Dazzling with glamour, entertaining with gossipy deeds, provocative with emotional profundity, and gritty with the trappings of a society that valuedDazzling with glamour, entertaining with gossipy deeds, provocative with emotional profundity, and gritty with the trappings of a society that valued group expectations this voyeuristic tale titillates and satisfies the reader. While reading this book I was drawn back to a time before social media when a pastime was reading the monthly magazines to see what the rich and famous were up to. I was drawn into the glamorous world of New York in the 1950s – 1970s when a closed group of women, known as “the swans” let an unlikely person into their confidence. Just when the gossipy tone gets to be a little too much the author expertly turns the plot in another direction that exposes the faults in the façade. I recommend this book for readers looking for a pleasurable page-turning read. ...more
A mesmerizing entertaining read! Set in the Gilded Age this page-turner filled with the glitz and glamour of the monied where a whisper of a scandal sA mesmerizing entertaining read! Set in the Gilded Age this page-turner filled with the glitz and glamour of the monied where a whisper of a scandal shuns them from their privileged position meets the grittiness of the underworld as architect John Cross will have to successfully navigate both worlds to repay his son’s gambling debts and save his family. I greedily read this suspenseful tale in one night as I was anxious to see how the “arrangement” would play out for George, especially as intriguing actions by his family and the appearance of an estranged brother pushes the plot along in delightfully unanticipated ways. Ethical dilemmas, family loyalty, and desperation are the backdrop for murder, greed, deceit and duplicity facing the characters. The author’s architectural eye provides the vivid detail of the buildings and streets making them as important as the characters. Kudos to the author for keeping me in the time and place of this tremendously fun book so much I did not mind when the actions seem a little less than plausible. This is my first read by the author but I will definitely looking forward to reading more of his books. I recommend this book to readers looking to immerse themselves in a gripping amusing storyline that satisfies on all counts. ...more
I had mixed reactions to this compelling compassionately told story of four men from disparate backgrounds grappling for ansThis was a 3.5 read for me
I had mixed reactions to this compelling compassionately told story of four men from disparate backgrounds grappling for answers and their place in the late eighteenth century American South. The action of the book takes place over a couple of weeks in 1788 in what is now Alabama. I enjoyed how the author deftly guides us with her compelling storytelling skills as the characters try to make sense on how each should proceed and the tension builds and builds to heart-stopping and exhaling points. With remarkable frankness and nuances the time and place comes alive with a gripping richness not often seen in stories of this time. To appreciate the full experience of the main characters – an escaped slave, a Creek Indian, an abused white man, and a curious adaptable Frenchman – we needed to know their stories which are done through a lot of internal monologues and flashbacks which often had me not being as engaged in the story. I also liked how the story explores the female characters that affected each of the male characters and added a layer of realistic complexity. Overall this is a deeply moving gem that is sweeping in scope but intimate in its telling of human nature. It is a welcome addition to the southern historical fiction genre exploring issues that still speak to contemporary times. ...more
I wholeheartedly enjoyed this engaging rambunctious adventurous story based loosely on the life of African-American cowboy Nat Love a.k.a. Deadwood DiI wholeheartedly enjoyed this engaging rambunctious adventurous story based loosely on the life of African-American cowboy Nat Love a.k.a. Deadwood Dick. Gritty, brutal but wonderfully addictive as humor, perseverance, and a pinch of luck showcases the time, the 1870s, and place, the frontier, from the point-of¬-view of an African-American. A colorful cast of secondary characters (and the appearances of known Wild West persons) adds to the enjoyment of the story. The landscape is also a character that in its harshness and beauty moves this fast-paced story along as you expect a well-done Western movie. But it is the author’s rendering of Nat’s voice that makes this book soar. I felt like a kid sitting around a campfire wide-eyed in wonderment as Nat geared his storytelling to my laughing, crying, and sighing. Overall, Paradise Sky is a beautifully crafted unputdownable novel and is most definitely my top recommendation for a summer read.
This book was provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ...more
My thoughts: • This was a 3.5 star read for me that I rounded up to 4 because of the historical information provided. • I was a little confused at the bMy thoughts: • This was a 3.5 star read for me that I rounded up to 4 because of the historical information provided. • I was a little confused at the beginning by the characters we are quickly introduced to and their relation and reactions to each other but reading a little further cleared up my confusion. • For me the most fascinating aspect of the book was information regarding the Bosnian War of which I knew very little before reading this book. I also like the format of how the information was presented to us. At the beginning of each chapter was an actual quote from testimony, correspondence, etc from information collected regarding the war. Also as appropriate there was background chapters inserted regarding survivors of the war. At the back of the book the author includes the source of this information. • I also enjoyed the parts about Andalusia and the Muslim impact on that region • For me mystery series are also about the lead investigators of the crime/puzzle/mystery to be solved and Esa and Rachel are an interesting pair with intriguing back stories that readers will I sure learn more about in future books. I also liked the idea that Esa is a practicing Muslim. • I also enjoyed that this book was set in Canada. • There were a couple of times when I thought the prose got in the way of the story and seem to trip it up a little for me. But nothing really to worry about. • I would recommend this book to fans of cultural mysteries and history. I will definitely be looking forward to the next book in the series.
In this magnificently ambition tale a politically naïve Percival Chen, the headmaster of a successful English academyThis was a 4.5 star book for me.
In this magnificently ambition tale a politically naïve Percival Chen, the headmaster of a successful English academy in 1960s Saigon believes in the superiority of his Chinese heritage and the value bribes are the keys to his success. After all this has worked with past conquerors, the Japanese, the French and the Americans–no matter how temporary their stay but being oblivious to the newest player for control will challenge Percival beyond his nightmares. I was captivated by this book from the beginning and held spellbound to the last paragraph by the Lam’s storytelling ability to intertwine the history/connection of Vietnam, China, Hong Kong and the foreigners. This was an audio book for me and the narrator effectively conveyed the tension, arrogance, love, and betrayals. I believe part of the appeal of this book for me can also be contributed to my recent trip to China and Hong Kong and reading the wonderful book, “Ghost Month” by Ed Lin helping me to appreciate the complexly layered history of this region. Lam has crafted a gripping masterpiece that captures a street-level view of the complexity of a world where one misstep can lead to an unraveling of all that you hold dear. I recommend this book to readers of historical fiction. ...more
Cantankerous ornithologist Jim Kennoway whose leg was recently amputated retreats to an island off the coast of Maine and just wants to be left alone Cantankerous ornithologist Jim Kennoway whose leg was recently amputated retreats to an island off the coast of Maine and just wants to be left alone. Instinctively the reader knows there is much more to Jim’s orneriness than meets the eye as the elegiac language is often betrayed by restrained humanity. In this story, it is the arrival of Cadillac, the daughter of the Melanesian man who scouted with Jim during WWII, on her way to Yale to study medicine that allows the floodgates of Jim’s memories to encroach into ours. The well-layered flashbacks provide the details, and the spellbinding poetic language provides the muted emotions, taut suspense, and pending release in a heartfelt manner. But the brilliance of this tale was the evocation of place and time whether is it was WWII ravaged Solomon Islands, sultry pristine Cumberland Island at the turning of the twentieth century, present day Fox Island off the Maine coast or the competitive academic world of Manhattan. This hauntingly moving tale held my attention from the first page and dared me every time I thought to put it down before the final page. Needless to say I stayed up late into the night to finish. This was my first read by the author and look forward to reading more of her work. I recommend to readers who like stories regarding owning memories, life expectations, and acceptance. ...more