February 28, 2013

A Dream Deferred

 By Langston Hughes (published in 1951)

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up 
like a raisin in the sun?
 Or fester like a sore—
and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?
This is the first poem I ever memorized. I learned it for a Black History Month presentation while in middle school and it remains my favorite poem today.


February eMags

I am Living La Vida NOOK with these February eMags:

Ebony ~ Iyanla's Back! 10 Ways You Can "Fix Your Life"

Essence ~ 1963: A Historic Year For The Civil Rights Movement

MacLife ~ Better Browser, Calls, Camera, Calendar, Mail, Maps

The Writer ~ Smart Phone Tools

Real Simple ~ The Truth Behind Food Labels

Rolling Stone ~ Rihanna Crazy In Love

Entertainment Weekly ~ The Women Who Run TV

Marie Claire ~ Fun Flirty Fashion

Vogue ~ After the Storm: Celebrating Spirit & Style of New York

US Weekly ~ Brandi Tried To Destroy My Family


February 27, 2013

Single Girl Summer

"Every woman is entitled to a reality TV moment." ~ pg. 69
Button Jackson knows two things are certain: all men cheat and all women are rivals. She hasn't had a serious boyfriend or girl friends for years. She trusts no one. Meghan Cherry is fresh out of a divorce and unsure why relationships just don't work when she gives her all. Dawn Martin is expecting a marriage proposal any day now, but her boyfriend is sending mixed signals. 

This story is based in the big city of Chicago. Somehow these three ladies are brought together by chance. They bond over Single Girl Sangria (recipe included in the book), give each other advice and share their current dating woes. Every girl has a season—and this summer belongs to Button, Meghan and Dawn so they can grow and explore.

Liking the characters in a book is very important to me. I need to relate to them, understand them, and not side-eye their actions. It took a few chapters to warm up to Button. With the portrayals of black women today in reality TV, it was refreshing to read about these three positive black women forming healthy friendships. I recommend Single Girl Summer for women book clubs. It will be a good selection for this summer.

Title: Single Girl Summer
Author: Deanna Kimberly Burrell
Published: June 2011
Pages: 204
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥


February 26, 2013

The Confessions of Rick James: Memoirs of a Super Freak

"Well alright, you squares!"

Let me preface this review by saying I am a fan of the super freak, Rick James. I jam to his music. In fact, I am listening to Bustin' Out and Dance Wit Me on repeat while writing this review. I miss his live performances and interviews. The man was the punk funk master! Him and Teena Marie were the best collaboration since peanut butter and jelly. So it was only fitting that I read Rick James' confessions. What better time than during Black History Month? So let's get into the review.

Rick James penned his memoir in 1993 while sitting in a 6x8 cell in the Los Angeles County Jail. He dedicated it to "all the Super Freaks, Super Geeks, and Super Tweaks." The memoir starts from the beginning. He was born James Ambrose Johnson Jr. in 1948. He was the third oldest of eight children. It goes on to tell one of his happiest memories, when he lost his virginity at the age of nine, and even when he started chippieing (messing around with drugs). The memoir of course also describes his music career. All of his songs are about personal experiences and feelings.

Rick James' childhood, fame, drug use, felony convictions and rendezvous with women are discussed in this tell-all. All of the names and events in the book are true. He doesn't change names to protect the innocent because he simply didn't give a motherfuck.

The Confessions of Rick James is everything you imagine it would be. C'mon, it is the Memoirs of a Super Freak! Enough said.

Title: Confessions of Rick James: Memoirs of a Super Freak
Author: Rick James
Published: May 2007
Pages: 378
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


February 24, 2013

Series Sunday: Alex Cross, Run

An Alex Cross Novel (#20)

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. 

"This felt like my last line in the sand, and I wasn't going to cross it." ~ pg. 41

My Series Sunday pick is Alex Cross, Run the 20th book in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson. Detective Alex Cross arrests Dr. Elijah Creem, one of DC's in-demand plastic surgeons, and Josh Bergman, owner of a modeling agency, for illegal activity with underage girls. Now that Creem is out of jail, he reinvents himself with a new life...and a new face.

In less than a week, three dead bodies are discovered around DC's least violent neighborhoods. Alex Cross is so preoccupied with the three investigations that he doesn't notice someone has been watching him and won't stop until Alex Cross is killed.

Is Alex Cross, Run the most sensational thriller? Hmmm, no. Putting my bitterness over the movie casting aside, the book had a weak plot. The action fell flat and the detective is clearly slipping on his investigation skills. I hold James Patterson, as well as Alex Cross, to a high standard. Both have been around for years and should act more experienced.

Check out the book trailer below and judge for yourself whether it is worth reading.

Title: Alex Cross, Run
Author: James Patterson
Published: February 2013
Pages: 407
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥

February 22, 2013

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.

"I held his lingam, suckled the part called the meatus. The glans. Licked his foreskin."
~ Decadence by Eric Jerome Dickey


February 21, 2013

The Best of Us

"A weeklong birthday party in Jamaica!"~ pg. 3

When I think of paradise, I think of clear blue water, sunny skies, island sand between my toes, palm trees and relaxation. When four college friends go on an all-expense paid vacation to Jamaica, they are expecting paradise. These four college friends need an escape from their everyday life. Tina is a mother of four young children. Allie is struggling with news that an illness runs in her family. Savannah is trying to hide her pending divorce. Dwight is hoping this trip to celebrate his 35th birthday will bring romance into his new marriage.

Private beaches. Gourmet dinners. Beautiful villa. Full itineraries. This is how the vacation begins. But an unexpected hurricane hits the island and chaos ensues. These four college friends and their spouses try to weather the storm, personally and literally.

Author Sarah Pekkanen writes beyond the typical chick lit genre. Her stories have substance and back story that is realistic. I always enjoy her books, albeit some more than others. The Best of Us is recommended for readers that like to escape into fiction through good writing. 

DISCLAIMER: This book was received directly from the publisher for review purposes only. In no way does it influence my review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Title: The Best of Us
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Published: April 2013
Pages: 352
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥


February 20, 2013


"You are the colon to my semi." ~ pg. 275

Caroline Reynolds just moved into an apartment in San Francisco. Her design career is doing well. She bakes delicious zucchini bread. Clive, the best cat ever, keeps her company. All Caroline is missing from life is The Big O. Yes, that O.

It's gone. Vanished. Stubbornly not making an appearance. What makes it worse is that Caroline has an over-sexed neighbor with the loudest wallbanging sex ever. Each spank, moan and meow is heard through the thin walls and reminds Caroline of her missing O. Out of frustration and lack of sleep, Caroline storms over to the neighbor's apartment, clad in a pink nightie, and demands he stop the wallbanging. And so the sexual tension and silly banter between Simon and Caroline begin. The rest of their story is hilariously romantic. 

Wallbanger has LOL dialogue with a steamy romance. This is my first novel read by Alice Clayton. It seems silly and steamy books are her trademark. I'm late to the party, but better than never. Alice Clayton wrote the main character's voice in a style that makes the reader love Caroline. She is sarcastic, realistic and down right funny. The leading man, Simon, is another character that is impossible to dislike. I hope to see more of these two characters in future books. I recommend Wallbanger for a light fun read.

Title: Wallbanger

Author: Alice Clayton
Published: November 2012
Pages: 283
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

February 19, 2013

US vs. UK

Everyone knows I am 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.

Today's first comparison is A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown. The US cover is pink with confetti and reminds me of a cupcake. How appropriate considering the author's name. The UK cover shows a young girl standing on the sidewalk with her hand on her hip. Sassy, right? This is no contest. The US cover matches the title perfect.

Total: US 19, UK 17

Today's second comparison is The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis. The US cover is a blend of orange, red and yellow with a solo brown chair. It also has the Oprah's Book Club selection stamp. Nice touch to grab readers attention. The UK cover has red and blue stripes with white lettering. A chair is shown at the bottom of the cover, with two figures above it. The UK cover just seems bland. The US cover says, "Pull up a chair and start reading me!"

Total: US 20, UK 17

Today's third comparison is On Dublin Street by Samantha Young. While the US cover shows a kissing couple, the UK cover shows a woman looking over her bare shoulder. Both backgrounds are dark. This is a toughie. The US cover is fitting to the content of the erotic book; however, the UK cover matches the title better. I like the windows facing Dublin Street, so the UK cover wins this round.

Total: US 20, UK 18

Today's last comparison is The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan. The US cover has a white cloudy background with a pink heart in the center. Very Valentine's Day-ish. The UK cover has a red background with several symbols, including a bicycle, a cross, a heart and a drink. From reading the love story, I don't see the relevance of the symbols that are displayed on the UK cover. Simple is better so the US cover wins!

Total: US 21, UK 18

Which covers do you favor?


February 18, 2013

Lit Tidbits

  • "Search. Discover. Read. Share." Hachette, Penguin and Simon & Schuster launched a new site: bookish.com that offers book recommendations, essays and excerpts. There is also a Bookish Reader app available for iDevices and Androids.
  • To view my reading schedule and more new book releases, browse the To Be Read bookshelf to the right.
  • Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns is expected to be published in April. Keep fingers crossed for a movie sequel with Meryl Streep.
  • Lovable character Bridget Jones is returning in late October. The new book is set in London and features a mature Bridget Jones at "a later stage in life" according to author Helen Fielding.
  • Catch up on the Alex Cross series by James Patterson. iBooks is offering most of the titles for just $4.99 (limited-time).
  • There are rumors of an iWatch Phone. Would you read iBooks shown on your wrist?

February 17, 2013

Series Sunday: The Collected Autobiographies and Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou

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. The collection consists of six autobiographies:
  1. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
  2. Gather Together In My Name
  3. Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas
  4. The Heart of a Woman
  5. All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes
  6. A Song Flung Up to Heaven
There are life lessons to learn within her autobiographies. Once you read the first one, you will undoubtedly want to continue reading her story. The collection is the best format to do so. I recommend it for all.

Title: The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou
Author: Maya Angelou
Published: September 2004
Pages: 1167
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Another Series Sunday pick is The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou. I recommend this collection of Maya Angelou's poems to accompany her collected autobiographies. The poems are powerful, classic and a symbol of her admirable writing.

Title: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou
Author: Maya Angelou
Published: September 1994
Pages: 288
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Even with multiple autobiographies published, Maya Angelou tells the most personal story of her life in a new book scheduled to release in April. In Mom & Me & Mom, Maya Angelou reveals her relationship with her mother. It is sure to be an exciting story of hope and love. Stay tuned for my review to be posted soon.


February 15, 2013

First Lines Friday BONUS

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's not every day that I get a naked girl answering the door I knock on."
~ Alex Cross, Run: FREE Preview of First 19 Chapters by James Patterson 


February 14, 2013

The Lover's Dictionary

"love, n.   I'm not going to even try."

What are the right words to describe love? In this unique format, David Levithan's character describes his relationship through dictionary entries.

In one word: brilliant. In this day and age of 140-character stories and short attention spans, this book told a romance story in our time. Instead of chapters, each page begins with a different word starting with letters A-Z. Each dictionary entry is a snippet of the couple's relationship: from their first kiss to the ups and downs.

The story is not necessarily told in chronological order. Heck, the narrator and the couple's names aren't even revealed. But piecing together the story is the joy of it! The format kept me reading and wanting to know more about these anonymous characters and their love life. There were also lots of entries that made me go, hmmm...

The Lover's Dictionary is unconventional. It is not your normal lovey-dovey story. It is word play at its finest. There were so many dictionary entries that I loved. I've shared a few throughout this review. Ponder them for just a moment, then dedicate a few hours to read The Lover's Dictionary.

Title: The Lover's Dictionary
Author: David Levithan
Published: January 2011
Pages: 271
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


February 13, 2013

One Pink Line

"I learned that my ultimate goal was to see one pink line upon completion." ~ pg. 13

The love of a lifetime is changed by one pink line. Sydney and her long-distance boyfriend are in love. One random night during Sydney's senior year of college puts their relationship at risk and changes their future path. Then there is Grace, a 5th grader whose world is turned upside down when she makes a shocking discovery in sex education class.

When I first added One Pink Line to my TBR list, I thought it was light chick-lit reading. The story is actually multi-layered, told from two points of view that eventually coincide. It spans generations. One Pink Line is the 2012 Eric Hoffer da Vinci Eye Award winner for cover art. It is also a finalist in the 2012 Indie Reader Top Title. Well deserved awards. You can't judge this book by the pink cover.

This is Dina Silver's debut novel and it made quite the first impression, with one lesson being told: one choice can affect many lives. Download it now for just $3.99.

Title: One Pink Line
Author: Dina Silver
Published: October 2011
Pages: 511
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡

February 12, 2013

The Education of Nia Simone Bijou

"The most painful good-byes were the ones that were never said, never explained." ~ pg. 107

One of Eric Jerome Dickey's heroines is back: Nia Simone Bijou. In this special eBook release, Nia's memories are triggered while going through an old box. It is filled with old Kodak photos, letters, newspaper clippings and a journal of Love Is sayings. Everything was new and exciting during this part of Nia's life. She was an impressionable student at Hampton University that fell in love with athlete Chris Eidos Alleyne.

Young freedom. Dorm life. Passion. Sex and orgasms. This best describes Nia's college days. I enjoyed reading her memories written in that descriptive, sensual way that EJD is known for.

The Education of Nia Simone Bijou releases on Valentine's Day. Download your NOOKbook or Kindle eBook for just $1.99!

DISCLAIMER: This book was received directly from the publisher for review purposes only. In no way does it influence my review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Title: The Education of Nia Simone Bijou
Author: Eric Jerome Dickey
Published: February 2013
Pages: 107
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥♥