Tuesday, December 31, 2013

G143 Seeing Through the Eyes of my Papa's Heart

Title: Seeing Through The Eyes of My Papa's Heart

Author: Lar Marr Wenrich

First copyright date: 2013

General subject matter: Abuse, Migrant workers, education, caring, tenacity, grandmother/grandson relationship, growing up, channeling anger

ISBN/ASIN: 9780615783628

Summary:

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...

1.Does the book give a "full-length" picture of the subject?

I feel that the book gives a full length from the time Arthur was a child to the time his father passed away, but beyond that the book doesn't go into the married life.

2.What phases of the subject's life receive greatest treatment and is this treatment justified?

The phases that receive the greatest treatment is Arthur's childhood and growing up with Juan as well as the abuse he endured and the angels in his life, whether they happened to be in form of Grandmother Concha or the bunnies and birds he takes care of.

3.What is the point of view of the author?

Instead of becoming like his father, or else succumbing to the anger inside, Arthur does his best to rise above it and finds ways to get love.

4.How is the subject matter organized: chronologically, retrospectively, etc.?

I think its organized chronologically, from the time Arthur is a child to the time he becomes an adult and can make his own decisions.

5.Is the treatment superficial or does the author show extensive study into the subject's life?

The question is a bit difficult to answer because on one hand she did do research into her father's life, and listened to anecdotes, but strangely enough there is lack of any identifiers to let the readers know when the story takes place? Perhaps she's trying to go universal?

6.What source materials were used in the preparation of the biography?

Family anecdotes, or else her father's stories were used.

7.Is the work documented?

No

8.Does the author attempt to get at the subject's hidden motives?

She lets the reader know right off the bat that Juan never told his son why he is the way he is, and instead the reader watches Arthur grow up in this environment and show strength in not becoming like his father.

9.What important new facts about the subject's life are revealed in the book?

Considering I haven't met any of the people in the book, its hard to say.

10.What is the relationship of the subject's career to contemporary history?

She tries to make the story seem timeless, rather it happens with everyone and all the time not just back then or now.

11.How does the biography compare with others about the same person?

I'm not sure there are other biographies about her father.

12.How does it compare with other works by the same author?

I don't' think she has written any other works.

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.)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Non-Fiction Book Reviews to look forward to in 2014

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

Chasing Hepburn is the story of the Lee family—a saga spanning four generations, two continents, and a century and a 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.

From the time of her birth in 1906 it was expected that Gus Lee’s mother, Tzu Da-tsien, would become an elegant bride for a wealthy provincial man. But she was shunted onto a less certain path by age three, when her warmhearted father rescued her from her foot-binding ceremony in response to her terrified screams. This dramatic rejection of tradition was the first of many clashes that would lock the family in a constant struggle between Chinese customs and modern ways.

Later, with the Chinese countryside in the grip of civil war, the Tzu family moved to Shanghai, seeking financial stability. There Da-tsien met Lee Zee Zee, the dashing son of the Tzus’ landlord, who lived across the street. With their patriarch succumbing to opium addiction, Zee Zee’s family was on the brink of ruin, and Da-tsien’s mother was working hard to secure her big-footed daughter’s marriage to a wealthy older man. But not even the protests of both families could keep the lovers apart, and these two socially displaced clans were reluctantly united.

Over the course of their courtship and marriage, Zee Zee and Da-tsien would encounter the most important movements and figures of the times, including underworld gangsters, Communist students and workers, revolutionary armies, Christian missionaries, and legions of invading Japanese soldiers. Zee Zee became an ardent anti-Maoist and an ally of the highest-ranking leaders in the Chinese Nationalist movement. But his flights from tradition took him away from his young family—first into Chiang Kai-shek’s air force and later to America in search of his idol, Katharine Hepburn. Faced with this abandonment and with the chaos of the Japanese occupation, Da-tsien would rely on all of her resources, traditional and modern—faith, superstition, tremendous courage, and her strong feet—in an attempt to preserve her family.

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, heroic, and tragic. For most of her life, Da-tsien prayed for a son who would honor his family and respect his Chinese heritage. In this enthralling tribute, Gus Lee lovingly accomplishes both.


Body Electric- Camy Baker

Rule #6: Fuel your body.
Rule #15: Stay true to yourself.
Rule #22: Look good for you, not boys.

If growing up is so great, why does it feel so awesomely confusing?

I mean, at times it's kind of fun to see how I'm changing and my body's developing. But at other times it feels really scary and I feel very alone, as if I'm the only one in the world going through this.

When it first began happening to me, I, Camy Baker, did what I always do when I have questions I need answered: I asked my mom and sister what they felt like when it happened to them. They were both really helpful and had lots of stories and advice to share. That made me feel a whole lot better. Because growing up can be scary and exciting and embarrassing.

But don't think you have to go through it alone! Hopefully, my thirty cool rules will help you as much as they helped me. You can't stop yourself from growing up, but you can understand yourself better so you learn to love the brand-new you!


A History of Modern Europe Vol I-John Merriman

A History of Modern Europe presents a panoramic survey of modern Europe from the Renaissance to the present day. A seasoned teacher and talented historian, Professor John Merriman offers a carefully crafted narrative that guides students through a vast amount of complex material, integrating the many aspects of the European experience into a larger, interconnected whole. A full ten percent shorter than its predecessor, the Second Edition has tightened organization throughout to make room for recent research and descriptions of the current issues and events that define Europe's role in the world today.


A History of Modern Europe Vol II-John Merriman

Available in both one-volume and two-volume paperback editions, A History of Modern Europe presents a panoramic survey of modern Europe from the Renaissance to the present day.

A seasoned teacher and talented historian, Professor Merriman�s offers a carefully crafted narrative that guides students through a vast amount of complex material, integrating the many aspects of the European experience into a larger, interconnected whole. A full 10% shorter than its predecessor, the Second Edition has tightened organization throughout to make room for recent research and descriptions of the current issues and events that define Europe�s role in the world today.



A History of the Roman People-Allen M Ward

The Fifth Edition of "A History of the Roman People "continues to provide a comprehensive analytical survey of Roman history from its prehistoric roots in Italy and the wider Mediterranean world to the dissolution of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity in A.D. 600. Clearly organized and highly readable, the text's narrative of major political and military events provides a chronological and conceptual framework for the social, economic, and cultural developments of the periods covered. Major topics are treated separately so that students can easily grasp key concepts and ideas.



Chinese Cinderella-Adeline Yen Mah

A riveting memoir of a girl's painful coming-of-age in a wealthy Chinese family during the 1940s.

A Chinese proverb says, "Falling leaves return to their roots." In Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph and courage in the face of despair. Adeline's affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her. Life does not get any easier when her father remarries. She and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for -- the love and understanding of her family.

Following the success of the critically acclaimed adult bestseller Falling Leaves, this memoir is a moving telling of the classic Cinderella story, with Adeline Yen Mah providing her own courageous voice.


Falling Leaves-Adeline Yen Mah

Born in 1937 in a port city a thousand miles north of Shanghai, Adeline Yen Mah was the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family who enjoyed rare privileges during a time of political and cultural upheaval. But wealth and position could not shield Adeline from a childhood of appalling emotional abuse at the hands of a cruel and manipulative Eurasian stepmother. Determined to survive through her enduring faith in family unity, Adeline struggled for independence as she moved from Hong Kong to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer.

A compelling, painful, and ultimately triumphant story of a girl's journey into adulthood, Adeline's story is a testament to the most basic of human needs: acceptance, love, and understanding. With a powerful voice that speaks of the harsh realities of growing up female in a family and society that kept girls in emotional chains, Falling Leaves is a work of heartfelt intimacy and a rare authentic portrait of twentieth-century China.



Funny in Farsi- Firoozeh Dumas

This new Readers Circle edition includes a reading group guide and a conversation between Firoozeh Dumas and Khaled Hosseini, author of "The Kite Runner,""
In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father's glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since.
Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas's wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot.
In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?--a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?--an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh's parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don't get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi).
Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing--without an accent.


How to be popular in sixth grade-Camy Baker

Help is on the way with Camy Baker's advice books!  Camy's fresh, down to earth guidance speaks directly to girls about issues that concern them the most, and she does it without being patronizing.

Girls everywhere will relate to Camy's witty, fun approach to life and all of the challenges of becoming your own person.

In How to Be Popular in the Sixth Grade, Camy has the winning formula for ruling the school!  Twelve-year-old Camy and her family have moved to Illinois from Beverly Hills, and she has had enough experiences to tell readers what they need to know about fitting in, wanting to be liked, and trying to be popular.  Camy's advice for being popular is about being yourself and being good to others -- words of wisdom for readers of any age!


It Must be love- Camy Baker

Rule #2: Develop your Boy Right wish list.
Rule #8: You don't need to be needy.
Rule #11: Become his friend.

Before I ever had a boyfriend, I thought having one would be easy. Well, girls, was I ever wrong!

I mean, sometimes the boy you like doesn't even know you like him. What do you do then? And if you do meet him, how do you know what to talk about?

So I thought a lot about what happened between me and Wesley (my first boyfriend), and then I asked my friends, my sister, and even my mother(!) about what to do when you have boyfriend problems. After I got the answers to my questions, I wrote them all down to help girls everywhere.

So if you're interested in learning how to choose a boyfriend for yourself, just open this book and take a read. Going out with a guy can be a lot of fun, but it can also be kinda scary. Who knew having a boyfriend could be so complicated?!



Life in Ancient Egypt-Adolf Erman

The fullest, most thoroughly detailed account — including much material not found in more recent books — of domestic life, religion, magic, medicine, commerce, and much more in ancient Egypt. Many illustrations reproduce tomb paintings, carvings, and hieroglyphs.


Love you like a sister-Camy Baker

Help is on the way with Camy Baker's advice books!  Camy's fresh, down to earth guidance speaks directly to girls about issues that concern them the most, and she does it without being patronizing.

Girls everywhere will relate to Camy's witty, fun approach to life and all of the challenges of becoming your own person.

In Camy Baker's second book, Love You Like a Sister, Camy is back with more cool rules, this time about being a better friend.  She shares her experiences in how to make, treat, and keep friends.  Camy tackles worries of all sorts, including how to maintain good friendships even when you are competing for boys!  Strong, supportive friendships between girls are as important as ever, and Camy knows just how to nourish them.



Men, Women and Relationships-John Grey

John Gray, New York Times bestselling author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, reveals that the key to creating and maintaining successful relationships between men and women lies in accepting our differences. By trying to make our partners over in our own likeness, Gray reminds us we destroy what we first found so appealing. Writing with the compassionate understanding that is his trademark, Gray draws on his wealth of experience from twenty years of work in couples therapy, his two mega-selling books, as well as his hugely popular national workshops and seminars. In Men, Women, and Relationships, he ably demonstrates that only through respecting, appreciating, and responding to our natural differences can we achieve real happiness and fulfillment in our relationships.

Discover the simple, practical techniques that can enable all of us to experience the healthy, supportive love we deserve.


Our Sexuality-Robert L Crooks

This is the most respected and authoritative college textbook available on human sexuality! Cutting edge and written in a direct, non-judgmental manner, this new edition of Crooks and Baur's OUR SEXUALITY has been thoroughly and carefully updated to reflect the most current research findings. This new edition is the first college text to bring cutting-edge and in-depth emphasis on the impact of politics on sexuality. Sensitive, comprehensive, and candid scholars and teachers, the authors keep you interested with the most exciting, emerging research and coverage, and focus on strengthening healthy communication among partners. Crooks and Baur have also revised their overall coverage on maintaining a responsible and healthy sexual relationship, with greater attention to diversity and inclusiveness. Other highlights include a new feature called "Sex and Politics," that examines the issue of value judgments that become public policy and what this means to sexual knowledge and to sexual choices. For example: information on different types of condoms was pulled off the CDC Website and replaced by abstinence only information, despite the fact that there is no empirical support about the efficacy of abstinence only education. You'll also enjoy the "Author's Files," which include new stories about the experiences of real people.



Sex in History-Reay Tannahill

SEX IN HISTORY chronicles the pleasures- and perils- of the flesh from the time of mankind's distant ancestors to the modern day; from a sexual act which was bried, crude and purposeful, to the myriad varieties of contemporary sexual mores. Reay Tannahill's scholarly, yet accessible study ranges from the earliest form of contraception (one Egyptian concoction included crocodile dung) to some latter- day misconceptions about it- like the men who joined their lovers in taking the pill 'just to be on the safe side.' It surveys all manner of sexual practice, preference and position (the acrobatic 'wheelbarrow' position, the strenuous 'hovering butterflies' position...) and draws on souces as diverse as THE ADMIRABLE DISCOURSES OF THE PLAIN GIRL, the EXHIBTION OF FEMALE FLAGELLANTS, IMPORTANT MATTERS OF THE JADE CHAMBER and THE ROMANCE OF CHASTISEMENT. Whether writing on androgyny, courtly love, flagellation or zoophilia, Turkish eunuch's Greek dildoes, Taoist sex manuals or Japanses geisha girls, Reay Tannahill is consistently enlightening and entertaining.



The Art of Seduction-Robert Greene

The season's most talked-about all-purpose personal strategy guide and philosophical compendium," said Newsweek of Robert Greene's bold, elegant, and ingenious manual of modern manipulation, The 48 Laws of Power. Now Greene has once again mined history and literature to distill the essence of seduction, the most highly refined mode of influence, the ultimate power trip.

The Art of Seduction is a masterful synthesis of the work of thinkers such as Freud, Ovid, Kierkegaard, and Einstein, as well as the achievements of the greatest seducers throughout history. From Cleopatra to John F. Kennedy, from Andy Warhol to Josephine Bonaparte, The Art of Seduction gets to the heart of the character of the seducer and his or her tactics, triumphs and failures. The seducer's many faces include: the Siren, the Rake, the Ideal Lover, the Dandy, the Natural, the Coquette, the Charmer, and the Charismatic. Twenty-four maneuvers will guide readers through the seduction process, providing cunning, amoral instructions for and analysis of this fascinating, all-pervasive form of power. Just as beautifully packaged and every bit as essential as The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction is an indispensable primer of persuasion and offers the best lessons on how to take what you want from whomever you want or how to prevent yourself from being taken.


The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down-Anne Fadiman

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction

When three-month-old Lia Lee Arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents nor her doctors would ever recover. Lia's parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run "Quiet War" in Laos. The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely people, have been less amenable to assimilation than most immigrants, adhering steadfastly to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors. Lia's pediatricians, Neil Ernst and his wife, Peggy Philip, cleaved just as strongly to another tradition: that of Western medicine. When Lia Lee Entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic, her story became a tragic case history of cultural miscommunication.

Parents and doctors both wanted the best for Lia, but their ideas about the causes of her illness and its treatment could hardly have been more different. The Hmong see illness aand healing as spiritual matters linked to virtually everything in the universe, while medical community marks a division between body and soul, and concerns itself almost exclusively with the former. Lia's doctors ascribed her seizures to the misfiring of her cerebral neurons; her parents called her illness, qaug dab peg--the spirit catches you and you fall down--and ascribed it to the wandering of her soul. The doctors prescribed anticonvulsants; her parents preferred animal sacrifices.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks-Rebecca Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance?
         
Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.


Western Europe in the Middle Ages 300-1475-Brian Tierney

This chronological presentation of Western Europe in the Middle Ages provides the political, religious, intellectual, and economic history of the time. The revision of this classic, definitive text includes the latest historiography and more coverage of medieval society and women. Famous for its compelling narrative, the blend of chronology and historical interpretation, anecdotal info which brings the medieval world to life, and the accompanying readers (SOURCES and READINGS).


Why Men Love Bitches-Sherry Argov

Sherry Argov's Why Men Love Bitches delivers a unique perspective as to why men are attracted to a strong woman who stands up for herself. With saucy detail on every page, this no-nonsense guide reveals why a strong woman is much more desirable than a "yes woman" who routinely sacrifices herself. The author provides compelling answers to the tough questions women often ask: - Why are men so romantic in the beginning and why do they change? - Why do men take nice girls for granted? - Why does a man respect a woman when she stands up for herself? Full of much-needed advice, hilarious real-life relationship scenarios, "she says/he thinks" tables, and the author's unique "Attraction Principles," Why Men Love Bitches gives you bottom-line answers. It helps you know who you are, stand your ground, and relate to men on a whole new level. Once you've discovered the feisty attitude men find so magnetic, you'll not only increase the romantic chemistry in the relationship, you'll gain your man's love and respect with far less effort. Sherry Argovs work has been featured on shows such as The View and The O'Reilly Factor, as well as national publications such as Esquire, Complete Woman, and Woman's Own.

At the moment I'm reading Chasing Hepburn by Gus Lee, but which non-fiction book do you think I should read and review next? Comment and let me know. Thanks!

Fictional Book Reviews to look forward to in 2014

A Thousand Splendid Suns-Khaled Hosseini

A moving story about two women set in Afghanistan. The book's story illustrates both the second class, serf-like treatment of two women and their subjection to physical and emotional brutality that was allowed, enabled and endorsed. We also get to see the bravery, kindness and self-resilience of these same two women. Despite the harsh reality of the story, the humanness and compassion shown by both women while trying to survive in such a brutal and oppressive environment is very uplifting.


Bel Canto- Ann Patchett

In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. His hosts hope that Mr. Hosokawa can be persuaded to build a factory in their Third World backwater. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

Among the hostages are not only Hosokawa and Roxane Coss, the American soprano, but an assortment of Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Reuben Iglesias, the diminutive and gracious vice president, quickly gets sideways of the kidnappers, who have no interest in him whatsoever. Meanwhile, a Swiss Red Cross negotiator named Joachim Messner is roped into service while vacationing. He comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands, and the days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months.

With the omniscience of magic realism, Ann Patchett flits in and out of the hearts and psyches of hostage and terrorist alike, and in doing so reveals a profound, shared humanity. Her voice is suitably lyrical, melodic, full of warmth and compassion. Hearing opera sung live for the first time, a young priest reflects:
Never had he thought, never once, that such a woman existed, one who stood so close to God that God's own voice poured from her. How far she must have gone inside herself to call up that voice. It was as if the voice came from the center part of the earth and by the sheer effort and diligence of her will she had pulled it up through the dirt and rock and through the floorboards of the house, up into her feet, where it pulled through her, reaching, lifting, warmed by her, and then out of the white lily of her throat and straight to God in heaven.

Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds. Time stands still, priorities rearrange themselves. Ultimately, of course, something has to give, even in a novel so imbued with the rich imaginative potential of magic realism. But in a fractious world, Bel Canto remains a gentle reminder of the transcendence of beauty and love.


China Boy- Gus Lee

Kai Ting is the only American-born son of an aristocratic Mandarin family that has fled China in the wake of Mao's revolution. Woefully unprepared for life on the streets of San Francisco and speaking a patchwork of Chinese and English that no one but his relatives comprehends, Kai spends a blissful early childhood with his sophisticated older sister and his wonderfully eccentric mother. But Kai's idyl comes to an abrupt end with his mother's death. Suddenly plunged into American culture by his new stepmother, a Philadephia society woman who tried to erase every vestige of China from the household, young Kai desperately searches for somewhere to belong. Warm, funny, and deeply moving, China Boy is a brilliantly rendered novel of family relationships, culture shock, and the perils of growing up in am American of sharp differences and shared humanity.


Coming Up for Air- Karen Foley

Subject: Army Major Chance Rawlins, Helicopter Pilot.Current Status: Soon-to-be-deployed to Afghanistan.

Mission: Report to Captain Jenna Larson for a sexy, one-night inspection.

Obstacle: She's mistaken him for another man!

Major Chance Rawlins has a bit of a reputation, both in and outside of the helicopter cockpit. He's a hotshot, and he knows it. But when he enjoys a spontaneously naughty night with Captain Jenna Larson, Chance realizes Jenna has no idea who he is …and that she's mistaken him for his twin brother!

Since it was just a one-nighter, Chance decides not to give the game away. But when their paths cross again in the dry heat of Afghanistan, Chance sees an opportunity to show Jenna exactly who he is—and what he can do to her. After all, the best pilots know when to hold back…and when to engage in a little sexy fire!


Forever Amber- Kathleen Winsor

Abandoned pregnant and penniless on the teeming streets of London, 16-year-old Amber St. Clare manages, by using her wits, beauty, and courage, to climb to the highest position a woman could achieve in Restoration England-that of favorite mistress of the Merry Monarch, Charles II. From whores and highwaymen to courtiers and noblemen, from events such as the Great Plague and the Fire of London to the intimate passions of ordinary-and extraordinary-men and women, Amber experiences it all. But throughout her trials and escapades, she remains, in her heart, true to the one man she really loves, the one man she can never have. Frequently compared to Gone with the Wind, Forever Amber is the other great historical romance, outselling every other American novel of the 1940s-despite being banned in Boston for its sheer sexiness. A book to read and reread, this edition brings back to print an unforgettable romance and a timeless masterpiece.


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet-Jamie Ford

In the opening pages of Jamie Ford's stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry's world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While "scholarshipping" at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship - and innocent love - that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel's dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family's belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice - words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.



In the Prince's Bed-Sabrina Jeffries

From bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries comes the first dazzling novel in a sexy new series featuring three half brothers. Bound together by the royal father who denied them, they've formed a pact to help each other achieve their every desire...including the women of their dreams.
Miss Katherine Merivale is desperate to make a respectable match -- if only her childhood sweetheart would propose! Until he does, she can't touch the fortune she's inherited. So the last thing she needs is notorious rogue Alec Black putting her proposed marriage at risk with his distracting, smoldering gaze and moonlit kisses.

Alec, the Earl of Iversley -- and one of three bastard sons of the Prince of Wales -- is secretly searching for an heiress bride to pay his debts. Fiery Katherine seems the answer to his prayers, and her passionate response to his practiced seduction soon assures him that she is his. But Alec knows Katherine is looking for a love-match, and he wonders...what will happen when she discovers his deception?


Just One kiss- Isabel Sharpe

Nestled in the heart of Seattle, A Taste for All Pleasures is a warm hub of decadent baking delights. Sweet buttery cookies with melted chocolate, yummy cupcakes with creamy soft icing…and the owner, Angela Loukas, is about to meet a mouthwatering morsel of a man—one she can't resist!

Unfortunately, Daniel Flynn is officially celibate. No sex. No dating. It's criminal, really. But once he steps into Angela's shop, he remembers what temptation—in the form of chocolate icing and a mischievous set of chocolate-brown eyes—feels like.

Now he wants to have his cupcakes…and Angela, too!



Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini

Scheduled for theatre release in November 2007, “The Kite Runner” has a stellar team behind it: Golden Globe-nominated director Marc Forster (“Stranger Than Fiction,” “Finding Neverland,” “Monster’s Ball”) and screenplay writer David Benioff (“Troy”).

The Kite Runner is an unforgettable story of honour, courage and betrayal set in war-torn Afghanistan as two small boys test their friendship to its limits. Compelling, heartrending, and etched with details of a history never before told in fiction, The Kite Runner explores the ways in which we’re damned by our moral failures, and of the extravagant cost of redemption.


Oliver Wiswell-Kenneth Roberts

In Oliver Wiswell, Kenneth Roberts portrays the view of the Loyalists (those colonists who supported the British monarchy) in the American Revolution. Though branded by U.S. history as cowardly traitors, many of them were people of strong convictions and fierce bravery.


Sarah's Key-Tatiana de Rosnay

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.



Songs of Willow Frost- Jamie Ford

Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese-American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday—or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday—William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.

Determined to find Willow, and prove his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigates the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive, but confront the mysteries of William’s past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen.

Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford’s sweeping book will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home.


The Barbarians are coming-David Wong Louie

Sterling Lung grew up in the back of his parent's laundry dreaming about being a real American while speaking Chinese to his mother, English to his friends, and very little to the father he seemed always to disappoint. Now twenty-six and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Sterling cooks French food for the WASP ladies of a private club in Connecticut and conducts an arm's-length affair with an old Swarthmore classmate, a Jewish-American Princess from New Canaan, thereby frustrating his father's dream of a doctor son and his mother's scheme for a Chinese bride. For Sterling's parents, the barbarians are not coming: they are here now.In a tale that alternates between black comedy and out-and-out slapstick, between the pain of a son alienated from his father and a father an alien in his son's native land, The Barbarians Are Coming reveals the deep psychic wounds each man has suffered even as it ultimately leads to a reconciliation that is as moving as it is necessary. Here is a tale of the immigrant experience -- indeed, of the American experience: of the deracination of the second generation and the wrenching losses of the first.


The Good Woman-Jane Porter

Is it possible to leave it all behind?

The firstborn of a large Irish-American family, Meg Brennan Roberts is a successful publicist, faithful wife, and doting mother who prides herself on always making the right decisions. But years of being “the good woman” have taken a toll and though her winery career thrives, Meg feels burned out and empty, and more disconnected than ever from her increasingly distant husband. Lonely and disheartened, she attends the London Wine Fair with her boss, ruggedly handsome vintner, Chad Hallahan. It’s here, alone together in an exotic city, far from “real” life, that Chad confesses his long-standing desire for Meg.

Overwhelmed, flattered, and desperately confused, Meg returns home, only to suddenly question every choice she’s ever made, especially that of her marriage. For Meg, something’s got to give, and for once in her life she flees her responsibilities—but with consequences as reckless and irreversible as they are liberating. Now she must decide whether being the person everyone needs is worth losing the woman she was meant to be.


The Scent of Sake- Joyce Chapman Lebra

She was taught to submit, to obey . . . but she dreamed of an empire.

The sole heir to the House of Omura, a venerable family of Kobe sake brewers, nineteen-year-old Rie hears but cannot heed her mother's advice: that in nineteenth-century Japan, a woman must "kill the self" or her life will be too difficult to bear. In this strict, male-dominated society, women may not even enter the brewery—and repressive tradition demands that Rie turn over her family's business to the inept philanderer she's been forced to marry. She is even expected to raise her husband's children by another woman—a geisha—so that they can eventually run the Omura enterprise.

But Rie's pride will not allow her to relinquish what is rightfully hers. With courage, cunning, brilliance, and skill, she is ready to confront every threat that arises before her—from prejudice to treachery to shipwrecks to the insidious schemes of relentless rivals—in her bold determination to forge a magnificent dynasty...and to, impossibly, succeed.

An epic and breathtaking saga that spans generations as it sweeps through the heart of a century, Joyce Lebra's The Scent of Sake is a vivid and powerful entry into another world...and an unforgettable portrait of a woman who would not let that world defeat her.


The Street of a Thousand Blossoms-Gail Tsukiyama

"Just remember," Yoshio said quietly to his grandsons. "Every day of your lives, you must always be sure what you're fighting for."

It is Tokyo in 1939. On the Street of a Thousand Blossoms, two orphaned brothers are growing up with their loving grandparents, who inspire them to dream of a future firmly rooted in tradition. The older boy, Hiroshi, shows unusual skill at the national obsession of sumo wrestling, while Kenji is fascinated by the art of creating hard-carved masks for actors in the Noh theater.

Across town, a renowned sumo master, Sho Tanaka, lives with his wife and their two young daughters: the delicate, daydreaming Aki and her independent sister, Haru. Life seems full of promise as Kenji begins an informal apprenticeship with the most famous mask-maker in Japan and Hiroshi receives a coveted invitation to train with Tanaka. But then Pearl Harbor changes everything. As the ripples of war spread to both families' quiet neighborhoods, all of the generations must put their dreams on hold---and then find their way in a new Japan.

In an exquisitely moving story that spans almost thirty years, Gail Tsukiyama draws us irresistibly into the world of the brothers and the women who love them. It is a world of tradition and change, of heartbreaking loss and surprising hope, and of the impact of events beyond their control on ordinary, decent men and women. Above all, The Street of a Thousand Blossoms is a masterpiece about love and family from a glorious storyteller at the height of her powers.


I am already reading Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford. Which book after Songs of Willow Frost should I read next? Please comment and thanks!

Coming Up...Week 52 of 2013

Book to be reviewed:

Our Love Could Light The World by Anne Leigh Parrish

You know the Dugans. They're that scrappy family that lives down the street. Their yard is overgrown, they don't pick up after their dog, their five children run free - leaving chaos in their wake - and the father hasn't earned a cent in years. The wife holds them together on her income alone. You wouldn't want them for neighbors - but from a distance, their quite entertaining.

Of course, alcohol is an issue. You can tell from the empty bottles lying under the bush out front. You can hardly blame the wife for leaving one day. Without her at the helm, the rest carry on the best they can.

Their strong sense of family keeps them going. They help each other, and in some cases, rescue each other. They struggle for a better life. While they never follow the rules, or completely conquer adversity, they stare it down, meet their challenges, and earn some much needed respect. They might even make you proud.

Set in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, the twelve linked stories in Our Love Could Light The World depict a dysfunctional family that's messy and rude, cruel and kind, and loyal to the end.

Forsaken (The World of Nightwalkers #3) by Jacquelyn Frank (TLC January 8th, 2014)


New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank continues her scorching and sensual new series set in the world of the Nightwalkers, where alluring entities known as Bodywalkers are the vanguards against the raging forces of darkness.

As a mercenary, Leo Alvarez has signed on for a lot—but he never signed on for his best friend becoming host to the soul of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Jackson is now inhabited by a Bodywalker, and Leo is forced to grapple with a realm of supernatural beings far more dangerous than anything he’s ever encountered.

But when Jackson is wounded by an attack from a demon god, Leo must team up with another supernatural creature—a Night Angel—to save his friend from utter destruction. With skin as black as midnight, hair as white as snow, and a body of pure perfection, the Night Angel arouses a burning desire in Leo, even as he refuses to be intimidated by her power—or the power of those who would destroy his friend. An unusual alliance is forged, electrified by sexual temptation, and together the two must unite their strengths to bring down a supreme evil.

The Isolation Door: A Novel by Anish Majumdar

Neil Kapoor, 23, is desperate to create a life beyond the shadow of his mother’s schizophrenia. Years of successive relapses and rehabilitations have forced his father into the role of caretaker and Neil into that of silent witness. But there is no light within this joyless ritual, and any hope for the future rests on finding an exit.

Amidst her latest breakdown, Neil attends drama school in pursuit of a role that might better express the truth of who he is. What started as a desperate gambit becomes the fragile threads of a new life. A relationship blooms with Emily, and each finds strength – and demons - in the other. New friendships with Quincy and Tim grow close and complex. But the emotional remove needed to keep these two lives separate destabilizes the family. Neil’s father, the one constant in the chaos, buckles under the pressure. Enlisting the aid of an Aunt with means and questionable motives, Neil plies ever-greater deceptions to keep the darkness at bay. But this time there will be no going back. As his mother falls to terrifying depths a decision must be made: family or freedom?

In this powerful fiction debut, acclaimed journalist Anish Majumdar shines a much-needed light into the journey of those coping with serious mental disorders and the loved ones who walk alongside them. Incisive and filled with moments of strange beauty, it marks the arrival of a unique voice in American letters.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker


Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.

The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures – until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

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...



What I'm Reading right now:

Woman of the Mists by Lynn Sholes (e-book)


Long before the arrival of Columbus to the new world, a magnificent and brave people flourished in a verdant tropical land. Their culture, steeped in spiritual life and tradition, provided them sacred wisdom and strength that survived generations.

In this land of abundance, a young a woman, Teeka, surrendered her heart to the shaman’s son, Auro. But when a raiding rival tribe invaded their peaceful village and she was stolen away by their leader, her life changed forever.

Chapters: 16 out of prologue plus epilogue 31

Pages: 126 out of 245




The House on the Cliff by Charlotte Williams

One woman's quest to discover the dark secret at the heart of a family

Actor Gwydion Morgan's dramatic appearance at Jessica Mayhew's psychotherapy practice coincides with a turbulent time in her own life - her husband has just revealed that he's spent the night with a much younger woman. Gwydion, son of the famous Evan Morgan, is good looking and talented but mentally fragile, tormented by an intriguing phobia. Jessica is determined to trace the cause of his distress. So when his mother phones to say he is suicidal, Jessica decides to make a house call. The Morgans live in a grand cliff-top mansion overlooking a rocky bay with its own private jetty. It's a remote and somewhat sinister place. On her visit, Jessica finds out that an au pair who looked after Gwydion as a child drowned in the bay in mysterious circumstances. Could it be that Gwydion witnessed her death? In her quest to help her client, Jessica finds herself becoming embroiled in the Morgans' poisonous family dynamic. At the same time, she has to deal with the demands of her own domestic life: her struggle to keep her marriage intact, as well as her older daughter's increasingly defiant behaviour. And then, of course, there is the growing attraction she feels towards her new client . . .

Chapters: 5 out of 22

Pages: 61 out of 338

The Last Train to Paris by Michele Zackheim


1935.  Rose Manon, an American daughter of the mountains of Nevada, working as a journalist in New York, is awarded her dream job, foreign correspondent.  Posted to Paris, she is soon entangled in romance, an unsolved murder, and the desperation of a looming war.  Assigned to the Berlin desk, Manon is forced to grapple with her hidden identity as a Jew, the mistrust of her lover, and an unwelcome visitor on the eve of Kristallnacht.  And . . . on the day before World War II is declared, she must choose who will join her on the last train to Paris.
This is a carefully researched historical novel that reads like a suspense thriller.  Colette and Janet Flanner are only two of the well-known figures woven into the story. The parts they play will surprise readers. Last Train to Paris will enthrall the same audience that made In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson and Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky bestsellers.

Chapters: N/A

Pages: 86 out of 251

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: 10 out of 72 plus preface

Pages: 75 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: 13 out of 54

Pages: 247 out of 1090

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: 3 out of 47

Pages: 21 out of 350

Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford


Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese-American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday—or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday—William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.

Determined to find Willow, and prove his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigates the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive, but confront the mysteries of William’s past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen.

Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford’s sweeping book will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home.

Chapters: 8 out of N/A

Pages: 62 out of 319

My Mother's Funeral by Adriana Paramo (January 28th, 2014)

My Mother’s Funeral is a combination of Mother and Homeland; a sometimes lively and funny and sometimes sad and macabre tale of family life in Colombia. Looking backward and forward in time, the author uses vignettes and anecdotes to evoke the quality of life of a country that transcends political violence and social turmoil; of a Colombia unknown to outsiders that offers a rare glimpse into its cuisine, its mythology, the realm of women's talk, and views on sex and religion, exploring thus what it means to be a woman in this country.

Chapters: 3 out of 16 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 35 out of 255



Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan (February 5th, 2014)


The much-anticipated second novel by the author of Loving Frank, the beloved New York Times bestseller, this new work tells the incredible story of the passionate, turbulent relationship between Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and his wild-tempered American wife, Fanny.

In her masterful new novel, Nancy Horan has recreated a love story that is as unique, passionate, and overwhelmingly powerful as the one between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney depicted so memorably in Loving Frank. Under the Wide and Starry Sky chronicles the unconventional love affair of Scottish literary giant Robert Louis Stevenson, author of classics including Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and American divorcee Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. They meet in rural France in 1875, when Fanny, having run away from her philandering husband back in California, takes refuge there with her children. Stevenson too is escaping from his life, running from family pressure to become a lawyer. And so begins a turbulent love affair that will last two decades and span the world.

Chapters: 4 out of 90 plus postscript and afterword

Pages: 18 out of 472

Future Books I will read:

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


As the Heart Bones Break by Audrey Chin (e-book)


In Thong Tran's Vietnam, everyone is at war and no one is who they seem not his adopted father, a French civil servant, not his Blood Father, the Viet Cong rooster master, not his pro-American journalist tutor. Like them, the boy from the Mekong Delta cannot escape the war. And like them, he too must create shades of himself to survive. But even a conflicted heart needs a home. Thong yearns for a true father and a cause to give himself to. He chooses independence, liberty and happiness his tutor and the Viet Cong. Tragically, there s no independence, liberty or happiness at war s end. Re-invented as an American aerospace engineer, husband and father the Viet Cong informer must spend another half a lifetime crossing the Pacific as a defense industry dealmaker before he can set down the bones rankling in his heart.

Chapters: epilogue 20? chapters

Pages: 245

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



Coming Home by Mariah Stewart


In the wake of his wife’s murder, agent Grady Shields turned his back on the FBI—and everything else—to retreat into the vast solitude of Montana, grieve for his lost love, and forget the world. But after years in seclusion, his sister’s wedding draws him to St. Dennis, a peaceful town on the Chesapeake Bay. Though he swears he isn’t interested in finding love again, Grady can’t ignore the mutual sparks that fly when he meets Vanessa Keaton.

Although her past was marked by bad choices, Vanessa has found that coming to St. Dennis is the best decision she’s ever made. Bling, her trendy boutique, is a success with tourists as well as with the townspeople. She’s made friends, has a home she loves, and has established a life for herself far from the nightmare she left behind. The last thing she’s looking for is romance, but the hot new man in town is hard to resist. And when Vanessa’s past catches up with her, Grady finds that he’s unwilling to let her become a victim again. As together they fight her demons, Grady and Vanessa discover that life still holds some surprises and that love doesn’t always have to hurt.

Chapters: 21

Pages: 366

Beyond the Storm by Joseph Pittman

They chose their own roads, but they couldn't change their destination. . .

Twenty years ago, Vanessa Massey couldn't wait to graduate from high school and make her small hometown of Danton Hill a distant memory--despite an indelible friendship she'd recently forged. But life has largely ignored her plans, and time has summoned her back to the shores of Lake Ontario for a school reunion that could change everything.

After four years as Danton Hill High's resident outcast, Adam Blackburn went on to a successful career in New York City. Yet now he's drawn homeward for a reunion he's surprisingly curious to attend--if he and his car survive the fierce summer storm that's hit. Adam always hated storms and their destruction. And sure enough, he soon collides with another vehicle in the blinding rain. But it turns out the driver is the one person he'd hoped to see: Vanessa.

Reunited by Mother Nature, the two take shelter in an abandoned farmhouse where they are forced to decipher their unresolved history. Together, they'll unravel the twists of fate that have brought them to the present--and discover the remarkable truth that may carry them through the future. . .

Chapters: 18 plus prologue

Pages: 317

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather


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

Chapters: 61 plus Preface and epilogue

Pages: 417
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