Day: May 24, 2017

Review: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Book Review
4+ stars to How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, a children’s picture book, written in 1957 by Dr. Seuss. I adored this favorite as a child, and I still watch the cartoon ever year at Christmas. I’ve also seen the Jim Carrey movie and will watch that one, too. It’s such a wonderful take of love and revenge…

Most folks who celebrate Christmas must have read or seen some version of this story at some point in their lives. If not, it’s basically a grinch that wants to stop Christmas because he has no heart… but when he sees the heartache he causes on all the children who no longer have presents under the tree (because he stole them), his heart grows bigger… and he returns everything ten-fold.

It’s a feel-good kinda story, when you are down and need something to make you feel better. But it has rhymes and beautiful pictures as well as moral lessons.

Every version brings something new to my eyes and mind and ears. I love this story and would watch it All the “who” people and the way the town celebrates Christmas… it’s May and all I can think about is watching it right now!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

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Review: Guardian Angel

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Guardian Angel Book Review
3.499999 of 5 stars (therefore rounded down!) for Guardian Angel, the 7th book in the mystery series, written in 1992 by Sara Paretsky. This book was a slight turning point in the series for me. VI has always been a bit of a recluse, a little difficult to swallow and sometimes bitter. But it was part of her charm and personality, and you always understood her. In this book, she’s fighting for something she strongly believes needs to be fixed, and several of her cases are colliding. At the same time, her friends are warning her to slow down, remove herself from a few situations and to think about what she’s choosing to do. While they don’t truly turn their backs on her, they’ve made it clear she’s crossing lines that shouldn’t be crossed. What do you do when you feel your friends have abandoned you for your choices? And what’s a reader to do when you’re concerned about a character you love? Is she going too rogue? Do you believe her? Why and What is going on? Keep asking the questions… it’s worth it at the end, but it does push the envelope for a bit in how much you can tolerate how VI behaves.

That said, the mystery is of course great. VI tackles several social topics, especially understanding who stands up for people when they can no longer stand up for themselves? And when you add in unscrupulous people, battles between lawyers and the bad side of town, it’s bound to get complicated. This one is worth reading if you’ll only sample a few in the series.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

AWARD: Sunshine Blogger

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Thank you to Stephanie’s Novel Fiction for the nomination for the Sunshine Blogger. We just connected a few weeks ago, but I love popping over to her site… and we’ve got a couple of great conversations going in a short time.  Go check out her site, as well as the answers to her questions at the end of this post – a way to get to know her too!

The Rules:

1. Thank the person/persons that nominated you and link back to their blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator has given you.

3. Nominate 11 other people and give them 11 new questions to answer.

4. List the rules and display the award

sunshineblogger

 

QUESTIONS SHE ASKED TO ME

  • What is your favorite book from childhood/young adulthood?

 

  • If you were given $50 right now to spend on books, what books would you buy?
    • Origin by Dan Brown
    • A Column of Fire by Ken Follett
    • The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

 

  •  What’s your favorite thing to do in the summertime?
    • Vacation to the mountains or hide from the sun!

 

  • Name one book that you really disliked reading or an author whose work you can’t stand?
    • The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy… don’t make me remember it, please! Go see my review if you need to know more.

 

  •  If you could meet any literary character, who would it be and why?
    • Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. She embodies all the things I love!

 

  • What are you currently watching on tv (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc (that you would recommend?
    • Grace and Frankie, Younger, Young & Hungry, How To Get Away With Murder, Kimmy Schmidt, Great British Baking Show, Falcon Crest, Scandal, Modern Family, The Real O’Neals, SNL, Schitt’s Creek, Downward Dog, Mom, Life in Pieces, Who Do You Think You Are?

 

  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
    • Time Travel

 

  •  When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
    • Teacher, Architect or Writer

 

 

  • What’s the weirdest or most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
    • I tend not to eat things unless I know what they are, but I have tried frog’s legs. They were OK, nothing to write home about! 😛

 

  • Which character in a book do you think is most like you?
    • In about 25 years, Qwill from the “Cat Who” book series! LOL

MY NOMINEES

Bel @ RoadsBelTraveled

PatriciaFairweatherRomero

KatiesCottageBooks

OrangutanLibrarian

Patty @ MoonshineCorner

BeaFreitas

Sarahylockwood

Valerie’s Musings

BookStalkerBlog

PanicAtTheBookStore

Fictionophile

 

QUESTIONS FOR MY NOMINEES TO ANSWER

  1. Where were you when you realized what career you wanted to pursue? Explain.
  2. What age do you want to live to, and why?
  3. What book character most annoys you? Explain it.
  4. What are your least and your most favorite of the 50 states? Explain.
  5. Where do you go when you need to feel comfortable, and why?
  6. What book do you most want to see made into a movie? Explain.
  7. What is your favorite type of weather? Explain.
  8. What past life do you wish you had, and why?
  9. Which president would you want to meet? Explain.
  10. How did you find out about WordPress? Details please… 🙂
  11. Where are you when you draft your blog posts? Explain!

 

Thank you very much for this award nomination. And I look forward to seeing everyone’s answers and feedback… have a great day full of sunshine!

-Jay

 

QUESTIONS STEPHANIE ANSWERED

(leaving these in for you to get to know her)

  1. Read or Write? Definitely, read!
  2. Favorite Book Series? Oh, this is a tough one since there are so many excellent ones. But, I guess I would have to say, Harry Potter since I reread them whenever I get a chance. There’s just something so wondrously magical about the world and characters J.K. Rowling created that I never tire of rereading the series.
  3. If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time? Oh, I would read! I already stay awake every night until 2 am or later reading now that school is out and only sleep 4 to 5 hrs a night just so I can read as much as I can over the summer !!
  4. What is the most annoying habit that other people have? Interrupting someone when they’re talking.
  5. Are you usually early or late? I’m notoriously late, which is pretty bad since I’ve been known to show up right as I need to be unlocking my classroom doors for my lectures. Apparently, I have a reputation for it, so my students, new and old, all seem used to it and like to tease me about it whenever they can.
  6. What book universe would you most like to in? Definitely Harry Potter’s world and be a Professor at Hogwarts. I eagerly await my letter from Hogwarts every day!
  7. What age do you wish you could permanently be? Umm…tough one! My favorite age had to be 26 for some reason but I don’t want to say that age because I didn’t have my gorgeous daughter until I was 32…so I guess 32 it is!! Not too old or young 😊
  8. Where is the most interesting place you’ve been? I traveled all over Europe after high school, so I’ve visited lots of interesting places, but I think that the Lavender fields in Provence, France is simply one of the most gorgeos places that I have ever seen.
  9. What’s something you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to it? Scuba diving!!
  10. What one thing do you really want but can’t afford? Oh, this is easy. I grew up with horses and would love to have a stable full of them! I miss riding every day, and my daughter adores horses and is just learning to ride. But, I  can’t afford to upkeep several horses or even one!
  11. What city would you most like to live in? Hmmm, I’ve completely fallen in love with Charleston, S.C. and plan to move there once I finish my Ph.D. next semester. I love the thought of living in a city full of such rich history and being right by the beach. Plus, the food is amazing!

Review: The Grilling Season

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The Grilling Season Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Grilling Season, the 7th book in the “Goldy Bear Schultz Culinary” cozy mystery series, written in 1997 by Diane Mott Davidson. This is one of my favorite series, as I always enjoy reading about Goldy’s antics. In this one, though, we meet the ex-husband who abused her… so it was a little much to read about the things he did to her, but good to see she eventually stood up for herself. It offers a little help for potential victims, but not enough. Tho… perhaps not the purpose of the book, I do think it should do something to help in the end. Always good to see people survive, move on and have a much better life. Back to the book… Goldy is lovable, but when her ex-husband is accused of murder, what delicious revenge. Wonder if he did it? You’ll have to read to find out as I won’t give away the spoiler! But if you know the series, you know what happens in future books too!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

AWARD: Liebster – Discover New Blogs

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I was nominated for this award by Susan at SUSANDYER1962. You should take a look at her blog and follow her. She’s got fantastic content. She’s very kind and friendly; we interact online all the time and it’s always fun. I believe the award is for helping to discover great new blogs you’d want to follow, so here goes my follow-up for the Liebster Award:

 

THE RULES:

  • Say thank you to the person who has nominated you for the Award.
  • Answer the 11 questions the person has asked you
  • Nominate 11 people
  • Ask the people who you have nominated 11 questions

THE QUESTIONS:

1. What one person dead or alive, would you like to have lunch with?

  • ALIVE: Ken Follett, just to get advice, learn how his mind words and be transported to another country for a few hours.
  • DEAD: A great-great-great grandparent, so I could track down more information on our family tree.

2. Who is your all time favorite author?

  • Oops! I may have answered it in the previous question. But I currently have four (4) I bounce between: Agatha Christie, Henry James, Ken Follett and Kate Morton

3. What do you usually drink when reading?

  • Coffee or flavored seltzer

4. Where do you normally read?

  • On the couch, in one of two reading corner chairs or in bed

5. Do you own bookcases? Can I see them?

  • Yes, but not as many as I used. Check out my Instagram feed and you’ll see a few. Feel free to follow me, too. I love to interact everywhere on social media.

6. What is your favorite TV show?

  • Too many to choose… the current series I’m watching include: Grace and Frankie, Younger, Young & Hungry, How To Get Away With Murder, Kimmy Schmidt, Great British Baking Show, Falcon Crest, Scandal, Modern Family, The Real O’Neals, SNL, Schitt’s Creek, Downward Dog, Mom, Life in Pieces, Who Do You Think You Are?

7. If you were going to have your last meal, what would it be?

  • Steak Tartare, Champagne, Jack Daniels & Ginger Ale, Pinot Noir, Chocolate Cake, French Fries

8. Which do you prefer, e-book or real book?

  • Started using e-readers recently, and they’re OK, but I think I prefer a physical book

9. Who was the last person/band you saw in concert?

  • Dolly Parton at the Queens outdoor arena

10. What book are you reading right now? Do you like it?

  • I plan to start “You” by Caroline Kepnes tonight. I just finished “Dead with the Wind” by Miranda James last night. It was a cute cozy, but I’m hoping for a great thriller in “You.”

11. How long have you been blogging?

  • 9 months

 

MY 11 NOMINEES:

 

Patricia at Tea & Tales

Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Nel at Reactionary Tales

Dizzy at Dinosaurs, Donkey…

Bobo’sBookBank

KeeperOfPages

ByHookorByBook

Roda at GrowingSelf

Lashaan at Bookidote

TheRobin’sNest

BrizzleLassBooks

MY 11 QUESTIONS:

  1. What made you start blogging?
  2. What are the primary content areas on your site?
  3. What other languages can you speak, read or write?
  4. Which color best describes your choice in books?
  5. What is your favorite of the 7 deadly sins, and why?
  6. What other job would you want to have?
  7. What foods can’t you stomach no matter how hard you try? (You must have tried it before)
  8. What zoo animal would you most want as a pet?
  9. Who do you live with?
  10. Describe the perfect book.
  11. Which blog that you follow is your must-read every day? Only 1!

 

Thank you very much. I wish much happiness and fun to everyone participating.

Also, can anyone tell me who this “Liebster” is, or what that references???  😛

-Jay

Review: The Cat Who Wasn’t There

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The Cat Who Wasn't There Book Review
4 of 5 stars to The Cat Who Wasn’t There, the 14th book in the “Cat Who” cozy mystery series, written in 1992 by Lilian Jackson Braun. This might be one of my favorite books in this series, as it takes the story on a new adventure. Qwill is on a trip to Scotland and the cats are left behind in Pickax. How will the solve the crime this time? Well… they do… thru odd behaviors with the cat sitter. More Polly in this one! And a change of scenery, with a good mystery, help make this a fun read. Plus, I love Scotland, so I will always read stories about it. Maybe I’ll get there one day, too. As for this one, lots of history, interesting characters, especially when one disappears off the bus tour. Kicks off a great mystery and a lot of questions to try to figure out what’s behind the entire thing — as well as why and how does Qwill get himself involved in these things. If you want to sample the book series, this is good, but it won’t give you the flavor of Pickax. So maybe read this one as your third or fourth, if you don’t plan to read the whole series in order.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 73 – Gardener

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Gardener: a person who tends and cultivates a garden as a pastime or for a living

Let me be clear right at the beginning: Gardening is not the way I make my living! And while it’s a bit of a pastime, it’s not something I have a lot of opportunity to do right now for two primary reasons: (1) I am blogging and reading in all my spare time and (2) I live in NYC. But let’s do a quick re-cap on why I chose gardener.

garden

As a child, I helped my mom with all the gardening. We had a 150 square foot raised patch in the back corner of the property where we planted vegetables. We also had a fairly large piece of property in the suburbs situated on a corner lot, about 1/3 of an acre. We spent a lot of time on the weekends mowing the lawn, trimming trees, cleaning up weeds and leaves, and planting flowers. If I had to count, I’d say we had about 40 flower beds between the front, back and sides. I learned a lot about gardening! When I moved into my own house, I tried to re-create a lot of those memories, and my mom would help, but I worked a lot and couldn’t keep up. But I always had a few beautiful flower beds I could maintain in the front yards. Then I moved into the city… and on to the 12th floor of a building. So what was I suppose to do when I wanted to garden?

I love to garden. I enjoy planting seeds, watching things sprout, watering, checking the growth and seeing the pretty colors. It makes me happy. It’s calming. It’s a pretty scene to look at when you live in a concrete jungle. And while I do live in a major urban area, there are tons of parks and lots of small corner flower beds to admire, so it’s not all brick and mortar. But, when the significant other and I bought this apartment, we carefully chose a place with a large terrace for a few reasons: (1) Ryder needed some space to run around, (2) We needed an escape outside of the apartment without having to travel far and (3) We were giving up our summer beach share and wanted some connection with nature in our new place. So… our apartment has a 600 square foot terrace. It’s about 8 feet wide and 75 feet long. That said… to bring this back to today’s post… and to share a little about me… and to give us all something to look forward to, I’m going to post pictures every few weeks of everything we’re doing with the flowers, bushes and trees on the terrace.

We spent about 5 hours last Sunday, with my mom’s help of course, planting a bunch of flower pots, moving around some trees (yes, we moved 8 foot trees in pots from one side to the other… very heavy!) and deciding how much more we’d need to purchase. Knowing it’s way too expensive to buy things in NYC, we take the train out east to Long Island, buy everything much cheaper at a huge nursery, and then my parents drive us all back in with the flowers to the apartment. It takes about 3 to 4 hours for that part, then I make lunch while they start prepping outside. And we plant for a few hours, relax with coffee and some dessert I cooked… they head home and we crash from exhaustion!

Without further ado, below are the photos I took this morning at the beginning of the season. Please remember these were just planted, have very little color at this point and aren’t picture-perfect; however, they will be in the coming weeks and months.

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Three pots with roses on the East corner. The bright pink one is new, the other two we put in last year. They are already starting to flower. This will be a collection of varying heights and pinks.

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Both larger pots are new. We bought a bunch of flats with different colors. One is a pot full of yellow and orange flowers, and one is a pot full of purple and red flowers. I can’t wait until they grow together and cascade over the sides. The smaller green bush might not make it, but we removed it from another place and wanted to see how it would do.

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Another pair of new pots, both full of various yellows, whites and greens that grow tall and will cascade down the planter sides.

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On the left is a hydrangea that we trimmed to the base last year. It’s already grown back and starting to get some buds. On the right is a new wisteria vine we will train to grow on the railing once it’s bigger. A few small colors in the base, too.

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We have 5 huge planter boxes full of ivy. In #1 above, we added purples and reds, and a strawberry bush.

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In #2, we have a few bushes, including a very fragrant jasmine tree and some impatiens.

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In #3, we have petunias and foxglove that’s still fairly small and needs to grow.

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In #4, we have a few bushes, heather and a bleeding heart.

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And in #5, we have more colorful perennials.

We’ll need to buy a few more flats with colors for the window boxes and these planters, as well as think about the herb garden… but that’s next weekend. I’ll post new pictures in about 3 weeks when there is enough growth and change!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.