The Shadow of The Wind: A Review

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is one of my favorite books! I discovered it several years ago, and I instantly loved it! The first time I read it I was moved deeply, and nothing has changed about my reaction to it, except I continue to discover more and more in the book to love.
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The Shadow Of The Wind is many things: a Gothic novel, a mystery, a romance, a thriller, a young adult novel, a bildungsroman, and a book about books! Among other charming and engaging aspects of this extraordinary novel is the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books.” Any book with a place like that certainly has my attention!
Zafon’s characters are well-drawn, and his complex plot pulled me in immediately. Zafon’s love for books is compelling. As the protagonist, Daniel, is introduced to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, his father says, “This is a place of mystery, Daniel, a sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” (5-6)
I have used and continue to use this novel in some of my classes at the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College at Allentown, PA. This semester we are covering it in my European Novel in Translation course.
If you are a lover of books, then this book is for you. I have reread it several times, and I will continue to read it over the years. I recommend it to everyone!

 

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The Stone Arch Secret by K.D. Dowdall: A Five Star Book!

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This fine novel by K.D. Dowdall is a wonderful crossing of the genres of mystery and romance. Mixing genres has potential difficulties, but none of those exist in this sophisticated and engaging book. Rather than getting confused about where to take the tale, K.D. Dowdall skillfully infuses elements of both genres and effectively creates her own new genre: mystery-romance!

From the moment I began reading, I was pulled into the story in this book. The narrative moves between the contemporary mystery and the backstory with Lilly, Noah, and Dax. The tone of Karen’s story is subtle and complex, in which she weaves together a love story, grief for the death of a friend, mystery in an old town, and the threat of a well-drawn, compelling, and threatening villain.

One of the themes of the novel is the potential for corruption in religion and the consequences that can emerge from the combination of political power and, what is essentially a cult, in small town New England. K.D. Dowdall’s rendering of this political/religious threat is powerful and frightening.

K.D. Dowdall shows a mastery of history as well as using convincing dialogue with a welcomed restraint in her description of violence and threat. In all parts of this book, it is well-drawn and carefully crafted.

I will not give any spoilers in this review, but I will say that I recommend this book completely and give it a five star review. If you are a fan of books with a subtle and sophisticated writing style, a fan of mysteries, or a fan of romance, then you will enjoy this wonderful tale.

Please do yourselves a favor, and buy and read this novel!

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Quotations From Reading Lolita In Tehran: A Memoir in Books

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

I have been reading an extraordinary memoir Reading Lolita In Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi. In this wonderful book, Nafisi writes about her experience as a Professor of English Literature in Iran and the women who were her students and whom she taught in secret. Her writing is honest, compelling, and a text that all teachers and professors should read. It is an educational inspiration. I give this excellent book a complete recommendation.

For this post, I want to highlight a few quotations from the book:

“what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.” (3)

“Don’t go chasing after the grand theme, the idea, I told my students, as if it is separate from the story itself. The idea or ideas behind the story must come to you through the experience of the novel and not as something tacked on to it.” (109)

“A novel is not an allegory, I said, as the period was about to come to the end. It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don’t enter that world, hold your breathe with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won’t be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel. That is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience.” (111)

 

Works Cited

Nafisi, Azar. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. Random House. New York.

2004.

 

More Reviews of Maledicus: The Paranormal Investigative Society Book 1

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“I loved this book and could NOT put it down! Written by an English professor, it is an absorbing, addictive story that left me continually wondering what would happen next. (Even while I WAS reading, I had to keep myself from glancing ahead to find out!)
I was once told the earmark of a successful novel is that the author has created characters the reader really cares about, and this certainly was the case for me. I worried about them. Putting the book down made me feel I was abandoning them to their suffering and keeping them in limbo.

Maledicus is clearly a thriller filled with the stark and chilling reality of evil — but, in its delicate balance, I found that it also reassures us of the enduring power of love.”

                                                                                                          Vivien L. Steele

“This is a layered, entertaining tale. Opening the action in ancient Rome gives depth and mystery to the present-day plot. Unlike the protagonists, the reader knows how inhumanly evil Maledicus is from the beginning, which boosts the suspense. And as a Boomer, it was a kick to see three retired gentlemen of varied backgrounds work together, all bound by the losses of loved ones. That adds a touching and sad dimension to interesting characters.”

                                                                                                         Mike Tuggle

 

“This book was recommended to me. Initially, I downloaded the digital sample to my IPad from Amazon. Other people I spoke to who had read it were impressed and one Sunday afternoon this past Fall I decided to check it out. The book is realistic, engrossing and fits well in the horror genre. Before I knew it, I got to the end of the sample and looked up to a totally dark apartment. OMG! The combination of the scariness of the book and my environment caused me to shiver. I was so freaked I had to turn on all the lights in my place.


I have since bought the paperback and reread the whole thing. It’s great escapism and I recommend it if you’re looking for a good scare.”

                                                                                             Amazon Customer

 

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts: A Review

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This spring I had the great pleasure of attending a reading and book signing by Stephanie Powell Watts for her newly release novel No One Is Coming to Save Us. I have been remiss in putting this review up, so I will remedy that situation now.

First I want to say that this book is one of the most important American novels of the last 200 years. As a professor of English Literature, I do not say that lightly. This is a book that will, I hope, be read and reread and taught in college classes for many years to come.

It would be easy to say that her novel is a treatment of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, but it is not. Watts treats similar themes as Fitzgerald does, but she focuses not on the lives of the idle wealthy but on those of poor and working class African-Americans. These are ideas that inform most of humanity, and Watts is brilliant in her take on them. Her writing is lyrical, witty, compelling, and deeply moving.

Watts shows people who want a home and have hopes of family and relationships. She shows the depths of human desires and feelings. This book belongs on the syllabus of those teaching American literature, and it should be read by anyone interested in a deep and moving examination of the souls of human beings.

If we are looking at books in a five star system, then I give this not just five stars but five shining stars.

Please read this novel!

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A New Review of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

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“I highly recommend the book Maledicus by author Charles French. I found it riveting and excellent! Can’t wait for the next one!”

                                                          Kathi Christman Janton

I want to thank Kathi Christman Janton for her wonderful review of my book, which she posted on Facebook.

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

A Few Reviews of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book 1 by Charles F. French

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“Maledicus is sure to be a literary horror classic. I was amazed to find that this story was not at all what I thought it would be. In this telling of good vs. evil, of bravery and self-sacrifice, we see a portrayal of the most constant of human struggles that death often defies through sheer force of will and therein lies the deeper meaning that brought this novel to life by the author, Charles F. French. Concurrently with the demonic theme is a well-thought out philosophical approach to horror, wrapped in an evocative story that will capture your fear and terrify you. This story is abundant with tantalizing details, unforgettable characters, and words that will not only touch your heart and mind, but also take your breath away. It is a completely riveting story with suspense, mystery, horror, bravery, and a great love that transcends time. You will not be able to forget this one. It will haunt you. And, when you read it, you will know why.”

K.D. Dowdall

 

Once I started reading Maledicus I couldn’t put it down! I just finished it and I. HAVE. NO. WORDS… You better be writing a sequel 😀 That was incredible! I actually felt like I was going back in time and travelling through the ages. It was great to see the contrasts of each main character especially since it shows that different backgrounds/opinions can work together to make a great (and lovable) team. The theme of stopping bullies was ever present and really helped develop a great story line. I also loved the romance that was woven throughout the novel and it shows that love is omnipotent and will always conquer evil. I really loved how you intertwined the past with present and dreams with reality. Even the priest was not spared by Maledicus! I truly cannot express how great of a read this was!

Amazon Customer

 

The story is very Stephen King-esque, leading the reader into the minds of the characters and developing a plot line that is both engaging and thought-provoking. The horror and suspense elements make this an absorbing read, and the frequent shifting to various points of view increases the extent to which the novel becomes a page turner. I would definitely recommend the book to anyone looking for an eerie, engrossing read.

Michelle H.

 

Scary story! Love the characters (well, I don’t love Maledicus, of course) and their individual stories….much as one does with a Stephen King novel, you feel like you actually “know” the characters and come to enjoy their company and miss them when the book is over.

Great first book! looking forward to the next installment….”

Jane H.

Thank you to all for the very kind words!

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview