Portrait by Tao Nguyen

Saturday, June 20, 2015


If you're looking for summer reads to download onto your e-readers I'm offering two:

"VANILLA GRASS" Kindle & Nook


Every character in Vanilla Grass touched me in some way. The characters are developed through precise dialog and very realistic circumstances, whether an isolated Vietnam veteran or an alienated teenager. This novel brings to life not only the essence of redemption but does so through exploration of some very complicated and humanly challenging circumstances. The effects of war on life and identity are very real . The struggles of disenfranchised young adults and the search for connection that we all struggle to achieve jump,out of every page. The healing power of dogs not only brings together the commonality of the characters but highlights the essence of what really pulls our characters through PTSD and other live traumas. This is a very sensitive and important story. It is about all of us. It is about healing.

This book kept me going from page one to the end. The author has developed the characters so deeply that I felt I knew each one. It taught me about many important aspects of life that I had not given much thought: the horrific physical and mental burdens returning soldiers suffer, the healing power of dogs trained to give solace; the redemption of wayward teens when someone cares enough to teach them their worth, and the importance of speaking up when peers attempt to lead you in a dangerous direction. Congratulations to Bratspis for this thought-provoking book with a plot I could not only immerse myself into, but I could even smell it.

Every once in awhile, a book comes along that causes you not just to read it, but sit in silence afterwards thinking about what you have been reading. Vanilla Grass is such a book. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. Everyone thinks they know what veterans face when they have PTSD, and you tend to brush aside "at risk teens" with perhaps a unsympathetic view, and oh yes, of course we've all heard about how meaningful a dog can be to a handicapped individual or even one with PTSD, but when you put all three elements into a single story, blend their interactions, speak in their language, and realize how initially, all three were misfits in a throw-away society that really wants to move on and not ask "why," you have a powerful book. In Vanilla Grass you have a powerful document that forces you to mentally address each element. This book was carefully researched by the author giving it, although a novel, a book based in fact. I highly recommend it - especially to Golden Retriever lovers!


For the first time "GOOD FORTUNE" is on sale for only 99 cents! This offer is available at www.smashwords.com.  Enter coupon YT53J at checkout. Available in all formats for download.

Also available on Kindle & Nook for the regular price.


A wonderfully told story, weaving together in a beautiful way the blending and clash of Chinese and American cultures, personal and career choices, family and economic realities, traditional ways and changing values. All set against the magnificent central California coast with characters struggling and succeeding with many of the same issues we face in our own lives. The author completed extensive research into Chinese tradition and culture, and juxtaposes it excellently with the immigrant experience and transition into a new world. The idea and premise of the book sends an insightful and hopeful message about our past, its impact on our present and how we develop our own "Good Fortune".

Good Fortune is a great read. I was captivated by the writing about 2 cultures that melded into one. I loved learning about the culture of the Chinese and was so impressed with the beautiful writing of the author. I was captivated by the first chapter and could not put the book down until I finished it. The story is very unique and yet very real. I would highly recommend this book. A very fast read!

Good Fortune is a lovely story that grabs you from the start as it is easy to read, well-written and easy to identify with the various characters, their individual struggles and their hopes for a brighter future. While Michael is searching for a renewed life purpose after losing his job, Anna longing for her husband to be present in family life at home, and Jennie hoping Michael will commit after finally finding love, each obstacle is a gentle reminder that everyone faces challenges in life. I especially enjoyed how the author encompassed the wisdom and insight of Tong, the older Chinese-born grandfather, as he seeks to share and preserve his grandfather's knowledge, skills and culture with his younger, American-born family members and a complete stranger. Good Fortune is a great book to read anywhere!

Thank you. Happy reading!

Website:  www.lesliebratspis.com
Email:     lesliebratspis@yahoo.com
Twitter:   @LeslieBratspis
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leslie-Bratspis-Vanilla-Grass/1459047377684683

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