R.M. Romero The Dollmaker of Krakow

Rated 5 stars

Never wanted this book to end! I wanted the dollmaker to do more magic to save more children! I can never ever fathom the cruelty of people to one another! This book was a magical and intensely heart lifting and heart-rending story all rolled into one! A most excellent read indeed... I recommend it ..

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Michelle Mazal, Burning the Vines

Rated 5 stars

Burning the Vines by Michelle Mazal is a memoir about a family, particularly a little girl, Michelle, (nicknamed Stumps, after a dentist visit and all her teeth were removed) living in Australia, near the airport of Perth back in the '60s and '70s. An alcoholic and physically abusive father didn't help matters either. Hiding from the cattle prod was a must! The fierce determination of Michelle's mum, Leonie, to protect her daughters at any cost, even placing herself in harm's way was very brave indeed. Michelle witnessed her mother suffer a lot of bloody noses and swollen lips at her father's hands more times than she could count. Moving into her Nana's house with the family, after selling their own place, things became cramped. But the saving grace was the fact that there were stables and horses there, and of course her favorite cousin, Kenny, giving her true friendship but, later, unbelievable heartache too. Another house move, to Herne Hill complete with their own stables, gave them more space, but with still the same problems. Life was hard for Stumps, even with the horses she had, which gave her soul something to care about and love. Her dad still raging and abusive, spending money on booze, and the children going hungry was a common occurrence. The sisters hid and did the best they could to help their mum, often futile in their attempts, though. The only respite was Nana and Pops, their favorite place to be. The maternal grandparents were the epitome of kindness and care, and they always looked forward to visiting them. The presents on their bed were the best thing to look forward to, always new clothes, hand sewn by Nana. Burning the Vines by Michelle Mazal is a startling story. The sheer horror of what a child has to put up with, the things that go through their tiny minds as they wrestle with their consciences about their parents, working while ill, being underfed, and abused by their alcoholic father! But no matter what, you still have that false sense of duty or love towards the parent that has been abusive, right to the end! I was swept in from the first page, taken to Perth, Australia. You really feel the heat, anger, sadness and love as the author takes you on this perilous childhood memory trip. Get a tissue before you read this. What wonderful people Nana and Pops were. Burning the Vines by Michelle Mazal is a story brilliantly and provocatively described with a fierce determination of survival. Unputdownable

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Hana da Yumiko Isolated Connected Kyushu Island

Rated 5 stars

Isolated Connected Kyushu Island weaves together the history of the people of Kyushu, Japan’s third largest island, and the stories that author Hana da Yumiko learned from her elders while she was a little girl. Spanning the years from the end of World War II to the early years of the twenty-first century, Isolated Connected Kyushu Island tells a story of transitions from the closing of the age of the samurai, to the rise of militarism, and finally to the coming and flourishing of democracy. The family’s story illustrates how the land’s Hiding Christians kept their faith in secret, how women worked on their own without the support of men to encourage social change, how the ebbs and flows of many countries’ histories combined to influence the story of this land, and how a missionary and a local belief in a savior influenced religious life. If you hunger to hear a story of universally human motives, joys, and fears told about a family living in a remote and unfamiliar land, then this book will satisfy that hunger with an account that both educates and inspires.

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Jay Amberg The Bone Box

Rated 5 Stars

On a hill overlooking the Aegean Sea in Turkey, an international team of archaeologists discovers a stone box that first-century Jews used to rebury their dead. The box’s Aramaic inscription: Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. Sophia Altay, the beautiful French-Turkish archaeological who heads the team, tries to keep the discovery secret until she can authenticate the ossuary. She knows that people will kill to obtain the relics—and to suppress the box’s other contents, documents that could alter Western history. Joseph Travers, an American sent to Turkey to evaluate the archaeological dig, soon finds himself pulled into the web of betrayal, reprisal, and violence. In his journey through Istanbul’s mosques and palaces, the archaeological sites around ancient Ephesus, and, ultimately, the strange and mystical terrain of Cappadocia, he comes to understand the epochal meaning of the bone box.

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Christoph Fischer Ludwika A Polish Woman's Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany

Rated 5 Stars

It’s World War II and Ludwika Gierz, a young Polish woman, is forced to leave her family and go to Nazi Germany to work for an SS officer. There, she must walk a tightrope, learning to live as a second-class citizen in a world where one wrong word could spell disaster and every day could be her last. Based on real events, this is a story of hope amid despair, of love amid loss . . . ultimately, it’s one woman’s story of survival. Editorial Review: "This is the best kind of fiction—it’s based on the real life. Ludwika’s story highlights the magnitude of human suffering caused by WWII, transcending multiple generations and many nations. WWII left no one unscarred, and Ludwika's life illustrates this tragic fact. But she also reminds us how bright the human spirit can shine when darkness falls in that unrelenting way it does during wartime. This book was a rollercoaster ride of action and emotion, skilfully told by Mr. Fischer, who brought something fresh and new to a topic about which thousands of stories have already been told."

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Matthew J. Sullivan Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Rated 5 stars

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs.....the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves. But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia? As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left

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Antonia Barber The Ghosts

Rated 5 Stars

When Lucy sat in the attic, she thought she heard the sound of voices calling... That's when she started to believe the rumors in the village that the old house was haunted. But no ghosts appeared - until the day Lucy and her brother Jamie stood in the garden and watched two pale figures, a girl and a boy, coming toward them. That was the beginning of a strange and dangerous friendship between Lucy and Jamie and two children who had died a century before. The ghost children desperately needed their help. But would Lucy and Jamie have the courage to venture into the past - and change the terrible events that had led to murder?

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Sava Buncic Harnessing Altruism

Rated 5 Stars

Could you keep on living, and how, as the sole survivor of all your family? Would you bring a child into a world in which it would live without any means of modern civilization, in misery and isolation – knowing that would never change? If you could never see either your husband or your son ever again, who would you choose? Harnessing Altruism is about the world in the mid twenty-first century and beyond, in which the very existence of humanity is threatened by an unbearably hot climate and shortages of essential resources due to the long-term insatiable greed of modern civilization. The Turnbull family struggles to survive under increasingly harsh conditions in the war-torn world, in miserable refugee camps and in underground sanctuaries having nothing else but minimal rations of food and water. In the process, from childhood to older age, Ed must keep learning where the balance is between his primal instinct for survival and desire to maintain his own essential traits of humanity, how to handle the ‘every man for himself’ situations while facing the risk of imminent death, and what is that one thing for which he would do anything in the world. Answering all these and other questions is made monumentally hard by the helplessness of people in a world in which they influence nothing and do not know who decides about the life and death of the irreversibly and progressively shrinking human population

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Before you go

Rated 5 stars by Readers Favorite

Reviewed By Joseph Ogbonna for Readers’ Favorite

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Whispers of the Gone

Rated 5 stars by Readers Favorite

Life in the Enclave was much slower than in the cities, especially since Elves took their time because they have plenty of it; however, something seems to have happened. For once, the people of the Enclave seemed to be in a hurry. After the Rebellion, most Seeker Families were killed and in the Thrudore Enclave, only Sellusa’s family, the Natanus family, survived. Seekers were strong, courageous, and loyal and they arose in times of need. Selli has the blood of an adventurer in her and she was determined to carry out her duties and avenge her father too. She was summoned by Lady T’Serra because of urgent business - she found out that children have been going missing for the past two weeks. They have no idea who was behind this and it is up to her to look into the matter. Where will her adventures lead her to? What truths will she discover along the way? Read Whispers of the Gone by Julie Hodgson to find out! Whispers of the Gone is a young adult fantasy book by Julie Hodgson and illustrated by Mona Lena. Selli is a determined and brave fifteen-year-old who carries a heavy legacy on her shoulder as the last remaining Samúð in Haltasia. Her quest to find the missing children uncovered surprising truths and the mission was fraught with danger. Her distinctive character captured my attention from the get-go. I was drawn deeper into the story because of Hodgson’s amazing ability to capture the reader's interest from the very first page and I was also hooked by the substantial plot and surprising twists along the way. The tale is filled with a healthy dose of adventure, conflict, mystery, and so much more! Hodgson created a unique world through detailed world-building and I couldn’t wait to explore every crevice of it as I read Selli’s story! Mona Lena’s illustrations of the characters and events add vision to this world and help the story come to life. The art adds a bright perspective to the already fantastic and engrossing tale. Fantastic work!