Saturday, March 20, 2021

I've updated the About section, as well as the sections that list my publications and presentations. They were so out of date!

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Review: Long Bright River

Long Bright River Long Bright River by Liz Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quite an interesting mystery!

Set in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, and one of the things I most enjoyed about this books was the setting of Kensington, the neighborhood and the people.

Next was the unreliable narrator, Mickey, and the truths she's not quite willing to share with the reader.

And Mickey: complicated and messy. Her life and family is complicated but what strikes me the most, what gets me the most, is she tries. And tries. And tries. Just as those around her try. But often fail, because we are human, and, also, because addiction.

Oh, plot? OK, plot. Mickey is a police officer; her sister is an addict and prostitute. Someone is killing women, killing prostitutes, and Mickey's sister has disappeared. No one seems to care, because they are poor and addicts and hookers.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Review: Daring and the Duke

Daring and the Duke Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

ARGH. I hate to say this, but this book didn't do it for me.

I LOVE Sarah MacLean. Love, love, love her books. But this one, and this series, just didn't work for me. I was actually hesitant to even post this, because I tend not to write about ones that don't like.

See how often I say "for me," because I know it may work for you? I think it's because the setting here veered too much to an alternate-England; an alternate history, and perhaps what I need to do is to reread this embracing that possibility. I also think it's because part of the alternate history is about the three Bareknuckle Bastards creating a world that, well, fixes poverty. Again, I'm torn: on the one hand, I like that the poverty of the time is addressed. Too many regency/historicals don't talk about class and poverty and just how bad it was for anyone who wasn't rich and connected. But, again, maybe I have to reread with a shift in how I view this and believe this, because I kept thinking -- things aren't changed. This isn't offering a different view, a realistic view, it's as much a fantasy as the Dukes and Ladies, except it's crime lords.

All that said, one thing I really liked was how easy it was to picture everything. Great descriptions; and strange as it may sound, I think if this was a series on Netflix or Hulu, I would like it.

I know. Just a book. I'm overthinking.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Review: For Black Girls Like Me

For Black Girls Like Me For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama J. Lockington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another flashback, to a book I read a few years back.

This is a heartbreaker.

Keda is eleven. She is moving cross country with her family, starting in a new place, New Mexico, because of her father's job. Keda is African American, the only one in her family, adopted as an infant.
Keda's mother was a musician; she still is, except her father's job took priority in the family and her mother plays less and less.

This is a story of a girl moving to a new place, and having to start again with new friends. A school that calls itself diverse, but the diversity does not include her.

Keda loves her parents; she loves her older sister, the miracle baby born to them.

For Black Girls Like Me explores transracial adoption, and the harms that even well-meaning, loving parents can inflict. Some of them I saw and winced; some of them I didn't realize until Keda pointed it out; and some I saw and Keda didn't make a big deal about because it is her life and she cannot make a big deal out of everything.

It is also Keda moving to a new place and the difficulty of making new friends and finding a place and a voice.

It is also about a mother who is sick and people don't know it. As an adult reader, I quickly picked up on the fact that her mother was exhibiting the highs and lows, the manic actions, of someone with bipolar disorder. Keda, her sister, and her father don't see it; and I imagine that most readers won't. They will discover it as Keda does. And this captures beautifully the heartbreak of being the child when a family member is sick, and feeling responsible, and feeling resentful.

All in all, a wonderful book about many things, and it works beautifully, and I am hopeful for Keda and think that readers will love her as much as I do.

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