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Ambrosia's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine
tagged: currently-reading
At the King's Pleasure
tagged: currently-reading

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Rating System:
Don't Bother

Photobucket It's okay but could miss it

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2017 Reading Challenge

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Posted by on March 25, 2017

Voltaire said, “Machiavelli taught Europe the art of war; it had long been practiced, without being known.” For Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), war was war, and victory the supreme aim to which all other considerations must be subordinated. The Art of War is far from an anachronism—its pages outline fundamental questions that theorists of war continue to examine today, making it essential reading for any student of military history, strategy, or theory. Machiavelli believed The Art of War to be his most important work.

When people hear the name Niccolò Machiavelli they tend to think of The Prince, it is by far his most well known book, but certainly not his only one. Machiavelli was a hugely prolific writer and although only a few ( I don’t know the exact number off the top of my head) of his works were published in his life time but thankfully we have his works now.

Other people hear the name Niccolò Machiavelli and think of immorality and many other unkind thoughts because of the way his work is. So, well Machiavellian.

A third group will hear the name Niccolò Machiavelli and think of this guy:

Okay, perhaps a shameless excuse to use a picture in my review, something I don’t usually do. Anyways, I digress.

I have always enjoyed reading Machiavelli, yes, he is a little dark overall. However, within that darkness is an honest look at the human condition and all that comes with it. Most think of a completely different book when they think of The Art of War and so perhaps they they have some disappointment in this book because of that. This is one book that has been sitting on my TBR for a while and was one that I did not read before now.

The Art of War by Niccolò Machiavelli is like any of his works an insightful look and for me another great read. It takes a solid look at military maneuvers and the history of them. If you like reading military works this is a book that you shouldn’t skip IMO. This one ranks up there with Caesars’s Gallic wars for me. The theory and strategies that are brought up in this book is just as relevant today as it was when first written down. As much as I enjoyed another solid classic, this book also makes me a little bit sad. That sadness comes from looking at just how little the world has changed in all of this time. We are still highly war driven as a race and I suspect that will never change and so we will always need books like this.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on March 21, 2017

 

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

I ended up getting distracted last week by an Audio book of Sherlock Holmes and can admit I am being to lazy to transcribe a quote from it. LOL sorry. I am still reading The Time Machine though so another quote from that won’t be terrible right?

“It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.”
― H.G. Wells, The Time Machine



Posted by on March 20, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEKS RANDOM QUESTION: I am going to stick with the theme I started with Sunday Salon for a moment. I hope no one minds. What do think of fairy tales in general? The book versions and their movie counter parts?

With all the live action movies coming out fairy tales are on the mind again for me. I love them and for me while I love the Disney take I really love to read the books that they come from. The books are of course always darker and that is some of the fun. Like the Snow Queen or The little Mermaid (two favs) for me. Although later this year a new version of The Little Mermaid is coming that is a (closer to the) book version vs. Disney so that is going to be fun.

Maybe I have a dark sense of humor like some friends say..I do love Into the Woods after all..lol

Have a Happy Monday!



Posted by on March 19, 2017


Oh, what a week it has been. There have been ups and there have been downs, but it has been an interesting week to be sure. For once I am ahead on my reading challenge for the year so that is something to be excited about. I won’t get to braggy about it though ,because I know how easily I can fall behind again *LOL*

Beauty and the Beast was the big talk of the week and who can blame me or anyone else right? As a kid Belle was the Disney Princess I understood the most, well, okay Jasmine for having the pet tiger, but Belle loved to read and everyone in her town thought she was odd. She was also a brunette (hey that made a difference to me) and so while I loved so many of the Disney animations I grew up with if you forced me to pick the one Princess when I was younger that I felt was most be it would be Belle. I still understand Belle a great deal though I feel I have moved a bit into an Elsa and Belle mix, but you don’t need me to babble on about that.

 

So Beauty and the Beast.. stunning production value’s and it stayed true to the Disney classic that we all know and love while also fixing a few things that as kid’s you might not notice as much but as an adult. Make you go well… now don’t get me wrong, I don’t try and nit pick animations because sometimes you should just be able to sit back and enjoy a movie for what it is. I mean it has singing objects and a rose that glows, you shouldn’t have to nitpick every little thing. Alas, it is human nature to pick at a few things right? So attempting to not give any major spoilers (but really it is very, very close to the original animation story) I am going to take my Sunday to happily applaud the things that were my nit picking moments as an adult that this beautiful live action version has adjusted. The most beautiful thing about it for me is that these changes were just soft, subtle and executed so well it felt natural as it should.

Nitpick #1: In the animation the curse has been in effect for 10 years by the time we come into the story and the Prince must find true love by his 21st birthday or that’s it for everyone. Think about that for a second. Yeah the enchantress essentially dropped a big curse on a kid for being a bit of a snot. Given the time period, well aristocratic kids could be snots. That has been one of the things that bugged me as I became an adult who loves history. Like come on Lady. The simple correction? The Prince is an adult when he is cursed and oh, he deserves it too, sure does and they simply remove any mention of the exact timeline. Simple, nice and still keeps things essentially the same.

Nit pick #2: The rose. I love roses and I have always loved the rose ( loved ones have often called me Irish rose over my lifetime) but I never really understood as an adult why a rose. Why not a lily or any other flower there is? The rose is give more significance in the live action film and I appreciate that. Sure, it is a small thing, but I have always felt as if the rose was a character in its own right. The tie in’s that have been made just kind of make it all fit together nicer and gives the Rose true significance and importance to Belle, her Father and the Beast. Yay!

Nitpick #3: How could an entire town forget about a Prince? Even as a kid, this one bothered me a bit. Even more so as an adult, especially given the time period this is supposed to be in. The likelihood of an entire province forgetting about their Prince is like.. just not going to happen. Yes, I know talking teapots don’t really happen either, but I have acknowledge I am being nit picky. Another simple, subtle touch, however, explained it perfectly. As the curse befell the Prince, his castle, his loyal servants and the general area around the castle it also touched the people in town. It took their memory of the Castle, The Prince and the Servants away. Easy and goes in perfectly with what a curse really should do.

Nitpick #4: Education or lack of. So I know again a kids movie they couldn’t go into all the big details and what not, but why was the beast so…..well completely ill mannered and not always so smart in the animation? I know nobility doesn’t mean smart, but at the time a boy of his standing would have had some serious education. The table manners aside (hey look at the hands he can be forgiven and its cute anyways) it is nice to see the Prince using his brain like a Prince. Sure, he can be beastly with it (the point I believe is a commentary on how nobility of the time could be very beastly) but he has a princely bearing about him even as a beast. Moreover, the library he has read many of the books and that is how he and Belle really begin to bond. That one gets two happy thumbs up from me.

Nitpick #5: How the heck did Belle get the Beast onto the horse?! Yeah, even my younger brain was curious about that one. Not that women can’t be strong, but come on he would have been massive dead weight and to hoist him up on a horse?!! Yeah….the most simple fix of them all. Belle simply asks him to help her and stand up. Well, there ya go, one line and all fixed.

So there are my nit picks and happy feelings if you ever wanted to know over Beauty and the Beast, lol. I know this one isn’t the most book related of my Sunday Salon’s but Beauty and the Beast was taken from the fairy tale book  La Belle et la Bête by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve so it counts right?

I am just going to go and spin around and sing some songs again as I get ready for the week ahead. Sometimes it is fun to take a moment to feel like a kid again right?

 



Posted by on March 17, 2017

A fresh, humorous, and timely YA novel about two teens conceived via in vitro fertilization who go in search for answers about their donor.

Milo has two great moms, but he’s never known what it’s like to have a dad. When Milo’s doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo’s extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he’s always wondered about.

Hollis’s mom Leigh hasn’t been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis’s half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died.

Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family

First, I would like to say a thank you to Net Galley for giving me this book as an ARC to read. I was very excited about the approval, my opinions, however, as always are my own.

I wanted to like this book more than I did, that is not to say it was terrible, but for me it just hit a middle ground road for me. The concept of this book and the overall plot was very good and interesting. The idea of a family that has two siblings whom were conceived by sperm donors. Wanting to know where you come from is a very human emotion. Even those of us who know who both of our parents are often wishing to know more, to dig back into the past and find it all out. For that I applaud this book and for the message that it gives throughout it is wonderful and that is where most the 3 rating comes from me.

Where it fell short for me is that much of it just feels incomplete. There were places where the book could have gone deeper found another level. SO overall ,I am just a little on the fence with this one, it was a good enough read, but not one I am likely to pick up again. I might take a look at future works from the author though all the right things were there just put together a little wrong.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on March 15, 2017

When he was a boy in Henning, Tennessee, Alex Haley’s grandmother used to tell him stories about their family—stories that went back to her grandparents, and their grandparents, down through the generations all the way to a man she called “the African.” She said he had lived across the ocean near what he called the “Kamby Bolongo” and had been out in the forest one day chopping wood to make a drum when he was set upon by four men, beaten, chained and dragged aboard a slave ship bound for Colonial America.

Still vividly remembering the stories after he grew up and became a writer, Haley began to search for documentation that might authenticate the narrative. It took ten years and a half a million miles of travel across three continents to find it, but finally, in an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work, he discovered not only the name of “the African”–Kunta Kinte—but the precise location of Juffure, the very village in The Gambia, West Africa, from which he was abducted in 1767 at the age of sixteen and taken on the Lord Ligonier to Maryland and sold to a Virginia planter.

Haley has talked in Juffure with his own African sixth cousins. On September 29, 1967, he stood on the dock in Annapolis where his great-great-great-great-grandfather was taken ashore on September 29, 1767. Now he has written the monumental two-century drama of Kunta Kinte and the six generations who came after him—slaves and freedmen, farmers and blacksmiths, lumber mill workers and Pullman porters, lawyers and architects—and one author.

But Haley has done more than recapture the history of his own family. As the first black American writer to trace his origins back to their roots, he has told the story of 25,000,000 Americans of African descent. He has rediscovered for an entire people a rich cultural heritage that slavery took away from them, along with their names and their identities. But Roots speaks, finally, not just to blacks, or to whites, but to all people and all races everywhere, for the story it tells is one of the most eloquent testimonials ever written to the indomitably of the human spirit.

As I have mentioned before in a small handful of reviews there are some books that will stay with you forever. I first read roots in High School and it has stayed with me since that time. It was not however, until 2017 that I actually picked it up again. With the excitement about the new mini series event it was hard not to pick this one up and see how I handled it now as an adult.

The book is still as it should be horrifying. What was done to a wonderful and amazing people should never have been done. Slavery the way it came to be in America is, there really are no words to properly state how I feel. I have always known it was bad but sometimes you have to look with the eyes of someone who has lived life a little longer to truly understanding just how bad. Kunta Kinte is a charismatic character that simply can’t be denied you feel his feelings and you truly seem as if you are right there with him as so much changes in his life.

I know there have been accusations that Haley plagiarized some of the book and I can’t say one way or another as I have not yet researched that. If he did, well shame on him I will never hold with stealing another writers work. With that said, I simply can’t knock the book down any ratings. I truly love and abhor this book all in one. I feel that abhorrence because of what was done to people, human beings being treated worse then animals and bred just like cattle or horses. Roots does and always will shine a light onto something that we American’s should never forget. It is a shameful thing that was done, but we must learn from history. So even if Haley did lift work from other authors the book for me still stands up as a meaningful must read.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on March 14, 2017

 

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

“We should strive to welcome change and challenges, because they are what help us grow. With out them we grow weak like the Eloi in comfort and security. We need to constantly be challenging ourselves in order to strengthen our character and increase our intelligence. ”
― H.G. Wells, The Time Machine



Posted by on March 13, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEKS RANDOM QUESTION: Do you post book reviews right after you finish the book? Or do you wait a while so you can fully digest it before posting a review?

I wish I could say I was cut and dry on how I post reviews, but I am all over the place! As we saw I posted my last one from 2016 in 2017, well into it. LOL. I usually try to be somewhat prompt on my reviews with a book, but I will take some time to think about it. Of course, doing that will often mean I get distracted with the other million things I end up doing.

With all of the above said, if there is a book that I am just really, really excited about and head over heels for in love with. Well of course I have a habit of running right to my keyboard and hammering out a review while its clear and I am still buzzing with the excitement. Sometimes I will be so angry at a book I will do the same, LOL. So which do you prefer?

Have a Happy Monday!



Posted by on March 7, 2017

 

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

“I shook so that it was some time before I realized that he was shaking too, and for the same reason. I don’t know how long we sat there on the dusty floor, crying in each others arms with the longing of twenty years spilling down our faces.”
― Diana Gabaldon, Voyager



Posted by on March 6, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEKS RANDOM QUESTION:If you could be best friends with an author, who would you choose and why?

For me this is a tough one there are so many different Authors that I like. That said I would pick Mark Twain. He is a relation on down the family line and I really love his books. I think it would be fun to talk to him about things and learn about his sense of humor in person.

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