Reviews & Praise
Praise for STORMS FROM A CLEAR SKY
“Fantastic. Boy did she do her research. I’m reading Storms From A Clear Sky a second time. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.”
—Bob Harmon, Professor Emeritus of History Seattle University, who served in WWII at the Battle of the Bulge.
“Frisino’s fictional story becomes more real thanks to her painstaking research. She introduces her second book with a “thank you” to the many men and women who shared their wartime experiences with her. Frisino has expertly woven many factual accounts into her tale, leading her characters on a journey into The War to End Wars. “Storms” is an experience that easily captures readers’ page-turning interest.”
—Jean Godden, Former member of the Seattle City Council Former journalist for Seattle Post-Intelligencer & Seattle Times
Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers’ Favorite
Storms From a Clear Sky: The Story of Spies, Love, & Loyalty in a War-Torn World by Denise Frisino is the second volume of a trilogy focused on the Japanese-American community of particularly the West Coast of the U.S. immediately following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Billi is a new bride, having just married the mysterious and enigmatic F.B.I. agent, Jack Huntington. Billi has always had an intense fascination with Japan, its culture, and its people. In fact, her childhood and still best friend, Eileen Nakamura, is an American of Japanese extraction. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor throws all of their lives into disarray. Jack’s nemesis is a Japanese soldier, Akio Sumiyoshi, with whom Jack attended Harvard. Akio is now with the Japanese Navy. However, his plans for a super-weapon, a plane that can be launched from a submarine to terrorize the coastal areas of the U.S., are cunningly concealed inside a Japanese fan. The problem – the fan is currently in the possession of Billi Huntington and Akio is determined to not only retrieve it but to inflict the greatest pain possible on both Billi and her FBI husband. As Billi attempts to find her identity both within her new marriage to the elusive Jack and the role she can play in this conflict with the Japanese, she must balance her love of the Japanese culture and its people with the horrors being perpetrated in the name of Emperor Hirohito.
Storms From a Clear Sky is a breathtaking journey through the early days of American involvement in World War II. One of the first things I ask when reading a book in a series is whether it is necessary to have read the first book to enjoy the second. In this case, it really doesn’t matter, although I would add the caveat – why wouldn’t you? Author Denise Frisino does a superb job of outlining the basic facts of the background so that late-comers won’t question where characters fit into the story. What I particularly liked was that the author did not just focus on the two principal characters in Jack and Billi but developed the narrative to include family members fighting in the foreign climes of the South Pacific and North Africa. Billi was a wonderful character; simultaneously a strong and independent woman of her times but still able to show extreme sensitivity and a deep need for love and understanding from her new husband. Equally, Jack was painted by the author as this tough, no-nonsense F.B.I. agent who got results and was feared by all, yet she was able to bring out the softer, loving, and needy side of the character, which really is a tribute to the author’s skills. Having now read the second installment of the Orchids trilogy, I am deeply invested in this tale and cannot wait for the third and final iteration. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can highly recommend it to all aficionados of war novels and those who love a romance with a high element of danger. This is a fantastic story.
Reviewed by David K. McDonnell for Reader Views (01/17)
“Orchids of War” by Denise Frisino is an entertaining work of historical fiction, set at a troublesome time of which we often forget. America was still at peace, and perhaps naïve, but on the verge of joining a catastrophic world war. Those times provided an excellent backdrop for a spy mystery, and Frisino tells it well.
“Orchids of War” by Denise Frisino is an intriguing mystery set during the months prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. A young and attractive Seattle woman (of German and Irish heritage) is enamored with Japanese culture and becomes fluent in the Japanese language. For this, she is recruited by an F.B.I. agent to spy upon Japanese agents who are, in turn, in America spying on the U.S. She takes on the role reluctantly at first, but becomes quite adept at it and a true heroine.
Both Billie, the Seattle woman, and Jack, the F.B.I. agent, are well-developed, sympathetic, and believable characters. The relationship between the two evolves slowly through the story and is very well crafted. The settings of the story (Seattle, San Francisco, and Hawaii) and the minor characters are described with just enough attention to detail to give the reader an appropriate vision without getting too bogged down on unnecessary detail. The author also pays attention to the historical context, and the reader feels the growing tensions between the United States and Japan, which ultimately lead to war.
• This book is exemplary in character appeal (or interest) and development. All main characters (including antagonists) are unique and fully fleshed out with compelling, layered motivations and traits.
• The author uses witty dialog in many instances to heighten each character’s personality such as… where Scooter (a male) asks “Do I have to wear a hula skirt again?” And has snappy dialog that will make readers smile.
• This book is exemplary in its voice and writing style. It has a unique voice, and the writing style is consistent throughout. The style and tone are also consistent with or will appeal to readers of the intended genre.
• Plot twists, such as Danny’s coded letter on page 306 are brilliantly portrayed.
• Readers will laugh at some funny parts of the story such as…the muddy and mosquito-plagued tent/bunk…is hilarious.
—Judge, 29th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.
Storms From A Clear Sky featured in First Chapter Plus
Praise for ORCHIDS OF WAR
A week ago I went to my bookshelf for the first time in a year. I know every book on that shelf. What book could possibly jump out at me? Your book!
I don’t know where it came from, I don’t remember how it got there but there is was. A signed copy! Where I saw or met you I really do not know….
But thank you. Thank you for coming into my life during quarantine- I really needed it.
Loved the book. Thank you. Renea Roberts
Orchids of War is featured in Bookends, December 2, 2016
Orchids of War is featured in Bookends, November 4, 2016
★★★★★ Danielle Urban for Manhattan Book Review
Orchids of War by Denise Frisino is an intriguing historical novel that instantly takes readers back to World War II. A time when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The attack was completely unseen. This caused a great a fear and an intense dislike towards the Japanese Americans. A young woman struggles with her growing interest with the Japanese culture while her father doesn’t like it. Denise Frisino has beautifully captured the love and respect of some Japanese and the hostility towards others. Families split and others are united. The difficulty to embrace a culture that has suddenly attacked one’s country leaves a foul taste in one’s mouth. However, the story takes on a journey that every reader will enjoy. Trial, betrayal, and love are all a huge part of this historical novel.
Orchids of War shows both the beauty and the ugliness of the war. World War II has just begun and so many changes have occurred for one family. The fear and bravery of the sons and fathers who served in the military during this time are shown great honor in this read. I love anything that depicts a realistic viewing of the World War II time period and Orchids of War does just that. Denise Frisino is a talented writer. Her story will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they wait for what happens next. Overall, I highly enjoyed reading this new title and look forward to reading the next book by Denise Frisino in the future. I highly recommend this novel to readers everywhere.
What Readers are Saying
★★★★★ James G. Miller, U.S. Navy, CMDCM (SS) Retired
I normally read when I travel since the flights can be quite long. I picked up Orchids of War to help pass time on a 7 hour red eye. Figured it would help me sleep once the plane steadied out. Boy was I wrong. Once you start this book you have a real hard time putting it down. What a great read. It is one of those books that you put on the read again list because it is so enjoyable.
★★★★★ Maria Beltran for Readers’ Favorite
Orchids of War is a historical fiction novel by Denise Frisino. It revolves around the O’Shaughnessy family that is caught up by the events of 1941 in the United States, which is about to officially get involved in World War II by declaring war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Billi O’Shaughnessy could not have imagined where her fascination with the Japanese culture would lead her. Her trip to Japan thwarted, she got engaged and continued her friendship with the Nakamura family. When FBI agent Jack Huntington comes to visit her at home, her life will take a bizarre turn and she will find herself involved with the war itself. Meanwhile, her fiancé is killed while doing aviation training and her brother is drafted into the army and sent to Hawaii.
Orchids of War is not your usual historical fiction novel set in World War II. History tells us that many Japanese living in the United States were herded into prisoner of war camps during this tumultuous time. Author Denise Frisino takes her cue from this historical event to construct the story of the O’Shaughnessy family. The result is a fascinating book that is as interesting as it is informative. It takes us back to a time when the impending war pervades the air and engulfs the homes of every American. For Americans of Japanese descent, torn between their loyalty to their homeland and adopted country, it was a time of reckoning. And for Billi, her love for everything Japanese is now used against a culture she has come to admire.
Praise for WHISKEY COVE
The ghost of prohibition lives on far past its repeal. “Whiskey Cove” is a novel set decades after the Prohibition era, as Denise Frisino crafts a story of Alexandria, a veteran of those runs between Canada and Washington state smuggling whiskey. Years later, Alex hires an unsuspecting college student to do her gardening, but her true motive is the drive to find the one piece of evidence that will clear her husband’s name. “Whiskey Cove” is an original read of the impact of the law in our lives and the thrill of the search.
–Midwest Book Review
Exciting, engrossing, a great read. Boy, would this make a terrific film
–John Dayton, Producer/Director/Writer
Wonderful touches of local history. Suspenseful with great characters
–Barbara McKeon, Librarian
Whiskey Cove fascinated me with insights into Northwest history and the role women played in rum running during Prohibition.
Fascinating character-driven historical fiction set in the 1970’s and PrOhibition. The author has done her homework in history. Her characters are well drawn, her setting are nicely detailed and her prose style is clear, concise, and forthright. A wonderful read. I look forward to her next book.
I am lonely now that I just finished reading Denise Frisino’s thrilling “Whiskey Cove”…I will miss Frisino’s endearing tale of the Rumrun- ner life in the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest’s inland coastal waters lying between the Canadian border and the tip of Washington state. Filled with generations of romance, historic truth and exciting living during the years of National Prohibition, the tale is a thriller to literally the last paragraph.
A GREAT READ!!
I was surprised, I couldn’t put Whiskey Cove down. Fantastic. A must read. Suspenseful, filled with prohibition history, well developed, live- ly characters and an enduring story. It would make a great movie. I highly recommend Whiskey Cove.
Loved this book!!!
This is a fascinating read about the Pacific Northwest during prohi- bition. Wonderful local details, great character development and an intriguing story line. I couldn’t put it down!
The main plot of this story is told in a way I’ve never seen before and the mystery of it kept me guessing right until the very end. The story is full of vibrant and intriguing characters and the detailed descrip- tions of the Pacific Northwest setting reminded me of my childhood growing up near the ocean. This was an exciting read with a satisfying plot that had me thinking about it for weeks after I finished reading.
Exciting, engrossing, a great read. Boy, would this make a terrific film
—John Dayton, Producer/Director/Writer
I loved your descriptions of scenery, characters and conversations. I felt, as I read, that I was part of the activities and the drama, particularly as I have some experience in law enforcement via the Coast Guard and my remembrance of the Prohibition era. I was sorry when the story ended.
—Captain Winslow Buxton, US Coast Guard, Retired (deceased)