Q&A with author Bobby Underwood + Book Reviews – The Wild Country & Beyond Heaven’s Reach

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I’ve been interested in reading some of Bobby Underwood’s books for some time now and recently read The Wild Country & Beyond Heaven’s Reach. Mr. Underwood was kind enough to answer some questions about his writing and on these two books as well. You can see my reviews for both books and the Q&A below. If you’d like to add these books on Goodreads, just click the covers.

~The Wild Country~

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I love western films, but I personally haven’t read many western’s as I’ve never considered it one of my favorite book genres, but this book has opened up a whole new world for me. The Wild Country is a story about a boy named Wyn, who along with his older sister witnesses his parents being killed by a gang of evil outlaws. To add to the catastrophic events, his sister, the only person he has left, is kidnapped by them. Wyn is left alone in hard times and as he gets older he is determined to locate his sister and seek revenge against every man that was involved in killing his parents and kidnapping his sister, especially Muerta, the main man responsible for it all.

I knew right away that I would LOVE Wyn, the main character. I love a good revenge and I was rooting for Wyn from the beginning. He builds a reputation for himself and people from all over the lands hear stories about him, the man known as “Ghost Rider.” On his journey he experiences love, violence, death and meets new people along the way.

I found the book to be written well with beautiful descriptions of the landscape, people, and even the horses.  It was smooth to read, easy to follow, and interesting. I enjoyed it from beginning to end and I was pleased with the conclusion. If you like stories about the wild west, you’ll love The Wild Country.

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Blurb: As a boy, Wyn watches helplessly as raiders kill his parents. Saved by his sister in a terrible bargain struck with their leader, Wyn dedicates his life to finding her. He becomes a legend in a time when the country was wild and free, and full of bad men as well as pioneer spirit. As the lonely cowboy metes out justice to the men responsible for changing the course of his life, he meets a girl, and begins to ponder over a life which might have been. Filled with beauty and complexity, with plenty of action for western fans, The Wild Country is a rip-roaring tale in the best tradition of legends told over a campfire.

  • Print Length: 203 pages
  • Publisher: Bobby Underwood (June 15, 2016)
  • Publication Date: June 15, 2016
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478180234

~Beyond Heaven’s Reach~

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Mike, the main character, is a man who is searching for a quiet place to settle down in California. He discovers a perfect little cottage near the coast and becomes very interested in buying it. He’s forewarned ahead of time by the village people that the cottage is inhabited by a ghost, but Mike loves it so much, he needs to find out for himself and is willing to take the risk. He soon discovers that Deanna, the supposed ghost, is very real to him and they fall in love over the course of a weekend. Mike discovers that this is the life he’s always wanted and will do whatever it takes to make it work. What he determines in the end is an unexpected twist you won’t see coming.

This book was a pleasant surprise. I learned about the book from my mom who read it a few months ago. She enjoyed it and told me that I had to read it. I went in completely blind and it was nothing like what I expected. It’s written well, easy to follow, and I found it compelling and mysterious. I have to say that the story felt a little rushed and came to an end very quickly, but I still enjoyed it. It’s a very thought-provoking story.

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Blurb: It is the summer of 1944. Fresh on the heels of his novel’s critical and commercial success, writer Mike McCrea is searching for a quiet and secluded spot for inspiration. On a morning drive along California’s coastline he happens upon a charming cottage overlooking the sea. Situated close to an equally charming village, he purchases the seaside cottage for a song, and soon discovers he is not the house’s only inhabitant. Thus begins a love story and mystery with ties to this world, and that beyond. Period atmosphere of the War years enhance this nostalgic tale which will touch the heart. Old-fashioned and romantic, with an otherworldly romance at its center, Beyond Heaven’s Reach is a reminder that the bridge between this world and heaven, is love. * The Trade Paperback edition also includes a bonus story, Gypsy Summer. *

  • Print Length: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Bobby Underwood (June 13, 2016)
  • Publication Date: June 13, 2016
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481957526

Continue for the Q&A…

Continue reading “Q&A with author Bobby Underwood + Book Reviews – The Wild Country & Beyond Heaven’s Reach”

How Do You Implement Social Media With Your Blog?

Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful week. I have a question for fellow bloggers today and hope to get some feedback from you on the importance of social media and your blogs.

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I’m not a social media user. I use Goodreads for book reviewing, but I’m not on Facebook, Twitter, or any other site. Honestly, I’ve been against it because I don’t see how I can keep up with more than Goodreads and WordPress at this point with all of my life responsibilities and everything else. I worry that it would cut into reading time, time with my family, or just free time in general to do some other activities that I like to do.

I see the use of social media frequently and notice that Facebook and Twitter are often connected to giveaways. I noticed that fan pages on Facebook are quite common for blogs. I’ve also noticed the option to follow many authors on Facebook and Twitter.

Here are my questions…

 

Continue reading “How Do You Implement Social Media With Your Blog?”

8 Brutally Honest Truths You Need To Hear If You Want To Get It Together

Reblogging this great post from ourbetterhealth.org. Great advice!

Our Better Health

No matter how much we believe we have it together, life carries many harsh truths, and no matter how much we may wish to run away from them, it is only through accepting them that we can take full responsibility for our lives.

You may be aware of some of these already, but for the rest, I’m willing to be the blunt bastard that tells them to you. You may hate me today, but you’ll thank me tomorrow.

For the record, this isn’t meant to be a pessimistic rant about how tough life is. It’s meant to motivate you to take action armed with this knowledge.

Here are 8 brutally honest truths you need to hear if you want to get it together:

1. You’re Going to Regret How Much Time You Spend on Social Media

Social media is amazing, and I’m as addicted to it as you are. But…

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Q&A with Cyndy Drew Etler – Author of The Dead Inside – A True Survivor’s Story About Her Experience with Straight, Inc.

 

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I recently read The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler and learned about Straight, Inc. for the first time. I’d never even heard of Straight and was quite shocked with Cyndy’s story. Cyndy was a troubled teen in the 80’s who had some experiences that aren’t all that uncommon. She was making wrong choices while trying to find her place in the world, until at the age of 14, when her mother decided to throw her into a drug rehabilitation for throwaway kids who are deemed out of control. This institution was called Straight, Inc.

I was able to ask Cyndy some questions about her experience with Straight and have included them below for those interested.

In case you haven’t learned about Straight, I encourage you to view my original review which includes videos and more information for The Dead Inside HERE and also the Q&A with Christine Flannery, another Straight survivor HERE.

Cyndy’s new book We Can’t Be Friends will be available later this year. You can find information on that below.

 

Continue reading “Q&A with Cyndy Drew Etler – Author of The Dead Inside – A True Survivor’s Story About Her Experience with Straight, Inc.”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books

 

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I’m back this Wednesday with three more wordless picture books for you guys. I had to take a few weeks off from this post because I was running out of books! I’m pleased with these and hope you’ll enjoy them along with the children in your life too.

To add these on Goodreads, just click the cover and you’ll be redirected.

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson & Sydney Smith

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In this picture book, a little girl takes a walk through the city with her father and while on the journey, she decides to start collecting little wildflowers she discovers along the way. Her father is busy doing his own thing and is quite distracted. By the time they’re about ready to head home, she has collected a beautiful bouquet of flowers. What she decides to do with the flowers on her way back home is touching. Follow along in this beautiful picture book to see how sweet, caring, and creative she can be.

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The story is touching and will help children understand the importance of giving and thinking about others. The illustrations were eye catching with the majority of the pages being black and white with splashes of color throughout. It’s definitely a keeper.

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Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Syrian Cooking

Today I have a very strange breakfast to share with you and some great books! For breakfast today, I’m having stuffed grape leaves. It’s not really a breakfast food, but I eat these anytime. I’m Syrian from my grandfather’s side and stuffed grape leaves are something I grew up eating. When grape leaves are in season I try to make as many as I can because they’re fresh and taste delicious. I was always told not to cut leaves after July 4th because they are tougher. I have cooked them after this point, but they’re so much better in June. I made these yesterday and will eat them a few more times throughout the next few days. I might only get one more cutting.

Orlando1lbJar_large.jpegAs a child I never really enjoyed going out to pick grape leaves. I grew up in the city and when it was time to pick leaves we would go out and do some searching, often finding good vines on the side of roads. There was a huge area that would grow right on the edge wall of our church parking lot. I always thought this was ironic! If you can’t find them fresh, you can buy them in a jar. I’ve done this many times and they taste great.

When I moved to the country, I couldn’t understand why we didn’t have any grape leaves growing in our woods. I knew so many people around our area who would have them growing up a single tree on their properties and I didn’t have one vine. I started looking online to see if I could buy some seeds. I couldn’t find anything. Then one day while I was walking around outside, I found this vine growing up alongside this small dead tree. I couldn’t believe it. They were small and new, but the following year they would be perfect, and they were wonderful and huge that following year. As time has gone by, there are more grapevines growing all over around my house. I think this is the coolest thing. They come up every year and I look forward to it. Here’s a picture of the first vine. It’s growing beautifully on this dead tree. I think it’s so beautiful the way they grow up and then cascade down again.

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Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Syrian Cooking”

TAG: Desert Island Discs Blog Tag

I would like to thank James@this-is-my-truth-now and Nel@reactionarytales for nominating me for an awesome tag! If you haven’t checked out these blogs yet, be sure to stop by. There’s new content daily and I enjoy communicating with both of them.

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The Rules:

  • Link back to BookBum’s original post, so she can see all your answers! (Remember to do this via pingback, she won’t get a notification if not!)
  • Thank the person who tagged you… show some love!
  • Come up with your answers
  • Then tag others to keep the tag going!

 

The Premise:

You are cast away onto a remote desert island:

  • You can bring 5 albums – what are they?
  • You can bring one book – which is it? You are provided with a Bible/ other religious text if you want it, as well as the Complete Works of Shakespeare. No series!
  • You can have one luxury item (it has to be inanimate and can’t help you escape the island) – what is it?

 

Continue reading “TAG: Desert Island Discs Blog Tag”

Lost – A True Story…

I told the kids to let you both out. It was a busy day and I had no time for anything. I was a little stressed and hadn’t managed my time very well that day.

I’m not sure how much time went by, maybe ten or fifteen minutes, but I realized you weren’t in the house. I realized that I forgot you guys were even outside.

I opened the door and you were nowhere to be found. I called you both and a minute later Winston came running up to the house from the woods, black and murky from head to tail.

I knew you guys either ran to the pond or maybe the ditch. Judging from the fish water smell, I guessed the ditch because the stench was almost unbearable. But, why weren’t you coming home?

I wasn’t surprised that Winston ran home so fast. He’s a home boy, but not you. You’re one of those dogs you see in the commercials on TV, running through fields of freedom, a hard working dog that can run all day without a break. Like the hard working dog on the Sesame Street video from when I was a kid.**

I continued to call for you and by that point, I started to panic. From the look on everyone’s face, it was obvious what they were thinking. I’d really screwed up this time. Where had you gone?

My first thought in my mind was that if someone found you, we’d never get you back. All it would take is one look in those big brown eyes. You’d be gone forever. How could I have done this?

We called and called and clapped our hands. All was quiet. We checked the pond and walked to the ditch. You weren’t anywhere in sight. I knew if you heard us calling your name, you’d bark. You always do that to let us know you heard us. I realized you must’ve been really far, but where?

I hopped in the car and began to drive. I realized that I’d been so busy, we never got a chance to play Frisbee with you guys. It was still cold out too. Why didn’t I take the time to run you out today? Had you eaten? Shoot, you didn’t even have your identification collar on.

I drove all over from block to block looking for you. I glanced over at every field. It was sunny, but cold, and absolutely nobody on the road. I pulled over and got out. I called for you. After about twenty minutes, the tears started. I began to panic.

I continued to drive. I was hysterical and the tears were flooding my eyes to the point where I couldn’t see well. I pulled over and began to pray. “Please God, bring her home. I screwed up. I’m so mad at myself. Please bring her home safe. Please, God, don’t take her from me.”

It was 3:45pm and at that point it had been over a half hour. The humane society closes at 4pm daily and I needed to call to report that you were lost, otherwise they wouldn’t know to watch for you.

First, I called animal control and left a message. When I called the Humane Society I could barely hear the guy. There were so many dogs barking in the background. I couldn’t describe you to the man. I was losing it and entered a totally panicked state.

I gave him your description through my broken voice. “She’s a black and white border collie, 2 years old, on the smaller side.” He asked your name and that’s when I really lost it. He told me, “We’ll call if she shows up or we hear from somebody.” I could hear the reassurance in his voice, but it still didn’t comfort me.

I had to call mom. Who else could I call? I knew she would ask me why I left you out. She would ask, “How did you forget?” She loves you too.

I told her the truth, that I was too busy doing other things. My mind was lost somewhere between the internet and washing clothes. I cried and couldn’t sit still. I wasn’t breathing right. I paced around the house.

We probably had about forty five minutes of daylight left. I began thinking about the boy that showed up late one night last fall and asked us if he could look around our property for his dog. That night I was thinking, “that poor guy.” Now, I might be in those shoes.

As my mind kept analyzing what to do next, mom was talking into the phone, but I was barely processing anything she was saying. I couldn’t concentrate. Every word went in one ear and out the other.

I started thinking about what life would be like without you. I’d miss your herding behaviors around the house. You wouldn’t be at my feet anymore. No more hugs and smiles. You’re the only dog I know that truly smiles.

As I stood in the hallway with my back to the door, I began to put my shoes back on. I was going to have to drive some more. I wasn’t coming back home without you. I had plans to start asking door to door.

I went to open the door and there you were. I could see you standing just behind the glass in the door. My heart dropped into my stomach. I let out a long sigh.

You were so dirty and had icicles hanging off your fur. While I’d been panicking, you were running free and having the time of your life. I knew you must’ve been swimming in the ditch. I bet it was really fun for you, all that freedom.

When I brought you in and saw the mess, I knew it would take hours to get you clean. You had burrs throughout your whole coat of fur. You were shaking and breathing hard. I was so happy to see you. I wasn’t mad at you.

I put you in the tub and began cleaning you up. I continued to cry and was still very angry with myself. I thanked God repeatedly for helping you find your way home. It was a close call and it was going to take me awhile to get over this, even though you were home. I was so thankful.

I enjoyed every minute of grooming you that day. I appreciated every second of it. I stopped to reflect on just how much you meant to me. I reminded myself that this incident could never happen again.

Every time I bathe you, I think about that day, the day we almost lost you. I won’t ever forget it, Cynder Rae. I’m not going to screw up like that again. I’ll be sure to remember your Frisbee time from now on too.

-Mischenko

 

Continue reading “Lost – A True Story…”

TAG: Who I Am

I’m not sure who created this tag, but I found this over at Icebreaker694’s blog and instantly fell in love with it. If you haven’t been to this blog yet, check it out. There are YA book reviews, comics, anime posts, manga reviews and more! Don’t miss it. 🙂

This tag requires doing some fun online quizzes which will help yourself and others learn some of your traits. I learned a lot about myself answering some of these questions. I didn’t know most of these quizzes existed!


What Is the Meaning of My Name?

So, on WordPress and Goodreads I use the name Mischenko because it’s my family’s last name. I’m Russian from my grandmother’s side and the name is special to me. It doesn’t really have a meaning, but to me, the name = family. 🙂

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What is my Myer-Briggs personality type? (Link)

 

LOGICIAN PERSONALITY (INTP, -A/-T)

I did a post on this a while ago with my results after I learned about it from a friend on Goodreads. Have you guys done this yet? It’s so fun. Here’s my original post.

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The Logician personality type is fairly rare, making up only three percent of the population, which is definitely a good thing for them, as there’s nothing they’d be more unhappy about than being “common”.
Role =ANALYST
Strategy = CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT
Individual Traits:

-INTROVERTED – 83%

-INTUITIVE – 71%

-THINKING – 60%

-PROSPECTING – 66%

-TURBULENT – 97%

 

Other Logicians include: Bill Gates, Kristin Stewart, Albert Einstein, and Issac Newton.

This personality test is very accurate for me. How about you?

 

Continue reading “TAG: Who I Am”

Unhinged by Logan Keys – UPDATED & Free Through 6/27!

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After discovering Logan Keys on Goodreads a while back and reading Barkley Five-Oh, I couldn’t wait to read more of her books. I saw Unhinged and after viewing the blurb and cover, I had to read it. I noticed it wasn’t available on Amazon any longer and nowhere to be found. I began to beg the author for it and I’m so glad I did. Now it’s been updated with more stories and it’s free through 6/27! You can read my original review and some information about Logan Keys below…

 

 

My review

Unhinged by Logan Keys is a collection of four short horror stories. From the moment I read about this book and saw the cover, I had to read it! Now it’s updated with four more new stories and a 17 chapter peek into The Last City, Logan Key’s Zombie Dystopian Novel. I enjoyed them all.tumblr_inline_msu8f7HXuu1qz4rgp.png

My favorite remains the very first story titled “Snowed.” As I continued reading on and got to “The Last Rainbow” I felt like I was reading The Butterfly Garden all over again. It was weird! I was thoroughly captured with the writing style and nothing about these stories is predictable so you have no clue what’s around the corner.

I had a small issue with one of the stories, but hey, that’s what horror’s all about and exactly what I asked for when I basically begged the author for this book!

If you’re a horror fan, go grab this on Amazon now.

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I’d like to thank the author for putting this back up for grabs. This is my second read by Logan Keys, and I’m thirsting for more…

4-stars

 

UPDATE: Unhinged has now been updated with NEW stories! I just finished reading the 4 extra stories that were added plus about 17 chapters of The Last City. Get your copy HERE FOR FREE.

Continue reading “Unhinged by Logan Keys – UPDATED & Free Through 6/27!”

Author Spotlight with Candace Robinson + Hearts Are Like Balloons & Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Book Reviews

 

Not too long ago on Goodreads, I came across Candace Robinson’s new book Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault and I instantly fell in love with the cover. I moved on to reading the blurb and I knew it was something I had to read as I love fairy tale retellings and this sounded perfect. I headed to Amazon and purchased it that very day. You can see my review for it below as well as my review for Candace Robinson’s new book titled Hearts Are Like Balloons. 

I was able to speak with the author regarding some of the questions I had about her books and included a Q&A below for those interested.


Hearts Are Like Balloons

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Hearts Are Like Balloons by Candace Robinson is a story about a teenage girl named May who has just lost her father to lung cancer and is trying to move on with life. Her dad was important to her and she has no choice but to let him go. The loss is difficult for her, but she must find a way to move on and to remain strong for her mother.

As May moves on to finding a job at a bookstore, she meets new people that help her along the way, including a hip new boss named Violet, and a new relationship with a boy she really likes named Nico. Violet hits it off with May right away as they have similar interests. Nico happens to be Violets sister and works there as well. May and Nico develop a great relationship as Nico is warm, understanding, and very much into her.  It’s just what May needs to help heal her from the loss of her father. An unexpected event will change everything with their relationship which brings more challenge and heartache for May to overcome.

I have to say that I loved this book. I loved the story as it felt real and was written well. It was emotional and I found myself crying a few times. I appreciated the relationships in the book and enjoyed all the characters. May has a really good support system in place and is loved by all that know her. I enjoyed Violet’s personality the most out of all the secondary characters. Despite the emotion in the book, it’s a feel good read and I was happy with the conclusion.

I think I just found myself a new favorite author!  Five *****

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Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault ( Glass Vault #1)

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I picked up Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault as soon as it was released after reading the blurb and viewing the cover. I love retellings and the idea of intermixed horror really pulled me in. I’m amazed at how perfectly matched this cover is after reading the story.

The story starts out with the main character Perrie and her cousin Maisie. They are really close and live next door to each other. Perrie is thinking about what she wants to do with her life while juggling the mystery that’s going on around town with people who are just disappearing without a trace. Everything is uncertain and one day while driving down Oak Street with Maisie and their friend August, something strange appears. A building they’ve never seen before. A building that is there one moment, and gone the next.

Nobody knows what’s going on with the mysterious building, but as more people start to disappear, Perrie and August begin to search for answers. As they enter the Vault world, they are unable to leave and have to discover a way out. This is where the story takes off and becomes an adventure like no other. A nightmare that you just want to get out of. There were some really grotesque parts in the story when the horror comes in. I liked the addition of the horror paired with the fairy tales and romance because it really makes the book unique.

I personally liked the story and there were some surprises that I totally unexpected, including an interesting twist at the end. I love the way this author writes and this was a fast paced read that kept me interested. I found only a few parts of the story a tad boring, but then it picks back up again and leaves you wanting answers. Anyone who enjoys retellings and horror will love this book.

I can’t wait for the second book! 4****

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Continue reading for the Q&A…

Continue reading “Author Spotlight with Candace Robinson + Hearts Are Like Balloons & Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Book Reviews”

Book Tag: The Ultimate Book Tag

I found this awesome tag over at bookswithbite.net and couldn’t resist. I wasn’t tagged for this, but it looked so fun! This book tag is called The Ultimate Book Tag and it was created by the ladies at Chapter Chicks. Please check them out!

1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Yes! I get so sick in the car whether I’m reading or not. It’s horrible, so most times I just listen to an audiobook or music.

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2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

J.R.R. Tolkien. The prose is elegant and I love that his books can appeal to children and adults. I’m reading The Hobbit right now with my 9 year old son and we are both captivated. I love that even after seeing the movies, my son is totally enthralled by the book. We’re singing the songs right along with the dwarves. It’s the best experience I’ve had in a while.

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.

Twilight Saga for sure.

  • Family Bonds
  • Vampires
  • The beautiful setting in Northwestern America.

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4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is it in (besides books…)?

Sometimes I do. When I do it holds everything else I need, including my cell phone and wallet, etc.

5. Do you smell your books?

Sometimes. I buy a lot of vintage books and there are times when they smell so strong you can’t help but smell them.

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6. Books with or without little illustrations?

I love illustrations and tend to appreciate aesthetics, so I’ll say illustrations are always welcome. I’m a visual learner as well. Illustrations can be so important too! When reading Renee Paule’s book Just Around the Bend, the illustrations were so powerful and said a lot by themselves.

 

Continue reading “Book Tag: The Ultimate Book Tag”

Fall to Pieces – A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness – by Mary Forsberg Weiland

 

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Fall to Pieces by Mary Forsberg Weiland is an insightful memoir about Mary and her struggle with mental illness, drug use, and her relationship with Scott Weiland, former singer of Stone Temple Pilots.

My entire life I’ve loved music and my teen years in the 90’s was where music became a necessity for everyday life as I experienced similar issues to what Mary had, although no where near as extreme. Stone Temple Pilots was one of my favorites and Scott remained a favorite singer of mine in STP, Velvet Revolver and even his solo albums. When he passed away in 2015 I was shocked. Another great artist was gone and the horrible comments and accusations about him as a person began. People would call him a junkie, loser, abuser, and careless to name few. These words from people who were obviously not fans and those who don’t understand addiction and mental disease. They also don’t know what Scott experienced in his life. After reading Scott’s book, I wanted to see what Mary had to say.

Firstly, this book has much more content than Scott’s Not Dead and Not for Sale. It won’t highlight everything about Scott, but covers Mary and Scott’s relationship from the beginning until their divorce. Mary starts by discussing her early family life and emancipation at 17 which leads into her modeling career. She talks about her struggle with addiction long before her relationship with Scott started.

Mary obviously loved Scott, but it seemed like their relationship was doomed from the beginning. Scott was heavy into drugs and Mary knew it. They both had issues from the past and despite their mental illnesses, they got married and had kids. Up and down and all around is the best way to describe their journey together. It’s sad at times and at one point Mary pulls a Bernadine from “Waiting to Exhale” on Scott’s wardrobe. There’s a lot here you’ll never know if you don’t read the book. It contains journal entries, photos, and a lot of personal information. I learned about friendships that Mary had with other models, actors and celebrities that I never knew about. Her bi-polar episodes did’t really appear until the last quarter of the book.

What’s sad is that Scott couldn’t straighten up despite Mary’s persistence. Obviously, it’s what she wanted for herself and the kids, but she had her own demons to deal with and it’s sad the kids don’t have their dad to grow up with. I suppose having kids in this relationship was a bad idea, but I love Mary’s “no regrets” attitude. His kids are teens themselves now.

I enjoyed the writing style and the story told in chronological order. It’s an easy fast paced read that’s written well. If you want to know more about Mary and Scott, read it. You won’t be sorry…

4-stars

 


 

 

Continue reading “Fall to Pieces – A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness – by Mary Forsberg Weiland”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Green Juice – Lou Corona’s Lemon Ginger Blast with Thai Coconut

It’s going to be a great day! I’m so excited to share with you one of my all time favorite green juice recipes! Today’s breakfast is a meal replacer which is a mix of green juice called the Lemon Ginger Blast and Gorilla Milk. I’ll show you how to make the green juice first and then the Gorilla Milk.

One of my favorite raw food advocates is Dan Mcdonald. Some of you may already know him from his videos on YouTube. I’ll be doing a post on him soon with some of my favorite Liferegenerator recipes. He’s changed so much over the years and has become so much more professional making his own raw food DVD’s and selling raw food essentials. It’s because of Dan that I found this recipe in the first place. He was doing a segment with Lou Corona, another raw food advocate who’s been eating raw food for years and repaired his body by eating nothing but raw food. The video’s included here are Lou’s from YouTube of a Mom’s in Charge Class that he performed. Afterwards, you can see how I make this recipe…

LEMON GINGER BLAST

 

There are many different recipes out there which alternate ingredients. I find myself modifying it to fit what I have on hand. It’s always green, but you may find that you want to omit something. Today I’m going to use Kale. Next time I may use Dandelion greens. It doesn’t matter! 😉

I have kale growing in the garden and heading out to the garden as the sun is rising is one of the most fun things to do. I go out very early and pick my veggies.

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It’s so easy to grow your own kale at home. Kale is one of those vegetables you should buy organic and it’s not always easy to find. Grow your own in your garden or even in a pot. It’s so simple. You don’t have to use pesticides. This is Red Russian Kale and it’s delicious and beautiful. You can use it to make kale chips as well. I’ll be posting my favorite kale chip recipe soon.

 

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Green Juice – Lou Corona’s Lemon Ginger Blast with Thai Coconut”

Pets Rock – More Fun Than Fame Book Review

As soon as I saw the cover of Pets Rock, I had to get it. Who doesn’t want to see real dogs & cats dressed as some of the celebrities we know today? I noticed the Pulp Fiction dogs Vincent and Jules and couldn’t help but laugh as it was obvious who they were as they looked just like them, even if they were dogs dressed up.

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I had fun scrolling through the book and figuring out which celebrity each dog or cat depicted. The book doesn’t tell you, but gives you a little hint in the text. The world leaders were the most obvious.

I was planning on rating this a 4 star book as it’s a fun read, until I got to the pages with the dogs dressed as Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac, ironically next to each other. Tupac’s page was the one that made me stop and think with the sentence the author of the text uses, “ I got a shot… for the fleas.” I personally like Tupac and don’t find him being shot funny. Is that what the author of the text is saying, or is it a reference to All Eyes On Me? I realize it’s meant to be a joke book and perhaps I’m taking it too seriously and reading into it too much, but that’s just my opinion. Maybe someone else can shed some light on this…

My favorites were The Blues Brothers, Jules & Vincent, Bowie, Slash and Clint Eastwood. You can actually purchase some of these prints online.

I’m going to give it 3 stars because most of the book is funny and it’s a cool, cute, and entertaining concept.

3-stars

 

Continue reading “Pets Rock – More Fun Than Fame Book Review”

Rapid Fire Book Tag!

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I wasn’t tagged for this, but found this one at https://fandomlybookish.wordpress.com/ and had to do it! I’d like to thank her for bringing this one to my attention. Please check out her blog for book reviews, blog tours & more if you haven’t yet. Here’s her TAG.

This one is the Rapid Fire Book Tag and I guess it was originally made by GirlReading over Youtube, so be sure to stop by and check her out HERE.

Continue reading for the Q&A

Continue reading “Rapid Fire Book Tag!”

When The Moon Takes Over the Dream by Stjepan Cobets + Author Q&A

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I recently read Stjepan Cobet’s poem book The Child of Happiness and was glad to learn that he had written another book of poetry. When The Moon Takes Over the Dream is a poetry book containing heartfelt, romantic, and often thought-provoking poems relating to love, which made me enjoy it even more. I took pleasure reading the entire book out loud and taking in all the poems one at a time.

One of my favorite poems from this book is titled “Leave Us To This Night.” Here it is below…

Leave us to love music which reaches from our souls,
Let it be spread in all hidden corners,
In every part of our body.
Feel the vibrations of strings what wakes up our
soul,
Let’s be one,
Be crazy with love.

I noticed only a few minor grammatical errors in the text which were easily overlooked. I’m assuming it’s due to the translation. As I was reading I began to think about how this would be a perfect outdoor or beach read as it’s peaceful and relaxing. I’m happy to have it as part of my collection and I’d like to thank the author, who is very kind, for unexpectedly gifting me with a copy.

4-stars


 

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Q&A with author Stjepan Cobets

 

Q: What made you want to become a writer?

A: I loved leaving my thoughts on paper. Initially, it was poetry, but later I would have come up with ideas for stories so I began to write short stories and finally I went to write novels.

Q: Are you a pen & paper, typewriter, or computer person when it comes to writing?

A: I just don’t use the typing machine, I used it before, but now I have a computer and it is much easier to correct my mistakes. I write poems and some ideas on paper because my ideas come to mind when I do not have a computer all the time. Later, when I write on my computer, I am correcting and what I have written and it is easier to keep all document on the computer.

Q: Do you write alone or in public? Inside or outside?

A: When I write books I work at home, I wrote in public places, at work, on the train, and everywhere where the idea came to me. That’s why I always carry my paper notebook. When I start writing, I simply turn away from the world, which my wife sometimes gets angry because I do not hear what she is saying.

Q: What book have you read that has most influenced your life?

A: They had a lot of influence on my thoughts and attitudes, but life can sometimes be a lot different than writing in books. There were a lot of books that affected my life, and if I had to choose, say Victor Hugo Les Misérables and Jules Verne 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Q: Does writing poetry come easy for you?

A: It is honestly easy, I just let it go, and my thoughts lead me.

Q: Do you think that somebody who doesn’t feel emotions strongly can write poetry?

A: I do not know if that is possible, I think you need to feel the emotions if you want to cuddle in the poem. Sometimes it is good, and sometimes bad emotions, the one who has no emotion is sure to be dazed for many things.

Q: What’s the best way to market your books?

A: I don’t now. I really would love to know. I like to communicate with my readers and hear their opinions. For a great promotion, you need someone in publishing houses, and I’m an independent publisher because I could only publish my books in that way. I’m not really a marketing guy.

Q: About how much time do you spend writing poetry?

A: I do not have a special time to write poetry, I simply write when I feel I have to write something. Sometimes for months, I do not write a single poem, and sometimes I write a pretty number in a day.

Q: What are a few of your favorite books from childhood?

A: Fairytales, I loved fairy tales as a child.

Q: How do you construct your poetry books? Do you just write what comes to your mind, or are your poems written in a specific order?

A: I do not have a certain order, I just write.

Q: Were there any poems that you left out of this particular book?

A: I did not put a lot of poems in the collection, but it will certainly be in my next collection I’m currently working on.

Q: One of my favorite poems in this book is “Leave Us To This Night” and I noticed a few of the poems like this one have music references. Does music inspire you to write poetry? If so, what are some of your favorite artists or music genres?

A: Honestly when I write poetry, sometimes I hear some music with my text in my head. I love blues, rock n rolls, hard rocks and all other music while. I’m writing I love listening to Irish music, classics, and music from the movies. Some artists include: Bob Dylan, Led zeppelin, The Doors, Tom Waits, Sting, Bob Marley, etc.

Q: I’m very interested in learning about Croatia and what your life is like there as I’ve never been there. What’s a typical day like for you in Croatia?

A: Croatia is a small and beautiful country, has about four million inhabitants, and is a true tourist destination. Lately, a lot of films and television series are being recorded in Croatia. I even participated in the shooting of Game of Thrones. We have a lot of national parks and the beautiful seaside of the Adriatic Sea, a lot of old cities still from the Greek and Roman empires. Basically, everything is somewhat slow in our minds, people love to drink coffee in cafes for a few hours and enjoy it. There is no hurry anywhere. If we had a little smarter politician, this would be an ideal country to live.

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Q: What else do you enjoy doing besides writing?

A: I have a big garden around the house. I grow fruit and vegetables, sometimes with family, I go to nature and swimming in the sea when the summer comes, and the main obligation is my work at the factory.


Here’s a video of Stjepan Cobet’s singing the song “Christmas Is”

 

CHRISTMAS IS…

The Angel blessed voice carries,
over the sea and mountains.
Under the shining falling stars,
we got the son of God,
on a stable, small and quiet,
echoed the baby’s cries.

Angel coming to the shepherds,
announce him a happy time,
Tonight is born King and God,
with you bring your flock of sheep
and give your worship to him,
white lamb, let him be a gift.

Christmas is,
your name Jesus,
our hearts visit us.

Tonight everyone,
your birth we celebrate
and we humbly worship you.

Three King visit the child,
gold, myrrh, frankincense they wearing,
they knelt next to the manger
and they worship the true King,
to God’s Son, give a kiss
and promised him their loyalty.

Christmas is,
lit up the whole world,
Peace brought us.

Without you,
The soul would have wandered;
you are the light of God.

Christmas is
your name Jesus,
our hearts hikes.

Tonight, everyone
your birth celebrates
and humbly worships you.

Three King visit the child,
gold, myrrh, frankincense they wearing,
they knelt next to the manger
and they worship the true King,
to God’s Son, give a kiss
and promised him their loyalty.

Christmas is,
lit up the whole world,
Peace brought us.

Without you,
The soul would have wandered;
you are the light of God.

I’d like to thank Stjepan Cobets for his time and consideration with completing this Q&A.

 

Continue reading “When The Moon Takes Over the Dream by Stjepan Cobets + Author Q&A”

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward – A Memoir by Mark Lukach

Lately, I’ve been reading a good amount of books regarding mental illness. In the past I’ve dealt with my own mental health issues, mainly after developing a thyroid disorder and after having children. It isn’t easy and in my opinion isn’t taken seriously enough. Many medical professionals are less than compassionate. Many times family members look at it as a weakness and feel that it’s crippling to their own lives as if the actual person with the disease chooses to be ill. The mentally effected person’s life stops, while everyone else expects to move on with their own. With that said, I had mixed feelings about this memoir and possibly because it’s one sided, from the caregivers perspective. Although, I personally have never been in Mark’s shoes and haven’t had to deal with a person with a disorder like Giulia is experiencing.

*This review may contain some mild spoilers*

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My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is a memoir written by a husband who is dealing with mental illness for the first time. Early in his marriage his wife suddenly develops a mental disorder originally diagnosed as Schizophrenia but later re-diagnosed as Bipolar. She spends about a month in a hospital while doctors try to figure out what’s wrong. During this time, her husband Mark is dealing with a range of emotions including sadness, confusion, anger and many more. As Giulia is started on medications, everything is up in the air and Mark is left to wonder what their future holds.

Parts of this memoir were hard to read, while others were heartwarming. You can feel the love that Mark has for Giulia, but as anger sets in, things begin to change for their relationship. He begins to resent her as time moves on from her first hospitalization. This is where I began to have some mixed feelings. There were events taking place in the relationship where they were falling away from each other and their relationship became uncertain. Was he giving up? It almost seemed as though Mark was becoming more distracted and couldn’t deal with it anymore. Again, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him, but it seemed like he just wasn’t understanding that the illness wasn’t Giulia’s fault. She had no way to stop it and she was very scared as well. With their mutual decision to have a child (Jona), things became more complicated and even with the overwhelming support of both wonderful families, which I thought was amazing, it wasn’t enough. Giulia would be dealing with a lifelong illness which could potentially affect everyone who loved her.

I thought the book was written very well. I was engrossed from cover to cover and I’m glad to have read it. I commend Mark for the courage to tell their story and the strength to hang on through all the ups and downs. I hope that as time moves on, Giulia’s illness will improve, and Mark and Giulia can enjoy their marriage and child.

4-stars

Continue reading “My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward – A Memoir by Mark Lukach”

The Sunshine Blogger Award!

Wow! I can’t believe how many blogger awards there are. This is amazing! I have to thank James @ this-is-my-truth-now once again for another nomination. James really deserves every blogging award available with as much work he puts into his blog. He’s a great writer. Please check him out if you haven’t already.

This is the best week I’ve had blogging and I have all of you wonderful people to thank for it. Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you!

This award nomination is for the Sunshine Blogger Award. 

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Rules

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

 

-My Q&A-

Which of the 7 deadly sins could you absolutely live with if you had to?

Hmm, this one is a hard question! I have to go with Gluttony which is an excessive ongoing consumption of food or drink. I ❤ Food and I could live with this if I had to.

Which of the 7 dwarfs are you most similar to? 

This is hard because I think I have traits similar to each one. I’m going to say I’m most like Doc. Doc has a personality in which he feels he needs to have everything in order and is protective. He is also a person of rational thinking and at times he flusters under stress. I think this describes me pretty well.

What state haven’t you lived in but would like to? 

Maine! I’ve always wanted to live in Maine, or just north in general. I can’t stand the heat and this summer is already killing me. The thought of living in Maine on the coast is like a dream.

Where do you see yourself in ten years that you believe you might actually achieve?

I’m planning on having a book written by then. I’m working on a book regarding healing foods and recovering from disease by using non-conventional methods. Many conventional treatments don’t solve the root problems and only cover symptoms. I don’t really consider myself a writer and this is a huge challenge for me. It may take me the full 10 years to write it, but I want to do it. I hope that it will help others dealing with disease. If it helped one person, it would be worth it to me.

Where do you see yourself in ten years that you hope happens, but don’t think it will?

I hope to be a little more stress free. By this time, I should have less stress, but I’m unsure of the future.

Who do you not know in person, but think you’d be best friends with?

Jim Gaffigan. He makes me laugh SO hard and most of what he says resonates with me. I would love hanging out with him too! He seems like a person who could really bring you out of the dumps.

What Greek or Roman goddess or god is your favorite?

Having to pick one, I would go with Cybele – The Greek goddess of caverns, mountains, nature and wild animals. She was also known as Mountain Mother, a mother over all wild nature. I love that.

When in time would you want to live that you have not been alive for?

I would have loved to live during the Renaissance times. I’ve always been fascinated with this time period and I actually used to make Renaissance costumes. I love the music, art and the fashion. I often think about living back in time when we didn’t have so much technology and wonder what it would be like. Less stress, more stress, who knows. 🙂

If you could only travel by 1 mode of transportation in the future, what would it be?

I get motion sickness very bad, like to the vomiting point. Of course it mostly comes on with car riding and boating. I’m not a flyer either, so I think I’d be happy to just ride my mountain bike everywhere. It would be a good way to stay in shape.

What website do you visit the most?

http://www.goodreads.com

How many cookies is too many cookies in one single sitting?

Hmm, that depends on the size! If they’re Girl Scout Thin Mints, I could easily polish off a box. Keebler Softbatch, an entire package. Anymore than that and I think I’d get sick.

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Continue reading for my nominees!

 

Continue reading “The Sunshine Blogger Award!”

My Second Award This Week – The Entertainer Blogger

This is my second award this week and I was astonished to receive a nomination for The Entertainer Blogger Award. I’d like to thank James @ this-is-my-truth-now for nominating me. Be sure to check out his blog if you haven’t already because it’s mind-blowing. Every post is worth reading!

 

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The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Add these rules to your post.
  • Answer all the questions below.
  • Display the award picture in your post.
  • Nominate 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring and most important of all ENTERTAINING!

 

Questions with my answers:

 

WHY DID YOU START A BLOG IN THE FIRST PLACE?

I originally started blogging because I love reviewing books and talking with authors. I thought it would be interesting to do some author interviews to share with other readers like me.  I feel like I have a lot to say and hopefully I can maintain an interesting blog that others will continue to enjoy. I was affiliated with another blog, but now I just have my personal blog here.

I also love connecting with people like you and learning about other people and their stories, music interests, what they like to read, etc.  I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when I first got started and had no idea what blogging was all about. I have to say, I’m happy to be here and to be a part of this wonderful blogging community.

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?

Seriously? I can’t just pick one! I’m going with my favorite book of 2017, and that’s A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I was so attached to the characters in this book and I still get teary when I think about it. I love books that pull me in and don’t let me go. This one held on even after I was done reading it. This is the one that has stuck with me this year and I know I’ll never forget it.

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Continue reading “My Second Award This Week – The Entertainer Blogger”

An Interview with Bret Witter – Author of Dewey – Monument’s Men – Until Tuesday and more…

Bret Witter is an author of many books including 8 New York Times bestsellers including The Monument’s Men, Stronger (Jeff Bauman’s story), Dewey, Until Tuesday and more. He’s a full-time professional writer. Children recognize Bret Witter from reading about Dewey, the famous library cat in these popular children’s books.

 

Adult cat lovers can read about Dewey in these New York Times bestselling books…

 

I recently read Until Tuesday, Tuesday Tucks Me in, and Tuesday Takes Me There.

These stories are about Luis Carlos Montalván, an Iraq war veteran and his service dog Tuesday. To see my original reviews for Until Tuesday, Tuesday Tucks Me In and Tuesday Takes Me There, please click the links below.

Luis Carlos Montalván – A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

Tuesday’s Promise and Tuesday Takes Me There by Luis Carlos Montalván

I was lucky to get an interview with this author to ask him some questions about himself and a few about the book Until Tuesday. You can see the Q&A with the author below.

 

Continue reading “An Interview with Bret Witter – Author of Dewey – Monument’s Men – Until Tuesday and more…”

I’ve Been Nominated for my First Liebster!

 

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I was nominated a few days ago by Caroline @ Foodieaffairnetwork for The Liebster Award. I’d like to thank her for thinking of me. She has an awesome blog, so please check it out! I was very excited to receive an award and the rules are fun!

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What is the Liebster Award?

“Liebster” is a German word meaning beloved, dearest, sweetheart, or darling.

For bloggers, the Liebster Award is an online recognition given by other bloggers to new bloggers for enjoying or appreciating their work. It highlights up and coming blogs.

Once nominated, a blogger is asked to answer 11 questions provided by the nominating blogger.  They are then expected to nominate 11 other favorite new bloggers and come up with a list of 11 new questions for those nominees.

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The Rules:

  1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award. groen-vinkje.png
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you. groen-vinkje.png
  3. Nominate 11 blogs. groen-vinkje.png
  4. Notify those blogs of the nomination. groen-vinkje.png
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer. groen-vinkje.png

My Q&A of 11 questions from Caroline and few from the blogger that nominated her.

1. What are you most afraid of and why?

I’m most afraid of dying before my kids are grown. I want to be here to raise them and to be the best mother I can be for them.

2. What is your most important possession?

My family- if you consider that a possession.

3. How do you handle stress?

When I’m stressed I like to listen to music, read, and exercise.

4. Are you a city mouse or a country mouse?

Definitely a country mouse. I used to live in the city and moved to the country 9 years ago. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being in nature and there’s no place I’d rather live.

 5. What is your Superpower?

 I don’t know if I really have a superpower, but I’m going to say “getting the job done.” I feel like I’m a pretty hard worker and like to get things done.

 6.  Define Love in five words.

 Extraordinary feeling of profound affection.

7. What’s the greatest lesson that you have learned from your life?

 To say “oh well” and let stuff roll off my back. I’m still working on it… 🙂

8. Do you have a pet?

 I have many pets, some are inside and some are outside. We have many outdoor cats including 12 baby kittens which will be leaving to go to their new homes soon. My indoor pets are my collies.

9. How do you feel about your birthday?

  I used to be excited about my birthday when I was a child. I loved them. Sadly, I don’t feel like that anymore. In fact, I flat out don’t like my birthday. I’m pushing forty this year…

10. Where is your favorite place to be?

 This is hard. I love to be surrounded by my kids, but when it’s time for myself, I want to be in my bedroom listening to music or reading. I enjoy sitting outside and reading as well. Any of these are perfect…

11. When is the last time you stopped to feel the Earth under your bare feet?

Yesterday while throwing Frisbee with my collies.


I nominate: There’s no pressure to participate if you don’t want to. Just know that I enjoy your blog and want others to see you!

https://lifeofaliterarynerd.wordpress.com/

https://realjoeflair.wordpress.com/

https://thebookshelfcorner.wordpress.com/

https://edonlineblog.wordpress.com/

https://pocketfullofpagesblog.wordpress.com/

https://rufflesandgrace.com/

https://athousandlivesoffrankielovely.wordpress.com/

https://booksprens.wordpress.com/

https://bookfiendsite.wordpress.com/

https://cupofteaandarmfulofbooks.wordpress.com/

https://booksnall.blog/

 

Continue reading for the nominee questions!

Continue reading “I’ve Been Nominated for my First Liebster!”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book

I have two awesome recipes to share with you today along with two great books I’m reading this week. First, let’s get started on the breakfast!

It’s strawberry season and one of the reasons I love June so much! This will be a two part process because I’m showing you how I make my fresh homemade strawberry jam. Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

9 cups of whole strawberries – Remove tops and rinse – Here’s my video of my favorite tool for topping strawberries! Watch how fast it works…

7 cups of sugar

2 packages fruit pectin ( I use two packages, but you can try one for a thinner jam)

4-5 pint size jars with lids and caps

Equipment: Canner with lid, jar lifter, cooling rack, canning funnel

 

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book”

Tuesday’s Promise and Tuesday Takes Me There by Luis Carlos Montalván

Many of you have probably seen my previous post regarding Luis & Tuesday. I’ve now finished the last two books and will have my reviews posted below. I’ve been in contact with Lu Picard at ECAD and found out that every Tuesday, they post updates on their Facebook page regarding Tuesday and what he’s doing now. I was so excited to learn this and I have the link below for those that would like to take a look.

I feel like after reading these books that I’ve been on an adventure with Luis & Tuesday and don’t want it to end. All four of these books are beautiful and I hope that more people will read them. The children’s books are wonderful as well. If you’d like to see my previous posts on Until Tuesday and Tuesday Tucks Me In, you can click HERE. 

Tuesday’s Promise by Luis Carlos Montalván & Ellis Henican

31932889Tuesday’s promise is the final book written about Luis Montalván and his service dog, Tuesday. I recently read the previous book Until Tuesday. One nice thing about this book is that people who haven’t read Until Tuesday can go right into this one as he covers his story again for new readers. I didn’t mind the repetition at all and it never became boring to me.

I found this second book to be even more heartbreaking. I already knew the outcome beforehand, but there was so much more that happened with Luis from the last book until now. Luis, broken by war, became even more courageous and started traveling more and putting himself out there for others who needed him including the wounded, those suffering from PTSD, and others. As he healed even more, he wasn’t 100 percent, but he was changing and learning to live his life in the best way possible, even with the trials and tribulations of his mental illness and injuries. The most heartbreaking part of the book for me was chapter 22, thinking about aging Tuesday. Luis had said more than once that he would outlive Tuesday. Let’s face it, dogs don’t live as long as humans do. It seemed as if he was having a difficult time coping with the thoughts of losing Tuesday and I wonder if this was something he just couldn’t take.

“When it happens, it will feel like a piece of my heart has been ripped out and handed to me. You’re never supposed to see your heart. It’s in your chest. Being handed your own heart is a thoroughly unnatural experience, so vulnerable. But it will be real, and nothing in the world can change it.”

I think about my own dogs who are considered family and the thought of losing them makes me very sad, even though I understand this is part of life. The thought of Luis losing Tuesday is almost unfathomable because Tuesday is the reason Luis was able to live again. He helped him heal and was his best friend for many years. You can feel the emotion and fear Luis is experiencing as the words pour out of him in the book.

As far as the writing and structure, the book is written well just like the first, the added photos were great, and I appreciated the afterward by Ellis Henican. It was, for the most part, told in chronological order this time. I loved the title, and readers will learn about the true meaning of the title as they read on in the book.

If you haven’t read about Luis & Tuesday yet, I suggest you read this book, or read them all. I can’t even express how much this story has touched me. I even enjoyed the children’s books. I’ve spent the last few weeks living and breathing Luis and Tuesday and they’ve been on my mind a lot. It’s a story I’ll never forget. I’m sad that the journey has ended, but I know that Luis is in a better place and I pray that he is at peace.

*Our veterans are important-they need our support, and these service dogs like Tuesday are integral in order for them to carry on with life.*

stars

 


Blurb

Luis and Tuesday are winning hearts again. With his captivating New York Times bestseller Until Tuesday, Iraq War veteran Luis Carlos Montalván furthered America’s conversation about the need to care for first responders suffering from the effects of PTSD, especially highlighting the near-miraculous benefit of service dog companionship.

Now, in this spectacular follow-up, Luis and Tuesday rescue a forgotten Tuskegee airman, battle obstinate VA bureaucrats and bring solace for troubled war heroes coast-to-coast. All this, while Luis’ personal battle intensifies; while Tuesday has helped him make immense mental strides, the chronic pain of his injuries threaten to leave him wheelchair-bound. In a grave decision, Luis opts to amputate his leg, and learn how to live with a prosthetic.

As Luis regains his athleticism, 10-year-old Tuesday enters new phase in life; due to his growing age he will soon need to retire. Together, these two friends begin the tender process of welcoming a new puppy into their pack. SINCE TUESDAY is an inspiring story with an unforgettable message about love, service, and teamwork.

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Continue reading “Tuesday’s Promise and Tuesday Takes Me There by Luis Carlos Montalván”

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

I saw this book on Goodreads a few weeks ago and after reading the blurb I decided to give it a try. It’s Kerry Kletter’s debut novel and a heart-wrenching read from cover to cover. To add the book on Goodreads, you can click the cover. You can see my review below.

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My review

There are certain things children need from their mothers-things that we are all entitled too from birth. Some of these include sense of safety, trust, being nurtured and feeling as though we belong. Most of all, as children, we need someone to love us and someone for us to love back. This is something Cassie was denied when she was a young child and she couldn’t seem to figure out how to obtain it. Instead, she questioned herself and suffered mental illness. She was thrust into the world when all she believed in was lies and uncertainty.

I had a very hard time reading parts of this book. I felt like the majority of the characters (Cassie’s family) were evil, selfish beings. Most of Cassie’s family had mental issues and it was quickly trickling down onto her as she was abused, abandoned, and treated as though she was a nobody. It’s harrowing at times and makes you feel like all you want to do is hug her and reassure her that there’s nothing wrong with her, and that everything will be okay.

I felt for Cassie’s mother because it was apparent that she herself had issues with her own mother. I felt like it was just history repeating itself because her mom just didn’t know how to be a mom. She didn’t know how to love as she wasn’t loved herself. All she knew was the horrible experiences she had in her life with her own family and she couldn’t rise above it. Dumping Cassie into a mental institution was a way for her parents to not have to deal with her problems anymore.

Despite this being an emotional read, I enjoyed it. I was pleased with the book from beginning to end and remained engaged throughout. The conclusion was thoroughly satisfying. As far as the writing, the story is written beautifully and I want to read more from this author. In fact, I want to read everything she writes and look forward to her next book.

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Blurb

Cassie O’Malley has been trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically—since birth. It’s been two and a half years since Cassie’s mother dumped her in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, Cassie is finally able to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.

But freedom is a poor match against a lifetime of psychological damage. As Cassie plumbs the depths of her new surroundings, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is real? And more important, whose life must she save?

A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself, The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward.

Continue reading “The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter”

Lessons from Grandpa #2

As Father’s Day approaches, I’m thinking about my grandfather and another lesson he taught me repeatedly when he was still here.

When I was a teen, my grandfather always told me,

“Love your father, he’s the only one you’re ever going to get.”

I heard it often, because I was upset about my father a lot. He’s an alcoholic and was consistently doing foolish things. My grandfather knew it, but because he was up in age, he began to forgive everyone for everything. Plus, there were so many things my grandfather didn’t know, things that he would never understand.

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Me with my brother and grandfather -1980 – My grandfather bought a vintage wire clock from a rummage sale and put this picture in it to cover the clock face. It hung on the wall into my adulthood.

Growing up, I was raised by my grandfather and he taught me everything he could. I would only visit my dad every other weekend (many of which were cancelled by him), and in all actuality was closer to my step-mom than him. My step-mom and I spent most of the weekend time together while my dad got wasted. There were plenty of times I didn’t belong with my dad when he was drunk-driving and many weekends I wished I would’ve just stayed home. It was hard for me and I didn’t understand why he wanted to do this to himself and to others. He would get violent and there were times when he hurt himself and others physically. As I got older, I understood why my mom couldn’t stay married to him, and also that if it weren’t for my father’s violence and stupidity, I would’ve had an older sister. My mom miscarried their first child related to his violence.

At one point in my childhood, my dad was in an institution for a few months. He’d gotten so wasted and decided he didn’t want to live anymore. He was listening to some really loud music and got it stuck in his head that he wanted to die. He started a fire in his house and tried to burn himself down with it. I don’t know who got there first, but there was considerable damage to the house and it needed many repairs. I know that my step-mother was fed up with him and she had issues of her own, including losing her young brother in an accident and an older brother in a separate truck accident. She wasn’t dealing with any of this well and began using drugs heavily. A few years later, she died from a drug overdose. Just before that, she sat me down along with my brother and told us that she was planning to divorce my dad, but that she would always love us. There were events like this that my grandfather didn’t know about and he didn’t know the pain my dad caused my step-mother or that she was using drugs. I don’t know if it would’ve changed his thoughts anyhow.  Continue reading “Lessons from Grandpa #2”