Wednesday, May 27, 2015

G574 Book Review of Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani

Name of Book: Trail of Broken Wings

Author: Sejal Badani

ISBN: 9781477822081

Publisher: Lake Union

Type of book: India, Asian-Americans, abuse, South Asian female/American male, sisterhood, mother and daughter relationship, California, rape, 2000s, immigration, multicultural, travel, photography, perfection, game, competition, father

Year it was published: 2015

Summary:

When her father falls into a coma, Indian American photographer Sonya reluctantly returns to the family she’d fled years before. Since she left home, Sonya has lived on the run, free of any ties, while her soft-spoken sister, Trisha, has created a perfect suburban life, and her ambitious sister, Marin, has built her own successful career. But as these women come together, their various methods of coping with a terrifying history can no longer hold their memories at bay.

Buried secrets rise to the surface as their father—the victim of humiliating racism and perpetrator of horrible violence—remains unconscious. As his condition worsens, the daughters and their mother wrestle with private hopes for his survival or death, as well as their own demons and buried secrets.

Told with forceful honesty, Trail of Broken Wings reveals the burden of shame and secrets, the toxicity of cruelty and aggression, and the exquisite, liberating power of speaking and owning truth.

Characters:

The main characters are the women: Ranee is the mother that is seen as weak by both her husband and daughters. She hides truths and secrets for a long time and is reluctant to release them. There is also Marin the eldest who is married to an Indian man named Raj and has a teenage daughter named Gia. Marin is obsessed with image and competition in life and places more importance on these things than she should. Gia is Marin's teenage daughter with her own wishes and secrets and she seems to understand things in black and white. Trisha is the middle the daughter who is seen as special by her father and wasn't beaten up like her mother and sisters. Despite that, she has to deal with issues of infertility and building up a perfect life that wealthy people live. The last daughter, Sonya, is the youngest and is a traveler and refuses to come back home until their father falls into a coma. Sonya is bent on surviving rather than embracing life and sees herself as someone weak and flawed.

Theme:

There are no clear cut answers in life

Plot:

The story is told from four characters' point of view; the three daughters and a mother. The youngest daughters, Trisha and Sonya are from first person narrative, and Marin and the mother, Ranee are in third person narrative. The book and the story are slow and exploratory rather than quick, and in the book there are no clear cut answers and no clear cut causes, as much as we want them to exist within these stories. The last quarter or so of the story needs to be reworked a bit to match up to the previous 75 percent, but other than that, prepare to be blown away and shocked.

Author Information:
(From TLC)


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Sejal Badani_120dpiAbout Sejal Badani

Sejal Badani is a former attorney. She currently lives on the West Coast with her family and their two dogs.












Opinion:

Its interesting to note that prior to reading this book, I've read Moonlight on Butternut Lake which is also about abuse. Unlike Moonlight on Butternut on Lake though, Trail of Broken Wings has far more reaching consequences that shape people inside and out. Along with that element is how abuse is handled and seen in South Asian culture (Indian). In many ways its not an easy book to read because the author takes her time exploring the four main characters and how abuse affected them, although I do feel that the end is wrapped up a little too neatly, and there are parts where I felt the story has slowed down and I did enjoy the language and comparisons, I feel that at times there was a little too much of them. Upon writing about the characters and thinking more deeply about the book, I realize that it seems to share a lot of things in common with Diamond Head by Cecily Wong, but the difference between the two is that the male character is seen through the myriad women's eyes, and in this one, its the women that get the spotlight instead of the male character.

This is for TLC Book Tours

Sejal Badani’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, May 4th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, May 5th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Wednesday, May 6th: Lit and Life
Thursday, May 7th: She Treads Softly
Monday, May 11th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, May 13th: BookNAround
Thursday, May 14th: Bell, Book & Candle
Monday, May 18th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Tuesday, May 19th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, May 20th: Unshelfish
Tuesday, May 26th: Life is Story
Wednesday, May 27th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, May 28th: A Reader’s Oasis
Wednesday, June 3rd: Bibliotica
Thursday, June 4th: Broken Teepee
TBD: Book Nerd
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.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

580. Out from the Underworld

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Author: Heather Siegel

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Personal Opinion:

Definitely speaking, this book has potential to be a great story, and while I got that, I felt that the story was too scattered and there weren't a lot of transitions which made it difficult to read chapter by chapter. I didn't understand a lot of what was going on and I had trouble understanding the adults in the story, at least as relating to Heather's father and the grandparents. Probably like Heather, I felt frustrated about being kept in the dark when it came to these characters.

This is for iRead Book Tours

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, May 25, 2015

595. Moonlight on Butternut Lake- Mary McNear

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Characters:

The main characters include Mila Jones, Reid Ford, Allie Ford and Walker Ford. (Allie and Walker are from previous books.) Mila Jones is a woman who had a very rough childhood and became determined to work as a nurse. She is loyal, seeking, tough and will do whatever she can to accomplish her goals. Reid Ford is Walker's older brother and is best described as a workaholic, angry, has a cutting sense of humor, but he is also loyal and will do whatever he can for those he loves. Allie is a busy woman who is likable and very friendly and has two children, while Walker Ford is the husband and in this book he is open about what his expectations and what to expect from Reid and Mila. Walker is also supportive of his brother and wants to do whatever he can for him.

Theme:

Don't be afraid to start over

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative from Mila's and Reid's points of view, and unlike in other books from similar genres that I have read before, there is more of Mila's point of view rather than Reid's. Yes, Reid does show up and give his view or opinion, but it didn't seem a if I got a chance to really get to know him. One other character, namely Mila's ex-husband also plays a role and has a point of view too, but while I was hoping for a complex character from him, my literary prayers weren't answered.

Author Information:

Opinion:

I know I enjoyed the book, but its a bit difficult to articulate into words what I enjoyed or what stood out for me. Its definitely a sweet summer romance where the relationship between Mila and Reid is really fleshed out and is built upon the emotions that the two experience for one another. Despite the length, it took me a very short time to read it and find a lot of things I liked about it: the characters of Mila and Reid and how important the characters from the previous novel, Up at Butternut Lake, gain importance in the relationship. Personally for me, these elements really stand out in the book, but other than that it seems more like a comfort food on a bad day. By the way, love the cover.

This is for TLC Book Tours

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.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

591. The Mapmaker's Children-Sarah McCoy

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Characters:

Two characters that play a very important role in the book are Sarah Brown, John Brown's daughter who is resourceful, talented in the drawing, has a very warm heart and wants to do what she can for others. She also focuses on the present day rather than focusing on her lack of ability to procreate. In beginning of the story, I feel that Eden didn't really match up to Sarah Brown and I couldn't understand the connection between the two. Eden is determined, angry, bitter in the beginning of the story, but as time went on, she grew warmer and also wants to focus more on today and what she could do now rather than what she cannot do. There are other characters, but I feel that they don't play a big role as these two do.

Theme:

There are many ways to create a family and a legacy

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative both from Sarah Brown's point of view and from Eden's point of view, and each chapter goes back and forth from 1850s-1860s to 2014. I do have to say that I didn't understand the point of the prologue and although the reader learns a little bit of why towards the end, it didn't do a good job of tying the two separate point of views together.

Author Information:

Opinion:

First of all my apologies for the late review for The Mapmakers Children; second of all, in many ways, its a very surprising and a very warm book that includes ways humans can create legacy outside of childbearing, as well as the people and pets that come in and out of the lives. What's also not mentioned is that its a good book for dog-lovers, about how its possible for dogs to heal the lives of their owners in one way or the other. I really enjoyed reading the story, and felt it was relevant to today and to people that want but cannot have children. What is also unique is that in the story its the women who are much harder on themselves than the men. A fast and an enjoyable read.

This is for TLC Book Tours

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.)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

606. Mesabi Pioneers-Russell Hill and Jeffrey Smith

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Characters:

Main characters include Arthur Maki (Arvid Makula), a young and talented carpenter who came from Finland to America and did his best to survive and make something of himself. He is industrious, holds on tightly to traditions and seems to have clear perspective on life and things. He is a bit gullible and hates prejudice and tries to make friends out of people who are seen as outcasts. Another main character is Charlie who is Native American and is from Chippewa culture. Charlie suffered through a school where his culture and everything that made him him was wiped away, he is also talented at hunting and is seen as a "savage" or an outsider by the group. He is very intelligent and tries to hold on to whatever he can. He is also loyal and will do whatever he can for those he considers friends. There is also the cook, Housell who was also with the group from the very beginning and he is best described as observant and a drunk who happens to be prejudiced and hated by Arthur and few others. There are other characters too, but I feel that their roles aren't as big in Arthur's life as they should have been.

Theme:

Risk is worth it

Plot:

I have to say that the telling is a little bit confusing, but perhaps ninety eight percent of the book is written in third person narrative from Arthur (Arvid's) point of view, while two percent comes from one of his descendants. Ten of the chapters have foreign titles, and the reader learns of their meanings as they begin to read each chapter. I did have a hard time keeping track of time because I thought the story started in 1891 and stretched on to 1894? when in fact it began in 1889? and stretched to 1892. Huge stretches of time passed with chapters, but that made the story more interesting. Also, this isn't an action oriented story, but resembles more of Willa Cather and Sarah Orne Jewett except its much shorter and it has enough stories to keep it interesting. What was also cool is that I learned a lot more about Finnish and Russian cultures of back then.

Author Information:

Opinion:

This is definitely one of the more unusual books I had a chance of reading. Pretty much almost all the fiction I've read always contained a love story of sorts, yet Mesabi Pioneers doesn't have a love story, and instead it discusses struggles that the immigrants from different countries have faced in order to survive and prosper in Minnesota. I have to say that the name 'Silver Lake' and Minnesota really strongly reminded me of Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books, but this book is more of ins and outs of a world that Laura Ingalls Wilder hinted at. Its a clean read, but this world isn't something that Laura Ingalls Wilder would touch or talk about. (Her books are very homogeneous and didn't have the "undesirable" influences that this one has.) What is also pretty fascinating are the comparisons between Native American Chippewa culture and the Finnish culture and how no matter where we come from, we are more alike than different.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

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.)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

G601 Book Review of Teresa of the New World by Sharman Apt Russell

Name of Book: Teresa of the New World

Author: Sharman Apt Russell

ISBN: 978-1-63158-042-0

Publisher: Yucca Publishing

Type of book: half Native American/Half Spanish girl, plague, flu, earth, nature, shape changing, Conquistadors, 1536-1540s, silent, communicating with animals, blend in, American Southwest, Native American and European relationships , journey

Year it was published: 2015

Summary:

In 1528, the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked in the New World where he lived for eight years as a slave, trader, and shaman. In this lyrical weaving of history and myth, the adventurer takes his young daughter Teresa from her home in Texas to walk westward into the setting sun, their travels accompanied by miracles--visions and prophecies. But when Teresa reaches the outposts of New Spain, life is not what her father had promised.

As a kitchen servant in the household of a Spanish official, Teresa grows up estranged from the magic she knew as a child, when she could speak to the earth and listen to animals. When a new epidemic of measles devastates the area, the sixteen-year-old sets off on her own journey, befriending a Mayan were-jaguar who cannot control his shape-shifting and a warhorse abandoned by his Spanish owner. Now Teresa moves through a land stalked by Plague: smallpox as well as measles, typhus, and scarlet fever.

Soon it becomes clear that Teresa and her friends are being manipulated and driven by forces they do not understand. To save herself and others, Teresa will find herself listening again to the earth, sinking underground, swimming through limestone and fossil, opening to the power of root and stone. As she searches for her place in the New World, she will travel farther and deeper than she had ever imagined.

Rich in historical detail and scope, Teresa of the New World takes you into the dreamscape of the sixteenth-century American Southwest.

Characters:

The main characters include Teresa, a half Native American half Spanish daughter of Cabeza de Vaca who has powers to commune with nature and even become part of it. She is close to her father and is willing to do anything for him. She is resourceful, shy, intelligent and traumatized. Then there is Plague who is a doppleganger and depends on people to make them sick. He takes physical shapes of the dead and has love/hate relationship with humans. Pomo is a young boy of Mayan origins who also can shape-shift into a jaguar. As a human boy he is bossy, a bit disobedient and depends on others to take care of him. As a jaguar, Pomo is at war with Teresa and becomes determined to keep this shape. There is also a war-horse who is from Spain and is dedicated to a previous master. He is best described as rude and arrogant although he does change throughout the story. He warns Teresa of approaching danger.

Theme:

Opening up is a great risk

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from Teresa's point of view and it reads as more of a legend or a fairytale rather than a novel. There is a great deal of focus on nature as well as on the dangers faced by Native Americans from Europeans, and how risky it is to open up the heart towards new and exciting. I also would like more sequels about Teresa and her companion. With that being said, I would have liked for characters to be more developed, in particular the Mayan werejaguar boy.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

Teresa of the New World Available at

About the Author03B_Author Sharman Russell

Sharman Apt Russell has lived in Southwestern deserts almost all her life and continues to be refreshed and amazed by the magic and beauty of this landscape. She has published over a dozen books translated into a dozen languages, including fiction and nonfiction. She teaches graduate writing classes at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico and Antioch University in Los Angeles, California and has thrice served as the PEN West judge for their annual children’s literature award. Her own awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Henry Joseph Jackson Award.
For more information visit Sharman Russell’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Opinion:

The cover certainly matched the atmosphere and the attitude of a story, and at times I felt as if  I uncovered a long lost fable rather than a novel. The story is both haunting and magical and it can be interpreted in a number of different ways which means that there is no single right way to figure out the story. The fable or legend also explores two sides of people, being civilized and being part of nature, what is the right path? Earlier, years and years ago, I read She Who Remembers Trilogy by Linda Lay Schuler, and reading Teresa of the New World really reminded me of that, except it really traveled deeply into the supernatural elements that fit right into the world recently discovered by Europeans.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Teresa of the New World Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 11
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, May 12
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Wednesday, May 13
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Friday, May 15
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, May 18
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, May 20
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, May 21
Spotlight at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Friday, May 22
Blog Tour Wrap Up & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

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.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

G578 Book Review of Bianca's Vineyard by Teresa Neumann

Name of Book: Bianca's Vineyard

Author: Teresa Neumann

ISBN: 978-0-9831210-0-8

Publisher: All's Well House

Type of book: Italy, America, mental illness, 1913, 1923-1930, 1931-1941, 1943-1946, 2001, travel, immigrants, family, culture, sacrifices, talents, WWII, occupation, laws, generations, vineyard, wines, survival

Year it was published: 2011

Summary:

Bianca Corrotti's vineyard is more than a piece of mouth-watering real estate in Tuscany. It's an inheritance; a storehouse harboring the secrets of her Uncle Egisto, a world-class sculptor, and his troubled wife -- a woman whose destiny converges with Mussolini's when WWII overtakes them all. Based on a true story, Bianca's Vineyard follows a devoted family of strong-willed men and lion-hearted women waging an epic battle against a gathering storm intent on destroying their lives.

Characters:

The main characters include Armida, Egisto's wife who becomes upset and jealous of another woman and becomes unhappy. She is a very strong character with conflicted emotions and motivations and puts immediate family before herself. Egisto, from what I can gather, is Armida's husband and is far more liberal than his brothers. He seems to be willful, defiant, creative with sculpting, regretful and nurses pain for life. Other characters include Bianca, Carmela, Carilda, Luigi and Francesco. Luigi and Carmela are Egisto's parents. Luigi has a soft spot for Bianca and understands the value of the women surrounding him. I found him a likable character. Carmela is his wife and is very determined to see her children become successful and to leave something for her only daughter. Carilda is Bianca's mother and is best described as loyal and someone that gives up her dreams just to help others. Bianca is very loyal to her family as well and she is very kindhearted and does whatever she can for less fortunate.

Theme:

Some things always remain mysteries

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative, primarily from Egisto's and Armida's points of view. While other characters do show up, mainly Bianca and Egisto's father, the story focused a lot on Armida and was trying to understand her. I have to say that I had a hard time understanding her motivations and I couldn't really decide what was wrong with her. At times there is first person narrative from Bianca as she is telling the story to the American relatives that decided to visit Italy. There is a a lot of mix of different genres, but that made the story more likable for me, and despite the themes and topics that the author presented, I can easily imagine sitting within the nature, drinking something delicious and calmly reading the book, feeling philosophical about the sunset and life.

Author Information:
(From Italy Book Tours)

Buy the Book:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

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Meet the Author:

Teresa Neumann and her musician husband live in Oregon's beautiful Willamette Valley near their three children. As well as being an author and journalist, Teresa loves to fiddle on her violin and live "la dolce vita" in Italy whenever she can talk her family into going with her.

Connect with Teresa:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter




Opinion:

I found the book to be very beautiful and it also has an addictive style of writing that gives another view to modern Italian history and culture. I enjoyed learning about WWII through Italians' eyes and I also liked learning about the family and the importance of family to Italian culture. What is interesting is the title, which is left up to the reader's interpretation. From the title, I thought the story would be about Bianca, but the story is more about Bianca, its something timeless and eternal and where hopes have miracle of coming alive. What's also important is that its not a mafia story and while there is corruption going on, the focus is on family and how history and places impact that family.

This is for Italy Book Tours

Tour Schedule:

May 4 - Book Loving Hippo - review / author interview / giveaway
May 4 - The Autistic Gamer - review
May 5 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review / giveaway
May 6 - Diary of an Eccentric - review
May 6 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
May 6 - 2 Kids and Tired Books - book spotlight / giveaway

May 7 - Griperang's Bookmarks - review / author interview / giveaway
May 8 - Italophilia - book spotlight
May 11 - Vic's Media Room - review / guest post
May 12 - Girl With Camera - review / giveaway
May 13 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
May 13 - Life with Katie - review / giveaway
May 14 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / author interview / giveaway
May 15 - Booknerd - review
May 18 - Allthingsbookie - review / giveaway
May 18 - Kathryn Cooper Writes - review 
May 19 - Tragically Dull Adventures of an Almost Librarian - review
May 19 - Essentially Italian - review / giveaway
May 20 - My Devotional Thoughts - review
May 20 - Nighttime Reading Center - review / giveaway

May 20 - Nighttime Reading Center - author interview
May 20 - Readers' Muse - review / guest post / giveaway
May 21 - View from the Birdhouse - review / giveaway
May 22 - Il Mio Tesoro - review / author interview
May 22 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway

May 22 - Sarah Rehmatullah - review 

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.)