Friday, May 30, 2014

G362 E-Reading Book Review of Ghost of Gods by Kevin Bohacz

Name of Book: Ghost of Gods

Author: Kevin Bohacz

ISBN: 9780979181535

Publisher: Mazel and Sechel

Part of a Series: Immortality is the prequel

Type of book: Science fiction, thriller, post plague, goddess, religion, faith, connected, human androids, hybrids, travels, romance, bacteria, battles, weapons

Year it was published: 2014


Publisher's Weekly STARRED review: In this sequel to Bohacz's Immortality, two years after the devastation of mass human extinctions in kill zones, mankind is still grasping for survival. An oppressive union of government and big business controls an exhausted America, which is divided between walled-in Protectorates and the unpoliced Outlands. Against this chaotic backdrop, paleobiologist and genetic researcher Mark Freedman and policewoman Sarah Mayfair continue their evolution into transhumans--nanotech hybrids with a connection to the god machine, the artificial intelligence that caused the recent massacres, in an effort to derail the destruction of the Earth's biosphere. Bohacz provides mind-bending portrayals of factions vying for power and reflections on the essence and fragility of humanity. But philosophical concerns never obtrude on the fast-paced plot, as authorities investigate communes of hybrids, and Freedman and Mayfair must choose between absorption into a collective mind or fidelity to their remaining humanity. The question of who can be trusted impels the reader to keep turning the pages of this highly satisfying and dynamic techno-thriller.

Purchase your copy:

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE


Some characters have changed a great deal, and most I didn't recognize. I was disappointed that one of the characters barely had any screen-time, and when he did, I didn't even recognize him. In the first book he was built up a great deal, yet his role was reduced to almost, well, nothing. Sarah still remains her fierce self, but still, I found something off about her, maybe the fact that romance seemed a bit one-dimensional for me. For some odd reason, I couldn't really connect to Mark, sorry to say. Unfortunately, few of the likable characters played an extremely small role in the book, at least the ones I liked from previous book.


I'm not certain what I should have learned from the story itself, but sometimes disappointments are inevitable.


The book is written in third person narrative mostly from Sarah's and Mark's points of views, and this time the author does mention whom is speaking. I couldn't really recognize the characters and I might have started reading Ghost of Gods immediately after finishing Immortality. There is also something minor: in the first book, Sarah and Mark can no longer eat meat, yet in this book they go to Burger King. I also felt that certain things happened a little too quickly for my liking, at least romantically wise, and I really would have liked to know the purpose of what they were doing in beginning because I really began to feel confused towards the middle and end.

Author Information:

I am Kevin Bohacz the bestselling novelist of Immortality and a lucid dreamer… Welcome to my dreams. I am also a writer for national computer magazines, founder and president of two high technology corporations, a scientist and engineer for over 35 years, and the inventor of an advanced electric car system – the ESE Engine System (circa 1978). I was also a short order cook for I-Hop, flipped burgers at McDonalds, and delivered Chicken Delight. All of those careers and more are behind me now that I am a full time storyteller, a catcher of dreams. Thank you for reading my stories and making this all possible.
His latest books are Immortality and Ghost of the Gods.

Visit Kevin’s website at or follow him on Twitter at  


Previously I've read the author's prequel to Ghost of Gods titled Immortality, and wow, that book blew me away and I never imagined giving four stars to a science fiction book. When I began to read this book, my expectations were high and I also was expected to be blown away. However, I ended up being very disappointed in the story, the characters and so forth. If you read Immortality and don't want to tarnish your memories of the strong and resilient Sarah as well as Kathy, and you want to remember the brave and purposeful Artie/Alex as well as the determined Mark and General McKafferty, then proceed with caution. But if you want to know how the story continues and can't help yourself, then the only thing I will mention is that you were warned. Also as well, for some odd reason this book and the previous really reminded me of Matrix series: Immortality was the first movie, while Ghost of Gods were the second and third movies.

This is for Pump Up Your Books Book Tour

Ghost of the Gods Tour Page

2 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 29, 2014

G353 Book Review of Blossoms and Bayonets by Jana McBurney-Lin and Hi-Dong Chai

Name of Book: Blossoms and Bayonets

Author: Hi-Dong Chai, Jana McBurney-Lin

ISBN: 978-0-9884940-1-5

Publisher: Redwood publishing

Type of book: Japanese Occupation, WWII, 1942-1945, brotherhood, being tough, science, identity, loyalty, faith, mistreatment, Korea, food, everyday life

Year it was published: 2012


Hi-Dong Chai and Jana McBurney-Lin, the award-winning author of My Half of the Sky, turn their hands to a remarkable story of a family and country torn apart by outside forces. The time is 1942, the place, Japanese-occupied Seoul, Korea. Fifteen-year-old He-Seung is full of fire, ready to take on these Japanese...if only he could convince his father, a Christian minister more concerned about saving his flock in a time when Emperor-worship has become mandatory. Since occupation, the Japanese have eradicated the Korean language, names, even the country's flower. Now they are seeking Korean boys as volunteers for their army. When his father is arrested by the Japanese, however, He-Seung must swallow his hatred of the enemy and volunteer for the military. Even harder, he must leave his mother and baby brother He-Dong to fend for themselves. Based on a true story, Blossoms & Bayonets is suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period. The story lends an eyewitness perspective to events as they unfold. revealing an era of nuance and complexity. The result is a work that speaks volumes about the power of faith. "McBurney-Lin engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end." --Midwest Book Review "Impossible to put down-or to forget-authors' grippingly suspenseful and deeply affecting historical novel limns the lives of a Korean family under Japanese rule with astonishing grace and power." --Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You "Riveting internal dialogue and narration interspersed with quotes from those running the war efforts on various fronts combine to compel the reader forward. I say compel rather than propel, because I had to read. I had to know how this family and those around them would fare in the end."-Keri Rojas, bookseller at Cornerstone Cottage, Hampton, IA


The main characters include Baby He-Dong, the third son of a reverend. In beginning he is best described as fearful, intelligent, curious, and he wants to please everyone above and below. He does change throughout the book and I admired how he became more curious as well as wanting to be scientific. He-Seung is the middle brother who is best described as a firecracker and impatient. He is loyal to those he loves and enjoys playing sports such as soccer. He cares little for school and is very prejudiced against Japanese. The other character is Mother, otherwise known as Uhmony (Mother in Korean.) She is talented when it comes sewing, loyal to friends and doesn't really question her husband's decisions about anything. She seems to go along, but yet she does her best to hold up her family and in whatever situations she can. Secondary characters include He-Chul, the eldest brother from Manchuria (Manchukuo,) their father, various friends of the family as well as personal friends.


Appreciate the small things


The book is written in first person narrative from Baby He-Dong, He-Seung and their mother (Uhmony). I was impressed that while faith did play an important role in the book, somehow the author made sure that it wasn't being shoved down the reader's throat, and I felt safe somehow. The story is linear and is told from 1942 up until a little after 1945. Previously I read The Foreign Student by Susan Choi which covers Korean War, and somehow this book helped me understand the background for The Foreign Student. The characters all had distinctive voices as well as distinctive lives. The story also really pulled me in and at the same deepened my education of Korean culture and also gave credence to what my Korean ex has told me in the past. I also hope that a sequel will be written to Blossoms and Bayonets.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

Add to Goodreads badge
Purchase Links

Jana McBurney-LinAbout Jana McBurney-Lin

I was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent over half my adult life in Asia (Japan/Singapore). While I had gone to Japan to learn the language and become an indispensable business woman, I discovered I was more interested in sharing stories about this new culture. I wrote and edited fictional stories as well as non-fiction articles for magazines/journals/newspapers in seven countries.  I also met my husband, a native of southern China. During one of our trips home to his village I ran up against another compelling story, this time one that deserved more space than an article would offer.
Chairman Mao said, “Women hold up half the sky.”  My Half of the Sky (KOMENAR, 2006) is the story of a contemporary young woman who is trying to be modern–to hold up her half of the sky–but the traditions of her village keep pulling her back. While the narrative takes place in China and Singapore, the theme is one which resonates with audiences everywhere. How do we reconcile traditions with the modern momentum of our society?
My Half of the Sky was a finalist for the Benjamin Franklin Award for Popular Fiction, receiving Notable Mention in Eric Hoffer’s Best New Fiction Awards and Honorable Mention for ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the year. The title was chosen as a Forbes Book Club Pick and an ABA BookSense Pick of the Month.
While signing books at a writers’ conference, a Korean engineer approached me saying, “Your book reminds me of old Korea. Will you help me tell my story?” Hi-Dong Chai grew up in Seoul during WWII, as the son of one of the first Christian ministers in the country. This was a double-edged sword. Their family was always under persecution, but at the same time they had faith in the new day.
Blossoms and Bayonets (Redwood Publishing, 2013) is based on the true story of co-author Hi-Dong Chai, and is filled with the tense atmosphere of the 40’s. The story lends an eyewitness perspective to WWII in the Pacific. It currently is pending an award from the National Historical Society. Said former Korean resident and author, Clifford Garstang, “It’s a harrowing tale and one definitely worth reading.”
I live with my husband and our four children in the Santa Cruz mountains of Northern California.

I'm not Korean, but I probably have more knowledge when it comes to Korea. I got into Korean culture long before Psy phenomenon and discovered the beautiful songs, cuisine, language and history through Korean dramas, Korean music and yes, two Korean men that I dated. One man educated me and explained to me about why Koreans and Japanese disliked one another, and thanks to him, I was inspired to watch two classical Korean dramas, Eyes of Dawn and Sandglass. I really enjoy learning and reading about Korea and am very giddy when I discover a book about Korea. Coming from that background, some things about the Korean history during Japanese Occupation weren't surprising, while others, I was shocked and flabbergasted. The book also helped me understand why christianity became so popular in South Korea after World War II. I was also shocked at what Russia has done to North Korea and am tempted to ask someone about the truth. I really would highly recommend for this novel to be read, to at least give more light to what Japan has done and how its colonies were treated, as well as teach other people about the strength of faith and ordinary day.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Jana’s Tour Stops

Monday, May 12th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, May 14th: Priscilla and Her Books
Monday, May 19th: The Written World
Thursday, May 22nd: Open Book Society
Tuesday, May 27th: The many thoughts of a reader
Thursday, May 29th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, June 4th: WildmooBooks
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.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

G332 Ritual Tea; How the 9 secrets of tea can transform your life

Title of the book: Ritual Tea How the 9 secrets of Tea can transform your life

Author: Mario Zeleny

Publisher: Sancti Spiritus

Publishing Date: 2014

ISBN: 9780615999906


Media headlines abound these days saying, “Tea is trendy...” and we believe it until we read the first chapter of Ritual Tea: How the 9 Secrets of Tea Can Transform Your Life. Entitled, Tea’s Sordid and Holy Exploits, chapter one is a worldwide, whirlwind tour of tea history that leaves the reader knowing once and for all that tea has always been trendy for very good reasons. Next to water, tea is the world’s most popular drink.

Author Mario Zeleny, lifelong tea lover and personal coach, extracts the magic of tea from its history, uses, and benefits but also from its power to change the world. He brings the secrets of tea into modern light, and makes them accessible for contemporary lifestyles.

“We do not have to be a Buddhist monk, or study The Way of Tea for decades to be your own Tea Master,” says Zeleny, “but you must understand its secrets to reap tea’s transformative qualities in your life.”

Ritual Tea boasts over 30 links to free tea products, ten personal rituals to help with everything from anxiety to sleep, and 10 charts that make crafting our own ritual a breeze. The author has also included a coupon for tea at the end of the book!

Discover the transformative power of tea hidden in its history, versatility, and essence through simple, timeless and individualized rituals. To help us on the tea path, the author has made a free Ritual Tea ecourse available through

Tea has made a 5000 year trek to inhabit the world and in its wake it has altered not only individual lives but cultures and countries. Ritual Tea asks, “Who will we be in tea’s history?” Will we just make tea, or will we allow tea make us?

Other Works:

This is the author's first book

Background of author: 
About the Author

Mario Zeleny – Lover of all things tea.  Mario spent 15 years in healthcare and social services in clinical and administrative roles that offered coaching to employees and volunteers.  An artist and entrepreneur from an early age, Mario now brings his love of writing, art, spirit, coaching and ritual together online at his creative living site, Sancti Spiritus and also from his transformational art site, Art Spellz. Mario looks forward to completing his education with Mentor Coach and St. Clement Seminary. He currently resides in Sacramento with his husband of 8 years, their children and their domestic sovereign, a pug named Brigit.
His latest book is the self-help inspirational, Ritual Tea: How the 9 Secrets of Tea Can Transform Your Life.

Connect & Socialize!



"Tea is a ritual that has healed my wounds, accelerated my recovery from setbacks and manifested abundance in my life. Much of my success is due to tea's nine secrets." (i-ii)

Problems addressed:

Practically almost all of Americans are focused on coffee and the only tea they might know of is iced tea. Currently tea is being touted as being healthy as well as trendy and the rest of the world drinks it as well. There is really much more to tea than meets the eye, which is what the author is trying to convince you of.

Summary of content:

Tea is a very unique drink that many people use for hospitality or rituals or other means. Tea also has a fascinating history as well as interesting secrets and how it can be used to enhance one's life.


"Tea's secrets might resonate with you from the very beginning, or it may take practicing a tea ritual to bring them to life for you. Your path to tea is unique. You will illuminate your own individual journey. It beings by taking a step. And, maybe that step is reading this book." (v)

Main points of book:

*Tea Incarnations: Holy and Sordid Exploits
*Rituals of Tea
*The science and magic of tea
*Elements of a successful ritual
*Ten simple rituals to rock your world
*Meanings, symbols and correspondences
*Tea like wine
*Ritual companions
*The ten secrets of tea
*Free tea products

Why its interesting and informative:

I grew up with hot tea that has either sugar or sugar with lemon in it. Everyday my family and I drink tea either for breakfast or sort of after dinner or even after eating greasy food. Most of the stuff and history that the author discussed, I had no idea! I had no idea of how and why British drink tea with milk, or the bigger role tea played in some nations. Heck, I didn't even know there is a such thing as red tea. (No kidding about that.) The author takes his subject seriously and is very passionate about tea.

Supports thesis:

The book did impart knowledge on me that I didn't even know and I doubt I'll look at tea the same way again. I think it also gave me an appreciation for when my parents and I get together and we drink tea after meal.

Addressing Issues:

Not many people know or are familiar with tea, especially in America. Heck, not many people even know the history of tea or how to make it enrich the life.

Ideas in books vs larger ideas:

I would imagine that if tea was implemented in America the results might be more different than the use of coffee for everything. For one maybe life will be more sweeter and enjoyable instead of constantly rushing everywhere.


I'm not sure whether or not I agree with the author. I have to admit that the examples he uses are not something I'd do, and sometimes I was trying to imagine how comfortable people would be using them, men in particular. I also didn't really expect for the author to take tea seriously.


The author uses secondary sources and they are from the Internet.


While I found the book interesting, the reason for three stars is that I had this impression that the rituals are written for people who are wealthy and can afford to practice advice instead of for someone who's not. I also often wondered of the audience, whether or not this is something that men should read or if this is written for women. But still to learn more about tea, then yeah, read it.

Purchase your copy:


Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Ritual Tea: How the 9 Secrets of Tea Can Transform Your Life Tour Page:

Special Giveaways
 I am running a month long HUGE Giveaway package plus 3 books and tea giveaways. The grand prize is: $100 visa, gift certificate to a free class $60 or less, a Ritual Tea book, a beautiful tea set, a collection of teas, a canvas gallery wrapped print, and a canvas tea inspired tote from Trader Joes!

Each week, I will add the bloggers who are featuring me on my tour on that day to the giveaway point entries. What that means is the bloggers featuring me that week will also be featured on my giveaway that week on my sites to drive some traffic to them as well.

To enter, click link below:

I am running another huge giveaway from May 1- 15.  The Prizes are: $100 visa gift card, certificate to a free class $60 or less, a Ritual Tea Book, an canvas gallery wrapped print, Numi's Organic Tea Blending Set and a Spa Bath Package.  

To enter, click below: 

This giveaway also runs from May 1-15.  Prizes are: $25 visa giftcard, butterfly teacup gallon planter, Biscotti, lemonbar and brownie mix, a Ritual Tea book, two packages of Sancti Spiritus Tea, a vintage tea inspired canvas tote from Trader Joes, and a $60 gift certificate for a free class from Art Spellz... all totalling $155!

#4 Book on Sale

The KINDLE version of the book will be on sale all month long at Amazon starting on May 5th for $.99!!!

The paperback is also on sale at my shop only for $7.49 which includes FREE TEA and an exclusive Tea Coupon!

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.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

G366 Book Review of Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner

Name of Book: Sinners and the Sea

Author: Rebecca Kanner

ISBN: 978-1-4516-9523-6

Publisher: Howard Books

Type of book: Biblical, prophecy, family, humanity, story of Noah and the flood, PME ancient times, accepting self, sinning, ancient times

Year it was published: 2014


In the spirit of Anita Diamant, this ambitious and unforgettable novel about the story of Noah blends Biblical history, mythology, and the inimitable strength of women.

Cursed with a birthmark that many think is the brand of a demon, the young heroine in The Sinners and the Sea is deprived even of a name for fear that it would make it easier for people to spread lies about her. But this virtuous woman has the perfect voice to make one of the Old Testament’s stories live anew.

Desperate to keep her safe, the woman’s father gives her to the righteous Noah, who weds her and takes her to the town of Sorum, a land of outcasts. Noah, a 600-year-old paragon of virtue, rises to the role of preacher to a town full of sinners. Alone in her new life, Noah’s wife gives him three sons, but is faced with the hardship of living with an aloof husband who speaks more to God than with her. She tries to make friends with the violent and dissolute people of Sorum while raising a brood that, despite a pious upbringing, have developed some sinful tendencies of their own. But her trials are nothing compared to what awaits her after God tells her husband that a flood is coming—and that Noah and his family must build an ark so that they alone can repopulate the world.

Kanner weaves a masterful tale that breathes new life into one of the Bible’s voiceless characters. Through the eyes of Noah’s wife we see a complex world where the lines between righteousness and wickedness blur. And we are left wondering: Would I have been considered virtuous enough to save?


The main character is Noah's wife who happens to be without a name. In beginning she is best described as timid, frightened, shy and tries her best to fight whatever destiny has in store for her. She and her father are best described as liars when they tell Noah that they worship God of Adam. Noah is painted darkly. Unfortunately he really reminds me of someone I'd rather forget, although the author does try to make the reader have compassion for Noah. Shem is best described as promiscuous and a playboy, while Japheth is described as someone who worships and wants to become like Noah, and Ham is carefree. Surprisingly, it is the wife and Ham that seem to be the most likable characters for me.


Strength comes from within and sometimes the things you hate can save you


The book is written in first person narrative completely from Noah's wife's point of view. I do admit that when it comes to Shem, Ham,  Japheth and Noah the author was a bit harsh, and I also thought that it was Shem Ham and Japheth instead of Shem Japheth followed by Ham. The story is linear and its amazing at how many points she was able to fill in. What I find interesting though is the gray area between right and wrong, and also that sometimes the righteous people seem, well, annoying. (At this point I am wondering if she had met many people who tried to convert her to christianity? I knew of one and oh boy extremely annoying and seemed to lack human element...)

Buy the Book

Author Information:

About the Author

Sinners and the Sea is Rebecca Kanner’s debut novel. Rebecca is a Twin Cities native and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. Her writing has won an Associated Writing Programs Award, a Loft mentorship Award and a 2012/2013 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant. Her personal essay, “Safety,” is listed as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2011. Her stories have been published in numerous journals including The Kenyon Review and The Cincinnati Review.
Along with other authors including Anita Diamant, Michael Cunningham, Joyce Carol Oates, Russell Banks and Ron Hansen, Rebecca will be featured in the upcoming title Truthful Fictions: Conversations with American Biographical Novelists.
You can learn more about Rebecca, and find links to selected stories and essays, at You can also find her onFacebook and Twitter.


Like many readers, I wasn't familiar with the story of Noah's wife, beyond her being mentioned in Tanakh oh so briefly. Maybe its me as well, but there also wasn't mention of the names of Noah's son's wives for that matter. (If they are mentioned, can I be given a verse and a chapter to where they are mentioned?) Part of me worried that Sinners and the Sea will be very similar to The Red Tent, which I didn't like at all. But in this case, I was worried for nothing because instantly I was pulled into an amazing story before Abraham and Sarah and before Isaac and Rebecca and Jacob and Rachel and Leah. I really wish that The Red Tent by Anita Diamant would have been written the way this book was written.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 14
Review & Giveaway at West Metro Mommy
Tuesday, April 15
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, April 17
Review at A Bookish Girl
Friday, April 18
Review at Reading the Ages
Monday, April 21
Review at Booktalk & More
Review at Judith Starkston
Wednesday, April 23
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Friday, April 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Caroline Wilson Writes
Monday, April 28
Review at JulzReads
Tuesday, April 29
Review at The Most Happy Reader
Wednesday, April 30
Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise
Friday, May 2
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, May 5
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, May 6
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, May 7
Review at Ink Sugar Blog
Friday, May 9
Review at Our Wolves Den
Monday, May 12
Review at The Calico Critic
Tuesday, May 13
Review at From L.A. to LA
Wednesday, May 14
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, May 15
Spotlight at The Tower of Babel
Friday, May 16
Review at Layered Pages
Monday, May 19
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Wednesday, May 21
Review at My Reader’s Block
Friday, May 23
Review at Seaside Book Corner
Tuesday, May 27
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, May 29
Review at bookworm2bookworm’s Blog

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.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

G328 Book Review of Puritan Witch by Peni Jo Renner

Name of Book: Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebeckah Emes

Author: Peni Jo Renner

ISBN: 978-1-4917-0593-3

Publisher: iUniverse

Type of book: Salem Witch Trials, Massachusetts, witchcraft, prison, 1692-1693, friendships, family, Puritans, marriage, secrets

Year it was published: 2014


On a cold night in 1692, two young girls are caught up in the divining games of a slave woman—and then begin to act very strangely when the game goes wrong. Suddenly, Salem Village is turned upside down as everyone fears that witches may be involved.

Six months later, as news of the girls’ strange behavior becomes known, fear and suspicion overwhelm a nearby farming community, pitting neighbors against neighbors and turning friends into enemies. When Rebecca Eames makes one careless utterance during a verbal attack on her family, she is falsely accused of witchcraft.

After her fate is decided by three magistrates, Rebecca must endure a prison sentence during which she and her fellow captives have no choice but to valiantly struggle to find humanity and camaraderie among dire conditions.

In this novel based on a true story, a woman wrongly imprisoned during the seventeenth-century witchcraft trials comes full circle where she must determine if she can somehow resume her life, despite all she has endured.


For me personally the characters seemed a bit stereotypical, which isn't good or bad, but that I had a hard time catching their personalities and how they are like.The main character is Rebecca Eames who is in her fifties and has been accused and tried as a witch. She also has a terrible secret. Personality wise, she is best described as kind, gentle and very sweet, especially towards Dorcas Good. Other characters included Rebecca's husband who is best described as forgiving, then Rebecca's sons and their wives. I recall that one of the sons was extremely restless and didn't want to be a farmer while another was kind of opposite of the restless son. There were daughters too, but as I mentioned, a list of the characters would have been helpful.


Be careful of what is spoken


The story itself is written in third person narrative from Rebecca and those of her family members points of view. Although I liked learning the information, I feel that the characters should have been more in-depth. (I do admit that I have some difficulty in recalling some of the characters and their function.) The contrast between Rebecca in jail and that of her family outside the jail was actually interesting, as well as learning how various "witch" tests were conducted and the ghastly conditions of the prisoners. I also think that a character sheet is needed because I did get lost with some of the characters.

Author Information:

Peni Jo Renner is the direct descendant of Rebecca Blake Eames, one of over 150 innocent people accused of witchcraft during the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692. Rebecca Eames is her ninth great-grandmother.


Few things I've always been fascinated about when it came to history was Titanic and Salem Witch Trials. I was curious about it and wanted to learn more about Salem Witch Trials, which is why I've chosen this book. Although the book is well written and interesting, I do feel that when it came to detail and characters there should have been more worked in. For those interested in Salem Witch Trials but without going into great amount of details, then this is a perfect to get and read. Some things did shock me, such as the jail conditions, and that one had to pay for the shackles used on family members. I was also shocked by the repressiveness experienced by the Puritan community, that little things can add up to trouble.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

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 22, 2014

G339 Book Review of One night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Name of Book: One Night in Winter

Author: Simon Sebag Montefiore

ISBN: 978-0-06-229188-2

Publisher: Harper

Part of a Series: Sashenka is its prequel

Type of book: Russia, forbidden love, end of WWII, relationships, Pushkin, unmemorable characters, Stalin, Moscow, movies, paranoia, state secrets

Year it was published: 2013


The acclaimed novelist and prizewinning historian Simon Sebag Montefiore explores the consequences of forbidden love in this heartbreaking epic, inspired by a true story that unfolds in Stalin's Russia during the bleak days after World War II.

A jubilant Moscow is celebrating the Soviet Union's victory over Hitler when gunshots ring out though the city's crowded streets. In the shadow of the Kremlin, a teenage boy and girl are found dead. But this is no ordinary tragedy, because these are no ordinary teenagers. As the children of high-ranking Soviet officials, they inhabit a rarefied world that revolves around the exclusive Josef Stalin Commune School 801. The school, which Stalin's own children attended, is an enclave of privilege—but, as the deaths reveal, one that hides a wealth of secrets. Were these deaths an accident, a suicide pact . . . or murder?

Certain that a deeper conspiracy is afoot, Stalin launches a ruthless investigation. In what comes to be known as the Children's Case, youths from all over Moscow are arrested by state security services and brought to the infamous interrogation rooms of the Lubyanka, where they are forced to testify against their friends and their families. Among the casualties of these betrayals are two pairs of illicit lovers, who find themselves trapped at the center of Stalin's witch hunt. As the Children's Case follows its increasingly terrifying course, these couples discover that the decision to follow one's heart comes at a terrible price.

A haunting evocation of a time and place in which the state colluded to corrupt and destroy every dream, One Night in Winter is infused with the desperate intrigue of a political thriller. The eminent historian Simon Sebag Montefiore weaves fact and fiction into a richly compelling saga of sacrifice and survival, populated by real figures from the past. But within the darkness shines a deeply human love story, one that transcends its moment as it masterfully explores our capacity for loyalty and forgiveness.


I really couldn't grasp the characters, unfortunately. Heck, I didn't even like or understand any characters. Somehow, the author fails to pierce the characters and instead they are more told than show. The characters seemed to be very unrealistic and personally for me not likable. Serafima is built out to be an annoying goddess that everyone seems to worship and want to protect. There is also Hercules Satinov who is the silent type and is Stalin's right-hand man and also has a secret. Other characters that stood out for me were Dashka Dorova who happened to be Jewish and Andrei Kurbsky whose father happened to be enemy of the state. Most of the times I can identify and give out the characters' personalities, but something is off when I can't do it in this book.


In Russia, beware of everything and everyone.


The book itself is written in third person narrative from everyone's point of view, and the plot is very uneven and disjointed which made it a frustrating read. The beginning begins with the fateful day when the Pushkin duel went wrong, then we jump into few weeks ago when Andrei, whose father is thought of as Enemy of the State, arrives at School 801 and meets the friends. Ugh, that's where unreality begins for me: I did ask my parents about that possibility, just to be sure. In Russia, there's equality and then there's equality, and what I mean is that while there is equality, some are more equal than others. Considering that Andrei's father is Enemy of the State, its highly improbable that these wealthy kids would want to be friends with him, especially in Russia where connections matter, and you can get in trouble for being someone's friend. And also, its a bid odd that the teachers seem to be familiar with Andrei's background, while the kids don't know squat. Some of the characters in the book are half-Jewish, and yes, I asked my parents about that too. I'm not sure if its the wealth, or what, but normally being Jewish or having any Jewish ancestry would get you made fun of all the time, or you'd have to resort to being fierce to protect self. And even though its WWII, the Jewish characters remained untouched, which is odd. Also, after getting back a little, then the readers go further back in time to learn about another pair, and then go back to find out Serafima's mysterious "secret" and finally we settle in the present time. The writing style is very simplistic and the characters' feelings aren't very believable.

Author Information:
Add to Goodreads badge

Simon Sebag MontefioreAbout Simon Sebag Montefiore

Simon Sebag Montefiore’s bestselling books are published in more than forty languages. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Sashenka. As a historian, his works include Jerusalem: The BiographyStalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, and Young Stalin, which was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, the Costa Biography Prize (UK), and Le Grand Prix de Biographie Politique (France).
Find out more about Simon at his website and connect with him on Facebook.

Is it okay for me to say I didn't like this book, and that I was very disappointed with it? Allow me to explain further: when I chose to do a book review for it, I was excited. I come from Moscow Russia and I thought for certain that I'd love this book. Long ago I read a bit of Children of Arbat by Anatoli Rybakov and I'll never forget what I experienced when I read it: how I felt in an enclosed box with a million eyes watching me from everywhere and how badly I wanted to be let out. Thus I hoped that reading One Night in Winter, I'd experience something like that, but I didn't. When I learned what it deals with, I asked my parents if they have heard of the Children's Case: they hadn't.  And I did try to research and the only times its talked about is when it comes to this book. (I'm not implying that the author made it up, but just that its not as famous as he hopes.) When it comes to history the author does get it right, but certain other things really irritated me a whole lot, characters in particular.

All of this comes from personal experience.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Simon’s Tour Stops

Wednesday, May 7th: Man of La Book
Monday, May 12th: 5 Minutes For Books
Tuesday, May 13th: Ace and Hoser Blook
Wednesday, May 14th: Dwell in Possibility
Thursday, May 15th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, May 20th: More Than Just Magic
Wednesday, May 21st: Read Lately
Thursday, May 22nd: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, May 22nd: Walking With Nora
Monday, May 26th: Book-alicious Mama
Monday, May 26th: Books in the Burbs
Tuesday, May 27th: Bookfoolery and Babble
Wednesday, May 28th: The House of the Seven Tails
Monday, June 2nd: The Written World
Tuesday, June 3rd: Ageless Pages Reviews
Thursday, June 5th: Read. Write. Repeat.

2 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.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

G326 Book Review of Immortality by Kevin Bohacz

Name of Book: Immortality

Author: Kevin Bohacz

ISBN: 978-0-9791815-1-1

Publisher: self published

Part of a Series: Ghost of Gods is the sequel

Type of book: Speculative fiction thriller, science, bacteria, water, environmental damage, COBIC, military, destruction, evolution, top secrets, USA government, martial law, plague, god-machine, drugs

Year it was published: 2008


When human extinctions occur in South America and spread worldwide, paleobiologist and genetic researcher Mark Freedman senses a connection to the Chromatium Omri bacteria, the oldest known life form on Earth linked to previous extinctions. The growing virulence in the "kill zones" spurs Freedman to join forces with Kathy Morrison, expert on viral and bacterial pathogens with the Centers for Disease Control. Despite personal losses, Freedman and Morrison find romance and make discoveries about the devastation and what lies behind it. Other colorful characters include dedicated policewoman Sarah Mayfair, whose horrific dreams and improbable survival enable contact with the forces behind the outbreaks; cynical Gen. James McKafferty, committed to preserving the U.S. at whatever cost; and Artie Hartman, goaded by his wife's death to wage war on gangs and government forces indiscriminately. The seemingly random attacks and emergence of chaos allow Bohacz to explore such themes as whether humanity deserves to survive, the meaning of being human, and the cost of perfect health and immortality. The originality of Bohacz's ideas is nearly equaled by detailed descriptions of a decontamination lab, the frenzied search for answers, and the aftermath of destruction. His vision of a humanity that faces the need to evolve profoundly or face certain destruction is as timely as today's news and as chilling a doomsday scenario as any ecological catastrophe can suggest.

Dust cover: Without warning, something has gone terribly awry. In the remote and unnoticed places of the world, small pockets of death begin occurring. As the initially isolated extinctions spread, the world's eyes focus on this unimaginable horror and chaos. Out of the ecological imbalance, something new and extraordinary is evolving and surviving to fill the voids left by these extinctions. Evolution is operating in ways no one could have expected and environmental damage may be the catalyst. Once discovered, this knowledge changes everything.

The story begun in Immortality is not over. A sequel, Ghost of the Gods is coming soon.

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE


The main characters include Mark Freedman, an overachiever who discovered bacteria that supposedly wiped out dinosaur species. He is best described as a playboy, attractive for his age, and will do whatever he can to eradicate the plague. Another important character is Kathy Morrison, a scientist that cares more for career than personal life and who is also a workaholic. She has two cats and when she meets Mark, she is determined to keep him away from her. Sarah Mayfair is a police officer who is very strong, resourceful, and has a 120 lb Rottweiler. She discovers a lot of important secrets that she shouldn't have, and becomes Mark's guide.  Artie Hartman is a half Japanese half Caucasian man that is married and is excitedly expecting a child with his wife. He is also resourceful and used to be in a gang. I admit that Sarah and Artie were two of my favorite characters.


Treat everything with respect


The book is written in third person narrative from a lot of characters' points of views such as Sarah Mayfair, Mark Freedman, Kathy, Artie/Alexander, and James McKafferty. Although the places do change with warning, the author doesn't tell the readers from what point of view is he writing. There are some minor characters and their points of view, and they are a little essential to the story, but not as much as the characters I mentioned. The story focused a lot on finding out about the disease, what it is as well as survival and why are some spared while many are hunted down. And what is the motive, if any of this disease. For me personally, the author does sound like he knows what he's writing about.

Author Information:

I am Kevin Bohacz the bestselling novelist of Immortality and a lucid dreamer… Welcome to my dreams. I am also a writer for national computer magazines, founder and president of two high technology corporations, a scientist and engineer for over 35 years, and the inventor of an advanced electric car system – the ESE Engine System (circa 1978). I was also a short order cook for I-Hop, flipped burgers at McDonalds, and delivered Chicken Delight. All of those careers and more are behind me now that I am a full time storyteller, a catcher of dreams. Thank you for reading my stories and making this all possible.
His latest books are Immortality and Ghost of the Gods.
Visit Kevin’s website at
Connect & Socalize!


I don't have a positive experience with science fiction: in 2010, I took a science fiction class just to have an excuse to read Lord of the Rings (which was not a pleasant experience,) and despite my hard work, I was still awarded C. Prior to taking science fiction class, I never read or touched science fiction, only fantasy. The teacher seemed to hop around a lot in my opinion, and instead of getting appreciation for the genre, or even liking it, I detested it and couldn't stand it. For me, science fiction was like reading a language I had no training in. What attracted me to reading this book is that it was labeled as a thriller and speculative fiction. As I began to read it, I was very impressed with the writing, character, the way the author immerses me into his world little by little until I hardly know I'm actually reading and enjoying something that's possibly science fiction. Parts of it really reminded me of Whisper of Death by Christopher Pike. I really would recommend this book to people, especially to those who detest science fiction. Also, for those that are looking for books where there isn't a lot of romance, then this is the right book too.

This is for Pump Up Your Books

Immortality Tour Page

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.)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...