Bleu’s Reviews: Conjure Women

Conjure Women focuses on three very different women of the same plantation. Told primarily from the perspective of Rue, daughter of esteemed conjure woman and favorite of Marse Charles Miss May Belle. Rue also happens to be trusted friend and confidant of the master’s daughter Varina. As the story swings from the past during May Belle’s reign as Queen of conjure on the plantation to present day Rue who has taken on the mantle as healer in the Resurrection – era village that is all that remains of their old home. Following the birth of “Bean”;  a child with unusual eyes, and the seasonal appearance of a traveling preacher, a sickness takes hold of the towns children. The townspeople are ready to turn their backs on Rue and towards their faith. As Rue works to find a cure, she begins a path at uncovering everyone’s secrets including her own.

Post – read I still can’t pinpoint exactly where this is located and I’m perfectly okay with that. Every main location was so well crafted I feel like I was blended into the story with them. My favorite would be Atakora’s description of the woods, the darkness of it how the fog seemed to emanate from it. The woods in post civil war village became a character in itself. I also loved how Rue interacted with the land itself, hiding coins in trees as she’d seen her mother do. How she often crouched low to the earth to pick flowers and herbs even the detail in which she described finding the herbs from different spots. I absolutely love a well built world and this book has it in spades.

The story is more about Rue than anyone else but seems to focus on Rue and how she maneuvers around other people. She is often measuring herself against her mother’s accomplishments. She feels a weighty responsible to look after the town and its children despite a clear and present threat to herself and yet she persists to ensure the people who live there are looked after and well cared for. Just as she had always served and cared for Varina throughout their upbringing. She often lets Varina lure her into mischief and I only say let because I feel like Rue at times doesn’t even attempt to speak up. The relationship she shares with Varina is a complex one that seems more maternal at times than what it truly is. The rivalries between a lot of the characters twists the theories of faith, magic and deception. What is illusion when belief becomes a tangible thing? Each of the characters in the book seem to be holding a secret and as the story progressed Atakora peeled back another layer until the final secret was brought to the light and true freedom could finally come.

 

Overall I 100% loved this book!

 

Its my first 5-star read of the year and I have loads more reading to do. As a debut novel I’d have to say Afia Atakora should be super proud of herself. Conjure Women was an amazign read. It was well written, i was into the story and genuinely felt something from start to finish. My goodreads feed was flooded with updates and I was able to finish this beauty in about three days.

 

I will be doing a live zoom discussion with #ALLTHINGSLIT Book Club to discuss Conjure Women be sure to check my social media for more information about that ❤ Can’t wait to chat with everyone soon.

 

What Did You Think Of Conjure Women?

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 Discovery of Witches

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It begins with a book recommendation and a purchase

It begins with a TV show and a binge session

It begins with a discovery of witches … book review

 

Rating: 5 out of 5

I am kicking myself for not having read this book sooner. I originally heard of the All Souls Trilogy  back when i worked for a company that won’t be named because they don’t sponsor me. LOL.

My coworker, another book fan soul sister recommended I check out the series. I made sure to buy all three of the books in the series and added them to my collection, TBR and c7e7739a729e409a46fa5fe50cb8aa4f328589467160928262.jpglong list of books I’d been planning to read.

I’d even attempted reading the book on two separate occasions the last of which was a month long maternity leave when I couldn’t be bothered to do much of anything, especially reading.

This year however, I made it my first book of the reading season and despite a shaky start while trying to find time to read with a growing toddler attempting to crawl everywhere, I picked up a rhythm and finished the book in about three weeks.

Alchemical historian and Oxford resident Diana Bishop, descendant of the Salem Bishop’s has shut herself off form her magic. Until she requests a not so ordinary book from the Bodlien library one day.  This book, Ashmole 782, will bring a host of magical creatures she never expected to socialize with and unravel a secret engrained in the fabric of her life…and then there are vampires.

My first impressions of the book…

I absolutely loved this book. At it’s core it’s a pretty standard formula. Matthew is the tortured hero who falls in love with our female protagonist. That Matthew follows the tropes of all vampires is a bonus, he is brooding and secretive with a killer temper, but 20200115_124316.jpghe loves fiercely and his love for Diana though sudden is unbreakable. Diana for her part plays the typical female lead in a YA love story, though she possesses great strength and abilities that rival those around her, she is fearful of her power, spends most of the book being coddled and cared for and only begins to step into her own towards the final stages of the story.

It usually annoys me while i’m reading, and I won’t lie some of the ways Matthew condescended to Diana and left her out of things irritated me a lot. However, Harkness did something few people have dared to do form what I’ve read. She gave Diana her strength back.

The best part of the story for me was “watching” Diana go through a literal transformation. At the start of the book she is completely closed off from her magic. Her past fears and an unknown spell only allow her to do tiny tasks like grabbing a book or fixing the washer. By the final pages Diana is hopeful of what she can do with her d33bfe4e23d3e4982f9b79fb20fdf4a7945846634189835100.jpgpowers and is able to control them to some small degree.

I do frequently enjoy a good vampire love story and Matthew and Diana’s forbidden love gives me all types of squishy feelings.  Their relationship mirrors that of mixed race couples during the civil rights era. Simply because they are different they are forbidden to be together and by defying this law they are putting themselves and their families in danger. They will do it for LOVE. The fear some of the characters have for their children and the support Matthew and Diana get from friends, family other people who are like them is reminiscent of the real life struggles mixed couples faced.

It’s great when a story has a deeper meaning. As a person of color, whether Deborah Harkness intended for this to be the theme or not, what stuck out most for me in this story were the ways it portrayed the downside of generational racial inequality and prejudice. Matthew and Diana are two different races of creatures and because of that they are forbidden to be together.

In a society where the hierarchy of magical creatures places value on lineage and supernatural ability Witches and Vampires are at the top and Daemons are at the bottom, Daemons aren’t even allowed to congregate together.  The way Harkness developed the society and culture of the characters in the world of All Souls is one of my favorite parts. I absolutely love a well built world.

The characters in the A Discovery of Witches  really moved the story along for me. I’d watched season one of the tv show beforehand so I was able to actually envision the cast for the first few chapters. Once I really got into the story though, the characters became more alive and no longer seemed remotely close to the way the actors portrayed them.3a956443b3e15ec5a9e1f9c7e43d8fb26087554198723611023.jpg

Diana can be annoyingly meek at times but has a resilient spirit. Her dedication to Matthew is on the one hand the stuff of feminist nightmares while the relationship as a whole draws you in. I root for this old fashioned chivalrous relationship despite being completely aware that he patronizes her and lies repeatedly. Because he’s a vampire? At one point it gets so annoying in the book I physically rolled my eyes. He eventually comes to respect her after she nearly dies trying to save his life and frequently blames himself for not being able to protect her. Even though she doesn’t seem to be able to protect herself either. Matthew’s decision  to aide her in learning her magic wins him brownie points in my book. His cute little French pet names for her makes my heart go fuzzy.

The way magic, magical creatures and the supernatural are sorted in this world is why A Discovery of Witches  is becoming one of my favorite series to read. Harkness took the c0ce585322590a49e08b7290e633998e901557597508079403.jpgconcept of the magical community and broke it down in a way that I’ve often thought about for my own writing.  Vampires long since believed to be “dead” are merely beings with an alternative metabolism that slows their heart rates and reserves energy. The term, sleep like the dead, was used as the explanation for why people thought these beings were in fact deceased.

Experiencing magic through Diana’s eyes as she finally learns to wield and control it is what kept me reading through the book. More than I wanted to know how the lovers would fair against their adversaries, more than I enjoyed meeting each new character that showed 9c005c70f2392849b97d083135c169496164085333605234820.jpgup at Sept-Tours and later the bewitched house in Madison. I enjoyed the magic and the history that was entertwined within the magic.

I guess that’s my reasoning for why I’m shirking my 2020 TBR and jumping right into Shadow of Night. I’ll be reading this along with a few shorter e-books I’ve promised to review from some lesser known authors so keep your eyes on the blog for a lot of new content.

My goal at the start of my read was to complete the first book of the All SOuls Trilogy  before season 2 of A Discovery of Witches started back on BBC. As I was checking my email this morning, sneek-peeks of the cast of season 2 are just being released, so I think I beat my deadline.

 

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What Was Your Favorite Part of A Discovery of Witches?

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 (April 18,2018)

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Blu Moon Fiction is back, (Wedneday will never be the same again, lol) 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?

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I’ve been hearing so much about this book lately that when I saw it was available for purchase, I had to snag it. Turns out this book happens to be an Advanced Reader’s Copy someone let slip through their fingers. I’m more than happy to make it a part of my home library. Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope is the highly anticipated first novel in the Earthsinger Chronicles and I should be finished reading it by Sunday night.

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What did you recently finish reading?

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I finally finished reading Tithe by Holly Black. A book I started back in late January and hadn’t had time to finish before this month. It’s definitely a book I had to power through but once I got into the story I was super happy I stayed with it. I am a chronic, ship-jumper when it comes to stories I don’t enjoy.  The final moments in the book were enough to inspire me to add the other books in the series to my TBR list. You can check out the review for Tithe here.

 

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What do you think you’ll read next?

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 occassional 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.

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

#ShowsWeLove: Charmed Reboot

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I am the sun,

I am the air,

I am human and I need to be loved,

Just like everybody else….does.

I was obsessed with the Halliwell sisters as a kid. Originally airing in 1998, Charmed, was a fantasy-drama starring Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano. I am a huge Alyssa Milano fan and a show involving her and magic was exactly what I needed.

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The show ran for eight years finally ending in 2006 after several battles against darkness and once each of the sisters was married with children. I was crushed to see the show end, but happy they buttoned it up so nicely.

Possible talks of a reboot, sent images of Wyatt and Chris

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returning with children of their own, or perhaps even Phoebe and her children (as she was the only one to have a trio of girls) swirling into focus. Though as the CW began finalizing details about the shows reincarnation, all hopes I’ve had of seeing the Halliwell bloodline continue have been dashed.

Instead the headlines have been checkered with news of a new feminist twist, the Halliwell name being converted and the cast getting a new Hispanic twist. I was afraid that what we’d get was a watered down version of the original we loved. But the CW promised:

“This fierce, funny, feminist reboot of the original series centers on three sisters – Macy (Mantock), Mel (Diaz) and Madison (Jeffery) — in a college town who, after the tragic death of their mother, are stunned to discover they are witches. Soon this powerful threesome must stand together to fight the everyday and supernatural battles that all modern witches must face: from vanquishing powerful demons to toppling the patriarchy.”

No offense to the hardworking staff on this show but with the exception of adding a lesbian to the trio the concept seems very similar to the original Charmed. Madeleine

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Mantock, Melonie Diaz and Sarah Jeffery have been cast as the new versions of the Halliwell sisters though their last name will no longer be Halliwell.

This will be the first television inception of Charmed since the show ended in 2006, but the series had been a comic book following it’s shows end which brought back Prue and

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continued on the Halliwell bloodline. That series also ended in 2012 leaving a new breed of diehard Charmed fans.

Echoes of Prue, Phoebe and Piper are clearly visible in the recreations of the new sisters. The eldest sister, Macy, a veritable Prue clone is described as “practical, driven, and brilliant geneticist.” Also like Prue, her world is most affected by their witchy secret. Mel, the middle sister who also happens to be an outspoken activist and lesbian is very different than Piper (Like a Piper/Paige mix) and finally The youngest sister, Madison, played by Sarah Jeffery described as a “bubbly college freshman” who’s witch business occasionally muddles her sorority girl aspirations.

I’m not completely against it, but i’m a little worried that they’re going to ruin a classic. Hopefully, the show’s move to the CW as well as new writer’s will add to the franchise instead of staining it.

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What are your thoughts on the reboot? 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

Blu Moon Fiction Calendar: Coming Soon

I’m always looking for new ideas to promote literacy and to engage in my creative side. If I can find a way to promote local talent as well that is an added bonus. So while brainstorming ideas for my next fundraising project; I decided to put together a fantasy art calendar featuring local artists.

The fantasy art calendar will feature artists from Philadelphia and the surrounding area and money raised from the sale of the calendar will be donated to the local charity, Books Through Bars. I discovered the group, which sends books to inmates in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, while looking for volunteer opportunities.

The organization is always in need of book donations, extra helping hands and donations of course. Which is what

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spawned the idea for the calendar, book drive and Read-Olympics all coming soon in the next few months.

I’m looking for local artists, in the Philadelphia and surrounding area. All submissions are welcome. Any interested artists should include two sketches for review. The first sketch should have the #WhatsYourStory theme.

#WhatsYourStory is Blu Moon Fiction’s call to action. It not only encourages creative’s to share their perspectives but also serves as a challenge to find innovative ways in expressing our creativity.

This sketch is a freestyle option, provided it includes #WhatsYourStory in the actual picture.

The only requirement for the second picture is that the central theme must be books or reading. If I get enough responses I’ll happily produce multiple calendars using everyone’s artwork. For now, I’m looking for 12 local artists interested in sharing their talents for a good cause. 10% of the proceeds from the calendar will be donated to Books Through Bars.

Check back with Blu Moon Fiction, over the next few weeks for more details on the Blu Moon Fiction 2018 Read-Olympics/ Book Drive. As well as for more info on how to get involved with the Blu Moon Fiction Fantasy Calendar. If interested in participating in either the Blu Moon Fiction calendar or The Read – Olympics, send all inquiries to BluMoonFiction@gmail.com Subject: Calendar

Know An Artist Who’d Love To Be In The Calendar?

Tag Them 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

WWW Wednesday (Jan 24,2018)

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Hey all…. 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?

It’s funny this is the second week in a row the #AmReading book is actually one I haven’t started just yet. I will be reading it right after I divide my pages. Tithe by Holly Black has been a part of my library for at least a year.

It was part of a book binge I experienced right after breaking my reading slump. I gorged my shelves with fantasy and came across this “modern faerie tale”

I’m said to meet 16- year – old Kaye, officially making this my first YA book of the year. Her nomadic lifestyle amidst her mom’s rockband is disrupted and she ends up in NJ in the middle of a faerie firefight.

It definitely looks interesting. 331 pages with an excerpt for White Cat (another book I haven’t read yet) inside.

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What did you recently finish reading?

I finished reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire on Monday. While writing the review which you can read here, I learned about the Disney adaptation of the book featuring Stockard Channing as Margarethe ten Broek Fisher Van den Meer. As expected Disney’s adaptation glazed over the murder, threw in some actual magic, a fairy godmother and made Clara more agreeable and less like an unwilling child bride.

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What do you think you’ll read next?

At this point I’ve had enough of Cinderella and her sisters, though Maguire has written a spin to Alice in Wonderland, and I haven’t read the ready of The Wicked Years yet. I’m actually considering starting the Lunar Chronicles by Marisa Meyer.

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

October Book Haul Pt. 1

I needed to complete some collections if I plan to meet my 2017 reading goal, but also I just really like having a full collection. Mostly rounding out series collections I’d already started, starting with the Divergent Trilogy and The Immortals. The Mortal Instruments, a series I started but was never able to finish were all ordered via Thrift Books and it saved me tons!

When the delivery came I assumed the complete order had arrived but some of my books may be coming from farther away. I now own the full Divergent Trilogy plus the Four Novella, and was also able to fill in the gaps of The Immortals and start working on The Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices.  I can’t decide which series to start next!