Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Five Gold Stars


Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

No violin meant more to former child prodigy and then professional soloist Min Kym than the 1696 Stradivarius she found at age twenty-one. When, years later, thieves steal her violin from her, they essentially steal much more than a wooden instrument. Min Kym relates her story of losing her violin and finding her voice in her memoir, Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung.

This author brings not only music but also her instrument itself to life through her words, so that her violin is thoroughly personified on the page. I’ll confess that the extent of it made me uncomfortable at times, as I don’t believe I’ll ever feel so deeply for an object.

But, as a writer and a bibliophile, it’s not like I don’t get it. (I mean, you may not see me when I hug a novel I’m reading or kiss the spine of one of my own books when it’s finally in print, but know that I do get it.)

I won’t pretend that I understood all of the author’s musical language, or that I recognized all of the renowned names she mentioned–some I did, some I didn’t. I also had a little trouble following the logical flow of her thoughts, here and there.

Yet, it’s those intangible but very real somethings she taps into through music, those indescribable places where the soul takes flight… Whether one has the experience through music, literature, or dance, through culinary arts or through connecting with loved ones–even if we haven’t the words to truly do those places justice, the experiences are universal.

This memoir is a journey, one with soaring highs, desolate lows, and crucial discoveries, and it closes on a note of hope that makes the journey all the more worth it.

“We Own This Place.”–An Excerpt from World of the Innocent

From World of the Innocent, a Love Story


We finished our food, and I thought Marcas was going to take me back home, but he didn’t. “The stars are out, Jhoi. We have to go look at them.” And he took me out to a grassy hill overlooking a big field and a view of the lake further out, where the nighttime lights of a neighboring city were visible across the water. Marcas went to rest flat on his back in the grass, and he advised me to do the same, but I wasn’t used to being on the ground without a blanket or anything, so I sat there with my knees up.

“Lie back, Jhoi. This is nature.”

“Yes, nature is lovely. But that doesn’t mean I want it all over my clothes or in my hair.”

“Your clothes? That’s my jacket you’re wearing.”

“I know. But, still.”

Marcas laughed, linking his fingers behind the hat on his head, and he went on to tell me about the stars and the distant planet we were looking at. I wasn’t sure if he was serious about everything he was saying or if he was merely making some of it up, but it all sounded knowledgeable enough, and it was a pleasure listening to him.

“You’re such a wiggly,” Marcas sighed in the middle of his discourse about the stars. “You worry too much.”

“Do I?” I asked, not moving my eyes from the sky, knowing he was right.

“You’re most Jhoiful when you’re being yourself, you know. Not being afraid. Letting people watch you, listen to your words.”

“My words.” I shook my head. “Yes, I have words, all right. I often wish I had so much more, though.” I turned to look at Marcas then. “Words are words.”

“Yes. They are.” Marcas sat up pretty quickly. “And words are power. Words change minds. Words can dominate. They bolster faith. Inability isn’t always the only reason why we fail to do things. A lot of times, we don’t do what we should because we don’t believe we can anymore.” Marcas reached up to lift his hat a ways, scratching at his head. “Not everyone we watch has to be someone we think must have already ‘arrived’ in every way possible. Sometimes we just need to see someone who still has the faith to tell us that we can get there. We just need someone who believes.”

I stared at Marcas as he stood to his feet, brushing blades of grass from his clothes. “I think our dinner has settled,” he said. “Let’s go for a run.”

“Go for a run?” I looked out at the field. “Now?”

“Of course now. Look around! What time would be better? Come on, Ladybug. This is our world,” Marcas answered, beginning to make his way down the hill. “We own this place.”

Watching Marcas take off through the grass, I thought to remain sitting there and to call after him. Ours? The Bible says the earth is the Lord’s. But I couldn’t ignore the sudden rush of restless vigor that shot through my legs, and before I knew it, I was up and giggling, chasing Marcas down the hill.

It was possible that any one in our audience of stars or distant city lights may have been wondering what these two, laughing adults were doing, running and playing in a field at night.

I’d never seen Marcas run before.


A tale of love, enduring belief, and the meaning of innocence–based on a true story.
World of the Innocent

World of the Innocent Release Day!

Love, enduring belief, and the meaning of innocence—based on a true story…

“Beautifully written… It’s a novel for anyone who loves.” ~Christian Bookaholic

It’s Release Day!
The Kindle Edition of my literary love story, World of the Innocent, is now available at Amazon.
You can pick up a copy for a special new release price, or read it free with Kindle Unlimited.

World of the Innocent at Amazon

The paperback edition is also available at my eStore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Of Dubious and Questionable Memory by Rachel McMillan

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Of Dubious and Questionable Memory by Rachel McMillan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Lady detective duo Herringford and Watts are at it again in 1911 Toronto, with the case of…a kidnapped rooster. Not much danger there. However, when they receive word from a suffragette friend about an affianced woman gone missing, the case will bring Merinda and Jem to the United States in Of Dubious and Questionable Memory by author Rachel McMillan.

So! Another fun mystery short along the way of this detective series. Only, well, I wouldn’t call it much of a mystery. And I’m not saying that because there’s no murder, as murder mysteries aren’t the only mysteries around.

The story has nice nods to Little Women and Orchard House that fans of Louisa May Alcott can appreciate. There’s much ado about married life, the antics of friends, workers’ rights, and, yes, even hubbub about a rooster. But the actual mystery elements might only take up half of the novella or less.

Hence, I’d tell readers looking for stunning sleuth work not to get their hopes up here, but it’s a worthwhile read to learn more about the characters in the series. On to the next Herringford and Watts novel…


Here’s my review of A Singular and Whimsical Problem.

A Singular and Whimsical Problem (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #.5) The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder (Herringford and Watts, #1) A Lesson in Love and Murder (Herringford and Watts Mysteries, #2)

Conductor of Light (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #2.5) The White Feather Murders (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #3)