FLASHBACK FRIDAY

FLASHBACK FRIDAY
FLASHBACK FRIDAY

Long Bright River

Long Bright River
Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Axeman of New Orleans by Miriam C. Davis- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK: 

From 1910 to 1919, New Orleans suffered at the hands of its very own Jack the Ripper–style killer. The story has been the subject of websites, short stories, novels, a graphic novel, and most recently the FX television series American Horror Story. But the full story of gruesome murders, sympathetic victims, accused innocents, public panic, the New Orleans Mafia, and a mysterious killer has never been written. Until now. 

The Axeman repeatedly broke into the homes of Italian grocers in the dead of night, leaving his victims in a pool of blood. Iorlando Jordano, an innocent Italian grocer, and his teenaged son Frank were wrongly accused of one of those murders; corrupt officials convicted them with coerced testimony. Miriam C. Davis here expertly tells the story of the search for the Axeman and of the eventual exoneration of the innocent Jordanos. She proves that the person mostly widely suspected of being the Axeman was not the killer. She also shows what few have suspected—that the Axeman continued killing after leaving New Orleans in 1919.

Only thirty years after Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of Whitechapel, the Axeman of New Orleans held an American city hostage. This book tells that story.

READ AN EXCERPT:



MY REVIEW:


The Axeman of New Orleans: The True StoryThe Axeman of New Orleans: The True Story by Miriam C. Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Axman of New Orleans: The True Story by Miriam C. Davis is a 2017 Chicago Review Press publication.

I thought I had heard about most serial killers, recent, past or distant past, but I never heard about this case. I understand this story was even featured on ‘American Horror Story’, but I don’t want much television, so I missed out on that.





 This case is utterly fascinating and so absurdly strange, it’s impossible to believe some of the things that happened back then.

Starting in 1910, a series of murders targeting Italian immigrants, who mainly operated grocery stores, began to occur with an uneven frequency.

The murders are very gruesome and harrowing, and there doesn’t appear to be much a motive aside from the obvious one, which was a strong dislike toward the Italians.

The police, of course, had limited resources and New Orleans was especially under funded and inexperienced. Interviews with the victims and eyewitness accounts were often all they had to go on, other than suspicious behaviors. Often a suspect was held, only to be released due to a lack of evidence.

But, eventually, a couple of arrests were made, based on false testimony. A trial was held which ended with a couple of convictions, the details of which are detailed at length in this book and made for some pretty interesting courtroom drama.

But, the real killer was never brought to justice, and in fact continued to kill after leaving the New Orleans area.




It’s a perplexing case, which caused hysteria, and frankly echoes the sentiments people still seem to hold against immigrants, or other races, no matter what era of time, or the circumstances. But, it is worth noting that New Orleans was packed with immigrants from a number of areas, so why Italians? There are several theories, but it is still very strange.

It was also sad, since several of the victims were young married couples, some with small children. Some of the cases were pinned on the ‘Cleaver’, that may not have been connected, and innocent people found themselves under suspicion. There were several odd incidents that turned out to be unconnected, but were very curious, indeed.

New Orleans is always an interesting locale, and despite the grim subject matter, I did enjoy reading many of the historical details of the period.

I’m thankful the author decided to tackle this case, which as far as I know hasn’t garnered the mass media attention other serial killers from long ago did, and has remained relatively forgotten.

The book isn’t very long, but it’s packed with intrigue and drama and is very puzzling, as well as frustrating to think someone got away with so many murders, and people suffered who were innocent of any wrong doing.

This a quick and easy to read true crime story that definitely held my attention and has piqued my interest in this crime and the era it took place in.

True Crime readers and those who enjoy history or historical mysteries will not want to pass this one up.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Axeman-New-Orleans-True-Story-ebook/dp/B01M06SMW7/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-axeman-of-new-orleans-miriam-c-davis/1123528091


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Miriam C. Davis has a PhD in history and is the author of Dame Kathleen Kenyon, a biography of the most important female archeologist of the twentieth century. She lectures for Smithsonian Journeys and lives in Montgomery, Alabama.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Last Night at Tremore Beach by Mikel Santiago- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

What starts out as an idyllic summer holiday on the Irish coast soon becomes a living nightmare with unpredictable consequences for a world-renowned composer and his family in this chilling psychological thriller.

Recently divorced and in the middle of a creative crisis, Peter Harper decides to take shelter on Ireland’s scenic and isolated Tremore Beach. But after he is struck by lightning one stormy night, he begins experiencing terrible headaches and strange dreams. As the line between his dreams and reality begins to blur, Peter realizes that his bizarre dreams may be a warning of horror still to come…

READ AN EXCERPT:




MY REVIEW:


The Last Night at Tremore BeachThe Last Night at Tremore Beach by Mikel Santiago
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Last Night at Tremore Beach by Mikel Santiago is a 2017 Atria publication.

An excerpt from my review posted on Night Owl Reviews:

Still, this is a fun, fast paced thriller, entertaining enough and worth taking a look at, especially since this is a debut novel and shows the author’s potential, which I would say is very promising. 3.5 stars

To read my entire review, click on this link:

https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Re...

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Night-Tremore-Beach-Novel-ebook/dp/B01HMXUU16/


http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-last-night-at-tremore-beach-mikel-santiago/1124016001



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Mikel Santiago was born in Portugalete (Vizcaya) in 1975. He consecrated his youth to play in rock bands and later began publishing stories and short novels on the Internet, with which he managed to reach the Best-Sellers list in Spain and the United States. His first novel "The Last Night On Tremore Beach" was a resounding success of criticism and publicity. He has lived in Ireland and the Netherlands for almost a decade and now combines his activity as a writer with a rock band and the software world.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Cries in the Night by Debra Webb- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Every second brings them closer to finding her daughter—and brings him closer to finding out the truth. Secrets of the past ignite in this passionate thriller from USA Today bestseller Debra Webb.

Haunted by her daughter’s cries in the night, Melany Jackson will stop at nothing to track down her precious child. And if that means joining forces with Colby investigator Ryan Braxton—the man she still desperately loves—then so be it. Without a second to spare, Melany and Ryan frantically try to unravel the maze of clues in this confounding case. But what Melany fears even more than her electrifying response to Ryan’s potent masculinity is that he might discover her child...is also his.


READ AN EXCERPT:






MY REVIEW:


Cries in the Night (Colby Agency)Cries in the Night by Debra Webb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cries in the Night by Debra Webb is a 2016 Harlequin Special Releases publication.

This book was originally published by Harlequin Intrigue in paperback format in 2004. This is the new digital format of the book and is a Harlequin special release.



Melany miraculously survives a horrific car crash, only to discover her two year old daughter did not survive. Still, Melany is convinced her daughter did not die and literally uncovers proof that her daughter’s body was not buried.

Calling in the FBI to work on the case, Melany finds herself face to face with her former lover, Ryan Braxton. Although he is the last person she wants to see, she knows if anyone can find her daughter, he can.

Debra Webb is a wonderful, and very popular romantic suspense writer, especially with readers, who has, in my experience, always delivered fast paced and emotionally charged novels.

This one is especially taut with suspense since it deals with a missing child and truly sinister crime operation. Melany is the only one convinced her daughter is still alive and like any mother whose child is in danger, she is prepared to fight to death to learn the truth and save her daughter. But, there are other complications, since she and Ryan have a shared past, and Melany is keeping certain details to herself that might shake Ryan to the core.

The plot is tight and thick with tension, as Melnay and Ryan a race against the clock, and try to quell the simmering chemistry between them.

I read this book in one sitting and am planning on adding more Colby Agency titles to my TBR pile. If you are a fan of romantic suspense or fast paced thrillers I highly recommend any books by this author!

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Cries-Night-Colby-Agency-Debra-ebook/dp/B01M7TL19E/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cries-in-the-night-debra-webb/1100345559


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DEBRA WEBB is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 100 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil and the Colby Agency series. She is the recipient of the prestigious Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense as well as numerous Reviewers Choice Awards. In 2012 Debra was honored as the first recipient of the esteemed L. A. Banks Warrior Woman Award for her courage, strength, and grace in the face of adversity. Recently Debra was awarded the distinguished Centennial Award for having achieved publication of her 100th novel. With this award Debra joined the ranks of a handful of authors like Nora Roberts and Carole Mortimer.

With more than four million books in print in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood when, at the age of nine, her mother bought her an old typewriter in a tag sale. Born in Alabama, Debra grew up on a farm. She spent every available hour exploring the world around her and creating her stories. She wrote her first story at age nine and her first romance at thirteen. It wasn’t until she spent three years working for the Commanding General of the US Army in Berlin behind the Iron Curtain and a five-year stint in NASA’s Shuttle Program that she realized her true calling. A collision course between suspense and romance was set. Since then she has expanded her work into some of the darkest places the human psyche dares to go. Visit Debra at www.debrawebb.com.

Monday, March 27, 2017

I'll Be Damned by Eric Braeden- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

In this startling candid and poignant memoir, the legendary Emmy Award-winning star of The Young and The Restless, America's #1 soap opera, chronicles his amazing life, from his birth in World War II Germany to his arrival in America to his rise to humanitarian and daytime superstar for the past thirty-five years.

For nearly four decades, fans have welcomed the star of television’s number-one daytime show, The Young and the Restless, into their living rooms. While they’ve come to know and love the suave Victor Newman, few truly know the man behind the character, the supremely talented Eric Braeden. I'll Be Damned is his story—a startling and uplifting true tale of war, deprivation, determination, fame, and social commitment that spans from Nazi Germany to modern Hollywood.

Braeden’s journey from a hospital basement in Kiel to the soundstages of Los Angeles has taught him more about joy, heartbreak, fear, dignity, loss, love, loneliness, exhilaration, courage, persecution, and profound responsibility to the global community than he could have hoped to learn in several lifetimes. Growing up in the years after Germany’s defeat, Braeden knew very little about the atrocities of his parents’ generation, until he arrived in America as a teenager—a discovery that horrified and transformed him. Trying to redress the wrongs of his homeland, he has dedicated his life to humanitarian work—even forming the German American Culture Society—working for decades to show the world that what we share as humans is far more important than what separates us from one another.

Told with openness, candor, humor, heart, and occasional raw vulnerability, I’ll Be Damned reveals a man committed to making the world a better, more loving place. Filled with sixteen pages of photos from his decorated life and career, I’ll Be Damned will be a treasured keepsake for Y&R fans, and is an inspiring testament to the goodness within us all.


LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:




MY REVIEW:


I'll Be Damned: How My Young and Restless Life Led Me to America's #1 Daytime DramaI'll Be Damned: How My Young and Restless Life Led Me to America's #1 Daytime Drama by Eric Braeden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

200 I'll Be Damned, by Eric Braeden is a 2017 Dey Street publication.

Here is an excerpt of my review posted on Night Owl Reviews:

The book also includes some very nice glossy photographs of Victor and his lovely family and his famous Y&R co-stars.

I have no idea what I was expecting, but I got a lot more than I bargained for. In fact, I think I just might start checking in on Victor on Y&R again to see what he’s up to these days.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, but if you are a fan of this actor, you will really enjoy learning about his background and life story, which is surprising, refreshing, and makes a very compelling read.


ERIC STARRING IN  THE RAT PATROL




To read the full review, click on this link:

https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Re...





GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Ill-Be-Damned-Restless-Americas-ebook/dp/B01FQQGYYI/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ill-be-damned-eric-braeden/1124026564


VICTOR NEWMAN THROUGH THE YEARS:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Eric Braeden is a German born American actor best known for his role as Victor Newman on the soap opera The Young and the Restless. Braeden has played Newman since 1980. He is also known for his roles as Hans Dietrich in the 1960s TV series The Rat Patrol, and as John Jacob Astor IV in the 1997 film Titanic. He won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1998 for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for the role of Victor Newman.


Friday, March 24, 2017

The Road to Enchantment by Kaya McLaren- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

As a young girl, Willow watched her mother leave their home in Washington State in a literal blaze of glory: she set the mattress of her cheating husband on fire in her driveway, roasting marshmallow peeps and hot dogs before the fire department arrived. 

And with that, she and Willow set off to New Mexico, to a new life, to a world of arroyos and canyons bordering an Apache reservation. Willow was devastated. Her eccentric mother believed in this new life and set about starting a winery and goat ranch. But for Willow, it meant initially being bullied and feeling like an outsider. Today, as a grown woman, Willow much prefers Los Angeles and her job as a studio musician. But things tend to happen in threes: her mother dies, her boyfriend dumps her, and Willow discovers she is pregnant. 

The DeVine Winery and Goat Ranch is all she has left, even if it is in financial straits and unmanageable back taxes. There is something, though, about the call of “home.” She's surprised to find that her Apache best friend Darrel along with the rest of the community seems to think she belongs far more than she ever thought she did. Can Willow redefine what home means for her, and can she make a go of the legacy her mother left behind? 

Told with Kaya McLaren’s humor and heart, The Road to Enchantment is a story about discovering that the last thing you want is sometimes the one thing you need.

READ AN EXCERPT:

 

MY REVIEW:



The Road to EnchantmentThe Road to Enchantment by Kaya McLaren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Road to Enchantment by Kaya McLaren is a St. Martin's Press publication.

Excerpt from my review on Night Owl Review:

However, Willow’s character development is fun to watch. Witnessing her growth and self-discovery was rewarding, plus, the secondary characters are eccentric, but very likable, and their contributions are what gives the story a real dash of color.

Overall, this is a pleasant contemporary fiction novel that fans of Women’s Fiction or Chick-lit will enjoy.

To read the full review, click on this link:

https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Re...



GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Road-Enchantment-Novel-Kaya-McLaren-ebook/dp/B01HW6Z2MU/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-road-to-enchantment-kaya-mclaren/1123683455


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



After a couple years as a nomad spending winters in Mexico, Kaya McLaren has recently returned to her roots are in the mountains of Washington State. She returned to her career as an art teacher, as well, a career that took her to diverse landscapes like the Quinault Rainforest, Snoqualmie Pass, the wheat country of north central Oregon, and the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in northern New Mexico. In addition to being a writer and art teacher, she's been an archaeologist and a massage therapist. She enjoys art in all its forms, making music with friends, travel, riding horses, telemark skiing, kayaking, soaking in hot springs, and going for walks with her Mexican street dog, Frida.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Secret Wife by Gill Paul- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

A Russian grand duchess and an English journalist. Linked by one of the world’s greatest mysteries...

Love. Guilt. Heartbreak.

1914: Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance—and their lives—in danger...

2016: Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long-buried family secret...

Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Dinah Jefferies.

LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:






MY REVIEW:
The Secret WifeThe Secret Wife by Gill Paul
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Secret Wife by Gill Paul is a 2016 Avon publication.

This book is an amazing, epic love story, unlike any I’ve read in a long time!

When Kitty Fischer makes a shocking discovery about her life and marriage, she flees England in search of the property in the Adirondacks she recently inherited. The place is in horrible disrepair, but she sets to work restoring it, while searching out her personal connection to her great-grandfather, Dmitri, the original owner of the property. This is a journey that will take the reader all the way back to 1914 where Dmitri is recovering from a war wound, and meets the great love of his life, Tatiana Romanov.

Like most of you, I have heard stories about the Romanov family. Most of us are familiar with Anastasia, but this novel features her sister, Tatiana, which is a refreshing change of pace. I have not thought about the Romanov family in a very long time, and for some reason, books based on the family or this period in history never seems to show up on my radar. So, because it was so unlike other historical fiction, I normally read, this one really captivated me.

While Kitty does the research into her family tree and discovers the shocking truth about her grandfather, she is feverishly restoring the cabin she inherited, and avoiding contact with her husband until she figures out how to get her life back on track. Her story is the contemporary thread that links the past with the present, but it’s Dmitri and Tatiana’s story that held me prisoner, and broke my heart into a million pieces.

The author obviously did a great deal of painstaking research, providing incredible and lush details that put me right there in the midst of royal opulence, only to later find myself experiencing the fall of the Tsar and the horrors of war, right along with Dmitri and Tatiana. We follow their tragic, but, powerful love story, and Dmitri’s years following the war. I was absolutely on the edge of my seat, riveted, and mesmerized!

I also enjoyed Kitty’s personal growth, her journey toward self-discovery, her awakening, so to speak. Although, she could have worded it a little better, I was happy she decided to use a negative experience as a chance to take stock of her life and made something good come from something bad.

Those of you who have followed my reviews, know that on occasion, I whine about the demise of the sweeping romantic historical sagas of old, so you can imagine how very much I loved this story!

The only thing left to say is: READ THIS BOOK!!


5 stars!!

View all my reviews GET YOUR COPY HERE:


https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Wife-captivating-romance-passion-ebook/dp/B01D4O804G/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-secret-wife-gill-paul/1124751786



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in recent history. Her new novel, The Secret Wife, is about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914. It’s also about a young woman in 2016 deciding whether to forgive her husband after an infidelity.

Gill’s other novels include Women and Children First, about a young steward who works on the Titanic; The Affair, set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fall in love while making Cleopatra; and No Place for a Lady, about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.

Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects (to be published 1st October 2016) and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.

Gill was born in Scotland and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in West Virginia when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – "It's good for you so long as it doesn't kill you"– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls "research trips" and attempting to match-make for friends.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:


Althea Bell is still heartbroken by her mother’s tragic, premature death—and tormented by the last, frantic words she whispered into young Althea’s earWait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She’ll find you, I think, but if she doesn’t, you find her.

Adrift ever since, Althea is now fresh out of rehab and returning to her family home in Mobile, Alabama, determined to reconnect with her estranged, ailing father. While Althea doesn’t expect him, or her politically ambitious brother, to welcome her with open arms, she’s not prepared for the chilling revelation of a grim, long-buried family secret. Fragile and desperate, Althea escapes with an old flame to uncover the truth about her lineage. Drawn deeper into her ancestors’ lives, Althea begins to unearth their disturbing historyand the part she’s meant to play in it.

Gripping and visceral, this unforgettable debut delves straight into the heart of dark family secrets and into one woman’s emotional journey to save herself from a sinister inheritance.

READ AN EXCERPT:






MY REVIEW:

Burying the Honeysuckle GirlsBurying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter is a 2016 Lake Union publication.


Wow, I got more than I bargained for with this novel!

The southern backdrop is perfect for this atmospheric tale of family secrets and retribution.

Althea has no idea what is in store for her when she returns home after a stint in rehab. Her brother is running or office and her power hungry sister-in-law will stop at nothing to see Althea does nothing to mess that up. But the most disturbing thing for Althea is seeing her Alzheimer’s ridden father in such a bad place and his horrible reaction to seeing her again.

But, she really gets a shock when she discovers that her upcoming thirtieth birthday is a milestone in more ways than one and she could be about to inherit a terrible legacy that has been passed down from generation to generation on her mother’s side.

In order to break that chain and discover the truth about what really happened to her mother and grandmother, Althea must stay one step ahead of her own family.

This is an incredible debut novel that held my attention from start to finish. The story flips back and forth between the present and the past, telling the troubling story of Althea’s grandmother back in the 1930’s alongside Althea’s present day struggles.

There is a definite race against time element in both threads and a real heart pounding sense of dread, mingled with the mystery and drama.

The story is both sad and utterly horrifying. The author does a terrific job of defining the characters, of creating a dark, emotionally taut force, and adding just a tiny pinch of Southern Gothic to top it off.

Overall, this book was a major surprise for me. I’m so glad I took a took a chance on this one in the Kindle store!!

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Burying-Honeysuckle-Girls-Emily-Carpenter-ebook/dp/B017LGAKEG/

THIS BOOK IS ALSO IN THE KINDLE UNLIMITED PROGRAM IS YOU SUBSCRIBE. 

ABOU THE AUTHOR:
EMILY CARPENTER, a former actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she now lives in Georgia with her family. BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS is her first novel. You can visit Emily online at emilycarpenterauthor.com.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Swing Time by Zadie Smith - Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Two brown girls dream of being dancers--but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.


LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:





MY REVIEW:


Swing TimeSwing Time by Zadie Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Swing Time by Zadie Smith is a 2016 Hamish Hamilton publication.

I picked this book out while reading through some of 2016’s award nominees, eager to read outside my comfort zone for a while.

The story begins with the childhood friendship between two ‘brown girls’ who forge a strong bond, despite their difference in upbringing and approach to life.

Tracey is a talented dancer, while her unnamed friend dances to the beat of a different drummer, so to speak.

As we follow the paths these two embark on in life, the friendship that once cemented them together, begins to crack. Still, no matter what transpires for each of them, that bond seems indestructible and impossible to ignore completely.

This book is truly multi-layered. Tracey has a goal, a purpose, despite her troubled home life. But, her undisciplined childhood promotes unflattering behaviors in her.

Our narrator, may not possess the natural talent of her friend, but her life is grounded by a father who loves her and a strong mother who works hard to achieve her own goals, set an example for her daughter, and hopefully provide her with a better life in the process.

The story is filled with lush locations, introduces us to different cultures, and even has musical soundtrack. The writing, of course, is exceptional, and characterizations vivid and alive.

The women featured are so exotic, each with a distinct and profound sense of themselves, except perhaps for our narrator who is still on that path of self -discovery.

The pop star the narrator works for might conjure up an image or two of real life divas, the mother is a character who leaves a strong and forceful impression on her daughter, and there is no question that Tracey’s friendship has had an impact. Hawa is a unique character, as well. A woman who embraces her life despite the cultural judgements our sensibilities might balk at. All these women make an impression on the narrator in some way and will help her chose her path.

I hope I’ve taken from the book what the author was attempting to express, but for some reason, I find it difficult to articulate what that might be.

I think our storyteller was so focused on leaving her old neighborhood behind, once she manages to do that, she seems to struggle with her selfhood. She attempts to wear several hats, but they don’t always seem to fit.

“I saw all my years at once, but they were not piled up on each other, experience after experience, building into something of substance—the opposite. A truth was being revealed to me: that I had always tried to attach myself to the light of other people, that I had never had any light of my own. I experienced myself as a kind of shadow.”

Ultimately, I think our narrator will find her calling, her niche, will embrace her heritage, her roots, and make peace with who she is deep down and maybe even find a common ground with her old childhood friend, in the old neighborhood where they first danced.

Overall, this is a well written story, which I think is open to various interpretations. It’s a serious character analysis, it’s about personal convictions, friendship, race, and individuality. This is my first novel by this author, and I’m impressed enough, I want to have a look at her previous releases and will look forward enjoying her future efforts.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Swing-Time-Zadie-Smith-ebook/dp/B01D9H1Q2Q/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/swing-time-zadie-smith/1123566594

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and NW, as well as a collection of essays, Changing My Mind. Swing Time is her fifth novel.

Visit www.zadiesmith.com for more information.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.
 

LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:






MY REVIEW:



A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is a 2014 Atria publication.


After I read ‘Britt-Marie Was Here’ and really enjoyed it, my Goodreads friends strongly recommended this book, and were positive I would love it. I vowed to fit the book in as quickly as possible, and was thankful my library had a copy and the wait list wasn’t monstrous.

I have no idea where to begin! This an amazing story, with the most interesting characters, humorous and emotional situations. The writing is unusual, with present tense mingled with past tense.

Ove appears, in the beginning, as though he is a cranky old man, maybe a little anal, but there is also a loneliness surrounding him, and a sense of despair.

As the story progresses, we learn about Ove’s background, his marriage, and how he got to this point where he attempts to end his life, but is always inadvertently prevented from succeeding.

Ove may have been reserved, but his life has meant more, and his influence has reached further, than he ever thought.

Every person has a history. We see people on the surface, without knowing anything about them, and make judgements. I did that with Ove in the beginning, but by the end of the book, my opinion of him and respect for him had grown immeasurably.

I loved the various secondary characters, including the cat and of course the Saab!! But, the relationship between Sonja and Ove is the most poignant and effective part of the novel.

Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.”

Although Ove is dragged out of his shell kicking and screaming, he finally begins to live again, in the most eccentric, but enchanting way!


This book lived up to any and all of my expectations and then some!!

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Man-Called-Ove-Novel-ebook/dp/B00GEEB730/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-man-called-ove-fredrik-backman/1117313627

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Fredrik Backman, a blogger and columnist, is the New York Times bestselling author of A MAN CALLED OVE and MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY. Both were number one bestsellers in his native Sweden and around the world, and are being published in more than thirty five territories. His latest novel is BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE. He lives in Stockholm with his wife and two children. Visit him online at his blog: FredrikBackman.com, on twitter @backmanland, or on instagram @backmansk.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, & Manners by Therese Oneill- Feature and Review




ABOUT THE BOOK:


Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era? 


Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there's arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn't question.) 

UNMENTIONABLE is your hilarious, illustrated, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood, giving you detailed advice on: 

~ What to wear 
~ Where to relieve yourself 
~ How to conceal your loathsome addiction to menstruating 
~ What to expect on your wedding night 
~ How to be the perfect Victorian wife 
~ Why masturbating will kill you 
~ And more

Irresistibly charming, laugh-out-loud funny, and featuring nearly 200 images from Victorian publications, UNMENTIONABLE will inspire a whole new level of respect for Elizabeth Bennett, Scarlet O'Hara, Jane Eyre, and all of our great, great grandmothers. 

(And it just might leave you feeling ecstatically grateful to live in an age of pants, super absorbency tampons, epidurals, anti-depressants, and not-dying-of-the-syphilis-your-husband-brought-home.) 

READ AN EXCERPT:






MY REVIEW:


Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and MannersUnmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill is a 2016 Little Brown US publication.

Based on a review written by one of my Goodreads friends, I knew I had to check this book out. I’ve waited for months for a copy to become available at the library, but it was worth the wait.

The author transported me back to the Victorian days to experience firsthand what it would have been like to live during this era.

The author exhibits a riotous sense of humor as she describes the lifestyle you would expect to live if you were transported back in time.

The habits of the Victorian age are curious, dangerous, and disgusting, and of course oppressive, especially for women.

It’s fascinating and horrifying all at once, but the author’s wit offsets some of the more cringe worthy topics like hygiene, for example, and because the era was so restrictive, the book could have become a little nauseating, or depressing if not for the author’s well timed jokes.

There are authentic illustrations and photos of clothing articles, and of real ads found in newspapers and magazines, which advertised weight loss products, as well as some rather scandalous items that hinted at pregnancy prevention, which had to be carefully worded since it was illegal to pass out information about birth control.



I variety of subjects are covered, which range from dangerous cosmetics, to undergarments, to the lack of indoor plumbing, the very strange ideas about women and sex, mostly written by men, of course, and the mannerisms and expectations a woman should know when having a social gathering.

While the Victorian era is one of my favorite fictional time periods, by the book’s end, I was relieved to find that I had been safely returned to 2017.

Once you’ve finished reading this book, you will appreciate the things we take for granted and will be even more thankful for the great strides taken to release women from the restricted lifestyles they once endured.




GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Unmentionable-Victorian-Ladys-Marriage-Manners-ebook/dp/B01CO4AWWU/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unmentionable-therese-oneill/1123495918

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Therese lives in Oregon with her family, many friends and a wine bar. She and her husband have been together sixteen years and gave two children.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Murder in the Bayou- by Ethan Brown- Feature and Review

 



ABOUT THE BOOK:

SOUTHERN LIVING 2016 BOOK OF THE YEAR

An explosive, true-life southern gothic story, Murder in the Bayou chronicles the twists and turns of a high-stakes investigation into the murders of eight women in a troubled Louisiana parish.

Between 2005 and 2009, the bodies of eight women were discovered around the murky canals and crawfish ponds of Jennings, Louisiana, a bayou town of 10,000 in the heart of the Jefferson Davis parish. Local law enforcement officials were quick to pursue a serial killer theory, opening a floodgate of media coverage—from CNN to The New York Times. Collectively the victims became known as the “Jeff Davis 8,” and their lives, their deaths, and the ongoing investigation reveals a small southern community’s most closely guarded secrets.

As Ethan Brown suggests, these homicides were not the work of a single serial killer, but the violent fallout of Jennings’ brutal sex and drug trade, a backwoods underworld hidden in plain sight. Mixing muckraking research and immersive journalism over the course of a five-year investigation, Ethan Brown reviewed thousands of pages of previously unseen homicide files to determine what happened during each victim’s final hours. Epic in scope and intensely suspenseful, Murder in the Bayou is the story of an American town buckling under the dark forces of poverty, race, and class division—and a lightning rod for justice for the daughters it lost.
 

READ AN EXCERPT:






MY REVIEW:


Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8?Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8? by Ethan Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Murder in the Bayou by Ethan Brown is a 2016 Scribner publication.

Although this case may have made headlines at some point between 2005-2009, I was not familiar with it. I stumbled across this book while browsing through the Axis360 library and decided to check it out, but I never imagined it would give me a real case of the shivers.

The ‘Jeff Davis 8’ case was so named because the murders took place in Jefferson Davis Parish in Louisiana. The location does indeed create that Gothic tone the blurb hints at. That tone, coupled with the cold- blooded murders of eight women and the astounding corruption in law enforcement, was enough to make me feel squeamish and a little jumpy.



The author’s stark and rather jarring style of journalism, which may not be polished enough for some, but works in this case, in my opinion, because it really opens up the reality of these murders, and throws a harsh light on a southern version of the syndicate in the midst of the lurid sex and drug trade.


It’s such a convoluted and murky case complicated by corruptions so deep and prevalent, it’s hard to fathom.

Don’t expect the usual focus on the victims' lives, or a precise law enforcement investigation, or a courtroom drama with a definitive verdict, which is often featured in true crime, but instead you should brace yourself for a hard and gritty investigative report that will leave you chilled right down to the bone.

If you read True Crime, this book is not to be missed!

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Bayou-Killed-Women-Known-ebook/dp/B01A5TWZPS/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-in-the-bayou-ethan-brown/1123123085

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Ethan Brown is a New Orleans-based author and criminal defense investigator who has written four investigative-reporting driven books on crime and criminal justice policy:

His first book—Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent and the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler—was published by Random House in 2005 to rave reviews in the Boston Globe (“diligently researched and trenchantly observeda fascinating look at the way one generation’s reality becomes the next’s mythology”), The Village Voice (“one of the first reliable accounts [of the crack era]the fact that Brown was able to publish so thorough an account is itself notable”) and Publishers Weekly (“A vigorous account of an American subculture that’s colorful, influential and, given the body count, tragic”).

Ethan’s second book—Snitch: Informers, Cooperators and the Corruption of Justice—was published by Public Affairs in 2007. The Legal Times wrote of Snitch that “Many police and prosecutors reading his book (or this review) will surely cry foul. Their cries will too often be proven insincere upon close examination, however, because Brown’s evidenceis overwhelming.” Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury praised Snitch as “must reading for anyone concerned about the future of ‘law and order’ in America.” Manhattan Institute Scholar John McWhorter called Snitch one of the "strongest, smartest" books about race in the past decade.

Ethan’s third book—Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans—was published by Henry Holt in the fall of 2009. Evan Wright, author of the New York Times bestseller Generation Kill, called Shake the Devil Off “a chilling portrait of a broken hero failed by the system.” George Pelecanos, New York Times bestselling author of The Turnaround, said that “Ethan Brown examines a notorious murder case, rescues it from the talons of tabloid journalists, and comes up with something much more than a true crime book. Shake the Devil Off is a gripping suspense story, an indictment of the military’s treatment of our soldiers in and out of war, and a celebration of the resilience and worth of a great American city.” In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called Shake the Devil Off “heartbreaking” and Nate Blakeslee, author of Tulia, hailed the book as “a ‘coming home’ story that rivals any written about veterans of the war in Iraq, and a true crime account that raises the bar for the genre. Measured, thoroughly reported, and written with true empathy.” David Simon, creator of The Wire and author of Homicide and The Corner, said that “looking more deeply at that from which the rest of us turned in horror, Ethan Brown has transformed an ugly and disturbing shard of the post-Katrina anguish. In this book, that which was lurid and sensational becomes, chapter by chapter, something genuinely sad and reflective, something that now has true meaning for New Orleans and for all of us.” In September of 2009, Shake The Devil Off was chosen as a “Critics’ Pick” in the Washington Post and an “Editors’ Choice” by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. In December of 2009, the Washington Post named Shake the Devil Off one of the best books of 2009. 

Ethan's fourth book--Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8?--was published by Scribner/Simon and Schuster on September 13, 2016.