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Rain Song

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Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan...something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone...something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fi Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan...something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone...something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney. Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy Web site, she meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his e-mails tug at her heart. Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does...


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Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan...something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone...something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fi Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan...something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone...something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney. Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy Web site, she meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his e-mails tug at her heart. Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does...

30 review for Rain Song

  1. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    I love the gentleness of this book...it has the perfect amount of humor. This is written in first person present and brings to life Nicole's fears and desires. The romance is minimal and clean...I love how her relationship develops with Harrison 😉 This is an easy read with good faith content and it's full of reminders to enjoy every good moment. I love the gentleness of this book...it has the perfect amount of humor. This is written in first person present and brings to life Nicole's fears and desires. The romance is minimal and clean...I love how her relationship develops with Harrison 😉 This is an easy read with good faith content and it's full of reminders to enjoy every good moment.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melodie

    Living in North Carolina, I am partial to books that feature my adopted state.Set in 1999 in the town of Mount Olive, the book gives shameless plugs to the Mount Olive pickle company and Pepsi. I'm perfectly fine with that.I'm all about local flavor! I enjoyed the family featured as well. There was plenty of quirky, dramatic, frequently over the top behavior. Of course at it's heart this family loves one another, warts and all. However the female lead really got on my nerves. Tragedy in her chil Living in North Carolina, I am partial to books that feature my adopted state.Set in 1999 in the town of Mount Olive, the book gives shameless plugs to the Mount Olive pickle company and Pepsi. I'm perfectly fine with that.I'm all about local flavor! I enjoyed the family featured as well. There was plenty of quirky, dramatic, frequently over the top behavior. Of course at it's heart this family loves one another, warts and all. However the female lead really got on my nerves. Tragedy in her childhood, has left her passive in the extreme. Content to just coast and let life happen to her,I wondered how she managed it make it through college! This willingness to allow others to make decisions for her drove me crazy. But inexplicably, I enjoyed the bok overall. I'm hoping in the second book, the author gives her lead some gumption!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mikayla

    Not a bad book, but simply not my type.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)

    About this book: “Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan. Something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone. Something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney. Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy Web site, she m About this book: “Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan. Something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone. Something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney. Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy Web site, she meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his e-mails tug at her heart. Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does! Will Nicole face her fears in order to discover her past and take a chance on love?” Series: Book #1 in the “Heart of Carolina” series. {It does not look like they are not connected.} Spiritual Content- Prayers; Many Scriptures & passages are read, quoted & mentioned; Talks about God & worrying; Questions about God; ‘H’s are capital when referring to God; Many mentions of God & His ways; Many mentions of prayers & blessings over food; Mentions of those in the Bible & Bibles; Mentions of churches, pastors & sermons; Mentions of Easter Sunday; A few mentions of hymns; A few mentions of sins; A mention of lent; *Note: Mentions of Japanese temples, shrines & superstitions; Mentions of ghosts; A mention of horoscopes; A mentions of an alien. Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘wimp’ and four forms of ‘dumb’; Nightmares; Many mentions of smoking & cigarettes (semi-detailed); Mentions of deaths & a fire (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of fights & injuries (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of drinks, liquor & being sober; Mentions of divorce; A few mentions of serial killers & murders; A few mentions of blood & pain (up to semi-detailed); A few mentions of jail; A few mentions of tattoos; A mention of a guinea pig who was killed (no details); *Note: A mention of Starbucks; A mention of GQ magazine; A mentions of yoga. Sexual Content- Noticing & Smelling; An ex-boyfriend & breakup; Mentions of falling in love; Mentions of kisses; Mentions of child birth (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a man who’s called a playboy; Mentions of affairs & husbands cheating; Mentions of a married man being seen as cozy with another woman & them spending time under the covers (no details); A few mentions of exes; A mention of miscarriages; A mention of a seductive smile; A mention of a prostitute in the Bible; A mention of a 16 year old girl who gave up her body (no true details); *Note: A mention of shaving legs; A mention of a woman who an endowed chest & tiny waist; A mention of a bra; A mention of a tank top & tiny shorts; A few mentions of how a woman’s butt looks in a pair of shorts. -Nicole Michelin, age 31 1st person P.O.V. of Nicole {Set in 1999 {I refuse to mark that as Historical. ;)} 320 pages ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* Pre Teens- One Star New Teens- One Star (and a half) Early High School Teens- Three Stars Older High School Teens- Four Stars My personal Rating- Four Stars This was a really different kind of book! I really enjoyed it and found that I literally had nearly every good emotion you can have while reading a book. I laughed, cried, cheered Nicole on, and thought. There is a lot of thought-provoking paragraphs in “Rain Song”. While I’m sure some people would find it slow, I was very interested in the setting and low-key relaxed plot. I found this novel to be very enjoyable and very well written. :) {Also, #coverlove! It’s so cute!} Link to review: https://booksforchristiangirls.blogsp... *BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    Rain song is a story about a woman who, having lived with fears and lived by tradition all her life, finally manages to face those fears - and even buck tradition. Unfortunately, the main character is really passive, and most things happen to her rather than with her initiating the change. This makes her a pretty boring character. And she's unlikeable, too (I spent most of the book just wanting to tell her to GET OVER IT); she blames everything wrong with her on the fact that her mother is dead; Rain song is a story about a woman who, having lived with fears and lived by tradition all her life, finally manages to face those fears - and even buck tradition. Unfortunately, the main character is really passive, and most things happen to her rather than with her initiating the change. This makes her a pretty boring character. And she's unlikeable, too (I spent most of the book just wanting to tell her to GET OVER IT); she blames everything wrong with her on the fact that her mother is dead; (view spoiler)[then instead of realising that something that happened before you can even remember it, Ms Otherwise-Perfect-Childhood, probably isn't why everything in your life is a dead end, she just gets closure about her mother. Drip-fed. Throughout the novel. By a deus ex machina character. (hide spoiler)] The romance in the book is nice, but there's no suspense in it; and the story isn't structured very well. The characters (apart from the unmotivated heroine and her too-good-to-be-true love interest) are likeable and energetic, especially the autistic child and her struggling mother. The book picks up a little towards the end; about a third of the way through I stopped hating myself for still reading*, and by about 80% of the way through I was actively wanting to read on. Still, though, I wouldn't recommend this book - it's just too dull. *I don't like to stop reading a book. Generally I'll struggle to the end, even if I don't like the book. Side note: a character who is an English teacher and complains about your/you're, etc, shouldn't have an author who spells barbecue as "barbeque". To make matters worse, it's several times written one way, and several times as the other. Please, people, get a copy-writer!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This was a free e-book I downloaded on a whim. I'm glad it was free, I wouldn't want to spend money on it. The story was like many others I have read. There was a tragedy that changed the main character forever, a strong family member who keeps the main character together, a chance encounter, a bad event that puts a bump in the road and self-discovery. Not only was it boring though, it was also poorly written. Nicole, the main character, is passive and hard to relate to. I found myself annoyed wit This was a free e-book I downloaded on a whim. I'm glad it was free, I wouldn't want to spend money on it. The story was like many others I have read. There was a tragedy that changed the main character forever, a strong family member who keeps the main character together, a chance encounter, a bad event that puts a bump in the road and self-discovery. Not only was it boring though, it was also poorly written. Nicole, the main character, is passive and hard to relate to. I found myself annoyed with her instead of feeling sympathetic. I got tired of hearing her excuses for everything. I understand a tragedy like the one that happens to her can change your life but you can't use it as a crutch forever. The people who do annoy me to no end. She rambled, too. She would be in the middle of a thought and just go off on a tangent. The story dragged. You spend a lot of time hearing about Nicole's fear of Japan, among many other things, and then how she needs to go the Japan to find out about her past only to read about 4 pages of her actually there. This is a Christian book, which I did not know until about 1/2 way through the book when it started to get a bit preachy. www.theutlimatebooknook.blogspot.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    Patti

    A beautifully written tale of a woman who sets out to find her past and finds herself. Liberally sprinkled with lovely prose, this book was well worth the time it took to read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Nicole Michelin has avoided Planes and Japan her whole life, until she starts corresponding with Harrison, a professor from Kyoto. We vacation every year in North Carolina, so I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of the people and the local towns.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Misty Baker

    About a month ago I was traipsing through my local bookstore when I stumbled upon the mother of all clearances. Here I was, standing (trying not to droll) over a box the size of a small country, that was loaded up with $3.00 books, when I noticed a novel with beautiful cover art. So… trying not to solely judge a book by it’s cover… I flipped it over and read the blurb. Assuring myself that the plot sounded promising I tucked the book under my arm, and then turned to find my family. (That of cour About a month ago I was traipsing through my local bookstore when I stumbled upon the mother of all clearances. Here I was, standing (trying not to droll) over a box the size of a small country, that was loaded up with $3.00 books, when I noticed a novel with beautiful cover art. So… trying not to solely judge a book by it’s cover… I flipped it over and read the blurb. Assuring myself that the plot sounded promising I tucked the book under my arm, and then turned to find my family. (That of course had disappeared into the low flying literature mist that my brain formed from the word sale.) Now, of course, getting out of there with only 1 book is completely ludicrous, I think that day I left with 4, but today I will only (mildly) bash one of them. “Rain Song” by Alice J. Wisler. Nicole is a small town girl, and if she has anything to say about it, she will remain that way. She hates motorcycles, airplanes and more recently (since the traumatic death of a distant friend of a friend) roller-coasters. She prefers the company of her fish to the company of actual humans, spends her days teaching middle school English, and her nights calming her paranoid aunts fears about cucumber neglect, but after an article she writes “about fish” prompts a man from Japan to email her… everything she has grown up to know… or not know… is about to change. Will her fear of the past keep her from finding her future? Only 1 person can really answer that… and like I said before… she’s very afraid of flying. I’ll be honest, it took me a little while to get comfortable with the writing in this book. The problem was not the plot (although the abruptness of the 1st email took me a little by surprise) the problem was with the staccato formatting. While most authors will take several thoughts and form one long running paragraph/sentence Wisler’s thoughts were extremely choppy. For example: “When my hands feel like ice, I come inside. Suddenly I know why I haven’t commented to Harrison on his poem. I haven’t written back to him because it is clear he lives in Japan.” After about 10 chapters, my acute awareness of this finally faded and it became the characters natural cadence, but I do think it is something Wisler needs to pay very close attention to if she decides to continue her literary future. The plot was a little slow in places, and the overall story focuses more on her wacky family and their nuances than any actual “budding romance” which the back of the cover leads its potential reader to believe, but either way… it’s mildly enjoyable. It does however teach a very important lesson (which I think is enhanced if you read the authors biography – no I won’t spoil it for you.) I don’t think that everyone will find the same amusement with this novel that I did though, so I leave you with this… read the reviews, weigh your options and if you still feel like spending the dough go for it, just make sure your not looking for life changing (because this is nothing more than – ironically enough – airplane material.) Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: never let your 3 year old niece feed your fish unaccompanied.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    Public library copy. Amazing what wonderful books and authors I've found in my public library, for which I thank God. This book is a book of the heart. Absolutely fabulous writing. About 100 pages to go. Love the title, the character, the cover, the story, the identifying with the character (sometimes feels like she's in my head). Finished. I miss her. Is there more to the story? Really loved this book. It's very real to me. Can't wait to read more of this author. Public library copy. Amazing what wonderful books and authors I've found in my public library, for which I thank God. This book is a book of the heart. Absolutely fabulous writing. About 100 pages to go. Love the title, the character, the cover, the story, the identifying with the character (sometimes feels like she's in my head). Finished. I miss her. Is there more to the story? Really loved this book. It's very real to me. Can't wait to read more of this author.

  11. 5 out of 5

    R.A.

    Second Read Yes, I've re-read yet another book, why do you ask? My heart. <3 This book is one of my top favourites (hence that fact it's in my "my top top favourites" shelf on here...) and it'll never fail to draw me in and love it! The characters are amazing. They all have their quirks - hilarious ones at that - and they're so special! Nicole (the main character) is great! She's definitely not perfect, which is why I love her so much! She bites her nails short, people. She's scared of flying, ridin Second Read Yes, I've re-read yet another book, why do you ask? My heart. <3 This book is one of my top favourites (hence that fact it's in my "my top top favourites" shelf on here...) and it'll never fail to draw me in and love it! The characters are amazing. They all have their quirks - hilarious ones at that - and they're so special! Nicole (the main character) is great! She's definitely not perfect, which is why I love her so much! She bites her nails short, people. She's scared of flying, riding one motorcycles, and roller coasters. I love that she has fish as her pets... and she refuses to buy a phone. She says her computer is all the enhancing she needs, hence what someone at her school told her. I also like she's thirty-one years old, rather than in her twenties or teens. :) I could go on, but then you'd get tired of me. Harrison. He's amazing. This book is super, super clean. A couple times it mentions underwear and stuff like that, but that's normal things in life, so it wasn't awkward. There wasn't any bad Romance content to worry about either. Hallelujah! <3 Reading this over again, I found new things to love about it! It's a bittersweet, hilarious, and wonderful book all in one. You should read it. (You can read my other review if you want, but do it at your own risk. I didn't know how to write reviews "back then.") First Read {I actually finished this this afternoon, but I haven't had a chance to do the review until now! :D} Where do I start? This book was - still is - amazing! The Characters: Nicole - she was such a funny character! Different too, because she was actually early thirty's (age-wise) in the book! She had such funny thoughts and quirks! I didn't really understand her fear for flying, but that's probably because I love flying so much! I love how she talks with her fish too! :D Ducee - I LOVE HER!! She was so sweet, funny, and just plain ol' nice! Yes, that's it, yes. :) (her favourite saying!) Father - Nicole's Father. *sighs sadly* I feel his broken heart could be fixed - he needs a big, big hug! Iva - I loved her too, even though she smokes and doesn't know what to do with herself! Harrison - *covers mouth and squeals* Yes, just yes! He was - is - amazing! (view spoiler)[If only he knew Nicole was dreaming of him and he was a carp fish! :D:D (hide spoiler)] Grable - awwww, I feel so bad for her! (view spoiler)[And that Dennis! I'll get him someday! Grr! (hide spoiler)] Monet - such a normal three year old! She was sweet at times and a brat at times. Oh well. She's only little. ;) Kristine - she's just a mess!! That's all. Richard - *coughs* Nope. Uncle Clive - I had to mention him!! He cracked me up! Uncle Jarvis - hahaha, his jokes! :D All the characters were fun and great, but I can't mention them all!!!! It wasn't hard to be drawn close to each one! The Story-line: I really, really, really loved it!! It was well written! I can't say a lot "out-loud" because of spoilers, so here come the spoiler bits! (view spoiler)[I LOVED the idea about Harrison and Nicole starting to email back and forth because he sent her email about his koi fish!! (She writes articles for this fish blog - can't remember the exact name!) If only she knew where all these emails would lead to!! <3 (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[Such a sad story about Japan, her parents, and herself!!! Wish it could have been happier! But I'm glad she went back! (hide spoiler)] Content: Nothing inappropriate at all!!! YAY! All-in-all: Loved it!!! This is well-worth the read!! I'm so I read it - and have the book form! I recommend this for young teenagers and older, but even then, there wasn't anything content-wise to stop a younger reader from reading it! :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I really enjoyed this book-- it was a kindle freebie that sounded good and it was! This story takes place near Goldsboro, NC in the year 1999. I love books that take place in North Carolina-- whether in the mountains or near the coast-- I just love stories that take place in that beautiful state! The main character, Nicole, is in her early 30's and is a middle school English teacher. She lives in a house alone with her fish. She is very close to her Grandmother and all her extended family which i I really enjoyed this book-- it was a kindle freebie that sounded good and it was! This story takes place near Goldsboro, NC in the year 1999. I love books that take place in North Carolina-- whether in the mountains or near the coast-- I just love stories that take place in that beautiful state! The main character, Nicole, is in her early 30's and is a middle school English teacher. She lives in a house alone with her fish. She is very close to her Grandmother and all her extended family which includes cousins once and twice removed. Nicole was born in Japan to missionary parents. Her mother died when Nicole was a baby and her father succumbed to a life of alcohol abuse and depression and refused to seek help. Nicole and her father are not close at all. Nicole's grandma was a mother and grandma to her and they are very close. Nicole helps her Grandma plan the family reunion every year and they often share meals together. One day Nicole, who writes for a fish lovers website got an e-mail from an American man living in Japan. He had a question about one of his fish. Well, they begin to correspond and it turns out, this man's mother was best friends with Nicole's mother and he and Nicole used to play together when they were children in Japan. This book is about Nicole's discoveries as she slowly pieces together the story of her past and her parent's lives before her mother's death. She overcomes many fears and eventually does things she never thought herself capable of! A side story has to do with her cousin's three year old daughter who may or may not be autistic. Her cousin, is completely worn out and stressed by her child's behavior and needs. In the beginning of the book, Nicole does not want "the wild child" in her home but slowly, Nicole and the little girl bond and it just really turns into a beautiful relationship between Nicole and this little girl. I will definitely read more books by this author!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeni Enjaian

    **Update** My previous review holds true. This book survives round two of the purge from my personal collection. The second reading of this book happened as part of my "purge the shelves before I move for school in the fall" goal. Most of these books I read a few years ago and have little recollection of my initial opinion. Thus, when I started reading I was more than pleasantly surprised. As soon as the prose hooked me in I started trying to come up with an adequate way to describe Wisler's techni **Update** My previous review holds true. This book survives round two of the purge from my personal collection. The second reading of this book happened as part of my "purge the shelves before I move for school in the fall" goal. Most of these books I read a few years ago and have little recollection of my initial opinion. Thus, when I started reading I was more than pleasantly surprised. As soon as the prose hooked me in I started trying to come up with an adequate way to describe Wisler's techniques for this review. I know what I've settled for isn't anywhere close but hopefully it will give an accurate representation and glowing recommendation. Another reviewer characterized the text as choppy, somewhat disjointed. She didn't like it for that reason. I'm exactly the opposite. For me, this slightly disjointed, somewhat terse style feels absolutely real. We don't think in pretty little sentences all tied up with a bow. Our thoughts jump from place to place and sometimes we dream of a man that's a talking fish. (Perhaps not that exactly, but if asked everyone can come up with an odd dream that just felt so real.) Wisler's text is discerning. She doesn't waste words. Her words fit together like carefully selected pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. It's quirky but real with hint of southern charm. I absolutely adore this book. Not only will it be staying on my shelf but I am also highly recommending it to anyone and everyone.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Leigh

    Rain Song by Alice J. Wisler makes a delightful weekend read. This appealing narrative takes place in Mount Olive, North Carolina and like so many stories set in the South, is chock full of quirky, charming, characters. You can’t help but like grandmother, Ducee, and her wise, yet eccentric, words of advice. Pretty cousin Grable struggles to cope with her fraying marriage and at the same time care for her daughter Monet, a special needs child with behaviors as unusual as her name. Their side sto Rain Song by Alice J. Wisler makes a delightful weekend read. This appealing narrative takes place in Mount Olive, North Carolina and like so many stories set in the South, is chock full of quirky, charming, characters. You can’t help but like grandmother, Ducee, and her wise, yet eccentric, words of advice. Pretty cousin Grable struggles to cope with her fraying marriage and at the same time care for her daughter Monet, a special needs child with behaviors as unusual as her name. Their side story adds level of depth to the already interesting primary story about Nicole Michelin, a school teacher, who avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and all things Japanese. Nicole is given the chance to deal with her demons, and the gift of hope for a different future, when she forges an Internet friendship with Harrison, a man met through her website writings about tropical fish. Wisler’s book is a light read with a fresh narrative that will be appreciated most by those who enjoy a story with characters real enough to be a neighbor next door, or your own family members. Rain Song breathes hope into our troubled world.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    Nicole is a thirty something woman who still struggles with losing her mother at the age of two during a house fire in Japan. She has many questions about her mother and her father has never given her answers. Nicole meets Harrison online and finds out that he knows about her childhood in Japan. Answers come as doors open for Nicole and she develops a friendship with Harrison. I felt like this book was very well written. The voice was poetic. I felt like it had a very abrupt ending that left me Nicole is a thirty something woman who still struggles with losing her mother at the age of two during a house fire in Japan. She has many questions about her mother and her father has never given her answers. Nicole meets Harrison online and finds out that he knows about her childhood in Japan. Answers come as doors open for Nicole and she develops a friendship with Harrison. I felt like this book was very well written. The voice was poetic. I felt like it had a very abrupt ending that left me wanting more. Other than that I liked it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tom Park

    It began okay, but by the time it ended I was totally frustrated with the main character's constant whining, fingernail chewing and talk about the pineapple chutney. I did read it all the way, although there were times I wondered why. The final chapter or two seemed to be the best. It began okay, but by the time it ended I was totally frustrated with the main character's constant whining, fingernail chewing and talk about the pineapple chutney. I did read it all the way, although there were times I wondered why. The final chapter or two seemed to be the best.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristy Clemmons

    Just a free book.....not much to write about other than the pineapple chutney recipe at the end!!!!! Must try...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    Not a big fan of this one. It seemed to drag on forever, the story line was forced. If I wasn't one of those people that has to finish a book, I wouldn't have made it through this one. Not a big fan of this one. It seemed to drag on forever, the story line was forced. If I wasn't one of those people that has to finish a book, I wouldn't have made it through this one.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    n Alice J. Wisler’s debut novel, Rain Song, Nicole Michelin was born in Japan to missionary parents. Her mother died in a fire when Nicole was two. Her father brought her back to America, where she was cared for largely by her maternal grandmother in Mount Olive. NC. He was a broken man forever after, and would not answer any of her questions about her mother’s death or their time in Japan. Now Nicole is in her early thirties and teaches high school English in Mount Olive. She has a slew of quirk n Alice J. Wisler’s debut novel, Rain Song, Nicole Michelin was born in Japan to missionary parents. Her mother died in a fire when Nicole was two. Her father brought her back to America, where she was cared for largely by her maternal grandmother in Mount Olive. NC. He was a broken man forever after, and would not answer any of her questions about her mother’s death or their time in Japan. Now Nicole is in her early thirties and teaches high school English in Mount Olive. She has a slew of quirky Southern relatives and regularly makes pineapple chutney with her grandmother. She keeps saltwater fish in her aquarium and writes columns for a fish web site. And she battles anxiety and bites her fingernails. She has three resolves. She will never ride a motorcycle. She will never fly in an airplane. And she will never go back to Japan. An email question about koi from her fish column leads to a correspondence with a man who seems nice. He even sends her a poem that she can’t get out of her mind. There’s only one problem. He lives in Japan. And then—he reveals that he knew her when she was a child in Japan. My thoughts: I loved this book. I can’t believe I’ve had it in my Kindle app for years and just now got to it. I loved the Southern flavor. I loved Nicole’s grandmother’s Southern Truths. I loved Nicole’s faith journey. And I loved Alice’s writing. Here are some samples: I threw my head back and laughed like Uncle Jarvis. Swing your head back, open your mouth, and let laughter flow like a rushing waterfall in the North Carolina mountains. It sounds like sunshine in your ears. We’d like to think we are brave, capable, and strong. But the minute we lose our luggage or are delayed, we’ve been known to break into pieces. You are a gutless one, Nicole. You have never watered your gift of faith. It is so small; it’s still a seed in the ground. I thought the author must have actually lived in Japan by the way she wrote about it. She did: she was also the child of missionary parents there. This book is the first in her Heart of Carolina series. I don’t think the characters carry over from book to book: at least, it doesn’t seem like it from their descriptions. But it looks like they all take place in NC. I found this book both funny and touching.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Libby May

    It was ok. Not amazing. THE PLOT: it was there, locatable, but not all that interesting. I enjoyed that the mystery of Nicole's childhood was given and then solved, but overall the plot was too short to be a full on novel. THE SETTINGS: It was ok, not amazing. I didn't actually get the "southern" vibe. They just kept referring to Ducee's "Southern Truths" and pineapple chutney. A lot of pineapple chutney. THE CHARACTERS: Again, passable. Nicole was slightly interesting, Iva and Monet and Grable It was ok. Not amazing. THE PLOT: it was there, locatable, but not all that interesting. I enjoyed that the mystery of Nicole's childhood was given and then solved, but overall the plot was too short to be a full on novel. THE SETTINGS: It was ok, not amazing. I didn't actually get the "southern" vibe. They just kept referring to Ducee's "Southern Truths" and pineapple chutney. A lot of pineapple chutney. THE CHARACTERS: Again, passable. Nicole was slightly interesting, Iva and Monet and Grable were ok. Richard was... a jerk? But not that bad... just like you don't breakup with a girl and then "miss her." And Dennis was like... why was this character and side plot here? Harrison was likable. I appreciate his personality, but really Nicole? You start dreaming about a guy after you received two emails requesting information about plants and Koi? *eyeroll* it didn't seem to fit into the rest of Nicole's personalities and character. Overall, it was ok. I honestly wouldn't have missed anything if I didn't read it, but that's my opinion. You might find something there that I didn't.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Bought this book a while ago and thought I had read it. Turns out I had not. A gentle story with good build up of characters but found Nicola a bit boring and not very likeable. Nicole is a small town girl who spent her childhood with her parents in Japan until the death of her mother in a house fire. After the tragedy she and her father return to Mount Olive, North Carolina the land of homemade pineapple chutney - very boring. Through her online column for Pretty Fish, she loves carp, she meets Bought this book a while ago and thought I had read it. Turns out I had not. A gentle story with good build up of characters but found Nicola a bit boring and not very likeable. Nicole is a small town girl who spent her childhood with her parents in Japan until the death of her mother in a house fire. After the tragedy she and her father return to Mount Olive, North Carolina the land of homemade pineapple chutney - very boring. Through her online column for Pretty Fish, she loves carp, she meets Harrison who much to her dismay lives in Japan! He reveals he knew her in Japan and encourages her to come for a visit! Such a huge decision to make? Such a slow build up in the book and then and a quick ending left me very disappointed. Nothing much else to say only lucky I gave the book one star - not sure I have done that before.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I tried. I made it through three chapters before I just couldn't take it any more. I have no idea who Nicole Michelin is or why she's so whiny. I've finally decided I don't really care. The writing is disjointed and difficult to follow. I keep forgetting who is who and how everyone is supposed to be related. The book feels like it was written intentionally without context, as if the reader overheard a conversation starting in the middle. Except, the conversation is really dull because I don't kn I tried. I made it through three chapters before I just couldn't take it any more. I have no idea who Nicole Michelin is or why she's so whiny. I've finally decided I don't really care. The writing is disjointed and difficult to follow. I keep forgetting who is who and how everyone is supposed to be related. The book feels like it was written intentionally without context, as if the reader overheard a conversation starting in the middle. Except, the conversation is really dull because I don't know any of the people they're talking about or why it's important what picnic foods are served together at the family reunion. That's it. I'm done. I'm moving on to something that doesn't feel like wading through mud in a pair of boots two sizes too big.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Started out pretty good. While I can't say that I fell in love with any of the characters, I did like them. But around the halfway point the book bogged down hard. (view spoiler)[Nichole spends chapter after chapter getting a passport photo, packing for Japan, agonizing about going to Japan, getting a ride to the airport, waiting for the flight to take off, etc., but only one chapter in Japan. And the reader is led to think that she's going to find out something terrible in Japan about her famil Started out pretty good. While I can't say that I fell in love with any of the characters, I did like them. But around the halfway point the book bogged down hard. (view spoiler)[Nichole spends chapter after chapter getting a passport photo, packing for Japan, agonizing about going to Japan, getting a ride to the airport, waiting for the flight to take off, etc., but only one chapter in Japan. And the reader is led to think that she's going to find out something terrible in Japan about her family, with her father and stepmother being so dire in warning her to not go, but all she finds out are a couple more details about her mother's death. (hide spoiler)]

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This book really never went anywhere. I got tired of the extensive details of every last thing going on. It was slow and I kept reading because I hoped the main character actually does something. It was repetitive in what happens, same old thing day after day. I read to the end because It seemed that something was going to happen. And it just ended. (view spoiler)[It jumped from the airplane (not even landing) to talking with the old housekeeper where she learns a couple of things. Then ends. No This book really never went anywhere. I got tired of the extensive details of every last thing going on. It was slow and I kept reading because I hoped the main character actually does something. It was repetitive in what happens, same old thing day after day. I read to the end because It seemed that something was going to happen. And it just ended. (view spoiler)[It jumped from the airplane (not even landing) to talking with the old housekeeper where she learns a couple of things. Then ends. Nothing with the boy, no real resolution, just ends. (hide spoiler)] It wasn't worth reading to the end.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jean Benedict

    Thix was a real nice story of Nicole trying to find out how her mother died in Japan as she has no memories of her mother as she was only 2 years old.She is living now in North Carolina teaching school.Her Father will not tell her anything about her mothers death in a fire.She meets a man in Japan who knew her mother and her as his mother was a friend of her mother.She has a big fear of flying but would like to go to Japan and get answers to her questions.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Newcomer

    This story started out with so much potential, but then stagnated. Too much of the storyline stayed stuck on Nicole's fear- fear of airplanes, fear of Japan. The story could have been condensed to the first part of grander story, potentially one in which Nicole, the main-character, could grow beyond her boring, repetitive one-dimension. This story started out with so much potential, but then stagnated. Too much of the storyline stayed stuck on Nicole's fear- fear of airplanes, fear of Japan. The story could have been condensed to the first part of grander story, potentially one in which Nicole, the main-character, could grow beyond her boring, repetitive one-dimension.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melinda S. Gallagher

    Great read Intriguing and different from anything I've read. It captured my attention and kept me delightfully interested. You get to know and love each character through Nicole's eyes Great read Intriguing and different from anything I've read. It captured my attention and kept me delightfully interested. You get to know and love each character through Nicole's eyes

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rita Atherly engen

    This book fed my heart. The characters popped with life. I loved the depth and flow of the plot. It's the deep, inward type of writing that I'll come back to. After finishing Rain Song, I ordered every other book I could find by Alice J. Wisler. She knows how to write. This book fed my heart. The characters popped with life. I loved the depth and flow of the plot. It's the deep, inward type of writing that I'll come back to. After finishing Rain Song, I ordered every other book I could find by Alice J. Wisler. She knows how to write.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    Looking for the past and discovering her future. Nicole meets Harrison through her posts about taking care of fish. She lives in North Carolina and he lives in Japan. Thus begins their discoveries of their many connections.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Teri Kristensen

    Not the kind of book I normally read, but picked it up somewhere for free and decided to give it a try. A quick read, nice story, likeable characters. Recommend for a beach or plane ride read. Just an enjoyable diversion.

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