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Archive for the ‘Book review’ Category

Did you know that genealogy is supposed to be the second most popular hobby in the U.S. (USA Today)? That’s next to gardening. At our house we have them both covered because my husband is a gardener! Since we live in Arizona and he works so hard in our yard, every week a new cactus has bloomed.

I am so grateful for how Kin Types has been received. As you know, the research and the writing itself was a labor of love. The book is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Finishing Line Press.

I’d like to ask you a little favor–if you read the book and liked what you read. Can you please consider leaving a little review, particularly on Amazon (or if you bought it on B&N leave it on that site)? You are allowed to leave a review at Amazon even if you purchased it elsewhere, such as through the publisher directly.

If the thought of a review sounds time-consuming and even scary, consider that all it takes is to rate it with stars and write one or two sentences about why you liked the book. Reviews are what bring other readers to a book.

Here are the links to leave reviews (or to purchase Kin Types):

https://www.amazon.com/Kin-Types-Luanne-Castle/…/ref=sr_1_1…

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kin-types-luan…/1126805378…

If you pre-ordered the book through the publisher, you can post the same review over there.

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/…/kin-types-by-luanne-c…/

And if you happen to be on Goodreads, please post it over there as well.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35846198-kin-types

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Ian at the blog Researching Myself has kindly reviewed Kin Types!

ReSearching MySelf

Kin TypesKin Types by Luanne Castle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t normally read poetry, but as a follower of Luanne Castle’s blogs where I have enjoyed her writing and her thoughts on genealogy immensely, I decided to take the plunge. Well! I was not disappointed.

The big thing that struck me about Luanne’s chapbook was the ingenious idea of writing about one’s ancestors in poetic form. As a non-family member, it can be difficult to read straight-up family memoir, but Luanne has found a way to make these unknown characters come alive for us, give us a glimpse into their lives and thus remind us of our common humanity. As the avid genealogist she is, it would have been easy to write a prosaic family history of who-did-what-when, but this is so tantalizingly different. Luanne has gotten inside the old photographs and behind the family stories and gives…

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A huge thank you to Sue Vincent who featured KIN TYPES on her blog today! I’m so grateful to you, Sue! And another poem from the collection revealed.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Jennie Bomhoff Zuidweg

The poems and flash prose in Kin Types were begun as I accumulated family stories and information over the years. My grandfather had an excellent memory and was an enthusiastic storyteller, so over time I came to feel that I knew his parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, although they died decades before I was born.

When my grandfather got older, he gave me a collection of glass plate negatives that had belonged to his uncle, as well as antique photographs. As my family noticed my interest, they began to send me other heirlooms, including documents and more photographs. I started to research my family history, using online websites. Then I started a WordPress blog called thefamilykalamazoo.com, and readers from around the world contacted me, sending me yet more information.

As I became more knowledgeable about my family, the stories I heard at my grandfather’s knee were enhanced…

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Amy Bess Cohen, who writes the excellent genealogy blog Brotman Blog: A Family Journey  about her family’s history has written Pacific Street, available now at Amazon.


The story of Cohen’s grandparents, Isadore and Gussie, is an inspiring coming-to-America tale with all the resonance of actual experience. Cohen has painstakingly documented the early part of her relatives’ lives through historical research using official documents and has incorporated information shared through family stories.

She has researched the settings and cultures described and added her own imagination to infuse the book with appropriate details and descriptions. This is no dry historical telling, but a well-structured adventure full of tragedies and triumphs like a novel, although more accurately, it is creative nonfiction in the historical subgenre.

As Cohen alternates the narratives of Isadore and Gussie (until their stories merge together near the end), the reader becomes one with the characters. The loneliness of both characters is excruciating, especially since family is so important to both of them.

Isadore is forced to immigrate to the United States by himself when he was only sixteen years old, and when he arrives the aunt entrusted to welcome him to the new world is emotionally unavailable to him. Gussie in many ways still lives the immigrant life of her parents’ generation. Her world is circumscribed and without time for play. When the two finally meet up in a very romantic first encounter, the reader is more than ready that these two find happiness.

Will their happiness last? The book resolves that question in a realistic manner. It will be a worthwhile experience for any reader to follow Isadore and Gussie on their journeys.

As a writer who frequently works with history and, especially, family history, I was impressed by Cohen’s ability to describe many characters in large families in a way that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. When I began the book and when I finished the book, I had the same thought: that the genre of this book can be further refined to young adult. The material is as complex and fascinating as any for the adult reader, but the approach to adult themes and the focus on the coming-of-age period of life for both protagonists is consistent with books for older children and teen readers, as well as adults.

This is a book you might want to read yourself and then pass on to your child or grandchild. It’s a story of family for families.

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