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oblue

Obsidian Blue

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

Currently reading

The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery
Agatha Christie, Mathew Prichard
Gossip Girl
Cecily von Ziegesar
Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens
Hidden Empire
Kevin J. Anderson
The Bride Test
Helen Hoang
One Day in December
Josie Silver
The Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 1 %
Forbidden
Beverly Jenkins
House of Salt and Sorrows
Erin A Craig
Beloved
Toni Morrison
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Reading progress update: I've read 1%.

The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin

I have so many books to get through, so don't know when I will get back to this. Maybe Friday.

 

 

Obsidian Blue's Booklikes-OPOLY Tracking Post


5/20/29 Roll 1:

 

 

9. And, let's be honest, just not being at work is a vacation in and of itself, and is an opportunity to see some of local amenities, or read & relax! Read a book that includes a visit to a museum, a concert, a library, or a park, or that the authors name begins with one of the letters in R-E-L-A-X.

Finished "A Great Deliverance" by Elizabeth George today and that makes this my roll day so I get three rolls I will take. This book is 432 pages which is $5.00.

 

 5/25/19 Roll 2:

 

16. For some reason, I associate mountain/forest locations with mystery/suspense books. I think it's all of that deep shade! Read a book that is a mystery or suspense, or which has a title that contains all of the letters in the word C-A-B-I-N.

Finished "The Perfect Wife" on 5/25, page count is 432 pages which is $5.00 in the bank. 

 

5/25/19 Roll 3:

 

25. I look forward to the summer blockbuster movie releases every year! Read a book that has been adapted for a film.

Finished "Emma" on 5/27, page count is 514 pages which is $5.00 in the bank. 

 

5/25/19 Roll 4:

 

33. The summer after I graduated from high school, A group of my friends and I took a European Tour, and London was one of our favorite stops. Read a book set in the UK, or that was written by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-O-N-D-O-N.

Finished "The Little Shop of Found Things" on 5/28, page count is 336 pages which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

5/29/19 Roll 5:

I also just picked up $5.00 due to passing "Go" again. 

 

2. Who? Read a mystery or detective story or a book with the word "who" in the title.

Finished “The Breakdown” on 5/31, page count is 328 which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

6/1/19 Roll 6:

 

 

The jail square:

If you are just visiting: read enough pages to donate $3.00 to the bail fund.

Read The Rumor by Lesley Kara which is 336 pages. 

 

6/3/2019 Roll 7: 

 

15. My husband, Mr. MR, is a big fan of the mountain vacation. Read a book with a tree (or trees) on the cover, or that is set in a mountain community.

Finished "The Book of Lost Things" on 6/6, page count is 471 pages (I was looking at the wrong version), which is $5.00 in the bank. 

 

6/7/2019 Roll 8:

 

 

22. My mom grew up going to Minnesota, Land of a Thousand Lakes, for her summer vacations. Read a book with a word that refers to women's roles, such as wife, daughter, mother, mistress or title, such as "Mrs., Miss or Duchess, in the title, or a book that has a strong female lead character.

Finished "The Silent Wife" on 6/8, page count is 337 pages which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

6/7/2019 Roll 9:

 


29. Scottie dog: Post a list or poll of 4 books, and ask your fellow players/followers to "fetch" you a book. 

Finished "Well-Schooled in Murder" on 6/11, page count is 434 pages which is $5.00 in the bank. 

 

6/7/2019 Roll 10: 

 

 

31. BL square. Read something published in 2019.

Finished "It's Not You It's Him" on 6/12, page count is 355, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

6/13/19 Roll 11:

 

 

Went past Go! Add $5.00 in the bank. 

 

6. The summer vacation is fun, but if leaving town is just too expensive, the stay-cation can be fun, too. Read a book set in your home town, state, or country or that you checked out of your local library or that has been on your (physical) bookshelves since last summer.

Finished "Aru Shah and the Song of Death" on 6/17, page count is 381 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

6/13/19 Roll 12:

 

10. There's nothing like a trip to the beach to start the summer off, and, for readers, half the fun is picking the beach read! Read a book that appears on any beach reads list or a book whose author's first or last name begins with any letter in B-E-A-C-H.

Finished "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" on 6/18, page count is 386 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

6/18/19 Roll 13:

 

13. It's important to get all of your proper accoutrements together for a day at the beach. Read a book with sunglasses, swimsuit or other beachy items on the cover, or that has a cover that is more than 50% yellow.

Read “Dark of the Moon” on 6/21 which is 396 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

6/22/19 Roll 14:

22. My mom grew up going to Minnesota, Land of a Thousand Lakes, for her summer vacations. Read a book with a word that refers to women's roles, such as wife, daughter, mother, mistress or title, such as "Mrs., Miss or Duchess, in the title, or a book that has a strong female lead character.

Read "Queenie" on 6/23 which is 336 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

6/25/19 Roll 15: 

 

30. Romance novels have the prettiest covers, featuring beautiful people, and places, and, often delicious food. Read a book with fruit or pastries on the cover, or that was written by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in L-O-V-E.

Read "When In Doubt, Add Butter" on 6/27 which is 349 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

6/28/19 Roll 16:

 

Went past Go! Add $5.00 in the bank. 

 

 

4. One of the highlights of starting a new school year was going shopping for school clothes or supplies Read a book that was published during the months of May, June or July, or that contains an item that would be used as a school supply or an article of clothing or an accessory pictured on the cover.

Read "The Flatshare" on 6/29, which is 336 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

7/1/19 Roll 17:

 

12. Robot: Roll again & hold card to play later; create a numbered list of ten books, and let a random number generator pick for you.

Read "L is for Lawless" on 7/2, which is 304 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

7/1/19 Roll 18:

 

19. Spending some lazy days at the lake house sounds like a wonderful summer vacation! Read a book with a cover that is more than 50% blue, or by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-A-K-E.

 Read "A Keeper" on 7/2, which is 352 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

7/3/19, Roll 19:

 

Landed on: 

 

 

Going to use my robot card to just ignore that one and roll again.

 

 

7/3/19 Roll 20 (4th of July Roll #1):

 

 

Landed on: 29. Scottie dog: Post a list or poll of 4 books, and ask your fellow players/followers to "fetch" you a book.

Read "For the Sake of Elena", on 7/6, which is 464 pages, which is $5.00 in the bank. 

 

I get an extra roll because of the doubles. 

 

 

Landed on: 35. We took the Ferry to France, crossing the English Channel.

Read a book set in Europe, or that was written by an author who was born in a Europe, or that involves travel by boat or that has a picture of a ship on the cover.

Read "The False Inspector Dew" on 7/6, which is 256 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

7/3/19 Roll 21 (4th of July Roll #2):

 

 
Passed Go so need to add $5.00 to the bank. 

 

Landed on: 7. Most places have a lot of different opportunities for summer fun!

Read a book that has a house on the cover, or that is related to something unique about your community (for example, if your community has a strawberry festival, read a book with strawberries on the cover).

Read "Good Enough to Eat" on 7/7, is 308 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank.  

 

 

7/3/19 Roll 20 (4th of July Roll #3):

 

 

Landed on: 11. There are gorgeous beaches all over the world. My personal favorite beach is in Pacific City, Oregon. Read a book set in a coastal/beach region that you love, or would love to visit, or a book that has a beach or ocean on the cover.

Read "The Nantucket Inn" on 7/8, is 248 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

7/9/19 Roll 21:

 

 

 

16. For some reason, I associate mountain/forest locations with mystery/suspense books. I think it's all of that deep shade! Read a book that is a mystery or suspense, or which has a title that contains all of the letters in the word C-A-B-I-N. Second time landing.

Read "Then She Was Gone", on 7/14, is 369 pages, which is $3.00 in the bank. 

 

7/15 Roll 22:

 

19. Spending some lazy days at the lake house sounds like a wonderful summer vacation! Read a book with a cover that is more than 50% blue, or by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-A-K-E. Second time landing. 

Read "Missing Joseph", on 7/16, is 594 pages, which is $5.00 in the bank. 

 

7/15 Roll 23: 

26. How? Read a book that is science fiction or a book with the word "how" in the title.

 

 

Collected Cards: 

 

Updated Bank as of 7/17/19: $123.00

What Terrible Men These Are...

Missing Joseph  - Elizabeth  George

Wow. So "Missing Joseph" packs a punch. George really looks at a variety of relationships and in the end you kind of want to go why do women even deal with men? Except in the case of St. James and his wife Deborah where she continues to be the worst. There's also a look at the mother and child relationship and how those differ with regards to fathers. There is the usual mess with Deborah and honestly that's the main reason why I dropped this book a star. It's getting old. I hope George moves on from this story-line in the next book. 

 

When St. James and Deborah go to visit Lancastershire they find out that a vicar that Deborah met and was behind the visit is dead. He accidentally digested hemlock and the local constable (Colin Shephard) found the woman (Mrs. Juliet Spence) who accidentally provided him the hemlock was cleared. The locals feel differently though since Shepard and Mrs. Spence are lovers. When St. James starts going over how hemlock is first diagnosed he has questions about how a known herbalist could have accidentally picked it and given it to someone to eat. He calls up Inspector Lynley who is happy to be away from Helen at the moment and the two men investigate. 

 

I thought George actually did a better job with the secondary characters in this one than with the main ones. Juliet is a woman with a past and she was reluctant to become involved with  Shephard but did. She's torn between her love of her daughter and wanting to keep her from doing something she will regret to wanting to still be with Shephard even though she knows it can't last.


Maggie Spence is 13 and I wanted to hug her. She's tied up in missing a father she never knew and telling herself she is in love with a 15 year old boy who is just as clueless as she is. Maggie is determined to get the family that she wants to make her feel loved. 


Shepherd was garbage. George developed him very well though but there's a scene that made me rage. His blindness of things and his treatment of women is definitely a theme that keeps playing out in George's books.


Polly, a childhood friend of Shephard who practices Wicca who wanted Shephard to love her is the most changed by the end of this book. With her realizing eventually that just because you love someone does not mean that they deserve that love was heartbreaking. 

 

Brendan who fancies himself in love with Poppy and is regretting the marriage he got forced into with the local rich man's daughter. 

 

Lynley and Helen have become exhausting. Get married or don't, I just don't want to read about it anymore. George shows though that Lynley wants to dominate Helen though and marriage to him would mean that she would be there for him always. I just shook my head. St. James is the only male character that understands what marriage and love is. He keeps dealing with Deborah and her insistence on trying to get pregnant though the doctor has flat out told her she needs to give herself a year at least to wait to try again or she may end up dying. Her acting as if St. James is the selfish one gave me a headache.


Havers was barely in this one. I was ticked about that. We get to see her moving on from her family home and becoming more settled in the next stage of her life which was good. 


The writing was graphic at times. Warning there is a rape scene in the book that had me checking my alarm was on before I fell asleep. The flow was a bit slow at first with just St. James and Deborah and I felt myself getting bored which hasn't happened before. Things picked up anytime we left those two behind.

The setting of Lancastershire was interesting. It seemed to be a fairly liberal place with people not really focusing on religion. That said, there was a lot of ugliness going on that George manages to tap into when you follow the primary and secondary characters.


The ending was a shocker. I honestly didn't know who the perpetrator(s) was and why they did it. When we get to the reveals I was like oh my goodness! I think ending it on the villagers after Lynley and others had left was a good idea. We can get a semblance of an idea of what will happen next. 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Missing Joseph  - Elizabeth  George

That was a gut punch. 

I Need Some Horror Books

Image result for clowns gif

 

Is it too early to start planning for Halloween Bingo 2019?

Reading progress update: I've read 15%.

Missing Joseph  - Elizabeth  George

I don't want to read about Deborah anymore. 

 

 

Only Enjoyed Mowgli and Rikki Tikki Tavi Stories

The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling

So here's the thing. I of course have seen the Disney version of The Jungle book cartoon. Also I have seen the cartoon about Rikki Tikki Tavi that used to play I think either on USA Network or Nickelodeon as a kid. I so wanted to live among wolves and buy a mongoose. My mom said nope to both things. So when I read this the other day, I had no idea this version had the Mowgli stories as well as a few others (I did not enjoy) and then Rikki Tikki Tavi. I am wondering If I blanked on the fact that Kipling was behind not only the Jungle Book but Rikki Tikki Tavi. 

 

Per usual my rating is based on my ratings for the individual stories.

 

Mowgli's Brothers (4 stars)-So this story tells how a man-cub named Mowgli came to live with the wolves. How Shere Khan stalked him as a child and how his wolf-mother said one day Mowgli would see Shere Khan dead. We also get Bagheera and Baloo who first stood and ensured Mowgli's way in the pack. FYI, I read parts of The Jungle Book in English class and I don't recall the writing or the way that everyone sounds like a character out of the Bible. I used to hate that in English class all we got was excerpts of work and then at the end had to answer questions. So the last thing I remember reading was that Mowgli left the jungle behind and went into the village of men. Or maybe I am getting that messed up with the cartoon. Who knows. 

 

Kaa's Hunting (4.5 stars)-This is a story that takes place before Mowgli's Brothers with Mowgli not listening to Baloo and getting himself kidnapped. Bagheera and Baloo request the services of a python, Kaa. FYI, I don't like snakes.

 

Tiger! Tiger! (5 stars)-The last tale of Mowgli and what becomes of Shere Khan. 

 

The White Seal (1 stars)-I was just bored. I have no idea who any of these characters were and don't recall even hearing about them as a kid. Somehow this story felt all over the place.

 

Rikki Tikki Tavi (5 stars)-Kind of a jerk, but I loved our little mongoose who kept this family safe and him doing what he could to take out the cobras. I did feel bad though that Nagaina lost all of her young. 

 

Toomai of the Elephants (2 stars)-I honestly had to re-look this one up since it totally faded from my head. Story about a young boy named Toomai who ends up seeing the elephants dance at night and is praised for it. I wish I had liked it more. Felt like Kipling was going for more of a Mowgli vibe. 

 

Her Majesty's Servants (2 stars)- The Viceroy of India is set to receive a visit from the Amir of Afghanistan. Various animals end up getting spooked and then talk amongst each other. I read this last before falling asleep and just scratched my head a bit. It also is kind of messed up because the animals talk about being afraid of war and death, but they are forced to be there due to man. But somehow they all march and do what is expected of them and everyone is impressed. Eh. Maybe I missed something. 


Interspersed throughout are songs that Mogwli sang and one of the birds singing of Rikki Tikki Tavi's victory, etc. 

 

Image result for rikki tikki tavi gif

 

 

Can You See Me America?

I Am Not Your Negro - James Baldwin

I heard about the movie, but had no idea there was a companion book to it.

 

"In his final years, Baldwin had envisioned a book about his three assassinated friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. His deeply personal notes for the project have never been published before. Peck’s film uses them to jump through time, juxtaposing Baldwin’s private words with his public statements, in a blazing examination of the tragic history of race in America."

 

The writing, essays, the photos that were used are powerful and makes one want to hang your head down and wonder when will we get to that mountaintop where all men and women are seen as equal no matter the color of their skin? We have a US President and conservative based Congress that think racism is okay. They think if they are not calling black people, those who worship differently than them a slur that it's okay. It's like watching everything slowly grind to a halt and you want everyone to just wake up. Call a thing the name that it is. It's racism. We have ignored it for too long and we don't seem to care to change.

 

Baldwin's writing is electrifying. It gets in your blood and in your head and I find myself nodding my head and feeling nothing but sorrow because in 2019 we have not come far enough. To think we are pushing ourselves back to a time in this country where we are once again seen as "other" and "wrong" I don't know what we do to combat it. 

 

"JAMES BALDWIN: Well, I don’t think there’s much hope for it, you know, to tell you the truth as long as people are using this peculiar language. It’s not a question of what happens to the Negro here or to the black man here—that’s a very vivid question for me, you know—but the real question is what is going to happen to this country. I have to repeat that."

 

 "Forget the Negro problem. Don’t write any voting acts. We had that—it’s called the fifteenth amendment—during the Civil Rights Bill of 1964. What you have to look at is what is happening in this country, and what is really happening is that brother has murdered brother knowing it was his brother. White men have lynched Negroes knowing them to be their sons. White women have had Negroes burned knowing them to be their lovers. It is not a racial problem. It is a problem of whether or not you’re willing to look at your life and be responsible for it, and then begin to change it. That great Western house I come from is one house, and I am one of the children of that house. Simply, I am the most despised child of that house. And it is because the American people are unable to face the fact that I am flesh of their flesh, bone of their bone, created by them. My blood, my father’s blood, is in that soil."

 

"JAMES BALDWIN: There is nothing in the evidence offered by the book of the American republic which allows me really to argue with the cat who says to me: “They needed us to pick the cotton and now they don’t need us anymore. Now they don’t need us, they’re going to kill us all off. Just like they did the Indians.” And I can’t say it’s a Christian nation, that your brothers will never do that to you, because the record is too long and too bloody. That’s all we have done. All your buried corpses now begin to speak."

 

"JAMES BALDWIN: I don’t know what most white people in this country feel. But I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions. I don’t know if white Christians hate Negroes or not, but I know we have a Christian church which is white and a Christian church which is black. I know, as Malcolm X once put it, the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday. That says a great deal for me about a Christian nation. It means I can’t afford to trust most white Christians, and I certainly cannot trust the Christian church."

 

This also includes some very hard pictures to view such as a black woman being lynched, people being jeered, and Martin Luther King in his coffin. I did not want to include them in this review because it was upsetting enough for me to view. This was definitely interesting to read and I am going to seek out the documentary soon. 

 

I end on this. 

 

I am a black woman, when you tell me you don't see my color or it's unimportant, you are telling me you don't see me, that I am not important. When the default color is white and Christian you ignore what makes up this country of ours. To speak out against what we see is wrong is the American thing to do. 

Reading progress update: I've read 4%.

Missing Joseph  - Elizabeth  George

 

 

Snakes and Ladders: Pick My Book!

Just to have this one take longer. Going to pick from my hold list and wish list so that way I have no control on when I can start the book. Didn't want to just add the four on my currently reading list.

 

Going to leave this up until this upcoming Thursday and then will read that book for my last Snakes & Ladders pick! Sniff!

 

Cover image for Fleishman Is in TroubleCover image for Daisy Jones & the Six

Cover image for The Snow Child

Cover image for Wuthering Heights

 

Obsidian Blue Game Board for Snakes & Ladders

 

 

1. Read a book that fits the description on the space number as listed below and you can roll two dice to move forward more quickly.

Read "Drawing of the Three" by Stephen King.

 

Second Roll: 4. Published in 2019. 

Read "How Not to Die Alone" by Richard Roper.  

 

Third Roll: 10. Author's last name begins with the letters L, M, N or O

Read "Two Can Keep a Secret" by Karen M. McManus

 

Fourth Roll: 20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

Read "The Paying Guests" by Sarah Waters 

  

Fifth Roll: 60. Was published last year

Read "Shelter in Place" by Nora Roberts 

 

Sixth Roll: 69. Something related to travel on the cover

Read "Case Histories" by Katie Atkinson. 

 

Seventh Roll: 77. Has a "food" word in the title

Read "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie."

 

Eighth Roll: 81. Ghost story

Read "Odd Thomas"

 

Ninth Roll: 90. A new-to-you author

 

 

Read "Then She Was Gone" by Lisa Jewell. 

 

 

 

Woot! Landed on 100!

 

 100. Let BL pick it for you: post 4 choices and read the one that gets the most votes!

Too Many Coincidences and POVs

Then She Was Gone - Lisa Jewell

So it took me a while to finish this one because the first part of the story drags. Jewell starts off with two POVs with the mother (Laurel) and days before Ellie's disappearance. But then we get two additional POVs (no spoilers) and I just went grr. I also thought that Laurel was kind of a terrible mother. I can't imagine what I would do if one of my kids went missing and was presumed dead. She just gets angry her husband is trying to move on (for them and their remaining two kids) and then she compares her missing daughter to the one still alive (Hanna) and goes on how Ellie was prettier and livelier and would have been her friend more. I feel like it's in the parenting 101 manual you don't compare your kids and have favorites. Or if you do compare, you don't go you are so much less than your sister.  The writing was kind of all over the place and I had just could not wrap my head around the reveal. It was a mess and a half and the HEA we get just didn't jibe with what came before it.

 

"Then She Was Gone" follows Laurel Mack who is still reeling ten years later from her daughter Ellie going missing. Ellie was 15 years old when she disappeared and the police believe she ran away. However, Laurel doesn't believe that and still thinks her daughter is out there somewhere or she has to be dead because Ellie was so happy in their family and wouldn't have left. I think the only true thing that is shown in this book is that Laurel spent way too much of her time sweating the small stuff and then when something bigger and uglier came along she was angry and took it out on the wrong people afterwards. Her husband and her come apart and she's partially estranged from her son and the only part of her life her daughter Hanna lets her in on is that Laurel comes by once a week to clean her flat. Seriously. I just went good grief.

When Laurel meets a man named Ford and his daughter Poppy everything turns around for her. She finds herself falling for Ford and that Poppy acts and looks similar to her daughter Ellie she is ready to throw herself into this ready made family. 

 

I really couldn't get into Laurel. Judgmental is not the word. She has an awful thought about it should have been her daughter Hanna that went missing and I think most of the book is her thinking this in slightly different ways. And then she apologizes and it feels very trite. We do get to know Ellie and I think that part was good, but I wish we had gotten more insight into Hanna and the other sibling as well. It definitely felt like Laurel just saw Ellie with rose colored glasses and remembered no negativity. 

 

Positives would be that the writing in this one was fairly easy to get into. I finished it in about 3 hours. There's not a lot of things that are going to strain your brain. The problem is that you get info dumped towards the end and at that point I was just humming to myself until I finished. The flow was up and down with the four POVs and the final epilogue and then another ending (don't ask).

The setting of the book takes place in contemporary times in London. I have to say though that most of the book seems to be in two or three key locations. Laurel is constantly going on about her daughter Hanna's flat and how gloomy it is. I think she mentions her place a few times. She's constantly at her new love interest's home and then there are two other locations I won't spoil in this one.

The ending was trying for unsettling, but honestly I just could not believe it. It read as very fake to me (with how Jewell ends it) and I think she should have really pushed the ending there because I had a hard time going okay cool everyone's happy based on what came before it. I also think that Jewell let us know the outcome of what happened way too soon. We just had to wait for clues to be laid out and for everyone to catch up to what really happened. 

 

I Don't Know What to Say...

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories - Carmen Maria Machado

This book floored me the other day. First off, thanks to Pajiba for highlighting this book in it's best of the bunch year for 2018. The Best and Worst of Cannonball 10 article had this book as the best by Mrs. Smith Reads. It looked interesting based on her description, "Carmen Maria Machado’s collection of short stories is nothing short of perfection, and brings everything I was looking for in a year of reading mostly feminist, female-identified, and woman-positive fiction writers." That sounded right up my alley and thank goodness I read this because it was. Some of the stories read a bit weird to me, but still fantastic and I felt like my brain was flip flopping back and forth between being uncomfortable and enjoying. The only reason why I gave this four stars is that one of the stories, the SUV one went on too long past me caring anymore. Everything else was sublime. Can I say sublime? Eh, I just did it anyway.

 

The Husband Stitch (5 stars)-Wow. You want to start your collection off with a bang I see. And a bang she did. This story has everything. You may want to prepare yourself with Machado's in your face writing style too. The main character in this one is in tune with her body and her wants. When she meets her now husband she practically wants to crawl inside of him. She gives him all of herself, but holds a piece back. She has a ribbon around her neck that she has asked him not to touch. And though she gives everything, and I mean everything, it still bothers him that this one thing is hers alone. The ending was a shocker. Also men kind of suck. There I said it. You got a perfect woman, but still need to pry? This one read more magical realism to me. 

 

Inventory (5 stars)-Reading about how a plague seems to be wiping out humanity and our narrator recounting that along with her lost lovers. Once again, Machado's style of writing is in your face and aggressive. I seriously wish I had been reading this book in the bath with a glass of ice cold white wine. This story was definitely a mood. This one was definitely more horror influenced.

 

Mothers (5 stars)-Also horror influenced with some magical realism I think. But also grounded in the real world. A narrator recounts her lesbian lover and the violence she starts to mete out on her. Along the way she starts imagining their new life with children. 


Especially Heinous (3 stars)-A short story that focuses on Stabler and Benson from Law and Order SUV. You get the title card of their episode with a short description of what happens. This was too much for me. I think if it had been shorter I would have loved it more. But there was a lot going on in this one and then there were dopplegangers and I tapped out. 

 

Real Women Have Bodies (4 stars)-The woman in this one dealing with the fact that there seems to be a mass disappearance of women all over the world. 

 

Eight Bites (5 stars)-This one got me. Reading about a woman who rejects her body because it's not seen as beautiful and in the end realizing that her body that she doesn't love will be there in the end for it like no one else. 


The Resident (4.5 stars)-A woman on a retreat to focus on her writing finds something totally unexpected in the woods she played in as a child. This one definitely had some horror elements wrapped up in it and at one point I thought it was a bit similar to some of King's short stories about writers and what goes on in their heads. The only reason why I give this one 4.5 stars and not 5 stars was because the ending was a bit confusing. I don't know. I need to ask someone about it.

 

Difficult at Parties (5 stars)-Wow. This one was brutal and a great way to end this collection. Something happens to the woman in this story which I think you can guess at which leaves her feeling alone with a husband (or boyfriend) who is becoming increasingly impatient with her. 

When Mothers Do Curses...

As Old as Time - Liz Braswell

Wow. This was a great re-telling of "Beauty and the Beast". I loved the whole idea behind this book with the great enchantress from the stories being Belle's mother. And reading about magical people who were afraid since they were being persecuted by those who were "normal". The development of Belle and the Beast was great and I actually bought that Belle fell in love with him in this one. They were a great duo. Braswell changes things up a bit with the introduction of the magical people (les charmantes) so you find out that people from the Disney movie (the bookstore seller) are not what they first appear as. I also loved more of a backstory to Mrs. Potts in this one too. The ending surprised me and I thought it was well done. I went looking for the other "Twisted Tales" but they are retellings of Snow White, Mulan, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, etc. So you don't get to read these characters after the separate stand-alones. I may revisit this series when I get some breathing room later in the year. 

 

The book starts with a man named Maurice who likes to invent things. He sees a beautiful woman named Rosalind who is one of the les charmantes that live in the village. Though the les charmantes and others have lived togeter in harmony, fighting starts after two boys (one a les charmanates) gets into a fight over a girl and kills the other. The kingdom starts to persecute the les charmantes and many go missing. Rosalind and Maurice though marry and have a daughter named Belle. The story switches back and forth between Rosalind and then Belle. Belle we already know, but in this one she's even more head strong then the Disney counterpart. She's also horrified and a little flattered that Gaston wants to marry her. She wants adventure and to see the world though. When her father goes missing she then comes across the Beast.

 

Braswell does a great job with showing us the two women until Rosalind disappears from the story. We find out later on what happens to her. When Belle realizes what has happened and what her own mother did (seriously who curses a 11 year old boy) she wants to do what she can to help the Beast and the enchanted servants. I also liked Rosalind though I agree with everyone else, what she ends up doing is kind of a jerk move. We get why she did it, but you realize she was not as she could have been. We get into a bit of the les charmantes that want to leave the kingdom and go somewhere safer and others who just want to be "normal."

 

The writing and flow was good I think. This is a familiar story to so many people so we get different set up scenes. For example, we don't get a be our guest scene, but we do get a here's some food and wine and no we are not talking to you about anything. We get the scene with Belle and the rose, but it goes totally different. 


The setting of this kingdom is still in France. But a France that is focused on driving out the different and to keep things "pure." 

 

The ending leaves things on a totally different note than the Disney movie and I wonder how much better the movie would have been if it changed things to what Braswell did. I think a lot more people would have been happy. Not all of us thought the Prince was sexy. 

Trying to Take a Historical Lens to Family Didn't Work This TIme

The Yellow House - Sarah Broom

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

 

Well cutting to the chase I really didn't like this one. I was all ready to fall in love with a nonfiction story where the author talks about her family living in New Orleans East. A place that I have never heard about. Instead the big jumps around a lot and Broom at times talks about her family as if they were these people she doesn't know. I kept getting confused everytime she talked about Simon Broom (her father) in a what I would call historical tone. Due to this I really didn't get any type of emotion from her while reading this. The book turns into something more when she recounts Katrina and how scared she was for her brothers and mother. But by then I felt myself just going through the motions to finish this one up. I ended up bouncing to other books to finish in order to just put this one aside. I started it weeks ago and just could not get into this. The ending was perplexing and read as unfinished, at least to me. There is a reason why I tend to not review memoirs. I always feel badly if I don't like the book the author puts out since then in a way that makes it seem like I dislike them. I think the only memoirs besides this one this year that I read was just Tan France's book. And reading this one reminds me why I stay away from memoirs especially when they read like this.  

 

"The Yellow House" tells the story of Sarah Broom's family growing up in a yellow house in New Orleans East. Through a long winding road we get into Sarah's mother's family and father's family and how they ended up meeting and having I think children together. Sarah ends up being the 13th child born to her mother and father and does not get to know him since he died several months after she was born. From there we have Sarah talking about relatives, friends, her brothers, sister, her mother, etc. She sometimes will call them brother, sister, or mother or other times talk about them in a totally removed voice. Sarah tries to leave New Orleans East behind, but she feels it pull her when she goes off to places like New York. When Katrina hits she finds herself wanting to be back in the city, but she has moved on from New Orleans East to the French Quarter properly where her family does not feel as if they fit in. 

 

The writing I thought was too technical and dry. I was glad that Broom included pictures to break up the book. At times I don't know what Broom was going for. Was she trying to write a history book or was she trying to provide commentary on New Orleans East. And sometimes she would get into crime and statics and how bad New Orleans (French Quarter) had gotten. She would jump around from paragraph to paragraph. When she gets into when she leaves the country for Burundi (I think, sorry reading these ARCS is a pain since I have a hard time trying to search later) the book turns into something else and I just scratched my head. 


The flow was awful from beginning to end. I think if the book was more focused it would have resonated more. At times she seems to want to upbraid her father for not finishing the Yellow House so that the family could live there and not be ashamed of it. Other times she is angry that the family is ashamed of the house and can't have close friendships with others because of it. I just maybe went seriously and was baffled. My parents house was not a showcase and my dad was constantly knocking down a wall and we were dealing with construction here and there. I remember living with plastic hanging from the wall between the living room and entryway for about 5 years. My friends came over all of the time. So did my brothers and relatives. I guess our family just didn't care? I don't know. I think that I get the importance of owning your own home and having something that is yours and how important that is to African Americans especially when the housing market fell out and everyone owed money on a home they could no longer afford. I just wish that had been more of the story.


The setting of New Orleans East surprised me. I had no idea such a place existed. I wanted to read more of the history of that place. Too bad most of the history books I saw were just about the French Quarter. 


The ending was puzzling. I don't know what Broom was going for there at all. 

Review Wave

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I read too much. Probably because all next week I am at training so my reviews are going to be zero to maybe 1 or possibly 2. I have school books to finish up that I will possibly review here if I get the energy.