Book Review: Keep Forever by Alexa Kingaard

 

Keep Forever
Alexa Kingaard
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: March 28th 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Women’s Fiction

“Unlike some war stories that focus on intense, harsh and graphic depictions of post-combat trauma, this tale unfolds gently, like an Edna Ferber novel, spread across many decades, detailing the impact this soldier’s illness has on an entire family, including children and grandchildren. KEEP FOREVER is a wonderful, emotionally satisfying read that I highly recommend. ”
GARY SEIGEL, author of “Haskell Himself”

 

 

Paul O’Brien’s idyllic childhood in Southern California comes to a halt when his mother dies in the summer before his senior year of high school and a very different persona of his father emerges – isolating himself inside the house, turning to alcohol for comfort, and barely noticing his only child. Simultaneously, the war in Vietnam is sending shock waves around the world and young men from one coast to the other are being called upon to serve. Paul enlists in the Marines before receiving his draft notice.

Elizabeth Sutton is eager to gain some independence from her father’s old fashioned notions and looking forward to her first year in high school. At fifteen years old, tragedy strikes with the loss of both parents in an auto accident, turning her childhood into one of responsibility and worry overnight. The four siblings are scattered when her nine-year-old twin sisters are sent to live with their Aunt and Uncle on Nantucket Island, and Elizabeth is left behind in Boston with their grandmother. Her older brother, Sam, enlists in the Marines, eager to join the conflict a world away as opposed to dealing with the one unfolding at home.

A bond develops between Paul and Sam in Vietnam, and both are injured in a bloody battle that costs Sam his right hand and sets the stage for a lifetime of nightmares and sleepless nights for Paul. Matched by similar tragedies at a young age, Elizabeth and Paul’s first introduction by Sam upon their return from Vietnam is the beginning of friendship and love that survives five decades.

After marrying, welcoming their first child, and inheriting a small beach house, the couple adapts to their new surroundings, but distant memories of Vietnam continue to haunt Paul. In an era when veterans refuse to speak of their pain and the government denies that thousands of soldiers are coming home irreparably damaged, he is left to deal with the challenge of caring for his loved ones amidst his his erratic flashback episodes and moods. As their lives unravel from the lingering effects of PTSD, Elizabeth learns to accept the burden that Paul brought home, and together they make their own memories to keep forever.

Inspired By A True Story

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Author Bio:

ALEXA KINGAARD, a California native, currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of a son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders.

October 13, 2011, was the day that changed her life forever when her ex-husband, a Vietnam veteran, took his life during a PTSD flashback episode. Inspired to share this tragedy that continues to rob husbands and wives of their spouses, children of their parents, mothers of their children, brothers and sisters of their siblings, and comrades of their friends, Kingaard relied on her own experiences to shed light on this crisis. The burden brought home is not partial to Vietnam, but is an insidious aftershock endured by combat veterans of all conflicts.

Kingaard continues to pursue her literary career, writing about nostalgia and the human condition, the common denominator of our lives.

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My Thoughts:

Keep Forever is a story that will take the rider on a roller coaster of emotions. It follows the lives of Paul and Sam as they navigate their way through being Marines and their short experience with War in Vietnam. We also follow Elizabeth, Sam’s sister as she tries to hold on to her emotions and childhood while dealing with the loss of her parents and the responsibility of her younger siblings. A very well-written story, Keep Forever will pull the reader in and make up experience everything along with the main characters. The happiness, the turmoil, the heart-wrenching sadness and the flicker of hope.

Considering that this story is inspired by a true story, it is all that more eye opening. The reader is exposed to the concept of PTSD, the possible causes and the effects it may have on the person experiencing it as well as the people around. If a person is suffering from it, their pain and sorrow is difficult to relate to, but for the family, it is even more difficult to handle. The author brings in a lot of perspective on the topic and handles the concept with delicate ease. The main characters are well rounded and very well thought out. I enjoyed reading about their lives, and it was a humbling experience. We are also given a glimpse into the circumstances that shaped the characters and made them who they are, the reasons behind their decisions and finally the consequences of these decisions. These form the crux of the plot.

I particularly enjoyed reading about Elizabeth and how she grows into a strong woman. She takes control of her life, takes care of her family and builds a new one with the man she loves. Even in the end, she manages to give him distance while maintaining normalcy to ensure that he never feels useless. Her delicate handling of things and her ability to understand or make and effort to understand her husband’s pain is what makes her a wonderful person.

This story is a must read for everyone, a way to try and understand the nightmares of war and how it affects us human beings!

Book Review: The Girl in the Corner by Amanda Prowse

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley and the review below is my honest opinion.

About the Book:

The Girl in the Corner

From bestselling author Amanda Prowse comes the poignant tale of a woman who has always been there for her family. But will they be there for her?

Rae-Valentine and Howard were childhood sweethearts. They’ve shared twenty-five peaceful years since they were brought together by Dolly, Howard’s larger-than-life sister. But now, on the night of their wedding anniversary, Howard reveals a shocking betrayal that leaves Rae reeling.

Heartbroken, she takes Dolly on her would-be anniversary trip to Antigua and the two women drink and dance and talk like they haven’t in years. But in the break from real life, Rae realises her choices have always been made for her, and suddenly she’s questioning not only her fragile marriage but also her one-sided friendships. Is she really the pushover everyone else sees?

When Howard comes looking for reconciliation, Rae has a choice to make: keep the peace, as she always has, or put herself first for once and find out who she really is.

My thoughts:

The Girl in the Corner follows Rae-Valentine’s life and journey towards self-discovery. The entire first half of the story gives us a taste of her seemingly perfect life, perfect friendship and perfect relationships. She married her childhood-sweetheart and they have been together for twenty-five years, bringing up their two children, spending time with family and just living life.

However, when Howard reveals the truth of an affair, Rae-Valentine is forced to reassess her life and the decisions which led her to where she is today. As she tries to reconcile the facts in her head, she is forced to deal with her issues with her sister and she starts to question her friendship with Dolly, Howard’s sister. With time away, a lot of introspection mixed with Dolly’s persistent attempts to push her opinion on her friend, Rae-Valentine starts to realize that a lot of her life decisions seem to have been made for her. Things just fell into place and she never questioned them. She changed her goals based on her family’s ideas, then her life moved to revolve around Howard and her children. In the end, she starts to question which decision was really hers and where she is going with her life.

As everything comes crashing down, she realizes that sometimes you just have to seize the moment and do things for yourself, otherwise you get lost in the chaos of other people’s choices. When the betrayal strikes hard, it brings things into perspective and cause her to re-evaluate her life. The crux of the story is in her decisions and how she handles things in the end. Will she forgive Howard or will she move on from him after being together for so long?

At times the story seems slow and some parts repetitive in the thought, but overall, this is an interesting read with a pertinent message for all.

Book Tour – Excerpt of A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen

~ Blog Tour ~ 

A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen

– 20th to 25th April –
About the Book:

An abandoned half-human child.

An immortal warrior whose villainous past keeps him in hiding.

Two monsters in need of a family.

 

 

 

 

A Stolen Heart transports science fiction fans to the fantastic Tarthian Empire in the distant future; a wealthy but deliciously seedy corner of the galaxy. Here, powerful immortals comingle with genetically-enhanced humans and animals, aliens and androids, and secret societies are commonplace.

After rescuing a half-alien / half-human child who’s running for his life on the planet Kelthia, a glorified space pirate turned entrepreneur named Luc Saint-Cyr stumbles onto a conspiracy at the highest levels of the powerful Thieves’ Guild.

Complicating matters, the king–Luc’s immortal ex–might be involved.

As if that’s not enough, an unseen enemy is undoing every good thing Luc accomplishes.

But, when it comes time to give up the child to a family who can care for him, how will Luc bear to part with the adorable little boy who has stolen his heart?

Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt from A Stolen Heart

At lunch, Luc finished a sandwich and pulled out his mobile while the boy gobbled up his own sandwich, crunched all his carrot sticks and drank all his milk. But then Senthys stuffed his mouth with apple slices as if he thought someone would take away whatever he didn’t eat. Perhaps at the Academy, they had.”Take those out of your mouth.” Luc held the plate for him. “One bite at a time, please.”Head down, Senthys obeyed. “Can I still eat them?”

“You may.” Luc wiped the boy’s mouth. “In this house, no one will take away your food. Not ever.” He had never disciplined his Deshai by denying them meals. How could anyone do such a thing to a child?

When imprisoned, Pietas had been chained in the dark and starved for over a year. If Luc couldn’t bear the thought of his king going hungry, how could he tolerate it for a boy?

Once Senthys finished his apple, he pointed to a small bowl. “What’s that?”

Luc tipped it toward himself. “Raisins.”

The boy wrinkled up his nose. “They look scary.”

“Raisins?” He tilted the bowl again. How did one convince a child raisins weren’t scary? How had he convinced recruits to try things they balked at? Familiarity. He’d made them carry unloaded weapons for days before training them on the devices. Luc picked one up. “Smell.” He pulled his hand back before the boy could.

Senthys blinked and looked up at him.

“Remember,” Luc told him. “Smell. Don’t eat it yet.”

“Okay.” As Luc held it for him, Senthys leaned closer, sniffing. “It’s sweet.”

“That’s because there’s magic inside them.”

The boy’s eyes widened. “There is? Can I see the magic?”

Stifling a smile, Luc chose one and offered it. “You try. Squeeze it. Like this.” He pressed it between first finger and thumb.

Senthys pressed, frowning in concentration. “Ew! Brown stuff came out.” He dropped it and wiped that hand on his shirt.

“The squishy part is the magic coming out.”

“It is?” Senthys picked the raisin back up, peering at it.

Now came the part Luc liked. Showing recruits the benefits and seeing them embrace the challenge. “Raisins give you magic energy to run and hit a ball. They help you play hide and seek.”

“Can they help me get magic coins out of my hair?”

“Hmm.” The sleight of hand had been Luc’s attempt to distract him from crying. “If you eat them long enough and study how to do it.”

“Can I have a raisin?”

“I don’t know.” Luc pretended to consider it. “You’d have to eat the whole bowl to get enough magic. I don’t know if you can eat that many.”

“Oh, I can!” Senthys clapped, bouncing in his seat. “I can eat them!”

“I squished this one, so I’ll eat it. Okay with you?” Luc held it up to his mouth.

Senthys opened his.

“You want it?” Luc offered it.

The boy nodded.

“Okay, here we go.” Using slow motions, Luc reached toward him as Senthys leaned forward. At the last second, Luc yanked it back and popped the raisin in his own mouth. He opened his eyes wide, teasing the boy. “Mine.”

With a peal of laughter, Senthys grabbed a raisin and offered it to Luc, but yanked it back and made the same face.

Luc clacked his teeth together, pretending to bite the air.

Senthys stuck the raisin in his own mouth and threw out his arms toward Luc.

When Luc hugged him, the boy kissed his cheek and put his head on Luc’s shoulder. “I love you, Sen’dai.”

He hugged the boy tight. How could vows be right if they forced him to say good-bye?

Senthys lifted his head. “Why are you sad?”

Luc brushed back the boy’s hair. “Because I never want you to grow up. I want you to stay little like you are right now, forever.”

Senthys wrinkled his nose. “That’s silly.”

He tapped the boy on the nose. “It is indeed.”

A Stolen Heart, sci fi from Kayelle Allen

Want to know when this book is available? Like to have a free read before it’s out? Join one of Kayelle’s reader groups. You’ll also get free starter books right away. https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups/

 

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She’s also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she’s tenured.

Book Review: Season of Wonder by RaeAnne Thayne

About the Book:

Season of Wonder (Haven Point, #9)

He’s giving her children a season of wonder…

Dani Capelli seized a chance to start over in a small town with her daughters. Now, facing her first Christmas in Haven Point, she wonders if leaving New York was a mistake. Dani loves working alongside veterinarian Dr. Morales, but her two children aren’t adjusting to small-town life. And then there’s Dr. Morales’s son, Ruben—Dani’s next-door neighbor. Gorgeous, muscled and dependable, the deputy sheriff is everything she secretly craves and can’t bear to risk loving…and losing.

Ruben never pictured himself falling for a big-city woman like Dani. But beneath her prickly facade, she’s caring and softhearted and she needs all the love and protection he can give. When Dani’s teenage daughter starts acting out, Ruben draws on family traditions to show the girls just how magical a Haven Point Christmas can be. But can he convince Dani that she’s found a home for the holidays—and forever—in his arms?

My Thoughts:

A feel-good romance novel, author RaeAnne Thayne brings to the reader a story of love, family and acceptance. Season of Wonder is the perfect Christmas time romace, set in a small town and with the right kind of characters. Dani moves to this town with her daughters and she struggles to bring normalcy into their lives and ease them into this new life. She is also trying to adjust to her new job, which is everything she ever wanted and more.

Exposed to the goodness of people and the help provided, Dani is on the path to healing and move forward in life. Ruben, the next-door neighbour, takes to Dani and her daughters, rather unexpectedly for him. What ensues is a nice set of events as he sets out to win the hearts of these women, so as to be able to spend the rest of his life with them. Though the story can be predictable at times, it is heart-warming and light, easy to read and quite an enjoyable book!

Cover Reveal: A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen

~ Cover Reveal ~ 

A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen

– Antonello Brothers –

 

An abandoned half-human child.
An immortal warrior whose villainous past keeps him in hiding.
Two monsters in need of a family.

A Stolen Heart transports science fiction fans to the fantastic Tarthian Empire in the distant future; a wealthy but deliciously seedy corner of the galaxy. Here, powerful immortals comingle with genetically-enhanced humans and animals, aliens and androids, and secret societies are commonplace.

After rescuing a half-alien / half-human child who’s running for his life on the planet Kelthia, a glorified space pirate turned entrepreneur named Luc Saint-Cyr stumbles onto a conspiracy at the highest levels of the powerful Thieves’ Guild.

Complicating matters, the king–Luc’s immortal ex–might be involved.

As if that’s not enough, an unseen enemy is undoing every good thing Luc accomplishes.

But, when it comes time to give up the child to a family who can care for him, how will Luc bear to part with the adorable little boy who has stolen his heart?

A Stolen Heart, sci fi from Kayelle Allen

Want to know when this book is available? Like to have a free read before it’s out? Join one of Kayelle’s reader groups. You’ll also get free starter books right away. https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups/

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She’s also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she’s tenured.

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Book Review: Mom’s of the Missing by Steffen Hou

I was provided with an ARC of the book in exchange for my honest review. I normally do not read a lot of non-fiction, but I am truly glad to have read Mom’s of the Missing.

I would like to express my gratitude to Steffen Hou for reaching out to me.

 

About the Book:

 

Release Date: 10-15-2019

Paperback: 262 pages

Genre: True Crime

ISBN: 978-1-54397-972-5 (print)

ISBN: 978-1-54397-973-2 (ebook)

Publisher: BookBaby

 

 

“Oh my God, we found a dead body.” The man’s voice, calling from a mountain trail in Cleveland National Forest, was frantic. “Please hurry. I’m so scared. It’s a little kid.” When police arrived, they were met by a horrific sight. The girl was naked and had been positioned in such a way that detectives believed the murderer had seen his kill as some kind of a trophy. As if he were showing off his “work”. The little kid was Samantha Runnion, a five-year-old girl who had been abducted while playing in her parents’ garden the day before.

Samantha is just one of too many American kids who disappear. Almost half a million children are reported missing every year. And all across America parents are searching for their missing children or—if the worst case scenario has come to pass—the person who killed them.

Moms of the Missing investigates ten abduction cases. Through personal and heartbreaking interviews with the victims, it describes how parents maintain their hopes of one day finding their children—some of whom were taken by a stranger, a family member, or human traffickers. And two survivors tell what it is like to be held captive.

Moms of the Missing explores the principal types of abductions, and—not of least importance—who’s most likely to become a victim of the epidemic of missing children.

About the Author:

Steffen Hou (born 1975) is a Danish author and filmmaker. As a true crime author he
has written about topics such as innocent Americans on death row, human trafficking,
and the white supremacy movement. Moms of the Missing: Living the Nightmare is his
third book.

Contact the author: steffen.hou@houmedia.dk

Website: steffenhou.com

Facebook: facebook.com/steffen.hou

Twitter: @steffenhou

My Thoughts:

As clearly stated in the synopsis, this book deals with facts and investigates ten abduction cases. Through each case we are introduced to the kinds of abductions that exist and how they can happen. This is presented to us through interviews with family members who have had to deal with the loss of a child.

Each experience shared is harrowing and scary, difficult for most of to understand, but necessary for us to be aware of. It is sometimes difficult to digest the kinds of cruelty out there in the world, but through this book, Steffen Hou and the affected people would like to bring about an awareness. Awareness is a must to be able to take preventive actions.

The book is very well structure as explained by the author in the prologue. The reader is introduced to the type of abduction, followed by a description and the authorities or body(ies) to be alerted. This is then followed by a detailed account of an experience. What happened on the day of the abduction? The nature of the child in general and their relationship with their family. The heartbreak and trauma the family faces when the child is missing. The support or non-support of the authorities. A step forward and a few backwards everyday towards trying to find an answer. And then a conclusion, good or bad, but with a strong message.

I would like to share that I respect those who have come forward to support this book and share their stories. It is definitely not easy to have your life taken apart and then to talk about it. The main message of the book is to keep up Hope and to contact the right people if a crime has already been committed and a child is missing. It is also about the prevention of such crimes and the steps we can take to educate ourselves, our peers and our children.

Though this was a difficult book to read, my heart goes out to all the victims and their families. I strongly recommend this book to everyone as it brings about an awareness on a very important topic that could help any one of us in the world today.

We are all in this together and we should learn to support one another. Also, please be aware and sensitive towards other people!

Thank you Steffen for bringing your book to my notice!

Book Review : Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

About the Book:

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and, in Eleanor’s eyes, impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mixed tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose .. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor and Park is funny, sad, shocking and true – an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.

My Thoughts:

This is a story of friendship, life as a teenager and falling in love for the first time. Eleanor is shy and quiet, forced to deal with a crazy step-father and a mother who no longer tries to take the side of her children. She is also the eldest of four siblings and is constantly under scrutiny from the younger ones. We observe her as she navigates her way as the new girl in town and in school. Her life takes an interesting turn when she sits next to Park on the school bus.

The story then follows these two as they start to interact and discover their common interests while developing newer ones. This story is sweet and nostalgic, just like the author promises. It will remind you of the days of forging new friendships, making memories, sharing books and games. However towards the middle of the story, it gets a little slow mostly due to the repeated routines of our main characters. They only seem to be meeting each other everyday, enjoying silent conversations at school and spending time at Park’s home.

A part of the story that I truly enjoyed was when Park’s parents meet and start to accept Eleanor. They include her for dinner and his mother even tries to give her a makeover of sorts. Towards the end, Park’s father, who up until then seemed to dislike him to some extent, also pitches in to help the children, finally accepting that he is proud of who his son has become. It is indeed a story of self-discovery as well since the characters must break out of their comfort zones and find their way. They take decisions that will change their lives at that point and they love unconditionally and without holding back.

All in all, it is a decent read, rather slow, but if you plough through, you will end up with a smile on your face, possibly reminiscent of your own lives.

Book Review : The Piraroo by Marko Kitti

About the Book: (taken from the back cover of the book)

The Piraroo (Tales from Puffington Hill, #1)

Dear Reader,

I’m afraid you’re soon going to meet a tarantula the size of a kitten. You’re also going to bump into a whopper of a seagull who is the British Champion in Poop Bombing. Not to mention an extraordinary, furry creature whose ancestor once belonged to a notorious pirate captain.

You’re also going to meet a ten-year-old boy called Max, the owner of the tarantula, whose life is about to turn upside down in this nail-biting adventure that includes petnappers and disgusting healthy smoothies!

So I am warning you, Dear Reader: Should you decide to read about Max and his animal friends, your life will never be the same again.

Yours sincerely,
MK

My Thoughts:

The Piraroo, a new book by author Marko Kitti, is another delightful read for not just children, but everyone. The story follows Max, a ten year old, as he deals with the loss of a pet, the acqusition of a new one and an unexpected adventure. The story comes with illustrations by Ant Carlos which are wonderful and expressive. They complement the story and make it more interesting to read.

The most wonderful part of this book is the way in which it is put together, right from page colors to match the environment upto the plot, the whole concept is different and enchanting. I enjoyed the effects of these colors and the way they matched the story. I am not sure that it is wise to expand upon this point since it is worth the surprise when you get to those pages!

The story brings out the importance of friendship and belief as well as love towards animals and other beings. It also brings out a contrast between greed and deception with love and kindness. The animals and birds are fascinating in this story, becoming the main characters towards the middle. Max’s interaction with them is delightful to follow. We also meet Max’s dysfunctional family and are thrown into the midst of a fascinating smoothie contest!

Bringing together all these plot lines, Marko once again crafts a fun filled story which will leave the reader in splits. He also ensures to mix in a little seriousness and emotion with a strong message, a newer concept as compared to the general humour filled Jesper Jinx novels. As always, this new book by Marko Kitti is worth the read!

Book Review: The Photograph by Debbie Rix

A special shout-out to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with this copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Italy, 1958: Rachael is a young widow with a small child. After a lifetime of running for survival, of not knowing who to trust and where to call home, she finds herself in a place of safety. On a sun-drenched Italian island for one carefree summer the troubles of her past fade away and she falls in love. But will Rachael’s new-found happiness bring her further heartache?

England, 2017: Sophie has a handsome husband, a gorgeous house in the English countryside and a successful career as an anthropologist. But the one thing she longs for is a baby of her own. As she struggles to conceive, cracks begin to appear in her marriage. So Sophie throws herself into her work and tries to seek comfort in childhood memories of her beloved grandmother Rachael.

One afternoon, Sophie finds a forgotten letter and an exquisite silk bracelet hidden in Rachael’s old writing desk. Intrigued, she begins to unravel the extraordinary story of her grandmother’s past – and a secret that has the power to change everything…

The Photograph is an utterly beautiful and compelling story of love, loss and a family secret spanning generations.

My Thoughts:

The Photograph is the spell-binding journey of two women, generations apart, and their stories of love, loss and life. The story alternates between Sophie’s life and experiences in the current day, and those of Rachael, almost 60 years ago.

Sophie is dealing with the struggle to conceive, yearning so much for a child that she does not pay much attention to how the people around her are dealing with things. She is a wonderful person at heart, but fails to see how her obsession affects her husband. At the brink of losing her marriage entirely, the husband and wife duo are confronted with a lot of decisions and forced to deal with their emotions. The best part of Sophie’s story is her family, who is her support system, but who also act as voices of reason when required.

More than 60 years ago, Rachael, Sophie’s grandmother loses her own mother, her husband and is forced to flee her home with her father so as not to get caught. In the midst of all this, she finds herself pregnant. As the father-daughter duo’s journey continues west, they end up in England where her father takes up teaching anthropology at the university.

Rachael fills her time and also builds bonds with the owner of the house they are staying at. As time passes, they move to Italy for almost a year so that her father can lead a dig and document the findings. What follows is a life of sun, some laughter and a passionate love that Rachael develops for a local of the island. However, the main part of her story comes from not being able to pursue this relationship and moving back home.

Rachael’s life is filled with a lot of loss and tragedy, but through all this emerges a strong willed woman who raises two children by herself and lives to see her grandchildren grow up. A quiet but dependable presence in their lives, no-one knows that she harbors a strong secret about her life and her son’s.

Sophie, in a bid to connect with her grandmother, while moving her writing desk from the attic to the living room, discovers a false back. This leads to the discovery of a photograph, the very photograph that the title refers to! What follows is a family holiday to Italy where Sophie sets out to discover the truth behind the photograph. This leads Sophie to uncover a deeply hidden truth that would change her mother and uncle’s lives forever.

The story is gripping and will keep the reader hooked until the very end. Set against some amazing backdrops, the authors ensures to describe each place with great detail, it feels as though you are also there. The emotions are many and the reader will experience them all along with the characters. The author brings out the repercussions of keeping secrets but at the same time she shows us the reasoning behind it and how it might have been necessary. Times change, the world changes and so does people’s perception of things. A compelling story, The Photograph is a must read!

Book Review : Circe by Madeline Miller

About the Book:

Circe

From the Orange Prize-winning, internationally bestselling author of The Song of Achilles comes the powerful story of the mythological witch Circe, inspired by Homer’s Odyssey

Chosen as must-read book of 2018 by the Guardian, Independent, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Express and Stylist


In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Breathing life into the ancient world, Madeline Miller weaves an intoxicating tale of gods and heroes, magic and monsters, survival and transformation.

My Thoughts:

This is one of the most talked about books at the moment, trending on every social media site possible. I found out about this book on Instagram and decided to give it a shot. I must say that I was not disappointed.

Circe by Madeline Miller gives us a peek into the lives of the Titans and Olympians as well as that of man. A beautifully written book, the story is told from Circe’s point of view, following her life from birth. In the beginning, the story focuses on the life of the Titans, the pact they have with the Olympians and Circe’s yearning to be accepted and understood. She seems to always be apart from the rest of the household, an enigma.

As time passes, she starts to discover a latent power, sleeping somewhere within her, the power of witchcraft and magic. She discovers that though she is different from her family, she has her own set of strengths. this is a story of self-discovery and along the way we meet a lot of people who help shape how Circe sees herself.

The story is masterfully crafted, introducing us to a number of familiar names at each stage, thus making this story even more enjoyable. It is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time forcing us to experience the journey with Circe. We are not just reading about her, there are many times when the descriptions are so well done that the reader becomes a part of the story, another character. We meet a whole array of people, most of whom you would have heard before, but who are shown through Circe’s eyes in this book, portraying them in a different light. Many incidents and situations are achingly familiar and we do know how it all ends, but we do not know how Circe fits into the sequence and her reactions to it. This book brings out those connections, including a wonderful introduction to Odysseus and the lasting impression he has on Circe’s life.

The beauty of the plot lies in the simplicity with which the story is written and the complexity of the characters involved. The author passes on to us the message that to love oneself is most important and to understand one’s worth. With a lot of emotions involved, the author captures Circe’s thoughts very well, giving us vivid descriptions and glimpses into the worlds beyond. This book is about Circe’s journey as she searches for love, acceptance and deals with motherhood, the challenges she faces and the joy she finds in small things.

I cannot begin to explain how much this book had me hooked, turning page after page just to see where Circe goes and how she deals with her life. I learnt a lot from her, the way she treated people, the way she interacted with them, and in the end, her understanding of her position in the world and in life.

In conclusion, I strongly recommend this book to all those who enjoy fiction and fantasy steeped in mythology.