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Showing posts from March, 2014

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

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One of the classics in Chicano literature, Bless me, Ultima is a poignant novel about a boy who, on the threshold of manhood, seeks himself through his own roots, pushing the confines of his upbringing, opening his mind to the magic and changes in the world and the exploration of other beliefs. Through it all, there is Ultima, who is his guide to wisdom.

There's something sultry in the pull of magic realism. Not only that, the colorful textures of Chicano and Latin America literature, such as this, bring about a cauldron of tastes and tempestuousness in the air.

The book reminisces of the old vaqueros of what is now New Mexico, the little towns and family ranches, the infiltrating pagan faith that still exists and always, the feel of the beating sun and the mystery of spirits in nature.

Lucky in Love, At Last, Forever and a Day (Lucky Harbor Series 4-6) by Jill Shalvis

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Lucky Harbor Series #4
Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone . . . 
For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn?t?including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all . . . anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.
* Lucky Harbor Series #5
Her love has come along.
Amy Michaels loves her new lif…

Book to Film: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Yes, another travel memoir. Here, we journey to the narrow streets of Italy, on the dusty roads of India and the lulling waves of Indonesia. It is a woman's journey peppered with cravings to eat more, typical clumsiness and distractions, like failing to concentrate on a meditation and, lo, a possibility of love.

Eat Pray Love is also a meandering to self-discovery in which the author took a life-changing break and decided to fly halfway across the world to search for healing and peace.



We Turned A Year Old! Thank You!

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We turned one year old this week and we literally didn't notice!  Time flies when you're having the best time reading and blogging about the books we've read in the year that passed.  We rediscovered old favorites, found new ones, recommended our favorite authors and got to know new ones.  We tweeted, and squealed when our fave authors tweeted us back.  All because we found the courage to blog about the books we loved.  Thank you for keeping us company.  Now let's have cake!

Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart

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It is my third book of Mary Stewart and, as every time, I am taken by the languidness of her novels, notwithstanding the allure of cottage garden stories. Though not quite as sweeping as The Ivy Tree or magical as Thornyhold (my favorite of all!) and is a notch or two down, it remains a nice warm reading.

Rose Cottage is light with a sprinkle of mystery, a hint of romance and a good imagery of the English countryside and charms of a stone cottage. You could say, a classic British women fiction (for me, anyway) sans the drama. A summer in 1947, a woman coming back to her childhood home, a puzzle about her birth, a bunch of missing tokens and suspicious neighbors.

The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

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Witch stories most often capture my interest. This one, though, is nothing I expected which could turn out a good thing. I say it was a good surprise.

The heroine, Athena, is quite elusive. Apart from the collected conversations of people acquainted with her, we never really know who she is. We only get to read her thoughts through second hand accounts and there's the uncertainty if some are more accurate than not.

She has been called many names, influenced others with her spiritual beliefs and sought much knowledge about the feminine power, but who exactly is she? That is what makes this an intriguing tale.

The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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From the famed author who brought us the beloved The Secret Garden, here is a little gem she wrote about a young woman with a most pleasing countenance but who was quite oblivious of her own worth.

The Making of a Marchioness was originally published first followed by The Methods of Lady Walderhurst. Presently, it is titled Emily Fox-Seton as a two-part novel but both stories couldn't be any more different.

This one is quite unconventionally sweet albeit gracefully pitying at times. I am quite torn about Emily Fox-Seton, in all honesty, because I am not certain if she's too admirably capable in light of period Britain or too much of a gullible doormat for our modern taste. So let us just succumb to the call of the times, that she was a dear and a well-mannered poor woman who acquired a fine taste and independent means to stand on her own two feet.

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

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One of the authors I truly enjoy reading at present, Susanna Kearsley seems to go back often to her favorite themes: time travel and the Jacobites. It's been noted, and I shared the opinion after I read The Winter Sea, that her writings almost echo the voice of du Maurier and Mary Stewart, which made me check her out in the first place as the latter two are favorite authors.

Regardless of the familiar route of her novels, she is still able to pull up a wonderful surprise and create another engaging tale that is warm and moving. Yet again, Kearsley does twists like a punch in the gut and leaves me quite breathless.

Set in a manor by the Cornish coast, her lyrical descriptions, garden-tearoom-atmosphere and historical background compliment the touching story of a woman seeking a place where she belongs and in fact discovers something much more.

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

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If there's one word to describe Anita Shreve's stories, it would be fragile. There's a fragility pervading between its spaces and words. I was first introduced to her book, Fortune's Rocks, and fell in love with her prose.

The Pilot's Wife is almost a subdued contemporary echo of it even though this book came out first. It was mentioned by the author that these two titles actually share the same cottage setting, only divided by time. And while the rugged beauty of the beach side along with the drama affect the characters' consciousness in Fortune's Rocks, here, the place takes a backseat and rather Shreve brings to light more the emotional turmoil of a woman deep in grief and lost in her memories.

A Jane Austen Daydream by Scott Southard

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All her heroines find love in the end—but is there love waiting for Jane?

Jane Austen spends her days writing and matchmaking in the small countryside village of Steventon, until a ball at Godmersham Park propels her into a new world where she yearns for a romance of her own. But whether her heart will settle on a young lawyer, a clever Reverend, a wealthy childhood friend, or a mysterious stranger is anyone's guess.


Book to Film: The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

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As usually happens, I had watched the film before knowing that it was based on a book which I just finished reading. It was a perfect time for I have, these days, been gravitating towards women authors at the turn of the twentieth century.

Elizabeth von Arnim gets to the heart of the matter in making a study of women with their inner yearnings and the slow unfolding of their souls. It is a story of transformation akin to the blossoming of a flower.

The women, quite unhappy and set in their ways, found themselves changing little by little surrounded by the magical beauty of the Italian countryside, the lush flowers carpeting the hillside and the break from the monotony of their lives which had become dreary.


New Release: The Transmigration of Cora Riley by Ellie Di Julio

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The Transmigration of Cora Riley Release Blitz By Ellie Di Julio Urban Fantasy Date Published: 3/4/2014

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Average family. Average job. Average existential crisis.
After thirty boring years, nothing about Cora Riley’s life has measured up to her childhood dreams of being truly extraordinary. It’s too bad that the night she decides to seek out her specialness she crashes on a rural highway.
Cora wakes in the clutches of the Mistress of the underworld who sets her a seemingly impossible quest. If she wants a second chance at life, Cora must find her way through the dozen heavens and return to the castle in three days.
With the help of an unusual guardian angel named Jack and a little boy named Xavier, Cora navigates the afterlife doorfield and quickly learns that gods and monsters are very real indeed. Terrifying and tempting obstacles litter her path; only the power of belief – in the Otherworld, in her companions, and in herself – will return her to the land of the living.
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Promo Blitz: My Name Is Rapunzel by K.C. Hilton: Book Trailer and Excerpt and Giveaway

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My Name is Rapunzel - Week Blitz By K.C. Hilton Young Adult Fantasy / Fairytale / Folklore Date Published: 11/23/2013


My tale has been told again and again, and I've heard each one. Except for my hair, I barely recognize the pitiful renditions. Muddled versions, crafted to entertain laughing children...but the children wouldn't have laughed if they'd known the real story. It wasn't their fault. They didn't know the truth. Nobody did. My name is Rapunzel. I will tell you my story. I will tell you the truth.



EXCERPT

The Family DuMont by Austin Wright and Adam Knox

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For hundreds of years they have been the secret of kings and the rich and powerful. No other organization has had a greater impact on history through the lives they've saved and the lives they've taken. They are an extraordinary family whose quiet interventions in the world's affairs has had important ramifications for centuries. They are not limited by boundaries, jurisdiction or sanction. To those able to afford their services they are a highly sought after source of intelligence and, if necessary, a weapon. They are killers with a conscience, tasked by governments and the elite to keep balance in the world. They are the DuMonts. 

Claire DuMont has been estranged from the family for the last five years, surviving on her own as an independent contractor. On Tuesday, she arrives in Dallas on an assignment. During her one night in town she unexpectedly falls in love with an ordinary man who is willing to do something very surprising to catch her attention. That same day her …