Review of That’s Paris: An Anthology of Life, Love and Sarcasm in the City of Light


About That’s Paris

If you’ve ever traveled to Paris or dreamed of setting foot on its cobblestone streets, you’ll enjoy escaping into this collection of short stories about France’s famed capital. From culinary treats (and catastrophes) to swoon-worthy romantic encounters (and heartbreaking mishaps), this anthology takes you on a journey through one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Visit this cosmopolitan metropolis through the eyes of Parisians, francophiles and travelers who fell in love with the city and still hold a piece of it in their hearts. That’s Paris: a glimpse into living, loving and laughing in the City of Light.

My Review

Lovely collection of short stories. Just about everything is covered, from love, heartbreak, cuisine, to dealing with bureaucracy and much more all set in vibrant Paris.

As a self-proclaimed Francophile I thoroughly enjoyed the variety and the unmistakable Paris vibe of each story, knowing the setting is Paris is intoxicating enough for this reader. There is something magical and seductive regarding Paris albeit in person or on paper, I was mesmerized from the start.

Every story was interesting and brought its individuality to the table. The unique writing style of the authors along with their varied perspectives added layers of interest. A story catching me off guard Half past Midnight by Didier Quémener, memorable, haunting.

Short story fans, Francophiles will undoubtedly appreciate this well crafted collection.

About the Authors

That’s Paris is a collection of fiction and non-fiction stories from people who have traveled to Paris, lived in Paris or never even set foot in Paris but dreamed about what it would be like to visit. Among our contributors are: the author of three fashion books, the writer of a recently released book on Rwanda, Amazon best-selling authors, journalists, a personal chef and winners of various blogging awards. That’s Paris features new talent as well as established writers, but everyone has one thing in common—their stories capture the essence of what it’s like to breathe Parisian air.

Check out the full list of contributors and their bios.

Foreword by: Stephen Clarke

Authors: Michael Attard, Audrey M. Chapuis, Adria J. Cimino, Sarah del Rio, DryChick, Leslie Floyd, Jennie Goutet, Amy Lynne Hayes, April Lily Heise, Vicki Lesage, Elle Marie, Cheryl McAlister, Emily Monaco, Lucia Paul, Didier Quémener, Laura Schalk, Brooke Takhar, Marie Vareille, Frédérique Veysset, Lisa Webb, Anna Weeks, April Weeks, David Whitehouse

Author proceeds from sales of That’s Paris benefit the charity Room to Read, which supports literacy and gender equality in education. Thanks for supporting the cause!

Published January 20th 2015 by Velvet Morning Press


Review of The Panda Theory by Pascal Garnier, Svein Clouston (Translator)


About The Panda Theory

Gabriel is a stranger in a small Breton town. Nobody knows where he came from or why he’s here. Yet his small acts of kindness, and exceptional cooking, quickly earn him acceptance from the locals.

His new friends grow fond of Gabriel, who seems as reserved and benign as the toy panda he wins at the funfair.

But unlike Gabriel, the fluffy toy is not haunted by his past . . .

My Review

A huge Garnier fan I found this book satisfying but the ending left me ambivalent.

Gabriel isn’t as he seems as the story unfolds. His flashbacks are startling. Each revisit of his past is darker and darker. The story is somewhat predictable but the peppering of dark humor and its noir feel compensate for the obvious. I enjoyed the character development of Gabriel, his layers carefully unfold. The secondary characters were entertaining both in personality and issues.

What was leading to the end I somewhat expected but the actual ending caught me off guard – not unsatisfied or satisfied more indifferent.

Another enjoyable piece of literary noir from the talented Pascal Garnier.

About Pascal Garnierimage

Pascal Garnier, who died in March 2010, was a talented novelist, short story writer, children’s author and painter. From his home in the mountains of the Ardèche, he wrote fiction in a noir palette with a cast of characters drawn from ordinary provincial life. Though his writing is often very dark in tone, it sparkles with quirkily beautiful imagery and dry wit. Garnier’s work has been likened to the great thriller writer, Georges Simenon. Read an article by Pascal Garnier, describing his path to becoming a writer.

Published March 26th 2012 by Gallic Books (first published February 4th 2008)

Review of Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency (The Killing of Historical Figures) by Bill O’Reilly, Martin Dugard


About Killing Reagan

Just two months into his presidency, Ronald Reagan lay near death after a gunman’s bullet came within inches of his heart. His recovery was nothing short of remarkable — or so it seemed. But Reagan was grievously injured, forcing him to encounter a challenge that few men ever face. Could he silently overcome his traumatic experience while at the same time carrying out the duties of the most powerful man in the world?

Killing Reagan reaches back to the golden days of Hollywood, where Reagan found both fame and heartbreak, up through the years in the California governor’s mansion, and finally to the White House, where he presided over boom years and the fall of the Iron Curtain. But it was John Hinckley Jr.’s attack on him that precipitated President Reagan’s most heroic actions. In Killing Reagan, O’Reilly and Dugard take readers behind the scenes, creating an unforgettable portrait of a great man operating in violent times.

My Review

Another fascinating historical read filled with kernels of otherwise unknown information. Reagan fan or not, this intimate glimpse into one of the most revered presidents is an eye opener. Well researched, candid, you will discover more than you knew possible. O’Reilly brings history for all to enjoy in a fast paced, easy to read, well researched format. From newbie to veteran history buff his books are more than satisfying, perhaps engaging enough for the reader to explore more of notable people, moments and events from the past.

Interesting details of Ronald and Nancy, appreciated yet a smidgen disillusioned. Always a shocker when your perception is somewhat rocked, this was a bit of a reality check – all that glitters is not gold. O’Reilly provides plenty for readers to digest.

About Bill O’Reilly27281

Bill O’Reilly is an American television/radio host, author, syndicated columnist, and political commentator. He is the host of the cable news program The O’Reilly Factor. Prior to hosting The O’Reilly Factor, he served as anchor of the entertainment program, Inside Edition.

O’Reilly also hosts The Radio Factor, a radio program syndicated by Westwood One, and he has written seven books.

1549About Martin Dugard

New York Times bestselling author Martin Dugard is the co-author of Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, Killing Patton, and Killing Reagan, written with noted television personality Bill O’Reilly. To date, there are more than ten million copies of these books in print.

Mr. Dugard is also the author of the critically lauded memoir To Be A Runner, a series of essays which takes the reader around the world as he recounts his personal journey through the world of distance running. It is a book about life itself, and how the simple act of stepping outside for a run is a metaphor for our daily desire to be the best possible version of ourselves, step by step.

This attribute can be seen in the diversity and depth of Mr. Dugard’s body of work. His ten years covering the Tour de France resulted in Chasing Lance (Little, Brown, 2005) a travelogue combining history, sports and gastronomy. Other works include the New York Times bestseller The Murder of King Tut (with James Patterson; Little, Brown, 2009); The Last Voyage of Columbus (Little, Brown, 2005), which tells the riveting tale of the legendary Admiral’s final, ill-fated journey in crisp, swashbuckling fashion; Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone (Doubleday, 2003), Farther Than Any Man: The Rise and Fall of Captain James Cook (Pocket Books, 2001), Knockdown (Pocket Books, 1999), and Surviving the Toughest Race on Earth (McGraw-Hill, 1998). In addition, Dugard lived on the island of Pulau Tiga during the filming of Survivor’s inaugural season to write the bestselling Survivor with mega-producer Mark Burnett.

Mr. Dugard is the writer and producer of A WARRIOR’S HEART, starring Ashley Greene and Kellan Lutz, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011.

An adventurer himself, Dugard regularly immerses himself in his research to understand characters and their motivations better. To better understand Columbus he traveled through Spain, the Caribbean and Central America. For Tut he explored pharaohs’ tombs in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. He followed Henry Morton Stanley’s path across Tanzania while researching Into Africa (managing to get thrown into an African prison in the process), and swam in the tiger shark-infested waters of Hawaii’s Kealakekua Bay to recreate Captain James Cook’s death for Farther Than Any Man. And for To Be A Runner he ran with the bulls in Pamplona, suffered electric shock and hypothermia as part of Britain’s Tough Guy competition, and explored Japanese WWII bunkers on the island of Saipan.

On the more personal side of adventure, Dugard competed in the Raid Gauloises endurance race three times, and flew around the world at twice the speed of sound aboard an Air France Concorde. The time of 31 hours and 28 minutes set a world record for global circumnavigation. Dugard’s magazine writing has appeared in Esquire, Outside, Sports Illustrated, and GQ, among others. In 1997, Dugard was awarded the Dallas Area Press Club’s Katie Award for Best Magazine Sports Story.

Mr. Dugard spends his afternoons as the Head Cross Country and Track &Field coach at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, California, a position he has held since 2005. His boys and girls squads regularly qualify for the California State Championships, and his girls team won the state title in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of the USA Track & Field Foundation, charged with growing youth distance running in America.

Martin Dugard and his wife live in Orange County, California. They have three sons.

Published September 22nd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co.

Red as a Lotus: Letters to a Dead Trappist by Lisa Gill


Originally given an old copy of Thomas Merton’s Seeds of Contemplation by a friend’s mother, Lisa Gill began a series of 14 line poems which meticulously transcribe her own spiritual reckoning.

An absolutely beautiful collection of poems. Lisa Gill shines in Red as a Lotus. Whether you are or aren’t a fan/reader of poetry this is a must read. To pass on this collection would be missing out on something wonderful lyrically and spiritually. Gill’s poems are inspiring, touching and enchanting. No doubt she is a masterful poet, looking forward to reading more from this uber talented woman.

I cannot emphasize how unique and appealing Red as a Lotus is. It’s more than a collection of ethereal prose, rather intimate journal/letters with beautiful melodic verse. Very unique in content, I know all would enjoy Lisa Gill’s Red as a Lotus.

•Paperback, 124 pages
•Published December 31st 2002 by La Alameda Press
•ISBN13: 9781888809336

Moses Son of Maimon by Ilil Arbel w/ Giveaway

Moses Son of Maimon: The Life of Maimonides, 1135 to 1204 A.D.
Ilil Arbel

Publisher: 21st Publishing

Release Date: Feb 12, 2015

An enthralling read on the highly regarded philosopher Moses Maimonides. Know for his intellectual prowess and his contradictory views, his fame is etched in history. His brilliance depicted in his writings masterfully bridging religion with science and philosophy.

Exiled, drifting until landing in Israel where he quickly became appreciated for his intellectual capabilities. A lifelong writer his manuscripts nothing less than profound.

We are privy to this geniuses childhood to his renown place in history. His brilliance unsurpassable garnering recognition from Jews, Christians and Muslims. An in depth glimpse into the man not limited to the scholar.

A wonderfully written historical biography of a brilliant man of arcane intellectual magnitude.

Outstanding writing and research. Arbel focuses on the rich and vibrant environs of the 12th century including food, fashion and the energy of the time period. A fulfilling reading experience full of texture and dimension. Exceptioal read.

Book Description:
Moses Maimonides brought controversy that is still raging—eight hundred years after his death. At certain times his books were banned and even burned at the stake. But no one could ever deny that his work was that of a brilliant innovator and scholar who could reconcile religious traditions with science and philosophy like no one else.

Author Bio:

Ilil Arbel is the author of a number of fiction and non-fiction books, including biographies, memoirs, Ilil-Arbel-Author 2novels, and mythology/folklore. She has also written articles, short stories, and Judaic myths.

Arbel has a Ph.D. in the field of mythology and folklore but has also devoted much study to her special interest in Jewish history, biography, legends, and myths. She is currently engaged in writing the biography of Hillel the Elder, the first century B.C. leader and religious scholar.

Dr. Arbel was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. She has lived and studied in Tel Aviv, Paris, and New York and currently resides in Manhattan.

Author Links –
Publisher’s Website
Publisher’s Facebook Website

Click on form below to enter tour wide giveaway with a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, a signed print book, and 5 eBooks. See entry for details.


More for the Heart by Ekta R. Garg


•Published April 7th 2015 by Prairie Sky Publishing

Garg crafts another fabulous short story duo with the exception being these two stories provide a backstory to her previous dynamic duo in Two for the Heart. See full review of Two for the Heart.

Making The Proposal
Pooja and Akshay – one memorable couple with an affecting story. They certainly touched my heart in Two for the Heart. Originally we were given crumbs as to the full disclosure on how these two met and all that followed. Now we know this wonderful couples full story. I loved how Garg filled in the blanks, totally adore this couple even more.

Rose and Helen. Two sisters estranged, reunited through tragedy. Once again Garg fills in the blanks as to the depth of the two sisters estrangement. We have better insight into both Rose and Helen along with their intricate and complicated relationship as sisters and women. Garg closes the veil of mystery surrounding these two as well as the shocking story, all comes full circle.

Once again Garg delivers with pitch perfect dialogue, emotionally compelling characters with spot on narratives. Her imagination and creativity strike gold with her unique theme and link in her stories. An authoress clearly stepping out of the box succeeding. Needless to say I am anticipating her next collection, never disappointing.

Literary Blog Hop


Cutting to the chase….
My giveaway $20 Amazon Gift Card Open Internationally

One lucky winner will be able to select their own literary books to add to their collection. Good luck and enjoy the wonderful blogs participating in this fabulous hop!

Please click on this ENTRY-FORM to enter to win. Giveaway ends on 4/12/15 the lucky winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be selected. Thanks so much for stopping by. If you found my blog of interest please follow My Book Self via e-mail so you’re in the loop with reviews and giveaways!

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