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

What We’re Reading: Hart’s Hope

Rating: 3 out of 5


I discovered Hart’s Hope by Orson Scott Card while reading a readers digest reference book written by Card. In it he discussed a variety of topics to help readers write their novels and he used his own experiences and writing as examples.


Card is the author of the Ender’s Game saga and a literary icon from what I’ve researched. It only made sense that I read his fantasy novel, to glean some hidden wisdom from his work.


I definitely learned a lot from reading it.


What I learned most was, though I did enjoy the plot of Hart’s Hope, I wasn’t sold on how the story was told.


The kingdom of Inwit, formerly Hart’s Hope has endured a power struggle for over 300 years, through magical and at times divine intervention the cruel king was usurped by Palicrovol a man the Gods deemed worthy to rule, he was then exiled by Queen Beauty, daughter of the cruel king, robbed of her virtue and banished from her homeland she uses the blackest of magic to lord over all.


The Gods through small miracles cause the Hero’s Journey of Orem Scanthips, the only person who can thwart the evil queen.


All the makings of an epic story until you open the book and get slapped by the fantastical names of this world.


Evanescence Eleven…


There are a few things I didn’t enjoy about Hart’s Hope that detracted from my overall enjoyment of the tale. The first would be some of the names, like our flower princess for instance  “Enziquelvinisensee Evelvenin” a name so convoluted I don’t wish to read it let alone trying to understand how it’s pronounced. Changing it to Weasel was probably the biggest favor Card could’ve done for us.


You know this story but, forgot so I’ll remind you.


At the beginning of my reading I noticed the story was a second person narrative. There is a brief paragraph in the beginning of the book that explains this individual is writing to king Palicrovol, in hopes to save the boy Orem’s life.


I have never read a story with a 2nd person narrator that I enjoyed and this particular story did nothing to change that. Throwing in the occasional “you remember that don’t you?” doesn’t change the fact that there are things the narrator shouldn’t know and hiding the identity of the narrator only adds to the confusion.


This new heading means I’m starting a new scene.


 Each chapter was separated into cute little vignettes meant to move the story along while covertly jumping through time. At times the headings broke up the story in a convenient way easing you through otherwise challenging sections with strange vernacular. Other times the headings came as abrupt stop signs interrupting the flow and reminding you of why you hate headings in books. (Is that just me?…oh well)  


I wonder what kind of story it would’ve been without the headings, pretentiously made up names and second person narrative.


I did enjoy the world created by OSC. As this story was mentioned in the world building section of the reference guide I was pleased to see that  his world development skills were phenomenal.


My overall opinion is that this book is neither completely horrible nor is it that great. I can add it to my read pile and that is important. 


Have You Read Hart’s Hope? 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

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

Novel-ember Book Haul 2017

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I may not be big on the cooler weather, but, I absolutely do love the month of November just the same. This one little month has My birthday, Thanksgiving and an entire day of shopping for some of us all wrapped into one. Plus just discovered that’s November is a month completely dedicated to writer’s and books! November is: National Novel Writing Month, Novel-ember, Non-Fiction November, and Family Literacy Month. In anticipation for the month and to feed my book collecting addiction, I completed purchasing two series I’ve been waiting to buy since returning to my love of reading and books. I’ve heard rave reviews about both The Wicked Years and The Lunar Chronicles and I’ll finally get to see for myself.

The Wicked Years

I borrowed a copy of Wicked by Gregory Maguire over a year ago. As a theater kid I love The Wizard of Oz  and The Wiz, and I definitely remember Defying Gravity as sung by Idina Menzel from Wicked: The Musical. Yet, I hadn’t been aware the musical was originally a book. Wicked, is an adaptation of the Wizard of Oz, as told from the perspective of Elfaba the Wicked Witch of the West.

I was reading the book during a time when movies like Dracula: Untold and Maleficent were being made, and everything fictional seemed to be trying to give us the “villains” perspective. It was surprisingly a good read though and it did give me a new perspective on the wicked witch of the west. I even did a review for the book which you can read here.

The Wicked Years, is a four-part series starting with Wicked and ending with Out of Oz. The world-building in this series is amazing. Maguire manages to give us an in-depth look at the world of Oz, while uniquely stitching together familiar characters as well as creating brand new ones. The second book picks up shortly after Elfaba meets her fate at the hands of Dorothy, with Son of a Witch.

The Lunar Chronicles

I’ve seen The Lunar Chronicles, on bookshelves but I personally haven’t  read the series. I’m not sure how long it’s been on my TBR list but before 2019 rolls in I will have checked it off.

I like to keep away from outside opinions of books before I read them, so beyond a few conversations with people who’ve said it was “good”, I have little to go on. I did skim the description of Cinder, prior to buying the whole set. Just from viewing the covers we get a fairy tale theme, and I was advised there was a cyborg involved.  There is a spoiler-free review of the series from Booktuber Between Chapters states some of the scenes gave her a Panem flashback which means I’m in for a dystopian read.

I’m not sure if I want to attempt a Binge read of the series to finish out 2017 or if I ‘ll be adding it to my 2018 reading list but, I definitely plan to get into this series soon.

I get most of my books from thriftbooks.com, since they are super inexpensive and offer free shipping on purchases over $40 as well as points for every $50. I’ve bought books from a few places but this place has me hooked, at least until I get a box subscription.

 

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

What New Books Did You Buy This Month? Leave a Comment Below!

 

2017 Birthday Book Haul

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My birthday was on Tuesday and I asked for books, (and a new bookshelf) my loved ones saw fit to oblige here’s what I got!

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Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” My best friend got me two new bookmarks, this one features one of my favorite quotes on it. The quote by Norman Vincent Peale, reminded me to always persevere and to go for what I want. Even failure in attaining my goals could lead me closer to them than if I weren’t to try at all. Every reader needs a good bookmark and the metal one with decorative chain will last me through many stories.

The other bookmark I got was two-sided. I’m a very spiritualistic person. I know my zodiac, Chinese zodiac, birth-number etc. I’m a child of the word according to the African zodiac and my moon sign is cancer. Naturally, bestie got me a bookmark that speaks to me other-worldly side. My suit is the clubs, We aspire to understand life through communication, we quest for knowledge, logic, mental intuition and education. The King of clubs is the Master of the Mind. A master communicator successful in all mental areas. I love these because I always find them to be eerily accurate.

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My best friend Ainyae,  makes us all personalized gift baskets for holidays. So the bookshelves, candle and books were all a part of a set. This book is a book of quotes from authors like Mark Twain and Cicero. I haven’t read them all yet, but they are sweet.

20171107_092413-11312192618.jpgA new fiction stand alone to add to my library is Night of the Animals by Bill Brown. I’m not familiar with the artist and having received it as a gift I’m not supremely familiar with the book itself. The inside panel describes it as a new-aged Noah’s ark situated in a futuristic London. The main character believes he can speak to the animals and is determined to free them from the zoo. He sets to the task of freeing them while interrogating them for information about his dead brother. There’s also a suicide cult who wants to kill the animals and themselves. Leave it to my bestie to grab something I’ve definitely never thought to read. My November TBR list is all booked up but I’m sure there is a reading challenge that may require a book like this in the future.

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I remember this book in high school, all the “cool kids” had one to detail their angst and channel their creativity or at least that what I told my mother as I begged for one. I believe I had it for all of a week. This goes against every fiber of my body but the concept of this book is to literally, Wreck This Journal and I’m working on it. This version comes in color! A big step up from the original black and white copy. This journal is full of pages meant to be scribbled, bitten, cut and crunched. Things I would usually prefer not to do with my book. Actually, the day before receiving this book I went on a 5 minute rant about how horrible it is that people write in their books. So far I’ve written my name and info around the closed edges of the book, but couldn’t bring myself to go to a more daring page.  Wreck This Journal is the brain child of Keri Smith.20171107_092618-2221146668.jpg

The Special Edition 20th Anniversary, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone did not actually come in my birthday basket. If you’ve read my B-Day Book Buy article you know I’ve needed a replacement for my original copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone after my copy literally fell apart at the hands of my mother. The book features information about Gryffindor House, its ghost and lots of other Hogwarts details. The complete first book of Harry Potter is inside along with other details from J. K. Rowling. Obviously I have read the first Harry Potter book. (Who hasn’t right?) The best thing about getting this book is actually that it completes my collection of the set which I had to re-purchase. (Thanks Mom). The next few books from the world of Harry Potter are the Cursed Child, (a late present from mom) Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch through the Ages.

I absolutely love my birthday books, the one about the animals will be getting read very soon, my bestie promises me it’s hilarious.

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What books would be on your birthday wish list? Comment Below!