Saturday, 19 June 2021

Ken Hom's Vegetable & Pasta Book

Ken Hom's Vegetable & Pasta Book
Published in the UK by William Levene in 1994.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chinese Cookery, Ken Hom's popular BBC tv series and best-selling book, has shown how authentic Chinese meals can be prepared with ease art home. Inspired by the exotic traditions of China, Japan and Southeast Asia, he now shares his own enthusiasm for vegetables, rice and pasta in a varied personal collection of easy-to-follow recipes for healthy and tasty dishes. Combining basic ingredients and techniques drawn from Eastern and Western cuisines, he gives you all the explanations and helpful hints you need to start creating these imaginative meals in your own kitchen.

I hadn't experimented much with pasta in my own Asian-inspired cookery prior to spotting this excellent guide and recipe collection. I had thrown wholewheat noodles into a basic stir fry on occasion, but otherwise tended to just rely on rice for that aspect of each dish. Ken Hom's Vegetable & Pasta Book has been a real eye-opener, not only to the variety of noodles and pastas used in Southeast Asian cookery, but also to the myriad ways in which they can be prepared. I love also that each recipe puts its vegetables into the starring role. As Hom explains, authentic Chinese cookery features mostly freshly cooked vegetable dishes with meat or fish ingredients only used sparingly. I've found, in my own search for vegan food inspiration, that learning from such traditions makes for far more satisfying and exciting meals than trying to make plants replicate heavily meat-centred recipes. Ken Hom's Vegetable & Pasta Book does mention non-vegan ingredients (such as egg noodles or chicken stock) but veggie alternatives are generally either also given in the text or can now easily be found in most supermarkets.

An inspiring resource for beginner vegans/vegetarians.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Ken Hom / Food and cookery books / Books from America

Friday, 18 June 2021

Under The Gaze Of Angels by Said Habib

Under The Gaze Of Angels by Said Habib
Published by Interlink Books on the 16th April 2021.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Under the Gaze of Angels offers treasured views of family and neighborhood life, native to the Galilee, in the years leading up to and following the upheavals of 1948.

A collection of four stories, told with simplicity and warmth, they include three set during the time of British mandate rule: "Zuha and the Book Vendor," "The English Gramophone," and "Yildiz the Turkish Woman." These are followed by the book's title work, a remembrance that travels from childhood to elder years, pursued by loss. Imagined or recalled in exile, these vivid, evocative mementos quietly disarm the violence that surrounds them, restoring a stolen past to memory under the gaze of angels.

With the persecution of Palestinian people again in the news, it felt like a particularly apt time to read Said Habib's short story and memoir quartet, Under The Gaze Of Angels. This poignant work was written after decades in exile. The three stories are historical fiction, created with a strong sense of authenticity, which gently recount episodes in ordinary people's lives under British occupation - before the British government sold out the Palestinians to the then-new Israeli state. I could feel a very different Palestine in the 1930s and Habib brings his characters vividly to life showing how myriad peoples coexisted and the natural beauty of the land they inhabited. There's a wonderful quiet dignity to the stories and I loved their gentle meandering style.

Where the tone grows more ominous is in the final piece of the quartet, Habib's memoir Under The Gaze Of Angels, where he reminisces about his childhood and teenage years in Nazareth before his ultimate emigration to Canada. While the narrative style remains similar, I could feel the undercurrent of fear growing stronger within Habib's family as Israeli restrictions and military rule become widespread. Bombings and shootings become sadly commonplace events while the rest of the world looks away or distorts the truth of what is happening (and is still predominantly looking away even now). Habib's book is an upsetting read, yet also a valuable insight into the tragedy of Palestine over several generations. 

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Said Habib / Short stories / Books from Palestine

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
Published by OneWorld on the 24th March 2020.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans.

Right after the election of 2016, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio realized the story she’d tried to steer clear of was the only one she wanted to tell. So she embarked on a trip across the country to tell the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants – and to find the hidden key to her own.

In her incandescent, relentlessly probing voice, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio combines sensitive reporting and powerful personal narratives to bring to light remarkable stories of resilience, madness, and death. She finds the singular, effervescent characters across the nation often reduced in the media to political pawns or nameless laborers.

The stories she tells are not deferential or naively inspirational but show the love, magic, heartbreak, insanity, and vulgarity that infuse the day-to-day lives of her subjects. And through it all we see the author grappling with the biggest questions of love, duty, family, and survival.

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio has a unique voice and perspective on the plight of undocumented immigrants within the USA and I appreciated how she blends many immigrants stories with her own personal experiences throughout The Undocumented Americans. I was reminded of Marcos Gonsalez' work, Pedro's Theory, in the way Villavicencio seeks to counter traditional myths and misconceptions, especially those propagated by right-wing media outlets, in order to show the truth about the outrageously unfair way that undocumented immigrants are forced to live. I was appalled to learn, for example, that the IRS has created a system by which these people can pay taxes without having a social security number, yet even decades worth of tax payments has no bearing on a court's decision if an individual is suddenly targeted for deportation. This is just one of the myriad ways in which the American system is stacked against undocumented immigrants, but America would seriously struggle to function without their labour. The paradox makes for a disturbing situation to be stuck in and I was amazed at the strength of character needed to continue working, raising children and living under such stress for years and years.

I felt that The Undocumented Americans allows a valuable insight into a massive social disaster that I am sure many documented Americans would rather simply ignore. The book is unfortunately let down by occasional factual errors (such as the year of Hurricane Sandy), but I loved how Villavincencio so deftly captures the individual personalities of the people she portrays. I never felt as though I was being asked to pity these people, but simply to actually see them for themselves.Their stories are frequently heartbreakingly sad, and it wouldn't take much of a change in the American mindset to legalise these thousands of workers in a dignified and humane way. However, similarly to the way in which 'illegals' are demonised by politicians and the media here in the UK, their political capital as a scare tactic continues to outweigh the real economic, communal and humanitarian contributions undocumented immigrants make.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio / Sociology books / Books from Ecuador

Monday, 14 June 2021

TA LĘ Book 1: Knowledge by Yessoh G.D.

TA LĘ Book 1: Knowledge by Yessoh G.D.
Published by Library And Archive Canada on the 16th March 2021.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When two strangers are thrown into a world of African sorcery, unseen evil, and mystical phenomena, they are forced to confront a fantastical realm that they never imagined existed.

Very few manage to land a job working in the special services for the West African government of Côte d'Esperance. Even fewer are given the responsibility that has been entrusted to Kobenan at such a young age in a role that includes analysing files for the secretive S-cell; a unit which specializes in incidents involving African mysticism and sorcery.

Tasked with investigating a high profile murder, seemingly brought about by mystical means, Kobenan joins Agent Biafle in order to diffuse this delicate political situation. What Kobenan discovers will force him to change his perspective on the world around him as he learns truths he never thought possible, and things he never imagined.

Dive into a world shrouded in mystery and learn of the multifaceted face of Africa. Its lives, its rituals, its many beliefs and thought processes. Observe what one will never be able to see if he has not gained access to a very specific circle rooted in the continent.

I surprised myself with just how much I enjoyed reading this fast-paced fantasy adventure! It's not a genre I would usually choose and I only picked TA LĘ Book 1: Knowledge from NetGalley because of its being a WorldReads book. However, on the strength of this first TA LĘ novel, I am keen to read its sequel(s). I appreciated how Yessoh initially gives readers enough information to traverse his world of djinn and dark sorcerers, but didn't bog us down with too much detail. Instead we learn alongside our naive heroes, Kobenan and Joel, as they are each thrust in scenes they could previously never have imagined. I was intrigued by the overall story arc which did come to a satisfying conclusion at the end of this first book, but which obviously has a lot more to be revealed in further instalments. I hope the female characters take centre stage because the story so far is overwhelmingly male in focus. I did like how philosophy and folklore were woven into the narrative. While TA LĘ Book 1: Knowledge felt refreshingly original, there was also a sense of timelessness which really rooted this story for me. I could believe the allusions to ancient peoples and wisdom were absolutely true and this made the modern-day chaos feel plausible. I did occasionally lose track of who was who in the rapid fight scenes, but they were still exciting to read and the pace throughout this book kept me eagerly turning its pages. I was disappointed to reach the end!

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Yessoh G D / Fantasy fiction / Books from Ivory Coast

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Diamond Hill by Kit Fan

Diamond Hill by Kit Fan
Published by Dialogue Books on the 13th May 2021.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Diamond Hill was once the 'Hollywood of the Orient', but is now an eyesore in the middle of a glitzy financial hub. Buddhist nuns, drug gangs, property developers, the government and foreign powers are all vying for power, each wanting to stake their claim on the land.

Set in the last shanty town of Hong Kong before the fraught 1997 handover from Britain to China, Diamond Hill follows the return of a recovering heroin addict, Buddha, as he tries to salvage what's left from a place he hoped to forget.

Buddha finds himself crossing swords with the Iron Nun, fighting for her nunnery; a disturbed novice, Quartz, who is fleeing her past; a faded film actress called Audrey Hepburn; and Boss, a teenage gang leader with a big mouth and even bigger plans, plotting to escape what she calls 'the death of Hong Kong'.

Kit Fan's hard-hitting and exhilarating debut is a requiem for a disappearing city, and a meditation on powerlessness, religion, colonialism and displacement. It explores the price of forgetting and how the present is ultimately always entangled in the past.

Diamond Hill is one of those novels that feels as though it completely captures a particular place at a particular time, in this case the eponymous shanty town district of Hong Kong city in the immediate aftermath of Britain's agreement to return the territory to China. While, officially, there is over a decade to go before the handover itself and then a promised fifty years of 'no change', the disparate Diamond Hill residents see their homes being bulldozed in a fervent land grab as rich speculators and developers seek quick fortunes.

Fan manages to convincingly portray this chaotic time through overviews of Diamond Hill itself and also through the eyes of five people on the ground - four women and one man. For me, the most interesting character was the Iron Nun who finds herself stuck in the impossible predicament of having to go against her Buddhist vows in order to protect the ancient Buddhist nunnery she leads. While this woman often comes across as cold and aloof, we are given glimpses behind that facade. Another strong character is Audrey Hepburn, a woman who is happiest in her self-created dreamworld, reliving her youth as an aspiring actress in the then-thriving Hong Kong film industry, but who now scrapes an existence barely above destitution.

I loved the first two-thirds of Diamond Hill which explored this vibrant, yet derelict area and its close-knit community. I could easily envisage the people and places Fan describes and felt invested in their story. Unfortunately I did feel I lost touch with the characters, one especially, towards the end of the book. Their motivations weren't clear to me, leaving me unsure quite why they chose the path they did. However, overall, I very much enjoyed Diamond Hill.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Kit Fan / Historical fiction / Books from Hong Kong

Friday, 11 June 2021

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed
Published in the UK by Penguin on the 27th May 2021.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff's Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, some-time petty thief. He is many things, in fact, but he is not a murderer. 

So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn't too worried. It is true that he has been getting into trouble more often since his Welsh wife Laura left him. But Mahmood is secure in his innocence in a country where, he thinks, justice is served. 

It is only in the run-up to the trial, as the prospect of freedom dwindles, that it will dawn on Mahmood that he is in a terrifying fight for his life - against conspiracy, prejudice and the inhumanity of the state. And, under the shadow of the hangman's noose, he begins to realise that the truth may not be enough to save him.

I didn't realise, until I got to the epilogue, that The Fortune Men is actually a fictionalisation of the story of a 1950s miscarriage of justice, one that was rectified albeit several decades too late. Nadifa Mohamed captures perfectly the atmosphere of Cardiff's Tiger Bay in 1952: the new Queen mourning the death of her father while an unknown Shirley Bassey sings professionally for the first time, the vibrant multicultural community and the nationally-determined cliques who keep to themselves. Mahmood Mattan is right at the centre of it all although his his frequently shady enterprises mean he is more often to be found in the shadows and that is what gets his name mentioned in the wrong place at very much the wrong time.

I loved how Nadifa Mohamed portrays Tiger Bay and Butetown particularly. She must have painstakingly researched the area at that time and the effort pays off with a grittily authentic vibe throughout The Fortune Men. I felt I really understood the people there and how they lived. I also could strongly empathise with Mahmood as he sees his long-held beliefs in British fair play and justice eroded day by day. The scenes and emotions are so vivid that I often felt more as though I was watching a film than reading a book (and I would not be surprised to see this book swiftly snapped up for a filmed version!). It tackles themes of racism, personal identity and colonial arrogance, exploring how individual lives become invisible when they smash up against faceless bureaucracy. The Fortune Men shines a spotlight on a hushed-up aspect of recent British history and is a wonderfully immersive read.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Nadifa Mohamed / Historical fiction / Books from Somaliland

Thursday, 10 June 2021

The Kiminee Dream by Laura McHale Holland + #Giveaway


Join us for this review tour from June 7 to June 18, 2021!

Book Details:

Book Title The Kiminee Dream: A Novel
Author:  Laura McHale Holland
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+ and older), 342 pages
Genre Literary fiction, magical realism
Publisher:  WORDforest
Release date:  April, 2020
Formats Available for review: print soft-back (USA and Canada), ebook (mobi for kindle, epub, pdf, Gifted Kindle)

Tour dates:  June 7 to June 18, 2021
Content Rating PG-13 + M. A few scenes contain violence and sexual assault. These are not major aspects of the book and don't go into great detail, but these experiences have repercussions for some of the characters that they have to resolve.

Book Description:

A deeply poetic, riveting debut novel, The Kiminee Dream is a tale of Midwest charm and quirky characters, but with twists and turns that reveal a dark side you don't see coming.

It's true that odd things happen in Kiminee, Illinois. Lilacs bloom in winter. Gravel glows golden on occasion. The river sings as it wends through town. But this is normal for the tight-knit folks who call Kiminee home. So when auburn-tufted Carly Mae Foley learns to read at age two and masters multiplication at age three, the denizens take it in stride and embrace her with pride.

But all is not well in Carly Mae's family. And when a twister roars though, it decimates their home, along with their emotional bonds, as her mother's affair is exposed and her father goes missing. A determined grandmother, one-eared dog and generous benefactor come to the gifted child's aid, but not everyone is rooting for her, and when an appalling crime occurs, long-held animosities boil over. No one can say whether the good folks of Kiminee will pull closer together—or be torn apart.

Influenced by folklore and magical realism, The Kiminee Dream is both hypnotic and endearing. If you like depth as well as whimsy, arresting twists, and details that stir your heart, you’ll love what is ultimately an eloquent exploration of acceptance and a tender tribute to the people of
Illinois. Don’t delay. Experience this literary gem today.

Buy the Book

The Kiminee Dream is a lovely, quirky novel set in a small, rural Illinois town which I could imagine having remained essentially unchanged for generations. There is a dark undercurrent that runs through the town and one of its families, but mostly this is a positive feeling novel where all it takes to resolve feuds and antagonistic misunderstandings is for the aggrieved parties to sit down together and communicate honestly. In fact, if there's one message I took away more than any other from The Kiminee Dream it's the importance of people really talking to each other rather than masking their emotions and stewing in discontent.

This story encompasses a pretty long period of time and a large cast of characters so I was sometimes disappointed that certain events seemed rushed in their portrayals. I couldn't always keep track of who was who, outside the central characters, either so personally would have preferred a deeper focus on fewer plotlines. That said, I did enjoy the almost fairytale vibe to The Kiminee Dream. The cutesy scenes of wild animals coming together to appreciate certain of the townspeople's actions work nicely within the world Holland has created here. The Kiminee Dream is quite different to the novels I generally pick up, but I found it to be a very enjoyable read and a promising debut.

Meet the Author:

As a child, Laura McHale Holland loved the musicality of language and often recalled, verbatim, conversations she heard. A lost soul in her teens and early twenties, she righted herself in her mid-twenties and discovered a deep love of the creative process. In her work, she often finds hope in unlikely places.

Laura writes stories true and untrue in multiple forms from flash fiction to novels, memoirs to short plays. Her coming of age memoir, Resilient Ruin, won a National Indie Excellence Award for new adult nonfiction. Prior award-winning books include Reversible Skirt, a childhood memoir, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found, an anthology on sisterhood. Her stories have appeared in several anthologies, including The Best of Every Day Fiction Three and Wisdom Has a Voice. Two of her short plays were produced recently in Northern California; two others received staged readings. The Kiminee Dream is Laura's first novel. To connect with her, please visit her website.

connect with author: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads

Tour Schedule:

June 7 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of The Kiminee Dream / giveaway
June 7 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 7 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review of Aunt Truly's Tales / giveaway
June 8 – Cheryl's Book Nook – book review of The Kiminee Dream / giveaway
June 8 - @twilight_reader – book review of The Kiminee Dream
June 9 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review of The Kiminee Dream / guest post / giveaway
June 9 - Welcome To MLM Opinion’s Reviews – book review of The Kiminee Dream
June 9- Sefina Hawke’s Books – book review of The Kiminee Dream
June 10 - Literary Flits – book review of The Kiminee Dream / giveaway
June 10 – Welcome To MLM Opinion’s Reviews – book review of Aunt Truly’s Tales
June 10 - World of My Imagination – book review of The Kiminee Dream / guest post / giveaway
June 11 – The Avid Reader – book review of The Kiminee Dream / author interview / giveaway
June 11 - @twilight_reader – book review of Aunt Truly’s Tales
June 14 – Books for Books – book review of The Kiminee Dream
June 14 - Sefina Hawke’s Books – book review of Aunt Truly’s Tales
June 15 – Peaceful Pastime – book review of The Kiminee Dream
June 15 – Books for Books – book review of Aunt Truly’s Tales
June 16 - Splashes of Joy – book review of The Kiminee Dream / author interview / giveaway
June 16 – Peaceful Pastime – book review of Aunt Truly’s Tales
June 16 – Bigreadersite – book review of The Kiminee Dream / giveaway
June 17- Splashes of Joy – book review of Aunt Truly’s Tales / giveaway
June 17 – Bigreadersite – book review of Aunt Truly’s Tales / giveaway
June 17 - Gina Rae Mitchell – book review of The Kiminee Dream / giveaway
June 17 - World of My Imagination – book review of Aunt Truly’s Tales / giveaway
June 18 – Kymiee Tries to Read – book review of The Kiminee Dream / guest post
June 18 - Gina Rae Mitchell – book review of Aunt Truly’s Tales / giveaway

And now it's time for the Giveaway!
Win a signed copy of both THE KIMINEE DREAM and AUNT TRULY'S TALES, plus a $25 Amazon Gift Card (1 winner/USA only)(ends June 25)


Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Laura McHale Holland / Women's fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Your Writing Matters by Colleen M. Story + #Giveaway

Join us for this tour from June 7 to June 28, 2021!

Book Details:

Book Title:  Your Writing Matters: How to Banish Self-Doubt, Trust Yourself, and Go the Distance by Colleen M. Story
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  260 pages
GenreNon-fiction Writing/Publishing
Publisher:  Midchannel Press
Release date:  July 2021
Content Rating: G



Book Description:

Does your future as a writer feel uncertain?

You write day after day. You dream of bestseller’s lists and royalty checks, but despite your best marketing efforts, those dreams remain out of reach.

You wonder if you’re wasting your time. Does your writing even matter?

Author Colleen M. Story, a long-time professional writer and writing coach, helps you decide whether you truly have a writer’s DNA. She examines why you feel pressured to make money with your work, why the search for a readership is both motivating and discouraging, and why it’s so common to doubt yourself along the way.

Step by step, you’ll gain a clear-eyed view at the challenges a writer faces in the outside world, while taking your own journey inward to discover what writing really means to you.

Should you continue on this path, or adjust your course now before it’s too late? Don’t waste your precious time in indecision. Let Your Writing Matters guide you to your truth and you’ll never look back again.  

Buy the Book:
Amazon UK ~
add to Goodreads

I was eager to read a copy of Your Writing Matters by Colleen M Story because I so much appreciated the advice in her previous self help book for authors, Writer Get Noticed! While I didn't come away from reading Your Writing Matters feeling quite so fired up and enthusiastic, this new book has certainly got me thinking deeply about my own writing motivations and the kind of writing I am keen to undertake in the future. Story delves deeply into the psychological aspects that drive writers to create their stories, characters and even whole worlds. I found the variety of scientific and sociological studies she quoted to be particularly interesting, especially when their conclusions didn't follow what would seem to be the most obvious line. Story concludes each of her sections with a question and answer exercise so that readers can immediately apply the theories she has just discussed to their own writing journey. This was very useful for me because I could use the time to reflect on how these subjects directly affected me.

Your Writing Matters is a thoughtfully introspective book. It is primarily focused on fiction authors who dream of actually getting their work out to a significant audience but, as a nonfiction author and blogger, I also found it useful and I think it could also be motivational to writers who only ever intend to keep their creations to themselves. Chapter themes overlap so I did notice some repetition of ideas, but overall this was useful for reinforcing the points that Story makes. I was most intrigued by the discussion around the mental and physical health benefits of a daily writing habit just for the sake of it. I hadn't really considered this before, but I certainly value my daily blogging ritual and notice my mood lowering on the rare days I miss out.

I think Your Writing Matters will be a valuable resource for writers temporarily heading into writing doldrums and also for those of us who question the validity of what we do, especially when we are persuaded to view our writing from external perspectives. As Story demonstrates within this book, there's many more reasons to keep on writing than there are to be discouraged.

Meet the Author:

Colleen M. Story inspires writers to overcome modern-day challenges and find creative fulfillment in their work. Her book on author platforms, "Writer Get Noticed!," was a gold-medal winner in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards and a first-place winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards. "Overwhelmed Writer Rescue" was named Book by Book Publicity’s Best Writing/Publishing Book in 2018 and was an Amazon bestseller. Her novel, "Loreena’s Gift," was a Foreword Reviews' INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, among others.

Colleen frequently serves as a workshop leader and motivational speaker, where she helps attendees remove mental and emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers. Her first course, “How to Finish the Creative Projects You Start,” is available on Teachable.

Go to Colleen's website for free chapters of her books.

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ goodreads
Tour Schedule:

June 7 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review / book excerpt / giveaway
June 8 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 8 - Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
June 9 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review
June 9 - Welcome To MLM Opinion’s Reviews – book review
June 10 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 11 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
June 14 – Pick a Good Book – book spotlight / book excerpt / giveaway
June 15 - Locks Hooks and Books – book review / book excerpt / giveaway
June 16 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 17 - Laura's Interests – book review / book excerpt / giveaway
June 18 – Lisa's Reading – book spotlight / giveaway
June 21 – Books for Books – book spotlight
June 22 – Writer with Wanderlust – book review / book excerpt / giveaway
June 23 – Olio By Marilyn – book review / giveaway
June 24 – Debora-Zenha Adams – book review / giveaway
June 25 - Splashes of Joy – book review / giveaway
June 25 – Westveil Publishing – book review / giveaway
June 28 - Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / book excerpt / giveaway
June 28 - The Frangipani Creative – book review / book excerpt / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway: 

Win a $15 Amazon gift card courtesy of Colleen M Story. Open to the USA only until the 5th July.





Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Colleen M Story / Self help books / Books from America

Monday, 7 June 2021

Clarissa by Karl Drinkwater

Clarissa (Lost Tales Of Solace Book 3) by Karl Drinkwater
Published in the UK by Organic Apocalypse on the 1st June 2021.

Included in my Vegan Bookshop

How I got this book:
Received for supporting the author's Kickstarter campaign

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you're reading this: HELP! I've been kidnapped.

Me and my big sister stayed together after our parents died. We weren't bothering anybody. But some mean government agents came anyway, and split us up.

Now I'm a prisoner on this space ship. The agents won't even say where we're going.

I hate them.

And things have started to get a bit weird. Nullspace is supposed to be empty, but when I look out of the skywindows I can see … something. Out there. And I think it wants to get in here. With us.

My name is Clarissa. I am ten years old.

And they will all be sorry when my big sister comes to rescue me.

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.

I leapt at the chance to support Karl Drinkwater's newest Lost Solace story on Kickstarter and am delighted to be able to say that I think Clarissa is now my favourite of the three Lost Tales of Solace companion novellas. It's not an easy task for an adult author to convincingly write from a child's point of view, but I felt Drinkwater captured Clarissa's personality perfectly. Having already read the brilliant full length novel Chasing Solace, which takes place later in this world's timeline, I was fascinated to effectively jump back to the beginning of that story here knowing, up to a point, what the outcome of Clarissa's abduction will be.

I can imagine that spending a significant amount of real-world time with Clarissa could be exhausting. She's smart and determined, and an outspoken chatterbox. However, as the protagonist of her own adventure, she's a wonderful character to travel with. I loved drawing conclusions to fill in the gaps around information that her ten-year-old mind doesn't have, and was thoroughly entertained by the way she views each of the adults around her. I really hope I get to meet up with Clarissa again!

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Karl Drinkwater / Science fiction / Books from England

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Shadows On The Tundra by Dalia Grinkeviciute

Shadows On The Tundra by Dalia Grinkeviciute 
Originally written in Lithuanian in 1948, but remained unpunished until 1991. English language translation by Delija Valiukenas published by Peirene Press in June 2018.

How I got this book: Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An extraordinary piece of international survival literature, joining the likes of Primo Levi and Anne Frank.

In 1941, 14-year-old Dalia and her family are deported from their native Lithuania to a labour camp in Siberia. As the strongest member of her family she submits to twelve hours a day of manual labour. At the age of 21, she escapes the gulag and returns to Lithuania. She writes her memories on scraps of paper and buries them in the garden, fearing they might be discovered by the KGB. They are not found until 1991, four years after her death.

This is the story Dalia buried. The immediacy of her writing bears witness not only to the suffering she endured but also the hope that sustained her. It is a Lithuanian tale that, like its author, beats the odds to survive.

That Dalia Grinkeviciute's memoir survived - and was discovered - to be published is almost as miraculous a story as that of Dalia herself. I wondered if her experiences had been one of Ruta Sepetys' inspirations for Between Shades Of Gray as that novel gives a fictionalised account of the Soviet deportations of thousands of Lithuanians during the 1940s. For Dalia and her family, the forced exile was only too real and incredibly, almost unbearably, harsh. At times reading Shadows On The Tundra, I struggled to remember that Dalia was just a teenager through these horrific years. Her voice is so mature and world-weary that it perfectly illustrates just how swiftly she had to grow up. I don't know if she ever intended to publish her own memoir or for anyone else to even see it so I felt honoured to have had this opportunity. Although we can point to its events as having occurred eighty years ago, minority groups today are facing similar state-sanctioned persecution and potential eradication in other parts of the world. I think it is important that Dalia's memories of the inhumane treatment she and many other Lithuanians suffered continue to be published are read, shared and talked about. Sadly, some aspects of humanity don't change and the only way we can try to stop similar future horrors is by ensuring those in our past are not sidelined and forgotten.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Dalia Grinkeviciute / Biography and memoir / Books from Lithuania

Saturday, 5 June 2021

#WorldReads - Five Books From Cuba

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read by authors from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post. From May 2016 until March 2020, WorldReads was hosted on my Stephanie Jane blog. From April 2020 onwards it is right here on Literary Flits
Click the cover images to visit their Literary Flits book review pages.

This month we are going to Cuba!

That's it for June's WorldReads from Cuba. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Cuban-authored books!

If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, I have already 'visited'

Africa: Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Zimbabwe,

Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, United States of America,

Asia: China, India, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Syria, Turkey, Vietnam,

Australasia: Australia, New Zealand,

Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Ukraine, Wales.

In July I will be highlighting five books by Hong Kong authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!

Friday, 4 June 2021

Bobos Babes Adventures: The Missing Egg by Karen Bobos + #Giveaway

Join us for this tour from Jun 1 to Jun 22, 2021!

Book Details:

Category:  Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  28 pages
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Publisher:  Playpen Publishing
Release date:   March, 2021
Format available for review:  print-hardback (USA), pdf
Tour dates: Jun 1 to Jun 22, 2021
Content Rating:  G for everyone.

Book Description:

In the magical land of Harmony, the Bobos Babes love adventure and helping friends in need. When they find out that the swan family has lost a soon-to-hatch swan egg, they are quick to help ... before it’s too late! Young readers and their families will enjoy the return of the Bobos Babes and their animal friends in this second title in the fanciful read-aloud picture book series. The Bobos Babes Adventures collection brings families stories of exciting exploits, magical missions, and caring friendships, showcasing that kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness always win.

Buy the Book ~ Amazon UK

Bobos Babes

Meet the Author:

Bobos began writing poetry and stories at the early age of ten. She is a life-long Chicagoan who now raises her family in the downtown area. During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, Chicago also became a city of unrest. Trying to keep her three young daughters in a world of magic during such scary times, the Bobos Babes Adventures were born. Her goal was to create a world of Harmony for her family and hopefully for others to escape, even if only for a moment. The first book of the series, The Case of the Giggles, was published in December 2020. The Missing Egg launched in March 2021. Thus far, she has written ten Bobos Babes Adventures and two chapter books. Two additional books, The Lion's Secret and The Bobcat Birthday Party, are coming in 2021.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ instagram

Tour Schedule:

June 1 –
Reading is My Passion – book review
June 1 - Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
June 2 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 3 – Laura's Interests – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 4 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
June 7 – Books Lattes & Tiaras - book spotlight
June 8 – Cheryl's Book Nook – book review / giveaway
June 9 – Icefairy's Treasure Chest – book review / giveaway
June 9 - Pick a Good Book - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 10 – The Momma Spot – book review / giveaway
June 11 – Lisa's Reading – book review / giveaway
June 14 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 15 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
June 16 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 17 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
June 18 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 21 – Stephanie Jane - book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 - Kam's Place – book review

Enter the Giveaway:
Win a signed copy of Bobos Babes Adventures: The Missing Egg. Open to the USA only until the 28th June.



Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Karen Bobos / Children's books / Books from America

Thursday, 3 June 2021

First Steps In Vegetarian Cooking by Kathy Silk

First Steps In Vegetarian Cooking by Kathy Silk
Published in the UK by Thorsons in 1983.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kathy Silk, an award-winning vegetarian cook, offers a wealth of sound advice for aspiring vegetarians on preparing for their first V-day. What vegetarians do and don't eat, where to buy your basic stock items and where to get help are among the many important topics covered, backed up with nutritious and tasty recipes for every occasion.

A lovely vegetarian cookery book from almost 40 years ago! Kathy starts by encouraging readers to undertake one V-day a week - what has now morphed into the Meatless Monday or Meatfree Monday ideas - and add more dedicated V-days as their vegetarian cooking confidence grows. This is pretty much exactly how I started my vegan journey and can attest to its success.

Although some of Kathy's recipes include milk and cheese, they can easily be veganised, thereby avoiding the vegetarian step to jump straight to fully Vegan-days without any extra stress. Kathy herself recommends plantmilks and I successfully used commercially available vegan cheese in my recreations of her recipes. There's some quaint reminders of how much has changed over the past 40 years - curry powder being a singular thing for example rather than the wide variety of blends we now have available - and other plantbased staples have stood the test of time.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Kathy Silk / Food and cookery books / Books from England

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

The Girl In The Gold Dress by Christine Paik + #Giveaway

Join us for this tour from May 24 to June 11, 2021!

Book Details:
Book TitleThe Girl in the Gold Dress by Christine Paik
CategoryChildren's Fiction (Ages 6-10),  34 pages
Genre: Children's Social Themes, Children's Picture Book | Family Multi-Generational
PublisherImagilore Publishing
Release date:  April 23, 2021
Content RatingG.
Book Description:
Hannah's Korean name literally means "Gold Dress," so why doesn't she want to be seen wearing her gold hanbok dress?

10-year-old Hannah is facing a big performance for her school's talent show. The trouble is, she's ashamed of her dress, the dance, even the music - they're too different, too Korean! What if everyone makes fun of her? Will Hannah be brave enough to perform, or will she run off stage like she did at rehearsal? First, she must learn about the gold dress she's wearing and its mysterious connection to her name and her family's past in Korea: starting with a desperate escape from war and a secret wish hidden for decades in an envelope. Can Hannah make that wish finally come true?

In this touching children's story that spans four generations, a Korean American girl overcomes her embarrassment of her heritage to step forward with pride and share her culture with others.
Buy the Book: ~ Amazon UK ~ BookBaby
Meet the Author:
Christine still remembers the butterflies in the pit of her stomach as she performed traditional Korean fan dances as a 12-year-old growing up in Southern California. She never dreamed that over 30 years later, she would be channeling her inner fan dancer to write Hannah’s story. Christine is a second generation Korean American wife and mother of two, living in San Diego.

Christine loves telling stories for a living, which started with a 15-year career in TV news and continues today in public relations. She is the winner of six news Emmys and multiple PR awards. Christine was always an avid reader, but wished there were more Asian American book characters she could relate to (besides Claudia Kishi from The Babysitter’s Club). So she decided to create her own! Christine also enjoys singing karaoke, photography, and baking. You can learn more about Christine at

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads

Tour Schedule:

May 24 –
Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
May 24 - Cover Lover Book Review – book spotlight / giveaway
May 24 - @booking.with.janelle – book spotlight
May 25 –Books Tea Healthy Me – book spotlight / giveaway
May 25 - Cheryl's Book Nook – book spotlight / giveaway
May 26 – The Bespectacled Mother – book spotlight
May 26 - Pick a Good Book – book spotlight / giveaway
May 26 - Lisa's Reading – book spotlight / giveaway
May 27 - Rockin' Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
May 27 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book spotlight / giveaway
May 27 - The Adventures of a Travelers Wife – book spotlight / giveaway
May 28 – Sefina Hawke's Books – book spotlight
May 28 - Laura's Interests – book spotlight / giveaway
May 28 - Locks, Hooks and Books - book spotlight / giveaway
May 31 - Hall Ways Blog – book spotlight / giveaway
June 1 – A Mama's Corner of the world – book spotlight / giveaway
June 2 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
June 3 – @twilight_reader – book spotlight
June 4 – Bookish Trisha – book spotlight / giveaway
June 7 – Westveil Publishing – book spotlight / giveaway
June 8 – Writer with Wanderlust – book spotlight / giveaway
June 9 – Splashes of Joy – book spotlight / giveaway
June 10 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
June 11 – Books for Books – book spotlight

Enter the Giveaway:
Win a signed copy of The Girl In The Gold Dress. Open to the USA only until the 18th July. 





Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Christine Paik / Children's books / Books from America