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Hooked on Books
- A Death in Denmark
- Written by Amulya Mallardi
- ISBN 13: 978-0063235519
- William Morrow Paperbacks (March 28, 2023 — Available for pre-order)
Mystery Meets International Implications
Can politics interfere with the truth? Of course. Take a look at today’s injustices if you have any questions. In Amulya Malladi’s mystery A Death in Denmark, Muslim refugee Yousef Ahmed has been convicted of killing right-wing politician Sanne Melgaard, but some people believe Ahmed wasn’t the murderer. They think the conviction is a political set up intended to fuel anti-Muslim sentiment. What can be done? Leila, an attorney and ex-girlfriend seeks help from Gabriel Praest a former cop turned PI who reluctantly agrees to bring out the truth.
He investigates the case even though he believes it’s a hopeless cause. As is common in many murder mysteries, one clue leads to the next, one interview leads to the next, and the stakes escalate as more is revealed.
What makes this different is its timeliness. Greed and power are just two of the corrupting factors. Love for Leila is a motivation rather than a corrupting factor, but Praest, who has a penchant for sartorial splendor and great beer, must untangle quite a web of deceit and corruption if he’s to win her approval by revealing the truth about Nazi history and how it lingers.
My only concern was that I didn’t know how to pronounce many of the Danish names or some of the characters in those names. Pretty provincial, I told myself, as I turned to Google for help. Soon though, I quit checking and kept reading, which is a tribute to the author. I wonder if a pronunciation guide in the back of the book would have helped.
Author Amulya Malladi is the bestselling author of eight novels, including The Copenhagen Affair, A House for Happy Mothers, and The Mango Season. Her books have been translated into Dutch, French, German, Spanish, Danish, Romanian, Serbian, and Tamil. She won a screenwriting award for her work on Ø (Island), a Danish series that aired on Amazon Prime Global and Studio Canal+. Currently living in California, she is a Danish citizen who was born and raised in India.
Whether you’re a mystery fan or drawn to international issues, this book will open your eyes to both the joys and dangers that exist in Northern Europe today. It’s a good read, or I wouldn’t be recommending it. This is an excellent, contemporary read.
- Hope and Fortune
- Written by Marissa Banez and Illustrated by Enroc Illustrations in conjunction with the author
- ISBN: 978-1685131173
- Black Rose Writing (February 2, 2023)
The Joys of a Journey in the Forest
Do you believe in fairies? Do your children? In Hope and Fortune young Esperanza is lost until she follows the advice of the Fabled Fairy Forest who tells her to find the twelve Fortune Fairies that will give her the wise advice that will give her the confidence and hope that her parents wanted her to have when they named her.
Marissa Banez is a gifted artist as well as a storyteller with a vision she’s eager to share with children. She uses multi-cultural fairies to show Esperanza that anything is possible if she has strong values and believes in herself. The fairies promote kindness, wisdom, courage, empathy, respect, love, and other tools to help her cope with the challenges of life. The gorgeous, soft illustrations will appeal to readers of all ages. Banez knows, firsthand, that a woman can become anything she wants to be these days, and that’s the message that rings out loudly and clearly.
A first-generation immigrant to the U.S. from the Philippines, the author is a graduate of Princeton University and a lawyer licensed to practice in New York, California and New Jersey. She has published legal articles for the prestigious New York Law Journal and the American Bar Association, but her true passion for writing lies in her children’s stories. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. Check out this book and share it with daughters, granddaughters, nieces, schools, and libraries. Help her get her message out to the world.
The author is currently doing a blog tour sponsored by Wow: Women On Writing, If you’re a woman who writes or wants to write, take a look at what they offer.
- The Librarian of Burned Books
- Written by Brianna Labuskes
- ISBN #: 9780063259256
- William Morrow & Company (February 21, 2023)
The Past Predicts the Future
Ever heard of the Armed Service Editions? They were books sent to American soldiers during WWII. In addition to keeping soldiers entertained and keeping their minds opened, the books countered Hitler’s idea that books presenting viewpoints that opposed his needed to be banned. We’re not far from a nearly identical philosophy in some states in this country today, which makes Brianna Labuskes’ The Librarian of Burned Books incredibly timely.
The story is set in 1933 Berlin, 1936 Paris, and 1944 New York. It covers Europe before WWII and New York during the final fighting days of World War II. Althea, a promising writer, is brought to Berlin in 1933. She begins the story as a Nazi sympathizer but changes her views when she witnesses Paris in 1937 and sees one of the Nazi book burnings firsthand. Her friend, Hannah Brecht, shows her off in underground clubs and introduces her to lesbian acceptance.
Viv has been fighting her own battle with censorship since her husband, Edward, was killed during the war. Now she must face Senator Taft’s recent bill that will stop her organization, the American Soldiers’ Edition, which sends books overseas. She has minimal time to put a stop to it before the bill becomes law. To make Taft aware, she plans a gala event, not realizing it will involve two women who left each other’s company before the war began in Europe. Can she make a difference? Can all three of them leave a lasting impact?
Inspired by the true story of the Council of Books in Wartime—the WWII organization founded by booksellers, publishers, librarians, and authors to use books as “weapons in the war of ideas.” The Librarian of Burned Books is an unforgettable historical novel, a haunting love story, and a testament to the beauty, power, and goodness of the written word. I’ve many books about World War II, and this one will stay with me for a while. Let me know what you think of it.
- Hunters Point
- Written by Peter Kageyama
- ISBN #: 978-1940300634
- St. Petersburg Press (January 17, 2023)
Standing Up Despite Danger
What happens when greedy men trample the quiet, industrious people who own the property they want? If you listen to the news, you already know the answer, but what happens when a detective with military training stands up for a family being compelled to sell their shipyard to thugs? Probably right again. So, it’s not the situation that surprises readers but the wonderful process of P.I. Kats Takemoto, in Peter Kageyama’s debut novel Hunter’s Point: A Novel of San Francisco.
I am old enough to remember my family’s trips to San Francisco in 1958, old enough to know San Francisco had diverse citizens in separate neighborhoods with little mixing, and old enough to have observed a the Beat scene and the gay scene emerge much more fully than they could have in 1958.
History is enhanced by fiction in this story of moral crises and revenge. The narrator, Katsuhiro Takemoto, nicknamed Kats, became a private detective after he returned to San Francisco as a war hero. When a member of the Vello family asks him to help save their shipbuilding property from thugs, he accepts. Before he’s done, Kats investigates the US Navy, the west coast organized crime families and the Beat art scene of North Beach in search of the horrendous truth hiding beneath San Francisco Bay. Based on facts, and peppered with famous characters like Jimmy Stewart and Dorothea Lange, Kageyama weaves a realistic tale of right and might overcoming slimy injustice. In doing so he foreshadows what San Francisco will become unless thugs still lurk in the shadows playing games with people’s lives.
Despite the fact that he lives in Florida, the author’s excellent research resulted in detailed descriptions of what Hunters Point was like before Candlestick Park was built, how the Navy conducted a coverup, and how an engaging red-headed secretary named Molly used her guts and savvy to help Kats, mirroring Kageyami’s parents.
Peter Kageyami is the author of four non-fiction books about cities and urban development. This is his first novel. He is a third generation Japanese American—sansei—and he got his ideas for Kats and Molly’s budding romance from his parents who are of the same ethnicities as these two characters. For an exceptional blend of fact and fiction, read Hunters Point.
- Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman
- Written by Kristen Lee
- ISBN 13: 978-0593309186
- Ember (January 3, 2023)
- Originally published by Crown Books for Young Readers (February 1, 2022)
Normal Student or Exotic Oddity?
Despite new laws, racism lives on in the heart of too many people. Scary but true. So it isn’t surprising that Savannah would rather leave her ghetto to go to a nearby all-black school where she will be comfortable than prestigious Wooddale, where she’s received a scholarship and will earn a degree guaranteed to open doors. What she finds at Wooddale is not advertised in any brochures or websites. Flat-out racism from a young man who cheats and has more fans than true friends is enough to break Savannah. Will it?
This is the story of a college freshman finding her way on a campus where she is an exotic oddity. She is Black in a traditionally white school. Microaggressions abound. So does a passive administration. First the statue of a retired Black president of the campus is defaced. Then she finds slurs painted on her door and sees her nemesis coming downstairs trailing the same red paint. People talk but no one takes action to solve the problem. There’s a code among the elite, as well as a hierarchy, and while Savannah receives tolerance from many, she feels under accepted.
She did not go to college to represent black people. She went to get an education, which explains all of her actions. You’ll see what I mean as you experience her frustrations, actions, and disbelief. Don’t let the YA label fool you. Like many contemporary books in this genre, it’s a book for everyone with a desire to see the world from someone else’s point of view.
Debut author Kristen Lee worked as a mentor for foster youth and has interned in a school setting, where she counseled middle-school-aged children. Like the narrator, she began her studies at a predominantly white university. Her agent acquired the book at auction and got her client a two-book, six-figure contract. Please add this book to your must-read shelf.