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A BEAUTIFUL POISON: A Historic Novel ~Lydia Kang

Friday, August 18th, 2017

TLC Book Tours  sent me a copy of A BEAUTIFUL POISON for review and it was a curious little story that turned into a very interesting tale about Allene a recently engaged eighteen year old living in New York City with her wealthy father.  The timing is centered on the facts that WWI is still drafting young men into service and a Spanish influenza outbreak has taken a powerful hold on the residents of the city and causing havoc.

At her engagement party a young woman dies, it becomes apparent that the guest was poisoned.  Allene engages the help of her 2 friends, Jasper and Birdie, and also turns up the volume on her old fascination with chemistry.   Yes!  Indeed it was a poisoning.  Jasper finds an apprenticeship with the Coroner’s Office located at Bellevue Hospital.   The history and the skill at sleuthing are finely displayed without the assistance of computers or even telephones!  The doctor’s work is revealed and the hospital’s developing services are proudly shared.

Lydia Kang is a doctor who studied at Bellevue Hospital.  She loves chemistry and answering questions with another question to research; her characters display her deep interests in history, chemistry, and problem- solving.  It is a celebration for a period in history that is maybe unknown to the rest of us and yet unfolds within the confines of this story.  Birdie has a very difficult job, which is killing her with a different poison and the story definitely gives a good lesson in the role of women in this society and the radical differences between the wealthy and the poor.

Good story telling and quite an interesting read.  A BEAUTIFUL POISON is not highly suspenseful because it took a great deal of time for the characters to communicate and for a number of people to be identified as being poisoned.

I recommend this story for the history lesson and the details of society at this post -Golden Era period of time in our history.  A very readable story I believe the teenagers I know would enjoy this slice of history and mystery very much.

About Lydia Kang

Lydia Kang is a physician and author of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine. She completed her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and currently lives in the Midwest, where she continues to practice internal medicine.

Related reading:
The Worthington Wife
Fudge and Jury
The Garden Plot

WTF Poems ~Laura Foley

Monday, June 12th, 2017

WTF is a collection of 18 poems, which are the biography of the author’s father – William T. Foley.  It is the recounting of a life of a WWII POW, doctor, husband, father, and mansion resident high up in New York City.  He is described as a healer not a killer and he enjoyed the respect of other men.

Foley’s words continue to share the sharp treatment of her mother and the contrast of how he robustly denounced his daughters:

DADDY’S GIRLS
He wanted a boy so badly,
he called four girls
a Chinese curse,
blamed our mother,
haunted us, his
unwanted daughters.
Kiss me, he’d insist…
Quickly, we learned to turn away,
duck his gaze,
but still he broke us,
two to madness,
one to meanness,
one to poetry.

I read a poem nearly everyday and I enjoy listening to poems being read aloud on the Writer’s Almanac (Garrison Keillor) on the radio.  I either like a poem or I do not and I like to analyze what I believe was the poet’s intention – just for the fun of it.

This is the third book of poems I have reviewed by Laura Foley and I have enjoyed them all.  One reason that I care for them so much is that Foley has done her homework and emotional companion work; she shares that integration with her writing.  The raw feelings are still evident and they allow the reader to touch into the poem and connect with one’s own emotions without one needing to work that emotion through for the author.  The work has been done and the reader is able to respond cleanly.

Poetic Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review. WTF – my pleasure.

“Laura Foley is the author of five poetry collections, including Joy Street, Syringa and Night Ringing.  Her poem ‘Gratitude List’ won the Common Good Books poetry contest and was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac.  She won the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry contest, judged by Marge Piercy. A palliative care volunteer in hospitals, she lives with her partner Clara Giménez and their three big dogs among the hills of Vermont.” (Cover)

Laura Foley Web
Laura Foley Facebook
Laura Foley Writer’s Almanac

Related:
Joy Street
Night Ringing
To Be of Use
Gone to Soldiers

BRIDGES: A Daphne White Novel ~Maria Murnane

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

BRIDGES is a continuing story of the “Three Musketeers” we discovered in WAIT FOR THE RAIN.  Those wonderful friends were reunited to celebrate another milestone in their lives.  KC, Skylar, and Daphne met 21 years ago at Northwestern University and became fast friends.   In the RAIN book they came together to celebrate their 20-year friendship and their 40th birthdays.  In BRIDGES they are supporting and celebrating Skylar in her big life change.

The reader goes with Daphne to New York City to connect with the threesome and spend a long weekend together.  The story includes a wonderful spa trip, some shopping, running, and a Broadway Play. Wouldn’t you enjoy doing all those things in the Big Apple?  Skylar’s lovely apartment is quite enchanting and a grand place to have those deep conversations, conflict, and work things out that need to be said.  Lots of emotions are expressed and the dialogue reflects a lot of problem-solving skills and good communications skills.  It is not a silly story but a real story about what could be and how one reassesses their life choices and adventures to move forward.   There is a happiness factor within the story that makes reading delightful.

I once again greatly appreciated the inner dialogue of Daphne, which was shared in the story.  I believe it was refreshing to know that she was having those emotions and thoughts and then finding that she could change her mind and own those feelings and make new decisions.   Daphne has written her first novel and submitted the manuscript to agents and has her fingers-crossed in anticipation of success.  Her friends are supportive when the secret is let out of the bag.

Murnane sent me a copy of both her books for review and I enjoyed curling up and reading them cover-to-cover.  I thought about reconnecting with one of my friends from college and wondered how we got so separated with out busy lives.

“Maria Murnane is a former PR Executive who abandoned a successful career to pursue a more fulfilling life.  She is the bestselling author of CASSIDY LANE, KATWALK, PERFECT ON PAPER; IT’S A WAVERLY LIFE, HONEY ON YOUR MIND, and CHOCOLATE FOR TWO, which garnered a stared review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.  Originally from California, she now lives in Brooklyn. “ (Book cover)

Maria Murnane Web
Maria Murnane Facebook

I would give this book ‘lots of stars’ for being delightful and for having characters that are capable of good dialogue and making constructive changes in their lives.  We could all enjoy this story and learn from this friendship.

Related:

Wait For the Rain
Another Brooklyn
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BRIDGES: A Daphne White Novel ~Maria Murnane

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

BRIDGES is a continuing story of the “Three Musketeers” we discovered in WAIT FOR THE RAIN.  Those wonderful friends were reunited to celebrate another milestone in their lives.  KC, Skylar, and Daphne met 21 years ago at Northwestern University and became fast friends.   In the RAIN book they came together to celebrate their 20-year friendship and their 40th birthdays.  In BRIDGES they are supporting and celebrating Skylar in her big life change.

The reader goes with Daphne to New York City to connect with the threesome and spend a long weekend together.  The story includes a wonderful spa trip, some shopping, running, and a Broadway Play. Wouldn’t you enjoy doing all those things in the Big Apple?  Skylar’s lovely apartment is quite enchanting and a grand place to have those deep conversations, conflict, and work things out that need to be said.  Lots of emotions are expressed and the dialogue reflects a lot of problem-solving skills and good communications skills.  It is not a silly story but a real story about what could be and how one reassesses their life choices and adventures to move forward. There is a happiness factor within the story that makes reading delightful.

I once again greatly appreciated the inner dialogue of Daphne, which was shared in the story.  I believe it was refreshing to know that she was having those emotions and thoughts and then finding that she could change her mind and own those feelings and make new decisions.   Daphne has written her first novel and submitted the manuscript to agents and has her fingers-crossed in anticipation of success.  Her friends are supportive when the secret is let out of the bag.

Murnane sent me a copy of both her books for review and I enjoyed curling up and reading them cover-to-cover.  I thought about reconnecting with one of my friends from college and wondered how we got so separated with out busy lives.

“Maria Murnane is a former PR Executive who abandoned a successful career to pursue a more fulfilling life.  She is the bestselling author of CASSIDY LANE, KATWALK, PERFECT ON PAPER; IT’S A WAVERLY LIFE, HONEY ON YOUR MIND, and CHOCOLATE FOR TWO, which garnered a stared review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.  Originally from California, she now lives in Brooklyn. “ (Book cover)

Maria Murnane Web
Maria Murnane Facebook

I would give this book ‘lots of stars’ for being delightful and for having characters that are capable of good dialogue and making constructive changes in their lives. We could all enjoy this story and learn from this friendship.

Related:
Wait For the Rain
Another Brooklyn
Becalmed