Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book 307: THE MOMENT OF EVERYTHING Review

The Moment of Everything by Shelly King
ISBN: 9781455546794 (paperback) 
ISBN: 9781455546787 (ebook)
Publication date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing


In the tradition of The Cookbook Collector comes a funny, romantic novel about a young woman finding her calling while saving a used bookstore.
Maggie Duprès, recently "involuntarily separated from payroll" at a Silicon Valley start-up, is whiling away her days in The Dragonfly's Used Books, a Mountain View institution, waiting for the Next Big Thing to come along.
When the opportunity arises for her to network at a Bay Area book club, she jumps at the chance – even if it means having to read Lady Chatterley's Lover, a book she hasn't encountered since college, in an evening. But the edition she finds at the bookstore is no Penguin Classics Chatterley – it's an ancient hardcover with notes in the margins between two besotted lovers of long ago. What Maggie finds in her search for the lovers and their fate, and what she learns about herself in the process, will surprise and move readers.
Witty and sharp-eyed in its treatment of tech world excesses, but with real warmth at its core, The Moment of Everything is a wonderful read.


Maggie Duprès is a thirty-something wondering what to do with her life. Although she has a degree in English and Library Science, she doesn't really want to work in a library. She's spent the past ten years working for a tech company ensuring the tech-speak is understood by the common man. Now her company has been downsized and she's at loose ends. Until she finds that perfect job, she spends her days at a local bookstore. Little does she know that her days are soon to be filled with thoughts of books, promoting books, and promoting this quaint, local institution.

After Maggie is invited to join a local book club, she is given a copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover by the owner of the used bookstore, The Dragonfly's Used Books. She is immediately intrigued by a series of notes left in the book between two would-be lovers. Maggie's intrigue quickly becomes the impetus for promoting The Dragonfly on a website. She posts bits of these notes online in her search for these lovers. This online post quickly puts The Dragonfly in the spotlight and provides Maggie with a job. In between her duties at The Dragonfly, Maggie quickly becomes involved in an almost-maybe-not-quite romance with a lovely young man, Rahjit. Maggie's co-worker, Jason is antagonistic toward her at first but the two become friends in the end. 

I enjoyed Maggie's quest for the truth about the notes in the book. I especially enjoyed reading about her interactions with the owner of The Dragonfly – Hugo, as well as the store's strange and wonderful customers: Gloria with her NPR tote bag filled with romance novels, the CIA Bathroom trio, and more. The Moment of Everything is filled with love lost, love gained, despair, grief, joy, and more. Maggie's search for a job is also a search to find meaning in her life. Her relationship with her mother is quixotic at best, but one she realizes is not as bad as she thinks. Maggie's best friend, Dizzy, is one she's known most of her life and the reason she relocated from the East to the West. But can she spend the rest of her life following Dizzy from company-to-company and state-to-state? I found all of the characters to be wonderfully strange yet wholly realistic. There's great romance in this book, but at the heart of it is simply one woman's search for meaning in her life and she finds it in a bookstore, one particular book, and through a diverse group of friends and family. This was a book that I enjoyed reading and will probably reread in the future (yes, I enjoyed it that much). If you're looking for an adult coming-of-age style story to read or just for something a little different, then I suggest you grab a copy of The Moment of Everything


Watch the following videos based on snippets from The Moment of Everything 

"The secret sketchbook of Betty Valentine"



"Cassie's Pen Pals"




Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Monday, September 1, 2014

Book 299: THE WONDER - QUEEN OF HEARTS VOL. 2 Review



The Wonder (Queen of Hearts Volume 2) by Colleen Oakes
ISBN: 9781940716213 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781940716206 (ebook)
Publication date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: SparkPress


An Exiled Princess. An Ancient Tribe. A Dangerous Stranger with Unknown Loyalties. 

Dinah, the former Princess of Wonderland Palace, has been chased into the wilds of Wonderland after the brutal murder of her brother and the ruin of her impending crown. Now, as her half-sister Vittiore sits on the throne beside her Father, the brutal King of Hearts, Dinah finds herself alone in the forbidding Twisted Wood with only Morte, a homicidal beast, for company. 
Hunted by the King and his army of Cards, Dinah struggles to evade those who long for her head, including Cheshire, the King’s clever advisor, who is slowly tightening his grasp around her. Spurred on by her rising terror, the former Princess finds herself at the center of a web of conspiracy reaching far beyond the Palace and deep into the mysterious Yurkei mountain tribes. 
Even with the balance of an entire Kingdom at stake, Dinah knows something that her allies and enemies do not: that the most dangerous conflict of all has already begun as she battles the enticing rage that beckons her ever closer as love slips further from her grasp.
The second book in the bestselling and award-winning Queen of Hearts Saga, The Wonder takes readers back to the most wondrous and curious places in Wonderland, and continues this darkly addictive tale featuring one of the most infamous villains of all time.
But be warned…not every fairy tale has a happy ending.
This is the story of a princess who became a villain.

Readers were introduced to Dinah, Princess of Hearts in The Crown, volume one of the Queen of Hearts Saga. We were able to see Dinah wander listlessly around the palace in Wonderland, still grieving her mother's death, and saddened over the madness and others ills that her brother, Prince Charles (aka the Mad Hatter), must deal with. Her father, the ruthless King of Hearts, appears to despise her presence. Just when it seems the Dinah is getting closer to being crowned the new Queen of Hearts, her father presents the royal court with his bastard child, Dinah's half-sister, the Duchess of Hearts - Vittiore. As Dinah rivals Vittiore, unsuccessfully, for her father's affection, she begins to wonder about her father's motives. On the night before her coronation, Dinah awakens to find her brother, Prince Charles, brutally murdered by her father yet Dinah is quickly blamed for the death. Fearing for her life, Dinah flees the palace and Wonderland.

The Wonder finds Dinah trying to survive in the wilderness. Her only companion is her father's stolen steed, a horse as large as a house with spiked hooves. Amazingly Dinah survives, but little does she know that she's being tracked by the best. Fortunately for her, the best tracker quickly becomes her ally. Or so she thinks until her ally leads her into the kingdom and the hands of the king's sworn enemies, the Yurkei. Mundoo, the chief of the Yurkei, takes Dinah in and begins to train her in the art of war. Bewildered by this, Dinah isn't quite sure what to think about what is happening around her until she stumbles upon the king's most trusted adviser, Cheshire. The story Cheshire reveals demonstrates that he is indeed Dinah's father not the king, and that he seeks to place her on the throne of Wonderland. Now Dinah has the most fierce and largest warriors in the land, the Yurkei, aligning to fight beside her to overthrow the present King of Hearts. Dinah also now has several hundred warriors from the House of Spades willing to fight on her behalf. Is it possible this teenage queen can become the warrior leader needed to overthrow the current despotic king? Will her reign as queen be any better than her predecessor's? Will the people of Wonderland be able to respect a queen that is now despised and known as the Red Queen?

Ms. Oakes takes many characters from Lewis Carroll's beloved Alice in Wonderland and twists them into a modern retelling of Wonderland. The readers are allowed to see how the legend of "the Red Queen" began and why. We discover the impetus behind the feared "off with their heads" threat. Instead of a Cheshire cat, we see the head of the House of Diamonds, a gentleman named Cheshire with a cat-like grin become the king's most trusted and feared advisor. The Mad Hatter becomes the brother of the Queen of Hearts and is someone that suffers seizures and appears may be autistic in that he lives in his own world and hates to be touched. The game of Royal Croquet is played with mallets shaped like birds and balls carved to resemble hedgehogs. The Knave of Hearts is head of the House of Hearts and leads the king's most-trusted and highly trained warriors. The House of Spades are considered the lowest of all of the house cards and aren't afforded the same rights and privileges. These men live in squalor and poverty and are forced to do the king's dirty work in the Black Tower, torturing various prisoners. Dinah isn't a bad person but she is someone filled with anger. She seeks to avenge the deaths of her mother and brother. If she isn't careful that righteous anger may become something just as twisted and dark as the emotions that drive the current King of Hearts.

I actually enjoyed reading both The Crown and The Wonder (I read them back-to-back on one Saturday). I'm not a big fan of fantasy, but it was interesting to read these books and see how Ms. Oakes deftly twisted the already twisted story by Mr. Carroll. Dinah isn't a wholly likeable character but she is a sympathetic character that grows on you as you read (or at least she did with me). I know that there will probably be a great deal of bloodshed and anguish in the next volume in this series, because war seems to be inevitable. Although this series is classified as YA, I found it to be an engrossing read and one that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. If you are a fan of fantasy, the retelling of classic literature, or simply interested in something a little different to read, then I strongly urge you to grab a copy of The Crown and The Wonder today. This is one series you don't want to miss!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Book 305: THE GIRL IN 6E Review

The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
ISBN: 9780316404389 (hardcover) 
ISBN: 9780316404426 (ebook)
ASIN: B00HQ2N0M0 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Redhook/Orbit



I haven't touched a human in three years. That seems like it would be a difficult task, but it's not. Not anymore, thanks to the internet.


I am, quite possibly, the most popular recluse ever. Not many shut-ins have a 200-member fan club, a bank account in the seven-figure range, and hundreds of men lining up to pay for undivided attention.

They get satisfaction, I get a distraction. Their secret desires are nothing compared to why I hide... my lust for blood, my love of death.

Taking their money is easy. Keeping all these secrets... one is bound to escape.

What if you hid yourself away because all you could think of was killing? And what if one girl's life depending on you venturing into society?

Enter a world of lies, thrills, fears, and all desires, in this original thriller from A. R. Torre.


Jessica Reilly is a popular young lady. She's vivacious, outgoing, and openly erotic. The only problem is that Jessica Reilly doesn't really exist. Jessica Reilly is the working name for Deanna Madden. Deanna uses the Jessica Reilly identity to work as an internet sex worker (and she makes darn good money at it too). No, she isn't a prostitute, but she does perform sensual and sexual acts on demand on various cam websites. Jessica is a college student with an active social life, while Deanna lives the life of hermit, never going outside her apartment and having contact with the outside world via phone, internet, or through her apartment door. Is there anything that can compel Deanna to rejoin the outside world? Will the outside world be safe from her homicidal dreams and desires?

The Girl in 6E is a dark, somewhat erotic, psychological thriller. The author doesn't shy away from describing, in very graphic details, the exploits of Deanna as an internet sex worker. It seems that the only way Deanna can continue with her voyeuristic sex job is by creating a persona that is the exact opposite of who she is as a person. Deanna might be considered troubled by some and tragic by others. Her mother slaughtered her father and twin brother and sisters before, presumably, committing suicide. Now Deanna dreams of murder and feels the only way she can protect the public-at-large from her homicidal ideations is to retreat from the world. Unfortunately, the UPS delivery man, Jeremy, is curious about her and wants to learn more. Deanna has virtual acquaintances that she relies upon such as her two psychologists - one deals with her concerns with her client base and the other with her homicidal desires, a client that has become her tech guru, another client that provides her with pills for her addicted neighbor, and Jeremy the UPS man. All of these acquaintances serve a purpose as long as they stay in the rigid guidelines Deanna has crafted for her world to continue. She even goes so far as having her neighbor lock her in each night so she won't wander out and possibly attack and/or kill someone. It isn't until one of her online clients begins to want a twisted role-play that Deanna begins to wonder if there's more to him that meets the eye. When she learns her suspicions are valid, she has to decide if she can do anything to control the situation.

I've got to admit that my inner prude cringed a few times when I began to read The Girl in 6E. Even with my prudish responses, I simply couldn't put this book down. I found The Girl in 6E to be a fast-paced read from beginning to end. It was fascinating to discover the behind-the-scenes world of the internet sex web-cam world. It was also interesting to learn more about the inner thoughts of the character Deanna/Jessica and read about her interactions (limited though they were) with others. The Girl in 6E deals with some hard and harsh topics, such as sexual fetishism, mental illness, homicide, pedophilia, and social isolation. I wouldn't describe this as a light read but it was definitely one I'm glad I read. If you enjoy reading about the dark side of human nature or psychological thrillers, then you'll definitely want to read The Girl in 6E

Read some excerpts here.

Watch the book trailer:




Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book Showcase: THE MYSTERY OF MOUTAI

The Mystery of Moutai by G.X. Chen
ISBN: 9781496055491 (paperback - CreateSpace)
ISBN: 9781310078590 (ebook - Smashwords)
ASIN: B00JOWF4Y2 (Kindle edition)                   
Publication date: April 20, 2014


A teenager returns home from school to find a gruesome scene: the apartment he shares with his mother, Shao Mei, in Boston's Chinatown has been ransacked and she is dead. There is a bottle of Moutai—the most exotic and expensive Chinese liquor—left at the scene and traces of rat poison in one of the two shot glasses on the kitchen counter. This was evidently a homicide, but who could possibly be the killer?
Ann Lee and Fang Chen, close friends of the victim, team up with the Boston police to solve this mystifying crime: why would anyone want to murder a harmless middle-aged woman, one who worked as an unassuming mailroom clerk, with no money, no connections, and presumably, no enemies?
Realizing that important clues behind the motive may be buried deep in the victim's past, they travel to Beijing, where Shao Mei spent more than fifty years of her life. While there, surrounded by the antiquities of China’s rich and complex history, they stumble unwittingly into a cobweb of mystery and danger. Fearing for their lives but determined to press on, they end up unearthing a scandal more deceptive and far-reaching than either could have imagined.


Excerpt:

PROLOGUE
In the spring of 1994, John Chan, an athletic teenager, vaulted up the stairs of an old apartment building on the edge of Chinatown in the city of Boston, taking two steps at a time while carrying a hockey stick and a duffel bag full of shoulder pads, helmets, gloves, and skates. He was tired but very excited because he had just played an important hockey game at his school—the winner would go on to the division finals—and he could hardly wait to tell his mother that he had a winning goal in the second period and was congratulated by all of his teammates and his coach. John was starving. Looking forward to a hug; a hot shower; and a hearty, homemade meal, he was rushing toward his apartment, which was located on the third floor of the five-story brick building.
After the door swung open by a touch of the end of his hockey stick, John stopped in alarm. Even if she was expecting a guest, his mother always locked the apartment door—she was afraid of burglars ever since their next-door neighbor had a break-in several months ago. John dropped the duffel bag, placed the hockey stick against the wall and peeked inside the apartment apprehensively. It was late in the afternoon, but the west-facing apartment was still well lit by the sun, which was sinking slowly on the horizon.
His jaw dropped when he saw what had become of his home, which was always neat and clean no matter how hectic the occupants' lives were. The living room was in total disarray, the floor covered with bits and pieces of books and magazines, and all the drawers and cabinet doors in the kitchen were pulled open—his home had been turned upside down, ransacked.
His voice echoed as he called out, "Mom, I'm home! Where are you?"
No response; the apartment was eerily quiet. Hesitantly, John opened the door wider and entered, trying not to step on the fallen books because he knew his mother, Shao Mei, loved them. A former physics professor at Beijing University, Shao Mei kept all the books she had brought with her from China, even though most of them were getting flimsy and falling apart.
Among all the messes, a shiny object drew John's attention almost immediately. Sitting on the coffee table in the living room was a slick and colorful porcelain bottle of Moutai, the most famous liquor in China. His mother had been working as a mailroom clerk for an insurance company in Boston and could never have afforded an authentic bottle of Moutai, which would have fetched more than a hundred dollars on the black market in her native country.
He walked over and stood in front of the battered coffee table, looking down at the exquisitely designed liquor bottle, which seemed empty. Then, he noticed something bulky stuck between the sofa and the coffee table. It was his mother, face-down on the floor. On her partially hidden, painfully distorted face, blood trickled from her nose and her mouth. His legs started trembling violently. John screamed, but no sound came from his mouth. It was seemingly a long time before he was able to control his limbs. He ran to the kitchen, picked up the phone, and dialed 911.
The rest of the day was a blur. Police officers and detectives came and went, along with a team of forensic specialists and an ambulance. Everything in the apartment and around the body was checked, including a fancy gift box in the trash can, two shot glasses on the kitchen counter, and the empty bottle of Moutai. The forensic officers used protective gloves, putting all the items, one at a time, carefully into separate evidence bags.
After the body was taken away, a tall and sturdy man in his early fifties came into the bedroom where John was sitting and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Paul Winderman," he said in a soft voice, "detective sergeant from the Boston Police Department. And your name please?"
"John Chan," John murmured without looking up at the police officer.
"John," Paul said, kneeling down to face the kid at the same level. "Do you have any relatives in town?"
"No," John said and shook his head, looking into Paul's deep and pale blue eyes in despair. What'll happen to me now? He thought in panic. Where will I go? His mother was the only family he had in the US. He dropped his head and started weeping.
Paul kept his large hand on John's shoulder. What a pity. The poor lad might have to be sent to social services, he thought sympathetically. "Do you know anyone in the city—your mother's friends, for example?" he asked hopefully.
John lifted his head and nodded. "My mom was friendly with Auntie Ann Lee and Uncle Fang Chen," he told the detective between sobs. According to Chinese tradition, he addressed all of his parents' friends as "uncles" and "aunties" even though they weren't blood relations. As far as John knew, Auntie Lee and Uncle Chen visited his mother often when she was alive—sometimes they'd take him along to have dim sum in Chinatown, an area he and his mother lived on the edge of, where the rent was cheaper than most places in downtown Boston.
Paul Winderman's eyes lit up when he heard the names. He had dealt with both of them in a previous murder case a few years ago. He liked Ann a lot, a very capable young woman and a straight arrow, but he didn't trust Fang Chen because the professor had played hocus-pocus with the police rather than cooperating the last time they met.
Paul processed the facts in his head for less than a minute before placing a few calls. Due to the fact that Ann didn't own a car, he dispatched a police cruiser to pick her up. Half an hour later, a sober and red-eyed Ann Lee showed up at Shao Mei's apartment to take John away.
"I'll pack up everything you need and deliver to you as soon as I can," Paul told the kid, who had rested his head on Auntie Lee's shoulder and was crying.
Lifting his head, the kid said nothing but nodded with tears in his eyes. With Ann's help, he stuffed a few sets of clothes into his duffel bag, picked up his backpack and the hockey stick, and left his home in the US for the last time.
***
Friday, April 24
Another warm night; the breeze coming from the open windows makes me feel it's an early summer rather than spring day.
It has been a thrill to know that I will soon meet my old friend who suffered much at the hands of the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. I'm extremely excited about the opportunity to renew our friendship. I don't have many old friends anymore, having lost all the contacts when I moved. I particularly crave the comrade-ship we forged during the formidable years when we were both young.
It's fascinating for me to think what this friend of mine will say or what her reaction will be when I show up at her door. I probably should call her first or send her an e-mail, but I'm not sure if she has an e-mail account, or even a computer—still a luxury item for most people. I heard she has fallen on hard times since she left China. The poor thing! 
I'm sure I can cheer her up with my visit and my unique gift. It's only fitting that I should bring her the best.


Meet the author:


G.X. Chen is a freelancer who lives in Boston with her husband (both of her mystery novels are based in Boston). She permanently moved from China to the US after Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. Previously published books include The Mystery of Revenge (a mystery novel) and Forget Me Not: A Love Story of the East (a historic fiction/romance) and several other novels in Chinese. 

Connect with the author:

Website      |     Twitter      |     Goodreads 



Friday, August 29, 2014

Guest Post: K.P. Kollenborn - Author of HOW THE WATER FALLS



The Book Diva's Reads is pleased to be participating in the blog tour for How the Water Falls by author K.P. Kollenborn. Ms. Kollenborn stops by today and discusses her love of John Steinbeck and his influence on her writing, as well as her love of history (especially important given the themes in her latest book). 




Why I Love John Steinbeck
by K. P. Kollenborn

John Steinbeck wrote as part of his Nobel Peace Prize speech in 1962: "The writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit—for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation. I hold that a writer who does not believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature." And within the same context, he also wrote, "I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit." 

How can one not be in awe of his perception? As a writer, even in fiction, Steinbeck broke boundaries of how to reconcile what is humane. He mixed literary prose and realism with such grit and fortitude that I'm charmed by his depressing and enriching style. The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men are still inside my head, and in fact I have made soft suggestions to both books in my WWII novel, Eyes Behind Belligerence. I named two of my characters Tom and Rose, (although they are married and not brother and sister,) as a quiet dedication to The Grapes of Wrath; and even slid in Of Mice and Men as a favorite book of one of the protagonists in an effort to understand who has the right to take away someone's life. It also plays into effect of bonding between two unlikely friends who only share the commonality of their environment.

I discovered Steinbeck in high school, as many secondary students have before me in English classes. I'm grateful he was included as part of the curriculum. Up to that point in my life I had not read that many "goddamns" and "bastards" in YA fiction. In fact, that was the first time I learned how to spell other swear words not often read in bathroom stalls that rhyme with Nantucket. And spelled correctly, I might add. I began counting how many times these "goddamned bastards" appeared in Of Mice and Men. And yet we weren't allowed to say them in the classroom if we weren't reading the texts out loud. The reason I bring this particular topic up is to explain how I began to comprehend a coarse, migrant lifestyle from people who came out of the Dust Bowl. The book opened up another world and I loved it. Not only did I want to be a part of that world by continuing to read John Steinbeck, but I wanted more. I too wanted to write about the depravity and faith mankind.

Initially I wanted to be an artist- mainly focusing on drawing and painting, and I do have a graphics art degree in addition to a history degree. Because I'm dyslexic, reading and writing came to me slowly as a child, and I somehow compensated by memorizing the structure of words. Up until I was a teenager, I didn't believe I had any other talent. It has taken me some time to find courage to peruse a writer's career. I have a highly creative brain that engages in any creative outlet possible- including writing, which later has dominated my desire to be creative both visually, (describing scenes like describing paintings,) and intellectually. And as a teenager, while investigating American history, I came across the Japanese-American internment camps. When I learned more about the camps I felt compelled to then write about these camps. Why? I don't have any Japanese ancestry in my family tree. I live in the Midwest and grew-up in a medium size town where cultural diversity is a bit underdeveloped. My reason is simple: I don't want to continue to live in a conical world. Consciousness does not develop and mature by existing in a frozen pond. I wanted to write about issues of camp life that has never been written about before in fiction. Much like what Steinbeck did when writing about migrant workers during his time.

I like to believe that after decades worth of introspection we have learned more wisely than something that happened yesterday. And that's why I love history: To learn. To question. To redeem our humanity. My philosophy is this: "Submitting to a moment in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, over our society’s past. Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future." I think John would agree on some transcending level. 

Resources:
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_steinbeck.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Steinbeck


Meet the author:

Even though I am from Kansas, I enjoy venturing into other worlds from around the globe which is why my writing focuses on diversity. With fluid accessibility to modern media and traveling opportunities, my Midwestern world can expand and explore beyond my own backyard. In addition to studying cultures, I take pleasure in studying history. Submitting to a moment in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, over our society's past. Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future.

Connect with the author: 

Website      |     Facebook      |     Twitter      |     Goodreads 





How the Water Falls by K.P. Kollenborn
ISBN: 9781500289201 (paperback - CreateSpace)
ISBN: 9781310512131 (ebook - Smashwords)
ASIN: B00L8F1UZA (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 22, 2014

On the fringes of a civil war arise a kaleidoscope of stories of abuse, power, betrayal, sex, love, and absolution, all united by the failings of a dying government. Set in the backdrop during the last years of South Africa's apartheid, How the Water Falls is a psychological thriller that unfolds the truth and deception of the system's victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes. 
The two main characters, one white, Joanne– a reporter, the other black, Lena– a banned activist, have their lives continuously overlap through the people they know during a thirteen-year period and eventually become friends as a result of their interviews together. Joanne personifies the need to question and investigate apartheid's corruption from a white person's perspective. Although her intentions begin with idealism, no matter how naïve, as the years pass while the system is failing, she crosses the threshold of what it means to be caught up inside the belly of the beast, especially after crossing paths with the Borghost brothers. Lena, who is inspired by her predecessors, such as Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela, is among the minority of black women to peacefully battle for equality, even if her struggle is indicative of sacrificing her health and safety. Hans Borghost is Johannesburg's commissioner of police who, like all those before, had a military background before pursuing a law enforcement career. Violent, manipulative, and controlling, he incarnates the image of South Africa's perpetrators. Jared Borghost is the younger brother of Hans and, like his brother, has a military background, but unlike Hans, he internally combats between his sense of duty and morality. His inconsistency indicates a conscience that leaves one to ponder whether Jared is either a perpetrator, victim, or both. As his surname suggests, Bor-GHOST represents the "ghosts" that haunt the family's past. Many other characters play the roles of spies, freedom fighters, lovers, adversaries, and supporters. 
This novel is as complex as apartheid was itself, unlacing fabrics of each character's life to merge into a catalyst downfall. The question of who will survive this downfall will suffice in the courts of truth and reconciliation and whether love is strong enough to preserve peace.

Watch the book trailer:




The author is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card during this tour; to enter use the Rafflecopter form below.

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