July 29, 2012

Series Sunday: Fifty Shades

There are 50114858677930204958 reviews on the Fifty Shades trilogy already. I will spare my bookhearts the pain/thrill (depending on your thoughts of the series) of reading one more. Everywhere you look, a woman is holding the paperback, reading a page at every free moment she gets. Everywhere you go online, someone is discussing Christian Grey and Ana Steele. Get a group of three or more women together, and I guaran-damn-tee someone will bring up Fifty Shades within ten minutes. Pick up a magazine and there are sexy photos of actors with the caption "Christian Grey?" Fifty Shades is not exactly soccer mom BDSM (bondage, dominance, submission/sadism and masochism) porn. Yet there is no escaping this series. Either get with it, or avoid all civilization for the remainder of the summer.

Author: E.L. James
Published: April 2012
Pages: 528
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Author: E.L. James
Published: April 2012
Pages: 544
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡

Author: E.L. James
Published: April 2012
Pages: 592
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥


July 27, 2012

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.

"It is said that love is comfort, and that comfort comes from recognition of the beloved."
~ The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright


July 24, 2012

Guest Post: Lee Fullbright, author of The Angry Woman Suite

Welcome to Literary Marie's Precision Reviews. Today we have a special guest post from Lee Fullbright, author of The Angry Woman Suite.

Book Synopsis:
When overbearing former big band star Francis Grayson mentions the "murdering bitches" who supposedly ruined his life, his resentful stepdaughter Elyse—always on the lookout for simple dirt on Francis—takes note. Intertwining narrative with Francis, Elyse stumbles across glimmers of big murder instead of simple dirt, while Francis moves perspective of his "bitches" back to the 1930s, to his childhood in Pennsylvania. His coming-of-age story centers on a mysterious painting and search for the artist who he believes can fix his feuding family. Aiding him in his quest is his mother's lover, Aidan Madsen, who not only mentors Francis' music career, but knows everything about two murders implicating the women in Francis' family. The three narrators of The Angry Woman Suite—Elyse, Francis, and Aidan—weave together a picture of two disturbed families who meet their match in the young, determined to survive Elyse Grayson, and human to a fault hero, Aidan Madsen.  

Guest Post:
“Superb, exemplary, and eloquent” are now my three favorite words (supplanting—for now—“pay raise and vacation”).

And that’s because “superb, exemplary, and eloquent” are the magic words ascribed to my just released novel, The Angry Woman Suite, by Kirkus Reviews (The World’s Toughest Book Critics)—and talented artist Laurie Fuller, who designed the cover for The Angry Woman Suite, ran with them. Those lovely words now headline a brilliant cover that is practically staring me in the face 7/24 as I introduce The Angry Woman Suite around.        

Oh so easy on my eyes.

The Angry Woman Suite is “modern” historical fiction with elements of coming-of-age, mystery, and of course a love story at its core; it’s also been labeled “labyrinthine” (love that word, too) by a Montreal Books Examiner reviewer. It’s about a celebrity double murder in Pennsylvania at the turn of the 20th century and subsequent fallout on three generations of two families.

Which means I not only had fun plotting a “keep-‘em-guessing,” (where that lovely “labyrinthine” comes in), but I played “pretend” in different time periods, from the early 1900s to the 1940s first, and then through to 1968, too. Double fun.

However, when it came time to pin a genre on the The Angry Woman Suite, historical fiction didn’t feel completely right, probably because it’s not medieval, like Philippa Gregory, and I just couldn’t seem to get Gregory out of my head as poster child for a genre.

But I’ve seen the light, and here’s the gist: According to the Historical Novel Society, to be classified “historical,” a novel must be written 50 years after the events described—and, according to another source, “modern historical” is fiction set up to about 1940, currently—and so there you have it, we’ve got a winner: it’s a fit.

The Angry Woman Suite is available on Amazon.com ($9.99 for paperback; $0.99 for Kindle edition) and at Barnes & Noble ($9.99 for paperback; $2.99 for NOOKbook). Check back here Friday for a feature of the book's first line.

Lee Fullbright has her own blogging "suite" at "Rooms of Our Own."


July 23, 2012

Imperfect Bliss

The Harcourts are a middle-class, mixed-race couple with four daughters. Ever since giving birth to the girls, Mrs. Forsythia Harcourt's goal was for her daughters to marry a royal, wealthy prince. She even named the girls after the Windsor royals.

Bliss, the second-born daughter, is the main character. She is a new divorcee hesitant to date again and break her many months of celibacy. She moved back home along with her special needs daughter and is focused on earning her PhD. The Harcourts lives are disrupted when younger sister Diana is the star of a new reality television show called THE VIRGIN. Bliss tries her hardest to stay away from the reality show cameras, the production crew, and the blooming romance. But she can't help but to be drawn in.

This is my second book read by author Susan Fales-Hill. The concept was meant to be Pride and Prejudice meets The Bachelorette. Yes, there are historical references and dialogue but it did not meet the mark. The developing romance held my attention, although it was predictable and could have been more of a climax. The suspense of which suitor would end up with Bliss didn't quite build up. It could have been so much more!

If you have high expectations of a modern-day Jane Austen style book, Imperfect Bliss will fall shy. If you are looking for a light romance read for the summer, then give it a try. Also view the video below of designer Isaac Mizrahi discussing reality television and Imperfect Bliss with author Susan Fales-Hill. (FYI: I definitely agree with the author's statement in the interview that dating reality shows are a distortion of courtship. You'll have to read the book to see how this statement relates.)

Author: Susan Fales-Hill
Published: July 3, 2012
Pages: 304
Edition: ARC
Rating: ♥♥♥


July 4, 2012

Life and Struggles

Take a second and marinate on the title: Life and Struggles. It is something we can all relate to with empathy and full understanding. So when I learned my fellow bookheart, Cassandra, published this unique book of poetry, I was eager to read it. Normally I am not a fan of poetry. A good friend of mine, Kristin Hemingway, and my favorite author Maya Angelou are exceptions. And now I must add Cassandra L. Hawkins-Wilson to the exception list.

Life and Struggles is a collection of 67 unique poems. The poems spoke to me, comforted me, reminded me of life experiences, and took me on a journey of emotions. The author bared her soul through words. Lasting impressions, pieces of milk chocolate, longing for pleasure, gratification, surrender, hate, shame, confirmation, control and lust are just some of the feelings expressed in the poems. Oh, I had plenty moments of "Yasssss!"

It is definitely a collection I will read again when poems are relevant to a situation I am going through. It helps to know someone else has experienced similar struggles and feelings. I thank Cassandra for writing this collection of poetry and am proud of her achievement. She put feelings to paper and shared it with readers. Well done!

You can add this book of poetry to your collection by purchasing on Amazon. It is available in paperback and on Kindle.

Title: Life and Struggles: A Unique Collection of Poetry
Author: Cassandra L. Hawkins-Wilson
Published:  June 23, 2012
Pages: 88
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


The Next Best Thing

Ruth Saunders was in an unfortunate accident when she was three years old. Her parents died, her car seat broke free, and she went flying face-first through the glass. Her maternal grandmother, Rachel, immediately rearranged her life and took the responsibility of raising Ruth. After several surgeries and side-eyes from strangers because of her scar and disfigured cheek, Ruth had been through enough. She needed a change. A chance. New surroundings. A fair life in which looks don't matter.

Ruth made a bold move at the age of twenty-three. She left Massachusetts, packed up her belongings and 70-year-old grandmother, and moved to Hollywood. She even quit her job in order to work full-time on a script loosely based on her own life. Six years later, she finally found her break. The sitcom she wrote, The Next Best Thing, has gotten the green light!

The Next Best Thing is a different spin on Hollywood. Through books and television shows, we usually see actors struggling to make it big. But Jennifer Weiner wrote a heartfelt fresh-look story about a screenwriter in love trying to make it in the land of beauty, dreams and stardom.

I am rarely disappointed with Jennifer Weiner's books and main characters. My heart immediately went out to Ruth when she wrote five simple lines in her childhood journal: I will never be beautiful. From that moment on, I rooted for Ruth and her grandmother throughout the rest of the story. I wanted her to be okay, to succeed at the battles she chose, and to feel beautiful. Bravo on the author's tenth book! Weiner's writing draws readers in, takes them on a journey, tugs at their heartstrings, then comforts you with a hug at the end.

The Next Best Thing is perfect for summer reading! It begins with a quote by music group "The Smiths"—"Please, please, please, let me, let me, let me, let me get what I want this time." This is what I wish for whenever I open a new book; The Next Best Thing granted my wish.

Title: The Next Best Thing
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Published:  July 3, 2012
Pages: 402
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♥


101 Troublesome Words You'll Master In No Time

As a copyeditor, I witness firsthand how the English language is always changing. Words and phrases take on new meanings over time. Definitions change; words are used interchangeably. The great rivalry between prescribers and describers continues.

I read all of Grammar Girl's tips and books. This new release is no exception and very much necessary in today's world. There are a total of 101 troublesome words that are tackled—most of which were not covered in previous Grammar Girl books. If you are unsure what words are acceptable to use in today's English language, this is a helpful guide. Grammar Girl did all of the research and makes great recommendations with example sentences. I did not agree with all of the choices, but can certainly appreciate a different point of view. 101 Troublesome Words You'll Master In No Time is complete with cute related drawings and quick and dirty tips to accompany the words and phrases.

Some of the troublesome words featured are:
  • African American (difference between African American and Black)
  • Couldn't Care Less (as opposed to "could care less")
  • E-mail versus Email
  • I'd've (contraction for "I would have")
  • Lay versus Lie
  • Momentarily (mistakenly used to mean "in a moment")
  • Noisome (nothing to do with noise but to describe smells)
  • Out Loud (as opposed to "aloud")
  • Peruse (incorrectly used to mean "browse")
  • Than I versus Than Me
  • Utilize (when in doubt, choose "use")
  • Whet (not "wet") your appetite
Be sure to add this great resource to your collection. It is offered at a great price of $5.99 for the paperback and eBook editions. Also visit www.quickanddirtytips.com and subscribe to Grammar Girl's podcast. It is one of my faves and I'm sure other language lovers will enjoy it.

Title: 101 Troublesome Words You'll Master In No Time
Author: Mignon Fogarty "Grammar Girl"
Published: July 3, 2012
Pages: 146
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


Alex Cross Movie **insert side-eye here**

So the Alex Cross movie trailer found its way to my inbox. -____- I cannot and will not take this seriously. 

After watching the above trailer, it confirms my decision to NOT see this movie in theaters. Simply put, Tyler Perry as Alex Cross and Cicely Tyson featuring her lacefront as Nana Mama is disrespectful. I will not support this casting. **drops the mic and throws collection of Alex Cross books**


Books & BBQ

Have a safe, fun 4th of July!