Month: July 2018
Trial On Mount Koya
Hiro Hattori goes an interpreter for Christian Father Mateo to a Buddhist temple On Mount Koya to give a secret message to the priest there. When they arrive at the temple a massive storm hits. After they’ve spoken with the priest people at the temple start dying off. Hiro and Father Mateo have to figure out who the culprit is before they are next.
I have never read a Japanese mystery before and this was a classic who done it style mystery. The description of the Buddhist temple was elegant and detailed. I like how the author included Japanese words for the story to be authentic and also, to educate the reader on Japan and Buddhism. I have read a few books on Buddhism and this novel gave a nice primer along with comparing it to Christianity. This book was not religious in getting you to believe either faith presented, but equally explained both faiths within the story.
I received my free copy of Trial On Mount Koya by Susan Spann for my honest feedback and personal opinion from TLC Book Tours. If you enjoy mysteries and Japan grab a copy from Amazon and check out more about Susan Spann.
Ever since I was lent a copy of Escape From Warsaw in the fourth grade I fell in love with the country of Poland. I am not Polish, but for some reason the Polish language sounds like music to me. This book for younger children set me on my interest of WWII. I’ve read countless memoirs and historical fiction on this awful war. A few stand out as excellent. Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar is one of the gems that is a must read.
This WWII historical fiction novel tells the story of real life German mother, Helene Hannemann who follows her five children to Auschwitz though she herself is not a Gypsy and required to go there. Sadly, they are separated from her husband and left to survive in the camp on their own.
Helene was seen as partly privileged since she was German and Dr. Mengele chose her to help operate a nursery school at the camp. Helene did her best to give the gypsy children of Auschwitz a glimmer of normalcy with the supplies Dr. Mengele is able to get for the school. Even though the school is just a smoke and mirrors of the truth of the camp it gives Helene, her children, other children and the ladies who assist with the school some routine that gives comfort.
This novel was hard to put down. The writing was beautiful, some of the sentences were like music in the depth of their power. The true horrors of this war aren’t sugarcoated in this novel, but it is a lovely tribute to Helene’s life and the power of love you have for your family, no matter the cost.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. If you enjoy historical fiction then keep an eye out for the release of this book. I know I want to grab a copy. I am thankful I got the privilege to read this ARC. Thank you!
The Death & Life Of Eleanor Parker
Eleanor Parker wakes up one day to find herself soaked on the side of the local river. She doesn’t recall how she got there. When Eleanor goes home she can’t get warm and she can’t fall asleep either. Not recalling the night before doesn’t help.
A year earlier her brother’s girlfriend is found dead in the same river. Eleanor’s brother has been the lead suspect, though she’s sure he’s innocent. When a mutual classmate goes missing and the witch hunt starts again Eleanor is not sure who to believe. Why can’t she seem to sleep and food alludes her? Did someone try to murder Eleanor? Follow Eleanor on her journey to uncover the truth.
This novel is fast paced with twists and turns. If you love puzzles then this one is for you. This story deals with the topics of death, friendship, family, small town life and what it means to truly live again.
I received my free digital ARC copy of The Death & Life Of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson care of NetGalley from Bookouture in exchange for my honest feedback. If you love YA mysteries and stories set in the U.K. then I recommend this novel. I couldn’t put it down. For some reason I gravitate toward first person novels. It does remind me a lot of the novel 13 Minutes, which is one of my favorites from last year.
Find Your Awesome
I’m a sucker for self-help books. When I saw the cute artwork on the cover I couldn’t resist requesting the appropriately titled Find Your Awesome. This short book has 30 different ideas on ways that you can learn how to start loving yourself. Some of the suggestions that stood out to me the most were:
* Rocking my life list
I need to make a life bucket list, so I have goals I am always reaching on meeting.
* Hold a burning ceremony
There are things about my past and myself I need to let go of, but my OCD reparative thoughts like to dwell on those things anyway. A burning ceremony of letting go would be acknowledging these things, but then physically letting them go by burning away their hold on me.
* List 10 people you are grateful for
Writing down 10 people I’m grateful for helps me stay focused on the important people in my life who help influence and shape me in who I’ve become through the years.
* Organize something
Organizing is something I like to do briefly, then my piles start up again. Going through my things and only keeping what is essential is therapeutic. I need to do more of it so there is more room in my life for things I truly need, plus I will feel less claustrophobic.
Unplugging from social media occasionally is important and something I want to do more often. It’s never a dire emergency to check notifications. If it’s an emergency the person will call me and leave a voicemail.
* Be unapologetic
I am a classic apology case. I apologize often to where it even annoys myself. I need to stop apologizing, especially when I’m not truly sorry. It’s a bad form of coming across humble and selfless when in reality you aren’t wanting to own your true feelings about something.
* Write your personal manifesto
Writing my own manifesto on how I want to live my life is something I need to do. It’s a way for me to have a nice, firm reminder of what I believe in, stand for and want to accomplish with my existence.
* Decide what matters
Deciding what matters can be a tough exercise.
* Write yourself a love letter
I don’t like being the center of attention, so the idea of writing myself a love letter sounds egotistical, but I need to honestly love me for me and writing it down will help cement it in my mind.
* Design a book cover for your life story
Some day I do want to publish. A memoir might be a tad strange, but to design a unique book cover for it would satisfy my creative side.
These suggestions each speak to me in that they are ways I can uncover who I am down to my core.
What would your answers be to these different suggestions on how we can love and care for ourselves more?
I think with social media when can get so caught up in following other’s lives that we forget to be ourselves, to be our own unique selves. These suggestions help peel off the layers of fitting in, so that we can love ourselves for who we are. I know I don’t always like what I see when I peel back my protective layers, but it’s important for me to truly like myself, even the scary parts of me (body parts, personality, habits).
If you need a uplifting pick me up, go find a copy of this short book. The artwork alone is sweet and inspiring. I received my free digital ARC of Find Your Awesome by Judy Clement Wall care of NetGalley from HCI Books in exchange for my honest feedback. Thank you Judy for an easy to use self-help book that will help society get their life balance back.
Growing up I was a big fan of “Little House On The Prairie.” I watched the show religiously M-F at 5pm sharp. I liked Laura, but found her sister, Mary stuffy. When I was asked if I wanted to review this historical novel, Caroline, I couldn’t resist.
Caroline is the viewpoint of Laura Ingall’s family’s move from WI to KS, but told from Laura’s mother’s stance. This novel is so detailed you feel as though you are traveling right alongside Caroline with Charles, Mary and Laura. The author, Sarah Miller’s research is detailed. One scene was so detailed regarding prepping hides to be tanned I almost got ill reading about brains being mushed to coat the hides.
I enjoyed reading this novel. The only challenge is I felt it was a tad too, long. The detail is excellent, but for that long of a book I’d almost want to read a biography on the subject. The realism of venturing out on the prairie is very vivid. The author took great care in explaining the little details of pioneer life. It makes me sit in awe how people could survive with such basic provisions and in modern times we are spoiled with an over abundance.
I received my free copy of Caroline by Sarah Miller care of TLC Book Tours from William Morrow in exchange for my honest feedback. If you would like purchase this title go grab a copy from HarperCollins and to read more about the author check out her website.
Rose Colored Glasses
Memoirs steal your heart. The author gives you a peek into their personal life, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Jo Ann Simon does just that in her memoir, Rose Colored Glasses. In her book she chronicles her marriage to Tom otherwise known as TK. Their love and romance reads like a fairy tale until they are faced with a harsh health update for Tom.
What would you do if your spouse or partner suddenly has to deal with a terminal illness? Jo Ann meets this challenge head on like a freight train, determined to find a cure for Tom. She is honest about their good days when Tom is back to his old self and days when getting through the day is a challenge. I can’t fathom going through what Jo Ann has. You expect to grow old with your other half.
I received my free digital ARC copy of Rose Colored Glasses by Jo Ann Simon from NetGalley care of Smith Publicity in exchange for my honest feedback. This memoir was beautifully written with little notes from Tom to Jo Ann sprinkled through out the pages. Loosing a partner to disease is devastating. Jo Ann shows how we can get through to the other side of this premature challenge to live life again. If you have a friend, family member, or an acquaintance that needs assurance they aren’t alone going through this kind of major life change then I recommend to read this book. It’s a book about hope.