Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Perfection Combination Review & Book Tour!

Welcome to the Perfect Combination Book Tour! Chick with Books is hosting today's book tour with a review of Jamillah & David Lamb's book, Perfect Combination! Along with my review, we'll learn a little bit about the authors, Jamillah & David Lamb...

First, What did I think of the book? Perfect Combination is a wonderful book about Jamillah and David, how they met, fell in love and how they keep that love alive and growing. It's their wish to share how they've managed to overcome all the pitfalls of falling in love and become happy healthy partners. Their book is arranged in sections that cover what they call the "Seven Key Ingredients to Happily Living & Loving Together," and I have to say that they've done a great job. In a kind of dialogue, with Jamillah talking first and then David adding his perspective and then vice versa, we learn the lessons that Jamillah and David learned while navigating the dating game, getting married and eventually working together in a business. All these "Key Ingredients" are common sense, but sometimes we just need a kick in the butt to remember why we fell in love in the first place and this book is a perfect reminder. Some of the things I took away from reading Perfect Combination were to "Let your past be the past" (we are made up of all our experiences, but let's not bring all that bad baggage with us), "Create Lasting Memories" (these are things that enhances a good relationship), Appreciate your partner, always be a friend to yourself and your significant other, be supportive, and of course don't forget to add a little romance to keep things fresh.

With anecdotes, playlists and stories, Jamillah and David share with you what has worked for them and what could work for you. Unlike some dry self help books, Perfect Combination is an entertaining read and written from the heart. I definitely enjoyed my time reading this book. Would be a good book for your single friend navigating the dating game, as well as a good book for any young couple wanting to heed some great advice.

A Little About Jamillah and David Lamb... David and Jamillah Lamb are the creative and dynamic couple that founded Between The Lines Productions, Inc. to fulfill their co-mission: to spread inspiration, joy, and love through the power of theater and other media.

David was born in Queens, NY and raised in public housing in Astoria, Queens. He attended Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and New York University School of Law. The successful playwright of the hit off-Broadway play Platanos Y Collard Greens, David has found the love of his life in Jamillah. Despite knowing he had found the right person, David struggled to lower his guard and put aside his tendency to be suspicious of women. Before Jamillah, David would often find himself breaking up with girlfriends rather than risk being hurt by rejection. Recognizing he had found a “kind heart and sweet spirit” in Jamillah, he made the decision “to grow up and grow into feeling what love felt like.” As the relationship has deepened, he’s learned other lessons. He now smiles at his typically male (let’s be honest!) expectation that Jamillah be able to read his mind. The ability of love and romance to conquer hurts and overcome hardships is a theme that runs through David’s books and plays. He loves being a business, marriage, and parenting partner with Jamillah.

Jamillah grew up in Chicago in the same neighborhood as First Lady Michelle Obama. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Wesleyan University and then a Masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard University. A former Vice-President at Citibank, Jamillah uses her education and experience in the daily operations of their business. Just like David, Jamillah had baggage of her own to overcome. Raised in a strict environment with high expectations, she struggled to lighten up. She put men she met before David “through the ringer,” worrying that allowing someone to care for her meant being less independent. As she learned to overcome her fears and become more trusting, she came up against other challenges. Becoming a family with the birth of their daughter Kaira was not a straight path. The journey to this incredible blessing was filled with adversity and pain, but also the support of David. Jamillah made one of her most important life decisions in 2005. At that time, Jamillah was a VP at Citibank, while also helping get David’s first play off the ground. The play had been going well for a couple of years, but it was still a big leap of faith when she made the decision to leave a comfortable corporate job to work on their business full-time. Through ups and downs, and the typical financial worries of growing a business, Jamillah has never regretted her decision. The choice has allowed them to be together day in and day out doing creative, passionate work together.

For More Information...
       Visit the authors’ website.
       Connect with the authors on Facebook and Twitter
       Find out more about the authors at Goodreads.

I want to thank Jamillah and David for sending along a copy of their book to me to read for this review! And I'd like to that Pump Up Your Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of the Perfection Combination Book Tour!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Fault in Book Censorship or How could They Ban The Fault in Our Stars...

I just finished The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. After crying my eyes out for a good 20 minutes near the end of the book, I paused to think about how unfair life can be. I guess the unfair part is not life, but things that can happen because you have a life. How you have so many days, have no idea how many days that actually is until you have no days left and then probably still don't know how many days because it's just over… Thank you Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters for making me remember that you only get so many days, so let's enjoy them or waste them or do whatever you'd like to do with them, just remember to be conscious of them while it's going on…

I read The Fault in Our Stars for Banned Book Week. The book had been lingering on my Kindle for a very long time and Banned Book Week gave me the necessary push to read it. It was banned initially for a complaint by a parent that "the morbid plot, crude language, and sexual content was inappropriate for her children." My initial thoughts were that I was happy to see a parent paying attention to what her children were reading, or what was available to read, but let's not make those decisions of what's appropriate for other people's children. My thoughts after reading the book were how can anyone think those things about this book

I guess death is a morbid thought. I'm sorry but people die, and I'm even sorrier that children die, but wouldn't it be better to have a dialogue about this instead of putting it away into a closet? I thought the book dealt with Hazel Grace's mortality in a refreshingly honest way. I'm sure that the way Hazel and her teenage friends dealt with the subject is the way real teenagers would.

“I told Augustus the broad outline of my miracle: diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer when I was thirteen. (I didn’t tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.)” 

Crude language?… OK, I guess when someone has cancer in a certain male area and talks about it, it could be considered crude. Actually, Hazel Grace made light of the counselor who survived his cancer, since at the beginning of every support group meeting he had to tell everyone once again about "his cancer".

And, finally sexual content… well, spoiler alert here…. 16-year-old Hazel Grace and 17-year-old Augustus Waters have sex, but it is primarily left to the imagination. No Fifty Shades, no graphic detail, just a few buttons, hoses and removal of a prosthetic involved. You could almost miss it, but just know that it happened. I imagine that this could be inappropriate for young children, but I'm sure teenagers know about sex. Good teaching opportunity here too.

So, what did I think about The Fault in Our Stars?! I loved it! It was amazing, compassionate, honest and shattering. I loved Hazel Grace immediately and was rooting for her and Augustus Waters from the start, even though I kinda knew that their love story was doomed. There was a twist that left me breathless and crying my eyes out and realizing that John Green is an amazing writer and I should have read this a long time ago. If you haven't read this, READ THIS! An amazing love story, an honest look at "how cancer sucks", and a reminder to all of us to live our life mindfully.
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