November 21, 2014 2 Comments
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Extractions by Melissa M. Firman is an e-short story in which something is not quite write with Kari and her family. While they have that suburban home, there are some financial issues lurking in the background, but that could just be the tip of the iceberg. This family is racking up the debt with no end in sight and her impending dental work is only going to exacerbate that situation. Firman has packed a lot of detail into the first couple of pages of this short story, which according to the Kindle estimate is just seven pages in total.
Whether Kari’s drinking has to do with their financial problems or the fact that she’s cyber-stalking an ex-boyfriend on Facebook, it doesn’t matter. Something has got to change for this family. They are in a very precarious situation and something is going to push them over the brink. Kari is dissatisfied, and she’s searching for something outside herself to make herself content. An unexpected act of vandalism, however, will have her questioning her own actions. Extractions by Melissa M. Firman is well done, but will likely leaving readers wanting more.
About the Author:
Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pa., Melissa Firman was convinced she would be a world-famous author before she was 18. When that didn’t quite happen, she earned a B.A. in English/Communications from Cabrini College and worked with various nonprofits. Melissa currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband of 20 years and their two children.
“Extractions” is Melissa’s first short story published on Amazon. She recently edited young adult author Melissa Luznicky Garrett’s much-anticipated novels “The Prophecy” and “Blood Draw.”
Melissa Firman is currently in the process of writing her first novel and is a freelance book reviewer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Connect with Melissa on her website and blog at MelissaFirman.com or on Facebook at Melissa Firman, writer – www.facebook.com/TheFirmanGroup.
80th book for 2014 New Author Reading Challenge.
November 20, 2014 2 Comments
Source: Holiday House
Hardcover, 29 pgs
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Plants Feed Me by Lizzy Rockwell includes adorable illustrations of vegetables, fruits, plants, and children to demonstrate the importance of plants in feeding humans. The book provides the basics of plants and their growth cycle for young children to easily understand, including the need for sunlight and nutrients in the earth. Children are smiling as they dig holes, plant seeds, water plants, and begin harvesting food. My daughter and I have read this book several times and each time she tells me something new. She’ll point to something we’ve talked about in previous readings even before I read it to her. She is recognizing carrots, lettuce, beets, potatoes, and more.
The author talks about the different parts of edible plants and she labels each vegetable and fruit depicted. Fruits grow on trees and in bushes, vegetables can grow in the ground and above the ground, and some plants that many think are vegetables are actually fruits. The pictures are well drawn and easy to understand. Plants Feed Me by Lizzy Rockwell is a great story for young readers to share with their parents, helping them understand the natural wonders and where food comes from.
About the Author:
Lizzy Rockwell is an illustrator whose artwork can be seen in picture books, magazines, games and on walls. She studied art and art history at Connecticut College, and drawing and illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Lizzy is the illustrator of over 25 children’s books by a variety of authors including her mother, Anne Rockwell. She is the author/illustrator of Plants Feed Me, Good Enough to Eat: A Kid’s Guide to Food and Nutrition, Hello Baby! and The Busy Body Book: A Kid’s Guide to Fitness.
Lizzy has two grown sons, and lives and works in Bridgeport, CT with her husband, Ken Alcorn, a high school social studies teacher, and their dog Reggie.
79th book for 2014 New Author Reading Challenge.
November 19, 2014 6 Comments
Here’s a bit about the book:
Spring Swallow was promised in marriage while still in her mother’s belly. When the groom dies before a wedding can take place, seventeen-year-old Spring Swallow is ordered to become a ghost bride to appease his spirit. Under her in-laws’ protection, she will be little more than a servant, unable to know real love or bear children. Refusing to accept her fate as a “bad-luck woman,” Spring Swallow flees on her wedding day.
In the city of Soochow, Spring Swallow joins a community of renowned embroiderers. The women work for Aunty Peony, whose exquisite stitching once earned her the Emperor’s love. But when Aunty Peony agrees to replicate a famous painting–a lucrative assignment that will take a year to complete–betrayal and jealousy emerges within the group. Spring Swallow becomes entangled in each woman’s story of heartbreak, even while she embarks on a dangerous affair with a young revolutionary. On a journey that leads from the remote hillsides around Soochow to cosmopolitan Peking, Spring Swallow draws on the secret techniques learned from Aunty Peony and her own indomitable strength, determined to forge a life that is truly her own.
Today, Mingmei Yip has agreed to join us and answer some questions about her novel and her work. Please give her a warm welcome.
Where do your story ideas come from?
Story ideas usually pop up in my mind, mostly triggered when I am reading, watching a movie, looking at art works in a museum, or just day dreaming. Not long ago I saw a book on embroidery in a bookstore and was inspired to write a novel about embroiderers and the painstaking efforts they apply to create their beautiful works. That novel is my newest, Secret of a Thousand Beauties.
The idea for my third novel, Song of the Silk Road – a romantic adventure on China’s fabled route with a promised reward of three million dollars — came to me in a dream.
The heroine of your latest book, Secret of a Thousand Beauties, is a strong and independent woman like the women in your other novels. Why do you choose to write about these women who live in cultures that tend to curtail their independence?
All my protagonists are brave and strong women who relentlessly overcome hardship and tragedy to live life on their own terms and achieve happiness. It is hard now even to try to imagine the miseries women had to endure in traditional China such as marriage to a dead fiancé, making them the slaves of the dead man’s parents, or being forced into prostitution, yet not being allowed to marry or keep their babies.
Some of my characters are inspired by the lives of actual women, including Camilla the singer-spy in my novels Skeleton Women and The Nine Fold Heaven, and the teenage prostitute Xiang Xiang in my debut novel Peach Blossom Pavilion (now in its 5th printing!) I feel honored to be able to give these once-silenced women their voices. Also, by writing about them, they have become my teachers of determination, courage, and compassion.
What are your first loves as a reader about novels? Do you prefer plot or characterization?
Both. But if I have to choose, insightful description of human nature are more satisfying to me than plots filled with twists and turns.
Do you prefer to write historical fiction and would you consider writing something more contemporary?
Among my seven novels (the 7th one will come out in 2015), four are historical – Secret of a Thousand Beauties; The Nine Fold Heaven; Skeleton Women; Peach Blossom Pavilion and two are contemporary – Song of the Silk Road; Petals from the Sky. I also wrote and illustrated two children’s books: Chinese Children Favorite Stories and Grandma Panda’s China Storybook, both published by Tuttle Publishing.
Who are some of your favorite authors/poets?
My favorite authors are Eileen Cheung and Echo, unfortunately both deceased. In the West, I read almost everything by Lisa See, Amy Tan, and Anchee Min.
What current projects are you working on? Care to share any details?
My next novel, which will be my seventh is The Witches Market, about a young woman who has suddenly acquired supernatural talents. After this realization, she travels to the Canary Islands, seeking witches against whom to test her own powers and calling.
Besides writing, I perform on the guqin, a very ancient Chinese instrument which I’ve been playing for over thirty years. I also teach calligraphy workshops for both adult and children at many venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, CUNY and others. All these activities help provide material for my novels.
Check out the book trailer:
November 18, 2014 4 Comments
Source: Personal library Paperback, 372 pgs On Amazon and on Kobo Northern Lights by Tim O’Brien, which was our November and final book club pick of the year and a re-read for me, is the author’s first book, and not my favorite. The story is about two brothers — Perry and Harvey — and one […]
November 17, 2014 42 Comments
Syrie James is a quintessential Austenite and her Jane Austen-related fiction is never a disappointment. Her latest release, Jane Austen’s First Love, is a contender for the Savvy Verse & Wit Best of 2014 list. Here’s a snippet from my review: “James cannot be praised enough for her ingenuity and dedication to the spirit of […]
November 16, 2014 21 Comments
Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too. Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that […]
November 15, 2014 1 Comment
Welcome to the 280th Virtual Poetry Circle! Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful. Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s book suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her […]
November 14, 2014 4 Comments
Source: Public Library Paperback, 659 pgs On Amazon and on Kobo Blackout by Mira Grant (beware there could be spoilers for Feed or Deadline in this review) is the final installment in the Newsflesh series, and it is a stunning ride that will leave readers breathless to the final page. It has been a long […]