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oblue

Obsidian Blue

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

Currently reading

The Moai Island Puzzle
Alice Arisugawa
White is for Witching
Helen Oyeyemi
Strangers
Dean Koontz
Wizard and Glass
Stephen King
The Snow Child
Eowyn Ivey
Progress: 1 %
The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs
Katherine Howe
An Alaskan Christmas (Wild River #1)
Jennifer Snow
Anything For You (Valerie Hart #3)
Saul Black
Love, Heather
Laurie Petrou
Progress: 1 %
Flag Counter

Bingo call: 9/17/19

Reblogged from Moonlight Murder:

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 704 pages.

Strangers - Dean Koontz

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 1%.

Love, Heather - Laurie Petrou

Reading progress update: I've read 1%.

The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey

Obsidian Blue's Halloween Bingo 2019 Card

 

Bats equal "Call"

Ghosts equal "Read"

Pumpkins equal "Call and Read"

 

Bingo Calls:

 

9/1/19: Ghost stories

9/2/19: Genre: Horror

9/3/19: Creepy Crawlies

9/4/19: Amateur Sleuth

9/5/19: American Horror Story

9/6/19: Dystopian Hellscape

9/7/19: Fear Street

9/8/19: Black Cat

9/9/19: Relics and Curiosities

9/10/19: A Grimm Tale

9/11/19: Stranger Things

9/12/19: Creepy Carnivals

9/13/19: Country House Mystery

9/14/19: Classic Horror

9/15/19: Supernatural

9/16/19: Psych


Switched out "Diverse voices" square. 


Row #1

SupernaturalUnnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman  read 9/4/19

Diverse Voices: The Moai Island Puzzle by Alice Arisugawa

Truly Terrifying: The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold 

Amateur Sleuth: They Do it With Mirrors (Miss Marple #6) read 9/7/19

Terror in a Small Town: Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou


Row #2

Ghost Stories: The Invited by Jennifer McMahon read 9/9/2019

Black CatCat out of Hell by Lynne Truss read 9/9/2019
Dark Academia: First Evil (Fear Street) by R.L. Stine read 9/11/19

Genre: Suspense: Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier

King of Fear: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King 

 

Row #3

Spellbound: Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston read 9/11/19

DoomsdayThe Road by Cormac McCarthy

Raven: Silken Prey by John Sandford read 9/11/19

Murder Most Foul: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware read 9/1/19

Dystopian Hellscape: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood read 9/16/19

 

Row #4:

Magical Realism: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

In the Dark, Dark Woods: The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe

Psych: The Institute by Stephen King

Locked Room Mystery: The Decagon House Murders by by Yukito Ayatsuji read 9/9/19

Stone Cold Horror: White is for the Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

 

Row #5

Gothic: The Pride of the Peacock by Victoria Holt read 9/16/19

Film at 11: A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson read 9/16/19

Paint it Black: Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

International Woman of Mystery: Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgiesh #1) by PD James

Stranger Things: Strangers by Dean Koontz

Under His Eye

The Testaments - Margaret Atwood

Aww. This was so good. I think Atwood did a wonderful job of showing us how Gilead came to be, how it was for those who lived there, and how it looked to others from the outside. Instead of staying with one POV throughout the story, Atwood allows us to to get fully immerse in Gilead via the POVs of a young girl named Agnes, an older girl named Daisy, and the fearsome Aunt Lydia. The character development works for these three characters as well as the secondary characters such as Becka, the other Aunts, and the loathsome Commander Judd. The flow works between the three characters though it takes a while for the three story-lines to converge. Atwood ends again on a symposium taking place in 2,197 where it seems that some still treat Gilead and it's fall as a day to play dress up and not acknowledge the horrors that were done (I see Atwood taking aim at some Civil War enthusiasts here a bit). Loved this from beginning to end.


"The Testaments" follows the "Handmaid's Tale" 15 years later. We get to see what happened after Offred escaped Gilead. How Gilead's hold is starting to falter and how many in the former United States fought back against what was happening.

 

We follow three characters. The first character character is Aunt Lydia. Woo boy. I loved this whole POV. I don't want to spoil for other readers, but it made a lot of sense especially since we get some information about Aunt Lydia from "The Handmaid's Tale." I would hate to go up against her in a knife fight, this is someone playing chess while everyone is playing checkers. You at times will despise her and wonder how she could do what she did. But then I think, what would I have done? I would think I would go out like a boss, but people want to live. I don't know. I could have read even more pages that were devoted to her pre and post-Gilead. 

 

The second character is a young girl named Agnes who is a daughter of a Wife and Commander. She loves her mother and believes what she is taught in school. However, after the death of her mother she sees Gilead for it's cruelty and realizes that girls and women have zero freedoms while boys and men have everything. 

 


The third and final character is a girl named Daisy. She lives in Canada with her parents and feels scorn about Gilead, but also not exactly thrilled with how many people haven't stood up to Gilead and what they do. When she finds out her connection to Gilead though she has to decide what she is willing to do in order to bring Gilead down forever. 


We also get to read about secondary characters via the three main characters stories. Aunt Lydia has the measure of everyone she comes across. Reading about how she maneuvers Commander Judd and the other Aunts and Supplicants is something. Commander Judd is a terrible person and Lydia likening him to Bluebeard was apt.

 

The writing was very good. At times Atwood will write something and I would shiver when comparing it to how things are in the U.S. I like dystopia fiction because it's stories about what could happen. And yes, this could happen. I know a lot of people would think that we the people would fight back but I look at ICE right now and think to myself I can't see how hard it would be for a group to come in and start separating "the wheat from the chafe" and to start breaking us all down to do what they want us to do. And just like what happens with Gilead I think that after a while too many people would not be okay with standing aside and would push back against it. We see that already with marches and protests and even with us all out there voting and trying to push back against what feels like an endless day and night of just awfulness. 

 

The flow works from beginning to end. I have to say that once the three stories join up is really when things start paying off for me. I read so fast and barely paused to eat or drink. I had to know what became of Lydia, Agnes, and Daisy. 


The setting of the book is during the years right before the so-called "Ba'al Purge" that was the beginning of the end of Gilead and then the year 2,197. I liked that we get to see how far things have come, women are now taking over leadership roles, becoming President, but you can still see that there are remarks made and that we have not come as far as we should with the ending. I loved the reveal about the statue and who it was for. 

 

 Image result for the handmaid's tale

 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

The Testaments - Margaret Atwood

So I got through this book and it was so good. I got to the 55 percent mark this morning, but got behind with posting updates and just wanted to finish this book. Atwood does a great job of closing the circle of how Gilead falls. And I love that it was women who were the death knell. 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 55%.

The Testaments - Margaret Atwood

What I love about this sequel is that we are getting insights into Aunt Lydia but also the POVs of a girl who was raised up in a Commander and Wife household as well as a young girl who has ties to the first Handmaid. What is insane to me though is that could the US devolve into some mess like this? Why yes. Of course we could. We seem to place women and girls below men and boys. When we come out with credible evidence of rape and abuse we are either told we brought it on ourselves and or we are liars. It's scary how easy I can see this becoming true.

 

I agree with you that Gilead ought to fade away—there is too much of wrong in it, too much that is false, and too much that is surely contrary to what God intended—but you must permit me some space to mourn the good that will be lost.

 

Yeah I am going to call BS on anything about Gilead being good. 

 

At our school, pink was for spring and summer, plum was for fall and winter, white was for special days: Sundays and celebrations. Arms covered, hair covered, skirts down to the knee before you were five and no more than two inches above the ankle after that, because the urges of men were terrible things and those urges needed to be curbed.

 

It's still nice to see it's always women's faults about men's "urges."

 

All the little pretend books on the shelves were blank. I asked why there was nothing inside them—I had a dim feeling that there were supposed to be marks on those pages—and my mother said that books were decorations, like vases of flowers.


This is seriously among the most chilling sentences in this book. 

 

2019 Halloween Bingo: Report Your Bingo

Please report your bingo to this thread:2019 Halloween Bingo: Report Your Bingos and then we will start tracking them here at this post.

 

1. Spooky's Maze of Books (1)

 

Image result for pumpkins halloween gifs

 

Librarian Help Please

 

I just uploaded this book and then the author selection popped up a huge list of names which I don't think is correct. I tried to fix it and then it did it again (selecting a lot of people) and told me I need to wait 5 minutes. Can a librarian please fix when they have time? Thanks!

Reading progress update: I've read 16%.

The Testaments - Margaret Atwood

I like how the book is set up with us being given vignettes on those who were affected by the policies of Gilead. They are set up as witness testimonies and I recall at the end of the Handmaid's Tale we had that ending that was about historians discussing Gilead and figuring out who the real life Commander wast that our narrator defied. 

 

Great Horror Book, but Definitely Dated

A Stir of Echoes - Richard Matheson

I really enjoyed reading this one! I watched the movie starring Kevin Bacon when it came out and I thought it did a great job with updating this source material into modern times. They do keep some of the same elements here and there, though they change the person who was murdered and why. I liked that since I then went into this book cold and had no clue who did what to whom or why. I will say though that this book was published in the late 1950s and you feel that throughout. The woman in this story are wholly dependent on their husbands and you get a claustrophobic feeling after a while in this suburban community where everyone knows each other and sees each other for dinner parties it seems like every week. 

 

"A Stir of Echoes" follows Tom Wallace. Tom is happily married to his wife Anne. They have a toddler named Richard and are expecting another baby. He works at a plant and seems content with his life. When his brother in law comes to visit, they all go to their next door neighbor's home. Eventually things turn into a discussion of hypnotism and then Tom agrees to be hypnotized. His brother in law telling him to let his mind be "free" seems to have awakened something in Tom. Now Tom is seeing ghosts and is able to sense and see what others are feeling and doing. With Tom getting increasingly ill due to his newfound abilities and wanting to rid himself of the ghost that seems to call nightly, things get stirred up in the sleepy suburban community that is not all that it seems. 

 

Tom I thought was a great narrator. We find out that he loves his wife and feels ambivalent or indifferent to most of their neighbors. When his mind gets to be "free" though he becomes more attuned to them and sickened by their behavior. He feels trapped anytime he is near one of the women in the community who berates her husband and seems up for having an affair. The other neighbors definitely have a toxic marriage. The husband hates his wife for getting pregnant and talks of having affairs. I think that Matheson does a great job of contrasting Tom with them, but also showing how many people had marriages like this and you didn't see it because even when things were said and done in front of you, you ignored it.


Tom's wife Anne is a partner in this. She is angry and resentful of what this new ability is doing to Tom and turns away from him at times. I can see why after a while. This has to be alien to her. Her husband is supposed to provide for the family and protect them and now she is scared of what he may see that he chooses not to tell her.


The writing I think was pitch perfect for this time period. The flow works from beginning to end I thought and I didn't have a problem with where the story was going. 


The setting of the late 1950s and early 1960s I think makes sense for this book since I don't know if the things revealed in this book in a contemporary time would matter? Or I don't think it would work without it taking place in a suburban community from this day and age. I like the contrast of things in this new type of community not being as shiny and new and wholesome as one would think. 

The ending was definitely a surprise and I liked how things got resolved with Tom's ability. 

 

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2019: The Calls So Far

9/1/19: Ghost stories

9/2/19: Genre: Horror

9/3/19: Creepy Crawlies

9/4/19: Amateur Sleuth

 

9/5/19: American Horror Story

9/6/19: Dystopian Hellscape

9/7/19: Fear Street

 

9/8/19: Black Cat

9/9/19: Relics and Curiosities 

9/10/19: A Grimm Tale

 

9/11/19: Stranger Things


9/12/19: Creepy Carnivals

 

9/13/19: Country House Mystery

 

9/14/19: Classic Horror

 

9/15/19: Supernatural

 

9/16/19: Psych

 

Here's a link to the discussion thread for called squares, http://booklikes.com/thread/4682/2019-halloween-bingo-the-calls

 

 

Image result for pumpkins halloween gifs

How to Fall in Love With a Peacock

The Pride of the Peacock (Casablanca Classics) - Victoria Holt

There are slow burn books and then there is this one where nothing of importance happens for a good 70 percent of the book and then you just have an ineffectual heroine through most of the story who somehow saves herself in the end by talking. Definitely not one of Holt's best. With a hero that I was rooting against and then the setting moving to Australia, this book just had too much that in the end didn't work for it. 

 

"The Pride of the Peacock" follows Opal Jessica Clavering (known as Jessica) as she slowly unravels her personal history when one of her neighbors she has been forbidden to talk to, Ben Henniker who somehow ended up purchasing her family's ancestral home and land leaving her family living in a small home and much impoverished. When Ben pressures Jessica into marrying his son in order for her to restore her family's home to them and also give him grandchildren, she agrees to the deal though she doesn't care for Josslyn Madden (otherwise known as Peacock or Joss by Jessica). 

 

Jessica is self-absorbed I thought. She finds out that Ben had a connection to her family and to someone else in her family that she never knew about. He seems obsessed with Jessica and Jessica just goes, well Ben loves me. I don't know. It was vaguely creepy to me. Also the way that Jessica talks to her mother I can't see happening and things going well for her. This book is supposed to take place in the 1800s and the way that Jessica acts at times is too modern. I did like how she stood up for her sister and pushed her brother to marry though. I didn't like Jessica's relationship with Joss at all. He taunts her and keeps pushing her for things she doesn't want to give and frankly I don't blame her. There is nothing redeeming about his character in this book.


Honestly, I didn't much care for any man that is discussed in this book. As I already said, Ben is creepy and obsessed and I loathed how he ends up in the end forcing Jessica to go along with his determination to see her married to Joss. Joss is a philandering ass and treats Jessica terribly through most of the book until he doesn't. I think we are supposed to see him a changed man, but I didn't.


The other characters we meet when Jessica and Joss get to Australia feel very one dimensional. 


The plot was not that great. We hear about the Green Flash opal being stolen from Ben decades earlier, and then find out it wasn't stolen, but then it gets stolen again. And of course there's a supposed curse linked to the opal. We do eventually get a murder but it was very confusing when you find out the why behind it. It didn't help that the villain reveal was so anti-climatic and didn't make a lot of sense (at least to me).


The writing was so-so. Some things I wish had been discussed more and not glossed over.  I know this book is written in the Victorian era, I have a really hard time with the fact that both Jessica and Joss are "bastards" and nothing was said by the community at large about it. I guess in Australia (where the story moves) it didn't really matter, but I am shocked that no one said anything in the area where Jessica was born. Especially since people had to know about it.  I thought the whole book was so repetitive after a while though. We had to hear about opals, peacocks, and the Green Flash throughout.

 

The setting of this book I thought should have been a later period in time. I also didn't feel like the book had enough of the Gothic elements that I enjoy. I mean we had a murder, and I guess a curse with that stupid opal, and even some madness in the end. I just wish that the love/romance side had been better and we had actually had a haunted home or something else. 

 

Bingo call: 9/15/19

Reblogged from Moonlight Murder:

Bingo Call: 9/16/19

 

Psych: Psychological thrillers, plot twists and suspense, unreliable narrators and other mind-fuckery. And, as an aside, any Halloween Bingo book that takes place within or related to an insane asylum, haunted or otherwise, would qualify!