Wednesday, November 27, 2013

G210 E-Reading Book Review of After the Rain by Karen-Anne Stewart

Name of Book: After the Rain

Author: Karen-Anne Stewart

ISBN: 9781491824719

Publisher: Authorhouse

Part of a Series: Rain Trilogy

Type of book: Human trafficking, FBI, capturing, coming of age, growing up, sacrifices, strong heroine, horrid past, relationships, friendship, hacking

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

"A story intricately crafted with amazing characters and scenes that will leave a lasting image on readers. Raina is the perfect heroine, sweet and caring, but strong at the same time. The risks she is willing to take to save and protect others left me in awe. A great series with romance and suspense." Christine Janes - SheReadsAlot.com

Finally able to put her harrowing past to rest, Raina looks forward to her future with Kas, but the Ghost has other plans. As the FBI team gets closer to taking down the largest human trafficking ring in the modern world, the Ghost begins a wicked game, making Raina the pawn and the target. Never before encountering a worthy adversary, he's fascinated by Raina and is enjoying the refreshing challenge of her intellect.
The danger ignites to a blazing new level, and Kas struggles between the need to finally exorcise the Ghost and his need to protect his wife. Tension mounts as an internal battle wages, tormenting Kas as he watches Raina put her all into taking down the man responsible for horrific sex slavery and gruesome deaths. When a new player takes control, Jefferson orders the end of the Ghost's game with Raina, which results in one final, devastating act, leaving Kas desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to save her...by whatever means necessary.

***Disclaimer: Due to sensitive issues of abuse, human trafficking, and adult scenes, The Rain Trilogy is intended for readers 18+

Characters:

Raina really grows up in this book: she is best described as very inventive, creative, determined, stubborn, strong and isn't afraid of challenges. Kas continues to be his loving and supportive self when it comes to Raina and I think the two of them finally come to some sort of understanding of their relationship: Raina understands Kas's need to protect her in some situations, but she also isn't afraid of standing up for herself and her beliefs whenever she deems necessary. I was also able to tell some characters apart as well such as Eric who is Raina's partner and often listens to vintage music whatever his mood may be, or Austin the playboy or few others such as Lawson and Russo.

Theme:

With love and healing a woman can become a force to be reckoned with.

Plot:

Its written in third person narrative from Raina's and Kas's points of views. There is a lot more action in this book than in the previous two and the stakes are a lot more higher, thus this is a far more intense read than Saving Rain and Healing Rain. In this book Raina manages to take care of herself in many ways and proves that she's very resourceful as well as strong and creative. Few times the men did rescue her, but most of the time she was the one rescuing herself from life-threatening situations. There are light hearted moments and I was able to tell the agents by their personalities, as well as Raina's hacking partner Eric.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)

url https://www.goodreads.com/KasandRaina
born in The United States
genderfemale
websitehttp://www.karen-annestewart.com
twitter usernameSKarenAnne
genreNew Adult Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
member sinceMarch 2013

I am a new author and have recently discovered that I am now addicted to writing. My first novel, Saving Rain, was originally going to be a single novel, but it quickly turned into a trilogy. I fell in love with the characters and had to continue with the story to delve more into their intriguing, dangerous lives. The Rain Trilogy is a powerful story of abuse, human trafficking, and beautiful, redeeming love (new adult contemporary romance suspense meant for readers 18 and older). Saving Rain and Healing Rain are live now, and After the Rain will be live by the end of October 2013.
I live in the mountains with my family, and I love to read, hike, and travel when I am not writing. I am a sucker for romance, especially a book with a strong alpha male who has a sensitive side. I also enjoy a good mystery and thrillers. My favorite author is James Patterson, he is an amazing writer.
With being a newbie, I am just learning all the ropes, but I'm loving the wild ride. I plan on writing for as long as my fingers have dexterity.

I would love to connect with you!

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-...

The Rain Trilogy book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbBurA...

Opinion:

This book is simply filled with action as the author increases the suspense between life and death, between Kas allowing Raina freedom or else continuing to have this parent/child relationship with her. This book isn't as sweet as the previous two because in this one Raina and Kas confront loss, death, terrorism and sacrifice in attempting to achieve their goal of capturing the mysterious Prizrak as well as rescuing the trafficked girls. I do admit that at some points I was confused when it came to some characters as well as who's doing these deeds and who is innocent. Raina really changes and is no longer the same and fearful woman we were introduced to in Saving Rain, my favorite scene included her using thinly veiled threatening comments towards Prizrak.

Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book.Disclaimer: Due to sensitive issues of abuse, human trafficking, and adult scenes, The Rain Trilogy is intended for readers 18+

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, November 26, 2013

G225 E-Reading Book Review of The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David C Meredith

Name of Book: The Reflections of Queen Snow White

Author: David C Meredith

ISBN/ASIN: B00FLF4JAG

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Type of book: Fantasy, fairytale, reflections, magic mirror, relationships, psychology, stepmother, struggles, strength, triumph, feminism

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

Characters:

It has been a while since I read the fairytale, but I would imagine that Snow White is best described as meek, sweet and so forth. In this book she presents herself that way, but the mirror continues to point out that she is different, that she is strong when she ran away from her stepmother or when she survived the poisoning or even handling an incident with the court, or even trying to leave Charming at one time! Somehow Charming and Snow White falling in love seemed realistic to me, and I liked that they talked and spent time together before marrying to one another. Charming literally lives up to his name in being sweet, kind, gentle, firm and protective over Snow White. I also liked that Snow White struggled when she came back to the castle with politics and life, that through her lack of experience she was drawn realistically.

Theme:

You are responsible for yourself, create your own happy endings instead of depending on someone else.

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative from Snow White's point of view, and the reader examines many reflections and emotions of her through the use of magic mirror. The ugly, the beautiful and in-between of what Snow White went through her life is brought out and is examined by the heroine by a mirror that's determined to give her knowledge that she is a strong woman and not a weak one. The book itself is also pretty short but I'm positive that many will enjoy reading it as well as contemplating the messages within.

Author Information:

N/A

Opinion:

This is a delightful and short story for those with a cynical nature who aren't huge believers in happily ever after, which is what I liked. The book also seems sort of to be an anti-Disney Princess campaign, although due to a sexual scene in the book, I wouldn't recommend that young children read it. There is psychology in it, a heroine that is too hard on herself as well as the mysteries of the mirror that Snow White's stepmother has used. Its also obvious that the author didn't use Snow White cartoon as a guide and instead used his own imagination. I liked the lessons learned from the book as well as the fact that scars remain and someone else can't take them away from us. In addition to that there's an incredibly beautiful book cover, and an ending that many strong women will enjoy.

Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the 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.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Coming Up...Week 47 of 2013

Book to be reviewed:

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein

A lush, exquisitely rendered meditation on war, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment tells the story of several families, American and Japanese, their loves and infidelities, their dreams and losses, and how they are all connected by one of the most devastating acts of war in human history.

In this evocative and thrilling epic novel, fifteen-year-old Yoshi Kobayashi, child of Japan’s New Empire, daughter of an ardent expansionist and a mother with a haunting past, is on her way home on a March night when American bombers shower her city with napalm—an attack that leaves one hundred thousand dead within hours and half the city in ashen ruins. In the days that follow, Yoshi’s old life will blur beyond recognition, leading her to a new world marked by destruction and shaped by those considered the enemy: Cam, a downed bomber pilot taken prisoner by the Imperial Japanese Army; Anton, a gifted architect who helped modernize Tokyo’s prewar skyline but is now charged with destroying it; and Billy, an Occupation soldier who arrives in the blackened city with a dark secret of his own. Directly or indirectly, each will shape Yoshi’s journey as she seeks safety, love, and redemption.

Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance by Janice Gary


Janice Gary never walked alone without a dog by her side-a big dog. Once she was a risk-taker, a girl who ran off to California with big dreams and hopes of leaving her past behind. But after a brutal attack on the streets of Berkeley, her youthful bravado vanished, replaced by a crippling need for safety. When she rescues a gangly Lab-Rottweiler pup she names Barney, Janice is sure she's found her biggest protector yet. But after Barney is attacked by a vicious dog, he becomes dog-aggressive, making walking him almost impossible. After years of being exiled by her terror and Barney's defensiveness, Janice risks taking him to a park bordering the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. There she faces her greatest fears, including loose dogs, strange men and dangers real and imagined. As the leash of the past unravels, Barney sheds the defensive behaviors that once shackled him and Janice steps out of the self-imposed isolation that held her captive for three decades. Beautifully written, Short Leash is more than a dog story or a book about recovering from trauma. It's a moving tale of love and loss, the journey of a broken soul finding its way toward wholeness.

The Distancers- Lee Sandlin 

A sweeping, lush, and quintessentially American tale that is heartbreaking, hopeful, and cut from the very fabric of the heartland.A VINTAGE ORIGINAL.

In The Distancers, seven generations worth of joy and heartache is artfully forged into a family portrait that is at once universally American yet singularly Lee Sandlin's own. From the nineteenth century German immigrants who settled on a small Midwestern farm, to the proud and upright aunts and uncles with whom Sandlin spent the summers of his youth, a whole history of quiet ambition and stoic pride-of successes, failures, and above all endurance-leaps off the page in a sweeping American family epic. Touching on The Great Depression, WWII, the American immigrant experience, the uses of proper manners, how to ride the rails in the dust bowl years, and home brewing during prohibition, The Distancers is a beautiful and stark Midwestern drama, about a time and place long since vanished, where the author learned the value of family and the art of keeping one's distance.

What I'm Reading right now:

After Rain- Karen Anne Stewart (e-book)


“A story intricately crafted with amazing characters and scenes that will leave a lasting image on readers. Raina is the perfect heroine, sweet and caring, but strong at the same time. The risks she is willing to take to save and protect others left me in awe. A great series with romance
and suspense.” Christine Janes – SheReadsAlot.com

Finally able to put her harrowing past to rest, Raina looks forward to her future with Kas, but the Ghost has other plans. As the FBI team gets closer to taking down the largest human trafficking ring in the modern world, the Ghost begins a wicked game, making Raina the pawn and the target. Never before encountering a worthy adversary, he’s fascinated by Raina and is enjoying the refreshing challenge of her intellect.
The danger ignites to a blazing new level, and Kas struggles between the need to finally exorcise the Ghost and his need to protect his wife. Tension mounts as an internal battle wages, tormenting Kas as he watches Raina put her all into taking down the man responsible for horrific sex slavery and gruesome deaths. When a new player takes control, Jefferson orders the end of the Ghost’s game with Raina, which results in one final, devastating act, leaving Kas desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to save her…by whatever means necessary.

I'm beyond thrilled to announce that After the Rain will be live by the end of October. A huge THANK YOU to everyone I have had the amazing chance to connect with along this journey so far!

Chapters: 12 out of 24 plus epilogue

Pages: 121 out of 234

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David C. Meredith (Kindle e-book)

What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

Chapters: 3 out of 14

Pages: N/A

Till Morning Comes by Suyin Han


Alone in exotic Chungking, beautiful foreign correspondent Stephanie Ryder is warned to keep silent about the atrocities she witnesses in the city’s teeming slums. Defying a brutal Kuomintang officer, she is swept to an electrifying first meeting with Dr. Jen Yong, a handsome, dedicated and compassionate Chinese surgeon. For Yong, a sexual liaison with an American woman could mean a death sentence. For Stephanie, an affair with an Asian man would cause an irreparable breach with her Texas millionaire father. But just when danger threatens to separate them forever, their passion bursts into flame…and carries them on a fabulous romantic journey from the stormy depths of fear and desire, to the moving affirmation that enduring love is truly a many-splendored thing.

Chapters: 15 out of 27

Pages: 313 out of 620

Of Marriageable Age by Sharon Maas

A spellbinding story of forbidden love, spanning three continents and three decades. Set against the Independence struggles of two British colonies, OMA is ultimately a story of personal triumph against a brutal fate, brought to life by a multicultural cast of characters.

Savitri, intuitive and charismatic, is brought up among the servants of a pre-war English household in India. But the traditional customs of her Brahmin family clash against English upper-class prejudice, threatening her love for the privileged son of the house.

Nataraj, raised as the son of an idealistic doctor in rural South India, finds life in London heady, with girls and grass easily available… until he is summoned back to face raw reality.

Saroj, her fire hidden by outward reserve as an ember glows beneath ashes, grows up in Guyana, South America. When her too-strict, orthodox Hindu father proves to have feet of clay she finally rebels against him... and even against her gentle, apparently docile Ma.

But Ma harbours a deep secret… one that binds these three so disparate lives and hurtles them towards a truth that could destroy everything.

Chapters: 51 out of 75 plus epilogue

Pages: 395 out of 530

Seeing Through the Eyes of My papa's heart- Lamarr Wenrich


He slipped away...creating his own reality, a peaceful existence within a tortured mind...This lost soul without roots would spend his life seeking, craving, searching for love, acceptance and an identity...forever shaped by the cruelty of life...No one who crosses this gentle man's path would imagine that he endured such a cold, cruel and demeaning upbringing--void of love, affection or any notion of self-worth. Until the mention of his father's name...it brings him to his knees and tears flow down his cheeks unabashedly. How did he control his demons of anger, hate and vengeance that surely fumed at the surface? Was it fear that kept his emotions from spilling over, or had he always known, innately, there was more to be discovered than the cruelty he knew...a warmth and love he yearned for...

Chapters: 6 out of 24

Pages: 34 out of N/A

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:5 out of 72 plus preface

Pages: 37 out of 532

The Tale of Genji-Murasaki Shikibu, Edward G. Seidensticker


The Tale of Genji was written in the eleventh century by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady of the Heian court. It is universally recognized as the greatest masterpiece of Japanese prose narrative, perhaps the earliest true novel in the history of the world. Until now there has been no translation that is both complete and scrupulously faithful to the original text. Edward G. Seidensticker's masterly rendering was first published in two volumes in 1976 and immediately hailed as a classic of the translator's art. It is here presented in one unabridged volume, illustrated throughout by woodcuts taken from a 1650 Japanese edition of The Tale of Genji.

Chapters: 8 out of 54

Pages: 150 out of 1090

Future Books I will read:

Scapemaker by Steve V. Cypert (e-book, to be read by end of the year)

Matthew is the son of Mr. Nicholas Namely, a local high school teacher. But unbeknownst to Matthew, his father is a dreamscaper whose classroom is connected to the dream-world. From his classroom, his students enter the halls of Scapemaker, a dream-world high school for young dreamscapers.

Following a couple of heartfelt tragic events, Matthew is compelled to investigate the unbelievable mysteries surrounding those events and is propelled into a whole new world. Matthew and his mother, Mae, are soon coerced into moving across the country for his father's strange medical needs. While attending his new school, Matthew comes to know the secrets that Daedree, an annoying girl from his former high school, has locked away. Matthew also meets Amber, a beautiful enigmatic girl who leads him to Mr. Xoner's classroom. While there, he learns the art of dreamscaping (which has been in the Namely bloodline for thousands of years).

Matthew will come to know of Nox Celare, otherwise known as The Sandman, who is after a special element called Magineum. Neck deep in skinwalkers, sandsleepers, zombies, soul feeders, ghosts, dream-world criminals known as “night terrors” and more, Matthew learns he is in over his head. Matthew must not only solve the mysteries surrounding those tragic events, but he will also have to protect the Magineum with his life and find a way to be with the one girl of his dreams. Filled with secrecy, mystery and a forbidden tangle of young love, this new life will lead Matthew to unbelievable characters with the most extraordinary abilities he could never have imagined.

Scapemaker will keep you grounded in the real world while at the same time make the fantastical world around it that much more possible and enduring. This tale of young adult paranormal fantasy will keep you guessing and wanting more.

Chapters: 26 plus preface

Pages:356

When Strangers meet..by K. Hari Kumar (e-book, to be read as soon as possible)


What happens when an irritating but lovable wise-cracking 'Stranger' called Iyer meets a frustrated and arrogant teenager, Jai, on a fateful day in a congested room at the metro station? Catastrophe!!!
Meanwhile, Pathan never had the pleasure of happiness in his life yet he thanked Allah for every second of it...
Abandoned by fate and friends, surrounded by responsibilities and poverty... This hard-coated man from the city of Delhi knew only thing and that was to keep faith in Allah... Now he is set on a journey to turn around his fate...

The tale from the Iyer's past will change Pathan's present and Jai's future... And trust me...
Sometimes all it takes is a stranger's tale to change the track of your life...

Three Men... One fateful day... and a Story of a Lifetime...

The Stranger is coming this May... are you ready to receive him? ;)

Chapters: 56 plus Prologue and epilogue

Pages: 343

The Obsession by T.V. LoCicero (e-book)

At a conference in Italy’s lake district, American graduate student Stanford Lyle is enchanted with Lina Lentini, a lovely Italian professor of comparative lit. And when she lectures for a term at his mid-Michigan university, she considers a fling with Stan—until she meets John Martens, a professor, author and Stan’s mentor. In her passionate affair with John, Lina becomes Stan’s obsession, a hated nemesis for John’s troubled wife, and the object of a vicious series of attacks aimed at destroying her reputation.

Lina loves the line from Keats, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” even as her life fills with duplicity. John is pledged to do the right thing with his wife but often does not. And Stan surprises himself with the depth of his own perversity.

Forced back to her home in Bologna, Lina begins to reset her life. Then Stan appears on her doorstep. When John joins them, Stan schemes, threatens and stalks the lovers, first under the city’s ancient porticoes and finally to the legendary Sicilian mountain town of Taormina with a shocking confrontation on the slopes of volcanic Mt. Etna.

Chapters: 49

Pages: 385

The Disappearance by T.V. LoCicero (e-book)


On leave from the University of Bologna, lovely Italian scholar Lina Lentini is staying with a friend in Geneva and soon finds herself caught up in the shadowy world of Swiss banking, sorting through mysteries that will link to cold-blooded betrayal, corruption and murder.

At the villa of her octogenarian pal Cecile Eaton, an American philanthropist, Lina befriends Clara Marche, who works on Cecile’s account at the Banque Privee Morneau. Both Cecile and Lina are fascinated by Clara’s unlikely transatlantic romance with Marc White, her African-American lover—neither speaks the other’s language.

The revelation of devious schemes begins one night when Clara discovers her manager at the bank has been looting Cecile’s charitable contributions. When Clara is further shaken by what she learns from the bank’s security chief, she flees to Italy, only to find herself accused of fraud by the bank and hunted by police.

Back in Geneva Lina and Clara’s lover Marc embark on a desperate search for Clara. When a mysterious email claims she is being held in the Bahamas, they fly to the quiet island of Eleuthera. There they are shocked to find false-named lovers living a secret life and meet a man with a plan to rescue Clara. What happens next will stun everyone and change their lives forever.

Chapters: 45

Pages: 315

Tainted Angel- Anne Cleeland 

A deadly game of deception
A notorious beauty with a shadowy past

In the time of Napoleon, Vidia Swanson appears to live a gilded life of ease and luxury. Beneath this façade, however, she works for the Home Office as an ‘angel,’ coaxing secrets from powerful men who may or may not be traitors to the Crown. In the course of her latest assignment, matters take an alarming turn when she realizes that her spymaster suspects that she is the one who is tainted--a double agent working for the enemy.

Lucien Carstairs is a fellow agent with his own dark secrets--unless he is setting an elaborate trap to reveal her own supposed treason. Backed into a corner, she can only hope to stay one step ahead of the hangman in a race to stop the next war before it destroys them--and destroys England.

Tainted Angel offers up a compelling game of cat and mouse in which no one can be trusted--and anyone can be tainted.

Chapters: 47

Pages: 350

The Curtain - A Novel by Patrick Ord


Have you met Henry Maddox? He knows you — not personally of course… he really only knows your data. But from that data he actually may know you better than you think you know yourself. Henry knows where you’ve been and what you’ve bought. He knows all of your friends. Henry not only knows your behaviors, he understands your tendencies. And from those tendencies, he can predict what you’re going to do before you’ve actually done it.

Who is Henry Maddox? He is a 21st century marketing consultant and he specializes in highly personal and irresistibly persuasive advertising.

Henry’s strategies combine modern data mining (Big Data) techniques with other advanced and controversial marketing practices (Market Fragmentation, Cross Promotion, and Conglomerate Propagandizing) to the point where consumers don’t even know their being sold. Businesses love Henry because he not only moves product, he actually controls their customers.

But when Henry is forced to face how his techniques affect real people, he realizes he has inadvertently given corporations the power to destroy society for their own ends.

THE CURTAIN explores the effect that increasingly sophisticated marketing techniques have on communities, families, and individuals. In an age of digital distractions, who remembers the transcendent morality that has allowed past civilizations to prosper? When corporations have the influence and motive to define people by what they consume, are we as individuals losing the substance of who we really are?

Chapters: 36 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 309


The Carrion Birds- Urban Waite

Set in a small town in the Southwest, a soulful work of literary noir rife with violence, vengeance, and contrition from a fresh voice in fiction-the author of the highly acclaimed The Terror of Living

Life hasn't worked out the way Ray Lamar planned. A widower and father who has made some tragic mistakes, he's got one good thing going for him: he's calm, cool, and efficient under pressure, usually with a gun in his hand. A useful skill to have when you're paid to hurt people who stand in your boss's way.

But Ray isn't sure he wants to be that man anymore. He wants to go home to Coronado, New Mexico, to see the twelve-year-old son he hopes will recognize him. He wants to make a new life far from the violence of the last ten years. One last job will take him there. All he has to do is steal a rival's stash. Simple, easy, clean.

Ray knows there's no such thing as easy, and sure enough, the first day ends in a catastrophic mess. Now, the runners who have always moved quietly through this idyllic desert town on the Mexican border want answers. And revenge. Short on time, with no one to trust but himself, Ray must come up with a clever plan or Coronado's newly appointed lady sheriff will have a vicious bloodbath on her hands.

Relentlessly paced and beautifully orchestrated, with refreshingly real, vulnerable, and very human characters and a vivid sense of place, The Carrion Birds is an unsettling and indelible work of literary noir in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy, Elmore Leonard, and Dennis Lehane.

Chapters: 5

Pages: 270

The Secret of Emotions (Love, Lust and the Longing for God #1) by Justice Saint Rain


If following your heart has repeatedly gotten you into trouble, but to follow your head feels like a kind of soul-death, then this book will open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. It will teach your head how to understand the language of your heart, and teach your heart how to speak the language of God.
This book explains that our emotional sensations tell us about the virtues we are experiencing, and that these virtues are reflections of the qualities of God in the world. Making the connection between emotions and virtues gives us a whole new vocabulary for understanding our feelings. Since most people make their life-choices based on their feelings rather than reason, understanding the meaning of our emotions is the SECOND-most important lesson we can learn in this life.
The MOST important lesson is that virtues are our path to the Transcendent. Whether you call it God, Higher Power, Creative Spirit, or just your better self, we are all born with a longing to become more than we are right now – to demonstrate that we are, indeed, created in the image of the Divine.

Chapters: 8

Pages: 1-76 out if 267

4 Tools of Emotional Healing (Love, Lust and the Longing for God #2) by Justice Saint Rain

Though they are not quite the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the painful emotions of shame, anger, loneliness and fear have destroyed countless lives. The need to numb and distract ourselves from them leads us to engage in behaviors that only draw us deeper into shame and isolation. We do not need distractions or drugs, we need healing. This healing is not about solving our problems; it is about making us whole.
This book explains how the qualities of honesty, forgiveness, compassion and faith can ease the pain of these negative emotions by filling the empty spaces they represent. Emotions are messengers. Positive emotions tell us when we are experiencing the presence of virtues such as kindness, and justice. Negative emotions tell us which virtues are missing in our lives. By developing our own capacity to practice these four core virtues, we not only heal our painful emotions, but we become masters of our own feelings. This book builds on the understanding of emotions explained in The Secret of Emotions, book one in the Love, Lust and the Longing for God trilogy, but is a stand-alone introduction to the practice of Honesty, Forgiveness, Compassion and Faith.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with anger, shame, loneliness or fear, this book will jump-start the healing process. This series can be used by therapists and treatment centers to build a foundation for a wide range of recovery programs.
This book is the second of three in the Love, Lust and the Longing for God trilogy. Look for excerpts on our FaceBook page of the same name. Other books in the series include:
The Secret of Emotions
Longing for Love

Chapters: 11

Pages:  77-171 out of 267

Longing for Love (Love, Lust and the Longing for God #3) by Justice Saint Rain


The problem with most relationship-advice systems is that they assume that we are rational people and then give us rational advice as to how to attract another rational person.

But we aren’t rational. If we were, life would be much easier.
Longing for Love backs up to the beginning – explaining how our irrational infatuations are based on familiar patterns rather than healthy attraction. It teaches us how to retrain our hearts to love the kind of people that will nurture our souls, not just satisfy our lusts. Full of profound insights and practical advice, it is unlike any relationship guide you’ve ever read.
The problem with most relationship guides is that they assume that we are rational people and then give us rational advice as to how to attract another rational person.

This is book three in the series Love, Lust and the Longing for God. In the first book of this series, The Secret of Emotions, I explain that emotions are sensations that tell us about the attributes of God, or virtues, that we experience in our environment, and that love, in particular, is an attraction to these virtues.

An understanding of these two ideas, especially the second, is critical to any attempt to find true love and have healthy relationships.

The goal of this third book is to expand our ability to recognize and become attracted to virtues so that we fall in love with people who are ready to have healthy, nurturing relationships. We will take a look at what these ideas look like when applied to finding and building healthy relationships in the real world.

How does our understanding of the relationship between emotions and virtues help us find healthy people to be friends with?

How does understanding the difference between love and lust change the way we enter into sexual relationships?

How do we tell the difference between the sensation of love and all of the other sensations that are generated by relationships?

How do we maintain healthy relationships once we commit to them?

How do we avoid temptations that can destroy the relationship we have?

These are the questions that we will be exploring in this third book. If you are unsure of the answers, then this book is a good place to start.

This series can also be used by therapists and treatment centers to build a foundation for a wide range of recovery programs.

Chapters: 11

Pages: 175-265 out of 265

Mine for Tonight ~ Simon (The Billionaire's Obsession #1)by J.S. Scott

Genre: Adult Contemporary Erotic Romance

Down on her luck, nursing student and full-time waitress Kara Foster gets a massive blow to her already desperate financial situation that will surely find her living on the streets. Needing nothing less than a miracle to save her, Kara gets rescue from an unknown, unlikely and overwhelming source. Billionaire Simon Hudson makes her an offer that is impossible to refuse, but terrifying to accept from a man that she's never met. Will the handsome, alpha billionaire really be a solution to her problems, or will he end up being a major complication and a danger to her emotional sanity?

Reclusive billionaire Simon Hudson would rather be behind a computer creating computer games than rubbing elbows with the elite and he knows exactly what he wants...until he meets Kara Foster. Something about Kara touches Simon in ways he's never experienced and definitely doesn't like. For over a year, Simon watches over Kara, but stubbornly refuses to admit his desire to possess her, not even to himself. But when she ends up in a situation that could very well be her destruction, Simon steps up to help her, not realizing that in saving Kara, he might very well be salvaging his own soul.

"Mine For Tonight" is book one of "The Billionaire's Obsession" trilogy. Books in this trilogy do not stand alone and need to be read in order. They include:

Mine For Tonight - Book 1 "The Billionaire's Obsession"
Mine For Now - Book 2 "The Billionaire's Obsession"
Mine Forever - Book 3 "The Billionaire's Obsession"

This is an erotic romance and is not intended for YA readers. It contains graphic language, explicit sex (including bondage) and other subjects not appropriate for YA readers.

Chapters: 7

Pages: 1-61 out of 279

Mine for Now ~ Simon (The Billionaire's Obsession #2)by J.S. Scott 


Mine For Now is Book 2 of The Billionaire's Obsession trilogy and is not a stand alone book. Mine For Tonight, Book 1, should be read before this title.

Genre: Adult Contemporary Erotic Romance

Down on her luck, nursing student and full-time waitress Kara Foster gets a massive blow to her already desperate financial situation that will surely find her living on the streets. Needing nothing less than a miracle to save her, Kara gets rescue from an unknown, unlikely and overwhelming source. Billionaire Simon Hudson makes her an offer that is impossible to refuse, but terrifying to accept from a man that she's never met. Will the handsome, alpha billionaire really be a solution to her problems, or will he end up being a major complication and a danger to her emotional sanity?

Reclusive billionaire Simon Hudson would rather be behind a computer creating computer games than rubbing elbows with the elite and he knows exactly what he wants...until he meets Kara Foster. Something about Kara touches Simon in ways he's never experienced and definitely doesn't like. For over a year, Simon watches over Kara, but stubbornly refuses to admit his desire to possess her, not even to himself. But when she ends up in a situation that could very well be her destruction, Simon steps up to help her, not realizing that in saving Kara, he might very well be salvaging his own soul.

"Mine For Now" is book two of "The Billionaire's Obsession" trilogy. Books in this trilogy do not stand alone and need to be read in order. They include:

Mine For Tonight - Book 1 "The Billionaire's Obsession"
Mine For Now - Book 2 "The Billionaire's Obsession"
Mine Forever - Book 3 "The Billionaire's Obsession"

This is an erotic romance and is not intended for YA readers. It contains graphic language, explicit sex (including bondage) and other subjects not appropriate for YA readers.

Chapters: 8

Pages: 63-142 out of 279

Mine Forever ~ Simon (The Billionaire's Obsession #3) by J.S. Scott

Mine Forever is Book 3 of The Billionaire's Obsession trilogy and is not a stand alone book. Mine For Tonight, Book 1 and Mine For Now, Book 2 should be read before this title.

Genre: Adult Contemporary Erotic Romance

Down on her luck, nursing student and full-time waitress Kara Foster gets a massive blow to her already desperate financial situation that will surely find her living on the streets. Needing nothing less than a miracle to save her, Kara gets rescue from an unknown, unlikely and overwhelming source. Billionaire Simon Hudson makes her an offer that is impossible to refuse, but terrifying to accept from a man that she's never met. Will the handsome, alpha billionaire really be a solution to her problems, or will he end up being a major complication and a danger to her emotional sanity?

Reclusive billionaire Simon Hudson would rather be behind a computer creating computer games than rubbing elbows with the elite and he knows exactly what he wants...until he meets Kara Foster. Something about Kara touches Simon in ways he's never experienced and definitely doesn't like. For over a year, Simon watches over Kara, but stubbornly refuses to admit his desire to possess her, not even to himself. But when she ends up in a situation that could very well be her destruction, Simon steps up to help her, not realizing that in saving Kara, he might very well be salvaging his own soul.

"Mine For Now" is book two of "The Billionaire's Obsession" trilogy. Books in this trilogy do not stand alone and need to be read in order. They include:

Mine For Tonight - Book 1 "The Billionaire's Obsession"
Mine For Now - Book 2 "The Billionaire's Obsession"
Mine Forever - Book 3 "The Billionaire's Obsession"

This is an erotic romance and is not intended for YA readers. It contains graphic language, explicit sex and other subjects not appropriate for YA readers.

Chapters: 7 plus epilogue

Pages: 145-222 out of 279

Mine Completely: The Billionaire's Obsession Valentine's Day Romance ~ Simon (The Billionaire's Obsession #4) by J.S. Scott


GENRE: Adult Contemporary Erotic Romance

Author Note: This book is a short story add-on which is part of The Billionaire's Obsession Trilogy.

If you chose to read this book without first reading The Billionaire's Obsession trilogy, you probably won't understand the references to previous events or the characters' personalities. It is recommended that you read Kara and Simon's story before reading this book.

The Billionaire's Obsession trilogy includes:

Book 1 - Mine For Tonight
Book 2 - Mine For Now
Book 3 - Mine Forever
Mine Completely - The Billionaire's Obsession Valentine's Day Romance

Watch For Sam and Maddie's story "Heart Of The Billionaire" coming soon!

KARA AND SIMON ARE BACK!

Kara and Simon have been together a year, their wedding looming in the very near future. When they face a tough challenge in their relationship on Valentine's Day, will the rift ultimately bring them closer...or tear them completely apart?

The Billionaire's Obsession trilogy synopsis:

Down on her luck, nursing student and full-time waitress Kara Foster gets a massive blow to her already desperate financial situation that will surely find her living on the streets. Needing nothing less than a miracle to save her, Kara gets rescue from an unknown, unlikely and overwhelming source. Billionaire Simon Hudson makes her an offer that is impossible to refuse, but terrifying to accept from a man that she's never met. Will the handsome, alpha billionaire really be a solution to her problems, or will he end up being a major complication and a danger to her emotional sanity?

Reclusive billionaire Simon Hudson would rather be behind a computer creating computer games than rubbing elbows with the elite and he knows exactly what he wants...until he meets Kara Foster. Something about Kara touches Simon in ways he's never experienced and definitely doesn't like. For over a year, Simon watches over Kara, but stubbornly refuses to admit his desire to possess her, not even to himself. But when she ends up in a situation that could very well be her destruction, Simon steps up to help her, not realizing that in saving Kara, he might very well be salvaging his own soul.

This is an erotic romance and not appropriate for YA readers.

Chapters: 5 plus epilogue

Pages: 227-279 out of 279

Heart of the Billionaire ~ Sam (The Billionaire's Obsession #5) by J.S. Scott 

Heart Of The Billionaire (The Billionaire’s Obsession ~ Sam)

GENRE: Adult Contemporary Erotic Romance

Author Note: This novel is the complete story of Sam and Maddie, but reading The Billionaire’s Obsession – The Complete Collection (Simon and Kara’s story) first is highly recommended to enhance your reading pleasure.

Sam and Maddie are here!

Billionaire Sam Hudson has pretty much lived his life with no apologies because he tries never to do anything that he’s sorry about…except for what he had done in the past to Dr. Madeline Reynolds. Many years and regrets later, Sam meets up with Maddie again by chance; his brother Simon is marrying Maddie’s best friend and the two of them are forced to be civil. But Sam wants to be more than polite, and he wants another chance to make things right, so he offers Maddie a bold proposition, an offer he knows she’ll have a very hard time declining even though she hates him.

Dr. Madeline Reynolds adores her best friend Kara and her fiancé Simon, but being forced into the company of Sam Hudson, because they are both in Simon and Kara’s wedding, is pure torture. She’s hated Sam for years, but when he offers her a bargain, something near and dear to her heart, she’s torn between her dislike for the man and the offer of something she’s always desperately wanted. Once, Sam Hudson nearly destroyed her, but Maddie discovers that sometimes things aren’t always what they appear to be. Is Sam really a devious heart-breaker, or is there something more to him beneath the surface?

Can two people with so many years of hurt between them learn to trust each other again?

Please note: This is an erotic romance and not appropriate for YA readers. The book contains graphic sex, language and situations not appropriate for YA readers.

Chapters: 15 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 154

The Billionaire's Salvation ~ Max (The Billionaire's Obsession #6) by J.S. Scott


Billionaire Max Hamilton thought he was finally starting to find contentment, more than two years after losing his wife Mia in a tragic drowning accident.

He'd been reunited with a sister he hadn’t realized existed. Finally he had family again, a reprieve from the pain and loneliness that had haunted him since his devastating loss. Yeah…he was as happy as a man could be, considering he had lost the other half of his soul and most of his heart when fate had torn his wife away from him.

Or so he believed…until the day he rescued a mysterious woman in the park, a female who somehow had managed to reignite a part of him that he thought was long dead...
Suddenly, Max's protective, dominant, possessive male instincts flare to life, leaving him at a loss as to how lightning could possibly strike twice in one lifetime. Is he truly being given another chance at real happiness, or would it be dangled in front of him, only to be taken away once again?

Find out by reading The Billionaire’s Salvation, Book 3 in The New York Times Bestselling series, The Billionaire’s Obsession. This is a complete contemporary erotic romance novel with no cliffhangers!

Chapters: 13 plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 158


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


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: 29

Pages: 313






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



Forbidden by Jacquelyn Frank (TLC Book Tour January 8th, 2014)


From New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank comes this first book in The World of the Nightwalkers—an exciting and sensual new spin-off series in which the Bodywalkers, an ancient race of the night, battles the evil forces who prey on them.

The unexpected happens in an instant. On her way to work, secretary Docia Waverley hurtles into a crashing crossroads, and she quickly begins to suspect that things will never be the same. Then, when a tall, blond, muscular stranger intervenes on her behalf, telling her it is his duty to protect her at all cost, what is just a feeling turns to proof positive. That is, as long as Docia’s savior doesn’t turn out to be a crazed kidnapper.

When Ram finds Docia, he has no doubt that she is his queen. But as this golden warrior sweeps in to protect her, he feels something more than body heat every time they touch. He is overwhelmed by a searing connection that goes deep into the twin souls inside him. A desire rises in him that is forbidden—this woman is his queen, the mate of his king, his leader, his best friend. And yet Docia is so vulnerable and attractive that she awakens a hunger in Ram that is undeniable, a carnal craving he cannot yield to . . . not without risking the very survival of the Bodywalkers.

Chapters: 15 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 340

Forever by Jacquelyn Frank (TLC Book Tour January 8th, 2014)

After being brought back from death, police officer Jackson Waverly receives the shock of his life: he has become host to a Bodywalker, a spirit that is reborn in flesh and blood, and part of a proud, ancient race that uses its extraordinary gifts to battle dark, evil forces. Jackson’s spirit is a powerful one—none other than the Egyptian pharaoh Menes, who longs to reunite with his eternal love, the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut.

While Menes is obsessed with finding the perfect vessel for his queen, Jackson cannot stop thinking about Dr. Marissa Anderson, the gorgeous precinct shrink who keeps pushing him to confront his grief over the loss of his K-9 partner. But what Marissa really arouses most in Jackson is intense desire, which is exactly what Menes is looking for. To fight a great enemy, pharaoh and queen must join; but to host Hatshepsut, Marissa will first have to die. Fate has given Jackson a profound choice: save Marissa from Menes’ plan or keep an entire species from the brink of extinction.

Chapters: 20 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 326

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

G224 Book Review of The Spirit Keeper by K.B. Laugheed

Name of Book: The Spirit Keeper

Author: K.B. Laugheed

ISBN: 978-0-14-218033-4

Publisher: Plume

Type of book: 1747-1748, travel, Pennsylvania, Irish family, alcohol, classes, ranks, lessons, romance, Native American male/Irish female

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

A fiery frontier woman falls deeply in love with her Native American captor on an epic journey

The thirteenth child conceived of miserable Irish exiles, Katie O’Toole dreams of a different life. Little does she know that someone far away is dreaming of her.

In 1747, savages raid her family home, and seventeen-year-old Katie is taken captive. Syawa and Hector have been searching for her, guided by Syawa’s dreams. A young Holyman, Syawa believes Katie is the subject of his Vision: the Creature of Fire and Ice, destined to bring a great gift to his people. Despite her flaming hair and ice-blue eyes, Katie is certain he is mistaken, but faced with returning to her family, she agrees to join them. She soon discovers that in order to fulfill Syawa’s Vision, she must first become his Spirit Keeper, embarking on an epic journey that will change her life—and heart—forever.

Characters:

I really found myself falling in love with Katie; Katie is physically strong, courageous, determined and realistic. She didn't pick things up with lightning speed but instead it took her time to get adjusted, to face her fears and so forth. She also has ability to put herself in someone else's shoes as well as forgive. Hector is best described as the strong silent type who is always there for Katie and is loyal to her as well as to Syawa. He and Katie also stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. Syawa is easy-going, talkative and is at peace with himself as well as patient. He is also good at manipulating and does what he can for those around him. There were other characters as well, but those three are the important ones.

Theme:

Sometimes things are not what they seem.

Plot:

Its written in first person narrative completely from Katie's point of view. This is also kind of written in a diary form and I sensed realism in the book, at least from the time Katie lost someone she loved to the time she found a new one. I enjoyed friendship between Katie, Hector and Syawa, and would have liked to see more of him. I also liked Katie's stories of how she grew up in the farm as well as how she gains confidence and is literally a force to be reckoned with.

Author Information:
(from TLC website)

K.B. Laugheed is an organic gardener and master naturalist who has spent a lifetime feeding the earth.  Her efforts have culminated in The Spirit Keeper, her first novel and largest contribution to the potluck so far.
For more info on K. B. Laugheed and her work, visit her website, kblaugheed.com.
Opinion:

Umm, where's the sequel? Must have sequel now. Have to know what happened to Katie O'Toole and Hector... okay, I'll stop being a zombie. For me personally this was really an amazing and attention-grabbing novel; there's unexpected romance, a very strong and admirable heroine and I felt that there's realism in the book. I have to admit that the language startled me a little in beginning, but once I got started reading it, I couldn't stop, and the pages flew by quickly as I got my breath taken away more and more. I found it an entertaining novel that left me hungry for more. The book didn't leave me breathless though, which is the reason for four stars. I also would have liked a map or something to see where Katie and Hector stopped and continued to travel to. Also, contrary to the summary and the title, this isn't a fantasy novel.

This is for TLC Book Tour

K. B. Laugheed’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Wednesday, November 20th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, November 25th:  Book-alicious Mama
Tuesday, November 26th:  SusieBookWorm
Wednesday, November 27th:  Book Drunkard
Friday, November 29th:  WV Stitcher
Tuesday, December 3rd:  Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, December 4th:  Books Without Any Pictures
Thursdya, December 5th:  Book Marks the Spot
Monday, December 9th:  From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, December 10th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, December 11th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, December 12th:  Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, December 13th:  Reading Reality
Monday, December 16th:  Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, December 18th:  Must Read Faster
Friday, December 20th:  A Novel Review
Monday, December 23rd:  Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
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, November 19, 2013

G168 Book Review of Ida's Story by Steven A. Segal

Name of Book: Ida's Story

Author: Steven A Segal

ISBN: 978-1-62295-940-2

Publisher: Tate Publishing and Enterprises

Type of book: Kansas, history, saga, multi-generational, 1870s-1948, family, mother-son relationships, New York, secularism, wealth, upper class, mental institution, orphanage, separation, newspaper, airplane company, business, favoritism, corruption

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

As he pulled up and shut down the engine, he took a deep breath to calm himself, and in that instant, the flash of anger he had felt the night he was torn from his mother returned. He shook it from his mind, slid out of the seat, and went up the stairs to the front door. Ida opened the door and threw her arms around his neck with exactly the same loving abandonment he had seen her often leap into his father's arms so many years ago. She hung onto her boy, hung on tight with her face buried in his shoulder and sobbed. He wrapped his arms around her tiny waist, fighting hard for control. He couldn't help himself. Her tears and unrestrained love swept away his resistance. He stood up straight, lifting her off her feet. They stood there, mother and grown son, in the open doorway, holding each other in an endless embrace as their tears rained down. Ida's life reveals the story of an incredibly resilient human being born in a Boston ghetto in the late 1870s who fights to survive, educate herself, and protect her family in the midst of the rampant political and social corruption of the early 1900s, the wide-open crime of mob violence of the Prohibition era, the economic destruction of the Great Depression, and the devastating tragedy brought on by the rise of Nazi Germany as it engulfs the world in the chaotic senselessness of World War II.

Characters:

The characters are more of told than show variety: considering that the book is fiction, perhaps some incidents could have been invented to show why the are the way they are, and in some cases some of the characters seemed to be more superhuman rather than human, especially in later half of the book. The only character that did retain humanity happened to be Robert, the youngest Segal brother of the family; other characters, whatever they tried they succeeded at in what seemed like first time, and almost all were best described as geniuses in their chosen fields.

Theme:

Its possible to grow stronger from tragedy.

Plot:

The book is written in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view. There are a lot of characters and at times I had trouble keeping track of the minor ones (I still don't recall who's Pat) the point of views switch without a warning which might be jarring and if its a true story, I would have liked to know which of the brothers happens to be the author's father. When I was reading it, I sensed something nostalgic within the book that's hard to describe, and in some cases the book is a bit similar to John Jakes' Homeland, although not as detailed and about 600+ pages shorter, although I guess the career choices and how everything seemed a little too coincidental reminded me of Homeland by John Jakes. Something that did bug me a lot is what seemed to be after a lot of major scenes the author always announced about how these scenes changed the lives of his characters constantly. Once or twice okay, but three or four or even more times no thanks. The fact that the author mentions these scenes without cutting them already means that their lives will change somehow.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)

born The United States
gendermale
websitehttp://criticschoicebooks.com/idasstory.html
genreHistory, Historical Fiction, Biography
member sinceFebruary 2013

Steve was born in late 1941, emerging into a world at war. Within days of his birth the United States had declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy. Working a full time job in war production his father was struggling to start a cutting tool business on the side and the two demanding tasks often kept him separated from his new son and young wife 70 and 80 hours a week.

Steve’s brother, John, came on the scene four and a half years later initiating a lifelong close and trusting relationship between the two boys. Their father’s devotion to his cutting tool business paid off and after graduation from Indiana University School of Business Steve joined the family company. His brother John went to work for the company several years later and the brothers managed the business working side by side for 40 years.

As the boys were growing up both Mother and Father reminisced with marvelous stories of their young lives coming of age in the America of the nineteen-teens, twenties, thirties and forties.

Steve says, "The first 50 years of the last century were tumultuous times – breathtaking technological advancement, two world wars, the Great Depression, crime-filled Prohibition, wide-open big city boss politics and the emergence of the United States as a third rate international country to the most powerful nation in the world all got packed into that half century. The early part of the last century still fascinates me”, Steve comments, almost with a wistful attitude that he would go back to those times if allowed.

Discussing his up brining he says, “My Dad was big on ‘tough-love’. Probably came from buying into the old ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ attitudes he grew up with. I could have use a bit less rod and a bit more spoil,” Steve laughs, “But in spite of his tough attitude I always felt he came from a caring spot – that he always loved me and wanted the best for me."

During his professional career Steve served as the Sales Manager, Vice-President of Marketing, President and Chairman of the family company. “My brother, John, and I worked hard at building our company, but I will say, that without bright, determined, dedicated people we could never have built our firm into the company it eventually became. I don’t miss the long hours, working weekends, late evenings at the office or the stress of dealing with numerous economic ups and downs, but I do miss many of those people.”

Steve and his wife Lavonne married in the fall of 1996, a second marriage for both of them. They live in Phoenix, Arizona. Lavonne has two married children, as does Steve. They have eleven grandchildren.

His hobbies include cabinet making, building museum quality model cars, off-roading in search of Arizona ghost towns, photography, drawing, cooking, writing and the most challenging and wondrous of all – grandfathering.

Ida’s Story is Steve’s first novel. He is presently working on his next manuscript – a novel about a small, stealthy and successful French Resistance group operating in the French Alps during the German occupation of France in WWII.

Opinion:

This is kind of a difficult book to grade as well as talk about. There are positive things that I liked about Ida's Story such as a fascinating story that easily sucked me in, as well as what sounds like an amazing woman and her equally strong and amazing sons. The story did have a huge potential to become a top favorite, but due to some reasons I can't rate it that highly: one of the main reasons is that the author really glosses over Ida's childhood and its not until 1913 or 1914 that the author goes into more details about Ida. Ida was born in late 1870s, I believe so that would be the last thirty some years of her life. Also a lot of is told rather than shown; that is when it comes to Ida's early life I would have liked a lot more personal anecdotes about her and the family rather than simply glossing over until she met Henry. I am also curious about Ida's brothers and why they didn't seem to share contact with her. Being a history major as well as Jewish (Ida's religion) I sort of understand the decisions she made when it came to her life, but it doesn't mean I approve of them. I would have liked it if the characters sought out Judaism or something of the kind instead of shunning it completely and becoming christianized, but they don't do that. My family and I grew up in Russia where religion was also forbidden, and although we let many things leave as well as escape, you won't catch us celebrating christmas or going to a catholic mass which is what Ida and her family does.

Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book.

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.)

G207 Book Review of Ade a Love Story by Rebecca Walker

Name of Book: Ade, A Love Story

Author: Rebecca Walker

ISBN: 978-0-544-14922-9

Publisher: New Harvest

Type of book: Africa, 1990s, lost identity, travel, relationship, love, giving up, civil war, culture shock

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

In this stunning debut novel, Rebecca Walker turns her attention to the power of love and the limitations of the human heart. When Farida, a sophisticated college student, falls in love with Adé, a young Swahili man living on an idyllic island off the coast of Kenya, the two plan to marry and envision a simple life together—free of worldly possessions and concerns. But when Farida contracts malaria and finds herself caught in the middle of a civil war, reality crashes in around them. The lovers’ solitude is interrupted by a world in the throes of massive upheaval that threatens to tear them apart, along with all they cherish.

Haunting, exquisite, and certain to become a classic, Adé will stay with you long after you put it down. This is a timeless love story set perfectly, heartbreakingly, in our time.

Characters:

There are basically two main characters, that of Farida and Ade. Farida is best described as worldly, modern, someone who feels isolated and someone who isn't certain of herself or of life, and she also comes from a very broken home. Neither by actions nor by narrative have I watched her change. Perhaps its because its written from her point of view, maybe that's why. Ade is traditional, devoted to his family, a sort of Renaissance man because he is capable of a lot, and he is also accepting of Farida's desires and weaknesses. Ade seems to be undergoing a change while being with Farida such as doing things he doesn't imagine himself doing.

Theme:

Love can last forever

Plot:

Its written in first person narrative from Farida's point of view of how she visits, meets and begins to live with Ade. The summary that the book promises happens in the last quarter of the book. I think I would have liked updates on what happened with some characters, but that hasn't happened unfortunately. The descriptions of the scenery reminded me of a flowing river but they seemed to be mere descriptions and devoid of life. There are also some words in there I found confusing.

Author Information:
(from TLC website)

Rebecca Walker is the author of the best-selling memoirs Black, White and Jewish and Baby Love, and editor of the anthology Black Cool. She is also the editor of the anthologies To Be Real, What Makes a Man, and One Big Happy Family. Her writing has appeared in Bookforum,  Newsweek, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Washington Post, Vibe, and Interview, among many other publications, and she blogs regularly for The Root. For more information, please visit www.rebeccawalker.com and follow her on Twitter: @rebeccawalker.




Opinion:

The parts that I found beautiful were the beginning and ending, how the author creates a cycle of memories of the lost love. Unfortunately the in-between wasn't as beautiful. I expected it to be a love story, which it was, but here are few things that I wasn't warned about; one is the hint of lesbian relationship between the main character and a friend of hers, as well as hints of group sex, then the constant comparison of how the main character fits in while the two travel to Africa while her friend has "Israelite" appearance, thus marking her as the other. I also swear that despite it being a novel, it reads too much like a memoir, with the author in the center. (Is it a coincidence that the character is described as Jewish and African-American and that the character's childhood matches that of the author? ) I also enjoyed learning something new and interesting about Africa and the culture that Farida finds herself in, but somehow the story seemed to lack something for me. In an odd way Ade by Rebecca Walker really reminded me of The North China by Marguerite Duras, but while I found The North China Lover strangely haunting and beautiful, Ade seemed to lack the transporting beauty that The North China Lover has employed.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Monday, October 28th:  Linus’s Blanket – Author Q&A and giveaway
Tuesday, October 29th:  Book Addiction
Wednesday, October 30th:  The Brain Lair
Monday, November 4th:  Bibliotica
Monday, November 4th:  Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Tuesday, November 5th:  Lena Sledge’s Blog
Wednesday, November 6th:  Bookalicious Mama
Thursday, November 7th:  Literanista
Friday, November 8th:  Fiction State of Mind
Monday, November 11th:  A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Tuesday, November 12th:  Savvy Verse and Wit
Wednesday, November 13th:  Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, November 14th:  I Choose the Sun
Monday, November 18th:  Shelf Pleasure - Author guest post
Tuesday, November 19th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, November 20th:  Giraffe Days
Thursday, November 21st:  Jenn’s Bookshelves
Monday, November 25th:  Sarah Says Read
Tuesday, November 26th:  Caribousmom

3 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.)
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