Mar 30, 2013

Sunday Salon: Welcome Spring and New Books

The Sunday Welcome to the Sunday Salon! Also submitted to Mari Reads for Mailbox Monday.

 Hope you are enjoying spring-like weather today, wherever you are!

I was lucky to win two ARCs from Random House Publishing. Here are the book descriptions:

Five Star Billionaire: A Novel by Tash Aw
Tash Aw charts the overlapping lives of migrant Malaysian workers, forging lives for themselves in sprawling Shanghai.

Blood and Beauty: The Borgias, a Novel by Sarah Dunant
A powerhouse of the Italian Renaissance, their very name epitomizes the ruthless politics and corruption of the Papacy. An epic novel which sets out to capture the scope, the detail, the depth, the colour and the complexity of this fascinating family.

I'm reading a lot of historical novels right now, so I'm looking forward to finding out more about the Borgias.  And the new wealthy in China are a hot topic, so a novel featuring the new Shanghai will be interesting. Publication dates for these books will be in July 2013.

I seem to have about seven books to review in the next month for book tours! April will be the busiest month! What was I thinking? But then I chose books that I really thought would be interesting. And they are!

Enjoy your day!

Mar 29, 2013

The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice.

Robyn Inglis celebrated her eighteenth birthday with a Voltz energy shot and the morning-after pill. The night before she'd still been seventeen, but she wasn't having her birthday party on a Sunday night, no way. Besides it had been half legal, the party hadn't started 'til nine o'clock, she'd turned eighteen at midnight, the last four hours she'd been partying as a proper bona fide paid-up member of the adult population, thank you very much. (p. 57)
About the book: "Three strangers are brought together by the father they never knew. Lydia, Dean and Robyn don’t know one another. Yet. Lydia is wealthy and successful, but lonely. Dean is a young, unemployed, single dad. Robyn is eighteen, gorgeous and intelligent, but she’s failing her classes and falling in love for the first time. Three people leading three very different lives. All lost. All looking for something. But when they slowly find their way into each other's lives, everything starts to change ..

What they don’t know is that a letter is about to arrive that will turn their lives upside down. It is a letter containing a secret—one that will bind them together and show what love and family and friendship really mean." (publisher)

Title: The Making of Us: A Novel by Lisa Jewell
Published August 14, 2012; Atria
Genre: contemporary fiction
Source: publisher

Mar 28, 2013

Book Review: WHEN MAIDENS MOURN by C.S. Harris

Looking up, he said, " Do you know where Miss Tennyson planned to take her young cousins yesterday?"
The nursemaid shook her had. "No. She told them it was a surprise."
"Could she perhaps have intended to show them the excavations at Camlet Moat?" (ch. 9)
About the book: Regency England, August 1812. When Gabrielle Tennyson is murdered, aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his new reluctant bride, the fiercely independent Hero Jarvis, find themselves involved in an intrigue concerning the myth of King Arthur, Camelot, and a future poet laureate...

Comments: A young woman is found stabbed and left in a boat at Camlet Moat outside of London. She was known for her ongoing research on a site some claimed as the original Camelot, and investigator Sebastian St. Cyr thinks her death may be connected to her work. The two young cousins who were with her that day are missing.

Recommendations: This is the first of the eight Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries that I've read. It's the seventh in a series. What ties the books together is the ongoing life of St. Cyr - his distant father, questions relating to his parentage, his love affair with an actress, and his marriage to Hero, the daughter of a prominent and influential member of government. Hero and St. Cyr work together on this mystery as the dead woman Gabrielle was a close friend of Hero's.

Excellent read. I am eager to read the next in the series, which is already out - What Darkness Brings.

Title: When Maidens Mourn: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery by C.S. Harris
Published March 5, 2013; Signet paperback
Genre: historical mystery
Source: review copy from the publisher

Mar 26, 2013

Book Review: The Missing File by D.A. Mishani

A sixteen-year-old boy, Oleg, disappears on his way to school in Tel Aviv and Inspector Avraham Avraham has to determine if he is a runaway or was kidnapped. Oleg's father was out of the country at the time and the boy's mother reports him missing. Oleg's had his backpack with him, though he left his cell phone behind. Zeev Avni,  an enigmatic neighbor, claims detailed knowledge of the boy as he had been his after-school English tutor, and he pursues Avraham with information he says he has. Zeev immediately comes into our cross hairs as someone who could be a suspect in the boy's disappearance.

The book is suspenseful and there are twists and turns in the case up to the last few  pages.  Apart from the tantalizing plot, there is the character and personality of Inspector Avraham, a very likable though not the most astute member of the investigating team. But that's part of his charm. He lives alone but at the end of the book, finds a love interest on a trip abroad whom he has to leave to return to Israel. The author assures us this is not the end of things for Avraham, however.

The first in the Inspector Avraham detective series is very promising. I am eager to read the next in the series.

Title: The Missing File: A Novel by D. A. Mishani
Release date: April 16, 2013; Harper
Genre: mystery, police procedural

D. A. Mishani is the editor of Israeli fiction and crime literature at Keter Books in Israel and is a literary scholar specializing in the history of detective literature. The Missing File is his first novel and the first in a series featuring the police inspector Avraham Avraham. Connect with Mishani on Facebook and find him on Goodreads.

Visit The Missing File book tour schedule for more reviews.
Review book received through TLC Book Tours.

Linked to Cym Lowell's Book Review Wednesday.

Mar 24, 2013

Mailbox Monday: Books and Proofs

Visit Mailbox Monday at host Chaotic Compendiums this week.

Here's what arrived last week:

Daddy's Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark:
A dark secret threatens two sisters when the family-owned furniture firm explodes into flames.

The Deadly Sisterhood: A Story of Women, Power, and Intrigue in the Italian Renaissance 1427-1527 by Leonie Frieda
An epic tale of eight famous women.

and some Uncorrected Proofs:

Making It by Helen Klein Ross
Contemporary advertising shenanigans as experienced by a bread-winning mom

Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay
Three artists have their fates irrevocably interlaced.

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
The obsessive love between muse and artist, the power of memory and scent.

The Barbed Crown: An Ethan Gage Adventure by William Dietrich
Adventurer Ethan Gage plots revenge on Napoleon Bonaparte for the kidnap of his son.

What books arrived in your mailbox recently?

Book Review: Undercurrents by Pamela Beason

The Sunday Welcome to the Sunday Salon!

Scary picture, isn't it? Scary for divers but more so for the sharks, targeted by illegal poachers for its fins and then thrown back into the ocean to be prey for other sharks and sea creatures. That's the premise for the mystery novel, Undercurrents by Pamela Beason, third in the Summer Westin mystery series.

Summer or "Sam" is a wildlife biologist and freelance writer, hired to write reports for an online publication, Out There, during a week-long trip to the Galapagos Islands, a World Heritage Center off the coast of Ecuador.

Sam is to do her reporting as two different personas, an underwater diver to trail Dr. Daniel Kazaki, the biologist doing a marine life survey, and as hiker Wildlife Westin, a reporter giving readers a view of the islands themselves.
"So, a post every day about the islands by Wilderness Westin, expert hiker and kayaker," Wyatt prompted.
"No problem...."
"And another by a new character that we'll create for the underwater adventures. You are a diver, right?"
(p. 5)
Daniel hires a senior park naturalist, an Ecuadorian named Eduardo Duarte, to take them out on a small boat or panga every day.  And they are guests on a small cruise ship that will be their home base in between dives.

But things start to go wrong from day one. Daniel almost dies underwater as his oxygen tanks were contaminated with carbon monoxide. The native fishermen are hostile to the idea that Daniel's marine research will mean that they won't be able to fish as much as they like. Daniel and Sam find the bodies of finless sharks underwater, sharks whose fins had been removed and their blooded bodies thrown back into the deep. The count of sea cucumbers was way down. All this was evidence that local fishermen were supplying the Asian market with delicacies taken from these waters.

Sam and Daniel's lives are in danger. The mystery is intense as we follow Sam underwater and on land. The ending and wrap up was a little bit too neat for me, but I wholeheartedly recommend this book for those mystery readers who would also like a great setting - the Galapagos Islands, both underwater and on land. I learned a lot about scuba diving, its delights and its dangers.

Title: Undercurrents: A Sam Westin Mystery by Pamela Beason
Release date: April 2, 2013; Berkley
Source: review copy from publisher
Objective rating: 4.5/5

Mar 22, 2013

Deadly Stakes: A Novel by J.A. Jance

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice.

"That's the problem," Detective Cutter said. "We don't know who the victim is. No identification was found on the body, and so far, no one matching the victim's description has been reported missing anywhere in the Phoenix metropolitan area. We initially thought that finding the owner of the phone would lead us to the victim."

"But I'm not dead," Lynn objected.
Title: Deadly Stakes: A Novel by J.A. Jance
Published February 5, 2013; Touchstone
Description: Ali Reynolds finds herself working against the police to clear two innocent names…with deadly stakes. Police academy-trained former reporter Ali Reynolds investigates the murder of a gold-digging divorcee on behalf of a woman accused of the crime. Lynn Martinson is dating the dead woman’s ex-husband, and she and her boyfriend Chip Ralston have been charged.

Mar 21, 2013

White Shanghai by Elvira Baryakina

"Would you teach me to drink tea," Nina asked.
"Without a doubt."
Daniel knew so much about Chinese and Japanese art. He could talk for hours about special ways of manufacturing bone china, arranging gardens,ancient poetry and ink drawing. He was a person of such rate talents that Nina wanted to pinch herself to make sure she wasn't dreaming. (ch. 18)
Comments: This period in Shanghai's history fascinates me. The city was overrun with refugees from all over the world, during the time when the Chinese themselves were undergoing similar hardships and political turmoil.

Book description:  A melting pot of different nations, fused by war and commerce, this was the Shanghai of the 1920s. The Great Powers are greedily exploiting China for its cheap labor and reaping the cruel rewards of the opium trade. However, as ships carrying the remnants of the defeated Russian White Army enter Shanghai, the uneasy balance of this frenetic international marketplace comes under threat.

Among the refugees is Klim Rogov, a journalist whose life and marriage have been destroyed by the Russian revolution - all he has left are his quick wits and a keen worldliness that will serve him well in the lawless jungle of Shanghai. He finds work as a reporter in a British-run newspaper, rubbing shoulders with international gangsters while defying the intrigues of sinister communist agents, clinging to the hope that someday he'll be reunited with his wife, Nina.

This complete English translation of Elvira Baryakina's White Shanghai reflects the greatest traditions of the Russian classics. The official website of the book is There you can find beautiful illustrations, maps, vintage photographs and much more."

Title: White Shanghai: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties in China by Elvira Baryahina
Published January 10, 2013; Glasoslav
Genre: historical novel set in Shanghai, Russia, and Bejing
Source: review copy from publisher/publicist

Other books to read about wartime Shanghai include China to Me, a partial autobiography by American journalist, Emily Hahn.

Mar 19, 2013

Book Review: The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruis Zafon

It helps to know a little about the volatile political situation in Spain in the 1930s and 40s in order to really understand The Prisoner of Heaven, as well as the two previous books in the series, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game. The novel to me is almost an allegory of what the country Spain went through during its brutal Civil War from 1936-1939 and the subsequent years under the Franco military dictatorship. It seems the life of the character Fermin Romero de Torres during those early years mirrors what much of the country suffered.
The book begins in a relatively peaceful and prosperous time in 1957 and flashes back for at least half of the book to 1939 and 1940 when Fermin was jailed under horrifying conditions in a castle prison in Barcelona, because of his political activities. In prison, he promises the Prisoner of Heaven, David Martin, incarcerated only for his literary talents, to watch over Isabel Sempere, her husband, and their son Daniel, a family who owns a bookstore in the city.

The inmate called the Prisoner of Heaven, David, was in jail because of prison governor Mauricio Valls, who had David jailed for purely self-interested reasons. Fermin is declared dead after trying to escape from the prison with David's help, but brought back to life, as it were, to reappear in the 1950s as a worker in the bookstore run by Sempere and his son Daniel, now a grown man.

When he discovers secrets about his mother Isabel, Daniel starts on a mission of revenge for the past, a mission that leads him to hunt for Mauricio Valls, and this quest I think will continue into the next book in the series.

I read The Shadow of the Wind but missed The Angel's Game, both books of high literary value that are referred to in The Prisoner of Heaven.  These books in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books cycle don't have to be read in sequence, but first, bone up just a bit on the Spanish Civil War in order to get a background of the excellent novel you are about to read.

Title: The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruz Zafon
Harper Perennial: March 12, 2013
Objective rating: 5/5
Review copy from publisher
For more reviews, visit the TLC Book Tour schedule

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of bestselling novels, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, is one of the world’s most read writers. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages, garnering numerous international prizes. He divides his time between Barcelona and Los Angeles.
Find out more about Zafón at his website, connect with him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

Mar 18, 2013

Mailbox Monday: Here's Mine; What's Yours?

Visit Mailbox Monday at host Chaotic Compendiums this week.

The books that recently arrived:

Undercurrents by Pamela Beason

Book description: "Scuba diving off the Galápagos Islands, wildlife biologist and freelance writer Summer “Sam” Westin is not only out of her element—she’s plunged right into a dangerous conflict between fishermen and environmentalists…"

The Homicide Hustle by Ella Barrick

Book description:  "The traveling TV dance show, Ballroom with the B-Listers, is coming to Washington, D.C., and ballroom dancer Stacy Graysin is  in line to participate. But when the show’s coproducer, Tessa King, is found dead in the Potomac River, the suspects are the contestants and crew of B-Listers. Stacy will need to win the competition and catch a killer."

Going, Going, Ganache  by Jenn McKinlay
Cupcake Baking Mystery #5

Book description: "After a cupcake-flinging fiasco at a photo shoot for a local magazine, Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura agree to make amends by hosting a corporate boot camp at Fairy Tale Cupcakes.  But when the magazine’s creative director is found murdered outside the bakery, Mel and Angie have to find the killer before their business goes AWOL."

When Can You Start: How to ACE the Interview and WIN the Job by Paul Freiberger

Book description: Be ready for The Only Question You Must Be Able to Answer: (not) tell the interviewer about your weaknesses, answer any trick question or oddball question, ask the right questions, be confident in any interview situation, avoid interview mistakes, negotiate the salary you deserve."

When She Was Gone by Gwendolen Gross

Book description: "The story of a seventeen-year-old girl who vanishes on the eve of her departure for college, as told through the alternating perspectives of her neighbors."

Thanks to the publishers for these books for review. What arrived in your mailbox recently? 

Mar 17, 2013

Sunday Salon: A Few Good Books

The Sunday Welcome to the Sunday Salon!

Winter is hanging on with cold and icy rain. Winter officially ends this week but....only a few birds are out tweeting about spring in the backyard. Luckily, good books are still around in all weather, and I have started to read more on Kindle Cloud Reader.  Right click on a strange word and the dictionary meaning pops up!

Review books close by for when I get a few minutes more:

The Mermaid of Brooklyn
The Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn:
Jenny Lipkin is a stretched-too-thin Brooklyn mom, tackling the challenges of raising two children in a cramped Park Slope walk-up in New York. But when her husband, Harry, vanishes one evening, Jenny reaches her breaking point. And in a moment of despair, a split-second decision changes her life forever. (goodreads)

The Abundance

The Abundance by Amit Majmudar:  "A luminous, bittersweet novel of India and the American Midwest, immigrants and their first-generation children, and the power of cooking to bridge the gulfs between them."

A Woman of Angkor
A Woman of Angkor by John Burgess:
"An historically accurate history of World Heritage site Angkor - 12th Century Cambodia, birthplace of the lost Angkor civilisation. In a village behind a towering stone temple lives a young woman named Sray, called to a life of prominence in the royal court. She is tested by attentions from the great king Suryavarman II though her husband Nol is palace confidante and master of the silk parasols that were symbols of the monarch's rank.

This novel revives the rites and rhythms of the ancient culture that built the temples of Angkor, then abandoned them to the jungle. Sray witnesses the construction of the largest of the temples, Angkor Wat, and offers an explanation for its greatest mystery - why it broke with centuries of tradition to face west instead of east." (from goodreads)

What's on your plate this Sunday?

Mar 15, 2013

Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton

Title: Bowled Over (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery) by Victoria Hamilton
Published: March 5, 2013; Berkley
Genre: cozy mystery
"I made potato salad!" Jaymie added. She pointed to her bowl, the square-based vintage Depression glass bowl she had just bought and couldn't resist using. "I can tell you exactly what's in it, if you need to know."
Publisher's description: "Vintage kitchenware and cookbook collector Jaymie Leighton has been estranged from her high school best friend Kathy Cooper since they were teenagers, but she never knew what turned Kathy against her. After fireworks at a Fourth of July picnic, Jaymie discovers the body of her former friend in the park.

On the ground nearby is Jaymie’s own Depression-era glass bowl, broken in two. With her fingerprints all over the bowl and a troubled history with the victim, Jaymie suddenly finds herself at the top of the list of suspects. Did the killer intend to frame her for the murder? If so, she is ready to mix it up, because solving crimes is vintage Jaymie Leighton."

Friday 56 Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice.

Mar 13, 2013

Book Review: PRAGUE WINTER by Madeleine Albright

"On the evening of November 5, my mother, Kathy, John, and I made our way to Southampton, where we boarded the SS America and crossed the Channel to France, where we spent the night. The next morning, after breakfast, we resumed our journey westward, chasing the sun. Greeted by the Statue of Liberty, we arrived in New York harbor shortly after 10 a.m.; it was, fittingly enough, Armistice Day. Shortly before Christmas, my father joined us, crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Mary." (p. 408)
My comments: Madeleine Albright was a child when the events she describes took place. She includes her memories of her years as the daughter of a Czech diplomat, who eventually sought asylum in the U.S., arriving here in 1948. Much of the book is heavily researched history of Czechoslovakia during WWII, a book she started after finding her mother's essay and her father's papers and unpublished novel about Czechoslovakia.  She also researched to know more about Czechoslovakia, after discovering her family's Jewish roots. I hope to also read someday Albright's memoir as the adult stateswoman, Madame Secretary.

Publisher's description: "Before Madeleine Albright turned twelve, her life was shaken by the Nazi invasion of her native Prague, the Battle of Britain, the near-total destruction of European Jewry, the Allied victory in World War II, the rise of communism, and the onset of the Cold War. Drawing on her memory, her parents’ written reflections, interviews with contemporaries, and newly available documents, Albright recounts a tale that is by turns harrowing and inspiring.

In Prague Winter, Albright reflects on her discovery of her family’s Jewish heritage many decades after the war, on her Czech homeland’s tangled history, and on the stark moral choices faced by her parents and their generation. At once a deeply personal memoir and an incisive work of history, Prague Winter serves as a guide to the future through the lessons of the past—as seen through the eyes of one of the international community’s most respected and fascinating figures."

Title:Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War (1937-1948)
Author: Madeleine Albright
Publisher: Harper Perennial; February 19, 2013

See other reviews at TLC Book Tours, which provided a review copy of the book.

Madeleine Albright served as America’s sixty-fourth secretary of state from 1997 to 2001. Her distinguished career also includes positions on Capitol Hill, on the National Security Council, and as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She is a resident of Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

Mar 11, 2013

Ring Around the Rosy by Jackie Fullerton

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB; choose sentences from your current read and identify author and title for readers. First Chapter, First Paragraph is hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. Opening sentences in a book can help readers decide if the book is one they would continue reading. 

"Maude Allen sprang from her bed, still full of piss and vinegar at seventy-two. She poured herself a cup of coffee and stepped onto her lanai. The sun peeked over the top of the California fan palms in her backyard. A snowy white egret, indifferent to the threat of alligators, stood statue-like at the edge of the lake. Maude chuckled to herself. In the years she'd lived in Florida, she had never seen an alligator in the lake. The homeowners' association wouldn't allow it."
Publisher's description: "Law student and amateur sleuth Anne Marshall and her attorney fiance Jason Perry leave their Midwestern town for a Florida vacation at the home of Jason’s parents. When they land in Florida, they find that Jason’s father has discovered the murdered body of his wife’s best friend, Maude. The only clue left behind is a note pinned to her that is the second verse of the nursery rhyme, "Ring Around the Rosy."

Unable to pass up the opportunity to investigate a juicy murder, Anne soon discovers that Maude’s brother was killed in a hit-and run accident several months before. The first verse of "Ring Around the Rosy" was pinned to his chest. Anne thinks the perp is a serial killer who will strike again. When Maude’s son, Ron, is brutally attacked and left for dead, Anne knows his work is just beginning. Racing against the clock, Anne soon finds herself in a serial killer’s cross hairs while battling an untimely attraction to homicide detective Don Reynolds. Ring Around the Rosy takes you on an adventure from present to past and back again as Anne and her crime-solving partners shift in to high gear to stop a killer before he strikes again!"

Would you keep reading?

Title: Ring Around the Rosy by Jackie Fullerton
Published: December 14, 2012; Thomas House Publishing
Genre: mystery

Mar 10, 2013

Book Review: The Woman Who Wouldn't Die by Colin Cotterill

The Sunday Welcome to the Sunday Salon!

"What do we do if she comes back again?" Civilai asked.
"Who?" said Siri.
"Madame Peung." (ch. 13)
Madame Peung is the woman who wouldn't die.

Even though the villagers saw her after she was shot and watched her body cremated on a pyre, there she was again, walking around as if nothing had happened. Never mind that she now has a slight Vietnamese accent that she hadn't before. The village was convinced she was a witch returned from the dead.

Dr. Siri Paiboun, the Lao national coroner who lives in the small village, believes in the spirit world and convinces the newly risen Madame Peung to teach him to talk with spirits from the other world. Siri's wife, Daeng, is more skeptical. She has more to worry about with the return of a crazed Frenchman from her past intent on killing Daeng.  Siri is hard pressed to protect his wife with the help of the local police.

Siri and Daeng were upriver when the Frenchman first showed up to terrorize their village. Siri had been sent to oversee the Lao navy trying to recover the body of a general sunk on a boat at the bottom of the Mekong River. This recovery plan was put together by the general's brother, who enlists the help of the spirit medium Madame Peung. But there is something more sinister behind this excavation than what it seems. Siri has both this and the problem of the Frenchman to take care of.

My thoughts: A book with unusual but striking characters in an unusual series, featuring the Lao coroner Siri Paiboun, who is both a medical man and a sleuth. The combination of Lao beliefs and culture, and the history of the resistance against the French and Russian presence in the country are blended into the novel. This is the ninth in the series featuring the charismatic Siri and his wife Daeng. I've read two of the other novels but am eager to read all the rest!

Title: The Woman Who Wouldn't Die: A Dr. Siri Mystery Set in Laos
Author: Colin Cotterill
Published February 19, 2013; Soho Crime
Source: review book from publisher
Objective rating: 5/5

Submitted to Cym Lowell's Book Review Link-up

Mar 7, 2013

Temple of a Thousand Faces by John Shors

 Title: Temple of a Thousand Faces: A Novel by John Shors
Published February 5, 2013; NAL Trade paperback
Genre: historical fiction

"Though he had already plundered Angkor of some of its riches, he wasn't certain what to do with this statue. He admired it greatly, and now that he was the ruler of Angkor, he was in no rush to destroy its beauty." (p. 56)
From the Goodreads description: "The novel brings to life the legendary temple of Angkor Wat, ( in a land that is now Cambodia), with its ornately carved towers and stone statues.

Nearly a thousand years ago, Prince Jayavar of the Khmer people narrowly escapes death at the hands of the conquering Cham king Indravarman. He and his mystical wife Ajadevi set up a secret camp in the jungle to reclaim their kingdom while Indravarman rules with an iron fist, squashing any rebellion.

Moving from a poor fisherman's family whose sons find the courage to take up arms against their oppressors, to a beautiful bride who becomes a prize of war, to an ambitious warrior whose allegiance is torn--Temple of a Thousand Faces is a saga of love, betrayal, and survival at any cost."

Friday 56 Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader 

Mar 4, 2013

First Chapter: Have Mother, Will Travel by Claire and Mia Fontaine

First Chapter, First Paragraph is hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. Opening sentences in a book can help readers decide if the book is one they would continue reading. 

I was on my way home from work when I got the call. The one that would make me quit my job, sublet my apartment, and take off for the great unknown alongside my mother. The call that led to the book you are now reading, an around-the-world adventure that's intended to entertain, educate, and, above all, explore the changing dynamic between mother and adult daughter.
This is the first chapter in the book, the second travel memoir of this mother and daughter traveling and writing team. Would you keep reading?
Goodreads description, to help you along:>Have Mother, Will Travel captures the changing relationship between a mother and her adult daughter.

TitleHave Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World by Claire Fontaine and Mia Fontaine
Published July 17, 2012; William Morrow
Source: publisher

The Pope's Last Crusade by Peter Eisner: Book Teaser

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB; choose sentences from your current read and identify author and title for readers.

"We will issue an encyclical on these matters, one which you must prepare," Pius told LaFarge.
LaFarge was to write an encyclical that would use the same reasoning he employed when discussing racism in the United States. He needed to convey that Hitler's increasing assault on the Jews was based on a myth." (ch. 4)
Publisher's description: 
"In 1938, Pope Pius XI was the world's most prominent critic of Hitler and his rhetoric of ethnic "purity/" To make his voice heard, Pius called upon relatively unknown American Jesuit whose writing about racism in America had caught the Popes attention. Pius enlisted John LaFarge to write a papal encyclical - the Vatican's strongest decree - publicly condemning Hitler, Mussolini, and their murderous Nazi campaign against the Jews."

Goodreads description: "Drawing on untapped resources, exclusive interviews, and new archival research, The Pope’s Last Crusade by Peter Eisner is a thrilling narrative that sheds new light on Pope Pius XI’s valiant effort to condemn Nazism and the policies of the Third Reich—a crusade that might have changed the course of World War II.

A shocking tale of intrigue and suspense, illustrated with sixteen pages of archival photos, The Pope’s Last Crusade: How an American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius XI's Campaign to Stop Hitler illuminates this religious leader’s daring yet little-known campaign, a spiritual and political battle that would be derailed by Pius XI's death just a few months later. Eisner offers a new interpretation of this historic event and the powerful figures at its center in an essential work that provides thoughtful insight and raises controversial questions impacting our own time."

TitleThe Pope's Last Crusade: How an American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius XI's Campaign to Stop Hitler
Published February 26, 2013; William Morrow
Genre: historical, non-fiction
Source: publisher

Mar 1, 2013

The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg

Friday 56 Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple. 

Setting Up
In Part Two I want to give you the nitty-gritty of a formal True Secret Retreat. All my practice with Katagiri Roshi in the zendo had to do with attention to detail, the physicality of actually doing one thing after another, taking it in with the body: bow, sit, stand, clean cushion, walk, chant, eat soup in the first bowl, salad with the chopsticks in the middle bowl, a pickle in the third bowl. Clean bowls with hot water, drink the water (nothing goes to waste), wrap bowls in napkin and put away. (p. 57)
Publisher's description: Sit. Walk. Write. These are the barest bones of Natalie Goldberg’s revolutionary writing and life practice, which she presents here in book form for the first time. A whole new slant on writing that she developed since the publication of her classic, Writing Down the Bones.... The capstone to forty years of teaching, The True Secret of Writing will inspire you to pick up the pen, get writing, and keep going.

The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg
Release date: March 19, 2013; Atria Book
Source: publisher

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