Tuesday, December 27, 2016

THE MORTIFICATIONS by Derek Palacio

THE MORTIFICATIONS by Derek Palacio is a novel about a Cuban family in the 1980's.  Page one starts in full of drama and action as things come to a head in their little family forcing the mother to make extreme choices for her and her children.  A new life in the United States with all it's differences and advantages detailed in the mix. Mortifications is a term identified with the Catholic religion that often included people hurting themselves physically for punishment.  There is a lot of Catholicism in the novel.  The term Mortifications in Palacio's novel refers more to the mental mortifications and punishments people often put themselves through for what they perceive as their failures. The novel has a little of the mystic in it as well as down and dirty gritty details of life.  It is a story of what can take place in the mind during life due to what has been programmed into your mind or what has happened to you in life. It is amazing to think of how someone may be gone from your life for several decades, yet you think of them in some kind of way every day.
I enjoyed reading this book and gave a copy to a family friend at Christmas.  Having been written by a man it is not too much of a chick flick to be limited to reading by women only. THE MORTIFICATIONS would be a great movie with the contrast of the beautiful exotic scenery of the island of Cuba with the practical, organized coziness of New England.  In fact it most likely will be a movie.  It has all the qualities of the new hit TV show "THIS IS US".   
 
Find out more about the author at derekpalacio.com
 
 
*I received this book at no charge in exchange for a review of the book from Blogging for Books.  They provided the image of the book cover as well.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                     
 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

THE TEA PLANTER'S WIFE

I adored everything about the book THE TEA PLANTER'S WIFE by Dinah Jefferies.  I was drawn to the cover, I liked it's big size, and the story itself reminded me of something the masters themselves, Victoria Holt or Phyllis A. Whitney may have written. An old fashioned historical novel with more of a modern attitude to it.  The story speaks to married love and sex, family life, culture differences, race relations, and the advance of technology that was changing lives in the 1920's and 30's.

A very young bride leaves England to join her new husband on the island formerly known as Ceylon.  The natives are somewhat exotic and mysterious to her, as is her new husband that she hasn't spent much time with yet.  She has servants of a different race, her sister in law seems a little off kilter, and who is that American woman who always acts too familiar with her husband?  Secrets swirl around the death of the former mistress of the house and soon secrets are swirling in her own day to day life as well.

Secrets are what I wondered about after I read this book.  How much hurt has been done in this world and how much confusion has been caused simply because people felt the need to keep secrets!

This book is a best seller in England and has now been released recently in other countries.  Score!
I received this book free of charge in exchange for reviewing it.  I am reviewing this book for Blogging for Books and obtained the book cover photo from there. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

40 DAYS TO A JOYFUL MOTHERHOOD: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom by Sarah Humphrey

40 DAYS TO A JOYFUL MOTHERHOOD by Sarah Humphrey is a book that could make all the difference for the better in a reader's life.  It combines a series of daily devotions that pertain to motherhood with adult coloring pages for relaxation and inspiration.  In 40 DAYS TO A JOYFUL MOTHERHOOD Humphrey addresses such subjects as
acceptance, caring for one's self, forgiveness, and reconciliation.  Traditional Christian values are expressed in the book as well as verses and scripture from the Bible.  The devotions are well organized and to the point. This is a book that would make a great gift for a mother anytime of year. 

I was excited to see that the author, Sarah Humphrey resides in Nashville, TN and that the publisher of the book Abingdon Press has headquarters in Nashville as well.  Not to mention the book is manufactured in The United States of America! I plan to pass this copy on to a family member for their enjoyment.  Find out more about the book and the author at http://litfusegroup.com/author/shumphrey

*book jacket image credit to litfuse publicity group.
**I received this book free of charge to review.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

LIFE CREATIVE: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom by Wendy Speake & Kelli Stuart

I was so excited to get the inspirational book LIFE CREATIVE:  Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom by Wendy Speake & Kelli Stuart!
The technology of today has brought a new wave of learning and creativity to the world. How can that creativity be fitted into the daily life of a mom and/or wife with lots of other things to juggle?  Not to mention that wives and mothers are creative often out of necessity.  Homemaking and hospitality are arts all on their own.  It is good to have some reinforcement from LIFE CREATIVE that taking care of children and homes is so very important. What is important as well may be for a woman to use her creativity as an outlet to take care of herself emotionally and physically. 

Included in LIFE CREATIVE are stories from different women who are successfully combining their creativity and side hustles into their every day lives as mothers.  LIFE CREATIVE  features traditional Christian values and invites you to become a better self. I plan to pass this book on to other people to read. 

Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart are authors who together started a creative retreat for women which led to this book being written.  The book is published by Kregal Publications in 2016.

This book was provided to me free of charge for review by Litfuse Publicity Group. Find out more about the book at http://litfusegroup.com/author/SpeakesStuart

Also enter a giveaway through 10/27/16 at http://bit.ly/2934NhP

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Tracie Peterson's A LOVE TRANSFORMED

The new novel by Tracie Peterson A LOVE TRANSFORMED takes us back to a time in history when women did not always have the chance to make their own choices.  Clara is a young wife, and mother, living the upscale life in New York.  Tragedy strikes and she finds herself yearning for a certain place in Montana with people she loves.  Fate, in the form of a domineering mother, had conspired to force her away from Montana well over a decade ago.  Clara initially feels her way is clear to return to Montana but mystery and danger soon start to interfere with her bid for a new life with the people she loves.  A LOVE TRANSFORMED also addresses traditional family values, prayer, regret, gossip, and forgiveness.

Ms. Peterson has written over one hundred novels which may be the reason this story rolls out smooth as silk.  I hadn't read a Christian historical romance in awhile so it was refreshing to see characters express their faith, as well as their down to earth common sense.  A LOVE TRANSFORMED is published by BethanyHouse and the author has a email list to sign up for at traciepeterson.com.

This book was provided to me free of charge by BethanyHouse for review.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

UNION WITH CHRIST by Rankin Wilbourne

UNION WITH CHRIST by Rankin Wilbourne is a new book published in 2016 that seeks to help believers utilize all the resources available to the believer in order to strengthen relationships with God (and Christ). Having a union with Christ is not a new concept but it is a concept the author feels Christians don't often practice anymore or that Christians do not even understand it.  If someone feels stuck in their Christian walk or life then this book may give them the knowledge needed to get unstuck and proceed until they know how to abide in Christ. Every page is packed with scripture to back up what the author is saying. 

I feel this book is for believers and not seekers because already having some knowledge of basic scripture is needed to be able to understand what the author means.  The book is published by David C Cook.  More information on the book can be found at 
http://litfusegroup.com/author/rwilbourne

*this book was provided to me free of charge for review by litfuse publicity group.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD: Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer

Daniel Brouwer's newest novel SAFFIRE
is a colorful, historical story of the Panama Canal 
during it's construction era in the early 1900's.
Technology was starting to rock right around then and the feats of new inventions were awe inspiring to all.  There were so many issues surrounding the construction of the Panama Canal and the story speaks to disease, race relations, customs of the time, as well as international intrigue.  The title character of Saffire is a little girl who is multi-racial.
 
The main character, James Holt, is a soldier turned rancher who knows the President of the United States from his military days. The President then sends him on a mission to Panama on behalf of America's concerns as well as the little girl Saffire.  There is danger for all involved as well as mystery for where the real danger is coming from.  Is the danger coming from people from Panama or the local government? Or is the danger from another country that wants to take over Panama in order to have control of the Canal for their country's benefit?
 
The story is full of colorful characters that could be played in a movie in a serious vein like Masterpiece Theater usually does or the characters could be flipped to a more comical version.  I would compare the style of writing Brouwer uses in this novel to Charles Dickens.  This book would also make a good movie because of the scenic background of Panama and the massive scope of work that had to be taken to build the canal.  It is a good steady read with nothing too objectionable in it.
 
 
 
PRACTICAL LIFE APPLICATIONS
 
1.  There are often things going on behind the scenes in the world that we don't know about.
2.  Do what good you can in the world but be sure and get back to take care of your own home and hearth.
3.  The success is in the details.
 
One thing the novel SAFFIRE made me wonder about was how different American lives might be today if America hadn't built the Panama Canal in order to have more control of ocean travel speeds for economical concerns and military reasons.  We will never know!
 
The novel SAFFIRE is published by Waterbrook which is a division of Crown Publishing Group.  Sigmund Brouwer is also the author of nineteen other novels which includes THIEF OF GLORY THAT won the Christy Award. 
 
 
*This book was given to me free for review from Blogging for Books. Book Cover provided by Blogging for Books and the publisher.






 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rest Awhile!

 
Rest Awhile!
 
 
*picture credit Color Odyssey (adult coloring) by KAPPA Adult Coloring
Picture coloring and photo credit to ONWARD

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sunday Stealing: Shannon's Moment Meme, part two

We are back with Sunday Stealing and this week's meme is entitled Shannon's Moment Meme as Shannon from MOMENTS OF INTROSPECTION provided it but didn't mention where she "found" it. 

To participate in Sunday Stealing yourself or to see more blogs that do participate go to www.sundaystealing.blogspot.com

Have you ever gone to the "dark side"?  No I haven't watched GAME OF THRONES per se. If that is what is meant.

What shirt are you wearing right now? My pink striped one, Walmart Brand :)

What is something about you that would surprise us?  In middle school I used to ride a skate board everywhere like most people ride bikes instead. 

Have you been a pirate, Renaissance Fair, or
other costumed event?  No, but I would love to! A Renaissance Fair!

What songs do you sing in the shower?  Old songs
Favorite girl's name:  Genevieve
Favorite boy's name:  Xander, protector of the people.
What is in your pocket or purse right now? mmmhmm
Last thing that made you laugh? Grandbaby
Best toy as a child?  I had a doll that walked. I think her name was Chrissy.

Worst injury you ever had:  C-section!
Where would you love to live? Maybe some sabbaticals various type places, but that is all.
What type tv do you have.  It's not mine but the one here is a smart TV. Love it!
How many dogs do you have?  I have allergies instead...
Do most folks trust you?  I reckon so.
What book are you reading?
What is you favorite classic Tv show?  When I was small I remember watching all the different shows Lucille Ball had.
What is you favorite sports team?  I don't have one at the moment
What is important about a bed to you?  If it's sturdy.
 
Favorite month and why?  September!  It is when school used to start, and we would have new clothes, and there is usually a day you wake up and you can feel the summer heat has broken for the year. Sort of an unofficial New Year, lots of new starts.
 
That is it for this Sunday Stealing. If you need to make a new start.. well it is almost September ;) Tell us what you are doing.
 
 
 
*Sunday Stealing logo credit to sundaystealing.blogspot.com
*shirt picture credit to Onward
*Book cover image credit to Blogging for Books who gave me the book to review.
 
 
 




 
 
 
                                     












Sunday, August 14, 2016

JUNE by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

The new novel JUNE, written by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, is a book that everyone can find something to relate to in it. The story is told in two very different periods of time in America, 1955 and 2015JUNE touches on American pop culture as well as evolving issues important to Americans such as race, sexuality,love and money.  The story also features a hint of the mystical, in the form of dreams, as well as some suspense and danger.  Indeed, Beverly-Whittemore has a writing style that can be compared to the great American writer Ray Bradbury.

Cassie Danvers is only twenty-five years old but she has reached a stopping point after her grandmother dies. She goes to stay in her family mansion that is literally crumbling around her ears.  Unsure of what to do next she is pulled out of her malingering by a movie star who wants to know if Cassie is related to her via the movie star's own famous father, movie icon Jack Montgomery. Cassie is then forced to confront her own families' history and if her grandmother, June, had secrets she had never told anyone. 

Lots of money and hidden secrets are involved as the story is told while shifting between the two periods of time. Cassie is looking for her future while examining her grandmother June's past.  Life suddenly gets very interesting as questions about her grandmother's relationship with the movie star Jack Montgomery come up as well as questions about all of her grandmother's past relationships with family and friends.  What and with whom will Cassie's future involve now?

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore has an interesting website about her works at http://mirandabw.com .  She is also the author of the New York Times bestseller BITTERSWEET. Her new novel JUNE was available for sale this year May 31st, 2016. It was published by Crown Publishing Group.

*I received this book for review from Blogging for Books who also provided the book jacket image.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Stealing & an Onward Meme

Today I am combining participation with Sunday Stealing where we steal memes with our very own ONWARD MEME.


The ONWARD MEME (You don't have to go straight, but you do need to try to move forward.)

1.  What are three things you could unclutter to help simplify things?

2.  What are three things you need to do this week that you have been putting off for the longest time but should just go ahead and get done.?

3.  What are three small steps you can make to start a journey to a bigger goal?

4.  What are three simple things you haven't done for awhile that could bring enjoyment to your day or your family?

5.  Share three things you do to help get yourself moving on days you feel sort of meh or blah.

6.  What are three things you should give up that are really not productive for your life or for your family?

7.  What two simple upgrades can you do in your home or for yourself or your family life that would make you feel like you had been upgraded?

8.  Do you have any thoughts on moving onward or forward?

p.s. Hang in there. You got this!
*there are no right or wrong answers, it is just whatever the question means to you...!

SUNDAY STEALING: THE JACKAL MEME
This week's Sunday Stealing is taken from a realty blog for a place called Downing-Frye. It is THE JACKAL MEME as it is reportedly shared between them there jackals...
If you wish to participate in SUNDAY STEALING go to www.sundaystealing.blogspot.com

1. Who is your favorite musical artist?  One of my favorites is James Taylor.

2.  What is your favorite album by what artist?  I don't have a favorite artist, but one reason I like James' Taylor's music is it is poetic and can be cheerful.  My favorite song of his is WHENEVER I SEE YOUR SMILING FACE. 

3.  Who is your favorite blogger?  I don't have a favorite blogger but I do like to page through and read blogs.
4.  If you could meet anyone, (dead or alive) who would it be and why would you want to meet them?  I'm not sure, and that is such a often repeated question. 
5What did you want to be when you grew up?  A Mom and a journalist.

6.   What is the most interesting piece of Trivia that you know?  Well it's bible trivia, and it's that Jesus prayed for the future Christians that hadn't been born yet. 
7.  If you could live in any point in history when would it be and why?  I am grateful to live in the present when we have things like antibiotics, and air conditioning!

8.  What do you think of the election so far?  THREE WORDS.  MEDIA CIRCUS & NIGHTMARE.

9.  What is your favorite TV drama and why?  Lately I have watched various assorted things on TV, HBO'S  BIG LOVE, an English soap called CORINATION STREET, and the English and American versions of SHAMELESS.  I learn a lot about human nature from all of t hem.
10.  What is the most interesting job you ever had?  Oh well my jobs are mostly my "day jobs" but I felt privileged to sit with people in hospice before to comfort and help them.  I was able to sit with my own grandmother as well. 

Happy Sunday Stealing, and thanks for coming out ya'll!


* meme image credit to Sunday Stealing
* image from Onward Meme credit to Onward.






Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thirteen Random Things About Me

Just a little assortment of oddities about me.

1.  When I was very small, in the summer, children would catch lightening bugs in Kentucky as soon as dusk hit every night.  We would run around the yard catching them, although back then the lightening bugs were so plentiful  you couldn't move without running into them.  Sometimes we would keep them in jars we had poked small holes in the lid of so they could have oxygen. We would stare at them in the jars as we fell asleep then released them the next morning. Now days we feel lucky to catch a glimpse of a lightening bug in the summer as they are no longer as plentiful as they once were.  This may be because towns often will spray for mosquitoes and do other crop dusting now days and that affects the lightening bug population as well.  The wonder of the lightening bugs is diminished but we haven't  had a mosquito bite in ages. But once as a child we did have the wonderment of lightening bugs. Simple and free: lightening bugs.

2.  In my late teens I was a member of Amnesty International.  At that time participation was mostly sending post cards around the world to try and help political prisoners be freed.

3.  My mom bought me a Shakespeare for children book when I was six years old. I learned about A TALE OF TWO CITIES early!
4.  I finished with the children's side of the library in the small town we went to and started reading adult literature when I was ten years old.
5.  Some of the adult books I read as a child were LOVE STORY, FOREVER AMBER, NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA, & many Reader's Digest condensed books. Those were some of the books in my house.
6.  As a child I would sit in church services and write poetry or short stories (quite often) instead of listening to the sermon.

7.  I have a rule that once I start reading a book I have to finish it.
8.  In high school I pretended to be a fan of the writer Edgar Allan Poe because it seemed like a cool thing to do.
9.  I actually was a fan of Maya Angelou and her book "I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS".
10.  In Middle school and early high school I would skip lunch all week at school and save my lunch money to spend at the skating rink on the weekend.
11.  When I was in early high school I also would leave the skating rink early sometimes and when parents came to pick us up at the end of the evening I would pretend I had been at the skating rink the entire time. 
12.  I am a fan of CORONATION STREET, which is a English soap that used to be available on Hulu. I like CORRIE, me.
13.  I will NEVER watch the television show on ABC called THE CHEW simply because they canceled ALL MY CHILDREN and put THE CHEW on  in it's place.  ABC can take that cooking show and shove it!
 So those are some things that make up me...
....and yourself?

image credit: Onward
posted I participation of newthursday13.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD: The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace

The Kings and Queens of Roam is a nice little read by Daniel Wallace, who is also the author of the novel Big Fish. The author looks a little crazy in his book jacket picture but then with such a creative imagination one would have to be a little bit fey :)  I would deign to be fey to be as creative as him!

Short Synopsis:

The novel is written in tall tale folklore style of the south.  A man named Elijah kidnaps a Chinese man in China named Ming Kai. Elijah kidnaps him so he can have the Chinese man help Elijah become rich by teaching him the secrets of making silk. It is during pioneer and settler times in the United States. They search far and wide for the resources needed to make silk, then build a town close to that spot.  It tells a story of luck and chance and hard work with a few friendly ghosts giving advice for good measure.  The novel also reminds us that everything didn't come up roses for immigrants to the United States, that they were often disappointed.
 
The story centers somewhat on Elijah's two daughters Helen and Rachel. After their parents die early in life Helen and Rachel spend all their time together as Rachel is blind.  Helen tells Rachel a series of mistruths about herself and the world that makes Rachel afraid and also makes her feel bad about herself.  Helen is able to do this because Rachel is blind and can't see and the two are fairly isolated the way the live in a small town.  What happens when Rachel breaks away and finds out all the mistruths her sister told her?

Practical Life Applications:

1.  This is one that is in a lot of novels and movies but: DON'T BE WANDERING AROUND IN THE WOODS LATE AT NIGHT. NOTHING GOOD CAN HAPPEN!

2.  The story talks about how the world is not an easy place and the most important thing people can do is build them a good private life where they can enjoy themselves and find comfort.

3.  Don't automatically assume even the closest people to you are telling you the truth.  There are many and varied reasons why someone could goad or cause others to believe mistruths.  In this story the girl who believed the mistruths was physically blind.  However just being na├»ve  or inexperienced can make us mentally blind to the truth as well. Don't let some messed up person's opinion, or their meanness  make you feel bad about yourself! Trolls will be trolls....

4.  The ghosts in the story knew the past and the present but they could not predict the future.  So, just like the ghosts didn't know everything there is to know, no one person in the world is right about  everything! Keep your own counsel for your life.

And there we have it, a book review off the top of my head for THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF ROAM.



Saturday, April 9, 2016

SUNDAY STEALING: ASK ASK ASK

Back with Sunday Stealing, www.sundaystealing.blogspot.com, where this weeks meme was stolen from the blog I take surveys.
"TO BE HONEST", almost any one question could be taken by itself and made into a separate blog post of it's own.  But here we go!

1.  If you were stranded on a desert island, who do you wish to be with?  Well...this is an oft asked question, but I would need a army engineer who could build things.

2.  What do you feel right now? Lazy :)

3.  What chocolate is your favorite?  I am not that sophisticated to have a favorite chocolate.  Just chocolate is good!

4.  Why did you create a blog account?  To learn to blog.  It was actually a suggestion in an article from O magazine. O as in Oprah.
5.  Who is your favorite blogger?  I don't have a favorite but I do like to page through blogs.
6.  When was the last time you cried?  Right at this moment I'm not sure...!

7.  What kind of music do you listen to?  I listen to mostly Rock, R&B, and pop hits from the 1970's on up to the present.
8.  Do you have trouble sleeping at night?  Well I have been finding out why people go to bed early; in case they have to poop the rest of the night.
9.  Did you try to change for a person> ?  I suppose I have before, for my family or school, etc.  Which the Spanish word for Jesus is Jesus.

10.  Do you prefer jeans or shorts?  Jeans please.
11.  Are you in a good mood or bad mood?  Lazy
12.  Do you have a grudge against anyone>?  Yes, no, maybe?  I'm technically a hillbilly lol.

13.  Are you a crybaby?  Focus!
14.  When people praise you for your features what physical feature do they praise? Eyes
15.  What hair color do you prefer? NICE N EASY
16.  If you can change anything about yourself what is it? To be better at math.

17.  Can you live without internet?  Of course I can, since I lived without it the majority of my life.
18.  Have you ever experienced being hysterical ? I guess, yes.
19.  What are you thinking about right now? These meme questions, other family members, motivation.
20.  Have you ever been hurt so bad you didn't have words to explain how you feel?  No, I always have PLENTY of WORDS.
21.  Do you have trust issues? Ha!
22.  Do you believe in the phrase " if it's meant to be it will be?' Not 100 percent, no.
23.  Do you believe in Destiny? Yes, and no.

24.  How do you look right now? Pale
25.  Did you ever feel like you are not good enough?  Since I am human, yes.
26.  Favorite city?  Nashville.  Tennessee that is.

What are a few of your answers to these questions?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thirteen Coloring Tips

The adult coloring craze has been sweeping the nation but all those swirls and loops and circles are not always so easy to get used to. Here are some tips to help keep, or to get, that coloring swirl on.







1. Buy a small hand-held pencil sharpener.  It will be needed to sharpen the colored pencils to help refresh their color and smoothness of coloring.  If the color starts to look dull sharpen the pencil as often as you like to refresh the color.




2.  All those swirls and lines can be a challenge  to fill in so it is good to start with coloring the small areas first.  Then it feels freer to make the broad sweeping strokes needed to fill in the bigger areas.


3.  Set a timer for the desired amount of time wanted to color to keep track of desired stopping and starting times. It may be easy to lose track of time. 

4.  Don't get discouraged.  Keep trying.  If you have ever colored at all previously in life it may take a little while for "it to come back to you." Also a picture that is being worked on may not look that great while it is being worked on, however wait for that moment it will start looking better and  that it seems to come together.

5.  Each colored pencil will actually color two to three variations and shades of the same color depending on how hard the pencil is pressed down on while in use or how broad or close the strokes with the pencil are made with. Have fun experimenting with this.

6.  Buy small $1 packs of colored pencils at the Dollar Tree and other discount stores in order to obtain a slightly different shade of the colors you may already have.  This cuts down on boredom as the more colors and shades of a color you have the better it is.

7.  In my opinion, Crayola brand colored pencils color smoothest and blend colors together easily.

8.  DO blend colors together with colored pencils to get different shades of colors in order to have a good variety.  For example, use a lighter color such as yellow under a green color to get a shade of green you don't have available in a pencil. 

9.  The DollarTree stores do have coloring books in a box marked as relaxing coloring and the price is one dollar.  They run out quick so keep checking back if they are not displayed the first time.

 
10.  The more expensive coloring books that run from 10 to 18 dollars are worth the money as they have so many templates to color they will be in use for several months.  They also are made of better quality paper then the cheaper 1 dollar coloring books. 
 
11.  Don't worry about conforming to certain styles, colors, or standards. Everyone is free to color and make their picture look however they want it themselves.
 
12.  These rainbow pencils that change color are so much fun and will automatically do a lot of the shading for us without much effort.
 
13. The most important thing is to have fun and relax! No pressure.
 
 
 
 
 
Images Credit: Onward
 
Participation with Thursday Thirteen at newthursday thirteen@blogspot.com
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 


Thursday, January 28, 2016

ColorColor

My sister got me this
book for Christmas and
I had to smile.  I had
almost gotten her one!

At Onward, as you may can tell, we love bright colors.  When I was growing up during the pre Internet era I used to take magic markers and draw different shapes and just liked to see how different colors looked up against each other.

I posted a few pictures I colored on Facebook and two of my friends said they found it relaxing. I find it relaxing as well.  It gives me something to do while I think about things.  Often I have fallen asleep while coloring which is a great thing for a nocturnal person who needs to go to sleep earlier!  Other times while I have been coloring I have thought of solutions to daily problems. 

I don't prefer coloring waves though as it feels too chaotic.  I prefer to color landscapes or floral and  fauna.  But coloring  reminds me of doing ceramics; picking the colors and painting them on the green ware and waiting to see how it comes out.  It also reminds me of doing arts and crafts like cross stitching, or making hook rugs, except that coloring is easier.  Everyone can color!
The big child tells me that Books A Million has an extensive section at their stores just for adult coloring books. Of course you may also find them at stores such as Walgreens and Walmart.  Right now the prices for adult coloring books runs from ten to fourteen dollars.  However, a co-worker advised me she had found adult coloring books priced as low as four dollars at certain types of dollar discount stores.
The other night I was feeling a little down, but then I realized I had colored myself a bouquet! Which a certain little RN I know showed me the coloring book she had bought for herself.  She didn't have time to finish anything much but she did say it was being used in hospitals as an activity.  One of my co-workers who is an author had been coloring in down time at work and she said she liked coloring so much she had made trips around town buying up coloring books.  So it is official that the adult coloring craze has caught on... but then who wouldn't like to color instead of doing  more adult things like work, eh?!

How is the adult coloring craze going for you and yours?





Monday, January 25, 2016

OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD: The Four Seasons by Laurel Corona


This is one of the books I enjoyed last summer. It is a historical novel set in Venice during the 18th century when music ruled.  Two sisters were left as babies at an orphanage that also happened to be a music academy.  In between the routines of life in an impersonal institution one of the girls learned how to sing with exceptional talent.  The other sister, after almost malingering from lack of life choices, was able to persevere and become a violin virtuoso as well as inspiration for the famous composer Vivaldi.  Operas were sung, choirs performed, small boys were even castrated in hopes their voices would retain their heavenly soprano sound into adulthood.  People who sang and preformed on stage were much acclaimed and admired even as celebrities are admired today.

The society in 18th century Venice was full of moral contrasts.  Some women were required or expected to be virgins their whole life to the point of being cloistered while a married lady who was wealthy was allowed to have another lover besides her husband as long as it was discreet. It was essentially open marriages.  The sister with the singing talent was swept off to marriage by a handsome, wealthy good guy.  After all she was as well known in 18th century Venice as our modern day celebrities are on television now.  The more introverted sister, that played  the violin,  had to live her life as a cloistered virgin locked away in the music academy. Priests, like the composer Vivaldi, were often living openly with their housekeepers being their unofficial significant others.  It was a rumor Vivaldi lived with a woman that way but there is no actual evidence to prove he ever actually broke his priestly vows of celibacy.

The title of the book, The Four Seasons, is making reference to the work of music Vivaldi composed by that name that is well known.  The novel starts out as interesting historical fiction. The subject of feminism is introduced after the married, wealthy sister becomes in charge of the family finances. The author did make it clear that a woman being in charge of the family finances was an unusual occurrence in 18th century Venice. The other theme that is woven through out the novel is the power of making choices.  The author emphasized  that even a poor orphan who has to be a cloistered virgin her whole life still has personal choices to make that can impact her life for better or for worse. So that was the actual theme to the novel for me: Even the least of us have big or small choices everyday that can make our life that day better or worse.  The title of the book, The Four Seasons, may also refer to the four seasons of life and how each season may be different.  The novel was written by Laurel Corona who is a professor of English and Humanities and lives in California.