Friday, June 29, 2018

Diverse Reads on my Blog #18

Diverse Reads on my Blog #18

I have a question: what kind of world would you want to leave for your children? I know it sounds something people use when they are worried about the physical state of the earth; but I've been thinking a lot: the world I refer to is of the historical narratives that get passed down from one generation to another. We inherited the historical narratives that emphasize winners over losers, and are these narratives okay with us? These narratives also shut out different voices, different experiences from ours, and is it okay that our descendants will look at us the way we see our ancestors? Think really hard about the question.

Blast from the Past

Getting Physical by Jade Lee

When savvy business student Zoe crosses paths with sexy international businessman Stephen--a Tantric master--she's about to get a transcendent learning experience 

The sex is incredible, mind-blowing, life changing Unfortunately, it also comes with a time limit. Because Stephen's home is on the other side of the world. 

Still, Zoe's going to enjoy every moment with her skillful, exotic lover. But it isn't long before she realizes she'll have to choose. Does she want to hold on to the life she has...or have a lifetime of feeling his body move against hers? 

Like there's a choice...

Why Its Diverse: The author did include a Chinese male as a love interest, and she has a mix of Asian/Caucasian ancestry.

'Till Death Do Us Part-Lurlene McDaniel

A change is coming. April Lancaster's fortune cookie tells her: Be prepared. But how could she be prepared for the news that she has an inoperable brain tumor? April's life will never be the same. Then she meets handsome Mark Gianni. Mark has cystic fibrosis, but he also has a passion for life...and for April. He shows April how to keep living in the face of life-threatening illness. And when he asks April to marry him, she's happier than she's ever been.

Why Its Diverse: Both of main characters have illnesses: April Lancaster has inoperable brain tumor, while Mark Gianni suffers from cystic fibrosis, but they are brave and will do what they can to be happy.

The Debt of Tears by Cao Xueqin

Divided into five volumes, of which The Debt of Tears is the fourth, 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: This is considered a Chinese classic, which covers chapters 81-98, and its pretty revolutionary for its time, making women far more smarter than the men (in the book)

Blast from the Past: Allies of Diversity

East Wind, West Wind by Pearl Buck

East Wind: West Wind is told from the eyes of a traditional Chinese girl, Kwei-lan, married to a Chinese medical doctor, educated abroad. The story follows Kwei-lan as she begins to accept different points of view from the western world, and re-discovers her sense of self through this coming-of-age narrative.

What diversity it has: This is written by the famous Pearl Buck prior to her writing THE GOOD EARTH. This discusses the thorny issues of east meeting west and whether or not its possible to combine the best of the two.

A House Divided by Pearl Buck

The epic of China begins with soil, and with the simple peasants like Wang Lung whose story was told in The Good Earth. It rises and swells on the fortunes of the warlords and merchants, men like the Sons of Wang Lung. It surges anew in modern China- Communist China- in the third generation of the House of Wang. A House Divided brings Wang's grandson to America, where troubled and alone, he must choose between the old values and the new, between two generations- one dead, one powerless to be born.

What diversity it has: This is, literally, a sequel to THE GOOD EARTH and SONS and its a bit like EAST WIND, WEST WIND,  although it seems to have drawn different conclusions than EAST WIND, WEST WIND.

What I am Reading Now

Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

Clarissa Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut opens with a murder and shines a spotlight onto life in fictional small-town Japan.

Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister Keiko's sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister's affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago.

But Ren soon finds himself picking up where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a local cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s catatonic wife.

As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind.

Pages 81 out of 322

Future Reviews

Speak No Evil by Uzudinma Iweala (for fresh fiction, but does contain a gay African teenager)

A revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences.

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he’s a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer—an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders—and the one person who seems not to judge him.

When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.

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, for Fresh Fiction)

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.

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.

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.

5 Books I am planning on tackling this year

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

A Different Mirror; A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki

"A Different Mirror" is a dramatic new retelling of our nation's history, a powerful larger narrative of the many different peoples who together compose the United States of America. In a lively account filled with the stories and voices of people previously left out of the historical canon, Ronald Takaki offers a fresh perspective - a "re-visioning" - of our nation's past.

Pages: 428

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, June 21, 2018

G1015 Book Review of DOOM, GLOOM AND the PURSUIT of the sun by ANTOINE f. GNINTEDEM

Name of Book: DOOM, GLOOM AND the PURSUIT of the sun


ISBN: 978-1-9834-2127-3

Publisher: Self published

Type of book: Cameroon,  Africa, America, education, talent, government, corruption, favors, relationships, 1970s to 2000s, family, ambitions, Mississippi, teaching, degrees, college

Year it was published: 2018


The town is famous in the region for its chronic stillness…Consequently, every ambitious person who grows up there eventually leaves in search of better opportunities.

Life in Mbengwi, Cameroon, is not easy for Austin—or for anyone else. While growing up, he bears witness to the worst parts of life and the cruelties of human nature. These things keep his homeland trapped in a cycle of misery and suffering. In a country overrun by poverty, death, unrest, and corruption, he sees no future for himself. The only way to escape the cycle is to flee to a place Austin believes to be free of all these troubles, a place where he hopes his dreams will come true: the United States of America.

However, when Austin arrives in this supposed promised land, he is met with a crushing revelation. He finds America to be rife with all the same problems he thought he’d escaped, merely in different forms. Rather than give in to disappointment, he decides to combat these obstacles with a firm resolve. Before long, though, these obstacles threaten to overwhelm him. This realization prompts Austin to rethink how he sees the world and the challenges it throws at him.


Main characters include Austin, his ex wife and his parents, at least these three were the ones that were fleshed out. Aside from these characters, unfortunately the others, be they friends or girlfriends or relatives, weren't as fleshed out as one hoped. Austin is best described as extremely studious, ambitious, and a genius, although due to his birth and the way the government was set up in Cameroon, Austin was unable to realize his full potential in these circumstances. Austin clearly admires his parents and sees them as honest and hardworking and is very close to them. Austin's ex wife was the complete opposite of Austin and from his view she was evil just because she wanted to be. In other words, the ex wife was a caricature rather than a human being.


I read the story from cover to cover but feel at a loss as to what lesson I should have learned from the read.


The story is in third person narrative from Austin's point of view. For me personally, I felt a strong detachment from the characters and Austin, which made it difficult to connect to the characters. The writing style was that of a reporter reporting on Austin's life instead of a narrator that provides rich details I was seeking. There are also very specific dates when it comes to exams or school years, and unfortunately very little else was given attention it deserved: for example there are mentions of Austin having friends, but not much is told about them, and the reader is not shown their personalities through actions or choices. Overall, the plot is chronological from 1970s up until 2000s and 98 percent of focus is on schooling instead of humanizing the characters.

Author Information:
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

Meet the author:

Antoine F. Gnintedem is a renowned educator both in the United States and across the world. As a linguistic consultant, he has worked for the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, he has served as an educational assessment expert for leading national and international testing companies. His academic achievements include a PhD in English language and literature and another doctorate in educational leadership.

Connect with the author: Twitter ~ Facebook


In beginning I was pretty excited about the book because I looked forward to learning a bit more about Cameroon, an African country that was nothing but a name on a map. However, my expectations were not met and I ended up feeling very disappointed by the read. There are parts that I liked, such as the description of Austins marriage and his dedication to seeing his children, but what I really wanted were more details about the life and history of Cameroon. I expected for the story to be more rich in details as well daily life of Austin, ( aside from his obsession with schooling) I wanted to be in the story instead of only being told about it. The story reads like a memoir/ autobiography but it is far more told than show, much to mine disappointment, and aside from Austin, the characters tend to appear and vanish briefly. In other words, an exciting concept, but it could use a bit more work.

This is for I read book tours

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, June 19, 2018

G1016 Book Review of bitten by Alan Moore

Name of Book: Bitten

Author: Alan Moore

ISBN: 9781980200895

Publisher: Self published

Type of book: Italy, gore, mosquitos, art authentication, secrets, demanding sex drive, disturbing scenes, mafia, connections, two parallel stories

Year it was published: 2018


In the not-too-distant future, Italy is in disarray. It has voted to leave the EU in an attempt to regain control of its laws, finances and commerce. Even so, the country's economy is shrinking and its national debt rising. There is a marked escalation, too, in unemployment, bank loans and immigration. Production and service companies are in difficulty. The only thriving business areas are the black market and organised crime. There is discontent and protest on all sides. In Florence, the local Mafia boss, more accustomed to gunrunning and trading in plutonium, is involved in organising a silent auction for the sale of one of the world's most valuable lost paintings - a sixteenth-century masterpiece, which was appropriated in World War II by Stalin's Trophy Brigade. A British art expert is set to buy the picture on behalf of his client, a South American billionaire - yet surprisingly two Italian undercover intelligence agents, acting as antique dealers, submit the winning bid. All the while, human beings continue to harm the Earth by destroying land, sea, air, animals and trees. Global climate change, polluting the atmosphere, depleting the ozone layer: these are some of man's crimes against Nature. But time is running out. Nature has lost patience with humans. Unless something is done immediately to reverse the destruction of the ecosystem, Nature will retaliate by deploying the terrifying forces at her command. And as a first step in wreaking her revenge, she instigates a reign of terror by the deadliest creature on Earth.


Main characters include Claudia, an intelligent young woman who works for an institute in studying mosquitos. Claudia is also best described as having a voracious sexual appetite. There is also Claudias much older boyfriend who deals with books and has found out about a mysterious painting that might have been a Raphael, but is in the hands of a Russian mob. There are other characters, but it's a bit difficult for me to keep track of them.


Treat the earth the right way


The story is in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view. The two main plot points of mysterious mosquito attacks as well as the recently discovered painting weren't blended well at all, and personally it would have been better if there were two separate books instead of one where it left my head scratching. I like a little bit gore in a story, but not where gore was the main  focus. Instead I prefer more psychological/ mind games thrillers, and unfortunately the story really lacked those aspects. The story raises more questions than answers, and these questions are never answered.

Author Information:
(From Italy Book Tours)

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Amazon UK
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Meet the Author:

Born in Surbiton, Surrey in 1944, Alan Moore lives in Barnes, SW London, with his wife, Amber. They have two daughters and a son, who between them have two boys and two girls with another boy expected in May. Alan was educated at Oundle School in Northamptonshire and at London University, where, as an external student, he obtained a BA degree in English. Thereafter, for 25 years, he single-handedly ran his own book publishing company, which at one stage was producing up to 20 titles a year. Now, at the age of 74, he has self-published his first novel.

For me, this was a very disappointing read. First of all, i was aware that i will be reading something outside my comfort zone, but in some cases, i enjoyed a those reads a whole lot. However, there are cases where I don't enjoy the book, and unfortunately, this is one of the cases. Where to begin? I admire that the author tried to build up strong and memorable women personalities in his book, as well as having an intriguing plot of mosquitos and the mysterious painting, but the execution of the story begs to differ. As a woman, I found myself very uncomfortable when one of the female characters discusses her sexual life with her father, or at least assures her father that her boyfriend is for sex only.  And I also didn't like that most of the time when it comes to women, there is only focus on sex. To be fair the women did do other actions like work or try to understand the world, but numerous times the author often referenced their voracious and sexual appetite. The mysterious painting and the mosquitos epidemic wasn't tied up together at all, which left me wondering if it would have been better should the stories have split up. If you are looking for a story that contains too much gore, and doesn't focus on psychology, then this is the right read, but if you want a strong female lead with psychological thriller, look elsewhere.     

This is for Italy book tours

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.)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Spotlight for The Boy Who Dreamt of fire trucks by Alvita Mack

Book Details:

Book Title: The Boy Who Dreamt of Fire Trucks by Alvita Mack

Category: Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7), 26 pages

Genre: Children's Books, Cars, Trains & Things That Go, Cars & Trucks

Publisher: Mindstir Media

Release date: September 26, 2016

Tour dates: May 28 to June 22, 2018

Content Rating: G

Book Description:

This story is about a little boy who is fascinated by fire trucks. Throughout his early life, he has dreams about the adventures at the station and the exciting life of a firefighter. The little boy holds his dreams close until one day they become a reality.

To follow the tour please visit Alvita Mack's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Watch the book trailer:  

Meet the Author:

Alvita is a lover of writing, a teacher, and most importantly, a mom. Writing has always provided a creative outlet for which she finds sensible solutions. Having a son with developmental delays was very challenging for her. However, she used books and original stories to help him overcome the obstacles he faced at an early age. Alvita believes that the imagination is truly a key that unlocks the doors to an endless journey.

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

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Ends June 30, 2018

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Book Spotlight for Out of time by Thomas William Lowrie

Book Details:

Book Title: Out of Time (A ray Lafayette Novel) by Thomas William Lowrie

Category: Adult Fiction, 264 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, Military and War

Publisher: Mindstir Media

Release date: December 4, 2017

Tour dates: May 28 to June 22, 2018

Content Rating: PG-13

Book Description:

Well, here I go again. All alone except for this suitcase of mine. I’m headed for a new place with new people. Not so bad considering it’s 1944. Lots of guys are in my shoes. We’re in the middle of World War II. Still not so bad. I’m a fireman in the Army Air Corps whatever they’re calling themselves these days. Once again, not bad at all. But I was born in 1963. There’s the bad part.

I was not born with the name Ray Lafayette, but that’s what they call me. I didn’t have kids or smoke a pipe. Hell, I didn’t even like coffee. I do now.

I was born into a different life than this, one with a lot of attachments. Now I carry my life in one bag. One really important bag.

In this time, people call me pal or buddy or sir, good lord they call me sir all the time.

I have friends in this time, and they are the best but do they know me like they think they do? Simply put, NO! Would they die for me? Every bit as much as I would die for them.

To say these folks are tough or strong is an understatement. Superhumans? I don’t think so. They were ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. I didn’t have heroes before this. I didn’t understand them until now.

Since this event has started, I have experienced many things I can’t explain. There is only one other person who has any knowledge of my situation, and I can’t find him. The last words from him were vos non unum, you are not alone.

There was a time I missed all the things that made my life easier as I thought. Here I have no cell phone, no internet, no rock music, no almost anything. As bad as that sounds, I’m not sure if I want to leave here.

To follow the tour, please visit Thomas William Lowrie's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Watch the book trailer:

Meet the author:

Thomas William Lowrie is a WWII writer and author who has published two military novels, He Was and Out of Time.

He has lived outside of Las Vegas most of his life, but his best memories are of the days fishing in South Texas. Summer vacations were the best. That is also where he found his best friend and wife, Tina. He could not have done any of this without her. Of course, Ray pecking at his brain for years had something to do with it too.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Book Spotlight of Poppy by Kat Flannery

Book Details:

Book Title: Poppy (The Montgomery Sisters, Book 2) by Kat Flannery

Category: Adult Fiction, 170 pages

Genre: Historical western romance

Publisher: Picco Press

Release date: May 18, 2018

Tour dates: May 28 to June 15, 2018

Content Rating: PG

Book Description:

Poppy Montgomery has always been good with a gun and could fight her way out of anything. Tough as nails and a sharp shooter, her beauty deceives the outlaws she’s after.

Hot on the trail of the Clemmons gang, a group of outlaws who rob trains and killed an innocent woman and child a few months before, she is determined to make them pay for the sin’s they’ve committed by bringing them to justice.

Pinkerton, Noah Shaw is investigating a ring of stage robberies and knows the Clemmons gang is behind them. Told to track down the infamous redheaded bounty hunter, Noah gets more than he bargained for when he arrests Poppy for assault.

Handcuffed together the pair must work together to stop the robberies, and figure out who is behind them. But what happens when love interferes and thrusts Poppy into discovering emotions she never knew existed? Will she choose the solitude she’s always known or Noah’s sweet embrace?

To follow the tour, please visit Kat Flannery's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. She has her Certificate in Freelance and Business Writing.

A member of many writing groups, Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. Kat enjoys teaching writing classes and giving back to other aspiring authors. She volunteers her time at the local library facilitating their writing group. She’s been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career

Her debut novel CHASING CLOVERS has been an Amazon Top 100 Paid bestseller. LAKOTA HONOR and BLOOD CURSE (Branded Trilogy) are Kat’s two award-winning novels and HAZARDOUS UNIONS is Kat’s first novella. Kat is currently hard at work on her next series, THE MONTGOMERY SISTERS.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Ends June 23, 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Book Spotlight of Buckaroo Buckeye; A Little Nut with Big Dreams by Kristin Anderson Cetone

Book Details:

Book Title: Buckaroo Buckeye: A Little Nut with Big Dreams

Author: Kristin Anderson Cetone

Illustrator: Nadia Komorova

Category: Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7), 36 pages

Genre: Friendship, Social Skills & School Life, Bullies, Growing Up & Facts of Life

Publisher: KLAC Enterprises, LLC

Release date: September 1, 2012

Tour dates: May 21 to June 15, 2018

Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Winner of the Mom's Choice Silver and OneBookAZ Awards!

There's a new cowboy in town! Hit the trail with Buckaroo Buckeye, a lovable little nut who falls from his tree in Ohio, as he dodges the bumps and bullies along the way in a magical journey to find his true place in the world.

Created by Reading Specialist Kristin Cetone, Buckaroo Buckeye teaches children 4-8 to: • Learn to ignore bullies

• Improve their self-esteem

• Connect with reading

• "Dream, Believe and Achieve" no matter their size!

Your child will be inspired by Buckaroo's determination in this touching story with unforgettable characters illustrated by Nadia Komorova. Get yours today!

Buy the Book:

Watch the book trailer:

Meet the author:

Buckaroo Buckeye grew out of author Kristin Anderson Cetone's imagination and joy of reading.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, she traveled many miles before putting down roots in the Arizona desert. Influenced by family, education, life experiences, and a desire to teach others, Mrs. Cetone discovered her purpose---just like Buckaroo Buckeye did.

Her true calling and passion is writing and helping others become successful readers. She created Buckaroo to encourage children to believe in themselves and follow their dreams while dodging the bumps and bullies along the way. Reading will help guide the way. Being a Reading Specialist, she has also created Nuts About Reading™ an informal, supplemental, online reading service. She shares her insights and suggestions to help parents strengthen their children's reading process and become successful readers.

Her joy now is to inspire and help kids to find the Buckaroo Buckeye in themselves.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

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Monday, June 4, 2018

G992 Book Review of the secret to southern charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Name of Book: The Secret of Southern Charm

Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5810-0

Publisher: Gallery

Part of a Series: Peach Bluff Series

Type of book: Georgia, secrets, marriage, hope, faith, mother/children relationships, friendship, south, summer, being for one another, MIA, tragedy, finding self, talent

Year it was published: 2018


A 2018 Spring Okra Pick
One of Southern Living’s Best Spring Break Reads

Leaving fans “practically [begging] for a sequel” (Bookpage), critically acclaimed author Kristy Woodson Harvey returns with the second novel in her beloved Peachtree Bluff series, featuring a trio of sisters and their mother who discover a truth that will change not only the way they see themselves, but also how they fit together as a family.

After finding out her military husband is missing in action, middle sister Sloane’s world crumbles as her worst nightmare comes true. She can barely climb out of bed, much less summon the strength to be the parent her children deserve.

Her mother, Ansley, provides a much-needed respite as she puts her personal life on hold to help Sloane and her grandchildren wade through their new grief-stricken lives. But between caring for her own aging mother, her daughters, and her grandchildren, Ansley’s private worry is that secrets from her past will come to light.

But when Sloane’s sisters, Caroline and Emerson, remind Sloane that no matter what, she promised her husband she would carry on for their young sons, Sloane finds the support and courage she needs to chase her biggest dreams—and face her deepest fears. Taking a cue from her middle daughter, Ansley takes her own leap of faith and realizes that, after all this time, she might finally be able to have it all.

Harvey’s signature warmth and wit make this a charming and poignant story of first loves, missed opportunities, and second chances and proves that she is "the next major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author).


Main characters include the three sisters: Caroline, Sloane and Emerson as well as their mother and grandmother and Sloanes husband Adam. Other characters such as Carolines former husband and Emerson's first love also make appearances and also add more depth to the story as well as Ansleys love and the sisters' children. Like in previous book, Caroline is best described as extremsly status conscious, but while in Slightly South of Simple I rarely if ever saw her positive qualities, in this book her positive qualities are seen, which makes her a more rounded character. In previous book Sloane seemed to inhabit the role of being a mother with little to no dreams or ambitions of her own. However in this story, she is also complex, well rounded, fascinating, and is more than just a mom. Ansley has revealed some shocking secrets to the reader, which will cause others to see her differently, but she also seemed to pale a bit, especially when compare her to Sloane. Male characters were her, but it often felt as if hey were more in the background than anything else.


Mother's and sister's mean everything


The story is in first person narrative from Ansleys and Sloanes point of view, and it does immediately pick up after the cliffhanger from the previous book is revealed. The story is focused on Sloane, the middle sister who becomes afraid of traveling to New York due to a personal tragedy that happened in her life. I will be honest that when comparing Sloane to either Emerson or Caroline, Sloane is like the everyday average woman that I imagine many women can relate to because she is warmhearted, generous and very devoted to those around her. Ansley goes into more detail about her goals and ambitions as well as about her true love, and more stunning information about Ansley's relationship with her husband becomes revealed. There are cliffhangers and I am eager to see them resolved. 

Author Information:
(From the book)

Kristy Woodson Harvey is a born-and-bred North Carolina girl who loves all four seasons, especially fall in Chapel Hill, where she attended college, and summer in Beaufort, where she and her family spend every free moment. The author of Slightly South of Simple, Dear Carolina, and Lies and Other Acts of Love, Kristy is also the founder of hte popular interior design blog Design Chic.


While I really enjoyed Slightly South of Simple, the previous book that was written by the author, i also often got a sense that the book had a lot of untapped potential, especially when comparing it to her latest Peach Bluff addition. In The Secret to Southern Charm, Kristy Woodson Harvey is definitely in her element and isn't afraid to woo and seduce her readers to eagerly follow the heartwarming narrative of mothers and their children as well as grandparents, lost loves and true ones as well as the importance of sisterhood and family. I really loved every minute I spent reading the story and getting a deeper look at our favorite trio of sister's and their mother as well as the sister's own children. New secrets and problems are revealed in this intricate web of south, sisterhood and the roles we play.

This was given 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.)

G993 Book Review of before I Let You go by Kelly Rimmer

Name of Book: before I Let You go

Author: Kelly Rimmer

ISBN: 978-1-525-82084-7

Publisher: Graydon House

Type of book: Addiction, sisterhood, secrets, child abuse, surviving, thriving, loyalty, journal writing, religious sect, prohibitions, pregnancy, taking drugs while pregnant, laws, morality, choices, Alabama USA

Year it was published: 2018


The 2:00 a.m. call is the first time Lexie Vidler has heard her sister’s voice in years. Annie is a drug addict, a thief, a liar—and in trouble, again. Lexie has always bailed Annie out, given her money, a place to sleep, sent her to every kind of rehab. But this time, she’s not just strung out—she’s pregnant and in premature labor. If she goes to the hospital, she’ll lose custody of her baby—maybe even go to prison. But the alternative is unthinkable.

As weeks unfold, Lexie finds herself caring for her fragile newborn niece while her carefully ordered life is collapsing around her. She’s in danger of losing her job, and her fiancé only has so much patience for Annie’s drama. In court-ordered rehab, Annie attempts to halt her downward spiral by confronting long-buried secrets from the sisters’ childhood, ghosts that Lexie doesn’t want to face. But will the journey heal Annie, or lead her down a darker path?

Both candid and compassionate, Before I Let You Go explores a hotly divisive topic and asks how far the ties of family love can be stretched before they finally break.


Main characters include Lexie and Annie, while secondary characters are Ladies fiance, the sisters mother and her second husband. Lexie is best described as extremely dedicated to her family as well as her job and is perhaps a role model for doing what she can  with what life has given her. Lexie is a bit of awe in of Annie's talents of creativity and takes her promise to her dead father very seriously. Annie, at first is best described as both a rebel and a future author before the narcotics. She is a voracious reader and is very loyal to her dead father. Unlike Lexie who tends to try to blend in, Annie does what she can to stand out and in return suffers innumerable consequences for her actions. Lexie fiance sounds a bit too perfect while their mother is far more complex, although the author hints at complexity but doesn't the it up with the story.


Secrets are deadly


The story is told in first person narrative from the sisters' points of view. Lexie discusses the present and how she is attempting to deal with Annie, while Annie writes in a journal about their past and how she got to where she is today. The author does a good job in keeping their lives apart and not letting one or another know each other's secrets. The questions about the sisters become answered to the reader, and because Annie refused to share her pain and secrets, it becomes a heartbreaking moment when he reader knows why she is struggling while others are in the dark. Although my little one was born in a place of happiness and love, this is a story that all mother's can relate to when it comes to cherishing their children.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide and USA TODAY bestselling author of vie novels, including Me Without You and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages.


I know; another five star book. In my defense, there comes a streak of good books and sometimes a streak of bad books. Previously I went through good and amazing stories, which I am currently reviewing, but now I am reading not so good or talented stories. Anyways, this book seriously deserves those five stars due to the emotional rollercoaster and questions and answers it asks, asking us to look deeply within ourselves and see which roles we fall into. Prior to this story, I took for granted that people who are addicts are just that- ill people. But getting to know Annie's heartbreaking story and seeing the devastation addiction causes her older sister, Lexie, has broken my heart into a million fragments. In other words, for me, Annie humanized the addiction and the terrible consequences addiction has on past and present generations. This is not a light and happy read, and the author doesn't shy away from the ugliness and brutality of addiction. But in the midst of heartbreak, there is hope and redemption for the addict, but only if we as the readers dare to listen and understand.

This was sent to me as a surprise for review

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.)

G1006 Book Review of Secrets and shadows by ROBERTA SILMAN

Name of Book: Secrets and shadows

Author: Roberta Silman

ISBN: 978-1-64008-900-6

Publisher: Campden Hill Books

Type of book: Holocaust, Germany, Berlin, blending in, marriage, 1989, 1940s, divorce, secrets, infidelities, secrets, betrayal, past, present 

Year it was published: 2018




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.


Main characters include Paul and his ex wife Eve. Paul is best described as someone who has appropriate looks to escape being thought of as Jewish ( blonde hair and blue eyes,) and upon arriving to America, he did his best to assimilate into American life one way or another. Paul also has a complex history that he doesn't want to acknowledge nor talk about to those closest to him. Eve is an American born redhead of Jewish origins and has done her best to tolerate Paul's infidelities as well as his behavior, but being in the dark about his past caused her to leave him. She is loyal and will do whatever she can for her loved ones. She will also defend those who need defending. She is practical, sweet and often used to be in awe of Paul. While there are secondary characters and their roles are important, i feel it will be best that the reader meets them for himself.


There is more to life than black and white


The story is written in third person narrative from Paul's and Eves points of view, and the story is both told in past and present. The past is italicized while present is told in normal font. This is not a book one flies throuh, but it's a story designed to be read carefully, to basically peel away layers upon layers of onion, and to examine the evidence carefully from all sides. THE story is also best  described as slow paced with a lot of pondering and thinking.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Roberta Silman is the author of the story collection, Blood Relations, three novels, Boundaries, The Dream Dredger, Beginning the World Again, and two books for children, Somebody Else's Child and Astronomers. She si the recipient of Fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The American Scholar, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other magazines and quarterlies both here and abroad. Her work received two National Magazine Awards for Fiction, The CHild Study Association Award for the Best Children's Book of the year, Honorable Mention for both the PEN Hemingway Prize and the Janet Kafka Prize. Her criticism has appeared in THe New York Times, the Boston Globe, and she is now a senior contributor to the online magazine ArtsFuse. She ahs three childrena and five grandchildren and lives with her husband in Boston and Western Massachusetts.


When I was in my early twenties, at one time I watched a Japanese drama translated as "grave of the fireflies" ( Hotaru no haka) which dares to ask a very difficult question: when there is threat or scarcity, who becomes worthy of survival and who is destined to die? In other words, what is the right path when one can't have it both ways? This book also dares to ask the same question with little or no clear answers: who deserves to live when there is threat to ones life? And will this " survival" become more than just "survival?" Told over a span of mere days with the fall of Berlin wall as a background, the story focuses on estranged couple of Paul and Eve, who have gotten divorced over five years ago. As Paul convinces Eve to see his childhood home, just like Berlin Wall, the walls come down, opening for a chance of possibilities and healing. This is a wonderful novel of questions and learning and exploring. It's also important to read it in small doses because in one blink important details can be missed.

This was given for a review

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.)

Friday, June 1, 2018

Book Spotlight for A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles

Book Details:

Book Title: A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles

Category: Adult Fiction, 382 pages

Genre: Historical fiction

Publisher: iUniverse

Release date: January 17, 2018

Tour dates: May 21 to June 8, 2018

Content Rating: R

Book Description:

It is the mid-1960s in Kingston, Jamaica, and the country is steeped in social, political, and economic inequities. Howard Baxter, the heir to a real estate empire, has no interest in seeking or managing wealth. Painting and deflowering Jamaican maidens are his passions. As he combs the streets looking for greater meaning in his pathetic life, it soon becomes apparent that Howard's journey will not be easy.

Bernaldo Lloyd, a member of the Baxter clan, is a medical student who is sensitive to the hopelessness of the Jamaican masses. Inspired by his close friend and Howard's cousin, Ras Robin Pone, and their ties with the Rastafari movement that calls for social and economic equity, Bernaldo is determined to overthrow the corrupt government. As Howard, Bernaldo and Robin become influenced by America's Black Power and Civil Rights movements demanding equal rights for African Americans, the women in their lives both love and criticize them. But when revolution breaks out, Howard finally discovers a purpose for his twisted life that leads him in a direction he never anticipated.

In this tale of love, passion, and self-discovery, two Jamaican men become caught up in a 1960s revolution that reveals injustices, oppression, and a purpose for one of them.

Praise for A Reason for Living:

“Riveting, touching on micro and macro relationships of love, sex and politics, and the search of Jamaicans for the essence of their existence, with many compelling scenes and very touching, sensitive dialogues.”

- Dr. Basil Wilson, New York Carib News

"A Reason for Living is a highly complex work that pits sense against sensibility. Emotions surge, transforming men in unfathomable ways. And as love and revolution march in lock-step, Jingles might well have earned a place among the region’s more interesting writers."

- Glenville Ashby, Kaieteur News

“The author, filmmaker, entrepreneur did not wile away five decades as a bystander but may have calculatedly used the hiatus to toil in order to reveal a compelling novel about the creative and volatile ‘60s in Jamaica.”

- Vinette K. Pryce, Caribbean Life

Buy the Book:

About the Author:

Julian Jingles has had a professional career spanning 52 years writing for publications such as the Jamaica Gleaner, the New York Amsterdam News, JET magazine, the New York Daily News, and the New York Carib News. He began work on his novel A Reason For Living in 1966, a teenager just graduating from high school in Jamaica. In 1967 he went to work as a journalist at the Gleaner Company, the oldest published newspaper in Jamaica, and the Caribbean. He has written, produced, and co-directed three documentary films, production managed several music videos featuring Kool and the Gang, Steel Pulse, the Main Ingredient, promoted several music concerts, and a stage play, along with investing in several entrepreneurial projects in America, and Jamaica.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ LinkedIn

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Ends June 16, 2018

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