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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Here's a hodgepodge of things I threw out about three years ago and they're all relevant today.

Reviewing bad books: What's a bad book or a good book is really subjective. I guess instead I should have said reviewing a book that doesn't work for you. I was following a twittersation between two book bloggers recently and one of them said if she reads a book that she doesn't care for, she won't tell her readership about it. Instead she discusses it among her circle of friends. That made me pause and wonder, aren't you doing a disservice to people if you don't at least tell them about it and let them form their own opinion? I know that there are books that I've reviewed here and hated that others loved. By the same token, there have been books that I loved and people questioned my sanity.
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Monday, October 28, 2013

#BookReview: The World We Found - Thrity Umrigar

To say I'm disappointed in this latest novel from Thrity Umrigar would be an exaggeration, but in no way was I as engrossed in this story as I have been with her previous work.  The World We Found centers around four women who were friends in university.  Years later, only two of them are still close.  Yet, when called on by one, all respond.
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Friday, October 25, 2013

#BookReview: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

The great Zora Neale Hurston once said, "If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it."   For 22 years, Jodi Brett has lived in silence, never addressing her long time partner's indiscretions.  It's easier for her to pretend they've never happened.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

#BookReview: Family Business by Carl Weber & Eric Pete

Look, I have been down with Carl Weber's books since the beginning.  If his last book, The Man in 3B, left a bad taste in my mouth, Family Business scraped the taste buds off my tongue, stepped on them, doused them with sriracha and set them on fire.  It was the most formulaic, predictable, God awful crap I've ever read from him.  It's my fault though.  I didn't do my research on Weber's writing partner.  I'd never read anything from Eric Pete.  Perhaps if I had, I'd have known what to expect, street lit wrapped up in a literary fiction book cover.
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Monday, October 21, 2013

#BookReview: Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli

Opening with a middle of the night escape from an intolerant town, we first see 11 year old Ella McGhee on a bus from Washington, DC heading to Georgia. A miscommunication leads to a missed connection and Ella finds herself fending off strangers until help arrives in the form of an elderly woman. This is really where the story begins, and though the book blurb leads us to believe Glow is about Ella and her mother, Amelia, it’s really about everyone but them.
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Saturday, October 19, 2013

#ComingAttractions: Books I Can't Wait to Read

Earlier in the year I asked if anyone was interested in a monthly newsletter about upcoming books (kinda like the one Goodreads sends out that rarely has books you actually want to read).  Rather than email a newsletter, I thought it might be easier to just post them here on a random Saturday.  I'm not sure if I'll do these monthly or quarterly.  It'll probably depend on what I see in publisher's catalogs.  I can't wait to read the books below in this last quarter of the year.  Are any of these on your to be read list?  If not, what is?

Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China
Jung Chang
On Sale Date: October 29, 2013
Summary: "At the age of sixteen, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor's numerous concubines. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China-behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male."

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Alexander McCall Smith
On Sale Date: November 5, 2013
Summary: "Modern ideas get tangled up with traditional ones in the latest intriguing installment in the beloved, best-selling No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series."

The Valley of Amazement
Amy Tan
On Sale Date: November 5, 2013
Summary: "A sweeping, evocative epic of two women's intertwined fates and their search for identity, from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village"

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion: A Novel
Fannie Flagg
On Sale Date: November 5, 2013
Summary: "Spanning decades, generations, and America in the 1940s and today, The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion is a fun-loving mystery about an Alabama woman today, and five women who in 1943 worked in a Phillips 66 gas station, during the WWII years."

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Friday, October 18, 2013

#BookReview: The House Behind the Cedars by Charles W. Chestnutt

We’ll probably never know how many blacks become white after the Civil War due to passing. For those unfamiliar with what passing is, it's when a person from one racial group assumes the identity of another racial group, generally because they have a skin tone or features that allow them to do so. Though the subject of passing is later tackled in Nella Larsen’s 1929 Passing and 1948’s Lost Boundaries, Charles W. Chestnutt was one of the first to address it with 1900’s The House Behind the Cedars.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

#BookReview: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Imagine living what you believe to be the perfect existence only to have it shattered by a letter from your devoted husband. Looking through her attic for something else, Cecilia Fitzpatrick stumbles upon a letter from her husband with her name on it and a note to only open upon his death. Yet her husband is very much alive, and Cecilia just can't help herself.
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Monday, October 14, 2013

#BookReview: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit (Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective) by Octavia Spencer

Earlier this year, I attended BEA and was most excited about Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer's new book aimed at the middle school set. (BEA Day 3: Why Are Those Girls from Brave Dressed as Ninjas?)  Growing up, I loved kid detectives.  Encyclopedia Brown was one of my favorites, as were Trixie Belden and her sidekick Honey Wheeler, and Nancy Drew and crew.  With the introduction of Randi Rhodes, Spencer brings life to the kid detective genre once again.
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Friday, October 11, 2013

#BookReview: The Storycatcher by Ann Hite

I heard tell there was a colored woman's ghost who walked the Ridge.  She was what the old-timers called a storycatcher.  Her job was to set life stories straight, 'cause the Lord only knew how many were all twisted in a knot.  Her story was the big question.  No one knew where she came from.
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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

#BookReview: We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

I'm really not sure where to begin with this book.  It's been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, so I don't know what it means that I didn't like it when so many others thought so highly of it.  The writing felt disjointed, as did the timeline.  I've seen some people refer to it as a book of short stories and, perhaps, that's where the disjointed feel comes from. I went into it thinking it was just a novel.
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Monday, October 7, 2013

#BookReview: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

To the casual observer, Jillian Kane leads a charmed life.  An architect, a mother of two and wife of a police officer, she's also a victim of domestic abuse.  Her husband, Gordon, has been beating her for the smallest infractions for the last nine years and no one else knows.  The neighborhood moms, her co-workers, not even her parents realize that Jillian is Gordon's personal punching bag.
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Friday, October 4, 2013

#BookReview: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

Joshilyn Jackson has such a way with words, both written and spoken.  When I met her earlier this summer, the only thing I could say to her after fangirling out was, "I love the way you read!"  I do.  The way Jackson narrates her books really brings her characters to life.  She doesn't spend a lot of time describing her characters, but in the voices she creates for them, you begin to paint a picture of them in your own mind.
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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

#BookReview: Where Did We Go Wrong Again by Monica Mathis-Stowe

The ladies of Where Did We Go Wrong are back and they're still a hot mess.  When last we left the ladies, Gabby's husband had just died, Maxine's husband was living in a halfway house after beating her within an inch of her life, and Joy's husband was determined to kill her to keep her away from her ex-boyfriend, who happened to be the father of the twins she was carrying.  All caught up? Good.
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