Friday, August 31, 2012

It's ok to not have strife!

On this rainy Friday, full of laundry, ironing, and paperwork, this review improved my day!

4.0 out of 5 stars Secrets of a Summer Village, August 31, 2012
This review is from: Secrets of a Summer Village (Paperback)
*This book was received as a free advanced reader's copy*

This was a charming book. Highly appropriate for middle school aged children and even high school children it tells a very relateable story of a young girl and her exchange student trip.

Rachel is all set to go to Mexico for an exchange program. The only problem, there is no room for her. But then at the last minute a spot opens up for a trip to Turkey. At first she's not sure if she should go, she knows nothing about the country and their customs. But the more she thinks about it the more appealing it is, especially compared to working at a coffee shop all summer. So off she flies to meet her new host family, who has a daughter her age and one a little older. Turkey is nothing like she expects, the women are stylish, the food different but good, and the language hard to learn but worth striving for. She enjoys her new sister Aylin and her family and even develops a crush on Aylin's cousin. The summer is flying by with Rachel enjoying all of her experiences, so much so that she isn't sure she wants to go home.

Rachel is a very nice character. She has a few flaws and seems very shy, but in a way she is also open too. My only complaint about her would be that she is written a little younger seeming than seventeen. I actually pictured her more around thirteen or fourteen years old instead of almost being a legal adult. Perhaps she was just a little too naive. Aylin on the other hand was more believable with her naivete. Perhaps it was just because of her culture, but it seemed that she reacted more in an age appropriate manner to different things. The rest of the characters really fleshed out the story and I enjoyed being "introduced" to each one. Especially the adults as they represented a different side of a culture compared to just the exchange story.

There was no real strife in this book, and that was fine. It was more just a growing up, exploring kind of tale rather than something that had to have an antagonist. It was almost like sitting down with a friend, or reading someones journal on their trip to Turkey and you felt as if you could almost know Rachel in real life. I do think that the language in this book and the writing style is highly appropriate for the younger age ranges. There was nothing inappropriate and there were even some very helpful lessons on Turkish culture thrown in. And the "voices" the characters used were authentic enough to replicate a new learner of English. An adult could read it and enjoy it as well (I did and I consider myself an adult some of the time) but I really do think this book is a prime target for the 12-18 range. Or anyone who is considering a school trip abroad. I do think the ending was a little abrupt though, I wanted to know what was going to happen in the future. Perhaps that means another book coming?

A very nice book, one I enjoyed reading. I can only hope that Akyil continues writing.

Secrets of a Summer Village
Copyright 2011
293 pages

Review by M. Reynard 2012

More Reviews! A lifeline.

One of the best things about writing is reviews.  Obviously, good reviews are preferred, but just the fact that someone is reading the story I wrote and getting feedback - any feedback - is a lifeline.  I am a SAHM.  Stay-at-home-mom for those of you who don't know the acronym.  It makes it sound like I'm always at home, and I'm not, but I do have contact with fewer people than I would if I worked outside the home.  But my novel helps me reach out to the world, and sometimes people reach right back out.  In the past few weeks, I've gotten a few new reviews on Amazon, both from people I don't know.

And the good reviews don't make me think yeah, I'm an awesome writer.  I rock.  They make me think wow, someone took the time to sit down and read the story I wrote.  And it brought them pleasure. And maybe they learned something new.  That rocks.  So, reviewers, thank you!

Here are the two reviews that appeared on Amazon:

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Gem! August 21, 2012
By alisonw
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
A lovely gem! Secrets of A Summer Village is an innocent and lovely coming of age story revolving around two fast friends, Rachel Guo and her host-sister Aylin, and Aylin's host-family and friends in a summer beach village called Didum, Turkey. Secrets surrounding relationships are the theme of the story as are the customs and language of Turkey and commonalities between Rachel's American-Chinese culture and Turkish culture. This is a well-written, delightful story that brought back some nostalgia about my teenage years. Rachel's involvement with Aylin's cousin, Cem is short and sweet. I would recommend this book to my nieces and for any one interested in a page-turning nostalgic tale of falling in love for the first time in their youth, and to anyone interested in another culture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet story with an informative twist! July 20, 2012
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
This book was very nicely written and you start to get into the characters' lives and their growing relationships. It is about an American exchange student who travels to Turkey for the summer and the evolvement of her relationships in Turkey as well as back home.

It is very clean but still interesting so safe for a younger teen to read without worrying about language and overt sexual descriptions. I enjoyed that, without knowing it, you learned a lot about the Turkish culture and way of life as well.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

on hiatus

I'm in the US right now, speaking English, writing in my head (but not on paper!) and enjoying visiting with family.  I'll try to do a better update for you all next Wednesday, after my reading at Barnes and Noble.  (!!!)