Sunday, July 26, 2020

Book Review: Landing in my Present


LANDING IN MY PRESENT
by
Mary Clark
Biography / Aviation / Historical / WWII
Publisher: Hellgate Press Date of Publication: June 15, 2020
Number of Pages: 218
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Mary Walker Clark barely knew her father. When he died, he left not only the obvious void every teen would experience, but took with him scores of Indiana Jones-style tales about flying the Hump, a treacherous series of US missions that transported supplies over the Himalayas to China during World War II. 
It would take a chance interview with a pilot who had flown with her father in the war to launch a series of extraordinary journeysinto a shrouded past and halfway around the globe to India and Chinafor Clark to finally come to know the father whose absence had haunted her for decades. 
Landing in My Present chronicles the adventures of a daughter who chose to pry open a painful past while enlarging her view of an adventurous father long thought lost.
CLICK TO ORDER ON: AMAZONHELLGATE PRESS


If I'm being honest, I don't think my love for biographies will ever go away. Maybe it's because I grew up in an era of reality TV and YouTube, but I just truly enjoy reading about other's people's lives. Landing in My Present was no exception.

This story is actually a little different than most biographies that I have read because it doesn't focus on the main character's biography, it is mixture of an autobiography and a biography because she talks more about her father's past while also talking about how she was feeling as well. This isn't always the norm when reading these types of books (and I have read plenty), so it was definitely a nice change of pace.

I am a huge history buff, so anything dealing with history, especially WWII history, I'm all ears (and eyes). I have read so many things about this time in our world history and after reading this book, I found out that I'm still learning. I loved all the little details that our author gives us insight to, like the Himalayan Hump that pilots in the war had no choice but to go through to get their supplies into China. I also didn't know that you could just own a plane and fly into an airport. I don't currently have a plane, so I'm not sure how much or little that aspect has changed, but it was interesting to read that the sky wasn't that regulated as it is now.

 Even though I'm a history buff, I'm just not a technical kind of buff.  There were a couple of chapters that our author talked about her father's plane and gives us a more in-depth look at the planes and what makes them cool. While that may interesting for some people, I was just not interested in the plane aspect as much, though I loved her passion when talking about this and just her father in general throughout the book.

Overall, I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. You learn something new throughout the story, it's interesting and it gives you insight on one man's incredible life. And for those of you who do not like reading long stories, this one is only 218 pages total. Until next time friends, Happy Reading!









Mary Walker Clark is a retired attorney turned travel writer who loves taking readers with her to worldwide destinations. She has been traveling independently and internationally for over fifty years. Her essays may be found in the Paris News, at her blog, "Mary Clark, Traveler," and her podcasts at KETR 88.9, an NPR affiliate. Clark is an award-winning member of the North American Travel Journalists Association and a contributor to Still Me, … After All These Years, 24 Writers Reflect on Aging. 
In 2016, Clark traveled to India and China to follow her father's WWII footsteps when he was a Hump pilot flying over the Himalayas. Her journey to connect with him fifty years after his death is told in her book, Landing in My Present
Clark is a fifth generation Texan living in Paris, Texas.
Website ║ Facebook  Blog
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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers

Hello everyone! It has been super sunny here in south Texas, hoping for a rainy day soon. If there was ever a time that I wish I had a pool in the backyard, it would be today as it is 100 degrees. But alas, I thought it would be so convenient having a community pool. Silly me for not predicting a pandemic sooner. ANYWAYS, I have been inside more and I have been reading more. The book I am reviewing today, Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, I actually started at the beginning of the year. But then I had other reading obligations and other things got in the way and I put this away for a bit. But I was able to pick it up again a couple of weeks ago, so here's my review!




Liane Moriarty is an Australian author. Liane has written 10 books, which includes 3 children's books. She

is best known for her novel, Big Little Lies, which was adapted into an HBO limited series, which went on to win multiple Emmy's. Nine Perfect Strangers is the newest book in Liane's collection and is set to have a limited series of it's own come out on Hulu in 2021.





Nine Perfect Strangers is about nine different people who gather at a health resort. Some to lose weight, some to gain clarity and others just to enjoy getting away. But the health resort's main coach, Masha, is not going to let them take it easy by any means. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.


This is my second book that I read from Liane Moriarty and it is just as good as the last book I read. Nine Perfect Strangers brings together a group of characters that are all completely different and come into the tranquillium house with different objectives, but in the end, have the same goal. Moriarty proves that a big cast of characters does not diminish a story. Though, there was one character I kept forgetting about, but that also could have been because I set it down and picked it back up months later.

Each character is able to tell their story about that they are feeling and they are reacting to everything that goes on during their stay in tranquillium house. There does seem to be main character, Frances, but Liane gives all her characters time to shine. It's really impressive how each character has their talking style. Liane does a great job of making each character's voice in the story unique and not just one narrative.

Like Liane's other book I read, and I'm sure all her books, I was ready for all the twists and turns and I was not disappointed.

Overall, I enjoyed Nine Perfect Strangers and I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is a little long, but still a good read. I enjoyed learning about these and finding out why they are the way they are. The whole book is a perfect example of how to execute multiple characters at once without overwhelming the reader. If you liked the review, I also have it as a BookTube on my YouTube Channel. Until next time, Happy Reading!



Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Book Review: The Key to Everything


THE KEY TO EVERYTHING
by
Valerie Fraser Luesse Contemporary Christian Romance
Publisher: Revell Date of Publication: June 2, 2020
Number of Pages: 352
Scroll down for the giveaway!



Based on a true story, Valerie Fraser Luesse’s new novel takes readers on an incredible journey of self-discovery. The poignant prose, enchanting characters, and captivating settings in The Key to Everything make this a moving story that readers won’t soon forget. Peyton Cabot’s fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon, and distancing himself from his son. When a tragic accident separates Peyton from his parents, and the girl of his dreams seems out of reach, he struggles to cope with a young life upended. Pushed to his limit, Peyton makes a daring decision: he will retrace a slice of the journey his father took at fifteen by riding his bicycle all the way from St. Augustine to Key West, Florida. Part loving tribute, part search for self, Peyton’s journey will unlock more than he ever could have imagined, including the key to his distant father, a calling that will shape the rest of his life, and the realization that he’s willing to risk absolutely everything for the girl he loves.
CLICK TO ORDER ON:   AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE CHRISTIANBOOK.COMINDIEBOUND  



Monday, June 1, 2020

Book Review: Waiting for the Past: Poems


Hey everyone! It has been a very rainy spring here in Texas, escpecially these past few days. It has come to my attention that I have not done an independant book review in a while. Lone Star Literary, the organization that I write books for, is really growing and they are getting tons of new authors who want to work with Lone Star Literary and it's been great. I have been reading new books, discovering new authors and enjoying being a book blogger for them.

But I did have a short downtime period and I ended up picking up a few books at my local Dollar Tree and Waiting for the Past happened to be one of them that caught my eye. It's a pretty short book and I recently started a YouTube channel where I also review the books, so in case you don't feel like reading, here's a link.

But I picked up the book, hadn't read a poetry book in a while so thought it could stir my juices and be a great book to review while I read a book for Lone Star Literary. So here's my review on Les Murray's Waiting for the Past.

BUT FIRST....



Leslie Allan Murray, or Les Murray, was born on October 17, 1938 in Bunyah, New South Wales, Australia. He attended the University of Sydney where he studied modern languages, worked as a translator and served in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve.

Murray's work has been translated into 10 languages and he was awarded the Australian Literature Society's Gold Medal and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. In his time active, he created 30 volumes of poetry, including Waiting For the Past in 2015.

Murray passed away in 2019 at the age of 80.

NOW ONTO THE...




So like I mentioned in the beginning, I did pick this up at the Dollar Tree. I haven't bought books at the Dollar Tree in a while, but this one caught my eye. The cover is just so aestheticlly pleasing and I was even more pleased when I flipped through the pages and found this to be a poetry book.  When I looked up the author, I thought I couldn't go wrong.

Murray writes a lot about his past and how he grew up poor in Australia. This book was no exception. All poems center around Murray's experiences growing up. Since the writer is speaking from the heart, I could really feel Murray's passion for how he felt come out through his writing. His emotions were laid out and he held nothing back. Anyone who reads this book will be able to tell as well.

Although he had such good emotion throughout the 73-page book, some poems stood out more to me than others.  Here is one of those that popped out for me titled, Bread Again:
The Staff of life 
has become
the lunch of staff

It's a haiku, but. I thought it was pretty funny and the one's I really enjoyed are a little bit long for this blog, but if you watch my BookTube review, I might just say it.

While some poems were easy to follow what was happening and what it could have meant, so were not as transparent. Maybe if I read some more Australian history, I would understand a bit better, but I just didn't follow some of the poems.

I also thought this poetry book would go more chronoligal order of Murray's childhood, but it doesn't feel that way. It's more sporadict and I'm not sure if that is how he meant everything to be or not.

Overall, I give this book a 3 out of 5 stars. Some poems were great and I could feel that Murray really put his heart into his poems. I just did not personally understand the context of some of them and I wish they would have told a story more than being sporadic. If you're into poetry, you may want to check out this one out or maybe one of his other poetry books. I have read that this was not his strongest works and that he has some more powerful ones out there. If you're not into poetry books, you then you might want to pass.

Until next time, Happy Reading!



Monday, May 25, 2020

Book Review: Storms of Malhado

STORMS OF MALHADO by
MARIA ELENA SANDOVICI
Genre: Historical Fiction / Ghosts Publisher: Independently Published Date of Publication: March 26, 2020
Number of Pages: 252
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Galveston Island, Texas, September 2008 Katie doesn’t believe in ghosts. And she certainly doesn’t believe the rumors that her family’s home is haunted, despite its tragic history: two young women who lived there in different eras died in hurricanesone during Hurricane Carla in 1961, one during the Great Storm of 1900, the greatest natural disaster to befall the United States. But that was the past, a fact Katie reminds herself of when she returns to Galveston to await Hurricane Ike with her parents and boyfriend in her family’s Broadway mansion, hoping to rekindle her flailing relationship. While Katie is not afraid of the ghost stories she’s heard, she is afraid of the monster storm approaching. As even die-hard Islanders evacuate, her fears grow—fear of the looming hurricane, fear that she’s talentless as a painter, fear that her relationship with her boyfriend is already over. As Katie struggles against her fears, the past whispers to her of the women who died there and the haunting similarities they share with Katie’s own life. 
Through three different timelines, Storms of Malhado weaves a story of Galveston’s past, underscoring its danger and isolation, as well as its remarkable resilience, and its capacity for both nostalgia and reinvention. Full of contradictions, at once insular and open to the world, Galveston Island is as much a character of the novel as Katie, Suzanne, Betty, their lovers, and their confidantes.




PRAISE FOR STORMS OF MALHADO:

“Taking place entirely on a beautifully moody Galveston Island, Ms. Sandovici weaves three simultaneous stories with ease. With a timeless tale, ethereal language, and complicated characters, readers will be entranced by this modern ghost story. How many times can the past repeat itself? How do we recognize people through generations? The author tackles this topic amid a backdrop of violent nature and intangible dreamscapes."  —Courtney Brandt, author of The Queen of England: Coronation, Grand Tour, Ascension ”Three women, three great storms, and one house, haunted by forbidden love and frustrated ambition. Get ready to be swept away by Sandovici’s foray into Galveston Island’s tempestuous history in this tale of lives intertwined across time.” —Donna Dechen Birdwell, author of Not Knowing
CLICK TO PURCHASE
Amazon 
 




First off, I have not ventured to Galveston, Texas in a hot minute. I have been wanting to go, I just haven't gotten around to it and it doesn't look like I'm going to get there any time in the immediate future. Luckily, I read a beautiful book that takes place in Galveston so that I can travel there in my imagination.

Not only did I travel to Galveston, but I traveled through 3 different timelines. The book dealt with 3 sets of characters from 3 sets of timeline whose red thread connects them at the end of the book through the events of 3 different hurricanes, The Great Storm (1900), Hurrican Carla (1961), and Hurricane Ike (2008). The author does a fabulous job of traveling back and forth between the different times without having the reader get too confused or sounding choppy. All characters had their own personality in each timeline, even if they were all supposed to be the same characters. Of course, they did have some of the same characteristics, they were still their own person and that made me happy to read because sometimes I wonder if when I die, will I come back in a different timeline until the world ends? 

"She was the kind of woman who cried over the gardener, smoked in the attic, contemplated drowning herself in the bathtub, and neglected calling her mother." 

The imagery in this book is also something to rave about. I could distinctly create each decade's surroundings, how everyone looked, what everyone wore and what the house of Malhado looked like as time passed on. The author does a great job at painting the picture for you, much like our main character likes to paint and she does it well. Made me want to really visit Galveston.

There was nothing really wrong with this book, the only thing for me was the ending. I thought that while I understood the ending and why everything happened, I thought it was a little corny, but that's just me.

Despite my opinion about the ending, it was still a great and interesting book that you will not be able to put down once you start. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was not what I had thought it was going to be when I first read the synopsis. I thought it was going to be more ghosty it wasn't but it turned out to be even better than a ghost story. Defintiley recommend putting this on your list of books to read. Until next time, Happy Reading!





Maria Elena Sandovici is a full-time writer, artist, and gallery owner living in Houston, Texas. After obtaining a Ph.D. in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2005, her curiosity led her to Texas, where she taught at Lamar University for fourteen years. She felt attracted to Galveston Island from her first visit and lived there part-time for three years before her artistic career took her to Houston. 
Sandovici is a 2008 graduate of John Ross Palmer's Escapist Mentorship Program, a program that teaches artists business skills. She resigned from her tenured academic position in December 2018 and opened her own private gallery space. Her previous works of fiction are Dogs with Bagels, Stray Dogs and Lonely Beaches, Lost Path to Solitude, The Adventures of Miss Vulpe, and Lone Wolf. She is also the author of Stop and Smell the Garbage, a volume of poetry in the voice of her dog, Holly Golightly. You can follow her daily adventures on her blog HaveWatercolorsWillTravel.blog.

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