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review 2017-07-20 20:43
Still Life
Still Life - Louise Penny

I'm in an online book group that started this series, and I decided to follow along since my library has the audiobooks available for loan. I have too many books on my list to read these, but listening to the audiobooks don't put me out at all. I hadn't heard about this series prior to my club selecting it, but the descriptions sounded interesting so I jumped on board. 


Well, I was in danger of dropping the first book, Still Life, after less than an hour of listening. It's very rare for me to chuck a book to the DNF bucket, especially so soon after starting, so I slugged forward to finish it. It wasn't a long audiobook, so I figured I should be able to get through it quickly even if I wasn't enjoying it. 


The biggest issue was the narrator's style. I enjoyed his voice and cadence, but there are no pauses or breaks between shifts of PoV. I was so lost before I got used to it! I listen to my audiobooks while doing something else (driving, gardening, laundry, etc.) so my attention isn't always 100% on the book. Add the two together and this book started off as a hot mess for me. I did have to go back a few times to catch something or figure out if I missed a PoV shift, but it wasn't as annoying as I thought it would be. 


The characters were enjoyable. While I liked the variety we were given, it did feel a bit as though the author used a checklist of sorts to make sure all the bases were covered - one black, two gays, one mean old bat, a couple quirky artists, unruly teens, annoying bitch, etc., etc., etc. Some readers have commented that the characters become more developed in the future books, and I'm hoping that's the case. Many felt defined by typical stereotypical behaviors, and if that continues I'll just get annoyed. 


I liked the focus on art and bow hunting/archery. Those are areas I personally don't come across often in books so it was a refreshing plot path. I'm also not sure I've read any books set in the Quebec area, so I really enjoyed being somewhere new to me.


I felt the mystery was fairly well done. While I did guess correctly early on who killed Jane, and how they would figure out who did it, I didn't have the why part figured out. It did feel a bit rushed/convenient, but I'm willing to give a bit of fictional leeway there. 


I'll stick with the series for now. I'm hoping that I don't feel frustrated or lost so early on now that I'm used the narrator's style.

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text 2017-07-20 18:18
Kind of Tired

I just finished a few books that gutted me emotionally and I am just a bit blue. I am also exhausted because the Game of Thrones showrunners decided that they just have to have a new show that will focus on what would happen if the South had won the first Civil War and slavery was still a thing.


Image result for eye roll gif


Look I have read speculative fiction before (Stephen King, Octavia Butler, etc.) but based on the history of these two men who just ignored criticism that there show devolved into women being naked and raped it seemed I don't see them handling a sensitive topic like slavery very well. 

And yes, I know they have two black writers. I still don't trust them.


It took me many months to even sit through 12 Years A Slave and no thank you. I can't see enduring a weekly show that is showing black men, women, and children as less than a white person. I won't sit down and watch fictional characters be raped, flogged, and have body parts removed. Cause guess what, that was what was going on in the U.S. when we had slavery. And as smarter women and men said the other day, we already got this show, go see 13TH by Ava DuVernay sometime. 

And what really makes me sad about this whole thing is that I had to have a couple of conversations with friends in my real life who wanted to know why this was seen as bad by many in the African American community.


Yes, I have become the all knowing black woman in my friend group. That also gets old.


In no particular order this is what we discussed: 


1. I quit GoT a while ago because of the depictions on screen. I still read recaps on Pajiba. Or at least I did until a tone deaf article they published about this yesterday. I am moving onto places like The Root. I just don't have the energy to be part of a community where people go around screeching censorship who don't know what the hell they are talking about. I have issues because these two men have chosen to ignore criticism about things they have shown on screen and then had their fans screeching about historical accuracy. Whispers to everyone: "Dragons are not real."


2. I really wish that African American actors could actually be cast in something that does not show them as a villain, maid,  slave, drug dealer, etc. and get a damn Oscar. Seriously. Octavia Spencer won best supporting actress for The Help. Come talk to me where she portrays a CEO, an inventor and also gets an Oscar win.


3. Just in case you have not looked around, hate crimes are on the rise again in the U.S. Blacks interactions with the police have never been so close to just unspooling. I am not joking that I have had conversations with friends about what to do when the riots break out again. And I mean L.A. type riots where the whole city is burning for days on end. And yeah, I said when. Cause if people can't see the forest for the trees I am just going to keep my head down and mind my business. 


4. Maybe if we didn't still have states in our Union who ignore their history (no the Civil War was not about states rights) or people holding KKK rallies in DC and setting up shop in Old Town, Alexandria I could get past the whole idea of this show. But that's where we are right now as a country. We put a man in charge of the Department of Justice who is racist. Full stop. Who is enacting policies that is going after the poor and the people of color. I feel like I woke up in the 1950s based on some of the goings on in our country right now. I don't feel safe anymore. Heck, maybe that safety I thought I had all along was just an illusion and I needed it to be ripped away.


Either way the show has been greenlit and I am sure that someone somewhere will watch. Not me though, this is a hard pass from me. 

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review 2017-07-18 23:03
Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend by Deirdre Bair
Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend - Deirdre Bair

Reviewed at Book Haunt

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review 2017-07-17 18:55
The Goddesses
The Goddesses: A Novel - Swan Huntley

Title:  The Goddesses: A Novel

Author:  Swan Huntley

Publisher: Doubleday

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean

Rating: Four



"The Goddesses" by Swan Huntley


My Thoughts....


What will happen when Nancy want a change in her life as she 'jump starts her family' by moving to Hawaii?  This poor lady had been through so much with that cheating husband Chuck and twin boys that seemed to in into something one way or another.  With all of this drama going on in Nancy's life would moving to Hawaii cause her some happiness?  What happens when she moves to Hawaii with her family?  Who is the woman Nancy will meet and what affect will she have on life?  What will happen when Nancy finally gets out of this disillusion that she had felt so apart of?   This is a interesting part of the read as the story shows just how people often look for happiness in the wrong place.  I will say that was quite a toxic friendship.  Will Nancy learn that one can't live through other people?  Be prepared for lots and lots of drama! I will also say that author really knows how to give the reader a good entertaining read of thrills and  suspense that will keep one reading to see what will happen next in this beautiful Hawaiian setting.  I found "The Goddesses" quite a interesting read that even thought it was captivating it could be somewhat a frustrating read at times too. 


Thank you to Net Gallery for the read.











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review 2017-07-17 17:56
Seeking Sarah
Seeking Sarah: A Novel - ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Title:  Seeking Sarah

Author:  ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Publisher: Gallery Books

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean

Rating: Five



"Seeking Sarah" by ReShonda Tate


My Thoughts...


I loved this story "Seeking Sarah" that was "about finding something you so desperately crave, and losing yourself in the process."


What a good read this story that was conveyed  so well to the readers.  I felt so very sorry for Brooke because I found that she really didn't know how to go about getting what she wanted and that was the love of her mom.  Therefore Brooke went to much from secrets, loss, deception, lies, even revenge and heartbreak that caused so much more than one would ever want to happen.  End the end will Brooke finally get all she wants ...the love of her mother and a husband?  Or will she have to settle for ... well, I will stop here and just say you will have to pick up "Seeking Sarah" to see how this story will all come out.  Be prepared for some twist and turns as the secrets come out and a ending that will leave one shaking their heads and saying wow!  You will definitely be left seeing "how important a parent's love is and how it can not only shape a child's life but also their future."


Thank you to Net Gallery for the read.

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