Tuesday 31 May 2022

tuesday reviews day — book reviews

It's been too long since my last book review so I thought it was high time I started doing them again.

In April 2021, I bought a new Kindle Oasis and I love it so much! I had the Kindle Paperwhite previously and I did love that too but I decided to upgrade when Amazon offered a special price for the Oasis only to owners of earlier Kindle versions. It was too good a deal to pass up. So you will see my Kindle Oasis in the following images. 


First up is The Scavenger's Daughters by Kay Bratt

This is the first book of the series which was inspired by a true story. Kay Bratt weaves a beautiful story which is heart-wrenching too.  Have the tissues at the ready.

As a young man, Benfu was imprisoned and tortured during China's Cultural Revolution but he managed to escape. He found love with Calla Lily and, living in extreme poverty, he worked as a scavenger — collecting trash to hopefully resell or reuse. This was during the time of China's One Child Policy and sadly, male babies were desired, female babies were not, as well as babies who had afflictions or deformities. They would end up abandoned at the local tip or near a train station. Benfu would sometimes find a baby girl among the trash and he would bring them home to his wife where, though poor, they would shower these beautiful baby girls with love and affection and raise them as their own.

Benfu and Calla Lily had a deep loss of their own when, years before, they lost their own daughter not long after birth. There is more to that story. As their 'found' daughters grow, an incident threatens to tear their close-knit family apart. 

My thoughts - Kay Bratt sure knows how to tell a story that tugs at the heartstrings. She also gives a good description of the times in China under a strict rule.  I found myself living in the book with this family. I shed many tears and also shared in their triumphs. After reading this book, I bought all the rest in the series and devoured them. Well, apart from #5 which I only just discovered so I'm yet to read it.  
A well deserved 5 stars from me!

The other books in the series -

Tangles Vines #2
Bitter Winds #3
Red Skies #4
The Palest Ink #5 (Prequel)
Next up is Silent Tears by Kay Bratt

This is a true story of Kay Bratt's personal experience when volunteering at a Chinese orphanage.
Kay lived in South Carolina but, in 2003, she relocated to rural China with her 2 daughters and husband when he took a management position with his American employer. Kay found herself feeling isolated with nothing to do so volunteered at a Chinese orphanage. She was shocked to see so many beautiful babies and children being neglected and mistreated. During her time at the orphanage, Kay made an effort to fight bureaucracy to try and improve the living conditions but it was no easy feat. She had to tread very carefully otherwise she may have been told to leave. The authorities did not take kindly to foreigners intervening in their business.
My thoughts - WOW! I was horrified reading parts of this book. How adults could see those little babies and children as worthless is beyond me. The living conditions Kay faced at the orphanage were abhorrent to say the least. Some of those babies died from starvation and neglect. You understand why when you read about the daily routines. Other volunteers couldn't cope for long and left. It weighed heavily on Kay's heart and soul too and she almost quit for her own sanity. However, Kay felt obligated to try and encourage change. It didn't always work but her efforts did make a difference to some degree.
I don't know what it is like today but, back then, girl babies were not wanted. Babies with disabilities and deformities were also abandoned. I couldn't get my head around it at times. To think, those atrocities actually happened to these innocent children. 
Kay is a true hero! 
Yes, I would definitely recommend this book but I would also warn that it is a heart-wrenching read at times, especially knowing it's fact and not fiction.  I learned a lot though and I applaud Kay Bratt for staying against the odds. She did return to her home in the States but still continues to raise awareness for the forgotten in Chinese orphanages.

Another well-deserved 5 stars from me!

And that wraps up my reviews for this week.


  1. Wow! These both sound heart wrenching!
    Your new Kindle looks nice. Is it reading only? How is it in the sun?
    Have a great day, my friend. :)

  2. These sound like good reads Serena. I think I'll add them both to my list with a note not to read the Silent Tears unless I am up for some heart wrenching moments. Thanks for sharing. hugs-Erika

  3. Christine - No worries.

    Rita - It is a read only. Just how I prefer it — no distractions. I don't think I've read from it out in the sun but I think it would still work well. Must test it later.

    Erika - They were good reads. I hope you think so too if you do end up getting them.

  4. wow, these two books sound really intriguing with such a good and powerful story line - sad at times it seems also. thanks for the review.