Nov 28, 2021

Sunday Salon: Historical Fiction and Contemporary Books

 Now reading: 

The Last Rose of Shanghai by Weina Dai Randel, December 1, 2021, was offered online as one of the First Reads. It's an historical fiction set in Shanghai in 1940, during the Japanese occupation.

 Aiyi, an heiress and owner of a nightclub, falls in love with Ernest, an impoverished Jewish refugee fleeing the Nazis in Germany. The two people are devastated and separagted by war in Shanghai, a city divided into  European and local Chinese sections, all overshadowed by the occupying Japanese.  I'm learning more about this fascinating period in Shanghai's WWII history.

A book I rescued from my give-away pile is The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch, a novel about a woman with dissociatie amnesia, having lost her memory after a plane crash and finding herself married to a man she does not remember. 

I am re-reading it and reposting a review I wrote in 2012!

Title:The Song Remains the Same: A Novel
Author: Allison Winn Scotch
Putnam Adult; April 2012
Objective rating: 4/5

Nell Slattery has lost her memory after a plane crash and is lied to by her relatives and her husband about details of her past. She doesn't recognize her husband, her mother, or her sister, and it seems she has become another person - a more outgoing and less stuffy and conservative person she hears she used to be.

Nell slowly discovers the truths about her marriage, her childhood, and the disappearance of her father, a well-known artist. She makes a decision to be a different person from the one she used to be. I thought the ending was a bit prolonged, however, and I was also a bit surprised by Nell's decision re her dad at the end of the book as this didn't seem totally in character. Overall, however, a very good read!

What are you reading this week? 

Linked to The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also, Sunday Salon

Nov 21, 2021

Book Tour: the moon won't be dared by Anne Leigh Parrish


About the moon won’t be dared

Author: Anne Leigh Parrish

Publisher: Unsolicited Press (October 14, 2021)

Paperback: 152 pages

the moon won’t be dared is a poetry collection by award-winning author Anne Leigh Parrish that features artwork by Lydia Selk. In this momentous debut collection, the poet harnesses language to give readers a new vision of nature, the impossible plight of womanhood, love, aging, and beauty. Being a woman in a male-dominated society affords Anne Leigh Parrish the space to witness the world on an uneven keel. Parrish pays tribute to beauty, but also weaves the harsh truths of betrayal and brutality into the filaments holding the collection together.

My comments:

Poetry is subjective, so that any reader will get something different from reading a specific poem. These are some of the poems and lines that stood out for me from Anne Leigh Parrish's book of poetry.
I looked for, and found, skillful descriptions and use of imagery to set mood and tone, and to convey meanings. 

obsession:"the meager glow/of a cande/flickers away the hours  in a gentle/play/of shadows"
vacation: "palm trees sway in the breeze/hearts flatten again the gale of deceit/why expect truth?"

don't we always? "look me in the eye and smile/toss me a spark/from your heart's fire/take me home and hold me long enough...."

the river: "ride, then name the river that runs/through your life/carry no grief for the passing years...."

That the poet chose to write only in the lower case, using no capital letters in her titles or poems, signifies to me her wish to have her words flow in a stream, like a river, to captivate your interest and establish her moods. 

I will pick up this book of poems now and again to continue to enjoy the poet's view of life and her entwining of nature and feeling. 

About the author:

Anne Leigh Parrish is the author of nine previously published books: A Winter Night, a novel (Unsolicited Press, 2021); What Nell Dreams, a novella & stories (Unsolicited Press, 2020); Maggie’s Ruse, a novel, (Unsolicited Press, 2017); The Amendment, a novel (Unsolicited Press, 2017); Women Within, a novel (Black Rose Writing, 2017); By the Wayside, stories (Unsolicited Press, 2017); What Is Found, What Is Lost, a novel (She Writes Press, 2014); Our Love Could Light The World, stories (She Writes Press, 2013); and All The Roads That Lead 

Tour schedule here.  Organized by Lisa Munley  TLC Book Tours

Linked to The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also, Sunday Salon

Nov 14, 2021

The Abyssinian by Jean-Christophe Rufin: Sunday Salon

Something completely different:

 in my reading

I was set to give away a book long on my shelves, The Abyssinian, but took another look at this 400 page book  and decided I was in the mood, finally, to read and perhaps enjoy it. I am now in the middle of this extraordinary historical novel about an actual French embassy to the king of Abyssinia in 1699. The writing is superb and the fictionalized adventures of a French herbalist/apothecary as the emissary to Abyssinia, modern day Ethiopia, no less than astounding. 

The author, Jean-Christophe Rufin, is a French author and doctor, one of the founders of Doctors Without Borders, and a former French ambassador to Senegal.  

What are you reading this week?

Looking through Goodreads this morning, I came across a book recommended as "similar" to the Abyssinian, in other words a book about travellers from afar to a new country. This will be my next read. 

The Discovery of America by the Turks by Jorge Amado, a romantic comedy by the incomparable Brazilian author Amado, a spoof on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, in which two Turks are persuaded to try to win over a Brazilian shrew. 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon   

Nov 7, 2021

Sunday Salon: Three Books This Week

In my mailbox

Red Is My Heart by Antoine Lauraine, illustrated by Le Sonneur, translation

Genre: illustrated romance novel; literary novel

The narrator has had his heart broken and tries to retrace his steps taken with his loved one. He wanders the streets remembering, and  the novel ends with a hopeful note that he may find a new love very soon. 

The story is cleverly illustrated in black and white drawings, with a red dot or spot that may represent love lost in the distance. I read it easily in one sitting, enchanted by the words and by the drawings. 

From the library:

I couldn't resist another psychological thriller, Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger, published October 5, 2021, Park Row.

This one centers around an online dating match, when the narrator is ghosted by someone she thought she had developed a close relationship with. He simply texted "Sorry" and disappeared without any other explanation. When it turns out he might be someone seen with other girls, girls who had mysteriously disappeared, the narrator decides to find him and the truth. 

I'm in the middle of the book so far, and enjoying it. Since I have been forgetting a lot of books in this genre soon after I've finished reading them, I wonder if this one will stay with me and be more memorable. 

For book club:

The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood, August 2017
Genre: contemporary fiction

A woman joins a book club for companionship after her marriage begins to fall apart after 25 years. Ava rediscovers a book from her past that has helped her and she embarks on a personal quest to find the book and its author. 

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon  

Nov 5, 2021

Khahn Ha: A Mothers Tale: Book Tour

A Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh Ha: On Tour

Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh HaA Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh Ha

Publisher: C&R Press (October 15, 2021)
Category: Linked Short Stories, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Tour dates: October 11-November 24, 2021
ISBN: 978-1949540239
Available in Print and ebook, 150 pages

Description Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh Ha

A Mother’s Tale is a tale of salvaging one’s soul from received and inherited war-related trauma. Within the titular beautiful story of a mother’s love for her son is the cruelty and senselessness of the Vietnam War, the poignant human connection, and a haunting narrative whose set ting and atmosphere appear at times otherworldly through their land scape and inhabitants.

Captured in the vivid descriptions of Vietnam’s country and culture are a host of characters, tortured and maimed and generous and still empathetic despite many obstacles, including a culture wrecked by losses. Somewhere in this chaos readers will find a tender link between the present-day survivors and those already gone. Rich and yet buoyant with a vision-like quality, this collection shares a common theme of love and loneliness, longing and compassion, where beauty is discovered in the moments of brutality, and agony is felt in ecstasy.

My comments:

The Vietnam War ended for the United States in 1975, but for many who were personally touched by the conflict, the results lasted a much longer time, and may even persist to the present day. 

The stories of Khanh Ha in A Mother's Tale are testiment to the endurance of the memories of the history of the war in Vietnam, of the soldiers on both sides and of their families and loved ones who survived. 

Though frank and brutal in their honesty, the stories are a permanent reminder of the horrors of  war and of the consequences the mothers, families, and survivors had to face. 

The book includes descriptions of men injured and maimed by the war,  whose survival depend so much on families and their ability to cope and endure. They also include the voices of the soldiers themselves, both American and Vietnamese, both North and South. 

Mrs. Rossi in Mrs. Rossi's Dream is also a survivor. In her story, she has come to Vietnam from the United States to try to find the bones of her deceased soldier son in a dense, swampy forest, filled with the bones of so many others on both sides of the conflict. Hers is only a dream in the face of the stark reality that time plays.

It is not easy to read these accounts, but it is important that they exist, to remind us of a time in history from which we can all learn important lessons.  

Praise for A Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh Ha:


Follow Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh Ha

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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 23 Review

vailable now, it is for pre-sale: C&R Press

Nov 2, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for a Reluctant Reader

 Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme is
 Books I Would Hand to Someone Who Claims to Not Like Reading

I wouild offer the person a mix of fiction and non fiction, and of genres.

A memoir on climbing 100 mountains in Japan in one year
A thriller set in the Colorado mountains

A mystery with food set in Tuscany

A mystery set in and around Tahoe Lake, Nevada and California

The Last Good Paradise by Tatjana Soli, set on an island resort where the visitors come to realize who they really are.

Title: The Iris Fan: A Novel of Feudal Japan by Laura Joh Rowland
Genre: historical mystery

Death with All the Trimmings
A cozy mystery: set in Key West, just in time for the holidays

Scorched Eggs
A light, cozy mystery by Laura Childs. 
The Nightingale Before Christmas

I enjoy humorous mystery novels too, and Donna Andrews writes these! 


Three Story House


Renovating an historic Memphis house together, three cousins discover that their failures in love, career, and family provide the foundation for their future happiness (publisher)

What books would you offer a reluctant reader? 

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