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SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS: A novel ~Amy Impellizzeri

Monday, December 26th, 2016

I have to start with the author when I think about this story. “On November 12,2001, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed on my residential corner in Belle Harbor, New York. All of the passengers and crew and five of my neighbors on the ground died that morning. All reports of that day say there were no survivors.”

The author was home at the time and saw the plane crash into her neighborhood.

Belle Harbor had also lost 70 residents to the 9/11 attacks two months earlier and these two incidents are the beginning of the tale of SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS.

About Amy Impellizzeri:

“Amy is a reformed corporate litigator, founder of SHORTCUTS Magazine, and award-winning author. Her first novel, Lemongrass Hope (Wyatt-MacKenzie 2014) , was a 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Bronze Winner and a National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist. A favorite with bloggers and book clubs, Lemongrass Hope was named the #1 reviewed book in 2014 by blogger, The Literary Connoisseur, and topped several bloggers’ “Best of” Lists in 2015. Amy’s second novel, Secrets of Worry Dolls is releasing December 1, 2016 by Wyatt-MacKenzie.

“Amy is also the author of the non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing 2015). She is a proud member of the Tall Poppy Writers and President of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Amy currently lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids, and one energetic Weimaraner, where she keeps up on all of the latest research confirming that caffeine is, in fact, good for you.” (From TLC Book Tours)

Amy Impellizzeri Website 
Amy Impellizzeri Twitter

SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS begins with Lu unable to get on a plane to Guatemala to discover her Mother’s secrets – She is sitting in the bar unable to board the plane and contemplate leaving Rock Harbor and her Mother. She lost her twin sister and her fire fighter father both on 9/11 and she is unable to move on with her life even 10 years later. The plane she was supposed to board crashes right near the front door of her Mother’s house in Rock Harbor. Lu works her way home to discover her mother has been injured in the crash and is in a coma at the hospital. The first two parts of the story Lu is every other chapter as she begins the process of moving forward.

Mari, her mother is every other chapter as she tells you her story of growing up in Guatemala and receiving the Worry Dolls. Mari’s mother has been “disappeared” during the revolution and thus the sadness of her life begins. She works at holding her life together as she raises her twin daughters and garners some special friends along the way. She is hoping having Lu go to Guatemala will assist Lu in moving forward and having her own life and future. After 9/11 her life is a series of sleeping pills and often alcohol until the plane crash.

There is a great deal of tragedy and sorrow in this story. I found myself cheering Lu on to discover the right information to free her to move forward and find some happiness. I had a terrible time putting the book down after each reading session, because I just wanted the hope to emerge. I pushed myself to get to Part 3, and then there was progress as Lu was able to release herself from her indecision and begin to talk about what needed to happen next. The hope and the orchids emerged.

I did not try to resolve this story in my own mind, I just kept pushing forward to understand what the author was hoping to convey. I did not ask myself what I would do with so much tragedy in a lifetime and I found some reasonable answers. Knowing that the end of the Mayan Calendar was an important theme and that after that day we began a new calendar and moved on. It proved to be an indispensible tether to the story.

I am sure that I want to read the author’s award winning story LEMONGRASS HOPE and I can highly recommend SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS to my readers.

Related:
A Tale For The Time Being 
Fog Island Mountains
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

BEAUTY AND ATTRACTION: A Novel ~Liz Rosenberg

Monday, October 31st, 2016
beauty-and-attention

beauty-and-attention

An Advanced Reader copy of this story arrived in my inbox and I just thought the cover of this book was a good first hook.  I found this story about a young woman in the 1950s to be very interesting and a good read.  The story is about a “freedom” which can manifest after a death; it is about how to express and explore this new stage in a time period known for being quite restrictive.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review.  It is a good read.

The precision of the writing truly pulled me into the story of Libby Archer, a  naïve, young woman living in Rochester, New York as her father has just died and left her an orphan.  Her aunt and uncle who live in Ireland ask her to come and spend time with them and she choses to do just that as her friends push her to get married to be cared for and a young, smart enterprising local fellow is hoping she will say yes.

The banter between her cousin, an English Lord, and Libby is quite remarkable and compelling as Libby is quite outspoken and feisty.  Libby has very few resources at her disposal except her wit, charm, and kindness.  Her rather narcissistic aunt takes charge of her future and introduces Libby to a fascinating friend.  There are trips to Paris for clothing and style and Libby is loosing herself with each chapter.  She becomes more and more molded into a rather pathetic person and then falls in love or is manipulated into a relationship, when in Rome.  Money has come her way and this makes her an even greater “mark”.   Death keeps signaling change in Libby’s life – and then in a surprise twist she takes hold and takes a new direction.  Makes it worthwhile to read to the very last paragraph.

I enjoyed the book and liked that it was short and to the point.  There was good context material, such as reference to the McCarthyism pervasive in the USA and the focus on the development of computers.   I so liked how the story ended.

“The author of more than thirty books for adults and young readers, Liz Rosenberg has published three bestselling novels, including The Laws of Gravity and The Moonlight Palace. She has also written five books of poems, among them 2008’s Demon Love, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and After Great Grief, forthcoming from the Provincetown Arts Press. Her poems have been heard on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion. Rosenberg’s books for young readers have won numerous awards and honors and have been featured on the PBS television show Reading Rainbow. A former Fulbright Fellowship recipient, Rosenberg teaches English at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she earned the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She lives in Binghamton with her daughter, Lily, and a shih tzu named Sophie. Although she has homes in New York and North Chatham, Massachusetts, her heart is still in Ireland.” (TLC book tours)

Liz Rosenberg Wikipedia

Related:
The Moonlight Palace
The Imaginary Life
The Time Travelers Boyfriend

AUTUMN IN OXFORD: A Novel ~Alex Rosenberg

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Lake Union Publishing is certainly sharing some mighty fine reads with me this year.  AUTUMN IN OXFORD is a finely crafted murder, espionage, love story which is about reading every word and storing the details so you will be able to fit the twists and changes into perspective and solve the “who done it” part.  Even though the murder takes place in the first few chapters of the story in 1959, the why and who take pages of history and connection to piece it all together; lots of McCarthyism to uncover.

TLC Book Tours shared a winner with this read.  The writing is top notch and has the wonderful British pacing of the well-ordered sleuth with the push of the American prejudice exposed and revealed – made plain and arrogant.

Tom is a Finish boy who was reared in New York by his dedicated parents, he has married well a wealthy socialite and his writing has won him a Pulitzer Prize.  In his youth, he briefly joined the Communist Party and met the Rosenberg’s and other big names in college.  He left the Party and studied History and is now doing a teaching Fellowship at Oxford.   He meets his neighbor Liz, and realizes he has met the love of his life.  Liz is from Toronto, has 2 children and an unemployed husband who avoided the war by moving to Canada and lives life for appearances.

Tom’s wife insists that he return to New York with her, but Tom does not want to go because of his affair with Liz, also because he is having serious trouble with his passport – some department of government is pestering and threatening his because of his past connections – blacklisting.  Liz’s husband is murdered and now Tom has been arrested and a clever lawyer is now tracking the case and Tom’s backstory is outlined in detail.  One needs to read with care to find all the pieces that will fit together and complete the story’s truth.  I found it very difficult to put the story down, even with the deliberate pacing.

Alex Rosenberg is the author of the novel THE GIRL FROM KRAKOW.  He has lived in Britain and has taught at Oxford, where he made the acquaintance of some of the historical figures that play roles in AUTUMN IN OXFORD.  Rosenberg is the R. Taylor Cole Professor of Philosophy at Duke University in North Carolina.

Alex Rosenberg Wikipedia

Related:
Gone To Soldiers
Cuckoos Calling
The Boys In The Boat

ANOTHER BROOKLYN: A Young Adult Novel ~Jacqueline Woodson

Monday, August 29th, 2016

August is a young adult now with a PhD. in Anthropology who encounters a friend from the 1970s and it brings back memories of the friendships she had growing up in Brooklyn and how important Sylvia, Gigi, and Angela were to her life and the streets of their neighborhood.   It is here that we enter an almost dream sequence of events, which enable strength and survival though all the times of growing; creating a very special read.

“Jacqueline Woodson is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children, including the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DRAMING, which won the 2014 National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, an NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award.  Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.  She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.” (Cover)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down.  It just seemed to present so many discussion questions that I wanted to share with others.  I mentioned that TLC Book Tours http://tlcbooktours.com/2016/07/jacqueline-woodson-author-of-another-brooklyn-on-tour-august-2016/  had sent me a copy for review to my Children’s Librarian daughter and she said she knew the author well and has used Woodson’s books quite often with her middle school classes and “Yes! All her books include a trauma and are open to great discussions.”   I will share my uncorrected proof copy with her library.

August’s story travels from her beginnings in Tennessee to the adjustment of moving to New York.  From rural tranquil to noisy, dangerous city streets, she finally joined her brave and adventurous girl friends in feeling bold and happy when they were together,to coping with the advances of males.  August did not know for years that her mother back in Tennessee had died and she kept telling her younger brother that their mother was coming soon.  Father and brother got religion and the whole family always had enough food, there was that?

One of the reviews on the cover was by Ann Patchett, another best selling author and I had just finished reading her marvelous STATE OF WONDER, and I thought her description was so fabulous I needed to share:

“Another Brooklyn is a sort of fever dream, containing both the hard truths of life and the gentle beauty of memory.  The story of a young girl trying to find herself in the midst of so many conflicting influences and desires swallowed me whole.  Jacqueline Woodson has such an original vision, such a singular voice.  I loved this book.”

Jacqueline Woodson Facebook
Jacqueline Woodson Twitter
Jacqueline Woodson Web

Related:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Dancing In the Shadows
My Mothers Funeral