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review 2019-04-12 13:02
When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
When We Left Cuba - Chanel Cleeton

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was such a wonderful story! I really enjoyed Chanel Cleeton's Next Year in Havana so I was really excited to learn that one of my favorite characters in that book would get to tell her own story. This is that story. The events in this book take place after those in Next Year in Havana and while I enjoyed seeing all of the characters again, this story stands on its own. I was hooked by this story from the very beginning and had a fantastic time with this book.

This is really a big story. Beatriz and her family are living in Florida after fleeing Cuba when Castro came into power. The family has suffered a lot of losses and it has been a difficult adjustment. Beatriz and her family hope to go back to Cuba but are also trying to make a life in Florida. Beatriz's mother would like to see all of her daughters married but Beatriz has other ideas. She has turned down quite a few marriage proposals and is more focused on revenge.

This story was filled with excitement. Beatriz works with the CIA and let's just say that her life is far from boring. She was passionate about the cause that she was working towards and it was really quite interesting to see her in action. Some of her missions were more exciting than others but it was great to see her in action. 

I was really taken by the romance in this story. It was not your average romance and I am actually somewhat surprised that I was so taken with it but I just found myself swept away by their chemistry. Nick and Beatriz were just great together. They were incredibly attracted to each other and couldn't seem to stay apart even when they tried. There were so many things that seemed to work against the possibility of a relationship between them but they just couldn't stay away from each other. There were things about their relationship that made me sad and I wouldn't necessarily say everything turns out well but I think they were both better for knowing each other.

I really enjoyed the politics and history that were a part of this book. This was such an eventful period of time and I loved seeing some of the events that I have learned about worked into this story. I thought that all of the little details that the author included really added to the authenticity of the story. 

I would highly recommend this book to others. This was a captivating story about a passionate character working to make a difference in the world while trying to find some happiness for herself. I cannot wait to read more from this talented author.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
This was great. I loved Beatriz in Next Year in Havana and knew I had to read her story. She is really an amazing character. This book has a lot of politics and history worked into the story which I found really interesting. There is some romance in the book and I must say that the chemistry between Nick and Beatrice was so well done. I felt like it may not be the best relationship for either of them but I just understood why they wanted to be together. Definitely a book to pick up.

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review 2019-04-09 08:04
Review: When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
When We Left Cuba - Chanel Cleeton

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Chanel Cleeton’s writing simply enchants in When We Left Cuba. I was intrigued by Beatriz Perez in Next Year in Havana and I couldn’t wait to see if her story would be as engaging as she is. Spoiler alert: it is.

Beatriz is a vibrant, complex heroine full of passion, longing, and determination. After losing nearly everything when Castro rose to power, the Perez family is making a new life for themselves in Florida. Now on the fringes of high society instead of at the center, Beatriz’s mother despairs and looks to marry off her daughters and secure their futures. Only this new life and her mother’s ambitions don’t suit Beatriz at all. The idea of marriage and motherhood chafes even more than it once did in the wake of their exile and her twin’s murder. What Beatriz wants is revenge against Castro and a better future for Cuba. And when the opportunity to work for the CIA arises, Beatriz takes it. Suddenly she’s embroiled in a world of politics and espionage, her secret life taking her farther away from her family. It’s a struggle for Beatriz to keep one foot in both worlds, a fight made harder as she falls in love with a powerful man whose destiny is so different from her own.

Beatriz possesses an inner fire that makes the pages of When We Left Cuba fly by. Her struggle to claim her identity, to make the life she wants when the people she loves are pulling her in another direction was compelling. It’s not an easy road she travels, but I had a huge amount of respect for Beatriz and the hard choices she makes. I don’t want to say much more for fear of spoiling the story. Suffice it to say that Ms. Cleeton does an amazing job of blending fact and fiction, of placing Beatriz in the midst of a tumultuous point in history and bringing all facets of that era to life. Ms. Cleeton makes you care about the characters from the very first page and even if you’re well-versed in 1960s Cuban-American politics you’ll still be sucked into the story, wanting to see how things turn out for Beatriz and the people she loves. 

When We Left Cuba is filled with passion, love, intrigue, struggles, heartbreak, and hope. As with Next Year in Havana, Ms. Cleeton’s writing is gorgeous and I found myself swept away by Beatriz’s story.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2019/04/review-when-we-left-cuba-by-chanel.html
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text 2018-10-02 13:10
18 Splendid Vacay Spots to Pack Your Bags For

10 years later, it won’t be exciting at all to brag about the hours you spent at the office! But it would absolutely be thrilling to talk about the sharks you saw while sailing through the oceans and the heights you first got scared off while you glanced the world from those sky-scraping mountains!


The world is soaring high with magnificent hues for you to get tinted in and unmask the magic of breathtaking rivers, cliffs, valleys, and forests. So give it a break, calm yourself down and sneak out from your bustling life making it standstill for a few days! Let me tell you about some spell-binding destinations that’d be perfect for you this year to set off to! Pick your favorites from the ones jotted below, find peace and reboot!

Istanbul, Turkey

This beautiful mélange of the East and the West will take you past some stupefying mosques, minarets, and palaces along with ferry rides over the Sea of Marmara.

Prague, Czech Republic

One of the most popular destinations it is with a bunch of old towns and castles taking you to the era of kingdoms and thrones!

San Francisco, California

Head towards this fog loaded city to witness the great Golden Gate Bridge, ride in the cable cars and take over some wine tours and tastings.

St. Lucia

This island country lets you relax on the warm sand along the beaches, glare into the clear skies beside waterfalls and dive into the depths of the oceans.

Costa Rica

Take a walk in the forests, see the smoke emitting volcanic mountains and get crazy selfies with the wildlife creatures in the finest parks here.

Santorini, Greece

It’s a stunning blend of the whites and the blues. You’ll be enthralled to wander in the streets amid the spectacularly built houses here.

Rome, Italy

The capital city of Italy has some fascinating masterpieces of architecture, art, and culture together with some captivating ancients and ruins.

Bilbao, Spain

The food lovers should definitely hit it as this city has some of the best restaurants in the entire world besides a rich culture and architecture.

Phuket, Thailand

It has all at one place! Oceans, mountains, rainforests and an amazing culture of Asia will unwind you for sure!

Lisbon, Portugal

Climb up this hilly city to visit its historical museums and pastel color coverings on the houses and buildings.

Budapest, Hungary

Get relaxed at this city of spas and baths and look on how the splendid Buda and Pest meets through the chain bridge here.

Vienna, Austria

Vacay on this largest city of Austria and see the astonishing work done by great artists on historic buildings here.

Chicago, Illinois

Ape up on the monstrous buildings and skyscrapers in Chicago and get to know how it all looks from above.

Bratislava, Slovakia

You get here some real peaceful moments around the old hamlets and fine vineyards with no crowds hovering over.

Petra, Jordan

Petra will make you take a ride on camels, show you forts and the mesmerizing stones of the Middle East.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Visit this bewitching city made of huge stone walls and limestone paved streets to hush your inner chaos. Top Vouchers Code, an online discount provider, has a massive collection of travel portals to feed your needs for an exotic holiday booking.

Valletta, Malta

This sunniest city will make your heart sing along the restored churches, enticing palazzos, and ancient constructions.

Cuba

At this lively spot, you’ll be all yourself while stepping forward in streets surrounded by beautifully painted walls and vintage cars.

 

 

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review 2017-01-13 17:20
A Journey from Corporate to Cuba
Cubicle to Cuba: Desk Job to Dream Job - Heidi Siefkas

Heidi Siefkas isn't the first author to leave a corporate job for a life of writing and adventure; but she's one of the few who found this path heading to Cuba: a land exotic, forbidden, and in many ways not too far from her own familiar world. And while her adventures begin with and always seem to return to Cuba, they embrace a lifestyle that takes her on world travels which are also narrated here. 

 

Cubicle to Cuba: Desk Job to Dream Job follows Heidi Siefkas through Cuba after she makes a life-changing decision that catapults her from a safe, secure, albeit demanding cubicle job to an uncertain, vivid life as a world-traveling writer, and it "...will teach you about Cuba, but it will also inspire you to think out of the cubicle, travel more, and embark on your own Life 2.0." 

 

Unlike many workers, Siefkas didn't leave because her job was changing for the worse. She left because she felt 'stuck' in the choices she'd made, even though she was in a managerial position at a new start-up. The overall structure of her life was frustrating, so when an unexpected call from a friend offered the chance to travel to Cuba in a new capacity as a tour guide, she decided to take the plunge into the unknown and accept far different working conditions than the set roles and cubicle world politics that were stifling her. 

 

Cubicle to Cuba chronicles this process of change, but what really sets it apart from a travelogue or the usual "I left my job for freedom" approach is the author's attention to detailing the daily experiences of Cuban travel and life; especially when she outlines the spirit of Cuba's peoples.

 

With passages such as these, Cubicle to Cuba deftly reveals the heart of the country and its peoples, juxtaposing cultural observations with travel tips and experiences revolving around bathrooms, water, safety, and more. After setting its foundations in Cuba, Siefkas visits and contrasts other places using a precise "you are there" feel and specific insights that allow for clear comparisons of Cuba's differences to, say, Hawaii.

 

Cubicle to Cuba is a lively journey that is highly recommended for general readers and, especially, for two audiences: those who want experiential accounts of Cuba, and corporate workers who dream of taking the leap into a different kind of lifestyle. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-05-07 21:15
Adios Muchachos
Adios Muchachos - Daniel Chavarría,Daniel Chavarría,Carlos Lopez

Overall impression: This would be a great Tarantino movie.

 

The first character introduced is Alicia who is refreshingly pragmatic to the point of potentially discomfiting the reader. She engages in a clever form of prostitution, using a unique ploy involving a combination of the bicycle, outfit, and natural assets as shown in the cover picture, accepting only practical gifts like air conditioners or the like from her lovers, then selling the items on the black market for cash. Her ultimate goal is to pick the richest and most tolerable of her lovers to marry and live the rest of her life in luxury. One of the great things about her character is how close she is to her mother to the point that her mom is part of her scheme and later she refuses to leave her mother behind when an opportunity for a better life comes up.

 

The other main characters include a businessman (read: conman) going by the name Victor King (which is a GREAT name for a criminal, by the way) and a character so defined by his peculiarly large facial trait that he is frequently referred to as The Nose. Clearly, I was not as impressed by them as the character of Alicia.

 

I would be interested in reading this in the original Spanish, partially because I'm sure the jokes about Victor King's Mexican accent would be hilarious. That aside, trigger warnings apply. This is also not a novel for the faint of heart because the sex scenes are graphic and, er, creative.

 

-- "When her clients were around, Alicia made a point of using strategic bits of profanity. Two elegant women who knew how to employ timely profanities gave the impression of being above it all, emancipated, liberal, chic. No decent woman of humble origins would ever curse in the presence of someone she was trying to impress. And these foreigners, accustomed as they were to the subjugation of prostitutes in the Third World, found the offhand use of obscenity by these two Cuban women surprising and, ultimately, captivating."

 

-- "Damn, she's good, Alicia thought. The old bird is not going to try to convince me not to do it; she's making me convince her that I shouldn't go through with it.Reverse psychology for the win.

 

-- "The foreign tourists lounging around the pool who saw the maneuver were all from countries where it was very unseemly for people to notice or comment on other people's affairs. There were some Cuban witnesses, of course, but they figured that as long as these foreigners kept the tips coming in and did nothing openly offensive, well, they could have their luggage delivered to their rooms any way they wished." This is probably my most favorite line in the whole book because of how many things it summarizes in such a perfectly concise way.

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