Throwback Thursday – September 21st – Panther in the Sun by John Comfort

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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This week’s Pick is…

Panther in the Sun

by John Comfort

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Blurb…

“An enjoyable read . . . renders an anxious excitement as the undeserved hardships of a single American family unfold. . . . Truly, a story with a viewpoint and tradition not often told: that of the American Indian.”
–Chief Hatcher of the Waccamaw Tribe

After tragedy tears apart a Native American family, a father must endure harsh and unjust consequences and fight to find his children. We follow the separated lives of the father and his two sons as they make their way in an unforgiving and hostile world.

Panther in the Sun is a powerful story of courage, love, determination, and reconciliation.

John Comfort has drawn much inspiration from his grandfather, George Riser, whose ancestrally-diverse background includes Oglala Lakota Sioux bloodlines. George was an orphan, he endured great hardship during the Great Depression, and he fought as an elite Frogman in the island campaign of World War II.


My Review:

Panther in the Sun by John Comfort is a truly powerful story about a Native American (Panther in the Sun) and his family. Many events take place and they’re not predictable. The story is very fast paced and a brisk read. It’s full of suspense and surprises. I can truly see this turned into a movie.

I had many emotions while reading the book and found it extremely impelling. This is the kind of book you sit down to read, and you don’t get back up for a really long time! You start to read and then remain because the story is that engaging.

I love the cover, writing style, and storyline. I loved it from beginning to end and I’m hoping for another book!

Thanks to the author, John Comfort, for sharing a copy with me.

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You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: bookgenesis press (October 4, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0996947043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0996947046

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – September 21st – Panther in the Sun by John Comfort”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Funky Monkey Cacao Smoothie – Paw Tracks in the Moonlight by Denis O’Connor

Happy Wednesday! I have a new book to share this week along with a newly discovered delicious smoothie!

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This recipe comes from a book I’ll be reviewing later on. So far, the book is amazing and I’ve enjoyed a few recipes which will be keepers. If you’d like to add this book, you can find it on Goodreads, Amazon, and many other retailers. Mine is the hardcover edition.

Healing Tonics, Juices, and Smoothies

100+ Elixirs to Nurture Body and Soul

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Find it on Goodreads and Amazon


I decided to make this Funky Monkey smoothie because I absolutely love Cacao!

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For those of you who don’t already know, cacao beans are fully raw cocoa beans. It’s the purest form of chocolate that you can consume and it’s delicious! It’s truly one of my favorite raw foods. We are using the nibs and powder in this recipe.

The Ingredients:

1 cup mylk (how it’s spelled in the book)

1 1/2 frozen bananas

1 Tbsp raw cacao powder

2 Tbsp almond butter

1 Tbsp Raw Honey or other liquid sweeteners

1 Tbsp raw cacao nibs

Here’s a picture of the ingredients and directions:

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Here’s what I did:

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I added in my soaked almonds for the milk and the frozen banana.

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I added in the cacao powder. I can’t give you a brand because my label is gone, but there are many brands online. I picked mine up from a health food store.

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I added in the almond butter.

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I just found this new raw honey at Costco. Great price!

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Blend it up well.

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Then, I added in the nibs and blended for just a few seconds to crunch them up a bit. You want the smoothie to be a little chunky. Here’s the brand I use.

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Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Funky Monkey Cacao Smoothie – Paw Tracks in the Moonlight by Denis O’Connor”

The Unicorn in the Barn by Jacqueline K. Ogburn – Book Review and Author Interview

Last month, we took a trip to Barnes and Noble and picked up The Unicorn in the Barn. We were instantly attracted to the title, cover, and blurb. I had the pleasure of reading The Unicorn in the Barn with my younger children and you can see my review and author interview with Jacqueline K. Ogburn below.

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The Unicorn in the Barn

by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, and Rebecca Green (Illustrations)

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   For years people have claimed to see a mysterious white deer in the woods around Chinaberry Creek. It always gets away.
One evening, Eric Harper thinks he spots it. But a deer doesn’t have a coat that shimmers like a pearl. And a deer certainly isn’t born with an ivory horn curling from its forehead.
When Eric discovers the unicorn is hurt and being taken care of by the vet next door and her daughter, Allegra, his life is transformed.
A tender tale of love, loss, and the connections we make, The Unicorn in the Barn shows us that sometimes ordinary life takes extraordinary turns. – Goodreads

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 My Review

Have you ever seen a Unicorn? Eric has, and now his life may be changed forever.

Eric’s grandmother isn’t well and has been put into a nursing home. Her house is now being occupied by someone new, a girl named Allegra, and her mother, a veterinarian. One day, Eric stumbles upon Allegra pounding in a “No Trespassing” sign on the tree where his treehouse resides: his favorite place to be. They don’t seem to like each other, but Eric doesn’t know yet that Allegra may not be as awful as she seems.

As Eric spends more time around the woods and farmhouse, he begins to discover magical creatures, including a white and glowing animal he first thinks is a pony. Soon, he realizes this beautiful pony-like animal is a unicorn: the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. He soon observes that she’s living in the old barn near the farmhouse which has been converted into a vet practice by Allegra’s mother. The unicorn was meant to remain a secret, but Eric is inquisitive and must find out everything he can about this magnificent creature.

We absolutely loved all the magical creatures in the book, especially Moonpearl, the majestic unicorn. The talking animals reminded us of another favorite children’s story-Charlotte’s Web. The human characters are memorable and even though it’s an imaginary story, it felt real. The relationship between Eric and his grandmother is heartwarming and we admired how Eric and Allegra’s friendship developed over time.

There were a few events in the book that we needed to stop and discuss that dealt with loss and mourning and not everything unfolded the way we wanted it to. Overall, this story was beautiful and something I would’ve loved reading as a child. We fell in love with all of the illustrations and found ourselves wanting more. My kids did enjoy it and I’m happy to have it as part of our home library.

My rating on this book is 5*****

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You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon as well as many other bookstores.

  • Age Range: 10 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 – 7
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (July 4, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 054476112X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544761124

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Author Interview with Jacqueline K. Ogburn

 

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

A: I didn’t really start calling myself a writer until after about my third picture book. By then I began to believe it was something I was good at, not just a fluke. I had always written things – poetry, journals, letters – starting when I was around 8 or 9.

Q: What made you decide to write children’s books?

A: My path was a bit unusual. I had moved to New York City in my early 20s because I wanted to work in book publishing. My first job was in children’s books, and it made me remember how I fell in love with reading. I wrote my first picture book when I misunderstood a book title. I thought it was The Noise Lullaby, but it turned out to be The Norse Lullaby. Not nearly as intriguing a title, so I wrote a manuscript to go along with the incorrect one.

 

Q: What is your favorite childhood book?

A: Lots of favorites: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and A Wrinkle in Time, also Harriet the Spy and It’s Like This, Cat were some I read and reread. Looking at that list, it is not surprising I moved to New York City. I also loved Black Beauty and Bambi, both which had very sad and harsh scenes. And lots of fairy tales, mostly the one from the Grimm Brothers. I hated most of the Hans Christian Anderson stories. I especially loathed The Little Match Girl. His stories seemed so cruel.

Q: Have you always enjoyed writing? 

A: Like many people, I started with poetry. I like playing with the rhythms and how intricate they could be. Writing a poem can be like solving a puzzle, finding how the pieces fit.

Q: What influenced you to write The Unicorn in the Barn and are any of your books influenced by your childhood?

A: My daughter sparked the idea, when she mentioned that unicorns might be hard for a vet to treat. The setting of the story is based on the farm in North Carolina near Charlotte where my grandmother and my mother grew up, and my uncle still lives. I tried to give it a Southern feel, but not in a stereotypical way.

My book The Jukebox Man was based on my grandfather, who had jukeboxes and pool tables at bars and restaurants throughout North Carolina. The illustrator, James Ransome, also used my house in one of the pictures.

Q: How does writing make you feel and does it come easy for you?

A: I hate starting a piece. Starting is so hard, trying to find a way in. Those first fewwriting-center-1024x692.jpg sentences set up so much. Once I get past that, it is very absorbing. Picture books are so short that I can usually write a full draft in a day or two. I can hold the whole picture book in my head while I research and work out the plot or the structure.

Novels are hard because they have so much middle. Some many possible blind alleys and it seems to magically expand. Or you get stuck and aren’t sure how to keep it building towards the end.

Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

A: That’s like asking who is your favorite child. I love them all. I have published 10 picture books and one middle-grade novel. I love The Reptile Ball because it was a collection of poems. The Magic Nesting Doll was an original fairy tale. The Bake Shop Ghost because it is about cakes and a cranky ghost. Also because I got to write a musical based on it and see it performed, and it was made into a short film, which I got to see being made.

Q: What makes a great children’s book?

A: It’s easier to say what makes a bad one – a didactic approach, condescending tone, sugary sweet sentimentality, not respecting that children are people, stories that rote, routine and boring.

Q: Why don’t you illustrate your own books and what’s the process like for finding illustrators?

A: While I like to draw, I haven’t developed that talent. There are so many incredible artists out there, and I have been lucky in the ones who had illustrated my books. I don’t find the illustrators, the publisher does that, because they give a separate contract to the artist. I usually discuss the style of art the story needs with the publisher. Lots of artists have turned down my stories, for all sorts of reason – they didn’t like it, didn’t fit their schedule, etc. Once I met an illustrator years after he turned down my story. He did wonderful, realistic illustrations of children that were beautiful and intense. He remembered my story. He explained that he didn’t do it because the action took place inside, and he hated drawing interiors. He loved illustrating outdoor scenes.

 

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Illustrations from The Unicorn in the Barn by Rebecca Green

 

Q: What’s the publishing process been like for you and how do you market your books?

A: I have been very lucky in my publishing career. I don’t have an agent, but have worked with several editors at three different houses. I have had several books rejected, and probably don’t market those enough. I do some online marketing for my published, but that is changing so rapidly that it is hard to keep up. I do some school visits, but I have a day job, so I’m not a true road warrior.

Q: Do you like to read a lot? If so, who are some of your favorite authors and are there any that heavily influence your writing?2839.jpg

A: I read constantly. I’m the type of person who reads the cereal box if there is nothing else around. For picture books, Margaret Mahy was an influence – she is very funny and whimsical and playful with language. For a novel, The Bridge to Terabithia was an influence.

Q: When it comes to writing, what tools do you use?

A: Pen for poetry, computer for prose.

Q: How long did it take you to write The Unicorn in the Barn?

A: More years than it should have – about 10. I didn’t work on it consistently. I would put it away for months at a time, then find myself thinking about the characters and work on it until I got stuck again.

Q: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?

A: The middle kept growing, that there were more things I realized I needed to put in that weren’t part of the original outline.

Q: Will there be any other books regarding Moonpearl or the characters in this book in the future?

A: I have some chapters of a sequel, told from Allegra’s point of view. The main magical creature is a griffin, because I love the hybrid of lion and eagle.

Q: How did you come up with the character names in the book and are any characters or events based on anything true?

A: My daughter who gave me the spark, her middle name is Harper, so I used that for Eric’s family name. I did research by volunteering at the Piedmont Wildlife Center, so some of the details about the clinic are drawn from that, and the farm is based on the one where my grandmother and mother grew up.

Q: I appreciated that the book dealt with some harder topics like aging, death, and mourning which can be difficult for children to cope with. Did you make any major edits to the book or have other endings for the story?

A: I changed an important scene. Originally Eric tried to take the unicorn to his grandmother and Moonpearl ran away after being frightened by a car. My editor and husband thought it made Eric seem too selfish and unsympathetic. So I had to change a lot and ended up with the wampus cat.

If you tell a story about a hospital or a doctor, about healing, then death is always a possibility. I called a friend crying once, because I realized I needed to include the death of an animal if it was going to be a fantasy grounded in reality.

Being the parent or grandparent of a children’s book protagonist is risky business – they die off at an alarming rate. The loss of a grandparent or a pet are frequently a child’s first experience of death, and the initial setting I created made them almost inevitable. I tried to do it in a way that was emotionally true, but not crushing. To show that these things can be faced, especially with help.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?images.jpg

A: Read a lot, and be persistent. Dr. Seuss was famously rejected over 30 times before he found a publisher for his first book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street.

Q: Do you have any advice for parents who are dealing with struggling readers?

A: That is a bit outside my expertise, but modeling reading is one. Anything that appeals to an interest they have, don’t worry about if it’s “good” just something that they want to figure out. Reading out loud, just as sharing, not as pressure.

Q: Are you working on anything now and do you have any future projects planned?

A: The possible sequels and I have an idea for a series, maybe a bit younger than this.

Q: What else do you like to do outside of writing?

A: I live in Durham, North Carolina, which is now a foodie town. I like to cook and eat well. I grow herbs and flowers and tomatoes, because not even the farmer’s market has tomatoes as good as the ones in your own backyard.

I’d like to thank Jacqueline K. Ogburn for her time in completing this interview.

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Continue reading “The Unicorn in the Barn by Jacqueline K. Ogburn – Book Review and Author Interview”

Music Monday! Pantera “Cemetery Gates” 1990

Music Monday

This meme was created by Drew from The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday! I’m having so much fun with this meme and I’m so glad that Claire@BrizzleLassBooks brought it to my attention.

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I thought I’d go way back to the 90s for this Music Monday. I saw Pantera in concert multiple times in the 90s and this is truly one of my favorite songs by them. I honestly had a hard time choosing one favorite Pantera song, but I chose this one because the song really highlights Phil Anselmo’s voice. A lot of people don’t like metal music, and that’s perfectly fine, but just please give this one a try. His vocal ability is quite amazing and I personally find his range electrifying.

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I get serious butterflies in my stomach when I hear this song. When Phil was asked about the song meaning, he spoke about the lyrics lamenting the death of a female lover and the narrator reflects on rejoining her in the afterlife. Regarding the lyrical inspiration, Phil Anselmo told Music Photocalypse: “There was a friend who had died in New Orleans and it had a real heavy impact within my group of friends.” – Songfacts.com


 

This week’s Song Pick

Pantera

“Cemetery Gates”

I have to give you two different versions of the song and here’s why. This first version with the official video cuts off a whole section from the front of the song; a very important part of the song. The second version is the original tempo, but it cuts off the back of the song, which is also very important.

At 4:54 is an unbelievable screaming high note from Phil paired with a follow-up from Darrell’s guitar, it’s insane!

Here’s the second version from VH1, which includes the beginning lyrics below. This is the “Demon Knight” movie version which features the Crypt-Keeper laughing at the beginning and also an alternate ending- just a warning! It’s a little disturbing. Does anyone remember the Crypt-Keeper? I prefer this ‘version’ of the song because of the tempo, but the Crypt- Keeper interrupts the ending and totally freaks me out…

-Lyrics-

Reverend, reverend,
Is this a conspiracy?
Crucified for no sins
No revenge beneath me
Lost within my plans for life,
It all seems so unreal
I’m a man cut in half in this world,
Left in my misery

Reverend he turned to me
Without a tear in his eyes
Nothing new for him to see,
I didn’t ask him why
I will remember
The love our souls had sworn to make
Now I watch the falling rain
All my mind can see now is your

Well I guess you took my youth
And gave it all away
Like the birth of a new found joy
This love would end in rage
And when she died I couldn’t cry
The pride within my soul
You left me incomplete
All alone as the memories now unfold

Believe the word
I will unlock my door
And pass the cemetery gates

Sometimes when I’m alone,
I wonder aloud,
If you’re watching over me
Some place far abound
I must reverse my life
I can’t live in the past
Then set my soul free,
Belong to me at last

Through all those complex years
I thought I was alone
I didn’t care to look around
And make this world my own
And when she died
I should’ve cried and spared myself some pain
You left me incomplete,
All alone as the memories still remain

The way we were,
The chance to save my soul
And my concern is now in vain
Believe the word,
I will unlock my door
And pass the cemetery gates

The way we were,
The chance to save my soul
And my concern is now in vain.
Believe the word,
I will unlock my door
And pass the cemetery

Gates
Gates
Gates

Continue reading “Music Monday! Pantera “Cemetery Gates” 1990″

Shabby Sunday: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – 1991

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Today is my 5th Shabby Sunday! To see all the Shabby Sunday books that I’ve chosen, please click on ‘Shabby Sunday’ under categories.


Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then, I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


 

Today’s shabby share is:

Outlander

by Diana Gabaldon

1991

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I chose this book because believe it or not, it was written in 1991 – 26 years ago! My copy is the first edition from 1991. I love the cover.

Blurb: Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another…

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life …and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

My Thoughts:

Claire Randall is a nurse living in Scotland with Frank, her husband, just after the end of World War II. Frank is absorbed in studying his family tree and tracking one of his ancestors named “Black Jack” Randall. Claire has an interest in Botany and studies plants along with their healing factors.

One day, Claire comes across a stone circle called Craigh na Dun.

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While there, she discovers a plant and can’t stop thinking about it. She comes back another day to collect the plant near the stones and hears one of the stones scream. One after another, they all scream. Something strange is happening and Claire wakes up in Scotland, but in 1743. She witnesses men in kilts and a man that looks like Frank but isn’t. Quickly, Claire is taken away by a band of Scotsmen and this is where she meets Jamie, a man she’ll soon have to marry if she wants to survive.

 

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Claire and Jamie from the series on STARZ

 

This was an outstanding book that kept me entertained throughout. I was completely immersed in this story from start to finish. I loved Claire and Jamie’s smart, yet stubborn characters and enjoyed the formation of their relationship. All the characters had good development with some that I loved and some that I hated, but most were unforgettable. The pacing was perfect and never once did I want to stop reading, except for the few parts I found a tad difficult to read.

Some consider this a romance novel, but I think of it more as historical fiction. It does have a good amount of romance, but so much more than that. I’m not a history buff, but it seems that Diana Gabaldon has really done her research with this series and has spun a tale that can’t be forgotten.

My rating on this one is 5-stars.

5 Sterne


 

Add it on Goodreads or find this edition on Amazon

You can find many editions of this series on Amazon, eBay, and many other sites.

This edition is:

  • Hardcover: 627 pages
  • 1991 Delacorte Press – Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing
  • ISBN 0-385-30230-4

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – 1991”

Meet The Reader with Anthony Jones

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I’m always looking for friends on Goodreads that have similar tastes. I like learning about new books and discussing them with others, so I decided to experiment with a new idea and thought it would be neat to find readers that I’m friends with on Goodreads and share them with you. Maybe they might be someone you’d like to add too. As I find readers with an interest, I’ll introduce them.


Meet the Reader Series

Today’s Featured Reader:

Anthony Jones

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(Click the covers to add on Goodreads)

Did you enjoy reading as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite books?

I started reading more as a teen but always enjoyed books. In the olden days, when TV’s were black and white and the only channels were CBS, ABC, NBC and PBS, and before such things as video games, many of us kids would gather at each other’s home for what was commonly referred to as story time. Neighborhood moms would take turns reading to the kids. Here is where I fell in love with stories. Some of my favorites were:

Mark Twain’s, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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and The Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Wilder.

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What are some of your favorite books this year or last?

This year, some of the books that made my favorites list include:

American Gods by Neal Gaiman

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The Stand by Stephen King

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Everything’s Eventual  by Stephen King

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Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hurnard Hannah

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In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan

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What are your favorite book genres?

I love most fiction, specifically, Fantasy Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Thriller, and select Mystery. That is not to say I don’t also love some true stories if written in a well entertaining way. Such books would include An Innocent Man, by John Grisham, and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

 

Continue reading “Meet The Reader with Anthony Jones”

Amazon redacts one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new book What Happened

Hundreds of damning verdicts on memoir of 2016 presidential race, posted within hours of publication, have been removed by the online bookseller.

I saw this on The Guardian this morning. It might be highly unlikely that all of the people read the book overnight, but I’m not sure if I agree with the removal of the ratings if they can’t prove that the people indeed didn’t read the book.

This made me think of The Black Witch, a book I read earlier this year. Many people rated it 1-star without reading it because they said it was racist after reading one person’s damaging review. I have to wonder why Goodreads refuses to remove 1-star ratings from users who openly admit to NEVER reading the book? 


From The Guardian:

Hundreds of one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s memoir What Happened, which appeared online within hours of the 512-page book’s publication, have been removed from Amazon.

What Happened, in which Clinton gives her account of the 2016 presidential campaign, was published on Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, there were more than 1,500 reviews of the novel on Amazon.com, the majority either glowing or scathing.

The book’s publisher at Simon & Schuster, Jonathan Karp, told the Associated Press: “It seems highly unlikely that approximately 1,500 people read Hillary Clinton’s book overnight and came to the stark conclusion that it is either brilliant or awful.”

Continue reading “Amazon redacts one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new book What Happened”

#Blog Tour #Book Review – The Spell of the Horse by Pam Billinge

I was very lucky to be able to participate in the blog tour for The Spell of the Horse, a book written by Pam Billinge. This blog tour is organized by Blackbird Digital Books.

 

The Spell of the Horse by Pam Billinge

Stories of Healing and Personal Transformation with Nature’s Finest Teachers

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Blurb:

The ability of the horse to sense emotion, energy and spirit is way beyond what most of the human world realises. A must-read for those wishing to understand the spiritual connection between horses and humans.

When Pam’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she began to notice the way her horse responded to her emotional turmoil. Thus began an exploration into the spiritual relationship between horses and humans and their infinite capacity to help us heal. Building on her remarkable discoveries, Pam began her pioneering work as a horse-led coach and therapist. By sharing her own path to redemption through personal tragedy, and other stories of healing inspired by the incredible interactions she has observed between horse and human, Pam puts forward her uplifting insights about the true nature of the horse, setting out some simple principles to help the reader transcend life’s challenges.

Discover the lessons which horse behaviour have taught the author about

* managing anxiety
* surviving bereavement
* letting go of fear and finding courage to live with joy and purpose
* listening to inner wisdom without over thinking dilemmas, allowing the right things to happen in life without force

This memoir will appeal to fans of The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, The Wild Other by Clover Stroud and H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Pam Billinge is a body psychotherapy professional and leadership coach at the top of her game in the UK field of horse-led therapy.


My Thoughts:

I’ve been a horse owner for part of my life and have always found the relationship between horse and human to be something very special. After reading this book, I understand even more how horses can sense our emotions because we are transparent and they react to them in many different ways. I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression in the past and I’ve discovered first hand how animals, including horses, can assist us in many ways. They are there for us in our time of need and can help us discover our true self. They have the power to help us heal.

“My body and soul were moving to a different rhythm. The self-pity had gone. My vitality was back. I was thankful for every breath I took in this incredible world. I was under the spell, the spell of the Horse. Healing had commenced.”

Pam Billinge has written a book about her own journey to heal and achieve happiness. She writes about her experiences with horses and horse therapy. While struggling herself, she works with people who are having problems in their lives and the horse, in turn, helps them discover what’s wrong. Horses respond to their emotions and after working with them, they begin to ask themselves what they need to change in their own life trajectories and why things are the way they are with their family, relationships, career, or life in general.

I found The Spell of the Horse emotional at times, especially when it seemed that the author’s life was in a downward spiral. The book contains some of the author’s experience with challenging relationships, tragedy, love, death, and mourning. Some of my favorite parts in the book involved the discovery.

“Our spirit, our essence, is about being. It is the life that pulses and ripples within us. It is what is left when the heart beats no more. It is something that is sensed, and something of the senses. It is something which resonates, which vibrates. It is a silent music, and the emotions and feelings that animate us during life are the notes, the chords, and the crescendos of that symphony.”

The Spell of the Horse can be cherished by those who work with horses or enjoy horses in general, but it can also help anyone discover that healing is real. Readers will discover how others have changed their direction in life and have become happier people because of it. They’ve taken control, and all because of the spell of the horse.

My rating is:

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Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Blackbird Digital Books (September 18, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0995473552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0995473553

About the Author:

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The first horses which Pam became fascinated by were ridden by the mounted policemen she would see passing her childhood home in Liverpool on the way to supervise football matches. Little did she know, then, how these magnificent creatures would influence her adult life, not only supporting her through a number of personal tragedies, but also leading to her pioneering work in horse-led psychotherapy and coaching.

In her first book, The Spell of the Horse, Pam shares her memoir and other stories inspired by the incredible interactions she has observed between horse and human. Thus she reveals the true nature of the horse whilst delivering some simple principles to help the reader transcend life’s challenges to live with purpose, self-belief and joy.

Find Pam Billinge on:

Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Continue reading “#Blog Tour #Book Review – The Spell of the Horse by Pam Billinge”

Throwback Thursday – September 14th -The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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This week’s Pick is…

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel 

by Louise Murphy

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Blurb: In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed “Hansel” and “Gretel.” They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called “witch” by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children. Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, this haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children, and tells a resonant, riveting story.

My thoughts…

It’s nearly the end of the Nazi occupation of Poland and a father must abandon his children near a forest so that they can search for safety from the Germans. On the journey, they meet Magda, the so-called village witch. Magda is willing to risk her life and others to keep the children safe.

“The wheel turns. Blue above, green below, we wonder a long way, but love is what the cup of our soul contains when we leave the world and the flesh. This we will drink forever. I know. I am Magna. I am the witch.”

Hansel and Gretel has been a favorite fairy tale since childhood. It was most definitely one of the scariest. The way the author has taken the fairy tale, re-imagined it, and paired it with the evil nightmare of WWII is fascinating. The story feels so authentic. It’s incredible to me how the author has a way of keeping to the original story of Hansel and Gretel throughout, consistently hovering around elements true to the original fairy tale.

The story itself is dark and twisted and highlights the true evil doing against the Jewish, Gypsies, and dissidents during WWII. It was nothing like what I expected. I had an idea of the plot, but there’s so much more to the story. Parts of the story were so hard to get through, but I loved the characters especially Magda, Nelka, Telek, Hansel, and Gretel. Magna was surely my most prized character. The beautiful prose and specific elements reminded me of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which is one of my favorite books of 2017.

There are discussion questions and an interview with the author at the conclusion which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m not sure why it’s listed as having 320 pages. My book has 297 plus a few more for interview and discussion.

This book gets 5-stars from me…

5 Sterne


 

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First Edition edition (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142003077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142003077

 

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Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – September 14th -The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy”

Cynder’s New Puppies…

It happened!

On September 12th, at 2:38 a.m., Cynder had her first pup followed by two more.

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The evening prior, she began nesting and digging around the house. I thought for sure this week we’d have puppies, but didn’t know that it would be that quick. She honestly went at it like a pro. She didn’t cry or seem distressed…

Winston sounded the alarm and woke up my oldest son right after she had the first puppy. We really didn’t need to assist her at all.

Puppy 1 – 2:38 a.m. – Looks just like Winston and a big girl.

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Puppy 2 – 3:34 a.m. – Looks just like Cynder, a little bigger than the first pup, and a boy.

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Puppy 3 – 4:00 a.m. – The runt of the litter. Looks just like Cynder, but so very tiny. Another girl.

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She’s been such a great mom and they are nursing away and already growing. It still seems surreal that she had puppies. She didn’t change much during pregnancy and those that read the Lesson’s from Grandpa post #5 know that we questioned the whole time whether or not she was truly pregnant. I’m really glad that we waited and just let everything happen naturally.

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Continue reading “Cynder’s New Puppies…”

Music Monday – September 11th Memorial – James Taylor “You Can Close Your Eyes”

Music Monday

This meme was created by Drew from The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday!

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Today is a special Music Monday. Last week I shared a song by Simon and Garfunkel titled “The Sound of Silence” from the 10-year September 11th Memorial service. If you’d like to see that post you can click HERE. Today on September 11th, 16 years later, I thought I’d share another song from the 10-year memorial service which was performed by James Taylor and it’s titled “You Can Close Your Eyes.”

James Taylor

You Can Close Your Eyes

 

Lyrics:

“You Can Close Your Eyes”

Well the sun is surely sinking down, but the moon is slowly rising.
So this old world must still be spinning round and I still love you.

So close your eyes, you can close your eyes, it’s all right.
I don’t know no love songs and I can’t sing the blues anymore.
But I can sing this song and you can sing this song when I’m gone.

It won’t be long before another day, we gonna have a good time.
And no one’s gonna take that time away. You can stay as long as you like.

So close your eyes, you can close your eyes, it’s all right.
I don’t know no love songs and I can’t sing the blues anymore.
But I can sing this song and you can sing this song when I’m gone.

 


“You Can Close Your Eyes” is from the album:

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You can find it on Amazon

Release dateMarch 16, 1971
StudioCrystal Sound Studios, Los Angeles
GenresRock music, Acoustic music

Continue reading “Music Monday – September 11th Memorial – James Taylor “You Can Close Your Eyes””

Shabby Sunday: The Tall Book of Mother Goose – 1942

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Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then, I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

The Tall Book of Mother Goose

by Feodor Rojankovsky (Illustrator)

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I’ve had this book since I was very young and can still remember climbing up on the couch to read it with my grandfather. It was published in 1942 and was a part of the school library where my grandfather worked as a teacher and principal. The book was even used by my mother and her siblings. It’s now a part of my home library.

There are over 100 nursery rhymes in this book. Some of my favorites are “The House That Jack Built,” “Old Mother Hubbard,” and “Old King Cole.” My absolute favorite in the entire book is “Sing a Song of Sixpence.”

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My grandfather wouldn’t just read this one, he would sing it. We didn’t even have to be reading the book; we would dance around singing it. It’s a wonderful memory and I’m happy to have this book to share with my kids.

Some of the illustrations are in color and some in black and white. The book is definitely tall at about 12 inches. This 1942 edition is about 120 pages.

My rating is 5-stars.

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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: The Tall Book of Mother Goose – 1942”

The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller – Author Interview + Book Review

Recently I read The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller. You can read my book review and the interview I did with the author below.

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The White Raven

by Carrie D. Miller

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Blurb: In her thirteenth life, Aven has settled into the now witchcraft-friendly Salem where she has found true happiness and friendship, maybe even love. Despite her contentment, the truth of Aven’s existence haunts her. When she dies, her Spirit is forced from the Veil to live again in the body of a stranger.

Does the elusive white raven, who has shadowed Aven through each of her lives, hold the secret to her release–or is it the cause?

To make matters worse, an unrelenting, twisted evil from Aven’s past lurks closely behind her. Sustained by his hatred of the witch, he won’t give up until she’s paid for what she did to him.

When the truth of Aven’s connection to the white raven is revealed, it is more horrifying than she could ever have imagined.

Her freedom will come at a terrible price. And even then, will she truly be free?

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: FiveFold Press; First edition (April 28, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1947024019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1947024014

My Review:

Aven is living the happiest life she’s ever had, and she’s had twelve others before. She lives with memories from her past lives and unfortunately her deaths too, including the remembrance of her murderer-Morris Stiles.

“This is the happiest I’ve ever been. I have been through so much pain and suffering in my previous lives, but here I feel like I’ve finally found a place where I belong and can thrive. When the recurring dread and despair that this life will end too soon creep into my mind, I pack them back down tightly. I’ve set aside all thoughts of my curse for now. I will make this a good life.”

Aven’s been cursed to continue living on Earth no matter how many times she dies. In this life, she’s settled down in Salem and owns a little shop where she does readings and sells magickal items. She has Jo- her very close and supportive friend who accepts her for who she is and has true power herself, Cal- a man who’s just come into the picture and might be just what Aven needs, and the white raven- who seems to follow her wherever she goes, but she cannot see it.

“He’s always around you, you know,” she says absently, looking off behind me again. “I know.” I don’t turn around; he won’t be there. “But he never shows himself. This has been going on for several lifetimes. I think almost all of them.” I can’t remember a time when the bird wasn’t there.”

Everything seems to be perfect until suddenly something haunts Aven from her past. Will she overcome it? How will she ever break this curse of living over and over again?

This book is written well and I thought the character development was perfect. The characters are memorable and I must say, Aven ended up being my favorite character in the book. She’s so strong-minded and doesn’t let anything stop her from using her magick. She has a strong and important message to be who YOU want to be. I loved Maggie – her canine companion, Jo, and Sylvia as well. I cherished all the details, descriptions and imagery that really pull you in and make you feel like you’re living the story. The author managed to add a little bit of everything here–romance, magick, jealousy, friendship, evil, and love. This is the perfect book to read this time of year, especially with all the magick and Halloween elements. I’m hopeful there’s going to be a sequel and I’ll definitely be reading it if there is!

5 Sterne

You can find The White Raven on Goodreads and Amazon

 


 

BeFunky Design

Q&A With Carrie D. Miller

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Can you tell readers something interesting about yourself?

Many people have commented on how authentic the magick feels in The White Raven. Well, truth be told, that’s because I really am a witch. 🙂

Have you always wanted to be an author?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a published author.

Did you enjoy reading as a child? What are some of your childhood favorites?

I loved to read. And before I could read, I loved my mother reading to me before I went to sleep.

My favorite as a kid was C.S. Lewis. I read the Chronicles of Narnia over and over.

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Do you enjoy reading now? Who are some of your favorite authors?

I still love to read. Some of my favorites are James Rollins, the Preston & Child writing duo, and Marie Brennan.

Are there any authors that have inspired your writing?

My tastes change all the time and I take away a little something from every author I read. Who has affected me more recently is Paula Brackston (The Silver Witch, The Witch’s Daughter). Her writing style is like a song in my head.

What have you written so far?

I’ve written many stories over the decades but only completed and published one, The White Raven.

What are some of your writing tactics? Do you outline?

I am a planner! I outline, research, and spreadsheet or diagram as much as I can about the story. I create character dossiers, also. The outline for TWR was 18 pages. I don’t treat the outline as gospel, though. I use it mostly as a guideline. If my writing veers off in other directions, I go with it. I scraped many pages of TWR’s outline because I loved the different directions it went.

Do you do all your own editing?

While I do revise and edit as much as I can, I know what my limitations are. I hire professionals for that kind of stuff.

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do? 

A year and a half ago, I quit my ‘day job’ to become a full-time writer. I was a vice president of a software company, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I decided that it was time to take the leap, to take a shot at the dream I’ve had since I was a kid. I have zero regrets.

What do you love most about writing?

I love seeing the story build and grow. I love seeing the characters come alive, watching their unique personalities and behaviors take shape. I love the tingling feeling, the excitement flitting around in my chest as an amazing scene flies out of my fingers.

How do you publish and market your books?

I decided early on that I would self-publish. I am a bit of a control freak, so it made sense for me to go that route in the beginning. I initially published exclusively on Amazon, but in July I expanded to everywhere else – Nook, iTunes, Kobo, etc. I’m running ads on Amazon and Kobo right now.

Do you have any advice for others on publishing and marketing?

One word: RESEARCH. Don’t just do things blindly. Don’t wing it. Research, research,
research. Follow and observe what other authors are doing, read articles on best practices and the mistakes made by others, and ask questions. That will save you heartache, headaches, and embarrassment in the future. And for heaven’s sake, don’t create your own book cover or rely on only your own editing skills. Hire professionals!

What do you consider literary success?

I have discovered that my definition of literary success has a few levels. My initial success was that I actually published a book! Now that people are buying it and giving it great reviews, that’s a whole new level of success to me. The way that feels in my heart, knowing that people are sitting down on their couches or curled up in their beds with my book in their hands, giving me their precious time, gives me such a feeling of success that I couldn’t have imagined before. My next success will be when I can make my car payment without having to dip into my savings. 😀

What made you decide to write this book?

The creation of this book sprang out of frustration. At the time, years ago, I couldn’t find any books featuring witches that weren’t annoyingly cliche or that didn’t perpetuate the Hollywood or Christian stereotype. I wanted to write the kind of book that I wanted to read. Since then, I’ve discovered several authors that pen wonderful stories featuring witches and magick that I just love, so I’m very happy with the shift that’s taken place over the years.

Can you tell us about the covers for The White Raven and who designed them?

The original book cover was designed by an artist, Helen Lloyd (http://www.helenlloyd.com), from England who specializes in animals. I had seen an amazing pencil drawing of a crow and knew she would be the one to bring Ren to life. I kept the original cover for about 3 months.

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After doing some more research on how book covers should be done, I decided to go a different route with it. The new design was done by Damonza (http://www.damonza.com) and I’m thrilled with it.

Are you working on anything now and what are your future writing plans?

I’m 23k words into a story involving copper pennies, dead criminals, a bad guy wanting to do bad things involving demons, an old woman’s spirit held in a cracked crystal ball, and twin red-headed sisters who know nothing about magick but have to stop the bad guy from doing bad things with his own spell book they can’t read. It’s set mostly in modern-day Prague and Boston but will venture back into the 1930s. I foresee these sisters becoming a series. Two or three books, I think.

Do you think your writing will remain in the fantasy genre?

Probably but I do have a science fiction idea in my head. Maybe one day I’ll resurrect the high fantasy I started 15+ years ago. I even created a world map. It’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

Is Halloween a special time for you and an inspiration for writing this magickal book with Halloween elements?

I absolutely love Halloween. Not just because it’s my birthday either. If I could dress in costume all the time and have my home decorated for Halloween all year long and not be looked at like a crazy person, I would totally do it.

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Do you have a special connection with Salem or have you visited there?

I’ve visited it twice. Once because I was in Boston on business and the second time as research for the book.

How much research did you do for The White Raven and how long did it take you to write it?

As they say, write what you know! I didn’t do that much research for the witchcraft aspects of the book. I am a witch myself, so I knew much of this already. I needed help from my sisters in the Craft when it came to the past life rituals, of which I knew nothing, and the selection of a stone to shield energy. And I’m not very good with auras so I researched online what colors are associated with deep negative emotions. Although I had been to Salem before, I went back there to specifically research the area for the book. All-in-all, it took me about 3 months to write the whole thing, minus the few chapters I’d written over the years, which got mostly rewritten.

Is there a book trailer for The White Raven or do you intend on making one?

I’ve considered it but no, it’s not in my plan. It’s a costly endeavor, especially since I want movie-quality awesomeness.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

The hardest part by far to write was the first sex scene, no pun intended. I ended up having to google how to do it! How much detail do I go into? How far do I go? What euphemisms do I use without sounding corny? I think that first one was rewritten three or four times, thanks to the help of my editor.

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I loved the ending and have to ask, will there be a sequel to The White Raven and when can we expect it?

There will absolutely be a sequel. I hope to get it out sometime in late 2018.

Was anything edited out and did you have alternate endings for the book?

Honestly, I had the ending written years ago. I never had any other thoughts on how else it could end. It simply had to end like it did. As for what was edited out, the original manuscript was over 115k words. The final was about 107k. With the guidance of my amazing editor, she helped me streamline scenes and cull bits that did nothing to move the story along or build out a character.

If The White Raven were adapted into a movie, who would you see playing the main characters?

I see Eva Green as Aven, maybe even Kate Beckinsale or Charlize Theron.

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Eva Green

 

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Kate Beckinsale

 

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Charlize Theron

Cal is absolutely Viggo Mortensen.

 

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Viggo Mortensen

Continue reading “The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller – Author Interview + Book Review”

The Lost Boys Vol.1 by Tim Seeley

The Lost Boys Vol.1

by Tim Seeley

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Blurb: In this follow-up to the 1987 cult classic film, horror masters Tim Seeley and Scott Godlewski wade into the bloody, badass world of California vampires for an all-new tale of thrills, chills, and good old-fashioned heart-staking action in THE LOST BOYS VOL. 1!

Welcome to scenic Santa Carla, California. Great beaches. Colorful characters. Killer nightlife. And, of course, all the damn vampires.

The Emerson brothers (Sam and Michael) and the Frog brothers (Edgar and Alan) learned that last part the hard way–these underage slayers took on the vampire master Max and his pack of punked-out minions, and drove a stake right through their plans to suck Santa Carla dry. After scraping the undead goo off their shoes, they figured everything was back to normal.

But now there are new vamps in town.

A coven of female undead called the Blood Belles has moved in, and they’ve targeted Sam, Michael, the Frog Brothers, and every other vampire hunter in Santa Carla for bloody vengeance.

It’ll take every trick in the brothers’ monster-killing book to stop these bloodsuckers from unleashing an entire army of the damned. And they’ll need help from an unexpected source–a certain shirtless sax-playing savior known only as the Believer!

Do you still believe? Collects #1-6.

  • Series: Lost Boys
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (August 15, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401271456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401271459

Find this on Goodreads and Amazon


My Review:

As soon as I saw this, I had to pick it up. I went straight to Amazon and bought it. Being a child of the 80s, “The Lost Boys” was one of my favorite movies. I couldn’t wait to read this.

The story starts out right after the end of the first movie with a little short recap and David had just been defeated along with Max and the rest of the clan. Sam is working at Fantasy World Comics and having a discussion with a customer.

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Sam

All is good in Santa Carla, or is it?

The Frog brothers are still practicing their vampire hunting skills along with Grandpa Emerson. Now, there’s a whole new breed of female vampires called the Blood Belles on the loose and they’re looking to kill every vampire hunter in sight.

Can the Frog brothers stop the bloodsuckers before they take over Santa Carla for good?

All the main characters are present in this graphic novel including Sam, Michael, Lucy, Grandpa Emerson, The Frog Brothers, Star, Laddie and a few other surprise characters as well. I thought the graphics were pretty good, my only complaint was that they don’t look as real as the true movie characters like they do on the cover.

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Michael and Star

My favorite character is the awesome Tim Cappello! I’m sure all you fans remember this beefy sax player from the movie, right? He has a significant part in the story. I was pleased with his addition. You can see the original music video for “I Still Believe” from “The Lost Boys” movie below to refresh your memory.

Overall, I’m glad I read it and even had a few laughs. It was nostalgic and I enjoyed revisiting all of my favorite characters from the original movie. The story kept me interested and the graphics were pleasing. This is a good sequel to the movie. It does contain some harsh language and it’s probably best for older teens+

I’ll rate this one 4****

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Continue reading “The Lost Boys Vol.1 by Tim Seeley”

Award: The Miranda Sings Award

I was nominated by Noriko@ BookFiendSite for The Miranda Sings Award. Up until seeing this on Noriko’s site, I’d never seen this award before. Please check out Noriko’s blog for awesome book reviews, tags, challenges, wrap-ups, awards and more.

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Thanks, Noriko! I appreciate you nominating me.

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Rules:

  • Announce your win with a post, and link the blogger who nominated you.
  • Include the featured image on your blog post.
  • Nominate 10 bloggers (or as many as you can think of) and link your awardees in the post.
  • List 7 things you love about yourself. (This can be about your appearance, your personality, your achievements, etc.)
  • Don’t use negative connotation (i.e. Don’t say things like – “I’m prettier than an average person.” or “People have told me I’m smart.” You are pretty. You are smart.)

7 Things I love about myself:

I had a long paragraph written about why it’s difficult to pick out 7 things that I love about myself, but I deleted it and I’m just going for it!

I’m healthy –  Four years ago I wasn’t. I took control and healed my body. I don’t want to talk too much about this because I already have in previous posts, but I’m happy that I don’t have to feel sick all the time, I’m off meds, and mainly just deal with fatigue at this point.

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I can fix things – Since I was a child, I’ve always been a fix it Felix. I love to take things apart and figure out how to fix them. I have this old Halloween snow globe that stopped working a few years ago and I finally opened it up last year and fixed it. I’m really happy about it because it’s one I couldn’t replace.

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I’m a problem solver – I feel like I’m a fairly good problem solver and also improvise well. In a college computer science course, we had to figure out this complex problem involving the distance a fly traveled around a room and I was one in a small group of people to figure it out. That made me feel awesome and really boosted my self-confidence.

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I’m a good mom – I put my kids first and try to be the best mom I can be.

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I’m Creative – I enjoy creating things and have skills in sewing & quilting, crafts, drawing, painting, and needle arts like crochet and knitting. I’ve had my hands in most types of art and I love that.

 

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A wall quilt I recently made

 

I’m Unique – Everyone’s unique in their own way and this is something I love about myself. I love that I’m my own person, unique, and I don’t have to conform to be what someone else wants me to be.

I’m loving – I consider myself a loving person, caring, and compassionate to others.

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Continue reading “Award: The Miranda Sings Award”

Throwback Thursday – September 7th – The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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-This week’s Pick-

The Kind Worth Killing

by Peter Swanson

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The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson is a psychological thriller that will have you guessing until the end!

Just who are the kind worth killing?

If you haven’t read this book, I recommend skipping my review and the blurb. There aren’t any big spoilers here, but going in blind is probably the best…

The story starts out with Lily and Ted. The two strangers come together for a game of truth which turns into a plan for murder. Lily has a history and Ted has issues with his wife. Lily jumps in the driver’s seat and one thing leads to another. The two strangers plan an arrangement to wreak havoc, but what will be the outcome?

Of course, I went into this blind and had no clue what I was getting into which is what I recommend to others. EVERYTHING you think you’ve figured out, you haven’t.

There are some major twists and turns which kept my interest from the beginning to end. The story fully grasped me and didn’t let me go. The absolute only issue I had was the ending which I both loved and hated. Give me MORE!

This is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read. I picked it up on audible and enjoyed all four narrators. I’d like to thank my friend Basia for recommending it! 5*****

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  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 18 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Audible.com Release Date: February 10, 2015
  • Whispersync for Voice: Ready
  • Language: English

You can find this on Amazon and Goodreads

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – September 7th – The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – The Spell of the Horse – Vegan Breakfast Cookies

Hello, everyone! I caught up on most of my reading and made it back this week with a new book and recipe to share with you this morning.

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The recipe I’m sharing is a basic breakfast cookie recipe that I modified to make gluten free. These are delicious, healthy, and so easy to grab on busy mornings. They’re honestly wonderful any time of the day. I have to credit TheMinimalistBaker for this basic recipe even though I modified it. You can see the original unmodified recipe Here.

Ingredients (modified for gluten free +) – Makes about 18

  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour (coconut, arrowroot)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tbsp lightly chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free semisweet or dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
  2. In a large bowl or mixer, mash the bananas, almond butter, pumpkin puree, oil, and honey until it’s a fairly smooth batter. A mixer works perfectly.
  3. Stir in vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Add oats, almond meal, and flour. Mix well.
  5. Add chocolate chips, cranberries, and walnuts. Stir until well combined.
  6. Drop cookies by large scoop size on a baking sheet and press down slightly to flatten.
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the cookies are slightly golden brown.
  8. Rest on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Store in an air-tight container to keep fresh for up to 5 days.

Here’s how I made them: I doubled the recipe…

I make my own almond meal. In the processor, it’s so easy. Add in your almonds. About a cup or so.

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Process on high until a meal has formed. It takes about 1 minute.

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This is what I love about this Cuisinart processor. You can use the two top plastic inserts and the full processor remains clean.

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Another tip is to buy your nuts in bulk and keep them in the freezer. Then you’ll always have them when you need them. I just store mine in gallon freezer bags.

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Chop up about 3-4 Tbsp of Walnuts

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I’m using this local nut butter company in Michigan. This stuff is delicious, or you can make your own in the processor the same way you do the meal. It just takes about 12-15 minutes to make. If you have a Vitamix, you can make nut butters in that as well.

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Add in your honey, bananas, pumpkin, and coconut oil. If you’re using a mixer like a Kitchenaid, you don’t need to mash the bananas first.

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Whip it up for a minute until everything is blended and smooth.

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 Add in the vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix it well.

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Now we’re going to add in the flour. I went gluten free on this recipe using a 50/50 mix of arrowroot and coconut flour. Add it in the bowl.

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Coconut flour is very fibrous and can be tricky. Doing a 50/50 mix with another gluten free flour does the trick.

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We’re going to add the flours in the bowl with our almond meal and oats.

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Mix it in good.

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The last ingredients are dark/dairy free chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and walnuts. Mix that up and we’re ready to form the cookies.

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I’m using a regular ice cream scoop to make the cookies very large.

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Evenly space them, press them a little flat, and bake for about 17 minutes.

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These are so delicious.

Crispy on the outside while soft on the inside.

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They are so moist and aren’t dry at all!

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With these breakfast cookies, I’m having a favorite tea by Pukka called “Womankind.” The cranberry, rose, and vanilla flavor goes well with these cookies. If you’d like to see my previous post on brewing perfect tea, click HERE.

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Hope you enjoy!

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Continue for this week’s book!

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – The Spell of the Horse – Vegan Breakfast Cookies”

Lesson’s From Grandpa #5 – Patience

When I was a kid, I was always in a hurry. I can remember watching the clock and hurrying home from school. Birthdays, holidays, and family get-togethers were counted down to days, hours, and even minutes. I couldn’t get to the store fast enough to buy that new toy.

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Me opening my Easter basket – 1979

 

Even as a teen, I was always in a hurry to buy new clothes or pick up that new release album that just came out. Not only that, I was in a hurry to grow up. My grandfather would remind me all the time to have patience. A saying that went around our house frequently was,

“Patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait.”

The truth is that I had zero patience. As I became older and even into my young adult hood, it didn’t change much. Now I was either hurrying home from work, rushing home from college, or counting down the minutes until the weekend.  I was always and forever in a hurry to do something and just couldn’t wait. I even had issues finishing peoples sentences for them and eating too fast. This is still a challenge.

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I’m going to be forty next month and I’ve recently had my patience tested again with Cynder Rae. We’ve been trying to breed her with Winston for some time now and have been unsuccessful. In mid-July, Cynder finally allowed Winston to mate and we were hopeful that we’d have a litter this time, but little did I know, it was going to take time to find out.

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Cynder has had multiple false pregnancies in the past, in fact, she’s quite prone to them. When a dog has a false pregnancy, everything happens just like a real pregnancy, there just aren’t any pups in the end and it can be hard on dogs, emotionally and physically. After Cynder mated with Winston, she started changing and we began to wonder,

“Are babies on the way?”

 

Reasons why we think she could be pregnant:

  • She mated successfully
  • Her body evidently started preparing for milk production right away
  • She sits differently
  • She’s very needy, more than before, and won’t leave my side most of the day
  • She’s started collecting toys in groups
  • Her appetite has gone through the roof
  • She’s growling at Winston and has become uninterested in him

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Reasons why we think she’s not:

  • She’s not showing
  • Her energy hasn’t changed and she’s still herding everything that moves
  • She wants to run and play just as much as before
  • She had zero morning sickness
  • She’s never been fatigued

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Of course, all the reasons for why we think she could be pregnant occur in a false pregnancy as well and that can last for months or more. 

I called different vets and discovered she could be palpated around day 28, or have a blood test around that time to confirm pregnancy. Palpating isn’t invasive, but can’t guarantee anything. To have a blood test was around $60. To have an ultrasound would total near $185 because they also charge an exam fee. At first, I opted for the blood test until I began to think about the stress it would cause her. We’d recently had Winston see the vet for a week long case of diarrhea and it was horrible. He hated every minute, it stressed him out further, and it turned out to be nothing serious after spending $313 dollars. I pondered what to do and my husband came up with a plan.

“Why don’t we just wait and see if she has puppies? Why do we need to spend money? Let’s just give it time.”

I realized once again that maybe I wasn’t being patient. I felt that we needed to know to prepare, but did we really? I talked to a friend and her opinion was,

“If it puts your mind at ease, take her in.”

This was true, it would put my mind at ease and we would finally know. A few days later, I had a discussion with my mom about it and she turned to me and said,

“Patience is a virtue.”

That’s exactly what my grandfather would say if he was still living. At that moment, I could hear him saying have patience in my head as clear as day! So, I decided to wait it out. My mom and husband were right and we don’t truly NEED a definitive answer right now. I’m fairly peaceful with the decision.

Today is Tuesday, September 5th, and we still aren’t positive whether or not Cynder is pregnant. Her body has certainly changed and offers more clues, but we have to wait. By calculation, she should be due around September 17th. I’ll be sure to fill you guys in on whether she has puppies or not.

 

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Her favorite sleeping spot under the stove.

 

Continue reading “Lesson’s From Grandpa #5 – Patience”

Award: Sunshine Blogger Award #4

I was recently tagged by Misty@MistysBookSpace for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I’d like to thank her for nominating me! Please check out Misty’s blog for challenges, wrap-ups, book reviews, awards, tags, and more!

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

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How Does It Work:

  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog

 

Misty’s Questions:

Q: If you had to choose, would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf? (Yes I am stealing this question from Irena because I am curious about what others would choose.)

A: Oh, that’s easy! Vampire of course!

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Q: What is your favorite kind of bookish merch?

A: I love bookmarks and bags mostly!

Q: If you could only be active on one social media site which would you choose?

A: Hands down -Goodreads!

Q: Do you have any pets? If so I would love to see some pictures of them.

A: I do have many pets. Here are some pictures…

 

Cynder Rae and Mr. Winston

 

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Q: What is your least favorite book of 2017 so far?

A: I’m beating the dead horse with this one, but The Happiest Mommy You Know.

Q: Who is your all time favorite author?

A: Totally unfair! I can’t pick just one. One of them is Jodi Picoult.

Q: Do you have any auto buy authors besides your favorite author?

A: Hmm, I mainly go with favorite authors unless it’s a series I’m reading. If it’s someone that I know that’s written another book, I’ll buy it.

Q: What is your biggest bookish pet peeve?

A: Book abuse. I can’t stand to see new books mistreated. I can deal with vintage books that have wear from the shelf and torn dust jackets because it’s to be expected, but not caring for new books is a big one.

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Q: How many books are on your physical TBR pile?

A: You really don’t want to know. On Goodreads, I’m pushing 10,000. At home, with what I have on my shelves, it’s probably 200 or so…

Q: What is your all time favorite movie?

A: It’s so hard to choose just one. I’ll go with Gladiator. I love everything about that movie and the soundtrack is beautiful. Russell Crowe, Richard Harris, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Neilsen, and Djimon Hounsou are all favorites. Here’s a summary of the movie that does have spoilers and it’s also fairly gory. I’ve never grown tired of this song with Lisa Gerrard. Every time I hear her voice, I’m captivated. You can hear the entire song during this recap of the movie.

Q: Villains or Heros? (Yes I kind of took this from Irena as well sorry she made me curious.)

A: I feel like you really have to like both, right? I always love a good hero though.

Continue for the nominees and questions…

Continue reading “Award: Sunshine Blogger Award #4”

Music Monday: X Ambassadors “Renegades”

Music Monday

This meme was created by Drew from The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday!

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This week’s song pick is…

X Ambassadors

“Renegades”

I love this song, but the video takes the song to an even higher level and makes the song even more powerful. You’ll notice that there are some fascinating things happening. Multiple disabled people are going above and beyond and breaking the rules. They’re renegades and nothing can stop them.

The lead singer’s brother Casey is the keyboardist for the band and he’s blind. The video is personal to them for this reason. You can watch it below. The music starts at about 1:00.

 

Lyrics

Run away with me
Lost souls and reverie
Running wild and running free
Two kids, you and me

And I say
Hey, hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Renegades, renegades

Long live the pioneers
Rebels and mutineers
Go forth and have no fear
Come close the end is near

And I say hey, hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Renegades, renegades

All hail the underdogs
All hail the new kids
All hail the outlaws
Spielberg’s and Kubrick’s

It’s our time to make a move
It’s our time to make amends
It’s our time to break the rules
Let’s begin

And I say hey, hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Leaving like we’re renegades
Renegades, renegades

Continue reading “Music Monday: X Ambassadors “Renegades””

Shabby Sunday: Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss – 1948

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Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then, I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose

by: Dr. Seuss

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My review:

Thidwick spends most of his days munching on tender moose-moss, until a Bingle Bug comes along and expects a ride. Of course, Thidwick can’t turn him down and offers him a home on his antlers. Then comes a tree spider, Zinn-a-zu Bird, a squirrel family, and many more creatures expecting a ride. Thidwick’s virtue of kindness takes over.

“A host has to put up with all kinds of pests. For a host, above all, must be kind to his guests.”

Thidwick is stuck in a dangerous situation and must go it alone, but his guests don’t want to leave. What should Thidwick do?

This story reminds me of Aesop’s Fables and has a moral lesson of kindness. Children will ask, “Why did Thidwick toss his antlers with all the creatures still on them?” They’ll learn that kindness can only go so far. When kindness starts to hurt you, the kind-hearted person, physically or emotionally, you may need to walk away from the situation and start caring about yourself.

My hardback copy is the 1948 edition and a previous library book stamped in Chicago, IL. I bought it at a used book sale years ago. The book is colorful and written with the familiar rhyming poetry as other Dr. Seuss books. This is a great book to add to your children’s collection!

My rating on this one is 5-stars.

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Continue for more book information and where to find it…

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss – 1948”

“The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel

The Sound of Silence“, originally titled “The Sounds of Silence”, is a song by Simon and Garfunkel. It was written by Paul Simon and debuted on the album Wednesday Mornin, 3am in 1964.

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Lyrics

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I
“You do not know, silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the signs said
“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whisper’d in the sounds of silence


What does the song mean to you?

When asked, Garfunkel stated that the song’s meaning was “the inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly internationally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other.”

I’ve always loved this song, but perhaps one of the most powerful presentations was at the September 11th ten-year memorial service with Paul Simon. It seemed perfect. From that moment on, whenever I hear the song, it takes me back to that day. If you haven’t seen it, I hope you’ll watch it.

You can see the video performance here:

Continue reading ““The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel”

Award: Mystery Blogger Award

Mystery Blogger Award

I was recently nominated by Alex@coffeelovingbookoholic for the Mystery Blogger Award. If you haven’t been to Alex’s blog yet, please check it out! She has book reviews, awards, tags, you name it! I’d like to thank Alex for nominating me for this award. I’ve never received this award before.

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What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

This award was originally created by Maggie @okoto enigma

“Mystery blogger award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.

The rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Facts About Myself:

1. I love fried chicken with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.

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2. I’m really excited about the upcoming holidays!

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3. Winter is my absolute favorite season.

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Alex’s Questions:

Recommend one bookstore you love and tell us why you love it?

I love used book sales, but my favorite (and only semi-local) bookstore is Barnes & Noble. I just love that place and I can get stuck there for hours. It’s about a 50-minute drive and honestly, most of my books come from Amazon Prime or local sales because of that.

What were the last three books you bought?

Wonder, Talon of God, Roar.

If you’d win the lottery right now, what would be the first thing you would do?

Right now, I’d be donating a huge portion to Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations in need.

If you could be any animal for one day, which one would it be?

If I had to be an animal for a day, I would choose a dog. I could be loving and supportive to my owner.

How would your perfect library/reading room look like?

I would say a dark, low-lit room with books from wall to wall. Sort of like the Beast’s library.

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 Continue for the nominee’s!

Continue reading “Award: Mystery Blogger Award”

Throwback Thursday – August 31st – My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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-This week’s Pick-

My Sister’s Keeper

by Jodi Picoult

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Leave it to Jodi Picoult to captivate me from cover to cover. I read this in 2005 and remember that I couldn’t put it down until the final shocking end.

Sara’s daughter Kate is sick. She has leukemia and Sara will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. When Anna is born, she quickly becomes her sister Kate’s savior, but as time goes on, Anna wants a life of her own.

“If you have a sister and she dies, do you stop saying you have one? Or are you always a sister, even when the other half of the equation is gone?…I didn’t come to see her because it would make me feel better. I came because without her, it’s hard to remember who I am.” 

A life is at stake and family relationships spin out of control when Anna files a lawsuit against her parents to be removed from the situation. Who is it that’s right when not one of them is sure of their own decisions on this controversial matter?

I couldn’t put the book down. The book is written with multiple character viewpoints and the story unfolds quickly. Picoult has the capability of twisting a story so far that you can never figure out what’s ahead or how it’ll end.  I love the way she writes and she’s one of my favorite authors. This is just one of my favorite books by her.

My rating for this book is 5*****

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Blurb: Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

A provocative novel that raises some important ethical issues, My Sister’s Keeper is the story of one family’s struggle for survival at all human costs and a stunning parable for all time.

You can find the book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Series: Picoult, Jodi (Large Print)
  • Hardcover: 712 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Large Print edition (May 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743486196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743486194

Here’s the movie trailer below. I thought the movie was good, but enjoyed the book much more…

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – August 31st – My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult”

Meet the Reader Series with David – proud Gleeman in Branwen’s adventuring party & Hiatus

I’m taking a hiatus from Breakfast and a Book because I’m catching up on reading and won’t be able to add a new book this week. I should be back next week.

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I’m always looking for friends on Goodreads that have similar tastes. I like learning about new books and discussing them with others, so I decided to experiment with a new idea and thought it would be neat to find readers that I’m friends with on Goodreads and share them with you. Maybe they might be someone you’d like to add too. As I find readers with an interest, I’ll introduce them.

Meet the Reader Series

Today’s Featured Reader:

David – proud Gleeman in Branwen’s adventuring party

Q: Did you enjoy reading as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite books?

A: I did!  I actually started reading at a very young age.  My parents used to have audio cassettes of me reading “Sam & The Firefly” out loud when I was only two and a half years old.  During my grammar school years, I mostly read mysteries, it probably was influenced by my love of Scooby Doo cartoons at that time! I used to read series like “The Hardy Boys“, “Encyclopedia Brown“, and “The Three Investigators“.  Then when I was around 12 years old, I read Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”, which was unlike anything I had ever read before, and I realized how magical books could really be!

Q: What are some of your favorite books this year or last?

A: Well, the last couple of years, I’ve been taking part in a buddy read of the entire “Wheel of Time” series with one of my best friends.  That’s over 12,000 pages, it might be the most epic buddy read in history!  This series has such vast world building and is populated with compelling characters who truly grow as the series goes on, it’s been an enthralling read.  I also read “To Kill a Mockingbird” last year for the very first time… such a powerful book, I have no idea why I waited so long to read it!

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Q: What are your favorite book genres?

A: My first love is the fantasy genre, both high fantasy and urban fantasy.  There are so many new worlds and imaginative adventures to find there.  I also like science fiction, although truth be told, I don’t have a very sciencey brain, so sometimes I can get a little lost if the author gets really intricate with the scientific elements… this tends to happen to me a lot in the cyberpunk and steampunk sub genres.  Still, the stories themselves are often so good I still enjoy the stories even if I get confused at times.  I’m also a big fan of mysteries and graphic novels as well.

Q: What are some of your favorite authors?

A: Well, I’ve always credited Agatha Christie for igniting my love of reading, so I will becollage-2017-08-30-1.png eternally grateful to her for that!  One of my favorite authors right now is Brandon Sanderson, who I think has crafted some of the most amazing stories I have ever read.  Other authors whose work has really stayed with me are J.K. Rowling, N.K. Jemisin, Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, Gail Simone, Eve Forward, and Brian K. Vaughan. Also, one author I have to give a special mention to is R.A. Salvatore.  Not only do I love his action-packed fantasy novels (especially with his ability to describe sword fights in such a fluid way), but he indirectly introduced me to my friend Branwen, the same person I’m currently doing the “Wheel of Time” buddy read with!  I was reading Salvatore’s “Sojourn” novel when Branwen started posting on my GoodReads status updates about the book, and through our appreciation of the same author, she and I began a wonderful friendship that continues to this day!

You can check out Branwen’s Goodreads Profile HERE. 

Q: How many books are on your TBR shelf?

A: Oooh… like many people, I don’t think I’ll ever manage to read every book on my TBR shelf!  I think right now there are over 700 books on it! Exposure to more books is both a blessing and a curse of GoodReads.  On the one hand, it introduces me to so many books out there that sound like something I’d love to read.  However, the operative phrase there is “so many”!  Thanks to Goodreads, I now know about all these books I want to read, but I’ll never have time to read them all unless I live to be at least 900 years old!

Q: What’s an emotional book, or one you won’t forget that you’ve read this year or last?

A: The first book that sprang to mind when you asked this is “All The Light We Cannot See”.  It was such a heart-wrenching story about how war tears people apart on all sides.  I was especially moved by Werner’s role in the book.  Watching him start out as such a sweet and innocent child and being slowly indoctrinated into the Hitler youth movement was equal parts tragic and horrifying.  Plus, there are all the hardships that Marie-Laure suffered while trying to elude the Nazis. Not gonna lie, while reading it, my eyes did water up several times!

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Q: Is there a book you really didn’t enjoy this year or last?

A: One book I just couldn’t get into was a paranormal mystery called “Dark Side of Sunset Pointe“. It sounded great on paper, a freelance photographer who saw ghosts and was plagued by premonitions, trying to use his link with the supernatural to help solve a murder. Unfortunately, I found the characters bland and some of the attempts at writing in a noir style just felt too forced to me. Still, the book has several four-star and five-star reviews on Goodreads, so just because it wasn’t for me doesn’t mean it’s not for everyone.

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Q: What are you reading now?

A: I’m up to Book #7 in the Wheel of Time buddy read, which is “A Crown of Swords”.  It’s fairly well known that the pacing of the Wheel of Time novels slow down in the middle of the series, and that’s certainly true of this book.  Still, I’m fully invested in the characters and they’re still interesting to read about, even when they’re not doing a whole lot but traveling and arguing. I’m also currently reading a gothic vampire novel named “Corcitura” by Melika Dannese Lux.  Reading it, I’m constantly blown away by Melika’s ability to weave such a complex tale and to even inject so much humor into a horror novel.  Melika is one of the few authors whose writing can make you laugh, gasp, and cry all within the same page!

Q: They say to never judge a book by its cover, but just how important is the book cover to you?

A: In all honesty, not very.  When I’m in a bookstore, I’m much more interested in the description on the back than the picture on the cover. While a great cover can certainly help catch the eye, there are plenty of books I’ve enjoyed that had lame covers but brilliant plot summaries.  “Storm Front” by Jim Butcher and “Mind Games” by Carolyn Crane are two books that immediately come to mind that I was so glad I bought and read even though their covers did nothing for me.

Q: Do you have a blog? Have you ever thought about starting one?

A: I don’t have a blog myself.  I would love to start one someday, but much like reading all 700 books on my TBR shelf, this is another thing that there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to be able to do right now.

Q: Have you written anything? If not, have you ever thought about writing your own book?

A: I actually am working on a book right now!  I had an idea for a while about an urbanpexels-photo-210661.jpeg fantasy series featuring a group of social workers called “The Good Spirits” who specialize with paranormal beings and help them to thrive in a world where many people fear them. For the last couple of years, things have been so crazy in my personal life, I didn’t have the time or energy to pursue it, but I recently became more determined to get back into my writing.  The first book is called “When Only Ghosts Remain” and is about a cult of ruthless monster hunters called “The Night Suns” who are trying to unleash an army of malevolent spirits on the world in order to convince everyone how dangerous these paranormal creatures supposedly are and why their own organization is supposedly necessary. The Good Spirits have to stop the Night Suns’ plot and protect both humanity and the paranormal beings from being harmed by the angry ghosts. I’ll be posting chapters on Wattpad as I complete them.

Q: Which do you enjoy more, e-books or physical books? How about audio books?

A: This is a tough one!  I actually resisted e-books for years, but after finally getting a Kindle, I have to admit that e-books are so convenient as far as storage space and being 51QEbDDolEL._SX425_able to highlight certain passages.  Still, there’s just something about flipping through the pages of a physical book that E-readers just can’t replace.  If I had to pick only one format or the other, I think I would have to go with physical books. I don’t do audio books myself, I’d rather read books in my own voice.

Q: Where do the majority of your books come from? (Library, bookstore)

A: These days, the majority of my books come from Amazon.  That ultra convenient “one-click” buying option has cost me hundreds of dollars over the years!  I do love browsing through the shelves of a bookstore, but unfortunately there just aren’t as many of them left these days.  There used to be a Borders bookstore about 10 minutes away from me which was one of my favorite places to shop, but once Borders closed, the nearest bookstore is a lot further away now. So even most of my physical books come from online stores these days.

Continue to learn more about David…

Continue reading “Meet the Reader Series with David – proud Gleeman in Branwen’s adventuring party & Hiatus”

Should YA Books Have Parental Ratings?

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Here lately I’ve come across a few YA books that contained some content I thought might be inappropriate for young readers. With an eleven year old advanced reader, I’m reading more YA to be sure that the books are appropriate beforehand. YA can be directed at ages twelve on up to twenty-five which we all know is a broad range. Many of these books don’t come with an age rating at all and online research is needed, or the book must be screened beforehand.

Our library has become so strict with what children are able to check out. If they attempt to checkout an R-rated movie and they are under the age of eighteen, the computer will alert the library clerk and the movie will be put back on the shelf. However, they can check out any book they want. If a teen wants to buy a mature video game at Wal-Mart, the parent has to to buy it because they won’t allow him to.

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The problem with books is that many parents don’t have time to read and screen books before their kids read them. I’m sure plenty of parents don’t even like to read or just don’t feel the need to. Reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Now, I’ve read YA books that are perfect for my eleven year old and others that I’d never want her to read before she’s upper high school level. How wonderful it would be to open a book and read a short rating that stated: Strong use of language, sexual situations, suicide, incest. Then, you’d know right away whether a book is appropriate. Would that be too much of a spoiler? Maybe…

Earlier this year I read All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. I made the mistake of recommending the book to a few friends on GR. Needless to say, I lost a few friends over it and all because of the content. They told me that they never would’ve read the book had they known that a thirteen year old was having a sexual relationship with a young adult. They felt that the author was promoting this behavior and that it was child abuse. I didn’t feel that way, but it was at that moment that I realized people are sensitive to different things. What was I thinking when I recommended that book? I mean, it’s just a book, right? My thoughts were on the fact that Wavy,  at thirteen, was not like most other thirteen year olds, and that somehow that made the relationship okay. Others would say no, without a doubt, its wrong. It’s true that teens all have different maturity levels and can’t be pigeonholed, like in Wavy’s case. So saying that a book is for ages thirteen and up might not work for everyone.

I’ve also noticed that there are people who won’t read a book if it involves rape. Some people have triggers, and I’m talking about adult readers here. How would they feel about their kids reading books involving sexual situations, promiscuity, drug use, and sexual abuse when they don’t even like reading them?

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I’m getting off the YA topic here, but we as parents raise our children differently and I was thinking that ratings on YA books might be helpful to many. I personally would just like to see a short warning that stated the content where applicable, at least with YA. Like watching a movie trailer, the rating is exposed before the movie is even released. I’m not in any way claiming that the book’s content should be changed or stating that the content is bad, only that maybe it would be beneficial to have a short statement if the book contains controversial content for young readers.

Continue for my questions…

Continue reading “Should YA Books Have Parental Ratings?”

Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation – Book Review

Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation

by: Brett Fletcher Lauer (Author)Lynn Melnick (Author)Carolyn Forché (Introduction)

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I picked this up from my local library a while back after there was some controversy with a few parents over the book being considered YA due to the content. They felt that it was inappropriate and came in complaining about the book after their kids brought it home. At the age of 11, my oldest daughter is starting to read some YA and I thought I’d like to check this one out to see what the fuss was all about and if it’s something she could read. Plus, I love poetry.

The book is a compilation of about one hundred poems from different authors on various topics including racism, drug use, sexual orientation, sexual abuse, common problems that teens experience with friends and family, and others. It does contain some profanity. It’s a good mix of poems and I loved some and didn’t like others. A few of my favorites are:

“Richer Than Anyone in Heaven,”

“Boyishly”

“High-School Picture Re-Take Day”

“That’s Everything Inevitable”

“Sonnet”

“Second Summer”

“The Wait for Cake”

My absolute favorite was:
“Concerning the Land to the South of Our Neighbors to the North.”

I enjoyed the book, but I’m not sure about this being used in classrooms and feel that it might be best for upper high school due to some of the content. YA can mean different ages from twelve all the way up to twenty-five and I noticed that School Library Journal lists this as tenth grade and up, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for all tenth graders. Some of these poems are intense and a few can be offensive. It’s books like these that make me wish (even more) that there was a rating system in place for books just like movies, then parents and teachers could decide right away whether a book is or isn’t appropriate for their readers. I’m no expert, but in my opinion, even as an adult you really have to go into this book with an open mind.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the afterward which contains information about the poets and some short Q&A’s for each. What I didn’t like was that the questions asked were about favorite foods. artists, and mottos. I would’ve liked to learn why they wrote the poem that was featured in the book and what inspired them to write these poems in the first place.

My rating on this is 3.5***

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  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (March 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670014796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670014798

Blurb: One hundred poems. One hundred voices. One hundred different points of view.

Here is a cross-section of American poetry as it is right now—full of grit and love, sparkling with humor, searing the heart, smashing through boundaries on every page. Please Excuse This Poem features one hundred acclaimed younger poets from truly diverse backgrounds and points of view, whose work has appeared everywhere from The New Yorker to Twitter, tackling a startling range of subjects in a startling range of poetic forms. Dealing with the aftermath of war; unpacking the meaning of “the rape joke”; sharing the tender moments at the start of a love affair: these poems tell the world as they see it.

Editors Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick have crafted a book that is a must-read for those wanting to know the future of poetry. With an introduction from award-winning poet, editor, and translator Carolyn Forché, Please Excuse This Poem has the power to change the way you look at the world. It is The Best American Nonrequired Reading—in poetry form.

Find it on Amazon and Goodreads


 

Here you can see the authors introduce the book and also hear some of the poems.

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About the Authors:

Brett Fletcher Lauer

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Brett Fletcher Lauer is the deputy director of the Poetry Society of America and the poetry editor of A Public Space, and the author of memoir Fake Missed Connections: Divorce, Online Dating, and Other Failures, and the poetry collection A Hotel In Belgium. In addition to co-editing several anthologies, including Please Excuse this Poem: 100 News Poets for the Next Generation and Isn’t It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets, he is the poetry co-chair for the Brooklyn Book Festival. – Goodreads

Find Brett Fletcher Lauer on:

Goodreads | Website | Amazon


Lynn Melnick

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Lynn Melnick is the author of the poetry collections Landscape with Sex and Violence (forthcoming, 2017) and If I Should Say I Have Hope (2012), both with YesYes Books, and the co-editor of Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation (Viking, 2015). Her poetry has appeared in APR, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, A Public Space, and elsewhere, and she has written essays and book reviews for Boston Review, LA Review of Books, and Poetry Daily, among others. A 2017-2018 fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, she also teaches poetry at the 92Y and serves on the Executive Board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Born in Indianapolis, she grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in Brooklyn. – Goodreads

Find Lynn Melnick on:

Goodreads | Website | Amazon

 

Continue reading “Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation – Book Review”

Music Monday: Frankie Smith “Double Dutch Bus”

Music Monday

This meme was created by Drew from The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday! I’d like to thank Drew for creating this meme because it’s unique and I love it.

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This week’s song pick is…

Double Dutch Bus

By Frankie Smith

When this song comes on,  I have to move. I love it.

When I was younger and had a nightlife, I would go out with my friends on the weekends. This song would come on and we would get together in a group and do the “Double Dutch Bus.” I’m not spectacular at dancing, but this one is fairly easy, and in my opinion, looks so impressive with a bunch of people.

Here’s a lovely group of people doing the “Double Dutch Bus” Dance below…

The lady in grey on the left really has it down!

Good times…


This song comes from the album “Children of Tomorrow”

1981

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Lyrics:

Gimme a “ho” if you got your funky bus fare

Ho! ho! ho!

There’s a double dutch bus coming down the street
Moving pretty fast
So kinda shuffle your feet
Get on the bus and pay your fare
And tell the driver that you’re
Going to a Double Dutch Affair
Fe fi fo fum
Well I’ll be darn here it comes
The Double Dutch Bus is on the street
You’d better get off the curb
Move your feet

Bus fare trans-pass
That’s the way my money lasts
Ain’t got no car to get around
When I go to work I’ve gotta go downtown
Now I’ve missed my train
That’s a darn shame
When I’m running late no sleep’s to blame
If you’ve gotta wife you know I’m right
Gotta special man well I can understand
Uptown, downtown everybody’s getting down
Say uptown, say downtown

Well I missed my bus I know I’m late
I gotta do something I know I hate
I’m gonna walk to work fifteen blocks
I already got a hole in my socks
Go ahead and laugh that’s okay
‘Cause what I really wanna say
I got bad feet my corns hurt
To top it off I’m late for work
Let me tell you what I say
When I’m dealin’ wit a funky sidewalk
Let me show you how I walk
When I gotta do my funky walk
Let me tell you what I say
When I’m dealing wit a funky sidewalk

I say shhhhhhhhhhh-sugarrrrr

Hizzey, gizzirls! y’izzall hizzave t’ mizzove izzout the wizzay sizzo the gizzuys can plizzay bizzasketbizzal

Izzsay whizzat? nizzo yizzou izzain’t

Y’izzall bizzetter mizzove!

Izzsay whizzat? willze illzain’t millzovin’

Shillzu-gillza! milzza nilzza bilzzaby!

Willze illzare plizzayin’ dizzouble dizzutch! dizzouble dizzutch! dizzouble dizzutch!

Willze illzare plizzayin’ dizzouble dizzutch! dizzouble dizzutch! dizzouble dizzutch!

Millze gillzot sillzomebillzody plillzays dillzouble dillzzutch

Whozzo?

My gizzirl!

Brillzing her izzin!

Izzo kizzay!

Izzall rizzight

Izzo kizzay!

Izzall rizzight! nizzow wilzee wilzill zillzee

Bip, bomp, bam alakazam
But only if you’re grooving
With the Double Dutch Man
Put on your skates don’t forget your rope
‘Cause I know I’m gonna see you
At my Double Dutch Show
Rebecca, Lolita, Veshawn and Dawn
Every time you do the Double Dutch you really turn it on
Bilzarbra, Milzary, Bilzetty, Kilzam
Tilzommy, Tilzerrance, Bilzobby that’s my man
Come on get on my Double Dutch Bus
(The Double Dutch Bus)

Let me hear you say do that
(Do that)
Let me hear you say do that again
(Do that again)
Let me hear you say do the
Do the do
Let me hear you say do the do the do
Do the do the do
Do the do the do do do do do do
Do the do the do do do do do do

Continue reading “Music Monday: Frankie Smith “Double Dutch Bus””