Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Alexandria Link by Steve Berry

Alexandria Link 

First sentence:  "George Haddad's patience ended as he glared at the man bound to the chair."

From the first sentence, Alexandria Link is nonstop action.  Cotton Malone's son has been kidnapped and if Malone doesn't find the lost Library of Alexandria within 72 hours, Cody will be killed.  Mercenaries are out to destabilize three major religions - Jewish, Christian and Muslim. The Library of Alexandria contains the documents that show the old testament was mistranslated from the Hebrew and prove the covenant land did not lie in Palastine.  Interesting theory.  Berry's writing is better than Patterson, but not as great as James Rollins.  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Salon: What's on my nightstand

Happy Sunday! Our rain deluge has passed and once the morning fog burned away, we had a bright and glorious day Saturday.  I'm getting back into the swing of blogging and thanks to a timely mini quest from the Bloggiesta crew,  am taking the opportunity to spruce up the joint!   

Book wise, I've finally organized my reading plans, which are quite flexible, because I never quite know when the mood will strike to dive into a comfort read or challenge myself with something heavier.  Since it is a prime year, I decided to shoot for 107 books which encompasses the Birthstone Bookology reads as well as A to Z read by author and/or title.   Are you a monogamous reader or have multiple books going at once?  I used to read one book at a time, but no longer.  Half the time I'll start an ebook in the midst of reading a print book.  Then there's the bathroom book which right now is KonTiki by Thor Heyrdahl.  I'm working my way through my dusty shelves and my selections for Garnet are: 

  • Spartacus: the Gladiator - Ben Kane (completed)
  • Alexandria Link - Steve Berry  (completed)
  • Russian Winter - Daphne Kalotay (currently in progress)
  • Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami  (52 Books readalong)
  • 6th Extinction - James Rollins
  • The Translator - John Crowley 

I'm also working on reading more non fiction so my A by author book is Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams.  

I also have Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker and Cixin Lui's Three Body Problem on tap for the month. Yes, I'm being a bit ambitious so we'll see how far I get this month.  

Writing wise, I just downloaded Jennifer Blanchard's Align your Writing Habits to Success: From procrastinating writer to productive writer in 30 days  and K.M Weiland's Conquering Writer's Block and Summoning Inspiration.   I've been procrastinating big time, reading instead of writing, so giving myself a swift kick in the butt and diving in again.  I'm also taking wibbly wobbly  timey whimey (thanks Dr. Who) words out of my vocabulary such as I hope too or will try and replacing them with I will and I am doing such and such.  Positive, optimistic, forward thinking!  Woot Woot!  

Blogging wise, my intent is to post one short book review as well as one general post a week.  

~Cheers to a great week~ 



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Spartacus: The Gladiator by Ben Kane

Ben Kane 

First sentence:  "When the village came into site, at the top of the distant hill, a surging joy filled him."

I don't read a lot of historical fiction so am very picky.  I'd never considered reading Spartacus's story.  However, after reading Kane's Forgotten Legion series, which are rich and detailed re-imaginings,  I decided to give it a try, though I knew it wouldn't be an easy read.  Kane does an excellent job making violent subjects of the past not only palatable but interesting.  Not an easy subject, nor for the faint hearted considering the violence of the times involving mass killings and rapes.  

Friday, January 6, 2017

Welcome to 2017: A prime new year

It's a bit dusty in here, so give me a moment to clean off the table, set the easy chairs upright and unpack the tea cups.  There, that's better.  Hello 2017!  I have high hopes for 2017 since it is a prime number.  I started blogging 10 years ago in 2007 which isn't prime, but a fine year all the same. When My Two Blessings began, I never stopped to consider how long I would continue or where it was going.  Sometimes in life, you just jump in with both feet and don't worry about where you are going. Much has happened over the years with a lot of ebbs and flows, talkative times along with long silences.  If you've been with me for most of the ride, I appreciate it.  

Once again I'm contemplating the one word thing to focus on for the year and all I hear in the background is me. Sounds a bit selfish and narcissistic in a way.  However....

Honesty is the best policy, right?  Then I'll be honest.  I've lost  my writing mojo.  Over the years, I got involved in Nanowrimo, fell in love with the joy of writing and have worked to learn as much as I can about the writing craft. The past couple years I've volunteered to help facilitate a private mfa certificate program and in the progress burned myself out while helping to  run courses, rather than working on my own writing.  My WIP's have been gathering dust in the drawer, my characters stopped talking to me and I basically quit writing.   I started regurgitating old essays to fill in holes for classes and for the blog and lost me in the process.  

So, I'm going to focus on me, however selfish it may sound and concentrate on writing again. Embrace my creative side, let it flow unhindered by classes or responsibilities and let life inspire me. 

I'm reminded of something I wrote a year or so ago and want to recover that passion

Why do I write aside from the fact that it’s a fantastic mind journey full of unpredictableness.  I write to open the door into my mind and have grand conversation with myself, with God, with my characters.  I  write to explore the who’s, what’s, where’s and why’s.     I write to free my mind of all the detritus that gathers throughout the day.    I write to understand that which I don’t understand. I write to heal the wounds of the soul.  I write to practice, I write to explore, I write to play. I write to create. I write for those Aha moments because I do so enjoy when my characters surprise me. Or when I even surprise myself with an epiphany about my life.  I write to let my soul sing. 

~cheers to a wonderful writing new year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

My Bookshelf Challenge for 2017

My personal goal in 2017 is to read my own books while working on the Birthstone Bookology challenge which may take more than the year to complete. We'll see how it goes.  In particular, my dusty print books that have been lingering on my shelves. They are all quite sad and have been loudly calling my name with each passing day. I also have a few ebooks that are aging away. However my goal is to read more print books this year.   Maybe this year I'll do a better job of keeping track of what I read and complete my own 52 Bingo challenge.  *grin*   

On the shelf 

Alexandria Link (#1) - Steve Berry 
Angelmaker - Nick Harkaway
Blinding - Mircea Cartarescu
Daughter of Time  - Josephine Tey
Devlin Diary -  Christie Phillips
From the Corner of His Eye - Dean Koontz
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  - Stieg Larson
Great Weaver of Kashmir - Halldor Laxness
Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Neffennegger 
In the Shadow of Young Girls - Marcel Proust 
Innocence - Dean Koontz 
Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman
Lord of Chaos (#6 WOT) - Robert Jordan
Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami
Master and Commander - Patrick O'brien
Midwife of Venice - Roberta Rich
Murder One - Robert Dugoni 
Natural History of Dragons - Maria Brennan
Niccolo Rising - Dorothy Dunnett 
Night Film - Marisha Pessl
Norwegian Woods -  Haruki Murakami
Post Captain - Patrick O'brien
Remarkable Creatures -  Tracy Chevalier 
Russian Winter -  Daphne Kalotay 
Seventh Plague - James Rollins
Spartacus: The Gladiator - Ben Kane 
Skin Game -  Jim Butcher
Sunne in Splendor - Sharon Kay Penman
the Fountain of Saint James Court - Sena Jeter Naslund
the Revolt - Susan Wise Bauer
the Source - James Michener 
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
the Three Body Problem - Cixin Lui
The Translator - John Crowley
Thicker Than Blood - C.J. Darlington
Through the Darkness -  Susan Wise Bauer
Venetian Betrayal (#2) - Steve Berry 


6th Extinction - James Rollins
11.22.63 - Stephen King 
13th Tribe - Robert Liparulo 
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
Dawn - Octavia Butler 
Gifted Thief - Helen Harper 
Have Stakes  Will Travel - Faith Hunter
Ice Cutters Daughter - Tracie Peterson
Sweet Tomorrows - Debbie Macomber 
the Forest House - Marion Zimmer Bradley 
The Redbreast - Jo Nesbo 
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Thief with no Shadow - Emily Gee 
Thieves of Heaven- Richard Doetsch 
TimeKeeper - Tara Sim

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2017 Birthstone Bookology Reading Adventure

Birthstone Bookology

Reading Adventure  

Inspiration struck me a few days ago while working on themes and authors flavors for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.   Something that would spice up the old A to Z alphabet or spelling out the months.  The Birthstone Bookology Reading Adventure will take me around the world and through different time periods from the ancients to the present. Plus there are a variety of directions this challenge can go with exploring the myths and lore, different time periods and countries where the stones are found, as well as reading books spelling out the stones.  The possibilities are limitless and ripe with rabbit trails. 

I'm going to keep an open mind, use my imagination and see where it takes me.  Join me on Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks and have fun exploring the world.  


One book per letter in the birthstone of the month.

The birthstone name in the title.

The color of the stone in the title.

Set in the time period where the birthstone was discovered

The mythological figure or lore surrounding the stone

Set in the place where the birthstone is currently found

January -  Garnet 

February - Amethyst

March -  Aquamarine

April -  Diamond

May - Emerald

July - Ruby 

August - PeridotSardonyx or Spinel 

September - Sapphire 

October - Opal or Tourmaline 

November - Topaz 

December -  TurquoiseTanzanite, or Zircon