#30Authors – Adria Cimino (aka Adria in Paris)

30 Authors

30 Authors in 30 Days is a first of its kind event aimed at connecting readers, bloggers, and authors. Hosted by The Book Wheel, this month-long event takes place during September and features 30 authors discussing their favorite recent reads on 30 different blogs. For the full schedule of participating authors and bloggers, visit The Book Wheel.

Author Adria J. Cimino on The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft

The Art of Falling - 30 Authors

Photo Credit: Author website

Expressing one art form through another always intrigues me. In this case, Kathryn Craft choreographs with words to create dance, to bring graceful movement to each page of this well-written novel. Movement controls Penny’s heart and soul, even when she struggles to execute the smallest steps after her fall or faces the tough realities of the world of dance. As the reader, I was quickly following her footsteps, dancing with her through her moments of despair and hope.

Penny herself is an admirable character. She is strong, disciplined and has a soft side that allows itself to slip forth at the most important times. Her main weakness is the view that she has of herself as she looks at the “perfect” bodies of the slimmer dancers. This novel deals brilliantly with the issues of body image and eating disorders, which although are particularly prominent in dance, also are relevant well beyond. Penny realizes she must conquer this lack of self-assurance and must believe in her talent if she hopes to truly rebuild her life.

I am a dance lover, but you don’t have to be to enjoy The Art of Falling. This novel reaches farther as it explores relationships that are a part of all of our lives: Mother-daughter, friendship, love, mentor-student. How lives touch is an integral part of the book. And each character feels very real. Penny’s relationship with her mother as well as the friendship she builds with a young women suffering from cystic fibrosis are particularly poignant.

Failure, regret, discovery, joy and forgiveness weave through the lives of the characters, separating them at certain points and bringing them back together. If I close my eyes, I can see this as a work of modern dance set to the music of words.

Author Bio

Adria Cimino - 30 Authors

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Adria J. Cimino is the author of Paris, Rue des Martyrs, the story of four troubled strangers whose lives entwine in a Parisian neighborhood. Adria lives in Paris and enjoys sharing her adventures in the city and thoughts about the writing life in her blog Adria in Paris.

Previously, she worked as a journalist for more than a decade at news organizations including the Associated Press and Bloomberg News. Adria, who grew up in the sunshine, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida.

You can also learn more about Adria Cimino by liking her on Facebook, following her on Twitter, or purchasing her book here.

Interested in The Art of Falling? You can learn about Kathryn Craft by liking her on Facebook or following her on Twitter. Or, you can purchase the book here.

And check out the giveaway!

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Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera

I received this book from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.  

Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera is a story told about two opposing sides over the course of decades that surrounded the Sri Lankan civil war.

Island of a Thousand Mirrors

A quick summary explains this complex-in-a-fabulous-way storyline:

Yasodhara tells the tale of her own Sinhala clan first. As a child in idyllic Colombo, her life is shaped by social hierarchy, her parents’ ambitions, teenage love and most importantly, the differences between the Tamil and Sinhala people who share the island. When peace is shattered, Yasodhara’s family flees to Los Angeles.

Saraswathi is living in the active war zone of Sri Lanka, with hopes to become a teacher. But her dreams are abruptly stamped out when she is arrested by a group of Sinhala soldiers and pulled into the heart of the conflict. A conflict that will eventually connect her to Yasodhara in in unexpected ways.

Island of a Thousand Mirrors was complicated and intense, but also really moving.  I was captivated by the storylines of each woman, of Sri Lanka’s civil war, and of the daily life.  I was devastated and shocked by the ending (as only a good author can make you feel) and can’t stop thinking of this book.

Munaweera does not tell a happy tale.  She tells a REAL tale, reminiscent of NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names and Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them.  None of these books are “happy” but they are gritty, real, moving, and what reading is about.

Not a fan of real and gritty?  Well, try it out and follow it up with a happy story after.

You don’t be disappointed.

What about you?  Gritty reads lover?  Or more of a happy ending fan?

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Losing St. Christopher by David-Michael Harding

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Losing St. Christopher

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Losing St. Christopher is the second book in the Cherokee Trilogy, but can also be read independently.  If you didn’t read the first book, Cherokee Talisman, yeah, you’ll miss stuff, but you will also be able to enjoy a fully formed novel.

Here’s a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

In Losing St. Christopher, Totsuhwa, the revered shaman of the Cherokee Nation, struggles against the assimilation of his people into the white world of men he sees as invaders. The colonists, along with Cherokee who are trying to bridge both worlds, see him as a barbarous threat. When Totsuhwa’s visions show him the outcome, it is as black as his deep set haunting eyes. Chancellor, his son, takes a white wife following study at a missionary school and the shaman’s fears seem realized. Conflicts between cultures and within the family erupt when Totsuhwa’s only grandchild is forced onto the Trail of Tears. In the chase that follows, an estranged love fights to stem the ugly flow of racism that is moving in two directions.

Losing St. Christopher was a high-interest book.  There are elements of both positive and negative attitudes toward the Native Americans, and I enjoyed how Harding exhibited mixed marriages as well as white people who were willing to do anything to help their neighbors in need.

Basically, I was hooked.  Chancellor is a very powerful character, educated in both the white and Cherokee ways, which can cause conflict when he chooses certain ways to deal with issues.  But at the same time, he’s a caring, loyal son and friend, and eventually father.

I recommend Losing St. Christopher!  But here’s a warning: Grab a tissue for the last 3 pages because there is such a heartfelt ending that you can’t help but leak out some tears!

And don’t forget, I also read and loooooved How Angels Die by David-Michael Harding, which is a historical fiction novel about two French sisters who resist the Nazis in valuable, but very different, ways.

Check out the author’s website and Facebook page for more info!

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Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles

I received this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Lighthouse Island

Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles takes us into a dystopian future that is kind of a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and reality TV.  Jiles’s main character Nadia is amazing.  She’s witty and resourceful, charming and lying her way into any situation.  You can’t help but love her.

In essence, Lighthouse Island is the story of Nadia, orphaned at a young age and stuck in numerous not-so-wonderful situations.  Her one wish is to get to the mysterious Lighthouse Island, a place where water is plentiful and so is the food.  Plus, the view’s not too bad itself.  Nadia meets James, a demolition and cartography expert who was paralyzed in an accident.  Their chemistry is undeniable, but this isn’t a traditional love story.  It’s love mixed with survival.

Anyway, if I butchered this summary, check out a better version here: Goodreads.  I’ll just blame the summary mess on two things: 1. A fabulous complex storyline.  2. Pregnancy brain.

As for my thoughts . . . Like I said Nadia totally rocks.  She’s witty, resourceful, charming, and super confident.  She lies to survive, and it always works.  James is also a great character.  He’s complex and caring, also incredibly resourceful, and has a sixth sense of identifying what technological help Nadia will need from many miles away.

The story is complicated, which is both good and bad.  I love dystopian societies, especially realistic ones, and this one did not disappoint.  But I was left wondering if I missed some pieces of the story or if they just weren’t included in the novel.

Fun fact: Paulette Jiles lives in UTOPIA, Texas.  Can you get more perfect for a city to live in when you want to write about a dystopian future?  When I saw that it just made my day.

Want to hear more?  Check out the rest of the tour schedule.

TLC Book Tours

 

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Further Out Than You Thought by Michaela Carter

I received this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.  

Further Out Than You Thought

Further Out Than You Thought by Michaela Carter is a unique take on the well-known tale of a woman finding herself.  Gwen is 25, a stripper with a loser boyfriend and a best friend who is dying of AIDS.  After the Rodney King verdict, there are riots in the streets and Gwen realizes she’s pregnant.  Can she and does she want to raise a baby with her stoner boyfriend Leo?  Valiant (the BFF neighbor) and Gwen kidnap Leo, drive to Mexico, and try to find themselves.

The positives: Gwen is a complex character, fighting with inner demons and her stripper alter-ego, while trying to come to terms with the fact that she is going to become a mother.  I love her relationship with others, with the men at the strip club, her fellow strippers, and Valiant.  I also thought the book portrayed Valiant’s disease in a poetic way.  I’m not discounting his battle with AIDS.  I’m only stating that in the book, Valiant was not the disease – he was Leo and Gwen’s best friend who also happened to be dying from AIDS.

This book wasn’t all roses for me.  I had a tough time with some of the sexual graphic nature.  Less with what was sexually graphic and more with the words the author chose to describe the scenarios.  I’m not a prude; I’ll read sexually explicit scenes, but there are a few words to describe genitalia that I’m not a fan of.  I also was not a fan of Leo at all.  He was so obviously a loser that I just wanted to shake Gwen.

Further Out Than You Thought does end on a hopeful note.  It doesn’t tie up all loose ends, which I love, and lets you determine some of the outcomes of the novel.

Check out the tour schedule for other opinions!

TLC Book Tours

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I couldn’t bear The Bear

The Bear

Photo Credit: Goodreads

I was so excited to read The Bear by Claire Cameron.  I mean, Room by Emma Donoghue blew my mind and could be one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read.  Heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, overall amazing.

So The Bear is the same right?  Wrong.

Many people loved The Bear, but I just didn’t get into it.  I taught 5-year-olds and had a tough time fulling believing Anna as a character.  Some things were spot on, others I doubted.

Overall, the book didn’t grip me, and the ending dragged for me.  Although I do have to say that the Epilogue rocked and at least I ended the book on a high note with that.

Thanks Anita Loves Books for a copy!

What do you think of books like Room, Above by Isla Morley, and The Bear?

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Eating Wildly was wildly surprising!

I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Eating Wildly Eating Wildly by Ava Chin was such a surprise to me! I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to get into a book about foraging for wild grasses to make a meal, but Chin’s writing really just sucks you in.

Eating Wildly is a memoir, telling stories of Ava’s life, with her experiences of foraging for and cooking wild grasses and mushrooms. And if you can believe it, she forages in Brooklyn! Who would think that so much lush foliage would be growing in the hustle and bustle of NYC?

I practically ate up this book. I couldn’t put it down.

I loved the honesty of Chin’s experiences, of her love life and family life, as well as the recipes she included in the back of each chapter.

However, there were two parts of the book that just struck me. One, is where Ava’s super excited about these wild mushrooms she finds, but she isn’t sure if they’re edible or poisonous. So she meets up with a fungi master and he teaches her how to make a mushroom spore print, which will reveal if the mushrooms are safe to eat. It sounded really cool – almost cool enough to make me want to do one myself!

Then there was a scene where Ava found blackberries, and it took me back to my road trip. Last summer, my sister and I took a road trip around some of the southeastern US and one of our favorite parts of the trip was blackberry picking at a local NC farm. Although that’s probably as “forager-ing” as I’m ever going to get!

My sister & I "foraging" for blackberries at a u-pick in North Carolina - one of our favorite parts of the road trip!

My sister & I “foraging” for blackberries at a u-pick in North Carolina – one of our favorite parts of the road trip!

What is one of your favorite experiences with nature?

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