Categories
Guest author post

#Guestauthor Uvi Poznansky (@UviPoznansky) The David Chronicles and The Music of Us. Art and stories

Hi all:

You know on Fridays I like to bring you guest authors and new books. I realised, after author and artist Uvi Poznansky was so kind as to feature me as a guest in her blog (check here, and don’t forget to follow her blog for her news and her great features) that although I’d shared some of her books when she’d featured them as part of collections with several authors, she’d never been a guest in her own right, and I thought it was about time.

Here she is:

Author Uvi Poznansky
Author Uvi Poznansky

Uvi Poznansky is a California-based author, poet and artist.

She earned her B. A. in Architecture and Town Planning from the Technion in Haifa, Israel. During her studies and in the years immediately following her graduation, she practiced with an innovative Architectural firm, taking a major part in the large-scale project, ‘Home for the Soldier’; a controversial design that sparked fierce public debate.

At the age of 25 Uvi moved to Troy, N.Y. with her husband and two children. Before long, she received a Fellowship grant and a Teaching Assistantship from the Architecture department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she guided teams in a variety of design projects; and where she earned her M.A. in Architecture. Then, taking a sharp turn in her education, she earned her M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.

During the years she spent in advancing her career–first as an architect, and later as a software engineer, software team leader, software manager and a software consultant (with an emphasis on user interface for medical instruments devices)–she wrote and painted constantly, and exhibited in Israel and California. In addition, she taught art appreciation classes. Her versatile body of work can be seen online at uviart.com. It includes bronze and ceramic sculptures, oil and watercolor paintings, charcoal, pen and pencil drawings, and mixed media.

Here is her page in Amazon (don’t forget to follow):

http://amzn.to/1oBj4Fn

http://amzn.to/1QAj0MJ

And if you want to know more and connect here a few more links:

She has a great collection of books, The David Chronicles, all around the figure of King David (that as you know has always intrigued me)

Book one in the series is FREE

Rise to Power by Uvi Poznansky
Rise to Power by Uvi Poznansky

Rise to Power (The David Chronicles Book 1) by Uvi Poznansky

Here is the story of David as you have never heard it before: from the king himself, telling the unofficial version, the one he never allowed his court scribes to recount. In his mind, history is written to praise the victorious—but at the last stretch of his illustrious life, he feels an irresistible urge to tell the truth. In the first volume, Rise to Power, David gives you a fascinating account of his early years, culminating with a tribal coronation. Rooted in ancient lore, his is a surprisingly modern memoir.

In an era of cruelty, when destroying the enemy is deemed a sacred directive, the slayer of Goliath finds a way to become larger than life. His search for a path to power leads him in ways that are, at times, scandalous. Notorious for his contradictions, David is seen by others as a gifted court entertainer, a successful captain in Saul’s army, a cunning fugitive, a traitor leading a gang of felons, and a ruthless raider of neighboring towns who leaves no witnesses behind.

How does he see himself, during this first phase of his life? With his hands stained with blood, can he find an inner balance between conflicting drives: his ambition for the crown, his determination to survive the conflict with Saul, and his longing for purity, for a touch of the divine, as expressed so lyrically in his psalms and music?

If you like ancient historical fiction about court intrigue, this king David novel has a modern twist like no book you have read before.

Links

ebook print audio

 

Go and get it! Here is a preview!

A Peek at Batsheeba by Uvi Poznansky
A Peek at Batsheeba by Uvi Poznansky

A Peek at Bathsheba (The David Chronicles Book 2)

by Uvi Poznansky

 

Against the backdrop of wars, raging within the land and without, David is growing into the mantle of leadership. Between his anointment as a tribal king and his anointment as the king of all of Israel, he uses wisdom, cunning, and his own understanding of the forces of history, aiming for high ideals: stopping the bloodshed, uniting the nation, and bringing about healing and peace.

But then, having reached his peak, David falters. He makes a serious error that threatens to undo his political success, and cost him not only the adoration of his people—but also the sense of being sustained by a divine power. That error is the most torrid tale of passion ever told: his deliciously forbidden love for Bathsheba, followed by his attempt to cover up the ensuing scandal by sending her husband—who serves him faithfully in his army—to his death.

This standalone novel is volume II of The David Chronicles. It is told candidly by the king himself. David uses modern language, indicating that this is no fairytale. Rather, it is a story that is happening here and now. Listen to his voice as he undergoes a profound change, realizing the magnitude of his sin, and the curse looming over his entire future.

If you like ancient historical fiction about court intrigue, this king David novel has a modern twist like no book you have read before. And among forbidden love books, this one stands alone.

Links

ebook print audio

 

Here a preview:

And book 3

The Edge of Revolt by Uvi Poznansky
The Edge of Revolt by Uvi Poznansky

The Edge of Revolt (The David Chronicles Book 3) by Uvi Poznansky

Struggling to find the right balance between loving his sons and upholding justice, David is silent when Amnon rapes his daughter, Tamar, and when Absalom lures Amnon to his death. These crimes go unpunished, because a mysterious change has come upon the king, which his court scribes note even before he does. In the past he had to explain his actions, such as the affair with Bathsheba, to them. Now, they want to understand the opposite thing: his lack of action.

In families other than his, such matters may be a mere matter of gossip. Yet when assault, incest, and murder occur in the king’s family, they affect matters of the state. David is toppled from his throne, and must escape from the son he adores, Absalom.

Even as he finds a way to quell the revolt and come back to the City of David, the road ahead seems unclear. How will he find the right successor amongst his remaining sons, the one who will connect to him and continue his legacy?

This standalone novel is volume III of The David Chronicles. It is told candidly by the king himself. David uses modern language, indicating that this is no fairytale. Rather, it is a story that is happening here and now. Each volume can be read as a standalone novel. Taken together, they put you in the skin of the character from youth to old age.

Links

ebook print

 

Here the preview:

The David Chronicles

If you want the whole series:

http://amzn.to/1oBjZWl

http://amzn.to/1oBk10l

David Chronicles boxed

Or the boxed set

http://amzn.to/1QAje6n

I’m always amazed at the fact that she has created her own covers (yes, she’s an artist for sure) as I love them all.

Uvi also has a new audio out:

The Music of Us Audiobook
The Music of Us Audiobook

The Music of Us: Still Life with Memories, Book 3 Audible – Unabridged

Uvi Poznansky (Author, Publisher), Don Warrick (Narrator)

In 1970, Lenny can no longer deny that his wife is undergoing a profound change. Despite her relatively young age, her mind succumbs to forgetfulness. Now, he goes as far back as the moment he met Natasha, when he was a soldier and she a star, brilliant yet illusive. Natasha was a riddle to him then, and to this day, with all the changes she has gone through, she still is.

Digging into the past, mining its moments, trying to piece them together this way and that, dusting off each memory of Natasha, of how we were, the highs and lows of the music of us, to find out where the problem may have started?

To their son, Ben, that may seem like an exercise in futility. For Lenny, it is a necessary process of discovery, one that is as tormenting as it is delightful. He often wonders: can we ever understand, truly understand each other – soldier and musician, man and woman, one heart and another? Will we ever again dance together to the same beat? Is there a point where we may still touch?

http://amzn.to/1oBk7VZ

If yo prefer to check the whole series in book format, you can go here:

Still Live with Memories three books series
Still Live with Memories three books series

Still Life with Memories (3 Book Series) Kindle Edition

From Book 1: Ten years ago, when she was seventeen, Anita started an affair with Lenny, in spite of knowing that he was a married man. Now married to him and carrying his child, she finds herself condemned to compete with Natasha’s shadow, the memory of her brilliance back in her prime, before she succumbed to early-onset Alzheimer’s. Despite Anita’s lack of education, her rough slang, and what happened to her in the past, Lenny tries to transform her. He wants her to become Natasha.

Faced with his compelling wish, and the way he writes her as a character in his book, how can Anita find a voice of her own? And when his estranged son, Ben, comes back and lives in the same small apartment, can she escape the love triangle? Can she keep the balance between the two men, whose desire for her is marred by guilt and blame?

Do you like historical fiction about the 20th century, especially when it is tinged with a family saga romance and wrapped with a second change in love with a strong female lead? Then this series, Still Life with Memories, is for you.

http://amzn.to/1QAj3be

http://amzn.to/1QAj137

And links to each one of the books in the series:

Vol I My Own Voice ebook print audio

Vol II The White Piano ebook print audio

Vol III The Music of Us ebook print audio
Vol I+II Apart from Love ebook print audio

There are a few more books by Uvi you can check, and I recommend you follow her everywhere and check her art, poems and books.

Thanks so much to Uvi Poznansky for being my guest today and bringing us such great books, thanks to all of you for reading, and don’t forget to like, share, comment and CLICK!

Categories
Book reviews

A few more #Bookreviews: Nirvana (2nd), The Secret Chord and Satin Island.

Hi all:

Happy New Year!

I thought I’d start the year sharing some reviews that I’ve shared elsewhere (Lit World Interviews) but just in case you hadn’t seen them, I felt I should try and share them here too. These are all very different books, but books that I’ve enjoyed and I hope you can find one you like the sound of.

The first one, Nirvana, is a very special case, as I read an ARC copy over the summer, and then was offered the final version to review again by the publishers. Here is the original post.

Nirvana by J.R.Stewart
Nirvana by J.R.Stewart

Nirvana by J. R. Stewart. Revised version and revised review. Still about bees, and virtual reality, less grief and politics.

Thanks to the publishers (Blue Moon Publishers) and Net Galley for providing me with a new copy of the revised version of the novel.

Let me explain why I’m reviewing this novel for the second time. Nirvana was gifted to reviewers in Net Galley and it garnered many reviews. I was one of the people who downloaded it and reviewed it over the late summer and published a review, aware that the book would not be published officially until later. The site offers you a chance to be kept informed or contacted by publishers with news about the authors and I said I’d be interested. I had a member of the PR department for the publishing company contact me and ask me if I’d be interest in reading the revised version. I was curious and they obliged and sent me the book.

It took me a while to get around to it but when I did I was surprised by how much it had changed. Rather than a revision it was a full rewrite. The story is about a dystopian future where the bees have died, and with them most of the plants and animals. The ‘Hexagon’ controls everybody’s lives, food and entertainment have become big businesses, and virtual reality is the only way people can experience life as it was, but this is also monitored, and very expensive. The really rich can live in a virtual reality paradise, called The Bubble, and there are several in different countries (although the story is set in Canada, near Toronto). Nirvana is the virtual reality system where the protagonist (Larissa Kenders) works and it has been created in its majority by her live-in boyfriend Andrew. Andrew disappears and the authorities tell Kenders he is dead. But he keeps appearing to her whilst she is in Nirvana, and although initially she thinks he is just a virtual reality creation, soon she realises that’s not the case. The rest of the book becomes her attempt at following the clues he gives her to retrieve something hidden but very important to the future of humanity whilst trying to remain alive. It’s difficult to know who she can trust and there are traps and conspiracies everywhere.

The novel now fits more neatly within the YA/NA dystopian genre. The story is told only from the point of view of the protagonist, Larissa Kenders, and in the first person present. It is told chronologically, and that avoids some of the confusion of the previous version. It also allows for a closer identification with the main character, and the reader gets to know more about her, about her activism and how her music was always socially conscious (even if she later realises things weren’t as she thought and she might have been playing into the hands of the big corporations). She is younger than in the previous book, although I wasn’t clear of the timeframe, as she’s supposed to be still 17, bus she has been engaged in campaigns in the past, is a famous singer, and has known Andrew, studied at university and visited many places with him before the Earth became practically a desert. It’s true though, that it falls with the genre’s convention that young protagonists seem to have lived several normal lives by the time we get to meet them.

It is easier to empathise with Kenders in this version and we also get to see more of her relationship with Andrew before he disappears. There are bad characters clearly delineated, some heroic ones (more so because doubts were cast upon them), and a more optimistic outlook. It ends with a big hook and the chase starts again, as it should in a series.

Sadly I missed what I had noted in my first review as perhaps not fitting in the genre. I liked the disquisitions about physics and musical theory that have not disappeared, and there is much less emphasis on the politics and funding of research (it is mentioned, but in passing). Perhaps the author will write, at some point, the book that according to her biographical note she had thought of writing, looking at the truth hidden behind the virtual reality industry and research. I’ll be waiting.

In summary, this is solid YA book, with romance, angst, chases, mystery, a strong, talented and intelligent female character, and an interesting world with a strong ecological theme and a warning. Look after the bees and the Earth before all you have left is just a holographic image and your memories.

Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Nirvana-Book-1-J-R-Stewart-ebook/dp/B014LLM1XW/

Here an excerpt just in case:

“It worked!” Andrew rubs my hands together. “How did it feel?”

Even though a strong pressure is still pushing on my head, I assure him, “Like a cooling sensation running throughout my body. As if someone turned a tap on.”

Andrew’s use of an implanted, microscopic wireless device that links neural activity directly to electronic circuitry still needs some tweaking. He’s always pushing the envelope for this virtual reality system, and he keeps any changes close to his belt until he’s completely beta tested everything, so we are the guinea pigs.

Not that I mind–everyone has some kind of nanotechnology in their body–but we are the only ones who have them in our brains. Nanobots are used within circulatory systems to destroy tumours and regulate blood pressure, but Andrew’s research takes science beyond medical treatment. Andrew is the head programmer for Nirvana, sohe can do things differently. Usually this kind of research would be conducted on lab animals, but that’s where my influence has changed his procedures.

“Look at me.” His brown eyes search mine. “You can see everything?”

I nod. And then I do a short dance to test every limb, all a part of our startup procedure.

Nirvana is a refuge from the real world, which has growing complications regarding the stability of our environment and life in general, not to mention a crumbling economy and massive unemployment rate. It’s Hexagon’s virtual reality system, a way they keep the populace placated and appeased while they exert absolute rule and control.

While it’s a difficult time in the world for many people, I can still eek out a living as a musician. People need entertainment and an escape, and although we don’t have the glitzy concert venues of the past, we still offer music in the dreary concrete halls of bunker complexes.

In Nirvana, however, things are different. Programmers code at a fast pace to recreate the world as it once was. They pull in images, video feeds, and audio to superimpose into a virtual world that feels as real as the one we knew just a few years ago, before the Extinction happened.

Ah, and if you fancy reading the article in Lit World Interviews that has both reviews, here it is.

As you know I love Net Galley and there are some true gems one can find there. Here, first, a book I loved.

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks. A fascinating King David, warts and all.

Thanks to Net Galley and to Little Brown Books UK for offering me a free copy of The Secret Chord in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve always thought that the Bible, the Old Testament in particular, is full of fantastic stories, and there are very few plots you won’t find there. Fratricide: check. Murder: check. Incest: check. Adultery: check. Epic disasters: check. Wars: check. Love: check. Magic and miracles: check. Battle of Good versus Evil: check. Prophecy: check. No matter what your beliefs are, as storytelling goes, it’s in a class of its own.

David’s story is a very good example of it. As the author observes in her comments, he is one of the first characters whose story we follow from beginning to end. It has all the elements a fiction writer could wish for: rag to riches, the weak confronting and winning the battle with the mighty, unjustly accused and outlawed makes a comeback and becomes King. He’s also elected by God. A great fighter and leader but a deeply flawed character. He has great joys, but through his own behaviour, brings tragedy and disaster to his family. Like the best heroes, he is also an antihero.

Brooks chooses a narrator, Nathan, the prophet, to tell David’s story. It all starts as Nathan’s attempt to distract the King, who is upset because he has been asked to remain in the palace after a near miss during a battle. Nathan suggests that buildings and palaces won’t make him live in the memory of people, but telling his true story will (a beautiful justification of the power of storytelling). David decides that Nathan should hear the story from others, not himself, and he does not hesitate in sending him to talk to those who might not have that much good to say about the King, including his mother, his brother, and his first wife. Although we go back and forth in time, through the different versions and witnesses, the action starts at a pivotal time in David’s story as he’s about to commit a series of crimes that will be severely punished.

I loved the book. I hadn’t read anything by the author before, but now I will. She writes beautifully, giving voice to the different characters and bringing them to life. The reader experiences Nathan’s visions, is a privileged observer at King David’s court, and although we know (the same as Nathan) what will happen, it is impossible to not get emotionally involved, and worry and suffer with them. Descriptions of David’s playing and singing, dancing to the glory of God are full of wonder and magic. The book pulls no punches either, and descriptions of some of the brutal acts are also vividly rendered.

For me, the book is the story of an extraordinary man, who did many wrong things, but also many great things, and who loved God and his people, even if sometimes he loved himself a bit too much. He is a warrior, an artist, a statesman, a father, a husband, and a faithful servant of God (most of the time). He acknowledges his wrongdoing and does not shy away from his responsibilities. He’s a human being.

Nathan is also a very interesting figure, at times unable to talk despite what he knows, only a passive observer of the tragedy to unfold. But that’s his role, and despite everything, he is loved and cherished by David and later by Solomon. And he is a great stand-in for the reader, knowing but silenced, frustrated and disgusted at times by the King’s actions, but also at time in awe and moved by him.

I couldn’t help but read some of the comments about the book and it seems that most of the people who’ve taken issue with the book, do not like the suggestion of a relationship between David and Jonathan, Saul’s son (and brother of his first wife). It is strange that in a story with murder, incest, rape, pillage and more, the one thing people find upsetting is the suggestion that David might have had a homosexual relationship. It proves that we all bring our own mind-set to our reading experience.

I am not an expert in Bible studies or that particular historical period so I can’t comment on how accurate the book might be in its detail, but for me it brought to life the times, the people and the events.

I finished the book with a greater appreciation for the figure of David (and particularly thankful that the author decided to end the book at that particular point, and on that note) and a wish to read more of Brooks’s books. If you have an open mind, love lyrical writing and are intrigued by the times and the people of that historical period, this is a unique book.

Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Chord-Geraldine-Brooks-ebook/dp/B00URUOJGY/

And another one from Net Galley. I confess this one is not for everyone.

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
Satin Island by Tom McCarthy

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy. What do you read for?

Thanks to Net Galley and to Jonathan Cape for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly? I enjoyed the book. On the other hand, would I recommend it? Well, it depends.

The book is narrated in the first person by U., an anthropologist working for a global corporation, which at the beginning of the book has secured a project that will change everything. We never quite know what this project is, and it seems nobody else knows either. U.’s contribution to the project is celebrated, although he has no idea what that contribution might have been. His job also consists of creating a report. A report about everything. He’s at liberty to choose how to do it. But how would you go about it?

  1. chats constantly about things that might appear unconnected, but his job —in so far as he knows what it is— seems to be to find connections. He talks about Lévi-Strauss and his thoughts about anthropology and tribes, he collects random data (about oil-spills, parachuting accidents, airports and places…), he goes to conferences and gives lectures he seems totally unprepared for, but his search for meaning is thwarted, and it’s difficult to know if it’s the world’s fault or his own. Perhaps, as he mentions, Lévi-Strauss was right, and eventually it all becomes reduced to either new tribes that get absorbed into the everyday and stop being weird, or tribes that are so weird they are completely meaningless and cannot be processed using our current methodology.

The book reminded me of many things, although I didn’t consciously try to find similarities or connections. Perhaps it’s a side effect of reading it. It did remind me of reading literary theory, in particular the French Theorists (Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida), and how much I liked them (although I was in a minority position in the American Literature class, I must admit). There are moments when the absurdity of everything made me think of works like Terry Gillian’s Brazil or some of Kafka’s or Orwell’s books (minus the pathos.) There were moments breathtakingly beautiful and poetic, usually found in something mundane. (Wonderful examples are the descriptions of the videos one of his colleagues’ shoots and later watches on a loop. But other things too: traffic, people skateboarding, dreams, even the Ferry to Staten Island…). And even moments where it seemed as if he’d found an explanation, a brilliant who-done-it that later comes to nothing, much as happens with his thoughts of rebelling and disturbing the set order. Flashes of genius in a pan.

Recently I read a very long book, stylistically interesting, trying to be about everything and for me too full of itself and failing. This is a book that possibly is about everything. Or about nothing (the difference might be only one of degree), and thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously.

My opinion. Yes, I really loved this book. With regards to recommending it… Well, it has no plot, not much on the character side of things, it’s clever, it’s beautifully written, and it might make you think, although probably not reach many (if any) conclusions. So there you are. If with all that you want to read it, I hope you enjoy it. And if not, that’s all right too.

Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Satin-Island-Tom-McCarthy-ebook/dp/B00PI0P0NE/

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you like, share, comment and CLICK! And keep reading!

GET MY FREE BOOKS
%d bloggers like this:
x Logo: Shield Security
This Site Is Protected By
Shield Security