My Blog Guest

Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Review, Gramercy Park

At the turn of the century, Mario Alfieri, a world renown opera singer, comes to New York to perform. Since he plans to stay indefinitely, he decides to find a suitable home to rent. As he is touring Gramercy Park, a sizable mansion whose previous owner died, he stumbles across the pathetic figure of Clara Adler, Henry Slade, the former owner’s ward. Oddly, Slade left no provision for Clara who still resides there, virtually penniless and friendless.

Alfieri has remained a bachelor all this time, pursued by many women, so he has a less than stellar reputation. But when he meets Clara who is little more than a girl with fragile health, he is captivated and moved by her pathetic state. He makes an offer on the house, with the stipulation that Clara should be included in the home agreement and allowed to reside there. Since this would show a lack of propriety, Alfieri decides it is best to wed Clara, who agrees to do so, but without the consent of the lawyer who oversees the estate. This creates a chain of events that shows the lawyer’s vicious side (he’s quite the villan) and creates the stage for melodrama as dark secrets from Clara’s and the lawyer’s past come out that could tear their happy marriage apart and threaten to destroy Mario and Clara.

Paula Cohen's writing in this novel is superior to the level of many romances.  The story has a melodramatic bent reminding me of the old fashioned movies where the hero rushes in to save the heroine who is threatened by an arch villain. At times characters are almost characatures--either too sweet, too forgiving and passionate or, overly villainous. Whether or not Cohen was attempting to make them so remains to be seen. I give this book 4 stars out of a possible 5.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Buy a Copy of They Stood Alone! Today & Get 20 Free Bonus Gifts

JOIN US on September 25th

The Amazon Bestseller Book Launch for
"They Stood Alone: 25 Men and Women
Who Made a Difererence"

Buy a copy of They Stood Alone! on Amazon on 9/25/12
and receive more than 20 Free Bonus Gifts!

Just go to
and follow the simple instructions.

About This Book:
They Stood Alone!: 25 Men and Women Who Made a Difference is an inspiring collection of brief biographies of 25 men and women who refused to conform to the societal beliefs and expectations of their time and, by stepping out and away from the crowd, they changed their world and ours as well.

It has received the 2011 Mom's Choice Gold Award for Young Adult Nonfiction, the 2012 Readers Favorite Silver Medal Award for Young Adults-General, the 2012 American Authors Association Golden Quill Award for Children's Books and was the 2011-2012 DIY Book Festival Winner for the Teenage category. The Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA) also selected it for their annual list of best selections for young adults in the nonfiction category.
Download the PDF Flyer
Print out the flyer above and place it as a reminder to join us on September 25th.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spanish Word of the Day, Adeudor

The Spanish word of the day is Adeudor, which means pay.

The Spanish word pagar also means pay. If anyone understands the difference in the variation between these words, be sure to post a comment.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Review -- Night Dreams by Kimberly Payne

Dreams are poignant and mystical, a mixture of absurdities and realities.  They often leave us thirsty for an interpretation. Are they merely wild fantasies or is there a deeper message?

In her book, Night Stories,  author  Kimberly Payne fearlessly tackles the subject of dreams.  She prefaces her book by referencing multiple accounts in the Bible which held significance for the dreamer. God can and does speak to us through dreams.

A gifted inspirational writer with a simple and clean style, she vividly retells eight dreams she had and incorporates them into short lessons. Payne also has an excellent memory for details and she adeptly pulls her memories apart to find each dream's deeper meaning.

Best described as an inspirational book, each dream in this book holds a lesson of wisdom which can be treasured and applied to one's life and is capped off with a scripture verse.

The beauty in this book is in its brevity and simplicity. It's a quick read that packs a punch.

The book is available only as an ebook.  Here's the amazon link

Monday, September 17, 2012

Spanish Word of the Week -- Cafe

The Spanish word of the week is cafe which means coffee.There should be an accent mark over the e but I couldn't see where to put that symbol in in blogger. The French word for coffee is also cafe.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Book Review - Kindred Spirits

June Barraclough's book, Kindred Spirits, is set during the same era as Jane Austen and Lord Byron. In fact, Barraclough's main character is Austenish in that her first name is also Jane--Jane Baham. She is a young woman of moderate income (very Austenish) with few prospects for a notable marriage. Upon her father's death, Jane moves from the country to London to live with her uncle, his wife and children.

She's new to the more sophisticated ways of London life and is soon introduced to a circle of young friends who share a passion for writing. Philip March, one of them, is the editor of a new publication and he invites Jane to share her observations and writing abilities for pay. Jane also is befriended by Fred Digby--an older and yet kind and understanding man--who is trapped in an unhappy marriage.

It seems that Jane is fated to be just friends with three men in her life with little hope of marriage. Philip and Jane are not drawn to each other as love interests. Fred is unavailable though captivated by her. Jane determines she will probably not marry and clings to the hop that she can support herself through her writing. (Again I find a parallel to Austen who did this very thing.)  However, she is not able to resist the charms of   Charles, the mysterious and unfortunate poet with whom she becomes infatuated. The more she tries to draw near to him, the more troubled and elusive he seems to be. It is his mysterious comings and goings, his deep woundedness, and mystique that kept me reading on--an excellent hook to hold the reader.

The language, setting, and writing is very true to Austen, better than most novels I have read set during this time period.  Barraclough has done an excellent job replicating, and like Austen, little of significance happens. There are no grand occurrences--not even balls. Where she departs from Austen is the ability to make her character's banter and personalities as deep and captivating as Austen's. But of course, this is to be expected since Austen's genius is what makes her so extraordinary. 

Barraclough has an unexpected twist in her story--a secret I won't disclose so as not to ruin the ending. If you can hold on through the first one third of this book it improves. I give the 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spanish Word of the Week, Mesa

The Spanish word for this week is mesa which means table.

Out west, high, flat points in the landscape are called mesas. Now I understand why.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Book Review, What Matters Most by Luanne Rice

This book is about two couples--both with ill-fated romances--whose paths eventually connect. It starts by telling the story of James and Kathleen, orphans who are raised by catholic nuns in Ireland. From the day that they were brought together as infants, the two became inseparable and friendship grew into romance. Their happiness is short-lived when Kathleen is adopted in her late teens and taken to live in America. James looses touch with her and makes do the best he can by being a tour driver in Ireland but Kathleen is still the love of his life.

When his real parents, Bernadette and Tom, arrive in Ireland to connect with their long lost child, James, all the suppressed anger James has pushed aside because of being given up for adoption, comes to the surface and he rejects them. Bernadette and Tom's young romance was also torn asunder because "Bernie" had a vision and a calling--she believes--to marry the church so she becomes a nun.

Though the premise a good one, and the obstacles Rice presents to thwart the romances and to stall Bernie finding her birth son--in the form of a vindictive nun--are well played, I was put off by the frustration Bernie and Tom experience in their romance. They are always near each other but never able to really have a romantic relationship.  Too much of that nettled me. My guess it will probably annoy other readers as well. Eventually they do reunite, but there is also a tragedy. I won't give the details but it seems too little too late. I love a happy ending and though this hints at the possibility of left me wishing for a little more hope at the end.  I give this 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Spanish Word of the Week, Escuchar

Here is the Spanish word of the week--escuchar. It means listen. If anyone wants to post the phonetic pronunciation it would be helpful. My cheapo dictionary doesn't give that.