Tuesday, November 24, 2015

G658 Book Review of Race to Tibet by Sophie Schiller

Name of Book: Race to Tibet

Author: Sophie Schiller

ISBN: 9780692254097

Publisher: Tradewinds Publishing

Type of book: Tibet, travel, France, 1889-1890, romance, a bit of interracial relationship WMAF, deprivations, survival, force, contest, adventure, mysteries

Year it was published: 2015


"Fans of Jules Verne’s travel adventures will find Schiller has done a solid job of transforming an obscure real-life Victorian expedition into a thrilling yarn." Publishers Weekly.

At a time when no Westerner has seen the holy city of Lhasa or met the Dalai Lama, French explorer Gabriel Bonvalot vows to do the impossible: he launches his own expedition to the Roof of the World with funding from the Duke of Chartres. The only caveat is that Bonvalot must bring along the Duke's wayward son, Prince Henri d'Orléans, a drinker, gambler, and womanizer whose reckless behavior threatens to derail the entire expedition. During the journey, the explorers encounter freezing temperatures, volatile winds, mountain sickness, bandits, duplicitous Chinese Ambans, and a beguiling Tibetan Buddhist princess with a deadly secret. Held as prisoners at 16,000 feet and surrounded by an army of Tibetan soldiers, the explorers find themselves in a desperate fight for survival.

RACE TO TIBET is a thrilling tale of high-altitude adventure and survival set in the world's most forbidden country. Perfect for fans of Jules Verne, and H. Rider Haggard.


The main characters include Gabriel Bonvalot who is an explorer from France and who is best described as a leader who takes his responsibilities very seriously. He is open minded, looked up to by those around him, and isn't conventional. Henri is a young French dilletante who cares more for pleasure and getting in trouble rather than being useful. He is arrogant, enjoys the finer things in life like expensive food, wines and cigars and sees the companions in a servant's role. Unfortunately not much is shown about Camille, although she is very determined and does go pretty far. (Is she based on a real person?) There are supporting characters but they weren't as unique as the main characters though.


Travel changes people and points of view


The story is told in third person narrative mainly from Bonvalot's point of view, although other characters such as Henri and from time to time Tibetans, also lay out their points of view. I do feel that the writing of the story can be improved a bit further, in particular the transitions between points of view, and perhaps the quirks or uniqueness of the supporting characters as well. While I could easily identify the main characters and remember much about them, the supporting characters such as the drivers and those who work for Bonvalot are a bit difficult to recall for me.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author03_Sophie Schiller_Author

Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies amid aging pirates and retired German spies. Among other oddities her family tree contains a Nobel prize-winning physicist and a French pop singer. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently working on a new historical thriller set in the Caribbean.
For more information visit Sophie Schiller’s blog. You can also find her onFacebook and Twitter.

Previously I've had a chance to read the author's previous book Spy Island which I found interesting but did feel that the author needed to polish her writing skills a little bit. Race To Tibet did exceed my expectations and it fully showed off the talent and the passion that the author had towards the subject. Its not a perfect book, but it is a wonderful read and when I read it, I felt as if I had gone back in time, especially when it came to France and the way people viewed and saw others. If the reader is new to historical fiction and is looking for something unique, adventurous and that doesn't require memorization of thousand of history books, then this is a good book to try.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 23
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, November 24
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, November 25
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, November 26
Guest Post at Passages to the Past
Spotlight at Book Nerd
Friday, November 27
Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
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.)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Zenobia - Challenging a Legend By Russ Wallace Book Spotlight

02_Zenobia Challenging a Legend

Zenobia - Challenging a Legend (Zenobia Book Series, Book Two) by Russ Wallace

Publication Date: November 14, 2015
Geode Press LLC
Hardcover; 512 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Action & Adventure/Young Adult

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After winning the famous Alexandria horse race, Zenobia, a young Syrian warrior and an aspiring scholar, assumes her life will return to normal. Wrong! A tumultuous romance develops with her instructor, widely considered the most brilliant academic on earth.

Unknown to her, an enemy plans to kidnap Zenobia for his harem. The hired mercenaries never suspect their intended victim is a deadly warrior. The attack is thwarted, but the Syrians are alerted to a slave trade in young girls.

Meanwhile, a Nubian princess has been captured by the slavers. She struggles to survive in the dangerous situation while she seeks a way to escape. Can she succeed?

Zenobia’s impetuous nature continues to impel her to take unwise risks, both in class and on a hunting trip. When a second kidnap attempt on her fails, the last attacker escapes. She decides to run him down to save her family. Thus begins an epic chase on horseback across the desert in the dead of night. It culminates in a shocking revelation that threatens her very future.

Circumstances now force Zenobia into roles for which she is untrained. As she meets the challenges, she begins to unleash her strategic genius, which will one day raise her to the pinnacle of her world.

“Book two in the Zenobia book series has it all …the book is full of adventure with kidnappings, hunting, fighting, revenge, chases, escapes, and piracy. Zenobia learns a heart breaking truth about love and this will mold her into the women she is destine to become. This was an ARC…You'll want to put this book on your TBR list.” – Julie Martin Wallace

03_Russ WallaceAbout the Author

Russ Wallace is an avid student of history and religion. Zenobia, one of the deadliest and most fascinating women of history, comes to life in his series about her. Russ is working on future releases in the Zenobia book series.

Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, November 14
Tour Kick Off & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, November 16
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Tuesday, November 17
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, November 18
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Thursday, November 19
Excerpt & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Friday, November 20
Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Saturday, November 21
Spotlight at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Tuesday, November 24
Excerpt & Giveaway at Room With Books

Thursday, November 26
Excerpt at Just One More Chapter

Friday, November 27
Review at Book Nerd

Saturday, November 28
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Sunday, November 29
Interview at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

04_Zenobia_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Adventures Through Fiction and Literature

As I was going through my Goodreads List to see what books I can recall that have adventure stories, I got more books than I bargained for. In real life, my travel has been limited to a few neighboring cities and states, only once did I fly off to Russia, and all those trips were family vacations, But through books, I was able to experience a lot of different adventures; one had me traveling to Chinese version of hell, others I experienced took me to Alaskan Islands about seven thousand years ago, travel through Texas in 1500s, traveling through different countries in Southeast Asia, and so forth. Curious to read more? Here are my favorite adventure stories that involve travel and character growth. Also a quick note: I'm a really big fan of Historical fiction, thus a lot of my recommendations will involve history, and many will also involve strong women heroines. 

The Same Sky-Debbie Yee Lan Wong

First of all its a true story about a Canadian born Chinese young woman who recently broke up with her boyfriend and in order to try to get over him and what happened that last night between them, she travels to three different countries in Southeast Asia, namely Tibet, Laos and Cambodia. Along the way she meets people who cause her to question herself and help her move on from the break up. What impressed me the most about the story is how the writing and descriptions feel alive as if you really are there with her experiencing the tastes and sounds of Southeast Asia as well as the atmosphere and the people. Along with the vivid descriptions,the book imparts a lot of important lessons such as the fact that even if we travel alone, we will not be alone for long because there will be other people making the journey to the same destination. Also, travel and experience can be very healing, and lets also not underestimate it. 

Teresa of the New World-Sharman Apt Russell

In Texas in 1500s, Teresa is a half Native American/half Spanish girl who happens to be the daughter of Cabeza de Vaca. After journeying with her father, her father makes a decision to leave her at a house as a servant while he takes off, thus Teresa grows up there. However soon enough, she makes a decision to travel and uses her gifts to take care of her two companions, a boy that becomes a jaguar and a war horse. The lessons that the story taught me is that companions come in unexpected places and sometimes not what you would expect, to be true to one's self , and that purpose of a journey can change from one thing to another. 

Angels at the Gate-T.K Thorne

During biblical time in Middle East, about 3,000 years ago, Adira is a young girl who is forced to disguise herself as a boy due to her father's profession as a traveling merchant. Shortly after two strangers from distant lands joined the caravan, her world completely unravels. After some life changing events, she has no choice but to begin her journey on her own, and along the way she greatly matures as she and we through her explore the ancient world of Middle East including Sumeria and Egypt as well as the infamous Sodom and Gomora and what possibly could have happened to them. As with previous books, some of the lessons that really stuck with me is that people are much more stronger than they give themselves credit for, and to use whatever resources you can find. 

Under the Wide and Starry Sky-Nancy Horan

This story is set in 1800s and is a fictional account of marriage between Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny van de Grift Osborne. I could argue that the entire book is nothing but adventure and travel, from Fanny traveling to Europe where she met the famous Scotsman, to finally marrying him and then having to deal with his ill health and make constant trips to mountains or to different islands in order to help him be better. One could argue that the lesson I got from the book is that one's entire life is an adventure and that not to be afraid of trying out different things, or that there are a lot of different remedies for ailments. 

The Mysteries of Udolpho-Ann Radcliffe

This story takes place in 1500s (it originally is written in 1790s by the way,) and is about a young lady Emily St Aubert whose mother has recently passed away. Her father's health begins to decline and in order to help him feel better, she agrees to travel with him from France through Europe. Along the way she meets her true love, enjoys the beauty and nature of scenery and later on after that particular adventure, she also meets a lot of people who help her out as well. The lesson from that book I learned is to savor the moment and one's surroundings, as well as that the real world is much more exciting than television or Internet or computer. I will mention again that the story was written in 1790s, and this particular story has a lot of words that will cause people to look them up, along with odd grammar rules, and the author simply cannot say something in one sentence. It is a worthwhile story to recommend simply for the beauty and imagination that the words invoke in my mind each time I read them. 

Mother Earth, Father Sky-Sue Harrison

This story  takes place 5,000 years ago in Alaskan Islands, and is about a young girl whose entire tribe was wiped away by a warring tribe known as the "Short Ones". Shortly after attempting to survive on her own, she meets an old man who becomes her adopted grandfather and who does whatever he can for her. However, she soon has no choice but to leave the place that she has known, and she begins to journey with a small group of displaced people who left their home after a volcano erupted and destroyed it. What I learned is that unfortunately will not stay permanently in one's life; they will come and go and each one will impact a person in a different way. 

Ghost Bride-Yangsze Choo

In 1890s Malaya, Li Lan is a young woman who is asked to become a "Ghost bride" for a dead boy's family. While trying to make that decision, Li Lan becomes ill and gains a way to explore the Chinese underworld, and as she begins to explore it, she starts to learn a lot of secrets that were hidden from her for a very long time. She also uses a lot of creativity and trickery and relies a lot on people to help her make that journey through the Chinese Underworld. Some lessons I got is that help will be unexpected, travelers depend a lot on other people who are left behind to help them make the journey, and to use one's mind and wits to survive various situations. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

G654 Book Review of Jesusita by Ronald L Ruiz

Name of Book: Jesusita

Author: Ronald L Ruiz

ISBN: 978-1-937484-33-0

Publisher: Amika Press

Type of book: 1945s-1950s, religion, prayer, Sacrament, materialism, classicism, vanity, California, Mexico, community, parent/child relationships, work, European Americans and Central Americans, Pinoys, desire

Year it was published: 2015


Jesusita is the story of immigrants—legal and illegal—trying to survive in California in the years after World War II. Jesusita, alone and impoverished, struggles to keep her four young children together. Though she finds support from Padre Montes at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, her faith won’t solve her problems, especially those with her daughter, Paulina. Far from home, Filipino laborers are denied by law any contact with white women. Angie, the young daughter of an illiterate and unmarried mother, knows only one way to make money. And Felix, abandoned by his mother and separated from his only brother, is placed in a foster home on an isolated ranch. The interrelated lives of these people provide a complex, sometimes violent, and often tragic image of American poverty within the nation’s postwar boom.


There are quite a lot of characters in the books and pretty much almost all of them play a role in the book. Jesusita is a mother of four who is best described as arrogant towards others, Jesusita's three children respect her and are afraid of her, while her third child, Paulina always defies her at really major costs to health and sanity. She is also two-faced when it comes to church and her own children, but also extremely dedicated to church and to religion at the cost of everything else. At first Angie is a six year old girl who lost her innocence extremely early, and she seems to not question the world and what is going on around her. She is best described as materialistic and seems to be more concerned about her own pleasure and money rather than other things. Unfortunately another character, Felix, is one that I get to know the least, except that he is very methodical and loyal to people who take care of him as well as to his family.


To be honest I'm kind of having a hard time articulating what the theme should be. Maybe that reality chases faith away?


The story is in third person narrative mainly from Jesusita's point of view, although Angie , Felix and Padre Montes also play a small role in the story. I have to admit that although the story began in 1945 and immediately drew me in, when other characters such as Felix and Angie entered, I wondered if their stories also started in 1945 or not really? The story also takes a look at the lives of Central American immigrants to California as well as their prejudices towards others. (I was surprised that they saw people from Mexico who had Indian blood as less than.) The great deal of focus is on religion and its affect on Jesusita's life, as well as how she struggles with what life has dealt her and her family. The story is also not preachy and while religion is in the front of the story, it is very subtle and not overbearing.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy the book:    Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

Ronald L. Ruiz author pic
Meet the author: 

After reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment at the age of 17, I knew I wanted to be a writer. But I knew nothing about the craft. My first novel, Happy Birthday Jesús, was published 36 years later. Surprisingly, it received good reviews

For many years, I was a criminal defense attorney and at the end of my career a prosecutor, but I always managed to find time to write. What I saw and experienced during those years often serves as a basis for my writing. For me, learning how to write has been a long, continuous and, at times, torturous process.

Now retired, I try to write every day and I feel fortunate that I have found something in writing that sustains me. I’m glad I persevered during all those years of rejection. More than anything, writing about what I see and experience in life has given me a sense of worth.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Facebook


Last year, I had an opportunity to read a book titled Vicissitudes of Life by Wang Xiaoying which explored the idea of traditional China versus modern China and what it means for China's place in the world. Reading this book was just like reading Vicissitudes of Life, except for the fact that the story deals with multiple immigrants from Central America and takes place in 1940s to 1950s, while Vicissitudes of Life was a 1990s story, I think. I enjoy reading books in what I would call sparse writing where more is said with less, and Jesusita is just like that. I wasn't able to come up with what it could mean until I dreamt that perhaps its the clash of modern thoughts and ideas versus the ideas of yesteryear, and looking at the names of the two characters as well as the worlds that they inhabit, one could argue with the idea that the founder of religion (in form of Jesusita) is very idealistic and refuses to see reality for what it is, while the messenger (Angie) sees the reality for what it is and demands for society or faith to conform to stop turning blind eye towards the ugly and to stop judging it as wrong. All in all, a beautiful, breathtaking and an unforgettable read that's not likely to let the reader go for a very long time.

This is for iRead Book Tours


Nov 2 -   Corinne Rodrigues - review / giveaway
Nov 3 -   Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - review / guest post
Nov 4 -   Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Nov 5 -   misty103 @ HubPages - review
Nov 6 -   Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
Nov 9 -   Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
Nov 10 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
Nov 11 - The World As I See It - review / giveaway
Nov 12 - The Autistic Gamer - review 
Nov 12 - T's Stuff - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 13 -Life as Leels - review
Nov 16 - Puddletown Reviews - review
Nov 17 - Nighttime Reading Center - review / author interview / giveaway
Nov 18 - Library of Clean Reads - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 19 - #redhead.with.book - book spotlight
Nov 20 - The Bookish Angel - review / guest post / giveaway
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.)

Monday, November 9, 2015

G647 We had a job to do; a basic history of world war ii through the eyes of those served

Title of the book: We had a job to do; a basic history of world war ii through the eyes of those served

Author: Theresa Anzaldua

Publisher: Harvard Book Store

Publishing Date: 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4951-5692-2


This heartfelt tribute to World War II veterans is history that reads like fiction.

Follow a soldier who fought on Patton's Third Army and who landed on Omaha Beach at 9.a.m. on D-Day; a female Army Air Forces nurse who made helping veterans her life's work; a fighter pilot who flew with the African-American unit known as the Tuskegee Airmen and who was on one of the two teams that won the first Top Gun meet after the war; a guard in a top-secret intelligence base outside of Washington, D.C. where top german weapons scientists were interrogated; a female aircraft mechanic who served int he Navy and is still active in veterans affairs seventy years later; a gunner on a B-17 heavy bomber who was shot down and spent fourteen months in German prison camps; an airman in General Curtis LeMay's 20th Air Force, the unit that dropped the atomic bombs, and more.
Get to know some of the patriots who served in World War II.

The author is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, B.A. (English Literature and Philosophy) and M.A. (Philosophy) and Harvard Law School, J.D. Her mother served in World War II in the U.S. Army, her father served in the war in the U.S. Navy, her maternal uncle served in the war in the British Marines Commandos and fought in Normandy on D-Day, and another maternal uncle was killed in a training accident in Texas while serving in the U.S. Army. Her grandfather was wounded fighting for Britain in World War I.

Author Info:
(from Iread Book Tours)

Buy the book:    Amazon
Theresa Anzaldua author pic
Meet the author:  

The author is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, B.A. (English Literature and Philosophy) and M.A. (Philosophy) and Harvard Law School, J.D. Her mother served in World War II in the U.S. Army, her father served in the U.S. Navy, her maternal uncle served in the war in the British Marines Commandos and fought in Normandy on D-Day, and another maternal uncle was killed in a training accident in Texas while serving in the U.S. Army. Her grandfather was wounded fighting for Britain in World War I.

Connect with the author:   Website    Facebook

Personal Opinion:

Like other reviewers stated, this is a simple basic history of America's role in WWII. Yes, America's role. The author rarely, if ever, focuses on deeds from Asia or other European countries. Also in my opinion, this is also perfect for elementary school students of European and African-American ancenstry, and if I should have children, I will definitely use that with them to at least give them basics of America in WWII. While I did enjoy it, I did have a few things to nitpick about it. One of the things is that America did know about concentration camps. Yes, look at movies from 1930s, look at the infamous Charlie Chaplin's movie about Hitler. There was knowledge of concentration camps even back then. (Eerily enough, Charlie Chaplin's movie foreshadowed the doom for the world. Scary, and it was made way before 1941.) Another thing is that while it was cool that the author made sure men and women made pages of the story, I think I would have liked it more if there would have been at least one or two Jewish men/women as well as people from other ethnicities as well. Also, I really wish the author would have expanded on this particular paragraph, because I don't really understand it, and I come from the persecuted religion. "While it is widely believed that Hitler found Jewish people to be another inferior race, an alternative school of thought is that Hitler saw Jewish people not as inferior but as a threat. Hitler realized that the religious teachings of Judaism contradicted and thus threatened the basic notion he was promoting, that some "races" such as Germans, were superior." (30) What confuses me is that it sounds as if Hitler thought Jews would take over the world and be peacemakers, and that everyone would abandon christianity. Perhaps on my own I will mention more about this topic, but getting back to the review, a very simple and elementary history book that gives recognition to men and women in different roles and branches of the military and what they have done for America.

This is for iRead Book Tours

Tour Schedule:

Oct 19 - Horror Maiden's Book Reviews - review
Oct 19 - The Cubicle Escapee - review / giveaway
Oct 20 - Man of la Book – review / guest post / giveaway
Oct 21 - A Soccer Mom's Book Blog – review / giveaway
Oct 22 - Vic's Media Room - review
Oct 23 - Keenly Kristin – review / guest post / giveaway
Oct 26 - A Simple Life, really?! - review
Oct 27 - misty103 @ HubPages - review
Oct 28 - Reviews From The Heart - review
Oct 29 - Puddletown Reviews – review / giveaway
Oct 30 - Life as Leels - review
Nov 2 - Brian's Book Blog - review
Nov 3 - Blooming with Books – review / giveaway
Nov 4 - Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway
Nov 5 - Did YOU Hear about the Morgans? - review
Nov 5 - Puddletown Reviews – author interview / giveaway
Nov 6 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review
Nov 9 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
Nov 10 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - review
Nov 11 - Reading Authors – review / giveaway
Nov 11 - Rockin' Book Reviews – review / author interview / giveaway
Nov 12 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – author interview
Nov 13 - The Things We Read - review
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.)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 6.15

General Information:

Name of Book: Tree of Souls

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Year it was published: 2004

Overall theme:

"With only one God, heaven would be a barren place, at least in mythic terms. Yet the actual Jewish view of heaven is quite different. There are seven heavens, filled with angels and other divine beings, such as the Messiah [Not jesus!], who is said to have a palace of his own in the highest heaven. The clestial Temple can be found there- the mirror image of the Temple in the earthly Jerusalem- as well as an abundance of heavenly palaces, one for each of the patriarchs and matriarchs and sages, where he or she teaches Torah to the attentive souls of the righteous and the angels..." (xliii)

"Drawing on the full range of Jewish sources, sacred and nonsacred, ten major categories of Jewish mythology can be identified: Myths of God, Myths of Creation...Each of these categories explores a mythic realm, and, in the process, reimagines it. This is the secret to the transformations that characterize Jewish mythology. Building on a strong foundation of biblical myth, each generation has embellished the earlier myths, while, at the same time, reinterpeting them for tis own time." (xlv)

 Book Two: Myths of Creation

 Part VI: Myths of Origin

129. The Origin of Chaos

Issue: A question about what existed before the world existed? Chaos and void. Origin of chaos is recounted as well as how Wisdom came about and became a form of primordial light. Wisdom also serves as a veil.

130. The First Sunset

Issue: Adam and Eve experienced the first sunset in where Adam thought that he and Eve were destined to die, but it wasn't the case thus Adam wore priestly garments that he passed on to Seth.

131. The Origin of Fire

Issue: When the sun sank, Adam was terrified that something bad would happen, but G-d directed him to strike fire with flint.

132. What Causes Earthquakes?

Issue: Various myths about origins of earthquakes; one being that G-d is upset and His voice creates earthquakes, other myth is of G-d clapping his hands, G-d groaning, and G-d stampin in heavens, and last but not least, G-d squeezing His feet under the Throne of Glory

133. The Roots of Everything

Issue: During the six days of Creation, G-d looked over the world and created everything that was to ever exist.

To Be Continued...

G550 Book Review of Ourselves by S.G. Redling

Name of Book: Ourselves

Author: S.G. Redling

ISBN: 978-1477820391

Publisher: 47North, Seattle

Type of book: Vampires, Nahan, bees, storytelling, cult, coming-of-age, career, rituals, tradition, 2000s, humans

Year it was published: 2015


An ancient, nature-loving race, the Nahan have protected their secret world by cultivating the myths of fanged, bloodsucking monsters that haunt legends. Yet they walk through our world as our coworkers and our neighbors, hiding in plain sight and coexisting in peace. They survive?and they prosper.

A shy young dreamer, Tomas wanders through his life with help from his good friends and influential family on the ruling Council. Now, he's decided his future lies with the Nahan's most elite class: the mysterious Storytellers. But his family is troubled by his new choice?and by his new girlfriend, Stell, a wild, beautiful, and deadly outcast from a fanatical Nahan sect.

As Tomas descends into the dark wonders of the Nahan's most powerful culture, Stell answers her own calling as an exceptional assassin. But when a lethal conspiracy threatens their destinies, Tomas and Stell must unite their remarkable talents against the strongest?and most sinister?of their kind.


There are quite a few characters such as Tomas, Stell, Antoine, and Tomas's cousins. In beginning Tomas struck me as very shy and uncertain about himself, as if he doesn't know how to really live his life and he often depends on his two cousins for survival. Stell is a runaway from a vampire cult and she is best described as rebellious, independent and a bit angry. Frankly I'm not surprised at her career choice in Ourselves. There are other characters as well such as Antoine who could be seen as the male version of Stell, but besides these three, the others didn't really stick in my mind.


No idea what the theme should have been


The story is written in third person narrative from many characters' points of view. I felt that the beginning of the story is pretty strong, especially when Stell and Tomas meet. I also was very intrigued by Stell's background and would have wanted to know more about her. The middle and ending were a bit confusing for me because I'm not sure why they decided to do what they did and what motivated them. I also was pretty confused by the politics that were going on.

Author Information:
(From amazon.com)


After a ridiculously normal childhood spent fighting with my siblings in the woods of West Virginia, I graduated from Georgetown University with an English degree. To my parents' chagrin, I parlayed that fine education into a series of jobs including waitress, monument tour guide, and sheepskin packer before settling in as a morning radio host in Huntington, West Virginia.

I tend to stroll blithely into strange situations and take adolescent pride in surviving them. Some of my favorites: jumping from an airplane (recommended), jumping from a moving tAfter a ridiculously normal childhood spent fighting with my siblings in the woods of West Virginia, I graduated from Georgetown University with an English degree. To my parents' chagrin, I parlayed that fine education into a series of jobs including waitress, monument tour guide, and sheepskin packer before settling in as a morning radio host in Huntington, West Virginia.

I tend to stroll blithely into strange situations and take adolescent pride in surviving them. Some of my favorites: jumping from an airplane (recommended), jumping from a moving train in Hungary (not recommended), getting lost in the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, and being locked in a dining car on a midnight train through the Carpathians; and winning a heated argument over the schematics of the Battlestar Galactica.

These days, I spend a lot of time in pajamas and--for reasons too complicated to explain--I am no longer shocked to find wildlife in my house. For me, everything is a story and the story is everything. Getting to tell my stories? Greatest thing ever.


Vampires. One word and already the reader is either picturing the Twilight vampires that sparkle in the day or is picturing the tormented souls vampires that go out in the night. What the reader isn't picturing are vampires that are able to procreate, that have very fascinating rituals and that live and work among the ordinary humans. They also aren't picturing the vampires that fall in love with their own kind and that aren't instinctual and could choose when to kill and when to leave alone. Curious? These are the type of vampires that the reader will encounter in Ourselves. Despite the late review, I really did enjoy reading the story and seeing a different side of vampires that's not explored in today's conscious mind as well as adding very complex layers to these vampires' personality and complexes. These vampires are not ashamed of who they are, but pride fills their very beings at the long and complex history that's woven through their souls. Also, the book is about 320 pages, not 800+ as stated in goodreads and amazon.

My apologies for publishing the review so late

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.)