Coffee and a Review with Imagining Vietnam by Elizabeth McLean

coffee_morning_jpg(1)Happy Monday!  Today’s coffee and a review is spotlighting the book Imagining Vietnam by Elizabeth McLean.  This is a wonderful compilation of stories that take us from early Vietnam to more modern times.  The poetic stylization of the stories brings a whole new dimension to the American view of Vietnam.  Be sure to check out my entire review after the book blurb.

41tSswyigqL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-67,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Book Blurb:

History explains what happened in the past; Imagining Vietnam shows us what it
was like to live in past times. Eight memorable stories, spanning ten centuries
of Vietnamese history, take us back to the drama and excitement of the past.
From Lan, dreaming of attaining womanhood in ‘The Black Stain’, to Hanh, driving
stakes into the riverbed to repel the Mongol horde in ‘The Mongolian Stake’,
Elizabeth McLean’s characters draw us into vivid personal experiences of times
gone by. Dramatic, resonant and beautifully crafted, these stories form a
triumphant debut from an author with a superb gift for storytelling.

Review:

Elizabeth McLean’s artful telling of the history of Vietnam was very imaginative.  The eight stories are like eight panels in a painting.  From the Mongol hordes to modern Canada allows the reader to see aspects of Vietnam that many did not know.  Most of those who think Vietnam only think of the war and the tragedies that happened on both sides.  This paints a completely different picture.  Elizabeth McLean takes her reader on an artistic journey that will leave the imagination reeling.  Though a beautiful piece of writing it does get quite complex and confusing at times.  If the reader has not read Asian centered literature than it may be a bit difficult to keep up with the names and the culture.  It could even be a bit cumbersome.  Overall, I thought this was a great piece of historical fiction and feel that the way the story was written was inventive and true to the Vietnamese culture.

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Fresh Face Friday: Embroiled by Darlene Jones

Happy Friday!  I know it’s a little late and most of you are already starting your weekends, but I figured better late than never for our Friday edition.  I am spotlighting a good sci-fi/fantasy book by Darlene Jones, Embroiled.  If you’re looking for a good book with an intriguing story with a lot of sci-fi/fantasy you will adore Embroiled.  Be sure to check out my whole review after the book blurb.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00038]Book Blurb:

What if I could go “up there?”  Why does this obsession drive Emily’s life when she doesn’t believe in heaven? Even the wonderful Dr. David can’t help her find the answers she needs.
Learning that she has lived other lives shocks Emily. Then Yves takes her to his world. There she meets gods and Powers and people rescued from doomed planets—living the perfect heavenly life. She knows she belongs “up there” with Yves, but all is not as idyllic as it appears. Emily is the only one who sees the danger. Will she be able to save Yves and his world

Review:

What if you had hallucinations?  But, these aren’t just hallucinations.  These are past memories from lives you have already lived.  Emily deals with these hallucinations without knowing what they truly are.  Soon she meets a mysterious man she is instantly attracted to.  Yves is from another world.  This world is “perfect”.  His world is made of persons from other planets that have been saved and moved to his planet.  When Yves decides it is this life that Emily is meant to join him in his world he sets out to woo her.  This is no easy feet and at times has unfortunate consequences.  Finally, without understanding what she’s asking for, Emily asks to see Yves world.  Unbeknownst to her she is taken to his world and is given 100 Earth day to decide whether she want to live with Yves who she loves or have her memories erased and go back to Earth.  While Emily is trying to learn the ways of Yves world she realizes that there are serious cracks in the perfection that is his world.  In fact, Yves world is in more danger than anyone knows.  In the end will Emily choose her world or Yves?  Both have consequences and joys.  What can she live with and what or who can she live without?

I enjoyed this book.  Though I enjoyed it, I did get a bit confused at times due to the time reversals and the memory changes.  One instance is Emily’s retirement.  A one point she is retired and in the next it seems she is back to working at the school.  It got to be confusing until we get to the part where Emily goes to Yves world.  That portion is well written and flows very well.  Emily and Yves I liked but Emily at times was confusing just like her story.  I also really liked Yves people on his world.  They were well written supporting characters and helped move the story along and helped to develop Emily’s character.  The love story of Emily and Yves was good.  Without saying it the story brings in the idea of soul mates with past lives.  I enjoy that idea and with that in the story really caught my attention.  Overall, I really was hooked into this book.  But, I would warn anyone reading this book that you may have times where you are very confused and not sure what exactly is going on.  If you can get past some of the confusing parts then you will be hooked just like me.

Author Bio:

5779277A long time ago, I lived in Mali. Every single day, I wished I could wave a magic wand to relieve the heart-wrenching poverty. The story line of my books reflects my desire to wave that wand and make the world a better place. If only wishes could come true. And of course, every novel needs its love story, so along with the sci-fi magic, I’ve added the requisite romance.

Initially, I intended to write “a” novel. The story and characters took over and the ending of the first demanded another. Two books became three and three became four.

I’ve always believed we can’t be the only beings existing in the vastness of the universe. There must be others “out there somewhere” and I brought some of them along for the ride. The setting stays, for the most part, within the realities of our world, but I’ve found that I love the magic the sci-fi element of other beings can bring to the story.

 

YA Corner: Rift Healer by Diane M. Haynes

I know I normally post this on Wednesdays but this week has been a crazy week and I am finally getting a chance to post.  This week’s Young Adult corner is featuring Relics by Diane M. Haynes.  It’s a great fantasy book that really pulls you in.  Along with the wonder and fantasy is the love story that brings back the whimsy of youth.  For the rest of my review please be sure to check it out after the book blurb.

13609665Book Blurb:

After a minor earthquake, the enchanted forest in Bidwell, MA, is infested with monster-spewing rifts. Gisele’s great nephew, the gifted Micah, and his distant cousin, Selena, arrive to assist. Together with Gisele’s summer students, twins Haley and Lacey, they will try to help the magical forest. Much to the consternation of the beautiful Selena, Micah identifies Haley as The One whom he’ll share his future. But after witnessing a terrifying display of Micah’s Gift, Haley cools to his advances and unexpectedly discovers her own Gift– she can heal the earth. Monsters, mayhem, and teenage angst follow the small group as they confront evil in the forest and a dangerous prediction that ‘one will fall’. Will they heal the rifts in time? Can they save the unicorns? And is Haley really destined to be with Micah?

Review:

Haley and Lacey are twins spending their summer with their Grandmother and Father.  During the week they are tutored in herbs by their grandmother’s friend and visit their Father on the weekends.  It seems it may be an ordinary summer until right before they leave Haley sees a tarot reader and is given news of a handsome stranger and imminent danger to come.  This seems way more exciting than what they had planned.  Haley does meet his handsome stranger sooner rather than later.  Micah meets Haley and immediately knows that she is his one true love and will be for the rest of his life.  He just has to convince her of this. While Micah originally comes for another purpose these blend into one once they realize Haley’s power.  Haley discovers almost by accident that she can heal rifts in the earth.  Something that Micah, his cousin Selena and their Aunt Gisele are trying to do.  Seeing Haley’s power makes them realize they must team up to save the forest and their mystical creatures.  But, can they save the forest in time or will the forest die and the forever love they think they have die with it?

This was a great fantasy young adult novel.  I enjoyed the characters and the world that was created.  I thought the character development of Haley and Micah flowed with the story and helped to propel it forward.  At times it didn’t feel like you had teenagers but adults.  The forest world and its creatures are wonderfully described and helps you visualize the surroundings.  I loved the twin aspect and their need to share all details even those of their guys.  I also felt Selena was a great foil for Haley.  She had just enough angst that let her be an unknown entity throughout the story.  You really weren’t sure what her emotions were going to steer her to do.  Overall, this was a wonderfully enchanting story that melts together fantasy and young love.

Coffee and a Review with Relics by Maer Wilson

chocolate-coffe-cream-cup-delicious-Favim_com-273790Good Morning Everyone!  I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and hopefully you will start your week off well.  I’m going to start your book week off with a paranormal mystery/suspense book.  It’s got some great characters and the story is very unique.  Check out my review after the book blurb.  So, I hope you all have a great week and start it off with a strong cup with your review!  🙂

17767013Book Blurb:

Most of Thulu and La Fi’s clients are dead. Which is perfect since their detective agency caters to the supernatural. So, a job finding relics for an ancient daemon should be simple.

The daemon needs the relics to keep a dangerous portal closed. His enemy, Gabriel, wants the relics to open the portal and give his people access to a new feeding ground – Earth.

Stunning humanity with their existence, portals to other worlds begin to open and the creatures of magic return to Earth.

When Gabriel threatens their family, Thulu and La Fi’s search becomes personal. The couple will need powerful allies in the race to find the relics before Gabriel does. But maybe that’s what grateful dead, magical allies and daemonic clients are for.

When the creatures of myth and magic return to Earth, they’re nothing like your mother’s fairy tales.

Review:

La Fi and Thulu have unique abilities.  They are both attuned to paranormal aspects of the world.  Thulu can find anything and La Fi translates for ghosts.  These two have turned this into a lucrative business and enjoy their work.  That is until one case turns their whole world upside down.  Not just their world but the entire world.  Portals to other realms are opening and things that people only thought existed in books are now a reality.  To close these portals Thulu and La Fi have been put in charge of finding Relics to use to close the portals.  Without the relics portals will become more frequent and more dangerous things will come out.  Charged with basically saving the world Thulu and La Fi must find these relics in time to save their world and protect humanity before time runs out.

I thought this story had a lot of enjoyable aspects.  I enjoyed all of the  characters and felt the idea of the Light and Dark Ones was a pretty unique take.  Thulu and La Fi are well-developed and quite enjoyable.  That being said I had a lot of trouble focusing on this story.  I felt too many side stories were added.  I liked Reo’s story and thought that was quite helpful in moving the story along, but as we got into more and more creatures and their stories I thought the story got weighted down and I lost sight of what the whole goal was.  I understand that in a first book you want to put as much as you can into a story but sometimes four or five well-developed characters can allow for the upcoming books to delve deeper into the smaller characters.  Overall, I did enjoy the story but I felt I had information overload which let me lose focus on the whole point of the story.  I do think this series has wonderful potential but I think the story in the future needs to be a bit more streamlined.

Fresh Face Friday: Coda to Murder by J.Q Rose

Well TGIF Everyone!  I hope all of you are ready for the weekend.  I know I am.  So this week I started us off with a great paranormal romance.  I’m ending it with a quick suspenseful read.  Coda to Murder by J.Q Rose has a wonderfully suspenseful story that moves very quickly and has you playing detective right along with the police and the pastor.  For more of my review check it out after the book blurb.  I hope you all have a great weekend and happy reading!

Coda To Murder 333x500Book Blurb:  (Courtesy of Amazon)

Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.

Detective Cole Stephens doesn’t want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.

Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?

Review:

Pastor Christine Hobbs is a young devoted pastor to her congregation.  She adopts cats of parishioners who have passed away, she visits the sick and she even takes in exotic animals for strangers who are rushed to the hospital.  Overall, she is an ideal pastor that unfortunately has been unlucky in love.  When Christine’s world is flipped upside down with the death of her church’s music director she immediately goes into the mode of consoling those in her congregation that need her help.  Unfortunately, the extremely handsome detective Cole Stephens figures out that this death was no accident but a murder and Christine soon becomes a suspect.  She then decides she must find out who committed this murder.  She enlists her best friend and they begin doing detective work on their own.  Soon though her detective work becomes dangerous.  She begins to find out there is more going on in the Church than she knows.  So as she gets closer to finding the murderer she also gets closer to the lead detective.  The big question though is can Christine protect herself from the murderer and her heart from the gorgeous Cole?

I really enjoyed this quick read.  It is definitely a book you can pick up and finish while waiting for a couple appointments or taking breaks at work.  I really enjoyed the characters of Christine and Cole.  I thought is was a neat take on some of the traditionally thought about roles in society such as a female pastor.  I liked the pace and movement of the story, but I did feel that it could have had a few more twists and turns.  I think it ended too early.  Also, though I liked the love story it was a bit quick and a bit forced due to the pace of the book.  I felt that if a few more twists had been added then the love story would have seemed much more natural.  Overall, it was a good little story.  It definitely has more suspense then anything.  But, if you are looking for physical love in this you won’t find it.  It does have a christian undertone that if that doesn’t interest you, you may find it a bit challenging to read.

4684156Author Bio: (Courtesy of http://jqrose.webs.com/)

I am an avid reader of diverse genres and photographer of family, (especially grandkids), friends, nature, and food that I prepare from our garden.

My husband and I are snowbirds leaving our Northern home every fall and migrating to sunny Florida for the winter. I prefer to be called a sunbird because we are flying toward sunshine. Summer allows us fun family time camping with our grandsons (and our granddaughter when she gets out of diapers). We enjoy campfires and fishing and especially hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with the boys.

Connect with J.Q. Rose online at

Girls Succeed blog 

J.Q. Rose blog 

Author website 

J. Q.  Rose Amazon Author Page

YA Corner: Beyond the Eyes by Rebekkah Ford

Today’s edition of Young Adult Corner is spotlighting the book Beyond the Eyes by Rebekkah Ford.  This is a wonderful young adult paranormal romance.  This is a genuinely unique story.  With all of the similar books out there this one is definitely a one of a kind story.  Be sure to read the rest of my review after the book blurb.

Book Blurb:

14922794Paige knows evil exists in this world, but she never imagined it would want something from her.

In the small town of Astoria, Oregon, surrounded by deep forest and endless mountains, another world thrives . . . a menacing one where dark spirits dwell in soulless humans. Seventeen-year-old Paige Reed lives in this lush, picturesque setting. She’s not your average teen, though she appears to be. Not only is she heartsick, but she’s been receiving cryptic premonitions from a ghostly voice since the age of four. After she hears a haunting message about herself, supernatural occurrences begin to confuse her.

Nathan Caswell seems to peer into Paige’s soul, evoking a magnetic energy between them they cannot deny. They’re connected. But he’s no ordinary guy. He tracks dark spirits and becomes alarmed when they set their sights on Paige.

When two power-hungry malevolent beings make demands on her, she realizes then the fate of mankind rest in her hands. Her world quickly turns inside out where the impossible becomes possible, and in the end she’s faced with a life changing decision that will not only alter her existence but the world as she knows it.

Can a deeply troubled teen overcome her own demons in order to fight those lurking about? With the past and present colliding, Paige must make the ultimate mortal choice. Will it be the right one?

Review:

Page has a unique talent.  She has premonitions.  This not only makes her unique but it has now put her in danger.  She hides this talent from all those around her.  Soon this isn’t the only talent she has.  She learns she has the ability to detect dark spirits or demons.  A telling ringing in her head alerts her when one is near.  The problem with this is one of her close friends has a demon inside him.  While Paige is still unsure of what is going on she meets Nathan.  Nathan can detect dark spirits too.  Soon Nathan and Paige are drawn to each other not just because of their abilities but also because a deep love is strongly felt between the two.  Paige soon learns though that Nathan is much older than he appears and Paige has the opportunity to be like Nathan.  In a war she never knew about she must make decisions that could sever her ties with all those she loves.  Will Paige stay with her love and fight or will she live her human life and be in constant danger to herself and those she loves?

I really enjoyed this book.  I thought the story was truly unique.  I loved the love story.  The love is perfect for a young adult audience though some may feel the decision for sex to be added into their relationship was premature.  I personally thought that was a bit more realistic for the age of Paige and Nathan than the idea of waiting.  Though most of the focus on this book is paranormal there are quite a few emotional depths that had me grabbing tissues.  The emotional addition allowed for more realism to the story.  I’d say overall this was definitely a great young adult read, but I would recommend it for an older young adult crowd due to the sex.

Coffee and a Review with Cloaked in Fur by T. F. Walsh

i-LOVE-coffee-coffee-25055460-1280-800This week I will be starting you guys out with a great little paranormal romance. Its hot in all the right places and has a great twist on the werewolf mythology.  Cloaked in Fur is a wonderfully exciting and suspenseful way to start your week.  I hope you all have a great beginning to your week and if not pick up Cloaked in Fur.  Check out the rest of my review after the book blurb.

18132518Book Blurb:

As a moonwulf, Daciana never expected to fall in love with a human. Hell, she never imagined that she’d abandon her pack, endanger everyone around her, and break the worst rule possible. But she did.

A rogue werewolf is killing Daciana’s friends, and she sets on capturing the creature.  She’ll do whatever it takes to stop the beast. The police and her boyfriend, Inspector Connell Lonescu, are starting to question her involvement in the murders, which is endangering the pack’s secret existence. But when the pack alpha kidnaps Connell, revealing the awful truth about the creature and its connection to the pack, Daciana must choose between saving the man she loves and saving her pack family from certain death.

Review:

Daci is living in the human world while she is still a moonwulf.  She didn’t expect to fall in love with a human detective.  Now, she is in a race to find an elixir to stop her from becoming full wulfkin.  In her search for the elixir she comes across an extremely dangerous wolf hybrid.  This wolf seems to be targeting people Daci knows.  When she approaches her pack regarding this she discovers some disturbing information that could endanger her whole pack.  Between this dangerous wolf, finding an elixir and hiding her true self from the man she loves Daci’s life has become dangerous.  One wrong step and people she loves dies.

I really enjoyed this book.  The story sucked me in and wouldn’t let go.  I thought the take on werewolf mythology/folklore was great.  I also like that this took place in Romania.  The only hint of this was the names that were used.  The intermingling of the love story and the paranormal aspects was very well done.  Neither one felt like it was just an add on.  Though I did feel like the general story was something I have read before the mythology was different.  Overall, I would recommend this story to any paranormal fan.  The story is great and the love scenes are hot!  It’s a definite good start to the week.

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