Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Books to Movies Week: I Didn't Know They Made THAT Into A Movie!

Those of us that grew up in the 70s and 80s remember the ABC After School Specials. From my file of useless knowledge, I've come up with a list of books that were made into movies that people either forgot about or didn't know they existed.

1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Yes, it's a bestselling book by Maya Angelou, but did you know it was made into a movie back in 1979? Starring Diahann Carroll, Paul Winfield, Esther Rolle, Madge Sinclair and Ruby Dee, this little known film is available on VHS at Amazon.com.

2. A Hero Ain't Nothin But A Sandwich by Alice Childress
Dope. Smack. Junk. Heroin. No matter what you call it, you can't change the fact that 13-year-old Benjie is on it. Oh no ... he's not hooked, though. He could stop anytime ... really. But why is a young kid like Benjie using at all? Originally published in 1973, Alice Childress's novel remains one of the most profound explorations of an addict's world ever written. What makes this novel different is that Childress points no fingers and offers no easy answers. Her characters' moods and motivations are complex, fresh, unexpected, and courageously real. Woven into Benjie's own ramblings about his situation are the thoughts of those involved by association--his mother, stepfather, friends, the pusher, and teachers at his school.

3. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest Gaines
I know people who swear up and down that Jane Pittman was a real person. She was not. It's a testament to the author that so many people believe she was. Set in the early 1860s through the civil rights movement in the 1960s, this book and movie cover the life of Miss Jane Pittman, a witness to history in the making.

4. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
From the Young Adult genre, Roll of Thunder... is the story of nine year old Cassie Logan and her family. Cassie has never understood why her family's land has always been so important to her father until the Night Riders threaten to take it away.

5. The Feast of All Saints by Anne Rice
Chronicling the lives of Free People of Color in Louisiana before the Civil War, Anne Rice introduces readers to a world that is often overlooked when telling the story of people of African descent. I found the book absolutely fascinating and was delighted when it was made into a movie in 2005.

What books have you read that have been made into movies that the rest of us don't know about?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Books to Movies Week: Before They Were Good Movies, They Were Good Books!

Welcome to a new week and a new theme for the week!

The contest prize from the other week, Orange Mint and Honey, got me to thinking about other books that have been made into movies. I've seen some that were much better than the movie and others that did the book no justice. I've put together a short list of the good, the bad and the meh.

The Good

Book: Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
Movie: Christmas with the Kranks starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen
Premise: With their daughter leaving town for the holidays, the Kranks decide to forego the usual holiday hoopla in favor of a Caribbean cruise. Foolishness ensues when they receive a last minute call that their daughter is coming home for Christmas! The book and the movie were hilarious. John Grisham really made a great departure from his usual legal-based books.

Books: Christine, Cujo, Needful Things, Carrie, The Shining & The Dead Zone by Stephen King

Movies: Same titles as books
Premise: Stephen King is the king of macabre. He gets it right in books and it translates well into his movies. He plays an integral part in bringing his books to life in film and has been known to make appearances in several of them, including The Shining and The Stand.

Book: Roots by Alex Haley
Movies: Roots & Roots: The Next Generations
Premise: Alex Haley traces his family's history from 1750 in the African village of Juffure to 1960's Tennessee. As a child I remember being allowed to stay up past my bedtime to watch both of these groundbreaking miniseries. At my age it was difficult for me to grasp everything that I saw, but I never forgot it. On home for Christmas break in college, I picked up the book which had been on the family bookshelf for years. I devoured all 650+ pages in two days. It took me awhile to get the complete collection because The Next Generations wasn't released on DVD until 2007, but I'm proud to say I own it.

Book: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Movie: The Color Purple
Premise: I don't think I have to break this down for anyone. I know people that can quote the movie because they've seen it more times than they can count. It's a book, it's a movie, it's a musical, it's a movement!

Book: Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden
Movie: Memoirs of A Geisha
Premise: As beautiful in written form as it is on film, this is the story of a poor girl from a Japanese fishing village that finds herself working in a geisha house, first as a maid and then as a geisha. Chronicling her journey from servant to the most famous geisha in Kyoto, this story is simply remarkable.

What good books have you read that have been made into good movies? And what about bad books that turned out to be good movies?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Free For All Friday, August 27

I'm taking a blogging break from now until after Labor Day (can you believe September is upon us already)?!?!?!  While I'm doing that, I'll be bringing back posts that got a lot of comments over the last year or so.  If you missed them the first time around, this will give you a chance to catch up.  If you've already read them, pretend you haven't and comment.

I'll return Wednesday, September 8, with a lot to talk about. In the meantime, I'll leave you with today's eye candy, Michael Ealy, and "the elements."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Reading List Update

The calendar says summer is officially over September 21st.  For me it's over when school starts and since today is officially the first day of school for my kid, summer is over for me.  I read a lot of books this summer and now I offer you my favorites from June through August.

10. Sima's Undergarments for Women by Ilana Stanger-Ross

From her basement in Brooklyn, Sima Goldner runs a small shop specializing in women's undergarments.  A "bra whisperer", Sima can look at a woman and immediately tell what size bra she should be wearing.  Her life with her husband has been stable, but less than satisfying for over thirty years.  And then Timna enters her life.

9. The King of Colored Town by Darryl Wimberley

Nothing exciting ever happened in Cilla Handsom's small town of Laureate, Florida.  Divided as most towns are by the railroad tracks, Cilla lives in the section of Laureate called Colored Town.  Born to a retarded mother, Cilla's days are filled with attending school and attending to her infirmed mother.  Her monotonous routine is uprooted the day Joe Billy King arrives in town.

8.  Song Yet Sung by James McBride

With Song Yet Sung James McBride has managed the perfect blend of historical fiction with just a little touch of the paranormal.  In reading it, I'm reminded of Octavia E. Butler's Kindred.  Song Yet Sung follows the lives of slaves and slave catchers along Maryland's eastern shore.  In an area full of abolitionists, free men and oysterman, Amber and Wiley live a peaceful existence with their widowed mistress and her son. The peace on their farm is interrupted the day "the Dreamer" comes into their lives.

7. The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama

What's a man to do when he retires?  When his puttering around the house starts to drive his wife crazy, Mr. Ali comes up with the perfect plan.  He starts The Marriage Bureau for Rich People. 

6. Substitute Me by Lori L. Tharps

Thirty year old Zora Anderson has floated from place to place and job to job on a whim.  Moving on when things become too much to handle, she finds herself in New York with a place to stay, but in desperate need of a job.  The college-educated daughter of upwardly mobile parents, Zora realizes that she's not living up to the goal her parents have set for her.  Even still, the former au pair in France decides to give being a New York nanny a try.

5. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

"What is it like to be surrounded every day by a language and culture you only half understand?  How would it change your life?"

Girl in Translation is the story of Kimberly Chang and her mother, recent immigrants to the United States from Hong Kong.  With airfare and visas bought and paid for by her aunt and uncle, Kimberly and her mother must live and work in less than perfect conditions until their debts have been paid.  Though she speaks little English, Kimberly is determined to build a better life for herself.

4. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin

Let me start by saying I loved this book.  I wasn't sure what to expect even though I had read author interviews and reviews by others.  I was worried that though Lola Shoneyin is a respected poet, the transition to author might be a difficult one.  I was pleasantly surprised that she made a seamless transition.

3. A Taste of Honey: Stories by Jabari Asim

When Jabari Asim rolled through St. Louis earlier this year, I didn't attend the book signing because I hadn't yet read the book.  Now I really wish I had gone just to hear him read.  Billed as a set of sixteen short stories, A Taste of Honey is so much more than that.  It would be impossible to tell just one story and not wonder where it leads to or how the characters in that particular story affect characters in other stories.

2. The Sport of the Gods by Paul Laurence Dunbar

I've read poems by Dunbar, so I was familiar with his work in that genre, but this was the first story that I've read by him.  The writing is so fresh and contemporary that I had to keep reminding myself that it was published in 1902.  I was absolutely blown away by it.

1. 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter

When was the last time you stayed up late to read a book? 32 Candles is so good that I started reading it at a bowling alley, ignored Twitter and the TV when I got home and stayed up until I was done with it. Yes, it's that good.

What did you read this summer that just blew you away?

Monday, August 23, 2010

#BookReview: Tempted by Trouble - Eric Jerome Dickey

For an author that started out writing from the woman's point of view, Eric Jerome Dickey has certainly evolved. If you've followed his writing career, you'll remember the days when his stories were considered the male answer to Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale. They were funny, they were romantic, they were light. I can remember commenting to a fellow reader years ago that he wrote with a woman's voice so well that if I didn't know he was a man, I would have assumed he was a woman.

I've noticed in recent years that he has shied away from romantic lit as a whole and has begun to hide it within darker, sexier novels. Though he started bringing the sexy in 2003's The Other Woman, the first time I noticed him bringing a whole lot of sexy was in 2008's Pleasure. An older relative gave it to me for Christmas and I blushed so much through out it that all I could hope was that she hadn't read it prior to giving it to me.

With the beginning of the Gideon series, 2007's Sleeping with Strangers, Dickey introduced us to the darker, more masculine side of his stories. If I remember correctly, this was really the first time that his lead character was a male. A killer for hire, Gideon is the focus of four books, which is somewhat unusual for the author. He seems to like to utilizing characters for one story and then moving on from them. It would seem that he found his voice within Gideon.

Tempted by Trouble introduces the reader to a new character, Dmytryk Knight. An out of work former executive turned assembly line worker, Dmytryk is struggling to maintain his home, his marriage and his sanity in Detroit. His out of work wife, Cora, has taken to stripping to bring money into the house while Dmytryk picks up odd jobs here and there. A chance encounter in the strip club introduces Dmytryk to a way of life that he never imagined, as the getaway man for a crew of bank robbers.

Dmytryk isn't cut out for the life of a thief, but if it keeps Cora happy, he's willing to do it. When his latest heist goes wrong and Cora disappears, Dmytryk has to decide if this is really the path he wants to continue down. With fast paced writing and several twists and turns, Eric Jerome Dickey has created yet another page turner.

What did you like about this book?
There were quite a few unexpected surprises and I loved that.

What didn't you like about this book?
Dickey never comes out and tells the reader what race Dmytryk is. One could infer from his parents names, as well as his, that his origins are European, but the fact that he was born and raised in Detroit and attended Cass Technical High, a predominantly black school leads you to wonder if he's black. I would suspect that the author wanted to leave it up to the reader to decide. Ultimately it doesn't matter what race Dmytryk is since this isn't a black or white story, but a human story.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Dmytryk is the lead character and so much of the story is built around him. I would have liked more background on the other players though.

Published August 2010

Theme: American Dreaming by Jay-Z

Friday, August 20, 2010

32 Candles Live Discussion

Click on "Read More" below to join the chat!

Free For All Friday, August 20

New Eric Jerome Dickey - For those readers that live in St. Louis, author Eric Jerome Dickey will be in town tomorrow night promoting his new book, Tempted by Trouble.  His publisher was nice enough to send me a copy and I'm making every effort to finish it before tomorrow night.  If you're a fan of his work, or interested in learning more about his books, come on out to the St. Louis County Library (1640 South Lindbergh) at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, August 21.

Get Caught Reading an Author of Color - Blogger Amy Bowllan wants you to catch people reading books by authors of color and send her a picture of it.  Amy blogs over at Writers Against Racism and her goal is to get 100 authors of color posted by September.  Please send jpeg snapshots to her, via e-mail, with a short blurb about the setting and who is in the picture, name of the book, author etc. to abowllan@mediasourceinc.com.

Call for Submissions - Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, publishes speculative fiction for children and young adults featuring diverse characters and settings. Their focus is on well-told, exciting, adventurous fantasy and science fiction novels featuring people of color set in worlds inspired by non-Western folklore or culture.

They are looking specifically for stories for both middle grade (ages 8-12) and young adult (ages 12-18) readers.  For more info on where to submit a manuscript, visit them at Tu Books

32 Candles Chat - Don't forget to join us here at 8 p.m. CST/6 p.m. PST for our chat with Ernessa T. Carter, author of 32 Candles.  If you haven't already, enter your email address in the upper left corner for a reminder.  It promises to be a fun hour.

Mmm, mmm good - Of course I can't let you start your weekend off without a little eye candy.  He joined the staff at Seattle Grace last season, but budget cuts in a newly merged hospital meant he could be let go at any moment.  Luckily, Shonda Rhimes and the crew at Grey's Anatomy found a way to make him permanent.  I'm fond of calling him Racially Ambiguous Guy, but his real name is Jesse Williams and you can catch him every Thursday this fall on ABC.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

#BookReview: Bitch is the New Black - Helena Andrews

I hate to jump on the bandwagon for anything.  Twitter was all abuzz about this book earlier this summer and I refused to put it on my to be read list just because I'm stubborn like that.  I'm a book snob at times and no one whose opinion I really valued had read or reviewed it, so I figured it might or might not be worthy of a read, but it could languish on my list until the library or publisher sent it my way.

Let me say that I neither loved or hated Bitch is the New Black.  I read tweets from some people that said they wouldn't read it based on the title alone.  I had no problem with the title.  I did have a problem with the author's delivery.  I'm a big fan of snark and I think she was going for snark, but fell short.  It's almost as if she was trying to be the professional version of Angela Nissel (Broke Girl Diaries) and didn't quite make it.  Broke Girl was hilarious.  This was just meh.

Billed as a memoir, it's really a disjointed series of shorts about her being raised by a nomadic, lesbian mother and her conversations with her BFF.  In between are stories about her dating adventures and the unexpected death of a close friend.  Though some of the stories made me cackle lightly, none produced any laugh out loud moments.

What did you like about this book?
It wasn't my cup of tea, but I think it's important in that it gives readers a broader view of young, African American women.  So many characters in popular lit are down trodden and living in poverty.  With the book being optioned by Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey's Anatomy, it's nice to know that the story of the everyday black woman will be told.

What didn't you like about this book?
It didn't flow well at all.

What could the author do to improve this book?
It's her memoir. What can you tell someone? Live better?

Published June 2010

Check out what other bloggers are saying about Bitch is the New Black

White Readers Meet Black Authors
Bookin with Bingo
The Musings of Ondo Lady

Theme: Best Friend by Brandy

Monday, August 16, 2010

#BookReview: Sins of the Mother - Victoria Christopher Murray

I'm a little slow to this party, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it.  The publisher sent me a copy of Sins of the Mother as a "you might also like" when I requested another book.  It took me a minute to realize that this was part of a series, but with a few minor exceptions, it was easy to catch up on what was going on.

Jasmine Larson Bush has had a pretty colorful past.  And I'd fill you in on that past, but all I could make out was that she slept with her archenemy's husband and got pregnant, while married to a minister herself.  Jasmine's husband, Hosea, agreed to love and raise Jasmine's daughter with Brian as his own and has done so for the past five years.  A shopping trip during the holidays turns from a joyous occasion into a tragedy when Jacqueline, the Bush's daughter, is kidnapped in the mall.

Brian and Alexis have had a rocky time since Brian slept with Jasmine Bush years ago.  Their once perfect marriage ended in divorce, but that hasn't stopped Brian from making every effort to reconcile with Alexis.  The stubborn Alexis has tried to distract herself with other men, but in her mind, she knows that her heart still belongs to Brian.  When news that his daughter has been kidnapped is brought to their attention, Brian rushes to Jasmine's side and leaves Alexis wondering if she's going to be hurt by him once again.

What did you like about this book?
Even though this is billed as Christian lit, the author doesn't go overboard with Biblical references.  Instead, they're sprinkled through as appropriate and the reader isn't overwhelmed by them.

What didn't you like about this book?
There's an assumption by the author that anyone picking up this book has read the previous books leading up to it.  While it was not difficult to follow along, it would have been helpful if more background was given about the characters so that anyone reading would have been brought up to speed immediately.  The members of the church disliked Jasmine, but the reader is not really told why.  Jasmine and Hosea live in New York, Brian and Alexis live in California.  If you're not familiar with the story, you have to draw your own conclusion as to how these couples met, interacted, etc.

What could the author do to improve this book?
As I said, additional background would have been great.

Published June 2010
Disclaimer: Received from the publisher

Theme: Criminal by Fiona Apple


Friday, August 13, 2010

Free For All Friday, August 13

Oh no, it's Friday the 13th!  If you're into superstitions at all you're probably expecting the worst to happen any minute now.  Instead, I bring you tidings of good joy!

Boris Kodjoe is starring in a new show on NBC this fall called Undercover and has been twitpicking from the set for the last few weeks.  If you're like me, you can appreciate the "finicity" (yes, I made that up, hush) of Mr. Kodjoe.  It looks like his new show is a browner version of Mr. & Mrs. Smith and I think I'm okay with that. How about you?

Did you know the fear of Friday the 13th actually has a name?  As explained by Lucy, one of the few cartoon characters that I despise, it's called triskaidekaphobia.  Am I the only one that thinks this chick needs her butt kicked just one good time? If Charlie Brown gave her a swift kick in the behind, I wouldn't even be mad.

You know how much I loved 32 Candles, right? If you don't know, click on over to my review of it and then come back.  Any who, the author of my favorite read of the summer, Ernessa T. Carter, has agreed to participate in an hour long chat with us next Friday evening at 8 p.m. CST.  Be sure to sign up for the reminder in the upper left corner so that you don't miss it.

Ntozake Shange has a new book coming out next month called Some Sing, Some Cry.  Co-written with her sister, Ifa Bayeza, it follows seven generations of women descended from a freed slave woman.  This is one you'll definitely want to add to your "must read" list.

On the music front, Esperanza Spalding has a new CD coming out next month.  You can pre-order it below and give it a listen here.

That's all I have for today.  What's good in your world, literary or otherwise?

Monday, August 9, 2010

#BookReview: Runway Collision - Lamarlo G. Williams

Super model Taylor LaRue has the world on a string.  By the age of 20 she's taken the fashion world by storm and engaged to a wealthy attorney with a villa in France.  Her perfect world is turned upside down just a week before her wedding.  Heading back to New York, and the overbearing mother she left behind, Taylor must find the strength to start her life over.

Mike Washington is a professional football player with a heart of gold.  His desire to help those less fortunate leads him to open a boys and girls club in the area.  When Taylor LaRue stumbles into the facility offering to teach dance classes, Mike dreams of taking her on a spin around the dance floor himself.

What did you like about this book?
This was a cute and easy read.

What didn't you like about this book?
There was nothing really surprising or exciting about it.  Parts of the story line were predictable, though that did not discourage me from finishing the book.

What could the author do to improve this book?
I would have liked to see the role of Taylor's mother expanded beyond what we're given as readers.  She jumps from sweet, southern girl to bitter old woman.  Though there is a brief explanation, it's not really enough to fully understand why she is the way she is.

370 pp
Published March 2010

Theme: Second Time Around by Shalamar

Friday, August 6, 2010

Free For All Friday, August 6

Let's start with a little eye candy for the ladies.  No, he's not reading a book or doing anything remotely close to it, but it's Free For All Friday and I felt like sharing.  I'd come up with a picture for the men on the blog, but there are only a handful and they never speak up so they lose out this time around.

So remember when I was bragging the other week about the plethora of good books that had come my way? Oh, I was basking in the glow of well written lit.  I told the library to just hold my requested books for a minute because my cup (or in this case my stack) was running over with an abundance of greatness.  Yeah, well I spoke too soon. In the last four days I have started no less than five books, got to page 30 or so and put them down.  Absolutely nothing has moved me!  The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow just arrived in the mail, so I'm going to give it a try this weekend.  I've heard great things about it. Have you read it yet? If so, thoughts?

You may have noticed that I've done Teaser Tuesday and Throwback Thursday sporadically, or not at all, these past few weeks.  I've been working on another blog with my teenage daughter, also known as the Princess of Snark, or PoS for short. What happens when a practical mom and her snarky teen try to find the perfect college?  Join us over at Whose Kid Is This? where we're blogging about the year long journey from high school senior to college freshman.

Casting for The Help: I can't think of a more controversial book in recent times. You either loved it or hated it, there doesn't seem to be a middle ground.  If you've been following the blog for awhile, you know that I'm one that loved it.  I'm excited to see Viola Davis cast in the role of Aibileen.  Joining her are Cicely Tyson and Aunjanue Ellis, whose talent is under utilized.  To see who else is joining them, click here.

Audio books: I finally gave up and dropped Under the Dome back off at the library.  There was no way I could carry that heavy book back and forth to work with me every day just so I could read during my lunch hour.  When I saw an ad in Entertainment Weekly for a free book on tape from Audible.com, I took advantage of it.  I've never listened to a book on tape before, never. But PoS and I will be road tripping this fall on the great college hunt and I thought it would be a perfect time to listen.  WHY IS THIS BOOK 34 HOURS LONG??? I could drive from here to Alaska and still have some left over to listen to.  The snarky one has already said she'll be putting on headphones as soon as I turn it on.  I don't know if I'll make it through, but carrying it on my iPhone is a lot easier than carrying it in my bag.  Any audio book fans out there? How do you manage to stay focused on the book while driving? Am I out of my mind for trying to listen to Under the Dome?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

#BookReview: Entrepreneur - M.Q.W.

In what has become all too familiar in the street lit genre, Entrepreneur is just more of the same.  At first glance it would appear that this is the story of a young man from a decent family who has recently graduated from high school and is on the path to college.  He meets with some bumps along the way and turns to the streets. So now that I've got the synopsis out of the way, let's talk about how this book failed and why it could have been better than it was.

I'm a stickler for consistency with characters, time lines, story lines, etc.  By page 15, a blatant discrepancy was staring me in the face.  One of the characters, Swift, has just completed high school at a private school that he attended for six years.  Going into the school, he was considered to be of above average intelligence.  At some point in his six years he becomes a problem student and doubts his ability to get into college. Keep in mind that this is a private school.  Someone is paying for him to be there and someone is being paid to teach him.  I've had plenty of experience with private schools and it's a rare one that will allow a problem student, especially one who is not from a wealthy family, to stay on campus for six years.  It is also unfathomable that that same school would not provide guidance in the form of an adviser to assist with the search for a college willing to accept them.

That scenario threw me off, but I continued and was confronted with yet another inconsistency a page later.  Swift scrambled to find a college to accept him after he waited until the last minute to apply.  His parents drove him to look at the one college he was accepted to and then announced that they had no intention on paying for it.  That begs the question, why did they bother to take him. He eventually ends up at community college and I'm assuming that he financed that education with loans.  So then why didn't he apply for financial aid and/or loans to pay for the four year school he really wanted to attend?

Armed with his associates in business, Swift begins for applying for jobs...at the mall.  By this point, I'm giving this book the serious side eye.  High school students work at the mall without a high school diploma.  Why bother to get a degree, even an associates, if your only plan is to work a minimum wage job?  Swift was supposed to have dreams of being an entrepreneur from a young age, but somehow I don't think his definition is the same as Merriam-Webster.

All of that aside, Swift finds work at Foot Locker and all is going well until his drug addicted brother, who he managed to get hired, leaves the boss hanging.  This results in Swift getting fired as well.  Fed up with his family, Swift decides it's time to move out.  He decides to purchase a house by putting up "every nickel I had, plus some payday loans, as a down payment."  Yes, you read that right.  The unemployed young man wants to purchase a house with the money he's saved from his minimum wage job AND payday loans.  What's even more ridiculous is that someone sells him a house!

Swift's best friend, Block, who is a major drug dealer (who just happened to have attended the same private school), goes to jail and Swift steps in to take over his empire.  Ok, so there's more to the story, but I'm so over it.

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

What didn't you like about this book?
It was inconsistent.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Better fact checking would serve him well.

Published February 2010
Disclaimer: Provided by The Urban Book Source in exchange for review.

Theme:Dopeman by NWA (NSFW)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teaser Tuesday, August 3 - Leveled Mind Confused Heart

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page either in the comments below or on your own blog (give a link to your blog so we can check it out!)
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This week's teaser:

"It's been two months since Cupid's arrow drained poison into my heart.  The first few days immediately following were complete agony."

p. 229, Leveled Mind Confused Heart by Angelique

Monday, August 2, 2010

#BookReview: Perfect Peace - Daniel Black

In his latest novel author Daniel Black returns to a small, Southern town, this time telling the story of the Peace family.

Emma Jean Peace, the matriarch of a large brood of boys, has not led an easy life.  The author painstakingly describes the mental and physical abuse that she endured at the hands of her mother as a child.  It is no wonder then that Emma Jean has turned out to be just a little odd.  Married to Augustus "Gus" Peace, a man of few words, there is no discernible love between the two.  It would seem that the marriage was simply a convenience for both of them.  Emma Jean needed to escape her mother's house and Gus needed a family to help him harvest the fields he inherited from his family.  Even without love, the Peaces have managed to conceive six boys, but Emma Jean is determined to have a girl.

When Emma Jean gives birth to her last child, Perfect, the only witness to the sex of her child is Henrietta the midwife. Realizing that this child is the prettiest thing she's ever seen, Emma Jean makes the decision to raise her boy child as a girl.  Spinning a web of deceit and blackmail, Emma Jean manages to continue this farce until the time comes when she can no longer hide the truth from her family or Perfect.

Though I was not a fan of Daniel Black's A Sacred Place, he has redeemed himself with Perfect Peace.  It would have been easy to make Perfect the star of the book, but the truth is every member of the Peace family is given a story line and the author follows through with it.  At the end of the book you know where everyone is in his or her life, even minor characters.

What did you like about this book?
Surprisingly, the author confronts sexual stereotypes head on. It's not something I would have expected in a book set in the South during the 1930s - 1960s time period.

What didn't you like about this book?
There is an annual event that Gus and one of his sons participates in.  While I think I understood the activity, the author never fully explains it so I'm still somewhat confused by it.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Clear up the confusion about Gus' activity, as well as define the truth by which Emma Jean should live.

Published March 2010

Theme: In the Midst of It All by Yolanda Adams