Saturday, December 31, 2016

5 Books that Might Appear on my blog in 2017 (Don't own any as of writing)

The title above is self-explanatory. These are the books I'm hoping I'll get one way or another, especially the first one, The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie. Wish me luck!

The Enemies of Versailles: A Novel-Sally Christie


In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.

“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute quite another kettle of fish.”

After decades suffering the King's endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.

Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches inevitable revolution. 

I just realized that the author's Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy has played a big role in my life: the first one, The Sisters of Versailles, I read when I was about two or so months pregnant: the second one I read a month or so after the birth of my little boy, and I hope I can get the last one which will symbolize when my little boy turned a year old.

Human Acts-Han Kang


Gwangju, South Korea, 1980. In the wake of a viciously suppressed student uprising, a boy searches for his friend's corpse, a consciousness searches for its abandoned body, and a brutalised country searches for a voice. In a sequence of interconnected chapters the victims and the bereaved encounter censorship, denial, forgiveness and the echoing agony of the original trauma.

Human Acts is a universal book, utterly modern and profoundly timeless. Already a controversial bestseller and award-winning book in Korea, it confirms Han Kang as a writer of immense importance.

I loved The Vegetarian, and I'm hoping that Human Acts will make an appearance on my blog. Simply put, I want to learn more about the uprising, and it's interesting that some of the reviewers on goodreads linked this book to The Vegetarian.

Before the Rains- Dinah Jefferies


A gripping, heart-wrenching tale of love against the odds from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author Dinah Jefferies

1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself.

But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince's handsome, brooding younger brother. Brought together by their desire to improve conditions for local people, Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families - and society - think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what's expected, and following their heart. . .

I've read her The Tea Planter's Wife and got intrigued by this one because of the couple of Indian Male and British female. I also am looking forward to learning more about India of 1930s and seeing more of her writing style.

The Confessions of Young Nero-Margaret George


The New York Times bestselling and legendary author of Helen of Troy andElizabeth Inow turns her gaze on Emperor Nero, one of the most notorious and misunderstood figures in history. 
Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar s imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman or child. 
As a boy, Nero s royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son s inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead. 
While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina s machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero s determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become an Emperor who became legendary. 
With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy s ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival."

I've read her The Autobiography of Henry VIII, and have to say that immediately she became one of my favorite authors. (Will soon be going through her Mary Queen of Scots and Memoirs of Cleopatra...) but I really don't want to pass up the chance of getting into Nero's head as well as numerous scandals, assassinations and murders. (Let me find and brush up on Suetonius's Lives of Twelve Caesars...)

The Patriots-Sana Krasikov


A sweeping multigenerational debut novel about idealism, betrayal, and family secrets that takes us from Brooklyn in the 1930s to Soviet Russia to post-Cold War America

When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow—and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.

The Patriots is a riveting evocation of the Cold War years, told with brilliant insight and extraordinary skill. Alternating between Florence’s and Julian’s perspectives, it is at once a mother-son story and a tale of two countries bound in a dialectic dance; a love story and a spy story; both a grand, old-fashioned epic and a contemporary novel of ideas. Through the history of one family moving back and forth between continents over three generations, The Patriots is a poignant tale of the power of love, the rewards and risks of friendship, and the secrets parents and children keep from one another.

I admit that I do have this book, and what I'm looking forward to with this one is seeing Russia that's not often well known or portrayed in America. (Face it, how many people know of Russia at the time of 1930s when Stalin came to power?) I also am thinking that perhaps this book might help me understand more of my homeland and more of Children of Arbat Trilogy by Anatoli Rybakov whenever I'll be ready to read it. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

G803 Shining from a different firmanent; poems by Beatriz Fitzgerald Fernandez

General Information:

Name of Book: Shining from a different firmanent; poems

ISBN: 978-1-62229-856-3

Publisher: Finishing Line Kentucky

Year it was published: 2015


Spanning cultures from ancient Egypt to the American West, and time, from medieval France to modern day Florida, this collection attempts to capture the voices of women, fictional, legendary and historical, some famous, some infamous, who lived, loved and died with an undefeated spirit, and who were loved, defamed and persecuted in their turn. We know very little about their personal lives and in some cases what we know of them is mostly a reflection of the times in which they lived or the men they loved. These iconic women who dared to be who they were and thus live forever in our imaginations inspired this collection.

Author: Beatriz Fitzgerald Fernandez

About the Author:

Beatriz F Fernandez is a university reference librarian in Florida. She grew up in Puerto Rico, the daughter of a Peruvian mother and Puerto Rican father. She has read her poetry on South Florida NPR New Station, WLRN, and she was a featured writer on the Latina Book Club Blog. She was the grand prize winner of Writers' Digest 2nd Annual Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in Falling Start Magazine (2014 Pushcart Prize nomination), Verse Wisconsin, Spark: A creative Anthology Nrother Liberties Review, Label Me Latina/o and Writer's Digest.

Personal Opinion:

Quick Note: This is the first time I'm reviewing poetry. Like the Dead Poet's Society with Robin Williams (G-d rest his soul,) I imagine that my experience with poetry is more likely being told what and how to feel rather than just allowing us to feel what is natural to feel, thus just like for many students who get out of school and don't pick up literature to expand their minds. Unfortunately, the idea of poetry is something similar for me: poetry equals school where I don't understand it and where I feel dumb for not understanding it. I am happy and glad that this time I gave poetry a chance because it proved that with the right background I can enjoy poetry and can understand why its been such a popular genre for eons. (I think it also helped that I was given notes explaining the background of the characters and was also allowed to make up my own mind on what I felt when reading it.) I enjoyed all the poems the author wrote and was happy to meet a lot of formidable women from Hypatia to a woman she met on her way home.

This was given to me by the author for an honest review

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.)

G718 Book Review of When Adam opens his eyes by jang jung-il

General Information:

Name of Book: When Adam Opens His Eyes (Adam i nun ttul ttae)

ISBN: 978 1 56478 914 3

Publisher: Dalkey Archive

Year it was published: 2013 (original 1990)


First published in 1990, this is a sensational and highly controversial novel by one of Korea's most electrifying contemporary authors. A preposterous coming-of-age story, melding sex, death, and high school in a manner reminiscent of some perverse collision between Georges Bataille and Beverly Cleary, the narrator of this book plows through contemporaneous Korean mores with aplomb, bound for destruction, or maturity--whichever comes first.

Author: Jang Jung-Il (Translated by Hwang Sun-Ae, Horace Jeffery Hodges)

About the Author:
(From the book)

Jang Jung-Il was born in 1962. Once he began his career as an author, the self-educated Jang's wide-ranging tastes led him to try his hand at various genres. Jang Jung-il is infamous-and has even been jailed-for his erotic and violent fiction. He contines to write, albet with less controversy, given Korean society's increasing liberality.

Hwang Sun-Ae and Horace Jeffery Hodges live in Seoul, Korea, and have co-translated several works of Korean literature together. Hwang Sun-Ae has a doctorate in German literature from the University of Munich, Germany, and works as a freelance translator. Horace Jeffery Hodges has a doctorate in history from UC Berkeley, and works as a profesor at Ewha Womans University and as an editor.

1. When Adam Opens His Eyes

One Sentence Summary:

A young nineteen year old from 1987?-1988 in Seoul South Korea has sex with women, learns different points of view of music and focuses a whole lot on Korean education system and how much pressure it puts on him and those he knows.

2. The Seventh Day

One Sentence Summary:

A man and a woman meet at a bank and find out they share the same taste in a book by Georges Bataille (Eroticism) and they began to explore the theories of the book on themselves, albeit going too far.


Umm wow, what did I just read? I'm not sure where to start. First its depressing to realize that the story was published in 1990, when I was either four or five years of age, and here I am reading 26 years later. I think I'll start off with the title first of all, which for some odd reason put me in mind of the biblical Adam before the infamous forbidden fruit scene. Is the book like that? Maybe a little because here we have Jae-hyng (nicknamed Adam by an ex-girlfriend) who starts out the story innocently by desiring a few things, but throughout the story his innocence and hobbies become shattered. I also think its a reference of some sorts to when the eyes are opened, one is no longer blind to the world and they quickly learn to either survive or be killed. I also couldn't help but think of Seo Taiji and the Boys when I was reading the book because one of his popular songs, as I recall, was about the competitive system that Jang Jung-Il's narrator cried out against. (Seo Taiji also arose to prominence in 1990s, two years after the book was published and he could best be compared as a negative influence on students at the time.) What is also a bit eerie, is that it seemed to predict future in an odd way, of how this generation is more focused on speed rather than quality. The second story, maybe because of the biblical reference to Adam, put me in mind of seven days of creation of the world, and it also reminded me a little bit of the beginning of the drama Bittersweet Life where the main male character chokes someone he works for as a sexual high. Still,the stories are not for the faint-hearted, and they still have the power to shock souls.

This was given by Dalkey Archive for an honest review

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.)

Book Spotlight for Silence Interrupted by Sania Shaikh

Title: Silence Interrupted

Author: Sania Shaikh


Two months before Troye Saavedra’s senior year of high school, his father’s drinking problem skyrockets. When Troye’s parents make an impulsive move to Georgia in order to “help” him finish high school on a positive note, he is forced to leave behind everything he knows. Things couldn’t get worse for Troye. That is, until he meets three enigmatic teenagers: Adelaide, an independent violinist with radical ideas; Zaidan, fiercely loyal and always funny; and Arabella, a girl who harbors secret struggles. Together, the four friends try to pick up the jagged pieces of their lives without getting hurt themselves. An insightful tale of perseverance, Silence Interrupted is a young adult novel about the beauty and peril of traversing the world as a teenager.

Author's Bio:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Meet the Author:

Sania Shaikh is a junior at Cambridge High School. Inspired to write from a young age, she worked on Silence Interrupted, her debut novel, starting in eighth grade.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


Dec 5 -   Working Mommy Journal - book spotlight
Dec 5 -    Room With Books - book spotlight
Dec 5 -    FLY HIGH! - book spotlight
Dec 6 -   Turning the Pages - book spotlight
Dec 6 -   Books, Dreams, Life - book spotlight
Dec 7 -   Rockin' Book Reviews - book spotlight
Dec 7 -   100 Pages A Day - book spotlight
Dec 8 -   A Mama's Corner of the World - book spotlight
Dec 8 -   Lukten av Trykksverte - book spotlight
Dec 9 -   Zerina Blossom's Books - book spotlight
Dec 12 - Shoshi Reads - book spotlight
Dec 12 - Christy's Cozy Corners - book spotlight
Dec 13 - Bound 2 Escape - book spotlight
Dec 13 - Reading Authors - book spotlight
Dec 14 - The Autistic Gamer - book spotlight
Dec 14 - The All Night Library - book spotlight
Dec 14 - Cover2Cover - book spotlight
​Dec 14 - She Reads New Adult - book spotlight
Dec 15 - Books for Books - book spotlight
Dec 15 - Library of Clean Reads - book spotlight
Dec 16 - Celticlady's Reviews - book spotlight
Dec 16 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - book spotlight
Dec 19 - Book Lover in Florida - book spotlight
Dec 19 - Heidi's Wanderings - book spotlight
Dec 20 - E-News With Jessy  - book spotlight
Dec 20 - Outset - Rakhi Jayashankar's Blog - book spotlight
Dec 21 - The Journey Back - book spotlight
Dec 21 - Bookworm for Kids - book spotlight
Dec 22 - StoreyBook Reviews - book spotlight
Dec 23 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - book spotlight
Dec 23 - Seaside Book Nook - book spotlight

Buy the Book:  Amazon

Friday, December 23, 2016

G780 Book Review of The brothers path by Martha Kennedy

Name of Book: The Brothers Path

Author: Martha Kennedy

ISBN: 9781535101295

Publisher: Self published

Type of book: Switzerland Zurich, religion, brothers, 1524-1532, Catholicism, Protestantism, faith, doubts, rituals, baptism as infant vs not, brotherhood, family, revolution, rebellion, Zwingli, church, betrayal

Year it was published: 2016


The world-shattering tumult of the Protestant Reformation enters the Schneebeli household when Rudolf Schneebeli is born two months early and dies a few minutes later without being baptized. Named for the well trodden track linking the Schneebeli farmhouse to the old Lunkhofen castle, The Brothers Path is set in a Swiss village near Zürich, between 1524 and 1531. It chronicles the lives of the six Schneebeli brothers, Heinrich, Hannes, Peter, Conrad, Thomann and Andreas. Each brother navigates his own path through, around or directly into the deadly drama of the Protestant reformation, seven years when a person's life could depend on his or her religious beliefs.

Two hundred years after the events recounted in The Brothers’ Path, thousands of immigrants, mostly Mennonites and Amish, left Switzerland for America looking for safety and freedom they could not find at home. If the novel teaches a “lesson” it would be a reminder why immigrants to America were adamant about separating church and state.

It's a topic that many of us today don't think about, living, as we do, in a world that is the result of many of the changes that began in the Reformation. It's difficult to imagine people being as interested in religion as many of these people were, but, unfortunately, we still live in a world in which people are willing to kill those who believe differently or die the death of martyrs for their own beliefs. Still, if religion does not interest you, this is not your book.

The Brothers Path is available from online booksellers, Mastof Books in Morgantown PA, and Narrow Gauge Newsstand in Alamosa, CO


I feel as if the characters weren't highly drawn or complex, but instead there is the emotion of them being simple. Yet the characters suit the story and add more to enjoyment rather than detract from it. Andreas is the youngest brother who is passionate, fiery, and often lacks practical/common sense when it comes to life. He is one of the first family members to become a Protestant. Hannes is a middle brother who was given to church at a very young age and who also takes his job extremely serious. But then events begin to conspire with Hannes that cause him to start thinking deeply. Heinrich is the eldest brother who works the mill and has his own family. He is extremely close to his father. Thomann is more of a follower who seems to keep his real self hidden from his brothers as well as himself until a tragedy strikes the family. Peter is Hannes' antithesis and seems to be immoral and is a mercenary type who cares more for money than anything else while Conrad is the quiet type who also seems to be the voice of reason and acts as a father figure to other brothers. There are other characters such as the women who stand by the men's sides, but I feel as if the author is more focused on the brothers and how things affect them.


Revolutions happen quietly in beginning but pick up steam at the end


The story is in third person narrative from a lot of characters' points of view, although at the center are the five brothers; Andreas, Hannes, Heinrich, Thomann, Peter and Conrad. The story also takes place from 1524 up until 1532. The first part of the book, I feel, is slow and really reminded me of a calm day at an ocean, maybe because the author focuses a lot on the readers becoming familiar with the characters rather than on action. The second part is more action oriented while the last part picks up the action completely as a lot of changes and violence come for the family. I don't know a lot about Protestant faith nor about Catholic faith, but I do feel as if the author is making a strong case for Protestantism and why it succeeded in Switzerland as well as some differences between their practice and others' practice.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author

Martha Kennedy has published three works of historical fiction. Her first novel, Martin of Gfenn, which tells the story of a young fresco painter living in 13th century Zürich, was awarded the Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society Indie Review and the BRAG Medallion from IndieBRAG in 2015.
Her second novel, Savior, also an BRAG Medallion Honoree (2016), tells the story of a young man in the 13th century who fights depression — and discovers himself — by going on Crusade. Her newest novel, The Brothers Path, a loose sequel to Savior, looks at the same family three hundred years later as they find their way through the Protestant Reformation.
Kennedy has also published many short-stories and articles in a variety of publications from the Denver Post to the Business Communications Quarterly.
Kennedy was born in Denver, Colorado and earned her undergraduate degree in American Literature from University of Colorado, Boulder and her graduate degree in American Literature from the University of Denver. She has taught college and university writing at all levels, business communication, literature and English as a Second Language.
For many years she lived in the San Diego area, most recently in Descanso, a small town in the Cuyamaca Mountains. She has recently returned to Colorado to live in Monte Vista in the San Luis Valley.
For more information, please visit Martha Kennedy’s website. You can also fine her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.


While reading the book I felt as if I was floating on the ocean and just enjoying myself. Perhaps its the scenery that gave me that idea or the pace of the book in the first section when the reader is getting to know the brothers as well as what is going on and why. I also think that this is probably first time I will rate a story that's filled with religious conversation discussing the faiths with a high rating. For me it didn't feel like a conversion story, but instead the author explored the Protestant faith slowly and methodically through different brothers and what it means to them and how they are dealing with changes. Its hard to imagine that at one point Protestant faith used to be persecuted, but that's how it was in beginning. The story is also more of a quiet revolution rather than something forceful and drastic, although violence and battle do occur off-scene. Because of my background, I'm not familiar with importance of baptism in Catholic faith, nor am I familiar with the traditions that the brothers talked about. I also feel as if the author is showing far stronger preference for Protestant religion rather than Catholic and the story is more exploratory of Protestanism rather than Catholicism which makes it a bit skewed in my view.

This is for HFVBT

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.)

G782 Book Review of the silver baron's wife by Donna Baier Stein

Name of Book:the silver baron's wife

Author: Donna Baier Stein

ISBN: 978-0-9971010-6-5

Publisher: Serving House

Type of book:Wisconsin, 1866, 1876-1900s, family, mother/daughter bond, religion, Catholicism, god, marriage, divorce, silver, Sherman Act, poverty, wealth, scandal, mining, Utah, Colorado

Year it was published: 2016


The Silver Baron's Wife traces the rags-to-riches-to-rags life of Colorado's Baby Doe Tabor (Lizzie). This fascinating heroine worked in the silver mines and had two scandalous marriages, one to a philandering opium addict and one to a Senator and silver baron worth $24 million in the late 19th century. A divorcee shunned by Denver society, Lizzie raised two daughters in a villa where 100 peacocks roamed the lawns, entertained Sarah Bernhardt when the actress performed at Tabor's Opera House, and after her second husband's death, moved to a one-room shack at the Matchless Mine in Leadville. She lived the last 35 years of her life there, writing down thousands of her dreams and noting visitations of spirits on her calendar. Hers is the tale of a fiercely independent woman who bucked all social expectations by working where 19thcentury women didn't work, becoming the key figure in one of the West's most scandalous love triangles, and, after a devastating stock market crash destroyed Tabor's vast fortune, living in eccentric isolation at the Matchless Mine. An earlier version of this novel won the PEN/New England Discovery Award in Fiction."


Main characters include Elizabeth "Baby" Doe Tabor, a Catholic young woman who is not exactly typical for her time because she loves working in a mine at a time when women shouldn't have been doing that, and also has an extremely scandalous marriage to Horace Tabor. Throughout the novel she seems to be estranged from her family and church against her will and never seems to come at peace with that. She also tries to reconcile being herself as well as following that society and religion dictate, but she seems not to be successful in that venture. Harvey is Baby Doe Tabor's first husband who is Protestant and who is complete opposite of Baby Doe Tabor in all ways. (He's a womanizer, hates working at a mine and etc.) Horace Tabor is Baby Doe Tabor's second husband who is also Catholic, much older than she and even went so far as to get a divorce from his first wife to marry Baby Doe Tabor. He is loyal and tries his best to provide the life he feels she and his daughters deserve. He also strikes me as a bit in denial as to what is going on with the silver and extremely extravagant. Lily is Baby Doe Tabor's first daughter who seems to be haughty and resentful of how life turned out for her family as well as a tad bit elitist. Silver Dollar is the youngest daughter who seems to be a lot like Baby Doe Tabor and is tomboyish and outgoing.


The state of being correct or right is in opinion


The story is written in first person narrative from Baby Doe Tabor's point of view. The story begins in 1935, presumably on the last day of her life, but then moves back to 1866 to when she is going through Confirmation and then jumps ahead to 1876 when she begins her own self discovery through her ex husband Harvey as they attempt to make success of a mine her father-in-law gifted to them. The years from 1870s up until 1900s? are vivid and filled with numerous details about her life which seems exciting and also strikes me as authentic. (A lot of authors tend to create women characters that seem a bit out of place in a time period,) but Baby Doe Tabor is realistic for her time and is also complex and seems to be uncertain of her standing in society.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author

Donna Baier Stein is the author of The Silver Baron’s Wife (PEN/New England Discovery Award), Sympathetic
People (Iowa Fiction Award Finalist and 2015 IndieBook Awards Finalist), and Sometimes You Sense the Difference. She founded and publishes Tiferet Journal. She has received a Scholarship from Bread Loaf, a Fellowship from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, three Pushcart nominations, and prizes from the Allen Ginsberg Awards and elsewhere. Her writing has appeared in Ascent, Beloit Poetry Journal, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly Review, Puerto del Sol, Writer’s Digest, as well as in anthologies from Simon & Schuster and The Spirit That Moves Us Press. She is currently completing a new collection of stories based on Thomas Hart Benton lithographs.
Donna was also an award-winning copywriter whose clients include Smithsonian, World Wildlife Fund, Citrix, and other non-profit and for-profit organizations. Her website is You can also follow Donna on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.


A while ago I recall talking to a former friend, and he was explaining to me the meaning of quality versus quantity. Length of the book doesn't matter, but what matters is the quality of the story that is contained within the pages. I think I came into reading this story with my own set of preconceived notions; that a short book means something light and fluffy and that there wouldn't be depth or lessons within. I am happy to have been proven wrong on this point. The story is powerful, memorable and not something that a person will easily get over with anytime soon. There is something poetic and heartbreaking about it, something that makes me want to change the course of her life. Prior to this book, I never heard of Elizabeth "Baby" Doe Tabor, the infamous wife to the Silver Baron known as Horace Tabor, whom he scandalized society to be with her. The story doesn't present her as evil or as a homewrecker, but instead she is presented with a sort of sympathy and as someone who has been failed by society and is trying to live life on her own terms. I think personally I would have liked to see the relationship between her and her daughters explored more towards the end, but I am thinking the author might have done that on purpose because it seem as if throughout the story Baby Doe Tabor, little by little is fracturing and with the final break up of the family, it's as if Baby Doe Tabor stopped enjoying and just simply survived. Not much is written or speculated about her later years when she lived in a cabin, but instead more is focused on her prior to the final breakup.

This is for HFVBT Tours

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.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

G788 Josephs journey; when dad left and never came back

Title of the book: Joseph's Journey; When Dad Left and Never Came Back

Author:  Christina Nicole Smith, Dolores Medgar

Publisher: self published

Publishing Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9981281-1-5


The second edition features EIGHT more color images, 8.5 x 8.5 dimensions, and an easier-to-read layout for younger readers. Available in hardcover, paperback and ebook versions.

As a mother, how do you explain an absentee father to your child without blame, anger or resentment? Empower them! Seven-year-old Joseph shares his story about when he first learns about the POWER of choice he possesses after his father leaves and doesn't come back. His mother teaches him the difference between his father's choices and his own. Do Joseph and Mom become angry with Joseph's father? Well, a belief is just a thought you keep thinking over and over...find out what happens on Joseph's Journey!

Author Info:
(From pump up your book)

Christina Smith is an entrepreneur, consultant, mother, and published author. “Joseph’s Journey” is her first children’s picture book.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, she grew up in a house with 3 children, WITHOUT the white picket fence and no dog! However, there was lots of love and laughs to go around. When she was about 10 years old, she thought she was going to be the “next coming” of Whoopi Goldberg! Well, “life happened” and “that” did NOT happen, but in 2014 she was able to cross ONE ITEM off of her bucket list and perform stand-up comedy in front of a live audience.
When she’s not homeschooling her son or driving him all around town to his various activities, some of Christina’s favorite things to enjoy are: PEET’S COFFEE, the local library, a throw-your headback, “that brought tears to my eyes” kinda laugh; organic, gluten-free, dairy free, non-gmo food (did we mention she’s from the BAY AREA?) and good music.
Christina is a certified graduate/alumnus of, certified professional speaker/author, George Ramirez’ “Present with Purpose” (2008) & two-time student of his “The Miracle in the Mirror” programs. She has received a Certificate of Recognition from California State Assembly in Honor of Graduating from the Women’s Initiative for Self Employment and dedication to empowering the quality of her life and her community (2007).
Additionally, she is a student of Certified Rebirthing-Breathwork Practitioner, Iris Nelson. She holds an Associates degree in Legal Administration/Paralegal Studies from Heald Business College.


Personal Opinion:

Unfortunately, in a few years, I will have to be dealing with the topic of explaining to my son on why his father is not here and why I don't want to be with his father, thus I looked forward to the book because I kind of hoped it would give me some ideas or some expectations on how he will feel. The book didn't really meet my expectations, and while I hoped there would be more focus on alternative male figures aside from the father in the boy's life, that did not happen either. The story is repetitive, and I wonder at the point of the notes in some pages since the main character repeats everything. Again, these are my feelings and I only represent myself, but I also felt as if the child is asked to hide his feelings rather than learn that they are okay to express. Since my son is less than a year, I am not sure how helpful it will be for him in the coming years, but I do know that the book was not helpful for me as the parent.

This is for Pump Up Your Book

our Schedule

Monday, December 5 – Interview at I’m Shelf-ish
Wednesday, December 7 – Interview at The Writer’s Life
Friday, December 9 – Interview at My Bookish Pleasures
Monday, December 12 – Interview at Literarily Speaking
Wednesday, December 14 – Book Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, December 15 – Book Featured at Hooked From Page One
Friday, December 16 – Book Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook

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.)

G783 Occult Paris the lost magic of the Belle epoque

Title of the book:Occult Paris the lost magic of the Belle epoque

Author: Tobias Churton

Publisher: Inner Traditions

Publishing Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62055-545-3


How fin-de-siècle Paris became the locus for the most intense revival of magical practices and doctrines since the Renaissance

• Examines the remarkable lives of occult practitioners Joséphin Peladan, Papus, Stanislas de Guaïta, Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, Jules Doinel, and others

• Reveals how occult activity deeply influenced many well-known cultural movements, such as Symbolism, the Decadents, modern music, and the “psychedelic 60s”

During Paris’s Belle Époque (1871-1914), many cultural movements and artistic styles flourished--Symbolism, Impressionism, Art Nouveau, the Decadents--all of which profoundly shaped modern culture. Inseparable from this cultural advancement was the explosion of occult activity taking place in the City of Light at the same time.

Exploring the magical, artistic, and intellectual world of the Belle Époque, Tobias Churton shows how a wide variety of Theosophists, Rosicrucians, Martinists, Freemasons, Gnostics, and neo-Cathars called fin-de-siècle Paris home. He examines the precise interplay of occultists Joséphin Peladan, Papus, Stanislas de Guaïta, and founder of the modern Gnostic Church Jules Doinel, along with lesser known figures such as Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, Paul Sédir, Charles Barlet, Edmond Bailly, Albert Jounet, Abbé Lacuria, and Lady Caithness. He reveals how the work of many masters of modern culture such as composers Claude Debussy and Erik Satie, writers Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire, and painters Georges Seurat and Alphonse Osbert bear signs of immersion in the esoteric circles that were thriving in Paris at the time. The author demonstrates how the creative hermetic ferment that animated the City of Light in the decades leading up to World War I remains an enduring presence and powerful influence today. Where, he asks, would Aleister Crowley and all the magicians of today be without the Parisian source of so much creativity in this field?

Conveying the living energy of Paris in this richly artistic period of history, Churton brings into full perspective the characters, personalities, and forces that made Paris a global magnet and which allowed later cultural movements, such as the “psychedelic 60s,” to rise from the ashes of post-war Europe.

Author Info:
(From France Book Tours)


occult-paris-tobias-churtonTobias Churton
is Britain’s leading scholar
of Western Esotericism,
a world authority on Gnosticism,
Hermeticism, and Rosicrucianism.
An Honorary Fellow of Exeter University,
where he is a faculty lecturer,
he holds a master’s degree in Theology
from Brasenose College, Oxford,
and is the author of many books,
including Gnostic Philosophy and
Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin.
He lives in England.
Visit his website.
Follow Inner Traditions/Bear & Company on Facebook Twitter
Subscribe to their newsletter
Personal Opinion:

Perhaps it has been a while since I read non-fiction scholarly novels that are dealing with history, but whenever I did read one, I expect to at least have knowledge of what I'm diving into. Unfortunately, I had no idea with this book. Aside from the fact that late 1800s were popular with magic and premonition and that some names were familiar to me, 98 percent of the information literally flew over my head. I heard of Debussy and his music (even fell asleep listening to his music because of the dream-like quality it has,) I also heard of Aleister Crowley from a...well, I'd rather not reveal that part. But other names, events and so forth, I never heard of them and am not familiar with them. Because its literally first time I was reading about the occult and esoteric, this is not a book for a beginner. A question, but what do these groups do exactly? What is their function? How do they differ from one another? I feel as if the author didn't really explain in the text, thus if one is new to occult and esoteric, its not a book to start out with. I do feel that the argument the author was trying to push, that the history of these people tended to be air brushed and he is trying to connect the dots was that way throughout the book, but again, background knowledge of this particular subject is highly required and recommended.

This is for France Book Tours

Thursday, December 15
Review at Duckie’s Book Nook

Friday, December 16
Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace

Monday, December 19
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at
Musings of a Writer & Unabashed Francophile

Tuesday, December 20

Wednesday, December 21
Review + Giveaway at Turning the Pages

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.)

Friday, December 16, 2016

G762 Book Review of the boy who wanted wings by James Conroyd Martin

Name of Book: The Boy Who Wanted Wings

Author: James Conroyd Martin

ISBN: 9780997894509

Publisher: Hussar Quill Press

Type of book: Poland, 1683, Asian male/white female relationship, Battle of Vienna, war, archers, marriage, choices, decisions, secrets, family, brotherhood, prejudices, friendship, determination, trickery

Year it was published: 2016


"A poor archer in medieval Poland takes aim at the love of his life in this epic novel from Martin. The anxious Aleksy Gazdecki, a young farmhand, embodies the ethnic and political tensions of Europe during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. The believability of this novel, which is sprinkled with period-specific details, is never in question. Martin sets the stage so tidily that the plight of Aleksy and Krystyna, who desire to move beyond the social classes that keep them apart, transcends the historical moment. Sprawling but never slow, the plot moves naturally from battle to intimacy and back again.

"A gripping, transporting story of self-determination set against fate." Kirkus Reviews

Aleksy, a dark-complexioned Tatar raised by a Polish peasant family, holds in his heart the wish is to become a Polish hussar, a lancer who carries into battle a device attached to his back that holds dozens of eagle feathers. As a Tatar and as a peasant, this is an unlikely quest. When he meets Krystyna, the daughter of the noble who owns the land that his parents work, he falls hopelessly in love. But even though she returns his love, race and class differences make this quest as impossible as that of becoming a hussar. Under the most harrowing and unlikely circumstances, one day Aleksy must choose between his dreams.


Main characters include Aleksy Gazdecki, a Pole of Chinese-Tatar descent that is being raised by a poor family and has one dream, which is to be part of the Hussars prior to meeting Krystyna. Aleksy is very creative and crafty when it comes to weapons and is an extremely talented archer. He has some desire to find out his own heritage, and is also extremely lucky. Krystyna is a minor nobleman's daughter who is stubborn, headstrong and very determined to be with Alesky come hell or high water. She is also crafty, resourceful and very tomboyish. There are also Krystyna's two brothers; one full and another half brother. Marek is the younger full brother who follows the older brother Roman and is far more open towards Aleksy than Roman. Roman is half brother to Marek and Krystyna and is best described as close minded and determined to do whatever he can to punish Aleksy and Krystyna.


Dreams can come true unexpectedly


The story is in the third person narrative from Aleksy's and Krystyna's as well as her brothers' points of views. Most of the story is focused on Aleksy and on his life as being a Tatar-Chinese Polish man and how he is judged and seen by others. I have to say that Aleksy and Krystyna are the book's strengths, but I also feel if the book should have been longer, then Krystyna's brothers as well as the supporting cast would also be strong and memorable. I do feel as if the story tended to rush and the details that were visible in Push Not the River to make that story compelling and strong were absent in this book. The setting and its uniqueness also happened to be its strength because let's face it, this novel is not a Tudor novel and it takes place in Eastern Europe rather than the Western Europe, also what I loved, rich woman/poor male pairing is very present in the story.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author03_James Conroyd Martin

James Conroyd Martin is the award-winning author of The Poland Trilogy (Push Not the River, Against a Crimson Sky, & The Warsaw Conspiracy), a saga inspired by the diary of a countess in 1790s Poland. Hologram: A Haunting was inspired by a house he lived in in Hammond, Indiana. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon.
For more information please visit James Conroyd Martin’s website. You can also connect with him on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Here are the reasons I'm really excited about this book: first of all its from the author that wrote Push Not the River which is a beautiful yet true tale about a woman's life and that book has a very dangerous femme fatale in terms of the woman's cousin Zosya. Second of all is the unexpected AM/WF pairing within this book (yay!) that I can show to my son when he gets to be older. The author humanizes both the villains and the heroes in the story and shows a lot of complexities in the way race has played in people's lives. In these times especially, its vital to understand that the battle is not new but old. When I was reading it, I was worried that perhaps the author might not understand or might not get on how people who look different are treated, yet it proved to be a needless worry. As I imagine, the author covered micro-aggressions that someone of Asian descent might go through from words and judgment of others to feelings of insecurity about himself. I do feel that the story should have been a bit longer than just 300 pages because it feels as if I didn't really get to know the characters as I hoped and also, I do hope that the author will write about the King and his wife which prove to be pretty fascinating characters themselves.

This is for HFVBT and was given to me by the author

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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