Book Review: Darkness All Around by Doug Magee
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / July 9, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: Darkness All Around by Doug Magee on Blogcritics. About: Darkness All Around by Doug Magee is a mystery novel taking place in a small town. Besides the mystery which the story centers around, the book also captures the neurosis feel of small town politics. The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book— use the Raf­fle­copter form at the end of the post to enter. 352 pages Publisher: Touchstone (October 18, 2011) Language: English ISBN-10: 1439154023 My rating for Darkness All Around – 4   Buy this book in paper or electronic format   More Books by Doug Magee Thoughts: Darkness All Around (website | Facebook) by Doug Magee (author website) is a different kind of thriller which will keep you guessing until the end. The book would make a great selection for a book club because of all that’s happening, not only in the mystery arena, but also the psychology of the characters, their relationships and how they handle the challenges which constantly come up. The pace of the book changes often, sometimes it’s slow, the others lightning fast but the narrative kept up my interest regardless. Parts of the novel has an almost small-town claustrophobic feel to them, growing up in…

Guest Book Review: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Fiction , Latest Posts / July 7, 2012

If you are a fan of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, then you will love North and South.This is not a book about the American Civil War. Instead, it is about a woman’s journey from the languid South of England to the fast-paced, polluted North. Buy this book in paper or electronic format Margaret’s journey to love is one of twists and turns. Like Pride and Prejudice there are mistaken first impressions, dismissed proposals, and interfering relatives. Unlike Austen’s works, however, Gaskell gives the readers a glimpse into the love interest’s world as well. Mr. Thornton is a fully flesh character, not an outline seen only through the protagonist’s eyes. His struggles make him a deep and compelling character. Also unlike Austen, Gaskell’s novel delves into a deeper subtext. Class wars, unions, and strikes are rife. Margaret sees the other side of life through her friendship with a union leader’s dying daughter. The relationship that grows between the mourning father and Margaret is one of the most powerful in the novel. Even Mr. Thornton’s mother is a complex character, who influences the actions of the novel as much as anyone. If you are not interested in…

Fun Facts Friday: The Dalai Lama
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / July 6, 2012

Today is the birthday of best selling author and leader of Tibet (or is it the other way around?) the Dalai Lama. This post was not as difficult as my other “fun facts” posts as the Dalai Lama had an interesting life and the difficulty presented itself by trying to find “only” 10 interesting facts.   1 ) Tenzin Gyatso was born in the northeastern Tibetan village of Taktser in 1935. His parents had 16 children but only 7 survived past infancy. 2 ) The two year old boy was marked as the reincarnated Dalai Lama when monks, dressed as traders, showed up in his village. The boy asked for a rosary which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama and identified the man wearing it as “Sera aga” (a lama from the Sera monastery). Later the boy also identified possessions of the previous lama. 3 ) Ma Bufang, a Chinese Muslim General ( who knew?), placed his men around the Dalai Lama’s house for “protection” effectively placing him under house arrest. It took 100,000 Chinese silver dollars to transport the Dalai Lama to Tibet so he could succeed his predecessor. 4 ) The Dalai Lama started his monastic education at…

Book Review: The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / July 5, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón on Blogcritics. About: The Angel’s Game is a prequel to Carlos Luis Zafón’s previous novel Shadow of the Wind.  I’m very excited about Carlos Luis Zafón’s new book The Prisoner of Heaven coming out this month so I decided to revisit and post about his previous book, which I read about a year and half ago. 512 pages Publisher: Subterranean Language: English ISBN-10: 1596063629 My rating for The Angel’s Game – 5 Buy this book in paper or electronic format More Books by Carlos Ruiz Zafón Thoughts: Calling The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruis Zafón (website) a prequel is not the right word, the story takes place in the same general neighborhood in Barcelona and has some of the same minor characters as well as the same mood and ideas (like the wonderful “Cemetery of Forgotten Books”), but it’s not about the same people. The story is about an author named David Martin who accepts an assignment to write a book for a very rich client. An offer too good to be true. David believes that once a write accepts money of praise for his books he is actually selling his soul – in David’s…

Book Review: Flesh by Khanh Ha
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / July 3, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: Flesh by Khanh Ha on Blogcritics. About: Flesh by Khanh Ha is a novel taking place in Vietnam and China. It is a coming of age story in a dark time of a young man’s life. The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book— use the Raf­fle­copter form at the end of the post to enter. 368 pages Publisher: Black Heron Press (June 15, 2012) Language: English ISBN-10: 0930773888 My rating for Flesh – 4 Buy this book in paper format Thoughts: As I read Flesh, Khanh Ha’s debut novel, it seemed to me that the story is almost dreamlike. A dream in that early hours of a hot morning where you are still in between sleeping and waking up. Your conscious mind taps into your unforgotten but repressed memories which lash out in vicious force with unforgiving storylines. While not always bad, these dreams have a tendency to shape the day or the week with their brutal honesty and, quite honestly, make excellent stories. The novel starts with a beheading and ends with a beheading, both of them witnessed by the protagonist, Tai, a teenage boy who is thrust into manhood after his father is executed (beheading…

Book Review: The Messenger by Daniel Silva
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / July 2, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: The Messenger by Daniel Silva on Blogcritics. About: The Messenger by Daniel Silva is the sixth novel in the Gabriel Allon series. Allon is an Israeli agent who is more interested in restoring works of art than the world of espionage. 352 pages Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons (July 25, 2006) Language: English ISBN-10: 0399153357 My rating for The Messenger – 4 Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format More Books by Daniel Silva Thoughts: The Messenger by Daniel Silva (web­site) is more of a thriller than the previous five books. The book is quite violent and Allon’s ruthlessness comes out in several highly charged scenes. While I didn’t think The Messenger was the best in the series, it did fill in some missing gaps in the relationships between the characters. As in many book series this one also is a standalone, but it’s always nice to read them in order. I was glad to read about the return of Chiara, Allon’s love interest which we lost in the previous book. I also loved the way Silva wrote the Pope (“the” Pope, not some mobster or terrorist with a nickname), he was approachable and seemed like a good leader. Silva incorporated current events…

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