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review 2017-12-14 22:21
First fiction by Baldwin.
Go Tell It On the Mountain - James Baldwin

First he wrote, and first I've read, though I did read The Fire Next Time and Notes of a Native Son previously.

 

As with his non-fiction, the man's ability to put together a perfect sentence, and then string those sentences together into a heart-stoppingly beautiful paragraph, and then do it again is never not going to amaze me. Same with his insight and how he can pin characters like insects and examine their make up to the minutest level. Everything he says about people feels true to people I've known, even though I've known exactly zero black evangelicals in the 1900s. Someone could probably say something keen about how universal the specifics are, and that someone would probably be Baldwin, it isn't me.

 

The structure felt a little unbalanced, and I would have liked the last act to be a little longer. We start out following the life of a boy living in New York, then after getting to know him flashback to his parents' generation for most of the rest of the book. What we learn informs how everyone was acting in the first part, but then it never really comes back around and the conclusion is left open (which may be the point). However, each section was very strong on its own merits. I'd like to read at least the first section again to see how it all fit together.

 

Did anyone else think that the main character had a major crush on the male youth minister? Or was that just me reading in that it was semi-autobiographical?

 

I'd like to read more of Baldwin's fiction, but am less interested in Sad Gays than I probably should be. Anyone have recs?

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review 2017-12-12 17:49
Action and romance
Mountain Wolf Protectors Complete Series: Books 1 - 4 - Emilia Hartley

The Mountain Wolf Protectors is a continuing story, divided between four books. Each book does resolve the immediate conflict, but there is a looming threat that continues through each book until the conclusion of the last book. Nova and Amara's story did hold my interest throughout the series and the story is full of action and a building tension with a rival pack. The action scenes are exciting and fast-paced with plenty of detail to draw the reader in. I did wonder why the big bad wasn't dealt with when the opportunity arose, rather than that part of this tale continuing for so long and Amara's stalker, while creepy, was pretty obvious.
Amara and Nova are completely devoted to each other and the author shows this quite well in their fierce determination to defend each other. However, the intimate scenes between them felt a bit rushed and almost gratuitous.
There are a few grammatical errors scattered throughout the books, but not so many as to be a big distraction. Overall, the story is an interesting read and kept me turning pages to see where Nova and Amara's romance would go.

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text 2017-12-06 02:21
Reading progress update: I've read 86 out of 176 pages.
Go Tell It On the Mountain - James Baldwin

There's a long section where one of the characters has been invited to join a group of church elders for dinner, all men he doesn't know well. It's a huge honour, but he's uneasy at the dinner, and then one of them tells a rape joke about one of the serving women, who was gang raped as a girl (and everyone knows it).

 

Everyone at the table roared, but Gabriel felt his blood turn cold that God’s ministers should be guilty of such abominable levity, and that that woman sent by God to comfort him, and without whose support he might already have fallen by the wayside, should be held in such dishonour. They felt, he knew, that among themselves a little rude laughter could do no harm; they were too deeply rooted in the faith to be made to fall by such an insignificant tap from Satan’s hammer. But he stared at their boisterous, laughing faces, and felt that they would have much to answer for on the day of judgment, for they were stumbling-stones in the path of the true believer.

Now the sandy-haired man, struck by Gabriel’s bitter, astounded face, bit his laughter off, and said: ‘What’s the matter, son? I hope I ain’t said nothing to offend you?’

‘She read the Bible for you the night you preached, didn’t she?’ asked another of the elders, in a conciliatory tone.

‘That woman,’ said Gabriel, feeling a roaring in his head, ‘is my sister in the Lord.’

‘Well, Elder Peters here, he just didn’t know that,’ said someone else. ‘He sure didn’t mean no harm.’

‘Now, you ain’t going to get mad?’ asked Elder Peters, kindly—yet there remained, to Gabriel’s fixed attention, something mocking in his face and voice. ‘You ain’t going to spoil our little dinner?’

‘I don’t think it’s right,’ said Gabriel, ‘to talk evil about nobody. The Word tell me it ain’t right to hold nobody up to scorn.’

‘Now you just remember,’ Elder Peters said, as kindly as before, ‘you’s talking to your elders.’

‘Then it seem to me,’ he said, astonished at his boldness, ‘that if I got to look to you for a example, you ought to be a example.’

‘Now, you know,’ said someone else, jovially, ‘you ain’t fixing to make that woman your wife or nothing like that—so ain’t no need to get all worked up and spoil our little gathering. Elder Peters didn’t mean no harm. If you don’t never say nothing worse than that, you can count yourself already up there in the Kingdom with the chosen.’

And at this a small flurry of laughter swept over the table; they went back to their eating and drinking, as though the matter were finished.

 

Depressing how little the culture has changed.

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text 2017-12-01 01:59
not for me
An Amish Courtship on Ice Mountain - Kel... An Amish Courtship on Ice Mountain - Kelly Long

Martha was nineteen years old and Amish from a poor family. She took care of her ninety

Martha was nineteen years old and Amish from a poor family. She took care of her ninety year old grandmother Ester and her aged and sick parents. The winter days were long in the cabin, Judah has been pursuing Martha since she was sixteen but Martha wants nothing to do with him as something about him makes Martha cold in her soul. Martha found she sometimes had to get out of the cabin tonight was one of the nights and she went to the creek to bath even though winter. Martha jumped  naked into the creek Unknown to Martha at first That Judah’s brother Joel was there. Joel couldn’t sleep and Judah was cruel and Joel slipped out of the house to get away from Judah and his anxious mother. Joel really missed his dad . . The moon called to Joel and he had headed to the creek and then he saw Martha naked in the creek. Joel had tried to walk away and fell and Martha had thought it was Judah until she got out and fell also and then realized it was Joel. Joel ended up carrying Martha home. Martha was upset and said it wasn’t right Joel had seen her but Joel told her “ it was dark”. Then Joel kisses Martha and it was her first kiss ever. After seeing Martha naked and then kissing her Joel knew he had to do the honorable thing and ask Martha to court with him. All Joel could think about was Martha and the same for her but Martha didn’t believe she was good enough for Joel. When Martha was on the way out to the barn to get the eggs from the hens Judah stepped out and grabbed her arm and he wouldn’t let go Martha knew she would have bruises. She reminded Judah she had told him that he was not to come around her home anymore. Judah claimed Martha had hexed him and would not lift the spell and Martha told Judah he was crazy he then slapped her in her face and Martha would have fallen if Judah didn’t have such a strong grip on her arm. Martha knew the dark bishop support Judah’s claim of Martha being a witch.  Judah was determined to marry Martha. Martha can’t believe how cruel Judah can be.

I didn’t really care for this book. Of all the Amish fiction I have never read of them going on about witches and dark bishops. Also Judah’s cruelty would have been noticed and stopped or he would have been shunned  as far as I have read. I did love Martha and Joel together. I didn’t feel this book was really realistic. The violence in this also surprised me and not especially in a good way. This definitely had a different slant to it. But this wasn’t for me. But I am sure someone will really enjoy this.

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review 2017-11-09 22:37
Out of the park home run!
Gods of Howl Mountain: A Novel - Taylor ... Gods of Howl Mountain: A Novel - Taylor Brown

Wow! Just wow!  Brown has penned a masterpiece this time. I enjoyed his last book, "River of Kings", but this one....wow!  His ability to describe a scene; the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and even the "aura" is incredible.  You cannot read this and not feel that you are there, in the mountains of North Carolina in the 1950's. The character development is strong and convincing. The moonshiners, the lawmen, the church members, the healers.  The suspense, the violence, the coming of age romances. The mystical, magical character of Granny is especially strong. And the plot is so believable and flows along at such a rapid rate that you cannot put the book aside, but find that you have to take breaks, otherwise you may find yourself actually swept away in the maelstrom!  Super highly recommend this book!

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