Book Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

TheImmortalistDarkMatter

 

I’m so happy about this: So my guy took me to Barnes and Noble yesterday, December 20th, and I got; two books The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, a 3 pack of writing notebooks that I love because they are small enough to fit in my purse but are still a good size, and cozy reading socks!! Literally…they were labeled and tagged as cozy reading socks!

Cozy Reading Socks

Anyway, so I posted in a few of the book groups that I’m in and everyone raved about both books. I wasn’t sure which one recommended either of these to me but I was so excited when I hit the store. I decided to read The Immoralists first and I loved it.

It’s intriguing, heartbreaking, inspiring, and makes you think about your own life. Really, ask yourself the questions. If you could find out the EXACT day you were going to die…would you? And if you did, how would you live your life? Seeing the world and lives of 4 different siblings who experienced the same thing, had the same parents and grew up so unique really makes the story relatable.

I will admit, there are a few parts that I was uncomfortable with (sexually) but it didn’t pull me out of the story and my heart was already wrenching because I knew what was going to happen. I quickly turned pages because I just had to get to the end of that section. I really wanted to cry but I held in my tears. As I paged through the book I kept thinking I was going to put the book down (It was 3am for god’s sake!!) and I couldn’t. One chapter bled into the other and I just needed to know…I was not disappointed. Benjamin pulled me in and I’m very glad I chose to read this one first.

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readdance,

Jade

 

Link to Book

Black Owned Bookstores

Heya!

A while ago I compiled a list of Black Owned bookstores from all over the US, that I thought were pretty cool, and I’ve decided to finally share them with you. Most of these were shared with me, just as I take suggestions here, I do on other social media boards as well!

Here are a FEW links and a few names with locations!

AALBC

A New Generation of African-American-Owned Bookstores

The FBI’s War on Black-Owned Bookstores

54 BLACK OWNED BOOKSTORES IN AMERICA

BOOK ENDS: BLACK-OWNED BOOK STORES TO SUPPORT DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Olive Tree Books

Medu and Shrine of Black Madonna in Atlanta

Pan African Connection Bookstore. Dallas, TX 

Black and Nobel, West Philly, PA

Community Bookstore, New Orleans, LA

If you can think of any others, or know of one in your neighborhood or city that isn’t on this list, COMMENT THE NAME OR LINK BELOW!!

Let’s support Black and Local businesses as well as others!

Happy Readdance,
Jade

My First ARC: Dating by the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe

Six months ago, writer and bookstore owner Maddie Hanson was left at the altar. Since then, she’s had zero interest in romance—despite the fact that she runs a book club full of sexy eligible bachelors. But when her latest novel is panned by an anonymous blogger who goes by the name Silver Fox—and who accuses her of knowing nothing about passion—she decides to prove her nemesis wrong by seeking a romance hero in real life . . .

There’s the smoldering rock musician, the bookish college professor, and her competitive childhood friend who may want to steal her bookstore more than her heart. Even Silver Fox is getting in on the action, sending Maddie alarmingly—and intoxicatingly—flirtatious emails. And that’s not all. Her ex wants her back.

Now Maddie is about to discover that like any good story, life has twists and turns, and love can happen when you least expect it—with the person you least expect

officialdatingby thebook

 

Ok…

Girl…

Yessss…

So, this is the first ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) that I’ve received from an author directly. I have so many, but they’ve been gifted to me by readers or I found them at yard sales and thrift stores (before I even knew what they were). This is definitely an exciting part of my reader to Beta Reader life!

datingbythebookannmarymarlowe

Along with the book, I also got an adorable book mark! 

That being said, I felt this book in my soul. I loved how the main character goes through many of the ups and downs a real-life author would. I love that she’s not a famous author to start. On top of her romance story line, you see her going through the steps of a debut author and all the worries that go along with putting yourself out there for the first time and hoping someone doesn’t tear you to shreds. I feel that it’s a fantastic showing of internal conflict.

I’m totally a fan of the main character. Maddie is smart, sweet (yet intense), and a bit stubborn. BOY IS SHE STUBBORN. Woman after my own heart. I relate to her so much because I, too, want to do things on my own. I want to prove (mostly to myself) that I can achieve my goals and be successful. I want to write, and hope others enjoy my words as much as I often do. Maddie, I feel ya girl.

I’m happy that while you have this love…pentagon(?)…it’s not overly cheesy or overdone. Often times, you find that love circles can be very predictable. There’s always one TOTALLY amazing guy that, from the beginning, is soooooobviously ‘The One’ and it makes reading the book a drag. You sit there like ‘girl…who are you fooling!?’ With Dating by the Book, several guys are realistic contenders for the main character’s heart. I also had some of those ‘shoooot, if she doesn’t take him I would!…If I was still single’! (Sorry, Tony!)

 

 

This book is not yet out but…Pre-Order to surprise yourself with a summer read!

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readdance,
Jade

Link To Book

P.S. I literally just picked up her book Some Kind of Magic (so excited!).

 

New Posts and Beta Reading Services

Heya! 

So I took a hiatus from the blog for a few months. Since finding out that I am pregnant again, I’ve had a lot of life things to deal with. Fall 2018 school semester, a high risk pregnancy (with copious amounts of doctors visits and check ups) and a new job (and now past job) has taken up most of my time. 

However, I’ve been reading a lot! Of course…nothing detracts from my reading! I have a lot of new reviews that I want to share with you and, as the semester just ended, I have plenty of time over the next few weeks to write them! 

Also, in case you haven’t noticed, I have added Beta Reading services to my blog and I hope, if any of you are writers, you will take advantage of my reading addiction! 

If you’d like to know more about my Beta Reading services head over to that page to check out my process, rates and more!

Beta Reading Services

I’m still taking suggestions for books! Feel free to comment or send me a message and I’ll look into it for my next read! 

Alright guys! Gonna keep this one short for today. Oh, how I’ve missed you

Good Readdance, 

Jade

Book Review: Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter

Knox of Iviland, the most ruthless warrior in All War history, has spent his life fighting others to the death, winning new realms for his king. Now the stakes are higher than ever. If he prevails in the battle for Earth, his slave bands will be removed. Victory is his sole focus…until he meets her.

On an arctic getaway with her foster sister, street tough but vulnerable Vale London is shocked to stumble upon a cave filled with ancient gods waging epic combat. When she is inadvertently drawn into their war, she is forced to team up with an unlikely ally—the sexy god who makes her burn with desire.

Though Vale is his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can triumph, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.

 

So, I’m actually really excited to bring this book review. I haven’t been on my reading game lately. Since finding out that I’m pregnant, also being in school, and dealing with everything that goes along with both of those, I haven’t had the time to read like I used to. Also the reason I haven’t uploaded many reviews.

This all changed when I made a quick stop in the book section of Walmart. I got home, watched TV and procrastinated for hours and finally, around 11pm, I decided to start reading. Why do I do this? WHY!?!?

I literally stayed up until 6am the next morning. Every time I would say “ok just one more chapter” I would get drawn back in and end up reading even more. So…480 pages later and I happily put the book down.

I love this new idea! Shadow and Ice is the first book in the Gods of War series and I need the next book now. I loved the main characters. I loved the banter. I loved the main character and how she’s so fierce. She’s super extra. I can also see the way the other books in the series will come about. One thing that did bother me a bit is the amount of info dumping in the first few chapters. Like, I know that there’s so much to uncover when creating a new world or a new species (etc) but man, it was enough for me to right it down in my little notebook. On the other hand, it could just be me being very…sensitive. Who knows? I will say, don’t let that turn you away as clearly I continued on and enjoyed the book.

 

shadow and ice

 

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readdance,
Jade

Link to Book

 

This book is paranormal/fantasy romance!

Book Review: Them Bones by Carolyn Haines

No self-respecting lady would allow herself to end up in Sarah Booth’s situation. Unwed, unemployed, and over thirty, she’s flat broke and about to lose the family plantation. Not to mention being haunted by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her sorry state–or to suggest a plan of action, like ransoming her friend’s prize pooch to raise some cash.

But soon Sarah Booth’s walk on the criminal side leads her deeper into unladylike territory, and she’s hired to solve a murder. Did gorgeous, landed Hamilton Garrett V really kill his mother twenty years ago? And if so, what is Sarah Booth doing falling for this possible murderer? When she asks one too many questions and a new corpse turns up, she is suddenly a suspect herself…and Sarah Booth finds that digging up the bones of the past could leave her rolling over in her grave.

 
Heya!!

So I felt really bad. Past tense. I saw a suggestion for this book and quickly requested it from the library. I preceded to keep the book for a month and a half. Started accruing library fees and I didn’t even realize it. At the time, we’d just moved from the old apartment and I thought I had packed all the library books in the same box. Not true.

Anyway, so by the time I found it and opened it, I already had an $8 library fine. YIKES! So, of course I thought, I might as well read it now. I practically own it.

So I did. And it was glorious. I was so happy with this book that I read it all in one day. Well into the night. I then looked up the sequel to request. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn it in for three more days. ARGH!

 

thembones

 

So basically, I really liked it. I liked the character development, the mystery, the coziness (har har har) and the pacing. I’m a big fan of cozy mysteries and I didn’t know it! I like to giggle and sense suspense at the same time. Who knew?

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readdance,
Jade

Link To Book

CNF: Unexpected Love

This is a school assignment. I love, love, LOVE, taking writing courses. Anyway, I’ve never written creative nonfiction before and so here is a piece that I wrote about the night Tony and I first met. It’s my first try at it so don’t ream me just yet!

Let me know what you guys think!

 

 

Creative Nonfiction: Unexpected Love

 

I walked in the door of my favorite writing cafe. It’s walls covered in abstract art, a fake tree stretching up to the dark ceiling, outlets and extension cords scattered around tiny tables.

I remember many hours spent sitting at those tables, laptop out, notebook open, pen ready and cup of coffee getting cold.

Tonight was different. I had another agenda. Ask out the barista I saw on a daily basis. The storybook-prince one with the dark mop of hair, smiling eyes and olive skin. I was so sure, if I actually worked up the courage to ask, that he would say yes.

I looked around at the dimly lit faces, turned toward the stage with wide eyes and listening ears. Music blaring, a sweet twill of an acoustic guitar. Sweet smells of seared chicken paninis, roasted cherry tomatoes and spilled IPA beer; I nearly changed my mind. I had completely forgotten that it was Talent Tuesday, or that it was tuesday at all. I couldn’t turn around, not then, I’d already been spotted by the many faces. Not that they mattered. In the least, I’d gotten dressed up for the occasion; picked my fro big and voluptuous, put on makeup for the first time in months and wore my prettiest dress.

Back then, I’d been an avid wearer of wedges and I had picked my highest pair just for this occasion.

I walked up to the counter, wallet in shaking hands, and gave him my sweetest smile. He looked hairied, apron askew and locks tousled. He took my order quick, jabbing at the buttons on the screen and tilting his head sideways.

“It’s so busy, I’m sorry. We’ll talk later,” he said. I beamed at this, nodded understandingly and turned to claim a seat at the bar.

I swiveled on my chair and made eye contact with a man stepping off stage. Dark brown skin, muscles pulling tight on his shirt, long strong arms. He removed his guitar and smiled at me. I blinked shyly but didn’t want to look around, hoping that smile was for me. And it was. Those eyes twinkled as he wove his way around tables and I couldn’t tell if it was from excitement of the night or the lighting.

“Wow, you are beautiful, and that hair…” he said as he came to stand right in front of me, his grin grew brighter, if that was possible. I blushed.

At first, I thought this was just a line to get me to talk to him but as the years have gone by, I’ve come to realize he just really loves black girls with natural curls. Always with his hands in it, admiring the way it curls when wet and bounces when pulled.

“Thank you,” I forced out, immediately reaching up to fluff the curls around my shoulders. I sat up a bit straighter, shoulders back, spine a little more stiff.

I snuck a look at the barista, hoping he didn’t see me talking to another guy, not wanting to ruin my chances at a date before I’d even asked. He was unbothered, flitting around behind the counter on dancers feet, as he usually did. Graceful, knees slightly bent, quickly bouncing from panini press to counter to press to coffee maker and back to counter again. He called out a name and the girl who stood just in front of him jumped and dashed out a hand as if surprised to hear her own name. I giggled.

“What’s your name?” the man in front of me asked. I turned back to him and was swept up in deep brown eyes, glistening under the bar top light. I attempted to push my shoulders back further, and boobs forward.

“Jade, yours?”

“Tony Frenzy.”

His stage name, I later found out, but I have called him Tony ever since.

We talk for a while over the hum of live music, chatting about life, the cafe and his music set. He tells me about the coincidence of how he was supposed to be at another cafe, playing with his crew and I tell him I was actually supposed to be working but figured the job was a scam, so I quit. We laughed.

We’d talk more about this later.

On my second beer, I fumble the first bottle and it falls off the counter, thankfully to clatter and not shatter. I laugh awkwardly, am I tipsy or just nervous? He smiles at me as I bend to pick up the bottle and he helps to clean up the mess my clumsy hands have made. It’s that icebreaker, tension breaker, we didn’t know we needed.

We stood close, two people, somehow ending up in the same place, at the same time, on accident. It baffles how the night had unfolded. Him, resolving to play a set by himself and me finally stepping out of my box to ask out a cute cafe barista.

“Do you want to go get cheesesteak?” He finally asks. “It’s a bit loud in here and I want to keep talking to you.” The last part he almost whispers and I lean forward either to hear or to get a little bit closer.

My self-preservation has taken a day off and I say yes. I’ve never had cheesesteak before and had no idea what it was. I still wanted to go, wanted to get to know this guy just a bit more. Barista forgotten, I gather my purse, and don’t look back as he leads me to the door.

Into the night with him I went. Into a new life with my soulmate.

 

 

 

Good Readdance,
Jade

Third Rule of Book Club: Be…

Our second meeting went monumentally better than the first one. We got to sit and chat about last months book, which gave everyone thoughts of forgiveness, strength, and hope. The next book was chosen and it’s one that I’ve read before. I’m happy about this because I get to share a book I really liked with others.

Not only that, we needed something different this go around. We’ve had miscarriage, abortion, bad parenting, strength, divorce and a host of other strenuous topics. I’m glad we got to choose a good old fashioned psychological thriller.  We need a break from life. For most, reading does that for us. I definitely don’t want to spend all of my time reading tough and emotionally triggering books.

So…Our September book is:

Invisible

by James Patterson and David Ellis

Have you read this book? Did you like it? Hate it? Learn from it? Leave a comment below! If you haven’t, feel free to join us this month and in the end for the discussion.

 

Invisible

Everyone thinks Emmy Dockery is crazy. Obsessed with finding the link between hundreds of unsolved cases, Emmy has taken leave from her job as an FBI researcher. Now all she has are the newspaper clippings that wallpaper her bedroom, and her recurring nightmares of an all-consuming fire.
Not even Emmy’s ex-boyfriend, field agent Harrison “Books” Bookman, will believe her that hundreds of kidnappings, rapes, and murders are all connected. That is, until Emmy finds a piece of evidence he can’t afford to ignore. More murders are reported by the day-and they’re all inexplicable. No motives, no murder weapons, no suspects. Could one person really be responsible for these unthinkable crimes?

Link to Book

Writing From Memory

One of the new things I’ve read about, in my CW book so far, is writing from memory, short and long term. Writing from your own thoughts, and memories, can allow you to speak from your own voice and avoid the foreign ‘writerly tone’ some use to meet a reader’s expectations.

One prompt, in the book, said to take a very small memory (nothing extravagant or life altering) and write it down. Start with the words: “I don’t know why I remember…” and just let the words flow. Below is my first attempt at the writing prompt. Enjoy!

 

I Don’t Know Why I Remember

I don’t know why I remember the car ride Tony and I took back when he lived in Davenport. We were in the old, rust red Camry, pulling over at a gas station smack in the middle of nowhere. Half afraid to get out of the car and half excited to just be. Despite his complaints, I bought a bag of sunflower seeds. One empty cup, that hung out with the rest of the rubbish at our feet, worked as a spit cup and clutched companion. The weather is perfect. Florida weather. Weather we moved here for.

A thick breeze blows by and I dangle one hand out the window, wrist bent backwards, fingers flapping like a rubber glove. Our inside joke. I giggle and he looks over with a special shine to his eyes. He gaffs, and laughs at the sight, before his eyes briefly meet mine. It’s happy here, in this place of in between. The jilt of the car, sweetness of new love and the crack of the seed’s shell between my teeth.

It feels like home.

 

Submitting Phoenix to PitchWars

So…I did it.

I actually did it.

Here’s a blurb from the actual site that tells you a little about what PitchWars is:
What is Pitch Wars?

Is it another contest? Oh, no, it’s so much better.

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to mentor. Mentors read the entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for the agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents. Mentors can participate solo or pair up and co-mentor.

During the agent showcase, each mentee is featured on a post that includes their pitch and the first page of their manuscript. Last year, we had nearly sixty agents participate in the showcase. Participating agents view the posts and make requests. With the help of Pitch Wars 2016, more than 50 authors were offered representation with many snagging book deals shortly after the contest!

So now you know what it is! So, my writer friends, if you would like to participate in PitchWars you have the rest of today and allllll of tomorrow to do so! Here’s the link!

Anyway, so I’ve finished Phoenix and, my, doesn’t it feel good to finally type The End…again. When I revised it the first time, I added a few scenes and took out some things. The second time, when I finished this weekend, I added the new scenes.

I’m really proud of them. Proud of myself. Proud of what I’ve done.

I’ve hit the submit button. It’s out of my hands. The fear is there. So is the excitement.

Let’s get this journey going!!