Source: Direct from Publicist

Blog Book Tour | “Second Sister” by Chan Ho-Kei (an Zeitgeisty Hacker Contemporary Thriller)

Posted Sunday, 22 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve been enjoying hosting blog tours for the UK Indie publisher Head of Zeus as I feel blessed to work with them as a book blogger being that I love celebrating authors from the UK and the stories they are telling through the different genres Head of Zeus is publishing. These blog tours have been encouraging my bookish and readerly wanderings into Crime Dramas, Historical Fiction and Historical Sagas whilst also engaging into my passionate love of Speculative Fiction which encompasses Science Fiction and Fantasy. I am thankful to be hosting tours for the publisher directly and with their publicity team at Midas PR.

I received a complimentary copy of “Second Sister” direct from the publisher Head of Zeus in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

What intrigued me about “Second Sister”:

I have noticed a shift in my reading patterns has brought me back into *Crime Fiction!* recently – even before I announced becoming an influencer for the Crime Fiction Subscription Book Box which is focused on highlighting Canadian Crime Writers and Crime Fiction from around the world. This is a niche of literature I personally LOVE to be reading – from Contemporary Suspense & Thrillers to Cosy Historical Mysteries to dramatic Cosy Crime and police proceduals and amateur sleuths – there is something truly captivating about reading stories which invigorate your mind whilst your attempting to uncover the writer’s vision of how to tell a captivating suspense novel through their own lens of inspiration to leave you gripped inside a novel that might be hard to put down after its read.

From the moment I first read the premise of “Second Sister” – I just had this murmuring of interest as this was my first takeaway having read the synopsis:

It isn’t often I find a Thriller like this one which intrigues me to read the story. The author reminds me of what I enjoyed about reading J.S. Monroe’s “Forget My Name” and why I am dearly eager to read his new release “The Other You” – which I hosted an Author Q&A for earlier in January of this year.

It isn’t often I find Crime Fiction in translation – the first novel of I read of this nature was The Swimmer which happily took me by surprise and was a wicked good read. This is the other reason “Second Sister” appealled to me as a reader – not to mention the premise was a gutting one – how it effectively was about the lives and choices of two sisters and would take me to Hong Kong to hear their story. I’ll admit the tagline attached to this novel was quite alluring in its own right –  an Zeitgeisty Hacker Contemporary Thriller!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Second Sister” by Chan Ho-Kei (an Zeitgeisty Hacker Contemporary Thriller)Second Sister
by (Translator) Jeremy Tiang, Chan Ho-Kei
Source: Direct from Publicist

Upon discovering her fifteen-year-old sister’s body sprawled in a pool of blood at the bottom of their apartment block, Nga-Yee vows to serve justice to the internet troll she blames for her sister’s suicide.

Hiring an anti-establishment, maverick tech-savvy detective, Nga-Yee discovers the dark side of social media, the smokescreen of online privacy and the inner workings of the hacker’s mind.

Determined to find out the truth about why her sister Siu-Man killed herself, Nga-Yee cannot rest until she finds out whose inflammatory social media post went viral and pushed her sister to her death. Along the way, Nga-Yee makes unsavoury discoveries about her sister’s life and the dark underbelly of the digital world.

Perfect for fans of hacker thrillers such as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Second Sister is part detective novel, part revenge thriller. It explores timely themes of sexual harassment, online trolling, victim blaming, fake news and data privacy scandals , vividly capturing the zeitgeist of Hong Kong and the world today.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1788547116

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Setting: Hong Kong


Published by Head of Zeus

on 18th February, 2020

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 496

Published By: Head of Zeus (@HoZ_Books)

Converse via: #SecondSister, #Thriller

as well as #Contemporary and #TechnoThriller

Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

About (Translator) Jeremy Tiang

Jeremy Tiang

Jeremy Tiang's short story collection It Never Rains on National Day was published by Epigram Books in 2015. His writing has also appeared in The Guardian, Esquire, Asia Literary Review, Brooklyn Rail, Drunken Boat, Meanjin, Ambit and Best New Singaporean Short Stories.

He has translated more than ten books from Chinese, including work by Yeng Pway Ngon, You Jin, Wong Yoon Wah, Yan Geling, Yu Qiuyu, Su Wei-chen and Zhang Yueran. Shorter translations have appeared in Two Lines, the Iowa Review, Asymptote and The Stinging Fly.

He is a 2016 NEA Literary Translation Fellow, and has received grants from PEN/ Heim and the National Museum of Taiwanese Literature. Jeremy also writes and translates plays, including Floating Bones (The Arts House, Singapore), A Dream of Red Pavilions (adapted from the novel Hong Lou Meng; Pan-Asian Repertory Theatre, NYC) and The Last Days of Limehouse (Yellow Earth Theatre, London).

About Chan Ho-Kei

Chan Ho-Kei

Chan was born and raised in Hong Kong. He was graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a B.Sc. degree in 1997. He has worked as software engineer, game designer, manga editor, and lecturer. Chan made his debut as writer in 2008, with short story The Murder Case of Jack and the Beanstalk which was shortlisted for the 6th Mystery Writers of Taiwan Award. Chan reentered and won this award in the next year with The Locked Room of Bluebeard.

After receiving a couple more of awards, Chan reached the first milestone of his writing career in 2011. Chan's novel, The Man who Sold the World won the biggest mystery award in the Chinese speaking world, the Soji Shimada Award. The book has been published in Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Thailand and Korea.

 In 2014, Chan's work The Borrowed was published in Taiwan and has been well acclaimed. It has sold rights in eight countries, and the film rights sold to director Wong Kar-Wai.

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Posted Sunday, 22 March, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Thriller, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Head of Zeus, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | #FuellYourSciFi as #JorieReads “The Hidden Girl” (and other stories) by Ken Liu

Posted Tuesday, 3 March, 2020 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve been enjoying hosting blog tours for the UK Indie publisher Head of Zeus as I feel blessed to work with them as a book blogger being that I love celebrating authors from the UK and the stories they are telling through the different genres Head of Zeus is publishing. These blog tours have been encouraging my bookish and readerly wanderings into Crime Dramas, Historical Fiction and Historical Sagas whilst also engaging into my passionate love of Speculative Fiction which encompasses Science Fiction and Fantasy. I am thankful to be hosting tours for the publisher directly and with their publicity team at Midas PR.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Hidden Girl” direct from the publisher Head of Zeus in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I felt blessed to read “The Hidden Girl”:

I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for Speculative Fiction – readers of Jorie Loves A Story might take note of the fact I regularly participate in two annual book blogosphere events: Sci Fi November (@SciFiMonth) & Wyrd And Wonder (@WyrdAndWonder) – the latter of which I helped co-develop and co-host every May with our supplemental fortnight event every October.

I immediately connected with the author’s vision vision of [The Hidden Girl] – not just from the concept behind his creation of Silkpunk but through what he put on his website as a short extract of what we’d find inside. It was a theory of thought I have oft shared myself on my own blog – about how without a reader a story is not yet ready for its debut because it takes a reader to complete a path the writer has placed in front of them. In essence all stories need readers because the writer can only take the story ‘thus far’ before a reader needs to complete it. I love writers who are thought-provoking about their craft inasmuch as they are engaging through their style of story.

Silkpunk is such a new and dynamic concept for me!

I love Susan Spann’s Hiro Hattori novels for rooting me in 16th Century Japan for similar reasons – between the heritage & cultural notations to the aesthetic of how she uses the setting of Japan itself as a narrative guide. I also felt emotionally moved by The Ghost Bride by Yengsze Choo – the visuals and the speculative intersection of the story against the cultural beliefs of where the ghost brides enter into the storyline – simply evocatively beautiful. I love Asian Literature – I try to seek out more whenever I can which is why I still want to finish A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe as I felt so dearly connected to the world she created within the scope of the novel.

This idea of “Silkpunk” is what truly captured my thirst of curiosity to read The Hidden Girl as I love finding new sub-niches of genres I regularly read – they give new credence to how inventive writers are and how wickedly delightful it is to disappear into a story which is going to take us elsewhere from whence we’ve travelled previously. Similar to why I like the ‘other’  punk sub-niches in Speculative Fiction, Silkpunk to me felt like a wicked good ‘next’ fit!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | #FuellYourSciFi as #JorieReads “The Hidden Girl” (and other stories) by Ken LiuThe Hidden Girl
Subtitle: And Other Stories
by Ken Liu
Source: Direct from Publicist

From a Tang Dynasty legend of a young girl trained as an assassin with the ability to skip between dimensions on a secluded mountain sanctuary to a space colony called Nova Pacifica that reflects on a post-apocalyptic world of the American Empire and ‘Moonwalker’ Neil Armstrong, award-winning author Ken Liu’s writings are laced with depictions of silkpunk fantasy, Sci-Fi and old Chinese folklore, wrapped up in a mesmerising genre-bending collection of short stories.

Ken Liu is one of the most lauded short story writers of our time. This much anticipated collection includes a selection of his latest science fi ction and fantasy stories over the last fi ve years – sixteen of his best – plus a new novelette. In addition to these seventeen selections, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories also features an excerpt from book three in the Dandelion Dynasty series, The Veiled Throne.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1982134037

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Science Fiction, Short Story or Novella, Space Opera


Published by Head of Zeus

on 25th February, 2020

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 432

Published By: Head of Zeus (@HoZ_Books)

For those who are new to reading Silkpunk,
I found a lovely article which the author explains the genre
and what constitues a Silkpunk style of narrative as its a genre-bent of Sci Fi & Fantasy.

Genre(s): Science Fiction | Speculative | Silkpunk

Short Story | Space Opera | Folklore | Hard Science Fiction

Converse via: #TheHiddenGirl, #KenLiu with #Silkpunk

as well as #ScienceFiction and #SpeculativeFiction

Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook

About Ken Liu

Ken Liu

Ken Liu is an American Speculative Fiction writer and the winner of the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, World Fantasy, Sidewise, and Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards. The son of a pharmaceutical chemist and a computer engineer, Ken emigrated to the US with his mother and father at the age of 11. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in English Literature and Computer Science and later attended Harvard Law School.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Ken worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer, and litigation consultant. His debut novel, The Grace of Kings, is the first volume in a Silkpunk Epic Fantasy series, The Dandelion Dynasty, in which engineers play the role of wizards.

His debut collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, has been published in more than a dozen language and his short story Good Hunting was adapted for an episode for Netflix’s science fiction web series Love, Death and Robots.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 3 March, 2020 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, England, Hard Science Fiction, Head of Zeus, Novellas or Short Stories, Science Fiction, Silkpunk, Space Opera, Speculative Fiction

Book Review | “all in her head” by Sunny Mera #FRC2015 No.1

Posted Tuesday, 1 March, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

BookSparks University | #FRC2015 Banner by BookSparks.

I had fully intended to read my #FRC2015 selections hugged closer to the months of Autumn and early Winter, however, my dear hearted readers of whom have caught my posts relating to circumstances which wicked out hours and derailed my attempts to read along with the rest of the book bloggers who took up the same challenge are already in the loop realising my readings of these stories will come quite a bit later than planned.

To recap the events for those who are visiting me for the first time,
please direct your attention to the following posts:

What turnt this whole situation around for me, is being able to talk to the publicists at BookSparks on two separate occasions when I felt I was treading water as I knew time had wicked itself off the clock and I was at a proper loss as to where to ‘begin’ despite the fact I have a shelf full of BookSparks reading challenge and blog tour lovelies to read which I’ve been itching with curiosity about since they each arrived and/or since I first met them through my local library who purchased my requests on behalf of the #SRC2015 and #FRC2015 selections.

I had felt quite a bit guilty regarding the latter, as despite having my purchase requests accepted and added to the card catalogue: time was unfortunately never on my side to soak inside the stories themselves. There was an unexpected moment of clarity though about my requests, where I found myself talking to different librarians and finding they were encouraged to read new authors of whom they never would have ‘met’ had I not requested the reading challenge titles! Talk about putting everything into a different prospective of understanding!

This marks my fourth review overall spilt between #SRC2015, #ReadingIsBeautiful and #FRC2015, however, it is the very first Fall Reading Challenge selection I am reading as blessedly I was encouraged to ‘reverse the list’ in order to best highlight the books being highlighted between Autumn 2015 and Winter 2016. I am simply happy to be in a position to lay heart and mind inside the stories I’ve dearly wanted to read and now can give them my full attention!Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I originally found BookSparks PR Spring 2014, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them this Spring to see if I could join the challenge in 2015 instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel, “The Sheperdess of Siena”. 

I started to participate in #SRC2015 during Summer 2015 until lightning storms quickly overtook my life and the hours I could give to the reading challenge. Summer ended hard and with a newfound resolve to pick up where I had left off, I posted as many reviews on behalf of BookSparks blog tours and/or the three reading challenges I had committed myself to participate inside (i.e. #SRC2015, #ReadingIsBeautiful (YA version), and #FRC2015).

I elected to read “All In Her Head” via the complimentary copy I received by BookSparks as the library copy I had requested is happily being read by other patrons. By participating in the #FRC2015 challenge I am reading the novels in exchange for my honest reviews; whether I am receiving a complimentary copy or borrowing them through my local library. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

My selection process for #FRC2015:

As a book blogger, one of the things I recognise that helps me grow as a reader is to be open-minded about story-lines, character journeys, topics and subjects that might continuously push me outside my comfort zones to endeavour to read. There is a reading challenge I found in 2014 called Mental Health Awareness Month which I had wanted to join a part of but ending up following a fellow book bloggers on their journey inside the books which would celebrate the theme of the challenge. The diversity of choices these bloggers elected to read and how they in-turn blogged about their experiences never left my conscience as part of why I happily shared my views about #EqualityInLit during the #AtoZChallenge of 2014 was to capitalise on how wide a range Diversity and Equality in Literature truly reaches.

Therefore, when I came across ‘all in her head’ on the listing of choices for the Fall Reading Challenge via BookSparks my interest was piqued and I decided to add my name to the list of book bloggers who would be interested in reading this selection. At the same time, I was mindful of how many friends throughout my life have been affected by mental illness and have striven to seek a better state of mental wellness; as nothing is as clear cut as it may first seem when it comes to the psychology of a person’s health.

I champion writers who have a personal conviction towards writing Mental Health issues into their stories as much as the writers who have a personal experience with Mental Health which encourages their creative voice to give a more honest and authentic touch to the stories they are creating to share a bit of insight into their life and world. Previously, I have touched subjects where characters felt they were in the middle of an insurrection where they had to live through or move past a life moment which carried with it a resounding affirmation of how to rise above your tribulations through a buoy of hope as read inside: Etched On Me by Jenn Crowell (review); The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde (review); Chain of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson (review); The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (review); Hannah Both Ways by Rosie Greenway (review) and Some Other Town by Elizabeth Collison (review) wherein characters were attempting to work through a life obstacle which tested their strength of will.

Prior to re-beginning my readings of BookSparks selected authors and stories across genres, I have found a newfound appetite for Feminist-driven stories evoking an honest portrait of women’s issues and rights being explored in fiction. This new appreciation of mine is best seen on my recent reviews of The Renegade Queen by Eva Flynn (review), The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley by Susan Örnbratt (review), Emmy Nation: Undercover Suffragette by L. Davis Munro (review) and Daughter of Destiny by Nicole Evelina (review).

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Book Review | “all in her head” by Sunny Mera #FRC2015 No.1all in her head
by Sunny Mera
Source: Direct from Publicist

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781631528187

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Psychology & Cognitive Science, Psychopathology, Women's Fiction, Women's Studies


Published by She Writes Press

on 10th November, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 184

written by Sunny Mera | Site | @MeraSunny

Published By:She Writes Press (@shewritespress)
originated from She Writes (@shewritesdotcom)
an imprint of Spark Points Studio LLCGoSparkPoint (@GoSparkPoint)
& BookSparks
(@BookSparks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #allinherhead & #FRC2015 Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #FRC2015 | BookSparks
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Posted Tuesday, 1 March, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, 21st Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book for University Study, BookSparks, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diary Accountment of Life, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Journal, Library Love, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Medical Fiction, Memoir, Mental Health, Modern Day, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nurses & Hospital Life, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, Sociological Behavior, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Vignettes of Real Life, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Rights

Book Review | “Shivers and Signposts: The Journey Continues” by Len Richman

Posted Wednesday, 24 February, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for “Shivers and Signposts: the Journey Continues” hosted by iRead Book Tours. As I signed up for the blog tour, I realised the book being featured is a sequel to “Raindrops Glimpses Moments” which is why I requested to see if I could read both together rather than to enter the narrative without knowledge of the former. I received a complimentary copy of “Shivers & Signposts: The Journey Continues” direct from the publicist at iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

This continues my entreaty into a duology of memoirs by a Canadian author who has found clarity and personal re-collective insight in his retirement years wherein he has devouted time to recount and digest everything that percolated inside his mind’s eye. Bookended together, these are volumes of personal living truths and the insights of a well-lived life wherein the author directly highlights and engages his readers into self-examining their own living truths as they take the sojourn with him back through his own passages of time.

Book Review | “Shivers and Signposts: The Journey Continues” by Len RichmanShivers and Signposts
Subtitle: The Journey Continues
by Len Richman
Source: Direct from Publicist

Shivers & Signposts: The Journey Continues is Len Richman’s second exploration of a life measured out by a distinct rhythm of his own devising. Picking up where his first memoir, Raindrops Glimpses Moments: An Unconventional Memoir of an Unplanned Journey, left off, Richman shows in Shivers & Signposts that he still has much to do, and much to say.

Richman attacks life with uncommon vigour. Never motionless, he moves forwards - and sometimes backwards - suffusing each manoeuvre with unique energy…vitality and constant evolution.

Shivers at the thought of growing old, of becoming stale…occasional alienation and loneliness, Richman, is driven onwards by “a pressing need to redefine and redirect his innermost self”, a self that he continually re-evaluates through the lens of modern technology, literature, theatre and film.

These are the signposts that guide him through his fascinating quest for renewal of spirit and self…Let us hear his decisive commentary on modern social and cultural mores, his unapologetic tackling of issues from racism to materialism to present-day psychoanalysis. Let us listen to the music of Richman’s own Love Song, about the love of a life well-lived – and still well-worth living. Let us be challenged, through Richman’s examination of his own life, to ask of ourselves: How should we presume?

From the “Introduction” by Stuart Lubarsky, M.D.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781460269534

Also by this author: Raindrops Glimpses Moments

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Memoir, Non-Fiction


Published by Friesen Press

on 13th August, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 184

About Len Richman

Len Richman

Len Richman has a long history with the Thomas More Institute of Montreal: student, course designer/ leader, Board of Directors member, and Chair of the Accreditation Committee.

He holds a teaching certificate from McGill University’s MacDonald College; a B.A. from the University of Montreal (Literature); an M.A. in education from Concordia University (Outdoor Education), and a post-graduate Comprehensive Certificate from TMI (Culture and Identity Studies.)

Travel, work and field background continue in parts of Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, South Pacific, and Canada’s northern communities. An educator in the areas of literature, wilderness/ outdoor pursuits, adult learning programs, international and multi-cultural studies for decades, a “redirection” of interests after 60 resulted in his becoming engaged in the performing arts: acting, directing, producing and writing. He is presently associated with Quebec Drama Federation (QDF), Black Theatre Workshop (BTW), Advisory Board of Pointe Claire Library, English Language Arts Network (ELAN), Quebec Writers’ Federation (QDF), Playwrights’ Guild of Canada (PGC), and Alliance of Canadian Cinéma Télévision & Radio Artists (ACTRA).

Born, bred and residing in and around Montreal (his favourite city next to New York, Prague, Budapest, and Dawson City, Yukon), he and his wife have three sons who have provided almost “free entertainment” with six grandsons and two “bonus” granddaughters from six to twenty-six years of age. He hopes to maintain sharing his wondering and wandering from his previous book, Raindrops Glimpses Moments: An Unconventional Memoir of an Unplanned Journey, to the present Shivers and Signposts: The Journey Continues, and beyond.

Read More

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Posted Wednesday, 24 February, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Journal, Memoir, Modern Day, Non-Fiction, Self-Published Author, The Writers Life, Vignettes of Real Life

Book Review | “Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War” by Ruth W. Crocker

Posted Monday, 2 November, 2015 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was approached to read a different book than the one I asked to read, as the original choice the publicist made for me didn’t feel like a good fit, to be honest. I asked to receive “Those Who Remain” because I have a strong connection to the war eras as I regularly read war dramas and historical fiction set during this period; yet I do not often think to pick up a work of non-fiction that is connected to the eras. I was thankful I could step out of my comfort zone and read a creative non-fiction account set during the Vietnam War. I received a complimentary copy of the “Those Who Remain” direct from the publicist at Claire McKinney Public Relations, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why letters and correspondences interest me within a story of a war drama:

Oft-times letters and correspondences are all that will remain after a war between wives and husbands; daughters and fathers; sons and mothers, etc. as war is an uncertain time of unforeseeable tragedy. The words etched into postcards, pieces of paper or scribbled onto napkins or other bits of mail become a lasting tribute to not only the person who gave those words to their loved ones but to the receiver who knew a bit of their thoughts before they passed. Not everyone perishes at war, but for the families who lose their relatives, the sudden separation and the lack of a proper good-bye is mind-numbingly anguishing for many years.

When it comes to reading war dramas in fiction, I appreciate the writers who fuse history and fact into their stories, but also allow a breath of connection between those at the front and those back home. Finding letters caught inside the tethers of a war drama is one way to anchour me into that story because of how important those letters were in reality. I read quite a lot of war dramas per year, but I also appreciate certain tv serials who augment the same connections I find in their fictional counterparts such as Foyle’s War and As Time Goes By. The latter had the plot focused on a missing letter which was never delivered and thus, became the impetus of how a soldier and a nurse reunited years later in their golden years.

The novel which illuminated the necessity for correspondence at war the best, I felt, was Letters from Skye a novel writ around the letters themselves; taking me to a new vein of reality of how a novel can be told. Reviewing this novel twice was a way I could give the author a second note of gratitude for how convicting her story moved my emotional heart.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Book Review | “Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War” by Ruth W. CrockerThose Who Remain
Subtitle: Remembrance and Reunion After War
by Ruth W. Crocker
Source: Direct from Publisher

She was 23 years old when she was widowed by war and rather than bury her husband in his coffin, she buried every memory of their brief life together. Forty years later she exhumed the grave and came to terms with her loss and her grief.

Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2013 writer-teacher-actress Ruth W. Crocker brings her journey of love, loss, and inspiration to the page in her beautiful memoir THOSE WHO REMAIN: Remembrance and Reunion after War (Elm Grove Press).

Sometimes the reaction to loss is anger along with the need to be reckless and to search for meaning in what has happened. In THOSE WHO REMAIN, Ruth W. Crocker was propelled by her complex emotions at the time. On the one hand she needed to close the door on her previous life, and on the other she wanted to pay tribute to her husband's memory and escape from her grief. To this end she hiked up to the treacherous North Face of the Eiger, the most notorious mountain in the Swiss Alps, to spread her husband's ashes at the top of the climb they were supposed to do together.

Weaving her beautifully-written recollections with diary entries, letters between her and her husband, and conversations with his comrades, Ruth gives readers an intimate glimpse into the life of a woman who faced her fears and braved the forces of nature to learn that she could survive anything that came her way. A unique true story of grief and recovery with a surprising revelation, THOSE WHO REMAIN demonstrates the tenacious will of the human spirit to heal.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781940863009

Genres: Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, War Drama


Published by Elm Grove Press

on 13th May 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 294

Published by: Elm Grove Press 

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Ruth W. Crocker

Ruth W. Crocker

Ruth W. Crocker, PhD, is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominated author, writing consultant, and expert on recovery from trauma and personal tragedy. Her memoir Those Who Remain: Remembrance and Reunion After War describes her experience following her husband’s death in Vietnam and how she found resources for healing.

Crocker’s essays have been recognized in Best American Essays and her articles have been
featured in the Gettysburg Review, Grace Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, O-Dark-Thirty, and T.A.P.S. Magazine.

She received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Bennington College, a PhD in Nutrition and Human Development from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Education from Tufts University. Along the way she also became a Registered Dietitian.

Crocker worked in health care administration and clinical nutrition before becoming a full-time writer. Currently, she is the Writer-In-Residence at Riverlight Wellness Center in Stonington, Connecticut, where she teaches the art of writing memoirs and personal essays to aspiring writers who want to express their own stories. She lives, cooks, and writes in Mystic, Connecticut.

Why the past (and the memories carried therein) can rekindle hope and our humanity’s will towards accepting grace:

There is a point in the story where Crocker mentions the true blessing of living histories (what my family refers to as the stories of our relatives and relations throughout our ancestral past) where we become tethered to our family through the living memories of people who lived before our own time. Sometimes these can be peppered with your living relatives recollections of their lives in the decades before your birth, but generally speaking, it’s a way to keep a tangible impression of your family’s journey through time refreshed and known for the generations who are coming down the line.

I appreciated these stories because they clarified a few finer points of the historical past where I found a bit of fault with lessons in school; as I was being given a wider picture than the option only to recount facts and tidbits someone else deemed worthy of my attention. In a conversation on Twitter earlier in 2015 (believe during #HistoricalFix; follow @HistoricalFix), it was mentioned that if historical fiction was taught in school (especially the authors of today or yesterday who conduct such impressive research to ground their stories) we would have a whole new appreciation for history as a whole. I tend to agree with this sentiment whole-heartedly because when the ‘past’ comes alive for me as I read a novel, it is a kind reminder of how much the past was ‘alive’ for me through the stories of my family. We have a need to make connections whilst we’re alive, it’s not only how we process information and keep a stronghold of knowledge vibrant and a part of who we are, it’s a way of how we internalise what we’re experiencing.

If we start to forget to share the stories, we will soon find ourselves without a path towards reacquiring the hope of where we’ve been and the joy of where we are about to venture forward next. Read More

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Posted Monday, 2 November, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #NonFictionFriday, 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Claire McKinney Public Relations, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, History, Indie Author, Memoir, Military Families of the Deployed, Non-Fiction, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Quakers, Special Needs Children, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, The Vietnam War, Travel the World in Books, War Widow, War-time Romance, Warfare & Power Realignment