Well, hello there.
How are you?
I know, it’s been a while since I’ve done just a sit down and chat type of post. But here we are! And for those who celebrate, HAPPY EASTER! My easter was yesterday, so I’ve had two weeks of non-stop chocolate.
Not that I’m complaining.
Those Lindt Easter Eggs are just…so…perfect.
Today I thought I would do a weekly round-up type of post, I don’t know how often I will do this but I thought it would be kind of fun!
So let’s get into it!
books books and more books (not really)
Not counting books I have to review, this post I talk about the 6 books! Well, three were comic books but THEY STILL COUNT.
Is that right? anYWAY.
The first one I finished was a sequel called Alone in the Dark by Karen Rose. Now, Karen Rose writes crime/thriller fiction with a side of romance and I never knew how much I needed these books in my life. I should have known – Nora Roberts’ single books are typically of the same genre and I devour those like they are Lindt chocolate easter eggs with no mercy. They’re just solid reads that are easy to get through and don’t require copious amounts of brain power.
Alone in the Dark was just that great blend of crime, thriller, whodunnit, and romance that I read it extremely fast considering I was actually supposed to be doing work for my thesis but
i said it.
It is the story of Homicide Detective Scarlett Bishop who gets embroiled in a dangerous sex and human trafficking ring with Former Army Ranger Marcus O’Bannion who is an investigative journalist (who owns a newspaper company) and is also not afraid to get down and dirty to ensure that victims are safe and secure. Even if that means destroying the threat.
I loved the first book in the series, and the same goes for this sequel! Karen Rose understands how the create a masterpiece of romance, thriller and cruelty in such a way that leaves the reader gasping. I felt that this sequel was slightly better in terms of the writing, it felt more mature and sophisticated. The only major problem I had with this book was the pacing issue. The entire book occurs over the span of three days. I understand this is meant to bolster excitement for the reader and a more ‘edge-of-you-seat’ mentality, but it’s a 590ish paged book for only three days and there were times when I felt that the story itself could have picked up so we could get more of a momentum happening.
I am extremely excited though to read the rest of these series because I want everyone in the #squad to find some happiness!
Next is one of my favourite reads of 2019 so far. Internment by Samira Ahmed was an extremely poignant read that is intense in its emotionality and impact. Well, to an extent.
Internment takes place in the ‘near-future’ of now, in America with the implication that Donald Trump is the President. It talks of the process of exclusion, the mechanisms of racism and violence and the gradual way in which Muslim Americans are demonised, targeted and interned at camps. In the book, those who identified on the census that they were Muslim, were then kidnapped from their houses and taken to the internment camp with only ten minutes to pack their things. This was in the aftermath of most Muslim Americans being fired from their jobs as a result of the ‘threat’ that they supposedly were to America. This novel emphasises the accumulated impact of Islamophobic rhetoric on the actions and ideologies of the every-day man, and how that in turn can destroy the lives of innocent and wonderful Muslim Americans. It really highlights how complicitness and white privilege perpetuate the mechanisms of racism, oppression and violence. And that was one of my own major takeaways from this book.
However, I found several aspects of the novel annoying. For instance, Layla was completely and utterly obsessed with David, her boyfriend, to the extent that it actually portrayed her to be selfish and immature at times. I understand that clinging to her boyfriend and the idea of him, helped her get through the absolute shit-show that was life in the internment camp, but there were times that she would risk her own life and the lives of her family for two minutes with David to either make out (mostly), highlight David’s privilege in being able to leave the camp without repercussions, or give him an article about the inhumane way that Muslim Americans were being treated (which was super cool). There was also the way in which the ‘Minders’ were portrayed that I had a slight issue with.
The ‘Minders’ are those Muslim Americans who chose to ‘work’ alongside the American government/director of the internment camp for some sort of privileges. These ‘Minder’s lived in the internment camp but were in charge of a ‘block’ of internees, usually divided by ethnic group. Now, these Minders were portrayed as traitors, as those betraying their own kind. It was painted quite black and white; and I think history has shown us that it is never that clear – there was no attempt to paint them as actual human beings who may have been threatened, or who had their own story and their own motivations. They were just evil in their own way, complicit in the system.
Also, when Layla entered the internment camp, a random guard made eye contact with her and all of a sudden he’s like i’m on your side, i’ll help you. It was strange. Like, out of everyone in the camp, he chose Layla? For what reason? I don’t understand and I still don’t. Was it attraction? Was it something else? Who knows, because *spoiler alert* the guard that helps Layla and basically cleans up after her messes sacrifices himself at the end and then all of a sudden, the internees are free. Even though the internees was protesting at the moment, it felt pushed aside. It kind of seemed like ‘white guy helps/saves’ and it was weird? The idea that Layla really didn’t do much herself, but was supported by her friends and Jake the guard (and those that were also working with Jake behind the scenes) was really highlighted to me, but the story made it out as though Layla was this chosen one.
Anyway, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars, only because it did keep me engaged, the story was incredibly impactful and the message that it puts forth is so so important.
If you’ve known me long enough, then you know that I absolutely adore Nikita Gill. Gill is a poet, one whose words hit my soul. Her poetry is stunning and incredibly empowering as well as healing. This week I read her most recent poetry collection, Your Heart is the Sea, which was graciously given to me by Thought Catalogue Books earlier this year, and I am so so happy that I was able to read this. I feel so much when I read Gill’s work and honestly, this collection was organised amazingly well and did so in a manner that was thematic and also portrayed the process of healing. The poetry was incredible, understatement, but I love when she incorporates space and the stars with survival and healing and self-love. It’s a beautiful collection. I think for me, Wild Embers will always hold first place, because that was the first collection I read from Gill and it really changed my perspective on many things, but mostly on how I interact with the world. I consider Gill an introspective writer, and by that I mean that she enables and creates this safe space with her words that allows the reader to reflect, to think about themselves, their journey, their pain, their trauma, their love; and that is a powerful magic. If you can already tell, I gave Your Heart is the Sea by Nikita Gill a 5 out of 5 stars.
I’M SO EXCITED. SO basically I saw my sister-from-another-mister Hannah this week, and she graciously gave me some books to read because I was telling her that I wasn’t feeling the book that I was about to read. You know when you just want something different before you dive into another book? That WAS ME! So, Hannah gave me ALL THE COMIC BOOKS and a fiction book as well as a graphic novel HALLELUJAH! The first comic book I read this week was Lady Killer Volume 1 by Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich. It explores the life of stay-at-home mother, Josie Schuller who also moonlights as a contract assassin. What I absolutely adored about this comic book, and this idea I’m going to talk about was also discussed by the author herself, is the fact that a woman was written and portrayed as getting down and dirty with the slaughter. That sounds fucked, I know. But Josie’s character wasn’t afraid – she had a job to do and she would do what she had to in order to get it done. The dichotomy of the ‘mother’ versus the ‘killer’ was explicit which I felt gave more layers to Josie’s character as well as the storyline. I found the portrayal of the everyday microaggressions and acts of sexism and misogyny was so amazing because the reader is like she could fucking kill you mate with her pen. I LOVED IT. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars only because it felt rushed towards the end in comparison to the beginning, AND I’M FEELING PETTY THAT CLIFFHANGER THOUGH.
Next comic book was Rat Queens Volumes 1 and 2 by Kurtis J. Weibe and Roc Upchurch and holy gods, these cast of characters have my soul. Rat Queens are an all-female squad of mercenaries who are tasked with ensuring the baddest of all creatures are not a threat to the people of Palisades. The Rat Queens are made up of a Elven mage from necromancer parents, Hannah; badass Dwarven fighter, Violet; Dee the atheist Human cleric, and; Betty the Smidgen thief who literally farts rainbows.
Basically, I love them all equally.
It’s really an epic comic book series with fantastic characters with such a depth of emotion and character development. With heaps of action and battles and cliffhangers that make you WANT SO MUCH MORE.
But, as a female reader, you can tell that it was written by a male author. Maybe because I’m a bit more attuned to these sorts of things, but it’s not a bad thing just something I noticed which made the sex scenes more sense.
I rated both volumes a 5 out of 5 stars because I honestly loved the storylines so much and the friendship between the women is so beautiful to read. I JUST LOVED IT SO MUCH.
okay, this became longer than I expected. But I hope you liked it! Until next time, my loves! Happy reading.
All the love,