Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review: I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan

I Almost Forgot About YouTitle: I Almost Forgot About You 
Author: Terry McMillan
Publisher/Publication Date: Crown; June 7, 2016
Genre: Womens Fiction; Chick Lit; Fiction
Source/Format: Blogging for Books; Hardcover

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting To Exhale is back with the inspiring story of a woman who shakes things up in her life to find greater meaning...

In I Almost Forgot About You, Dr. Georgia Young's wonderful life--great friends, family, and successful career--aren't enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to make some major changes in her life, quitting her job as an optometrist, and moving house, she finds herself on a wild journey that may or may not include a second chance at love. Like Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, I Almost Forgot About You will show legions of readers what can happen when you face your fears, take a chance, and open yourself up to life, love, and the possibility of a new direction...

My Thoughts:

This book was about love, life, careers, and relationships. It was also about overcoming fear of change.

I Almost Forgot About You is the first book I’ve read by Terry McMillan, and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed. I really enjoyed this book, and how McMillan handled themes such as love, loss, failed relationships, and attempts to reinvent oneself later in life. It was truly a joy getting to read Dr. Georgia Young’s story.

I Almost Forgot About You is basically about Georgia as she examines her life and past relationships. She feels stuck in her life, and bored by the career she’s occupied for years. After certain events, Georgia is shocked enough to take a trip down memory lane, and comes up with an ambitious plan to change her life. Really, it all worked in the end, which was great since I was really excited to read this book.

McMillan does a fantastic job handing the subject and themes of this book. Her writing had an easy flow to it, and it was hard to put down. I almost read the book in one day, but had to take a break to work on some other things. Suffice to say, I came back to the book. It had many contemporary themes, and the story was extremely interesting to me. Honestly, through all of the ups and downs, I wanted to see what the end of the book had in store for Georgia, her family, and her friends.

It's also an emotional journey as the characters each moved through their respective lives, and came to terms with unexpected changes. The friendships were also great, and it was nice to see how big of a role Georgia’s friends played in her life. One of my favorite characters was definitely Georgia’s mom. She was fantastic! She was so optimistic and really lived life to the fullest—she was, in short, a fabulous character. If she had her own book, I would probably read it.

I could really go on all day about all the things I liked about this book, but I’ve got to end this review sometime today. So, the ending was a satisfying conclusion to the story, and I was more than happy with it. Needless to say, I Almost Forgot About You is definitely one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2016.

Rating 4.5/5

This copy of the book was provided by Blogging for Books (publisher) for this review, thank you!

About the Author...

Terry McMillan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Waiting to Exhale, A Day Late and a Dollar Short, and The Interruption of Everything and the editor of Breaking Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Fiction.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Review: Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams

Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker's Guide, #3)Title: Life, the Universe and Everything
Author: Douglas Adams
Publisher/Publication Date: Del Rey Books, April 30, 2002 (First published in 1982)
Genre: Science Fiction
Source/Format: Purchased, Paperback Omnibus Edition

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads–so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation. They are Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered space and time traveler who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend, who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vice president of the Campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behavior; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-president of the galazy; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox. How will it all end? Will it end? Only this stalwart crew knows as they try to avert “universal” Armageddon and save life as we know it–and don’t know it!

My Thoughts:

I’m steadily working my way through the omnibus edition of this series, and so far, I really like it. Adam Douglas’ style is interesting—classic science fiction elements mixed with humor and outrageous methods of going about life in the universe.

Life, the Universe and Everything picks up where The Restaurant at the End of the Universe left off. Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are still living under the forced confines of their latest predicament. But they, of course, manage to get out of it in the most hilarious and random way possible. From there, the story delves into new issues that involved messing around with time—and the potential consequences—the impending destruction of the entire universe and the usual variety of problems that always seem to plague Arthur.

Life, the Universe and Everything was a fantastic book, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The settings were fantastic as always and fit perfectly with the world already established by the previous books. All the old characters were back. Many of them dealing with the events that happened in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe in their own ways. But trouble was afoot, and it was interesting to see how the characters dealt with it. A lot of unexpected things happened in this book, which made it interesting.

I will read on, because I’m curious to know what the next books have in-store for Arthur Dent, Trillion, Ford Prefect, Marvin, and Zaphod Beeblebox.
Rating 5/5

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

ARC Review: Break in Case of Emergency by Jessica Winter

Break in Case of Emergency: A novelTitle: Break in Case of Emergency: A novel 
Author: Jessica Winter
Publisher/Publication Date: Knopf, July 12, 2016 
Genre: Womens Fiction, Chick Lit, Fiction
Source/Format: Publisher (First to Read), eARC

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

An irreverent and deeply moving comedy about friendship, fertility, and fighting for one’s sanity in a toxic workplace...

Jen has reached her early thirties and has all but abandoned a once-promising painting career when, spurred by the 2008 economic crisis, she takes a poorly defined job at a feminist nonprofit. The foundation’s ostensible aim is to empower women, but staffers spend all their time devising acronyms for imaginary programs, ruthlessly undermining one another, and stroking the ego of their boss, the larger-than-life celebrity philanthropist Leora Infinitas. Jen’s complicity in this passive-aggressive hellscape only intensifies her feelings of inferiority compared to her two best friends—one a wealthy attorney with a picture-perfect family, the other a passionately committed artist—and so does Jen’s apparent inability to have a baby, a source of existential panic that begins to affect her marriage and her already precarious status at the office. As Break in Case of Emergency unfolds, a fateful art exhibition, a surreal boondoggle adventure in Belize, and a devastating personal loss conspire to force Jen to reckon with some hard truths about herself and the people she loves most...

My Thoughts:

With this one, I had an interesting reading experience. Sometimes I was a little bored, at other times I was entertained by the antics of the characters, and the sheer ridiculous things that went on and were said. There were also moments that were serious and dealt with issues that directly concerned the characters. And, yeah, I had a few slight laughs, but even still, Break in Case of Emergency was an average read for me.

The book was basically about Jen who had reached a rocky point in her life and struggled with attempts to have a baby, job loss, and new employment—all while trying to navigate life at its best and worst. Along for the ride are Jen’s friends—Pam and Meg—and coworkers at a foundation supposedly meant to encourage/help woman.

Some of it was genuinely humorous, but at some points I felt like the book was trying too hard to be funny and didn’t really achieve the kind of effect it could have had. So, forced humor aside, there were parts that I really enjoyed. The story itself wasn’t actually bad, and the exploration of the various relationships and changes in Jen’s life were actually the highlights of Break in Case of Emergency. The relationships felt almost real and absolutely normal in a refreshing kind of way with believable ups and downs.

The foundation that Jen ended up working for was a source of occasional humor, but it was a toxic work environment. Really, the relationships are what kept me reading despite everything else, because I was curious to see where each character ended up by the end. The ending itself was alright, but I was already expecting it just based off everything I’d read up until that point.

So, Break in Case of Emergency wasn’t bad. And while it did fall short in some aspects, the family and friendship dynamics were great. So, this book had its highpoints, and I’ll give it that.

Rating 3/5

This copy of the book was provided by the publisher (First to Read) for this review, thank you!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review: Level Up by Cathy Yardley

27068944Title: Level Up 
Author: Cathy Yardley
Publisher/Publication Date: Cathy Yardley, January 3, 2016
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Source/Format: Purchased (freebie), ebook

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Geeky introvert Tessa Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to get promoted to video game engineer– including create a fandom-based video game in just three weeks. The only problem is, she can't do it alone. Now, she needs to strong-arm, cajole, and otherwise socialize with her video game coworkers, especially her roommate, Adam, who’s always been strictly business with her. The more they work together, though, the closer they get…

Adam London has always thought of his roomie Tessa as “one of the guys” until he agreed to help her with this crazy project. Now, he’s thinking of her all the time… and certainly as something more than just a roommate! But his last girlfriend broke up with him to follow her ambitions, and he knows that Tessa is obsessed with getting ahead in the video game world.

Going from friends to something more is one hell of a challenge. Can Tessa and Adam level up their relationship to love?

My Thoughts:

I don’t typically read contemporary since sci-fi and fantasy novels are more my thing. However, when I do pick up a contemporary, then that means I’m specifically interested in the book in question. Level Up seemed like a good one, so, I went ahead and gave it a try. Going into this book, I was unfamiliar with Yardley’s novels. The shiny golden feature that drew me to Level Up was the synopsis. 
I like video games and I play them when I have the time, so, Level Up seemed like my kind of book.

And I was right.

The story follows Tessa Rodriguez, a self-proclaimed introvert who designs video games for a living—she was also looking to get promoted, and had a very career based mindset, which I found refreshing.

I really enjoyed reading about Tessa, and some of my favorite parts were seeing her find a comfortable environment with people who she could really talk to. It was the kind of friendship between female characters that I look for in books. And then there was Adam, Tessa’s roommate. He was sweet and caring despite the fact that he had his own share of problems to deal with. The other characters that were directly associated with Tessa and Adam were great too. And despite the short length of Level Up, these side characters were developed pretty well. They had differing personality, which added an extra layer of depth to the story.

My only real complaint was the length. It was too short. I wanted more! Still, the story was a good one and the ending was satisfying. All-in-all, Level Up was a quick and very fun read.

Rating 4/5

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Blitz, Re-release Spotlight, Excerpt & Review: Her Secret, His Surprise by Paula Altenburg

Her Secret, His Surprise by Paula Altenburg
Re-release of newly edited version: 4/11/16

Special sale price! Her Secret, His Surprise will be on sale for $.99 for a limited time only!

About the book:

Conflict of interest is an understatement…

Since being disowned by her strict father, Cass Stone has spent her adulthood trying to prove him wrong. Her drive has led to more success than her family ever thought she’d achieve, and life is looking great. Not even an incredible and mysterious one night stand that leaves her a single mom can trip her up...until the father of her baby stumbles back into her life, as sexy as ever.

Logan Alexander hasn’t forgotten the night he spent with Cass two years ago, but he never expects to end up undercover as her assistant. His job saves lives—like it should have saved his brother—and he can’t afford complications. It’s difficult enough to maintain his cover as a carefree wanderer when he realizes his attraction to Cass hasn’t faded...and then he meets Cass’s daughter.

**Note: this title was originally released July 14, 2014 and has been updated to be a closed door Bliss.

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My Thoughts

I reviewed this novel in 2014, prior to the revisions. You can read my thoughts about Her Secret, His Surprise by clcking on the link.

About the Author

Multi-published author Paula Altenburg has written short contemporary romance, as well as fantasy and paranormal romance, for publishers Entangled, Tule, and Tor. Her Spy to Have, the first book in her new and exciting Spy Games series, marks her 13th published work of fiction. She lives in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, with her husband and two sons. Once a manager in the aerospace industry, she now enjoys working from home and writing fulltime.

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