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Showing posts from June, 2013

Blogging Break

I'll have my grandkids with me this next week so I'll be taking a blogging break, not a reading break, but a break from blogging.
When I return I'll have a review of Flames in the Field The Story of Four SOE Agents in Occupied France by Rita Kramer.
Other reviews scheduled for July:
Promise of Provence by Patricia Sands for France Book Tours
Time Fall by Tim Ashby for Promo 101 Promotional Service
East of Eden by John Steinbeckfor The Classics Club
The Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry for Pump Up Your Book
The Mountains Between by Julie McGowan for Sunpenny Publishing
The Age of Ice by J. M. Sidorova for Scribner.

I'll begin reading for The Classics Club--both-- The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan and The Odyssey by Homer.
I'm anxious to begin reading Mysteries of the Middle Ages by Thomas Cahill!
I'm making a dent in my TBR pile of books that's stacked in a corner of my office/library. This makes me happy as when I've read them, I can buy more!!!! Or…

Review: The Rockin' Chair, Family is the Foundation For Everything by Steven Manchester

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Title: The Rockin' Chair, Family is the Foundation For Everything
Author: Steven Manchester
Publisher: The Story Plant June 18, 2013
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Family Saga, Family Dysfunction
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 272
Rating: 5 Stars

Summary:
Grandpa John, or John McCarthy, has been caring for his wife Alice in their home. She has advanced Alzheimer's. When she takes a turn for the worst, Grandpa John calls his family home. For Grandpa John family is the most important thing. He hopes that while his family is home they will face the turmoil in their lives. The Montana ranch that Grandpa has worked hard to pass on to his family is empty without Alice. Everywhere he looks there are memories of her and their family. From Grandpa John's point of view, which is in the later part of life, life is precious and nothing is more important than family.

My Thoughts:
I loved this book! It is a beautiful powerful story! 
By the end of the book I was emotional.
Why I gave th…

Review: Masaryk Station, Book Six in the John Russell Series by David Downing

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Heavy sigh! This will be the last book in the Station series by David Downing. I've loved all of them, some more than others'.....can't wait for the authors next work, Jack of Spies available April, 2014. 

Title: Masaryk Station
Author: David Downing
Publisher: Soho Crime June 18, 2013
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Post World War II, Espionage, Spy, Soviet Union, Post War Berlin, Post War Europe, Communism
Format: Hardcover
Age: Adult
Pages: 330
Rating: 5 Stars
Summary:
John Russell, an American journalist, has been living and working in Berlin since before World War II. He was linked to the Communist party in his early years. He was briefly married to a German citizen and they had a son named Paul. John Russell, and his long-time companion is a German actress named Effi. They adopted a young girl orphaned by the war, her name is Rosa. Through out the Station series John Russell, has been involved in espionage, he's struggled with each opposing side, he's struggled with…

Book Blogger Hop! June 21-27, 2013

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This weeks question courtesy of Elizabeth:
"When you are writing your reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you are completely done with the book?" I have never written a review without first reading the book.
A few of my readers know that I take notes as I read. I have a spiral journals that I take notes in. I note quotes I liked or that were meaningful. I write down my impressions of characters, plot, symbolism, etc. I write what I like or dislike about certain aspects of the book, I write down words I don't know the meaning of. Taking notes helps me when I'm ready to type up the review.
I do prepare a post with links, photo of book, information on the author, etc.
I do schedule posts to be published at a later date, but not always.
I do take care to be tactful and polite when writing a review on a book I disliked....always hoping the author will accept what I've said graciously.
Some reviews are easier to type than others.
Reviewing book…

At Drake's Command by David Wesley Hill, a Kindle Deal

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At Drake's Command by David Wesley Hill is on special discount price @ Amazon. The Kindle is .99 only on June 20 and 21. 
http://www.amazon.com/Drakes-Command-Adventures-Circumnavigation-ebook/dp/B00C5PD8WK/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1371728303&sr=8-1
Ranked number14 in sea adventure stories @ Amazon.
It recently won the B.R.A.G Medallion for high quality in an indie book!
http://www.bragmedallion.com/medallion-honorees/2013/at-drakes-command-the-adventures-of-peregrine-james-during-the-second-circumnavigation-of-the-world


Review: The Beekeeper's Apprentice, A Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Mystery by Laurie R. King

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Title: The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Or On the Segregation of the Queen
A Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Mystery
Author: Laurie R. King
Publisher: Picador First Edition 2007
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Early 20th Century, England
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 384
Rating: 5 Stars

Summary:
The preface explains the origins of how this book came in to the hands of the author Laurie R. King, the explanation is imaginative. The authors mission, as well as the voice in the story, is to describe the real Sherlock Holmes, not the man of myth.
When the story begins it is early Spring 1915, and a girl named Mary Russell, age15, is reading a book by Virgil, and walking in a rural area of Sussex, England. Mary comes across a middle-aged man, sitting silently in a field, watching honeybees on a hillside. After exchanging a few words, it becomes apparent they've both met their match, in personality, wit, and intelligence. The middle-aged man is the…

Review: What Survived by Jesse Roman R.

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Title: What Survived
Author: Jesse Roman R.
Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform April 2013
Genre: Fiction
Labels: World War II, France
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 134
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

What Survived is closer to a novella, yet a novella is considered an "uncomplicated, few conflicts, type story." What Survived is full of conflicts, and is incredibly complicated.

Summary:
An infantry soldier named Tim, is with his unit in eastern France. The time period is shortly after the D-day invasion at Normandy, which would have been in the late summer 1944. When the story begins a few of the soldiers along with Tim are discussing belief in God. In a matter of a few days, several of the soldiers in Tim's combat unit would be killed.  

My Thoughts:

Positive Points:
Author is graphic at realistic battle scenes, including the carnage of buildings, weaponry, and humans. Author gave me a significant look inside a soldier's mind: how they felt, weighed …

Review: Elizabeth Woodville, A Life, The Real Story of the White Queen by David MacGibbon

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Title: Elizabeth Woodville, A Life, The Real Story of the White Queen
Author: David MacGibbon
Publisher: Amberley 5 June 2013
Genre: Non-fiction
Labels: Elizabeth Woodville, The White Queen, Tudor, House of York, House of Lancaster, House of Neville's, House of Plantagenet, The War of the Roses, England, 16th Century, 1500's, British Monarchy, British History, Richard III, Edward IV
Format: Hardcover
Age: Adult
Pages: 256, with 21 illustrations of which 13 are in color
Rating: 4 Stars
There is a huge interest in reading about the White Queen, Elizabeth Woodville. I follow several Facebook groups where many of the members hold strong opinions with each other on Elizabeth, as well as with author's who depict her as villainous, or with sympathy. With either opinion there will be conflict and possible arguments for the other belief.
Fans of Richard III are also quite strong in their opinions.
I find all this fascinating!

What are your feelings on author's depictions of h…

Book Blogger Hop: June 14-20, 2013

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This weeks question, submitted by Tanya: 
"What is your favorite genre? The type of book you read the most? Recommend a book."
I read almost any genre or type of book. I don't read erotica, nor science fiction. I used to not read suspense or mystery, but began reading this genre a couple of years ago. I used to not read fantasy fiction, but began reading this genre a few years ago too. 

My favorite genre, or genres would have to be:
Historical fiction, British history which includes books on royalty, Holocaust and World War II, Christian non-fiction, and classic literature.

Instead of recommending a book, or books, since I listed more than one genre I love. I'll list some of my favorite authors.

For historical fiction: Margaret George, Jean Plaidy, Rebecca Fraser, Rosalind Miles, Alison Weir, Philippa Gregory.
For British history non-fiction: Thomas Penn, Antonia Fraser, David Starkey, Thomas Cahill, David Loades, John Guy, Alison Weir.

Holocaust: Elie Wiesel, Marie Vas…

Review: Still Alice, a novel by Lisa Genova

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Title: Still Alice
Author: Lisa Genova
Publisher: Pocket Books A Division of Simon and Schuster, Inc. 2007/Paperback in 2009
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Early Onset Alzheimer's
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 292
Rating: 5 Stars

Video on book from Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/m1GP5RZ6AZVDDH/ref=ent_fb_link

I'd had this book in my TBR stack for a few years. I was not ready to read it. I thought it would scare the heck out of me, give me more to worry about, and further my own mother died of end-stage Alzheimer's in March 2008. Since then my mother's only sibling died of Alzheimer's late last fall. I needed to read this book when I was ready, and not before then. Oddly enough, the book did not frighten me. I have a peace, a peace that cannot humanly be understood.
I'm well acquainted with Alzheimer's. I was between 26 and 28, when my mother began showing signs of this hideous disease. My mother would have been age 63-65. She was 69 in 1996, w…

Review: Wesley the Owl, The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O'Brien

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Title: Wesley the Owl, the Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl
Author: Stacey O'Brien
Publisher: Free Press, Simon and Schuster August 2008
Genre: Non-Fiction
Labels: Memoir, Owls, Biology, California
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult, or young adult
Pages: 256
Rating: 5 Stars

Website Link:
Wesley the Barn Owl



This book has been in my TBR pile since 2009! Shame on me for waiting so long to read it. This book is awesome, I loved reading it. I've also enjoyed sharing some of the stories I'd read, with my family.

Summary:
In 1985 a young woman named Stacey O'Brien was working at Caltech as a biologist. Her job was with a group of scientists doing an in-depth study of barn owls. Her boss asked her if she'd adopt a baby owl because it was a mere four days old and had an injured wing. For Stacey it was love at first sight.
Stacy had no idea how long her adopted barn owl would live. Scientists knew how long barn owls lived in the wild, but an owl living in a protected…

Review: They Laughed Through It All by Dalton Shelby----I'll giveaway ONE copy!

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My favorite book shop is The Book Rack, in Arlington, Texas. They sell both used and new books, in every genre! At the entrance to the store they display new author books, most of them independently published.
They Laughed Through It All, was sitting at the check-out desk, and the owner of the store shared with me a bit about the author of the book. Dalton Shelby is a first time author at age 80. His granddaughter's typed up his story. I was smitten by this book as soon as I saw it. I'm such a softy for first time published works, especially authors who've written their first book at age 80.
I'm sad to say my favorite book shop will be closing at the end of this month. It's been in business since 1975. E-books and the economy has forced the owner to make a tough decision. With a heavy heart, she will be closing the store her dad opened in 1975.
The hardest thing to face up to is that by buying e-books, and by purchasing books in a large conglomerate super book s…

Review: Spartacus, Rebellion by Ben Kane

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Title: Spartacus: Rebellion Book Two
Author: Ben Kane
Publisher: St. Martin's Press May 14, 2013, 2nd Edition
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Spartacus, Roman History, Roman Soldier
Format: Hardcover
Age: Adult
Pages: 464
Rating: 5 Stars

Summary:
Spartacus was a true historical figure. He led a slave uprising in ancient Rome We also know what history tells us of his ending. Ben Kane brings Spartacus to life through the pages of his book Spartacus: Rebellion, filling in the blanks of his personal life, and the leadership role with his men.
When book two Rebellion begins, Spartacus, his wife Adriadne, and his army of hardened combat soldiers are on the verge of crossing in to the Alps. Spartacus was once a slave and a gladiator, now he commands with confidence and loyalty his army. They've fought and won many battles against Rome. A once loyal commander of Spartacus's has betrayed him. Many of Spartacus's men are not happy with Spartacus's plan to leave Italy. These men only…

Review: Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy

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Title: Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart
Author: John Guy
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Court April 7, 2004
Genre: Non-fiction
Labels: Mary Queen of Scots, Scotland, France, England, Tudor History, Queen Elizabeth I, 16th Century
Format: Hardcover
Age: Adult
Pages: 608
Rating: 5 Stars

A National Book Critics Award Circle Finalist
Summary:
Mary was only a few days old when her father King James Stuart V of Scotland died. Her mother was Mary of Guise, she was from a strong political family in France. Mary's father was the son of Margaret Tudor (Henry VIII sister). Mary of Guise was regnant of Scotland, until the time came for Mary to be old enough to rule. Mary was crowned queen, but at 6 days old was too young to rule. A marriage contract was arranged between young Mary, and the Dauphin of France. Mary, was sent to France to be schooled and cared for in the royal house of France. War, political climate, and religious tension, were also strong reasons for sending young Ma…

Review: Across Many Mountains, A Memoir by Yangzom Brauen

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Title: Across Many Mountains
Author: Yangzom Brauen
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 2011
Genre: Non-Fiction
Labels: Tibet, China, India, Family, Buddhism
Format: Hardcover
Age: Adult
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 Stars

Summary:
Three generations of women of Tibetan ancestry are told. Kunsang, the matriarch and a Buddhist nun, left Tibet with her family crossing in to India on foot. Her daughter Sonam grew up in abject poverty in India. As a young woman she met a Swiss traveler and student of Buddhism. Their relationship changed the direction of all their lives. Their daughter Yangzom is the author of this book.

My Thoughts:
A favorite topic in books for me is to read memoirs of people who've triumphed over obstacles.
Enough information is given in the synopsis of the front cover of the book that I knew Kunsang and Sonam survived their arduous journey to India. I knew that at some point Sonam would marry a westerner that gave the women a chance to leave India and poverty behind. I knew …