Catchin’ Up on My Reading

Whoa! It’s been a while since I logged in here. Life really has a strange way of catching up on us sometimes, right? It’s been a totally hectic few weeks for me personally and professionally. However, it’s winding down a bit.  Because of that I have started plowing through my TBR pile.  As of today, here’s what I have to trim down in the next few days…

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Well, thanks for passing by.  Have a great weekend to y’all!

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Review: Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Title:     Burning Sky

Author:     Lori Benton

Publisher:     WaterBrook Press

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If you have to choose between a life you’ve been born in but lost twelve years ago and the life you were forced in but learned to live and cherish in that same twelve years, which would you choose?

This is the dilemma that presses upon Burning Sky of the Wolf clan as she rediscovers her lost homestead.  Burning Sky, so named after a Mohawk Indian adopted her as her own daughter some twelve years ago, journeys back to the land where she was born and taken.  What she will find when she reaches the cabin her father built, she is not sure.  She is not even sure whether her parents and grandmother are still alive, then how can she foresee what lies in store for her?  As she reaches her journey’s end, she finds herself trying to overcome challenges after challenges to regain the land she once called home compounded by her personal turmoils.  For how long can she fight the struggles?  Is she willing to risk everything just to gain back her family’s land even at the expense of losing herself in the process?  Does she even know who she wants to be from thereon?

I started to read this novel a week ago, but had to unwillingly put it aside to catch up on my much-needed sleep until yesterday evening.  If I knew what I knew now, I should have picked a better timing like a day when I don’t have to wake up early for another day’s duty, maybe?  Because even if I could’ve put it down and continue on another day, I just wasn’t willing.  Burning Sky, the debut novel of Lori Benton, starts by grabbing your undivided attention then has the ability to make you curiouser and curiouser as to what will happen to the characters.  The story is very engaging.  Really.  Set in New York in 1784, it clearly describes the landscape after years of war, the people who survived the war and their determination to start over.  The way Lori Benton told Burning Sky‘s story and incorporated these other factors make you rethink whether this is really just a debut novel.  Lori Benton writes like a pro.  I mean her prose is that of someone with years and years and years of experience in what makes a novel a great novel.

The other thing I liked about Burning Sky were the characters that make up the entire novel.  For instance, the male protagonist, Neil MacGregor, a botanist.  He is not the typical male hero.  What I mean is he comes out like a genuine person during the days of the frontier – determined, willful but a bit scared as to the unknown.  He does not put a false front of being strong when he knows he is not, but will let you know he will do everything in his power to protect the people he cares for.  What he lacks in physical strength (because he was injured) he makes up with his strong mind and good sense of humor.  He may not be the stuff of wishful dreams but he sure is someone any woman would want to be by her side in the long run.

Then there is Burning Sky herself.  Born as Wilhelmina Obenchain, you’ll see that she is a sensible woman but with a vulnerability that will make the reader quite sympathetic to her plight.  Her self-reliance can be attributed to her living for twelve years with the Indians, but her innate finesse stems out from her upbringing before that.  I liked her because she is not the so-called damsel in distress.  She faces her challenges head on.  Although her being pragmatic almost cost her her happiness.  Nevertheless, you can be sure that whatever decisions she makes she will stand firm on it.

The other characters I liked in the book are Joseph Tames-his-Horse, Burning Sky‘s clan brother; Anni Keppler, the childhood friend torn between loyalties; and Francis, Anni’s brother who despite his being a special child rises when called upon to see justice prevails.  Without doubt, Lori Benton created characters the readers will like and love.  Characters with both strengths and weaknesses combined that make them truly genuine.

Lastly, the pace of the story is just right.  Not so fast and not so slow.  I hope, dear readers, you’ll get a copy of this novel just to see whether I am right in my review.  Hehe.  I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.  It has all the elements that make up a great read – good story with likeable characters and enough doses of suspense, adventure, and romance.  I highly recommend this novel, Burning Sky.  And I can’t wait for Lori Benton’s next novel.

[Thank you for reading my very first book review after quite a number of years.  I won the autographed copy of Burning Sky from a giveaway hosted by Mona Hodgson.  This review is my personal opinion and I did not receive a request from the author or the author’s affiliations. ]

My 2nd Autographed Paperback

I was just browsing the net for news on the heavy floodings in my home country, the Philippines, brought about by typhoon ‘Maring’ when my youngest sister, Janice, brought home some very good news.

My third book giveaway win arrived in the mail.  Yipee!

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This is an autographed paperback copy of Lori Benton‘s Burning Sky that was raffled off at Mona Hodgson‘s website several days ago.  To quote the Romantic Times, this debut novel by Lori Benton depicts “…a haunting, moving and masterful story that … will linger in your heart for years to come.”  I am so giddy to start reading this book.  Thanks again so much Mona Hodgson and Lori Benton.  More power to both of you on your writing!

 

 

Week #33 Incoming Mail and Another Book Giveaway Win!

My mailbox was very happy this week’s past because it got more than its usual share of mails.  Here, look!

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A letter from my dearest penpal, Kalliopi in Athens, with an enclosed beaded necklace.  Another letter from Melissa in Arizona for Swap-Bot’s Travelling Letter Twist (July).  Did you know that there’s a place in Arizona called Romance???  Wow, it must be pretty wonderful to live there!  Hehehe.  Melissa writes that for a woman who grew up in the city, country living is great.  Next is a parcel from Susanna in Finland for Swap-Bot’s Blind Surprise Swap (July).  Silly but I was excited peeling off the wrappers of each of the gifts she sent me.  Felt like it was my birthday.  And lovely postcards from Santorini, Colorado, Moscow and New Mexico.  Thanks to all!

Finally, I received my second book giveaway win over at Wordsmithing Ain’t Easy hosted by Kelli last July.  Thanks so much Kelli!  I can’t wait to start reading The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

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What a great way to start another week!  I wish you all an amazing week ahead.

My First Autographed Paperback Has Arrived

I joined a book giveaway last July sponsored by Gwen Jones.  The prize was a signed paperback of her published novel, Wanted: Wife.  I’ve never joined a book giveaway or any other giveaway for that matter, but after reading her post I thought I’d give it a try.  And several days later, I got an email from Gwen Jones herself informing me that I am one of the five who won in the raffle.  I was so thrilled to have won something for the first time.  🙂

Finally, the much-awaited paperback has arrived.  I’m so stoked to start reading about Andy “oh-so” Devine.  Thank you so much Gwen Jones!

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High Summer Read-a-thon Progress

I didn’t get as much reading as I wanted to yesterday for the High Summer Read-a-thon.  Hence, I’m only posting my progress today.  So far I’ve finished my Harlan Coben mystery.  It was really good.  I so recommend it to anyone who would want to add their TBR list.  I wish I could make a review on it or on the other books I’ve read, but I’m a little scared that I might not give justice to the book itself or I would just share the same ideas over and over.  And that would be a bummer!

Anyway, here’s my book pile for this readathon.  I didn’t intentionally choose a theme, but it would seem like it to me.  All these books are from authors I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet.  So, I’m going to name these books my ‘out of the comfort zone’ books.

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The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard

This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis (with Larry Sloman)

Long Lost by Harlan Coben

Finally, I am having a great time with this laidback readathon.  I’m so glad I signed up.

My Readathon Stats:

Books Read: 1 of 4 books
Pages Read: 374 pages
Days Left to Read: 4 days

Ready, Steady, READ! (High Summer Read-a-thon)

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The High Summer Read-a-thon hosted by Michelle @ The True Book Addict has officially started.  And I have officially started reading my first book entitled Long Lost by Harlan Coben.

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This book is on loan to me by a colleague in the hospital who I swap books with from time to time.  Lucky me!

The book from its first few chapters reek (can I even use this word?) of mystery and dry humour.  I’ve never heard of Coben, neither his famous character Myron Bolitar.  Hence, it’s my chance of going out of my comfort zone.  I just hope it won’t disappoint.

So, here’s to a great week-long readathon.  I can’t wait to make time to read the other participants’ book piles.