January 30, 2011

Series Sunday

Series Sunday is a new bookish meme hosted by yours truly, Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along. 

  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Post a review/recommendation on your blog, FB, Twitter, Goodreads, or Shelfari pages.
  • Share your review/recommendation by posting the link in the comments section below.
  • Include the title, author, and name of the series so that other Series Sunday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists.
My Series Sunday pick is Deal Breaker, the first book in the Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben. The main character, Myron, is a basketball star whose career was cut short by an injury. Now he's a sports agent. In this debut, Myron's star client needs help. Christian Steele's girlfriend who everyone believed was killed, suddenly sends mail that may prove otherwise. Myron sets out to find the missing girlfriend in order to protect his client's future. 

I. Am. Hooked. I've already downloaded the next three eBooks to my NOOKcolor. Myron is Alex Cross meets Stephanie Plum. His wise cracks, sarcasm and partner Win keep me entertained. It is the perfect blend of wit, romance, character personalities, mystery and suspense.

Thanks to Chickadee and Tracey for introducing me to this wonderful author and series. Thanks to Harlan Coben for personally acknowledging and thanking the three of us for reading his work.

Title: Deal Breaker
Author: Harlan Coben
Published: May 1995
Pages: 368
Edition: Paperback
Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 

January 25, 2011

Happy Blogoversary!

♬♬ Happy Blogoversary to me 
Happy Blogoversary to me
Happy Blogoversary to meeeeee
Happy Blogoversary to me
And many moooooooooore ♬♬ 

Today is my first blogoversary! I'd like to thank all of my bookhearts, followers, family, friends, and fellow bloggers for your support in my first year. To show my appreciation, I am giving away a $10 eGift Card to the bookstore of your choice (Amazon, Borders, or Barnes & Noble). To qualify, post in the comments section the title of your favorite Precision Reviews post from 2010 and why it is your favorite. You can easily earn extra points by qualifying for the following:

+5 Subscribe via e-mail
+5 Follow via Google Connect
+5 Retweet this post on Twitter
+5 Share this post on Facebook
+5 Refer a friend

Thanks and cheers to many more years together. I ♥ you all.

January 23, 2011

Series Sunday

Series Sunday is a new bookish meme hosted by yours truly, Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along. 

  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Post a review/recommendation on your blog, FB, Twitter, Goodreads, or Shelfari pages.
  • Share your review/recommendation by posting the link in the comments section below.
  • Include the title, author, and name of the series so that other Series Sunday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists.

My Series Sunday pick is Love, Honor, and Betray of the Reverend Curtis Black series by Kimberla Lawson Roby. Want to read a book that's hard to put down? Want to dive into a book filled with drama and a jumping plot? Well pick up this latest installment.

The Reverend is a changed man. He's been faithful to his wife Charlotte. The church is expanding and moving to a new bigger building. The congregation is growing, and so is temptation. He is surrounded by three women who would love to bed the reverend. Temptation is even harder to fight since married life with Charlotte is unhappy at the moment. The hypocritical Charlotte refuses to accept Curtina, Curtis' illegitimate child. The plot thickens as Charlotte lashes out to get rid of Curtina once and for all.

The book started off slow but once Kimberla got going, I couldn't sit it down until I had turned the last page. You will not be disappointed. And don't forget to add Reverend Curtis Black as a friend on Facebook

Title: Love, Honor, and Betray
Author: Kimberla Lawson Roby
Published: January 2011
Pages: 336
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥

January 17, 2011

I Have a Dream - Detroit

Today we observe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He first delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at Detroit's Cobo Hall on June 23, 1963. Dr. King opened his speech thanking his good friend, Reverend C.L. Franklin (also Aretha Franklin's father) for leading the march with him down Woodward Avenue. Be proud, Motown! Over 47 years later, the speech is still motivating. Listen below:

"I have a dream this afternoon that one day right here in Detroit, negroes will be able to buy a house or rent a house anywhere that their money will carry them and they will be able to get a job."

News You Can Use about Borders

Say it ain't so! I was afraid this day would come. As a new NOOKcolor owner, I even feel partially responsible. Borders Group Inc, the second largest bookstore chain, is fighting to survive. Unfortunately, the Ann Arbor, MI home-based bookstore is suffering due to eReaders, downloadable eBooks, online sales, and outstanding debt. Their worst mistake was perhaps allowing Amazon.com to handle its online business. Now Amazon.com is the largest bookseller. 

The signs are all there. The CEO resigned. Approximately fifteen managerial positions were cut. Eleven stores in Michigan have closed in the past three years. Year-end payments for inventory were delayed causing publishers to slow down shipping items. Vendors reportedly stopped being paid, causing smaller publishing houses to take legal action. Borders Group most recent quarterly report made it even clearer; the bottom line was a $74 million net operating loss. 

Hopefully Borders Group lawyers can keep them out of bankruptcy court and secure a credit line large enough for its doors to stay open. At the time of this post, Borders has not released a press statement or financial news update about its restructuring or bankruptcy process. Check back here for more updates.

January 16, 2011

Series Sunday

Series Sunday is a new bookish meme hosted by yours truly, Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along. 

  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Post a review/recommendation on your blog, FB, Twitter, Goodreads, or Shelfari pages.
  • Share your review/recommendation by posting the link in the comments section below.
  • Include the title, author, and name of the series so that other Series Sunday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists.
My Series Sunday pick is Book 1 of the Millenium Series by Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You may have read the bestselling book, or watched the movie. I chose the latter after many recommendations and despite the annoying subtitles. 

This murder mystery is about the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, a young woman of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden. Her uncle is determined to find out the truth of what he believes was her murder. Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist hired to help solve this mystery. Lisbeth Salander is a 24-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker that assists Blomkvist with the investigation. Before long, the Vanger family saga unfolds.
Unfortunately, the author died in 2004 shortly after handing in the manuscripts. It was so good, that I'm going to read the entire series now. They're only $5 each for the eBooks on your NOOKcolor, NOOK, or Kindle! Watch or download this literary and movie phenomenon today. Still not convinced? Check out the trailer.

Published: June 2009

Pages: 600 / 2 hours, 26 min
Edition: eBook / Movie
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡

January 15, 2011

Did You Read My Love Letter?

Twenty-three year old Claire hasn't been the same for over a year. On the day of her mother's memorial one year ago, she discovered an old letter in her mother's VW. Who wrote it? Who loved her mother back then? These questions occupied Claire's mind to the point it distracted her everyday life. She lost her waitressing job, got kicked out of her sister's house where she was living, and landed on a campsite after accidentally hitting an RV on the highway. With no plan or purpose, she decides to change the direction of her life and head to Capitola - the return address of the letter dated 1972.

The story carries on in a very predictable manner. It seemed all too convenient that Claire met certain people and quickly fell into a new life in Capitola. There were also a couple minor instances where the setting abruptly changed without a page or chapter break. I had to re-read to make sure I didn't skip a page. Where did this person pop up from? How did she end up there all of a sudden? It was a little bothersome, but I can be overly sensitive to such issues. 

Overall, it was a cute predictable love story of a young woman's journey. Add to your wish list or pre-order your copy by clicking the link provided. It will be released in April. 

Title: Delivered With Love
Author: Sherry Kyle
Published: April 2011
Pages: 352
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♡

Tick Tock Free Preview

Michael Bennett, the NYC detective and father of ten adopted children, is back in the 4th installment of his series by James Patterson. Chaos and crime terrifies the city and its residents. Bennett cuts his vacation short and teams up with FBI Agent, Emily Parker, to solve the mystery. Meanwhile, his feelings for Emily turn into something more personal and his relationship with the nanny takes an unexpected turn too.

Read the first 28 chapters here free! Pre-order your copy today by clicking the link provided. It hits stores on January 24th.

January 11, 2011

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 don't know what I'm in for, but he obviously won't kill me in here. People saw me enter the building and there are cameras all over." 

~ Day 49, Amelia Sparks Diary by The Bullitts

The Bullitts debut album is an audio movie narrated by Lucy Liu, who plays the main character Amelia Sparks. I am hooked to reading her diary entries via Twitter. Be warned though. She is a schizophrenic young woman whose story is filled with secrets, murder, and mystery. Day 49 sticks out because my fave actor, Idris Elba, makes an appearance.

Goodreads Launches New Releases Mailer

Goodreads has launched a new mailer for New Releases. It is sent monthly to members and includes new books from authors based on what the members have actually read. The recommendations are tailored toward your bookshelf, not whatever is popular. I love this new mailer because it guarantees I'll never miss a new release by my fave authors.

If you want to explore outside of your favorites, there is an option to receive the top titles in 12 different genres: Fiction, Nonfiction, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Children's, History & Biography, Memoir & Autobiography, Mystery & Thriller, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Graphic Novels & Comics.

The January newsletter was received in my inbox yesterday. Did you get yours? 

January 10, 2011

Sparks of Love

Do you remember The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks? It is one of the best love stories ever. Well, I recently discovered the sequel, The Wedding. Yes, I am all the way late.

Jane is the daughter of Noah and Allie. She's married to the narrator, Wilson. After 30 years of marriage, he comes to realize that Jane may not be in love anymore. Ever since the kids graduated and moved out, the home just feels empty. He seeks advice from father-in-law, Noah, who suggests rekindling romance by writing a heartfelt letter similar to the famous notebook. Problem is, Wilson just isn't a writer. He can't find the words or the time to express his love in words. So he decides to do small things like cooking more, sparking conversation during dinner, and bringing up old dates. He even spontaneously kisses his wife hoping that his newfound interest in their marriage will bring the spark of love back.

Their daughter announces her plans to marry on her parent's 30th anniversary. Every mother wants her daughter to have the fairy tale wedding so Jane scrambles to organize it in such short notice. Meanwhile, Wilson surprises his wife Jane with an anniversary gift she'll cherish forever.

Nicholas Sparks has a talent for writing love stories that draw you in. They make you cry, smile, reminisce, and dream about your own love life. Even though this sequel is nowhere as good as The Notebook, I still enjoyed it. Like most love stories, especially those written by Sparks, there are layers. The layers fit together seamlessly and the story flows smoothly and clearly as the characters remember other time periods. For that reason alone, The Wedding is worth reading before the movie releases.

Title: The Wedding
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Published: Sept 2003
Pages: 276
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥

Stop the Gossip

I figured this would be the perfect eBook to start for one of my 2011 reading challenges: Show Me The Free. It was short and seemingly interesting from the title. 

I've been a fan of James Patterson for years. My mother and I have our own speculations and rumors about the best selling author. For example, he is a "cousin." He is also far wiser than his mysteries and fiction let on. In other words, he is hip to the secret. However, this literary short story was wack. It was a product of the author's bland imagination. He paints a picture of a room large enough to fit two new aircraft hangars. The room is packed with writers. Some are experts on commas, specialists on adverbs, profanity advisors, and currency advisors. It says nothing about Patterson's character, but is more a brief summary of how his working space may run like a sweat shop. Now I do realize that Patterson produces an average of one book per month. However, the idea seems far-fetched. Nice try, Boscutti. I'm glad I didn't pay for this eBook.

P.S. I learned a cool search tip for finding free eBooks on your NOOKcolor. In the B&N shop, type "0.00" in the search field. All of the free eBooks will list.

Title: The Rumors Swirling about James Patterson
Author: Stefano Boscutti
Published: 2010
Pages: 18
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥

January 8, 2011

2011 Reading Challenges

Last year I read a total of 42 books. This year, I am participating in a few reading challenges to increase my numbers and provide more reviews for my bookhearts. Read below for the deets.

Goodreads 2011 Reading Challenge

I challenge myself to read at least 50 books this year. That is an average of four books per month. It is only a week into the new year and I've already finished 2.5 books. **fist pump** Let's hope I exceed my goal.

Quirky Brown Reading Challenge

This challenge is hosted by BrownGirl Speaks. It's about challenging the overly subscribed to depictions of the so-called "black experience" and discovering some of our lesser known contributions to American literature. The requirement is that the books are written by black authors depicting an offbeat black experience. I'm aiming for Level IV: 5+ books

The quirky books I plan to read so far are:

  • Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair
  • The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel
  • Orange, Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice
  • A Taste of Honey by Jabari Asim
  • Kinky Gazpacho by Lori Tharps

Colorful Chick Lit Challenge

This challenge is hosted by Reads4Pleasure. Chick lit is absolute fave genre. I just wish it would feature more brown girls as the main character and not a sidekick. Qualifying books have to be written by women of color about women of color, humorous, snarky, romantic, and a happy ending. There are four categories: Indian, Latina, Asian, and African-American. I'm aiming for the Queen of Chick Lit Level: 12+ books.

The colorful chick lit books I plan to read so far are:

  • Imaginary Men by Anjali Banerjee
  • The Girl Most Likely To by Poonam Sharma
  • Life Over Easy by Margo Candela
  • In Full Bloom by Caroline Hwang
  • Sweet Little Lies by Michele Grant
  • Heard It All Before by Michele Grant
  • Semisweet by Jill Brock

Show Me The Free Reading Challenge

This challenge is hosted by the Unread Reader. It's the perfect challenge since I'm the proud new owner of a NOOKcolor and also have Kindle for Mac. The only requirement is to have an eReader and to actually read the countless amount of free eBooks I've downloaded. I'm aiming for the Coupon Clipper Level: 12+ books.

The free eBooks I've already downloaded are:

  • Long Time Coming by Vanessa Miller
  • Delivered with Love by Sherry Kyle
  • Whatever You Like by Maureen Smith
  • Love Like This by Sylvia Hubbard
  • Sisters by Kathleen Norris
  • The Potluck Club by Linda Evans Shepherd
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Always the Baker, Never the Bride by Sandra Bricker
  • The Rumors Swirling About James Patterson by Stefano Boscutti
  • Money Girl's Smart Moves to Deal with Your Debt by Laura Adams

Whew! I don't think I'll have a problem reaching my goal of 50 books read in 2011 since my lists for reading challenges alone account for 46%. To learn more about the reading challenges I'm participating in and for sign-up, click the Reading Challenges link in the title bar above. In the meantime, share the challenges you are participating in. Happy Reading!

January 5, 2011

eBooks vs. Print Versions

How many of my bookhearts were among the millions who unwrapped Kindles, iPads, Nooks, and other eReaders for the holidays? How many of you contributed to the one million plus eBooks that were sold on Christmas Day? Well, I certainly woke up Christmas morning ready to load my new NOOKcolor with eBooks from my forever growing, never ending wish list. 

According to statistics, it seems that I wasn't the only one. USA TODAY reports that eBook versions of the top six books outsold the print versions last week. Of the top 50, 19 had higher eBook sales than print sales.

Nothing is better than turning the physical pages in the print version of a book, but we can't deny that the world has gone digital. Get with it, or get left behind.

January 1, 2011

Team Frugalista

Happy New Year, bookhearts. I'm sure that half of you made resolutions for saving money, investing, and reducing debt. Well, here is a book to jump start your financial plan for 2011.

Natalie McNeal realized she had a problem. She was a spending slut. Between a car loan, student loan, and credit cards, she was $21,021 in debt. -___- I give the side-eye because I know peers who owe $21,000 in student loans alone. However, debt is debt, and something had to be done to control her spending and to lower monthly expenses. Her first step was to not buy any unnecessary items for a whole month. Of course she chose the shortest month of the year, February.

After creating a blog with a faithful following of readers to hold her accountable, she began No-Buy Month. Thank goodness for a decent nail bed because she skipped her regular mani-pedi appointments. After all, natural is the new polish. No more professional styling. She managed her thick hair at home. Through other frugal tips, she carefully avoided an anemic bank account and saved nearly $400 in February. It worked!

The Frugalista Files is a hilarious well-told story of how one woman got out of debt without giving up the fabulous life. It is filled with personal savings and financial tips told in diary format. I’ve even started using a few tips such as:
Ø  Before you shell out cash, ask if this is something you really need or just want.
Ø  Start a gift fund for weddings, birthdays and births.
Ø  Enjoy life while minding the bank.

I’m proud of the frugalista, Natalie. What started off as a 28-day challenge turned into a lifestyle. If you are looking for a step-by-step manual to being frugal, then this is not the book for you. If you are looking for an entertaining story with realistic savings tips for the average woman, I highly recommend you pick up a copy today. Join Team Frugalista and become a frugal newbie with me.

Title: The Frugalista Files
Author: Natalie McNeal
Published: January 2011
Pages: 192
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥

Best of 2010

This past year was full of good literature and bestsellers. It is my duty to bring those to the forefront and highlight my faves of 2010. Please note that my list is purely my opinion, and not influenced by the authors, other readers, or publishers that may have provided copies. For your convenience, reviews of each book are available by clicking the title.

#10: HEART OF THE MATTER by Emily Giffin

#9: COLOR BLIND by Precious Williams

#8: SAFFRON DREAMS by Shaila Abdullah

#7: SUBSTITUTE ME by Lori Tharps

#6: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PRAY FOR by Kimberla Lawson Roby

#5: THE PLEASURE'S ALL MINE by Naleigna Kai

#4: MY FAIR LAZY by Jen Lancaster

#3: TEMPTED BY TROUBLE by Eric Jerome Dickey

#2: DECODED by Jay-Z

#1: 32 CANDLES by Ernessa Carter