[Review] THEY WENT LEFT by Monica Hesse, DNF (3 out of 5 stars at ~65%)

About the Book

Click here to see my promotional and giveaway post for this book, courtesy of Fantastic Flying Book Club Tours.

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Review

One day in Sosnowiec, with the war still in place, an announcement was made for families to report to the soccer stadium for a new identification system. But that was a lie. They weren’t given new ids; they were brought to concentration camps to either get killed or work like a slave. Zofia and her brother, Abek, were sorted to the right. But the rest of their family, they went left — they were killed right then and there.

Now that the war is over, Zofia is looking earnestly for her brother. Before they got separated, she promised him that they will meet again and complete their alphabet — A to Z, Abek to Zofia. But when she comes back to Sosnowiec with the help of a Russian soldier, Abek is not there, contrary to what they have agreed on. She then receives some news that she might find him in a resettlement camp in Germany. That same night, she steals money from the same soldier who helped her and hops on a train from Poland to Germany, with high hopes of finding Abek and finally bringing him home.

I was disappointed in this book. I wasn’t able to finish reading it so I switched to an audio version. I was thinking, maybe if I shake things up, I might appreciate it more. Still, that was not enough for me. The story is okay; it was Zofia’s character that irritated me. She’s just too much — too naive, too stubborn, too hopeful. I’ve read several books before with young female leads and they have just the right amount of everything, not like this. I was trying to admire her fighting spirit, but it was overflowing that I found it to be some kind of toxic positivity. The book was not terrible though; it was just not for me.

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[Tour + Giveaway + Review] THE SILENCE OF BONES by June Hur, 4 out of 5 stars

About the Book

The Silence of Bones
by June Hur
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (April 21, 2020)
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Books

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Blurb

I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak;
Ears, but I mustn’t hear;
Eyes, but I mustn’t see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly. June Hur’s elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.

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Excerpt

Click here to read an excerpt.

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Review

Inspector Han orders Damo Seol, a servant girl working for the Capital Police Bureau, to assist him while investigating Lady O’s corpse. This is Korea in the 1800s, under the Joseon dynasty, where men are not allowed to touch women, even dead ones, except for family members. This gruesome murder initially thought to be related to power is more than meets the eye, as more secrets unravel and more people get involved. Seol is a bit overwhelmed by Inspector Han’s kindness, as he’s the only one who treats her more like a thinking person instead of a good-for-nothing slave. But when the evidence to this murder points to him, will Seol remain loyal to her dear inspector?

June Hur’s The Silence of Bones crescendoes from a seemingly plain narrative to a nerve-racking murder mystery. It is a feminist read with the protagonist carrying just the right amount of grit and not trying too hard. Culturally rich and engaging, this book takes the extra mile in showing, not just telling, what was happening in Korea back then. But more importantly, it also shows what real friendship is like, and how seeking acceptance outside and not within can be deadly. While entertaining, there are moments when the plot seems elementary and the writing needs to be refined. A heart-wrenching and a hair-raising story about family, loyalty, and betrayal, The Silence of Bones is sure to keep you wide awake at night.

Trigger warnings include graphic injuries, class discrimination, sexism, violence, murder, torture, and suicide.

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Giveaway

Win a $30 gift card from an indie bookstore (US & Canada only). This giveaway runs from April 15 to April 29, 2020. Click here to enter.

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About of Author

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

JUNE HUR (‘Hur’ as in ‘her’) was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. Most of her work is inspired by her journey through life as an individual, a dreamer, and a Christian, with all its confusions, doubts, absurdities and magnificence. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto, and currently works for the public library. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel THE SILENCE OF BONES (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 2020) is a murder mystery set in Joseon Dynasty Korea (early 1800s), and also a coming-of-age tale about a girl searching for home. It was recently selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of the top debuts of Winter/Spring 2020.

She is represented by Amy Bishop of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC.

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Tour Schedule

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[Blog Tour + Giveaway] THEY WENT LEFT by Monica Hesse

About the Book

Title: They Went Left
Author: Monica Hesse 
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 7, 2020)
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Book Depository | Google Play

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Blurb

Germany, 1945. The soldiers who liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp said the war was over, but nothing feels over to eighteen-year-old Zofia Lederman. Her body has barely begun to heal; her mind feels broken. And her life is completely shattered: Three years ago, she and her younger brother, Abek, were the only members of their family to be sent to the right, away from the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Everyone else–her parents, her grandmother, radiant Aunt Maja–they went left.

Zofia’s last words to her brother were a promise: Abek to Zofia, A to Z. When I find you again, we will fill our alphabet. Now her journey to fulfill that vow takes her through Poland and Germany, and into a displaced persons camp where everyone she meets is trying to piece together a future from a painful past: Miriam, desperately searching for the twin she was separated from after they survived medical experimentation. Breine, a former heiress, who now longs only for a simple wedding with her new fiancé. And Josef, who guards his past behind a wall of secrets, and is beautiful and strange and magnetic all at once.

But the deeper Zofia digs, the more impossible her search seems. How can she find one boy in a sea of the missing? In the rubble of a broken continent, Zofia must delve into a mystery whose answers could break her–or help her rebuild her world.

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About the Author

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Monica Hesse is the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in the Blue Coat, American Fire, and The War Outside, as well as a columnist at The Washington Post writing about gender and its impact on society. She lives outside Washington, D.C. with her husband and their dog.

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Giveaway

Win (1) of (2) copies of THEY WENT LEFT by Monica Hesse (US-only).

Giveaway runs from April 8 to April 22, 2020. Click here to enter.

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Tour Schedule

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[Blog Tour] THE MOUNTAINS SING by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

About the Book

Title: THE MOUNTAINS SING
Author: Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
Publisher: Algonquin Books (March 17, 2020)

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Blurb

With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the BanyanThe Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.

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Praise for THE MOUNTAINS SING

“…lyrical, sweeping… In a subtle coda, Nguyễn brilliantly explores the boundary between what a writer shares with the world and what remains between family. This brilliant, unsparing love letter to Vietnam will move readers.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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“A sweeping tale of one family’s shifting fortunes in Vietnam across half a century. …invitingly and gracefully told. [Nguyen] is particularly adept at weaving in folktales and aphorisms to create a vivid sense of place. A richly imagined story of severed bonds amid conflict.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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“An engrossing story of family, adversity, war, loss, and triumph… Recalling Min Jin Lee and Lisa See, Nguyen displays a lush and captivating storyteller’s gift as she effortlessly transports readers to another world, leaving them wishing for more. This may be Nguyen’s first novel published here, but one can only hope it will not be the last.”

Library Journal (starred review)

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The Mountains Sing is an epic account of Vietnam’s painful 20th century history, both vast in scope and intimate in its telling. Through the travails of one family, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai brings us close to the horrors of famine, war, and class struggle. But in this moving and riveting novel, she also shows us a post-war Vietnam, a country of hope and renewal, home to a people who have never given up.” 

Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize

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“A sweeping story that positions Vietnamese life within the ​rich and luminous history of national epics like The Tale of Kieu and the Iliad. Expansive in scope and feeling, The Mountains Sing is a feat of hope, an unflinchingly felt inquiry into the past, with the courageous storytelling of the present.”

—Ocean Vuong, 2019 MacArthur Fellow and author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

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About the Author

Born into the Viet Nam War in 1973, Nguyen Phan Que Mai grew up witnessing the war’s devastation and its aftermath. She worked as a street seller and rice farmer before winning a scholarship to attend university in Australia. She is the author of eight books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction published in Vietnamese, and her writing has been translated and published in more than 10 countries, most recently in Norton’s Inheriting the War anthology. She has been honored with many awards, including the Poetry of the Year 2010 Award from the Ha Noi Writers Association, as well as many grants and fellowships. Married to a European diplomat, Que Mai is currently living in Jakarta with her two teenage children. For more information about Nguyen Phan Que Mai, visit her at www.nguyenphanquemai.com.

[Blog Tour + Giveaway] THE DEEP by Alma Katsu

About the Book

The Deep
by Alma Katsu
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Genre: Horror, Historical Fiction, Adult
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Books

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Blurb

Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic.

This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers – including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley, and Mark Fletcher – are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near-fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not – could not – have survived the sinking of the Titanic…

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Excerpt

Chapter One

October 1916
Morninggate Asylum,
Liverpool

She is not mad.

Annie Hebbley pokes her needle into the coarse gray linen, a soft color, like the feathers of the doves that entrap themselves in the chimneys here, fluttering and crying out, sometimes battering themselves to death in a vain effort to escape.

She is not mad.

Annie’s eyes follow the needle as it runs the length of the hem, weaving in and out of fabric. In and out. In and out. Sharp and shining and so precise.

But there is something in her that is hospitable to madness.

Annie has come to understand the erratic ways of the insane-the crying fits, incoherent babblings, violent flinging of hands and feet. There is, after days and weeks and years, a kind of comforting rhythm to them. But, no, she is not one of them. Of that she is certain.

Certain as the Lord and the Blessed Virgin, her da’ might once have said.

There are a dozen female patients hunched over their sewing, making the room warm and stuffy despite the meagerness of the fire. Work is thought to be palliative to nervous disorders, so many of the inmates are given jobs, particularly those who are here due more to their own poverty than any ailment of mind or body. While most of the indigent are kept in workhouses, Annie has learned, quite a few find their way to asylums instead, if there are any empty beds to keep them. Not to mention the women of sin.

Whatever their reasons for turning up at Morninggate, most of the women here are meek enough and bend themselves to the nurses’ direction. But there are a few of whom Annie is truly afraid.

She pulls in tight to herself as she works, not wanting to brush up against them, unable to shake the suspicion that madness might pass from person to person like a disease. That it festers the way a fine mold grows inside a milk bottle left too long in the sun-undetectable at first but soon sour and corrupting, until all the milk is spoiled.

Annie sits on a hard little stool in the needle room with her morning’s labor puddled in her lap, but it is the letter tucked inside her pocket that brushes up against her thoughts unwillingly, a glowing ember burning through the linen of her dress. Annie recognized the handwriting before she even saw the name on the envelope. She has reread it now at least a dozen times. In the dark cover of night, when no one is looking, she kisses it like a crucifix.

As if drawn to the sin of Annie’s thoughts, a nurse materializes at her shoulder. Annie wonders how long she has been standing there, studying Annie. This one is new. She doesn’t know Annie yet-not well, anyway. They leave Annie to the late arrivals on staff, who haven’t yet learned to be frightened of her.

“Anne, dear, Dr. Davenport would like to see you. I’m to escort you to his office.”

Annie rises from her stool. None of the other women glance up from their sewing. The nurses never turn their backs to the patients of Morninggate, so Annie shuffles down the corridor, the nurse’s presence like a hot poker at her back. If Annie could get a moment alone, she would get rid of the letter. Stash it behind the drapes, tuck it under the carpet runner. She mustn’t let the doctor find it. Just thinking of it again sends a tingle of shame through her body.

But she is never alone at Morninggate.

In the dusty reflection of the hall windows they appear like two ghosts-Annie in her pale, dove-gray uniform, the nurse in her long cream skirt, apron, and wimple. Past a long series of closed doors, locked rooms, in which the afflicted mutter and wail.

What do they scream about? What torments them so? For some, it was gin. Others were sent here by husbands, fathers, even brothers who don’t like the way their women think, don’t like that they are outspoken. But Annie shies away from learning the stories of the truly mad. There’s undoubtedly tragedy there, and Annie’s life has had enough sadness.

The building itself is large and rambling, constructed in several stages from an old East India Company warehouse that shuttered in the 1840s. In the outdoor courtyard, where the women do their exercises in the mornings, the walls are streaked with sweat and spittle, smeared with dirty handprints and smudges of dried blood. Luckily the gaslights are kept low, for economy’s sake, giving the grime a pleasantly warm hue.

They pass the men’s wing; sometimes, Annie can hear their voices through the wall, but today they’re quiet. The men and women are kept separate because some of the women suffer from a peculiar nervous disorder that makes their blood run hot. These women cannot abide the sight of a man, will break out in tremors, try to tear off their clothes, will chew through their own tongues and fall down convulsing.

Or so they say. Annie has never seen it happen. They like to tell stories about the patients, particularly the female ones.

But Annie is safe here, from the great big world. The world of men. And that is what matters. The small rooms, the narrow confines are not so different from the old cottage in Ballintoy, four tiny rooms, the roiling Irish Sea not twenty paces from her front door. Here, the air in the courtyard is ripe with the smell of ocean, too, though if it is close by, Annie cannot see it, has not seen it in four years.

It is both a comfort and a curse. Some days, she wakes from nightmares of black water rushing into her open mouth, freezing her lungs to stone. The ocean is deep and unforgiving. Families in Ballintoy have lost fathers and brothers, sisters and daughters to the sea for as long as she can remember. She’s seen the water of the Atlantic Ocean choked with hundreds of bodies. More bodies than are buried in all of Ballintoy’s graveyard.

And yet on other days, she wakes to find plaster beneath her fingernails where she has scratched at the walls, desperate to get out, to return to it. Her blood surges through her veins with the motion of the sea. She craves it.

On the far side of the courtyard they enter the small vestibule that leads to the doctors’ private rooms. The nurse indicates that Annie should step aside as she knocks and then, at a command to enter, unlocks the door to Dr. Davenport’s office. He rises from behind his desk and gestures to a chair.

Nigel Davenport is a young man. Annie likes him, has always felt he has the well-being of his patients in mind. She’s overheard the nurses talk about how difficult it is for the parish to get doctors to remain at the asylum. Their job is discouraging when so few patients respond to treatment. Plus, it’s far more lucrative to be a family doctor, setting bones and delivering babies. He is always nice to her, if formal. Whenever he sees her, he thinks about the incident with the dove. They all do. How she was found once cradling a dead bird in her arms, cooing to it like a baby.

She knows it wasn’t a baby. It was just a bird. It had fallen out of the flue, hit the hearth in a puff of loose feathers. Dirty, sooty bird, and yet beautiful in its way. She only wanted to hold it. To have something of her own to hold.

He folds his hands and rests them on the desktop. She stares at his long fingers, the way they fold into one another. She wonders if they are strong hands. It is not the first time she has wondered this. “I heard you received another letter yesterday.”

Her heart trembles inside her chest.

“It is against our policy to intrude too much on our patients’ privacy, Annie. We don’t read patients’ mail, as they do at other homes. We are not like that here.” His smile is kind, but there is a slight furrow between his brows and Annie has the strangest urge to press her finger there, to smooth the soft flesh. But of course she would never. Voluntary touching is not allowed. “Here, you may show us only of your own free will. But you can see how these letters would be a matter of concern for us, don’t you?”

His voice is gentle, encouraging, almost a physical caress in the stillness. Bait. She remains silent, as if to speak would be to touch him back. Perhaps if she doesn’t respond, he will stop pressing. Perhaps she will vanish into air if she is quiet enough. She used to play this game all the time in the vast fields and cliffsides of Ballintoy-the recollection returns with startling clarity: the Vanishing Game. Generally, it worked. She could go whole days drifting in the meadow behind the house, imagining stories, without ever being seen or spoken to. A living phantom.

The doctor stretches his neck against his high collar. He has a good, solid neck. Hands, too. He could easily overpower her. That is probably the point of such strength. “Perhaps you would like to show it to me, Annie? For your own peace of mind? It’s not good to have secrets-secrets weigh on you, hold you down.”

She shivers. She longs to share it and burns to hide it. “It’s from a friend.”

“The friend who used to work with you aboard the passenger ship?” He pauses. “Violet, wasn’t it?”

She starts to panic. “She’s working on another ship now. She says they are in dire need of help and she wonders if I would return to service.” There. It’s out.

His dark eyes study her. She cannot resist the weight of his expectation. She has never been good at saying no; all she has ever wanted was to please people, her father, her mother. To please all of them. To be good.

Like she once was.

My good Annie, the Lord favors good girls, said her da’.

She reaches into her pocket and hands him the letter. She can hardly stand to watch him read, feeling as though it is not the letter but her own body that has been exposed.

Then he glances up at her, and slowly his mouth forms a smile.

“Don’t you see, Annie?”

She knots her hands together in her lap. “See?” She knows what he’s going to say next.

“You know that you’re not really sick, not like the others, don’t you?” He says these words kindly, as though he is trying to spare her feelings. As though she doesn’t already know it. “We debated the morality of keeping you here, but we were reluctant to discharge you because- Well, frankly, we didn’t know what to do with you.”

Annie had no recollection of her own past when she was admitted to Morninggate Asylum. She woke up in one of the narrow beds, her arms and legs bruised, not to mention the awful, aching wound on her head. A constable had found her unconscious behind a public house. She didn’t appear to be a prostitute-she was neither dressed for it nor stinking of gin.

But no one knew who she was. At the time, Annie scarcely knew herself. She couldn’t even tell them her name. The physician had no choice but to sign the court order to detain her at the asylum.

Her memory has, over time, begun to return. Not all of it, though; when she tries to recall certain things, all she gets is a blur. The night the great ship went down is, of course, cut into her memory with the prismatic perfection of solid ice. It’s what came before that feels unreal. She remembers the two men, each in their turn, though sometimes she feels as though they have braided together in her mind into just one man, or all men. And then, before that: fragments of green fields and endless sermons, intoned prayer and howling northern wind. A world too unfathomably big to comprehend.

A terrible, gaping loneliness that has been her only companion for four years.

Surely it is better to be kept safe inside this place, while the world and its secrets, its wars, its false promises, are kept away, outside the thick brick walls.

Dr. Davenport looks at her with that same wavering smile. “Don’t you think, Annie?” he is saying.

“Think what?”

“It would be wrong to keep you here, with the war on. Taking up a bed that could be used for someone who is truly unwell. There are soldiers suffering from shell shock. Everton Alley teems with poor and broken spirits, tormented by demons from their time on the battlefield.” His eyes are dark and very steady. They linger on hers. “You must write to the White Star office and ask for your old job, as your friend suggests. It’s the right thing to do under the circumstances.”

She is stunned, not by his assertions but that this is all happening so quickly. She is having trouble keeping up with his words. A slow dread creeps into her chest.

“You’re fine, my dear. You’re just scared. It’s understandable-but you’ll be right as rain once you see your friend and start working again. It’s about time, anyway, don’t you think?”

She can’t help but feel stubbornly rejected, spurned, almost. For four years, she’s managed things so that she could stay. Kept her secrets. Was careful not to disrupt anything, not to do anything wrong.

She has been so good.

Now her life, her home, the only security she knows, is being ripped away from her and she is once more being forced out into the unknown.

But there is no turning back. She knows she cannot refuse him this, cannot refuse him anything. Not when he has been so kind.

He folds up the letter and holds it out to her. Her gaze lingers on his strong hands. Her fingers brush against his when she takes it back. Forbidden.

“I should be happy to sign the release papers,” her doctor says. “Congratulations, Miss Hebbley, on your return to the world.”

~

3 October 1916

My dear Annie,

I hope this letter finds you. Yes, I am writing again even though I have not heard from you since the letter you sent via the White Star Line head office. You can understand why I continue to write. I pray your condition has not worsened. I was sorry to read of your current situation, although, from your letter, you do not sound unwell to me. Can you ever forgive me for losing track of you after that Terrible Night? I didn’t know if you had lived or died. I feared I would never see you again.

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About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

Alma Katsu is the author of The Hunger, a re-imagining of the story of the Donner Party with a horror twist. The Hunger made NPR’s list of the 100 Best Horror Stories, was named one of the best novels of 2018 by the Observer, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books (and more), and was nominated for a Stoker and Locus Award for best horror novel.

The Taker, her debut novel, has been compared to the early works of Anne Rice and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander for combining historical, the supernatural, and fantasy into one story. The Taker was named a Top Ten Debut Novel of 2011 by Booklist, was nominated for a Goodreads Readers Choice award, and has been published in over 10 languages. It is the first in an award-winning trilogy that includes The Reckoning and The Descent.

​Ms. Katsu lives outside of Washington DC with her husband, musician Bruce Katsu. In addition to her novels, she has been a signature reviewer for Publishers Weekly, and a contributor to the Huffington Post. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Program and Brandeis University, where she studied with novelist John Irving. She also is an alumni of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

Prior to publication of her first novel, Ms. Katsu had a long career in intelligence, working for several US agencies and a think tank. She currently is a consultant on emerging technologies. Additional information can be found on Wikipedia and in this interview with Ozy.com.

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Giveaway

Win a finished copy of THE DEEP by Alma Katsu (US Only). This giveaway runs from March 10 to 24, 2020. Click here to enter.

For more chances of winning, you may also join the giveaway on Instagram. Follow @books_andpoetrii and check my The Degenerates post.

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Tour Schedule

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[Blog Tour + Giveaway] THE DEGENERATES by J. Albert Mann

About the Book

The Degenerates
by J. Albert Mann
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Books

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Blurb

In the tradition of Girl, Interrupted, this fiery historical novel follows four young women in the early 20th century whose lives intersect when they are locked up by a world that took the poor, the disabled, the marginalized—and institutionalized them for life.

The Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded is not a happy place. The young women who are already there certainly don’t think so. Not Maxine, who is doing everything she can to protect her younger sister Rose in an institution where vicious attendants and bullying older girls treat them as the morons, imbeciles, and idiots the doctors have deemed them to be. Not Alice, either, who was left there when her brother couldn’t bring himself to support a sister with a club foot. And not London, who has just been dragged there from the best foster situation she’s ever had, thanks to one unexpected, life-altering moment. Each girl is determined to change her fate, no matter what it takes.

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About the Author

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram

J. Albert Mann is the author of six novels for children, with S&S Atheneum Books for Young Readers set to publish her next work of historical fiction about the Eugenics Movement and the rise of institutionalism in the United States. She is also the author of short stories and poems for children featured in Highlights for Children, where she won the Highlights Fiction Award, as well as the Highlights Editors’ Choice Award. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and is the Director of the WNDB Internship Grant Committee. 

Jennifer is represented by Kerry Sparks at Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency.

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Giveaway

Win (1) copy of THE DEGENERATES by J. Albert Mann (US Only). This giveaway runs from March 11 to 25, 2020. Click here to enter the blog tour giveaway.

For more chances of winning, you may also join the giveaway on Instagram. Follow @books_andpoetrii and check my The Degenerates post.

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Tour Schedule

Click the banner below to see the complete schedule for this Fantastic Flying Book Club blog tour.

[Review] WAVERLY by Amy Bellamy, 5 out of 5 stars

About the Book

Title: Waverly
Author: Amy Bellamy
Publisher: Independently published (February 27, 2019)
Find it on: Amazon | Goodreads | Google Books

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Review

Amy Bellamy’s Waverly is about the tragic fate of Daniel Porter, a person of color, in the summer of 1936. Sarah Harper is a struggling attorney assistant and graduate student. She works her way out as she balances her job, her research paper, and her efforts to conceive. One day, she relays her scholarly struggles to her grandfather, James. Wanting to help his beloved Sarah, he then suggests taking a look at Daniel Porter’s case, which also happens to be the last public hanging in the US. As soon as Sarah digs into this case, she knows something is definitely not right. But will she be able to right the wrongs once she finds out the truth?

By using multiple points of view, this narrative is able to provide depth to each of the characters. It seamlessly jumps from present to past, and vice versa, as it tells a story based on true events. Complex is the best word to describe this suspense; it gives hints here and there; it shows a lot of possibilities to ponder on, but the ending still remains unexpected. Blood-boiling and frustrating, this book will make you question morals and societal standards. It will haunt you with questions like: What is right? What is accepted? What do people deserve? It provokes not only the heart but also the mind. Typo errors are present, but they are not that distracting. Trigger warnings include a public hanging, pregnancy issues, death of a loved one (including a baby), domestic abuse, alcohol and gambling problems, rape, murder, theft, racial discrimination, dementia, and social injustice.

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This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. Check my sidebar; follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts for more bookish stuff and honest reviews!