Can’t Wait Wednesday

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally, they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This latest book from Sharon Maas is historical fiction set in the Jim Jones cult in Guyana in the 1970s. I am excited to read Maas’s take on this tragedy because she is actually from Guyana. Maas is a powerful writer who can evoke great emotion in the reader and provide vivid descriptions that will transport the reader to any location. I have read two of her other works–The Far Away Girl, about a young girl growing up in Guyana with a very absent father, and Those I Have Lost, which is a unique take on a World War II novel. It is written from the perspective of a girl in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), watching as Japan devastates Southeast Asia and then arrives on her shores. Having become a fan of Maas’s powerful writing, I am very much looking forward to A Home For the Lost.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

He got them when they were most vulnerable, when they were down and out, poor and alone and in trouble. He was kind to them when they needed kindness. He took their trust, and then robbed them of everything else. They don’t dare betray that trust.

A gripping and heartbreaking read, based on the true story of the Jonestown cult, one of the darkest chapters in American history.

When journalist Zoe Quint loses her husband and child in a tragic accident, she returns home to Guyana to grieve. But when she hears cries and music floating through the trees, her curiosity compels her to learn more about the Americans who have set up camp in a run-down village nearby. Their leader, Jim Jones, dark eyed and charismatic, claims to be a peaceful man who has promised his followers paradise.

But everything changes when Zoe meets one of his followers, a young woman called Lucy, in a ramshackle grocery store. Lucy grabs Zoe’s arm, raw terror in her eyes, and passes her a note with a phone number, begging her to call her mother in America.

Zoe is determined to help Lucy, but locals warn her to stay away from the camp, and as sirens and gunshots echo through the jungle at nightfall, she knows they are right. But she can’t shake the frightened woman’s face from her mind, and when she discovers that there are young children kept in the camp, she has to act fast.

Zoe’s only route to the lost people is to get close to their leader, Jim Jones. But if she is accepted, will she be able to persuade the frightened followers to risk their lives and embark on a perilous escape under the cover of darkness? And when Jim Jones hears of her plans, could she pay the highest price of all?

Release Date: June 23, 2022

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Lynn Austin is probably my favorite writer of Christian historical fiction, and I am always excited to read her next book. This saga is set in post World War II, with another timeline existing seven years earlier. While I’ve tired of most WWII fiction, as we are being inundated with it, I like the idea of the post-war setting in this one.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Gisela’s family becomes unsafe as Germany turns hostile toward Jewish people. They secure spots on a boat bound for Cuba, only to be turned away upon their arrival. The next few years are filled with heartbreak as WWII threatens everything Gisela holds dear.

After the war, Peggy is thrilled when her childhood best friend, Jimmy, returns home. But Jimmy is no longer the lighthearted boy she knew. Determined to help him, Peggy sets out to uncover what happened during his tour.

The book alternates between Peggy and Gisela’s points of view, exploring the pre- and post-war world. It is unflinching in dealing with heavy topics including antisemitism, genocide, and suicide, yet also highlights the courage and perseverance of individuals facing such horrors.

Faith plays a large role. Gisela questions her Jewish heritage, and Peggy reminds Jimmy of the scriptures he once clung to. The age-old question of how a benevolent god can allow evil is raised, answered with ideas of human responsibility and the possibility of grace that suffering brings.

Release Date: June 21, 2022

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I’ve been a sports fan all my life, and while I don’t always read middle-grade books, I can’t resist a book about a minor league baseball team and their very young manager. This book looks like it will be a lot of fun.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Middle-grade star author Chris Rylander brings his signature sense of humor, a compelling and original baseball story, and tons of heart to the story of the Hurricanes of Weakerville.

All his life, Alex Weakerman has had one passion: baseball. Specifically, the Hurricanes of Weakerville, Iowa–the scrappy independent-league team owned by his Grandpa Ira.

Even as the team and the town have fallen on tough times, there’s no place Alex would rather be than at the ballpark–a hot dog in one hand, a pencil and scorebook in the other, keeping track of each and every statistic. Alex has never been all that great at playing baseball, but that doesn’t matter. For someone as painfully awkward as Alex, being a fan–and a wiz with baseball stats–is all he needs.

When Grandpa Ira passes away, though, Alex is crushed. He’s lost his best friend, and he doesn’t see any way that the team will survive. But Ira, it seems, has one last trick up his sleeve: his will names Alex the new manager of the Hurricanes.

Alex is as excited as he is terrified at the chance to finally put some of his fantasy baseball genius to use. But as he sets to work trying to win over the players, he soon learns that leading them to victory is about more than just stats. Will he be able to save his team, his hometown, and his family legacy?

Release date: June 21, 2022

AMAZON LINK AMAZON UK LINK

Weekend Woes

Well, I got the booster shot on Friday and the last two days have been a bit miserable. I felt too weak to post anything until tonight. Now I’m back to my regularly scheduled programming! My wonderful husband made me some chicken soup and went out and got me some pudding, so I had all the ultimate sick food.

Here’s the recipe for the soup. It’s amazing. It’s called Flu Fighter Chicken Soup. Click on the photo to go to the recipe.

On a positive note, I have been a longtime fan of the Cincinnati Bengals since I was a kid growing up in said city. And they won a playoff game yesterday! Any football fans on here will know it’s been a long time coming! So that was something pleasant during my weekend of misery.

Joe Burrow, #9 (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)


#Football and #Poetry–A Sonnet

I have been a football fan since I was a kid, and right now I’m watching the College National Championship, thinking about risk, and writing a sonnet. I’ve always been a fan of the sonnet, although it doesn’t really seem to be in fashion these days. For those who don’t know, a sonnet generally has 14 lines, 10 syllables each line. There are three stanzas of four lines, and one of two lines. The stanzas of four lines have alternate rhyming and the last two lines also rhyme. The last two lines solve a problem or come to a conclusion. Below is my football sonnet, called Fourth and One.

FOURTH AND ONE–A FOOTBALL SONNET

The Bears and Rockets struggle on the field
Five minutes left, the star receiver’s out
The Rockets try to pass; the Bears won’t yield
It’s fourth and one; defenders range about

Should they punt or should they try to go?
The safest bet is punt and try again
To go for one’s a risk, as they all know
But safe won’t always win it in the end.

The Rockets walk determined to the line
Their jaws are set, their hands upon the ground
They lunge ahead; the measurement is fine
But in the end they garner four more downs.

The Rockets put six points up on the board
The greatest joy of risk is the reward.


Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur on Pexels.com

Book Reviews: Memoirs of a Karate Fighter

Memoirs of a Karate Fighter

Novelist and former karate champion Ralph Robb recounts his experiences at one of Europe’s toughest dojos and provides an insight into the philosophy and training methods of a club which produced national, European and world titleholders. In a hard-hitting story, Ralph tells of the fights on and off the mat; his experiences as one of a very few black residents in an area in which racist members of the National Front were very active; and the tragic descent into mental illness and premature death of the training partner who was also his best friend.

BOOK REVIEW

This was an interesting and engaging memoir by Ralph Robb about his life as a member of the Wolverhampton YMCA Karate Club, his championship battles, his struggles against racism, and his fights in and out of competition. He also relates his determination to build a safer and better life for his family, and his beloved cousin’s battle with mental health issues.

Although I do not know very much about karate, I enjoyed reading about the karate competitions and especially the real-world situations in which Robb used karate to protect himself. Robb shares how karate helped him deal with everything from racist skinheads to drunks and mobsters in the real world. The story of his strong relationship with his cousin Clinton and Clinton’s battle with mental health issues is heartrending.

This is not just a book about a karate fighter. This is a book about a youth who comes into his own while dealing with racism and while cultivating a skill that would shape his life. It’s also about karate, its history, its varying styles, and some of the greats who have practiced and taught it. But most importantly it’s about the growth of a young man, from fighter to father, and the lessons he learned from karate.

This is a must read for fans of karate and those who enjoy coming of age stories.

I received a free copy of this book via Rachel’s Random Resources. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Purchase Links 

AMAZON UK  

AMAZON US

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ralph Robb was born and raised in the industrial town of Wolverhampton, England and now lives in Ontario Canada with his wife, cat and dog. A proud father of four, Robb works as an engineering technician and loves rugby, martial arts and a good book. His world is balanced by quality TV, global events, great outdoors and of course his grand-daughter. 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RalphRobbBooks

Twitter: @RalphSRobb

Webpage: www.ralphrobb.com

Blog Tour by Rachel’s Random Resources

MY GOODREADS REVIEW

MY AMAZON REVIEW (HELPFUL VOTES APPRECIATED)

Book Review: A Diamond For Her

When Raymond Blythe first meets The gods of Baseball, he is a little boy, sitting with his father and watching a game. When he meets them again as an adult, they are playing baseball with giant trees and huge boulders as they invent the game, supervised by the Sun. This begins a magical journey, as Raymond almost simultaneously meets the love of his life, Rochelle Christy, puts together a baseball team, the Winasook Iron Horses, and builds a stadium, Rochelle stadium. The story of the beginning of the fictional Winasook Iron Horses is told in 9 innings (which I loved), and then there are some subsequent stories featuring the team and its owners, weaving in important events of the past. This book combines the history of baseball and the history of America as it is intertwined with a fictional baseball team. In the tradition of W.P. Kinsella, Mark W. Sasse brings the magic of baseball to life. This book about the fictional Iron Horses is told from the point of view of Charles “Shoeshine” Henry, who relates these stories as told to him by Raymond Blythe on his deathbed. The main characters and the team are fictional, but they come to life through the pen of Mark W. Sasse and are interwoven with real life figures from the past.

In order to understand this book, you need not necessarily know all the rules of baseball, but you do need to feel the magic behind it. I have an advantage, as I was 11 years old, growing up in Cincinnati in 1975 when The Big Red Machine won the first of two back-to-back World Series titles. I watched as Pete Rose, who began his career with average talent but almost supernatural determination, hustled to first on fly balls and slid headfirst into second. Through him, the little kids of Cincinnati learned about the rewards of hard work and the magic of determination. Before I digress into an essay about whether or not Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame (he should), let me get back to the task at hand. Mark W. Sasse has created a book that is captivating, remarkable, and full of the American spirit. Rich and carefree, Raymond Blythe is determined to accomplish his goal of creating a baseball team, no matter how crazy he might look. He is also quite mad about his future wife, Rochelle, and that combination of madly in love, determined, and crazy creates magic. The first “nine innings” that feature the creation of baseball, the stadium, Raymond’s marriage, and the team were my favorite. However, subsequent stories take us on further adventures with Raymond, Rochelle, the baseball gods, and the Winasook Iron Horses. Real life baseball heroes Satchell Paige and Jackie Robinson are also featured, along with many other real heroes of the past. 

Mark W. Sasse fittingly tips his hat to W.P. Kinsella at the end, as this book, while unique and creative, does bring to mind the late Kinsella’s enchanting novel, Shoeless Joe, which was made into the movie Field of Dreams.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksirens. My review is voluntary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark W Sasse is a novelist and award-winning playwright and director. He vacillates on a daily basis between which genre of writing he enjoys the most. Luckily, he doesn’t have to choose! Sasse’s novels have been featured on curated sites such as Bookbub and EReaderNewsToday, and his plays have been produced in New York, Penang, Columbus, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney, Australia, among other places. His play “The Last Bastion” earned him the 2018 Greywood Arts Winter Writing Residency in Ireland. He is also a three-time winner of the Best Script Award at the Penang Short & Sweet Theatre Festival. His plays have won multiple other awards such as Best Overall Performance and Audience Choice Award. He won the Festival Director’s Award at the 2019 and 2016 festivals.

Sasse’s interests cast a wide net – from politics to literature – from culture and language to history and religion, making his writing infused with the unexpected as he seeks to tell authentic and engaging stories about people from all walks of life. His writing is straightforward and accessible to all, especially those who enjoy a page-turning good story injected with doses of history, adventure, Asian culture, and unexpected humor. 

Currently, he teaches drama in Saudi Arabia and spends his summers writing in Jamestown, NY. 

VISIT MARK W. SASSE’S WEBSITE

BUY A DIAMOND FOR HER

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Book Depository

My Goodreads Review

My Amazon Review (Helpful Votes Appreciated)