THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING by Award Winning Hmong-American Children’s Author KAO KALIA YANG and Illustrated by the Incomparable KHAO LE – a multi-award-winning Vietnamese artist is based on the author’s own childhood. This Family may not have much money, but they have something better – A LOT OF LOVE – Available to Pre-Order Now!!!

One of the most beautiful children’s book covers

Title: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING

Author: KAO KALIA YANG 

Illustrator: KHOA LE

Genre: CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST, FAMILIES, MULTIPLE GENERATIONS

Length: 32 PAGES

Publisher: CAROLHODA BOOKS – A Division of LERNER PUBLISHING GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 6, 2020

ISBN: 9781541561915 (Hardcover)

Price: $17.99 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Drawn from author Kao Kalia Yang’s childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, this moving picture book portrays a family with a great deal of love and little money.

Weaving together Kalia’s story with that of her beloved grandmother, the book moves from the jungles of Laos to the family’s early years in the United States.

When Kalia becomes unhappy about having to do without and decides she wants braces to improve her smile, it is her grandmother―a woman who has just one tooth in her mouth―who helps her see that true beauty is found with those we love most.

Stunning illustrations from Vietnamese illustrator Khoa Le bring this intergenerational tale to life.

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MY REVIEW:

MOST BEAUTIFUL REVIEW & LINKS

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL is a gorgeously illustrated,  intergenerational, story about a Hmong-American family who left their ancestral homeland in hopes of a better life.

The story is told from a young girl’s point of view. Her family home includes her parents, her siblings and her grandmother.

As the child gets older, she will occasionally ask for something expensive from her parents. However, despite the fact that they worked hard, there was no money left over for extras. Her Grandmother is always around and tells stories of her own childhood and the hardships she faced. Obviously, the grandmother’s situation was much more dire than that of the narrator.

The author has perfectly captured the aging of both the young girl and her grandmother. She also conveys the child’s emotional intelligence and her maturity levels with perfect ease.

The illustrations in this book are nothing short of brilliant. In fact, I would love it if the artist offered prints of each of her layouts. I, for one, would 100% purchase them.

I should rate this book as 5 Stars, however I felt the ending could have been better. However, please DO NOT let this deter you from buying this book. We need more books from diverse and multicultural authors. It is imperative that children have access to books they can personally relate to. Also, children from other cultures should be exposed at a young age to books from diverse backgrounds.

Books such as THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING are important in a multitude of ways. I am rating this book as 4.5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

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*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer. She holds degrees from Carleton College and Columbia University. Yang is the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir winner of the 2009 Minnesota Book Awards in Creative Nonfiction/Memoir and Readers’ Choice, a finalist for the PEN USA Award in Creative Nonfiction, and the Asian Literary Award in Nonfiction.

The book is a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read title and on the roster of the American Place Theatre’s Literature to Life Program.

Her second book, The Song Poet won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award in Creative Nonfiction Memoir, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, a PEN USA Award in Nonfiction, and the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize. The story has been commissioned as a youth opera by the Minnesota Opera and will premiere in the spring of 2021.

Yang’s debut children’s book, A Map Into the World is a American Library Association Notable Book of the Year, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, winner of the Northstar Best Illustrator Award, and now a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.

Her co-edited collection titled What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Indigenous Women and Women of Color is a groundbreaking work that centers the poetry and prose of women whose voices have been neglected and silenced on the topic despite the fact they experience these losses disproportionately. The book was one of the ten best books of the fall of 2019 by the Star Tribune and forty other national papers.

In 2020, Yang will publish her second children’s book The Shared Room, a collective memoir about refugee lives, Somewhere in the Unknown World, and another book for children, The Most Beautiful Thing.

Kao Kalia Yang is also a teacher and a public speaker.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://kaokaliayang.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

LINKEDIN

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Khoa Le has illustrated picture books published in a number of different countries.

She is also an author, a graphic designer, and a painter. Khoa has a passion for travel, an eagerness to learn about different cultures, and a desire to discover the beauty of the world.

Her inner moth makes her attracted to any source of light, but her dream is to one day see the northern lights.

She lives in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, with her five cats.

She is the winner of the Grand Prize Samsung KidsTime Authors Award 2015 (Singapore) and the second runner up of The Scholastic Picture Book Award 2017 (Singapore).

Khoa also has a passion for travel, an eagerness to learn about different cultures, and a desire to discover the beauty of the world.

To read an interview with Khoa Le click HERE.

Freelance illustrator, graphic designer and painter based in HCMC, Vietnam

Graduated from HCMC University of Fine Art, Graphic design department

Exhibitions:

Exhibition of Graphic Design Department, HCMc University of fine art 2008 -Group exhibition Myth and sleepwalker, digital art 2008

Group exhibition Small 2009 -Biennale of the young artist 2009 (group exhibition)

Solo exhibition Unravel 2010

Group exhibition Cyber space 2010

Group exhibition My sister, San art 2011.

Group exhibition Eperantopolis 2011 – Group exhibition Art Expo Malaysia 2012

Asia Contemporary Art Show, Hong Kong 2012, group exhibition

To learn more about this highly talented Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://khoale.daportfolio.com

GOODREADS

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Artwork by Khoa Le
Artwork by Khoa Le

THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE by KRISTIN HARMEL is Historic Fiction at it’s very Best

Title: THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE

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Author: KRISTIN HARMEL
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Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

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Length: 400 PAGES

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Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER
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Received From: SIMON AND SCHUSTER

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Release Date: AUGUST 13, 2019

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ISBN: 978-1-9821-1229-5

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Price: $28.00 USD / $37.00 CDN

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

At the dawn of the Second World War, Inès is the young wife of Michel, owner of the House of Chauveau, a small champagne winery nestled among rolling vineyards near Reims, France. Marrying into a storied champagne empire was supposed to be a dream come true, but Inès feels increasingly isolated, purposely left out of the business by her husband; his chef de cave, Theo; and Theo’s wife, Sarah.

But these disappointments pale in comparison to the increasing danger from German forces pouring across the border. At first, it’s merely the Nazi weinführer coming to demand the choicest champagne for Hitler’s cronies, but soon, there are rumors of Jewish townspeople being rounded up and sent east to an unspeakable fate. The war is on their doorstep, and no one in Inès’s life is safe—least of all Sarah, whose father is Jewish, or Michel, who has recklessly begun hiding munitions for the Résistance in the champagne caves. Inès realizes she has to do something to help.

Sarah feels as lost as Inès does, but she doesn’t have much else in common with Michel’s young wife. Inès seems to have it made, not least of all because as a Catholic, she’s “safe.” Sarah, on the other hand, is terrified about the fate of her parents—and about her own future as the Germans begin to rid the Champagne region of Jews. When Sarah makes a dangerous decision to follow her heart in a desperate bid to find some meaning in the ruin, it endangers the lives of all those she cares about—and the champagne house they’ve all worked so hard to save.

In the present, Liv Kent has just lost her job—and her marriage. Her wealthy but aloof Grandma Edith, sensing that Liv needs a change of scenery before she hits rock bottom, insists that Liv accompany her on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and some difficult but important information to share with her granddaughter. As Liv begins to uncover long-buried family secrets, she finds herself slowly coming back to life. When past and present intertwine at last, she may finally find a way forward, along a difficult road that leads straight to the winding caves beneath the House of Chauveau.

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MY REVIEW:

THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE is a work of historical fiction. Set in Italy during World War II, the author has done extensive research into the history of World War II in the wine and champagne making regions.

Until receiving an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book, I had never thought about how WWII impacted the winemaking economies and how the greedy German army looted and pillaged from the great winemaking houses.

Although this book is fictitious, the historic facts are highly researched and based on true historic data.

The characters are relatable and the fear they experience in the story equals that of what was faced by those who lived through those terrible and terrifying years of war and deprivation.

This book is both a dramatic tale of life during war as well as a beautiful love story. There is romance, drama, action and adventure. In fact, there is something for every reader to enjoy while reading this tale.

For anyone who enjoys historic fiction, this book will be a welcome addition to their collection.

The story follows two timelines; one in the past and one in the present and how the lives of those in each timeline are inextricably linked together.

This is a fascinating read with in depth looks at how the past has influenced the present and how events and decisions made by one’s ancestors can (and does) have far-reaching consequences.

I rate THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

***Thank you to the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photograph by Phil Art Studio,
Reims, France

Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amélie and The Sweetness of Forgetting, and several other novels.

Her work has been featured in People, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among many other media outlets.

She lives in Orlando, Florida.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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GOODREADS
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FACEBOOK
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INSTAGRAM
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TWITTER
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AMAZON
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CHAPTERS
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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

TALES FROM BEHIND THE WINDOW by Author/Artist EDANUR KUNTMAN is a feast for the eyes and the Soul – AVAILABLE NOW!!!

Title: TALES FROM BEHIND THE WINDOW

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Author/Illustrator: EDANUR KUNTMAN
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Genre: BASED ON A TRUE STORY, GRAPHIC NOVEL, FICTION, WOMEN’S ISSUES, HISTORY

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Length: 168 PAGES

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Publisher: EUROPE COMICS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: AUGUST 14, 2019

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ISBN: 9791032809136

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Price: $10.99 USD (eBook)

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Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Tales from behind the Window” is based on memories of an Anatolian grandmother and women she knew who suffered from male dominance over their lives. Writer and illustrator Edanur Kuntman seeks a unique way to express and give voice to women in her grandmother’s memories and in our reality who were not able to reconcile their inner emotional depth with their rural worlds in Northern Turkey. One long and two short stories included in this book revolve around terrifying emotional burdens such as forced marriages, being betrayed by patriarchs, and lost love, which have haunted and still haunt many in rural Anatolia.

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MY REVIEW:

This graphic novel tells the true stories of three women from the author’s family. Although this book is categorized as fiction, it is based on interviews have the author’s grandmother.

This type of book is important because if we remember the past and the many injustices faced by women, we give them a voice. Those voices remind us of how far society has come and how far we still have to go.

Using the medium of a graphic novel, the author is able to convey emotions much more powerfully than if she had only described them in words.

The use of darker colors and austere illustrations, readers easily see the difference between the vibrant colors of the female illustrations and the grim male based illustrations. This is brilliantly rendered.

I rate TALES FROM BEHIND THE WINDOW as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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*Thank you to #NetGalley and #EuropeComics for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

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***** THE AUTHOR ALSO CREATED an Animated TV Spot created for Down Turkey together with Koff Animation. The goal was to remind people that Down Syndrome is not a disease and people diagnosed with Down Syndrome are capable of working just like the rest of the society. In this project she worked as a character artist and animator.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Edanur Kuntman is an up-and-coming Turkish artist who has been working in animation, illustration, and game design, as well as taking on publishing projects, and has a degree in political science.

She is currently based in Brooklyn, New York, as a visual and game designer.

She is the author of the graphic novel Tales From Behind The Window (Akan Ajans/Marmara Cizgi; Europe Comics in English).

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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LINKEDIN
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BĒHANCE
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GOODREADS
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INSTAGRAM
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TWITTER
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COMIXOLOGY
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AMAZON
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GOOGLE BOOKS
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CHAPTERS
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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE
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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Europe Comics is a joint digital initiative run by 13 European comics industry players from 8 European countries. Its main purpose is the creation of a pan-European catalog of award-winning graphic novels from across the continent, published digitally in English and available through major retailers and library networks. Europe Comics also works towards the promotion of European authors and the creation of a European comics online directory, meant for both comics readers and professionals.

To find out more about Europe Comics, Visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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GOODREADS
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TWITTER
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FACEBOOK
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PINTEREST

More Illustrations By The Super-Talented Edanur Kuntman

THE GLOVEMAKER by Ann Weisgarber RELEASES TODAY!!!

Title: THE GLOVEMAKER

Author: ANN WEISGARBER

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 336 PAGES

Publisher: SKYHORSE PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 19, 2019

ISBN: 9781510737839

Price: $24.99 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS⭐⭐⭐⭐

TODAY IS RELEASE DAY FOR THIS HISTORICAL FICTION TALE.

TO READ MY FULL REVIEW, CLICK HERE.

After you finish reading this book, please come back here to let me know your thoughts on it.

MIRACLE CREEK by Debut Author ANGIE KIM is coming soon and it is quite simply a fantastic book and one that everyone needs to read. 5+ Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: MIRACLE CREEK

Author: ANGIE KIM

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERY, DRAMA, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, INDIE

Length: 368 PAGES

Publisher: FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 16, 2019

ISBN: 9780374156022

Price: $27.00 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng about how far people will go to protect their families—and deepest secrets.

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first . . .

In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.

Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. Both a compelling page-turner and an excavation of identity and the desire for connection, Miracle Creek is a brilliant, empathetic debut from an exciting new voice.

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MY REVIEW:

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“… Life doesn’t work like that. Tragedies don’t inoculate you against further tragedies, and misfortune doesn’t get sprinkled out in fair proportions; bad things get hurled at you in clumps and batches, unmanageable and messy.”

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MIRACLE CREEK is author Angie Kim’s debut novel.

Let me say that again,

MIRACLE CREEK is author Angie Kim’s debut novel.

Why am I repeating myself? Well, once you read this book, you will understand. The deft way Angie Kim steers the reader and fleshes out each character all while also creating an emotionally fraught courtroom drama and detailing equally emotional backstories for each of a wide range of characters is so skillfully achieved that it is difficult to believe this is her first novel.

The topic of children on the autism spectrum is always an emotional one. Such deep feelings can bring out either the best in someone, or the very worst. Teachers, doctors, therapists and especially parents can often feel that they know best, and that other people are irrational if they do not follow their advice.

Imagine being the mother of a child who is unable to effectively communicate with you. Imagine that you discover a new form of therapy that has shown positive results, would you not do everything you could to get that therapy for your child? As a parent, I know that I would.

In this book, readers are introduced to the family who run an HBOT facility. They are the Yoos’, a couple who recently emigrated from Korea to the United States, along with their teenage daughter.

The treatment center the Yoos have set up involves putting a patient or group of patients inside “—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility.”

Everything seems to be going fairly well until tragedy strikes and two of the patients die in a horrific explosion.

That single event causes ripples among the community, the patients and their families, as well as the Yoos’ who own “Miracle Submarine.” These ripples will sweep readers along, immersing them into one of the best and most dramatic books of 2019.

I have “favorited” this book and I fully intend to read it again and again. I am also recommending this book to my local library and to any and all local book clubs.

There are many themes happening in this story that are relevant to things happening in today’s America. The Yoo family are immigrants and they need to adjust to American living. Also, issues such as autism, infertility and discrimination are wound in and around every chapter.

Angie Kim has crafted a tale so compelling and so believable that readers will be left wondering if this is really fictitious, or if it is based on a true story. I am excited to share this book with everyone who reads my reviews. I firmly believe that if you are only going to read a few books in 2019, MIRACLE CREEK needs to be one of them.

I rate this book as 5+ Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ which is the highest rating I can bestow.

Angie Kim is incredibly talented and I am now a fan.

*** Thank you very much to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this wonderful book.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Angie Kim moved as a preteen from Seoul, South Korea, to the suburbs of Baltimore.

She attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, then practiced as a trial lawyer at Williams & Connolly.

Her stories have won the Glamour Essay Contest and the Wabash Prize in Fiction, and appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Salon, Slate, The Southern Review, Sycamore Review, The Asian American Literary Review, and PANK.

Angie Kim currently lives in northern Virginia with her husband and three sons.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

** This book is my Letter M contribution to the #2019AtoZreadingchallenge with the GingerMoms blog **

4 Stars for PAPER WIFE by Laila Ibrahim – A timely tale of what it was like to move to a new country, where you knew noone and didn’t speak the language. NEW RELEASE!!!

Title: PAPER WIFE

Author: LAILA IBRAHIM

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, DIVERSE FICTION, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 298 PAGES

Publisher: LAKE UNION PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 30, 2018

ISBN: 9781503904576

Price: $14.95 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

From the bestselling author of Yellow Crocus comes a heart-wrenching story about finding strength in a new world.

Southern China, 1923. Desperate to secure her future, Mei Ling’s parents arrange a marriage to a widower in California. To enter the country, she must pretend to be her husband’s first wife—a paper wife.

On the perilous voyage, Mei Ling takes an orphan girl named Siew under her wing. Dreams of a better life in America give Mei Ling the strength to endure the treacherous journey and detainment on Angel Island. But when she finally reaches San Francisco, she’s met with a surprise. Her husband, Chinn Kai Li, is a houseboy, not the successful merchant he led her to believe.

Mei Ling is penniless, pregnant, and bound to a man she doesn’t know. Her fragile marriage is tested further when she discovers that Siew will likely be forced into prostitution. Desperate to rescue Siew, she must convince her husband that an orphan’s life is worth fighting for. Can Mei Ling find a way to make a real family—even if it’s built on a paper foundation?

MY REVIEW:

With immigration currently being a hot button issue in the United States and many other countries around the world, the publication of this book could not be more timely.

Although this story begins ninety years ago in 1923, there are many alarming similarities between the discrimination faced by immigrants during that time period and the discrimination faced by those who have chosen to emigrate to the United States in modern times.

Mei Ling was happily living out her young life in China when the matchmaker arrived at the door of her parent’s home. A suitable match had been found for Mei Ling’s older sister and the wedding date was set. But, as fate would have it, her sister fell ill and her parents told Mei Ling that she would have to take her sister’s place.

This deception early in the story is only one of many deceptions and ‘white lies’ that occur throughout the book.

It is obvious that author Laila Ibrahim did her research for this book as the facts and traditions written about in this tale match perfectly with historic accounts from those who actually did leave China in hopes of a better life in the United States.

Laila Ibrahim’s writing style and subject matter reminds me of author Lisa See.

I enjoyed the story even though I found one event to be completely implausible. Despite that, the author has written a book that anyone who wonders what life might have been like for the huge wave of Asian immigrants who arrived en masse in the years following World War I will want to read.

I believe that by reading books such as PAPER WIFE, people will gain, at the very least, a small measure of empathy for people whose cultures and/or backgrounds are different from their own.

Reading stories like this one, prove to readers that people are more similar than they are different. We all want the same thing. We want a safe and comfortable place to sleep, a good education for our children, and a job that allows us to provide for our families.

In PAPER WIFE, Mei Ling was detained on Angel Island and interrogated by officials who used intimidation and threats to try to force her to change her story or to catch her in a lie. This is a true reflection of what immigrants were subjected to in 1925.

Chinese immigrants on Angel Island

Poetry carved into the walls at Angel Island

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We need to learn from the past. If we do not learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them.

I rate PAPER WIFE as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laila Ibrahim grew up in Whittier, California on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, and moved to Oakland, California to attend Mills College where she studied Psychology and Child Development. After getting a Master’s Degree in Human Development, she realized she wanted to do more hands on work with children, and opened up her own preschool: Woolsey Children’s School.

Her education and experiences as an educator and parent provide ample for her writing – especially her study of Attachment Theory and multiculturalism.

She identifies as a devout Unitarian Universalist – which is sort of like being a radical moderate – and worked as the Director of Children and Family Ministries at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland for five years.

She lives in a small co-housing community in Berkeley with her wife, Rinda, a public school administrator. She the proud mother of two wonderful young adult daughters and the not-so-proud mother of a rambunctious mini-Aussies.

Laila self-published Yellow Crocus in 2011 after agents repeatedly told her that no one would want to read a story about the love between an enslaved black woman and her privileged white charge. Over the years the readers have proven them wrong. She became a full-time writer in 2015.

Living Right, her second novel, is set in 2004, but with a similar theme: loving across difference. It goes beyond the headline to reveal the life and death stakes when a devoted mother struggles to reconcile her evangelical Christian beliefs with her son’s sexual orientation.

Mustard Seed continues with the lives of the Freedman and Johnson families after the Civil War.

Paper Wife tells the story of Mei Ling, a young woman forced by social upheaval to marry a stranger and immigrate from Southern China through Angel Island to San Francisco in 1923.

To read an interview with the author click HERE.

Laila loves calling or Skyping into bookclubs and public speaking. She can be contacted at ldibrahim@gmail.com

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

AMAZON

HISTORIC PHOTOS

Photos obtained from the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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OME OF THE POEMS LEFT BEHIND:

(Source: Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation)

A Few Selected Poems


獨坐稅關中,
心內起不痛。
亦因家道貧,
遠遊不近親。
兄弟來到叫,
只得上埠行。
黑鬼無道理,
唐人要掃地。
每日食兩餐,
何時轉回返。

– 辛亥年七月十二日李字題寧邑
Poem 3

Hear Poem 3 Read In Toishanese.

Translation
Sitting alone in the customs office,
How could my heart not ache?
Had my family not been poor,
I would not have traveled far away from home.
It was my elder brother who urged me
To embark on a voyage to this shore.
The black devil* here is unjust-
He forces the Chinese to clean the floor.
Two meals a day are provided,
But I wonder, when will I be homeward bound?

– Lee from Toishan District, September 4, 1911

*A pejorative to refer to those of African descent-here, presumably, an African Canadian working at the immigration station directed the detainees to sweep the floors.


妻囑情
出門求財為家窮,
把正心頭在路中。
路上野花君莫取,
為家自有係妻奴。
臨行知囑情千萬,
莫作奴言耳過風。
家中妻兒係莫掛,
勤儉二年掃祖宗。
妻兒衣裳無一件,
米盒掃來無半筒。
家中屋舍無間好,
爛溶爛揸穿爛帘。
夫係昔日都尋賭,
不念奴奴淚飄飄。
多得親兄來打稅,
莫學忘叔大恩公。

– 辛亥七月十二日到李字題寧邑
Poem 4

Hear Poem 4 Read in Toishanese.

Translation
My Wife’s Admonishment
We are poor, so you’re leaving home to seek wealth;
Keep hold of propriety while on this journey.
Never pick wildflowers along the road,*
For you have your own wife at home!
Before you depart, I admonish you a thousand times;
Don’t let my words just whistle past your ears.
Don’t worry about us, be diligent and frugal,
And two years hence return to sweep the ancestors’ tombs.
Your wife and children haven’t a thing to wear;
Not half a cup of rice can be scooped from the pot.
Our house and rooms are dilapidated;
Our housewares are worn, and the curtains torn.
In the past, you did nothing but gamble;
You never thought of me and my flowing tears.
You are fortunate your elder brother has paid the taxes-
Always remember your great debt to him!

– Lee from Toishan District, Arrived July 12, 1911

Footnotes: To engage in romantic/sexual affairs while away from home.

GRIT & GRACE – Uncommon Wisdom For Inspiring Leaders Designed To Make You Think NOW AVAILABLE. This book makes an awesome gift for every woman on the planet. Check it out here…

Title: GRIT & GRACE

Subtitle: Uncommon Wisdom For Inspiring Leaders Designed To Make You Think

Author: QUOTABELLE INC. = PAULINE WEGER and ALICIA WILLIAMSON

Genre: NON-FICTION, INSPIRATIONAL, QUOTES, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS

Length: 236 PAGES

Cover Design: PHILIP BUCHANAN

Publisher: QUARTO KNOWS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63106-530-9

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Grit & Grace is a collection of quotes, thoughts, and advice from female pioneers to inspire young girls and women who want to lead.

With powerful words from powerful female forerunners, Louisa May Alcott and Susan B. Anthony have inspired girls and women for generations, there are now more women leading the way in more industries than ever. From the authors of the breakout inspirational book Beautifully Said comes Grit & Grace, a showcase of the brilliant minds, sterling careers, and hard work of women in both well-known and less-visible roles in society.

Grit & Grace is here to inspire young girls and women to pursue their dreams with fearlessness and determination by featuring classic and modern female leaders like Jessica Alba, Courtney Banghart, and Tiffany Dufu. The perfect gift for sisters, daughters, nieces, friends, new graduates, and any other free-thinking young woman in your life, Grit & Grace uses the strengths and successes of today’s women to drive a generation of future leaders to make their talents count. The female voices in Grit & Grace include:

– Reese Witherspoon
– Vera Wang
– Meghan Markle
– Amal Clooney
– Ava DuVernay
– Jane Goodall
– Beatrix Potter
– Diana Vreeland
– Anita Roddick
– Clara Barton
– Susan B. Anthony
– Katharine Graham
– Rose Marcario
– Christiana Figueres

Future female idols, look to Grit & Grace for inspiration as you lead the way.

MY REVIEW:

I have always loved inspirational quotes. I have many, many notebooks filled with quotes I have discovered over the years. There is just something satisfying about reading a quote that captures a topic or emotion perfectly.

A powerful quote can lift your spirits and turn a bad day into a day filled with promise. A quote from someone you look up to can provide inspiration to either follow that person’s path, or to forge an entirely new one.

The quotes contained in this astonishing book are all from females. I am not 100% sure, but I believe it is the only all-female quote collection available today. In researching quotes in general, the editors of this book discovered that “… less than ten percent of the quotations shared every day are from women and girls.” This number is too low and this book seeks to remedy that appalling lack.

quoteur
/kwō tǝr’ / noun
a person who originates a pithy collection of words worth sharing.

GRIT & GRACE not only inspires it’s readers, but as it states in the subtitle, the quotes are; “…Designed to make you think.”

The layout of this book is wonderful. Each time you open the book to a two-page layout. The quote is printed in bold and has a page to itself. On the left side page is the name of the quoteur along with a brief description of who she is and a short biography which highlights her life and achievements. I received as much inspiration from reading about these amazing women as I did from reading the quotes. I also discovered many new role models, women who I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of before now. Who knows? Readers may find their perfect role model just through the reading of this book.

So many of the quotations in this collection spoke to me that I had an extremely difficult time deciding which ones were my favorites. Instead, I realized that each and every quote spoke to me at different times and meant different things. I have decided to only include four quotes in this review, but I highly recommend purchasing GRIT & GRACE since it is a book that can (and should be) read over and over again.

Here are just a few of the included inspirations:

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”
– Marie Curie (Scientist) 1867-1934

“To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?”
– Katherine Graham (Publisher and winner of the Pulitzer Prize)

*

“If you don’t fall down, you aren’t trying hard enough.”
-Tenley Albright (1935-____)
(Surgeon, Cancer Researcher, Polio Survivor & First US woman to win a Gold Medal in Figure Skating)

*

“One of the more powerful outbreaks of happiness and meaning in your life will occur when you pair your passion and the world’s need.”
– Sue Monk Kidd (Novelist)

*

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I think it would make a terrific Christmas present, especially for those young people who are just learning to find their voices.

ADD TO GOODREADS

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

To learn more about Quotabelle, visit the following links:

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WAITING FOR AEGINA AUDIOBOOK BLOG TOUR, REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Author: Effie Kammenou

Narrators: Emily Lawrence

Length: 11 hours 2 minutes

Series: The Gift Saga, Book 2

Publisher: Effie Kammenou

Released: Feb. 16, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book two in the Gift Saga: the continuation of Evanthia’s Gift….

In 1961, five little girls moved into a suburban neighborhood and became inseparable, lifelong friends. They called themselves the Honey Hill Girls, named after the street on which they lived. As teenagers, they shared one another’s ambitions and dreams, secrets and heartaches. Now, more than 30 years later, they remain devoted and loyal, supporting each other through triumphs and sorrows.

Evanthia’s Gift follows the life of Sophia Giannakos. In Waiting for Aegina, the saga continues from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood.

Naive teenage ideals are later challenged by harsh realities, as each of their lives takes unexpected turns. Now nearing their 50th year, Sophia, Demi, Amy, Mindy, and Donna stand together through life-altering obstacles while they try to regain the lighthearted optimism of their youth.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her entertaining family and friends.
Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 Readers Favorite Awards finalist in the women’s fiction category. Waiting for Aegina: Book Two in The Gift Saga is Kammenou’s latest release. For updates on the release of Book Three, the conclusion of The Gift Saga, follow Effie on Twitter, Facebook or Amazon.

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Narrator Bio

Emily is an actor and writer passionate about bringing stories to life. Her greatest strength as a performer is her ability to bring herself to the role, creating a wide range of emotionally resonant performances that leap off the page, stage, or screen. Her favorite characters are complicated, conflicted, and still searching for their inner truths. Emily’s passion for her work is complimented by her persistence, resilience, and inexhaustible work ethic. She’s narrated more than 160 audiobooks, half of which were USA Today or New York Times bestsellers, and has also worked in film, television, and theater. Born and raised in New York, Emily moved to Los Angeles shortly after receiving her BFA in drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She also had the privilege of living in London while studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
Emily’s greatest loves are acting and reading, so narrating audiobooks is a dream come true. Her other passions include traveling, LARPing, aerial circus, and chocolate.

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This book is the second in a series, however, it can easily be read as a standalone novel (which is exactly what I did.)

The author, Effie Kammenou, has created a story that is compelling, believable, and entertaining.

The character building is terrific and the storyline will hold a reader’s attention with ease.

Narrator Emily Lawrence proves that she is a professional Narrator with her flawless voice and her impeccable timing.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Audiobook and I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

**I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Effie Kammenou. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.**

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MY PUDDLES – A Memoir by Thai Peck – MY REVIEW of this fascinating new Memoir.

Title: MY PUDDLES

Subtitle: A NON-FICTION SHORT STORY

Author: THAI PECK

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, HISTORY, AUTOBIOGRAPHY, BIOGRAPHY

Length: 97 PAGES

Publisher: BALBOA PRESS

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: GOODREADS

Release Date: MAY 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-0899-1

ASIN: B072M4Q161

Rating: 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐+0.5

DESCRIPTION:

My Puddles is a true story. It’s a short anecdote recalling a tale of growing up from childhood to the age of seventy and a woman’s journey through time, places, and self-discovery.

MY REVIEW:

Neither the title, nor the description really give any information about this book.

MY PUDDLES is a memoir written by Thai Peck about her life. She only briefly remarks upon her unhappy childhood in Vietnam.

At the tender age of seventeen, she met and eventually married an Australian War Correspondant named Brian Peck. Thai had two children, a boy and a girl and despite life’s ups and downs, they remained married until the sad day in 2015 when Brian passed away.

Thai eloquently expresses just how much they loved each other in the book’s first chapter:

“In September 1968 … At Singapore airport about to board an Air Vietnam flight, among the crowd, a couple of Americans…through them I met this Australian reporter. While each man offered to carry one of my bags, only one remained faithfully carrying them through our many journeys for the rest of his life. Until one morning in April 2015 when he took his last breath in my arms. His name was Brian Peck. He was my best friend, my confidante, and my all. He brought happiness into my everyday life for 45 years.”

Besides her relationship with her husband, Thai also writes about her travels to many countries and her life as a diplomat’s wife. She candidly describes the hippocritical nature of those events – glitz and glamour on the surface, but lonliness on the inside.

I enjoyed reading about Thai Beck’s life and as a self-published book, she has done a good job. What she does need, however, is a good proofreader and editor. It is readily apparent that the memoir is written by someone whose first language is not English. There are quite a few places in this book that need to be edited.

The need for proofing and editing are significant, but by filling this autobiography with numerous photographs and copies of Thai’s paintings, the joy of reading this book increases immensely. I rate MY PUDDLES as 3.5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐ +0.5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

To learn about this author, visit the following links:

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

BALBOA PRESS is a Division of HAY HOUSE. It is a book publishing company that helps aspiring self-help and transformational authors self-publish books and achieve their dreams. Offering professional cover design, editing, marketing and more, authors can publish a self-help book ready for print on demand. Specializing in the mind, body and spirit genre, Balboa Press is your gateway into the world of publishing.

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