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text 2017-10-30 00:31
Books I Read in August and September 2017
Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation - Damian Duffy,John Jennings,Octavia E. Butler
Breakfast in Bed (The Innkeepers) - Rochelle Alers
Surrender to Me (The Lawsons of Louisiana) - Donna Hill
Seeking Sarah: A Novel - ReShonda Tate Billingsley
To Wager Her Heart (A Belle Meade Plantation Novel) - Tamera Alexander
Pretty, Nasty, Lovely - Rosalind Noonan
Stay with Me: A novel - Adebayo Ayobami
The Mothers: A Novel - Brit Bennett
Gravel Heart - Abdulrazak Gurnah
Children of Blood and Bone: The OrÏsha Legacy (Children of OrÏsha) - Tomi Adeyemi

I will list the rating and to the side add commentary. 

 

 

5 Stars

 

 None

 

 

4 Stars

 

Breakfast in Bed by Rochelle Alers (solid read)

 

Seeking Sarah by Reshonda Tate Billingsley (solid read)

 

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander (fantastic story, pleasantly surprised)

 

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebeyo (unforgettable stand out read)

 

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy (Liked this, LOVE book) 

 

 

3 Stars

 

Surrender to Me by Donna Hill (solid read)

 

Pretty, Nast, Lovely by Rosalind Noonin (interesting story)

 

Gravel Heart by Abdulrazak Gurnah (good story)

 

 

2.5 Stars

 

The Mothers by Brit Bennett 

 

I've been thinking what to say about my displeasure with this book. It was an okay read for me. Such a hyped book that I did everything possible to get my hands on it for months; giveaways, egalleys and such. To only be disappointed. There's nothing new here for me. It definitely wasn't what I expected in terms of the storyline. Maybe it's my age. I've read a lot of books and many heavy hitters at a young age. It takes a lot to impress me in story and writing. However, both don't have to be great. I'll take a good story with subpar writing or a well written book with just okay plot. Many love this one. It just wasn't for me. Beautiful cover and great publicity with a new up and coming author, I do believe Ms. Bennett is definitely one to watch!

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-10-13 20:14
Reading progress update: I've read 43%.
Bloodchild: And Other Stories - Octavia E. Butler

Right at the beginning of this collection Butler admits that she isn´t the most accomplished short story writer and that she is better at writing novels. Maybe she is right about that, because I am underwhelmed by these stories.

[Source]

 

I have to admit, though, that I´m not a big short story fan to begin with.

 

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review 2017-10-02 14:29
Wild Seed Doesn't Grab Me Like Other Books
Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler

Well this one didn't work for me at all. The only saving grace is that it was short. I loved/liked Octavia Butler's other books and this one just made my skin crawl. Reading about almost immortal beings named Anyanwu and Doro through 288 pages of their dysfunction was a little much for me honestly.

 

When Doro comes across Anyanwu (Sun Woman) he is happy to finally meet someone that he thinks can help him with his quest to breed the perfect children. Though Anyanwu is hesitant to be with Doro, she decided that she is tired of being alone more and watching her descendants die along with her husbands. Too late she realizes that Doro is a cruel being who doesn't care about people at all except to make sure that they do his bidding in all things.


They travel from Africa to the New World (America) and are able to change their bodies, color of their skin, and even their sex. I wish that Butler had these two stay African and have to deal with the problems their skin color would have living in the Americas, but that is quickly skated over by people saying how afraid of Doro they are and Doro and his villages are quickly left alone.


I also felt frustrated by Anyanwu since she is really just Doro's doormat. She keeps making all these concessions thinking it is going to keep her children safe and nothing she is doing does that. Doro is cruel and has caused her pain over and over again and she is in a love/hate relationship with him. I thought it was gross how Doro was forcing Anywanwu to breed with who he said since he wanted children off of her. I kept hoping someone would kill Doro.


The writing was good, I just lost interest in it after a while. This is not another Xenogenesis series where you can see the debates about consent going back and forth and gray areas. There is just simply Doro being awful and getting away with it for centuries. 

 

The flow as upside down too though. Nothing goes on forever it seems besides reading about how Doro is trying to breed people and then we come to an end which I assume sets up the next book in the series. I plan on skipping that. 

 

 

 

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text 2017-09-28 23:12
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler

I am reading this for the "Supernatural" square.

 

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review 2017-08-15 19:46
Imago / Octavia Butler
Imago - Octavia E. Butler

In the third book of her Xenogenesis series, Octavia Butler gives us the alien’s perspective.  It makes the Oankali marginally less creepy, but only a tiny bit.  Butler excels at creating truly alien life forms, with wildly different forms of reproduction.

 

The Oankali having stinging cells and tentacles, giving them some resemblance to jellyfish (Cniderians) in our world, but they are upright walking, hand-and-arm-possessing, intelligent life forms.  And, it turns out, they have a three stage metamorphosis like Earth’s insects do.  This installment follows that mysterious third sex, the Ooloi, as one of Lilith’s children matures sexually into the adult form (hence the title, Imago).

 

In the first book, the Oankali have rescued the small remainder of humanity from a disaster of their own creation and have begun combining the two species.  That’s what the Ooankali do and they consider it their payment for their rescue services, but that’s not what it looks like or feels like to humans.  Lilith gradually becomes convinced that she won’t be allowed to live as human and reluctantly gets involved with the aliens, although it is against her true wishes.

 

In the second book, we follow Lilith’s construct child, Akin, who actually has five parents and who understands the relationship between the two species better than either the humans or the Oankali.  He sees the basic incompatibility between the two species but also how they can also become compatible.  Seemingly a paradox, which Akin reveals as a prejudice of the Oankali against humanity—we’ve always known that humans are prejudiced against the aliens.

 

This third installment reveals just how much the Oankali need and long for relationships with humans.  To this point, they have seemed very unemotional, almost clinical, in their desire to revitalize their own DNA through incorporation of the human genome.  Jodahs, who is metamorphosing into one of the mysterious Ooloi, shows us the depth of feeling, the intense sexual need, and indeed the pain of separation that we have been missing so far in the story.

 

Despite gaining understanding, the whole sexual system of the Oankali feels deeply creepy.  The human male and female in the sexual constellation experience repulsion when they touch one another directly, but when joined by an Ooloi, experience intense sexual pleasure.  Pheromones by the Ooloi make the situation addictive—being apart from one’s group becomes torment.

 

Butler is skillful in her refusal to “pick a side.”  She provides logical reasons for the aliens’ behaviour and points out both the logical and totally illogical responses of humanity.  She explores co-operation, coercion, limited choice, and unequal power without making it obvious which species she favours.

 

In some ways, this series makes me think of Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End, in that humanity is being absorbed into a genetic continuum, but likely won’t survive on its own ever again.  Do we mourn the loss or celebrate what survives?

 

Book 260 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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