Monday, April 30, 2018

Diverse Reads on my Blog #16

Diverse Reads on my Blog #16

Luckily enough, certain things went far better than I thought they would, although just because something impossible has been achieved, it doesn't mean I still like or approve of the person. Still, as always in these times, new scandals are brewing and its up to us to take care of ourselves and to make sure to remember that we have more commonalities than differences.

Blast from the Past

Evelina by Fanny Burney

Evelina, the first of Burney's novels, was published anonymously and brough her immediate fame. It tells the story of a young girl, fresh from the provinces, whose initiation into the ways of hte world is frequently painful, though it leads to self-discovery, moral growth, and, finally, happiness. Hilarious comedy and moral gravity make the novel a fund of entertainment and wisdom. Out of the graceful shifts from the idyllic to the near-tragic and realistic, Evelina emerges as a fully realized character. And out of its treatment of contrasts- the peace of the countryside and the cultured and social excitement of London and Bristol, the crows od life-like vulgarians and the elegant gentry- the novel reveals superbly the life and temper of eighteenth-century England, as sen through the curiosity of its young heroine.

Why Its Diverse: It has been said that the author possibly struggled with dyslexia, yet she wrote a book that inspired Jane Austen to write her classics.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Set against the turbulent years of the Napoleonic era, Alexandre Dumas's thrilling adventure story is one of the most widely read romantic novels of all time. In it the dashing young hero, Edmond Dantes, is betrayed by his enemies and thrown into a secret dungeon in the Chateau d'If- doomed to spend his life in a dank prison cell. The story of his long, intolerable years in captivity, his miraculous escape, and his carefully wrought revenge creates a dramatic tale of mystery and intrigue and paints a vision of France- a dazzling, dueling, exuberant France- that has become immortal.

Why Its Diverse: The author is of African ancestry.

The Warning Voice by Cao Xueqin

Divided into five volumes, of which The Warning Voice is the third, it charts the glory and decline of the illustrious Jia family (a story which closely accords with the fortunes of the author's own family.) The two main characters, Bao-yu and Dai-yu, are set against a rich tapestry of humor, realistic detail and delicate poetry, which accurately reflects the ritualized hurly-burly of Chinese family life. But over and above the novel hangs the constant reminder that there is another plane of existence- a theme which affirms the Buddhist belief in a supernatural scheme of things.

Why Its Diverse: The author is of Chinese ancestry and this book is part of the famous classic in China; Dream of the Red Chamber

Blast from the Past: Allies of Diversity

The Girl from Junchow by Kate Furnivall

China, 1929. For years Lydia Ivanova believed her father was killed by the Bolsheviks. But when she learns he is imprisoned in Stalin-controlled Russia, the fiery girl is willing ot leave everything behind-even her Chinese lover, Chang An Lo.

With her half brother, Alexei, Lydia sets out on a dangerous journey. Tension grows between the two as Alexei's search for his past threatens Lydia's quest to find her father and forge a new future for herself. But when Alexei abruptly disappears, Lydia is left alone, penniless in soviet Russia. As she continues her search for information, Lydia finds herself caught in a perilous entanglement with a Russian officer.

But Chang An Lo has not forgotten Lydia. He knows things about her father that she does not. And while he races to protect her, she is prepared to risk treacherous consequences to discover the truth...

What Diversity it has: The main love interest happens to be a Chinese male, and the story does take place in both China as well as Russia.

What I am Reading Now: 

Secrets and Shadows-Roberta Silman (The story contains Jewish themes and is of reflection on how events shadow the future.)



A city of secrets, secrets that destroyed Paul Bertram’s once-idyllic marriage, secrets that have threatened to consume him, secrets that almost destroyed his very life. 

When the Berlin Wall falls in 1989, Paul is finally compelled to confront his past. Seeking one last chance at redemption, he is pulled back to the city where he and his family almost perished. 

But how? With whom? 

In his anguish Paul turns to his former wife, Eve, and together they embark on a journey they never could have envisioned, a journey during which he is able — at last — to reveal the awful truths he has lived with for so long. A journey where she is able to face her own fears and flaws. 

In spare, compassionate prose, Roberta Silman has created vivid, resilient characters who learn that friendship and love can also mean humiliation and betrayal, that kind intentions can lead to unimagined evil. Her portrayal of the growing tension and terror in Berlin leading up to and during the Second World War is unforgettable. She not only explores the many twists and turns of fate; she also shows how the atrocities of the Second World War can reverberate far into the future, long after actual events. 

Past and present coalesce in this novel in mysterious, yet inexorable ways. As Eve and Paul face who they really were and now are, we see them accepting each other in entirely new ways. Despite the shocking denouement, both Eve and Paul realize that one of the most important aspects of being human is our ability to forgive. 

Pages: 243 out of 296

The Art of Keeping Secrets-Rachael Johns (One of the supporting characters is transgender, but I'm not sure yet how the author plans on using him; either as a comic relief or to learn valuable lessons from)

Some Secrets Weren't Meant to Be Kept... 

They started out as the "misfit moms"--the trio of less-than-conventional parents at their sons' tony private school. They've shared everything. Or so they thought. Now, on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York City, they'll sightsee, they'll shop, they'll catch a few Broadway shows. They'll tell all...

After seventeen years as a single parent, Neve will reveal a past sin that could destroy her relationship with her son. Emma will uncover the roots of her exhaustion and divulge the inappropriate feelings she has for her boss. And Flick--who knows a little about crafting a flawless exterior--will share the shocking truth that lies beneath the veneer of her perfect marriage.

When the tight hold they've each kept on their secrets for years begins to slip, they must face the truth. Even if the truth will forever alter the course of their friendship and their lives.

153 out of 444

Future Reviews: 

My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood (main characters suffers from PTSD, while another is alcoholic, for Fresh Fiction)

In the vein of Fiona Barton's The Widow and Renée Knight's Disclaimer, a psychological thriller about a war reporter who returns to her childhood home after her mother's death but becomes convinced that all is not well in the house next door—but is what she’s seeing real or a symptom of the trauma she suffered in Syria?

The One Person You Should Trust Is Lying to You…

Kate has spent fifteen years bringing global injustice home: as a decorated war reporter, she’s always in a place of conflict, writing about ordinary people in unimaginable situations. When her mother dies, Kate returns home from Syria for the funeral. But an incident with a young Syrian boy haunts her dreams, and when Kate sees a boy in the garden of the house next door—a house inhabited by an Iraqi refugee who claims her husband is away and she has no children—Kate becomes convinced that something is very wrong.

As she struggles to separate her memories of Syria from the quiet town in which she grew up—and also to reconcile her memories of a traumatic childhood with her sister’s insistence that all was not as Kate remembers—she begins to wonder what is actually true…and what is just in her mind.

In this gripping, timely debut, Nuala Ellwood brings us an unforgettable damaged character, a haunting , humanizing look at the Syrian conflict, and a deeply harrowing psychological thriller that readers won’t be able to put down.

The Girls by Emma Cline

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman

The Spirit Catches you and you fall down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia's parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Non-fiction, Anne Fadiman's compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.

Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be

Dawn by Elie Wisel

Elisha is a young Jewish man, a Holocaust survivor, and an Israeli freedom fighter in British-controlled Palestine; John Dawson is the captured English officer he will murder at dawn in retribution for the British execution of a fellow freedom fighter. The night-long wait for morning and death provides Dawn, Elie Wiesel's ever more timely novel, with its harrowingly taut, hour-by-hour narrative. Caught between the manifold horrors of the past and the troubling dilemmas of the present, Elisha wrestles with guilt, ghosts, and ultimately God as he waits for the appointed hour and his act of assassination. Dawn is an eloquent meditation on the compromises, justifications, and sacrifices that human beings make when they murder other human beings.

Day (The Accident) by Elie Wiesel

"Not since Albert Camus has there been such an eloquent spokesman for man." --The New York Times Book Review

The publication of Day restores Elie Wiesel's original title to the novel initially published in English as The Accident and clearly establishes it as the powerful conclusion to the author's classic trilogy of Holocaust literature, which includes his memoir Night and novel Dawn. "In Night it is the ‘I' who speaks," writes Wiesel. "In the other two, it is the ‘I' who listens and questions."

In its opening paragraphs, a successful journalist and Holocaust survivor steps off a New York City curb and into the path of an oncoming taxi. Consequently, most of Wiesel's masterful portrayal of one man's exploration of the historical tragedy that befell him, his family, and his people transpires in the thoughts, daydreams, and memories of the novel's narrator. Torn between choosing life or death, Day again and again returns to the guiding questions that inform Wiesel's trilogy: the meaning and worth of surviving the annihilation of a race, the effects of the Holocaust upon the modern character of the Jewish people, and the loss of one's religious faith in the face of mass murder and human extermination.

One half from the East by Nadia Hashimi

Internationally bestselling author Nadia Hashimi’s first novel for young readers is an emotional, beautiful, and riveting coming-of-age journey to modern-day Afghanistan that explores life as a bacha posh—a preteen girl dressed as a boy.

Obayda’s family is in need of some good fortune.

Her father lost one of his legs in a bomb explosion, forcing the family to move from their home city of Kabul to a small village, where life is very different and Obayda’s father almost never leaves his room.

One day, Obayda’s aunt has an idea to bring the family luck—dress Obayda, the youngest of her sisters, as a boy, a bacha posh.

Now Obayda is Obayd.

Life in this in-between place is confusing, but once Obayda meets another bacha posh, everything changes. The two of them can explore the village on their own, climbing trees, playing sports, and more.

But their transformation won’t last forever—unless the two best friends can figure out a way to make it stick and make their newfound freedoms endure.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons.

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 was buried in an unmarked grave.

The journey starts in the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s, her small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo. Today are stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, East Baltimore children and grandchildren live in obscurity, see no profits, and feel violated. The dark history of experimentation on African Americans helped lead to the birth of bioethics, and legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet by Jamie Ford

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history - the internment of American-Japanese families during World War II - Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us about forgiveness and the power of the human heart.

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.

The Carrion Birds by 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.

5 Books I am planning on tackling this year

Eternal Life by Dara Horn

Rachel is a woman with a problem: she can’t die. Her recent troubles—widowhood, a failing business, an unemployed middle-aged son—are only the latest in a litany spanning dozens of countries, scores of marriages, and hundreds of children. In the 2,000 years since she made a spiritual bargain to save the life of her first son back in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, she’s tried everything to free herself, and only one other person in the world understands: a man she once loved passionately, who has been stalking her through the centuries, convinced they belong together forever.

But as the twenty-first century begins and her children and grandchildren—consumed with immortality in their own ways, from the frontiers of digital currency to genetic engineering—develop new technologies that could change her fate and theirs, Rachel knows she must find a way out.

Gripping, hilarious, and profoundly moving, Eternal Life celebrates the bonds between generations, the power of faith, the purpose of death, and the reasons for being alive.

Pages: 233

Love, and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

A powerful novel about an orphan boy who is raffled off at Seattle’s 1909 World Fair, and the friends who teach him what it really means to have a family, from the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

Inspired by a true story, this is the unforgettable story of a young boy named Ernest, set during the 1909 Seattle world’s fair called the Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. It is a time when the magical wonders of technology on display at the expo future seems limitless. But for Ernest, a half-Chinese orphan who found his way to America through a last desperate act of his beloved mother, every door is closed. A charity student at a boarding school, he has never really had a place to call home. Then one day, his wealthy sponsor announces that if a home is what he wants, then that is what he will have: Ernest will be offered as a prize in the daily raffle at the fair, advertised as “Healthy boy to a good home for the winning ticket holder.” The woman who “wins” him is the madam of a notorious brothel who was famous for educating her girls. He becomes a houseboy in her brothel and is befriended by the daughter of the madam, as well as a Japanese girl who works in the kitchen. The friendship and love between these three form the first real family Ernest has ever known.

Pages: 304

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

A searing, electrifying debut novel set in India and America, about a once-in-a-lifetime friendship between two girls who are driven apart but never stop trying to find one another again.

When Poornima first meets Savitha, she feels something she thought she lost for good when her mother died: hope. Poornima's father hires Savitha to work one of their sari looms, and the two girls are quickly drawn to one another. Savitha is even more impoverished than Poornima, but she is full of passion and energy. She shows Poornima how to find beauty in a bolt of indigo cloth, a bowl of yogurt rice and bananas, the warmth of friendship. Suddenly their Indian village doesn't feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond the arranged marriage her father is desperate to lock down for her. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend again. Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India's underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face relentless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within them.

In breathtaking prose, Shobha Rao tackles the most urgent issues facing women today: domestic abuse, human trafficking, immigration, and feminism. At once a propulsive page-turner and a heart-wrenching meditation on friendship, Rao's debut novel is a literary tour de force.

Pages: 307

Israela by Batya Casper

In my heart, I call to their mothers, 'Take your sons to your houses. Bind them to your chairs; gag them, blindfold them if necessary until they grow calm. Then teach them, for they have forgotten, about peace, about the blessed life, about a future-a present-without pain.' Beneath their prayers, in their morning cups of coffee, beneath their love-making and their child-rearing, and in their sorrow, especially in their sorrow when burying their dead, I hear the simmering of heating souls; I smell the charge of armies, of lives exploding uselessly into smithereens. I sit in mourning over a disaster still to come. In Israel, the lives of three women interweave with the story of their country. Ratiba, an Israeli journalist, turns her back on her heritage to marry an Israeli Arab. Her sister Orit, an actor, lives alone and longs for her lost sister. Elisheva is a nurse who dedicates her life to the wounded and the dying. As their lives unfold, the three women find themselves facing choices they would never have envisioned. This is a story of secrets and alienation, yet also of hope and heroism. It is about Arabs who save Jews from disaster and Jews who heal Arabs. It is the story of everyday people torn and desperately searching for the right path. Here, the ancient pulsates in present time and the biblical holds prominence with the secular. Beneath this modern-day drama unfolds the story of a land and its people, revealing the historical trajectory of two peoples, victims and perpetrators of a biblical curse 'This perceptive, poignant novel offers a fresh and essential outlook on Israel. With memorable characters and an abundance of drama, Israela is gripping reading.' - Lou Aronica, New York Times bestselling author

Pages: 365

Forgotten Reflections by Young-Im Lee

In the current international climate where North Korea takes center stage, “Forgotten Reflections” weaves an inspirational tale of family, lost memories, folklore and an unforgotten history, spanning three generations as South Korea rises from the ashes.


1945. Rice fields seem endless in a quaint farming village of South Korea, yet Iseul the villagers have been starving for as long as they can remember. Their Japanese colonizers have taken every last grain with them as they are finally forced out of the Peninsula. In the newly independent Korea, Iseul and Jung-Soo dream of what their future might bring. Yet, war is on the horizon, and Iseul has fallen for an alleged North Korean communist spy.

Men are conscripted and rice is taken to feed the growing army as the Peninsula is thrust into an international war that would determine if the strategic region will become communist or democratic. With nothing but the news of death and hunger awaiting the village of women, children and the aged, Iseul musters up whatever hope she has left to bring the village together to make paper. Soon, the village once known for its rice, becomes famous for its paper, becoming a beacon of hope for their battle-worn soldiers awaiting letters from their loved ones.

Yet spies and communists continue to roam South Korea, turning neighbors and families against one another. For years, Jung-Soo has been suspicious of his father’s allegiances. With a series of mysterious revelations about his father, Jung-Soo is forced to choose between his tainted communist past, and the future he hopes to have with Iseul after the war.

Pages: 476

Thursday, April 26, 2018

G335. Book Review of Bending toward the sun by Mona Hodgson

Title of the book: Bending toward the sun

Author: Mona Hodgson

Publisher: Water Brook

Publishing Date: 2014

ISBN: 978-0-307-73114-2


Once a week, Elsa Brantenberg hosts the Saint Charles Quilting Circle at her farmhouse on the outskirts of the riverside town of St. Charles, Missouri. The ladies who gather there have all experienced heartache related to the intense hardships of the Civil War, and together, they are facing their painful circumstances with friendship and prayer. Can the tattered pieces of their hearts be stitched together by God’s grace?

Bending Toward the Sun
Dedicated to her education and to helping her father in his general store, Emilie Heinrich is convinced she doesn't have time for love. But when a childhood friend returns to St. Charles, Missouri, after serving in the Civil War, his smile and charm captures Emilie’s eye and her heart. Will she be forced to choose between honoring her father and a future with a husband and family of her own?

Author Info:

Mona Hodgson's publishing credits have grown to include nearly forty books, including the Sinclair Sisters fo Cripple Creek series, Prairie Song, children's books, and contributions to more than ten books for adults. Mona is a popular speaker for women's groups, schools, and educatiors' and writers' conferences. She lives in Arizona with her husband and has two daughters and a gaggle of grandchildren.

Personal Opinion:

This is written in a similar style as the prequel, dandelions on the wind. Bending toward the sun has also frustrated me because, well, passive style, although I sense that the characters want to break out from the mold and one is even bold enough to give an ultimatum. I am beginning to think that its sort of an inhuman fantasy when it comes to this type of writing. This one has more memorable characters because as I mentioned, at one point the female character got frustrated with the male character and of waiting for him, and she even mentioned it to him, but all he mentioned was "waiting."

I won this as first reads goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own

1 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, April 24, 2018

G995 Book Review of ICE by Lauren Carr

Name of Book: Ice

Author: Lauren Carr

ISBN: 9781983743382

Publisher: Acorn Book Services

Type of book: Mystery, thriller, family, relationships, pets, dogs, Harper's Ferry West Virginia, "book club" talents, moving on, romance, present times, gambling, murder, cold case, dysfunctional families, incest, rape, dreams

Year it was published: 2018


When Sandy Lipton and her unborn child disappeared, the court of public opinion found young Chris Matheson guilty. Decades later, the retired FBI agent returns home to discover that the cloud of suspicion cast over him and his family has never lifted.

With the help of a team of fellow retired law enforcement officers, each a specialist in their own field of investigation, Chris Matheson starts chipping away at the ice on this cold case to uncover what had happened to Sandy and her baby and the clues are getting hot!


There are quite a lot of characters, and luckily the author did provide a character sheet in beginning of the story to help readers out on who's who. Some memorable characters include both humans and animals, namely Chris who has suffered tragedy and becoming a widower. He loves classical music and is extremely passionate as well as sweet and loyal. He also has three daughters aged from teens to six years of age, and decides to join a "book" club run by his mother's friend. (If there are to be future books, I am hoping to see and get to know more of the Geezer Squad as well his daughters.) One animal character that really stole my heart is Sterling, the "goofy" German shepherd who has his own personality as well as some talents he keeps as secret. Secondary characters are also well developed, although I wish that there would have been more focus on the villain, at least more of his motivations.


Family and friends are important


The story is in third person narrative from Chris's point of view, although from time to time other characters make an appearance and make their thoughts known. The story is also linear, with prologue beginning twenty four years ago, and then the story moves on to the present where the reader meets Chris and his quirky family. Along the way the author fills in the blanks, often inviting the reader to speculate, or else scratch their heads on how the characters came up to that conclusion instead of another. The story is not solely mystery/thriller, but its focused on family, community and importance of friendships. Out of the previous Lauren Carr novels I read, I think this one is the most visible and obvious when it comes to showing friendships and family relationships.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

About the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

​Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

​Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


After getting to know the Faraday and Thornton family members, the author decides to start a new series that besides the setting seem to have new people and new places as well as new crimes. Just like in her previous wonderful stories, I am happy to report that the story is not just a thriller with twisted plots and characters, but it also has heart and focus on family and friends and how they help the main character during the toughest time of his life. There is also some comedy and of course fascinating new dog characters, in particular Sterling who loves country music and is best described as goofy. While I'm uncertain on how the characters arrived at some of the conclusions that they had about the cold case, I really didn't expect to see it coming, although to be honest I did see one of the cases resolving itself the way it did. If you enjoy stories that are not only thrillers and mysteries but also have heart and relationships between the characters, then don't miss out on this book.

This is for iRead Book Tours


April 2 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
April 2 - Live To Read ~ Krystal - review / guest post / giveaway
April 2 - XoXo Book Blog - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 3 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
April 3 - Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 4 - Paulette's Papers - book spotlight / giveaway
April 4 - Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author - book spotlight / giveaway
April 5 - The World As I See It - review / giveaway
April 5 - Writers and Authors - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 6 - Olio by Marilyn - review / author interview / giveaway
April 6 - Books And Tea - review / guest post
April 9 - Blooming with Books - review / giveaway
April 10 - 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News - bk spotlight / int / giveaway
April 10 - 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! - review / giveaway
April 11 - Books are love - review / author interview
April 12 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
April 12 - Nighttime Reading Center - review / giveaway
April 13 - My Reading Journeys - review / author interview / giveaway
April 17 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review
April 17 - Lovely Loveday - review
April 18 - StoreyBook Reviews - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
April 19 - FUONLYKNEW - review / giveaway
April 20 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - book spotlight
April 20 - fundinmental - review / author interview / giveaway
April 23 - Two Points of Interest - review
April 24 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
April 25 - Sefina Hawke's Books - review
April 26 - The Book Drealms - review / giveaway
April 27 - Pause for Tales - review / guest post
April 27 - LadyJ’s Bookish Nook - review / giveaway
April 30 - Jessica Cassidy - review / author interview / giveaway

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

G815 Book Review of Free food for the millionaires by Min Jin Lee

Name of Book: Free Food For the Millionaires

Author: Min Jin Lee

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7167-3

Publisher: Grand Central

Type of book: Korea-America, rape, negative portrayal of Korean men who like Caucasian women, New York, 1990s, haves and have-nots, pride, kindness, marriage, relationships, family, church, faith, struggling, surviving, class, Asian women/Caucasian men relationships, money, debts, working at a bank

Year it was published: 2007


Casey Han's four years at Princeton gave her many things, "But no job and a number of bad habits." Casey's parents, who live in Queens, are Korean immigrants working in a dry cleaner, desperately trying to hold on to their culture and their identity. Their daughter, on the other hand, has entered into rarified American society via scholarships. But after graduation, Casey sees the reality of having expensive habits without the means to sustain them. As she navigates Manhattan, we see her life and the lives around her, culminating in a portrait of New York City and its world of haves and have-nots.

Free Food For Millionaires offers up a fresh exploration of the complex layers we inhabit both in society and within ourselves. Inspired by 19th century novels such as Vanity Fair and Middlemarch, Min Jin Lee examines maintaining one's identity within changing communities in what is her remarkably assured debut.


There are quite a lot of characters in the story, but I think the author is skillful in having the reader remember them. Main character includes Casey Han, a snotty and spoiled Asian-American princess who has no idea what she wants to do with herself and tends to be prickly, cold, mysterious and a smoker. She loves spending money on brand-name clothing but isn't the type to explore why she is the way the is or try to change her personality. There is also Ella Shim who seems to be the antithesis of Casey Han and is warm, vibrant, meek but passionate. Ella also likes Casey and will do what she can to help her. Secondary characters include Unu is Ella's cousin and eventually becomes Casey's paramour and he has his own issues and debts to settle. the Casey's boss from Korea who went to the same school as Casey's mother and her white husband as well as Ted Kim who becomes Ella's husband but then cheats on her with a co-worker and so forth. Way too many characters to list here.


I read the book from cover to cover and have no idea what lesson I should have learned from it; maybe to make plot more visible?


The story is in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view. I love long detailed novels, but along with the details I also require plot and lessons that characters learn along the way. I expect for characters to change and to be present when changes occur. This book, aside from being long, had nothing of what I might enjoy. The events that I would deem important or that I would hope the author would focus more on were merely mentioned or skimmed while events that aren't important are expounded on page after page after page. The only good part I liked about the book is the first part, but parts 2 and 3 seemed a bit pointless. The issues that characters face, such as Casey's never-ending clothing shopping and debts are not addressed, that is the reader never learns what Casey is trying to say by buying things she can't afford; there is also very little exploration of Delia and Ted's relationship and the story hasn't really given me reasons to like them or to even root for them. Basically its a circular journey where the reader ends up on the same page as he begins it.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Min Jin Lee's debut novel, Free Food For Millionaires, was one of the "Top 10 Novels of the Year" for The Times (London), NPR's Fresh Air, and USA Today. Her short fiction has been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts., Her writings have appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, The Times (London), Vogue, Travel+Leisure, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Magazine, and Food & Wine. Her essays and literary criticism have been anthologized widely. She served as a columnist for the Chosun Ilbo, the leading paper of South Korea. She lives in New York with her family.


I expected to either hate or love the story, or to even discover hidden genius within the pages, but I'm sad to say that the only thing that came to pass is boredom and indifference. Although I'm not an Asian-American woman, I am an immigrant and I honestly thought I would be able to relate to the book and to the characters, but unfortunately, it was not happening. Compared with Pachinko, this was a big letdown for me, and yes, the review might be pretty long by the way because I have a lot to say about the book. One of my main complaints is portrayal of Korean men, and not just any Korean men but Korean men who either love or have loved Caucasian women. There is nothing sympathetic or warm about neither Ted nor Professor Hong, and the changes simply ring as too false to be human or believable. The only "good" Korean man in the story is Ella's father who remained chaste and unmarried after the death of Ella's mother. It's also interesting to note that Korean women/Caucasian men relationships are portrayed as far more relatable and human than Korean men/Caucasian women relationships are. For example, the Korean woman who gives Casey her job is married to a Caucasian male and they seem to have a peaceable and tranquil relationships, while another Korean woman gets with a very sweet and sympathetic Caucasian male. Neither Ted nor Professor Hong are given those positive portrayals; Ted is an asshole from start to finish and has even cheated on his wife with a Caucasian co-worker, while Professor Hong was married to Caucasian women, but he acts like a diva and is selfish and also happens to be a rapist...yeah, nothing wrong with that is all I can say. In this story as well, nothing happens, and when I say this, I mean that characters don't learn lessons from their setbacks and the characters remain the same from start to finish. In other words, if you're expecting a hidden genius of Pachinko, this book is not it.

This was given to me for a review

2 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, April 16, 2018

G919 Book Review of What is forgiven by C.F. Yetmen

Name of Book: Whats is Forgiven

Author: C.F. Yetmen

ISBN: 978-0-9988890-0-9

Publisher: Ypsillon & Co. Press

Part of a Series: Anna Klein Trilogy

Type of book: Post WWII Germany, 1945, relationships, decisions, gray life, Holocaust, Lebensborn, families, romances, Monument Men, high stakes decisions, resources

Year it was published: 2017


“What is Forgiven is danger, mystery and intrigue wrapped around a love story, but it’s much more than that: it’s an in-depth study of loyalty, justice and the moral aftermath of the war.”
Martha Louise Hunter, Author, Painting Juliana

At the end of 1945 in a shattered Germany, Anna Klein is faced with tough choices about her future. Her plum job working as a translator for Captain Henry Cooper, one of the American Monuments Men, means she has a house and an income, as well as hands-on access to some of the world’s most precious art. But her life is falling apart on all fronts: her family is displaced, the boy in her care is being sought by authorities, and she must resolve to finally end her marriage. When she realizes that someone has tampered with two important paintings taken from a Jewish collector—paintings she was charged with safeguarding—Anna is determined to solve the crime. But without hard evidence and no motive, she can prove nothing and as State Department big wigs threaten to shut down the Monument Men’s operation, she and her boss are under special scrutiny. As all signs begin to point to an inconvenient suspect in the crime, she has to play it by the book to keep her job and return the art to its rightful owner, if she can find him.


Main characters include Anna Klein, a young German woman who shares a close friendship with Captain Cooper. Anna is resourceful, protective and will do what she can to either solve the mystery or do the right. She is worried about others, but some of Cooper's charms have previously rubbed off on her. Cooper is Anna's close friend and isn't afraid of bending a ruler or two to solve the mystery. At the same time he seems to be vulnerable in some ways and depends on Anna a lot. There is Anna's biological daughter Amalia "Maus" Klein who dreams of having her father and mother together and who has known nothing but war but is still dreamy and cheerful. There is also Oskar who has hidden origins of his own and who will be placed in a difficult position of making adult decisions of whom he is. Secondary characters are also memorable and heavily prominent in the book be it the mysterious owners of a painting, or Anna's older female friend.


Its hard to find the right path


The story is once more in third person narrative from Anna's point of view. The stakes are far more dangerous than in the previous story and Anna and Cooper have to be far more clever and resourceful. This book goes deeper into some of the secret programs such as Lebensborn, and the shadow of Holocaust begins to darken the story as well as the possible fate of German paintings, whether they will stay in Germany or be shipped out to United States. Told with verve for history and passion, this is a story to whet the appetite as the readers eagerly await the third installment of the series. Just like in the first book, relationships and mystery are in a perfect blend together, neither upstaging each other.

Author Information:
(From the book)

C.F. Yetmen is a writer and consultant specializing in architecture and design. She is the co-author of The Owner's Dilemman Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry and a former publisher of Texas Architect magazine. The Roses Underneath is her first novel. Visit


If I thought that the prequel, The Roses Underneath was good, this book was amazing, although I do wish that I could have seen more of Oskar in the story, (it seem as if the possible third book will answer that prayer...) The characters go through some changes, and the story picks up seamlessly from the previous book, as if it has been several months instead of years that the second novel was written. The issues that were hinted at in the first book go deeper and and issues are painted more as gray rather than black and white. There is a thrilling mystery that Anna and Cooper must solve, and once more careful details that seem true to life are written within the pages. Every aspect of the book stands out and there is realism as well.

This was given for a review

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

G918 Book Review for The Roses underneath by C.F. Yetmen

Name of Book: The Roses Underneath

Author: C.F. Yetmen

ISBN: 978-0-615-86836-3

Publisher: Ypsilon &Co. Press

Part of a Series: Anna Klein Trilogy

Type of book: Post WWII Germany, 1945, Monuments Men, paintings, art, families, mother/daughter relationships, translation, filing, scarcity, mystery, Lebensborn, Hitler's museum, complicity

Year it was published: 2014


It is August 1945 in Wiesbaden, Germany. With the country in ruins, Anna Klein, displaced and separated from her beloved husband, struggles to support herself and her six-year old daughter Amalia. Her job typing forms at the Collecting Point for the US Army’s Monuments Men is the only thing keeping her afloat. Charged with securing Nazi-looted art and rebuilding Germany’s monuments, the Americans are on the hunt for stolen treasures. But after the horrors of the war, Anna wants only to hide from the truth and rebuild a life with her family. When the easy-going American Captain Henry Cooper recruits her as his reluctant translator, the two of them stumble on a mysterious stash of art in a villa outside of town. Cooper’s penchant for breaking the rules capsizes Anna’s tenuous security and propels her into a search for elusive truth and justice in a world where everyone is hiding something.

In her debut novel C.F. Yetmen tells a story of loss and reconciliation in a shattered world coming to terms with war and its aftermath.


Main characters include Anna Klein, a young German woman who has a husband who is staying in East Berlin and has a young daughter. Anna Klein is resourceful, very detailed and intelligent as well as determined to do what she can no matter the cost. But at the same time she is very worried about what people might think and is very conscious of how she looks and appears although she has a big heart. Amalia is Anna's young daughter who has known nothing war but despite it she is cheerful, plucky and very friendly. Captain Cooper is an American working for Monuments Men and is best described as someone is carefree and believes that he is above authority and likes to bend rules. Other characters also include a young boy named Oskar who knows more than he lets on as well as the brother and sister duo who are keeping their own secrets about their lives and so forth.


Do the right thing, even if its difficult


Pretty much all the story is in third person from Anna Klein's point of view. Instead of choosing to disseminate through Holocaust or its aftermath, the author makes a choice to talk about Monuments Men and also chooses to focus on the infamous Lebensborn program. (I have heard of it, but was not familiar with the details of it...) I also loved the importance of family and friends in the story and also liked how families are formed rather than chosen. The characters are drawn with realistically and with flaws, both physical and mental (for example Anna mentions that because of lack of vitamins her teeth are loose.) 

Author Information:
(From the book)

C.F. Yetmen is a writer and consultant specializing in architecture and design. She is the co-author of The Owner's Dilemman Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry and a former publisher of Texas Architect magazine. The Roses Underneath is her first novel. Visit


I'm only sorry that I hadn't reviewed the book earlier. I found it to be an unexpectedly good read because to be honest from the last name I was expecting a Jewish female character, but in fact it turned out to be a German woman, and unlike most of WWII novels, this one focuses on the aftermath of WWII and how it affects the ordinary people who don't have money to back upon. In other words, this is about ordinary people, not ones who are high. I found a lot of things enjoyable about the book such as the characters, the details and time period as well as place which puts a different spin on post WWII world, the fact that characters are realistic and relatable to the time period and I also liked in learning little known fact about the Monument Men and their mission. The story hints at Holocaust as well as Russian occupation of East Berlin, but it doesn't go into the details, although if I recall right, the second book of the trilogy does go into great detail.

This was given to me for an honest review

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

G859 Book Review of The Service of the dead by Candace Robb

Name of Book: The Service of the Dead

Author: Candace Robb

ISBN: 978-1-68177-127-4

Publisher: Prometheus

Part of a Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries

Type of book: 1399, family, England, widow, woman, resourcefulness, mystery, life, Richard II, feuds, war, weapons

Year it was published: 2016


Political unrest permeates York at the cusp of the fifteenth century, as warring factions take sides on who should be the rightful king--Richard II or his estranged, powerful cousin in exile, Henry Bolingbroke. Independent minded twenty-year-old Kate Clifford is struggling to dig out from beneath the debt left by her late husband. Determined to find a way to be secure in her own wealth and establish her independence in a male dominated society, Kate turns one of her properties near the minster into a guest house and sets up a business. In a dance of power, she also quietly rents the discreet bedchambers to the wealthy, powerful merchants of York for nights with their mistresses.

But the brutal murder of a mysterious guest and the disappearance of his companion for the evening threatens all that Kate has built. Before others in town hear word of a looming scandal, she must call upon all of her hard-won survival skills to save herself from ruin.


Main characters include Kate Clifford, a resourceful and business-minded young lady who is determined not to let things get her down. Secondary characters would be Kate's step-children who are wary of their stepmother, especially with their father's death as well as Kate's servants and some of her family who either hinder or help Kate a great deal. Kate must also be careful and must be wary of whom to trust, which the author does a good job of establishing.


There is always unexpected help


The story is in third person narrative from Kate's point of view. The book is rife with details on life during the time period and it seems as if the author took little to no liberties of what was happening with the story. I don't think the story is for those who don't know much about medieval ages because while the author does try to explain what is going on during that time period, I don't think she does a very good job and it leaves the readers struggling a bit.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author

Candace Robb did her graduate work in medieval literature and history, and has continued to study the period while working first as an editor of scientific publications and now for some years as a freelance writer. Candace has published 13 crime novels set in 14th century England, Wales, and Scotland. The Owen Archer series is based in York and currently extends over 10 novels beginning with THE APOTHECARY ROSE; the most recent is A VIGIL OF SPIES. The Margaret Kerr trilogy explores the early days of Scotland’s struggle again England’s King Edward I, and includes A TRUST BETRAYED, THE FIRE IN THE FLINT, and A CRUEL COURTSHIP.

Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published historical novels about two fascinating women she encountered while researching the Owen Archer mysteries, Alice Perrers (THE KING’S MISTRESS) and Joan of Kent (A TRIPLE KNOT).

Candace was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she and her husband love for its combination of natural beauty and culture. Candace enjoys walking, hiking, and gardening, and practices yoga and vipassana meditation. She travels frequently to Great Britain.

For more information, please visit Candace Robb’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

This is a very late review for the book, which I feel bad about. What I found impressive by the story was the time period and the details that the author researched as well as a very admirable woman who is strong in adversity and doesn't let things get her down, be it her husband's death or trying to prove herself to her husband's illgetimate children, she doesn't let anything get her down. What I didn't enjoy of the story is the fact that the main character's dead brother speaks to her, which I feel really takes away from enjoying the story a lot. At some points I also found myself confused as to how the laws and life worked back in medieval ages. I also had trouble figuring out the logic of the mystery, but other than that, for an authentic medieval mystery, I would recommend this book.

This is for HFVBT

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 3
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 4
Review at Laura’s Interests (The Service of the Dead)
Review & Guest Post at Books of All Kinds (The Service of the Dead & A Twisted Vengeance)

Wednesday, July 5
Review at Broken Teepee (A Twisted Vengeance)

Thursday, July 6
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (The Service of the Dead)
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Friday, July 7
Review at Brooke Blogs (The Service of the Dead)
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Sunday, July 9
Feature at Svetlana’s Reads and Views (The Service of the Dead)

Monday, July 10
Review at Queen of All She Reads (The Service of the Dead)
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews (The Service of the Dead)

Tuesday, July 11
Review at Rainy Day Reviews (The Service of the Dead)

Wednesday, July 12
Review at 100 Pages a Day (The Service of the Dead)
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective (The Service of the Dead)

Thursday, July 13
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 14
Review at The True Book Addict (The Service of the Dead)
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective (A Twisted Vengeance)

Monday, July 17
Review at Laura’s Interests (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews (The Service of the Dead)

Tuesday, July 18
Review at Brooke Blogs (A Twisted Vengeance)
Guest Post at Cafinated Reads

Wednesday, July 19
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at The True Book Addict (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at Queen of All She Reads (A Twisted Vengeance)

Thursday, July 20
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at Just One More Chapter (The Service of the Dead)

Friday, July 21
Review at Rainy Day Reviews (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views (A Twisted Vengeance)
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

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.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

FFE17. Book Review of The Vineyard by Maria Duenas

Name of Book:  The Vineyard

Author:  Maria Duenas


Publisher: Atria

Year it was published: 2017


The New York Times bestselling author of The Time in Between returns with a magnificent new novel set in 1860s Mexico City, Havana, and Spain about a self-made man who loses his fortune overnight but finds his destiny as he works to restore a legendary vineyard to its former glory, and to win the love of the combative widow who once owned the property.

Mauro Larrea sees the fortune that he had built after years of hardship and toil come crashing down on the heels of a calamitous event. Swamped by debts and uncertainty, he gambles the last of his last money in a daring move that offers him the opportunity to resuscitate his fortune. But when the unsettling Soledad Montalvo, wife of a London wine merchant, comes into his life, her passionate intensity lures him toward an unanticipated future.

The Vineyard spans diverse worlds, from the young Mexican republic to magnificent colonial Havana; from the West Indies to the Jerez of the second half of the nineteenth-century, when its wine trade with England turned the Andalusian city into a legendary cosmopolitan enclave. A novel replete with glories and defeats, with silver mines, family intrigues, vineyards, and splendid places whose grandeur has faded in time, The Vineyard is a story of resilience in the face of adversity, of a lifeline forever altered by the force of passion.

Link for Review

2 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.)

FFE38 Book Review of White chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn bracht

Name of Book: White Chrysanthemum

Author: Mary Lynn Bracht


Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons

Year it was published: 2018


The Korean Nightingale, a sweeping historical debut for fans of Lilac Girls, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Kristin Hannah that brings to life the heartbreaking history of Korea through the deeply moving and redemptive story of two sisters separated by World War II.

Korea, 1943. Hana has lived her entire life under Japanese occupation. Following her mother’s footsteps into the sea as a haenyeo, one of the famed female divers of beautiful Jeju Island, she enjoys an independence that few other Koreans can still claim. Until the day Hana witnesses a Japanese soldier threatening her beloved younger sister on shore. Desperate to save her, Hana is captured and transported to Manchuria where she is forced to become a comfort woman in a Japanese brothel. But haenyeo are women of power and strength and Hana holds close the lessons her mother taught her. She will find her way home.

South Korea, 2011. Emi has spent more than sixty years trying to forget the sacrifice her sister made. Now in the sunset of her life, Emi must finally confront the past to discover the peace she so desperately seeks. Finding hope in the healing of her children and her country, can Emi move beyond the legacy of war and find forgiveness?

At once suspenseful, hopeful, and ultimately redemptive, White Chrysanthemum puts a human face to the heartrending history of Korea and tells a story in which two sisters’ love for one another is strong enough to triumph over decades and the grim evils of war.

Link for Review

(Was a Fresh Fiction Pick for April 6th, 2018!) 

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.)

G986 Book Review of Louisiana Catch by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Name of Book: Louisiana Catch

Author: Sweta Srivastava Vikram

ISBN: 978-1-61599-352-9

Publisher:Modern History Press

Type of book: India, New Delhi, abuse, relationships, divorced women, New York, Louisiana, catfish, friendships, modern times, conference, hidden strengths

Year it was published: 2018


A grieving daughter and abuse survivor must summon the courage to run a feminist conference, trust a man she meets over the Internet, and escape a catfishing stalker to find her power.

Ahana, a wealthy thirty-three-year-old New Delhi woman, flees the pain of her mother's death, and her dark past, by accepting a huge project in New Orleans, where she'll coordinate an annual conference to raise awareness of violence against women. Her half-Indian, half-Irish colleague and public relations guru, Rohan Brady, who helps Ahana develop her online presence, offends her prim sensibilities with his raunchy humor. She is convinced that he's a womanizer.

Meanwhile, she seeks relief from her pain in an online support group, where she makes a good friend: the mercurial Jay Dubois, who is also grieving the loss of his mother. Louisiana Catch is an emotionally immersive novel about identity, shame, and who we project ourselves to be in the world. It's a book about Ahana's unreliable instincts and her ongoing battle to deter�mine whom to place her trust in as she, Rohan, and Jay shed layers of their identities.


Main characters include Ahana Chopra who seems to struggle with trying to heal and move on from her abusive marriage as well as death of her beloved mother. Ahana is obsessed with yoga and is best described as a prickly young woman. Ahana tries to use the pain she has went through for good rather than just being a bystander, and she also struggles with the fact that her mother protected her a lot and often blames that situation for not helping her recognize bad situations. Jay Dubois is a very mercurial member of the online therapy group who blows hot one minute and cold another. Rohan Brady is Ahana's colleague and love intrest and Ahana often thinks of him as a playboy due to his profile. Naina is Ahana's cousin although both see one another as sisters and she is a psychologist who tries to do what she can for Ahana. Josh Rossi is Naina's fiance who works as a police officer.


Abuse runs deep


The story is told in first person narrative from Ahana's point of view. While the characters and possible romance interests as well as various family relationships are are the strongest points in the book, I feel that the author should have added more details about New Delhi  or about New York for that matter because the places don't really feel alive.

Author Information:
(From Poetic Book Tours)

About the Author:

Sweta Srivastava Vikram is a best-selling author of 11 books, a wellness columnist, and a mindfulness writing coach. Featured by Asian Fusion as “one of the most influential Asians of our time,” Sweta writes about women, multiculturalism, and identity. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and other publications across nice countries and three continents. Louisiana Catch (Modern History Press 2018) is her debut U.S. novel. Born in India, Sweta grew up between the Indian Himalayas, Northern Africa, and the United States collecting and sharing stories. Exposure to this vast societal spectrum inspired her to become an advocate for social issues and also to get certified as a Holistic Health Counselor. In this avatar, Sweta is the CEO-Founder of NimmiLife through which she helps people elevate their productivity and creativity using Ayurveda and yoga. A certified yoga teacher, Sweta also teaches yoga and mindfulness to female survivors of rape and domestic violence. She lives with her husband in New York City.
Add to GoodReads:
Louisiana Catch
Available on Amazon.

There are plenty of things I enjoyed about Louisiana Catch; one is the chemistry between the two leads and how love isn't rushed but is slowly gained as time passes; I also felt that the characters are the strongest elements in the story and women both can understand and relate to Ahana Chopra. I also enjoyed the topics and the issues that the book has brought up, especially how the damage from abuse is more than skin-deep, and how abusers can be found at what seems to be every level of society. While the book inspires and gives courage to those who have found themselves within the deplorable situation, I do feel that a number of things weren't explained as well as I had hoped; for one thing I had trouble comprehending Jay's messages, for another although the main character shares love for Louisiana, most of the story takes place in New York, and I feel that the story does need a little work on some of the dialogue or word choices.

This is for Poetic Book Tours

Blog Tour Schedule:

March 8: Button-Eyed Reader (Spotlight/Giveaway)
March 14: Soapy Violinist (Review)
March 22: the bookworm (Review)
March 28: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post/Giveaway)
April 10: Svetlana Reads & Views (Review)
April 25: Suko’s Notebook (Review)
April 27: Life’s A Stage (Review)
April 28: Drunk On Pop (Review)
May 6: Books From Dusk Till Dawn (Review)
May 8: Where the Reader Grows (Spotlight)
TBD: Modern Creative Life (Interview)
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, April 9, 2018

Book Spotlight of The Ticket by Fred Shackelford

Book Details:

Book Title: The Ticket by Fred Shackelford

Category: Adult Fiction, 320 pages

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Publisher: Black Opal Books

Release date: December 2016

Tour dates: April 2 to 13, 2018

Content Rating: PG

Book Description:

Channing Booker, a compulsive gambler, drug abuser, and philanderer whose marriage is failing, finally gets lucky and wins the Mega Millions lottery. Expecting an imminent divorce, and hoping to hide his new fortune from his wife Susan, Channing devises a scheme to have a friend claim the $241-million jackpot and secretly return the money to Channing after the divorce is final. But Susan flees with all of her possessions, including the rare book in which Channing hid the winning lottery ticket.

With time running out before the lottery ticket expires, Channing launches a desperate search to find Susan, but she’s covered her tracks well, fearing his retribution. In need of money to fund her furtive new lifestyle, Susan begins selling off her worldly goods, including her rare books, unleashing a chain of events that puts not only her life in danger, but that of her new love as well…

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Fred Shackelford is a Virginia attorney who lives on farmland that his great-great-grandfather purchased in 1817. Before writing his début novel The Ticket, he published Judges Say the Darndest Things, a collection of humorous excerpts from legal opinions. Fred is a graduate of the University of Virginia. The Ticket was a finalist for The Clue Awards from Chanticleer Book Reviews, a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Awards, and a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends April 21, 2018

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