Friday, August 29, 2014

G263 E-Reading Book Review of Tiger Tail Soup by Nicki Chen

Name of Book: Tiger Tail Soup

Author: Nicki Chen

ISBN: 9781457531897

Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing

Type of book: China, 1938-1946, WWII, occupation, international settlement, survival, hunger, lack of medicine and drugs, marriage, nationalism, friendship, family

Year it was published: 2014


When the first bombs fall, An Lee is pregnant and her husband is missing. He won't be home to stay for another seven years. It's up to An Lee to protect her mother, mother-in-law, young daughter, and soon-to-be-born son. Surrounded by the Japanese military, An Lee struggles to survive, enduring hunger, loneliness, and fear. Then, on December 7, 1941, the enemy invades and occupies their little island on the coast of China, and An Lee's strength is put to the test.
In this lyrical and emotionally charged novel, Nicki Chen paints a fascinating portrait of love and resilience in a time of war.


The main character would be An Lee. In childhood she is a bit tomboyish although she grows out of it, and she is best described as resourceful, talented, and she also wants to do more for China than just her assigned role dictates. She is also very intelligent and tends to beat herself up. I would guess she is the type that doesn't like when things are out of control although she does the best she can for those she can. Her husband Yu-Ming is barely seen throughout the book but he is sweet and dedicated to her, just like she to him. There is the mother-in-law as well who is judged against but she is still intelligent and a good mahjong player as well as An Lee's mother who has lotus feet and is practical and she favors the son, the Tiger child. The maids also play big roles in keeping the family alive, such as one who is resourceful and frequently goes out shopping to get whatever treats she can, as well as one that is dating the goat-herder.


Survival is a type of war; women can be warriors as well


The story is written in first person narrative completely from An Lee's point of view. I feel that the pacing was slightly uneven, especially towards the end. In beginning I find myself very immersed in her world as well as her experiences. The author is good at expanding the every-day of the occupied world that it seemed a shame that 1943?-1946 were glossed over briefly, although I sort of understand why it was done. Also in an odd way, there was a comparison there to Gone with the Wind (In Gone with the Wind the hot scene where Melanie gives birth to the child,) there is a similar tone of urgency in Tiger Tail Soup. Despite what might sound like a sad book, I actually didn't find it that way. Instead I found it informative and I could feel hope in there. 

Author Information:


While there is some information on China when it comes to WWII, the information is best described as scanty and not a lot of people are familiar with the Asian side when it comes to WWII; (and those that are, only know about the atomic bombs on 1945) that WWII started in 1930s instead of 1940, and so forth. In her books, Amy Tan hints at WWII and the inaccuracies but she doesn't really go into great detail, and I have to admit that hers are very sketchy writings. This is an impressive story, although its not exactly finished (A sequel is in the works I hope,) of a Chinese woman living through Japanese Occupation while taking care of her mother and mother-in-law plus maids and children. The story deals with shortages, with wanting to do more for China than just sit in the sidelines, of sacrifices, as well as survival and attempts at fleeting happiness in the midst of sorrow. I really liked An Lee and was very impressed with her strength and forbearance  when it comes to life. The story itself focused more on survival and trying to get through WWII and besides her missing her husband there isn't any romance in the book, so if you are looking for something non-romantic, then give it a try.

Quick Notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity in reading and reviewing this book

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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 1.15

General Information:

Name of Book: Tree of Souls

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Year it was published: 2004

Overall theme:

"With only one God, heaven would be a barren place, at least in mythic terms. Yet the actual Jewish view of heaven is quite different. There are seven heavens, filled with angels and other divine beings, such as the Messiah [Not jesus!], who is said to have a palace of his own in the highest heaven. The clestial Temple can be found there- the mirror image of the Temple in the earthly Jerusalem- as well as an abundance of heavenly palaces, one for each of the patriarchs and matriarchs and sages, where he or she teaches Torah to the attentive souls of the righteous and the angels..." (xliii)

"Drawing on the full range of Jewish sources, sacred and nonsacred, ten major categories of Jewish mythology can be identified: Myths of God, Myths of Creation...Each of these categories explores a mythic realm, and, in the process, reimagines it. This is the secret to the transformations that characterize Jewish mythology. Building on a strong foundation of biblical myth, each generation has embellished the earlier myths, while, at the same time, reinterpeting them for tis own time." (xlv)

Book Two: Myths of Creation

Part I: Before the World Was Created

88. The First to Exist

Issue: No one brought G-d to existence, only He Himself did that.

89. Before the World Was Created

Issue: Before the creation of the world, the world was filled with water on water and so forth. G-d's word silenced every creature that praised him, and allowed for the world to be created.

90. Prior Worlds 

Issue: G-d attempted to create thousands upon thousands of world, trying to create one that pleased Him, until finally this one was created.

91. The Primordial Elements 

Issue: To create the world, G-d used six elements such as light, darkness, chaos, void, wind (spirit) and water. There is also speculation as to where these elements came from

92. God Created Everything with Its Knowledge

Issue: Before the creation of the world, G-d asked each thing if it wanted to be created, and if it did, it came with conditions, but each creation also agreed to follow G-d's plan towards the prophets and Israelites.

93. The Beginning of Time

Issue: Time and the world were created at the same time. Before that, time didn't exist.

94. Seven Things Created Before the Creation of the World 

Issue: 2,000 years before the creation of the world, G-d created seven things such as Torah, Repentance, Paradise, Gehenna, Throne of Glory, heavenly Temple and name of the Messiah. Description of how these things appear follows as well establishment of the firmament.

To be continued...

Book Review of Greek Myths Vol II by Robert Graves Part 5.6

General Information:

Name of Book: The Greek Myths 2

ISBN: 0-14-001027-0

Publisher: Penguin

Year it was published: 1955

Overall theme:

"My method has been to assemble in harmonious narrative all the scattered elements of each myth, supported by little-known variants which may help to determine the meaning, and to answer all questions that arise, as best I can, in anthropological or historical terms. " (Vol. I 22)

149. The Lemnian Women and King Cyzicus


Description of Heracles going to serve Jason as well as the farewell party. A year before the departure, Lemnian women murder all menfolk, with exception of Hypsipyle who saved her father, King Thoas, secretly. The ship sailed to Lemnia, and the women convinced the men to stay with them for a while, with Jason begetting Euneus and the twin Nebrophonus. Eventually Euneus supplied Greeks with wine during the Trojan War. Soon though, the men left the island and the women discovered that Hypsipyle betrayed her oath and sold her into slavery. In Arcton, they were welcomed by King Cyzicus who was the son of Aeneus, being Heracles's former ally who just married Cleite. They sailed off but due to weather had to come back and Cyzicus mistook them for pirates, thus he was killed and they had to find a way to placate the goddess Rhea.

150. Hylas, Amycus and Phineus


Heracles challenged the Argonauts to see who could row the farthest, with Heracles ultimately winning the contest, and Jason passing out on the mouth of the river Chius. The Argo becomes beached. Heracles's squire, Hylas, set out and mysteriously disappeared and wasn't found successfully. Its thought that Dryope and the sister-nymphs of Pegae enticed Hylas to live with them. Since neither Heracles nor Polyphemus appeared, Jason sailed off without them, which later on let Heracles get his revenge on Calais and Zetes. Fate of Heracles and Polyphemus is told, that Heracles resumed his labors, and Polyphemus became king of hte city of Crius until he was killed by Chalybians. Different version is told. At the island of Bebrycos King Amycus and Polydeuces began to fight, with Polydeuces winning the challenge and killing the king. After placating King Amycus's father, Poseidon, they sailed on to Salmydessus in Eastern Thrace where they met Phineus who is the son of Agenor. Harpies plagued him due to prophesying and stole off the victims. Somehow Jason defeats the haripies, and Phineus gave him instructions on navigating Bosphorus as well as accounts of climate and culture he should expect.

151. From the Symplegades to Colchis


The Argonauts managed to navigate through the terrifying rocks, and came to islet of Thynias where they sacrificed a goat to Apollo and made an oath to never desert one another in difficult times. King Lycus offered up his son to be navigator for the Argonauts, but the boy died along the way, thus his replacement was Ancaeus. In Sinope, Jason found three men to fill benches and a brief origin of Sinope is given. Descriptions of various places the Argonauts visited are given, until they meet with the birds at the islet of Ares and met with four Aeolians who were castaways. After the rescue they sailed on to island of Philyra and soon the Caucasus range.

152. The Seizure of the Fleece


Here and Athene were debating how Jason will win the golden fleece, thus they brought Aphrodite in who asked that her son Eros make Medea fall in love with him, which he does for a plaything of Zeus's. Jason and his companions agreed to go to King Aeetes, who is the father of Medea as well as her half brother Aspyrtus. The welcome was not pleasant by King Aeetes, but due to the rescue of four Aeolians Jason agreed to undertake an impossible challenge, helped along by Medea whom Eros already pierced her heart. Eventually they get the fleece, despite King Aeetes's protests and Jason will attempt to conquer Sauromantians, descendants of Amazons. A brief history of Sauromantians is given.

153. The Murder of Apsyrtus


There are many different accounts of Argo returning to Thessaly, and few accounts involve Medea killing her half-brother. General agreement is that she was at a temple but begged her brother to rescue her, pretending to be abducted, thus he did so and got killed. More accounts of how the Argo has sailed are given and what happened afterwards.

154. The Argo returns to Greece


Upon their arrival to Corcyra, there was an appeal to King Alcinous and Queen Arete demanding Medea and the fleece, however Queen Arete told King Alcinous of horror stories of the way fathers treat their daughters. Fearing to lose Medea because she is a virgin, Jason ends up marrying her and taking her back home. More adventures are told, including that of Jason meeting the Sirens. They were also stranded near Lake Tritonis but thanks to Triton they made it to Mediterranean Sea. More adventures are chronicled such as Medea killing Talos who was created by Hephaestus as well as more travels and some more adventures or their variants.

155. The Death of Pelias


They came back to beach of Pagasae, but there is a rumor that Pelias had killed Jason's parents, Aeson and Polymele as well as the infant son named Promachus. There is a consensus of war between the comrades, although Acastus opposed it due to the fact that Pelias is his father. Medea reduced the city though, murdered Pelias and manipulated his daughters Evadne and Amphinome to cut him up. Jason ends up being in exile. A different version of Aeson's death is given and then an epilogue of what happens to the daughters.

156. Medea at Ephyra


Jason hung up the golden fleece at a temple as well as dedicated Argo to Poseidon. Aeetes's children were dead, and Jason begins to suspect that Medea might have done the deed, thus after ten years of rule, he wants to divorce her. Jason also begot seven sons and seven daughters on Glauce, and there was an attempted murder by Medea on Glauce. Zeus fell in love with Medea, but she repulsed his advances, and Hera agreed to make her children immortal if she will sacrifice them at an altar, which she did do. Souls were immortal, while a lot of them died, mention of the kids's fate as well as what happened afterwards.

157. Medea in Exile


Medea marries and travels through various kingdoms, while Jason becomes exiled and is killed by a prow of Argo. More stories and legends about Medea are given, followed by more stories about the crew of Argo and what had happened to them afterwards.

158. The Foundation of Troy


There are some legends about how Troy was founded, one was of Prince Scamander leading people to find a colony and eventually Prince Scamander's son, Teucer succeeded him. Another legend is that of Athenians who say that Teucer isn't from Crete but belongs to the deme of Troes and came from Athens to Phrygia where he was welcomed and so forth. There is also a story of Dardanus founding a city on a small hill which became Troy. More legends and stories follow as well as that of the Palladium and how anger of the gods enveloped the city and more is told about Priam and his wives and children.

159. Paris and Helen


Story of Helen, Leda's and Zeus's daughter is told, as well as how she came to marry Menelaus, and how Odysseus came up with the plan of defending Helen and whoever should be her chosen husband and of how Aphrodite vowed to make Tyndareus's three daughters notorious for adulteries. There is also curse on Paris before his birth and of his deeds and his lover before Helen. There is also great amount of detail of the beauty contest, including a nude scene and of Paris regaining his heritage and of him being cunning and eloping with Helen. A different account is then given.

To Be Continued...

G373 Book Review of In the Mirror by Kaira Rouda

Name of Book: In the Mirror

Author: Kaira Rouda

ISBN: 978-0-9849151-4-9

Publisher:  Real You Publishing Group

Type of book: Cancer, hospice, terminal illness, marriage, high school sweetheart, wealth, drive, ambition, reminiscing, first love, family and friends, facing death

Year it was published: 2014


If you knew you may die soon, what choices would you make?

Jennifer Benson has it all: a successful career, a perfect husband, two kids and abundant friendships. The only problem is she may be dying. IN THE MIRROR is the realistic love story about a woman facing a deadly illness, and her loves past and present. It's a story that unfolds with a delightful blend of humor and poignancy, ringing true in the heart of anyone who has ignored a warning of her own


There are a lot of characters in the story, and some are pretty memorable as well as distinctive: Jennifer Benson is a young mother who is with terminal cancer shortly after giving birth to her second child. She feels lonely and unappreciated while staying at sort of a hospice? and best way I think of her is kind of selfish and doesn't really appreciate or think of others. There is also Jennifer's sister, I think, who really resembles the mother. Mother always tries to look neat and prim no matter where she is. Jennifer's husband is left to be in the real without Jennifer's guidance and support, trying to do his best, while the high school sweetheart sounds too good to be true, and somehow I didn't really buy the fact he is kind of a bad guy.


Get joy from relationships


The story is written in first person narrative from Jennifer Benson's point of view. I have to admit that despite the status of it being sort of a chick-lit read, (oh I hate using that word...) it felt very feminine, realistic as well as being able to relate to it. What I think kind of killed it for me is that I didn't really buy or understand why Jennifer did what she had done in the past, and I didn't find her a sympathetic character, or at least I didn't approve of her actions.

Author Information:
(From the Kit)

Kaira Rouda is an award-winning and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her books include: Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs; Here, Home, Hope; All the Difference; In the Mirror; and the short story, A Mother's Day.  She lives in Southern California with her husband and four children and is at work on her next novel.
Her latest novel is the women’s fiction, In the Mirror.

For More Information

For More Information


I did want to like this book as well as the character, but for some odd reason, for me anyways, they weren't very likable. I don't have a problem with the subject matter, and I actually find that the problems is handled realistically and tactfully, at least the character feels very real instead of fake. Its really hard for me to pinpoint what I didn't really like about her. I think first of all is a minor complaint that the character in the book is blond instead of a brunette, and second of all is that I had a difficult time buying that Jenifer's high school sweet heart turned out to be a jerk. I also felt that the story dragged in several chapters.

Book Trailer:

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, August 26, 2014

G401 What Counts Most Is How You Finish: Thoughts on Living Life to the Fullest

Title of the book:  What Counts Most is How You Finish: Thoughts on Living Life to the Fullest

Author:  Shelia Payton

Publisher: Xlibris

Publishing Date: 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4653-6498-2


What Counts Most is How You Finish is a book of short essays that shares ideas for addressing life's challenges. The book (which uses experiences from the author's life and the lives of others) is written with two ideas in mind:
• Each person has to find his or her own way in life
• We can learn worthwhile things from each other

To make it easier to find an essay that can help the reader address life situations in real time, What Counts Most is How You Finish is divided into seven topic areas: Being You, Taking Care of You, Dealing with People, Overcoming Challenges, Staying Focused, Achieving Success and Making a Difference.

While the primary audience for What Counts Most is How You Finish is people between the ages of 16-25, the book has received positive feedback from many older than that who say it’s a good reminder for them.

Other Works:

I don't think the author has written any other books, thus this is her first book.

(From iRead Book Tours)

Meet the author:

Shelia Payton is an entrepreneur, former newspaper reporter, corporate manager and educator who spent all of her early life and much of her career in a time when people of color and women in this country were pushing for greater inclusion at all levels of society, and seeking greater opportunities to live life to the fullest. Like others in her generation, Shelia had to face and overcome barriers to entering and succeeding in non-traditional jobs, and create a place in civic and leadership settings. Also like others in her generation, Shelia’s motivation has not just been about what she can accomplish for herself, but also how she can open up opportunities for future generations. Shelia’s current focus is on creating books, plays and music that build human connections by breaking down barriers and stereotypes.

Shelia's website


"We may not all end up in history books and become household names. But each of us, in our own way, is making history on a daily basis. Whether that history will be something to celebrate or something to forget depends on how we live. Live to leave a legacy that others will celebrate." (273)

Problems addressed:

It seems that a lot of books address romance issues or else self-esteem issues, but I don't know of many that address real life issues about finances, career, family and friendships, as well as encourage people to be the best they can be.

Summary of Content:

I would guess that the summary would be is to be true to your needs and desires, find good and positive role models to emulate, keep your head up and always be optimistic.


"While each person has to find his or her own way in life, we can all learn worthwhile things from each other." (From the back of the book)

Main Points:

The book is divided into seven sections, and it reads both as young adult yet something adults will also enjoy. The points are also very short for those that are strapped for time. I will give two essays per section

I. Being You
*God Don't Make No Junk
*Just Be Yourself
II. Taking Care of You
*"No" is Not a Bad Word
III. Dealing with People
*Kindness is Not a Weakness
*Please and Thank You
IV. Overcoming Challenges
*Each New Day is Filled with Opportunities
*What Counts Most is How You Finish
V. Staying Focused
*All That, and a Bag of Chips
*The Most Important Thing You Have is Your Good Name
VI. Achieving Success
*Hope for the Best and Prepare for the Worst
*How Badly Do You Want it?
VII. Making a Difference
*Let Your Light Shine
*Money is a Tool, Not an End in Itself

Why Its interesting and informative:

For one is that she never dwells on how things didn't work out for her, or what things never worked out, which I liked, I have to admit. Instead she highlighted her successes as well as determination in not giving up, and I also liked that there is focus on real life instead of romance. I can imagine that the book is something both men and women will want to give to their children upon them entering their teen years.

Supports Thesis:

I do feel that it supports thesis because I did learn a lot of things from reading her book and if I should have children, this will be something I will pass on to them.

Issues raised:

I often think that there aren't many self help type books written and designed for teens. In fact, I don't really recall any at my age. Yes, there are plenty for adults, especially on how to deal with teens, and very often young adult and teenage life were brushed aside. This book, however, combines short chapters for time strapped people as well as encouraging words of wisdom for those who don't really hear them as often as they like.

Ideas in book vs larger ideas:

I don't think many people are prepared for real life, and it often seems that lessons that should be treasured and learned often end up decaying. (By a weird coincidence, earlier this year I read a how-to book about cleaning up messes.) The author also presents very broad outline and doesn't go into specific details about what one can trust versus distrust, or perhaps what book to start with first if we're interested in learning about finances?


While I agree with a lot that she has talked about, and I do appreciate the fact she doesn't use the name jesus in the book for someone who isn't born into christian faith, I do think that some of it did sound a little too naive in my opinion, or a little too optimistic, but its just me, and some of the things she talked about are repeats from her previous lessons.


Besides her life, I doubt she used any sources.


In some parts I did feel that the book dragged a little too long, and I agreed a lot with what was written in there. I do feel that in some cases she doesn't really address the complexity of saying no to drugs for example. I don't approve of teens doing narcotics or drinking or smoking, but I grew up as a loner, and I can say that socializing and feeling belonged somewhere is very important to teens. I also think that the book addresses what I would call "normal teens", and not those who have special needs. I'm not putting it down or anything, but its simply my observations.

Aug 18 - One Frugal Girl - review
Aug 18 - Being Tilly's Mummy - book spotlight
Aug 19 - Pinky's Favorite Reads - book spotlight / author interview
Aug 20 - A Book Lover's Retreat - book spotlight
Aug 20 - Griperang's Bookmarks - review / guest post
Aug 22 - Heart of a Philanthropist - review / author interview
Aug 24 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review / author interview
Aug 25 - Library of Clean Reads - review
Aug 25 - Savings in Seconds - review
Aug 26 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
Aug 26 - Like a Bump on a Blog - book spotlight / excerpt
Aug 27 - Reading Authors - review
Aug 27 - 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &. Sissy, Too! - review
Aug 28 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / author interview
Aug 28 - View from the Birdhouse - book spotlight / author interview
Aug 29 - Kincavel Korner - book spotlight
Aug 29 - Book Blast Central - book spotlight
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, August 25, 2014

G414 Book Review of The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

Name of Book: The Story of Land and Sea

Author: Katy Simpson Smith

ISBN: 978-0-06-235062-6

Publisher: Harper

Type of book: America, Beaufort Virgina, 1771-1782, 1793-1795, travels, destiny, empire, heirs, slavery, saving souls, Catholic, American Revolution, sailing, privateer, flirting, marriage, childbirth

Year it was published: 2014


Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love.

Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.

Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.

In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the lonely paths we travel in the name of renewal.


The main characters include Tabitha, a tomboyish girl who lost her mother and who loves exploring the ocean and its depths. John is Tabitha's father and Helen's husband. He's an orphan and a pirate of sorts, I believe. He's not religious and will do whatever he can to survive. Asa (the grandfather) is a self-made man who has little affection for family or friends. He can shower them materially, but not affectionately. All he desires is a grandson to pass his business onto. He and John can't get along. Until after Helen's death, he wasn't religious. Helen is Asa's only daughter and is spoiled and for me not very likable. She owns a slave at ten but she seems too self-absorbed to think or care much about the slave's situation. She is also very religious which influenced her father. She also does her best to save souls. Not much is known about Moll and Daniel, the slaves that Helen has had, aside from the fact that Moll treasures her son very greatly, and her daughters not at all, and her son is determined to buy Moll's freedom.


Its really hard to determine the theme, but the more I keep thinking about, the more I feel that it somehow represents a woman's desire between steadfastness and adventure and how ultimately parts get lost through choices, but either way, death is a great equalizer.


The story is written in third person narrative from Tabitha's, John's the grandfather's, Helen's, Moll's and Moll's son points of view. I did love the writing style and I really liked Tabitha, but I felt that the ending in first half could have been placed in third half perhaps because I did lose motivation to continue reading it when I learned what happened. Short of John being cause and effect of certain things, I didn't really sense that the narratives connected. I also think that the tile, The Story of Land and Sea, is about John and the grandfather ultimately.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

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 Purchase Links

Katy Simpson SmithAbout Katy Simpson Smith

Katy Simpson Smith was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She attended Mount Holyoke College and received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She has been working as an adjunct professor at Tulane University and is the author of We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835. She lives in New Orleans.
Connect with Katy Simpson Smith through her website.


Okay, first of all, I love the book cover and the style of writing, which was reminiscent of Sarah Orne Jewett. The story itself is divided into three parts: that of post revolution when Tabitha, a ten year old girl falls with yellow fever and in desperation, her father puts her on a boat and sails away. There'a strange, natural and slow description of pathos of Tabitha and her father. I have to be honest that I loved the first half, and after the first half of the story, when certain something happened, I lost the motivation to keep reading the book. The second half, one with Tabitha's mother and her with a slave, I couldn't really identify or understand her. The third part about the slave with losing her son, while I liked it, but not as much as first half, and at some parts it did drag along.

Katy’s Tour Stops

Monday, August 25th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, August 26th: BookNAround
Wednesday, August 28th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, August 28th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, September 2nd: Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, September 3rd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, September 4th: Book Hooked Blog
Monday, September 8th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Thursday, September 11th Kritters Ramblings
Friday, September 12th: Consuming Culture
Wednesday, September 15th: 5 Minutes for Books
Tuesday, September 16th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, September 17th: Spiced Latte Reads
Thursday, September 18th: West Metro Mommy
Monday, September 22nd: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Friday, September 26th: Silver’s Reviews

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.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

G404 Book Review of Inamorata by Megan Chance

Name of Book: Inamorata

Author: Megan Chance

ISBN: 978-1477823033

Publisher: Lake Union

Type of book: 1878-1879, supernatural, paranormal, Venice, art scene, talent, incest, secrets, scandals, lovers, fame for infinity, pact

Year it was published: 2014


American artist Joseph Hannigan and his alluring sister, Sophie, have arrived in enchanting nineteenth-century Venice with a single-minded goal. The twins, who have fled scandal in New York, are determined to break into Venice’s expatriate set and find a wealthy patron to support Joseph’s work.

But the enigmatic Hannigans are not the only ones with a secret agenda. Joseph’s talent soon attracts the attention of the magnificent Odilé Leon, a celebrated courtesan and muse who has inspired many artists to greatness. But her inspiration comes with a devastatingly steep price.

As Joseph falls under the courtesan’s spell, Sophie joins forces with Nicholas Dane, the one man who knows Odilé’s dark secret, and her sworn enemy. When the seductive muse offers Joseph the path to eternal fame, the twins must decide who to believe—and just how much they are willing to sacrifice for fame.


There are four important characters, and just to let the reader know, incest between Sophie and Joseph is very heavily hinted, although beyond kisses its not shown. Odile Leon is a famous courtesan who has been alive for over 200 years. She has always hungered for fame, for something more than ending up like her mother, which she has received. Personality wise, she is intelligent, well conversed, cynical and regretful of what she has no choice but to do. Nicholas Dane is a former poet who used to be Odile's lover and had his talent sucked out by her. Once he learns of her nature, he is on her trail, determined to defeat her and win his talent back. Sophie and Joseph Hannigan are orphaned twins who have lived through darkness and hell, and its heavily possible that they are lovers, or else that there is very uncomfortable elements going on. Sophie always defers to her brother, depending on him to uphold her, and in beginning of the story she takes care of the practical matters such as finding a place to live in. She also has low self-esteem and doesn't really see herself the way her brother does. Joseph is charismatic, kind of a psychic, has abundance of talent in painting and is heavily in love with Sophie, unable to let her go unless an element forces him to do so. He also doesn't seem to see Sophie as a separate being.


I'm not sure of the lesson, but what I found the most interesting are the questioning of gender roles in the story, that of women either being passed over or passive, and of men being active and aggressive and outshining the women.


The story is told in first person narrative from Odile's, Sophie's and Nicholas's points of view. The author does name the chapters after the characters that are speaking, and the plot is pretty fascinating, as well as the issues it raises up, that of balance, completeness, how women are to act as models instead of being more active, and also the supernatural element is unique, which will be a relief to people who are sick and tired of being haunted by vampires.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

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1485753fd6e10a7e9d9aee.L._V195542718_SX200_About Megan Chance

Megan Chance is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of historical fiction. Her novels have been chosen for the Borders Original Voices and IndieBound’s Booksense programs. A former television news photographer and graduate of Western Washington University, Chance lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.

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For some odd reason, when I saw the cover, it really reminded me of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Have to admit that I love the cover.) I think the vein that the author and story have tried to go into was sort of Anne Rice like, at least in terms of Sophie and Joseph, but despite the darkness and descriptions, I had a hard time buying into the atmosphere, and I tend to enjoy darker books. I'm really unsure of why the book didn't really grab me as I had hoped. I would guess that I feel the charismatic twins didn't really capture the chemistry of relationship, that is I didn't feel the chemistry buzzing around them. I also think that from beginning, the story felt very similar to The Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman. I didn't notice the length because the characters were all well done and were memorable as well.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Megan Chance’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, August 4th:  Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, August 5th:  My Shelf Confessions
Tuesday, August 5th:  Reading Reality
Thursday, August 7th:  The Whimsical Cottage
Friday, August 8th:  The Book Binder’s Daughter
Monday, August 11th:  Bibliotica
Monday, August 11th:  Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, August 12th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, August 13th:  Books a la Mode - author guest post
Wednesday, August 13th: Unabridged Chick - author Q&A
Monday, August 18th:  Literally Jen
Tuesday, August 19th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Tuesday, August 19th:  Vox Libris
Wednesday, August 20th:  Brooke Blogs
Thursday, August 21st:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, August 25th:  Books Without Any Pictures
Tuesday, August 26th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, August 27th:  Wensend
Thursday, August 28th:  Ladybug Literature
Friday, August 29th:  Under a Gray Sky
Monday, September 1st:  Snowdrop Dreams of Books
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.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

G383 A hero for the people: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands by Arthur Powers

General Information:

Name of Book: A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands

Author: Arthur Powers

About the Author:
(From Book Junkie Promotions Website)

Genre: General Fiction/Literary
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About the Author

03_Arthur PowersArthur Powers went to Brazil in 1969 and lived most his adult life there. From 1985 to 1997, he and his wife served with the Franciscan Friars in the Amazon, doing pastoral work and organizing subsistence farmers and rural workers’ unions in a region of violent land conflicts. The Powers currently live in Raleigh North Carolina.
Arthur received a Fellowship in Fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, three annual awards for short fiction from the Catholic Press Association, and 2nd place in the 2008 Tom Howard Fiction Contest. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in many magazines & anthologies. He is the author of A Hero For The People: Stories From The Brazilian Backlands (Press 53, 2013) and The Book of Jotham (Tuscany Press, 2013).

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ISBN: 978-1-935708-83-4

Publisher: Press 53

Year it was published: 2013

Overall theme:

I'm not sure what lesson I should have learned from it: the stories all take place in Brazil prior to 2000s, and they encompass different areas of Brazil, from country areas to Rio de Janeiro, mostly dealing with victims and people who have little to no voice.


"Set in the vast and sometimes violent landscape of contemporary Brazil, this is a gorgeous collection of stories-wise, hopeful, and forgiving, but clear-eyed in its exploration of the toll taken on the human heart by greed, malice, and the lust for land." -Debra Murphy, Publisher of Idyll's Press, Founder of

1. The Bridge 

Setting and Date: Northern Goias, 1987


Written in first person narrative, the man and his friend, Jack Hogan, agree to go to a bishop to talk. On the way there as they were driving over the bridge, it is revealed that Jack has a secret sin he wants to do. On the way back to Northern Goias, the narrator drives the car when he and Jack stop and begin to study the bridge and then  something unexpected happens.

2. Back Country People 

Setting and Date: Tocantins, 1992


Ze Dias, who owns a truck and lives in a place that lacks cars, is asked to help a boy and his father who's suffering from malaria, to drive them over to Pedro Afonso. While driving to pick up the father, Ze Dias reflects on the way people live as well as issues that they face.

3. Hate

Setting and Date: Massachusetts and Northern Goias, 1989


In first person narrative, the narrator introduces Dave Sorensen who comes home from Brazil. When they meet this time, the conversation turns to ghosts, and Dave tells them a story of Tumbao, a despicable man from a local village that had done hated things, as well as his history and what Tumbao has to face in terms of his life and whether or not he can be forgiven.

4. Claudio 

Setting and Date: Northern Goias, 1986


Maria, a young lady who has recently gotten married gets complimented by a man from the city named Claudio and then she begins to imagine life with Claudio versus that of her husband Joao as well as reminisce about her past before she got married.

5. Stone

Setting and Date: Western Bahia, 1934-1964


Epitacio dos Santos grants his follower, Domingoes Pereira land that he can use with the condition that he and others always have to acknowledge him as owner of the land, which he does. However, after his death, Leonidas, Mauro and Antenor at first sign the papers without giving the messenger the royal treatment, and then as years pass and the messenger changes, the brothers refuse to sign the paper acknowledging Epitacio dos Santos as the owner, becoming suspicious. Eventually their deeds lead to some deadly consequences.

6. A Hero for the People 

Setting and Date: Southern Para, 1988


Brother Michel agrees to become a companion to Gil and arrives to Barreira das Almas until the old man dies and then they can close the center down. As time passes, Brother Michel becomes friendly with the locals as well as learning their stories and so forth. Eventually, Brother Michel helps the locals hold on to their lands against the local politicians.

7. Two Foxes 

Setting and Date: Tocantins, 1991


In first person narrative, a man is driving with his friend Adao, and Adao recalls a story about the time he injured the fox and what he decides to do in the end.

8. Four Liters of Wild Honey 

Setting and Date: Tocantins, 1991


Joao and Marilda, brother and sister, are selling wild honey when an incident occurs and they profit from it. Although money is meaningless to Joao, he wants for his sister to understand the difficulty in procuring the product.

9. The Moving 

Setting and Date: Espirito Santo, 1969


Maria is married to Ze, and they are moving from their fazenda. Maria recalls their life together from the time they met to marriage and to when they moved the first time, along with Maria's younger sister Estrela as well when they moved and what it was like for the family.

 10. Famine 

Setting and Date: The Brazilian Northeast, c 1970


A man and a boy had some truck troubles, and it would have been okay except the fact they have food in the truck and it is during the famine. While they are trying to fix the truck, the hungry residents come out and begin to beg for food.

11. Gilsa 

Setting and Date: Rio de Janeiro, 1979


Ademar, a man from a wealthy family, marries Gilsa who is poor and is noticed by Nelson Braga who has a very colorful past of making girls pregnant as well as being a king in the slum. Often after their marriage the two would come back to Morro Vermelho, and later on there's a confrontation as well as a choice to be made.

12. Come Into My House and Stay 

Setting and Date: Rio de Janeiro, 1976


Rosenthal, a man of Chinese/Jewish origin (Chinese mother and Jewish father,) is in love with Lydia who doesn't reciprocate his emotions back. Lydia married and had a daughter with someone else and after being dumped traveled to Brazil as a priest. While there she lived in slums and took in some children as well as helping others. When her husband passed away, Rosenthal began to communicate with her while she wrote back and eventually the two met in Brazil and have an important realization.

13. The Healer 

Setting and Date: The Slums Outside Rio de Janeiro, 1999


In first person narrative, a man visits Pastor Eugenio who disdains Catholic clergy, and Pastor Eugenio makes a shocking confession about when he was a healer and prays over an injured man and how eventually these prayers end up having dangerous consequences.

14. Colors 

Setting and Date: Belem, 1984


A young boy in first person narrative  recalls his family's history, in particular that of his grandfather being born in Amazonian frontier and forcibly moving into a city. The grandfather often tells his grandson about his own love for the colors.

15. Switzerland

Setting and Date: Recife, 1993


Maria Amelia, a trader who surpasses her own husband, Jorge, always desires to visit Switzerland. One day she and her husband win a free trip to Switzerland, but Maria Amelia becomes uncertain of whether or not to take the chance and see the land of dreams for herself.

16. Carla 

Setting and Date: Rio de Janeiro, 1968/Paris 1973


Carla Alves, a twenty three year old young woman arrives from Rio de Janeiro to Paris and reflects on what brought her to Paris as a graduate student and a survivor of what has happened. While in Paris, she meets up with Jaime who helps her put her past in perspective, as well as deal with it.

Personal Opinion:

I've read plenty of short story collections, and I have to admit that this is seriously the best collection I've read. I loved learning even more about Brazil, more beyond the party scene so to speak and beyond episode of the Simpsons. The stories are good and well-written and they all reveal fascinating aspects of people in Brazil. Why four stars then? I have to admit that in some stories I had trouble understanding the moral or what I should have learned from reading it.

This is for Book Junkie Book Tours

A Hero for the People Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 11
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, August 13
Review at Onyx Book Château
Friday, August 15
Spotlight at Closed the Cover
Monday, August 18
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, August 19
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, August 20
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, August 25
Guest Post at The Bookworm
Wednesday, August 27
Spotlight at Unshelfish
Monday, September 1
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, September 4
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Friday, September 5
Review at A Bookish Affair
Monday, September 8
Review at Mel’s Shelves
Review at Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, September 10
Review & Interview at 80 Acres and a Book
Friday, September 12
Review at A Rose in the City

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.)
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