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.

Book Review – El Conquistador

El Conquistador (The Conqueror) is a novel based on James I of Aragon. James I of Aragon is undoubtedly one my favorite Hispanic Crusader Kings. Not only is he one of the most colorful Hispanic Kings in all history, but also a very important figure in the entire medieval world. His reign was the longest of any king, all of military conquest stood up till the present time, and he is the first monarch to write an autobiography. The Book of Deeds of James I of Aragon (see my Book Review – The Book of Deeds of James I of Aragon).

This novel can be seen as a more fully comprehensive version of The Book of Deeds. Just about everything of Jame’s life is absolutely spectacular. From when he was conceived, the choosing of his name, to all of his crusades that he waged. To my surprise, this book starts and goes really in depth on the reign of James’ father, Pedro II of Aragon “The Catholic”. Pedro II is another very important crusader king in Spanish history, so even reading about him, we get to see another very colorful monarch (for lack of better words).

In this book we get to fully immerse ourselves on James upcoming as a child king under the Knights Templar. His consolidation on the Aragonese throne, to then waging massive military crusades against the Kingdom of Mallorca, Valencia, and Murcia. As well as his endless love affairs.

The 12th and 13th centuries are by far my favorite era in Hispanic history. Without being fully ridiculously romanticized, by reading this book we get to feel what it was to live during this amazing, and brutal history in time. Everything from political intrigue, Kings and Queens, Princesses, knights, troubadours, chivalry, heroic deeds, heroes and villains, romance, and epic battles. Quite frankly the only thing missing here is the magic element, which at this point we can even view this era as an epic high fantasy world!

This is such a good book. The character list, while its fairly long, not once did I felt lost on who is who. To me what I’ll remember most about this novel are not Jame’s epic battles and triumphs, but rather of his political failures. In particular his decision to relinquish his overlordship of what is now almost 1/3 of France, and the obvious long-term affects of that decision. As well as his failure to annex the Kingdom of Navarra after it was bequeath to him.

Book Review – La Corona de Aragón

La Corona de Aragón: Manipulación, mito e historia (The Crown of Aragon: Manipulation, myth and history). I’ve read a few books from José Luis Corral and watched quite a few of his lectures on YouTube, and I can confidently say that he is arguably one of the best modern historians on The Crown of Aragon.

Unlike The Crown of Castile, in comparison to The Crown of Aragon I feel that my knowledge on the later is weaker. Hence, I decided to pickup this book and start learning more of its history. While, I’m not a complete beginner on the history The Crown of Aragon whatsoever (in fact I think my knowledge is fairly high to advanced!), I wanted to learn its history more in-depth.

This is an interesting book. The book itself, is relatively short given the long and complex history of The Crown of Aragon is. The goal of the author wasn’t to give a full detailed chronological history of the political entity known to history as The Crown of Aragon (over 600 years). But rather to give a general and factual understanding of its history. The factual reason on some of events that shaped it, and real outcomes of it. The author’s goal here is to informed the readers of the true history. This is extremely important since knowing the actual history gives the readers, how history in the modern era can be completely distorted from the facts and used as a propaganda outlet for political gain. Most notably the current Catalonian separatist movement in Spain, which is fueled by a falsified history of distorted facts.

This is a really good book, the only drawback is that it’s relatively short.