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 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
My thoughts: This debut novel explored themes of preservation/environmental issues vs. progress, the complications of the past intruding on the presentMy thoughts: This debut novel explored themes of preservation/environmental issues vs. progress, the complications of the past intruding on the present to fulfill future ambitions, and a peek into the expectations of women based on class and race. The primary setting for the novel is the 1950s Montana while flashbacks into the history of the main characters provided for me intriguing events that kept me reading when the storyline faltered for me. The setup for the story was great and the prose transported to the canyons/open spaces of Montana – I vividly saw the landscape, one that I have not visited personally. I will admit that my favorite character was the mysterious John H. – anytime he was on the scene I was engrossed in his storytelling. I had mixed reactions to Catherine. I like it showed her character living her life by rote expectations based on her race and class but when she found something outside these expectations she allowed herself to take a chance to step outside the box. It was her pluckiness vs. her naivety that for me often did not sit right with me. Another interesting aspect of the book was the exploration of the Crow culture and how they were also divided on the issue of preservation vs. progress. The young Crow woman Miriam was a nice contrast to Catherine and showed how similar outlooks on life are reflected by one’s culture and ethnicity. All of the characters had to deal with their own ambitions, conscience, and what they believed was right. ...more
While I am not a big fan of short fiction, I do realize the value of a novella prequel to introduce an upcoming series to reads. I must say that the aWhile I am not a big fan of short fiction, I do realize the value of a novella prequel to introduce an upcoming series to reads. I must say that the author achieved her goal of writing an engaging prequel and has me anticipating reading the books in the series. I am big fan of historical fiction especially stories which looks into the history of black people. I appreciate how the author wrote the characters with dignity and grace within the troubling time period of the 1840s. This is a sweet romance that is fully flushed out in the novella and who does love a feisty heroine and protective hero finding their happily every together. I am glad to find a historical series that I can read along with my teenage granddaughters. ...more