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Friday, April 30, 2010

#BookReview: Black Water Rising - Attica Locke

Move over Easy Rawlins, there's a new private eye in town and he goes by the name of Jay Porter. Set in 1980s Houston, Texas, Black Water Rising is the story of a 70s revolutionary turned attorney.  When a quiet evening out to celebrate his wife's birthday is interrupted by the disheveled appearance of a hysterical young, white woman, his quiet life takes an abrupt turn for the worse.

Believing that the young woman played a part in the death of a local man, Jay begins investigating her.  Surprise visits to his home and the strange man that's tailing him do nothing to dissuade him.  It's not until he realizes that the murder he thought he was investigating is nothing in comparison to what's really going on.  Woven into the mystery, but no less important, is the story of the pending strike by dockworkers in pursuit of equal pay and opportunities for African Americans.

At first I questioned why the book was set thirty years in the past, but upon further reading, it made perfect sense.  The backdrops of the previous Carter administration and fairly new Reagan administration play big parts of the storyline, as well as the city of Houston.

What did you like about this book?
Though the storyline could be a little overwhelming at times, it was very thought provoking.  I especially liked the main character's reflection on his involvement with the African Liberation Movement.

What did you dislike about this book?
At times the book dragged and I just wanted the author to pick up the pace. 

What could the author do to improve this book?
I would love to see a series with this character.  Because this book is set in the 80s, there is an opportunity to further develop the character over time, much in the same way that Walter Mosley has done with Easy Rawlins.





448pp
Published June 2009
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

#BookReview: Visions: The Story of a Black Girl Determined to Make It Despite the Odds - Williette D. Dotson

For the life of me, I couldn't tell you why I picked this book up. Oh wait, yes I can. I forgot to request books ahead of time from the library so I was left to wander the shelves trying to find something good to read. This wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. Self-published in 1993, Visions is the story of Verna (no last name given), a poor black woman from a small Arkansas town who moves to St. Louis in the 1960s for a better life.

Arriving in St. Louis with her young child from a previous marriage and little more, Verna soon marries the father of the child she's currently carrying, Paul. The collapse of her second marriage leaves Verna alone to raise Waymon and Paula. When the handsome A.D. moves in with the family of three, life begins to changes in ways Paula and Waymon can't imagine. Waymon escapes by leaving for college, leaving Paula to fend for herself. At this point in the book, the story really becomes Paula's, while the others become secondary characters.

Determined to make a better life for herself, Paula sets off for college. The roadblocks she encountered while growing up are nothing compared to what lies in store for her in the coming years.

What did you like about this book?
It was a very quick read.

What did you dislike about this book?
It was extremely predictable for the most part. Occasionally I was surprised, but not very often.

What could the author do to improve this book?
More insight into the lives of Paula's mother and brother after she left home would have provided a more well rounded story. Instead the reader is left to guess why they act as they do.




190pp
Published March 1993
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday, April 27

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page either in the comments below or on your own blog (give a link to your blog so we can check it out!)
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This week's teaser:

"In a rare confluence of his black nationalism and her incipient feminism, my parents named me after Ida B. Wells Barnett, pioneering journalist and tireless anti-lynching activist.  Although I'm just Ida in the outside world, everybody in West End, which is a world of its own, still calls me Ida B."

p. 12, Till You Hear from Me by Pearl Cleage
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Guest Post: Commercial Music

In my 16 years of life, a great deal of things (including but not limited to: my family, my friends, strangers, celebrities, and everyday life in general) have managed to make me extremely angry. But the latest offender to make it on to my 'Things to Get Revenge Against' list is Tide. Yes, that's right. A friggin' laundry detergent has managed to further my progression into an angry black woman (the official countdown to September 8, 2014 has commenced).

You may be wondering what could cause me to be so angry at the Tide company. Did they test some new products on third world orphans and give them some terrible case of hives? Did their CEO say something racist? Well, that's entirely possible. I don't watch the news so all that could've happened and I wouldn't even know (if it did happen my, conscience can be clear because I don't even use Tide). No, what has me so enraged is their latest commercial; so, really, I guess I'm mad at their PR company.

In case you haven't seen it, the commercial is about their latest detergent, which is specially formulated to run in cold water and, therefore, use less energy. The inner child and music lover in me could really care less about the good-natured environmental benefits. They're more concerned with the song running in the background: 'Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)' by Digable Planets. The first time I saw/heard that commercial, I swear I died a little inside and every time since. It wasn't until ten minutes ago when I was sitting in a Chinese food restaurant when the doggone thing came on the TV again that I finally decided enough was enough.





WHAT WAS THAT CRAP?

Of course, I've already had my own vocal rant with my personal argument backboard (my mother) and she, of course, responded with, "Well, the song is 16 years old."

I, of course, responded with, "So?"

In blowing my poor mother's response clearly out of proportion, I came to the conclusion that, in a few weeks, when I turn 16, people are allowed to use me in commercials no matter how stupid it makes me look (love ya, ma). I'm waiting for the day somebody figures out a way to use Prince's 'Purple Rain' on a commercial so I can respond with, "Mom, it is 25 years old."


I'm not necessarily opposed to using songs in commercials. In some cases, like Bacardi's latest using Matt and Kim's 'Daylight', it's alright (let's ignore the fact that I'm underage and I’ve seen all the multiple edited versions of the commercial because I keep watching late night TV). I like the song, the commercial is artfully done, unlike the Tide commercial the song is edited well so it doesn't sound as choppy, and, most importantly, THE SONG IS NEW (relatively).





Using new songs in commercials allows the television viewing audience to hear songs that they may not have heard if their local radio station offers little-to-no variety (hint, hint, St. Louis). Using older songs, however, only makes people like me who actively listen to music suffer for a month and a half while the thing is circulation. Need I remind you of 'This Will Be' and eHarmony (and the fact that you can’t hear that song without cringing)? I thought not.

I'd just like to point out that the minute I finished this, the music video just came on my TV. God must really love irony (and making me angry).


--Jordan is a sixteen year old high school junior (and my kid), interested in TV and her headphones. Her life goals include making it through Titanic without falling asleep and finally getting a decent score in skee-ball. She has a full time job as a sarcastic commentator for everyday life and a part time job of trying to make it through said life.

Repost from August 2009
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meet Author Mel Bancroft, AAMBC Blog Tour

Inspirational Author, Poet and Songwriter, Mel Bancroft's writings have been seen on Helium.com, OfficeArrow.com, Healthy News, Regal Magazine for African American men, and the Los Angeles Sentinel, America's number one African American newspaper. Recently she was awarded "The Winner in You Extra Efforts Award" by Salute America in recognition of her contributions to the world of poetry and thought, and for her socially conscious perspectives. She has also appeared as a panelist on several online talk radio shows discussing domestic violence issues, the importance of creative writing, and social consciousness.

When Ms. Bancroft was a little girl, if she got fussy, her mother could always calm her down by giving her a pencil and a piece of paper or a book to read. Born in Chicago, she grew up on the rough, west side of the city enduring domestic violence and childhood abuse, which left her with deep-seated, low self-esteem. Writing was her saving grace, keeping her distracted from her destitute surroundings. After moving to Los Angeles as a teen, she found coming of age further confusing and painful as she tried to find her identity. She finally found her place in poetry, music, and writing short stories. But her artistic passion was never realized until she stopped living her life as the “victimized girl” and conquered drug addiction.

Ms. Bancroft has written poetry and articles on a wide range of subject matter: self-help, spirituality, marketing, business, family, and relationships. Notably, the poem Jena Six: Our Strangefruit Is Still Hanging, emphatically questioning how far African Americans have come, was published in TRIBES Magazine. She is currently penning the sequel to her debut memoir, Bitter Sweet & Mo’ Sweeta due for release in late 2010. She enjoys yoga, meditation, tennis, and dancing, and resides in Atlanta, Georgia.


Visit Mel Bancroft !


Interview with the Author

The Melody of My BitterSweet Blues is a riveting, true story which is narrated through the eyes of a woman who has endured sexual abuse as a child, struggled through coming of age, finding herself in abusive relationships as an adult. Not only is the story told candidly and graphically, revealing the secrets that lurk behind abuse, the narrator takes the reader inside a journey of spiritual healing and unbridled courage through poetic enlightenment and poignant imagery.

What lead you to create this book?

Actually it was God-inspired. As someone who has survived several forms of abuse, it has been on my heart for many years to share my strength with others who may still be trying to find their own empowerment. The book was also inspired by Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Who should read this book and why?

There are several groups, I believe, that can benefit from this book: adult survivors of abuse, victims of spousal abuse, even those who have been perpetrators of abuse who aspire to change how they deal with problems. This book serves as a reminder to those who have suffered from such dysfunction, that they are not alone, and encourages them to seek their own healing.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp and share?

The message that I want men and women to grasp is that we need each other’s love and support in order to stop domestic violence—victims and perpetrators.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Meditation and yoga helps me to stay in mental and physical shape. I love to go out dancing and spend time with friends and family.

What does your family think of your writing?

For the most part, everyone’s supportive. My mother read the book in one day. But exposing family secrets and having them read about them in a book is not easy for some people to accept, yet it has brought healing to my family.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?

First of all, make sure your life is clear of major stressors that can get in the way of writing, such as unhealthy relationships and jobs that drain you. Writing takes time, energy, dedication, and discipline. Learn every writing technique you can, practice good grammar and spelling and, most of all, write from the heart.

Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. Also share with us your online contact information.

I am currently developing the sequel to The Melody of My BitterSweet Blues, which is entitled BitterSweet & Mo’ Sweeta. I am also working on a self-help book geared toward dating and relationship issues between women and men. The Melody of My BitterSweet Blues can be purchased at www.melbancroft.comAmazon.com, and Barnes & Noble.com.


Web Links
Author Websitewww.melbancroft.com
Emailmel@melbancroft.com


Social Networks
The Melody of My BitterSweet Blues on Facebook
Follow Mel Bancroft on Twitter
Mel Bancroft's Blog
Visit Mel Bancroft on MySpace
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Friday, April 23, 2010

#BookReview: Pearl of China - Anchee Min

A fictional account of acclaimed author Pearl S. Buck's life is the basis of Anchee Min's latest, Pearl of China.  As a fan of both Anchee Min and Pearl Buck, I was eager to read this and was not disappointed.  I've loved Pearl Buck since I picked up The Good Earth years ago, but I didn't know much about her.  Yes, I could have Googled or Wikipedia'd her, but I didn't.  I waited for someone to release a book about her and I'm glad I did.

To introduce us to Pearl, the author creates the fictional character Willow.  The only child of a poor family in Chin-kiang, Willow initially sees Pearl and her family of missionaries as easy prey for food and money.  Eventually the girls become best friends and so starts a friendship that lasts over sixty years.

Though this is a fictional account of the life of Pearl Buck, the history of China upon which it is set are not.  The civil war between the Nationalists and Communists, as well as the rise of Emperor Mao were very real events that Pearl Buck lived through.

What did you like about this book?
I learned so much about Pearl Buck that I didn't know.  Presented the way Anchee Min does makes it a much more enjoyable read than perhaps a regular memoir would have.

What didn't you like about this book?
There was a lot of Chinese poetry mixed in.  While I would have welcomed some, it became a bit too much, especially as Buck's university days were explored.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Once Buck departed China the bulk of the story became that of Willow.  I would have liked to have learned more about Buck's years in America after living in China for more than half her life.





278pp
Published March 2010

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

#BookReview: I, Alex Cross - James Patterson

The latest in the Alex Cross series finds our hero enjoying time with his family and girlfriend, a fellow detective.  When Alex's niece is found murdered, his peaceful family time comes to an end as he commits hours to finding out what happened.  The disappearance of several other young women comes to Alex's attention and he realizes that his niece's murder is tied to that of the others.  Interference from the White House on down proves to hamper his investigation, but he is Alex Cross and nothing or no one will stop him from getting to the truth.

What did you like about this book?
Like a pair of well worn slippers, it's easy to sink into a James Patterson novel, particularly an Alex Cross story.  It doesn't require much thought and is a perfect way to spend an hour or two.

What didn't you like about this book?
Like a pair of well worn slippers, it's easy to sink into a James Patterson novel, particularly an Alex Cross story.  It doesn't require much thought and is a perfect way to spend an hour or two.  Yes, I just repeated myself.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  At this point Patterson is so predictable that Stevie Wonder could see the plot a mile away.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Stop phoning it in.  Expected to publish no less than 10 books this year, I have a hard time believing that James Patterson devotes any reasonable amount of attention to any of his stories.  It would appear that lending his name to lesser known authors as a co-author proves to be more lucrative and less time consuming than actually writing.




374pp
Published November 2009

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesday, April 20

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page either in the comments below or on your own blog (give a link to your blog so we can check it out!)
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser:

"And all at once, he hears her screams again.  That night on the boat."

p. 253, Black Water Rising by Attica Locke
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Monday, April 19, 2010

#BookReview: When Rap Music Had A Conscience: The Artists, Organizations and Historic Events that Inspired, Influenced the Golden Age of Hip-Hop from 1987 to 1996 - Tayannah Lee McQuillar

Remember when rap was real? I do. It was back when I could take a dollar to the penny candy store and buy a pickle, two bags of pumpkin seeds, a pack of apple Now-n-Laters, an apple stix & a chick-o-stick. It was also a time when I could leave home at 9 a.m. on my bike, check in around noon and head back out until 8 p.m. (must be home before the street lights even think about coming on) and my mother didn't have to worry.

The first rap I ever heard was Rapper's Delight and I was hooked. When Run DMC hit the scene I learned all the words to It's Like That and even formed a dance crew with the other girls in the neighborhood. Never mind that we weren't old enough to go to any of the parties around the way, we practiced with an unbridled intensity in hopes that one day the spotlight would be on us and we'd get our turn to shine. And oh my gosh, when Afrika Bambattaa's Planet Rock came on at the skating rink? You couldn't pull me off the floor!

While a lot of today's rap music leaves much to be desired, Tayannah Lee McQuillar presents us with When Rap Music Had A Conscience in an effort to remind us that at one point, there was a message in the music. When Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released The Message they brought an awareness of life in the inner city to citizens of the world. KRS-ONE kept the ball rolling through the late 80s/early 90s, along with Public Enemy. So when did rap change? I can't pinpoint it. I won't blame it on NWA, Ice T and gangsta rap, though it would be easy to do so. I just know that there was a shift between the time I graduated college and came back a year later for homecoming. The freshmen were unlike anything I'd seen before and the music made me cringe.

Now I can't say that today's rap lyrics don't bring an awareness, but the difference is a glorification of a lifestyle that is slowly, but surely, killing our communities. There are beacons of hope within the rap world and for every Gucci Mane, there's a Common. For every Plies, there's a Mos Def. And it's not to say that even the most conscience of rappers don't occasionally slip, Common's Go makes me squirm just a bit, but their overall focus isn't the objectification of women, drugs or drive-bys. A quick read, anyone that's a fan of hip hop will certainly enjoy the trip down memory lane with this book. So in the words of the movie Brown Sugar, when did you fall in love with hip hop?

(90s B-girl in full effect)

184pp
Published March 2007

What did you like about this book?
I loved taking a trip down memory lane with the author.

What did you dislike about this book?
Some of the sections included in the book didn't necessarily fit with the overall theme of the book. For example, a section on movies from that era would have been appropriate if the soundtracks had included rap from that time period. Instead, the list included any black movie made during that era.

What could the author do to improve the book?
Some of her dates and backstories are questionable. A little more research could easily fix that.



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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Meet Author Toshia Shaw, AAMBC Blog Tour



Synopsis:
Shauna, Dawn, and Felicia are best friends who are bonded as “partners in crime” while trying to survive in Las Vegas, Nevada aka Sin City. Their friendship quickly begins to unravel when Jeffrey, Dawn’s fiancé, enters the picture. Although happy for their friend, Shauna and Felicia quickly begin to question the validity of their friendship when they aren’t allowed into Dawn’s new picture perfect life.

Desperate to keep her old lifestyle a secret from her fiancé, Dawn comes up with an elaborate scheme to make sure she weds Jeffrey at any cost, but Jeffrey attends a bachelor party where he meets, and instantly falls for, the naive and beautiful Shauna, and he and Dawn’s relationship becomes compromised. When dealing with matters of the heart, all bets are off.

Felicia is caught in the middle, and when it proves too much, she goes against her better judgment and becomes lost in her own world where promiscuity and drug abuse become the major players in her life.
Each girl is dancing on the stage of uncertainty. When the curtains are drawn and the neon lights go dim, who will wind up with the standing ovation?

High Stakes, sometimes when you gamble a little, you wind up losing it all.

Excerpt:
Dawn took a bite of food, looked toward the door, and almost choked. Dawn could feel her heart dropping into her stomach with the force and swiftness of a fallen airplane. She could not believe who she was seeing enter the restaurant. She watched Felicia saunter in with an older, white, balding man. She wore her usual long wig and a beautiful red and white Valentino dress, undoubtedly a gift from one of her tricks, such as the man she was with. The back of Dawn's neck was growing warm and she felt her eyes growing bigger by the second.

No, this can’t be happening to me—not now, not tonight! she said to herself.
"Dawn, darling, is something wrong? You don’t look well." Mrs. Mathers patted Dawn’s hand.

"Baby, you all right?" Jeffrey rushed to his fiancée's side.
High Stakes

"Umm, I suddenly feel ill. I'm just going to excuse myself and go to the ladies' room."

As Dawn stood up, she and Felicia locked eyes.

What were the chances that she and Felicia would end up in the same restaurant? Dawn thought she might die. What in the hell was Felicia doing at Tres Jazz? She escaped to the restroom to collect herself. There was no way she would stay in that restaurant when the past was right up in her face. She splashed cold water on her face and began to dry it with a paper towel, and when she looked up Felicia was standing behind her.

"Fancy meeting you here. Are you and future hubby here on a little date?" Felicia asked with a curt look on her face. She knew that Dawn's seeing her there would ruffle her feathers.

"Felicia, what are you doing here, and who is that guy?”

Felicia walked to the other side of Dawn to primp in the mirror.

“Don’t tell me he's one of your tricks," Dawn said with a condescending look.

Felicia stopped brushing her wig and turned to face Dawn. She was tired of the whole façade Dawn was wearing, acting as if she didn’t know anything about tricking.

"Look, I am here to eat, and I prefer the term 'date.'" Felicia pulled out a tube of lipstick and began to reapply. "Don’t call him a trick. He is too paid to be one of them. Oh, and, Dawn, tricking is something you should know a lot about. You seem to be performing a lot with your man out there."

"Whatever. I am here having dinner with my fiancé and his mother. We were just about to leave, so I'll call you later this week."

Dawn tried to make it clear, without saying the words, that she did not need Felicia's lowlife self butting all up in her business, trying to come over and introduce herself to Jeffrey.

"Oh, in other words, I need to stay clear of your table?" Felicia stepped up to Dawn and stared her in the eyes. "Don’t worry, Cinderella. I won't spoil the ball for you and Jeffrey. I'm sure he doesn’t want to know that his fiancée is a cheap, two-dollar hoe!"

Felicia infuriated Dawn, and she was about to tear the wig off her bald headed body when she realized she was above her now. She didn’t have to resort to her type of behavior.

Felicia noticed the hesitation on Dawn’s part.

"What's wrong, Dawn, you scared of a little tiff?"

Dawn did nothing but stare at Felicia square in the eyes, she did not flinch or dare to breathe heavily. A slow smile crept onto Felicia’s face. She looked Dawn up and down, dismissed her with one hand, and turned on her heel to leave.

As she was about to leave, Felicia added, "Remember, girl, you can take the bitch out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the bitch!" With that remark, she turned and pranced out of the restroom.

Dawn pulled herself together and walked back to the table calmly as if nothing had happened. She looked at Felicia out of the corner of her eye. Felicia winked at her, undoubtedly toying with her emotions.

Biography:

Toshia Shaw is a poet and writer hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada where she resides with her husband and two children. She holds a Bachelors degree in Human Services and is currently pursuing a Masters of Business Administration in Health Care Management. She sits on the board of Nevada Youth Alliance, and she is the Executive Director of Purple Wings Organization; a non-profit directed at deterring at-risk young ladies from the sex industry of Las Vegas, Nevada. When Toshia isn't writing she loves spending time with her family.

Interview with Toshia:

Where were you born?
I was born in Joliet, Illinois, but raised in Memphis, Tennessee.

Education background?
I graduated from Trezevant High School in Memphis, TN., earned my Bachelors in Human Services, and I am currently pursuing my Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Health Administration.

What's your inspiration or who is?
I draw inspiration from my children; my three year old daughter, and 14 year old son. They both inspire me to be and do my best. I want to be the example instead of just talking about striving to do and be more.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Actually, as a child I made up my mind that I wanted to be an author. I would get lost in the world of books as early as seven years old. My parents would have to make me put them down. I would read books in one day, stay up all night if I had to. I just loved the art form of making words form a work of poetry, or a story. I see it as art. Whatever I went through I recorded those feelings with writing.

Did you ever think you'd ever become an author?
Yes, I always knew I would one day get the opportunity to share my creative writing with the world. Although, life took me on other paths I have never forgotten my first love which is writing.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Well it depends on what I am writing. It can take anywhere from one month to one year.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I remember entering my first writing contest at the age of seven where I took first place. I got the chance to meet a famous Chicago Bear football player. I will never forget that book; I entitled it, Cindy and her Maracas.

Whose writing do you admire most?
My favorite writer of all time would have to be Toni Morrison. I admire the writing style of Akosua Busia however, she has only written one book that I know of. I am sitting on the edge of my chair waiting for her next work. I will always have a strong connection with Terry McMillan’s characters because they are so easy to relate to.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Basically, I don’t get any sleep! I have a full time job, in Grad school, and a family so the only time I get to work on my craft is late at night or early in the morning before anyone rises.

Social Networks:








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Friday, April 16, 2010

#BookReview: Forget Me Not - Vicki Hinze

When an injured woman shows up at Crossroads Crisis Center, the staff can't help but to notice that she bears an uncanny resemblance to their founder, Susan Brandt.  The mystery woman has no recollection of how she ended up in Florida or why she looks so much like Susan.  What she does know is that two strange men are out to do her harm, but she's not sure why.

Benjamin Brandt lost his wife and son three years ago. In the years since, several women resembling his late wife have shown up claiming to be her.  He hasn't returned to the center he founded with his wife, but when his staff contacts him regarding the latest mystery woman, he feels compelled to find out why she's there.

Though Forget Me Not is promoted as a Christian mystery, Vicki Hinze is careful not to overwhelm the reader with the Christianity angle.  Once I figured out all of the players in the game, the book was an enjoyable read.

What did you like about the book?
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book was not bogged down with a lot of biblical references.

What did you dislike about the book?
There were way too many names thrown at the reader all at once.  I spent at least 30 minutes just trying to figure out who all of the characters speaking and referenced were.  At first I thought that I just wasn't focused enough while reading it, but in speaking to another reader, I found that she had the same problem.

How can the author improve this book?
Streamlining the characters would be a start.

336pp
Published March 2010





Disclaimer: This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Copies are available on the Giveaway page.  To purchase your copy, visit http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781601422057
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Cousin Got Married & Other Foolishness



Weddings are joyous occasions, at least that's what we're led to believe.  So what happens when I'm forced to sit through a budget/style/common sense lacking wedding? I live tweeted my cousin's wedding last year and my co-worker thought I should share it with you.  Below are my tweets from that tragic event.




Sitting @ my cousin's wedding. Noticing there R more on his side than brides. Is that a sign? We're glad 2 gv him away!  

Cousin Greg is jammin on the sax! All is not lost  

@jazzzyone popular nothing! We can't blv some1 wants his trifling tail   

Check out cousin diane with the fresh perm AND weave. Still ghetto though  

My favorite cousins r here. I lv 2 see black men who've bn raised well 

 I think it's a farce and I can't blv fam has traveled here for this lol   

I'm here 2 witness the foolishness and fuggery w my own eyes. And they're already behind schedule  

Okay wedding officially late. Aunt says they hv 2 wait on the clock to be on the upswing??  

I'm not understanding the parading of the mother of the bride back and forth in the front of the church.   

And why aren't the groomsmen already out here? F and F! 

Lawd geezus and baby geezus! My mother is singing a solo. Take me now!  

The groom looks like he's abt 2 cry  

Reverend looks like he's abt to fall asleep. I wonder what they're serving at the reception  

Why did my aunt gv a crying baby the evil eye? Lol  

Omg! Some nonsinging boy is jacking up luther and now the baby is really crying  

Groom and bride crying tears of joy. I'm crying cuz the singer sucks! 

No they don't hv reserved seats at the reception. I'm sitting where ever I feel lk it  

Don't gv me a ghetto wedding and try to change it up for the reception  

At a table with folks I don't know. They didn't get the memo? Nobody puts baby in the corner!  

Caterer my tail! I see church members throwing on aprons and firing up the sternos. Didn't I tell y'all?  

Aunt Jean is now directing table traffic  

Why is the plasticware wrapped in a paper napkin and tied with a box? It's paper and plastic no matter how u dress it up.  


My lovely plasticware!   

This chick's hair looks like something the cat's been sucking on. I want 2 gv her some Jane Carter's solution & a chi flat iron for real.  

I wish the old man that got a salad 4 his wife brought me 1. They're not serving yet, he's just gangsta  

This lil boy and his brother r sitting across  me trying 2 see who cn mk the strangest noises the loudest & their mom is iggin them FML 

I gv them the look and they stfu. Learned that from aunt jean  

:::banging my plasticware on the table::: feed me now! Feed me now! 

Aunt Jean fussin again    


(no, this was not taken at the wedding, but this is her typical fussing stance)


Sure, Rock the Boat is appropriate entrance music for the bride and groom  




Who set up the head table without enough chairs for the bridal party?? EPIC FAIL  

Now the bride and photographer r trying to move chairs around. Oy vey  

Yep. A pepsi too if u hv one RT @jazzzyone: @Reads4Pleasure lol! want some of my popcorn?  

Singing along...baby ur nt always there when I call bt ur always there on time. The DJ is just playing a hidden beach cd. I cd hv done that 

My mother just sd I shd hv planned the wedding 4 them 4 free. NOT! 

I wd settle for hot fries and a pepsi right now. Friggin buffet line and table numbers! Ughh  

Baked chicken? Pound cake? No wedding cake? *wall slide* 

Hell naw! The dj is playing hey ma by camron. I. Am. Weak. 

No dessert or salad left (sigh)  

@Narleski is it possible that I don't care? Lol. I'm just saying what they're thinking   

I've given them all the time I can. Must. Go. Home. *drops mic* 

They caught me at the door (sigh). Serve the muscatel already so I can go!  

These negroaches put a bottle of Andres on each table with some cups and walked away.  
    
::rocking back and forth:: Jesus be a fence all around me everydayyy. 

I feel like I'm at the V F & W  

Why is this fool giving a toast no one can understand? 

Give me free!!!  

I'm blowing this joint. Lemme pretend to go to the restroom and just walk out.  
    


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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In Memory of Carolyn M. Rodgers

CHICAGO (AP) — Carolyn M. Rodgers, a Chicago poet and writer who helped found one of the country's oldest and largest black-owned book publishers, has died. She was 69.

The Chicago-based Third World Press says Rodgers died April 2 at Mercy Hospital after battling an undisclosed illness.

The Chicago native wrote nine books, including "How I got Ovah." Her work often delved into the experiences of black women.

Rodgers is credited with being a star of the black arts movement of the 1960s and 1970s. She helped found Third World Press in the 1960s. She also started her own publishing company, Eden Press.

Funeral services have been held. A public memorial is planned May 4 where Rodgers' work will be read.

Rodgers is survived by her mother and two sisters. source

Reading the news online this morning, I was saddened to learn that Ms. Rodgers passed in early April. As I mentioned in a previous post, Ms. Rodgers' words are some of the best I've ever read.  I've always felt she was overlooked by the masses, but she's no less important to the literary and poetry world than Nikki Giovanni or Audre Lorde.  Below is one of my favorites from her.


It Is Deep (don't never forget the bridge that you crossed over on)
By Carolyn Rodgers

Having tried to use the
witch cord
that erases the stretch of
thirty-three blocks
and tuning in the voice which
woodenly stated that the
talk box was "disconnected"

My mother, religiously girdled in
her god, slipped on some love, and
laid on my bell like a truck,
blew through my door warm wind from the south
concern making her gruff and tight-lipped
and scared
that her "baby" was starving.
she, having learned, that disconnection results from
non-payment of bill (s).

She did not
recognize the poster of the
grand le-roi (al) cat on the wall
had never even seen the books of
Black poems that I have written
thinks that I am under the influence of
**communists**
when I talk about Black as anything
other than something ugly to kill it befo it grows
in any impression she would not be
considered "relevant" or "Black"
but
there she was, standing in my room
not loudly condemning that day and
not remembering that I grew hearing her
curse the factory where she "cut uh slave"
and the cheap j-boss wouldn't allow a union,
not remembering that I heard the tears when
they told her a high school diploma was not enough,
and here now, not able to understand, what she had
been forced to deny, still--

she pushed into my kitchen so
she could open my refrigerator to see
what I had to eat, and pressed fifty
bills in my hand saying "pay the talk bill and buy
some food; you got folks who care about you . . ."

My mother, religious-negro, proud of
having waded through a storm, is very obviously,
a sturdy Black bridge that I
crossed over, on.
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