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Posts Tagged ‘family saga’


Monday, September 12th, 2016

Southern Lawyer Penn Cage and his fiancée Caitlin Masters the newspaper publisher have just escaped being set on fire by a ruthless businessman Brody Royal and are still searching for Dr. Tom Cage, Penn’s father, who is being accused of killing a black nurse who worked for him as we finish the exciting book NATCHEZ BURNING, which is the first in the Trilogy by Greg Iles.

TLC Book Tours  sent me book two in plenty of time to keep right on reading this compelling saga about family, about the KKK, about racism, corruption, the brutal history and the on-going conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassinations and Martin Luther King-the South revealed.

The writing in this story is fabulous and amazingly spellbinding.  As Stephen King says, “ You just want more.

“Greg Iles spent most of his youth in Natchez, Mississippi. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was the first of thirteen New York Times bestsellers, and his new trilogy continues the story of Penn Cage, protagonist of The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, and #1 New York Times bestseller The Devil’s Punchbowl. Iles’s novels have been made into films and published in more than thirty-five countries. He lives in Natchez with his wife and has two children.” (From TLC webpage)

GREG ILES Facebook
Harper Collins Review

The incredible “hate” over family generations and how it manifests is fascinating to follow and just how does one help families that are so tainted by violence that they can be changed into decent, contemporary people for the future generations?  Will this kind of family system be destine to repeat itself – forever?  Do our social systems have any impact?

I have over the years often found book two of trilogies to be more of a fill in book adding more detail and transitioning to the big finish.  Yes, there is some transition material in this book and yet it is full of new components to the story and more contemporary problems that are proceeding because of the search being brought to the foreground.  It is riveting in it’s own right.  Another 800 pages of thrilling material and the death of new individuals is spelled out as the corruption and dastardly economic systems are spelled out and more and more African Americans lose their land and life in the re-building of New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.

I have personally shared 5 copies of NATCHEZ BURNING with friends and the word is – The writing is amazing and thrilling – The pace and details are extraordinary – It is quite the read and perfect timing.

All the things you thought were going on in the South – They are!   It is nearly impossible to put this book down.  THE BONE TREE will not disappoint.

My copy had a reader’s book group guide at the back of the book and plenty of reference and acknowledgement material proves to be extremely interesting.

Book Three will be available March 2017.

Natchez Burning
The Contractors
Mississippi Blood

TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS: A Novel ~Sejal Badani

Monday, May 4th, 2015

“Never depend on another person for your happiness.  If someone had the authority to give, then he or she had the authority to take away.” (location 142)

I did not know what to expect from the book TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS.    I knew it was an immigration story and a debut novel but did not know much more.  I am often tempted to read the book descriptions sent by the publishers for advanced reading copies of books; I resisted and just dove into reading the story.  TLC Book Tours sent me a copy for review.

Three sister’s elegantly tell their stories of their lives in the USA after their family moves from India as an opportunity for daughters to achieve success and excel for the family when there are no sons.  Their father was successful and kind in India but he who was an engineer in his home country now can only get work in a tire store and experiences great racism and difficult circumstances.  He is driven to control his daughters and wife to the point of verbal and physical abuse.  He is in a coma and the family is forced to look at their lives and the shame they feel; the sad and unhappy outcomes of their lives.   A family story emerges as the family secrets are confronted by the violence exposed and events manifesting in their contemporary lives.

What blooms in the family tree as the family progresses and what changes in the patterns, so that history may not repeat itself? Can destructive behavior ever manifest real or solid success and provide growth and change for communication and allow love to emerge?

The telling of Sonja, Trisha, and Marin’s stories opens up the reader to explore what was expected of them from their own families and fathers.  How does original enculturation interfere or enhance a huge change in structures and systems and how does it breakdown the basic traits and expectations?  What are the freedoms that are attached to this change and could it be thought of as a good concept.  TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS will challenge one’s thinking and expectations.

I highly recommend TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS for those who like family dynamics, secrets revealed and want a story to end with hope for the future.

I was interested to see that Amazon already had 547  4+ reviews for this debut novel.

Sejal Badani is a former attorney.  She currently lives on the West Coast with her family and their 2 dogs.

Sejal Badani Facebook 

Playing St. Barbara 
The Clover House 
The Last Conception 
The Isolation Door 

IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING: A Novel ~Austin Ratner

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

You will want to read this book – I am sure of it, as it is such an enjoyable read and Austin Ratner has such a powerful way with words.   IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING went everywhere with me for 2 full days; I could not put it down and I am giving it as birthday gifts to two very good friends and writers because it is such a great read.

Writers need to read other good wordsmiths.

It is a father-son saga, with Jewish circumference.  It is an immigration story and the follow up of the lives that came after.  It is a medical story about all the aches and pains that remove love from your journey and forces an individual into new directions.  And then, there is that persistent truth that one cannot live another’s life for them.  What makes brothers get along/bond? What do they teach each other if they are honest and able to communicate well?

IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING is divided into three parts which are centered on a specific character; the first part is the story of the Father, the second part is the story of one of that Father’s sons, and the third part is the story of the two sons, a road trip, and the eventual atonement.

The back story of the Father comes at the reader like a hyperactive child who is behaving similarly to  a random sniper attack or in machine gun mode.  For a while I did not know if the boy was 4 years old or 13 and making his moves.  I did know that the stories of his mother’s death at a young age, his father’s abuse towards the boys and his own drive were in play constantly as he grieved, raged, and grew.  He is brilliant and works very diligently to achieve his goals and the rewards he dreams for do come his way and helping hands, minds and love are to be his, but only for a brief interlude.   It is a powerful format and the stories I have read by these male authors this summer have been amazingly deft at this style of  producing satisfying stories.

I loved the words in this story.  They just would not let me go and I would flip back 4 pages to look something up and find the subtle innuendo of explanation.  I got out my Yiddish dictionary!  The name calling and “boys will be boys” slang and gaming were near perfection.  It did not hurt that it was so Cleveland, where I spent 3 years in high school being an outsider, and that on the road trip the fellows were headed to my hometown and stopped at the side trips, diners, and hikes that I know so well.   The boys caught the surface of the far west, but missed the depth altogether and that made me laugh.

This is Austin Ratner’s  second novel.  He has won a number of awards for his first, THE JUMP ARTIST,  and he was raised in Cleveland, Ohio,  received an MD degree from John Hopkins School of Medicine, and is currently the clinical assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine living in Brooklyn with his wife and two sons.   If he does surgery the way he writes, then I am sure I would trust him as much as his mother does.


tlc logoThis was a book sent to me by TLC online book tours for review and Reagan, Arthur Books, Little, Brown and Company Publishers.   I enjoyed reading this book and hope you will also; I highly recommend IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING.

I am only reviewing books these days that I consider 4 or 5 stars, I occasionally do a 3 star review because I think other folks will like the book more than I did, I am still not reviewing the 1 or 2 star books because someone spent a long time producing that book and does not need my unhelpful words in promoting their efforts.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s by linking from this site, I will receive a few blossom$ in my bouquet.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Related Reading:
A Dual Inheritance 
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
The Idea Factory
I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag


Monday, May 20th, 2013

When I first began reading A CONSTELLATION OF VITAL PHENOMENA I thought I would describe it as stream of consciousness style writing or a vintage Russian Novelist’s style, and then when I would talk about the book, folks would say “I don’t want to read something like that!”  How could I share that I was fascinated by the story and was diving into the words head first only to be tossed over heels by the emotional depth and drive of the story line.  I did have to wrap myself up in a blanket as I was cold as winter in several sections of this amazing read.

CONSTELLATION is Anthony Marra’s first novel, but he has garnered prizes galore for his writing.  He is under 30 and has already completed undergraduate work; the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and won numerous awards; he works at Stanford University.   He has done a great deal of travel and study to write this story and produce this novel about 2 back to back wars in Chechnya which is quite a read.

The story takes place over 5 days in December 2004 most action centers around Hospital #6 and the last remaining doctor practicing and becoming an amazing surgeon.  Sonja, the London trained Russian physician, is the only doctor left in the hospital which used to have 500 doctors on staff.  She and a 79 year old nurse amputate, sew up, heal, and deliver babies in this building.  They have both lost a sister and are grieving, mourning, and healing. Sonja is saving lives.

The book is about war, death, disappearances, cold, hunger, fear, refugees, prostitution, slavery, illness, realities, torture and an eight year old girl.

The book is a mined field and you must learn the route and warning signs.  There are so many metaphors and symbols and truths all rolled around fantastical adjectives and swear words to satisfy any reader that the existence of the many is always, always in turmoil.  The problem-solvers and the creative are the most fluent of the survivors.

The book is a love story.

An arborist, a historian, a failed doctor all love this child and do everything within their power to save this child’s life.   “She is safe.”   She is hope.  She is future.

Reconstruction is fully on the shoulders of the survivors who were not discovered as they risked.  The world hardly knows that they are a part of this planet; until their distress is played out in Boston.

How can we as people keep continuing to make war?  How can we as human beings continue to allow torture; especially that for which we turn a blind eye? This book will leave you breathless and asking questions; ignite your circuits.

This book is about the ugliness of war and the tremendous loss when humanity is forfeited and the goal is to enjoy the pain and suffering of a defeated country with no one coming to its aid.  This is a story about the ordinary people in a small village surviving, healing, and overcoming the atrocities of WAR which are so plainly revealed to the reader and how love is the vital phenomena of living. How love overcomes our worst trials and fears.   We all need to read A CONSTELLATION OF VITAL PHENOMENA.

Related Reading:
A Dual Inheritance
The Myths of Happiness 
When Women Were Birds 
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

tlclogo I received a Kindle proof copy of A CONSTELLATION OF VITAL PHENOMENA from TLC books and Hogarth Publishing.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s   from this site I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Powell’s also has signed copies of this novel available and is the STAFF PICK of the MONTH.