January 30, 2019

96 Words for Love

"When I close my eyes in prayer and think of the impermanence of all this, I see different paths." ~ pg. 300

The world does not need another modern retelling. Yet the name recognition of authors enticed me. One of my favorite authors, James Patterson, presents a modern retelling of a classic Indian legend by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash. A coming-of-age story written by celebs!

I am not familiar with the Indian legend of Shakuntala and Dushyanta so I cannot compare the two stories or rate the accuracy of the retelling. However, it is very modern and current far as dialect and event happenings. Raya Liston is a 17-year-old high school graduate just accepted to UCLA. Then her beloved grandmother dies with a final wish: visit the ashram in India.

Raya and her cousin spend their last free summer traveling to India together. Raya hopes to find her true path (young as she is). She did not expect to fall in love or learn there are 96 ways to say the word "love."

"You look like all the hardships of living in perfect contentment are finally getting to you." ~ pg. 129

Deepak Chopra says 96 Words for Love is "a feast for your soul." Kim Kardashian West calls it "a universal love story as fresh, vibrant, and stunning as the backdrop of India it is set in." I say kudos to this mother-daughter duo penning a story of self-discovery in a unique setting.

Was 96 Words for Love worth stepping out on a limb to read this YA novel presented by James Patterson, written by mother-daughter team, Rachel Roy and Ava Dash? Yes indeed. Their Indian immigrant heritage gave credibility to the traditions told in the book. I expected a shallow YA first love type of story but instead was treated to a coming-of-age story where I learned tidbits about Indian culture and ashram living. But 96 Words for Love is not deep reading and may be meh to adults. I recommend high school students or college freshmen borrow it from the local library then research topics they found interesting (like finding the other 95 ways to say "love").

Title: 96 Words for Love
Author: Rachel Roy & Ava Dash
Published: January 2019
Pages: 302
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤


January 29, 2019

My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers

The World According to Fannie Davis

"The numbers business in Detroit was still thriving in the '50s. In fact, the Numbers were by then ubiquitous in black communities throughout the country." ~ 19%

In 1958, a woman named Fannie Davis borrowed $100 to run a Numbers business out of her apartment on Delaware St. in Detroit, Michigan. She wore many hats: bookie, banker, wife, mother of five, grandmother of one, and numbers runner. She ran her illegal-to-legitimate business for 34 years. This true story is an example of black woman making a way out of no way.

I don't know much about "the numbers" other than it being a natural part of my life. I thought everyone's family played and tracked the lottery. Yellow legal pads, wide-ruled composition notebooks, dog-eared pages and multi-colored ballpoint pens were common around the kitchen table. Making daily trips to the store to "put numbers in" was routine. But it wasn't until I read the advance copy of The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers that I realized this was a unique lifestyle.

"Detroit's Numbers racket was now an estimated $15 million-a-year enterprise." ~ 25%

The best person to write about her mother's life in the Detroit numbers was Bridgett M. Davis. As the youngest daughter, she saw the system up front and personal. She witnessed the highs and lows of street lottery life. And she explained it in a way that anyone could understand. While reading, I ran a couple passages by Chickadee, whom I consider a seasoned Numbers guru. Bridgett's telling of the Detroit Numbers is very accurate, I am told. Even the unfamiliar will be fascinated and educated about street numbers, legal lottery and racial justice.

Not only does My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers tell the true story of gambling, but also of a successful black businesswoman. Fannie Davis provided a good life for her family by taking others' bets on 3-digit numbers. She was part of the enterprise! Detroit Numbers was a black-owned and black-controlled business.

"What has it meant to finally reveal this secret I've carried in my belly for over a century?" ~ 98%

The World According to Fannie Davis would be perfect for a book club discussion. It makes me smile while reading a book that mentions city streets, neighborhoods, local trends and places. For example, Bridgett attended the same prestigious high school as I did (Cass Tech) and had a part-time job at Winkelmann's (my favorite department store back-in-the-day at Eastland Mall). Writing details about the setting builds rapport with the reader. Another reason I am looking forward to discussing it with a local bookheart over brunch. No doubt it will be an interesting chat.

Happy Pub Day, Bridgett M. Davis. The World According to Fannie Davis is available today. Totally recommendable!

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

Title: The World According to Fannie Davis
Author: Bridgett M. Davis
Published: January 2019
Pages: 320
Edition: Galley
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤


January 27, 2019

Series Sunday: Rebirth

(Raw #3) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. 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 Rebirth, the final book in the Raw trilogy by Belle Aurora. It's been five (5) years since readers were introduced to Twitch and Lexi. Since she fell in love with her stalker. Since author Belle Aurora wrote about a fictional life that was too raw to be called a love story or chick lit. 

"I was a sinner, and she was my only prayer. A deity. The only goddess I worshipped." ~ pg. 90

It's been six (6) years since Lexi's life was turned upside down. She was exposed to Twitch's dark side. No way she could go back to the innocent woman she once was. But she does not regret it. If given the chance, she would do it all over again a thousand times. Hence Rebirth.

"I wore her love like a tattoo."
~ pg. 322

A lot can happen in five (5) years. My taste in reading matured. Genres that I loved no longer interest me. But I've been waiting for this story to end. Waiting on this raw, twisted story to come full closure. Maybe I expected too much but the beginning draaaaaagged. Then it picked up and I found myself unable to close the eBook without reading "one more chapter" before bed. Was it worth the wait? Not quite. Is it worth reading? Fuck yeah!

Title: Rebirth
Author: Belle Aurora
Published: January 2019
Pages: 437
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤


January 25, 2019

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. 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 day I came squealing and squalling into the world was the first time someone tried to kill me."

~ Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

January 23, 2019

The Sometimes Sisters

"So I should be going to sleep about now, not waking up to the smell of roses and pure lake water. I could be happy here forever. If it weren't for my sisters." ~ pg. 40

Sisters Harper, Tawny and Dana visited their Granny Annie for a month every summer. Twelve cabins were located behind the café and convenience store—Beer, Bait, and Bologna. The sisters spent most time in the small white two-bedroom house just a short distance away. But their visits suddenly came to a halt before Harper's 16th birthday. A bittersweet inheritance reunites the estranged sisters ten years later.

Granny Annie left the business and home to her granddaughters. Of course it is filled with memories when they return. Lots of good times were shared once before. Now they are riddled with guilt, secrets and mistrust. Author Carolyn Brown writes a steady tale as these "sometimes sisters" find they are always family.

The Sometimes Sisters is great for "sometimes" readers that only pick up a book every now and then for a few pages of reading.

Title: The Sometimes Sisters
Author: Carolyn Brown
Published: February 2018
Pages: 252
Edition: eBook
Rating: 🖤  🖤 🖤


January 22, 2019

Memes & Reading Challenges of 2019

2019 Goodreads Challenge: Read 50 books in 2019. #Picky50 

2019 Page Count Challenge: Read 19,000+ pages in 2019.

Keeping Up with Patterson Challenge: Read books in the Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club, and Michael Bennett series by James Patterson.

Perpetual Kinsey Millhone Challenge: Continue to read books in the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series by Sue Grafton.

Perpetual Jack Reacher Challenge: Continue to read books in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.

Live Read: Post comments/reactions in real time as I am reading a book.

#2BooksUnder50Reviews Challenge by @reggiereads: Read and review two (2) books, published in 2017 or earlier, that have less than 50 reviews on Goodreads. Bring exposure to underrated gems!

First Lines Friday: Share the first line(s) from current read(s).

Series Sunday: Share a review/recommendation of a book in a series.

Lit Tidbits: Share current literary news.

US vs. UK: Compare covers of books released in US/UK.

Life of a Migraineur: Share moments of my life with migraines.

View all of Literary Marie's Memes and Reading Challenges here.