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review 2020-06-03 12:16
The Labyrinth of the Spirits
The Labyrinth of the Spirits - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

 

This is part of The Cemetery Of Forgotten Books universe, along with Shadow of the Wind, The Angel's Game and The Prisoner of Heaven. They are stand alone stories but are connected through a common setting in Barcelona and some characters that appear in all of the stories. They are Literary, Gothic, Mystical Mystery stories that have helped define the Magical Realism category of fiction.

 

The book description tells us, "As a child, Daniel Sempere discovered among the passageways of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books an extraordinary novel that would change the course of his life. Now a young man in the Barcelona of the late 1950s, Daniel runs the Sempere & Sons bookshop and enjoys a seemingly fulfilling life with his loving wife and son. Yet the mystery surrounding the death of his mother continues to plague his soul despite the moving efforts of his wife Bea and his faithful friend Fermín to save him."

 

They say you can read this series in any order and this was my first Zafón. I found it very slow in the beginning and with the characters changing in different segments, found it very difficult to find a linear plot line to follow. The second half was much easier as the various elements start coming together. The writing itself was undeniably good and there were definitely some exciting passages, but I think I might have to read it again with more familiarity with the characters and how they relate to each other. Hopefully the other books in the series will be easier as a result.

 

I think I would advise first time readers to start with Shadow of the Wind first.

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review 2019-11-27 17:13
A debut novel for readers that like to be challenged.

 

 

 

The Reluctant Healer

Andrew Himmel

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press

 Release date: October 8, 2018

ISBN-10: 1626345309

ISBN-13: 978-1626345300

 

https://www.amazon.com/Reluctant-Healer-Andrew-D-Himmel/dp/1626345309

 

Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton

 

Andrew Himmel's original debut novel is told with a fresh writing style,  an eccentric approach to his subjects and characters,  and a dry, wry wit, especially in the descriptions and observations expressed in the viewpoint of the novel's main character, New York attorney Will Alexander.

 

The main theme of The Reluctant Healer is the collision of Alexander's legalist, rationalist world view which is challenged when he meets the sexy New Ager Erica Wells. When they meet, Erica reveals she's an energy healer who can perceive Alexander has extraordinary abilities as a natural healer. Alexander doesn't accept that judgement but finds himself drawn to the beautiful woman who is an intellectual match for him even if her metaphysical beliefs are the polar opposite of his own.

 

Very reluctantly,  Alexander finds himself being put in situations where his natural energies seem to, in fact, cure all manner of diseases and afflictions. For Erica, natural healers like Alexander are badly needed in a new era where viruses are becoming immune to antibiotics and it's natural energy, energies found in everything, that can be cures when the afflicted are merely in Alexander's presence.

 

Alexander's journey takes him into all manner of circumstances including long motorcycle rides, theft of an opponent's cell phone, and situations that ultimately place him in legal jeopardy. To say more would be to swerve into the world of spoilers.

 

Himmel's style and tone are extremely cerebral and the book is not light reading.  It's a book with serious intent. In supplementary material at the end of the book, Himmel reveals much of the book's content was inspired by his own journey, very much like Alexander's, as the author' wife Michelle became interested in energy healing and pulled him into her realm of Universal Energy healing. Jumping off from his real-life experiences, Himmel claims his novel was ignited when he mused, "What if the conventional individual, rigid in his beliefs, developed the capability of healing others, even as he distrusted much of the alternative world? His struggle would become poignant and pronounced, because he would be grappling not just with tension in his relationship but also with internal conflict with phenomena that challenged both his sense of self and his worldview."

 

In a quiz prepared for readers with an academic bent, Himmel says, "The author believes that The Reluctant Healer is a bigger story about how we as human beings get along with and coexist with people who are different from—and  sometimes the complete opposite of— us."

 

It seems to me larger themes also include a modern twist on the conflicts between the rational and the mystical. In other words, The Reluctant Healer is a brain tickler designed to stimulate thought an reflection in Himmel's readers. He offers no answers, no final conclusions, advocates no point-of-view, and leaves the story open for a sequel already in progress.

 

Not a book for all readers, but certainly one for readers who like to digest what they read and be challenged by above average language choices, imaginative imagery,  and be willing to absorb the story slowly. I had to read it in chunks, always eagerly returning quickly to continue the flow.


This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Nov. 27, 2019 at:

https://waa.ai/OQKw



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text 2019-09-04 09:48
Reading progress update: I've read 17 out of 588 pages.
Fantastic Tales: Visionary and Everyday (Penguin Modern Classics) - Italo Calvino

From the introduction it appears that most of these stories will be super-natural, rather than anything we usually call Fantasy in English.

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text 2018-02-12 21:06
Visionary X Starlight by Yumoyori Wilson Valentine’s Day Blitz & Giveaway


Visionary X Starlight- Valentine’s Day 
Yumoyori Wilson
Publication date: February 10th 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Two different worlds – one unique connection – a whole lot of love.
Valentine’s Day – an annual holiday dedicated to love, promoting couples to emphasize their love through gifts and celebration.
Makoto Heart spent her life trapped in a dark cell, never knowing the day existed or experienced love until her star knights. When three of her star knights – Kai, Marcus, and Elias – have the opportunity to bring her to Earthala, she’s given the chance to enjoy a four-day countdown to the celebration.
Scarlet Sinclair has dreaded February 14th. Her feelings stemmed from the reminder that she usually spent the day sitting alone, binge watching chick flicks on Netflix and devouring chocolate she bought for herself. But, this year would be different – Ethan, Junho, and Christian make a promise to prove to her that Valentine’s has more benefits than chocolate, and they’d use the next four days to prove it.
Will they each get more love than they bargained for?
Recommended for 18+ audience, containing mature sexual content, violence and strong language. THERE WILL BE F/F in this book. If that is not your cup of tea, PLEASE do not read it.
NOTE: Visionary X Starlight is written in CANADIAN ENGLISH – meaning both American and British English is used.
EXCERPT:
“Meow.”
Christian groaned while I turned my head, noticing Moonlight sitting on the two-seat sofa— his turquoise eyes staring at Christian.
“Please don’t tell me you took his doll again,” I huffed.
“I don’t have it,” Christian argued.
“Why is Moonlight here then?” I countered.
“Cause he loves interrupting me when I want to have some damn alone time with you,” Christian argued.
I sighed, patting my thighs.
Moonlight hopped off the chair to the floor, making his way to where I sat in Christian’s lap. He leaped onto my lap, sitting patiently as I pet him gently.
“Hey you. Why are you interrupting us when Christian doesn’t have your doll?” I cooed, enjoying the feel of Moonlight’s soft black fur.
“Meow.”
He hid it, but it’s not here,” Risuki mumbled in my mind.
I sighed, turning to Christian who grumbled under his breath.
“Junnie has it,” he admitted reluctantly.
“Why does Junnie have his doll?”
“Because I put it in her purse.”
“Because?”
“Your familiar has a vendetta against me and is trying to ruin the one day I have with my girlfriend before Valentine’s Day and I didn’t want him crashing it, again,” Christian complained.
I blushed, feeling touched by his frustration regarding our lack of alone time.
Well, he shouldn’t have hidden it. Could have asked nicely,” Risuki mumbled.

Author Bio:
Yumoyori Wilson is from Toronto, Ontario. She loves to sleep and write her days away. She works at night as a registered nurse. She has a little addiction to bubble tea and coffee but loves to workout. She has big plans for the writing world and can't wait to share them with everyone.

 
 

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review 2015-12-21 16:30
"The Visionary Mayan Queen": Yohl'Ik'nal of Palenque, by Leonide Martin
The Visionary Mayan Queen: Yohl Ik'nal of Palenque - Leonide Martin

Book 1 in the Mists of Palenque Series

Set in Palenque (ancient Lakam Ha) during the Maya Classic period (250-900 CE), this is the first of four story of Ancient Mayan Queens. Yohl Ik”nal is the first woman who ruled at the height of the Maya civilization.

It is evident the author’s passion with the Mayan civilization, its culture and cosmology. It must have taken Ms. Martin intense research as well as numerous queries with indigenous elders in order to write such a detailed account. The saga also revives the love of archaeologists and adventurers to uncover ancient cities in tropical jungles.

This is a hard book to follow and keep focus. As I was flipping the pages I saw myself in a class room with a passionate professor detailing everything to an extreme: headdress, costume, food, pathways, culture, ritual, agriculture, etc…you name it is all there vividly described in minutiae. This is actually the main reason it took for ever to move along…. This is one story that lack direction and drifts way too much. Names, dates and some passages are also in the Mayan language I guess the author wanted to provide some authenticity but it made it difficult to keep track and understand. I skipped too many of those passages and finally the story lost me.

This book may be excellent for some to gain a tad of knowledge about the extraordinary Mayan people but for those who wish mostly entertainment will find that the writing style overpowers the plot and the experience quite boring. Unfortunately I gave up mid-way….. This is one series that will please some and turn others away.

Not to say this is not a good book it simply was not for me. It is the way I see it.

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