southern charm

365 Challenge: Day 200 – South

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South: a part of the country where I am currently visiting (and think I’m from)

south

Howdy. Today we spent a few hours driving around different neighborhoods in Charlotte to get a good feel for the city. It’s quite beautiful and has a definite southern appeal and nostalgia to it. I like to claim I am from the south, but W refuses to accept me being born and living in Florida for the first 2+ years of my life as qualifying me to ‘be from the south.’ I disagree, especially when the map above clearly shows I am from the south. I suppose him being from Louisiana means he would know better, but I refuse to accept this one! We also spent a few hours today touring the Levine Museum of the New South. It chronicled the shape of the south’s culture and identity after the American Civil War through current times, covering freedom from slavery, industrialization, Great Depression, New Deal Impacts, Civil Rights and re-building Charlotte into a financial center. Quite informative and amazing photos, videos and stories, but I couldn’t take any pictures. Sorry!

charlotte

As I finish up my trip in the south, since apparently Florida for the next 4+ days doesn’t count, I am more appreciative of this part of the country than I was in the past. I would enjoy living here, but I will say temperatures in the 90s in September was more than I could handle. I much prefer the 60s, but that’s not too common in the south as I had suspected. It’ll be interesting to see where we go next in this journey to check out options for the future. For now, you are probably reading this message as we are arriving at or are in flight to Orlando for a wedding and Disney weekend. I also get to see another good friend for lunch who moved here several years ago. Exciting! I’ll be back again tomorrow, but have no idea what the post will be about yet… hopefully it will contain pictures for you this time.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: Bless Her Dead Little Heart

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Bless Her Dead Little Heart
4 of 5 stars to Miranda James‘s Bless Her Dead Little Heart, the first in a new “Southern Ladies” mystery series. I chose this book because I enjoy the author’s (Dean James) other series, “Cat in the Stacks,” which also takes place in Athena, Mississippi and includes Diesel, the Maine Coon cat. It was a little shaky at first, but then the characters took off and I ultimately enjoyed this book. On to the review…


Story

Charlie Harris of the “Cat in the Stack” series drops his Maine Coon cat off with his friends/neighbors, Dickce and An’gel Ducote, while he takes off on a trip. Dickce and An’gel are 79 and 84 years old, from old money, and have a strong connection to the antebellum south. When a former sorority sister, Rosebelle Sultan, shows up claiming her family is trying to kill her, the Ducote sisters know they will have a problem to deal with, especially given all the troubles Rosebelle has caused over the 60 years they’ve known her. And this time, it’s the truth. Her two daughters, son and a boatload of in-laws and grandchildren show up after Rosebelle and the Ducote sisters feel their southern hospitality calling on them. Soon after, Sultan family members start dying under mysterious circumstances and the Ducote sisters need to call Deputy Kanesha Berry (also of the Cat in the Stacks series) for help. Both sisters survive the ordeal, but their life is about to change given the impacts of who is killed and the mess that is left behind.


Strengths

1. You’ve got this fantastically crazy Sultan family full of characters you want to love and hate all at the same time. There is a reason for it to be any of them, and each stand to inherit money depending on who kicks the bucket first. A great mystery for the mind.

2. A true southern appeal… without overdoing it. Lots of antebellum charm, language and setting without getting caught up in accents and unknown cultural themes. A perfect balance of fun.

3. The author knows how to drag you into the mystery, laughing and smiling the whole time. It’s not a typical suspense page-turner, but you often find yourself wanting to read it all in one sitting just to figure out whodunit.


Suggestions

1. It may be too early to say this, but I’m not sure you need both sisters. I sort of grouped them together and assumed they were the same person, except when they were separated and in different scenes. It’s hard to keep them separate when both are unmarried and have no children and we know little about their former lives. I think we need stronger personalities to be able to see enough of a difference.

2. They are spry for 80, but how long will they be able to keep this up! And who really lets nearly 10 uninvited guests just stay at the house to help a friend. LOL I laughed it off but I hope the rest of the series has a little less “on the nose” humor and more “accidental” humor! Still was fun, just mentioning some potential concerns with a longer series.


Final Thoughts

A good read, worth taking a chance on if you like cozy mysteries, older protagonists, less crime detection and more subtle relationship building and conversational stories.

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