Open Book – July #openbook

An Open Book 800W

I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and for Open Book.  Here’s what I’ve been reading for the past month (heavy on non-fiction this month):


Warrior of the Kizan by Ann Margaret Lewis

Amazon Synopsis: Star Wars meets Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars in this techno-magic tale of war and redemption!

Dakhar Talin, a member of a cursed, telepathic people, is the new head of security for the Royal House of Emun. When the princess, Tasia, is kidnapped, Dakhar’s investigation leads him to a sinister planet called Earth.

But inner demons from his military service torment him, threatening his sanity, integrity, and the success of his mission. Can he bring the princess home before he loses his soul to ever-corrupting madness?

My review:  I’m still in the process of reading this. I was fortunate to be able to read a few versions of this book while it was still a work in progress.  Ann Margaret Lewis’ writing flows beautifully and her characters are well-defined.  Full review to come.


Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within

by Taylor Marshall

Amazon Synopsis: It took nearly two millennia for the enemies of the Catholic Church to realize they could not successfully attack the Church from the outside. Indeed, countless nemeses from Nero to Napoleon succeeded only in creating sympathy and martyrs for our Catholic Faith.

That all changed in the mid-19th century, when clandestine societies populated by Modernists and Marxists hatched a plan to subvert the Catholic Church from within. Their goal: to change Her doctrine, Her liturgy, and Her mission.

In this captivating and carefully documented book, Dr. Taylor Marshall pulls back the curtain on their nefarious plan, showing how these enemies of Christ strategically infiltrated the seminaries, then the priesthood, then the episcopacy, and eventually the cardinal-electors all with the eventual goal of electing one of their own as pope.

You’ll come to see that the seemingly endless scandals plaguing the Church are not the result, as so many think, of cultural changes, or of Vatican II, but rather the natural consequences of an orchestrated demonic plot to destroy the Church.

My review: This was a compelling read. Marshall sets the foundation for his thesis well by starting the story in the 19th century.  Some of what he sets forth, however, is speculation. Much of it is based on hard evidence. And we have seen and are witnessing the culmination of the “infiltration” happening today. Highly recommend. Five out of five.


Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

Amazon Synopsis: What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history–the life she had lived–crumbled beneath her.

Inheritance is a book about secrets–secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in–a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

My review: This is was an extremely well-written book that read almost like a novel.  With my fascination in genealogy and ancestry, I found this to be a compelling story and I enjoyed reading about the author’s journey.  In her specific case, she didn’t look Jewish and didn’t look like anyone else in her family.  Had I been her, that would’ve been my first clue.  But it it made me think: what would I do if I found out I was not who I thought I was all along?  Five out of five.

Patty Duke

In the Presence of Greatest: My Sixty-Year Journey as an Actress

by Patty Duke and William Jankowski

Amazon Synopsis: The Miracle Worker. The Patty Duke Show. Valley of the Dolls. Those perennial film and television titles still reverberate with audiences entranced with Academy Award-winning film actress and Broadway and television icon Patty Duke.

Patty first gained national attention and praise playing Helen Keller in both the Broadway stage and film versions of The Miracle Worker. As identical cousins on The Patty Duke Show, her name became an American household word. Her later work in Valley of the Dolls, Me, Natalie, My Sweet Charlie, a later television remake of The Miracle Worker, and dozens of other productions established her as one of America’s leading actresses.

Illustrated with over 70 rare photos from both Patty Duke’s career and personal life, many never before published and from her personal collection.

My review:  This really isn’t a book, per se.  It is a transcription of conversations between Patty Duke and William Jankowski.  There were too many typos for a professionally published book and sometimes I had to read a sentence over again to figure out what she was trying to say.  As well, I don’t think Patty/Anna would’ve liked the title In the Presence of Greatness, which is a bit over-the-top. All that being said, however, I knew what I was getting when I purchased this book.  I’ve read her other books and now that she has passed, I was interested in reading this one.  Enjoyable read and great photos. Three out of five.


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