Book Review – El Reino del Norte

El Reino del Norte: UNA INTRIGA DE AMBICIÓN, AMOR Y MUERTE EN LA ASTURIAS DEL SIGLO IX (The Northern Kingdom: An Intrigue of Ambition, Love and Death in 9TH Century Asturias) is the sequel to what is one of my favorite books of all time (easily the best read I had in 2023), El caballero del jabalí blanco (The Knight of the White Boar). This historical novel takes place after the events of the El caballero del jabalí blanco (The Knight of the White Boar). It takes place at the tail end of the reign of Alfonso II of Asturias and Abd ar-Rahman II. Unlike its predecessor, the story telling approach of this book is not from a memoir like retelling of the events that occurred during this era, but rather this book is presented to us more as the traditional story telling novel approach. Our main hero in this book is the son of the protagonist of El caballero del jabalí blanco. One thing that this book did that its predecessor didn’t, was showing a much deeper insight on the The Emirate of Córdoba, and the fascinating characters in it (both real ones and fictional ones).

As the subtitle of the novel suggest, this book has more of the political intrigue and romance type of element to it. At times it felt very A Song of Ice and Fire like. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I can assure you that the political intrigue in Asturias and Córdoba is far superior that those in Westeros. So theirs certainly an audience for this type of novels (sadly no English translations as of the time of this writing)

This is a fairly long novel, I wasn’t able to read it at the same pace of El caballero del jabalí blanco. I literally devoured that book in like 3 days! At times, it felt like major portions of this book were just a setup to what will be the next book in the series. I knew from the beginning that it was going to be extremely difficult to top what the author did in the book El caballero del jabalí blanco, so it wasn’t a disappoint to me that I didn’t connected to it, like it did with El caballero del jabalí blanco. Thus said, this was still an enjoyable read, and I learned quite of lot of history because of it! So still looking forward on reading the third and final book of this fantastic trilogy Los demonios del mar: De cuando los vikingos atacaron por primera vez las costas de España (The demons of the sea: From when the Vikings first attacked the coasts of Spain).

2024 New Year’s Resolutions

Unlike my previous New Year’s Resolutions posts, which have been more of a mere mockery of the entire concept. I must say, this time around is much more serious. Given that 2023 was such a transcendental year to me, I’m taking 2024 as the follow up to leap ahead and continue what was such a massive year. Generally speaking, my 2024 goals can be classified under two categories: Professional and Personal.

My professional goals have always been the easiest for me to accomplish. I’ve never had a problem learning or mastering anything that requires my sole focused. So this is an area where I always excellence. Thus said, this year my goal is to live, eat, and breath Kubernetes. Since I already have both the Certified Kubernetes Application Developer and Certified Kubernetes Administrator credentials, I’m going to make the goal of obtaining both the Kubernetes and Cloud Security Associate and Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist credentials.

Personal: Health and Fitness
This is regarding my professional goals, my personal goals is a complete different monster. To start, 2023 was a fantastic year fitness and health wise. As I’m able to easily run over 7 miles at a decent speed without having to take any short breaks. So my goal is try to run half-marathon lengths at the fastest times possible. Also more importantly, given that I’m finally looking to get a decent body shape, my goal to 2024 is to get absolutely shredded, as I’m finally start to enjoy weight lifting and not just cardio which is what I’ve traditional loved to do.

Personal: Creative
Given the unique circumstances around the different events that happened to 2023, mostly bad. These bad events in 2023 somehow in a weird way, inspired to write a lot. I managed to write a fantasy story that’s over 45,000 words! And the amazing thing is that I was able to do so mostly in Spanish. Given that the story is part of a much larger project that I’ve been working for almost 8 year now, so the current 45,000 word draft is just a mere beginning, also given that I have other short stories (1,000-5,000 words), my writing project is finally starting to look like an actual novel (at least in length and on the outline). So my goal is write another 50k word story for my project.

Another creative activity that I want to start, or continue to be more exact. Is that I want to return to doing some drawing. During the COVID lockdowns, I did quite a bit of drawing (mostly Hispanic related coat of arms), and I even went as far as buying a full set of color pencils and markers to continue this hobby, but I slacked off and put it aside. So this year, I’m hoping to return to draw more.

Personal: New Hobbies and Experiences
2023 was somewhat of a good year regarding starting picking up new hobbies and having new experiences. Most noticeably going to beach every weekend, just after dawn and just sit down in the sand and meditate to the beautiful sound of the ocean. This new experience alone was such a massive stress and anxiety reliever, that I’m hoping to start new similar experiences like this on the new year.

Personal: Offline
My final goal for 2024 is to be offline as much as possible, or to be off my phone to be more exact. While social is nice, to me this usually means just wasting my time or even worse wasting my energy on something that should not require any of my attention. So for this year, my goal is be off my phone as much as possible.

Book Review – El caballero del jabalí blanco

Book CoverIt’s fascinating that on the last book I read La Reconquista contada para escépticos (The Reconquest told for skeptics), I mentioned authors like Juan Eslava Galán that quite possible might not resinate with me. Well, I know for certain that José Javier Esparza is not one of them. I’ve read his fantastic trilogy of La Reconquita, and I really enjoyed them all. Specially the first book La Gran Aventura del Reino de Asturias (The Great Adventure of the Kingdom of Asturias).

I didn’t realized that the author would then go on and write another trilogy related to the Reconquista, but this one being a historical fiction. To be more precise, this trilogy called Los pioneros de La Reconquista (The Pioneers of the Reconquest). So, I immediately decided to jump on it and start reading them.

Book 1, El caballero del jabalí blanco (The Knight of the White Boar) takes place in the Kingdom of Asturias. It’s not necessary needed to read the book La Gran Aventura del Reino de Asturias in order to understand the setting. The author does a brilliant job describing the state of the kingdom of Asturias and The Emirate of Córdoba. The story’s setting is around the reign of Silo of Asturias to Alfonso II of Asturias, during the tumultuous time of the consolidation of the Kingdom of Asturias in it’s placed under Western Christendom, and against it’s enemy; The Emirate of Córdoba.

This book, in my opinion is one of the best coming of age stories that I’ve ever read! I can genuinely say this is one of the greatest books that I’ve ever read. It’s such a beautiful story that it unexpectedly touched my heart in so many ways imaginable. In this story we get to follow a free peasant boy named Zonio from a newly established social class in frontier region of Asturias, that would later be known to history as Castilla. The story is told from his point-of-view, from an already elderly man. Presented almost like memoir of his extremely difficult upbringing, during an incredible period of history. Through many different circumstances, the boy who would be later evolve and grow to a man and become a knight and fierced warrior under King Alfonso II of Asturias, and become part of his close entourage. He would somehow get involved in all the major events during this time history. The author did such a brilliant job incorporating the fictional character to it’s place in history and with the actual real historic figures. Tying everything together in a matter that was very believable and immersive.

This beautiful story has it all: epic battles, heroic deeds, heroes and villains, and very beautiful crafted; albeit very sad and tragic love story. To say that I did get somewhat emotional while reading the book multiple times, is an understatement.

My Everyday Morning Routine

Ever since a few months ago when I became an unexpected morning person. I finally decided to set a goal of having a productive everyday morning routine for all days of the week. Previously, my mornings were terrible. Since I work remotely, I used to literally wake up minutes before having to jump on a work meeting! Things were even worse when I had consecutive meetings. As I would sometimes didn’t had time to have breakfast or brush my teeth until almost noon! For me, the biggest change on having a set morning routine is having a good night sleep. Before I would go to sleep around 1:00-3:00am, completely wasting time watching random crap on YouTube. As soon as I started going to sleep around 9:00-10:00pm, this naturally caused my body to be restful and awake by the time 5:00 am came around. Another thing worth mentioning is putting my phone away by the time 8:00 pm comes around. I’ve also recently starting putting my phone on “Do not Disturbed” mode for most of the day. (This has caused a problem in the past for me, as a person thought I was purposely ignoring because of this setting being set! So be aware to let anyone know this, as it might prevent a potential misunderstanding, as did on my case)

It’s amazing the productive things, I’ve been able to do now that I have around 3-4 extra hours in the morning by having a fixed sleeping schedule.


(10-15 mins)
Before I get up out of bed, I would sit down cross-legged in my bed and meditate for about 10-15 mins. I’m no meditation guru by any means, but of the very little I know of it, I do the basics of calm breathing and putting my mind in a state that only has happy memories and or what my future goals would look like.

The Essentials

(5-10 mins)
After meditation I then would start my day by going through the essentials. Using two 15 lbs dumbbells, I do one set of 20 bicep curls, tricep curls, over the shoulder curls, lateral raises, and a standing chest curls. Then the obvious: brushing my teeth, washing my face or a quick express shower, and put on beard oil.


(10-15 mins)
My everyday breakfast is extremely simple. I eat two bananas and drink Yerba Mate. I absolutely love Yerba Mate. I drink this awesome indigenous South American herbal every single weekday (I reserve coffee for the weekends only). Drinking it for many years now, that at this point preparing this awesome drink every morning feels almost like a ritual to me!


(10-20 mins)
After preparing my Yerba Mate, and at this point probably eating one of the two bananas that I eat every morning I then shift to either meditate for another 10-15 mins or immediately jump into journaling. To me writing down my feelings, thoughts, and goals brings me into a very calm state of mind, especially when I go back and see the progression that I’ve made. Theirs been plenty of research of how journaling everyday can improve your overall mental, which I completely agree with.

Read a Self-Improvement Book

(1-2 hours)
I then shift my focused on reading some sort of self improvement book. For me, I’ve recently discovered that reading self-improvement books through my laptop via the iBooks app is the most efficient approach. This is mainly because it’s easier to copy and write down notes from the iBooks content to the Pages word app. Normally by the time I finish a self-improvement book, I would have anywhere from 10-30 pages of notes of all the major important topics. Being able to quickly take notes and going back to refer to them has been crucial on me picking up the major points of the self-improvement books that I’m reading.


After finishing my daily self-improvement reading, this is where I then start my work day. I do sometimes change this, for example I sometimes don’t spend all 1-2 hours reading a self-improvement book, and I would designate some minutes to walking. Thus said, all the above steps are all the core everyday activities I do every morning, and I feel it has helped improved myself considerably. Needless to say, I’m not against change, I know for a fact, at some point I would like to attend Daily Morning Mass (one hour) and would like to go to the gym in the mornings instead of evenings or nights (two hours).

Book Review – La Reconquista contada para escépticos

I watch a lot of BookTube (I’m not cool enough for BookTok), and every so often I get to see the the complain of readers about author’s writing style that doesn’t quite well resonate with them. While, I’ve read plenty of terrible books in my life, not until now have I encountered this specific situation. I love Hispanic medieval history, and it’s a subject that it’s quite dear to my heart, thus my endless hunger for more knowledge about, and passion for it. So, to not really fully enjoy a massive book about this subject is very telling.

La Reconquista contada para escépticos (The Reconquest told for skeptics), is a book about the entire Reconquista Era. This is a massive book. After all, it’s trying to explain almost a 1,000 years of history into a single volume. Not liking the author’s style of writing (or story telling approach; I know its a history book) felt like a chore at the end. I did not like that the author had to throw in his personal opinions, as well bringing up contemporary issues to mix (even though I agree with some of his points). I would’ve prefer this the was a solely history book! In addition, the author attempts to throw in jokes to the mix, which I feel at times makes it even worse! Another thing that I didn’t fully understand was that the author used quite of lot of the original medieval Spanish texts. I obviously know Spanish (its my native tongue!), but including large texts of medieval Spanish with no proper translation (its quite different with modern Spanish!), was a bit confusing to me at times.

Not all was bad, as I did learn new things. But overall I’m fairly disappointed, because I was thinking of reading more books written by Juan Eslava Galán, since he has a very impressive library under his name.
I’m very optimist by nature, so I’ll probably will give the author another chance and read another book by him. I can only hope that it’s better.

Book Review – El Cantar del mío Cid

El Cantar del mío Cid by Ana María Moix is the adaptation of the epic medieval Castilian Spanish poem of such name

I haven’t read the original poem, and quite frankly, I think I would have a hard time fully understanding it, given of it’s archaic speech. However an interesting thing, is that I know the entire synopsis of the poem, as well as most of the contents of the poem itself. To add more, there was time were I would literally go to sleep listening to the poem at night! It’s really fascination that an archaic Castilian Spanish sounds more like modern Italian, than modern Spanish to me, but I digress.

Needless to say coming into this book, I had a good high-level knowledge of the poem, as well as a good high-level knowledge of the actual real historical context of the famous knight Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, “El Cid”. This book is really good! The more novel approach was written extremely well. Anyone who doesn’t know the history of El Cid can easily pickup this book and not have a problem understanding the story. Thus said, the poem and some of the characters in it are completely fiction. This book should NOT be treated as a history book, but rather a historical novel. While the majority of characters are real historical figures, however a significant amount of portions of the events on this book are pure fiction. Making it a very good novel, but not an accurate historical retelling. Thus said, I’d still recommend this book! Especially if you want to know why “El Cid” is seen as a folk hero in the Hispanic world.

Book Review – 365 Inspirational Quotes

365 Inspirational Quotes: A Year of Daily Wisdom from Great Thinkers, Books, Humorists, and More is a first for me. The first of these type of quotes inspirational books that I’ve read. The quotes themselves are marked individually for each calendar day of the year. These inspirational quotes were uniquely chosen and placed for each day, so all 365 of them have a special meaning behind them. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a J.R.R. Tolkien quote for March 25 which is Tolkien Reading Day! (in addition it was the day that Sauron was defeated)

Originally meant to be read throughout the year, I took a completely different approach for it. I read this book in about five days. I certainly didn’t speed read it, otherwise what’s the point of the inspiration nature of it. Instead what I ended up doing, I wrote down the quotes that spoke to me the most, through out the main white cover pages of two of my journals. Needless to say, I had about 6 pages completely filled with inspiration quotes from this book, that spanned through two of my daily journals. This means that each time I open those two particular journals (I own multiple ones), the very first thing that I’ll see will be the different inspiration quotes taken from this book. I really enjoyed this unexpected read and exercise, but more importantly, it was very encouraging and inspirational to me during a time when I needed it.


As we grow older, naturally things change. They’re plenty of things that I used to love and enjoy that now I don’t see them with quite the same perspective as I once did. With music for example, far behind are my days where I would only listen to metal (that’s not say that I don’t listen it it anymore, I do listen to to occasional thrash/death metal song here and there, but not at the same level or dedication as before). My music taste as a 37 year old is not the same as when I was 27, and certainly not the same as wen I was 17. Like many things in life, we evolve and move on.

Fútbol or soccer as some people prefer to call this sport, is one of those things for me that’s also changed. Like music, fútbol has been such a massive important thing in my life. It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come unto this point with the views about this awesome sport. The sport has been absolutely fundamental the way of shaping into who I am today. As I kid, I loved hearing the matches on the AM radio, walking home from school listening to soccer radio shows on my walkman. Memories that I will keep and cherish forever. Fútbol has been such a massive part of my life, that I even give it credit to helping my creativity as an adult. Since I would primary listen to the matches on the radio, I would picture that games in my mind, almost identical how I picture a story in my mind whenever I’m reading book. It’s safe to assume that soccer helped stimulate my imagination, way before a book ever did!

Now that the days of AM sports radio are practically long dead (at least the Spanish speaking ones). I feel that I no longer have the passion that I once had for this great sport. I watch little to practically no soccer anymore for these last 3-4 years. It’s quite amazing that if I were to look back 20 years, I would see a future where I prefer to read instead of watching or hearing a soccer game, I would’ve tell you that you’re crazy. Life is full of surprises and this is certainly one that I would’ve never expected. Things always happen for the better, even if we don’t know it at first.

Book Review – Prince of Dogs

Prince of Dogs

Prince of Dogs is the second book the the Crown of Stars series by Kate Elliot. I really enjoyed the first book King’s Dragons, so I had big expectations on this second book of seven book series. This book certainly did not disappoint. This book is really good!

In this book I finally got to feel just how massive in scope this series is. I completely got lost on remembering who was who, and some of the different character arks within the story, aside from the main protagonists. One very important thing to note and it might be an indication of the future books to come, is that this book is not that very fast paced. Almost 2/3 of this book felt incredibly slow paced at times, almost like its setting the foundations for the future books to come. Thus said the last 1/3 portion of the book is really good! We have a massive epic battle that completely shifts the direction the antagonists are set in the story. Let’s just say I was completely surprised on what happened, which this probably means theirs going to be plenty of more plot twists as we progressed in the series.

This series is awesome, it has a vast array of very interesting characters. It has political intrigue, and finally I feel it has a unique magic system. I love the historic Latin Western medieval influence it has. So I’m certainly looking forward to reading the next book The Burning Stone.

Book Review – The 5 Love Languages for Men

The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great is a variation of the book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. Unlike the previous variation of that book that I recently just read a few weeks ago The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition: The Secret That Will Revolutionize Your Relationships. This book is aimed for men, married men to be more precise. All the stories and examples are aimed to guide married men through the 5 Languages of Love concept. Conceptually, this book is almost identical to The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition (I haven’t read the original The 5 Love Languages which is meant for married couples, since I’m not married obviously). With the previous book fresh on my mind, reading this book from a single men’s perspective felt more like a refresher. I already have the 5 Love Languages concept understood, so this book has certainly helped me be more rock solid on this very important subject.

From a men’s perspective, reading this book you’ll learn more about understanding and speaking your partner’s primary love language and its corresponds dialects. All of which can be relationship or marriage saving, and how it can keep the relationship or marriage in a last longing loving state. Which at the end of the day, it’s what everybody wants.

Other than that, I can’t say anything that I’ve already said on Book Review – The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition. This is another absolute must read in my opinion.