Archive | August 2015

Christopher Moore’s Denver Book Signing


I will readily admit that I am a little late getting on the Christopher Moore train; I did not become aware of his comedic genius until I was in my early twenties and read his farcical take on Shakespeare’s King Lear in his 2009 publication Fool. Following a highly enjoyable reading of Fool, I then decided to tackle his take on the life of Jesus Christ in the book Lamb. Thus, with these two books under my belt, a fan was born.

After having attended my first Christopher Moore book signing last April, I jumped for glee when I saw that he would be returning to Denver on Friday, August 28, 2016 for his latest book, Secondhand Souls. Friday night’s signing, which was held at the Tattered Cover on Colfax Avene here in Denver, was the second one of Mr. Moore’s I have been fortunate enough to attend, and as always he did not disappoint. From the moment he entered the room and stepped up to the mic and podium, Christopher Moore had the audience laughing till tears were streaming down our faces.

If you are a fan, and even if you’re a complete novice when it comes to Christipher Moore, if you have never been to a signing of his, I highly recommend that you attend when next he comes to a bookstore near you. Seeing and meeting Christopher Moore is just as wonderful and fun as attending a comedy club; the laughs are non-stop and the atmosphere light and enjoyable.

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“The Courtesan” Book Review

Title: The Courtesan

Author: Alexandra Curry

Type: Historical Fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Alexandra Curry’s new novel The Courtesan is a beautifully written fictionalized account of the courtesan, Sai Jinhua. In reality, not much is known about Sai Jinhua, who lived towards the end of China’s Qing dynasty. The reader is first introduced to the young Sai Jinhua in 1881 at the age of seven when she is orphaned following her father’s execution for the crime of having spoken the truth. Left at the mercy of her step-mother, Sai is sold for a mere seven coins to a brothel-keeper who subsequently introduces her to the horrors of human nature. From a painful binding experience, to her first sexual encounter, Sai comforts herself by sharing stories with her only friend at the brothel, brothel maid Suyin.

As Sai grows into a beautiful young woman, she is rescued from the brothel when Sub chancellor Hong, a troubled man, takes Sai as his concubine. Becoming Hong’s concubine not only rescues Sai from the painful life at the brothel, but introduces her to the Western world when she travels to Vienna where she meets the Austro-Hungarian Empress Elisabeth, “Sisi,” along with a European gentleman who captures her heart. From the streets of Vienna, to the streets of Peking during the Boxer Rebellion, Sai lives quite the extraordinary life.

I was fortunate enough to receive and advanced e-galley of this book as part of Penguin’s First to Read program and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to review it. I loved this book not only for it’s beautiful writing but because it introduced me to an intriguing and mysterious historical figure. Ms. Curry has done a wonderful job of taking the basic legend of Sai Jinhua and creating a richly engaging story that pulls the reader in and makes them feel something for the young woman. I cringed while reading of about Sai’s foot binding experience, I too felt my heart soar when she fell in love for the first time in her life, and I too felt the fear and uncertainty of being in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion. Alexandra Curry has managed to write a thoroughly engaging historical fiction novel that makes me not only want to read more non-fiction in regards to the Boxer Rebellion, but more books by her in general. The strength and perseverance of Sai Jinhua is one that will both draw in readers and make her a long lasting literary character.

The Courtesan by Alexandra Curry, published by the Penguin Publishing Group, will be available for purchase on September 8, 2015

#WhyIRead

#Pages4Progress

#Pages4Progress

In honor of this year’s #Pages4Progress campaign, a program which through the sponsorship of World Education and the readers of the world who are working to promote literacy and make education more accessible around the world, that I would take this time to reflect on #WhyIRead.

Firstly, I read because when I reflect on my life and childhood, I have nothing but positive memories of being read to by my parents at bedtime and when I was sick. I remember being introduced to such childhood classics as: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joe Numeroff, the fairytales of Hans Christian Anderson, and the wonderfully entertaining rhymes of Dr. Seuss. As I grew and learned to read myself, I read and re-read The Mouse and the Motorcycle trilogy by Beverly Cleary, The Indian in the Cupboard series by Lynne Reid Banks and Encyclopedia  Brown books. I was fortunate, in that my parents never restricted my reading, dictating what I could or could not read, instead my parents encouraged my reading and would take me every week during the summer to the library to participate in their summer reading program.

I read for those who are unable to: the children who lack the schools and proper education in which to learn basic reading skills, the individuals who suffer from reading disabilities such as dyslexia and out of frustration, lack of encouragement and help have given up on and turned their backs on learning to read, and I read for those who are told their too dumb and shouldn’t even try.

I read because I recognize that I am lucky to live in a country where the government allows me, a woman, to read and receive and educatuon. I know that there are countries in this world where girls and women are restricted from an education and the influence of books based solely on their gender. I read for those who it is outlawed.

This is #WhyIRead and why I take part in #Pages4Progress.

“The Last of the Firedrakes” Book Review

Author: Farah Oomerbhoy

Type: Fantasy, Young Adult, Mythology

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Farah Oomerbhoy’s début novel “The Last of the Firedrakes”, promises to be an exciting and worthwhile series of books. In the first of her “Avalonia Chronicles”, 16-year-old Aurora Darlington finds herself a twice orphaned teenager, currently living with her adopted parents brother and his family. Aurora’s Uncle appears to be indifferent towards her while her Aunt and cousin are downright horrible towards her. With continued mistreatment from her current family situation which extends to school where her cousin makes a point of making her life hell even when away from the house, Aurora wants for nothing more than find a way to run from her current situation. Unfortunately for Aurora she comes to understand the old adage “be careful what you wish for” first hand when she finds herself not only being kidnapped but transported to a completely different and magical world where there is an evil queen who is set on killing her in order to secure her claim to the throne, for Aurora soon learns that she holds the key to the destruction of the ruthless queen and the ultimate salvation of the land of Avalonia.

The beautiful cover, along with the premise of the book, is what initially drew me to “The Last of the Firedrakes”; luckily thanks to Netgalley and Wise Ink Creative Publishing, I was able to secure an advanced readers copy in which to delve into the story and see if the story would live up to my expectations. In short, the book not only lived up to, but exceeded my expectations. From the very start I was drawn into the story and Aurora’s journey to learn who she is, about her past and her connection to this magical realm and the queen who is intent on taking control over the entire realm. I loved the various mythical creatures and beings which were introduced throughout the book, such as the fae and a Pegasus. The combination of wizard magic with faerie magic made for a new and enjoyable type of young adult story and it was refreshing to read a new take on the myths and folklore of faeries.

Aurora is a strong headed young woman who wants nothing more than to protect her friends and those she comes to love, unfortunately for her, this strong-headedness often gets her into the kind of trouble in which she needs to be rescued. My biggest complaint about Aurora was the fact that I felt she was constantly rushing into dangerous situations without fully thinking about the danger and costs. Her continued lack of judgment and disregard for authority when it comes to her safety was annoying and made me want to reach into the book and slap some sense into her. Despite these annoying characteristics of Aurora, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and urge Ms. Farah Oomerbhoy to not delay in the writing and publication of the next book as I will be waiting with bated breath for I have found a new series and author to occupy my every waking moment.

My overall rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars.