Celeste invited U.S. G.I.R.L.S. and Guests into her home to discuss
Pamela Samuels-Young's novel, Buying Time. The hostess "wowed" us with an ocean-themed setting of aqua blue displaying gourmet meats, cheeses, salads, fruit and European breads and Artisan rolls. After greeting everyone and a lovely blessing by guest, Yvonne. we were anxious to experience the bountiful buffet.
The discussion began with Celeste asking if everyone enjoyed the book and if we'd every heard of viatical settlements? There was a resounding concurrence to the 1st question, however most had never heard of viaticals at all. It as then that everyone voiced their opinions and experiences. Sharron, who is in the medicinal field, gave some historical background with regards to the origin, effects and benefits. Val and JayBee (both from the financial vantage point); addressed pros/cons and obvious alternatives that chronically and terminally ill patients have at their disposal..
After asking us our favorite character(s), Celeste wanted to know how we felt about most of them, specifically Angela and her relationships. Well, needless to say, this opened up a discussion that ranged from body issues to "background checks". Everyone had an opinion on women and relationships. Jackie pointed out how so many women are subservient (even today) in relationships and are comfortable with not knowing financial
or legal information. Roz pointed out that some women are not consumed with the financial aspects of "where the money is coming from" as long as they can have "carte blanche" with the bank account and credit card and can go shopping all day. Kim was quick to point out that sometimes women are Chameleons-meaning they are one person at work and TOTALLY different at home. As this exchange continued, Katherine pointed out that all of the women in the book had some similarities, in that they lacked self-esteem.
JayBee brought up a common theme in many books that we have read recently, and that is one of African-American women being "body-shamed" which results in "body-morphing" . Now, while Kim was quick to recognize that this is what is going on in
society today...JayBee retorted with the concern that maybe we should not amplify it in literature. Maybe, if we could read more about Big, Beautiful and happy full-sized African-American women, this pattern of behavioral thinking could change (ump, can I get an "Amen?").
Sexual perverts and deviants in the home were discussed with regards to Clair and her hesitation to report her husband to the police. The general question of "why" is there reluctance to report this behavior was discussed. As in Clair's situation, it was brought up that she did not want to drag her daughter through a lengthy and "messy" court case; but, is that always in the best interest of the child and the other children in the surrounding area? Karen brought up an interesting point with the child's reluctance to speak in fear of not being believed. She went on to say that this is not an uncommon occurrence when the mother has a boyfriend and is reluctant to believe her own child.
At 1:00, Author Pamela Samuels-Young was Skyped in and she was anxious to speak with us. She apologized for her hat (no apology necessary) and began asking us if this was the first time that we have read her work. Individually and collectively we respond
"yes", but it will surely not be our last. She went on to tell us about the "Dre" series and Celeste mentioned that she read the sequel and enjoyed it.
Val started off with the question of Angela being a successful attorney, but seemed to be "not so smart" when it came to "matters of the heart" With all the resources available, why didn't she do a background check? Even if checking his license plate was not an option, simply "googling" him would have produced a "mug shot" at the least. The author was quick to say that some women like a "bad boy" and that was possibly a strain of Angela's DNA as well.
Roz asked a question about ethnicity of characters as it relates to her writing and conveying her message. Ms. Samuels-Young wanted us to know that focusing on the story line and character assessment is more important to her than their color, hue or ethnicity.
JayBee repeated her earlier question/concern about 'body-shaming" and said that she wanted to read about a big, beautiful, successful African-American woman,who is happy with herself and doing the daggone thing!! She said exactly what Kim said that this is what society is giving us right now, but wanted to add and she does have a book with a successful, plus size character and would love for us to read it.
To get the author's perspective, Celeste also asked her a few questions from her study guide.
Celeste thanked Pamelia Samuels-Young for her participation and invited her to sign our guestbook to be featured on our "Authors" tab on our website. To quote Celeste's parting words to the author: "We never saw the ending coming!" We all applauded and posed for a panoramic photo that she took on her end...Don't you just LUV technology?
Celeste invited everyone to a vast dessert display of strawberry cake, lemon delight and fruit...SOOOOOOO GOOD!!
As everyone was served dessert, JayBee passed out the ballots for the Oprah Cookbook "Top Chef" Challenge and explained the rules of engagement. She also announced that Dianne and Celestial submitted absentee ballots (whooooo, so official) Before tallying the votes, JayBee passed out the following superlatives:
1st Amazon Review (other than hostess) - Val
Most Top Chef Entries - Bonnie with 4 Entries
First Five To Submit Entries - Kathy, (JayBee), Celestial, Val, Jackie and Celeste
(Awarded specially designed glass chopping boards all the way for the UK!)
After the votes were tallied (survivor style); JayBee won the popular vote, garnering 5 votes for her Thai Red Curry with Shrimp and Pineapple. As the challenge originator and collector of all the submissions, JayBee graciously disqualified herself prior to the tallying.
Drum Roll, please!
Winner - Valerie and her Basic Tomato Soup and Tuscan Salad - 3 votes!!
Bonnie - Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Chili Sauce, etc...-1 vote
Everyone expressed how much fun the challenge was and thanked Val for the cookbook and JayBee for the challenge. The ladies then presented JayBee with lovely "Webmaster" gifts for keeping our website, active and relevant. There was a wonderful cookbook from Atlanta's Iconic, Mary's Tea Room, Kate Spade "sipper" as well as a 2018 Agenda and a card holder with "Girl Boss" (love that #) with a Starbucks gift card enclosed. Everyone who knows JayBee knows how she and the hubby love road trips with Starbucks!!!
Before leaving, Celeste presented U.S. G.I.R.L.S. and guests with a beautifully designed signature calendar featuring each member and "frequent" guests. We were also given a cute U.S. G.I.R.L.S. Purse Holder and Hand Sanitizer!!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank YOU, Celeste for your outstanding hospitality and introducing us to the word of Viatical Settlements, Buying Time and author Pamela Samuels-Young. This was not only a mystery/thriller, it was also an educational experience as well.