MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reviews by Lee M. (Creve Coeur, MO)

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The Yellow Bird Sings: A Novel
by Jennifer Rosner
Magic (11/22/2019)
Another book about WWII, but this one is a melodic offering to all the lost souls anywhere on earth or even beyond. The music that Ms Rosner writes about just sings off the page into your heart and carries pain, sorrow, family love but most of all hope. This book is that great!
The Seine: The River that Made Paris
by Elaine Sciolino
More than a River (9/30/2019)
From Source-Seine in underground springs, seven to fifteen permanent sources, the Seine begins its journey to the sea. Most people think of the Seine and Paris as one, but as the author discovered and we learn the Seine is so much much more from the legend of the Gallo-Roman goddess Sequana to the English Channel between Le Havre and Honfleur. The Seine has been inspirations and the subject of painters for centuries.
Ms Sciolino's love of every inch of the river, 777 kilometers (483 miles) shows in every lovely description of the towns, bridges, songs, scenes, floods, lovers, fishing, islands, windmills, dreams, legends...
C'est Magnifique.
Yale Needs Women: How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant
by Anne Gardiner Perkins
We Have Just Begun (7/4/2019)
This book tells the story of what happens when an all-male institution suddenly goes coed. Ms Perkins set up camp at Yale Manuscripts and Archives, and also interviewed 51 women and men to compile what happened at Yale from 1969 through 1972. Noteworthy is that the Equal Rights Amendment ERA, did not pass Congress until 1972. It still needs one state vote to ratify. I find it sad that it took all that fighting for equality and yet 49 years later it still needs to be done at many other places. Perhaps this book will be used as a guide, but where will we find the Superwomen?
A People's History of Heaven
by Mathangi Subramanian
A Mighty Race (2/11/2019)
Snippets of unconditional love between five girls. Well written, some irony and descriptions of real poverty. Somehow I expected more. I guess I expected to be fired up and looking for ways to help these brave women, and yet I was just quietly and smartly proud of my race. A good investment of reading time.
The Kinship of Secrets
by Eugenia Kim
What Comprises a Family (10/1/2018)
Ms. Kim probes the depths of tradition, honor, respect, and love. Taking an incident that she knows personally she weaves a heart-rending story of a family separated by time, war and continents. Do they endure, will they reunite, and is honesty about the past the best policy? You'll love the answers, and this book.
So Much Life Left Over
by Louis de Bernieres
Without War (7/6/2018)
How great to find a wonderful, new to me, author to enjoy. Such crisp unexpected humor meshes into the story of the lives of a group of friends, all survivors of The Great War. The author covers a unique time period, 1918 to the 1940's and the after effect the war has on their lives and those of their loved ones. A deep, and moving account of soldiers in peacetime.
Motherhood
by Sheila Heti
Career Advice (2/2/2018)
To say this book is different just does not cover it. It's a select compendium of many of the pros and cons of a private but important decision facing our female executive leaders of the 21st century. Very well written and covering some territory not previously discussed or well defined in any Career Manual.
The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure
by Shoba Narayan
Do Cows Smile (12/5/2017)
The price of milk, the price of cows, the price of friendship, all are superbly explored in this book. Some basis in fact, I believe, the narrative is enlivened by Ms. Nayaran's mischievous sense of humor. Her research regarding the customs and traditions about cows, languages, and other 'only in India' information is a great plus. I thought the first half of the book could have been tightened a bit so more of a 4.5 instead of a solid 5. Heartily recommend.
Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces
by Dawn Davies
Also included... (9/19/2017)
Two books written as one. Fine author with a nack for neat descriptions and a flair for humor. The chapters do not follow in chronological order but are snippets from a full life, be it single, as a single mother or as a family. Some sections I heartily recommend but I have reservations about others but worth the time spent reading.
The Twelve-Mile Straight: A Novel
by Eleanor Henderson
Such Shame (4/20/2017)
I don't know where to start, I loved this book SO MUCH! How Ms. Henderson got into the mind of so many people and wrote this astounds me! She made me feel I was just beside her in this tale of poverty, prejudice, hate and just plain evil. Mixed ancestry incest rounds out this story. Not for the faint hearted, but NOT to be missed!
Tell Me How This Ends Well
by David Samuel Levinson
Passover (2/22/2017)
Its 2022 and a family gathers for Passover. And the hilarity begins. All the serious, earth shattering, jaw-dropping troubles that can happen to each individual does happen and somehow Mr. Levinson makes it all funny, enjoyable and OH 'something like that happened in our family.' And we recognize some of our great crazy relatives. I smiled or laughed all the way through.
The Typewriter's Tale
by Michiel Heyns
Off the Mark (1/4/2017)
Right at the beginning I sensed this book and I would have problems. In my opinion an author does not have to write long loopy sentences and use obscure words to write an interesting Book. I am not inclined to enjoy reading Henry James' books,. Mr. Heyns did not change my mind regarding this style and I felt the imitation was pretentious. But without a doubt anyone who can simulate as well as he did is an excellent writer.
Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 - A World on the Edge
by Helen Rappaport
The Other Side (10/28/2016)
I finished this book last night and I'm still speechless. We have all read about the Russian Revolution of 1917, but not this way, from the non Russian observers. And you are not reading, your are there! Ms. Rappaport started collecting eyewitness and written accounts of this monumental period, many years ago. She somehow, phenomenally has gathered these in a book that gives you the impression you are actually watching and reacting to real events. Daily, sometimes hourly, you feel the emotions, be they horrific, amusing, sad, or surprising. Many kudos for amassing this information, for compiling it in a cohesive, and unbelievably enjoyable side of history seldom, if ever, seen or published. Bravo!
Karolina's Twins
by Ronald H. Balson
Never Forget (7/9/2016)
Having read Mr. Balson's previous book, "Once We Were Brothers" I spent the first third of the book feeling like deja vu. Older person goes to Lawyer, and Detective to find information on a person and/or story that occurred during the Holocaust. His very repetitive background information was superfluous and had I not volunteered to review this book I would have stopped reading. About half way through, his extensive research started to come together and then he began a very unusual story. More substantive horrors piled on a mountain of unforgettable and unforgivable history. I firmly believe there are never enough stories to remind us of our tragic history. So a solid 5 for writing and research but minus 2 for desperately needed editing.
Darling Days: A Memoir
by iO Tillett Wright
Love? (4/13/2016)
This book begins with a beautiful love letter to the author's mother but... There's always a but! I usually read to be entertained, enlightened or to learn about something new. In my opinion none of these can be ascribed to this book. I did not feel love, just an ill hidden hate and condemnation.
The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins
by Antonia Hodgson
History with a Grin (1/4/2016)
What an exciting romp in the London of 1728. Not having read the author's first book I was totally unprepared for her wonderful descriptions, well developed characters, and good mystery story. Well researched, concise yet very descriptive text especially so that you can feel the filth, evil and thievery in her details of St Giles. Highly entertaining and historically accurate.
Fallen Land
by Taylor Brown
Fell (11/13/2015)
I fell in love with this book. Mr. Brown is gifted with a descriptive sense that makes you feel you're in the book experiencing the ride of your life! He is an eloquent writer and you accept even the most violent parts as necessary to the flow of the story. How can he know and convey so much, when he was not alive during this period. He made me cry and that is not easy to do. A magnificent choice for individuals and Book Clubs.
The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs
by Matthew Dicks
Enjoy (6/3/2015)
I did not pay any attention to the author's name when I started to read this book. When I finished it, in a few days, I assumed it was written by a female. Applause to Mr. Dicks for being able to pull this off. He accurately describes the dialogue of a mother and teenage daughter, adds a mystery and comes up with an interesting book. I liked the way he explained some of the differences between love and respect, and the importance of family values. For my taste, the ending felt a little drawn out, but easily overlooked problem and it did not spoil the enjoyable experience.
Still Life Las Vegas
by James Sie
Growing (5/4/2015)
This was listed as a "coming-of-age" story and tho I usually avoid them, decided to see if this one would be different. And I was pleasantly rewarded. Mr. Sie is such a lovely writer, short to the point, no unnecessary embellishments. I would prefer listing this story as finding the truth, accepting it, and having the resilience to go on to the future. I found that the jumping from one time period to another without too much of a clue where exactly we were, disconcerting. The drawings, to my surprise, added much to the narrative. The Greek references were mostly lost on me, but I knew enough to get by. A more than worthy debut novel.
The Book of Speculation
by Erika Swyler
Up and Down and Around (4/14/2015)
What a delightful surprise. Remember all the old time carnivals, the booths, the rides, the fat ladies, and the fortune tellers? Oh what fun it all was. This book is all that and more. Did you believe everything you saw and were told. Simon, our hero, does not. We'll sort of, does not. And that's where the fun begins. Ms. Swyler has cleverly juxtaposed a modern carnival family with a written history of a carnival family beginning in 1780. Could one or the other be cursed? Does Simon believe in curses? Do you? Read on and enjoy the RIDE!
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