My Never Ending List

Loves:  books, cooking, family and being outside. 


As a book lover,  I read almost every genre and I enjoy venturing into unfamiliar territory.   Being a library volunteer, I am constantly bringing home stacks of novels to add to my overflowing library at home.   I read a lot of YA novels and children's novels as I am currently a substitute teacher who is always talking books with the students.    



Year of Yes

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person - Shonda Rhimes
I needed Shonda, my dear reader. “My dear reader,” that is what Shonda called me as I listened to her novel in the car and boy, did I listen to her. I listen to her so much that, I couldn’t bring myself to take back the CD’s when they were due so I renewed the novel. I have relistened to my favorite CD’s over and over again, and now, I’ve physically bought a hardcopy of the novel. This physical copy will not be like having the CD’s and hearing her actual voice but I’ll take my post-its and mark my favorite passages so I can come back to them when I need them. I know I will need them as this novel has enlightened me, uplifted me and given me lots to laugh about.
I got in the car after a rough day and popped in CD four and listened to her on my way home. I have listened to this particular CD many times so I knew what I was in for. I popped out of my car smiling and laughing. Shonda has a way of talking about swagger, badassery and life in general.
In this novel, Shonda talks about not being perfect, about doing what works for you (as long as it’s legal and acceptable) and that individuals need to change their views in life. She is empowering in her statements and comments. The speeches that she reflects back to are comical and motivational. It is not all about her and her accomplishments, she wants everyone to shine, she wants everyone to learn that they are their own worse critic.
Shonda talks about a variety of issues, ones that are important to most of us. I enjoyed her examples and opinions. When she talked about weight, I liked this example and I feel it can apply to many other areas of life. If I want to eat an entire cake, I have that choice. But if I choose that path, I shouldn’t be complaining about what that cake does to my body as I chose to eat the cake. I made a choice, I need to live with the results. It’s about choices, living and accepting the choices your make.
I feel that her comments on motherhood were wonderful and I could relate to a lot of what she said. Motherhood is not a job, according to Shonda, it is not work, it is something that happens no matter what transpires, it’s who some individuals are. You can quit work but you cannot quit being a mother (I love this!)
I have talked this book up with everyone I have met. I have to take the novel back on Friday as I promised a woman, I would hand it off so she could listen to it. I’m sad but also excited as I feel I am enabling others. Empowering them with Shonda. What a terrific novel, one that every woman should read.


The Forever Summer

The Forever Summer - Jamie Brenner
Marin was not in love with her fiance so she broke off their engagement, now she’s in love with a fellow a work, a relationship that is taboo in their environment.
Marin finds out that her parents are divorcing and her father has a new girlfriend.
Marin receives an email from Rachel. Rachel says that according to a DNA test that she took, Marin is her half-sister and now, Rachel wants to meet her.
Marin decides to take a DNA test herself and what she finds is surprising. When she questions her mother about the results, her mother is tight-lipped until Marin pressures her and then, her mother reluctantly tells Marin about her pregnancy many years ago.
Marin relationship with her current boyfriend at work is uncovered and the immediate results are not good.
It’s pouring in Marin’s world, she thought when she broke up with her fiance, she might get things back on track but it seems that did not happen.
When Rachel arrives to meet Marin, the anticipation of what would occur was mounting inside me. I was hoping something great would transpire as it seemed that Marin’s life was headed in a downward spin. When Marin’s mother arrives on the scene, as this connection was taking place with these girls, I was expecting fireworks. Then, as the girls made plans to visit Rachel’s grandmother (also Marin’s grandmother), I didn’t know what to expect of these three women. Would there be harsh words spoken? An argument? Would someone say something that couldn’t be taken back?
I didn’t feel that Marin’s mother was truly honest about Marin’s past and I wasn’t sure she really wanted to be. Rachel and Marin seemed to hit it off with each other and it looked as if Marin’s mother was going to be left in the shadows with Marin learning about her past from someone else.
This was an interesting and captivating novel that had some interesting twists inside. There wasn’t any over-the-top drama but it was a novel that kept my interest and as the story played out, I felt a deep connection to the characters and to the lives that they were leading. As the secrets slowly came to the surface, the biggest surprise was how they were handled.


Funeral Platter

Funeral Platter  - Greg Ames, Greg Ames
I really enjoyed Greg’s writing style, it was as if he was talking with you, just retelling a story that he thought was worth repeating. I found some of these short stories entertaining, some of them came off to me as a matter-o-fact message and for others, I just didn’t understand them at all.
The stories I found entertaining were:
Benefactor: Parker is sitting at home watching an informercial on TV for starving artists. Parker decides to sponsors one. He learns from his correspondence that his artist makes art from stolen supermarkets. This artist has struggled with drugs, alcohol, and suicide but has since gone through rehab. They ask Parker for more monies for his artist and since Parker feels he is making a difference, he okays the charges. Through mailed updates, Parker feels a deep connection to this artist and he almost becomes obsessed with him. Parker decides he wants out of this commitment, but can he? Did he really read the contract?
I Feel Free: A man takes his new date home to his apartment and soon she begins taking over his home. Her old boyfriend becomes a regular guest. Why he put up with her for as long as he did, I didn’t understand but he sure had patience. He finally wises up and what he did, put a smile on my face.
A Love Letter: A young teen falls in love with the crossing guard who helps them cross the street for school. The few seconds they spend together is monumental.
There were some stories inside this novel that were sexual in nature which were interesting but nothing that made them stand out. Other stories caught my attention but they didn’t stir anything inside me, they were just great written stories. I read a few stories that I thought were wonderful but the ending just didn’t seem to fit and I was confused. I just don’t think this novel was cut out for me.
I received a copy of this novel from a Goodreads Giveaway, thank you Skyhorse Publishing and Goodreads for this novel. This review is my own opinion of this novel.


She’s figured me out

My daughter and son-in-law have me all figured out.  I love my birthday gifts! 


Let Me Lie

Let Me Lie - Clare Mackintosh
Anna parents died within months of each other. They were both suicides but Anna doesn’t believe it’s possible. She believes there is something behind the death of her mother and she starts an investigation into it.
I read the words of Anna’s mother who doesn’t want Anna to make inquiries about her death. She fears for Anna’s safety and she doesn’t want the outcome of the truth to be revealed. Where is this voice coming from and what exactly is the truth about her death?
The mystery starts to slowly reveal itself as Anna receives something in the mail. Was this item sent to be a threat or a call for help? Anna doesn’t know what to think about it while Murray, the retired officer working on her case, is still trying to piece everything together. Other mysterious items begin to arrive and whether they are there to help or hinder, confuse and disturb Anna at a time in her life when she should be enjoying motherhood and mourning the deaths of her family.
We all know that once you start lying, it’s easy to continue and that the lies begin to mount one-on-top-of-one-another just like that and that is what happens inside this novel. The truth was somewhere beneath all these layers but where was it? And what would it reveal, when it was finally discovered?
I liked the characters in this novel. I loved their craftiness and their spontaneity. They were quick on their feet and quick to act as sometimes, they didn’t have time to pause and think before reacting. I thought the premise behind the novel was enjoyable and entertaining. This was a fun, twisting mystery that kept me on my toes.
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group. in exchange for an honest review.


The Sun Does Shine

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row - Anthony Ray Hinton
Whatever I write in my review of this novel will not give this novel the justice it deserves. When I first started to read this novel, I wasn’t quite sure this novel was cut out for me. I didn’t want a novel that shouted injustice and cruelty at me, I wanted a novel that slowly walked me down the path towards proving their point and as I read further, I realized that this novel was doing just that and I couldn’t get Ray off my mind. I wanted to form my own opinion, I wanted to be a free thinker. As Ray walked me through his life behind bars and the ordeal that changed his life, it showed how extensive this sentence really is on an individual’s life.
Ray spent thirty years in solitary confinement for a crime he said he didn’t commit. Living on Alabama’s death row for thirty years, Ray fought behind bars for his freedom with the help of some amazing individuals. When finally released from prison, Ray was found innocent of his crimes. Ray tried to rationale with authorities thirty years ago that he didn’t commit these crimes but racial barriers and financial issues tied these crimes to Ray.
I read Ray’s story beginning with his childhood, to when he went to work, to when they charged him with the crimes, to when he went to trial, and then as they marched him off to prison. He had a been a religious man until the time he went to prison and then, he pushed God away. He later reconnected with God when a fellow inmate was going through a rough time. This is not a religious novel but this shows what type of person Ray was and how he felt about what he was going through. I liked how Ray did not wallow and blame the system for the situation he was in but rather he decided to try to make the best of it. In prison, Ray started doing research and encouraged others to fight for their rights (in a respectable manner). He started a book club in the prison to give the inmates something else to think about as life on death row was not a pleasant situation. Other inmates and the guards began to look up to Ray, to think that the morality inside this ward could improve, was amazing.
The vicious cycle Ray had to endure as his appeals were denied was discouraging and depressing. I was losing hope and I was wondering how Ray could keep his spirits up when all around him, individuals were walking “the green mile” and others were just waiting for the date when their walk would take place.
There were tears and goosebumps shed as I read this novel and I would love to read this novel again in the future. His story brought hope and peace to those who knew him and hopefully in the future, his story will bring change. I highly recommend this novel if this story is a genre that you enjoy reading.
I received a copy of this novel from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion. I thank you greatly for sharing this title with me, it truly was a wonderful novel.

The Hunger

The Hunger - Alma Katsu
I really loved the cover of this novel and I’ve heard different things about this novel but I wanted to give it a go. After reading this novel, I have mixed thoughts on this novel. I liked the idea behind the novel and there were certain parts about the novel that I really enjoyed but I thought the novel was slow at times and I wanted to novel to be more creepy and mysterious. The author had all these great elements to work with but it was as if the author toned the novel down which is fine for some readers but for me, it just didn’t have the intensity I wanted it to have.
The year is 1846 and there were individuals and families going west, their sight was on California. Other groups had already set off on the rugged trail and this looked to be the last caravan for the season. They knew that the trip would be rough but as the days passed, the conditions deteriorated and the account of this passage became more of a reality. The going is slow with the wagons, the livestock, the horses and all the individuals. There were a lot of individuals to keep track of and it wasn’t long before one of them is missing. Why would someone just wander off? This was just the beginning of the questions that tormented this group as they tried to make their way to their new home. Strange noises were heard alongside of them on their journey. They questioned whether these were animal noises or something else? The land was cruel to these travelers: water was sparse and game was almost nonexistent. How could they survive when the land was not providing for their needs?
I can feel their frustration as the dry, barren land laid out before them. They had only brought enough supplies to keep them alive until they reached their destination, their thoughts were to rely on the land to help sustain them until they reached their new home. I listened carefully as something from outside their group observed them. I wondered what they were up against, how they would be able to protect themselves and if anyone of them had a chance of survival. Someone had the upper hand in this contest of survival and I was afraid it was the “something(s)” that were out in the wild.
I really wanted this novel to be more intense. There were a few moments where the author had me in her grips and I felt for the settlers. They knew they would have a rough journey but they never expected what they received. There were some romantic scenes as the settlers made their way but there were not enough to overwhelm the novel. For that, I was thankful, as this journey was not a time for romance. I thought the author did a great job describing the scenes as the settlers made their way through the pass. The dusty desert provided a great backdrop for these hopeful individuals with their overfilled carriages, who were losing their faith as their journey progressed.


Bleeding Darkness

Bleeding Darkness - Brenda Chapman
This is my first book in this series and although, I didn’t know the history of the characters, I was able to follow along in this suspenseful mystery and get inside the family dramatics. I felt the novel was a slow burn, building in intensity and like most families, there were some individuals that I found more likable than others. I liked how the author showed me the many sides of some of these individuals by the time I finished the novel, as it helped me see the errors of my thinking and it made me see the whole person. They had come home to pay respects to their dying father but as they gathered together, there was so much more on their minds, his passing was just the beginning.
The diversity underneath this roof was entertaining and I knew once I met everyone that I wanted to be a fly on the wall and watch everything unfold within the walls of this house. From the individual who liked to talk about herself, to the one who liked her drink and late nights, to the one who was blamed for the murder many years ago, to a few others who had their own unique personalities, I liked this ragtag group of individuals. Oh, I can’t forget the mother, who I didn’t really care for, who cared a great deal about her image and liked to play the favorite child card. They were there for father, who had only a few days remaining with them, when suddenly Vivian is missing. The daughter-in-law had never returned from her walk and in her condition, everyone is concerned. When her body is finally discovered, it was located where Zoe’s body was uncovered years ago, a murder that Vivian’s brother-in-law was under investigation for. Are the two murders related? Why would someone murder Vivian and her unborn child?
Everyone gets involved and everyone has their own opinion. I wasn’t sure who the culprit was but I wanted to pin it on the mother as she was a cold woman and I didn’t care for her the minute I met her. I liked Lauren as she seemed like the only sane one, her escapes to the bar helped her unwind and it got her away from the commotion occurring back at the house.
I would like to go back and read this series from the beginning and get to the know the story from the beginning. It was an interesting and captivating novel.
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Dundurn in exchange for an honest review.


I’m a winner!

I volunteer a lot at the library from pulling holds, reshelving media, helping with special  events to the summer reading program, I like to volunteer.  A few months ago, our coordinator nominated me for an award.  For outstanding adult volunteer.  They chose (United Way) the top 3 in each of the 6 age categories and I waschoosen as one of the finalists . Then,  anyone can vote online for the 6 categories. Well, on Friday they had a banquet and honored the winners in each category.  I won!!  I really didn’t think I would win since I was up aganst some great individuals.  So, nope.... I had nothing prepared for my speech while others had papers  prepared to read off of Incase they won.  I winged it- I’ll never do that again.


The Beloved Wild

The Beloved Wild - Melissa Ostrom
I liked this novel more than I had originally anticipated. I enjoyed reading about the journey Harriett took with her brother and I really enjoyed reading about Harriett. Harriett is headstrong yet there is a soft side about her that she doesn’t let come out. Like many, she wants a voice and she wants to be loved but as a female she doesn’t want many of the labels that accompany this title. Harriett is making her own trail in this novel.
Harriett lives with many of her siblings on her parent farm. Next door, lives Daniel Long. He has had his eyes on Harriett for quite some time but lately his eyes have been wandering to other females in the area. Harriett has taken for granted Daniel’s sentiments towards her but now that he is looking at other females she begins to wonder if Daniel still cares for her and whether they have a future together. I had to wonder as I read if they really cared for each other or if this relationship was based on convenience.
Gideon, Harriett’s brother, is ready to buy his land from the Holland Land Company, as he has saved enough money to purchase his own homestead. Being Harriett’s favorite brother, Harriett has made plans to leave with him only after settling her affairs with her parents and with Daniel. Let me just say, this was not a simple task for her to undertake. Harriett knows that it will be hard work setting up her brother’s homestead but she wants to help her brother out.
Their first stop for the night, Harriett cuts her hair and replaces her dress with some hand-me-downs from her brother. Gideon is shocked at the transformation of Harriett. Harriett unfolds her plan to Gideon and soon Harriett’s name is replaced with Freddy and Harriett will be disguised as a boy.
It’s an interesting journey as the two of them continue on. Harriett still has her determination and outspoken opinion as they meet up with some boys/men who have their own opinions. They also meet up with some familiar faces and I was sure things would get wild but some individuals kept their heads on and I was able to finally breathe again. This was a wonderful, adventurous novel, that I highly recommend.


The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window: A Novel - A. J. Finn
I’m not going to rehash this novel as it seems everyone and their brother has read it. If you haven’t and you like mysteries and suspense novels, I highly suggest you pick this novel up. I found, as I read the first third of this novel, I got to know the character of Anna quite well but it wasn’t until after this point that I finally understood what the hype about this book was all about. It was during the second part of this novel that I became mesmerized by this novel and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
I was fascinated by Anna as she viewed the world from her computer and her camera lens. Once a talented psychologist, Anna’s physical world has become limited to the four-outside walls that make up her home. An anxiety disorder has taken control of her life. I loved how she tried to help individuals over the internet, her professional side still shining through yet she hid her true identity. Intrigued by the individuals around her street, Anne views their world through her camera lens. With precision, she can get close and personal with her lens yet remain anonymous as she tries to become part of their world. She becomes creepy in my world, when she secretly runs computer searches on these neighbors and begins creating alternate scenarios where she is actually a part of their lives without anyone even knowing.
Lots of questions ran through my mind as I read this novel and as I read, my questions were answered and then some. The character of Anna was captivating and her means for living with her condition, lead to an interesting life. She hid behind her computer screen and her camera lens and she would be fine if she could stay hidden. Would it really matter if someone discovered Anna’s safe haven? What happens at the end of this novel, was fantastic. I figured that the ending would be astounding and it definitely delivered that.


A Piece of the World

A Piece of the World: A Novel - Christina Baker Kline
I waited till I finished reading this novel to view the portrait, Christina’s World, which surrounded this novel. I had my own version of what this painting entailed as I read the novel but as I viewed the actual image, the landscape felt more void and lonely than I had anticipated. Christina’s image was ideal as she laid out on the harsh grass and the homestead’s deteriorating condition completed the print.
I felt for Christina throughout the novel as she stumbled to keep up. She kept her struggles inside as her determined and steadfast attitude pushed her through each day. Christina felt unattractive and when you added on her leg condition that brought on her clumsiness and her constant stumbling, Christina had a negative view of herself. She was smart, her teacher had told her so, but living on the homestead she didn’t feel it. Her legs cause her constant pain yet when her parents try to get her medical help, she refused it. It’s rough out on the homestead without any modern conveniences yet Christina doesn’t complain, she does what is expected of her. When all her friends start dating, getting married and having children, Christina imagines such a time but somehow, she knows her life is on her family’s estate. I was sad to see Christina, day-in and day-out laboring away for her family and only taking time for herself if there was any, at the end of the day.
Andy Wyeth comes to Christina’s homestead as he wants to use the surrounding area in his paintings. Andy becomes a constant figure in the household, using the upstairs bedroom for his studio. I enjoyed the relationship that Andy and Christina develop through the years. They discover how the two of them are alike and their conversations become personal and relaxed. Andy gets married and Christina finds a man who fills her heart. She wonders how Walton will fit into her world as their worlds are so different. Is this her opportunity to leave the estate and start her own life?
I found myself absorbed into Christina's life. I wanted so much for her. When her teacher extended an opportunity to her, I was hoping that this would be where she would succeed and she would be off. I would only hope. I loved Christina’s relationships in this novel. They weren’t tight but she had a nice variety where I learned a bit more about her from different individuals. I really enjoyed the author’s writing, there was this, “this is how it is” feeling about it and I brought my own emotions to the table as I read. I really enjoyed how the painting was used in this novel and I am glad I didn’t look at it until I finished reading the novel. I think my parents had a copy of this painting when I was growing up, hanging in the hallway. You can read the interpretation of this painting, invent your own, or read this novel and apply it to this painting, it’s up to you. Super novel to read.
I won a copy of this novel from a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you, William Morrow, - Harper Collins Publishers for this novel!





Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers

Island of Sweet Pie and Soldiers - Sara Ackerman
What a wonderful novel to read. I fell in love with the cover and after reading the synopsis, I knew this was something I needed to read. I didn’t expect the novel to be such a calm and enjoyable read. The novel takes place on Hawaii during WWII. A group of soldiers have arrived for training on the island, where they meet a group of women who are making the best of the situation. It’s a novel filled with racial tension, romance, friendships, war and family life.
Violet’s husband went missing one day and even with her monthly visits to the police station, to keep the case active, there is no news on Herman’s whereabouts. Ella wants to attend the Japanese School so Violet asks Setsuko if it would be possible for her daughter to attend her school. Ella will be the first white student in the school but this is short-lived as soldiers soon embark upon the island and close it down. It’s sad that Ella’s is again brokenhearted but when she takes to the soldier’s mascot, she finds happiness once again. Their mascot is a lion named Roscoe.
Violet has noticed this change in Ella and she feels it is because Herman is missing. Violet misses Herman too and she tries to bring Emma’s spirit up as much as she can. Ella takes to Roscoe yet Violet is scared of this beast being with her daughter. The soldiers try to calm her fears but Violet needs time to adjust.
Violet and her friends enjoy having the soldiers on the island, they feel a sense of security with them there as the war rages on elsewhere. Inviting the soldier over, the women get to know them and friendships and relationships evolve. The soldiers know their time there is brief for the battlefield is calling them. They make promises to return in one piece when their duty is over. Violet battles her own war of waiting for news about Herman and her feeling for a soldier named Parker. Ella is hiding something from everyone, a secret that is so private she leaks nothing out until the very end of the novel. As the soldiers prepare and head out, I have to wonder if their promises are real or if this island is just a stopping ground full of their false promises.
It was a wonderful and entertaining novel that captures another side of WWII. I liked how the author showed the tension between the individuals living on the island and the war. Where once the Japanese residents resided with their neighbors peacefully, the war is now causing conflicts among them. I enjoyed the novel’s relationships and how they progressed in the novel. I really enjoyed the authors writing. There was a relaxing feel to the novel as I read. I really enjoyed this novel and I look forward to reading other novels this author writes.


The Flight Attendant

The Flight Attendant: A Novel - Chris Bohjalian
Cassie was out of control. Her behavior was quite predictable and as I read, I had a feeling that she was bound to hit rock bottom sometime soon. What she didn’t expect was passenger 2C. Sure, Cassie flirted with the passengers in her sections as she assisted them and there were some that she gave more attention to but she didn’t expect passenger 2C to totally change her life.
Cassie liked her alcohol and she liked her men. As a flight attendant who flew all around the world, she saw a variety of men, most of them she saw only once. Cassie also had a habit of drinking until she passed out. After a night out and she found herself coherent, sometimes she knew where she was and sometimes she didn’t. This was the same perception Cassie had towards the men she woke up with: sometimes she remembered them and occasionally, they were strangers.
This morning, Cassie woke up to passenger 2c laying beside her. She had remembered some of the night before but yet this morning, something felt different. As Cassie eyed Alex lying beside her, she began to panic. Alex was dead, his blood had managed to seep onto her side of the bed and she had been lying in. Still shaky from last night, Cassie tries to take in the room around her. Cassie knows that she needs to get back to her own hotel as the airport shuttle is scheduled to pick up the crew shortly yet her mind is still trying to piece together what happened last night with Alex. Is it possible that somehow, she killed Alex? Shuttle…....Alex…... she must hurry, there is not much time to contemplate.
Quickly piecing together what she can, Cassie realizes what she must do and what I think, I would have done and that is, to disappear from the scene. She needs to eliminate herself completely from this room and quick. But, is this even possible in a world where technology is everywhere? Can she possibly clean up the room and be totally removed in time?
This was an exciting and intriguing novel as I raced through it. Cassie risky behavior set the stage for a girl who was on the edge and one whose mind was racing. As the murder makes the news, there is no stopping what happens as they investigate every possible lead. Cassie’s behavior begins to get more wild and crazy as she tries to “help” but Cassie’s helping has me shaking my head at her in frustration. It’s definitely a novel that kept my attention and was a fast read.
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Doubleday Books in exchange for an honest review.


The Family Next Door

The Family Next Door - Sally Hepworth
She kept the pram moving constantly otherwise her 8-week-old daughter, Mia cried. Essie wanted to cry too. Today would be the day when it just got to be too much, the day when Essie decided it wasn’t worth it. Essie strolled Mia to the park in her pram where she sat on a bench keeping the pram moving while taking in the scene around her. Essie decided that she wanted some tea, so she walked to the coffee shop, enjoyed two cups of tea and headed home. Essie’s mom was coming up the walk and inquired about Mia’s whereabouts. Yes, Essie had left her at the park. It was a simple statement, nothing extortionary about it, nothing seemed out-of-place until Essie’s mother took charge of the situation.
Luckily Essie was diagnosed with post-partum depression and no harm was done to Mia the day her mother left her in the park. Years have passed, the family has grown and grandmother has now moved next door to the family in this quaint neighborhood.
Everyone seems to know each other in this family-occupied neighborhood yet they are not close friends. Essie would love to have some close friends but nothing has materialized yet. When a single woman moves in across the street, her appearance sends a ripple through the area. Her life brings surprises to the neighborhood which was once calm and tranquil. It seems that many individuals on this street had something hidden in their closet that they wanted to keep locked up but since Isabelle’s appearance, the doors have been swung open and secrets are coming out. It’s funny how one person can affect so many.
I really enjoyed this novel as I felt it was a story that kept building in intensity as the story continued. I loved how there were different stories occurring at different levels of intensity as I read. I had a feeling that something unique was going to transpire in this novel but I didn’t expect what the novel delivered. There were characters that I liked and some that I didn’t but in all, it was a fantastic mix. What a great novel and I’m glad that I read it.
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.


Journey Through Genocide: Stories of Survivors and Dead

Journey through Genocide: Stories of Survivors and the Dead - Raffy Boudjikanian
His grandparents were survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and this is what inspired Raffy to dream of a trip, which allowed him to visit every country which had experienced a genocide in the 20th century. As the calendar moved into the 21st century, Raffy knew that he needed to start planning his trip. The world was not changing for genocides were still occurring, the word was out but nothing was being done to stop them. Finances made his dream trip impossible, so Raffy scaled back his trip and began his planning.
I found when I read this novel that it was more about Raffy’s journey visiting the cities than it was about visiting the individuals who were affected by the genocides. I read the synopsis a few times while reading this novel, as “stories of survivors and dead” was what I was looking forward to reading about and I had a hard time finding this in the novel. I felt the synopsis led me astray. This was a journey but it covered more about Raffy’s travels to the cities and his experiences in the cities than about speaking to individuals about the genocides.
I did discover that many of the individuals who did the killings are on the run and some that did end up in court, were let go. It seemed that the common thread was that many individuals will not acknowledge that the genocides took place. If they can’t admit to this, then a trial nor a verdict can occur and justice cannot be provided for those whose lives have been affected. The survivors must live in limbo. Some survivors fear of history repeating itself, some live their lives in frustration and/or some are hurt. They live in a world where reality is a dark cloud and they are waiting for someone to shed some light on the situation. In the novel, there was a report where the number of deaths in the village was so large that the remaining villagers created mass graves. These graves were quicker to prepare and the villagers were also afraid that the offenders would return and murder more of the villagers. That is not all, when the authorities came to the village to check out the damage, nothing was done, no further action was taken. How could the authorities walk away from such devastation and do nothing?
Some of the novel’s illustrations were wonderful, they showed the history/cities and gave the story more meaning. The novel was very descriptive and I enjoyed that about this novel. This novel was Raffy’s journey to find more information on genocides. It was about his travels: what he experienced, what he saw, and how things are. I enjoyed the novel but I was expecting more in the way of interviews and/or information about the genocides.
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and DunDurn in exchange for an honest review.


Professional ReaderReviews Published80%2015 Challenge Participant2016 NetGalley Challenge200 Book Reviews