Q&A with Lu Picard – Co-Founder of ECAD – Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities – Luis Carlos Montalván & Tuesday

 

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In May I discovered a children’s book titled Tuesday Tucks Me In by Luis Carlos Montalván. After learning about service dogs and the relationship that Luis and Tuesdayluis-carlos-montalvo-600x400.jpg developed, I wanted to learn more. I went on to read every book I could find regarding Luis and Tuesday and learned all about how important service dogs are to our wounded veterans, veterans living with PTSD, people with physical disabilities, and even children with autism. If you’d like to see my original posts regarding these books which include videos and many pictures of Luis and Tuesday, you can find them by clicking 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

An Interview with Bret Witter – Co-Author of Until Tuesday, Tuesday Takes me There, and Tuesday Tucks Me In.

 

In the book Until Tuesday, Luis discusses where Tuesday came from and explains a little bit about Lu Picard, the co-founder of ECAD, where Tuesday was trained. Lu Picard was kind enough to answer some of my questions regarding ECAD, and a few regarding Luis and Tuesday. I’ve included some information about ECAD below as well as my Q&A with Lu Picard and hope that everyone will enjoy reading and learning more about it.

What is ECAD? 

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ECAD stands for Educated Canines Assisting Disabilities and is a non-profit organization founded by Lu and Dale Picard. ECAD provides highly skilled Service Dogs to assist people living with disabilities.

How did ECAD get started?

After Lu Picard’s father suffered from a stroke, she discovered how she could train their family dog to help her father become independent again and more like himself. She decided that this was what she wanted to do: train service dogs for those that needed them. She started ECAD in 1995 and a year later her husband became involved full-time as well. They now have training facilities in Connecticut and New York.

Making a Difference

Here are two amazing videos from Marlo Thomas on her “The Hero Next Door” series which highlights Lu Picard’s story and gives viewers an idea of some of the training that goes on at ECAD and also how Lu Picard has helped children with disabilities get involved with training dogs.

 Continue Reading for the Q&A!

Continue reading “Q&A with Lu Picard – Co-Founder of ECAD – Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities – Luis Carlos Montalván & Tuesday”

Award: Blogger Recognition Award

I was nominated by the ever so wonderful Nel@Reactionarytales.com for the Blogger Recognition Award. This is the first time I’ve received this award and I’d like to thank Nel for kindly mentioning me on her blog. If you haven’t checked out Nel’s blog, please do. She has book reviews, stories, tags and awards, endangered animal information and more. Nel is a fellow blogger that I truly appreciate and feel lucky to be connected with.

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The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 10 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

 

My Story

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I originally started ReadRantRock&Roll earlier this year to review books, do author Q&A’s, discuss health issues, and talk about the music that I love. I really wasn’t sure where it would go and I’ve sort of experimented with different posts since. What I really envisioned was sharing other people’s stories from the books that I’ve read and also talking about things that I feel passionate about. I also wanted to find people out in the world who are making a difference and share their story. I’ve done a few posts on films as well and eventually would like to add in some of my poetry and art. I have loads of ideas and hope that I can creatively express them all while maintaining an interesting blog.

So, here I am and I feel like everything is going fairly well. I’ve met an amazing group of people and feel super lucky to be here.

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My Advice

1. This is hard because I’m a new blog myself, but I’ll share two things that I think are important, and the first is to always respond to comments. I find it rude to not acknowledge someone who has taken the time to read and comment on your post. It’s an easy way to lose readers and I think this applies to any site that we use including Goodreads and other forms of social media. This is just my opinion of course.

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2. Another piece of advice is to take some time to check out some other blogs! There are so many amazing blogs out there and you can learn so much while meeting great people! I know its hard to find time with everything that we have going on in our lives, but it’s worth it.

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Continue reading “Award: Blogger Recognition Award”

Award: Real Neat Blog Award 1 & 2

Recently I was nominated by two bloggers, Jo-Ann@inspirationpie.com and petrel41@dearkitty1.wordpress.com, for the Real Neat Blog award. I’d like to thank these two wonderful people for nominating me. I hope you’ll check out both blogs if you haven’t already. They are amazing and I feel very lucky to know them both!

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Here are the rules:

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

 

Petrel41’s Questions:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

I think it depends on the post. The majority overall probably come from WordPress bloggers, but certain posts bring in a lot from external sites like Facebook. My recent post with Carol Buckley was viewed mainly by her followers being redirected from her sites.

2. What is your favourite sport?

To play-basketball and frisbee. To watch-football. Go Patriots!

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3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2017?

Since I brought up the Patriots, I’ll say Superbowl 2017. I was falling asleep to avoid the anguish. Then, the unbelievable epic comeback when I thought all was lost. Amazing!

4. What is your favourite quote?

Two that I love and came across recently…

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.” 
― Lady Gaga

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5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

Art and music/band. I ❤ band.

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6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

To appreciate others, live life to the fullest, eat healthy no matter what,  not worry about what others think, accept myself for who I am no matter what someone else says because it’s the way God made me and I’m unique.  We are all unique!

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7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

I play a handful of instruments including piano, guitar, sax, and more, but I could never play a brass instrument or the flute. I tried flute and cornet, but it just didn’t work out.


Jo-Ann’s Questions:

1. What is your favourite genre?

Hands down, non-fiction memoir/biography.

2. What is the last book you read that you gave 5 Stars and what did you love about it?35655943

It Starts With L by Cassandra Fear. I loved it because it’s a good story that reminded me of something I would’ve loved reading in high school. I enjoyed it so much. It was almost nostalgic.

3. Who is your favourite author?

I can’t go with just one, so how about Jodi Picoult, Anne Rice, Jamie McGuire, Gary Paulsen, Winston Graham, Luis Carlos Montalván, Tolkien, Jack London, Roald Dahl, Diana Gabaldon, Stephenie Meyer, etc.

4. What keeps you from attaining your goals?

Family responsibilities and my health occasionally.

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’m really not positive on that, but I do hope to have some writing done by then! 😉

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6. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

Interacting with all of you, learning, author interaction, etc.

7. How do you start off your morning?

I start my mornings with coffee or tea either outside with the birds and fresh air, or inside catching up with updates before the sun comes up.

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Continue reading “Award: Real Neat Blog Award 1 & 2”

Q&A with Lew Watts – Author of Marcel Malone – Book Review – SIGNED PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY

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I’ve had Marcel Malone on my TBR list since the beginning of the year and finally read it this past week. In addition to reviewing below, you can read my Q&A with author Lew Watts and learn a little more about him.

Marcel Malone by Lew Watts

31298354Blurb: Dr Vera Lewis has a difficult but intriguing patient, Marcel, whose symptoms result from multiple levels of rejection—from family, colleagues, relationships, and those journals that receive his poetry submissions. Desperate to achieve a breakthrough, Vera prescribes a very unusual treatment that begins to desensitize Marcel to rejection, albeit with unexpected side-effects. It is only when Vera brings poetry into their therapy sessions that Marcel begins to reveal his deeper problems, and is able to confront the demons of his past. As for Vera, she has her own problems…
Set mostly in Washington, DC, Marcel Malone is a story of how the love of poetry can lead to personal transformation.

 

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Red Mountain Press (October 23, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0997310227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0997310221

 

You can find this book on:

Goodreads | Amazon

 

My review

I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book. Marcel Malone is a first novel for Lew Watts and one that is definitely unique.

Vera and Raymond are a married couple living in DC. Vera is a psychiatrist who lacks attention from her husband as he places more importance on his job as a lobbyist. Raymond worries about his reputation more than anything and lacks the ability to pick up on Vera’s needs.

The focus in the story is mainly Vera and her life with her patients. A particular patient that she becomes almost dependent on is Marcel. Marcel enjoys reading and writing poetry which is something he and Vera have in common. They share their thoughts with each other and Vera looks forward to these conversations. The result of this relationship and Vera’s own curiosity results in a story with interlaced poetry which I thought was unique, and the poetry just might be what they both need to unleash the past.

“Near this rose, in this grove of sun-parched, wind-warped madronas,
Among the half-dead trees, I came upon the true ease of myself,
As if another man appeared out of the depths of my being,
And I stood outside myself,” lines from The Rose by Theodore Roethke

As Vera learns more about Marcel, she learns that he’s had a hard time with rejection in the past and Vera prescribes a new experiment of paradoxical intervention and journal writing to see if it might help him as a sort of “rejection therapy.” This becomes comical at times, but the outcome she receives from this is unexpected and Vera finds that her own demons and life choices need to be addressed.

The story kept me interested enough to finish it and the ending was quite emotional for me. There were a few times where I became bored with the story as there wasn’t a lot of excitement, but then something would happen or a mystery would be introduced which would yank me right back in again. I’ve always enjoyed poetry, especially Haiku, and I think that anyone who has an appreciation for it will enjoy this book. Even those that don’t particularly care for poetry will more than likely enjoy it. I have a goodly amount of authors and books to add to my list now after reading it and I’d like to thank the author for sharing a complimentary copy of this book with me.

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Continue reading “Q&A with Lew Watts – Author of Marcel Malone – Book Review – SIGNED PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Egg Muffin Cups – Ready Player One – The Pull and Kick Murder

 

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Good morning everyone! I’m excited to share a new breakfast recipe and two new books that I’m reading this week. Last week my health took a little turn on me and I’m sort of catching up this week with posts, tags, and awards. I hope you’ll be pleased with this week’s post!

I decided to make something fairly easy this morning. I ended up with a ton of eggs and thought this recipe would help use them up. Let’s get started!

Egg Muffin Cups

Ingredients to make 24 muffin cups – Easy to cut the recipe down to half if this is too many. 

1 Pound of bulk sausage of your choice (I like farmland sausage because it’s MSG free)

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24 Eggs

Roughly 2 1/2 cups of finely chopped onion and bell pepper (I used green & red)

1/2 tsp of salt – less if your sausage is heavily salted

3/4 tsp pepper

1 heaping cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I used convection because I’m cooking two trays and want them to be evenly cooked. Grease your pans or add liners.

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Cook your sausage in a skillet. Break up the sausage into small little chunks. While the sausage is cooking you can chop up your onion and pepper and prepare the cheese and spices. Drain the sausage.

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Beat all the eggs in a bowl and then add everything else in.

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Measure out into the muffin cups. I used a ladle and left about a half inch space from the top of the pan.

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Bake for 22-25 minutes in the oven, or until solid and can be removed whole.

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Take them out and let them cool just for a few minutes. Remove and serve.

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I would recommend using liners with a square pan as a few of mine were difficult to remove, even after spraying.

What I love about these is that you can add what you want to. I was thinking next time I might add in some tomato. You can omit the sausage and add something else. Experiment with the ingredients you like.

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Garnish if preferred. I used some chopped green onion and fresh cracked pepper.

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Super simple and yummy!

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Egg Muffin Cups – Ready Player One – The Pull and Kick Murder”

Award: The Unique Blogger Award

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I was nominated by Claire@Brizzlelassbooks.com for this Unique Blogger Award! I was super excited as I haven’t received this award yet. I’d like to thank Claire for nominating me. If you haven’t checked out Claire’s blog yet, please do. She has many book reviews, tours and giveaways to explore. I feel very lucky to have met Claire and we have some things in common which I think is awesome!

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The Rules

  • Share the link to the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them three questions.

 

Claire’s Questions

1. If you could have any animal or mythical creature from a book as a pet what would you pick?

I admire horses so I’m going to go with unicorns. I truly lOVE unicorns and I’ve always been fascinated by them. I loved “Uni” from Dungeons and Dragons and also the movie “Legend” with Tom Cruise which had Unicorns in it. How awesome would that be to have a unicorn?

2. Which is one of your least favourite characters of all time?

Denethor from Lord of the Rings. I didn’t like the way he treated Pippin and I despised him for trying to kill his own son, Faramir. Ugh!

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3. Is there a supporting character who you liked far more than the main one?

Many of the characters in LOTR. Mainly Samwise Gamgee. I also loved Boromir, Gandalf, Aragorn, and others.

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Continue reading “Award: The Unique Blogger Award”

Q&A With Bernard Jan – Author of A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat

 

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A few weeks ago I came across a book on Goodreads titled A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat and knew right away I needed to read it. It’s a memoir written by Bernard Jan pertaining to the loss of his beloved cat Marcel. Bernard was very kind to offer some of his time to discuss his writing and some other questions I had about the book. You can see my Q&A with Bernard Jan below.

If you’d like to see my previous post including my review for the book, you can click HERE. 

Click the cover to add on Goodreads, or pick it up on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Kindle Unlimited members can read this for free!

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Continue reading “Q&A With Bernard Jan – Author of A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat”

Award: The Sunshine Blogger Award #3

I was nominated last week by Yesha@BooksTeacupandReviews for The Sunshine Blogger Award. If you haven’t been to this blog yet, please check it out. There are many book reviews, awards and tags, author interviews, and more. I’d like to thank Yesha for this nomination! Thank you! ❤

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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.

Questions from Yesha:

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1. A quote or any saying that you love and follow.

Two important quotes…

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. –Margaret Mead

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. –Dr. Seuss

2. What life lesson took you the most to learn?

It took me forever to stop worrying about what other people think. I used to place SO MUCH importance on it and it makes me cringe when I hear younger people in the same situation. I wish I could shout out to them to not waste a moment of their life trying to please others and to live their lives for themselves and never let somebody tell you that you can’t do something or need to change. *Be yourself.*

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3. What do you love most about YOU?

As I mentioned in a previous award, I’ve been told I’m creative and I love that. I also love that I’m a mom & wife- hopefully the best one I can be.

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4. What personality trait are you currently trying to change or improve?

I’m currently working on keeping my mind at peace.

5. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I didn’t know. I don’t think I really started thinking about it until high school, honestly. I’ve always liked working with animals and creating things. At one point, I thought about opening a used bookstore. I can’t say there’s ever been one single career that stood out to me. I’m kind of like a “jack of all trades, master of none” type.

6. What courses were your worst and best in school?

I wasn’t good at math because I flat-out disliked it. I just couldn’t put my mind to it, until I went to college, then I straightened out. I was always best at art, music, and reading. The school library and art/music room were my favorite places to be.

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7. If you had to stick with one book genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Non-fiction. I love learning new things every minute of the day.

8. What is your superpower?

Fixing things and getting the job done. It’s something I feel I’ve always been pretty good at. I remember when I was a kid my grandfather brought home this tool set for me. I guess he saw something there. I’ve always been a tinker.

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9. What are you currently watching on tv (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc (that you would recommend?)

I’m currently watching the 5th season of The Americans, originally on FX. It’s a show about two Soviet intelligence agents who are a married couple with children that spy on the American government. It’s pretty good!

10. What’s the weirdest or most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?

I guess I’m going to say dandelion and other weeds only because many people are surprised when I say that I put them in my juice. Foraging is fun!

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11. TWO PIECES OF ADVICE.

1. *This is my opinion and I hope it doesn’t offend anyone.* Don’t take your health for granted! When you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. Once it’s too late, you may not be able to fix it and it’s possible you can lose your life. This is my experience and so I take it very seriously. I know that some people just want to live and not think about it, and that’s fine if that’s what you want. Everyone’s different. This is something I wish I would’ve taken more seriously as a teen and into my 20’s.

2. As I stated in my previous post Lessons From Grandpa #3, we need to appreciate what we have in life, especially our relationships. We can’t just recognize what we have, we need to show it now and every day.

Continue for the Nominees and Questions!

Continue reading “Award: The Sunshine Blogger Award #3”

Award: The Sunshine Blogger Award #2

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I was nominated by Noriko@DiaryofaBookFiend for the lovely Sunshine Blogger Award last month. This is now my second for this award. I’d like to thank her for nominating me. Also, please check out Noriko’s blog. She has tons of book reviews, wrap-ups, Goodreads Monday and scads of awards and tags. I personally have enjoyed reading her “#tidbits on Japan” posts which have highlighted a few different recipes from Japan where she lives. I’m looking forward to learning more about her culture and I’m happy to have her as a friend.

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

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

How Does It Work:

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

Noriko’s Questions:

What is your ideal vacation?

I love just chillaxing wherever I am. I love being at home, hanging out at the beach, and being out in nature. Ideal is doing what I like and being where I want to be.

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What do you love about yourself?

I’m told that I’m creative and I love that. When I make something and someone says, “Wow, you made that?”, It makes me feel awesome.

What do wish you could change about yourself?

There are actually a few things, but I would choose becoming more self-confident as my first choice.

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What book are you reading now?

I’m reading Marcel Malone by Lew Watts and Beauty and the Beast by Vivienne Savage (audible).

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What keeps you blogging?

What keeps me blogging? That’s a hard one. I’m going to say interacting with people. I love learning about others. I’m going to mention a few specific people here that inspire me to continue blogging and that’s my mom (Starjustin), James, Nel, Stephanie, Vanessa, Claire, Noriko, Mohamad, Kim, Lana, Dani, Jo-Ann, Robin, Jennifer C, Dave, Donna, Misty, Kim, Christina, Anthony, MoJo and the list goes on. I also appreciate the authors that take the time out of their busy schedules to do Q&A’s with me,  I love that. I’ve learned so much and met some awesome people. That’s why I keep blogging.

You are having a relaxing evening.  What are you doing?

Either hanging with my family, having some tea while wrapped up in a good book, or simply listening to some great music.

Do you have pets?  

Yes, I have two border collies and a ton of outdoor cats. I love animals, and I wish I could give every single animal in the world a good life. Here are a few pics…

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Winston and Cynder

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Rambo The Wise

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We had 13 kittens in April.  I’ll do a post on them soon…

 

Favourite pizza toppings?

I try not to eat meat or pizza in general, but I’ll say Sausage, Pepperoni, Onion, and Banana Pepper.

Coffee, tea or wine or other?

Organic decaf coffee and I love tea as well. Pukka and Yogi are my favorite tea brands.

What is your favourite season? 

Definitely fall and winter. I don’t deal well with the summer heat and look forward to harvest time and Christmas.

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What is your favourite book genre?

I absolutely love memoirs and non-fiction in general. I love learning about people and their pasts, and what they’re doing with their lives.

 

Continue for the nominees!

Continue reading “Award: The Sunshine Blogger Award #2”

Above The Flames – It Starts With L Book Reviews + Author Q&A with Cassandra Fear & Giveaway!

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A little over a week ago, I started reading Above the Flames by Cassandra Fear. I really enjoyed the writing, so after finishing it, I dove right in to It Starts With L which was just released.

Cassandra was willing to share some of her time with me to discuss her books and writing. In addition to the Q&A below, you can read my book reviews for Above the Flames and her new book It Starts with L. Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway toward the bottom of the page to win eBook copies of both books!

Above The Flames

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Blurb: Jasmine’s sixteenth birthday was the worst ever…

All in one day, her dad died, she met a demon, and her mother rejected her existence forever. After all, the demon who killed her dad was there to take her, and all because of her stupid powers—the ability to conjure blue flames.

Two years later, she’s happy. But happy never lasts…

After moving to Idaho to live with her grandparents, Jasmine has a new life. Almost nobody knows about her powers, and she’s just a normal teenager with normal problems. Then comes her eighteenth birthday—and the earthquake that changes her world forever.

An army of demons rise from Hell. And Jasmine is right in the middle of the battle…

When demons claw their way to Earth, Jasmine is surrounded by hundreds of fire-eyed beasts. Worse, she is captured by a big-shot demon named Bael. He’s a tricky foe with a chip on his shoulder—and the desire to make Jasmine use her powers for evil.

Amon is a fallen angel with an attitude—and everything to lose.

Successfully escaping the underworld undetected, Amon is on a quest to regain God’s grace when he rescues Jasmine from the clutches of a particularly nasty demon he knows all too well. The attraction between him and the not-entirely-human captive is instantaneous. Heavenly sparks fly, but ideas of romance will have to wait. First they have to stop the demon race from wiping out the mortal realm. Humanity’s fate rests in their hands.

Can two troubled angels rise above the flames to ensure a future for mankind? Or will Jasmine and Amon’s souls be bound together—in hell?

  • Series: The Flames Trilogy
  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Limitless Publishing, LLC (April 7, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1680585851
  • ISBN-13: 978-1680585858

 

My review

I wasn’t sure what to expect because I haven’t read many paranormal books and certainly haven’t read a story including angels and demons with this plot, so it was a fun read and different from what I’m used to.

I was pulled into the story right away. Jasmine is a 16-year-old teenager dealing with a mother who simply doesn’t care about her. An unforeseen wicked event causes an accident with her father and because her mother doesn’t want her, she’s relocated with her grandparents. Ma and Pa love her so much and all seems to be going well with Jasmine as she lives a fairly normal life with her boyfriend Beau, until demons appear and hunt her down. They’ve been released and plan to take over all mankind. Jasmine doesn’t know it yet, but she’s going to have to figure out how to control her powers while she trains to defend against the evil demons.

I really liked the characters in the book. Jasmine, Beau, and Amon were my favorites. Jasmine is very strong and confident and the majority if the time she wasn’t afraid despite all the evil events unfolding around her. At times I didn’t like the way Jasmine treated Beau as their relationship started to change due to Amon’s introduction, but everything came together eventually. It wasn’t a predictable read! It was difficult to tell what decisions the characters would make and there were times I couldn’t differentiate between friends and foes as more characters are introduced. I don’t want to include a bunch of spoilers, so for the most part, I enjoyed the book. I felt like there were some slow parts with mainly the beginning and the ending remaining my favorites. The ending was a complete total shocker.

I love the way Cassandra Fear Writes. I found it very easy to read from cover to cover. I would’ve liked a tad more romance and maybe faster pacing, but understand this is YA. I’m looking forward to the next book!

4****

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It Starts With L

 

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Blurb: High school is tough, and Arielle knows this all too well.

She’s slightly chubbier than most of the other girls and gets reminded of this every day. And the fact that she’s never had a boyfriend makes her prime meat for the bullying crowd.

But then in walks Blake, the cute new boy who sweeps her off her feet and stands up to her bullies. Instant swoon.

Now with a guy at her side, and the promise of a blooming love, Arielle realizes it’s easy to lose sight of what is important. Her best friend, Jess, is on a downward spiral toward disaster, and Arielle needs to find a way to help her.

Unfortunately, Arielle discovers not everything in life is simple. Sometimes things happen, tragedy strikes, and it leaves you with wounds that might never heal.

  • Series: The Letters of Love Series
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Limitless Publishing, LLC (July 12, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 164034151X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1640341517

My review

 

Arielle is a teenager dealing with typical high school drama and bullying, but won’t let it change her. She’s a simple girl from a good family, but deals with a few insecurities about her weight and appearance, until she meets Blake.

Blake stands up for her and makes her feel more confident. As their relationship blooms, everything seems to be perfect, until Blake starts thinking about the future and becomes unsure of their relationship. She’s not prepared to deal with the uncertainty, but doesn’t want to give up. On top of all her relationship problems, her best friend is making poor decisions and her home life takes a turn for the worse. Arielle is on a slippery slope, but will she be able to regain happiness again?

*Mild Spoilers* I liked all of the main characters in the book, but I wasn’t pleased with Blake. He’s one of those characters that at times you sort of “grrr” over, but you still admire him at the same time. Arielle was confident enough to stay true to herself and I loved that. I didn’t feel like the story was too predictable and really looked forward to finding out how these characters would end up. It was a pleasant surprise and not like the one I expected.*

I’m giving this book 5 stars because I was never bored and I really enjoy this author’s writing as it’s smooth and easy to read. This book reminds me of something I would’ve enjoyed reading in high school and I think this is a perfect book for teens. There really isn’t anything inappropriate and overall it’s a great YA book. I can’t wait to read the next one!

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Continue for the Q&A and Giveaway!!

Continue reading “Above The Flames – It Starts With L Book Reviews + Author Q&A with Cassandra Fear & Giveaway!”

R.I.P. Chester Bennington – 1976-2017

I was very sad to just learn that Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, died after committing suicide today. The rock world has lost another amazing singer. I’m at a loss for words with this coming just after Chris Cornell’s death a few months ago.

Hunger Strike with Chris and Chester singing together

Chester Bennington was close friends with Chris and I do believe he was also a Godfather to one of his children. They had what I believe was a special friendship.

I’ve been listening to Linkin Park since the very beginning and I just can’t believe that Chester’s gone. Here are a few of my favorites below…

Numb

 

Somewhere I belong:

 

One Step Closer

 

What I’ve Done

 


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Chester singing “Hallelujah” at Chris Cornell’s Funeral

I don’t know what Chester was going through, but I pray that both he and Chris rest in peace.

Continue reading “R.I.P. Chester Bennington – 1976-2017”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books – David Wiesner – Leo Timmers – Matthew Cordell

 

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I have three new wordless picture books to share this week! I hope that everyone who has children in their lives will get to read a few wordless picture books with them this year. It’s such a joyous experience! You might find a few of these interesting.


Tuesday by David Wiesner

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Blurb: A Caldecott classic celebrating twenty years in print.

David Wiesner received the 1991 Caldecott Medal for Tuesday. In the years that followed, he went on to receive two more Caldecotts, and Tuesday went on to sell half a million copies in the United States and to be published in a dozen foreign countries. Now, with remarkable advances in the technology of color reproduction, the original artwork for Tuesday is being reproduced anew, for an edition even more faithful to the palette and texture of David Wiesner’s watercolor paintings. The whimsical account of a Tuesday when frogs were airborne on their lily pads will continue to enchant readers of all ages.

My review

David Wiesner is a favorite as you know from some of my previous reviews. He never ceases to amaze me and this book is such a beautiful and magical addition to our collection.

The story begins in the early evening on a Tuesday and all is quiet at the pond. All of a sudden, the frogs begin to levitate on their lily pads and travel into a nearby town. They visit a woman watching TV, a man having a snack, and a dog running through a yard.

The only text in the book is the indication that it’s Tuesday with the time. Children love the watercolor illustrations and their imaginations can run wild with this story because it’s surreal.

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The idea of frogs traveling on lily pads is so magical and mysterious. How did they do it, and will they be back again next Tuesday?

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Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books – David Wiesner – Leo Timmers – Matthew Cordell”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Strawberry Banana Smoothie – Lew Watts & Cassandra Fear

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I can’t believe it’s Wednesday again! The week is flying by. I have two new books to share today and one of my favorite smoothies of all time. This smoothie is what I call the “converter.” If you’re looking to get someone into drinking smoothies, maybe even yourself, this is the go to recipe- as long as you like strawberries!

Before we get to the smoothie recipe, I want to let you guys know how easy it is to freeze your fresh organic bananas and strawberries for smoothies. It really makes the BEST smoothie to freeze these two fruits ahead of time. Here’s what you can do…

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Get a cookie sheet out and layer it with a piece of parchment paper.

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Peel the bananas and lay them out so they aren’t touching each other.

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Put them in the freezer quickly and freeze for 4-6 hours or more. I like to do this overnight.

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Take them out and you’ll notice they’re completely frozen and won’t stick to each other.

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Pile them in a freezer bag and freeze immediately. As you can see, they are already starting to thaw out a tad. Do everything quickly and it will result in no browning or sticking, just perfect frozen bananas ready for use. Just take them out as needed!

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You can do strawberries the same way. Hull them and rinse. Pat dry and lay them out on the sheet, not touching. Freeze for 4-6 hours or more and take them out. Pile them into a freezer and your good to go! Frozen for whenever you need them. They won’t stick together. Here’s a picture of some strawberries that came out of my garden and went straight into the freezer.

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Continue for the recipe and books for this week! 

 

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Strawberry Banana Smoothie – Lew Watts & Cassandra Fear”

Award: The Versatile Blogger Award

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I was very excited to be nominated a few days ago @ caterpillars2butterfliesblog for the Versatile Blogger Award. If you haven’t checked out her blog, please do. There are so many feel-good, inspirational posts here and I look forward to reading them daily! Great advice. Thank you for nominating me!

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RULES OF THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD:

1.) Thank the bloggers who nominated you and share their links.
2.) Nominate at least 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.
3.) Also inform them about their nomination.
4.) Reveal 7 facts about yourself that your readers may not know.


-7 Things About Me-

1. I can play a handful of instruments including: Guitar, Piano, Clarinet, Saxophone, Violin, Lap harp and a few others.

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2. I’m very interested in people who have experienced NDE’s or Near Death Experiences. I used to spend quite a bit of time reading and studying them.

3.  We just had 13 kittens in April. Most have gone to homes. We have 5 left. Out of these 3 you see here, we have Ash left. Can you guess which one he is? Back left. His attitude fits his look. Every one of these kittens has a different personality.  I’ll post more about them later.

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4. Despite striving for a healthy lifestyle, I’ve actually struggled with food addiction since I was about 15 and continue to battle with it. I ❤ food, especially homemade baked goods like these cupcakes I made recently, or this organic Amish bread I make often. It literally melts in your mouth. Recipes to come soon.

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5. I have two border collies, Cynder & Winston. You may have read about them here on my blog. I love them very much.

 

 

6. I have an extreme joy for gardening and love growing pumpkins, including giant pumpkins for the Halloween season. Halloween is my favorite time of year. I’m super excited that fall is on the way.

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7. I can’t wait for the next season of Poldark in October! I’ve read the whole saga and loved the books. More Aiden Turner please. 🙂


Continue for the nominees!

Continue reading “Award: The Versatile Blogger Award”

Q&A With Author Carol Buckley – Founder of The Elephant Sanctuary & Elephant Aid International

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Earlier this year I read a few books about an elephant named Tarra. The first one I read was titled Tarra & Bella written by Carol Buckley. It’s a book about an elephant (Tarra) and the unlikely relationship she had with a dog named Bella at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. After reading it and learning about Tarra, Carol Buckley, and The Elephant Sanctuary, I had to learn more. I picked up Travels with Tarra, a book about Carol Buckley and Tarra before her life at the sanctuary, and Just For Elephants, another book about an elephant named Shirley who is retiring from a zoo and being moved to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. If you’d like to see my original reviews/posts on these, you can click on the titles below.

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Tarra, an Asian elephant, was brought to America in 1974. Tarra was purchased to live at a tire store and the owner specifically purchased her in hope of increased sales. Not long after, Carol Buckley met Tarra for the first time. She instantly had an interest in Tarra and became a permanent fixture in Tarra’s cage.

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Carol began studying her and wanted to know everything about her. As time moved on, Carol began training Tarra and believe it or not, Tarra became a performer in the circus. At one point, she learned how to roller skate! Because of her talent, she made multiple appearances in movies like Annie and even popular TV shows. If you’d like to see a video of Carol and Tarra from 1984, Click HERE.

In 1995, Tarra was moved to The Elephant Sanctuary, founded by Carol Buckley. It’s an Elephant retirement sanctuary where elephants can live as they are meant to, with other elephants, and in the wild. In the beginning it started as 200 acres and progressed to over 2,700 acres of land where elephants can roam and be free. Since then, other elephants have been moved there.

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From Left: Bella, Carol, and Tarra.

Carol has been working with elephants for over 40 years and has developed new standards of care for elephants in captivity. She is no longer with The Elephant Sanctuary and founded Elephant Aid International in 2010. She remains a protector of elephants in captivity and works to ensure that they are being treated humanly.  Currently she is working in Asia with Mahouts (elephant handlers) and is helping them train elephants properly while keeping them out of chains. Carol has created multiple projects including:

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  • Elephant Foot Care – A program that helps owners and handlers understand elephant feet and the care they need to remain disease free.

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  • Programs to support and train Mahouts (Elephant Handlers) – Programs that help support Mahouts and their elephants by giving them tools, equipment, supplies and education for the care of their elephants. The training program uses Positive Reinforcement Target Training (PFTT) and teaches compassionate elephant training.

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“Lack of space is the reason for most of the ailments that captive elephants are suffering from.” – Carol Buckley

 

Continue for my Q&A with Carol Buckley…

Continue reading “Q&A With Author Carol Buckley – Founder of The Elephant Sanctuary & Elephant Aid International”

Award: Black Cat Blue Sea Award

 

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I was shocked yesterday to receive another amazing blog award. To me, this is such a special award. This nomination came from James@this-is-my-truth-now. James and I seem to have a lot in common and he’s become a BBB (best blogging buddy) who’s been there since I first got started blogging. I’ve learned about so many new blogs because of him as well. Please head over to visit this-is-my-truth-now to read countless book reviews, read his daily 365-day challenge and find out what’s happening with his new novel! There’s so much more. Loads of excitement! Thanks, James!

So, what is the Black Cat Blue Sea Award?

This award is for bloggers who strive to write for everybody, and no matter how many viewers they get, make an impact on a reader. This award is an expression of gratitude to the nominee. It should be awarded to anybody that you choose deserves it, and it doesn’t mean that they must have hundreds of followers and likes.


Rules

  • anybody nominated can nominate up to eight other bloggers
  • the nominee answers three questions posed by the nominator
  • the questions you ask while nominating can be any three questions
  • if any of the questions asked are offensive or the nominee simply does not want to answer, the nominee does not have to answer them to earn the award

Questions from James with my answers:

 

What would you like bloggers to do more of that they aren’t doing right now?

Umm, is come check out my blog a good answer? Totally joking!

I think bloggers are doing a wonderful job with their blogs and I enjoy seeing everyone’s different styles and ideas. I love that as of right now, I’m yet to find two blogs that are totally alike. The creative expression I’ve seen is inspiring and I enjoy being part of it. With that said, I just want to see everyone enjoy themselves and I’m happy to be here. So, please keep blogging!

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Tell us 4 things about yourself, one of which is not true… and see if we can guess.

  • I love animals – I’d be happy to spend the rest of my life around them.
  • I love housekeeping – Having everything in pristine order is a must.
  • Introvert alert! I don’t like parties, large crowds, or sitting in a packed movie theatre. I’m perfectly happy at home with my books, music, and nature.
  • I don’t really enjoy writing. I’ve never felt good at it and struggle just writing a book review. If I were to write a book, I’d have NO IDEA where to start.

Which one do you think is not true?

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Describe a perfect day that balances all the things you love.

This is difficult because it changes with seasons and I enjoy a wide range of activities, but since it’s summer for us, I’ll go with that. A perfect summer day for me would be waking up before dawn to enjoy a steaming cup of coffee with some fresh baked banana bread while catching up with updates on Goodreads & WordPress. Then, I’d spend some time outside listening to the birds as the sun begins to rise while enjoying a good book. Mid-day I’d throw together one of my favorite soups and have a few hours of reading time with my kids. Maybe we’d take a trip to the library in the afternoon and come back for a jump in the pool. I’d have dinner planned ahead and ready by 6pm, then on to Netflix for a bit before settling down with some good music in preparation for a good night’s sleep. In between all of that, I’d spend some time playing frisbee with my pups. Any day without stress is a good one!

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Continue reading “Award: Black Cat Blue Sea Award”

Daily Prompt: Tailor

This is EXCELLENT! 💗

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via Daily Prompt: Tailor

Where in the rules of life does it say that we must tailor our lives to suit someone else’s opinion?  Ha- oh that’s right… it doesn’t say that, because there is NO rulebook for life!  There is no instruction manual, no textbook, nothing in writing to guide us.  But, be assured, life itself has granted me the best education of all.

As the role of a motivator, a coach, even an author… we are not trying to create those textbooks…but simply offer our views, our experiences – both good and bad, as a way to help guide others on their own journey through this world.  If you have the opportunity to learn from someone else’s failure, wouldn’t you take that?

Society today has tried to tell us that we must tailor ourselves to look a certain way, to be a certain weight, to have a certain…

View original post 97 more words

Lessons From Grandpa #3

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Me with my grandfather when I was about 1 year old.

When I was in 6th grade my grandmother received an unexpected diagnosis of cancer. It was a rare form of cancer and she had roughly 6 months to live because after watching her daughter (my aunt) suffer through chemotherapy treatments at the age of 28, she didn’t want to go through it herself. She knew it would only extend her life by a few months and didn’t want to be sick. She was very bitter about having the cancer and my grandfather was very sad. It hit everyone like a ton of bricks.

At one point, my grandmother was in the hospital for awhile and I was heading back and forth to the hospital with my grandfather to see her. It was a very eerie feeling for me being in the hospital and seeing my grandmother like that. My grandfather decided to take me to a family restaurant right across the street because we hadn’t eaten. I remember ordering mozzarella sticks and we sat at this little table together. As I sat there eating my cheese sticks this song came on the radio by Christopher Cross titled “Sailing.”

Every time I hear this song, it takes me back to that very day with my grandfather, when he sat at that table in the restaurant in tears and told me,

“Be sure to appreciate everything you have, especially your loved ones while they’re here.”

Later on that week, my grandmother became worse. She wasn’t going to be here much longer and I still wasn’t with it. I was simply too young and this would be the first death I would mourn. The situation with my grandmother was causing him a great deal of pain and I remember one day hearing him very upset in our basement. He was crying loudly, yelling at himself and throwing things around. He was saying over and over how much he was angry with himself for not telling my grandmother that he loved her enough. He felt that he hadn’t appreciated her like he should have. It really made me cry and I didn’t know how to help him. Around a month after that, she was gone.

A few years passed and my grandfather was back to golfing and living his life the best he could. I started spending more time out of the house, predominately at the roller skating rink in the next county over. I loved skating and because the rink was in a different county, I was able to meet new people from different schools. My main issue with skating was the fact that I had big feet and always had to wear these ugly men’s skates that made my feet hurt, until I came to know a girl by the name of Anne. Anne was there to mainly socialize with everyone else and because she was from that county, many of the kids there were her schoolmates. f85a1ed11c87e9aa7ca220c5d0007a53--quad-skates-speed-skates.jpgShe had these amazing black speed skates with shocking magenta wheels that were low-cut and my size! I was near a size 12 shoe at that point and it was hard for me to find anything to fit. She told me that I could borrow them if I wanted to and I took her up on the offer. They felt so smooth rolling on the ground. Every weekend we were there together I would use her skates and we came to know each other. We became best friends.

Anne was like the friend of a lifetime. She always had the right things to say and made me feel so good about myself. She was as tall as me and we had a lot in common. When I started driving, we would go places together and shop. She was a year or so younger than me, so getting my license was a huge plus for us. We had some of the same friends and It was because of her that I found my first boyfriend. She would come over often and she always enjoyed my grandfather’s company. He always had something funny to say to her. We played pool at the local pool hall, drove around listening to music, and swam in our friend Jen’s pool in the summer. Life was good. We were young without a care in the world.

One of the first things I did after graduating high school was graduating from cosmetology school. I started working in a salon right away and Anne loved it. Now she could have her hair and nails done whenever she wanted. She always said that I could create the best shaped acrylic nails she’d ever seen and loved the way I styled hair. It would be me that put her hair in an updo for her junior prom.

Another year went by and I was busy living life. I took a job managing a car dealership because it was more money, but continued doing cosmetology on the side. I got involved in a bad relationship and had made a few stupid choices, but I was okay. I wasn’t seeing Anne very much because I was just too busy for much of anything, or at least I thought I was. We sort of began to grow apart a little bit, but would occasionally hang out.

Anne was about to take a vacation to Florida with her family and really wanted me toflorida-beach-Medium.jpg give her a pedicure, manicure, hair style and the whole works. I thought it would be fun for us to catch up. I spent about 4 or 5 days heading back and forth to Anne’s house that week. She was showing me the summer outfits she bought to take on her vacation. It was a lot of fun. I can still remember sitting in her room on her super soft bed. I always loved Anne’s room. As we sat together she told me that she had a boyfriend. I was shocked! We had some real catching up to do. She told me all about how they met and I became confused. She proceeded to tell me that he was older than her and in prison. I was alarmed, but I didn’t want to say anything negative to her at this point. I asked her why he was in jail and what he did wrong, but she said it didn’t matter and that he would be getting out soon. Little did I know, this would be the last time I would see Anne.

About a month went by and Anne was back from vacation. I’d heard a rumor from a mutual friend that she was hanging out with the wrong crowd in a bad neighborhood. Her boyfriend was out of jail now and she began spending late nights with him where he was living. I tried calling her often, but her mom would always answer and tell me that she wasn’t home. She would tell me about their troubles and arguments. More than once she said that she couldn’t keep Anne home and away from these dangerous people. Anne was now 18 and able to make her own choices and she was taking some tremendous risks. We finally talked a time or two and I tried to convince her to come back home and to stay away from this group of people. She wouldn’t listen to me and at one point I felt like I’d really upset her. She said she loved this guy who was just out of jail and she didn’t think there was anything wrong with the decisions she was making. Who was I to judge? I was mainly concerned for her safety. The only time I could speak with her was when she was at home because it wasn’t common for teens to be running around with cell phones yet. Everything was different back then.

bright-hot-sun_1463106832514_1305923_ver1.0_640_360.jpgI was sitting at work a few weeks later. It was a slow day and the sun was baking me through the tall glass windows of the car dealership. It was such a hot summer that year. The phone rang and I answered it. It was my friend Michelle calling to ask me if I’d heard the news. Of course it was a ‘roll your eyes’ moment because Michelle always had stories to tell and she was the ultimate story ‘spicer’ which everyone knew. She proceeded to tell me that Anne was dead. I didn’t believe her and actually got a little mad and told her I’d call her back. There was just no way. I called Anne’s house and her mom answered the phone. Not long after my first words were spoken, I heard a dead silence on the phone. I can still remember sitting there with the phone in my hand as her mom was crying and not speaking a word. I stood up and couldn’t breath. It felt like my lungs weren’t functioning. I dropped the phone and began pacing around, out of my mind. I don’t even remember what my initial thoughts were. I just remember being in a total state of panic and denial. I got back on the phone with her mom and we both just cried on the phone together. She apologized for not calling me and told me that she couldn’t bring herself to tell me what had happened yet. Finally she told me the story.

Continue reading “Lessons From Grandpa #3”

Q&A with Author Nicholas Kotar & My Book Review for The Song of the Sirin + Signed Paperback GIVEAWAY!

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Last week while on Goodreads I happened to see a blog post by Nicholas Kotar regarding his new book release The Song of the Sirin. I read the blurb and decided to dive right in. After reading I was able to ask Nicholas Kotar some questions about his new book, being an author, and what he’s doing now. You can see my book review for The Song of the Sirin, and the Q&A with Nicholas Kotar below.

You can enter the giveaway for a free SIGNED copy of The Song of the Sirin at the bottom of the page.

 

35479763 Blurb: An evil omen clouds the sky. A song of lore returns. Can one man’s quest save the world?

Voran can’t help but believe the rumors. As blight ravages the countryside and darkness covers the sun, the young warrior of Vasyllia hears of an ancient spirit that devours souls. He feels powerless to fight the oncoming devastation until a mythical creature entrusts him with a long-forgotten song. Legend has it that such a song can heal the masses, overthrow kingdoms, and raise humans to divine beings…

Armed with the memory of the song, Voran must hunt down a dark spirit before it achieves its goal of immortality. His quest takes him through doorways to other worlds and puts him on a collision course with seductive nymphs and riddling giants. With each step of the journey, the strength of the villainous spirit grows, as does Voran’s fear that the only way to save his world… is to let it be destroyed.

The Song of the Sirin is an epic fantasy retelling of the Russian fairy tale Prince Ivan and the Grey Wolf.

  • Series: Raven Son (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Waystone Press (June 26, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0998847909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0998847900

 

My review

 

*This review may contain a few very mild spoilers*

Fantasy isn’t one of my favorite genres and when it comes to epic fantasy’s like The Song of the Sirin, it takes me extra time to read it along with some concentration. After reading the blurb for this one and finding out that it was inspired by a Russian fairy tale, I couldn’t resist. I rushed to Amazon and picked it up at sale price. I believe it was an exceptional reading choice for me.

The story begins with Voran and Lebía, a brother and sister living  in Vasyllia. Their father Otchigen and mother Aglaia have vanished and no one knows where they are. Some say Otchigen vanished after killing many people and stories abound claim him to have beaten his wife Aglaia. Voran doesn’t know what to believe, but he trusts in his heart that his father didn’t commit these crimes. He meets a pilgrim in the wilderness and discovers that everything may not be how it seems.

“You surprise me, young Voran,” said the Pilgrim. “How quickly you pierce to the heart of things. Whatever happens, my falcon, do not forget this. Vasyllia is everything. You must never let Vasyllia fall. She is everything.”

Voran begins to realize that Vasyllia is on the brink of destruction and he’s told that he must locate Living Water to save Vasyllia. At this point, everyone in Vasyllia and the outer lands is in danger. The Covenant Tree is fading, the Sirin sings for Voran, and the adventure unfolds…

There’s so much going on in the story and I was thoroughly surprised throughout the entire book. Even with each chapter having an excerpt from other tales, there was no way I could predict what was ahead. Every chapter had something new happening with separate plots taking place. New characters and events come into the story and they literally leave you aghast. The plot and the characters were so complex with a few of my favorites being Voran, Tarin, and Leshaya. Nicholas Kotar writes beautifully and his writing is very detailed and descriptive. With that said,  I have to admit that there were times when I found the reading to be a tad difficult. I ended up with 235 notes and highlights by the time I was done. This may not be a book that you sail through quickly, but it’s very enjoyable to take the time and relish in the beautiful prose.

Overall, I enjoyed the book very much. This epic fantasy has a lot of what fantasy readers expect including shapeshifters, giants, wolf-like monsters, weird creatures, good and evil, magic, and mystery. The ending was heartwarming for me which was not expected with the events that were taking place throughout the book. I’m definitely going to recommend this one and I’m looking forward the other installments.

Anyone who enjoys fantasy will love this book. 4.5*****

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Continue for the Q&A and Giveaway!

Continue reading “Q&A with Author Nicholas Kotar & My Book Review for The Song of the Sirin + Signed Paperback GIVEAWAY!”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Warm Rice Cereal – Please Excuse This Poem

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This week I’m playing catch up with my reading due to the 4th of July holiday and the fact that I started reading an epic fantasy last week that demanded my full attention. So, I only have one ‘new’ book to share with you that I just started a few days ago. Let’s get to the breakfast first.

I’m excited to share with you an amazingly easy breakfast cereal that can be partially prepared the night before. It’s a simple rice cereal recipe and reminds me of my childhood. As a child, my grandfather would occasionally take us to this amazing Greek restaurant that was a hop, skip, and a jump from our home. I loved that restaurant because after my meal I knew that I was going to get a delicious cup of rice pudding afterward. It was always served with real cream and an extra dollop of whipped cream on top. I literally think this restaurant is where my addiction to rice pudding started. I’ve made rice pudding at home since, and this breakfast cereal is similar in taste, but fairly healthy.

Warm Rice Cereal –

This is actually a quite common recipe. What makes it a little different for me now is that I use almond milk with it and I prepare it in my Vitaclay cooker the night before. Here’s my recipe…

Ingredients:

1 cup of rice (I used Jasmine)

1 1/2 to 2 cups of almond milk (or cow’s milk)

1 – 2 TB Butter (Make it dairy free by using oil)

1/8 Cup Honey (Use 1/4 cup sugar if you don’t have honey)

A few dashes of cinnamon

You can make this in a pan very easily just like rice. I used my Vitaclay. I’m also doubling the recipe to feed more people. I added all the ingredients in and stirred.

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I used the regular RICE cooking mode, covered it, and set the clock to start at 5am. This way I could wake up and breakfast would already be waiting for everyone. That’s always nice!

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Here’s what it looked like this morning after cooking.

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I seemed to be a little on the dry side, so I added a little more almond milk and stirred it up.

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After adding to my bowl, I added some fresh organic cherries with a little extra almond milk added and an extra dash of cinnamon. It came out perfect and it’s a very filling breakfast!

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Continue for this week’s books…

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Warm Rice Cereal – Please Excuse This Poem”

What To Do With All Those Cucumbers and Zucchini!

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It’s normally this time of year in July that we have way too many cucumbers and zucchini. I love sharing with the people who live in my area, but most of them have their own gardens and they are sharing some of the same harvests with me. Every year I tell myself to cut down on the number of plants, but I’ve found multiple ways to use these two veggies up quickly. Most of the ways I use are raw, but there are a few of my favorite canning recipes I do yearly included here as well.

First, I took a trip out to the garden this morning to pick some cucumbers and a few zucchini. I had to pause to take a video because all the birds sounded so beautiful this morning. The bees were flying around and pollinating all the flowers.

It’s wonderful to be in nature and to reconnect with our natural environment. It’s too easy to become distanced from nature with our busy lives. All it takes is a trip outside to be grounded again. Even if you’re in the city, you can stop and look up at the sky and just take a deep breath and remind yourself how lucky we are to have this beautiful home we call Earth.

Cucumber Salad:

This is a simple salad that uses up a good number of cucumbers quickly. It’s not a super healthy recipe as it does contain mayonnaise, but what you’ll notice is that much of the dressing is left in the bottom of the bowl after all the cucumbers are gone and you’ll need to add more. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

5 good size cucumbers

1 cup of mayonnaise

4 tsp. Vinegar

1/4 cup sugar or 1/8 cup honey

1/2 tsp. Dried Dill weed

1/2 tsp. Seasoned salt

Make the dressing first in a large bowl. Mix up all ingredients minus the cucumbers until a nice dressing is made.

Slice the cucumbers and stir them in. It’s that simple!

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There’s always dressing left in the bottom, so cut a few more cucumbers afterwards and add them in if you need to. You can also store the dressing in the fridge for later. This is best eaten fresh when the cucumbers are crunchy. Yum!

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Now if you want, you can use a  processor to slice the cucumbers. It’s not necessary, but nice if you’re making a huge batch.

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Set the blade to the thickest slicing.

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Pile in the cucumbers by standing them straight up, and push them down through the blade as it’s turning.

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Perfectly sliced cucumbers!

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If you’re interested in buying a processor, I would recommend the Cuisinart 14 Cup Processor.  It’s a real workhorse and has worked well for me for years. I’ve even made nut butters in it. You get a shredding tool, slicing tool, and more.

Sometimes if the cucumbers are really large, you can slice them again. It really doesn’t matter.

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Continue for more recipes!

Continue reading “What To Do With All Those Cucumbers and Zucchini!”

A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat – by Bernard Jan – Book Review

A World Without Color

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My Review

A World Without Color: A True Story of the Last Three Days with my Cat is a short memoir about one family’s experience of losing a beloved pet, a cat named Marcel. Bernard Jan lays out his experience with Marcel’s last 3 days of life as the emotions pour out of him on screen.

I found this book on Goodreads this morning after reading one of Bernard Jan’s blog posts and it sounded like a must read. As a person who has many pets, I sometimes think about what it’ll be like when the time comes to let them go. I wonder when, how, and what sort of choices I’ll have to make. In this book, the author tells his whole story about what his cat Marcel’s last 3 days were like interlaced with memories of the past. He writes about the effects of losing a best friend for himself and his family.

At multiple times I cried and could feel his emotions. He expresses what he’s feeling physically, his thoughts and emotions, everything so raw and real. Despite the sadness, I love the way this author writes.

And wherever I go, whatever I do, I will try to let you also feel a touch of the world through which we will walk together. I’ll be your eyes. My heart will beat for you. My lungs will soak up the scents of the seasons, and the music from the radio will lull us to sleep together.”

At first, I wasn’t sure about the additional ending. I felt like the fact that it was a true story meant that it should end the way the real story did, but it was unique that the author included an alternative ending for those that wanted a different outcome.

The events Bernard Jan experiences are something no pet owner wants to endure. Every once in awhile you read a book by an author and you wish you could give him a hug. This is that book…

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If you’re a Kindle Unlimited Member, you can read this for free! For everyone else it’s only $1.99 right now on Amazon.

Click HERE to grab a copy.

Continue reading “A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat – by Bernard Jan – Book Review”

Hell or High Water (2016) Movie Review

A main activity I enjoy is watching movies and this is one of the things I originally wanted to blog about and review when I started readrantrockandroll. I have definitely completed more book reviews, but I have scads of movies to talk about and I thought I’d start out with a few that I really enjoyed this year. This review will be for the movie Hell or High Water which was released in 2016.

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Title: Hell or High Water ( Released August 26th 2016 – USA)

Director:

David Mackenzie

Writer:

Taylor Sheridan

Stars:

Chris Pine

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Runtime: 1hr 42 Minutes

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Rated R for some strong violence, language throughout and brief sexuality

 

 

My Summary: Toby Howard (Chris Pine) and his brother Tanner (Ben Foster) who has recently been released out of prison, need to raise enough money to pay off the reverse mortgage on their mother’s ranch. She has just recently passed away, and now that oil was discovered on the ranch, they need to secure the future of Toby’s sons and ex wife by raising $43,000 dollars to pay it off. After they make two robberies, Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and his partner deputy (Gil Birmingham) try to stop them from committing their final crime.

 

Continue for my review: 

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Q&A with Author Andy Carrington – Plus Book reviews for S.O.P.H.I.E & Self Service Check-Outs Have No Soul

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*Warning – This Post Contains Explicit Language*

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I’ve been wanting to read some of Andy Carrington’s work for some time now. I’ll admit I haven’t read much Satire or Punk Poetry and became intrigued just by the titles of these two books. I recently read Self Service Check-Outs Have No Soul and S.O.P.H.I.E. Please see my reviews for both books below and the Q&A with Andy Carrington as well. Add these books on Goodreads by clicking the covers.

Self Service Check-Outs Have No Soul

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Blurb: Human anxiety / disillusionment in the machine age.

My review

I had an idea what the subject of this poetry would be just after reading the title, but what I got was more than I anticipated. Andy Carrington flat-out tells it how it is when it comes to technology and our world today. The writing covers real world scenarios and I found myself more than once saying, “Exactly!” There’s so much truth here and we have to admit it folks. It makes me think back to when I was a kid and life was more simple. Now our kids are growing up in a very different world with multiple electronic devices.

One of my favorite poems in the book is #Twits. Andy mentions Twitter and how everyone say’s what they want on the computer, but never face to face. There’s no fear behind the screen. Effective communication is out the window with social media in my opinion. I’m one of the those people who thinks social media isn’t social at all, but yeah, I finally succumbed to Twitter and so would my grandpa if he were here.

Another one that really caught my attention was “There’s an APP for a that.” I like this part…

     -we’re taken in by the waves

with our fate

being determined by the furious tap-

tap tapping

of our

fingers.

I really hope a machine won’t take my postman’s place. I love that guy! Plus, privacy? There’s no such thing anymore. I’m amazed with all the thought-provoking and valid points here.

I enjoyed the film references and especially the links to the news articles pertaining to each poem. I’m glad to have read this. Technology is scary and effects everything about the way we think and act. We don’t even realize it.  I think everyone will agree.

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You can pick up a copy of Self Service Check-Outs Have No Soul for only £2.00 on Andy’s website by clicking HERE. 

 

Continue reading “Q&A with Author Andy Carrington – Plus Book reviews for S.O.P.H.I.E & Self Service Check-Outs Have No Soul”

TAG: Get To Know Me

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I’m going crazy with tags here lately. I mean, there are so many awesome tags! I found this one at this-is-my-truth-now. I love this blog. James has everything you could want in a blog and it’s organized and easy to navigate. From book reviews to a thought-provoking 365 day challenge. Be sure to check it out. New content daily!

VITAL STATS:

Name: Mischenko

Nicknames: A nickname from school was Jade because I had this jade stone necklace that I used to wear all the time.

Birthday: September! My FAVORITE time of year due to fall.

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Star Sign: Libra

Occupation: Self-employed.

 

Continue reading “TAG: Get To Know Me”