All the Ugly and Wonderful Things Review + Interview

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

About All the Ugly and Wonderful Things:

As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It’s safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.

By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy’s family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. Kellen may not be innocent, but he is the fixed point in Wavy and Donal’s chaotic universe. Instead of playing it safe, Wavy has to learn to fight for Kellen, for her brother, and for herself.

My Review:

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is a book that was very challenging for me to read due to the content. The title is nothing short of absolute perfection in describing the book. I went into the book completely blind and didn’t read much about it besides liking a few reviews. I had no idea what was in store. Continue reading “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things Review + Interview”

Dreamworks Trolls Movie -Soundtrack & Books

I have to start by saying that as a kid I was a complete freak about trolls! I had over 100 different trolls and even some specific trolls for the holidays. So, when the new Trolls movie came out in 2016 I was super excited and couldn’t wait to go see it with my family. We loved it! You can read about the movie, soundtrack, and also see a few book recommendations below.

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What’s to love about this movie?

I personally loved everything about the movie. It’s super colorful, musical, funny, and it sends a positive message to everyone about the power of friendship, the importance of working together, and how we should try to refrain from being negative. It’s just a feel good movie that anyone can enjoy. Kids just love it and the entire soundtrack is awesome.

Summary: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch (Justin Timberlake) set off on a journey to rescue her friends. Their mission is full of adventure and mishaps, as this mismatched duo try to tolerate each other long enough to get the job done.

Watch the Trailer Here: 

Click here for Troll’s Coloring Sheets!  Continue reading “Dreamworks Trolls Movie -Soundtrack & Books”

What a Waste: Where Does Garbage Go? by Claire Eamer

What a Waste: Where Does Garbage Go? is a book that teaches everything you want or need to know about garbage.

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I’m really amazed at how thorough this book is. There are so many facts even adults can learn here. The reading is probably best for older children as the book is jam-packed full of information. It covers:

-Where garbage goes
-How it’s stored
-Recycling
-Composting
-Statistics
-Smart people with smart ideas
-What we put down the drain including sewer information
-Garbage we create in the growing of crops and manufacturing process
-Problems with plastic and another big one we don’t think about-electronics
-Future plans including turning waste into energy
-Other countries and how they deal with garbage
-Greenhouse gases from trash

The book helps children understand that foods aren’t necessarily bad because of the date on the packaging. I think this is so important because best by/sell by dates and expiration dates mean different things that kids might not understand. The fact that a third of our food is tossed out yearly is alarming!

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This is a book I want to keep on my shelf. Every school should have this available for their students. I could easily see this in a classroom setting spanned out over a 4-week course. It’s just an amazing book…

stars Continue reading “What a Waste: Where Does Garbage Go? by Claire Eamer”

Juicing for Health!

It’s no secret that eating fruits and vegetables can help us maintain a healthy body, but would you believe me if I told you that they can save your life? It happened to me…

As a teen I remember my grandfather buying me one of Jack Lalanne’s first juicers called the Juice Tiger.

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From a young age I had an interest in health and staying fit, but my issue was always having an addiction to all the wrong foods. Even though I was trying to eat right I would sometimes fall back into old habits.

As life moved on and I started working full time jobs it was common to eat out and grab whatever I could get my hands on. One of my first jobs was right next to a Greek restaurant which was a huge curse. I was able to order fried chicken, lemon rice soup and had an endless supply of all the rice pudding with whipped cream that I wanted.

I felt healthy and happy for the most part, but started experiencing horrible fatigue. It didn’t matter how much I slept. I would walk around feeling like I had a thousand pounds on my shoulders all day long.

Years went by and I was finally diagnosed with my first autoimmune disease. I didn’t have a clue what was going on and my doctor didn’t explain to me that my disease was most likely caused by the combination of poor diet, the environment, and my family genetics.

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So, I chose to try and help myself by changing my diet. I began juicing again, eating more fruits and vegetables and making smoothies. I started feeling better, started jogging again and went on for years battling my disease which had declined in severity to a more mild form. Continue reading “Juicing for Health!”

Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman and other Versions…

Hansel and Gretel was originally published in 1812 by the Grimm brothers. It’s a story of German origin. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm heard the tale “Hansel and Gretel” from Wilhelm’s friend at the time, Dortchen Wild. Wilhelm later married her and she became Mrs. Grimm.

It’s possible that this fairy tale originated in medieval times when the Great Famine caused people to abandon children in the woods due to lack of food.

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Arthur Rackham’s illustration of Hansel & Gretel from 1909.

Hansel & Gretel is one of my personal favorite fairy tales from childhood. I was so fascinated with the story as a child. I used to have a copy of the Disney book that contained a record I could listen to on my record player. I can still remember sitting in my room and reading along with the story. This version was from Disney and came out in 1967.

Here’s a picture of the one I had a child.

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Here’s my review for this edition:

This is a little book and record that I must have listened to a thousand times when I was little. I can still remember listening to this on my little record player. Side one of the record is the story and side two contains three songs from the opera Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck.

I love the illustrations in this version and I’m amazed how clear the record sounds. As soon as it started it evoked nostalgia within me that I haven’t felt for some time. I recently purchased it for my collection for my family to enjoy. It’s perfect for children to follow and it does have the page turn signal.

If you’re a Hansel and Gretel fan, pick this up online. You won’t be disappointed.

stars

Continue reading “Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman and other Versions…”

Children’s book Author Margaret Wild

Margaret Wild is one of my favorite children’s authors. I love the stories she writes up for children. Below you’ll find some information about Margaret Wild and learn about some of my favorite books by this author including my reviews. My hope is that every child will get the chance to enjoy some of Margaret Wild’s books.

Margaret Wild grew up in South America and moved to Australia in 1972. She worked as a journalist and a book editor and now writes books. Since then she’s written over 70 books for children. Margaret has also published two novels titled One Night and Jinx which are both books about the troubles and anxieties that teenagers can become overwhelmed with during their school life, in relationships and growing up.

Margaret wrote her first book in 1984 and it’s titled There’s a Sea in my Bedroom. 

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My Review:

David doesn’t like water and is afraid of the sea, but he loves to collect shells. One day he comes across a special conch shell and learns that he can hear the sea when he puts it up to his ear. At home that evening there’s no limit to David’s imagination. Follow along in the story with David and learn how he overcomes his fear of the sea.

I enjoyed looking at the illustrations and seeing how the story unfolds. The story sends a wonderful message to children about how they are capable of conquering their fears.

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4-stars


Here are some of my other favorite children’s book by Margaret Wild: Continue reading “Children’s book Author Margaret Wild”

Eater of Mushrooms by Scott Delaney

I won Eater of Mushrooms by Scott Delaney on Goodreads as a giveaway recently. You can see my review below:

My Review: 

34371859.jpgEater of Mushrooms by Scott Delaney is a poetic novel containing over thirty poems. There are roughly sixteen characters with descriptions at the beginning of the book.

This is an interesting little book of poetry! I ended up reading this twice because I was a little confused with the characters at first. I then chose to just examine and enjoy the poetry rather than figure everything else out and it eventually came together. I liked the poetry which is very dark and graphic at times. I loved the nature feel and essence of the poetry and all the emotions that go along with the painful journey. The cover art is very pretty too and fits well with the content.

My favorites were Sunflower of the Sky, Lagotto, Bipolar Days and Set Sail. I’m looking forward to reading more poetry by this author.

I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. I’d like to thank Goodreads, The author, and the publisher.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4****

4-stars Continue reading “Eater of Mushrooms by Scott Delaney”

T4 by Ann Clare Lezotte

I picked up this little book titled T4 by Ann Clare Lezotte at a book sale a while back and finally got a chance to read it. I wanted to see if it was age appropriate for a student as I wasn’t sure of the actual content provided considering the subject matter. T4 is a fiction novel in verse and is based on the truth about the T4 program during WWII.

You can read my review below and see some information about the author as well…

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Blurb: It is 1939. Paula Becker, thirteen years old and deaf, lives with her family in a rural German town. As rumors swirl of disabled children quietly disappearing, a priest comes to her family’s door with an offer to shield Paula from an uncertain fate. When the sanctuary he offers is fleeting, Paula needs to call upon all her strength to stay one step ahead of the Nazis. Continue reading “T4 by Ann Clare Lezotte”

Just Around the Bend by Renée Paule – Updated

My Review:

22885929.jpgJust Around the Bend by Renée Paule is a book about letting go of the past and living in the now.

I was forewarned ahead of time that Renée Paule’s books make you feel like you’re looking into a mirror. As I continued reading, this became a reality to me and I was pulled into the book and couldn’t put it down. There were many “Aha” moments for me. I also felt a direct connection to some of the author’s experiences and feel I’ve made many mistakes because this is something I haven’t truly gotten over and accepted. It’s amazing these pent up emotions we hold on to inside and don’t even realize it.

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A gif made by Renee Paule

What I loved especially about the book was that the author speaks as if this is something
we are experiencing together by using the word “we.” It’s not like someone telling you what you’re doing wrong, but more of an observation on how we as humans handle our emotions and how we should realize that we’re the ones in control. We’re on a journey together. What are we feeling, why, and how are we supposed to react? This book won’t give you answers or instructions like a self-help book on how you can fix yourself, but will give you the insight and awareness needed to guide you in the right direction to stop this cycle of thinking and behavior.

Here’s something long forgotten by many people in this world-humanity is a team. Whether we like it or not, we work together. On the section titled, “Independence” the author discusses this fact. I recently heard a radio broadcast on NPR regarding the lack of compassion that people have for one another. This is a huge issue, isn’t it? There could be a massive fight going on with someone getting beaten badly somewhere and rather than call 911, people are getting on their cell phones and recording it so they can upload it to YouTube later when they get home, or post it on Facebook. This is horrible. When we start separating ourselves from each other, problems arise. When we stop thinking about humanity and lose compassion for others, we go backwards.

In the section “Humanity is One” the author discusses humans and how we’re wonderfully made. One of my favorite quotes from this section,“The world has many problems and many unhappy people living in it, but we don’t have to be that way to. No matter how miserable we feel we ought to become or how guilty we feel about being happy whilst others are suffering, we won’t make the world a better place to live in. We can only make the world happier by being happier in it; every move counts and the more people make them, the better.-Renée Paule

“We’re humanity and no matter how individual or superior we think we are, we’re part of a greater whole. We can’t find completeness somewhere else any more than an individual part of a one-thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle can. We all belong together and we always will. When we hurt each other what we’re really doing is hurting ourself and damaging the world in which we all must live.” -Renée Paule

“Imagine living in a world where we no longer believe that war can lead to peace. War can’t lead to peace anymore than ignorance can lead to knowledge. War leads to premature death, pain, suffering, hatred, fear and more separation.” -Renée Paule

My favorite sections included: A Bit of a Rant, Completeness, Independence, What If and Other Worries, and Attachment. The simple (Dilly) illustrations make very powerful statements alone.

I think everyone could take something from this book and hope more will read it. It’s not a self-help book at all, so please don’t be afraid to read it if you’re one of those people afraid of those types of books. This isn’t it. This is the author’s journey and at the same time a call to humanity.

Continue reading “Just Around the Bend by Renée Paule – Updated”

Not Dead & Not for Sale: The Earthling Papers by Scott Weiland with David Ritz

When I think of Stone Temple Pilots my most strongest feelings and memories go back to 1992 when they were just getting huge with the new band and I was bickering through my teen years. The album Core takes me back to summer of ’93 and 94′ when I could lay out on the beach of Lake Michigan without a care in the world listening to all my favorite music including STP, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and many more. I can still remember learning to play “Plush” for the very first time on my guitar. Those were the days…

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I personally gained interest in Scott Weiland in the very beginning with Stone Temple Pilot’s release of Core, their first album, in the early 1990’s.

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When Scott died in 2015, it hit me hard. Even though Scott was still making music and I enjoyed the album released in 2010, I longed for that thick and thunderous sound from Core and Purple. STP for me was and is a band that requires all members and would never be the same without Scott. Continue reading “Not Dead & Not for Sale: The Earthling Papers by Scott Weiland with David Ritz”

Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

I finally got a chance to read one of Michael J. Sullivan’s books! When Age of Myth came out I read that it was a new series and not attached to any previous works and so I decided to start here. Here’s my review below:

26863057Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan is the first book in the Legends of the First Empire series. I’ve been wanting to read Michael Sullivan’s books for some time and decided I’d start with Age of Myth after learning that it was the first book in a new series and in the Riyria world 3,000 years prior. I went into the book completely blind, not having a clue what to expect.

I’ll start by saying I enjoyed this fantasy world. I loved all the characters including Raithe (God Killer), Malcolm, Suri & Minna, and Persephone. I knew in the first part of the book that Raithe would be a favorite. There’s something great about an author that can make me feel connected to characters and that’s exactly how I felt when reading this book. I loved how the three main characters and plots come together, the interaction, development and twists -all of it. I felt like I had a good visual of the characters in my mind as well. I was pleased with every part of the book and happy with the ending too. It was an easy and surprisingly fast read. The glossary of terms and names in the back were helpful.

I’m really excited to see what’s going to happen in the next book and I’m astonished that the author has already written all of the other five books for this series. Getting a sneak peak into Age of Swords was unexpected. How awesome is that!

I’m not a fantasy expert, but I think anyone who enjoys fantasy will like this book. Continue reading “Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan”

Favorite Wordless Picture Books

It’s no secret that I LOVE wordless picture books. Here are some reasons why…

  1. They can promote more discussion than books with words do.
  2. For early readers, it allows them to read books on their own while retelling the story and developing new vocabulary.
  3. They help children with story structure and comprehension.
  4. They can inspire children and help develop writing skills when they write the story out on paper as to how they interpreted it.

There are so many wonderful reasons to read wordless picture books. Sometimes it’s nice to just relax and visually appreciate these books. It can give early readers a break from reading words as well.

This post highlights some of my favorite picture books I’ve read recently. You can see them below along with my reviews…


23309640.jpgFloat by Daniel Miyares is a wordless picture book about a boy and his paper boat. It’s a rainy gloomy day and he decides to head out to play in the water with his paper boat. Follow along in the story to see how his day with his paper boat unfolds.

The illustrations are dark and rich throughout most of the book. One thing I love about picture books is how they make you think and then you want to restart the book all over again. This book reminded me of how much I loved rainy days as a kid. We were pleased with the ending.

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Our absolute favorite parts in the book were the inside covers that included instructions for making a paper airplane and a paper boat. 4 stars

4-stars

Continue reading “Favorite Wordless Picture Books”

The Egg by Andy Weir – Mini Review

I read The Martian last year and loved it. I noticed this short story floating around Goodreads by the same author titled The Egg. It was brought to my attention that this short story was all over the internet for free. Here’s an excerpt below. You can read the whole story on Andy Weir’s website.

The Egg

By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.” Continue reading “The Egg by Andy Weir – Mini Review”

The Happiest Mom You Know by Genevieve Shaw Brown

 

The Happiest Mommy You Know

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The Happiest Mommy You Know by Genevieve Shaw Brown is a book about motherhood and putting yourself before your kids.

I’m going to start by saying that I nearly hated this book. It didn’t resonate with me at all. There were a few parts that I agreed with as far as eating healthy and getting exercise, but the majority of it was the author talking about taking exotic trips and vacations, having nights out with college friends, clothes shopping, and scheduling. I’m not a schedule freak and if I had to live like that I would be gone from a stress induced death.

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Putting my kids first has always made me happy and I’m just not the type of mom that doesn’t breastfeed my babies because I want sleep. I have never programmed a baby to sleep for 12 hours and I don’t want to. I think the author is missing a key fact-what’s good for one person isn’t necessarily good for another.

I think this would be a good book for SOME moms. I don’t think the book is horrible as it did contain some health advice and it’s written well. I don’t want to be negative about the book, but it just didn’t work for me. It may be good for other moms.

Btw, I’m keeping my leggings and yoga pants…

2 stars

2-stars


Continue reading “The Happiest Mom You Know by Genevieve Shaw Brown”

Please Check My Blog with Wilbur Sargunaraj

Since I started blogging I sometimes hear that I spend too much time on the computer blogging. Even though I spend some time on Goodreads, it seems to be all lumped together as my family’s favorite term “Blogging.” It’s become a common joke around the house and last night they decided to get online and search for a blog song that they could sing to me. Funny right?

It just so happens that the first thing they found was a video by Wilbur Sargunaraj called “The Blog Song.” It was first published on YouTube in 2007, so many of you are probably already aware of it. I’m sort of a dinosaur when it comes to being caught up with online content obviously!

Here’s the video:

The Blog Song

Lyrics:

It’s a place where I share my pictures and thoughts
It’s a place where I like to go lots and lots
It’s a place where many people have some fun
It’s a place where we tell the world of what we have done!

Please check my blog (8 times)

It’s a place where you can write philosophy
It’s a place where you can learn all about me
There are so many funny videos
But why we laugh at them nobody knows!

Please check my blog (8 times)

1,2,3,4….

If you want a blog we can get you one
You will be on computers having so much fun
But there is one little phrase that the blogger should know
Send it to your friends and here is how it goes!

Please check my blog (8 times)… Continue reading “Please Check My Blog with Wilbur Sargunaraj”

The Farthest City by Daniel P. Swenson

I was truly psyched to win a giveaway on Goodreads a little over a month ago, and this was one of them! You can see my review below along with some author information.


27964085.jpgThe Farthest City by Daniel P. Swenson is a sci-fi story that takes place in the far future of Earth. There’s a battle forming for Earth between humans and aliens, but the humans need to find the machines (chines) that have since disappeared in order to save themselves from the aliens (Hexi).

I haven’t read much Sci-fi and this isn’t my kind of story, but I was fairly pleased with it. I liked that there were two different plots going on with different characters throughout the book. The characters were very well developed and I was pleased with the story’s end. The author writes well and is very creative to have come up with this unique story.

I did find my mind wondering a few times as the story had a few dull moments. It felt as though there were some pieces missing from the story as some things were not explained. Being that I don’t read much sci-fi, it’s possible that this is a normal aspect I’m just not used to, maybe? I believe true sci-fi fans will really like this book.

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I am interested in reading more from this author and wonder if there will be another book after this! I would definitely like to read more about Kellen, Sheemi, Abby and the other characters.

I won this in a giveaway here on Goodreads. I’d like to thank Goodreads and the author.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4****

4-stars


Back of Book with Blurb:

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From Goodreads: Q&A with Daniel P. Swenson Continue reading “The Farthest City by Daniel P. Swenson”

Everybody Loves Our Town – An Oral History of Grunge by Mark Yarm

I’m going to admit right off the rip that I’ve been told I’m still living in the 90’s. I am, really. My teen years literally consisted of listening to music and playing in band. Grunge was and very much still is a large part of my life. So, when I recently discovered this book, I had to get it.

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I think when many people hear the word “grunge” they instantly think of the four more popular 90’s bands including Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Nirvana and Soundgarden. Many don’t realize that it emerged before these “big four. “

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It started with Deep Six being released in 1986 and of course I didn’t discover these bands until years later when they became huge and I was a little older. There’s a lot to learn about in this book that was going on prior to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. It starts in the 80’s and progresses up into 2011.

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I loved the oral history format the author used for this book. The way it’s written, you’re basically reading quotes from scads of different people including band members, producers, managers, photographers, roadies and more. You’ll learn about some of the stuff they did, places they went, relationships they had with each other, pain they endured from deaths, and more. There are pictures included, but I do wish there were more.

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How sad is it when listening to a favorite online “grunge hits of the 90’s” station, I’m reminded of the fact that the singers from the last four songs I’ve just heard are dead, and all from drugs. It’s very depressing, but at the same time I remind myself that grunge is not dead-at least not to me. I’ll be ninety and still listening to this stuff. Many of these bands went forward and continued to be successful including, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl from Nirvana), Candlebox, and Alice in Chains, even with Layne and Mike gone, they’re still making music.

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There are things you’ll never know about the grunge movement if you don’t read this book. Some of the artists I thought had it all together, really never did. Some never finished school, many performed drunk and high, barely hung on, died, and some fought like crazy. You had band members switching around to different groups. It’s just crazy. If you listen to grunge or have been a fan in the past, read this…

stars Continue reading “Everybody Loves Our Town – An Oral History of Grunge by Mark Yarm”

Summer Reading Loss

giphy.gifThis morning it’s still pretty cold outside and as I hang by the fire reading, I’m left to wonder how much reading loss I’ll experience this summer. Let’s face it, most people spend more time outside in the summer, right? There are outdoor activities like hiking, gardening, cook-outs, and swimming that remind me of why I welcome summer.

I can hear the chickadees and woodpeckers outside and very active this morning. I love nature, but this year I’m sort of dreading summer. I’m thinking about how much I read this past winter and how I’ll be reading much less this summer. Continue reading “Summer Reading Loss”

The Six Million Dollar Man Featuring Bionic Bigfoot

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There was this show called The Six Million Dollar Man which was created before I was born in the mid 1970’s, but thanks to re-runs, I was able to watch a few as a kid. The show starred Lee Majors, Richard Anderson and Stefanie Powers to name a few. The main character, Colonel Steve Austin, was played by Lee Majors.

Not long after that came Bionic Woman which I was more familiar with. Back then, my family only had local channels, so we watched shows like The Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, Incredible Hulk, and Batman & Robin to name a few.


20150813_114446.jpgAnyhow, I was at this rummage sale not too long ago and I came across this bigfoot toy that looked so familiar to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on where I’d seen it. It’s this really large plastic doll type toy with bendable legs and arms. The woman couldn’t tell me much about it, but remembered her dad buying it for her when she was young. I just kept staring at it and trying to figure out where I’d seen it. It felt familiar to me and I finally decided to grab it. She wanted $3 for it and I figured I might be able to turn around and sell it for something on eBay if I decided to.

The toy looked old and it almost seemed like it was missing something. Here are pictures of him after bringing him home.

It had this removable plate on the front of it’s body and there was just this hole there.

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You would press this square button and the front plate would pop off.

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I brought it home and started checking it out online. It didn’t take long to realize exactly where this this “Bionic Bigfoot, The Sasquatch Beast” came from – The Six Million Dollar Man!

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Finally!

Here’s the video below…

These episodes are so amazing to me, and that bigfoot is Andre the Giant, one of my favorite wrestlers of all time. Continue reading “The Six Million Dollar Man Featuring Bionic Bigfoot”

Bolded Hearts by Jane Jago

34193593I recently came across a short story titled Bolded Hearts on Goodreads by author Jane Jago. After seeing a few reviews and instantly falling in love with the cover, I had to try it. It turned out to be a really short fantasy read about two main characters named Amal and Chin-Cha.

Amal is a healer and has been labeled a witch because of it. Chin-Cha is her once human protector. Follow along in the story to discover their future.

 


My Review:

Nice short fantasy read

Bolded Hearts by Jane Jago is a short, well written fantasy story about two main characters, Amal and Chin-Cha.

I was a tad confused when I first started reading, but as the story goes on, the characters become better understood. It essentially feels like folklore. The story and characters are genuinely magical and I loved the ending.

4-stars


Here are a few of my favorite Q&A’s with Jane Jago on Goodreads:

 

Q: You have a human turned wolf in Bolded Hearts. Was it fun writing a character like that? What kind of changes in your own thinking did you have to make?

Jane Jago Chin-Cha was a challenge to write, in that I wanted to give him depth as well as difference. I had to make quite a few adjustments.

First, there’s always the thing of a woman writing a man. Then there was the need to make him both human and canine at the same time, and all within the word constraint of a short story.

But I liked him so much that it was pleasure as much as work.

broke-writer-2

Q: Which do you have more fun writing – Fantasy or twisted thrillers?

Jane Jago Fantasy is more fun to write, but the twisted thrillers are more of a compulsion. 

 

Continue reading “Bolded Hearts by Jane Jago”

Cracker-Ass Honky Blues by Arthur Graham

 

I was able to get a copy of Cracker-Ass Honky Blues from the author Arthur Graham a few months back. I’ve been wanting to check out his writing for some time. You can see my review and some information about the author below:

From Goodreads: Arthur Graham returns with yet another chapbook of shorts and miscellany, this one featuring a nude photo of him taken while really drunk on its cover.

This book is not for sale on Amazon, nor is it available for purchase from anywhere else besides the author. Kindly PayPal five measly bucks* to arthur (dot) graham (dot) pub (at) gmail (dot) com, and your signed, limited-edition chapbook will be on its way.**

Plus, if you’d like, I’ll throw in a copy of Whores of the Industry for only THREE BUCKS EXTRA! That’s two handcrafted chapbooks for just EIGHT BUCKS!

Printed on blue paper by a sad drunken honky, folded and stapled by hand. Includes the following pieces:

– Kerouac & I
– Staying True to Yourself
– A Review of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
– New Story Idea
– The Primordial Slime
– Prince’s First Posthumous Tweet
– What We Talk About When We Talk About What We Talk About When We’re Talking About Talking About Stuff
– Hitler’s Bad Day
– Fan Mail

“Cracker-Ass Honky Blues is Arthur Graham’s latest chapbook and true to form, it is packed with irreverence, absurdity and humour. This handmade book is exemplary of what underground literature ought to be; bold, boundless and uncensored. […] Graham is a ballsy writer whose work pushes the bounds of decency. Cracker-Ass Honky Blues is a sleazy, funny, irreverent work of social commentary.”Matthew J. Hall, Screaming with Brevity


My Review: 

So, I’ve been wanting to read Cracker-Ass Honky Blues for some time now, actually, just something by Arthur Graham already! This is the first for me, a little chapbook of short stories.

I liked the cover and title. Out of all stories included the only one I didn’t really like was “Hitler’s Bad Day.” Most enjoyed were “The Primordial Slime” and “Fan Mail.”

Is there a poster size of the cover available? JK!

4**** and looking forward to reading more by this author.

I’d like to thank the author for providing me with a complimentary copy.

4-stars Continue reading “Cracker-Ass Honky Blues by Arthur Graham”

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

I read The Light Between Oceans in 2016 right around the time the movie was about to be released in theatres. The blurb pulled me in and after I picked it up the story quickly felt real to me. I’m really happy to have discovered this author and I’m looking forward to reading more by her. You can see my review below after the blurb.

From Goodreads: After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel. Continue reading “The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman”

The Child of Happiness by Stjepan Cobets

The Child of Happiness is a book of poems written by author Stjepan Varesevac Cobets.

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken the time to read good poetry, and this book was like a breath of fresh air. I felt a connection with many of the poems.

The poem layouts were simple and easy to read with good content. I really savored reading each poem out loud. A few of my favorites include “The Old Man,” and “I Kissed Her.” Here is one I feel would be wonderful to recite daily…

Be Happy

Endeavour to be happy every day
To look for beauty in dewy mornings, silent and early,
And when you see yourself in a mirror, wash your face with water
To take off the difficult moments and old hazes.

Think about love, for it is the beauty of your soul,
It will warm you up while the cold wind is blowing.
Through storms walk upright with a smile on your face
And that which you have for yourself, give to everybody freely.

Having written poetry in the past, I feel inspired to write again after reading this book of poems.

I’d like to thank Mr. Stjepan Cobets for sharing a copy of his book with me and I’m looking forward to reading more by this author. Continue reading “The Child of Happiness by Stjepan Cobets”

The Foundling by Paul Fronczak

Earlier this year I saw The Foundling on Netgalley and thought I’d try it out. I’d never heard Paul Fronczak’s story and was quickly pulled in. It became a real page turner.

My Review:

The Foundling by Paul Fronczak is a true story about a boy strayed at childhood and connected to a kidnapping. I was extremely engaged because I’d never heard this story. The book quickly turns into a search through his past and continues on that path until the final conclusion.article-2334802-1A1D3AFD000005DC-649_306x423.jpg

*Spoilers below*

I had to learn what was going to happen with Paul. I wasn’t happy with many of Paul’s choices, but had high hopes for him, and understand how one needs to know their origins. I agreed with his wife in that he was not necessarily wasting his time, but that it would possibly never come to an end, and that there might always be unanswered questions.

I found many parts sad and can’t imagine how arduous his journey must’ve been. In the end, I felt sorry for him and his family. He spent so much time on a group of people that didn’t seem to want anything to do with him.

I do understand, in my own way, how Paul felt as I’ve had a similar experience, but at some point I suppose you have to accept things for the way they are.

It’s certainly a page turner.

4**** and glad to have read it…

4-stars

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy in exchange for a review. Continue reading “The Foundling by Paul Fronczak”

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

I picked up Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens and barely put this book down after the story began. This is the first book I’ve read by her and I’m pretty sure I just found a favorite new author!

*This review may contain spoilers for those who haven’t read the book*

At first, I thought for sure this was going to be another domestic abuse story like the movie Enough with Jennifer Lopez. It reminded me so much of it, but there’s much more going on as the story progresses and it was impossible for me to predict where it was going.

We start out with a newlywed couple that in the beginning of the relationship was your typical love story. Soon the wife, Lindsey, begins to see that something is not quite right with her husband, Andrew. He starts drinking and the relationship quickly turns abusive. What complicates it even more is that there’s a child involved, little Sophie.

What can she do? She needs to leave and she can’t figure out how she’s going to do it. So, she drugs him, runs, and the result, something completely bizarre- an accident that will send her husband to prison.Joaquin-Phoenix-signs

The story from here on out is a guessing game that will leave you bewildered. I just couldn’t figure it out. Just who is the perpetrator here? We have over a handful of characters and everyone is suspicious! I was so positive that this was going to turn into another Gone Girl with the way the story was so unpredictable. By the time I got to the end, I felt the same shock. I had no idea!

I loved this book and I’m really excited to read more by this author. 5 overflowing stars!

stars

Continue reading “Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens”