Sunday, September 8, 2013

Coming Up...Week 36 of 2013

Book to be reviewed:

House Haunting- Mary E Merrell (e-book, Sage's blog Tour)

Rosemary Fernandes is a divorced, naïve woman, determined to make it in the tough world of real estate. Keith Laumer is a ghost, eager to leave his earthly haunt. As a real estate agent and a womanizer in life, Keith is the perfect partner to teach Rosemary the ins and outs of the real estate business, and he’s perfectly willing to teach her anything else she wants to know too.

Keith wants to find his killers, but Rosemary knows what's really keeping him earthbound. Is it too late for the ghost to find the true meaning of life? And can Rosemary find Keith's killer before her less-than-subtle sleuthing teaches her and her friends a lesson they may not survive.

If you enjoy Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, you’re going to find a kindred “spirit” in Rosemary Fernandes.


The Drake Equation- Heather Walsh (e-reading) 


She’s a Democrat, he’s a Republican. She spends her days fighting global warming at an environmental non-profit, he makes his living doing PR for Bell Motors and their fleet of SUVs. But as soon as they meet, Emily Crossley and Robert Drake realize they have encountered their intellectual match. You’re never challenged, he tells her. You’ve surrounded yourself in a cocoon of people who think exactly the same way you do. She hurls the same accusation back at him, and the fiery debates begin.

Despite both of their attempts to derail it, there is no denying that they are falling in love. But their relationship is threatened by political differences, Robert’s excessive work hours, and Emily’s fear of losing her identity as she falls deeper in love.

Can their love survive? The Drake Equation is a tale of modern love and all its complexities.


Painted Hands- Jennifer Zobair (UPS, TLC Book tour before September 18th)

Muslim bad girl Zainab Mir has just landed a job working for a post-feminist, Republican Senate candidate. Her best friend Amra Abbas is about to make partner at a top Boston law firm. Together they’ve thwarted proposal-slinging aunties, cultural expectations, and the occasional bigot to succeed in their careers. What they didn’t count on? Unlikely men and geopolitical firestorms.

When a handsome childhood friend reappears, Amra makes choices that Zainab considers so 1950s—choices that involve the perfect Banarasi silk dress and a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. After hiding her long work hours during their courtship, Amra struggles to balance her demanding job and her unexpectedly traditional new husband.

Zainab has her own problems. She generates controversy in the Muslim community with a suggestive magazine spread and friendship with a gay reporter. Her rising profile also inflames neocons like Chase Holland, the talk radio host who attacks her religion publicly but privately falls for her hard. When the political fallout from a terrorist attempt jeopardizes Zainab's job and protests surrounding a woman-led Muslim prayer service lead to violence, Amra and Zainab must decide what they’re willing to risk for their principles, their friendship, and love.

The Namesake meets Sex and the City in this engaging and provocative debut novel about friendship and the love lives of American Muslim women.

Breath in the Dark by Jane Hersey


Settling down on the bed, I stroked the plump, still body, watching my mother's face just to make sure she was still breathing. As a 6 year old that was all I wanted, not toys or chocolates or comforts, just to know my mother was still alive was enough. Jane Hersey's biography is told through the thoughts and voice of a traumatized, isolated child, enduring the stresses and strains of day-to-day life under difficult circumstances in 1960s Manchester. As a six year old child with sole care of a mother suffering with clinical depression, diabetes and eating disorders, Jane is ostracized by the Jewish community and the community at large. Breath in the Dark is the heart-rending story of a girl socially isolated, neglected, physically, emotionally and sexually abused and living in poverty. "From the first lines of Breath in the Dark, there is a powerful sense that this is special. The simplicity of Jane's style, the clarity of the child's voice and the intensity of emotion fired in those few words had me hooked from the start. [...] Jane expresses the beautiful mix of confusion, faith and fear that characterises her childhood effortlessly... There is so much I could say about Breath in the Dark, it's excellent narrative, incredible intensity and the unfakeable ring of truth it carries. [...] Every part of it is an extremely powerful reading experience: it is heartbreaking and fascinating in equal amounts." - Review by Harper Collins


Full Circle by Jane Hersey 

My body shook with the first kick to my naked body. His boots were heavy. First he kicked at my legs. Then my thighs. I curled in a ball to try to protect myself, his kicks penetrated me, the bones in my back and ribs felt like they were crumbling. I knew I was going to die... Screams echoed around the room as I tried to reach up to the window so I could jump out. Full Circle continues the life story of Jane Hersey which began with Breath in the Dark. It tells the harrowing true tale of a socially isolated young woman, who is neglected, physically and emotionally abused and living in poverty and deprivation. 'I was 16 years old when I left Manchester, struggling with emotional and related physical problems. Unable to hold down a job I found myself homeless. Coerced into a relationship I quickly became pregnant. Soon after my partner turned extremely violent. The emotional and physical abuse was relentless. After a life threatening beating I left in the middle of the night with my 18 month old baby. Refused help by the Homeless Families Department because I had lived out of Manchester for three years, I found myself homeless with a baby, at the mercy of unscrupulous people, forced into prostitution and sexually exploited. Eventually I found an attic flat for myself and my son in a dilapidated, vermin infested house. Three years later the Jewish Social Services got involved and offered me a decent flat on condition that I brought my son up in the Jewish faith, I agreed. I was 25 when I returned to the Jewish community. The first book in this autobiographical series was featured in The Jewish Telegraph, Ireland's Big Issue and Jane appeared on a wide range of radio shows from Newstalk to the BBC. It's been reviewed by the Madness and Literature Network (University of Nottingham) and included on the reading list for mental health nurses and recommended as a key text for clinicians, students, carers and parents.

What I'm Reading right now:

A Light in the Cane Fields-Enrico Antiporda(e-book)


Top Semi finalist, 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Manuscript Review from Publishers Weekly

"This coming-of-age story chronicling a Filipino boy's wrenching passage from son of privilege to guerilla fighter is a stylistic tour-de-force. From its first lines, the saga of Jando Flores seizes readers with the same chilling intensity as the cold water that wraps around Jando's chest as he hides in a river to escape a gang of pillaging cutthroats. While such murderous militias dispossess cane farmers in the Central Plains of the Philippines, the NPA (a brutal leftist insurgency) combats the government troops of Ferdinand Marcos and the ruthless sugar barons who steal the poor farmers' land. Jando, whose family owns a plantation, is forced into the NPA, but he remains a sensitive soul, brimming with empathy for his fellow countrymen-even as he watches others, like his beloved uncle, morph into fierce, sadistic killers. Incandescent descriptions radiate from the pages of this book. When a wounded Jando wakes, after narrowly escaping a death squad, he sees "marmalade light slicing through the fronds, weaving orange and black tiger stripes." Mountain bandits, sugar warlords, Peace Corps volunteers, dignitaries, and revolutionaries all jostle beneath "mango-colored" skies in this riveting epic of loss and transformation, but it is a masterful and delicate choreography. " –Publishers Weekly

Chapters: 2 out of N/A

Pages: 4 out of 260

Assassin's Gambit (Hearts and Thrones #1)-Amy Raby

Vitala Salonius, champion of the warlike game of Caturanga, is as deadly as she is beautiful. She’s a trained assassin for the resistance, and her true play is for ultimate power. Using her charm and wit, she plans to seduce her way into the emperor’s bed and deal him one final, fatal blow, sparking a battle of succession that could change the face of the empire.

As the ruler of a country on the brink of war and the son of a deposed emperor, Lucien must constantly be wary of an attempt on his life. But he’s drawn to the stunning Caturanga player visiting the palace. Vitala may be able to distract him from his woes for a while—and fulfill other needs, as well.

Lucien’s quick mind and considerable skills awaken unexpected desires in Vitala, weakening her resolve to finish her mission. An assassin cannot fall for her prey, but Vitala’s gut is telling her to protect this sexy, sensitive man. Now she must decide where her heart and loyalties lie and navigate the dangerous war of politics before her gambit causes her to lose both Lucien and her heart for good.

Chapters: 7 out of 35 plus prologue

Pages: 72 out of 381

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: 4 out of 6 books

 Pages: 225 out of 338

Till Morning Comes by Suyin Han

Alone in exotic Chungking, beautiful foreign correspondent Stephanie Ryder is warned to keep silent about the atrocities she witnesses in the city’s teeming slums. Defying a brutal Kuomintang officer, she is swept to an electrifying first meeting with Dr. Jen Yong, a handsome, dedicated and compassionate Chinese surgeon. For Yong, a sexual liaison with an American woman could mean a death sentence. For Stephanie, an affair with an Asian man would cause an irreparable breach with her Texas millionaire father. But just when danger threatens to separate them forever, their passion bursts into flame…and carries them on a fabulous romantic journey from the stormy depths of fear and desire, to the moving affirmation that enduring love is truly a many-splendored thing.

Chapters: 4 out of 27

Pages: 75 out of 620

Before the Larkspur Blooms (Prairie Hearts Series #2) by Caroline Fyffe


Caroline Fyffe returns to the windswept prairies of Wyoming with a beautiful story of rekindled love…

Thomas Donovan spent eight long years in prison, convicted of a crime he didn't commit. Finally released, he returns home to Logan Meadows, Wyoming, to discover his parents long buried and his neighbors wanting nothing to do with him. Suddenly the fresh start Thom longed for seems downright impossible until a spirited beauty from his past becomes his unlikely champion, and the walls around his injured heart begin to crumble?

Hannah Hoskins was brokenhearted when Thom Donovan was sent away. While the rest of the town was quick to brand him a no-count thief, Hannah always knew better. Now the boy she once loved has returned home a man ? a man whom Hannah's suitor, the town's deputy sheriff, is determined to destroy. When a crime spree starts anew, suspicion immediately falls on Thom, and it's up to Hannah to prove his innocence, earn him a second chance at life ? and win them both a second chance at love.

Chapters: 6 out of 44

Pages: 41 out of 281

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: 21 out of 40 plus epilogue and prologue

 Pages: 191 out of 368

Portraits of an Artist by Mary F. Burns 


From 1882 to 1884, John Singer Sargent painted his greatest masterpieces-the Daughters of Edward Darley Boit and Madame X-haunting portraits with dark psychological depths. The first unconsciously revealed a secret that would cause great anguish in his private life; the other created a social scandal that drove him from Paris forever. Portraits of an Artist brings to life the subjects of Sargent's paintings-his family, friends, enemies and lovers-to tell his story from their own perspectives. John Singer Sargent's paintings told more than he ever wanted anyone to know.

Chapters: 3 out of N/A plus afterword and notes on the characters

Pages: 21 out of 307



x0 by Sherrie Cronin

What if you are capable of far more than you realize? Lola, a Texan geophysicist who doesn’t believe in nonsense, finds that a near fatal accident reintroduces a disturbing phenomenon into her mind. Lola pretends it isn’t there until the changes taking place inside of her just won’t be ignored.

Across an ocean, Somadina is a young Nigerian who thinks that her telepathic abilities are perfectly normal. When her sister becomes a captive, the young Igbo woman draws upon her powers to find an ally like herself, a woman with a strong sense of justice and a desire to protect the helpless. As Somadina discovers that her sister has become a strategic pawn in a larger and more dangerous game, she vows to do anything to get the attention of this kindred, uncooperative lady.

x0 is an ancient organization with good reasons to stay hidden, but it knows that these two women have more important things in common than they realize, and that such will forge a powerful link. This forces x0 to reluctantly emerge from the shadows. Somebody needs to intervene. Both women are far stronger than they know, and to make matters worse, a fringe fanatic may be on the verge of altering a nation’s future.

Chapters: 5 out of 17

Pages: 54 out of  317

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: 13 out of 54

 Pages: 67 out of 311

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: 11 out of N/A

 Pages: 100 out of 300

Double Down by Saylor Storm 


Determined to erase the painful, lonely memories of childhood, unbreakable Lola Stocking vows to make a better life for herself. She plots a path that includes an ascent up the Las Vegas casino corporate ladder. Lola follows her design tenaciously until she falls for a man who was not part of her plan. Adoring Jackson Sterling steps into her life when she least expects it, forcing her to reassess her life course. Shattered by catastrophe on her wedding day, her life's dreams come to a screeching halt. Driven by sheer will and strength, her new direction brings everything she ever dreamed of only to learn that it had been there all along...she just didn't know it.

Chapters: 5 out of 55

Pages: 20 out of 220

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: 21 out of 141 plus conclusion and introduction

 Pages: 41 out of 352



Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze by Peter Harmsen


This deeply researched book describes one of the great forgotten battles of the 20th century. At its height it involved nearly a million Chinese and Japanese soldiers, while sucking in three million civilians as unwilling spectators and, often, victims. It turned what had been a Japanese adventure in China into a general war between the two oldest and proudest civilizations of the Far East. Ultimately, it led to Pearl Harbor and to seven decades of tumultuous history in Asia. The Battle of Shanghai was a pivotal event that helped define and shape the modern world.

In its sheer scale, the struggle for China’s largest city was a sinister forewarning of what was in store for the rest of mankind only a few years hence, in theaters around the world. It demonstrated how technology had given rise to new forms of warfare, or had made old forms even more lethal. Amphibious landings, tank assaults, aerial dogfights and most importantly, urban combat, all happened in Shanghai in 1937. It was a dress rehearsal for World War II—or perhaps more correctly it was the inaugural act in the war—the first major battle in the global conflict.

Actors from a variety of nations were present in Shanghai during the three fateful autumn months when the battle raged. The rich cast included China's ascetic Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his Japanese adversary, General Matsui Iwane, who wanted Asia to rise from disunity, but ultimately pushed the continent toward its deadliest conflict ever. Claire Chennault, later of “Flying Tiger” fame, was among the figures emerging in the course of the campaign, as was First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. In an ironic twist, Alexander von Falkenhausen, a stern German veteran of the Great War, abandoned his role as a mere advisor to the Chinese army and led it into battle against the Japanese invaders.

Written by Peter Harmsen, a foreign correspondent in East Asia for two decades, and currently bureau chief in Taiwan for the French news agency AFP, Shanghai 1937 fills a gaping chasm in our understanding of the Second World War.

Chapters: 1 out of 9 plus prologue, order of battle

 Pages: 35 out of 303

October Snow by Jenna Brooks

Josie spent twenty years as a battered wife, dying for a hero.

Now, she's dying to become one.
-------------------------------

Josie Kane is a “difficult” woman, a pure enigma - one who survives her abusive husband by honing her unnerving talent for playing mind games:
she knows exactly how to manipulate a bully.

Finally divorced, she thinks the abuse is over, and she’s free.

She’s wrong. And her cynicism is building.

Josie works with battered women, trying to rescue them from a fate similar to hers. But on the night that yet another battered woman is murdered by her husband, pining for a hero as she dies in Josie's arms, her cynicism becomes a quiet, simmering hatred.

Her one remaining refuge is in her bond with Maxine and Samantha, the two friends whom she loves like sisters. When Samantha becomes pregnant by Jack - an abuser who makes known his intentions to use the baby as a weapon of control - Josie’s hatred ripens to a vengeful fury.

She sets out to take on one more batterer, manipulate one more bully… And she lures Jack into the crosshairs of the ultimate mind game.

Her friends are convinced that she intends to rid Samantha of Jack.

They're right.

But with Josie Kane, as always, there's a twist.

With her friends helpless to stop her - and with Samantha hanging in the balance - Josie squares off with Jack in a life-and-death, winner-lose-all battle of wits to determine which side will win Sammy's future.

And this time, there will be a hero.

Chapters: 5 out of 22 plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 69 out of 370


Future Books I will read:

Curve Appeal- Mary E Merrel (e-book, Sage's blog tour)


Rosemary Fernandes is a real estate agent with the ability to communicate with lost souls, the spirit of deceased people who can’t or won’t move on. With a deal in escrow and buyers to work with, her business is taking off. All she has to do is avoid the spirits, who call to her, but her ability is getting stronger, and their voices are getting louder. The dead are attracted to her and so are the undead.

Marcus Lyons is a vampire who needs an assistant, and he wants Rosemary. He will do anything to have her, exclusively. Rosemary has no choice but to agree to his terms, but her life will never be the same. Soon she realizes the vampire is no monster but a man with many…talents.

Cassandra Huckabee is a murdered stripper, who won’t leave this world until she knows her daughter is safe. Her essence is hot and her moves hotter. Cassandra’s spirit takes Rosemary to places she’s never been before and teaches her that there is more to her ability than just talking with ghosts. With the help of her best friend, Laura Toste, Rosemary searches for a way to help Cassandra move on and find her killer.

Frank Perez knows all about Rosemary and he’s still interested. Will he still want her when he meets her gorgeous best friend and the sizzling spirit? Can Rosemary keep her life as a human servant separate from her friends and family? And how long will the vampire put up with Rosemary’s silly escapades with ghosts, strip clubs and serial killers? When Cassandra’s killer comes after Rosemary, help comes from an unexpected place. And then sometimes even the predator needs help.

If you like Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, then you’ll find a kindred spirit in Rosemary Fernandes.

Chapters: 47

Pages: 287

Killer Rumors by Antonello Fiore (e-book)

Father D’Angelo and Bakeman, two devoted priests were brutally murdered while going on one of their nightly walks. Detective Frank Rinelli is called to the case- not only due to his close friendship with the priests, but with his expertise of tracking psychotic killers. Rinelli suddenly discovers these murders were based on a scandal that occurred several years ago at the same Church where the two murdered priests preached. And it doesn’t stop there. The list of people being murdered in connection with the scandal continues to grow until the killer has his ultimate vengeance- and the truth released.

Chapters: 99 plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 255


Refuge-N.G. Osborne


On a dusty, sweltering night, Noor Khan, a beautiful, headstrong Afghan refugee, comes face-to-face with Charlie Matthews, a brash, young American aid worker. To Noor's fury, Charlie breaks every cultural norm and pursues her. She wants nothing to do with him: her sole aim in life is to earn an overseas scholarship so she can escape the miseries of the refugee camps.

However when Noor's brother threatens to marry her off, she is forced to seek refuge in Charlie's home, of all places, and suddenly everything Noor believes in is put into question.

Set in the mystical and seething city of Peshawar, where no one is without an agenda and few can be trusted, Refuge is a timeless and unforgettable love story about the struggle for love and purpose in a cruel and cynical world.

Chapters: 60

Pages: 449

The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China-David J. Silbey

A concise history of an uprising that took down a three-hundred-year-old dynasty and united the great powers

The year is 1900, and Western empires are locked in entanglements across the globe. The British are losing a bitter war against the Boers while the German kaiser is busy building a vast new navy. The United States is struggling to put down an insurgency in the South Pacific while the upstart imperialist Japan begins to make clear to neighboring Russia its territorial ambition. In China, a perennial pawn in the Great Game, a mysterious group of superstitious peasants is launching attacks on the Western powers they fear are corrupting their country. These ordinary Chinese—called Boxers by the West because of their martial arts showmanship—rise up seemingly out of nowhere. Foreshadowing the insurgencies of our recent past, they lack a centralized leadership and instead tap into latent nationalism and deep economic frustration to build their army.
     Many scholars brush off the Boxer Rebellion as an ill-conceived and easily defeated revolt, but in The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China, the military historian David J. Silbey shows just how close the Boxers came to beating back the combined might of the imperial powers. Drawing on the diaries and letters of allied soldiers and diplomats, he paints a vivid portrait of the war. Although their cause ended just as quickly as it began, the Boxers would inspire Chinese nationalists—including a young Mao Zedong—for decades to come.

Chapters: 8 plus conclusion and introduction

Pages: 237

Cynthia and the Blue Cat's Last Meow by Jeffrey Penn May


"Cynthia and the Blue Cat’s Last Meow" is the first person narrative of young man who enters a colorful, anthropomorphic land that appears perfect, and Cynthia is the embodiment of that land. Gradually, the narrator sees his own tormented soul hidden beneath the natural beauty. He sees, but cannot readily accept, the demons gnawing at his heart. This story is about the unleashing and dissolution of his fears and his maturing perception of Cynthia. It is also about her guidance and the resulting changes that occur within her. The offbeat natural setting is established within the first few pages and progresses into a rich ménage of unusual happenings and vivid colors, fishing and fury, moonlight and candlelight, magical red berries and howling caverns, a land where many of us would like to visit, and a few do, briefly in our youth. We should all explore such places of the soul where we dream of blue cats and hearts capable of such adventurous and idyllic sensuality. Please allow yourself to enter Cynthia’s world.

Chapters: 8

Pages: 73

Teller of Tales by Ray Dacolias

This anthology of short stories explores those themes which we encounter down the long, winding road of life- of the probable and the impossible; of the finite and the infinite; of the ordinary and the extraordinary. It is an intimate portrait of those virtues which unite us all: love, and fortitude, justice and redemption.

These tales reflect intense desires people experience throughout their complex lives: they are about people seeking an inner peace, and understanding, and joy, and those looking for a greater purpose in their lives beyond the trivial; they are about hope, and wonder, and beauty; they are about things spiritual, and worldly, and otherworldly, too.

Life is a gorgeous tapestry upon which we weave our own unique stories. This book has narratives that will make you wonder what we are and who we are and why we are, and where we are going, and what we will do once we get there.

There are a boundless number of incredible tales to be told. Here are ten of them, filled with drama and adventure and romance. Enjoy!

Chapters: 10

Pages: 170

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein


A lush, exquisitely rendered meditation on war, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment tells the story of several families, American and Japanese, their loves and infidelities, their dreams and losses, and how they are all connected by one of the most devastating acts of war in human history.

In this evocative and thrilling epic novel, fifteen-year-old Yoshi Kobayashi, child of Japan’s New Empire, daughter of an ardent expansionist and a mother with a haunting past, is on her way home on a March night when American bombers shower her city with napalm—an attack that leaves one hundred thousand dead within hours and half the city in ashen ruins. In the days that follow, Yoshi’s old life will blur beyond recognition, leading her to a new world marked by destruction and shaped by those considered the enemy: Cam, a downed bomber pilot taken prisoner by the Imperial Japanese Army; Anton, a gifted architect who helped modernize Tokyo’s prewar skyline but is now charged with destroying it; and Billy, an Occupation soldier who arrives in the blackened city with a dark secret of his own. Directly or indirectly, each will shape Yoshi’s journey as she seeks safety, love, and redemption.

Chapters: 9

Pages: 382

Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society by Timothy D. Willard (Goodreads Author), R. Jason Locy

You aren't who you think you are.Culture tells us that in order to be liked we must masquerade as someone other than who we are. So, we lacquer ourselves with credit cards and plastic surgery and status updates hoping no one will see the person underneath. This 'veneer' allows us to silence our real selves as it gives voice to the alter ego we'd like others to see. But, is this all there is to life or have we been duped? Does material success equal significance? Is our only identity the one we steal from Hollywood? God's idea of humanity is altogether different from the world's. There is a way to live that sees beauty in our imperfection and, as Tim and Jason put it, once we realize this we can strip our veneers and live an unveneered life of freedom, honesty, and beauty.

Chapters: 10 plus postlude and prelude

Pages: 249

Ida's Story-Steven A. Segal


As he pulled up and shut down the engine, he took a deep breath to calm himself, and in that instant, the flash of anger he had felt the night he was torn from his mother returned. He shook it from his mind, slid out of the seat, and went up the stairs to the front door. Ida opened the door and threw her arms around his neck with exactly the same loving abandonment he had seen her often leap into his father's arms so many years ago. She hung onto her boy, hung on tight with her face buried in his shoulder and sobbed.

Chapters: 43

Pages: 466




Wide Open by Larry Bjornson

Based on a remarkable true story-
A wilderness of grass
A magnificent secret
A stunning tragedy
A lifelong romance in its earliest days

This is the epic story of Abilene, Kansas, at a time when the cowboy is king, and good and evil are so evenly matched that no one knows which will triumph.

Abilene, 1871. Fifteen-year-old Will Merritt is fiercely protective of the cattle trade that made his father’s fortune. Idolizing the cowboys who flood the streets each summer, Will and his friends are drawn to Abilene’s exotic Texastown district—a powderkeg of saloons and brothels so notorious that the mayor has hired the West’s most famous gunman, Wild Bill Hickok, to police its streets. Yet even with Hickok as marshal, Abilene boils with deep divisions.

The townsfolk resent the immigrant settlers whose new farms are slicing up the rangeland. And no one is more intolerant than Will’s best friend, Jasper, who delights in tormenting any farmer he encounters. But Will finds himself torn when he meets the beautiful and beguiling Anna, whose dignity and determination test his deepest beliefs.

With the scaffolding of his life beginning to wobble, Will realizes that his flamboyant father, J.T. Merritt, has a secret, something hidden far out in the remote prairie. When J.T. makes his stunning secret public, everything Abilene believes about its future is challenged, and the Merritts become outcasts.

And all the while, Will and the town are rushing toward an extraordinary tragedy involving Marshal Hickok. An event that will seal Will and Anna in a lifelong romance.

Chapters: 45 plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 378

The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships by Mali Apple


"Create the Love of Your Life--Keep the Life in Your Love "
Single, in a relationship, and married: people of all walks of life and all ages are finding this new book on enlightened relationships inspiring, accessible, and truly transformational. This revolutionary guide will help you create and sustain a relationship that is intimately connected on all levels--emotional, intellectual, sexual, and spiritual--and a continual source of love, inspiration, and joy.
In Part 1, chapters like Loving Your Body, Reducing Your Baggage, and Raising Your Soulmate Potential will help you release anything that might be preventing you from experiencing a deeply connected relationship. As you read, you will quickly begin to feel more loving and compassionate toward yourself, more connected to those around you, and more confident about and creating your own soulmate experience.
In Part 2, chapters such as Creating a Context, Turning Expectations into Invitations, Transforming the Energy of Jealousy, Exploring the Edges, and Connecting on a Soul Level will give you everything you need to approach even the most challenging aspects of relationships in ways that will actually deepen your experience of love and intimacy. You will discover the secrets to keeping the love, passion, and connection in your relationship fully alive--every single day. And you will learn how to lovingly guide each other to release limiting beliefs, heal the past, rise above perceived limitations, and unlock the potential in every area of your lives.
Whether you re on a quest for your soulmate, looking for deeper connection in the relationship you have right now, or just want to experience much more love in your life, the ground-breaking ideas in this book--and the many stories of real people putting them into practice--will fill you with love, inspiration, and possibility. Because The Soulmate Experience isn t just a book. It 's a way great way of living life.
The Authors
Mali Apple and Joe Dunn are the hosts of the popular Facebook page The Soulmate Experience. They have dedicated their relationship to discovering how to keep the magic in any relationship alive. Their greatest joy is inspiring others to bring more of the soulmate experience into all their relationships.

Chapters: 12 plus transofrmational techniques and questions, discussion questions

Pages: 257

Risk of Ruin by Arnold Snyder

The first work of fiction to be released by well-known gambling expert and author Arnold Snyder, Risk of Ruin is about a biker/professional blackjack player who becomes obsessed with a stripper who believes she's God.

Risk of Ruin is a provocative story of crime, passion, rebellion, and possible redemption that attempts to answer a question that has tormented gambling men since Adam placed that all-in bet on Eve: Is she worth the risk?

Chapters: 44

Pages: 255


The Bouchard Legacy by Ted Magnuson


The Bouchard Family Legacy is about to be passed on to a fourth generation...or will it?

When Paul and Randy were in high school, their parents married new spouses. What different understandings Paul and Randy have when it comes to the future of the family business.

Paul has earned a place in the world, but Randy owns it.

The Bouchard Legacy; a story of loyalty and greed, a story of prejudice and character; it’s the story of Randy and Paul coming of age in the tumultuous 1960’s and then; their arrival as men in the close of the 1970’s. Set in Mid-America, St Louis, MO

Chapters: 29 plus epilogue

Pages: 207

Here, There, Elsewhere: Stories from the Road by William Least Heat-Moon

From the acclaimed author of Blue Highways, PrairyErth, and Roads to Quoz, a dazzling collection of travel tales from the road.

HERE, THERE, ELSEWHERE draws together for the first time William Least Heat-Moon's greatest short-form travel writing. Personally selected by the writer, these pieces take us from Japan, England, Italy, and Mexico to Long Island, Oregon, Arizona, from small towns to big cities, ocean shores and inland mysteries.

Including Heat-Moon's reflections on writing these pieces, HERE, THERE, ELSEWHERE is much more than the usual collection of amber; it is a coupled summation of craft and memory. A perfect treasury of prose and provocation for readers old and new, Heat-Moon's most recent work reveals his absolute mastery across pages many and few.

Chapters: 28

Pages: 390

Imperfect Pairings by Jackie Townsend


Winner, Chick Lit, Indie Reader Discovery Awards 2013

Can love cross borders? In "Imperfect Pairings" a woman’s love for an Italian leaves her confronting this question. He’s Jack in America, but he’s Giovanni in Italy; understanding him means understanding his culture, his language. It means losing the foundations of her identity to become entangled in the deep-rooted vines of his family’s troubled past when she’d vowed to remain disentangled. Her career and autonomy had always come first, and she fell in love thinking she could control it, not give in to it. Is she losing herself? Or is she finally giving in to the woman she’d been all along.

This is an adult love story, one that will leave you thinking long afterwards about the oceans that separate us from the ones we love

Chapters: 35

Pages: 389

The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister

National bestselling author Erica Bauermeister returns to the enchanting world of The School of Essential Ingredients in this luminous sequel.

Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet and steady as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And there’s Lillian herself, whose life has taken a turn she didn’t expect. . . .

Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind—and links that break—The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship.

Chapters: N/A

Pages: 275

Divine Vintage: Following the Wine Trail from Genesis to the Modern Age by Joel Butler (Goodreads Author), Randall Heskett


Winner of the Gourmand Wine Books prize for 'Best Drinks Writing Book' in the UK

A fascinating journey through ancient wine country that reveals the drinking habits of early Christians, from Abraham to Jesus.
Wine connoisseur Joel Butler teamed up with biblical historian Randall Heskett for a remarkable adventure that travels the biblical wine trail in order to understand what kinds of wines people were drinking 2,000 to 3,500 years ago. Along the way, they discover the origins of wine, unpack the myth of Shiraz, and learn the secrets of how wine infiltrated the biblical world. This fascinating narrative is full of astounding facts that any wine lover can take to their next tasting, including the myths of the Phoenician, Greek, Roman, and Jewish wine gods, the emergence of kosher wine, as well as the use of wine in sacrifices and other rites. It will also take a close a look at contemporary modern wines made with ancient techniques, and guide the reader to experience the wines Noah (the first wine maker!) Abraham, Moses and Jesus drank.

Chapters:12 plus preface

Pages: 250

The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch

The Old West was coming to an end.Two legendary outlaws refused to go with it. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid—as leaders of the Wild Bunch, they planned and executed the most daring bank and train robberies of the day, with a professionalism never before seen by authorities. For several years at the end of the 1890s, the two friends, along with a revolving cast who made up their band of thieves, eluded local law enforcement and bounty hunters, all while stealing from the rich bankers and eastern railroad corporations who exploited western land. The close calls were many, but Butch and Sundance always managed to escape to rob again another day—that is, until they rode headlong into the 20th century. Fenced-in range, telephone lines, electric lights, and new crime-fighting techniques were quickly rendering obsolete the outlaws of the wide open frontier. Knowing their time was up, Butch and Sundance, along with a mysterious beauty named Etta Place, headed to South America, vowing to leave their criminal careers behind. But riding the trails of Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, Butch and Sundance would find that crime wasn’t through with them just yet. In The Last Outlaws, Thom Hatch brings these memorable characters to life like never before: Butch, the brains of the outfit; Sundance, the man of action; and the men on both sides of the law whom they fought with and against. From their early holdup attempts to that fateful day in Bolivia, author Thom hatch draws on a wealth of fresh research to go beyond the myth and provide a compelling new look at these legends of the Wild West.

Chapters: 14

Pages: 255

Starting Now by Debbie Macomber


Debbie Macomber returns to Seattle’s beloved Blossom Street in this heartfelt tale of friendship, renewal, and discovering what’s truly important in life.

For years Libby Morgan dreamed only of making partner in her competitive, high-pressure law firm. She sacrificed everything for her career—her friends, her marriage, her chance at creating a family. When her boss calls Libby into his office, she assumes it will finally be good news, but nothing can prepare her for the shocking reality: She’s been let go and must rebuild her entire life . . . starting now.

With no job prospects in sight, Libby reaches out to old friends and spends her afternoons at A Good Yarn, the local knitting store. There she forms a close bond with Lydia, the sweet-natured shop owner; Lydia’s spirited teenage daughter, Casey; and Casey’s best friend, Ava, a shy yet troubled girl who will shape Libby’s future in surprising and profound ways.

As A Good Yarn becomes a second home—and the women a new kind of family—Libby relishes the different person she’s become. She even finds time for romance with a charming and handsome doctor who seems to be her perfect match. But just as everything is coming together, Libby must make a choice that could forever change the life she holds so dear.

Warmly told and richly textured, Starting Now is filled with the promise of new beginnings and the unending delights of companionship and love.

Chapters: 40 plus epilogue

Pages: 338

Gold Rush in the Jungle: The Race to Discover and Defend the Rarest Animals of Vietnam's "Lost World" by Dan Drollette

An engrossing, adventure-filled account of the rush to discover and save Vietnam's most extraordinary animals.

Deep in the jungle where the borders of Vietnam meet those of Laos and Cambodia is a region known as "the lost world." Large mammals never seen before by Western science have popped up frequently in these mountains in the last decade, including a half-goat/half-ox, a deer that barks, and a close relative of the nearly extinct Javan rhino. In an age when scientists are excited by discovering a new kind of tube worm, the thought of finding and naming a new large terrestrial mammal is astonishing, and wildlife biologists from all over the world are flocking to this dangerous region. The result is a race between preservation and destruction.

Containing research gathered from famous biologists, conservationists, indigenous peoples, former POWs, ex-Viet Cong, and the first U.S. ambassador to Vietnam since the war's end, Gold Rush in the Jungle goes deep into the valleys, hills, and hollows of Vietnam to explore the research, the international trade in endangered species, the lingering effects of Agent Orange, and the effort of a handful of biologists to save the world's rarest animals.

CHapters: 18

Pages: 293

The Tale of Genji-Murasaki Shikibu, Edward G. Seidensticker 


The Tale of Genji was written in the eleventh century by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady of the Heian court. It is universally recognized as the greatest masterpiece of Japanese prose narrative, perhaps the earliest true novel in the history of the world. Until now there has been no translation that is both complete and scrupulously faithful to the original text. Edward G. Seidensticker's masterly rendering was first published in two volumes in 1976 and immediately hailed as a classic of the translator's art. It is here presented in one unabridged volume, illustrated throughout by woodcuts taken from a 1650 Japanese edition of The Tale of Genji.

Chapters:54

Pages: 1090

Living Reed: A Novel of Korea-Pearl S. Buck

The Living Reed follows four generations of one family, the Kims, beginning with Il-han and his father, both advisors to the royal family in Korea. When Japan invades and the queen is killed, Il-han takes his family into hiding. In the ensuing years, he and his family take part in the secret war against the Japanese occupation.
Pearl S. Buck's epic tells the history of Korea through the lives of one family. She paints an amazing portrait of the country, and makes us empathize with their struggle for sovereignty through her beautifully drawn characters.

Chapters:3 plus epilogue and historical note

Pages: 478


The Good Earth- Pearl S. Buck


This tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall.

Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

Chapters: 34

Pages: 357

Sons- Pearl S. Buck

Second in the trilogy that began with The Good Earth, Buck's classic and starkly real tale of sons rising against their honored fathers tells of the bitter struggle to the death between the old and the new in China. Revolutions sweep the vast nation, leaving destruction and death in their wake, yet also promising emancipation to China's oppressed millions who are groping for a way to survive in a modern age.

Chapters: 29

Pages: 313





A House Divided-Pearl S. Buck


"A House Divided," the third volume of the trilogy that began with "The Good Earth" and "Sons," is a powerful portrayal of China in the midst of revolution. Wang Yuan is caught between the opposing ideas of different generations. After 6 years abroad, Yuan returns to China in the middle of a peasant uprising. His cousin is a captain in the revolutionary army, his sister has scandalized the family by her premarital pregnancy, and his warlord father continues to cling to his traditional ideals. It is through Yuan's efforts that a kind of peace is restored to the family

Chapters: 4

Pages: 343

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