Obsidian Blue

Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!

Lack of World Building Causes Problems in Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars - Claudia Gray

I think I should have known there would be a problem when the book just starts off with one of the characters (Noemi) going into why her planet (Genesis) is at war with the planet Earth. We hear about a fatal run they are gearing up to do, Noemi worries about her best friend, and only friend it seems, and then we segue into another character (Abel) who we find out is a mech (not human, a robot without a soul or some thing). 

 

I don't want to get into it too much cause I am ready to head home and eat my face off for Phase I of Thanksgiving 2017.

 

I just really didn't like this one much. We have Noemi and Abel eventually meet and they both go around realizing that they care about one another though Noemi knows it's impossible.

 

They also fly around to other planets and see what Earth has done to them and a resistance starting to form. I just felt like there was way too much happening here in book #1.

 

The writing was perfectly serviceable, I just think that things needed to be explained a lot more since the world building wasn't that great. I didn't understand a lot of things with the planets. Maybe in the next book Gray can include an illustration that shows all of the planets or something. Or a prologue that even describes how Earth started a war. 


The flow was off. The first 1/3 of the book just moved slowly. And then it dragged once Noemi got into trouble (no spoilers) and a deux ex machina showed up that made me roll my eyes. 

 

The ending also didn't work for me either. I think I was supposed to feel moved. I just don't think that we got a chance to know and even fall in like with either Abel or Noemi. 

 

I am confused about so much that I started to make a list. 

1. I still at the end do not even get why Earth started a war with Genesis.

 

2. I don't get how Noemi is considered human still and then it took me several chapters later that Genesis people left Earth behind to form their own colony (I think that's what happened). 

 

3. I also don't even get why Genesis thought yes let's send children off to do a fatal run and than go yes we care about lives. It was such a contradiction. I think that Gray was trying to work a little Ender's Game in here, and it just fell flat.

 

4. I really don't understand how Abel was made unique from the other mechs. I am supposed to buy he has a soul or some sort of empathy? I just think it was sloppy storytelling that didn't get a chance to resonate. 

 

Annoyed this is my 337th Review

Startup - Doree Shafrir

Really did not enjoy this at all. Overly descriptive to the point of distracting, not much of a plot, the characters were underdeveloped, and the ending just hangs there. I guess it's to let us readers imagine what would happen next. I imagine that the three women characters went off somewhere to talk to Lena Dunham about things, since I think they have as much understanding about what feminism does as she has. 

 

Let's begin. "Startup" I think was supposed to be a tongue and cheek look at the startup and tech industry in New York. Told in the third person we follow 3 characters.

 

Mack McAllister (rising star in the startup industry) Sabrina (back in the workforce working for one of Mack's managers) Katya (a reporter) who works for Sabrina's husband, Dan. There is also the character of Isabel who I guess you could say is the catalyst for a lot of things that happen in this book, but I don't consider her or Dan main characters really. They are just there for the majority of the book. 

 

I didn't like any of the characters. The men were awful, but I think I was supposed to root for the three women (Sabrina, Katya, and Isabel) at the end of the book and I didn't. The three of them were just as terrible as the men in this book and I hated that we had Katya being a particular hypocrite about what the character of Mack got up to considering what was going on with her too. 

 

Honestly most of the things that were discussed went over my head a fair bit. I am 37 so I am on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I loathe Snapchat and will never get an account. Why does anyone think I need to see a picture of you with a dog nose? Ahem. 

 

I didn't like the writing in this at all. It took til about the 40 percent mark to even get the story up to interesting status for me. The first couple of chapters were painfully over written and it was hard to even read some of the sentences. 

There was one person at MorningRave who did not post any selfies to Instagram. She was there to dance, and only to dance. Nor did she say hello to Mack. She knew who he was, but he was not yet aware of her existence. Katya Pasternack was at the party with her boyfriend, Victor, who himself was a founder of a small company called StrollUp.

 

Katya weighed ninety-nine pounds and had never gone to the gym a day in her life, but she danced at this party as though it were her job.

 

Mack McAllister exited his East Village apartment building wearing a royal-blue gingham-checked button-down shirt tucked into jeans and a navy blazer. He carried a soft brown briefcase with two buckles, given to Mack by his father when he graduated from the University of Texas and on which his initials--WSM, William Sumner McAllister--were embossed in gold capital letters.  

 

The ending fell flat for me. I guess I should have been all girl power. Instead I rolled my eyes. 

An Interview with Anne Leigh Parrish, Author of Women Within + Audiobook Giveaway

Reblogged from BookLikes:

We're happy to introduce you Anne Leigh Parrish, a short story writer and a novelist.

 

Anne's debut novel, What Is Found, What Is Lost appeared in 2014. Women Within, her second novel, was published in September 2017 by Black Rose Writing. Another multi-generational story,  it weaves together three lives at the Lindell Retirement home, using themes of care-giving, women’s rights, and female identity. Her next novel, The Amendment, is scheduled to be released in June 2018.  

 

What inspired you to become a writer? Was it an easy path?

 

I always loved stories, made-up characters, and the musical quality of language. Lyrical prose is very important to me, both as a writer and as a reader. And no, becoming a writer was by no means easy. It takes years of trying a new approach, getting feedback, working with that feedback, and most of all, taking chances.

 

Your newest novel, Women Within, is a story of three women whose paths cross at the Lindell Retirement Home. Can you tell our readers more about the book and the main characters?

 

Constance Maynard, age 94, is a resident at Lindell. She is a retired professor of History who feels that women have always been unfairly treated and valued primarily for their reproductive capability. She adopts a child when a member of her own family cannot care for her properly, and declares that the child is hers, although she in unmarried. This is in the 1950’s, a time when social mores were harsh. She embraces the disdain she is shown, and rises above it all to prove that she is as worthy as any of her male colleagues.

 

Her two aides are the other two women in the book, the first of whom, 50’s-something Eunice Fitch, has her own female challenges. For one thing, her mother, a hard-drinking and unsympathetic person, was a poor role model. From an early obsession with silent screen star Lilian Gish, Eunice feels that the best thing to do is to be steadfast and uncomplaining. While these traits make her a great caregiver, it proves disastrous in her serial relationships with men.

 

Lastly, we have Sam (short for Samantha) Clark, in her twenties, overweight, whose mother is also difficult. She yearns to be pretty and petite, only to discover that her physical strength and endurance are in fact much more valuable.

 

AUDIOBOOK GIVEAWAY

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Your book focuses on the female issues and women relationships, you also give a solid  insight of the caregiving industry. Why did you choose to talk about these subjects in your novel?

 

To be honest, this is very personal territory for me, at least in terms of the relationships women have with other women, particularly family members. My mother was difficult. She was highly intelligent, well-education, successful in her career as a professor – and yes, she serves as the inspiration for Constance Maynard in the novel – but she was deeply dissatisfied with just about everything, my father most of all. Though she was unhappy in her marriage, she never accepted his decision to divorce her, and spent the rest of her life blaming him for a situation she in large part created. My only sibling is a sister (six years older than I), and she, too, was difficult. Her hatred of me, and her abuse of me when I was young had an enormously negative influence in my life.

 

As to caregiving, I once worked in a retirement home when I was younger, and then much later, spent time visiting my father in one as he declined. I am fascinated by the almost insular nature of that world, and the contrast between those who seldom leave it, and the people who come and go every day.

 

What are you working on right now? We know that your third novel is coming next year.

 

I’m working on a novel called Maggie’s Ruse. Like The Amendment, the novel appearing in June, it contains characters from my 2013 linked story collection, Our Love Could Light the World. It features a pair of identical twins, overly-privileged Millennials trying to find themselves as individuals by putting some distance between them.

 

What writers have an impact on your reading, and of course, writing? 

 

All “the greats,” but specifically Flannery O’Connor, Virginia Woolf, Eudora Welty, Alice Munro, and Louise Erdrich.

 

What are you reading right now, Anne?

 

Ann Beattie’s newest story collection, The Accomplished Guest.

 

What three titles would you take on a desert island?

 

Boy, that’s a tough one. Probably The Round House by Louise Erdrich, Mendocino Fire: Stories by Elizabeth Tallent, and Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.

 

The Round House - Louise ErdrichMendocino Fire: Stories - Elizabeth TallentOlive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout

 

Paper books or e-books?

When I have lots of time, and am staying in one place – that is, not on an airplane, or road trip, then paper books. Otherwise, the convenience of an e-book is just too great to ignore.

 

Anne, it’s shelfie time! Our readers would love to see your home library.

 


Anne Leigh Parrish's home library

 

Thank you Anne! 

 

Make sure to request the audiobook giveaway of Women Within!

 

AUDIOBOOK GIVEAWAY

Ends November 28, 2017

Request NOW ->

 

 

Anne Leigh Parrish Books: 

Women Within - Anne Leigh ParrishWhat Is Found, What Is Lost - Anne Leigh Parrish 

By the Wayside: Stories - Anne Leigh ParrishOur Love Could Light the World - Anne Leigh ParrishAll the Roads That Lead from Home - Anne Leigh Parrish

 

The Amendment: A Novel coming June 2018 from Unsolicited Press

Women Within: A Novel (Black Rose Writing, 2017), Best Fiction Winner, 2017 Maxy awards

By The Wayside: Stories (Unsolicited Press, 2017), Finalist in the Short Story category of the 2017 International Book Awards

What Is Found, What Is Lost: A Novel (She Writes Press, 2014), Finalist in the Literary Fiction category of the 2015 International Book Awards; Winner, Literary Fiction, 2015 Book of the Year Award

Our Love Could Light The World: Stories (She Writes Press, 2013), Finalist the short story category of the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards; Finalist in both the 2013 International Book Awards and the 2013 Best Books Awards

All The Roads That Lead From Home: Stories (Press 53, 2011), 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medal Winner

 

Connect with Anne Leigh Parrish:

Website: anneleighparrish.com

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/AnneLParrish

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/AnneLeighParrish

BookLikes: booklikes.com/anne-leigh-parrish/author,2603718

 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Defy the Stars - Claudia Gray

This was such a confusing book to wade through. I felt like I missed the first book in the series, but nope, this is the first book. And I really don't get why Genesis would be all let's let our children die. I don't get why Earth is fighting. I don't get most of the science in this book. And I really wish we had time to develop the characters more."

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Startup - Doree Shafrir

A very meh book.

 

Not written that well and all the characters are terrible in different ways. 

 

I think the author overly explained a lot of the tech and startup aspects and should have spent time developing her characters. Told in the the third person, we follow a cast off characters working in the startup and tech world. I found the reasoning behind one man "getting his" to be crap considering that he loses everything and everyone else is just mildly upset if that. I just felt the author pushed the wrong message there. My takeaway was one white dude is jealous of other white dude and plots his downfall. 

 

The flow wasnt great and the first 30 percent just drowns you out cause it's overly descriptive to the point you start skipping words to just get to the next page. 

 

The ending was off. I kept thinking the book couldn't be over, but it was. It would have been nice all characters to have their moment of finding out they sucked too, but it's not too be.

 

Also this book wasn't funny. Why it's tagged as humor on Goodreads baffles me.

Reading progress update: I've read 34%.

Startup - Doree Shafrir

Ehh. I don't know. For right now nothing about this book is singing to me. I can't even remember now why I was so fired up to read this at one point. I would caution the author in being overly descriptive with everything though. I think I just started to yawn after one paragraph goes from a character smoking, to him being chubby, but still attractive, and described his clothing from head to foot. I just don't care that much. Describe things, but not to the point that it causes your readers to shut off what you are saying cause it's too much. 

Comments Back to Normal

Apologies to all who had comments on my reviews this weekend. I guess they didn't carry over. I think if you posted in the past 3 hours or so the comments are sticking.

 

I think some of you commented to me on Goodreads. If you want to try one more time let me know what you thought about some of the books I finished this weekend. 

16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 4 (Second Time) - Penance Day

I decided to discuss suggestions/ideas for book blogging.

 

1. Be honest. I can't tell you how many people I unfollowed on blogs and Goodreads who I started to feel where just shills for the authors. Readers can tell when you are passionate about a book. And we can also tell when you probably haven't read it, especially when you get whole swatches of information wrong in your review. 

 

2. Try to always comment back. I know everyone is busy, but I try my best to always comment back if someone comments on my reviews or updates on Booklikes, Goodreads, and Twitter. I like to discuss books with people who love to discuss books. Sometimes it's nice to hear you are not the only one who didn't get a book. Or it's great when you can squee over a book you love with someone else.

 

3. Don't obsess over your follower/friend count. I know it can be discouraging when a review you worked hard on has three likes and a super reviewer comes along and knocks you clear off. I love blogging cause it allows me to talk about books and any old thing that moves me. I get happy if only one person liked my blog post or only one comments. 

 

4. If something isn't your thing, don't force it. There are whole genres that people don't like to read. If you don't like romance, don't force yourself to in hopes you gain some followers. I genuinely love to read across many genres. But I don't see the point in struggling to get into reading an author or genre cause it's getting hyped in the book community. 

 

5. Don't spam. Seriously. I get authors are on Booklikes and Goodreads and for the most part it's all been good. I don't take review requests and the only time I did it this past year was because the author reached out to the site I posted at and asked with the caveat I could say no. They just thought my reviews were hilarious. It of course freaked me out. I read the book and thankfully didn't hate it. But I genuinely stay away from things like that cause I don't want to be hit with requests all the time. Reading books on a schedule doesn't appeal to me and this is reason number 2,325 why I just decided to leave NetGalley alone.

 

6. Interact with others bloggers. You do that and you'll be surprised at how much good stuff is out there. I met some people here on the Amazon forums, but others I met through discussion threads and thought, gee they don't sound unhinged and maybe since we like the same books they are okay too. I'm always amazed when I see a blogger with a huge follower count with very few people they follow. I love the interaction between bloggers that it's a shame many don't take advantage of it.

 

7. It's okay to DNF. Seriously. I have beaten myself up for force finishing a book and have now tried to stick to my 25 percent rule. If at 25 percent I am not feeling it, I'm not feeling it.

 

8. It's okay to take breaks. Real life happens. People will be there when you get back, probably with a cat picture or two just for you.

 

9. It's okay to not just focus on books. I love reading about everything. Books, movies, plays, something that just stuck in your that day. Blogs and podcasts are the new thing, so be as creative as you want.

 

10. Don't tell people how they should review. That one gets my blood up every time. It stuns me when anyone strolls into a review and tells the reviewer their opinion is wrong. Look I get it. I love Roxane Gay, but not everyone is going to love her books. And it makes absolutely no sense for me to roll into everybody's review that gave her a one-star and tell them they're an idiot for not getting her brilliance.

 

11. Try to keep experimenting with what works. Heck some of my best reviews/comments came when I live update a book for a day or two. I get a kick out of making everyone laugh. Never forget "Holly". 

 

12. Don't be afraid to use gifs. Heck I know some readers hate them, but for me using gifs to show what I felt about a particular book is better than me spewing for a paragraph about how irritated/happy/sad/mad I am. 

 

13. Reading challenges can be fun and can bring a whole new group of followers/friends to your blog or account. We readers tend to flock to those who love books. So if you have the time, taking part in one or many reading challenges can be fun.

 

14. Don't overbook yourself. I found this out the hard way. Participating at four separate sites earlier this year burned me out. I finally decided BL and GR and that's it. Posting to more than those two places was a lot for me to track. 

 

15. Have fun. 

 

 

 

Tasks for Penance Day: Tell us – what has recently made you stop in your tracks and think?  What was a big turning point in your life?  –OR– Compile a catalogue of theses (it needn’t be 95) about book blogging!  What suggestions or ideas would you propose to improve the experience of book blogging?

 

One Woman's Voice - Shrill

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman - Lindy West

Wow.

 

This was such a great book! I can see why it won on Goodreads last year. I wish I had heard of West before cause her writing speaks to me.

Told in a semi-chronological way, West's "Shrill" goes into her childhood through her adult years taking a hard look at herself and those around her for seeing her as less than cause she was "fat". I use that word cause West does in this memoir. She makes no apologies for her size which I loved.

 

West touches upon her professional career writing for publications like Jezebel as well as internet trolls as well.

 

I honestly don't get why anyone in the world has no problem just being nasty to someone cause their fat. But shit, we got people who don't think POC should be treated the same way as whites. That's to say in my own way, y'all are broken and I'm tired of the world making excuses for you and ignoring those you hate and ridicule.

 

West also touches about Hillary Clinton and Trump at the beginning of this book (she wrote the introduction two weeks after the 2016 US Presidential Election) and mentions how Hillary's voice was mocked and how "shrill" is often thrown at women who dare to reach above their station.

 

Well West loops this back into internet trolling and what do we do when we elect an internet troll as President.

 

My favorite passages dealt with West's no nonsense mom. Her dismay at periods. And her sadness at watching her father die.


I also had no idea West was part of the stand up comic circle through MCing some shows. She mentions Patton Oswalt and others. Can I say how grossed out and dismayed I was at West recounting the horrible crap said to and about her when she came out against those defending Daniel Tosh for his rape jokes. West also goes into debating Jim Norton on Totally Biased about rape jokes in comedy.

 

Can I ask something here? What the hell is so funny about rape jokes? Cause I don't get those. I have been at comedy shows before and have laughed zero times. Doesn't matter if the comic is male or female and or telling a story about how they "raped" someone wink wink nudge nudge.

 

The internet trolling sections had me upset. The amount of crap sent West's way was disgusting. Recounting a story of how an internet troll, found out about her, her recently dead father, and used his account to screw with her was awful. She forgave. She's better than me, my family motto is "God forgives, we don't forget".

 

I also at times want to quit Twitter. I did for a while the other day but popped back in since I have so many authors and friends I met on online communities there. But I can see why West finally quit. The harassment against women is awful. See Gamergate, Leslie Jones, any woman anywhere having an opinion a man doesn't like, etc. Gamergate was eye opening to me. People we're doxxing, swatting, and threatening to murder and rape women and people would shrug and go free speech and grow a thicker skin. West's passages clue you in why this is wrong and just messed up to expect a victim to just get over it.

 

I thought the writing was very good and flow smooth. I cracked up a few times out loud and had to explain while I was at the hair dresser what was I reading that was so funny. I read some passages out loud.

 

Dear Lindy West, a bunch of black women in Alexandria, VA totally concur with your opinions about periods.

 

The setting jumps around in this from her growing up in Seattle to LA and I think back to Seattle. West doesn't really give descriptions of places much, but the things she says resonates.

 

A very good memoir that doesn't hold back on punching you in the gut and also making you cry. I'm so seeking out her posts at Jezebel and elsewhere.

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman - Lindy West

Lindy West gets all the stars!

 

Review to follow.

Reading progress update: I've read 10%.

Defy the Stars - Claudia Gray
I'm 10% done with Defy the Stars: Oh Lord. I'm at 10 percent and already in information overload. Chapters are jumping between Abel (mech) and Noemi (fighter pilot of some planet I forgot fighting Earth).

Reading progress update: I've read 80%.

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman - Lindy West

How in the world did I never heard of Lindy West before?

 

How come nobody told me about her?

 

How come nobody told me about how brilliant, funny, and savvy she is?

 

Just reading her memoir about her writing, comedy, and how it is to be a larger woman in the world that just seems to loathe people who are above a size 0, I just have to say Ms. West, I applaud you.

 

And now I'm side eyeing a lot of so-called allies with her remarks about the whole why can't men make jokes about rape in comedy stand-up thing. Y'all are assholes. 

Woosa- What Happened

What Happened - Hillary Rodham Clinton

I was mad, happy, sad, and back to mad again by the time I finished this memoir. "What Happened" is Hillary Clinton's comments on the recent 2016 United States Presidential Election. Or as I and my friends started to call it, that farce that we all know was rigged (Hi Russia) but not in the way many think. Clinton talks about voter suppression, Russian bots, Russia itself, the media, and heck even former and current politicians who influenced the 2016 election. Yes she even discusses "But Her emails" too. What I took away from this was even more respect for Clinton than I had previously. Reading this no holds barred look at what happened just hits you in the gut at how much was thrown at her and how the media and politicians kept letting Trump off the hook.

 

I do have to say that Clinton really does discuss everything that you would want her to discuss in this book. She discusses her marriage her life as a mother her life as the first lady and then a secretary of state. She mentions how her meetings with Putin become increasingly hostile because hey, Putin doesn't like women and he certainly did not like Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State not giving an inch when he was trying to take a mile. 

 

One thing that this book that speak of extensively is Hillary Clinton's regrets. Most of her regrets are about failing us. That she is worried for us as a country about what this means when we love fake news and men that attack and demean to rise to positions of power in the United States government?

 

What happens when we decide that being actually really good at your job with real solutions doesn't matter as much as the media can turn something into a meme or a gif and get ratings for it?

 

What happens when we ignore the racism out of some that we have elected to office because we think that there are a good guy that we can have a beer with.

 

I do also like the fact that Hillary Clinton goes into how difficult it is to run in the United States for a woman because of the things that are held against us that really are not held against us in other countries. Other countries have elected women to the highest levels of office. It's kind of embarrassing that for America to go around saying that we are the light and the forefront of democracy that no woman has ever been President or Vice President of these United States of America. I hated how people would say that Hillary Clinton was too shrill or wasn't warm enough or any of these other things that we talk about when we discuss women. But men are seen as being forceful and in charge when they're nasty and loud and throw s***.

 

I loved her comments on the Mothers of the Movement, Flint (she's still pissed and we all should be), the NRA, and people who shook her hand and would then call her the devil saying she should be locked up. 

 

I do have to say though that I would recommend this book to people who just want to read more about Hillary Clinton's thoughts. Because she truly comes alive in this book. I was lucky enough to meet Secretary Clinton back when I was in Iraq and I loved her personality. She looked you right in the eyes when she was talking to you, and you knew that she was listening to what you were saying. I think that says a lot about somebody that she made sure that she personally talked to everybody that had to come to see her give a speech while I was in Iraq. She had to be tired and ready to go, but she made sure she stayed there and talked to everybody who was willing to talk to her. I've seen other politicians flying through who couldn't spend more than 5 minutes talking to you and really wanted to be left alone.

 

I do think that in the end history is going to remember Hillary Clinton for not just the first woman who managed to get the Democratic nomination for president. But just as a very good person to know who fought for us even when many were hoping she fail. 

 

Look at the media going after the Clintons again, talking about Benghazi again, wanting her to be guilty of something because then it would help erase some of the guilt that they all probably should and do feel over how they easily played into the hands of another foreign power and Donald Trump.

 

Onward together.

Work in progress

Reblogged from BookLikes:

Hey all book lovers.

During the weekend some IT works will be done on BookLikes, there may be some hiccups and interruptions on the site. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

What Happened - Hillary Rodham Clinton

Onward together. 

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.

What Happened - Hillary Rodham Clinton

Fascinating to read how hard women in politics are treated.

 

Clinton is honest in this memoir about what she wishes she had done differently but also pointing out other outside forces as well.

 

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