A round-up of the books I have read recently, just click on the book or title to go to the Amazon review.
Have No Shame, takes the reader into the deep south of America in the 60’s where racial prejudice is not just rife, but a way of life.
Alison, on the cusp of womanhood, has led a sheltered life, the wider world and its views kept from her by her over-protective father. However, the return of her sister from New York, together with the meeting of a young black man are the catalysts for a journey of realisation, self-discovery and new understanding of those closest to her in this coming of age novel.
I found Melissa Foster’s writing to have a great depth of emotion and I could really empathise with the conflicts experienced by the characters. Although a subject matter that has been covered many-a-time, Have No Shame tells the story of racial segregation and prejudices in a fresh way with one or two outcomes I hadn’t expected.
The racially-charged prejudice of the deep South forces eighteen-year-old Alison Tillman to confront societal norms—and her own beliefs—when she discovers the body of a hate crime victim, and the specter of forbidden love turns her safe, comfortable world upside down.
Alison has called Forrest Town, Arkansas home for the past eighteen years. Her mother’s Blue Bonnet meetings, her father toiling night and day on the family farm, and the division of life between the whites and the blacks are all Alison knows. The winter of 1967, just a few months before marrying her high school sweetheart, Alison finds the body of a black man floating in the river, and she begins to view her existence with new perspective. The oppression and hate of the south, the ugliness she once was able to avert her eyes from, now demands her attention.
When a secretive friendship with a young black man takes an unexpected romantic turn, Alison is forced to choose between her predetermined future, and the dangerous path that her heart yearns for.
HAVE NO SHAME is an emotionally compelling coming of age novel featuring a young woman who cannot reconcile the life she wants with the one she’s been brought up to live. Have No Shame will resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in love, and those who have been forced to choose between what they know in their hearts to be true, and what others would like them to believe.
Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2013 by World Literary Press
098905084X (ISBN13: 9780989050845)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of four International bestselling novels. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.
Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.
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How You Leave Texas is a volume of three short stories and a novella about four young women who leave Midland, Austin, Fort Worth and Mayville, Texas for New York, California, Jakarta, and in one instance, jail. The young women seek escape from boredom and sorrow and they find it. Hilarious, tragic, and revelatory, the stories are about extraordinary women with ordinary lives
Synopsis of individual stories:
Dam Broke – On the night of their high school graduation, Annabelle and Mickey ride a scooter in pouring rain as they reveal closely held secrets. (6 pages).
In sixth grade, I abandoned the reading glasses for a blond wig and a fake mole above my top lip. Mickey started wearing sunglasses indoors and carrying business cards.
Camille’s Net Worth – On the day she turns 40, Camille’s life goes from bored to worse in uncontrolled demolition. She accepts an exciting job opportunity and travels back and forth to Indonesia. The job isn’t what is appears, but the irony of how things turn out causes Camille to laugh until she has tears rolling down her face. (42 pages).
“I’m not going to spend much time repeating myself,” Camille said, “I want you to remove whatever you want to keep from this house. You can store your stuff in a rental truck if you need to until you find a new home, but you will be gone from here by midnight and never return.”
“You can’t do that!”
“If you are not gone by midnight, I will set fire to the house.”
Krystal’s Wedding – Krystal leaves her seriously flawed family in Midland, heading for New York City, where she takes a few slippery steps. Krystal’s mother encourages her to find a husband in order to escape her loud roommate in Hell’s Kitchen and her boring job. However, Krystal actually gets her footing in New York and in life when she is offered a new, fulfilling direction (21 pages).
Krystal felt safer with Hudson there, but it must be as clear to him and his family as it was to her that theirs was a match of china and paper plates. As Krystal faked a sip of the champagne with a name she couldn’t read because it was printed in twirly letters in French, she wondered how hard his mother would try to prevent Hudson from getting too serious …
Frying Your Burger – Nicky and three irreverent friends spend mornings at a coffee shop tossing repartee on love, sex, and religion. For a short while, Nicky is caught up with a sexy Hollywood player, becoming a pawn in the battle of egos between two movie directors trying to ruin each others careers. The affair flares, then fizzles, but Nicky lands on her feet (108 pages).
I went into the room marked Cashier and got into a long line. And there he was. Grinning that grin. He should have had a license for it. It was that bright. I stood next to him in my white t-shirt and white pants looking like someone straight out of the “hospital orderly fashion catalogue.” It was all I had clean that day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alana Cash is an adventurer. She’s been on ride-alongs in New York City patrol cars. She’s kissed a man inside Norman Bates’ Psycho house. She trekked alone through war-torn Serbia. She’s used her experiences as inspiration for her work as an acclaimed writer and filmmaker. Some of her favorite accolades are:
- She was one of 60 US teachers profiled on the PBS series, “A Writer’s Exchange,” for her talent as a teacher at the University of Texas Informal Classes
- Her feature film, “Tom’s Wife,” based on her novel of the same name, won awards all over the world
- Her documentary “Anna Freud: Under Analysis,” part of documentary trilogy on women in science, was translated into German for broadcast in Austria, Germany & Switzerland
She’s a native Texan and makes great chili.
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Below are the books I have read and reviewed in the last month or so. Click the Amazon link and you will find my review under ‘Love Reading Love Books’.
The Red Effect
The Painted Bridge
(My daughter’s review)
Missing Believed Dead
Blueprint For Love
Emma Holden’s boyfriend goes missing on his own stag night and no-one knows what has happened to him. This is the beginning of a mystery that takes Emma up and down the country, questioning everything she ever knew or thought she knew in a bid to find out what exactly happened that night.
The One You Love is a suspense novel with a romantic element and can be enjoyed by anyone who likes a good mystery. Hints and clues were dropped into the story line but every time I thought I might have it worked out, something else came up to make me change my mind. I liked the way small insights were given as to what was happening that the main characters didn’t necessarily know or, if they did, they weren’t sharing with each other. It unfolded rather like a crime drama seen on TV and kept me hooked and interested the whole way through.
Really enjoyable read and I shall definitely be adding the other books in the series to my reading list.
Emma Holden’s nightmare has just begun. Her fiancé vanishes, leaving the battered and bloodied body of his brother in their London apartment. Someone is stalking her, watching her every move. And her family are hiding a horrifying secret; a secret that threatens all those she loves. In a desperate race against time, Emma must uncover the truth if she ever wants to see her fiancé alive again.
The One You Love is a fast-paced suspense mystery, full of twists and turns, following in the tradition of writers such as Nicci French and Sophie Hannah.
Since July 2011 it has been downloaded over one million times, has spent a full month at number 1 in the UK Kindle free download chart (July-August 2011), and reached the top of the US Kindle free download chart.
About the Author
Paul Pilkington has had material broadcast on BBC radio and ITV television, and was long listed for the 2004 London Book Fair Lit Idol competition. In 2004, Paul was inspired to write his first suspense mystery, The One You Love, through his love of emotional mystery thrillers, such as those by Harlan Coben, Linwood Barclay, Nicci French and Thomas H Cook. His aim is to create fast-paced, twisting and turning fiction that stirs the emotions. His latest mystery suspense thriller, Someone to Save You, was released in 2011. The One You Fear (sequel to The One You Love), will be published in December 2012. Find out more about Paul’s writing:
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulpilkington
Like him on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/paulpilkingtonauthor
Visit his website: http://www.paulpilkington.com
When Patricia accompanies her father, Major George Carstairs, on a trip to Ladakh, north of the Himalayas, in the early 1960s, she sees it as a chance to finally win his love. What she could never have foreseen is meeting Kalden – a local man destined by circumstances beyond his control to be a monk, but fated to be the love of her life.
Despite her father’s fury, the lovers are determined to be together, but can their forbidden love survive?
A wonderful story about a passion that crosses cultures, a love that endures for a lifetime, and the hope that can only come from revisiting the past.
The Road Back is beautifully written, with great descriptions of the Himalayas and the culture of the Ladakh people. It was done in such a way that it really took you there, made you feel like you were experiencing it all for yourself first hand.
The first half of the story gradually introduced the main characters, Kalden and Patricia, over a period of years. It showed how different their lives were, how their cultures were so diverse – literally words apart. Once they met, for me, it was here the story really took off. I enjoyed how the relationship between Kalden and Patricia developed – a warm and gentle love story. My feelings towards the characters swung backwards and forwards as circumstances and pressures impacted on their lives, forcing them to make decisions they didn’t necessarily want to if given the choice. The story didn’t end how I originally thought it would which was a nice surprise – a very moving novel.
Published by Choc Lit who kindly send me a review copy
Amazon link to buy here