Friday, August 22, 2014

The Tyrant's Daughter

J.C. Carleson. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2014. Ebook.
Rating: OMG

Complimentary e-galley provided by NetGalley.


"My brother is the King of Nowhere. 
    This fact doesn't matter to anyone except my family--a rapidly shrinking circle of people who Used to Be."

Whoa! One word...hooked. From the first sentence, I knew this story was going to take me for a ride. On the heels of completing Finding the Dragon Lady, I began The Tyrant's Daughter.* Though both stories are different, they are yet the same—inextricably linked by an unbreakable bond created by the United States government's interference in their country's dynamic; thus, changing their lives forever. Instead of the bygone era of Indochina, I am transported to a small, present-day Middle Eastern country torn apart by civil war.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Merlin's Shadow (The Merlin Spiral #2)

Robert Treskillard. Grand Rapids: Blink, 2013. 430 pp.
Rating: Striking

Forged in the fires of Britain, with the sword crafted by his dying father, Merlin impales the Druid Stone thwarting Morganthau's devious scheme to usurp King Uther and redistribute power to the Druidow. Destruction of the Stone forces the evil within to beckon another mortal vessel to its bidding. Feeding on hate, weaknesses, and selfish desires, the alluring power calls to the darkness of the soul. Sorrow-laden by her parent's death, plus the loss of the only home she has ever known, rage-driven Ganieda fights the pull of the darkness, but inevitably succumbs to the enchanting "Voice."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: What Are You Reading?

Pick of the Week:

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom-- "My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us," begins this historical fiction tale of 1940s America.

What are you reading?

Monday, June 23, 2014

I Shall Be Near to You

Erin Lindsay McCabe. New York: Crown Publishers, 2014. 304 pp.
Rating: Striking + 5 Scoops

In an era devoid of modern day technology, you are newly married and a war is raging. The trickle flow of information sets all on edge. Hoping for news from loved ones, each mail delivery breeds both fear and anticipation.

Spirited, hand on hip Rosetta Edwards refuses to become a spinster. Persuading her sweetheart, Jeremiah Wakefield, to marry her before he joins the Army, Rosetta enjoys two weeks of marital bliss. Unable to bear a year without Jeremiah, Rosetta secretly follows him; temporarily shedding her identity for that of Private Joss Stone, soldier of Company H of the Ninety-Seventh Volunteers. Recovering from the shock of Rosetta’s audacious presence, Jeremiah, failing to convince Rosetta to return home allows her to stay. What follows is a poignant story of love, friendship, and war. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: What Are You Reading?

Pick of the Week:

NIL by Lynne Matson-Charley has exactly 365 days to escape the mysterious island of Nil. Will she survive?

What are you reading?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Finding the Dragon Lady: The Mystery of Vietnam's Madame Nhu

Monique Brinson Demery. New York: PublicAffairs, 2013. 280 pp.
Rating: Striking

"Vietnam wasn’t a country; it was a cacophony of thumping helicopter blades, flaming thatched huts, and napalmed jungles." (3)

In the vein of Truman Capote, Demery humanizes the often demonized First Lady of Vietnam, Madame Nhu. As the second daughter in a society where sons are esteemed, Tran Thi Le Xuan held the lowest status in her family. Her fortuitous fate as foretold by the family astrologer failed to garner the slightest attention. She was expected to live as the thousands of women before her—a life of domestic simplicity. Yet, her life changed dramatically upon marrying Ngo Digh Nhu. Gradually drawn into the very political intrigues she sought to escape upon marriage, Madame Nhu soon catapulted into the limelight of the Diem regime. Thrust into exile after the assassination of her husband and brother-in-law, Madame Nhu never again set foot in her     beloved Vietnam.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Battling Disappointment

A couple of years back, I stopped at a small nonprofit to drop off an in-kind donation. While writing out my receipt, the Office Manager gave me a brief overview of the organization and its services. Further disclosing that their grant had been cut and the organization was in dire need of funds. As a result, the majority of the staff was laid off leaving behind the CEO, a college intern, and himself, without monetary compensation.  Notwithstanding the lack of funds, by using in-kind donations the organization created a small store selling gently-used clothing, household items, and other knick-knacks to the surrounding low-income community. Charging no more than $2.00 for any item, the store provided a means to pay operational costs.  During my seventy-five minute drive home, it struck me to reproduce the nonprofit's donation model to generate funds for Cultivating You, my start-up nonprofit.

Two years and thirty donation boxes later, the appointed time drew near.