Darcy Lewis Design

Adventures in "Good Enough" Design

Archive for the tag “Books”

The Door Keeper Blog Tour & Review!


As you know, I have a very long and very passionate relationship with books.  I have a list on this blog of my favorites – a list I made because I read so voraciously that friends always ask me for book recommendations.  My mood is often dictated by the book I am currently reading and what is happening to the characters – I get so engrossed in their lives that their reality is at least as clear to me as my own.

Thus, I was thrilled to join the Royal James Publishing’s blog tour for their new book, The Door Keeper, the debut offering from Steen Jones.  (As a disclaimer, while I received a free e-advanced reader copy of the book, my review is entirely independent.)


I admit I was a little wary of the novel when I read the blurb, “Adventure. Love. Destiny.  Single mom Eden Saunders has learned that tragedy is simply a part of life. Her mother died during childbirth, and her husband was killed just three years after they married. On a journey to discover where she comes from, Eden inherits the key to unlocking new worlds from her deceased mother—including the world that should have been her home. The only thing stopping her from exploring them is the fear of leaving her daughter behind. Caught up in the circle of legacy, Eden discovers the mother-daughter bond that even death cannot break.”

It sounds like the moving family story full of angst and emotional discovery that I usually avoid, to be honest.  However, I was thrilled to find that it was a very engaging, very exciting story that I couldn’t put down.  While this book reads like a debut novel (you can see the author’s development of her writing voice as the book progresses), it is nonetheless a remarkable start to what is to be a trilogy.  Ms. Jones has a wonderful knack for describing scenes and breathing real life into her characters.  Her description of Sorrento, Italy was so vivid, I had dug out my passport and was on my way to the airport before I came back to reality!

sorrento Seriously, doesn’t this make you want to run for the airport?

Eden is a very sympathetic and believable heroine – building a life for herself and her young daughter as an artist and owner of a new art gallery, adopted under circumstances she’s never inquired about.  Her daughter’s family tree school assignment touches off Eden’s search for her birth family and a stunning secret about parallel worlds and her own unearthly origins. Her adventurous forays into these parallel worlds (particularly enjoyable for those of us who love quantum theory and Schrodinger’s Cat Paradox, though these worlds are non-paradoxical) bring into question her own identity and whether she must subsume her own personal goals and desires to be a good mother.  Those readers who love strong female leads (like myself) will be relieved to find that Eden comes to terms with an identity that is as complex and 3-dimensional as real women are.

The Door Keeper straddles several genre categories, but defies neat pigeonholing.  It has fantastical elements, but is not really a fantasy novel.  It has a strong female lead learning about her life, but is more than “chick lit” (a term I hate, coined to disparagingly dismiss ‘books that women like’).

The epilogue feels a little like an afterthought, but does neatly set us up for book number two, and I can hardly wait!  I am really looking forward to seeing Ms. Jones’ continued development as a writer and she is definitely an author to watch.  The Door Keeper comes out on Feb. 20th, and you can preorder it from Amazon here or from Smashwords here.  You can also find it on Goodreads.

Follow the Royal James Publishing and the rest of the blog tour here.
For information on Steen Jones and The Door Keeper, visit the website.

Also, there are TWO giveaways for this book!  You know you love free stuff, PLUS, don’t you want to win a copy of this great book as soon as it comes out?!


There are two giveaways in celebration of the release of The Door Keeper by Steen Jones. One hosted by Royal James Publishing and one by the author Steen Jones.

The first giveaway, hosted by Royal James Publishing, will run from now until the release of the novel.

Click here  or visit Royal James Publishing’s Facebook page to enter to win a signed copy of, The Door Keeper by Steen Jones and a $20 Amazon gift card.

The second giveaway will start on the release date, more details about this giveaway to be released soon.

UPDATE! My Favorite Books…(Non-Fiction)

It seemed only fair that there be a companion post to my Favorite Fiction Book list… So here it is.  You will note that it is considerably shorter than my fiction list, not because I read less non-fiction or enjoy it less, but because non-fiction tends to be more about learning for me, and once I’ve learned something, I’m done with it unless I need a refresher.  Whereas fiction is about imagining new worlds for me, and so I’m never really done with a good fiction novel, because those worlds live on forever inside my mind, and sometimes I need to revisit them – just like revisiting your favorite friends and places in real life.

In no particular order:

I CAN’T BELIEVE I LEFT ONE MY FAVORITES OFF! : Third Culture Kids by David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken

  • Survival of the Sickest by Dr. Sharon Moalam – about why some diseases have stayed with us since primitive times and what they offer the body in exchange….
  • Nurture Shock by Bronson and Merrymen – a meta-analysis of many child-rearing studies that show that almost everything you thought about child-raising is wrong (don’t get mad at me, that’s their claim!).  Talks about why lying is good, how to talk about race, videogames, discipline, and many other subjects.  Don’t be put off by the thick size! It is extensively annotated and has a huge bibliography and reference section, and each chapter is a stand-alone subject – so read in any order or just the topics of interest.
  • Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein – it’s dismissive and unfair to call this a feminist diatribe against Disney Princesses, but it is about how to raise strong daughters and how even the most careful parenting cannot protect your child from the negative messages of the outside world and popular culture and how to deal with that.
  • Noah’s Flood by Ryan and Pitman – an interesting look at the actual historical flood that occurred around the Mediterranean and how that led to the nearly-universal flood myth.
  • Gun, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond – a fascinating analysis of why Western Europeans achieved early global dominance over other cultures, and what led some cultures to succeed and thrive, and others to stagger and fail. (Spoiler alert, livestock plays a huge role in this!)
  • Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide by Maureen Down – a funny and relatable book about the struggles of the feminist movement, the difficulties smart women face in dating, (not man-bashing, just talking about the struggles between the sexes), etc.
  • Shattered Hopes, Magnificent Failure: The Road to the Nuclear Middle East by Mark Hertz – fascinating, well-researched, but very controversial, book on Israel’s foundation and threat of nuclear weapons in the region.


Have you read any of these?  Would love to hear what you thought of the book!

Got one to recommend?  Let me know!

My Favorite Books…(Fiction)

As a VORACIOUS reader and bibliophile, I am frequently asked for book recommendations and to share a list of my favorites.  While I always have suggestions, I have deferred on actually publicly listing my favorites because I feel a bit like a parent being asked to choose between my children and thus my compilation has remained a vague set of preferences in my mind – I have all these stories alive in my mind, and replay my favorite bits all the times, but confessing my favorites aloud….!!!

But, I have decided to write this, so here are my favorite fiction books.  You may note that several of them are children’s or young adult books… I still reread them actively, these are not just things from childhood that I’m saving for my kids someday.

SO, roughly in descending order of current favor:

  • Kim, by Rudyard Kipling
  • Oliver’s Travels, by Alan Plater
  • Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood
  • anything from Jennifer Crusie
  • The Venetian’s Wife, by Nick Bantock
  • Wintertide, by Megan Sybil Baker
  • Wisdom’s Daughter, by India Edghill
  • Shiva’s Fire, by Suzanne Fisher Staples
  • Pockets, by Jennifer Armstrong
  • the dragon series (Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, etc.) by Patricia Wrede
  • The Dot & The Line – a romance in lower mathematics, by Norton Juster
  • The Lost Prince, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • the Aunty Dimity detective series by Nancy Atherton (the stories are cute, but the writing sometimes annoys me)
  • House Husband, by Ad Hudler
  • Mistress of the Art of Death, by Arianna Franklin
  • Q & A, by Vikas Swarup (don’t “LIKE”, but absolutely riveting! Later made into the movie Slumdog Millionaire (which I haven’t seen. Read the book a few years before, could never then see the movie.))
  • select books by Piers Anthony (Death Rides A Pale Horse was immensely comforting after my father died, and his Gaia and Xanth series helped me deal with difficult teenage years)
  • The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun (also like the stories, but find the writing annoying sometimes)
  • A Quiver Full of Arrows, by Jeffrey Archer


I had been asked for a list of my top 10… I went into my office and started pulling books off the shelf, muttering to myself, “Oh yes, this has to be on the list! Oh and this too…” and somehow, as you can see, my list is a bit longer than 10 items before I was able to force myself to walk away….

I think this amply illustrates the problem I’d mentioned at the beginning…

Anyways, I would love to hear what your favorite books are, and what you think of any of mine if you read them!!

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