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review 2017-09-27 00:00
The Good House
The Good House - Tananarive Due The Good House was a damn good book. Tananarive Due delivers a story that will make you have every single feel she can drudge up in you. From hope to horror, from tearing down to buildling up, and everything in between. This is a book that will have you going “Oh, Jesus,” and yet unable to look away. The deaths will haunt you. Angela’s journey will rock you.

I’m not a fan of child death in horror. Pretty much anyone who knows me and has listened to me talk about horror knows that. I consider it to be a weak writing prop, and I’ll even snarl at some of my writer acquaintances for it. (Sorry, Mike!) However, sometimes, just sometimes it’s done right. It has shock value – because, hello, child death – but it makes so much sense in the story that you accept it. That’s how it was in The Good House. It wasn’t a couple trying to get a fresh start after a baby’s death. It didn’t linger on a child’s dead body for giggles. The deaths are there, and they are terrible, but they are not lingered upon. And they play a role.

Angela, the primary character in The Good House, is beautiful, flawed, and strong. She’s a woman I spent the majority of the book feeling with. Yes, feeling ‘with’. I know her struggles. The first time I connected with her was when Due writes about her struggles to sleep, and the thoughts and images that bombard her prior to it. Angela is afraid of falling asleep, but not really afraid of sleeping itself, and I get that. I struggle with it every night. I wanted to reach into the pages and share a beer with her, and just say “I know, honey. I know.”

Words have a powerful magic when used well, and Tananarive Due conjures that magic up effortlessly in The Good House. All the characters leap off the page, even if you only meet them for a few moments. There have been several books lately where I’ve had trouble keeping the characters straight or even just remembering their names. There wasn’t a chance of that happening here. Grandma Marie, Myles, Corey, Sean, even Art and Glenn felt so real you would half expect to run into them on the street. And even though the book is set just a short time after the turn of the millenium, the only thing that really dates it is the mention of the music.

Now, mind, I didn’t care for everything in The Good House. There was a lot of sexual stuff involved and that just didn’t do it for me. (Mostly because I was reading this on my downtime at work and didn’t want anyone seeing some heated stuff on my screen! But also, in general, I don’t like sex and horror to mix.) And I have to confess I’m still not entirely sure how Tariq came to play the role that he played in the book. In fact if I could ask the author just one question, it would be to please clarify how he got involved in the very beginning. (But I won’t say more so I don’t spoil anything!)
And, it pains me to say this, but the very end felt like a little bit out of a cop-out in The Good House. I can understand why she did it, but it was just like “Nooo! Don’t weaken it now!”

My favorite quote:

“I’m in the film business, remember — and if this were a movie, this is the part where the audience would be screaming for the woman to get out of the house. So that’s exactly what I’m doing.” – The Good House by Tananarive Due

Overall, even though it didn’t quite hit it out of the park for me, I really enjoyed The Good House. It’s so very well written, beautifully imagined, and almost cinematic in its feel. I’m so happy I finally got around to reading Tananarive Due, and I seriously doubt this will be the last book I read from her.
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review 2016-10-11 12:55
The Good House ★★★☆☆
The Good House - Tananarive Due

I originally read this back in 2010 and won't completely re-write my review from that time, but I am revising the rating down to a 3 from my original 4 stars. My feelings about the book a second time around are the same, but this time I felt that there were some serious pacing problems toward the end. The action is ramped up, then comes to a screeching halt with an interlude looking back at previous events, then back to action, then back to previous events. I found myself skipping forward over bits of it to get back to the action, which isn't easy to do on audio. 


Still would recommend.


I read this for the Diverse Authors Can Be Spooky Fun square for the 2016 Halloween Bingo. 


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review 2016-09-25 00:00
My Soul to Keep
My Soul to Keep - Tananarive Due I was going to read and finish this for Halloween Bingo 2016, but since this is a DNF, it doesn't count towards the bingo. I finally just gave up reading this after I realized that I didn't like either main characters, and the book pace was so slow, it was positively glacial.

We find a man (or is he?) visiting an old woman in a retirement home. The man is sad to see that the woman has grown old (by the way this is really stupid when the reveal shows who he is, shocker dude, people get old) and then kills her to put her out of her and his misery.

We then switch to a woman named Jessica who is awoken when she finds her husband is in a panic because their dog seems to be in distress. We find out a lot about Jessica pretty early on, she is selfish as the day is long. Instead of really seeming upset about the dog, she is upset that she was the one who put her husband off of calling the vet when he thought something was going on with their dog. She's upset because her daughter is going to get upset and she doesn't know what she will do about that. And she's upset because she's going to have to get up and go to the work in the morning on very little sleep.

Then the book switches to the man in the beginning called Dawit (you would have to not be paying attention at all to realize who Dawit is) and we get his struggle to be in the world with mere humans.

The book goes back and forth between Jessica and Dawit and you start to see a very sad pattern of both of them being selfish, neither one of them wanting to deal with other people and their problems really.

There is a random murder thrown in and it didn't make any sense to me and all it did was make me dislike the character of Dawit a lot more.

The writing seemed okay, I think the issue for me is that I didn't get a sense of these two characters at all. They were very flat. Even the secondary characters (Jessica's mother and sister) don't come alive. Though we do get Jessica judging her sister for not having a man in her life so she thinks her sister is just upset that Jessica has a husband and daughter.

The flow wasn't great. We jump back and forth between Jessica and Dawit and we find out how Dawit came to become immortal. Just take Jesus Christ, blood, and stir the plot.

I was disappointed because this series has been recommended to me for a long time and I really hope to read this and finish it off since there are three more books. Sadly, I am going to pass on finishing this and starting any of the other books.
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review 2016-09-14 15:54
Diverse Author Square
My Soul to Keep - Tananarive Due

What do you do when you discover the truth of your husband?  Depends on what that truth is, doesn’t it? 


                Due’s book is an examination of a relationship that is tested because the man, the husband, is an immortal.  That is the main conflict of the story – what happens when the truth is revealed.


                Jessica is a woman with problems.  She is too dependent on her husband, too worried about what he thinks.  She fears and worried that she wouldn’t get married, so perhaps she settled.  At least, this is some of what her sister and mother think.  In some ways, Jessica ties into the question of what makes a complete life, should a women feel that she needs a man to complete her.  This is one current that runs thought the relationship.  This is made more complicated by the fact that David, her husband is hiding more than the fact that David is not is real name.


                He’s older than what he owns to, by far.


                He’s like Wolverine in some ways without the claws.


                The problem with the book, if problem it is, is that Alex, Jessica’s sister is a far more interesting character than Jessica.  Additionally, while parts of the ending make sense, there does seem to be something off about the reaction (everyone seems to have forgotten the uncle).  The book is more of a character study than an actual plot driven novel, though it does capture the struggle of a woman trying to leave a relationship and the struggle she might have with money.

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review 2016-09-09 19:35
My Soul to Keep
My Soul to Keep - Tananarive Due

Jessica is happily married with David. What Jessica doesn´t know is that David´s real name is Dawit, he is 450 years old and he is a member of a secret cult, whose members all are immortals. As David´s life with his mortal family gets threatened, he has to make difficult decisions. The question is, will Jessica approve of these decisions?


Let me say this right up front, I really hated this book with a vengeance. It´s so incredibly boring, I had to drag my way through it. But that is not the worst thing about it. Towards the end this novel turns from boring to downright disgusting and I´m contemplanting to sue the author and the publisher for killing off innocent trees. Trees shouldn´t have died for this garbage (even recycling paper is to good for it). So I loathed the story, I didn´t like the characters and the constant mentioning of religion and miracles really grated on my nerves. Everything else I have to say about this book I will put behind a spoiler tag. And be warned, I will spoil the whole damn thing.


But before I do that I will mention the one thing in this novel, that made me chortle (in disbelief and with a lot of eye rolling):


The secret cult has a total of 85 members and their philosophy is that the world belongs to them and the 7.4 billion mortal humans are merely tolerated on earth. I´m actually waiting for the author to write a book about the time, when all the mortals are dead. I´m wondering how 85 people are going to manage the whole world *headslap*.


Lets start with David. In the beginning he is that picture perfect guy, too good to be true. But deep down he is a despicable person with sociopathic tendencies. Let me present the best of David:


  1. He kills his own 80 year old daughter, because she is terminally ill and he can´t stand to look at her sickness.
  2. He kills Jessica´s colleague, because he has reasons. Or maybe not. When Jessica confronts him with this killing, he admits that it has been a mistake killing said person.
  3. He kills the cat. Okay, he makes the cat immortal afterwards. But still, he kills the cat!
  4. He takes Jessica on a road trip into a swamp. There aren´t any means of communication with the outside world. On this trip he wants to prove Jessica, that he cannot die. So he gets in the bathtub, commits harakiri (his guts are spilling out and so on) and his wife has to watch him die. And then she has to watch him wake up the next day. He definitely deserves the "husband of the year" award.
  5. And trust me. That not even the worst thing he has done in this book. I will come back to it later.


And then there is Jessica. She is just mindnumbingly stupid and I can´t connect with a character, who has the word IDIOT written over her head in big glaring letters. She basically excuses everything that she (and he, for that matter) does with the love that she feels for David. Apparently he is dream hunk material and I just don´t get it. At one point Jessica asks David, why he has fallen in love with her? And I can´t answer this question, because these two people and their feelings are so poorly written, I cannot feel one shred of love between these two (oh yeah, the sex is spellbinding, so maybe that is enough *eyeroll*)


And now to the worst thing: David wants to perform the immortality ritual on Jessica and their daughter (and he doesn´t even ask if they want this). So he drugs them both, kills them and infuses them with his blood. He is successful with Jessica, but poor Kira has to die, because he gets interrupted while perfoming the ritual. So he kills his own daughter.

Two years later, David and Jessica are estranged (he killed her daughter, after all), he seeks out Jessica and instead of chasing him of the property with a pitchfork, he is accepted into her house to talk. And he is giving this speech, how he will love her forever and he will wait for her. Jessica response: "Oh, he is waiting for me, forever. Maybe, someday ..."


What the .... How could she .... *sigh* Okay. There is no way that I can tolerate this crap. He strangled his innocent five year old daughter and it´s getting dismissed like it is nothing. And to be honest, the fact that the spirit of Kira is getting accompanied to heaven by the ghost of her diseased grandfather and the dead dog, doesn´t make anything of it better. The blatant disregard for human life that Tananarive Due puts on display in this novel makes me sick to my stomach. This novel is a disgusting and atrocius piece of garbage and I hope that I will never have to read a book again, which is as goddamn awful as this one.

(spoiler show)


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