review

Review: Green Eggs and Ham

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Green Eggs and Ham Book Review
4 of 5 stars to Green Eggs and Ham, a picture book written by Dr. Seuss in 1960. Another delightful children’s book full of wonderful images and fantastic rhymes. These are amazing books to use as tools that engages young kids in reading at a very early age. The topic in this one… Sam-I-Am and all the places to eat green eggs and ham! On some levels, the things they eat and the places they go are not appropriate for kids, but it’s meant as humor and fun… so I let those things go. Another book to read with a child… not hand off and hope (s)he figures it out. And Dr. Seuss has a world of characters children love and want to hear and see all the time. I’d definitely recommend this one as a starter book for your kids… even with some of the items to be careful over, when it comes to being funny versus truthful… and not giving off incorrect perceptions:

I loved it as a child
And I simply love it now
But don’t get too crazy or wild
Nor caught up in the how

Enjoy our famous friend
The wonderful Dr. Seuss
He likes to our ears just bend
A fun and dandy ruse

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.

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Review: The Merchant of Venice

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The Merchant of Venice Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. My review is an excerpt from a paper I wrote on appearance versus reality in Shakespeare’s plays. In many of William Shakespeare’s famous plays, reality was not quite what it appeared to be. Instead, it was a rather warped appearance that someone molded in a specific way for a particular reason. Reality has been altered in Shakespeare’s plays often by characters who have been known to lie, scheme, and create facades, just so that they could be with the ones they love. When fate intervened in this type of a situation and created an obstacle between the true loves, Portia, the main character in Merchant of Venice, disguised herself as a lawyer to free her love, Bassanio, from the evil Shylock’s clutches. She also altered reality by disguising herself to her husband so that she could see what their wedding rings meant to him. However, this deception, although intended for good purposes, usually ended in disaster. It just goes to show that honesty is always the best policy. Never deceive fate by changing reality, and interpreting [from it] a new appearance that you want other to see.

Portia had already been through an appearance vs. reality problem when it came to her potential suitor’s choosing of the caskets. They could choose from gold, silver, and lead. The first two appeared to be wonderful gifts from God, but in reality, the most worthless one, the lead, turned out to be the best coffin to pick. If you did, like one person did, you would win Portia’s hand in marriage. Luckily, the first two gentleman chose the wrong casket, and then when it came time for Bassanio to choose a casket, he chose the correct one. Thus, it lead to the marriage between Portia and Bassanio. Bassanio’s best friend Antonio, however, was in need of dire help. Portia decided to help her husband’s friend Antonio. Antonio had borrowed money from a man named Shylock to back Bassanio’s ships in the waters nearby. However, the ships never came back to port, and so Shylock wanted his money back from Antonio. The agreement that was made was that Shylock was due one pound’s flesh if he didn’t receive any money. Bassanio didn’t want to let his friend Antonio die from his debt, either. Eventually, Portia and her lady-in-waiting came up with a plan to disguise themselves and become a doctor and his clerk. This plan again alters reality to suit her own purpose. She needed to help her friend Antonio, so she put on a new appearance. She played the doctor who told Shylock he had permission to take his flesh from Antonio, but he best be careful not to shed any of Antonio’s blood during it, because that is illegal. Also, they revealed the Venetian law that states if any foreigner kills a Venetian, all of his money is to be taken from him. Shylock gives in and decides not to take his flesh from Antonio. In the end, Portia’s trickery and deceit works, but still, she had to disfigure the state of reality that Venice was in because she wanted to help her husband Bassanio.

Similarly, Portia decides to put on another disguise to test her husband’s loyalty. She again plays with the appearance of things and creates a false appearance like Juliet did in Romeo and Juliet. Portia, as the doctor talks to Bassanio about being paid for having saved Antonio’s life. Bassanio tires to give her money, but she refuses saying that all she wants is the ring on his hand. Bassanio thinks back to when it was given to him. Portia had said “I gave them with his ring, which when you part from, lose, or give away, let it presage the ruin of your love, and be my vantage to exclaim on you” (3.2.171-174). Bassanio had given her his word that he would never take it off. Well, after Portia, as the disguised man, chides Bassanio for keeping it because his woman told him to, Bassanio hands over the ring. When he later returns to Portia, she notices that his ring is gone and yells at him for it. She thinks he doesn’t love her and is reckless. All the while, Portia has set this whole game up to test her husband. Portia’s plays with reality for the fun of it really. She wants to be sure of her husband’s love for her, but she has no right to alter her appearance and trick him. He is a man of equal measure to her and everyone else.

Portia and Bassanio end up fighting about the loss, but Bassanio ends up vowing never to get rid of the ring again after she tells him what she did. She is constantly switching back and forth from reality, to her perception of it, to the perception she gives to others of reality that she eventually almost messes up the entire situation. Portia wasn’t altogether truthful with her husband with what she did. If she had been though, he would not have given the ring away. Therefore, by playing with the views others see of reality, particularly her husband’s, she tempts fate. If she had never done anything, her husband Bassanio and her wouldn’t have fought and they would have lived happily ever after. However, she doesn’t. They end up talking about it and forgiving each other, but surely there will always be doubt in the back of their minds about what the other is up to. Bassanio may wonder if she is just playing games with him, and Portia may wonder if he will really hold onto the ring for next time. Leave well enough alone and let fate and reality take their course rather than warp the appearance of things for your own purpose.

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.

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Review: Annabel Lee

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Anabel LeeBook Review
Edgar Allan Poe is one of my three favorite poets and short story writers. In this poem, Annabel Lee, Poe pontificates on the love between two people, which suffers upon the death of one. Love is powerful. Love can also be dark. All that you’d expect from the mysterious suspense is firmly planted in this poem, but under a romantic guise; it’s different than his other works, but you can still tell it was written by him. Published in the 1849, it may be his most haunting poem; it was also released just around his death. He passed away at 40 years old, young even for 175 years ago. Many think the poem is about his relationship with his own young wife. I couldn’t say. All I know is that rhyme and the staccato temperament in both the words and the timing is top notch. Roll the words off your lips, feel the energy, and absorb the pain. It’s how to best understand Mr. Poe. My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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.

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Review: Deadlock

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DeadlockBook Review
VI’s back and this time it’s personal. Although it appears like her cousin, Boom Boom Warshawski, a famous hockey player, slipped off the wharf, VI smells trouble lurking in the depths of his shallow grave. 4 of 5 stars to Deadlock, the second book in the VI Warshawski thriller mystery series by Sara Paretsky. When it’s family, you won’t stop until you find the killer. And that’s exactly the path VI sets off on once she’s convinced of foul play. Learning more about her cousin’s life, on and off the ice activities and last few days is not easy. Too many people have different stories, some feel she’s exaggerating the potential clues, but eventually, she finds proof and is able to narrow the path down to a specific reason. But knowing who did it was not easy, especially when she has very little background on the shipping docks and industry. But she finds a few folks willing to help out under the radar — some thru volunteer and some by force.

This was a strong follow-up to the first in series and helped be part of the launch for this series to the forefront in the 80s and 90s. Working in Chicago is tough, but Paretsky does a grand job at showing the risky nature of he business VI’s involved in. Learning how the ships work, what’s necessary for deliveries, how the boats come in and out, etc. is a fascinating business. As usual, these books never fail to provide both a learning experience and an opportunity to solve the crime. One of the early ones in the series, but also one of the stronger ones for me…

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.

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Review: The Cat Who Played Post Office

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The Cat Who Played Post OfficeBook Review
4 of 5 stars to The Cat Who Played Post Office, the 6th book in the Cat Who mystery series, by Lilian Jackson Braun. This is one of my favorite books in the whole series. It’s actually the book that really changes the series, moving Qwill from the urban city atmosphere to 400 miles north of everywhere. Yes, some changed in the previous book, number 5, but this is the one where Qwill had to make some decisions about his future. His Aunt Fanny has passed away, leaving him millions of dollars; however, he has to move to Moose County where she lived for 5 years to inherit the funds. The good thing… he doesn’t want the money, but he knows in order to protect all the charities and foundations, he needs to keep the money. And he does… but he eventually stay a lot longer than 5 years.

It kicks off with Qwill having some memory issues post-accident. Someone does not want him inheriting this money, nor living in Pickax. And thus begins his long-time friendships and enemy-lines among the townspeople in Moose County. This is the book where you learn the history, the core families, the necessary facts to set up a series for another 20 books. It’s a must read if you are sampling some in this series. For a while, I wanted to move here… even tho it doesn’t exist… it was modeled after a few towns. Perhaps some day… and I too can solve cozy crimes.

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

Review: Cream Puff Murder

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Cream Puff Murder 3 of 5 stars to the eleventh book, Cream Puff Murder, in the “Hannah Swensen” cozy mystery series by Joanne Fluke. And yes, it was hard to read without wanting a cream puff the entire time!

Why This Book
I’ve been reading the Joanne Fluke series for several years and had asked for a few of her books for my birthday last month. One was Cream Puff Murder, and once I finished a rather difficult book just before this one, I needed something light and fluffy to shock me back to normalcy. Lake Eden’s Hannah Swensen fit the bill, and I started it two days ago, reading through a third each night up ’til now – review time.

Overview of Story
Hannah’s mother is throwing a book launch party for her new regency novel, and Hannah needs to fit into a dress despite having put on a few pounds. Her sister Andrea steps in to help, and even though Hannah despises exercising, she agrees to spend an hour every morning before work at the gym, focusing on her body. Shortly afterwards, Ronni Ward, fitness instructor extraordinaire, is found murdered in the jacuzzi. Since she’d been dating several men, and annoyed several women, Hannah suspects it’s someone at the gym or in one Ronni’s fitness classes. But Mike and Bill are put on temporary leave, as they may be too close to the crime, since Ronni was working part-time at the police station to make some extra money, and possibly dating Mike on the side. Hannah steps up her work-out time to a few hours a day to attend all Ronni’s classes with with the new instructor to see if she can find out more details, especially when her family and some-time boyfriend aren’t able to work the case. As she begins to narrow down the clues, and her own waistline, Hannah finds herself smack in the middle of disaster again when she steps right into trouble with the culprit. But along the path, she’s determined that she can no longer keep bouncing back and forth between Mike and Norman, appearing ready to finally make a choice for her suitor and potential future husband.

Approach & Style
The book is told in third-person from an omniscient narrator, but the point of view is consistently with Hannah as the main protagonist. Every few chapters, the author throws in some sweet recipes based on whatever Hannah’s cooking up in The Cookie Jar that day. Cream Puffs are this books’ flavor of the month.

It’s a very lighthearted cozy, casual and simple in both setting, dialogue and tone. An easy breezy read in under 4 hours, given the paperback book’s about 350 pages, inclusive of at least 100 focused on recipes.

Strengths
1. Hannah is consistent. Her sisters, mother, friends and boyfriends are all good people and I really enjoy reading about them. It’s comfortable and makes you feel warm and cozy.

2. The town is quite lovely, as is the history you learn with each successive book. It feels like a place you’d love to call home — when you’re done livin’ on the edge in your younger days.

3. Fluke’s got a solid formula that works time and time again, assuming the story is interesting and the cast of characters rotates just enough.

Open Questions & Concerns
1. I probably didn’t need 20% of the book dedicated to figuring what Moishe (the cat) was doing with his new automatic food dispensing unit. Seriously… we kept reading about “where is Moishe putting all that food? He’s not gaining any weight, so he can’t be eating it.” It actually got a little bit annoying. I love the antics and banter with the cat and Hannah, but this was a little too much!

2. Normally, a cozy reveals the murder about 15% into the book; however, it didn’t happen until almost 30% this time. It was a little too much, and I felt at times like I was reading someone’s journal about daily goings-on. I already do that for myself… don’t need this one, too!

3. Mike takes a darker turn and we get a much-needed push in the “Choose Mike or Norman” story line. He does something unexpected, tho, in my opinion… and while I welcomed the direction change, it didn’t feel natural.

4. The mystery was not very strong. It was pretty clear from about 50% in, it was 1 of 2 people; and I knew very little about them, so it didn’t matter which one it was to me. I think it needed a few extra plot points to make this a stronger book.

Author & Other Similar Books
Diane Mott Davidson’s “Goldy Bear Shultz Culinary” mystery series is a good comparison.

Final Thoughts
This was Book 11 out of a series with about 20 so far. I’ve a little over half-way done, still enjoying Hannah and her family, but if she doesn’t make a choice for sure in the next book… I will probably take a break for a while. I won’t give it up, as I love the townspeople and the background setting; but I’d like a little less of the romance and a tad more of the mystery. Still an enjoyable read tho!

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.

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Review: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, one of the “Great American Novels” by Mark Twain published in 1884. I’ve actually read this book twice: once as a 14-year-old and again in college as part of my many American English courses. My interpretations have expanded with the second read, but it’s still at the core, a very profound book worth reading at least once in a lifetime.

Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer appear in a few of Twain’s novels, but it is in this one where Huck truly becomes a character, especially through his relationship with Jim. It’s the type of book to openly challenge the norms and ideals of the mid-19th century, relationships between various races, treatment towards fellow humankind. Over 135 years later, this book is still pertinent to society today. So much needs to evolve and change, and perhaps with literature, it will move a little more each day — at least as one of the necessary driving forces.

At times, I tried to forget that the book was calling out differences between treatment of ethnicity and race in America at the time. I wanted to think about it also from the perspective of two human beings who needed each other for survival, growth, life experience and comfort. Being color-blind and able to connect with someone, even if you don’t see them or no much about them, is an important lesson in life. And one so few of us have an opportunity to experience.

One book can’t change it. One book can’t truly explain it. But knowing what was happening 135 years ago versus what is happening now is important. As is what people thought back then… not just what they did. If you haven’t read this, as an American, it’s your responsibility. Understand the past and history. Know what it was like. Read it from 135-year-old words. And decide what you can do to keep things moving forward at a quicker pace… to help us all figure out how to ditch the differences and embrace the fact that we’re all humans who need the same things to survive.

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