Saturday Book Review: “Read: Decoding the Reading Obstacle – Increase Your Test Scores in Reading and Science”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

Read: Decoding the Reading Obstacle - Increase Your Test Scores in Reading and Science by Walker Guerrier

Read: Decoding the Reading Obstacle – Increase Your Test Scores in Reading and Science

by Walker Guerrier

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478776253

Synopsis*:

This book is design for top students, who have the desire to go above and beyond. I call them the seeds of greatness. The students I grew up who have used this approach are now doctors, scientists, and writers. These particular students became an engineer and doctor. Once you start using this book, your intellect will never be the same. This approach will help you attain your highest potential. Students all over the world use this book as a key to their success.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Critique:

A consumable workbook, “Read: Decoding the Reading Obstacle” is especially recommended for both public school, private school, and home-schooling curriculums, and as an ideal, effective, and ‘user friendly’ do-it-yourself study skills improvement manual for college students.

reviewed on the Education Bookshelf of Midwest Book Review ]


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Saturday Book Review: “A Slice of History, Musing on Religion”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

a slice of history, musing on religion by frans koning

A Slice of History, Musing on Religion

by Frans Koning

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478760061

Synopsis*:

A View of the World from Three Continents. . . From a farm in The Netherlands to poverty-stricken Sierra Leone…from the brief peace after the Great War to the horrors of World War II…from Europe to America…this extraordinary book of anecdotal essays ranges through the life of a man who has lived broadly and deeply.

Author Frans Koning shares his observations and impressions on topics ranging from what it was like to be a teenager in a Nazi-occupied country, to his experiences in Africa with the Peace Corps, and his move to the United States. He has experienced the effects of brutality and fear and lived to tell about man’s inhumanity to man. With a perspective gained from three continents, he can see how human experience is both diverse and similar…and how patterns in human behavior emerge, from the Waffen SS to ISIS. Immediately engaging, loosely structured, and retaining a piquant flavor of his native land in a Dutchman’s English, A Slice of History is a uniquely personal yet immediately accessible memoir of life during the most turbulent decades of our time.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Critique:

Most Americans know World War II from secondary sources like books, documentaries, etc. or from people they know who were alive at that time. “A Slice of History: Musing on Religion” by Frans Koning is a delicious primary source on how a young man experienced the war in the Netherlands. The dominant theme coming so often from the US public on “How we saved Western Europe” misses the complexities involved for the Dutch and all other liberal minded youth in this part of Europe who lived through this period.

The book is written in the style of letters written to friends, or even a thoughtful diary, is a refreshing reading experience. Koning shares his religious and political thoughts and feelings as he tries to create meaning in the midst of the forces of the war around him. The author’s colorful descriptions of a few of his medical practice experiences at home and in West Africa will certainly raise the reader’s curiosity. His ancestors trace back to the Reformation, as he reflects on his own struggles to understand the Christianity he encountered from parents, country, and Americans when he moved to the US. His long, soul searching for religious meaning caused his involvement with a liberal church. The openness and critical thinking of that religion served his questioning mind well.

Finally the narrative is full of personal details that most Americans could never imagine. This includes discovering the proper placement of straw into his wooden shoes, and how his mother saved Koning’s life from a belligerent Nazi SS officer by bribing him with a ham and a half bottle of gin.

This book causes readers to imagine how they would have reacted to events if they had been there. Overall, anyone interested in WWII will find this to be an excellent excursion into understanding how WWII affected a thoughtful young man.

reviewed by Gary Gustafson of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

A nice piece of personal contemporary history from early twentieth century Holland (with some WWII drama, also). There are also medical observations from his years as an doctor in the African bush, and thoughtful views on comparative religion. Enlightening and fun as well.

– Amazon Reviewer Aaron Stafford

A personal opinion of the author and his life experiences: Dr Koning is a friend, and has very cogent opinions about the world, based upon his eighty plus years of life and experiences. His observations, in my experience, are keen and penetrating.

– Amazon Reviewer Scott Chester


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Saturday Book Review: “Super Mia and the Good Luck Duo – Rescued is the New Black”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

super mia and the good luck duo - rescued is the new black by marie-yolaine williams

Super Mia and the Good Luck Duo – Rescued Is the New Black

by Marie-Yolaine Williams (author)
Richa Kinra (illustrator)

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478771579

Synopsis*:

Are black cats really bad luck? Are black dogs scarier than other dogs? When Baggins, a champion racing dog, is injured during a race, his owner callously dumps him in a wooded area. There, Baggins meets Evader, a black cat, and the two become fast friends. When the duo are captured by County Animal Services, Baggins discovers that he and Evader have little chance of being adopted because of their black fur. When the shelter’s manager takes a special interest in them, it looks like their luck may finally change for the better. Will Baggins and Evader find their forever home?

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Critique:

Another outstanding collaboration by author Marie-Yolaine Williams and illustrator Richa Kinra, “Super Mia and the Good Luck Duo – Rescued Is the New Black” is another in their outstanding ‘Shelter Dog Series’ and very highly recommended for the picture book collections of families, elementary schools, and community libraries. For personal reading lists it should also be noted that “Super Mia and the Good Luck Duo – Rescued Is the New Black” is available in a paperback edition as well (9781478771579, $9.95)

reviewed on the Children’s Bookwatch of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

Five stars all the way! We love this book! I’d say it’s for a 6-9 year old (if your 6 year old is a strong reader).

It’s so amazing to see that the hero who saves the day in the story is a person in a wheelchair. That is something we have never seen in a children’s book and I have to say it’s a breath of fresh air. What a wonderful message for children about inclusiveness! Heroes come in all different forms and it’s long overdue that we communicate this to children. It’s a great conversation starter about disability and illness too (the hero Mia has MS and explains she has good days and bad days – on bad days she needs her wheelchair). I don’t want to give away the ending but we love how it ends!

We learned about black dog syndrome, superstition (which has a negative impact on black cats and their chances at adoption), and the country of Greece. I also love that the author walked us through what happens when an animal is dumped somewhere from the animal’s point of view. I hope this makes people think twice before they discard a pet like thrash. It’s great that some of the proceeds are going to animal rescue.

The interview at the end (the author interviews her rescue dogs and they answer questions like what is your favorite movie or book etc.) really made us laugh.

I strongly recommend this book. It’s well written and a great story. More books like this please. This is part of a series, we have the first book already (we loved that one too) and can’t wait for the next one!

– Amazon Reviewer Amazon Customer

This is an enchanting story, and Mia is its princess! What an excellent book for all. I dearly love the title: “Super Mia and the Good Luck Duo, Rescued is the New Black”. Baggins was a greyhound who broke his leg racing. After the vet said he could race no longer, the owner dropped him off in some woods and left him (something he does often). A cat offered to help Baggins. When County Animal Services captured Baggins, Evader came out of hiding to be with him. It only gets better and better from here.

Both Baggins and Evader have black fur. Marie-Yolaine Williams did a very good deed for cats and dogs by letting Evader announce,”we have a very slim chance of being adopted.” Ms. Williams correctly informs her readers. When Baggins asked why, he replied “Because we have black fur. People are scared of black dogs and think that black cats are bad luck”. My Grandma had that incorrect superstition.

I worked in a Humane Society who stopped adopting out black cats for several days before Halloween to protect them. I fostered and adopted two beauties, my two black cats that I love more than life itself. I won’t give away the ending of the story. It is excellent!

Thank you Marie-Yolaine Williams and Word Slinger for giving me a book to read in exchange for my honest review.

– Amazon Reviewer C M Anderson


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Saturday Book Review: “The Conversations We Never Had”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

the conversations we never had jeffrey konis

The Conversations We Never Had

by Jeffrey H. Konis

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478767299

Synopsis*:

This is the dream of a grandson, who had taken his grandmother for granted, to have a second chance, the opportunity to learn about his family from the only person in the world who knew them, who remembered them. My father remembers nothing about his real parents for they were dead by the time he was nine. Olga, his mother’s younger sister, survived the Holocaust, found my father hiding on a farm in Poland and later brought him to America to raise as her own. He never asked her any questions about his parents. Though I later moved in with Olga for a period of time, I repeated history and never asked her the questions my father never asked. Olga has been gone for more than twenty years, along with everything she could have told me, leaving me with a sense of guilt and profound regret. The Conversations We Never Had is a chronicle of my time spent with Grandma “Ola” and tells the stories she might have shared had I asked the questions.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Critique:

The Conversations We Never Had is about the regrets of a son who wishes he’d probed more of his family history while its elders were still able to tell him about the past; but it doesn’t end with the burial of his Grandmother Olga, the last person to have known his father’s Holocaust experiences in Europe.

Instead, it blossoms into an investigation of what was, a realization of what could have been, and a family history that incorporates not only conversations made; but those which should have taken place.

How did the family matriarch make the kinds of decisions that would allow her family to survive, adopting and bringing her nephew (the author’s father) to a new country? How did his father survive under impossible conditions, and how did she find him after the war to bring him to a new life? The author’s regrets of not asking the right questions, only to piece together truths from a patchwork of possibilities decades later, is wonderfully portrayed: “Grandma Ola was the only person in the world who could give me some insight into my father, what he was like as a child, a son – to an extent – as a student, though I knew he must have been exceptional in this regard, given that he overcame a language barrier, simultaneously learning English and the sciences, among his other courses; he did this successfully enough to go to medical school. And yet I never had an in-depth conversation with Grandma about my dad and, for the life of me, I have no idea why I didn’t. At least I could, and did, ask my father these questions as I navigated my way through the biased nature of his responses, to get as much truth as possible.”

Many Holocaust family stories come from the horse’s mouth in the form of reminiscences of parents and grandparents translated through the memories and notes of their descendants. Jeffrey H. Konis adds a new twist to this approach in covering not only the conversations that took place; but those which were unsaid.

As he surveys issues of Jewish livelihood and independence (among many other subjects), Konis comes to realize the forces that shaped and led to his career and life choices, and brings readers into a world enlightened by these discussions of Jewish heritage past and how they were passed down and, in turn, translated into life decisions made by future generations.

The precise links between these translations and applications past to present are enhanced by the author’s introspective assessments of what is presented to him, and what it means for his own life: “If I couldn’t find a Jewish girl to marry, the selection would be greatly enhanced were I to allow myself to marry someone who converted. But what about everything Grandma was just telling me, that even one who has converted is still not the same as one who was brought up Jewish? It made me think of something my dad once said about Grandma Ola. He told me that, yes, she had raised him like a son, but she wasn’t his mother. He said it wasn’t the same.”

The result is more than another Holocaust survival story: it’s a perceptive and examining survey of how ideals, thoughts, traditions and culture are handed down in families, surveying the types of questions asked and those left unsaid, and their impact.

Readers of Holocaust literature and biography will find themselves drawn to the family and personalities surrounding Jeffrey H. Konis and will be particularly delighted to understand how Jewish traditions and family messages helped him shape his own decision-making process.

reviewed by Diane C. Donovan of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

Jeffrey Konis’ book “The Conversations We Never Had” was a beautiful reflection of a man’s relationship with his ailing grandmother’s sister, who acted as his grandmother throughout his life. Over many conversations, Konis was able to tease out memories of her life and upbringing in pre-WW2 Germany, as the spectre of Nazism started to overtake Germany, with all of the horrors that entailed. These stories helped Jeffrey better understand his grandmother and her sister, as well as his father’s temperament, which was enlightening. “The Conversations We Never Had” highlights the importance of talking with our elders before it is too late, to gain some of their wisdom and to hear the stories which shaped their lives and personalities. It was a lovely tribute to Konis’ forebears, and I would love to read it again.

– Amazon Reviewer Janelle Collins

They were of a generation that longed to forget, that shied away from discussing the horrors inflicted upon their people, and hardly, if ever, voluntarily offered up stories around the Sunday dinner table.Talking about such a painful time brought back the pain. So it is no wonder that Konis’ grandmother, Ola, pushed on with her life, loved her family and chose to live for the day and remain silent on her past and how the Holocaust tore her family apart. Inevitably, though, the author comes to realize and deeply regret the missed opportunity to have those telling conversations about the Holocaust with Ola when she passes away. Konis, however, bases many of the conversations in the book on fact, having a vital resource in his father, who was 9 years old when the Nazis invaded his town. It is a fascinating read and I was quickly drawn in by his depiction of Ola’s youth, her sister and her father. The book certainly makes one stop and think and regret those lost opportunities and conversations with our elders.

– Amazon Reviewer Pamela J.


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Saturday Book Review: “The Thundering Herd: Farm Life in the 1950’s and 60’s”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

the thundering herd farm life john e peltier

The Thundering Herd:
Farm Life in the 1950’s and 60’s;
Looking Through the Lens of Duty in Vietnam.

by John E. Peltier

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478765332

Synopsis*:

These stories begin with brief family histories that bring the Peltier and the Scottish Keillor families together. John was the fifth of the twelve children that Wilburn and Barbara Peltier raised on the flat salt grass prairie of Southeast Texas after they married. The life they created for their family on their rice farm and cattle ranch provided fertile ground for the life experiences that are shared in these settings. At the age of nineteen, naive and fresh from the farm, John was drafted into the U.S. Army.

After surviving boot camp and medical corpsman training, he found himself in Vietnam. John used his time in the military and its experiences as the backdrop to describe life growing up. Writing this book intensified the realization of the valuable life lessons that his family and the farm and ranch taught him. After mustering out of the Army in January of 1969, he settled back into civilian life and finished his education.

Disaster struck in 1969 when his father suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of 54, leaving five of his siblings still at home and all without a father. He discovered the two earthy loves of his live – his wife Janie and the vocation of construction – at the same time and place. As a result, Janie and John have a beautiful family and he birthed Peltier Brothers Construction, a company which has provided a great livelihood not only for him and four of his brothers, but for nephews down into the next generation. Both Janie and the company also taught him lessons he never expected to learn. Those stories, plus an incident with the fangs of a deadly rattlesnake and a light essay on grass and water, are included in this book.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Critique:

5.0 out of 5 stars — Nice summer read!

Regretting the loss of family history at the passing of his father, John Peltier set out on a personal journey to preserve the legacy of his family by penning “The Thundering Herd: Farm Life in the 1950’s and 60’s; Looking Through the Lens of Duty in Vietnam”. This series of memoirs spanning his early family history in the 1600’s to the present day is best described as extraordinary in its ordinariness. Once the early roots are established through family lore in the first two chapters, the contemporary Peltier family stories switch back and forth between childhood memories and current (Vietnam war) era events. Not unlike Forrest Gump, you join the Peltier family as they go through life experiencing from a personal perspective events such as Hurricane Carla, the Vietnam war, and the rearing of the next generations through both lean and prosperous times. In this day when everyone has their nose in technology, it provides a warm reflection of what life was like for families growing up in rural Texas in the 50s and 60s when kids would leave their homes and not come back until dinner time and parents did not have to worry that someone would take them.

reviewed by Dr. Eileen R. Garza of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

A thoughtful, well-written, at times entertaining and educational, book illustrating basic family values that survive specific times or wars. It illustrates the best of American farm life and the kind of citizens it can produce.

This book is also another view of the Vietnam War, showing the human side of the country from a young solder’s point of view. His stories and photos illustrate things that the U.S. Army did to help the Vietnamese people, even the families of the enemy Viet Cong, that the public has not always been made aware. Especially interesting is the section on the author’s visit to the orphanage of the children born to U.S. soldiers. The children were sadly ostracized.

– Amazon Reviewer Amazon Customer

Regretting the loss of family history at the passing of his father, John Peltier set out on a personal journey to preserve the legacy of his family by penning “The Thundering Herd”. This series of memoirs spanning his early family history in the 1600’s to the present day is best described as extraordinary in its ordinariness. Once the early roots are established through family lore in the first two chapters, the contemporary Peltier family stories switch back and forth between childhood memories and current (Vietnam war) era events. Not unlike Forrest Gump, you join the Peltier family as they go through life experiencing from a personal perspective events such as Hurricane Carla, the Vietnam war, and the rearing of the next generations through both lean and prosperous times. In this day when everyone has their nose in technology, it provides a warm reflection of what life was like for families growing up in rural Texas in the 50s and 60s when kids would leave their homes and not come back until dinner time and parents did not have to worry that someone would take them.

– Amazon Reviewer E. Garza


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Saturday Book Review: “That Weekend in Albania”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

that weekend in albania peter meehan

That Weekend in Albania: A Road Trip to Intrigue in the Balkans

by Peter J. Meehan

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478777090

Synopsis*:

An expatriate family takes a road trip to visit Albania’s historical sites, two months after 9/11 in the only Muslim country in Europe. Despite its historical location at the crossroads between Rome and Greece, Albania is still largely avoided by tourists—the country’s Stalinist past and reputation for money laundering in support of terrorism limits interest, but there are investment opportunities for multinationals.

Tony is working as a manager for a Vienna-based company that is having issues in a contract area near the Kosovo border. Drug and weapon trafficking persist in the former Yugoslavian province’s frontier despite a peace settlement having been reached. Tony hopes this weekend outing will convince his wife that a Mediterranean lifestyle is possible in Europe’s poorest country, and that it might restore some good will with his teenage daughter, who is visiting from a Vienna boarding school. The trip will be their first overnight stay outside the capital, but unbeknownst to him when he is informally asked by his consulate to note any illegalities en route, their destination is now a regional Albanian mafia centre. When Tony’s diplomatic contact becomes an Albanian mafia target, and the organisation hires a hit man to eliminate their problem, the expat suspects his sense of adventure is misplaced, and that dire consequences are still a possibility while the country attempts to modernise.

As Tony tries to deal with family and work issues while travelling across classic ruins and remnants of Albania’s heritage as a Christian bastion prior to four hundred years of Ottoman rule, the conflict to control the growing underground economy heats up. He and his family witness the nearly unknown Mediterranean coast road’s natural beauty, but the remains of an ancient past, and the consequences of the more recent brutal military dictatorship, continue to confront them.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Critique:

That Weekend in Albania is a thoroughly researched and well-written work of travel fiction introducing Albania to readers interested in adventurous travel. Peter J. Meehan presents this fascinating Balkan country through two perspectives – an ex-pat family’s, and that of Albanian entrepreneurs trying to create prosperity in a post-Communist world. The family must cope with issues such as midlife crisis and parent-child relations in a context of culture shock, separation, language barriers and an unfamiliar environment. The businessmen do not hesitate to use questionable means to achieve their ends, within a framework of recent conflict and ancient loyalties. Several thriller-like episodes, featuring fast cars on bad roads, furnish jolts of excitement. Altogether, this book is an interesting and informative vicarious journey through a new and unfamiliar country.

reviewed by Audrey Driscoll of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

At first I thought that I wanted to keep reading T.W.I.A. because it revived memories of when I visited Peter in Tirana. Later, I realized that I wanted to keep reading because this is a very good, entertaining story. His geographical, cultural and historical descriptions are accurate, his characters real. I’m looking forward to Peter’s next book.Given his life around the world I’m guessing that he’ll have lots to tell.

– Amazon Reviewer Keith James

Well researched and full of detailed information on a largely unknown country. Added perspecies from foreigners and Albanians make for an interesting read. The fictional story of crime keeps the pace going between a story of a father daughter relationship. Highly recommended.

– Amazon Reviewer Amazon Customer


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Saturday Book Review: “Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Midwest Book Review:

yasu's quest diane dettmann

Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph

by Diane Dettmann

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478755791

Synopsis:

In this skillfully woven coming-of-age story, Yasu Sakamoto continues her journey that began in Dettmann’s award-winning book, Courageous Footsteps: A WWII Novel. Yasu’s Quest: A Tale of Triumph carries readers into the next phase of Yasu Sakamoto’s life so smoothly that the book can be read independently or as a sequel.

With a keen sense for detail, author Diane Dettmann skillfully draws readers into an engaging story about an unexpected friendship that develops between Yasu Sakamoto and Martha Annala, a university professor. When they first meet on a train headed to Minneapolis, Yasu is afraid to trust Martha with any information about her past and lies about her identity to protect herself and her family. Alone and with no place to go, Yasu eventually tells Martha about leaving her home in Glenville and the three years she spent imprisoned in the internment camp. Martha feels Yasu’s pain and opens her heart and home to her.
As the war intensifies anti-Japanese attitudes escalate in America and the hostility runs rampant. Martha’s decision to befriend Yasu ultimately creates hardships and challenges in her own life. Relationships with university colleagues become strained, but Martha remains committed to her friendship with Yasu. Negative looks and anti-Japanese comments surround Yasu everywhere she goes. She deeply misses her parents, her brother, Haro, and Kenta, her loving German shepherd, but knows she must push forward.

Critique:

How can an eighteen-year-old girl escape from a U.S. internment camp for the Japanese that has been heavily and successfully guarded for three years? The opening of Yasu’s Quest, continues the saga begun in Courageous Footsteps, which observed the pre-camp life and early internment of the Sakamoto family. Familiarity with this prior novel will lend a special appreciation for this powerful sequel, which goes in a different direction as it outlines Yasu’s choices.

The Sakamotos have been devastated by the war as much or more so than any other American family (“How can this be happening? First my son dies in combat, then my daughter disappears and now my husband’s in jail.”). Yasu’s escape is just one more trial they have to bear in an impossibly changed world; and as for Yasu herself – how can she hide when her Japanese heritage gives her away?

Her journey to Minneapolis results in a chance encounter and an unexpectedly friendly face, and her life changes. Yasu and Martha each confront their changing world with innovative survival techniques that provide insights into both the larger issues of domestic World War II and its daily challenges (“With sugar rationing still on, women often use beer for setting their hair. So I gave it a try. Seems to work and I just put it in the refrigerator and use it over and over until it’s gone. Sometimes even spit works.”).

Diane Dettmann’s careful attention to focusing on both aspects of this world and both bigger and smaller pictures of changed lives makes for a far more thoughtful, detailed inspection than most World War II accounts provide, creating a series of insights based on Yasu’s evolving experiences in college and the family’s life as the war draws to a close.

The contrast between a young woman making her way in this changed world and a family on the edge of return to a world both familiar and alien makes for a riveting story line that clearly reveals the difficulties of the times: “Even the letters to the editor were filled with vicious comments about preventing the Japanese Americans from returning to their homes. Mr. Sakamoto folded up the paper and tucked it in his suitcase. His joyful thoughts of returning home were replaced with fear and anxiety.”

Will the family reunite, and how will they pick up the pieces of shattered lives and rebuild, along with the rest of America? One woman’s act of kindness could change all their lives. Yasu’s Quest neatly covers issues of loss, grief, recovery, and acts of kindness as it presents a journey that ultimately transcends the forces of division and injustice pummeling the Japanese family.

While teens will be the likely readers of this novel, many an adult will find that Yasu’s Quest holds perspectives and details that are as enlightening as they are involving. It, along with its companion, are thus highly recommended picks for any reader interested in a powerful, ultimately hopeful, view of World War II’s lasting effects on the Japanese in America.

 

reviewed by Diane Donovan of Midwest Book Review ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

I have been waiting for the sequel to Courageous Footsteps – which I couldn’t put down! What a great novel with important historical references, but also developed characters that I could relate to. Thank you Diane! A must read!

– Amazon Reviewer Kelly McNelis

Love this book…fast read…held your interest…hard to put it down!

– Amazon Reviewer Karen Grossaint


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