The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I just read to be honest. I’m not really sure how to process this story. So many people have been raving about this book, but for me, it was just weird. I thought this was supposed to be a horror book, but it did not check that box for me. I kept waiting for the horror to happen, but all I got was just weirdness. The first 65% of the book was slow and dreadful to be honest, but the writing does pick up a bit towards the end.

The story is about four American Indian men, who goes on an illegal hunt in the elder section of the reservation on the last day of the hunting season. They end up shooting a few elk, and one of them is a female pregnant elk, who 10 years later is exacting revenge on the four men for shooting her and her unborn elk calf.

I really struggled with the pace of the story, the writing style, and plot. I found it extremely slow and confusing in many areas. The voices of narration were bouncing back and forth, and I just couldn’t get into it as I would have liked. Reading this book for me was like watching a bad car accident that I couldn’t turn away from. I did push through this book because I hate having to DNF books, but I was so lost in this book, I don’t know if I would recommend this book. Although I love the fact that this is an #ownvoices author, I struggled with the story in this book tremendously. The pacing was not consistent, and the writing was confusing for me.

I don’t doubt that Stephen Jones is a phenomenal writer, but this book did not grab my attention the way I was anticipating. I was really excited to read a #ownvoices writer and dive into the Native American community, but so much is lost in this book, and I struggled to find footing in this novel. Overall, I rate this book a 3.25, and I do hope that others read this book for themselves because I do believe it is important to read books by other ethnic groups.

Thank you to Net Galley, Stephen Graham Jones and Gallery/Saga Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Children of Virtue & Vengance by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orïsha, #2)

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another cliffhanger??? I don’t know how much my heart can take!!

Tomi Adeyemi knows how to get you riled up. I was so in all of my emotions with this book. The first installment of this trilogy had me hating Inan. I still hate Inan! The whole royal family could just jump off a ledge for all I care. They got on my nerves in this book!

For me, this book was fast paced. I was able to meld right in with the story as it picked up momentum into the war battling against the monarch in the Orisha kingdom and rebellious army of the Iyika. We got introduced to some new characters, and was able to fall back in love with the characters from the first book. One new character from the end of the first book, Röen, was such a sexy mystery! I came to love him and Zéli’s oft-unstable connection throughout this book.

In this installment, Zéli, Amari, and Tzain are living life after magic has been brought back to life. Inan, the crown prince, is now the heir to the throne, and is adamant at seeing magic get destroyed once and for all. His mother, Nehanda, is hellbent on seeing her son on the throne and taking out whoever gets in the way. She is demonically possessed with power, and does everything in and out of her might to ensure the maji does not return to power or to usurp the throne. We learn some secrets that Nehanda has kept, and we find out her real motivation behind getting Inan into the seat of power.

Zéli, the ever faithful maji to her clan, is now one of the leaders and elders in her maji clan of Reapers. Although she was hesitant and reluctant at first, she takes full command of her clan to ensure that justice is served to the royals who have oppressed the maji since forever. We see how she deals with Inan, Amari, Röen, and the war as battles ensues. Will the war to bring peace to Orïsha never end?

Inan. The crown prince is fighting to be the kind of king Orïsha never had. With his dead father’s legacy pushing behind him, and his mother pushing him from in front, Inan has enormous pressure to continue being the type of ruler like his father. However, because of the connection with Zéli and the maji, he’s wants to do the right thing for his kingdom. Will Inan fall to the pressures of being like his father? Or will he stand up and become the king he know he needs to be for Orïsha to have the peace they have been seeking?

Amari, the little princess, has now become a tîtan, like many of the royals and nobles in the land, now that magic is back. Amari wants to become the queen of Orïsha because she feels, only she can make the difference that is needed to bring peace to the land. However, she’s her mother’s and father’s child. Amari knows that in order for her to be queen, she’s going to have to make sacrifices. She has to beat her mother in order for her to rise to the throne. Will she sacrifice everyone she loves just to be queen?

This book brings to the surface many issues. How do you wield power to get the right things accomplished without sacrificing the ones you love just to get things accomplished? How can you set aside your differences and work with others to get things done? How do you know you have matured in order to see things from an objective angle without getting too involved?
How can you bring 2 factions together who disagree in order to bring about peace?

I really enjoyed this book! I still have questions though that I hope to have explained in the third and final book. Overall, this book was a thrilling wild ride. There is long discussions about the war and preparation for war, but I enjoyed the pace of the book and it did not seem clunky at all to discuss the war throughout this book. I would recommend this book to everyone! Very good book for YA fiction, and it kept me on the seat of my pants throughout.

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Cries from the Dark Side of the Moon by Lauren M. White

Cries from the Dark Side of the Moon by Lauren M White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poetry is beautiful to listen to, to read, and to reflect on. Poetry also allows you to bring your own insight into the words you read/listen to, and gives you the power to embrace or relate to something in your life. I love poetry for that alone. Everyone gets something different from poetry. It’s personal. It’s intimate. It’s passionate.

Cries from the Dark Side of the Moon, is a collection of poems dedicated to the black woman. Her experiences, her life, her problems, her self, her loss, and her love. It has been said that the black woman is often the least respected human being in this world, and society does not let us forget that one minute. We have to fight for everything in our lives it seems. We have to bite back words as microaggressions happen at work. We have to support our black man even when it is hard to do sometimes. We have to be the supermom to our kids, showing tough love, compassion, erasing toxic behaviors from our past, and setting forth an example that would help them become better adults. We never have enough time for ourselves, and self-care is always one of the last things we do because we are always taking care of everyone else first. Everyone (white women in particular) wants to be us, but yet don’t want our struggles. We have to be fearless, problem-solvers, caretakers, love makers, violence buffers, promise keepers, and keep our anger at bay… least we have the moniker of “Angry Black Woman.”

This book of poetry explores all of that and more. The subtitles of the poems allows you to know what you are getting into before you read the poem, allowing you time to self-reflect, prepare, and ponder on your own experiences. The author explores a wide-range of life that the black woman is exposed to: pain, fear, love, loss, infertility, relationships, broken dreams, empowerment, self-identity, etc. This book is also interactive! The book gives you an opportunity to engage in self-reflection by providing a space to write down how you can create a positive space around you. I really appreciated that in this book because it’s something I’ve never seen done in a poetry book before. I thoroughly enjoyed the content of this book of poems, and I’m thankful for receiving a copy so that I can share this review with you.

The only critique I would have for the author is that some of the transitions between stanzas are hard and doesn’t flow well into the next sentence. Also, some of the endings are abrupt and leaves you hanging, wishing for a better closing. All in all, the overall organization of the book is phenomenal. The book is aesthetically pleasing to look at, and I enjoyed the direction the author gave in her introduction and letter to the reader. I would definitely recommend this to other black women.

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