Friday, March 24, 2017

The Little French Bistro by Nina George

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop, an extraordinary novel about self-discovery and new beginnings.

Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage.  After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as “the end of the world.”

Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life’s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it’s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along.

With all the buoyant charm that made The Little Paris Bookshop a beloved bestseller, The Little French Bistro is a tale of second chances and a delightful embrace of the joys of life in France.

REVIEW:  I won this proof copy through Librarything's early reviewer giveaway in exchange for an honest review.  I don't have a lot to say except that I loved this book!  Nina George's writing is gorgeous, with lovely imagery and details. She has a way of writing that is smooth and comforting to read. This book was never boring and I like that the chapters were brief but so, so interesting that you really don't want to put the book down. I enjoyed the setting in Brittany, France which includes a bistro, the nearby sea, and an enchanting forest.

The book begins with a very sensitive issue, a mature woman named Marianne, who has decided that she wants to end her life after years of enduring a loveless marriage and an empty life. The reader follows her on a journey to find herself again, meeting various quirky characters along the way. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy romance fiction with hints of fantasy and folklore. I actually enjoyed this book more than her previous book, The Little Paris Bookshop, and have definitely become a fan of Nina George's works.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Blue Sea

~ Something that I wrote several years ago....

She sits quietly under the willow tree, gazing out at the peach sunset on a cliff by the sea. The foamy waves below pound and slam themselves against the cliffs, proudly displaying their strength for all to see. Only the gentle rocking of the serene ocean calms the waves into mild submission. Hungry seagulls hover above the blue sea, flapping their wings to the tune of the wind, looking for stray fish that have lost their way; a hearty meal to soothe a seagull's day. Dark, grey feathers slowly fall from the sky, drifting along the wind, making circular motions until they crash to the ground, colliding with pebbles and cracked egg shells. Crying softly, her tears like dewdrops, glisten under the sunlight. Tears of sorrow, tears of pain, tears of a broken heart, tears to last one hundred years. She looks down at her ivory, lace gown; it's damp and is stained with sadness but that would eventually wash away, if she wanted it to. Reaching to her left, she takes a dull pen and pale, pink paper in hand and begins to write. A new obsession bleeds from her fingertips, leaving traces of pink whorls on her ivory gown. Write the hurt, just let it all go like a waterfall lost in the jungle. Thirty minutes pass by; her fingers begin to ache from the intense writing. Finally, she finishes her letter and seals it with a kiss. A faint impression of rosy red lips stamps the letter in unrequited angst. Reaching to her right, she lifts an old glass bottle, it's cork still in place.  Pulling out the cork, she folds the letter into a scroll and lets it fall into the bottle. She's forgetting something, the locket, can't forget the locket. Looking down at her chest, the locket's golden smile catches her eyes. She rubs the locket, her fingers caressing the gift which was once touched by his careless hands. With a small sigh, she takes off the locket and looks at it one last time as it lays in the palm of her hand. One last kiss and off you go, forever my love. The locket falls recklessly into the bottle. The cold sound of metal hitting glass shatters the silence that dwells in the ocean's hands. Sealing the bottle, she leaves the sanctuary of the willow tree and carries the bottle to the edge of the cliff. She lets the bottle go and watches as he disappears into the blue sea...forever.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Goodreads Lesson Learned

~ Since joining Goodreads, I've been enjoying the site.  It's definitely a great place for book lovers to catalog the books they read and add new books to their shelves and authors to connect and make new friends.  After I published The Rosegiver, I started to feel as though the name I was using for poetry wasn't connecting well with the horror fan side of me. Like other people, I have interests in different genres and I want the name to connect with whatever genre I'm using. 

So, I deleted my Goodreads account, thinking I would create another account using an appropriate pen name. Little did I know, it would cause so many logistical problems and also, all the reviews that I'd received for The Rosegiver on Amazon would disappear since I'd have to delete that book and publish a second edition of the book with a new author name.  My great idea turned into a nightmare and so I deleted the pen name account and recreated my Goodreads account using my original name. After all that, I soon realized that every single book review and rating that I'd given to a book was gone and there was no way to recover it! Ever since, I've been trying to re-do all the ratings I gave to books I read. Luckily, I was also posting most of my book reviews on this blog. Still, that's a lot of work.

Long story short, think long and hard before deleting your Goodreads account, because all of your book ratings and reviews will go bye-bye.  If I decide to use a pen name for my horror stuff, then I'll create a separate account for that one (sigh).

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.

Now she’s out and determined to uncover who put her in that cellar and why. 

When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged.

REVIEW:  Overall rating: 3.5

This was one of the books near the top of my to-read list but for some reason, I kept putting it off, until now.  I thought the plot sounded interesting and the gorgeous, creepy cover are what drew me to this book.  The writing is excellent; the author definitely knows her similes and they are abundant here. She has a way with imagery as well that keeps the reader interested from beginning to end, creating an atmosphere that is magical, mysterious, and dark. There were moments the scenes seemed drawn out to me and the book was just one long walk for the main character, Clementine, who was trying to figure out what happened to her after she was discovered in the cellar of her house wrapped in tree roots or vines. I did enjoy the book though and would recommend it to readers of fantasy and magic. I look forward to reading another of Ms. Yovanoff's books that I recently purchased, Paper Valentine.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Life After by Katie Ganshert

On the day of a late spring storm, in Chicago, Autumn Manning boarded an “L” train. A bomb explodes, killing everyone in the train car except for Autumn—the sole survivor. A year has passed and Autumn suffocates under a blanket of what ifs and the pressing desire to bring the victims back to life, every day, if only for her. She doesn’t want their stories to be forgotten. She wants to undo what cannot be undone. An unexpected ally joins her efforts, also seeking answers and trying to find a way to stumble ahead. 

But one victim’s husband, Paul Elliott, prays to let the dead—and their secrets—rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to hurt his loved ones. 
Caught between loss and hope, these restless souls must release the past to embrace a sovereign God.

REVIEW:  Whenever I request a book for review, my main goal is to finish the book because I know how much time and effort an author puts into writing one.  Unfortunately, I just couldn't immerse myself in this story, not because it was written poorly or anything like that; the story didn't interest me in the way that it probably would for most readers of faith books. I feel as though I shouldn't have requested this book, maybe my idea of what I thought it would be is what disappointed me. I read about 1/3 of the book before I finally decided to just let it go because the motivation isn't there to continue. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to read the entire book and I don't think it's right that I'm required to rate it, considering I couldn't finish it.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Muddy River Poetry Review

~ Thankful to have three poems, Bleeding Hearts, House of Dust, and The Entomologist and Butterfly Specialist (a found poem) accepted by Muddy River Poetry Review for their upcoming Spring 2017 Issue. Thanks to editor Zvi A. Sesling for the acceptance. Can't wait to read this issue!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Handful of Haiku

~ Thought I'd share some haiku that I've posted on my Twitter feed:

Golden sky yawns
Egrets scamper across leaves
Life in a silk fan 

Copper rain drips dreams
Sipping from a bowl of sky
not a drop wasted 

Red poppies appear
dot snowy fields of decay
Melting Winter's ire