Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Second Chances: "738 Days" by Stacey Kade

Amanda Grace was 15 when she was abducted by her school bus driver. In the 738 days that she is imprisoned and abused one thing keeps her going... a page torn out of a  magazine featuring the gorgeous visage of leather jacketed teen heartthrob, Chase Henry. Amanda imagines him encouraging her to escape, something it seems impossible to do, but when her chance comes, it's the imaginary Chase urging her on as she makes contact with a repairman from behind the locked door. The police arrive, the bus driver is killed, and Amanda is freed.

Two years later, Amanda, now back at home with her parents and two sisters, is still traumatized. Her family either treats her with kid gloves or ignores her. Therapy hasn't really helped. She is also famous for surviving the abduction and everyone knows how much Chase Henry meant to her, or at least the imaginary one did.

Meanwhile, Chase Henry, former beloved idol of teen girls everywhere, is now trying to save what he has left of a career. Fame and money had gone to his head and his reputation as an actor tanked after word of his bad behavior and drinking spread. Struggling to rebuild his career by taking a minor role in an indie flick, his publicist has an idea. Why not surprise Amanda Grace with a personal visit as her home is only a couple of hours from the film location.

What happens next in this intriguing, riveting and yes...steamy! story will keep you reading and rooting for Amanda and for Chase. These are two people you care about as they fight to overcome their demons. Highly recommended.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Stormy Weather: "Nora and Kettle" by Laura Nicolle Taylor

It's the early 1950s. Nora is the 17 year old daughter of a famous civil rights lawyer. Her mother is dead, killed in an accident falling down the stairs at home. Now there's no one else to care for her little sister, Frankie, or to come between them and their horribly abusive and bullying father. Frankie wears a hearing-aid. The direct result of some of that abuse when she was only three. Can Nora stay alive long enough to protect her sister? To escape from the prison that is their home?

Kettle is a street smart boy. He, too is 17. And an orphan living with his friend, Kin, and a group of lost children beneath the streets of the city. He is half-Japanese. A living reminder to people with a racist bent of the not too distant past of World War II. Kettle and Kin work to try to provide for the children under their protection. They call themselves the Kings and have "King" names. Each morning they fight the men desperate for work on the docks of the city. The work is hard and dangerous and often the danger doesn't come just from the work...but from the other workers who resent them for their race.

Sometimes after a hard day at work,  Kin and Kettle sleep in an alleyway adjoining a posh street. One day Kettle sees a hand reach out a window and drop something. He investigates and finds it to be a small sculpture. He hides it away. A secret treasure. In the days to come, Kettle finds many other objects, objects he also keeps hidden away. Whose was the hand he saw in the window?

How Nora and Kettle's lives intersect is something the reader will have to discover. This is a book I received from NetGalley (thank you NetGalley!) and knew nothing about. It is a hard book to read at times, because of what the lovely, brave Nora has to deal with. and Kettle is a boy you'll take to your heart. These are two people who come to vivid life on the page. People you'll care about. If you are looking for something thought-provoking and a book you'll think about long after the final page, then be sure to give Laura Nicolle Taylor's  "Nora and Kettle" a chance.

And even though this song has nothing really to do with the book, Nora and Kettle have to deal with some stormy weather of their own... so, through the miracle of youtube: the most fabulous Lena Horne: