Day: November 26, 2017

Book Review: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher by Maxine Sylvester

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Overview 
With the holiday season coming up, this is a definite read for children who need a touch of hope and humor. Loosely based on the concepts of reindeer who fly through the sky, with a famous one named Rudolph, this beautiful picture book takes off dashing from there… the lead reindeer character, Ronaldo, is named for a famous soccer player — you can imagine the great amount of other antics incorporated in the rest of the book. The background story that Maxine Sylvester has created is pure imagination woven tightly with a reality we all know.

In this second book in the series, the reindeer crew, in school to learn how to properly fly, meet a young wolf who needs help finding her pack. She’s feisty and protective, loyal and adorable. The book makes you feel part of the story, including the wonderful drawings done by the author herself. Add in a contest, a scary forest and a kooky instructor, there are bunches of warm moments and great arcs to tantalize kids with as you read to them. I highly recommend this series.

carrot.jpg

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read 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 find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also 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. 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.

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Book Review: Versions of the Self by Christy Birmingham

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A book review on a collection of poems…

versions-of-the-self-poetry-book-cover (2)

 

Overview 
The ~115 page book is a collection of 80 poems organized by 8 sections, all relating to the concept of ‘self.’ It covers individual views, relationship views, sadness and joy; the full range of emotions. At times, it was something light and easy to comprehend, but at others, it was diverse and complex. Some of the lines call to you, urging you to compare your own life to the narrator’s. It’s personal and introspective — all the things I like when someone shares part of the self. Given this is a different type of work, I’m not writing a normal review where I cover plot, characters and setting. Instead, I offer a few lines that really spoke to me:

“I want to alter my recipe,

Lighter on the ridicule and

Heavier on the gratitude

If I am here to speak,

My tongue learns to pronounce properly

The language forming within me.”

Poetry is often difficult for many people as it is abstract and full of metaphor. It compares things we don’t necessarily understand,  but in this one, you’ll find something different. Something that gives you the freedom to find varying levels of meaning that speak to you as the story evolves through each subsequent poem. The concept of the self… whether it’s how you view yourself today versus tomorrow, is clearly intense and complex. Ms. Birmingham pulls no punches telling you what the narrator is feeling, what’s real and what’s on her mind — whether it’s the emotional reaction to a situation or the physical impacts of pain and fear. But there’s also hope and inspiration, packaged in both obvious and hidden ways.

You could read this all in one sitting in about 60-minutes or you could read a chapter each night over a week. There’s depth, maturity and intensity in the words. It’s one of those great opportunities to hear a voice with power behind it and analyse your own thoughts and actions. Take a chance, it’s worth it.

 

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read 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 find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also 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. 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.

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My Very Own “Book Bucket List” – November 2017 (VOTE NOW)

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I’ve knocked the 6th entry off my Book Bucket List:  A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. You can see the review here. In its place, I’ve added The Party by Robyn Harding to round out the 12 options for the next vote (post with poll to VOTE is below).

 

 

The poll for the December 2017 read is open. Click below to vote by 12/3!!!!

 

Below is the link to the on-going Book Bucket List and a background on what it’s all about. My Very Own “Book Bucket List”  —  Click the link to access everything since the beginning of this post series as well as see the 12 books currently on the list.

 

About Me
I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS.  I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to publish it in early 2018. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read 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, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access 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.

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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Why This Book 
I run a poll each month on my blog called the “Book Bucket List” where followers choose one book each month for me to read. November’s winner was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas — and I’m quite glad it was! You can vote in December’s poll at https://thisismytruthnow.com; there are 12 books to choose from and I will read it mid-December.

court

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Feyre is a 19-year old girl trying to support her sisters and father, living by poor means in a very small hovel, as one character puts it, near the forest. The book opens with her attempting to kill a doe that could feed her family, but a wolf steps in her way. She considers the wolf might be a faerie, a creature she’s not allowed to kill, but ultimately reasons it is not. That’s the beginning of her mistake, as she kills the wolf, then takes both animals to feed and clothe her family. From there, the story evolves into a fantasy where she is captured by the High Fae and brought to a distant world to make amends. Everything she knew to be true about the faeries is not actually true. She falls in love with her captor, along the lines of a Beauty & the Beast re-telling, but the book is so much more. I can’t wait to read the second one as there is family drama, bonds of friendship, danger, love and morality.

Approach & Style 
This is the first book in the ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ series. I read this 420-page young adult fantasy novel on iPad through Kindle Reader. It took me about 5 hours over the course of 3 days to finish it. It’s told in first-person POV with a focus on Feyre, the main character.

Strengths & Suggestions 
I remember when one of the later books came out in the series earlier this year, seeing people going a bit nutty over the release. Some complaining how awful the books are, others loving them. I avoid fantasy under most conditions, but since this was the winner, I had to read it. I wasn’t thrilled with the first two chapters, but once Feyre leaves her land and goes back with the faeries, it’s an absolutely beautiful tale. I read for 3 hours non-stop, turning pages quickly, loving the words, the style, the setting and the character. It truly has a great deal to praise and I love the morality and lessons each character learns. It’s a great series with very few concerns. At times, it was a bit wordy (but so am I in my own books, I acknowledge that). It has a few open plot holes, but they might be resolved in a future book, so no complaints here. Overall, it’s a definite 4+ for me right now. I can’t wait to read the next one, probably in 2018 after I clear a few ARCs off my plate and finish my second novel. All I can say is for someone who isn’t always fond of fantasy, this was a fantastic book. Thank you to those who picked this book as my November read!

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read 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 find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also 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. 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.

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Book Review: Someone’s Mad at the Hatter by Sandra Bretting

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Why This Book 
I won this book through a cozy mystery group. I’d not read the author’s work before, but I do enjoy cozies and have family in Louisiana. I took a chance on entering the giveaway contest and reading it.

hatter.jpg

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Missy is a hat designer who stumbles into crimes in a small Louisiana town. She’s ~30ish, dating a dressmaker and a true southern girl. In this book, Missy finds a dead wedding planner outside her store, killed with one of her hat-making tools. When her business begins to suffer, she investigates the crime, having successfully helped the local police on two prior cases. She also goes on a few dates with her dressmaker and another character, ultimately deciding who is better for her. When she figures out the crime before the police, she finds herself smack in the killer’s hands and forced to protect herself.

Approach & Style 
This is the third book in the cozy series and is told in first-person POV from Missy, the main character. I read the ~170 page Kindle version in about three hours. Chapters are short. Writing is average, a bit stilted and formal for my taste, but still a good read.

Strengths & Suggestions 
The story makes sense. The characters are diverse. The writing is clear. The setting is one of the better parts. In a world full of cozies, it has a place for readers who prefer settings in the southern US and mysteries involving clothing or weddings. For me, it was an average read where I enjoyed it, but something was also missing. It felt a little too formulaic without an ability to really attach to any of the characters. I also recognize that this setting may have been part of the reason I didn’t feel strongly about the overall series, and it may be better to read from the first book to get into the story. I might give the first one a try in the future as the mystery had several good components, especially in the red herrings and side-stories.

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read 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 find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also 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. 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.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

365 Challenge: Day 259 – Young Adult (LIST: Fiction Genres)

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Young Adult: literature generally meant for teenagers through early twenties, though some feel it ends at nineteen

young adult

Sundays are LIST days and today is no different. For this group of 5 Sundays, I chose a favorite book genre and discussed all the reasons why I love it. In our fifth and final week, it’s all about young adult fiction. Let’s first chat about why I adore this genre:

  • There’s usually a moral, which often can be extrapolated to cover general life lessons.
  • I enjoy it more if there’s a small element of science-fiction or fantasy, nothing too big, but enough to make it different from a normal read.
  • The characters are usually going through something we’ve all been through before, though not always; however, when it is something, we can compare how we handled the situation.
  • There’s often an innocence or thirst for knowledge which is admirable and easy to connect with.
  • I miss my youth? Ha!
  • The story tends to be a bit more simple, but has great depth in the characters.

While young adult isn’t my top two or three favorites, it is a bit of a favorite. I like to read one every 5 or 6 books to keep myself immersed in a wide range of plot and setting. I have found a few authors I like, and at times, these are often turned into TV shows or movies I’ve found appealing.

What are some of my favorite reads from the last few years?

What’s next on my list in this genre to read in 2017/2018?

How about you? Any favorites or recommendations? Do you not like this genre? Time to share!

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, often organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Past weeks included:

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held
  • Weeks 26 – 30: Top 10 entertainment options
  • Week 31: How to follow or contact me across all social media platforms
  • Week 32: How to help an artist with promotion
  • Week 33 – 37: Favorite Book Genres

 

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.

 

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