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BOOK REVIEW: Finding Me by Viola Davis

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  “Who am I? I’m the little girl who would run after school every day in third grade because these boys hated me because I was …not pretty. Because I was…Black.” –“ Finding Me” by Viola Davis   If I could recommend one memoir to read in 2022, it would be “Finding Me” by Viola Davis. This memoir by the award-winning actress was amazing. Reading “Finding Me” was like having a conversation with her about how her life experiences made her the person she is today. Davis said the book is her story , starting  from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. On the book jacket, she said, “This is the path I took to finding my purpose and my strength, but also to finding my voice in a world that didn’t always see me. ” She went on to say ,  as she wrote  Finding Me , her eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. They are bogarted, reinvented to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgmental world.  “So

COVID is the worst

It has been almost two weeks since my son was diagnosed with COVID-19. COVID is the worst because there are very few ways to treat it. And you can't be near your loved one. So I am calling a few times a day and praying. I visited him on Saturday. He stood at his window and waved at me standing outside of it.   There are 608,946 people in South Carolina who have or had COVID. My son is one of those people.  He isn't just a number. He is a 15-year-old wise-ass who loves to play video games, read anime, and sing. He is not sure what he wants to do with his life but I want him to be able to have a life. 

BOOK REVIEW: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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  “The Malibu fire of 1983 started not in the dry hills but on the coastline. It began at 28150 Cliffside Drive on Saturday, August 27 – at the home of Nina Riva – during one of the most notorious parties in Los Angeles history. The annual party grew wildly out of control sometime around midnight. By 7 a.m., the coastline of Malibu was engulfed in flames. Because, just as it is in Malibu’s nature to burn, so was it in one particular person’s nature to set fire and walk away.” — “Malibu Rising” by  Taylor Jenkins Reid This part of the prologue of “Malibu Rising” hooked me from the beginning. Taylor Jenkins Reid did a great job sharing the Riva family story. The story is told in two parts from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and 7 p.m.-7 a.m. with Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party being the focus.  The book went back and forth between the 50s and 80s to help readers understand the story of siblings Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit Riva. To know their story, you have to know the story of their parents, legenda

BOOK REVIEW: The Other Emily by Dean Koontz

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  It is hard to write about "The Other Emily" by Dean Koontz. It is not because it is a bad book. I was pretty pleased with and enjoyed it. But how do you write about a book without giving away key plot points? The synopsis is simple. Emily Carlino vanished 10 years ago after her car broke down on a California highway. She was presumed to be one of serial killer Ronny Lee Jessup’s victims. Her remains were never found. Emily was the love of writer David Thorne’s life. He hasn’t recovered from losing her or from the guilt of not being there to save her. Since then,   Thorne has sought closure any way he can. He visits with Jessup regularly in prison, desperate for answers about Emily’s final hours so he may finally lay her body to rest. Then Thorne meets Maddison Sutton. Everything about Maddison from her face to her kisses is just like Emily.   Is she Emily? Or an irresistible dead ringer? Either way, the ultimate question is the same: What game is she playing? What

BOOK REVIEW: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Davis

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 Reading has always been one way for me to cope with a bad day or a way to take a break from the world. I did not realize how much I needed an escape until I read “Tokyo Ever After.” This was the book I needed during a very busy and complicated time. This book by Emiko Davis was a combination of the movies “What a Girl Wants” and “The Princess Diaries.” Mixed in with some cool narration and an Asian twist and you have “Tokyo Ever After.” Izumi Tanaka has never felt like she fitted in as a Japanese American in her northern California town. Raised by her single mother, Izumi has never known who her father was. But then Izumi finds a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity in a book her mother has. He is none other than the Crown Prince of Japan and this means Izumi is a princess. Soon, Izumi is traveling to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of visiting. She learned quickly that it would not be all fun and games being a princess. 

BOOK REVIEW: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

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 The young adult book genre has come a long way from when I was a teenager.  The books were kind of hit or miss for me then. “The Outsiders” by SE Hinton was a good example but many of them were not so I started reading adult fiction early. As an adult, I read both adult and young adult fiction a lot.  The young adult genre has improved greatly with some good books written to appeal to readers of all ages. One of those books is “The Cousins” by Karen M. McManus. In it, you meet Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story.  They are cousins who barely know each other. Years ago, their very wealthy grandmother disowned their parents with a one-line letter: "You know what you did." Years later, the cousins are surprised when each one of them receives a letter inviting them to work at their grandmother’s island resort for the summer. Their parents saw it as an opportunity to get back into their mother's good graces—and get their share of the Story money. The Storys were like the Kennedys

BOOK REVIEWS: Crossing the River: Seven Stories That Saved My Life and Later

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This month I have selected two books from my stack to review — “Crossing the River: Seven Stories That Saved My Life” by Carol Smith and “Later” by Stephen King. Crossing the River: Seven Stories That Saved My Life There is no template for grieving. Everyone grieves in their own way. On Tuesday, my mother would have been 64 years old, but she died of breast cancer in September 2010. I am still grieving after 10 years. It was one of the reasons I was interested in this book. Since the day her son Christopher was born, Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist Carol Smith did everything to make his life easier. He was born with a congenital developmental defect that blocked his urinary tract and damaged his kidneys. With lots of medical help and a kidney transplant, he survived. Smith gave up her newspaper job and moved to California from Seattle to get remedial therapy and support for him. Things were going well. Then suddenly Christopher was dead at seven. And Smith was left alone to cross t