WWW Wednesday  (Jan 17, 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?

confessions of ugly stepsister

While writing this post, I must admit I haven’t actually started reading this book yet. I probably will have read a few pages, once this has been published.

I’m finally getting around to reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire author of “The Wicked Years,” series. Based on the children’s story Cinderella. Maguire uses his typical flair to retell the classic tale from the perspective of the sisters left behind.

The story is set in 17th century Holland and since I’m not familiar with it at all. I’ll just have to read on to find out more about it.

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What did you recently finish reading?

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I finished reading Kindred by Octavia Butler, yesterday afternoon. The fantastical tale of a modern woman of the 70s transported to the antebellum South to save the life of a young boy named Rufus. Our heroine endures, the systematic abuse of the time period while trying to complete her mission and return home. This book will infuriate you, bring tears to your eyes and have you cheering for the unspeakable. But if you read it, you’ll be happy you did.

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I also recently finished Hart’s Hope by Orson Scott Card. I respect that man as a pioneer in the speculative fiction genre but regretfully disliked this book a lot. The reasons are endless and you can read more about them here. Definitely check it out for yourself before making your final opinions.

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What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m honestly not sure I’ve been meaning to finish reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman, but I also wouldn’t mind starting a new series…decisions….

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

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What We’re Reading: Kindred

Rating: 5 out of 5

Written in 1979, Kindred by Octavia Butler has been on my bookshelf for at least a year without me so much as reading the table of contents.


I’d bought it at the suggestion of some writer friends who offered it as a title written by and featuring black people. The search led me to Butler as an author and Kindred as the first book to read from her long list of award winning novels.


The story of Kindred, is a massive trigger warning for people of color, descendants of slavery and oppression as well as women who’ve survived sexual assault as well as various forms of domestic abuse.


The most difficult parts of the book were the parts of the story that gave it it’s edge. A glimpse at the degradation experienced as a slave in the antebellum South.


As Dana traveled back and forth through space and time I too went on a journey of self discovery, though no stranger to the tales of slavery, this particular story had the added insult of having a free woman from the modern world transported to the past and told she had to act the part. In a time where slavery is a not so distant memory and injustice is an everyday publicized occurrence the similarities of the past and the present are undeniable.


I could’ve been Dana, transported from my Philadelphia home in 2018 to 1815 where my complexion merely meant I probably wouldn’t work out in the fields. I’m not sure if I could’ve rescued Rufus.


The title Kindred, could speak to the two couples most noted in the book. The juxtaposition between Rufus and Alice & Kevin and Dana is a connection I couldn’t quite explain.


During the reign of slavery, slaves weren’t able to marry, had no rights and weren’t even seen as people. Rufus exploited this in his pursuits to woo, abuse and eventually drive Alice a formerly free woman to kill herself. Though Rufus claimed to love Alice  his actions showed he could only love her as much as he could any other property he possessed.


A stark contrast from the 70s, marrying outside of your race wasn’t common but occurred. Kevin waited 5 years for Dana and she returned to endure humiliation for him.


I personally don’t feel the title speaks to the story at all. I wouldn’t even say that Dana and Rufus are kindred spirits, their only connection being a bloodline established out of rape and systematic torture. Usually when thinking of the word, it elicits thoughts of fate and a connection that surpasses all boundaries.


This particular connection was to a place, time and person contradictory to the life Dana had built for herself. Beyond transcending time to save his own skin, Rufus Weylin exhibited none of the qualities of a kindred spirit.


It would be easy to create stereotypical characters and in some way Butler, manipulated stereotypes to tell her story however, I would say that Butler was able to cultivate well rounded life-like characters that I connected with and felt for. Dana for me was the most relatable. I am a black woman living in the modern era, it was as if I had been transported into the pass and as she was stripped of each layer of the modern world in a way so was I. There were times I felt physically sick from reading about her ordeal but I’m happy for having read it.


Octavia Butler must have a great mind to consider the conundrum she beset Dana. Without Rufus she would cease to exist, but how long is she to endure to ensure her own safety? She also forms a bind with the boy, once hoping to influence him for the better he evolves into the beast she dreaded despite her presence. I felt myself densely waiting on the arrival of her first descendant just so she could go home and never return.


Dana and Kevin are a biracial couple living in 1978 California at a time when race relations were tense but facing process. Their immediate transport to the antebellum South where white men used black slave women as bed warmers and breeders is a 180 degree switch from what they’re used to. Rufus, his parents and even the slaves had simply been playing the roles taught to them by society as a whole.


A part of the story I didn’t care for is the loss of her arm and the explanation behind it. Call me overly sympathetic to Dana’s plight but hadn’t she gone through enough? To then say that Butler, couldn’t have let her return completely, that some part of her had to remain in the past.


Personally, I feel by the end of the book that Dana had been altered enough and choosing to leave her with both arms wouldn’t have hurt. She’d been overworked, slapped, punched, kicked, whipped and had at one point slit her own wrists. Dana will forever be physically and psychologically altered.


I suppose one would have to wonder how Rufus survived without Dana prior to her birth, but I guess time paradoxes would suggest that she was always the one who kept him alive.


With more than 450,000 copies in print I can see why Kindred comes so highly recommended. The Book itself is a healthy blend of genres spanning across science fiction, fantasy, neo-slave narratives and historical fiction.


Kindred made me openly cry and wanna jump into the book and throttle the characters. I happily give this one a 5 out of 5.

Have You Read Kindred? What did you think? Let me Know in the Comments Below!



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

Chicago Filmmakers Welcome Us All To the Shift with Paradigm Grey Premiere

I may be a bit late with this “news” but it’s still worth sharing. 2017 was the year people showed out in film regardless of what critics had to say about it.

Fresh from the success of “Get Out”, the first horror movie of our time with a black lead, Chicago based filmmaker Christopher Adams accompanied by other industry professionals are creating more sci-fi/fantasy projects with people of color in mind.

“I’ve always hated going to see horror, action or sci-fi films knowing that as soon as you see anyone of color on screen you knew they usually weren’t going to survive the duration of the film, or were just added as a footnote. It’s obvious some exec somewhere said we need to put a black person in there, and even then they paint those characters with the stereotypical brush to try and appeal to urban markets” says Adams CEO of IMPAKT STUDIO.

Paradigm Grey, a sci-fi anthology featuring titles like: Bloodlines, Reset, Outer Layers and Axis Mundi the project premiered Dec 2, 2017 to face reviews.

For now the project seems to be making it’s rounds at local film festivals and no word has been released on what new projects the group may be working on.

We’ll just have to keep our eyes open for more.



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

WWW Wednesday  (Jan 3, 2018)

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s  the third day of the year and the month and most importantly it’s WWW Wednesday! 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 am halfway through Orson Scott Card’s Hart’s Hope. I discovered the book while reading Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. While Card explained his worldbuilding techniques he also described how he came to design the world in Hart’s Hope. How a simple mishap on his mao created the world and its characters. Set during a time of wizards, Kingdoms and the introduction of Monotheistic religion  (Christianity) the book seems to be about a town who’s monarch is thwarted replaced and exiled continuously through means of divine intervention and sorcery. So far the story is shaping up to be an interesting one though almost halfway through I’m not sure who I’m rooting for.

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What did you recently finish reading?


I finished reading “How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. This book is the reason I started reading Hart’s Hope. Prior to buying this book I was oblivious to who OSC was but I’m better off for having read it and was able to complete the outline for my very own novel.

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What do you think you’ll read next?

I am as always lately unsure of what the next book will be. On the one hand starting a new stand-alone novel is always fun. A completed story that doesn’t warrant a new bookshelf though I did purchase quite a few series last year that I’ve been looking over. We shall see.

 

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 FacebookTwitterInstagramGoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

#NewBook Book Tag

Hey all,

I’ve been prepping for grad school, so my writing time has been limited to getting my portfolio together. Almost done though! 😇
I thought I’d attempt an update. I finished A Madness So Discreet a few days ago and was in the mood for another stand alone novel. Then I remembered that my sissy, bought me such a book for my bday!!! 

Night of the Animals by Bill Brown, is looking like a humorous story, our main character believes he can speak to the animals and uses this gift to interrogate them while also trying to set them free.

In oil painting across a blackened sky freckled with dimly lit stars, a young man wearing what appears to be an old school white nightgown is sitting on top of a bear. Thus covering all facets of the title, with the bear being the animal and the sky clearly night.

I’m not familiar with Bill Brown as an author but if I like this one perhaps he’ll have a new fan. 

 

I’m also still working my way through How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. Treating this as a textbook for writing, I’ve been able to learn a bit more about crafting a story. 

What We’re Reading: A Madness So Discreet

A Madness So Discreet

An exploration of madness in its many forms.

I’m not sure if this review will have spoilers so keep an eye out for those just in case. I borrowed this book from my friend Bree over @ DoYouEvenGeek months ago in an attempt to bring me from a reading slump. The cover was gorgeous featuring a young woman being pulled through wooden floorboards by hands rooted into the soil. A cover that vivid and descriptive offered a thrilling story and I secretly hoped it featured zombies.

The title, A Madness So Discreet, implies we’ll be exploring the main characters mental health. Confirmed as soon as we open the book and discover her inside of an insane asylum, however, the book also offers insight into the mental health of all of the characters including those otherwise deemed sane. Madness, explores society’s view on women and mental during the Victorian era in the US. A time when women had no rights and were property of the men who chose to claim them. The mistreatment of these women is also a recurring theme throughout the story line.

I absolutely loved the characters as well as the dialogue written for them. I laughed outwardly while reading on more than one occasion. Each character had multiple layers to them, no one person was simply sane or insane. Each had a history, a memory and a reason for being included which not only added depth and emotion to the story but also provided a cohesiveness to the book.

The character of Grace is written as a sort of anti-hero. Though she came to be in this predicament through no fault of her own it is her decisions that will change her fate, something I think Mindy McGinnis conveys perfectly. Grace’s spirit and reluctance to remain a victim make you cheer for her even during times when she seems to have succumb to the darkness. We read on past each new pitfall eagerly hoping she makes it into the light.

There seems to be an underlying power struggle with each character vying for control in one respect or another. Starting with Grace who was powerless to prevent years of abuse at the hands of her sadistic father, Thornhollow, eager to break through into a new realm of science where the mind is the new frontier down to Nell who merely wanted to choose her own fate instead of waiting for sickness to claim her. There is a more overarching need for secrecy or “Discretion” throughout the book also, without it freedom seems to be harder to grasp. Grace’s entire reason for being in the asylum in the first place is to keep her father’s indiscretions a secret, the revelation of her alleged botched procedure must be kept or it would cost Dr. Heedson his livelihood. And if Grace revealed to every one her true identity or the fact that she could speak her father would be able to find her and take her away. The characters in the asylum have the added motivation of seeking normalcy in a world viewed as abnormal something they accomplish while forging bonds within the asylum walls.

The story takes place in the 1800’s, the US of the Victorian era still heavily indoctrinated with European customs and social graces placed manners and etiquette in highest regard. Language was mostly English though, cockney is used for immigrants and others who couldn’t read as a symbol of their social class. During this time, it was considered improper for women seen as dainty and easily breakable to be in the face of murderers, brothels or bars. Women who were loud and exuberant were considered to have no class. Men were advised to watch how they spoke in front of women for fear of upsetting her delicate sensibilities. It’s also important to note that Grace spends most of her time feigning mute and so the absence of speech forces her to express herself in other ways.

A Madness So Discreet, is a great evaluation of the human condition. Each of the individuals in the story possess a trait if not several that would mark them as insane. Their actions in spite of their so called state of mind is what we, the audience determine throughout the book. Is Grace insane because she refuses to speak to people who would ignore her pleas for help either way? Or sane for knowing not to waste her strength and efforts on futile cries? Is Dr. Thornhollow sane because he can critically see into a person’s nature by analyzing a crime scene or is his lack of emotional connection and mechanized perspective signs of a true deviant? McGinnis leaves that decision up to us.

The symbolism in Grace’s scars is one of freedom. She is frequently described as being fairly attractive except for the fact that she now has scars on matching sides of her face. To others unknowing of her history those scars seem the greatest tragedy of her condition, however, to Grace those scars represent freedom and hope offering comfort and protection from scrutiny, a rescue from the shackles of abuse from her father. Grace’s scars became her most concealed weapon, easily hidden behind hair, when in full display they made her invisible to those who would usually ignore a crazy person.

My final thoughts are on the concept of the mind. This book tested the limits of what we would call acceptable and argued a sentiment that maybe we’re all a tad insane from time to time. Set during a dark time for mental health and the golden era of serial killers. Madness explores the psychology of men and offers a clear view at life in two separate mental institutions. The concept of mental health is not a black or white canvas meant to be easily ascertained by one’s social status and upbringing. Luckily for us all, we live in a time where this is no longer the case.

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

What Series have you read with Eight books or more in it? Let me Know in the Comments Below!

 

What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl  (The Last Guardian)

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                                   *****Spoilers in this Review****

What an amazing ending to the Artemis Fowl saga!!!

The final book of the Artemis series is the equivalent of winning the gold medal in reading for following through to the end. I absolutely loved the final showdown between Opal and our heroes.

Opal proves how insane she is and how far she’s willing to go by killing the younger version of herself and setting of a series of natural disasters.

For once someone else truly has outsmarted Artemis Fowl.

There is a certain level of either selflessness or selfishness that entails killing one’s self and Opal Koboi is willing to make the choice to finally achieve the power she’s always craved.

Our leading cast is stuck in the surface split between Holly, Butler, Artemis and a troll riding Mulch vs. possessed versions of Juliet, Becket, Myles and other assorted woodland creatures/art pieces/ corpses.

The mental back and forth is heightened each chapter as time ticks closer to Opal unlocking an ancient gate meant to destroy all humanity.

All of our characters have come full circle for better or worse. As Artemis completes his ascension  Artemis, once almost responsible for bringing the world to it’s knees with the existence of faeries will now risk it all to save humanity and fairy kind. Mulch Diggums, formerly a hardened criminal and self affirmed coward proves his reform repeatedly placing himself in harm’s way. Even Foaly turned into an action hero in order to save his wife.

Myles Fowl is one of the funniest supporting characters in the book. As Artemis Fowl’s little brother and genius compared to twin Beckett, Myles’s intellect allows him to fight through the possession and aid in the fight…at least before his nap.

I couldn’t have imagined a better end to an amazing series and it’s interesting enough that I also may want to buy the graphic novels…(yes of the series I just finished reading, but this one will have pictures.)

What Series have you read with? Let me Know in the Comments 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