March TBR: The Last Empress

For the month of March, we are to read a “Historical romance or fiction or mystery” and my choice is the sequel to Empress Orchid by Anchee Min, which I read for another TBR challenge some three years ago. My fascination with history doesn’t just stop at wars, knights, and myths.  A large part of the curiosity has to do with the roles women play in those olden days.  Take the rare few female monarchs for example, Queen Elizabeth, Wu Ze Tian, Cleopatra, and the controversial Empress Cixi (Tzu Hsi), the kind of power play, politics and sacrifices they were inevitably drawn into sure make them intriguing figures to study.

last_empressThe Last Empress, written in first person, traces the trials and heartaches the young widowed Empress Cixi experienced in trying to raise her young son, the heir to a doomed kingdom which has barely recovered from a damaging Opium War with several power hungry European nations.

Now, in our part of the world, Cixi has always been portrayed, in drama, movies and TV serials, as a stern, insecure matriarch who refused to cede authority and government of the country over to her sons, first Emperor Tung Chih, and then Guang Hsu.

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Book Review: Blinding Light and A Walk to Remember

My trepidation when it comes to male authors is well documented on this blog, particularly when it comes to the genre of romance. I believe I’ve categorically dismissed male authors as romance writers largely because they tend to be more narrative than descriptive in their story-telling.

Book Review: Blinding Light and A Walk to Remember

Well, after reading Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember, I take that back. For that’s how he told the simple, sweet tale of small town romance … using straight forward narrative. And it worked so well he had me shedding tears.
Told in first person through the voice of Landon Carter recalling through flash black how he met and fell in love with the terminally ill Jamie Sullivan, the local pastor’s only daughter, readers get to witness the beauty, purity and power of first love. The book was inspired by the author’s sister, and truly deserves the rave and praises it has received since fist published in 1998.

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Tuesdays with Albom

Over the last five Tuesdays I spent reading Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom had me reduced to a weepy, maudlin woman, whose eyes mist over every touching line she reads.

Tuesdays with AlbomI had already been forewarned by my colleague, “You’ll cry over the book.” she said.  So, I thought I could harden my heart and just breeze through the book. But there’s no way you can escape the heartrending and sincere narration of Albom’s last few months at his college professor’, Morrie Schwartz’s side, learning life’s greatest mysteries and simplest truths.

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Touched by Albom in June

This month, we’re supposed to read a book that was recommended by someone I know (another blogger, author, friend, family member) or that got a lot of buzz.

Touched by Albom in June

Prior to joining the challenge, I’ve already heard a lot about Mitch Albom  from some friends and my brother. What’s more, a friend from work gave me Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven as Christmas gifts last year. When Angie came up with this challenge, I immediately earmarked this for June’s challenge.

Title: The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Author: Mitch Albom

Year published: 2003

Why did you get this book?

I’ve been hearing about this from friends and family, and besides, since it was given to me as a Christmas gift, I simply have to read it.

Do you like the cover?

The simple cover of the book belies the profound wisdom found inside its pages.

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