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Friday, July 29, 2011

#BookReview: Pinch Me - Adena Halpern

"Never marry a man unless he's short, bald, fat, stupid and treats you badly."  Those are the words Lily Burns' mother, Selma, and grandmother, Dolly, have drilled into her all of her life.  Why? Because the women in their family are cursed.  Marrying for love is sure to leave you broken-hearted and alone. And at least if you marry a man with all of those bad traits, you're in no danger of loving him.

But does Lily listen?  She tries for the longest, dating the baldest, shortest, fattest and most rude man she can find, Jonah.  Even Jonah dumps her though and then, Gogo enters her life.  He's the opposite of everything Lily has been told to look for in a man.  And eventually, he wants to marry her.  But there's the curse.  Should they throw caution to the wind and marry anyway or should Lily drive him away?  Of course she should marry him. But wouldn't you know it, as soon as she does, her perfect life with Gogo disappears and it looks like the family curse isn't just an old wives' tale.

What did you like about this book?
This is my first book from Adena Halpern, but I've heard from several other readers that her books are charming.  I have to agree. Pinch Me was charming and magical at once.  It was an absolute page turner and I found myself cheering Lily on in hopes that she would get things right and find a way to reverse the family curse.

Selma and Dolly provided the perfect comedy relief.  Halpern wrote their characters in such a way that, even though she didn't really describe them physically, I was able to create them in my mind.  Think Fran's mother and grandmother from The Nanny meets Lucy and Ethel.

What didn't you like about this book? 
I really can't think of a thing.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Not a thing.  It was a perfectly enjoyable read.

Published July 2011
Review appears as part of the Crazy Book Tour. A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

Theme: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic by The Police

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#BookReview: Money Can't Buy Love - Connie Briscoe

How does one win five million dollars and lose it all in a year?  Even if you wasted a few hundred thousand on frivolities, you might be hard pressed to lose everything, unless you're Lenora Stone.  Then, anything is possible.

Working in a field she loves, photography, at a job she hates, a local magazine, Lenora dreams of having her own studio.  She also dreams of marrying her boyfriend of three years, Gerald.  Neither of those dreams seems remotely possible until the day she hits the lottery.

Suddenly, Gerald is ready to marry her. She's ready to open a new studio. And she's started an affair with Ray, a hot, young landscaper she photographed as one of her last assignments for the magazine.  And just as quickly as she gained those things, she lost them.

What did you like about this book?
At just under 300 pages, it was a quick read.

What didn't you like about this book?
Lenora was a dumb and unlikeable woman and, frankly, I have no patience for dumb, unlikeable women.  Her boyfriend, who had a history of cheating on her, could barely make time for her prior to winning the lottery.  As soon as she won it, he was ready to settle down.

In addition, the math didn't really add up for me.  Lenora bought a house, a car and a studio and that broke her? Even after taxes, she had a decent amount of money.  I don't feel like the author really did her homework on this.

Her friendships with her two best friends from college seemed very superficial.  Her relationship with her parents was almost non-existent.  Her relationships with people, in general, just seemed to be filled with drama.  Since she was the common factor in all of those relationships, I'd say she was the problem.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Create a more plausible story line with a likable lead character.

Published: June 2011


Theme: Mo Money, Mo Problems by Notorious Big featuring Puff and Mase

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Monday, July 25, 2011

#BookReview: The VIPs - Scott Poulson-Bryant

Okay, before I launch into why I loved this book and stayed up late reading it and was late for work trying to finish it, let me take you back to 1984.  The television industry loved miniseries back then and, in my opinion, there wasn't a miniseries better than Lace.  It was the story of a famous model who grew up an orphan, abandoned by a mother she never knew.  The one thing she did know was that she was conceived by a woman amongst a group of three friends that attended boarding school.  This scene has stayed with me all these years:

That scene gave my young teen heart life!  I loved Lace so much that I read the book several times and even sat through the less than stellar Lace II where Phoebe Cates' character, Lily, tried to find out "which one of you bastards is my father."  So I was ecstatic when I read the description for The VIPs.  I'd seen the author tweet about the book, but didn't really know much about it.  Once I realized that he had written a story loosely based around the Lace theme, I was in.  The only twist was, he wrote it from the male perspective.

Four childhood friends, connected through Sag Harbor, are brought back together by a famous rapper for reasons unknown.  Although each man has had a successful career, they've had less than stellar personal lives and the connections to their friends are dangling by very loose threads.  Reunited by TNT to answer the question of whom is his father sends the group of friends reeling down memory lane.  With writing that pulls you in from page one and doesn't release you until the very end, Scott Poulson-Bryant has written the perfect beach read.

What did you like about this book?
The character development was excellent.  I felt like I liked the characters I was supposed to and despised those deserving of it, purely based on how well they were written.  I also loved that there was no predictability with the story line.  Up until the very end I was surprised at how the story turned out.

What didn't you like about this book?
I honestly can't think of a thing.

What could the author do to improve this book?
I'm going to need a miniseries.  I tried casting the character's in my head and can't come up with any actors that could play the roles of the four friends. Although I can easily come up with names of established actors to play the boys' parents,  I'd love to see some unknowns take on the roles of Barry, Joey, Duke and Leo.  So yeah, I'm going to need that to happen.

Published: July 2011

Theme: Friends by Whodini
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Ten Books You Should Be Reading

The summer is flying by and with temperatures around the country so high, a lot of people are staying in under the A/C looking for something to read.  How do I know? Because my Twitter timeline is full of people asking what I recommend.  So here are my top 10 reads so far this year.

10. Please Look After Mom  by Kyung-Sook Shin
Look for a review of this in the near future.  Told by the adult daughter of a mother that's gone missing, the daughter is forced to re-evaluate her relationship with her mother and wonder how much she knows her mother. After putting her own happiness on the back burner for so many years, would it be so hard to imagine that her mother might have chosen to disappear?

9. The Grace of Silence by Michele Norris
This is the book I expected when I read Condoleezza Rice's Extraordinary, Ordinary People.  Where Condi failed me, Michele Norris came through with flying colors.  This is truly one of those books that everyone needs to read.

8. If Sons, Then Heirs by Lorene Cary
It's impossible to read the latest from Lorene Cary and not reflect on your family's legacy.  Whether it be physical property or simply your family history, there are things passed down through the generations for which no monetary compensation will suffice. If Sons, Then Heirs touches on both of these.

7. The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain
In a book with more twists and turns than a maze, The Midwife's Confession is an "on the edge of your seat" read.  You won't realize it when you first start it because it's such a nice story about three friends in a quaint northeastern town.  Written in a Jodi Picoult-like style, the story is told from the view point of not only the three women, but others, as necessary.

6. All Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann
First time novelist Jessica McCann skillfully brings the story of Margaret Morgan and her family to life in the historical novel All Different Kinds of Free, based on the Supreme Court case Prigg v. Pennsylvania.  Though the author takes creative license in some parts, it is done to fill in the gaps in an effort to bring the reader a complete story.

5. The VIPS  by Scott Poulson-Bryant
I just read this this week and when I say it's an ohmygoshIcan'tputitdownbecauseIneedtoknowwhathappensnext kind of read, believe me.  I recommended it to my reading twin, Litfangrl, and she missed her train stop because she was so into it.  If you loved the 80s miniseries Lace, you will love this.  Even if you never saw Lace, you'll love this.  It's that good.

4. Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson
An absolutely brilliant effort from first time novelist Christie Watson, Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away, is definitely a must read.  Watson tackles several issues head on and does so with ease.

3. Patches of Grey by Roy L. Pickering
In a story that at times reminded me of Matty Rich's Straight Out of Brooklyn, Roy L. Pickering, Jr. deftly weaves a coming of age tale of Tony Johnson in Patches of Grey.  And while Pickering could have taken the easy way out and strictly focused on one main character, he takes the time to tell not only Tony's story, but that of his siblings and parents as well, each as fascinating as Tony's.

2. Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany
Admitting failure is never an easy thing to do.  And for a mother to admit that she's failed, it can be devastating. In Amy Hatvany's Best Kept Secret the reader is given a front row seat into what can happen when a parent falls apart.

1. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
With the opening line, "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist," Tayari Jones skillfully pulls the reader into the world of two sisters: Dana and Chaurisse.  Told in first person by each of the sisters, Silver Sparrow is absolutely remarkable.  I reviewed this back in March and worried that people would forget about it by the time it came out in May. I'm so happy that Silver Sparrow and Tayari are getting so much shine.  How amazing is it? So much so that not a day goes by that I don't see someone in my time line tweeting about it.  If you've yet to read it, shame on you!

What books have made your top 10 great reads of the year thus far?

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

#BookReview: Miss Julia Hits the Road - Ann B. Ross

Just a quick recap for those that don't know about my summer love affair with this 60something woman.  I've been averaging at least one Miss Julia audio book a week and  I'm determined to make my way through the series by the end of the summer.  Here's a little background about her.

Miss Julia's late husband, Wesley Lloyd Springer, was a mean and domineering, yet wealthy, man.  When he died, Miss Julia found out that not only did he have a mistress, Hazel Marie, but that they had a son together, Lloyd.  Not worried about how it might look to others, for once, Miss Julia takes in Hazel Marie and Lloyd.  Rounding out the cast of lively characters is Lillian, Miss Julia's cook and housekeeper; Sam, the deceased Mr. Springer's attorney and Julia's current husband (or boyfriend depending on which book you're reading); J.D., Hazel Marie's boyfriend; and Latisha, Lillian's great granddaughter.  This book happens to be the fourth in the series, but Ann B. Ross does an excellent job of bringing the reader up to speed so that you can pick up any book in the series and be fine.

In this adventure, Lillian's neighborhood is being demolished to make way for a water bottling plant.  Of course Miss Julia can take her in, but what about the rest of the neighbors?  It's not right that they can be put out with such little warning and Miss Julia plans to do something about it, even if it means jumping on the back of a motorcycle.  Joining forces with local bike riders and the eccentric Thurlo Jones, Miss Julia and her crew plan to raise enough money to not only save Lillian's neighborhood, but improve it.

Listening time: 10 hours, 40 minutes
Published: March 2004

What did you like about this book?
Thurlo Jones is quite possibly one of the funniest characters I've ever read about/listened to.  His interactions with Miss Julia are the best parts of the book.

What didn't you like about this book?
There was a different narrator for this book.  I didn't really care for her Miss Julia voice, however, her voice for Lillian was much better than the most recent narrator's.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Not for the book, but series overall, I hope to see more Thurlo Jones.

Theme: Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf
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Monday, July 18, 2011

#BookReview: A Catered Affair - Sue Margolis

Tallulah, yes, in the 21st century, someone is named Tallulah, has certainly kissed her fair share of frogs.  When her doctor boyfriend proposes, she's thrilled!  Her mother doesn't care for him, but that doesn't bother Tallie too much. Believing that he's the kind of man her deceased father would want her to marry, Tallie forges ahead to the big day.

Tallie's nana has used her settlement money for survivors of the Holocaust to give Tallie a wedding fit for a princess.  So with her bohemian mother, her lively grandmother, her sister and her sister's girlfriend by her side, Tallie is ready to walk down the aisle.  The only problem is there's no groom there to meet her.

Humiliated on her big day, Tallie's family is doing everything they can to help her rebound.  Her grandmother plays matchmaker, her sister offers her refuge and the wedding caterer gives her a shoulder to lean on.  And it just may turn out that Tallie dodged a bullet with her runaway groom.

What did you like about this book?
Even though this book was 384 pages, it didn't feel like it.  It was a quick and easy read with liberal doses of humor to make the time enjoyable.

What didn't you like about this book?
It was slightly predictable, but it didn't detract from the overall story line.

What could the author do to improve this book?
I'd love to see a series created around these characters.  With a few exceptions, all of the characters were highly enjoyable and could carry their own story line.

Published: August 2011 (Pre-order now!)

Theme: Don't You Remember

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Rare Saturday Post: I'm It!

Normally I don't post on Saturdays and, if I do, it's about a book or something literary related. But Karen over at Utah Progressive tagged me (and I'm just so impressed that she dares to be progressive in such a conservative state) so I thought I'd play along.

Seven Random Things About Me

  1. I'm a morning person and do my best work before lunch.  By 2 p.m. I'm absolutely useless.
  2. I envy the kindergarten and under kiddies because I'm a big fan of naps and they get them daily.  I live for Saturdays just so I can come home after running errands and take a midday nap. 
  3. A few years ago I said I'd cut my hair when I lost 20 pounds.  At that time it was above my ears, now it's six inches past my shoulder.
  4. I can't live without books and music.
  5. As much as I read, I rarely buy books. My habit would force me to choose between groceries and books.   Instead, I'm at the library at least once a week.
  6. I love cheesy movies and will watch just about anything with Doris Day in it.
  7. I hate shopping.
Me & the Princess of Snark

Q&A Session
Favorite color: Purple... I wore a shade of it every day at one point in high school.
Favorite song: Easy by The Commodores... Okay, my favorite changes occasionally, but it always comes back to Easy. I LOVE YOU LI-NEL! (And yes, it must be said as Li-nel, not Lionel).
Favorite dessert: Brownie a la mode
Biggest pet peeve: Debbie Downers.  You can't find something to be happy about ever?
When You Are Upset, You: Listen to music
Your Favorite Pet: Max the Wonder Cat
Black or White: Shades of grey
Biggest Fear: Something happening to the Princess of Snark
Best Feature: My brain
Everyday Attitude: "It's not the load that breaks you down, it's how you carry it." - Lena Horne
What is Perfection: Enjoying a well written book while drinking Sangster's Rum Creme on the beach in Jamaica
Guilty Pleasure: Watching reality TV

I'm tagging: @GammasWorld, @SnobNPearls & @ASmith86

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Free for All Friday, July 15

It's Free for All Friday and I've got a hodgepodge of things to talk about, so let's get started.

"The Black Weblog Awards was founded in 2005 to give recognition to Black bloggers (and those of the African diaspora) which were largely overlooked by other Internet award events online. What started out as a barely-known event has now grown into an international showcase. With participants from over 90 countries, the Black Weblog Awards stands out as one of the most widespread Internet award events for Black bloggers." - source  A few of you were nice enough to nominate me for the category of Best Book, Author, Literature blog and even more of you voted for me.  As you can tell by my over dramatic avatar, I won!  So to the new readers I've picked up as a result of the exposure, let me bring you up to speed on all things Reads4Pleasure.

I read, write and rant about books and literary happenings at least three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays), though occasionally I'll drop a weekend post.  In early 2010 I started giving every book I read a theme song after one book (can't remember which one) just screamed for it.  Theme songs may have nothing to do with the book, they're just songs that reminded me of a character, a scene, etc. while I read the book.  Unless a review is accredited to a guest blogger, it's safe to assume that I've read every book I review here, even the horribly bad ones.  It all balances out when I read the extremely magnificent ones.  I read and review primarily books by or about African-Americans and other people of color and chick lit.  Street lit and erotica make my skin crawl so the chances of me reading and reviewing them are slim to none.  There's nothing worse than posting a review and getting no feedback, so please feel free to comment!  Moving on.

Emmy nominations were announced yesterday and I have to acknowledge some of my favorites actors and shows that received accolades.

Downton Abbey - Outstanding Miniseries or Movie; Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special; Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie; Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or Special; Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie; Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or Special; Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special and gobs more.  Including Elizabeth McGovern for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Maggie Smith for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries of Movie as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham

Idris Elba - Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for the role of John Luther in Luther and Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for the role of Lenny in The Big C.
Laurence "Don't Call Me Larry" Fishburne - Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for the role of Thurgood Marshall in Thurgood.

Loretta Devine - Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for the role of Adele Webber in Grey's Anatomy.


Andre Braugher - Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for the role of Owen in Men of A Certain Age.

Alfre Woodard - Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for the role of Ruby Jean in True Blood

Pillars of the Earth - Outstanding Miniseries or Movie

Mildred Pierce - Outstanding Miniseries of Movie; Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or Special; Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special.  Kate Winslet also got a nod for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries, Movie or Drama

Upstairs Downstairs - Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special; Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie; Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or Special; Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or Special;
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has gone above and beyond with their nominations this year.  Normally I don't bother to tune in because the shows and/or actors I like aren't nominated.  This year I'll be tuned in with a bag of kettlecorn and a Pepsi.  How about you? Did any of your favorites get nominated?

The floor is open so feel free to share whatever's on your mind.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#BookReview: Russian Winter - Daphne Kalotay

Though it's quite a lengthy read, Russian Winter is the perfect book for those that appreciate the history of Russia, the arts and intrigue.  Blending the past and the present together flawlessly, it's the story of Nina Revskaya, a former star of the Bolshoi Ballet.  The secondary story, just as intriguing as Nina's, is that of Grigori Solodin.

Growing up in Stalin's Soviet Union, Nina is accustomed to living with the bare minimum.  When she meets the handsome poet Viktor Elsin, she's immediately fascinated by him. As they grow as a couple, they also grow in their careers. And while their careers don't afford them very many luxuries, they have slightly more freedom than other citizens.

Professor Grigori Solodin is an expert on the work of Viktor Elsin.  Adopted by an older couple, his research into his birth parents lead him to Elsin.  Though he's never shared his theory with anyone, he's convinced that Nina Revskaya and Viktor Elsin must be his parents.  If they're not, then why does he have the missing piece of jewelry from Nina's fabulous collection?

Wheelchair bound, Nina can no longer dance, but she can help keep the arts alive by donating her substantial jewelry collection for auction.  Some pieces have come from admirers through the years, but her most valued, yet most despised jewelry came from the husband who betrayed her with her closest friend, confidante and fellow ballerina.  It's those same pieces that lead Grigori Solodin to her doorstep.

What did you like about this book?
I was impressed with the detail in which Kalotay describes not only the Soviet Union of that time, but also the people. It's apparent that the author did her research and took great effort to write an in-depth story that not only tells the story of Nina Revskaya, but of Russia itself.  Reading it was enough to make me want to turn on the samovar for tea and revisit some of my favorite Russian authors.

What didn't you like about the book?
The character of Zoltan Romhanyi didn't add a lot to the story.  I interpreted his scatterbrained, mumbling to himself ways as a mirror for Grigori to see what his life could become if he only focused on work and took no time to immerse himself in social activities after his wife's death.  However, he felt more like an intrusion to a story that flowed so well until each time he abruptly appeared.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Other than eliminating or reducing the role of Zoltan, not a thing.

Published September 2010

Theme: Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake

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Monday, July 11, 2011

#BookReview: The Ninth Wife - Amy Stolls

Any woman with the sense God gave a crazy road lizard would run like hell when the man she's dating tells her he's been married eight times.  She surely wouldn't consider becoming wife number nine.  Or would she?

Bess Gray is pretty darn quirky.  A folklorist by day and practicing martial artist by night, she collects cultural artifacts and a strange array of friends, including her flamboyant neighbor Cricket.  When the charming Rory McMillan enters her life with his Scottish lilt and fiddle playing, Bess is immediately taken with him.  He's living and breathing folklore, is he not?

Their whirlwind romance inevitably leads to a proposal of marriage, but before Bess can contemplate marriage, Rory drops the bomb about his previous marriages, all eight of them.  With her grandparents relocating from the east coast to the southwest, Bess offers to drive them and, along the way, meet each of Rory's previous wives in a quest to determine whether or not she should become The Ninth Wife.

What did you like about this book?
I loved hearing about Rory's past relationships.  At first the thought of someone in their mid-forties having been married eight times seemed improbable, but as I read (and allowed my imagination to stretch), it became more plausible.  Also, the dynamic between Bess' grandparents is particularly interesting.

What didn't you like about this book?
A lot of time is spent exploring Rory's past relationships, but with the exception of her ex-boyfriend/current neighbor Sonny, not much is mentioned about Bess' previous relationships.

What could the author do to improve this book?
As I said, a little more about Bess' relationships would have been appreciated.

Published May 2011

Theme: Take A Chance on Me by ABBA

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Friday, July 8, 2011

#BookReview: Miss Julia Delivers the Goods - Ann B. Russell

I have a confession to make.  I've been listening to the adventures of a senior citizen for the last month or so.  I would always see the Miss Julia series on the shelves of the library, but thought why would I want to read about a 60something white woman in North Carolina? I still can't remember how I ended up with the audio version of Miss Julia Delivers the Goods, but I'm glad I did.  A combination of Julia Sugarbaker from Designing Women and Sophia Petrillo from The Golden Girls, Julia Springer is hilarious!

This book happens to be the 10th in the series, but Ann B. Ross does an excellent job of bringing the reader up to speed so that you can pick up any book in the series and be fine.  Miss Julia's late husband, Wesley Lloyd Springer, was a mean and domineering, yet wealthy, man.  When he died, Miss Julia found out that not only did he have a mistress, Hazel Marie, but that they had a son together, Lloyd.  Not worried about how it might look to others, for once, Miss Julia takes in Hazel Marie and Lloyd.  Rounding out the cast of lively characters is Lillian, Miss Julia's cook and housekeeper; Sam, the deceased Mr. Springer's attorney and Julia's current husband (or boyfriend depending on which book you're reading); J.D., Hazel Marie's boyfriend; and Latisha, Lillian's great granddaughter.

Frances Sternhagen
 (Miss Julia in my head)
Much like "regular" chick lit, Miss Julia finds herself in the craziest predicaments.  And like the chicks in regular chick lit, she's usually in the situations she's in because of something she's done.  The only difference is Miss Julia tries to be a prim and proper Southern lady through it all.  And her idea of what is proper and what is not keeps her in trouble.

This time around Miss Julia has her knickers in a bunch because the unwed Hazel Marie is pregnant by J.D., who has no idea that he's about to be a father because Hazel Marie has broken up with him and sent him packing.  Now Miss Julia steadied the wagging tongues when an unmarried Hazel Marie showed up with Lloyd, but she'll be kicked out of society once the other ladies in town find out that Hazel Marie is about to become an unwed mother again and this time, she's having twins!  Miss Julia is determined to use her meddling ways to get J.D and Hazel Marie to the altar before the rest of the town finds out about the newest bundles of joy.

What did you like about this book?
I can't really pinpoint one thing.  Most of you already know I'm a sucker for small town stories set in the South.  Throw in a funny older lady and I'm sold.

What didn't you like about this book?
Because I've only listened to the Miss Julia books and not actually seen them in print, I don't know if Lillian's way of speaking is dictated by the author or by the narrator.  Either way, it's quite offensive that Ann B. Ross has Lillian speaking as if she's just two years off the plantation.  I don't know if I'd notice it so much in print, but it's magnified in the audio version.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Realize that when she wrote the rest of the characters in the 21st century, she should have included Lillian.

Published April 2009
Listening time: 10 hours, 30 minutes

Theme: All I Want by Carly Simon

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#BookReview: Best Kept Secret - Amy Hatvany

Admitting failure is never an easy thing to do.  And for a mother to admit that she's failed, it can be devastating. In Amy Hatvany's Best Kept Secret the reader is given a front row seat into what can happen when a parent falls apart.

Cadence Sutter was content in her marriage, but a painful divorce leaves her to raise her son alone. It's not that her ex-husband isn't in the picture, but being a parent is a full-time job and can be especially overwhelming when you work from home.  Imagine being with a five year old day in and out with little to no break.  It's not so easy, is it? And so what starts as a drink here or there to take the edge off slowly evolves into a nasty drinking habit.

Hatvany presents the compelling, yet simple story of how someone gradually becomes an addict, doing so in such a way that you're much more likely to cheer for the character, Cadence, than you would someone you saw on the reality TV show Intervention.  Perhaps the reason for this is by the time we see addicts on TV, that's all we see them as.  We don't know their back story or, if we do, we're not given enough of it to be truly sympathetic.  With Cadence, it's especially easy, as a mother, to see how she can slip.  That's not to say that she doesn't deserve any of the problems that come with being an alcoholic, but understanding how she gets to that point is masterfully depicted by the author.

What did you like about this book?
Hatvany doesn't sugar coat the effects of addiction on not only the addict, but also those around the addict.  I also loved that she took the time to explore everything that factored into Cadence's addiction.  It would have been easy to blame it all on her marriage falling apart, but that was just a part of the reason.

What didn't you like about this book?
It probably would have been too Jodi Picoult-like, but I would have loved to see things from the perspective of Cadence's family and friends.  Although the reader has a pretty clear picture of how Cadence feels, hearing how others felt about her addiction would have been a great addition to the story.

What would you do to improve this book?
Other than adding the voices of the other character, not a thing.

Published June 2011

Theme: By Your Side  by Sade

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Enjoy the Holiday Weekend!

I don't know what you're doing this weekend, but I've got another family wedding on deck.  If you missed my live tweets of the last wedding in my family, you can check them out here. I'll use my travel time to finally read Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns.  Okay, I'll try to anyway.  It's more likely that I'll engage in my favorite travel activity, logic puzzles, instead.

What wedding reception would be complete without the electric slide.

What about you? Any big plans for the holiday weekend? Do tell!

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