Thursday, April 30, 2020


Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books (April 28, 2020)
Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Language: English

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of the “heartwarming and refreshingly sweet” (Lauren Layne, New York Times bestselling author) On the Corner of Love and Hate comes a story about a baker who takes her chances on a new town…and an old love.

After selling her famous bakery back in New York, Parker Adams visits Hope Lake, Pennsylvania, to figure out her next steps. And soon she’s wondering why she ever loved city life in the first place. Between the Golden Girls—the senior women who hold court—and Nick Arthur, her equally infuriating and charming former flame, Parker finds a community eager to help her get her mojo back.

But even though Hope Lake gives her the fresh start she’s been looking for, Parker discovers that it’s not so easy to start over again with Nick. Their chemistry is undeniable, but since Nick is a freshly taken man, Parker is determined to keep things platonic. With a recipe for disaster looming, Parker must cook up a new scheme, figuring out how to keep everything she’s come to love before she loses it all.

Perfect for fans of Amy E. Reichert and Jenny Colgan, The Ingredients of You and Me is a scrumptious romantic comedy that lets you have your cake and eat it too.

Praise for The Ingredients of You and Me"Parker's journey through a transitional period is interesting, and her close relationships with her girlfriends add humor." (Kirkus Reviews)


Read this! It’s okay if you haven’t read about any of the Hope Lake series,because it doesn’t matter you will grab them and read them all anyway I promise (Meet Me on Love Lane and On the Corner of Love and Hate).

The story is centered around Parker Adams, a Food Network and Youtube Star who also owns a famous bakery in NY called Delicious and Vicious, where you can send revenge cakes to hated exes or old bosses. An opportunity to sell her business left her losing her mojo unable to bake.
Parker needed a fresh start and rents a place in Hope Lake, PA where her friends and the community is so eager to get her patched back up in all matters of baking and the heart!

I loved this book and enjoyed visiting old friends and new in Hope Lake. Nina Bocci’s characters are full of heart and authenticity. Loved the Golden Girls of Hope Lake and their sweet meddling ways and a second chance love with an old flame. This contemporary romance was a great read that touches upon self-discovery, honesty, forgiveness and second chances.

Pick this up for an amazing feel good story!!

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble



Nina Bocci is a USA Today Bestselling novelist, publicist, eternal optimist, unabashed lipgloss enthusiast, constant apologist and a hopeless romanticist. She has too many college degrees that she's not using and a Lego addiction that she blames on her son.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

4/28/20 Chasing Moonbeams in Merriment Bay by Emily Harvale

Print Length: 235 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Crescent Gate Publishing (March 30, 2020)
Publication Date: March 30, 2020

Cat has found true happiness in Merriment Bay. Will a discovery in Devon Villa change that?Cat Devon is finally with the love of her life – and she couldn’t be happier about that. But discovering the identity of her real dad and the fact she has two half-brothers was a shock. Getting to know her new family is now a priority.

Kyra Devon is only eighteen, but she’s more mature than her mum in many ways and is coping far better with everything that’s happened. Kyra knows what she wants and unlike Cat, she’s not going to let opportunities slip away.

Mary Devon has regained her daughter and her granddaughter, but she’s grieving for her mother, and also for the loss of the love she thought she’d found. Putting on a brave face may not be the best way for Mary to get over it.

When a long-lost painting called Moonbeams Kiss is discovered in a hidden cellar beneath the floorboards in Devon Villa, a story of love, loss and treachery unfolds, bringing with it repercussions for each of the Devon women.

This is Book Two in Emily Harvale's Merriment Bay series which is interconnected to her Wyntersleap series. Each series can be read alone, but several characters appear in both series.


This is my first Merriment Bay and Winterhouse Series read and I still enjoyed this book as a stand alone read abut the Devon family and the villa. After reading this installment I can tell why Author Emily Harvale such a strong following of readers.

I love a nice cozy mystery with a dose of romance with incredibly likable characters that drew me in and really made me want to read this series right from the beginning. This was a really lovely read that I enjoyed beautifully in one nice afternoon that took me mind out of this craziness and transported me into the lives of the wonderful characters in Merriment Bay. You will really enjoy reading about Cat, Kyra and Mary Devon in this Book 2 of the series.


Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn't always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers' group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She's a member of the SoA and the RWA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies - and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.

Monday, April 27, 2020


Print Length: 310 pages
Publisher: Boldwood Books (April 21, 2020)
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
Sold by: Services LLC


Can she save herself from a witch's fate?

Martha is a feisty and articulate young woman, the daughter of a wheelwright, living in a Herefordshire village in Elizabethan England. With no mother Martha's life is spent running her father's meagre household and helping out at the local school whilst longing to escape the confines and small-mindedness of a community driven by religious bigotry and poverty.

As she is able to read and is well-versed in herbal remedies she is suspected of being a witch. When a landslip occurs - opening up a huge chasm in the centre of the village - she is blamed for it and pursued remorselessly by the villagers.

But can her own wits and the love of local stablehand Jacob save her from a witch's persecution and death...

A brilliant and accomplished novel that perfectly captures the febrile atmosphere of Elizabethan village life in an age when suspicion and superstition were rife. Perfect for fans of Tracy Chevalier.

Praise for The Wheelwright's Daughter:

'It's a gripping story and such accomplished writing. I really enjoyed every moment of working on it.' Yvonne Holland, editor of Philippa Gregory and Tracy Chevalier.


The Wheelwright's Daughter is Eleanor Porter's debut novel.

Book friends - THIS was a fantastic read and I am so excited to share this book with all of you.
This historical fiction novel was set in the mid to late 1500’s Elizabethan period. Our protagonist is Martha, raised by her father, the village wheelwright –in Herefordshire Village. Martha is a brilliant character and a strong woman - she runs the household, helps in the school, is well educated and able to read. This gives her knowledge on the basics of herbal remedies and what a tenlented and kind hearted person she is. It’s so unfortunate and a shame that her small village, the town folks are more interested in religious bigotry, suspicions, gossips and superstitious beliefs.

It's not long that Martha craves for independence and to live a life where women are respected and allowed to pursue the love of literature and learning. Instead, an unfortunate incident in the village points fingers to Martha, blaming her and suspecting her of being a witch. Oh boy!!

The Wheelwright’s Daughter was exceptionally written Historical Fiction read that transported me to 1500 Elizabethan period. The beautiful language used was appropriate for the time set in this story and made my reading experience even that more delightful and kept my interest piqued. The research was impeccable and found this adds to make this book an even more powerful, and a captivating read that I really enjoyed from the very first page. I loved the characters and most especially Martha our heroine who was so ahead of her time. What a spellbinding read I thoroughly enjoyed!!

I cannot recommend this book enough for those looking for a great literary read, historical fiction, and stories with amazing characters. Read this!!


Eleanor Porter has lectured at Universities in England and Hong Kong and her poetry and short fiction has been published in magazines. The Wheelwrights Daughter – her historical fiction debut set in Elizabethan England – will be published by Boldwood in May 2020.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

4/26/2020 EVERY LITTLE SECRET By Ruby Speechley

Publisher: Hera (April 23, 2020)
Publication Date: April 23, 2020

Sold by: Services LLC

Every Little Secret

How well do you know the man you married?

Maddy Saunders’ life is unravelling. After the heartbreaking, unexpected death of 5-year-old daughter Chloe, she’s trying desperately to keep her family together for other daughter, Emily. But when the police inform her that husband Max is missing, the rucksack found at the bottom of a local canal leading them to believe he has taken his own life, her grief takes a new and sharper turn.

Unable to believe that Max would abandon her and Emily, Maddy desperately searches for clues as to what has happened to her husband. But as she delves deeper into his secrets, Maddy finds a web of betrayal that forces her to re-examine everything about the life they have built together.

Maddened by grief, and forced into untangling Max’s lies, Maddy will stop at nothing to uncover the truth – even if it destroys her in the process.

A gripping, absolutely unputdownable psychological thriller that will have you hooked – perfect for fans of K.L. Slater, Shalini Boland and B.A. Paris.


What happens when the life you have always known you discover is a complete lie? Maddy Saunders life is in complete disarray after the death of her 5 year old daughter Chloe. Maddy tries to rebuild the life they had for their other daughter Emily and husband Max, until a devastating news that her husband has taken his life. Maddy vows to learn the truth about why her husband would abandon them. As she delves deeper into finding what really happened, would Maddy be able to handle the truth.

I enjoy a great thriller read with plot twists that are brilliantly told and orchestrated - Ruby Speechley did just that and more. This was an amazing psychological thriller and family drama that is a must read for any thriller fans out there. I loved the pacing and the way the layers of this mystery thriller was revealed and all in the right time and moment.

I highly recommend this book for a fantastic thrill ride you need.


Purchase Links:



Author Bio

Ruby Speechley is a psychological thriller writer. Her debut novel, Someone Else’s Baby, was published by Hera Books on 25 July 2019.

Social Media Links –


4/26/2020 THROUGH DUST AND DREAMS By Roxana Valea

Print Length: 427 pages
Publisher: RV Publications (December 12, 2014)
Publication Date: December 12, 2014
Sold by: Services LLC

At a crossroads in her life, Roxana decides to take a ten-day safari trip to Africa. In Namibia, she meets a local guide who talks about "the courage to become who you are" and tells her that "the world belongs to those who dream."

Her holiday over, Roxana still carries the spell of his words within her soul. Six months later she quits her job and searches for a way to fulfill an old dream: crossing Africa from north to south. Teaming up with Richard and Peter, two total strangers she meets over the Internet, Roxana starts a journey that will take her and her companions from Morocco to Namibia, crossing desserts and war-torn countries and surviving threats from corrupt officials and tensions within their own group.

Through Dust and Dreams is the story of their journey: a story of courage and friendship, of daring to ask questions and search for answers, and of self-discovery on a long, dusty road south.


I enjoyed this amazing memoir by Author Roxana Valea as she takes us to her travels though her stories of an African Adventure. This was a fun read that started as a 10 day Safari trip to Africa in April 2002 in Namibia where an encounter with a local guide led Valea to quite her job and fulfill a dream six months later on a journey from Morocco through Namibia. Valea did this while teaming up with new friends, Richard and Peter, crossing war torn countries and braving this new adventure not without taking risks in search for new adventures and self-discovery.

I felt while reading this book, that I was part of this adventure through the dusty and hot Sahara desert, traveling along the Congo River, and all over the African continent.


Born in Romania, Roxana Valea lived in Italy and Switzerland before settling in London, where she currently works as a freelancer in management consulting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Bucharest and an MBA from SDA Bocconi, Italy. She has worked in various fields, from advertising to a translation agency that she founded herself. At the age of 28, she took a career break and spent eight months on a voyage across Africa.

Saturday, April 25, 2020


  • Print Length: 261 pages
  • Publication Date: December 10, 2019 (Ingram Spark)

For fans of books like On the Road, Dharma Bums, and The Sun Also Rises, and inspired by travel writers such a Jack Kerouac, Paulo Coelho, and Paul Theroux, escape into a story that has plenty of heart and much to say about following one’s dream and the power of connection and friendship.

All night parties. Quick love affairs. Wild and carefree adventures. Perfectly filtered Instagram posts. A break from reality for most, but not everyone has a perfect life to return to when stepping off the road.

In Never Go Full Pai, immerse yourself in the world of backpacking and hostels. Join two young travelers on the backpacker circuit as they explore art, love, and develop an unlikely friendship during their adventures through Europe and Southeast Asia.

Follow Charlie, a young man unsure of his future - a limiting disability he knows all too well and a talent he doesn’t believe in. And Ace, a backpacker legend haunted by his past - someone who only knows how to do one thing when people get too keep running.


Listed as one of the top 15 books for backpackers traveling in Southeast Asia - Bodega Hostel Group

"I could not turn the pages fast enough in this eloquently written book about travel, companionship, and love. Eng's debut novel is smooth and well-paced, the characters are adequately fleshed out, and he keeps the mystery alive till the end" - Reedsy Reviews

"Great backpacking book. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes travel or reading" - What the Pho Travel Podcast 

"I love that this book opened my eyes a bit more to the "backpacker" lifestyle. When I travel, I typically stay in Airbnbs, and the thought of a hostel has always seemed a little scary to me. I think this book is going to make an impact on several travelers to step out of their comfort zone. I'm more likely to try a hostel because of this book. [...] I love any book that inspires me to do more with my life. I give this book 5 stars!" 
-- Rachel White, Searching for Eloise Review Website

"It was great...Charlie had me hooked from the start...[Eng's] writing style really made me feel like I was sitting in Z's and walking the streets of Paris." - Mack Hollins, NFL Football Player (Curator of @MackbookMondays)


This is an inspirational literary fiction novel about travel, love, loss and self-discovery that I gravitated to right from the very first page. I savored the book and enjoyed the wonderful prose not wanting this story to end. As a matter of fact, as soon as I finished, I started reading right from the first page all over again with a smile on my face. This was truly a penomenal storytelling, told at its best. 

I adored the writing style that connects the readers immediately to the characters that Author Jeffrey Eng centers this story on - Charlie and Ace. The vivid and rich descriptions of these exotic locations from the sound, smell, sweat and sinews of street vendors lining the bustling cities really took me right there making this the perfect escape read - the pub crawls, young crowd, music, and the drinking games so common in the hostel scene to get to know people from all over the world. These are all so richly told with its graphic descriptions that absorbed me righinto the story. 

Both of these characters have a heavy and difficult burden they carry from their pasts. Charlie and Ace were trying to escape from their troubles andwere both looking for answers in the far corners of the earth through traveling and backpacking. 

Charlie wasreeling from his father's recent death, whose illness he was sheltered from knowing for the last 10 years. He has now gathered enough courage, despite his slight disability having a brace in his leg, to a worldly adventure. His fear overcomes him and he is rescued by Ace and there begins a wonderful friendship. 

I found it truly cathartic to read this story where the characters pack their essentials into a backpack carrying the heavy weight on their shoulders almost as a form of penance, in an effort to explore the world in a journey of self-discovery - then only to find what they were searching for had been inside them all along. 

This was one of the most satisfying endings I have read in a while and I encourage you to pick this book up for a gripping story you can get lost in. 

Happy Reading! 


JEFFREY ENG was born in San Jose, California. He received his Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach, and has a Doctorate degree from Drexel University in Philadelphia. He has written several blogs and short stories while backpacking across six continents and 50+ countries. Jeffrey is the author of Never Go Full Pai, his debut novel. He currently lives in Oakland, California.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

4/23/2020 Administrations of Lunacy by Mab Segrest

About Administrations of Lunacy

• Hardcover: 384 pages

• Publisher: The New Press (April 14, 2020)

A scathing and original look at the racist origins of psychiatry, through the story of the largest mental institution in the world

Today, 90 percent of psychiatric beds are located in jails and prisons across the United States, institutions that confine disproportionate numbers of African Americans. After more than a decade of research, the celebrated scholar and activist Mab Segrest locates the deep historical roots of this startling fact, turning her sights on a long-forgotten cauldron of racial ideology: the state mental asylum system in which psychiatry was born and whose influences extend into our troubled present.

In December 1841, the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum was founded. A hundred years later, it had become the largest insane asylum in the world with over ten thousand patients. Administrations of Lunacy tells the story of this iconic and infamous southern institution, a history that was all but erased from popular memory and within the psychiatric profession.

Through riveting accounts of historical characters, Segrest reveals how modern psychiatric practice was forged in the traumas of slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow. Deftly connecting this history to the modern era, Segrest then shows how a single asylum helped set the stage for the eugenics theories of the twentieth century and the persistent racial ideologies of our own times. She also traces the connections to today's dissident psychiatric practices that offer sanity and create justice.

A landmark of scholarship, Administrations of Lunacy restores a vital thread between past and present, revealing the tangled racial roots of psychiatry in America.
When I started out my nursing career, I was a mental health nurse and really enjoyed my years there working in a locked psychiatric unit specializing in the LGBTQ population. Mental Health Nursing will always have a special place in my heart.

Reading this book by Mab Segrest, a longtime activist in social justice movements and a past fellow at the National Humanities Center, gave me an eye opening look at the harrowing and highly racist history of mental health asylum and psychiatric institutions through stories from the founding of what once was the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum in 1841.

This was well written and carefully well researched that addressed the horrific blemished past of psychiatric treatments and its unfair and racist treatment of African Americans and women. Segrest was able to connect how modern psychiatric practice was ultimately formed and lead to the eugenics theories in this modern times.

Absolutely brilliant writing that I learned a lot from.

Social Media

Please use the hashtag #administrationsoflunacy, and tag @tlcbooktours, @thenewpress, and @mabsegrest.

Purchase Links | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Laura Flanders[/caption]

About Mab Segrest

Mab Segrest is professor emeritus of gender and women’s studies at Connecticut College and the author of Administrations of Lunacy and Memoir of a Race Traitor (both from The New Press). A longtime activist in social justice movements and a past fellow at the National Humanities Center, she lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Connect with her on Instagram.

Monday, April 20, 2020

About The Ancestor

Hardcover: 368 pages

Publisher: William Morrow (April 7, 2020)

From the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the Angelology series comes a bewitching gothic novel of suspense that plunges readers into a world of dark family secrets, the mysteries of human genetics, and the burden of family inheritance.

It feels like a fairy tale when Alberta ”Bert” Monte receives a letter addressed to “Countess Alberta Montebianco” at her Hudson Valley, New York, home that claims she’s inherited a noble title, money, and a castle in Italy. While Bert is more than a little skeptical, the mystery of her aristocratic family’s past, and the chance to escape her stressful life for a luxury holiday in Italy, is too good to pass up.

At first, her inheritance seems like a dream come true: a champagne-drenched trip on a private jet to Turin, Italy; lawyers with lists of artwork and jewels bequeathed to Bert; a helicopter ride to an ancestral castle nestled in the Italian Alps below Mont Blanc; a portrait gallery of ancestors Bert never knew existed; and a cellar of expensive vintage wine for Bert to drink.

But her ancestry has a dark side, and Bert soon learns that her family history is particularly complicated. As Bert begins to unravel the Montebianco secrets, she begins to realize her true inheritance lies not in a legacy of ancestral treasures, but in her very genes.


Just imagine for a second that your dreams of being royalty (a princess or a countess) comes true. Then you receive a letter stating you have inherited a castle in Italy and you are a Countess!! What would you do?

Well this is the story of Alberta "Bert" Monte who was told she is the new "Countess Alberta Montebianco". She is flown to the Alps of Northern Italy near the city of Turin to see the estate she just inherited via a private jet. She meets with the attorneys and is whisked to her new life as a Countess with a long blood line of royalty. But of course, not all is roses when things start to take a turn and you uncover some strange mysteries surrounding the family and wealth you just inherited.

Trussoni's writing was amazing, in that she is able to set the tone of the story, leading the readers to want to find out what is going to happen next - this is truly her brilliance in this writing. The dark twists and turns really had my attention and I could not and would not stop turning those pages while anxiously anticipating what is going to happen next.

I also admired the characters that Trussoni wrote about with the strange and mysterious family members. The setting and the world building was short of incredible - bringing that gothic, mysterious, isolated, cold, feeling of seclusion, and being trapped. The short chapters and the perfect pacing really added to the enjoyment of this well written and well researched novel that I could stop recommending.

Pick this up for the perfect quarantine read. You will not be disappointed.

Social Media

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Danielle Trussoni

Danielle Trussoni is the New York TimesUSA Today, and Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of the supernatural thrillers Angelology and Angelopolis. She currently writers the Horror column for the New York Times Book Review and has recently served as a jurist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Trussoni holds an MFA in Fiction from the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she won the Michener-Copernicus Society of America award. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages. She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her family and her pug Fly.

Find out more about Trussoni at her website, and connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

4/19/20 RUN KISS REPEAT By Jamie Everlee

  • Print Length: 279 pages
  • Publication Date: April 3, 2020
  • Sold by: Services LLC
  • Language: English

Run, Kiss, Repeat

A local jogger is missing. This news doesn’t affect surgical resident Julianne Davis until her friend, Lucy, also disappears. Convinced Lucy is in danger, Julianne begins her search only to realize she may be in over her head. 

Even though Julianne is adamant about keeping her work and personal lives separate, she’s forced to ask her fellow resident, the charming and handsome Logan Williams, for help, and spending time with Logan outside the hospital puts her cardinal rule to the test. To complicate matters, Logan enlists the help of his brother, Harrison, who has the skills and connections to find Lucy—but is as mysterious as he is gorgeous.

As the search for Lucy pulls Julianne into darker and more dangerous territory, she has to decide—between two men who couldn’t be more different, between protecting herself and finding Lucy—and, ultimately, if the cost of those decisions is a price she’s willing to pay.


So the story is about...A local jogger who went missing.

Our protagonist and amateur detective is surgical resident Julianne Davis who belongs to a running club and trains for a marathon. This news about the missing jogger is worrisome to Julianne but did not really hit home until her friend from the running club, Lucy, also disappears. Despite Julianne’s cardinal rule never to mix work and personal life, she is convinced her friends’ life is in grave danger. She reaches out to her fellow resident, the charming and handsome Logan Williams for help. Logan seeing the seriousness of the situation involves his brother Harrison, who is also a Private Investigator.

In the midst of getting deeper into solving this mystery, a love triangle forms. And oh my goodness you will just have to read the rest to find out who wins Julianne’s heart while solving this missing persons’ case that is heading deep into dangerous territory.

This is Everlee’s debut novel and it was a refreshing read with fun quirky characters I enjoyed reading about. I loved that a few twists were added to the story which added to its thrilling and suspenseful element. Everlee is an author to watch for and will be looking forward to her future novels.

Jamie Everlee is a stay-at-home mom of two (soon to be three) who enjoys writing in her spare time. She currently resides in Wisconsin with her husband and children, along with two cats and a yorkie. Run, Kiss, Repeat is her debut novel.


By Szczepan Twardoch
Translated by Sean Gasper Bye
Amazon Crossing; April 21, 2020
(Historical Fiction | 351 pp. | Hardcover: $24.95, ISBN#: 978-1542044462; Kindle: $5.99, ISBN#: 9781542044455; Paperback: $14.95, ISBN#: 978-1542044448)

Szczepan Twardoch is one of the most read and revered Polish novelists of his generation and now, for the first time, he will be published in English. THE KING OF WARSAW: A Novel (Amazon Crossing; April 21, 2020; $24.95) translated by Sean Gasper Bye is a brilliantly original novel that became a runaway bestseller when it was first published in Poland in late 2016.

“I’m excited for this novel to reach an American audience,” says Szczepan Twardoch. “Through this noir thriller, I try to get readers to confront history and think about issues that are hard to discuss. In this case, anti-Semitism in pre-World War II Poland. I’m also interested in complex ethnic identities, which come to play in the book as well. It had a great response in Poland and Europe, and I hope for the same in the U.S.”

“Once I read THE KING OF WARSAW,” says Sean Gasper Bye, “I knew immediately it was a book with great potential in the United States—on a topic many Americans are interested in, but from a completely new angle.”

It’s 1937. Poland is about to catch fire. For nearly twenty years, Poland has been independent after more than a century of foreign occupation. But that is about to change as Hitler’s power is rising, fascism is escalating, and his campaign is moving east. Warsaw is a city divided: Jew versus Christian, socialist versus nationalist, gang versus gang. In the boxing ring, Jakub Szapiro commands respect, revered as a hero by the Jewish community. Outside, he instills fear as he muscles through Warsaw as enforcer for a powerful crime lord. Murder and intimidation have their rewards. He revels in luxury, spends lavishly, and indulges in all the pleasures that barbarity offers. For a man battling to be king of the underworld, life is good. Especially when it’s a frightening time to be alive.

As the threat of violence hangs over Poland, its marginalized and vilified Jewish population hopes for a promise of sanctuary in Palestine. Jakub isn’t blind to the changing tide. What’s unimaginable to him is abandoning the city he feels destined to rule. With the raging instincts that guide him in the ring and on the streets, Jakub feels untouchable. He must maintain the order he knows—even as a new world order threatens to consume him.


Twardoch delivered a dramatic and powerful narrative that was unique, highly ruthless and brutal about life in 1930's Poland. He tells a gripping tale of life in the streets of Warsaw where warring gangsters between the Jewish and the pro-fascist/anti-Semetic experienced violence as part of daily life and survival. The novel was a historical fiction with an element of psychological thriller vibe which made this book unputdownable for me.

Twardoch proved himself as a gifted storyteller through mesmerizing dialogue, creating a world full of ruthless characters that was delivered and told from the point of view from both a child witnessing harrowing violence to an older retired Israeli officer full of regrets remembering his past in a way that is both real and imagined. I felt the pain in the narrative on how violence affected people through the difference in not only their beliefs but also in their social classes and social standing within their community.

I found this book to be an addicting read which I enjoyed thoroughly.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Szczepan Twardoch is the author of the bestselling novels Morphine, Drach, and The King of Warsaw. He is the recipient of numerous honors for his work, including the Brücke Berlin Preis, Le Prix du Livre Europeen, and Nike Literary Award: Audience Award. Rights to his novels have been sold in over a dozen countries. The King of Warsaw is the first of his books to be translated into English. A TV series based on the novel is being produced by Canal+. He lives in Pilchowice, Upper Silesia. For more information, visit

Sean Gasper Bye is a translater of Polish literature, including books by Lidia Ostałowska, Filip Springer, and Małgorzata Szejnert. A native of Bucks County, PA, he studied modern languages at University College London and international studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He spent 5 years as Literature and Humanities Curator at the Polish Cultural Institute New York. He is a winner of the Asymptote Close Approximations prize and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowship.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In By Phuc Tran @flatironbooks

  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books (April 21, 2020)
  • Publication Date: April 21, 2020
  • Sold by: Macmillan

For anyone who has ever felt like they don't belong, Sigh, Gone shares an irreverent, funny, and moving tale of displacement and assimilation woven together with poignant themes from beloved works of classic literature.

In 1975, during the fall of Saigon, Phuc Tran immigrates to America along with his family. By sheer chance they land in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a small town where the Trans struggle to assimilate into their new life. In this coming-of-age memoir told through the themes of great books such as The Metamorphosis, The Scarlet Letter, The Iliad, and more, Tran navigates the push and pull of finding and accepting himself despite the challenges of immigration, feelings of isolation, and teenage rebellion, all while attempting to meet the rigid expectations set by his immigrant parents.

Appealing to fans of coming-of-age memoirs such as Fresh Off the Boat, Running with Scissors, or tales of assimilation like Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Displaced and The Refugees, Sigh, Gone explores one man’s bewildering experiences of abuse, racism, and tragedy and reveals redemption and connection in books and punk rock. Against the hairspray-and-synthesizer backdrop of the ‘80s, he finds solace and kinship in the wisdom of classic literature, and in the subculture of punk rock, he finds affirmation and echoes of his disaffection. In his journey for self-discovery Tran ultimately finds refuge and inspiration in the art that shapes—and ultimately saves—him.


Phuc Tran writes an astonishing and amazingly relatable coming-of-age memoir about his life and his family’s survival, by fleeing Vietnam in 1975 during the fall of Saigon, and settled in Carlisle, PA. Arriving to the US with only one shoe on his feet, he tells this poignant story that was at times heartbreaking, on many occasions laughable, but always with brevity and wit. 

The stories were woven together through themes stemming from beloved works of classic literature in the chapters such as, Crime and Punishment, The Scarlet Letter or The Iliad to name a few.His love for literature becomes his solace and refuge that ultimately shaped who he eventually becomes. This was evident in the way Tran articulates language as an art form that I find so beautiful in his writing.
I also appreciated In this memoir, how he bravely recounts his relationship with his father as he takes on severe beatings, suffer through financial hardships and racial taunts. His life was not an easy path which I thought really shaped his character and ethos - truly admirable. 

Phuc Tran narrates an America that both welcomed and embraced him, and yet also disparaged him and his family in a very confusing time as he struggles to fit in. This heartwarming story is about race and prejudice, resilience and strength, assimilation and displacement, acceptance and belonging, and how through hard work and a well thought out plan can overcome adversities in this coming-of-age memoir.

I highly recommend this book for an amazing story - you cannot miss this one!!!


PHUC TRAN has been a high school Latin teacher for more than twenty years while also simultaneously establishing himself as a highly sought-after tattooer in the Northeast. Tran graduated Bard College in 1995 with a BA in Classics and received the Callanan Classics Prize. He taught Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit in New York at the Collegiate School and was an instructor at Brooklyn College’s Summer Latin Institute. Most recently, he taught Latin, Greek, and German at the Waynflete School in Portland, Maine. His 2012 TEDx talk “Grammar, Identity, and the Dark Side of the Subjunctive” was featured on NPR’s Ted Radio Hour. He has also been an occasional guest on Maine Public Radio, discussing grammar; the Classics; and Strunk and White’s legacy. He currently tattoos at and owns Tsunami Tattoo in Portland, Maine, where he lives with his family.

4/17/20 MOUNTAIN OF FULL MOONS By Irene Kessler

  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Publisher: She Writes Press (April 14, 2020)
  • Publication Date: April 14, 2020
  • Sold by: Services LLC

Thirteen-year-old Elisha lives in a village near Shechem in the Land of Canaan in ancient Israel. She wants to be like other girls but is unmarried, speaks to an angel, and composes and sings her own songs--a pursuit her parents disapprove of. When she tells the village women to stand up for themselves, the men are outraged and the tribe banishes her.

After journeying alone through the desert, escaping bandits, wild animals, and men who would sell her as a servant, Elisha makes it to Jerusalem, where the angel guides her to study with Abraham and Sarah. She learns much including reading and writing, and Abraham even gives her Doron, his servant, to accompany her as she sings her songs throughout the country. Doron becomes her lover and her songs are well accepted--until she sings one about equality for women.

Mountain of Full Moons explores how we overcome our fears, go out into the world, and gain the courage to speak up and be whom we choose to be.


This debut Historical Fiction novel Mountains of Full Moon was a mesmerizing read that caught my attention for its captivating story line about a young girl, Elisha. 

The story was set some 5,000 years ago in ancient Israel. Elisha - strong willed, and a wonderfully written character has unique gifts and talents. She endured hardships in a life filled with challenges and difficulties. Ousted from her village, her guardian angel lead her to Jerusalem where she was taken under the wing of both Abraham and Sarah. 

The author wrote an enthralling and vivid story that I thoroughly enjoyed that weaved themes of survival, determination and strength in order to overcome obstacles in this spiritual and inspirational journey. 


Born and bred in the Bronx, New York, Irene is the mother of three, grandmother of four, and great-grandmother to the happiest baby boy. She sang opera in both the U.S. and abroad, then worked as a psychologist in hospitals and private practice for thirty years before turning her hand to writing. This is her debut novel.

12/5/2022 WITCHA GONA DO By Avery Flynn

  Publisher: Berkley (December 6, 2022) An unlucky witch and her know-it-all nemesis must team up in the first of a new, hot romantic comedy...