Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review - Memoirs of a Geisha

 

 

Book Review - Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden


This book has claimed the spot as my second all-time favorite book to date. Memoirs of a Geisha is a story about a young girl named Sayuri who is sold by her father to a geisha house, ripped from her home, her dying mother, and her sister. The tale is so intricately woven that the reader feels like a silent observer, watching Sayuri as she traverses the life of a maid, to a geisha apprentice, to a geisha, and finally to her life after WWII, leaving the life of geisha behind.
Arthur Golden is a master at developing the characters he’s created, giving them life on the page, so much so that many people believed this book to be a real-life memoir of a real geisha, when in fact it is a work of fiction. The story is beautifully written, the historical and cultural details are exquisitely interlaced throughout, and still the author keeps the book paced for a fast read. The true work of genius!
 
If you haven’t read this book, I HIGHLY recommend reading it.

Goodreads Review

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cover Reveal for Reaper's Rhythm by Clare Davidson

Cover Reveal Banner Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00100] Blurb When everyone thinks your sister committed suicide, it’s hard to prove she was murdered. Kim is unable to accept Charley’s sudden death. Crippled by an unnatural amnesia, her questions are met with wall after wall. As she doubts her sanity, she realises her investigation is putting those around her in danger. The only person who seems to know anything is Matthew, an elusive stranger who would rather vanish than talk. Despite his friendly smile, Kim isn’t sure she can trust him. But if she wants to protect her family from further danger, Kim must work with Matthew to discover how Charley died – before it’s too late.
Excerpt from Reaper’s Rhythm
The warm light seeps through the closed sitting room curtains when I step into the drive. The muffled thump of dance music grows louder as I approach the familiar front door. I push the key into the lock, but the door swings open on its own. My breath catches in my throat, but I force it into a growl. Not only has my sister, Charley, not bothered to lock the door, she hasn’t latched it. Whatever she rushed home for must have been important. I step over the threshold and a blast of warm air hits me, enveloping me like one of Mum’s overprotective hugs. My wind-chilled face tingles, as I close and lock the door. "Charley, I hope you’ve set the table.” My voice competes with the din of the deep bass of my sister’s music. I toss my keys into the wicker basket on the hall table. As I peel my coat off, I see Charley’s in a crumpled heap on the floor. Rolling my eyes, I scoop it up and hang it, then place her discarded boots in the shoe rack beside my own. Why am I the conscientious sister? I’m only sixteen. Charley will be heading off to university next year. Stomach rumbling, I snatch up the Chinese takeout I’d picked up on the walk home and wander into the kitchen. Frowning, I flick the switch to light up the pristine room. Mum is a clean freak now that Dad doesn’t live here. The table isn't set, even though Charley promised she would do it before she rushed off ahead. "Charley,” I call out and then dump the bag on the kitchen table and stomp across the hall to the sitting room, shoving the door open. The music hits me first, making me jerk my head back, then the smell. An odd odour, metallic and rich, overpowers the air freshener on the mantel. "Charley?" She must be trying to scare me. "Charley, stop messing around.” I grit my teeth, expecting her to jump out at any second. My body shudders and my flesh tingles as if an army of ants is marching beneath my skin. I back out of the empty sitting room and bolt upstairs. The smell is stronger, snaking down my throat, making me want to gag. “Charley?” I shove her door open, hard. Charley’s lying on the bed, her blond hair fanned out over the pillow. Her arms are spread wide, palms up. Crimson blood drips from deep slashes on her wrists. Her blue eyes are open, staring at the ceiling. But they don't see. They're dull, empty. Dead. The room spins. My stomach lurches and bile rises up my throat. I swallow and clap my hand to my mouth. Sagging against the doorframe, I can’t tear my gaze from the single lock of hair resting over Charley’s porcelain cheek. What should I do? Charley would know what to do. As I stumble down the stairs, my mind clicks into gear. A scream rips out of my throat, eclipsing the pounding music. My foot slips on the beige carpet, sending me tumbling down the remaining stairs. My shoulder and back slam against the wall. I scramble to my feet, screaming, sobbing, then stagger into the hallway, colliding into a young man with the darkest eyes I’ve ever seen. My own force knocks me backwards. His strong grip clenches my arm, preventing me from falling. I try to scream again, but the sound is trapped within my constricting chest. My sister is dead. A stranger is in my house. I writhe against his grip, lashing out with my foot. My toes crumple and sting when they hit his shin. I’m thrown off balance, but he holds me fast. He raises his thumb to my forehead and applies gentle pressure, as he sweeps his thumb towards my brow and then hooks it back up. "Sleep." His quiet voice acts like a sedative. My head flops forward until my chin touches my chest. A new scent replaces the sickly metallic tang of Charley’s blood: freshly cut grass. Inhaling it makes my head fuzzy and my heartbeat slow. I want to see his face, memorise every detail. The contours of his cheeks and jaw, the shape of his nose, the colour of his hair. The police want to know those things, don’t they? The only feature I can see for sure is the impossible darkness of his eyes. My own eyelids droop, my limbs turn liquid. A strong arm loops round my back and lowers me to the floor. I fight against sleep. Each time I force my eyelids open, they flutter shut again. "Forget,” he says. The word is nothing more than a whisper at the edge of my hearing. "Sleep."
  Author Bio: Clare Davidson is an independent writer, based in Lancaster. Clare is a high school teacher, mother and character-driven fantasy writer. Clare was born in Northampton and lived in Malaysia for four and a half years as a child, before returning to the UK to settle in Leeds with her family. Whilst attending Lancaster University, Clare met her future husband and never left. They now share their lives with their young daughter, a cranky grey cat and an insane white kitten. She published her first novel, Trinity in July 2012. Trinity is a young adult, fantasy novel, which currently has seventeen five star reviews on Amazon UK. Her second novel, Reaper’s Rhythm, is due to be released on the 26th July 2013. Also aimed at a young adult audience, Reaper’s Rhythm is an urban fantasy with a dash of mystery.   Ways to connect with Clare Davidson: Website Twitter Facebook Goodreads New releases mailing list      

Friday, July 12, 2013

THANK YOU for Your Support

First, let me say Thank You to each and every one of you that supported me and my Kickstarter project, Ordinary People-Everyday Prep. So many of you helped to spread the word through Facebook and Twitter, and backed the project with funding pledges. I am very grateful, and I appreciate your support more than I can ever express to you.

This has been an incredible journey. It was thrilling talking to people about this project, and in the process gauging a better understanding of people’s perception of disaster preparation. Through these conversations, I’ve gained insight into what I need to do to improve Ordinary People-Everyday Prep to make it stronger and more marketable. I plan on adding survival tips from top survival experts, and expanding disaster experience examples throughout the book to illustrate the need for disaster preparation.
Unfortunately, the project failed to gain enough backers to get fully funded, so my  initial plan to release the softcover book in connection with the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy will not be possible, but I still plan to continue with the project by strengthening the contents of the book and working to find ways to bring this project to publication. I am toying with the idea of possibly releasing an e-book version, if I can garner funding for that part of the process. I might also try submitting the book for traditional publishing as well.

Thank you again for all that you’ve done.

-Michelle

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Book Review - Between You and Me

Book Review - Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus


Between You and MeBetween You and Me is a novel by the New Times Bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries, Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus. It's the story of Logan Wade and Kelsey Wade, best friends and cousins who grew up in Oklahoma and then were forced apart by their parents as kids. Now, many years later they are reunited. Both have taken different paths in life, Logan finished college and at twenty seven works in New York. Kelsey is a singing superstar, rich and living the high life.



Their reunion turns into a reminder of the events that wrenched them apart so long ago, the layers of Kelsy's glamorous life reveal a toxic dynamic between Kelsey and her parents. And now Logan is in the middle of Kelsey's efforts at breaking away.

I loved it! It was a fast-paced read with strong characters. The authors did an amazing job of capturing the awkwardness of Logan with Kelsey's family at the initial reunion, which added to the mystery of what happened when Logan and Kelsey were kids. I also thought the behind-the-scenes of the celebrity lifestyle were perfectly captured, allowing readers to see a more true-to-life representation instead of just a glossed-over glamorous depiction.
 
Great read - well done. Highly recommended!

Monday, July 08, 2013

Bookstore Trip

I took a trip to the bookstore to get some summer reading books for my son, and of course, I had to pick up something for myself. So, here's the latest book added to my reading pile:



My son picked up DK Biography: Barack Obama by Stephen Krensky for a summer assignment, as well as Amulet: The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi for some casual reading.

The reading pile is always changing. Just as soon as I read a book and remove it from the pile, there's always another one there to replace it.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Book Review - The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima



The Crimson Crown coverThe Crimson Crown is the final book in Cinda Williams Chima's The Seven Realms Series. In this book, the Fells is again in danger, the castle is close to being overrun, and tensions between wizards and clans is pushed to the breaking point. Finally, the fate of Han and Raisa is revealed; will their love & life suffer the same fate as Alger and Hanalea? I won't spoil the plot for you.

If you are a fan of The Seven Realms Series, this book is a must-read. It is filled with action, suspense, and all the wizardry that Chima's previous books delve into. I found this final book to be the best of the series. I couldn't put it down; page after page I pushed to find out how it would end.
 
Highly recommended!

Young Adult, fantasy, good for boys and girls, strong adult crossover appeal.

Take a peek at my reviews of the previous two books in the Seven Realms Series here:
The Exhiled Queen
The Demon King
The Gray Wolf Throne

Monday, July 01, 2013

New Video for ORDINARY PEOPLE-EVERYDAY PREP

I added a new video to the project on Kickstarter. Check it out...only 10 days in the funding window for this project. I hope you'll consider helping me bring this book to publication.