Monday, December 10, 2018

Brilliant! Highly recommended.
January 24th 2019,

Five toasts. Five people. One lifetime.

"I'm here to remember–all that I have been 
and all that I will never be again."

If you had to pick five people to sum up your life, who would they be? If you were to raise a glass to each of them, what would you say? And what would you learn about yourself, when all is said?

At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual - though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.

Over the course of this evening, he will raise five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories - of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice - the life of one man will be powerful and poignantly laid bare. 

Beautifully heart-warming and powerfully felt, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said and done.


WHEN ALL IS SAID is achingly beautiful. I can employ all the superlatives, but they will not suffice, I suppose. So, let me try again… Brilliant!

Maurice Hannigan is one solid farmer and family man. Rough on the edges and irascible at times, but appreciates hard work and recognizes a good soul. Tonight though, he’d be sitting alone, raising toasts to people who made his existence significant in distinctive ways, while exploring every nooks and crannies of his life –including his ghosts and regrets.

Anne Griffin used the simplest of language, unassumingly raw, but razor-sharp. From the blurb alone, I knew this book will be piercing, although, I was never prepared to bawl over it at two in the morning. With her words, it was not hard to like Maurice and relate to him –all 84 years of him. I felt this old man, like I was there sitting next to him in that bar.
"She was so self-contained that sometimes I think I missed the full extent of the hurt and guilt. I did my best to be on guard for it. But having spent half my life distracted by what was outside – my deals, my empire – I often forgot to see what lay inside and how precious it was."
This is one of those books I never wanted to end. It did, nevertheless. It was done, but verberates in echoes and booms. I highly recommend it.

Book details:
Author: Anne Griffin
Publication: January 24th 2019, Sceptre (UK)
                       March 5th 2019, Thomas Dunne Books (US)
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★

*Thanks to Thomas Dune Books, Sceptre,  and Netgalley for the DRM, in exchange for this unbiased book review. 

Book Review | WHEN ALL IS SAID by Anne Griffin

Friday, December 7, 2018

A richly detailed historical novel from master storyteller Nicholas Christopher that School Library Journal calls “[A] lush tale of music, magic, and intrigue”!

The True Adventures Of Nicolò Zen is the story of an orphaned boy, who survived poverty, a malaria epidemic, and evil. He navigated life through the kindness of few people, his resourcefulness, and his magical clarinet.

At 14, Nicolò’s village was almost wiped out by malaria. It was through a neighbor’s Samaritan nature that he survived and flees for Venice. He prowled the streets begging and playing his clarinet. After several nights of anxiousness, Nicolò decided to audition for an orphanage orchestra, pretend as a girl, and deceive Master Vivaldi himself. Despite his difficult charade, Nicolò was able to improve his music, elevate himself in the orchestra, and made really good friends. In due course, Nicolò met his clarinet’s magician maker, ascend into fame, and fall in love.

Nicholas Christopher wrote a very engaging historical fiction, merging Vivaldi and his music neatly into it. It is a known fact that Vivaldi’s Four Seasons can play all day in this house, if I can get away with it, which is often. Needless to say, I was taken in by the plot almost immediately because of that. And I have read this for almost a year now, it cannot be easily forgotten either. There are also tidbits of history that was assimilated, like the malaria outbreaks that plague Europe for centuries; the Venetian ospedali human trafficking, and the making of the clarinet.

THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF NICOLÒ ZEN is one of those underrated books that are simply delightful and inspiring.

Book details:
Publication: October 13th 2015 by Ember
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Adventure inside an Enchanted Library!
February 23, 2018
Sarah and her twin brother Jon are heirs to an ancient magical realm and its most valuable treasure: an enchanted library. The library endows readers with the supernatural means of crossing into the uncharted inner sanctum of the second-dimension, inhabited with peculiar and sometimes perilous creatures. Both children are emboldened with a wondrous, mystical gift that no being has ever possessed before. But fate intervenes and triggers a disastrous war that disrupts the fabric of time and space, spanning multiple universes and tearing destiny a new and savage pathway. The two must rescue their world from a phantom hybrid alien race controlled by the demented dark wizard, Jeremy Sermack. They'll either assimilate or be exterminated. Will they be the saviors that the prophets envisioned, or will they retreat to the perceived safety of their distant homeland?

If you have Middle Graders, they will absolutely enjoy this adventure.
Enchanted library,
Stepping into books,
Meeting book characters,
And mythical creatures,
With magical twins,
And, it’s set in Wales, where adventure is thick and the magic is even thicker.

Everything was nicely narrated, except for the first three chapters, which was a tad slow for me. The good thing was that the plot steadily progressed, and then escalated into a huge battle. It was utterly fast and robust in detail. The battle was both exciting and terrifying!

The characters were all strongly fleshed-out and defined. Twins Sarah and Jon are distinctly opposites, but bonded in a way only twins can ever be. Both Grandpa and Grandma are a hoot. Even the other minor characters are vibrant additions; they surely added diverse layers to this story.

It is absolutely hard not to put spoilers here. But is fair to divulge, the cliffhanger is a knot that will be difficult to untangle, until the next book.

If my darling daughter is still in middle grade, we’d be reading TWOSPELLS together too, I’m sure with the same excitement as when we read the Magic Tree House and Deltora Quest series.

A perfect gift idea this Christmas!

Book details:
Title: TwoSpells
Author: Mark Morrison
Publication: February 23, 2018; Self-published
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

*A digital copy was sent by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review | TWOSPELLS by Mark Morrison

Monday, November 19, 2018

“But the grail may not leave this land,
but must wait the Pendragon,
till the day comes.”
A family of three kids from London traveled to Trewissick for a holiday, a fishing village in Cornwall. They found the place not only rich with myths and legends, but with mystery as well. Fueled more by belief rather than adventure, the Drew kids set out to find a Celtic relic, proof of King Arthur’s existence.

With their ancient Gumerry’s wisdom and an old manuscript’s guidance, the kids discovered that the relic was not just proof, but a tool to defeat the dark that threatens to rise. Soon, they are swept into a dangerous scheme to outwit their adversaries and find the relic before evil does.

Susan Cooper, a brilliant novelist, was the first to spark my interest for adventure and mystery literature. A King Arthur aficionado, I was enthralled with this book after discovering it, as a child, in my old school library. This book is filled with mystery and excitement that will surely catch a child’s imagination. It will let you discover magic minus the wand brandishing.

Finding the grail and outwitting evil was not the end, but a beginning of a great adventure ahead. This is the 1st book of the Newbery Honor award-winning sequence of fantasy, THE DARK IS RISING series. It comes in five installations.

*Want to make a literary pilgrimage of Over Sea, Under Stone? Then, follow Andrew's Itchy Feet on his Cornish trek of Trewissick.

Book details:
Title: Over Sea, Under Stone
Author: Susan Cooper
Published:  April 20, 1966, Harcourt
Genre: Children’s fantasy, Mystery
Review rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / ♥

The Dark Is Rising series:
#1 Over Sea, Under Stone
#2 The Dark is Rising
#3 Greenwitch
#4 The Grey King
#5 Silver On The Tree 


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The BEST Arthurian book!

Arthur Blessing is more than just a ten-year-old boy for his mere name defines myth and magic. To keep the power, as ancient as time itself, is his by right. But forces beyond the grasp of humanity are after that same power. With Hal Woczniak as his guardian, Arthur must cross time and continent to stay alive- battling a mad sorcerer and his minions -long enough for him to reign once more.  If he ever choose to…

Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy  offered a new twist to the Pendragon legend, filled with actions and mysteries.  The setting interweaves between present and ancient.  The characters were all interestingly presented and well-built in progression.  The story made me laugh, cry, and (most often) left me hanging at the edge of my seat. You wouldn’t want to put this down until you’re done. I never get tired of reading this over and over again. 

THE FOREVER KING series comes in three (3) books. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Book details:
Publication: July 1st 1992 by Tom Doherty Associates (NY)
Genre:  Fantasy, Arthurian, Mythology
Ratings: ★★★★★/ ♥

THE FOREVER KING by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

     This Middle-Grade book is a tearjerker.
November 6, 2018;
Candlewick Press

How do you give a eulogy when you can't think of one good thing to say? A poignant, funny, and candid look at grief, family secrets, difficult people, and learning to look behind the facade.

I highly recommend this book.

Jimmy is at his first wake. If that isn’t shocking enough for a 13-year old boy, he was just informed that tomorrow he has to deliver his first eulogy. His first. In front of everyone in a church full of grieving people. He tried every pleading to get away from it, but shot down every time.

Jimmy’s been racking his brains for what to say about his cousin, Patrick, if there’s anything good at all. Searching, he recalled every special moment his cousin had somehow wrecked. All his 13 years, he had to put up with Patrick. So, giving this eulogy is not merely nerve-racking for Jimmy, it is an imposition. An imposition preceded by so many before it. 
It made him angry and defiant. 
It made him question his family. 
It made him realize who Patrick was. 
And how they aren’t so different after all.

One of the many reasons I love Middle-Grade books is that they give me a whole new set of lenses to look through. Viewing things from a child’s perspective is always unique and reawakening. Giving a eulogy for an unlikable person who died is a very unusual subject for children, but induces a profound awareness for any reader –including parents, relatives, friends, even for educators.

SPEECHLESS is a very well-written, memorable story.

Book details:
Title:  Speechless
Publication: November 6, 2018; Candlewick Press
Genre: Fiction, Middle-Grade
Rating: ★★★★★

*Thank you Candlewick for this egalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review | SPEECHLESS by Adam P. Schmitt

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Hi, friends! Today’s post is something rarely special.

I came across this amazing literary gift shop that highlights some exemplary items that not only fits snugly into everyday life, but stoutly promotes books and reading, as well. LITERARY BOOK GIFTS sells high quality products I’m sure every bookworm would like to have. I should know, right?

And hey, there’s a huge discount for you. 😉 *wink 

Discounts available for TPW readers. Hurry!
About the Gift Shop:

I started the small web-based gift shop Literary Book Gifts as a way to turn some of my favorite classic novels into vintage designed tote bags and tees. The store is quite new, less than a year old. I do all the design work in-house to make sure each and every piece captures the story, characters, or feeling of the novel.

I was inspired to start this business because I believe that amazing novels, like the ones in the collection deserve to have a place in today's society. This way we can discuss them and ultimately pass our favorite books onto new readers.

Each tote bag comes in three different sizes. These are not your standard cotton canvas totes, they are made of high quality polyester with black cotton handles. The entire outer fabric of each tote bag is in a different color. So the Black Beauty Tote Bag has a khaki color as the background, while the Moby Dick Tote Bag is in a dark navy. This way you can choose not only the design but the background color, this really helps to customize the design and color that is best for your personal style.

All the designs that come on totes also come on tees for men and women. Take your pick of designs. There is a wide range from Frankenstein to Pride and Prejudice. There is a wide variety of sizes and colors for each and every design. - Melissa, LBG

THEPAGEWALKER20 is an exclusive promo code that can be used at checkout. It is good for 20% off anything, and it does not expire! 

Thanks, Melissa.

*Content sent by owner for this blog's publication. This is a free ad.

Wednesday Spotlight | LITERARY BOOK GIFTS

Sunday, September 30, 2018

October 2, 2018

Set in France and America, News of Our Loved Ones is a haunting and intimate examination of love and loss, beauty and the cost of survival, witnessed through two generations of one French family, whose lives are all touched by the tragic events surrounding the D-Day bombings in Normandy.
What if your family’s fate could be traced back to one indelible summer?

The book club agreed to read historical fiction for the month of September. I decided to read just a couple of books, but, then, this copy came to me fortuitously. I received an email from the publisher, advising me to follow a link. I asked myself, “Do I really need to read another war story, after getting off from the American Civil War?”

I’m glad I did. I don’t regret following that link.

This is a World War II story, revealing the lives of the Delasalle family and those who have crossed their paths before and after the D-Day Landing at the port city of Caen, in France’s Normandy region. It showed many ways war takes its toll and how death can leave irreversible effects, tearing families apart. Remaining family members revisit memories; retell events, desperately trying to chase the ripples of their tragedy down the next generations. Guilt of being alive, while many have perished, followed them. They acutely cling to every life tangible to keep them afloat.

NEWS OF OUR LOVED ONES is handsomely imagined, with engaging characters and stirring events. Ms. DeWitt managed to bring together a story from individual narratives, creating a mosaic of love, death, estrangement, resilience, and remembrance.

This striking book is perfect for historical fiction lovers.

Book Details:
Publication: October 2, 2018, HarperCollins
Genre: Historical Fiction

*Thank you HarperCollins for this Flash Giveaway.

Book Review | NEWS OF OUR LOVED ONES by Abigail DeWitt

Friday, September 14, 2018

Grania Davis died last April 28 of 2017. I know that seems a gloomy way of starting a blog, but today is a gloomy day here in our small spot in the globe. It's been cloudy all day and the temperature dropped to 2°C. Gloomy days make me want to reach out to my comfort books, but they are still buried inside boxes (Which box? I am not entirely sure.) in the basement. Anyways, DR. GRASS by Grania Davis is one of those cheer-me-up books for me.

Dr. Ernest Spiegelglass, MD, is a family-practice resident at Carmel Hospital in San Francisco. His friends call him Doc Sparrowgrass. He is a hippie to the core and rides his skateboard to work everyday. Unlike any other doctor, Dr. Grass treats his patients in a very unique manner and not the usual “by-the-book” procedure. He believes that heart-to-heart is the best way to go. But sometimes his unconventional ways fish him troubles.

Dr. Grass is one of the first books I got since high school days.  His weed-induced fantasies are odd, bordering shameless. The texts are very illustrative and explicit. I’ve reread it many times and it's always good to know that it can still make me laugh (like bwahahaha out loud).

It is a sad thing that Ms. Davis is no longer with us and nobody ever bothered reprinting copies since 1978, but if you do find one, consider yourself lucky. Dr. Grass can cure your gloomy day… for sure!”

Book Details:
Book Title:  Dr. Grass
Author:  Grania Davis
ISBN: 0-380-01872-1
Published: March 1978, Avon Books
Genre: Ficton
Review Rating: ★★★★

DR. GRASS by Grania Davis