Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Coming Up...Week 22 of 2013

Book to be reviewed:
N/A

What I'm Reading right now:

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: 3 out of 11 plus postscript and introduction

 Pages: 40 out of 178


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: 47 out of 72

 Pages: 273 out of 437

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: 33 out of 48

 Pages: 132 out of 200




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: 21 out of 59 plus preface

Pages: 98 out of 283

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: 5 out of 67 plus epilogue and prologue

 Pages: 40 out of 496

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: 6 out of 72

Pages: 30 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: 2 out of 22

Pages: 8 out of 173

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: 3 out of 28

 Pages: 19 out of 151

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: 3 out of 29 plus epilogue and introduction

 Pages: 11 out of 138


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: 33 out of 52

 Pages: 257 out of 368

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: 29 out of 44

 Pages: 185 out of 323

Future Books I will read:

Night game by Carol Davis Luce (e-book)

The exclusive King's Club resort casino is a glittering playground for gamblers with everything to gain and the hunting ground for a killer with nothing to lose. Until casino owner Jay King hires P.I. Kasey Atwood. Kasey's attraction to King is immediate. As their love affair heats up, she becomes a pawn in a dangerously seductive game of passion and revenge

Chapters: 51

Pages: 331




You Know Who I Am by Diane Patterson (e-book)

Drusilla Thorne's husband Colin walks out on their marriage of convenience with style: he disappears right in the middle of their magic act. Before he vanishes, though, he steals a bracelet from her, a bracelet that could tip off the people who’ve been searching for Drusilla and her younger sister Stevie for years. Drusilla won’t allow that to happen.

When she finds Colin in Los Angeles, he’s dead. Before dying, he got the both of them involved in a nasty game of Hollywood blackmail. The investigating detective finds out her identity is as fake as her marriage was and he’s determined to find her guilty of something. Her lawyer might have more allegiance to the shadowy figure footing the bill than to her. And her sister does something Drusilla can only hope they live to regret.

Drusilla had better figure out who killed Colin before everything comes apart and the police figure out who she really is.

Chapters: 25

Pages: 207

Body Traffic by Brandon Collier (e-book)

Aksana is a newly made prostitute in the dark streets of Moscow. She wants to find a way out but she doesn't know how. Ryan is the over achieving detective who always wants to solve the case. Kevin Mardell is the actor who is traveling to Moscow for a brief vacation. They all entangle in a web of deceit, greed, and deception. They find out quickly that there's only one way in, and one way out.

Chapters: 28

Pages: 110





The Fallen Snow by John Kelley

In the fall of 1918 infantry sniper Joshua Hunter saves an ambushed patrol in the Bois le Prêtre 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

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

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

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

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

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

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: 9 plus prologue, order of battle

Pages: 303

The Year of the Great Seventh by Teresa Orts 

Sophie has always felt out of step—an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she crosses paths with the school's heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don’t know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages.

To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail.

Chapters: 23

Pages: 295

Novels and Stories: Deephaven / A Country Doctor / The Country of the Pointed Firs / Dunnet Landing Stories / Selected Stories and Sketches by Sarah Orne Jewett, Michael Davitt Bell

In her nuanced and sharply etched novels and short stories, Sarah Orne Jewett captured the innerlife and hidden emotional drama of outwardly quiet New England coastal towns. Set against the background of long Maine winters, hardscrabble farms, and the sea, her stories of independent, capable women struggling to find fulfillment in their lives and work have a surprisingly modern resonance. Here is the first collection to include all her best fiction, and it reveals the full stature of the writer Willa Cather ranked with Mark Twain, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Jewett struck her characteristic note in her first collection, Deephaven (1877), stories whose exploration of Maine life moved and delighted readers when they were first published in the Atlantic Monthly, and opened a new vein of regional fiction in American literature. Of the distinctly local quality of her writings Willa Cather later said: "The language her people speak to each other is a native tongue. No writer can invent it. It is made in the hard school of experience, in communities where language has been undisturbed long enough to take on color and character from the nature and experiences of the people." The novel A Country Doctor (1884), inspired by both her own life and that of her doctor father, is often read as a veiled autobiography. Her focus here is on a woman who must choose between marriage and her commitment to a medical career, a decision she defends passionately against the narrowness of those around her: "God would not give us the same talents if what were right for men were wrong for women." Jewett's masterpiece, The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), brings to imaginative life the faded trading port of Dunnet Landing, Maine, re-creating in spare, impressionistic prose the rhythms and textures of a communal society of poor fishermen and farmers, with its traditional country rituals and its stoically endured tragedies.

Chapters: 53  chapters in 4 different novels plus 24 short stories

Pages: 911

O Pioneers! (Great Plains trilogy #1) by Willa Cather

This powerful early Cather novel, a landmark of American fiction, tells the story of the young Alexandra Bergson, whose dying father leaves her in charge of the family and of the Nebraska lands they have struggled to farm. In Alexandra's lifelong fight to survive and succeed, Cather relates an important chapter in the history of the American frontier.

Chapters: 30

Pages: 122






The Song of the Lark (Great Plains trilogy #2) by Willa Cather

Perhaps Willa Cather's most autobiographical work, The Song of the Lark charts the story of a young woman's awakening as an artist against the backdrop of the western landscape. Thea Kronborg, an aspiring singer, struggles to escape from the confines her small Colorado town to the world of possibility in the Metropolitan Opera House. In classic Cather style, The Song of the Lark is the beautiful, unforgettable story of American determination and its inextricable connection to the land.

Chapters: 62

Pages: 417





My Ántonia (Great Plains trilogy #3) by Willa Cather

The story of Antonia Shimerda is told by one of her friends from childhood, Jim Burden, an orphaned boy from Virginia. Though he leaves the prairie, Jim never forgets the Bohemian girl who so profoundly influenced his life. An immigrant child of immigrant parents, Antonia's girlhood is spent working to help her parents wrest a living from the untamed land. Though in later years she suffers betrayal and desertion, through all the hardships of her life she preserves a valor of spirit that no hardship can daunt or break. When Jim Burden sees her again after many years, he finds her "a rich mine of life", a figure who has turned adversity into a particular kind of triumph in the true spirit of the pioneer.

Chapters: 45

Pages: 289


Cowboys Are My Weakness: Stories by Pam Houston

Set in the West, and sometimes in Alaska, these 12 tales are about women who are smart and susceptible to love, and men who are wild and hard to pin down. Our heroines are part daredevil, part philosopher, all acute observers of the nuances of modern romance.

Chapters: 12

Pages: 171

The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction by Kate Chopin

When it first appeared in 1899, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening was greeted with cries of outrage. The novel’s frank portrayal of a woman’s emotional, intellectual, and sexual awakening shocked the sensibilities of the time and destroyed the author’s reputation and career. Many years passed before this short, pioneering work was recognized as a major achievement in American literature.

Set in and around New Orleans, The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother who, determined to control her own life, flouts convention by moving out of her husband’s house, having an adulterous affair, and becoming an artist.

Beautifully written, with sensuous imagery and vivid local descriptions, The Awakening has lost none of its power to provoke and inspire. Additionally, this edition includes thirteen of Kate Chopin’s magnificent short stories.
Stories Included in the Volume:
The Awakening
Emancipation: A Life Fable
A Shameful Affair
At the ‘Cadian Ball
Désirée’s Baby
A Gentleman of Bayou Têche
A Respectable Woman
The Story of an Hour
Athénaïse
A Pair of Silk Stockings
Elizabeth Stock’s One Story
The Storm
The Godmother
A Little Country Girl

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

Raquela: A Woman of Israel by Ruth Gruber (readdreamrelax site)

A National Jewish Book Award–winning biography: A fascinating look at the early years of Israel’s statehood experienced through the life of a pioneering nurse

During her extraordinary career, nurse Raquela Prywes was a witness to history. She delivered babies in a Holocaust refugee camp and on the Israeli frontier. She crossed minefields to aid injured soldiers in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and organized hospitals to save the lives of those fighting the 1967 Six-Day War. Along the way, her own life was a series of triumphs and tragedies mirroring those of the newly formed Jewish state.

Raquela is a moving tribute to a remarkable woman, and an unforgettable chronicle of the birth of Israel through the eyes of those who lived it.

Chapters: 30

Pages: 416

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

G130 E-Reading 50 Things to Know Before Having a Baby: Simple Advice For New Moms

Title of the book: 50 Things to Know Before Having a Baby

Author: Lisa Marie Rusczyk

Publisher: N/A

Publishing Date: 2012

ISBN: 9781470186

Summary:

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

Other Works:

50 Things to Know About Surviving the First Year of Parenthood: Simple Advice for New Parents, 50 things to know to Downsize Your Life, 50 Things to Know Before Graduating from College- A Survival Guide To Life After College, etc.

Background of author: 
(from goodreads.com)
url
http://www.goodreads.com/lbrennec

born
Pennsylvania, The United States

gender
female

website
http://charliethecavalier.com

genre
Self Help, Children's, Travel

member since
March 2012

About this author

Lisa Rusczyk the creator of the popular blog Charlie The Cavalier. Lisa is passionate about helping others in life. She also enjoys Cavalier King Charles Spaniels a breed that she have loved for years. Lisa is currently a stay-at-home Mom, but has been an instructional designer, software trainer, and technical writer in the past.

Lisa has a BS in Business Administrator with a concentration in Management information systems, and Accounting at Lock Haven University. She also has a Master of Education in Teaching and Learning from Lock Haven University. Lisa is currently working on a Doctorate in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Educational Technology at the University of Phoenix.

http://50ThingsToKnow.com

http://CharlieTheCavalier.com

50 Things to Know Before Having a Baby
50 Things to Know to Survive the First Year of Parenthood
50 Things to Know Before Graduating From College
50 Things to Know Before Self-Publishing a Book on Amazon
50 Things to Know to Enjoy an All Inclusive Vacation
Calm Campers Camp in Cabins

Theme:

(from page 6 according to my pdf) "This information may be different for everyone but I hope my experiences will help in one of the best events of a person’s life. I hope you read this information and collect other information to make your own decisions."

Problems addressed:

With the slew of pregnancy books on the market, these are probably the things that either women are too embarrassed to talk about or are too embarrassed to ask. Personally I'm not a mother, although I soon hope to be one, and I imagine that I will use this book as something common sense when the time will come for me.

Summary of content:

This book is very short, my pdf is about 36 pages long, and information is also short. Here she lists 50 points that one needs to know before having a baby, or at least to be aware of these issues popping up.

Thesis:

(from page 6 of my pdf file) "Here is a list of things of things that people have told me or I would have liked to have known before I had my little bundle of joy. I hope they help you too! I am just a first time Mom, not a doctor, so not all my information may be accurate."

Main points:
I will list main sections and a random point from each

Doctor advice:
*Educate yourself on cervix checks
Learn:
*Get Help
Organization:
*Birth announcements
To Do:
*Make a Get Out of the House Plan

Along with tips (There's 50 tips, short and to the point) the book also comes with baby feeding/diaper schedule, mom medicine schedule, and 10 things to know before traveling with the baby along with baby clothes size chart, a baby sitter sheet, short hospital bag checklist, after labor recovery kit, and baby medicine basket.

Why its interesting/ informative:

Some of the things she had listed, such as cervix checks, perineum massages, I honestly had no idea. Keep something in mind: this is not a month by month pregnancy book. This is written short and to the point, and will be hopefully easy to find. I'm not the mother, but advice does sound very common sense to me. and it also comes with helpful charts and lists to make life easier.

Successfully supports thesis:

The advice is certainly helpful and its short and to the point. These can be the things to be aware of before having a child.

Address issues book raises:

Pregnancy books are normally large and seem to cover every single minuscule aspect of the life growing inside. Apparently there might be a possibility that the advice she mentions pregnancy books leave out or don't think its important enough to mention, when in fact it might be highly important.

Ideas in book vs larger ideas:

This is a sort of here and now advice and it doesn't cost money to follow it. The book also comes with helpful charts and tips that one can easily find if the need arises, which means its not a necessity to turn to index. I would have liked if the book went into a little more detail than just general advice, but that's just me.

Agree/Disagree: 

Since at the moment I don't have children nor am I expecting any, I would guess a lot of her advice is a bit common sense, and I can't judge the accuracy because I don't have experience to back it up.

Sources:

The sources, I would guess, are the author's friends and family as well as personal experience. She does list sources that she considers helpful and feels they will help mothers.

Conclusion:

I kind of thought it would be a more detailed book or at least a real pregnancy book, but in truth its not. Its simply an advice book on the things people should be aware of. I would read it, but would supplement it with other books and sources as well.


Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book.

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.)

G125 E-Reading Book Review of Pirates of the Danube: The Erotic Adventures of Pepper MacOralby by David J. Schmidt

Name of Book: Pirates of the Danube: The Erotic Adventures of Pepper MacOralby

Author: David J Schmidt

ISBN: 9781479163601

Publisher: CreateSpace

Type of book: Absurdity, time hodge-podge, parody of fifty shades, adult, sexual, Vienna,

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

“Pirates of the Danube” comes riding into town on the sticky, dubiously-stained coattails of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series, offering a prophetic, satirical look at how low our standards have sunk.

This work of comic farce presents a satire of the entire romance – erotica genre, taking shots at supermarket dime novels, Fabio-emblazoned book covers, and “S & M for housewives” alike.

Readers of “Pirates of the Danube” are swept along from one historical anachronism to the next (Beowulf, Lazarus and Jane Austen’s “Mister Darcy” are contemporaries in this world; the young medical student Sigmund Freud makes a cameo appearance). The sexual adventures of our heroes—Pepper MacOralby and Baron Von Hugenstein—take place amidst a mix-matched hodgepodge of historical references, Biblical quotes, literary allusions, and pop song lyrics.

This book is humanity’s last stand in the face of our impending intellectual demise.

Characters:

The book completely focused on Pepper's growth and sexuality, her losing the white flower of innocence by Baron von Hugestein and then becoming seductress and whatnot. Short of sexuality and kidnapping nothing else is known or told about Pepper. I had a hard time getting attached to her or just being aware of her. I would guess the strength of the book lies in absurdity and description of sex.

Theme:

For me personally, I finally understand the power of Fifty Shades on people.

Plot:

This is written in third person narrative from Pepper's point of view. I'm not sure if its on purpose or not, but the time is completely warped. I laughed a lot while reading this, such as the Maroon 5 song, or unexpected rhymes and even unexpected personages in terms of Mr. Darcy, Sigmund Freud, Amerigo Vespuci, whores, Beowulf and Lazarus. There's even mention of Baron going into Crusades. Umm there might have been Crusades during whatever time it was set, but its baffling how Baron von Hugestein survived for oh eight hundred or so years. At this point, think of as Alternative Universe and ignore the time aspect. Some imagery was also confusing for me, as well as racy and unbelievable. At one point Baron von Hugestein grabbed Pepper abreast...umm did he grab her by the boob or was he holding her sideways? Strangely enough, due to the story's absurdity, the confusing imagery seems to fit well.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)

David J. Schmidt
Goodreads author profile

gender
male

member since
October 2012

About the author:

David J. Schmidt is a freelance writer and self-described “Huguenot” living in San Diego, CA.

He was conceived in a fireworks factory at some point between 1970 and 1985. After a gestation period of unknown duration, Schmidt was born to the world of Man, only to be swiftly adopted into the world of Beast some days later. The pack of wolves that raised Schmidt during his formative years was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour by U.S. President George W. Bush, shortly after he delivered his fated “Mission Accomplished” speech.

Schmidt has received various recognitions for his charitable contributions toward the preservation of Peyronie’s Disease. In 2004, he was granted knighthood by the Basque Republic, becoming Sir David J. Schmidt for the following three years. The title was stripped from him by the United Nations Council on Fallacious Royal Families in 2007.

Schmidt lives with his beloved ex-wife of 14 years, his two cats, and his indentured servant.

Opinion:

If you're into accuracy or are a great lover of Fifty of Shades of Grey, then this is not a book you should touch. This is a satire mocking Fifty Shades and just about anything else. (Amerigo Vespuci and Sigmund Freud in one century? Parchment for newspaper? Set in Vienna but rugs are from Austria-Hungary? Exaggerated anatomy of Pepper MacOralby and a love triangle between Baron von Hugestein Sigmund Freud and Pepper MacOralby?) I found this book hilarious and unrealistic. It shouldn't be taken seriously, and although this was written for humorous purposes, I can at last understand the power of Fifty Shades series. Before reading this, let go of reality and inner judge and just enjoy it for what it is; a satire that shows how much humans may not know things, and how much knowledge was lost.

Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book

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.)

G113 E-Reading Book Review of Young Knights of the Round Table: The King's Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello

Name of Book: The King's Ransom

Author: Cheryl Carpinello

ISBN: 9781482527094

Publisher: Createspace

Part of a Series: Young Knights of the Round Table

Type of book: King Arthur, secrets, mystery, plot, young adult, myths, quest, Medieval Ages

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

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.

Characters:

The characters tend to be on the simple side and don't have multiple layers covering them. Reasons why evil characters did what they did isn't given and I felt that there wasn't a lot of exploration with their inner emotions and whatnot. The characters weren't as strong as the quest and the surprises.

Theme:

Don't accept things at face value and question everything

Plot:

This is written in third person narrative from Gavin's, Bryan's and Phillip's point of views. The chapters each encompass and talk about the guys and their quests. I was impressed with the way the author wove in prophecies throughout the book and how she made them come true. Although certain secrets seemed last minute, they truly were a shocker once you get to them. All in all, I enjoyed reading the book.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)
url
http://www.goodreads.com/CherylCarpinello

gender
female

website
http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com

twitter username
ccarpinello

genre
Children's, Young Adult, Historical Fiction

influences
My love of reading, my imagination, my kids, and my students

member since
February 2010

About this author:
I use my love of the Legend of King Arthur to introduce young readers to this Timeless Legend and to entice reluctant readers to read more.

Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend is my first book in the King Arthur Legend.

My second book The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table) is a 2012 Silver Award Recipient for YA Fiction from Children's Literary Classics and has recently been honored a Finalist in The 2012 USA Best Book Awards in the "E-book: Children's Fiction" category.

It is available Museitup Publishing and Amazon.

I do Middle Grade and Young Adult author interviews on my blog Carpinellos Writing Pages.

Find me @ccarpinello on Twitter.

Opinion:

This is more suited towards children or young adults, although I imagine that adults will find this book interesting. Also, this is more of a boy's type book, in my opinion because it focused on three boys and their quests to rescue a friend known as Wild Man. Girls don't play a significant role, and there isn't romance in there. I'm not nitpicking and I'm glad that a book for boys is written, but I'm pointing out my observations. The strengths included the quest and the revealed secrets towards the end, which I'm not going to spoil here, although I'm curious about the character named Tom and his state.

Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book

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

Monday, May 27, 2013

G138 Book Review of Palladium Eastern Empires by Marc Lane

Name of Book: Palladium Eastern Empires

Author: Marc Lane

ISBN: 9781481278898

Publisher: Createspace

Part of a Series: Palladium

Type of book: Crusades, Byzantium, Holy Land, Judaism, slavery, conversion, 1106-1108, decisions, Palladium, Israel, battles

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

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.

Characters:

The characters are many and multiple, yet strangely enough there's little explanation for their motives, at least for Jacob (Clement) in particular. Some things that do happen to Jacob seem very last minute for me and didn't really ring true. Jacob seemed to grow on me, despite his, what I feel, controversial decisions, and although I don't support it, I understand it. I would have liked to learn more about Jacob's background before he became a slave, and I also would like to know more about his future if possible. I think the moments I enjoyed in the book are ones with Jacob and him trying to befriend Sampson or Roxanna. I also liked seeing new aspects and learning about the characters that I am barely familiar with.

Theme:

There's truth in myths

Plot:

This is written in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view; from Jacob's, Nicephoros's, Anna's, Alexius's and so forth. I admit that I struggled with the writing and point of view as well as what is going on in the book. From what I gather, there are palace politics between Alexius and his family, as well as a mysterious discovery of Palladium whom they think is Mary Theotokos. There is also a journey, political maneuvering, and close look on the Crusaders, as well as people's opinions about Jews and conversion is included there too.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)

born
Sydney, Australia

gender
male

website
http://marcyveslane.wordpress.com

genre
Fiction, Historical Fiction, Gay And Lesbian

influences
Colleen McCullough, Sharon Kay Penman, Edward Rutherfurd and Jean M. A...more

member since
December 2012

Marc Yves Lane lives in London with his partner. He has degrees in law, architecture and urban design, and has practiced in all three fields, as well as being a prolific armchair and physical traveller.

Palladium Eastern Empires is his first published book

Opinion:

I am biased in saying I liked this book. I enjoyed the time it was set, the characters and whatnot. I do also admit that much of the history dealing with Alexius and Anna I didn't know. I learned about the Byzantium from Crusades class, a small part of how Alexius had Crusaders take a vow and they could be on their merry way, and that any land they got would belong to the Eastern Empire. But beyond that I had no idea. I have a vague of what Great Schism is, and know its between Orthodox and Catholic churches, I also know about Khazar empire slightly and I also have a rough idea of the Crusaders and the personages occupying these pages. I did find numerous things complicated and couldn't really understand, such as the relationships between the family, or perhaps when Jacob (Clement) traveled with Mavros and Mavros has done something to offend Baldwin the King of Jerusalem. The author does include multiple glossaries in the back about the personages occupying his book, as well as maps throughout the pages and a brief dictionary of some of the unfamiliar terms. I also admit that I want to read further and find out more about Jacob's life and what happens afterwards.

Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book.

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, May 26, 2013

G89 Book Review of Zinsky the Obscure by Ilan Mochari

Name of Book: Zinsky the Obscure

Author: Ilan Mochari

ISBN: 978-1-937677-11-4

Publisher: Fomite

Type of book: Growing up, New York, Peter Pan adult, relationships, family, abuse, trauma, football, literature, F Scott Fitzgerald, West Egg, life

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

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.

Characters:

Zinsky deprecates himself too much, thus its hard for me to see anything positive about him. He is driven and ambitious as well as as football savant, but other than that, I can't think of anything positive about him at all. Either you hate Zinsky or you love him, but I doubt many would find a middle ground. There are many things I couldn't stand about him; first is his feel-sorry for me attitude, then his attitude towards growing up and procreation and the fact he seemed to be happy just being stuck in the past instead of working to move on. I would like to call him a grown up Peter Pan because he has grownup tastes rather than childish tastes. Ariel's family plays a strong role instead of a weak on, in particular his mother and her obsessive reading habits, but other than that the female characters didn't really stand out for me, and weren't explored enough.

Theme:

Don't let past dictate your future

Plot:

This is written in first person narrative completely from Zinsky's point of view, thus we see and experience life from Zinsky's perspective. I am surprised that Zinsky refused to go to counseling sessions and whatnot. Is there a particular he stayed away from them? Especially past Diana years? I think the book should appeal to intellectuals who care about football and some literature. While the men characters did stand out from the book, the women, not so much. I also didn't really buy the chemistry or love between Ariel Zinsky and Diana Kennedy. To me their relationship seemed rushed, and what did Diana get out of staying with Zinsky? I also thought that towards the ending the story seemed very rush and wasn't conclusive. Did Ariel finally grow up or did he remain the same even at the age of 40?

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)
url
http://www.goodreads.com/IlanMochari

born
in Nueva York, insular city of the Manhattoes, The United States

gender
male

website
http://www.zinskytheobscure.com

twitter username
IlanMochari

genre
Literature & Fiction, Short Stories, Humor

influences
Too many to list. I'd love to hear what YOU think.

member since
June 2008
Ilan Mochari's debut novel, Zinsky the Obscure, is now available on Amazon.com. Learn more about the novel on Ilan's Zinsky blog.

Ilan’s short stories have appeared in Keyhole, Stymie, Oysters & Chocolate, and Ruthie’s Club. Another short story, “The Father I Knew,” was a finalist in a Glimmer Train competition. He has a B.A. in English from Yale. He used it to wait tables for nine years at various restaurants in the Boston area.

Opinion:

Perhaps its my gender, or perhaps its something more, but I am being honest in admitting that I didn't find the story hilarious. I did want to, and its obvious that the author is talented and well read and the book is very well written. But for one reason or another, I couldn't find the book hilarious. At a first glance for me, I thought the book would be well, about nothing. At a second glance, now that I have thought about it, its atypical, extremely atypical of coming of age stories. While other stories portray characters as growing up, getting married, having families and so forth, Zinsky doesn't do that. He doesn't want to grow up, doesn't want to be married or to have a family. His ideal life includes endless football entertainment, a girlfriend who wants a no strings relationship and perhaps reading. There also seemed to be some sort of war between Zinsky and the author: the author tries to get Zinsky to grow up, but Zinsky refuses to do so. Yet its ironic that despite Zinsky's reluctance into stepping up and being a grownup, grownup things do happen to him, which I won't spoil. I think one other way of looking at the story, is what happens when we let the history dictate our lives and when we can't release the past to move on to the future.

Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book.

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.)

ReadDreamRelax Review #2 Book Review of My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier




Summary:

"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.

For my take on this book, please click on the link here: COMING UP

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

Saturday, May 25, 2013

G120 E-Reading Book Power: A Platform for Writing, Branding, Positioning & Publishing

Title of the book: Book Power A platform for writing, branding, positioning and publishing

Author: Kytka Hilmar-Jezek

Publisher: Be More Network

Publishing Date: 2013

ISBN: 978-0615771779

Summary:

Learn how to build a powerful platform from writing your book, brand and position yourself as an author for greater reach, impact, profits and success. Kytka Hilmar-Jezek reveals the perfect road map to not only get you started to write, but to help you complete the process in an easy and gamified way. She outlines how you can create a best seller by using positioning and branding and why you need a powerful expert author platform. She teaches you how to develop a winning book strategy AND a full product line around your knowledge! This book is invaluable for any author that is ready to succeed is today's marketplace. This book shows the power of having a published book and completely demystifies what writing a book entails. You will be inspired to get your own expertise on paper as quickly as possible. Book Power is a comprehensive, user-friendly 'how to' guide that will not only help you take your dreams to fruition but will show you how to collectively create, design and market your book. This book explains the expert authority that writing your own book delivers, or the exponential leverage that author branding adds to your results. Book Power is a results based system that covers everything you need to become a published author in today's world and position your work and yourself in a way that adds massive value to even more people!

Other Works:

According to Goodreads site, she wrote Reiki for Children, Waldorf Community Exchange: Wit & Wisdom of the World's Waldorf Moms, Born To Learn and The Growing Entrepreneur

Background of author: 
(from goodreads.com)
url
http://www.goodreads.com/kytka

born
in Prague, Czech Republic

gender
female

website
http://www.kytkamedia.com

twitter username
kytka

genre
Health, Mind & Body, Parenting & Families, Religion & Spirituality

member since
February 2011

About this author

Kytka Hilmar-Jezek is the bestselling author of Reiki for Children, Born To Kytka Hilmar-Jezek, is a Best Selling Author of Reiki for Children, Waldorf Community Exchange, Born To Learn, The Growing Entrepreneur and Book Power. She founded Waldorf Homeschoolers in 1996 and has been an active voice in alternative education since.

Known as the Expert Builder, Product Creation Wiz, Positioning Guru, Natural Parenting Expert and Raw Foods Mom, Kytka is a mover and shaker who continuously challenges the status quo and introduces people to a New Paradigm way of being. She is an international speaker and an inspirational powerhouse. She is dedicated to assisting you harness your full potential.

Kytka's speaking style is real, raw and relevant to the pressing issues of today. Her approachable personality tends to have people perceive her more as a Luminary than just a Leader, because she tends to light the path for others by being a living example of the subject matter she speaks about. As they say, "the proof is in the pudding" and you only need spend a few moments with her family to see that what she advocates and practices, works!

Awards
Education Revolution Hall of Fame
Presidential Awards for Volunteering
Presidential Awards for Community Service

Theme:

"No matter where you are now, there is hope. Within these pages lie a powerful game plan and manual to the elusive world of authors, speakers, and experts. Book Power is the playbook that defines each step of the path to positioning yourself as the authority in your field." (Page 9 on my e-reader, Introduction)

Problem addressed: 

If you are struggling with business or how to use the media or perhaps what you have to do to become a popular author, then this book will address the issues. One quick thing is that I suspect the book is geared towards Non-fiction writers, although fiction writers can also use the advice written in the pages.

Summary of content:

Instead of it being a stressful situation, the author encourages the audience to think of it as a game and explains why. She introduces the reader to various operations and then breaks it down into operations and missions, separating the game into nine levels.

Thesis:

"Today's winners are the players who rise to the top, the ones who are the most seen and heard. But do you ever stop to consider why we choose to turn our focus to them in the first place? What makes them winning experts? I repeat: It is a special combination of branding, positioning, and publishing on a congruent platform aligned with their unique message. They didn't get there by luck; they knew how to play their position." (page 9-10 of my e-reader, introduction)

Main Points:
I will not list every single thing for table of contents, but will list one per section.

*Play to win
*Start Now
*Team
Operation:
*Construct
Operation
*Alignment
Operation
*Create
Operation
*Capture
Operation
*Social media
Game Plan which turn to levels
Level One
*Mission Cover Design
Level Two
*Mission Interior Layout
Level Three
*Mission Content Curation
Level Four
*Mission Transcribe
Level Five
*Mission Replay
Level Six
*Mission On Target
Level Seven
*Operation Cover-up
Level Eight
*Mission Distribution
Level Nine
*Mission Promotion
Afterword

Why its interesting and informative:

I never knew there was a difference between foreword and introduction, or that so much will go into even self publishing and trying to earn money from the venture. In here the author strongly encourages her readers to see this as a game instead of the tedious work, and also breaks things down into little steps and gets people acquainted with reality of self publishing, that even if you do self publish but dream of being big, it will take a lot of work.

Supports thesis:

Although I hadn't tried her steps, the thesis is supported and she does talk about things in micro-detail so it doesn't sound vague or overwhelming to the new authors.

Address Issues:

In her first chapter, the author describes the idea of playing games, how games encourage people to play to win, and then adeptly mixes the game playing into the business and how much people want to come along instead of sitting out on the bench or how people quit. She encourages people not to give up and to continue playing the game, mentioning how if we continue, we will stumble on to greatness.

Ideas in book vs larger ideas:

This is an easy book to read, and the steps are broken down and format is written as a game-play, with the author encouraging readers to celebrate success once they are done with level, except this type of game applies to publishing a book and to real life. I would guess anyone with the right ingredients can become great.

Agree/Disagree: 

Although I hadn't tried out the steps, I was surprised by some of them, such as incorporating keywords and the title to make the book easier to find, (does it apply to fiction I wonder?) or using a tape recorder to hear yourself talk and then asking someone else to transcribe the tape.

Sources:

Throughout the book the author does advertise and credit the sources she has used. She also encourages the reader to check out her website for more free material and she does follow her own advice.

Conclusion: 

I did enjoy learning and reading the book, although my version wasn't suited towards e-pub. Few times I had to endlessly cycle through multiple blank pages which was annoying for me. This is not an overwhelming read and I highly encourage people or future authors to read it, at least those considering self publishing.

Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book.

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.)

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 Prêtre 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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