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.)

Friday, September 15, 2017

G908 overwhelmed writer to the rescue; Boost Productivity, Improve Time Management, and Replenish the Creator Within

Title of the book:  overwhelmed writer to the rescue; Boost Productivity, Improve Time Management, and Replenish the Creator Within

Author: Colleen M. Story

Publisher: MidChannel Press

Publishing Date: 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9990991-0-0

Summary:

Find the time, energy, and confidence you need to make your creative dreams come true!

Do you feel like you're always behind? Do less important tasks frequently flood your schedule and sink your creative motivation? Are you frustrated and out of touch with your inner artist?

After 20 years experience in the writing industry, author Colleen M. Story extends a lifeline to pull you out of the sinking swamp of "busyness" and back into the flourishing creative life you deserve.

Today's demands on writers and other creative artists are overwhelming. Not only must you produce the work you love, but build and maintain a platform and market your finished products to the world--all while holding down a day job and/or caring for a family.

You teeter on the edge. What waits on the other side are burnout, exhaustion, and a complete loss of creative motivation.

Overwhelmed Writer Rescue provides practical, personalized solutions to help beginning and experienced writers and other creative artists escape the tyranny of the to-do list to nurture the genius within. You'll find ways to boost productivity, improve time management, and restore your sanity while gaining insight into your unique creative nature and what it needs to thrive.

Ultimately, you'll discover what may be holding you back from experiencing the true joy that a creative life can bring.

In this motivational and inspiring book, you'll learn:

–Why you feel so rushed and how you can regain control of your time.
–Your unique "time personality" and how to use it to get more writing done.
–Practical steps to overcome distractions and focus faster.
–The 7 "productivity saboteurs" that plague creative artists and how to outsmart them.
–Your personal motivation style and how to use it to increase productivity.
–How to tap into your unconscious mind to find "writer solutions" when you need them.
–Why affirmations don't work and how to instill true belief in yourself.
–Why it's critical to your overall health and well being to nurture the creator within.

There's no reason to feel overwhelmed one moment longer. No matter how crazy your life is, you can find more time for your creative work, and start feeling more like yourself again.

Author Info:
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble


Add to Goodreads 

About the Author:

Colleen M. Story has worked in the creative writing industry for over twenty years. Her novels include "Loreena’s Gift," an Idaho Author Awards first place winner, New Apple Solo Medalist winner, Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, Reader Views award finalist, and Best Book Awards finalist; and "Rise of the Sidenah," a North American Book Awards winner and New Apple Book Awards Official Selection.

As a health writer, she’s authored thousands of articles for publications like "Healthline" and "Women’s Health;" worked with high-profile clients like Gerber Baby Products and Kellogg’s; and ghostwritten books on back pain, nutrition, and cancer recovery. She finds most rewarding her work as a motivational speaker and workshop leader, where she helps writers remove mental and emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness (writingandwellness.com), a motivational site helping writers and other creative artists maintain their physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being throughout their careers. Sign up for your free weekly email containing tips for living your best creative life at: www.writingandwellness/newsletter.

To find more information on Colleen and her work, please see her website or follow her on Twitter. She loves to hear from readers—feel free to use the “contact” form on either her website or Writing and Wellness to get in touch with her.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter  

Personal Opinion:

For a book that's only 200 pages, the claims sound outrageous,  and perhaps I think I was expecting it to be a run-of-the-mill self help book. Instead I got a wonderful read on my hands that lives up to the promises and refuses to accept excuses about why and how people are not following their creative calling. The author uses scientific studies along with personal experiences to create a fascinating cocktail blend of a self help book that gets you thinking on the why and how and that should help you do the purported claims. There is also exploration from different angles about what might possibly be sabotaging the reader's creativity, and like the author claims, the book is not designed merely for writers but can be used by any creative person, so don't let the title fool you in other words.

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 14, 2017

G706 The Fever of 1721; The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics

Title of the book: The Fever of 1721; The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics

Author:Stephen Coss

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publishing Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-8308-6

Summary:

More than fifty years before the American Revolution, Boston was in revolt against the tyrannies of the Crown, Puritan Authority, and Superstition. This is the story of a fateful year that prefigured the events of 1776.

In The Fever of 1721, Stephen Coss brings to life an amazing cast of characters in a year that changed the course of medical history, American journalism, and colonial revolution, including Cotton Mather, the great Puritan preacher, son of the president of Harvard College; Zabdiel Boylston, a doctor whose name is on one of Boston's grand avenues; James and his younger brother Benjamin Franklin; and Elisha Cooke and his protegee; Samuel Adams.

During the worst smallpox epidemic in Boston history Mather convinced Doctor Boylston to try a procedure that he believed would prevent death--by making an incision in the arm of a healthy person and implanting it with smallpox. Inoculation led to vaccination, one of the most profound medical discoveries in history. Public outrage forced Boylston into hiding, and Mather's house was firebombed.

A political fever also raged. Elisha Cooke was challenging the Crown for control of the colony and finally forced Royal Governor Samuel Shute to flee Massachusetts. Samuel Adams and the Patriots would build on this to resist the British in the run-up to the American Revolution. And a bold young printer James Franklin (who was on the wrong side of the controversy on inoculation), launched America's first independent newspaper and landed in jail. His teenage brother and apprentice, Benjamin Franklin, however, learned his trade in James' shop and became a father of the Independence movement.

One by one, the atmosphere in Boston in 1721 simmered and ultimately boiled over, leading to the full drama of the American Revolution.

Author Info:
(From the book)

Stephen Coss lives in Madison, Wisconsin. This is his first book

Personal Opinion:

To be honest, the book deserves more like 1.5 stars if I did ratings in half, but since I don't, I rounded it up to two stars. While well researched, what the book promised it didn't deliver and I ended up being more frustrated than educated. This is what I thought I would get from the book; a story of how newspaper, politics and smallpox connected. Most of the book focused on newspaper wars and smallpox and left the politics out. In this case the author would have been better off writing two non-fiction books rather than trying to cram everything into one book, and he should've left politics out of the story. I didn't understand what lesson, if anything, I should have learned from those stories; that there is always competition, that great men get their fame from troubled times, that smallpox is an opportunity instead of a scourge? I also am being honest in feeling disconnected from people and feel that perhaps a dash of fiction would have worked in his favor. I didn't understand the political maneuverings aside from the fact that England was always in charge. Newspaper wars and smallpox were a bit more entertaining and more well told rather than politics.

I won this from Goodreads Firstreads program

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.)

Book Blast for the Soldier's Return by Laura Libricz


The Soldier's Return by Laura Libricz

Publication Date: September 15, 2017
eBook & Paperback

Series: Heaven's Pond Trilogy, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction


The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher. But ten years is a long time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight against a senseless war out of control?
?
The Soldier’s Return is the second book in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy and will be released on September 15, 2017.

Available on Amazon


About the Author

Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.

She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.

Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven's Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.

For more information, please visit Laura Libricz's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 4
A Book Geek
Mello & June, It's a Book Thang!

Tuesday, September 5
100 Pages a Day
The Reading Queen

Wednesday, September 6
Must Read Faster
Just One More Chapter

Thursday, September 7
The Writing Desk
The Maiden's Court
To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, September 8
Book Nerd
CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, September 9
Passages to the Past
Books, Dreams, Life

Sunday, September 10
I Heart Reading

Monday, September 11
A Literary Vacation
Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, September 12
Jo's Book Blog
WS Momma Readers Nook

Wednesday, September 13
Laura's Interests
Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, September 14
A Holland Reads
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Friday, September 15
T's Stuff
Pursuing Stacie

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...