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Sunday, February 15, 2015

#BookReview (Audio): Any Known Blood by Lawrence Hill

In America we tend to have a romanticized view of Canada and what it meant to runaway slaves.  Canada was the "promised land," but have we overlooked their own history of slavery?  Before you tune in to BET's The Book of Negroes this Monday, take a listen to my review of Any Known Blood from the same author and hear my perspective on why I think it's a story that's just as important as The Book of Negroes, if not more.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

#MiniBookReview: You by Caroline Kepnes

Synopsis: Love hurts...

When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe works, he’s instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: She’s gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and as sexy as his wildest dreams.

Beck doesn’t know it yet, but she’s perfect for him, and soon she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes, and much more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade. Their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences . . .

Review: Let's start by saying that this is not the next Gone Girl, nothing is. The publisher over hyped it so much that this ended up being just a bit of a let down. The story line dragged on and on and I kept waiting for some excitement to happen, but it really doesn't until halfway through the book. I didn't really care for any of the characters and wasn't invested in their stories. If I had to compare it to another book, I'd say it's closer to Paul Cleave's The Cleaner than it is Gone Girl.  While it wasn't my cup of tea and I didn't see anything special about it, it seems others disagree.  A sequel called Love is scheduled to be released in September of this year.

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler
Published: 2014

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Monday, February 9, 2015

#BookNews (Audio): Issa Rae, Langston Hughes & Liane Moriarty

I thought I'd try something new this week and instead of writing my review, I recorded it. Listen for info about new releases this week and short reviews of two books from Liane Moriarty. Enjoy and please give feedback in the comments section!

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

#MiniReview: Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Synopsis: The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.

Review: I wouldn't be surprised if there's a sequel years from now. Samantha was not as intriguing as some of Grisham's other lead characters, but I think the purpose of the book was to focus on Appalachia, the bad economy there and the mining industry more so than her.  From discussing it with other Grisham fans, I know Gray Mountain wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but I thought it was classic Grisham.

Publisher: Doubleday
Published: 2014

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