Book Review: An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham

A very Happy Publication Day to author Siobhan Curham for the release of An American In Paris today, 04.01.2021

About the Book:

An American in Paris

Walking through Montmartre that morning was like the eerie calm right before a storm. The roads were deserted. We carried on, arm in arm, and then finally, we saw them. Columns and columns of soldiers, spreading through the streets like a toxic grey vapour. ‘You must write about this,’ he whispered to me. ‘You must write about the day freedom left Paris.’

1937: Florence has dreamed her whole life of coming to Paris. She arrives on a sweltering summer day and, lost on the steep streets of Montmartre, asks for directions from Otto, a young artist with paint-spattered clothes and the most beautiful smile she has ever seen.

Otto becomes her guide to Paris, taking her to visit paintings in the Louvre and bookshops by the Seine. And when Otto returns home to finish his studies, they vow to reunite on the same spot they met, one year to the day.

Still dreaming of their parting kiss, Florence starts writing for an American newspaper and throws herself into becoming truly Parisian. All too soon, heady days of parties and champagne are replaced by rumours of war. When Otto finally returns to her, it is as an exile, fleeing Nazi persecution.

Soon, not even Paris is safe. Florence’s articles now document life under occupation and hide coded messages from the Resistance. But with the man she loves in terrible danger, her words feel hollow and powerless. If Florence risks everything by accepting a dangerous mission, can she rescue their dreams from that sunny day before the war?

A sweeping wartime story that will capture your heart and never let it go. Fans of The Alice NetworkThe Lost Girls of Paris and My Name is Eva will be absolutely gripped from the very first page.

My Thoughts:

Note: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

An American in Paris is a sweeping tale of love and loss, the impacts of WWII on people and the resilience of some to take a stand. The book is written from two perspectives, following dual timelines, on set in the time from 1937 – 1945 and the other in the present day which in the book is the year 2018.

In the present day part we are introduced to Sage who is on an emotional spiral and messes up her public persona while trying to deal with the grief of her mother’s passing. As she tries to deal with the aftermath of her scandalous viral videos, she receives an email that may just change her life and give her the answers that her mother may have once searched for.

As the story progresses, the reader is also introduced to Florence, an American dancer who comes to Paris in 1937. The author treats us to two different stories, one of Florence who finds love and laughter, a purpose in life until the war begins and starts to affect France, and that of Sage who embarks on a journey of discovery.

Though Sage is featured in the book, I feel that her character and that of Sam were just to provide perspective and a connection to the past. The main focus is on Florence and her story. It is one of strength, bravery and the will to fight back as well as of enduing love and faith. It is both heart warming and heart-breaking to read, but will draw the reader in completely until the very end. The author does a wonderful job in painting a picture of war torn France, the impact it had on the people and how they were treated. A lot of research has definitely gone into the historical facts as many of them could be verified as well.

The plot flows well starting from the beginning and going on until the end of the war and the aftermath. The characters are relatable and their experiences harrowing to say the least. Since I have visited Paris many times, it was wonderful for me to read about Florence’s emotions while discovering Montmartre and Musée du Louvre as well as my personal favourite, the bookstore Shakespeare and Company.

Be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster and a story that will cause the reader to pause and think. This book is well worth the read and I highly recommend it!

Book Promotion Directory by Deena Rae (2021 edition)

BOOK PROMOTION DIRECTORY INFORMATION

Book Description:

The Book Promotion Directory lists blogs and book promotion providers to help Indie Authors promote and market their books. Information included: 

  • Genre focus
  • Web address
  • Contact information 
  • Post types
  • Pricing range for on-blog promotion
  • Reviews offered
  • Turnaround time for reviews
  • And more….

Book Promotion companies show contact information, what genres they are equipped to promote, services offered and pricing range.

With more than 180 blogs and almost 40 book promotion companies, complete with live links to facilitate easy contact, this is a must-have for authors looking to promote their new releases and backlist titles. 

Bonus material of almost 200 other book promotion avenues as a starting point to help authors start building their own promotion blueprint.

Availability and Links:

The eBook is widely available at Amazon, iTunes, B&N, Kobo, etc.

Print Book is available on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2MaFazF 

 

About the Author:

Deena Rae was born and raised in Texas — home of bluebonnets, boots, beef and big hair — into a family that was in the printing and publishing industries. Her father was a computer programmer for major newspapers when the equipment took up whole rooms and her mother has been a publisher for almost 30 years — trying, unsuccessfully, to bring her into the family business.

She was happily living her life, but then through a series of events (unfortunate and fortunate), she officially joined The Book Connection — her mother’s publishing and packaging company — as the Digital Director, to create the e-publishing division in 2011. Her computer skills, willingness to help authors, love of literature, no-nonsense attitude and quick wit has helped shepherd many authors through the maze of digital publishing.

Quickly deciding she wanted to offer her services to more authors than just the ones her mother represented, she branched out on her own, opening E-BookBuilders January of 2012. The rest is history.

Contact the Author:

 

Note: redpillows is listed in the Book Promotion Directory.

Book Review: Shelly’s Stocking Goes Missing by Anitha Rathod

About the Book:

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Publication date: Dec 4, 2018

Word count: 545

Age Group: 2-5

Shelly painstakingly makes a stocking from an old bag. The stocking then flies to the town and cannot find its way back. Read the book to know if Shelly’s Stocking returns and if Shelly gets her presents this Christmas.

 

 

Connect with the Author:

My Thoughts:
Shelly’s Stocking Goes Missing is a very simple and pleasant story of how Shelly makes a stocking for Christmas hoping to receive her present in it. The story is very simple and narrated in poetry form. The author show the reader that Shelly is resourceful and creative as she figures out how to convert a shopping bag into a stocking and decorate it. The pictures are well done and will ensure that children are drawn in to the story. It is quite an enjoyable read for little kids!

Book Review – My Name is Anton: A Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde

About the Book:

My Name is Anton: A Novel

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde returns with a hopeful novel of sacrifice, two lost souls, and enduring love.

It’s 1965, and life has taken a turn for eighteen-year-old Anton Addison-Rice. Nearly a year after his brother died in a tragic accident, Anton is still wounded—physically and emotionally. Alone for the holidays, he catches a glimpse of his neighbor Edith across the street one evening and realizes that she’s in danger.

Anton is determined to help Edith leave her abusive marriage. Frightened and fifteen years Anton’s senior, Edith is slow to trust. But when she needs a safe place to stay, she lets down her guard, and over the course of ten days an unlikely friendship grows. As Anton falls hopelessly and selflessly in love, Edith fears both her husband finding her and Anton getting hurt. She must disappear without telling anyone where she’s going—even Anton.

If keeping Edith safe means letting her go, Anton will say goodbye forever. Or so he believes. What would happen, though, if one day their paths should cross again?

My Thoughts:

Catherine Ryan Hyde’s books always have a theme and a message and they are delivered so beautifully, it is impossible to miss her books! I have read many books by her and I am left amazed every single time. Even though a lot of the themes focus on loss, life, unconditional love, memories, relationships, bonds and so many more, each book is different from the other.

My Name is Anton is the story of a seventeen year old boy named Anton, who is trying to figure out his identity as well as reconcile the death of his grandfather, his brother and the partial loss of his right hand. Anton is both physically and mentally wounded and in the midst of the emotional conflicts, he happens upon Edith. Edith is in an abusive marriage and after one incident is witnessed by Anton, by chance, he makes it his mission to help her get away!

This book is a romance novel, which in itself is a different book for the author. It talks of unconditional love that lets go, the kind of love where a person learns to be unselfish and sacrifice all for the safety and happiness of the other person. Anton let’s Edith go one time and as fate brings them back many years later, it remains to be seen whether such love endures and how it affects people.

I love the characters of Grand-uncle Gregor and Grandma Marion. They bring light into Anton’s life and support him when he needed it the most with compassion and understanding. The circumstances behind the death of Anton’s brother are extremely sad and the author touches upon Mental Health and discusses it in a very delicate manner. The fact that it is important to acknowledge and deal with is brought out in a subtle yet straight forward manner through the experiences of the characters.

Overall this story starts of a little slowly, first focusing on the growing friendship between Anton and Edith and later focusing on how Anton learns to cope with life, his disability and grows into a more confident individual all things considered. The reader is in for an emotional rollercoaster that will make you sad at times, empathize with the characters and finally laugh with them as they find the light and joy!

I highly recommend this book just as I do with all of the books by the author!

Note: I was approved a copy of the book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

Book Blitz: The Secret of Plants in the Environment by Rishikesh Upadhyay

 

Book Title: The Secret of Plants in the Environment

Author: Rishikesh Upadhyay

Genre: Non-fiction, Botany, Environment, Nature 

Published in April, 2020

Amazon IN: https://www.amazon.in/dp/1648509207

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1648509207

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-secret-of-plants-in-the-environment-rishikeshupadhyay/1137179625

 

About the Book:

Plants are sessile organisms that are unable to move but face the challenge of everchanging or adverse environments. The study of the development of environmental changes in tolerant plants is fundamental for the maintenance and streamlining of high crop yields and plant adaptation in natural environments. The identification of genes that lead to changes or stress tolerance is urgently needed for the growth and development of plants in their natural environment.

The Secret of Plants in the Environment addresses environmental concerns such as the different types of stress situations and plant adaptation to changing environments, including the positive and negative effects of stress on the growth of crops, the beginning stages of plant life cycles, and plant output. This book seeks to discuss the impact of environmental changes or stress on plant life, environmental stress physiology, and adaptation mechanisms. It highlights the impact of environmental stresses on plants and crops under changing environments and gives a comprehensive overview of how plants respond to such environments.

In addition, it serves as a helpful guide to students and to all professionals engaged in teaching and research on environmental-related subjects. It dwells on some important aspects of environmental change or stress as the main issue affecting the survival of plants at the early stages of their life cycle. Hence, the author hopes that both early-career scientists and research scholars interested in pursuing environmental science to an advanced stage would also benefit from the important information discussed in this book.

 

About the Author:

Dr. Rishikesh Upadhyay, also known R K Upadhyay was born and grew up in a small Nepalis’ hamlet, just a few kilometres of Haflong, the district headquarters of North Cachar Hills, India, Rishikesh Upadhyay is an author, Assistant Professor and researcher. He loves learning and teaching to expand his horizons and ideas. Currently, he’s now teaching Plant Environmental Physiology and Chemistry at a local government college affiliated to Assam University, India.

Connect with the author:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RKUpadhy
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17275904.Rishikesh_Upadhyay
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/rishikeshupadhyay

Book Review: Forget Russia by L. Bordetsky-Williams

This is my first book review post for 2021! Happy New Year everyone!

I was provided with a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am a little late in finishing up this book due to all the parallel work and books I was reading, but I have finished it now. so read on to know my thoughts.

About the Book:

“Your problem is you have a Russian soul,” Anna’s mother tells her. In 1980, Anna is a naïve UConn senior studying abroad in Moscow at the height of the Cold War—and a second-generation Russian Jew raised on a calamitous family history of abandonment, Czarist-era pogroms, and Soviet-style terror. As Anna dodges date rapists, KGB agents, and smooth-talking black marketeers while navigating an alien culture for the first time, she must come to terms with the aspects of the past that haunt her own life. With its intricate insight into the everyday rhythms of an almost forgotten way of life in Brezhnev’s Soviet Union, Forget Russia is a disquieting multi-generational epic about coming of age, forgotten history, and the loss of innocence in all of its forms.

My Thoughts:

Forget Russia follows Anna as she spends some time studying abroad in Moscow, trying to piece together her roots and experience the Russia of her grandmother’s time. Even though her mother discourages her, this is something that she feels she has to do.

The story jumps back and forth between Anna’s experiences and her grandmother Sarah’s story, thus giving us a glimpse into the past and how they came to be in the US. The author also elaborates on the situation in Russia, the Cold War and the lives of the people. Even though I do not know much about Russian history, it was great to read this book and learn a little something about it. However, I cannot attest to the correctness of the events and so I will not comment upon them.

The author does a good job of narrating the characters experiences and thus taking the reader into a world thus far slightly unexplored! As a result, I enjoyed reading this book and getting to know the various people in it. They were well thought out and I am sure reflect some of what people really experienced.

I would recommend this book for those who would like to read about experiences and a book set in Russia.

Book Review: Murder in the Snow (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #4) by Verity Bright

This is going to be my last book review for year 2020! WOW! It has been a  wonderful year with respect to books and reading for me!

About the Book:

Murder in the Snow (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #4)

An English Christmas has mince pies, cheerful carols, a twinkling tree… and a murder? Thank goodness Lady Swift is on the scene!

Winter, 1920. Amateur sleuth Lady Eleanor Swift is feeling festive. She is playing host to the entire village at Henley Hall for gifts, games and gingerbread. She’s also purchased perfect presents for each of her household – not forgetting the biggest bone in the butcher’s shop for her partner in crime, Gladstone the bulldog – and is looking forward to celebrating her first English country Christmas.

As snowflakes fall, Eleanor is cheering on contestants in the traditional Christmas fun run in the grounds of the Hall. But tragedy strikes when one of the runners drops dead at the finish line. Dashing Detective Seldon is convinced it’s just a heart attack, but Eleanor isn’t so sure. When she finds a rather distinctive key where the man fell, Eleanor knows she’ll never rest until she finds out the truth about what happened in her own home.

Next the vicar is taken ill with what looks like poison and Eleanor starts to wonder if the two cases are linked. When someone tries to frame her by planting poisoned berries in her own kitchen, she knows speed is of the essence. But the entire village was at Henley Hall for the festivities and Eleanor has enough suspects to stuff a town full of turkeys. Can she nail the true killer and clear her name in time for Christmas?

Christmas won’t be complete without it! A festive treat for fans of Agatha Christie, TE Kinsey and Lee Strauss.

My Thoughts:

I requested for and was approved a copy of this book on NetGalley thanks to the publisher Bookouture!

Murder in the Snow is the fourth book in the Eleanor Swift mystery series and thankfully can be read as a standalone. The story, set in the winter of 1920, follows Eleanor as she plays host to the entire village, bringing everyone together for Christmas celebrations. What she does not expect is for one of the contestants to collapse and be declared dead from a possible heart-attack. As her investigative instincts kick in, Eleanor starts to figure the whole thing out when her butler agrees that it seems suspicious.

There are minimal references to her adventures and previous mysteries solved, but these do not take away from the story, nor do they create any confusion for the reader! With a lot happening in the book, the reader is in for unexpected surprises as Eleanor proceeds with her investigation, many times in the most unladylike manner for the 1920s. However, this just adds to her endearing character and makes the reader fall in love with her. The other characters in the book are charming and the best is Mr. Clifford! I adore how he handled the house and supported Eleanor in spite of just being her butler. His connection to her late uncle seems to add some intrigue to his character.

The story is very well-written and mixed in with festive cheer. I enjoyed reading about how the people amused themselves in this rather picturesque setting. This murder mystery is definitely worth the read and I look forward to reading more about Eleanor’s adventures!

Round-up of the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2020!

At the beginning of the year I had planned to read around 50 books (keeping in mind my work schedules and timelines). However, as a result of the pandemic and work from home situation, I was able to increase this number up to 74!

As per the Goodreads stats, the longest book I read was Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer (671 pages), Edwards take on the events that occur in Twilight.

The shortest book read, with just 24 pages was a delightful children’s book titled Dinosaur Adventure: A Field Trip to Remember (Let’s Learn While Playing #2) by Kelly Santana-Banks

It also turns out that my average rating is 3.5 stars!

I love how Goodreads has summarized the books and my year. Check out my list here.

MY 2020 BOOKS
The Tower Lord by Anthony RyanA Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid KemmererShadow Trials by Isla FrostFirstborn Academy by Isla FrostFirstborn Academy by Isla Frost
The Selection by Kiera CassThe One by Kiera CassThe Elite by Kiera CassHouse of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. MaasTwo Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Inebriated by Katey TaylorLegendary by Stephanie GarberDragon Connection by Ava RichardsonFinale by Stephanie GarberSunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten WhiteQueen of Corvids by J.C. McKenzieRescuing Lord Inglewood by Sally BrittonPrejudice Meets Pride by Rachael AndersonA History of Hexing by Evie Wilde
Keep Forever by Alexa KingaardThe School for Good and Evil by Soman ChainaniThe Girl in the Corner by Amanda ProwseA Torch Against the Night by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa TahirAsh Princess by Laura SebastianLady Smoke by Laura SebastianEmber Queen by Laura SebastianWrong Place, Right Time by E.B. Roshan
Summer at Hope Haven by Kristin HarperLucy's Last Chance by Elle SweetMidnight Sun by Stephenie MeyerWho Threw Draco Down the Chimney? by Smita BhattacharyaThe Damned by Renée Ahdieh
The Beautiful by Renée AhdiehThe Guilty Die Twice by Don HartshornThorne Bay by Jeanine CroftProject Hackathon by Arushi AggarwalTwo Murders Too Many by Bluette Matthey
Return to Virgin River by Robyn CarrThe Pigeon Whisperer by Motaz H MatarHinterland by L.M. BrownThe Tech by Mark RavineDinosaur Adventure by Kelly Santana-Banks
Aunt Ivy's Cottage by Kristin HarperPrism by Nina WalkerThe Pageant by Leigh WalkerThe Gala by Leigh WalkerFracture by Nina Walker
The Finale by Leigh Walker337 by M. Jonathan LeeTen Days with a Duke by Erica RidleyThe Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet NathRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt HandlerBeyond Belief by Ronald CrouchThe Eye of Ra by Ben GartnerSol Invictus by Ben GartnerThe Case of the Smuggler’s Curse by F.S. Dawson
Murder at the Lakeside Library by Holly DanversThe Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie MidwoodNever Say No by Elizabeth NeepA ​Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir58 Farm End by Natasha Murray
Across the Lake by Nancy LiPetriWedding Bells on Victory Street by Pam HowesForever Your Duke by Erica RidleyChronicles of a Spell Caster by J.J. SingletonSummer of L.U.C.K. by Laura Segal Stegman
Midnight Train to Prague by Carol WindleyThe Lost Village by Daniela SacerdotiAlessia in Atlantis: The Forbidden VialMurder in the Snow (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #4)

Do share your thoughts on the books I’ve read and don’t hesitate to leave recommendations for books to read in 2021!

Book Review – Alessia in Atlantis: The Forbidden Vial by Nathalie Laine

About the Book:

A fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Keeper of the Lost Cities and His Dark Materials

It’s not unusual for twelve-year-old Alessia to lose control of her emotions and create a scene at school. It is unusual for her to be attacked by a giant frog monster and plunged into the underwater realm of Atlantis in an overturned boat.

On arriving in Atlantis, she learns that her long-lost father may have been from there. Determined to investigate, she stays and enrolls in Atlantide school: The Octopus’s Garden.

But uncovering the truth is not easy when the tyrannical Atlantide Emperor forbids asking about missing people. With the help of her newfound school friends, Alessia will have to steal evidence from a grumpy teacher, escape from rebel merfolk and make rhymes with menacing blue people of Minch to discover the key to her past.

Meanwhile, someone knows exactly who she’s the daughter of, and is ready to kill her for it.

My Thoughts:

I was approved a copy of this book via NetGalley.

I am so grateful to have gotten the chance to read this book! Alessia in Atlantis is a wonderfully written middle grade fantasy fiction that takes the reader into the depths of Atlantis. We are introduced to Alessia, a twelve year old who doesn’t seem to always have control over her emotions and who finds it difficult to make friends. When she hears a sirens call (quite unusual for humans) and ends up in Atlantis, she makes the decision to stay in hopes of finding out more about her father.

I loved reading about the lost city and the creatures who inhabit it. The author has done a wonderful job with the descriptions and paints a lovely picture. The characters in the book are fun to read about and I love how Alessia’s friends move in to help her in her search. As the story progresses, the reader is taken on a journey through Atlantis as secrets are revealed and all is not as it seems!

The book is gripping and absolutely worth the read. This book though aimed at middle grades, is a wonderful read even for adults! I do hope to read more by the author about Alessia’s adventures.

WWW WEDNESDAY – 30/12/2020

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

 ——————————————————————————————————————

What are you currently reading?

My Name is Anton: A Novel

 

I am a huge fan of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s books and am delighted to be reading this one albeit a little late in the day!

Her books always touch upon sensitive themes and carry wonderful messages that touch the reader like no other!

 

 

 

What did you recently finish reading?

Summer of L.U.C.K. The Lost Village

I have recently finished reading Summer of L.U.C.K. by Laura Segal Stegman, a middle grade fiction that focuses on three children, their insecurities and how they learn to overcome them.

The Lost Village by Daniela Sacerdoti is a story of secrets and unravelling them set in the time of WWII and hence it comes under Historical Fiction.

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

My TBR list is so big that I do not know where to start, but I have the following lined up (images are hyperlinks to the goodreads page for the book)

An American in Paris    The Wraith's Memory