Books From A to Z – Tony Partly Cloudy

Tony Partly Cloudy A “literary equivalent of My Cousin Vinny,” Tony Partly Cloudy is a fish-out-of-water comedic novel with a distinct Sopranos vibe to it.

The guy’s got a degree in meteorology. And he can predict the weather with a level of accuracy that’s downright freakish. Still, Tony Bartolicotti – or, as his “connected” friends in Brooklyn call him, Tony Partly Cloudy – can’t even get an audition to be a TV weatherman. The problem? He comes across like a Mafia goon: a hulking brute who dresses like a Blues Brother and freely uses “bada bing” as both a noun and an adverb. Not exactly the image most news stations are looking for.

But all that changes when a distantly related mob boss steps in on Tony’s behalf. Soon Tony’s career starts to take off, as America falls in love with the only weather anchor on TV who would predict “a whole lotta freakin’ snow.” Then the mob decides to call in the favors they’ve done for Tony. That’s when things get stormy…

Tony Partly Cloudy combines elements of comedy, satire, Mafia lore and romance into a slick, funny novel that readers of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen will enjoy.

My Take: Tony Partly Cloudly

A highly enjoyable book that is a complete package; a bit of the supernatural combined with romance, comedy and the Mob. Quite a cocktail that is guaranteed to  give the reader a high.

Besides having a gift of being able to predict the weather, Tony is also brainy and industrious.  So he decides develop the gift by studying  meteorology at university. The Mob provides him with an apartment and in return, the Mob use the place to establish alibis with the cops.

I am a sucker for books where the good guy is decent, hardworking, ingenious and honest;  Tony Partly Cloudly checks all the boxes and does not disappoint. And like all such book, there is a happy ending.




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Books From A to Z – The Seventh Season

In 67AD, the adventurous young scribe of one of the Apostles flees the siege of Caesarea on a ship sailing for Greece. He is bound by oath to protect the Word of his master, no matter what fate, pirates or the gods of Olympus have in store for him.

Onboard, Johanan meets two people who will change his life and the course of history. The first is a Roman General appointed to organize the Olympic Games at which the Emperor Nero will compete. The second is Dido, an enigmatic young woman from Alexandria who is carrying a cargo of secrets. To uncover the truth about her violent past, Johanan must first prove himself worthy of her trust.

The Seventh Season: The Word of God & The Will of Rome takes readers on a thrilling journey through the ancient world, and fans of Robert Graves and Mary Renault will get swept up in this epic adventure. In his commentary, Kit Hudson calls The Seventh Season ‘…a remarkable adventure story in the classic tradition with heroes, emperors and the obligatory sibyl all playing their part. This story shares as much with Herodotus and Homer as it does with the New Testament…’

The word of God…
Set against the backdrop of The Jewish War (66-70AD), The Seventh Season illuminates the beginnings of Christianity and explores the origins of some of the greatest teachings in biblical history.

The will of Rome…
Johanan’s epic sea voyage ends in Corinth where Nero is conducting his infamous tour of Greece. When the Emperor decrees that the dangerous new religion must be extinguised, Johanan faces the greatest challenge of his life.

The fight for love…
Dido and Johanan share a hatred of Rome and she becomes something of a fantasy to him. But while his thoughts are filled with idle romance her heart is set on revenge against Nero, forcing Johanan to choose between destroying Rome… or defending the Word. (via Goodreads)

My views: The Seventh Season

The Seventh Season is an absorbing book that takes the reader on an adventure across the Mediterranean from Caesarea  to Greece. Set in the 1st  AD, it chronicles the Apostle Andrew after the fled Caesarea till he was crucified by the Romans in the city of Patras in Greece.

Johanan or John, the main protagonist of the Seventh Season is a scribe and companion of the St.Andrew. He has a unique gift for learning languages and initially, he was an  employee of the Apostle. But in time,  he begins to believe the Word that the Apostle is preaching and it is believed that he is the John who wrote the Book of Revelations.

The author who claims that the adventures of Johanan and Dido, the enigmatic Greek lady who befriends him are are based on ancient scrolls,  cleverly juxtaposes the two tales;  the adventures of Johanan seamlessly fit into the chronicle of St. Andrew.





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Books From A to Z – Road of Reflection

Road of reflection – El Camino de Santiago

When 24 year old university student Rachel Stainer set out on the Camino de Santiago, she had no idea what a profound impact one hike could have on a person’s life. For one month, she put her “normal life” on hold, instead embarking on what was to become a life changing 900km journey on foot to the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, in northern Spain.

Putting on her walking boots, packing up her rucksack, grabbing a pen and journal; she lived a life of simplicity, meeting and sharing her journey with hundreds of other pilgrims from around the globe as they too travelled the pilgrim route to Santiago. As the days passed, she increasingly found herself questioning life and exploring its deeper meaning with those around her. It raised the question though, in this fast paced, technology driven society, are we really living the fulfilling life that every one of us has the potential to lead?

As you read through the pages of this journal, the author takes you on a thought provoking journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. Told with humour, wit and honesty, “Road of Reflection – El Camino de Santiago” takes you through the scenery of northern Spain, the physical challenges of long distance hiking and introduces you to some of the characters of the Camino… Life slowed to a walking pace offers a new perspective, as lessons and messages appear around every corner, and the conversations on the road open our eyes to life in its simplest form. Soon you realise that being ordinary doesn’t stop anyone from achieving something extraordinary…

So why not come along on the adventure and discover your own Camino… (via Goodreads)

My view:  Road of Reflection

I have always been attracted to reading about the experience of pilgrims, irrespective of their faith or belief.  And when I came across this book on Amazon, I didn’t think twice before clicking the ‘Buy Now’ button. Especially since it was about ‘El Camino de Santiago’ or ‘The Way of St. James’, one of the three most important pilgrim destinations in Christendom. If I ever make a Bucket List, El Camino would feature right at the top.

And having started reading the Road to Reflection, my decision to download the book was vindicated. The author has a very easy and relaxed style of relating her experiences during the pilgrimage. The daily summary, written in the present tense, based on the journal that she maintained  is three or four pages, at the most.

Initially, she started the Camino’ accompanied by three friends, who were enlisted to walk with her for the first week. Thereafter, she became a ‘peregrino solo’ (a solo pilgrim), who travelled the Camino alone. But as the author states  “….there is no such thing as a solo pilgrim, as everyone is everyone else’s brother or sister here.”

Overall, I found this a very absorbing book, with doses of  physical pain, spiritual experiences and self discovery all coming together for the author.



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Books From A to Z – Phantom of The Mississippi River

It is March 1863 and America is locked in a bloody war between the states. This action- packed adventure story takes place during the Vicksburg campaign of the Civil War. In a surprise night attack, a daring band of Confederate raiders capture a Union steamship carrying a secret cargo, and disappear into the watery Mississippi Delta country. Union ironclad gunboats and troops pursue the Rebels in a deadly game of hide-and-seek deep inside Confederate territory where the hunters risk becoming the hunted. The Yanks must constantly improvise and adapt in a hostile and rugged land as they chase the elusive Rebels. Tension climbs as the Yankees rush to block a Confederate espionage coup that threatens to upset the entire Union war strategy. Phantom of the Mississippi River is a historical fiction novel for adult and young adult readers.

My views: Phantom of The Mississippi River

Despite the Union and Confederate armies being engaged in a bloody conflict, both sides display gentlemanly conduct when dealing with civilians and captured foes. Like Dr. Kinkaid, of the Union Army; he disobeys orders to evacuate a cotton plantation owned by Confederate as he believes it is his duty to stay and attend to the lady of the house who is going through a difficult childbirth.Or Captain Garber, the rebel who commands the captured steamship, Poker Chip, in his treatment of a company of captured Union troop commanded by Major Sinclair.

Having the advantage of knowing the Mississippi river, Garber and his pilot, Chipper play hide and seek with the Union gunboats and troops assigned  to recapture the steamship. A very enjoyable and absorbing book with many twists and turns (pun intended), set against the backdrop of the American Civil War.



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Books From A to Z – Out of Africa

Out of Africa: and Shadows on the Grass is Isak Dinesen’s memoir of her years in Africa, from 1914 to 1931, on a four-thousand-acre coffee plantation in the hills near Nairobi. She had come to Kenya from Denmark with her husband, and when they separated she stayed on to manage the farm by herself, visited frequently by her lover, the big-game hunter Denys Finch-Hatton, for whom she would make up stories “like Scheherazade.” In Africa, “I learned how to tell tales,” she recalled many years later. “The natives have an ear still. I told stories constantly to them, all kinds.” Her account of her African adventures, written after she had lost her beloved farm and returned to Denmark, is that of a master storyteller, a woman whom John Updike called “one of the most picturesque and flamboyant literary personalities of the century.

My Take: Out of Africa

I found Isak Dinesen’s memoir of her years in Africa interesting reading. Her stories depict the various characters that she encountered during these years, juxtaposed with insights into the culture and traditions of the people. And whilst Europe and the rest of the world was in a churn during the period between the two world wars, time appears to have stood still in the world of the author.



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