July 18, 2012

Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness


Blurb:
Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.


Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.

Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.


My Thoughts:


I loved A Discovery of Witches (read my review) and was eagerly awaiting Shadow of Night but was a very dissapointed with the story. Diana and Matthew travel back to 1590 to search for Ashmole 782 and to find someone to help Diana get control of and learn how to use her magic more but the story just went off on historical tangents and almost no progress was made in either endevour until the very end. Several famous historical characters were thrown in to make the book more interesting but really I would have appreciated more story line dealing with Diana's magic and the search. The was just too much fluff and not enough meat in this story for me to enjoy this one as much as A Discovery of Witches.


Even with all that being said I'm still interested in reading the final book of this trilogy hoping that we finally get some resolution to the problems Diana and Matthew face.


Recommendation:
I wouldn't exactly recommend this one to anyone who hasn't read book one but if you have I'd say to save this one for a library read.






July 13, 2012

Giveaway: My Big Bottom Blessing by Teasi Cannon





Blessed by a Big Bottom

How one woman ditched the scale, made up with her mirror, and started loving her God-given body

"This book's healing truth and humor are a song to my spirit."
– Wynonna Judd
NASHVILLE – In a recent poll by Glamour, a stunning 97% percent of women admitted to having at least one "I hate my body" thought each day. Even more depressing? On average, those women – just about all of us – have not one, but 13 negative body thoughts daily.


Author Teasi Cannon knows the feeling well. "For most of my life," she says, “disgust would have been the appropriate word to define what I felt when looking in the mirror."

Until, that is, Teasi decided to take a bold step. She would stop hating herself and start loving the body God gave her. But at 50 pounds over the weight society deems appropriate, was that even possible?

In My Big Bottom Blessing: How Hating My Body Led to Loving My Life May 2012, Worthy Publishing, trade paper, $14.99, 224 pages,Teasi recounts her journey in moving (and often hilarious) detail. Yet this isn't just the story of a woman who has finally conquered the negative voices in her head – it's a call to arms for all women.

"Daily, millions of women like you and me go into a bathroom where a lie—a mirror—is waiting to berate them," says Teasi. "There are as many different definitions of beauty as there are locations on the map. In some countries, the fatter a woman is, the more beautiful she is. So this is my challenge: To set ourselves free. From the self-sabotage. And from believing that being thin means having true value."

From a failed first marriage to an abusive alcoholic, to a fictional "trainer" living inside her head – telling her what a fitness failure she was – My Big Bottom Blessing is Teasi's unflinchingly honest portrayal of a struggle millions of women experience every day. But it is also a funny, gut-honest tale that will inspire readers of all ages with body image issues to embrace their value and beauty. They’ll learn to silence their own inner critics, debunk self-sabotaging lies, and get spiritually and emotionally happy.

Teasi Cannon has an M.A. in pastoral counseling. She is a teacher and conference leader based in Nashville, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and three children. Learn more at TeasiCannon.com, and on Twitter: @TeasiCannon











July 11, 2012

Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin





I'm changing up my review format a bit. Instead of always trying to make up my own synopsis I'm going to provide the book blurb, my thoughts and a recommendation. I'm borrowing this format from one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Estep and changing it up a little.

Blurb:
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.


Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

My Thoughts:
Because of the popular HBO series I've been hearing a lot about The Game of Thrones recently but it never really peaked my interest because I'm not a huge fan of historical shows. Then my brother told me that the show was based on the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin and I was quickly searching out more information on the books. I got sucked in so fast that I also and started in on Season 1 of the TV series. 

I instantly got hooked by the book and absolutely fell in love with the Stark family. There are so many wheelings and dealings and shenanigans that it's easy to get caught up in all the madness. I also love that it's very realistic. I don't know if it's very much a secret anymore but some VERY unexpected characters die and it was shocking but fits perfect with the story so you know it had to happen.

The one thing that I didn't enjoy was just my own difficulty with remembering who's who with all the many families and characters. The numerous names were just a little overwhelming but in no way diminished how awesome this book is. I can't wait to devour book two!

As of now I'm on episode 6 of the first season and I have to say that the series follows the book pretty closely and I love the fact that I can now clearly picture the characters in my head as I read.

Recommendation:
I recommend this one for anyone who loves powerful historical fiction.

July 5, 2012

Review: The Wrong Man by David Ellis






Product Description:

When Jason Kolarich accepts the case of a homeless Iraq War veteran accused of murdering a young paralegal, his course seems clear: to mount an insanity defense for a man suffering so badly from post-traumatic stress disorder that he has no real memory of the crime. But as Kolarich digs deeper, he realizes that, unlikely as it seems, his client is probably innocent. Only days before her death, the murdered paralegal had stumbled on something she wasn’t supposed to know . . . information that someone would kill to keep secret. Her murder was no random crime but a targeted hit, and the wrong man was charged.


As Jason Kolarich races to discover the truth in time to save his client, he finds himself embroiled in a mystery involving the Mob, a mysterious assassin known only as “Gin Rummy,” and a conspiracy of wealthy international terrorists with explosive plans for his city. With thousands of lives at stake, Kolarich has more on the line than ever before . . . and time is running out.

My review:


Overall I enjoyed The Wrong Man but the vet, Tom Stoller, was so catatonic throughout the entire book that I just couldn't find myself rooting for Kolarich to win the case. Nothing pulled at me enough to really make a connection with any of the characters but I kept reading because the story was very intriguing.


The Wrong Man is book three in the Jason Kolarich series however it does stand alone since I had not read the first two books in the series and had no trouble keeping up with this one. I probably won't be reading the first two books in the series but I do recommend it if you love a good legal thriller because the story behind the murder is truly frightening.