Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

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Title: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland
Copyright: April 3, 2018
Genre: fiction
Format: book
Pages: 455

 

Summary (from Goodreads):

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

About the Author (Justina Ireland):

Image result for justina ireland

Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows. But what you may not know about her is that:

 Over the last several years, Ireland and others in the YA world have been using Twitter to call out what they see as an enduring tradition of racist nonsense in publishing…As Ireland has repeatedly taken pains to point out, the world of children’s and young-adult literature is overwhelmingly, disproportionately white. Of some 3,700 books for children or teens that were published last year, just 340 were about children or teens who were black, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin. Of those, just 100 were written by black authors. Ireland argues that the industry should publish more books by nonwhite authors, and that white authors should think more carefully about how they represent black and brown people in their books.

My Thoughts:

This book was fantastic. I heard about this book from the Book Riot podcast and I was interested because I liked how it was an alternate history during the civil war time. I was also thrilled that the protagonist was mixed race.

The cover art grabbed my attention and it appealed to me that the author was a black woman. As I quoted earlier, there is a disproportionate amount of non-white authors published in the industry today. I’m always trying to make a conscious effort to support black authors.  Because if we don’t buy the books written by people of color then the publishers can say that they didn’t create or generate the sales that they need to be publishing books and we will miss an opportunity to experience diverse talent.

I won’t lie when I say that I was a little hesitant when I saw the word zombie in the description. But the idea of an alternate history where blacks during the civil war were trained in weaponry and etiquette. Well, I just had to see this book through. The story was easy to get into I really like the main character, Jane, who was very strong and smart.

Structurally, I like how at the very start of each chapter you would see an excerpt from a letter Jane wrote to her mother. Since she had to live apart from her mother at the boarding school, she wanted to keep in touch with her mother and we saw this represented in the letters she wrote to her mother.

Of course, you get to see the boarding school experience through Jane’s eyes and hear a lot about how she gets along with the fella girls. You also get glimpses of her past where she used to live on Rose Hill with her mother and the story unfolds really slowly chapter to chapter. I like that it is spread out throughout the story. The author doesn’t throw all the information at you in the beginning. It is delivered at a pace that really enhanced the experience of the book.

Although the story is a fantastical alternate history of the civil war era, the issues of race ring familiar today. We aren’t in that great “melting pot” that we often talked about when I was growing up. We can’t be when people have racial bias and laws that govern exacerbate those feelings. There were many action scenes much of which took place in the last quarter of the book and I just couldn’t put it down had to finish it. I believe it is the start of a series. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and looking forward to the next one.

I give this book 4 1/2 butterflies.

What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday – #489

Good morning my crafty WOYWW friends! For those of you that aren’t familiar with WOYWW (What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday), head on over to Julia’s Stamping Ground and you will find desks from all around the world for What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday where we get to snoop on other crafter’s desks.

Hello, hello, hello! Today both my boys have half days so I can’t babble on as usual.  On my desk, you see my newest bullet journal. I am using this one as my new book journal. I really like this brand for a journal and thought it would be nice to have all of my journals from the same brand. That way they will look nice and uniform on my shelf. I chose a pretty pink one for this one.

I have my color pencils out because I am doing a two-page spread for Non-fiction November which is a Booktube challenge to promote more non-fiction reading. I found great inspiration for a visual display in book journals on Pinterest. So I created a bookshelf and placed books on the shelves I then added titles to the books that I can use as options to read during the month of November for the challenge.  I realize after I started writing in titles that I included some fiction books from my TBR. So I think I will go back and leave only non-fiction titles.  I am a slow reader and November is a holiday month so I will not get to all of these books so, after November, I  will just use it as a Non-fiction TBR list. I used some cute plant stickers I had bought a while back from Target to add interest to the shelves. I also think I will add the year to the page. As I read the books, I think I will color them in for more visual motivation.

On the top right, you can also see some blue acrylic paint I have from another coloring page. It’s laying out to dry but hopefully, I can share it with you when I am complete. On the left, under my pencil case you can see a card I made a while back and some new phrase die-cuts I bought. I decided to cut out a bunch so that they are ready for use on projects instead of having to pull out my Cuttlebug to cut them each time.

Well, I need to run but I hope you all are having a wonderful day with at least a dash of crafty time!

Belinda

Happy Monday: Poetry to Start the Week

Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you:

But when the leaves hang trembling

The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?

Neither you nor I:

But when the trees bow down their heads

The wind is passing by.

-Christina G. Rossetti

 

Good morning and happy Monday! I have a chalkboard in my kitchen were I typically write inspirational quotes for my family to see throughout the week. Sometimes I get my boys to memorize them and other times, just explain the message. But when cleaning out a drawer in my laundry room I came across this old poetry book for kids I had bought many years ago. So after taking a peek, I selected this poem to write on our board for the week. I feel like it’s perfect for this time of year as the leaves turn and the wind sends them on a roller coaster ride to the earth. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Have a wonderful day!

Belinda

Fun Photos Friday: Bargain Coloring Books

Hello! It’s Friday and it’s usually one of the happiest days because we have a whole weekend ahead. However, it is so dark outside this morning and rainy and just overall gloomy. It’s hard to get into my happy mood.  Today was the second day that my morning drop-off for my oldest son was in the dark! Yup, the sun didn’t rise until another 15 minutes after I arrived home and to be honest, it’s barely lighter now.
But do you know what makes my day light up? All things crafty. So today I’m sharing with you a picture of an accidental coloring book haul. You see, yesterday I went to pick up some clear bins for my snack station for my boys at Job Lot and I couldn’t leave without peeking in their discount book section and what did I find? Well, I found these three lovelies!  They each only cost $1.99. Bargain!!!I love the tiger and bamboo in the Coloring for Creativity. I never colored bamboo before and look forward to the challenge of making them pop with dimension. The quality of this paper is medium weight and the pages are double-sided. So I will probably stick to using colored pencils in it. There is a mixture of fine items to color and wider images which are nice. There are so many pages in this one I can see me coloring. So it was a total bargain.I fell in love with the cover on the “Moorish Coloring for mindfulness: 70 designs to help you de-stress. I love to look at different types of architecture around the world on Pinterest and this cover design immediately peaked my interest. This one has a flip-top opening and each page is on a pad that can be detached. So it’s nice when you don’t want the cover to get in the way of your coloring process. I think this one will challenge me a bit because the images have so many tiny details but I think I am going to give it a try. The color combinations on the cover really make me happy so I am going to try to approach them with defined color schemes to keep the stress away. After all, it is supposed to be relaxing!

The final one is “Botanicals Color, Remove, Frame, Hang with artwork by Lizzy Dee is really a cool concept. The paper quality in this one is fantastic. It’s really thick and has a bit toothy so it would work great for both my colored pencils and watercolor paints. So I am definitely going to try both out.  The pages are sized for 8 1/2 x 11 frames. I look forward to coloring one for my craft room and maybe even for my laundry room.

Ok, back to work for me. It is still rather dim outside but it’s Friday which means weekend, which means family time so I am happy.

Have a blessed day and I will see you next week!

Belinda

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