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review 2018-04-19 05:23
New beginnings
Four Ways to Forgiveness - Ursula K. Le Guin

These are four loosely connected but independent short stories set at the start of Yeowe's independence from Werel, after 30 years of revolutionary war. They are the stories of people as different as they can possibly come, coming to terms. With loss, with cultural differences, with a place in society, with the past. They are all also big on starting anew. And, of course, feminism. The right to freedom, to a voice, to vote, to an education, to not be raped. These are all discussed and are an important part of the book, given the planet's recent upheaval and it's heavy history of slavery and male-dominated environment.

 

I found it bittersweet and lovely, and ended up with a huge bunch of quotes saved and a lump in my throat that I know not what to do with. There is so much wrong with this planet, so much hurt, and yet... it is so hopeful. I guess forgiveness is a kind of hope. Another chance. Much like love; another thing that permeates the book and is ever-present in every story.

 

I have closed it, as so many stories close, with a joining of two people. What is one man’s and one woman’s love and desire, against the history of two worlds, the great revolutions of our lifetimes, the hope, the unending cruelty of our species? A little thing. But a key is a little thing, next to the door it opens. If you lose the key, the door may never be unlocked. It is in our bodies that we lose or begin our freedom, in our bodies that we accept or end our slavery. So I wrote this book for my friend, with whom I have lived and will die free.

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review 2018-04-13 15:58
A Crown of Bitter Orange (La Vie en Roses Book 3) - Laura Florand

Tristan is the youngest of the Rosiers and he is known as the fun loving guy, always ready with a smile and to brighten people's day. Malorie is from a rival perfume family that is almost extinct and she has come back to France to handle her recently deceased grandmother's property. Malorie and Tristan have known each other since they were in grade school together. Tristan has had feelings for her his whole life but when she up and disappeared after graduation he wasn’t sure he would ever see her again. She has made something of her life and has tried to put her family’s shame behind her but now being home is bringing back dreams she didn’t realize she had - to resurrect her family’s legacy in the perfume world. When Tristan walks back into her life things are a bit rocky but Tristan sees it as the opportunity to finally win her. She finds it hard to believe Tristan’s sincerity because of her family’s history, but he is persistent and works his way back into her heart. The problem lies with the fact that he is keeping a pretty big secret from her and when she finds out she can’t help but think of how her father treated her mother. I enjoyed their story a lot, it was sweet and romantic, steady, and well-developed.  Tristan is such an easy kind of guy to like; his personality really jumps off the page. The cousins are such fun male-leads and the setting is romance personified. Great books, easy to get engrossed in, and I like that there are more in the series. So delicious.

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review 2018-04-08 17:27
Excellent storytelling!
The Keeper's Crown - Nathan D. Maki

The story of the biblical, Paul of Tarsus, particularly his final years as a prisoner of Rome waiting to be seen by Nero and the fictional account of the soldier who guarded him, in this case a Roman called Quintus whose family has fallen from favor due to a childhood incident involving a younger Nero and Quintus.

 

 

I totally loved this book! It was very well written and engaging. The author certainly did his homework. It's funny too, because I just watched the movie, "Paul, the Apostle of Christ", so it was easy to picture what was going on.

 


Wonderful story of redemption, courage, and faith in a time when being a Christian was a death sentence. Highly recommended! Keeping this author in my "must read" list.

 

5 stars and a favorite

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review 2018-04-03 18:20
Less-than-satisfying conclusion to the “Small Change” series
Half a Crown - Jo Walton

Jo Walton’s “Small Change” trilogy is a challenging one to classify.  Her previous novels in the series, and , easily fit a number of genres – alternate history, murder mystery, suspense novel thriller – without entirely being defined by any one of them.  This book, the final novel in her series, is no different.  Less a murder mystery than a political thriller, it takes her concept of a Britain descending towards fascism and moves it a decade into the future.  By 1960, Britain has been ruled by politician-turned-dictator Mark Normanby for a decade.  Jews and other perceived undesirables are frequently rounded up and sent for disposal to the Continent, where the Nazis have triumphed in their long-running war against the Soviets.  Most Britons have accepted fascist rule, with a police force that now regularly tortures suspects, and a body called the Watch which serves as a domestic Gestapo, and have even come to believe it to be beneficial. Peter Carmichael, the former Scotland Yard inspector turned secret policeman, runs a clandestine organization that struggles to help rescue people when possible, but he is faced with the twin challenge of a potential coup by the Duke of Windsor and the discovery of his secret life by his ward Elvira Royston, the orphaned daughter of his former police partner.

 

As with the other volumes, Walton develops her story by alternating between the first-person account of the naive Elvira and a third person narrative focusing on Carmichael.  Yet there is no great mystery in this volume but a dual plot focusing on the emergence of the totalitarian “Ironsides” movement and Elvira’s growing exposure with the realities of her world.  Without the mystery, the emphasis is on suspense, yet Walton comes up short here.  While she implies that her alternate Britain is a terrifying place, little of this seems to come out in the novel itself.  Instead, everything seems almost laughably tame, from a secret policeman who is astonishing indiscreet and easily caught unawares to a underground coup that is hardly anything to fear.  All of this saps the suspense from the story, making it a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion to an otherwise enjoyable and well-realized series.

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text 2018-03-01 15:20
February - Black History Month Reads #readsoullit
His Secret Son (The Westmoreland Legacy) - Brenda Jackson
Thuggz Valentine (Wahida Clark & David Weaver Presents) - Wahida Clark
Rumors - A.C. Arthur
Revealed (The Rumors Series, Book 2) - A.C. Arthur
Taming Her Billionaire (Knights of Los Angeles) - Yahrah St. John
Games Women Play - Zaire Crown
Her Secret Life - Tiffany L. Warren
Down by Law (Throwback Diaries) - Ni-Ni Simone
Way Too Much Drama (Kimani Tru) - Earl Sewell
Real As It Gets (Rumor Central) - ReShonda Tate Billingsley

I had a wonderful reading month in February. I read 11 books! I haven't read eleven books in one month in ages. I decided to participate with fellow bookstagrammers and read only black books this month. Here are my ratings;

 

 

4 stars

 

His Secret Son by Brenda Jackson

 

Thuggz Valentine by Wahida Clark

 

Revealed by A.C. Arthur

 

Games Women Play by Zaire Crown

 

Her Secret Life by Tiffany L. Warren

 

Way Too Much Drama by Earl Sewell

 

Real As It Gets by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

 

 

3 Stars

 

Rumors by A.C. Arthur

 

Taming Her Billionaire by Yahrah St. John

 

Down by Law by Ni-Ni Simone

 

 

All these books I requested from the publishers at Netgalley.com in exchange for review.

 

 

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