Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week:

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne, is the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. It will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.

I highly doubt I'm the only HP fan eagerly awaiting this one.  What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them

Interesting topic for this week. I'm glad I decided to participate. Hope you'll share some of the things books have inspired you to do or learn about. 

Take a tour of Gettsyburg

Study abroad

Visit the Emily Dickinson Museum

Play Quidditch (too bad I can't fly)

Make a sarcastic robot

Go away with my husband (just the two of us)

Learn more about Apartheid

Move to a small coastal town

Rehab my childhood home

Try my hand at comics

Monday, July 25, 2016

Musing Mondays - July 25

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme now hosted at Jenn's blog Books And A Beat that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What’s your most favorite “chunky” book? (over 500 pages)

We had another wonderful vacation on the Outer Banks. As I mentioned before we left, I had plans to read... a lot. Well, that was prior to real estate. I worked a fair amount from the beach, so I read less than half what I usually do. That said, working from the beach is heck of a lot better than working from home.

Here is what I got a chance to cross off my TBR List:

Treasure Your Marriage by Cherishing Your Spouse by Suzzanne Uzzell
A Loaded Gun by Jerome Charyn
I Have Faith by Davin Whitehurst
Anna's Healing by Vannetta Chapman

What I am still reading is Portrait of a Conspiracy by Donna Russo Morin. I like it. The story is engaging and the characters interesting. I'm just a bit confused by the whole thing. I feel like I don't know what is going on and I'm twenty chapters in.

I'm also reading A Simple Vow by Charlotte Hubbard. I'll be reviewing this one on July 29th, so be on the lookout for that.

As for my favorite "chunky" book, I would have to go with The Stand by Stephen King. It took me a while to get into, but once I did I was hooked.

What has your reading week been like?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Book Review: Anna's Healing by Vannetta Chapman

Anna's Healing by Vannetta Chapman is a story of love, faith, and miracles.

Anna Schwartz has moved to her aunt and uncle's farm in the Amish community of Cody's Creek in Oklahoma. Once a vibrant young woman, when a tornado leaves her a paraplegic, she struggles to adjust to her new life.

Thankfully, she has friends, Chloe--an Englischer who writes for the local paper--and Jacob--a newcomer to town, along with her grandmother to help.

One day, Anna finds herself healed. How did it happen? And why? Soon everyone wants to know about this young Amish woman who has experienced the inexplicable.

What a fantastic, emotional novel. Chapman has filled Anna's Healing with a host of engaging characters whose stories beg to be told. An uncertain young Amish woman, a reporter who befriends her, a young Amish man who has been traveling and has no immediate plans to call any place home, a distant aunt and uncle, and a grandmother whose faith never waivers.

While the story truly revolves around these characters, the author does justice to the secondary characters in the story as well. She creates a community of people who become as real as your next door neighbors.

This is a book that will have you thinking about the amazing love God has for us. It might make you reconsider how you feel about the miracles that take place around us every day. For me, it was a reminder of being steadfast in my faith and of not taking life for granted.

You'll be moved by Anna's story. I know I was. I'm certainly eager to read the next book in this series.

Series: Plain and Simple Miracles (Book 1)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736956034
ISBN-13: 978-0736956031

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

I read this book for the following challenge:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

First Chapter Review: The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name by Craig Tomashoff

Title: The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name
Author: Craig Tomashoff
Publisher: Bobtimystic Books
Pages: 302
Genre: Nonfiction

BLURB: I’m not a political person by nature. Most of the time, it seems the political world plays out more like a lame ‘70s sitcom with all its predictable characters and routine storylines. However, last spring, I got tired of hearing friends and family complain about the lack of exciting, innovative candidates for president. Everyone seemed ready to vote for "None Of the Above." So, I decided to take a 10,000-mile road trip across America in May 2015 to meet several of the more than 1600 "real people" who are legit candidates for the presidency. Including a couple in New England.

The Can’t-idates is about dreamers -- not all of whom are tin-foil hat crazy -- who just want to fill a hole in their lives by running for president. And as I drove to meet them all, I realized a lot about not just my life but also about the country. If we could all take time to believe in what our parents always told us -- "Someday you can grow up to be president" -- maybe we wouldn't be in the shape we're in.

For More Information

  • The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
Book Excerpt:
As much as we love our children, the cold, hard fact is that we frequently lie to them in order to give them hope, which, in this world, is often in short supply. As far as I’m concerned, that’s totally ne. Adults recognize the harshness of a world that seems determined to discourage the next generation, so we manufacture comforting fiction to soften the blow and keep them in line (at least somewhat). How else do you explain countless fantastical tales throughout history, from stories of Greek gods to the annual appearance of Santa Claus to certain beliefs about what will cause hair to grow on your palms?
Most of these stories are innocent and well intentioned. They tend to achieve the desired effect of keeping our kids believing in the unbelievable and living the good lives we want them to live. There is, however, one complete and total lie we have spun for years that may be doing far more harm than good. It has wreaked havoc on our entire democratic system. We tell America’s future leaders that if they work and study hard, any of them, no matter where they came from, can one day be President of the United States.
Presidential candidates want you to believe in this fiction because it humanizes them. They spend huge chunks of their day trying to portray themselves as men and women “from Main Street and not from Wall Street,” each one attempting to out-ordinary the next by sharing everything from stories of immigrant parents to childhood newspaper routes to their favorite barbecue recipes.
However, claiming they truly feel the plight of average Americans is like hearing them say they’re connoisseurs of Mexican cuisine because they’ve sampled the late night menu at Taco Bell. It’s pretty hollow reasoning and produces nothing but a lot of hot air. I’m reasonably certain this was not quite what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they set this whole democracy thing in motion. In fact, they took great pains to keep the requirements for leading this nation as minimal as possible. It’s more complicated to get a Costco membership card than it is to make a run at the presidency. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution specifically states: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

And that’s it. Turn 21 and you can drink. Turn 25 and you get a better rate on your auto insurance. Turn 35 and you can be the Commander in Chief. It all seems so simple. Which is maybe why we constantly remind our kids that someday it could be them. It really does seem that almost no one is ruled out of this race. At least that’s how it feels if you spend three minutes viewing any cable news outlet once the election cycle starts spinning. I could swear that at one point, the only person not running for the Republican presidential nomination was that crazy old guy you see arguing with cashiers at the grocery store. And even he would have led if he weren’t so busy watching Clint Eastwood movies and telling the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn. 

COVER: Cute cover. Patriotic and fun. 

FIRST CHAPTER: After an introduction into how disenchanted the author--and probably the rest of us--have become with the presidential nomination process, author Craig Tomashoff talks about his meeting with Doug Shreffler, a fellow citizen who was trying his own run for president.

KEEP READING: Probably. I like political stuff, even if I have to admit to being frustrated by the whole election cycle. Tomashoff shines the light on regular people who have aspired to become the president of this great country of ours. He shares their unique stories, their motivations, and their ideas. 

Craig Tomashoff is a freelance writer/producer based in Los Angeles. His blogs appear regularly at Huffington Most recently, he was a producer for The Queen Latifah Show. Prior to that, he served as Executive Editor of TV Guide, and has also worked as Associate Bureau Chief for People. In addition, he has written for the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and Emmy Magazine. Prior to The Can’t-idates, he was the author of You Live, You Learn: The Alanis Morissette Story and co-wrote I’m Screaming As Fast As I Can: My Life In B-Movies with Linnea Quigley. He has also worked as a television writer/producer for such series as VH1’s Behind the Music, The Martin Short Show and The Late Show With Craig Kilborn.
For More Information
I received a copy of this book from the author. This first chapter review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Musing Mondays - July 11

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme now hosted at Jenn's blog Books And A Beat that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Name a book that was turned into a movie, and completely desecrated (in your opinion).

Hard to believe it is Monday again. I hope you all had a wonderful week. Today's random question is a great one and I didn't even have to think about it before choosing the worst my book.

In 2000, talented funny man Jim Carrey starred in The Grinch. Based upon How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, it is the story of a grumpy loner who tries to end Christmas down in Whoville by stealing all the Christmas presents, decorations, and food. Despite all his hard work, the Whos down in Whoville celebrate Christmas anyway. 

Turning a short book that became a half hour TV special into a full-length film must have presented some challenges. That's when the writers created some backstory for Grinch and the inhabitants of Whoville. 

That two sisters discovered a baby Grinch and adopted him was okay, but wild parties where they were collecting keys to keep everyone safe, having a young Grinch bullied at school, the sexual references that come about because of the mayor's attraction to one of the town members and her attraction to the Grinch, and the overall crude humor doesn't fit in with the essence of the book. 

Did you see the movie? What did you think of it?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Book Review: A Loaded Gun by Jerome Charyn

Award-winning author Jerome Charyn returns to the world of Emily Dickinson in his latest biography, A Loaded Gun.

With his thought-provoking, eloquent style Charyn explores the complex woman often referred to as the Belle of Amherst. At times shy, yet, sometimes bold, this often misunderstood poet has fascinated readers for generations.

As he did with his novel, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, he entices the reader to reconsider what they know about Dickinson. Was she merely that reclusive spinster trapped in her "Pearl Jail" at the Homestead or was she a gifted writer scribbling fragments on brown wrapping  paper and stray envelopes that spoke of a passionate woman who chartered her own destiny and whose words inspired works of art?

The depth of Charyn's research is clear from the start. He's studied previous biographies, explored Dickinson's letters and poems, and interviewed experts to bring what he sees as the real Emily Dickinson to life for modern readers. More than a woman who was trapped by her father in the family's home, more than someone's odd aunt or sister, more than the cockeyed girl in a dark dress we know from the daguerreotype, Dickinson was a powerful woman who seduced people with her words.

It will be interesting to dig out my Emily Dickinson collection after reading A Loaded Gun to see if my own perceptions of her work have changed.

Ultimately, I don't think we will ever learn more about Dickinson than she wished to share with us, but Charyn's in depth look at her life has definitely brought me closer to this "unknowable genius."

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press (March 15, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934137987
ISBN-13: 978-1934137987

I received a free copy of this book from the author through Tribute Books Blog Tours. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

I read this book for the following challenge: