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07 Jun, 2017

Ghost Summer – Lyrical, Heartbreaking, Creepy Short Stories

/ posted in: Reading Ghost Summer – Lyrical, Heartbreaking, Creepy Short Stories Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due
on September 8th 2015
Pages: 335
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Published by Prime Books
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

Whether weaving family life and history into dark fiction or writing speculative Afrofuturism, American Book Award winner and Essence bestselling author Tananarive Due’s work is both riveting and enlightening.
Due takes us to Gracetown, a small Florida town that has both literal and figurative ghost; into future scenarios that seem all too real; and provides empathetic portraits of those whose lives are touched by Otherness. Featuring an award-winning novella and fifteen stories—one of which has never been published before—Ghost Summer: Stories is sure to both haunt and delight.

Goodreads

Tananarive Due is an amazing writer.  She puts her stories together so beautifully and smoothly that you get sucked into her world even knowing that she is a horror writer who is going to pull the rug out from under you soon.

This is a collection of short stories grouped by subject matter.  It starts with stories set in a small Florida town where the local legends are something to be believed and feared.  It starts with a story from the point of view of a monster and moves into the origins of a town full of ghost stories.

There is a group of five stories set after the onset of a plague.  Several follow one woman at different points in her life as she lives in a world that has been destroyed.

What makes this collection different from other paranormal stories out there is that many of the heartbreaking moments are from real life playing out while there are monsters in the background.  Just because the world is falling apart doesn’t mean that you can abandon your grandmother who is dying of cancer.  The excitement of visiting your grandparents’ haunted town dims when you realize that you are there because your parents are splitting up.  She does an excellent job of keeping the supernatural grounded in the real which makes these stories even creepier.

I particularly appreciated the notes after each story that tells a little bit about the origins of the story.  I know authors always complain about being asked where they get their ideas but I find it fascinating to see what random thought developed into a story.

Even if scary stories aren’t what you normally read, consider picking up this book for the lyrical writing that isn’t always seen in this genre.

About Tananarive Due

“Due has a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Leeds, England, where she specialized in Nigerian literature as a Rotary Foundation Scholar. In addition to VONA, Due has taught at the Hurston-Wright Foundation’s Writers’ Week and the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. As a screenwriter, she is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA).” – from her website

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Backlist Books
  • Books Set in North America
  • POC authors
08 Oct, 2015

#Diversiverse Author Spotlight – Tananarive Due

/ posted in: Reading by Tananarive Due

Whenever people are first trying to expand the authors that they are reading, it can be overwhelming. In the next few days I’ll be spotlighting authors who I’ve been reading a lot lately in a variety of genres.

Tananarive Due has written many books in many genres herself. The first of her books that I read was My Soul to Keep.

mysoultokeep

When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity so they would never die, a secret he must protect at any cost. Now, his immortal brethren have decided David must return and leave his family in Miami. Instead, David vows to invoke a forbidden ritual to keep Jessica and his daughter with him forever.

I’d describe this one as psychological thriller/horror.  Stephen King wrote the blurb for the cover and it reminds me of a story that he might have written with the combination of a normal setting that devolves into something scary.


 

1335105

This is the second in her four book African Immortals series that started with My Soul to Keep.  SPOILERS IN DESCRIPTION

Jessica Jacobs-Wolde worked hard to rebuild her life in Miami after the disappearance of her husband, David, and the death of her daughter Kira at his hand. Four years later, she is still coming to terms with a shocking truth: David, who is part of an ancient group of immortals — a hidden African clan that has survived for more than a thousand years — gave Jessica and their second daughter, Fana, the gift of his healing blood.

Now Jessica is running an isolated clinic in Botswana — one that has swiftly earned a reputation for its astounding success rate in curing desperately ill children — and she hopes to find the tribe of souls with whom Fana truly belongs. Just three and a half years old, the girl is displaying signs of tremendous power — conjuring storms, editing her mother’s memories, and striking people down with a thought. Her growing abilities need to be tamed — and soon. Already Fana’s dreams are haunted by a shadowy entity, someone — or something — she can only call the Bee Lady.

Unaware that they are being tracked by Lucas Shepard, a doctor from Florida who hopes to save his dying son, and by a group of fortune hunters who will stop at nothing to exploit the power coursing through her veins, Jessica journeys to Ethiopia in search of the Life Brothers.

Each book in this series is a bit different than the others.  I can’t decide if I like the first or second better.  I love them both for different reasons.  I spent the third book wanting to smack the main character but then she would kill me with the power of her brain.  I haven’t read the last one yet but I’m looking forward to it.


ghostsummer

Like short stories?  This collection was just published.

Whether weaving family life and history into dark fiction or writing speculative Afrofuturism, American Book Award winner and Essence bestselling author Tananarive Due’s work is both riveting and enlightening.

In her debut collection of short fiction, Due takes us to Gracetown, a small Florida town that has both literal and figurative ghost; into future scenarios that seem all too real; and provides empathetic portraits of those whose lives are touched by Otherness.


freedominthefamily

I think this is the next book of hers that I’m going to read.

Patricia Stephens Due fought for justice during the height of the Civil Rights era. Her daughter, Tananarive, grew up deeply enmeshed in the values of a family committed to making right whatever they saw as wrong. Together, in alternating chapters, they have written a paean to the movement—its hardships, its nameless foot soldiers, and its achievements—and an incisive examination of the future of justice in this country. Their mother-daughter journey spanning two generations of struggles is an unforgettable story.


 

Where to Start?

  • It depends on your mood.  She has written in many styles.  Check out her Goodreads page for her other books.
  • She is very active on Twitter (@TananariveDue).  She writes often about civil rights and Afrofuturism in fiction.

 

All book descriptions from Goodreads

About Tananarive Due

“Due has a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Leeds, England, where she specialized in Nigerian literature as a Rotary Foundation Scholar. In addition to VONA, Due has taught at the Hurston-Wright Foundation’s Writers’ Week and the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. As a screenwriter, she is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA).” – from her website

23 Mar, 2015

Blood Colony by Tananarive Due

/ posted in: Reading Blood Colony by Tananarive Due Blood Colony by Tananarive Due
on June 3rd 2008
Pages: 422
Series: The African Immortals #3
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Also in this series: The Living Blood

Acclaimed for seven novels, ranging from supernatural thrillers to historical fiction, which have garnered her a multitude of fans and awards, Tananarive Due now imagines the story of an ancient group of immortals -- a hidden African clan that has survived for more than a thousand years -- facing one of the most challenging issues of our time: the AIDS/HIV pandemic.There's a new drug on the street: Glow. Said to heal almost any illness, it is distributed by an Underground Railroad of drug peddlers. But what gives Glow its power? Its main ingredient is blood -- the blood of immortals. A small but powerful colony of immortals is distributing the blood, slowly wiping out the AIDS epidemic and other diseases around the world. Meet Fana Wolde, seventeen years old, the only immortal born with the Living Blood. She can read minds, and her injuries heal immediately. When her best friend, a mortal, is imprisoned by Fana's family, Fana helps her escape -- and together they run away from Fana's protected home in Washington State to join the Underground Railroad. But Fana has more than her parents to worry about: Glow peddlers are being murdered by a violent, hundred-year-old sect with ties to the Vatican. Now, when Fana is most vulnerable, she is being hunted to fulfill an ancient blood prophecy that could lead to countless deaths.While her people search for Fana and race to unravel the unknown sect's mysterious origins, Fana must learn to confront the deadly forces -- or she and everyone she loves will die.

Goodreads

Fana was last seen as an all-powerful toddler prone to killing people with her mind in The Living Blood. Now she is 17 and has chosen to live in virtual isolation.  She is a powerful psychic and being exposed to large numbers of people is too much for her.  Through the years she has met a few kids her age.  They are usually the children of the people helping her family to distribute their blood.

A pint of an immortal’s blood can be diluted with saline and given out a drop at a time to help cure blood-borne diseases like AIDS.  It is released slowly and secretly because of the violence that has met previous attempts to heal people.  Now a street version of the drug is showing up and Fana is the source.  She’s using the kids she met to distribute her blood in North America.

When her network contacts start dying violently, the adult immortals realize they are being hunted again.

Liked

  • I loved the first half of this book.  It seemed like a probable scenario that teenagers would reject the caution of their parents and try to do something radical that backfires on them.
  • There is a twist in the middle of the book that is done very quietly and is deliciously creepy.  I actually gasped.  I had to put the book down for a day just to let my mind wrap around it.

Didn’t like

  • The second half of the book didn’t stand up to the first for me.  It seemed to be more about setting up a confrontation for the next book instead of making this a complete story on its own.

About Tananarive Due

“Due has a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Leeds, England, where she specialized in Nigerian literature as a Rotary Foundation Scholar. In addition to VONA, Due has taught at the Hurston-Wright Foundation’s Writers’ Week and the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. As a screenwriter, she is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA).” – from her website

05 Mar, 2015

The Living Blood by Tananarive Due

/ posted in: Reading The Living Blood by Tananarive Due The Living Blood by Tananarive Due
on 2001
Pages: 515
Genres: Fiction, Horror
Published by Pocket Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Also in this series: Blood Colony

Acclaimed for her riveting fiction, which tests the boundaries of supernatural suspense, Tananarive Due returns with a gloriously imagined tale of an ancient cult's undying powers -- now embodied by a child who can grow to become either monster or savior. The Living Blood Jessica Jacobs-Wolde worked hard to rebuild her life in Miami after the disappearance of her husband, David, and the death of her daughter Kira at his hand. Four years later, she is still coming to terms with a shocking truth: David, who is part of an ancient group of immortals -- a hidden African clan that has survived for more than a thousand years -- gave Jessica and their second daughter, Fana, the gift of his healing blood. Now Jessica is running an isolated clinic in Botswana -- one that has swiftly earned a reputation for its astounding success rate in curing desperately ill children -- and she hopes to find the tribe of souls with whom Fana truly belongs. Just three and a half years old, the girl is displaying signs of tremendous power -- conjuring storms, editing her mother's memories, and striking people down with a thought. Her growing abilities need to be tamed -- and soon. Already Fana's dreams are haunted by a shadowy entity, someone -- or something -- she can only call the Bee Lady. Unaware that they are being tracked by Lucas Shepard, a doctor from Florida who hopes to save his dying son, and by a group of fortune hunters who will stop at nothing to exploit the power coursing through her veins, Jessica journeys to Ethiopia in search of the Life Brothers. There, she will be reunited with her immortal beloved. There, the full force of Fana's powers will be revealed. And there, Jessica, David, Fana, and the good doctor Shepard, though himself a mere mortal, will engage in an epic and transcontinental battle over the ultimate fate of humanity. Blending the supernatural with a thrilling vision of our times, this is a powerful and sweeping tale of love, horror, immortality, and redemption from an astounding storyteller.

Goodreads
  • The cover made the husband do a double take and declare that he was going to have nightmares from watching me read it.
  • I learned about Lobelia Ethiopia. There are 11 churches in this town that were carved out of bedrock with their roofs at ground level. I never knew they existed.
  • I was most interested in the issue of trying to raise an all powerful child. Maybe it is because I’ve had to deal with a violent child so the story of trying to teach a three year old that she can’t kill people with her mind seemed relevant.
  • This is a rare time when I actually like the second book in a series more than the first. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series to see what they decide to do with the medical implications of the blood.
  • Here’s my review of the first book in the series – My Soul to Keep
  • I’m currently reading the third book – Blood Colony – and liking it even more than this one.  I put it aside yesterday though because it there was one sentence at the end of a chapter that quietly introduced a huge plot twist and was insanely creepy.  I needed to let my brain recover from that.

About Tananarive Due

“Due has a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Leeds, England, where she specialized in Nigerian literature as a Rotary Foundation Scholar. In addition to VONA, Due has taught at the Hurston-Wright Foundation’s Writers’ Week and the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. As a screenwriter, she is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA).” – from her website

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