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Showing posts from December, 2013

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst The Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza and Steve Erwin: A Book Review

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Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst The Rwandan Holocaust 
Author: Immaculee Ilibagiza and Steve Erwin
Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography & Memoir, History, Christian
Publisher: Hay House
Release Date: 2007
Pages: 215
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee’s family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans.

     Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor while hundreds of machete-wielding killers hunted for them. 

     It was during those endless hours of unspeakable terror that Immaculee discovered the power of prayer, eventually shedding her fear of death and forging a profound and lasting relationship with God. She …

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot By The Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb: A Book Review

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I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot By The Taliban
Author: Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography & Memoir, Modern History
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Pages: 352
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: “I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.”

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

     On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. 

     Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peace…

Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir: A Book Review

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Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World
Author: Alison Weir
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, History
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: December 3rd, 2013
Pages: 608
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Many are familiar with the story of the much-married King Henry VIII of England and the celebrated reign of his daughter, Elizabeth I. But it is often forgotten that the life of the first Tudor queen, Elizabeth of York, Henry’s mother and Elizabeth’s grandmother, spanned one of England’s most dramatic and perilous periods. Now New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir presents the first modern biography of this extraordinary woman, whose very existence united the realm and ensured the survival of the Plantagenet bloodline.

      Her birth was greeted with as much pomp and ceremony as that of a male heir. The first child of King Edward IV, Elizabeth enjoyed all the glittering trappings of royalty. But after the death of h…

The Romanov Bride: A Novel by Robert Alexander: A Book Review

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The Romanov Bride: A Novel
Author: Robert Alexander
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: 2008
Pages: 336
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: As the Russia of Nicholas and Aleksandra rushes full speed toward catastrophe, The Romanov Bride follows the lives of two revolutionary souls, that of Grand Duches Elisavyeta (or Ella), sister of the tsaritsa Aleksandra, and that of Pavel, a simple village man yearning for more.
The life of Grand Duchess Elisavyeta begins like a fairy tale - born a princess of Germany, she marries the Grand Duke Sergei of Russia and enters the most lavish and magnificent court in the world, that of the mighty Romanovs, where she is renowned for her sumptuous fashion, jewels, and beauty, not to mention her kind heart. Her husband, however, possesses no such grace, and he rules Moscow as he does his wife, with a cold, hard fist.

     For Pavel and his bridge, though, living in Sankt Peterburg means sharing a crowded cellar with other families, and bei…

I, Mona Lisa: A Novel by Jeanne Kalogridis: A Book Review

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I, Mona Lisa: A Novel
Author: Jeanne Kalogridis
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: 2006
Pages: 544
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: "My name is Lisa di Antonio Gherardini Giocondo, though to acquaintances, I am known simply as Madonna Lisa.  My story begins not with my birth but a murder, committed the year before I was born."

    Florence, April 1478:The handsome Giuliano de' Medici is brutally assassinated in Florence's magnificent Duomo. The shock of the murder ripples throughout the great city, from the most renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, to a wealthy wool merchant and his extraordinarily beautiful daughter, Madonna Lisa.

     More than a decade later, Florence falls under the dark spell of the preacher Savonarola, a fanatic who burns paintings and books as easily as he sends men to their deaths.  Lisa, now grown into an alluring woman, captures the heart of Giuliano's nephew and namesake.  But when …

Theodora: Empress of Byzantium by Paolo Cesaretti: A Book Review

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Theodora: Empress of Byzantium
Author: Paolo Cesaretti
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, History
Publisher: Vendome Press
Release Date: 2004
Pages: 384
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: Theodora of Byzantium, rising from the lowest ranks of Byzantine society, became one of the most important and powerful women in history. In this gripping biography, Theodora's full story is revealed for the first time, according her a well-deserved place in the pantheon of great women.

     Theodora's meager beginnings as the daughter of a bear-keeper could not have foretold her astonishing future as the wife of Justinian, the powerful ruler of the Byzantine empire. An actress at the time who was chastised for her scandalous performances, she eventually caught the attention of the young Justinian, who was no doubt charmed as much by her beauty as by her cunning.

     Justinian and Theodora ruled the empire together from their rich and bustling seat of power in Constantinople, making decisions regarding…