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review 2018-09-02 23:06
Review of " Black Water: A Jane Yellowrock Collection" (Jane Yellowrock, #6.4, #0.3, and #7.5) by Faith Hunter
Black Water: A Jane Yellowrock Collection - Faith Hunter

This is an anthology in the Jane Yellowrock series containing "Snafu," "Black Water," and "Off the Grid."

 

I'm not sure how anyone not familiar with the Jane Yellowrock series would fare with the stories (I'm almost finished with the series).  

 

"Snafu" -- 4 stars.  A good adventure, an episode within the series more than a standalone short story if reader unfamiliar with Jane and her peeps.  But, I enjoyed it.

 

"Black Water" -- not rating.  This was flash fiction, not short story.  A couple of pages of Jane shows up, has a fight outside and meets first boss then story stops.  Ugh.  Waste of my time.

 

"Off the Grid" -- 4 stars.  I jumped to this story because was the reason I'm reading this anthology.  Reason being the introduction of Nell, the heroine of author's Soulwood books.  What I wanted (the backstory to how Nell and Jane met) plus introduced the vampire character "Yummy."  Necessary to the Jane Yellowrock or Soulwood series?  Nope, pretty much the events are summarized elsewhere in series books.  But a good story if you already know Jane.

 

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review 2018-08-28 03:51
Second half blew away the first
Black Water Rising - Attica Locke

As I previously mentioned in my update, I was struggling a bit with this book and the pacing. Once I got home from work today, I settled in to read - my husband and daughter are spending the night with my in-laws, and my son works until 8:30, so I had a completely silent house all to myself.

 

The first half of the book was good. The second half of the book was great. Locke tied all of the disparate threads together. She palmed the ace a few times, and made me go "aha," more than once. She answered all of my questions, and then some, and left me wanting more.

 

So much more that I jumped directly into the second book of the Jay Porter series, Pleasantville.

 

I still think I liked Bluebird, Bluebird better, because a book about a black Texas Ranger is pretty freaking hard to beat. But I ended up thoroughly enjoying this legal thriller.

 

I read this for the Diverse Voices square.

 

 

 

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text 2018-08-27 15:54
Reading progress update: I've read 61%.
Black Water Rising - Attica Locke

I'm struggling a bit with this one - not because it's poorly written, but because the setting - Houston, Texas, at an indeterminate time in the past that seems like it's probably the mid- to late-1970's - is so gritty, bleak and unpleasant.

 

Jay Porter is a struggling black lawyer in Houston, whose wife, Bernie, is very pregnant with their first child. There are two story lines - the first, and seemingly primary, story line focuses on a birthday cruise that Jay has arranged for Bernie, during which they rescue a white woman whom they originally thought was a crime victim from the river, but it seems that this may not be true. The body of a murdered man is found the following day, and then things get weird, and dangerous, for Jay. 

 

The second story line involves the decision by the dockworkers union to strike, which puts Houston's economy in peril, and which has resulted in a young black man, Darren, being beaten up by three white men. Jay has been asked by Bernie's father to speak to the mayor, an old friend from their college days, to seek prosecution of the men who assaulted Darren. One of them is fairly prominent, so you can see where this is going.

 

Interspersed with these stories are flashbacks to Jay's college years in the sixties, when he was a civil rights activist. He and the mayor, Cynthia, go way back to those days. Cynthia's character is confusing. I can't tell if she was just a white girl "slumming" with the civil rights activists for kicks, or if she was really committed. And I can't tell if she is going to betray Jay to retain the power she's managed to consolidate or not.

 

This is not a fast-paced book - Locke is unfolding and revealing in a positively leisurely manner, which is not the norm for this genre and takes some getting used to. Her writing is convincing, even if her characters (except for Bernie. Bernie is everything) seem to be continually making the worst possible, most dangerous, choices for themselves and their loved ones. If Jay's stupidity gets Bernie hurt, I am going to be pissed.

 

There is a lot of uncomfortable material in here to unpack. Locke doesn't pull her punches talking about race relations in Houston, and she does not romanticize the civil rights era, or the aftermath. It is dirty and brutal. Houston is humid, dirty and segregated, both racially and into extremes of wealth and poverty. I can't say that I like it, but I am interested in where it is going and where it will end up.

 

I am reading this for my Diverse Authors square.

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text 2018-08-26 02:29
Halloween Bingo Pre-read
Black Water Rising - Attica Locke

I am reading this one for my diverse authors square! 

 

Here is what Attica Locke's website says about her:

 

Attica Locke’s Pleasantville was the 2016 winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. It was also long-listed for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction, and made numerous “Best of 2015” lists. Her first novel, Black Water Rising, was nominated for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, as well as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was short-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her second book, The Cutting Season, is a national bestseller and the winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. A former fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmaker’s Lab, Locke has worked as a screenwriter as well. Most recently, she was a writer and producer on the Fox drama, Empire. She serves on the board of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter.

 

I read Bluebird, Bluebird earlier this year and really enjoyed it, and I've been holding onto this one for the Diverse Authors square!

 

This book would also work for Southern Gothic, Terrifying Women, Murder Most Foul, and most likely Suspense, as well!

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text 2018-07-04 16:03
The Color of Water by James McBride $1.99
The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother - James McBride

Who is Ruth McBride Jordan? A self-declared "light-skinned" woman evasive about her ethnicity, yet steadfast in her love for her twelve black children. James McBride, journalist, musician, and son, explores his mother's past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage, in a poignant and powerful debut, The Color Of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother.

 

The son of a black minister and a woman who would not admit she was white, James McBride grew up in "orchestrated chaos" with his eleven siblings in the poor, all-black projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn. "Mommy," a fiercely protective woman with "dark eyes full of pep and fire," herded her brood to Manhattan's free cultural events, sent them off on buses to the best (and mainly Jewish) schools, demanded good grades, and commanded respect. As a young man, McBride saw his mother as a source of embarrassment, worry, and confusion—and reached thirty before he began to discover the truth about her early life and long-buried pain.

 

In The Color of Water, McBride retraces his mother's footsteps and, through her searing and spirited voice, recreates her remarkable story. The daughter of a failed itinerant Orthodox rabbi, she was born Rachel Shilsky (actually Ruchel Dwara Zylska) in Poland on April 1, 1921. Fleeing pogroms, her family emigrated to America and ultimately settled in Suffolk, Virginia, a small town where anti-Semitism and racial tensions ran high. With candor and immediacy, Ruth describes her parents' loveless marriage; her fragile, handicapped mother; her cruel, sexually-abusive father; and the rest of the family and life she abandoned.

 

At seventeen, after fleeing Virginia and settling in New York City, Ruth married a black minister and founded the all- black New Brown Memorial Baptist Church in her Red Hook living room. "God is the color of water," Ruth McBride taught her children, firmly convinced that life's blessings and life's values transcend race. Twice widowed, and continually confronting overwhelming adversity and racism, Ruth's determination, drive and discipline saw her dozen children through college—and most through graduate school. At age 65, she herself received a degree in social work from Temple University.

Interspersed throughout his mother's compelling narrative, McBride shares candid recollections of his own experiences as a mixed-race child of poverty, his flirtations with drugs and violence, and his eventual self- realization and professional success. The Color of Water touches readers of all colors as a vivid portrait of growing up, a haunting meditation on race and identity, and a lyrical valentine to a mother from her son.

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