Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Review of PROMISE: One of the BEST BOOKs I have read in a long time

Hardcover, 400 pages
Publication: February 27th, 2018 by William Morrow
ISBN 0062471716 (ISBN13: 9780062471710)

In the aftermath of a devastating tornado that rips through the town of Tupelo, Mississippi, at the height of the Great Depression, two women worlds apart—one black, one white; one a great-grandmother, the other a teenager—fight for their families’ survival in this lyrical and powerful novel.

A few minutes after 9 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 5, 1936, a massive funnel cloud flashing a giant fireball and roaring like a runaway train careened into the thriving cotton-mill town of Tupelo, Mississippi, killing more than 200 people, not counting an unknown number of black citizens, one-third of Tupelo’s population, who were not included in the official casualty figures.
When the tornado hits, Dovey, a local laundress, is flung by the terrifying winds into a nearby lake. Bruised and nearly drowned, she makes her way across Tupelo to find her small family—her hardworking husband, Virgil, her clever sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Dreama, and Promise, Dreama’s beautiful light-skinned three-month-old son.
Slowly navigating the broken streets of Tupelo, Dovey stops at the house of the despised McNabb family. Inside, she discovers that the tornado has spared no one, including Jo, the McNabbs’ dutiful teenage daughter, who has suffered a terrible head wound. When Jo later discovers a baby in the wreckage, she is certain that she’s found her baby brother, Tommy, and vows to protect him.
During the harrowing hours and days of the chaos that follows, Jo and Dovey will struggle to navigate a landscape of disaster and to battle, both the demons and the history that link and haunt them. Drawing on historical events, Minrose Gwin beautifully imagines natural and human destruction in the deep South of the 1930s through the experiences of two remarkable women whose lives are indelibly connected by forces beyond their control. A story of loss, hope, despair, grit, courage, and race, Promise reminds us of the transformative power and promise that come from confronting our most troubled relations with one another.


You Must Get A Copy Below:
Minrose Gwin deserves a standing ovation for PROMISE. This is the most outstanding book based on true events that I have read. Hence, this book stands alone above all others due to so many factors which I will discuss later in the review. 

Gwin’s writing is powerful with the Characters jumping off the pages so as a reader, you're experiencing what it is like to walk in these individuals shoes, enduring everything that they had to go through in the backward thinking of 1936. As a result of the entitlement mentality of most white individuals in that era, one of the main characters Jo, had me so riled up I wanted to rip her from the pages and pound some sense into her 16-year-old head. Obviously, this is a prime example of how first-rate the prose is since I have never had my blood pressure go up because I was so enraged by a fictional character before. Breathe… The next main character is Dovey, who is a smart, hard working black laundress for white people. I just want to mention that usually in a review I don’t mention the color of the character's skin, but due to segregation in 1936 it matters immensely. Also, my opinion of race has nothing to do with this review, this is just how it’s looked upon in the book. Back to the review… Dovey is my favorite individual in the book. She loves her family more than anything and will fight to the death to protect them. They live a taxing life just for the most meager of necessities. Furthermore, when this tornado hits (and before) to be treated like animals because of the amount of melanin in their skin. 

Unquestionably, PROMISE should be on the bestseller list. It transports you back to 1936, as if you had a time machine, causing you to feel like what it is to go through a natural disaster when medicine was not highly advanced, it also meant different things depending on your race. When you wake up from the storm are you on a makeshift bed with the cockroaches or in a real hospital bed off the floor? Is your family on a list of where they had been transported/dead or are you searching through the dead bodies in alleys looking for your loved ones? This book hits you at the core of your being. Definitely, get your copy and let me know what you think!

There are gobs more I want to write about this book and how I felt about it. Consequently, that is not my place. My place is just to tell the bare bones and how I felt about the style and writing of the book. I hope I did that well. One last thing, the author did phenomenal research about the tornado of 1936 and at the end of the book, you will find pictures of the destruction of Tupelo, Mississippi. 

*Check out the video below to see footage of the tornado of 1936 .

Minrose Gwin is a writer, scholar, and educator. Her most recent books are a novel, The Queen of Palmyra (Harper Collins/Harper Perennial) and a memoir, Wishing for Snow (HarperCollins/Harper Perennial). She lives in Chapel Hill, NC, and teaches literature and creative writing at the University of North Carolina and fiction and creative nonfiction workshops at the University of New Mexico Taos Writers Conference. 
Minrose has been a writer all of her working life, starting out as a newspaper and wire service reporter and working in Mobile, Atlanta, Nashville, and Knoxville.


*This video is not associated with the book except for the fact it discusses and shows the damage that occured on that horrible night in Tupelo, Mississippi. Please, take the time to watch it. There is a lot of interesting photos of the disaster, more than I could have posted.  




TOUR SCHEDUAL:
Tuesday, February 27th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, February 28th: The Sketchy Reader
Thursday, March 1st: Readaholic Zone
Monday, March 5th: Lit.Wit.Wine.Dine.
Tuesday, March 6th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, March 7th: Peppermint PhD
Thursday, March 8th: Instagram: @_literary_dreamer_
Monday, March 12th: Literary Lindsey
Tuesday, March 13th: Into the Hall of Books
Wednesday, March 14th: Broken Teepee

Friday, February 16, 2018

Review of IN EVERY MOMENT WE ARE STILL ALIVE


A prize-winning, bestselling debut of love, loss, and family—based on a true story—that’s winning readers around the world.

When Tom’s heavily pregnant girlfriend Karin is rushed to the hospital, doctors are able to save the baby. But they are helpless to save Karin from what turns out to be acute Leukemia. And in a cruel, fleeting moment Tom gains a daughter but loses his soul-mate. In Every Moment We Are Alive is the story of the year that changes everything, as Tom must reconcile the fury and pain of loss with the overwhelming responsibility of raising his daughter, Livia, alone.


By turns tragic and redemptive, meditative and breathless, achingly poignant and darkly funny, this autobiographical novel has been described as ’hypnotic’, ’impossible to resist’ and ’one of the most powerful books about grief ever written’. 

PURCHASE:

Do you ever think about why an author writes a book? I did with this one. Maybe the authors' inspiration was by putting down on paper the heartbreaking and difficult situations that he had to deal with it would help him in getting past the hurt. Though, that assumption could be far from the truth. Consequently, this was a difficult book to read. In the beginning, the prose mainly focuses on Karin and the baby, then the confusion starts as the writing randomly jumps around. Let me explain. For instance, you will be reading about Tom and a pregnant Karin then the next sentence starts, without any sort of paragraph change or going to another chapter, the story time travels to the past when Tom is playing hockey. Why? It is like this throughout the book, therefore, making it highly confusing to read.

The bones of the story are good. The topic of the birth mother passing away and Tom has to go through her death with a preemie baby is engrossing. Hence, after Tom brings the baby home the reader receives minimal details of him interacting with the newborn which was disappointing. Basically, I learned how the Swedish Government works when you have a child and the stress that will entail if you don’t prepare beforehand for situations like a mother's death. My intention was not to give the book a negative review yet this is what flew out of my fingertips.



Tom Malmquist is a poet and sportswriter. He has written two highly acclaimed poetry collections. In Every Moment We Are Still Alive is his first novel. He lives in Sweden.


Monday, February 12, 2018

RESURRECTION: SHADOWS OF OMEGA by Summer Lane + GIVEAWAY of Cassidy Hart Tactical Fun Box & Autographed Copy of State of Emergency, Collapse #1



Resurrection: Shadows of Omega 
Summer Lane
Publication date: February 9th, 2018
Genres: Dystopian, New Adult

The war is over. At last, Omega has been defeated, and the militias have found peace and stability. General Cassidy Hart has been elected to lead the newly resurrected post-apocalyptic government as President of the Western Republic.
The world is a different place. From the ashes, structure emerges. From death, hope blossoms.
Yet the shadows of Omega remain. Omega loyalists and dangerous anarchists infect every level of the crestfallen civilization, threatening to undermine the Republic’s attempts to maintain peace. Most of the world’s population has been slain: those who remain alive have very different ideas about what must be done to continue to survive.
A seasoned war veteran, sniper, and leader, Cassidy resents the stifling role of presidential leadership. General Chris Young, her former fiancé, leads the United Militia’s military as it rebuilds. Her comrades from war have scattered, and the one person who understands her, truly and completely, has disappeared.

When a new threat emerges, one that could undo everything they have fought for, Cassidy is forced to make hard decisions and ask for help in places where she never imagined she could.

The old is gone. The new has come.

Welcome to the Hart Presidency. Welcome to the Western Republic.

The Resurrection has begun.

From prolific author Summer Lane, creator of the #1 bestselling smash-hit Collapse Series, Zero Trilogy, Bravo Saga, Unbreakable SEAL and Running with Wolves. Enjoy this new series, following the adventures of beloved heroine Cassidy Hart, along with some familiar faces that fans have come to know and love.
EXCERPT:
The chopper takes a sharp right turn, and then we are turning back across the island, toward the eastern side. I peer out the window, retracing our flight pattern in my head, glancing sideways at the three men beside me. They are unfazed by the sudden change in direction. I glance up toward the cockpit. Something uneasy stirs inside me, but I push the feeling away.
I am safe with these men. If the pilot is altering course, it’s purely because there is a change in the weather pattern. He will get me to where I need to go.
There are a lot of people who would like to see you dead.
I curse myself, and then I shout,
“Hey, why are we turning?”
The man beside me replies, “The pilot knows what he’s doing, ma’am.”
“That wasn’t my question!”
“I’m not the pilot, ma’am. I don’t know.”
“Our flight pattern was very clear. We shouldn’t be altering course.”
“Ma’am, I don’t know—”
I reach toward the earpiece in my ear, intending to key into the pilot’s headset and inquire directly about our change in course. The man beside me places his hand on my wrist.
“Ma’am,” he says, firmly. “Don’t.”
I glance at his face. It’s hard to read his expression—stony, direct. I push his hand away.
“Stand down, soldier,” I say.
I raise my hand again, and this time, he grabs my wrist and shoves my arm behind my back. It happens in the span of a single breath—fast, fluid, and efficient. Unfortunately for him, I am equally as fast. One year on the road as president has not even slightly dulled my reflexes or instincts. I immediately take in three things about him: One, his patch reads Douglas. Two, he’s at least two hundred and fifty pounds. Three, he’s trying to break my arm.
I use my right hand to grab the knife in my boot and swing it around. I slash the right side of his cheek open and he screams. Hot blood gushes from his face. I realize in this moment that the other two men in the chopper have risen from their seats. At first, I think they are coming to my assistance.
Wrong.
One has his handgun drawn. I unbuckle my harness.
Adrenaline. Here it comes. The supercharged rush, the inhuman strength. It flashes through my body, giving me speed and finesse I have not experienced since I took on the mantle of the presidency.


Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 20 hit novels, including the Collapse Series and newly launched Resurrection Series, featuring popular heroine Commander Cassidy Hart.
Summer owns Writing Belle Publishing (a management company) and Writing Belle (an online magazine). She is an experienced journalist and writing instructor.
Summer lives in California with her husband, Scott, and their German Shepherd, Kona. She is an avid adventurer, animal lover, and coffee addict.
You can visit her at her website, summerlaneauthor.com, for new and upcoming book release information. To stay up to date on current titles and events, follow @writingbelle on Instagram, or @SummerEllenLane on Twitter. You may also check out Summer Lane on Facebook.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Review of THE UPSIDE: Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture



The true story of a charismatic Algerian con-man whose friendship with a disabled French aristocrat inspired the record-breaking hit movie The Intouchables (American remake, The Upside, starring Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston, coming March 2018).

The story of Abdel Sellou surprising friendship with aristocrat Philippe Pozzo di Borgo has been told and retold around the world most recently in the major motion picture The Upside, with comedian and movie star Kevin Hart portraying Abdel and his edgy charm. In this appealing memoir, Sellou shows us the real man behind Kevin Hart's smiling face. The book takes us from his childhood spent stealing candy from the local grocery store, to his career as a pickpocket and scam artist, to his unexpected employment as a companion for a quadriplegic. Sellou tells his story with a stunning amount of talent, humor, style, and though he denies that he has any-humility.

Paperback, 224 pages
Expected PublicationFebruary 6th, 2018
by Hachette Books (first published 2012)


PURCHASE:

Why does it take certain smart people longer to live up to their potential? Well, you must read about Abdel Sellou because I think his story might help us all understand why. The book is a quick read since it is not bogged down by abundant details Abdel gets straight to the point.

I didn’t do my eighteenth birthday justice. It slipped my mind. I was busy with other stuff, probably. But you can be sure the cops had circled the date on their calendar because when it arrived they didn’t waste too much time in getting ahold of me.  They came at me all at once...My turn to look like a happy idiot: I didn’t know that the tourist complaints that had been piling up for months could put me away for years.

I was astounded by his family's behavior. I realize that in African cultures that things are done differently but HELLO? Where is the functioning adult in this boy's life? Therefore, even though I don’t agree with his behavior and life choices when you read on what he was up against from the start, I give him some slack. Nevertheless, I kept thinking you have to be a man sooner or later and quit screwing the system and finally he did!

As Pozzo rightly says, I’m “unbearable, vain, proud, brutal, fickle, human”...I pushed a wheelchair, shock-anaesthetized a man whose sufferings seem intolerable, I was his companion for a few painful years. Painful for him, not for me. I was, as he says, his “guardian demon”

When? As Abdel becomes Pozzo’s life assistant, as a reader, I am joyed as he becomes a responsible man, though at times that rebel child still shines through. Also, it is indeed the best part of the book. This section is only 1/3 of the book while in my mind it could have been larger. Additionally, this is where there is happiness, humor, and inspiration occur. This is a delightful memoir and I know you will enjoy it too.

I got through those difficult hours by respecting the same logic as I did at Fleury-Merois: the situation was bad, I wasn’t in control of it, but I knew it wasn’t permanent. I just had to wait it out.

So, read this book first then go see the movie.