Friday, February 28, 2014

Youtube Readings

Well, I've began to do Youtube Readings just like I planned on last year. Sorry for being late but stuff has happened. Anyways, here's the link and enjoy! The first video is of The Foreign Student by Susan Choi, first chapter anyways.

The Foreign Student by Susan Choi-Chapter 1

G250 Book Review of The Black Song Inside by Carlyle Clark

Name of Book: The Black Song Inside

Author: Carlyle Clark

ISBN: 978-1-477-84916-3

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Type of book: Mexico, African-American male/Latina female pairing, drugs, cartels, inhuman antagonist, message, mystery, human trafficking, investigators

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

Atticus Wynn and Rosemary Sanchez, newly engaged private investigators, have seen the dark and violent side of life, but nothing has prepared them for an explosive murder investigation that threatens to tear their relationship apart. They struggle to solve a case that as a best result could leave them in prison or dead. Atticus's manipulative ex-girlfriend bursts back into their lives wielding a secret about Rosemary's family. She exploits the fact to force the couple into investigating the execution-style slaying of her lover. The case thrusts Atticus and Rosemary headlong into the world of human trafficking and drug smuggling, while rendering them pawns in Tijuana Cartel captain Armando Villanueva's bloody bid to take over the Cartel. The Black Song Inside is a vivid crime thriller rife with murder and madness, melded with gallows humor and the heroism of two flawed and compelling protagonists. If they can save themselves, they may learn the nature of redemption and the ability to forgive.

Purchase your copy:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE



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


Characters:

The main characters include Atticus who is best described as paranoid, a wanna-be actor, devoted to Rosemary and an investigator. He had a very rocky life and is also a reader. Rosemary is sweet, a tomboy, devoted to her family, heroic, brave and determined no matter what. The secondary characters include Rosemary's brother who seems to detest Atticus as well as the mysterious almost inhuman Priest, then there's the older sister Azalea who has her own life and is a pretty violent woman. I guess there were too many characters to keep track of, thus I'm not able to recall a lot about them, except that I was impressed with the fact that the hero and heroine are of ethnicities that aren't very common in the books, especially as main characters.

Theme:

I'm not sure what the message should have been.

Plot:

Its written in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view, that of Atticus, Rosemary and so forth, although the primary person is Atticus. (Interesting that the name he has is that of a lawyer from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee...) I personally was unable to tie up multiple strands of why the Priest was after Atticus and Rosemary and how the characters were in the bigger picture.

Author Information:
(from information kit)
Carlyle Clark was raised in Poway, a city just north of San Diego, but is now a proud Chicagolander working in the field of Corporate Security and writing crime and fantasy fiction. He has flailed ineffectually at performing the writer's requisite myriad of random jobs: pizza deliverer, curb address painter, sweatshop laborer, day laborer, night laborer, security guard, campus police, Gallup pollster, medical courier, vehicle procurer, and signature-for-petitions-getter.
He is a married man with two cats and a dog. He is also a martial arts enthusiast and a CrossFit endurer who enjoys fishing, sports, movies, TV series with continuing storylines, and of course, reading. Most inconsequentially, he holds the unrecognized distinction of being one of the few people in the world who have been paid to watch concrete dry in the dark. Tragically, that is a true statement.
His latest book is the mystery thriller, The Black Song Inside.
Visit his website at http://carlyleclark.wordpress.com/.
Connect & Socialize with Carlyle!


Opinion:

I was pretty impressed with the writing and characters when it comes to the book. I really did want to like it, but it didn't grab me. I personally felt that the book tended to be all over the place and towards the end I grew frustrated with keeping up with multiple strands of what's going on. In beginning the book has really captured me because for one the hero is of African-American descent, while the paramour is a Latina who recently came back from Iraq and is suffering PTSD. As if that's not enough, the heroine also lost her leg. So yeah, right away we have a unique book with a unique heroine and hero. I think the book does require careful reading in order to understand, or else it didn't really capture me.



This is for Pump Up Your Books Tour

The Black Song Inside Tour Page:

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/11/09/virtual-book-tour-pump-up-your-book-presents-the-black-song-inside-virtual-book-publicity-tour/

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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

G273 E-Reading Taking Charge of Your Life; How to Get What You Need with Choice-Theory Psychology

Title of the book: Take Charge of Your Life: How to Get What You Need with Choice-Theory Psychology

Author: William Glasser

Publisher: iUniverse.com

Publishing Date: 2011

ISBN: 9781462037438

Summary:

Are you seeking a happier and more satisfying life? In "Take Charge of Your Life, " author Dr. William Glasser details the choice theory-a science of human behaviors and principles for regaining and maintaining internal control-and the role it can play in helping you regain your personal freedom and choice. "Take Charge of Your Life, " a revision of his 1984 book, "Control Theory, " includes choice-theory applications. He explains choice theory using personal examples and illustrative stories that allow you to learn how to improve your relationships and take charge of your actions. Topics include marital and relationship problems, parenthood, alcoholism, diseases, and psychosomatic disorders. For each situation discussed, Glasser ties behavior to the pictures of what people want in their heads. He explains how the pictures got there and how people can choose new behaviors to get what they really want. In "Take Charge of Your Life, " Glasser offers a real model of empowerment. He shows how you can become a part of the equation that adds happiness and connection to the world in which you live now and to the world of future generations.

Other Works: 

His other books include Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom, Reality Therapy: A New Approach to Psychiatry, Quality School RI, Counseling with Choice Theory, Positive Addiction, and other books that relate to Choice Theory.

Background:
(from wikipedia.com)

William Glasser (May 11, 1925 – August 23, 2013) was an American psychiatrist.
Glasser was the developer of reality therapy and choice theory. His ideas, which focus on personal choice, personal responsibility and personal transformation, are considered controversial by mainstream psychiatrists, who focus instead on classifying psychiatric syndromes, and who often prescribe psychotropic medications to treat mental disorders. Glasser was also notable for applying his theories to broader social issues, such as education, management, and marriage, to name a few. Glasser notably deviated from conventional psychiatrists by warning the general public about the potential detriments caused by the profession of psychiatry in its traditional form because of the common goal to diagnose a patient with a mental illness and prescribe medications to treat the particular illness when, in fact, the patient may simply be acting out of unhappiness, not a brain disorder. Glasser advocated the consideration of mental health as a public health issue.

Theme:

Subconsciously/ consciously you are responsible for yourself.

Problems Addressed:

When soft approach doesn't work on people, use tough love on them. Basically he describes how to take control of one's life as well as how you're responsible for yourself in ways you never thought possible.

Summary of Content:

No matter what, if you use the choice theory that he recommends its highly probable to regain your life as well as self back.

Thesis:

" In this book I explain that we are not controlled by external events, difficult as they may be. We are motivated completely by forces inside ourselves, and all of our behavior is our attempt to control our own lives." (page 2)

Main points:

1. Everything we think, do, and feel is generated by what happens inside us

2. Replacing external control with the new choice theory psychology

3. The pictures in our heads

4. our values-driven behaviors

5. why we behave

6. creativity and reorganization

7. craziness, creativity, and responsibility

8. psychosomatic illness as a creative process

9. addicting drugs: chemical control of our lives

10. common addicting drugs, legal and illegal

11. conflict

12. criticism

13. taking charge of your life

14. choice theory psychology and raising children

15. controlling ourselves or others with pain or misery

16. choosing to be healthy

17. how to start using choice theory

Why Its interesting or informative:

This is a really volatile book because it will anger a lot of people and so forth. The idea isn't new to me; that we are responsible for our own miseries which is what the author seems to be reiterating.

Supports thesis: 

The book does support the thesis well and does detail in ways that people are controlled by external forces whatever shape they may be.

Address Issues: 

Basically we are allowing external circumstances control our lives, and if we are miserable or sick its our own fault rather than those of external forces. While the author does try to give control to us, its really not applied to everyone but is instead very selective. If you are part of the middle class then this book may be something you could relate to, but lower than that, I doubt the book will fly over well.

Ideas in book with larger ideas: 

The book itself isn't even culturally friendly and it seems to encourage barriers of sorts between people. There is an example of a middle aged daughter with an elderly mother where the author basically encourages the daughter to treat her like part of the schedule rather than a person, which will cause the mother to lose control of her daughter and help her become more independent. Its an interesting advice but the problem I have is that its not friendly towards the elderly population. What if something happens to the mother? Should the daughter continue to treat her like part of a to do list?

Agree/Disagree: 

While there are some things that I do agree with, there are much more that I disagree with. For one thing people are dependent on money to provide food and other necessities in life, thus should all quit in this time and age? If they do, how will they get the food and so forth? Making decisions is also hard and unfortunately when one needs money for survival (food, toiletries, doctor and so forth,) how is the negative situation something they're responsible for? What of those that live in undesirable communities? How might it be possible for them to come to a better life in this economy? Circumstances take choice away, and survival is more important than anything else.

Sources: 

I think he did use sources but in a lot of instances it seems to be an outdated book. As far as I know, no one wants an ipod but instead its an iphone or ipad.

Conclusion: 

I have to say that the whole book reads like a propaganda leaflet rather than anything else. The author rarely mentions how he knows these people, and whether or not they're fictional. The whole book sounded extremely arrogant to me and there is a sort of condescending tone of 'I know best'. The author didn't really list negatives of using choice theory and instead did nothing but promote it which caused me to roll my eyes a lot. The book itself really upset me and I wished for him to either use a different tone, in particular when he begins to relate the unhappy marriage story. I'm sorry to be giving it a low grade, but I am making a choice in being honest and not compromising my reputation or this blog.

This is for Pump Up Your Books Book Tour

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

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Giveaway for Shadows in the Sun By Gayathri Ramprasad

Hey everyone, next week I will be hosting a review for Shadows in the Sun by Gayathri Ramprasad, a wonderful true story about an Indian woman who explores how depression had an impact on her life, and today I'm doing a giveaway of one copy for it! In order to be in a giveaway, you must either live in Canada or America and must leave a meaningful comment on this entry along with your email. Here's a picture and summary of it and the day you'll see the review of this wonderful book is on March 2nd, 2014. The giveaway will be from February 25th, 2014 up until March 8th, 2014



Everyone who struggles with a mental illness, or who knows anyone with depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, must read this engrossing true story of courage in the face of heartbreaking adversity.”
—Dilip V. Jeste, MD, president, American Psychiatric Association

As a young girl in Bangalore, Gayathri was surrounded by the fragrance of jasmine and flickering oil lamps, her family protected by Hindu gods and goddesses. But as she grew older, demons came forth from the dark corners of her idyllic kingdom—with the scariest creatures lurking within her.
The daughter of a respected Brahmin family, Gayathri began to feel different. �I can hardly eat, sleep, or think straight. The only thing I can do is cry unending tears.” Her parents insisted it was all in her head. Because traditional Indian culture had no concept of depression as an illness, no doctor could diagnose and no medicine could heal her mysterious malady.
This memoir traces Gayathri’s courageous battle with the depression that consumed her from adolescence through marriage and a move to the United States. It was only after the birth of her first child, when her husband discovered her in the backyard �clawing the earth furiously with my bare hands, intent on digging a grave so that I could bury myself alive” that she finally found help. After a stay in a psych ward she eventually found �the light within,” an emotional and spiritual awakening from the darkness of her tortured mind.

Gayathri’s inspiring story provides a first-of-its-kind cross-cultural view of mental illness—how it is regarded in India and in America, and how she drew on both her rich Hindu heritage and Western medicine to find healing.

G258 Book Review of Three Souls by Janie Chang

Name of Book: Three Souls

Author: Janie Chang

ISBN: 978-0-06-229319-0

Publisher: William Morrow

Type of book: 1920s-1930s, China, Opium, wars, movies, afterlife, three souls, supernatural, dreams, marriage, first love, Communism, education, reading, ghost, making amends, friendship, sisterhood, status of women

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

We have three souls, or so I'd been told. But only in death could I confirm this ... So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls—stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun—who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends.

As Leiyin delves back in time with the three souls to review her life, she sees the spoiled and privileged teenager she once was, a girl who is concerned with her own desires while China is fractured by civil war and social upheaval. At a party, she meets Hanchin, a captivating left-wing poet and translator, and instantly falls in love with him.

When Leiyin defies her father to pursue Hanchin, she learns the harsh truth—that she is powerless over her fate. Her punishment for disobedience leads to exile, an unwanted marriage, a pregnancy, and, ultimately, her death. And when she discovers what she must do to be released from limbo into the afterlife, Leiyin realizes that the time for making amends is shorter than she thought.

Suffused with history and literature, Three Souls is an epic tale of revenge and betrayal, forbidden love, and the price we are willing to pay for freedom.

Characters:

Before I get into describing characters, may I request for the author to create a similar book representing Yen Hanchin? Pretty please with sugar on top? Anyways, on with the characters. Song Leiyin is the main heroine and character of the novel. In beginning she's dead and is told she has to make amends. Most of the book is about her life from the time she is seventeen to the time she dies (The reader learns she dies at the very beginning of the book,) and the reader is pulled along watching her shift and regret her actions in death. Best way to describe her is that she's beautiful, headstrong, determined and intelligent as well as obedient and she also easily holds on to grudges. In life she's besotted with a man and isn't appreciative of what she has, especially when comparing her fate to that of her sisters. The sisters do play a role in Leiyin's life, but not a huge one. One of the sisters is a beauty who gets married to a man who's addicted to opium, while another seems to give up her dreams. There is also a brother, Tongyin who tends to be gullible as well as in denial about a part of himself. Of course let's not forget one of the more interesting and fascinating characters for me, Yen Hanchin who really is manipulative, a mastermind and takes advantage of people. Just to learn of what he had done its a worthwhile read. Its amazing how many characters the book possessed, yet I can pick each one out and tell a short summary about them. There is also Leiyin's husband who seems to be from the country but he's incredibly sweet, gentle and forgiving towards Leiyin.

Theme:

Don't judge a story by the genre; life is full of surprises

Plot:

The whole book is written in first person narrative from Song Leiyin's point of view and its divided into three parts. I do admit that in the beginning I cringed slightly at the language and the tone, but as more and more pages passed, the story drew me more and more, especially when some of my fears were unfounded. Whatever stereotypes you might have had towards Asian-American literature or whatever thoughts you developed when reading books written by Asian/Asian-American women writers, this book will cause you to toss them out the window and never look back. There is an amazing array of issues that are covered as well as unexpected sources of help and hindrance and surprising delights.

Author Information:

Born in Taiwan, Janie Chang spent part of her childhood in the Philippines, Iran, and Thailand. She holds a degree in computer science and is a graduate of the Writer’s Studio Program at Simon Fraser University. Three Souls is her first novel.
Find out more about Janie at her website, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.

Opinion:

I admit it; I loved the book. It balanced out perfectly with fascinating characters, an interesting storyline and things to hit my love for different cultures and history. This book not only covers those issues, but at the same time it addresses afterlife, friendship, sisterhood and making peace with the future as well as sacrifices. While a lot of it does sound as if it should be a messy writing, that's really not the case. The writing is clear, and besides wondering what the heck hun soul is, I wasn't ever confused with the narrative. What I also appreciated is the fact that Asian men aren't all portrayed as evil.Some books I've read that do deal with East Asia, Asian men tend to be one dimensional and don't seem to satisfy women in one way or the other. I do admit it was annoying when an American male comes to the "rescue." What I did appreciate in the book is that an American male doesn't come and rescue the heroine, and neither does a Westernized Asian male. In fact, some of the Westernized Asian men are not portrayed positively in the book. But they are portrayed in a three dimensional way and they do make fascinating characters. I haven't read books by Lisa See, but I have read almost all of Amy Tan's books, and although there is supernatural in there, its much more believable than Amy Tan's portrayal. If you are looking for a book that tends to be sympathetic and fascinating but at the same time doesn't create the "fantasy" feeling that Amy Tan's books do, then this is the right book.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Janie’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, February 25th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, February 26th: Doing Dewey
Thursday, February 27th: From L.A. to LA
Monday, March 3rd: A Reader of Fictions
Tuesday, March 4th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, March 5th: Man of La Book
Thursday, March 6th: Drey’s Library
Monday, March 10th: A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, March 11th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, March 12th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, March 13th: The Blog of Lit Wits
Monday, March 17th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Tuesday, March 18th: Ageless Pages Reviews
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.)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Readdreamrelax #30 Look to the Hills; The Diary of Lozette Moreau, a French Slave Girl, New York Colony, 1763 by Patricia McKissack


Summary: In acclaimed author Patricia McKissack's latest addition to the Dear America line, Lozette, a French slave, whose masters uproot her and bring her to America, must find her place in the New World.

Arriving with her French masters in upstate New York at the tail end of the French-Indian War, Lozette, "Zettie," an orphaned slave girl, is confronted with new landscapes, new conditions, and new conflicts. As her masters are torn between their own nationality and their somewhat reluctant new allegiance to the British colonial government, Zettie, too, must reconsider her own loyalties.

Since I am determined to read all of Dear America series along with Royal Diairies and My Name is America, I decided to give a try to Look to the Hills by Patricia C. McKissack which I had to borrow from a library that’s far away from my house. Patricia C McKissack has previously written A Picture of Freedom which I liked due to the picture of daily life of slavery as well as having an interesting protagonist that knew how to read and write and applied this knowledge to solving problems. Unfortunately, I found Look to the Hills by Patricia to be disappointing and it doesn’t look like I’ll be recommending the book to be read for fun.

Lozette Moreau is an African girl who lives in France with a wealthy family in France in 1763. Just like her mistress, Marie-Louise, Lozette is well-educated, well-read and is an intellectual. Lozette also happens to be an orphan, her mother dying shortly after her birth. Considering the fact that the image of slaves that was passed down the history is those who are illeterate, Lozette Moreau is very unusual during the time and the setting. Problems arise in the family, namely that one brother wants to sell Lozette and Marie-Louise, reluctant to part from her companion, makes a choice to run away in search of the older brother to New York.

Although the summary and the story were pretty fascinating, I ended up having some problems with Look to the Hills by Patricia C McKissack. One of the problems that I had with the book is that Lozette Moreau didn’t really sound like a twelve-year old, at least for me. She focuses more on external events rather than her own feelings and ideas, which is unusual because Lozette is well educated. I think I also hoped more for character development and instead the characters seemed to be cut out of cardboard. In Look to the Hills by Patricia C McKissack, there is also a scene where a woman tells Lozette to always look to the hills so she can understand the meaning of freedom. The problem with that scene is that Lozette is two years old, and let’s be honest, how many two year olds remember what they were told at that age, especially for ten years?!

Personally for me, the characters were all one-dimensional and neither were they interesting or ones I wanted to make acquaintance with. Unfortunately, I found myself unable to connect to anyone in Look to the Hills, and I’m really uncertain why. I also feel that the characters weren’t very compelling either. Another character is that of Sally, an indentured servant who seems to be a foil to Lozette. Although Sally has some freedom, she is unable to read and works at a store, but Lozette never mentions Sally’s race. If she did, it might have been an interesting contrast between an African girl that is able to read and a white girl that cannot read.

Some things that I found pretty fascinating in Look to the Hills by Patricia C MicKissack are the different attitudes that French and English had towards slavery. French people, for instance, created something titled Black Code which are laws that are used to protect the rights of slaves in France. Marie-Louise, a woman duelist who could win against men and who also happened to be Lozette’s mistress is admirable in her actions and that she was willing to risk her life just to keep Lozette next to her. Also, the relationships between French, Native Americans and British were fascinating for me. Unlike the British, French people respected Native American culture.

If you have nothing else to read, then I would advise for Look to the Hills by Patricia C McKissack to be read because I don’t think its pretty vital to the Dear America canon. In case if Lozette Moreau was trying to be “Clotee” from A Picture of Freedom, then Patricia C McKissack wasn’t successful in getting her to be that character.

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.)

3 out of 5

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

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

G259 Book Review of The Contractors by Harry Hunsicker

Name of Book: The Contractors

Author: Harry Hunsicker

ISBN: 9781477808726

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Type of book: Texas, Dallas, contractors, thriller, sinister plans, travel, small town, crimes, drugs, cartels, complications, strong heroines

Year it was published: 2014

Summary:

In THE CONTRACTORS (Thomas & Mercer; February 4, 2014), acclaimed thriller writer Hunsicker turns his attention to the shadowy world of private military contractors and the hypocrisies of the War on Drugs, delivering a heart-pounding, complex standalone thriller in the vein of James Ellroy’s Underworld U.S.A. series.

Disgraced ex-Dallas PD officer Jon Cantrell carries a DEA badge, but he’s not a federal agent. Rather, he works for a private contracting company, busting drug shipments along the U.S.-Mexico border for commission. When Cantrell and his partner-slash-lover Piper confiscate the wrong load, they find themselves in possession of a star witness in an upcoming cartel trial, a mysterious piece of hotly sought after scanning equipment, and the ire of the largest criminal cartel in the Americas.

To clear things up and collect their paycheck, all they need to do is deliver the witness, Eva Rodriguez, to the US attorney across the state in Marfa. Except Eva’s got ideas – and pursuers – of her own, and the trio soon find themselves in the crosshairs of an all-out war between the cartel, a group of competing contractors, and a corrupt Dallas police officer with everything to lose.

A fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride into the strange borderlands of the modern global drug trade, THE CONTRACTORS will have you hooked until the explosive final act.

Characters:

The main character is Jon, a disgraced cop who works for a contracting company. He comes from a line of police officers (his father was one,) and is best described as a loner with a half sister named Tanya who has a lot of mental disorders. Jon's partner is Piper who is best described as rash, good shooter, talented, and has a big heart. There is also Eva Ramirez, a half Mexican half American girl who used to be a party girl and is best described as a troublemaker. In addition to the main characters there is Keith McCluskey who has a drug addiction and is a cop, along with Sinclair who has sinister plans. One of the characters I liked, although she wasn't main or secondary, was Sadie the Preacher's daughter. If I'm not mistaken Sadie is slightly unstable and might have an Oedipus complex.

Theme:

No one is what they seem.

Plot:

Its written in both third and first person narrative point of view. When other characters such as Sinclair (primarily) or in some cases the presidential hopeful appear, they speak in third person narrative, while Jon speaks in first person narrative. There is a good amount of suspense as well as sort of a travelogue through Texas thrown in, which I found pretty fascinating, along with descriptions of Dallas. (I have to admit that its pretty cool to have a picture of the places I am familiar with!) The characters are also pretty complex and well drawn as well as memorable. In some areas I did think the story is a little too long, but I was too interested in seeing what will happen to care. Although written by a guy, the book has very strong heroines in terms of Piper and Eva Ramirez.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

Harry Hunsicker is the former executive vice president of the Mystery Writers of America and the author of three previous novels, crime thrillers set in Texas. His debut novel, Still River, was nominated for a Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America. His short fiction has been nominated for the Thriller Award by the International Thriller Writers and selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories of 2011, edited by Otto Penzler and Harlan Coben. Hunsicker lives in Dallas, a fourth-generation native of the city. When not writing, he works as a commercial real estate appraiser and an occasional speaker on the creative process.

Opinion:

At the words "Dallas" and "Texas" I was happy to volunteer to read the book. Its actually the first time that I ever read a book that took place in Dallas, Texas and where I was met by familiar names as well as sights and sounds. I couldn't really decide how much of it was fiction and how much of it was true, although when I talked with my friend Jennifer, she enlightened me to an interesting fact; that Houston was the crime and drug city, not Dallas. Although I didn't understand the intricate details or statistics when it related to Jon and Piper's jobs, I did have a good time meeting fascinating characters as well as traveling further and further through Texas and seeing small towns. From what I understood, the story was like this: Piper and Jon are contractors for a company and they're ordered to do a simple job, unaware of how their lives will be. However, a complication arises in the form of Eva Ramirez and both have no choice but to take her to Marfa Texas. Along the way, unpleasant situations and truths reveal themselves in form of Keith McCluskey and the crooked cop. The story is a thriller so if you are looking for violence, cartels, femme fatales and so forth, then by all means pick up this book and enjoy the travel through Texas.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Harry Hunsicker’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, February 3rd:  Jen’s Book Thoughts
Wednesday, February 5th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, February 6th:  The Daily Mayo
Monday, February 10th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, February 12th:  Queen of All She Reads
Thursday, February 13th:  The Year in Books
Monday, February 17th:  5 Minutes for Books
Tuesday, February 18th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, February 19th:  The Things We Read
Thursday, February 20th:  Sarah’s Book Shelves
Monday, February 24th:  Mystery Playground - author guest post
Tuesday, February 25th:  Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, February 26th:  Traveling with T
Thursday, February 27th:  My Bookshelf
Friday, February 28th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, February 28th:  Luxury Reading
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, February 14, 2014

G241 Book Review of The Isolation Door by Anish Majumdar

Name of Book: The Isolation Door

Author: Anish Majumdar

ISBN: 9781494243036

Publisher: Ravanna Press

Type of book: Schizophrenia, family, relationships, college, problems, acting, struggle, striving, friendship, Bengali male/American female, New York, Bengali community

Year it was published: 2014

Summary:

Neil Kapoor, 23, is desperate to create a life beyond the shadow of his mother’s schizophrenia. Years of successive relapses and rehabilitations have forced his father into the role of caretaker and Neil into that of silent witness. But there is no light within this joyless ritual, and any hope for the future rests on finding an exit.

Amidst her latest breakdown, Neil attends drama school in pursuit of a role that might better express the truth of who he is. What started as a desperate gambit becomes the fragile threads of a new life. A relationship blooms with Emily, and each finds strength – and demons - in the other. New friendships with Quincy and Tim grow close and complex. But the emotional remove needed to keep these two lives separate destabilizes the family. Neil’s father, the one constant in the chaos, buckles under the pressure. Enlisting the aid of an Aunt with means and questionable motives, Neil plies ever-greater deceptions to keep the darkness at bay. But this time there will be no going back. As his mother falls to terrifying depths a decision must be made: family or freedom?

In this powerful fiction debut, acclaimed journalist Anish Majumdar shines a much-needed light into the journey of those coping with serious mental disorders and the loved ones who walk alongside them. Incisive and filled with moments of strange beauty, it marks the arrival of a unique voice in American letters.

Characters:

The main character happens to be Neil, although there is also his mother and his father. His father is a professor who deeply loves his wife and even at the cost of everything is willing to go through what sounds like hell. His mother suffers from schizophrenia and believes she's a famous actress, as she also has numerous other issues that are barely addressed in the book. Neil is a loner and desires to be an actor just like his mother was. (His mother starred in some Bollywood movies before marriage.) There is also Emily who seems to have crippling anxiety as well as some other problems with a friend and her ex. There are also Tom and Quincy who are Emily's friends but at the same time they might be holding her back or else holding her in place.

Theme:

Do the best you can under any circumstances.

Plot:

Its written in first person narrative from Niladri's (Neil's) point of view. I would say that this isn't for a casual reader and instead its an in-depth book. I felt that the story lacked character background and the author didn't go into a lot of information about learning about acting. Instead the reader is plopped down in the middle so to speak and isn't given a lot of necessary background stories to explain what happened. My favorite things about the book happened to be vivid descriptions as well as the very first scene of the book when Niladri's mother threatens to jump from the window unless she gets her own way. In some way I wonder if the writing style like this was on purpose, because its strangely disconnected from the events that were going on at the same time.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

As a child growing up in Montreal, Canada, Anish Majumdar’s first creative writing lessons came courtesy of his mother, a former English teacher. Witnessing her struggle with schizophrenia had a profound impact and inspired The Isolation Door, his first novel. His non-fiction work, appearing in many publications, has garnered Independent Press Association Awards for Feature Writing and Investigative Journalism. His short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives with his wife, son, and a growing menagerie of pets in Rochester, NY.
Connect with Anish: Website Twitter - Google +Facebook

Opinion:

Its a powerful story with very powerful imagery but I do admit that certain things about it frustrated me: for one I wasn't sure at first where the story takes place and I thought it would take place in Canada because that's where the author was born originally, not to mention I'm not familiar with what Public Trustee is and how the system works. I also felt there was lack of background for the characters of Emily and her friends and I had trouble understanding what was going on especially when there wasn't details on the classes he's taking at a university, or the methods that were mentioned. I am also of opinion that I need to re-read it to fully appreciate the writing and the imagery.

Anish Majumdar’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, February 3rd:  Bookish Ardour
Tuesday, February 4th:  Book Lust
Wednesday, February 5th:  WV Stitcher
Thursday, February 6th:  Books in the Burbs
Friday, February 7th:  Guiltless Reading
Monday, February 10th:  Bound by Words
Tuesday, February 11th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, February 12th:  Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, February 13th:  Found Between the Covers
Friday, February 14th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, February 17th:  The Best Books Ever
Tuesday, February 18th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, February 19th:  Reading on a Rainy Day
Thursday, February 20th:  5 Minutes for Books
Friday, February 21st:  My Bookshelf
Monday, February 24th:  Literally Jen

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

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

G255 Book Review of The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

Name of Book: The Perfume Collector

Author: Kathleen Tessaro

ISBN: 978-0-06-225783-3

Publisher: Harper

Type of book: 1920s-1950s, inheritance, death, mystery, secrets, perfume, scent, genius, muse, beautiful quotes, London, Paris, discovery, friendship, gray area, adult

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

An inheritance from a mysterious stranger . . .
An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank of Paris . . .
And three exquisite perfumes that hold a memory . . . and a secret

London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a fortunate young woman. Despite her sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London's most refined and ambitious social circles. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn't come easily to her—and perhaps never will.

Then one evening a letter arrives from France that will change everything. Grace has received an inheritance. There's only one problem: she has never heard of her benefactor, the mysterious Eva d'Orsey.

So begins a journey that takes Grace to Paris in search of Eva. There, in a long-abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank, she discovers the seductive world of perfumers and their muses, and a surprising, complex love story. Told by invoking the three distinctive perfumes she inspired, Eva d'Orsey's story weaves through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London.

But these three perfumes hold secrets. And as Eva's past and Grace's future intersect, Grace realizes she must choose between the life she thinks she should live and the person she is truly meant to be.

Illuminating the lives and challenging times of two fascinating women, The Perfume Collector weaves a haunting, imaginative, and beautifully written tale filled with passion and possibility, heartbreak and hope.

Characters:

The main characters would be Grace Monroe, Eva d'Orsey, Andre Valmont, Madame Zed and Lambert. Grace Monroe is a wealthy woman who begins to suspect that her husband is cheating on her. She also receives a telegram that a woman she has never met before gives her everything. In beginning she tends to be conventional and I get the sense that she has to hide who she truly is for fear of not being liked or appreciated. Eva d'Orsey is a woman who passed away who seems to be multi-talented in patterns, numbers, cards as well as perfume. She also does whatever she can to those who depend on her such as Valmont and Lambert. Andre Valmont is Jewish as well as a genius with perfumes who lacks social skills. (Its odd that if his family is from Prussia, why does he have a French sounding last name?) He is also very arrogant and takes pride in his position. Madame Zed is a Russian woman that descends from aristocracy. She is a master perfumer and is best described as like an opal stone (Opal changes colors all the time just like she.) She cares a great deal for appearances. Lambert taught Eva cards and is thought to be dangerous because he's a Communist.

Theme:

Take chances and don't be afraid.

Plot:

The book is written in third person narrative from Grace's and Eva's points of views. Both of the stories are very evocative and intriguing, making me want to know more and more about the characters. Most of the times in historical fiction, especially when there is time shifting involved, one of the stories suffers, while another soars, but in this one, both soar high in the sky and had me hooked with their plots and characters. There does seem changing points of view without warning, but I was too engrossed in the characters and quotes to let it bother. I'm amazed that the transition tended to be smooth and wasn't complicated or annoying.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

About Kathleen Tessaro

Kathleen Tessaro is the author of EleganceInnocenceThe Flirt, and The Debutante. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and son.
Find out more about Kathleen at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Opinion:

What a strange and incredibly beautiful novel. There is something speechless about it, something that I can't express in words, no matter how hard I want to try. When reading it, I felt part of the world of a tale taken to the extreme heights where I fell in love with the characters, their speech, accents and beauty. Its as if I was reading the elegant version of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald I believe. In the book itself there is an ethereal quality, something too perfect for the world. I loved both stories, that of Eva's and that of Grace's, although I would have wanted to know more about Grace after the novel ended. I read some of it to my friend Jennifer who really related to everything written in the novel, such as the wealthy life that Grace lives and she also enjoyed the slight humor in beginning about the Mass. In addition to those qualities, it had the most beautiful and unusual quotes that I ever encountered, some of which I will share. Most of them will make you think and ponder and most are what I never encountered in any novel before. (I have read and reviewed over 500 books by the way...)

"Love was an art, a game teased out and manipulated by skilled players." (Page 98)

"Pretty girls didn't lead independent lives; didn't Eva d'Orsey know that? Their triumphs were measured in the swiftness with which they moved from one pair of waiting arms to another. It was the less fortunate girls-the 'sensible' and 'clever ones-who had to face the world on their own. (When she was young, if the word 'intelligent' was used when describing a girl, it was always a criticism...) (99-100)

"Maybe we need to literally come to our senses, to return to our sense of taste, touch, sight, smell, hearing and find sustenance in them, inspiration. Life is, after all, a sensual experience. Our senses have the power to truly transport us but also to ground us. Make us human." (159)

"' Not everything in this world is black or white, Sis.'

'Sure it is,' Sis eyed her harshly. 'The sooner you figure that out, the easier life goes for you. Good, bad, right, wrong. You wanna live in the grey area, you're gonna find out you don't know your ass from your elbow.' She lifted another pile of sheets. 'And mark my words, grey turns to black pretty damn fast.'" (213)

In addition to these four quotes, there are many others I fell in love and found extremely beautiful which I will hide.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Kathleen’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, February 11th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, February 12th: The Blog of Lit Wits
Thursday, February 13th: Read. Write. Repeat
Monday, February 17th: Col Reads
Tuesday, February 18th: A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, February 19th: Peppermint PhD
Thursday, February 20th: Sidewalk Shoes
Monday, February 24th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, February 25th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, February 26th: Walking With Nora
Thursday, February 27th: Kritters Ramblings



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.)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book I Part 12.15

General Information:


Name of Book: Tree of Souls

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Year it was published: 2004

Overall theme:

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

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

Book One: Myths of God

Part XII: Early Incarnations of the Shekhinah

62. The Creation of Wisdom

Issue: Various mentions and relations of wisdom to G-d, perhaps Wisdom is the daughter or a wife of G-d and she existed two thousand years before the world was created as well as mention of her trying to find a house or a throne.

63. Mother Zion

Issue: Jeremiah is indecisive as to where to go, to either go and comfort those who were exiled to Babylon or to comfort those who stayed in Jerusalem. On the way he meets a woman who is constantly crying and tells him of the seven children she has that are slain as well as her husband. Then she reveals to Jeremiah her true identity.

To be Continued...

Book Review of Greek Myths Vol II by Robert Graves 1.6

General Information:


Name of Book: The Greek Myths 2

ISBN: 0-14-001027=0

Publisher: Penguin

Year it was published: 1955

Overall theme:

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

105. Oedipus

Issue: Laius, son of Labdacus marries Iocaste but they can't get children. Iocaste tricked Laius into impregnating her thus a boy was born who was then taken up to the mountain to die. He was found by shepherd, and was given to Polybus and Periboea to be raised. Found out his destiny, which was to kill his father and marry his mother. He kills Laius, gets rid of the Sphinx, marries Iocaste, plague comes over, Teiresias' history is revealed, and he tells Oedipus the truth which later was confirmed by a letter from Queen Periboea. Iocaste kills herself, Oedipus blinds himself and goes to exile with his daughter Antigone.

106. The Seven Against Thebes

Issue: In Argos lived Aegeia and Deipyla, daughters of King Adrastus. Polyneices and Eteocles are twin sons/brothers of Oedipus, and Eteocles exiled his brother. Another suitor is Tydeus who killed his brother at a hunt. Both ended up marrying daughters, Polyneices to Aegeia and Tydeus to Deipyla. Later on King Adrastus decides to wage war against Thebes, sending almost all to Thebes. Despite bad signs, they keep marching on. The war begins and at first the Seven are successful until a sacrifice occurs. Eteocles and Polyneices kill one another. Antigone disobeys the orders, Haemon marries her and she later on bears a son for him.

107. The Epigoni

Issue: Sons of the Seven that were slain in Thebes decide to avenge their father, one of is Thersander, son of Polyneices. The Epigoni won the war, but Teiresias has died. Thersander boasted of his cleverness towards Eriphyle which caused Alcmaeon and possibly his brother Amphilochus to kill their mother. He also ends up being married to Arsinoe and later on to Callirrhoe, and neither knew of one another. He gets the robe and necklaces through trickery but they learn on the truth thus Alcmaeon gets killed. Arsinoe, unaware, curses her family, and becomes slave to King of Nemea. Callirrhoe has twins whom she wishes to manhood in one day. The twins killed the king as well as Arsinoe's brothers. The twins colonized Acarnania, named after Acarnan.

108. Tantalus

Issue: There is confusion over parentage and origin of Tantalus,as well as who his wife might have been, although he has three children: Pelops, Niobe and Broteas. He also was a close friend of Zeus until the banquet where he cut up his son  Pelops and served him to the gods along with stealing and sharing the divine food of Zeus among others. He is cursed by ruin of his kingdom and eternal torment, along with a crime of lying for having Zeus's golden dog. Story of Pandareus and his children as well as sins follows. Poseidon falls in love with Pelops and steals him away. Broteas also has misfortune due to his looks and has a son named Tantalus after the grandfather.

109. Pelops and Oenomaus

Issue: Story of Pelops' travels, as well as his decision to travel where Oenomaus's daughter Hippodameia is located. Brief history of Oenomaus as well as mention of his love for horses. Oenomaus designs a way to get rid of all suitors. Pelops has better horses though. Poseidon gifts Pelops of a magic chariot. Oenomaus loses the race and dies, and curses the charioteer Myrtilus to be killed by Pelops. Pelops promised Myrtilus a bridal night with Hippodameia, but instead kills him, and Myrtilus curses Pelops' descendants.

110. The Children of Pelops

Issue: Hippodameia creates games in honor of Hera. Brief mention of the games and their function. They had way too many children, as well as a lot of the deeds tehy did, or who they fathered: Alcathous fathered Ischepolis, Callipolis, Iphinoe and so forth. There is also a story of Chrysippus who was briefly a lover of Laius and ended up being killed by Hippodameia.

111. Atreus and Thyestes

Issue: Atreus flees to Mycenae and makes the house of Pelops even more famous. There is involvement of the lamb, and Thyestes even wants to be Aerope's who is married to Atreus, lover. There is fight over the throne, with one and other tricking each other, the gods even goading them. Aerope has a sister named Clymene who got married to Nauplius and had Oeax and Palamedes. Atreus was married to Cleola who died during childbirth, although the son Pleisthenes got murdered. Atreus got Agamemnon, Menelaus and Anaxibia. Atreus killed Thyestes' sons and fed them to him. Thyestes ravished his own daughter to beget a child on her for revenge. Atreus marries the daughter and gets a son named Aegisthus who was Thyestes's own son. Thyestes ends up a prisoner and tells the daughter the truth who kills herself, then has Aegisthus kill Atreus.

112. Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra

Issue: Agamemnon and Menelaus end up living with King Tyndareus. Agamemnon creates war against Tantalus who descends from Broteas, and marries Clytaemnestra, Tantalus' widow. She and he had three daughters and one son; the son was Orestes while the daughters were Electra/ Laodice, Iphigenia/Iphianasa, and Chrysothemis. Around the time of Trojan War, Aegisthus desired revenge, plans to become Clytaemnestra's lover and kill Agamemnon. Brief history and details follows of why Clytaemnestra hates Agamemnon. She ends up killing Agamemnon as well as Cassandra.

113. The Vengeance of Orestes

Issue: At the time of murder Orestes, son of Agamemnon was away from home in one way or the other. Later on he learned of his mother's deeds. He also became best friends with Pylades who was the son of Strophius. After the murder, Aegisthus squanders everything and refuses to allow Electra to get married to anyone. Eventually she marries a peasant who never consumed the union and goads her brother Orestes to avenge his father. He is given specific instructions and a horn should the Furies refuse to leave him alone. Clytaemnestra dreams a bad dream and Orestes begins his plan for revenge which involves a masquerade, and finally a murder.

114. The Trial of Orestes

Issue: The Furies begin to haunt Orestes, and due to matricide, he and Electra are denied all. Menelaus arrives at Nauplia, sends Helen to mourn Clytaemnestra and Helen asks Electra who says no she wont. There is a trial where Orestes manages to convince everyone that it was suicide and not matricide, although Menelaus wanted to get them stoned for matricide. The three then decide to kill Menelaus' wife Helen, but she was rescued by Apollo and Zeus where she joined her brothers. Apollo interferes and asks for Hermione to be engaged to Orestes. For a whole year, with Hermes' help he is trying to get purified. Another trial is attempted and he gets acquitted and the ancient law is reversed.

115. The Pacification of the Erinnyes

Issue: The Erinnyes threaten Athenians, but Athene flatters and convinces them to abandon the plan and to settle and have Athens thrive. Three accepted and became known as Solemn Ones. Description of various rites and rituals follows as well as description of what is solemn and not solemn to them.

To be Continued...

Friday, February 7, 2014

G254 Book Review of Ravenscliffe by Jane Sanderson

Name of Book: Ravenscliffe

Author: Jane Sanderson

ISBN: 978-0-06-230037-9

Publisher: William Morrow

Part of a Series: Eve Williams

Type of book: 1904-1906, England, marriage, coal, union, rights, women's suffrage movement, deaths, decorating, home, getting used to stepparent

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

For fans of Downton Abbey . . . The peaceful beauty of the English countryside belies the turmoil of forbidden love and the apprehension of a changing world for the families of Netherwood

Yorkshire, 1904. On Netherwood Common, Russian √©migr√© Anna Rabinovich shows her dear friend Eve Williams a gracious Victorian villa—Ravenscliffe—the house Anna wants them to live in. There’s a garden and a yard and room enough for their children to play and grow.

Something about the house speaks to Anna, and you should listen to a house, she believes…Ravenscliffe holds the promise of happiness.

Across the square, Clarissa and her husband, the Earl of Netherwood, are preparing for King Edward’s visit. Clarissa is determined to have everything in top shape at Netherwood Hall—in spite of the indolent heir to the estate, Tobias, and his American bride—and much of it depends on the work going on downstairs as the loyal servants strive to preserve the noble family’s dignity and reputation.

As Anna restores Ravenscliffe to its full grandeur, she strikes up a relationship with hardworking Amos Sykes—who proposed to Eve just one year ago.

But when Eve’s long-lost brother Silas turns up in their close-knit mining community, cracks begin to appear in even the strongest friendships.

As change comes to the small town and society at large, the residents of Netherwood must find their footing or lose their place altogether.

Characters:

The main characters would include Anna who discovered her own talent at painting and decorating, then there's Eve who opened up the infamous Eve's Pies and Puddings as well as Henrietta, eldest daughter of Earl of Netherwood who's unmarried and instead of her brother should have been an earl instead and really comes into her own when she discovers that she wants to participate to free women. The male characters would be Seth, Eve's son who seems to have talent for gardening, Earl of Netherwood who has a loving and giving nature, and Amos who's looking for rights for miners and is shy to tell a lady of his feelings. There are minor personages such as Tobias's American wife by the name of Thea who enjoys breaking all the etiquette rules and who is also very manipulative, and Silas who is wealthy and can't satisfy his own greed.

Theme:

Don't give up on life and dreams

Plot:

Its written in third person narrative from everyone's point of view, although important characters are given a lot of screen time such as Eve and Anna, then Henrietta, Earl of Netherwood, Seth, Clarissa and some of the domestic staff. The way the ending is written as well as some situations is reminiscent of the ending of Netherwood in my opinion but still I loved watching the characters grow. Unlike in Netherwood there are some setbacks and new and interesting characters appear such as Silas who happens to be Eve's younger brother, and there are more tragedies in the book as well as more deaths and surprises which I won't spoil.

Author Information:
(from TLC)

A former BBC radio producer, married to author and journalist Brian Viner, Jane Sanderson has used some of her own family history as background for her first novel.
Find out more about Jane at her website and follow her on Twitter.
Opinion:

This is a sequel to Netherwood, and while it does have things in common with it, there are some things that are tantalizingly different. The story immediately picks up from Netherwood where the King finally decided to grace his visit on the Earl and his wife Clarissa, and both Anna and Eve decide to get a mansion by the name of Ravenscliffe and as soon as they can, they move in. Its a much longer read, but I enjoyed it a lot more, although I had some difficulty in recalling which of the servants didn't marry and decides to put Mrs. in front of the name. Despite that minor problem, I had a very easy time keeping in my mind who's who in the book and their function. I would guess the characters are very memorable, or else the important ones get a lot of screen time which made it easy to remember them. Here also we see characters grow and come into their own. (At this point I really wish to read Eden falls, the sequel to Ravenscliffe to see how Henrietta grows...) A lively, safe and enjoyable read, although more tragic things happen in it than in Netherwood.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Ravenscliffe

Tuesday, January 28th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, January 29th: BookNAround
Thursday, January 30th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, February 4th: Mel’s Shelves
Wednesday, February 5th: Bibliophilia, Please
Friday, February 7th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, February 13th: Mom in Love With Fiction
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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