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

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

Marcel Malone by Lew Watts

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

 

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

 

You can find this book on:

Goodreads | Amazon

 

My review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Star_rating_4_of_5

 

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

This Week’s Children’s Books – Despicable Me 3 – Out of Wonder Poems – Luna’s Red Hat – Sleep Like a Tiger and more…

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I have a handful of children’s books to share with you this week and hope you’ll enjoy my reviews for them below. As always, if you’d like to add them on Goodreads, just click the cover to be redirected.


Despicable Me 3 – Agnes Loves Unicorns by Universal

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Blurb: The Minions are back! Join your favorite yellow friends, along with Agnes, Edith, and Margo, on a new, hilarious adventure in this beautiful hardcover picture book that is based on the highly anticipated blockbuster movie Despicable Me 3!

Agnes has two lifelong dreams:
One is to be adopted into a loving family (completed!) and the other is to have a pet unicorn. Explore Agnes’s love of unicorns inside this lovely picture book–and join her as she goes on her biggest adventure yet–to capture a unicorn!

  • Age Range: 5 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: LB Kids; Mti edition (May 23, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316507474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316507479

My review

I was surprised when we first started reading Agnes Loves Unicorns because the story goes all the way back to the beginning of the first “Despicable Me” movie with the girls still in their orphan home. Agnes dreams of having a family and a pet unicorn too.

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Her first dream comes true and she’s adopted by Gru. Then, she gets her very own stuffed unicorn, but soon learns that she must make a sacrifice for her family. She decides its time to find a real life unicorn and the adventure begins.

We loved the full color pages in this picture book. It’s easy to read and perfect for all children because it’s told in chronological order from the first movie. I’m going with 4 stars on this one because it felt choppy at times.

Star_rating_4_of_5


Luna’s Red Hat by Emmi Smid

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Blurb: It is a beautiful spring day, and Luna is having a picnic in the park with her family, wearing her Mum’s red hat. Luna’s Mum died one year ago and she still finds it difficult to understand why. She feels that it may have been her fault and worries that her Dad might leave her in the same way. Her Dad talks to her to explain what happened and together they think about all the happy memories they have of Mum.

This beautifully-illustrated storybook is designed as a tool to be read with children aged 6+ who have experienced the loss of a loved one by suicide. Suicide always causes shock, not just for the family members but for everyone around them, and children also have to deal with these feelings. The book approaches the subject sensitively and includes a guide for parents and professionals by bereavement expert, Dr Riet Fiddelaers-Jaspers. It will be of interest to anyone working with, or caring for, children bereaved by suicide, including bereavement counsellors, social workers and school staff, as well as parents, carers and other family members.

  • Age Range: 6 – 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 – 4
  • Hardcover: 34 pages
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers; Ill edition (April 21, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849056293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849056298

My review

This story begins with Luna, a little girl who lost her mother to suicide a year ago and is still dealing with anger and sadness. Her dad tries to help her understand that her mother’s suicide wasn’t anybody’s fault, and it wasn’t her mother’s fault either. She has lots of questions she needs answered and her dad is there to help her through.

Suicide is something you hear about often and many have experienced first hand with a family member or friend. It’s never easy and explaining it to children can be challenge as they have many questions in their little heads.  Why? How? Didn’t they love me? It’s never easy to explain or understand, even as an adult.

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In the past, I lost a friend to suicide. Recently, the death of Chris Cornell became known to my family. I’ve been listening to Chris since I was a young teen and his death hit me hard. My kids, knowing who he is, had questions as well. They didn’t understand. It’s hard to explain to them, especially when they start asking questions about how he did it. Help for parents is found in the back of the book as a bereavement specialist writes to briefly explain how to handle these questions from children.

I found the book very helpful. I thought the illustrations were powerful with showing the emotions of the characters and I believe this book would be good for many parents, teachers, counselors, and children dealing with a loss due to suicide.

5-start

Continue reading “This Week’s Children’s Books – Despicable Me 3 – Out of Wonder Poems – Luna’s Red Hat – Sleep Like a Tiger and more…”

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

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

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

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

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

4-stars


 

qa

Q&A with author Stjepan Cobets

 

Q: What made you want to become a writer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Does writing poetry come easy for you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Q: What else do you enjoy doing besides writing?

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


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

 

CHRISTMAS IS…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas is
your name Jesus,
our hearts hikes.

Tonight, everyone
your birth celebrates
and humbly worships you.

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

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

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

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

 

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

Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11th, 2001 Book Review & Poem

This book was given to me years ago by a family member and I’m happy to have it as part of my September 11th book collection. You can see my review below as well as a poem written by my son regarding the fireman who were lost that day.

My Review:

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Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11, 2001 is a 192 page book containing hundreds of full color photographs in chronological order taken on September 11th, 2001, the days following the terrorist attacks, and the recovery efforts up until April 2002.

I think most people can remember exactly what they were doing the morning of September 11th, 2001, during the deadliest terrorist attacks in America. I can still remember watching television that morning and remember how helpless I felt. During this time police and fire personnel rushed to the scene of the attacks to save lives. Hundreds of fireman went up into the towers knowing that it was possible they’d never return. More than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed on this horrific day and this book captures the courage of those people who were willing to march into danger to save others.

The book is mainly comprised of photos taken by multiple members of the NYC Police Department and doesn’t contain much in the way of text past the photograph descriptions. This is by far one of the BEST photographic remembrance books which contains photographs from the morning of September 11th and beyond that hadn’t previously been published. I was personally touched by all the photographs of the medical personnel, fireman, workers, and police officers who stayed and spent day after day working with the recovery efforts. Some of these pictures are of the fireman who searched tirelessly for days in hopes of locating their fallen comrades.

Many of the most breathtaking photos were taken by an off duty detective by the name of Dave Fitzpatrick. That very morning, he boarded a helicopter after hearing about the first attack on the north tower and spent all day taking thousands of aerial photographs. Others took photos from the ground as they were engulfed in smoke, debris and dust.

This book is extremely emotional and reminds us that we must never forget this day. I’m very glad to have it as part of my September 11th book collection.

stars


Continue reading “Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11th, 2001 Book Review & Poem”

Eater of Mushrooms by Scott Delaney

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

My Review: 

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

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

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

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

3.5 stars rounded up to 4****

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

The Child of Happiness by Stjepan Cobets

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

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

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

Be Happy

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

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

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

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