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WALLFLOWER BLOOMING: A Romantic Story ~Amy Rivers

Monday, December 12th, 2016

TLC Book Tours sent me an e-copy of WALLFLOWER BLOOMING for review.  It is a nice read and is a variation of traditional romance as it includes a good amount of information about depression, anxiety, and control issues surrounding the heroine of the story.  Equal parts self-actualization and romance.

Val Shakely has her own business and her quiet and unassuming routines.  She runs a successful PR firm and has a life, which is contained within her comfort zone.  She has misread her sister and her mother after her father’s death and is glad they are not in the same city anymore.  Val enjoys her outgoing cousin Gwen’s energies and holds her as a dear friend.

Gwen has entered a tight race for Mayor of their city and has asked Val to be her PR person and attend many functions.  This opens up Val’s social life and makes her feel vulnerable and quite anxious as she re-arranges her carefully scheduled routines.  This also allows for the quiet city bachelor to discover her existence and join her routines and expand her comfort zones.

Although the politics get a bit over the top for Val and threats are made, she stands up when she needs to and learns a great many coping skills.  She becomes almost fearless as the race progresses and then begins to reconnect with her mother and sister and figure out the truth of the situation surrounding her father’s death.

Communication is good and solves many problems.  Being loved and adored by someone special makes the book light and smooth.  The story allows one to discover some extra problem-solving skills and shed light on better coping skills.  An enjoyable afternoon read.

About the Author:

“Amy Rivers was born and raised in southern New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado. She had an idyllic childhood despite a severe visual impairment and, perhaps because of her disability, she learned a lot about compassion and empathy from a young age. Her keen interest in social issues and violence prevention led to a Master’s degree with concentrations in Psychology and Politics. She was the director of a sexual assault response program and remains an advocate for social justice. Amy has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, Novelty Bride Magazine, ESME.com and Splice Today. Wallflower Blooming is her first novel.” (From TLC review page)

Amy Rivers Website
Amy Rivers Facebook
Amy Rivers Twitter

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A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING: A Novel ~ Ruth Ozeki

Monday, December 5th, 2016

A nearly perfect read, which came into my awareness with nearly perfect timing, and gave me a nearly perfect excuse to do nothing else except read; Exquisite.

The story begins with a 16-year-old girls voice saying:  “Hi! My name is Nao, and I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is?  Well, if you give me a moment, I will tell you.” This child’s story is compelling and sometimes funny and sometimes very difficult.  Nao is trying to figure out life and how to live it after having been living the “good” life in California and now whisked back to Japan in the dot com bust.   Her father is extremely depressed and it is affecting the whole family.  The guilt, the anger, the shame is difficult to understand and yet it draws one into the story.  The bullying and shaming that Nao must endure is horrific.

There is a second story that takes place on an island on the British Columbia Coastline.   Ruth, a writer, is wandering the beach and finds a “Hello Kitty” lunch pail in a heavy plastic shipping bag.  When opened the lunch pail contains a journal and a Kamikaze pilot’s letters and watch, it appears to be debris from the Japanese tsunami of 2011.  It is Nao’s journal and her story and history.

The story is also about the Zen experience of life as shared by Nao’s lessons from her 104 year old great grandmother, who is the mother of the Kamikaze pilot.  How can there be humor in such a story?  There is a great deal of humor in the story.  The characters on the island truly come alive and participate in the story.  Ruth and her partner Oliver are strong characters in their own right.  Fact and fiction twirl about as compliments to understanding the deeper issues facing each person-culture.  Is Nao still alive and well?  How could this person be tracked down and could they all be on the Internet?

My book group chose this book and so it is apart of my own library.  The other members of the group discovered that there was a reader’s play of this story being performed in the city and they bought tickets and went to the performance.  We cannot stop talking about this book and we all agree that there is perfection in the writing of this story, which makes it a huge recommendation and a must read for so many people I know.    I just had to share it with you

Bursting with symbolism, a story for our time – full of topics to discuss; breaks the barriers and expectations of traditional thinking.

Ruth Ozeki Webpage
Ruth Ozeki Twitter

From the website:

“Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest.Her first two novels, My Year of Meats(1998) and All Over Creation (2003), have been translated into 11 languages and published in 14 countries. Her most recent work, A Tale for the Time-Being (2013), won the LA Times Book Prize, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, and has been published in over thirty countries. Ruth’s documentary and dramatic independent films, including Halving the Bones, have been shown on PBS, at the Sundance Film Festival, and at colleges and universities across the country. A longtime Buddhist practitioner, Ruth was ordained in 2010 and is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation. She lives in British Columbia and New York City, and is currently the Elizabeth Drew Professor of Creative Writing at Smith College.”

“Tantalizing”– The Washington Post
“A spellbinding tale.” – O, The Oprah Magazine
“Fractures Clichés” – ELLE
“Delightful.” – The New York Times Book Review
“Terrific”– The Seattle Times

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PRIVATE CITIZENS: A Novel ~Tony Tulathimutte

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

  • An Amazon “Best Book” of Month
  • A Buzzfeed “Most Exciting” Book of 2016
  • A Flavorwire “Most Anticipated” Book 2016

I was so lucky to be sent PRIVATE CITIZENS for review for TLC BOOK TOURS.  We started off by getting the tour dates mixed up and this book arrived before May.  This was okay and we rallied around to find a new spot for it.

Here’s what it said on the book cover:
“ From a brilliant new literary talent comes a sweeping comic portrait of privilege, ambition, and friendship in millennial San Francisco.  With the Social Acuity of Adelle Waldman and the murderous wit of Martin Amis, Tony Tulathimutte’s PRIVATE CITIZENS is a brainy, irreverent debut “ – This Side of Paradise for a new era.

“Private Citizens is a freak of literature – a novel so authentic, hilarious, elegantly plotted, and heartbreaking that I’d follow it anywhere.  Tony Tulathimutte is a singular intellect with an uncanny 40/20 vision on the world.”  – Jennifer duBois, author of Cartwheel and A Partial History of Lost Causes

Tony Tulathimutte is a very smart fellow
“Tulathimutte has contributed to AGNI, The Three Penny Review, The American reader, Salon, The New Yorker on line, and other publications.  A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and Stanford University, he has received an O. Henry prize, a MacDowell Colony fellowship, and the Michener- Copernicus Society of America Award.  He lives in New York.”

Hilarious, authentic, intelligent were the words that truly captivated me and to learn about the privileged young people who graduated from Stanford University, I was totally ready to read this book.  Four friends reconnecting, yes!  This sounds very good indeed.  I set aside a whole afternoon to start the read.   After 4 hours at it, I realized I had slept 90 minutes of my time away instead of reading.  I am too old to find bowel track humor very funny any more, I could not find humor at all instead I found the style very distracting and the 4 friends pathetic.

On the second session of reading, I engaged a bit with Cory the social activist as she connected with a cultish self-help seminar,  I could identify as my wishes and hopes were not being met early after graduation either and I fell pray to something like this situation.  When I had 75 pages left to read, I jumped to the last chapter and finished PRIVATE CITIZEN’s. I have no idea why one character needed eye surgery.  I did not care.  I felt rather hopeless about recent graduates and a kind of despair sticks with me as I begin reading the next book on the list.

I did not like this book and thought the drug usage, sex, and alcohol consumption were too big a focus for these whiney characters.  Wow not funny, not smart, and I find it sad that PRIVATE CITIZENS is so anticipated and folks are so excited about it – worrisome to me. All that privilege and such weak outcomes.  I am concerned for our future.

Tony Tulathimutte Website
Tony Tulathimutte Twitter
Tony Tulathimutte Facebook

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THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER: A Northern Ireland Story ~Christina McKenna

Monday, April 13th, 2015

“You will never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.” Rose says… (Loc 92% in an unproofed, uncorrected e-copy.)

THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER whisks the reader away to Northern Ireland during all the IRA troubles in 1980’s.  We touch base with the most wonderful characters the author can devise for us to enjoy in rural Ireland and we take a small journey with a few through their “de-press-shuns” as trouble merges with the light of day and some amazing resolutions.  We are also treated to a good love story and the pressures created by the small town gossip and the marginalized.  Although not so much in Tailorstown, the activities of the IRA are part of the troubles in Belfast and not so far away.

Ruby our lead is stuck in a toxic relationship with a controlling mother.  Her supportive, protective father has recently passed away and Ruby is trying to find her place in the family.  The twins who work in Belfast are fairly abusive also and fortunately are only home on weekends.  Ruby is a farmer at heart, but now must move into the house at age 33 and do women’s work.   Her sadness leads her to open her Grandmother Edna’s forbidden case in the attic and hope with the right words begins to manifest.

Dr. Henry Shevlin comes to work in the Mental Health Clinic as a psychiatrist.  He too has an ordeal to come to terms with and yet helps some of the members of his new community cope with their lives and never need to go to St. Ita’s the mental hospital.  He is a lovely listener and his patients very must appreciate his skill.  We are treated to a John Lennon want to be – Good advice and wisdom provide some amazing healing.

Rose and Paddy drive us to many of the locations in the story and provide the support systems to get several locals to their appointments and unravel confusions while working on match making for their favorite couple.

The characters are quite well developed and yet the story has so much more to offer.  How do we treat others and how does that play out within a community and how does it affect the individual?  How does the child, which is treated poorly or in a toxic relationship with a parent, find reprieve and understanding from her community and the freedom to find understanding into relief?  How do politics change us and play out within lives, even when it seems distant?

I received this uncorrected, unproofed e-copy from TLC BOOK Tours for review and enjoyed this read very much.  I recommend this story  “tae yous”.

About the Author:

“Christina McKenna grew up on a farm near the village of Draperstown in Northern Ireland.  She attended the Belfast College of Art where she obtained an honors degree in Fine Art and studied postgraduate English at the University of Ulster.  In 1986 she left Northern Ireland to teach abroad.  She has lived, worked, and painted pictures in Spain, Turkey, Italy, Ecuador, and Mexico.  THE GODFORSAKEN DAUGHTER is the third novel in the Tailorstown Series.”  -From the book.

Christina McKenna Wikipedia 

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