Thursday, October 19, 2017

FFE1 Book Review of Seven Days of us by Francesca Hornbeck

Name of Book: Seven of Us

Author: Francesca Hornbeck

ISBN: B01MSAMY8Y

Publisher: Berkley

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays...

It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.

For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.

As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.

In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…

Link 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.)

G921 Book Review of Woman Enters Left by Jessica Brockmole

Name of Book: Woman Enters Left

Author: Jessica Brockmole

ISBN: 978-0-399-17851-1

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Type of book: 1952, 1926, road trip, car, Hollywood, friendship, romance, secrets, coming-of-age, death, radium, cancer, seize the day

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

A woman sets out on a cross-country road trip, unknowingly tracing in reverse the path her mother traveled thirty years before.

In the 1950s, movie star Louise Wilde is caught between an unfulfilling acting career and a shaky marriage when she receives an out-of-the-blue phone call: She has inherited the estate of Florence “Florrie” Daniels, a Hollywood screenwriter she barely recalls meeting. Among Florrie’s possessions are several unproduced screenplays, personal journals, and—inexplicably—old photographs of Louise’s mother, Ethel. On an impulse, Louise leaves a film shoot in Las Vegas and sets off for her father’s house on the East Coast, hoping for answers about the curious inheritance and, perhaps, about her own troubled marriage.

Nearly thirty years earlier, Florrie takes off on an adventure of her own, driving her Model T westward from New Jersey in pursuit of broader horizons. She has the promise of a Hollywood job and, in the passenger seat, Ethel, her best friend since childhood. Florrie will do anything for Ethel, who is desperate to reach Nevada in time to reconcile with her husband and reunite with her daughter. Ethel fears the loss of her marriage; Florrie, with long-held secrets confided only in her journal, fears its survival.

In parallel tales, the three women—Louise, Florrie, Ethel—discover that not all journeys follow a map. As they rediscover their carefree selves on the road, they learn that sometimes the paths we follow are shaped more by our traveling companions than by our destinations.

Characters:

Main characters include Florrie, Ethel and Louise. Florrie Daniels is a screenplay writer who is resourceful, talented but was forced to hide her shine due to the thought that people wouldn't be interested in what she really wrote. Florrie is also a go-getter and brave and isn't a good cook but at the same time she is afraid of going after what is really in her heart. Ethel is Louise's mother and she is a talented chef, meticulous with details as well as expenses and while she shines on her own, she also seems to be fragile and somehow broken although she is determined and doesn't give up. Louise is Ethel's daughter and she is a whole lot like Florrie rather than her mother. Louise is struggling to save her marriage from some secrets that her husband refused to share with her.

Theme:

You never know what you'll learn on the open road

Plot:

The story is told in third person narrative from Louise's point of view (the chapters that are marked 1952,) but others are first person narrative in diary and journal entries from Florrie's and Ethel's points of view, (chapters marked 1926) which is a unique take in my opinion. What I found pretty amazing are the small details that the author had Ethel include which includes finances as well as excerpts from a screenplay that Florrie wrote and on traveling by themselves. At the same time there is an unexpected twist that is haunting Florrie and Ethel and that the reader doesn't learn about until way way later in a book. All these elements create an addictive story.

Author Information:
(From the website)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iTunes | IndieBound | Kobo

About the Author

Jessica Brockmole is the author of At the Edge of Summer, the internationally bestselling Letters from Skye, which was named one of the best books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly, and Something Worth Landing For, a novella featured in Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War. She lives in northern Indiana with her husband, two children, and far too many books.
For more information, please visit Jessica Brockmole’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Goodreads.

Opinion:

It's hard to put into words how much I enjoyed the read but the best way to describe this read is to imagine finding something that appears too good to be true but is in fact real and without any strings or ties attached. Characters, the time, the story and coping with the hand that life dealt you are perfectly balanced within the pages, and there is something in the book that just keeps me wanting to keep on going, to see how the story will turn out for the characters. There is a lot of focus on friendships and on how important that friendship is to Florrie and Ethel and there are also elements of romance in unexpected twists as well. For an awesome open road story that is more focused on seizing life and friendship and a story that is rich in period detail, this is not a book to be missed. Also, I loved the book cover.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 4
Review at Creating Herstory
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, September 5
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, September 7
Interview at T’s Stuff

Friday, September 8
Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, September 11
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, September 13
Feature at To Read, Or Not to Read

Thursday, September 14
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, September 15
Review at Trisha Jenn Reads

Sunday, September 17
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings

Monday, September 18
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, September 19
Interview at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, September 20
Feature at BookLiterati

Friday, September 22
Review at A Literary Vacation

Monday, September 25
Review at Portebello Book Blog

Tuesday, September 26
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, September 27
Feature at Books of All Kinds

Thursday, September 28
Review at Jenn’s Book Vibes

Friday, September 29
Review at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, October 2
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, October 5
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, October 6
Review at Broken Teepee

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.)

G923 Book Review of twilight empress by faith L justice

Name of Book: Twilight Empress

Author: Faith L Justice

ISBN: 9780692460511

Publisher: Raggedy Moon Books

Type of book: 410-451, 461, Roman Empire, Ravenna, Italy, Vandals, Goths, King of Goths, alliances, marriages, politics, barbarians, protection, family, Emperor, Empress, Augusta

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Twilight Empress tells the little-known story of a remarkable woman—Galla Placidia, sister to one of the last Roman Emperors. Roman princess, Gothic captive and queen—Placidia does the unthinkable—she rules the failing Western Roman Empire—a life of ambition, power and intrigue she doesn’t seek, but can’t refuse. Her actions shape the face of Western Europe for centuries. A woman as well as an Empress, Placidia suffers love, loss, and betrayal. Can her strength, tenacity and ambition help her survive and triumph over scheming generals, rebellious children, and Attila the Hun? Or will the Dark Ages creep closer and bring down the Empire?

Characters:

Main character includes Placidia, who is both a daughter of an emperor and sister to an emperor. Placidia is open-minded, resourceful, determined and extremely powerful. She is also human and makes human mistakes as well although she tries to rectify them. Although there are other characters as well, they were given short limelight in the book and one doesn't get to know them as well as Placidia and her daughter Honoria. Honoria is Placidia's eldest daughter who seems to be extremely similar to her mother but who is best described as stunted.

Theme:

One cannot fight the time

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative, namely from Placidia's point of view although once in a while there is a switch to Placidia's brother or to her children or even to her Goth general. While the research and time as well as additional notes and details are impeccable, I do feel that the relationships between Placidia and her children could have been improved and should have been more focused on.

Author Information:
(From the website)


AMAZON US | AMAZON CAN | AMAZON UK | BARNES AND NOBLE | IBOOKS | INDIEBOUND | KOBO


About the Author



Faith L. Justice is a science geek and history junkie, which is reflected in her writing. Her short stories and poems have appeared in such publications as “The Copperfield Review”, “Beyond Science Fiction and Fantasy”, and the “Circles in the Hair” anthology. Faith has published in such venues as “Salon.com”, “Writer’s Digest”, “The Writer”, and “Bygone Days”. She’s an Associate Editor for “Space & Time Magazine”, a frequent contributor to “Strange Horizons”, and co-founded a writer’s workshop more years ago than she cares to admit.

To contact Faith, read her essays and interviews, or get a sneak preview of her historical novels, visit her website at www.faithljustice.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Opinion:

I was pretty excited to read this book, namely because I studied Roman Empire history, and second of all because I wanted to compare the atmosphere of the dying Empire versus the atmosphere of the Julio-Claudian empire,  and I have to say that differences are very striking. (Will write more about that later...) Perhaps with so much focus on Julio-Claudian Rome, I think I expected for Theodosian Rome to be the same, but it wasn't because the empire was stretched thin and one gets an impression that Placidia and others are more of figureheads to manipulate rather than someone like Augustus or Julius Caesar. The author has done a good job in capturing the dying Rome and one feels helpless watching Placidia trying to hold on to a dying empire, knowing that time is against her.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 11
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, September 12
Feature at The Hungry Bookworm
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, September 13
Review at Book Drunkard

Thursday, September 14
Feature at The Reading Queen

Friday, September 15
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, September 18
Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, September 19
Review at The Muse in the Fog Reviews

Wednesday, September 20
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Muse in the Fog Reviews

Thursday, September 21
Feature at A Holland Reads

Friday, September 22
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, September 25
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, September 26
Feature at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, September 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review & Giveaway at What Cathy Read Next

Friday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, October 2
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, October 3
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, October 4
Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 5
Review at A Bookish Affair

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, October 17, 2017

G913 Book Review of The Quest for the crown of thorns by Cynthia Ripley Miller

Name of Book: The Quest for the Crown of Thorns

Author: Cynthia Ripley Miller

ISBN: 9781911261124

Publisher: Fort Knox Robinson Publishing

Part of a Series: The Long Haired Saga

Type of book: 454-455, Constantinople, Rome, mystery, travel, servants, the crown and thorns of christ, marriage, teamwork, murder

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

AD 454. Three years after the Roman victory over Attila the Hun at Catalaunum, Arria Felix and Garic the Frank are married and enjoying life on Garic's farm in northern Gaul (France). Their happy life is interrupted, when a cryptic message arrives from Rome, calling Arria home to her father, the esteemed Senator Felix. At Arria's insistence, but against Garic's better judgment, they leave at once.

Upon their arrival at Villa Solis, they are confronted with a brutal murder and the dangerous mission that awaits them. The fate of a profound and sacred object--Christ's Crown of Thorns--rests in their hands. They must carry the holy relic to the safety of Constantinople, away from a corrupt emperor and old enemies determined to steal it for their own gain.

But an even greater force arises to derail their quest--a secret cult willing to commit any atrocity to capture the Crown of Thorns. And all the while, the gruesome murder and the conspiracy behind it haunt Arria's thoughts.

Arria and Garic's marital bonds are tested but forged as they partner together to fulfill one of history's most challenging missions, The Quest for the Crown of Thorns.

Characters:

While I liked Arria and Garric, the main characters of the novel, part of me felt as if beyond a certain image I wasn't able to see them as full fledged humans. I did enjoy the relationship they had with one another and how they acted as a team in all decisions they had made. I also loved how they conferred with one another from small things to big things. Those two definitely had extremely strong and loving relationship. The character that perhaps interested me the most is Marcella, a young and conflicted half-sister to Arria. Its hard to see Marcella as completely evil because there is a lot of complexity to her character and her decisions. One becomes even curious about why she became the way she did. Other characters such as Drusus or even Marcella's mother seemed to be more clear cut rather than gray as Marcella was. I do hope to see more of Marcella in the future installments and I hope that my hunch about where the author will take her character to will prove to be correct.

Theme:

What goes around comes around

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from multiple characters' points of view. I do feel that one does need to read the previous book of the series, On the Edge of Sunrise because some scenes do not have same impact without the knowledge from the previous book, I imagine. Aside from that, very well written and researched and something that I might recommend for people who are starting out with historical fiction but find some books too intimidating. The detail that went into the story is amazing, from the food that was cooked and eaten to the herbs to travel and to religion as well. While there are christian elements, I am happy to say that the story does not preach conversion.

Author Information:
(From the website)


AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE




About the Author

Cynthia Ripley Miller is a first generation Italian-American writer with a love for history, languages and books. She has lived, worked, and travelled in Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean. As a girl, she often wondered what it would be like to journey through time (she still does), yet knew, it could only be through the imagination and words of writers and their stories. Today, she writes to bring the past to life.

She holds two degrees and has taught history and teaches English. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Summer Tapestry, at Orchard Press Mysteries.com and The Scriptor. A Chanticleer International Chatelaine Award finalist for her novel, On the Edge of Sunrise, she has reviewed for UNRV Roman History, and blogs at Historical Happenings and Oddities: A Distant Focus

Cynthia has four children and lives with her husband, twin cats, Romulus and Remus, and Jessie, a German Shepherd, in a suburb of Chicago.

On the Edge of Sunrise is the first in the Long-Hair Saga; a series set in late ancient Rome and France and published by Knox Robinson Publishing. The second book in the series, The Quest for the Crown of Thorns, was released in June 2017.

For more information please visit Cynthia Ripley Miller’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Opinion:

The author is comfortable in the novel and very careful details are laid out. If there was something that she took liberty with, its very difficult to tell. I also am not sure how to classify the novel because its part romance part mystery/thriller yet its historical fiction at its finest. (That's it, I need to read the prequel to the book now. And yes, I am hoping the third book of the series will come out soon.) I am eager to see what will happen to both heroes and the villains of the stories. I also loved seeing the cusp of medieval ages begin to make appearance. In an odd way as well, this book was sort of a sequel to another book I was reading at the same time; Twilight Empress by Faith L Justice (Review to come soon!) While the story does stand on its own, the juicy bits that are included about the characters really make the prequel too tempting to pass up.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 9
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Feature at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 10
Excerpt at T’s Stuff

Wednesday, October 11
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Thursday, October 12
Review at What Cathy Read Next

Friday, October 13
Review at Laura’s Interests

Monday, October 16
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Feature at A Literary Vacation

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, October 13, 2017

FFE2 Book Review ofWhere the sweet bird sings by Ella joy olsen

Name of Book: Where the Sweet Bird Sings

Author: Ella Joy Olsen

ISBN:  B01NCHBT7B

Publisher: Kensington

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

In this provocative new novel, the author of Root, Petal, Thorn offers a powerful story of resilience, hope, and the secrets that, no matter how deeply hidden, can shape and ultimately unite a family. What connects us to one another? Is it shared history? Is it ancestry? Or is it love?

People respond to tragedy in different ways. Some try to move on. Some don’t move at all. A year after her young son’s death due to a rare genetic disease, Emma Hazelton is still frozen by grief, unable and unwilling to consider her husband Noah’s suggestion that they try to have another child. She can’t gamble with heartbreak and loss again. Yet she can’t stand in the way of Noah having the family he deserves—even if she believes the answer is to push him away.

As the future Emma once imagined crumbles, her family’s past comes into sharp relief. Searching for the roots of her son’s disease, Emma discovers other secrets concealed among the branches of her family tree. Within an old wedding photograph of her great-grandparents is a truth Emma never guessed at—a window into all the ways that love can be surprising, generous, and fiercely brave… and a truth that may help her find her own way forward at last.

Link for Review

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.)

G920 Book Review of The Sky Throne by Chris Ledbetter

Name of Book: The Sky Throne

Author: Chris Ledbetter

ISBN: 978-1-945107-87-0

Publisher: Month9Books

Type of book: Greek myths retelling, Mount Olympus Prep, secrets, Zeus, Hera, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hestia, Metis, Rhea, the Titans, pantheon, deities, gods and goddesses, high school/middle school, lessons, mischief, relationships, YA read

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Duality dwells at every turn, and an adolescent Zeus will learn that all too well when Hyperion attacks his family on Crete.

When the dust settles, his mother is unconscious and his best friend left for dead.

Stacking epic insult upon fatal injury, Zeus discovers the woman who raised him is not his biological mother. But to ensure her safety while she recovers, a heavy-hearted Zeus leaves her behind to seek answers at Mount Olympus Preparatory Academia.

Zeus embarks on a quest to discover who ordered the attack on his home, avenge the death of his friend, and find his birth mother. When some of his new schoolmates vanish, Zeus's quest is turned upside down, and the only way to make things right is to access the power of The Sky Throne, confront a most dangerous enemy, and take his life back.

On his way to becoming king of the Greek gods, Zeus will learn to seize power, neutralize his enemies, and fall in love.

Characters:

The story's characters are the strongest aspect of the story because they are more than just names and deeds, and they are drawn as complex human beings, which I've really enjoyed. Zeus, at first, seems to be an average boy who seems to have a penchant for getting into trouble, even getting as far as expelled from a lower school. However when he comes to Mount Olympus Prep, he is revealed as having hidden talents, being a leader, very ambitious and yes, still a mischief-maker. There is also Poseidon, or Don as he is known. Don strikes me as methodical, intense and determined especially when it comes to swimming and winning. Hades, or Shade, (I blame Disney's Hercules) while intense, is also oblivious and loyal to others. He doesn't seem to have ambitions for becoming a leader. The women, namely Hera, Hestia, Metis and Demeter were all likable and were more than just names. Hera keeps to herself but underneath she is ambitious and isn't afraid to push Zeus beyond his boundaries. Hestia, or Tia as she is known is talented in artistry and is also a chatterbox and has latest gossip about others. Demeter, or Meter, is either a vegan or vegetarian and is patient with others and good with outdoors. Metis has a troubled past and is determined to make up for her sins. Other characters like the Titans also make appearances as well.

Theme:

One never knows where they'll find themselves

Plot:

The story is in first person narrative from Zeus's point of view. The writing style is more modern, so if one is looking for something ancient and literary, then its not the right fit.  At first the style was a little off-putting, but once I got past it, I found myself enjoying the beginning of how the world came to be. I also am curious how far the author is planning on taking the series and how he will handle some questionable aspects of Greek myths that will make everyone cringe. What is also neat about the story is that the goddesses are far more than just names and instead they are portrayed as individuals.

Author Information:

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~IndieBound
Quail Ridge Books ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon.ca ~
Amazon AUS
Add to Goodreads
Meet the author:

Chris Ledbetter is an award-winning author of short fiction and novels for young adults. “Jason’s Quest,” a short story retelling of the Jason and Medea Greek myth was published in the anthology, Greek Myths Revisited. His first full-length novel, Drawn earned him two awards, Library of Clean Reads Best YA 2015 and Evernight Publishing Readers’ Choice Award Best YA 2015, as well as a USATODAY “Must Read” recommendation. His second novel, Inked, concludes that duology. The Sky Throne is his newest young adult novel. The second book in the series is set to release in 2018.

He's a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. He now writes and lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ facebook ~ Pinterest
Opinion:

Can old stories be retold in a way that will appeal to younger generation? Recently the book publishing companies have been revisiting the classics of the past to see if the old tales can interest the new reader; be it Hogarth's Shakespeare series, or even a twist to children's classics like Little Women and Little House series. In the case of Greek and Roman myths, the author has done a good job in filling in the details about the gods and goddesses as well as making it likable for possible new readers to want to research more on their own. Since I'm a fan of Greek and Roman myths, I will admit honestly that I am curious how the future installments will be handled, especially in terms of relationships between gods and goddesses. For a slightly more modern spin but one that is far away, this is a worthy read.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Sept 18 - Library of Clean Reads - review / author interview / giveaway
Sept 19 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Sept 20 - FLYLÄ“F Reviews - review
Sept 21 - T's Stuff - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Sept 22 - Adventures Thru Wonderland - review / author interview / giveaway
Sept 25 - Travelling Through Words - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sept 26 - The Autistic Gamer - review
Sept 27 - Leels Loves Books - review
Sept 28 - Bookworm for Kids - review / author interview / giveaway
Sept 29 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
Oct 2 - Olio by Marilyn - review / author interview / giveaway
Oct 3 - Dab of Darkness - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 3 - The All Night Library - review / guest post
Oct 4 - A Holland Reads - review / guest post / giveaway
Oct 5 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
Oct 6 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
Oct 9 - Laura's Interests - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 9 - Splashes Into Books - review
Oct 10 - 411 on Books, Authors and Publishing News - review / guest post / giveaway
Oct 11 - The Book Drealms - review / giveaway
Oct 12 - JBronder Book Reviews - review
Oct 13 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
Oct 16 - Jorie Loves A Story - review / guest post
Oct 17 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
Oct 18 - Bookwyrming Thoughts - review / author interview
Oct 18 - Thoughts on Books - review
Oct 19 - Nighttime Reading Center - review / giveaway
Oct 19 - 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! - book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 20 - Ginger Mom and the Kindle Quest - review
Oct 20 - Books for Books - 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, October 4, 2017

G916 Book Review of Life long by Ronald L Ruiz

Name of Book: Life Long

Author: Ronald L. Ruiz

ISBN: 9781937484538

Publisher: Amika Press

Type of book: Schizophrenia, bus ride from California to Texas, Zyprexa, money, bad choices and decisions, voices, interesting characters, Laredo, Mexico

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Ray Lopez is on the run with a duffel bag full of cash. Both drug dealers and the police are after him. But Ray is not a criminal. His last brush with the law was over traffic tickets. Recently released from the hospital with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, he is haunted by voices, auditory hallucinations, that frighten him and cause him to question his every move.

Ray’s journey from California to Laredo is perilous. Like so many Americans before him, he travels through unfamiliar territory with no clear way of knowing who will help and who will harm him. And he may well find himself on the wrong side of the border with a mind that has no borders.

Characters:

Main character is Raymond Lopez, an orphan with auditory schizophrenia who made some bad choices and is now on the run from both cops and his cousin's possible druggie friends. Raymond is resourceful although reckless and he is trying to survive his decisions. Other characters seemed to come and go and like Raymond they were drawn well and memorably, although its a pity their visits were short.

Theme:

Things are not what they seem

Plot:

The story is told in first person narrative from Ray's point of view. What is also cool about this book is that made me wonder and question the plot. Ray is schizophrenic, and it feels as if the author plays with the reader's perception of schizophrenia because I wondered what was real and what wasn't and how the story will turn out, and it gave me a taste of how frightening schizophrenia can be. The characters, the mood and the grittiness along with realism are done very well and are extremely feasible. What I also appreciated about the story is that the main focus was not on illegal drugs or an undercover cop/detective, but it was, literally, on an everyday human being who could be a next door neighbor or friend or an acquaintance.

Author Information:
(from iRead Book Tours)


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



Meet the Author:

Born and raised in Fresno California - Educated at St. Mary´s College California, University of California Berkeley, University of San Francisco - Practiced law from !966 to 2003 as a Deputy District Attorney, a criminal defense attorney, and a Deputy Public Defender - Appointed to the California Agriculture Labor Relations Board by Governor Jerry Brown in 1974 and later served as the District Attorney of Santa Cruz County California.

Ronald L. Ruiz has published 5 novels and a memoir. Happy Birthday Jesus (1994), Giuseppe Rocco (1998), The Big Bear (2003), A Lawyer (2012), Jesusita(2015). and Life Long (2017).

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook

Opinion:

When I saw that the author has returned for another book tour, my heart grew excited at the thought of reading his latest novel. I loved his previous beautiful and haunting novel, Jesusita where there is a combination of historical fiction as well as immigration story; how will Life Long be like? It definitely isn't a historical fiction. and it sounded far different. I am happy to say that although Life Long is a different genre, that of suspense/psychological thriller, it really matches up to Jesusita.  The ending is also different than what one would expect in a suspense/psychological novel, and the story is both gripping and gritty with bus rides from California to Mexico and the uncertainty that plagues Ray as he tries to run away. Somehow, this book feels far more true to life than some other suspense/psychology thrillers I have previously read in the past.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Sept 18 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
Sept 18 - Books for Books - review
Sept 19 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Sept 21 - The Reading Life - book spotlight / giveaway
Sept 22 - Olio By Marilyn - review / giveaway
Sept 25 - Writers and Authors - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sept 26 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / guest post / giveaway
Sept 27 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
Sept 28 - Leels Loves Books - review
Sept 29 - The All Night Library - review / guest post
Oct 3 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
Oct 4 - Ali - The Dragon Slayer - review / guest post / giveaway
Oct 5 - Travelling Through Words - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 6 - Nighttime Reading Center - review / giveaway
Oct 6 - Library of Clean Reads - review / author interview / giveaway
TBD - The Book Drealms - book spotlight / 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.)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Coming Attractions of October 2017

Reading-wise, I met the goals I set out for myself, short of finishing To be a Queen by Annie Whitehead. However, I really need to work more on reviewing my reads. I'm scared to mention how many books are awaiting my reviews. October will be a full month of book tours for me, although it seems that so far, November might be a bit free. Maybe in November I'll accomplish finishing the previous POFM books that just happened to be Goodreads Firstreads wins from years back. 

In a previous month, I've had quite a few wonderful authors return to my blog for sophmore reviews, namely Colleen M Story's Overwhelmed Writer Rescue and Teresa Neumann's A Year in the Company of Freaks as well as The Chesapeake Bride by Mariah Stewart. This month I also have some sophmore reviews namely Life Long by Ronald L Ruiz, Twilight Empress by Faith L Justice and Firsth Crush Last Love by Elizabeth McKenna. Enjoy the month!

Expect Reviews for...(Can change)

Life Long by Ronald L Ruiz (October 2nd, 2017)

Twilight Empress by Faith L Justice (October 3rd, 2017)

Woman Enters Left by Jessica Brockmole (October 5th, 2017)

The Quest for the Crown of Thorns by Cynthia Ripley Miller (October 9th, 2017)

The Sky Throne-Chris Ledbetter (October 13th, 2017)

Tribal Affairs- Matt Dallmann (October 27th, 2017)

First Crush Last Love-Elizabeth McKenna (October 30th, 2017)

Beyond Believing by D.D. Marx (October 31st, 2017)



Hopeful Reads...(Can change)

How to build a Piano Bench by Ruthi Pistwo Birch

Guy by Jowita Bydlowska

The Last Outlaws-Thom Hatch

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc-Jennifer Kincheloe

The Heirs-Susan Rieger

What is Forgiven-C.F. Yetmen

October 2017

Woman Enters Left-Jessica Brockmole
SR: September 25th, 2017
FR: October 8th, 2017
A House Divided-Pearl S Buck
SR: March 11th, 2016
FR: N/A
Tribal Affairs-Matt Dallmann
SR: October 16th, 2017
FR:
The matrimonial flirtations of Emma kaulfield- Anna Fishbeyn
SR: September 17th, 2017
FR: October 8th, 2017
The Republic of uzupis- halJi
SR: January 4th 2017
FR:
Twilight empress- Faith L Justice
SR: September 16th, 2017
FR: October 16th, 2017
The sky throne- Chris Ledbetter
SR: October 8th, 2017
FR: October 12th, 2017
First crush, last love- Elizabeth McKenna
SR: October 17th, 2017
FR:
the Quest for the Crown of Thorns by Cynthia Ripley Miller
SR: September 30th, 2017
FR: October 17th, 2017
The map that leads to you- J.P Monninger
SR: October 8th, 2017
FR:
The Comet Seekers Helen Sedgwick
SR: January 17th 2017
FR:
A gentleman in Moscow- amor Towles
SR: June 8th, 2017
FR:
To be a queen- Annie Whitehead
SR: September 23rd, 2017
FR:
What is forgiven-C.F Yetmen
SR: October 12th, 2017
FR:

Nonfiction:
Tree of Souls-Howard Schwartz
SR: February 10th, 2014
FR: N/A

Saturday, September 30, 2017

First Impressions G390. The Captive Queen by Danny Saunders

Name of Book: The Captive Queen

Author: Danny Saunders

ISBN:  9781497462434

Publisher: Self published

Year it was published: 2014

Summary:

Political schemes, religious partisanship and unbridled love shake the Royal Court of Scotland at the end of the Stuart dynasty.

Witness to sordid murders, spy for Her Majesty among the Protestants of the infamous preacher John Knox, forced to give up her one true love, thrown out onto the streets then ruthlessly attacked by a drunkard, Charlotte Gray will do everything in her power to remain the sovereign’s lady-in-waiting.

As for the Queen of Scots, she faces turmoil of a completely different kind: prisoner in a castle under the command of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Mary Stuart learns that she is the victim of a vast conspiracy and that her English counterpart has ordered her imminent execution.

Despite their hardships, Mary and Charlotte will keep their dignity throughout the storm. The two women will finally find serenity, one in the arms of a man and the other in the arms of God.

Interwoven with historical facts of the era, the thrilling The Captive Queen saga is worthy of the greatest royal intrigues that still fascinate us several centuries later.

Opinion:

If the reader is looking for a short version life of Mary Queen of Scots, then this is the right book, although historical aspects are not explained as well as I hoped. For a longer version, I would try Margaret George's book.

Verdict:

I don't think I'll continue reading the book

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.)

First Impressions G139. Beyond the Storm by Joseph Pittman

Name of Book: Beyond the Storm

Author: Joseph Pittman

ISBN: 978-0-7582-7698-8

Publisher: Kensington

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

They chose their own roads, but they couldn't change their destination. . .

Twenty years ago, Vanessa Massey couldn't wait to graduate from high school and make her small hometown of Danton Hill a distant memory--despite an indelible friendship she'd recently forged. But life has largely ignored her plans, and time has summoned her back to the shores of Lake Ontario for a school reunion that could change everything.

After four years as Danton Hill High's resident outcast, Adam Blackburn went on to a successful career in New York City. Yet now he's drawn homeward for a reunion he's surprisingly curious to attend--if he and his car survive the fierce summer storm that's hit. Adam always hated storms and their destruction. And sure enough, he soon collides with another vehicle in the blinding rain. But it turns out the driver is the one person he'd hoped to see: Vanessa.

Reunited by Mother Nature, the two take shelter in an abandoned farmhouse where they are forced to decipher their unresolved history. Together, they'll unravel the twists of fate that have brought them to the present--and discover the remarkable truth that may carry them through the future. . .

Opinion:

I'm sorry to say, but the inside of the story isn't as attention grabbing as I hoped it would be. 

Verdict:

I don't think I'll continue reading the book

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.)

First Impressions G128. The Laws of Gravity by Liz Rosenberg

Name of Book: The Laws of Gravity

Author: Liz Rosenberg

ISBN: 9781611099546

Publisher: Amazon publishing

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

An exquisite tour de force, The Laws of Gravity is a testament to what it means to be a family, what it takes to save a life, and the lengths we will go to to protect the ones we love. Two families, bound by blood, hear terrible news. One decision holds the key to survival--but at a devastating cost.

Nicole, auburn-haired, airy, and beautiful, discovers her body is betraying her. She turns to cousin and childhood best friend Ari for the cord blood he's been banking for his own children. Ari stands firm, bringing them before the scales of justice. Solomon Richter, a state Supreme Court judge on the brink of retirement, is touched by this legal battle like no other. His blood case, he calls it. A case that calls into question the very things we live for: the enduring bonds of family, and the love that lasts a lifetime. It's Nicole's last chance, Ari's last stand, and the judge's last case.

A novel of heartbreaking honesty, humor, and depth--an unforgettable story of finding love and finding family--The Laws of Gravity heralds Liz Rosenberg as a storytelling sensation.

Opinion:

Long time ago I attempted to read Jodi Picoult and made a realization after one book that I didn't like her, and I imagine that I will not enjoy her. I wanted to like the story, at least the little I read, but its not for me, I'm sorry to say.

Verdict:

I don't think I'll continue reading the book

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.)

First Impressions: G126. Teller of Tales by Ray Dacolias

Name of Book: Teller of Tales

Author: Ray Dacolias

ISBN: 978098881772

Publisher: Self published

Year it was published:  2012

Summary:

“Janitor” is a story about a man whose skin pigments happen to be predominantly black, who exists in Southern society before the advent of a kinder and gentler America. Although he is not treated with respect at his custodial job or in town, he is the embodiment of affability and graciousness. One day, something dramatic happens to alter the shameful attitude of his fellow citizens toward him.

“Love” is about the inviolate affection between a father and his daughter. As she lies dying on a hospital bed, he faithfully attends to her every need; it is here that we see their special bond, and the deep sorrow that compels him to desperate measures.

“The Whispering Bells” is a tale about tiny creatures that seek adventure and excitement as they soar throughout the galaxies. Sometimes, they form long lines and watch young Bells catch meteoroids and perform entertaining routines on them. One of these Bells is not so cautious and he lands on a planet where he cannot fly, and this is where his real journey begins.

“Crashing Into You” examines the life of a beautiful young woman and the consequences of her irresponsible actions. She speeds everywhere she goes, never thinking that her reckless driving might hurt someone; but one day she does hurt someone and goes to jail, and when she comes out, she is forced to examine her past life and the people she affected.

“March of Life” takes place during World War II. American and Filipino soldiers are on a forced march by Japanese captors who mistreat and often murder those prisoners who displease them or who are unable to physically make the trek. One of the Japanese soldiers does not agree with this inhumane treatment. He finds a way to leave the island, but unfortunately lands on the Chinese coastline, and must somehow survive the very people his country is seeking to commit genocide against.

“Autograph” profiles an old man who has had decades of nightmares about his role in the horrific bombing of another nation. He eventually realizes that he must go to this country and make amends with the people, but once there, he finds it is not an easy task.

“Of Greater Significance than Mammon” begins with a dying man struggling to move along a snow-covered road. He is trying to get to the house where his wife and precious daughter live, but he soon collapses. A Good Samaritan comes along and learns from this man that there are assassins coming to kill the man’s family. The youth now must make a decision to run, merely help, or take action.

“100” depicts the struggles of one hundred men in a bleak desert. They are cogitating on the methods to prevent a fast-moving truck with a deadly cargo from reaching a nearby city. These bald-headed men, dressed in beige clothes, have no weapons and very little time to resolve this dilemma.

“Soul Love” begins with a man holding onto the railing of a boat, his other hand grasping his wife’s as she dangles above a tempestuous sea. Soon his grasp will weaken and she will fall into the boiling cauldron—but when his hold on her is gone, something miraculous happens.

“A Purpose Given” profiles a wandering man who appears to be just like every bum or hobo who inhabits the landscape, but his past life was exemplary, and due to tragic circumstances, he has voluntarily left home and hearth to look for a greater purpose beyond his own life, and finds it.

Opinion:

I feel that the story tends to be too detailed for me to enjoy it, I'm sorry to say. I feel that there needs to be the right amount of detail and story but detail is a bit overwhelming.

Verdict:

I don't think I'll continue reading the book

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.)

FFE3 Book Review of Can't hardly breathe by Gena Showalter

Name of Book: Can't Hardly Breathe

Author: Gena Showalter

ISBN:  B01MTBXD8G

Publisher: Harlequin

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with an irresistible Original Heartbreakers story about a woman who's never felt desired and the man who wants her more than air to breathe…

Bullied in high school, Dorothea Mathis's past is full of memories she'd rather forget. But there's one she can't seem to shake—her long-standing crush on former army ranger Daniel Porter. Now that the sexy bad boy has started using her inn as his personal playground, she should kick him out…but his every heated glance makes her want to join him instead.

Daniel returned to Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, to care for his ailing father and burn off a little steam with no strings attached. Though he craves curvy Dorothea night and day, he's as marred by his past as she is by hers. The more he desires her, the more he fears losing her.

But every sizzling encounter leaves him desperate for more, and soon Daniel must make a choice: take a chance on love or walk away forever.

Link 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.)

Monday, September 25, 2017

G905 Book Review of a year in the company of freaks by Teresa neumann

Name of Book: A Year in the Company of Freaks

Author: Teresa Neumann

ISBN: 978-0-9831210-4-6

Publisher: All's Well House

Type of book: hippies, California, 1972-1973, farming, lost, jesus freak, motorcycle, warm-hearted tale of connections, second chances, probation, getting high, drugs, friendships, relationships

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

It's 1972 and a seismic clash-of-cultures is rattling northern California. In the redneck town of Trinity Springs, rumors of hippies migrating up from San Francisco have residents bracing for an invasion. When Italian-American hometown boy and Berkeley graduate Sid Jackson is busted for growing pot on his deceased parents' farm, locals suspect the assault has begun. Will a crazy deferral program devised by the sheriff keep Sid out of prison? Or will a house full of eccentric strangers, a passionate love interest, and demons from his past be his undoing? A "disarmingly appealing" tale of discrimination, transformation and restoration, Freaks is bursting with intrigue, drama, comic relief and romance. Reviewers agree this five-star, coming-of-age classic "very much reflects the attitude and mood of the times."

Characters:

Main characters include Sid, Mika as well as Pearlie and Otis. There are secondary characters such as Ketch, Woolf, Liz and Kate and Max Quinn.  Sid is an orphan who is half-Italian on his mother's side and who seems to be disconnected from everything. It also seems as if he has a chip on his shoulder that's not addressed. Sid inherits a farm and tries to do the very best he can in terms of his probation. Because of the negative experiences I've had with a number of jesus freaks, I was a bit on guard about Mika and half expected her to start preaching, but I am relieved to say that Mika did not attempt to convert or preach in the book. Mika is a warm-hearted woman in fact who is accepting and wants best for everyone. Otis is a local sheriff and is Sid's godfather. He is a warm personable man who has best interests of Sid and tries to do what he can for him. He was also best friends with Sid's parents. Pearlie is a great cook , generous with food and money and was also best friends with Sid's parents. Ketch is albino and has a lot of rough edges, but he is trying to grab a second chance. Not much is shown about Woolf aside from the fact he was in a war and is a kind veterinarian. Liz is best described as feminist who also has a lot of rough edges and becomes best friends with Mika. Kate Quinn is Sid's former babysitter who seems to seek something she cannot get, and Max is one that helped get Sid in trouble. He is Kate's younger brother.

Theme:

A year can bring many changes to people

Plot:

For perhaps 95 percent of the book the story is written in third person narrative from Sid's and Mika's point of view. The story's strong points is that history doesn't feel like history, if it makes sense; the reader becomes immediately roped in with Sid and the gang as they navigate the year and learn a lot about themselves throughout the months. I also enjoyed the characters a lot and wished that we could have seen more of Ketch, Woolf and Liz in the story. For some odd reason, I don't think I really bought Sid's growth throughout the year because he still had a lot of issues that seemed to be unresolved. But I did enjoy that nothing was instantaneous and it all took hard work and effort to come to certain points.

Author Information:
(From the website)

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

Author of highly-acclaimed "A Year in the Company of Freaks," Teresa was raised in a large Midwest family and now lives in Oregon. She is also the author of "Bianca's Vineyard," and its sequel, "Domenico's Table." Both books are based on the true stories of her husband's Italian family in Tuscany. In addition to enjoying family, writing, reading, meeting her readers, wine tasting, traveling, and all things Italian, Teresa loves playing the fiddle with other musicians.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Opinion:

I was born in mid '80s, therefore the '70s wasn't exactly a time of nostalgia for me, what it was however is a realization of the often used cliche: history repeats itself. I wasn't really sure what to make of the story to be honest because while it starts as sort of a flashback, not until the very end does the reader might suspect who the mysterious narrator is. I found the story a bit confusing and it often felt as if the style is designed to be a sitcom due to the episodic nature of the book, but at the same time it is definitely a highlight of the day and its something that any reader-historical fiction aficionado or not-can really sink their teeth into.

This is for iRead Book Tours

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

G922 Alycat and the Monday Blues by Alysson Foti Bourque, Illustrations by Chiara Civati

Title of the book: Alycat and the Monday Blues

Author: Alysson Foti Bourque, Illustrations by Chiara Civati

Publisher: Mascot Books

Publishing Date: 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68401-245-9

Summary:

Alycat wakes up on Monday with the dreaded Monday Bluescertain that nothing will go right. But when a mishap sends her astray, she discovers that helping a friend will help her discover her own hidden talent and cure her Monday Blues!

Author Info:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Mascot Books
Book Depository ~ Powells Books
Add to Goodreads
Meet the Author:

Alysson Foti Bourque is the author of the Rhyme or ReasonTravel series, and the multi-award winning Alycat series. Alysson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a law degree from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge. She believes that there is an Alycat in all of us, encouraging our imaginations to guide us through new opportunities and adventures. ​

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook
Personal Opinion:

To be honest, I kind of hoped that the book would be another story for a certain 17 month old boy who enjoys turning into a tornado, but its written more towards grownup children rather than little tornado boys, which might explain my disappointment. (There is a picture my tornado boy likes to look at though :) ) I do love the illustrations in the book and the colors that went into them. The story is good for my mommy eyes, but my son is not ready to chime in with his opinion.

This is for iRead Book Tours

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

G904 Book Review of the luster of lost things by Sophie Chen Keller

Name of Book: The Luster of Lost Things

Author: Sophie Chen Keller

ISBN: 978-0-7352-1078-3

Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons

Type of book: Bakery, good deeds, connections, New York, journey of one day, subway, denizens of underworld, speech impediment, dogs, Golden retrievers, relationships, kindness, small deeds, friendships

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

In this story for readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Man Called Ove, when all seems lost, he finds what matters most.

Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting.

But he wouldn’t be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter’s life gets lonely. Fortunately, he has The Lavenders—his mother’s enchanted dessert shop, where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. He also has a knack for tracking down any missing thing—except for his lost father.

So when the Book at the root of the bakery’s magic vanishes, Walter, accompanied by his overweight golden retriever, journeys through New York City to find it—along the way encountering an unforgettable cast of lost souls.

Steeped in nostalgic wonder, The Luster of Lost Things explores the depths of our capacity for kindness and our ability to heal. A lyrical meditation on why we become lost and how we are found, from the bright, broken heart of a boy who knows where to look for everyone but himself.

Characters:

Walter is an intelligent young boy who is suffering from a speech impediment and who is thoughtful, observant and extremely determined.Walter is also joined by Milton, an overweight golden retriever who is Walter's loyal companion and seems to know more than he lets on. Other companions join in such as Ruby, a girl about Walter's age who is also helpful, sweet although a bit domineering and often comes in second especially when compared to her special needs sister Debbie. There is also Junker, a man who creates things out of junk, Karl is a man who misses his wife, Nico has lost his motivation, and Lan is an immigrant struggling with English.

Theme:

We are more connected than divided

Plot:

The story is told in first person narrative from Walter Lavender Jr.'s point of view. On the surface the story is simple; that of a boy searching for a magical book to help his mother's beloved bakery, but underneath an untold layer of complexity exists of finding one's voice as well as doing good deeds for others and loving yourself for whom you are. For me the story has elements of Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford which also has character searching for answers, but then the story also has elements of my favorite foodie novels by Erica Bauermeister in that it shows human connections through book pages and how we are far more united rather than divided, an important message to remember in this day and age.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Sophie Chen Keller was born in Beijing, China, and was raised in Ohio and California. Her fiction has won several awards and has appeared in publications such as Glimmer Train (where her first short story was published when she was fifteen) and Pedestal. After graduating from Harvard, she worked in the fashion industry and in brand consulting before leaving to pursue her dream of writing. She currently resides in New York with her husband and a not-so-secret cabinet of sweets.

Opinion:

I am happy to report that my expectations for the novel were met and in some cases even exceeded what I expected. From the summary I expected for the story to have similarities to Monday Night Cooking School/ The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister, which it does in that it shows connections Walter has to people he meets, and it also shows how simple and small things can mean a whole lot for a person, much more than grand gestures. What I didn't expect is to compare the book to Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford in that both novels share a young man's journey with different messages at the end. For a warm and sweet novel to help restore one's faith in humanity, this is the right one to turn to.

This was given to me for consideration and honest 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.)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

G901 Book Review of Raven's feast by Eric Schumacher

Name of Book: Raven's Feast

Author: Eric Schumacher

ISBN: 9781545516843

Publisher: Creativia

Type of book: Vikings, Danes, powers, Hakon, 935-936, North, Uplands, Norway, Swedes, christianity, priests, Eric the Bloodaxe, battles, brotherhood, two sides to the story

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

It is 935 A.D. and Hakon Haraldsson has just wrested the High Seat of the North from his ruthless brother, Erik Bloodaxe. Now, he must fight to keep it.

The land-hungry Danes are pressing from the south to test Hakon before he can solidify his rule. In the east, the Uplanders are making their own plans to seize the throne. It does not help that Hakon is committed to his dream of Christianizing his people - a dream his countrymen do not share and will fight to resist.

As his enemies move in and his realm begins to crumble, Hakon and his band of oath-sworn warriors must make a stand in Raven’s Feast, the riveting sequel to God’s Hammer.

Characters:

Main character includes Hakon who has recently destroyed his brother Eric the Bloodaxe and is now seeking men to help him consolidate power as the rightful king. Hakon is best described as an extremely controversial king because first of all he happens to be a christian in a land before christianity took over, and he refuses to compromise his beliefs which leads to a lot of troubles for him. He also happens to be charismatic as well as impulsive and he is young. Hakon also some advisers and helpers in helping him such as Sigurd who has a wife and a daughter and is seen as a big influence on other nobles. The antagonists included Thorgill who has a personal vendetta against Hakon and is willing to do whatever he can to pursue it as well as Ragnvald who seems to care more for his own skin than for honor.

Theme:

Its difficult to introduce new beliefs to old beliefs

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from Hakon's point of view. I didn't read the previous novel to be honest, and yes, it seems that the story requires the first book because the story seemed to continue from when it was left off and the reader will only pick up bits and pieces about what happened to Hakon previously. The strength of the novel also lies in the vivid descriptions of the world Hakon has inhabited as well as vikings' beliefs which are gruesome.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)


About the Author

Eric Schumacher was born in Los Angeles in 1968 and currently resides in Santa Barbara, CA with his wife, two children and dog. He is the author of two historical fiction novels, God’s Hammer and its sequel, Raven’s Feast. Both tell the story of the first Christian king of Viking Norway, Hakon Haraldsson, and his struggles to gain and hold the High Seat of his realm.
More information on Eric and his Hakon Sagas can be found on his website. You can also connect with Eric on TwitterFacebookGoodreads, and AuthorsDB.

Opinion:

If the reader is looking for a fast paced action novel that takes place in 900s about Vikings and their beliefs prior to christianity taking over, then its a good story to get lost in and to enjoy. The story is of brotherhood, battles, and of survival in a distant and cold land where everyone is out for themselves, or so it seems. A few things did disappoint me in the story; one is the treatment of a female character that the author describes as pockmarked and someone without manners. ( I honestly felt kind of bad for her.) and another is that the story seemed to lack character growth or so. For example, in my eyes, Hakon seemed to have stayed the same in the novel and didn't seem to grow as a person.

This is for HFVBT

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