May 31, 2016

Saving Abby

"Don't ever stop smiling, okay?" ~ 82%

Saving Abby begins with a bucket list made by a 13-year-old girl. Claire wants to marry a man who loves her more than life, be an artist, travel, skydive and most of all, be a mother. Fast forward years and the little girl is now a grown married woman still making lists.

Children's book illustrator, Claire, and her writer husband, Josh, lived the past three years focused on having a child. Coming to a sad acceptance, they decide to say goodbye to their dreams of being parents and build happy memories with just the two of them.

The couple gets the miracle they are hoping for soon as they give up hope. But something is not right. In the beginning of her pregnancy, Claire experiences extreme fatigue, debilitating headaches and fainting spells. Her symptoms worsen urging her to seek help from the doctor. What she receives is a terrifying diagnosis and an impossible decision: save her own life or her unborn child's life.

"He could lose his wife, his soul mate, the one person who made his life make sense—because she was pregnant." ~ 59%

Steena Holmes has a way making main characters so likable in the first couple chapters that I'm totally invested in the story. Saving Abby is no exception. By the second chapter, I was hoping for a miracle. I was rooting for the couple's dreams to come true. During an early rainy afternoon, I got lost in the descriptive scenes and became a "neighbor" in Claire and Josh's world.

Saving Abby is a beautiful story of hope, survival and emotional decision-making. I imagine this scenario happens to a few unfortunate couples in real life. Steena Holmes did a good job of portraying relatable strong characters. Her writing just keeps getting better!

Happy Pub Day, Steena Holmes! Saving Abby is now available.

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 honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Saving Abby
Author: Steena Holmes
Published: May 2016
Pages: 274
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♡


The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

"I don't know any black people who have even been to Africa. It's like calling me Danish-American even though I've never been to Denmark." ~ pg. 105

Rachel Morse is a young bi-racial girl growing up in the early 1980s. Shoutout to my fellow 80s babies. She is the brown-skinned, blue-eyed daughter of a Danish woman and a black G.I. A family tragedy leaves Rachel the only survivor in her family. She goes to live with the grandmother she has never met in a black neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. For the first time Rachel feels like she has to choose between being white or black while adapting to a new environment and grieving her family. As if living with a recently met relative isn't enough, Rachel has to deal with being the new girl at school with "good hair" that "thinks she's cute." Racial identity is the main theme.

Over 70 of my bookhearts read and gave high ratings for The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. Yet it was an eBook that I downloaded immediately and just never read. I kept pushing it further down my TBR. Thanks to a reading challenge hosted by Bookish, May was the perfect month to read this classic.

"It's late. I close the book. I turn off the flashlight." ~ pg. 88

The problem with reading a popular award-winning novel is the high expectation it gives. I just knew this novel would be a page-turner and among my best books read ever. It had all the makings of a great classic: tragedy, unpredictable and gripping. Yet here I am standing in the corner alone not drinking the kool-aid that everyone swears is the bomb. It was far too easy to close the eBook and start another. I found the characters meh and the alternating narration a distraction. I give credit to author Heidi W. Durrow for her premise that draws from her own upbringing but The Girl Who Fell From the Sky was just okay to me. Perhaps I would have liked it more if it were a memoir instead of adapted to a coming-of-age fiction novel.

Title: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
Author: Heidi W. Durrow
Published: February 2010
Pages: 188
Edition: eBook
Challenge: Bookish Kill Your TBR—Read the Classics
Rating: ♥♥♥

May 30, 2016

US vs. UK

The UK is my hometown glory but I live in the US. The US vs. UK bookish meme compares book covers published in the two countries. I haven't done this meme in months so in honor of Memorial Weekend, enjoy the battle of the book covers below, bookhearts!

Today's first comparison is Home by Harlan Coben. I am so looking forward to this new Myron Bolitar novel. But enough about my joy; let's compare the covers. The US version is plain with a white cover and large bold red and black letters. The UK version has the same colors but better presented with a man in the distance. This is easy; UK wins!

Total: US 28, UK 31

The second comparison is Freedom's Child by Jax Miller. The US cover is dark with a woman on a motorcycle. The UK cover is drastically light in tone with the title in yellow letters and a woman standing on a sidewalk. The US cover fits the book description best.

Total: US 29, UK 31

The third comparison is Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon. Although both covers show the close-up of a woman's eye, closed on the US version and open on the UK version. I prefer the US version only because if you're trying not to breathe, your eyes are most likely to be closed. Go ahead—hold your breath and try it. 

Total: US 30, UK 31

The fourth comparison is Pleasantville by Attica Locke. Both covers are striking with different color themes. The US version reminds me of a broken glass window. The UK version shows a city's landscape. Hmmm, I prefer the UK cover because it shows what Pleasantville may look like.

Total: US 30, UK 32

The fifth comparison today is Killing Floor by Lee Child. Although I like the colors of the UK cover, it is too much like sunset on paradise. The bullet holes through a dollar bill on the dismal US cover fit better.

Total: US 31, UK 32

Today's final comparison is The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. The US cover is black with a wave and ship in the distance. A woman's face can be seen inside the blue wave. The UK cover is a striking blue with an underwater scene. Such an obvious winner; I would pick up the UK cover in a bookstore first.

Total: US 31, UK 33

Happy Memorial Day Reading! If the covers pique your interest, you may find my reviews by clicking the book title. But for now, which covers do you favour?


May 29, 2016

Series Sunday: I Wish I Had a Red Dress

(Idlewild #2) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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 I Wish I Had a Red Dress, the second book in the Idlewild series by Pearl Cleage. Joyce Mitchell keeps her days occupied by running The Sewing Circus, an all-girl group she founded to provide needed services to young women of Idlewild, many of them being single mothers. When the state legislature leans toward no longer funding the group, Joyce and the girls find creative ways to keep the group active. Meanwhile, there's a new guy in town; finally someone to make Joyce's heart skip again and make her grab a sexy red dress

"It ain't Detroit, but ain't Nirvana either." ~ pg. 55

While I highly recommend the first Idlewild book, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, I did not enjoy this follow-up nearly as much. It was meh. The story line jumped around in the beginning making it hard to follow and to care.

It seems this novel is the last of the Idlewild series. Bookhearts, let me know if I am mistaken. I am still interested in the fate of a couple characters.

Title: I Wish I Had a Red Dress
Author: Pearl Cleage
Published: July 2002
Pages: 288
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥


May 27, 2016

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Grab your current read(s) for Memorial weekend.
  • Share the first line(s).
  • Include the title and author.

"Robert's familiar rap on the door came as I was studying a miniature portrait of myself. The small painting, meant as a parting gift to my beloved, had just been delivered, and I was debating the artist's interpretation. I had to admit that Miss Peale's suggestion to paint my face in profile, and thus avoid the black patch covering my left eye, was a good idea."

~ Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom


May 26, 2016

Before the Fall

"Tragedy is drama you can't bear to relive." ~ 31% 

Before the Fall begins with a private plane sitting on the runway in Martha's Vineyard. Ten people board: The Bateman family (father David, mother Maggie and their two children, Rachel and JJ), wealthy couple Ben and Sarah Kipling, painter Scott Burroughs, the pilot and crew. Sixteen minutes later, the plane crashes into the sea.

There are two survivors: the painter and a six-year-old boy, the last remaining member of a wealthy television mogul's family. The story unfolds into the lives of the passengers and crew members before they boarded the plane. As clues unravel, I couldn't help but spin conspiracy theories. Is it pure coincidence that so many wealthy people died in one plane crash? Is it odd that one of the survivors spent his career painting pictures of disasters? Is the growing bond between the two survivors genuine or linked by circumstance? Who is really liable? It is all suspicious and told in a fashion that was hard to pause reading.

The media plays a big part in the novel. The 24/7 news was the character I loved to hate. Much like true life, the news and media outlets will sensationalize and exploit tragedies. There is no loyalty to the victims, families or survivors. It's all about entertainment and ratings. Whether author Noah Hawley purposely portrayed the media in this light, I do not know. But well damn done.

Before the Fall will be published on Tuesday, May 31. Get your copy of the tragedy of the summer!

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 honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Before the Fall
Author: Noah Hawley
Published: May 2016
Pages: 400
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡

May 24, 2016

Sugarland Tour

Welcome to Literary Marie's Precision Revision! Thanks for visiting the last blog tour stop for Martha Conway's new jazz age mystery, Sugarland (available as of May 12, 2016). I love a good mystery so very excited about sharing my review and an excerpt. Get comfy and enjoy the content below.

In 1921, young jazz pianist Eve Riser witnesses the accidental killing of a bootlegger. To cover up the crime, she agrees to deliver money and a letter to a man named Rudy Hardy in Chicago. But when Eve gets to Chicago she discovers that her stepsister Chickie, a popular nightclub singer, is pregnant by a man she won’t name. That night Rudy Hardy is killed before Eve’s eyes in a brutal drive-by shooting, and Chickie disappears. 

Eve needs to find Chickie, but she can’t do it alone. Lena Hardy, Rudy’s sister, wants to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder, but she needs Eve’s connections. Together they navigate the back alleys and speakeasies of 1920s Chicago, encountering petty thugs, charismatic bandleaders, and a mysterious nightclub owner called the Walnut who seems to be the key to it all. As they fight racial barriers trying to discover the truth, Eve and Lena unravel a twisted tale of secret shipments and gangster rivalry.

My Review
If I had the opportunity to go back to an era, it would be the 1920s. The fashion, the jazz, the nightlife and the beginnings of women empowerment would be right up my alley. So the setting of Sugarland was perfect for me. Author Martha Conway wrote such descriptive backgrounds that it was like watching a movie. She captured the essence of the Roaring 20s, Prohibition and Jazz Age. Racism and relationships between races was also a theme in the novel and well portrayed. It was interesting to read how black and white musicians were treated during the Jazz Age as well as refreshing to watch a friendship build between two women from different backgrounds. The characters were well-developed with their own distinct personalities shown through both actions and dialogue. And the mystery wasn't so easy to solve!

Sugarland is a smooth read recommended for a breezy spring/summer evening on your patio with your favorite drink (or homemade hooch) and American jazz (Bessie Smith or Billie Holiday) playing in the background. You will get lost in the suspense fiction within the first couple chapters. In fact, you can start with the excerpt below then purchase Sugarland on Amazon. Trust me—you'll want to continue reading this story.

Title: Sugarland
Author: Martha Conway
Published: May 2016
Pages: 305
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♡

Sugarland: A Jazz Age Mystery
Chapter One Excerpt

Hoxie, Illinois, 1921

     At two in the morning the trains were stopped for the night, and the old wooden depot, manned only during the day now that the Great War had ended, was deserted.
     Eve could see her breath in the cold January air as Gavin Johnson helped her up the last step of the empty train car. Then he jumped up himself. He moved closer and she smelled whiskey and something musky he’d splashed on his face. He pressed her against the rail and began to kiss her with lips cold at first but getting warmer. That was all right.  
     She turned her head and kissed him back, a feeling of steam moving up through her body. The night was so still it was like a creature holding its breath. She pulled away for a moment. “How’d you get a key to the train car?” 
     Gavin just laughed. “Let me put out the light.” He opened his lantern’s tiny glass door to blow out the flame, and in the darkness Eve followed him into the empty car.
     Her blood was still warm from the corn whiskey she had drunk with the boys after the show, and she felt a little lightheaded. Here she was with a handsome man late at night, alone, her heart beating hard. Before her the rows of worn velvet seats were like people turning their backs. For some reason this excited her more.
     “Nice at night, dontcha think?” Gavin asked, taking her hand. With his other hand he touched the soft fold of her dress at the collar. Then he began to unbutton her coat. They were in the Entertainers’ car, the special train car they all traveled by and even slept in if there weren’t any colored hotels in town. Jimmy Blakeley and His Stoptime Syncopaters, they were called, with Gavin Johnson on tenor sax and Eve Riser on piano. Everyone in the band was young and excited, and Eve felt young and excited just being around them. But sometimes it got lonely going from place to place without resting.
     From the window Eve could see the empty depot house. Gavin touched the side of her face and she closed her eyes.
     Oh she should know better all right. But she was feeling so good, she had played so well that night, really found her way into the music. Also that afternoon she had started a new song—“Sea Change,” she would call it. The first four bars were a gift, just appearing in her mind as she walked back to the hotel from the drugstore, and they still looked good even after she’d written them down. 
     It was hardly warmer inside the train than out and she pressed against him too now, wanting to feel every inch. Gavin spread his overcoat on the floor and Eve let him guide her down onto the aisle, a hard space meant for feet. After a while his kisses became firmer and deeper like now they had really started, they were really going somewhere now.
     She felt his hands behind her neck, fumbling with the buttons of her new dress.
     “Gavin,” Eve said.
     “Shh, angel girl. I got us all covered.”
     She let him undo the buttons. She’d been on the circuit six months now. Six months of playing different pianos all in need of tuning, of fending for herself, of shooing off managers who said come on back to my office and I’ll show you something I know you’ll like. Some of the boys in the band called Eve beautiful but she didn’t know about that. What she cared most about was her music. The horn players liked to start off with notes so strong and high you thought there was nowhere else to go, challenging Eve to follow. She always did. She thought of them as brothers, the teasing variety. But then Gavin came in halfway through their tour, a fine-looking man with deep brown eyes and a complexion her grandmother would call Georgia brown. At first Eve thought he was just another alligator with his little straw boater and his silk tie and his fine boutonniere pin from one of his daddy’s social clubs, but it turned out he was there to play second sax. He called her angel girl and brought her coffee in the mornings. She was tired of being lonely. She liked his sloping smile.
     Gavin got her last button unbuttoned. His eyes dark liquid drops in dark hollows. He pulled her dress down to her shoulders and kissed her collarbone again.
     “Beautiful,” he said.
     “I should say,” said a deep voice behind them.

About the Author
Martha Conway is the author of Sugarland: A Jazz Age Mystery [Noontime Books], available via Amazon as of May 12, 2016. Conway’s first novel was nominated for an Edgar Award, and her second novel, Thieving Forest, won the 2014 North American Book Award for Best Historical Fiction. Her short fiction has been published in The Iowa Review, The Carolina Quarterly Review, The Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Folio, and other journals. She teaches creative writing for Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program and UC Berkeley Extension, and is a recipient of a California Arts Council Fellowship for Creative Writing. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she is one of seven sisters. She currently lives in San Francisco.

Author Links: Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads  Website

DisclaimerA special thanks to the publisher Noontime Books and SMITH Publicity for the ARC. This book was received directly from the publisher for review and tour purposes only. In no way does it influence my review. The opinions I have expressed are honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.


May 22, 2016

Series Sunday: Ask the Sistahs

(Sistah Speak Podcast: Ask the Sistahs) 

Special Series Sunday is a meme hosted by Literary Marie (Sistah LM). I encourage all of my fellow podcast hosts to play along.
  • Listen to an episode of a podcast series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the podcast title and episode info.
My Series Sunday pick is Sistah Speak: Ask the Sistahs Episode 003. Listen to all four Sistahs answer your questions and give advice from a Sistah's point of view.

Join us in Chicago on July 9 for the Sistah Speak Family Reunion! Register here.

Podcast: Sistah Speak Podcast Network
Co-Hosts: Sistah A, Sistah J, Sistah K and Sistah LM
Date: 05.20.2016
Time: 1 Hour, 16 Minutes

May 20, 2016

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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.

"A private plane sits on a runway in Martha's Vineyard, forward stairs deployed. It is a nine-seat OSPRY 45XR, built in 2001 in Wichita, Kansas. Whose plane it is is hard to say with real certainty."

~ Before the Fall by Noah Hawley


May 19, 2016

The Bell Jar

"What I've done is to throw together events from my own life, fictionalizing to add color--it's a pot boiler really, but I think it will show how isolated a person feels when he is suffering a breakdown...I've tried to picture my world and the people in it as seen through the distorting lens of a bell jar." ~ pg. 254

The above quote from the author herself is the best description of The Bell Jar. It is the semi-autobiographical novel of Sylvia Plath which details her dream to become a writer and struggle with depression as her personal life falls apart and society refuses to take women's aspirations seriously. To Plath and the main fictional character, Esther Greenwood, the world was a bad dream.

Even though The Bell Jar was written more than 50 years ago, it is still relevant today. The questions of how to sort out your life, how to deal with men and sex, how to be true to your successful self and live day-to-day are all still the same today. The anxieties of life have not changed. Now I see why Plath was viewed by critics as a contemporary and feminist. It is unfortunate that her suicide in 1963 brought instant fame; Plath was already a literary star.

As I sat down to type my review of The Bell Jar, I realized it is damn near impossible. How do I review such a classic? Both the novel and the author's reputation is already established regardless of what I have to say. All I can offer is my recommendation for those who are unfamiliar with Sylvia Plath. (Re)Read this classic! Research the author and impact of her brief career as a poet, novelist and short story writer. See for yourself why The Bell Jar is the feminine companion to Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. See why this novel remains in Chickadee's favorites of all time. It is a great choice to read during National Mental Illness Awareness Month.

Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Published: January 1963
Pages: 255
Edition: eBook
Challenge: Bookish Kill Your TBR—Read the Classics; Popsugar A Classic from the 20th Century
Rating: ♥♥♥♥


The Pocket Wife

"Manic depression, the doctors said—the great magical force that turned on her and tricked her into thinking she could fly. Episodic, they said." ~ pg. 25

Dana Catrell lives a life of chaos. Her husband makes her feel like loose change in his pocket. When Dana is in a mania phase, part of her bipolar disorder, she finds there are holes in her memory. So what really happened on the afternoon of her friend/neighbor Celia's death? Was it murder or all in her head? Dana uses the clarity the mania brings to fill in the terrifying gaps in her memory in this thrilling debut novel.

The Pocket Wife is a 3Ms story: marriage, murder and madness. This novel is a good blend of psychological suspense and behavior told from the point of a view of a woman with bipolar disorder.

Title: The Pocket Wife
Author: Susan Crawford
Published: March 2015
Pages: 303
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥


May 18, 2016

The Sudden Appearance of Hope

"First impressions matter, when they are all you have to live by." ~ 5%

Every intended meeting with Hope Arden is as if she suddenly appeared for the very first time. You could have met her a thousand times before but forgot. It started when she was sixteen years old. Her mom setting the dinner table for three instead of four. Her dad not driving her to school. A friend who sees her as a stranger. A classmate who thinks she is the new girl. A cop who arrested her for a crime but can't remember why. So little of Hope Arden is left behind when memories are stripped away. Sure it may seem hurtful but Hope Arden takes advantage of her condition by living a dangerous life; she steals to live.

PERFECTION is a life-coaching app designed to make a better you. Once you download and give it access to all your data, it gives daily reminders and suggestions to make your life better. Where to shop, what to wear, where and what to eat, how much to spend, etc. Before long, it is addictive and heavily relied upon by tons of people.

A woman becomes consumed with the app PERFECTION to the point where she falls into a depression and commits suicide because she just isn't perfect enough. Hope Arden met this woman repeatedly but, of course, was forgotten. Hope takes it upon herself to steal jewels from the ones responsible for PERFECTION. Her personal vendetta gets entangled with the agenda of other dangerous users in the darknet.

"A gap between knowing a thing, and comprehending it. Between perception and belief." ~ 65%

Claire North, where in the heck did you get this idea from? It is a story line I never heard of or read before. Or did I forget? Hmmm... either way, The Sudden Appearance of Hope has an original premise with a subplot that could very well happen in real life. Apps run the world and Claire North certainly shows through her third novel how dangerous that can be.

Though too lengthy at parts, The Sudden Appearance of Hope is a recommended read for those looking for something original, dark and modern.

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 honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: The Sudden Appearance of Hope
Author: Claire North
Published: May 2016
Pages: 417
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥


May 17, 2016

Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art

"Basquiat was an omnivorous consumer of source material; he came, he saw, he painted." ~ pg. 347

Even if you lived in a cardboard box, never walked the streets of New York or stepped foot inside of a gallery, you surely heard the name Jean-Michel Basquiat. He was a young international painter mentored by Andy Warhol, known for his meteoric rise, graffiti art and signature words with a copyright symbol and crown. In less than a decade, he took over the art world and became an international artist. Unfortunately, his career ended far too soon as he died at the age of 27 years old from a drug overdose.

Nearly thirty years after his death, Basquiat is still recognized and his story is beyond vividly interesting. Based on hundreds of interviews done between August 1988 and November 1997, Phoebe Hoban goes into detail with Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art. It begins with his childhood, family life, teenage years and his brief adult life. The novel also covers the 1980s art scene, Basquiat's influence on art culture, the graffiti movement and inner workings of art galleries and dealers.

"For better or worse, Jean-Michel Basquiat has become the world's most famous black artist." ~ pg. 30

Basquiat was so much more than just a young black kid who wrote on buildings and sold art for millions. He is an icon. His black identity shows throughout his signature art. A Quick Killing in Art is the best biography, complete with a photo gallery, for those interested in reading an accurate tale on Basquiat, exploitation, fame, addiction and art dealers during the 1980s. This novel left me wondering, had Basquiat not died young and lost his life to drugs, what more he might have contributed to the art and hip hop culture. It is impossible to ignore the international legend that is Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Happy Official Pub Day, Phoebe Hoban!

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 honestly my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

Title: Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art
Author: Phoebe Hoban
Published: May 2016
Pages: 417
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♡


May 15, 2016

Series Sunday: What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day

(Idlewild #1) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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 What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, the first book in the Idlewild series by Pearl Cleage. After spending a decade in Atlanta with fancy blacks, fancy cars, elaborate homes, the best clothes and luxe lifestyles, Ava returns to her hometown of Idlewild, Michigan, with the weight of bad news. Why would anyone leave the hustle and bustle city life for a small northern community? Well, Ava needs peace and quiet. And it seems the town needs her too.

"I almost never just sit anywhere. I'm always talking or working or reading or watching TV or on the phone or worrying." ~ pg. 64

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day reminds me of the days I wanted to move to Idlewild. I had clients that loved living there. They dare not trade Detroit for the close-knit, lakefront, all-black town of Idlewild. Yes, it is very different than city life. Full of confident, relaxed black people. The smell of success fills the quiet streets.

The relationship between sisters Ava and Joyce is strong. They support each other without smothering or being too nosy. One is never too far from the other, yet they have different interests. It was heartwarming to read about a positive black familial relationship. This is the kind of fiction I miss: the good 'ole stories of the 1990s.

It is hard to imagine this novel was Pearl Cleage's debut so many years ago. What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day is a well written classic, still as good as ever.

Title: What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day
Author: Pearl Cleage
Published: January 1997
Pages: 173
Edition: eBook
Challenge: Bookish Kill Your TBR—Read the Classics; Popsugar A Book I Haven't Read Since High School
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


May 13, 2016

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Revision. 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.

"On the sidewalk outside 57 Great Jones Street, the usual sad lineup of crack addicts slept in the burning sun. Inside the two-story brick building, Jean-Michel Basquiat was asleep in his huge bed, bathed in blue television light. The air conditioner was broken and the room felt like a microwave oven. The bathroom door was ajar, revealing a glimpse of a black and tan Jacuzzi tub. On the ledge of the tub was a small pile of bloody syringes. "

~ Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art by Phoebe Hoban


May 12, 2016

The Ex

"Like every circumstantial case, every piece of evidence had two sides." ~ pg. 226

If I see a novel recommended in a few magazines and featured in my public library's new releases newsletter, I add it to my TBR without hesitation. Such is the case for Alafair Burke's The Ex. 

Twenty years ago, a woman broke up with her fiancé and ruined his life. Today Jack is still grieving his wife who was shot and killed by a 15-year-old boy three years ago. But he considers entering the dating scene when he spots a beautiful woman enjoying a champagne picnic alone in the park. It must be a sign because the woman is reading Jack's favorite book.

Eager to help her best friend start dating, Molly posts a blog on her popular website hoping to find the mysterious woman for Jack. Just a few days later, the woman and Jack make plans to meet officially in person at the waterfront. But it goes downhill from there. The mystery woman never shows up and next thing you know, Jack is arrested as the main suspect in a triple homicide—one of the victims happens to be a wealthy man who was held responsible for his wife's murder. Of course Jack has a motive but as the evidence against him grows, old fiancé Olivia sees this opportunity as a way to make up for the past. She dives headfirst into an investigation and finding out who framed Jack.

"You're basically saying it sounds too much like a lie to be a lie. You need more than that kind of logic to vouch for a client." ~ pg. 37

The Ex lives up to the hype. It deserved to be featured in magazines and by public libraries. It was that good. It kept me guessing and thinking of multiple outcomes of the plot. Even though a couple parts were predictable, the flow of the story kept me turning the pages, bouncing between my NOOK and a hardcover edition because I carried and read it everywhere.

The Ex is for readers who like psychological suspense stories. It belongs on the shelf beside The Girl on the Train, Before I Go To Sleep and Gone Girl. What you think is going to happen just may, but read to see how.

Title: The Ex
Author: Alafair Burke
Published: January 2016
Pages: 252
Editions: eBook & Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥