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review 2017-01-12 14:19
And I Darken
And I Darken - Kiersten White

(This review is also on my personal blog Atta's Bibliophilia.)

 

 I expected something a little more different but And I Darken is everything I could have ever wanted in a book even though there is no magic! I can't believe what an amazing book Kiersten White has written and I expect for the whole trilogy to ruin me emotionally and I will enjoy every second of my misery. This is the effect And I Darken had on me.
  
 Kiersten White writes in a beautiful and captivating way and I was immediately caught up in it. Her style is really good and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I couldn't be more satisfied with it than I already am.

  And I Darken is like nothing I've read before! It's something completely new to me, I didn't expect to like it so much! It's a historical fiction about the female version of Vlad The Impaler a.k.a. Vlad Dracul- Lada Dragwlya later Lada Dracul. The book appeals even more to me because the story takes part in the time of the Ottoman Empire and there are mentioned Bulgarians and even Varna- my city! I totally loved everything about it and I will just comment the characters as usual.

  Lada is a strong, ruthless heroine who I loved from the second she was born, literally. She is one of the strongest characters I've ever read about and she earned my respect when she was very young and then she kept proving that I respect her for a reason. She is frighteningly aware of the things that make her weak and easily manipulated and she does everything in her power to eliminate them even if it costs her her heart and happiness. Despite being distant to her brother and to their shared friend- Mehmed, she cares very much about them and protects them with everything she has. She is loyal and a very good friend and I couldn't like her more!

  Radu is weird. He is Lada's far more gentle brother who is beautiful and more intelligent and clever than people realise. He is impressive but not as much as his sister and his role in the empire gets bigger and bigger with every chapter of the book. He is not strong, not by my standards anyway but he is a cutie that I couldn't help but like. In the beginning of And I Darken he cries a lot but their story begins with them being born so it is understandable. He grows in the shadow of his sister and therefore learns how to use this to his advantage. Radu is amazing in his own way and I enjoyed his chapters almost as much as Lada's.

  Throughout the book the development of the Draculesti siblings is obvious and there is a big change in them. I expected Lada and Radu to work a little more together but the way things turned out to be are even better. They work very hard to protect Mehmed and Lada is maybe the best bodyguard someone will ever have. I also enjoyed pretty much the way their relationship with Mehmed was described and developed. I saw the feelings coming of course but I still loved it very much!

Nicolae is Lada's sidekick who is a very good and loyal friend to her. I was immediately impressed with him when he was first introduced to us. He is Wallachian and that's why Lada befriended him at first. He is one of the characters that I liked the best.

I love everything about And I Darken and I am even more fussy about Now I Rise! The first book is so amazing and overwhelming that I just cannot wait for the next one!
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text 2015-06-12 01:31
When an Israeli Author Leaps into the Unknown

Last week I signed a contract with an American-based literary agent. My new book, a suspense novel set in both Israel and Bulgaria, is on submission.

I describe myself as an American-born, Israeli author who writes about Bulgaria. My first novel, the self-published Valley of Thracians, was set entirely in Bulgaria. InThe Burgas Affair, the action takes place in two countries I love - Israel and Bulgaria.

You probably have guessed why I write about, and love Israel. I was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and made aliyah with my family at the age of fifteen. I finished high school in Jerusalem, served for three years in the Israel Defense Forces, was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel in the Arava Valley. I married Jodie, who had moved to Israel from Ithaca, New York, and together we began raising a family. We eventually moved to Moshav Neve Ilan, outside Jerusalem, where we continue to live today.

But why Bulgaria?

My wife and I received an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we made the most of it. My position at a Ramat Gan-based marketing company was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria, on a two-year contract. My company markets online gaming websites and software – only in countries where it is legal to play these games. Our primary market is Europe, and therefore certain management positions needed to be physically located in Europe.

We immediately fell in love with Bulgaria. The food was different and very tasty. The culture was fascinating. The history, both the ancient glory of the Thracians that led me to mention them in my novel, and the more modern dark years of Bulgaria's communist regime – it was captivating. We traveled all over the country, from the Black Sea shores to the mountain villages. We made many Bulgarian friends. I could talk to you about Bulgaria for hours.

The one thing I must mention is the special role Bulgarians played in rescuing their Jewish citizens during World War Two. Although Bulgaria sided with the Nazis, its entire community of some 55,000 Jews survived the Holocaust. Because of the bravery of Bulgarian politicians, clergymen, and ordinary citizens, Bulgarian Jews survived. Unfortunately, this amazing story has a sad element – over 11,000 Jews from the Bulgarian-controlled territories of Macedonia and northern Greece were sent to the camps and died.

Most of Bulgaria's Jewish community made aliyah shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel. There is a small, active Jewish community in Sofia. The synagogue there is an amazing building. Bulgaria is a strong supporter and ally of Israel. Living there, we felt very comfortable and never hid the fact that we were Israelis or that we were Jews.

We visited Bulgaria this month. Our trip to Sofia was like going home. We saw our friends. I spoke a bit of broken Bulgarian that the locals understood – they appreciated my efforts to speak their language. And we drove into the Rhodopi Mountains, a beautiful area near the Greek border that I will be writing about for months to come.

I am not a travel guide – I am a writer. I love to write about Bulgaria in efforts to convince western tourists to visit that country. Bulgaria is stunning, different, and totally affordable. I wish I could show you the country personally. I love Bulgaria!

Coming back to Israel from our two years abroad, I became inspired to write, and in particular, I wanted to write about Bulgaria. But, I also love to write about Israel, the Jewish holidays, and I review books written by Israeli authors, especially those just translated into English for the first time.

I can proudly say that The Times of Israel became my first home for articles, book reviews, and even humorous pieces. My debut blog appeared on these virtual pages on July 12, 2012. This is my 77th article to be published at The Times of Israel.

I now write for the Huffington Post, the Jerusalem Post, the Oslo Times, and a number of other online media sites.

If you want to know more about my upcoming novel, or the identity of the agent who will help me find a home for that book, you can read the short announcement here on my personal blog. This article is not about that, and it's not an attempt to get you to buy my first book. (Although I won't complain if you do.)

This article is about the sky. This article is about how far someone who studied English in a Jerusalem school, and who served in the IDF, and who raised three young children on a very young kibbutz, and who continued to dream and dream for years and years – how far that person can go with his writing.

The sky's the limit.

Source: ellisshuman.blogspot.co.il
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review 2014-11-12 02:57
Mr. Bo-Bo and the Waggy-Tails (The Mr. Bo-Bo Picture Book Series 1) by Kristy LeBlanc
Mr. Bo-Bo and the Waggy-Tails (The Mr. Bo-Bo Picture Book Series 1) - Kristy LeBlanc,Kristy LeBlanc

I received a free Kindle copy of Mr. Bo-Bo and the Waggy-Tails (The Mr. Bo-Bo Picture Book Series 1) by Kristy LeBlanc (Author, Photographer) from Amazon for a fair review. It is FIVE stars & a terrific book with great pictures!

 

It’s written for Age Level: 4 – 8, but this 67 year old grandmother fell in love with Mr. Bo-Bo & his delightful photographs. I’m so glad he found a forever home. My favorite little boy really liked it too.

 

This charming book would be an addition to any parent, grandparent, child, teacher or librarian’s collection. I highly recommend it.

 

*Free November 11th at time of posting.

 

Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NH0M0CG?ie=UTF8&creativeASIN=B00NH0M0CG&linkCode=xm2&tag=injoslifethin-20

Original review found on https://www.facebook.com/InJoyfulBookReviews

Source: www.facebook.com/InJoyfulBookReviews
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review 2014-10-22 10:15
Searching for Identity Elsewhere

In his novel, Elsewhere, Israeli-Austrian writer Doron Rabinovici raises questions of identity and belonging, Europe and Israel.

Ethan Rosen, an Israeli-born lecturer at the Vienna Institute for Social Research, returns to Israel to attend the funeral of a long-time family friend, but declines an offer to write the friend's obituary. But when an obituary appears, written by Rudi Klausinger, a colleague up for the same professorship position at a prestigious Viennese university, Rosen is quick to compose an article disputing statements Klausinger included in the piece.

Except, the arguments to which Rosen objects are actually quotes from an article he had himself previously published. In essence, he engaged in a dispute with his own writing. And then a cassette arrives, stories and instructions from the dead friend relayed from beyond the grave. Rosen is called back to Israel once again when his father, an Auschwitz survivor, becomes ill, in desperate need for a kidney transplant. Klausinger shows up as well, in search for his biological father.

The revelation of long buried family secrets follows. Mixed in, almost to a humorous effect, is the strange arrival of Rabbi Yeshayahu Berkowitsch, a charismatic Hasid with a cult following who claims that the Rosens have the key to bringing the Messiah back to life. In the end, despite knowing the true nature of his family, Rosen discovers that "home can often be the place that feels most unfamiliar."

Elsewhere by Doron Rabinovici (Haus Publishing, August 2014), translated by Tess Lewis, is a compelling story, with believable characters and a twisting narrative that grabs the reader right from the first page. Although I wouldn't go so far, as did the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, to describe the book as being "as gripping as a crime novel and as hilarious as Woody Allen's best films," I did find it to be an enjoyable read.

Doron Rabinovici is an Israeli-Austrian writer, historian, and essayist. Born in Tel Aviv in 1961, he moved to Vienna at the age of three, where he still lives and works. Rabinovici has been active in efforts to combat anti-Semitism and extreme right politics in Austria. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Anton Wildgans Prize, the Jean Améry Prize, and the Clemens Brentano Prize.

Buy Elsewhere and read it now!

Source: ellisshuman.blogspot.co.il/2014/10/searching-for-identity-elsewhere.html
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photo 2014-10-16 16:13
The Priviledged Planet

My Review of The Priviledged Planet by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richasrds

I found this book to be a fascinating and well writen scientific evaluation of the uniqueness of our solar system and Earth in particular. It is not just for scientists however. It is written so that even someone like me  - who clepted the sciences in college in the 1990s so I could finish college with a degree when I was closer to 70 than 60 years old – could understand and appreciate it.

 

This book has a lot of illistrations and there are 19 plates in the center of the book for greater understanding and pleasure.

 

On page 231 the authors talk about Copernicus, how he lived during the Renaissance and early Reformation which were periods of enormous change and upheaval – periods that helped form his own revolutionary ideas. He saw the problems of Aristotelian “epicycles” and “equants” and wrote his mathematical model which proposed that the earth rotats around its axis while it revolves around the sun along with the other planets. That was in 1543 so the idea was static then, but it opened the door for Newton to go through.The authors show Copernicus to have been “a Christian neo-Platonism in which the material worls itself, as the creation of an omnipotent God, could reflect the precision of mathematics, something unthinkable to the strict neo-Platonist.”

 

There are almost a hundred pages of notes for the reader to persue.

 

I recommend this book to both arm chair scientists and anyone who likes to go to You-Tube and see the videos from outer space, especially Christians.

Source: www.amazon.com/Privileged-Planet-Cosmos-Designed-Discovery/dp/0895260654/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413472200&sr=1-1&keywords=the+priviledged+planet
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