Tuesday, March 19, 2019

G1100 Book Review of Brandon Tudor Knight by Tony Riches

Name of Book: Brandon Tudor Knight

Author: Tony Riches

ISBN: 9781790733163

Publisher: Preseli Press

Type of book: The Tudor family, King Henry VII, King Henry VIII, princess/commoner marriage, 1505-1537, work, family, duty, loyalty, alliances, marriages, sacrifices, debts, Queen Catherine, Anne Boleyn, Bessie Blount

Year it was published: 2018

Summary:

From the author of the international best-selling Tudor Trilogy:

Handsome, charismatic and a champion jouster, Sir Charles Brandon is the epitome of a Tudor Knight. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Brandon has a secret. He has fallen in love with Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, the beautiful widowed Queen of France, and risks everything to marry her without the King’s consent.

Brandon becomes Duke of Suffolk, but his loyalty is tested fighting Henry’s wars in France. Mary’s public support for Queen Catherine of Aragon brings Brandon into dangerous conflict with the ambitious Boleyn family and the king’s new right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell.

Torn between duty to his family and loyalty to the king, Brandon faces an impossible decision: can he accept Anne Boleyn as his new queen?

Characters:

Main characters include Charles Brandon, King Henry VIII and Mary Tudor. Charles Brandon is best described as a talented and enterprising young man who doesn't have the noble blood, but is resourceful and seems to live beyond his means numerous times. He is extremely dedicated to his job and to the nation, taking his oath as a knight very seriously. King Henry VIII is also drawn well although I couldn't help but compare him to King Henry VIII in Margaret George's novel. Mary Tudor is loyal and devoted to Brandon and is often caught between her brother and her husband. I also enjoyed gaining more knowledge about Thomas Cromwell and Cardinal Wolsey. I was a bit surprised to learn that the tale stopped in 1537 and honestly thought I would witness King Henry VIII's six marriages from behind-the-scenes.

Theme:

The lesson I got from the book is the importance of family for support and that its more worth it than work

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from Charles Brandon's point of view and it is chronological. A lot of the focus on the story is of Brandon trying to control King Henry VIII's mistakes as well as his efforts for the kingdom of England. I think I also would have liked there to be more about his family and children, although I understand that he is too busy to see them. The story is definitely well-researched and well-told and it fills up the gaps of King Henry VIII's life nicely, and it also helped me understand a bit more about the succession and the mention of the nine day queen.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)



About the Author

Tony Riches is a full-time writer and lives with his wife in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. After several successful non-fiction books, Tony turned to novel writing and wrote ‘Queen Sacrifice’, set in 10th century Wales, followed by ‘The Shell’, a thriller set in present day Kenya. A specialist in the history of the early Tudors, he is best known for his Tudor Trilogy. Tony’s other international best sellers include ‘Warwick ~ The Man Behind the Wars of the Roses’ and ‘The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham’.

For more information please visit Tony’s website and his blog The Writing Desk. He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Opinion:

I only know of Charles Brandon for his marriage to King Henry VIII's sister, Margaret, and that information I received from reading Margaret George's first novel, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF KING HENRY VIII, thus it was nice to have the background story of the man who was unafraid to reach to the top and to marry a princess with him being a commoner (a trope I'm really attracted to...) The whole tale is of the sacrifices that Charles Brandon is forced to make to be in King Henry VII as well as his son, King Henry VIII's good graces, and those sacrifices are many. I really enjoyed the tale and looking into the background of the famous couple.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, February 28
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, March 1
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, March 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, March 5
Review at Donna’s Book Blog

Wednesday, March 6
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Thursday, March 7
Feature at T’s Stuff

Friday, March 8
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, March 11
Guest Post at On the Tudor Trail

Tuesday, March 12
Review at Hisdoryan
Feature at To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, March 13
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Thursday, March 14
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, March 15
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at A Darn Good Read

Sunday, March 17
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Monday, March 18
Review at Maiden of the Pages
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Tuesday, March 19
Review at The Tudor Enthusiast
Review at Just One More Chapter

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

Thursday, March 14, 2019

G1086 Book Review of Trials and Trails by Jim Halverson

Name of Book: Trials and Trails

Author: Jim Halverson

ISBN: 9781732619401

Publisher: Gail Force Publishing

Type of book: 1870s and 1880s? Legacy of slavery, diversity, lessons,  Maslow's hierarchy of needs, travels, episodic, wandering, rarely settling down, job, business, finances, friendship, bromance

Year it was published: 2018

Summary:

With a past of slavery and compliance, LeRoy has learned to pick his battles carefully. Johnny B, a quick-tempered Sioux, is still learning to control his anger. When dangerous circumstances bond them together, the pair learn to navigate Reconstruction Era America and all its prejudices. They save an innocent man from hanging, reunite two old friends, assist in an honorable death for an elder Indian, and discover their worth as they steadily assimilate self-respect into their lives.

From Jim Halverson's debut novel comes a tale of adventure, purpose, and the pursuit of self-actualization. Cowboys and psychology ride hand in hand, traveling a journey from living life on the edge to finding a place of belonging, joy, vulnerability, and distinction. Through trials along their trails, LeRoy and Johnny B transform people they meet, brand the world a better place, and reap the benefits.

Characters:

Main characters include LeRoy and Johnny B as well as Alice. LeRoy is an African-American cowboy hand who had experienced slavery and discrimination by others. He is intelligent and often thinks before he acts, which he blames it on his background. He also helps out Johnny B with numerous tasks and loves science. Johnny B. is an orphaned Sioux male who in someways best resembles the modern audience; he is quick to fix up the problems and often does things without thinking them through. He was a judge's ward and thinks quickly on his feet as well as creating elaborate plans to prove his point. (I admit was my favorite character.) Alice is a widowed young woman they meet on the road who lets them stay with her in exchange for calving work. The three end up getting along well, but know they must part. Alice is plucky, resourceful and very tenacious.

Theme:

From Lao Tzu, I believe: "A thousand mile journey begins with a single step"

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from Johnny B's and LeRoy's points of view. I think one of the things I had issues with is that the time wasn't crystal clear; that the story is set in nebulous 1870s or 1880s of America with wild west theme. The tale is also reminiscent of a road trip, of two men walking through towns attempting to do the right things but never staying long enough to put down any roots, which I guess I found a bit confusing because why did they stay in this particular town versus why they rejected others? The character growth is slow but it is there and it is evident in how they reason and think towards different scenarios. Also, the author doesn't shy away from the racism that both men experienced and went through.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)


Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads




Meet the Author:

Jim Halverson grew up in the rural, gold-mining town of Mokelumne Hill, CA and received his MBA from Golden Gate University. He spent part of his life on a ranch and is an avid student of psychology. He recognizes the struggles of all men and women seeking equality and respect. Jim and his wife, Gail, spend their time traveling from their small farm in Forestville, CA.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook
Opinion:

Years back, I remember that I read and reviewed a story about the secrets to business success, which is also told in a very similar style to this book; that of lessons wrapped in a story. On the surface and in depths, TRIALS and TRAILS seemed to have a lot that I would enjoy; travel through America, attention to diversity and messages that strongly profilirated the pages. I also enjoyed the episodic format of the story with Johnny B and LeRoy showcasing us their talents and their friendship. And yes, its a novel devoid of sex, drugs, alcohol and so forth, which means that I hope if my young son will be interested in reading, I will encourage him to pick this book up. (He's only 2, going on 3.) But for some odd reason, I wasn't really grabbed by the tale as I hoped I would be, and I'm not quite sure why: maybe its because I am used to tales with romantic tales and this one didn't really have any? Or perhaps the fact that I'm not used to reading books that star African-American and Sioux characters? (I do read diverse books, and have read countless Asian or Asian-American novels that I have enjoyed greatly.) But still, a very thoughtful read that deserves to be re-read.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

March 4 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
March 5 - Literary Flits - review / giveaway
March 6 - Viviana MacKade - book spotlight / guest post
March 6 - Books for Books - review
March 7 - JB's Bookworms with Brandy Mulder - book spotlight / guest post
March 7 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
March 8 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
March 11 - Fountain of Books - review / author interview / giveaway
March 12 - T's Stuff - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
March 13 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
March 13 - Rockin’ Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
March 14 - Two Girls and a Book - review
March 15 - The Legal Duchess - review / giveaway
March 18 - Paulette's Papers - book spotlight / giveaway
March 19 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review / giveaway
March 20 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
March 21 - #redhead.with.book - book spotlight / giveaway
March 22 - Nighttime Reading Center - review / giveaway
March 25 - Read and Review - book spotlight
March 25 - Sefina Hawke's Books - review
March 26 - Truly Trendy - review
March 27 - StoreyBook Reviews - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
March 28 - My Devotional Thoughts - book spotlight / author interview
March 29 - Christine's Book Corner - 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.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

G1097 Claiming my place; coming of age in the shadow of the Holocaust

Title of the book: Claiming my place; coming of age in the shadow of the Holocaust

Author: Planaria Price and Helen Reichmann West

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Publishing Date: 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-30529

Summary:

Young adult nonfiction about a young Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by moving into Nazi Germany and hiding in plain sight.

Gucia Gomolinska grew up comfortably in Piotrkow, Poland, a devoted student, sister, daughter, and friend. Still, even in the years before World War II, she faced discrimination as a Jew—but with her ash-blond hair she was often able to pass as just another Pole. When her town was invaded by Nazis, she knew her Aryan coloring gave her an advantage, and she faced an awful choice: stay in the place she had always called home, or leave behind everything she knew to try to survive. She took on a new identity as Basia Tanska, and her journey led her directly into Nazi Germany.

Planaria Price, along with Basia's daughter Helen West, tells this incredible life story directly in the first person. Claiming My Place is a stunning portrayal of bravery, love, loss, and the power of s

torytelling.




Author Info:

(From HFVBT)






About the Author

After graduating from Berkeley and earning a Master’s Degree in English Literature from UCLA, Planaria Price began her career teaching English to adult immigrants in Los Angeles. She has written several textbooks for University of Michigan Press and has lectured at over 75 conferences. In addition to her passion for teaching and writing, Planaria has worked with her husband to save and restore over 30 Victorian and Craftsman homes in her historic Los Angeles neighborhood. Claiming My Place is her first book for young adults.

For more information, please visit Planaria’s website at www.planariaprice.com.

Personal Opinion:

I think because I am in a different place now, but reading Claiming My Place; Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust was both a sad and heartbreaking tale. (I think also because I have been gifted a wonderful little boy about three years ago, and if I read something tragic, then I often place myself in the character's to see how I would feel.) I also feel that when my son grows up, I will be using this book as a way to introduce him to Holocaust and to what his great-grandparents, (may G-d rest their souls) have experienced. In other words, a more definite connection. (Although by then I would wish to discover tales of Holocaust that will take place in Ukraine and Russia...) This is a tale of human resilience and its a good read for young adult population as well as adult population. While the narrator didn't live in a concentration camp, this book shows a painful lesson I have learned; evil isn't black and white, and evil doesn't happen right away; it happens in increments of time, little by little like the carving of a mountain by water.

This is for HFVBT



Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, March 1
Interview at Passages to the Past

Sunday, March 3
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, March 4
Interview at The Book Connection
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, March 5
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Feature at To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, March 6
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, March 7
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, March 8
Feature at T’s Stuff
Review at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

Sunday, March 10
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, March 11
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Review at Jathan & Heather
Review at Impressions In Ink

Tuesday, March 12
Feature at Maiden of the Pages

Wednesday, March 13
Review at Just One More Chapter

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.)

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Book Review of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Name of Book: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3923-9

Publisher: Atria Books

Type of book: 1950s-2000s, Hollywood, glamour, LGBTQ+ romances, acting, Oscars, the system, interview, family, friends, hiding self, California, New York, secrets

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn's luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the '80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn's story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique's own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid's signature talent for creating "complex, likable characters" (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

Characters:

Main characters include Evelyn Hugo, Celia St. James, Harry Cameron, and Evelyn's six other husbands or so. Out of all the people, Evelyn Hugo and Celia St. James are the ones that are fully fleshed out as complex individuals who have to tread on rocky ground. Evelyn Hugo is unapolgetic and accepts herself as she is. She often thinks of reputation and appearances first and of consequences last, which make her a delightful character. She has to learn things the hard way and is a very strong woman who is loyal to her friends and her lover. Celia St. James is a lesbian who is in love with Evelyn Hugo and quite often Celia seems to be more socially savvy, or at least far more talented because she has won far more Oscars than Evelyn and she has to navigate between what attracted her to Evelyn versus letting Evelyn be herself. Harry Cameron is Evelyn's fifth husband, but prior to that he has his own secret and is a dedicated producer to Evelyn. The two have always continued to be lifelong friends through thick and thin. Evelyn's other six husbands are drawn well, but I sense they are more secondary characters rather than primary ones, and in case of Evelyn's first husband, tertiary.

Theme:

Nothing is what it seems

Plot:

The story is told in first person narrative primarily from Evelyn Hugo's point of view, and from time to time her interviewer, Monique also tells the tale in first person narrative. Although I wanted to like Monique, I admit that I fell more in love with Evelyn Hugo rather than Monique, and a lot of the tale was spent with Evelyn Hugo, (at least I couldn't wait until we got back to Evelyn Hugo.) There were no slow or boring parts and reading SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO was like eating an expensive and gourmet meal at a finest restaurant. The tale also covered Hollywood from 1950s up until 1980s and described a lot of what LGBTQ+ actors had to face in order to remain employed and famous.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Taylor Jenkins Reid lives in Los Angeles and is the acclaimed author of ONE TRUE LOVES, MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE, AFTER I DO, and FOREVER, INTERRPUTED. Her novels ahve been named best books of summer by PEOPLE, COSMOPOLITAN, GLAMOUR, InSTYLE, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, USA TODAY, US WEEKLY, PARADE, POPSUGAR, BUZZFEED, BUSTLE, BRIT+CO, Goodreads and others. To learn more, visit TaylorJenkinsReid.com

Opinion:

First of all, I can't believe I have waited almost two years to read and review this wonderful gem. I received the book in 2017, months after it was published because I kept seeing it everywhere on the 'net. But once I got it, I kept putting off reading it, and this year I finally decided to plunge into it namely because the author has a new book coming out: DAISY JONES AND THE SIX (which yes, I want to read it now...) and diving into this book is an experience that I haven't yet had before because its a beautiful and addictive tale that will long keep you past bedtime to squeeze one more chapter, and the reader will find themselves falling in love with Evelyn Hugo and half hoping she is real instead of a wonderful figment of imagination. The love story is both unexpected, explosive and breathtaking because even the romance novels I have read pale to this novel, as I was happy yet sad for Evelyn. The tale will also expose the ugly side of the 1950s to 1980s Hollywood as a lot of movie stars have to hide themselves at the cost of being famous. I also should mention that there are elements of LGBTQ+ in the story and there is heavy focus and balance on LGBTQ+ romance.

I reviewed it out of my personal collection

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

Friday, March 1, 2019

Coming Attractions for March 2019

Hey everyone, we are already in March, and I can't believe that its the month where spring begins. Interestingly enough, spring and summer are the least of my favorite seasons, therefore its an irony that my child was born just as the spring has began; March 23rd, 2016. Also, I have been blogging for 9 years and have blogged, well, a thousand or so books. Expect a lot of book reviews in March, which I'm excited about. Without further ado, here are the book tours and possible reads:

Book Tours/Spotlights: 

Claiming my place; coming of age in the shadow of the Holocaust by Planaria Price with Helen Reichmann West (March 6th, 2019)

Trials and Trails by Jim Halverson (March 7th, 2019)


Brandon Tudor Knight by Tony Riches (March 18th, 2019)

The Way of Glory by Patricia J. Boomsma (March 19th, 2019)

From An-other land by Tanushree Ghosh (March 25th, 2019)

My lovely wife by Samantha Downing (March 26th, 2019)

The Goodbye Cafe by Mariah Stewart (March 27th, 2019)

Scheduled Reviews:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Tamara Jenkins Reid (March 3rd, 2019)

The Power of Context; How to Manage Our Bias and Improve Our Understanding of Others by Daniel R. Stalder (March 14th, 2019)

Alvar the Kingmaker by Annie Whitehead (March 17th, 2019)

Left To Their Own Devices; How Digital Natives are Reshaping the American Dream by Julie M. AlBright (March 26th, 2019)

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See (March 28th, 2019)

Planned Reads:

Left to their own devices; How digital natives are reshaping the American Dream by Julie M. Albright (Finished it early)

The Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Wunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Promised Land by Martin Fletcher 

Things we lost in the fire by Mariana Enriquez

My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin 

For Fresh Fiction:

That Churchill Woman by Stephanie Barron

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Crimson Lake by Candice Fox

Drops of Cerulean by Dawn Adams Cole 

March 2019

A House Divided-Pearl S Buck
SR: March 11th, 2016
FR: N/A
The Way of Glory-Patricia J. Boomsma
SR: March 9th, 2019
FR:
Little Faith-Nickolas Butler
SR: March 1st,. 2019
FR: March 10th, 2019
Promised Land-Martin Fletcher
SR: March 17th, 2019
FR:
Drops of Cerulean-Dawn Adams Cole
SR: March 10th, 2019
FR:
Crimson Lake-Candice Fox
SR: March 9th, 2019
FR:
From An-other land-Tanushree Ghosh
SR: February 27th, 2019
FR: March 11th, 2019
Brandon Tudor Knight-Tony Riches
SR: February 24th, 2019
FR: March 5th, 2019
The Things We Cannot Say-Kelly Rimmer
SR: March 6th, 2019
FR:
The Island of Sea Women-Lisa See
SR: February 28th, 2019
FR: March 17th, 2019
Goodbye Cafe- Mariah Stewart
SR: February 16th, 2019
FR: March 5th, 2019

Nonfiction:
Tree of Souls-Howard Schwartz
SR: February 10th, 2014
FR: N/A
Left to their own devices; How digital natives are reshaping the American Dream- Julie M. Albright
SR: March 5th, 2019
FR: March 12th, 219

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Book Spotlight for The Chef's Secret by Crystal King



Book Details:



Book Title: The Chef's Secret by Crystal King

Category: Adult fiction, 352 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Atria/Simon & Schuster

Release date: Feb 12, 2019

Tour dates: Feb 11 to 28, 2019

Content Rating: R (for a couple of explicit, but loving, sex scenes (no abuse or rape) and minor curse words)



Book Description:



A captivating novel of Renaissance Italy detailing the mysterious life of Bartolomeo Scappi, the legendary chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time, and the nephew who sets out to discover his late uncle’s secrets—including the identity of the noblewoman Bartolomeo loved until he died.



When Bartolomeo Scappi dies in 1577, he leaves his vast estate—properties, money, and his position—to his nephew and apprentice Giovanni. He also gives Giovanni the keys to two strongboxes and strict instructions to burn their contents. Despite Scappi’s dire warning that the information concealed in those boxes could put Giovanni’s life and others at risk, Giovanni is compelled to learn his uncle’s secrets. He undertakes the arduous task of decoding Scappi’s journals and uncovers a history of deception, betrayal, and murder—all to protect an illicit love affair.



As Giovanni pieces together the details of Scappi’s past, he must contend with two rivals who have joined forces—his brother Cesare and Scappi’s former protégé, Domenico Romoli, who will do anything to get his hands on the late chef’s recipes.



With luscious prose that captures the full scale of the sumptuous feasts for which Scappi was known, The Chef’s Secret serves up power, intrigue, and passion, bringing Renaissance Italy to life in a delectable fashion.


To follow the tour, please visit Crystal King's page on Italy Book Tours.



Buy the Book:









Meet the Author:



Crystal King is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University, as well as at GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US.



A Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in critical and creative thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She resides in Boston but considers Italy her next great love after her husband, Joe, and their two cats, Nero and Merlin. She is the author of Feast of Sorrow.



Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends March 7, 2019


a Rafflecopter giveaway





Tuesday, February 19, 2019

G1050 Book Review of The last woman standing by Thelma Adams

Name of Book: The Last Woman Standing

Author: Thelma Adams

ISBN: 978-1503935181

Publisher: Lake Union

Type of book: 1880-1882, Arizona Tombstone, Josephine Marcus, Wyatt Earp, the lawless West, relationships, family, loyalty, gun fights

Year it was published: 2016

Summary:

Two decades after the Civil War, Josephine Marcus, the teenage daughter of Jewish immigrants, is lured west with the promise of marriage to Johnny Behan, one of Arizona’s famous lawmen. She leaves her San Francisco home to join Behan in Tombstone, Arizona, a magnet for miners (and outlaws) attracted by the silver boom. Though united by the glint of metal, Tombstone is plagued by divided loyalties: between Confederates and Unionists, Lincoln Republicans and Democrats.

But when the silver-tongued Behan proves unreliable, it is legendary frontiersman Wyatt Earp who emerges as Josephine’s match. As the couple’s romance sparks, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books…

At once an epic account of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American tale, The Last Woman Standing recalls the famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral through the eyes of a spunky heroine who sought her happy ending in a lawless outpost—with a fierce will and an unflagging spirit.

Characters:

Main characters include Josephine Sarah "Sadie" Marcus, Wyatt Earp and his brothers as well as Johnny Behan and his son Albert. There are some female characters, namely the Mustached Lady as well as Mollie the photographer, but I feel as if they are not as well drawn as Josephine, Wyatt and Johnny. Josephine is a fiery secular Jewish woman who seems to be constrained by her gender and propriety and often wants to make more of herself. She definitely stands out in multiple ways and is easy to remember. She used to want to be an actress and is rebellious. Johnny Behan is Josephine's first lover and he is as slick as a snake and takes advantage of people in multiple ways, be it financially or making promises he doesn't keep. (Please tell me that eventually he will get in trouble over what he said or done...) Wyatt Earp is someone I admired in the story because he is loyal to his brothers, friends and to Josephine. He is a man of few words but the words he says do count a lot. He is also brave and will do what is right even if its difficult. Mollie is a photographer who used Josephine as a model and she is confident and aware of herself.

Theme:

Family is strength

Plot:

The story is in first person narrative from Josephine's point of view, and I feel its more character-driven,  as in the audience is seeing the growth of Josephine from a young naive teenager to a mature woman who has seen a lot in her two years at Tombstone Arizona. I often think that this is more than what it appears because its a tale of family bonds and strength as well as tale of coming-of-age and mothers and daughters. I don't recall explicit scenes. Also, what is rare for a story, is that although I thought it would be longer than it was, it has a perfect ending in my opinion, whether or not there will be sequel.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Thelma Adams is an established figure in the entertainment industry. For two decades, she has penned celebrity features and criticism for high-profile publications. Her portfolio of actor interviews includes Julianne Moore, George Clooney, Jessica Chastain, and Matthew McConaughey among many others. While covering film for the NEW YORK POST, US WEEKLY, and Yahoo movies, Thelma became a regular at film festivals from Berlin to Dubai, Toronto to Tribeca. She sits on the Hamptons International Film Festival Advisory Board and twice chaired the prestigious New YOrk Film Critics Circle. Her debut novel, PLAYDATE, published by Thomas Dunne Books, won high critical acclaim. Adams is often recognized, as she has been invited to share her expertise on many broadcast outlets, including appearances on NBC's TODAY, CBS's EARLY SHOW, and CNN. SHe graduated Phi Beta Kappa witha  history degree from UC Berkeley and earned an MFA from Columbia University. She lives in Hyde Park, New York, with her family.

Opinion:

I can't believe I waited as long as I did to read and review this book. Its definitely cinematic, memorable and gripping. I don't know much about Josephine nor about Wyatt, but I enjoyed learning about the Wild West, Arizona and what life must have been like for the people living in Tombstone. I also expected for the story to be longer and to cover Josephine's entire life and marriage to Wyatt Earp (any chance there might be a sequel in the works?)

This was given by an author for 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.)

Book Review of Guy by Jowita Bydlowska

Name of Book: Guy

Author: Jowita Bydlowska

ISBN: 978-1-928088-23-3

Publisher: Wolsak and Wynn Publishers

Type of book: relationships, chauvinist, attention to detail, judgment, attraction, modern times, lack of commitment, ruin, wealth

Year it was published: 2016

Summary:

Guy is a successful talent agent who dates models, pop stars and women he meets on the beach. He's a narcissistic, judgmental snob who rates women's looks from one to ten; a racist, homophobic megalomaniac who makes fun of people's weight; a cheating, lying, manipulative jerk who sees his older girlfriend as nothing more than an adornment. His only real friend, besides his dog, is a loser who belongs to a pick-up artist group. Guy is completely oblivious to his own lack of empathy, and his greatest talent is hiding it all...until he meets someone who challenges him in a way he's never been challenged before. Darkly funny and utterly offensive, "Guy" is a brilliant and insightful character study that exposes the twisted thoughts of the misogynist bro next door.

Characters:

Main character is Guy, who is best described as handsome, narcissitic, and obsessed with perfection. He loves challenges, be they women, food or clothes, and often strikes me as a male model. A lot of life is roses for Guy, because he is unapologetic and often doesn't reveal his real self at all. He also wants to be with unattractive women as a way of feeling that he is the best thing to happen to her since sliced bread. (Am really not kidding.) Basically the tale explores relationships between Guy, Dolores an unattractive woman, his more attractive and older girlfriend Gloria and, ultimately, Bride. It becomes an interesting question of whether or not Guy can reform. 

Theme:

What goes around comes around

Plot:

The story is told in first person narrative from Guy's point of view. and the most fascinating part of the story is Guy. There is a story there of Guy's relationships with women as well as getting his comeuppance, but Guy is a character I will remember for a long time. I also should warn of explicit sexual scenes in the tale as well, and despite Guy's personality, I really liked the novel.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Jowita Bydlowska was born in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to Canada as a teen. She is the author of the bestselling memoir DRUNK MOM. A journalist and fiction writer, she lives in Toronto, Canada

Opinion:

To be honest, I was pretty surprised that I won this, but I think the summary definitely caught my attention and when given a chance, I couldn't help but read it and fall in love with the anti-hero Guy (yes, that's really his name) who feels he is above the rest of us mortals. Basically, Guy is a man you'd love to hate, who often sees himself as god's gift to women and often treats women badly (although he will argue that he doesn't,). The whole tale is driven by Guy, although there is a semblance of a plot. But strangely enough, its a book I enjoyed and something I wanted to review for Valentines Day. I have to say that the ending didn't make much sense for me, and its something I'm still trying to figure out, especially when Guy had such a personality change.

I won this at a blog giveaway

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

G1092 Book Review of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume II by Collins Hemingway

Name of Book: The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume II

Author: Collins Hemingway

ISBN: 9781535444958

Publisher: Self published

Part of a Series: The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Trilogy

Type of book: Jane Austen, marriage, relationship, Napoleonic wars, slavery, pregnancy, motherhood, 1805-1807, scientific discoveries, steam engines, travel

Year it was published: 2016

Summary:

Jane Austen Lived a Quiet, Single Life-Or Did She?

Tradition holds that Jane Austen lived a proper, contemplative, unmarried life. But what if she wed a man as passionate and intelligent as she-and the marriage remained secret for 200 years?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen resolves the biggest mystery of Austen's life-the "lost years" of her twenties-of which historians know virtually nothing.

- Why the enduring rumors of a lost love or tragic affair?

- Why, afterward, did the vivacious Austen prematurely put on "the cap of middle age" and close off any thoughts of finding love?

- Why, after her death, did her beloved sister destroy her letters and journals?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy answers these questions through a riveting love affair based on the history of the times and the details of Austen's own life.

Characters:

I think the two main characters would be Jane Austen Dennis and Ashton Dennis. Jane Austen is a woman who comes alive in marriage and impending motherhood. She is also a woman trying to reconcile the two roles of being a writer as well as a wife/mother. She takes full charge of running Ashton's estate and is supportive of her husband's dreams and ventures, although it seems as if she doesn't seem to get the same support from Ashton. Ashton Dennis is best described as a dreamer who wants to make the world a better place and at times tends to put himself first. There are some other characters, namely the Lovelace family (umm any coincidence that the name is a villain from Clarissa by Samuel Richardson? Hadn't read the book but want to.) the husband and wife from a colony that approve slavery and that at first are best friends, but then become distant as time goes on and their opinions diverge.

Theme:

There is beauty in relationships

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from Jane's point of view, and just like her novels, this is a tale of psychology, of wonderment and a great deal of talent went behind the tale and the research, for the author dares to leave no stone un-turned. I also loved the letters between Ashton and Jane. This is seriously a novel that I wish would be more well known and better read. What also impressed me is the reality of the times and of vivid details that the author used to bring out Regency Era beyond the ball gowns and fashions. He gave a lot of substance of love to Jane Austen and one does wonder how her novels will be read after finishing this trilogy.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)


About the Author

Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes tThe hem complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.

As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world’s thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.

Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.

Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.

Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.

For more information please visit Collins Hemingway’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Opinion:

I've read the author's previous Jane Austen novel, The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume I, which I've found well-written and unforgettable. However, the second volume really blows the first one out of the water, and I was amazed at how it felt as if I was reading Jane Austen's later novels. (Yes, I have read all of her published novels and wrote reviews,) but the author literally brings the Regency Era to life as the reader becomes exposed to social issues of the day, along with progress. I loved watching Jane Austen's marriage flourish and loved watching her with her husband. So far the two novels are like a long lost love letter to Jane Austen who dared to shape women's thoughts and emotions and to tell women that they have power over themselves. At the same time, I look forward yet dread the third volume because I doubt that happiness will last long...but the curious side of me will read to find out what happens next, if given the opportunity.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 14
Review at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, January 16
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, January 17
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, January 18
Review at Rainy Day Reviews

Monday, January 21
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog

Tuesday, January 22
Excerpt at T’s Stuff
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 23
Review & Guest Post at To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, January 25
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, January 28
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Tuesday, January 29
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Wednesday, January 30
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Friday, February 1
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Saturday, February 2
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Sunday, February 3
Review at Bri’s Book Nook

Monday, February 4
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Tuesday, February 5
Review at Maiden of the Pages

Wednesday, February 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, February 7
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, February 8
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Saturday, February 9
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots


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

Book Fairs around the World

Hey guys, traveling overseas this year and worried about missing a book fair? Or want to experience a book fair in a different part of the world?

As someone who loves reading translated  literature from different parts of the world, and who does their best to bring attention to diverse novels, I'm really excited to present this amazing compilation of book fairs that will take place around the world throughout the year of 2019. The book fairs do take place in diverse nations from Western and Eastern Europe as well as different parts of Asia, Australia, Africa, South America and even Mexico and Canada.

Check out this awesome link that was brought to my attention and happy travels!

Click here

(I want to thank kotobee.com for this mind-blowing post of different book fairs around the world) 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

G998 Book Review of The Pisces by Melissa Broder

Name of Book: The Pisces

Author: Melissa Broder

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6155-4

Publisher: Hogarth

Type of book: Merman, love, obsession, coldness, depression, anxiety, care, unconditional vs conditional, death vs life, California, magical realism, Los Angeles,

Year it was published: 2018

Summary:

An original, imaginative, and hilarious debut novel about love, anxiety, and sea creatures, from the author of So Sad Today.

Lucy has been writing her dissertation about Sappho for thirteen years when she and Jamie break up. After she hits rock bottom in Phoenix, her Los Angeles-based sister insists Lucy housesit for the summer—her only tasks caring for a beloved diabetic dog and trying to learn to care for herself. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube atop Venice Beach, but Lucy can find no peace from her misery and anxiety—not in her love addiction group therapy meetings, not in frequent Tinder meetups, not in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection, not in ruminating on the ancient Greeks. Yet everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer one night while sitting alone on the beach rocks.

Whip-smart, neurotically funny, sexy, and above all, fearless, The Pisces is built on a premise both sirenic and incredibly real—what happens when you think love will save you but are afraid it might also kill you.

Characters:

Main characters include Lucy, a thirty-eight year old woman who is reeling from a recent break up of her long term relationship, as well as understanding that her ex-fiance desires another woman and not her. On top of that, she is also struggling with writing her dissertation about Sappho, feeling as if she no longer cares. There is also Lucy's older sister Annika who is into yoga, married and has a foxhound dog named Dominic. Annika worries and cares for her sister deeply and asks her to fly out to Los Angeles to live in the house while Lucy tries to get her life back on track. Theo is a mysterious night swimmer who has a secret of his own that is deeply attracted to Lucy and will do whatever he can to be with her. Dominic is a foxhound who dislikes Theo for some odd reason and is loyal to people who care about him.

Theme:

I read the tale from cover to cover, and I had difficulty in understanding what I should have learned.

Plot:

The story is in first person narrative from Lucy's point of view, and Lucy is easy to hate but difficult to love, especially because I believe that she represents the self that is all impulse and little to no logic. In other words, a self none want to acknowledge or believe that exists. What I also difficulty in this story is finguring what, if anything, did Lucy learn from her experience, or how did she grow up? ultimately, I believe, she didn't grow up and still remained herself, and if she learned anything from her experiences, she will not implement it in her life.

Author Information:
(From back of the book)

Melissa Broder is the authro of the essay collection SO SAD TODAY and four poetry collections, including LAST SEXT. Her poetry has appeared in POETRY, THE IOWA REVIEW, TIN HOUSE, and GUERNICA, and she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize. She writes the "SO SAD TODAY" column at VICE, the astrology column for LENNY LETTER, and the "BEAUTY AND DEATH" column on Elle.com She lives in Los Angeles

Opinion:

The Pisces definitely reflects what I will call the modern art scenario: either you love it or hate it but I doubt that there is much in-between emotions in the pages, and because I couldn't really like it, neither did I fully want to tear it into pieces, I gave it three stars. What I enjoyed in the story is exploration of love, and of how humans tend to be more attracted to fools gold rather than real gold. But what didn't make a lot of sense to me is the whole merman erotica angle, and I also detested and felt disgusted by Lucy's care towards her older sister's dog, Dominic. Lucy is a character that you either hate or love, understand or condemn. What I also found confusing is the whole angle of Sappho and her purpose in the tale. I also will mention gross negligence of a dog. I also couldn't help but think of Charmed TV show (the old one with Prue, Piper and Phoebe) one where mermaids are described as cold, lacking empathy and lacking love, which seems to be the characteristics that the merman carries within him.

This was given for a 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.)

G137 Book Review of The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

Name of Book: The Tale of Genji

Author: Murasaki Shikibu (Translated by Edward G Seidensticker)

ISBN: 0-394-73530-7

Publisher: Borzoi Book Alfred A Knopf

Type of book: Japan, Heian Court Era, wealth, generations, women, men, 800s-900s?, cloistered, marriage, love, courting

Year it was published: 900s?- 1000s? (Version I have 1976)

Summary:

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

Characters:

I think the characters in someways are three dimensional, although Genji in many ways tends to read like a Gary Stu character. (Sad childhood, gets everything he wants, etc.) but still he does make mistakes and does suffer pain from his consequences. The reader watches Genji through his life, from the time he is a young to a time he has his own children, and we also get the privilege of watching his "son" and "grandson". In all honesty my favorite characters were Genji, Kashiwagi and Kaoru. There is honestly a lot to talk about when it comes to both male and female characters, and a lot I didn't understand. I think I liked Genji perhaps because there is something gentle about him, and something ethereal, something that causes him to stand out from a typical man. Kashiwagi I liked because he is a tragic character, and Kaoru, I think its because he is like Kashiwagi. (Heian Japanese male or not, I had to admire, despite my annoyance, his devotion toward Oigimi.) I found Niou very annoying and half the time wondered that he's a spoiled character and jealous of Kaoru for no reason. I do wish that the book would have continued on to at least tell us if Kaoru managed to get together with Ukifune. (I really dont' understand why Ukifune likes Niou. Perhaps someone can explain it to?)


Theme:

The world is changeable and undependable. Nothing stays the same.

Plot:

This is in third person. At first its from Genji's point of view, then later it moves to Yugiri and Kashiwagi and way later Oigimi, Nakanokimi and Ukifune. In all honesty I liked the first half with Genji; the second or third part with Kaoru and Niou really frustrated me because it seemed that neither were getting what they desired and nothing was working out with the sisters. The story ends in mid-thought and right on what was supposed to be a climax, of Kaoru trying to "rescue" Ukifine from being a nun. I don't think I also appreciated how everyone rushed to become a nun/monk. Was the world so terrible that they had to sacrifice their lives? Also, I couldn't help but think of what would happen if everyone in Japan became a monk or nun. What would happen to people who will support them?

Author Information:

born
Kyoto, Japan

gender
female

genre
Poetry


About this author

Murasaki Shikibu, or Lady Murasaki as she is sometimes known in English, was a Japanese novelist, poet, and a maid of honor of the imperial court during the Heian period. She is best known as the author of The Tale of Genji, written in Japanese between about 1000 and 1008, one of the earliest and most famous novels in human history. "Murasaki Shikibu" was not her real name; her actual name is unknown, though some scholars have postulated that her given name might have been Takako (for Fujiwara Takako). Her diary states that she was nicknamed "Murasaki" ("purple wisteria blossom") at court, after a character in The Tale of Genji. "Shikibu" refers to her father's position in the Bureau of Ceremony (shikibu-shō).

Opinion:

This is a story of life basically, and that the love affairs are not the same but are different; the only thing that's the same is the women's reluctance and what seems like rape. I actually loved the first part, the Genji and Kashiwagi part much better than Kaoru and Niou part. The book isn't easy to read and its incredibly long as well as complicated and poetic, so its not a casual one time read. (I read the unabridged translation by Seidensticker). We also see Genji making choices with consequences that last a long time, such as sleeping with his stepmother and begetting a son by her, or not treating the Rokujo lady in a right way and dealing with extremely painful consequences of that. I also enjoyed reading the poetry and how it was used to convey various emotions of sadness. Probably most people would find poetry off putting. (I don't read poetry to be honest.) But this poetry becomes a challenge to figure out what they are saying and what they are feeling as well. In a lot of ways, this is a very fascinating story and also a fascinating peek into the world that is long gone. I think many readers will dislike the fact that Genji is a playboy, or else they will try to put modern sensibilities on this historical novel. There are numerous things I felt uncomfortable with such as Genji marrying a woman he raised, or well, sleeping with certain women. There is also a strong Oedipus theme going on; such as Genji trying to substitute for his mother in forms of his stepmother and his stepmother's niece? I also think that Niou and Kaoru were meant for a separate book instead of being linked to Genji's stories. (Hints of Kaoru trying to find a woman that resembles the dead Oigimi.)

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

Thursday, February 7, 2019

G1061 Book Review of The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

Name of Book: The Girls at 17 Swann Street

Author: Yara Zgheib

ISBN: 978-1250-20244-4

Publisher: St Martin's Press

Type of book: Anorexia, USA, France, modern times, bulimia, specialized group home, Missouri, friendship, love, family, Spring/summer of 2016

Year it was published: 2019

Summary:

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Yara Zgheib's poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting, intimate journey of a young woman's struggle to reclaim her life. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.

Characters:

Main characters include Anna, her husband Matthias and numerous friends she makes while at 17 Swann Street. Anna Roux is a twenty-six year old former ballet dancer who deeply loves her husband. "My name is Anna. I am a dancer, a constant daydreamer...I believe in love. I am madly in love. I am madly loved. Matthias. I have books to read, places to see, babies to make, birthday cakes to taste. I even have unused birthday wishes to spare. So what am I doing here?" (pages 2-3) she is suffering from anorexia. Matthias is Anna's extremely devoted husband who loves her deeply as well and desires to do whatever he can to help her. There are other women in 17 Swann Street such as Emm who seems to function only at 17 Swann Street and is the leader, then Valerie who makes friends with Anna as well as Chloe and Julie. One of the women suffers from bulimia, while others suffer from anorexia.

Theme:

Life isn't black and white

Plot:

Going back and forth between pre-17 Swann Street versus the months that Anna has spent there, THE GIRLS AT 17 SWANN Street by Yara Zgheib is a lyrical tale of one young woman's anorexia and the impact it had had on her family. As if knowing and sensing what the readers want, Yara Zgheib teases out various theories as to why Anna developed anorexia, and let me just mention that it can be anything. From the outside, Anna appears to be happily married, a former ballet dancer who has moved to USA with her husband, but appearances are deceptive and Anna is suffering from anorexia,  a mental illness (that's the conclusion I have drawn from the tale) that has taken roots way way before her journey to USA. As Anna goes to the 17 Swann Street, the reader becomes intimately familiar with the grip anorexia has on women living there and how difficult it is to shake off that grip and resist the patterns and impulse control. Yara Zgheib's sentences are incredibly beautiful and go straight to the heart, making this a difficult novel to put down.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Yara Zgheib is a Fullbriht scholar with degrees from Georgetown University and Centre D'etudes Diplomatiques et Strategiques in Paris. She is a writer for several U.S. and European magazines, including The Huffington Post and Holiday Magazine. THE GIRLS AT 17 SWANN STREET is her first novel.

Opinion:

The first time I have heard of Anorexia Nervousa and Bulimia is through a Lurlene McDaniel novel about a young girl who wants to be thin and becomes bulimic. From then on, I formed my own thoughts and conclusions about those two eating disorders, and it doesn't help that media pushed certain stereotypes about them as well; girls (very often women, although I understand men also suffer from it,) who suffer from Anorexia and Bulimia are most likely teens who are in competitive sports, and for me its very difficult to understand about how hard it is not to eat. This novel humanized that issue and I feel as if I can get a better grasp of Anorexia as well as Bulimia, despite me not suffering from it. What I think was most shocking for me in terms of THE GIRLS AT 17 SWANN STREET is the fact that eating disorders are not limited to teens, but in fact they can impact women in 20s, 30s and so forth; whether or not those women are married (which means that love can't conquer all) and whether or not they are mothers. I also was shocked to learn numerous facts about anorexia and bulimia as well: most which I'll leave to the reader to find out. In conclusion, its a beautiful and engrossing tale of psychology of anorexia and impact it has on everyone, be they the sufferer, family and/or friends. I honestly think the book should be read in as few settings as possible.

This was given for a review

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

Friday, February 1, 2019

G1074 Book Review of Melding Spirits by Michael E. BURGE

Name of Book: Melding Spirits

Author: Michael E. Burge

ISBN: 9780996309837

Publisher: Self published

Type of book: 1958, summer, Wabash River, first love, crush, friendships, relationships, murder, evil, Illinois, coming of age

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Twelve-year-old Evan Mason’s life has been turned upside down by the sudden death of his father. His mother isn’t home much, the insurance office during the day, waiting tables at night. Evan is spending a great deal of time alone.

Now he finds himself on a Greyhound bus headed for a small town on the Wabash River where he’ll spend the summer of 1958 with his loving grandmother.

Evan soon meets his new neighbor, Katie Dobbins. She’s a feisty blue-eyed girl with a ponytail, the type of girl Buddy Holly might sing about on American Bandstand. Evan is instantly enamored with her.

It seems the perfect summer is underway—but strange things are happening in the woods surrounding the Ghost Hill Indian Mound.

There’s a dark cloud lingering over the Wabash Valley—It won’t be long before it erupts into a raging storm.

Characters:

Main characters for the tale include Evan, Katie Dobbins, Riley Wilson, and the detectives in charge of solving the case. Evan is a talented musician who has given up playing piano on account of his father's death; Katie is an outgoing young lady, and Riley Wilson has an intriguing history in that he had a chance to be a talented baseball player but who couldn't make it. There is also Evan's grandmother Bea, but I am getting the feeling that I haven't really caught the sense of the characters, unfortunately.

Theme:

I am not sure what the theme should have been; that nothing is at it seems?

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view, and there are a lot of characters to keep track of: the setting and the time is well done in my opinion, although MY MOTHER'S SON by David Hirshberg is a lot better at nostalgia factor. and in my opinion, I think its a good tale for New adults or young adults to read because its a clean tale. The author also seems to shy away from more darker aspects, such as Evan trying to heal from his father's grief, or even more about the mysterious killer, and I still am not sure how the killer was discovered in the first place.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tour)


Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
KOBO ~ iBooks ~ Indigo ~ IndieBound,
Add to Goodreads

Read the first few chapters...
Meet the Author:

Michael E. Burge grew up in the Chicago suburbs and a small town on the Wabash River in Southern Illinois.

In the late sixties, he left college to serve on a U.S. Navy destroyer out of Norfolk, Virginia. Upon leaving the service, he transitioned to a career in the burgeoning computer industry, positions in product management and marketing.

He is now pursuing his lifelong interest in writing, publishing his debut novel, Bryant’s Gap, in 2015 and his second, Melding Spirits, in 2017.

Michael also plays piano, paints, and is an avid golfer. He and his family currently live in Illinois.

Connect with the Author: Twitter ~ Facebook
Opinion:

What I think I was expecting from the tale is that it will be far more darker than it really is; I expected for the tale to really juxtapose the innocence and the evil as is claimed (I think I was expecting a lot of ROANOKE GIRLS by Amy Engel, or else MY MOTHER'S SON by David Hirshberg (which I received on Fresh fiction website) but while MELDING SPIRITS does have that, it doesn't mix the two well, and very often I wondered how the mystery part connects to the innocence? and unfortunately I could predict the connection almost halfway through the book. What is good about the book are the vivid descriptions of the place along with the innocence aspect, that is what the character does or doesn't do. The darkness aspect needs to be worked on a bit more in my opinion.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK REVIEW TOUR SCHEDULE:

Jan 14 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Jan 14 - Viviana MacKade - book spotlight / guest post /giveaway
Jan 15 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
Jan 17 - Paulette's Papers - book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 18 - Books Direct - book spotlight / excerpt / giveaway
Jan 18 - Syllables of Swathi - review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 18 - Books Direct - book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 21 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
Jan 22 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review / giveaway
Jan 22 - Reviews in the City - book spotlight
Jan 22 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Jan 23 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 24 - Truly Trendy - review / giveaway
Jan 25 - T's Stuff - review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 25 - Celticlady's Reviews - book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 29 - Books for Books - review
Jan 30 - Literary Flits - book spotlight / guest post
Jan 31 - Adventurous Jessy - review / giveaway
Jan 31 - The Avid Inspri - review / author interview
Jan 31 - Life as Leels - review
TBD - Svetlana's Reads and Views - 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.)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...