Thursday, May 23, 2013

Coming Up...Week 21 of 2013

Book to be reviewed:

N/A

What I'm Reading right now:

Young Knights of the Round Table: The King's Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello (e-book)

In medieval Wales, eleven-year-old Prince Gavin, thirteen-year-old orphan Philip, and fifteen-year-old blacksmith's apprentice Bryan are brought together in friendship by one they call the Wild Man. When an advisor to the king is killed and a jewelled medallion is stolen from the king's treasury, the Wild Man is accused of the theft and murder.

Filled with disbelief at the arrest of the Wild Man, the three friends embark upon a knight's quest to save their friend's life. To succeed, the three must confront their fears and insecurities, and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all.

Join Gavin, Philip, and Bryan on their quest and share the adventures that await them in the land of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

 Chapters: 3 out of 18

 Pages: 16 out of 82

A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine: Adventures & Misadventures Living among the Natives by Walter Parchomenko

A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine is a painfully funny collection of travel nightmares; country and culture shocks experienced by an American living and working among the natives over the past 20 years. It offers practical tips on how to cope with: Sexy young women who view foreign men as potential ATM machines and transportation out of their closed countries; herds of stampeding Slavs on city streets, in metro areas and supermarkets; angry motorists who stop for pedestrians at crosswalks only because they are bumpier than potholes; packs of howling stray dogs who don’t understand English and Slavic attack pigeons.

A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine also takes readers by the hand and allows them to experience the agony of entering a collapsing post-Soviet medical system and interacting with Kafkaesque bureaucracies. And it provides foreign men, who seek Slavic brides, priceless advice that can save them from bankruptcy, jail and even confinement in a psychiatric hospital.

The result is a book that weaves comic misadventures without trivializing serious issues, including AIDS, rampant corruption and ecocide; shatters many prevailing stereotypes about Slavic men and women; and clears up numerous culturally based misunderstandings Americans typically have of Russians and Ukrainians.

Seinfeldian humor. Like the very popular TV series Seinfeld, this is fundamentally a book “about nothing”: the banal but often fascinating events that make up our human existence. Chapters titled Slavic Attack Pigeons, Fornicating Flies, Howling Stray Dogs and Mayo Heaven are just a few illustrations. A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine fully agrees with H.L. Mencken who aptly observed: “The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line.”

Chapters: 20 out of 59 plus preface

Pages: 94 out of 283

The Thread of a Thousand Miles by Alan Yang

The encounter of an Asian man and an American woman in Guangzhou sparked a love affair that would put the age-old Chinese saying, "A marriage of a thousand miles is strung by a single thread," to test. Jin and Lucia came from two different worlds. They had no clue about each other's identity or their ancestors' secret past. Their romance was couched in a family saga dating back to World War II. Their passion for each other grew and blossomed at a time when love was forbidden. How would Jin and Lucia's family mysteries be unraveled? Would they be able to tackle the odds against them? Would their love ever be consummated? Filled with twists and turns, this story puts Jin and Lucia through a gauntlet of trouble and turmoil, leading up to a final climactic realization.

Chapters: 5 out of 72

Pages: 23 out of 345

Modern Love: The Grownup's Guide to Relationships & Online Dating by Cija Black

Modern Love will help you consider your past relationship baggage, look through your relationship assumptions and teach you how to apply that information to a focused search for love off and online.

Modern Love takes a unique approach to the topics of relationships and online dating. There are a million and one books out there about improving your relationships OR online dating, but I have yet to find one that combines the two. MODERN LOVE asks you to review your relationship baggage, identify your relationship expectations and then produce a truthful engaging online dating profile. The lessons learned from preparing an online profile will be beneficial even if you decide online dating isn’t for you.

Chapters: Introduction 3 sections plus extra stuff

Pages: 8 out of 173

Palladium Eastern Empires- Marc Lane

This is the story before the fall of the Roman Empire, the last gasp of the vanished culture of Byzantium, the Middle Ages and the crusades. A story of pride, servitude, adventure and misfortune. Moreover, this is the story of a statue long forgotten, yet whose name lingers on, at the edge of awareness. Of how she came to be removed from her sacred seat, and where she was taken.

Chapters: 17 out of 27

Pages: 179 out of 283 plus extra stuff






Zinsky the Obscure by Ilan Mochari

Thirty-year-old Manhattan bachelor Ariel Zinsky is still recovering from his abusive childhood when he realizes no one -- including his few living relatives -- is truly interested in his narrative. While they numb themselves with the latest celebrity rehab story or the third-world atrocities replayed without ceasing on cable news, he sets out to write his autobiography as an exercise in his own self-medication, recasting himself as the hero in a coming-of-age story. Fans of A Confederacy of Dunces and The Perks of Being a Wallflower will relate to this tale of overcoming your childhood's traumas, and the world's indifference to them.

 Chapters: 15 out of 24

 Pages: 196 out of 342

Secrets of a Runaway Bride by Valerie Bowman

The Thrill Of Escape

Miss Annie Andrews is finally free to marry the man she loves. With her overprotective sister out of the country on her honeymoon, nothing can prevent her flight to Gretna Green—nothing, that is, but an abduction by the wrong gentleman.

The Sweetness Of Surrender

When Jordan Holloway, the Earl of Ashbourne, promised to look after his best friend's sister-in-law, he didn’t realize she would prove so difficult. But when he spirits her away to his country house to prevent her elopement, he discovers that the tempting beauty knows how to put up a fight. To make matters worse, he’s stuck playing the role of honorable protector...when what he really wants is to run away with her himself.

 Chapters: 5 out of 52

 Pages: 45 out of 368

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris (For smartbitchestrashybooks site)

Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern's life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother's best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.

When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.

 Chapters: 9 out of 72

 Pages: 48 out of 437

Push Not the River By James Conroyd Martin

A panoramic and epic novel in the grand romantic style, Push Not the River is the rich story of Poland in the late 1700s--a time of heartache and turmoil as the country's once peaceful people are being torn apart by neighboring countries and divided loyalties. It is then, at the young and vulnerable age of seventeen, when Lady Anna Maria Berezowska loses both of her parents and must leave the only home she has ever known.

With Empress Catherine's Russian armies streaming in to take their spoils, Anna is quickly thrust into a world of love and hate, loyalty and deceit, patriotism and treason, life and death. Even kind Aunt Stella, Anna's new guardian who soon comes to personify Poland's courage and spirit, can't protect Anna from the uncertain future of the country.

Anna, a child no longer, turns to love and comfort in the form of Jan, a brave patriot and architect of democracy, unaware that her beautiful and enigmatic cousin Zofia has already set her sights on the handsome young fighter. Thus Anna walks unwittingly into Zofia's jealous wrath and darkly sinister intentions.

Forced to survive several tragic events, many of them orchestrated by the crafty Zofia, a strengthened Anna begins to learn to place herself in the way of destiny--for love and for country. Heeding the proud spirit of her late father, Anna becomes a major player in the fight against the countries who come to partion her beloved Poland.

Push Not the River is based on the true eighteenth century diary of Anna Maria Berezowska, a Polish countess who lived through the rise and fall of the historic Third of May Constitution. Vivid, romantic, and thrillingly paced, it paints the emotional and unforgettable story of the metamorphosis of a nation--and of a proud and resilient young woman.

  Chapters: 4 out of 67 plus epilogue and prologue

  Pages: 36 out of 496

With Malicious Intent by Saylor Storm

Unpretentious, natural beauty, Hannah Ellsworth travels the world only to find love at her back door. Disillusioned with romance, she finds solace in remote Fiji. The distance fails to deter two tenacious suitors; all American Robert Graham and seasoned adventurer, Jack Wilson. Her decision could lead to an untimely death. Who is betraying her and why? With Malicious Intent is a story of learning to listen to your heart and having faith that it will never steer you wrong.

 Chapters: 5 out of 48

 Pages: 22 out of 200




My Cousin Rachel- Daphen du Maurier (for readdreamrelax site)

 From the first page the reader is back in the moody, brooding atmosphere of Rebecca." The New York Times "From the bestselling author of Rebecca, another classic set in beautiful and mysterious Cornwall."

Philip Ashley's older cousin Ambrose, who raised the orphaned Philip as his own son, has died in Rome. Philip, the heir to Ambrose's beautiful English estate, is crushed that the man he loved died far from home. He is also suspicious. While in Italy, Ambrose fell in love with Rachel, a beautiful English and Italian woman. But the final, brief letters Ambrose wrote hint that his love had turned to paranoia and fear.

Now Rachel has arrived at Philip's newly inherited estate. Could this exquisite woman, who seems to genuinely share Philip's grief at Ambrose's death, really be as cruel as Philip imagined? Or is she the kind, passionate woman with whom Ambrose fell in love? Philip struggles to answer this question, knowing Ambrose's estate, and his own future, will be destroyed if his answer is wrong.

 Chapters: 15 out of 26

 Pages: 146 out of 302

Future Books I will read:

A Bigger World The Life and Times of Wm. Edwy Ryerson by Thomas A Ryerson (e-book)

Surviving the Titanic, the Boer War, turn of the century India, World War One (The Great War), homesteading in Northern Ontario; my great grandfather, William Edwy ‘Ed’ Ryerson led quite an exciting life, as told in this book, ‘A Bigger World.’ This semi-fictional novel is based on facts with the author’s interpretations. Ed’s story is one of survival and determination to make a difference, and be different at the same time. The story is told through the eyes of his son, Tom, during the depression era of the 1930's while living in Hamilton, Canada. William Edwy Ryerson, a life and an adventure worth remembering.

Chapters: 11 plus postscript and introduction

Pages: 178


50 Things to Know Before Having a Baby by Lisa Marie Rusczyk (e-book)

Ask Yourself the Question...
How Much Do You Know About Having a Baby?

Do you know what cervix checks are? Did you know you can bleed for a couple weeks after giving birth? Do you know how to stay organized, even with a child?

This is a collection of 50 tips that any pregnant woman would like to know before having a baby. The book offers organization tips, advice for visiting the Doctor’s office, and things a pregnant woman should learn or complete before the new bundle of joy arrives.

A great quick read for a soon to be new Mom or someone who is helping a soon to be Mom!

The book includes tools including Website Resources, Baby Feeding/Diaper Schedule, Mom Medicine Schedule, Baby Clothes Size Chart, Baby Sitter Sheet, Short Hospital Bag Checklist, Recovery Kit Items, Baby Medicine Basket Items, and 10 Things to Know When Traveling with a baby. Many great resources in one place.

Chapters: about 14?

Pages: 16

C-Town by Aaron Powell

There’s not much for a young person to do in Corning, a small industrial town in upstate New York. While parents are working swing shifts to make ends meet, their restless children resort to acts of depravity and self-indulgence. Set in the late 1990’s, this is a story of a twenty-year-old man who is struggling with questions of purpose and existential nihilism. Patrick Mitchell spends most of his time at the YMCA, while attending community college classes, and training at the local karate dojo. He’s distracted by frivolous relationships, fights, and drugs, but his personal moral dilemmas will all seem much less important when an unusual occurrence shakes him to the very core.

Chapters: 29 plus epilogue and introduction

Pages: 138


The Mail-Order Bride by Daris Howard

Prize Winning Story - Clean Romance!

It was to be the big day for Eli. His fiancée, Molly, was coming in on a ship. Two years earlier, unable to find work in England, he had headed for America. His ship was caught in a storm, and he ended up, not in Pennsylvania as he planned, but in Newfoundland.
But that was all behind him now. He had written to Molly every day for the two years, and now she was coming so they could be married.
But Eli was in for a surprise. Unknown to him, Molly had married. She had bought him a mail-order bride, and Eli's life was going to suddenly take an unexpected twist.
This is a fun story about differences of culture, love, and life. The play based on this book is winner of many awards and has been produced internationally. This is a story you won’t want to miss.

Chapters: 28

Pages: 151

The Fallen Snow by John Kelley

In the fall of 1918 infantry sniper Joshua Hunter saves an ambushed patrol in the Bois le PrĂȘtre forest of Lorraine . . . and then vanishes. Pulled from the rubble of an enemy bunker days later, he receives an award for valor and passage home to Hadley, a remote hamlet in Virginia’s western highlands. Reeling from war and influenza, Hadley could surely use a hero. Family and friends embrace him; an engagement is announced; a job is offered.

Yet all is not what it seems. Joshua experiences panics and can’t recall the incident that crippled him. He guards a secret too, one that grips tight like the icy air above his father’s quarry. Over the course of a Virginia winter and an echoed season in war-torn France, The Fallen Snow reveals his wide-eyed journey to the front and his ragged path back. Along the way he finds companions – a youth mourning a lost brother, a widowed nurse seeking a new life and Aiden, a bold sergeant escaping a vengeful father. While all of them touch Joshua, it is the strong yet nurturing Aiden who will awaken his heart, leaving him forever changed.

Set within a besieged Appalachian forest during a time of tragedy, The Fallen Snow charts an extraordinary coming of age, exploring how damaged souls learn to heal, and dare to grow.

Chapters: 55 plus epilogue

Pages: 302

Hurry Up and Wait by Aaron Powell

This book consists of the written letters between my wife and I while I was away at recruit training, Parris Island, South Carolina. We've held nothing back - save a few names to protect the identities of the characters portrayed in our letters - and we've agreed to share our experience with anyone interested in reading about it.

This is our story.
-Aaron Powell

Chapters: 141 plus conclusion and introduction

Pages: 352




The Laws of Gravity by Liz Rosenberg

An exquisite tour de force, The Laws of Gravity is a testament to what it means to be a family, what it takes to save a life, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love. Two families, bound by blood, hear terrible news. One decision holds the key to survival--but at a devastating cost.

Nicole, auburn-haired, airy, and beautiful, discovers her body is betraying her. She turns to cousin and childhood best friend Ari for the cord blood he's been banking for his own children. Ari stands firm, bringing them before the scales of justice. Solomon Richter, a state Supreme Court judge on the brink of retirement, is touched by this legal battle like no other. His blood case, he calls it. A case that calls into question the very things we live for: the enduring bonds of family, and the love that lasts a lifetime. It's Nicole's last chance, Ari's last stand, and the judge's last case.

A novel of heartbreaking honesty, humor, and depth--an unforgettable story of finding love and finding family--The Laws of Gravity heralds Liz Rosenberg as a storytelling sensation.

Chapters: N/A

Pages: 300

Down This Road by Kelli Dawn

They say you can never go home, and for high-powered Chicago attorney Charlie McIntire, that is perfectly fine. She left home the day she turned 18 and never planned to return…but at 29, she finds herself running back to the ranch, the only place she can think of that will help her face an unexpected turn of events. Charlie tries to settle back into the quiet pace of country living, unsure of everything except the fact that she still hates shoveling manure. Life on the ranch is uneventful, and without the distractions of the city, Charlie is forced to deal with things she’d rather avoid: what she’s going to do with the rest of her life; the unfinished business between her and an ex-boyfriend; and most of all, the event that will change her life forever. Down This Road chronicles Charlie’s journey of self-discovery. It explores how the past shapes the present; how difficult it can be to change patterns of behavior; and how sometimes, learning your lesson might come just a little too late.

Chapters: 45

Pages: 270

A Time of Myths by Chris Blamires

New Mystery Adventure - Win Autographed ARCs!
Woodstock, 1969: the Festival that defined a decade of peace, love and freedom. The paths of five young English students cross – with devastating consequences. Consequences that eventually reach a climax in an isolated Cretan gorge.

Seventeen years later, in the ‘golden age’ of capitalism, dramatic events conspire to reunite the surviving members, necessitating a perilous return to Greece and to a tiny Greek island, as dangerous secrets and self-deceptions are at last forced into the glaring light…

Steeped in the folklore of the 20th century, A Time of Myths is not solely a historical mystery adventure: it seeks also to examine who we are, and how far we are in control of our actions – and even of our lives.

Chapters: 6 books

Pages: 338

Against a Crimson Sky by James Conroyd Martin

A magnificent epic, Against a Crimson Sky is an unforgettable tale of love, valor, and the enduring strength of the human spirit, set against the backdrop of war-torn Poland at the cusp of the nineteenth century.

The year is 1794, and the beautiful and resilient Countess Anna Maria Berezowska has narrowly escaped death amidst the chaos caused by the violent dissolution of Poland.

Anna is soon reunited with her longtime love, Lord Jan Stelnicki, and the two lovers marry even as their beloved Poland is ripped apart. As the couple struggles to raise a family in the face of an uncertain future, Anna’s capricious cousin, Zofia, returns with a surprise of her own. Although Zofia’s past schemes still resonate, Anna’s doubts turn to fear as Jan’s patriotism draws him to the battlefield.

Offering new hope for a conquered Poland, Napoleon Bonaparte arrives in all of his pomp and glory. With the aid of new Polish legions—Anna’s friends and family among them—Napoleon battles his way across Europe in an effort that culminates in the doomed 1812 winter march into Russia.

Against this backdrop, Anna and Jan valiantly fight to hold on to a tenuous happiness, their country, and their very lives.

Chapters: 40 plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 368

Manzanar to Mount Whitney The Life and Times of a Lost Hiker by Hank Umemoto

In 1942, fourteen-year-old Hank Umemoto gazed out a barrack window at Manzanar Internment Camp, saw the silhouette of Mount Whitney against an indigo sky, and vowed that one day he would climb to the top. Fifty-seven years and a lifetime of stories later, at the age of seventy-one, he reached the summit. Part memoir and part hiker's diary, Manzanar to mount Whitney gives an intimate, rollicking account of Japanese American life California before and after World War II. As he wanders through the mountains of California's Inland Empire, Umemoto recalls pieces of his childhood on a grape vineyard in the Sacramento Valley, his time at Manzanar, where beauty and hope were maintained despite the odds, and his later career as proprietor of a printing firm, all with grace, honesty, and unfailing humor. And all along, the peak of Mount Whitney casts its shadow, a symbol of freedom, beauty, and resilience.

Chapters: 12 plus prologue and introduction

Pages: 192

The Last Daughter of Prussia by Marina Gottlieb Sarles

Toward the end of World War II, as Germany’s hold on East Prussia grows increasingly tenuous, a childhood friendship between Manya Von Falken, the daughter of an aristrocratic family, and Joshi Karas, a Romani doctor, blossoms into unlikely love. But the young lovers are torn apart.

Captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp, Joshi fights for survival, while Manya and her family flee and embark on “The Great Trek” out of East Prussia. Based on true stories passed down to author Marina Gottlieb Sarles from her grandparents, survivors of the trek, The Last Daughter of Prussia also tells the story of the brave Trakehner horses who led their owners across a dangerous frozen lagoon, the only open escape route.

Will Joshi and Manya find one another? Gottlieb Sarles creates a tapestry of characters from every corner of East Prussia, shedding light on an untold tragic moment in history.

Chapters: 54

Pages: 311

Elizabeth the Struggle for the Throne- David Starkey (for readdreamrelax site)

Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
The legend of Elizabeth I, the untouchable, charismatic Virgin Queen, is a powerful and enduring one. Most biographies focus on the years of her reign, during which she proved herself as adept a ruler -- and as shrewd an operator -- as England had ever seen. But while the history of her rule is fascinating, the story of how her remarkable character was forged seems vital to a full understanding of the woman who led England into a new age of prosperity, power, and artistic achievement. David Starkey's Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne explores the terra incognita of Elizabeth's early years, and the result is nothing short of captivating.

Starkey finds that Elizabeth's early years ran the gamut from days of snug security as the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and Henry's heir apparent, to the years of uncertainty after her mother's execution whenElizabeth was separated from court and virtually forgotten. She received a first-rate academic education, excelling in languages and rhetoric and exhibiting a strong interest in the Protestant religion her father had established in England. But the education she received from life itself would prove far more valuable for the monarch-to-be. After the death of Henry VIII and Edward VI (Elizabeth's half brother), Elizabeth's status as sister and would-be successor to the Catholic queen Mary put her in a dangerous position.

It also put her in prison at Mary's command -- and perilously close to execution -- after plots to place Elizabeth on the throne were revealed. Starkey makes it clear that while others may have actually done the dirty work, Elizabeth was usually in the thick of these efforts. Her imprisonment taught her to cover her tracks, but it did not stop her maneuverings. While fervently professing her Catholic faith, she surrounded herself with Protestant advisers and attendants, and bided her time.

She evaded another snare of her sister's when Mary attempted to neutralize Elizabeth by marrying her off to a Catholic Spaniard in exchange for naming Elizabeth her successor. Perhaps Elizabeth had learned early on from the plight of her mother that marriage had its drawbacks. Starkey, however, suggests that Elizabeth, in a moment of true regality, would not accept the crown if it came through bullying and capitulation. Again, Elizabeth bided her time.

Her seeming patience -- for Starkey reveals that Elizabeth continued to plot -- paid off when Mary, never robust, entered her final illness. Elizabeth managed to convince the now irrational queen that she was, indeed, a staunch Catholic and vowed to preserve England as a Catholic realm. Upon Mary's death, Elizabeth ascended to the throne with no meaningful opposition, thereby beginning what would be a golden age, one of the most legendary reigns in history. Starkey lets us understand, for the first time, the forces that made her into the formidable woman -- and brilliant ruler -- that she would soon prove to be.

Chapters: 44

Pages: 323

Portraits by Cynthia Freeman (readdreamrelax site)

The captivating chronicle of four generations of the Sandonitsky family - immigrants from a Polish ghetto. This is the powerful drama of their struggle to achieve the American dream without losing their spiritual hreitage as success drives them westward to Oakland, California. A complelling novel about human needs, passions and conflicts which reach tempestuous heights.

JACOB whose newfound wealth could never fill the aching void inside him. .

SARA who sacrificed everything in the name of love -even her daughter.

SHLOMO who kept the family's disgrace a secret, and paid the price.

RACHEL whose forbidden love for one man drove her into the arms of another.

DORIS a Cinderella who achieved fame and happiness beyond her wildest dreams.

Chapters: 76

Pages: 595

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