“You Can Take The Girl From The Prairie” is a heartwarming collection that glimpses into the author’s life of what it was like growing up in Southern Alberta in the 1950s and 60s. I have always had a curiosity about Alberta since my grandmother was born there in the 1920s. The heartwarming stories had me either laughing or shedding a few tears, and immediately drew me in. Ms. Foster’s family didn’t have all the extras that others had, but she was blessed with a beautiful childhood full of love. I loved the relationship between not only her and her grandmother, but her father, too. It wasn’t always an easy life and there was heartbreak along with the celebrations, but this was a family that was always there for each other. I read this in one sitting and can only hope there are more stories to come. I can highly recommend these stories.
By Selma Martin
“In The Shadow of Rainbows,” is Ms. Martin’s debut poetry book that I thoroughly enjoyed. There is a nice blend of nature with the emotional side of poems. The words flowed through the pages with vivid images and insights. I enjoyed them all but here are a few lines and poems that caught my eye: “nurtured under the illimitable/distant sun, fulfilling stories/among the starlight…”—Give Back, “Light illuminates/all who wander/in darkness and delusion…”—Let Go. “When death comes/I want to be led into eternity/curious, full of joy…”—When Death Comes, “The green outside is winking at me/it arose merely moments ago,/like a well-rested child rising from sleep,…”—Nature’s Tender Doings, and “I almost died of exuberance/snorkeling around the unspoiled/coral reef/ when, in the dull hum of silence…”—I Almost Died. A wonderful collection to savor more than once that I can easily recommend for poetry lovers.
Ms. Geneviene wrote “Murder at the Bijou” as a part of her weekly blog serial story. This is one I missed, so I was eager to read it. Readers contributed three words each week or chapter. At the end of some chapters, or installments, a list of ingredients that made me hungry was included. Pip is sent to live with her grandma to learn how to cook, but she ends up dealing with a murder mystery and criminals. I love it was set in the twenties and Pip considers herself a flapper or a modern woman. A quick read that includes gangsters and a budding love story that took a sharp turn. Besides Pip, Granny, a parrot, and a rabbit were also my favorites. This unique cozy mystery is great to snuggle up with in any season.
By Fiza Pathan
“Nirmala” is a painful and sometimes inspiring read that was hard to put down. Nirmala was born to a family that didn’t want a female child, so they threw her away. She was found, though, and returned to her family. Growing up she suffered through not only staggering poverty but beatings and abuse which are graphicly described. She could go to school only to teach her younger brothers and advance them. In school, she was shunned because of her lack of hygiene, but she also was a top student. Her dream was to be a doctor. I couldn’t help but root for a girl in a society that wasn’t welcoming. She had a deep strength that shined through, even in the darkest of situations until the very end. Although she didn’t get to pursue her dream, a marriage was arranged, and it seemed to be a place of peace for her—until it wasn’t. The heart-wrenching part was this is the stark reality for some women in Mumbai. A beautiful young girl who was gifted with intelligence being constantly told she was trash. There is no happy ending, but it fits her situation. A well-written story I can easily recommend that shines a light on how unfairly some women are still treated in our world.
By Lauren Scott
“More than Coffee” is a thought-provoking collection of Ms. Scott’s memories mixed with beautiful poetry. Her stories tell of past events, such as how her parents met and her own beginning with her husband. I could easily relate to spiders always finding her. The poetry in between the prose added extra insight and layers to this great read. I read it in one sitting, but it would be good to savor each part with a cup of coffee or, in my case, tea. I enjoyed all the stories and the positive spin they had, no matter where the emotions went. There were glimpses into relationships between people, ventures into nature, and childhood. I can’t pick a favorite narrative, but I can share some of the many poems that caught my eye. “With childlike fascination,/I leaned against the door frame/watching her apply a little/powder to her nose, a touch of red to her lip./No more, no less…”—Red Lipstick, “Gazing high beyond their treetops/Where birds build family dwellings,/Dreams begin to bloom, worries lessen…”—Forever Steady, “Harmony lives in each flow of a breeze/In each gentle embrace of evergreens/The clear blue is our enchanting shield…”—Her Offerings, and “It’s freedom, fun, and magical/as tires hum on the road/A wave of a hand/befits the two-wheel code…”—Riding with the Wind. This is an inspiring collection I can easily recommend!
Watch for an exciting announcement from Story Empire this week and a special post from me on Wednesday!
Embrace your inner child by reading a good book! D. L. Finn