Tag Archives: young adult historical fiction

No Quiet Water by Shirley Miller Kamada Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young Asian American family must learn to survive and endure in the wake of the prejudices found in the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1940s America in author Shirley Miller Kamada’s “No Quiet Water”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

After the U.S. declares war on Japan in 1941, all persons of Japanese descent in the Western U.S. come under suspicion. Curfews are imposed, bank accounts frozen, and FBI agents search homes randomly.

Despite the fact that two generations of the Miyota family are American citizens, Fumio and his parents and sister Kimiko must pack meager belongings and are transported under military escort to the California desert to be held at Camp Manzanar, leaving their good friends and neighbors the Whitlocks to care for their farm and their dog, Flyer.

The family suffer unimaginable insults, witness prejudice and violent protests, are forced to live in squalor, and are provided only poor-quality, unfamiliar food which makes them ill. Later, they are transferred to Idaho’s Camp Minidoka, where Fumio learns what it means to endure and where he discovers a strange new world of possibility and belonging.

Lyrical, visual, and rendered with strict attention to historical accuracy, No Quiet Water, shines a poignant light on current issues of racism and radical perspectives.

The Review

This was such a unique and special read. The author does an incredible job of crafting a narrative for readers that feels accessible on a large scale to a multitude of readers while also diving deeply into the heart of the narrative and the themes that they explore, which feel personal and painfully intimate to the characters involved. The themes took on a serious tone as the author delved into some serious subject matter, including themes of racism and mistrust in the wake of tragedies, and the way fear and doubt warp people’s perception of others, something that is happening even now in our own modern times, which made this story feel tragically more relatable than ever before.

The heart of this narrative was the rich character development and the multi-POVs that the story takes on. The heartbreaking and enduring story of Fumio and his family create that emotional relatability between the reader and the narrative that a historical fiction of this magnitude has while also creating a unique perspective through the eyes of the family dog who is forced to be left behind on the family farm in the care of neighbors gave this story the YA and middle-grade genre twist that will make the narrative accessible to a broader audience.

The Verdict

Captivating, emotionally driven, and memorable, author Shirley Miller Kamada’s “No Quiet Water” is a must-read historical fiction Japanese and United States historical fiction read. The heart and passion for which the author wrote, as well as the important themes that touched upon some of our society’s most vital issues that need to be addressed, showcased how we need to learn from our past and the power that resides within us all as we discover who we are in moments of great tragedy and crisis. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Shirley Miller Kamada grew up on a farm in northeastern Colorado. She has been an educator in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, a bookstore-espresso café owner in Centralia, Washington, and director of a learning center in Olympia, Washington. When not writing, she enjoys casting a fly rod, particularly from the dock at her home on Moses Lake in Central Washington, which she shares with her husband and two spoiled pups.

https://www.instagram.com/shirleymkamadaauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/ShirleyMillerKamada

Guest Blog Post: The best writing/life advice by K.E. Bonner

Preop is a hive of activity at 6:45am. Metal charts clink, heart monitors beep, and a mingled aroma of betadine, hand sanitizer, and rubbing alcohol wafts through the air. Nurses, aides, mid-levels, and doctors side-step one another as they check orders, see patients, and sign consents. 

“Hi, I’m Karen, and I’ll be your anesthetist this morning,” I say as I enter the preop bay. An elderly man is lying on a stretcher. He answers my questions and I turn back to the chart to double check his paperwork. 

“Young lady,” he rasps, and reaches out his liver-spotted hand out.  I take it. Wrinkles crisscross his face like a cracked desert landscape. “I need to tell you something.” 

After a long career in healthcare, I’ve learned to listen to my patients. Our eyes lock and he squeezes my hand.  

“You will never be able to accomplish everything that you want to accomplish without a life of sobriety.” An impulse flickered between us, an undeniable shared action potential. 

Advertisements

“Okay,” I nod, taken aback. Why would he say this to me? Did I look like a heavy drinker? 

His matter-of-fact way of speaking stayed with me. There was no possible way that this man knew that I was struggling to accomplish my goals.  At that point I’d been writing, editing, and re-writing my first novel, not to mention that I was working long shifts at the hospital, raising two young children, and struggling to keep my marriage and our finances together. I wasn’t a heavy drinker, a few glasses of wine over dinner to unwind after a long day. What did he see in me that compelled him to speak his truth? I chewed on his words but wasn’t ready to quit drinking, yet.

One Sunday morning I lay in bed with a large bottle of Gator-aide praying for the nausea and pounding headache to recede. It was my day to write, and I could barely lift my head from the pillow. This hangover is a waste of my time, I fumed. I thought about my adoptive mother, and how she steadily drank herself into dementia. I spent most of that day on the couch lamenting the loss of the most precious thing that I possessed: time. I couldn’t write while I was drinking, and my hangover rendered me completely useless. This was the beginning of me developing a distaste for alcohol. 

Clarity followed sobriety. My energy skyrocketed, I was writing more consistently, and better. I reasoned that I’d unknowingly been in a constant state of dehydration. My scale started a downward trend as I began to exercise, which increased oxygenation to my brain, and increased my energy even more. I began to see how much time I had wasted by drinking, and to understand that I had been self-medicating with wine. 

Most people are not ready to hear my patient’s words, and in truth, it took me ten years to process and act on them. These days I drink half a glass of wine on special occasions, but I write every day. Time is precious and limited, make every effort to use your to the fullest.

Advertisements

About the Author

K. E. Bonner, author of Witching Moon,was always the first kid to sit down during a spelling bee. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she was diagnosed with dyslexia, which explained why she always had to study three times harder than her peers. Being dyslexic taught her perseverance and kindness, her two favorite attributes. She lives in Georgia with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. When not writing, she loves to read, swim, explore new places, and meet fascinating people. If you have a dog, she would love to scratch behind its ears and tell it what a good pup it is.

Learn more about K.E. Bonner on her website or follow her on Instagram @kebonnerwrites. 

You can purchase a copy of Witching Moon on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add Witching Moon to your Goodreads reading list.

Blog Tour Calendar

December 19th @ The Muffin
Join WOW as we celebrate the launch of K.E. Bonner’s blog tour of Witching Moon. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book!
https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com


December 20th @ Mindy McGinnis’s blog
Stop by Mindy’s blog to read “Release the Idea of Getting Rich or Published and Focus on Your Craft.” by K.E. Bonner
https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

December 20th @ Rockin’ Book Reviews

Join us as Lu Ann reviews Witching Moon.

http://www.rockinbookreviews.com

December 21st @ All the Ups and Downs

Join Heather as she spotlights Witching Moon. Enter to win a copy of the book!

https://alltheupsandowns.blogspot.com/


December 23rd @ Michelle Cornish’s blog
Visit Michelle’s blog to read her review of Witching Moon.
https://www.michellecornishauthor.com/blog

December 24th @ A Storybook World
Join Deirdra as she features a spotlight of Witching Moon.
https://www.astorybookworld.com/

December 27th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews blog
Join Lisa for an interview with K.E. Bonner.
https://lisahaselton.com/blog/


December 28th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog
Join us today for author Anthony Avina’s review of Witching Moon.
http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog
Revisit author Anthony Avina’s blog to read “The Best Writing Advice I Received” by K.E. Bonner. 
http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com


January 4th @ Bev Baird’s blog
Join us on Bev’s blog as she reviews Witching Moon.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

January 5th @ The Knotty Needle
Stop by for Judy’s review of Witching Moon.
http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

January 6th @ Bev Baird’s blog
Meet us back at Bev’s blog for “Ideas are Everywhere” a guest post by K.E. Bonner.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com


January 6th @ Look to the Western Sky
Join Margo as she reviews Witching Moon by K.E. Bonner.
https://margoldill.com/

January 7th @ Chapter Break

Visit Julie’s blog where she interviews author K.E. Bonner about her book Witching Moon.

https://chapterbreak.net/

January 9th @ Sue Edwards’s blog
Visit Sue’s blog to read “Magical Realism Surrounds Us” by K.E. Bonner.
https://suebe.wordpress.com/


January 10th @ Celtic Lady’s Reviews
Visit Kathleen’s blog and read her review of Witching Moon by K.E. Bonner.
https://celticladysreviews.blogspot.com/

January 10th @ World of My Imagination
Stop by Nicole’s blog where K.E. Bonner is a guest for “Three Things on a Saturday Night.”
https://worldofmyimagination.com


January 12th @ Life According to Jamie
Join us as Jamie reviews Witching Moon
http://www.lifeaccordingtojamie.com


January 14th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion
Join Linda as she interviews author K.E. Bonner.
https://bootsshoesandfashion.com

January 15th @ Fiona Ingram’s author blog 

Stop by Fiona’s blog to see her spotlight feature of Witching Moon

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com

January 16th @ the Freeing the Butterfly blog
Visit Freeing the Butterfly to read “Life is Short, Do What You Love” by K.E. Bonner.
https://www.freeingthebutterfly.com/blog

January 18th @ Jill Sheets’s blog 

Stop by Jill’s blog to read her interview with K.E. Bonner. 

https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

Witching Moon by K.E. Bonner Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman who has always sought something more in life saves a man from a shipwreck, and discovers a new path that leads away from her comfortable home and into the world of immortals in author K.E. Bonner’s “Witching Moon”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Every once in an eon, when the Earth eclipses the moon on a winter solstice, an immortal is born under a witching moon. Anne has always had the strangest feelings—memories she couldn’t place; strangers she inexplicably yearned for. After she rescues the enigmatic Phillip from a shipwreck, her comfortable life on the island of Cusabo is shattered, and the mystery of her destiny starts to fall into place. Anne leaves behind the life she’s always known and sets out with Phillip on an arduous journey to Amaranth, where her ancient family awaits her. But the path is dark and daunting, and Anne’s powers have only just begun to manifest.

The Review

This was an incredible blend of YA Historical Fiction meets YA Sword & Sorcery Fantasy! The world-building the author goes through in this book is incredible, as the author delves both into the tail-end of the American Civil War in South Carolina and quickly delves deeper into this fantasy world of magic and power beyond imagination. The imagery and adventurous tone the author strikes keep readers on the edge of their seats as the story becomes more and more engrossing. 

The way the author was able to capture the era for which this narrative hails and balance it with fantastic character development was what really kept me invested in this story. The wonderment that protagonist Anne views this new world through after leaving behind the only place and life she’s ever known made this story so profound, and the coming-of-age tale of this young woman discovering her power was both inspiring and entertaining to read and see come to life on the page.

The Verdict

Captivating, engaging, and harrowing, author K.E. Bonner’s “Witching Moon” is a must-read fantasy meets historical fiction YA novel. The magical nature of the narrative blends well with the protagonist and her historical era upbringing, and the twists and turns in the character’s arc will keep readers glued to their books as the story winds down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

K. E. Bonner, author of Witching Moon,was always the first kid to sit down during a spelling bee. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she was diagnosed with dyslexia, which explained why she always had to study three times harder than her peers. Being dyslexic taught her perseverance and kindness, her two favorite attributes. She lives in Georgia with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. When not writing, she loves to read, swim, explore new places, and meet fascinating people. If you have a dog, she would love to scratch behind its ears and tell it what a good pup it is.

Learn more about K.E. Bonner on her website or follow her on Instagram @kebonnerwrites. 

You can purchase a copy of Witching Moon on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add Witching Moon to your Goodreads reading list.

Blog Tour Calendar

December 19th @ The Muffin
Join WOW as we celebrate the launch of K.E. Bonner’s blog tour of Witching Moon. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book!
https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com


December 20th @ Mindy McGinnis’s blog
Stop by Mindy’s blog to read “Release the Idea of Getting Rich or Published and Focus on Your Craft.” by K.E. Bonner
https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

December 20th @ Rockin’ Book Reviews

Join us as Lu Ann reviews Witching Moon.

http://www.rockinbookreviews.com

December 21st @ All the Ups and Downs

Join Heather as she spotlights Witching Moon. Enter to win a copy of the book!

https://alltheupsandowns.blogspot.com/


December 23rd @ Michelle Cornish’s blog
Visit Michelle’s blog to read her review of Witching Moon.
https://www.michellecornishauthor.com/blog

December 24th @ A Storybook World
Join Deirdra as she features a spotlight of Witching Moon.
https://www.astorybookworld.com/

December 27th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews blog
Join Lisa for an interview with K.E. Bonner.
https://lisahaselton.com/blog/


December 28th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog
Join us today for author Anthony Avina’s review of Witching Moon.
http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog
Revisit author Anthony Avina’s blog to read “The Best Writing Advice I Received” by K.E. Bonner. 
http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com


January 4th @ Bev Baird’s blog
Join us on Bev’s blog as she reviews Witching Moon.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

January 5th @ The Knotty Needle
Stop by for Judy’s review of Witching Moon.
http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

January 6th @ Bev Baird’s blog
Meet us back at Bev’s blog for “Ideas are Everywhere” a guest post by K.E. Bonner.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com


January 6th @ Look to the Western Sky
Join Margo as she reviews Witching Moon by K.E. Bonner.
https://margoldill.com/

January 7th @ Chapter Break

Visit Julie’s blog where she interviews author K.E. Bonner about her book Witching Moon.

https://chapterbreak.net/

January 9th @ Sue Edwards’s blog
Visit Sue’s blog to read “Magical Realism Surrounds Us” by K.E. Bonner.
https://suebe.wordpress.com/


January 10th @ Celtic Lady’s Reviews
Visit Kathleen’s blog and read her review of Witching Moon by K.E. Bonner.
https://celticladysreviews.blogspot.com/

January 10th @ World of My Imagination
Stop by Nicole’s blog where K.E. Bonner is a guest for “Three Things on a Saturday Night.”
https://worldofmyimagination.com


January 12th @ Life According to Jamie
Join us as Jamie reviews Witching Moon
http://www.lifeaccordingtojamie.com


January 14th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion
Join Linda as she interviews author K.E. Bonner.
https://bootsshoesandfashion.com

January 15th @ Fiona Ingram’s author blog 

Stop by Fiona’s blog to see her spotlight feature of Witching Moon

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com

January 16th @ the Freeing the Butterfly blog
Visit Freeing the Butterfly to read “Life is Short, Do What You Love” by K.E. Bonner.
https://www.freeingthebutterfly.com/blog

January 18th @ Jill Sheets’s blog 

Stop by Jill’s blog to read her interview with K.E. Bonner. 

https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

Feather and Flame (The Queen’s Council Book 2) by Livia Blackburne Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A renowned war hero who saved Imperial China and became an icon for women warriors everywhere finds herself in new circumstances when she is crowned the heir to the throne of China and must contend with threats within and outside of her new kingdom in author Livia Blackburne’s “Feather and Flame”, the second book in the Queen’s Council series.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

She brought honor on the battlefield. Now comes a new kind of war…

The war is over. Now a renowned hero, Mulan spends her days in her home village, training a militia of female warriors. The peace is a welcome one, and she knows it must be protected.

When Shang arrives with an invitation to the Imperial City, Mulan’s relatively peaceful life is upended once more. The aging emperor decrees that Mulan will be his heir to the throne. Such unimagined power and responsibility terrifies her, but who can say no to the Emperor?

As Mulan ascends into the halls of power, it becomes clear that not everyone is on her side. Her ministers undermine her, and the Huns sense a weakness in the throne. When hints of treachery appear even amongst those she considers friends, Mulan has no idea whom she can trust.

But the Queen’s Council helps Mulan uncover her true destiny. With renewed strength and the wisdom of those that came before her, Mulan will own her power, save her country, and prove once again that, crown or helmet, she was always meant to lead. This fierce reimagining of the girl who became a warrior blends fairy-tale lore and real history with a Disney twist.

The Review

As a longtime fan of mythology, history, and Disney, I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to review another great book from Disney Hyperion. The author did such a beautiful job of bringing ancient China to life in such a vivid and magical way. The balance the author struck between the Disney story we know and the historical accuracy and mythology of the novel’s backstory within this series was superb. The setting of the narrative felt so alive and the author’s style of writing took on a very cinematic tone, allowing readers to read and bring to life this adventure in their mind’s eye. 

The character development was outstanding in this novel. The way the author delved into Mulan as a person when confronted with her new reality was amazing, as was her relationship with Shang. Not only did the narrative do a great job of tackling the issues of equality amongst the women warriors and showing the balance one must find between showing strength and courage in the face of adversity without losing who they are inside, but the author also did an amazing job of showing politics and power struggles within ancient China, giving Mulan’s story more depth and intrigue this time around.

The Verdict

Action-packed, entertaining, and brilliant written, author Livia Blackburne’s “Feather and Flame” is a must-read historical fiction/fantasy book and the next great addition to the Queen’s Council series. A fantastic series of twists and turns in Mulan’s saga and her battle both with another invading Hun army and her own political rivals will keep readers hanging on the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing read on June 14th, 2022, or preorder your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne wrote her first novel while researching the neuroscience of reading at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since then, she’s switched to full-time writing, which also involves getting into people’s heads but without the help of a 3 Tesla MRI scanner.

She is also the author of MIDNIGHT THIEF (an Indies Introduce New Voices selection), DAUGHTER OF DUSK, and ROSEMARKED (an Amazon best book of the month and YALSA Teens Top Ten Nominee).

Visit her online at www.liviablackburne.com