“Passive was the word that described Caroline best. It was almost her way of life. Avoid conflict at all costs. Be aggressively agreeable whenever possible. Fly under the radar. Don’t stir the pot. Acquiesce and move on from difficult situations as quickly as possible, preferably with a smile.”
Caroline has a husband who loves her, although he doesn't hold on to the same job long. She also has a teen daughter, Polly, who’s precocious and has a brilliant mind, although mother and daughter don’t talk to each other much. She has a part time job at the Sears photo lab and lets her customers, as well as co-workers who are less talented, walk all over her. She attends school events and PTA meetings like any other suburban mom. She flows by without making any ripples in life. Talking about PTA meetings, we are in one when the book begins. Carolyn uttered a four-letter word to a passive aggressive queen bee mom, and shocked the heck out of the audience and herself.
The four-letter word she yelled awakened something deep inside Carolyn, something she hid away for over 20 years. When Polly got into trouble the next day punching the queen bee mom’s daughter in the face, Carolyn pulled her out of school and decided to drive right there and then from Maryland to Massachusetts to confront a bully in her past. A bully that she believed altered her life and her personality for the past years. With her smart and verbal daughter on her side, Carolyn was hoping that the confrontation would wrap up some unanswered questions in her life… Except that Carolyn has another devil to confront than her childhood best friend.
The relationship between mother and daughter was one of the best I’ve read for a long time. Their interactions were funny at times, and thought provoking at others. The readers can’t help but fall in love with Polly. She’s everything her mother isn’t and more. I can absolutely see my daughter, whom I’m very close with, in her. Polly understands her mother, and life, so well:
“Mom, you’ve never lost it in your entire life. You’re like the total opposite of losing it.”
"Mom, someone could be chopping your hands and feet off with a butter knife and you still wouldn't complain. I've never seen you lose your temper once. Not even with me, and I deserve it. A LOT." I love you, but you get walked over all the time and never say a word. "
“Mom, she was the definition of a bully. Exclusion. Isolation. Behind-the-back bullshit. I should know. My generation is the expert in bullying. It’s all we ever hear about……..We have assemblies where weirdos in costumes sing and dance about bullying. I’ve been taught more about bullying than I have about Civil War…”
But Polly was not the only character who I loved in the book. There’s Spartacus, a blind man who's dating Carolyn’s mother, George who just lost a parrot and is grieving, Carolyn’s mother who owns a pet cemetery. Even Emily-the-bully’s family has its own story to tell, but unfortunately we did not find out the ending of their story. Unanswered questions were why this book has only gotten a 4-star from me although it gave me a 5-star reading experience.
Mr. Green understands human relationships deeply. He knows what makes us happy, sad, mad, angry, betrayed and/or loved. He showed his brilliance in Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, and I can still see and feel his heart in this book. I could not put this book down once I started reading it. It made me laugh-out-loud at times and sad at others.
Since I thought Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend should be dedicated to all great teachers and introverts, I think this book should be dedicated to all with a loving Mother-daughter relationship and most importantly, to all that were bullied in high school.
Bullying changes lives as much as love does.
Thank you to BookBrowse for providing me with an ARC....more
The plot: Was there one, or the author just followed her flow as she wrote with no clear direction? Nothing is logicalI waited 7 years for this book.
The plot: Was there one, or the author just followed her flow as she wrote with no clear direction? Nothing is logical except for the business aspects of the shops.
The pace: Slow with lots of repetitive scenes and actions.
The characters: Dicken-ish, an unlovable man and some revengeful rooks (large black raven-like birds).
The setting: Great, if you like business and old time London in a bleak and dark way with lots of deaths.
The writing: Only thing that kept me reading till the end; wonderful use of words, lyrical prose…not without struggle, though.
The story was quite simple. Bellman, as a boy, killed a rook with a catapult while his three friends watched. Bellman later became a very successful businessman, a family-owned mill and a stranger inspired funeral business called Bellman and Black. On the personal side he suffered through lots of deaths of family and friends. The deaths may or may not have something to do with his killing of the rook. He became a bit detached from his human side, ignoring friends and family. Then he died, which, similarly, may or may not has anything to do with the killing of the rook.
I could tell Diane Setterfield spent a great deal of time doing research for this book. Her descriptions and facts of rooks, mills and the funeral business were all spectacular and informative. Although most readers enjoy more plot-driven books, I truly love reading books that also implemented real facts of certain subjects, especially places, customs and history, as long as the facts contribute to the understanding of the story. Case in point: Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and Diane Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches. Although Setterfield wrote extensively about running the business of a mill and a funeral home, and included lots of facts about rooks, and weak plot and character makes these facts overbearing and a waste of time. Her prose was brilliant, as usual. She’s an expert in using the right phrases and arranging her words for the right effect. Her usage of English is excellent and her descriptions evocative. Sometimes orotund and overly wordy in a lifeless way:
“Far from it. The rook is no theatrical conjuror with his top hat full of tricks, deluding your eye into perceiving what is not. He is quite the opposite: a magician of the real. Ask your eyes, What color is light? They cannot tell you. But a rook can. He captures the light, splits it, absorbs some and radiates the rest in a delightful demonstration of optics, showing you the truth about light that your own poor eyes cannot see.”
After reading the above paragraph, one would wonder: are colors and the rook’s perception of colors important to the story? NO.
“His cry is harsh and grating, made for a more ancient world that existed before the innovation of the pipe, the lute and the viol. Before music was invented he was taught to sing by the planet itself. He mimicked the great rumble of the sea, the fearsome eruption of the volcanoes, the creaking of glaciers, and the geological groaning as the world split apart in its agony and remade itself.”
Lots of passages like the above two, plus pages and pages of words describing Bellman running his day-to-day businesses. Prose did not help the story’s lack of luster in this case.
Unless you intend to buy the book to read how beautiful her words are and you are okay without feeling a bit of resonance in your heart for the characters or their situation; or you are one of those more elite readers, skip this and read her first book, The Thirteenth Tale, instead.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance reading copy....more
I always see this word while reading reviews, or blurbs in the cover of hardback books, but have never used it myself. Since I’m usually oneHaunting.
I always see this word while reading reviews, or blurbs in the cover of hardback books, but have never used it myself. Since I’m usually one of those people who can predict the ending and turns of stories, I’m not easily fazed (maybe only once, while reading Stephen King’s Misery, but I was young and didn’t know any better). I’m glad there’s finally a book where I can use this particular word in my review.
Yes, haunting, chilling, poignant, evocative, stirring, startling, unnerving, disturbing, mesmerizing, terrifying, unforgettable… You can use any or a combination of these words to describe the book. No matter which one, this story will haunt you for a long, long time.
Marta and Hector are a couple living together. Their son, Kylan, has grown up and moved out. Early in the book, we instantly knew something is just not right with their relationship; something seems to be wrong with one or the other. Marta follows the instructions on one particular book her Mother-in-law gave her for her wedding, and her recites the rules in her mind as she carries out the tasks in her day:
Make your home a place of peace and order.
Your husband belongs to the outside world. The house is your domain, and your responsibility.
Never question his authority, for he always does what is best for the family, and has your interests at heart.
Hector goes to work as a teacher, and Marta stays home and does all the housewife duties: clean, cook, shop. She watches the clock closely since she always needed to be ready and have everything prepared, especially the meal, before Hector gets home. Marta does not remember anything before her marriage to Hector. Her whole universe and existence revolves around her husband.
After a hard day at work, your husband will want a hearty meal to replenish his spirits.
Marta is also on some kind of medications, and Hector always makes sure she remembers to take them. Sometimes he stands in front of her and examines her mouth after swallowing. You need them, he says. However, Marta decided to skip the medicine, and that’s when some weird visions appeared. She keeps seeing this frail, skinny blonde girl in various places of the house. She’s wearing white pyjamas with flowers. Sometimes she’s clean, healthy and has perfect nails; other times, skinny as bones, filthy with dirty bitten nails and the color of the pyjamas grey.
Never bother you husband with domestic matters.
Who is the girl? Is she hallucinating, as Hector keeps insisting she is, or is the girl a real person in repressed memory? Should Marta continue to take her medication, or skip to see and hear the girl more clearly? Nothing seems to be what it is. Could she trust her instincts and memories? Should she trust her husband instead, or is she losing her mind? Then, things get even worse when Kylan return to visit with his fiancée… Marta's sometimes strong, clear and coherent and other times lost, confused and full of doubt narrative will break your heart.
Always put the needs of the rest of the family above your own.
It’s unbelievable that this book is a debut and how young the author was when she wrote the book. Emma Chapman writes with the skill of an accomplished, mature and experienced author. The concept is brilliant, the plot tight and the prosecution smooth. She explores many facets of our society with ease and grace. She did not take the easy way out by providing us with a straightforward answer to the question we are still asking ourselves way after the last page is turned… Brilliant.
Thanks to the publisher and Bookbrowse for providing my advance reader’s copy....more
There's no such thing as a used book. Or there's no such thing as a book if it's not being used.
As most others who requested this book, I have a softThere's no such thing as a used book. Or there's no such thing as a book if it's not being used.
As most others who requested this book, I have a soft spot in my heart for books about reading and bookstores, and this is a great book for bibliophiles. It helps if you already have some knowledge about the second-hand book trade, books, writers and artists, because there will be lots of references that will make most readers scratch their heads… So, if you like simple plot-driven books without any concerns of prose, literary, art, or even music references, leave this book alone.
Esme Garland was from England. She’s now living in New York working on a PhD in Art History with a scholarship from Columbia. Unfortunately, her taste in men is not as sophisticated as her taste in arts and literatures, and she accidentally has gotten pregnant by the most unlikeable man (rich, attractive, blue blood, tanned…just, very self-absorbed), who did not want to have anything to do with the baby, or Esme. So, she was left alone, pregnant, stressed (from school) and lost (in life), although she has decided to keep the baby.
Fortunately for her, she found herself a part time job at a second hand bookstore called The Owl at Upper West Side during this difficult time of her life. Ah, a bookstore staffed with workers who are well read is simply more than just a bookstore. The staff at The Owl are quirky yet human. From the homeless men that occasionally help taking carts and shelves out in the morning and bring them in before the shop closes, a health and organic buff who knows books like no others (George), a guitarist who knows music and it’s healing quality as well as books (Luke), to a customer that always visits with a towel on his head, they accepted Esme as one of their own. One of them we realized has special feelings for Esme before she herself did. Simply said, The Owl did not only satisfy Esme’s financial need, but also her emotional ones. It’s the best thing that has happened to her, other than her child, that is. The bookstore also taught Esme a thing or two about family, about love, about life...and about choices, especially when her finance suddenly reappeared in her life.
As a debut novel, I find the writing quite impressive and sometimes more ornate than I expected. However, everyone who knows me understand what a sucker I am for beautiful writing and quotes that make me think. This book succeeded in both regards. The plot is a bit weak and Esme's love for her boyfriend is a bit over the top, but believable, and acceptable for a new author who did brilliantly with characters and prose. The many takes of Esme on American life and behavior from her British standpoint was fun to read as well. Unfortunately, I cannot quote from the book too much since the copy I read was a pre-release one, but one scene that still lingers in my mind long after I finished the book was when Esme was going on a book call with Luke to buy all books from an old lady:
“These books…,” she begins, and stops. I am frightened; for her, for myself decades from now, struggling to retain dignity with two strangers as they take away my books. I can see the straight line to her grave, to mine…. “They are all my life. These books are all my life.”
It’s hard to not feel emotional reading these lines. Looking at all the books on my shelf and my Kindle…I can’t help but visualizing a straight line to my grave as well. I will be looking forward to each and every one of Meyler’s new books.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy....more
Before I start my lengthy book review to explain why we need to read another YA dystopian tale, here’s the short version of it.
The Testing is good, reBefore I start my lengthy book review to explain why we need to read another YA dystopian tale, here’s the short version of it.
The Testing is good, read it.
I usually stay away from copycat books and like authors who think outside the box and come up with their own unique ideas. Harry Potter inspired thousands of witch and wizards books, Twilight: vampires and werewolves. The Hunger Games: Post-apocalypse dystopian with children fighting each other. After going through Divergent, Legend, Delirium, Daughter of Smoke and Bone…especially the disappointing third book after an amazing first book in the Delirium trilogy, I just wanted to say, “Enough already!”
So, after I received the ARC of this book with it’s very Hunger Game inspired cover, I put it aside, and read about 15 other books, none young adult. A few nights ago, I was looking for a fast and easy read, and decided to give it a try. The story pulled my in from the first page, three hours later I reached the ending, and finally took my first breath. Okay, the breath was an exaggeration, but this book was a joy to read. The Testing proved that a certain “formula” would still work with the right creativity under the hands of a talented writer. The reader sometimes needs to have an open mind in these situations.
So, among hundreds of reviews (mostly of 1-2 stars due to the fact that it’s similar to The Hunger Games), I will focus on why this book is worth a read, even though you think you have read your share of similar books.
The story is definitely inspired by and similar to The Hunger Games and Divergent, and it also reminded me a little of City of Ember. There were quite a few similarities…and I admit, some were so similar to The Hunger Games, the I kept telling myself, “Don’t go there; do NOT go there.” One particular scene was her descriptions of the eyes of some wild creatures in a war scene. And, of course, I also glimpsed the possibility of a future love triangle.
The story took place in the post-apocalyptic America. The country was divided into colonies. When a teenager graduates from local school at 16, the Commonwealth government will send an invitation for the crème of the crop to join the Testing. All those who passed the testing will be attending the University and become future leaders of Commonwealth, and will focus on improving present living conditions for all people because the multiple wars had left the land dry and infertile, all living structures broken or destroyed. However, before Cia left for the testing, her Dad told her, “Do not trust anyone.”
The main character, Cia, came from a loving family, a family with 4 boys and a girl. The family work and play together, and also love and feel deeply for each other. This brings a bit of normalcy to the chaos of the outside world. I really enjoyed reading everything about Cia’s family and herself, and I loved her more than any other female characters in the books I mentioned above. Her character is realistic, strong, likable, smart and well developed. The author also did researches, or she actually knows facts on engineering, math, history…as well as current events. All the technical and historical bits were fascinating to read, as well as believable. I think she should receive some credits for writing YA fiction with something more than just a plot and likable characters. For example, here’s a question and answer in the testing process:
Q: Explain the cause of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Stages of War and their impact on North America. A: Use of nuclear and biological weapons increased the pressure near fault lines. This sudden rise of pressure caused earthquake swarms and aftershocks that began in what was once the state of California and traveled across the continent. Earthquakes also disrupted the ocean floors, triggering the first of the floods that signaled the start of the Sixth Stage and submerged what remained of the coastal states, destroying most of the population. The Seventh Stage was marked by a shift in the weather patterns, Tornadoes, radioactive windstorms, and droughts caused the population to decrease even further and tainted all but the hardiest of plants, animals, and food sources. When the weather calmed, those who survived could finally begin to rebuild.
If you don’t like the long wait for the sequel, “Independent Study," there’s actually a free prequel/novella available in the Amazon Kindle store available to purchase. Here’s the link:
“The key is not how much data is analyzed, but how.”
Data is manipulatable. The same set of data can be analyzed to give the exact polar results. With“The key is not how much data is analyzed, but how.”
Data is manipulatable. The same set of data can be analyzed to give the exact polar results. With the accessibility of the Internet, we are living in a world of lots of data. “Big Data” is the word the author used. It’s a vast number of data that’s beyond the scope of any normal data analysis program can handle or manage. Lots of data are obtainable, with lots of analyses of these data available, since every single one of the market players are studying these data to gain an edge in competition.
The author used the Gates Foundation’s example to let us know that even big organizations with lots of money and analysts can still make a stupid decision with the wrong data or analysis. Ten years ago, the Foundation made a mistake assuming that smaller school s are better for student achievement, which is later proven untrue. He argued that Big Data moves us backwards, since more data results in more time spend analyzing, arguing, validating and replicating results. More of the any above activities will cause more doubt and confusion. Therefore, It’s urgent to learn a way to analyze them so you can just keep your head clear, and not being lied to.
“Any kind of subjective ranking does not need to be correct, it just has to be believed”
What do we believe, and what technique do we use to help us make the decision? Data analysis is an art, and not every statistician knows what he’s talking about. A person with good “numbersense” will be way above the others in avoiding the pitfall. A person with a good numbersense will spot bad data or bad analyses, or know when to stop when collecting his own. Unfortunately, numbersense can’t be taught in a regular classroom, a program or a textbook. It’s only learned from another person or real life practices. After more than 20 years in management in a hospital, I know these people do exist, but rarely. They are wonderful problem solvers. Lucky for rest of us, this book is a great place to start learning about numbersense. The author has a way of explaining complex subjects in a simple and understandable way, and his flow of thoughts is logical and very easy to follow. While analyzing data, the author also explained statistical terms thoroughly, as the term significant does not necessarily means important.
The author used real life news examples where someone made a claim about something and then backed it up with data, and he analyzes them, explaining the process to us along the way. The examples include: Law schools admission data, Groupon’s business model, diets and BMI, unemployment and jobs, our inability to remember prices and CPI, and even fantasy football. These examples were very interesting to read as the author gives step-by-step instructions of how these data we see everyday could easily be manipulated to fool us. My daughter is in the process of applying for college, and I can assure you, after reading the first chapter, I will never look at college rankings the same way.
I think every person in marketing, business, sociology, management or data analysis should read this book, as well as any consumer who wants to make sense of this so called “Big Data.” Numbersense is a great word for people who have the talent of analyzing data and spotting errors or intended manipulation. This book reads very much like Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Stephen Levitt, but is a bit more technical and might take a little understanding of statistics and/or business to fully appreciate the book. My background is business administration and healthcare, and I had a fun ride.
*Thanks to Netgalley and McGraw Hill in providing the advanced reading copy....more
This book reads like part House, part Grey’s Anatomy and part diary, yet much, much more informative. By bringing us into his every day life and meetiThis book reads like part House, part Grey’s Anatomy and part diary, yet much, much more informative. By bringing us into his every day life and meeting his various patients at New York Presbyterian Hospital’s emergency department, Dr. Brendan Reilly explains, by example, why US healthcare, or more precise, ER care, has evolved into the complicated, hard-to-navigate maze that we see today; why most young med school graduates decide to to become specialists instead of primary physicians, which our country desperately needs.
The title, One Doctor, was used since all we need is this one doctor who's our advocate. Due to the regulation and involvement of the health insurance industry, most of us do not have a doctor who deeply concerns about us, who knows us well, who rallies for the right care in our behalf. On the other hand, we all have a battery of specialists. We have a cardiologist for our heart, a rheumatogist for our arthritis, an urologist for our prostates...and so on. Specialists make much more money, and where we are referred to once our ailment is out of our primary care’s scope. But, they usually do not know our complete health history since they only focus on a specific part of us. Dr. Reilly claimed that the patient with the one doctor that truly care for him, follows him over time and know him well would win this rat race of so-called American healthcare. It’s the difference between life and death sometimes…or worse, between death and insufferable life.
Sometimes when a patient or family says, “Do everything for me, doctor,” it unnecessarily that they want to try everything possible to live. Sometimes they do not want to hurt the family members who can’t let go, or they’re scared, or they have no idea hanging on could be worse than death. It’s the doctor, a good doctor’s job to find out what these patients really want, since some scenarios can be really worse than death. We all have a different trade-off limit between how much we are willing to suffer to prolong our life, it’s also a responsible doctor’s job to find out. From the various cases we encounter along with Dr. Reilly, we acquire a better understanding of the end of life, terminal illness, palliative care (which is not used enough), the quality of life, letting go, who to assign as surrogate and all other choices we might face in the future which we most likely never prepared ourselves for. We also will learn about the not perfect, but needed advanced directives as well.
As Dr. Reilly stated, “Most of the sad stories happen when this process doesn’t start until it’s too late. That’s how all those folks wind up comatose in nursing home and intensive care units, fogged with drugs and flogged by machines, not a prayer of getting better. It’s a living hell—and the only hyperbole in that phrase is the ‘living’ part.”
Dr. Reilly is a brilliant storyteller and great writer, and also a rare doctor that deeply cares for his patients. I can feel his real concern and love for life and the world. I could also feel the empathy he has for his patients and their families by reading the way he put his thoughts on paper. Several of these stories were deeply moving: Mr. Gunther, who endured a progressive form of cancer earlier in life who now faces another one; Mr. Atkins with a rapidly progressive terminal illness, who does not have time to prepare his family for his death; Ms. Rhodik, who refused to speak, but her family’s decisions are endangering her health. Others were down right disturbing: Fred, who decided that “losing his marbles” was never an option…and many more. We also learn about the cost of a misdiagnosis, as well as the cost of doing too much.
This is a deeply moving book with many though-provoking stories, and lots of useful information from a good and genuinely caring doctor who has over 40 years of experience. Read this book, for your elders, for yourself, for your children…and for the hope of a better health care system in the near future. This book will make you a better patient, advocate, caretaker, healthcare consumer and....human.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an advance reading copy. ...more
There was a question on one of the book pages I frequent: "Name the last book that kept you up all night." It was an easy question for me to answer. SThere was a question on one of the book pages I frequent: "Name the last book that kept you up all night." It was an easy question for me to answer. Since I read all the time, I hardly stay up all night to finish a book; I have all day to do it. However, in a trip to Thailand many years ago, I hid in the bathroom to finish a book, a rather difficult book due to all the historical facts. I hid in the bathroom so my light did not bother the other members of my family (prior Kindle time). The book, The Twentieth Wife, was by this author. Since then, I've read a few more books by Indu Sundaresan, and none has disappointed me. I enjoyed this story as much as, if not more than, all the others.
This book, like all her books, was written with intensive research into the history of India (also England in this case.) The story is centered around the Koh-i-Noor diamond, a gorgeous yellow diamond that's was held by rulers in Hindu, Mughal, Turkic, Afghan, Sikh and finally British, countries. The diamond was once around 186 carats and its name means "Mountain of Light." It has a curse that is believed for centuries to bring bad luck to all its male owners. They suffered from sicknesses, the loss of their throne, or worse, death. Only women owners could wear it safely without suffering any ill effects.
“The diamond is said to have held a curse. Legend had it that the Kohinoor could be safely possessed only by a woman, that no man who had it would long hold his kingdom, and that it could never be worn in the official crown of a monarch (hence, perhaps, the reason it was worn in an armlet or set in a throne). In India, Persia, and Afghanistan, during the diamond’s tumultuous and bloody history, only men owned the Kohinoor.” **
With her known beautiful words and realistic descriptions of people and sights of the period, along with reliable facts, the story begins when the Koh-i-Noor was given to the Punjab ruler Maharajah Ranjit Singh so he could help the Afghan ruler Shah Shuja regain his lost throne. The story ended with the death of Dulip Singh in Paris and the ownership of Koh-i-Noor in British Empire. From page one, the reader will feel transported back to the sound and sight of old India. Through out the book, you will experience the love of the young who are full of hope for a better future; the power of rulers, the betrayal and loyalty of human, the architecture and sights of India, the brutality of conquest, and the sadness and hopelessness of old age and along with losing one’s country. The smell of Chai and saffron will still linger after you close the book. It’s the best journey a reader could ever hope to achieve.
Other than everything that mentioned above...this story offers a very interesting take on the effect of colonialism. It's quite a sad book to read. I couldn't help but feel a sense of loss for the diamond, for the puppet maharajah Dulip Singh...and for his three children that all had no heir. History, which could never be forgotten, influences all of us. Will the human race really learn from their past mistakes?
If you have time, google the Koh-i-Noor and admire it on the crown of the Queen of England. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, regardless how it was obtained…
**Thanks to Washington Square Press for a preview galley. The quote was from the advanced reader's copy. ...more
This book came just in time for Mother’s Day 2013. It’s a collection of short stories/essays written by 31 different female authors. Some of them areThis book came just in time for Mother’s Day 2013. It’s a collection of short stories/essays written by 31 different female authors. Some of them are well known, others, not as much. The theme? They wrote about the one thing that their Mom had given them with the most meaning or long-lasting impression.
As a reader, I truly believe that investing a little time to understand the background, education, life experiences, and childhood of an author would greatly improve my reading experience. When I saw the names of several authors I know, I thought this book would be a great supplement for my books. I also predicted that this would be an inspirational and uplifting easy read. After all, who else could influence us as much, or as positively as our Mother does?
I was quite wrong.
It was a shock to discover that not all stories were positive or easy to read. Some authors downright hate their Moms, or lack mothering there of. The “gift” their talked about were not all tangible as well, although most were. They varied from tangible: a nail polish, a photograph, a part of their home, an outfit; to intangible ones: memories, pain, love of words, a day’s experience. The essays also varied from pleasant to down right painful to read, from eloquent to mediocre. Some realized their Mothers loved them right there and then, others, years later. The essays definitely covered all sort of Mothers and daughters, some good, some not so good….just like in real life. A few stories I definitely had fond memories of even a few weeks after reading the book: A Thousand Words a Day and One Charming Note by Lisa See; The Missing Photograph by Caroline Leavitt. The introduction by Elizabeth Benedict was quite emotional to read as well.
Since the chapters are divided by authors and their piece. One can read this book all in one sitting, or divide them up and read one or a few at a time. I highly recommend this book to all who want to study the complex mother/daughter relationship, or just as a simple gift for a Mom or a daughter.
I received the ARC from NetGalley…and later purchased a copy as a Mother’s Day gift for my best friend, who has a “it’s complicated” relationship with her Mom.
Every so often, a book comes along. It’s everything you imagine a great fiction to be. It evokes the tremendous joy of just being able to read, to immEvery so often, a book comes along. It’s everything you imagine a great fiction to be. It evokes the tremendous joy of just being able to read, to immerse yourself in a book so fully, to jump into a journey where every sense in your body is heightened, and your mind stimulated. Then the last page is turned, you sigh with sadness since you know you will not be able to find another book like this for a long, long time.
Shadow of Night is such a book.
I wrote these in my review of the first book of the trilogy:
“The author has in depth knowledge not only about history, but also science, architecture, Europe, culinary delights and wine… The book immediately reminded me of "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova, since both story took me to places in Europe that I've never been and historical periods that were so enlightening…..The story will be a delight for people who actually enjoy accurate scientific, historical, culinary and geographical information. The author has a wealth of knowledge and a unique style of writing and she's willing to share.”
The review still rings true for the second installment, and more so. For readers who disliked the first installment of the series due to the slowness of the beginning, you’ll be delighted to hear that this book started right at the part where the first book dropped off, and is a thrill ride all the way to the end. You can also find satisfactory answers to most, if not all the burning questions that you had after reading A Discovery of Witches. I know it’s a gruesome wait for the second book in the series, but the wait is well worth it…this book surpassed everything I had imagined it to be.
The story begins right where the first book left off, Matthew and Diana landed in Elizabethan England, 1590, hoping to find the enchanted Ashmole 782, as well as someone to help the spellbound Diana to learn her abilities. You’ll be surprised to encounter real historical characters that came alive under Harkness’ pen. Harkness’ take on Christopher Marlowe, Elizabeth I, Walter Raleigh and others were unique and creative, yet totally believable. I wrote in my review of ADoW how I fell in love with all the characters in the first book, yet I’m equally invested in all the new characters in Shadow of Night, both historical and fictional. It’s heartbroken to realize that these characters live in another space and time, and the only way I could reconnect with them is through the re-reading of this book.
If you loved A Discovery of Witches because of Harkness’ extensive and detailed descriptions of everything, you’re in for another treat. Harkness bought Elizabethan England to life using her professional knowledge and her unique writing voice: fashion, writing, architecture, food, music, writing, cooking, art, jewelries, home decors, smell of spices, and even the sound of church bells…. Be prepared to be immersed into 1600 Europe, from England to France and Prague, whether if you’re prepared or not. I recommend you to drop or finish every other book in your list to get ready for the most sensual ride in your life.
I also love how Harkness incorporated a short chapter of the present after each part of the book. It shows how Diana and Matthew’s interference with the past affects the future. Everything that we do or not do has an impact in future, especially in our loved one and family’s life. Hopefully, history is valued and lessons learned. These chapters showed us how important it is to seize the moment and live your life, because there’s no going back. A few tender moments bought tears to my eyes. Compared to ADoW, the second book is much more emotional.
Romance. Matthew and Diana in the 1600s were not without their problems. Matthew in Elizabethan era was a much more complex and dark character. The society was also less friendly for females, especially a witch with a weird accent. However, fans looking forward to more romance between them will not be disappointed. There are lots and lots of tender moments and love. It made up for what was lacking in A Discovery of Witches.
If I write anymore here, this review will become a book! I do have a few recommendations before you jump in for the journey of your life: 1) Read A Discovery of Witches first. There’s no way you could understand the plot and all the complexity of this book if you don’t know the history of the characters. 2) Many new characters are introduced in this book. Use the appendix/Guide at the end of the book to familiar yourself with them. They are divided by location, quite clever. 3) If you are going to look for a simple, easy read for entertainment, this book is not for you; but if you love history, science, Europe, art, literature, geography, religion, philosophy, (food and wine for ADoW)…then, get this book (and the first).
(Thanks for Penguin Group for allowing me to access an advance ebook for review through NetGalley. This book will be published on July 10, 2012)...more
“To know others is knowledge; to know oneself is wisdom.” ~Lao Tsu
Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey….What do t“To know others is knowledge; to know oneself is wisdom.” ~Lao Tsu
Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey….What do these people have that you and I don’t? Charisma. They seem to have some special power or personality traits that attract people to them effortlessly. They attract all the attentions when they walk into a room, even without speaking. Somehow, we were taught that either we have this trait, or we don’t; so I was immediately drawn to this title once I spot it in a bookstore, and…
Yes, charisma can be learned.
Presence, warmth and power.
According to this wonderful book written by Olivia Cabane, charisma is a matter of presence, warmth and power. Presence is constantly paying attention to what’s going on when you’re interacting with people. If you are 100% involved, they feel valued and respected. One of these important skills is listening skill.
Warmth is expressed through kindness, actions and even body language. Do you think your body language has more power over the words you speak, or vice versa? You’re extremely wrong if you say “words.” Your physical comfort and mental state affect your words and body language, and people pick up messages from our body language and words that you don’t even realize yourself. Through out the author described multiple ways and exercises to get over or control your mental and physical discomfort, which will help increase personal charisma, the image that your body language and words projected.
Power is the most important and influential charisma. You do not have be an actual world leader like Colin Powell to impress people with your authority. The way you carry yourself, your body language and the way you dress and act can increase your impression and influence in others.
Not all charismatic people attract people the same way. There are all different kinds of charisma like the different kinds of personality. They can be achieved with different exercised and mind tricks and can be used on different situations. There's only one "first impression" in each event, and it's important to make it count. There are lots of exercises through out the book to help you learn the skills. Although I think they are a bit time consuming, they are actually useful.
Get the book. The wait is over. It's your turn to shine. .
The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat. —Lily Tomlin, actress and comedienne
This is how this book begins… This book,The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat. —Lily Tomlin, actress and comedienne
This is how this book begins… This book, very similar to The $100 Startup or the 4-Hour Work Week, but not quite as practical or useful. The author wanted to help you design a lifestyle business, something that works around your life style, instead of profit and growth. The kind of business, web-based, that works around you at your convenience, instead of inside a large corporation with a 9 to 5 schedule. He calls his model “Click Millionaire”, in which your business uses websites, e-commerce, digital publishing and social media to make money supporting your free life style.
The book is divided into 7 parts. The first 1/3 is basically all the reasons to get you out of your present “rat race”. The chapters were a bit redundant and full of fillers, but the theme was to tell you that you are now working to help other people, aka “your boss” to make money, which is a waste of your time and effort, so your life needs a big make-over. It’s a bit ironic that every chapter of the book ends with a link to the author’s “Click Millionaire” website, so indirectly, all readers of this book are making money for the author’s online business.
The rest of the book is a bit more useful. The author talked about creating websites, writing blogs, advertising, increasing traffic, as well as freelancing. According to his logic. People with special skills can achieve the lifestyle easier by serving a niche of the market, but normal people who know nothing do not need to despair, either. Everything you need is on his Click Millionaire website. You just have to have the right mentality and a good plan.
I’ll say this book is a bit more bluff than practical, but for desperate people who needs to make money utilizing the web. It might not hurt to give this a look, just be prepared that you’ll need the author's consultation service to proceed further…
(Thanks to AMACOM for providing a free copy through NetGalley for my review)...more