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2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Kendal has read 15 books toward her goal of 50 books.

Monthly Archives: July 2014

Review: The Lhasa Trilogy

The Lhasa Trilogy
Written by Gary D. Conrad
Published on February 12, 2012 by Rainbow Books
319 pages


On a frigid night at Tibet’s Drepung Monastery, Lama Tenzin Tashi is awakened by a fervent knocking on his door. Quickly he realizes these raps are dreaded harbinger, one which will launch him on a quest to satisfy a vow, a blasphemous promise he wishes he had never made. But at this point, the lama has no other choice. The journey must be undertaken, no matter the cost.

Thus begins an odyssey that spans not only his life, but also the life of a man born near a small town of Davidson, Oklahoma. Who could comprehend how inexplicably intertwined their pathways would become as they pushed aside the veil that concealed the hidden secrets of death?

The Lhasa Trilogy is an intriguing tale of incarnation, karma and redemption; while at its heart is universal spirituality. Even though this book is a work of fiction, I found it incredibly thought-provoking and enlightening. I have always been intrigued by Buddhism and this book gives a nice glimpse into that way of life.

The story is broken up into three interlinked books. First, Matthew Walker Johnston has been dealt an absolutely horrid life. He faces so many tragedies and is not able to overcome them. His inability to overcome the sorrow in his life leads him to make horrid life-decisions that damage his soul and/or karma. His journey for redemption is at the center of this story. Matthew is very self-aware of how badly he led his life. However, he set in motion a way for him and his incarnation to redeem them.

Lama Tenzin Tashi is a wonderful character who also has flaws that must be overcome in order to reach total enlightenment. Throughout his journey to search for Matthew’s next incarnation, he questions his motives. However, it is this journey that helps him to release his imperfections and find nirvana. I enjoyed his flashback of his early life. His reflections gave the reader a real glimpse into the Chinese treatment of Tibet. It was and is a horrible time for Tibet. Through Tenzin’s eyes, you are able to feel all of the atrocities that Tibetans face on a daily basis.

The last piece to this puzzle is Wade Joshua Adams. It is his responsibility to accept what is before him and take his life to another level. Wade is everything Matthew should have been. Together they have a chance for redemption and to make the world a much better place. Wade, Todd, and Sonali, also, give the reader knowledge that the people you love never leave you. Your journey is not complete unless you your loved ones surround you.

The Lhasa Trilogy is a very spiritually-laden book that should not be overlooked. My main take-away is that there really isn’t religion, only spiritual well-being. But there is a God and it is never too late for forgiveness and redemption.


Review: The Book of Life

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)
Written by Deborah Harkness
Published on July 15, 2014 by Viking Press
576 pages
Supernatural Fiction


After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.

The Book of Life is a marvelous conclusion to the All Souls Trilogy. Deborah Harkness gave the reader a book that resolves storylines plus a wisp of hope that the story isn’t over. I loved every page and I was so sad to see it end. Once again, Ms. Harkness weaves a magical tale of love; however, with The Book of Life, she shows us what it means to be a family.

Throughout The Book of Life, the definition of family and loyalty is put to the test. Diana and Matthew redefine family by calling witches, vampires and daemons all family. I loved how that family had evolved so dramatically since A Discovery of Witches. There was so much distrust and hatred. Now there is love, loyalty and acceptance. Race purity is an ignorance and ancient concept. The sense of family conquered that basic racism.

Diana and Matthew reached their full character potential. Diana became an incredibly strong woman, witch, wife and mother. In A Discovery of Witches, she completely denied who she was and who she could be. By the end, she fully embraces herself and becomes the anchor of her family. Matthew, also, reached his full potential on a different level. He was so cold and detached; now he opens up to Diana and his family. He recognizes his faults and will willingly accept help. He is no longer just Diana’s protector. They are full partners in life and love.

The Book of Life is, by far, my favorite book of the year. I’m hoping, that one day, Deborah Harkness revisits and tells more amazing stories of Diana and Matthew. I’m so not ready to say good-bye. By the way The Book of Life ended, I feel there is possibility that Diana and Matthew will not fade away.



Review: The Bone Church

The Bone Church_BlogTour Banner FINAL

  • The Bone Church
  • Written by Victoria Dougherty
  • Published on April 15, 2014 by Pier’s Court Press
  • 308 pages
  • Historical Fiction/Thriller/Suspense

02_The Bone ChurchSynopsis:

In the surreal and paranoid underworld of wartime Prague, fugitive lovers Felix Andel and Magdalena Ruza make some dubious alliances – with a mysterious Roman Catholic cardinal, a reckless sculptor intent on making a big political statement, and a gypsy with a risky sex life. As one by one their chances for fleeing the country collapse, the two join a plot to assassinate Hitler’s nefarious Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Josef Goebbels.

But the assassination attempt goes wildly wrong, propelling the lovers in separate directions.

Felix’s destiny is sealed at the Bone Church, a mystical pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Prague, while Magdalena is thrust even deeper into the bowels of a city that betrayed her and a homeland soon to be swallowed by the Soviets. As they emerge from the shadowy fog of World War II, and stagger into the foul haze of the Cold War, Felix and Magdalena must confront the past, and a dangerous, uncertain future.

The Bone Church is a very poignant story of survival and love lost during and after World War II. Felix and Magdalena’s story seems heartbreaking at every turn. I wish I got say that love conquers all; everything but the Nazis and the Soviets.

There is so much passion in the book; passion for ways of life, country and spirituality. Felix really embodies all of that throughout the book. I love his spirituality and his ability to connect at different levels of perception. He receives at help from so many sources; real and mystic. He never gives up and his ability to survive does him credit in so many ways.

Of all of the characters portrayed in The Bone Church, Srut really stood out to me. He has such a strong sense of what is right and wrong; according to Srut. He is loyal to the people he trusts which are few. He will go to great length and sacrifice to save “his” people. He is a wonderful character and should be appreciated.

The Bone Church is a character in of itself. The author gave the reader some vivid images of what this church was. I loved how everything comes full circle at The Bone Church. Everything is resolved at the Bone Church.

The Bone Church is a wonderful book about a horrible time in the world’s history. But at its heart is survival and loyalty. It will stay with me for a long time.


About the Author03_Victoria Dougherty

Victoria Dougherty writes fiction, drama, and essays that often revolve around spies, killers, curses and destinies. Her work has been published or profiled in The New York Times, USA Today, International Herald Tribune and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, while living in Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting in several Czech plays. She lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, Virginia.

For more information, please visit Victoria Dougherty’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

The Bone Church Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 16
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, June 17
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, June 18
Excerpt at The Musings of ALMYBNENR

Thursday, June 19
Guest Post at I’d So Rather Be Reading

Monday, June 23
Review at Based on a True Story

Tuesday, June 24
Review at Bibliotica

Friday, June 27
Review at Back Porchervations

Monday, June 30
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, July 1
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, July 2
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, July 3
Review at

Monday, July 7
Review at Library Educated

Thursday, July 10
Excerpt & Spotlight at Books and Benches

Monday, July 14
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, July 15
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Thursday, July 17
Guest Post at Savvy Verse & Wit

Friday, July 18
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Monday, July 21
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, July 22
Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, July 23
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Thursday, July 24
Review at Mari Reads
Review at bookramblings

Monday, July 28
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Review at Good Friends, Good Books, and a Sleepy Conscience
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Tuesday, July 29
Review at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, July 30
Review at Luxury Reading

Thursday, July 31
Review at From the TBR Pile

Review: Murder by Misrule


Murder by Misrule_Tour Banner_FINAL

Murder by Misrule
Written by Anne Castle
Published on June 8, 2014 by Capital Crime
348 Pages
Historical Mystery

02_Murder by Misrule CoverSynopsis:

Francis Bacon is charged with investigating the murder of a fellow barrister at Gray’s Inn. He recruits his unwanted protégé Thomas Clarady to do the tiresome legwork. The son of a privateer, Clarady will do anything to climb the Elizabethan social ladder. Bacon’s powerful Uncle Lord Burghley suspects Catholic conspirators of the crime, but other motives quickly emerge. Rival barristers contend for the murdered man’s legal honors and wealthy clients. Highly-placed courtiers are implicated as the investigation reaches from Whitehall to the London streets. Bacon does the thinking; Clarady does the fencing. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss – and in danger – until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule.

Murder by Misrule is a highly entertaining story about murder, the law and politics; where none of which mix well together. This book is definitely a page-turner with very colorful characters. The storyline keeps you thinking to the very end.

I found Francis Bacon to be a tad tedious. His ongoing “ill health” made him very trying at times. However, his legal mind made him a terrific detective. I really enjoy when historical figures are made into fictional detectives and Ms. Castle had Bacon into a very intelligent detective. However, it is a good thing that Ms. Castle included Thomas Clarady in the story. He really brings life to it.

Thomas Clarady is quite a character. He is full life, love and gusto; plus underneath it all, he has a strong mind. I think Bacon and Clarady will make a good partnership for later books in the series. They are two sides of the same coin. Tom can effectively maneuver and persuade to get what he wants. If Bacon lacks finesse, Clarady definitely makes up for it. I look forward to more interaction between the two in later books.

The supporting characters were also very amusing. Ben and Trumpet have interesting storylines and I would very much like to see them more developed and involved with Bacon and Clarady.  They all make for a very interesting quartet.

Overall, Murder By Misrule is a very engaging mystery and sets up this new series nicely. I’m really looking forward to the second installment.


Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble

About the Author03_Anna Castle

Anna Castle has been a waitress, software engineer, documentary linguist, college professor, and digital archivist. Historical fiction combines her lifelong love of stories and learning. She physically resides in Austin, Texas, and mentally counts herself a queen of infinite space.

For more information please visit Anna Castle’s website and blog. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, June 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Mari Reads

Tuesday, June 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, June 4
Book Blast at The Musings of ALMYBNENR

Thursday, June 5
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den

Friday, June 6
Review at Book Nerd
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Book Blast at A Dream Within a Dream

Saturday, June 7
Book Blast at Kelsey’s Book Corner

Sunday, June 8
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 9
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, June 10
Book Blast at West Metro Mommy

Wednesday, June 11
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse

Thursday, June 12
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Friday, June 13
Book Blast at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Monday, June 16
Book Blast at Closed the Cover
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read

Tuesday, June 17
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day
Book Blast at A Book Geek

Wednesday, June 18
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, June 19
Review at Bibliotica
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Obsession

Friday, June 20
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Interview at All Things Girl

Saturday, June 21
Book Blast at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Monday, June 23
Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, June 24
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, June 25
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, June 26
Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, June 27
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, June 30
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Tuesday, July 1
Interview at Starting Fresh

Wednesday, July 2
Review at Kincavel Korner

Thursday, July 3
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Guest Post & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please

Friday, July 4
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views


Review: Harvesting Space for a Greener Planet

22267879Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth
Written by Greg Matloff, C. Bangs, Les Johnson
Published in 2014 by Springer
203 pages

Received this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


What was our planet like in years past? How has our civilization affected Earth and its ecology? This second edition begins by discussing these questions, and then generates a scenario for the restoration of Earth. It introduces new and innovative ideas on how we could use the Solar System and its resources for terrestrial benefit.

Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth is a fascinating book that poses some very interesting ideas on how to save our natural resources and continue to live on our planet. As an environmental attorney, I have worked in this field for almost 19 years and there are no easy answers on how to conserve our natural resources. By moving our energy production to space is an interesting idea but I’m not sure if it’s a viable one.

As this book stated, our planet is totally dependent on fossil fuels. We need to find a way to move away from that energy source; especially coal. If we could somehow harness the resources on the moon and somehow get them back to Earth, that would be an ideal situation. The authors pointed out that the moon is already dead. Pollution and mining activities will do it any more harm, unlike how it affects our planet.

I really like the idea of removing the significant pollution sources off our planet. However, the expense of the removal and the capture of those resources would be incredibly expensive. Furthermore, I know we are not ready from a technical standpoint. There needs to be extensive research and development to create an infrastructure that can be located off-planet. We are just not there yet. Also, the money involved would astronomical.

Overall, I found this book very thought-provoking and interesting. There are a lot of good ideas that would benefit our planet and move away from our dependency of fossil fuels which continue to pollute our world. We need a move balanced energy plan that benefits all living creatures on Earth. Do you think that’s possible? I just don’t know.

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