Please Borrow My Books From NY Public Libraries!

Great news! Printed copies of my books can now be borrowed from Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County Libraries in New York. Request an inter-library loan!

Queens Libraries—Bay Terrace, Central(Jamaica), and Whitestone 

Nassau Libraries—Manhasset, Port Washington, Syosset

Suffolk Libraries— East Hampton, Huntington

The digital copies are available in Queens Public Library and may be available in other library systems throughout the country. If your library cannot provide access to these books, please ask them to purchase in digital or paperback formats to add to their collection.

The Science Project
The Ocean’s Way
Who Do Voodoo?
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion
Sojourn Into The Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

Happy reading! If you do decide to borrow my books from the library, please remember to write a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble websites, or any other place you choose!

Thanks,

Elaine

Please let me know how you do. I’d love to hear from you at elainewrites@earthlink.net

All Rights Reserved 2020

Please Vote for My Book Cover

Please vote for my book cover  March of the Blue Moon
 for the June Cover of the Month Contest at All Author
*Use this link https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/8311/

Or

*Fill in Username and Password at allauthor.com
*Click Sign in or Signup if this is your first time
*Click Contest, Drop Down Cover of the Month Vote
*Find March of the Blue Moon and Vote. Thank You!

 

 

Book Review: The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz

Book Review: The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz (2020) 3 Stars *** (Fiction)

Beautiful, elegant, American socialite and acclaimed actress Grace Kelly captured the dream of many young women when she married handsome, charming Prince Ranier III of Monaco, becoming Princess of Monaco, a tiny country located off the French Riviera. Famed as one of the most beautiful wedding gowns ever made, Princess Grace’s peau de soir and lace wedding gown was designed by MGM Studios costume designer Helen Rose in 1956. In this fictitious account, the creator of the gown wears the dress at her own wedding, as does her daughter and granddaughter.

As in any multi-generational story, there is resistance. So, each succeeding bride believes the gown is not reflective of who she is, changes it to reflect her lifestyle, and learns to appreciate the gown for the loving message it carries.

Rose, living in Paris in the 1950s, is the first to wear the gown. Origxinally created by Rose for one of her customers, the gown is gifted to Rose, who wears it at the wedding that begins her fairy tale life. In the 1980’s, Rose’s daughter Joan reluctantly wears the gown after changing the neckline and the sleeves. In the 2020s, Joan’s hipster daughter Rocky, who agonizes over wearing the gown, does so after incorporating her deceased father’s wedding tuxedo into the design.

Each woman is a stereotypical example of the times in which she lives. Rose and Rocky hold secrets, act rebelliously against family and social norms, and learn to communicate with each other because of the memories the wedding gown unlocks. Grand-mère Rose is the most grounded, explicit character. Hard-working, focused, unassuming, and loyal, her legacy is diluted by her fiercely independent daughter and granddaughter. But, it’s all OK. It’s accepted because fashion is a reflection of the person who’s wearing it.

Ironically, there’s another granddaughter who embraces the gown as is, and waits in the wings until her day comes. I would rather have read about her. This is another example of undeveloped characters and situations not adding to the depth and emotion. The story is told, but not shown as much as it should be. It’s an account, but not a heartfelt emotion. The emotional connection with Grace Kelly is never made—only the dress is important. With this being said, fans of soppy romance novels will most likely accept the veneer of the characters without looking too deeply for more. All in all, a pleasant story, but not for everyone.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at elainewrites@earthlink.net

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2020

 

Book Review: The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada

Book Review: The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada (1981, 2004) 4 Stars ****

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders is a classic example of the popular Japanese honkaku subgenre of murder mysteries which focuses on plotting and clues. The author gives all the clues to the reader, analyzes and discusses them openly, and gives the reader time to solve the mystery before the solution is given at the end of the book.

Set in Tokyo, Japan, Kiyoshi Mitarai is a freelance photographer who loves solving murder mysteries and engages an unusual, eccentric astrologer/amateur sleuth and friend Kiyoshi to solve the forty-year-old mystery, which has obsessed and eluded police, criminologists, amateur detectives, and ordinary citizens for forty years! Solving this case was a national preoccupation. (Please remember, this is a work of fiction.)

In 1936, miserable human being and painter Heikichi Umezawa is found murdered in his studio which is locked and padlocked from the inside. Bars are set securely on the windows. It appears that the roof is secure. Two sets of footprints left in the snow lead away from the studio. But, how could anyone exit leaving the door locking system in place? Umezawa’s secret journal, containing damning information, is found at the crime scene and sets the tone and focus of the story. Two other sets of murders follow shortly after. Who could possibly have committed these horrendous acts? Has Umezawa reached out from the grave to fulfill his dream? Is he, in fact, really dead? Forty years later, the quest for the answers has never abated.

The mystery engages, although the details often become tedious and very mathematical. If you love math, latitude, longitude, astrological signs and their physical, metal, and color attributions, you will be enthralled. Astrology and the occult play a big part in the murders and the pursuant investigations. The author spends way too much time explaining the solution from different points of view. Still, anyone who loves to play detective will enjoy this book and this genre. Hints: The cover offers a clue which may be easy to overlook. Watch out for red herrings. Don’t believe everyone’s assumptions.

Good luck!

If you want more of this genre, go to the Locked Room International website (lockedroominternational.com or mylri.com for more English language versions of locked -room mysteries from all over the world.

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at elainewrites@earthlink.net

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2020

 

March of the Blue Moon by Elaine Donadio

Now available as eBook on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble: March of the Blue Moon by Elaine Donadio

Diverse Characters. Nestor Ramirez and Kwan Min Park. Relevant. Middle Grade Readers. Set in Alaska. Funny. Educational. Science & Social Studies Facts. In Print Soon.

 

March of the Blue Moon by Elaine Donadio

Now available as eBook on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble: March of the Blue Moon by Elaine Donadio

Diverse Characters. Nestor Ramirez and Kwan Min Park. Relevant. Middle Grade Readers. Set in Alaska. Funny. Educational. Science & Social Studies Facts. In Print Soon.

 

Please Borrow My Books From NY Public Libraries!

Great news! Printed copies of my books can now be borrowed from Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County Libraries in New York. Request an inter-library loan!

Queens Libraries—Bay Terrace, Central(Jamaica), and Whitestone 

Nassau Libraries—Manhasset, Port Washington, Syosset

Suffolk Libraries— East Hampton, Huntington

The digital copies are available in Queens Public Library and may be available in other library systems throughout the country. If your library cannot provide access to these books, please ask them to purchase in digital or paperback formats to add to their collection.

The Science Project
The Ocean’s Way
Who Do Voodoo?
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion
Sojourn Into The Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

Happy reading! If you do decide to borrow my books from the library, please remember to write a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble websites, or any other place you choose!

Thanks,

Elaine

Please let me know how you do. I’d love to hear from you at elainewrites@earthlink.net

All Rights Reserved 2020

Book Review: You Are Not Alone by Hendriks & Pekkanem

Book Review: You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanem (2020) 3 Stars ***

This book is one of the most anticipated, welcomed-with-open-arms novels of 2020. Ho-hum. Robotic. Indistinct. Boring. Disappointing. But, when you have friends in high places, everyone loves your work, regardless of the quality, or in this case, lack thereof. Sorry, Greer and Sarah, this book is not up to the standards set by your last sensational work The Wife Between Us. I’m sure one of your many well-positioned friends will option this for a movie as Steven Spielberg did for The Wife Between Us, two years before the book was even finished. How did Spielberg know it was worthy? This further proves my point: When you have powerful, influential friends, it doesn’t matter.

The plot? I figured out the punchline, so to speak, at the very beginning of the book. That’s how subtle the entire plot line was. (I’m being sarcastic.) The main character, mousy, insecure, doesn’t-have-a-clue Shay witnesses the suicide of the happy-go-lucky stranger, Amanda, who jumps in front of a train inside the 33Street subway station in Manhattan. The horrified Shay finds herself drawn to Amanda’s back story where she meets the gorgeous, manipulating, plotting, amoral sisters Cassandra and Jane, along with their cast of like-minded friends. Shay is flattered by the invitation to join this group of women who, very simply put, have an agenda. How do they accomplish their goals? By bugging and hacking cell phones and computers; installing surveillance cameras inside apartments; reading mail; bribing people to do their bidding; having their prey followed by one of these misfits who wears different disguises; leaving false messages with voice impersonations; lying every chance they get; and manipulating decisions and perceptions by gas lighting the hapless victim(s). Yada. Yada. Yada.

At the end, Shay, who generally doesn’t see the forest because she’s too busy analyzing details about the trees, starts to see something is wrong. With the help of a caring friend, Shay’s goose is not cooked.

The story is told in alternating voices: first person for Shay, and third person for the others. While this technique was effectively used in The Wife Between Us, it misses the mark in this book. The story concept has great possibilities. It’s the execution that is lacking.

You’ll probably read it because you don’t want to believe my review is valid. You’ve fallen for the hype, and will read it to form your own opinion. Please do.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at elainewrites@earthlink.net

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2020

 

Book Review: The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

Book Review: The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins (2019) 3 Stars ***

Down-home, predictable, small town story of broken-hearted misfits who find one another and make it all right for themselves and for everyone in the town. Yes, it’s pleasant and would make an easy beach read, but this story has been told soooo many times before. Nothing original to set it apart.

No-nonsense, introverted, financial analyst Grace moves “for one year only” to Dove Pond, North Carolina with her loving, dementia stricken foster mom, Mama G. and her troubled, too-big-for-her-britches niece, Daisy. Here they predictably meet sexy, brooding, damaged veteran Travis and wonderful, outgoing, somewhat magical librarian book charmer, Sarah. You see, Sarah is a matchmaker of sorts. Books talk to Sarah and tell her who should be reading them—a dating service, if you will, for books and readers. Sarah comes from a family with huge hearts and sharp intuition, interpreted as magic, but really just highly sensitive to people and situations.

So why did I start this review talking about Grace? Grace is the catalyst for all positive changes and the glue that keeps everyone together. So why is the title about the book charmer? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.

The town comes together to run another town fair which is expected to draw hordes of tourists and residents from surrounding areas. This fair has been losing money for many years, but now that Grace is in charge, everything is different. Her analytical and organizational skills and budgetary discipline turn this event into a money maker.

Little Daisy speaks like an adult with her one-liners and probing questions—very unrealistic for a little kid. Also, poor Daisy doesn’t make any friends, go to school, have play dates, or participate in any community activities. Her character development is completely overlooked. Other than being Mama G’s sidekick when the two of them go missing when Mama G. escapes from the house, forgets where she’s going and where she’s supposed to be, Daisy, who is way too young to be of any help, has a tiny role in this story.

Guess who winds up in a romance with the newly groomed and now well-dressed next door neighbor? Guess who doesn’t leave after one year? Guess who’s starting a political career in her new home town? Guess who is starting to take responsibility for the well-being of her niece? Hint: It’s not the book charmer.

At the end of the story the book charmer says, “Not quite,” Sarah shrugged, smiling. “I was a little jealous when I first realized Grace was going to be so important in saving Dove Pond. The old stories about how the Doves have always been there when good things happened—it seemed as if that was who I was supposed to be, you know. A sort of magic heroine. But it turns out it took two of us.” She looked at Ava. “Actually, it took eight of us. The committee will save this town, not just Grace or me.”

If you’re a fan of soppy, melodramatic romance novels, you might love this one. Otherwise, be prepared for light reading, but don’t worry, you won’t need any tissues. The author does not involve the reader enough in the story for us to have emotional connections.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at elainewrites@earthlink.net

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2020

Book Review: The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses) by Terri-Lynne DeFino

Book Review: The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses) by Terri-Lynne DeFino (2020)  4 Stars ****

Beautifully written, charming, engaging, whimsical, the reader often needs to suspend belief to willingly step into this world within a world within a world. Realistic? Sometimes. Believable? Always! The author has created a story with characters who love and support one another through the most trying time of their lives. Our hearts accept the sorrows and misgivings that our left-brained heads dismiss. Set in Bar Harbor, Maine during the 1990s, we meet Cecibel (the Muse), Alfonse (the celebrity author) and a cast of characters right out of a Hollywood movie. These characters draw one another out, ignore limitations and flaws, encourage and support, and give unconditional love during a time of great vulnerability. Accepting each other’s quirks and checkered pasts, this retirement home is a place of positivity and love. No need to apologize for being you. It is a place to blossom and create, to cooperate and respect, to allow and accept.

Young, beautiful Cecibel works as an orderly. Half of her face is horribly disfigured by fire, so she uses her hair to keep that part of herself hidden from the world. Elderly, larger than life author Alfonse, comes to this special place to live out the short time left of his life. We meet famous authors Olivia and Raymond, editor Judith, social misfits, orderlies Sal and Finlay, and kind, welcoming director Dr. Kintz, who conspire to make one another happy in this world within a world.

The acclaimed authors decide to write a book set in New Jersey of the 1950s where each one adds a chapter based on what’s already been written, thereby changing the flow of events so the next alternate writer must re-think the plot to keep the story going. Sub-plot characters Cecily, Aldo, Enzo and Tressa plot, scheme, and lie to achieve their ends and maintain their dreams. As in real life, this love triangle, a metaphor for the  authors’ lives, twists and turns as each creator (author) envisions a different outcome, but finds themselves at a loss to demand that the other authors abide by their personal vision. As in real life, someone always comes along to throw a wrench in the works, changing the outcome, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. This cooperative effort gives each one a reason to get up in the morning. The whole is equal to the sum of its parts. The result is bigger and better, different from what was originally envisioned, but richer for the contributions of each influencer.

Authors struggle to make the abstract real—to communicate the truth with its nuances and emotions. This is the truth about writers as expressed by the author through Alfonse’s voice, “He couldn’t have written the magic of these moments, not if given another century to try. Life could never be contained by words. It could only be expressed to the best of one’s ability, in the hopes of capturing a tiny spark and giving it away.”

In the end, literally and figuratively, Cecibel opens herself to love and life, no longer hiding behind her hair. Alfonse rewards Cecibel, whose saga has evolved into an unforeseen dimension, with personal wealth. Lives are lived in dignity.

My only problem with this book for me, is the ambiguous ending of the love triangle subplot where Tressa brings her niece to the port to meet Aldo’s ship. I hate open-ended conclusions!!! I can’t rant and rave too much without plot spoilers, so I will stop here.

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at elainewrites@earthlink.net

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2020

 

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