Honolulu by Alan Brennert

Rating: 10/10 ★★★★★★★★★★ 

Title: Honolulu
Author: Alan Brennert
Genre: Historical Fiction, Hawaiiana
URL: Amazon
Price: US$24.95 (hardcover list price)
Warnings: Some violence
Summary (from the publisher): Honolulu is the rich, unforgettable story of a young “picture bride” who journeys to Hawai’i in 1914 in search of a better life. Instead of the affluent young husband and chance at an education that she has been promised, she is quickly married off to a poor, embittered laborer who takes his frustrations out on his new wife. Renaming herself Jin, she makes her own way in this strange land, finding both opportunity and prejudice. With the help of three of her fellow picture brides, Jin prospers along with her adopted city, which is growing from a small territorial capital into the great multicultural city it is today. But paradise has its dark side, whether it’s the daily struggle for survival in Honolulu’s tenements, or a crime that will become the most infamous in the island’s history.

With its passionate knowledge of people and places in Hawai’i far off the tourist track, Honolulu is most of all the spellbinding tale of four women in a new world, united by dreams, disappointment, sacrifices and friendship.

My Review:  Continue reading Honolulu by Alan Brennert


Painting From Life by Anne Brooke

Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Title: Painting From Life
Author: Anne Brooke
Genre: Contemporary, sweet
URL: Eternal Press
Price: US $2.50
Other Information/warnings: A couple of swear words
An artist in a dying marriage, meets the love of his life, and rediscovers his passion for his work.

My review:

This is a story about love in its purest form – no romance, no sex, just a man giving and receiving affection and comfort, from the most unlikely of sources. Anne Brooke weaves an exquisitely beautiful story about an artist choking to death in a marriage where his wife feels she can’t compete with his art. Forced to choose, the artist simply can’t forgo his painting, nor the old man he meets by the sea.

It’s a short story—only 5k in length—with not a wasted word or cheap emotion, and yet says more about enduring love than a novel could. The author is a skilled wordsmith, and if you give this little piece a chance, you will be beguiled and moved. Thoroughly recommended.


Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight

Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Title: Butterfly Tattoo
Author: Deidre Knight
Genre: Contemporary het romance (with bisexual and homosexual content)
URL: Samhain Publishing
Price: US $6.50
Other Information/warnings: m/f, (past) m/m, references to past violence
Summary [from the publisher]:

Just when the darkness seems permanent, fate flips a switch.

Michael Warner has been drifting in a numb haze since his lover was killed by a drunk driver. As the anniversary of the wreck approaches, Michael’s grief grows more suffocating. Yet he must find a way through the maze of pain and secrets to live for their troubled young daughter who struggles with guilt that she survived the crash.

Out of the darkness comes a voice, a lifeline he never expected to find—Rebecca O’Neill, a development executive in the studio where Michael works as an electrician.

Rebecca, a former sitcom celebrity left scarred from a crazed fan’s attack, has retreated from the limelight and from life in general, certain no man can ever get past her disfigurement. The instant sparks between her and Michael, who arrives to help her during a power outage, come as a complete surprise—and so does her uncanny bond with his daughter.

For the first time, all three feel compelled to examine their inner and outer scars in the light of love. But trust is hard to come by, especially when you’re not sure what to believe when you look in the mirror. The scars? Or the truth?

My review: Continue reading Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight