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The Lost Kitchen, by Miriam Green

 

 

The Lost Kitchen is a book of recipes, poems, and a heartfelt story of a woman working through the pains of losing her mother to Alzheimer’s. I didn’t know what I would think about the layout of this very different book, but it flows incredibly well. Mixing all the ingredients of the three subjects together, the author bakes up the perfect complex map of what it’s like to be with an individual battling Alzheimer’s. Miriam’s love and respect for her family is immense, and she tells the reader just how to weather the storm of loss, savoring the days for what they are.

 If you know someone, or have a loved one who has this illness, you will identify with Miriam’s plight. I lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s. This book touched my heart, made me laugh, cry and contemplate the meaning of each poem. (Frog in My Throat is one of my favorites.)I am not a huge fan of poetry, but I loved these funny, heartfelt, meandering sentiments that truly described the confusion and frustration of all given parties. I even bought another copy of the book for my sister in-law as a gift. I found it very therapeutic and inspiring to read.

With scrumptious recipes that have awakened my desire to try new things, Miriam Green makes things seem simple. Warm and inviting Cauliflower soup, Bubalehs, to peanut butter-chocolate cake, she shares recipes from across the Atlantic while describing her exotic location in Israel. I’m not Jewish but found her explanation of the food and culture interesting. The book is filled with enticing chapters of food, family, and  how her faith related to cooking. With humor and strength, Miriam shares the warm memories of her family together, in the kitchen of their past and present.

With respect, dignity and love, Miriam Green’s book is inspiring, humbling and teaches that we are all humans with the same essential needs. Savor the moment you are in and find a place in your heart to remember with love.

Dear Maude by Denise Liebig

Dear Maude is a fascinating adventure that resonates in most women’s fantasies—finding tall, dark and handsome, with a trip back to the time of Downton Abby. Twists and turns around every corner, make it an addictive read. I found myself getting in my car more often to listen to this Audible book. The reader was great. I wasn’t sure what I thought for the first ten minutes or so. I think it took a few minutes for the reader to find her groove, but the story was amazing, and the reader was fabulous once I got into the story.

 The author does a great job of describing the emotions of a young college student and the reasons that make her commit to this specific journey. I loved the warmth of Emily and the love she had for her family and respect of others. Her quirky thoughts, yet steadfast actions, propel the story along with great interest. I liked that the beginning was laid out over many chapters, showing the life of Emily and her relationship to Sophia. It threw me for a loop wondering how the time travel would possibly fit in. Then when the TIME came, I was thrilled to embark upon the adventure.

I keep a Kindle book and an Audible going at all times. I picked this book out of a long list of Indie author books for my support of #IndieApril. I love time travel, great characters and a story that keeps you guessing. I look forward to reading more from Denise Liebig.

Review of Dun an Doras by G Tarr

This book takes place in a village in Ireland where people are dying. A motley group including a werewolf, magpie, banshee, cop, and troll join to solve the murder mystery and find the culprit.

I love books that include mythology and folklore. This book has them in abundance. The story is intriguing and the characters well-described. I think my favorite was Enzo, the magpie. The addition of a sentient inanimate object tickled me.

Dun an Doras would have benefited from extra editing. There were several places where I wasn’t sure who was speaking and I saw some head-hopping. This book has light scenes interspersed with very dark ones. The lighter ones allow the reader to get to know the characters better. The dark ones illustrate how dangerous and horrible their foe is.

I enjoyed the tale and am curious to see other books by the author.

Review of Prelude (Borderlands Book 0) by Charles Gull

Led by Captain Ganse, a group of soldiers patrol the Borderlands. They are tasked with protecting the Homelands and other countries of the Rationalle by destroying the mindless, brutal Spawn of the Realm of Chaos.

Prelude, Book 0 of the Borderlands series, is comparable to Grimmdark meets Bronzepunk—two subgenres I’m unfamiliar with. Loving fantasy, I was excited to try something completely different.

Between the forts, brave fighters, derring-dos, and circle-the-wagons vibes, this novella reminds me of the old frontier movies. (Quite a compliment, since I’m a big John Wayne fan.) The further the company travel, the more dire the danger. Will they all make it back? Will any of them? The vivid descriptions of the land and the monsters encountered paired with the first person, present tense point of view makes for an intense sense of urgency that works extremely well.

Gull caught me by surprise a couple of times with interesting plot twists. (Kudos, sir.) The world-building is top notch and the characters well fleshed out. The ending is a cliff-hanger, so I am anxious to read Book 1. I found Prelude a riveting tale of survival, conquest, and heroism and strongly recommend it.

Review of Stone Storm by Jenna Moquin

 

During a blizzard, a man hears a scream. He finds a dead body outside his home. Rushing inside to call the police, he discovers the phone is as dead as the corpse bleeding out on the snow. As he waits out the storm, he hears noises. How can this be? He is alone—or is he?

Confession. I read this book on a bright sunshiny morning. Afterwards, I thought I heard the door upstairs creak. The murmur of voices. The rustle of curtains. This short story scared me so much that I had to search the house from top to bottom—TWICE.

Even without the Poe reference, EAP’s influence is abundantly evident. As a child, my cousin three grades ahead of me read the eerie short stories out loud. I felt that same shivers down the spine sensation when reading Stone Storm that I felt all those years ago.

Moquin has crafted an excellent horror, skillfully building the tension to a shocking revelation. I’m no newbie to this genre, so believe me when I warn you, don’t read this at night.

During a blizzard, a man hears a scream. He finds a dead body outside his home. Rushing inside to call the police, he discovers the phone is as dead as the corpse bleeding out on the snow. As he waits out the storm, he hears noises. How can this be? He is alone—or is he?

Confession. I read this book on a bright sunshiny morning. Afterwards, I thought I heard the door upstairs creak. The murmur of voices. The rustle of curtains. This short story scared me so much that I had to search the house from top to bottom—TWICE.

Even without the Poe reference, EAP’s influence is abundantly evident. As a child, my cousin three grades ahead of me read the eerie short stories out loud. I felt that same shivers down the spine sensation when reading Stone Storm that I felt all those years ago.

Moquin has crafted an excellent horror, skillfully building the tension to a shocking revelation. I’m no newbie to this genre, so believe me when I warn you, don’t read this at night.

 

 

 

Review of The Month of April by Chad Ard

In The Month of April, the main character, April Boyd finds out her mother has died and returns to her hometown with her girlfriend, Abby. Her mother left instructions to cremate her body, take the ashes to New Orleans, and scatter them in the river in front of the Jackson Brewery. Inside a box of personal items, they discover an account April’s mother had written about her trip to New Orleans the year before April was born.

 

They read about how April’s mother, Dani met the love of her life in the Crescent City. The account, entitled “The Month of April,” chronicles the couple’s brief time together and what transpired afterwards during Dani’s time in the military.

 

Though grief-stricken after reading the sad tale, April understands her mother better and feels closer to her. Caring for her girlfriend and emotionally moved, Abby encourages April to take steps to bring closure to the tragedy and together, they investigate the occurrences and right twenty-year-old wrongs.

 

As a fan of epistolary books, I especially enjoyed the sections of Dani’s story.  The setting descriptions transported me to a city I’ve briefly visited, but never had the opportunity to tour. Ard’s admiration of Raymond Carver is evident in his writing. I would characterize this novella as dirty realism. The sparse, unadorned prose conveys the author’s meaning succinctly. As a poor, unwed mother, Dani epitomizes the kind of characters which populate the genre.  I found the dialogue somewhat flat, however, that too, could be attributed to an aspect of realism.  I do not typically read this style of writing and the fact that I found the first few pages too compelling not to finish reading the novella says much about this author’s exceptional writing ability.

Review of The Lost Fairytales of the Dewdrop Forest by Bianca Scharff

A wish is made upon a dandelion setting in motion a terrifying series of events. Lucy, a young lady nearing her 18th birthday, must travel to the enchanted Dewdrop Forest to find answers before it is too late to stop her descent into madness.

 

I’ve always been a big fan of fairy tales and love reading them, so I was immediately drawn to this book.

Despite the cute, Disneyesque title, this is a fairy tale in the vein of the original Brothers Grimm, replete with disturbing, often violent scenes. I was hooked from the beginning. With foreboding, I read of the wish in the first chapter. The mere appearance of the weed hints at the troubles to come.

 

The lines between reality and fantasy are blurred and there are cyclic elements to the story. Plying ethereal language, the author visits the similarities between such dichotomous duos as love and hate. The prose has a lyrical quality. I am still pondering the cryptic ending.

 

Although the book would benefit from tighter editing, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Lost Fairytales of the Dewdrop Forest has an inventive plot and is a well-written, phantasmagoric story.

Review of Kitty’s First Day of School by Sarah Linx

Linx’s entertaining book introduces children to the concept of school. The vocabulary in this engaging story about Kitty the Calico’s first day is geared toward emerging readers. The colorful, detailed illustrations by the author immediately drew my eye, especially since the main character is a kitten. This book would make a perfect gift for any child.

Birdie and Jude by Phyllis H. Moore

In Phyllis H. Moore’s, Birdie and Jude, characters come to life and spark interest in the soul of the reader. Birdie, a lifetime resident of Galveston Island, keeps to a happy routine with her dog, Ollie.

Walking the shore on one of their usual excursions they pick up a visitor in distress. Not knowing much about the young woman, Jude, or her disastrous situation, Birdie invites her back to her home to shelter out the storm.

Through routine activities, the writer reveals glimpses of Birdies unique personality. Well loved by the community, Birdie has secrets and a strong desire to be left out of social graces, though she can fake it well enough for a few friends and her over protective nephew, Barry. Young and beautiful Jude also has a past and slowly reveals her situation to Birdie as they become fast friends.

The real part of this story is not in the daily lives of its characters or the events they are caught up in. This story transcends across time and has a warmth to it that stays with the reader long after the story is over.

Birdie and Jude has the sass of Rita Mae Brown mixed with the warmth and racial equality struggle of The Help. I strongly recommend this book for any occasion, but I picked it up on my vacation and couldn’t put it down. A wonderful page turner and hope for a future with loved ones past and present.

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Geza Tatrallyay’s, Rainbow Vintner, political intrigue and terrorism aren’t the only plot driven aspects of the book. Young and beautiful, American exchange student, Morgan Kenworthy, has taken up studies in France, where she forms a keen interest in a family friend’s son, Alex. Her school mate, Claire, Alex’s sister, is her local guide between the de Carduzac’s family estate, school and other social interest. Introducing her to important members of government, associated with the family, and socially challenging professors, with opposing political ideals, Morgan is swept up in the lavish setting of the Bordeaux region.
When Morgan runs across some interesting photos in the de Carduzac’s office, she begins to put together pieces of a puzzle that lead her into a political triangle. Russians, Jihadist, French right wing activist are all a part of a plot that may take down France, Morgan and Alex with it.
I was surprised by the depth of the characters in this international thriller and pleasantly intrigued by such details of upper class living. The descriptions of food, wine and ambiance was delectable. The author had an artful way of divulging information for the reader through dialogue, so you felt like you were a part of the conversation.
With issues that parallel our own daily news, readers will find themselves dissecting the political subject and categorizing their own passions for moral resolution. Vigilante espionage and a surprising ending that I didn’t see coming.