Shanley Keagan is a young boy living in Dublin with his alcoholic uncle. His mother had died and he doesn't know who his father is other than he is frShanley Keagan is a young boy living in Dublin with his alcoholic uncle. His mother had died and he doesn't know who his father is other than he is from America. His uncle has little Shanley work in pubs that will have him as a vaudevillian. He earns a bit of money and usually gets a free meal for his efforts.
Eventually Shanley gets on a boat heading for America and is taken in by an Italian family and takes on the name Tommy Capello. A lot happens during this time however, eventually Tommy ends up at the notorious, Alcatraz Prison. Is he really guilty of the crime he is convicted of and will he get out? You will have to read the book to find out!
I started rooting for Shanley/ Tommy from the first chapter. He has a zest for life that is contagious and is very talented. He doesn't want to be a burden to anyone yet loves his new Italian family and learns how to fit in.
It is clear to me that Kristina McMorris really did her research on both Ireland and American in the era. Her writing is poetic and makes the story come alive. This book would make an excellent movie if it were to land in the right hands! In fact, it came alive and made me feel like I was watching a movie. Sometimes I even felt like I was in it!
I love books about the immigrant experience and this is one I can highly recommend. It has catapulted into my top 5 in the genre! If you love historical fiction books about the immigrant experience. Life on Alcatraz as both a inmate, worker, and family living on the Island is also riveting. 'The Edge of Lost' is a must read!
I received the ebook edition for my honest opinion. ...more
I have read many fictional, non-fiction, and memoirs about the Holocaust. I just can't seem to get enough of the subject. I think it is a deer in theI have read many fictional, non-fiction, and memoirs about the Holocaust. I just can't seem to get enough of the subject. I think it is a deer in the headlights kind of thing, I keep wondering how humanity can let this happen. Yet, similar things keep happening to this day. How is shooting or bombing mass amounts of people, much different than making them work in forced labor and then gassing them to death so different? I personally don't think it is. They are all evil.
In 'But You Did Not Come Back', 15 year old Marceline Loridan-Ivens is taken with her father from France to the camps during WWII and the Holocaust. They are in neighboring camps and her father manages to get a note to her which lifts her spirits. She is relieved to know he is still alive. However, by the time she is rescued, she finds out he did not make it.
When she returns to France she is reunited with her mother and other family members who were able to hide when her father and herself were taken. They can't possibly understand what she went though and it was hard for her to relate to them the same way as before. It is hard for her to just go on as if nothing had ever happened. However, she does find a way to move on.
Marceline Loridan-Ivens writes a poetic almost meditative account of her experience during the Holocaust. It is deeply moving and had me in tears, in parts. However, She is a survivor and an inspiration to us all! She has gone on to work as an actress, a screenwriter, and a director.
I received the ebook version from Net Galley for my honest review. ...more
I don’t read contemporary romances very often. Most of my dear readers know that my favorite books are historical, literary fiction, memoirs, biographI don’t read contemporary romances very often. Most of my dear readers know that my favorite books are historical, literary fiction, memoirs, biographies, and some non-fiction. However, I do diverge from those every once in a rare while. Something about ‘The Christmas Bridge’ intrigued me enough to get me to read it. I think it was a combination of the beautiful snow covered bridge on the cover and that it is a book written by a husband and wife team.
Olivia is a 40 year old woman whose husband died of a heart attack a year ago. She has not been able to move on with her life since. Even her dear father-in -law, Taylor Scott thinks it is time for her to move on.
Olivia is an art and antiques business and is asked by her boss to go on a business trip to New York City for him. She is to attend a action and place some bid. However, he is also hoping that the trip with allow Olivia to move on and have a little fun. Olive attended NYU and met her college boyfriend Andrew in Central Park on the ‘Bow Bridge’.
Olivia arrives in New York and takes a walk in Central park and visits her favorite place there, ‘Bow Bridge’. There she meets the very famous baseball player, Brett Baylor. However, she has no idea who he is but is attracted to him. He invites her out to dinner at a local hang out of his and Olivia can believe what a commotion there is over Brett. People are taking photos of him with their cell phone and asking for his autograph. Olivia has to ask him why people are so interested in him and is embarrassed by it. However Brett finds it quite refreshing that she has no idea who he is.
Mean while, Olivia has also made plans to meet Andrew for dinner. She hasn’t seen him in 20 years and wonder if there will still be an attraction between them. Will Olivia end up with Brett or Andrew? My lips are sealed.
This is a very light and fun book to read. It is a very fast and entertaining read and sucked me in from the first page. There was an incident that made me cry and feel so bad for Olivia. It kept me up reading into the wee hours of the morning to the end. I could barely breath. I was able to predict the outcome but that didn’t detract from the pleasure of read it. In fact, I kind expect some predictability from this kind of book. If you are looking for a light and delightful read, I highly recommend ‘The Christmas Bridge’. You don’t even need to be a believer in Christmas to enjoy it. I, myself don’t believe in it but still thoroughly enjoyed this book!
I received this ebook for my honest review....more
Tom Michell grew up in southern England and wanted to travel. In his 20’s, he went to teach at a boys boarding school in Argentina so that he could maTom Michell grew up in southern England and wanted to travel. In his 20’s, he went to teach at a boys boarding school in Argentina so that he could make money and travel. This was at a time when Argentina’s dollar value fluctuated widely from day to day. He was given an advance of 1 million pesos and told to spend it all on anything he think he might need right away. Otherwise it wouldn’t buy as much the next day.
When the school was on breaks he got to travel. He went to Uruguay for a few days and he discovered many penguins by the sea all covered in oil and dead. However, there was one penguin that was moving and he decided to rescue him. He took the penguin to the place he was staying and cleaned him up in the bathtub. He tried to bring him back to the sea where there wasn’t noticeable oil but the penguin followed him.
He figured that the penguin’s feathers were no longer waterproof and felt there was no alternative but to smuggle him across the border to Argentina and bring him back to the school with him. He named the penguin Juan Salvador and everyone love him.
Tom Michell shares many of the stories and escapades that ensued while Juan Salvador was with him. He also shared his travels and the turbulent times in Argentina. This is a tender hearted memoir with lots of laughs and, yes, some tears. The writing is lyrical and the book was near impossible to put down. It is a very fast read and enjoyable read. I adored this book and highly recommend it!
I received the ebook for my honest review. ...more
It is 1918 and Rachel Rabinowitz is a four year old girl living with her mother, father, and brother, Sam in a small tenement in New York //city's LowIt is 1918 and Rachel Rabinowitz is a four year old girl living with her mother, father, and brother, Sam in a small tenement in New York //city's Lower Eastside. When their mother is killed and their father leaves, Sam and Rachel are taken away and separated. Since Rachel is only four, she is taken to the Infant Jewish Orphanage. At the orphanage she is experimented on by Dr. Mildred Solomon. She is forced to drink barium which, Dr. Solomon tells her is a "milkshake". If you have ever had to drink the stuff, it is definitely nothing like a "milkshake"! Rachel is the subjected to many X-rays that leaves her bald from the radiation. When Rachel turns six, she is sent to the Children's Jewish Orphanage and is reunited with her brother, Sam. However, she is constantly being made fun of by the children because she has no hair. Due to events that happen Sam is forced to flee the orphanage and Rachel is left alone again. She only has one friend which she thinks Sam was paying to be her friend. When Rachel turns 15 she runs away from the orphanage and goes to find Sam. As an adult Rachel becomes a nurse in Manhattan. She works at Old Hebrews Home and one of her patients happens to be Dr. Solomon. Around the same time Rachel finds out that she has cancer, most likely due to the radiation she was exposed to from Dr. Solomon's experiments. As you can probably guess, Rachel becomes obsessed with getting payback from Dr. Solomon. This book was riveting! I had a hard time putting down and when I did, I had trouble falling asleep because I couldn't stop thinking about it! The characters and plot were well developed. As were the time and places. This book is said to be based on true events. I couldn't help but think about the experiments on Jews in concentration camps. Even before that it was happening in the U.S. and possibly even worse, there were Jews experimenting on Jews! I highly recommend Orphan # 8! 4.5/5 I received the ebook version for my honest review. ...more
I read this book because I like Picasso but I also like historical fiction books with historical or popular figures in them. I saw the title 'Madame PI read this book because I like Picasso but I also like historical fiction books with historical or popular figures in them. I saw the title 'Madame Picasso' and was automatically drawn to it for that reason. Eva Gouel flees her parent home in the country side when she is told by her father that she must marry a man she does not love. She has never lived on her own and knows nothing about finding work in the very limited employment pool for women. However, she meets a woman who works for the Moulin Rouge and she not only gets her a place to live but also helps her get a job. She starts working at the Moulin Rouge as a seamstress. She has to quickly make costume repairs during performances. There is one actress who is very demanding and mean but Eva soon wins her over with her creative work. Things are going well for Eva and then she meets Picasso and falls for him fast. However, she soon found out that their is a woman who calls herself "Madame Picasso'. Has he been deceiving her? She certainly doesn't want to be his mistress! I fell in love with Eva from the beginning. Yes, she is quite naive when she first move to the city but she learns very quickly how to survive. She makes friends easily even with Gertrude Stein! She does get in tight spots but always manages to get through them. This book gave me a mix of emotions happy, sad, laughter, and also devastation. I have to say that I sobbed uncontrollably for part of it. This book was very hard to put down! If you are a fan of historical fiction, this is a must read for you. You will not be disappointed. I received the ebook from Net Galley for my honest review....more
I have been vegan for over 25 years, so I have collected a lot of vegan cookbooks over the years. They are an addiction so I rarely turn down the chanI have been vegan for over 25 years, so I have collected a lot of vegan cookbooks over the years. They are an addiction so I rarely turn down the chance to review a new one. So, I jumped at the chance to get the ebook version of 'Food 52 Vegan' It covers some of the basics but I would not call it a book for beginner vegans. It does have some good recipes. I made the Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Pesto Vinaigrette. It was good but not a favorite. I also made the Snow Pea, Cabbage, and Mizuna Salad with Smokey Tempeh. I loved this salad! However, I couldn't find any Mizuna so used Arugula. The Jerk Chili with Quinoa and Kidney Beans was quite good. I can't agree that this cookbook is totally "hassle-free" since not all the ingredients are readily available. I even went to Whole Foods looking for Mizuna and they didn't have it. They have quite an extensive produce section and I turn to them to stock up on ingredients I can't find elsewhere. There are 60 recipes in this cookbook but not all sounded that appealing to our palettes in this household and we are not usually that picky. I would certainly make the Snow pea, Cabbage, and Mizuna (arugula), Salad again, in fact, I have already made it three times. It is an excellent main course salad!
I received the ebook for my honest review. ...more
Ben’s sister, Kate dies of cervical cancer and her husband, Roger, also Ben’s best friend, disappears before the funeral. There is an ongoing search fBen’s sister, Kate dies of cervical cancer and her husband, Roger, also Ben’s best friend, disappears before the funeral. There is an ongoing search for Roger but after six months he just shows up, out of the blue, with a new wife. Her name is Jessica and she is a dead ringer for Kate!
There are also strange things going on at Rogers house and he himself is acting crazy. He says that there are little people, he calls Katoy under his house. He claims they run machines under his house and watch his every move. He tries to show both Ben and the police the Katoy under his house but they don’t hear or see anything.
Then Jessica is found dead in their living room and once again, Roger has disappeared. Has he gone totally bonkers?
Mean while, Ben has his own problems to deal with. His car, which he calls Margaret is now his best friend and she breaks down. He has a condition called B.C.E.D (Bio-chemical electrical discharge) that causes devices to act strange or not work at all.
The plot is intricate and creative and the characters are Tegon Maus’s trademark, quirky characters. Perhaps even more quirky than the other two books of his I have had the pleasure to read. This book has it all! There are conspiracies, mysteries, psychics, little people and their machines. Of course there is Maus trademark sense of humor as well. his quirky characters and humor make me laugh out loud, big belly laughs.
If you haven’t read anything by Tegon Maus, this would be a good place to start. It is book one in ‘The Eve Project’ series. Of course if you have read some of his books, don’t miss ‘Machines of the Little People’!
I received this ebook for my honest review....more
In 1937 Shirley, an American woman is left in North China with her Teen-aged son, Charles when her Reverend husband dies in an accident. She mourns foIn 1937 Shirley, an American woman is left in North China with her Teen-aged son, Charles when her Reverend husband dies in an accident. She mourns for a very long time. However, one day a bunch of Chinese end up on her door step trying to escape certain death from the Japanese invaders. Many are injured and since Shirley use to be a nurse, she sets up a hospital in her house.
Meanwhile the head Reverend is making plans for all of the Americans in the complex to go back to the U.S. soon. They are not part of the war but they also know that they won't be safe for much longer in China.
While Shirley tends to the wounded, her son, Charles is left to his own devises. As happens with most teenagers, he gets into mischief. A very dangerous situation with the Japanese presence. However, he also does a lot of growing up which, Shirley doesn't even notice until much later.
Do the Americans get out of North China in time? What happens to Shirley and Charles? You will have to read the book to find out.
While reading the book my admiration for Shirley really grows. She ends up being a strong female who makes her own decisions and rescues many people from death were their wounds to go untreated. However, I also get really mad at her for practically abandoning her son. Just because they live in the same house doesn't mean that she is being a mother to him which, he desperately needed.
I have to confess that it took me until the fourth chapter to really get into this book. However, once I got to chapter four, I found it almost impossible to put the book down! The drama and plot builds and builds while the main characters are well drawn out. I think Virginia Pye captures the place and time beautifully. So much so that I felt like I was transported to 1937 North China.
If you haven’t been following Constance Corcoran Wilson’s ‘Christmas Cats’ series with your children, you are missing out. It is such a fun series thaIf you haven’t been following Constance Corcoran Wilson’s ‘Christmas Cats’ series with your children, you are missing out. It is such a fun series that teaches kids about compassion. Who doesn’t love a fun Christmas story to share with kids? I certainly do and I don’t even celebrate Christmas! LOL!
In this new book in the series, the Christmas cats are at it again! This time they are rescuing deer from evil hunters and then from starvation. Don’t worry, it’s not a scary book! Mr. and Mrs. Claus make an appearance in this book as well.
The artful and colorful illustrations of Gary McCluskey and the writing of Constance Corcoran Wilson is sure to please. If your kids enjoy Dr. Seuss, your kids would enjoy the entire ‘Christmas Cats’ series! This would make a great gift for Christmas!
I received the ebook version for my honest opinion....more
In the beginning of this book Zeena Nackerdien gives us perspective on how prevalent Type 2 Diabetes is in many different countries and continents incIn the beginning of this book Zeena Nackerdien gives us perspective on how prevalent Type 2 Diabetes is in many different countries and continents including the U.S., China, the Middle East, and Africa. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are "29.1 million people who have diabetes" and there are many who don't even know it. Nackerdien also sites that "China has 96 million, India 66.8 million, and Africa 21 million." Included in the short book is hope. For people who have use of smart phones there are several apps that can help people make wiser food choices. I know that my sister uses one because whenever I go to Minnesota to visit family, I see her use it. In fact, when her and I go out she tells me how many calories is in just about everything we see. LOL! When she knows she skips all of her meals but the one. It has been working for her for a few years now. She has dropped a lot of weight and is totally off insulin. Nackerdien has also discussed newer science that is helping doctors and families find out how pre-disposed they are to diabetes. If you know that you are at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, you can start making wiser food decisions. There are also support groups that can help. There are several signs you can watch for that may give you a clue that you may be diabetic. Some include "increased urination, increased thirst, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, increased hunger, and sores that do not heal." If you have any of these symptoms, you should talk with your doctor. There are blood tests to diagnose if you have diabetes. If you live in a western country, you most likely have easy access to all that I have mentioned. It is much harder in other places like India and Africa. This book and its companion 'HIV/TB/Diabetes Resource Kit' packs a lot of information into a short number of pages. Some of it is aim a bit more towards professionals and more of it is aim at everyone else. Most of it is easy to understand and gives many helpful suggestions to people who may have a disposition to or already have type 2 diabetes. This book is so empowering!! In my opinion, 'Perspectives On Type 2 Diabetes is a must read for anyone who is at risk for getting type 2 diabetes or those who have already been diagnosed as having it! ...more
In this Historical fiction memoir, Beryl Markham, born in 1902, has had a very unconventional upbringing. She was born in England and brought to KenyaIn this Historical fiction memoir, Beryl Markham, born in 1902, has had a very unconventional upbringing. She was born in England and brought to Kenya as a young child. Her mother hated living in Kenya and abandoned Beryl and her father to live in England, once again. Beryl was left to wonder the vast grounds on their estate, on her own. You could even say that she was partially raised by the natives, called the Kipsigis tribe, who also live on the estate.
She learned the Kipsigis ways along with her playmate from the tribe, Kibii. He was her only childhood friend.
Due to her up bring, people thought of her as fearless. At 17 years old, her father decides to leave his failing estate and work as a horse trainer at far away estates. Beryl is given the option to go with him and his mistress or marry. As much as she loves her father, she does not get along with his mistress and decides to marry.
She soon discovers that her husband has a drinking problem and eventually leaves and becomes the first female horse trainer in Africa, at the age of only 18. Because she is female, it takes a long time for her to gain the respect she earns in her trade.
Throughout her life, she has many affairs but nothing that lasts. Her most famous affair being that with Denys Finch Hatton. She considers him to be the love of her life but he is the type who can’t commit fully to one woman and certainly is not the marrying type.
In her late 20’s, Beryl learned to fly and in 1936, she becomes the first female to fly solo across the North Atlantic from England to Cape Breton Island, Canada.
Paula McLain’s writing is nothing short of sumptuous! She brings Beryl Clutterbuck Markham back to life for us all to know this fascinating woman from history. Every time I had to put this book down, I felt like I was abruptly dropped back into 2015. I wish I could have lived in this book forever!
I found Beryl Clutterbuck Markham to be truly inspirational. I highly recommend ‘Circling the Sun’ for lovers of historical fiction and strong females, as well as those who love the backdrop of Africa. If I had to sum this novel up in one word, it would be mesmerizing....more
Professor Manny Gellerman has always been fascinated with Raoul Wallenberg and the mystery of his disappearance after WWII. This novel is a book of faProfessor Manny Gellerman has always been fascinated with Raoul Wallenberg and the mystery of his disappearance after WWII. This novel is a book of fact mixed with fiction. The facts are that Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, saved thousands of Jews in Budapest from certain death. After WWII he was taken by the Soviets to prison and he was never heard from again.
This novels is the fictionalized investigation into Wallenberg's disappearance. Manny Gellerman has always been fascinated by Raoul Wallenberg and what might have happened to him after he was hauled off by the Soviets. He becomes even further intrigued after reading his graduate student's thesis on Wallenberg. During her study and investigation, she met a woman in Budapest who claims that she is Wallenberg's daughter. The records show that he hadn't been married and Manny had suspected that Wallenberg was gay.
Manny travels to both Russia and Budapest to try to find out more about Wallengerg's disappearance and the possibility that this woman could indeed be Wallenbergs daughter.
The visits Manny has with the woman are quite odd, especially at first. She isn't very forthcoming but overtime she begins to trust Manny but should Manny trust her?
It took me a good 50 pages to get into this story but once it got into the actual research, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Lelchuk gives us enough factual background into Wallenberg to make the reader interested in the man himself and weaves a credible scenario around it. This is a great book for WWII historical fiction fans. If you don't know who Raoul Wallengberg was, you should and this novel is a good introduction....more
Laney is a 32 year old widow. Her husband died three years ago and she has put her life on hold. She feels guilty for his death and for the brief affaLaney is a 32 year old widow. Her husband died three years ago and she has put her life on hold. She feels guilty for his death and for the brief affair she had before he died. She doesn’t feel she’s ready to date yet and has not been motivated to work. Then Christopher, a 16 year old boy turns up at her house looking for a donation for the Eagle Scouts. He is instantly attracted to her and though she brushes him off, she is attracted to him as well.
Christopher wont let up and starts pursuing Laney. He tries to talk her into sleeping with him and says he wont tell anyone. Laney’s 7 year old son is also quite fond of Christopher. Meanwhile, Laney meets Bill, Christopher’s father. He asks her out and she accepts. After their first date he asks her to marry him. This is all overwhelming for Lacey and going way to fast for comfort.
This well written novel delves into the triangle relationship between Laney, a 16 year old boy and his father. Though Christopher professes his love to Laney, in my opinion, this is not a love story. It is said to be in the romance/thriller genre but I wouldn’t label it as such. It is literary and contemporary, for sure. It definitely has a noir edge. It is about passion and guilt and what happens once you let the proverbial genie out of the bottle....more
With the war and food rations Charlotte is having trouble feeding her husband Thomas and daughter, Kate. She even takes and butchers one of the rabbitWith the war and food rations Charlotte is having trouble feeding her husband Thomas and daughter, Kate. She even takes and butchers one of the rabbits Kate is raising to help pay for college. Charlotte doesn’t understand why Kate would want to go to college anyway.
With the cherry harvest coming near Charlotte wonders how Thomas is going to be able to harvest the cherries all by himself. Their son and most of the other men in town are off fighting in the war. Then she hears that German prisoners of war are going to be staying near town and comes up with the idea to have them pick the cherries. She even persuades the local authorities to allow it but the town folk are against it.
The Germans are bused to the farm with guards and stay in the workers barracks on the grounds. Soon Thomas befriends Karl, one of the prisoners. He is not like the rest. He was a teacher in mathematics the one high school course Kate is struggling with. Thomas convinces Charlotte into letting Karl tutor Kate. They even invite him into their home for dinner.
It about then when things start to unravel. I won’t tell you anymore because I don’t want to risk spoilers.
I ran hot and cold with this book, one minute I liked it, the next, not so much. I was so excited about it when I read the description because as much WWII fiction and non-fiction I have read, I haven’t come across much on German POW’s in the U.S. or anywhere, for that matter.
I saw so much potential for this book but it just didn’t seem to come together in a cohesive book. There were several interesting plots but none really explored to their potential. I would have liked to have know more of Karl’s history and into some of his thoughts. I also think there should have been more about the PSTD (post traumatic stress disorder) that Kate’s brother and other men returned home with.
Even with it’s flaws, I am glad I read ‘Cherry Harvest’ and think that Lucy Sanna has potential to be a better writer, possibly even great. I would like to see more plot and character development from her. For her first novel, it was a good effort and I would be interested in reading her next to see where her writing takes her....more