Book Review: Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter

Knox of Iviland, the most ruthless warrior in All War history, has spent his life fighting others to the death, winning new realms for his king. Now the stakes are higher than ever. If he prevails in the battle for Earth, his slave bands will be removed. Victory is his sole focus…until he meets her.

On an arctic getaway with her foster sister, street tough but vulnerable Vale London is shocked to stumble upon a cave filled with ancient gods waging epic combat. When she is inadvertently drawn into their war, she is forced to team up with an unlikely ally—the sexy god who makes her burn with desire.

Though Vale is his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can triumph, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.

 

So, I’m actually really excited to bring this book review. I haven’t been on my reading game lately. Since finding out that I’m pregnant, also being in school, and dealing with everything that goes along with both of those, I haven’t had the time to read like I used to. Also the reason I haven’t uploaded many reviews.

This all changed when I made a quick stop in the book section of Walmart. I got home, watched TV and procrastinated for hours and finally, around 11pm, I decided to start reading. Why do I do this? WHY!?!?

I literally stayed up until 6am the next morning. Every time I would say “ok just one more chapter” I would get drawn back in and end up reading even more. So…480 pages later and I happily put the book down.

I love this new idea! Shadow and Ice is the first book in the Gods of War series and I need the next book now. I loved the main characters. I loved the banter. I loved the main character and how she’s so fierce. She’s super extra. I can also see the way the other books in the series will come about. One thing that did bother me a bit is the amount of info dumping in the first few chapters. Like, I know that there’s so much to uncover when creating a new world or a new species (etc) but man, it was enough for me to right it down in my little notebook. On the other hand, it could just be me being very…sensitive. Who knows? I will say, don’t let that turn you away as clearly I continued on and enjoyed the book.

 

shadow and ice

 

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readdance,
Jade

Link to Book

 

This book is paranormal/fantasy romance!

Book Review: Them Bones by Carolyn Haines

No self-respecting lady would allow herself to end up in Sarah Booth’s situation. Unwed, unemployed, and over thirty, she’s flat broke and about to lose the family plantation. Not to mention being haunted by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her sorry state–or to suggest a plan of action, like ransoming her friend’s prize pooch to raise some cash.

But soon Sarah Booth’s walk on the criminal side leads her deeper into unladylike territory, and she’s hired to solve a murder. Did gorgeous, landed Hamilton Garrett V really kill his mother twenty years ago? And if so, what is Sarah Booth doing falling for this possible murderer? When she asks one too many questions and a new corpse turns up, she is suddenly a suspect herself…and Sarah Booth finds that digging up the bones of the past could leave her rolling over in her grave.

 
Heya!!

So I felt really bad. Past tense. I saw a suggestion for this book and quickly requested it from the library. I preceded to keep the book for a month and a half. Started accruing library fees and I didn’t even realize it. At the time, we’d just moved from the old apartment and I thought I had packed all the library books in the same box. Not true.

Anyway, so by the time I found it and opened it, I already had an $8 library fine. YIKES! So, of course I thought, I might as well read it now. I practically own it.

So I did. And it was glorious. I was so happy with this book that I read it all in one day. Well into the night. I then looked up the sequel to request. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn it in for three more days. ARGH!

 

thembones

 

So basically, I really liked it. I liked the character development, the mystery, the coziness (har har har) and the pacing. I’m a big fan of cozy mysteries and I didn’t know it! I like to giggle and sense suspense at the same time. Who knew?

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readdance,
Jade

Link To Book

First Attempt at Creative NonFiction

This is a school assignment. I love, love, LOVE, taking writing courses. Anyway, I’ve never written creative nonfiction before and so here is a piece that I wrote about the night Tony and I first met. It’s my first try at it so don’t ream me just yet!

Let me know what you guys think!

 

Creative Nonfiction: Unexpected Love

 

I walked in the door of my favorite writing cafe. It’s walls covered in abstract art, a fake tree stretching up to the dark ceiling, outlets and extension cords scattered around tiny tables.

I remember many hours spent sitting at those tables, laptop out, notebook open, pen ready and cup of coffee getting cold.

Tonight was different. I had another agenda. Ask out the barista I saw on a daily basis. The storybook-prince one with the dark mop of hair, smiling eyes and olive skin. I was so sure, if I actually worked up the courage to ask, that he would say yes.

I looked around at the dimly lit faces, turned toward the stage with wide eyes and listening ears. Music blaring, a sweet twill of an acoustic guitar. Sweet smells of seared chicken paninis, roasted cherry tomatoes and spilled IPA beer; I nearly changed my mind. I had completely forgotten that it was Talent Tuesday, or that it was tuesday at all. I couldn’t turn around, not then, I’d already been spotted by the many faces. Not that they mattered. In the least, I’d gotten dressed up for the occasion; picked my fro big and voluptuous, put on makeup for the first time in months and wore my prettiest dress.

Back then, I’d been an avid wearer of wedges and I had picked my highest pair just for this occasion.

I walked up to the counter, wallet in shaking hands, and gave him my sweetest smile. He looked hairied, apron askew and locks tousled. He took my order quick, jabbing at the buttons on the screen and tilting his head sideways.

“It’s so busy, I’m sorry. We’ll talk later,” he said. I beamed at this, nodded understandingly and turned to claim a seat at the bar.

I swiveled on my chair and made eye contact with a man stepping off stage. Dark brown skin, muscles pulling tight on his shirt, long strong arms. He removed his guitar and smiled at me. I blinked shyly but didn’t want to look around, hoping that smile was for me. And it was. Those eyes twinkled as he wove his way around tables and I couldn’t tell if it was from excitement of the night or the lighting.

“Wow, you are beautiful, and that hair…” he said as he came to stand right in front of me, his grin grew brighter, if that was possible. I blushed.

At first, I thought this was just a line to get me to talk to him but as the years have gone by, I’ve come to realize he just really loves black girls with natural curls. Always with his hands in it, admiring the way it curls when wet and bounces when pulled.

“Thank you,” I forced out, immediately reaching up to fluff the curls around my shoulders. I sat up a bit straighter, shoulders back, spine a little more stiff.

I snuck a look at the barista, hoping he didn’t see me talking to another guy, not wanting to ruin my chances at a date before I’d even asked. He was unbothered, flitting around behind the counter on dancers feet, as he usually did. Graceful, knees slightly bent, quickly bouncing from panini press to counter to press to coffee maker and back to counter again. He called out a name and the girl who stood just in front of him jumped and dashed out a hand as if surprised to hear her own name. I giggled.

“What’s your name?” the man in front of me asked. I turned back to him and was swept up in deep brown eyes, glistening under the bar top light. I attempted to push my shoulders back further, and boobs forward.

“Jade, yours?”

“Tony Frenzy.”

His stage name, I later found out, but I have called him Tony ever since.

We talk for a while over the hum of live music, chatting about life, the cafe and his music set. He tells me about the coincidence of how he was supposed to be at another cafe, playing with his crew and I tell him I was actually supposed to be working but figured the job was a scam, so I quit. We laughed.

We’d talk more about this later.

On my second beer, I fumble the first bottle and it falls off the counter, thankfully to clatter and not shatter. I laugh awkwardly, am I tipsy or just nervous? He smiles at me as I bend to pick up the bottle and he helps to clean up the mess my clumsy hands have made. It’s that icebreaker, tension breaker, we didn’t know we needed.

We stood close, two people, somehow ending up in the same place, at the same time, on accident. It baffles how the night had unfolded. Him, resolving to play a set by himself and me finally stepping out of my box to ask out a cute cafe barista.

“Do you want to go get cheesesteak?” He finally asks. “It’s a bit loud in here and I want to keep talking to you.” The last part he almost whispers and I lean forward either to hear or to get a little bit closer.

My self-preservation has taken a day off and I say yes. I’ve never had cheesesteak before and had no idea what it was. I still wanted to go, wanted to get to know this guy just a bit more. Barista forgotten, I gather my purse, and don’t look back as he leads me to the door.

Into the night with him I went. Into a new life with my soulmate.

 

 

Third Rule of Book Club: Be…

Our second meeting went monumentally better than the first one. We got to sit and chat about last months book, which gave everyone thoughts of forgiveness, strength, and hope. The next book was chosen and it’s one that I’ve read before. I’m happy about this because I get to share a book I really liked with others.

Not only that, we needed something different this go around. We’ve had miscarriage, abortion, bad parenting, strength, divorce and a host of other strenuous topics. I’m glad we got to choose a good old fashioned psychological thriller.  We need a break from life. For most, reading does that for us. I definitely don’t want to spend all of my time reading tough and emotionally triggering books.

So…Our September book is:

Invisible

by James Patterson and David Ellis

Have you read this book? Did you like it? Hate it? Learn from it? Leave a comment below! If you haven’t, feel free to join us this month and in the end for the discussion.

 

Invisible

Everyone thinks Emmy Dockery is crazy. Obsessed with finding the link between hundreds of unsolved cases, Emmy has taken leave from her job as an FBI researcher. Now all she has are the newspaper clippings that wallpaper her bedroom, and her recurring nightmares of an all-consuming fire.
Not even Emmy’s ex-boyfriend, field agent Harrison “Books” Bookman, will believe her that hundreds of kidnappings, rapes, and murders are all connected. That is, until Emmy finds a piece of evidence he can’t afford to ignore. More murders are reported by the day-and they’re all inexplicable. No motives, no murder weapons, no suspects. Could one person really be responsible for these unthinkable crimes?

Link to Book

Writing From Memory

One of the new things I’ve read about, in my CW book so far, is writing from memory, short and long term. Writing from your own thoughts, and memories, can allow you to speak from your own voice and avoid the foreign ‘writerly tone’ some use to meet a reader’s expectations.

One prompt, in the book, said to take a very small memory (nothing extravagant or life altering) and write it down. Start with the words: “I don’t know why I remember…” and just let the words flow. Below is my first attempt at the writing prompt. Enjoy!

 

I Don’t Know Why I Remember

I don’t know why I remember the car ride Tony and I took back when he lived in Davenport. We were in the old, rust red Camry, pulling over at a gas station smack in the middle of nowhere. Half afraid to get out of the car and half excited to just be. Despite his complaints, I bought a bag of sunflower seeds. One empty cup, that hung out with the rest of the rubbish at our feet, worked as a spit cup and clutched companion. The weather is perfect. Florida weather. Weather we moved here for.

A thick breeze blows by and I dangle one hand out the window, wrist bent backwards, fingers flapping like a rubber glove. Our inside joke. I giggle and he looks over with a special shine to his eyes. He gaffs, and laughs at the sight, before his eyes briefly meet mine. It’s happy here, in this place of in between. The jilt of the car, sweetness of new love and the crack of the seed’s shell between my teeth.

It feels like home.

 

Second Rule of Book Club is to not….

Lose confidence!

So the next book for the club has been chosen! This one I’m on the fence about. On one hand, I don’t want to read anything religious about loss or traumatic experiences. As someone who has been through serious ones, with my pregnancy losses, I try to steer clear of anything that is going to give me THE SOLUTION to all my woes. As if all of my emotions, thoughts and sufferings can be boxed up and solved with one well timed mantra.

On the other hand, I want to delve deep and see if it could really help me, you know? I could always use a confidence boost. As someone who went through the feelings of shame and feeling less than as a woman, I could definitely gain a bit of ‘I’m A Badass”. I could also get a different vibe from the book entirely. I want to see if there’s a possibility I could get some healing, some peace. Maybe someone else learned something I have yet to discover. I couldn’t turn away the chance that it might actually heal my soul.

The next book, for August, is From Chaos to Confidence by Dr. Joyvina Evans. Have you read this book? Did you like it? Hate it? Learn from it? Leave a comment below! If you haven’t, feel free to join us this month and in the end for the discussion.

 

from chaos to confidence
August 2018

Have you ever wondered why you had to experience traumatic difficulties in your life? Do you currently struggle to identify how you can bounce back from these unfortunate circumstances you were left to deal with? Do you wonder how you can obtain confidence and strength after facing difficulties?

Get ready to examine your life and learn to never be ashamed of your story, past hurts, and traumatic experiences, because God can use it to inspire others. Get ready to release shame from past hurts and mistakes, strengthen your confidence, and start accomplishing the will of God for your life

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

I believe this is one of the best books I’ve read in a really long time (and that’s saying a lot because I’ve read so many in the last few months). I have really been branching out and trying to read new genres and experience new things, as of late. You might say, this is not that different from what I’ve been reading but it is. I feel like, despite the fantastical elements of the book, I learned a lot. The main characters are scholars, academics. She’s a genius, and so is he.

I feel like the author didn’t throw the science in your face to the point where your eyes glaze over. I was extremely interested in the ‘science’ of being a paranormal creature. Someone actually studying their genealogy and how they came to be is so interesting to me. Often times,  when you are reading books that involve ‘creatures’ they are busy running or fighting or hiding or…sexing. Hardly ever do you come across a book where they are just ‘existing’. It’s superb to me.

discovery of witches

 

Another thing that really drew me in, as a woman, is that Diana is smart in her own right. She’s done the work to get to where she is and no one can take that away from her. I love that. LOVE THAT. I hate it when the mcm is super smart and rides in on his white horse and the mcf is just flimsy, debilitatingly terrified, one dimensional and couldn’t stack a set of bowls. I love that Diana studies, she ‘reads’, she’s intrigued and she is motivated. I also love the fact that when he shows her something, in his field, she does not understand she immediately asks why, how or says explain it to me. There’s no level of ‘pretend to understand’ or ‘bat the eyelashes’.

Don’t get me wrong. She still has that soft aspect about her. She cries, she feels, she ‘experiences’. She has so many layers and none of them take away from the fact that she’s smart. The way Harkness wrote her made me proud to be a woman. I don’t know if its because I also have designs to be a professor and feel like a kindred spirit to the scholar but I definitely found myself smiling the further into the book that I got.

I have already picked up the second book in the series. Like I said on a previous post, I liked this book so much that I didn’t really read any other books simultaneously. Don’t fear, I will stretch my time this go around but yes, I will be reading the second book. However, instead of writing a new review, I will probably come back and edit this one, at the bottom, and write a few thoughts. So stay tuned!

 

 

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

 

Link to Book

Book Club: First Meeting Woes

Hi all!

This was a tough one. I believe the first book club meeting always is. It’s often hard to get schedules on the same track and things on the right page for something that is so brand new. For us, we have such different genre preferences that a book club that is ‘fair’ will always ask for it’s members to be understanding, wanting to participate and willing to step outside of their comfort zones. Of course, despite these things being said in advance, you will always lose some one or ones.

Just think, some people aren’t willing to look outside of their own present wants and desires to be apart of something greater, something amazing that will benefit them greatly in the future. It’s not for everyone.

I’ve always loved being a part of an all women’s book club because I want to make more female friends. As we’ve seen, it’s hard to do that as an adult. Work, school, home; no matter your obstacle, I believe you should always take time out to do something you love to do and to find a platonic someone to do it with.

I need that. I am currently in school, striving to eventually get my master’s degree, revising my book to pitch later this month, beta reading, writing a piece for an anthology, working a new job and I’m also reading books for the other reviews I’m writing. Don’t forget to add on the fact that I just spent forever trying to find an apartment and finally we are moving in.

I need a break from life! Not only do I get to join a group that likes to read, I get to stop the craziness, grab a coffee and get to know people from different walks of life. I get to sit with like minded people and talk about books, authors, and our latest book mark finds. I love that! That’s why this means so much to me. It’s why I want it to work. If not, I’ll have to start all over.

If so…I’ll have to put out an ad “Nerd Friend Looking for Nerd Friend” and who knows what will come from that!

Good Readdance,
Jade

Readers Suggest: Books by Black Authors

So, I recently asked readers “What are some of your favorite books by AA (Black) authors?”

I had an out pouring of suggestions from multiple genres. I’m going to share some of those with you! Maybe you’ll find something that you like. Maybe you will find that ‘that one book from way back when’ you really liked is actually by an black author. Not that it changes your opinion of said book or that I want to make you ‘aware’ of anything…I just want to elevate, promote and excite the world about my community! Below are books that I have not yet read!

One thing that I thought was really crazy: I had more people sending me book suggestions in my ‘open’ book groups on Facebook than the ones for poc. Struck an odd bone to me.

Anyway! Here are a few that I thought were interesting…and a tiny snippet of their synopsis (from Amazon).
Fiction

The Inheritance Trilogy, by N. K. Jemisin (Epic Fantasy- name is almost like mine) Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king.

Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle (Fantasy/Horror): Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table… He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (YA): Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (Lit Fiction) Jojo is…trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

The Wedding Date, Jasmine Guillory (Romance): Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (Thriller/Crime): When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules–a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. He travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders–a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman–have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment.
NonFiction

Hunger by Roxanne Gay (Memoir): In her phenomenally popular essays…Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health.

The Color of Water by James McBride (Memoir): McBride retraces his mother’s footsteps and, through her searing and spirited voice, recreates her remarkable story

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison (Memoir/Dissertation? This one got a raving review!): America’s foremost novelist reflects on themes that preoccupy her work and dominate politics: race, fear, borders, mass movement of peoples, desire for belonging.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (Race Relations) At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document.

Memoir Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (Memoir): Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. I heard this one is great on audiobook because he narrates it himself!

 
Good Readdance,
Jade

Book Club Reviews: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Hi all!

We had our first book club meeting! It was great. I loved being able to grab a coffee, meet up with other readers and discuss things we all love. Here, you’ll see the difference between members. One, me, who disliked the book and one, the Chooser, who loved it.

I was not a fan of this book. There were too many triggers for me. It wasn’t just that. I also had issues with the plot structuring, the happenings of the actually story and many other things. That doesn’t mean there weren’t parts that I liked.

One of my favorite edited quotes from the book: “Everyone sees race, Lex…The only difference is who pretends not to.”- Moody, page 42.

To step away from any spoilers and to keep the eyes of fans from glazing over, I will just list my first and last impressions from notes I took while reading. First: boring, extraneous, unnecessary detailing, plot drug on, I just couldn’t get into it from the first 20 pages. Last: no sense of urgency, harrumph, did not want to finish.

Little Fires Everywhere
Now! From a book club member that loved the book: She wrote loads of notes and discussed many during the meeting. It was fantastic hearing if from the other side. That is what book clubs are about, right? Below are some fleating thoughts I gleaned from her notes and my responses to them. Enjoy!

Little Fires Everywhere….can add up to a big fire.

The book goes over the lack of parental support or understanding Judgey home environment.

Shaker Heights is no less racist than anyplace else. It only thinks it is. You can control diversity in society, but can you really change what is in people’s hearts? Can you? We try all the time but is it going to make a dent in divide? If it does, can we believe that it will last?

Unplanned pregnancy versus planned pregnancy does not define how wanted the baby is and you see one side of the difference in LFE. Some forget that just because you plan a child, does not mean that you want the child. Sadness is, that in LFE you find you might know a few people in this situation or that it may have been you. Everyone wants to be wanted. 

 

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Happy Readdance,

Jade

 

Link to Book