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text 2017-11-12 22:44
Book of the Month Winter Catch-up
The Mothers: A Novel - Brit Bennett
All at Sea: A Memoir - Decca Aitkenhead
Swing Time - Zadie Smith
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth: A Novel - Lindsey Lee Johnson
Exit West - Mohsin Hamid
American War - Omar El Akkad
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann

Usually, in November I do Nonfiction November. But since It ran long and I have been neglecting my Book of the Month selections, I'm skipping the November reads and going right into my December pile. December is dedicated to catching up on what selections I didn't get around to reading through the year. Well, I still have some from 2016, let alone 2017. Yeah.... I need to get that stack down. Let's see how many of these I can knock out. I can' even remember what some of these are about.

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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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review 2017-08-29 21:06
Review: Mothers and Other Strangers
Mothers and Other Strangers - Gina Sorell

In writing programs and publications, everyone talks about first lines. They're important. Attract the reader with a stellar first sentence. Give them a solid few pages and you've got them hooked. Gina Sorell and her publisher clearly know about first lines. Not only does Mothers and Other Strangers begin with a wonderful and interesting first sentence, it's even an integral part of the book blurb: My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man's child, she accepted. I decided to repeat it and write it in bold to give the author one final promotion before I tear this book apart.

I liked the line. It showed intelligence and it piqued my interest. The paragraphs that followed in the prologue were good, too. Five pages of great writing. And then, chapter one.

With chapter one, and every page that followed, the story lost credibility. The characters and their interactions were not believable. There's the sexy ex-husband stuck in a dead-end marriage. The apartment's concierge who's always friendly, full of advice, and apparently never leaves his post. The cat who chases away burglars and eats pea soup. The owner of the vegan cafe who happens to keep non-vegan options readily available in the event a sane person with taste wanders into his restaurant. You may believe these wooden characters and you're entitled to, but I didn't. Every setting, every character, and every action was an obvious ploy to advance the plot. But the plot itself becomes a mess. While you'd expect Elsie to unravel the big secrets promised in the opener, she spends more time talking about the existence of big secrets than making efforts to solve them. 

Then there are the things that really piss me off, like the disturbing sexuality of the novel. It's one thing if you're writing a psychological piece about a girl with a hyperactive and confused sex life; it's another to just throw it in haphazardly. Elsie is a messed-up girl, undoubtedly, but her actions are not explained, nor are they conducive to the plot—they were added for the sake of tension. Is it okay to include a character who believes that she asked to be raped and should remain silent out of embarrassment? Yes. Absolutely. Let's not shy away from the way some people truly think. But should we perpetuate those myths without further exploration or without the least bit of retrospection? Should we normalize such behaviors? Ugggh. Last book I read that I disliked this much was Fates and Furies, but everyone loved that one and I was clearly wrong about my disdain for that story, so I must be wrong about this well-liked story as well.

Honestly, there are some good ideas in this novel and those are probably what kept me going. Unfortunately, the implementation felt completely wrong to me. What Mothers and Other Strangers reminded me of was a screenplay for a Lifetime movie. I've enjoyed a few Lifetime movies in my years, but I recognize the overacting, the convenient story line, and the sprinkling of big issues for what it is. Mothers and Other Strangers would make a decent made-for-tv movie where such devices are expected. But if I'm to believe the recommendations on the cover of the novel, Sorell's debut fails as an “absorbing,” “stunning [2x],” “delightful,” “brilliant,” and “sensitive (???)” novel.

Oh, by the way, that first sentence is totally misleading... 

Not really her father. Also not at gunpoint, at least not the way that's implied. The author is pulling a fast one over on the readers, so I'm calling it out. But at least I have the decency to put it between spoiler tags

(spoiler show)

You're welcome.

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video 2017-08-17 13:24

Give your child more than just another fictional story or a Harry Potter story. Here is a book by Christopher Conroy that will empower your child. Anzard, is the best gift that you could give your child and impress them.

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review 2017-08-09 15:11
Review of Revolutionary Mothers by Carol Berkin
Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence - Carol Berkin

A fantastic short book focusing on women during the American Revolutionary period of history.  Carol Berkin is one of the top authors of the period, and I really enjoyed this look into the many roles women played from many different backgrounds (economically and ethnically).  There were no real deep biographies of any specific women of the period, but the stories of many women were returned to and flushed out.  This is an important book for students of the time period to read.

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