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text 2017-09-20 10:37
Changed selection for Terrifying Women square: I've read 6%.
Tales of Men and Ghosts - Edith Wharton

I had another book picked out for this square about a scary circus, but it reached DNF by page 2. Not only was the story promising to be crap, but the author called circus people carnies, which is a cardinal sin with me. Do some research! Don't write in a setting if you can't be bothered to learn something about it. Circuses are not carnivals and carnivals don't have big tops. What's so hard?

 

 

Anyway, I decided to select another book for the square. At first I thought I might peruse through my folder of Horror stories looking for women authors, but there were rather a lot of male authors so I took another tack. I Googled women Horror authors.

 

This of course took me to Classic authors like Mary Shelly, but it also revealed that some Classic women authors known for other genres have also written Horror stories! This includes Louisa May Alcott and Edith Wharton.

 

So, I now have The Abbot's Ghost, or Maurice

Treherne's Temptation: A Christmas Story by Alcott on my computer, ready to transfer to Kindle.

 

However, I wasn't on computer at the time and could get Edith Wharton's ghost stories for free from Amazon, so that's the one I'm reading for the square. I do love a Victorian ghost story.

 

 

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review 2017-09-19 18:16
My Forever, My Always
My Forever, My Always: Men of Crooked Bend Book 1 - Taylor Rylan

Phew. I skimmed the last 10% because...I was exhausted and just over this couple.  This book unfortunately did not work for me.

 

This book is nearly 400 pages and compared to most MM books, that is about 150 pages too much.  This one could have used the cut.

 

Overall, I was curious about this author. I have had conversations with her several times and she is a sweetheart.  And for a first time novel, this one has its pros.  But there is no doubt that a lot can be learned from this first one.

 

  • Not every man in the book needs to be gay.  I mean I love gay men but at some point good grief...I could use a straight character.
  • The entire story does not need to be told.  We went from hook up to quick relationship development to moving in to meeting families to engagement to bachelor party to wedding to honeymoon, to an epilogue...which did not close anything but brought up more storylines about other characters. It just becomes too much.  Much of the last 50% of this book could have been reduced.
  • While there was nothing overly irritating about these "Architects" there could be some improvements on what Architects actually do that would help readers like me avoid eye rolling.  But for those who are not Architects, none of these items would matter to them at all.
  • I love getting glimpses of couples that will be brought forth in future books but this was painful.  Too many instances of "I wonder what is going on there" or "I'll have to ask him what happened" only to get more questions and no answers. Yes, I get books are coming but this is rather painful as a reader, especially when the couples that interest you are books away.  Introduce these characters but avoid drawing them too much into the current story or risk irritating your reader and drawing away from the main couple too much. I found myself more interested in wanting these future books than I was about this couple.
  • I wish there had been a Gay Romance Checklist of attributes, sexual positions, storylines, etc. attached to this book, because I think every box would be checked. We don't need everything.  And the warning about Rape at the beginning was completely unnecessary because we never got anything more than "he was raped, beaten and stabbed".  I assume when we finally get to this character's book we will get more.  At least I hope so.  
  • There is no need to overuse a character's name repeatedly in conversation between 2 people.  I am talking to you, I don't need to use your name.  This became irritating because how often do you really use a person's name when you are having a conversation with them.  Very little.
  • Overall this couple was rather blah.  There was no tension, no heartache, no dark past or anything.  These were just 2 lovely men who loved each other.  And we heard about it a lot.  I just kinda lost interest. 

 

Now all that said, will I continue?  Yes.  As I mentioned above, I am actually much more interested in these other couples who appear to have a little more grit to them than these characters did.  Plus, I am eager to see how this author grows and develops.  She has the abilities there is no doubt. I just hope she can structure her next book in a way that keeps me more engaged.

 

 

 

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review 2017-09-18 22:16
Lightning Men
Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

Darktown #2

By:  Thomas Mullen 

ISBN: 9781501138799

Publisher: Atria 

Publication Date: 9/12/2017

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars + 

 

From the acclaimed author, Thomas Mullen who introduced readers to the hit, Darktown landing on my Top Books of 2016 —racial integration of Atlanta’s police department in 1948 — with an explosive multi-layered complex follow-up: LIGHTNING MEN. 

Racial violence and corruption continue in 1950’s Atlanta, with African-American police officers, Boggs and Smith. 

As they say in the South, these two find themselves in a "heap of trouble.” (Among others). 

“Hot Atlanta” is not just sizzling. It is blistering. Fiery. Tensions and emotions run high. Loyalties are tested between family and law. Color lines are threatened. Moral lines are blurred. 

The second in the Darktown series, Mullen uses his hard-boiled crime, cop procedural, to explore post-WWII racism in the South. 

The highly anticipated character-driven LIGHTNING MEN is much more than just a crime-fictional thriller. It is infused with critical historical details and timely controversial subjects we face today.

“Any candid observer of American racial history must acknowledge that racism is highly adaptable.” – Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow 

Highly-charged, Mullen turns up the intensity with characters facing moral, family, social issues and compromises. 

Tensions rise. From racial prejudice, moonshining, drugs, greed, conspiracy, Klansmen, fascist Columbians, white supremacist, corruption, bigotry, violence, Jim Crow laws, preachers, shootouts, paybacks, fear, power, and segregated neighborhoods.

In Darktown, we met rookies: Officer Lucius Boggs and his partner, Tommy Smith. 

From different backgrounds, their office was housed in the basement of the Negro YMCA, a makeshift precinct. They were not even allowed to arrest white men, nor allowed to drive a squad car. They could not patrol outside of the Negro neighborhoods that constituted their beat. No respect and little support. 

Only ten black officers patrolled those thousands of souls. A third of Atlanta were black, yet they were crowded into only a fifth of the land. 

Boggs and Smith had not taken bribes; however, with two years on the force, it appeared half of the white officers took bribes, so how long would the Negro officers resist? 

They were tiring of their powerlessness. The son of a preacher, Boggs was all too familiar with the fallibility of men, even men with power. 

Denny Rakestraw (white) is distrusted by his fellow officers for his suspected role in the disappearance of his former partner, Lionel Dunlow. 

Rakestraw is not a racist but finds it difficult to fit in with his fellow white cops and work with the ten black cops. Neither side, fully trusts him. 

Denny’s problems increase when his Klansman brother-in-law, Dale Simpkins, gets involved in a plot to stop the influx of African-Americans into his neighborhood, Hanford Park. 

Some cops are part of the Klan. Will they accuse one of the richest men in Atlanta of selling moonshine and marijuana?

Boggs had come to respect McInnis over the last two years. He had stuck up for his charges during a few disputes with white officers. How far can he go to protect them? 

Boggs (preacher’s son) is dating Julie with a young son, Sage. Soon to be married. His family opposes the relationship since she is not of their social status. She has a secret past. She is intimidated by their prestigious family. 

When a black man, Jeremiah is released from prison after five years, things get personal. Boggs life gets complicated when he learns the connection. 

Two years earlier, Boggs came close to resigning his position and had second thoughts after a near-death experience. Now, he is unsure again.

Too many mistakes that weighed heavily on his soul. He is sure there would be more guilt and an awkward relationship with his partner. Can he remain as a cop? 

Events will lead each character to major soul-searching. Smith had crossed another line as well. He was afraid. 


. . . The Armor. The façade victims’ families typically wore when they needed to protect themselves or the memory of their loved ones. Folks who wore The Armor sometimes had secrets to hide. 

The Armor was firmly in place as they parried the officer’s attempts to learn more about the deceased. They wore The Armor to keep the cops from learning things. The secrets. . . 

The Armor was worn by the innocent, who had nothing to hide but their dignity, and they were so deeply offended to be questioned by these employees of the corrupt City of Atlanta, these paid enforcers of Jim Crow, that they refused to play along. They may be innocent, hurt, or protective. 

. . . “And lines are only ideas people dream up, to govern what should be possible, to keep you from moving toward the forbidden.”


Three policemen struggle. Each has an agenda and react in different ways to protect. Loyalties are tested. Family versus law. 

Can they continue to work with one hand tied behind their packs without the proper support to do their jobs? Will the latest emotional events, their actions, and tensions make them second guess their current careers? Will they continue to serve and make Atlanta a better city, or is it a useless effort? 

After violence and a shootout, will Hanford Park be transformed? Will the lines between white and black be blurred after the postwar crowding, pushing blacks into areas formerly considered whites-only (without violence)? 

From racial politics and struggles of history, Mullen does not miss a beat! 

The complex emotions of each character are portrayed in depth, making the characters jump off the page. Others threaten lives. Others protect. Struggles both interior and exterior. 

Complications. Affairs interrupted. Old scores settled. Blood feuds magnified. Pride. Costs were high. Greed. 

Hard-boiled. Explosive. Riveting. Timely! 

Love this enthralling series and looking forward to seeing what is in store next for Smith and Boggs. 

When reading of Boggs at his dad’s house for dinner with Julie, reminds me strongly of Greenleaf (a favorite show) and their preacher/family dinners. Heaven forbid, their children do not follow their well-laid controlled plans. 

Movie-worthy! For those who enjoy good crime fiction, and historical fiction as Mullen meticulously traces the civil rights movement through his well-written crime stories and cop procedurals, that involve "real" characters you come to care about. 

Fans of TV mini-series: Underground, Greenleaf and Queen Sugar will enjoy this intense series as well as Michael Connley’s Harry Bosch and Greg Iles' Penn Cage series. 

In addition to the early digital reading copy (thank you) provided by NetGalley and Atria, I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – for an award-winning performance. Just finished. 

Move this series to the top of your list. If you reside in the South, this is a “must read.” Especially for those of us who found (find) Atlanta our home for many years. Another Southern winner! 

JDCMustReadBooks

****
Due to post-Irma, residing in South Florida with water damages, power outage, cell towers, and loss of internet for nine consecutive days; no gas, grocery, or mail service – late posting my review on pub day. Let's hope Maria does not pay us a visit. 

Yay! Today we have internet restored, power, cell towers, and mail service! Back in business. Ordered the hardcover copies of both DARKTOWN and LIGHTNING MEN for my personal library. So excited, they are out for delivery today, from Amazon! (Love the covers) Looking forward to receiving my copies. (Now, I have to figure out how to get the author to autograph) my copies. 

Busy catching up with posting reviews and my blog. Thanks everyone for your patience.
 
 
 

City on the verge of a race riot in ‘Darktown’ sequel


Thomas Mullen’s new novel examines brotherly hate  

By Tray Butler - For the AJC

 
 
 
 
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/04/19/Lightning-Men
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text 2017-09-18 18:56
Reading progress update: I've read 88%.
My Forever, My Always: Men of Crooked Bend Book 1 - Taylor Rylan

 

Oh my god and no damn wonder...I just noticed this fucker is nearly 400 pages.  400 PAGES!!!!  

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review 2017-09-18 12:45
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen
Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

 

Atlanta in 1950 was a crowded place. The war was over and housing was scarce. Racial tensions were brewing, neighborhood lines were being redrawn,  and not everyone was happy about that. Even the fact that black policemen now served in the Negro areas of Atlanta didn't mean these officers had the respect of white officers nor that of the residents. When a white man gets beaten down by the Klan and then a Negro beaten down a few days later, tensions threaten to erupt. What happens next? You'll have to read Lightning Men to find out!

 

I was excited when I discovered there was a sequel to last year's Darktown. I was surprised at what I learned from that novel and I learned a lot from this one as well. For instance, I'd never heard of the Columbians before. Apparently, this group of neo-Nazis formed, (and so soon after the war in what must have felt like a direct insult to the soldiers and survivors now living in Atlanta), to unite their hatred of both Jews and Negroes. They even dressed similarly to the SS officers in Germany, hence their nickname: lightning men. 

 

I also learned a lot about how the neighborhoods changed during that less than peaceful time in American history. It's often painful to read about, but it's interesting to see events from several different points of view. Rake, Boggs, Smith and MacInnis are well rounded characters and even now, after a second novel, I think they all still have some secrets in reserve. None of them are perfect and they are all struggling to find their place in this new world, their new police station, (even if it is in the basement of the YMCA), and in their new neighborhoods. Social change doesn't come easy and I think all of these characters recognize and respect that in their behavior, which made them believable to me and maybe a little lovable too.

 

Lightning Men is scary in a way, because it's easy to recognize some of the behaviors from this story on the nightly news today. It's also sad that so much good can begin to be undone by just a few hateful people in high places. Not only is this story a good one, but it reminded me that America always has to remain vigilant,  so that everything we have worked so hard for as a people, is not undone by only a powerful few. 

 

Highly recommended! You can get your copy here: Lightning Men

 

*Thank you to NetGalley & Atria for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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