Friday, July 13, 2018

Anne of Green Gables

If you love the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery you are likely familiar with the descriptive beauty of words as well as the beauty of Prince Edward Island.

In reviewing The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, The Enchanting Island that Inspired L. M. Montgomery by Catherine Reid, I'd mentioned that I loved the book and the original mini-series as we followed Anne Shirley's escapades while she took sleigh rides over snow-covered hills and wandered through red clay paths skirted with lush trees and scenic farmland

Well, where am going with this?

I seldom watch television but have taken time away from reading recently to binge-watch 'Anne with an E'. The introduction to this series fascinates me as much as does opening a children's picture book or my favorite naturalist's notebook. 

Anne Shirley's clumsy awkwardness is much like my own, and it's amusing and quite believable that Anne's vain about her hair color and her freckles and likes to recite nursery rhymes and spell out words for others. 

I love that this series shows us the scenic beauty surrounding Green Gables and concentrates some effort on the importance of impressions and imagination while mentioning books, book clubs and referring to the changing times.

It appears this series is set with an excellent cast that can pull off a more contemporary vibe while using dialogue pulled from Anne of Green Gables.  

Beyond everything, the words and language within the pages of Anne of Green Gables, recounts, "Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world."

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ernest Hemingway: Artifacts From a Life

Ernest Hemingway: Artifacts From a Life
by Michael Katakis
Biographies & Memoirs
EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781501142086
PRICE $35.00 (USD)


Beautifully designed, intimate and illuminating, this is the story of American icon Ernest Hemingway's life through the documents, photographs, and miscellany he kept, compiled by the steward of the Hemingway estate and featuring contributions by his son and grandson.

For many people, Ernest Hemingway remains more a compilation of myths than a person: soldier, sportsman, lover, expat, and of course, writer. But the actual life underneath these various legends remains elusive; what did he look like as a laughing child or young soldier? What did he say in his most personal letters? How did the train tickets he held on his way from France to Spain or across the American Midwest transform him, and what kind of notes, for future stories or otherwise, did he take on these journeys?

Ernest Hemingway: Artifacts from a Life answers these questions, and many others. Edited and with an introduction by the manager of the Hemingway estate, featuring a foreword by Hemingway’s son Patrick and an afterword by his grandson Se├ín, this rich and illuminating book tells the story of a major American icon through the objects he touched, the moments he saw, the thoughts he had every day. Featuring over four hundred dazzling images from every stage and facet of Hemingway’s life, many of them never previously published, this volume is a portrait unlike any other. From photos of Hemingway running with the bulls in Spain to candid letters he wrote to his wives and his publishers, it is a one-of-a-kind, stunning tribute to one of the most titanic figures in literature.

My Thoughts

The ebook  Ernest Hemingway: Artifacts From a Life has been waiting on me awhile to open it and I felt July was an appropriate month to start it.

I believe there are times when a person reaches a celebrity that they are no longer viewed as human. This book shows us the human factor of Ernest Hemingway. 

We know Hemingway was an ardent hunter who served in the military and enjoyed being outdoors.  

In this book, we learn of his concern for his parents in the way to tries to explain to them about his process of writing, and closes out his letters Love Ernie. 

We get a look-see at his potential titles for his books and see his proper use of communication in addressing employers. We view him jotting things down on a pad of paper and we are aware his writing was highly recommended.

I love the way this book is compiled! It is a beautiful collection of documents and photographs. It's an intimate mixing of memorabilia such as what you would find stored away in old scrapbooks or a box of family heirlooms. Many of the photographs included have no captions. And I like this, as it allows the reader to draw their own conclusions. 

This book is for the Hemingway enthusiasts and may indeed inspire readers to revisit Hemingways work.

I reviewed this wonderful book for Net Galley.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Unshattered: Overcoming Tragedy and Choosing a Beautiful Life

Unshattered: Overcoming Tragedy and Choosing a Beautiful Life
by Carol Decker;  
Stacey L. Nash (Author)
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain 
(May 7, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629724165
ISBN-13: 978-1629724164


On June 10, 2008, Carol Decker walked through the hospital doors a healthy woman with flu-like symptoms and early labor contractions. Three months later, she returned home a blind, triple-amputee struggling to bond with a daughter she would never see.
Unshattered: Choosing a Beautiful Life after Unspeakable Tragedy recounts Carol's fight for survival against sepsis and its life-shattering complications. From excruciating skin grafts to learning how to function in daily life without lower legs, a left hand, and her sight, Carol takes us on a personal and raw, yet inspiring journey. She travels through the darkness of trauma, anxiety, and depression to arrive, literally, at the peak of a mountain with a heart full of gratitude and love. More than a story of triumph over tragedy, the book offers inspiring life-lessons and insights which can help readers to do more than endure unimaginable pain and darkness in their own lives. This book can give them the perspective and strength to pick up the pieces of their own tragedies and choose a life of healing, purpose, and joy--a beautiful life.

Lessons learned:
There is always hope, even if it sometimes feels small and hard to find.
Even if you are the most capable person, you can't do this life alone. We all need a support system. It is okay to ask for help.
Happiness takes work. It doesn't just happen.
The human spirit is able to endure and withstand great adversity.
Even the smallest broken pieces of a life can be put back together.

My Thoughts

Unshattered Overcoming Tragedy and Choosing a Beautiful Life is a well-written account which kept me curious. 

At 33 weeks pregnant, Carol Decker entered the hospital unaware that she had sepsis, a deadly blood infection. The staff asked about her rash and the next thing she knew they told her they had to take the baby. The C-section took only 10 minutes, and the baby was rushed to NICU, as Carol was in septic shock. 

One might think that was surely enough but this was just the beginning of Carol's journey. Her fever soared in excess of 106 and she developed DIC, and her limbs began dying off.  She was placed in a drug-induced coma soon after.

Carols husband, Scott,  was forced to make an extremely difficult decision to save her life. Both of her feet were amputated as well as her left hand and right ring finger.  Her optic nerve was also damaged. She was left blind. And, due to her blood not properly clotting, she had to begin the process, when she was strong enough, of undergoing multiple skin grafts.

Throughout this book, we see Carol is transparent.  

This is a  heartwrenching story! It consistently speaks of faith, hope,  love, and perseverance. The story is aided by photographs of her life's journey. We are able to have a sense of how Carol is feeling and see the true inspiration that she is.

There is a quote in Carol's book she lives by,  'Life is a gift. If you don't open it, you'll never experience the beauty inside.' 

Nowadays,  Carol uses technology to assist her in life. She relies on Siri, My Notes, and her prosthetics to maneuver around the nation where she is a motivational speaker.

I received a copy of this truly impressive inspirational book from Julianne Muszynski with Havas PR.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

Dog Reads

I enjoy dog reads that are inspirational, fact-filled and fun. I also like those with adorable photos and illustrations. 
I currently have 3 dogs which I adore. Buddy (Boo) is pictured above, and below are all three.

Here a list of dog reads I've reviewed. If you have a dog/puppy book you want to be reviewed, I can be contacted at I'll continually be adding to this list.

I have also read The Call of the Wild,  Old Yeller,  Where the Red Fern Grows, Lady and the Tramp, and 101 Dalmatians. And many Snoopy books.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Cat Reads

I was asked recently about cat reads. I can't recall all my reads but below is a small start of what I've read. 

Yes! Before I became a dog owner, I was owned by cats. One (Concorde) looked similar to this one.  recently saw at Hyde Brothers Booksellers 

But many of the cats I've had over the years looked similar to the cat on the cover of Purrfection. 

Cat Reads: I will expand this section as I read more.

Aesop's Fables 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
Anne of Green Gables
The Aristocats
Born Free

The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern
The Chronicles of Narnia
Complete Kitten Care
Dewey- I have read many of this series


Escape to Witch Mountain
Into the Wild
The Jungle Book


Shelly Reuben 
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: BookBaby (April 27, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0988418150
ISBN-13: 978-0988418158


Samuel Swerling, a World War II veteran, decided to build a park and fill it with trees that would be easy to climb. People fall in love in the Samuel Swerling Park. Painters paint pictures; pretty girls bask in the sun, and time stands still. Most of all, though, children do what the park had been built for them to do: They climb trees.

The narrator of this book is one of Sam’s climbing trees.

He thrives on human contact, and in his long and happy life, he has had few disappointments. Lately, however, his very existence is being threatened by Jarvis Larchmont, a politician thrown out of the park for bullying when he was a twelve-year-old boy.

When a hurricane floods the area, Sam Swerling’s family provides shelter in the park to those seeking refuge from the storm. At the same time, Jarvis is put in charge of all municipal recreational facilities, and he joins forces with Eco-terrorists to destroy Sam’s creation.

Suddenly, our narrator and his fellow climbing trees are separated from people. Separated from all that they know and love. Separated from children.

             They cry…and they begin to die.
             But the Swerling family organizes. 
             And they fight back.

My Thoughts

Most of us are aware of trees which are a well-respected landmark. Yes, there are many instances throughout history of special trees. 

In this heartwarming and unique fable, we learn the tree does a lot of eavesdropping and is narrating the story.  And not just any tree, but a climbing tree that is over eighty-years-old, and refers to its branches as arms. 

Every Tree has a story to tell!

I think the first time I realized this was as a child. I toured our local history museum with my parents and we paused at a tree to look at its life events.

In this trees autobiography, we see it recognizes everything. It describes the many people that take advantage of the space within to sit and rest on its arms. It watches as children and pets grow up and adults grow older. 

The tree has a great appreciation for the written word. Yes! The tree enjoys poetry and can tell the story of  O Henry's, 'The Voice of the City', better than most humans.

It tells of a sad day when people in dark green overalls stake metal signs at its feet. 

We learn the tree feels pain as well as joy and a slew of other emotions. 

The tree is observant. It knows of jovial exchanges and it knows of death. 

The tree loves and is loved.

I received this charming autobiography of a climbing tree through the generosity of the author for an honest review.

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Most Read Authors

Hey, blog readers! I have seen this post floating around a couple of my book club friends' blogs! So, I thought it I would see what authors I’ve read the most books from! Even though I seldom review their work, I do tend to collect/ read their books.

Gene Stratton Porter was a nature photographer, and naturalists in addition to being an author. I love all of her work and appreciate that fact that she received legislative support for the conservation of the Limberlost Swamp and other wetlands of Indiana which I enjoy visiting.

Mary Higgins Clark is well known for her suspense novels. For years, I have collected her books. I share these reads with my Mother. So, if you see me carrying a large bag of Higgins-Clark books you know I am either coming from or heading to my Mother's home.

Edgar Allan Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories. I have his complete works. I also collect old editions of Poe.  I have a fondness for old movies with actor Vincent Price which are often based on Poe's work. I also enjoy reading graphic novels about Poe's tales and poetry too.

Nicholas Sparks I was gifted the book Dear John while recuperating from surgery and since then I've been purchasing his other works. If I sit down to watch a movie at home nowadays, it's often based on a Sparks book. 

Jane Austen I love that Austen's observative plots explore the social commentary of the limited options for women and often you witness a disdain in her writing.

Charles Dickens I appreciate his wordiness and his use of poor social conditions and he writes the best descriptive characters many endearing and some repulsive.