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Friday, August 29, 2014

#BookReview: I Did Not Kill My Husband by Liu Zhenyun

In reading more lit from Asian authors, I'm finding that like Russian literature, there's almost always a moral to the story.  I Did Not Kill My Husband from Liu Zhenyun is certainly no exception to this rule. Li Xuelian is a foolish woman when we meet her and when we leave her.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#BookReview: The Story Hour - Thrity Umrigar

I’m so blown away by the latest from Thrity Umrigar. I was a bit underwhelmed by her previous book, The World We Found, but I loved The Space Between Us, so my hope was that her new book would lean more toward The Space than The World. It seems my prayers were answered because The Story Hour is a fantastic read.
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Monday, August 25, 2014

#BookReview: The Choir Director 2: Runaway Bride - Carl Weber

If asked, I would be hard pressed to tell you whose work is more unbelievable and overly dramatic these days, Tyler Perry or Carl Weber. Both are experts at taking the far-fetched and turning it into something palatable. I’ve missed out on the last few Tyler Perry movies, but I think I can safely say that Carl Weber gives him a run for his money.
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Friday, August 15, 2014

#BookReview: Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James - David Ritz

Rick James sure did think highly of himself. I know I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know, especially if you saw him strut across a stage in the 80s, but wow. From his belief that he musically influenced Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye to his strange one-sided feud with Prince, who he thought was copying his style and stealing his ideas, it’s apparent that cocaine really is a hell of a drug.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#BookReview: For Once in My Life - Marianne Kavanagh

A series of missed connections is the premise behind Kavanagh’s For Once in My Life. It’s a boy meets girl, eventually, if you will. The problem is that while the characters are likable enough, the lead up to them actually meeting drags on for so long that readers could potentially stop caring if they’ll ever meet.
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Monday, August 11, 2014

#BookReview: On the Other Side - Michelle Janine Robinson

True Life: I don’t know what book I’m reading. No, really. I started this book thinking it was a different book, then realized almost halfway through that none of the characters mentioned had showed up and the story line was extremely different from what I’d read in the summary. Somehow, when the publisher uploaded the book I was supposed to read, this got uploaded instead, but with the cover and acknowledgements from the first book, so I was clueless to the fact that what I was reading what not what I was really reading. Make sense?
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Friday, August 8, 2014

#BookReview: Charlie Glass's Slippers by Holly McQueen

If life is just one big ball, why isn’t Charlie Glass having any fun? In this modern day twist on Cinderella; Charlie is the youngest daughter of famed shoe designer, Elroy Glass. The product of his second marriage, she’s always been shunned by both the stepmother and stepsisters she was forced to live with after her own mother’s death. Elroy’s failing health leaves Charlie playing nursemaid and at the mercy of her vile stepmother. But all is not lost! Cinderella is a fairy tale with a happy ending and, though this is no fairy tale, it’s safe to say that Charlie will end up with a happy ending of her own.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

#BookReview: The Other Side of the Pillow - Zane

Guest Post:  Today's post was written by the fabulous Dominique White who lives over at The Sweet Escape where she blogs about her adventures as a Literary Fiction/Romance/ Women's Fiction reader and writer. Her work has appeared at IndieInk.org, Short-Story.net and Storyfix.com. She enjoys reading (lots and lots of reading) writing, candy, Sprite, and things flavored with raspberry... but not raspberries themselves.

Review:  Yep, you read that right. Zane has penned another novel!

When I told my friends that Zane was publishing a new novel, I could sense them bracing for the storyline reveal. Zane is the author you look up when you want to read about characters getting down, in the biblical sense (if that reference even make sense, because....anyway). Imagine the surprised eyebrow raises and concerned forehead lines that appeared when I explained that, no seriously, Zane wrote a novel. It's erotic fiction,but an actual novel with like... a story.

"Does it have a plot?" My bestie asked. You know? It does.

I try not to rehash stories in my reviews, but just from a point of reference, The Other Side of the Pillow opens with the prologue, which is a scene from Jemistry's past. Granted, if any of her exes are like the piece of excrement from the prologue, then Jemistry deserved to be bitter for a long, long time. Forward to chapter one and we catch up with Jemistry (who I really want to call JerMajesty) years later. She's raised herself up by her bootstraps and become a successful high school Principal. She loves her job and the school and she's dedicated to her students.

But that's really where the good part ends for her, because outside of work Jemistry seems miserable. She's taken what the world handed to her and thrown it back. Instead of seeing men as partners, equals, someone to build a life with, she sees them as sex machines, objects placed in her path for her pleasure. She is angry...this pulses from her, especially when she's uttering a heartfelt man bashing poem at a poetry slam one night.

Tevin is your typical tall dark and handsome hunk, out for the night and not looking to meet anyone. He comes face to face with Jemistry's hurt and pain as he listens to her words... but instead of tucking his tail between his legs like most men, he decides to approach her.

Let me just stop here and say.........really? My theory about men is that they are astute, especially about bitterness or desperation. They can smell either from a mile away and they either avoid it or take advantage of it. Right away my ears are perked because I do not want to read about this female lead slicing this guy's manhood off.

This is a love story, so of course the two hit it off. We knew that was gonna happen, it's not a spoiler or a surprise. My surprise lies in how quickly it happens. For two people who have trust and security issues, they move awfully quickly into a relationship. Jemistry goes from 'I hate you and I want to cut your thing off' to 'yes, baby, I'll make you dinner and massage your shoulders and just be quiet, because you've had a long, hard day.'. I'd imagine that someone that spent years being abused and mistreated, that had so much anger inside her that it spewed into a microphone on a weekly basis would have resisted much longer and much harder.

For his part, I found Tevin to be controlling about certain aspects of their relationship. I'll say I was surprised at how often Jemistry caved to what he wanted instead of him listening to what was important to her.

The story line is predictable if you know the formula-- boy meets girl, boy and girl fall for each other, boy loses girl and has to fight for her, boy and girl reunite. The story doesn't waver much from this and for those who love a great romance and a happy ending (so to speak) Zane does bring it.

My nits with this novel are that it's predictable (but romances are, for the most part), and the dialog is stiff. There are a lot of 'morals wrapped in seven line paragraphs' and self serving speeches full of words real people don't use in regular conversation, no matter how smart they are. Using the word purchased instead of bought, for example, drove me up a wall. For someone who's been in the game as long as Zane has, I expect better dialog.

This is erotic fiction and what Zane does best is boil down the sexual experience into prose that make you feel like you're there in the room. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is up to the reader, but as someone who's read a bit of erotic fiction/erotic romance, it wasn't a bad thing at all. Not. At. All.

I gave this novel three stars, which means it was good, but not earth moving for me. If you're a Zane fan, you'll really enjoy this novel and if you're new to her catalog, it'd be good to start with a plot based story like this one before jumping into her more sex based novels.

Want another opinion on Zane's latest? Be sure to check out my review over at The Sweet Escape.

Published: August 2014
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are blogger's own.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

#BookReview: A Pinch of Ooh La La by Renee Swindle

There's so much to love about this book.  At first glance, it may seem like a typical girl meets boy story, but it's so much more.  I'll get into what really won me over, but first let me give you a quick synopsis.

A bad breakup left Abbey Ross living on her couch with too much time on her hands.  Reliving the public humiliation of finding out on the big screen that her fiance was cheating on her dealt her a huge blow.  But out of that incident is born her idea to attend culinary school and then open her own bakery in Oakland.  With her bakery a success, her best friend since high school, Bendrix, pushes her to get back out on the dating scene; when she doesn't take enough of an initiative, he does it for her.
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