Aug 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Southern Suspense

It's Tuesday and time for another teaser. This is a great way to get a glimpse into some really great books out there. If you don't know how to play along, here are the rules:

  • Grab your current book
  • Let it fall open to a random page
  • Pick two teaser sentences to share, being careful NOT to include any spoilers
  • List the name, author and page number you took your teasers from
Then go to Should Be Reading and post your teasers to share with other book lovers. Here are my teasers...

Jurisdiction, he knew, meant more than geography. It meant responsibility. ~ Location 2615 (Kindle Version)

CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER by Tom Franklin is a great Southern suspense novel that is such a quick read. I'm 65% done with it and it has held my attention throughout. Plus, I love the cover!  For more about the story, click here  Thanks for stopping by for my Tuesday Teaser! Please visit again soon!

Aug 11, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett - Re-Visited!

In honor of one of my favorite books of 2009, THE HELP, making it's big screen debut this week, I have decided to re-post my review of this terrific book. This book has so many qualities that have helped to sustain it's rightful place in the literary world. It's funny, it's sad, it's poignant and above all, it brings to the forefront an important part of our country's heritage that none of us should ever forget. It deals with racism, loyalty and friendship.  If you've never read this book or listened to it on audio, which I hear is FABulous, you're cheating yourself out of a  wonderful experience. I encourage you to make the time for THE HELP.

Here is my review originally posted on March 31, 2009

It's 1962 and Skeeter Phelan has returned to Longleaf, her family's cotton farm in Jackson, Mississippi after graduating college from Ole Miss. Her mother still insists on calling it a plantation, a term Skeeter would rather forget. According to her mother, coming home from college with a degree wasn't enough. She is reminded almost daily that most girls come home with fiance's, but not Skeeter. Getting married is not on the top of her list. She has a dream of becoming a journalist.

Her two best friends, Hilly and Elizabeth are both married with young children and are very involved in the community. Like Skeeter's family they have black maids who cook, clean and take care of the children, with whom they become very close. Skeeter, herself was raised by a black woman who worked for her family for 29 years. But when she came home from college she learned that she was gone and no one would tell her why. Constantine was like a mother to Skeeter and she felt ashamed that she didn't show enough appreciation for the woman who dedicated much of her life to raising her.

As she spends more time with her friends, Skeeter notices things that she wouldn't have given a second thought to before. Maybe it's because of Constantine's mysterious absence or could it be she's seeing her friends through different eyes?

When Hilly makes a big deal about Elizabeth's maid, Aiblileen, using the same bathroom the family uses, she convinces Elizabeth to talk her husband into building one in the garage for the help. Skeeter can see the humiliation on Aiblileen's face while the other two white women talk openly in front of her about their fear of catching diseases from blacks. Skeeter begins to realize how degrading this is for Aibileen and she doesn't like it.

Skeeter gets hired on at the local newspaper to do a weekly column on housecleaning, but since she's never actually done any, she gets permission from Elizabeth to ask Aibilieen for help. In writing these articles, Skeeter and Aibileen get more acquainted and eventually Skeeter confides to her that she wants to write about important things - not household cleaning tips. She wants to write a book from black women's perspectives on what it's really like to work for a white woman in Jackson. An honest, truthful account. But Skeeter can't do this alone. She'll need Aibileen's help to convince other maids to come forward, because no black woman is going to talk to a white woman about that. Not without someone they know and trust being there. If word got out they could lose their jobs or worse. Both women understand that this could be a very dangerous thing. It is, after all, the height of the Civil Rights Movement and the year Medgar Evers was shot and killed in his own front yard by the KKK right there in Jackson. Skeeter's decision to write this book will have a profound effect on her life. Lines will be drawn and choices will be made that cannot be undone.

THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett is without a doubt on my list of Best Books of 2009. It's hard to believe this is a debut novel. Kathryn Stockett speaks the language of the south seamlessly with her truly unique and believable characters. The voices of the three women who tell this incedible story are genuine and at times raw with emotion. Her skilled storytelling has a mix of drama, humor and a true sadness at the reality of what life was like in the South before the Civil Rights Movement.

Living in the south myself, and having been cared for by a black maid when my family lived in New Orleans when I was a baby, at times I felt shame for how these women were treated by their white employers. They went to work everyday leaving their pride at home while they were made to feel less than, while raising and loving their white babies with little or no gratitude at all. That was very evident with the character of Aibileen, which was my favorite character. Aibileen tells much of the story and her voice painfully portrays the hurt and struggles of her life.

Aibileen's best friend Minny is quite a character who I adored. I loved her sense of humor and even her defiant nature, especially when trying not to show affection for people she didn't want to like. I laughed the most when Minny was talking. Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny each have their own reasons for getting involved in such a project. Many people they know will likely never understand why they would put themselves in so much danger.

As it states in the back of the book and on her website, Kathryn Stockett tells this story with experience, being raised by a black maid herself in Jackson, Mississippi. It's obvious this is a subject near to her heart. You can feel it in her writing. I can't say enough about this wonderful book and would recommend it highly to anyone looking for a deep, satisfying story of a painful time in our nation's history.

Author: Kathyrn Stockett
Publisher: Putnam
Published: February 2009
Pages: 444
Rating: 5 out of 5 (Amazing!/Wonderful!/Highly Recommended!)

Aug 7, 2011

Review: Bloodsucking Fiends (A Love Story #1) by Christopher Moore [TSS]

BLOODSUCKING FIENDS is the first book in Moore's vampire love story series and I'm really glad I took the time to read it. It was just what I was in the mood for AND its a very quick read so I read I was done with it in just a few days..

About the Book: (no spoilers)

The story takes place in San Francisco, which I personally find to be a very interesting city.  This is where we meet Jody, who woke up dazed and confused one morning in an alley under a Dumpster not knowing what happened or how she got there. To make the situation stranger, her right hand is severely burned but seems to be healing rather quickly. Soon she figures out she has been transformed by a menacing vampire and she needs to find some answers. But there's a problem - now that she's a vampire, she can't be out during the day so she's going to need someone's help. That's when she meets Tommy, a newcomer to San Francisco who who works the night shift at a grocery store. At first Tommy doesn't know she's a vampire and he does what Jody asks, with little resistance. But eventually, the truth comes out. To compound Jody's problem, theres a murderer on the loose and the cops are snooping around because Jody and Tommy seem to have a connection to all of the victims. Together they work to find the real killer without revealing their own secrets.

My Thoughts:

BLOOKSUCKING FIENDS is a fun story that was perfect for the mood I was in when I had the opportunity to borrow it from a friend. I don't read a lot of vampire-themed books but I do enjoy them occasionally. I liked the humor Moore uses and the play on words in the chapter titles. The book is filled with original, quirky supporting characters that help move the story along and create twists and turns. I love The Emperor, a strange little guy with two dogs that lives on the streets and seems to know everything about everybody. He is still somewhat of a mystery even after finishing the book.

The bottom line is that I was completely entertained with this first book of the series and I will read the second book, YOU SUCK at some point, probably the next time I'm looking for something light and quick. I'm glad I finally made time to read one of Christopher Moore's books. I'd heard so much about him and now I'm one of his fans.

Author:  Christopher Moore
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: March 2008
Pages: 304
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Rating: 4 Stars out of 5