A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab | REVIEW

A Darker Shade of Magic
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #1)
Published by Tor Books on February 24th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Pages: 400
Format: Audiobook
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A Darker Shade of MagicKell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Review

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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda| REVIEW

All the Missing Girls
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Published by Simon & Schuster on June 28th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
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All the Missing GirlsIt’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Review

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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda is a psychological thriller about a woman who returns to her hometown to assist her sick father and to unearth a decade long mystery about her missing best friend. When another local girl goes missing while she’s in town she is thrust back to the past and her secrets come to surface!

The Good

The Way It’s Written

All the Missing Girls is written backwards! Yes, you heard me right, backwards. The first chapter is “present day” when Nic decides to head back to her hometown. Then the next chapter is Day 15 and each chapter after that works its way back.

Miranda does a fantastic job with the storytelling. She must have spent a great deal of time fine tuning the chapters so that they are cohesive and flow properly as if they were to have been written in chronological order. It was definitely quite refreshing to read a thriller like this. Very intriguing storytelling.

Keeps You Guessing

This one will have you guessing from the start. After every chapter I am pretty sure I had a new suspect to look into. All the Missing Girls definitely throws you through some loops along the way until the very satisfying ending.

You would think because the story is told backwards that we would find out the big reveal quite soon in the story, but surprisingly Miranda only let out important information when it was needed. We never knew more than we should and each clue linked back and connected each chapter as we travel in time.

Unreliable Narrator

One of my favorite aspects of a psychological thriller is an unreliable narrator done right. Which is exactly what Nic was. At times through out the story she would not sleep for days. This leads to hazy memories, rash decisions, and crazy high jinks.

The Bad

I Was Confused!

This didn’t bother me too much, but I was getting a bit confused with All the Missing Girls going back in time over a two week period. I was blending information and blurring important discoveries.

At one point we find out something important but I sat there thinking that I already knew this already because they mentioned it slightly in the chapter before. Does that make sense? I’m probably confusing you guys with this awful explanation. Sorry!


I highly recommend this one if you like unreliable characters, a good psychological thriller and an interesting written novel. Let me know what you guys thought of All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

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Megan MirandaMegan Miranda is the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls. She has also written several books for young adults, including Fracture, Hysteria, Vengeance, Soulprint, and The Safest Lies. She grew up in New Jersey, graduated from MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children. The Perfect Stranger (4/11/17) is her second novel of psychological suspense.

Reading Recap: April, May & June

Reading-Recap-APR-MAY-JUNE

Hey Bookworms!

Welcome to another Reading Recap. Where I recap what I have been up in the past three months!


April-Books

 

Blacklist by Alyson Noel★★★☆☆ – Review

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer★★★★☆ – Review

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich★★★★☆ – Review

Bang by Barry Lyga★★★★☆ – Review

Detective Comics Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV★★★★★

Power Rangers Vol. 2 by Kyle Higgins★★★★★

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda★★★★☆

I Found You by Lisa Jewell★★★★☆ – Review


May-Books

 

At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson★★★★★

Black Clover Vol. 1 by Yuki Tabata★★★★★

The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty★★★☆☆ – Review

Black Clover Vol. 2 by Yuki Tabata★★★★★

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda★★★☆☆

Archie Vol. 3 by Mark Waid★★★☆☆

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas★★★★☆

Naruto Vol. 1 by Masashi Kishimoto – ★★★★☆

Bravest Warriors Vol. 5 by Breehn Burns★★★★☆


June-Books

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab★★★☆☆

The Duke of Bannerman Prep by Katie A. Nelson★★★☆☆ – Review

Jughead Vol. 2 by Chip Zdarsky★★★★★

Naruto Vol. 2 by Masashi Kishimoto★★★☆☆

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau★★★★☆ – Review

The Party by Robyn Harding★★☆☆☆ – Review

Black Clover Vol. 3 by Yuki Tabata★★★★☆

Replica by Lauren Oliver★★☆☆☆

The Young Elites by Marie Lu★★★★☆

Talon by Julie Kagawa★★☆☆☆

Roar by Cora Carmack – Unrated

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands★★★★☆

The Rose Society by Marie Lu★★★★☆

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh★★★★☆

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard★★★☆☆

Josie and the Pussycats Vol. 1 by Marguerite Bennett★★★☆☆


Results

APRIL:

6 Books, 0 Manga & 2 Graphic Novels

Pages2463

MAY:

4 Books, 4 Manga & 1 Graphic Novel

Pages2745

JUNE:

12 Books, 2 Manga & 2 Graphic Novels

Pages5433


Well there you have it. Over the last 3 months I managed to get some serious reading in. Hopefully it carries over through the summer!

Until next time,

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The Party by Robyn Harding | REVIEW

Married-to-Books-Reviews
The Party by Robyn Harding
Published by Gallery/Scout Press on June 6th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Drama
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

The PartyIn this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds their picture-perfect life unraveling, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

 🌟🌟

2 Stars

** Received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion at all. Thank you!! **

Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟            MYSTERY 🌟🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟     SUSPENSE 🌟🌟🌟🌟


The novel, The Party, is about the outcome of a sweet sixteen party gone wrong. The story revolves around Hannah, who had some friends over for a sleepover, on her sixteenth birthday. Her and her friends sneak in alcohol, against her mother’s rules, and one of Hannah’s friends Ronni, get seriously injured.

I enjoyed the way in which the author set each chapter on a different character’s perspective. There’s Kim, Hannah’s mom, her dad Jeff, Lisa which is Ronni’s mom and of course Hannah. The author goes back-and-forth between perspective. However, it is written in third person. I think that if it were written in first person I could have related more to the character or connected with them better.

With that being said, I had a hard time connecting to this novel over all. The author hides information and slowly reveals information, trying to keep you on your toes. I kept reading and going chapter to chapter waiting for that big reveal, that big wow moment, however that moment never came. I believe the moment that was supposed to be the big reveal or the big shocker, was when the author finally revealed that at Hannah’s birthday party, boys showed up. Prior to that moment there’s a scene where Hannah is at school with a friend and the two boys show up and they emphasize to make sure that nobody knows about the party. It was pretty obvious prior to that point, that her boyfriend would show up at the party. As a former 16-year-old girl that’s not a shocker to have boys come to a party. We’ve all seen the teen movies where girls have a sleepover party and boys get snuck in. So to me this just wasn’t shocking.

Overall, I had such a hard time with this novel. For one, I struggled with deciding whether this book was a Young Adult genre or not. The way that the story emphasizes so much perspective on Hannah and her friends at school, what happened at the party, and the aftermath of the party, really led me to believe that this novel should have been categorized as Young Adult. The story ends with Hannah still wanting to be a part of the cool crowd and still wanting to be Miss Popular at school. As a 30-year-old woman, I don’t necessarily care what Hannah does at school. I don’t care if she gets picked on at school. I don’t care that she still wants to be apart of the cool crowd. I care about how broken her parents are now that they’ve settled a 3 million Dollar lawsuit.

I wish the author had written this novel in parts, instead of chapters; Part 1: what happened at the party from Hannah’s perceptive. Part 2: The parents point of view. Part 3: How they come together and complete the lawsuit.


Overall, I did not enjoy this story. It focused too much on Hannah and her friend’s lives for me to really connect to it.

Until next time,

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Robyn HardingI am the author of the domestic drama, The Party published in June 2017, by Scout Press/Simon & Schuster. I have also written four novels of contemporary women’s fiction (AKA chick-lit), a young adult novel, and a comedic memoir with an environmental focus. My books have been translated into seven languages. I am also the screenwriter and executive producer of the independent film, The Steps which premiered at TIFF and was the closing gala film at the Miami International Film Festival. I live in Vancouver, BC with my husband, two kids, and a seven pound dog with no teeth.

What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan | REVIEW

reviewsWhat She Knew by Gilly MacMillan
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on December 1st 2015
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 512
Format: Paperback
Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

What She KnewIn a heartbeat, everything changes…

Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.

As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is ticking…

🌟🌟🌟

3 Stars

First Line:

In the eyes of others, we’re often not who we imagine ourselves to be.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟     PLOT 🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟      MYSTERY 🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟     SUSPENSE 🌟🌟🌟


What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan is a mystery/thriller about a woman whose son vanishes on a seemingly normal Sunday walk at their local forest trail. What ensues is a day by day take on the life she lives and what she’s going through with her son still missing. With new suspects appearing in every chapter, there was never a dull moment!

My Likes

The Writing

For a debut, What She Knew read like a seasoned novel. The writing was very well done. Never revealing more than necessary, MacMillan knew exactly what she was doing. She was able to bring the characters and the story to life. What the character’s were feeling whether sadness, anger, frustration, we too as readers felt it.

MacMillan was able to cast believable doubt against all the characters we get introduced to. True testament to her writing abilities!

The Formatting

Each chapter of What She Knew was a single day in the life of Rachel our main protagonist after her son disappeared. With each passing day she begins to lose it more and more. The stakes begin to rise and she fears she will never see her son alive again. I just loved that things went in sequence with a mixture of back story that not only is helpful to the overall story, but it never slows it down just to fill word count!

I also liked that as each chapter went by MacMillan did some research into child abductions and explains what usually happens during each day a real child goes missing. It’s a bit tough to explain but I thought it was a great addition that added a bit of reality to the mystery!

The Build-Up of Suspense

A great mystery writer knows when and how to reveal key points of the mystery to reader to not only build excitement, but to build the suspense for the big finale. That is exactly what MacMillan does in What She Knew.

I never felt overloaded with information or felt too ill informed. Each chapter adds a little layer of suspense to the story which I highly enjoyed!

My Dislikes

The Big Reveal

I will say that What She Knew had me guessing for the majority of the story. I kept changing my mind about who would have kidnapped this boy. Was it her husband? His new wife? WAS IT HERSELF? There was just so many possibilities.

But in the end the big baddie gets revealed and I’m left extremely underwhelmed. I really wished it was more of an exciting character to be honest. But oh well. We get what we get.


I highly recommend this one if you like the mystery/thriller genre and like sitting at the edge of seat waiting and guessing. Let me know what you guys thought of What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

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Gilly MacMillanGilly Macmillan is the internationally bestselling author of WHAT SHE KNEW (previously published as BURNT PAPER SKY in some territories), THE PERFECT GIRL and ODD CHILD OUT, which will be available October 2017.

Gilly is Edgar Award nominated and an ITW award finalist. Her books have been translated into over 20 languages.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell | REVIEW

Married-to-Books-Reviews
I Found You by Lisa Jewell
Published by Atria Books on April 25th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: ARC

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

I Found YouIn a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

4.5 Stars

** Received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion at all. Thank you!! **

Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟            MYSTERY 🌟🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟     SUSPENSE 🌟🌟🌟🌟


When Jesse asked me if I’d be interested in reading a novel and reviewing it for his blog, I was pretty excited and honored to be asked. When he told me it was a psychological thriller, well, I couldn’t wait! I have to admit, I am a bit biased when it comes to this genre. Though, I can usually solve the murder or mystery before I reach the half way mark of the novel. However, this one threw me for a loop!

I Found You takes place in a small town outside London, England, Ridinghouse Bay, where Alice lives with her 3 children. One day she notices a man sitting in the rain, out on the beach. She’s intrigued by this, worried for him and approaches him.  Meanwhile, in London, Lily sits and waits for her husband to come home from work, but he never does. In 1993, Gray and Kristy are enjoying summer vacation with their parents in Ridinghouse Bay. Each chapter is based on a specific character’s perspective as well as a specific year, 1993 to be exact. The author goes back and forth between present and past time, which eventually, the two connect. I really do enjoy reading novels that change from one side of the story to another, it keeps you guessing. By about chapter 9 or 10, I thought to myself, “Oh, well isn’t this obvious!?” Boy, was I wrong!

It’s very clear that Lisa did not want this to be another take on “Gone Girl” or “Girl on the Train”. She differs from those stories by really going into detail about the characters, by making you feel like you are in 1993. And do I dare say, by making you feel sorry for the characters involved.  A part of you thinks Alice is insane for helping a stranger with memory loss, yet, you want too want to help him and find out who he is, why he’s there and what happened to him. Not to mention poor Lily, newly living in London from the Ukraine, whose husband never came home and is nowhere to be found. And, well, I won’t tell you why I feel sorry for Gray and Kristy, I’ll let you find out why.

The author’s writing also allows you to fall in love with the characters. There were many times when I wanted to be Alice and help this poor man. I also wanted to be her best friend, shake Alice and say, “Are you crazy!” I wanted to be Kristy and Gray’s mom and yell, “Absolutely not, you are not going to a party!” Yet, at the end, I wanted to push this man, with memory loss, and Alice closer together so they could live happily ever after. It was a real emotional roller coaster!

I read this novel within a week. It was easy to read and very enjoyable. I couldn’t put it down, I just had to find out who this man, with no memory, really was! The author uses very descriptive language which helped me visual the water at the beach, the peacock, the big white house, the dogs, the town, and each character. Based on her writing it was easy to picture each situation. I hope this book turns into a movie, it would be great.


I look forward to reading more of Lisa’s novels. I believer her writing to be wonderful. With thirteen previous novels, I think I better get started.

I hope you enjoy I Found You as much as I did.

Until next time,

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Lisa JewellLisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See | REVIEW

reviewsThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Published by Scribner on March 21st 2017
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Pages: 384
Format: ARC

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneLi-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives.

In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.

After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

4 Stars

** Received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion at all. Thank you!! **

First Line:

“No coincidence, no story,” my a-ma recites, and that seems to settle everything, as it usually does, after First Brother finishes telling us about the dream he had last night.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟     PLOT 🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟      ATMOSPHERE 🌟🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟     FEELS 🌟🌟🌟🌟


The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See is a historical fiction about the love of a mother/daughter, adoption, cultural customs, and most importantly tea! This one was a bit out of my element and typical reading genre, but I thought I would give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised!

My Likes

Cultural Diversity

What I found the most eye opening about The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane was everything we get to learn about the Akha people of the Yunnan village. The majority of the villagers make a living from harvesting tea leaves. These are a people that are heavily ruled by superstitions and strict customs. So when Li-yan, our main protagonist has a baby out of wedlock, she must stay hidden and eventually give the baby up for a adoption or risk banishment.

See does a great job with the research it must have taken to put this all together. Weaving two very different stories about culture and diversity is a great feat!

Beautiful Writing

There was an immensely lyrical prose to the writing of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. It has beautiful descriptions and the writing of it was quite immersive. Everything about the way See wrote this book seemed quite authentic and created a unique cultural tone that you don’t find very often when reading.

From beginning to end the prose was able to keep me engaged and wanting to know more about the culture and customs of the Akha people!

Tea Talk!

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is heavily influenced by tea. Not just any tea though, but Pu’re’ tea. I found it immensely fascinating to learn so much about tea that I didn’t know before reading this book. We get to learn about the growing of tea leaves in the Yunnan village, as well as tea customs and traditions such as serving the tea and the economical effects it has on the Akha  people.

See must have done a great deal of research on this subject and it truly reflects in the way she incorporated it into the story!

My Dislikes

Lagging Pace

Towards the middle of the story things started to drag a bit at a snails pace. There were areas of the story that I began to skim because I felt they didn’t add anything major to the overall story line.

Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane!


I highly recommend this one if you want to broaden your reading horizons with more culture and diversity you wouldn’t normally get from the young adult genre. Let me know what you guys thought of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

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Lisa SeeLisa See was born in Paris but grew up in Los Angeles. She lived with her mother, but spent a lot of time with her father’s family in Chinatown. Her first book, On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family (1995), was a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book. The book traces the journey of Lisa’s great-grandfather, Fong See, who overcame obstacles at every step to become the 100-year-old godfather of Los Angeles’s Chinatown and the patriarch of a sprawling family.