Magical Beasts – The Enchanted World Series Book Review

The Enchanted World Series by the Editors of Time-Life books is a book set of 21 volumes and I’ve been working to complete my set by purchasing a volume here and there. The volumes have the  year of 1985 and you can see the original commercial for the books with Vincent Price below.

Some of of the volumes are more expensive than others. I recently read Wizards and Witches by Brendan Lehane and you can see that review HERE.

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Magical Beasts by Tristram Potter Coffin is the second book in the Enchanted World Series that I’ve read recently. The book is split into three sections/chapters and covers many different beasts and myths from long ago.

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As you can see above, this volume has some serious cover wear. It has a very vintage smell to it as well. All the volumes have fabric covers.

This magical and mysterious volume contains stories about beasts including the Minotaur, Satyrs, Centaurs, Fomorians, dog-men, flying beasts, and unicorns. The first section covers “Vestiges of the Elder Days” and readers learn about some Greek Mythology here.

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I found the second section titled “Riders of the Wind” more interesting which highlights flying creatures like the Firebird of Russia and other strange creatures that scholars learned about after their travels. It’s interesting how some of these false tales formed. This section covers the manticore, the basilisk, and the peryton to name a few.

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Artwork by John Howe
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Though slain by a mortal warrior’s weapon, the Centaur Chiron gained new life. Through the vault of the heavens he flies as the archer-constellation Sagittarius, his bow forever drawn against the sparkling, venom-bearing Scorpio.
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The mermecolion of Asia having a lion head and an ant body was said to be gentle

Continue reading “Magical Beasts – The Enchanted World Series Book Review”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book

I’m back on track this week and have an awesome smoothie recipe for you! This is one that I’ve been making for years and comes from one of my favorite raw food advocates, Paul Nison. You can find him on Goodreads by clicking HERE. He’s written a handful of books. The one I’ve read is:

The Raw Life: Becoming Natural in an Unnatural World

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-Click the cover to add to Goodreads-

Blurb: This Book will help you learn about health and to achieve your goals. It will simply teach you the way to get the results you desire with the raw food diet. It’s an easy book to understand why and how to eat with simple recipes to help you on your path. Many people who start out on a raw food diet have started with this book. Others who have been eating a raw diet for many years love the interviews in this book with long term raw fooders.


Bahini Smoothie – This is how I make it…

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 Bananas peeled – Frozen Bananas are best!
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 1-2 TB Coconut butter or manna – (flaked coconut works too)
  • 1-2 TB Raw Honey
  • Dash of salt – Himalayan or a salt with minerals preferred
  • Dash of Bee Pollen (optional)
  • 1 TB Barleymax Powder (optional – You can use any ‘green’ powder or fresh greens) I used a tsp of Moringa
  • 1 cup of ice or more depending on how much you want. If you use frozen bananas, you barely need any ice at all.
  • Paul uses a good amount of water, I only use about a half cup or so. I like my smoothies thicker, if you want it thinner, just add more water.

You can watch Paul make the smoothie in this video, or scroll down to see mine…

This will make roughly 40 ounces or so. 


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-Add all the ingredients in the order listed to the blender-

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-Start blending slow and then increase to high speed-

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-Blend until smooth-

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-I added in some chia seeds as well-

-Just be sure to stir the chia seeds in and they’ll become gelatinous-  Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books

This week I have four different wordless picture books to share with you that we really enjoyed. Like most, these are all perfect wordless picture books for parent child reading and enjoyment.

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You can read on to see my reviews on each. If  you’d like to view last weeks picture books and learn some benefits to reading wordless books, you can see my previous post HERE. If you’d like to add some of these wonderful books on Goodreads, just click the title.


The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

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Blurb: Illustrated in full color, this is a wordless story. The pictures have “the hazy softness of air in snow.” A little boy rushes out into the wintry day to build a snowman, which comes alive in his dreams that night. The boy invites him home and in return is taken on a flight high above the countryside.

My review

The Snowman is a wonderful wordless book for children. The story starts with a young boy who sees the snow outside and rushes out of his home to build a snowman. As the boy sleeps, the snowman comes alive and is welcomed into the boy’s home to discover what it’s like inside. In return, the snowman will show him his home as well. A dream to be remembered forever.

This book is packed full of sketched illustrations in color. This is a beautiful Christmas book that can be read by all ages and any time of the year.

stars

Check out this short movie based on The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. It’s introduced by David Bowie!


The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert

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Blurb: In this follow up to the magnificently inventive Ice, Arthur Geisert once again charms us with his porcine world. This time his pigs must get creative when a volcano destroys their home. Fortunately they got busybefore trouble hit by planting a huge mysterious seed, for it’s the seed plus imagination, as well as a good dose of can-do spirit, that save the day! Illustrated with inventive, sensitive, and unusually lovely etchings that seem to come from an old cherished album, The Big Seed is a worthy successor to Geisert’s Ice.

Award-winning children’s book author Arthur Geisert‘s pigs are legendary in the world of children’s books. They carve ice sculptures, teach Roman numerals, create ingenious machines, and get up to all kinds of antics. Did Arthur grow up on a farm? No. He grew up in Los Angeles and claims not to have seen a pig until he was an adult. Trained as a sculptor in college, Geisert learned to etch at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. He has published just about a book a year for the past thirty years and every one of his books has been illustrated with etchings. In 1996 (as well as once previous to that) he won The New York Times Best Illustrated Award. Geisert lives in Bernard, Iowa.

My review

The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert is a story about a community of pigs that live near a volcano. They are blessed with the arrival of a giant dandelion seed which they decide to plant and grow. Little do they know, this seed that will soon grow into a new plant just might be a life saver for them all.

We loved the author’s adorable pig illustrations. The ending was left wide open which made me think there might be another book to continue the story, but I haven’t found one yet. This is the first book we’ve read by this author and I’m definitely interested in reading more about this pig community. This one strikes up a lot of conversation!

4-stars


Here I Am by Patti Kim – Pictures by Sonia Sanchez

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Blurb: Newly arrived from their faraway homeland, a boy and his family enter into the lights, noise, and traffic of a busy American city in this dazzling wordless picture book. The language is unfamiliar. Food, habits, games, and gestures are puzzling. They boy clings tightly to his special keepsake from home and wonders how he will find his way. How will he once again become the happy, confident kid he used to be? Walk in his shoes as he takes the first tentative steps toward discovering joy in his new world. A poignant and affirming view of the immigrant experience.

Because this book is based on the author’s experience, here is some author information: Patti Kim was born in Pusan, Korea, and immigrated to the United States on Christmas of 1974 with her mother, father, and older sister. At the age of five, she thought she was a writer and scribbled gibberish all over the pages of her mother’s Korean-English dictionary and got in big trouble for it. Her scribbling eventually paid off. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland. She lives with her husband and two daughters who give her plenty to write about every day.

You can visit her blog HERE

My review

Here I Am is a wordless children’s picture book of one incredibly inspiring story of a child’s immigration to the United States.

A child and his family leave their home and move into a busy city in the United States. This is difficult for him and he struggles getting used to his new life in the city. He has a new school, new house, and is surrounded by new people. In his hand he carries a keepsake from his homeland which helps him along the way. He accidentally drops it out of a window and down into the street. He realizes in order to get it back he’s going to have to go outside and explore which might just be the best thing for him.

This is a story about starting a new life and overcoming fear of the unknown. We enjoyed all the rich, detailed illustrations and the author’s note at the end.

stars


Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books”

Standing Strong: An Unlikely Sisterhood and the Court Case That Made History by Diane Reeve

Last January I came across this book on Netgalley titled Standing Strong: An Unlikely Sisterhood and the Court Case That Made History by Diane Reeve. It sounded interesting and compelling, so I had to read it. I’d never heard Diane’s story before reading the book. You can see my review below along with some information about the author Diane Reeve.

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Standing Strong by Diane Reeve had me captivated from beginning to end. The story is absolutely amazing, revealing, and well written.

I have to admit, I was so shocked as the story unraveled. It’s truly hard to believe that somebody could have the capabilities to be so destructive and cruel. Phillipe Padieu is that type of person. A monstrous person who simply cannot be trusted. What happens to Diane is a tragedy, but her courage prevails.

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Diane Reeve and Philippe Padieu

I admired that she explained statistics and helpful information in the book. Diane is unbelievably brave and now a prominent AIDS awareness advocate.

stars

I’d like to thank Netgalley, the author, and publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb

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Diane Reeve with her book Standing Strong

Diane Reeve found everything she was looking for in the handsome Frenchman Philippe Padieu. Deeply in love, they spent every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday together at his place or hers . . . that is, until she learned about his Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday women. Continue reading “Standing Strong: An Unlikely Sisterhood and the Court Case That Made History by Diane Reeve”

Some Free Kindle Books Today!

Here are ten FREE kindle books on Amazon right now.

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The first one I’ll mention is the one I started reading today by author Luke Narlee! You can click the cover to pick this up on Amazon!

The Appointment: Lost & Found (Book 1) : Volume 1

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Author Luke P. Narlee returns with another wild and unpredictable tale about the human condition. Only this time, there’s an entire country at stake.

Depression has swept across the nation since the initiation of the Lockdown. The public has been systematically deprived of anything that brings them entertainment, or allows them to express emotion.

When an utterly hopeless Jacob Johansen receives an invitation to attend a mysterious appointment at an anonymous facility, he agrees, considering he has nothing to lose. He takes this opportunity to peel himself away from the drab repetition of the day-to-day routine he’s come to know and reignite a sense of purpose in his life.

Jacob agrees to go forward with a series of tests in which he is immersed in a dream realm that reminds him of the man he was and shows him the potential of the man he could become.

As Jacob engages in his own self-exploration, he is met with the sober realization that his own actions, decisions or avoidances could have a ripple effect, deeper than any dreamer could have fathomed.

From the acclaimed author of Guest Bed comes book one of an epic new series filled with dreams, parallel universes, artificial intelligence, angels, virtual reality, soul mates, and much more…


Here are a few more I found. You can click the covers to find them on Amazon.

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513iucxvOTL.jpg Continue reading “Some Free Kindle Books Today!”

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 blurb. There aren’t any 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.

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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!

stars


Blurb

From the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart–hailed by the Washington Post as crime fiction’s best first novel of 2014″–a devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder that is a modern reimagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train.

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start–he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit–a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliche.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda’s demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.

Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

Duration: 10 hours, 18 minutes


About the Author

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Peter Swanson is the author of three novels: The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, an LA Times Book Award finalist; The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; and his most recent, Her Every Fear. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.

You can find him on:

Goodreads |Amazon| Website 

Other Books

Run Rabbit Run by Barbara and Max Rodgers

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Run Rabbit Run is a memoir written by Barbara Rodgers and Max Rodgers. I picked up the eBook on Amazon for $3.99. You can find it by clicking here.

The story is true and discloses a slice of Barbara’s life that can only be described as turbulent. Her life begins with a dysfunctional family and progresses into bad relationships, divorce, greed, and uncontrollable mental illness. She has a beloved twin sister who she confides in until an unforeseen event rips the two apart. You can see Barbara and her sister Mary’s song below.

Lyrics:

It must have been cold there in my shadow,
To never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that’s your way.
You always walked a step behind.

So I was the one with all the glory,
While you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
And everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
But I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.

Did I ever tell you you’re my hero?
You’re everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Oh, the wind beneath my wings.
You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings.
Fly, fly, fly away. You let me fly so high.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.

Fly, fly, fly high against the sky,
So high I almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you,
Thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.

_____________________

The story is emotional, raw and gritty at times. At one point I began wondering why Barbara was making some of the choices she was, but understand that mental illness works this way. It has the capability to control you and takes over your emotions. You start believing that you are worthless along with other horrible thoughts. It can feel impossible to be free from it.

light-1-a.jpgBarbara was dealing with some deep wounds and didn’t have much support, until Max came into the picture. Max was just the person for Barbara and understood her condition. Max’s perseverance helped Barbara to understand that she was loved and not alone. As life moves forward, Barbara begins to change and finally gains control over her mental illness.

It was obvious to me what Barbara was going through. I’ve gone through a similar experience, although not as extreme. It seems like there’s no one on your side and the future appears bleak. I feel that the authors did an excellent job telling their story and the book was written well. I personally liked the story even though it’s hard to apply the word ‘like’ with such an emotional read. I didn’t want to put the book down.

For those who are asking, I would most definitely consider this a Christian book. It’s a compelling story that I would recommend to others who are struggling with mental illness.

4-stars

Continue reading “Run Rabbit Run by Barbara and Max Rodgers”

Chris Cornell: Thoughts on Suicide & Forgiveness

It’s been a little over a week since I awoke from sleep and learned that one of my favorite singers of all time had passed away. At the time I learned about it, nothing had been concluded on the details of how he died and all I could think about was the fact that he was gone. One of the first thoughts I had when I learned that Chris had died was that he would now be reunited with Andrew Wood, Layne Staley, Kurt Kobain, Scott Weiland, Mike Starr, Shannon Hoon, and others.

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From the left: Scott Weiland, Shannon Hoon, Andrew Wood, Kurt Kobain, Layne Staley, and Mike Starr in the front.

Later on that day it was confirmed that Chris had committed suicide. I think some of the thoughts that people have when losing someone to suicide might be like those posted on the image above. I’ve had some of them myself. I lost my stepmother to drugs when I was a teen. It wasn’t a suicide, but a death caused by carelessness. I was angry over her choices and wondered why she didn’t care to live. It wasn’t until I got older and thought about the pain that she endured on Earth from losing two young brothers and then her parents not long after that finally helped me accept it. She truly never got over their deaths. I was just angry, sad and bitter. I wanted her here and mourned her death probably more than anyone else.

I got to talking with people about Chris and an anonymous person mentioned to me that it was possible that he would not be accepted into heaven because he committed suicide. It’s always been my personal thought that when we die, our soul goes to Heaven. This anonymous person then proceeded to tell me that when people commit suicide they are committing an unforgivable sin and are lost from God forever. As if Chris’s death wasn’t hard enough, this caused me to sob even more.

I was shocked. Could I really be this ignorant about what the Bible says about suicide? I was raised Orthodox and have spent the majority of my life in one Church or another, but I couldn’t say for sure and had no way to refute the statement. I began to ponder about it and started roaming the internet. I was questioning in my head whether Chris was a Christian. It’s no surprise that many of his lyrics highlight a troubled soul and it’s possible that he was tormented with his own thoughts. I do wonder if maybe he was searching for his own answers as he was an open thinker. I then reminded myself of all the songs that helped me believe what was in his heart. Even though I read that he possibly considered himself agnostic, I go back to the songs that give me insight to his beliefs.


Audioslave – Like a Stone

Lyrics:

On a cobweb afternoon
In a room full of emptiness
By a freeway I confess
I was lost in the pages
Of a book full of death
Reading how we’ll die alone
And if we’re good, we’ll lay to rest
Anywhere we want to go
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
On my deathbed I will pray
To the gods and the angels
Like a pagan to anyone
Who will take me to heaven
To a place I recall
I was there so long ago
The sky was bruised
The wine was bled
And there you led me on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
Alone
And on I read
Until the day was gone
And I sat in regret
Of all the things I’ve done
For all that I’ve blessed
And all that I’ve wronged
In dreams until my death
I will wander on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
Alone
When I first heard this song it almost seemed as if Chris was speaking directly in this song. What do you think the song means? There are many different thoughts on it. 

Audioslave – I Am The Highway

Lyrics:
Pearls and swine bereft of me
Long and weary my road has been
I was lost in the cities
Alone in the hills
No sorrow or pity for leaving I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
Friends and liars don’t wait for me
I’ll get on all by myself
I put millions of miles
Under my heels
And still too close to you
I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night

When I listen to this song it makes me think of a person who is already gone, possibly in heaven, and doesn’t want to return. He’s now everything. What do you think? 

Continue reading “Chris Cornell: Thoughts on Suicide & Forgiveness”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book

Today for breakfast I made chocolate chunk banana nut bread. It’s not a healthy version or anything, but so delicious. It’s nice to have a treat once in a while. Here’s the recipe below if you’re interested in trying it. It turned out perfect!

I started by using a basic recipe that I love in my trusty All Recipes cookbook called “Banana Banana Bread.”

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The recipe above is delicious the way it is, but I modified the recipe today. Here’s what I did. The ingredients are all the same except for:

  • Instead of butter I substituted coconut oil
  • Added a Tablespoon of Raw Honey (optional)
  • 1 tsp of added vanilla extract
  • Added an extra 1/4 cup of flour
  • Added in roughly 3/4 cup nuts (walnuts & almonds)
  • Added in some Hershey’s chocolate chunks. Roughly 1 1/2 full size candy bars chopped up

It turned out very well. Here’s how I put it together:

Mash up the banana. I used my KitchenAid, but you can easily mash them with a fork or other utensil.

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Add in the vanilla, eggs, brown sugar, 1 TB Raw honey (optional), and coconut oil. Mix until combined. Then, add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

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Chop up the chocolate into chunks. Chop the nuts as well by using a processor or by hand. Here’s a tip from Martha Stewart- use two knives and it helps to keep the nuts stable, plus gets the job done faster. Thanks, Martha!

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Add in the nuts and chocolate chunks. Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book”