(Review) The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

The Night Tiger
Publisher and Publication Date: Flatiron Books. 2019.
Genre: Fiction. Malaysia. Coming of age story. Mystery.
Pages: 384.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers wanting something different. A mystery but also a coming of age story. Setting is in Malaysia during the 1930s British colonial era.
Rating: Good.

Amazon link 

I finished reading this book December 26, 2019. This book is shelved with books read in 2019.

 

Summary:
The year is 1931. Malaysia.
Ji Lin is a young woman who is an apprentice dressmaker. She is also working as a dance-hall girl in order to pay off her mother’s mahjong debts. Her job as a dance-hall girl is a secret to most, as well as the debts her mother owes. She has a step-father and a step-brother. Her step-brother, Shin is studying to be a doctor. While Ji Lin is dancing with a salesman, a small cylinder falls out of his pocket and she catches it. The salesman is unaware. Later, Ji Lin looks in the cylinder and finds a finger.
Ren is an eleven year old boy. His twin died. He promised a dying man he will find the missing finger and bury it in his grave. He has 49 days or his soul will be taken. Ren works as a house boy for a surgeon.

My Thoughts:
The Night Tiger has a storyline that I’ve not read before. It held strong interest to me all the way through the book, till I knew the outcome or resolve.
In addition, there is a mysterious supernatural element in the story of victims being killed and half eaten (supposed) by what the locals believe is a ghost animal (possibly a tiger.) This conflict in the story is an example of the people’s superstitions. The people believe in luck. For example, people can be lucky or unlucky and this determines their life. Ren believes he must carry out the dying man’s last wish or he will suffer soul consequences. Ji Lin hates her unlucky life. She feels trapped by duty. What can she do to change things?
Ren needs what Ji Lin has. How will these two people come together for a satisfying resolution for both of them?
I enjoyed reading this book! It’s a different type of read for me.

 

Feature on The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen: Volume III by Collins Hemingway

TMOMJA_Blog Tour PosterThe Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume III Cover

Publisher and Publication Date: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. November 4, 2017.
Genre: Fiction. Jane Austen spinoff series.
Pages: 338.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Audience: Regency readers. Readers of Jane Austen novels.

My review will be posted at a later date.

Amazon link Kindle Unlimited is free.

Landing page for the book tour at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

Summary:
The Stunning Finale to Jane Austen’s Saga
In the moving conclusion to The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, Jane and her husband struggle with the serious illness of their son, confront a bitter relationship with the aristocratic family who were once their friends and face the horrific prospect of war when the British Army falters on the continent. The momentous events of the Napoleonic wars and the agonizing trials of their personal lives take Jane and Ashton to a decision that will decide their fate—and her future—once and for all.

Praise for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Series:
“Hemingway again displays his notable ability to recreate time and place, moving on from the heady days of Jane Austen’s early love to a marriage beset by difficulties and a country at war. Hemingway … vividly and authentically portrays the times. … [T]his is a lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving finale to Hemingway’s successful trilogy.”—BlueInk Review
“Immensely satisfying … Marriage is lively, compelling, and fun. … [Her] relationship with her husband Ashton still sparkles. Marriage is a lovely ode to their connection. … Hemingway has combined Austen’s humanity with her fiction and created a Jane that lives and breathes on the page. Audiences will want her to be real… It offers a wonderful, imagined alternate life for the well-loved author.” —Claire Foster, Foreword Review
“Enjoyable … an imaginative, well-researched series.” —Kirkus Reviews

03_Collins Hemingway
About the Author:
Collins’ passion for literature, history, and science enable him to create complete, sharply drawn fictional characters fully engaged in their complex and often dangerous worlds. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding respect for courage in the face of adversity.
As a nonfiction book author, Collins has investigated topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he co-authored with Bill Gates, he tackles challenging topics with clarity and insight, writing for the intelligent but nontechnical reader.
Born and raised in Arkansas, Collins has lived most of his adult life in the American Northwest, with a career that has spanned writing, high tech, and aviation. He has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Arkansas, Phi Beta Kappa; a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Oregon; and numerous technical certifications in computer technology.
For more information please visit Collins Hemingway’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Giveaway:
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
Direct link to the giveaway: https://gleam.io/MBkaq/the-marriage-of-miss-jane-austen-vol-iii

Welcome to the New Year-2020

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January 2020 marks my thirteenth year in blogging and writing book reviews. I spent over ten years at Blogger. I moved over to WordPress two and a half years ago.
For those of you who are new to my blog, my posts are sporadic. Many of my blogging friends post everyday or a few times a week. Once upon a time I did too. I’m busy reading and volunteering in the community. I blog when I have a chance.

Over the years in blogging and writing book reviews, I’ve had moments of embarrassment. Consider this a top ten list of most embarrassing moments in book reviews.

10. I’m staring at the computer screen and have absolutely no idea what I’m going to say about a particular book.
9. I’ve committed to reading a book in a genre I don’t like.
8. I disliked the book so much that anything written about the book is going to be negative…and I don’t even like the front cover.
7. Grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.
6. Comments that are flirtations. The person wants a date!
5. The wrong photo of the book is used. It’s a photo of a different book.
4. I forgot to read the book and realized 24 hours before the review is due.
3. I forgot to review a book on the assigned day.
2. A wrong title on the book. It’s a mix-up. This is what happens when I write reviews in advance, and I write several reviews in one day.
⊗ONE. I misspelled the author name in the title. The author corrected me in an email.

In 2007, I began blogging because I’d read comments from people over at Shelfari (a decommissioned website for book people) about blogs. I wondered, what is a blog? After a little research, I created one. I had no idea what I was doing at first. I just kept at it until I found my “fit.” I used to worry about the blog: do I have enough followers? Do I post enough? I don’t live in that land of worry anymore. I’m going to focus on the adventure in reading and reviewing.

Thank you loyal readers! Thank you authors! Thank you book tour groups! Thank you publishers! Thank you for following this blog! Thank you for the likes and comments!

Cheers to the New Year of 2020!

(Review)Written in their Stars by Elizabeth St. John

WITS_Blog Tour Poster

02_Written in Their Stars

Publisher and Publication Date: Falcon Historical. November 19, 2019.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 474.
Source: I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Audience: Historical fiction readers. Readers who love the time period of mid to late 1600s England.
Rating: Excellent.

Book tour landing page: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

Amazon link The Kindle Unlimited is free.

Two additional books were previous to the book I’m reviewing.

The Lady in the Tower

Book One 

by love divided

Book Two 

About the author:
03_Elizabeth St. John

Elizabeth St.John spends her time between California, England, and the past. An award-winning author, historian and genealogist, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, to the Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them – in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story…
For more information, please visit Elizabeth St. John’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Summary:
London, 1649. Horrified eyewitnesses to King Charles’s bloody execution, Royalists Nan Wilmot and Frances Apsley plot to return the king’s exiled son to England’s throne, while their radical cousin Luce, the wife of king-killer John Hutchinson, rejoices in the new republic’s triumph. Nan exploits her high-ranking position as Countess of Rochester to manipulate England’s great divide, flouting Cromwell and establishing a Royalist spy network; while Frances and her husband Allen join the destitute prince in Paris’s Louvre Palace to support his restoration. As the women work from the shadows to topple Cromwell’s regime, their husbands fight openly for the throne on England’s bloody battlefields.
But will the return of the king be a victory, or destroy them all? Separated by loyalty and bound by love, Luce, Nan and Frances hold the fate of England—and their family—in their hands.
A true story based on surviving memoirs of Elizabeth St.John’s family, Written in their Stars is the third novel in the Lydiard Chronicles series.

My Thoughts:
The main reason I love this story is it shows the love of family. And just in this one theme there are several things noted: strength, loyalty, perseverance, steadfastness, affection, protection, and dedication.
I love this story, because it is the history of the author, Elizabeth St. John’s family. This made the story enticing and rich.
The time period for this novel begins at the execution of Charles I. Afterwards, the Commonwealth and Protectorate ruled (1649-1660.) Charles II, was crowned April 23, 1661, as King of England. It was during these years the book shares the life stories of the following characters: John and Luce Hutchinson, Allen and Frances Apsley, and Nan and Henry Wilmot. Each of them had strong rolls in the history of England.
Dialogue is strong in Written in their Stars. The conversations are between the characters. They discuss fears, gossip, plots, insecurities, sadness, joy, prayers, and an anguished heart. It is because of the intimate dialogue that I became apart of the story and apart of the character’s lives.
Nan is my favorite character. She is a valiant person. There were times I imagined her with a crown on her head-as ruler of a nation and not just in her home.

Giveaway:
During the blog tour, we are giving away two signed copies of Written in their Stars! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules:
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Link for the giveaway: https://gleam.io/APiuX/written-in-their-stars

 

(Review) Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts

Finding Dorothy
Publisher and Publication Date: Ballantine Books. Paperback published December 3, 2019.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 384.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Historical fiction readers. Readers who want to read the background story of the book and film, The Wizard of Oz.
Rating: Good.

Amazon link

https://binged.it/2tKOZLL

 

 

Britannica link for L. Frank Baum
Biography on L. Frank Baum 
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a link at Britannica 

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L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)

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Frank and Maud Baum in Egypt (1906)

Maud Gage Baum (1861-1953)
I’ve searched her name. She has a Wikipedia bio but she is not on Britannica.

Summary:
Finding Dorothy is about the wife of L. Frank Baum. Maud Gage Baum found out in 1938 that Hollywood was making a film about her late husband’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. She worked hard at trying to get on to the set of the film so she can make sure the film is true to what her husband had written. Maud was a formidable woman. She had tenacity and a keen eye. She didn’t take a closed door as a no. She also took under her wing, Judy Garland. She had empathy for the young starlet.
I was drawn to the book because I love the film, The Wizard of Oz. I also enjoy reading about Judy Garland. I love to hear her sing. I love to watch other films she made. I thought the book was about Judy Garland or the film, because of the title. I was mistaken. The book, Finding Dorothy, is about the life of Maud Gage Baum; and, secondly, it is about the book and film, followed by Judy Garland.
The book goes back and forth in time. Beginning in 1871; and, also in 1938. In the year 1871, Maud is a young girl in New York state. This is where her life picks up. Maud will reflect back on life before marrying Frank Baum, their married life, and the years the film was made (1938-1939.)

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My Thoughts:
As I’d shared under the summary, I’m disappointed the book was more about Maud Baum. I wanted to read a book about the making of the film, The Wizard of Oz, and about Judy Garland who was cast as Dorothy. However, I understand from reading Finding Dorothy how Frank Baum came up with the creative ideas for the books. There is actually a total of 43, plus a few that are Oz related. I’ve not read any of the books. I found, way back on my Kindle list of books, the first book in the series.
My favorite parts in the book is Maud’s observations of Judy Garland. Maud is the fly (so to speak) in the room watching the filming of scenes. Maud has reservations about Judy’s age, but when she hears the voice of Judy singing, Over the Rainbow, her opinion changes. Through Maud’s observations, I see the affects on Judy from what the studio groomed her to be. She was a young girl with a big voice. She had a talent that the industry swept down on like vultures. They saw big money. And, her mother didn’t help.
Letts’ gave a strong and vivid picture of Judy as an innocent, doe-eyed beauty.
In Maud’s life story, I learned about culture and standards for women during the late 1800s. Maud’s mother was a suffragette. She worked tirelessly to gain the ability for women to vote. Maud was a woman with strong opinions and she voiced them. Many women in this era kept their mouths closed.