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May 30, 2015

Guest Post by Beth Barany: For a Love of Labyrinths @beth_barany

Hi guys!! Please welcome Beth Barany, author of A Labyrinth of Love and Roses. We have been emailing for a while and thought you would enjoy a guest post written by her about labyrinths, which are featured in her new novella. I have a thing for labyrinths, I think they are magical! Specially those made of grass, flowers and trees. I'd love to play one day in one of those....But anyway, did you know that a labyrinth is actually different from a maze? I learned something new today, thank you Beth!

 Guest Post by Beth Barany: For a Love of Labyrinths

I’ve always been intrigued by labyrinths. There is a beauty and symmetry to them. They exude calmness and are shrouded in mystery. I’m drawn to both qualities. They invite me to find my meditative center. As a writer with a busy mind, I welcome this invitation.

Perhaps you’ve seen some labyrinths: Maze-like series of tiles on a cathedral floor or a small winding path in a park that you can walk.

You can only enter by one place. The pathway takes you a center. You can’t get lost. It’s not a maze, designed to confuse you and scare you.

According to Wikipedia:
“In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur eventually killed by the hero Theseus. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it.
In colloquial English, labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze, but many contemporary scholars observe a distinction between the two: maze refers to a complex branching (multicursal) puzzle with choices of path and direction; while a single-path (unicursal) labyrinth has only a single path to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and is not difficult to navigate.”

It’s actually a meditative place to find your center, at least that’s what I understand.

When I lived in Paris years ago, I made a point to visit several cathedral labyrinths. The most well known is the one at Chartres. But when I visited there, I couldn’t walk it. Chairs covered the floor. I was disappointed, but there was plenty else to see at that church, including, surprisingly, a Black Madonna.

So I was happily surprised to discover another labyrinth, one I had never heard of, at Amiens, a northern cathedral town in France. This one didn’t have the chairs covering it. I walked the black tiles, surrounded by off-white tiles, and felt a moment of peace as I arrived at the center.

You may be surprised to learn that people have built labyrinths in their back yards and community parks in the United States and other parts of the world. In fact, we have one next to Lake Merritt near downtown Oakland, California. The famous tiled one in our area is the one in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

In my story, A Labyrinth of Love and Roses, a sweet paranormal romance, my hero Brett Barnaby goes to the Amiens cathedral to find traces of his great grandfather who died there in World War I. He stands in the middle of the labyrinth and mesmerized by the symbols he sees at the center. There’s another labyrinth in the story made of nature. This second one I made up and, of course, involves magic, as all my stories do. You can read an excerpt below of the opening of the story to get a feel for my romance. Hope you enjoy it!

May 23, 2015

Comics Review: The Worrier's Guide to Life by Gemma Correll

The Worrier's Guide to Life by Gemma Correll
If you're floundering in life, striking out in love, struggling to pay the rent, and worried about it all -- you're in luck! World Champion Worrier and Expert Insomniac Gemma Correll is here to assure you that it could be much, much worse.

In her hugely popular comic drawings, Gemma Correll dispenses dubious advice and unreliable information on life as she sees it, including The Dystopian Zodiac, Reward Stickers for Grown-Ups, Palm Reading for Millennials, and a Map of the Introvert's Heart. For all you fellow agonizers, fretters, and nervous wrecks, this book is for you. Read it and weep...with laughter.
Loved these comics!. I could relate to all of them, me being the over thinker I am! (but trying not to be hehe), Seriously, I just laughed at every page and even shared some with my boyfriend, who knows me so well he just laughed with/at me. The illustrations are just funny/sarcastic and cute, and my favorites were the Palm Reading for Millennials, My savings account and the Wheel of Insomnia!

The Worrier's Guide to Life is very fast to read, you could read one page a day or read it all at once like me...but it's sure going to be a fun reading :) Totally recommend it!

May 21, 2015

TV Series I'm watching

Not only I love books, but I really enjoy watching tv series. I thought probably some of you enjoy them too, so I wanted to share the ones I'm watching/following and maybe you'll recommend me others!

Outlander is my recent addiction! I haven't read the books, so I can't compare, but I think the show is amazing. It's full of action, drama and yep, romance! Perfect for me, I can't say I love my sappy romances but I really like the combination of strong women, pretty sexy love scene and some dark twists. Randall? I'm hating him with all my guts right now. He's a sadist! Let just say I can't wait for season finale next week....

So...I like Marvel's super heroes, as you can read in my Avengers: Age of Ultron review, so it's kind of weird I'm not into their tv shows. Must be because I thought other super heroes tv shows weren't good, but I must admit that I sometimes watch Flash and I want to start Agents of SHIELD. Let me tell you, Daredevil is dark. Not like any super hero you are used to, this show is sometimes nasty (a lot of blood and bones breaking). I'm usually strong for these kind of stuff, after all, blood is just a part of my career, but still, sometimes I don't want to look. We (my boyfriend and I) are watching it together, and he loves it! (Men...). I'm really getting into it after watching 8 episodes. I thought it was slow at the beginning and didn't explain anything, but now I'm really excited to watch the rest of the season. It seems like it's going to be an amazing show!

I have a love/hate relationship with Downton Abbey. I love it, but hated....hated....hated! the ending from season 3 (you know...). I even thought about not continuing the series. But now I'm impatiently waiting for season 6 (September 2015). This series is all drama. You know those latin soap operas we are very known for? This is the London edition haha. Really, you want drama? You got it.

I can't say I've watched every episode of The Big Bang Theory, but I always catch up on tv. But seriously, Sheldon and Amy? Whyyyyy? Now I'm really waiting for next season.

Sherlock. Best. Series. Ever.

You need a good laugh? Watch Modern Family! I don't know if it's because our family is as crazy and dysfunctional as they are, but I always find myself laughing with them. I'm impatiently waiting for season finale! (actually it was already released but here we get the episodes a few days no spoilers!)

I used to hate The Simpsons...but I guess now I laugh more about life and appreciate the sarcasm! I watch it every night before sleeping, it's my therapy...

What about you? Tell me all about your currently and all time favorite tv series! And please let me know if there is a difference between a tv show and a tv series?....

May 18, 2015

Bookmark Monday #6

Bookmark Monday
Bookmark Monday is a weekly meme created at Guiltless Reading, where you can show all your pretty bookmarks...or bookmarks you want to have! If you want to join, just go here.

This week I'll show you a very cool bookmark, made by I got this one last year at a books event called 'Feria Internacional del Libro de Santiago' at Santiago de Chile, actually, I think my sister bought it for me, and it's pretty cool because it has magnets and it stays where you put it. You can use it to mark the page but also the line, isn't that great?

Do you like it? Would you use a bookmark as this one?

May 15, 2015

Book Review: Max and the Cats by Moacyr Scliar

Max and the Cats by Moacyr Scliar
Max Schmidt grew up in the stockroom of his father's fur store, cloaked among the foxes, minks, and leopards, hiding from the glaring eyes of a stuffed tiger atop the wardrobe. It is here he dreams of traveling to distant lands; and here, as a young man, he begins an affair with the store's married clerk.

Forced to flee when his lover's husband discovers the affair and denounces Max to the Nazi secret police, Max steals away to Hamburg, where he takes passage on a freighter destined for disaster. When the ship founders somewhere off the coast of South America, Max is trapped in a dinghy with a hungry jaguar. Max believes his days are numbered-until he washes ashore on the coast of tiny Porto Alegre, Brazil, prepared to begin anew in the tropical clime.

But when Max discovers his next-door neighbor is a Nazi hiding from persecution, he finds that for the first time in his life, he is the master of his own destiny, ready to take matters into his own hands...
I bought Max and the cats last year, without knowing what was about. I thought it was a book for children, maybe young adult, but I've discovered it's actually a book for adults and the 'inspiration' for Life of Pi.

Only in a few pages the author tells us the life of Max Smichtd, a young man who has to escape from German nazi police to Brazil, and from that point his monotone life starts being full of changes and some adventures, starting with surviving in a boat with a Jaguar.

It's a very simple story, very easy to read, and it makes you curious to know what's going to happen to Max. But since it's a very short book, it was too fast to read and at the end left me confused and waiting for more, but there wasn't anything else to tell.

May 12, 2015

Book Review: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs
Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.
I never feel like a 'fangirl'. Not because I thought it was something bad (nor at all, it's way cool!), but because I never interacted much with other fans. But you know what? I did use to have a lot of Harry Potter stuff, I watched every Sakura CardCaptor episode and wrote some fanfics a couple of years ago! My new obsession might be Sherlock. I left some of my other fandoms outside, but I think the point is that I am a fangirl and proud to be!

Anyway, I might have been a fangirl all my life but sadly I have never been to a comic-con and also I don't really use Tumblr so I sometimes feel like at outsider and not really know where to start. So this guide was perfect for me. It's really simple and funny and just easy to read. It explains a little bit of every fandom, it has some directions on how to be a fangirl and feel amazing and respected, and it even has some short interviews from other amazing fangirls (Beth Revis yay!). It also has many many links I'll need to check out soon, where to buy your fandom's stuff, where to meet other fangirls, etc.

Definitely, The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy is a keeper! I recommend it to get it hardback, because it would be fun to have it around and check it out when you need to remember a link or read again some tips for, I don't know, your next cosplay maybe?

Expected publication: May 12th 2015 by Quirk Books
Add it to your Goodreads

May 10, 2015

Guest Post by Andrea Lochen: Ten Most Memorable Moms in New Fiction

What better time of year than Mother’s Day to showcase some of the most memorable fictional mothers in some of the best new novels?  From loving, supportive mothers to complex, trailblazing mothers to selfish, vindictive mothers, this list has it all!    

1) The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White (Lake Union, July 2015)

Ella Fitzwilliam, the mom in THE PERFECT SON, quit a successful career in jewelry design to be full-time parent, mental health coach, and advocate for her son, Harry, who has a soup of issues that include Tourette syndrome. She has devoted 17 years of her life to his therapy, to educating teachers, to being Harry’s emotional rock and giving him the confidence he needs to be Harry. Thanks to her, Harry is comfortable in his own skin, even when people stare. After Ella has a major heart attack in the opening chapter, her love for Harry tethers her to life. But as she recovers, she discovers the hardest parenting lesson of all: to let go.

May 9, 2015

Movie Review: The Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

I'm a fan of all of the avengers, specially Thor. Who doesn't like Thor? Hehe. Anyway, I've watched every movie, mostly because my boyfriend is a big fan of the comics and he always invited me to the movies and tried to spoil me every time.... So, we went to watch The Avengers: Age of Ultron in 3D, two times actually, because the first time we had an issue with the language (I hate seeing these kind of movies in another language than the original) and the screen and we felt like we didn't enjoyed it.

I really liked The Avengers: Age of Ultron. I think it has what every super heroes movies needs: lots of action, a little bit of romance and a picture of the heroes real life, to make them more realistic. I really enjoyed the story and the new characters, and seeing again the old characters and some from other movies. There were a few things I didn't get the first time I saw the movie, but the second time I could see all those details. My favorite is still Thor, but I really liked Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch (although I didn't get her makeover at the end of the movie).

My boyfriend, he is another story. He felt disappointed. He has read most of the comics and didn't feel like Ultron was as bad and strong as he was supposed to be. Also he felt like the movie didn't explain a lot of things, as the new Inhumans or what happened to Asgard after the last Thor's movie. But he did like the Vision and seeing Hawkeye in a new light. I understand him, it has happened to me that after loving a book I watch the movie and it's a disappointment because it isn't what I wanted and imagined.

But we still enjoyed it (me more than him) and we are waiting for the next Avenger's superheroes movie.

May 7, 2015

Picture Book Review: The Bus Ride by Marianne Dubuc

The Bus Ride by Marianne Dubuc
"This is the first time I'm taking the bus by myself. Mom packed me a snack -- and had me bring my sweater in case I get cold."

But Mom likely didn't imagine the adventure her little girl would have as she rides to her grandmother's house in this sweet picture book. While the bus is taking her down the streets, through a forest and into a pitch-black tunnel, the little girl encounters an assortment of animal characters who enliven her journey, including a goat who offers her a flower from a bouquet, a wolf child with whom she happily shares her cookies and a fox who attempts to pickpocket a bear. Adding to the fun are lots of running visual gags, such as the changing headlines on the newspaper that hides one passenger's face, a sleeping sloth who mysteriously appears in different seats without ever having woken up and a nervous-looking turtle whose head and arms pop in and out of its shell.

The interior of the bus covers each two-page spread, and award-winning author-illustrator Marianne Dubuc uses subtle colors and tiny details to draw in youngsters to the activity happening there. This book offers a potentially multilayered classroom reading experience: there is the terrific main story of the girl's trip, but there are also any number of mini stories playing out at the same time with each of the other characters. It would work beautifully as a jumping-off point for children to do some imaginary storytelling of their own.
Such a cute book!! The illustrations are simple but beautiful and the story is just sweet. It has an air of The Little Read Riding Hood, with a bad wolf and all. I don't think it's possible to send a little girl on a bus alone, at least over here, but I know it was possible some years ago (my mom used to ride alone at the bus to school) and maybe in some places it's still normal.

Definitely worth reading it before bed, specially for young children. It don't have many words so it would be also great for beginners.

Published March 1st 2015 by Kids Can Press
Add it to Goodreads

May 6, 2015

WoW: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher
My pick: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Book Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens recovering from heartbreak and discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date.

It all begins when Ana Watson's little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip.

If slacker Zak Duquette hadn't talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn't have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.

Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.

But in spite of Zak's devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana-and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more…
Expected publication: May 19th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books

May 5, 2015

Movie Trailer: The Little Prince

The Little Prince Movie

I love The Little Prince. It's one of those books that I read and re-read and always find a new meaning to the story. Maybe it's because when I first read it, I was a little girl. Anyway, there is a new animated movie coming up this year, the release date change between countries, but I really want to watch it! Here is the trailer:

What do you guys think? Would you watch it? Have you read the book?

May 3, 2015

Book Review: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years -- except Biff, the Messiah's best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in the divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work "reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams" (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more - except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdala - and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.
This isn't the typical religious book. If it was, I wouldn't haven read it. But I already knew the author, I read a couple of years ago 'The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror', so I  kind of knew what to expect.

I really liked Lamb. It's funny and sarcastic but beware, you will probably find it disrespectful if you are a very conservative Christian. It's not at all what you would expect to read of the childhood of Jesus. But in a way, it makes him more human, and I liked that. I know it's fiction but it felt more realistic!

Biff was friends with Joshua (Jesus) since both were little kids and he tell us his side of the story, how he accompanied him on a great journey through different lands and religions for him to learn how to be the messiah. It was surprising, sometimes shocking, and yes, it does makes fun of some things but not as insults, it just shows the good, the bad and the ridiculous of must religions. But I think you will enjoy it, especially if you are relaxed with religion.