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text 2018-07-04 16:03
The Color of Water by James McBride $1.99
The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother - James McBride

Who is Ruth McBride Jordan? A self-declared "light-skinned" woman evasive about her ethnicity, yet steadfast in her love for her twelve black children. James McBride, journalist, musician, and son, explores his mother's past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage, in a poignant and powerful debut, The Color Of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother.


The son of a black minister and a woman who would not admit she was white, James McBride grew up in "orchestrated chaos" with his eleven siblings in the poor, all-black projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn. "Mommy," a fiercely protective woman with "dark eyes full of pep and fire," herded her brood to Manhattan's free cultural events, sent them off on buses to the best (and mainly Jewish) schools, demanded good grades, and commanded respect. As a young man, McBride saw his mother as a source of embarrassment, worry, and confusion—and reached thirty before he began to discover the truth about her early life and long-buried pain.


In The Color of Water, McBride retraces his mother's footsteps and, through her searing and spirited voice, recreates her remarkable story. The daughter of a failed itinerant Orthodox rabbi, she was born Rachel Shilsky (actually Ruchel Dwara Zylska) in Poland on April 1, 1921. Fleeing pogroms, her family emigrated to America and ultimately settled in Suffolk, Virginia, a small town where anti-Semitism and racial tensions ran high. With candor and immediacy, Ruth describes her parents' loveless marriage; her fragile, handicapped mother; her cruel, sexually-abusive father; and the rest of the family and life she abandoned.


At seventeen, after fleeing Virginia and settling in New York City, Ruth married a black minister and founded the all- black New Brown Memorial Baptist Church in her Red Hook living room. "God is the color of water," Ruth McBride taught her children, firmly convinced that life's blessings and life's values transcend race. Twice widowed, and continually confronting overwhelming adversity and racism, Ruth's determination, drive and discipline saw her dozen children through college—and most through graduate school. At age 65, she herself received a degree in social work from Temple University.

Interspersed throughout his mother's compelling narrative, McBride shares candid recollections of his own experiences as a mixed-race child of poverty, his flirtations with drugs and violence, and his eventual self- realization and professional success. The Color of Water touches readers of all colors as a vivid portrait of growing up, a haunting meditation on race and identity, and a lyrical valentine to a mother from her son.

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review 2018-05-03 03:14
CHUD Lives! Tribute Anthology Review
C.H.U.D. LIVES!: A Tribute Anthology - Jonathan Maberry

I agreed to read an ARC copy of C.H.U.D. Lives even though I honestly couldn’t remember if I had ever seen the movie. I didn’t think it would matter too much if I hadn’t. (I know, I know. That was a horrible idea. But I thought “Its a book with stories about a cheesy monster movie. How much background info do I need?”) About halfway through the anthology, I rented the C.H.U.D. movie. I’m very glad I did, as some of the stories just really didn’t make sense with nothing to base them upon. The very first story, for example, D.O.G. W.A.L.K.E.R. from Robert E. Waters seemed really tame actually left me a little leery of the rest of the book. I’d even given it an initial rating of 2 out of 5. However, after seeing the movie, (specifically its opening scenes), I knew what the story was referring to, and suddenly I appreciated it a lot more. There’s a story that continues the story of George, Lauren, and Bosch after the end of the movie that you need the background for as well, I think. Gives the movie a bit of an alternate ending, if you will.


My favorite story from the C.H.U.D. Lives!: Tribute Anthology  was T.H.A.T.S. E.N.T.E.R.T.A.I.N.M.E.N.T. by Mort Castle. It doesn’t really fit in well with the rest of the book, given the way things are going today, it was a very fitting piece to include. I think they timed the inclusion right as well, as things had reached sort of a natural climax in the preceding stories and needed a bit of a breather.  And the stories section of the book ends on an explosive note with the story from Jonathan Maberry and Eugene Johnson, called Y.O.U. W.I.L.L. N.E.V.E.R. L.E.A.V.E. H.A.R.L.A.N. A.L.I.V.E. While I’ll admit I expected something a little bit more from this story, I couldn’t deny that the ending felt pretty good!


This is an anthology jam packed with names that most readers will recognize. For the most part, the A-Game is definitely brought on the stories. The introduction by Dave Drake is lovely, and Eric S. Brown does a great job with the interview with Andrew Bonime at the beginning, and the interview at the end with Parnell Hall. One of my favorite things about the  C.H.U.D. Lives!: Tribute Anthology  was the flow. It’s obvious that a lot of work and thought went into this book, and it paid off in a big way. While I might not be a fan of every story in the book, I’m definitely a fan of the book as a whole.


I think that for true C.H.U.D. lovers, the  C.H.U.D. Lives!: Tribute Anthology  is a must-read. Other readers will enjoy it as well (especially once you’ve seen the movie!)


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.

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review 2018-04-20 00:00
C.H.U.D. LIVES!: A Tribute Anthology
C.H.U.D. LIVES!: A Tribute Anthology - Jonathan Maberry First of all I have to say I didn't want to read C.H.U.D. LIVES!: A Tribute Anthology because it was based on the 1984 cult classic horror movie. It's been a long time since I've seen the movie so I didn't remember it well. I got this book because I've read a lot of the authors in it before and Crystal Lake Publishing puts out some awesome horror anthologies. I also loved the idea that it included interviews with a couple of the people who worked on the C.H.U.D. movie. It felt like a love letter to people who never forget the horror films they grew up watching. For the record if you love 80's pop culture this book has a lot of references to the 1980's which was a great decade for horror.

One of my favorites of the 19 stories in this book was Strange Gods by Christopher Fulbright and Angeline Hawkes. There's a new religion in the sewers of New York. They worship two gods named Gog and Magog who bring purpose and purity to some but a vicious death to others. I love the concept of people trying to find meaning in a city where homeless people are getting eaten by monsters. I enjoyed the religious references here and the will to survive of the non-believers and how the non-believers come across as normal compared to the ones who started a new religion.

Another good one was Lost And Found by Greg Mitchell. This one is about a Grandpa taking his granddaughter to New York to visit her uncle just before the C.H.U.D's wreak havoc in the city. This story deals with themes of redemption and standing up against the things you fear the most. For a short story it makes a great point on the importance of family and deals with both a physical horror with the C.H.U.D.'s and the psychological fear of abandonment and feeling powerless.

Samsa's Party by Ben Fisher was another one that stuck out for me. This one is about a man whose back has been against the wall his whole life and recently he's been living in the sewer. Things get worse though as people in the sewer go missing and the ones left are changing into something horrible. What I loved in this one was how so much depth is given to the homeless people before they become victims to what lurks in the darkness. Monstrous Me by Martin Powell is in the same vein. It's told in a diary format and follows the story of a woman who is slowly changing from human into a C.H.U.D. I loved how the change happened as the main character loses her taste for food and craves human flesh instead. The author makes you care for this person and then you watch her slowly loose her mind and become a monster.

Reading C.H.U.D. Lives! is like reading a 1980's horror movie if that was possible. Even the stories I thought were mediocre were still a lot of fun to read. Each story seemed to have heroes that had a lot of depth to them while the C.H.U.D.s came across as the ultimate unstoppable horror. In a world of vampire and zombie anthologies this book stands above the rest by being based on a movie that many people probably don't remember. This book is a must read for hard-core horror fans.
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review 2017-12-18 06:40
Little help
Tribute Act - Joanna Chambers

This is book #8, in the Porthkennack series.  This title can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment and understanding of the series, I always recommend reading the series books in order.


Mack & Nathan have a hot history.  One that they agreed they would keep private.  Mack is already under the weather and needs to recuperate without added stress.  Only he wants to be more with Nathan and does not know how.


Nathan is really needing to move on.  For right now, he helps a man who he wants to keep.  Only he promised to keep things simple.  Can he convince his new roomy that complicated is better?


This was such a sweet story.  Unexpectedly light in some parts, I really felt the story deeply.  I sure hope we see these characters again.  Compelling for more than one reason, this book is a sure win!  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!



***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-02-06 09:58
Nüchterne Brutalität einer Zukunftsvision mit ausbleibenden Tiefgang und wenig Reflektion
Die Tribute von Panem: Tödliche Spiele - Sylke Hachmeister,Peter Klöss,Hauptmann Hauptmann Kompanie,Suzanne Collins

Meine Meinung:

Bei den vielen schon existierenden Rezensionen spare ich mir eine Inhaltsangabe und Coveranalyse. Ich denke, dazu gibt es genügend schon Geschriebenes. Deswegen beschränke ich mich darauf, was ich beim Lesen einfach empfunden habe.

Natürlich ist mir die Thematik schon bekannt, kenne ich die Panem-Trilogie aus den Medien, habe sie aber noch nicht gelesen und die Filme auch (noch) nicht geschaut. Nach langem Aufschieben habe ich mich nun an diese Trilogie gewagt und das erste Band gelesen. Bei so einem gehypten Buch habe ich natürlich hohe Erwartungen, die ich leider nicht wirklich erfüllt sehe. Die Geschichte ist erschreckend nüchtern erzählt und wird dadurch brutal, ohne großer verbaler Raffinesse oder Spitzfindigkeit – trotzdem lässt es sich schnell und leicht lesen.

Gleich zu Beginn habe ich mich mit der Ich-Erzählperspektive im Präsens sehr schwer getan. Bei dieser Erzählform habe ich immer das Gefühl, zu wenig Tiefe und Gefühl zu erleben – vor allem, wenn die Perspektiven nicht zwischen den Protagonisten wechseln. Und dem war auch so. Auch wenn Katniss durch die Ich-Erzählung oft im inneren Dialog steht, empfinde ich sie als sehr oberflächlich und habe nicht wirklich eine greifende Beziehung zu ihr aufbauen können. Katniss ist mir auch etwas ambivalent. Einerseits ist sie ein toughes Mädchen, andererseits aber doch ziemlich unsicher, abgestumpft und oft auch einfach naiv. Gale und Peeta bleiben mir beide doch zu verschlossen, denn durch die Erzählperspektive kann ich sie schlecht greifen, und das finde ich sehr schade.


Erst im zweiten Teil des Buches, als die Tribute in der Arena sind, passt der Erzählstil etwas besser, obwohl mir dann Katniss’ Naivität vor allem gegenüber Peeta und seinen Gefühlen teilweise richtig auf die Nerven ging. Richtig Zuneigung konnte ich erst aufbauen, wenn Rue – ein Tributmädchen das mir direkt sympathisch war – erwähnt wurde. Das ging mir sehr unter die Haut und diese Passagen waren die einzige Möglichkeit mit Katniss mehr mit empfinden zu können – mal wirklich einen kleinen Einblick in ihre Seele zu bekommen.


Es ist eine schon sehr verstörende Zukunftsvision: Die Menschheit wird durch viele Kriege untereinander sehr abgestumpft sein und die Belustigungen des Volkes werden immer derber und brutaler. Fast, als wären wir im Römischen Reich, als sich die Gladiatoren gegenseitig die Köpfe eingeschlagen haben.


Suzanne Collins spielt aber meiner Meinung nach auf die erschreckende Entwicklung des medialen Voyeurismus in unserer heutigen Gesellschaft an und ist mit ihrer Vision gar nicht mal so weit entfernt: Was haben wir damals vor fast 30 Jahren aufgeschrien, als ein niederländischer Fernsehsender profilneurotische Menschen in einen Container gesteckt hat. Seit längerer Zeit müssen B-Promis dann in einem Dschungel vermeintlich um ihr Überleben kämpfen. Und heute schauen sich die Jugendlichen mit Vorliebe auf YouTube Videos an, in denen sich nicht nur irgendwelche Typen vermöbeln, sondern auch Filme von echter Kriegsgewalt, Erschiessungen und Quälerei.


Es hat mich aber auch gestört, dass Katniss die gesamten Umstände so schulterzuckend angenommen hat. Oft betet sie sich wie ein Mantra vor, dass sie so handeln muss, um dem Kapitol und den Zuschauern zu gefallen. Da war keine Rebellion – auch keine innere – gegen das Regime und die grausamen Spiele. Auch, als sie selber getötet hat, war kaum Gefühlsregung zu merken, kaum innere Reflektion.


Trotzdem fand ich insgesamt die Geschichte ganz interessant und möchte gerne die weiteren Bände lesen, in der Hoffnung, dass da noch mehr kommt. Aber es war für mich jetzt nicht der „Burner“ der mich vom Hocker gerissen hat. Da habe ich schon bessere Bücher gelesen. Ich würde das Buch auf keinen Fall als Jugendbuch bezeichnen, und meine Tochter bekommt es erst mit 16.

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