Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Two-Faced Truth by Roy & Dee Kay

“As the law of nature holds, the more you take away from others, the greater you pay the remunerations.” ~Rudra (in Roy & Dee Kay’s novelette The Two-Faced Truth)

Hello, Dear Bloggites.  I am bringing you a special book review.  As you all know, I am all about supporting new and up-and-coming authors working the craft.  This book review is on The Two-Faced Truth by Roy & Dee Kay.

The Two-Faced Truth by Roy & Dee KayThe authors offered a free copy of this novelette for honest reviews to get the word out to the world about their amazing book. 🙂  As you all know, I love a good mystery book and I am here to tell you I just finished a fast-paced, jam pack story in The Two-Faced Truth!

The authors, Roy & Dee Kay, wrote a story that quickly captured my interest and pulled me in from the first surprise to the last!  Yes, you read it, multiple surprises were provided to me in this book.

The story is about two friends, Neel & Rudra, bound by ties so deep that everything became lost in the mix.  The friendship was forged and destroyed by these deep ties.  Love, Loss, and Destruction were palpable in this novelette.  The book was written from each character’s point of view.  One chapter was on Neel and what he was experiencing and seeing and the next would be on Rudra and what he was experiencing and seeing during the same time-frame.

The authors did a good job on creating complex characters in this book and the only thing that I would say I found distracting were the few typos in the novel.  Being a first book, typos are standard, and this book was no different.  Overall, I would highly recommend any reader wanting a fast escape from reality to pick up this book.  It is an easy and fast read.

I give The Two-Faced Truth by Roy & Dee Kay 4 out of 5 Bookmarks!  Thank you, Roy & Dee Kay for a wonderful reading experience.  I look forward to reading your next books.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Cane River by Lalita Tademy

“Sometimes, while you wait for what you think is better, what is good enough slips away.” ~Philomene (in Lalita Tademy’s novel Cane River)

Woo Hooo!!! I am impressed I have been blogging consistently for a week or so, Dear Bloggites!  Go ME!  Okay, enough self-celebrating.  Today’s blog is over March’s Books & Broads Book Club book choice.  This month (YES, you read that right, I am caught up!), the book club chose to read Cane River by Lalita Tademy.

Cane River by Lalita TademyThe premise of this historic novel is about five different generations of a slave family, specifically, the women-folk, and how they were treated by their plantation owners and white people in general just because of their skin color.  This book was INTENSE!  The time-frame is from the 1830s to the 1930s.  The backdrop was in Louisiana on a medium-sized Creole plantation owned by a family named Derbanne.  The four main women in the book were Elisabeth, Suzette, Philomene, and Emily.

The author, Lalita Tademy, created this work of fiction based on stories she heard about her great, great, great, great grandmother, who happened to be the girl in the fifth generation in the book.  While the time and experiences shared in the book were based on historical facts, the story line itself was a work of fiction created from the author’s own mind on how life might have been like for her great, great, great, great grandmother.

I normally do not like reading books like this, however, I found myself enjoying the dynamics of each complex character and how the women found a way to overcome what life threw at them no matter how the dice rolled against them.  I found this a very emotional read and enjoyed the book until the end.  The end pissed me off so much that I threw the book across the room.  It ended with one of the female characters “Rosa Park”-ing the bus.  No flack against Rosa Park and no jab meant to that movement, I just felt that it was wrong to end the book in that manner.

I give Cane River by Lalita Tademy 3 out of 5 Bookmarks.  I only recommend this book to avid readers that love the history of the Civil War time.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

“No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.” ~May Crandall (in Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Ya’ll!  I am writing this book review on February’s book chosen by The Books & Broads Book Club: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.  I was hesitant about this book based on the story line.  It sounded very depressing and I do not like depressing…LOL

Before We Were Yours by Lisa WingateThe story line is about five siblings who were kidnapped from their river home while their Mom and Dad were at the hospital for their Mom to give birth to their twin siblings.  The story follows Rill Foss and her determination to protect her sisters and brother when they are taken to Georgia Tann’s Memphis, Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage.  The story toggles from 1939 to Present day while the different stories are played out throughout the book.  Present day finds an up-and-coming politico, Avery Stafford, who moves back to Aiken, South Carolina to help care for her father who is fighting Cancer and to get her name out there to take his place in the Senate if he passes from the Cancer.  During her time in Aikin, Avery, meets an older lady named May Crandall who sets her in motion to find the long-hidden secret of her family’s history to find out how May Crandall is associate with her grandmother, Judy Safford.

Onto the review, Dear Bloggites.  This story is an emotionally draining story in my opinion.  It is written in first person (which I hate) and toggles between 1939 Tennessee and present-day South Carolina.  Even though I do not like first person, it worked well in this book because of the different players you are following throughout.  Lisa Wingate created well developed characters in this book and even though the topic was deep and depressing, you did find moments of humor and lightness to help comfort the reader and give them a break from the heaviness of the subject.

The story became very predictable as I read the book and by the middle, I had already figured out who each person was and how it was going to end.  This was sad for me because, while I am reading a depressing topic, I was hoping the author would put a twist in there so the reader was surprised by the ending instead of underwhelmed and left with a feeling of, “Meh, okay.”  The book is a work of fiction but is based on real life events that happened in Memphis, Tennessee with Georgia Tann and her kidnapping of children from poor homes to place them (at an expensive cost) in the homes of financially well, established members of society.

I give Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you don’t mind depressing topics, go out and give this book a whirl.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: News Of The World by Paulette Jiles

“This is writing.  This is printing.  This tells us of all the things we ought to know in the world.  And also that we ought to want to know.” ~Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (in Paulette Jiles’ novel News of the World)

Hi Ho, Dear Bloggites.  This book review is on January’s Books & Broads Book Club choice.  In January, the book club read News of the World by Paulette Jiles.  The setting and premise of the book was interesting.  The book was set in 1870 North Texas.  Of course, I was immediately intrigued because that is the part of Texas where I live.

News of the World by Paulette JilesThe book was about Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an elderly man who travels through Northern Texas and stops in towns reading the latest news from papers he picks up along the way.  In Wichita Falls, Captain Kidd is approached to take a young orphan, Johanna, who had been kidnapped four years earlier by Kiowa raiders after killing her parents, back to her relatives in San Antonio.  The journey was a 400-mile trek through rough terrain, but Captain Kidd agreed to return Johanna to her family.

Pretty good premise, yes?  Sadly, I did not like this book.  Many, many times I found myself wondering what the purpose was of the author, Paulette Jiles, when she decided to write this story.  Not only was it boring, but there seemed to be no core purpose in the storyline aside from traveling 400-miles.  I know fiction does not have to have a purpose, but it does have to make sense and this book did not make sense to me with how it was formatted.

When it seemed like some action was going to happen, I was disappointed to see nothing happen, and the minimal moments when there was action it was underwhelming.  The characters were not as developed as I like and there were moments of humor and moments of emotion, but not enough to keep me engaged as much as I could have been.

There was great imagery and some clever sentences in the book, but it did not help this book capture my attention like so many other books have.  Throughout the book you followed Captain Kidd and Johanna as they travel on the road and he tries to reteach her the English language while learning what certain Kiowa words meant.  I know the author really tried to engage the audience, it was almost palpable during many scenes, but she just could not take it the rest of the way through.  Kudos to the author for writing a passion project, because that is the only thing that makes sense to me after reading this book.

I give News Of The World by Paulette Jiles 2 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Happy Reading!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis

This is it!  I have finally finished the last book the Books & Broads Book Club agreed to read for this year.  The November Book chosen by the book club was The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis.  Let me tell you, Dear Bloggites, I made a huge sigh of relief finishing this one because I finally feel “caught up” to the other ladies in the club…LOL  On to the review:

The Moment She Left by Susan LewisI was unsure if I would like this book only because I was told the majority of the ladies in the book club did not like this book.  So, I figured it was going to be one of two things for me: 1. I hate it or 2. I love it.  The answer is 2!  I loved this book!  I was already intrigued simply because it was a mystery AND a fiction book AND not about Hitler or WWII or any other war there is! 🙂  The story line for The Moment She Left was about a young girl who disappears one day without a trace.  This young lady had everything going for her and her life was perfect, then she disappeared.  Two years after the disappearance without a single clue what happened, the father, Blake, asked an ex-detective, Andee Lawrence, to revisit the case.

Andee, as a favor for a friend of hers, agrees to revisit the case even though she was sure the police did everything they could to find her and yet could not find any leads.  Andee is a woman newly separated from her husband and is trying to find her way for herself outside her husband and children even though she is getting a lot of grief from everyone in the family.  Taking on this case is a good distraction for Andee and as she starts digging in, finds that there is an area that was missed by the police.  Once this area was discovered, a whole world of secrets are exposed for almost the entire town and one way or another, the key players are all tied to this disappearance.

No more story giveaway, on to the review.  Susan Lewis did an amazing job and building out each character in this story while adding to the overall plot.  The characters were well rounded and while this story was a mystery, there were funny characters that lightened and endeared the readers that much more to the town and people.  This story is the first in a series on Andee Lawrence and I do plan on buying the others in the series because I really liked this character.  Andee’s struggles with balancing life and work are struggles any one can relate to and the author wrote so well that you felt the emotions each character was feeling at the moment they had those feelings.

The only thing I did not like was that two-thirds of the way through the book, the end result of who did what to whom was apparent and so there was no surprise ending.  That was a bit of a disappointment for me because I like those stories that keep me guessing until the very end.  Even though the end became predictable, I still enjoyed the book and liked how each character was tied into the disappearance and how they were tied into the incident.  Overall, I loved this book and recommend you go get it if you enjoy a good mystery that does not confuse you.

I give The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you like a mystery, go out and give it a read.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown

Life wins again, Dear Bloggites. :-/  I finished this book in October when it was the actual Books & Broads Book Club monthly choice, but am just now able to write this review.  The October Book Club book choice was The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James BrownI must admit, I was leery about reading this one because it was yet another book set in WWII and has Hitler as a feature due to the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  Fortunately, I rallied on and found that I loved this book!  My goodness, I was so surprised at what I read in this book because most of the Book Club members did not like this book and a few did not read it (yet).  I did go into this book thinking of it as a story about relationships through hard times thanks to the lovely Alice who enjoyed this book (I believe it was Alice, if not, please do not flog me friends).

Going into the story with the focus on relationships, I had the proper eyes to read this book and see all the amazing things about this story.  Daniel James Brown shared this amazing non-fiction story told from the eyes of one of the key members of the rowing team that fought their way to the Olympics against all odds.  While the author does go into a lot of technical elements of rowing and how the boats are built, I enjoyed reading the information because I am always loving to learn new things about the world around me.

The story focuses on nine young American college boys who joined the college rowing team.  All the boys are from many different walks of life and on different journeys in their lives, but managed to form a bond so tight that it dissolved the differences between them and forged the similarities that affected them throughout their lives.  These young men worked hard to obtain the right to go represent America in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and once there, won the gold medal against Hitler’s massive rowing team.

Throughout the novel, you are taken on an emotional journey of love, fear, joy, hate, and insurmountable dedication to achieve the dreams of these young men – a better life and a gold medal from the Olympics.  The relationships that the author highlighted throughout the novel between the boys and their family and friends, gave an intimate insight into life in the 1930s and how Americans lived during the depression and WWII.

The only fault I found in this book was that there were times that the technical repetition of how to row a boat throughout the book became a little daunting, but I believe it served a purpose to get the reader in the minds of the boys while rowing the boat as a team.  Overall, I loved this book and recommend it to those who love a real life, feel good story.

I give The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown 4 out of 5 Bookmarks! 🙂  Happy Reading, Dear Bloggites!  Smooches!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Hello, Dear Bloggites.  Here is another book review from my personal collection on Audible.  Amazon offered this book as an early read/listen before its release date, and because of life (you know that crazy thing that screws up all plans), I just got around to listening to it.

The Butterfly Garden by Dot HutchisonI love a good mystery, I love a good detective novel, and this book offered both.  The book is called The Butterfly Garden (The Collector #1) by Dot Hutchison.  The story is a different twist on a serial kidnapper/rapist.  Instead of writing the novel like most detective books where the reader follows the detectives on their journey of solving the crimes being committed, Dot Hutchison writes from the view point AFTER the bad guy is caught and follows the interviews of the kidnapped victims by the detectives.  This story line intrigued my sense of all things odd and unusual.

The main character is a kidnapped teen/young woman who was renamed Maya by the Gardener, the name the kidnapper told the girls he took to call him.  The Gardener would kidnap young girls around the age of 16 years old, the age he felt all women were in perfect form, and would rape them and tattoo huge butterfly wings on their backs.  He called them his “butterflies” and created this enclosed garden for the butterflies to live in until they turned 21 where he would then “capture them into an eternal beauty”.  I cannot tell you more on the story line without giving it all away so you will have to grab a book and find out. 😉

The way the author wrote the story, I was a little confused as to what was going on at the beginning because she toggled from one-character point of view to another.  Once I realized her cadence with the writing, I was pulled into the story.  As Maya fills in the detectives about what happened in The Butterfly Garden, the reader learns of how the Gardener hunts his prey when he picks his ‘Butterflies’; how the girls obtain their ‘wings’; and how the sons of the kidnapper became involved with all the girls being kept as captives.

The ‘Butterflies’ in the garden had to learn to get along with one another and as their knowledge grows of each other and their shared treatment from the Gardener, they form their own family with each other and always looked out for one another and mourned the loss of any ‘butterflies’ that were taken from the garden.  Maya was a sort of housemother to the girls in the garden taking on the role of caring for all of them and the newly kidnapped girls.  The other girls looked to Maya for answers due to her ability to manipulate the Gardener and one of his sons to obtain things the girls need in the garden.

The only issue I had with this book was that it did toggle back and forth from one point of view to another in the first person which I am not a fan of.  This book is the first in a trilogy written by the author.  I have not read Dot Hutchison before and I will probably get the other two in the trilogy to round out my collection.  She does write well and is able to give the readers a true understanding of the bad things that happened to the women by the kidnapper without providing too much detail or gore.

I give The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison 3 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Toodles for now! 🙂

~4-Ever, P