Cynder’s New Life With Puppies

I thought I’d do a quick update for those who are interested in how Cynder is doing with her three new puppies. It’s hard to believe that they’ll be three weeks old on Tuesday. They’re doing great and getting huge!

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Cynder has adapted well to motherhood, but she needs a lot of breaks. I thought that having puppies might slow her down a little bit, but she seems to be even more hyper with an abundance of energy. She was already back to playing and herding the day after having the puppies. It’s like she never had puppies.

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We have names for the three pups. The merle puppy that reminds of us Winston we decided to name Bowie. She’s the biggest out of the three, although not by much. We can already tell that her eyes will more than likely stay blue like Winstons. This is the puppy we chose to keep. Here are some pictures of her below.

Bowie

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Her eyes both opened last weekend. She’s already starting to play and growls and barks a little bit. This is a picture from a few days ago. Her eyes are already lighter.

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The second pup born is a boy and it looks like he’ll be tricolor. Mainly black and white, with some brown above his eyes and a little on the sides of his face. He’s so different! His eyes are dark and we think they’ll stay amber/brown like Cynders. We named him Fig.

Fig

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The third pup born is the runt, or should I say ‘was’ the runt. She’s a little smaller than the first too, but huge compared to what she was when she was born! She’s just about the same size as Fig. We named her (Little) Lotus.

Lotus

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She had one eye left closed that just finally opened a few days ago in the picture above. It appears that her eyes will most likely be brown. She reminds me so much of Cynder and I think she’ll look just like her.

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They’re doing well! They’re still not able to get out of the kiddie pool. When that happens, we’ll move them to a different location. I’m thinking maybe 2 weeks tops and they’ll need to be moved.

Winston enjoys checking on them throughout the day, but he still isn’t sure of them.

Continue reading “Cynder’s New Life With Puppies”

Flower Friday – September 29th – Sedums

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I saw this beautiful blog post at Lorilin@bugbugbooks blog and thought I’d jump on board. It’s Flower Friday! Be sure to check out Lorilin’s flower pic for today. It’s so beautiful!


Today’s flower pic is of my sedums which went into full bloom a few weeks ago. The butterflies were all over them and I couldn’t resist taking some pictures.

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Continue reading “Flower Friday – September 29th – Sedums”

The Book Blogger Test

Happy Friday! I thought I’d do a tag this morning to switch things up a little bit. I found this tag over at ThriceRead and enjoyed reading their answers. Be sure to check out this blog if you haven’t yet for tons of reviews, tags, and discussions.

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Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog
  2. Answer the ten questions asked on this post
  3. Nominate at least five people to do it also
  4. Let your nominees know you nominated them

 


 

Describe your perfect reading spot.

My current favorite reading spot is in my room where it’s dark. I love my cozy chair and have a cool reading light next to it. It’s my favorite place to be, but I would be in heaven to have a reading spot such as this one below!

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Tell us three book confessions.

1. I can’t read while riding in a car. I get car sick really bad.

2. On more than one occasion, I’ve been late making meals for my family due to being engrossed in a good book.

3. I love reading YA and even children’s books.


When was the last time you cried during a book?

I think in July when I read Bernard Jan’s Book A World Without Color.

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How many books are on your bedside table?

About fifteen, but I have a mini-shelf built into it.


What’s your favorite snack to eat while you’re reading?

Right now, I love these coconut clusters that I picked up at Costco. They are so delicious and perfect with a hot cup of tea. Great for reading…

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Name three books you would recommend to Everyone

The Pull and Kick Murder – A good who dun it mystery…

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Until Tuesday – A very important book about a wounded U.S. veteran Luis Carlos Montalvan and his service dog.

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The Hobbit – I’m currently reading this with my 9-year-old and we’re taking our time on it. We love it so much. I think even those who don’t like fantasy that much would still enjoy it.

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Show us a picture of your favorite bookcase on a bookshelf.

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This is my favorite bookshelf because all of my other shelves are a mess and not organized at all. This one isn’t necessarily organized, but the shelves are mostly hardcovers and matched into color groupings. It pleases me to look at it and it’s where I keep my figures and a few other trinkets too.

Describe how much books mean to you in just three words.

Books Mean Everything!

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Continue reading “The Book Blogger Test”

Throwback Thursday – September 28th – A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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This Week’s Pick:

A Little Life

by Hanya Yanagihara

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Blurb: When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

My Thoughts:

I started A Little Life sometime in January, but had to put it down a few times due to time restrictions on other books. Plus, this book is colossal. It’s a smidge over 700 pages.

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

I cried a few times, and laughed a few times. The further I read, the more shocked I became, ending with a feeling of devastation. With that said, I thought it was written well and it kept my interest. There were a few times I put it down and walked away, but I had to come back.

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

I gave this book 5*****


You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1St Edition edition (March 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385539258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385539258

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – September 28th – A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara”

Lesson’s From Grandpa #6 – There’s Always Something…

When I was little, my grandfather would always tell us kids to be thankful for everything because this is what the Scripture tells us. I couldn’t tell you how many times he read the Bible, but often he would quote Scripture and use examples. We were constantly reminded to count our blessings.

 

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Me and Grandpa – November 22nd, 1979

 

Every now and then, my mind goes into another direction. It’s true that I’ve suffered anxiety and depression in my life and sometimes I have a hard time pulling myself out of it and I start to think about the glass being half empty, rather than half full. I always try to stop and reflect on what my grandfather always taught us.

Fall is such a wonderful time of year and usually by now, we are harvesting pumpkins from our patch to sell or gift to family and friends, canning tomatoes, and making our last minute jams for the winter cupboards. Typically, spring is full of growing and lots of hard work. Here’s a picture of our greenhouse from Spring 2016.

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Except this year is very different, I decided to downsize my gardens and we only grew a few pumpkins for ourselves. I cut back on tomatoes and didn’t grow much from seed this year.

As I was walking around outside by the gardens, I was looking at all the weeds and thought to myself how lazy I’ve been this summer. I started feeling pretty sorry, but this summer, I wanted to spend more time with my kids, read, and relax, and so I did. I didn’t keep up with everything like I normally would and we did have fewer yields because of it, but as I looked around, I saw so many beautiful things. Just look at this hibiscus flower which comes back every year.

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These flowers are huge even surrounded by weeds!

I also realized just a few weeks ago that we won’t meet our quota for the canned tomatoes required to get us through until next year. Normally, I put up about 125 quarts or more of stewed tomatoes for chili, spaghetti, and soup over the winter. With what I’ve canned so far and with what’s left to still harvest, we will probably get about 40 quarts of tomatoes.

 

 

Then, one of our friends that my husband works with decided that he and his wife didn’t want to can this year. He told my husband to come over and take whatever we wanted. We received three more five-gallon buckets of tomatoes for canning including some beautiful green peppers to mix in.

And there’s plenty more where that came from. We will meet the quota after all. Not only did they give us tons of tomatoes, but also 4+ buckets full of apples for canning. It’s truly amazing…

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I didn’t plant sunflowers this year, but there were some beautiful volunteers which will leave plenty of seeds for next year.

Our peppers were fairly small and we didn’t get as many as usual,

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But we have some great spaghetti and winter squash.

I couldn’t help but pause to look at the sky either. Fall is here…

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The sedums are in full bloom…

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There’s so much beauty if you just stop to take the time to look.

Then, this morning the most amazing thing happened! We were out in our woods looking for one of our cats that’s been missing for a few days. We noticed this huge pumpkin vine growing way out in the back of our woods where we used to have our compost pile. All of our pumpkins from previous years would get dumped here. A seed decided to grow and the vine is growing all over and up into the trees.

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Continue reading “Lesson’s From Grandpa #6 – There’s Always Something…”

The Mystery Blogger Award #2

I was nominated by Janie @ Authentically 50 for the Mystery Blogger Award. I just did this award not too long ago, but why not do it again? I love doing these tags and have fresh answers with this one! Fun!

Thanks, Janie!

If you haven’t checked out Janie’s blog, please do. She has blog posts on various topics and I always find them thought-provoking.

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What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

“The ‘Mystery Blogger Award‘ is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion” ~ Okoto Enigma.

How Does It Work:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate up to 10 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

Three Things About Myself:

1 – I’m totally psyched for fall!

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2- I love gardening!

 

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3- I love tea!

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Five Questions from Janie:

1 – What is one thing that is on your bucket list (or thing you really want to do in your lifetime)?

I want to ride on a Segway city tour and what better place than New Orleans!

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2 – How would you describe yourself in a few words?

Funny (I try), caring, and compassionate.

3 – What is your favorite book genre? Your least favorite?

This is hard, but I’ll go with non-fiction in general. I love a good memoir. My least favorite is sports, although, if it’s a book about the Patriots, I’m in!

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4 – Describe the perfect relaxing evening.

Hanging out with my family, watching a great show on Netflix, or reading.

5 -What is your guiltiest pleasure?

FOOD! I love to bake!

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Link to my best post:

I chose the YA book rating post last time because it was fresh and seemed to be a topic many people wanted to comment on. This time, I’ll choose my post regarding Carol Buckley. Carol is the founder of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee and also founded Elephant Aid International. I did an interview with her and you can see the post HERE if you are interested. You’ll learn about her elephant Tarra and where she is now, as well as what Carol is doing to help elephants around the world.

Continue reading “The Mystery Blogger Award #2”

Music Monday: Eminem “Guts Over Fear” Featuring Sia

Music Monday

This meme was created by Drew from The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I’m having so much fun with this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every Monday!

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This week’s song pick:

Eminem

“Guts Over Fear”

I picked this song because I love its meaning. It’s about Eminem’s struggles as an artist and speaks a loud message about courage. I especially love what’s happening in the video. The story is about an aspiring boxer who’s dealing with many issues including money, a pregnant wife, a job he hates, and his dad who obviously has a drinking disorder. The message to me is never give up, persevere and overcome life’s obstacles while ignoring the negative.

The song features Sia singing, but in the video, it’s Chantelle Brown-Young aka Winnie Harlow, a Canadian fashion model. “Guts Over Fear” was also used in the movie “The Equalizer” with Denzel Washington. It’s one of my favorite movies. I’ve included both videos here for you.

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This following video includes clips from “The Equalizer” which can spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it yet.  

 

Lyrics

Feels like a close, it’s coming to
Fuck am I gonna do?
It’s too late to start over
This is the only thing I, thing I know

Sometimes I feel like all I ever do is
Find different ways to word the same, old song
Ever since I came along
From the day the song called ‘’Hi! My Name Is’’ dropped
Started thinking my name was fault
‘Cause anytime things went wrong
I was the one who they would blame it on
The media made me the equivalent of a modern-day Genghis Khan
Tried to argue it was only entertainment, dawg
Gangsta? Naw, courageous balls
Had to change my style, they said I’m way too soft
And I sound like AZ and Nas, out came the claws
And the fangs been out since then
But up until the instant that I’ve been against it
It was ingrained in me that I wouldn’t amount to a shitstain I thought
No wonder I had to unlearn everything my brain was taught
Do I really belong in this game? I pondered
I just wanna play my part, should I make waves or not?
So back and forth in my brain the tug of war wages on
And I don’t wanna seem ungrateful or disrespect the artform I was raised upon
But sometimes you gotta take a loss
And have people rub it in your face before you get made pissed off
And keep pluggin’, it’s your only outlet
And your only outfit so you know they gonna talk about it
Better find a way to counter it quick and make it, ah
Feel like I’ve already said this a kabillion eighty times
How many times can I say the same thing different ways that rhyme?
What I really wanna say is, is there anyone else that can relate to my story?
Bet you feel the same way I felt when I was in the same place you are

I was afraid to
Make a single sound
Afraid I will never find a way out, out, out
Afraid I never before
I didn’t wanna go another round
An angry man’s power will shut you up
Trip wires fill this house with tip-toe love
Run out of excuses with every word
So here I am and I will not run
Guts over fear, (The time is here)
Guts over fear, (I shall not tear)
For all the times I let you push me around
And let you keep me down
(Now I got) Guts over fear, guts over fear

Feels like a close, it’s coming to
Fuck am I gonna do?
It’s too late to start over
This is the only thing I, thing I know

I know what it was like, I was there once, single parents
Hate your appearance, did you struggle to find your place in this world?
And the pain spawns all the anger on
But it wasn’t until I put the pain in songs learned who to aim it on
That I made a spark, started to spit hard as shit
Learned how to harness it while the reins were off
And there was a lot of bizarre shit, but the crazy part
Was soon as I stopped saying “I gave a fuck”
Haters started to appreciate my art
And it just breaks my heart to look at all the pain I’ve caused
But what am I gonna do when the rage is gone?
And the lights go out in the trailer park?
And the window that was closing and there’s nowhere else I can go with flows in
And I’m frozen cause there’s no more emotion for me to pull from
Just a bunch of playful songs that I made for fun
So to the break of dawn here I go recycling the same, old song
But I’d rather make “Not Afraid 2” than making another mothafuckin’ “We Made You” uh
Now I don’t wanna seem indulgent when I discuss my lows and my highs
My demise and my uprise, pray to God
I just opened enough eyes later on
Gave you the supplies and the tools to hopefully use it to make you strong
And enough to lift yourself up when you feel like I felt
‘Cause I can’t explain to y’all how dang exhausted my legs felt
Just having to balance my damn self
But on eggshells I was made to walk
But thank you, ma, ‘cause that gave me the
Strength to cause Shady-mania, so many empty that stadium
At least I made it out of that house and a found a place in this world when the day was done
So this is for every kid who all’s they ever did was dreamt that one day just getting accepted
I represent him or her, anyone similar, you are the reason that I made this song
Everything you’re scared to say don’t be afraid to say no more
From this day on forward, just let them a-holes talk
Take it with a grain of salt and eat their fucking faces off
The legend of the angry blonde lives on through you when I’m gone
And to think I was gone

I was afraid to
Make a single sound
Afraid I will never find a way out, out, out
Afraid I never before
I didn’t wanna go another round
An angry man’s power will shut you up
Trip wires fill this house with tip-toe love
Run out of excuses with every word
So here I am and I will not run
Guts over fear, (The time is here)
Guts over fear, (I shall not tear)
For all the times I let you push me around
And let you keep me down
(Now I got) Guts over fear, guts over fear

Continue reading “Music Monday: Eminem “Guts Over Fear” Featuring Sia”

Shabby Sunday: Poldark by Winston Graham – 1977

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Today is my 6th Shabby Sunday! To see all the Shabby Sunday books that I’ve chosen, please click on ‘Shabby Sunday’ under categories.


Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then, I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


 

Today’s shabby share is:

Poldark

by Winston Graham

 

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Blurb: A gorgeous new release of the heartwarming and hilarious first novel in the Poldark series, the subject of the landmark BBC series

Ross Poldark is a heartwarming, gripping, and utterly entertaining saga that brings to life an unforgettable cast of characters and one of the greatest love stories of our age.

Ross Poldark returns to Cornwall from war, looking forward to a joyful homecoming with his family and his beloved Elizabeth. But instead he discovers that his father has died, his home is overrun by livestock and drunken servants, and Elizabeth, having believed Ross dead, is now engaged to his cousin. Ross must start over, building a completely new path for his life, one that takes him in exciting and unexpected directions . . .

Thus begins an intricately plotted story spanning loves, lives, and generations. The Poldark series is the masterwork of Winston Graham, who evoked the period and people like only he could, and created a world of rich and poor, loss and love, that readers will not soon forget.

I chose this book because I love the entire saga and my Poldark edition is 40 years old! The actual publication date of Poldark is 1945.


My Thoughts:

It’s 1783, and Ross Poldark is returning home after fighting in the American Revolutionary War. When he arrives he learns that his father is dead, his copper mine is failing, and his sweetheart Elizabeth, whom he loves, is engaged to his cousin Francis. Not only that, but the servants haven’t been keeping up with the estate, and it’s in shambles. His joyful homecoming is crushed and everything is a mess with chickens scattered around in his living room.

 

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Nampara

 

Ross plans to get back on his feet again, but his finances are a mess and he struggles to fit back into society. The future is looking fairly grim. He meets a fourteen-year-old girl named Demelza, rescues her from her abusive father, and gives her a job as a kitchen maid at Nampara where he resides. As time moves on, Demelza grows up into a beautiful young woman, their relationship changes, and they get married against everyone’s wishes. There’s hardly a single soul who approves of their marriage and Demelza will have to prove that she’s a worthy wife. Not only does she struggle with society, she struggles with herself because she knows Ross still loves Elizabeth and Demelza is the one who wants to be number one in Ross’s life.

 

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The book is full of memorable characters with Demelza being my favorite. Winston Graham has a way of making the wind, sea, weather, and landscape connect to the feelings of the characters and the imagery of Cornwall pulls you in with all the vivid details.

“He felt he would like one more look at the sea, which even now was licking at the rocks behind the house. He had no sentimental notions about the sea; he had no regard for its dangers or its beauties; to him it was a close acquaintance whose every virtue and failing, every smile and tantrum he had come to understand.” 

The book started off slow for me, but once I got into the story I loved it and couldn’t wait to read the other books in the series. I ended up reading every single book in The Poldark Saga and highly recommend it to all that enjoy reading historical fiction.

 My rating on this is 5*****

5 Sterne

Add it on Goodreads or find this edition on Amazon

You can find many editions of this series on Amazon, eBay, and many other sites.

  • Mass Market Paperback: 347 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Ballantine Books Edition edition (April 12, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345256549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345256546

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Poldark by Winston Graham – 1977”

Thornhill by Pam Smy – Book Review

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Thornhill

by Pam Smy

Blurb: Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as Ella unravels the mystery of the girl next door.

1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute For Children at the very moment that it’s shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

2016: Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one. From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.

  • Age Range: 10 – 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 – 9
  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (August 29, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 162672654X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626726543

My Review:

I’ve been pondering about what to say about this book for days. It took me awhile to see how I felt about the book and I ended up reading it twice. I could feel myself frowning the entire way all the way to the end.

There are two different storylines parallel to each other. The prose is the story of Mary in 1982, while the haunting, interlaced, black and white illustrations are Ella’s story in the present.

Mary is an orphan living at Thornhill in 1982 and is waiting to be adopted. She’s one of the only girls left along with a very mean girl who enjoys tormenting and bullying Mary to the point that Mary remains locked in her room most days.

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She dreads even coming out to eat and spends all of her time in her room making dolls or reading The Secret Garden. Mary’s story is told from her diary pages. I found it emotional and really couldn’t understand why something wasn’t being done to control the behavior of these girls who were treating her wrongly and bullying her. There are spoilers/hints along the way which gives you an idea about the end. I thought that was almost too much.

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Ella’s story is quite different. Told in the present, she’s moved into a house right next door to Thornhill and deals with her own set of problems. Her mother is absent for whatever reason, and her father is busy with work-related engagements, so Ella is left alone most of the time. Thornhill is viewed from right outside her window and she becomes curious when she sees a girl in the garden there, even though Thornhill has been shut down since 1982.  It’s abandoned, but Ella is curious and begins to wonder about the girl she sees from time to time. She begins exploring the garden because, what else is there for her do?

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This is a fairly large book at about 540 pages, but many of the pages are illustrations which make it a fairly quick read. I found the illustrations paired with Mary’s diary haunting and I didn’t want to put it down until I could find out what was going to happen with these two girls. I found the book unique, chilling, and atmospheric, but honestly, I wasn’t happy with parts of the story, especially the unexplained abrupt ending. Overall, it’s good and even though it’s juvenile fiction, it kept me engaged until the end.

My rating is 4.5****

4-stars

Continue reading “Thornhill by Pam Smy – Book Review”

One Lovely Blog Award #2 – Music Edition

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I was nominated by TheOrangutanLibrarian for the One Lovely Blog Award. I admire the way this award was done as a “music” edition, and because I’ve done this award before, I thought I’d stick with the music edition and share 7 musical facts about myself. I’d like to thank The Orangutan Librarian for nominating me! If you haven’t checked out this blog yet, please do! You’ll find many book reviews, book lists, tags, awards, and more.

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THE RULES FOR THE ONE LOVELY BLOGGER AWARD

  1. Each nominee must THANK the person who nominated them and link their blog in the post.
  2. They must include the rules and add the blog award badge as an image.
  3. Must add 7 facts about themselves and then nominate 15 people.

~7 Musical Facts About Me~

#1 – When I was a kid, my room was pink and I despised it. I covered as much as I could with posters from my favorite bands along with other embellishments to try and make my room look cool. Music was pretty much my life and I enjoyed listening to it and creating my own.

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#2 – As you can see in the photo above, I had colored my hair blue. Of course, now, it’s nothing to see someone with colored hair, but back then it was still very rare in my community. My best friend and I used to love hanging out at this store in Chi-town called The Alley, which is where my love for hair dye started. I was the first person in my school to color my hair a different color and my band teacher was very upset with me because we had a concert coming up.

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Wow, she was extremely upset. Looking back now, I do feel bad about it! She was my favorite teacher and I really respected her, I just wanted to color my hair blue! She actually teaches at a local university and I ran into her a few times when I was in college. She doesn’t seem to be mad about it anymore. 🙂 Phew!


#3 – I listen to nearly every music genre, but my favorite will probably always be grunge and I’ve been told that I’m still living in the 90s.

A few favorites from the 90s:

 

 

 


#4 – When I was a child, my grandfather would sing songs to me out of this Reader’s Digest Songbook which I still have. I think this is where my love for music started.

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#5 – When I was in high school band, we went downstate for competition and I won various awards including this really cool Musicianship Award.

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#6 – I discovered a music group called Walk Off the Earth last year. I adore them and find them extremely creative. If you haven’t seen them before, check out this video! It’s amazing. They play a cover of the song “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye using only one instrument!


#7 We went to see Shrek the Musical a while back. It was amazing! It was my first live musical and I was in awe the entire time. We were able to take pictures with the cast afterward which was really fun for the kids to get to meet everyone. It was such a fun experience.

 

Continue reading “One Lovely Blog Award #2 – Music Edition”

Throwback Thursday – September 21st – Panther in the Sun by John Comfort

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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This week’s Pick is…

Panther in the Sun

by John Comfort

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Blurb…

“An enjoyable read . . . renders an anxious excitement as the undeserved hardships of a single American family unfold. . . . Truly, a story with a viewpoint and tradition not often told: that of the American Indian.”
–Chief Hatcher of the Waccamaw Tribe

After tragedy tears apart a Native American family, a father must endure harsh and unjust consequences and fight to find his children. We follow the separated lives of the father and his two sons as they make their way in an unforgiving and hostile world.

Panther in the Sun is a powerful story of courage, love, determination, and reconciliation.

John Comfort has drawn much inspiration from his grandfather, George Riser, whose ancestrally-diverse background includes Oglala Lakota Sioux bloodlines. George was an orphan, he endured great hardship during the Great Depression, and he fought as an elite Frogman in the island campaign of World War II.


My Review:

Panther in the Sun by John Comfort is a truly powerful story about a Native American (Panther in the Sun) and his family. Many events take place and they’re not predictable. The story is very fast paced and a brisk read. It’s full of suspense and surprises. I can truly see this turned into a movie.

I had many emotions while reading the book and found it extremely impelling. This is the kind of book you sit down to read, and you don’t get back up for a really long time! You start to read and then remain because the story is that engaging.

I love the cover, writing style, and storyline. I loved it from beginning to end and I’m hoping for another book!

Thanks to the author, John Comfort, for sharing a copy with me.

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You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: bookgenesis press (October 4, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0996947043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0996947046

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – September 21st – Panther in the Sun by John Comfort”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Funky Monkey Cacao Smoothie – Paw Tracks in the Moonlight by Denis O’Connor

Happy Wednesday! I have a new book to share this week along with a newly discovered delicious smoothie!

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This recipe comes from a book I’ll be reviewing later on. So far, the book is amazing and I’ve enjoyed a few recipes which will be keepers. If you’d like to add this book, you can find it on Goodreads, Amazon, and many other retailers. Mine is the hardcover edition.

Healing Tonics, Juices, and Smoothies

100+ Elixirs to Nurture Body and Soul

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Find it on Goodreads and Amazon


I decided to make this Funky Monkey smoothie because I absolutely love Cacao!

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For those of you who don’t already know, cacao beans are fully raw cocoa beans. It’s the purest form of chocolate that you can consume and it’s delicious! It’s truly one of my favorite raw foods. We are using the nibs and powder in this recipe.

The Ingredients:

1 cup mylk (how it’s spelled in the book)

1 1/2 frozen bananas

1 Tbsp raw cacao powder

2 Tbsp almond butter

1 Tbsp Raw Honey or other liquid sweeteners

1 Tbsp raw cacao nibs

Here’s a picture of the ingredients and directions:

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Here’s what I did:

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I added in my soaked almonds for the milk and the frozen banana.

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I added in the cacao powder. I can’t give you a brand because my label is gone, but there are many brands online. I picked mine up from a health food store.

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I added in the almond butter.

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I just found this new raw honey at Costco. Great price!

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Blend it up well.

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Then, I added in the nibs and blended for just a few seconds to crunch them up a bit. You want the smoothie to be a little chunky. Here’s the brand I use.

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Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Funky Monkey Cacao Smoothie – Paw Tracks in the Moonlight by Denis O’Connor”

The Unicorn in the Barn by Jacqueline K. Ogburn – Book Review and Author Interview

Last month, we took a trip to Barnes and Noble and picked up The Unicorn in the Barn. We were instantly attracted to the title, cover, and blurb. I had the pleasure of reading The Unicorn in the Barn with my younger children and you can see my review and author interview with Jacqueline K. Ogburn below.

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The Unicorn in the Barn

by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, and Rebecca Green (Illustrations)

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   For years people have claimed to see a mysterious white deer in the woods around Chinaberry Creek. It always gets away.
One evening, Eric Harper thinks he spots it. But a deer doesn’t have a coat that shimmers like a pearl. And a deer certainly isn’t born with an ivory horn curling from its forehead.
When Eric discovers the unicorn is hurt and being taken care of by the vet next door and her daughter, Allegra, his life is transformed.
A tender tale of love, loss, and the connections we make, The Unicorn in the Barn shows us that sometimes ordinary life takes extraordinary turns. – Goodreads

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 My Review

Have you ever seen a Unicorn? Eric has, and now his life may be changed forever.

Eric’s grandmother isn’t well and has been put into a nursing home. Her house is now being occupied by someone new, a girl named Allegra, and her mother, a veterinarian. One day, Eric stumbles upon Allegra pounding in a “No Trespassing” sign on the tree where his treehouse resides: his favorite place to be. They don’t seem to like each other, but Eric doesn’t know yet that Allegra may not be as awful as she seems.

As Eric spends more time around the woods and farmhouse, he begins to discover magical creatures, including a white and glowing animal he first thinks is a pony. Soon, he realizes this beautiful pony-like animal is a unicorn: the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. He soon observes that she’s living in the old barn near the farmhouse which has been converted into a vet practice by Allegra’s mother. The unicorn was meant to remain a secret, but Eric is inquisitive and must find out everything he can about this magnificent creature.

We absolutely loved all the magical creatures in the book, especially Moonpearl, the majestic unicorn. The talking animals reminded us of another favorite children’s story-Charlotte’s Web. The human characters are memorable and even though it’s an imaginary story, it felt real. The relationship between Eric and his grandmother is heartwarming and we admired how Eric and Allegra’s friendship developed over time.

There were a few events in the book that we needed to stop and discuss that dealt with loss and mourning and not everything unfolded the way we wanted it to. Overall, this story was beautiful and something I would’ve loved reading as a child. We fell in love with all of the illustrations and found ourselves wanting more. My kids did enjoy it and I’m happy to have it as part of our home library.

My rating on this book is 5*****

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You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon as well as many other bookstores.

  • Age Range: 10 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 – 7
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (July 4, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 054476112X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544761124

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BeFunky Design

Author Interview with Jacqueline K. Ogburn

 

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

A: I didn’t really start calling myself a writer until after about my third picture book. By then I began to believe it was something I was good at, not just a fluke. I had always written things – poetry, journals, letters – starting when I was around 8 or 9.

Q: What made you decide to write children’s books?

A: My path was a bit unusual. I had moved to New York City in my early 20s because I wanted to work in book publishing. My first job was in children’s books, and it made me remember how I fell in love with reading. I wrote my first picture book when I misunderstood a book title. I thought it was The Noise Lullaby, but it turned out to be The Norse Lullaby. Not nearly as intriguing a title, so I wrote a manuscript to go along with the incorrect one.

 

Q: What is your favorite childhood book?

A: Lots of favorites: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and A Wrinkle in Time, also Harriet the Spy and It’s Like This, Cat were some I read and reread. Looking at that list, it is not surprising I moved to New York City. I also loved Black Beauty and Bambi, both which had very sad and harsh scenes. And lots of fairy tales, mostly the one from the Grimm Brothers. I hated most of the Hans Christian Anderson stories. I especially loathed The Little Match Girl. His stories seemed so cruel.

Q: Have you always enjoyed writing? 

A: Like many people, I started with poetry. I like playing with the rhythms and how intricate they could be. Writing a poem can be like solving a puzzle, finding how the pieces fit.

Q: What influenced you to write The Unicorn in the Barn and are any of your books influenced by your childhood?

A: My daughter sparked the idea, when she mentioned that unicorns might be hard for a vet to treat. The setting of the story is based on the farm in North Carolina near Charlotte where my grandmother and my mother grew up, and my uncle still lives. I tried to give it a Southern feel, but not in a stereotypical way.

My book The Jukebox Man was based on my grandfather, who had jukeboxes and pool tables at bars and restaurants throughout North Carolina. The illustrator, James Ransome, also used my house in one of the pictures.

Q: How does writing make you feel and does it come easy for you?

A: I hate starting a piece. Starting is so hard, trying to find a way in. Those first fewwriting-center-1024x692.jpg sentences set up so much. Once I get past that, it is very absorbing. Picture books are so short that I can usually write a full draft in a day or two. I can hold the whole picture book in my head while I research and work out the plot or the structure.

Novels are hard because they have so much middle. Some many possible blind alleys and it seems to magically expand. Or you get stuck and aren’t sure how to keep it building towards the end.

Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

A: That’s like asking who is your favorite child. I love them all. I have published 10 picture books and one middle-grade novel. I love The Reptile Ball because it was a collection of poems. The Magic Nesting Doll was an original fairy tale. The Bake Shop Ghost because it is about cakes and a cranky ghost. Also because I got to write a musical based on it and see it performed, and it was made into a short film, which I got to see being made.

Q: What makes a great children’s book?

A: It’s easier to say what makes a bad one – a didactic approach, condescending tone, sugary sweet sentimentality, not respecting that children are people, stories that rote, routine and boring.

Q: Why don’t you illustrate your own books and what’s the process like for finding illustrators?

A: While I like to draw, I haven’t developed that talent. There are so many incredible artists out there, and I have been lucky in the ones who had illustrated my books. I don’t find the illustrators, the publisher does that, because they give a separate contract to the artist. I usually discuss the style of art the story needs with the publisher. Lots of artists have turned down my stories, for all sorts of reason – they didn’t like it, didn’t fit their schedule, etc. Once I met an illustrator years after he turned down my story. He did wonderful, realistic illustrations of children that were beautiful and intense. He remembered my story. He explained that he didn’t do it because the action took place inside, and he hated drawing interiors. He loved illustrating outdoor scenes.

 

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Illustrations from The Unicorn in the Barn by Rebecca Green

 

Q: What’s the publishing process been like for you and how do you market your books?

A: I have been very lucky in my publishing career. I don’t have an agent, but have worked with several editors at three different houses. I have had several books rejected, and probably don’t market those enough. I do some online marketing for my published, but that is changing so rapidly that it is hard to keep up. I do some school visits, but I have a day job, so I’m not a true road warrior.

Q: Do you like to read a lot? If so, who are some of your favorite authors and are there any that heavily influence your writing?2839.jpg

A: I read constantly. I’m the type of person who reads the cereal box if there is nothing else around. For picture books, Margaret Mahy was an influence – she is very funny and whimsical and playful with language. For a novel, The Bridge to Terabithia was an influence.

Q: When it comes to writing, what tools do you use?

A: Pen for poetry, computer for prose.

Q: How long did it take you to write The Unicorn in the Barn?

A: More years than it should have – about 10. I didn’t work on it consistently. I would put it away for months at a time, then find myself thinking about the characters and work on it until I got stuck again.

Q: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?

A: The middle kept growing, that there were more things I realized I needed to put in that weren’t part of the original outline.

Q: Will there be any other books regarding Moonpearl or the characters in this book in the future?

A: I have some chapters of a sequel, told from Allegra’s point of view. The main magical creature is a griffin, because I love the hybrid of lion and eagle.

Q: How did you come up with the character names in the book and are any characters or events based on anything true?

A: My daughter who gave me the spark, her middle name is Harper, so I used that for Eric’s family name. I did research by volunteering at the Piedmont Wildlife Center, so some of the details about the clinic are drawn from that, and the farm is based on the one where my grandmother and mother grew up.

Q: I appreciated that the book dealt with some harder topics like aging, death, and mourning which can be difficult for children to cope with. Did you make any major edits to the book or have other endings for the story?

A: I changed an important scene. Originally Eric tried to take the unicorn to his grandmother and Moonpearl ran away after being frightened by a car. My editor and husband thought it made Eric seem too selfish and unsympathetic. So I had to change a lot and ended up with the wampus cat.

If you tell a story about a hospital or a doctor, about healing, then death is always a possibility. I called a friend crying once, because I realized I needed to include the death of an animal if it was going to be a fantasy grounded in reality.

Being the parent or grandparent of a children’s book protagonist is risky business – they die off at an alarming rate. The loss of a grandparent or a pet are frequently a child’s first experience of death, and the initial setting I created made them almost inevitable. I tried to do it in a way that was emotionally true, but not crushing. To show that these things can be faced, especially with help.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?images.jpg

A: Read a lot, and be persistent. Dr. Seuss was famously rejected over 30 times before he found a publisher for his first book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street.

Q: Do you have any advice for parents who are dealing with struggling readers?

A: That is a bit outside my expertise, but modeling reading is one. Anything that appeals to an interest they have, don’t worry about if it’s “good” just something that they want to figure out. Reading out loud, just as sharing, not as pressure.

Q: Are you working on anything now and do you have any future projects planned?

A: The possible sequels and I have an idea for a series, maybe a bit younger than this.

Q: What else do you like to do outside of writing?

A: I live in Durham, North Carolina, which is now a foodie town. I like to cook and eat well. I grow herbs and flowers and tomatoes, because not even the farmer’s market has tomatoes as good as the ones in your own backyard.

I’d like to thank Jacqueline K. Ogburn for her time in completing this interview.

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Continue reading “The Unicorn in the Barn by Jacqueline K. Ogburn – Book Review and Author Interview”

Music Monday! Pantera “Cemetery Gates” 1990

Music Monday

This meme was created by Drew from The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday! I’m having so much fun with this meme and I’m so glad that Claire@BrizzleLassBooks brought it to my attention.

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I thought I’d go way back to the 90s for this Music Monday. I saw Pantera in concert multiple times in the 90s and this is truly one of my favorite songs by them. I honestly had a hard time choosing one favorite Pantera song, but I chose this one because the song really highlights Phil Anselmo’s voice. A lot of people don’t like metal music, and that’s perfectly fine, but just please give this one a try. His vocal ability is quite amazing and I personally find his range electrifying.

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I get serious butterflies in my stomach when I hear this song. When Phil was asked about the song meaning, he spoke about the lyrics lamenting the death of a female lover and the narrator reflects on rejoining her in the afterlife. Regarding the lyrical inspiration, Phil Anselmo told Music Photocalypse: “There was a friend who had died in New Orleans and it had a real heavy impact within my group of friends.” – Songfacts.com


 

This week’s Song Pick

Pantera

“Cemetery Gates”

I have to give you two different versions of the song and here’s why. This first version with the official video cuts off a whole section from the front of the song; a very important part of the song. The second version is the original tempo, but it cuts off the back of the song, which is also very important.

At 4:54 is an unbelievable screaming high note from Phil paired with a follow-up from Darrell’s guitar, it’s insane!

Here’s the second version from VH1, which includes the beginning lyrics below. This is the “Demon Knight” movie version which features the Crypt-Keeper laughing at the beginning and also an alternate ending- just a warning! It’s a little disturbing. Does anyone remember the Crypt-Keeper? I prefer this ‘version’ of the song because of the tempo, but the Crypt- Keeper interrupts the ending and totally freaks me out…

-Lyrics-

Reverend, reverend,
Is this a conspiracy?
Crucified for no sins
No revenge beneath me
Lost within my plans for life,
It all seems so unreal
I’m a man cut in half in this world,
Left in my misery

Reverend he turned to me
Without a tear in his eyes
Nothing new for him to see,
I didn’t ask him why
I will remember
The love our souls had sworn to make
Now I watch the falling rain
All my mind can see now is your

Well I guess you took my youth
And gave it all away
Like the birth of a new found joy
This love would end in rage
And when she died I couldn’t cry
The pride within my soul
You left me incomplete
All alone as the memories now unfold

Believe the word
I will unlock my door
And pass the cemetery gates

Sometimes when I’m alone,
I wonder aloud,
If you’re watching over me
Some place far abound
I must reverse my life
I can’t live in the past
Then set my soul free,
Belong to me at last

Through all those complex years
I thought I was alone
I didn’t care to look around
And make this world my own
And when she died
I should’ve cried and spared myself some pain
You left me incomplete,
All alone as the memories still remain

The way we were,
The chance to save my soul
And my concern is now in vain
Believe the word,
I will unlock my door
And pass the cemetery gates

The way we were,
The chance to save my soul
And my concern is now in vain.
Believe the word,
I will unlock my door
And pass the cemetery

Gates
Gates
Gates

Continue reading “Music Monday! Pantera “Cemetery Gates” 1990″

Shabby Sunday: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – 1991

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Today is my 5th Shabby Sunday! To see all the Shabby Sunday books that I’ve chosen, please click on ‘Shabby Sunday’ under categories.


Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then, I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


 

Today’s shabby share is:

Outlander

by Diana Gabaldon

1991

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I chose this book because believe it or not, it was written in 1991 – 26 years ago! My copy is the first edition from 1991. I love the cover.

Blurb: Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another…

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life …and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

My Thoughts:

Claire Randall is a nurse living in Scotland with Frank, her husband, just after the end of World War II. Frank is absorbed in studying his family tree and tracking one of his ancestors named “Black Jack” Randall. Claire has an interest in Botany and studies plants along with their healing factors.

One day, Claire comes across a stone circle called Craigh na Dun.

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While there, she discovers a plant and can’t stop thinking about it. She comes back another day to collect the plant near the stones and hears one of the stones scream. One after another, they all scream. Something strange is happening and Claire wakes up in Scotland, but in 1743. She witnesses men in kilts and a man that looks like Frank but isn’t. Quickly, Claire is taken away by a band of Scotsmen and this is where she meets Jamie, a man she’ll soon have to marry if she wants to survive.

 

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Claire and Jamie from the series on STARZ

 

This was an outstanding book that kept me entertained throughout. I was completely immersed in this story from start to finish. I loved Claire and Jamie’s smart, yet stubborn characters and enjoyed the formation of their relationship. All the characters had good development with some that I loved and some that I hated, but most were unforgettable. The pacing was perfect and never once did I want to stop reading, except for the few parts I found a tad difficult to read.

Some consider this a romance novel, but I think of it more as historical fiction. It does have a good amount of romance, but so much more than that. I’m not a history buff, but it seems that Diana Gabaldon has really done her research with this series and has spun a tale that can’t be forgotten.

My rating on this one is 5-stars.

5 Sterne


 

Add it on Goodreads or find this edition on Amazon

You can find many editions of this series on Amazon, eBay, and many other sites.

This edition is:

  • Hardcover: 627 pages
  • 1991 Delacorte Press – Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing
  • ISBN 0-385-30230-4

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – 1991”

Meet The Reader with Anthony Jones

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I’m always looking for friends on Goodreads that have similar tastes. I like learning about new books and discussing them with others, so I decided to experiment with a new idea and thought it would be neat to find readers that I’m friends with on Goodreads and share them with you. Maybe they might be someone you’d like to add too. As I find readers with an interest, I’ll introduce them.


Meet the Reader Series

Today’s Featured Reader:

Anthony Jones

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(Click the covers to add on Goodreads)

Did you enjoy reading as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite books?

I started reading more as a teen but always enjoyed books. In the olden days, when TV’s were black and white and the only channels were CBS, ABC, NBC and PBS, and before such things as video games, many of us kids would gather at each other’s home for what was commonly referred to as story time. Neighborhood moms would take turns reading to the kids. Here is where I fell in love with stories. Some of my favorites were:

Mark Twain’s, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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and The Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Wilder.

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What are some of your favorite books this year or last?

This year, some of the books that made my favorites list include:

American Gods by Neal Gaiman

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The Stand by Stephen King

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Everything’s Eventual  by Stephen King

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Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hurnard Hannah

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In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan

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What are your favorite book genres?

I love most fiction, specifically, Fantasy Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Thriller, and select Mystery. That is not to say I don’t also love some true stories if written in a well entertaining way. Such books would include An Innocent Man, by John Grisham, and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

 

Continue reading “Meet The Reader with Anthony Jones”

Amazon redacts one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new book What Happened

Hundreds of damning verdicts on memoir of 2016 presidential race, posted within hours of publication, have been removed by the online bookseller.

I saw this on The Guardian this morning. It might be highly unlikely that all of the people read the book overnight, but I’m not sure if I agree with the removal of the ratings if they can’t prove that the people indeed didn’t read the book.

This made me think of The Black Witch, a book I read earlier this year. Many people rated it 1-star without reading it because they said it was racist after reading one person’s damaging review. I have to wonder why Goodreads refuses to remove 1-star ratings from users who openly admit to NEVER reading the book? 


From The Guardian:

Hundreds of one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s memoir What Happened, which appeared online within hours of the 512-page book’s publication, have been removed from Amazon.

What Happened, in which Clinton gives her account of the 2016 presidential campaign, was published on Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, there were more than 1,500 reviews of the novel on Amazon.com, the majority either glowing or scathing.

The book’s publisher at Simon & Schuster, Jonathan Karp, told the Associated Press: “It seems highly unlikely that approximately 1,500 people read Hillary Clinton’s book overnight and came to the stark conclusion that it is either brilliant or awful.”

Continue reading “Amazon redacts one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new book What Happened”

#Blog Tour #Book Review – The Spell of the Horse by Pam Billinge

I was very lucky to be able to participate in the blog tour for The Spell of the Horse, a book written by Pam Billinge. This blog tour is organized by Blackbird Digital Books.

 

The Spell of the Horse by Pam Billinge

Stories of Healing and Personal Transformation with Nature’s Finest Teachers

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Blurb:

The ability of the horse to sense emotion, energy and spirit is way beyond what most of the human world realises. A must-read for those wishing to understand the spiritual connection between horses and humans.

When Pam’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she began to notice the way her horse responded to her emotional turmoil. Thus began an exploration into the spiritual relationship between horses and humans and their infinite capacity to help us heal. Building on her remarkable discoveries, Pam began her pioneering work as a horse-led coach and therapist. By sharing her own path to redemption through personal tragedy, and other stories of healing inspired by the incredible interactions she has observed between horse and human, Pam puts forward her uplifting insights about the true nature of the horse, setting out some simple principles to help the reader transcend life’s challenges.

Discover the lessons which horse behaviour have taught the author about

* managing anxiety
* surviving bereavement
* letting go of fear and finding courage to live with joy and purpose
* listening to inner wisdom without over thinking dilemmas, allowing the right things to happen in life without force

This memoir will appeal to fans of The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, The Wild Other by Clover Stroud and H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Pam Billinge is a body psychotherapy professional and leadership coach at the top of her game in the UK field of horse-led therapy.


My Thoughts:

I’ve been a horse owner for part of my life and have always found the relationship between horse and human to be something very special. After reading this book, I understand even more how horses can sense our emotions because we are transparent and they react to them in many different ways. I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression in the past and I’ve discovered first hand how animals, including horses, can assist us in many ways. They are there for us in our time of need and can help us discover our true self. They have the power to help us heal.

“My body and soul were moving to a different rhythm. The self-pity had gone. My vitality was back. I was thankful for every breath I took in this incredible world. I was under the spell, the spell of the Horse. Healing had commenced.”

Pam Billinge has written a book about her own journey to heal and achieve happiness. She writes about her experiences with horses and horse therapy. While struggling herself, she works with people who are having problems in their lives and the horse, in turn, helps them discover what’s wrong. Horses respond to their emotions and after working with them, they begin to ask themselves what they need to change in their own life trajectories and why things are the way they are with their family, relationships, career, or life in general.

I found The Spell of the Horse emotional at times, especially when it seemed that the author’s life was in a downward spiral. The book contains some of the author’s experience with challenging relationships, tragedy, love, death, and mourning. Some of my favorite parts in the book involved the discovery.

“Our spirit, our essence, is about being. It is the life that pulses and ripples within us. It is what is left when the heart beats no more. It is something that is sensed, and something of the senses. It is something which resonates, which vibrates. It is a silent music, and the emotions and feelings that animate us during life are the notes, the chords, and the crescendos of that symphony.”

The Spell of the Horse can be cherished by those who work with horses or enjoy horses in general, but it can also help anyone discover that healing is real. Readers will discover how others have changed their direction in life and have become happier people because of it. They’ve taken control, and all because of the spell of the horse.

My rating is:

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Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Blackbird Digital Books (September 18, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0995473552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0995473553

About the Author:

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The first horses which Pam became fascinated by were ridden by the mounted policemen she would see passing her childhood home in Liverpool on the way to supervise football matches. Little did she know, then, how these magnificent creatures would influence her adult life, not only supporting her through a number of personal tragedies, but also leading to her pioneering work in horse-led psychotherapy and coaching.

In her first book, The Spell of the Horse, Pam shares her memoir and other stories inspired by the incredible interactions she has observed between horse and human. Thus she reveals the true nature of the horse whilst delivering some simple principles to help the reader transcend life’s challenges to live with purpose, self-belief and joy.

Find Pam Billinge on:

Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Continue reading “#Blog Tour #Book Review – The Spell of the Horse by Pam Billinge”

Throwback Thursday – September 14th -The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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This week’s Pick is…

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel 

by Louise Murphy

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Blurb: In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed “Hansel” and “Gretel.” They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called “witch” by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children. Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, this haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children, and tells a resonant, riveting story.

My thoughts…

It’s nearly the end of the Nazi occupation of Poland and a father must abandon his children near a forest so that they can search for safety from the Germans. On the journey, they meet Magda, the so-called village witch. Magda is willing to risk her life and others to keep the children safe.

“The wheel turns. Blue above, green below, we wonder a long way, but love is what the cup of our soul contains when we leave the world and the flesh. This we will drink forever. I know. I am Magna. I am the witch.”

Hansel and Gretel has been a favorite fairy tale since childhood. It was most definitely one of the scariest. The way the author has taken the fairy tale, re-imagined it, and paired it with the evil nightmare of WWII is fascinating. The story feels so authentic. It’s incredible to me how the author has a way of keeping to the original story of Hansel and Gretel throughout, consistently hovering around elements true to the original fairy tale.

The story itself is dark and twisted and highlights the true evil doing against the Jewish, Gypsies, and dissidents during WWII. It was nothing like what I expected. I had an idea of the plot, but there’s so much more to the story. Parts of the story were so hard to get through, but I loved the characters especially Magda, Nelka, Telek, Hansel, and Gretel. Magna was surely my most prized character. The beautiful prose and specific elements reminded me of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which is one of my favorite books of 2017.

There are discussion questions and an interview with the author at the conclusion which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m not sure why it’s listed as having 320 pages. My book has 297 plus a few more for interview and discussion.

This book gets 5-stars from me…

5 Sterne


 

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First Edition edition (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142003077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142003077

 

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Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – September 14th -The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy”

Cynder’s New Puppies…

It happened!

On September 12th, at 2:38 a.m., Cynder had her first pup followed by two more.

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The evening prior, she began nesting and digging around the house. I thought for sure this week we’d have puppies, but didn’t know that it would be that quick. She honestly went at it like a pro. She didn’t cry or seem distressed…

Winston sounded the alarm and woke up my oldest son right after she had the first puppy. We really didn’t need to assist her at all.

Puppy 1 – 2:38 a.m. – Looks just like Winston and a big girl.

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Puppy 2 – 3:34 a.m. – Looks just like Cynder, a little bigger than the first pup, and a boy.

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Puppy 3 – 4:00 a.m. – The runt of the litter. Looks just like Cynder, but so very tiny. Another girl.

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She’s been such a great mom and they are nursing away and already growing. It still seems surreal that she had puppies. She didn’t change much during pregnancy and those that read the Lesson’s from Grandpa post #5 know that we questioned the whole time whether or not she was truly pregnant. I’m really glad that we waited and just let everything happen naturally.

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Continue reading “Cynder’s New Puppies…”

Music Monday – September 11th Memorial – James Taylor “You Can Close Your Eyes”

Music Monday

This meme was created by Drew from The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday!

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Today is a special Music Monday. Last week I shared a song by Simon and Garfunkel titled “The Sound of Silence” from the 10-year September 11th Memorial service. If you’d like to see that post you can click HERE. Today on September 11th, 16 years later, I thought I’d share another song from the 10-year memorial service which was performed by James Taylor and it’s titled “You Can Close Your Eyes.”

James Taylor

You Can Close Your Eyes

 

Lyrics:

“You Can Close Your Eyes”

Well the sun is surely sinking down, but the moon is slowly rising.
So this old world must still be spinning round and I still love you.

So close your eyes, you can close your eyes, it’s all right.
I don’t know no love songs and I can’t sing the blues anymore.
But I can sing this song and you can sing this song when I’m gone.

It won’t be long before another day, we gonna have a good time.
And no one’s gonna take that time away. You can stay as long as you like.

So close your eyes, you can close your eyes, it’s all right.
I don’t know no love songs and I can’t sing the blues anymore.
But I can sing this song and you can sing this song when I’m gone.

 


“You Can Close Your Eyes” is from the album:

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You can find it on Amazon

Release dateMarch 16, 1971
StudioCrystal Sound Studios, Los Angeles
GenresRock music, Acoustic music

Continue reading “Music Monday – September 11th Memorial – James Taylor “You Can Close Your Eyes””

Shabby Sunday: The Tall Book of Mother Goose – 1942

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Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then, I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

The Tall Book of Mother Goose

by Feodor Rojankovsky (Illustrator)

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I’ve had this book since I was very young and can still remember climbing up on the couch to read it with my grandfather. It was published in 1942 and was a part of the school library where my grandfather worked as a teacher and principal. The book was even used by my mother and her siblings. It’s now a part of my home library.

There are over 100 nursery rhymes in this book. Some of my favorites are “The House That Jack Built,” “Old Mother Hubbard,” and “Old King Cole.” My absolute favorite in the entire book is “Sing a Song of Sixpence.”

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My grandfather wouldn’t just read this one, he would sing it. We didn’t even have to be reading the book; we would dance around singing it. It’s a wonderful memory and I’m happy to have this book to share with my kids.

Some of the illustrations are in color and some in black and white. The book is definitely tall at about 12 inches. This 1942 edition is about 120 pages.

My rating is 5-stars.

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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: The Tall Book of Mother Goose – 1942”

The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller – Author Interview + Book Review

Recently I read The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller. You can read my book review and the interview I did with the author below.

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The White Raven

by Carrie D. Miller

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Blurb: In her thirteenth life, Aven has settled into the now witchcraft-friendly Salem where she has found true happiness and friendship, maybe even love. Despite her contentment, the truth of Aven’s existence haunts her. When she dies, her Spirit is forced from the Veil to live again in the body of a stranger.

Does the elusive white raven, who has shadowed Aven through each of her lives, hold the secret to her release–or is it the cause?

To make matters worse, an unrelenting, twisted evil from Aven’s past lurks closely behind her. Sustained by his hatred of the witch, he won’t give up until she’s paid for what she did to him.

When the truth of Aven’s connection to the white raven is revealed, it is more horrifying than she could ever have imagined.

Her freedom will come at a terrible price. And even then, will she truly be free?

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: FiveFold Press; First edition (April 28, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1947024019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1947024014

My Review:

Aven is living the happiest life she’s ever had, and she’s had twelve others before. She lives with memories from her past lives and unfortunately her deaths too, including the remembrance of her murderer-Morris Stiles.

“This is the happiest I’ve ever been. I have been through so much pain and suffering in my previous lives, but here I feel like I’ve finally found a place where I belong and can thrive. When the recurring dread and despair that this life will end too soon creep into my mind, I pack them back down tightly. I’ve set aside all thoughts of my curse for now. I will make this a good life.”

Aven’s been cursed to continue living on Earth no matter how many times she dies. In this life, she’s settled down in Salem and owns a little shop where she does readings and sells magickal items. She has Jo- her very close and supportive friend who accepts her for who she is and has true power herself, Cal- a man who’s just come into the picture and might be just what Aven needs, and the white raven- who seems to follow her wherever she goes, but she cannot see it.

“He’s always around you, you know,” she says absently, looking off behind me again. “I know.” I don’t turn around; he won’t be there. “But he never shows himself. This has been going on for several lifetimes. I think almost all of them.” I can’t remember a time when the bird wasn’t there.”

Everything seems to be perfect until suddenly something haunts Aven from her past. Will she overcome it? How will she ever break this curse of living over and over again?

This book is written well and I thought the character development was perfect. The characters are memorable and I must say, Aven ended up being my favorite character in the book. She’s so strong-minded and doesn’t let anything stop her from using her magick. She has a strong and important message to be who YOU want to be. I loved Maggie – her canine companion, Jo, and Sylvia as well. I cherished all the details, descriptions and imagery that really pull you in and make you feel like you’re living the story. The author managed to add a little bit of everything here–romance, magick, jealousy, friendship, evil, and love. This is the perfect book to read this time of year, especially with all the magick and Halloween elements. I’m hopeful there’s going to be a sequel and I’ll definitely be reading it if there is!

5 Sterne

You can find The White Raven on Goodreads and Amazon

 


 

BeFunky Design

Q&A With Carrie D. Miller

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Can you tell readers something interesting about yourself?

Many people have commented on how authentic the magick feels in The White Raven. Well, truth be told, that’s because I really am a witch. 🙂

Have you always wanted to be an author?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a published author.

Did you enjoy reading as a child? What are some of your childhood favorites?

I loved to read. And before I could read, I loved my mother reading to me before I went to sleep.

My favorite as a kid was C.S. Lewis. I read the Chronicles of Narnia over and over.

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Do you enjoy reading now? Who are some of your favorite authors?

I still love to read. Some of my favorites are James Rollins, the Preston & Child writing duo, and Marie Brennan.

Are there any authors that have inspired your writing?

My tastes change all the time and I take away a little something from every author I read. Who has affected me more recently is Paula Brackston (The Silver Witch, The Witch’s Daughter). Her writing style is like a song in my head.

What have you written so far?

I’ve written many stories over the decades but only completed and published one, The White Raven.

What are some of your writing tactics? Do you outline?

I am a planner! I outline, research, and spreadsheet or diagram as much as I can about the story. I create character dossiers, also. The outline for TWR was 18 pages. I don’t treat the outline as gospel, though. I use it mostly as a guideline. If my writing veers off in other directions, I go with it. I scraped many pages of TWR’s outline because I loved the different directions it went.

Do you do all your own editing?

While I do revise and edit as much as I can, I know what my limitations are. I hire professionals for that kind of stuff.

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do? 

A year and a half ago, I quit my ‘day job’ to become a full-time writer. I was a vice president of a software company, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I decided that it was time to take the leap, to take a shot at the dream I’ve had since I was a kid. I have zero regrets.

What do you love most about writing?

I love seeing the story build and grow. I love seeing the characters come alive, watching their unique personalities and behaviors take shape. I love the tingling feeling, the excitement flitting around in my chest as an amazing scene flies out of my fingers.

How do you publish and market your books?

I decided early on that I would self-publish. I am a bit of a control freak, so it made sense for me to go that route in the beginning. I initially published exclusively on Amazon, but in July I expanded to everywhere else – Nook, iTunes, Kobo, etc. I’m running ads on Amazon and Kobo right now.

Do you have any advice for others on publishing and marketing?

One word: RESEARCH. Don’t just do things blindly. Don’t wing it. Research, research,
research. Follow and observe what other authors are doing, read articles on best practices and the mistakes made by others, and ask questions. That will save you heartache, headaches, and embarrassment in the future. And for heaven’s sake, don’t create your own book cover or rely on only your own editing skills. Hire professionals!

What do you consider literary success?

I have discovered that my definition of literary success has a few levels. My initial success was that I actually published a book! Now that people are buying it and giving it great reviews, that’s a whole new level of success to me. The way that feels in my heart, knowing that people are sitting down on their couches or curled up in their beds with my book in their hands, giving me their precious time, gives me such a feeling of success that I couldn’t have imagined before. My next success will be when I can make my car payment without having to dip into my savings. 😀

What made you decide to write this book?

The creation of this book sprang out of frustration. At the time, years ago, I couldn’t find any books featuring witches that weren’t annoyingly cliche or that didn’t perpetuate the Hollywood or Christian stereotype. I wanted to write the kind of book that I wanted to read. Since then, I’ve discovered several authors that pen wonderful stories featuring witches and magick that I just love, so I’m very happy with the shift that’s taken place over the years.

Can you tell us about the covers for The White Raven and who designed them?

The original book cover was designed by an artist, Helen Lloyd (http://www.helenlloyd.com), from England who specializes in animals. I had seen an amazing pencil drawing of a crow and knew she would be the one to bring Ren to life. I kept the original cover for about 3 months.

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After doing some more research on how book covers should be done, I decided to go a different route with it. The new design was done by Damonza (http://www.damonza.com) and I’m thrilled with it.

Are you working on anything now and what are your future writing plans?

I’m 23k words into a story involving copper pennies, dead criminals, a bad guy wanting to do bad things involving demons, an old woman’s spirit held in a cracked crystal ball, and twin red-headed sisters who know nothing about magick but have to stop the bad guy from doing bad things with his own spell book they can’t read. It’s set mostly in modern-day Prague and Boston but will venture back into the 1930s. I foresee these sisters becoming a series. Two or three books, I think.

Do you think your writing will remain in the fantasy genre?

Probably but I do have a science fiction idea in my head. Maybe one day I’ll resurrect the high fantasy I started 15+ years ago. I even created a world map. It’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

Is Halloween a special time for you and an inspiration for writing this magickal book with Halloween elements?

I absolutely love Halloween. Not just because it’s my birthday either. If I could dress in costume all the time and have my home decorated for Halloween all year long and not be looked at like a crazy person, I would totally do it.

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Do you have a special connection with Salem or have you visited there?

I’ve visited it twice. Once because I was in Boston on business and the second time as research for the book.

How much research did you do for The White Raven and how long did it take you to write it?

As they say, write what you know! I didn’t do that much research for the witchcraft aspects of the book. I am a witch myself, so I knew much of this already. I needed help from my sisters in the Craft when it came to the past life rituals, of which I knew nothing, and the selection of a stone to shield energy. And I’m not very good with auras so I researched online what colors are associated with deep negative emotions. Although I had been to Salem before, I went back there to specifically research the area for the book. All-in-all, it took me about 3 months to write the whole thing, minus the few chapters I’d written over the years, which got mostly rewritten.

Is there a book trailer for The White Raven or do you intend on making one?

I’ve considered it but no, it’s not in my plan. It’s a costly endeavor, especially since I want movie-quality awesomeness.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

The hardest part by far to write was the first sex scene, no pun intended. I ended up having to google how to do it! How much detail do I go into? How far do I go? What euphemisms do I use without sounding corny? I think that first one was rewritten three or four times, thanks to the help of my editor.

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I loved the ending and have to ask, will there be a sequel to The White Raven and when can we expect it?

There will absolutely be a sequel. I hope to get it out sometime in late 2018.

Was anything edited out and did you have alternate endings for the book?

Honestly, I had the ending written years ago. I never had any other thoughts on how else it could end. It simply had to end like it did. As for what was edited out, the original manuscript was over 115k words. The final was about 107k. With the guidance of my amazing editor, she helped me streamline scenes and cull bits that did nothing to move the story along or build out a character.

If The White Raven were adapted into a movie, who would you see playing the main characters?

I see Eva Green as Aven, maybe even Kate Beckinsale or Charlize Theron.

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Eva Green

 

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Kate Beckinsale

 

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Charlize Theron

Cal is absolutely Viggo Mortensen.

 

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Viggo Mortensen

Continue reading “The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller – Author Interview + Book Review”

The Lost Boys Vol.1 by Tim Seeley

The Lost Boys Vol.1

by Tim Seeley

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Blurb: In this follow-up to the 1987 cult classic film, horror masters Tim Seeley and Scott Godlewski wade into the bloody, badass world of California vampires for an all-new tale of thrills, chills, and good old-fashioned heart-staking action in THE LOST BOYS VOL. 1!

Welcome to scenic Santa Carla, California. Great beaches. Colorful characters. Killer nightlife. And, of course, all the damn vampires.

The Emerson brothers (Sam and Michael) and the Frog brothers (Edgar and Alan) learned that last part the hard way–these underage slayers took on the vampire master Max and his pack of punked-out minions, and drove a stake right through their plans to suck Santa Carla dry. After scraping the undead goo off their shoes, they figured everything was back to normal.

But now there are new vamps in town.

A coven of female undead called the Blood Belles has moved in, and they’ve targeted Sam, Michael, the Frog Brothers, and every other vampire hunter in Santa Carla for bloody vengeance.

It’ll take every trick in the brothers’ monster-killing book to stop these bloodsuckers from unleashing an entire army of the damned. And they’ll need help from an unexpected source–a certain shirtless sax-playing savior known only as the Believer!

Do you still believe? Collects #1-6.

  • Series: Lost Boys
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (August 15, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401271456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401271459

Find this on Goodreads and Amazon


My Review:

As soon as I saw this, I had to pick it up. I went straight to Amazon and bought it. Being a child of the 80s, “The Lost Boys” was one of my favorite movies. I couldn’t wait to read this.

The story starts out right after the end of the first movie with a little short recap and David had just been defeated along with Max and the rest of the clan. Sam is working at Fantasy World Comics and having a discussion with a customer.

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Sam

All is good in Santa Carla, or is it?

The Frog brothers are still practicing their vampire hunting skills along with Grandpa Emerson. Now, there’s a whole new breed of female vampires called the Blood Belles on the loose and they’re looking to kill every vampire hunter in sight.

Can the Frog brothers stop the bloodsuckers before they take over Santa Carla for good?

All the main characters are present in this graphic novel including Sam, Michael, Lucy, Grandpa Emerson, The Frog Brothers, Star, Laddie and a few other surprise characters as well. I thought the graphics were pretty good, my only complaint was that they don’t look as real as the true movie characters like they do on the cover.

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Michael and Star

My favorite character is the awesome Tim Cappello! I’m sure all you fans remember this beefy sax player from the movie, right? He has a significant part in the story. I was pleased with his addition. You can see the original music video for “I Still Believe” from “The Lost Boys” movie below to refresh your memory.

Overall, I’m glad I read it and even had a few laughs. It was nostalgic and I enjoyed revisiting all of my favorite characters from the original movie. The story kept me interested and the graphics were pleasing. This is a good sequel to the movie. It does contain some harsh language and it’s probably best for older teens+

I’ll rate this one 4****

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Continue reading “The Lost Boys Vol.1 by Tim Seeley”

Award: The Miranda Sings Award

I was nominated by Noriko@ BookFiendSite for The Miranda Sings Award. Up until seeing this on Noriko’s site, I’d never seen this award before. Please check out Noriko’s blog for awesome book reviews, tags, challenges, wrap-ups, awards and more.

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Thanks, Noriko! I appreciate you nominating me.

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Rules:

  • Announce your win with a post, and link the blogger who nominated you.
  • Include the featured image on your blog post.
  • Nominate 10 bloggers (or as many as you can think of) and link your awardees in the post.
  • List 7 things you love about yourself. (This can be about your appearance, your personality, your achievements, etc.)
  • Don’t use negative connotation (i.e. Don’t say things like – “I’m prettier than an average person.” or “People have told me I’m smart.” You are pretty. You are smart.)

7 Things I love about myself:

I had a long paragraph written about why it’s difficult to pick out 7 things that I love about myself, but I deleted it and I’m just going for it!

I’m healthy –  Four years ago I wasn’t. I took control and healed my body. I don’t want to talk too much about this because I already have in previous posts, but I’m happy that I don’t have to feel sick all the time, I’m off meds, and mainly just deal with fatigue at this point.

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I can fix things – Since I was a child, I’ve always been a fix it Felix. I love to take things apart and figure out how to fix them. I have this old Halloween snow globe that stopped working a few years ago and I finally opened it up last year and fixed it. I’m really happy about it because it’s one I couldn’t replace.

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I’m a problem solver – I feel like I’m a fairly good problem solver and also improvise well. In a college computer science course, we had to figure out this complex problem involving the distance a fly traveled around a room and I was one in a small group of people to figure it out. That made me feel awesome and really boosted my self-confidence.

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I’m a good mom – I put my kids first and try to be the best mom I can be.

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I’m Creative – I enjoy creating things and have skills in sewing & quilting, crafts, drawing, painting, and needle arts like crochet and knitting. I’ve had my hands in most types of art and I love that.

 

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A wall quilt I recently made

 

I’m Unique – Everyone’s unique in their own way and this is something I love about myself. I love that I’m my own person, unique, and I don’t have to conform to be what someone else wants me to be.

I’m loving – I consider myself a loving person, caring, and compassionate to others.

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Continue reading “Award: The Miranda Sings Award”

Throwback Thursday – September 7th – The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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-This week’s Pick-

The Kind Worth Killing

by Peter Swanson

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The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson is a psychological thriller that will have you guessing until the end!

Just who are the kind worth killing?

If you haven’t read this book, I recommend skipping my review and the blurb. There aren’t any big spoilers here, but going in blind is probably the best…

The story starts out with Lily and Ted. The two strangers come together for a game of truth which turns into a plan for murder. Lily has a history and Ted has issues with his wife. Lily jumps in the driver’s seat and one thing leads to another. The two strangers plan an arrangement to wreak havoc, but what will be the outcome?

Of course, I went into this blind and had no clue what I was getting into which is what I recommend to others. EVERYTHING you think you’ve figured out, you haven’t.

There are some major twists and turns which kept my interest from the beginning to end. The story fully grasped me and didn’t let me go. The absolute only issue I had was the ending which I both loved and hated. Give me MORE!

This is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read. I picked it up on audible and enjoyed all four narrators. I’d like to thank my friend Basia for recommending it! 5*****

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  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 18 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Audible.com Release Date: February 10, 2015
  • Whispersync for Voice: Ready
  • Language: English

You can find this on Amazon and Goodreads

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – September 7th – The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – The Spell of the Horse – Vegan Breakfast Cookies

Hello, everyone! I caught up on most of my reading and made it back this week with a new book and recipe to share with you this morning.

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The recipe I’m sharing is a basic breakfast cookie recipe that I modified to make gluten free. These are delicious, healthy, and so easy to grab on busy mornings. They’re honestly wonderful any time of the day. I have to credit TheMinimalistBaker for this basic recipe even though I modified it. You can see the original unmodified recipe Here.

Ingredients (modified for gluten free +) – Makes about 18

  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour (coconut, arrowroot)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tbsp lightly chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free semisweet or dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
  2. In a large bowl or mixer, mash the bananas, almond butter, pumpkin puree, oil, and honey until it’s a fairly smooth batter. A mixer works perfectly.
  3. Stir in vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Add oats, almond meal, and flour. Mix well.
  5. Add chocolate chips, cranberries, and walnuts. Stir until well combined.
  6. Drop cookies by large scoop size on a baking sheet and press down slightly to flatten.
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the cookies are slightly golden brown.
  8. Rest on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Store in an air-tight container to keep fresh for up to 5 days.

Here’s how I made them: I doubled the recipe…

I make my own almond meal. In the processor, it’s so easy. Add in your almonds. About a cup or so.

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Process on high until a meal has formed. It takes about 1 minute.

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This is what I love about this Cuisinart processor. You can use the two top plastic inserts and the full processor remains clean.

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Another tip is to buy your nuts in bulk and keep them in the freezer. Then you’ll always have them when you need them. I just store mine in gallon freezer bags.

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Chop up about 3-4 Tbsp of Walnuts

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I’m using this local nut butter company in Michigan. This stuff is delicious, or you can make your own in the processor the same way you do the meal. It just takes about 12-15 minutes to make. If you have a Vitamix, you can make nut butters in that as well.

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Add in your honey, bananas, pumpkin, and coconut oil. If you’re using a mixer like a Kitchenaid, you don’t need to mash the bananas first.

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Whip it up for a minute until everything is blended and smooth.

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 Add in the vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix it well.

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Now we’re going to add in the flour. I went gluten free on this recipe using a 50/50 mix of arrowroot and coconut flour. Add it in the bowl.

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Coconut flour is very fibrous and can be tricky. Doing a 50/50 mix with another gluten free flour does the trick.

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We’re going to add the flours in the bowl with our almond meal and oats.

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Mix it in good.

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The last ingredients are dark/dairy free chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and walnuts. Mix that up and we’re ready to form the cookies.

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I’m using a regular ice cream scoop to make the cookies very large.

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Evenly space them, press them a little flat, and bake for about 17 minutes.

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These are so delicious.

Crispy on the outside while soft on the inside.

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They are so moist and aren’t dry at all!

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With these breakfast cookies, I’m having a favorite tea by Pukka called “Womankind.” The cranberry, rose, and vanilla flavor goes well with these cookies. If you’d like to see my previous post on brewing perfect tea, click HERE.

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Hope you enjoy!

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Continue for this week’s book!

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – The Spell of the Horse – Vegan Breakfast Cookies”