The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles #1) by Laurie Forest

I came across The Black Witch on Netgalley and thought after reading the blurb and loving the cover, I’d try it. Please read below for my review of the book along with some author info.

From Goodreads:

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.


My Review: Continue reading “The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles #1) by Laurie Forest”

Indoor Green: Living with Plants by Bree Claffey

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I recently picked up a book on houseplants titled Indoor Green: Living with Plants. I’ve always loved plants in my home and I’ve always wanted to create a special plant room in my home. This book is perfect for plant lovers! You can read my review below.

Indoor Green: Living with Plants by Bree Claffey is a book about plants and the people who keep them.

As soon as I opened the book I was instantly inspired. The book is full of fascinating photography of plants by Lauren Bamford. I truly enjoy observing how people can take a room and transform it into a garden living space. It’s so exhilarating.

The reader is taken to different homes to view the plants people keep and how they live with them. Interviews are conducted with each person. You learn where they live, what plants they own, what they do for a living, and their personal feelings about plants. 20170331_073757

Many subjects are covered including different types of common houseplants, plant music, plant design, plant rooms and even plant care. Some plants discussed include: Devil’s Ivy, Boston Fern, and Ponytail Palms to name a few. My absolute favorite is the hanging air plant. There is a section included for plant care, although it’s not extensive and pertains mostly to the plant types discussed.

I personally loved this book and with the upcoming growing season underway, it’s just what I needed to get in the mood. If you admire plants, you’ll love this book.

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Continue reading “Indoor Green: Living with Plants by Bree Claffey”

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

From Goodreads: “Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.rws.gif

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of. Continue reading “Dark Matter by Blake Crouch”

The Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling

From Goodreads: In turn-of-the-century South Africa, fourteen-year-old Lettie, her younger brother, and her mother are Dutch Afrikaner settlers who have been taken from their farm by British soldiers and are being held in a concentration camp. It is early in the Boer War, and Lettie’s father, grandfather, and brother are off fighting the British as thousands of Afrikaner women and children are detained. The camps are cramped and disease ridden; the threat of illness and starvation are ever present. Determined to dictate their own fate, Lettie and her family give each other strength and hope as they fight to survive amid increasingly dire conditions.o58600l3.jpg

Brave and defiant, Lettie finds comfort in memories of stargazing with her grandfather, in her plan to be a writer, and in surprising new friendships that will both nourish and challenge her. A beautiful testament to love, family, and sheer force of will, The Lost History of Stars was inspired by Dave Boling’s grandfather’s own experience as a soldier during the Boer War. Lettie is a figure of abiding grace, and her story is richly drawn and impossible to forget.


My Review:

The Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling is a powerful and shocking story about a family during The Second Anglo-Boer War during the early part of the 20th century in Africa. It’s a work of historical fiction inspired by true events.

Parts of the book were difficult for me to read as the horror of reality sets in. It’s unfathomable the scads of women and children that were effected, mainly due to disease. It truly was a war in opposition to children and a true picture of what it’s like when war comes to your door.

This is another book I’d recommend for older students to read. If our young generation aren’t educated on these tribulations in history, they’ll be forgotten.

I’m so glad I came across this book. I look ahead to reading more works by this author. Highly recommend this book to all.

Thanks to Netgalley for sharing a copy with me. 5 Stars

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Continue reading “The Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling”

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

At the beginning of this year I came across some reviews for A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Once I saw the cover and read the blurb, I had to read it. My first rating was 4 stars because there was something I didn’t love about it. I picked up the book again and re-read it this past weekend. And so the story begins…

Blurb: An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.b60e5cc30bad66ac18051b255132004b

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous.

It wants the truth.

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

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Continue reading “A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness”

Healing Lyme Disease Naturally: History, Analysis, and Treatments by Wolf Storl

Healing Lyme Disease Naturally  by Wolf D. Storl is a book about Lyme Disease and how to achieve a total cure naturally.

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I picked this up because we recently had a pediatric case in our family that needed attention. After visiting multiple doctors, we were told the only way to battle the disease was to take a 21 day course of antibiotics and retest a few months later. We noticed even after the antibiotics, there was still something brewing as symptoms would occasionally reappear. After researching myself and reading this book, I believe now that antibiotics are not the answer for everyone. People react differently to the disease.

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What I love about this book is that the author has a story to tell about his own experience and how he treated himself. He covers many methods of natural cures including Chinese Medicine, spiritual guidance, and plant use to name a few. There’s a section pertaining to just the healing plants with descriptions for each. Many of the plants Mr. Storl deems useful are plants that we already had growing in our gardens. Typical plants like teasel, yarrow, elderberry, coneflower, and lemon balm are just some of the plants used as powders and teas. The book also covers the history of the disease, ticks and the different diseases they transmit, and information on bacteria and how it survives. It offers methods of protecting yourself from ticks, and how to keep your body healthy with diet and exercise. Continue reading “Healing Lyme Disease Naturally: History, Analysis, and Treatments by Wolf Storl”

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

 

20170327_191401.jpgThe moment I saw Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones I had to buy it. The cover, the title, the blurb-pretty much everything about the book baited me. First, I must say that I’m a Labyrinth freak and I’ve been highly anticipating reading this. I was under the impression that this was a true Labyrinth retelling, but there’s more going on here.

I was so taken-back in just the first 70 pages of the book. The authors writing style is so appealing. It’s exquisite, dark, and romantic. There were also music elements consistent throughout the entire story which I loved. I truly savored this book and the writing is what I appreciated the most.

“Those icy eyes glittered, and I was afraid. I trembled, but not with cold. I ached, but not with pain. My feet began to move of their own accord, and I followed the Goblin King out of the light and into the darkness.”

I absolutely loved the way the author added a few poems by Christina Rossetti.

A linnet in a gilded cage, –
A linnet on a bough, –
In frosty winter one might doubt
Which bird is luckier now.
But let the trees burst out in leaf,
And nests be on the bough,
Which linnet is the luckier bird,
Oh who could doubt it now? Continue reading “Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones”

Reflection of the Son by Todd Coburn

I recently read Reflection of the Son by Todd Coburn. Please see my review below.

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My Review:

Reflection of the Son by Todd Coburn is a book that will really make you think. I found the analogies stunning as I’ve never thought about it the way Mr. Coburn has presented it.

It’s a short and simple read at 84 pages and the way it’s written, anyone can understand it. There are multiple Scriptures throughout the book that are explained.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

I think this book would be great in a Bible study class as well. Even without questions, it really gets you brainstorming and would be a perfect book for a group discussion.

Chapter 6 “Perfect Positioning” was my favorite. Continue reading “Reflection of the Son by Todd Coburn”

Lost In My World by Rob Powell

I found a few reviews on Goodreads for this short story called Lost in My World by Rob Powell and wanted to try it out. I picked up the eBook on Amazon for free and was surprised how short it was. I really enjoyed it! Read below for my my review and some information about the author.

The blurb:

 A short story that is not quite as it first seems. The story is based in an English hospital where David Polk is a patient. The story is written in the first person as David Polk, he tells of his recent birthday when he has just turned fifteen and how his life has been put on hold since being taken into hospital. David’s frustrations grow and his mischievous nature gets the better of him as he tires of the hospital routine. A quick and fascinating read that takes you into the mind of some mental health issues.

Here’s a link to the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Lost-My-World-Rob-Powell-ebook/dp/B06VY3W16H/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490451486&sr=8-1&keywords=lost+in+my+world+book

Continue reading “Lost In My World by Rob Powell”

Why I Love Book Sales…

There’s something about book sales. I’m so addicted to used books and love visiting rummage sales that include books. Chances are, they’re super cheap, and you never know what you might find. I recently visited an awesome sale which prompted me to reflect on some of the reasons why I love attending book sales and buying used books.

Here are some reasons why I love book sales:

1. You can meet cool people who love to read, just like you. I recently went to a book sale and met a super nice lady who’s been reading since she was a child-just like me! She was destashing a bunch of books because she literally had thousands and wanted to gain some extra Christmas money. She was such a kind lady, and because she was from my general area, we had things to talk about. I even learned interesting things I didn’t know. I loved her sale because all of the books were .50 cents each, and she had tons of vintage children’s books which is right up my alley! She used to attend auctions and had some very rare books too. Continue reading “Why I Love Book Sales…”

Tarra & Bella-An Unlikely Friendship

I love a good animal story and this one has to be one of the most touching animal friendship stories I’ve read. It’s a story about an elephant named Tarra, and a dog named Bella.

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Tarra in her earlier life used to be a circus performer and believe it or not, was the only roller-skating elephant in the entire world. Because of her talent, she made multiple appearances in movies like Annie and even popular TV shows.

In 1995, Tarra was moved to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. It’s a place that simulates the wild, where elephants can retire. The sanctuary that started on roughly 200 acres of land has now grown to over 2,700 acres for elephants to enjoy and live in peace. You can learn more about the Elephant Sanctuary by clicking this link:

www.elephants.com

Not long after Tarra’s arrival, it was time to pair up and find a friend. Well, this is what most elephants do, but Tarra didn’t discover a buddy like the other elephants. She was the only elephant out of the group to remain solitary, until something unusual happened.

One morning, when Tarra woke up, she saw something strange. It was a dog named Bella sleeping along her side. But, when Tarra got up, so did Bella! When Tarra started walking, Bella walked right along with her. Soon, they became inseparable.

Terra and Bella’s story begins… Continue reading “Tarra & Bella-An Unlikely Friendship”

Sandwiches!: More Than You’ve Ever Wanted to Know about Making and Eating America’s Favorite Food by Alison Deering & Bob Lentz

Sandwiches!: More Than You’ve Ever Wanted to Know about Making and Eating America’s Favorite Food is a sandwich making cookbook for middle grade kids.

The book contains recipes for over 50 different sandwiches including wraps, subs, and bagels. It covers what is a sandwich, tools used, and use of equipment including the oven and panini press. The book even explains the differences in knives.

One of my favorite elements in the book is the use of history, trivia, and facts pertaining to each sandwich. There’s so much to learn here and in an entertaining way. The instructions for each sandwich are easy to follow and include side options for each. I especially appreciated the substitutions that are included for different dressings, cheeses, and condiments. Substitutions are even given for people who have allergies.

This is a great book for kids to gain confidence in making meals for themselves. All the recipes are easy with only a few possibly needing adult supervision. This would be a nice addition to a cookbook collection. I’m certainly adding it! Continue reading “Sandwiches!: More Than You’ve Ever Wanted to Know about Making and Eating America’s Favorite Food by Alison Deering & Bob Lentz”

Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak

From Goodreads: Eat, Pray, Love meets The Rosie Project in this fresh, heartwarming memoir by a man who travels to Verona and volunteers to answer letters addressed to Shakespeare’s Juliet, all in an attempt to heal his own heartbreak.

When Glenn Dixon is spurned by love, he packs his bags for Verona, Italy. Once there, he volunteers to answer the thousands of letters that arrive addressed to Juliet—letters sent from lovelorn people all over the world to Juliet’s hometown; people who long to understand the mysteries of the human heart.

Glenn’s journey takes him deep into the charming community of Verona, where he becomes involved in unraveling the truth behind Romeo and Juliet. Did these star-crossed lovers actually exist? Why have they remained at the forefront of hearts and minds for centuries? And what can they teach us about love? Continue reading “Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak”

Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love

 

From Goodreads: A multi-textual memoir chronicling the life of one of our most potent pop icons.

Groundbreaking rock musician. Award-winning actress. Perceptive songwriter and author. Mother. Wife of a rock god. Fashionista and trendsetter. Provocateur. In each and every one of these roles Courtney Love has demonstrated a wholehearted commitment to her art, and an intense drive and a lust for life that have made her a star and a celebrity icon—but have also led her into some unwise, uncharted, and even dangerous territory. Simultaneously candid and enigmatic, Love has a mordant wit and vivid intelligence matched in intensity only by the extraordinary life she has led, from a bleak early childhood through great fame and terrible heartbreak to the present day. By turns exhilarating and unsettling, this is a story told for the first time in Dirty Blonde. Continue reading “Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love”

A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston

Blurb: 

A poignant, intimate, funny, inspiring memoir—both a coming-of-age story and a meditation on creativity, devotion, and craft—from Bryan Cranston, beloved and acclaimed star of one of history’s most successful TV shows, Breaking Bad.

Bryan Cranston landed his first role at seven, when his father cast him in a United Way commercial. Acting was clearly the boy’s destiny, until one day his father disappeared. Destiny suddenly took a backseat to survival.

Now, in his riveting memoir, Cranston maps his zigzag journey from abandoned son to beloved star by recalling the many odd parts he’s played in real life—paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, lover, husband, father. Cranston also chronicles his evolution on camera, from soap opera player trying to master the rules of show business to legendary character actor turning in classic performances as Seinfeld dentist Tim Whatley, “a sadist with newer magazines,” and Malcolm in the Middle dad Hal Wilkerson, a lovable bumbler in tighty-whities. He also gives an inspiring account of how he prepared, physically and mentally, for the challenging role of President Lyndon Johnson, a tour de force that won him a Tony to go along with his four Emmys. Continue reading “A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston”

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – Book Review + Author Q&A

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Blurb…

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.


Continue reading “The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – Book Review + Author Q&A”

Ivan the Gorilla (1962-2012)

I recently came across a story I find intriguing. We picked up a book called Ivan, The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla. I was shocked that I’d never learned or heard about Ivan before.

Ivan was brought to Washington from the Congo in the 60’s. He arrived here with his sister Burma, IvanandBurma-B&I.jpg.838x0_q80although she passed away just a few days after arrival to the U.S. For 3 years while Ivan was young, he lived with his owners. As he grew and started to become more rambunctious, he was moved to an enclosure located in a shopping mall called B&I shopping center in Tacoma, Washington. Ivan remained here for 27 years until he was finally transferred to a zoo in Atlanta.

As I did more research, I was shocked at Ivan’s living space. It was basically a concrete enclosure which was about 40ft x 40ft. It’s easy to see why animal rights groups arrived to relocate him.

In my opinion, it was easy to see how much love these people had for Ivan. They didn’t want to hurt him, but they just couldn’t figure out how to give him what he needed. After watching Ivan, he seemed to be happy. He loved to paint and play, but it was thought that Ivan needed to be in a zoo enclosure, safe with other gorillas he could socialize with.  Continue reading “Ivan the Gorilla (1962-2012)”

A New World of Israeli Baking–Flatbreads, Stuffed Breads, Challahs, Cookies, and the Legendary Chocolate Babka

 

A New World of Israeli Baking–Flatbreads, Stuffed Breads, Challahs, Cookies, and the Legendary Chocolate Babka 

Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft has become one of my absolute favorite bread baking books! Homemade bread is a staple in my family and this book contains copious amounts of recipes worth keeping.

I was very interested to check this book out because my Syrian ancestry introduced me to bread at an early age and flat and fancy breads were quite common growing up. I can still remember walking into Jid’s (Grandfather’s) house and smelling the fresh baked Syrian bread. So, when I saw this, I had to grab it!

The book starts out with challahs and a handful of different challah recipes. The very first basic challah dough recipe is wonderful and easy. Step by step photos are included which makes them so easy! The photography is wonderful and the breads are so impressive and professional looking. There are rolls, stuffed breads, crescents, and cookies to name a few.

This is a book that I’ll be purchasing to keep and enjoy in my kitchen. I’m so glad to have come across it!

Thanks to Netgalley for sharing a copy with me.

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Chef Uri Scheft

“My first love was bread. Or more specifically, the smell of bread. The smell of bread baking in the oven, the promise of its warmth, its sweetness, its supple crumb that contrasts to the browned, sometimes shiny-tender, sometimes rough and sharp-edged crust. My mother baked often – not every day, but enough for me to connect the smell of baking bread with a feeling of pure happiness. The idea of this beautiful and nourishing loaf made by hand and bringing people together around a table or even gathered around at a kitchen counter to rip off a piece and eat it with such great enjoyment – to me, this is true love. And so it has become my life’s work to re-create this feeling of anticipation and pleasure with every loaf and pastry I bake and sell in my bakeries – and this is the essence of Breaking Breads.”

Continue reading “A New World of Israeli Baking–Flatbreads, Stuffed Breads, Challahs, Cookies, and the Legendary Chocolate Babka”

Educating Children about the Holocaust

Why is it so important that we remember the Holocaust and how can we educate children about it so that it’s never forgotten? 

Anytime you have an atmosphere filled with hate, genocide has the potential to become a reality. We are still living in times of hate. Racism, prejudice, and cruelty to others isn’t in the past. People need to remember this hate can evolve into something much worse and a repeat of history is something we don’t want to revisit.

By introducing and educating our children about the Holocaust and other acts of cruelty, we can instill in them the importance of recognizing the difference between right and wrong. Time continues to pass and this is something we need to continue to act on now more than ever. We simply can’t pass it off like it’s a fragment of history that isn’t significant anymore. It’s crucial that we remember and reflect on it.

I’ve recently come across some wonderful children’s books to help educate about the Holocaust and WWII. You can see them below, along with my ratings. There are many other books to discover on the subject, but these are a few that I think are essential tools, some of which are newly published in 2017. Continue reading “Educating Children about the Holocaust”

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

My Review:

I decided to spend some of my weekend, which turned out to be all day today, catching up on some reading. I started A Little Life sometime in January, but had to put it down a few times due to time restrictions on other books. Plus, this book is colossal. It’s a smidge over 700 pages.

I’ll start by saying that I can’t recollect the last time I felt so connected to characters in a story. I was so consumed with the four main characters seeing as how it’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with them, especially Jude and Willem. ♡ They’re so complex, it feels like your living the story and your associating with all of them.

I cried a few times, and laughed a few times. The further I read, the more shocked I became, ending with a feeling of devastation.

I remember the first time I saw “Million Dollar Baby” with Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. I was sick about that movie for more than a day. In fact, the next day I still felt depressed. Well, that’s exactly how I’m feeling right now. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book, but it’s going to take me a few days to get over it and I’ll never forget it.

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Continue reading “A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara”

Jean-Michel Basquiat – Radiant Child

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Radiant child by Javaka Steptoe, a book about artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, was awarded the Caldecott Medal as the most distinguished picture book for children earlier this year.

The book takes you through Jean-Michel’s childhood and all of his inspiration and ideas about how he wants to be an artist. He’s influenced by books, art museums and at times his mother.

We thoroughly enjoyed the story which becomes emotional at times. The illustrations were very well put together and keep the reader interested. I especially enjoyed the back biography page which has many more facts about him.

This book is the 2017 Caldecott Medal winner.

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For teens and young adults, there’s a documentary called “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child”, which is extremely revealing and explains much more about his life. It’s excellent and worth watching for those who want to learn more about him. The documentary was directed by Tamra Davis, a friend of Jean-Michel. It’s loaded with insider interviews including Jean-Michel and gives the viewer scads of pictures of him, video of Jean-Michel working, and his art. There are also interviews with people who interacted with Jean-Michel during his career. The documentary features interviews with Julian Schnabel, Larry Gagosian, Bruno Bischofberger, Tony Shafrazi. Fab 5 Freddy, Glenn O’Brien, Maripol, Kai Eric, Nicholas Taylor, Fred Hoffman, Michael Holman, Diego Cortez, Annina Nosei, Suzanne Mallouk, and Rene Ricard, among many more. It also includes an uncut interview with the filmmaker Tamra Davis.

Continue reading “Jean-Michel Basquiat – Radiant Child”

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: a novel of war and survival by Louise Murphy

My Review:

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.” Continue reading “The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy”

Panther in the Sun by John Comfort

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 genuinely 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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About the author

15265771John 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.

The author lives in Bluffton, South Carolina with his wife and two sons.

The Wizard of Nod by Anthony Jones

Blurb…

The Wizard of Nod is the second installment of a larger tale of The Bloodline Chronicles. Once again Jake and Stephen find themselves back in prison when they are tasked with recovering the Staff of Moses. Time is running out for the Shaddai and their last hope is to recover the staff before the evil Grigori find it. As Jake and Stephen try to stay one step ahead of Sam Jericho and his task force they must fight the Wizards minions and make it across the country and back before the evil Wizard kills the only man who knows the secrets of the staff’s powers. The battle for the twelve enchanted instruments continues and Mordred, the Wizard of Nod has located the Sword of Kings also known as Excalibur. In their journey from San Francisco to Washington DC and back, Stephen and the beautiful Sherri Burke find love does not wait for ideal timing. Evil is on the rise and Jake’s faith will be tested like never before as he learns his teenaged daughter Abigail has joined their quest. Continue reading “The Wizard of Nod by Anthony Jones”

The Sword of Goliath by Anthony Jones

Blurb…

The Sword of Goliath focuses primarily on a man named Jacob (or Jake) Stanton, who is spending his days in San Quentin Penitentiary for a crime he did not commit. Jake was wrongly accused, unfairly tried, and unreasonably sentenced for the murder of his wife, and he’s just lost his final appeal. As Jake begins to mentally prepare for life inside the walls of San Quentin, he’s assigned a new cell-mate, Stephen Stross. Stross befriends Jake and, in earning Jake’s trust, convinces him that he is a member of the Shaddai.

The Shaddai, descendants of the Biblical Nephilim through the bloodline of Seth, are on the hunt for twelve artifacts that will help them to win the final battle over the demonic Grigori; they believe the key to finding one of these powerful artifacts, the sword of Goliath, rests inside the mind of Jake Stanton. After engineering a successful escape from San Quentin, Jake and Stephen begin the quest for the legendary lost sword, but it will not be an easy effort. As escaped convicts, they are on the run from the law; as Shaddai, they are the targets of the Grigori and its evil underlord Zoltar. Jake is going to need every resource imaginable, from skeptical law enforcement agent Sam Jericho; to prophets of the Old Testament; to the hand of God Himself.

The Final Battle has begun, not only in this world, but in other unseen dimensions.


My Review:

The Sword of Goliath by Anthony Jones is the first installment of The Bloodline Chronicles. It’s a fantasy fiction story, which has been drawn from Genesis Chapter 6 in the Bible. I definitely consider it to be faith-based, but I believe the book can be relished by all regardless of their faith.

The main character is Jake Stanton, who is serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. Another important character enters the story and becomes very connected to Jake as they are about to set out on a mission to regain the lost Sword of Goliath.

I found it absolutely exceptional the way the author has used Genesis Chapter 6 to create a fantasy of such magnitude, which includes lucid characters and an enthralling story. As you read the story about Jake and Stephen, you’re left to wonder what trials and tribulations will emerge. Will they be blessed, and will Jake’s dreams for a life with loved ones be granted?

I adored many aspects about this book. Right off the rip, I fell in love with the cover. Also, I appreciate the writing style. It’s easy to read and the layout is unique. There were many different attracting components to the story as well. I loved the different worlds the author created, especially The Crossing, which was my favorite element in the story.

I’d recommend this book series to anyone, but highly to those who enjoy reading the fantasy genre. Surely grab yourself a copy of The Sword of Goliath!

I’m looking forward to reading The Wizard of Nod (The Bloodline Chronicles #2).

Thanks to author Anthony Jones for sharing a copy of The Sword of Goliath with me. I’m glad to have read it!

4-stars


About the author

266168Anthony Jones is the author of The Sword of Goliath and The Wizard of Nod, the first two books in a longer tale of the Bloodline Chronicles.

Born September 8, 1963, Jones was raised in northern California and attended Healdsburg High School and Tahoe Truckee High School. Jones was inspired by such books as The Hobbit, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Hines feet on high places.

Jones greatest influence remains Stephen King and his work on the Dark Tower Series. The Bloodline Chronicles was very much inspired by Stephen Kings Book Wizard and Glass. Other authors of inspiration for Jones include Thomas Harris, Jon Krakauer and John Grisham.

As a high school journalist in Truckee California, Jones wrote editorials for the school paper, mostly about his love for the outdoors and fishing. Jones never abandoned his love of writing and continued authoring short stories, poems, and songs as he paid the bills in a more traditional fashion.

Jones studied Community Relations, and Criminology at Lassen College in Susanville and went on to study Leadership and Labor Relations at Sacramento State University.

Jones retired as an Associate Warden for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2013 after 23 years of service, 15 at San Quentin.

You can also visit Anthony Jone’s Website at: https://www.bloodlinechronicles.net/

The Last Bar in NYC by Brian Michels

Blurb:

Thank heaven for New York City bartenders. They satisfy your boozy thirst in a strife filled life and a good one will listen to anything on your mind when no one else will. Our barman/narrator is one of the good ones. He’s been disposed under chins and elbows and cocktail napkins and ashtrays and spilled drinks for decades in New York City for countless drinkers willing to confess anything to a bar top. From one bar stool to another our barman’s raw and soulful voice delivers a metropolitan story of good times, struggle, regret and salvation – a story put together with well-known real life places, countless celebrity faces and amazing characters only found in New York City.

Continue reading “The Last Bar in NYC by Brian Michels”

Temple of the Dog

Temple of the Dog was a band assembled for the purpose of creating an album to pay tribute to Andrew Wood who died in 1990.

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Andrew Wood

Andrew Wood was the lead singer of Mother Love Bone, known to be one of the founding fathers of grunge–one who defined the grunge movement. Wood struggled with drug addiction and was in and out of rehab until  March 16, 1990, when he was found dead from a heroin overdose.

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Chris Cornell with Andrew Wood

“Right after Andy died, we [Soundgarden] went to Europe, and it was horrible, because I couldn’t talk about it, and there was no one who had loved him around. I wrote two songs, “Reach Down” and “Say Hello 2 Heaven”. That was pretty much how I dealt with it. When we came back, I recorded them right away. They seemed different from what Soundgarden naturally does, and they seemed to fit together. They seemed like music he would like. I got the idea to release them as a single, and to get at least Stone and Jeff, or all of Love Bone, to play on it. I had the idea for a couple days, then, with an artist’s lack of self-confidence, I decided it was a stupid idea. Somehow those guys heard the tape, and they were really, really excited. Stone and Jeff and our drummer, Matt, had been working on a demo for what ended up being Pearl Jam, so we had the idea that we would make an EP or a record, and maybe even do some of Andy’s solo songs.” – Chris Cornell

As Mother Love Bone dissolved, the bassist (Jeff Ament) and guitarist (Stone Gossard) came together to form Temple of the Dog which also included Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell (singer) and Matt Cameron (drummer).

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The album was released in late 1990. Not long after that, Pearl Jam arrived to the scene. It was Pearl Jam’s album “Ten” that bolstered the way for the success of Temple of the Dog’s album. The song “Hunger Strike” which featured Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder on vocals quickly shot the album up the charts helping it to reach the Top Ten and the album went platinum in 1992.

Track Listing:

  1. Say Hello to Heaven
  2. Reach Down
  3. Hunger Strike
  4. Pushin Forward Back
  5. Call me a Dog
  6. Times of Trouble
  7. Wooden Jesus
  8. Your Savior
  9. Four Walled World
  10. All Night Thing

Hunger Strike


“Say Hello 2 Heaven” was released as the second single from the album. This song was a pronounced dedication to the late Andrew Wood.

The song reached number five on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Continue reading “Temple of the Dog”

Moonshot:The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

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BlurbSimply told, grandly shown, here is the flight of Apollo 11. Here for a new generation of readers and explorers are the steady astronauts, clicking themselves into gloves and helmets, strapping themselves into sideways seats. Here are their great machines in all their detail and monumentality, the ROAR of rockets, and the silence of the Moon. Here is a story of adventure and discovery — a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away.

My Review:

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca is the story of the first American manned moon landing, Apollo 11 in 1969. It’s told in a simple manner and doesn’t contain too many facts for young readers.

The illustrations are very detailed and the story is written in poetic form.

From Earth to moon and back again, it’s the perfect book for young elementary readers.

For older kids, there’s the more complicated story including facts and troubles they endured on their trip toward the end. In addition, the documentary/film “Moonshot” on DVD by The History Channel, is perfect for older kids and adults. 5 stars.

stars Continue reading “Moonshot:The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca”

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