Saturday, September 28, 2013

Coming Up...Week 39 of 2013

Book to be reviewed:

The Hourglass by Sharon A. Struth

Can forgiveness survive lies and unspoken truths?

Until Brenda McAllister’s husband committed suicide, she appeared to have the ideal life: a thriving psychology practice, success as a self-help author, and a model family. But her guilt over her affair with Jack’s best friend prevents her from moving on. Did Jack learn of her infidelity? Was she the cause of his death?

The release of Brenda’s second book forces her into an unexpected assignment with arrogant celebrity author CJ Morrison, whose irritating and edgy exterior hides the torment of his own mistakes. But as she grows closer to CJ, Brenda learns she wasn’t the only one with secrets—Jack had secrets of his own, unsavory ones that may have led to his death. While CJ helps Brenda uncover the truth about her husband, she finds the path to forgiveness isn’t always on the map.


House of Earth by Woody Guthrie 


Finished in 1947 and lost to readers until now, House of Earth is Woody Guthrie's only fully realized novel—a powerful portrait of Dust Bowl America, filled with the homespun lyricism and authenticity that have made his songs a part of our national consciousness. It is the story of an ordinary couple's dreams of a better life and their search for love and meaning in a corrupt world.

Tike and Ella May Hamlin struggle to plant roots in the arid land of the Texas Panhandle. The husband and wife live in a precarious wooden farm shack, but Tike yearns for a sturdy house that will protect them from the treacherous elements. Thanks to a five-cent government pamphlet, Tike has the know-how to build a simple adobe dwelling, a structure made from the land itself—fireproof, windproof, Dust Bowl–proof. A house of earth.

Though they are one with the farm and with each other, the land on which Tike and Ella May live and work is not theirs. Due to larger forces beyond their control—including ranching conglomerates and banks—their adobe house remains painfully out of reach.

A story of rural realism and progressive activism, and in many ways a companion piece to Guthrie's folk anthem "This Land Is Your Land," House of Earth is a searing portrait of hardship and hope set against a ravaged landscape. Combining the moral urgency and narrative drive of John Steinbeck with the erotic frankness of D. H. Lawrence, here is a powerful tale of America from one of our greatest artists.

What I'm Reading right now:

Saving Rain by Karen-Anne Stewart (e-book)

Raina has tried to forget her past, forget the pain, but when she finds herself staring straight into the fury blazing in her ex-boyfriend's eyes, her dark past comes rushing back. Furious with herself for actually having chosen someone like her father, she uses that anger to her advantage and fights for her life...and for her future that she prays will involve the man she can't seem to get out of her head. Kas is a natural leader, a fierce fighter, the type of man you send in when you need to get the job done. He is a courageous hero who is used to risking his own life to save others, but can he save the one who has captured his heart from her horrific past and the men who are hell-bent on destroying her? As Kas and Raina try to navigate through the twists and turns of a deviously intelligent human trafficking group, they find solace in each other's arms. Can they infiltrate the trafficker's tight ring, saving the innocent lives from imminent danger before it's too late?

Saving Rain is intended for readers 18 and older.

Pages: 16 out of 241

Chapters: 2 out of 29 plus prologue 

The Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman

NEW YORK CITY, 1992. At the American Academy of Classical Art, popular opinion has it that the school’s handsome and mysterious founder, Raphael Sinclair, is a vampire. It is a rumor Rafe does nothing to dispel.

Scholarship student Tessa Moss has long dreamed of the chance to study at Rafe’s Academy. But she is floundering amidst the ups and downs of a relationship with egotistical art star Lucian Swain.

Then, one of Tessa’s sketches catches Rafe’s attention: a drawing of a young woman in 1930s clothing who is covering the eyes of a child. The suitcase at her feet says Wizotsky. Sofia Wizotsky, the love of Rafe’s life, was lost during the Holocaust.

Or was she? Rafe suspects Tessa may be the key to discovering what really happened.

As Rafe finds excuses to interact with Tessa, they cannot deny their growing attraction to one another. It is an attraction forbidden by the Academy Board and disapproved of by anyone familiar with Rafe’s playboy reputation and Tessa’s softhearted innocence.

But Tessa senses the truth: despite his wealth, his women, and his townhouse filled with rare and beautiful treasures, Rafe is a haunted man…for reasons that have nothing to do with the rumors they whisper about him at school.

Intensely romantic and deeply moving, The Color of Light blends fact and fantasy in an unforgettable tale of art and passion, love and war, guilt and forgiveness, spanning the New York art scene, high-fashion magazine publishing, the glittering café society of pre-World War II Paris, and the evil stalking the back roads of Nazi-occupied Europe.

Pages: 121 out of 573

Chapters: 12 out of 47 plus epilogue and prologue 

Till Morning Comes by Suyin Han

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

Chapters: 7 out of 27

Pages: 141 out of 620

Tempted Tigress-Jade Lee

China's Grand Canal saw all kinds of transport-food, slaves, even deadly opium. And when one woman planned to sail it to freedom, her flight would end in the arms of a Mandarin prince. There her true journey would begin.

Orphaned and stranded, Anna Marie Thompson could trust no one, especially not her dark captor. Not when his eyes held secrets deadlier than her own. Though his caress was liquid fire, his arms a steely shield, Anna was still an Englishwoman and alone. She could not trust him when he swore they could tame the dragon, could together unearth the riches of the sweet cinnabar cave. But sadness and fear could be cleansed by soft yin rain, he whispered; safety and joy were but a breath away. And perhaps love. All was here for the taking, if she would just give in to temptation....

Chapters: 5 out of 19 plus prologue

Pages: 71 out of 346

Azlander: Second Nature by Gabriel Brunsdon

AZLANDER is a fantastical esoteric journey throughout the realms of Faerie, of Hell and the virtual worlds. Snapshots of magic, spiritual insights - telling of the elven Puck who was formerly known as Robin of the Forest and his travels throughout the mortal world today.

Chapters: 3 out of 200

Pages: 8 out of 423







Imperfect Pairings by Jackie Townsend

Winner, Chick Lit, Indie Reader Discovery Awards 2013

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

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

Chapters: 12 out of 35

Pages: 131 out of 389

The Good Earth- Pearl S. Buck

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

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

Chapters: 29 out of 34

Pages: 294 out of 357

Future Books I will read:

Killer Rumors by Antonello Fiore (e-book)

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

Chapters: 99 plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 255



The Doctor's Deceit: Sapphire Brigade Book 2 by Kathy Steinemann (e-book)

ALTERNATIVE HISTORY:

Vanguard or villain? Who is the real Owen Vargas?

SARGENT, 1898 -- The Doctor has a secret, a secret he never revealed to his departed wife, a secret he kept from his childhood friend. Is he afraid that the Brigade will find out? Does he fear Retribution? Or does he have another reason for his mysterious behavior?

Discover the truth about the Doctor and the vigilante group known as the "Sapphire Brigade"

Chapters: Preface Prologue plus 36 epilogue, afterword

Pages: 229

Promises to Keep by Jane Green

Callie Perry is a successful family photographer living in upstate New York. She adores her two daughters, has great friends, and actually doesn't mind that her workaholic husband gets home at 9 p.m. every night-that is, when he's not traveling six months out of the year.

Callie's younger sister, Steff, on the other hand, has never grown up. She's a free spirit, living in downtown Manhattan and bouncing between jobs and boyfriends. Lately, she's been working as a vegan chef, even though she can't cook.

Lila Grossman is Callie's best friend and has finally met the man of her dreams. Eddie has two wonderful children, but also a drama queen ex-wife who hates Lila. And then there are Callie and Steff's parents, Walter Cutler and Honor Pitman. Divorced for thirty years, they rarely speak to each other. 

The lives of these colorful characters intersect when they each receive a shocking note that summons them together for one extraordinary summer in Maine and changes their lives forever. This novel is about the hard choices we have to face, about having to be your parents' child long after you've grown up, and about the enduring nature of love.

Chapters: 32 plus epilogue 

Pages: 337

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

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

Chapters:54

Pages: 1090

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

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

Chapters: 3 plus epilogue and historical note

Pages: 478





Sons- Pearl S. Buck

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

Chapters: 29

Pages: 313





A House Divided-Pearl S. Buck

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

Chapters: 4

Pages: 343





The Secret of Emotions (Love, Lust and the Longing for God #1) by Justice Saint Rain

If following your heart has repeatedly gotten you into trouble, but to follow your head feels like a kind of soul-death, then this book will open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. It will teach your head how to understand the language of your heart, and teach your heart how to speak the language of God.
This book explains that our emotional sensations tell us about the virtues we are experiencing, and that these virtues are reflections of the qualities of God in the world. Making the connection between emotions and virtues gives us a whole new vocabulary for understanding our feelings. Since most people make their life-choices based on their feelings rather than reason, understanding the meaning of our emotions is the SECOND-most important lesson we can learn in this life.
The MOST important lesson is that virtues are our path to the Transcendent. Whether you call it God, Higher Power, Creative Spirit, or just your better self, we are all born with a longing to become more than we are right now – to demonstrate that we are, indeed, created in the image of the Divine.

Chapters: 8

Pages: 1-76 out if 267

4 Tools of Emotional Healing (Love, Lust and the Longing for God #2) by Justice Saint Rain

Though they are not quite the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the painful emotions of shame, anger, loneliness and fear have destroyed countless lives. The need to numb and distract ourselves from them leads us to engage in behaviors that only draw us deeper into shame and isolation. We do not need distractions or drugs, we need healing. This healing is not about solving our problems; it is about making us whole.
This book explains how the qualities of honesty, forgiveness, compassion and faith can ease the pain of these negative emotions by filling the empty spaces they represent. Emotions are messengers. Positive emotions tell us when we are experiencing the presence of virtues such as kindness, and justice. Negative emotions tell us which virtues are missing in our lives. By developing our own capacity to practice these four core virtues, we not only heal our painful emotions, but we become masters of our own feelings. This book builds on the understanding of emotions explained in The Secret of Emotions, book one in the Love, Lust and the Longing for God trilogy, but is a stand-alone introduction to the practice of Honesty, Forgiveness, Compassion and Faith.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with anger, shame, loneliness or fear, this book will jump-start the healing process. This series can be used by therapists and treatment centers to build a foundation for a wide range of recovery programs.
This book is the second of three in the Love, Lust and the Longing for God trilogy. Look for excerpts on our FaceBook page of the same name. Other books in the series include:
The Secret of Emotions
Longing for Love

Chapters: 11

Pages:  77-171 out of 267


Longing for Love (Love, Lust and the Longing for God #3) by Justice Saint Rain

The problem with most relationship-advice systems is that they assume that we are rational people and then give us rational advice as to how to attract another rational person.

But we aren’t rational. If we were, life would be much easier.
Longing for Love backs up to the beginning – explaining how our irrational infatuations are based on familiar patterns rather than healthy attraction. It teaches us how to retrain our hearts to love the kind of people that will nurture our souls, not just satisfy our lusts. Full of profound insights and practical advice, it is unlike any relationship guide you’ve ever read.
The problem with most relationship guides is that they assume that we are rational people and then give us rational advice as to how to attract another rational person.

This is book three in the series Love, Lust and the Longing for God. In the first book of this series, The Secret of Emotions, I explain that emotions are sensations that tell us about the attributes of God, or virtues, that we experience in our environment, and that love, in particular, is an attraction to these virtues.

An understanding of these two ideas, especially the second, is critical to any attempt to find true love and have healthy relationships.

The goal of this third book is to expand our ability to recognize and become attracted to virtues so that we fall in love with people who are ready to have healthy, nurturing relationships. We will take a look at what these ideas look like when applied to finding and building healthy relationships in the real world.

How does our understanding of the relationship between emotions and virtues help us find healthy people to be friends with?

How does understanding the difference between love and lust change the way we enter into sexual relationships?

How do we tell the difference between the sensation of love and all of the other sensations that are generated by relationships?

How do we maintain healthy relationships once we commit to them?

How do we avoid temptations that can destroy the relationship we have?

These are the questions that we will be exploring in this third book. If you are unsure of the answers, then this book is a good place to start.

This series can also be used by therapists and treatment centers to build a foundation for a wide range of recovery programs.

Chapters: 11

Pages: 175-265 out of 265

Truths and Roses: A Love Story by Inglath Cooper

When Will Kincaid’s professional football career comes to an abrupt end in a single night, he’s left to figure out what he’s going to do with the rest of his life. He heads home to the small Virginia town where he grew up and crosses paths with Hannah Jacobs, the only girl in high school who had ever rejected him. It’s Hannah who once made him question the choices he had made, and it’s Hannah who’s making him question them all over again. But with the weight of a secret he’s managed to hide from the world his entire adult life hanging over him, he can’t afford to question his choices. Hannah Jacobs had once made the choice to deny her feelings for Will Kincaid, at the time finding it the only possible option for a young girl intent on burying a nightmare she only wanted to forget. The life she’s made for herself as a librarian in Lake Perdue is a quiet one, and she’s hardly prepared for the day when Will rams his fancy Ferrari into her dependable old clunker. But for Hannah, Will Kincaid can only stir up memories she had long ago put away forever. And there’s nothing at all good that can come from bringing them back to life again.

Chapters:64 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 274

The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister 

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

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

Chapters:N/A plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 272

Friday, September 27, 2013

G187 E-Reading Book Review of #2 Curve Appeal by Mary E Merrell

Name of Book: Curve Appeal

Author: Mary E Merrell

ISBN: 9781988297326

Publisher: Morningglory Publishers

Part of a Series: The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series

Type of book: Paranormal, real estate, ghosts, vampires, sexual situations, adult, mystery, secrets

Year it was published: 2011

Summary:

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

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

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

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

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

Characters:

While in the first book Rosemary struck me as somewhat naive, and I was tempted to hit my head against my hand each time she has handled the situation incorrectly, I feel that in this one she has better grasp on her ability and talents and I didn't notice her awkwardness. Like her I tended to be afraid of Marcus and am wondering why and how he chose Rosemary who really frustrates the hell out of him. I also liked the stripper Kaycee as well as what she made Rosemary do during certain events, or her comments towards events and situations that were happening to Rosemary. Marcus and Frank prove themselves interesting as well as life-savers and caretakers of sorts. Neither Rosemary's friend nor her son play a large part in this book, unfortunately.

Theme:

Every action comes with consequences

Plot:

The book is written in first person narrative completely from Rosemary's point of view, and just like the other two books I've read, putting ghosts to rest is much more tougher than it sounds and comes with excitement, kidnapping, unexpected characters and so forth as well as surprising outcomes. Be sure to have plenty of time when you start reading this book. Just like in the other books I read by this author, there are also unexpected and funny moments; one of them includes a sort of girl on girl action.

Author Information:

Mary E. Merrell writes Paranormal Mysteries and Young Adult Urban Fantasy. She has worked many jobs, but always had stories in her head. It wasn’t until she went into real estate and walked into that old, vacant home that The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series came to life. Fortunately, nothing spooky happened at the furniture store, or the first book might have been, “The Haunted Sofa."

Mary E. Merrell’s plots are smooth and slightly dark, and her characters sinfully sweet. Try a little guilty pleasure with House Haunting, the first book in The Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series. One reviewer called it “A good start to a new series.”

Her Young Adult series, Affinity is also humorous but deals with very real life themes. A reviewer said, “Love it. So different. A fun read.”


Mary E. Merrell lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, two dogs, and five cats. She has two grown sons. When she’s not writing, she’s gardening or playing soccer.

Opinion:

Here I thought I'd be prepared for reading this book; after all I've read House Haunting and the sequel after this book; Soul in Present Condition, yet just like the previous ones, this has caught me completely by surprise. I laughed and chuckled and was shocked at the twists that occurred within, never noticing and seeing the pages whipping by. I also don't have a single complaint to make about it, except, well, more Marcus please! Rosemary seemed to grow from her previous experience, and this could be described as a stand-alone book because its not a hundred percent necessary to read House Haunting in order to enjoy this book. I loved the characters, the plot, the writing, supernatural elements and surprises that the author has peppered the novel throughout. I was surprised at giving it five stars. Its a light hearted and exciting mystery story of supernatural elements that include vampires, and talking to ghosts.  I'm not sure if she has done this in third book, but there is a slight event that I feel she didn't tie up when it came to a promise towards Holly.

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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

G157 Book Review of Double Down by Saylor Storm

Name of Book: Double Down

Author: Saylor Storm

ISBN: 9780578117669

Publisher: Saylor productions

Type of book: Gambling, Las Vegas, accident, nursing, 2000s, erasing history

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

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

Characters:

The main characters include Lola who is best described as ambitious, stubborn and loyal. She was raised with a single father and is determined not to repeat her childhood. She has a dream of marrying someone wealthy. She then has misadventures before finding her happiness and then she has to deal with more bad events happening, but at the same time she discovers her true dream. Her husband Jax is best described as passionate, a talented chef, and someone who listens to his mother. There are other characters as well, such as Jax's mother, Arnie the detective, Miranda who helps and few others I cannot recall at the moment.

Theme:

Dreams have an unexpected way of coming true

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative, most from Lola's point of view, although her friends were also thrown in at times, which perhaps is a bit comparison between the two relationships, at least that's the sense I got. There was a bit confusion between the points of views and who's speaking. Sometimes I had difficulty remembering some characters, and I do wish that it would be explained on why Jackson turned to Jax, or perhaps more vulnerable sides to Lola might help as well. What I mean is showing how Lola is struggling internally between her dream and what reality has dealt her.

Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)

born
Lake Forest, Illinois, The United States

gender
female

website
http://www.SaylorStorm.com

twitter username
SaylorStorm

genre
Romance, Suspense, Ebooks

member since
August 2012

Opinion:

I have to admit that I found this book to be much better than With Malicious Intent. I was already used to the author's style; that the trivia is just trivia and doesn't have anything to do with the chapters. With Malicious Intent, I thought the quotes actually related to the chapters or endings so to speak. It seems as if there is sort of double conversation going on; that of trivia and the story itself. I found Lola to be a much more likable and intriguing character and she also seemed a bit sympathetic. I think what I would have liked is emphasis on how the characters have changed through hard times. Besides that an interesting light-hearted story for those seeking something where one doesn't have to think or anything of the kind.

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, September 23, 2013

G188 Book Review of I am Venus by Barbara Mujica

Name of Book: I am Venus

Author:  Barbara Mujica

ISBN: 978-1-4683-0657-6

Publisher: The Overlook Press

Type of book: 1619-1660, Spain, Golden Age, Royalty, Art, wars, countryside, city, court

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:
(from tlc.com)

I Am Venus chronicles the relationship between the great Baroque Spanish painter Diego Velázquez and the woman who became his Venus. Author Bárbara Mujica vividly reimagines the great artist’s rise to prominence, set against the backdrop of political turmoil and romantic scandal. Narrated by the mysterious model who posed for Velázquez’s only female nude, “The Rokeby of Venus,” I Am Venus is a seductive historical novel of the love between an artist and his muse.

The year is 1619, and Diego Velazquez is a rising star at an art academy in Seville run by his father-in-law. But even as his young wife builds him a family, the painter finds himself yearning for a larger canvas, and soon his ambition lands him at the court of King Philip IV, where his star quickly rises, even as Spain finds itself plunged into military defeat and domestic chaos.

But as he gains nobility and privilege, Velázquez encounters the sinful decadence that defines the regime. As he finds himself torn between loyalty to family and the easy seductions of power, Velázquez decides to take on his riskiest painting yet, which could, in a stroke, land him in the claws of the Inquisition.
I Am Venus is a sweeping story of scandal and passion, and a vivid recreation of a corrupt kingdom on the brink of collapse. Reminiscent of Girl with a Pearl Earring, it is a thrilling novel that brings to life the public and private worlds of Spain’s greatest painter.

Characters:

Although the characters did seem to be interesting, I wished that there was more focus on Diego. I felt that there was too little focus on their humanity so to speak. Juana is Diego's wife who strikes me as traditional, a little vain and what one would call a good girl. Diego is described as ambitious and very lucky. There are other characters, but not a lot of focus on them.

Theme:

What rises must fall

Plot:

Perhaps more than 90 percent of the book is written from the third person narrative, from Juana's point of view, while another ten percent is written from first person narrative, from the mysterious woman who lives in a convent and posed for the painting titled The Toilet of Venus. I feel that the two narratives didn't connect well and they seemed to be a little awkward for me.

Author Information:
(from tlc.com)

Barbara Mujica is a novelist, short-story writer, essayist and professor at Georgetown University.  Her latest novel, I Am Venus (Overlook Press), explores the identity of the model for the famous Rokeby Venus, the only extant female nude of seventeenth-century Spanish painter Diego de Velázquez. Her previous books include the critically acclaimed novels Frida, based on the relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and Sister Teresa, about the life of Saint Teresa de Avila, both published by Overlook. A play based on the latter is currently being developed by The Actors Studio in Los Angeles.

Mujica has won numerous prizes for her stories, which have appeared in magazines and anthologies. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Dallas Morning Star, and hundreds of other publications.

A Professor of Spanish at Georgetown University, Dr. Mujica writes extensively on Spanish literature. She has twice been named one of Georgetown’s most influential professors by the Academic Council.
Since her son, a U.S. Marine, returned from Iraq in 2008, Mujica has devoted much of her energy to serving transitioning veterans. At Georgetown she is faculty adviser of the Georgetown University Student Veterans Association (GUSVA) as well as Associate Facilitator of the Veterans Support Team, a coalition of faculty, administrators, and students. Recently she has begun writing about issues pertaining to student veterans. For more information please visit  www.barbaramujica.com.

Opinion:

This really is a fascinating account of what Spanish life was like in the seventeenth century. It can be seen as sort of a biography for Diego's wife, and historically wise I did become more curious about Spain. Very often I forget that before England became the superpower, Spain preceded it. History wise its fascinating, but I think for a fictional novel it needs a little more work. For me personally there seemed to be a tug of war between history and characters, and neither seemed compelling, I'm sorry to say. I also would have liked there to be pictures of what Diego drew, just something I can refer to without going on computer which is distracting. The twist is pretty cool in my opinion, and learning history as well as fascinating nuggets of information that only one person was paid to and others weren't paid, or more details about royalty and the wars, and Spanish view on interracial marriage, as well as treatment of Muslims, or Moriscos.

This is for TLC Book Tour

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, September 21, 2013

#4 Onlinebookclub.org Dirtball: The Diaries of a Worthless Somebody by Eric Olsen

Name of Book: Dirtball: The Diaries of a Worthless Somebody

Author: Eric Olsen

ISBN/ASIN: B00EOYLTYY

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services Inc

Type of book: Diaries, pessimism, Milwaukee, bad relationships

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

Dirtball is an intriguing tale of one man’s pessimistic journey to see the glass half full. Discover EO, as he struggles to break through the negative walls in life and find the level of happiness that he so desperately desires. Explore his life of heartache, deception, and triumph. In this captivating autobiographical novel that only mature audiences can truly embrace.

For my take on the book click here

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

Friday, September 20, 2013

Coming Up...Week 38 of 2013

Book to be reviewed:

The Hourglass by Sharon A. Struth

Can forgiveness survive lies and unspoken truths?

Until Brenda McAllister’s husband committed suicide, she appeared to have the ideal life: a thriving psychology practice, success as a self-help author, and a model family. But her guilt over her affair with Jack’s best friend prevents her from moving on. Did Jack learn of her infidelity? Was she the cause of his death?

The release of Brenda’s second book forces her into an unexpected assignment with arrogant celebrity author CJ Morrison, whose irritating and edgy exterior hides the torment of his own mistakes. But as she grows closer to CJ, Brenda learns she wasn’t the only one with secrets—Jack had secrets of his own, unsavory ones that may have led to his death. While CJ helps Brenda uncover the truth about her husband, she finds the path to forgiveness isn’t always on the map.

Dirtball: The Diaries of a Worthless Somebody by Eric Olsen (e-book)


Dirtball is an intriguing tale of one man’s pessimistic journey to see the glass half full. Discover EO, as he struggles to break through the negative walls in life and find the level of happiness that he so desperately desires. Explore his life of heartache, deception, and triumph. In this captivating autobiographical novel that only mature audiences can truly embrace.








What I'm Reading right now:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapters: 2 out of 47

Pages: 13 out of 287

Tempted Tigress-Jade Lee


China's Grand Canal saw all kinds of transport-food, slaves, even deadly opium. And when one woman planned to sail it to freedom, her flight would end in the arms of a Mandarin prince. There her true journey would begin.

Orphaned and stranded, Anna Marie Thompson could trust no one, especially not her dark captor. Not when his eyes held secrets deadlier than her own. Though his caress was liquid fire, his arms a steely shield, Anna was still an Englishwoman and alone. She could not trust him when he swore they could tame the dragon, could together unearth the riches of the sweet cinnabar cave. But sadness and fear could be cleansed by soft yin rain, he whispered; safety and joy were but a breath away. And perhaps love. All was here for the taking, if she would just give in to temptation....

Chapters: 4 out of 19 plus prologue

Pages: 49 out of 346

Till Morning Comes by Suyin Han

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

Chapters: 6 out of 27

Pages: 120 out of 620

Double Down by Saylor Storm


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

Chapters: 24 out of 55

Pages: 107 out of 220


The Good Earth- Pearl S. Buck

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

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

Chapters: 13out of 34

Pages: 113 out of 357

Imperfect Pairings by Jackie Townsend


Winner, Chick Lit, Indie Reader Discovery Awards 2013

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

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

Chapters: 3 out of 35

Pages: 27 out of 389

House of Earth by Woody Guthrie

Finished in 1947 and lost to readers until now, House of Earth is Woody Guthrie's only fully realized novel—a powerful portrait of Dust Bowl America, filled with the homespun lyricism and authenticity that have made his songs a part of our national consciousness. It is the story of an ordinary couple's dreams of a better life and their search for love and meaning in a corrupt world.

Tike and Ella May Hamlin struggle to plant roots in the arid land of the Texas Panhandle. The husband and wife live in a precarious wooden farm shack, but Tike yearns for a sturdy house that will protect them from the treacherous elements. Thanks to a five-cent government pamphlet, Tike has the know-how to build a simple adobe dwelling, a structure made from the land itself—fireproof, windproof, Dust Bowl–proof. A house of earth.

Though they are one with the farm and with each other, the land on which Tike and Ella May live and work is not theirs. Due to larger forces beyond their control—including ranching conglomerates and banks—their adobe house remains painfully out of reach.

A story of rural realism and progressive activism, and in many ways a companion piece to Guthrie's folk anthem "This Land Is Your Land," House of Earth is a searing portrait of hardship and hope set against a ravaged landscape. Combining the moral urgency and narrative drive of John Steinbeck with the erotic frankness of D. H. Lawrence, here is a powerful tale of America from one of our greatest artists.

Chapters: 2 out of 4

Pages: 55 out of 211

Future Books I will read:

Killer Rumors by Antonello Fiore (e-book)

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

Chapters: 99 plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 255


The Doctor's Deceit: Sapphire Brigade Book 2 by Kathy Steinemann (e-book)

ALTERNATIVE HISTORY:

Vanguard or villain? Who is the real Owen Vargas?

SARGENT, 1898 -- The Doctor has a secret, a secret he never revealed to his departed wife, a secret he kept from his childhood friend. Is he afraid that the Brigade will find out? Does he fear Retribution? Or does he have another reason for his mysterious behavior?

Discover the truth about the Doctor and the vigilante group known as the "Sapphire Brigade"

Chapters: Preface Prologue plus 36 epilogue, afterword

Pages: 229

Azlander: Second Nature by Gabriel Brunsdon


AZLANDER is a fantastical esoteric journey throughout the realms of Faerie, of Hell and the virtual worlds. Snapshots of magic, spiritual insights - telling of the elven Puck who was formerly known as Robin of the Forest and his travels throughout the mortal world today.

Chapters: 200

Pages: 423








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

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

Chapters:54

Pages: 1090

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


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

Chapters: 3 plus epilogue and historical note

Pages: 478



Sons- Pearl S. Buck

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

Chapters: 29

Pages: 313





A House Divided-Pearl S. Buck


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

Chapters: 4

Pages: 343




The Secret of Emotions (Love, Lust and the Longing for God #1) by Justice Saint Rain

If following your heart has repeatedly gotten you into trouble, but to follow your head feels like a kind of soul-death, then this book will open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. It will teach your head how to understand the language of your heart, and teach your heart how to speak the language of God.
This book explains that our emotional sensations tell us about the virtues we are experiencing, and that these virtues are reflections of the qualities of God in the world. Making the connection between emotions and virtues gives us a whole new vocabulary for understanding our feelings. Since most people make their life-choices based on their feelings rather than reason, understanding the meaning of our emotions is the SECOND-most important lesson we can learn in this life.
The MOST important lesson is that virtues are our path to the Transcendent. Whether you call it God, Higher Power, Creative Spirit, or just your better self, we are all born with a longing to become more than we are right now – to demonstrate that we are, indeed, created in the image of the Divine.

Chapters: 8

Pages: 1-76 out if 267

4 Tools of Emotional Healing (Love, Lust and the Longing for God #2) by Justice Saint Rain


Though they are not quite the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the painful emotions of shame, anger, loneliness and fear have destroyed countless lives. The need to numb and distract ourselves from them leads us to engage in behaviors that only draw us deeper into shame and isolation. We do not need distractions or drugs, we need healing. This healing is not about solving our problems; it is about making us whole.
This book explains how the qualities of honesty, forgiveness, compassion and faith can ease the pain of these negative emotions by filling the empty spaces they represent. Emotions are messengers. Positive emotions tell us when we are experiencing the presence of virtues such as kindness, and justice. Negative emotions tell us which virtues are missing in our lives. By developing our own capacity to practice these four core virtues, we not only heal our painful emotions, but we become masters of our own feelings. This book builds on the understanding of emotions explained in The Secret of Emotions, book one in the Love, Lust and the Longing for God trilogy, but is a stand-alone introduction to the practice of Honesty, Forgiveness, Compassion and Faith.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with anger, shame, loneliness or fear, this book will jump-start the healing process. This series can be used by therapists and treatment centers to build a foundation for a wide range of recovery programs.
This book is the second of three in the Love, Lust and the Longing for God trilogy. Look for excerpts on our FaceBook page of the same name. Other books in the series include:
The Secret of Emotions
Longing for Love

Chapters: 11

Pages:  77-171 out of 267

Longing for Love (Love, Lust and the Longing for God #3) by Justice Saint Rain

The problem with most relationship-advice systems is that they assume that we are rational people and then give us rational advice as to how to attract another rational person.

But we aren’t rational. If we were, life would be much easier.
Longing for Love backs up to the beginning – explaining how our irrational infatuations are based on familiar patterns rather than healthy attraction. It teaches us how to retrain our hearts to love the kind of people that will nurture our souls, not just satisfy our lusts. Full of profound insights and practical advice, it is unlike any relationship guide you’ve ever read.
The problem with most relationship guides is that they assume that we are rational people and then give us rational advice as to how to attract another rational person.

This is book three in the series Love, Lust and the Longing for God. In the first book of this series, The Secret of Emotions, I explain that emotions are sensations that tell us about the attributes of God, or virtues, that we experience in our environment, and that love, in particular, is an attraction to these virtues.

An understanding of these two ideas, especially the second, is critical to any attempt to find true love and have healthy relationships.

The goal of this third book is to expand our ability to recognize and become attracted to virtues so that we fall in love with people who are ready to have healthy, nurturing relationships. We will take a look at what these ideas look like when applied to finding and building healthy relationships in the real world.

How does our understanding of the relationship between emotions and virtues help us find healthy people to be friends with?

How does understanding the difference between love and lust change the way we enter into sexual relationships?

How do we tell the difference between the sensation of love and all of the other sensations that are generated by relationships?

How do we maintain healthy relationships once we commit to them?

How do we avoid temptations that can destroy the relationship we have?

These are the questions that we will be exploring in this third book. If you are unsure of the answers, then this book is a good place to start.

This series can also be used by therapists and treatment centers to build a foundation for a wide range of recovery programs.

Chapters: 11

Pages: 175-265 out of 265

Truths and Roses: A Love Story by Inglath Cooper


When Will Kincaid’s professional football career comes to an abrupt end in a single night, he’s left to figure out what he’s going to do with the rest of his life. He heads home to the small Virginia town where he grew up and crosses paths with Hannah Jacobs, the only girl in high school who had ever rejected him. It’s Hannah who once made him question the choices he had made, and it’s Hannah who’s making him question them all over again. But with the weight of a secret he’s managed to hide from the world his entire adult life hanging over him, he can’t afford to question his choices. Hannah Jacobs had once made the choice to deny her feelings for Will Kincaid, at the time finding it the only possible option for a young girl intent on burying a nightmare she only wanted to forget. The life she’s made for herself as a librarian in Lake Perdue is a quiet one, and she’s hardly prepared for the day when Will rams his fancy Ferrari into her dependable old clunker. But for Hannah, Will Kincaid can only stir up memories she had long ago put away forever. And there’s nothing at all good that can come from bringing them back to life again.

Chapters:64 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 274

The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister 

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

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

Chapters:N/A plus epilogue and prologue

Pages: 272

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

G131 Book Review of A Time of Myths by Chris Blamires

Name of Book: A Time of Myths

Author: Chris Blamires

ISBN: 9780957598706)

Publisher: Literary Orchard

Type of book: Woodstock, 1969, England, Greece, 1980s, death of innocence, music, commercialism, mystery, love triangle

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

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.

Characters:

There are five characters such as Jo, Beki, Maddy, Nathan and Jack. I am sorry that in some cases I couldn't keep the backgrounds straight. Nathan is for equal rights and his sister has passed away in mysterious circumstances. I also think he is in some sort of love triangle between the two girls. Jack is wealthy and keeps secrets from Nathan. I recall that one of the girls found a bird as a pet, another went through abusive childhood, or perhaps its the same girl, and one of the girls came from Greece which she wanted to explore while the last one desired to be a nurse. I also recall one of the girls was a poet as well.

Theme:

Past impacts present

Plot:

Its written in third person narrative, primarily from Nathan's and Jack's point of view, although when it comes to them attending the Woodstock Festival of 1969, we do see points of view from Beki, Jo and Maddy as well as more of Nathan and Jack's background. It begins in 1980s when Jack goes over to Greece to get Nathan's help, and then it flashes back to 1969, fleshing out the characters as well as what was going on and so forth. Afterwards we go back to 1980s and see a resolution to the problem. I think sometimes I was a bit confused on points of view, as well as character backgrounds.

Author Information:

Not available

Opinion:

I think this is a book for me to really love when I'll get older. What I did like and enjoy were interesting quotes, the character background, the historical research when it came to sixties and eighties and so forth. I think what I did dislike was that I often confused one character for another and its an unusual book to be read by the way; almost all of it seems to be beginnings or exposition, but towards the end it finally begins to pick up and becomes interesting. I tend to read multiple books at once and I think the author has designed for this book to be read in as few settings as possible.

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.)

G196 Book Review of Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair

Name of Book: Painted Hands

Author: Jennifer Zobair

ISBN: 978-1-250-02700-9

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Type of book: Islam, work, friendship, love, romance, conservative vs liberal, breaking traditions vs following them

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

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

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

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

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

Characters:

The primary characters included Amra, Zainab, Hayden and Chase. Amra is busy working for a law-firm. She is best described as very sweet, gentle, and other characters love her in one way or the other. I got the impression that she had an awkward friendship with Hayden. Zainab, although she's Muslim, she's very modern and is seen as kind of a black sheep in the community. She works for a Republican Senate candidate and cares little for what others think of her. I got the feeling that she doesn't like for anyone to see her as a weak person, and inside she is very vulnerable. There is also Hayden, who happens to be Amra's co-worker and sort of friend. She is insecure and lonely. I also think she can easily be talked into situations. Chase has sort of a conflict of heart vs work. He comes from an interesting background but happens to be Republican, but he also has a conscience and somehow he and Zainab really grew on me.

Theme:

Life takes a lot of work

Plot:

Its written in third person narrative from Amra's, Zainab's, Hayden's and Chase's points of views. The primary characters were Amra, Zainab and Chase, while Hayden played a secondary character. Since I'm not Muslim, I'm not sure of the accuracy, but I have to admit that Muslim-American culture does sound fascinating and its much more than what people think it is. Its not a simple portrait, not black and white, but its all sorts of shades of gray. There is focus on unexpected romances but most is about building and overcoming selves before finding happiness. Only thing I would like is to learn more about Hayden. I found her an intriguing character as well, and I hope that in the future I get to learn more about her.


Author Information:
(from goodreads.com)

url  http://www.goodreads.com/JenniferZobair
gender female
website http://www.jenniferzobair.com
twitter username jazobair
genre Contemporary, Multicultural, Women's
member since July 2012

After growing up in the Midwest, Jennifer Zobair headed east to attend Smith College and Georgetown Law School. She has practiced corporate and immigration law in New York and Michigan, and has been a strong advocate for Muslim women’s rights. She is married to a fellow Georgetown Law graduate who happens to be Pakistani-American, which means she knows her cumin from her coriander and that the dry cleaner is lying when he says he can remove that big blob of henna from your favorite white pants. She lives with her husband and three children in New England.

Opinion:

Wow, this is just...wow. I was hesitant on reading this book at first because I'm not a fan of Sex and the City for one. (Tried to watch TV show, but couldn't last ten minutes through it.) I think another reason I was hesitant on reading Painted Hands is the Muslim subject matter. Yet I decided to give it a chance, and boy, I'm glad that I did! Although the official summary mentions this as Sex in the City meeting The Namesake, there are no sex scenes. Instead the author wrote a wonderful and human story of Muslim-Americans and their lifestyle. Just like in other religions, there are different types of Muslims from conservatives to liberals and so forth; there are people converting to the faith too, and most of the focus is on the friendship between Amra and Zainab, as well as the career and family pressures they face in terms of marriage, or hiding things from a guy they are in love with. I expected the story also to be predictable and cheesy, yet it wasn't. I rooted for the most unexpected characters, and I was surprised that I cared a lot for Zainab. The novel is a clash between old world and new, as well as liberal viewpoint vs conservative. I know its too soon to ask, but can there be a sequel for this book please?

Also, a little side note, but my mom loved the book cover.



This is for TLC Book Tour

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