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From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island by Lorna Goodison

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review: 4 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Amistad; Reprint edition (April 23, 2013), Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers, File Size: 635 KB, Print Length: 306 pages (Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061337560), ASIN: B00C0UHKEM

In From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her People Goodison tells her mother’s story through tales from the past. Although the book is a memoir, much of it is fiction because it is an imaginative reconstruction of Goodison’s family history using both fact and fiction. Goodison utilizes ghosts—the specters of her ancestors—as a method of linking the past to the present, and tells the story through voices from the past. Almost all memories of Margaret (Goodison’s grandmother) are reimagined, because as Goodison writes, “[e]xcept for the eldest siblings, Barbara and Howard, most of the children had no real memory of Margaret”. Yet “they always felt her presence, for Doris [Goodison’s mother] quoted her every day” (Goodison 254). Ghosts are the history of the past coming forward, reappearing, and providing insight on prior events.

Lorna Goodison is a poet, an author of short stories, and an artist. She has received several awards for her work, and she has been writing poetry since her teens. She was born in Kingston, Jamaica on August 1, 1947, and From Harvey River is the legacy of Goodison’s roots. Much of the writing reflects the impact of her family’s heritage—a legacy that is driven by spirits and ghosts derived from both African and Jamaican beliefs.

The book itself is a return to childhood, and contains the forgotten and unknowable history of the past, of Goodison’s past, of her mother’s past, and of her mother’s people’s past. Ghosts are non-corporeal beings that are manifestations of ethereal or metaphysical conscious energies. The appearance of ghosts in this story is the transcendence of people from the past moving through linear time and space in order to interact with the characters. This communication creates cracks in space and makes room for a connection between the past and the present, and this breach is often transcended through dreams. Goodison informs the reader the book itself was “handed” to her by her mother’s ghost, when the author “began to ‘dream’ her [mother], as Jamaicans say” (Goodison 2).

From Harvey River is a memoir of Goodison’s mother. On the surface this history appears unremarkable, but the combination of fiction, history, and family lore, told from the point of view of spirits in the past, creates an interesting and intriguing tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found it touching, and at times it made me laugh, and other times it made me cry. If you enjoy a good read about interesting people in a unique and fascinating setting then I recommend this book as an excellent read.

To Purchase, From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island from Amazon, click here or on above picture

 

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Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Silo
Book Review

Book Review

Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) – 3 Treasure Boxes
Books 1 – 5 in the Silo SeriesPublisher: Broad Reach Publishing (January 25, 2012), Kindle edition File Size: 711 KB, Print Length: 550 pages, Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1469984202, ASIN: B0071XO8RA

The outside world is uninhabitable and humanity has moved underground. The livable world is now encased by a silo that starts at ground level and extends far into the earth. This existence has continued for hundreds of years, and numerous strict rules ensure the maintenance of the current lifestyle. However the worst offense an inhabitant can make is to talk about going outside. If anyone suggests or even implies an interest in the outside, they are forced out, and end up dying within steps of the silo. Until one day when Juliette is sent out, but doesn’t die. Instead she goes beyond the sightline of the silo and survives. But what she finds, and the reason she was put out are very surprising.

Wool is a science fiction story that is told in a third person narrative. It comprises five short stories that have been combined to create Wool. Currently there are two more books in the series, the next one is called Shift, and it comprises three stories. Shift is a prequel to the events in Wool. The final book in the Silo Series is Dust and it immediately follows the events in Wool.

Wool is an interesting story with a curious title. It took me awhile to figure out why Howey called the book Wool. There are numerous possibilities. There are several references in the story to knitting—including the titles of the middle three sections of the book. There is a reference to pulling the wool over people’s eyes. Regardless, I believe the meaning implies something deeper. I believe the title refers to humans as sheep, and suggests that when one person jumps off the cliff all the others will follow.

Wool is a dystopian story that deals with human nature, and it poses the question: can we learn from our past mistakes, or are we destined to continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over? Initially, the plot line appears to suggest that as humans we are destined to continually make the same mistakes. Yet the end of story seems to point in a new direction. I am curious to see where Howey is going with this and I am planning on reading the next two installments in the series.

The characters are well defined and the world that is created in fascinating. The nature of society, and of time itself is at issue. There is both a sense immediacy and delay, and the story sparks many questions, causing the reader to question humanity. I enjoyed this book and I recommend it as a very good read.

 

 

To purchase Wool from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Bridget Jones
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of  Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Knopf (October 15, 2013), File Size: 2745 KB, Print Length: 400 pages, ASIN: B00CNQ7CRI

Bridget Jones is back, but it is 14 years later. She has two small children and she has been a widow for four years. It is time she started to re-enter the world of dating, and although she is now 51, the first man she dates is a boy toy of 29.

Helen Fieldings created the lovable and amusing character of Bridget Jones. She has previously written two Bridget Jones books: Bridget Jones Diary and Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason. Both have been made into movies. Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy continues the diary style used in the previous two books, and shares with the reader all of Bridget’s private thoughts through her daily diary entries.

Bridget Jones Diary, the forerunner of the chick-lit genre, is an enjoyable and humorous story. Bridget Jones is a delightful character, and in Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Fieldings once again shares with the reader the ups and downs of Bridget’s life. In the previous books Bridget, a single woman in her mid thirties with the support of her friends, is looking for love while counting calories. In Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy as in the previous installments, Fieldings accurately captures and relays the thoughts of feelings of a single woman. Only this time Bridget is 51 years old and a mother. She is once again looking for love with the support and encouragement of her friends, and she is still counting calories. Only now she is also grappling with social media and online dating.

I enjoyed the story, and I both laughed and cried with Bridget as she stumbled through life, dating, and motherhood. However, I did find the lack of grammar in some of the diary entries to be both distracting and annoying. “Look. Is absolutely fine being in on own on Saturday nights. Will simply clear out cupboard under stairs then get on exercise bike.” Location 604-5. But when she expands on a scene and includes dialogue, then the story becomes enjoyable. However I did find some of her diary entries amusing and funny. “Was trying to park car. This is impossible in our street as is narrow, curved and cars park on both sides. Had just reversed in and out of space fourteen times, then resorted to Braille Parking, i.e. forcing car into space by bumping cars in front and behind.” Location 853-56.

The story was predictable, and I could see what was going to happen with Mr. Wallaker almost as soon as he was introduced into the story, but I did enjoy the journey. I could relate to Bridget’s trials, tribulations, and successes. I recommend Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy as a very good read. If you enjoyed the previous Bridget Jones books, then you must treat yourself to the newest book in the series.

 

Reverb by J Cafesin

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Reverb: 3 Treasure Boxes

Reverb is a story of redemption, healing, and love, with a twist of foreboding. The majority of the story takes place in Greece and revolves around James, a musician in hiding, and Elizabeth, a young mother recovering from the death of her husband.

The book captured my interest from the first page. The story was well told, and I liked all the characters, who I found to be well-rounded and complex. I enjoyed how the tale unfolded, and many parts I found original, although I did think the ending was a bit abrupt, and perhaps a tad too concise. Overall, I enjoyed the story and I recommend this book as a very good read.

To Purchase Reverb from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Longbourn by Jo Baker

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Longbourn: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Knopf (October 8, 2013), Sold by: Random House LLC, File Size: 1708 KB, Print Length: 353 pages, Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385351232, ASIN: B00CCPIITQ

 


Longbourn is a look at the world of Pride and Prejudice from a different point of view, from the view downstairs. It is the story of the servants who work at Longbourn, the home estate of the Bennets. The author, Jo Baker, has created interesting backgrounds for the lives of these people.

I really enjoyed the book. I thought it was well written and I liked the characters. I enjoyed tying the story into Pride and Prejudice. I thought it was an interesting look at the separation of class, especially in England during this time. I recommend this book as a very good historical read.

Favourite Quotes:

“She was as sweet, soothing and undemanding as a baked milk-pudding, and as welcome at the end of an exhausting day.” Page 50

“A blur of rich colours—one green velvet coat, one blue—and the soft creak of good leather, and a scent off them like pine sap and fine candlewax and wool. She watched their glossy boots scatter her tea leaves across the wooden floor. The two gentlemen were so smooth, and so big, and of such substance: it was as though they belonged to a different order of creation entirely, and moved in a separate element, and were as different as angels.” Page 195

“Fear now was a creature; it slithered around him, covered his face and got in amongst his hair and he could not breathe and he could not think, and he just stared across the wide poor land, and along the empty road, then spun to look back off the way they’d come from.”  Page 236

“ It was not the end, of course; it was just an end. Mrs. Hill’s thread may have become snarled up into an intractable knot, but others were still unspooling. One had wound all the way out through the wild Derbyshire hills, and then along the gentler lanes of Cheshire, and then drifted across to the flat lands by the sea.” Page 328

To purchase Longbourn from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Power Vs Force by David R. Hawkins M.D. Ph.D

Book Review

Book Review

Book review of Power Vs Force: 3 Treasure Boxes

Power Vs Force is a fascinating look at how spiritual power is superior to physical force. Dr. Hawkins backs up his book with thousands of tests to support his position. I recommend this book as a very good read, it is interesting and informative. Plus I like the way Dr. Hawkins shows how good will always overcome evil in the end.

 

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Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective by Christine Amsden

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Cassie Scot Series
Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective: 3 Treasure Boxes
Book 1 of the Cassie Scot Series
Publisher: Twilight Times Books; First edition (April 4, 2013,) Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., File Size: 484 KB, ASIN: B00C7VR69I

Cassie Scot, a “normal” young woman, is a misfit both within her family and within the community. She is the sole ungifted person among a family of powerful sorcerers. She has become a private investigator and although she advertises that she will only work on normal cases, she gets pulled into solving a paranormal mystery. While she is struggling to find her way, and her independence, she becomes entangled with a handsome, but mysterious sorcerer.

Christine Amsden has written both science fiction and fantasy. Recently she released a science fiction book, The Immortality VirusCassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective is the first book of four expected books in The Cassie Scot Series and is a contemporary fantasy. The story is told in a first person narrative from the main protagonist, Cassie Scot. Books two to four, have been written and are expected to be released over the next few months. The expected titles are: Secrets and Lies, Mind Games, and Dreamer.

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective is a twist on the contemporary fantasy genre. The main protagonist, Cassie, has no magical abilities, but she fully understands how the paranormal world operates. She is doing her best to find acceptance in the magical world and within her own family, while at the same time, protecting herself against magical attacks.  Cassie is a likeable person and her character is well developed. One of the themes in this book is family relationships. The story was interesting and I found it hard to put down.

This is not a standalone story, but is an intriguing beginning. I recommend Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective as a very good read and it is a great start to what proffers to be an interesting series. The book captured my attention from the first page and the story included several surprising twists and turns. I am looking forward to the next book, Secrets and Lies, because I am curious to see how Cassie is going to deal with the situation she now finds herself.

To Purchase: “Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Romance Your Writer Within by Melba Burns

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of Romance Your Writer Within: 3 Treasure Boxes
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., File Size: 407 KB, Print Length: 175 pages, ASIN: B00636PZPK

Romance Your Writer Within and Reawaken Your Passion to Write is full of helpful and insightful instruction aimed at opening up inner creativity and improving the writing process.

Melba Burns has written several inspiration books for women including Romance the Writer Within And Reawaken your Passion to Write. This non-fiction book is in the education and reference genre, and is a unique guide  through the creative process.

This is a great book for writers and it is stuffed full of practical steps. If followed, the path will lead to deeper and more meaningful results.  The book is aimed towards women, but the exercises within can help anyone, male or female. Ms. Burns has been writing and teaching writing clinics for many years. This book is an amalgamation of all the insight she has gained. It is well written in an interesting and helpful manner.

I recommend this book as a very good read, and it is a helpful tool for any writer. Almost every chapter provides a new concrete method to help bring forth creativity. As a writer, I felt most inspired by the declaration of commitment, and in general I was most intrigued by the blind walk.

To Purchase: “Romance Your Writer Within” from Amazon, click here or on the picture above

 

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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review of The Thirteenth Tale: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Atria Books (September 12, 2006), File Size: 768 KB, Print Length: 416 pages, Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385662858, Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc, ASIN: B000JMKRKC

Margaret receives a mysterious letter from the famous author Vida Winters, and Vida is ready to finally relate her dark secret tale, but Margaret has her own secret haunting past. During her research, and during the tale, a ghost is seen lurking in the old mansion at Angelfield estate, an old mansion that was burned and destroyed many years ago.

The Thirteenth Tale is Diane Setterfield’s debut novel. It is a gothic suspense novel and the story moves between the past and the present. The story is told by two people: an introverted biographer Margaret Lea as well as the fictional author Vida Winter. Margaret’s tale is told in a first person narrative, and Vida’s tale starts out in a third person narrative and then moves into a first person narrative. These two stories are about each of the character’s life.

One of the themes in this book is twins, which Ms. Setterfield has an interesting way of presenting, and at times a twin is seen in the reflection in the glass, or in a mirror, and in a shadow but often she appears pale and colorless. The Thirteenth Tale is the untold story of fictional author Vida Winter and is revealed by the end of the book.

I recommend this book as a very good read, and this standalone story is told in an interesting and intriguing manner.  The characters are unique but the story is sad and somewhat haunting.

Favorite Quote:

For I was spellbound. There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider ilk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic. (Location 202)

 

To Purchase: “The Thirteenth Tale” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

Book Review

Book Review of Where We Belong: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (July 24, 2012), File Size: 477 KB, Print Length: 383 pages, ASIN: B0071NMK66

Marian is a successful television producer and she has everything, a great job, a wonderful boyfriend, and a big secret. A secret that she has kept for 18 years, but which is about to be exposed to the world. When 18 year old Kirby knocks on her door, she sees her daughter for the first time in 18 years and Marian is forced to examine the decisions she made 18 years ago.

Emily Giffin has written numerous books, and they all fall into the chick-lit genre but Where We Belong is also a drama and a romance story. It is told in a first person narrative alternating between the main protagonist, Marian’s and her daughter Kirby’s point of view.

The theme of this book is secrets, and it reveals the power of destruction behind the secret. The story shows how a secret can become an emotional barricade that separates us from the people in our lives. The characters are all well rounded and interesting. My favorite character was Kirby, she knew what she wanted and she went after it, even though she was afraid and she did not know how she would be received. Although I could not really understand why she had a difficult time with her parents, I still thought it was believable. I also loved all the scenes with Conrad, because he was an intriguing and sexy character.

Where We Belong is a standalone novel that captured my interest from the very first line and I thought the story built up to a satisfying ending. There were no real surprises and it pretty much went where I thought it would. I recommend this book as a very good read and I stayed up late several nights because I found it hard to put down.

 Favorite Quotes:

“So I guess what I’m trying to say is that life is fast. And it keeps speeding up. Sometimes I lose track of the season-or even the year. And we just have to make the best of it all. Our choices. Our fleeting moments together.” (location 3973)

 “Although too much time has gone by to miss her, I feel regret that I didn’t maintain our friendship. Even if we no longer have much in common, we would have always had the past, which, in some ways, is just as important as the present or future. It is where we come from, what makes us who we are”. (location 4284)

 “It’s about wanting something real-even if it’s messy and complicated. It’s what Kirby has taught me.” (location 5151)

Question to Ponder:

Often in the book Ms. Giffin states that secrets and lies are the same thing, do you agree, do you think they are the same thing? 

To Purchase: “Where We Belong” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

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