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Monday, April 28, 2014

#BookReview: Heart of Gold by Beverly Jenkins

Synopsis: Henry Adams has had its fair share of drama ever since Bernadine Brown bought the town with her divorce settlement. Now just when things are starting to settle down, it's about to get crazy again . . .

Cephas Patterson doesn't just want to be left alone--if you dare step onto his property, he'll meet you with a shotgun and a warning to stay away from his gold. He reminds Zoey of the lonely time she spent living on the streets, so she quietly begins leaving him small offerings. But then Cephas dies and leaves a saddlebag of gold--to Zoey.
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Friday, April 25, 2014

What Book Changed Your Life?

That seems like such a dramatic question, right?  Can books change lives?  Do the words on pages have the ability to start you on a new path?  I think they do and here's why.

Even though I grew up in a predominantly black city, I spent quite a bit of time in a predominantly white world.  The number of books I read with characters that looked like me was limited.  That's not because my mother didn't take me to the library or bookstore, it's because authors that looked like me may have been writing, but those books weren't readily available for various reasons.

I read the "classics" as defined by American standards and tons of young adult lit while growing up, but for every book like Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, there were hundreds of books with characters that looked like Nancy Drew or the Sweet Valley High twins.  So I read them because that's what was available on the shelves.

But in college, I discovered Breaking Ice and it was everything!  There were authors I'd never heard of in all my years of private school.  Marita Golden, Gloria Naylor and so many others leaped off the pages.  I was no longer limited to the few authors that had managed to squeak through and cross over, like Maya Angelou and Alice Walker. I found myself reading stories by people that looked like me who wrote stories about my life and things I could relate to. I looked into the mirror held up by what I found in that book and liked what I saw.  I've held on to my copy for 24 years and it's as raggedy as all get out, but I still love it.  It's part of the reason why I blog, part of the reason why I seek out books by black authors, part of the reason why I'm so interested in promoting diversity in lit.

So that's my story.  What's yours?

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Whatcha Readin'?

How y'all feeling out there?  Seems like it's been a long time since we just chatted about random books and what not.  There's no book review today because I'm:  a) a slacker;  b) too busy catching up on TV and music (Anita Wilson has been on constant loop for weeks now); and c) most of the books I've read aren't due out until May or June and publishers asked that I hold reviews until then.

So what are y'all reading, watching or listening to?  What books have just blown you away or underwhelmed you?  Share with the class so we can add to (or remove from) our "To Be Read" lists.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

#BookReview: Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

Walking home from work, Jeff Manning is hit and killed by a car. In his wake, he leaves a wife, Claire, and a son. Claire is devastated as she begins to imagine life without Jeff. Over 500 miles away, Jeff’s coworker, Tish, is just as devastated.
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Friday, April 18, 2014

#BookReview: Vintage by Susan Gloss

An absolutely adorable debut novel from Susan Gloss, Vintage is the kind of book you’ll enjoy whether you’re sitting in the house on a rainy day or on the beach soaking up some sun. Gloss’ use of descriptive language brings to life the women and the city of Madison, Wisconsin. At times I was so caught up in the story that I didn’t want it to end and I’m desperately clinging to the hope that the book will become a series.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

#BookReview: The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

You’ll have to suspend your imagination to read and enjoy Cecilia Ahern’s The Time of My Life, but I can almost promise you, it will be worth it. In a whimsical read that I was at first unsure about, Ahern introduces us to Lucy Silchester. Lucy seems like a typical young woman in that her days are pretty routine. She goes to work, comes home to her cat, eats dinner, watches TV, goes to bed and starts all over the next day. But Lucy’s life takes a turn for the better - or worse, depending on how you look at it - when she starts receiving invitations to meet with her life.
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Monday, April 14, 2014

#BookReview: Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile

Why would anyone leave the bright lights and big city feel of Los Angeles for a small, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” town in southern Louisiana? If you’re Charley Bordelon, it’s because you’ve inherited eight hundred acres of sugarcane land from your late father; land you didn’t even know existed before his death. Far braver and more confident than most, Charley takes on the farm, doubters and her own fears.
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Friday, April 11, 2014

#BookReview: Stilettos & Stubble by Amanda Egan

The British have such interesting names. While we may think names like Finella or Jemima are dated, they happily embrace them. So it is that the lead character of Stilettos & Stubble is named Persephone.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

#BookReview: Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs by Pearl Cleage

It has occurred to me that I have no close woman friends with whom to share confidences, fears, lusts, dreams. I am keeping an entire area of woman thoughts tucked away with no outlet or possibility of exchange! - Pearl Cleage
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Monday, April 7, 2014

#BookReview: Calling Me Home by Julie Kibbler

I’d seen so many book bloggers whose opinions I respect heap praise on Calling Me Home. I was wary of it because, from reading blurbs and reviews, it looked like a modern day version of Driving Miss Daisy and I’m so over anything that remotely resembles that. I can’t say that I was pleasantly surprised and totally changed my mind after reading it, but it wasn’t as Miss Daisy-ish as I thought it would be.
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Friday, April 4, 2014

#BookReview: The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson

Rosie and Jonathan are living the carefree, good life. While their friends settled down and had kids and careers, these two have managed to remain the kid-free, free spirits they were when they started dating over a decade ago. They’ve both been happy with things just the way they are, until Jonathan is given an opportunity he doesn’t want to refuse.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

#BookReview: The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit by Amanda Egan

The end of Diary of a Mummy Misfit found Libby as the heir to a sizable amount of money and a villa in Tuscany. Ah, to be able to say her family was going on holiday like the other families at her son’s school was something she and Ned ever imagined. With money, Libby no longer has to worry about the mothers at school treating her as a charity case. For a minute, it looked as if Max might need tuition assistance after Ned lost his job, but the death of her estranged godmother and a new job took care of that. So is Libby now officially a Meemie? Not hardly!
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