Posts Tagged ‘Carla P.’s Picks’

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

November 19, 2014

Bloom owner, Cara Kryzik is a talented florist slowly making a name for herself with Savannah’s elite. Bloom is doing steady business and she has a great reputation in Savannah for being creative and cutting edge.

Cara and her assistant, Bert are making great progress on the arrangements and other decor for the Fanning wedding, the most high profile wedding she has secured and everything must go accordingly. In spite of a major obstacle, Cara’s ability to pull off The Fanning wedding opened many doors for her, and lands her the biggest wedding of her career. Brooke Trappnell has requested that Cara not only do the floral arrangements for her wedding, but also serve as the wedding planner. Obtaining the contract for the Trappnell-Strayhorn wedding will put her in a position to take care of some urgent financial obligations. Cara is busy at work trying to get everything in place for the wedding but she still finds time to pursue a courtship with Jack Finnerty, a handsome contractor that she keeps bumping into at weddings.

As Cara starts working out the details for the Trappnell-Strayhorn wedding, life starts to spiral out of control. Her assistant starts pulling no shows, a new florist in town is trying to sabotage her reputation, her romance with Jack fizzles, and her bride may be coming down with a case of cold feet.

Save the Date has just the right dose of suspense, wit, romance and southern charm. In her usual fashion, Mary Kay Andrews paints a colorful story and introduces you to a great cast of characters.

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Money Can’t Buy Love by Connie Briscoe

September 15, 2014

Money Can't Buy Love by Connie BriscoeLife is not so grand for thirty-something Lenora Stone, she’s struggling to pay her bills, despises her boss and her long time beau just won’t pop the question. Lenora is a photographer for the Baltimore Scene, a magazine that features Baltimore’s elite. Lenora could only wish for the life that her clients live. Lenora faithfully plays the lottery and one day she actually hits the jackpot, her life is definitely about to change.

Lenora is in a state of shock that she is millionaire. She holes up in her home and refuses to go to work until she can come to terms with her new found wealth. Lenora’s adjustment period is short lived; she quits her job and purchases a luxury vehicle, and a mini mansion in an exclusive neighborhood and Gerald is finally ready to propose. Everything seems to be going well for her.

After quitting her job, Lenora decides to go into business for herself and purchases a space for a studio. Ray Shearer, a handsome landscaper, is Lenora’s first client. She met Ray on a previous assignment and sparks fly immediately. This is obviously a problem since she is engaged. Lenora’s romantic relationships may be heating up but her friendship with longtime friends, Monica and Alise are on shaky ground. Lenora claims they are treating her differently because she won the lottery and thinks she has changed for the worse. Lenora has a lot going on in her life and is not quite sure how to handle it. Will Lenora make the right decisions, or will everything fall apart?

This is a great read for the beach or a lazy afternoon. Connie Briscoe does a great job of reminding us that money does not ensure happiness. You will enjoy following Lenora through her journey of ups and downs.

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When the Thrill Is Gone by Walter Mosley

September 2, 2014

When the Thrill is GoneWhen the Thrill is Gone was my first introduction to the Leonid McGill series, I’ve read the majority of Walter Mosley’s, Easy Rawlins series and thoroughly enjoyed them. Leonid, who is a private investigator in a pinch for money, wearily takes on a new client offering a stack of money for his services. Leonid’s new client, Chrystal Tyler, is afraid she is going to end up dead like her husband’s previous wives. Chrystal is hopeful that Leonid can keep her from becoming victim number three. Leonid is trying to focus on Chrystal’s case when he receives a phone call from Harris Vartan, a very dangerous man, he finds it hard to focus knowing that he is on Vartan’s radar, but Leonid is street savvy, well connected and makes the right moves to get his missions accomplished and stay alive.

Leonid has a bad feeling as he immerses himself into Chrystal’s case, he soon discovers that his client is not who she says she is. As the story unfolds, someone has killed Chrystal’s sister and her nieces and nephews are now parentless, Leonid is trying to find out if it has anything to do with Chrystal, and if she is in immediate danger. Mysterious persons and circumstances are waiting around every corner as Leonid gets deeper into this case.

Most of us can find some solace at home, unfortunately for Leonid this is not the case. His wife, Katrina has a history of being unfaithful and his friend, who is dying from cancer, is sleeping on his couch. Joy comes to Leonid through his three children and his sometimes girlfriend, Aura.

In this fast-paced read, you never know what will be revealed on the next page. Walter Mosley always does an excellent job of bringing his characters to life; you will love them or hate them. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this series.

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32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter

February 5, 2014

Most of us have felt like the ugly duckling at some point in time, but Davidia Jones deals with this from elementary school through high school.  Davidia has been nicknamed “Monkey Night” and this is how she is addressed by her peers. Davidia’s mother, Cora lacks compassion and her only concern seems to be alcohol and men.  After a harsh spanking and tongue lashing from her mother, six year old Davidia stops talking. Sixteen Candles is Davidia’s favorite movie and when she gets to high school she thinks she has found her Jake Ryan.  James Farrell is her Jake Ryan, he is handsome, rich and athletic, and she is totally smitten with him. Davidia finally has the opportunity to show her classmates and James Farrell that she is much more than the ugly duckling they think she is, but as luck would have it things don’t work in her favor. After being utterly humiliated by her classmates, Davidia flees Glass, Mississippi for California with a truck driver.

Davidia has found her voice again and when she gets to California, Mama Jane, the truck driver convinces her nephew, Nicky to give Davidia a job at his night club. Davidia shortens her name to Davie and is now a sultry nightclub singer at Nicky’s. Davidia has completely reinvented herself and life in California is good. After leaving a singing telegram gig, Davidia literally runs into James Farrell, her high school crush. Davidia and James start dating but James does not remember her from high school and she doesn’t bother to tell him. As the story progresses, we find out that Davidia has been getting revenge on her high school classmates by using some of her L.A. connections. Will Davidia get her Sixteen Candles ending with James Farrell or will her inability to let go of the past ruin everything?

Debut Author, Ernessa T. Carter did an excellent job with this coming of age story, it was refreshing to see Davidia escape her unfortunate home situation and eventually come into her own. Carter draws you into Davidia’s corner and you will find yourself rooting for her as she goes through her ups and downs. I hope that a sequel is in the works, I would love to what‘s next for Davidia. ”

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Carolina Moon by Jill McCorkle

September 19, 2013

Welcome to Fulton, North Carolina, a small beach town that is quiet in the off-season. The residents of Fulton are quite colorful; you are easily drawn into the lives of these characters and the story they tell.

The story opens with veteran postal worker, Wallace Johnson reading another letter addressed to Wayward One that will eventually end up in the dead letter files. These letters are written by a married woman who is writing to her lover that committed suicide, the letters have been coming for 25 years.

Quee Purdy, an older lady with a bit of a reputation and disliked by many has recently opened up Smoke – Out Signals, a smoking rehabilitation center, her goal is to cure the people of Fulton of their nicotine addictions. Quee’s first patient is a local Disc Jockey, he is making progress but he is getting very used to the meals, massages and pedicures that are part of his treatment plan.

Tom Lowe is a handsome local handyman who has been doing a lot of work for Quee. Tom is a lifelong resident of Fulton with a complicated background. He often thinks about the strained relationship he had with his deceased father and his high school sweetheart, Sarah that broke things off with him when she went off to college.

Jones Jameson, a local Howard Stern like Disc Jockey goes missing and the town is buzzing about his whereabouts. Jones is married to Alicia, who is also employed at Smoke-Out Signals. Jones a not so great husband and is known for pulling weekend disappearing acts, but this time he does not return. McCorkle does a great job of painting a picture of the town and its people. This book is sprinkled with humor and quirky characters.

This was my first time reading a book by Jill McCorkle and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I am looking forward to reading some of her other novels. If you are curious about the writer of the mysterious letters, the success of Quee’s clinic, and the whereabouts of Jones Jameson, check this book out, you won’t be disappointed. This is a great book to take on vacation or curl up on the couch with.

 Jill McCorkle along with several other local authors will be at West Regional Library on September, 24th, please visit our website for more details.

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Motherhood Diaries by Reshonda Tate Billingsley

August 27, 2013

When I came across Reshonda Tate Billingsley’s, Motherhood Diaries, I had to read it. As a mother of a 7-year-old, I was curious to read about the parenting experiences of the contributors. Motherhood Diaries is a collection of short stories by mothers from diverse backgrounds, each highlighting various situations. The stories in this book speak to mothers dealing with adoption, forgetfulness, poverty, disabilities, and everyday parenting issues.

My favorite stories were, “Diary of a Special Needs Mother”, “Diary of a Breast Cancer Survivor”, and “Diary of an Overachieving Mom (Who Longs for a Drink)”. “Diary of a Special Needs Mother” talks about how an accident left her 3-year-old son brain damaged, and her rise to the challenge of parenting him along with her other two children. In “Breast Cancer Survivor”, we meet a mother who is struggling with telling her teenage daughter that she has cancer, and how her daughter’s harsh words encourage her to seek treatment that she originally planned to forego. “Overachieving Mom” opens with her hiding in the closet from her children–she is at her wits’ end. She is the mother who has her kids enrolled in the best private schools and every extracurricular activity possible. This story is full of humorous situations that made me laugh out loud.

These stories are funny, eye opening, and heartbreaking. I highly recommend this book; there is something here for every mom. Motherhood Diaries is a friendly reminder that you are not alone in your struggles and doubts about parenting.

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Glorious by Bernice McFadden

March 20, 2013

Waycross, Georgia is where this story begins and inevitably ends but in between, we follow Easter Bartlett on a journey as she runs from her painful past and searches for happiness. On July 4, 1910, a terrible thing happens to Rlizbeth Bartlett that became the ruin of the Bartlett family and sends Easter, Rlizbeth’s sister running away from Waycross with hopes of never looking back. Easter leaves Waycross and heads to Valdosta, Georgia to stay with relatives. Valdosta is just one of the many stops for Easter, she never stays in one place for long.

Easter’s travels eventually take her to New York City, Harlem to be exact. The majority of Easter’s time in Harlem is good but tragedy strikes several times throughout her stay. Easter finds love and marries Colin Gibbs who is heavily involved with Marcus Garvey and the Back to Africa Movement. Easter reunites with her dear friend, Rain who introduces her to Meredith Tomas. Easter eventually moves into 409 Edgecombe Avenue with Meredith Tomas and Rain. When Meredith discovers Easter’s talent and love of writing, she becomes her benefactor and helps to get her stories published in The Crisis under the moniker of E.V. Gibbs. Meredith introduces her to the right people and soon Easter is rubbing elbows with the likes of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and a multitude of other Harlem Renaissance movers and shakers. Easter’s time in Harlem takes a turn for the worst when she enters her book into a contest. As the story ends, Easter finds herself back in Waycross, Georgia… where it all began.

Bernice McFadden paints a powerful story and easily draws you into Easter’s world. This is a great story about a strong, intelligent woman and her journey to overcome her past and make a way for her future. The story is peppered with historical experiences that took place from 1910-1960, like the Harlem Renaissance. I thoroughly enjoy McFadden’s work, her books always leave me with a sense of peace and delight.

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Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews

January 14, 2013

Deep DishMeet Regina Foxton, host of Fresh Start, a local Atlanta public television cooking show. Gina is a by the book small town girl from South Georgia with superb culinary skills. Everything is going great in Gina’s world until the producer of Fresh Start, Scott does something that jeopardizes the show. Because of Scott’s actions, Fresh Start has lost their sponsor, Tastee-Town and without them on board it is next to impossible to keep the show running. Gina is furious that Scott has put their careers and relationship in jeopardy. Did I mention that Scott is also Gina’s boyfriend? When Gina’s world starts falling apart her wild card sister, Lisa and D’John, her stylist are there to give her much needed moral support.

With Fresh Start on the chopping block, Scott is working feverishly to secure his career and trying to find new sponsor s for Fresh Start. Luckily, Scott is able to land Gina an audition with The Cooking Channel, if she can wow the TCC people she could secure a spot on the popular cable network. Gina is excited about her TCC audition but it will include friendly competition from local cooking show host, Tate Moody. Tate Moody is the host of Vittles, a kill it and grill it style show. Tate is ruggedly handsome and possesses not only the skill to catch his food but he can also serve it up very nicely.

The “Food Fight” will take place on Eutaw Island, a remote South Georgia island. Gina and Tate must prepare several dishes to be judged by famous restaurateurs. The catch is that Gina and Tate can only use the very basic staples supplied to them, they are responsible for scouting the island for the remainder of their ingredients. As if having to hunt and gather their main ingredients isn’t enough, Gina has bad blood with judge, Beau and Tate is not a favorite of judge, Deidre. While each contestant is trying their best to make sure they have a surefire plan for winning there is some obvious love/hate chemistry between them. Could love be in the air? With the help of lifetime Eutaw residents, Iris and Inez, Gina and Tate are able to put together some great dishes but which of these talented cooks will rise to victory?
This tale of two cooks and their mouth-watering dishes includes a good sprinkling of romance, drama, wit and southern charm. Mary Kay Andrews easily draws you into this story and introduces you to a number of great characters who keep you wanting more.

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Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

October 23, 2012

I am back with another blog about Tayari Jones’s latest book. My last first blog was about her debut novel, Leaving AtlantaSilver Sparrow is told through the eyes of half sisters, Dana Yarboro and Chaurisse Witherspoon. The first line in the book reads, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.” Who can resist an opening sentence like this?

Dana’s mother, Gwendolyn and father, James married in Alabama after she was born, but they are a well-kept secret. James’s friend, Raleigh is the only one who is aware of their existence. Dana and her mother know about Chaurisse and Laverne, yet they have no clue that they exist. Dana and her mother live a modest life and manage to get by without James being a permanent fixture in their household. Wednesday is James’ “poker night” and he and Raleigh always have dinner with Dana and Gwendolyn. James does his best to make sure Gwendolyn and Dana avoid Laverne and Chaurisse. Because of this, Dana is often told she cannot participate in the same activities or attend a particular school because Chaurisse will be doing so.

Chaurisse’s mother, Laverne married James when they were in high school. Laverne runs a hair salon and James owns a small limo service. Laverne is under the impression that her life is close to perfect, yet does she know her husband has another family on the other side of town.

This intriguing story follows sisters, Dana and Chaurisse, from kindergarten through high school. Even though the same blood flows through their veins, the girls lead very different lives, eventually their paths cross and they form a friendship. The anticipation of wondering if or when the cat will be let out of the bag will keep you engrossed to the very end.

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The Between by Tananarive Due

September 19, 2012

When Hilton James was a boy, he found his nana’s cold body on the kitchen floor, and a hysterical Hilton ran next door to get a neighbor. When they walked into the house, nana was standing at the stove humming. When Hilton asked nana what happened, she said she fainted. Nana was never quite the same after that day and Hilton was convinced that she had died on that kitchen floor. Months later at a family reunion, Hilton was swimming in the ocean and nearly drowned. While his Nana was trying to save him, the current swept her away and she was never seen again. Both of those days would be burned into Hilton’s memory and haunt him for the remainder of his life.

Thirty years later, Hilton James is married with a family and living in Miami, Hilton is a social worker and his wife Dede, is a Judge. The James’s live a quiet life, until Dede starts receiving threats. The threats against his family are racially motivated and Hilton is not taking them lightly, unlike his wife. Around the same time that the threats start, weird things start happening to Hilton. Hilton starts to see and experience things and he cannot recall if they actually happened or not. Every time Hilton closes his eyes he experiences frightening dreams, he gives up on sleeping altogether. On top of the dreams and strange occurrences, his wife is continuing to receive threats. The odd thing about his dreams and strange happenings is that they usually foretell something that is about to happen. Hilton attributes the strange thoughts and dreams to him cheating death as a youngster and thinks that his time has finally come. The combination of Hilton’s paranoia and lack of sleep start to have a negative effect on his personal life and work, his life is spiraling out of control. Is Hilton losing his mind or is it something much deeper?

I was anxious to see what would happen next with the James family. Tananarive  Due  captures your attention and you feel like you are Hilton’s shadow as he struggles for clarity each day. This was a great read but my favorite is The Good House, also by Due. In her usual fashion, Due works in a good bit of the eerie unexplained which keeps you on edge and eagerly awaiting the end result.

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