Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Yes, it's practically impossible to keep your attention narrowed for the necessary length of time without passion to help you focus. How do you divide your time between these two task masters?
Monday, January 23, 2012
There's enough tension and fast paced action, I read the book in a single afternoon. A Gothic feeling pervades the story and just to alert parents, violence is involved. It is a murder mystery, after all. "Kali" will especially appeal to teens or adults with a taste for supernatural horror, but think "X-Files" rather than "Friday the 13th."
There's a heroine who literally kicks more butt than the hero detective, Jason Dark, a revenge-driven not-quite-ghost, a murderous Hindu statue, hopping vampires (a true Chinese legend and ultra creepy) and more.
For instance, there's the somewhat gratuitous appearance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. By "gratuitous," I don't mean I didn't enjoy their cameos. I did. I would have preferred that the characters continued to put in appearances throughout the book, which they don't. Yet it was still delightful to see them and agree with the other characters' assessments of Holmes.
The book does have some minor points to quibble over, though most readers won't care. There were a few moments when I stubbed my reader's eyes on anachronisms, but hey, there are vampires. There is no reason to expect total historical accuracy in a story when you know to expect supernatural or science fictional elements.
If you or your teens enjoy mysteries or the supernatural, this is a must-read and I can't wait to read the sequel, "Fu Man Chu's Vampire." Stay tuned for my interview with the author, Guido Henkel.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
I just finished turning the last page of Sweet Glory, and I'm sad that the story ended, but elated to have had the opportunity to read such a strong, masterful accounting of female bravery during the Civil War. The amount of research time the author spent before embarking on writing is amply displayed, both in the accuracy of her facts and the acknowledgments she shares. This book placed first in the 'Young Adult' category of the 2009 Maryland Writers' and SouthWest Writers' contests, and although I'm far from that targeted age group, I can't imagine being more engaged in an historical novel. Ms. Potocar has created a fabulous way to teach our youngsters about an important period of history while making them feel as though they've experienced the journey personally.
Jana Brady drags her feet at her parents' suggestion that she become a lady, but when it comes to standing up for her country, she can't restrain her eagerness. Running away from home, cutting her hair, and dressed as a boy, Jana joins the Union army, the only way she knows to fight for the rights she cherishes. When she meets up with another young woman, Leanne Perham, who has joined under the same disguise, they assume the names of Leander and Johnnie.
Secondary characters, Keeley, a handsome Irishman, and twelve-year-old Charlie, who lied about his age to join the unit to support his Ma, join Johnnie and Leander in forging a friendship that sees them through troubled times. Though Charlie is eventually transferred to a safer environment, working in a hospital, Keeley is captured and Johnnie is determined to free the man she's come to love. While trying, she's taken prisoner, is sentenced to death, and her true gender is revealed.
The descriptions in this book are amazingly real and emotional. I love a novel that puts me in the characters shoes, or in this case, boots, and lets me see the story through the roleplayer's eyes. Sweet Glory certainly did that for me. I cried at the misery, pain and suffering and laughed with joy of discovery, love, and hope. The breeze caressed my cheeks, the honeysuckle pleased my senses and dimmed the stench of blood and rotting limbs in the crowded hospital tents right before the hangman's noose chafed my throat. You must experience this story for yourself and present it to a young adult so they can see for themselves the difference between telling and showing a story. Kudos Lisa Potocar, you've written something wonderful.
Treat yourself to a copy of this book at Tate Publishing and available for preorder on Amazon.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
The Room with a Beehive by Comizia Bellocchi Scoccianti (Author) and Patrizia Argentieri (Translator)
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
Back Cover Blurb:
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Ellis Island was a beacon and haven for thousands of immigrants. For some immigrants, however, it was a nightmare. In Guardians of the Gate, professor and immigration expert Vincent Parrillo shows the both sides of the coin that was Ellis Island at the end of the 19th century.
In the 1890s, America had its doors open – presumably to everyone. The truth, however, was that the gate that presented hope and a better life to so many individuals could also be vicious, unforgiving and indelibly closed to some. Persons deemed “undesirable” or “sick” were often denied entry, finding themselves transported back to their home countries on the next ship. Other individuals were exploited or abused before being allowed to set foot on the mainland U.S.
The culprits of this corruption? Ellis Island employees themselves, the Guardians of the Gate.
Despite being the entry point for so many contemporary American’s ancestors (this reviewer for one), many people know very little about this place that possesses an indelible role in American history. Using real events, Parrillo brings readers back in time to Ellis Island, the place of dreams and also of unforgivable human abuses. Through Dr. Matthew Stafford, the novel follows the trials and travails that immigrants faced upon exiting the gangplank at Ellis Island, and the work of the few honest men involved in the Island’s operation to help immigrants begin new lives. The novel follows Stafford from his very first interaction with the Island until the Island’s government-induced overall investigation after exposure of the abuses occurring on it.
Interwoven in this tale is the story of Stafford’s illicit love affair with one of the Island’s nurses. How the affair would be perceived and accepted as well as its social and personal consequences are discussed, providing a portrait of non-Island New York society in the 1890s.
The historical facts contained in Guardians of the Gate provide a perfect foundation for the imagined ones, creating a novel that brilliantly combines the real and unreal. It is a wonderful addition to the world of historical fiction, particularly because it focuses on a time and place that few other works in the genre consider.