Monday, April 30, 2012

Reflecting on April

Wordle: April Reflection

It's the last day in April and time to reflect on what I accomplished in my book reading adventure this month.  April has been by far the best month for me yet.  Nothing earth shattering has happened but I did participate in a Read-a-Thon that did give me an extra need boost in my reading.

Read & Reviewed in April:

Read But Not Reviewed in April:

  • The List by J.A. Konrarth (will be post on Wednesday)

Completed Challenges for 2012:

  • None

Challenges Still in Process:

  • 1% Well Read - Completed 0 out of 10 Books (0%)
  • Unread Book Challenge - Completed 3 books
  • Self-Published Reading Challenge - Completed 2 out of 10 Books (20%)
  • Why Buy The Cow? Reading Challenge - Completed 2 out of 12 Books (17%)
  • Battle of The Prizes - Completed 0 out of 3 Books (0%)
  • The Pulitzer Project  - Completed 0 out of 5 Books (0%)
  • 2012 Reading Challenge - Completed 8 out of 50 Books (16%)

As you can see, I am behind.  According to Goodreads, I am 7 books behind where I need to be to complete the 2012 Reading Challenge.  I think I will be able to keep up.  I first need to stop requesting books from NetGalley and work on the books that I have already.  Second I need to actually start reading at my scheduled reading time before bed.  I think that is the biggest problem, not sticking to a set reading schedule.

Reading Plans for May:

  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson (41% Completed)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Book Club Selection)
  • Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman (Review Request by Publisher)
  • One Blood by Qwantu Amaru (I requested it from GoodReads)
  • The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau (NetGalley
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (for 2 Challenges)
Most likely I won't be able to finish all six books but at least I have a plan.  Right?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: The Warmth of Other Suns

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!
This weeks teasers is from The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

He had to convince himself that he had made the right choice, that, after all, there really had been no choice for an educated and ambitious colored man like him at the time.
                     - pg. 253

I started this one in February and I am determined to finish it by the end of the week.  It's not a bad read, in fact it is very entertaining and informative.  I just keep getting distracted by other shorter books.

Don't forget to post a link to your teaser!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli

Rating: 3 Stars
Pages: 336
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Publication Date: March 2012
Source: Received from NetGalley for Review

Synopsis (Barnes and Noble):
In the autumn of 1941, Amelia J. McGee, a young woman of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish descent, and an outspoken pamphleteer for the NAACP, hastily sends her daughter, Ella, alone on a bus home to Georgia in the middle of the night—a desperate measure that proves calamitous when the child encounters two drifters and is left for dead on the side of the road.

Ella awakens in the homestead of Willie Mae Cotton, a wise root doctor and former slave, and her partner, Mary-Mary Freeborn, tucked deep in the Takatoka Forest. As Ella heals, the secrets of her lineage are revealed.

Shot through with Cherokee lore and hoodoo conjuring, Glow transports us from Washington, D.C., on the brink of World War II to the Blue Ridge frontier of 1836, from the parlors of antebellum manses to the plantation kitchens where girls are raised by women who stand in as mothers. As the land with all its promise and turmoil passes from one generation to the next, Ella's ancestral home turns from safe haven to mayhem and back again.

Jessica Maria Tuccelli reveals deep insight into individual acts that can transform a community, and the ties that bind people together across immeasurable hardships and distances. Illuminating the tragedy of human frailty, the vitality of friendship and hope, and the fiercest of all bonds—mother love—the voices of Glow transcend their history with grace and splendor

     I don't really know how to review this one. I didn't get what I was expecting.  What I was expecting was the tale of a mother and daughter and the events surrounding their flight from Washington DC back to their hometown in Georgia.  That's just part of the story, a very small part of the story.  What Glow is really about is a small town Georgia and the history of that town.  How that towns history connects all the main characters together.
     I wanted to hear about Amelia and what possessed her to move to Washington DC in the first place.  What forced her to send her daughter Ella back home to Georgia alone on a bus.  I did get that story, somewhat, but not enough.  It felt like Amelia and Ella's life in Washington DC was just a tool for the author to tell the history of this Georgia town.  This wasn't really a story about Amelia and Ella, and their relationship.  This was the story of the town.  Which was a disappointment for me because that is not what I had expected..
     One of the main flaws in the whole novel for me was the lack of connection that I felt towards Amelia and Ella.  This was caused by the fact that halfway through the novel Tuccelli stopped focusing on the mother and daughter and switched her focus to Willie Mae Cotton and Riddle Young.  Up until that point, I was looking forward to learning more about Amelia and Ella, what caused the disconnect in their relationship.  What caused Amelia to leave everything she knew in Georgia and head to Washington DC.  Before I could find this out, the story jumped back in time to Willie Mae and Riddle Young.
     Willie Mae and Riddle's stories were excellent.  As a reader I could see that the author was really in her element while writing about these two characters.  They (their stories and characters) were just so well developed and thought out, that the pages just seemed to fly by and I wanted to read more and more.  But the strength of these two highlighted the weakness of Amelia and Ella.  I wish the author would have taken some of that same talent and used it to plump up Amelia and Ella's story.
     When I finished Glow, I wondered if Tuccelli had run out of space.  Because for me if this novel had been longer and Tuccelli had been about to flush out the characters and plots more, this would have been more than just a 3 star read.  I probably would have given it 4 or more.

Overall Recommendation:

     I would recommend Glow with a slight hesitation.  Before recommending it I would make the person aware that they aren't really getting a mother and daughter story but a story of a place and its history.  I would read another one of the author's books because her writing ability shows promise.

Read-a-Thon: Review

   I know the Read-a-Thon was over two day ago.  But I was just so worn out afterwards that I spent most of Sunday asleep and did not feel like writing or getting on the internet or anything else for that matter.  

  • Finished Reading: 
                                         Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli
                                         The List by J.A. Konrarth
  • Total Page Count: 457
  • Time Spent Reading: 740 minute
     I ended up calling it a night at around 2:30am on Sunday morning.  I was just to tried to continue.  I didn't do as well as I had hoped but a least I was able to knock out two books.  That is something.  Now I just need to post reviews.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Read-a-Thon: 13-15

     Man, the time seems to be flying by.  Maybe it's this face paced Konrath novel.  It's not literary gold  but it is entertaining.

    Off to eat dinner and then another round of reading.

  • Currently Reading: The List by J.A. Konrarth
  • Finished Reading: Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli
  • Pages Read Since Last Break: 53
  • Total Page Count: 276
  • Time Spent Reading: 500 minutes

Read-a-Thon: Hours 11-12

     I'm realizing what a difference the books makes in reading pace.  I feel like I am falling through this Konrath novel.  It probably helps that it is a fact paced "technothriller" and Konrath wastes now time diving into the action.  

     I need to figure out what I am going to do about dinner.  It's about that time.  I have some shrimp that has been waiting for me in the freezer for far to long.  Maybe I'll saute them up during my next break after thawing me out. 


  • Currently Reading: The List by J.A. Konrarth
  • Finished Reading: Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli
  • Pages Read Since Last Break: 43
  • Total Page Count: 223
  • Time Spent Reading: 420 minutes

Read-a-Thon: Hours 8-10

     I can't believe that I am already it's been 10 hour.
     I ended up taking a 3 hour break.  It was only suppose to be two, but I fell asleep.  That quick 1 hour nap was need.
     When I woke up I spent 1 hour and 40 minutes finishing up the last of Glow.

     It's official, I finished a book.  *Happy Dance*  But now I need something a little lighter.


  • Currently Reading: The List by J.A. Konrarth
  • Finished Reading: Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli
  • Finished:  None 
  • Pages Read Since Last Break: 60
  • Total Page Count: 180
  • Time Spent Reading: 340 minutes

Read-a-Thon: Hours 5-7

     It's already hour 5 and I am taking a long break.
     I'm going to go stuff my face and get some fuel (aka candy) and rest my eyes.  
     See you in a couple of hours


  • Currently Reading: Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli
  • Finished:  None 
  • Pages Read Since Last Break: 31
  • Total Page Count: 120
  • Time Spent Reading: 240 minutes

Read-a-Thon: Hours 3-4

     It's already hour 4 and so far I am still alive and mentally alert.   
     I haven't yet started consuming my snacks.  Lunch time is about an hour and a half away.  Maybe an apple and some water will hold me over till then.  One thing is for sure, I need to go to the store before it starts raining again.  Maybe after lunch.


  • Currently Reading: Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli
  • Finished:  None 
  • Pages Read Since Last Break: 50
  • Total Page Count: 89
  • Time Spent Reading: 180 minutes

Read-a-Thon: Hours 1-2

     It's, now 9:45am here in rainy Miami.  I had to take a break.  I've been reading away and needed to take a break to prevent eye strain.  

     I love my Nook, but my Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli is from NetGalley, which means it's a PDF.  Which means, that formatting gets all wonky when I try to change the font and make it darker and larger.  I wish NetGalley allowed for ePub downloads.  It would make my reading life simpler

    1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
          I am reading from Miami, Florida USA.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
     Chips and Salas, but that won't be until after lunch.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
     There is not much to tell.  I am a homebody by nature.  I like my comfort of my apartment, maybe because I work in healthcare and have to deal with people everyday.  I host a bookclub once a month that focuses on books about African-Americans.  When I am not working, I am wasting time on the World Wide Web.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
     This is my first read-a-thon in a long time.  In fact, I don't even remember what happened the last time.  I am looking forward to completing some of the books that I have started.  Even if I only finish one, at least I got it done.


  • Currently Reading: Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli
  • Finished:  None 
  • Page Count: 39
  • Time Spent Reading: 90 minutes

Ready, Set, Read!

     In 10 minutes it will be time for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon to start here on the east coast.  Normally on a Saturday, I don't leave my bed until about 9 or 10.  I am a little tired but my breakfast is already made, which is good.  Maybe it will give me a little energy.

     My plans for early morning reading at the beach got rained on.  The one time I want to get up early and go to the beach it rains.  Go figure.

     The first read will be:

   I doubt you will hear from me again for at least a few hours.  My plan is to read for two hours and take a break.  To rest.

See you then and if you are particpating in the Read-A-Thon, Good Luck!

Friday, April 20, 2012

FF: 04/20/2012

 Q: Fight! Fight! If you could have two fictional characters battle it out (preferably from books), who would they be and who do you think would win? 

This is a hard one. 

I don't know. 

I read a lot of literary fiction. 

The characters that I love are not bad asses that fight.

 But if I had to pick some I would pick Damali Richards from the Vampire Huntress Legend by L.A. Banks. I don't know who I would pit her against. She would be a good fighter, that what she is good at. Fighting bad guys.

Friday Finds: 4/20/2012

Friday Finds hosted by Should Be Reading ask:

What great books did you hear about/discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

There are some weeks when I find so many books, I have to weed through them and only select a handful.  This wasn't one of those weeks.  Maybe I am getting more selective as I see my to read shelf at Goodreads grow.

(Clicking on the image will take you to the books GoodReads page)

What did you find this week? Leave a comment or post a link to your blog.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dewey's Read-a-Thon Plans

I have taken the plunge and signed up for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon.

Dewey's Read-a-Thon  is prefect in timing.  Looking at Goodreds,  I am 8 books behind where I need to be to complete 50 books this year.  I don't honestly expect to read 8 books in 24 hours, but any books read will be a plus.

My ultimate plan is to read some books that will either help with  WBTC? Reading Challenge and the Self-Published Challenge.

My Plans:

  • Set alarm to 6am.  The Read-a-Thon starts at 8am here in Miami.  By getting up at 6am, that gives me time to fix dinner and finish up some last minute templates for updates.
  • At 8am, I am going to leave the house with my Nook, books, bag and chair.  I am going to the beach and enjoy reading early in the morning before the crowd gets there.
  • Hopefully, read for 4 hours, with a posting break every hour or so for mobile updates.  At 12pm head home for lunch.
  • Repeat.
Book To Finish:
  • Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli - Already Started
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson - Already Started
  • Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa - Received for Review

WBTC? and Self-Published Challenge

  • The List by by J. A. Konrath 
  • The Book of Tales by Ted Stetson
  • I Wish I Would've by Aynoit Ashor
  • Thirst by Claire Farrell
  • Trouble Down South and Other Stories by Katrina Parker Williams
  • Left by Chris Walters
  • The Screaming by Jack Killborn
I don't plan to finish all these book but I wanted to create a list just in case.

Booking Through Thursday: Pet Peeves

This week Booking Through Thursday ask:
What are your literary “pet peeves”?
This is an easy one for me.  I have a couple of them, that I encountered in the last two books that I read (a good and bad example).

1.     Pop Culture References
          I believe it dates a book.  For example in The Replacement Wife, there are references to iPhones and Burberry to indicate economic status.  I feel there are better ways to do that.  In 20 years, some of these reference may mean nothing to readers and just go completely over there head.  Or send them to the internet to look it up.  The only time this works (for me) is to indicate a time period, for example a Walkman reference in the 80s or early 90s.

2. Epilogue

          When I see epilogue, it normally means that the author is about to tie everything up into a HEA scenario.  In my opinion not every books needs a HEA, sometimes there are no happy endings.  Just leave well enough alone.  Do I need to see ten years into the future and know that a character has moved on and now married with 2.5 kids, a house with a picked fence, and a dog? No.  Sometimes it is okay to keep the reader guessing.  Which is one of the reason why I liked Silver Sparrow so much.   There was an epilogue but not one that tied everything up with a nice little bow.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mailbox Monday: April 16th

In January Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Cindy's Love of Books.

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.
Free from Barnes and Nobles:

Purchased From Barnes and Nobles:

Purchased From The Book X-Change (Local Bookstore):

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Review: Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Rating: 4 Stars
Pages: 245 (eBook)
Genre: General Fiction
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Publication Date: May 2011
Source: Purchased

Synopsis (Goodreads):
With the opening line of "Silver Sparrow," "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist," author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man's deception, a family's complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle.
Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon's two families-the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich yet flawed characters-the father, the two mothers, the grandmother, and the uncle-she also reveals the joy, as well as the destruction, they brought to one another's lives. 
At the heart of it all are the two lives at stake, and like the best writers-think Toni Morrison with "The" "Bluest Eye-"Jones portrays the fragility of these young girls with raw authenticity as they seek love, demand attention, and try to imagine themselves as women, just "not" as their mothers.

     I don't remember where I first heard of Tayari Jones' Silver Sparrow, probably from another blog.  But I right away I knew I wanted to read it.  The story idea sound original and the main characters were black.  I don't think I have ever read a story about bigamy in the black community.  I decided that Silver Sparrow would be prefect for a group read and made it April book club read.   This book worked well for a group discussion, everyone loved it and each person saw things a little different.  If you are looking for a novel that would make a good book club choice I would highly suggest this one.

      Jones handle her topic like a pro (probably because she is).  The story is told from the view point of the two main characters, Dana and Chaurisse.  Jones dedicates the first half to Dana and the second half to Chaurisse.  The way that Jones handled the story is a key element in why I enjoyed it so much.  The fact that first I got to see know about Dana, how her parents James and Gwen met.  Then how she lived her life as the "second" daughter, and the relationship she had with her father.  After Dana comes Chaurisse which allows for the reader to compare and contrast the two girls lives.  You get to see the similarities and difference.  The backstory was rich and helped the reader to understand why the characters did what they did.

     I think one of the great things about Silver Sparrow, was that I didn't end up hating any of the characters.  I didn't like James and his brother, Raleigh (who helped James keep up his two different lives.), decision but I didn't hate them for it.  Probably because the backstory allowed me to see why they did what they did.  I was able to understand how there past played a part in the decision that they had.  There really was no villain, just ordinary people caught in a sticky situation.

     James' actions had a deep affect on both his daughters.  There was Dana, the secret child, who just wanted to know that her father loved her as much as he did his legitimate daughter.  Dana also wanted a relationship with the sister's whose shadow she lives under.  Everything that Dana wants is ultimately either granted or rejected depending on what Chaurisse wants.  If Dana wants to go to a special summer program and Chaurisse wants to go to the same program, Dana can't go.

     On the to other side of town there is Chaurisse, who is completely unaware to the fact that she has a sister or that her father even has a second family.  In her mind and world they are like the Cosby family, normally, unexciting, ordinary.  Chaurisse longs for someone that understands her.  She is lonely and only really has her mother, no friends.  She is struggling to find acceptance with her peers, who she had very little in common with because she spends most of her time helping her mother at her hair salon.

      What this all ends up boiling down to is James ending up raising two girls in two different home environments that want the same thing, a sister.

     Silver Sparrow is a great book.  The written is very engaging, I found myself reading about 75% of it in one sitting and waking up the next morning to finish it.  I just had to see what happened in the end.  I would describe this as an easy read but there is some gems of truth that made me glad that I brought this book in electronic format so that I wouldn't feel bad about highlighting passages.

An example:
People say, That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  But they are wrong.  What doesn't kill you, doesn't kill you.  That's all you get.  Sometimes, you just have to hope that's enough

Overall Recommendation:
Highly recommended.  I wouldn't have any problem recommending this book to anyone.  In fact, I am going to tell my sister to read it.  I am also going to put Tayari Jones other two novels (Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling) on my TBR list.

TSS: Series

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....
On a Friday night I compiled a list of book series that I had started and have not yet finished.  Yes, I know what a fun Friday night.  But it was the first day on my four day weekend and I did not want to leave my house for any reason.  No human contact wanted, needed or required.

I put myself on a no new series ban, especially series that haven't been completed yet.

This ban is hard because it seems that series are really popular now.  Most of the book blogs that I subscribe to feature series.  And not all books in series are clearly labeled series.  I feel a little bit of disappointment when I read an synopsis and then notice that a book is part of a series.

I don't save it for later, I move on.

I have five series that I need to complete.  I don't have time to start a new one.  There is no telling when I will be able to finish it.

I also have a thing against starting series that haven't been completed yet.  I want the option to read all the books back to back.  The thought that I would have to wait to read the next book, bothers me.

On that note, I'm determined to finish off the series that I have started.

To do that, I needed to make a list.

I am putting the list here, so I won't lose it.

Vampire Huntress Legend (by L.A. Banks):

  • The Wicked (Book #8)
  • The Cursed (Book #9)
  • The Darkness (Book #10)
  • The Shadows (Book #11)
  • The Thirteenth (Book #12)
Lion's Blood Series (by Steven Barnes)

  • Zulu Heart (Book #2)
Nappily Series (by Trisha R. Thomas)

  • Nappily Faithful (Book #4)
  • Nappily in Bloom (Book #5)
  • Un-Nappily in Love (Book #6)
  • Nappily About Us (Book #7)
The Hollows (by Kim Harrison)

  • A Fistful of Charms (Book #4)
  • For a Few Demons More (Book #5)
  • The Outlaw Demon Wails (Book #6)
  • White Witch, Dark Curse (Book #7)
  • Black Magic Sanctions (Book #8)
  • Pale Demon (Book #9)
  • A Perfect Blood (Book #10)
Women of the Otherworld (by Kelly Armstrong)

  • Stolen (Book #2)
  • Dime Store Magic (Book #3)
  • Industrial Magic (Book #4)
  • Haunted (Book #5)
  • Broken (Book #6)
  • No Humans Involved (Book #7)
  • Personal Demon (Book #8)
  • Living with the Dead (Book #9)
  • Frostbitten (Book #10)
  • Waking the Witch (Book #11)
  • Spell Bound (Book #12)
  • Thirteen (Book #13)
One of the things I noticed is that most of the series are paranormal.  Vampires, Witch, Werewolves, OH MY.

I don't know what my plan of attack is going to be, but I am thinking of completing the Vampire Huntress Legend first.

But we shall see.

Happy Reading!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Finds: 04/12/2012

Friday Finds hosted by Should Be Reading ask:

What great books did you hear about/discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

Since it has been so long since I have done a Friday Find, I decided to splurge a little.

(Clicking on the image will take you to the books GoodReads page)

No Picture:

What did you find this week?