Marlene and Sofia by Pedro Barrento

Marlene & Sofia Review

Marlene & Sofia Review

This is a 5* modern day love story with twists and turns keeping you captivated and enthralled. The back story is of a writer who’s moral fibre is pulled taut by an opportunity but at what cost? The Guild have plans for him; a demand that has never been made before. Pedro skilfully interweaves his tale from this platform to introduce of a group of elderly residents at a retirement home. Restrained by their frailty this eclectic group seize the evolution of the internet to expand their horizons and live out their fantasies in virtual time. Alongside this story we have two working class men. Manuel is elderly and a communist, his political views well known befriends a younger man that is hard working, honest but disenfranchised; their friendship so different from that of the unstable computer genius and the manipulative and controlling banker. Step in their girlfriends; Marlene, wild and free, she takes what she wants, when she wants it without a care for anyone else. Then there is Sofia, a gentle innocent. Reality says that life can be good to people and then again it can be just as cruel. Each one of our characters lives the highs and lows of relationships won and lost and Pedro Barrento has pulled all these characters together into one fantastic tale. A gripping read that I thoroughly recommend.

Pedro Barrento

Pedro Barrento

GUEST BLOG by Sandra Steiner

Sandra Steiner, Guest Blog

Sandra Steiner, Guest Blog

 

I would like to offer a very warm welcome Sandra Steiner who has very kindly offered a ‘blog exchange’.  An inspirational woman in herself, her books have helped people all over the world, inspiring them to create happier futures for themselves through her work. Please take a moment to enjoy Sandra’s blog and follow her work.  Sandra will be publishing my blog on her website today titled “The Madness of Authors” which is a little piece I think you will have fun with, so please, stop by her website and check out my latest blog!

 

 

 

CHERISH THE PAST – EXCERPT

PROLOGUE

Angie sighed. A small smile began to form as she recalled the moments that led up to this incredible feeling. Life was good. No, life was amazing. It hadn’t always been, but today at forty-six, it sure was. She had reached a good space in her life. She was content, in love, at peace with her past, and excited about her future. Tomorrow she was marrying her soul mate. She had nearly given up hoping she would find him. He had actually prayed that she would find him before his birthday. Or so he said, and she had no reason not to believe him.

As she sat on the beach with Candy watching the waves roll in, the memories of a lifetime came crashing in reminding her to cherish the past.

Twenty-nine years earlier

CHAPTER ONE

Angie woke with a smile on her lips, for the last time, in the room of her childhood. The sun was streaming in the window, and the curtains were billowing in the wind. Stretching and slowly opening her eyes, the first thing she saw was her beautiful gown of white. The exquisite lace veil was hanging beside it, and her white sandals were set out with them. Excitement surged through her. Today was their day. The first day of the rest of their lives.  Just like most little girls, she had dreamed and planned her wedding day for years. She had been waiting her entire life for this moment. The wedding plans were made long ago; her dreams and desires of love would now become a reality.

Angie was not quite eighteen. In fact her high school graduation had been just the weekend before. At this moment though, she would rather not think about that night. Alex had disappeared from the grad party, and she had to get her mother to pick her up. She thought he had seemed overly upset the next day when she confronted him about leaving her there. It wasn’t like him to holler at her. Well, sometimes her imagination got the best of her.

Sandra Steiner back cover

Sandra Steiner back cover

Sandra Steiner front cover

Sandra Steiner front cover

ABOUT THE TRILOGY

The trilogy I have written portrays three incredibly strong women who are faced with difficult circumstances in their lives and the journey they went through to overcome them. Spring Island is a fictional place in which they all find comfort and hope in one way or another.

My purpose for writing these books was to offer hope for those who need it….inspiration to carry on in life. If they inspire only one person, I will have been successful.

Please watch for the first book to be released in July 2014 – Cherish the Past.
 Book Two – Live for Today – August 2014
Book Three – Dream for Tomorrow

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sandra completed a Bachelor of Education degree after high school and has been working for the last twenty years in the Accounting field. Becoming a published author has always been a dream. She is a proud mother and grandmother. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia Canada.

Since the death of her teenage daughter in 2004 she has inspired many to think positively and to live life for the moment. Over the years she has motivated many individuals to believe in themselves, and they have encouraged me to write and share my experiences.  She is a strong woman who believes anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

She would like to thank everyone for all their help promoting her books!

Twitter                                   @healing_love

Facebook page                    www.facebook.com/steinerwrite

Facebook                              www.facebook.com/sandrasteiner.21

Blog                                        www.steiner-style.com

AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Cherish-Past-Spring-Island-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00LCRF28U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404136985&sr=8-1&keywords=Cherish+the+past

Top Ten Bucket List of Must Reads

10 must reads

10 must reads

This was a tough one!  Not because I struggled to find 10, but rather more that I struggled to keep it down to so few!  I have tried to mix it up a little: some modern, some not so with a view to keeping heavier books such as Ulysses by James Joyce out of the list (although still a jolly good read).  So here goes.  I thoroughly recommend the following “Top Ten Bucket List of Must Reads

  1. Tears in The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  2. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  3. Cider House Rules by John Irving
  4. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  6. Ancient Evenings by Normal Mailer
  7. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
  8. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  9. Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov
  10. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

I totally expect that you have read most of these but maybe one or two that you haven’t!  Enjoy, my friends and followers and remember to ‘LIKE’ my Satinpaperbacks FB page,  www.facebook.com/Satinpaperbackscom after all, Paulo Coelho did!!

Have a great weekend one and all!

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt with Book Club Discussion Notes

Pulitzer Prize Winner 2014 for Fiction

This is Donna’s first book in eleven years, although previously scheduled for release in 2008, and her third award winning book. Early reviews from the US have praised the novel, with the trade publications Kirkus and Booklist both giving starred reviews. Kirkus describes The Goldfinch as “a standout”  while Booklist comments “Drenched in sensory detail, infused with Theo’s churning thoughts and feelings, sparked by nimble dialogue, and propelled by escalating cosmic angst and thriller action, Tartt’s trenchant, defiant, engrossing, and rocketing novel conducts a grand inquiry into the mystery and sorrow of survival, beauty and obsession, and the promise of art.” Stephen King has also admired the novel writing “Donna Tartt is an amazingly good writer … it’s very good”

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breath taking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

12 Point Book Club Discussion Notes

1. Donna Tartt has said that the Goldfinch painting was the “guiding spirit” of the book. How so—what do you think she meant? What—or what all—does the painting represent in the novel?

2. David Copperfield famously says in the first line of Dickens’s book,

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will beheld by anybody else, these pages must show.

Because of the many comparisons made between Dickens’s work and The Goldfinch, that same question could rightfully be asked by Theo Decker. What do you think—is Theo the “hero” of his own life? What, in fact, does it mean to be the “hero” of a novel?

3. Tartt has said that “reading’s no good unless it’s fun.”

The one quality I look for in books (and it’s very hard to find), but I love that childhood quality of gleeful, greedy reading, can’t-get-enough-of-it, what’s-happening-to-these-people, the breathless kind of turning of the pages. That’s what I want in a book.

In other words, a good book should propel readers from page to page, in part because they care about the characters. Has Tartt accomplished that in The Goldfinch? Did you find yourself rapidly turning the pages to find find out what happens to the characters? Does the story engage you? And do you care about the characters? If so, which ones?

4. How convincingly does Tartt write about Theo’s grief and his survival guilt? Talk about the ways Theo manifests the depth of his loss and his sense of desolation?

5. What do you think of Andy’s family: especially Andy himself and Mrs. Barbour? Are we meant to like the family? Is Mrs. Barbour pleased or resentful  about having to take Theo in. What about the family as it appears later in the book when Theo re-enters its life? Were you surprised at Mrs. Barbour’s reaction to seeing Theo again?

6. Talk about the ways in which the numerous adults at his school try—to no avail, as it turns out—to help Theo work through his grief. If you were one of the grown-ups in Theo’s life, what would you do or say differently to him. Is there anything that can be said?

7. Many reviewers have remarked on Boris as the most inventive and vividly portrayed character in the book. How do you feel? Are you as taken with him as both Theo and book reviewers are? Talk about his influence over Theo—was it for better for worse?

8. Readers are obviously meant to find Theo’s father negligent and irresponsible, a  reprobate. Are you able to identify any redeeming quality in him? What about his girlfriend?

9. Talk about Hobie and how Tartt uses his wood working and restoration as a symbol of his relationship to Theo. How does Theo disappoint him…and why? Theo fears he will, or already has, become like his father. Has he?

10. Tartt asks us to consider whether or not our world is orderly, whether events follow a pattern (which could indicate an underlying meaning), or whether everything that happens is simply random—like the explosion that killed Theo’s mother. What does Theo’s father believe…and what does Theo believe? Do Theo’s views by the end of the story?

11. The book also ponders beauty and art. Why is art so important to the human soul? What are its consolations…and what are its dangers? In what ways can we allow ourselves to be trapped by art or beauty? And HOW does this relate to the Goldfinch, the painting at the heart of this story— a painting of a bird chained to its perch and a painting that Theo clings to for 14 years.

12. What do you think the future holds for Theo? Why do you think Tartt left the book’s conclusion open as to whether he will end up with Pippa or Kitsy?

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

It’s the most extraordinary thing and it happened when I was least expecting it.  A writer has emerged from Australia with all the poetry and beauty in her words that her country exudes by the bucket full.

Burial Rites

Burial Rites

An unlikely topic in which to find such eloquence and beauteous flow, but it is here in the subject of the last application of Capital Punishment that took place in Iceland on January 12, 1830 that Hannah Kent has chosen to launch her debut novel.

The story is centred on the convict Agnes Magnúsdóttir, a farmhand and Friðrik Sigurðsson, a farmer’s son from Katadalur.  Together they were convicted of the crime of murdering two men and for this; they were executed by beheading.

Grim must have been Hannah’s days as she researched the details of the execution methods most commonly used, such as burning at the stake, beheading and drowning.  She would have delved into archives that in shivering detail would have described how men were more commonly beheaded or hung.  That, supposedly-wayward women were lowered into the river directly next to the Law Rock itself with ropes, to either freeze to death or drown.  Because Agnes was accused of killing her lover Nathan, the question of the choice of her execution hangs in the air like frozen stalactites; sharp as a hanging dagger, unanswered and so failing to plunge into the darkness and shatter the peace.

The structure is inspired.  Agnes talks to you in the first person but the other characters in this gripping tale are written in the third person.  The resulting affect is that you can feel, see and hear everything from all sides, all around you.  Her skill is to be admired and thoroughly applauded.  But more than this, it is the very words she uses that bring you to Agnes’ very soul in torment:

“The sagas I know by heart.  I am sinking all I have left and going underwater.  If I speak, it will be in bubbles of air. They will not be able to keep my words for themselves. They will see the whore, the madwoman, the murderess, the female dripping blood into the grass and laughing with her mouth choked with dirt.  They will say ‘Agnes’ and see the spider, the witch caught in the webbing of her own fateful weaving.  They might see the lambs circled by ravens, bleating for a lost mother.  But they will not see me.  I will not be there”.

If you read anything this year then please, read this.  Its hard subject is dealt with so sensitively and with such nurturing care that you will feel as if you are the one gifted with Agnes’ lost life and smile as you greet your day.

Beatrice Forbes Robertson Hale – Family Legend

My great grandmotherBeatrice Forbes Robertson Hale granddaughter of Joseph Knight FRA, daughter to Ian Forbes Robertson, niece to the great Johnston Forbes Robertson and mother to my grandmother Sanchia.  This is my family legend.  But it is not only my legend; because my great grandmother and grandmother wrote a book aptly styled with the same name.  Great names pop out of it all over the place and if you will forgive the name dropping I might hint that George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, Lilly Langtry, Ellen Terry, Mrs Pat Campbell and Henry Irving all make their appearances.  Even my very own idol Oscar Wilde plays a small part of having ‘dandled’ my great grandmother on his knee.

 

The book is however about an era in which the family travailed; about a time when married #Womenwriters were denigrated for dishonoring their husbands by being published.  Why you ask?  Because if a wife brought money into the home by the work of her own hand, then the inference was the husband was too weak to do so.  With this in mind, actresses were often viewed similarly.  The great names as we know them today have been illuminated by the passing of time.  Please do not misunderstand me, they had reputation and were sought out for their company but they were not considered of good breeding! This was also the time of the suffragette movement, and Beatrice passionate about the hope that this might bring to her kindred spirits retired from acting and spoke all of United Kingdom and United States of America on the potential of women having equal voice.  She never condoned the aggressive nature of some of her peers, but spoke of the matters closer to home.  The chance to intellectually interact, to recognize that the female gender had qualities beyond dressing for occasion.  She wrote #WhatWomenWant which became compulsory educational reading.

Oscar Wilde, 1882. I would like to leave you with a few last words from Beatrice herself, never before published:

“Life seems good to me; a chance to view the great Peep-show infinitely worth while.  It is indeed difficult for me to understand why, with so much to learn and see, anyone should not be thankful for the opportunity.  I am glad to have tasted it all, and look forward to a few more years of remembering the past, watching the present and – for the future – Hope lurks always in Pandora’s box.

‘It may be that we cease; we cannot tell.

Even if we cease, life is a miracle.’

Beatrice Forbes Robertson Hale

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3565.Oscar_Wilde

http://www.amazon.com/What-Women-Want-Interpretation-Feminist/dp/B00A790F2C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377515492&sr=1-1&keywords=beatrice+forbes+robertson+-+what+women+want

http://www.stagebeauty.net/th-frames.html?http&&&www.stagebeauty.net/forbes-robertson/forbes-robertson-b.html

 

Words with an Author – Pedro Barrento – The Prince & The Singularity

Pedro staring at the Singularity

Pedro staring at the Singularity

 

The Prince and the Singularity – A Circular Tale is a take on the Creation myth, drawing from different religious and philosophical sources and mixing them in an original, challenging and often very funny way. It is written in a multi-layered format, allowing it to be read both as a simple and entertaining fable and as a deeply philosophical work, full of hidden references and satire.

It’s the story of the Prince aka the Master aka Francis, who is more or less immortal and goes through the millennia fighting Desire and Rejection, the roots of all unhappiness and evil. He always fails until the moment he loses interest and decides to die, which he doesn’t. Instead he gets promoted.

Pedro was born in Mozambique 51 years ago, attended English schools in Lisbon and pursued his education until finishing a degree in Law. When he was around 33, Pedro decided there’s more to life than being a lawyer and tried his hand at various business activities, the most successful of which was a company that produced and managed rock bands. A year ago he decided to pick up again a long-forgotten hobby of his: writing. He started with a blog, mainly dedicated to political satire. Encouraged by the feedback from the blog Pedro then decided to try his hand at a whole book, an effort which resulted in the creation of The Prince and the Singularity – A Circular Tale.

Tell us a little something about yourself as both a person and an author:

I’m a maverick, a loner and someone who loves to think about problems too complicated to ever have a solution. I also have very peculiar beliefs, as I do not believe in the existence of God but I believe in the existence of spiritual dimensions. It’s a very uncomfortable position to be in, because religious people consider me an atheist and atheists just consider me incoherent.

What made you decide to be a writer?

I always wrote short pieces, mainly about political satire, and I have a blog dedicated to that (mostly in Portuguese, though).

One of my satirical pieces, “The Euro Crisis Explained to Grannies”, has now been viewed almost 14.000 times, so I guess at least some people must like it.

I then started having ideas for longer and more complicated stories.

What made you pick this genre to write?

My book is cross genre. It’s a mix of literary fiction with shades of Pratchett humour over a New Age background. I should’ve picked a genre but unfortunately I didn’t, which makes marketing the thing an uphill struggle of Himalayan proportions.

Tell us a little about your latest book.

My idea was to write a book that would simultaneously:

a) be funny (both funny peculiar and funny ha-ha);

b) could be read as a simple story that anyone could understand and appreciate;

c) had several “hidden” layers below the basic story that different people could read differently, depending on their cultural and religious backgrounds;

d) would mix concepts from different religions and philosophies, in a thought-provoking way.

While writing the book, I toyed with the idea of creating three different self-contained stories that could be read in any order whatsoever and would make sense either individually or in connection with the other two, but that proved to be too difficult and I abandoned the concept. As a leftover of that idea, though, chapters 1 to 12 make up a self-contained story of their own.

The book is a reflection of the Great Fusion Era in which we live, where lifestyles, religions, beliefs and economic and political systems are fusing together, with the inherent social confusion and clashes between cultures.

We live in times where people feel insecure and troubled, but these are epic times, the transition between one era and the next one.

The book is a reflection of all that. It fuses concepts from different religions (which has been done before) and, more importantly, it fuses religion with atheism, an exercise most people would consider a logical impossibility.

How do you come up with your ideas?

You’re going to think I’m completely nuts, but I believe all books are already written, in some other dimension. Writers get their stories when they somehow connect to that other dimension. As no writer is capable of receiving a whole book, what happens is that they receive some parts and then fill in the missing parts with their mind. The more parts they “receive”, the better writers they are. The parts they “fill in” tend to be the weakest bits of their books.

That’s what happened with my book. I suddenly “saw” parts of the story, usually in situations where I was totally relaxed and thinking of nothing in particular, especially while swimming or driving a car.

I wrote down those parts, which came in a non-sequential way (Ch.1, Ch.2,  Ch. 12, then Ch.9, etc). The book has 27 chapters. In the end, I had big chunks of the book written down and I had some parts missing in several places in the middle. Those parts I wrote with my mind, just trying to connect what had been “received”, if you may call it that way.

I have very little hope that you’ll believe my version of how the book was written but I can assure you it’s the truth.

Also the writing process was very odd, because on top of being non-sequential, I started by writing a draft in Portuguese, then someone translated that draft into English, then I rewrote the English translation because I thought it had lost the right “feel”. Afterwards I finished writing the book in English, meaning that 30.000 words were written in Portuguese, translated, rewritten by me and then 14.500 words were added directly in English. I then had to translate the part that was written in English into my own language, which is a very odd situation.

Is there someone in particular you would like to thank for supporting you through this process?

Lynn Curtis (http://www.lynncurtis.co.uk/), my editor and literary consultant must come first and foremost. In fact, I believe that calling her a literary consultant is an offense. She is a living goddess, no less.

Teresa Frederico, the person who revised the Portuguese version is also someone who deserves a HUGE “thank you”, especially as she did it for free (well, I promised her untold riches if the book is successful). I’d also like to thank Sandro Marques for several suggestions made while I was writing the initial Portuguese draft. Fernanda Gil and Paula Soto Maior have also helped in the graphic department, with several sketches for covers which unfortunately ended up not being used.

Tell us one positive thing that has happened to you since you published your book(s).

People have finally stopped seeing me as a lawyer (which I hated) and now see me as a writer (which is a lot sexier)

Tell us one negative thing that has happened to you since you published your book(s).

I’ll tell you something that happened before I published the book.

I tested it extensively on several sites, especially on “authonomy.com” and I found out that writing a book which mixes sources from different cultures is a very delicate process. To my (probably naïve) astonishment, in the beginning, I was getting raving reviews from readers of Asian origin and very mixed reviews from American readers, which ranged from “great book” to “you’ll burn in hell”. I reached the conclusion that the “you’ll burn in hell” readers just weren’t understanding the book.

I then added a Prologue, to make the book easier to understand to readers less familiarised with some of the philosophies involved and after that I’m glad to say I’ve stopped receiving “hate mail”.

Give us your links to learn more about you and your book

The book is available both as a paper book and an ebook on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, etc., and all those sites allow you to read a sample.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Pedro+Barrento

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Pedro+Barrento

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/276675

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17348467-the-prince-and-the-singularity—a-circular-tale

The Wasp Factory – by Iain Banks

Before I begin I should point out that the Wasp Factory by Iain Banks is one of his most early works after his transition from an anticipated future in Sci Fi writing to mainstream script.  Iain adored Science Fiction believing it be in his own words “the examplar arena of the unfettered imagination”.  He goes on to say “The Wasp Factory represented to me admitting partial defeat, heaving a slightly theatrical sigh, stepping reluctantly away from the gaudy wall-size canvasses of science/space fiction to lay down my oversize set of Rolf Harris paint rollers, pick up a set of brushes thinner than pencils and – jaw set, brows furrowed – lower myself to using a more restricted palette and produce what felt like a miniature in comparison.”  And so as we go on to read the story set before us, we can see a talent raw & brash but heavily laden with emerging talent.

And so it is with this foreknowledge that I go on to say that I was mildly shocked by Iain’s interpretation of a teenage mind.  The brutality and psychotic coldness is startling and yet he has drip fed such depth into the character that you almost, and I do say so reservedly, feel some sympathy for Frank Cauldhame.  I think the ‘blurb’ on the book doesn’t prepare you for the journey that it takes you on, but that shouldn’t deter you from taking that first step.  It is still a most worthy book to spend time with and almost actively watch our author grow into his mainstream style.

Ian McEwan – Sweet Tooth

Published on 9th May 2013 this will be a cracking read for the book clubs.  It has everything you need to grip you, get you thinking and most importantly question the character’s judgement.  the blurb on the book says:

“A web of spying, subterfuge, deceit and betrayal…Acute, witty …winningly cunning”. (“Sunday Times”). The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. Britain is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism. Serena Frome, in her final year at Cambridge, is being groomed for MI5. Serena is sent on a secret mission – Operation Sweet Tooth – which brings her into the world of Tom Haley, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? And who is inventing whom? To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage – trust no one.

If you would like to see this one on our listings, drop us a line… let me know.

SatinPaperbacks moves her personal library…

You’d think I was trying to move www.amazon.co.uk library and not my own at the size of the darn thing.. and why is it that spiders like my dusty old pages?  Oh yes, I have some very old books indeed that I love to roam in on a quiet day.

 

You can see it now, cross legged on the floor, coffee to my right and musty old tombs all around me.  I open one and a halo of dust blesses the next adventure we’re about to take.

 

That’s the dream when I think about moving my library.  The truth is a little different!  Me and my paper friends snuggle together tightly as I carry my treasured parcels from one room to another.  Me barely breathing, and I swear the books feel the same.  What if I carry too many and the pressure breaks an ancient leather spine? I’ve been known to weep at the sight of a beautiful spin broken and shattered in its cracked old skin.  And that’s only half the story, because the library shelves aren’t ready for them and so this is only half the journey.

 

And half the tale….