The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I loved the style this book was written in!  I felt like I was walking the streets back in 1921 along with the characters, I’ve not read a style like this before.  The author was perfect in her words for the time period!

The Paragon Hotel is a new historical thriller told from the shoes of Alice James, who considers herself “Nobody”.  When we first meet her, she is on train fleeing for her life with a bullet wound.  The story never really looses it’s thrill even from the start we are thrown into her whirlwind life that she is desperately trying to escape.

Alice is trying to get as far away from New York as she possibly can, hoping to make it somewhere without dying from her wounds first.  She has her eyes set on Oregon. On the train she meets a colored porter man named Max.  While in and out of consciousness, Max gets her off the train in hopes of getting her help.  He leads her to the Paragon Hotel.

The Paragon Hotel is an unlikely sanctuary for a young white woman as this turns out to be the only all-colored hotel in the city and it’s occupants aren’t too keen on her arrival.  Here her new story begins.  Although trouble seems to follow her wherever she goes, soon after her arrival a young colored boy goes missing from the Hotel.

Weaving from past to present, Alice “Nobody” James tells her story of how she ended up with a bullet though her, who she is now and who she wants to be.  Ending up in a tangled web at the Paragon Hotel, weaves a story unlike any other.

The ending was the only part I didn’t care for, out of the entire book!  It wasn’t what I was expecting.  I was hoping for more, maybe of her past to come back into the picture, I’m not sure.  The ending was certainly unexpected for the whole story that was told, but I would recommend this book for the story leading up to the end was grand!

 

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

This was our February Book Club pick!  The group discussion was interesting and mildly deep.  Everyone seemed to have liked the book!

I didn’t dislike the book, although I found it to be a lot going on.  I came to a point where I was asking myself ‘what’s the point of this story’, then referenced back to the title.  The title fits it well after reading all the stories and the character’s little fires everywhere in their lives.  I love that in Book Club, I venture out to read things that I normally would pass by without a second look.

I would suggest this book to others as it does set up for a great book club discussion.  The points touched upon in the story eerily pertained to current events in the world and a case in a town not far from where we live.

Via Goodreads:

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

So far, this is my favorite book for 2019!  P.S. there are DRAGONS in this book!

The legends about the Namsara are what Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past.  But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha lured the dragon with a story.
It was an ancient story, older than the mountains at her back, and Asha had to dredge it up from where it lay deep and dormant inside her.
She hated to do it. Telling such stories was forbidden, dangerous, even deadly.   The old stories drew dragons the way jewels drew men. No dragon could resist one told aloud.  But the stories didn’t just lure dragons.

They made them stronger.
It went like this: where the old stories were spoken aloud, there were dragons; and where there were dragons, there was destruction and betrayal and burning.

Now, I love books with dragons but I don’t like it when there is slaying of them involved, but I ASSURE YOU, it ends better than it starts!  Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, the king who himself has a dark secret. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari to find the truth that has been kept from her.

I highly recommend everyone read this book!  I listened to it via audio book and the narrator was amazing!  Whether you read or listen to Asha’s story, I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

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Watch the video below to find out the story behind The Last Namsara!

King Rat (Asian Saga: Chronological Order #4) by James Clavell

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

This was our book club pick for January!  It was a good story, although in some spots it seemed to drag on a bit and it took me awhile to get through it.

The story is set in a Japanese POW camp near Singapore in early 1945.  British, Australian and American prisoners are sick, starving and in a dire situation in hopes of being rescued.  All except one American prisoner whom they call “The King”, who somehow manages to eat, live and dress like nothing out of the ordinary while all the others suffer from starvation, skin and bones.

The story revolves around this character, “The King” and his secrets to living as one.  Nearly, everyone depends on the King, though, to make a life-saving trade – a watch for a bowl of rice, $20 for an orange, etc. The King decides to take the unaffected Marlowe under his wing as a sort of junior partner.

The King lets Marlowe in on his adventures and his secrets, something the whole camp would like to know, too.  Soon, the King comes up with a plan to both make money and get revenge on the camp enemies.

I would recommend this book to readers, it’s an interesting story of the length humans will go to survive.

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I listened to this story as an audio book and it was an interesting tale!  It is the story about two siblings, Nathaniel and his older sister Rachel in 1945, just after World War II.  They are living in London at the time and suddenly their parents leave them in the care of a mysterious man named “The Moth”, as they head off to Singapore, for reasons that are not told to Nathaniel or Rachel.

They start to think that “The Moth” is a criminal as they dwell under the same roof and his eccentric crew of friends stop by regularly, all who have a shared history of unspecified service during the war.  Each seem to protect and educate the two children, sometimes in odd ways.  But who are these people and why did their parents up and leave them with a stranger?

One day, after many months, their mother returns and without their father.  No explanation, or reasoning.  Many years later Nathaniel begins to uncover the truth of his mother’s hidden agenda and her unexpected role she played during and after the war.

 

The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Wild Inside is set in the Alaskan wilderness where the Petrikoff family lives.  The daughter, Tracy spends all of her time in the woods, tracking animals and running her sled dogs.  She has always felt safe in the woods but she still follows her mother’s rules: Never Lose Sight of the House. Never Come Home with Dirty Hands. And, above all else, Never Make a Person Bleed.

One day she does meet a stranger in the woods who attacks her and knocks her unconscious.  She doesn’t remember what exactly happened when she wakes up, but her knife is bloody.  The next day a man appears in their yard with a knife wound to his gut.

Helping her father cope with her mother’s death and prepare for the approaching Iditarod, she doesn’t have time to think about what she may have done. Then another person appears out of nowhere, looking for a job. Tracy senses that he is hiding something, but she can’t warn her father without explaining about the attack—or why she’s kept it to herself.

Now, if you read any of this books synopsis or even the cover – you would never guess that Tracy herself has a strange secret, one that she only shared with her mother….one that I cannot decide if it is supernatural or medical.  Everything else in the story leads you into a psychological thriller – then you throw THAT into it as well!  Sorry guys, I can’t even explain it to you because I want you to have the same reaction I did while reading it!

If you like psychological thrillers, you HAVE to read this!

The Loop by Nicholas Evans

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I love books about the wilderness and especially if they involve wolves!  I picked this book up at our Friends of the Library Book Sale last year.

The only reason the book didn’t get a full five review was because I’m not a fan of romance in stories, this had just a tad too much BUT I still enjoyed the story as it does keep you turning the pages despite the mushy stuff!

The Loop takes place in Hope, Montana on a ranch, where now faces a conflict as they think wolves are starting to kill their cattle.  Now living in central Nebraska, I do fully understand the unfortunate human/animal conflict that can happen and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do to prevent it.

The story unfolds in Hope. In the nearby wilderness, a pack of reintroduced wolves – part of a government effort to restore wolf populations after they had been hunted to near extinction – are on the hunt.  The trouble is, Hope is a community of cattle ranchers, and any threat to their livestock and livelihood is taken seriously.  Into this fiercely self-sufficient little town comes Helen Ross: a wildlife biologist on a mission to track and protect the wolves, and to keep the locals’ growing anger at bay.

Helen also receives help from one of the ranchers sons, who learns of where these wolves have been living.  It becomes part of his daily routine to check on them and keep their location a secret.  He understands both sides of the problem, making it a tough path to choose between what’s right, wrong and what he or anyone has control over.