What I Read This Week

I spent the last week trying to read the book The Seamstress of Ourfa by Victoria Harwood Butler-Sloss but I have decided to stop because after 10 days I should be more than 40% done if I’m enjoying it.

Happy reading!!!

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Posted in review

Review: Dis’ Taste

  • Title: Dis’ Taste
  • Author: Caven Tootell
  • Kindle
  • # of Pages: 307
  • Released: October 27, 2017
  • Publisher:
  • Genre(s): Historical fiction
  • My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*I was given my copy of the book by the author but all opinions are my own.

Synopsis

Set in pre-WWI Congo Free State, the story follows two Belgian Colonial officers, Philippe and Augustine and the latter’s wife, Clementine. The Congo Free State was established as a private fiefdom of King Leopold of Belgium, to extract as much wealth as could possibly be achieved with no care on the effect to the native people. Estimates point to deaths of over ten million Congolese during Belgian rule.Augustine brings his new wife into country; to bring a piece of normality into their lives, the two men strike up a friendly challenge to host each other to lavish dinner parties using exotic local foods and recipes. The story then follows the three characters, their interactions with each other, other Europeans, Africans, and the oppressive state sponsored rape of the country.The violent environment creates a surreal world where each person attempts to forge a new life for themselves, but eventually descend into an ever darkening world of lost dreams, disillusionment and hatred. At the start, Philippe is brutally and savagely maimed in an attack. The aftermath causes him to deal with an ever increasing post-traumatic shock, whilst managing a company rubber plantation, using opium as a crutch.All characters strive to build themselves an elusive, better life, but the oppressiveness of the country overtakes their lives. Philippe questions the ethics of what they are doing, whilst working his plantation with local assistants and an indigenous woman. Augustine suffers issues with the nature of his work which causes him to lose his sense of proportion, humanity and ability to relate to Clementine, who finds comfort with Philippe.The friendship between each person becomes more and more strained with the cycle of substance abuse, distrust and tensions over their relationships, eventually leading to the outside horror visiting their lives.

My Review

This book took me awhile to get into but I loved it by the end.  The ending is, actually, why I gave this book five stars.

Caven Tootell is a wonderful writer.  I found his descriptions of characters to be unique and insightful without being complicated.  Tootell also used the Congo and it’s features to show his readersdifferent moods.

Dis’ Taste deminstrates multiple common views black and white people had for each other in post W.W.I Africa.  I am so happy that there has been so much progress in human rights over the last hundred years but we still have a long way to go.

I would encourage all matchure individuals, reader or not, to read this book.

Happy Reading!!!

Posted in review

ARC Review: Kingdom of Ash and Soot

  • Title: Kingdom of Ash and Soot (The Oder of The Crystal Daggers #1)
  • Author: C. S. Johnson
  • Kindle ebook
  • # of Pages: 352
  • Publisher: Prodigy Gold Books
  • Releases: July 3, 2018
  • Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
  • My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

* I was given a copy of this book by the publisher but all opinions are my own.

Synopsis

In an age of political unrest and racial divide, one girl’s search for truth will determine the future of her kingdom.

   Prague, 1870 

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodová has worked as a servant in her stepmother’s household, dreaming of the day she will be free to live life on her own terms.

But when her estranged grandmother, Lady Penelope, comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria, everything changes. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup, and Lady Penelope, as the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, is determined to discover the perpetrators. When she offers Eleanora the chance to help her prevent the kingdom from falling apart, she is hesitant to trust her. And while joining means freedom from her stepmother and protecting the people of Prague, Eleanora knows her life will never be the same–or her own.

Can she find a way to be free and still do the right thing? Or will joining the Order only lead to disaster?

Review

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book, but I was disappointed with the ending. I have to keep reminding myself that this book is part 1 of a series for young adults and I’m 36.

All readers looking for an easy, fun read should consider this book. Just remember it’s book one in a series, so the ending isn’t as vague as I initially thought.

Happy Reading!!!

Posted in review

ARC Review: Unshattered

  • Title: Unshattered: Overcoming Tragedy and Choosing a Beautiful Life
  • Author: Carol Decker and Stacy L. Nash
  • Paperback
  • # of Pages: 208
  • Release: June 5, 2017
  • Publisher:
  • Genre(s): memoir, inspiration
  • My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*I was given a free copy by the publisher, but all opinions are my own.

Synopsis

Unshattered recounts Carol’s fight for survival against sepsis and its life-shattering complications. From excruciating skin grafts to learning how to function in daily life without lower legs, a left hand, and her sight, Carol takes us on a personal and raw, yet inspiring journey. She travels through the darkness of trauma, anxiety, and depression to arrive, literally, at the peak of a mountain with a heart full of gratitude and love.

Mcfly’s review

I really enjoyed reading the memoir. Carol’s writing was very open and frank throughout the book.

I have read multiple memoirs where the authors skim over the negative events in their lives and then wonder why the readers don’t fully comprehend the authors point or pain. On the other hand, Carol’s memoir has a spotlight on the negative. She shares her physical and mental state during every stage of her battle with sepsis.

I believe Carol’s story is a testament to the strength and will power of the human mind. Carol is living proof that one single thread of hope/desire is all that is needed for an individual to come back from the abyss.

Everyone should read this book. Yes this book has parts that are sad and hard to read, but remember that it has a positive end. Once you finish the book you will understand. I promise.

Happy reading!!!!

Posted in Fun tidbits, interview, Poems

Chasing a Butterfly by H.W. Bryce

  • Title: Chasing a Butterfly
  • Author: H.W. Bryce
  • Publisher:
  • Released: 2016
  • Genre: poems

“A journey of love through loss to acceptance”.

* Partial proceeds from the sale of this book are ear- marked for the Alzheimer’s Society to help combat this terrible disease.

Excerpts from book

When I was driven to taking an introductory course to educate myself about my wife’s Alzheimer’s disease, I became tongue-tied and overwhelmed with emotion. It was then that I found a way to express my grief–by writing my feelings and experiences, in poetry. Over the next couple of years, I had compiled about a hundred poems, longish ones, short ones, haiku-style ones.

MEMORABILIA

Oh dear!

A little pile of business cards,

An empty CD box,

Picture postcards—an owl, a heron, one red fox, An orange, a thumb tack, and one stopped watch, All sitting on the stand under the kitchen light, Balanced beside one lady’s slipper, the right.

Ann was here!

Authors bio

H. W. (Herb) Bryce

Former journalist, editor, book editor, teacher, courier, and robbery and kidnap victim while travelling the Middle East and North Africa.

His poetry appears in anthologies in Canada, the US, and, in India.

Mr. Bryce was judge (one of three) for the 2017 Rabindranath Tagore Award Internationl English Poetry Competition.

He is the author of a family book “Ann, A Tribute,” and of “Chasing a Butterfly: A journey in poems of love and loss to acceptance,” the poems of Alzheimer’s and poems for everybody. (Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and FriesenPress.com.)

“Chasing a Butterfly” is available also through the 26 branches of the Fraser Valley Regional Valley system.

H. W. Bryce blogs at http://hwbrycewrites.com

He has been a featured poet and frequent contributor to many venues. With his fellow Alzheimer’s writer John Knapp, of  “Donna’s Story,” he does info gatherings at care homes with readings from their books.

They are available for readings.

Mr. Bryce is a member of the Royal City Literary Society and the Holy Wow Poets Canada.

H. W. Bryce BA University of Western Ontario, now Western University.

What others have to say about Chasing a Butterfly

From the back cover of the book

“Thanks for sharing your heart with us! A family member has Alzheimer’s and I know (though not as deeply as you) the pain and loss when you watch someone you love slowly disappear before your eyes. HUGS.”

-Jo Hannah Afton, Asheville, North Carolina, USA

“My truly talented friend. How blessed I am to have written beside you.”

~Renae Potter, Australia, writer who also became a family caregiver

“Wonderful how your words bring tears and memories back.”

~Irene Nunez Martinez, author, London, who was caregiver to her father

“Simply beautiful…I appreciate the acknowledgement of having given you a seed that you planted, watered, and nurtured into such a heartfelt and meaningful poem.”

~Craig A. Adams, Washington State, USA, caregiver to his wife

Happy reading!!!