Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fallen by Lauren Kate

bu Lauren Kate

4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting new direction in YA Fantasy!, December 26, 2009
By Reading It All (Orange County, CA USA) - See all my reviews
For those of your, like me that are done with the whole "vampire as hero" thing - this newest genre will be refreshing.

In Fallen, Lauren Kate takes us into the world of Fallen Angels...and, as with the vampire books, each author's take on this newest breed to populate our space is slightly different.

In Fallen we meet Luce Price - a young woman who, with each passing year has felt less and less in control of her life. She is fighting off demons of the mind in the form of dark shadows that appear and take over parts of her well as demons of the past.

As the book opens she finds herself entering a school for troubled teens - and in Fallen we watch as she goes through the motions of fitting in and trying to keep the shadows at bay. Enter Daniel Grigori...

While the romance between Luce and Daniel is certainly the central point of this book, it handles a lot of issues, responsibility, mental illness, loss, parental love, friendship and more. I am not going to spoil this story for those of you looking forward to this book - but - I do want to take on the most common the negative comment about this book.

Character development - I really feel that way Lauren Kate handled the slowly unfolding story of each character gives us an honest view through Luce's eyes - the story is being told from her viewpoint and until fairly close to the end she is in the dark. This technique - I think - works in this book.

If you have just started this book and are finding the read a little slow at the start, first you are probably not a teenaged reader, and second stay with closes with a BANG!

I am really looking forward to the next book in from this author - can't wait to learn more about Luce and her life after Sword & Cross.

Just as a side note - this book will appeal to readers of Hush, Hush by Becca Kirkpatrick.

Product Description from Amazon

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

By Harriet Reisen

5.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the PBS American Masters Presentation..., December 24, 2009
By Reading It All (Orange County, CA USA) - See all my reviews
I have always been a fan of Louisa May Alcott's writing and when I was given the opportunity to read Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women (John MacRae Books) I jumped on it.

Harriet Reisen has a background as a writer of documentaries and I wasn't expecting more than a light biography but this is so much more because of Ms. Reisen's twenty year relationship with Louisa May Alcott. She explains how the book came out of the screenplay and the differences between the two...I am quoting her below.

From Harriet Reisen's Bio:

I decided to write the film script completely from primary sources. Louisa and all the other characters would speak only words they had written or were reported by contemporaries to have said. My choice and arrangement of scenes and dialogue, our production choices, interviews with scholars and experts, and Nancy's direction and editing were our only means to interpret Louisa's character and her life. We had no narrator to get between the viewer and the material.

What the film gained in authenticity was worth the embargo on my own knowledge and opinion. The book came as a gift--with room to let Louisa's story roam, and freedom to tell it in my own words and fill it with characters without having to consider what their costumes and meals would cost.


This book gave me a warm, up close peak at Louisa May Alcott - the woman! Reisen does a fabulous job of dropping you into the period - so well in fact that I learned some history and discovered quite a bit about the environment that LMA and her art grew from.

I think that I would have loved to work beside the LMA that treated the wounded in the Civil War. Her family, her politics, and her writing. This is a multi faceted woman and Reisen polishes every facet - light and dark.

I eagerly await the PBS American Masters Documentary.

Product Description from Amazon
A vivid, energetic account of the life of Louisa May Alcott, whose work has delighted millions of readers...

Louisa May Alcott portrays a writer as worthy of interest in her own right as her most famous character, Jo March, and addresses all aspects of Alcott’s life: the effect of her father’s self-indulgent utopian schemes; her family’s chronic economic difficulties and frequent uprootings; her experience as a nurse in the Civil War; the loss of her health and frequent recourse to opiates in search of relief from migraines, insomnia, and symptomatic pain. Stories and details culled from Alcott’s journals; her equally rich letters to family, friends, publishers, and admiring readers; and the correspondence, journals, and recollections of her family, friends, and famous contemporaries provide the basis for this lively account of the author’s classic rags-to-riches tale.

Alcott would become the equivalent of a multimillionaire in her lifetime based on the astounding sales of her books, leaving contemporaries like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Henry James in the dust. This biography explores Alcott’s life in the context of her works, all of which are to some extent autobiographical. A fresh, modern take on this remarkable and prolific writer, who secretly authored pulp fiction, harbored radical abolitionist views, and completed heroic service as a Civil War nurse, Louisa May Alcott is in the end also the story of how the all-time beloved American classic Little Women came to be. This revelatory portrait will present the popular author as she was and as she has never been seen before.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

William S. and the Great Escape

William S. and the Great Escape
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

4.0 out of 5 stars Important Life Lessons...Start the Conversation with Your Kids!, December 23, 2009
By Reading It All (Orange County, CA USA) - See all my reviews
From the cover art to the end - William S. and the Great Escape is a winner!

William is forced to runaway - ahead of schedule - this is something he has been planning ever since the death of their beloved mother.

Escaping an abusive father and older siblings - William and his three younger siblings run - eventually hoping to land at their aunts house...but as you probably expect, trouble follows.

The only thing that kept this from being a 5 star book for me was the historical placement. The book takes place in the 1930's and I never really felt like I was there.

Through the telling of this compelling story the author, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, author of The Egypt Game, The Headless Cupid, and The Witches of Worm, all Newbery Honor us a look at some very complex issues.

A middle grade look at abuse, bullying, relationships between siblings (the good and the bad), responsibility, trust...all great discussion openers for dealing with these issues with your own children.

Product Description from Amazon
William S. Baggett is a good kid trapped in a really awful family. William has his running-away money ready to go, he's just been waiting until he's older than twelve to leave. When his big brothers flush his sister's pet guinea pig down the toilet, she insists they leave now. And take the two littlest Baggetts with them. So they head out in the middle of the night, ready to escape to their aunt Fiona's house.

Unfortunately the trip doesn't go exactly as planned. It's not so easy traveling with two little kids, and some help from a lonely rich girl makes it even more complicated. Will they ever make it to Aunt Fiona's? And if they do, will she let them stay?

This is the story of four children who learn that sometimes you have to run away before you can find your way home.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Curse of the Spider King: The Berinfell Prophecies Series - Book One

by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper

Middle Graders and Tweens will eagerly read this book...I only hope that the rest of the series offers the same level of entertainment as this charming series debut.

From the cover to the concept - what could be more delightfully disgusting than a Spider King with an army of spider warriors - the Curse of the Spider King: The Berinfell Prophecies Series - Book One is the first in a series about the Seven Elven Lords of Allyra.

In a world that combines medieval themes with a modern feeling the Wicked Spider King is searching for the Seven Elven Lords of Allyra. long thought dead, lost in the Siege of Berinfell as babes. Strange signs reveal that Elven blood may live among the peoples of earth.

Why does that matter? These elven lords are the only ones that have the power to destroy the Spider King and his hold on their world....

The story seems to start slowly but soon grabs your imagination and rushes you along as the Seven find out about themselves and each other, and discover what waits for them through a portal between worlds.

Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper combine creative talents to create an enchanting, scary, and winning world! It is going to seem like forever waiting until August 2010 for Venom and Song: The Berinfell Prophecies Series - Book Two.

I love the interactive trend in teen books - after all this is a world they understand. Learn more about The Berinfell Prophecies at Create your own tribe. Connect with fans through the forum. Win pre-release chapters and the opportunity to have Wayne and Christopher at your very own book party!

Product Description from Amazon
Fantasy. Mystery. Action. Humor. Parents, teachers, and librarians will no longer have to push kids to read-The Berinfell Prophesies will engage intermediate readers and leave them clamoring for more.

The Seven succeeding Elven Lords of Allyra were dead, lost in the Siege of Berinfell as babes. At least that's what everyone thought until tremors from a distant world known as Earth, revealed strange signs that Elven blood lived among its peoples. With a glimmer of hope in their hearts, sentinels are sent to see if the signs are true. But theirs is not a lone errand. The ruling warlord of Allyra, the Spider King, has sent his own scouts to hunt down the Seven and finish the job they failed to complete many ages ago.

Now 13-year-olds on the brink of the Age of Reckoning when their Elven gifts will be manifest, discover the unthinkable truth that their adoptive families are not their only kin. With mysterious Sentinels revealing breathtaking secrets of the past, and dark strangers haunting their every move, will the young Elf Lords find the way back to the home of their birth? Worlds and races collide as the forces of good and evil battle. Will anyone escape the Curse of the Spider King?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BOOK GIVEAWAY!!! Child of Fire Winners Announced!

The Child of Fire
by Harry Connolly

Book Giveaway Winners! can find info about the giveaway here!

...and the winners are!!!!

Becky LeJuene
Dana E.
Misty (it pays to enter 3 times it was your Twitter add that won!!!)

...congratulations to all the winners!!!

if you didn't leave an email address I hope you read this note!

Find me on Twitter as @ReadingItAll
...or email your info to robynahawk at yahoo

Friday, November 27, 2009

2010 Debut Author Challenge Information

I don't know about you but some of the best books I have read in 2009 have been Debut books by really talented new authors. So when I read on Twitter (do you tweet? follow me: @ReadingItAll) that @TheStorySiren will be holding the 2010 Debut Author Challenge!

For more info about the Challenge go to The Story Siren blog and subscribe to stay updated!!! or follow this link to the sign up page!

I will be adding my book list to the side column - so stay tuned and look for my list soon!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Amanda Project: invisible i

invisible i
The Amanda Project:
Book One
by Stella Lennon and Melissa Kantor

I gave this book four stars because that is my honest opinion of the book The Amanda Project: Book 1: invisible I.

It reads easily and rings true for it's depiction of high school and teen cliques. I remember being the creative, quirky, artistic "new girl" and so much of this book prompts flash backs of my high school days.

What I found interesting in The Amanda Project: Book 1: invisible I, the first of a series of eight books, is the way it looks at Amanda from the viewpoints of three different classmates. Of course, when Amanda disappears, they soon realize that none of them new much about their new friend.

If you want to make this a 5 star experience, you have to take it to the next level...the interactive website! The Amanda Project website - from the home page:

What Happened To Amanda?
AMANDA VALENTINO came to our high school on Halloween. She disappeared on the Ides of March. She left us some clues, but we're not sure what they mean. The only thing we know for sure is that she utterly, completely changed our lives.

Join in with hundreds of readers nationwide to try to solve the mystery, find the clues and the coolest...write your own story!

The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff

The Bride's Farewell
by Meg Rosoff

In her latest book, The Bride's Farewell, author Meg Rosoff takes us to rural England in the 19th century.

In the ultimate case of "cold feet" heroine Pell Ridley is the runaway bride - shunning all the traditionally accepted ideas of "the woman's place".

Pell is determined to be her own person and develops a talent with horses ....

This is a journey book that teens,young adults and their parents will enjoy. With stories of romance and longing for family and of the family she eventually finds.

For me a strong female lead is all it takes for a recommendation. I probably would have given this book 5 stars but it was a little hard for me to get into it - stay with it though it is well worth the effort.

Product Description from Amazon:

A young woman runs away from home and finds love in the most unexpected place

In Meg Rosoff's fourth novel, a young woman in 1850s rural England runs away from home on horseback the day she's to marry her childhood sweetheart. Pell is from a poor preacher's family and she's watched her mother suffer for years under the burden of caring for an ever-increasing number of children. Pell yearns to escape the inevitable repetition of such a life.

She understands horses better than people and sets off for Salisbury Fair, where horse trading takes place, in the hope of finding work and buying herself some time. But as she rides farther away from home, Pell's feelings for her parents, her siblings, and her fiancé surprise her with their strength and alter the course of her travels. And her journey leads her to find love where she least expects it.

Rosoff's magical voice and her novel's ethereal setting will thrill her passionate longtime fans and garner her new ones.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

BOOK GIVEAWAY!!! Child of Fire by Harry Connolly


My First GIVEAWAY!!!!

YAY! Free Books!

I just received the most wonderful package from DelRey Publications - FIVE - yep 5 copies of the debut urban paranormal book by Harry Connolly!!!!

by Harry Connolly

*** Let me give a quick caution to my loyal YA followers - there is some graphic violence in this book and I wouldn't recommend it to readers under 18.

That being said this is probably the best book I have read in this genre - I love Connolly's style! You view this eerie incredulous world (the world of the Twenty Palaces Society) through the eyes of Ray Lilly - but Ray is as much in the dark about the mission as you are!

Publisher's Synopsis:
Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him–or let someone else do the job. Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic.

So do I have your attention now? How do you qualify for one of these paperback editions of Child of Fire: A Twenty Palaces Novel?

1 entry leave a comment
1 entry follow this blog
1 entry if you already follow
(leave a comment let me know you are following my blog)

Facebook Fan Page:
1 entry become a fan of my Facebook page
1 entry if your are already a fan on Facebook
(leave a message on the wall there so I know you are a fan)

1 entry follow me on Twitter @ReadingItAll
1 entry for tweeting this contest!

Contest closes on 12/01/09 so you should have it to read during your Holiday break!!! BTW - I would really love it if the winners would take the time to post a review on their fave platform (Amazon, Shelfari, GoodReads, LibraryThingy, etc..). Open to US entries only (unless you want to cover the shipping?)

OK - you have 5 possible entry options...
Ready? Set? GO!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield...

By: Scott Westerfeld
Illustrated: Keith Thompson

Scott Westerfield gives us a well-written alternate history of World War I. Some of the alterations include a totally mechanized German-Austro-Hungarian enemy (called Clankers) and an Allied force made up of Britain, France and Russia called Darwinists. Clanker machines walk on articulated legs. Darwinists have developed a science that creates animal combinations that are intelligent partners in the fight. The main characters are Alek, the son of the Austrian Grand Duke and Duchess, whose assassination not only leave in him an orphan, but also starts the war; and Deryn Sharp, who gets into the British by pretending to be a boy - Dylan. Alek must run for his life with a battle damaged Clanker Stormwalker and some loyal friends. Deryn/Dylan discovers the "being a boy is hard. How do they do it all their life?" Their life paths cross, taking them on board Leviathan, a fantastic whale airship and perhaps the greatest creation of the Darwinists. These two "enemies" are forced into situations that require compromise, courage, trust and finally friendship. Their adventures will take them into dangerous and interesting places.

Product Description from Amazon

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Note From Lemony Snicket

Imagine my surprise when I was flipping through my InBox - you know delete, delete, later, delete, spam, delete...WHAT?!? A note from Lemony Snicket? YEP!

Lemony Snicket has joined with First Book on a Halloween Project - so give out candy to all the kiddies but don't forget to give books or help First Book give books...Mr. Snicket says it best:

Dear Reader ,
Half-Minute Horrors
Every Halloween , I am disturbed by the number of children who jump out from the darkness and cry , “Boo!” If you have ever encountered such a person , you know that they are so upset that they are unable to finish the entire word , which is , of course , “Book.”

I am sorry to tell you that there are millions of children every year who can not afford a new book to read. Fortunately , there is a noble organization called First Book , which puts books in the hands of such children – more than 65 million books so far. Still , every Halloween , the ghastly cries of those growing up without new books rise into the night.

If you are as tired of hearing children cry “Boo!” as I am , you should probably do something about it. You might consider making a Halloween donation to First Book. For instance , $2.00 is an amount which here means “one new book.” And $20 is an amount which means “filling a backpack with enough books to make some
lucky child a hunchback for Halloween.”

Wouldn’t you like to
click here now to donate?

With all due respect ,

Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket has written many alarming books for children including those in
A Series of Unfortunate Events and he is one of 70 astonishing authors and artists , including Neil Gaiman , Margaret Atwood , and James Patterson , who contributed to Half-Minute Horrors , a collection of instant frights published in partnership with First Book. Half-Minute Horrors is available wherever books are sold.

Gotta run - I think there are some ghoulies at the door - Boo - Boooo - Book!

Peter & Max: a FABLES novel

Peter & Max: A Fables Novel

Bill Willingham (Author)
Steve Leialoha (Illustrator)

If you had told me a month ago that I would be reading a book where the Hero is Peter Piper and he is married to Bo Beep. They live just outside a town that is run by Snow White and Bigby Wolf and Rose Red is running back and forth with goes on.

But let me tell you reading this book has made me want to check into the graphic novels these characters come from...

With Peter & Max: A Fables Novel, Bill Willingham offers a story of siblings and the damning hatred that betrayal, revenge and jealousy can lead too. Peter and Max are brothers and it all starts when their father gives the Family Heirloom Pipes to Peter, bypassing Max - the eldest son.

Remember the Pied Piper of Hamlin? He rid Hamlin of their rats and when he wasn't paid he rid them of their children. Why would he commit such a heinous crime?

I felt that the seesaw back and forth between time frames was distracting at times - but not to the point where I even considered putting the book down. All in all I really enjoyed this book and have great respect for someone who could hand me a book with this plot and make me love it.

One of the reasons you really need to pick up this book is the beautifully illustrated interpretations of the story by Steve Leialoha they are nothing short of inspirational.

I am off to check out Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile - I think this is a world I want to get further into.

PProduct Description from Amazon:

A new stand-alone FABLES NOVEL from award-winning and wildly acclaimed author, Bill Willingham.

This story stars Peter Piper and his incorrigible brother Max in a tale about jealousy, betrayal and revenge. Set in two distinct time periods, prepare to travel back to medieval times and learn the tragic back-story of the Piper family, a medieval-era family of traveling minstrels. Then, jump into the present to follow a tale of espionage as Peter Piper slowly hunts down his evil brother for a heinous crime, pitting Peter's talents as a master thief against Max's dark magical powers.

Based on the long-running and award-winning comic book series FABLES, PETER AND MAX is its own tale. Readers don't have to be familiar with the comics to fully enjoy and understand this book.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spells by Emily Gravett

by Emily Gravett

Recommended for Ages 4 to 8

Staring at the cover Spells will capture every child's attention. Beautifully illustrated and wildly fun with just the right amount of dialog to visual content.

You get an idea of just how delightful and humorous this story will be when you read the author/illustrator's bio on the back book flap:

Back Cover - Flap excerpt: "As a child Emily Gravett was desperate to become a witch. She spent her time trying to fly, and attempting to cast spells on people who called her sweet."

Kids will spend hours in the center "split pages" matching and mis-matching tops and bottoms of magical creatures.

Gorgeous - this is going on my four year old grand daughter's book shelf!
Product Description from Amazon
From critically acclaimed author Emily Gravett comes Spells, the hilarious misadventures of a small green frog who just wants to kiss a princess.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Over 11,000 Teens Choose 2009 Teen's Top Ten!

2009 Teens' Top Ten

More than 11,000 teen voters chose Paper Towns as their favorite book in the 2009 Teens' Top Ten! The online poll took place from Aug. 24 through Sept. 18, with the winners announced during Teen Read Week by WWE Divas Brie Bella and Nikki Bella, with a special appearance by John Green. See the video.

  • Paper Towns by John Green (Penguin/Dutton)
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
  • City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
  • Identical by Ellen Hopkins (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
  • Wake by Lisa McMann (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse)
  • Untamed by P.C. and Kristin Cast (St. Martin's Griffin)
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Disney-Hyperion)
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Promote the Teens' Top Ten at your library with free downloadable bookmarks (PDF) from YALSA! The bookmarks are customizable, so you can add each book's location in your library, plus your library logo and contact information.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

Child of Fire: A Twenty Palaces Novel

Spontaneously combusting children, a really creepy town, a successful company that makes utterly ridiculous products, the unsettling police department made up of three brothers, a sorceress charged with hunting down and killing rogue magicians...and her driver, a convicted felon who has recently been released...confused yet?

Good! Now we can all start from the same place!

What really works in this much anticipated first effort from Harry Connolly is that the lead character starts this ride as much in the blue as the reader. He knows nothing about the mission or his role in completing it.

In Child of Fire: A Twenty Palaces Novel, Connolly creates a world that, while at times completely implausible, grips you from the opening pages.

Ray Lilly's thoughts play out in front of you in much the same way the noir detectives did...gritty, hard boiled with a heart. It is the heart that continually gets Ray into bad situations.

All the comparisons to Jim Butcher's protagonist in Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1) are warranted - in fact Butcher wrote a glowing review of Connolly's style of writing, calling it "a truly dark and sinister world, delicious tension and suspense, violence so gritty you'll get something in your eye just reading it"

I am really eager to see more from Harry Connolly and would love a little more about Ray Lilly and the Twenty Palace Society.

Product Description from Amazon
Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him–or let someone else do the job.

Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Women Writing for (a) Change: A Guide for Creative Transformation

by Mary Pierce Brosmer

Women Writing for (a) Change: A Guide for Creative Transformation is a much needed resource for the female writer - I wish I had known about the workshops and community that Mary Pierce Brosmer had laid the foundations for. It would be a much safer environment for those moments when we face hard truths or need a nurturing word. Based on her nationwide organization that teaches women and girls to nurture the conscious feminine voice within them.

Through the use of exercise and example Brosmer leads you on a pathway of exploration..."not just as a means of individual self-examination and expression, but also as a way to create and effect positive social change."

The exercises run from the intimately complex to the sublimely simple - my favorite is:

"Write Now: Take your calendar or day planner, and commit to a series of regular writing appointments with yourself. Keep them."

As women writers our stories are sometimes similar, but told from a different viewpoint and set of life experiences - I like the poem Brosmer quotes by Lisel Muller:

"Why We Tell Stories

Because the story of our life
Becomes our life

Because each of us tells
the same story

but tells it differently

and none of us tells it
the same way twice."

Destined to fill in the shelf of every woman writer...mine sits between The Artist's Way and Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.

Product Description from Amazon:
In her insightful debut book, Mary Pierce Brosmer shares the unique method of writing that she developed as founder and director of Women Writing for (a) Change, a nationwide organization that teaches women and girls to nurture the conscious feminine voice within them. Imaginative exercises, helpful examples, and provocative anecdotes enable women to explore their writing not just as a means of individual self-examination and expression, but also as a way to create and effect positive social change.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The French Blue: trailer for the book by Richard Wise

The French Blue by Richard W. Wise

The French Blue

By Richard W. Wise

The French Blue is being promoted as the back story of the Hope diamond...but this book is so much more!

Through the telling of the life of Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Richard Wise gives us a glimpse into life in the 17th century. Sure, Wise covers the nobility that you all ready know about...but he also brings to life the daily life of the peasant, the retailer, the stone cutter and the miners he meets along the way.

It is no surprise that the son of a cartographer would develop a wanderlust, a need to explore the countries and far places his father charted. The 17th Century was a time of discovery, conquering new lands, Kings, Emperors, Shahs and Sheiks.

Tavernier starts his life serving in the courts of the nobility of the day, he is taken into their confidences and is trusted by those he meets...this reputation serves him well in the course of his life. These are the days when gem deals were done with a hand shake and Tavernier's proves himself. He is a seeker of knowledge, and most importantly an honest man.

This book has it all adventure, pirates, travel to foreign lands, incredible jewels from the earth and the collections of moguls...oh yeah did I mention it also has romance? Tavernier is not just a gem trader and traveler - he is a man. In his travels he romances several women and we meet the daughter of a Courtesan and a Sultan - the woman who is destined to be the love of his life.

In the instant world that is today - it is hard to imagine, but in the 17th Century a single trip could take six to seven years. From 1631 through 1668 Tavernier made six journey's to Persia and India, culminating in the voyage and adventure that brought the great blue diamond to the court of Louis XIV.

The author
Richard W. Wise ventured through the "Voyages of Tavernier" - three volumes with dates and details of the journeys but not much about the man. The French Blue is his effort to fill in the gaps between the journeys, he has, with this book fleshed out Jean Baptiste - the man. The 17th Century engravings and Tavernier's own drawings of the gems he saw and traded remind us that, while this is a work of fiction, it is based in fact.

I was first introduced to Richard W. Wise when I picked up his book
Secrets of the Gem Trade The Connoisseur's Guide to Precious Gemstones. As a Gemology student I was looking for information, specifics that would make me a smarter purchaser and aid me in my studies. What I found was a book of intriguing stories of gem trading, miners, and exotic locales. The art of the story teller is legend and doesn't come easily. Wise has taken his success with Secrets of the Gem Trade one step further and in this adventure story his imagination was released to travel the road and sail the seas with Jean Baptiste Tavernier. Well done!

Product Description on Amazon
Between the years 1630-1668, the French gem merchant, Jean Baptiste Tavernier made six voyages to Persia and India. His true exploits by land and sea go far beyond the ink and paper exploits of fictional adventurers. Tavernier met and did business with some of the world's most powerful princes and romanced some of the most beautiful women. Sometime during his later voyages, Tavernier acquired a magnificent 116 carat blue diamond. Upon his return to France, he sold the diamond to Louis XIV, for the equivalent of 147 kilos of pure gold. The Sun King made him Baron of Aubonne. The remains of Tavernier s blue gem is known today as the Hope Diamond, but for the first 200 years of its history it was called simply The French Blue.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

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