Author: Mallee Stanley

Krys Lee’s — How I became a North Korean *****

Krys Lee’s — How I became a North Korean *****

This is the haunting story of Danny (Daehan), Yongju and Jangmi. Desperate to avoid his U.S. school where he is an outcast because he is Chinese, Danny leaves his father and flies to China to stay with his mother. But when he discovers her living with another man, he wanders aimlessly close to the border with North Korea.

Yongju and Jangmi have both escaped separately from North Korea to China, and meet up with Danny and a band of other North Koreans hiding in a cave. They are rescued by a Christian pastor who holds them captive. He indoctrinates them into the Christian faith, promising he’ll help them leave China for a safe third country. But will he? 

This novel is a powerful insight into life in North Korea and the dangers that lurk across the boarder into China from those who profit from runaway North Koreans.

Those favoured words

Those favoured words

Have you ever read a book where a word keeps popping up? I recently read a book that had a paragraph where three sentences began with and then. Another highly praised English author I read had me gritting my teeth at her use of began. It appeared over one hundred times in her otherwise great novel.

This kind of repetition can pull a reader out of a story, so I save lists of — words to use instead of — because it’s easy in a manuscript to repeat favoured vocabulary. I also have a short list of words I over use — that, looked, walked, relieved, for example. The list raises my awareness when I’m at the editing stage.

But opposing this suggestion is a tip I learned from author, Julie H. Ferguson about repeated words.

Continue reading “Those favoured words”
Tanya Talaga’s — Seven fallen feathers *****

Tanya Talaga’s — Seven fallen feathers *****

Canadian Journalist, Tanya Talaga chronicles the lives and deaths of seven First Nation teens in Thunder Bay who lost their lives after moving from remote Ontario communities to attend secondary school in the city.

In this non-fiction account, we learn about life in Thunder Bay for First Nation teens, about the Aboriginal parents and their communities who come together to search for the children when they first disappear, and their contact with police and how the Thunder Bay police handle each case.

This is a well written, must read for all Canadians so we grasp the systemic racist culture within the police force as well as the government and communities at large.

Sara Bird’s — Above the East China Sea *****

Sara Bird’s — Above the East China Sea *****

Luz James feels lost. She’s been shifted from pillar to post since childhood because of her mother’s job. Now she’s in Okinawa, a tiny group of islands that belong to Japan. She’s already lost the grandmother she loved, but when she loses her closest friend, her sister, Luz can’t hold it together. She hangs out with a group every night to get high. On one of those nights she wanders off and encounters something that leads her on a path to discover her unknown family and the Okinawan women whose secret she discovers.

This is not only a great tale, but the historical setting with flashbacks to a young Okinawa school girl during the war reveals a lot about the Japanese and their prejudice towards the people of these islands.