Tuesday, May 24, 2016

One for Mental Health Awareness Month

It's Not Your Journey by Rebecca Lombardo 

Image taken from www.goodreads.com.
My rating on a 100-point scale: 85 

My recommender: This one was a Twitter discovery for me. I offered to review this book honestly in exchange for a free copy. 

My review: 
     I maybe shouldn't start out my review with this and the author and I discussed possible issues of relating too well beforehand, but I found that I related a little too well to this author's autobiography. I must say I was a little hesitant to read for fear of what may come of it, and the author did express concern and encourage me to be sure that I "be in a good place" before embarking upon her journey, but I'm glad I chose to travel it with her. The author very much captures the thought processes involved in having mental health issues and I found myself easily drawn in. This is both good and bad: first, it means the author has very well captured what it's like to have mental illness and those who don't suffer from one may be able to understand what it's like through her work, but it also means I had an intense reaction to reading this work (I got a bit depressed, and suffered some physical symptoms, such as muscle spasms, pain, chills, etc - with my anxiety disorder, my psychological issues manifest into physical issues). For this reason, I recommend those with mental health issues be cautious. 
     Regardless of my mental and physical reactions to this work, there are things that I really liked: It's Not Your Journey is written as a kind of diary and the sections are short, which is great for people who have little time to read - they can read it a little at a time and on a tight schedule. I particularly liked this, regardless that I found myself binge reading it. I found the words of wisdom the author provides throughout her work encouraging and uplifting, and a good balance to the darkness I felt seeping in while reading. I found the honesty of the author and the baring of this woman's soul to the world to be judged, poked, and prodded by whomever sees whatever is fit very refreshing in a world of pretenders and abusers. And though the author seems whiny at times, though I found myself asking "why?" at times, though there is a lack in clarity of thought and phrases in places, and though it seems the author is a victim of self-pity a time or two, this work approaches some very sensitive issues and is truly real. If you suffer from mental health issues, you'll recognize and understand the negative thought patterns and relate, but if you don't, keep an open mind - those of us who do battle these kinds of thoughts every day mostly know they are irrational, negative, destructive, and just all-around terrible at times, but they are our default ways of thinking and it takes work to overcome them. 
     Now, the nitpicker I can be must point out a few things: There were a few instances of incorrect punctuation usage and the book was plagued here and there with sentence fragments. These things however, make the book realistic, makes it read like the nonfiction work that it is. The sentence fragments are clearly used stylistically at times, and again these technical things help the reader to realize the truth and literalness of the work. 
     Overall, good and bad all considered, I enjoyed getting to know the author of It's Not Your Journey, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to review her work. To help you all get to know her a little too, I've invited her for an interview... 

My interview with the author:  
Welcome to The World of the Written Word, Mrs. Lombardo! Thank you again for agreeing to an interview with me. Just a few curious questions... 
I share your aversion to having children of one's own. We get a lot of grief over this personal choice. In your experience, what is the best response to people who tell you you'll change your mind about it or that the purpose of life is reproduction?
No Children Sign by pydubreucq
Image from openclipart.org.
I don’t get that much anymore, honestly. I think since I have become so public with my mental illness that most people I know understand. However, if I were approached by someone, I would simply say that I can’t have children. Nobody needs to know any more than that.  That usually shuts down the conversation pretty quickly. 

Dealing with mental illness is a daily struggle. What are some things you do to boost your effectiveness in your daily fight and get the most out of every day? 
That’s a tough question to answer. Quite frankly, every day is different. Self-talk is an extremely valuable tool. I can’t stress the importance of it enough. The most difficult thing for me to overcome has been the guilt I feel when I can’t accomplish a lot in a day. So, I work really hard at being kind to myself. If I wake up and I just can’t seem to function, I let myself have those days. On days that I can function, it’s important that I’m realistic with what I want to do. I celebrate every task that I accomplish and I don’t get down on myself if I don’t get the whole to do list done. 
You share some pretty difficult things to overcome in your book. I'm sure that negative reviews (which come with any and all published books) affected you more due to the nature of the sensitive topics you are sharing your experiences with. What's the worst thing anyone has said to you regarding your book and how did you overcome it? 
The worst thing anyone ever said about me came in 2 forms. They emailed my website and then went on Goodreads to say some terrible things. The email said that I was a liar and a narcissist. That my book would never help anyone and there was no stigma surrounding mental illness. They said that I better think twice before writing another book. The review was similar. It felt like a punch in the stomach. I was physically shaking when I got done reading it. It’s taken me a long time to get past it. I think I’m finally at the acceptance point where I’ve come to terms with the fact that not everyone will like or understand my book. Hopefully in the future if anyone feels that strongly about it, they won’t seek me out personally to make accusations and spread hate. 
You have said that you sometimes fear that others with mental illness when reading your book will relate too much, yet I've also seen you say you wrote the book to help others. What exactly were your hopes when you decided to publish your memoirs? Do you feel you have yet accomplished your task at all, or not?
That is definitely a fear of mine.  That is why if someone with mental illness or they’ve lost a loved one to suicide, I always say please be in a good place before you read it. I would never want to be the reason that someone is triggered to self-harm or anything like that. My hopes were to educate and bring awareness to mental illness. I do feel that I’ve accomplished it to a certain degree. I hope to be able to keep moving in that direction. 

I personally see your work as a book of pain, despite the uplifting and encouragement it can provide to the reader. However, I know your memoirs are effective in portraying what it's like to suffer from mental illness. Was it your intention to display your pain in so raw a manner? 
Myths and Facts About Mental Illness
Image taken from http://www.siue.edu/~pfricke/
Yes, that was my intention. I feel like being 100% raw and realistic is the only way to go with my story. I felt it was important for people to understand just how crippling mental illness can be. I wanted others who experience it to know that you can overcome even the darkest days of your illness. Not to mention the healing aspect for me. Putting it out there really helps me start on the path to acceptance and recovery. 

I personally know the draw of isolating oneself from others, but I fight the inclination despite negative thoughts. How do you fight it, or is it sometimes better for you to give in to it for a while, in order to get back on top of things? 
I feel like it’s essential to know when it’s time to take a bit of a break. I’ve personally left social media for a couple of weeks at a time just to bring a sense of calm to my life. I would tell anyone that time (to) your self is very important. However, you can’t pack up and live there. That’s when the destructive thoughts start to creep in, at least for me. In my opinion being alone is different from feeling alone. You have to do what is best for you. 

Well, there it is. It was wonderful having you and I would love to keep in touch in the future!

Follow author @BekaLombardo on Twitter. 

I recommend to: Everyone seeking to have an understanding of mental illness,  those who need someone to relate to in their own struggles with mental health issues, and anyone looking to simply know how others sometimes think. 

I must reiterate that I suggest use of caution for those who suffer from a mental illness of their own when considering reading this book. Please do make sure you are "in a good place" before reading. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

One for Young-at-Heart Romantics

Linnet and the Prince 
by Alydia Rackham

My rating on a 100-point scale: 94

My recommender: 
     The author herself e-mailed me and asked if I'd read and review her book. I was provided with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

My synopsis: 
     Linnet is the younger of two princesses of Hilrigard. When Hilrigard is overtaken by the formidable Badi people, the Badi prince Rajak gives the Queen a choice: give him a princess for his wife or force him to slaughter the whole Hilrigard kingdom. Linnet, the tougher of the two princesses, chooses to go in her sister's place, and is tasked by her mother to kill the prince on the eve of the Water Gathering festival, two months hence. But the prince is not what he seems, and Linnet slowly but surely falls for the gentle and kind prince. And things get very complicated when her mother's "brother" assassins come to rescue Linnet the eve of the Water Gathering festival.

My review:
     I very much enjoyed this book. The characters are loveable; the story is captivating; the cultural elements are intriguing; the politics are realistic; and I couldn't help but wish for more story to come at the end. I very much appreciate the author's straight-forward, no-beating-around-the-bush, quick and simple way of telling the story, as this makes for a quick, yet intriguing and enjoyable read. 
     However, I must mention the negative: Characters "hiss" when they speak, and I'm not sure how this is possible or true. There were very little typos, but I did catch a few, including one which I think was supposed to be "every" but was actually "emach," or something along those lines. The formatting was slightly skewed in a few places. Also, the ending, the more I think about it, is a mite puzzling, but I won't provide any spoilers here.

I recommend to: 
Anyone and everyone who enjoys a good story, especially those involving clean and believable romance. 

I do not suggest this book for children under the age of 10, due to elements of mild gore.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Warrior's Woman (Ly-San-Ter, #1)Warrior's Woman 
by Johanna Lindsey

My rating on a 100-point scale: 90 

My Review:
     This isn't the best romance I have ever read, but it is pretty decent, in my opinion.
     There is much to love about this book: the science fiction elements, the future mixing with the past, the political reasons driving the story, and the unique mixing of cultures and beliefs, among many other things. The sensual scenes are relatively satisfying to read, as well, though a little cliche at times.
     However, there are a few things that one could very well dislike. Such as: A strong modern heroine being conquered by an animalistic feudal leader, who just happens to be exactly what she needed. The over-bearing male dominance in this novel is nearly sickening, however well it plays into the romance side of things. I have to admit that I was a bit like, "Really, that far?" when the male main character was first introduced. I feel like a few elements were just a bit overdone, that's all.
     Overall, this book is a good read. I highly recommend if you're a romance genre fan who may like a little science-fiction, futuristic element.

I recommend to: 
Fans of the romance genre.
I would not recommend this novel for anyone under the age of 15 due to multiple scenes of a sexual nature.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

National Poetry Day


Image from etftrends.com
   Despite the fact that I'm American, I'm all about celebrating the written word. So, though October 3rd is National Poetry Day for the United Kingdom, I choose to help celebrate it. After all, some of my ancestors were from that relative area of the world - I have a bit of Scottish blood in me. I also have a decent amount of Native American blood in me, but that is beside the point. I'm part English. So I can participate in the UK's National Poetry Day, right? 
   Any way, I'm posting one of my own poems today. It'll be included in my short works collection I am due to release before the year's out. 
   This year's theme for National Poetry Day is Water and I have the perfect poem to share. I wrote it in July of last year and hereby share it with my readers.

Eternal Life

a coffin for a shower, who would’ve ever thought
that eternal life could be found in simple water
it runs to catch itself with gravity’s help, like a bus picking up passengers
it has to go a little out of its way for love
it just wants to be closer to atoms just like itself
so simple yet so complex, this love of self
Image from smscs.com
they’ll say, oh how she loved her baths
but oh they’ll never know what I found in this coffin
their highfalutin ways blind them, they’ll never see
highfalutin, someone angry made up that word: highfalutin
the water is so warm surrounding my frame
I listen to its blurred message
so silent one can only hear when submersed
blood is the answer for Christians, blood and water
blood and water for eternal life in Christ
water is the answer to Heaven, the accumulation is Paradise – so simple and so common a thing
and He put it right in front of our face
water runs through my veins, mixes with my blood
it races to catch itself
to join close with its friends and wait for the end
surface tension
broken by more coming to join in to wait for the end
a crowd of an uncountable number of lives in this coffin
just waiting
just swirling down the drain, waiting for the end

Faye Hollidaye, July 2012

   I hope you enjoyed! Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think, or leave me one of your poems - I'd love to read them. I'd also like to know what your favorite poem of all time is, so feel free to share!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Challenged Books

Banned Book Week

Image from alasu.libguides.com.
   It's incredibly surprising how many great books are on the 100 Most Challenged Books list. I'm currently unacquainted with the first two titles on this list, but there are many there that my high school class was encouraged to read. First, what are "banned" or "challenged" books and why are they treated so by some?
   I personally learned about Banned Book Week from Cabin Goddess' blog. I didn't know there was such a thing as a week to raise awareness about censorship concerning books until this week when I got the weekly email about Ms. Morton's blog and her new posts. When learning, I was inspired to create this special post to help raise awareness. 
   There is a lot of information regarding this topic out there: I encourage you to learn what a banned or challenged book is at this link. Also at that link, you can find the following quote from John Stuart Mill, as he wrote in On Liberty, and additional information. 
If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.
Image from hellogiggles.com.
For the Love of Books
    Now, do not take this the wrong way. I am NOT saying that children ages ten and under should be allowed to read erotica. There's no reason anything like erotica should be within the grasp of an 8-year-old child -- I'm sure everyone reading this agrees -- unless that child is a 40-year-old man trapped in a child's body, which is highly unlikely.
   What I AM saying with this post is: Phillip Pullman's books should not

Sunday, September 15, 2013

One for the Detectives in Us All

Collateral Damage
An Annie Ogden Mystery 
by Frederick Lee Brooke

My rating on a 100-point scale: 94

My recommender:
Novel Publicity provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My synopsis: 
   Annie Ogden has moved in with Salvatore D'Angelo, who propposes marriage to her the same day she's attacked on her morning jog. But her attacker ends up being Annie's old fiance from Iraq, and he's come to take her back into his arms of sunshine and passion. Annie has to choose between a man who treats her right and her burning flame for an ex-con she knew as a soldier in Iraq. And then a murder happens, and Annie's old flame is the prime suspect...

My review: 
   This is an awesome book! It's thrilling and intriguing, even if you can guess early on who done it. The characters are great, and realistic. The plot is clear and has some nice twists. The writing is generally good, but there are a few things I could complain abot. There were definitely times that I was like, "Wow! What great imagery!"
   Check out some of my updates while reading this book below. To read the full comments, check them out here on Goodreads.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Inline image 1
Stay tuned after my review of Cameron's Law and interview with author Mia Darien for info about her latest book.

Cameron's Law (Adelheid #1)

My rating on a 100-point scale: 91

My recommender: 
Masquerade Tours

My short and sweet synopsis: 
   A law is passed making all preternatural creatures public citizens, but that doesn't mean it's safe for them to come out into the open, as Sadie Stanton is bound to be reminded time after time.

My short and sweet review:  
   Though this text isn't technically perfect, it is an adventure worth the time. I enjoyed it and know many others will, too.

I recommend to: 
Fans of supernatural fiction, specifically that involving vampires and werewolves.

Suggested restrictions: 
I don't suggest for anyone under the age of 13 for gore, etc.

Links for Cameron's Law:
Get it for FREE from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.
Get it in print from Amazon or Createspace for less than $5.
It's also available as an audiobook for $2 here.

Check out the second in this series here, the third here, and the latest here.

My interview with the author:  
   Hello Ms. Darien, and welcome to my book blog! I noticed you have a blog as well, and a very interesting website. Tell us, what do you typically blog about and what other interesting things can we discover on your site? 
Image of Mia Darien
Image from Amazon.com.
   Thanks for having me! These days, most of my blog posts are author and character interviews with my fellow authors and their respective characters. I've been doing those for over a year now and they're a lot of fun, I think. Otherwise, I try to keep my site simple and informative: (there are) pages for each series and my stand-alone works, (an) archive of interviews, biographical information, a page where I keep a record of what I'm writing/how far I am and what I'm reading, and a page on freelancing services (that) I offer for self-publishing authors. 
   Cool beans. The first of your Adelheid series, Cameron's Law, is free on Smashwords and Amazon. Will it always be free? Do you have any other works offered for free? If so, from where? 
   Yes, I intend for it to always be free. It's my gateway to the series, and I think I've had (a) good response from that. Otherwise, my only works for free are some short stories that I released before Cameron's Law. They are available from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, but not Amazon. It's not easy getting a book free there and I focused that effort on Cameron's Law. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Short and Sweet Post

About a Graphic Design Giveaway

   If you're a writer looking for someone to do your next book cover, or if you're a blogger looking to get your own catchy-looking banner, or if you'd just like a really cool Facebook cover photo designed just for you, this giveaway is for you! Check it out at this link and leave me a comment below to let me know if you like this kind of post. Good luck to all those who enter!

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Bible 30-Day Experience: Daily Guidebook
by Bob Hostetler

My rating on a 100-point scale: 82

The Bible 30-Day Experience: Daily GuidebookMy thoughts:
   I didn't study this in a small group or with the dvds, but I still learned from this book. It's set up well and is very clear on what it teaches.

I recommend this book to:
   Christians, whether you're studying the good book alone or with a partner or small group.

This book has no restricting content.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

One for Authors

Secrets of the Six-Figure Author: Mastering the Inner Game of Writing, Publishing and Marketing Books
by Tom Corson-Knowles

My rating on a 100-point scale: 99

My review:
   When I got emailed by the author with an opportunity to review this book, I initially thought I wouldn't like it and would end up reviewing another disappointing book. Boy, was I surprised when I read it!
Image from Amazon
   Secrets of the Six-Figure Author isn't one of those books that claims to do something, but actually doesn't, or does, but buries the keys to the real answers deep within. This book actually makes obvious what you need to do to become what you want. It's short and sweet and worth the time if you are looking to become a successful author. I highly recommend to any and all who are looking for the keys to success in mastering today's publishing playing field. You won't be disappointed - this is a brilliant, down-to-earth author sharing his secrets to success with you. I've read a lot concerning succeeding as an author, and here it all is with a few important links included. This book will change your life if you let it!

This nonfiction book has no restricting content.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Second in a Series

Daughter's Justice
by Thaddeus Nowak

Daughter's JusticeMy rating on a 100-point scale: 91

My review:
   If you've read the first in this series and liked it, you'll definitely want to read this one. Stephenie's fight with her circumstances continues in this adventurous tale. I highly recommend to fans of supernatural/fantasy who like books with female heroines.

   Though there are a couple things I could complain about ("However" and a single technical error every 20 or so pages), this book was well worth the time. I cut back on my screen-time reading during this book, but it had nothing to do with the novel, only the format I had it in. I enjoyed this read immensely and think many other readers will too.

This sequel's predecessor: 
Mother's Curse

My recommender:  
   I recently participated in a blog tour hosted by Novel Publicity for this series. Though I didn't finish this sequel during the tour, I still feel the need to share my thoughts on it. 

Suggested restrictions:
There is some foul language throughout and a little gore, so be forewarned. I personally don't think anyone under the age of 14 should read this without parental guidance.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

One for Christians

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

My rating on a 100-point scale: 87

My short and sweet review:  
   This book is well-written and inspiring. Though at one point the author's crazy does show through a little, the ideologies are pretty clearly stated in the Bible, just pushed home a little harder here. I highly recommend to everyone who calls themselves Christian and anyone who aspires to be called a true follower of Christ. In my opinion, every Christian should read this book. 

How I came upon this book: 
   My husband had a copy on our bookshelf from a class in church he attended once. He mentioned selling it, but I asked to read it before he did so. 

A very short excerpt: 
   "I believe that much of the American church-going population, while not specifically swimming downstream, is slowly floating away from Christ. It isn't a conscious choice, but it is nonetheless happening because little in their lives propels them toward Christ." - from page 95.
Additional info and thoughts:
   This novel is meant to challenge Christians to give more of themselves to Christ. The author points out verses and legitimate reasons why followers of Christ should give all the glory to God, and I personally found it uplifting and inspiring, for the most part. 
   I especially liked the idea of the chapter devoted to those who've devoted their lives to living like Christ. 
This novel has no restricting content.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mother's Curse Contest

Your picture may be worth $50 or a Kindle Fire

   Get your creative brain pumping, take some awesome themed photos, and you could find a brand new Kindle Fire waiting for you at the post office! Come celebrate with Novel Publicity and author Thaddeus Nowak as we close down the Mother's Curse whirlwind tour with a giant book appreciation party! Get ready to grab your e-reader, nun chucks, and perhaps even your wizard robes, but first read on for the full contest info. These contests have been extended until Friday, May 31 at 12 noon EST. Be sure to get your entries in before then.

The Mother's Curse Photo Contest

The Set-up: Put your thinking cap on and come up with a fun pictorial way to represent Mother's Curse. The most creative photo wins a Kindle Fire. We’ve also got two $50 Amazon gift cards to the folks who take the most epic fantasy photo and the most kick-butt combat photo. Just remember the book cover has to be visible in order for your entries to be eligible.  

What to do: Submit your photo entry at the official contest page or email it to emlyn@novelpublicity.com. *The cover of Mother's Curse must be visible in the picture on an eReading device.* You may submit multiple entries for more chances at the prizes, but you can only win once! So be original, show us your creativity, battle prowess, or love for epic fantasy.  

The Prizes:
  • Most Creative: Kindle Fire
  • Most Kick-Butt Battle Scene or Warrior Pose: $50 Amazon Gift Card
  • Most Epic Fantasy: $50 Amazon Gift Card

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Witch, a Ghost, and Tour - Oh My!

Mother's Curse by Thaddeus Nowak

My rating on a 100-point scale: 92

My short and sweet review:
   This is a great novel! Adventurous, romantic, and entertaining. It's well-written and holds the attention of the reader. I highly recommend for anyone who likes fantastic supernatural stories, as I'm sure this one will not disappoint. 

   The only reasons I can't allow myself to give this a higher rating is: "however" is repeated too often, I think, and there is one single typo or technical error every 20-50 pages. I'm easily distracted by these types of things, and I know I'm a nitpicker, but I just have to mention them for my own piece of mind.

There is some foul language throughout and a little gore, so be forewarned. I personally don't think anyone under the age of 14 should read this without parental guidance.  

My recommender:
   This week, I'm participating in a blog tour for the above book and its sequel. Be sure to check out the tour page by clicking on the image to the right. There are also tons of reviews by others, so don't just take my word for it - learn more! 

An Excerpt:
   Feeling slightly better for having a bit of light to keep with her, she continued down the street, occasionally looking through a window to see the remains of a room.  After the third storefront she passed, she wondered at the reason all of the furniture and even drapes, carpets, and accessories had been left behind.  Even in the desperate flight from Antar, people were still taking their belongings.  They removed their drapes, even ones far less decorative then what Stephenie suspected were here.  Why would everyone desert a city and yet leave almost everything behind as if they were simply going across town to visit a friend?  She was hesitant to consider an answer.  This city had been deserted and abandoned for a long time.  Antar castle and city above had been there for as long as memory could recall and the original castle even before then.  Had any of those above known about a city deep in the rocks under their feet, there would have been stories.

Friday, May 10, 2013

One for Brides

Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul: Stories of Love, Laughter and Commitment to Last a Lifetime by Jack Canfield

My rating on a 100-point scale: 97

Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul: Stories of Love, Laughter and Commitment to Last a Lifetime   If I would have quit reading this book because of my disappointment at the first section, I would have never realized that this is a great book. The further I read, the better the stories got. This book is not only for new brides, it's just as equally for brides who have been married for years.
   I bought my copy when I was planning my own wedding more than two years ago now, but didn't get around to reading it until recently. It was worth whatever I paid for it and it's staying on my bookshelf. I highly recommend this book to any who are getting married, any who are already married, and any who dream about having a marriage that literally lasts a lifetime.
   This is the best Chicken Soup book I have read to date.

This book has no restricting content.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Party! You're Invited!

The Romance Reviews’ Sizzling Summer Reads Party
June 2013

    I am a participating author in this year's Sizzling Summer Reads Party! For a free copy of my debut novel Pieces, as well as many others, participate in this wonderful event free of charge. This event runs from June 1 to midnight June 30, so mark your calendars and plan to attend daily. There are lots of fun activities and great prizes, so be sure to check it out. 
   Clicking on the photo to the right will take you to the hosting page for this event and inform you of all you need to know. If you have any additional questions or comments, please let me know below and I will get back to you as quickly as possible. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Better Chicken Soup for Sisters

Chicken Soup for the Sister's Soul 2: Celebrating Love and Laughter Throughout Our LivesChicken Soup for the Sister's Soul 2: Celebrating Love and Laughter Throughout Our Lives by Jack Canfield

My rating on a 100-point scale: 93

   I really liked this collection. After the disappointment I got from the first Chicken Soup for the Sister's Soul, this one surprised me. This one is definitely better than the other one. I highly recommend to any who have a sister, whether biological or not.

This novel has no restricting content.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Review, Synopsis, and Author Interview

The Wailing by M.R. Graham

The WailingMy rating on a 100-point scale: 95

My thoughts: 
   A great read! A well-written and intriguing novel/la that kept me interested until the very end. Though there were a couple places where I found myself accurately predicting what was going to happen, I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes paranormal mystery and adventure.

My short synopsis: 
   A man under an unknown compulsion to higher authorities is told to kill another of his kind. He carries out his mission and along the way gains the aid of a wizard who seems to have a personal vendetta against his target. His intentions and goals are clear, but his companions' are not.

I do not suggest this read for anyone less than twelve years of age. 

My interview with the author: 
   Welcome! Are you ready to share a little about you, the person and the writer?  
   How long have you been a writer? What inspired you to do what you do?
   Many thanks, Faye! 
   I've been writing crummy little stories since I could hold a pen, and I wrote my first novel around (the)* second grade (and it was atrocious). I really decided to put effort into it in high school, which is when I began what is now In the Shadow of the Mountains, the second book in my Lost Knowledge series.
   I actually started writing because, as a small child, I had a very hard time telling the difference between a story and a lie. I didn't get in trouble for telling stories on paper, so writing became my favorite form of communication. I always had stories to tell.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Few Timeless Tales

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm 
A New English Version  
Edited and Annotated by Philip Pullman

My rating on a 100-point scale: 92

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version   Although I'm thoroughly interested in fairy tales, folk tales and all, this book got a little old for me about half-way through. The title is misleading because they are not only fairy tales - there are folk tales, fables, and even a creation myth or two. So I believe the title should be more simply Tales from the Brothers Grimm, since that more accurately describes what it contains.
   The tales are well-written for the most part, though there are a few technical errors (till instead of until or 'til, round instead of around, etc). What bothered me most about this collection though, are the notes that Pullman made after each tale. As someone who has studied these kinds of tales a little in college, I feel like Pullman was a little condescending in his notes. I felt like he was trying to belittle me into believing what he does about them. I didn't like that.
   I probably would have purchased this book for my collection, had the library not had it. Now I know that Pullman kind of ruins it for me, and know not to get this version. He may not ruin these timeless tales for everyone like he did for me, but it's not going on my bookshelf anymore. I think I'll stick with the originals, though these are pretty close.
   The high rating is because I enjoy these tales so much. I can't rate them less than that, despite what Pullman says about them.

This book is not suggested for ages ten and under due to gore and horror. The original tales were not pretty like Disney, for those of you who may not already be aware. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Catholic-Themed Novel, Synopsis, and Interview with the Author

Sprainter by JT Therrien

My rating on a 100 point scale: 93

My thoughts: 
   I really liked this novel. It held my attention from beginning until end and ended up being a real quick read, ending too soon. There are a few things that could have been fixed, but from here on out, if a novel has less than ten total technical errors, I choose not to mention them in my reviews, as is the case in this novel. There simply isn’t enough to complain about. And the complexity of this novel and the enjoyment I got reading it totally makes up for whatever I could find to complain about it. I highly recommend for anyone and everyone who likes a good read.

My synopsis:
   A spray painter named MrE spreads God’s Word and revolutionary propaganda through illegal vandalism in a city purposely isolated by its government from the rest of the world. One routine night, a girl named OZone appears out of nowhere to admire his artwork, alarming the cops to his presence with her voice. She helps him escape being arrested and he takes her back to his hangout, a church where anyone can stay as long as they remain chaste, attend Mass, and bring food back with them whenever they’re out. MrE can’t help but wonder where OZone came from and who she is, and she seems to be incapable of telling the truth, but he has no choice but to trust her and let her stay. 

My interview with JT Therrien, author of The Well and Sprainter:  
   What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Are there any people who are extra special to you as a writer or as a person that you would like to tell us a little bit about?
   Um… I don’t understand the question. What do I do when I'm not writing? Lol… Well, I love to bike! In Southern Ontario, we have a great system of recreational trails, so I'm on there whenever it's not raining… or snowing. I'm married to a perfect woman who also happens to be a librarian, so we have a common love of books that keeps us together. Oh, and we also have a son.