Saturday, March 31, 2018

Diverse Reads on my Blog #15

 Diverse Reads on my Blog #15

I can hardly believe that March of 2018 has mere minutes to live. A lot of push-and-pull has been happening this month from gun debate to what seems to be riots. I hope for one side to win, and whatever will be the side will bring peace rather than division. I hope for peace and for continuing existence as March turns to April and some major meetings are about to happen. Like many, I want peace, respect and a right to live life filled with laughter and happiness. Remember the golden rule: "Treat others how you wish to be treated..." for a more peaceful world.

Blast from the Past

The Tale of Genji-Murasaki Shikibu

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

Why Its Diverse: The author is of Japanese ancestry and this book has been considered a classic for more than a thousand years.






Little Town on the Prairie-Laura Ingalls Wilder

The long hard winter was over. The people of De Smet, South Dakota, came outdoors and began to live again. They held church socials, dances, and "literaries." In the summer, Laura took a grueling job-making shits, through long hard hours. She wanted the money to help send Mary to the college for the blind in Vinton, Iowa. Suddenly, Laura was a young lady. And who but the dashing Almanzo Wilder escorted her home in the evenings!

Why Its Diverse: One of the supporting characters trying to gain her independence happens to be a blind girl.





Brothers by Da Chen

At the height of China’s Cultural Revolution a powerful general fathered two sons. Tan was born to the general’s wife and into a life of comfort and luxury. His half brother, Shento, was born to the general’s mistress, who threw herself off a cliff in the mountains of Balan only moments after delivering her child. Growing up, each remained ignorant of the other’s existence. In Beijing, Tan enjoyed the best schools, the finest clothes, and the prettiest girls. Shento was raised on the mountainside by an old healer and his wife until their deaths landed him in an orphanage, where he was always hungry, alone, and frightened. Though on divergent roads, each brother is driven by a passionate desire—one to glorify his father, the other to seek revenge against him.

Separated by distance and opportunity, Tan and Shento follow the paths that lie before them, while unknowingly falling in love with the same woman and moving toward the explosive moment when their fates finally merge. 

Brothers, by bestselling memoirist Da Chen, is a sprawling, dynamic family saga, complete with assassinations, love affairs, narrowly missed opportunities, and the ineluctable fulfillment of destiny

Why Its Diverse: The author is of Chinese ancestry, although I really disliked his book to be honest.

What I am Reading Now:

Louisana Catch by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

A grieving daughter and abuse survivor must summon the courage to run a feminist conference, trust a man she meets over the Internet, and escape a catfishing stalker to find her power.

Ahana, a wealthy thirty-three-year-old New Delhi woman, flees the pain of her mother's death, and her dark past, by accepting a huge project in New Orleans, where she'll coordinate an annual conference to raise awareness of violence against women. Her half-Indian, half-Irish colleague and public relations guru, Rohan Brady, who helps Ahana develop her online presence, offends her prim sensibilities with his raunchy humor. She is convinced that he's a womanizer.

Meanwhile, she seeks relief from her pain in an online support group, where she makes a good friend: the mercurial Jay Dubois, who is also grieving the loss of his mother. Louisiana Catch is an emotionally immersive novel about identity, shame, and who we project ourselves to be in the world. It's a book about Ahana's unreliable instincts and her ongoing battle to deter�mine whom to place her trust in as she, Rohan, and Jay shed layers of their identities.

Pages: 103 out of 254

Future Reviews:

My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood (main characters suffers from PTSD, while another is alcoholic, for Fresh Fiction)

In the vein of Fiona Barton's The Widow and Renée Knight's Disclaimer, a psychological thriller about a war reporter who returns to her childhood home after her mother's death but becomes convinced that all is not well in the house next door—but is what she’s seeing real or a symptom of the trauma she suffered in Syria?

The One Person You Should Trust Is Lying to You…

Kate has spent fifteen years bringing global injustice home: as a decorated war reporter, she’s always in a place of conflict, writing about ordinary people in unimaginable situations. When her mother dies, Kate returns home from Syria for the funeral. But an incident with a young Syrian boy haunts her dreams, and when Kate sees a boy in the garden of the house next door—a house inhabited by an Iraqi refugee who claims her husband is away and she has no children—Kate becomes convinced that something is very wrong.

As she struggles to separate her memories of Syria from the quiet town in which she grew up—and also to reconcile her memories of a traumatic childhood with her sister’s insistence that all was not as Kate remembers—she begins to wonder what is actually true…and what is just in her mind.

In this gripping, timely debut, Nuala Ellwood brings us an unforgettable damaged character, a haunting , humanizing look at the Syrian conflict, and a deeply harrowing psychological thriller that readers won’t be able to put down.

Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee

Casey Han's four years at Princeton gave her many things, "But no job and a number of bad habits." Casey's parents, who live in Queens, are Korean immigrants working in a dry cleaner, desperately trying to hold on to their culture and their identity. Their daughter, on the other hand, has entered into rarified American society via scholarships. But after graduation, Casey sees the reality of having expensive habits without the means to sustain them. As she navigates Manhattan, we see her life and the lives around her, culminating in a portrait of New York City and its world of haves and have-nots.

Free Food For Millionaires offers up a fresh exploration of the complex layers we inhabit both in society and within ourselves. Inspired by 19th century novels such as Vanity Fair and Middlemarch, Min Jin Lee examines maintaining one's identity within changing communities in what is her remarkably assured debut.

The Girls by Emma Cline

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.



The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman

The Spirit Catches you and you fall down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia's parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Non-fiction, Anne Fadiman's compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest.






Night by Elie Wiesel

Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.

Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be

Dawn by Elie Wisel

Elisha is a young Jewish man, a Holocaust survivor, and an Israeli freedom fighter in British-controlled Palestine; John Dawson is the captured English officer he will murder at dawn in retribution for the British execution of a fellow freedom fighter. The night-long wait for morning and death provides Dawn, Elie Wiesel's ever more timely novel, with its harrowingly taut, hour-by-hour narrative. Caught between the manifold horrors of the past and the troubling dilemmas of the present, Elisha wrestles with guilt, ghosts, and ultimately God as he waits for the appointed hour and his act of assassination. Dawn is an eloquent meditation on the compromises, justifications, and sacrifices that human beings make when they murder other human beings.





Day (The Accident) by Elie Wiesel

"Not since Albert Camus has there been such an eloquent spokesman for man." --The New York Times Book Review

The publication of Day restores Elie Wiesel's original title to the novel initially published in English as The Accident and clearly establishes it as the powerful conclusion to the author's classic trilogy of Holocaust literature, which includes his memoir Night and novel Dawn. "In Night it is the ‘I' who speaks," writes Wiesel. "In the other two, it is the ‘I' who listens and questions."

In its opening paragraphs, a successful journalist and Holocaust survivor steps off a New York City curb and into the path of an oncoming taxi. Consequently, most of Wiesel's masterful portrayal of one man's exploration of the historical tragedy that befell him, his family, and his people transpires in the thoughts, daydreams, and memories of the novel's narrator. Torn between choosing life or death, Day again and again returns to the guiding questions that inform Wiesel's trilogy: the meaning and worth of surviving the annihilation of a race, the effects of the Holocaust upon the modern character of the Jewish people, and the loss of one's religious faith in the face of mass murder and human extermination.

One half from the East by Nadia Hashimi

Internationally bestselling author Nadia Hashimi’s first novel for young readers is an emotional, beautiful, and riveting coming-of-age journey to modern-day Afghanistan that explores life as a bacha posh—a preteen girl dressed as a boy.

Obayda’s family is in need of some good fortune.

Her father lost one of his legs in a bomb explosion, forcing the family to move from their home city of Kabul to a small village, where life is very different and Obayda’s father almost never leaves his room.

One day, Obayda’s aunt has an idea to bring the family luck—dress Obayda, the youngest of her sisters, as a boy, a bacha posh.

Now Obayda is Obayd.

Life in this in-between place is confusing, but once Obayda meets another bacha posh, everything changes. The two of them can explore the village on their own, climbing trees, playing sports, and more.

But their transformation won’t last forever—unless the two best friends can figure out a way to make it stick and make their newfound freedoms endure.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons.

HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave.

The journey starts in the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s, her small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo. Today are stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, East Baltimore children and grandchildren live in obscurity, see no profits, and feel violated. The dark history of experimentation on African Americans helped lead to the birth of bioethics, and legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet by Jamie Ford

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history - the internment of American-Japanese families during World War II - Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us about forgiveness and the power of the human heart.

In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.

The Carrion Birds by Urban Waite

Set in a small town in the Southwest, a soulful work of literary noir rife with violence, vengeance, and contrition from a fresh voice in fiction-the author of the highly acclaimed The Terror of Living

Life hasn't worked out the way Ray Lamar planned. A widower and father who has made some tragic mistakes, he's got one good thing going for him: he's calm, cool, and efficient under pressure, usually with a gun in his hand. A useful skill to have when you're paid to hurt people who stand in your boss's way.

But Ray isn't sure he wants to be that man anymore. He wants to go home to Coronado, New Mexico, to see the twelve-year-old son he hopes will recognize him. He wants to make a new life far from the violence of the last ten years. One last job will take him there. All he has to do is steal a rival's stash. Simple, easy, clean.

Ray knows there's no such thing as easy, and sure enough, the first day ends in a catastrophic mess. Now, the runners who have always moved quietly through this idyllic desert town on the Mexican border want answers. And revenge. Short on time, with no one to trust but himself, Ray must come up with a clever plan or Coronado's newly appointed lady sheriff will have a vicious bloodbath on her hands.

Relentlessly paced and beautifully orchestrated, with refreshingly real, vulnerable, and very human characters and a vivid sense of place, The Carrion Birds is an unsettling and indelible work of literary noir in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy, Elmore Leonard, and Dennis Lehane.

5 Books I am planning on tackling this year:

Eternal Life by Dara Horn

Rachel is a woman with a problem: she can’t die. Her recent troubles—widowhood, a failing business, an unemployed middle-aged son—are only the latest in a litany spanning dozens of countries, scores of marriages, and hundreds of children. In the 2,000 years since she made a spiritual bargain to save the life of her first son back in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, she’s tried everything to free herself, and only one other person in the world understands: a man she once loved passionately, who has been stalking her through the centuries, convinced they belong together forever.

But as the twenty-first century begins and her children and grandchildren—consumed with immortality in their own ways, from the frontiers of digital currency to genetic engineering—develop new technologies that could change her fate and theirs, Rachel knows she must find a way out.

Gripping, hilarious, and profoundly moving, Eternal Life celebrates the bonds between generations, the power of faith, the purpose of death, and the reasons for being alive.

Pages: 233

Love, and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

A powerful novel about an orphan boy who is raffled off at Seattle’s 1909 World Fair, and the friends who teach him what it really means to have a family, from the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

Inspired by a true story, this is the unforgettable story of a young boy named Ernest, set during the 1909 Seattle world’s fair called the Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. It is a time when the magical wonders of technology on display at the expo future seems limitless. But for Ernest, a half-Chinese orphan who found his way to America through a last desperate act of his beloved mother, every door is closed. A charity student at a boarding school, he has never really had a place to call home. Then one day, his wealthy sponsor announces that if a home is what he wants, then that is what he will have: Ernest will be offered as a prize in the daily raffle at the fair, advertised as “Healthy boy to a good home for the winning ticket holder.” The woman who “wins” him is the madam of a notorious brothel who was famous for educating her girls. He becomes a houseboy in her brothel and is befriended by the daughter of the madam, as well as a Japanese girl who works in the kitchen. The friendship and love between these three form the first real family Ernest has ever known.

Pages: 304

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

A searing, electrifying debut novel set in India and America, about a once-in-a-lifetime friendship between two girls who are driven apart but never stop trying to find one another again.

When Poornima first meets Savitha, she feels something she thought she lost for good when her mother died: hope. Poornima's father hires Savitha to work one of their sari looms, and the two girls are quickly drawn to one another. Savitha is even more impoverished than Poornima, but she is full of passion and energy. She shows Poornima how to find beauty in a bolt of indigo cloth, a bowl of yogurt rice and bananas, the warmth of friendship. Suddenly their Indian village doesn't feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond the arranged marriage her father is desperate to lock down for her. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend again. Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India's underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face relentless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within them.

In breathtaking prose, Shobha Rao tackles the most urgent issues facing women today: domestic abuse, human trafficking, immigration, and feminism. At once a propulsive page-turner and a heart-wrenching meditation on friendship, Rao's debut novel is a literary tour de force.

Pages: 307

Israela by Batya Casper

In my heart, I call to their mothers, 'Take your sons to your houses. Bind them to your chairs; gag them, blindfold them if necessary until they grow calm. Then teach them, for they have forgotten, about peace, about the blessed life, about a future-a present-without pain.' Beneath their prayers, in their morning cups of coffee, beneath their love-making and their child-rearing, and in their sorrow, especially in their sorrow when burying their dead, I hear the simmering of heating souls; I smell the charge of armies, of lives exploding uselessly into smithereens. I sit in mourning over a disaster still to come. In Israel, the lives of three women interweave with the story of their country. Ratiba, an Israeli journalist, turns her back on her heritage to marry an Israeli Arab. Her sister Orit, an actor, lives alone and longs for her lost sister. Elisheva is a nurse who dedicates her life to the wounded and the dying. As their lives unfold, the three women find themselves facing choices they would never have envisioned. This is a story of secrets and alienation, yet also of hope and heroism. It is about Arabs who save Jews from disaster and Jews who heal Arabs. It is the story of everyday people torn and desperately searching for the right path. Here, the ancient pulsates in present time and the biblical holds prominence with the secular. Beneath this modern-day drama unfolds the story of a land and its people, revealing the historical trajectory of two peoples, victims and perpetrators of a biblical curse 'This perceptive, poignant novel offers a fresh and essential outlook on Israel. With memorable characters and an abundance of drama, Israela is gripping reading.' - Lou Aronica, New York Times bestselling author

Pages: 365

Forgotten Reflections by Young-Im Lee

In the current international climate where North Korea takes center stage, “Forgotten Reflections” weaves an inspirational tale of family, lost memories, folklore and an unforgotten history, spanning three generations as South Korea rises from the ashes.

DARE TO DREAM IN THE MIDST OF WAR.

1945. Rice fields seem endless in a quaint farming village of South Korea, yet Iseul the villagers have been starving for as long as they can remember. Their Japanese colonizers have taken every last grain with them as they are finally forced out of the Peninsula. In the newly independent Korea, Iseul and Jung-Soo dream of what their future might bring. Yet, war is on the horizon, and Iseul has fallen for an alleged North Korean communist spy.

Men are conscripted and rice is taken to feed the growing army as the Peninsula is thrust into an international war that would determine if the strategic region will become communist or democratic. With nothing but the news of death and hunger awaiting the village of women, children and the aged, Iseul musters up whatever hope she has left to bring the village together to make paper. Soon, the village once known for its rice, becomes famous for its paper, becoming a beacon of hope for their battle-worn soldiers awaiting letters from their loved ones.

Yet spies and communists continue to roam South Korea, turning neighbors and families against one another. For years, Jung-Soo has been suspicious of his father’s allegiances. With a series of mysterious revelations about his father, Jung-Soo is forced to choose between his tainted communist past, and the future he hopes to have with Iseul after the war.

Pages: 476

G985 Book Review of Shadow by the bridge by Suzanne Zewan

Name of Book: Shadow by the Bridge

Author: Suzanne Zewan

ISBN: 978-0-9988811-8-8

Publisher: NFBPublishing.com

Type of book: New York, Linden murders, 1917-1924, 1985, community, helpful, small town, unsolved mystery, detached narrator, lawyers, crimes

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

11-year-old Fritz Reynolds recalled his father telling him that man is the only creature who can find amusement in killing. Little did he realize that those words would become the theme for his teenage years growing up in the rural hamlet of Linden, New York. In this coming-of-age story, Fritz takes us back to a simpler time when neighbors gathered at the general store to listen to radio shows, drank barrel-aged cider, and worshiped at the Baptist church every Sunday. All was picturesque in his close-knit farming community until terror was unleashed on them.

Characters:

I feel that the only main character in the story is Fritz Reynolds. Other characters, it seems, end up playing a secondary part, and I would guess because there were a lot, it was difficult for me to figure out who's who, although I do recall their roles. (Yes, the book might have benefited from a character list.) Fritz is often a witness to the murders, but it seems as if he recites events and feelings rather than going into depth. (More tell and little showing.) I recall that the town, it can be argued, is seen as a character too because it goes from someone where everyone trusts everyone to a town that many desire to escape before they might be next.

Theme:

Tragedy can tear a community apart

Plot:

The story is in first person narrative from Fritz' point of view. It begins in 1917 and lasts until 1924 and then a chapter in 1985. I have to admit that from the mysteries I read, I am used to the characters either acting as detectives or amateur sleuths in trying to solve the mysteries, therefore its a bit jarring to see a character who doesn't act as a detective or a sleuth, but instead the story is focused more on the closeness of the people and how those senseless murders have torn the town apart. I also think that more about Fritz's life from 1924 up until 1985 should have been revealed instead of being secreted away.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)


AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | INDIEBOUND
About the Author

Suzanne is coordinator at Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and is an adjunct professor at Buffalo State College. She has a M.A. in English and Creative Writing and a M.S.Ed. in Career and Technical Education. Other publications include a poem in Jigsaw (2014), a short story and two poems in Jigsaw (2016), and a short story in Amaranth Review (2016).

For more information, please visit Suzanne Zewan’s website. You can also find Suzanne on Facebook and Twitter.
Opinion:

The story does have a lot of potential within it, including a mystery based on real life Linden New York murders and how much it changes the residents and the town from being close knit to becoming torn away, but I feel that it could have benefited from perhaps moving the epilogue to beginning, and there is also something lacking in the story that I couldn't put my finger on. But aside from that, I actually enjoyed watching how the people and the town were close to one another and how they knew one another, which is a very far cry from today when one doesn't know anything about their next door neighbor.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 19
Feature at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Thursday, February 22
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, February 27
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 1
Excerpt at What is That Book About

Saturday, March 3
Interview & Excerpt at T’s Stuff

Wednesday, March 7
Review & Excerpt at WS Momma Readers Nook

Friday, March 9
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, March 13
Excerpt at My Reading Corner

Thursday, March 15
Review at Donna’s Book Blog

Tuesday, March 20
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Thursday, March 22
Excerpt at Buried Under Books

Friday, March 23
Review at Broken Teepee

Monday, March 26
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, March 28
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, March 30
Review & Excerpt at A Chick Who Reads

Saturday, March 31
Review at Cup of Sensibility

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.)

G991 Book Review of the cold light of dawn by Anna Belfrage

Name of Book: The Cold Light of Dawn

Author: Anna Belfrage

ISBN: 978-1-78901-001-5

Publisher: Matador

Part of a Series: The King's Greatest Enemy

Type of book: 1328?-1330, Roger Mortimer, power, politics, death, conspiracy, Queen Isabella, jousts, Medieval Ages, marriage, friendship, loyalty, fighting, King Edward III, England, Scotland, wars

Year it was published: 2018

Summary:

After Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regents’ puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer.

Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.

Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edward’s man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is.

Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers don’t always help.

Characters:

I admit that there are tons of characters, and a character sheet might have been helpful for me, but despite it all, the main characters are all memorable and unforgettable. Adam owes his loyalty and love to Roger Mortimer, but is now serving Edward III, which causes him to be between a rock and a hard place. Adam is loyal, resourceful and is very devoted to his loved ones. Kit is resourceful and often acts as Adam's soundboard so to speak. She is also talented in herbs and healing and will do what she can for those she loves, even if against her conscience. Edward III has quickly grown up and loves jousting and is often accused as either loving the good things about being a king without doing an iota of work, or else letting Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer run the kingdom for him. Queen Isabella is best described as a cold and a grandiose woman who takes duty very seriously, while Roger Mortimer is difficult to either love or hate and is heady with the idea of power and control. Edward III's wife, Queen Phillipa is also present and is tomboyish as well as someone who is not what she seems.

Theme:

No one is immune from power

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative from Adam's and Kit's points of view. I feel that it immediately picks up from the previous book, and the atmosphere and time feel the same rather than go through massive changes. The things that shine to me about the book are characters which in essence feel the same as well as the story which is fascinating, especially when the characters go through different changes and we watch these changes through Adam's and Kit's eyes, and I also liked the game play politics which simplified the complex events of those years.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author



Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Opinion:

Previously I have read the first three books of the series, and I enjoyed the three a lot. Saying that, I don't feel the book best stands as a stand-alone novel because previous novels are a must, and this must be read immediately after the three novels rather than waiting a long time. I have to admire the author's ability at keeping the characters and the atmosphere the same as years (and books) pass because the essence felt familiar as if nothing is missing, and I also have to admire that she was able to keep up with the names and the characters who share the same names because it was difficult for me to keep track of who's who. At the core the characters of Adam, Kit, Edward III, Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer, it felt like coming back to an old friend and the series doesn't feel finished at all, despite it being the "last" book of the series.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 26
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Tuesday, February 27
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, February 28
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, March 1
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, March 2
Review at Book Drunkard

Monday, March 5
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Tuesday, March 6
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, March 7
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, March 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Monday, March 12
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, March 13
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, March 15
Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, March 16
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, March 19
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, March 21
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 22
Review at Back Porchervations

Friday, March 23
Feature at Button Eyed Reader

Monday, March 26
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, March 28
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Impressions In Ink

Friday, March 30
Review at Bookramblings

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, March 21, 2018

G988 The Myths of Safe Pesticides

Title of the book: The Myths of Safe Pesticides

Author: Andre Leu

Publisher: Acres USA

Publishing Date: 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60173-084-8

Summary:

The chemical-based conventional agriculture industry claims that the synthesized concoctions they sell as pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are safe when used as directed, but does the scientific evidence truly support their assertions? Organic agriculturist and lecturer André Leu delves into a wealth of respected scientific journals to present the peer-reviewed evidence that proves the claims of chemical companies and pesticide regulators are not all they seem. Leu translates technical jargon into layman's terms to break down the five most repeated myths about pesticide use: independent scientific analysis shows that pesticides are not at all as safe as industry leaders and regulatory agencies claim. The pesticide industry argues that human agriculture, and thereby the global population itself, cannot survive without using pesticides and herbicides, but Leu warns that human health is at great risk unless we break free of their toxic hold and turn to more natural methods of pest and weed regulation.

Author Info:
(From iRead Book Tours)


Meet the Author:

André Leu is a longtime organic farmer in Australia and a director of Regeneration International. He served as president of IFOAM Organics International from 2011 to 2017. He speaks widely and regularly testifies to governments and NGOs worldwide on pesticide safety and policy. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Myths of Safe Pesticides.

Connect with the publisher: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Author's Twitter

Personal Opinion:

The information contained in the book is important yet alarming and is backed up by evident articles that Andre Leu introduced to his readers. (I do think that everyone should read it,) but I feel that the delivery and execution of the information isn't for an average lay reader because its filled with math and science, and unfortunately math and science are more of my weaknesses than strengths, and while information is alarming and highly important, I don't feel it addresses the needs for those who cannot afford organic food here or elsewhere.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

March 12 - XoXo Book Blog - book spotlight / giveaway
March 13 - #redhead.with.book - review of Poisoning Our Children / giveaway
March 14 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review of Poisoning Our Children / giveaway
March 15 - This and That Book Blog - book spotlight / guest post
March 16 - The Autistic Gamer - review of Poisoning Our Children
March 19 - #redhead.with.book - review of Myths of Safe Pesticides / giveaway
March 20 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review of Myths of Safe Pesticides / gw
March 21 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Myths of Safe Pesticides
March 22 - 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! - review of Poisoning
our Children / giveaway
March 23 - Paulette's Papers - spotlight both books / guest post / giveaway
March 26 - The Autistic Gamer - review of Myths of Safe Pesticides
March 28 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Poisoning Our Children / giveaway
March 29 - Fantastic Feathers - review of Poisoning Our Children / giveaway
April 2 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Poisoning Our Children
April 3 - 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! - review of Myths of Safe Pesticides / giveaway
April 4 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Myths of Safe Pesticides / giveaway
April 4 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - book spotlight / guest post
April 5 - Julie's Bookshelf - review of Poisoning Our Children / giveaway
April 5 - Sahar's Blog - review of Myths of Safe Pesticides
April 6 - Bookworm for Kids - review of Myths of Safe Pesticides / giveaway
April 9 - Bookworm for Kids - review of Poisoning Our Children / interview / giveaway
April 10 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Myths of Safe Pesticides / giveaway
April 11 - One Frugal Girl - review of Poisoning Our Children / giveaway
April 12 - Sahar's Blog - review of Poisoning Our Children
April 13 - One Frugal Girl - review of Myths of Safe Pesticides / giveaway
April 13 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Poisoning Our Children / guest post
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.)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

G987 Book Review of The muse of fire by Carol M Cram

Name of Book: The Muse of Fire

Author: Carol M Cram

ISBN: 9780981024141

Publisher: New Arcadia

Type of book: 1808-1810, friendship, theater, family secrets, England, London, Old Price Riots, acting, well-born class vs low born, foundling houses, Mr. Kemble, Mrs. Siddons, daily life, work, calling, fire

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Abandoned at birth, the grandly christened Edward Plantagenet rises from London’s Foundling Hospital to take charge back stage at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, only to be blind-sided when he rescues Grace—a young woman escaping an abusive father.

Grace finds an outlet for her passions as a Shakespearean actress, becoming ensnared by intrigues and setbacks that mar the pathway to stardom she craves.

Set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Old Price Riots of 1809, Grace and Ned find common purpose in a quest that threatens to tear both their worlds apart

Characters:

Main characters include Grace Johnson and Edward "Ned" Plantagenet. Grace is a well-born young woman who lives with an abusive father and a mother who has passed away. Grace was raised on Shakespeare and has desires and hopes of becoming an actress. Ned, on the other hand, was born in a foundling home and although he makes theater his home, he seems to have little to no desire to becoming an actor but instead is happy being behind the scenes. He is shy and often holds himself back from expressing his emotions towards people close to him. There are other characters such as Ned's friend who is also a foundling and who seems to have divided loyalties when Old Price Riots began as well as the duo of brother and sister actors and a crush. Grace's aunt and her son, Percival are also prominent in the story.

Theme:

Follow one's dreams

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative from Grace's and Ned's points of view. Most of the book is a contrast between well-off, low-class and theater-folk, which is fascinating. There is also a bit of mystery involved about Grace's family history and at one point Ned also becomes involved. There are a lot of heartbreaking aspects of the story, and I imagine that many readers will be surprised by them, such as foundling homes, a view of actresses when now it seems that its a very revered and wanted profession, and there will be explanation and discussion of Old Price Riots and how it affected the theater-folk. I also feel that the story is more focused on characters and their lives in 1809 rather than on plot.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)


AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | INDIEBOUND
About the Author

Carol M. Cram is the author of A Woman of Note (Lake Union Publishing, 2015) and The Towers of Tuscany (Lake Union Publishing 2014). In addition to writing fiction, Carol has enjoyed a great career as an educator, teaching at Capilano University in North Vancouver for over twenty years and authoring forty-plus bestselling textbooks on business communications and software applications for Cengage Learning. She holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Carol is currently focusing as much of her attention as she can spare between walks in the woods on writing historical novels with an arts twist and sharing her Nia practice as a Nia teacher. She and her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, share a life on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, Canada.

For more information, please visit Carol M. Cram’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


Opinion:

When I started to do book tours for HFVBT, Carol M Cram was one of the first authors whose book, Towers of Tuscany I've reviewed on my blog. I found Towers of Tuscany to be charming and not something easily forgotten as well as heartbreaking on so many levels. In The Muse of Fire, Carol M Cram doesn't disappoint either because the theater as well as the politics on the stage and the time period are greatly detailed and the reader learns something new on almost every page. I do imagine that for those who are hoping for an improbable relationship, will be disappointed, but it's far more realistic though. For something of real slice of life it doesn't disappoint, but for readers seeking something more of fantasy, The Muse of Fire will not meet the standards. Oh yes, love the book cover as well.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 26
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, February 27
Interview at Donna’s Book Blog
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Thursday, March 1
Review at Teaser Addicts Book Blog

Friday, March 2
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Feature at A Literary Vacation
Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, March 5
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, March 8
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, March 9
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, March 14
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, March 19
Review at Books of a Shy Girl
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, March 20
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, March 22
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

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.)

Friday, March 16, 2018

G984 Book Review of Red Adam's lady by Grace ingram

Name of Book: Red Adam's Lady

Author: Grace Ingram

ISBN: 978-1-61373-967-9

Publisher: Chicago Independent Press

Type of book: Medieval ages, 1173, lord of the manor, daily life, cleaning, power struggles, death, forced marriage, atypical, old king Henry II vs his sons, rebellions, Scots,

Year it was published: 1973, 2018

Summary:

The fair Lady Julitta has a problem. She is not wealthy. She prizes her virginity. And her liege, whom she despises, is intent on rape.

Red Adam is the lord of Brentborough castle—young, impetuous, scandalous, a twelfth-century hell raiser. On one of his nights of drunken revelry he abducts Julitta. Though she fends him off, keeping her virginity, he has sullied her honor. Then, to the astonishment of all, he marries her.

Red Adam’s Lady is a boisterous, bawdy tale of wild adventure, set against the constant dangers of medieval England. It is a story of civil war and border raids, scheming aristorcrats and brawling villagers, daring escapes across the moors and thundering descents down steep cliffs to the ocean. Its vivid details give the reader a fascinating and realistic view of life in a medieval castle and village. And the love story in it is an unusual one, since Julitta won’t let Adam get closer than the length of her stiletto.

Long out of print though highly acclaimed, Red Adam’s Lady is a true classic of historical fiction along the lines of Anya Seton’s Katherine and Sharon Kay Penman’s Here Be Dragons.

Characters:

Hands down, my favorite characters are Red Adam and Julitta, although I also liked the villains as well. When we first get introduced to Red Adam, I expected him to be one of the cold rakes who will only seduce Julitta through forced love-making or who thinks he knows better than everyone else. Much to mine surprise, Red Adam has really grown on me; he is chivalrous, cares more for others than himself and dares to back up Julitta in her pursuits. He is also highly intelligent and loyal and while his childhood is a bit tragic, its not as bad as one would expect. My first impression of Julitta is of someone who wants to keep peace at all costs and someone not sure of herself. But as she becomes the mistress, and thanks to Red Adam's encouragement, she really grows into an amazing woman who dares to stand beside her husband in easy and difficult times and who finally sees the value in him. There are other characters but I feel as if they aren't as memorable as Red Adam and Julitta, and a character sheet would have been a bit helpful.

Theme:

Bad beginnings can have excellent endings

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative from Julitta's point of view. Its well written, very exciting, in terms of the events, power struggles between Julitta and Constance, and a fascinating period. I also will mention that in some cases a dictionary might be required because some of the words meant different things than they do now (namely the word slut, which has another meaning aside from the sexual one.) and this story is one that will require a re-read some time soon because first time is not enough. I also feel that the book would have benefited from a character sheet because while I recall and remember many characters, there are some that have tended to escape me, unfortunately.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Grace Ingram was the pseudonym of Doris Sutcliffe Adams (1920-2015). She wrote six novels: Desert Leopard, Price of Blood, Power of Darkness, and No Man's Son under her own name, and Red Adam's Lady and Gilded Spurs under the name Grace Ingram.

Opinion:

From the summary and the book cover, I almost expected for the novel to be a  romance novel similar to modern day ones with little to no focus on anything else. Things that I thought the novel wouldn't be is wild, exciting, attention grabbing sentences and words and a hero and heroine that you just want to be happy together. I also didn't expect so much death, as odd as it sounds. But I got that and much more. In addition to having an engaging and memorable romance, the author introduces the reader to the daily life of 12th century England be it vocabulary, cleaning methods, medicines, or the constant death that stalks the characters. What I also loved are the characters of Adam and Julitta and how the author slowly showed them becoming friends before getting a happily ever after. For a wonderful and awesome read that is both sweet and shows realistic medieval life, this is was a breath-taking read.

This was given to me 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.)

Monday, March 12, 2018

G969 Book Review of Waking Isabella by Melissa Muldoon

Name of Book: Waking Isabella

Author: Melissa Muldoon

ISBN: 978-0-9976348-2-2

Publisher: MattaPress

Type of book: Italy, dreams, fairy-tale, WWII, 1500s, Medicis, Isabella, paintings, hidden secrets, 2000s, Arezzo, jousting, teams, competition, whimsy

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Waking Isabella is a story about uncovering hidden beauty that, over time, has been lost, erased, or suppressed. It also weaves together several love stories as well as a few mysteries. Nora, an assistant researcher, is a catalyst for resolving the puzzle of a painting that has been missing for decades. Set in Arezzo, a small Tuscan town, the plot unfolds against the backdrop of the city’s antique trade and the fanfare and pageantry of its medieval jousting festival. While filming a documentary about Isabella de’ Medici—the Renaissance princess who was murdered by her husband—Nora begins to connect with the lives of two remarkable women from the past. Unraveling the stories of Isabella, the daughter of a fifteenth-century Tuscan duke, and Margherita, a young girl trying to survive the war in Nazi-occupied Italy, Nora begins to question the choices that have shaped her own life up to this point. As she does, hidden beauty is awakened deep inside of her, and she discovers the keys to her creativity and happiness. It is a story of love and deceit, forgeries and masterpieces—all held together by the allure and intrigue of a beautiful Tuscan ghost.

Characters:

Main characters include Nora, an American girl from California who travels to Italy for creating a movie about Isabella Medici. Nora is best described as talented and is at crossroads at what to do. She is also atuned to the spirits of Isabella Medici and Margherita and often witnesses scenes from the past. While at first fearful and uncertain, she plunges head-on to embracing what life gives her. Isabella Medici is from the famous Medici family who gets killed by her husband (end of first chapter, first sentence) She is stuck in an unhappy marriage but is best described as someone who loves life and joy and parties but at the same time she has high expectations from life that end up disappointing her. Margherita is from WWII and is Nora's love interest's grandmother. Margherita is also resourceful and determined when it comes to life. (Pity we don't see her stories continue after WWII) There are other characters such as Luca, Nora's friend Juliette and Marco who happens to be Luca's best friend as well as Carlotta and Carlotta's grandfather, but they are not as well drawn as Nora and the two women who guide her.

Theme:

Let the past be one's guide

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative, mostly told from Nora's point of view, although Margherita and Isabella also play roles in the story as they guide Nora in professional and personal life. Like the previous story, this one also has a touch of fairy-tale and whimsy but its a bit more localized than Dreaming Sophia. It also has more focus on specific characters rather than on many characters as in Dreaming Sophia which makes it for an easy and delightful read. I personally would have liked there to be more tidbits about Isabella Medici because she sounds pretty fascinating, but other than that a pretty good read.

Author Information:
(From Italy Book Tours)



Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Barnes & Noble,
Book Depository, Books a Million, IndieBound, Indigo
Add to Goodreads




Meet the Author:

Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta—the crazy linguist! In Italian, “matta” means “crazy” or “impassioned.” Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence.

Melissa promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta (studentessamatta.com). Melissa began the Matta blog to improve her command of the language and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, “Tutti Matti per l’Italiano,” and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy.

Waking Isabella is Melissa’s second novel and follows Dreaming Sophia, published in 2016. In this new novel about Italy, the reader is taken on another art history adventure, inspired by Melissa’s experiences living and traveling in Italy, specifically Arezzo, as well as her familiarity with the language and art. For more information about Waking Isabella and links to Melissa’s blogs and social media sites, visit www.MelissaMuldoon.com.

As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again, but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event. Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency—a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways. Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Waking Isabella and Dreaming Sophia. She also curates the Dreaming Sophia blog and Pinterest site: The Art of Loving Italy. Please visit the Pinterest page for pictures of Arezzo, the Giostra del Saracino, and all the places we go in Italy in both books. Visit MelissaMuldoon.com for more information about immersion trips to learn the language with Melissa in Italy, as well as the Studentessa Matta blog for practice and tips to learn the Italian language.

Connect with Melissa:Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Youtube
Opinion:

Previously I've read the author's beautiful and whimsical novel Dreaming Sophia a few years ago in 2016, thus I was pretty excited to begin Waking Isabella and seeing if her sophomore novel could match up to her previous one. To my delight I can confirm affirmatively that it can. While the story is localized to Italy, its even further localized to a village named Arezzo and the reader gets to learn fascinating tidbits about Arezzo such as the jousting match, or even the history of the rescue of art by the locals. Similar to the previous book, the main character, Nora, comes to Italy to recover from some shocks in her life and to begin healing herself. Listening to stories of Isabella as well as Margherita, she starts to learn to listen to herself and what she needs the most. In this story, unlike the previous one, the author does include a few historical scenes now and there that take place in different time periods be it WWII when Margherita is introduced, or 1500s when Isabella and Medici family is introduced. For someone who wants to learn more of Italy as well as someone looking for unexpected inspirations, I would highly recommend Waking Isabella as a good place to start.

This is for Italy Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Feb 19 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Feb 19 - The Book Drealms - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 19 - Essentially Italian - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 20 - Paulette's Papers - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
​Feb 20 - Just Reviews - review
Feb 21 - Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 22 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Feb 22 - Elgee Writes - review / giveaway
Feb 22 - T's Stuff - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Feb 23 - Monica Cesarato - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Feb 26 - Martha's Italy - review
Feb 27 - Olio by Marilyn - review / author interview / giveaway
March 1 - Writers and Authors - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
March 2 - Jayne’s Books - review
March 3 - Books and Tea - review / author interview / giveaway
March 5 - BookLove - review / guest post / giveaway
March 6 - Two Points of Interest - review / giveaway
March 7 - What Cathy Read Next - review / giveaway
March 8 - Literary Flits - review / giveaway
March 9 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
March 12 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
March 13 - #redhead.with.book - review / giveaway
March 14 - StoreyBook Reviews - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
March 14 - Italophilia - review
March 15 - Bookworm for Kids - review / giveaway
March 15 - Lovely Loveday - review
March 16 - Books Direct - review / giveaway
March 19 - Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews - review / giveaway
March 20 - JBronder Book Reviews - review / guest post
March 21 - The Pen and Muse - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
March 21 - Tower of Babel (Torre de Babel) - review
March 22 - The Booksnake Etc - review
March 23 - TFaulc Book Reviews - review / author interview
March 23 - Jessica Cassidy - review / giveaway
TBD - A L' Ouest - 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.)

E-Reading G996 Walk with Me

Title of the book: Walk with Me

Author: Debra Schoenberger

Publisher: Blurb.ca

Publishing Date:  2017

ISBN:9781389086670

Summary:

Welcome to my book of weird; pairs of shoes waiting for their owners, a cat for sale in a shop window and chairs on walls. Street photography like you've never seen it before - or have you?

Author Info:
(From iRead Book Tours)


Buy the book:
Amazon ~ iTunes ~ Blurb
Add to Goodreads




Meet the author / photographer:

Debra Schoenberger aka #girlwithcamera

"My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.

I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor's favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC. I also have an off-kilter sense of humour so I'm always looking for the unusual.

​Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook ​~ Instagram ~ Pinterest
Personal Opinion:

In this photography book I am reminded of a Tolkien quote about the road, (from the movie: "Still round the corner there may wait/ A new road or a secret gate,/And though we pass them by today,/Tomorrow we may come this way/And take the hidden paths that run/ Towards the Moon or to the Sun.") mainly because of the fact that this time the pictures are of things that one may not notice as they get busy with life and errands. The book consists entirely of pictures and they offer hidden worlds of colors, nature and either quirky or breathtaking moments. Interspersed within the pictures is nature be it dog, cat, people, sunsets, etc. I actually liked the natural pictures a lot. For people who love pictures or who want to see something amusing and unifying, I would highly recommend the book.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

March 5 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
March 5 - This and That Book Blog - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
March 5 - What Cathy Read Next - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
March 6 - Bound 4 Escape - review / author interview / giveaway
March 6 - My Reading Journeys - review / author interview / giveaway
March 7 - Cassidy's Bookshelves - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
March 7 - Being Tilly's Mummy - review
March 8 - Bless Their Hearts Mom - review / guest post / giveaway
March 8 - Library of Clean Reads - review / author interview / giveaway
March 9 - Bookworm for Kids - review / author interview / giveaway
March 12 - Hall Ways Blog - review / giveaway
March 12 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
March 13 - 30-something Travel - review / author interview / giveaway
March 13 - Literary Flits - review / giveaway
March 14 - Rockin' Book Reviews - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
March 14 - Always Books - review / author interview / giveaway
March 15 - My Life. One Story at a Time. - review / guest post / giveaway
March 15 - StoreyBook Reviews - review / giveaway
March 16 - One Frugal Girl - review / giveaway
March 19 - Books Direct - review
March 19 - 100 Pages A Day - review / giveaway
March 20 - fundinmental - review / author interview / giveaway
March 21 - Savvy Verse & Wit - review / giveaway
March 22 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - review / guest post
March 23 - Jessica Cassidy - review / author interview / giveaway
March 23 - T's Stuff - review / author interview / giveaway
March 23 - Seaside Book Nook - review / giveaway
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, March 7, 2018

G973 Book Review of The secret life of Mrs London by Rebecca Rosenberg

Name of Book: The secret life of Mrs. London

Author: Rebecca Rosenberg

ISBN: 978-1542048736

Publisher: Lake Union

Type of book: 1915-1917, WWI, Houdini, Jack London, marriage, relationships, muse to artist, gilded cage, performances, story, death, loyalty, finances, family

Year it was published: 2018

Summary:

San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.

PRAISE FOR THE SECRET OF MRS. LONDON

From Victoria Kelly, MRS. HOUDINI, THE NOVEL

The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a heart-wrenching portrait of a marriage between two people who utterly depend on one another, but ultimately aren't enough for each other. With skillful precision of language, Rosenberg weaves a narrative that defines the complexities of love, passion and art. This is a perceptive, deeply moving novel by a great new talent about a couple who has gone unnoticed in historical fiction until now. Anyone who has ever loved another person will want to read this book.


From John Cox, WILD ABOUT HOUDINI

One of Houdini’s best kept secrets was his affair with Charmian London in 1918. Now Rebecca Rosenberg tells the story using an elegant blend of fact and fiction, creating a Houdini book like no other. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a true peek behind the curtain and a page-turner. –John Cox, wildabouthoudini.com


From Malena Watrous, SPARKED, IF YOU FOLLOW ME

The SECRET LIFE of MRS. LONDON is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at the marriage of Jack and Charmain London, both fascinating and complicated characters with rich inner lives that Rosenberg conveys in crisp yet poetic prose. This contemporary historical fiction raises questions that are still relevant today about what makes a good marriage, and whether creativity and stability are incompatible. A rich, resonant, deeply satisfying novel sure to delight and leave readers thinking long after they put it down.

Characters:

Charmian is Jack London's wife, and its a identity she truly takes to heart, being to him whatever he desires her to be. She truly loves him and wants nothing but success for him. I found her to be a complex character and its hard to pigeonhole her into one category. Jack London is best described as an author diva as well as someone who takes advantage of people close to him. (He is not exactly painted in a positive light in this story...) He is fickle, callous, and in a lot of aspects is selfish. Bessie Houdini is also complex although she strives to be simple-minded. She is sweet, honest and in a lot of ways like Charmian, caged by a man's greatness. (I honestly think that Bessie Houdini is perhaps my favorite character in the story.)  Harry Houdini is mystical, intelligent and can also predict Charmian's moves with great accuracy. He is also loyal to his roots and to those he loves. (Writing about them, I just realized how eerily similar Houdini and Jack are...!)

Theme:

You are more than just one identity

Plot:

The story is in first person narrative from Charmian's point of view. The story begins with a bang (literally) and doesn't let go of the reader easily until the last few pages. I did want to know what happened to Charmian after the final few pages, but I think the author hinted at it throughout the novel rather than writing an author's note as most authors do to let the readers know what is fiction and what is truth. I also wanted to know what happened to Jack's family in the upcoming years as the Roaring Twenties came onto the scene so to speak. One aspect I wasn't comfortable with were the  Japanese servants employed by the London family because they weren't fully drawn characters and its a bit difficult to believe that one of them spoke in Japanese sayings and riddles all the time. (I recall reading in another book that Japanese who arrived to America picked up English with gusto because they didn't want to be viewed as Chinese were viewed.)

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)


About the Author

A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.
Opinion:

Probably like most of the people, I knew next to nothing about Jack London besides his Call of the Wild story as well as White Fang, which I found to be beautifully written. (In high school, I had to read a short story by him which is about a man trying to be on his own in Alaska without guidance and failing, as I remember it...) Besides him being an escape artist, I also knew next to nothing about Houdini as well. (My friend, G-d rest her soul, once called my son 'little Houdini' because he easily escaped the swaddling blanket as a baby.) For me the book honestly reads as if the author has known all the characters in her lifetime and they are larger than life. Other factors of the story are also very engaging such as the plot, the tight intricate details of Jack's and Charmian's daily life as well as their trip to Hawaii and the vivid characterizations of secondary characters of Bessie and Harry Houdini. All in all, a beautiful and vivid read where the reader won't look at page numbers but instead will devour the novel in a few settings as possible.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, January 30
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, January 31
Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, February 1
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, February 2
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Monday, February 5
Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, February 6
Review at Planting Cabbages

Wednesday, February 7
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, February 8
Interview at Planting Cabbages

Friday, February 9
Review at Bookish

Sunday, February 11
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, February 12
Review at Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, February 13
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, February 14
Review at Donna’s Book Blog

Thursday, February 15
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, February 16
Guest Post at Short Book and Scribes

Monday, February 19
Review at Reading the Past

Tuesday, February 20
Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, February 23
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, February 26
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, February 27
Guest Post at My Reading Corner

Wednesday, February 28
Review & Giveaway at Suzy Approved Book Reviews

Thursday, March 1
Review at What Cathy Read Next

Friday, March 2
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, March 5
Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer

Tuesday, March 6
Review at Bookish Beck

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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