I thought Secrets of the Velvet Closet: A Memoir by Lena Rai was fascinating and hard to put down. Rai grew up knowing she was a lesbian but attempted to live the straight life by getting married. She suffered from both mental and physical abuse all through her life. This is the story about her life and how she finally found the happiness she deserved.
The reason I loved Secrets of the Velvet Closet was because it had a little bit of everything in it. It was funny because Rai offered her honest opinions on every situation that occurred. Like when she was young and would attend church just for the snacks or her first sexual experience with a male. My personal favorite was her Communion story. The book also contains a lot of drama, such as the abuse that Rai’s husband put her through as well as growing up with an alcoholic mother. Rai also discusses her love life throughout the book. The way Rai writes the story is casual. I felt as if we were sitting at a bus stop and she was telling me about her life. I admire Rai for forgiving her mother and letting her be a part of her life in spite of everything she put her through.
I really enjoyed reading Velvet Closet. The only criticism I have is that I really liked the photos throughout the book of Rai and her family but I just wish that they were labeled to say who is who. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read memoirs.
*I reviewed this book for Reader’s Favorite
I gave this book 5 stars and have posted my review on Goodreads, The Reading Room and Reader’s Favorite.
I thought Faraway by R. K. Kline & Daniel D. Maurer was a great story. Kline & Maurer offer a glimpse into the life of Kevin, a teenage male prostitute. The story takes place near St. Louis, Missouri in the seventies and tells how Kevin got into prostitution, his friendships and his experiences.
From the very beginning Faraway was hard to put down. R. K. Kline & Daniel D. Maurer have done a good job telling this story. I have always been curious how people get into prostitution and human trafficking. The way Kevin got into it was he was more or less looking for love in the wrong place and was tricked. Being a gay teenager in the seventies was harder than it is today. When people hear “human trafficking” they think people from other countries being kidnapped and forced to prostitute themselves. People do not realize that “human trafficking” is closer to home and happening in just about every major city in America. I wanted to jump in the story and save Kevin and his friends. He could have escaped the prostitution but I understand why he stayed. His friends Squirrel and Stevie did not have that option to escape and go back to a loving family. It is amazing that after all that, that Kevin turned out as well as he did.
In case you missed it, R. K. Kline is Kevin and this story is true. This story was obviously painful for Kevin to tell. If I could I would give Kevin a big hug and tell him I am proud that he is trying to help others with his story. I will definitely be recommending Faraway to people.
*I reviewed this book for Reader’s Favorite
I gave this book 5 stars and have posted my review on Reader’s Favorite, Goodreads and The Reading Room.
Collection: A Daisy Hunter Story by Marianne Sciucco may be a short story but it is one that stays with you long after you have finished reading it. In fact you will want to reread the story again just to make sure that you did not miss anything. Young Daisy Hunter accompanies her whole family in attempting to collect her father’s pay for painting an entire house. The simple task of collecting money turns out to be more difficult than anyone expected.
Marianne Sciucco paints a beautiful picture with her words in Collection. From the very first paragraph it was as if I was no longer reading the story, but actually sitting in the car with the Hunter family. This story reminded me of the ones my father would tell me about growing up poor. I identified with Daisy Hunter in being the girl that was always picked on or talked about in school because she was not dressed as good as the other kids. The mother, Meg Hunter, is a hero in my eyes. She is the glue of the Hunter family. I do not want to give away the story but I wonder if the mother told Sadie to do it.
I loved Collection. I was sad when I finished the story because I wanted more. I want to read more tales about Daisy and her family’s lives. What happened in this story happens far too often in the world. I recommend everyone to read this story and then just stop and actually think about it.
*I reviewed this book for Reader’s Favorite
I gave this story 5 stars and have posted my review on Goodreads and Reader’s Favorite. I will also upload it to The Reading Room.
Lady of the Manor by Adrian Q. Heflin is my favorite kind of book. Not since V.C. Andrew’s book Flowers in the Attic have I read about so much family drama and so many secrets. The story follows the lives of the Creek family. Rosemary Creek, the evil matriarch, forces her son and his family to live with her in her manor in order to stay in her will. The manor is home to thirty years of dark family secrets. Every member of Rosemary’s family, as well as the whole town, hates her with a passion but is too scared to go against her orders.
I thought Lady of the Manor was a fantastic, drama filled book. Reading about another family’s drama always makes me appreciate my own family. Especially after reading about all of Rosemary Creek’s dark secrets. My absolute favorite thing about this book was all of the secrets. Some of those secrets were absolutely shocking which made it hard to put down the book in case another secret was coming. Heflin is a genius when it comes to putting twists and turns in a story. I loved how Heflin gave every character a background story telling of where they came from. I also liked that every character in this book had a secret.
Lady of the Manor is the type of book that I will read over again just to make sure that I did not miss any secrets. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a V.C. Andrews fan. I am talking about the original V.C. Andrews, not the ghost writer who is far too innocent for my tastes. There is no reason why this book should not be on a best seller list.
*I reviewed this book for Reader’s Favorite. I have posted my review on Reader’s Favorite, Goodreads and The Reading Room.
I thought Finding Flipper Frank by Patrick M. Garry was a good story. When Walt Honerman’s uncle dies he gets guilted in to driving his uncle’s friends Izzy Dunleavy and Moira Kelly cross-country from Montana to Maryland. Upon arriving in Crawfish Bay, Izzy is arrested and Moira tries to discover if there is any truth in Izzy’s elaborate stories. Walt is busy trying to help a little boy’s dream come true.
Finding Flipper Frank is a calm story with complex characters. Garry did a great job on creating such unique characters. All the characters are hiding things in their past. Walt was a good nephew and obviously had a huge heart, but his past kept haunting him. I loved the flashbacks of his life which explained why he acted the way he did. Izzy was a loveable character and a great storyteller. I could not help but to read his lines in actor Jerry Stiller’s voice. Moira I was unsure of at first. I knew she had a secret but my guess was slightly off to what it was. The first half of the book focuses on the road trip and the characters getting to know each other. The story really picks up after this and becomes more of a mystery. The ending of Finding Flipper Frank was a huge surprise and caught me off guard.
This is not Patrick M. Garry first book, in fact he has several more out there. If they are anything like Finding Flipper Frank then I as well as everyone else should read them. I really enjoyed Finding Flipper Frank. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story about accepting others.
*I reviewed this book for Reader’s Favorite. I have posted my review on Goodreads, Reader’s Favorite and The Reading Room.
If there was a way to give Another Sunset by Jason Zandri more than five stars then I would. This book was an inspirational and at the same time a very emotional read. When David Stephenson, a drifter, arrives in the small town of Westville, Texas he sets about to help the people there. David focuses on making a little girl’s dream come true. While he is there he touches the lives and hearts of Westville’s residents. The people of Westville are not sure where David came from but they know he is hiding something and are set to uncover his secret.
I have never read a book with so many inspirational quotes in it. Another Sunset is filled with them. One of my favorite quotes was “Life happens while you’re busy making other plans. You have to grab onto it when you can and ride it for all it’s worth.” At first I thought David was an angel sent to the town to restore its faith in humanity. Reading on I knew David was running or hiding from something. Zandri does an awesome job of not revealing too much of what David is hiding until the very end. Caroline Romero is a little girl with a big dream. The dream she has was a dream very mature for her age and it made me wonder how many towns are forgotten about like Westville. It is rare for me to like all the characters in a book, but I did with Another Sunset. In fact I got emotionally attached to them. I admit this book actually made me cry at some point in it. I cannot blame it on hormones, but I can blame it on Zandri for forcing me to love his characters that much.
Jason Zandri has written a prequel to Another Sunset named Before Another Sunset. If it is anything like Another Sunset then it is also a must read. I will be recommending Another Sunset to everyone I know.
*I reviewed this book for Reader’s Favorite and have published;ished my review on Reader’s Favorite and Goodreads
The Herd from 93rd by William Scalin is a book filled with captivating memories and humorous moments from Scalin’s own life. Upon turning fifty, Scalin is thrown a surprise birthday party. Attending this party are many of his lifelong friends or otherwise known as “The Herd from 93rd”. Seeing all his friends in one place causes memories of growing up with them to overflow, resulting in a book that makes me wish that I too could belong to the Herd from 93rd.
In The Herd from 93rd Scalin shares his love for his friends, beer and cars. Scalin grew up in a time when friendship and loyalty still meant something. I find it amazing that Scalin has so many good friends. Today it is so hard to find just one loyal friend. This shows me that Scalin is a pretty cool person to know. This book also taught me a couple of things. The first is a new way to look for a job. Reading the obituaries is a pretty genius idea. The second is how to teach my child to appreciate her things more, by getting her to clean them each time she uses them. The story I found the funniest in The Herd from 93rd is when Harold bought the bar. Personally I think Harold knew what he was doing the whole time and was not crazy. Reading this book also made me realize how times have changed. Now days if a member of a school staff puts their hands on you in any way it is a lawsuit. What the vice principal did to Scalin was uncalled for.
I really enjoyed reading about Scalin’s and his friends’ lives in The Herd from 93rd. It reminded me of the stories my dad told me about his life growing up. I do wish I grew up then when things seemed to be easier. I recommend this book to anyone who needs a glimpse of the past.
I gave this book 5 stars and have posted my review on Goodreads,story-e-books.com and Amazon.
I thought Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad by Ann K. Howley was hilarious. Howley tells tales of her upbringing with her deeply religious parents. Then later explains how all her good deeds seem to go bad.
After reading Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone I believe that Howley’s motto in life should be “No good deed goes unpunished”. Overall Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone is a pretty quick read. The chapters in the book are divided into funny events that occurred in Howley’s life. My favorite story was the Frisbee incident. The story actually made me spit out my coffee because I could not help but to laugh. I also think that Howley is a very brave person because a loose snake in the house would cause me to burn the house down. I am curious to know where the snake was eventually found. I found all her stories funny and unique. A few I could even relate to myself such as living with strict parents. I was amazed that her parents let her travel to a different country alone at a young age. Of course the world was a little safer back then.
I think Howley has lead a very interesting life. I admire her for having such a good heart and attempting to do good deeds. Her story about what happened at the bus station surprised me. I would never have done that. I enjoyed reading about her life and recommend this book to anyone who has had a good deed backfire on them.
I reviewed this book for Reader’s Favorite. I have posted my Reader’s Favorite, Goodreads and The Reading Room.
Street Light by R. L. Herron is the third book in the Reichold Street Trilogy. It also happens to be the first book in the series that I have read. Street Light is sort of a follow up book of all the events that have occurred in the first two, yet it also contains its own events.
Having not read the first two books in the Reichold Street Trilogy, I was a little lost at first, but R. L. Herron was quick to fix that by revealing pieces of major events that occurred in the earlier books. The Reichold Street Trilogy follows the lives of a group of friends from their teenage years, through Vietnam, and a deadly stalker. In Street Light the Reichold Street gang thought that they finally escaped the person that was trying to ruin their lives. Little did they know that evil has many faces and they are not safe on their own territory.
I found Street Light hard to put down, especially after R. L. Herron revealed a little of what happened in the other books. I especially liked how R. L. Herron told each character’s perspective by making every chapter told by a different character. My favorite character was Donnie, just because he was loveable and seemed to have lost the most. The friendship that the group had was amazing. I found myself regretting that I have never a lifelong friendship like them.
L. Herron has made me want to read his previous books in the Reichold Street Trilogy, just so I can make sure I read the full story. If they are anything like Street Light then they are great. I recommend anyone to read Street Light but my advice is to start with the first book, Reichold Street.
*I reviewed this book for Reader’s Favorite and have posted my review on Goodreads, Reader’s Favorite and The Reading Room.