No matter good or bad, we never forget our first.
Today I’m here to share two first reads for me – plus a Friday 13th bonus.
Let’s start with non-fiction:
Fishnets in the Far East – Michele E. Northwood
Now this one is a resounding first. It’s a memoir! That’s right, I’m reading non-fiction!
Though I’ll admit the antics this author’s suffered in the hands of Korean chauvinistic men would make an excellent movie. It’s almost like fiction, the drama, misadventures, the humor – they all boil down to a fantastic, somewhat frightful, six months in Korea. I could never tell if the next scene would grip me with tension or laughter.
“Here,” said Louise throwing me an empty coffee jar, “Trap it under there, then we can slide some paper underneath it and throw it out of the window.” After a couple of failed attempts – because I lost my nerve whenever it moved – it was finally trapped inside the upturned coffee jar. I then began the process of sliding a folded piece of paper underneath. I was hoping that the cockroach would facilitate the procedure and oblige by stepping onto the stationary, but this one had other ideas. “Oh My God! It’s eating the paper!” I screamed. Sure enough a sizeable chunk had gone from the folded piece of stationary and we could actually hear it munching! This made the thought of actually picking it up decidedly more daunting! “I vote that we just leave it where it is for now!” I said. “We can think about moving it later!” It was unanimously agreed that the cockroach was going nowhere, so we kept it in our room, under the coffee jar and named him Clive. Even the cleaners seemed to respect his position on the carpet and hovered carefully around him. Maybe they thought that Europeans were decidedly weird to want to keep a cockroach as a pet, but they played along.”
Neither of the three dancers – Michele and her two mates, spoke Korean, or were savvy enough to deal with the rudeness, forwardness, and all the declarations of love they received, but they learned, as the saying goes, by the seats of their pants.
I’m impressed Michele didn’t break down and run back home. No, despite all the mistreatment she and her group endured, they went on, auditioning for the next dance, and the next and the next, enduring all the poor quality of the clubs they had to perform in – even in strip clubs!
And then they had their agent, Mr. Lee, so frugal, they had to haggle every time they wanted to get paid – and hunt him down too. I believe he was taking advantage of their ‘free audition’ too.
I had wondered at the end if Michele had had enough and if she’d ask to go home before the six month’s contract was over, but she held on and I could totally relate when she felt nostalgic leaving Korea at the end. It was a chapter of her life where she learned so much, despite not all being nice.
I can’t wait to read this author’s next book, currently at the making, somewhere in Japan.
Totally recommend this one!
Where the wind blows – Simone Beaudelaire
“The irresistible harmony between musicians creates a passionate symphony, but past discords and present clashes sour the melody. Can their love finally ring true?”
99.9% of the books I read has a romantic aspect. Romantic suspense, PNR, thriller/mystery, fantasy/sci-fi; chick lit. No matter what, almost all my reads have some sort of romance. But I can honestly say this is the first time I read a romance where the guy is African American. An African American woman and a white man, yes, biracial couples, yes. A guy with mixed heritage, yes. But a romance where the woman is white and the guy African American, this was a first for me. And so refreshing! It reminds me of a favorite movie from my teen years – Save the last dance.
This is a romantic story between two musicians attracted to each other, but with a lot of baggage in their background. Brooke has her demons to contend with, but a supportive and psychic sister. Kenneth has his family’s and his insecurities about their relationship, but he’s ready to adjust his life and settle down. His mother doesn’t want a white woman for her son, but the rest of his family didn’t stand in his way. I’m glad to say Brooke put Kenneth’s mother in her place, and she came around to their romance later.
The writing is done exceptionally well, the mood dark at times, light at others, the style easy to read.
There are some graphic sex scenes – adds up to the romance, but, again, they’re graphic, so I wouldn’t recommend it for ages less than sixteen. Otherwise it’s a great and fast read!, great for the end of the weekend, or a getaway read.
And now a Friday 13th feature!
Monstrosity: Tales of Transformation – Laura Diaz de Arce
When we were children, we dreamed of being heroes. We wanted to slay dragons and defeat the monsters that scared us.
As we grew older, we were forced to try and find our monsters. We had been told they would be easy to spot. Monsters had too much teeth, too much fur, too much size.
These were lies. We stopped wanting to be heroes. We started to want to be more, to be too much. We wanted, needed, more than the world could give us. We wanted more than what we were told we should be. We wanted to become monsters. “If you love well-crafted short stories with unexpected twists, this is the collection for you! Laura Diaz de Arce has a writing style that pulls you right in. Her characters are lively, and I can guarantee that when the twist hits you, you won’t see it coming!” – R. S. Penney, author of Symbiosis and Desa Kincaid