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Showing posts from August, 2013

Update

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Dad had a stent placed in his abdominal aortic on Wednesday August 14. The surgery went well and he was sent back to the hospital room he'd been in before surgery. Later that night he began to need oxygen, by Friday he was on a CPAP at 100% oxygen through a face mask. Everyday he worked hard to eat, to regain strength, he wanted to go home. Everyday he would ask, "am I going to get to go home tomorrow." Of course the answer was no. Saturday dad had family come visit him, he told me later in the day, "it had been a much better day." He asked again if he would get to go home on Sunday. Sunday morning dad's physician called to share that dad's blood work revealed his oxygen in the blood was low. The only thing that could be done was to intubate dad and he did not want this. She thought he would not make it through the day. She expressed that dad was conscious and asked questions, his mind was sharp. Dad had 45 minutes to think and pray about …

Blogging Break

I'm on a blogging break. My dad is in the hospital and will probably have surgery tomorrow to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

[Review] The Odyssey by Homer

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Title: The Odyssey
Author: Homer
Publisher: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition November 1, 1997
Genre: Fiction
Theme: The long heroic journey home for Odysseus.
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 560
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Self-purchase

Summary:
The Odyssey is a Greek epic poem. A sequel to The Iliad. Written by a man named Homer (which we know little about) in late 8th or early 7th BC. It was composed in Ionia, a coastal region of Anatolia (present day Turkey.)
Odysseus had left his wife and unborn son to fight in the Trojan war. The war lasted ten years. On his journey home he was detained and imprisoned by lonely Calypso for seven years. He was detained by storms at sea (created by Poseidon), witch goddess Circe, and the kingdom of the dead. His adventure home was thwarted at each turn by angry Poseidon; yet helped by attentive Athena (daughter of Zeus.)  It took ten years to reach home. Meanwhile his wife Penelope and son Telemachus presume him dead. Men who are suitors compete fo…

[Review] The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

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Title: The English Patient
Author: Michael Ondaatje
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf 1992
Genre: Fiction
Theme: A badly burned patient being cared for in an Italian villa by a nurse, Canadian soldier, and Indian soldier during WWII.
Format: Hardcover
Age: Adult
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Library

The English Patient won a Booker Prize for fiction, the Canadian Governor General's Award.

Summary:
I've seen the movie in brief snippets, never from beginning to end. What I've read from other reviews the book and move differ, the movie being better than the book. I find this odd. If a movie differs too much from a book than it's really its own entity, only an slight adaption of the book. In the movie the focus is on the love affair between Almasy and Katharine. In the book their affair is apart of the story, but to me it was not the main focus. In the book they had an affair, but I saw no love-at least in their action towards one another. Katharine was volatile, abusive. …

[Review] Mysteries of the Middle Ages And the Beginning of the Modern World by Thomas Cahill

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Title: Mysteries of the Middle Ages And the Beginning of the Modern World
Author: Thomas Cahill
Publisher: Anchor Books, Random House (March 4, 2008)
Genre: Non-fiction
Theme: Authors perspective of the Middle Ages.
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 368
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: Self-purchase
Summary:
Thomas Cahill, author of the well-known book How the Irish Saved Civilization, has written a book that I find controversial. I'll explain later under the "My Thoughts" section.
At the tail end of the book the Cahill defines of the word "mysteries." "Mysteries" is used in the title of the book. I believe most of us would think of "mysteries" as a mystery, meaning something to be discovered. Cahill defines the word as "from the Greek word mysteria, originally a reference to the secret rites performed in pagan cults." He goes on to explain, "these rites were kept so effectively secret that to this day no one can be certain what wa…

Jane Austen Reading Challenges, 2013

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For 2013 Austen Prose is hosting The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013.
For August 2013 Roof Beam Reader is hosting an Austen in August Reading Challenge.
This month I will be reading for both challenges:
Pride and Prejudice, An Annotated Edition--Edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks, Published by the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 2010.  2. Georgiana Darcy's Diary, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Continued by Anna Elliott

[Review] Forty Years in a Day by Mona Rodriguez and Dianne Vigorito

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Title: Forty Years in a Day
Author: Mona Rodriguez and Dianne Vigorito
Publisher: Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC on February 19, 2013
Genre: Fiction
Theme: A family from Italy creating a new life in New York City.
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1621471387
Age: Adult
Pages: 388
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Thank you for my free copy from Tate Publishing for the purpose of review. Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.



Summary:
On Vincenzo Montanaro's ninetieth birthday, he and his daughter Clare take a trip to Ellis Island, New York. He shares with his daughter the story of his family. As he shares from his heart, Clare for the first time begins to understand her father better. In the past he'd shared a few stories, but some memories he'd held back until now.
His story began in Italy in 1900. Vincenzo's mother Victoria and her family live in Caivano, Italy. Victoria and her older brother Dominick are close, he is married to her best friend Geneviev…

[Review] The Time Traveler's Guide To Medieval England, A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer

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Title: The Time Traveler's Guide To Medieval England, A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
Author: Ian Mortimer
Publisher: Touchstone, A division of Simon and Schuster, Inc., (October 25, 2011)
Genre: Non-fiction
Theme: An intimate history of Medieval England.
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 352
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Self-purchase

Summary:
"As soon as you start to think of the past happening (as opposed to it having happened), a new way of conceiving history becomes possible." Ian Mortimer has written a brilliant book on the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages cover a vast amount of centuries, 4th through 14th. No one book could cover all of them. Mortimer focus's on the 1300s or 14th century.
Examples of chapters are:
What to WearTravelingWhat to Eat and DrinkHealth and HygieneThe Law My Thoughts:
I love this book! Mortimer has written a book that is both knowledgeable and entertaining. Several times I laughed out loud at his wit. I read it cover to cove…

[Review] Parisians, An Adventure History of Paris by Graham Robb

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Title: Parisians, An Adventure History of Paris
Author: Graham Robb
Publisher: W. W. Norton and Company reprint 2011
Genre: Non-fiction
Theme: Short story biographies of people who experienced Paris.
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 476
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Self-purchase
Summary:
Twenty short story biographies of people known to us and some not known, all sharing a brief time of their experience in Paris.  The biographies are from the 1700s to current time.
One story is a young poet who lived in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the mid 1800s. He falls easily for one woman after another. He meets Lucile, a flower girl and prostitute. She's a con and in a way so is he. For a while she is his muse. My favorite story was of Charles Axel Guillaumot, an architect in 1774. His work was vast and important for Paris, yet few have heard of him. My Thoughts:
I love reading books about Paris. Someday....hoping to experience Paris myself.
I felt this book gave a full image of Paris that …

Book Blogger Hop, Week of August 2nd-8th, 2013

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Today's question of the week is from Elizabeth at Silver's Reviews.
"How do you turn down a review request?" My response is no thank you.
I guess that's simple enough?
Almost everyday I am contacted about book reviews. I have two blogs and I review nearly every type of book. I hear from publishers, publicists, authors, including first time authors that have independent published books.
At this time I am scheduled through September for reviews. I also have books of my own I want to read and review.
When I am contacted I read more about the book over at Amazon, including any reviews that have been written. Most of the time I get a "better" idea about the book, then the information given to me by the author or publisher in the solicitation email.
There have been a few times when I've said yes about reviewing a book on the premise that the information that was given to me about it would be a book I'm interested in; instead the book was not at all w…

[Review] The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

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Title: The American Heiress
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (March 27, 2012)
Genre: Fiction
Theme: Wealthy American woman travels to England.
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 496
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: Self-purchase

Summary:
Time Period 1893, Newport, Rhode Island. 
Cora Cash is the only child of wealthy parents. Cora is a celebrity in America and the next best thing to an American version of royalty. Cora's ambitious mother has plans to take her to England with hopes of securing a marriage with a title. Cora's dream declined her proposal, and she leaves the shores of America duty bound to her mother's agenda. Cora's maid, Bertha, is a bit out of sorts because she's leaving her ill mother. Bertha's job and place is with her employer, but she can't help but feel responsible for her mother's care. Both women are bound to their "set" life. The society and culture Cora finds in England does not ido…

[Review] Gracianna by Trini Amador

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Title: Gracianna
Author: Trini Amador
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press July 23, 2013
Genre: Fiction
Theme: Basque woman moves to Paris at beginning of German occupation.
Format: Hardcover
Age: Adult
Pages: 296
Source: Free book from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Lynch Public Relations, 
Greenleaf Book Group Press, for the purpose of review.
ISBN-10: 1608325709
Rating: 5 Stars
Summary:
The Basque people is an ethnic group that lives on the "western end of the Pyrenees" and north central Spain and the southwestern part of France. The Basque people are a hardworking proud people.
Gracianna and her sister Constance live with their Grand-mere Anastasia. Anastasia is both respected and feared by the Basque people in the village. When Gracianna finished school she gained employment at a sheep ranch. Gracianna is not satisfied, her dream is to emigrate to America, but she must first save money. In the early part of 1940 she travels to Paris. She obtains a job in a re…