Saturday, March 30, 2019

Queenie by Candice Carty-Wiliams




Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Length: 330 pages
Published: March 2019


Queenie is a hot mess, but Queenie, the debut novel by Candice Carty-Williams, is a pure delight. This fictional novel published just a few weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to snag a copy from my local library shortly after publication. Queenie is the Jamaican-British protagonist of this London-set novel. As the book opens, we learn that Queenie is embarking on a break from her live-in boyfriend, Tom. She moves out of their flat, and her life subsequently begins to unravel. About halfway through the novel, she hits rock bottom and is forced to face her demons in an effort to begin a journey of self discovery and healing. 

I found Queenie very relatable in her struggles with acceptance and also quite similar to my own struggles. It's amazing how a black woman in the United States can identify with the challenges of a fictional Jamaican woman living in England. Because of her upbringing and surroundings, Queenie is constantly comparing herself to her white counterparts, dealing with thinly veiled racism in the work place and social settings, and even tolerating her white boyfriend's (Tom) racist family members. Her past, and a lot of her present, have shaped who she is and caused a callous exterior to form as an emotional coping mechanism. I think, until her turning point in the novel, she was her own worst enemy, often self-sabotaging the most important relationships in her life. 

I really enjoyed the writing, the humor, and the care that the writer took in tackling the very heavy issues of depression, panic attacks, and self-esteem. My favorite parts of the book were the WhatsApp chats between Queenie and her girlfriends. My only very minor criticism is that in flashback scenes, it was sometimes difficult to identify that it was a flashback until I was a few sentences in. 

Recommendation: I think any woman can find some of her own truth in this novel, but I think it might speak more strongly to single and dating women of color. I would definitely recommend giving it a try. This is modern fiction novel is a solid debut for Ms. Carty-Williams! 

Until next time ... Read on!


Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Home for Erring and Outcast Girls by Julie Kibler




Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Length: 368 pages
Published: July 2019*


I was fortunate enough to be granted a digital copy of the most final proof of Home for Erring and Outcast Girls by Julie Kibler. I read Calling Me Home by this author in 2013 and thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved Home for Erring and Outcast Girls 10 times more! The book is mainly set in Arlington and Austin, Texas as well as Oklahoma. Full disclosure: Many of the scenes take place on or about the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) campus, which is my alma mater. I think this is why the book piqued my interest and resonated with me. 

This historical fiction novel is based on the actual Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls, established by Reverend James Toney and Maggie Mae Upchurch in 1903. Many of the real women whom the fictional characters are based on are buried in a cemetery on the grounds of UTA. The fictional story follows three strong female leads and their respective story lines that alternate with each chapter. In near present day, the reader first meets Cate who is a 30-something librarian at the university studying the history of the Home. Cate's story is told in present day in Arlington and flashbacks to her teenage years in Austin. Lizzie and Mattie's stories are also told at the turn of the century as residents of the Home. Over the course of the novel, we travel 30 years with Lizzie and Mattie. 

The overall theme of the book is forgiveness of self and recovery leading to personal discovery. I think the main characters in the book struggle with this as well as hesitance in letting other people get close. To be fair all of the major characters in the novel experienced some massive trauma that resulted in her respective emotional vulnerability. The author did an excellent job of illustrating these varied emotions through her descriptive language, driving tone, and exceptional prose. Some scenes made me smile while others made me cry and there was a character or two that made me angry. I really became invested in these characters, and they stuck with me long after I finished reading. 

My only critique of this story is the creative criticism of the church. I understand that this is the lens through which the author views things, and I respect it. However, it is an element that made me a little uncomfortable ... but that is what effective art does, right? It makes you dig deeper and question things, which is why reading and writing are so important to our societal growth. 

As a professional marketer, I know the greatest success is when you can drive a consumer to initiate or make a change in behavior. As a result of Kibler's beautifully told story, I have felt compelled to revisit my alma mater and seek out this hidden treasure that I'd never known until reading Home for Erring and Outcast Girls

RecommendationI really enjoyed this book and hope to get a final, hard copy upon publication to include in my home library. I think my fellow Maverick alums would also appreciate this book. If you enjoy strong female protagonists who experience personal growth or the historical fiction genre, I would strongly recommend you pick up a copy of this book when it publishes this summer.

Until next time ... Read on!


*I received an advance reading copy (ARC) of Home for Erring and Outcast Girls from NetGalley. My copy was an uncorrected digital file. Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas




Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Length: 447 pages
Published: February 2019


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas is about sixteen-year old Bri, who is an aspiring rapper. Haunted by the ghost of her father's past, she is trying to make a name for herself in hopes of lifting her family above the poverty line. This young adult novel is set in the same neighborhood of Thomas' debut, The Hate U Give. As such many of the themes, dialect, and characters are similar. It is important to note that while the sophomore book tangentially touches on the first book, it is not required reading to understand the plot.

This book was a quick read about an interesting topic. I liked how Thomas demonstrated how the main character came up with her rhymes. I also think the author did a good job of illustrating the internal and external struggles that Bri faced. Some of Bri's actions and obstinance were a little frustrating, but I suspect parents of teenagers reading this book would be able to attest that her behavior was realistic (smile, parents!). 

Like the first book, I found the characters in On the Come Up to be very real, and I believe this story is another version of Thomas sharing a part of herself. However, I did not enjoy this book as much as the first. The lifestyle and struggles that the protagonist suffer are not relatable to me. Having said that, they are meaningful. Additionally, this is a young adult novel. I am not the target audience, so I don't think it's really a criticism if the book didn't move me as a mid-lifer. 

Recommendation: I find Angie Thomas to be a talented writer who, in a creative way, exposes some of her own past and vulnerabilities through her writing. This is important for young adults, and I think it would be a great read for mature teenagers, especially those who enjoy poetry and prose. Please note the book does have some violence and a fair amount of curse words.   

Until next time ... Read on!


Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Friday, March 8, 2019

We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin




Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Length: 336 pages
Published: January 2019


One of my books clubs chose this newly released debut, We Cast a Shadow, by Maurice Carlos Ruffin for our March monthly read. The premise was intriguing - a black father who is essentially trying to save his son from himself. In the not too distant future, as the book describes it, somewhere in the United States, race relations has taken a terrible turn from bad to worse. The unnamed narrator decides, for his son - Nigel, to reach his fullest potential he must undergo a extreme surgical procedure coined demelanization to rid himself of the dark, pigmented birthmark on his otherwise fair, biracial skin.  

The entire book is about the father doing whatever he sees fit to secure the financial means for the procedure for his son. He's in a race against himself that only he seems to be running. Against his wife's, mother's, and even his son's wishes, the narrator stops at nothing to help "protect" his son. The author does a good job building suspense and creating tension. His writing style pushes the reader forward to discover what happens next. Intertwined in this emotion are some very real scenes that reflect current racial issues, like over-policed neighborhoods of color and mass incarceration. Because the novel is set in the future, it is a bit of downer for those of us who'd like to remain optimistic that these kinds of issues will get better, not worse, with time. 

I wanted to like this book. I really did. I feel as though the author is smart and his idea was worthy of print. However, I could not get into it. I did finish the book, but it wasn't satisfying for me. These dark comedies usually aren't. I don't know if it was just so unbelievable that someone could hate the essence of their being that much or if it was the misplaced satire that turned me off. I couldn't identify with the narrator. I found him to be unsympathetic, and I think, in the end, he got everything he deserved.   

I would definitely consider reading another book by Ruffin because I do think he's a talented writer. I just think this wasn't the book for me. 

Recommendation: Fans of dystopian novels may enjoy this book. I think it's always a good idea to give new writers support. Plus, you have the added benefit of seeing them hone their craft as they publish future works.  

Until next time ... Read on!


Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander




Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Length: 13:15:00

Narrated by: Karen Chilton
Published: April 2012

I downloaded the audiobook, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander several months ago on the recommendation of another book lover. One of my online book clubs chose it for the monthly read-along, so I began listening to the book to and from work during the month of February. 

There was a lot to digest in this book. The author takes us on a journey from slavery to present day explaining racial relations in the United States and how they have affected the legal system. Alexander presents the data in a very academic manner. I can envision this book being used as a textbook in criminal justice or psychology courses at the collegiate level. For this reason, I wish I would have purchased a physical or electronic copy so I could have highlighted and referenced some of the statistics and data she shared. 

This book was not read by the author, but the narrator did an excellent job engaging the listener with her smooth tone, using inflection at the most appropriate times.  

Do not be mislead by the title. I think the author intended to be a bit sarcastic. We do not live in a colorblind society, and I don't know that we necessarily should. However, color should not affect justice, and I think that's the point she persuasively makes in this text. I don't know that we will ever get to a place where the U.S. legal system is fair and impartial. Race will play a factor as will financial status. 

There is too much in this book to unpack in a succinct blog review. If you're interested in learning some hard truths, I would recommend this book. Be fair warned: this is not your light, beach read. 

Recommendation: This is a hard read (or listen), but it is an important one. I think it is not only important for the disenfranchised but also for the privileged. I think it could start important conversations and become the impetus for the change so vastly needed in our legal system. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Monday, February 18, 2019

It's Not Supposed to be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst




Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Length: 256 pages
Published: November 2018


Anyone who follows my blog writings knows that I participate in many of Proverbs 31 Ministries online Bible studies. The latest study was authored by the organization's president, Lysa TerKeurst. In It's Not Supposed to be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave you Shattered, TerKeurst shares her most vulnerable side with her readers as she dealt with a myriad of crises. And I say "as she dealt with" because she wrote the book, in real time, while she was in the midst of several major life upsets. Because of this I think this is her most emotional, raw, and real work to date. 

TerKeurst is a talented writer, an amazing survivor, and a strong Christ follower. Because I participated in the online Bible study I reaped the benefits of supplemental study materials. However, the book stands alone, and it effective in its own right. I did enjoy hearing and observing the author through the teaching videos, which is why I don't know why she doesn't narrate the audio version of her books. She has a lovely voice, and hearing her tell her story of transformation in her own words and her own voice is a treat.   

As always, TerKeurst reminds us that when we are at our weakest moments is when we should lean into God the most - changing our focus from the problem to our Problem Solver. 

Recommendation: I strongly recommend this book. The perspective, insight, and authenticity make the book a treasure that can be read again and again.

Until next time ... Read on!


Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman




Rating:  4.5 of 5 stars
Length: 448 pages

Published: June 2018

Us Against You is the second book in the series by Fredrik Backman surrounding a small, fictional hockey town in Sweden - Beartown. Beartown is the first book in the series. Us Against You picks up just a few months after the plot of Beartown. The local hockey team is the center of the town, and both the town and hockey team are trying to rebuild after a tragic event that occurred between a hockey player and the team manager's daughter. Us Against You is about this community healing and moving forward from the events of the first book.  

Us Against You is very similar to Beartown in its themes and style. They are both stories about division, hiding from oneself, and learning how to overcome the obstacle of public shame. As usual, Backman does a lovely job with his writing. He creates tension and tells a compelling story that propels the reader deep into his narrative. 

I enjoyed the second book a little more than the first because it rounds out the overall plot, ending on a hopeful note. However, I must admit, I am hoping for a third book set 10 years in the future so I can learn more about how the characters, especially the children, mature as adults. If you couldn't tell, I've become emotionally invested in these characters and their respective stories. 

This was a quick and enjoyable read. I felt it most necessary to read after completing Beartown

Recommendation: I'd definitely recommend this book to Backman fans, literary fiction readers, and if you've read Beartown you must read Us Against You.

Other Fredrik Backman books I've reviewed on A Page Before Bedtime:
Beartown

A Man Called Ove
My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You She's Sorry
Britt-Marie was Here
And Every Morning the Way Home gets Longer and Longer

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Mocha Girl Musings by Me!


#SheReads #SheWrites and #SheWritesSomeMore 

I've been asked to write for a very wonderful, nationwide and online book club, Mocha Girls Read. I will still be reviewing all the books I read here at A Page Before Bedtime. But I'll also be talking about some bookish things over at the Mocha Girls site. Please check out my first post, leave a comment, and maybe buy a book from there!

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Beartown by Fredrik Backman




Rating:  4.5 of 5 stars
Length: 432 pages

Published: April 2017

Beartown by Fredrik Backman is about a fictional town in Sweden where the boy's hockey team is the nucleus of the community. The players, the staff, the parents, and the residents all are invested in the sport and the team because hockey has touched them all in some way - whether in the past or present times. And beyond hockey, there isn't much going on in this town ... until there is. A tragic decision made by the star player shatters the life of a young girl and transforms the town forever. 

Beartown is a story about division and the major events that divide families, friends, and an entire town. Backman sets up examples of this theme through the illustration of several dichotomies of character pairings. There are about two dozen characters in this book that all play a role in the book's forward-moving plot. You'd think with that many characters, the reader might get confused. Quite the contrary, the author does an excellent job of setting up the characters and the plot in the first half of the book that you, as the reader, get the feeling that he's sharing information about people who could live in your community. Backman does a superb job of developing these characters so that everyone is equally represented and their role in the story is executed perfectly. 

The only thing I did not care of in this book was the quick jumping from one character to the next as a literary device to reveal events and the timeline of the story. On many occasions the story was told in small paragraph vignettes, and I would have preferred more cohesive scenes developed within longer written passages. That is my only reason for the less than 5-star rating. 

I've read most all of Backman's novels and novellas. As usual, he won me over with his prose. He has a writing style that digs deep in my soul and hangs on tight for many days after the story ends. However, I won't have much time to recover from this one. The Beartown sequel, Us Against You, was readily available at my local library at the time I finished this book, and I've already borrowed it! 

Recommendation: Backman took on a darker topic with Beartown, but he handled it well. This story will give you all the feels. Get your copy today, and get emotionally invested in this intriguing cast of characters. 

Other Fredrik Backman books I've reviewed on A Page Before Bedtime
A Man Called Ove
My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You She's Sorry
Britt-Marie was Here
And Every Morning the Way Home gets Longer and Longer

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Courageous Creative by Jenny Randle




Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Length: 160 pages

Published: October 2018

During the Christmas season, Facebook displayed a sponsored advertisement on my feed for Jenny Randle's Courageous Creative book and the companion online 31-day devotional study. I was intrigued, so I purchased a copy from my local Barnes & Noble reseller, signed up for the Facebook group, and eagerly awaited for January 1, 2019 when the study was scheduled to begin. 

Jenny is an Emmy award-winning creative, but moreover, she is a Christian with a genuine heart. (I feel like I really go to know her through the Facebook group, so I am referring to her by her first name in this post.) She loves the Lord, and she loves His people. In her book, she demonstrates how everyone is and can be creative through the guiding of the Holy Spirit (or as she refers to him without the article i.e., Holy Spirit.) 

Jenny has written this book in such a way that it's easy digestible. The daily content is not overwhelming and offers practical applications. Each reading has an accompanying challenge. The challenges are diverse, ranging from reading and writing to more visual tasks like drawing, coloring, and photography. The book even includes some video and voice over prompts. As you might guess from this blog, reading and writing is where I shine, so the challenges outside of those took me a little more time. There are some I still want to go back and perfect. And that's the beauty of this book is that you can pick it up at any time and revisit some of Jenny's nuggets of knowledge as well as prime your creative juices by engaging in the challenges again. 

This was a really fun devotional that allowed me to grow as a Christian and create some beautiful work. I am thankful for Jenny showing me that I was created to create by the Ultimate Creator. 

Recommendation: This book would be a great study for a small group with your church. Whether you participate in this interactive devotional with a group, like I did, or take on the challenges on your own, I am certain you will be motivated and blessed by Jenny's work. She truly is a courageous creative! Visit Jenny online and connect with her on all social media platforms. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.




Monday, January 28, 2019

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens




Rating: 4.5+ of 5 stars
Length: 325 pages

Published: August 2018

The majority of the members in my bookish groups had been telling me to run, not walk, to the nearest library or bookstore and get Delia Owens' Where the Crawdads Sing. As luck would have it, I was able to get on the list at my local library and the ebook became available ... about six hours before Fredrik Backman's Beartown also became available, so I dug in right away. 

Where the Crawdads Sing is a coming of age story about Kya Clark who, at a young age, was abandoned by her family. We learn of her tale of survival through a chronological telling from age 6 through young adulthood. The book's setting alternates between this historical, biographical backdrop in the 1950s and 1960s and a more present day decade of the 1970s. In this more recent timeline, the reader learns that Chase Andrews, the town's heartthrob, has been found dead and probably murdered. From there, the story vacillates between the two time periods until they converge on the pinnacle point of the mysterious death. 

This story has everything: great writing, a compelling plot, mystery, suspense, and romance. Ms. Owens is a talented writer creating powerful imagery of the marsh and swamplands of the North Carolina coast. She does such a great job depicting scenes in her novel that I felt like I was there. Owens writes in such a way that the reader can't help but be transported to the very time and place in which she is describing. This book and this author's writing is a true illustration of what readers mean when they say books can take you places you've never been before. Additionally, the suspenseful elements of the book propel the reader forward. The book had a little bit of a slow start for me (hence the rating just shy of 5 stars), but the momentum quickly picked up and didn't let me go until the surprising, plot twist-filled conclusion. 

Recommendation: I was pressed for time on this book because I needed to get to my next ebook loan; however, I suspect that I would have devoured it without a deadline just the same. Do yourself a favor and travel to North Carolina through Ms. Owens' words. Run, don't walk, and pick up a copy of Where the Crawdads Sing today! 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple




Rating: 2 of 5 stars
Length: 354 pages

Published: August 2012

People have been telling me for years that Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is hi-larious. With the upcoming movie, starring Cate Blanchett, to release in March, I thought I'd better get on the ball and read the book before the movie - it's what true bibliophiles do - read then watch. 

The titular character in this adult fiction book suffers from agoraphobia, so when her 8th grade daughter, Bee, asks for a family trip to Antartica as a reward for her perfect grades Bernadette Fox is filled with anxiety. Bernadette initially moved to Seattle, where the story primarily takes place, so that her husband, Elgin Branch, could take a job with Microsoft. This move came after a traumatic professional experience in California that resulted in Bernadette's current condition and abandoning her career in architecture. Add to that several miscarriages and a rocky pregnancy with Bee, Bernadette understandably has some mental and emotional health issues. She doesn't fit into the Seattle community, and for all intents and purposes, has banished herself to their mansion-sized home (that used to be a school for girls - yes, really!) Her interactions with the busy body/helicopter moms (to whom she refers to as "gnats"), especially antagonist Audrey, who is Bernadette's nemesis, finally push her over the edge and she goes missing. More than half the book is Bee on a quest to find her mother. 

The book is written in an epistolary format including emails, letters, and other correspondence. I usually find this a fun format to read because, as a reader, I can be a guilt-free voyeur of the inner thoughts of the characters. However, the way in which this novel was constructed actually added confusion to the plot. It slowed me down, and I almost gave up on it a couple of times. As I stated before, several reading friends told me this book was humorous. I, however, did not find it as amusing as my peers. I actually found it a bit depressing because the protagonist clearly has some issues and her family - especially her daughter, Bee - has paid the price. But this book is not all bad. I did appreciate the resolved conclusion. Semple could have left the audience hanging, but I am glad she did not. I also took satisfaction in two of the women coming together at the end - girl power! (I'll leave it vague so as not to give any spoilers.)  

RecommendationWhere'd You Go, Bernadette is a quick read. It has clearly been enjoyable for many. It is a bestseller, and it's going to be a movie. I'll probably still go see the movie. I just don't think this book was for me. I won't dwell here too long ... on to the next read! 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Black Girl in Paris by Shay Youngblood




Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Length: 256 pages

Published: January 2001

The theme for the Mocha Girls Read book of the month in January was Paris. As a group, we voted to read Black Girl in Paris by Shay Youngblood. This relatively short and extremely beautiful book was essentially a coming of age story for its protagonist, Eden, and a lovely way to kick off 2019.

Black Girl in Paris is the story of a young lady and budding writer who picks up from her home in the United States with a little money and travels to Europe in search of the greatness that author James Baldwin wrote about. While there she encounters many people while trying to make a living and find creative inspiration in Paris. 

One thing I found it interesting about this book is that Youngblood set it in the 80s while writing it in the millennium. It could have just as easily been set in the time in which it was written. I suspect the author may have done this to demonstrate just how far way from home Eden traveled. With the technology today (and in the early part of the turn of the century), it's so much easier to be close even when there's great physical distance. 

Black Girl in Paris reads like a collection of chronological essays. Youngblood's prose is excellent and you want to follow her as a writer and Eden as the main character on this journey of self discovery. This book definitely kept me interested. This is not something I would have read but for book club. And that is one of the greater purposes of book club. I am glad I was able to partake and participate. 

My ultimate takeaway from this story is that we cannot escape racism no matter the time nor location. 

Recommendation: If you love Paris and the pursuit of one's dreams, this quick read might pique your interest. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory




Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Length: 320 pages

Published: January 2018

In December, I read Jasmine Guillory's latest book - The Proposal with my book club. In January, The Wedding Date, Guillory's debut book was selected by another book club. It didn't make too much of a difference that I read the books out of order. They stand alone but also some of the characters crossover. I enjoyed The Proposal, and because of that I'm giving The Wedding Date 4 stars on social sites. However, my overall rating is 3.5 stars. 

The Wedding Date and The Proposal are very similar. They both fall in the chick lit genre with a young woman at the center as the protagonist who unexpectedly meets a guy and jumps in to a fast-moving relationship that is halted by some internal struggle. Guillory seems to be developing a bit of a predictable formula with her books. While The Wedding Date seemed a little redundant to me, I do appreciate the fact that the author attempts to tackle some important issues like race, body image, and the criminal justice system in a fun and light read. That certainly takes skill! 

My main criticism with both of her books is the overabundance of sex and intimate scenes. I thought it was a little much in The Proposal, almost to the point of over-sexualizing Nik. In The Wedding Date, I feel that Guillory definitely over-sexualized Alexa. The scenes are tastefully written, but there's just too many of them. I am hopeful that her next book The Wedding Party (set to publish in July) will include more character and relationship development and less bedroom scenes. (Ms. Guillory, if you are reading this, I know you know that women of color are more than sexual beings. There are many facets to us. Please don't forget to share those other facets in your literary quests.) 

This was another fun read. I can see the growth and progression of the author's craft from book 1 to 2, even though I read them in reverse. I look forward to seeing where her next adventure takes me. 

Recommendation: With Valentine's Day and Galentine's Day quickly approaching, pick up a copy of The Wedding Date. It will be a fun and quick read over a cold winter weekend. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.