February 28, 2012

Sable, Ma Reine

What a perfect choice to end Our History Month!

The oh-so-handsome Raimond Le Veq from Indigo is back. He is a major in the U.S. Army, and perhaps the only black major outside of Louisiana. He is used to women falling all over him begging to be a mistress. But beautiful green-eyed freed slave Sable Fontaine captures his heart from the moment she showed up alongside Mrs. Harriet Tubman. He begins to court her at the contraband camp. And Sable finds herself falling in love with the major. Then one night shots are fired. The camp must close. And Sable finds herself in a state of panic. She doesn't want to be re-enslaved; so she steals gold coins from the major and escapes the camp before her old Master reclaims her. 

Fast forward to the next year. Raimond Le Veq is back home in New Orleans after the war. He needs to marry and have a child to claim the fortunes of the House of Le Veq. Raimond leaves it up to his mother to find him a wife. He doesn't wish to know her. He doesn't wish to love her. He doesn't plan to give up mistresses either. But his mother chooses the one woman who broke his heart and trust, Sable Fontaine. Fate has brought them together and they marry for convenience. Sable tries her hardest to convince Raimond of the truth and hope he forgives.

Michigander Beverly Jenkins is an awesome author. She writes historical romance fiction like no other. I love the history lessons and facts within the pages of her books. There are also appearances by Harriet Tubman, Fred Douglass, Galeno Vachon and wife Hester. Ms. Bev also adds in the perfect romance story that melts your heart and ignites passion.

Download or borrow Through the Storm today to find out what "ma reine" translates to and how it refers to main character, Sable.

Author: Beverly Jenkins
Published: August 1998
Pages: 281
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡


Character Quotes

Janie Sparks, character from Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

Hester, character from Beverly Jenkins's Indigo

February 26, 2012

Series Sunday: C is for Corpse

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 C is for Corpse, the 3rd book in the Kinsey Millhone alphabet mystery series by Sue Grafton. On Monday, Bobby Calahan met with Private Investigator Kinsey Millhone because he thought someone was trying to kill him. By Thursday, he was dead. Kinsey only has one clue: a little red address book and the name "Blackman." As usual, Kinsey discovers secrets as she digs deeper into the investigation. And again, her own life is in danger.

As I hoped, the main character continues to develop, get involved in more mysteries and maintain her ordinary down-to-earth personality. The mysteries are not too predictable either. Is it too early to deem this series a winner?

Title: C is for Corpse
Author: Sue Grafton
Published: 1986
Pages: 320
Edition: Paperback
Rating: ♥♥♥

February 24, 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.
"This is all Susana's fault. She had to trot out her little social experiment, 'Pick 5' right when God was confronting me with my greed, excess, materialism, consumerism, envy, pride, comfort, insatiability, irresponsibility, and well, there was other stuff but I want you to like me, so I'll shelve the rest for later."
~ 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker


February 22, 2012

Indigo, Ma Coeur

Detroit's own Beverly Jenkins never disappoints when it comes to historical fiction. Indigo begins with letters in the Prologue from David Wyatt to Katherine Wyatt. In the letters, David explains how he gave up his freedom and became a slave just to be with the woman he loves. The man chose love over freedom! Can you imagine? Their love produced a child named Hester, who was eventually separated from her mother. David pleads for his sister Katherine to find Hester and bring her north.

Fast forward 25 years later and the setting is Whittaker, Michigan. Hester is a station on the Underground Railroad. The legendary Black Daniel is wounded in her home. Slave catchers had been hunting Black Daniel for years because he led slaves north. He was one of the most successful conductors. It was a very dangerous choice to hide him, but Hester agreed. It isn't long before she realizes how rude and arrogant Black Daniel really is. But as he heals, he cannot turn his back from Hester, affectionately nicknamed "Indigo." The story takes us through the span of one year, their love and freedom.

I love historical fiction books by Beverly Jenkins because they teach history lessons. It is very interesting to read how the state of Michigan was years ago. Did you know that a freed slave's free papers were the most valuable documents? A person could be subject to kidnapping without them. Do you know the symbol that showed runaway slaves which houses were safe to approach on the Underground Railroad? If you have not read Indigo yet, grab it now for less than $6. Find out why Black Daniel chose the nickname "Indigo" for Hester (a history lesson in itself). It is a great read for Our History Month.

*NOTE TO NOOK FRIENDS: You may borrow my eBook copy of Indigo using the "Lend Me" feature.

Title: Indigo
Author: Beverly Jenkins
Published: August 2000
Pages: 391
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


February 21, 2012

US vs. UK

Everyone knows I'm completely obsessed with the UK. "US vs. UK" was created by Jenny from Wondrous Reads and it compares covers from books released in the two countries. I have missed doing this meme so there are lots of comparisons today.

The first and second comparisons are Awakening Mercy and Abiding Hope by Angela Benson. The US covers are at the top with beautiful autumn colors, leaves and sunrise. The UK covers show a colorful sketch of people outdoors, perhaps at a park or on the grounds of Genesis House. All of the covers are eye catching, but I prefer the UK covers because they most look like the image readers get while reading the books.

Total: US 9, UK 11

The third comparison is Guilty Wives by James Patterson and David Ellis. The US cover has bold red lettering with a woman in handcuffs. The guilty wife, I suppose. The UK cover has a sea blue background with gold lettering and a woman lying on a boat. I cannot determine whether the woman is dead or alive. Obviously I favor the US cover. It is straight to the point, not confusing and true to the title.

Total: US 10, UK 11

The fourth comparison is I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella. The US cover has a black background with white lettering and a blue text bubble that features the title. Two shadows are standing on each side of the cover. Perhaps they just met and exchanged phone numbers? The UK cover has a blue and yellow background with red lettering. It looks like a bird is on the "O" of the author's name. A woman in a cute belted blazer is holding a cell phone. The UK cover also displays a sentence: One ring and he's yours! While the UK cover is stylish, the US cover is more striking, eye catching and modern. The US wins!

Total: US 11, UK 11

The fifth comparison is unusual. Three different covers. Three different titles. Same book. Same author (Diane Chamberlain). Odd, isn't it? The US cover and the Australian cover are very alike. Both have blue backgrounds. A little girl with a head full of red curls is being led away by a woman. However, the titles are different. The US title is The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes. The Australian title is A Beautiful Lie. I personally don't care for the Australian title because lies are not beautiful. They just aren't. The UK cover has a red background with a barefoot little girl holding her hands in her lap. Although we cannot see the little girl's face, she seems shy. Very true to the story! The title of the UK version is The Lost Daughter, also very true to the story. But I'm judging covers here. And I pick...the US!

Total: US 12, UK 11, AUS 0

Which covers do you favor?

February 19, 2012

Series Sunday: Maya Angelou Autobiographies

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 The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou. It includes:
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Gather Together in My Name
  • Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas
  • The Heart of a Woman
  • All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes
  • A Song Flung Up to Heaven 
Without going into full stan mode, I will just advise that every bibliophile add this to their collection. That is all.

Author: Maya Angelou
Published: September 2004
Pages: 1167
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


February 17, 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.

"There was no baby."
~ Abiding Hope by Angela Benson


February 16, 2012

Dr. Maya Angelou Black History Month Special & Literary Arts Award

AT&T is supporting Dr. Maya Angelou's Black History Month Special about the civil rights era. Special guests include Mary J. Blige, Professor Nikky Finney, Congressman John Lewis, Dr. Julianne Malveaux and Ambassador Andrew Jackson Young. You can watch interview excerpts on www.att.com/28days and review the program schedule on www.mayaangelouonpublicradio.com

Dr. Maya Angelou (Great-grandmother-in-my-head) accepted the Literary Arts Award at BET Honors 2012. Watch her acceptance speech below. 



February 15, 2012

AA Section in Bookstores

The shelving of African American books in bookstores has been a debate in the literary world for years. What better time to discuss this topic at Precision Reviews than during Our History Month? 


I am sure you noticed the sections in physical bookstores. They are designed for the convenience of readers while locating titles. There are separate sections for mystery, chick lit, fiction, nonfiction, reference, travel, humor, and African American. Wait. What? 

I will use the beloved Borders as an example. They had a huge, yet separate, section for African American books. Barnes & Noble, however, is known for its small "urban" section. To put it bluntly, AA books are segregated in bookstores. These books are not shelved alongside other fiction works.

**On a semi-related note, one of my favorite news sources, Huffington Post, is adding an African American section in early March called "HuffPost GlobalBlack."

How do you feel about the African American section in bookstores? Do you think it hinders or helps sales for AA authors? Are you FOR or AGAINST this shelving? Share your thoughts. 

February 14, 2012

Literary Pick-Up Lines for Valentine's Day

#LitPickUpLines is a top trending topic on Twitter! Here are ten of my favorites:
  • I don't have a library card, but do you mind if I check you out? ~ @laurensimpsonnn
  • Baby that large print is easy on the eyes. I'd like to see what's between your covers. ~ @142books
  • I'd like to do graphic, novel things with you. ~ @Jess_Feld
  • If I said you had a beautiful narrative form, would you hold it against me? ~ @LitVerve
  • I'll show you my dragon tattoo if you show me yours. ~ @NC_Quarterly
  • I don't need a bestsellers list to tell me you're number one. ~ @hmhbooks
  • If I were a novel, you'd be my climax. ~ @mapleeyephoto
  • You're so hot, my modifiers are no longer dangling. ~ @mapleeyephoto
  • You can partial my submission anytime. ~ @WriteforCoffee
  • You're like a new book. I just want to lay down and get lost in you all day. ~ @analyfe


The mini-series Roots aired on ABC for eight consecutive nights about 35 years ago. According to Black Enterprise magazine, the finale remains the third highest-rated U.S. television program. The movie is based on Alex Haley's novel, which is pictured above.

Pop the DVD/VHS into your player before month's end and watch Roots again. Better yet, share the story/movie with a young person. Celebrate Our History Month.


I Used to Know That

Name the original nine planets. Name the seven wonders of the world. Explain what a square root is. What is the roman numeral for 500? What are the parts of speech? Finish this song: The head bone's connected to the neck bone, the neck bone's connected to the...

I bet you just said, "I used to know that." Yeah, me too. Often times, people forget the basics of math, geography, science, history and more as we grow older. It is especially the case if you're not a parent and don't have the opportunity of helping a small child with homework. Well, I've got a solution! Or rather, author Caroline Taggart has a solution. The book I Used to Know That will refresh your memory. The short book will re-acquaint you with the basics we learned as students. It's like an inexpensive refresher course!

Author: Caroline Taggart
Published: March 2009
Pages: 109
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥

February 13, 2012

The Book of Lost Fragrances PROMOTION

Have you ever smelled a story?

I'd like to share an exciting promotion. If you pre-order The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose, you will receive a free sample of Ames Soeurs. It is the scent of soul mates that inspired M.J.'s novel due for release in March. This exclusive fragrance is not yet for sale, so hurry and pre-order by March 1 by following the directions here

Be sure to visit Precision Reviews again on Wednesday, March 7 for a special guest post from the author, M.J. Rose.

February 12, 2012

Series Sunday: Adventures in Funeral Crashing

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 Adventures in Funeral Crashing, the first book in the Funeral Crashing trilogy by Milda Harris. Sixteen-year-old Kait Lenox has a weird hobby: funeral crashing. She is not obsessed with death but just likes to attend funerals. Until one day she is outed by the most popular guy in school, Ethan Ripley, when she crashes his half sister's funeral and is asked the question Kait tries to avoid. "How do you know (insert deceased's name here)?"

Ethan Ripley is convinced his sister didn't really die of a heroin overdose. He suspects it was a murder and enlists Kait's help to figure it out.

I am definitely going to read the next two books in the series. Milda Harris's writing is clear, sharp and just the right amount of pop culture. The idea of a young professional mourner using Facebook and cell phone history to solve a murder is so unique and interesting. If you're a fan of Meg Cabot and R.L. Stine, you will love Milda Harris. (The author also worked in production for television shows Hannah Montana and That's So Raven.) Visit this Indie young adult author at her website www.mildaharris.com 

You can download this eBook, Adventures in Funeral Crashing, for just 99 cents! Just click the title below or the book cover above. It will make a great gift for the young adult in your life.

Author: Milda Harris
Published: June 2011
Pages: 148
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥