June 30, 2016

Lit to Movie Review: Me Before You


A quirky girl forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man after she  becomes his caregiver.

Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Cast: Emilia Clarke (Lou Clark) & Sam Claflin (Will Traynor)
Release: June 2016
Time: 1 Hour, 50 Minutes
Genre: Romance
Movie Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Book Rating: ♥♥♥


 

June 28, 2016

First Comes Love


"Almost everyone describes the immediate aftermath of death the same way—as a surreal blur, at least for those in the inner circle, in charge of the details." ~ 12%

Sisters Josie and Meredith are opposites. Josie is impulsive and outgoing; Meredith is thoughtful and reserved. So when a tragic accident happens, their reactions are drastically different thus pushing the sisters further apart. Fifteen years pass and the sisters are at a crossroads. Josie is single at 37 years old and wants to be a mother more than anything but can't find a decent man to marry. Meredith is married and raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter, yet has regrets. The hashtag happy life she portrays on Instagram isn't so. As the anniversary of their family tragedy nears, the sisters realize they need each other and that ultimately, first comes love.

I can spot an Emily Giffin novel anywhere with its signature font on a simple pastel book cover. But First Comes Love is a bit different than usual. I barely recognized it at first glance. Do I spy cursive font on a bland coral (plain white on hardcover edition) cover? Why, yes I do.

The book cover is not the only thing that was different. I usually bond with the "wrong" or "bad" character in Emily Giffin's novels. I empathize with cheaters, disloyal friends and side chicks. So reading the synopsis of First Comes Love led me to assume I would root for a certain sister. Hmmm, not so. I disliked the sisters equally. No fault of the author at all. In fact, Emily Giffin wrote such descriptive personalities of the main characters that I was constantly irked by their dialogue, actions and jabs at each other. Even though they were not likable, I was still engaged in how their fictional lives progressed and still cared about how their story ended. But fair warning, it does not have the lasting charm effect of Something Blue, Something Borrowed or Where We Belong.

Chick lit book clubs and fans, try reading First Comes Love for a summertime selection. Happy Pub Day, Emily Giffin!

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: First Comes Love
Author: Emily Giffin
Published: June 2016
Pages: 304
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Popsugar—The First Book I See in a Bookstore
Rating: ♥♥♥

 

June 26, 2016

Series Sunday: Cross Kill

(Alex Cross #23.5) 


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 Cross Kill, #23.5 in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson. The killer from Along Came a Spider, the very first Alex Cross book, is back from the grave like he promised. Gary Soneji has been dead for over ten years but Alex Cross swears he saw him shoot his partner, John Sampson. Whaaaaa?!

"Gary Soneji in the flesh. As if he hadn't been blown up and burned, as if he hadn't spent the past decade in a box under six feet of dirt." ~ pg. 46

From the first page of this BOOKSHOT, it lived up to its promise: lightning-fast story, devour in a few hours, impossible to stop reading and original content. I abso-nanamama-lutely loved it! And just an FYI to my bookhearts following the Alex Cross series, Cross Kill ends with a cliffhanger that will leave you hanging on to Patterson's last word until the next novel releases. You cannot skip this one!

Click here to learn more about BOOKSHOTS. Then download the app on your mobile device/tablet to start reading the perfect summer choice for my Keeping Up with Patterson reading challenge.

Title: Cross Kill
Author: James Patterson
Published: June 2016
Pages: 105
Edition: BOOKSHOT
Challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

 

June 24, 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.

"Time is a tricky thing... When you wanted to savor something, it would speed by in a blur. When you wanted to get past something, it would drag on forever."

~ First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

 

June 22, 2016

All at Sea


"Then I read about my own family's tragedy in my newspaper, and the only thing I could think was: they can't be talking about me." ~ 2%

I was hooked from the first lines. Click here to read my First Lines Friday feature then return to this review; I'll wait.

I know your interest is piqued. Mine was too. From that point on, I could not stop reading All at Sea until I flipped the last ePage. Even then I googled articles for more information and pictures. Decca Aitkenhead's memoir begins with a life-changing event. On a hot morning on a beautiful beach in Jamaica, her four-year-old son is playing by the water's edge when a wave pulls him out to sea. Her significant other, Tony, immediately tries to save their son's life. Only one lives. Tony drowns right before their eyes.

Going back in time, Decca recalls her relationship with Tony. They were quite the improbable couple—she is an award-winning journalist; he was a drug dealer. But against all odds and despite naysayers, their love and family grew.

"Without Tony I am limp and bleeding, because half of me is missing." ~ 88%

The cover is relaxing but the content is heavy. All at Sea is not the best book to read oceanside or at the beach. It is not light-hearted though it leaves you with hope. It was fitting that I read it during a rainy summer day. Decca Aitkenhead's honest descriptive writing hit me in the gut. I felt her raw grief. All at Sea is a true story of love and loss that I recommend to all bookhearts. You may not want to read it now during summer vacay but definitely add it to your TBR.

All at Sea will be re-published in August.

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: All at Sea
Author: Decca Aitkenhead
Published: April & August 2016
Pages: 166
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡


 

June 21, 2016

A House for Happy Mothers


"With a surrogate they not only brought home their baby, but helped a poor woman lead a better life." ~ pg. 30

Priya has a loving husband and great career but what she wants most is the child she's unable to have. After three miscarriages and three failed IVF treatments, Priya considers surrogacy. Overseas in a Southern Indian village, Asha is married and raising two children. Asha and her husband can barely keep a hut roof over their heads let alone afford a better education for their gifted son. Selling her womb would make money but no one in the village would approve. Through the Happy Mothers House, the two women are forever linked together.

A House for Happy Mothers is a feel-good book. I genuinely felt happy when I finished reading it. I am sure overseas surrogacy happens often in the real world so it was nice to get some insight on how cultures and new lives are brought together.

I have not read Amulya Malladi's other highly rated novels, The Mango Season and Serving Crazy with Curry, but I downloaded both eBooks. Color me impressed with how she weaves a warm tale featuring women of color, Indian culture and economic status. I recommend A House for Happy Mothers to all bookhearts and especially to women's book clubs that read diversely.

A House for Happy Mothers is available as of June 1, 2016.

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: A House for Happy Mothers
Author: Amulya Malladi
Published: June 2016
Pages: 304
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Popsugar A Book That's Guaranteed to Bring Me Joy
Rating: ♥♥♥♥

 

#KillYourTBR2016 June


  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ~ A series AND a movie? *iSqueal* Following a family tragedy, a boy follows clues left by his grandfather that take him to an abandoned orphanage. The movie adaptation release date is September 30, 2016.
  • Nerve ~ A mysterious stranger and a high school senior plays a popular online game that takes a sinister turn. EEK! The movie adaptation release date is July 27, 2016.
  • Me Before You ~ A young and happy-go-lucky woman becomes a caregiver to a wealthy cynical banker left paralyzed from an accident. This adaptation is in theaters now!
I plan to see all of the above movie adaptations. Stay tuned for my book and movie reviews to see which is better. If you are interested in joining this challenge with me, visit Bookish for the deets. Share your progress using #KillYourTBR2016 on social media.

 

June 19, 2016

Series Sunday: A Sinful Calling

(Reverend Curtis Black #13) 


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 A Sinful Calling, the 13th book in the Reverend Curtis Black series by Kimberla Lawson Roby. She is one of the few authors that I "shelf stalk." I stay current with new releases and blessed to have received an advance copy for my honest review. This 13th installment of the series is a doozy, bookhearts!

"Doing things tit for tat never works." ~ 74%

A Sinful Calling is a literary soap opera. Dillon, the Reverend's firstborn child, does not fall far from Adam and Eve's apple tree. Though his actions are almost identical to his father's, he is determined to be a bigger and better Reverend. Marital issues be damned. His goal is to create a mega-church with a larger congregation. It is Dillon's top priority to destroy the infamous Reverend Curtis Black.

Alicia, the Reverend's second oldest child, is also estranged from the family. Still grieving the loss of her ex-husband Philip, she deals with adjusting to her new marriage to Levi, the former drug dealer she had an affair with. The only confidante she has is brother Dillon. Alicia even left her father's church to join Dillon's congregation as COO. But it all makes Alicia hide a disturbing secret that threatens her life and those around her.

"Well, I think one of the saddest things I see are phony Christians." ~ 34%

Some series are only good for a few novels. A lot of series fall off after ten books. But Kimberla Lawson Roby continues to write a strong Reverend Curtis Black series with thirteen books to date. The central themes are still revenge, church scandal and family drama; although, it began on a slower tamer pace and didn't pick up until thirdway through. The main characters in A Sinful Calling—Dillon, Raven, Alicia and Levi—remained true to their fictional personalities making it a little predictable as to their actions. But a famous Kimberla twist threw me for a loop.

Was A Sinful Calling worth my shelf stalking? Yes! Such a fitting title. So grab it when published on June 21, 2016.

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: A Sinful Calling
Author: Kimberla Lawson Roby
Published: June 2016
Pages: 336
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♡


 

June 17, 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) or watch list.
  • Share the first line(s) or trailer.
  • Include the title and author.


Orange is the New Black is back! Time for a weekend of binge-watching S4. Check out the teaser trailer above.

 

June 16, 2016

She Professional


Y'all.

Y'ALL.

My life is now separated into two parts: pre-Formation and post-Formation.

Two nights ago, I attended the last leg of the Formation World Tour in the D. It was not my first time seeing Beyoncé live in concert. Yet this time left me empowered and ready to squeeze lemons into lemonade. I cannot even put into words what a good performer she is. I won't go down the "your fave could never" road. Just know that she deserved all my coins that were paid for the show. It was a small price to pay for the boost of motivation I gained.



  

June 15, 2016

Glory Over Everything


"Where, then, did I belong? Was my birth an accident of fate, or was my life intended to have some purpose?" ~ pg. 344

True to its title, Glory Over Everything goes beyond The Kitchen House. It is a novel of family, secrets and promises along the Underground Railroad. It begins in 1830 with main character Jamie Pyke, a black man who once fled from a Virginia plantation now passing for a wealthy white silversmith in Philadelphia.

Having kept this secret for years, he must reveal his true identity when his lover Caroline announces she is pregnant. But first, Jamie must keep a promise and find his beloved servant boy, Pan, who was captured and sold into slavery. The journey will take Jamie dangerously close to Tall Oakes, the plantation he fled from and location of the slave hunter who is still looking for him. Nevertheless, Jamie takes a risky journey back south through the Underground Railroad.

Kathleen Grissom can tell a story with the best of 'em. I could imagine the characters and scenes as I read along. Her descriptive settings and engaging dialogue kept me turning the pages; I was sad when I reached the end. For 370 pages, I was a nosy neighbor peeking through the blinds at the fictional life of Jamie Pyke.

My only gripe is I wish Glory Over Everything was released a lot sooner after The Kitchen House. I had to remind myself of the characters and their back story. For this reason, bookhearts can read Glory Over Everything as a standalone. I am absolutely sure you will enjoy it.

Title: Glory Over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House
Author: Kathleen Grissom
Published: April 2016
Pages: 370
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♡

 

June 14, 2016

The Butterfly Garden


"Beauty loses its meaning when you're surrounded by too much of it." ~ 12%

Somewhere near an isolated mansion is a garden with beautiful flowers, large trees and precious butterflies. But not the kind you'd expect. The "Butterflies" are eight young women who have been kidnapped, abused, renamed, immortalized and tattooed by a twisted man called The Gardener. When the butterfly garden is discovered, the FBI questions one of the survivors to solve the case.

*scratching temple in confusion* The Butterfly Garden is one of those novels that is over-hyped. Critics and readers rave about its greatness. It is dubbed as the book of the summer. Magazines feature it as a must-read. So when I open it and start reading, I have high expectations.

"Reading had been an escape when I was younger, and even though I didn't have anything I particularly needed to escape from anymore, it was still something I loved." ~ 17%

Either my ARC is missing the good chapters or I'm of unpopular opinion. It was just okay. Some parts could've been eliminated; fewer parts were page-turners. The main character had a fine way of storytelling but not enough to pull me in. I kept thinking the women could've done more and didn't understand why they pretty much accepted being butterflies. Fear is real; I get it. But how do you not try to escape?

I usually read psycho-thrillers in one or two sittings. I struggled getting through The Butterfly Garden. The only reason I finished reading is because it is an ARC and I wanted to see if the story turned around. Welp... Again, I know this is unpopular opinion so read The Butterfly Garden for yourself and let me know your thoughts.

The Butterfly Garden was published on June 1, 2016.

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 Butterfly Garden
Author: Dot Hutchison
Published: June 2016
Pages: 288
Edition: Galley
Rating: ♥♥

 

June 12, 2016

Series Sunday: BOOKSHOTS


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 about the new live app BOOKSHOTS. It is perfect for fellow James Patterson fans and a great companion to my bookish challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson. Read or listen to thrillers, romance and non-fiction eBooks on the go using your iPhone/Android/iPad/tablet. All eBooks are $3.99 and under 150 pages. With Patterson, a whole lot can happen in 150 pages!

No, short stories and novellas are not new. But Patterson takes it to another level with a convenient app and special features. The BOOKSHOTS app will hold your purchases in a library. Previews are free. New eBooks will be released monthly by James Patterson and other new authors. It will tide over Alex Cross, Michael Bennett and Women's Murder Club readers until the next full installment of the series. The user-friendly layout and purpose of BOOKSHOTS encourages us to read more.

Download the app and stay tuned for my review of the following BOOKSHOTS: Cross Kill, The Trial, Little Black Dress, The McCullagh Inn in Maine, Chase, and 113 Minutes.

Title: BOOKSHOTS
Author: James Patterson
Published: June 2016
Pages: Less than 150
Edition: eBook & Audiobook
Challenge: Keeping Up with Patterson
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

 

June 10, 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.

"The thing to remember about this story is that every word is true. If I never told it to a soul, and this book did not exist, it would not cease to be true."

~ All at Sea by Decca Aitkenhead

 

June 8, 2016

The Girls in the Garden


"I'm starting to think there's something not right about this community." ~ pg. 54

No shit, Pip (squeak). Picture a communal garden square in urban London where children run in and out of other people's houses. The neighbors have known each other for years. You trust that your children are safe. But on a summer night as a neighborhood party is taking place, 12-year-old Pip discovers her 13-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious in the garden. What happened?

Before I delve further into my review, let's look at the gorgeous book cover. It would certainly catch my attention on a bookshelf. Well designed!

Now on to the book itself. I enjoyed Lisa Jewell's other novels so I assumed this would be a suspenseful page-turner with characters I could connect to. Hmmm, perhaps it was because I figured out the mystery early on, but The Girls in the Garden was meh. Pip was an okay narrator but the chapters focused on other characters were a bore. It was very slow-paced; although, the book started off with the main incident and the book was separated into "before" and "after" sections. Great layout but not-so-good content. Pass on it, bookhearts.

The Girls in the Garden was published on June 7, 2016.

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 Girls in the Garden
Author: Lisa Jewell
Published: June 2016
Pages: 252
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Popsugar A Book Set in Europe
Rating: ♥♥♡

 

June 7, 2016

I Almost Forgot About You


"When every day feels the same and the needle just doesn't move?" ~ pg. 197

Dr. Georgia Young has a wonderful life—a fulfilling career as an optometrist, best girlfriends and a loving family. But she feels stuck and ready for a change. There is a greater meaning to life and Georgia intends to discover it. The first step is contacting the men she loved just to let them know she didn't forget about them; she chooses to remember.

Listen. Terry McMillan clearly took her time writing this one. I Almost Forgot About You is a story well thought out and well written. I took my time reading to appreciate every part of this grown woman story. By the last page, I was inspired to actively start a project of my own similar to the main character's. Not too many fiction books urge me to take action in this way. Kudos to the author!

I Almost Forgot About You is not a fast-paced story nor is it full of drama. Instead readers will get something more valuable: a well-told story that is relatable to any mature woman during any stage of her life. It will encourage readers to embrace change and take chances. How many times have you wondered "what if" or daydreamed about possibilities? How many times have you almost forgot about someone from your past? Let this fiction story help remind you.

Happy Pub Day, Terry McMillan! I Almost Forgot About You is available today.

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: I Almost Forgot About You
Author: Terry McMillan
Published: June 2016
Pages: 299
Edition: Galley
Challenge: Popsugar Book That is Published in 2016
Rating: ♥♥♥♥

 

June 5, 2016

Series Sunday: Addicted With a Twist

(Addicted #1.5) 


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 Addicted With a Twist, the sequel to the popular novel, Addicted, by Zane. A married woman's life spirals out of control with her three affairs. Picking up three years later, Zoe and Jason are still married but slipping back into her old ways, she has a hotel rendezvous with a man called Orpheus. It appears Zoe has not overcome her sexual addiction.

"LIBERTINE—a person who has sex with no morals." ~ pg. 5

I have not read Zane in umpteen years. Though I have most of her earlier books in my personal library, her stories began to all read the same. Too predictable erotica. Too comfortable in being the current hot author. Too book production line. So I stopped reading Zane. But while browsing an online bookstore, I came across Addicted With a Twist. I never knew this book existed!

Addicted With a Twist is a super short eBook at less than 30 pages; hence why I dubbed it #1.5 in the series. It is straight to the point and a quick glance into how Zoe, her momma, Jason and Orpheus are doing. It will only take a few minutes to read so I suggest borrowing from the library.

Title: Addicted With a Twist
Author: Zane
Published: August 2014
Pages: 26
Edition: eBook
Rating: ♥♥♥

 

June 3, 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.

"Life is often amusing. Right when you honestly start to believe that you have everything figured out and under control, you get this curveball thrown at you that you can't quite maneuver your emotional well-being into the position to catch."

~ Addicted With a Twist by Zane

 

June 1, 2016

Sunday's on the Phone to Monday


"The taste of the book slept on her palate." ~ pg. 66

The once romantic bohemian couple, Claudio and Mathilde Simone, are now domesticated in New York raising three daughters and running a struggling vinyl record store. Claudio's family is Mathilde's family and vice versa. Over the years, their family bonds are tested as they face mental illness, physical illness, true origins and secrets.

Sunday's on the Phone to Monday is meant to be a family love story. Readers will see the same ties that bond a family together may tear a family apart as well. Written in an odd lyrical style, I could not get into this novel. I tried, put it down a couple times, tried again and finally pushed through. However, I should have implemented my 50-Page Rule.

Pass on it, bookhearts.

Title: Sunday's on the Phone to Monday
Author: Christine Reilly
Published: April 2016
Pages: 318
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♡