49. Suite Temptation by Anita Bunkley
started 9/17 finished 9/19
Another quick read romance. While taking a business course in Houston loan officer Riana Cole cultivates a study/make-out relationship with another student Andre Preaux, who is working his way through school as a construction worker. At the end of the course Riana must return to San Antonio to further her career plans and the couple part ways. Years later a business deal brings them back together, but will they pick up where they left off?
50. Yellow Moon by Jewell Parker Rhodes
started 9/29 finished 10/5
Although I am not a fanatic like Joy, I enjoy learning about the people and culture of New Orleans. The mixture of African, French and American cultures have created a fascinating and interesting mix. The Benjamin January series of books by Barbara Hambly are some of my favorites along with the Voodoo series by Jewell Parker Rhodes. The first book, Voodoo Dreams is a novel about Marie LaVeau who is believed to be the mother of Voodoo in this country. Her second book, set in contemporary New Orleans, is Voodoo Season which tells the story of Marie Levant. She moves from Chicago to begin her residency and through a series of strange events finds out that she is a descendant of Marie LaVeau and the inheritor of her throne. In Yellow Moon, Marie is more comfortable with her position as a “Voodoo Queen” and must use her expertise as a medical doctor and voodoo practitioner to solve a series of otherworldly murders with the help of a non-believing police detective. Great read!
51. Freakin’ Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally Be Better than Everyone Else by Clinton Kelly
started 10/2 finished 10/12
What Not to Wear is one of my favorite shows and this book by one of its co-stars was a delightful read. Although it does have the expected advice on fashion and how to dress, it also includes chapters on grammar, etiquette, entertaining and decorating. Clinton is hilarious and the information he imparts is useful. This is a perfect gift for someone (female or male – gay or metrosexual especially) who has just graduated and is starting out on their own.
52. How To Have Style by Isaac Mizrahi
started 10/12 finished 10/14
I was disappointed in this book. I really love Isaac and used to love the segment on his TV show where he would counsel everyday women with style dilemmas and then sketch out what his advice was. This book is a continuation of that segment. It highlights twelve women with different style needs, including a plus-size woman who is not sure what looks good on her, a young professional who is often mistaken for an intern at her job, and a over-shopper who buys a lot of trendy clothes but is lacking staples. I did like how he made each woman make a vision board so that they could pinpoint the things and themes that they are drawn to. I didn’t like some of Isaac’s choices for the women; a lot of times they had on things that just weren’t very flattering (in my opinion). Overall I don’t think this book is very useful for the masses. If you are a huge fan of Isaac, then knock yourself out. If you are a lover of fashion and are interested in enhancing your personal style you would do better to spend your $30 on the latest book from the editors of Lucky magazine, The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style.
53. Trading Dreams at Midnight by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
started 10/6 finished 10/15
I finished this book early this morning and cried during the last few pages. In all of her books (and I have read them all) McKinney-Whetstone tells the stories of African-Americans in Philadelphia brilliantly. Although, I didn’t grow up there, I feel like I know these characters, their neighborhoods, their city. The experiences are so universal. Trading Dreams at Midnight follows the lives of Nan and her granddaughters Neena and Tish. Nan’s daughter (and the girls’ mother) Freeda suffers from a mental disability and floats in and out of their lives. Neena, the oldest, has spent more time with her mother and is affected by her absence the most, nearly dedicating her life to finding her. Tish, the baby, craves the normalcy that her grandmother’s household provides and rejects her mother whenever she shows up. The writing is superb and beautiful. Doret and I were discussing how McKinney-Whetstone is wildly descriptive while at the same time never going overboard; stopping just perfectly in time for you to visualize her meaning. Nan is a seamstress and the use of fabric metaphors is brilliant. The opening sentences:
“It had been twenty years since Freeda spun in and out of home the way that fabric did when it was unwound from those huge bolts all up and down along Fourth Street in South Philadelphia. A hot pink raw silk Freeda was when she was a happy girl, spreading herself out into a mesmerizing display with her thunderstorm hair and butter brown lips until her sadness hit and she’d scrunch herself up into a tight bland button and then poof, she was gone.”