from anyone in the way. Yet, she manages to maintain a professional image all while juggling family issues. She even has unhealthy eating habits (Diet Cokes and strawberry Pop-Tarts) while my snacks of choice are Pepsi and blueberry waffles.

Margo Candela does a good job referencing Corporate America, its politics, cutthroat ways, and the industry. The story takes place in Los Angeles; the city itself is a character in the book. If you live in the L.A. area, worked as a temp before, or wanted the great Hollywood finish, this will be an okay read.

Literary Marie's Rating: ♥♥♥

October 23, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Someday I hope to write a book where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away." -- Clarence Darrow

October 22, 2010

Faithful To The Hand That Feeds

“Substitute Me. Looking for a nanny who will take care of my six-month-old baby as if he were her own. Five full days a week. No cooking or cleaning required. Must love children and be prepared to show it. References required.”

A thirty-year-old, single, African American woman named Zora returns from Paris and decides to apply to the newspaper ad above. After a thorough interview, she is hired as a nanny for a white married couple (Brad & Kate). 

It isn’t long before Zora takes on the role of a housewife and really becomes a substitute Kate. She does laundry, cleans, and is their very own personal chef. Meanwhile, Brad is planning to invest in his passion and Kate is oblivious to the consequences that her long hours of work cause. Is a job promotion really worth spending so much time away from home?

The chapters alternate between Zora and Kate’s point-of-view. Later on in the novel, Brad narrates two chapters. This style gives readers a closer look at the characters and their thoughts.

This isn’t the normal husband-leaves-wife-for-young-nanny novel. It starts off slow, but eventually takes off running in a new direction. It is layered with topics that really made me think. For example, Kate constantly makes references to Zora’s dreadlocks, thick frame, gap in her teeth, and level of college education. Kate can’t seem to understand why anyone would find her nanny attractive. Frankly, I was offended by some of her comments. Is this how we as African American women are perceived by other races?

Substitute Me is a good selection for book clubs or a leisure weekend read. I suggest discussing it over a cultural dish similar to what Zora might have made. It will make for a great discussion about juggling motherhood and a profession, cultural differences, nannies, marriage, and trust. Lori Tharps did an excellent job building a cliché story and adding her own twist.

Literary Marie's Rating: ♥♥♥

October 16, 2010

Tempted To Find Dmytryk

EJD is back with another crime drama/thriller/suspense. I’m really not sure how to characterize his latest books except to say that I am pleased. With every new release by this traveling author, I get an adrenaline rush. The blood in my veins pumps faster. My neck itches and I start scratching like Tyrone Biggums.  Then Tempted by Trouble hit the shelves and I stopped jonesing. Now my eye twitches from staying up late nights turning the pages until I finished.

Dmytryk grew up in my hometown, Detroit and graduated from Cass Tech. (S/O to my fellow Technicians.) Upon graduating from college, he held a white-collar job for seven years making six figures. Then the recession hit and he was forced to work with people who had GED’s while he was degreed up. Sound familiar? Like most people in the Motor City, he was laid-off from the assembly line. With a wife, mortgage, and bills to maintain, Dmytryk had to risk everything to make ends meet.

His wife, Cora, introduces him to Eddie Coyle, a man that only needs a wheelman. What an easy way to make quick cash for just two minutes of his time. He really isn’t the bank robber, just the getaway man. Small sacrifice to save his marriage, right? But Dmytryk gets in too far; a job goes deadly wrong and Cora disappears.

Of course I miss the old EJD days of him expertly writing in a woman’s voice, but I enjoyed this new dark, sexy male character. Tempted by Trouble is another page-turner with a few unexpected surprises. Its not one of EJD’s best, but the story is relatable to the people we see every day trying to recapture the American dream, at any cost.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the possibility of reading Dmytryk, Driver, and Gideon in one novel.

P.S. I'm tempted to find Dmytryk on this Sweetest Day. Enjoy yours!

Literary Marie's Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡

October 12, 2010

The Particular Strangeness of A Gift

What do your taste buds tell you? Do they reveal the ingredients and seasonings used in a recipe? Do they give you insight to the cook’s secrets? Can you tell whether food tastes extremely good or horrible? Well, a young lady tasted sadness in a slice of lemon cake on her 9th birthday. Ever since then, she’s had the gift and the curse of tasting feelings. That’s right. She can taste the cook’s feelings in whatever dish they prepared.

Her discoveries and perspective of people deeply impact her. I just wish Rose would have used this gift to her advantage. She could have possibly saved lives and offered counseling to those depressed. We also find out that her brother has a special story of his own. The siblings both have trouble embracing their strange gifts. There were so many other avenues the author could’ve taken the characters, but the story went elsewhere.

I’m not usually into reading books about extraordinary powers or magical realism. Because I am new to this genre, there were a couple head scratching, bbm confused face moments. If you aren’t already familiar with or open to this genre, it is not the book for you. I’d also like to mention the strange omission of quotation marks throughout the book. It was hard to decipher actual dialogue from someone’s thoughts. Nevertheless, Aimee Bender’s strange prose is still enchanting and creative.

Literary Marie's Rating: ♥♥♥

October 10, 2010

Getting to Happy: Are We There Yet?

Fifteen years ago, we were introduced to four unforgettable characters: Savannah, Gloria, Bernadine, and Robin. You may have read the book or seen the movie. Let me refresh your memory. (Best believe I had to refresh mine by watching the movie before beginning reading.) 

Savannah Jackson (Whitney Houston) was finally over her married boyfriend, Kenneth, and realized her worth. 

Gloria Matthews (Loretta Devine) had just met her handsome neighbor, Marvin. 

Bernadine Harris (Angela Bassett) was still hurt over her husband John leaving her for his white mistress. How can we forget the infamous burning car scene and her drastic haircut that followed? She also spent a peaceful night with James (Wesley Snipes) in a hotel room. 

Robin Stokes (Lela Rochon) was just getting over Russell and dedicated to raising her unborn daughter as a single mom. 

At the end of Waiting to Exhale, we were all hopeful that these relatable ladies found their way. We hoped that they were on the road to rebuilding a positive life. Now fifteen years later, bestselling author Terry McMillan brings them back and we realize that all four women are still getting to happy.

During numerous interviews, Terry McMillan expressed that she had no intentions on bringing these women back. She didn’t set out to purposely write a sequel. But, here is Getting to Happy. It is more of a follow-up to the movie version of Waiting to Exhale.

Savannah is divorcing a man named Isaac after finding out about his addiction to porn. Now she needs to decide whether marriage is really for her, or if dating the rest of her life is the right choice.

Gloria seems to be the only one happy in a successful marriage with Marvin, until sadness comes knocking at the door. Her son Tarik is now grown with a family of his own and problems to boot.

Bernadine actually pursued a relationship with James and they are now married. But we soon find out whether the life story he told in the hotel room that night was the truth.

And Robin is still Robin, independently raising her mature teenage daughter and searching for Mr. Right.

The Phoenix divas are going through one crisis after another. How much more can these four women take? I thought they exhaled; now they are finding themselves in unhappy times again. I ASSumed the sequel would be about them finally getting what they deserve in life. Almost 400 pages and these chicks still ain’t got to happy yet. What a disappointment! I did learn one lesson though. Why live a navy blue life when it should be lemon yellow? Hmm...

I went to the book signing on my birthday and heard comments from other readers. Their views mirrored my own. So it wasn’t just me. But out of loyalty and fandom, I struggled to finish. I understand that some characters haunt authors, and somehow ease their way back onto pages. But these women should have been left alone at that bonfire. Terry McMillan’s interview with Oprah was better than the sequel. Now that’s a true example of Getting to Happy.

Literary Marie's Rating: ♥♥♡

October 6, 2010

Fizzling Sixteen

I’m a huge fan of the quirky Stephanie Plum. I look forward to the new adventures she manages to get herself into with each installment, not to mention the sexy dark mysterious Ranger and good looking cop boyfriend Morelli that always save her. So I was anticipating the release of Sizzling Sixteen. 

This installment of the Stephanie Plum series focuses on Vinnie and a lucky bottle. Stephanie carries around a glass bottle that is rumored to bring luck. After coming in close contact with an alligator, getting caught on a collapsing fire escape, and destroying yet another one of Ranger’s cars, it’s safe to say that the bottle isn’t bring good luck. Yet she hardly leaves home without it. Instead of concentrating on capturing skips, Stephanie teams up with co-workers Lula and Connie to find their missing boss, Vinnie. I thought this is where the fun and sizzle would begin. I was wrong and quite disappointed. Stephanie is still indecisive and makes the same silly mistakes on the job. Dramatic Lula is annoyingly over the top. Grandma Mazur tickled me, but we hardly read about her in this book.  

Frankly, the concept is getting old. Series characters are supposed to grow, evolve, and keep us entertained with new events. It seems as though Janet Evanovich gave up. She’s not providing fans with her true writing potential and old lively style. 

I’m still not sure what was sizzling in this sixteenth installment. There were a few flirty scenes with Ranger and Morelli is still an on-again-off-again boyfriend. Maybe one of these books soon Stephanie will finally choose between the two men. Until then, I hope Janet Evanovich brings 
back the origithe fizzle!

Literary Marie's Rating: ♥♥

October 3, 2010

"I'm A Work of Art; I'm a Warhol Already."

Everyone knows that I am a huge Jan-Z stan. Well, this blog post should be no surprise. Finally, Decoded is scheduled to release and the book cover is revealed. It features an image of Andy Warhol's "Rorschach" painting on the cover. How appropriate.

Decoded is a collection of the artist's lyrics and their meanings. Together, it tells a story of art, history, and the business man himself. Check out the book trailer here

The hardcover is available on November 16, 2010. You may pre-order your copy by clicking the link provided above. I already did!

October 2, 2010

Escaping a Sea of Secrets

Imagine if you had the opportunity to read old family letters. What if you could read old love letters that your father wrote to your mother? Well Laura Martinez gets the chance to when her mother suffers from a stroke. Laura is already busy with life as a mother, a wife, and a nurse. But she goes to Sea Escape, the beautiful beach home she grew up in, and reads the letters to her mother bedside. Each letter is more revealing than the last and offers a glimpse into her parent’s marriage. Laura even discovers a common secret that she shares with her mother.

The book weaves back and forth from the 1950’s to the present. Usually it is difficult to follow such books, but the author writes in a smooth flow. This is another good read for mothers and daughters. A passage that reminded me of my own mother is when Laura expresses how proud she is of her mother’s talent for sewing. “The way she lifted the presser foot and cut the thread, leaving things set up for a new day and a new job.” It brought back childhood memories of watching my own mother sew matching outfits for my cabbage patch doll and me. Sea Escape would also make a good movie. I imagine it would be like The Notebook in its own romantic, historic way.

Letters really do cast light on the ties between two people. This is a pleasant example of how books offer a whole story with behind-the-scenes footage and from different points of view.

Literary Marie's Rating: ♥♥♥