Search This Blog for Authors, Publishers, Reviewers and Books

Add Your Logo or Avatar to This New Book Review Reader List:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Women's Fiction Set in Middle East Reviewed


The Confusion of Languages                                   
Women's Fiction
ISBN-10: 0399158928
ISBN-13: 978-0399158926

Reviewed by Idelle Kursman Originally for Luck Can Change


This past weekend I read a book I couldn't put down: The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon. It intrigued me because it takes place in the Middle Eastern country of Jordan during the Arab Spring and the characters are Americans connected with the US embassy. How often do readers get the opportunity to read a story in this setting?

However, politics was not the main subject. Rather, it was about two wives of US soldiers and their intricate relationship involving loyalty, jealousy, and dependence. Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw strike a friendship but tension lies below the surface: Margaret has a baby while Cassie is infertile, Cassie is vigilant about security while Margaret laughs off her concerns, and Cassie is organized while Margaret is careless. Then one day Margaret asks Cassie to babysit her son while she is supposed to go on a quick errand but ends up disappearing. Cassie then discovers her friend’s inner turmoil and realizes what she has observed on the surface is far more complicated. Adding to the friction are the misunderstandings in behavioral protocol between the sexes on Margaret's part, which results in tragic consequences. 

The relationship between the women weaves a tale not to be easily forgotten. Despite the tensions and resentments, there is love, loyalty, and forgiveness. The writing is exquisite and the reader can feel empathy for both Cassie and Margaret. The male characters, however, are vague, their actions and motivations at times unclear. But this story is a page-turner that will leave the reader reflecting about the trials of the characters long after finishing the book.

Reading about everyday life in Jordan is a rare opportunity. Author Fallon explains the mores and values of this Islamic country and gives one a glimpse of Middle Eastern culture. Since Fallon has lived in Jordan, this glimpse feels authentic. The reader sees the good as well as the challenges. For instance, Arabs demonstrate great hospitality to strangers; yet when a conflict arises, they will defend their own over what is right.

While I don't want to give away the ending, I'll say luck does not change for the characters—they don't experience the redemption they crave. However, one couple learns to appreciate what they have even if their lives are less than perfect.


MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Idelle Kursman is the author of True Mercy.

MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ) that covers 325 jam-packed pages covering everithing from Amazon vine to writing reviews for profit and promotion. Reviewers will have a special interest in the chapter on how to make reviewing pay, either as way to market their own books or as a career path--ethically!

This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Mad Librarian Gets Five Stars From Red-Headed Book Lover

MAD Librarian
Author: Michael Guillebeau
Genre: Women’s Crime Humor
ISBN: 978-0-9972-0552-7 

Published by Madison Press
Available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon here

Reviewed by Aimee Ann Originally for Red Headed Book Lover Reviews 



MAD Librarian follows the incredible Serenity Hammer. Serenity is a librarian, but she is so 
much morethan this as she is a librarian with a cause, in other words, she is on a mission, 
and nothing will get in her way! She lived in a quaint town in Maddington, it is her home,
 and she adores it, especially her precious library! However, her library is under threat
 thanks to the politicians who want to close it down for good. This is a sad truth which 
is happening in the world today, but I will discuss this more later! Serenity, however, 
is strong and powerful, just as powerful as the pushy politicians she has to deal with 
and so, she conjures up a plan and decides to fight back, 
and this is the premise of this intriguing, humorous novel.











I adored everything about this wacky novel, it may be a humorous book, but it is so much more
than this as it is full of twists and turns galore that will keep you entertained from beginning
 to end. It is funny and incredibly enjoyable, but it also has some serious moments
 for those readers who like a novel with some depth.  I adored the underlining 
theme of this story which was,  the fact that libraries
are being closed all over. It is a sad reality, and I hate it so much, the ones that are 
still open are being updated to suit the technological age, and that is so sad to me as 
 am a huge traditionalist.

My point is, I adored how the author of this wonderful novel explored this theme and
 based a whole story around it so well done Michael Guillebeau!


MAD Librarian has a host of eccentric, unique characters, they were certainly ‘out there’
but they were brilliant, and they propelled the story of the book along perfectly. I particularly 
loved Serenity; I thought she was a brilliant protagonist and unique. Now that I think about it 
I can’t think of another protagonist to compare her too, so that shows how unique and special
 she is!

As well as the characters being superb, so is the incredible dialogues. The long sentences were
wonderful and made me engrossed in the novel. It was like the author’s words were spiked with
adrenaline because I found that when I started reading, I could not stop! He is a wonderful,
 talented author and so I would implore all of you lovely readers to read this book!

To conclude my thoughts on Mad Librarian, I would say if you are looking for a unique,
fun, entertaining novel that will keep you hooked from beginning to end then this excellent
book is for you! This incredible read gets Five Stars from me!





Breaking Bad for Librarians. Cayocosta72 Reviews said, “This book is truly every librarian’s dream come true."  Half of all income goes to the Awesome Foundation for Innovation in Libraries. Available at https://www.amazon.com/MAD-Librarian-Michael-Guillebeau-ebook/dp/B075LQD1LB/


MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ) that covers 325 jam-packed pages covering everithing from Amazon vine to writing reviews for profit and promotion. 

This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Science Fiction Novel Featuring NASA Reviewed

Book Title: Beyond The Milky Way
Author:  Aithal
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Season Ball
ISBN: 978-1522858515
Purchase link: myBook.to/BTMW

Earth is dying; leeched of its natural resources and overwhelmed by pollution, it is becoming uninhabitable to human life at an alarming rate. With Congress planning to cut NASA's budget, NASA makes one last effort to demonstrate that space exploration is necessary to the survival of the human race by sending a shuttle to explore a planet that appears to be habitable.

Reviewed by Charity Rowell Originally for Kindle Book Review


When the shuttle encounters an anomaly in space, the crew finds itself on a different planet that is foreign, yet eerily familiar. 

When I was contacted by the author to review Beyond The Milky Way, I was excited because I enjoyed his previous novel, India Was One, and I was curious to see how the author's flair for imagery and philosophy would work in a science fiction novel. I was not disappointed. The author's writing was thoughtful, well-written, and insightful; the imagery and details were exquisite. I was immediately drawn into the story, and had trouble putting the book down. I was also pleased to see that the author included artwork at the beginning of each chapter; the illustrations give readers a hint of what each chapter holds.

The end of Beyond The Milky Way is impressive. While not everything is resolved, the ending does not seem abrupt; it seems like a natural pause during which readers can ponder and absorb everything that they read. 

Beyond The Milky Way is a unique and imaginative science fiction novel that explores human nature and makes readers ask, "What if?" I am really looking forward to reading the second book in this series.
 
DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review also appeared on Goodreads.


MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ) that covers 325 jam-packed pages covering everithing from Amazon vine to writing reviews for profit and promotion. 

This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Judith Skillman Offers Skilled Review of Poetry Chapbook

by Carol Smallwood

Publisher: Finishing Line Press, 2017, 
$18.99 [paper] 
ISNB 978-1635342338
85 pp.
Formerly published in Ragazine, http://ragzine.cc; Scarlet Leaf Review, https://www.scarletleafreview.com; Mom Egg Review, http://momeggreview.com 

Reviewed by Judith Skillman

Carol Smallwood’s new collection, Prisms Particles, and Refractions, is at once playful and serious. Her work in this volume ranges from extremely concise poems such as “On Days of Slow Rain” where the speaker becomes “a child again / longing to read / darkened tree bark/like Braille” (53) to the four-page oeuvre written in journal form, “A Late Summer Diary.” The fact that these two poems are neighbors makes the transition between short and long more emphatic, and creates echoes and resonances.

As Smallwood deftly moves through a variety of content and subject matter, the reader gets a sense of an unpredictable world, despite the anchor of a wealth of scientific evidence to the contrary. Facts are posited, yet not accepted as givens. For instance, in “We See,” the persona examines exactly how we do see and absorb light, and questions knowledge imparted during college years. Here, the title becomes the first line: “We See / with rods and cones I learned / in college—it may not be true/today…” (13). As this poem deepens, mirrors, faces, and sacrifice come into play, as well as the automatic adjustment made by the retina from upside down to right side up. This piece is emblematic of Smallwood’s gift—focused examinations that lead to “aha” moments for both writer and reader.

The poems in this book have been published in many journals. Clearly the art of poetry is one Ms. Smallwood has lived and learned. Her forms range from cinquain to villanelle to sestina; she switches from formal to free verse with ease. The myriad references and allusions in these poems draw from philosophy, psychology, physics, metaphysics, history, and literature.

“A Prufrock Measurement” (74) employs playfulness and formal rhyme in order to merge two vastly different subjects—contemporary fast food proliferation with the persona of Eliot’s Prufrock. This willingness to draw from disparate sources creates a prismatic effect: varied and brilliant. In the introduction, Smallwood states her intention to present poems “aimed at capturing…aspects of light…and light as metaphor.” It is this reviewer’s sense that she has succeeded.

MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER


Judith Skillman’s recent book is Kafka’s Shadow, Deerbrook Editions. Her work has appeared in LitMag, Shenandoah, Zyzzyva, FIELD, and elsewhere. Awards include an Eric Mathieu King Fund grant from the Academy of American Poets. She is a faculty member at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle, Washington. Visit www.judithskillman.com

MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ) that covers 325 jam-packed pages covering everithing from Amazon vine to writing reviews for profit and promotion. 

This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.