Book Review: Vlad by Carlos Fuentes
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / September 24, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: Vlad by Carlos Fuentes on Blogcritics. About: Vlad by Carlos Fuentes is a short novel taking place in Mexico City, Mexico. The story was part of the 2004 collection “Inquieta Compañía” and recently came out as its own book translated by  Alejandro Branger and Ethan Shaskan Bumas. 112 pages Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; Tra edition Language: English ISBN-10: 1564787796 My rating for Vlad – 4 Buy this book in paper format from Amazon.com* Thoughts: Vlad by Carols Fuentes takes on an interesting premise, what if Dracula still lived and settled inMexico City. As one might expect, there is a lot of dark humor in this book, starting with the strange requests the client is making of the real estate agent (“remote”, “easy to defend”) to the client’s look which consists of a silly wig and glued on mustache. What I found to be different in this book is that the reader knows a lot more than the narrator. This style of storytelling invigorates the dark comedy and brings a sense of ominous foreboding to banal and meaningless lines said by the famous Count. In this rendition of the story, Fuentes marries vampire and lawyers – both server as vessels for…

Book Review: Malinalli of the Fifth Sun by Helen Heightsman Gordon
4 Stars , Fiction , Historical Fiction , Latest Posts / September 5, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: Malinalli of the Fifth Sun: The Slave Girl Who Changed the Fate of Mexico and Spain by Helen Gordon Heightsman on Blogcritics. About: Malinalli of the Fifth Sun: The Slave Girl Who Changed the Fate of Mexico and Spainby Helen Heightsman Gordon is a historical fiction novel taking place in South America during Hernán Cortés’ time. Malinalli was an important person in Cortés’ entourage who have been vilified throughout the ages. The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book— use the Raf­fle­copter form at the end of the post to enter. 672 pages Publisher: iUniverse (December 16, 2011) Language: English ISBN-10: 1462064930 My rating for Malinalli of the Fifth Sun – 4 Buy this book in paper or electronic format. More Books by Helen Gordon Heightsman Thoughts: Malinalli of the Fifth Sun: The Slave Girl Who Changed the Fate of Mexico and Spain by Helen Heightsman Gordon (blog | Facebook) aims to tell a story in history which many people are not aware of. Malinalli was a real person in Mexican history , known by several different names, who is often overlooked or vilified. The story is told through various view points, Cortés, Malinalli’s family, and acquaintances but mainly…

Book Review: God’s Middle Finger by Richard Grant
4 Stars , Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / June 28, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: God’s Middle Finger by Richard Grant on Blogcritics. About: God’s Middle Finger: Into the Lawless heart of the Sierra Madre by Richard Grant is a non-fiction book about the author’s “tour” of Mexico’s Sierra Madre region. Mr. Grant is a British journalist who came to the other side of the pond in search of strangeness and adventure – I think he found both. 288 pages Publisher: Free Press Language: English ISBN-10: 1416534407  My rat­ing for God’s Middle Finger — 4 Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format More Books by Richard Grant Thoughts: God’s Middle Finger: Into the Lawless heart of the Sierra Madre by Richard Grant (website | Facebook) is a fast paced, sprawling adventure in a strange world which is closer then you think, and sometimes simply too close for comfort. While the book might be considered to be in the travel genre it is a glimpse into a lawless part of Mexico. The often mis-quoted line from Treasure of the Sierra Madre said by Gold Hat (played by Alfonso Bedoya) “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” comes to mind and, of course, makes an appearance in the book. The…

Thoughts on: The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / June 4, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins on Blogcritics. About: The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins is a novel taking place in the fictional Tibbehah County, Mississippi. This is the second bookin “The Ranger” series, which was also the name of the first book. 352 pages Publisher: Putnam Adult Language: English ISBN-10: 0399158766 My rating for The Lost Ones – 4 Buy this book in paper or electronic format More Books by Ace Atkins Thoughts: The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins (web­site | Face­book) returns familiar and new characters in the series. Quinn Colson, a former Army Ranger, his family, friends and nemesis. Ace Atkins, in my opinion, is one of the best and active Americana writers. I have read several of his historical fiction books (many set in the 1920s) and enjoyed them tremendously. Mr. Atkins’ foray into fiction proved to me that he is a capable writer and is here for the long haul. The author has an uncanny ability to paint a picture with few words. It’s amazing that he describes a scene or a person with just the right amount of verbiage letting the reader do most of the work according to their understanding. Atkins draws county where “new…

Book Review: Panopticon by David Bajo
4 Stars , Fiction / October 19, 2010

I got this book for free. Contest: Unbridled Books has kindly made available one (1) copy of “Panopticon” to one lucky winner (US Addresses Only).  See contest link & Rules below. Congradulations treerose@ for the winning entry   My rating for Panopticon – 4 About: “Panopticon” by David Bajo is a fictional book which tells the story of three journalists who are sent to cover one final story before their newspaper closes. The setting is on the California / Mexico border and takes place the near future where every move you make is being recorded by public cameras. You are being recorded – Buy “Panopticon” NOW!!!   s Thoughts: At first I didn’t know what to think about this book, but the more I thought about it the more I liked it.  I will not say it was an easy read, it wasn’t.  I had to go back and re-read several passages or paragraphs to make sure I understood where the story was going to – but I’m glad I did.   The central idea of video being spliced from public cameras, using one person as a central figure without their knowledge, is a very interesting concept, which I can…

Book Review: The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
4 Stars , Fiction / September 15, 2010

“The Lacuna” by Barbara Kingsolver is the fictional story of Harrison William Sheppard, a quite boy of a dull American bureaucrat and a saucy Mexican mother.  Sheppard, as he prefers to be called, spends his childhood with his mother in Mexico filling out notebooks with stories and memories while she chases rich prospective suitors. 544 pages ISBN-13 : 978-006085258 Publisher : Harper Perennial Language : English  My rating for The Lacuna– 4 Buy The Lacuna from Amazon.com* More Books by Barbara Kingsolver* We meet Sheppard at age 12, living on the small island of Isla Pixol the lonely boy befriends the cook who teaches him how to cook and turns Sheppard into a sous-chef.  Isla Pixol doesn’t have a school but as an avid reader Sheppard gets lost in the library, where his mother only allows him to read four books a week, and with his notebook.  The boy’s mother, while pursuing another prospective husband, a “Mr. Produce the Cash”, drags poor Sheppard to Mexico City.  Sheppard tries to reunite with his father, who promptly puts him in a military academy in Washington DC where Sheppard gets accidentally tangled up in the Bonus March Riots – and returns to his mother’s…

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