Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Diary of a WIldflower

Title: Diary of a Wildflower Author: Ruth White Pages: 261

From Amazon:
Ruth White bases her first novel for adults on her own mother’s early years in the Virginia mountains. Emerging from a heartbreaking childhood, Lorelei leaves Starr Mountain. As a teenager in the roaring twenties, she is dazzled by the carefree world of flappers and bobbed hair, the Charleston and the IT girl, Prohibition, and the notorious speakeasies. Most important she finds men who are handsome, well-bred, well-educated, and reek of old money. As a mere wildflower, she doubts she can ever compete with the exotic orchids in this new world. But after a sad visit back home she comes to realize her own power, which will help her break the cycle of hopelessness among the women of her family. 
As a kid you loved Belle Prater's Boy. As a teen you loved Weeping Willow. Now, as an adult, you will love Diary of a Wildflower.

Great Appalachian fiction is hard to find these days, but this novel does not disappoint. The story follows Lorelei Starr from her hard scrabble life in the Virginia mountains through years of growing up in abject poverty. With no real love from her parents, Lorelei and her siblings must depend on one another. Lorelei dreams of someday escaping this hopeless world and finds her chance as a maid to a wealthy family. This story stays true to the Appalachia of the time. It realistically portrays the people and their way of life in the early twentieth century. 
I don't want to give any spoilers, but I will say that I hated the ending to this story. It was so hard to put down and then it ended abruptly.It left me hanging, which I hate. Still, I am giving this one five stars. It is a great story. I just think the author owes us a sequel...

Read this story if...
*you love Appalachian fiction
*you love southern fiction
*you love historical fiction

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Witch of Little Italy

Title: The Witch of Little Italy Author: Suzanne Palmieri Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin Pages: 320

From Amazon:
In Suzanne Palmieri’s charming debut, The Witch of Little Italy, you will be bewitched by the Amore women. When young Eleanor Amore finds herself pregnant, she returns home to her estranged family in the Bronx, called by “The Sight” they share now growing strong within her. She has only been back once before when she was ten years old during a wonder-filled summer of sun-drenched beaches, laughter and cartwheels. But everyone remembers that summer except her. Eleanor can’t remember anything from before she left the house on her last day there. With her past now coming back to her in flashes, she becomes obsessed with recapturing those memories. Aided by her childhood sweetheart, she learns the secrets still haunting her magical family, secrets buried so deep they no longer know how they began. And, in the process, unlocks a mystery over fifty years old—The Day the Amores Died—and reveals, once and for all, a truth that will either heal or shatter the Amore clan.

I devoured this book. It drew me in from page one and I could not put it down. I loved it. A story of family, of mothers and daughters, of coming home. Palmieri melds the supernatural and the everyday world into a totally believable story. Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, this is the story of Elly, who has no memory of her childhood and comes to her long-lost grandmother's front steps in the Bronx, pregnant and on the run from an abusive lover. She is taken in by her grandmother and two great aunts, all old-world practicing witches with the sight. How did Elly lose her memory in this very house so long ago? And what happened on a fateful day in 1945 that caused half a large, loving family to disappear from the earth? Stories like this are why I love to read. I highly recommend this one. Read it.

Read this book if...
*you love stories of mothers and daughters
*you love family sagas
* you love stories with a touch of supernatural
*you love stories that take place in NYC

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends and Cities of the Dead (America's Haunted Road Trip)

Title: Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends and Cities of the Dead (America's Haunted Road Trip)  (kindle edition) Author: Kala Ambrose Publisher: Clerisy Press Pages: 274

From Amazon:
The city of New Orleans is formed into the shape of a crescent, which is believed by many people to form a sacred chalice which holds and stores energy making it one of the most unique areas in the world in which to perform magic and to see it magnify due to the energy in the land and from the flowing waters of the Mississippi and Gulf of Mexico.

Since childhood, Kala Ambrose has seen and felt ghosts and restless spirits. During this journey as your travel guide, Kala explores the history of the city and those who decided to make it their eternal home.

Explore New Orleans with Kala Ambrose and prepare to embark on a unique and enticing journey into the haunted history and magical ceremonies of New Orleans. Prepare to be introduced to supernatural rituals and practices in order to fully understand and embrace the cultural significance of the variety of beliefs, superstitions, legends and lore.

As a fan of true paranormal accounts, and a fan of any stories, fiction or non-fiction, that take place in New Orleans, I simply had to read this book. I am so glad that I did! Even if the writer was not a sensitive and able to see spirits, this would still have been a fascinating account of the hauntings in New Orleans. However, her own personal insight from a sensitive's perspective adds to the book immensely. This is not yet another repetition of the hundreds of other books out there about haunted New Orleans. Kala Ambrose has done her research and adds thought-provoking insight that sheds a new light on some old stories. I truly enjoyed this book and recommend it ti fans of true paranormal. You will not be disappointed!

Read this book if:
*you love true paranormal accounts
*you love New Orleans

House of Darkness House of Light: The True Story Volume 1 (so far....) A Non-Review

Title: House of Darkness House of Light: The True Story Volume 1  Author: Andrea Perron Publisher: Author House Pages: 528 pages
Kindle Edition

From Amazon:
Roger and Carolyn Perron purchased the home of their dreams and eventual nightmares in December of 1970. The Arnold Estate, located just beyond the village of Harrisville, Rhode Island seemed the idyllic setting in which to raise a family. The couple unwittingly moved their five young daughters into the ancient and mysterious farmhouse. Secrets were kept and then revealed within a space shared by mortal and immortal alike. Time suddenly became irrelevant; fractured by spirits making their presence known then dispersing into the ether. The house is a portal to the past and a passage to the future. This is a sacred story of spiritual enlightenment, told some thirty years hence. The family is now somewhat less reticent to divulge a closely-guarded experience. Their odyssey is chronicled by the eldest sibling and is an unabridged account of a supernatural excursion. Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated this haunting in a futile attempt to intervene on their behalf. They consider the Perron family saga to be one of the most compelling and significant of a famously ghost-storied career as paranormal researchers. During a séance gone horribly wrong, they unleashed an unholy hostess; the spirit called Bathsheba…a God-forsaken soul. Perceiving herself to be mistress of the house, she did not appreciate the competition. Carolyn had long been under siege; overt threats issued in the form of fire…a mother’s greatest fear. It transformed the woman in unimaginable ways. After nearly a decade the family left a once beloved home behind though it will never leave them, as each remains haunted by a memory. This tale is an inspiring testament to the resilience of the human spirit on a pathway of discovery: an eternal journey for the living and the dead.

Notice that I included the words so far in the title. I purchased this book a couple months ago. I read that it was the true story behind the movie The Conjuring. This intrigued me for several reasons. First, I am an avid fan of true hauntings and read all I can get my hands on. Second, this was a case covered by Ed and Lorraine Warren. I am a huge fan of the Warrens and also read everything by/ about their cases that I can find. Third, I truly wanted to see the movie but, as a rule, I never see a movie without reading the book first. I am not a huge movie fan anyway (notice this is a book review blog- not a movie review blog). That being said, I couldn't wait to download this story.
Before going further let me say that I think reviewing a book without having read the entire book is cheating and, therefore, I am not reviewing the book. I am stating why I can not bring myself to finish it at this point.
Why can't I finish it? Simply put, the author's writing style detracts so much from the story that I can't bear to read it. The speech is so flowery, contrived, and over-wrought that it becomes frustrating.
An example:
"Carolyn settled into total relaxation; a true indulgence for a mother of five. A few more words residing in the recesses of her mind found their way to her lips; private suggestions floating on whispers aimed toward a husband's ear; some shameless hussy remarks regarding Adam and Eve."
Really? I would expect this from a Victorian novel, but today? It sounds like an overly gifted child who hasn't spent near enough time around other children. It detracts from the actual story to the extent that I can not bear to finish it at this time. I just can't. I won't be posting this as a review, because I feel it would be unfair. If I ever bring myself to finish it, I will do so. 
This is a great story- one that deserves to be told. However, I think it would be best if it were told by someone else.
This is just my opinion.