Roberta Writes – Writing! Writing! Writing! My year to date and ahead

2022 has been a very busy year for me, both from a work perspective and from a writing perspective. A lot of work and no-one to help me, combined with contracting Covid-19 in March and taking a month to recover, have resulted in my putting my draft novel on hold in the short term. I am just returning to The Soldier and the Radium Girl now, 3 and 1/2 months after I was diagnosed with Covid.

I may not have felt included to work on my novel, but I have not been idle. I have been working on a number of poems, short stories, and a children’s book, all of which will be published over the course of this year in some form or another.

Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships, WordCrafter Poetry Anthology

I have six poems in Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships a poetry anthology I edited and compiled together with author and publisher, Kaye Lynne Booth.

UBL: https://books2read.com/u/3kP8aK

If you would like to read an ARC copy of Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships, please email me at sirchoc[at]outlook[dot]com.

Ask the Authors 2022, A WordCrafter Writing Reference Anthology

I contributed an essay entitled My Writing and Publishing Journey and answers to most of the questions posted about writing and publishing, to Ask the Authors 2022, compiled and edited by Kaye Lynne Booth. You can find out more about this Writing Reference Anthology here: https://writingtoberead.com/2022/06/25/ask-the-authors-2022-book-blog-series-editing-revision/

UBL: https://books2read.com/u/3LnK8e

If you would like to read an ARC copy of this book, please email me at sirchoc[at]outlook[dot]com.

MEMORIES OF MOM: Rave Soup For The Writer’s Soul Anthology, 2022

I contributed a story entitled The New Baby to this Memories of Mom Rave Soup for the Writer’s Soul Anthology 2022 compiled and edited by author, Nonnie Jules.

Once Upon an Ever After, A WordCrafter Fantasy Anthology

I contributed a short story called The War Babies to this interesting WordCrafter fantasy anthology, compiled and edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

My story features the British women, nicknamed ‘the canary girls’ who worked in munitions manufacturing trinitrotoluene shells during the First World War. In accordance with the them of this anthology, my story also has a strong link to a well-known fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson called The Storks.

This anthology is available for pre-order here: https://books2read.com/u/mKdWGV

You can learn more about it here: https://writingtoberead.com/2022/06/24/once-upon-an-ever-after-available-for-digital-pre-order-now/

Visions, a WordCrafter Anthology

I contributed a short story called The Bite to this anthology which will be available later this year. My story was the winning entry for 2022 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest which is incredibly exciting for me. You can read more about it here: https://writingtoberead.com/2022/06/10/and-the-winner-is/

Lastly, I have a new children’s book coming

While I had Covid, I wrote a new children’s book called Haunted Halloween Holiday. This book is approximately 3,600 words in length, so a lot longer than my children’s picture books, and also includes a number of fun limericks about the various characters.

Haunted Halloween Holiday includes some of my fondant and cake art, including my Haunted Halloween Holiday Hextravaganza creation which one first prize in a gingerbread Halloween competition last year.

The photographs of the moon which form the background for some of my artwork in this book were taken by talented photographer Wayne from Tofino Photography, Professional Wildlife, Landscape and Seascape Photography. You can view some of Wayne’s amazing pictures in his gallery here: https://www.gotofino.com/tofinogallery/

Lovely blogger and good friend, Bella Shah from Thoughts ‘n Life blog assisted me with compiling the illustrations. You can find Bella here: https://thoughtsnlifeblog.com/

This book is due for publication by TSL Publications in August 2022.

This is the cover:

Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: Seoul, South Korea #skiing #southkorea

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

You can join in this weeks challenge here: https://nofacilities.com/2022/06/23/carnival-doors/

This week, Dan has linked up with Cee from Cee’s Photo Challenges. Her challenge is doors in B&W. You can join in here: https://ceenphotography.com/2022/06/23/cbwc-doors-and-drawers/

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a great adventure took place …

Well, not that long ago and not another galaxy, but in 1995 I went to South Korea, and for me, it was a great adventure.

These are a few pictures, in black and white, from that trip. of course some of them include doors.

A traditional building
A woman in traditional attire outside the lift in a hotel

The above pictures were taken on the streets. The first picture is of a street vendor. The second picture is of a roadside shop (both pictures have doors if you look carefully). The last picture is of a stall selling pigs heads.

This final picture, is of me outside a ski resort wearing a ski suit.

Dark Origins: African myths and legends – The Zulus Part 3 #Zulucreationmyth #sausagetree

This month’s Dark Origin’s article concludes the trio of posts about the Zulu people of South Africa. This articles shares some information about the traditional Zulu myth of Creation and a story in that regard as well as about the Sausage Tree and the myth surrounding it. Thanks for hosting, Kaye Lynne Booth.

Writing to be Read

The Zulu Creation Myth

The Zulu myth on the creation of mankind and the world is as follows:

The Ancient One, known as Unkulunkulu, came from the reeds and from them he created the people and the cattle. Unkulunkula created the mountains, streams, and all creatures, both wild and domesticated.

He taught the Zulu’s how to hunt, how to make fire, and how to grow food.

You can listen to me read the Zulu myth: The Story of Creation here:

The Sausage Tree and Zulu mythology

When I visited Ghost Mountain in Kwa-Zulu Natal in March 2021, I learned about the iconic Sausage Tree which grows in this area.

This is a picture of Ghost Mountain, doesn’t it look just like a screaming head?

This tree’s incredible sausage-shaped fruit weighs between 5 and 10 kilograms and can get to 3 feet in length. The unripe fruit is poisonous, especially to…

View original post 769 more words

Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: Leeds Castle #castle #winter #Christmas

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://nofacilities.com/2022/06/16/squires-tavern/

It is quite cold in June in South Africa. Colder than most people think it gets in this country because it has been labelled Sunny South Africa. It is true that it can be hot in the day time during our winters and the sun usually shines, but the nights are very cold and we get sub-zero temperatures and frost. Our houses are not designed for cold weather so it can be quite a miserable three months for many people. I am always thankful that we have a lovely fireplace and I know how to build excellent fires. This supplements our electric heaters.

Anyhow, the cold weather this week reminded me of my family’s trip to the UK in December 2009/Jan 2010. It snowed heavily that year and the Eurostar got stuck in the tunnel. We were on the train before the one that got stuck and I am so grateful we got through okay. My boys are three and six then and it wouldn’t have been fun at all stuck on a cold train in the dark.

During this trip, we went to Leeds Castle. That was the day it started to snow and we had a lot of fun as it was the first time my boys ever saw snow.

This is what Historic UK has to say about Leeds Castle:

Leeds Castle in Kent, England, has been called the “loveliest castle in the world”. Listed in the Domesday Book, this castle has been a Norman stronghold, a royal residence and a royal palace. It’s situation is stunning, set on two islands in a magnificent lake.

The Royal Manor was originally built in 857AD and owned by a Saxon royal family. After the Norman Conquest, work began on building the first stone castle on the site.

In 1278 the Castle became a royal palace for Edward I and his Queen, Eleanor of Castile. Major improvements were made to the castle during the reign of Edward I. The Barbican, constructed during this time, is unique in that it is made up of three parts, each having its own entrance, drawbridge, gateway and portcullis. The medieval Keep, incorporating the Great Hall, is called the Gloriette, in honour of Queen Eleanor.

Roberta Writes – WordCrafter “Hope for the Tarnished” book blog tour and guest post

Today, I am delighted to welcome poet, Ann Chiappetta, as part of her WordCrafter Hope for the Tarnished Book Blog Tour, with a guest post.

Here’s the tour schedule so you don’t have to miss any of the stops:

Day 1: Writing to be Read – Introduction and Review

Day 2: Patty’s World – Guest Post by Ann Chiappetta

Day 3: Writing to be Read – Interview with Ann Chiappetta

Day 4: Roberta Writes – Guest Post by Ann Chiappetta

Day 5: Zigler’s News – Guest Post by Ann Chiappetta and Review

Welcome Ann Chiappetta

Wow, this has been great. I am getting to know so many more people in the blogosphere, thanks to Kaye and the WordCrafter “Hope for the Tarnished” Book Blog Tour.

I am drawn to stories that include a  great supporting character, and like it even more when that character is a dog, horse, or cat. I don’t mean anthropomorphizing them. Just  allowing them to be what they are, an additional layer of meaning. Abbie’s love for and grief over the deaths of her beloved dog and cat  were part of  her emotional growth, and Angel healed  Abbie’s heart of some of the pain, along with those little devils in Pomeranian suits. It was a less graphic way for Abbie to experience death without it being the loss of her human family.

About Hope for the Tarnished

Young Abbie struggles to cope with the traumatic experiences in her life. Ripped from everything familiar after her parents’ divorce, she is dropped into a strange neighborhood and is emotionally abandoned by her unstable mother. Abbie is caught up in the cruel nature   of one sister’s addictions and often rescued by her other sister’s sense of familial responsibility and love.

The story takes place in the 1970s, revealing family secrets   and the shift of cultural norms as Abbie leaves her doubts in the past, embracing a bright future.

$11.50/3.99 Purchasing links: Amazon/Kindle Smashwords

About Ann Chiappetta

Ann is an artist and often refers to her love of words as a natural compensation after losing her vision in 1993. Once a designer of acrylic displays and furniture, Ann trained her creative senses to flow over from the visual to the literary arts. Years later, she has become a poet and author, honing her talent in various mediums, including web content for nonprofits, regular bylines for online literary publications, poetry, anthologies and guest editing in online literary journals, just to name a few projects of which she has contributed.

The author of five independently published books, Ann possesses a Master of Science in Marriage and family therapy from Iona College and an undergraduate degree from the College of New Rochelle, both located in Westchester County, New York.  A consultant and guest presenter, Ann visits schools promoting awareness and equality for people with disabilities.  She is the 2015 recipient of the WDOM Spirit of Independence award and the 2019 recipient of the GDUI Leiberg-Metz award for writing.

Find everything Annie on the web: www.annchiappetta.com

Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour here: https://writingtoberead.com/wordcrafter-quality-writing-author-services/wc-book-blog-tours-2/

Roberta Writes – Book review: Ending Forever by Nicholas Conley

What Amazon says

Axel Rivers can’t get his head above water. Throughout his life, he’s worn many hats — orphan, musician, veteran, husband, father—but a year ago, a horrific event he now calls The Bad Day tore down everything he’d built. Grief-stricken, unemployed, and drowning in debt, Axel needs cash, however he can find it.

Enter Kindred Eternal Solutions. Founded by the world’s six wealthiest trillionaires and billionaires, Kindred promises to create eternal life through mastering the science of human resurrection. With the technology still being developed, Kindred seeks paid volunteers to undergo tests that will kill and resurrect their body—again and again—in exchange for a check.

Axel signs up willingly, but when he undergoes the procedure—and comes back, over and over—what will he find on the other side of death?

My review

I reviewed this book in my capacity as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team. If you would like your book reviewed, you can contact Rosie Amber here: http://rosieamber.wordpress.com/.

I read a review of this book and I was sufficiently interested to pick it up myself. I was not disappointed. This plotline is unique and interesting; a whole new take on corporate exploitation, this time in the temporary state between death and moving on into a permanent afterlife.

Axel Rivers drew a poor set of cards when his parents were killed when he was a youngster. He spent his life going from pillar to post without having a proper family or home until he met his deceased wife, Shoshana, and they had a son, creating their own small family. During his younger years, his friend and fellow orphan, Malik, is the closest relationship Alex has to family, but since the death of his wife and son, Malik’s friendship has not been enough to stop Axel from sinking into a state of chronic depression.

Axel is alone, without a job or money, and with an enormous burden of guilt due to the deaths of his family. He decides to volunteer as a test subject for a programme run by some of the wealthiest individuals in the world. A programme that requires the volunteers to die by artificial means and be resuscitated every day for a week. Axel is fearful of dying, but he wants the money and also has his own agenda so he agrees to participate on the terms stated.

It quickly becomes apparent that all is not as it should be in this twilight zone between dying and moving on to the afterlife and Axel finds himself embroiled in one of the most ambitious planned corporate takeovers ever. With the help of a new friend, Brooklyn and her young daughter, Axel finds new meaning in life and the will to overcome obstacles in his attempted path to resolve this corrupt and power-driven situation.

The story is told in the present with flashbacks to Axel’s earlier life before and after his parents died, as well as the time with his wife and child. I thought this worked well and I found it easy to follow.

A thoroughly enjoyable science fiction novel with a page turning storyline.

Purchase Ending Forever

Amazon US

Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: A day in my kitchen #Baking #Cakeart #Michaelspoem

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://nofacilities.com/2022/06/09/doors-on-duff/

This is the door to my kitchen.

Can you see all my cookbooks on my bookshelf on the left hand side?

I walked through this door with an idea for a cake.

This is the door to my gas oven.

I opened and closed this door several times to make the cakes for my creation.

This is my creation: Lion Scream – Nature’s response to the sixth mass extinction and global warming. Thank you for the inspiration Rebecca Budd.

How did Rebecca inspire this cake? Rebecca has a blog called ChasingART, you can read her latest post here: https://chasingart.com/2022/06/10/fridaypainting-john-melhuish-strudwick-in-the-golden-days/, where she shares about famous paintings. One day, we had a discussion about The Scream by Edvard Munch.

This is what Wikipedia says about The Scream:

The Scream is the popular name given to a composition created by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1893. The agonized face in the painting has become one of the most iconic images of art, seen as symbolizing the anxiety of the human condition. Munch’s work, including The Scream, would go on to have a formative influence on the Expressionist movement.

Munch recalled that he had been out for a walk at sunset when suddenly the setting sun’s light turned the clouds “a blood red”. He sensed an “infinite scream passing through nature”. Scholars have located the spot to a fjord overlooking Oslo and have suggested other explanations for the unnaturally orange sky, ranging from the effects of a volcanic eruption to a psychological reaction by Munch to his sister’s commitment at a nearby lunatic asylum.

The idea of this painting and nature screaming, gave me the inspiration for Lion Scream.

I modelled the lion’s expression and paw positions as closely as possible from the original painting.

You can see the river of blood from all the murdered elephants, lions, rhinos and other creatures. Behind the lion is an erupting volcano as nature protests against global warming.

What do you think? Does this cake represent what I aimed for?

As if this is not enough creativity for one post, I must share my younger son, Michael’s, latest poem. I thought it was very vivid. It’s called Downward Spiral by Michael Cheadle:

Roberta Writes – The Insurgent Book Tour @TPolen6 @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

Today, I am delighted to welcome author Teri Polen to Roberta Writes as part of her book tour for The Insurgent.

Welcome to the book tour for the exciting sequel in The Colony series, The Insurgent by Teri Polen!

About The Insurgent

If a megalomaniac threatened your family, would you give up your freedom for them? Would you give up your soul?

Asher Solomon is faced with that choice. And makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Exactly as Director Silas Reeves expected him to.

Unable to live as the Colony’s premier assassin, Ash retreats to a corner of his mind, ceding control of his body to the alter-ego he was engineered to be—Subject A36. As he’s unleashed to battle the Insurgents, the only family he ever knew, the tide of war shifts in Silas’s favor.

Combined with his expansion into new territories, the director is poised to take over the world.

But the Insurgents don’t give up easily. Not on their cause, and not on their people. With the help of a few double agents deep in the Colony, they stand a fighting chance at ending Silas’s reign.

In order to shut down the program, they face almost insurmountable odds. And their most dangerous foe—their former champion turned killing machine, A36.

Add to Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Black Rose Writing

An extract – Asher

My legs collapsed, and I fell to my knees.  The throbbing in my head hammered against my skull.  Like my brain was trying to force its way out somehow.  It was agonizing, and my stomach twisted with nausea.  My lungs heaved, still short of oxygen.  I crawled over to what was left of the mattress and rolled onto it.   

I’m here.

Clutching my head, I searched the room for the source of the voice.  I still couldn’t see.  Someone could have easily slipped in while I destroyed the room. 

Give me control.

So close.  It was so close.  But where?

End your pain.

In my head.  The voice echoed in my head. 

It was him.  A36.

Through the crushing agony I gritted my teeth and struggled to force the word through my lips. 

“No.” 

But I felt him clawing his way out, inch by inch from the deep abyss inside me where I’d kept him imprisoned for my own sanity and the safety of others.

You have nothing left.

I squeezed my eyes shut and shook my head.  But he spoke the truth.  All that held me together were the scars of everything I’d lost.  Everyone I’d ever loved.  

And scars could be easily ripped open.

My review

This is book two in The Colony series and it is even better than book one. Initially, I was a little cautious about reading this second book, firstly because a second book in a series can be a disappointment, and secondly, because I had fallen in love with Ash and Brynn as a couple and didn’t want any disruption of my ideas about their future together. I was most delighted with how the author handled this book and some of the difficult and complex emotional situations, and I was very satisfied with how everything came together by the end.

When faced with the potential murder of his girlfriend, Brynn, and his surrogate mother, Anna, and complete rejection by his surviving sister, Asher agrees to act as a killer for Silas Reeves, the director of The Colony. In order to undertake this murderous role, Asher retreats into a corner of his mind and allows A36, a genetically enhanced facet of his brain, to take over his body.

The Colony comprises a society of elitist people who are prepared to take genes from other people and children to enhance their own genetic defects and faults. The are also prepared to overlook the methods used to harvest these genes which result in the deaths of the ‘donors’.

The Insurgents have been successfully rescuing people and children from harvest centers but the defection of A36 to the side of The Colony, tips the scales against them. The outlook is bleak until help arrives in a few unexpected forms. The tide starts turning in the direction of the Insurgents again.

The book is written from the point of view of several characters and this technique enables the author to get into the minds of various people in different roles in this complex story and gain an understanding of their psyche and thought processes. It makes for a more compelling rendition of the story as the reader is often aware to planned events through the thoughts and conversations of one character, before other characters know about them or experience them. This keeps the tension high and the reader continuously engaged in the plot.

There is good character development with some of the characters from book one, and the careful unravelling of certain historical relationships adds a lot of intrigue to the story.

Ms Polen is a talented writer and has written two excellent novels in this series to date. 

About Teri Polen

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Subject A36 was voted one of the 50 Best Indie Books of 2020 at ReadFree.ly.  Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

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Roberta Writes: Book review – Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

What Amazon says

The acclaimed story of a timeless place that one day wakes up to find itself in the jaws of history: “An exuberant mixture of history and romance, written with a wit that is incandescent” (Los Angeles Times Book Review).

The place is the Greek island of Cephallonia, where gods once dabbled in the affairs of men and the local saint periodically rises from his sarcophagus to cure the mad. Then the tide of World War II rolls onto the island’s shores in the form of the conquering Italian army.

Caught in the occupation are Pelagia, a willful, beautiful young woman, and the two suitors vying for her love: Mandras, a gentle fisherman turned ruthless guerilla, and the charming, mandolin-playing Captain Corelli, a reluctant officer of the Italian garrison on the island. Rich with loyalties and betrayals, and set against a landscape where the factual blends seamlessly with the fantastic, Corelli’s Mandolin is a passionate novel as rich in ideas as it is genuinely moving.

My review

Background

The story, about Mussolini’s invasion of Greece in 1940 and the aftermath of WWII, is set primarily on the Greek Island of Cephalonia. Dr Iannis and his beautiful daughter, Pelagia, live a peaceful island existence where Dr Iannis, who gained his medical experience while working on ships and not from attending college, tends to the sick. Pelagia looks after the house, and it soon becomes evident she’s had rather an unusual upbringing for a Greek woman at that time. It is soon disclosed that Pelagia’s mother died when she was a baby, and she has been raised by her father who has educated her.

Pelagia is being wooed by Mandras, a young local fisherman, who is full of fun and has a beautiful body from swimming in the ocean with his three dolphin friends. Pelagia mistakes sexual attraction for love and becomes engaged to Mandras in August on the feast day of St. Gerasimos. She is unsure about this commitment and receives little support from her father, who thinks Mandras is too uneducated to make his daughter happy. He refuses to give the pair a dowry which makes Mandras feel inferior and angry.

Dr Iannis is an interesting character who spends a lot of time at the local kapheneia with his local friends Stamatis, the royalist, and Kololios, the communist, in between tending the sick and writing a history of Cephalonia. Dr Iannis also adopts a pine marten, an animal that is disliked by local farmers, to appease a child named Lemoni and because he is natural healer.

Mussolini plots to provoke a war with Greece by blowing up a watch tower in an attempt to frame the Greeks as hostile towards Italy. The two Italian soldiers, Carlos and Francisco, who undertake this task know about the deception of their leaders but there is nothing they can do about it. Carlos is a huge man with a secret. He is gay. He has joined the army to escape having to live a life of pretence that he is straight. Carlos falls in love with Francisco and this love sustains him when the pair march against Greece at the beginning of winter. Conditions are shocking and the Italian troops are in a terrible state of starvation and illness when Francisco goes mad and commits suicide. Carlos is completely devastated, but he returns to the army after taking sick leave and continues to fight against Greece although he does not believe in Mussolini’s cause.

Back on Cephalonia, Mandras decides to join the Greece army and fight the Italians as a way of proving his worth to Dr Iannis. While he is away, Pelagia writes to him frequently, but she never receives any letters back and gradually she becomes bitter and believes he no longer loves her. She discloses her feelings and thoughts in her letters to Mandras.

The Italians eventually invade Cephalonia and take up residence on the island. Carlos is stationed near Pelagia’s village, along with a young Italian captain named Corelli. Corelli is housed in the home of Dr Iannis and takes her bed. He proves to be a nice young man with a strong musical talent and a considerate and kind manner. Over time, he and Pelagia fall in love, a most complicated situation when Pelagia is engaged to a Greek man engaged in fighting the enemy and Captain Corelli is part of an occupying force.

Themes

War

This book is set during WWII and war is a major theme including fear, hostility, starvation, exhaustion, honour, lack of honour, and other related topics.

A few quotes that demonstrate this theme are as follows:

“Since I encountered death, met death on every mountain path, conversed with death in my sleep, wrestled with death in the snow, gambled at dice with death, I have come to the conclusion that death is not an enemy but a brother. Death is a beautiful naked man who looks like Apollo, and he is notsatisfied with those who wither away in old age. Death is a perfectionist, he likes the young and beautiful, he wants to stroke our hair and caress the sinew that binds our muscle to the bone. He does all he can to meet us, our faces gladden his heart, and he stands in our path to challenge us because he likes a clean fair fight, and after the fight he likes to befriend us, clap us on the shoulder, and make us laugh at all the pettiness and folly of the living. At the conclusion of a battle he wanders amongst the dead, raising them up, placing laurels upon the brows of those most comely, and he gathers them together as his own children and takes them away to drink wine that tastes of honey and gives them the sense of proportion that they never had in life.”

“In those days Great Britain was less wealthy than it is now, but it was also less complacent, and considerably less useless. It had a sense of humanitarian responsibility and a myth of its own importance that was quixotically true and universally accepted merely because it believed in it, and said so in a voice loud enough for foreigners to understand. It had not yet acquired the schoolboy habit of waiting for months for permission from Washington before it clambered out of its post-imperial bed, put on its boots, made a sugary cup of tea, and ventured through the door.”

“What’s the news of the war?’ The doctor twisted the ends of his moustache and said, ‘Germany is taking everything, the Italians are playing the fool, the French have run away, the Belgians have been overrun whilst they were looking the other way, the Poles have been charging tanks with cavalry, the Americans have been playing baseball, the British have been drinking tea and adjusting their monocles, the Russians have been sitting on their hands except when voting unanimously to do whatever they are told. Thank God we are out of it. Why don’t we turn on the radio?”

Love

Three different aspects of love are addressed in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin: romantic love, family love, and love towards friends. The following quotes are indicative of these themes:

“Families embraced more than had been the habit; fathers who expected to be beaten to death stroked the hair of pretty daughters who expected to be raped.”

“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”

“[She] knew that it was not precisely a body that one loved. One loved the man who shone out through the eyes and used its mouth to smile and speak.”

“Men are sometimes driven by things that to a women make no sense, but she did know that Corelli had to be with his boys. Honour and common sense; in the light of the other, both of them are ridiculous.”

Conclusion

I really enjoyed this book. The style of writing from numerous points of view, allowed the author to share a far greater wealth of knowledge, perspective, and emotion. I did love this aspect, but it did take me a while to get into this style and mentally make the jumps from character to character. I am also of the view that a reasonable knowledge of the history of WWII is required for a reader to appreciate the sections written from either Mussolini’s or Metaxas’s points of view. Fortunately, I did know enough about the Italian and Greek politics of the time to work it out fairly quickly.

I am not a big reader of romance, but there was more than enough war and action in this novel to keep me interested and entertained. There are some very amusing paragraphs and conversations, and I found myself laughing aloud at times while reading, especially some of the descriptions about Greek men and their relationships with their wives and families. I also found myself crying at points due to the absolute brutality and inhuman behaviour described in some scenes. These are very emotional and compelling, but this book is not for the faint of heart.

This was a 5-star plus read for me and I think I will be reading it again in the future.

Purchase Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Amazon US

Roberta Writes – Book review: Dead of Winter Journeys 10 & 11 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

I am really enjoying Dead of Winter, a fascinating novel by Teagan Riordain Geneviene, told as a series of journeys. Thirteen journeys are currently available with the final one due for publication soon.

You can find Teagan Geneviene here:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM
Twitter: https://twitter.com/teagangeneviene
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Journey 10: Pergesca

What Amazon says

Dead of Winter: Journey 10, Pergesca” resumes outside the Lost Library, where Hallgeir was faced with a decision that could impact the entire world.

Lucetius is gravely wounded when he attempts to deliver a message. Emlyn, Zasha, and Osabide are again separated from all their friends. The Three must continue their journey without assistance or protection from the other travelers. They must reach the faraway city of Pergesca. That is also the seat of power of the ancient Society of Deae Matres. Will the companions eventually be reunited?

A vicious enemy returns, displaying unexpected strength.

An important character dies in this novelette. The death of a character is a rare thing in stories written by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene.

My review

This journey is full of surprises and moves the story along at a terrific pace. Siblings, Hallr and Haldis both show different sides to their characters, leading to unexpected changes to the storyline. This particular part of the story was intriguing and well handled by the author, leaving the reader gasping in astonishment and unsure whether to feel relieved or suspicious.

Emlyn’s powers continue to develop and she is getting a better handle on controlling them but interventions still happen. A most unexpected set of circumstances brings Emlyn, Sasha, and Osabide directly into the path of confrontation with a terrible enemy. Another intervention, brings unexpected relief and leaves the reader feeling pleased and encouraged.

The trio travel to Pergesca, Zasha’s city and the head quarters of the Deas Matras. Zasha introduces her companions to a new and fascinating character, HaDritak Baki, who is the proprietress of an inn with enjoyable name of the Golden Book. The name of the inn is a bit of a play on the character of Mistress Baki who is an enterprising and educated woman.

Luce’s role in the story becomes more apparent as well as his involvement with his mother and Emlyn.

This is one of the most descriptive and vivid journeys I have read in this series to date and I am looking forward to Journey 11.

Purchase Journey 10: Pergesca

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Journey 11: The Sumelazon

What Amazon says

Meet a new character in this Journey of Dead of Winter. She is a Deae Matres whose encounter with Gethin Gwilym has an unexpected result. Next in Pergesca, we get better acquainted with a noblewoman or “HaDritak,” who is an old friend of Zasha. She has a few tricks up her sleeves.

Emlyn sees and experiences places, customs, and foods that are foreign to her. One of her gifts is growing.

As the conclusion of Emlyn’s “Journeys” draws near, we see that our heroes are underdogs. They are out-manned, “out-spirited,” and under-powered — physically, magically, and politically. With no other recourse, they make use of deception and manipulation. Although, how can that possibly be enough?

My review

Journey 11 starts off in the Lost Library and we find out what has happened to Gethin, Hallgier, and Tajin. It is a relief to know that Blossom and the other horses are safe and protected. We also discover that a small number of the Deae Matres are men. This interesting detail comes up a few times over the course of this journey, and some other surprising characteristics of the society are unveiled. It seems that the Deae Matres, despite their education and lofty societal and individual goals, is not immune from politics which slows the wheels and results in a cumbersome internal infrastructure.

A most interesting ancestor of Gethin comes to the fore and through this link, he obtains a most unusual weapon. I wonder when it will be used in the series?

Back in Pergesca, Zasha, Osabide, and Emlyn continue to plan their strategy and Emlyn receives a most beautiful white silk gown which makes her look just like her ancestor, Eriu.

Despite a less than satisfactory meeting with the Council of the Deae Matres, the trio find support and help in a most unexpected place. Luce brings news of a threat from the direction of the Sumelazon Escarpment, while Emlyn discovers that her powers are considerably stronger than she thought.

An exciting new chapter in this excellent fantasy tale.

Purchase Journey 11: The Sumelazon

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