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Book Review of "Kinky Roots ", by Ingrid Arlington

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The title of Kinky Roots, by Ingrid Arlington, sets the tone of a fascinating memoir that contains philosophical gems. The author was reared in Zimbabwe and Johannesburg, South Africa, and is of African heritage and culture, thus her kinky hair and her kinky family heritage. “Growing up, your hair was your crown…The straighter and the longer it was, the better”…or “it was kinky, curly, frizzy or otherwise known as nappy.” 

This is a feisty and delightfully irreverent memoir.  It is a collage of memories, ruminations, vignettes, and character sketches, encompassing a lifetime of poignant observations by a first-rate writer.  Arlington shows herself as an unstoppable force tethered to an iron will.  She has an exceptional ability to clearly see the very inner workings of people and the things they might rather keep hidden. Arlington writes with a powerful and striking prose style.  Her memoir is very much a book about how to grow up, think, and ‘be’ (especially if you appreciate a complex, funny, intellectual narrator). It’s a book about love, discovery, anger, forgiveness, and integrating all kinds of contradictions into a workable self.
 

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Book Review of "Decanted ", by Linda Sheehan

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Decanted by Linda Sheehan is a beautifully told atmospheric novel comprised of two interwoven stories set mostly in the vineyards of France.  It’s a story about love, heartbreak, redemption, resilience, courage, and the intriguing world of wine.

Decanted presents an immersive glimpse into winemaking and the clique of winemakers who are at the top of their craft. By pure osmosis, you’ll learn that your wine cellar should be cooler than 55 degrees Fahrenheit and most importantly, you’ll learn that old dusty 1945 bottle of Romanée-Conti, sitting on a shelf in your basement is probably worth over 100,000 dollars.

Sheehan tells her story in evocative prose that makes your reading of her novel a bit surreal,  a little bit magical, and totally absorbing.  If you have ever been to France, you’ll feel like you’re back. If you haven’t: welcome. It’s a crazy place. You’ll get a feel for the wine region’s unique, romantic atmosphere.

Alternating between the past and present, friendships and romance, hope, and despair, Decanted becomes a novel about finding oneself through passion, history, acknowledgment, grief, and love.

 

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Book Review of "Crystal Chronicles – Flame of the Fallen", by Dyon Whiteley

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Crystal Chronicles – Flame of the Fallen, by Dyon Whiteley, is an epic tale based in the futuristic fantasy Kingdom of Orericite. Many years after humans played a part in destroying organic earth, inorganic creatures - morphed from earth's stone and metallic ore - battle for control of the land leftover. 

Whiteley kicks off his story in a dismal dark world where the inhabitants are about to engage in a violent civil war.   With beautiful descriptions and memorable characters, Whiteley masterfully provides commentary on the politics, habits, and the ways of his fantastical creatures that are the new rulers of earth.  An utterly gripping saga that is written in the first person in a way that pulls you into the "alien" perspective by the assumption that this perspective is "normal."   The fun of reading Whiteley's novel is that somehow, he manages to think of and describe these malevolent entities that equal the surrealistic creatures and nightmare landscapes that HR Giger conceived in drawings. There is also a considerable amount of gore and cruelty in the novel that is written in such a way that pulls at your emotions.   

 

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