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Monday, December 31, 2012

How You Readin'?

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Monday, December 24, 2012

#BookReview: A Different Kind of Christmas - Alex Haley

Originally posted Dec. 24, 2009

A visit to Philadelphia his sophomore year at Princeton, and an unlikely friendship with three Quaker brothers, starts the young man on the path to question the morality of slavery. Though he's managed to avoid facing his parents, returning home for Christmas can't be avoided. Agreeing to assist with the Underground Railroad proves to be the biggest challenge he's faced in his 19 years, especially when he finds out that his assignment places him in direct conflict with his family. With assistance from an unlikely source, Fletcher works to right the wrongs that his family has perpetuated for generations.

At just 100 pages, this is a very quick read. I received this as a gift in 1991.  The detail given to characters like those that appear in other Haley novels is not as evident here. I suppose if it had been, the story would have been more memorable without re-reading it. Nonetheless, it was fairly enjoyable.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Best in Books 2012

With just a few days left to get in your holiday shopping, I thought I'd give you my top picks of the year.  Maybe you'll be inspired to buy them for someone on your list.  Now normally I would list everything I gave five purple armchairs, but that list ended up being lengthy this year, which is good because it means I read a lot of good books.  However, to keep things simple and to stick with the theme of "The Best in 2012," I'm just going to limit it to books published in the U.S. in 2012.  Since all of these received my highest rating, I'm not going to rank them, just list them in the order I read them.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

#BookReview: Blue Christmas - Mary Kay Andrews

Fans of Mary Kay Andrews are probably familiar with her characters Bebe Loudermilk and her best friend, Weezy Foley.  I first read and reviewed them in Andrews' Savannah Breeze.

Whereas Savannah Breeze really focused on Bebe, Blue Christmas is mostly about Weezy.  The owner of an antique shop in the historical district of Savannah, Weezy is up in arms about the annual window decorating contest.  With her window decorated, she notices the proprietor's of a new business across the square doing things differently.  And you just don't do that in Savannah.  There's the Savannah way of doing things and then there's everything else.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

#BookReview: Loving Donovan - Bernice L. McFadden

When you choose to love someone, you agree to take on all of their baggage, knowingly or not.  The day Campbell chose to love Donovan was the day she took on the voice of ghost in his head, a domineering and ever present grandmother in his ear and a life time of watching his father just exist.  Indeed, Campbell took on much more than she knew.

Growing up, Campbell watched her father cheat on and leave his wife for another family.  As a teen mother, Campbell watched her daughter's father leave her.  As an adult, Campbell watched her best friend give herself away because the man she loved didn't love her enough.  With all those factors working against her, it would be easy to write off men, to write off love altogether.  Yet Campbell still believes in love and, though she's hesitant to seek it for herself, she's willing to take a chance.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Free for All Friday, Dec. 14

I'm winding down my reading schedule for 2012.  This year has flown by and I can't believe there are only there are only two weeks left before we roll into 2013.  I've got to start reading for the Books: Passports to the Word Challenge (this is my gentle reminder for you to sign up if you haven't), write up my top 10 of 2012 post (which is turning out to be 14 or 15), and write reviews for the miscellaneous books I've read and forgot to write about.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

#BookReview: The View from Delphi - Jonathon Odell

Set in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi, The View from Delphi is the story of Hazel and Vida, women on opposite ends of the spectrum. While one comes from a place of privilege and soon finds herself on the opposite end; the other comes from very humble beginnings, only to find herself surrounded by the material things she always dreamed of.  Unfortunately, she didn't dream beyond acquiring those possessions.

Vida Snow is the daughter of a preacher.  Her father is not just a preacher, he's the Fix It man for the sharecroppers in the area.  Raised with the Senator, Levi Snow has the ear of the biggest landowner in Delphi.  In return for Levi apprising the Senator of any grumblings among the workers, the Senator allows Levi the privilege of preaching, something Levi feels he was called to do.  As a preacher's daughter, Vida Snow has never worked a day in the fields.  Her job is to go to school and wear the pretty dresses her father keeps her in.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

#BookReview: The Cleaner - Paul Cleave

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."  - Verbal Kint/Keyser Soze, The Usual Suspects

Joe the cleaner is a simple man.  He goes to work, visits his mother on Mondays for dinner and goes home to his two fish, Pickle and Jehovah.  Joe doesn't work just anywhere, he works at the police station, which allows him to monitor open cases, especially his, because Joe is a psychopathic killing machine, but no one knows it just yet.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Tell Me Something Good!

It's hard to believe 2012 is almost over! This has been a fairly decent year for books and I'll be posting my year in review in the following weeks, but in the meantime, I'd love it if you would take three or four minutes to take the survey below.  I'll share the results with you at a later date and use your comments and suggestions to improve Reads4Pleasure.com.


Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

#BookReview: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie - Ayana Mathis

Is there a limit on the amount of love a parent can have for their child?  If you have more than one child, is it possible to have loved your other children so much that you have nothing left for the others?  Or is it just possible for life to beat you down so much so that you have nothing left to give your children except a place to stay, food to eat and a determination to survive?

I can't find fault with Hattie Shepherd.  Giving birth to your first children at the age of 19 in a new city can be overwhelming.  To find yourself giving birth years later at the age of 46 is surprising.  Then to turn around at 74 and find yourself mothering your grandchildren, is not an easy road.  But how do you explain that to your children who only see you as cold and uncaring?

"Somebody always wants something from me," she said in a near whisper.  "They're eating me alive."

As you read, you'll be caught up in the lives of Lloyd, the musician; Six, the wonder boy preacher; the high strung and insecure Alice, who pretends her brother Billups needs her when, in reality, she's the one that desperately needs him; Bell, who seeks revenge against Hattie when all she really wants is to know the secret joy her mother found once upon a time; and countless others.  Mathis dedicates chapters to the various offspring, but their interactions as children aren't explored as much as they are as adults.  She wants you to see who they've become as a result of living in the house.

I love the set up of the book.  It feels like a compilation of short stories that are loosely tied together, with the only common thread being that Hattie and August have given birth to them.  With the exception of Alice and Billups, we see very little interaction among the siblings once they leave home.  It's as if Hattie's lack of love spread to them and there's nothing that bonds any of them together.

Part of the great migration to the north, I wonder how much of Hattie's coldness is a reflection of her surroundings.  While her husband, August, longs for the Georgia he remembers, minus Jim Crow, Hattie refuses to even speak its name.  Still, you have to wonder if August lamenting over leaving the south is valid.  Would Hattie have been different, would the children have had different lives, had they been surrounded by paper shell pecans, sweet gum trees, gigantic peaches and neighbors whose names they could recite years later? 

Published: December 2012
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.


Theme: A Song for Mama by Boyz II Men

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Monday, December 3, 2012

#BookReview: She's the Boss - Lisa Lim

When I reviewed Confessions of A Call Center Gal last year, I mentioned that it would have been nice to get updates on Karsynn, Truong and the rest of the crew.  Well Lisa Lim did me one better and wrote a sequel!  Now while I encourage you to read Confessions first, please know that She's the Boss can be read as a stand alone book.

While Confessions focused mostly on Maddy and her transition to small town Idaho, where she joined her best friend from college, Karsynn, She's the Boss turns the tables and is told from Karsynn's perspective.  Still working at the call center with the hilarious Truong, whose antics remind me of an Alec Mapa character, Kars is working her way up the ladder.  Unfortunately, she's run into a roadblock by the name of Carter Lockwood.

As the new director of Lightning Speed Communications, Carter Lockwood arrives to find a floor full of inappropriately dressed characters who swear like sailors, and Karsynn is the ringleader of this motley crew. Now that there's a new sheriff in town, things are definitely going to change.  And boy, do they change.

She's the Boss is just as delightful and as quick a read as Confessions of A Call Center Gal.  Lim keeps the characters light, even the serious Carter Lockwood.  Truong is still as outrageous as ever and proves to be the most entertaining of all the characters.  Inge is also along for the ride, though her speaking role is kept to a minimum.

With plenty of current pop culture references, it reads as something hot off the presses.  I love that the workplace situation touches on such a relevant issue in today's world.  And lest you think the book may get heavy in parts, know that there's a yodeling stripper rocking lederhosen that is sure to bring tears of laughter to your eyes.

Published: November 2012
Currently available only on  Kindle & Nook

Theme: We Can't Be Friends by Deborah Cox featuring RL

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