Just a Brief Update

Hello, my dear friends. I hope all of you are well and safe. This global pandemic has been difficult on so many of us mentally as much as physically. I haven’t seen my children in person since mid-March as they are sheltering in place with their father. I also haven’t seen my high-risk parents.

Due to the mental stresses of that and a workplace environment preparing for the peeking of the COVID wave, I have neither been reading, writing, or blogging as of late. I do hope to correct that in the near future. I hope that by May, as the world slowly attempts to return to normal and rays of hope shine through, I will be able to return with my regularly scheduled content. I will mention that I may be producing fewer posts in the foreseeable future as I have made a change from night-shift to day-shift to be more available to my children. This shift in priorities has limited my reading opportunities though I plan to make scheduled reading time a priority as soon as life calms down a bit.

I am also considering allowing book reviewer guests to help me continue to provide content.

I wanted to mention, for all those who enjoy ebooks, that many Smashwords authors are giving away free books to help readers cope in this trying time. If you’d like to grab some free reads visit http://www.Smashwords.com and click on the authors give back tab.

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Book Review: Stacey in the Hands of an Angry God

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*I received this book through a LibraryThing giveaway. The review is my honest thoughts and opinion.

Synopsis: Stacey lives in a near-future dystopian America which is heavily divided by red states and blue states to the point that pregnant women can’t travel from a red state to a blue state. Also, using a search engine for information about anything that could potentially be hazardous to fetuses is a serious offense with heavy jail time. Stacey’s teen brother is being investigated for such a crime.
Stacey has recently become pregnant and the new laws would make it almost impossible for her to advance in her career. She decides to take action and run politically at the urging of her boyfriend who is separated from his wife though, under the current regime, is having difficulty getting divorced.

My rating:
3/5

My experience with this book was mixed. It isn’t a very long book but so much happens in it. This leads to quite a bit of telling instead of showing in various scenes. Writing-wise, I thought there were some great lines and well-done scenes but I also felt that, especially in the dialogue, the style was sometimes clunky. One thing I noticed that people addressing people by name in the dialogue unnecessarily often.

I really loved the world-building in this book. I felt it was relevant to our current political environment and it gave me strong Gilead from the Handmaid’s tale vibes. This book is the lead up to a dystopian religious regime unlike Gilead which is established by the start of The Handmaid’s Tale but I personally really enjoy watching the build-up to the dystopian world.

I had mixed feelings about the plot and the characters.

I really was intrigued by the plot until about halfway through the book. After that, things took some turns that were pretty strange. I think many of them worked with the world-building of the book but they felt off the rails at the same time especially the ending.

Stacey was also a sticking point for me. She is a character who has a strong back story and who we see in relation to her family quite a bit but who still didn’t come off the page for me. I loved her family dynamics and the relationships she had with them. I think I liked her family more than I liked Stacey and they felt more real to me than she did. I can’t pinpoint why exactly. I felt like there was something missing from her. One thing I was surprised and disappointed about is that her relationship with her fetus is very minor but the pregnancy plays such a huge part in the story. She chose to return to a red state knowing she was pregnant so clearly she wanted her baby. The baby is creating all these problems in her life and plans but she really doesn’t think much about the baby other than her rights being limited because of the baby.

I loved the world this story took place in. I really truly enjoyed the first half of this book but felt let down by the second half when it came to plot. I liked the side characters but felt like there was something missing from Stacey.

As my reading experience was so mixed I am hesitant to recommend this book but if you enjoy dystopian books with a religious slant you may really enjoy this book. The world was great. It was just the plot and Stacey that ended up being misses for me.

I may, however, continue in the series to engage with the rest of the world. Particularly eager to see how the blue states are portrayed.

 

 

If you want more of my thoughts on these and other books watch my review videos on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0lMytvlEXjNGydImwqA6Q

You can also connect with me on any of the following places:
Website: http://www.janebnight.webs.com
Email: authorjanebnight@yahoo.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012589.Jane_B_Night
Newsletter Sign-up: http://eepurl.com/cJrB0z
Twitter: @JaneBNight
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janebnight

To see a list of my publication or to purchase a book visit:
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-B.-Night/e/B00BX3XEB0
Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/authorjanebnight

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Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones

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Synopsis:
We get a glimpse of what happened in Jack and Jill’s portal world.

My rating:
3/5

I did enjoy reading this book but I didn’t like it nearly as much as Every Heart a Doorway.

This book has a very unusual storytelling style. It reminds me of how Fairy Tales are told. In a way, it is very info-dumpy but the author’s voice still makes it interesting.

This book is fairly short but we start the story even before Jack and Jill are born. The narrator goes to great pains to explain why Jack and Jill’s parents shouldn’t have had children. We are then taken through much of their early childhood where Jack (is raised super feminine) and Jill is raised to be masculine. Jack is always in dresses and never allowed to get dirty. Jill is put into sports and encouraged to rough-house and play sports. Neither child chose these roles for themselves and their parents allow no deviation from them.

When they enter their portal world, both girls must make a choice about whether to continue in the roles they’ve been assigned or to take on new roles. There are other factors that weigh in on Jack and Jill’s choices but eventually, Jack becomes an apprentice to a scientist. Jill becomes the adopted daughter of the vampire king. This puts them in a reversal of the gender roles their parents assigned them.

I did like the exploration of gender and the influence of parents and society on our gender expression choices.

One issue is that we don’t enter the portal world until almost halfway through the book and we didn’t spend much time there. We enter. Both girls are given to their new master/caregiver and their new lives are established. We then do a massive time jump to the events that caused them to leave the portal world. I could have done with more time in the world and deeper exploration. I would have liked to see the changes in the girls more slowly instead of in a massive narrative. This book had lots of telling but was sparse on showing.

I also thought Jill didn’t get as much page time as Jack. I would have liked to have seen more from Jill’s perspective to explain how things got to the point they got to in Every Heart a Doorway. Also, I would have liked to be able to sympathize more with the choices Jill made in both books.

Overall, this book was fine but I hope to like the next books in the series better.

 

If you want more of my thoughts on these and other books watch my review videos on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0lMytvlEXjNGydImwqA6Q

You can also connect with me on any of the following places:
Website: http://www.janebnight.webs.com
Email: authorjanebnight@yahoo.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012589.Jane_B_Night
Newsletter Sign-up: http://eepurl.com/cJrB0z
Twitter: @JaneBNight
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janebnight

To see a list of my publication or to purchase a book visit:
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-B.-Night/e/B00BX3XEB0
Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/authorjanebnight

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Book VS Movie: Murder on the Links

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Synopsis:
Book: Hercule Poirot has been called to France by a client claiming he is in mortal danger. When Poirot arrives he is informed his client has been murdered. The wife was found bound and gagged in the bedroom by the maid. She claims two Chileans broke into the house and forced her husband outside but there are things that aren’t sitting quite right in the mind of the great Poirot.

Movie: (David Suchet Version)
Poirot and Hastings are on holiday to a golf resort. While they are there, a wealthy man recognizes Poirot as a famous detective and approaches him to say he is afraid for his life and wants to meet but won’t tell Poirot more. The next morning, Hastings discovers the man murdered on the golf course. The wife was bound and gagged in the bedroom while, according to her, her husband was dragged off by two strangers.

Possible Spoilers Ahead!
The movie and book, in this case, are quite different.

The golf course plays a much stronger setting in the movie than the book. In the book, it is barely there despite the book being named Murder on the Links. In the movie, the setting is much more prominent.

The book and movie start quite differently as well. The movie starts with a news clip about a crime from ten years before. This crime is important to both book and movie but in the book, it is only casually remembered later rather than shown to the viewer/reader at the forefront to make them wonder how the previous crimes ties in.

In the book, there is a significant romance. On the train to France, Hastings meets a woman who gives her name as “Cinderella”. She is approx seventeen years old and the Hastings of the book (who I believe is quite young himself) is absolutely smitten with her. In fact, he ends up married to this “Cinderella”.

“Cinderella” meets Hastings later in the case and convinces him to let her see the murder victim out of grizzly curiosity. He takes her to the locked shed (after borrowing the key) where the body is being stored. Unknown to Hastings, she steals the murder weapon. This misjudgment is mostly laughed off by the detectives in the book because it is clear he was just trying to impress a girl. This is one indicator that the Hastings in the book is a young man. It might be “cute” when a moon-eyed twenty-year-old fouls up a case because he liked a girl but I don’t think a forty or fifty-year-old man would get off so lightly and the Hastings in the movie appears at least to be in his forties.

We learn later that Cinderella stole the knife because she believed her sister was involved in the murder. Her sister was romantically involved with the victim’s son who had recently broken up with her.

In the movie, the woman is a singer at the resort and her name is Isabella. He doesn’t unlock any sheds for her but instead brings her to the police station to inquire about the case. She then takes the murder weapon off the officer’s desk. The Hastings in the movie was more chided than book Hastings about his decision to indulge a woman’s curiosity.

In the movie version, the characters of Cinderella and her sister have been combined into Isabella. She steals the knife because she believes her former lover, the victim’s step-son, is the killer.

I didn’t like the romance plot of either the book or the movie but I thought it was even worse in the movie because Hastings still pursues Isabella who was willing to steal a knife to clear the name of her former lover. To me, this indicates she still has intense feelings for him and isn’t nearly ready for a relationship with Hastings. At the end of the movie, she and Hastings go off on a date. I really disliked that even more than a younger Hastings marrying the girl he met on the train.

In both the book and the movie, there is another detective investigating the case. In the book, we are given the impression he is younger than Poirot and using more modern methods (forensics) of crime-solving. In the movie, he and Poirot have different methods but appear to be close to the same age.

In both movie and book, there is a bet about which detective can solve the crime first. In the book, the wager is money. In the movie, it is more personal. If Poirot loses he must shave off his signature mustache. If the other detective loses he must give Poirot his signature pipe. I liked the bet and the interactions between the detectives much better in the movie version.

Overall, I think I enjoyed the movie version slightly better on this one though I wouldn’t be able to rate either more than 3/5 due to my feelings on the actual mystery itself.

 

 

If you want more of my thoughts on these and other books watch my review videos on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0lMytvlEXjNGydImwqA6Q

You can also connect with me on any of the following places:
Website: http://www.janebnight.webs.com
Email: authorjanebnight@yahoo.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012589.Jane_B_Night
Newsletter Sign-up: http://eepurl.com/cJrB0z
Twitter: @JaneBNight
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janebnight

To see a list of my publication or to purchase a book visit:
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-B.-Night/e/B00BX3XEB0
Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/authorjanebnight

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Author Updates

January was a crazy month for me as a writer.

My writer’s group released an anthology that I was fortunate enough to take part in. Fairy-less Tales: A Remix is a collection of fairy tale retellings with twists. My particular story is a retelling of the Emperor and the Nightingale by Hans Christian Anderson.

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In my new take on this classic tale, I have a CEO who wants to replace everyone in his life with machines. His boyfriend believes that people need other people and their relationship is put to the test over their different ideas about the role technology should play in their lives.

February will be spent focused on ghostwriting but I am hoping to work a bit of editing in as well. I want to start querying this year and I have a fairly (I hope) commercial book to start the process with. The current title (subject to change) is The Werewolf’s Muse book 1 in the Luna Lycan Series.

This series will feature the rock group Luna Lycan and their individual love stories. Book one centers around songwriter, guitarist, and singer Hunter who has been struggling to produce new music. He meets Kim and suddenly the music is flowing. Hunter decides there is more to their connection than music however Kim has been seriously burned by love in the past and she isn’t sure whether she wants to give her heart to the sexy rock star.

Excerpt below:

“Sorry, I know it’s late,” Hunter said pushing his way through the door.
She grabbed her keys off the table by the door. Just in case pepper spray was in order.
“What are you doing here?” she asked wrapping her fingers around the keys in an attempt to casually hide them.
“I know I’m way out of line,” he said.
She was glad he realized that.
“You came to my house at midnight to say you don’t normally come to girl’s houses at midnight?” she asked.
“No, of course not. That would be crazy,” he said.
“It would be,” she agreed.
“I’m not crazy. I swear. I just… I needed to see you. I wrote a song.”
“You are a songwriter, right?” she asked, her breath catching in her throat. He was all muscle. How hadn’t she noticed that when she’d seen him backstage. He reminded her of an English Mastiff. He was large and muscled. He exuded strength. She hoped, like most mastiffs she’d met, his size was purely for intimidation and he offered no more aggression than a golden retriever.
“Well, yeah, I am. But, I haven’t written anything in forever. Suddenly, the muse is rushing through me all out of control. I haven’t felt like this since…I don’t know when,” he said.
“Congratulations on writing a song,” she said moving away from him. She wasn’t used to strange men in her apartment at night. Other girls might have considered it a fantasy but…
“I think you were my inspiration,” he said.
“I shouldn’t have given you my address. Were you really planning to send me an autograph or was that just a ploy to get through the door of my home?”
“Look, I know this must seem crazy. It does to me too. I just wanted to play you the song you inspired. As a birthday present. A late birthday present,” he said.
I will keep you posted on how this adventure goes. I really would like to have the edits for The Werewolf’s Muse completed by March. Then I will start querying.

 

To see a list of my publication or to purchase a book visit:
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-B.-Night/e/B00BX3XEB0
Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/authorjanebnight

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February Giveaway

I wanted to take this opportunity to announce that for February 2020 my novel wedding the widow will be free on Smashwords. Pick up a free copy in time for valentine’s day.

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https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/447984
Wedding the Widow follows two romances.

First, we have Charlotte and Augustus.

Charlotte is pregnant and traveling west when her husband dies. She doesn’t wish to continue westward on her own so she asks Reverend Clint if there are any eligible bachelors who might be willing to take in a pregnant widow.

Augustus is an amputee he didn’t think he had a shot at love but when Reverend Clint asks him to marry Charlotte and help her raise the child she is carrying, Augustus can’t refuse. He doesn’t expect her to love him but that doesn’t mean he can keep himself from falling for her.

The second couple we have are Sophie and Ezra.

Sophie and Charlotte met on the wagon train heading west. Sophie is a mail order bride who is heading west to marry a logger named Ezra. When she arrives, she realizes that Ezra is more interested in a caregiver for his elderly father than in falling in love with his new bride, but Sophie didn’t risk the journey west for a shallow marriage. She is determined that she and Ezra will have their happily ever after.

 

 

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Book Review: Cujo

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Synopsis:
Cujo is a dog owned by a car repairman. When Cujo contracts rabies he terrorized many people including a mother and son whose car is stalled at the repair shop.

My rating:
3.5/ 5

This book was extremely hard for me to rate. I thought it was above average but also had deep flaws.

I absolutely loved Cujo and how the storytelling made sure the reader recognized that Cujo wasn’t a bad dog but rather was a victim just as much as anyone Cujo attacked after becoming ill.

I loved that the characters in the book were rounded and well developed. Sometimes in horror, there isn’t much character development because the book is so focused on the plot of the book rather than the characters involved. On the flip side, I thought there were too many characters involved in this story who were given too much back-story and detail. For example, I love that we learn about the struggles the mother character is having with adjusting to life in Maine. On the other hand, there is an extremely minor character who we learn is worried he has cancer due to excessive flatulence.

In the realm of character development, there is a character living in poverty who also was raised in poverty. She was interesting and I loved her back-story but I also felt as if she wasn’t a character who needed as much time and development in the story as she got.

I felt overall as if there were too many characters. This book was incredibly long and it could have been probably cut in half if not for the little side stories and tangents along the way. I did enjoy many of those stories but I also felt like they were being used to drag things out when the mom and son trapped in the car was what I really cared about and what I picked the book up for.

I loved that King did not shy away from anything. The deaths in this book were gruesome but well done and I appreciated that Kind kept the proverbial camera on the action instead of fading to black. I also loved the ending King chose. It was not what I was expecting. With that being said, I also felt at times he was going for shock value and some of the things said in the book were more about offending than they were necessary to plot or characters.

I was not a fan of all the dream sequences in this book and could have done without that.

At the introduction of the book, we are told about murders that happened in the town but I didn’t fully understand how they tied into what was happening in the present story or how they were relevant.

Overall, I loved parts of this book and parts were misses for me. I feel that if you don’t mind long books with lots of side plots that don’t tie into the main plot you may really have a good time with this book. It is scary. It is unpredictable. It is what I wanted in horror though ideally, it could have been about half the length.

 

If you want more of my thoughts on these and other books watch my review videos on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0lMytvlEXjNGydImwqA6Q

You can also connect with me on any of the following places:
Website: http://www.janebnight.webs.com
Email: authorjanebnight@yahoo.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012589.Jane_B_Night
Newsletter Sign-up: http://eepurl.com/cJrB0z
Twitter: @JaneBNight
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janebnight

To see a list of my publication or to purchase a book visit:
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-B.-Night/e/B00BX3XEB0
Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/authorjanebnight

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Book VS Movie: The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Synopsis: This is book 1 in the Hercule Poirot Series by Agatha Christie. Poirot is called to investigate the poisoning death of an elderly woman who Hastings has been staying with. There is a house full of murder suspects. Can Poirot find out the truth?

 

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Plot-wise both the book and the movie version (David Suchet) were the same. The movie followed the book loyally in almost every aspect. There were a few scenes from the movie that we are only told about in the book as Hastings is the POV character in the book and so any scenes he isn’t at we only got second hand in the book but are allowed to view in the movie version. There is also an early scene from the book that involved a group visit to a dispensary that was skipped over in the movie version. The importance of this in the book was to draw suspicion to a minor character though it had no bearing on the final reveal.

The movie version of the story had a bit of a slower start than the book. I felt like with the book it was easier to be drawn in right away whereas in the movie the murder doesn’t happen until perhaps a quarter into the movie. The book’s murder was probably similarly at the quarter mark but because the movie is shorter it felt like it took longer to get there and then the investigation wasn’t long enough.

The casting choices were where I found the most significant differences between the book and the movie. At least, my interpretation of the book vs the movie interpretation of the characters.

Let’s start with Poirot who is the main character. In the book, we are often told Poirot is old enough that Hastings and several others wonder if he’s lost his edge or perhaps is going a bit senile. It is indicated several times that Poirot is past his prime but that he was once a well respected Belgium detective. I feel like in the movie version they made him a bit younger than is indicated in the book (depending on Hastings age), though no age is given in the books so this is only using context clues. In the movie, Poirot appears to be perhaps in his 50s. I would say he does not appear older than sixty. I feel this is a bit young for the other characters to be worried about him being too old to be a good detective or to be past his prime but the perception of this would fall on Hastings and his age. If Hastings is in his twenties then I can see a fifty or sixty-year-old man appearing past his prime and headed for senility and the old folks’ homes. Other than (possibly) the age discrepancy I think the casting for Poirot was spot on. David Suchet does an amazing job in his role. I will also say that this Poirot is a bit nicer to Hastings than the book version. In the book version, Poirot is quite critical of Hastings though in the movie their deep friendship is apparent and the actors have excellent chemistry. I enjoy the friendship elements of the characters more in the movie than in the book.

One other comment about the movie Poirot. The movie does a much better job of showing Poirots attempts to integrate into English society than is shown in the book. I thought that was an interesting aspect of his movie character.

Hastings is cast much older in the book than I perceive him being in the novels. It seems to me that in the books there is a fairly large age discrepancy between Poirot and Hastings. In the film, the age difference is smaller. Hastings might be in his forties in the movie. In the book, I would put him in his twenties. Firstly, he was a wounded soldier and a man who is older, such as the Hastings in our movie, probably wouldn’t have been on the front. Also, in book 2, Murder on the Links, Hastings develops feelings for a girl he believes is just seventeen. I know in the past it was common for older men to date younger women but the movie Hastings being romantic with a seventeen-year-old would absolutely feel weird. The book Hastings is also quite girl crazy and Poirot is always telling him he is deceived by women. I think the movie Hastings was aged up to be more of a companion to Poirot but he is clearly older than his book version and he also seems less girl crazy. In the movie, his “girl craziness” is expressed as chivalrousness. He isn’t simply turned to a fool by a pretty face but instead, he wants to help distressed women even though his attempts at doing so sometimes backfire.

Additionally, in the movie version, we get to see how affected Hastings was by his service though I felt this was glossed over in the book version.

I will add that, even though I think the casting choices were off age-wise from book to movie, I absolutely love the movie version of both Poirot and Hastings.

While Poirot and Hastings are the most important characters, I wanted to comment on the side character casting as well.

Alfred and Evelyn were wonderfully done. They do look similar enough to be related and for the things that took place in the book to work.

The movie version of John and Lawrence was cast a bit on the older side. This makes sense as John and Hastings are friends but John acts somewhat immature in the movie considering his age at times. I believe in the book he would have been in his 20s or 30s but in the movie appears in his 40’s or perhaps later.

As John is Hastings’s friend he is shown in a bit more sympathetic light in the book. In the movie, I didn’t like his character as much and thought he came off as a less decent person instead of a good but flawed man.

 

 

If you want more of my thoughts on these and other books watch my review videos on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0lMytvlEXjNGydImwqA6Q

You can also connect with me on any of the following places:
Website: http://www.janebnight.webs.com
Email: authorjanebnight@yahoo.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012589.Jane_B_Night
Newsletter Sign-up: http://eepurl.com/cJrB0z
Twitter: @JaneBNight
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janebnight

To see a list of my publication or to purchase a book visit:
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-B.-Night/e/B00BX3XEB0
Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/authorjanebnight

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5 Star Book Predictions

I wanted to try some new things for this blog and 5-star predictions are one of them.

5 star

 

Ths following is a list of books I want to read in the first quarter of 2020 that I believe I will rate 5 stars.

 

  • Cress by Marissa Meyers
  • The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs by Nick Trout
  • Mr. Lemoncello’s All-Star Break Out Game by Chris Grabenstein
  • Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
  • The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

 

Have you read these books? Did you give them 5 stars? Based on my reading habits and past ratings do you think I will give them 5 stars?

 

 

If you want more of my thoughts on these and other books watch my review videos on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0lMytvlEXjNGydImwqA6Q

You can also connect with me on any of the following places:
Website: http://www.janebnight.webs.com
Email: authorjanebnight@yahoo.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012589.Jane_B_Night
Newsletter Sign-up: http://eepurl.com/cJrB0z
Twitter: @JaneBNight
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janebnight

To see a list of my publication or to purchase a book visit:
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-B.-Night/e/B00BX3XEB0
Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/authorjanebnight

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Book Review: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

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Synopsis: Cussy is a pack librarian in Kentucky during the Franklin Roosevelt era. She also has a rare skin disorder that makes her appear blue.

My Rating:
3/5

I was super excited to read this book but I ended up being pretty disappointed by it overall.

This book tries to tackle so many themes such as poverty, racism, treatment of women, treatment of coal miners, and the pack librarians of the era. I appreciated what the book was trying to do but felt the scale of the themes being explored was too big for the story. This book didn’t have much of an overarching plot. Everything that happens in the book felt more like a subplot. There are explorations into Cussy’s medical condition. There is a romance. There are Cussy’s relationships with her community and with herself. Lots of strands of a plot but not really anything that can easily be pointed at as what the story is about plot-wise.

Cussy is a likable character. She spends much of the book trying to help others while struggling with the limitations her medical condition puts on her. These are not physical limitations but social as she is considered “colored” by the white Kentuckians but she is equally not African American. This limits her job prospects, relationship prospects, and ability to mingle with the society around her. It also heavily influences the way other characters treat her.

I would say that Cussy’s character and the depth of the setting were the highlights of the book for me. The lack of the plot was it’s biggest failing along with a few other issues with the storytelling or the story itself.

I did not like the way this book started. The beginning was abrupt and, without offering spoilers, some awful things happen to Cussy but it was hard for me to care much because I barely knew her. I felt like I would have liked a more in-depth introduction before hearing about, what amounted to, one of the most horrific instances in Cussy’s life. That instance happens quickly and is dealt with but for me, it wasn’t a great way to start the book. It was just too much too fast.

The book is told from Cussy’s POV and there are many things in the book that seem contradictory but are not well explained because Cussy is a Kentuckian and our eyes of the story. Food scarcity is a huge issue in this book but we are often given contradictory information about the how and why of the starvation that is rampant. For instance, we learn that there are bodies of water with fish and turtles, we learn there are edible roots and berries growing wild, and we learn there are vast amounts of animals that could be hunted. Yet, people are literally starving to death despite seemingly available food sources. This is just one time in the book where I found Cussy’s POV to be limiting and found myself confused by aspects of Kentucky life that Cussy doesn’t really explain because they are her normal.

This book contains huge amounts of violence against Cussy and one thing I felt frustrated about was that there were few “good” men. Most of the men in this book are pretty awful with the exception of Cussy’s love interest.

Despite the things that didn’t work for me about this book, there were also things I enjoyed. There were many heartwarming moments between Cussy and the townsfolk. I loved the exploration of Kentucky during that time period. I am an Ohio girl so Kentucky is my close neighbor and I enjoy books about Appalachian life.

While I don’t think this book is for everyone, I think people who really love books about Appalachia will enjoy it if they don’t mind the violence against women and the lack of a plot. The setting of this book was rich despite the fact we are seeing it through a Kentuckian’s eyes and so are often offered incomplete information with unanswerable questions.

 

 

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