Thursday, July 30, 2020

THE LOST GIRLS OF DEVON by Barbara O'Neal



Print Length: 349 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1542020727
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (July 14, 2020)
Publication Date: July 14, 2020

One of Travel + Leisure’s most anticipated books of summer 2020.

From the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes a story of four generations of women grappling with family betrayals and long-buried secrets.

It’s been years since Zoe Fairchild has been to the small Devon village of her birth, but the wounds she suffered there still ache. When she learns that her old friend and grandmother’s caretaker has gone missing, Zoe and her fifteen-year-old daughter return to England to help.

Zoe dreads seeing her estranged mother, who left when Zoe was seven to travel the world. As the four generations of women reunite, the emotional pain of the past is awakened. And to complicate matters further, Zoe must also confront the ex-boyfriend she betrayed many years before.

Anxieties spike when tragedy befalls another woman in the village. As the mystery turns more sinister, new grief melds with old betrayal. Now the four Fairchild women will be tested in ways they couldn’t imagine as they contend with dangers within and without, desperate to heal themselves and their relationships with each other.

“A woman’s strange disappearance brings together four strong women who struggle with their relationships, despite their need for one another. Fans of Sarah Addison Allen will appreciate the emphasis on nature and these women’s unique gifts in this latest by the author of When We Believed in Mermaids.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“The Lost Girls of Devon draws us into the lives of four generations of women as they come to terms with their relationships and a mysterious tragedy that brings them together. Written in exquisite prose with the added bonus of the small Devon village as a setting, Barbara O’Neal’s book will ensnare the reader from the first page, taking us on an emotional journey of love, loss, and betrayal.” —Rhys Bowen, New York Times and #1 Kindle bestselling author of The Tuscan Child, In Farleigh Field, and the Royal Spyness series

“The Lost Girls of Devon is one of those novels that grabs you at the beginning with its imagery and rich language and won’t let you go. Four generations of women deal with the pain and betrayal of the past, and Barbara O’Neal skillfully leads us to understand all of their deepest needs and fears. To read a Barbara O’Neal novel is to fall into a different world—a world of beauty and suspense, of tragedy and redemption. This one, like her others, is spellbinding.” —Maddie Dawson, bestselling author of A Happy Catastrophe


THOUGHTS/REVIEW

A story about family betrayals and long buried secrets that is beautifully written by none other than Barbara O'Neal who wrote the best-seller, When We Believed in Mermaids.

In THE LOST GIRLS OF DEVON, O'Neil writes about four generations of the Fairchild clan who are reunited back again in not so happy circumstances. Their reunion reopens old wounds, and the ladies are faced to deal with a new issue as their childhood friend has gone missing. The story is centered on Zoe Fairchild who has been living in the States, and who now has to travel back to England to her childhood home in Devon. 

I enjoyed reading about the different POVs that really shows each of the women's perspectives and makes for a page turner too. The setting of the story is also fun to read as the English countryside and its beauty is highlighted. The mix of family drama with some mystery element made this a fun read for me that I enjoyed a lot. 

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:



Barbara O'Neal is the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling writer of women's fiction. She lives in Colorado with her partner, a British endurance athlete.

7/30/2020 ”The Takeaway Men” by Meryl Ain Thank you #Suzyapprovedbooktours @suzyapbooktours





Publisher: SparkPress (August 4, 2020)
Publication Date: August 4, 2020

Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC

With the cloud of the Holocaust still looming over them, twin sisters Bronka and Johanna Lubinski and their parents arrive in the US from a Displaced PersonsCamp, hoping to build a new life.

Soon after their arrival, however, a neighbor is arrested by the FBI for suspected involvement in the Rosenberg spy case―and they find themselves in the midst of one of the most notorious court cases of theRed Scare. In the years after WWII, they experience the difficulties of adjusting to American culture, as well as the burgeoning fear of the Cold War.

Years later, the discovery of a former
Nazi hiding in their community brings the Holocaustout of the shadows. As the
girls get older, they start to wonder about their parents’ pasts,and they begin
to demand answers. But it soon becomes clear that those memories will be more
difficult and painful to uncover than they could have anticipated.

Poignant and haunting, The Takeaway Men
explores the impact of immigration, identity, prejudice, secrets, and lies on
parents and children in mid-twentieth-century America.

THOUGHTS/REVIEW:

2 sisters
2 decades
2 continents

The story began in Kielce, Poland August of 1942 where Edita smuggles Jewish children out of the Ghetto and hides Jewish adults in their attic unbeknownst to her father, a Polish policemen who supported the Nazis against the Jews.

The story revolves around twin sisters Johanna and Bronka who immigrated to the states from Poland in 1951 to Bellerose, New York.

This Historical Fiction writing by Ain was easy to read, well researched and followed the story of this family with rich and intricate detail of the neighborhood, the people, the food, the shops and day to day goings-on. I was truly transported to that time and the neighborhood filled with refugees from all over including the Chinese, Italian, and Irish as well as Jewish refugees from Europe.

Ain’s debut novel highlights the saga of the survivors post war illuminating their adjustment to the American culture with sensitivity and compassion. This was a powerful novel that follows a family and what they went through post the horrors of Holocaust as survivors, and navigating the Jewish American landscape in mid -twentieth-century America.

This was an exceptional read not to be missed.




AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:





Meryl Ain embarked on The Living Memories Project after she lost both her father and mother within a year-and-a-half. She enlisted the support of her husband, Stewart Ain, and her brother, Arthur Fischman, and together they interviewed 32 people about how they transformed their grief into meaningful action and creative endeavors.
Meryl is a a freelance writer specializing in issues related to families, education, parenting, children, and overcoming grief and loss. She has contributed to Huffington Post, MariaShriver.com, Newsday, the New York Jewish Week and The New York Times.
Meryl holds a BA from Queens College, a MA from Columbia University Teachers College, and an Ed.D. from Hofstra University. She began her career in education as a social studies teacher before she became an administrator. She and her husband live on Long Island and have three sons, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.

Meryl Ain's articles and essays have appeared in Huffington Post, The Jewish Week, The New York Times, and Newsday, and at MariaShriver.com, among other outlets. In 2014, she co authored the award-winning book The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last, and in 2016 she wrote a companion workbook, My Living Memories Project Journal.

She is both a student and teacher of history, as well as a school administrator and researcher. She holds a BA from Queens College, an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an EdD
from Hofstra University. She lives in New York with her husband, Stewart. They have three married sons and six grandchildren. This is her first novel.







Tuesday, July 28, 2020

HIEROGLYPHICS BY JILL MCCORKLE ALGONQUIN BOOKS



Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books (July 28, 2020)
Language: English

“Jill McCorkle has long been one of our wryest, warmest, wisest storytellers. In Hieroglyphics, she takes us on through decades, through loss, through redemption, and lands in revelation and grace. As always with McCorkle, the story feels so effortless and true that we might well miss what a high-wire act she’s performing. But make no mistake: She’s up there without a net, she never misses a step, and it’s spectacular.” —Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Great Believers

Lil and Frank married young, launched into courtship when they bonded over how they both—suddenly, tragically—lost a parent when they were children. Over time, their marriage grew and strengthened, with each still wishing for so much more understanding of the parents they’d lost prematurely.

Now, after many years in Boston, they have retired in North Carolina. There, Lil, determined to leave a history for their children, sifts through letters and notes and diary entries—perhaps revealing more secrets than Frank wants their children to know. Meanwhile, Frank has become obsessed with what might have been left behind at the house he lived in as a boy on the outskirts of town, where a young single mother, Shelley, is just trying to raise her son with some sense of normalcy. Frank’s repeated visits to Shelley’s house begin to trigger memories of her own family, memories that she’d rather forget. Because, after all, not all parents are ones you wish to remember.

Hieroglyphics reveals the difficulty of ever really knowing the intentions and dreams and secrets of the people who raised you. In her deeply layered and masterful novel, Jill McCorkle deconstructs and reconstructs what it means to be a father or a mother, and what it means to be a child piecing together the world all around us, a child learning to make sense of the hieroglyphics of history and memory.



THOUGHTS/REVIEW:

Jill McCorkle writes a captivating story that is powerful, emotional and deeply moving, about ordinary people trying to make sense of their life, the stories that shape them, and what they leave as legacy to their children.

The story is centered on Lil and Frank, both retirees from Boston moving to North Carolina to be closer to their daughter, and Shelley a court reporter and her troubled son Harvey. The story is told in their POVs and just like our memories and personal stories, they are remembered sporadically and non linear. I thought this was really creative way of storytelling that is immersive and sentimental.

McCorkle is a brilliant writer and storyteller. I enjoyed this fantastic read.

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:



Jill McCorkle’s first two novels were released simultaneously when she was just out of college, and the New York Times called her “a born novelist.” Since then, she has published six novels and four collections of short stories, and her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories several times, as well as The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Five of her books have been New York Times Notable books, and her most recent novel, Life After Life, was a New York Times bestseller. She has received the New England Booksellers Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. She has written for the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Garden and Gun, the Atlantic, and other publications. She was a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard, where she also chaired the department of creative writing. She is currently a faculty member of the Bennington College Writing Seminars and is affiliated with the MFA program at North Carolina State University.

7/29/20 THE GREENBECKER GAMBIT By Ben Graff Hosted by @rararesources




The Greenbecker Gambit

‘I only feel truly alive when the chess clock is ticking and the patterns on the squares in front of me are dancing in my head. Very little else gives me the same feeling. Nothing else, that does not involve a flame.’

Tennessee Greenbecker is bravely optimistic as he sets out to claim what he sees as rightfully his – the title of world chess champion. But who is he really? Is he destined to be remembered as chess champion or fire-starter? Either way, might this finally be his moment?



THOUGHTS/REVIEW:

THE GREENBECKER GAMBIT by Ben Graff is a well written story about an anti-hero, a very interesting character for me to read. The writing was well done and I thought that the story pacing kept my interest as it moved this fabulous story, utilizing within the backdrop - the chess world. Having a family of chess players, this book intrigued me and found it a really interesting addition to this interesting character. 

The writing was certainly addicting as soon as I got into the story and into the mind of Tennessee Greenbecker. Graff explores the issues of mental health, isolation, and addiction in this thought provoking story. 

This is quite the enjoyable read, and I look forward to more books by Ben Graff. 


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Author Bio 



Ben Graff is a writer, journalist and Corporate Affairs professional. He is a regular contributor to Chess and Authors Publish. He is not a grandmaster but did draw with one once.

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