Thursday, July 24, 2014

G355 Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong

Title: Good Chinese Wife; A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong

Author: Susan Blumberg-Kason

First copyright date: 2014

Type of book: China, 1990s, interracial relationship Asian male/white female, cultural differences, Hong Kong, making a life, career, university, keeping peace at all costs, China Wuhan (Hidden River), San Francisco, travel

General subject matter: A young woman from USA falls for Cai Jun, a Chinese national and ends up marrying him, doing her best to be a "traditional" Chinese wife at the cost of her sanity.

Special features: N/A

Price: $ 14.99

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1-4022-9334-4

Summary:

A stunning memoir of an intercultural marriage gone wrong

When Susan, a shy Midwesterner in love with Chinese culture, started graduate school in Hong Kong, she quickly fell for Cai, the Chinese man of her dreams. As they exchanged vows, Susan thought she'd stumbled into an exotic fairy tale, until she realized Cai--and his culture--where not what she thought.

In her riveting memoir, Susan recounts her struggle to be the perfect traditional "Chinese" wife to her increasingly controlling and abusive husband. With keen insight and heart-wrenching candor, she confronts the hopes and hazards of intercultural marriage, including dismissing her own values and needs to save her relationship and protect her newborn son, Jake. But when Cai threatens to take Jake back to China for good, Susan must find the courage to stand up for herself, her son, and her future.

Moving between rural China and the bustling cities of Hong Kong and San Francisco, Good Chinese Wife is an eye-opening look at marriage and family in contemporary China and America and an inspiring testament to the resilience of a mother's love--across any border.

Author's Purpose:

"The narrative I wrote for Joanne spanned sixty-seven handwritten sheets of lined paper, taking me a week to complete. Things I'd buried for years emerged like wriggling earthworms from the dirt after a stormy night...Those shameful events seemed like a lifetime ago. When I read about them on paper, I wept not because they'd happened, but because I'd allowed them to happen. By leaving San Francisco, I wasn't just bringing Jake to a safe and supportive environment; I was also saving myself from a marriage that had become defined by fear." (315)

a. Why did the author write on this subject rather than on some other subject?

To be honest, I think she wrote this memoir to give more attention to inter cultural pairings as well importance of communication and also to help people examine their own ideas of marriage. While happy pairing endings are needed, but what else is needed is exploring the other side and to understand mistakes that can be made when in an inter-cultural pairing. (Personally speaking, if I should be with someone, I will personally use the book and issues in it to talk about what they think and feel. Also, things can always be worse. Yes, read the book to find out what I mean...)

b. From what point of view is the work written?

The book is written from Susan's point of view. She does try to understand Cai Jun's struggles in America, but since his point of view isn't given, we could only go on what she tells us and how she feels.

c. Was the author trying to give information, to explain something technical, to convince the reader of a belief’s validity by dramatizing it in action?

I would guess that she is trying to convince the reader of a belief's validity by dramatizing it in action. I also think that perhaps its an exploration of sorts about why and how things ended up the way they had.

d. What is the general field or genre, and how does the book fit into it? (Use outside sources to familiarize yourself with the field, if necessary.) Knowledge of the genre means understanding the art form. and how it functions.

The story focuses on university life in Hong Kong for outsiders as well as mainlanders, the cultural and power struggles between men and women, as well as trying to keep afloat when it comes to values, parenting and living in different places.

e. Who is the intended audience?

The intended audience would be men and women who are involved in inter-cultural relationships as well as those who have different faiths. I would guess the primary audience would be women and the emphasis is on those who choose to remain silent and what happens when they don't speak up for themselves.

f. What is the author's style? Is it formal or informal? Evaluate the quality of the writing style by using some of the following standards: coherence, clarity, originality, forcefulness, correct use of technical words, conciseness, fullness of development, fluidity. Does it suit the intended audience?

The style is informal and it does suit the audience. What I find interesting is that Susan spends very little time in developing Cai in beginning of the book before she plunges into matrimony. I would guess that its kind of purpose to give readers a sort of disconnect that she was experiencing throughout her marriage.

g. Scan the Table of Contents, it can help understand how the book is organized and will aid in determining the author's main ideas and how they are developed - chronologically, topically, etc.

The book is divided into forty-seven chapters, and I will list ten random ones.
*A Chance Meeting in Hong Kong
*Learning the Chinese Rules of Dating
*Honeymoon in Hong Kong
*Visit from "Japanese Father"
*At Home in Hong Kong
*Spring in San Francisco
*Trying Traditions
*Peace At Last
*Indian Summer
*Sweet Home Chicago

g. How did the book affect you? Were any previous ideas you had on the subject changed, abandoned, or reinforced due to this book? How is the book related to your own course or personal agenda? What personal experiences you've had relate to the subject?

The book shocked me. Here I thought I read and heard all of it, but somehow Susan's memoir continued to add new information that I've never been aware of and many times I had to re-read multiple paragraphs just to make sure I understood what I'm reading.  I also personally found the story addictive and the pages flew b very quickly.

h. How well has the book achieved its goal?

The book is very effective in achieving the goal because I did end up thinking of the why's as well as relating them to my own life and understanding the importance of assertiveness.

i. Would you recommend this book or article to others? Why?

I would recommend the book to others because it will really open up the doors on communication as well as differences and what people will look at as important.

a. Theme: The theme is the subject or topic. It is not necessarily the title, and it is usually not expressed in a complete sentence. It expresses a specific phase of the general subject matter.

Inter-cultural marriages are very complex and its important to build a foundation of something before jumping into sharing life with that person.

b. Thesis: The thesis is an author’s generalization about the theme, the author’s beliefs about something important, the book’s philosophical conclusion, or the proposition the author means to prove. Express it without metaphor or other figurative language, in one declarative sentence.

Marriage changes everyone and everything, and at times not for the good.

Quick Note: I would like to thank Susan Blumberg-Kason for giving me a chance to read this wonderful memoir, as well as Jocelyn from SpeakingofChina for organizing the book tour for this book. 

5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

G375 Book Review of Boy in a Band by Lisa Loomis

Name of Book: Boy in a Band

Author: Lisa Loomis

ISBN: 9781478147855

Publisher: Createspace

Type of book: sex, drugs, rock and roll, parasitic love relationship, broken heart, 1973-2000s? friendship, friendship with benefits, growing up, coming of age, worship, erotica, adult, mature, California, dreams, secret crush, broken heart

Year it was published: 2010

Summary:

Excerpt My heart was racing, my body melting into his. The sound of gulls squawking overhead, the children laughing in the distance, playing in the surf all faded away as I lost myself to him. The sound of the waves crashing in time with my emotions as we stood kissing, the water lapping at our feet, ignoring the outside world, aware only of each other. His hands moved to my hips, his fingers digging slightly into my skin as he held me against him. I pressed my pelvis forward, unable to deny the desire, and could feel his hardness. "Whoa, kid," he said, pulling away slowly. I gradually opened my eyes and looked up into his face; his expression was sexy and raw. (Excerpt Boy in a Band) During a time sex, drugs, and rock and roll were abundant, Morgan Mallory falls hard for the leader of a rock band. What is it about the bad boy she seems to love? Boy in a Band, an erotic new adult/adult romance novel-not your predictable, Cinderella story.

Characters:

Okay, let's have some fun. The main characters include Morgan, Matthew and Gayle. There are a few others, but they just came and went with no mention. Morgan falls very hard for Matthew and her whole life and existence seems to be wrapped around him, kind of a conjoined twin scenario, or better yet a parasitic twin scenario. Throughout the book, besides the fact she does drugs and loves Matthew, I never learned a single thing about her. Ask me about her hobbies, aside from drugs and Matthew, and I'd stand there frozen, uncertain how to answer. I also sensed she was sort of a masochist because she constantly returned to pain, even knowing how she'll be treated at the end. I sensed that Matthew never let her grow up thus she remained a teenager up until the very end, and when she does start breaking away, again, very little sense of her outside the "Mathew and Morgan" dynamic. Matthew is the leader of rock and roll who thrives on attention and drama and nothing is good enough for him. He has complex motives when it comes to Morgan, often seeing her as something "safe" and beyond sex nothing about themselves is exchanged or shared. Gayle is basically Morgan's disapproving friend and very little about her is shared or given, but she played the biggest role aside from Morgan and Matthew.

Theme:

No one gets their first love

Plot:

The book is written in first person narrative from Morgan's point of view and had big elements of being written for teens, sort of. I also want to think of it as a more tolerable version of Twilight (at least for me.) I did feel that there seemed to be way too much sexual scenes and there really wasn't focus on the characters growing up or showing interests outside of something, (at least when it comes to Morgan.) The plot itself is singular with no subplots to keep track of. The story is of Morgan and Matthew and their intense love, and everything in the book revolved around that.

Author Information:
(from Kit)

Lisa Loomis writes because she loves to. Her stories are about the human condition: love, life, and everything in between (including sex, drugs, alcohol, and things just crazy enough to be true). Her stories are not predictable, conventional, or lacking in the messiness of life. She tries to extract the real emotion in any given situation in her characters, with a touch of humor.

Lisa Loomis was born in Oakland California and raised in San Jose until she was a sophomore in high school. Her father then took a job in the San Diego area where he moved the family to Escondido, California (or hickville as she called it). She finished high school at San Pasqual High then went to junior college at Palomar JC, ultimately graduating from San Diego State University with a BS in Finance.

Finding more BS than Finance with the financial meltdown in 2008 she went back to her passion of writing. See all her books on Amazon, and coming to Barnes & Noble and Smashwords in April 2014.

She now lives and writes in Park City, Utah.

Her latest book is the contemporary rock star romance, Boy In a Band.
For More Information

Opinion:

I have no idea how to rate this book. I feel that trying to give it a definite grade is similar to trying to rate a drug of sorts; drugs have potential to be good, but only if they're not abused. I don't even know where to start. Perhaps I'll begin this way: during the first part of the book, the time Morgan and Matthew meet, in some ways I was reminded of my own past, of the guy I had a huge crush on. There seemed something familiar about that to me. Towards the end, I grew frustrated with the endless drama and same old same old being rehashed in dozen of ways. The feelings that the book inspires in me is a mixture of frustration and nostalgia.

This is for Pump Up Your Book 

For More Information





Giveaway Details:

Lisa Loomis is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms and conditions:
    • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older.
    • Giveaway runs from 12:00 AM EST on July 7 through 12:00 AM EST on August 1, 2014.
    • Winner will be selected randomly by Rafflecopter.
    • Winner will be notified by email and has 72 hours to claim the prize before a new winner is selected.
    • Prize will be sent via email from the author’s representative.
    • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway



4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

G379 To Hold the Sun

Title of the book:  To Hold the Sun

Author:  Chas Watkins

Publisher: Ingram Press

Publishing Date: 2014

ISBN: 9781489507648

Summary:

When the author realized his children were leaving home to begin their journeys through life, he wrote this delightful and engaging story for them. It outlines the experiences of a young, poor, and disillusioned reporter who is enticed to do a series of articles about Paul, an unconventional philosopher and motivational speaker. In lieu of payment, he gets to travel to and dive on Roatan, arguably one of the most beautiful, pristine islands in the Caribbean. Through a series of meetings, the reporter gets to know Paul's innermost philosophies. He learns an alternate way of living from a man who strives to perfect handstands on a dock and practices the art of happiness.

The author developed the book as a guide to help his children live their lives in a way that would allow them to enjoy the journey. Drawing on wildly diverse disciplines including stoicism, neuroscience, skepticism, behavioral economics, and spirituality; the reader is taken on a journey that exposes the author's philosophy of life. He demonstrates that happiness is indeed a choice.

All places detailed on Roatan exist and are more beautiful than described. Color Photos (if supported) are by kind permission of Shawn Jackson

Other Works:

So far this is the author's first book

Background:
(From iReadbook Tours)

Chas Watkins was born and raised in England and is a naturalized Australian. His children are all American, which he finds very confusing. He moved to Roatan nine years ago. He has an unused degree in electronics from Hull University in England and has somehow managed to work for many fine and good companies without being fired.

After the raging madness of the dotcom world in California, he moved to Roatan to settle with his family. Chas currently pretends to work as a Realtor and Radio DJ. He reads an awful lot, watches the sunrise and sunset every day and consumes way too much coffee. He runs on the beach in the mornings, practices handstands, and lives happily on Roatan with his cat Gary and the children who have not yet deserted him. Even on his best day he is nothing like his character Paul, but strives to be so. 

Occasionally he "likes to dance as if no one is watching" which is ironic as his dancing makes people stare. If you are really unlucky, you may meet him, and whatever you do, don't offer him a drink as he is a very rude and uninteresting person.

Connect with Chas here: http://www.toholdthesun.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ToHoldTheSun
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ToHoldTheSun

Theme:

"Everything we have discussed has been known for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. It's just that now we have the science to understand it all." (1)

Problems addressed:

I would guess that how to be self fulfilled is addressed, as well as ways of being happy and meditating. There is also pervasiveness of manipulation and how it influences people, which has really impressed me.

Summary of content:

A reporter that happens to disillusioned and one that has his career hanging by a thread, decides to interview an unconventional philosopher named Paul who seems to have a goal of perfecting handstands in the sand. Along the way, he learns fascinating things about himself as well as about life.

Thesis:

"It was never just about the goal. Sure, he would celebrate this victory, but it was just a part of the journey for him. His life was all about enjoying each day, and this was just a result of living those days the way he wanted to live them." (146)

Main points:

The book is divided into ten chapters:
*An assignment
*The dock
*Conditioning
*The inner voice
*Practice
*Focus
*Incrementally
*Field Trip
*Fundamentals
*The Final handstand

Why its interesting and informative:

The book gives a lot of interesting solutions to different problems, such as a way to remove embarrassment from memories as well as followups and how to improve self and why one needs to improve. What I found the most fascinating is how stores work on manipulating people to get things they don't need. It's scary how well calculated it all is.

Supports thesis:

I would guess that yes, the book does focus on the thesis, or at least what I think is the thesis. Paul is very secretive about his history thus the reader never learns who he is or how he comes to be there. Instead, he wants the reader to focus more on the lessons and their impact instead of him.

Addressing Issues:

What are some effective ways to improve self that involve science and acknowledgement that things will take time and practice to be perfect? The book talks about these ideas and more as well as possible science behind these ideas.

Comparing ideas in book vs larger ideas:

For those that are looking for a book that encourages questioning instead of accepting things in blind faith, then this is the right book to get. I would imagine that after reading the book, I doubt many people will look at the world or themselves the same way again.

Agree/Disagree:

I do agree with a lot that the author has mentioned, and the book will be re-read. I haven't tried out many of these, and when I'll get some free time, I'll re-read it once more. The author also doesn't ask one to have blind faith, but instead asks the reader to try these out before saying no, and there are no guarantees either.

Sources:

The only source that was used was Paul, and even then not much is told about him in the book, and whenever the reporter does try to figure out his past, Paul always deflects it.

Conclusion:

Although its a short book, I would recommend for it to be read when one has a lot of free time so the lessons can really sink in. Overall, a book that is destined to change lives and perceptions on how and why things are the way they are.

Where to buy the book:


Book Tour Schedule

This tour is fully booked

July 21 -  Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
July 21 -  Deal Sharing Aunt - review
July 22 -  Rockin' Book Reviews - review / interview
July 22 -  ACReads - review
July 23 -  Katie's Clean Book Collection - book spotlight
July 23 -  Tales of the Marvelous - review / giveaway
July 24 -  Brooke Blogs - review / giveaway
July 25 -  Heart of a Philanthropist - interview / giveaway
July 25 -  Being Tilly's Mummy - book spotlight
July 28 -  Pinky's Favorite Reads - book spotlight / giveaway
July 28 -  Savings in Seconds - review
July 29 -  Being Tilly's Mummy - review / giveaway
July 29 -  Back Porchervations - review
July 30 -  Rockin' Book Reviews - book spotlight / giveaway
July 30 -  Like a Bump on a Blog - review 
July 31-   Posting for Now - review
July 31 -  One Frugal Girl - review 
Aug 1 -    I'd Rather Be at the Beach - review / giveaway


5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Progress Sheet...Week 28 of 2014

Book Tours to look forward to:

Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner (July 14th, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)

Liddie Treadway grew up on a family farm where options for her future were marriage or teaching. Encouraged by suffragette rhetoric and her maiden aunt, Liddie is determined to avoid both and pursue a career. Her goal is within her grasp when her older sister’s abrupt departure threatens to keep her on the farm forever.

Once she is able to experience the world she’s dreamed of, Liddie is enthralled with her independence, a new-found passion for photography, and the man who teaches her. Yet, the family, friends, and life of her youth tug at her heart, and she must face the reality that life is not as simple, or the choices as clear-cut, as she once imagined.

GO AWAY HOME is a captivating coming-of-age novel that explores the enduring themes of family, friendship, and love, as well as death and grief. This novel will resonate with anyone who’s confronted the conflict between dreams and reality and come to recognize that getting what you want can be a two-edged sword.

The Sea Garden: A Novel by Deborah Lawrenson (July 16th, 2014 TLC)


Romance, suspense, and World War II mystery are woven together in three artfully linked novellas-rich in drama and steeped in atmosphere-from the critically acclaimed author of The Lantern

THE SEA GARDEN
On the lush Mediterranean island of Porquerolles off the French coast, Ellie Brooke, an award-winning British landscape designer, has been hired to restore a memorial garden. Unsettled by its haunted air and the bitterness of the garden's owner, an elderly woman who seems intent on undermining her, Ellie finds that her only ally on the island is an elusive war historian …

THE LAVENDER FIELD
Near the end of World War II, Marthe Lincel, a young blind woman newly apprenticed at a perfume factory in Nazi-occupied Provence, finds herself at the center of a Resistance cell. When tragedy strikes, she faces the most difficult choice of her life . . . and discovers a breathtaking courage she never expected.

A SHADOW LIFE
Iris Nightingale, a junior British intelligence officer in wartime London, falls for a French agent. But after a secret landing in Provence results in terrible Nazi reprisals, he vanishes. When France is liberated, Iris is determined to uncover the truth. Was he the man he claimed to be?

Ingeniously interconnected, this spellbinding triptych weaves three parallel narratives into one unique tale of love, mystery, and murder. The Sea Garden is a vivid and absorbing chronicle of love and loss in the fog of war-and a penetrating and perceptive examination of the impulses and circumstances that shape our lives.

Last Night at the Blue Angel: A Novel by Rebecca Rotert (July 17th, 2014 TLC)

Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s Chicago jazz scene, a highly ambitious and stylish literary debut that combines the atmosphere and period detail of Amor Towles' Rules of Civility with the emotional depth and drama of The Memory Keeper's Daughter, about a talented but troubled singer. precocious ten-year-old daughter, and their heartbreaking relationship.

It is the early 1960s, and Chicago is a city of uneasy tensions-segregation, sexual experimentation, free love, the Cold War-but it is also home to one of the country's most vibrant jazz scenes. Naomi Hill, a singer at the Blue Angel club, has been poised on the brink of stardom for nearly ten years. Finally, her big break arrives-the cover of Look magazine. But success has come at enormous personal cost. Beautiful and magnetic, Naomi is a fiercely ambitious yet extremely self-destructive woman whose charms are irresistible and dangerous for those around her. No one knows this better than Sophia, her precocious ten-year-old daughter.

For Sophia, Naomi is the center of her universe. As the only child of a single, unconventional mother, growing up in an adult world, Sophia has seen things beyond her years and her understanding. Unsettled by her uncertain home life, she harbors the terrible fear that the world could end at any moment, so she compulsively keeps a running list of practical objects she will need to reinvent once nuclear catastrophe strikes. Her one constant is Jim, the photographer who is her best friend, surrogate father, and protector. But Jim is deeply in love with Naomi-a situation that adds to Sophia's anxiety.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Sophia and Naomi, their powerful and wrenching story unfolds in layers, revealing Sophia's struggle for her mother's love with Naomi's desperate journey to stardom and the colorful cadre of close friends who shaped her along the way.

Sophisticated yet poignant, Last Night at the Blue Angel is an unforgettable tale about what happens when our passion for the life we want is at sharp odds with the life we have. It is a story ripe with surprising twists and revelations, and an ending that is bound to break your heart.

Books to be Reviewed:

To Hold The Sun by Chas Watkins ( July 21st, 2014, iRead Virtual Book Tour)


This delightful and engaging story outlines the experiences of a young, poor, and disillusioned reporter who is enticed to do a series of articles about Paul, an unconventional philosopher and motivational speaker. In lieu of payment, he gets to travel to and dive on Roatan, arguably one of the most beautiful, pristine islands in the Caribbean. Through a series of meetings, the reporter gets to know Paul's innermost philosophies. He learns an alternate way of living from a man who strives to perfect handstands on a dock and practices the art of happiness.

The author developed the book as a guide to help his children live their lives in a way that would allow them to enjoy the journey. Drawing on wildly diverse disciplines including stoicism, neuroscience, skepticism, behavioral economics, and spirituality; the reader is taken on a journey that exposes the author's philosophy of life. He demonstrates that happiness is indeed a choice.

All places detailed on Roatan exist and are more beautiful than described. Color Photos (if supported) are by kind permission of Shawn Jackson.

Books I'm Reading:

How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? True Stories of Expat Women in Asia by Shannon Young (e-book)

In this collection, twenty-six women reveal the truth about expatriate life in modern East Asia through original works of memoir and creative non-fiction. Their experiences are varied and unique, demonstrating that expat women's lives go far beyond the stereotypical. The writers hail from a dozen different countries and walks of life. Some are well-known; others are fresh voices adding nuance to the expat conversation. Through deeply personal accounts, they explore what they have learned about themselves and the world through their lives abroad. Together, they create a portrait of the modern expatriate experience that will both resonate and inspire.

With contributions by...

Susan Blumberg-Kason
Jocelyn Eikenburg
Leza Lowitz
Suzanne Kamata
Dorcas Cheng-Tozun
Pamela Beere Briggs
Kaitlin Solimine
Christine Tan
Stephanie Han
Edna Zhou
Kathryn Hummel
Ember Swift
Nicola Chilton
Eva Cohen
Catherine Rose Torres
Coco Richter
Jenna Lynn Cody
Saffron Marchant
Jennifer S. Deayton
India Harris
Philippa Ramsden
Sharon Brown
Neha Mehta
Shannon Dunlap
Barbara Craven
Michelle Borok

Chapters: 12 out of 26 plus foreword

Pages: 122 out of 264

Sons- Pearl S. Buck


Second in the trilogy that began with The Good Earth, Buck's classic and starkly real tale of sons rising against their honored fathers tells of the bitter struggle to the death between the old and the new in China. Revolutions sweep the vast nation, leaving destruction and death in their wake, yet also promising emancipation to China's oppressed millions who are groping for a way to survive in a modern age.

Chapters: 9 out of 29

Pages: 78 out of 313







Boy In A Band by Lisa Loomis (July 23rd, 2014 Pump Up Your Book)

MATURE CONTENT language, sex, drugs, rock and roll.

An novel set in 70-80's when sex, drugs, and rock & roll were prevalent. Morgan Mallory meets good-looking blond haired, blue eyed Mathew at a young age and falls for him hard. Mathew is the leader in a rock band. Their convoluted relationship transcends years, and even when she knows it would be best to stay away from him she can't seem to stop herself. What is it about the bad boy she seems to love?


An edgy coming of age novel that is erotic, entertaining, and deeply moving. The characters will seize you and stay with you long after the read is finished. Not your predictable Cinderella story.


5* review: "OMFG.........an EMOTIONAL roller coaster ride...........10 stars"


Series: Sequel: "Casanova Cowboy" Contemporary romance
Prequel to "Casanova Cowboy" Ryan Walker's story: "Racing Through Cornfields" Coming of age with sex and romance

Chapters: 12 out of 53

Pages: 72 out of 395

Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong by Susan Blumberg-Kason (July 24th, 2014)


A real-life, cross-cultural fairy tale gone horribly wrong

When Susan, a shy Midwesterner in love with Chinese culture, started grad school in Hong Kong, she quickly fell for Cai, the man of her dreams. As they exchanged vows, Susan was sure her life was perfect...until things took a sinister turn.

In her eye-opening memoir, Susan recounts her struggle to be the perfect "Chinese" wife to her increasingly controlling and abusive husband. At first, she dismisses her own values to save the marriage. But when Cai threatens to take their son, Jake, back to China for good, Susan must find the courage to stand up for herself, her son, and her future.

Chapters: 6 out of 47 plus author's note, prologue and epilogue

Pages: 35 out of 329

The New Men by Jon Enfield ( July 28th, 2014 TLC)

"For us, the new man, he is one of two things. First, he is the new worker, a man we instruct and investigate until his probation is complete. But also he is an idea. In the foundry, they make parts. On the line, they make autos. But in Sociological, we make men."

Tony Grams comes to America at the start of the twentieth century, set on becoming a new man. Driven to leave poverty behind, he lands a job at the Ford Motor Company that puts him at the center of a daring social and economic experiment.

The new century and the new auto industry are bursting with promise, and everyone wants Henry Ford’s Model T. But Ford needs men to make it. Better men. New men. Men tough enough and focused enough to handle the ever-bigger, ever-faster assembly line. Ford offers to double the standard wage for men who will be thrifty, sober, and dedicated… and who will let Ford investigators into their homes to confirm it.

Tony has just become one of those investigators. America and Ford have helped him build a new life, so at first he’s eager to get to work. But world war, labor strife, and racial tension pit his increasingly powerful employer against its increasingly desperate enemies.

As Tony and his family come under threat from all sides and he faces losing everything he’s built, he must struggle with his conscience and his weaknesses to protect the people he loves.
is conscience and his weaknesses to protect the people he loves.

Chapters: 4 out of 32

Pages: 29 out of 274

The Sense of Touch by Ron Parsons (July 30th, 2014, Pump up your book)


Sprung from the variously lush, rugged, and frozen emotional landscapes of the north country, this luminous collection of stories captures the progress of a diverse ensemble of souls as they struggle to uncover themselves and negotiate a meaningful communion, of any kind, with the world around them. A brilliant but troubled Bangladeshi physics student searches for balance, acceptance, and his own extraordinary destiny after his father disappears. When a Halloween blizzard immobilizes Minneapolis, a young woman is forced to confront the snow-bound nature of her own relationships and emotions. During an excursion to an idyllic swimming hole hidden in the Black Hills, two old friends unexpectedly compete for the affections of an irresistible, though married, Lakota woman. Like a mythical expedition to reach the horizon or the quest to distill truth from the beauty around us, the revelation confirmed by these imaginative stories - elegant, sometimes jarring, always wonderfully absurd - is that the very act of reaching is itself a form of touch.

Chapters: 4 out of N/A

Pages: 108 out of 250

Anvil of God-J Boyce Gleason (July 31st, 2014 Pump Up Your Books)

It is 741. After subduing the pagan religions in the east, halting the march of Islam in the west, and conquering the continent for the Merovingian kings, mayor of the palace Charles the Hammer has one final ambition-the throne. Only one thing stands in his way-he is dying.

Charles cobbles together a plan to divide the kingdom among his three sons, betroth his daughter to a Lombard prince to secure his southern border, and keep the Church unified behind them through his friend Bishop Boniface. Despite his best efforts, the only thing to reign after Charles's death is chaos. His daughter has no intention of marrying anyone, let alone a Lombard prince. His two eldest sons question the rights of their younger pagan stepbrother, and the Church demands a steep price for their support. Son battles son, Christianity battles paganism, and Charles's daughter flees his court for an enemy's love.

Based on a true story, Anvil of God is a whirlwind of love, honor, sacrifice, and betrayal that follows a bereaved family's relentless quest for power and destiny

Chapters: 4 out of 16 plus prologue and author's note

Pages: 83 out of 420

Blade of the Samurai by Susan Spann (August 4th, 2014)


June, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori receives a pre-dawn visit from Kazu, a fellow shinobi working undercover at the shogunate. Hours before, the shogun’'s cousin, Saburo, was stabbed to death in the shogun’s palace. The murder weapon: Kazu’s personal dagger. Kazu says he’s innocent, and begs for Hiro’s help, but his story gives Hiro reason to doubt the young shinobi’s claims.

When the shogun summons Hiro and Father Mateo, the Portuguese Jesuit priest under Hiro’s protection, to find the killer, Hiro finds himself forced to choose between friendship and personal honor.

The investigation reveals a plot to assassinate the shogun and overthrow the ruling Ashikaga clan. With Lord Oda’s enemy forces approaching Kyoto, and the murderer poised to strike again, Hiro must use his assassin’s skills to reveal the killer’s identity and protect the shogun at any cost. Kazu, now trapped in the city, still refuses to explain his whereabouts at the time of the murder. But a suspicious shogunate maid, Saburo’s wife, and the shogun’s stable master also had reasons to want Saburo dead. With the shogun demanding the murderer’s head before Lord Oda reaches the city, Hiro and Father Mateo must produce the killer in time . . . or die in his place.

Susan Spann's Blade of the Samurai is a complex mystery that will transport readers to a thrilling and unforgettable adventure in sixteenth-century Japan.

Chapters: 3 out of 53

Pages: 10 out of 287

2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino (August 8th, 2014 TLC)

A sparkling, enchanting and staggeringly original debut novel about one day in the lives of three unforgettable characters

Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, precocious nine-year-old and an aspiring jazz singer. As she mourns the recent death of her mother, she doesn’t realize that on Christmas Eve Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia's legendary jazz club The Cat's Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat's Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.

As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s endless possibilities over the course of one magical night. A vivacious, charming and moving debut, 2 AM AT THE CAT'S PAJAMAS will capture your heart and have you laughing out loud.

Chapters: 4 out of N/A

Pages: 14 out of 257

The Virtues of Oxygen-Susan Schoenberger (August 13th, 2014 TLC)


From the award-winning author of "A Watershed Year" comes a heartrending story of unlikely bonds made under dire straits. Holly is a young widow with two kids living in a ramshackle house in the same small town where she grew up wealthy. Now barely able to make ends meet editing the town's struggling newspaper, she manages to stay afloat with help from her family. Then her mother suffers a stroke, and Holly's world begins to completely fall apart.

Vivian has lived an extraordinary life, despite the fact that she has been confined to an iron lung since contracting polio as a child. Her condition means she requires constant monitoring, and the close-knit community joins together to give her care and help keep her alive. As their town buckles under the weight of the Great Recession, Holly and Vivian, two very different women both touched by pain, forge an unlikely alliance that may just offer each an unexpected salvation.

Chapters: 3 out of 32

Pages: 18 out of 269

A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands by Arthur Powers (August 20th, 2014 Book junkee Tours)

"Set in the vast and sometimes violent landscape of contemporary Brazil, this is a gorgeous collection of stories-wise, hopeful, and forgiving, but clear-eyed in its exploration of the toll taken on the human heart by greed, malice, and the lust for land." -Debra Murphy, Publisher of Idyll's Press, Founder of CatholicFiction.net

Chapters: 3 out of 16?

Pages: 27 out of 170





In the mirror-Kaira Rouda (August 28th, 2014 Pump Up your book)


If you knew you may die soon, what choices would you make?

Jennifer Benson has it all: a successful career, a perfect husband, two kids and abundant friendships. The only problem is she may be dying. IN THE MIRROR is the realistic love story about a woman facing a deadly illness, and her loves past and present. It's a story that unfolds with a delightful blend of humor and poignancy, ringing true in the heart of anyone who has ignored a warning of her own.

Chapters: 3 out of 16

Pages: 36 out of 198




Mr. Boardwalk by Louis Greenstein

At the age of seven, Jason Benson first experiences the wonders of Atlantic City. Amazed and smitten, Jason decides his real life will happen here, in this magical shore town. Growing up in a Philadelphia suburb in the 1960s and 70s, he lives only for his summers on the boardwalk, where his father owns a pretzel stand. From a gypsy friend, the boy learns to juggle, and soon “Jason the Magnificent” entertains rapt beachside crowds with his skill and clever patter. He can’t wait to finish high school so he can move to Atlantic City permanently.

But his plans go awry. More than 20 years later, we meet him as a grumpy, distant New York copywriter who has never spoken of his youth. All his adventures on the boardwalk—and all the dreams he cherished there—remain a secret from his wife.

In deftly interwoven passages, Mr. Boardwalk traces the excitement and perils of the young Jason and the moral growth of the adult who must come to terms with the past he tried to forget. It is a dual coming-of-age story like no other—a tale of magic and reality intertwined.

Chapters: 15 out of 24

Pages: 195 out of 308

The Same Sky: A Traveler's Quest for Redemption and Peace by Debbie Yee Lan Wong


After a painful breakup, a young Chinese Canadian packed her bag, a journal and a camera and went on a solo journey through Southeast Asia. Brokenhearted and needing to escape, she embarked on a three-month trip that took her from the ancient Buddhist temples of Tibet, to the heights of the Mt. Everest base camp, through the bustling markets of Laos, and to the peaceful hallways of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Along the way, as she navigated the difficulties of traveling alone, she encountered locals who have lived through war, poverty and political repression. Their moving stories of loss and resilience inspired her to reclaim her independence and rediscover peace and strength after a traumatic event.
A deeply personal story with universal resonance, The Same Sky will appeal to anyone with an interest in Southeast Asia, and particularly to women who have experienced the exhilaration and vulnerability of solo travel. It is the inspiring story of how a young woman at the lowest point of her life began to heal by facing the challenges of traveling alone and opening her heart to people across cultures.

Chapters: 4 out of 24 plus prologue

Pages: 43 out of 402

My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin

Jana McBurney-Lin's debut novel My Half of the Sky introduces Li Hui, a modern young Chinese woman of marriageable age who has recently graduated from Xiamen University. Her goal is to realize Mao's words: Women hold up half of the sky. Li Hui struggles with finding love and acting with honor. Guidance and advice come from all corners of her world as well as different and conflicing generational, historical and cultural values. Everyone wants something different for and from her, particularly her parents who mourn their lack of a son while attempting to marry Li to their greatest advantage. In fact most everyone has a selfish investment in what Li Hui will do and whom she might marry. Does this sound like Jane Austen writing about the dilemmas facing young women in China today? You bet. This original and insightful work is in the best traditions of classic novels that explore people caught in the crucible of change in complex cultures. The rewards are rich for the reader, including intriguing insights into folk tales and conventional wisdom of a culture of which few of us have an intimate and timely knowledge.

Chapters: 4 out of 70

Pages: 29 out of 482

Future Readings:

My Whispers of Horror: Letters Telling Women's True Tales from Ex-USSR Nations by Brine Books Publishing, Olga Brine, Chris Brine (e-book)


"If he hits me, then he must love me."

"I am a cow and I am a bull. I am a woman and I am a man."

"If you don't find an ideal man by your age... it doesn't mean that you like girls. Don't worry, you can find a man! You will not be an old maid."

"That was also when these police officers, who were meant to protect the public, became my pimps."

What can be more deep and personal than reading what a woman wrote of her experiences? Cases such as domestic violence, forced prostitution, rape, and more. You won't be able to tear your eyes away as you read their quiet whispers of horror, while trying to understand why this still happens in other cultures today. Having these real women explain to the world what happened to them will help to raise awareness on why we still need to fight and stand up for them.

Much of the world is still stuck within sadistic patriarchal standards that oppresses women. And for a woman to survive in such a culture she must have enormous strength to defend her own or her children's lives from violence and oppression. Read what these brave women wish to confess.

Chapters: 22 plus Foreword

Pages: 139

The Gifted-Daphne Michaels (August 12th, 2014 Pump Up Your Book)

The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams is an inspirational, groundbreaking book from author, motivational speaker and licensed psychotherapist Daphne Michaels.
Describing and celebrating the nine gifts we are all born with, Michaels teaches readers how to recognize each gift and use it on their journey of personal development and spiritual growth.

Michaels shows us that the first three gifts we must recognize are Awareness, Potential and Stillness. These three allow us to identify and use with real life-changing power the remaining six: Disharmony, Harmony, Ease, Clarity, Freedom and Engagement.
By approaching these nine gifts with real-world metaphors, Michaels answers common questions about personal transformation -- such as how it works and what kind of commitment it takes to reach a life of authentic happiness. Even Disharmony, Michaels explains, does not need to rule us. It is ours to use in positive ways as we discover the real purpose of Harmony in our lives.
The final gift, Engagement, allows us to use all of the gifts with a joy and power we never imagined possible.

Chapters: N/A

Pages: 118

Inamorata-Megan Chance (August 21st, 2014 TLC)


American artist Joseph Hannigan and his alluring sister, Sophie, have arrived in enchanting nineteenth-century Venice with a single-minded goal. The twins, who have fled scandal in New York, are determined to break into Venice’s expatriate set and find a wealthy patron to support Joseph’s work.

But the enigmatic Hannigans are not the only ones with a secret agenda. Joseph’s talent soon attracts the attention of the magnificent Odilé Leon, a celebrated courtesan and muse who has inspired many artists to greatness. But her inspiration comes with a devastatingly steep price.

As Joseph falls under the courtesan’s spell, Sophie joins forces with Nicholas Dane, the one man who knows Odilé’s dark secret, and her sworn enemy. When the seductive muse offers Joseph the path to eternal fame, the twins must decide who to believe—and just how much they are willing to sacrifice for fame.

Chapters: 51

Pages: 408

What Counts Most is How You Finish-Shelia Payton (August 26th, 2014 iRead Book Tours)

What Counts Most is How You Finish is a book of short essays that shares ideas for addressing life's challenges. The book (which uses experiences from the author's life and the lives of others) is written with two ideas in mind:

• Each person has to find his or her own way in life
• We can learn worthwhile things from each other

To make it easier to find an essay that can help the reader address life situations in real time, What Counts Most is How You Finish is divided into seven topic areas: Being You, Taking Care of You, Dealing with People, Overcoming Challenges, Staying Focused, Achieving Success and Making a Difference.

While the primary audience for What Counts Most is How You Finish is people between the ages of 16-25, the book has received positive feedback from many older than that who say it’s a good reminder for them. ​ Finalist of The Next Generation Indie Book Awards, What Counts Most is How You Finish is filled with insightful lessons.

Chapters: N/A

Pages: 273

Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo (September 3rd, 2014 TLC)


Renovating an historic Memphis house together, three cousins discover that their spectacular failures in love, career, and family provide the foundation for their future happiness in this warm and poignant novel from the author of The Roots of the Olive Tree that is reminiscent of The Postmistress, The Secret Life of Bees, and Kristin Hannah’s novels.

Nearing thirty and trying to avoid the inescapable fact that they have failed to live up to everyone’s expectations and their own aspirations, cousins and childhood best friends Lizzie, Elyse, and Isobel seek respite in an oddly-shaped, three-story house that sits on a bluff sixty feet above the Mississippi.

As they work to restore the almost condemned house, each woman faces uncomfortable truths about their own failings. Lizzie seeks answers to a long-held family secret about her father in her grandmother’s jumble of mementos and the home’s hidden spaces. Elyse’s obsession with an old flame leads her to a harrowing mistake that threatens to destroy her sister’s wedding, and Isobel’s quest for celebrity tempts her to betray confidences in ways that would irreparably damage her two cousins.

Told in three parts from the perspective of each of the women, this sharply observed account of the restoration of a house built out of spite, but filled with memories of love is also an account of friendship and how relying on each other’s insights and strengths provides the women a way to get what they need instead of what they want.

Chapters: N/A

Pages: 376

The Captive Queen-Danny Saunders (September 4th, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)


Political schemes, religious partisanship and unbridled love shake the Royal Court of Scotland at the end of the Stuart dynasty.

Witness to sordid murders, spy for Her Majesty among the Protestants of the infamous preacher John Knox, forced to give up her one true love, thrown out onto the streets then ruthlessly attacked by a drunkard, Charlotte Gray will do everything in her power to remain the sovereign’s lady-in-waiting.

As for the Queen of Scots, she faces turmoil of a completely different kind: prisoner in a castle under the command of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Mary Stuart learns that she is the victim of a vast conspiracy and that her English counterpart has ordered her imminent execution.

Despite their hardships, Mary and Charlotte will keep their dignity throughout the storm. The two women will finally find serenity, one in the arms of a man and the other in the arms of God.

Interwoven with historical facts of the era, the thrilling The Captive Queen saga is worthy of the greatest royal intrigues that still fascinate us several centuries later.

Chapters: 15 plus foreword

Pages: 311


The Duel for Consuelo by Claudia H. Long ( September 5th, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)


History, love, and faith combine in a gripping novel set in early 1700’s Mexico. In this second passionate and thrilling story of the Castillo family, the daughter of a secret Jew is caught between love and the burdens of a despised and threatened religion. The Enlightenment is making slow in-roads, but Consuelo’s world is still under the dark cloud of the Inquisition. Forced to choose between protecting her ailing mother and the love of dashing Juan Carlos Castillo, Consuelo’s personal dilemma reflects the conflicts of history as they unfold in 1711 Mexico. A rich, romantic story illuminating the timeless complexities of family, faith, and love.

Chapters: 10 plus prologue and historical post script,

Pages: 234


Becoming Josephine-Heather Webb (September 9th, 2014 TLC)

Rose Tascher sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris to trade her Creole black magic culture for love and adventure. She arrives exultant to follow her dreams of attending Court with Alexandre, her elegant aristocrat and soldier husband. But Alexandre dashes her hopes and abandons her amid the tumult of the French Revolution.

Through her savoir faire, Rose secures her footing in high society, reveling in handsome men and glitzy balls—until the heads of her friends begin to roll.

After narrowly escaping death in the blood-drenched cells of Les Carmes prison, she reinvents herself as Josephine, a socialite of status and power. Yet her youth is fading, and Josephine must choose between a precarious independence and the love of an awkward suitor. Little does she know, he would become the most powerful man of his century- Napoleon Bonaparte.

BECOMING JOSEPHINE is a novel of one woman’s journey to find eternal love and stability, and ultimately to find herself.

Chapters: N/A plus author's note

Pages: 306


The Angel of Losses: A Novel by Stephanie Feldman (September 10th, 2014 TLC)


The Tiger's Wife meets A History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters

When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a magical figure named The White Rebbe, a miracle worker in league with the enigmatic Angel of Losses, protector of things gone astray, and guardian of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.

When his granddaughter, Marjorie, discovers Eli's notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather--and her family--comes undone. To find the truth about Eli's origins and unlock the secrets he kept, she embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from 18th century Europe to Nazi-occupied Lithuania, and back to the present, to New York City and her estranged sister Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli's past.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can-and cannot-escape.

Chapters: 11 plus prologue and epilogue?

Pages: 277

A Matter of Mercy by Lynne Hugo (September 12th, 2014 TLC)

Caroline Marcum thought she'd escaped the great mistake of her life by leaving Wellfleet harbor, but is forced to face it when she returns, reluctantly, to care for her dying mother. Ridley Neal put his past-and his prison term-behind him to return home to take over his father's oyster and clam beds. Casual acquaintances long ago, when a nor'easter hits the coast, Rid and Caroline's lives intersect once again. When Rid and two other sea farmers are sued by the wealthy owners of vacation homes who want to shut them down, and Caroline accidentally meets the person she most wronged, they each must learn to trust-and love. Inspired by an actual lawsuit, A Matter of Mercy is a riveting novel about treasuring the traditional way of life in the shallows of beautiful Cape Cod bay by discovering where forgiveness ends. And where it begins.

Chapters: 30 plus author's note

Pages: 263


Madame Picasso by Anne Girard ( September 17th, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)


The mesmerizing and untold story of Eva Gouel, the unforgettable woman who stole the heart of the greatest artist of our time

When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.

A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can't help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso's life.

With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century.

Chapters: 35 plus author's note

Pages: 414

Spy Island by Sophie Schiller (September 26th, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)


A forbidden friendship that blossoms into love between an island girl and a German U-boat deserter is at the heart of this colorful historical novel.

In 1916, Abigail Maduro arrives in the Danish West Indies to live with her Aunt Esther, a bad tempered spinster, and her houseful of eccentric servants. Despite the island's veneer of tranquility, St. Thomas is a hotbed of German spies who use their Hamburg-America steamers to aid the Kaiser's war effort.

When a mysterious stranger suddenly appears in town, Abigail is drawn into the conflict. In the scholarly Erich Seibold, she finds the friendship and love she has been craving, even after she learns that Erich is really a deserter from a German U-boat. But their idyllic interlude comes to a crashing halt when the island's German consul also discovers Erich's identity, and blackmails him into committing sabotage. After a melee involving the Danish governor, Erich is thrown into prison, forcing Abigail to risk everything to save him. Action and adventure abound in this colorful historical novel that brings to life a fading West Indian sugar colony in the last days of Danish rule.

Chapters: 37 plus author's note

Pages: 348


My Thinning Years: Starving the Gay Within-Jon Derek Croteau ( October 2nd, 2014 TLC)


As a child, Jon tried desperately to be his father’s version of the all-American boy, denying his gayness in a futile attempt to earn the love and respect of an abusive man. With this he built a deep, internalized homophobia that made him want to disappear rather than live with the truth about himself. That denial played out in the forms of anorexia, bulimia, and obsessive running, which consumed him as an adolescent and young adult.

It wasn’t until a grueling yet transformative Outward Bound experience that Jon began to face his sexual identity. This exploration continued as he entered college and started the serious work of sorting through years of repressed anger to separate from his father’s control and condemnation.

My Thinning Years is an inspiring story of courage, creativity, and the will to live—and of recreating the definition of family to include friends, relatives, and teachers who support you in realizing your true self.

Chapters: 23 plus preface, prologue and epilogue

Pages: 282


The Lost Tribe of Coney Island-Claire Prentice (October 21st, 2014 TLC)

Readers of Erik Larson will love this tale of sex, greed, and the American dream: A huckster imports a tribe of Filipinos to Coney Island’s Luna Park, and two cultures collide.

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island unearths the forgotten story of the Igorrotes, a group of “headhunting, dog-eating savages” from the Philippines, who were transported to New York in 1905 to appear as “human exhibits” alongside the freaks and curiosities at Coney Island’s Luna Park. Millions of fair-goers delighted in their tribal dances and rituals, near-nudity, tattoos, and stories of headhunting.

Journalist Claire Prentice, who has spent years researching the topic, brings the story to life with her fluid prose and vivid descriptions. The book boasts a colorful cast of characters, including the disgraced lieutenant turned huckster Truman K. Hunt; his Filipino interpreter, Julio Balinag; the theme park impresarios behind Luna Park, Fred Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy; and Dogmena, a beautiful girl who became a favorite with New York’s social elite. The Lost Tribe of Coney Island  is a fascinating social history and a tale of adventure, culture-clash, and the American dream.

Chapters: 32 plus cast of characters, introduction and afterword

Pages: 339

Living Reed: A Novel of Korea-Pearl S. Buck




The Living Reed follows four generations of one family, the Kims, beginning with Il-han and his father, both advisors to the royal family in Korea. When Japan invades and the queen is killed, Il-han takes his family into hiding. In the ensuing years, he and his family take part in the secret war against the Japanese occupation.
Pearl S. Buck's epic tells the history of Korea through the lives of one family. She paints an amazing portrait of the country, and makes us empathize with their struggle for sovereignty through her beautifully drawn characters.

Chapters: 3 plus epilogue and historical note

Pages: 478




A House Divided-Pearl S. Buck

"A House Divided," the third volume of the trilogy that began with "The Good Earth" and "Sons," is a powerful portrayal of China in the midst of revolution. Wang Yuan is caught between the opposing ideas of different generations. After 6 years abroad, Yuan returns to China in the middle of a peasant uprising. His cousin is a captain in the revolutionary army, his sister has scandalized the family by her premarital pregnancy, and his warlord father continues to cling to his traditional ideals. It is through Yuan's efforts that a kind of peace is restored to the family

Chapters: 4

Pages: 343



The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather




Perhaps Willa Cather's most autobiographical work, The Song of the Lark charts the story of a young woman's awakening as an artist against the backdrop of the western landscape. Thea Kronborg, an aspiring singer, struggles to escape from the confines her small Colorado town to the world of possibility in the Metropolitan Opera House. In classic Cather style, The Song of the Lark is the beautiful, unforgettable story of American determination and its inextricable connection to the land.

Chapters: 61 plus Preface and epilogue

Pages: 417






Chasing Hepburn: A Memoir of Shanghai, Hollywood, and a Chinese Family's Fight for Freedom by Gus Lee

“Lee . . . has created a gripping and beautiful portrait of his family. . . . Chasing Hepburn is nonfiction, but it reads just as richly as any novel.”—Boston Globe

“Gus Lee brings to his first work of nonfiction the consummate storytelling skills that have always delighted us in his critically acclaimed novels. I promise you that you will be captivated by this epic story of two families who epitomize all that is rich and varied in Chinese culture.”
—Ron Bass, screenwriter of The Joy Luck Club and Rain Man

Gus Lee takes us straight into the heart of twentieth-century Chinese society, offering a clear-eyed yet compassionate view of the forces that repeatedly tore apart and reconfigured the lives of his parents and their contemporaries. He moves deftly from recounting intimate household conversations to discussing major historical events, and the resulting story is by turns comic, harrowing, tragic, and heroic.

Chasing Hepburn is a saga that spans four generations, two continents, and half of Chinese history. In the masterful hands of acclaimed author Gus Lee, his ancestors’ stories spring vividly to life in a memoir with all the richness of great fiction.

Chapters: 72 plus preface

Pages: 532

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay




Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting French families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard-their secret hiding place-and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released.

Sixty Years Later: Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own romantic future.

Chapters: N/A

Pages: 293




My Ántonia by Willa Cather

The story of Antonia Shimerda is told by one of her friends from childhood, Jim Burden, an orphaned boy from Virginia. Though he leaves the prairie, Jim never forgets the Bohemian girl who so profoundly influenced his life. An immigrant child of immigrant parents, Antonia's girlhood is spent working to help her parents wrest a living from the untamed land. Though in later years she suffers betrayal and desertion, through all the hardships of her life she preserves a valor of spirit that no hardship can daunt or break. When Jim Burden sees her again after many years, he finds her "a rich mine of life", a figure who has turned adversity into a particular kind of triumph in the true spirit of the pioneer.

Chapters: 45 plus Introduction

Pages: 289

Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann


When a samurai is brutally murdered in a Kyoto teahouse, master ninja Hiro Hattori has just three days to find the killer before the dead man’s vengeful son kills both the beautiful geisha accused of the crime and Father Mateo, the Jesuit priest that Hiro has pledged his own life to protect. The investigation plunges Hiro and Father Mateo into the dangerous waters of Kyoto’s floating world, where they quickly learn that everyone from an elusive teahouse owner to the dead man’s dishonored brother has a motive to keep the samurai’s death a mystery.

Chapters:45

Pages: 270



The Three Kingdoms: The Sacred Oath by Luo Guanzhung

This exciting new translation will appeal to modern readers who find the twists and turns of Game of Thrones so compelling.

The Three Kingdoms is an epic Chinese novel written over six centuries ago. It recounts in vivid historical detail the turbulent years at the close of the Han Dynasty, when China broke into three competing kingdoms and over half the population were either killed or driven from their homes. Part myth, part fact, readers will experience the loyalty and treachery, the brotherhood and rivalry of China's legendary heroes and villains during the most tumultuous period in Chinese history.

Considered the greatest work in classic Chinese literature, The Three Kingdoms is read by millions throughout Asia today. Seen not just as a great work of art, many Chinese view it as a guide to success in life and business as well as a work that offers great moral clarity—while many foreigners read it to gain insights into Chinese society and culture. From the saga of The Three Kingdoms, readers will learn how great warriors motivate their troops and enhance their influence, while disguising their weaknesses and turning the strengths of others against them.

This first volume in a trilogy introduces Liu Bei and his sworn brothers-in-arms Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, whose allegiance is sorely tested in a society that is in flux where each group is fighting for its survival against the other.

Chapters: 35

Pages: 414


The Three Kingdoms: The Sleeping Dragon by Luo Guanzhung


This exciting new translation will appeal to modern readers who find the twists and turns of Game of Thrones so compelling.

The Three Kingdoms is an epic Chinese novel written over six centuries ago. It recounts in vivid historical detail the turbulent years at the close of the Han Dynasty, when China broke into three competing kingdoms and over half the population were either killed or driven from their homes. Part myth, part fact, readers will experience the loyalty and treachery, the brotherhood and rivalry of China's legendary heroes and villains during the most tumultuous period in Chinese history.

Considered the greatest work in classic Chinese literature, The Three Kingdoms is read by millions throughout Asia today. Seen not just as a great work of art, many Chinese view it as a guide to success in life and business as well as a work that offers great moral clarity—while many foreigners read it to gain insights into Chinese society and culture. From the saga of The Three Kingdoms, readers will learn how great warriors motivate their troops and enhance their influence, while disguising their weaknesses and turning the strengths of others against them.

This second volume introduces Liu Bei's greatest ally, his advisor Zhuge Lian—a master strategist whose clever strategies allows Liu Bei to claim many victories in the never-ending battle for dominance during the Warring States period in Chinese history.

Chapters: 74

Pages: 447

The Three Kingdoms: Welcome The Tiger by Luo Guanzhung

This exciting new translation will appeal to modern readers who find the twists and turns of Game of Thrones so compelling.

The Three Kingdoms is an epic Chinese novel written over six centuries ago. It recounts in vivid historical detail the turbulent years at the close of the Han Dynasty, when China broke into three competing kingdoms and over half the population were either killed or driven from their homes. Part myth, part fact, readers will experience the loyalty and treachery, the brotherhood and rivalry of China's legendary heroes and villains during the most tumultuous period in Chinese history.

Considered the greatest work in classic Chinese literature, The Three Kingdoms is read by millions throughout Asia today. Seen not just as a great work of art, many Chinese view it as a guide to success in life and business as well as a work that offers great moral clarity—while many foreigners read it to gain insights into Chinese society and culture. From the saga of The Three Kingdoms, readers will learn how great warriors motivate their troops and enhance their influence, while disguising their weaknesses and turning the strengths of others against them.

This third volume concludes the tale of Liu Bei and his sworn brothers-in-arms, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, whose loyalty and fidelity are sorely tested in a society at war for its very survival.

Chapters: 120

Pages: 510


Brilliance by Marcus Sakey


In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called "brilliants," and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in - and betray his own kind.

From Marcus Sakey, "a modern master of suspense" (Chicago Sun-Times) and "one of our best storytellers" (Michael Connelly), comes an adventure that’s at once breakneck thriller and shrewd social commentary; a gripping tale of a world fundamentally different and yet horrifyingly similar to our own, where being born gifted can be a terrible curse.

Chapters: 40

Pages: 434

A Better World by Marcus Sakey

The brilliants changed everything.

Since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we’d only dreamed of. The ability to sense a person’s most intimate secrets, or predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional...and the rest of us.

Now a terrorist network led by brilliants has crippled three cities. Supermarket shelves stand empty. 911 calls go unanswered. Fanatics are burning people alive.

Nick Cooper has always fought to make the world better for his children. As both a brilliant and an advisor to the president of the United States, he’s against everything the terrorists represent. But as America slides toward a devastating civil war, Cooper is forced to play a game he dares not lose—because his opponents have their own vision of a better world.

And to reach it, they’re willing to burn this one down.

From Marcus Sakey, “the master of the mindful page turner” (Gillian Flynn) and “one of our best storytellers” (Michael Connelly), Book Two of the Brilliance Saga is a relentless thrill ride that will change the way you look at your world—and the people around you.

Chapters: 45 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 376

The Heike Story-Eiji Yoshikawa


Kyoto in the twelfth century was a magnificent city, but crime, disorder, and lust were rampant. The people were abused by the nobility, while the armed Buddhist monks terrorized court and commoner alike. In despair, the Emperor called upon the Heike and Genji clans to quell civil disturbances. Although the clans succeeded, they quarreled over the spoils of war and plunged the country into a century of warfare.This novel describes the rise to power of Kiyomori of the Heike clan during this turbulent time. From a youth sunk in poverty, Kiyomori eventually rose to become the Emperor's Chief Councillor. Although he was a gentle, enlightened man, he left a trail of bloodshed and ruin in his wake. The strange twists of Kiyomori's fate are the core of this epic novel.The Heike Story is a modern translation of a Japanese classic. Its exotic atmosphere, narrative power, pageantry, and poetry will enthrall English readers and provide an entertaining introduction to an important source of Japanese culture.

Chapters: 50 plus On the Historical Background  and foreword

Pages: 547

The Pillow Book-Sei Shonagon (Arthur Waley)

Japan in the 10th century stood physically and culturally isolated from the rest of the world. Inside this bubble, a subtle and beautiful world was in operation, and its inhabitants were tied to the moment, having no interest in the future and disdain for the past. In a small diary, a young courtesan of the Heian period gives her account of the Japanese courts of the day, providing perspective on a unique time in Japanese history. A contemporary of Murasaki Shikibu, the author of The Tale of Genji, Sei Sho-nagon's commentary brings an added dimension to that timeless and seminal work.

In a place and time where poetry was as important as knowledge and beauty was highly revered, Sei Shonagon's private writings give the reader a charming and intimate glimpse into a time of isolated innocence and pale beauty.

Chapters: N/A

Pages: 127

The Golden Lotus Volume 1: Jin Ping Mei-Anonymous


A saga of ruthless ambition, murder, and lust, this classic novel—admired in its own time for its literary qualities and biting indictment of the immorality and cruelty of its age—lays bare the rivalries within a wealthy family while chronicling its rise and fall.

This edition features a new introduction by Robert Hegel of Washington University, and contains the complete text as translated by Clement Egerton with the assistance of Shu Qingchun, who as Lao She became one of the most prominent Chinese writers of the twentieth century.

Chapters:53 plus Introductions, notes and The Golden Lotus

Pages: 640




The Golden Lotus Volume 2: Jin Ping Mei-Anonymous

A saga of ruthless ambition, murder, and lust, this classic novel—admired in its own time for its literary qualities and biting indictment of the immorality and cruelty of its age—lays bare the rivalries within a wealthy family while chronicling its rise and fall.

This edition features a new introduction by Robert Hegel of Washington University, and contains the complete text as translated by Clement Egerton with the assistance of Shu Qingchun, who as Lao She became one of the most prominent Chinese writers of the twentieth century.

Chapters: 100

Pages: 640