Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

Spotlight on THE SWORD AND SCABBARD by Allen Woods

cover.jfif

I’m happy today to be taking part in the blog tour for THE SWORD AND SCABBARD – a story of Revolutionary Boston.

Here’s what the publicist has to say:

The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston

by Allen Woods

The Real Sons of Liberty:

HISTORICAL THRILLER EXPLORES CRIMINAL, POLITICAL INTRIGUE IN THE MARCH TOWARDS REVOLUTION

In every basic U.S. History class, children and teenagers learn about the American Revolution and how the colonists came together to fight unfair taxation by their British counterparts, creating a country founded on the values of freedom, liberty and justice. One of the most notorious events leading up to this revolution was the Boston Massacre, which helped light the spark that fueled a rebellion. But what do we know about the events the paved the way to this historic moment?

The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston by Allen Woods is the first in a series of novels that answers this question, weaving a story of crime, intrigue and politics to look at an unexplored section of history in a compelling new way.

The streets and taverns of Boston prior to ‘The Bloody Massacre’ were filled with brawls and scrapes, hot words and cold calculations. Nicholas Gray and Maggie Magowan run The Sword and Scabbard, a tavern that is the center of both criminal and political scheming. Each is a fugitive from a dangerous past and their relationship grows fitfully in the midst of historic events. The pair remain suspicious of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, but are eventually caught in a world where politics and crime meet.

“The road to the Revolution was not a smooth one,” Woods explains. “There were almost constant conflicts within the British and American sides, while many ‘ordinary’ people just wished they could live simple lives without all of the political speeches and protests. But inevitably, they were drawn into the conflict.”

In this thrilling, yet in-depth look at life in the colonies and the onset of the American Revolution, The Sword & Scabbard reveals that:

  • Samuel Adams and other leaders saw themselves at war long before bullets flew, and they were willing to use physical intimidation and threats by gangs of unemployed sailors and dockworkers to further their goals.
  • The Sons of Liberty had no belief in freedom of the press if someone published information harmful to their cause
  • Revolutionary Boston was a city in turmoil, not a mythical place of pure and uniform Revolutionary ideals, and was filled with both self-serving and heroic people, as well as many others who just wished they could be left alone.
  • Resistance to the taxes of the Stamp Act (which led to the Massacre and eventually the Revolution) through an import boycott helped John Hancock and other large merchants run smaller competitors out of business.

Allen Woods has been a full-time freelance writer and editor for almost 30 years, recently specializing in social studies and reading textbooks for all ages. The inspiration for The Sword & Scabbard came while doing research for an American history text. He resides in Massachusetts and has been married to his wife, Irene, for over 30 years.

For more information about Allen Woods and The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston, please visit http://www.theswordandscabbard.com

or his Facebook, LinkedIn and Goodreads pages.

The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston is available for purchase at lulu.com, as well as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

Me again!

I am reading this book now and really enjoying it. It has the gritty, tough side of Boston in the 1700’s. Life was not easy for those folks and I always appreciate historical fiction that can adequately show both sides of a disagreement. The characters are memorable (and fun, I have to say!). I look forward to more in this series!

If you like historical fiction of this period (American Revolution), then pick this one up today!

Thank you for my review e-copy and having me be part of the blog tour!

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour of THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton

04_The Lake House_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Everybody clap your hands, because Kate Morton has a new book out!

I am so very thrilled to be part of this tour today because I absolutely love her books and when I saw this opportunity I was almost overcome with excitement. THE LAKE HOUSE is Kate Morton at her finest; it does not disappoint.

First here’s what HFVBT has to say:

The Lake House
by Kate Morton

Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Atria Books
Hardcover & eBook; 512 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heart-stopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | GOOGLE PLAY | ITUNES | INDIEBOUND | POWELL’S

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and lives now with her husband and young sons in Brisbane. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, specializing in nineteenth-century tragedy and contemporary Gothic novels.

Kate Morton has sold over 7.5 million copies in 26 languages, across 38 countries. Her novels include The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, and The Secret Keeper.

You can find more information about Kate Morton and her books at www.katemorton.comor www.facebook.com/KateMortonAuthor

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, October 5
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, October 6
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 12
Review at Book Drunkard

Thursday, October 15
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, October 20
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Luxury Reading

Wednesday, October 21
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, October 26
Review at Beth’s Book Nook

Tuesday, October 27
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, October 28
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, October 29
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, October 30
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Sunday, November 1
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Monday, November 2
Review at A Book Geek
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, November 3
Review at Bookish
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, November 4
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Words and Peace

Thursday, November 5
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, November 6
Review at A Literary Vacation
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Me again — Oh my goodness, this book has SO MUCH of what I love: mystery, old English country houses, hidden passageways, forbidden love, tragedy, happy endings, reconciliation, self-forgiveness — the list goes on and on! Ms. Morton’s writing flows easily and her books read quickly. I get engrossed in the characters and have read several where they move back and forth through time in the same setting. I always can’t wait to get to the next chapter.

In this story, I really connected with the character of Eleanor (surprisingly) and how she went from being a happy child to being in love to having the world come down on her and dampen her zest for life. Sadie was another sympathetic character. I thought I had the mystery figured out (more than once) and was mistaken. There are lots of twists and turns with this one!

If you have never read her books, start with this one. Or get thee to the library and find them all!

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my Net Galley copy to review.

02_The Lake House

03_Kate Morton

Here is a lovely picture of Kate Morton. I just want to shout: “Kate! I want to be your friend and we can talk about books and old English country houses!” But of course she might find that odd…

Here’s a You Tube book trailer:

Here’s a You Tube video of Kate reading the first chapter — you can pretend she’s your friend and reading to you!

Here she is discussing her inspiration for the book (via You Tube). I was wondering about how she got her idea and voila – questions answered!

Leave a comment »

Spotlight on CHICKADEES, BUMBLEBEEZ, PUSSY WILLOW TREES AND TWO-AND-A-HALF! by Jeffrey M. Politsky

Chickadees Book Cover

I received this fun picture book from the author’s publicist and I will be sharing it with the school library where I teach.

Here’s some info on it:

Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half, by Jeffrey Politsky, is a children’s book of adventure. It is recommended for ages 4-9.

“Kids who still have their parents read to them really like the book, as do kids who are independent readers,” says Dr. Politsky. “The reviews of parents and children who have read the book are very favorable: adults really like the message and the children just love the story. I hope many more children will get to read it.”

Synopsis:

Children love to explore; it’s intuitive. And they tend to struggle when asked to confine their activities and behaviors to our adult-imposed rules and paths. Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half is a vibrantly and exceptionally well-illustrated adventure book meant to inspire children to follow their urges to explore and to appreciate diversity. The book starts off when “One day a little brown monkey with dazzling olive green eyes, a friendly smile, and a long curly tail asked his father if there was more to the life than just hanging around with other monkeys and eating bananas.” Before long he meets a lovely grey cat and a majestic blue pelican each on their own quests. Together, they explore a foreign island and when their journey takes them into a private swath of land, they befriend a local dog who takes them further than they ever imagined.

Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half emphasizes several significant values, which help us subsist and ultimately thrive: learning through independent exploration, the need for friendship, the importance of respect and tolerance for other cultures, languages, and lifestyle diversity, along with a healthy understanding of the powers of mother nature.

About the Author:

Dr. Jeffrey Politsky grew up in Toronto, Canada. He obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Toronto and his medical degree at the University of Western Ontario before moving to Vancouver for his residency training in Neurology. He moved to Boston in the late 1990’s to complete his epilepsy fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and has lived in the United States ever since. Today, Dr. and Mrs. Politsky live in New Jersey with their two children and two giant schnauzers. While he has written numerous articles and chapters related to the neurologic sciences, Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half is Dr. Politsky’s first serious non-academic venture.

Dr. Politsky began writing Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half on Formantera, one of the Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean Sea off of the east coast of Spain.

“As I began pondering what makes free-form travel so interesting, I decided to try and create a story that would be appealing to youngsters. All of my back-packing adventures, like so many other travelers, had common themes: selecting a location, landing in a foreign place and feeling very foreign, attempting to understand the culture and fit in, survival, discovery, problem solving, raw happiness. I incorporated several of my own experiences in the text,” says Dr. Politsky. “I decided to weave into the story the linguistic nuances that my grandfather used when he would joke with my brother and me when we were youngsters – in essence we would ask him a question and he would answer using neologisms and in a manner that made absolutely no sense at all and then start laughing in a jolly fashion, quite amused with himself. I cherish my memory of my grandfather. His good nature and terminology stuck, much of it is incorporated in the book. In fact, some of his favorite expressions make up the book’s title.”

Dr. Politsky’s grandfather died in 1989 of complications related to multi-infarct dementia.

Tony Santiago illustrated the book with Dr. Politsky’s children and grandfather individually represented in the characters.

In 2011, Dr. Politsky’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is fine now; but the process was quite an ordeal. Anyone who has been through this or a similar experience understands this. Dr. Politsky sees and treats patients every day with epilepsy and related neurologic & medical conditions – in many cases illnesses appear like an unexpected storm and can turn people’s lives upside down and inside out like a tornado. By the end of 2012, Kim had been diagnosed, treated, and had achieved full physical recovery.

Fifty percent of the proceeds of the sale of each book will be donated equally to research programs dedicated to the study of dementia and memory dysfunction, and to the study of breast cancer.

To purchase a copy of the book, go to http://jumpservicesllc.com/projects.html

Readers can connect with Dr. Politsky on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

*************

Me again! This is a fairly lengthy book that can be read over time with little ones. I think they will enjoy some of the repetitive nature of the text and the colorful and fun pictures. Kudos to Dr. Politsky for giving half of the proceeds of this book to medical research!

Thank you for a copy to read and share!

Leave a comment »

Oh My Ears! What I’ve Been Listening to in the Car…

 

With my new commute (Boston area traffic!!), I’ve become a devotee of Audible and audiobooks which I purchase via Amazon.

Here’s what I’ve been listening to in the car each morning (well,along with NPR):

FALL OF GIANTS by Ken Follett — This is SUPER long (over 30 hours) and I’m still listening to it. If this was a book (um – it is) it would be 1,000 pages! It’s the first in the Century trilogy and normally I love, love, love these sweeping sagas that are multi-generational and trace a family line through the years (a la Edward Rutherfurd). It focuses on several storylines that apparently converge and take place around the time of WWI. Have to be honest here — while listening to it I found it had a lot of sex and violence. I just couldn’t always stay focused; but of course that might have been the traffic…

THE STORMCHASERS by Jenna Blum — How did Jenna Blum have a book out that I did not know about? I loved her “THOSE WHO SAVED US” and her short story in GRAND CENTRAL. This was totally different for her – twins Charles and Karena haven’t seen each other in years, not since Charles, who suffers from bipolar disorder, disappeared in his quest as a storm chaser. Karena is determined to find him now and her path takes her into the subculture of storm chasing. This was interesting and compelling and heart breaking – all at once. Jenna Blum does a great job of painting a picture of what life is like with a family member who suffers from mental illness. Charles’ bipolar comes with psychotic episodes and is especially frightening. I liked this novel, but I didn’t love it as I found it depressing. The narration sometimes bothered me when the narrator used what I call a “voiceover voice” – when you pitch your voice slightly higher and lift your soft palate, if you know what I mean.

THE BONES OF PARIS by Laurie R. King — I love Laurie King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes books and I thought I’d love this one. It was a sometimes gritty mystery about missing young women in Paris during the Jazz Age and an intrepid detective’s search for them. It was very well-written, but a bit too harsh sexually for my tastes (I don’t like to grimace while driving). Definitely not a cozy, but well-plotted and interesting. I loved the narrator’s voice (Jefferson Mays). Oddly enough it had characters in it that I was reading about in another book (Mann Ray and Lee Miller from THE BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN).

NIGHT ROAD by Kristin Hannah – I just finished this one. I loved Kristin Hannah’s THE NIGHTINGALE, so I wanted to read another by her. This was great and I couldn’t stop listening (which is good because if you know Boston traffic, I had plenty of time to sit and listen). In this novel, twins Mia and Zack befriend new girl Lexi and the three become inseparable. The twins’ mother, Jude, welcomes Lexi into their home, though she has a definite plan for her children. Then, senior year, events happen that will change forever the lives of all of them. This book has some of my favorite themes of self-forgiveness and reconciliation in it. I really enjoyed it and Kathleen McInerney’s narration.

ECHO – by Pam Munoz Ryan – I’m listening to it now! It’s a children’s fantasy story. There’s music mixed in, too.

With my next Audible credit, I will purchase ALL THE STARS IN HEAVEN by my gal Adriana — love her books!

What are YOU listening to these days?

 

1 Comment »

HFVBook Tour for STEERING TO FREEDOM by Patrick Gabridge

04_Steering to Freedom_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

One thing I love about reading historical fiction is learning about new things. STEERING TO FREEDOM is no exception. This is an amazing story based on a true account of black slaves who literally take a ship and steer it north to freedom.

Here’s what Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours has to say:

Steering to Freedom
by Patrick Gabridge

Publication Date: May 11, 2015
Publisher: Penmore Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 352

Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button

A troubled country, a courageous heart, and the struggle for freedom. In May 1862, Robert Smalls, a slave and ship’s pilot in Charleston, South Carolina, crafts a daring plan to steal the steamship Planter and deliver it, along with, the crew and their families to the Union blockade. After risking his life to escape slavery, Robert faces an even more difficult challenge: convincing Abraham Lincoln to enlist black troops. Based on a true story, Steering to Freedom tells the powerful and inspirational story of a young man who becomes the first black captain of a US military ship, while struggling to navigate a path to freedom for himself, his family, and his people.

PRAISE

“Steering to Freedom sweeps back the curtain on an extraordinary story of heroism and sacrifice. Escape is only the beginning. Robert Smalls doesn’t just save himself: he brings out his family, his friends and his mates — and then he goes back, fighting not just the navies of the South but the deep-rooted prejudices and ignorance of the North. With a sure touch for historical detail and a mastery of the human condition, Patrick Gabridge brilliantly evokes the spirit of a time, a country in struggle, and the heart of a man at its center”.— Mike Cooper, author of Clawback and Full Ratchet.

“In Patrick Gabridge’s meticulously crafted new novel Steering to Freedom, we’re treated to the gripping true tale of Captain Robert Smalls, a South Carolina slave who, after seizing his freedom, risked his life in a series of nautical adventures to win freedom for all of his enchained brothers and sisters. This powerful and inspirational story is skillfully and dramatically rendered by a writer who not only knows how to steer a good story, but who does so without losing sight of the heart-breaking humanity of his players.” — Mark Dunn, author of Ella Minnow Pea and Under the Harrow.

“Engaging characters and captivating storytelling make this inspiring historical adventure a must-read. For readers who enjoy seeing history through the lens of imagination. ” — Sophie Littlefield, author A Bad Day for Sorry and A Garden for Stones.

“Steering to Freedom brings to life the extraordinary true story of Captain Robert Smalls, an important figure in American Civil War history who should not be overlooked. This is an inspiring story of a hero: a slave who steals a steamship and navigates treacherous waters to lead his crew and their families to freedom. Yet in the hands of novelist Patrick Gabridge, Robert Smalls is entirely human, real, and relatable. Gabridge shows us a man whose highest ambitions are fueled by the important personal relationships in his life, especially his wife and children. With its cinematic scope, action-packed adventure, historical detail and emotional heft, Steering to Freedom will appeal to many audiences. ” — Diana Renn author of Blue Voyage, and Latitude Zero.

“Patrick Gabridge’s Steering to Freedom is a swashbuckling, page-turning epic set against the immaculately detailed backdrop of Charleston Harbor during the Civil War. Robert Smalls, a brilliant, resourceful slave, makes a daring and audacious bid for freedom. The story, based on actual events, reads with the freshness of fiction and the authenticity of truth. The characters from every walk of life earn your respect and then your admiration and finally your love. Patrick Gabridge has given us a whole new lens on the Civil War by bringing a previously unknown chapter to vivid, deeply moving, unforgettable life. — Laura Harrington, award winning author of Alice Bliss and selected for Barnes & Noble’s “Discover Great New Writers” program, and as an Entertainment Weekly “Best Reads of the Summer,” and a Publishers Weekly First Fiction title.

In Steering to Freedom, Patrick Gabridge has intertwined history with a meticulous and moving narrative of Robert Smalls—Confederate steamboat pilot, family man, and slave—whose daring vision to claim freedom against all odds will grab the reader from the first page. —Jessica Maria Tuccelli, author of Glow.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY |CHAPTERS | ITUNES | KOBO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

03_Patrick Gabridge

Patrick Gabridge is an award-winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. His full-length plays include Flight, Distant Neighbors, Lab Rats, Constant State of Panic, and Blinders, and have been staged by theaters across the country. His passion for history extends to the stage, and his historical plays include work about the creation of the English Bible (Fire on Earth), the astronomers Kepler and Tycho (Reading the Mind of God), a volcanic eruption on Martinique (The Prisoner of St. Pierre), 19th century Boston publisher Daniel Sharp Ford (None But the Best), and the 1770 Boston Massacre (Blood on the Snow).

Patrick has been a Playwriting Fellow with the Huntington Theatre Company and with New Repertory. Recent commissions include plays and musicals for In Good Company, The Bostonian Society, Central Square Theatre, and Tumblehome Learning. His short plays are published by Playscripts, Brooklyn Publishers, Heuer, Smith & Kraus, and YouthPlays, and have received more than a thousand productions from theatres and schools around the world.

His other novels include Tornado Siren and Moving [a life in boxes]. His work for radio has been broadcast by NPR, Shoestring Radio Theatre, Playing on Air, and Icebox Radio Theatre.

Patrick has a habit of starting things: he helped start Boston’s Rhombus writers’ group, the Chameleon Stage theatre company in Denver, the Bare Bones Theatre company in New York, the publication Market InSight… for Playwrights, and the on-line Playwrights’ Submission Binge. He’s also a member of the Dramatists Guild, StageSource, and a board member of the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund. He is currently the co-founder and coordinator of the New England New Play Alliance and is actively involved with the Boston theater scene.

Patrick has received numerous awards for work, including fellowships from the Colorado Council on the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Commission. For more information visit Patrick Gabridge’s website, or on his blog, The Writing Life x3.

You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

*******************************************************************************************

This was a truly inspiring read. Gabridge’s style is very readable and his characters are multi-dimensional. I enjoy reading about the Civil War era, and this story deserves to be told. Smalls’ quest for freedom for his family and then his work to allow Black troops in the Union forces should not be overlooked. I’d love to see this book used in classrooms and/or made into a movie.

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for sharing this story! I see that Mr. Gabridge does a lot in my local scene, so I hope to cross paths with him sometime in Boston. 🙂

1 Comment »

Spotlight on NEUROTRIBES by Steve Silberman

cover64519-mediumnt

When I saw that Net Galley was offering this book, I signed up for it right away.

Here’s the description from Net Galley:

Description

A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.

What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more—and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. WIRED reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.

Going back to the earliest days of autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path for our society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences and those who love them have access to the resources they need to live happier, healthier, more secure, and more meaningful lives.

Along the way, he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger’s syndrome, whose “little professors” were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of “neurodiversity” activists seeking respect, support, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and in education, and the right to self-determination for those with cognitive differences.

**This was a very readable and highly interesting book, covering the “history” of autism and focusing on real life stories. The subtitle of this book is “The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity” – which is apt as it works to have reader see autism and and Asperger’s as a type of diversity as opposed to being disorders or disabilities. I heartily concur with this — I’ve often found myself saying “we’re all somewhere on a continuum” (and that was well before ‘being on the continuum’ was a “thing”, if you know what I mean). For those who aren’t familiar with the psychological/historical background of autism, it is very thorough and easy to read. This is the type of book that anyone from a lay person, to a parent/family member of an autistic individual, to a college student can read. I have to say, though, that if you are a psychologist or highly read in the field, you might not find anything new.
It’s also interesting to me that the latest manual for diagnosing (DSM-V) has removed the category of Asperger’s. It has combined several different “types” of autism under the umbrella term “ASD (autism spectrum disorder)”. You can read more about that here at http://www.dsm5.org
Highly recommended read for those who want to understand more about autism and its history.
Thank you, Net Galley, for my e-copy!
Leave a comment »

Review: A Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

81oj1RtRaNLalice

I absolutely loved this book.

When I was at BEA in the spring, I stood in a very long line (I was number 3 though!) to see Alice Hoffman and to get her new book, The Marriage of Opposites.

First, I must say that Ms. Hoffman is one of my fave authors. I think I’ve read everything she’s written. She is quite gracious in person and was a delight in our albeit very brief meeting (where I tried not to gush). I was later interviewed by Simon and Schuster for something on camera, gushing about how much I love her writing (thankfully I have never found that video clip online, as I’m sure I’d be horrified at my lack of composure and disheveled appearance, being interviewed on the fly during a huge event in NYC).

Anyway – I digress. This story is about the parents of Camille Pissarro, the great French painter. I have to say that I knew absolutely nothing about his background, and while I am sure that he is fascinating in his own right, Hoffman’s story focuses on his mother, Rachel, and her life as she grows up among a community of refugee European Jews, who are living in the Virgin Islands during the early 1800’s. Rachel is married off to an old widower while she is quite young, and she comes to love his children and to respect him. When he dies suddenly, his younger nephew arrives to take over the business. He and Rachel fall deeply in love – even though she is substantially older and their union is forbidden as they are seen as “family”. Out of their relationship comes Camille.

I loved this story — the characters, the setting, the writing. Rachel’s story was fascinating to me and I loved the subplots and “supporting characters” with their stories along the way.

Historical Fiction at its finest!

Get it today at Amazon, where I am an Associate, at your library, at your favorite indie, or online (but get it – it’s that good!).

The Marriage of Opposites

To get you in the mood, here’s a picture by Pissarro that I got via Google Images:

Jardin Mirbeau aux Damps

1 Comment »

Kids’ Review: GEORGE by Alex Gino

george

Can we talk about this book?

When I was at BEA this spring, I received a copy of GEORGE by Alex Gino. Actually, the young man from Scholastic who was presenting the book to us gave an emotional appeal for people to read it and love it and support them as they felt the story would come under controversy.

GEORGE is about a 4th grade named George who, while a boy on the outside, is a girl on the inside. George wants to be Charlotte in the class’ upcoming production of Charlotte’s Web, but only girls can audition. George hides the fact that internally she is female, especially from her family, but ends up telling her best friend.

This is a very touching and sensitive story about a child struggling with their gender identification. I absolutely loved George. I felt the story was written from the heart and sensitively portrayed a young person in the midst of establishing their identity.

My challenge with GEORGE was when I think about what age to recommend it for. It is written for middle grades (3-6) but I’m not sure that age could appreciate and understand it (reading it on their own) unless it is something in their own experience. It’s more of a middle school read in my opinion. That said, I have several adults that I will recommend it to.

I’m sure some will take issue with this story. I’m sure some won’t like it. But I think it’s a lovely and sensitive portrayal that deserves to be read and shared.

See GEORGE on Amazon where I am an Associate:

George

Leave a comment »

Review of THE HEIRESS OF LINN HAGH by Karen Charlton

cover65892-mediumlinn

Another great Thomas & Mercer find via Net Galley was THE HEIRESS OF LINN HAGH by Karen Charlton.

In this historical mystery, which is the first in the Detective Lavender series, a young woman disappears from her bedchamber, even though the door is locked from the inside. Her (half) brother and sister seem to detest her and want her out of the way. Her young house maid is heart-broken because Helen is so kind. And her “wild” brother (who literally lives ferally) is lost without her. Has she been taken by the gypsies? Is there murder afoot? Did she escape by magic? Lavender and his trusty sidekick Constable Woods are on the path to find out.

I really enjoyed this novel which is reminiscent of my beloved Holmes and Watson (though, I have to say, easier to read than Conan Doyle). I love the setting — England, moors, estates, grey misery. I loved the characters, including the mysterious woman with whom Lavender is quite taken. I loved the plotting of the mystery. I look forward to more in this series!

If you enjoy a good, British, historical mystery, pick up THE HEIRESS OF LINN HAGH.

Thank you for my review kindle copy!

Leave a comment »

Review: BROKEN GRACE by E.C. Diskin

cover69962-mediumgrace

This book was a Net Galley find a few weeks ago. Here’s the description from Net Galley:

On an icy winter’s day in southwest Michigan, Grace Abbot wakes up as the survivor of a car crash. But she’s left with a traumatic brain injury and a terrifying reality: she can’t remember anything.

Left in the care of her sister, Grace returns to the family’s secluded old farmhouse to recover—but within an hour of her return, the police arrive. Grace’s boyfriend has been murdered. Without any memory, Grace has no alibi.

With suspicion weighing heavily on her and flashes of memory returning, Grace searches for clues to her past. But with every glimpse, her anxiety grows. There is something about the house, her family, her childhood…perhaps the accident isn’t the only reason she can’t remember. Are the dark recesses of her mind hiding something even more sinister and terrifying than she could ever imagine?

Is someone willing to kill again to hide the truth?

If you know me, you know I love, love, love a thriller, especially a psychological one. As the amnesia slowly recedes Grace’s memories return and the tension builds. There were some twists here (some I saw coming, some not). Throughout I felt connected to poor Grace and hoped that she would get it all together (because really — just how much can one person handle??). Can’t say too much more without revealing plot elements and spoilers!

I received an e-copy for review through Net Galley from Thomas & Mercer — thank you!

Leave a comment »