Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Nikola Reviews Bred To Win By William Kinsolving Rating: A State of Shock All The Way Through

Before completing this six hundred page book you would think this book is about Annie a young woman who comes from nothing unexpectedly has a chance encounter that changes her life forever.  Taking her from the bottom of a poverty stricken social class to the top tier of social status on two continents.  From the first page of this book you begin to cheer for Annie after she decides on a whim to escape a life and a family that has done nothing but abuse and suffocate her. Annie travels to New York in an act of desperation with nothing but a dream and chance encounter that opens doors to a new world unknown or privy to people of her class or social status.

However, after completing this book and being in awe of the brilliance of the author who wrote it.  I discovered this story is much greater than Annie's or characters like Sam, who is a trust fund married social elite who professes to love Annie but somehow falls short at every expectation. Winnie who I would like to call Mr. Darcy (from Pride and Prejudice if anyone has seen it) who lifts every burden that Annie ever had off her shoulders with one offer. Frank Carney a complicated man that lives in self defeat yet offers a special gift to Annie not many posses, Speed Oliver who takes a back seat in the first half of the book but later his life challenges bloom and makes readers ride with him to victory. Helena who much like her mother Annie has a surprise special encounter that all of us will have (the readers and  the characters I mentioned) that offers hope, a second chance, to win in life and on the track. Each of these characters will take readers on an emotional roller coaster that will make it hard to put the book down and be sad when it ends. When the reader thinks they have this book and the characters figured out, it will surprise you and leave you with conflicted feelings of anticipation.

Readers will think they've figured out why this book is called Bred to Win, as you take a journey with Annie through the trials, setbacks, triumphs, corruption, heartbreak, and the ridiculous drama of  the very low and high society of thoroughbred racing. 

Readers will root for Annie as she fights for respect amongst New York's high society and the unwelcoming world of royal and elite thoroughbred owners and their long linage line of select horses.

At this point in Annie's journey readers will again think they have it all figured out but Kinsolving saves the best for last.

Readers will learn only with one character who I have deliberately not mentioned and at the completion of this story readers will understand fully why this book is Titled, Bred to Win. 

 I will tell readers this- when you are introduced to this deliberately unmentioned, unexpected character, you will begin to recognize that the life of this character parallels with Annie's because she comes from nothing,has always been underestimated, and disregarded until heart and passion crosses the finish line first.

This book should definitely be turned into a movie, however, I think one special character deserves the honor of his own book.

Reviewers Hint: What flows through our body gives us life and determines our direction.

Review Written By Nikola Naylor-Warren
Email Request for Book or Movie Reviews
Send E-Ticket for Viewings to Call or Text (724)213-0063

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Nikola Reviews A Sister To Honor By Lucy Ferriss Rating: An Excellent Read

A Sister To Honor by Lucy Ferriss is about Afia a Pakistan women from a strict family where customs and traditions are expected to be followed and obeyed with every generation.  Afia is the first women of her generation allowed to continue on to higher education. Instead of marrying first, which is her families expectations. Afia joins her brother Shahid in an opportunity to study abroad. Afia's father, with much reservation, allows Afia to go abroad and achieve her collegiate goals with strict expectations more specifically to remain separate from men.

This is a Romeo and Juliet story line that involves customs and traditions instead of bloodlines and family names.  A Sister To Honor has a plot that thickens as the story introduces multi-layered characters who slowly chip away at the progress that Afia attempts to make as a modern Pakistan women in a foreign society with social advances and opportunities.  In the story line you will learn of Afia's friend, a Pakistan women who tried to reach the same level of independence and unfortunately faced an unlucky fate of being limited by Pakistan expectations for  women.

Afia's brother Shahid faces different challenges as he tries to live up to family expectations, maintaining an athletic scholarship, managing both his personal and professional relationships, and looking out for his sister Afia to make sure she obeys her family wishes and stays out of trouble while away at college. However, in his strong attempt to do so, the issues of life and emotions of human nature such as love, ambition, control, jealousy, and defiance seep through in different ways in each of the characters causing an avalanche of Shahids efforts that end in a heartbreaking, sacrificial, defeating way, which alters their lives forever.

Last but not least, it's not a foreign concept to know that often it's the ones closest to you that try to hold you back as Afia will discover with her half brother Khalid who battles with jealous rage over his families treatment of him, and the favor and promise that is shown to Afia and Shahid.

This book was a page turner, which I also think should be turned into a coming of age film.  You will turn every page with anticipation and suspense.

If you enjoy this book:  Also check out A Thousand Splendid Suns By Khaled Hosseini... I read this years ago with my sister and I could not put it down.

Thank You for Reading My Book Review

If you are looking for an online book or movie critic contact me at

Below are Nikola's Book Reviews Posted on Another Blog Feb 6th, 2017

Absolute Page Turners

Originally Posted on February 6th, 2017

Absolute Page Turners

Written By Nikola Warren I was with my sister this weekend we went to church and had breakfast together at Silk City in Philadelphia. It felt good getting some adult time. My sister makes an effort to help generate positive energy in almost everything she does. We started to discuss books she and I read. She also wanted me to make sure I remembered to take her Christmas gift back with me to Pittsburgh, which was a book she decided to buy for me because it had helped her so much called "The Five Minute Journal". In our discussion about books we both read, I realized I had read so many books that were so good, that perhaps sharing it with book lovers would be a good blog entry. "I've learned that regardless of a persons state of mind- life goes on anyway, making the best of it helps us have a better day." NW In an effort to add interesting post to my blog and not to make everything so serious all the time. I decided to add absolute page turners to my blog. If you are a reader and you love good books that will be hard to put down in between your hectic schedule pick up one of these books. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, I loved this book from page one, it was witty, crude, hilarious, and it brought to the forefront the obvious prejudices and phoniness that is accepted and considered appropriate by certain ranks of society. Kwan lets you into a world that plays by separate rules set aside from even its own culture. Crazy Rich Asians is a page turner, you will laugh and shake your head in Trump style, for sure.
The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian, if anyone loves the story of The Great Gatsby then you will love this story it gives an interesting perspective and a thought provoking twist on what is assumed by the reader of each characters attitude and intentions of the original story.
The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards regardless if you've seen the Lifetime movie or not, one who has read and seen both, the book is better, it pulls you into a readers trance right away, and leaves you with vivid anticipation at every page turn. The depth of each character and the curiousity that develops by the reader is one that exposes the audaciousness and fallacies of love.
Ruby by Cynthia Bond I will warn my readers that this book is a tough one. This book flows in clarity and in sequence of past memories that build and destroy the souls of women with deep dark roots that expose the harshness of culture, poverty, and religion. It tells a story that often goes hidden. At times you will have to put it down, it will spin your heart and mind, it opens the closets of trust. It depicts a fight for the soul when God appears to be unreachable. I cried in triumph while reading this book.
Taming of the Queen by Phillippa Gregory offers a metaphor and contradiction and true understanding that even for powerful woman learning to tame the air that they breathe is a crucial art to survival. This novel tells the story of Catherine Parr the last surviving Queen of Henry VIII. It pages in awing detail a prophetic and delicate path that not only a beautiful, but smarter woman than her husband, must take with a King who aligns his self on both sides of the chess board. Leaving his Queen consistently exposed to attacks and threats of changing allegiance.
In Order To Live by Yeonmi Park is a psychological and emotional journey of an immigrant girl who escapes the oppression of North Korea and the human trafficking slave trade of China. I learned quickly when reading this book from the story of a tiny frail woman that oppression and depression is not a good excuse for failure. This book is a well written autobiography that offers an enriching philosophy of using pain and humiliation to push you through some of humanities most darkest moments. This book exposes the spirit of existence and the hardship of surviving without will or mercy in a world that does not see you. Yenomi takes readers through a world of life lessons learned in darkness and leaves readers in the light of hope and perseverance. Blog Disclaimer: All book summaries written on this blog were formulated and written by Nikola Warren from my own perspective of each book I read and should not be copied.

If Your Children Are Fans of Build A Bear, Then Here's A Bedtime Story To Read To Them For Free As a Kindle Subscriber

 NikolaReviews recommends a book I published a called  What Happened to Junior? A Child and Bear Memoir available on Kindle and For Book Ord...