Mama Bleu’s Top 10 Reads!

It’s mother’s day my loves! This will be the first official one I celebrate as a mom, (my son was alive last year but too much of a baby to really celebrate WITH me). I haven’t done much with my mom in the past few years through sheer business, but this year I thought I’d squeeze in work and some bonding time with my mommy. While sharing a bit of my book blogging world with her.

So I gave her homework, pick 10 of your fave books and tell me why. Then do your hair and makeup so we can take pictures.

What she didn’t know was that the pictures were a bookish mother’s day photoshoot to go with this exact post!

I absolutely guessed at a bunch of these but my momma definitely surprised me with some of those she chose. (Momma Bleu’s got a thing for raunchy reads 🤣😂) Much like me it was hard to narrow down her list and if she could’ve she would’ve put them all on here.

Here are my mom’s top 10 favorite reads.

1. Harry Potter – If you know my mom then you’ve seen how she mangled this series. As her all time favorite read she has read the ink off the pages and read them to the point that they are falling apart. It’s for that reason that I bought myself an entirely separate set and have banned her from touching them. This series as a whole is why we don’t share books. I’m really passionate about that, but she loves them so much. I continue to buy her more harry potter themed items so getting a gift is always easy.

2. Clockwork Prince – This prequel series is another one of my mom’s favorites. Having read the entirety of the Shadowhunters series when the prequel came out she lost her mind. My mom is secretly a fan of Cassandra Clare and a not so secret fan of YA.

3. 50 Shades of Grey – If you haven’t noticed a theme my motheris big on series books. Probably where I get the habit from, so the entire 50 Shades franchise including Grey, are what she is referring to. My mother loved this series because it peeked into the raunchy world of BDSM. Even if it really didn’t. She actually followed the theme down a rabbit hole of new books and found some other reads that appear on the list.

4. A Discovery of Witches – I hadn’t realized my mom finished this series before me and even though she merged this with Shadow Hunters she actually recalled parts from the second book I hadn’t read yet and hates the TV show so I know we’re discussing the same thing. I personally love the TV show but that’s another conversation for another post. Momma Bleu picked this series for the magic of course.

5. The Bane Chronicles – This series may actually rival Harry Potter for my mom’s #1 spot. When this book came out she wouldn’t stop talking about it. That means it a great read. The Bane Chronicles is another perspective of the ShadowHunters world and as you know by now my momma is a Shadow Hunting fiend. I may start buyng her accessories from that series once I run out of Harry Potter stuff.

6. Night World – Not gonna pretend like I know much about this series, my mom absolutely loves it! I believe it’s an anthology, each book has three stories all about this secret world of magical beings called Night World. The series seems to deal a lot with what happens when they fall in love with humans. I may have to sit down and read it some day soon.

7. The Submissive – Momma Bleu found this series fresh off a 50 Shades bender, this raunchy read offers a more realistic look into the world of BDSM or so i’ve heard The story tells of Abby a librarian who soon becomes the submissive to the wealthy Nathaniel West. Tara Sue Mae’s Submissive Trilogy, set the tone for books of its genre and laid the foundation for books like 50 Shades to find their fan base.

8. The Training – The third and final book in the submissive trilogy. My mom reeeeeaaaaally enjoys this series. I’ll try not to give her jugemental side eyes since she’s allowed to read what she likes but. Watching her go into detail in the weird over sharey way mom’s like to do . I’ll pass on reading this one with her .

9. The Book of Life – My mom basically chose thee beginning or ends of series since i wouldn’t let her thrw hem all on there. That’s how we eneded up with the Book of Life I haven’t finished reading the All Souls trilogy just yet. But I plan to finish soon so mommy and me can have ourselves fun book chat

10. City of Lost Souls – This entire list could’ve been filled with Harry Potter and Shadow Hunters but what fun would that be? My mom’s second favorite series of all time, City of Lost Souls just so happened to be the book closest to the top of her bookshelf when I was pulling things from the shelves. Me and my mom have a secret book feud going because she wuldn’t let me read these when hey first came out. Now I don’t ever let her borrow my books, plus she has acid fingertips LOL

Check Out The Rest Of Our Bookish Mother’s Day Shoot W/ Momma Bleu!

What Books Would Make Your Mama’s Top 10? Leave A Comment Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Bleu’s Reviews: Queenie

An exploration into the psychological state of the black woman, this book was a love letter to every black and brown girl who isn’t sure where she fits in, is told to fit into a box,  is made to feel smaller so that others can feel better about themselves.  For every woman who can only find her value by spreading her legs, who cannot bare the intimate touch unless it’s in the midnight hours Queenie, is a testament that even though you’re broken healing is possible. That black girl magic is undefeated. 

I’m gonna start this review off by saying I thoroughly enjoyed the read. I can see a lot of similarities between myself and the main character, easily understandable as I myself am a black woman.

I’ve dealt with anxiety my entire life so watching Queenie unravel was like peeking into my own mind. Williams descriptions of what it feels like to be battling with stress, anxiety and depression, felt like reading a page from my own journals.

Her family was an interest blend of comedic relief and history. The matriarch and patriarch rooted in tradition holding the family together through prayer and sheer will. The auntie who knows it all and will tell you whether you ask or not. Your little cousins who you can still relate to even though your old enough to know better.

For me the grandma was one of my favorite parts of the story. A staple in every black family, Queenie’s grandmother reminded me very much of my grandma Josephine. The way she insisted on preparing a full course meal because someone asked for a snack. Her sassy quips about how she bathed, carried and nurtured Queenie as a baby and could still in her seasoned age do that and then some now if and when she chooses to. That fight and that spirit was Josephine in spades.

The strength that came from a lifetime of having to overcome devastation, a strength that only grows from being swallowed by darkness and fighting your back to sunlight. One that glows from within. We saw various stages of that in this book.

For that’s what Queenie did best. It was a love letter and testimonial to every woman who ever lost herself in the world. Directly speaking to black and brown girls who are often seen as accessories and not as people. 

Queenie as a character was frustratingly annoying, at times i wanted to climb into the book and take her phone, smack some sense into her and beat the asses of those who were wronging her. Sometimes i just wanted to give her a hug. There were so many similarities we shared and then some blaring differences that were kind of obvious.

I am 100% American so I won’t pretend to know what it feels like growing up in Europe, but I do know what it feels like to be well spoken black girl surrounded by white people. I shared Queenie’s frustrations when it came to her job, her insecurities over being black enough, especially when it came to dealing with her social anxieties, but that’s where it stops.

I am now about to descend on a four  paragraph rant about Queenie’s toxic relationships and co-dependency issues. Starting with Tom, now i’ve dated outside my race before. I was engaged and almost converted to Judaism for my high school sweetheart, a white kid from New York, who for lack of a better term was not my prince charming. So i completely understand not being prepared to navigate the world of biracial dating. My confusion however, comes into play when i really consider how she made it to 3 years with him.  I called his new blonde hair, blue-eyed replacement for Queenie on page 86 and then had to suffer until page 206 for her to figure it out. 

From the beginning of the book you can see that Tom although maybe not a hood and tiki torch kinda guy isn’t really the best equipped to be dating a woman of color. He frequently suggested that she alter her thinking whenever the commentary of racism came into discussion and frequently  allowed his family to disrespect her on countless ocassions. When he blamed her for the birthday party, I was pissed. I would’ve gone home and changed the ocks on the flat, he could’ve stayed with his racist family after that. But I am not Queenie.

The way she felt she needed to beg Tom to stay in her life, reminded me of my own relationship struggles and I hated her for it. The desperation and loneliness brought back memories I didn’t wish to revisit, I felt her sadness as if it were my own and yet Queenie lacked something in her that I couldn’t quite understand. 

Ted.Ted. Ted. better known as tweed glasses, I started my journey rooting for him, which shows how good my radar is. I imagined him in my head as a very attractive chocolate, Morris Chestnut type with hair, not sure how I missed he was white. I had been viewing him as a viable replacement for Ted, not realizing that this wouldn’t be one of those stories. I was still on board the Ted train by page 134 even after she gave him her cookies. After he started acting like a jerk, I thought more on him as a character, it’s strange how people’s perception is changed by experience. Ted post hook-up, gave me stalker, up to something vibes and I was right. I spent the entire second half of his section of the book screaming at Queenie, after realizing the good guy act was an act she still couldn’t walk away. Finding out he was married wasn’t enough, she continued to pine for him until he got her suspended from her job. Only to later find out after she finished therapy, his wife is pregnant. TED. IS. SCUM.

Queenie’s taste in men sucked. She just kept spreading her legs for anyone who bothered to talk her twice in the same week and the sex wasn’t even good. The long list of lovers, coupled with the unsafe way that she was racking them up for me was a clear cry for help. I’m all for mending a broken heart with a mind – blowing orgasm, but she wasn’t even being satisfied, which just seemed wasteful.

This last paragraph is all about Cassandra, the song “What About Your Friends?” by TLC  comes to mind when I think about Queenie’s frenemy. Cassandra reminds me of the friend you keep around because you haven’t figured out ya’ll aren’t friends yet. That she was able to loan Queenie some of her wealthy father’s money, did not excuse her for frequently verbal degrading Queenie under the pretense of friendly advise, it was clear she was jealous at how men found Queenie sexually attractive despite her low self-esteem. The gut-punch for Cassandra  and a moment I will live for forever, was when her gorgeous Guy, the mystery boyfriend she’d been boasting about turned out to be the sexually aggressive douchebag who landed Queenie in the clinic with bruising on her girly parts.

I didn’t care for this character at all. My issues with Cassandra was that she was a BITCH. But also she was just a disloyal friend. It seems like Queenie was only around to make her feel better about herself; the reality that someone she felt superior to could not only bed her “GUY” but also that he was unable to fulfill her sexually because he was busy being pleased elsewhere, was such a gut punch that her only recourse was to double down and move in with the cheater, abandoning Queenie in her time of need all while saying words that most people would fight over. That she had the nerve to come crawling back after he played her twice more  was really just to show how much Queenie had grown and changed thanks to therapy.

This book gave me so many feelings, it was a therapeutic journey from start to finish but I am so happy to be finished so I can get back to my fantasy novels. Candace has a new fan, love her work. Next book i read better have some magic in it though. 

What Was Your Favorite Part of Queenie? Leave A Comment Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Bleu’s Reviews: Fledgling

Where do I even begin with this book? I loved everything about it, the characters, the world we found ourselves experiencing, the culture of the Ina, the mystery and intrigue we as the reader’s got to unravel with Shori as she continued to find out who annihilated her families and who wanted her dead. It was a fast – paced, page turning read, which had me literally anxious from the middle of the book onward.

As is common with Octavia Butler, once she works you into her groove, after nestling you comfortably within the story, she cranks up the heat, raising the stakes and sending you careening to the end. All you can do is hold on tight and try not to miss anything important. 

Fledgling, was no different. 

From the beginning of the story you are immersed in a mystery. Told from the perspective of the main character, who has no memories of her life before Chapter One, the reader floats alongside Shori like an invisible symbiont. 

Imagine awakening in a cave, writhing in pain, blind, starving, with no knowledge of who you are and how you got there. 

That was the reality of Shori Matthews, the world’s first black Ina. The product of a series of genetic experiments to give daytime to the (vampire) species, random para-military style assaults left both sides of Shori’s immediate family decimated. 

As the lone survivor of these attacks she begins to learn about herself and the symbiotic relationship the Ina have with humans, she learns of who has been making attempts on her life as well as the lives of her loved ones and she fights to bring them to justice all while still trying to piece together her memory. More interestingly than anything is that she is by Ina standards a child and by human standards, an elder. 

Perception is everything

Everyone I discussed this book with prior to me reading, felt super uncomfortable about reading the story. I was told to beware the “pedo – vibes” from men, women and literary professors, fellow book bloggers, book enthusiasts and people who hadn’t made it beyond the back cover description. Anyone who could warn me about the sexual nature of the storyline did so in spades. 

Yet, for me that was a very minimal part of the story. The sexual nature of the Ina vampires mirrored the sexual nature of vampires in all other facets of storytelling. Some could argue that these vampires are even less sexual than their glittery counterparts, in that Myers franchise. As the book is billed as adult fiction and not YA fiction, i’ll allow it. 

I was so busy trying to figure out who was trying to kill Shori that I hadn’t paid attention to much of the sex alluded to in the book. Butler didn’t appear to spend too much time flushing that out. She was busy building on the character development, weaving clues into the storyline all while trying not to descend too deep into vampire lore. 

What we got was a finished work that I wish had a sequel. The Ina vampires is a world im dying to know more about. 

I could literally gush about this book forever, I truly enjoyed reading it. From start to finish this read like a murder mystery, who would want to murder all those people? As the mystery unfolds the underlying meaning of why it’s all happening aligns perfectly with Butler’s theme of race and identity. 

I lived for Shori/Renee and yes have thought of her as Shori Renee like that is her entire name. Every single last character in this book was written so well. I have no complaints.

My favorite part of the story would be the amount of effort put into the Ina culture. You can see how much care Octavia Butler put into evolving the vampire mythos into something new while still mirroring identifiable tropes so that the audience still understands that these are this world’s “vampires”.

This is definitely one of my favorites. It left me eager to read another book, which in my opinion is the mark of a great writer. Onto my next read! 

What Did You Think Of Fledgling? Leave A Comment Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

One Night In Miami, Sooo Did It Happen?

The February, 1964 fight between boxers Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston has gone down in history as one of the most memorable moments in boxing. The image of Clay standing over Liston’s unconscious body has been made into everything from T-shirts to coffee mugs. In the audience that night was Clay’s long time friend, Jim Brown, famed athlete in his own right. Brown, who announced the fight for his friend, had plans of debauchery in celebration of Clay’s new title of heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

The actual events of that night are unknown, but many have speculated and the new Amazon Prime release One Night In Miami, directed by Regina King and based on the playwright Kemp Powers’ production has reopened that discussion. The movie recreates and reimagines the events that occurred that night at the Hampton House Motel in Overtown, FL. The quartet, made up of boxer Cassius Clay, civil rights activist Malcolm X, singer and songwriter Sam Cooke, and Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown gathered together to celebrate Clay’s victory, however, the not so chance encounter becomes a much more serious discussion as the friends consider their careers, social justice, racial inequality, ideological differences, and the burdens and responsibilities they bear as public figures during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

One Night in Miami, was the debut play written by Kemp Powers, first performed in 2013 as a 90 minute, one-act play. The production won three LA Drama Critics Circle Awards, four NAACP Theatre Awards and the European premiere in London (2016) was the first dramatic portrayal of boxer Muhammad Ali, since his death that same year at the age of 74. Ali’s family gave their blessing to the production.

As far as movies go this one was an experience I’m happy to be part of, the movie itself was talked about in so much detail that i feel like my black card would’ve been revoked if I hadn’t watched it. On the other hand, it’s not really my usual request for cinema. I spent more time guessing at which parts were made up and which parts were rooted in truth.

I love history and period pieces but found this one a little hard to track. As a period drama, the movie draws from historical references to piece together the imagined conversations between four friends who also happen to be cultural icons. We see these larger than life figures in a new light as friends and brothers, but the movie for me left more questions than answers. Let’s take the four men chosen for example, how did they even come to be together.

Malcolm and Cassius were friends, but Malcolm X also served as Clay’s spiritual advisor. We see the two praying at the start of the movie, and it’s Malcolm who convinces Clay to convert to Islam. Originally assigned by the Nation of Islam (NOI), to recruit Clay (viewing it as an opportunity to draw more attention to the movement.) Malcolm was successful, and Clay converted to Islam following that night in Fl. Clay would later change his name to Muhammad Ali, and align himself with Elijah Muhammad after Malcolm X officially denounced the Nation in 1964. That effectively ended their friendship. So really can we call them friends?

Jim Brown was there to provide radio commentary, he’s the only one that made sense in being present. The NFL legend had planned a huge post-fight party, but Clay told Brown, he needed to talk. The film explores Brown’s decision to leave football in favor of acting, and he confides in Clay that he’s about to make his big-screen debut. Jim Brown seems to be there as peacemaker. He seems to get along with everyone and yet it’s clear he has his own feelings on things and makes them known.

I’m not sure how I feel about Sam Cooke’s role in the movie, or how he came to be involved with any of the other men. Cooke was commercially successful, and for the time period had a level of control over his career that was almost unheard. In the movie Brown points out that Cooke enjoys an autonomy that he and Clay do not, (as they physically perform based on white owners) and unlike Malcolm, Cooke has a real job, (being a political activist was not looked at as employment). Cooke wrote his own songs, owned the publishing rights to his work, and founded a record label that showcased Black artists. I learned more about Sam Cooke from this movie than I had from any history book, yet I didn’t find myself liking him. He seemed like the kind of person who was preoccupied with impressing people who could care less about him. Spending large amounts of money in establishments where he wasn’t even welcome to enter through the lobby. His feud with Malcolm which took up the bulk of the movie, seemed suspicious.

In fact the entire evening was strange, why would these four men, four presumed equals choose to hide out in a hotel room on the night of one of their greatest victories, and to debate politics no less? What would be the point? At times Sam and Malcolm don’t even seem like they are friends AT ALL. This feels more like a group of people where two of them are actually friends, (Clay and Jim) one of them is cool with everybody (Jim) and two of them don’t even really know each other that well (Sam and Malcolm). It all just seems like a bad idea in hindsight. The group sits around debating their roles and traits in history, over ice cream. Sam and Jim seem are taken aback to hear Cassius wants to become Muslim. Sam and Malcolm spend the rest of the movie berating each other for their choices and stances on Civil Rights and what it means to impact the movement. That’s really everything there was after the Liston fight.

The cast list is worth mentioning, Kingsley Ben-Adir (Malcolm X), Eli Goree (Muhammed Ali), Aldis Hodge (Jim Brown), Leslie Odom Jr. (Sam Cooke), and Lance Reddick (Bodyguard) in the lead roles. I’d never heard of Kingsley Ben – Adir before this movie but I thought his performance was well executed. He played a softer more vulnerable Malcolm and thusly he was able to portray the figure in a different way. I’d only seen Eli Goree in trailers for the Star Wars movie, and also thought his performance was ok. I’m a big fan of Aldis Hodge and I know he has acting prowess, Jim’s character seemed to play the background to everyone else in the room. I thought Leslie Odom’s Sam Cook was great because I genuinely felt irritated by that man as a whole. It takes a good actor to illicit that kind of feeling.

Just gonna scratch this one off my watchlist, it was just “okay” in my opinion but still happy I watched it.

Check Out These Real Life Photos Of Our Leading Men!

What Do You Think Happened That Night In Miami?

Leave a Comment Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Bleu’s Reviews: A Wild Winter Swan

I asked for this book for my birthday and one of my friends was nice enough to get me the hardback version. The cover is well loved having lived in my purse. The small page count should not have taken me nearly this long to complete, but, managing reading time with a one – year – old is challenging. My initial thoughts on the book were how beautiful the cover was, the treated pages and the artwork of the book were breathtaking. Before you even start reading the book’s physical appearance begins transporting you to another time when the paper was made of cloth and the world had a better reverence for literature. 

We are immediately transported to 1960s New York, where the Ciardi family resides. Laura Ciardi is the last living descendant of the Ciardi bloodline following the death of her father, the disappearance and presumed death of her older brother and the mental institutionalization of her mother. Laura lives with her Old – world grandparents, Ovid and Isabella Ciardi. Having survived the Great depression, the Ciardi’s built themselves a name and grabbed a foothold in New York. Hard times are never gone forever, so the story finds us smack dab in the middle of a money grab. The Ciardi’s business is struggling, and Geneva; Isabella’s sister, just married a man to save the day. That is, if everyone can get him on board.  They plan to fake their way to the top. A concept many of us can relate too, I’m sure. 

The book is billed as a coming of age story. I always think of coming of age tales as, the character enduring a series of trials emerging on the other side, having learned something useful to help them grow as people and to further their lives. However, A Wild Winter Swan reads more like a fever dream had by the main character. Expelled from school after an unfortunate accident with the school bully, Laura Ciardi, spends winter break fretting over her enrollment to a convent school in Canada. During this same time period, she is forced to participate in the rouse of selling the Ciardi’s (Her Grandparents) as wealthy and well off business owners in New York. (Despite that not being the case)

Self – appointed guardian of birds and bird people, Laura finds herself dealing with the very delicate situation of having a storybook character appear at her window two nights before the big family dinner. The story ends with her trudging into the snow, releasing her bird brother and being yelled at by her grandparents. Because “God Forbid” they look bad in front of company.  I actually hated how the book ended, a sort of rushed tying of loose ends. Laura ends up with the bully as a best friend, because the aforementioned injury, led to the girl getting a much desired nose job. Her grandparents store is saved thanks to their new in-law (just like they wanted) but they are bitter, because now they feel he is helping to be pompous. (What did they expect?) The only real glowing moment was at the end when she was not actually expelled from school, (Which I thought was fair) and when she was able to visit her mother on the train.  

I don’t presume to know anything about being an immigrant in the 60s, but, the treatment of Laura by her grandparents is enough that I would’ve run away long before they sent me off. Throughout the book, there are a few different occasions where, Laura becomes the whipping girl of her grandparents. Through the lens of Bella Ciardi, the elderly couple are martyred by their circumstances. Running a poorly profiting business in New York, purchasing an overpriced house they never should’ve bought all to build the façade of opulence…so they can ask for money.

The theme of desperation is blaringly obvious, everyone in the story wreaks of it.  There is literally a quote all about it. 

“Something plays a part in survival, something you don’t understand. Omerita, the men call it. Honor, says the military. Grace, says the priest. What do the women call it?” 

Isabella Ciardi, A Wild Winter Swan

The entire story whereas her grandparents were concerned was frustrating. I never understood why they felt the need to put on airs, or why they needed to degrade Laura in the process. I guess it was a perfect example of how hurt people can hurt people. They are so preoccupied with trying to appear wealthy trying to escape their immigrant status. They are willing to sacrifice their dignity and Laura’s for the façade of being “better than”. Even the principal told Laura that he was happy, because now that she made friends with Maxine, people won’t think SHE thinks she’s better than everyone else.

I guess I just don’t understand why THIS fairytale. Of all the princesses and folklore that exists, why did Greg choose The Wild Swans as his inspiration? The Swan Boy is confusing. I was hoping that he was her long lost brother, but she shot that down so fast, it was clear he is not. He appears out of nowhere, seeming to have no past beyond the pages of a storybook Laura reads earlier that day. He isn’t there to make Laura whole or to change things. His presence caused nothing but mayhem and chaos. The evolution Laura experiences seems to be as a result of trying to get him out of her life before someone discovers him hiding in her bedroom.

Best character award is going to be Mary Bernice, every good story needs a matronly smart alleck and she gave us Irish servant sass in spades. They should’ve made that character Laura’s grandmother, that would’ve been an interesting read. As I place this book amongst its literary siblings, I can firmly say, I did enjoy it as a whole. I hated how Laura was treated but happy she finally gets to see her mother in the end. What an interesting time the 60s. A nose-job could squash any school dispute.

For more on what life was like for New York residents in the 1960s: CLICK HERE

What Did You Think Of A Wild Winter Swan? Leave A Comment Below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

WWW Wednesday (March 10, 2021)

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Hey friends! I haven’t done one of these in years according to my notes but I’m working to add these back to the schedule.  As you all know by now, i’ve switched jobs several times, had a baby and survived the pandemic. I asked for a book for my birthday to get back into reading and here we are. It’s WWW Wednesday again! As always, it’s really easy because there are only THREE questions! WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words! Be sure to post your answers in the comments below and head over to Sam’s when you’re done!

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What are you currently reading?

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while. I bought it a few years ago and it’s been on my TBR for longer than that. I first discovered the title in a book store back when those were a thing we could go to freely. I’m actually a big fan of Octavia Butler, I loved her book Kindred and her Earthseed series was reading material for a lecture series I took last year.  Fledgling was published in 2007 and was the first book Octavia publihsed after a seven year hiatus. 

The story is about a young, amnesiac girl whose awakens to find she posesses seemingly inhuman needs and abilities. She is soon faced with the realization that she is a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Embarking on a voyage of discovery she has to put together a former life she can’t recall, while working to figure out who threatens her and all she cares for. 

What did you recently finish reading?

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I asked for this book for my 30th birthday and one of my friends was nice enough to get it for me.  Gregory Maguire is one of my absolute favorite authors. I love his skill for reworking  fairytales and this particular one was one I had never heard of before.  Based on the story of The Wild Swans the books is set in 1960s New York and is all about an orphan girl who finds herself in care of a swan girl. 

It took me a full 3 months to finish the book and even then I had to get most of my reading in during transit. My coworker recently started reading at work and that has given me a sense of competition. I can’t wait until I finish my next book so that I can add it to my list. This book is the first on my 21 book TBR for 2021 so I’m excited to have one book down. Check out the review for A Wild Winter Swan.

 

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What do you think you’ll read next?

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I really want to read Queenie next It’s on my TBR and i bought it last year during black history month with the intention of writing a book review by a black female author.  I’ve never read anything from Candace Carty – Williams before. There are so many options, books on my TBR list, books that are on my bookshelf that I haven’t added to by TBR list, the occasional Book Haul to muddy things up. I recently purchased a steampunk fairytale anthology that i’m dying to sink my teeth into so maybe that will be my next read.

The books main character Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, ‘straddling two cultures and doing a poor job of it.  Working for a national newspaper she constantly feels inferior to her white coworkers. Following a messy break – up she finds herself seeking comfort in all the wrongs places. Spiraling down a destructive path, Queenie has to decide “What she’s doing?  and  “Who do she wants to be?”  I’m looking forward to reading it, hoping to get two books in this month. 

 

What Are You Reading Right Now? Leave A Comment Below!

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You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Coming 2 America Sequel Gets A Royal Reception!

I will be the first to say I was absolutely not looking forward to this sequel, I mean I definitely enjoyed the original but didn’t find myself longing to see what happened to Prince Akeem of Zamunda. The announcement that there would even be a Coming To America 2 was a giant wtf in my brain. So I was all too willing to accept the generally warm reception from the few people I’d asked about it (before deciding to watch it myself).

Eddie Murphy and Shari Headley reprise their roles as Prince Akeem and Lisa McDowell.

Thirty years after our original movie ended, we find Prince Akeem and his Queen Lisa McDowell celebrating their anniversary. They have had three beautiful daughters, (one if actually played by Murphy’s real life daughter) and Zamunda is prospering as far as we know. All that is shaken up when, Akeem is summoned by his father, (James Earl Jones reprises his role.) The ailing king is dying and tells Akeem of a bastard child he fathered during his quest to find his Queen in Queens back in the eighties.

Eddie Murphy (King Akeem, Left), Jermaine Fowler (Levelle Junson, Right)

It starts off much like any other movie surrounding a royal family and an unknown heir. The current princess has been training her entire life to ascend the throne but due to her gender she is overlooked for the clearly unqualified newcomer who happens to carry a walking stick in his pants. The movie does a great job of not making the character of Lavelle a jerk. The character is more of a mirror to what Prince Akeem used to be versus the man he is now 30 years after the end of the first film. Lavelle shakes things up in Zamunda, completing his princely trials his own way, with the help of his siblings. He even finds love, risking it all to following in his father’s footsteps. The movie plays heavy on history repeating itself which makes THIS a great sequel in my opinion. It perfectly ties the two stories together and even adds more to the world-scape as a whole. We’re introduced to new characters which trigger different reactions from the existing cast. Overall, I think the film was a great success.

Filming started in Atlanta in August of 2017 during that time Rick Ross signed onto the project and offered to have his Ga mansion be used as a location for the film. Filming officially wrapped on November 9, 2019. Due to his age, James Earl Jones did not travel to the set or film his scenes with Murphy. His scenes were edited in during post-production. Coming 2 America was released by Prime Video on March 4, 2021. The film was initially scheduled to be theatrically released by Paramount Pictures in August 2020, but was pushed back to December 2020. Following the COVID-19 pandemic Amazon Studios acquired the distribution rights to the film for $125 million. Following its release, Amazon claimed the film had the best opening weekend of any streaming film since March 2020.

(Left to Right) Paul Bates, Jermaine Fowler and Leslie Jones

The cast list is also worth mentioning, they were able to bring back people like Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl

Jones, Shari Headley and John Amos to reprise their roles, while breathing fresh life into the movie by introducing Teyana Taylor, Tracey Morgan and Leslie Jones in new roles. I think newcomer Jermaine Fowler did a great job as prince Lavelle. I always wished as a kid that someone would pull up in a limo like on Princess Diaries and tell me I was a princess of a small foreign country like Mia. In hindsight, I’d probably act exactly like he did.

This movie is just one of many that proves, I can’t take movie advice from co-workers or Facebook friends. I thought the movie was funny and cute and definitely worth the watch.

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Cruella de Vil Getting Her Own Origin Story in Cruella

Scrolling down my timeline a few days ago I noticed a new trailer featuring Emma Stone that has me losing my mind in anticipation. I’m always here for a good anti-hero story, villains happen to be my favorite kind of heroes. Anyone who knows me knows how much I absolutely love Harley Quinn and the DC rogue’s gallery. Dracula Untold gave me reason to believe in these origin stories, but Maleficent ruined it for me. Since then I try to gauge the reviews of my timeline before investing in a backstory no one ever asked for. So when I saw the trailer for Cruella I was optimistically cautious. Disney has been teasing the origin story of one of it’s supreme baddies since 2011. Finally, we get a sneak – peek at what the studio has been working on.

The character of Cruella de Vil first came to fruition in the 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians written by English author Dodie Smith, (the character of Pongo is named after her very own Dalmatian of the same name.) Cruella is a deranged London heiress, hell bent on creating a Dalmatian fur coat. Her reasoning behind the insanity? Puppy fur is much softer than mature dog fur.

The character’s screen adaptation in the Disney animated movie saw her voiced by actress Betty Lou Gerson (Disney Legends) the animated character was modeled after the mannerisms and personality of heiress, Tallulah Bankhead and physically drawn to resemble model Mary Wickes. Her most notable adaptation came in the 1996 live – action Disney Movie 101 Dalmatians. Close reprised the role in the sequel 102 Dalmatians, solidfying her as my favorite Cruella to date.

Cruella has been married to a furrier, been rich, been poor and she’s even been hospitalized for being criminally insane. Her pursuit of the spotted puppies has given us the song “Cruella de Vil” and she has even made an appearance in Disney’s Once Upon A Time, as a witch with a magical gift for controlling animals. Always seen sporting her two – tone hair and maniacal proclivities. The character of Cruella has long been symbolic of greed, vanity, evil and depravity.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the origin story sheds light on how the mad heiress came to be that way. Check out the trailer below and tell me your thoughts on the upcoming Disney project.

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My Savage 21 Book TBR for 2021!

New Year, New Book goals! These past few years has seen me failing miserably at my reading challenges. For the 2019 – 2020 cycle I should’ve made a list of children’s books because that’s the bulk of what I read being a new mom and all that. COVID-19 inspired me to google, and purchase tons of dystopian, zombie – themed pandemic novels that sat stacked on my bookshelf like packs of vaccine no one would be getting to after the plague.

I imagined the expeditioners of the new world climbing the steps of my now abandoned home kicking over the oak door, (now completely off it’s hinges) and happening upon a trove of books I’ve never finished. Scattered amongst them would of course be my shelves of well -read books I coveted during my lifespan. In fact I’m sure that if I were to fall during the apocalypse that it would’ve had to have been because a zombie came upon me while I was reading the good part of a fascinating story.

I’ll digress here since 2021 has only started and so far we’ve lived through insurrection at the capital and right this moment are being pelted with Ice crystals. What a better excuse to stay home and get some reading in? My reading list for 2021 is a massive 21 books, most of which I own but a few of them are books I can’t waaaaaaaait to purchase. So far i’m slightly behind on my overall progress, but here’s to hoping I can catch up before December 31, 2021.

  1. A Wild Winter Swan – Gregory Maguire
  2. Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
  3. Children of Virtue & Vengeance – Tomi Adeyemi
  4. You – Caroline Kepnes
  5. Slay* – Brittney Morris
  6. The Family Upstairs – Lisa Jewell
  7. Fledgling – Octavia Butler
  8. Lavinia*- Ursula K. Le Guin
  9. The Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo
  10. Around The Way Girl* – Taraji P. Henson
  11. The Eight Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
  12. Black Leopard, Red Wolf – Marlon James
  13. Becoming* – Michelle Obama
  14. The Hazelwood – Melissa Albert
  15. On the Come Up – Angie Thomas
  16. Red At the Bone* – Jacqueline Woodson
  17. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
  18. God Ain’t Through Yet – Mary Monroe
  19. The Masked City – Genevieve Cogman
  20. We’re Going To Need More Wine – Gabrielle Union
  21. Varina – Charles Frazier
    1. Sugar* – Bernice L. McFadden
    2. Poor Unfortunate Souls* – Serena Valentino

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What’s Your Story Wednesdays: J. Cerrone – Hood Politics

 

Title: We Survived It

Hood Politics is a gritty true to life crime novel about a homicide, a lone witness and a far reaching conspiracy that two Philadelphia police officers must uncover. Single young mother Yolanda, unwittingly witnesses the murder of a mid-level drug-dealer in North Philadelphia. Rocky and Antoine, a pair of hard-boiled homicide detectives are assigned to the case. Yolanda reveals details about what she saw, unknowingly sparking an investigation which threatens to rock the city’s political structure to its core.

Author: J. Cerrone

Philadelphia native, J. Cerrone, wrote his first work, “Prodigal,” at age nineteen, but chose to rewrite the book over ten years later, due to its true-to-life content. Cerrone’s real life experience with the streets and the justice system created a new path for himself and embarked upon writing a second book, “Illegal Life: A North Philly Story.” He later founded Paper-Chase Publications. J. Cerrone is also an avid reader and lists Donald Goines and Mario Puzo among his favorite authors.

 

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