Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 Posts of 2010

It's been a long year.  Just in case you missed them, here are the top 10 most viewed posts of 2010. Read them...then read them again...I do it all the time. (Sorry, I've watched too many Diddy Ciroc commercials.)

Meh, the movie has been cast and none of my actresses were picked, but these are the people I picked last year before casting had even started.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Top 10 of 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

#BookReview: When the Sun Goes Down - Gwynne Forster

"When the sun goes down on my life, you'll all come apart like ripped balloons."   The wealthy Leon Farrell spoke those words to his three children before he passed, but, as always, he underestimated them.  While his oldest, Edgar, does seem to be falling apart at the seams, Shirley and Gunther are doing just fine.

Shunned by their father after the death of their mother while they were still children, the younger Farrell siblings worked their way through college and into successful careers.  Shirley handles PR on board cruise ships and Gunther has built a computer software company that's growing by leaps and bounds.  Their oldest brother, Edgar, is the only one that seems to be struggling in the wake of his father's death.  It's not that he misses their father, he misses the inheritance that he's sure is coming to him.

In his final thumbing of the nose at his kids, Leon died without telling anyone where his will was, including his attorney of over 20 years.  Pressed for money to pay off gambling debts, Edgar hires private investigator, Carson Montgomery, to locate the missing document.

What did you like about this book?
It was a quick and easy read.

What didn't you like about this book?
Some of the conversations seemed so unnatural.  For example, at the beginning of the book instead of giving a narration about the siblings, the author has them speaking to each other and describing their jobs to the other as if they're strangers meeting for the first time and not brother and sister.

I was also troubled by the dialect in which the author had the maid and nurse speak.  It was almost as if because they were the hired help, they weren't capable of speaking in grammatically correct sentences.  Every time I read their words, I cringed just a little.

What could the author do to improve this book?
There were whole chapters that served no purpose and, because of that, the book dragged at some points.  I also question the nice, neat ending of the book.  It's okay to not have a fairytale ending all the time.

Published October 2010
Disclosure: Received from publisher through LibraryThing.

Theme: Family from Dreamgirls

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#BookReview: The Other Sister - Cheri Paris Edwards

Running away from problems in California lands Sanita back in quiet Urbana, Illinois.  Her family thought she was in school, but Sanita, or Jazz as she was known on the west coast, was leading a life that finally caught up with her.  Safely back in the embrace of her family, she's prepared to put that life behind her and create a new beginning.

With a good ten years on her sister, Sanita, Carla was raised at a time when her parents didn't have much.  So while Sanita had everything handed to her on a silver spoon, Carla has worked hard to get where she is.  As the new principal of a charter school, Carla loves her job.  She's won the respect of her students and most of the faculty, but there are a few teachers that would love to witness her downfall.

Bishop James Jefferson loves the Lord, the church and his family.  If there were any way to remove the pesky Marcella Lewiston from the church, he'd love it even more.  But Marcella was raised in Faith Community Church of Christ as a preacher's kid and she has no intention of leaving the church that her father helped steer for years.  Marcella goes out of her way to keep Bishop Jefferson in his place and with this latest gossip she heard about his youngest daughter, she's sure that she has him just where she wants him.

What did you like about this book?
It was a fairly predictable read, which was fine for a lazy holiday weekend. 

What didn't you like about this book?
I was slightly thrown because I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be Christian lit, but there was a liberal dosage of Bible verses thrown in, so I suppose it is.  Yes, I know there was a pastor in the story, but does that necessarily qualify a book as Christian lit?  At any rate, it felt very much like a Tyler Perry play on paper.  If Tyler Perry is your thing, then this is the book for you.

What could the author do to improve this book?
I felt like the book really focused on Sanita, which was unfair to Carla.  I thought, well maybe there was another book that focused on Carla and so the title The Other Sister was appropriate because we were now focusing on Sanita.

Due to her introverted ways, Carla was often the overlooked sister.  On the flip side, Sanita was the black sheep in a family of "good, churchgoing people."  I would say that since either sister could have been "the other sister," the focus should have been 50/50.

Published November 2010
Disclosure: ARC received from the author

Theme: Lay Your Troubles Down by Angela Winbush featuring Ronald Isley

Friday, December 3, 2010

#BookReview: The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey - Walter Mosley

An old man sits patiently, lost in his own mind, waiting on someone who's never coming again. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is the story of a 91 year old man with failing memory that has been given a brief window of time to remember all of those things that he's forgotten in over nine decades of living.

Through conversations he holds in his head, the reader is introduced to Coydog, Ptolemy's childhood mentor. It is also through these conversations that we learn of Ptolemy's deceased wife and his relationship with his previous caretaker, Reggie.

Now that Reggie has passed, Ptolemy's relatives all seem to want money from him and suspect that he's senile enough to give it to them without realizing it. Robyn, a guest of Ptolemy's niece, enters the picture and seems to want nothing from Ptolemy other than his company. The fact that she's 18 and he's 91 is rarely a factor in their platonic relationship. Robyn is simply seeking someone to care for and Ptolemy can certainly use it.

With Robyn's assistance, and also to her dismay, Ptolemy begins taking medication that returns his memory completely. Ptolemy is determined to make the most of his time and it's Robyn's job to help him complete his list of goals before that time runs out.

What did you like about this book?
Walter Mosley has such a way with words that it's a pure delight to read them. Honestly, I could probably read his grocery list and be happy. In the hands of any other author the relationship between Ptolemy and Robyn would have seemed strange, even creepy. However, Mosley writes it in such a way that it seems perfectly natural.

What didn't you like about this book?
There is a lot of switching between present day and the past without any demarcation. It got frustrating occasionally when trying to determine about whom or what the narrator was thinking.

What could be done to improve this book?
I would have liked to see an epilogue just to find out the outcome of Robyn's relationship with Ptolemy's family.

Published November 2010

Theme: I Remember by Dianne Reeves