This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Till You Hear From Me by Pearl Cleage – I liked the setting of this book. It takes place immediately following the inauguration of Barack Obama. A midlevel campaign staffer is waiting to hear if she is going to get a White House job. Her father is a pastor who was active in the civil rights movement but who felt left out of the campaign. He has publicly sided with Rev. Wright and other black clergy who Obama is trying to distance himself from. His daughter goes back to Atlanta to try to figure out what is going on with her father when video of damaging interview he did hits YouTube.

This book has many of the characters from Cleage’s previous novels as secondary characters but you don’t need to have read those books to read this one. The book starts strong but I think the ending is weak. There is way too much hero worship and daddy’s little girl stuff in it for my liking. The father is worshiped by everyone so no one will tell him anything he needs to hear because it isn’t “respectful.” This isn’t something that is overcome in the story. It is reinforced. Similarly the idea that a woman in her 30s may be a competent human being who is capable of being trusted with grown up business is dismissed out of hand. I didn’t get this feeling from Cleage’s previous novels.

Big Girl by Danielle Steele – I’ll say it out loud. I like Danielle Steele books. They are total escapist fantasy. This book is about a woman whose family has always demeaned her for being a “big girl”. She never fit in with the way they thought their family should look or behave. The story is about her coming to terms with the emotional abuse of her family and learning to live her own life. That’s all well and good. But the book goes on and on about how she is such an overeater and how she really needs to lose weight and how she is so huge. At her absolute largest she is a size 16. Most of the book she is a size 14. I’m a size 14. It isn’t skinny but it isn’t elephantine either which is the impression you’d get from reading this book. Skip this one if you aren’t in the mood to laugh at the absurdity of it.
There is also a side plot about a teenage pregnancy and how it is so rare at this private school. Whatever.

Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison – This is book 8 of the Rachel Morgan series. These absolutely have to be read in order. The books start right into the story with no recap of what happened previously. I don’t think this one was as strong as the others but it was still interesting.

The premise of this series is that in the 1960s the human population was mostly wiped out by a virus in a genetically modified tomato. The witches, vampires, werewolves, pixies, etc came out of hiding then since they weren’t a minority any longer. Now everyone has to try to get along. Rachel Morgan is a witch who starts a bounty hunter service but nothing goes as easily as she had planned.

A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist – I’m calling this the book that never ends. I listened to it on CD. It was 11 hours since the narrator read slowly with pauses in seemingly random places. The story seemed to be winding down on disks 6, 8, and 9 but it went 10 disks. Then there was an afterword. I think I would have liked it a lot more if I had read it instead of listening.

In 1865 a man in Seattle collected $300 each from 500 bachelors to go east and get brides from among the Civil War widows and orphans. True story. The women were often contracted to be cooks or nannies so they were surprised to find that they were supposed to marry as soon as they got there. This is the story of how that may have worked for one couple. This is a Christian novel. I didn’t know that or I wouldn’t have read it. It wasn’t disturbing because a lot of the church references could be explained as the culture of the time.