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THE WHISKEY SEA: A Novel ~Ann Howard Creel

Monday, September 5th, 2016

A fictional story wrapped around a piece of American History taking us to the New Jersey Shore and a young woman’s life during Prohibition.  It is a story of tenacity and perseverance, which brings a future and hope to a newly established family.  I think Young adult readers and possibly some middle school readers will really enjoy this story.

Della Hope a single mother trying to make it by being a prostitute dies from an infection and leaves 2 young girls, Beatrice still a baby and Frieda who might be 4 or 5 years of age.  After the police remove the body of their mother the girls are left on the street and along comes a “clammer” named Silver.  He feeds the children and then when he sees no one else, he takes the children home.  Silver has never visited a prostitute or worked for illegal gain and he cherishes the children keeping them safe and allowing them to grow and thrive.  Frieda remains strongly protective and feels that she must provide for Bea’s future and eventually Silver’s care also.

Frieda has not done well in school and she feels the sharp criticism of her schoolmates.  After graduation, she sets her mind on being a clammer, except Silver sells his boat when he can no longer go to sea.  Frieda decides to learn how to fix the boat engines and her small town finds some acceptance of a woman with her special skills in repair.   It is very hard to earn enough money to pay for all the needs and Frieda wants to send Bea to College so she can become a teacher.   She is enticed to become a rum runner and tend to the boats that go out in the night to supply private clubs and taverns with liquor.  It is very dangerous and the boats are always working on being ahead of the coast guard and pirates.  The New Yorkers in their private clubs can see the rum runners and the ocean resting delivery ships.

Frieda succumbs to the call of the money and soon has enough to hire a caregiver for Silver and purchase a new roof, clothing and schooling for Bea.   Just one more run…

The story is a fast read and although it does not explain a great deal about the history of the law, it does talk a great deal about surviving in difficult circumstances and when all the ways are cut off as an avenue for escaping into a better future.  There is a lovely love story tucked into the plot and lots of questioning and soul searching.   It is a fine read.

TLC Book Tours sent this advance reading copy to me for review and my e-copy was a good weekend read.  Thank you

The Kindle copy of this book is free at Amazon as I am writing this review!

Ann Howard Creel was born in Austin, Texas, and worked as a registered nurse before becoming a full-time writer.  She is the author of numerous children’s and young adult books as well as fiction for adults.  Her children’s books have won several awards, and her novel THE MAGIC OF ORDINARY DAYS was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie for CBS.  Creel currently lives and writes in Chicago.”

Related:
Broken Ground
Another Brooklyn
My Mother’s Funeral

REBEL SISTERS: Irish History shared through story ~Marita Conlon-McKenna

Monday, June 20th, 2016

I do think learning history through story is such a good idea. This book is about three specific sisters, who truly existed, and were part of the 1916 Freedom Rebellion in Dublin, Ireland.  Two of the sisters were married to leaders of the uprising; one sister was a volunteer with the organization.  There are songs written about this insurgence and about the young women and their husbands, who became martyrs to the cause for generations to come.

The beautiful sisters are just 3 of the six girls in a family of 12 children. They are protestant and are reared in the wealthy, privileged part of Dublin.  Their mother is strong willed and attempts to thwart their efforts to become part of the Citizen Army, and it is reassuring to know that  she does grow to love her kind and loving son-in-law.  Mother Gifford does see to it that each of her daughters receives a university education and has a plan for her life.  A daughter who is a journalist has left the home fires for America and hopes for a bigger career in writing.   It is also the start of WWI, so the Freedom Fighters are feeling that London will be too busy with the Germans and the war to be able to stop the fight for freedom.  REBEL SISTERS is caught up in the energy of the times and yet has found three individual stories to tell with lots of courageous detail making it also a wonderful love story.

TLC Book Tours sent an early e-copy of the book for  review.  Irish love story and rebellion – it is bound to be a hit and a success for the 100 year celebration of this historic event.

“Marita Conlon-McKenna is one of Ireland’s favourite authors.  Her books include the award-winning UNDER THE HAWTHORNE TREE, set during Ireland’s Great Famine, which has been widely translated and published and is now considered an Irish classic.  Her other books include the bestseller THE MAGDALEN.  She is a winner of the International Reading Association Award in the USA.  She is a former chairperson of Irish PEN.  She lives in Dublin with her husband and family of four children.” (From book cover)

Marita Conlon-McKenna Website

Although REBEL SISTERS is about war on many fronts, it is just beautifully written and it is held in high esteem.  The research is extensive and the personal is well included.  The style has been compared to Maeve Binchy’s form and detailed representation.  The sisters had full lives after the rebellion and made a big difference in the lives of their community from setting up a museum history lesson, to art, poetry, and preserving their husband’s legacy and work.  They are included in the history books as brave spirits to the causes of justice, relieving poverty and hunger, and working towards a more Irish educational system.  Their colleagues are a virtual who’s who of Ireland’s history and leaders.

You may just want to make a fresh pot of tea and enjoy warm Irish Soda Bread while you settle in for a fine read.

Irish Soda Bread link

Related:
Playing St. Barbara
In The Garden of Stone
Letters From Skye

INTEGRITY: A Compelling Novel ~Anna Borgeryd

Monday, February 8th, 2016

“A compelling novel that brings the big picture of climate change, economic greed and runaway inequality down to a deeply personal level through the story of a relationship between a woman and a man.”  Dr. Vandana Shiva, Environmentalist and author

I could not put INTEGRITY down.  All 500 pages held my interest and it is proving to be an amazing educational tool because of the parameters of a real love story between and man and a woman who are honest and smart.  Great political truth telling.

It began as a screenplay and then expanded into a novel and is now translated into English. It is being shared on all the book sites and I am extremely pleased to say that Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc.  tracked me down and asked me to review this book.  Due to a typo, 2 copies of the book were sent to the wrong address and then not returned to the Post Office or sender and Meryl Zegarek still sent me a third copy for review.  I love political books, environmental books,  and taking a good hard look at what the USA is doing from the outside worldview.  Our financial markets and strategies are working against what people want and many, many more of us are having our mortgages sold to people who do not care if we fall or the market fails, which it is destined to do. Greed is blinding.

I loved the students working on defining Hedge Funds and Naked Buys and how the system was intended to work for the betterment of our welfare and instead how it is destroying our future instead. GREED and ILLUSION explored. I loved the honesty of the student’s enthusiasm; the working through of their thinking, their process of gaining integrity in their relationships and in their presentations.   No wonder this book is becoming a “Cult Novel” in Sweden and now here.

Anna Borgeryd on Facebook
Anna Borgeryd Blog

From NC Review.com:  “Anna Borgeryd is a musician and filmmaker, has a Ph.D. in conflict management and is chair of the family business, Polarbro-d. She has been an advisor to the Swedish government’s Future Commission, and given a TEDx lecture on The Dawn of a New Economy  http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/The-dawn-of-a-new-economy-Anna;search%3AAnna%20Borgeryd. Named one of the most influential environmentalists in Sweden, Anna has just published her first novel, ‘INTEGRITY’-a love story between a woman trying to change the world, and a man trying to change with her.”

From the book cover:

“Vera is a nurse from Sweden who, while delivering a baby in the Colombian jungle, meets indigenous people with a wholly different outlook of life.  A traumatic experience forces her home, where the quest to put her life back together becomes tired up with her search for a more sustainable world.

“She meets the womanizing heir to a luxury travel company.  Could such opposites really attract?  And could they actually work together to find a fix for an economic system heading towards meltdown?

“An exploration of the interconnectedness of human life and an unexpected love story, INTEGRITY delves deep into the choices and emotions of a woman trying to change the world – and a man trying to change with her.”

I want everyone I know to read INTEGRITY.  I want everyone to read INTEGRITY. I want INTEGRITY to be a cult book here in the USA.  We all need to read this book.

Related:
How To Be Alive
When Women Were Birds
He, She, It
The Shock Doctrine

THE UNFORTUNATE IMPORTANCE OF BEAUTY: A Novel ~Amanda Filipacchi

Monday, September 21st, 2015

THE UNFORTUNATE IMPORTANCE OF BEAUTY is a story picked by my book group for our discussion in September.  I ran into one of our members at the grocery store who was reading ahead as she is headed back to school in a few days and she said, “our next two books are weird!” I was hoping that meant weird and wonderful and not just strange.   I have to say it was a very interesting premise and the humor made me smile as I turned pages and settled in for the cover-to-cover experience.

About the author from Amazon:

“Amanda Filipacchi is the author of four novels: Nude Men, Vapor, Love Creeps, and, just out, The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty (W. W. Norton, Feb. 2015). Her fiction has appeared in Best American Humor and elsewhere. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic. She earned an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. She lives in New York.”

The story is a rather amazing testament to friendship.  There are four friends, who gather for the Nights of Creativity.  Georgia has written several novels, Jack is a person who can resolve conflict, Lily is a brilliant composer of music, Penelope works at being a potter and selling pottery, but her craft is putting pieces back together, and Barb who is an award winning costume designer.   Gabriel was a member of the group, but he committed suicide and changed the group’s lives.  His suicide note said that he was in love with Barb but not worthy of someone who was so beautiful.

Barb reacts to this sadness by making and wearing a fat suit of clothing inclusive of messy teeth and a wild and frizzy grey wig.  She has worn this cover-up/costume for the last several years.  Barb also believes that her father had affairs when her mother’s great beauty began to fad and they divorced.   She hopes someone will overlook her “ugly” veneer and love her for herself.

Georgia leaves her laptop in a cab and she can no longer write until it is returned a number of days later.  Her novels are quite popular. Georgia is clever with words and ideas.

Lily who is not very attractive at all and can write beautiful music which drives folks to purchase office supplies or purchase books at Barnes and Noble falls in love with Strad who can not see her as beautiful at all and the group begins to help Lily with her obsession of him.  The group encourages each other and cares for each other and develops some absurd solutions to help problem-solve and find happiness.

The humor is not knee-slapping or belly laughing material, rather makes this group more loveable and likeable and charming.  There is a constant undercurrent about beauty and a condemnation of Strad but not a true or real solution to the society’s influence. There is a strong message about how persuasive our culture is and the role of marketing and how that changes minds and uniforms us into roles.  The characters need to come to their own conclusions and ideas and then proceed into society with the strength of friendship holding them together.

It was an interesting and fun read and I was happy to be introduced to this book and this author.   I will ask at our next gathering who discovered the book and why they chose it for us to discuss.  Certainly THE UNFORTUNATE IMPORTANCE OF BEAUTY will produce an interesting discussion evening.

Related:
The Divorce Diet
About A Girl
US