Veronic is on vacation this month, so we are rerunning one of her more popular posts. She’ll be back September 22, but in the meantime we hope you enjoy:
Most people are a combination of various cultures, though I think their ancestors tended to confine their marriages and unions to one continent. Mine didn’t. As a teenager, growing up in the 1960s, I was always asked, “What are you, black or white?” I’d usually answer, “Both,” or “Neither,” not because I was afraid or wanted to fit in, but because it was true: Nicaraguan and Dominican parents, Middle-Eastern and French grandparents, and Chinese and African great-grandparents. (Hope I didn’t miss anyone). And born in Brooklyn, New York. “How sweet it is!”
This ethnic mix probably explains my preferred genres; Kid-Lit, because I am always looking for someone like me in children’s books; and Historical Fiction, because like working on a jigsaw puzzle, I travel the globe, mostly through books, in search of all of the pieces of me that, once united, will make me whole.
This quest has made me an avid multicultural reader. In every reading exploration I discover something about myself. Everything I write contains a key to who I am that reveals an aspect of my essence. It’s an awesome journey.
And while I seem to connect with everyone, I don’t really fit in anywhere; yet I love the empathy toward others that these various cultures have generated in me because it leads to a deeper kind of listening and understanding, which in turn informs and directs my writing.
I’m always learning, and changing, and growing, and I often have so much to say that I don’t know where to begin, or how to put it all together…like now.
So, thank you ancestors, for being willing and unwilling globe-hoppers. I am wonderfully made and you have given me much to think of and write about.
I relish tasting cuisines from around the globe and trying similar foods prepared in different ways. A gourmet meal might be my dish of choice, but I never pass up a pizza, burger, or hot dog. I reach for the fruit…and then the pretzel rods and strawberry twizzlers.
Writing a number of book reviews these past months made me realize how many flavors of life I have been missing.
While the human experience and its range of emotions are universal, the individual perspectives which explore and reveal our moments in time are vast and diverse.
Like my multi-ethnic mix that connects me to others in so many ways, reading a broad selection of works can connect me to others in the realm of ideas, and in the secret places of the heart.
The books I have been fortunate to read and review have given me a broader view of this wonderful and magical world we inhabit.
So, thank you dear writers for jolting my brain to solve riddles, and for teaching me a new Jell-O recipe, (yum). Thank you for making me feel indignant at every injustice. I vow to be an agent of change. Thank you for sparking more compassion in me, for making me cry and laugh; for helping me to see my neighbor with greater tenderness, and for reminding me to value my friends…even when they try to take over my life.
Mostly, thank you dear writers for trusting me with your precious words. I may have written reviews, but your words have filled my heart and enriched my life.
Now I need time to digest, reflect and internalize it all, so in the words of the 1960s song…
“See you in September when the summer’s through.”
(On the 22nd).
Editor’s note: Read some of Veronica’s Book Reviews.
ISBN 978 173 3594318
Life can get complicated, but it helps when you have good friends, especially the kind who know what you need before you do, and who set out to help you even when you think you don’t need it. Confusion? Oh, yeah! Ticked off? Maybe a little.
Still brooding over her breakup last year, Lucy Vaughn settles in to her day job as an elementary school teacher. Evenings, she curls up with a Victorian romance novel. Life is peaceful, but lonely, until her friends and social media take over her life.
Lucy has a secret admirer who’s too shy to ask her out. So his brother decides to help things along to connect him with Lucy. He posts an anonymous invitation as a secret admirer asking Lucy to be his date for Valentine’s. Each day, he adds to the post giving hints as to his identity.
Lucy and her best friend Ashley sort through the clues: local guy, owns his own business, and he’s a musician. Then they compile a list of possibilities. Could it be the guy she met at the New Year’s Party? The techie from the school field trip? Her new neighbor?
Or maybe it’s the man Lucy least expects. He’s closer than she thinks. In fact, he has no idea that his brother has set this event in motion.
The social media posts, like true love, spiral out of control and go viral. Soon the whole world is commenting and urging Lucy to, “Please say yes!”
Got friends? On social media? Prepare yourself. You just might be the next Lucy Vaughn.
So while you’re waiting for your friends to take over your life, for your good of course, read Tari Lynn Jewett’s, #PleaseSayYes. It will make you laugh and warm your heart.
See you next time on July 22nd.
A seasoned detective knows that the best way to solve a crime is to follow the money trail, especially in a particular L.A. neighborhood where the rich float on top while the bottom feeders sink below. But we’re talking about Detective Finn O’Brien and he’s in the other L.A., the one with sun-streaked neighborhoods burning with robbery and drugs, and where kids duck for cover under a lullaby of gunfire.
Amber, his partner Cori’s daughter, bypasses her mother and asks Finn for help in finding her missing friend, twenty-two year old Pacal Acosta. Finn is conflicted about keeping a secret from his partner and challenged by the impossibility of trying to gather information to track an undocumented male immigrant.
When a number of missing young immigrant men are found murdered, Finn’s instincts kick in. There’s a serial killer on the loose targeting immigrants, and Amber’s involvement is spooking the killer which means she’s in danger too.
Friendship and trust are tested when Cori discovers the secret pact between Finn and Amber, and when she learns that her daughter loves the missing young man, her worldview gets turned upside down. Cori struggles to accept her daughter’s openness to this new blended world and is forced to confront her own prejudices.
The three work together to compare notes and scenarios. Who would kill immigrants and why? Could it be gang related? Maybe the work of Marbles, a member of the Hard Time Locos, not yet 18 but whose “evil is already old and deeply ingrained.” Ruling out money and drugs, the three of them follow, not the money trail, but the trail of blood and dead bodies.
Finn and Cori investigate possible killers, interview members of the ethnic community, and try to keep Amber safe, all the while dreading the unspoken possibility. What if Amber’s young man is the next dead body they find?
With multiculturalism quickly becoming the new normal, the fast-paced thriller Secret Relations is the novel for our times. Read it!
See you next time on June 22nd.
Miraculously surviving torture Takrit, a political activist, smuggles evidence of human rights atrocities out of her home country of Eritrea and she escapes to the United States.
Also in the U.S., both hunting for Takrit, and hoping to close a lucrative business deal for a port of trade that will cement his power and his fortune is, Emanuel Dega Abu, the President of Eritrea and . . . the man responsible for the human rights abuses, and Takrit’s torment.
If Takrit’s video evidence goes public, Dega Abu’s empire will come crashing down and so will he. He must find Takrit and eliminate her. She must find a way to stay alive and tell the world her story.
In Foreign Relations, book 2 of the Finn O’Brien Series, Rebecca Forster immerses us in the world of political wheeling and dealing at home and abroad, and the disparate parties that the matchmaker, Money, unites with ease.
When the first dead body turns up, Finn O’Brien starts to fit the pieces together. He gets too close to the source so a local congresswoman, with her sights on a seat in the Senate, deters him by shutting down the case. But Finn is haunted by what he’s discovered. And the spirit of the dead body ‘sits on his shoulder asking him to put it to rest.’
Never one to back down or cringe before the brass or the most degenerate criminal, O’Brien tackles crime, money, and politics. With help from where he least expects it, he plows through the mire of government contracts, kickbacks, and money laundering, and dents the unbreachable wall of diplomatic immunity.
Intriguing. Thrilling. Page-turning. With Finn O’Brien on the scene, crime doesn’t pay.
Both heart-rending and heart-warming, Rebecca Forster assures us that despite the reality and the odds, justice, loyalty and love, still reign and rule the day.
A fantastic read you will never forget!
See you next time on May 22nd.
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