Monday, January 22, 2018

Diverse Reads on my Blog #13

Diverse Reads on my Blog #13

It's really sad when people put their selfish ambitions and desires ahead of those who they are supposed to serve. It has been a one long and painful in so many ways. The situation definitely seems to be more of "us vs. them" where both sides are painted as either anarchists with blowtorches or kings of old who desire to subject everyone to their whims.

Unfortunately I hadn't really accomplished my diversity goals in reading, but its okay, its a brand new year. With diversity, I will also include Jewish authors as well as Jewish themed books. What I also will do is something controversial and it has something to do with bible. (More details to follow) without further ado, please enjoy this month's Diverse Reads.

Blast from the Past

So Totally Emily Ebers by Lisa Yee


In a series of letters to her absent father, twelve-year-old Emily Ebers deals with moving cross-country, her parents' divorce, a new friendship, and her first serious crush.

Why Its Diverse:

It is written by Lisa Yee who happens to be an author of Chinese-American descent







The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder


Gray clouds to the northwest mean only one thing-A blizzard is moments away...The first terrible storm comes to the barren prairie in October. THen it snows almost without stopping until April. Snow has reached the rooftops, and no trains can get through with food or coal. The people of De Smet are starving, including the Ingalls family, who wonder how long they're going to make it through this terrible winter. It is young Almanzo Wilder who finally understands what needs to be done. He must save the town, even if it means risking his own life.

Why It's Diverse: 

Laura's older sister, Mary, is blind and is one of the main characters.


Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee

Millicent Min is having a bad summer. Her fellow high school students hate her for setting the curve. Her fellow eleven-year-olds hate her for going to high school. Her grandmother Maddie is moving away. And in an effort to give Millicent a more "normal" childhood, her mom has not only signed her up for volleyball, she's also arranged for her to tutor Stanford Wong-jock, jerk and poster boy for Chinese geekdom.

But when Millicent meets Emily, things start to look up. Emily doesn't know Millicent's IQ score. She actually thinks Millicent is cool. And if Millicent can hide her awards, ignore her grandmother's advice, blackmail Stanford into silence, learn to serve a volleyball over the net, stop her parents from embarrassing her forever, and keep all her lies straight, she just might make her first friend.

What's it going to take?

Sheer genius.

Why Its Diverse:

The author who wrote the story is of Chinese-American descent and I believe that it can be considered an ownvoices book. Also as well, the female character is struggling more with friendships rather than having a boyfriend.

Blast from the Past: Allies of Diversity

The Good Earth by Pearl Buck

Though more than sixty years have passed since this remarkable novel won the Pulitzer Prize, it has retained its popularity and become one of the great modern classics. "I can only write what I know, and I know nothing but China, having always lived there," wrote Pearl Buck. In The Good Earth she presents a graphic view of a China when the last emperor reigned and the vast political and social upheavals of the twentieth century were but distant rumblings for the ordinary people. This moving, classic story of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his selfless wife O-lan is must reading for those who would fully appreciate the sweeping changes that have occurred in the lives of the Chinese people during this century.

Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck traces the whole cycle of life: its terrors, its passions, its ambitions and rewards. Her brilliant novel -- beloved by millions of readers -- is a universal tale of the destiny of man.

What diversity it has:

The story was written by a Caucasian woman born and raised in China and it portrays Chinese as complex human beings instead of one dimensional characters.

People of the Wolf by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear

In the dawn of history, a valiant people forged a pathway from an old world into a new one. Led by a dreamer who followed the spirit of the wolf, a handful of courageous men and women dared to cross the frozen wastes to find an untouched, unspoiled continent. This is the magnificent saga of the vision-filled man who led his people to an awesome destiny, and the courageous woman whose love and bravery drove them on in pursuit of that dream.

A sweeping epic of prehistory, People of the Wolf brings the true story of the ancestors of today's Native American peoples to life in an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion.


What diversity it has:

The story is of Native Americans about 13,000 or so years ago and they are drawn as complex human beings in my opinion.

What I am Reading Now: 

Unfortunately, right now nothing at the moment

Future Reviews: 

The Girls by Emma Cline

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



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

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






Night by Elie Wiesel

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

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

Dawn by Elie Wisel

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





Day (The Accident) by Elie Wiesel

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

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

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

One half from the East by Nadia Hashimi

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

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

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

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

Now Obayda is Obayd.

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

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

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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

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

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

Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet by Jamie Ford

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

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

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

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

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

The Carrion Birds by Urban Waite

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

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

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

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

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

5 Books I am planning on tackling this year:

Eternal Life by Dara Horn

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

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

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

Pages: 233

Israela by Batya Casper

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

Pages: 365

Love, and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

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

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

Pages: 304

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

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

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

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

Pages: 307

Forgotten Reflections by Young-Im Lee

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

DARE TO DREAM IN THE MIDST OF WAR.

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

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

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

Pages: 476

G962 Book Review of Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

Name of Book: Kiss Carlo

Author: Adriana Trigiani

ISBN: 978-0-06-231923-4

Publisher: Harper Collins

Type of book: 1949-1954, comedy, theater, acting, being true to self, Italian-Americans, Rosetto, New Jersey, secrets, long engagement, images, feud, driving cab, lying, pretending, friendship

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

From Adriana Trigiani, the beloved New York Times-bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife, comes an exhilarating epic novel of love, loyalty, and creativity—the story of an Italian-American family on the cusp of change.

It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.

Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.

From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.

Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia.

Characters:

There are a whole lot of main characters in the book, but the most memorable ones will be Nicky Castone, an orphan who was adopted by his aunt and uncle. Despite their constant love and assurance, Nicky always worries that sooner or later they will leave him. In beginning he has been in the army and fought WWII and has also been engaged for seven years to Teresa "Peachy" DePino and has secretly been involved in a local theater. There is also Teresa "Peachy" DePino who is obsessed with image, pink and has only one goal: to be married. Nicky often feels she doesn't seem him as a person. There is Calla Borelli, the youngest daughter of her father who is passionate about Shakespeare and theater and is determined to save her father's theater at any cost. She tends to be an idealist rather than a realist and is also a good friend to Nicky. There is Hortense Mooney, who is an African-American dispatcher filled with wisdom and has always tried her best to look out for Nicky Castone. Hortense is very passionate about church and her job and doesn't give up in searching for her own purpose. Other characters include Nicky's cousins and cousins-in-law as well as another uncle and Calla's family, but it will take me a very long time to write down all the characters.

Theme:

There is comedy in tragedy

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from practically all of the characters' points of view, yet the reader doesn't get lost with who's who because the author is pretty good at creating unique characters that are highly likely to be remembered and recalled at a future date. I also loved the plot, of the choices that Nicky makes and how endearing he becomes to the audience in spite of them. All of the characters, both main and secondary really shine and could really make the audience relate to them in one way or another, which is a big gift in itself. While almost half of the book spans mere days, its a worthwhile read to really understand Nicky and Calla and their thoughts as well as motivations, and yes, be prepared for comedy and to be shocked (in a good way.) I think that personally I would have liked a mention whether or not Elsa decided to pursue her roots in the book, but do hope to learn it in possible future installments.

Author Information:
(From the site)

Buy the book:Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble, HarperCollins
Books-a-Million, Indiebound, iBooks
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

​Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of 17 books, which have been published in 36 countries around the world. She is a playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker. She wrote and directed the film version of her novel Big Stone Gap, which was shot entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. She is co-founder of the Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves more than a thousand students in Appalachia. She lives in Greenwich Village with her family.

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

If I could, I'd create a montage of myself running around my hometown and throwing Kiss Carlo to every man, woman or child that I see in my path, so in other words, yes, I loved the book, the story, the characters and the warmth and innocence of characters. I actually can't find anything I didn't like, which speaks very highly because I rarely find books that I have a hard time not criticizing. I previously read the author's other book, but I think because it was part of the series, I didn't like it as much because it seemed a bit foreign. This book however, either its a stand-alone or part of the new series, I loved it and really sped through when it came to reading. When you get a chance, please buy a copy of this book and enjoy the warmth, the characters and wisdom all interspersed in 500 pages that are guaranteed to fly by faster than lightning.

This is for Italy Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Jan 15 - Library of Clean Reads - book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 15 - A Holland Reads - review / giveaway
Jan 16 - Blooming with Books - review / giveaway
Jan 17 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
Jan 18 - Adventures Thur Wonderland - review / giveaway
Jan 19 - Zerina Blossom’s Books - review / giveaway
Jan 22 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
​Jan 22 - Essentially Italian - book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 23 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
Jan 24 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
Jan 24 - My Reading Journeys - review / giveaway
Jan 25 - Truly Trendy - review / giveaway
Jan 25 - Rainy Day Reviews - review / giveaway
Jan 26 - Pause for Tales - review / giveaway
Jan 26 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / giveaway
Jan 29 - Jorie Loves A Story - review
Jan 29 - The Book Enigma - review / giveaway
Jan 29 - 30-something Travel - review / giveaway
Jan 30 - Singing Librarian Books -review / giveaway
Jan 30 - Il Mio Tesoro - review
Jan 31 - Reading is My Passion - review / 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.)

G942 Book Review of Dominic by Mark Pryor

Name of Book: Dominic

Author: Mark Pryor

ISBN: 978-1-63388-365-9

Publisher: Seventh Street Books

Part of a Series: Hollow Man sequel

Type of book: prosecutor, Austin, Texas, sociopath/psychopath, modern times, musician, hiding crimes, murder, role model, lying, omission of truth,

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Only two other people know that Dominic, a charming Englishman, prosecutor, and musician in Austin, Texas, is also a psychopath. They also know that a year ago he got away with murder.

One of those people is his "special lady," and the other is her brother, a teenager and fellow psychopath called Bobby. When a wily homicide detective starts digging up that past murder, little Bobby offers to take care of the problem--permanently. Dominic tries to dissuade him, but as he himself knows, psychopaths aren't good with following instructions. Or impulse control.

As Detective Megan Ledsome circles closer, Dominic knows his life depends on keeping his secrets hidden, from her and the rest of the world. And when his annoying office-mate declares his interest in a judicial position, one he himself would like, Dominic realizes that one of his carefully-orchestrated plans could kill two birds with one stone.

Of course, that means some sleight of hand and a sacrifice or two. But if there's one thing a psychopath doesn't mind, it's sacrificing other people.

Characters:

Main characters include Dominic, a psychopathic/sociopathic prosecutor part time musician who has come from United Kingdom with his parents. He is good at mimicry and often fools people into believing something he is not. He is also acting as sort of a role model for his girlfriend's younger brother and has ambitions to do whatever he can to reach the top. In theory he seems to have a perfect life on the surface, but as soon as cracks begin to appear, he will do whatever he can to repair them. There is also Brian McNulty, Dominic's co-worker and who also desires to be friends with Dominic and to be seen as more of a human being than someone boring. The girl in the green dress and her younger brother who shares Dominic's traits also make appearances. There are secondary characters but most of them tend to be flat and don't show much personality.

Theme:

Prepare for more tangled webs to be spun

Plot:

The story is in first person narrative from Dominic's and Brian's points of view, occasionally the girl in the green dress joins in. Because I was reading an ARC, I was going to mention that character names for the chapter could have been beneficial, but the final copy does have it. Even knowing Dominic from Hollow Man, I was still surprised and shocked by the ride and the plan he gave his readers.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Mark Pryor is the author of the Hugo Marston novels The Bookseller, The Crypt Thief, THe Blood Promise, The Button Man, and The Reluctant Matador, and the true-crime book As She Lay Sleeping. A native Hertfordshire, England, he is an assistant district attorney in Austin, Texas where he lives with his wife and three children.

Opinion:

In my opinion, yes the previous book, Hollow Man, needs to be read in order to enjoy this one and to know what is going on because while there are some explanations about Dominic's previous crime, its too tantalizing to skip over. All I also can think of is "what tangled webs we weave when first learn to deceive" picking up from the previous book, Dominic begins to attempt to figure out how to cover up his previous crime, and oh boy, with Dominic, get ready for another thrilling ride from the psychopathic/sociopathic prosecutor part-time musician. New victims are found and emotions are once again toyed with while full truths are concealed from the reader. I look forward to more of Dominic's adventures.

This was given to me for my honest opinion

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.)

G941 Book Review of Hollow man by Mark Pryor

Name of Book: Hollow Man

Author: Mark Pryor

ISBN: 978-1-63388-086-3

Publisher: Seventh Street Books

Part of a Series: Hollow Man

Type of book: Sociopath/Psychopath, legal, prosecutor, Austin, Texas, anti-hero, murder, mystery, covering up tracks, twists, relationship

Year it was published: 2015

Summary:

Dominic is a prosecutor, a musician, and an Englishman living in Texas. He's also a psychopath. His main goal is to hide his condition and lead a seemingly normal life in hopes to pay off his debts and become a full-time musician in Austin's  club scene. But on one lousy day his carefully-controlled world starts to shatter: he's demoted at work and accused of stealing a fellow musician's song.

He also meets a beautiful woman in a lime green dress--perhaps the biggest threat to his safety of all. At her urging, Dominic hatches a plan to steal a van he knows will be filled with cash. He picks two friends as accomplices, insisting on no guns and no violence. But a security guard catches them in the act and simple theft turns into capital murder.

Cracks start to show in the conspiracy and, with no allegiance to anyone but himself, Dominic has to decide whether to stick by his partners in crime, or let his true nature come out to play.

Characters:

The characters are certainly fascinating in my opinion; first there is Dominic, transplanted from United Kingdom to Austin, Texas. He is best described as emotionless, a liar and someone who is good at mimicry. He is also a part-time musician, which is an odd combo in my opinion because music manipulates emotions and he literally cannot feel emotions. There is also the girl with the green dress (her real name not given) who has a younger teenage brother Bobby who is also a psychopath and who seems to become Dominic's girlfriend of sorts. There is also the IT roommate Tristan who has his own secret addiction as well as out of work cop named Otto, and Dominic's musician "friend" who gives him the idea for the robbery. Interestingly enough, we see little of the characters' personalities and just see the events.

Theme:

Two things I learned from the book; one is that some people aren't as good as we want them to be (anyone else wanted to believe the best of Dominic despite him literally denying he his good?) and double question what is going on.

Plot:

The story is in first person narrative from Dominic's point of view. The author is good at keeping the suspense going, and playing with people's emotions. I also liked the fact that the mystery is different in that the heroes are bad guys and not good ones. I honestly didn't see the ending coming and I was left with my mouth hanging open.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Mark Pryor is the author of the Hugo Marston novels The Bookseller, The Crypt Thief, THe Blood Promise, The Button Man, and The Reluctant Matador, and the true-crime book As She Lay Sleeping. A native Hertfordshire, England, he is an assistant district attorney in Austin, Texas where he lives with his wife and three children.

Opinion:

Tired of reading mysteries where the good guy always triumphs? Looking for something unique and different? Then look no further than Mark Pryor's Hollow Man, which follows a pyschopathic/sociopathic British prosecutor residing in Austin Texas who makes a choice to be part of a robbery that goes wrong. Its a bit hard to describe the next part without the spoiling the story, but all I want to say is to pay attention to the way Dominic describes himself in beginning, something I haven't really experienced since, well, a college class. Also, there will be consequences of the botched robbery, but can those in the know hold it together, or will one of them break down? An exciting and different mystery that I haven't read like this before.

This was given to me for an honest review

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

G953 Book Review of the antelope play by Boyd Taylor

Name of Book: The Antelope Play

Author: Boyd Taylor

ISBN: 978-0-9894707-0-4

Publisher: Katherine Brown Press

Part of a Series: Donnie Ray Cuinn

Type of book: Velda Texas, water rights, healing, grief, legal, "terrorists", small town, people, friends, work, politics, suspense, drug cartel, death

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

When Austin native Donnie Cuinn accepts a job as an associate in a Texas Panhandle law firm, his boredom and disdain for Velda, a sleepy Texas town, is forgotten when he gets caught up in a struggle over water rights, possible radioactive contamination of the nation's largest underground fresh water supply, and the violence of an invading Mexican drug cartel. Along the way, Donnie learns to respect the local rancher, whose brother is at the center of the troubles, and to come to terms with the violent death of his young Mexican wife.

Characters:

In this book the characters are certainly more memorable than in previous one; first is Donnie who is the main character. He has recently gone through bad times and can't seem to snap out of his funk. He is best described as lucky and unafraid and resourceful. There is also Jake, Donnie's previous employer who is more worried about the public rather than doing the right thing, and, of course, Bridger who seems to have a crush on Donnie as well as the sheriff and his wife who make homemade meals for the prisoners and the twin sisters; one working for Jake while another one working for Donnie.

Theme:

Nothing is what it seems

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from Donnie's point of view. Its interesting to note that Donnie changed a lot from the first book in this one, and the author didn't write the change as it happened, but in fact wrote of what happened after the change. Also as well, I sensed some humor in the story in terms of Donnie's deeds. Although its not a mystery, I did feel that its a bit of mystery because Donnie was trying to find out what happened and why one brother pressured another to sign away the rights.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy the Books:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads
Meet the Author:

BOYD TAYLOR lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and their Havanese dog Toby. Necessities is the fourth novel in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. In a former life, Boyd was a lawyer and a corporate officer. A native of Temple, Texas, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in government and an LL.B. from the law school.

​Boyd's first novel "Hero" was prescient in its story about fake news. His second novel, "The Antelope Play," dealt with drug trafficking in the Texas Panhandle, an unfortunately accurate forecast. The third, "The Monkey House", involved commercial development of a large green space in the center of Austin, all too familiar to Austin residents. Whether his upcoming novel "Necessities" predicts future events with the accuracy of the earlier books remains to be seen.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook

Opinion:

In my opinion, the novel is better developed than the previous one; the characters are quirky and memorable, and I for one grew to like Velda and its inhabitants. What I wasn't sure about was whether or not its a mystery because I thought it might be mystery, and the book stands well as a stand-alone novel, in other words the reader doesn't need to read the previous book to enjoy this one. I do think that a character list or sheet could have improved the story because there are a lot of characters to keep track of.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK REVIEW TOUR SCHEDULE:

Jan 3 - Library of Clean Reads - tour kickoff / spotlight all 4 books / giveaway
Jan 4 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Hero / giveaway
Jan 5 - Literary Flits - review of Hero / giveaway
Jan 8 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Hero
Jan 9 - Olio by Marilyn - review of Hero / author interview / giveaway
Jan 10 - Library of Clean Reads - review of The Antelope Play / giveaway
Jan 15 - Library of Clean Reads - review of The Monkey House / giveaway
Jan 17 - Olio by Marilyn - review of The Antelope Play / giveaway
Jan 18 - Books for Books - review of Hero
Jan 19 - Literary Flits - spotlight of The Antelope Play / giveaway
Jan 22 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of The Antelope Play
Jan 23 - A Mama's Corner of the World - spotlight of Books 1, 2 and 3
Jan 24 - Hall Ways Blog - spotlight of Books 1, 2 and 3
Jan 25 - Books for Books - review of The Antelope Play
Jan 26 - Olio by Marilyn - review of The Monkey House / giveaway
Jan 29 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Necessities / author interview / giveaway
Jan 30 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review of Necessities / giveaway
Jan 30 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Hero / guest post / giveaway
Jan 31 - Hall Ways Blog - review of Necessities / giveaway
Feb 5 - Literary Flits - spotlight of The Monkey House / giveaway
Feb 6 - Books for Books - review of The Monkey House
Feb 7 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Hero / giveaway
Feb 7 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of The Antelope Play / giveaway
Feb 8 - Olio by Marilyn - review of Necessities / giveaway
Feb 9 - A Page Before Bedtime - review of Necessities / giveaway
Feb 12 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of The Monkey House
Feb 13 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of The Monkey House / giveaway
Feb 14 - Bound 4 Escape - review of The Antelope Play / giveaway
Feb 15 - Books for Books - review of Necessities
Feb 16 - Fantastic Feathers - review of Necessities
Feb 19 - FUONLYKNEW - review of Hero / giveaway
Feb 19 - Literary Flits - review of Necessities / giveaway
Feb 20 - FUONLYKNEW - review of The Antelope Play / giveaway
Feb 21 - FUONLYKNEW - review of The Monkey House / giveaway
Feb 21 - Bound 4 Escape - review of The Monkey House / giveaway
Feb 21 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Necessities / giveaway
Feb 22 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Hero / guest post / giveaway
Feb 22 - FUONLYKNEW - review of Necessities / giveaway
Feb 23 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of The Antelope Play / giveaway
Feb 23 - Books are Love - review of Hero / guest post / giveaway
Feb 26 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Necessities
Feb 26 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of The Monkey House/ giveaway
Feb 26 - Books are Love - review of he Antelope Play / giveaway
Feb 27 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Necessities / guest post / giveaway
Feb 27 - Books are Love - review of The Monkey House / giveaway
Feb 28 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Necessities / giveaway
Feb 28 - Books are Love - review of Necessities / giveaway

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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 3 Part 6.10

General Information:

Name of Book: Tree of Souls

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

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 Three: Myths of Heavens

Part VI: The Palaces of Heaven

226. The Palaces of Heaven

Issue: Description that the scholars who pass on go on to study Torah with the masters in palaces and in the heavenly Garden of Eden, and that the scholars can get a chance to study Torah with masters from Rashi to Moses and to Abraham.

227. Women In Paradise

Issue:In the Paradise there are six palaces where women make home. First palace is Bitiah's who is Pharaoh's daughter and who raised Moses. Second Palace is that of Serah bat Asher then there is Yocheved who is Moses' mother as well as Miriam his siter and Deborah the prophetess. Beyond those six palaces are the four palaces of the matriarchs; Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel. But these palaces weren't seen yet.

To be continued...

G943 Book Review of Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr

Name of Book: Twofer Murder

Author: Lauren Carr

ISBN: 9781975776305

Publisher: Acorn Services

Part of a Series: Mac Faraday Mysteries; Lovers in Crime Mysteries; Thorny Rose Mysteries)

Type of book: Boys weekend, girls weekend, West Virginia, psychology, analysis, delusions, psychopath, lying, past, sins, mysteries, murders, bonding

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Twofer murder? What’s a twofer murder?

Twofer Murder is a treat for fans of best-selling author Lauren Carr’s fast-paced mysteries! Lauren’s latest novel contains the main characters from her three successful series: Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go away for a fishing weekend only to get caught up in the murder of a journalist investigating fraud at a timber company. Meanwhile, the ladies are spending the weekend in the presidential suite at a posh resort where Jessica Faraday is to accept a lifetime achievement award for her late grandmother at a murder mystery writers conference. But before they have time to get their facials, they get wrapped up in their own real mystery when an up and coming author ends up dead!

Lauren Carr’s Twofer Murder is a 2-for-1—making it a must-read for any mystery fan!

Characters:

Main characters include the boys and girls as well as the pets which are more than just there to be there but they have active roles to play. There is also a character list in front of the book which makes it a bit easier to figure out who's who. Also as well, the main characters are all different and not the same which makes it easy to recall them. Secondary characters are also fascinating, but because of the fact that two mysteries are mixed in instead of being separated, secondary characters were a bit more difficult for me than I would have liked.

Theme:

Nothing is what it seems

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative from women's and men's points of view, the detectives that is. The characters are well formed and use their hidden strengths and I appreciated the reminders that I forgot. I also enjoyed the boys' mysteries and all the twists and turns it entailed, keeping the reader hooked to see which way it'll go next. I do feel that instead of being mixed, the author could have had two separate parts for the mysteries, or three parts; one beginnings another girls and another boys which will keep the tension high in my opinion and won't be frustrating in remembering the details and roles that the secondary characters play. The ending of the girls' mystery could use more explaining, especially the uncovered evidence.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy the Book:
Amazon
Add to Goodreads


Meet the author:

​Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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

Opinion:

Considering how much I've fallen in love with the previous characters in her Thorny Rose Mysteries, I was really excited to read the latest installment and catch up with my new favorite detectives. The stories don't disappoint in that the reader is treated to two sensational mysteries that involve murders, logic and a good bit of fun as well as dogs that have hidden talents and aren't afraid to use them. What I did find disappointing is that the author broke mysteries apart, and I feel that the girls' mystery wasn't explained towards the end as well as I had hoped. It also was difficult to balance mystery when it seemed that every few chapters the reader is switched from boys' mystery to girls' mystery and so forth.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK REVIEW TOUR SCHEDULE:

Dec 4 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Dec 6 - Books for Books - review
Dec 6 - My Reading Journeys - review / giveaway
Dec 8 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / giveaway
Dec 11 - Christa Reads and Writes - review
Dec 12 - Cassidy's Bookshelves - review / giveaway
Dec 14 - FUONLYKNEW - review / giveaway
Dec 15 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
Dec 20 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Dec 21 - Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Dec 22 - Nighttime Reading Center - review / giveaway
Dec 27 - JBronder Book Reviews - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Dec 28 - Kristin’s Novel Café - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Dec 29 - Bound 2 Escape - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 2 - fundinmental - review / giveaway
Jan 2 - The World As I See it - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 4 - Laura's Interests - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 5 - Olio by Marilyn - review / giveaway
Jan 6 - T's Stuff - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 8 - Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - book spotlight / author interview
Jan 9 - Cheryl's Book Nook - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 10 - Amie's Book Reviews - book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 11 - Blooming with Books - book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 12 - Pause for Tales - review / giveaway
Jan 15 - Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews - review / giveaway
Jan 16 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
Jan 18 - Sahar's Blog - review / giveaway
Jan 19 - Jessica Cassidy - review / giveaway

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