Saturday, June 29, 2013

Southern Fried White Trash

Title: Southern Fried White Trash Author: Carole Townsend Publisher: Crabgrass Publishing LLC

I purchased this book for my Kindle.

From Amazon:
In the spirit of Southern humor brought to us by writers and comics like Lewis Grizzard, Jeff Foxworthy, and Bret Butler, Carole Adams Townsend's debut book , “Southern Fried White Trash,” is a must-have for tried-and true Southern enthusiasts. It has a twist, though. Townsend satirizes real life through the eyes of a Southerner, born and raised. Carole Townsend is a news correspondent and online columnist for the Gwinnett Daily Post newspaper in Georgia. A married mom and former corporate executive brought up by an old-school Southern mother, the author brings a hilarious perspective to old-vs-new-school life in the South.

First off, I have to say that this is the funniest book I have ever read in my life. It was hysterical! And, as a native southerner, I can tell you that it is 100% right on the money. Carole Townsend knows her white trash, and can tell a story as well as anyone I know. I laughed all the way through this book. What makes it so funny is that it is so accurate. We all know these people she describes in this book. We have all seen them. 
The south truly is divided into several subcultures. Like Townsend. I was brought up in a world of minding your manners, the southern status quo, so to speak. Yet we all know this other world. We have seen these people. And no one describes them quite like Townsend.
I loved this book (in spite of the cover, which might give me nightmares...). I can't wait to read her next book. Every southerner should read this. You will laugh out loud.
Loved it!

Read this book if...
*you are a southerner (either native or transplant)
*you need a good laugh
*you want to know more about white trash

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Looking for Me

Title: Looking for Me Author: Beth Hoffman Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

I read this book in ebook form on my Kindle.

From Amazon:
Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettable characters. Now her unique flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines in her compelling new novel, Looking for Me.

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop.  Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky.  It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last.  But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.

Looking for Me brilliantly melds together themes of family, hope, loss, and a mature once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. 

After reading Saving CeCe Honeycutt I eagerly awaited this novel. (I STILL say that CeCe should be a movie.) 
Although drastically different from her first novel, Looking for Me is still a great book in it's own right. It is an interesting look at the impact of following ones dreams against all odds as well as the effect of having one's dreams taken away. The novel also delivers a powerful message about animal cruelty. 
Teddi is a likable character. She makes mistakes, had to work for all she has, and loves dogs. :) I think Teddi's relationship with her mother is a powerful part of the storyline. I don't want to include spoilers, but finding out about Franny's life (toward the end of the book) makes her character much easier to understand.
I think Beth Hoffman is a great  southern writer. This novel has a great storyline which doesn't rely on silly romance or fairytale endings. (I HATE novels that do that.) I will eagerly await her next book.

Read this book if:
*you love southern fiction
* you love novels about families
*you love stories with a bit of mystery to them
*you feel strongly about animal cruelty and wildlife preservation

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Orange Blossom Special

Title: The Orange Blossom Special Author: Betsy Carter Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Pages:296

From Amazon:

Carbondale, Illinois. 1958. For widowed Tessie Lockhart, booking two seats on a passenger train to Florida symbolizes a fresh start, far from her memories of love and loss. For Tessie’s teenage daughter Dinah, who misses her father terribly, the move to Gainesville means a new school and the painful ordeal of making new friends. Rich, popular Crystal Landy is one of the first girls Dinah meets—and it will be Crystal, along with her exquisite mother, Victoria, who will transform the Lockharts’ lives in ways they never could have imagined. For as war and change come to this small southern town, the bonds between mothers and daughters will be tested, friendships sealed, secrets revealed, and relationships forever altered by the turbulence of the coming decades. 

Wise, moving, and warmly funny, The Orange Blossom Special, spans twenty years in the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters. Betsy Carter has crafted a powerful, richly rewarding novel about growing up, moving on, and turning strangers into friends.

When Tessie Lockhart's husband dies, leaving her all alone with her eleven-year-old daughter in Carbondale, Illinios, she decides there is a need to make changes. Gainsville, Florida seems to be just the change they need. 
Tessie and Dinah both adjust to life in Florida and to the death of Tessie's husband, Dinah's father. Tessie gets a new job, struggles to make a life for her daughter and begins an affair with a married mogul. Dinah befriends the richest, most popular girl in school and also develops a friendship with Eddie, a boy with an extra finger and no friends to speak of.
From the late 1950's to 1986, this book follows a unique cast of characters through the pivotal years in their lives. It's a story of survival, friendship, and moving on.

Read this book if:
*you like southern fiction
*you like books that take place in small towns
*you like stories about mothers and daughters

Friday, June 7, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday

It's Feature & Follow Friday- a Friday meme hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read. Gain new followers and make new friends!

Today's Question:

Have you ever broken up with a series? If so, which one and why?

Ok this may offend some people (ha!) but I broke up with the Harry Potter series when I realized it was basically formula and they were all pretty much the same.....Whoa! Put down the swords! Maybe it was my age, OK? I was an adult when they came out. I know for a fact that, had I been in middle or high school, I would have devoured them. So maybe that was it....

And, to be honest, I am not sure if I will keep with the Diviners series, either... The first one had some we will just have to see what happens....

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat

Title: The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat Author: Edward Kelsey Moore Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Pages: 307 Copyright: 2013

I checked out this book from my local library.

From Amazon:
Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat is home away from home for this inseparable Plainview, Indiana, trio.  Dubbed “the Supremes” by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they weather life’s storms together for the next four decades. Now, during their most challenging year yet, dutiful, proud, and talented Clarice must struggle to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband’s humiliating infidelities. Beautiful, fragile Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair. And fearless Odette engages in the most terrifying battle of her life while contending with the idea that she has inherited more than her broad frame from her notorious pot-smoking mother, Dora.

Through marriage, children, happiness, and the blues, these strong, funny women gather each Sunday at the same table at Earl’s diner for delicious food, juicy gossip, occasional tears, and uproarious banter.

With wit and love, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together four intertwined love stories, three devoted allies, and two sprightly earthbound spirits in a big-hearted debut novel that embraces the lives of people you will never forget. 

I truly enjoyed this book. It had me alternating between laughter and tears at times; I really found it hard to put down. Spanning 40 years in the lives of three friends growing up in small-town Indiana, this story has a little of everything- romance, suspense, heartbreak, racial issues, even a supernatural element- Odette, like her mother before her, can see and talk to spirits.
 Moore has well-developed characters- like all of us, they have their good and bad. It is their realness that helps to make the story so appealing. 
The thing I like about Moore's writing- and I always mention this in an interview, if it is the case- is that he doesn't get caught up in endless boring detail. From the first page to the last, each word has a point. 
Long after you finish reading this book, you will still be thinking about the characters, their actions, and their decisions.
This was a great book and I look forward to reading his next.

Read this book if:
*you love stories about friendship
*you love stories about small town life

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

It's Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. It's a great way to let others know about the books you are eagerly awaiting, and to find out about the great new books that are out there!

I am waiting on The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls. Release date: June 11, 2013.

From Amazon:

IT IS 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.
An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town—a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister—inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.
Jeannette Walls, supremely alert to abuse of adult power, has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB. of Should Be Reading.
Anyone can participate. Here are the rules:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• 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, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is my teaser: 

Throughout the year that followed, I thought about that Sunday morning and how Mama's visit had cooled me down and cheered me. Even during the worst of troubles that came later, I smiled whenever I recalled that visit and how sweet it had been for her to come by, looking all done up in that cute sky-blue dress I hadn't seen in the six years since we buried her in it. -Edward Kelsey Moore in The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Ca -Eat.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Library Books Challenge 2013 May Wrap-Up

I read one book in May that qualifies for the Library Reading Challenge.

Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee

TBR Challenge 2013 May Wrap-Up

I read two books in May toward the TBR challenge.
They were:

Salting Roses by Lorelle Marinello


Both were great books. Here's hoping I can pick up some speed over the summer months...

The Mermaid Collector

Title: The Mermaid Collector Author: Erika Marks Publisher: Doubleday Large Print Pages: 460

From Amazon:
More than a century ago, lighthouse keeper Linus Harris left his beloved wife and waded into the ocean with three other men to reunite with their mermaid lovers. The mysterious Mermaid Mutiny of 1888 has become legend for the residents of Cradle Harbor, Maine, honored by the town’s Mermaid Festival every August, when wind chimes are hung from seaside porches to drown out the alluring sound of mermaid song. 

For twenty-five-year-old Tess Patterson, the legend is more than folklore; it’s proof of life’s magic. A hopeless romantic who is profoundly connected to the ocean in which she lost her mother, Tess ekes out a living as a wood-carver and longs to find a love as mystical as the sea. But when she’s hired to carve the commemorative mermaid sculpture for the coming festival, a chance to win the town’s elusive acceptance might finally be in her grasp.

For Tom Grace, life’s magic was lost at eighteen, when the death of his parents left him to care for his reckless brother, Dean. Now thirty-five and the new owner of Cradle Harbor’s prized lightkeeper’s house, Tom hopes the quiet town will calm Dean’s self-destructive ways. But when Tom discovers Tess working on her sculpture, an unlikely and passionate affair ignites between them that just might be the stuff of legend itself—even as it brings to the surface a long-buried secret that could tear everything apart.  

A quick easy read, this story brings together a likable set of characters in a Maine beach resort town. The town is getting ready to celebrate a legend from the 1800's in which a lightkeeper and three other men leave their families and run together into the sea to be with the Mermaids they fell in love with. 
The story is told from several points of view:

Buzz is an old hippy and owner of a small gathering of resort cottages overlooking the sea. Buzz and his step-daughter, Tess, are each dealing with (or not dealing with) the loss of his wife (Tess' mother) in their own way.

Tess is in a one-sided romance with the town golden boy when she meets Tom who has just inherited the lightkeeper's house from Buzz's brother-in-law, Frank.

Tom Grace, straight-laced teacher, never has any fun. He can't afford to let go and enjoy life because he is too busy caring for his alcoholic brother, Dean. Why did Frank, whom Tom never met, leave the lightkeeper's house to Tom and Dean?

Beverly, Frank's former mistress, rents one of the cottages in order to find out more about Frank and his past.

Lydia, wife of Linus, the lightkeeper in the 1880's, can't understand the changes in her husband since his mysterious disappearance at sea for four days. After he and three other men are miraculously returned to their families, they have all changed and become like strangers.

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I thought it would be a sappy romance, but it isn't. Tess is a bit unlikeable at first, but she becomes more human as the story progresses. There were a few unanswered questions. Where was Frank's wife? What went on during that four days when the men were missing at sea, and what happened when they returned to sea?
In spite of these unsolved mysteries, I still liked this book and recommend it as a great summer/ beach read.

Read this book if you...
*like stories that take place on the beach
*like stories with a touch of romance and mystery