Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Late Reviews

Very sorry everyone, but its highly likely that my reviews for Peyote Fire and Noah's Wife will be late. First of all I'm enjoying the books, but I've been pretty busy with life. Thanks for understanding! 

G516 Book Review of Omphalos by Mark Patton

Name of Book: Omphalos

Author: Mark Patton

ISBN: 978-1-910510-06-3

Publisher: Crooked Cat

Type of book:connecting lives, ancient history, 4000 PME, 1160s, 1517, 1799, 1944-1946, 2013, mystery, world war 2, religion, penance, Catholicism, temple, nature, meanings

Year it was published: 2014


SIX EPOCHS, TEN LIVES INTERSECTING AT A SINGLE PLACE. 2013: Al Cohen, an American in search of his European heritage.

1944-1946: Friedrich Werner, an officer of the Wehrmacht and later a prisoner of war. His wife Greta, clinging to what remains of her life in war-torn Berlin.

1799: Suzanne de Beaubigny, a royalist refugee from revolutionary France.

1517: Richard Mabon, a Catholic priest on pilgrimage to Jerusalem with his secretary, Nicholas Ahier.

1160: Raoul de Paisnel, a knight with a dark secret walking through Spain with his steward, Guillaume Bisson.

4000 BC: Egrasté, a sorceress, and Txeru, a man on an epic voyage.

Transgressions, reconciliations and people caught on the wrong side of history.

Omphalos. A journey through six thousand years of human history.


Its really hard to describe the characters, except that no matter how much time has passed, they felt somehow, well, the same. The reader briefly gets to know them before they are whisked away to another time and place to get to know others. I think the characters I liked were Raoul de Paisnel as well as Friedrich Werner. I liked Raoul de Paisnel because of the ways he is trying to atone for his sins, and Friedrich is a strange one; Friedrich is during WWII and fights for Germany, yet somehow he feels and seems human despite that.


Smallest things can connect past and present


With the exception of "The Spirit of  the Times" and "The Infinite Labyrinth," all stories are in third person narrative from various points of views, and the reader gets treated to mystery, drama, comedy and romance within. The Spirit of the Times and The Infinite Labyrinth are written in first person narrative, one in a diary form and another in a letter form. There is a symmetry to reading the stories, and I like it much better than Cloud Atlas because each story feels way more personal than ones in Cloud Atlas.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

Pre-Order the Book

About the Author03_Mark Patton Author Photo

Mark Patton was born and grew up on the island of Jersey. He studied Archaeology & Anthropology at Cambridge and completed his PhD at University College London. He has taught at the Universities of Wales, Greenwich and Westminster, and currently teaches with The Open University. He is the author of two previous historical novels, Undreamed Shores (Crooked Cat, 2012) and An Accidental King (Crooked Cat 2013).
For more information please visit Mark Patton’s website and blog. You can also connect with him on Twitter and Goodreads.


The intersecting lives really reminded me of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, although this was a much lighter read than Cloud Atlas, and the writing is very addictive and certainly keeps one interested in what happens next to the characters. The stories are not very conclusive, which can both be a good or a bad thing. But there is definitely a symmetry to reading it. What I also would have liked is understanding how the stories are linked to one another, sort of how in Cloud Atlas in second halves, the reader discovers the story within a story process so to speak. I can kind of see the links between the stories in terms of nature, religion and descendants/ancestors. Also a map for Etraste's world might have been helpful and it really is fun to speculate how the vignettes relate to one another.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Omphalos Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, December 5
Review at Back Porchervations
Monday, December 8
Guest Post & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Wednesday, December 10
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, December 11
Spotlight at Book Babe
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Monday, December 15
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, December 16
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, December 17
Spotlight at The Writing Desk
Thursday, December 18
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Friday, December 19
Review at Diary of an Eccentric
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, December 15, 2014

G492 Little Things Remembered; Making your children feel special everyday

Title of the book: Little Things Long Remembered; Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day 500+ sure-fire stellar ways

Author:  Susan Newman

Publisher: Random House/Crown

Publishing Date: 1993

ISBN:  978-0-9914660-0-9


“Little Things Long Remembered,” updated for today’s time-strapped families, offers hundreds of ways to create treasured childhood rituals. Chock full of thoughtful and loving ideas that mean a lot—especially to children.

Chapters are divided into convenient timeframes: Gestures to strengthen family ties that take seconds, activities when you have five minutes, half an hour, or the entire weekend. Plus special circumstance suggestions for when your child is not feeling well or when you travel, for birthdays, major and minor holidays--including a set of Cardinal Rules to insure whatever you do is fun, builds character and celebrates your family.

Small parcels of time well spent shape long-lasting memories that are the backbone of family unity...and the glue that holds families together. Every single day offers fertile ground for creating positive recollections. Dig in to find “little things” that will inspire loving remembrances of growing up...and of you.

“Little Things...” is the perfect new baby, Mother or Father’s Day, or any day gift for parents and grandparents.

Purpose of the book:

"The book sold...and sold at a stead pace for nearly 20 years! With so many changes in society and technology taking place during those years, it became clear to me that it was no time to update the book. The intent of this new edition remains the same: to be a collection of reference points for parents that enable them to create a backlog of heartwarming memories with their children and have fun while doing so. Whether you are a stay-at-home or a working parent, the suggestions in these pages will help keep you connected to your children and will contribute to building a strong, loving family." (1)

Personal Opinion:

I'm not yet a parent, but considering the culture we live in, as well as how ridiculously busy we all are, books like this are important in reminding people to spend one-on-one time with their children and families, for it has been proven time and time again that very little substitutes for a parent's affection. I have to admit that while I liked some ideas in the book, especially on how short the book is, I do wish that when it came to holiday traditions more ideas would have been fleshed out, especially for people who don't celebrate christmas, and some of the suggested things will be similar to a version of "duh" for adults. Also, the book doesn't have a glossary but is instead divided at least into ten sections with multiple suggestions for each, and it can make it hard to look up a favorite idea or suggestion.

This is for iRead Book Tours

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Friday, December 12, 2014

G463 Book Review of What a lady needs for christmas by Grace Burrowes

Name of Book: What a Lady Needs for Christmas

Author: Grace Burrowes

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7881-5

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Part of a Series: MacGregor Quartet

Type of book: miracles, christmas, England, Scotland, Victorian Era, late 1800s, business, mills, romance, adult, sensual, English lady/Scottish lord, traditions, family, marriage

Year it was published: 2014


The Best Gifts are the Unexpected Ones...

To escape a scandal, Lady Joan Flynn flees to her family's estate in the Scottish Highlands. She needs a husband by Christmas, or the holidays will ring in nothing but ruin.

Practical, ambitious mill owner Dante Hartwell offers to marry Joan, because a wellborn wife is his best chance of gaining access to aristocratic investors.

As Christmas—and trouble—draw nearer, Dante and Joan's marriage of convenience blossoms into unexpected intimacy, for true love often hides beneath the most unassuming holiday wrapping...


The main characters include Lady Joan, sister to Tiberius (otherwise known as Spathfoy,) a talented designer who has head for learning business and is passionate about creating dresses. She is practical and doesn't seem to care much for wealth, but instead people are far more important to her. Dante Hartwell is a Scottish man who has his own business as well as a kind heart and is very driven by work and trying to take care of his family of two children. Other characters include Joan's siblings and their spouses as well as Dante's sister Mary and his worker Hector. All characters were well drawn and very memorable.


Miracles happen when you least expect them


The story is written in third person narrative, primarily from Joan's and Dante's points of view, although other characters and stories did intrude. I do wish that I would have read other books in the series because I really like to know what's going on and get to know the characters. While the story is heavily character-driven, other aspects of the story such as dialogue, genuine connections and attraction also fill these pages, and I also was really surprised by how fast the pages flew through my hands. Also, I really enjoyed the historical tidbits that the author included in the story.

Author Information:
(From her website)

I am the sixth out of seven children and was raised in the rural surrounds of central Pennsylvania. Early in life I spent a lot of time reading romance novels and riding a chubby buckskin gelding named—unimaginatively if eponymously—Buck. I also spent a lot of time practicing the piano. My first career was as a technical writer and editor, a busy profession that nonetheless left enough time to read many, many romance novels.
It also left time to grab a law degree through an evening program, produce Beloved Offspring (only one, but she is a lion), and eventually move to the lovely Maryland countryside.
While reading yet still more romance novels (there is a trend here) I opened my own law practice, acquired a master’s degree in Conflict Management (I had a teenage daughter by then) and started thinking about writing…. romance novels. This aim was realized when Beloved Offspring struck out into the Big World a few years ago. (“Mom, why doesn’t anybody tell you being a grown-up is hard?”)
I eventually got up the courage to start pitching manuscripts to agents and editors. The query letter that resulted in “the call” started out: “I am the buffoon in the bar at the RWA retreat who could not keep her heroines straight, could not look you in the eye, and could not stop blushing—and if that doesn’t narrow down the possibilities, your job is even harder than I thought.” (The dear lady bought the book anyway.)
Please feel free to contact me. I love reader mail!


Okay, this is another romance novel that I really enjoyed reading. What I enjoyed is the fact that its focused more on characters than sexual scenes and the characters really shone in my opinion, convincing me how perfect they are for each other. Also, while this does contain a wedding, the book also contains scenes where Joan and Dante try to get to know one another after becoming married to one another. I was a bit confused about the blackmail scenes, but overall a sweet and enjoyable holiday book. Also, I don't celebrate christmas, but I like how I didn't feel alienated from reading this particular story, and how the author focused more on universal traditions of family, gifting and others instead of religion.

I would like to thank Morgan Doremus for a chance to read and review the book

5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spotlight for Metabolism Solution by Lisa Lynn

Book Synopsis:

Are you ready to lose 1 pound a day? Have you tried every weight loss plan under the sun? Don’t give up in frustration; The Metabolism Solution will make it faster and easier. What makes The Metabolism Solution different? It will teach you how to safely harness the power of your metabolism to lose weight and melt belly fat fast. You will learn the right way to work out to boost your metabolism with the best part being seeing results the first day after your first 30-minute workout. You will learn how to address your weight loss and fitness issues from the inside out, allowing you to focus on what created the weight gain in the beginning and how to correct those issues. Do you love delicious food? You'll adore Lisa Lynn’s 100 irresistibly delicious fat blasting recipes. The Metabolism Solution is the perfect roadmap for not only transforming your body, but changing your whole life.

Author's Bio:

CELEBRITY FITNESS AND NUTRITION EXPERT LISA LYNN has devoted nearly three decades of her career to personal training, specializing in metabolic weight loss and performance nutrition. Coupled with her vast experience in the field of fitness and nutrition she has earned four educational certificates from the International Sports and Sciences Association’s Professional Division including: Certified Fitness Trainer, Specialist in Performance Nutrition, Fitness Therapy and Elite Trainer.

Lynn’s years of research in metabolic boosting and performance nutrition resulted in the development of herLeaner Lifestyle DVD Series, specifically designed to promote healthy fat loss by boosting the most sluggish and stubborn metabolisms. She is best known for her 13 years as MARTHA STEWART’s personal trainer who has said, “Lisa is the only trainer that made a difference.” Lynn is also a regular go-to nutrition and fitness expert on THE DR. OZ SHOW appearing in two of his highest rated episodes. Major media outlets frequently call upon her for her expertise in fitness and nutrition. Lynn maintains a diverse portfolio of clientele including professional bodybuilders, models, actors, CEOs and real-world people throughout the country.

Lisa just released her award winning book The Metabolism Solution that has helped thousands of people lose weight and reach their fitness goals. Available

Connect with Lisa: Website  ~  Facebook  ~ Twitter  ~  Pinterest  ~  Youtube Channel

Where to buy the book:

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

G487 Book Review of Fog Island Mountains by Michelle Bailat Jones

Name of Book: Fog Island Mountains

Author: Michelle Bailat Jones

ISBN: 9781630150020

Publisher: Tantor

Type of book: Japan, Kirishima Island, Asian female/white male, storm, infidelity, typhoon, preparations, aftereffects, wild animals, mysteries, secrets, 2000s

Year it was published: 2014


What if you could rewrite a tragedy? What if you could give grace to someone s greatest mistake? Huddled beneath the volcanoes of the Kirishima mountain range in southern Japan, also called the Fog Island Mountains, the inhabitants of small town Komachi are waiting for the biggest of the summer's typhoons. South African expatriate Alec Chester has lived in Komachi for nearly forty years. Alec considers himself an ordinary man, with common troubles and mundane achievements until his doctor gives him a terminal cancer diagnosis and his wife, Kanae, disappears into the gathering storm. Kanae flees from the terrifying reality of Alec's diagnosis, even going so far as to tell a childhood friend that she is already a widow. Her willful avoidance of the truth leads her to commit a grave infidelity, and only when Alec is suspected of checking himself out of the hospital to commit a quiet suicide does Kanae come home to face what it will mean to lose her husband. Narrating this story is Azami, one of Komachi's oldest and most peculiar inhabitants, the daughter of a famous storyteller with a mysterious story of her own. A haunting and beautiful reinterpretation of the Japanese kitsune folktale tradition, Fog Island Mountains is a novel about the dangers of action taken in grief and of a belief in healing through storytelling.


The characters are seen through unique lenses, and I feel that while certain characters are given background stories and actions, many are seen through modern terms, and the storyteller herself remains a mystery for all, and yes, I wanted to know more about her. First there is Kanae who married Alec and had three kids with him. Kanae, I would guess, is impulsive and fearful of what will happen in the future, and I also think she longs back for her childhood. Alec the husband has been diagnosed with cancer recently and he is best described as loyal and a good father to their children. I do admit that there are a lot of characters and its a bit hard of keeping track of all of them.


Life is a cycle


The story is told in both first and third person narratives, the first person from Azami who seems to know what's going on everything with everyone, and third person is when she's telling from a character's point of view or emotions, such as Kanae and Alec and the neighbors and children. I often felt that the storm mirrored human emotions or thoughts or actions for that matter, in particular the storm and the chapter names acted as catalysts for human emotions. I do admit that I grew frustrated towards the end because to me it seemed as if the questions went unanswered instead of answered.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

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authorpic_Credit_Danielle Libine copyAbout Michelle Bailat-Jones

Michelle Bailat-Jones is a writer and translator. Her novel Fog Island Mountains won the Christopher Doheny Award from the Center for Fiction in New York City. She translated Charles Ferdinand Ramuz s 1927 Swiss classic Beauty on Earth. She is the reviews editor at the web journal Necessary Fiction, and her fiction, poetry, translations, and criticism have appeared in a number of journals, including the Kenyon Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, the Quarterly Conversation, PANK, Spolia Mag, Two Serious Ladies, and the Atticus Review. Michelle lives in Switzerland.


Probably within the first few pages I really loved the description and the story and enjoyed the writing which was breath-taking and really reminded me of The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith. I was quickly sucked in into the unusual writing style of it being told in both first and third person narrative from different characters and it also appealed to me because I love reading and learning about Asian cultures and countries. While the author is able to keep the momentum of the story and keep the audience turning the pages, I have to say that I'm pretty confused by what I should have taken away or learned from reading it. Also towards the end the story felt stretched instead of being natural.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Michelle Bailat-Jones TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, November 4th: The Discerning Reader
Thursday, November 6th: BookNAround
Tuesday, November 11th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, November 13th: Bell, Book, & Candle
Monday, November 17th: Book Nerd
Thursday, November 20th: Too Fond
Tuesday, December 2nd: Bibliotica
Wednesday, December 3rd: Regular Rumination
Friday, December 5th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, December 8th: Book Dilettante
Tuesday, December 9th: Olduvai Reads
Wednesday, December 10th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G499 Book Review of The War Nurse by R.V. Doon

Name of Book: The War Nurse

Author: R.V. Doon

ISBN: 9781500495626

Publisher: self published

Type of book: WWII, Philippines, Bataan, nursing, Germans, discrimination, internment camps for Germans, Germany, last days, 1941-1945, imprisonment, prostitution, selling body, abuse, loyalty

Year it was published: 2014


The War Nurse is a historical family saga and epic military romance set during WWII. 

This historical thriller begins on the eve of WWII in the Philippines. Katarina Stahl an American Red Cross nurse, is the happiest she’s ever been in her life. She’s making love and playing music with Jack Gallagher in an idyllic paradise. Their medical mission is over, the boat tickets to home are purchased, and all that remains is to fly a sick child to the hospital at Clark Air Field. 

She never expected to witness bombs falling out of planes. In those terrifying first minutes, she frees a German doctor accused of spying and saves his life. She turns to nursing the injured, unaware she’s unleashed an obsession more dangerous to her and those she loves, than the war she’s trapped in. 

Doctor von Wettin, the man she freed, finds Katarina pregnant and starving in a POW camp after the surrender. He begs her to nurse his bed-ridden wife. She knows other Americans will despise her, but wants her baby to live after surviving Bataan. Their uneasy alliance is destroyed when she discovers he exploited Red Cross diplomatic channels and contacts at the German embassy to wire money to her parents. His benevolent mask slips when he informs her that her brothers and parents are interned on Ellis Island. 

When the Stahl family is swept up in the FBI’s dragnet, Josep Stahl believes it’s all a misunderstanding. He’s interrogated like a criminal at the city jail, a military camp, Ellis Island, and then the civilian internment camps in Texas. His anger and pride blind him. One by one in this painful family drama, his wife and sons join him behind barbed wire in. There they face ostracism, segregation, and, most frightening, repatriation. 

Katarina begins an even more terrifying journey into depraved darkness as Manila descends into occupation and chaos. The doctor threatens everyone she loves: infant son, POW husband, and Filipino friends. She’ll do anything to protect them; she lies, steals, and smuggles. As the war turns against the Japanese, they withhold the doctor’s wife’s life-saving medications until he finds a hidden radio inside the civilian internment camp. If Katarina refuses to help him, her son pays the price. 

Survival has corrupted Katarina; but she’s not about to become his camp rat. After years of hell, she’s earned her nickname, war nurse. Doctor von Wettin is about to find out what that means.


There are a lot of characters, but ones that I will focus on are Katarina, a strong and brave female nurse of German heritage who tries to re-learn what she has done wrong and is doing the best she can for whoever she can no matter how reviled she becomes to others. Josep is Katarina's father who neglected to mention he's an alien and often claims to be from Switzerland, where he gets caught and has to travel to German internment camps where he witnesses Nazism and hatred and wants for his children to stay away from this philosophy. There is also Johanna, Katarina's mother who is caught in melancholy and depression as well as Katarina's various siblings. There is Jack who is Katarina's sunshine and von Wettin, a German man who is the villain of the story.


To be honest, I'm not quite sure of the message that the book is trying to send because there seems to be a lot of focus on everything from survival to learning lessons to discrimination and so forth.


The story is told in third person narrative from both Katarina's and Josep's points of view and stretches from 1941 to 1945 and takes place in both Philippines and America. I do feel that the characters should have been developed a bit more because I had some trouble connecting or understanding Katarina, and I do wish that more would have been explained between Katarina and her twin sister instead of just glimpses. But what does work in the story are the privations and details that enrich the setting of Philippines in WWII as well as story of Josep and his struggles.  Also, a number of things aren't well explained such as what exactly happened to Franzisca, or von Wettin's motivations or designs on Katarina.

Author Information:
(From Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

Buy the Book

About the Author02_RV Doon Author

R.V. Doon is a bookie! Seriously, she’s an avid reader who also loves to write. She writes across genres, but confesses she’s partial to historical fiction and medical thrillers. She’s addicted to black coffee, milk chocolate, and raspberries. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s learning to sail. Doonreports after a career of implementing doctor’s orders, she’s having trouble being a deck hand and following the captain’s orders. Doon lives in Mobile,Alabama, a haunted and historical city, with her husband and two dogs.
For more information please visit R.V. Doon’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+Goodreads, and Amazon.
Subscribe to R.V. Doon’s Newsletter for news & updates.


In a lot of ways this is an important book for a lot of people to read about, as well as to become familiar with. During WWII, the ugly things that were done to enemy citizens were squashed and only too recently did the generations after WWII become familiar with them, notably the internment camps for Japanese. In The War Nurse, the author mentions an important aspect that is not talked about, or is only briefly hinted at at My Summer of German Soldier: camps and mistreatment of German-American citizens, which is shocking to learn, at least for me. While the story itself is page turning and exciting and keeps the reader wanting to find out what happens next, I have to say that its not well connected as I hoped, and between focal plot points, there are a lot of gaps which added some struggle to reading the story. But still, its a mesmerizing book on surviving in Philippines during WWII.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

The War Nurse Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 24
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, November 25
Review at Unshelfish
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, November 26
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Thursday, November 27
Spotlight at Book Babe
Friday, November 28
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Saturday, November 29
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Sunday, November 30
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Tuesday, December 2
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Wednesday, December 3
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Luxury Reading
Thursday, December 4
Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews
Review at Svetlana Reads and Views
Friday, December 5
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)