Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Non-ficiton
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-03-24 12:29
The perfect gift for nature lovers who enjoy amusing trivia, stories, and photographs.
A History of Trees - Simon Wills

Thanks to Rosie and the whole team at Pen & Sword for providing me a hardback copy of this beautiful book that I freely chose to review.

I love trees and I can’t imagine living in a place with no trees at all, even if they are not in their natural environment, as is the case in cities. I’m not a connoisseur, although I’ve read some books that featured trees prominently and have enjoyed them, and this volume seemed the perfect opportunity to learn more.

This is a beautiful book that would make a perfect present for anybody interested in trees, in general, and UK trees in particular. It is a photographic book, but it also contains a wealth of written information about trees: factual and botanical data, historical events related to specific trees, folk and mythological stories about them, literary connections, etc. As the author explains in the introduction, due to the limits in the length of the book he could not include all British trees, and he selected the ones he felt were not only better known but had also the best tales to tell. Not that I had any doubt about it, but the author makes a good case for his choice of topic in the introduction: “Beyond their practical utility to us and our simple liking of them, trees form the great forests of the world, which are said to be the lungs of the planet. So trees, more than anything else, keep us alive” (Wills, 2018, p. vi).

The list of trees included in the book are: alder, apple, ash, bay, beech, birch, cherry, elm, hawthorn, hazel, holly, hornbeam, horse chestnut, lime, London plane, magnolia, maple, monkey puzzle, oak, pear, pine, poplar, rowan, sweet chestnut, sycamore, walnut, willow and yew.

This is a book one can deep in and out of as one fancies, or read it cover to cover. I often found myself picking it up just to have a quick look, and discovered an hour later that I was still glued to its pages and its wonderful stories. The original photographs are beautiful, and there are also well-chosen images from the British Library and the Welcome collection, as the author explains in his acknowledgements. The writing is supple and I’d dare say it will appeal to a large variety of people, because although it is not perhaps addressed at botanists or experts, it shares plenty of anecdotes and stories likely to interest most readers.

I had to share this ditty, because we’re in spring already and, well, one never knows:

The fair maid who, the first of May,

Goes to the fields at break of day,

And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree,

Will ever after handsome be (Wills, 2018, p. 67).

If you try it and it works, don’t forget to let me know!

I enjoyed the pictures, the stories, and I became convinced as I read the book that I’d like to read more of the author’s works, and I’d love to attend one of his lectures. Of course, he had me at the acknowledgements already, when he mentioned his dog, Max (oh, don’t worry; there’s a picture of him too).

“Finally, I would like to thank Max, to whom this book is dedicated, for allowing me to frequently stop his walk and take photos of trees. He’s very tolerant” (Mills, 2018, p. viii).

In sum, this is a beautiful, informative, entertaining, and amusing book that will delight all those who love nature, trees in particular, and who enjoy trivia, stories and photographs. Perfect as a present, for yourself or others, as an inspiration, and as a breath of fresh air. Enjoy!

Wills, S. (2018). A history of trees. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword White Owl.


Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-11-20 22:53
All the Breaking Waves
All the Breaking Waves: A Novel - Kerry Lonsdale
Publisher: Lake Union
Publication Date: 12/6/2016 
Format: Other
My Rating: 4 Stars


Kerry Lonsdale continues with another heartfelt tale, following her debut, Everything We Keep, with her latest upcoming, ALL THE BREAKING WAVES —an emotional family domestic suspense saga of dark secrets, mystery, and magical realism.

Lonsdale paints a vivid portrait of a contemporary family filled with secrets, strife and ultimately—love.

ALL THE BREAKING WAVES is a mystery suspense with strong twists of romantic, historical, and paranormal elements. A talented sea glass artist, Molly Brennan whose daughter, gifted with visions, predicts Molly’s death. Molly has five days to outwit fate or make the ultimate sacrifice any parent can make. The daughter’s premonitions come with dangerous side-effects.

Molly Brennan grew up in the Pacific Grove, a coastal town on the Monterey Peninsula in California. She loved the ocean and combing for treasures. She had once believed the surf-tumbled glass had come from mermaids.

When the mythical creatures wept for sailors lost at sea, their tears hardened and washed ashore by the latest storm front. Mermaid tears were treasures, meant to be guarded close to one’s heart. They brought wishes of true love and kept you safe from those who meant harm.

However, time had taught her two valuable lessons: Fairy tales and fables paled in comparison with real nightmares, and psychic abilities were a power, the human body should not possess.

Years ago, Molly had left her home following a tragic accident. In the process, she also left the man she loved, Owen. Telling him she did not love him, but she did and always will. She was only trying to protect others around her. Her mom was murdered, and her dad died in a fatal car accident. She had no one left but her Nana, and she was getting old. And her daughter, she has to protect.

Four generations of women with "the gift." A gift which could be a torture and misunderstood by many. Ordinary to extraordinary.

Since this time, twelve years later Molly has made a home for herself and her eight-year-old daughter Cassie. Molly teaches art history at a local community college and makes jewelry from the glass she collects with a side business, selling to boutiques. They live a quiet life in San Luis Obispo in a small bungalow.

However, now her worst nightmare is facing her head on.

Cassie is experiencing horrific visions and debilitating nightmares. She is making predictions at school to keep her friends out of harm’s way. She is being bullied and frightening the parents, students, teachers, and her friends. Everyone thinks she is a freak.

Mollie’s daughter Cassie has dreams, with premonitions. They were getting worse and more gruesome. The accidents she foresaw were followed by nightmares that recurred until the premonition came to pass.

Her latest, she told her friend Grace she would be hit by a car on her bike, so she keeps telling her to be safe and wear a helmet. Maybe she could keep her from dying. To keep her from having brain damage. Both mother and daughter are desperate to have the visions go away.

They were vicious little monsters. They only echoed Molly’s own grammar school experiences. The taunting and jeers, the cautious glances. It was easier to play the role of the social outcast than to explain the odd things she saw or seemed to make other people do.

Cassie’s abilities had only recently manifested and Molly was worried she was already a social outcast. If only she could learn not to talk about them at school.

After all, Molly knew how bad her father hated her abilities, so it was hard to force her daughter to keep quiet when those close to her were in danger. Things get out of control at school. Molly is called in by the principal and teachers. Instead of seeing a child psychologist, Molly knows there is only one person who could possibly help Cassie. Her grandmother, Nana Mary. In hopes of understanding and harnessing her gifts.

She had to do something to help her daughter. The psychological damage, the nightmares, and the lack of sleep. The visions had become horrific. Tormenting. Now that Grace’s accident had come true, she was having the worst visions yet. Cassie sees her mother drowning. She couldn’t breathe and sees her dying.

Molly is frantic and decides they need to pack up for a short visit with Nana Mary. She will be able to help control Cassie’s visions. However, how was she going to avoid the water when her Nana’s house was so close to the ocean?

From guilt and regret, the unexpected. Her Nana is in poor health, and Owen has purchased the family home next door to her Nana. The one place she swore she would never come back to. The haunting memories. Returning to Pacific Grove always roused Molly’s own fears and doubts about her own abilities.

From the past to present the author takes us back to four generations of women. All with psychic gifts. However, somewhere along the way, they were handled differently. From loss, love, and tragedy and second chances, Lonsdale takes delivers a compelling story of the strong bonds of family, and fears which haunt and destroy.

Molly is forced into the unraveling of the events of the past: Her shame, her internal journey; guilt, her mother Shelia, domestic violence, her controlling father, her Nana, and her love for Owen and her daughter Cassie. As she faces her own fears she finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Pacific. Discovering unexpected treasures.

Combined with suspense, mystery, romance, and magical realism the multi-generational saga has many parallels from the sea glass as trash turned into treasures similar to the lives of the characters. Their psychic gifts, on one hand, are viewed as evil, versus helpful or extraordinary. The twists and comparisons with Owen’s guilt, and Mollys.

At the heart of the novel: Molly represents every parent faced with difficult, and sometimes life-threatening choices about a child’s well-being. Sacrifices for our children. An ongoing theme of facing decisions to either embrace or dismiss life choices. From acceptance, death, forgiveness, family, love, motherhood and sacrifice.

For fans of Jayne Ann Krentz, Christina Dodd, Karen Robards, and Lisa Unger (romance, suspense, mystery, psychic, paranormal); Karen White, Sarah Addison Allen, Lisa Van Allen and Alice Hoffman (historical, magical realism).

A multilayered mystery where interlinked stories, and generations, as well as unearthed secrets of a damaged family lead to courage and healing.

Look forward to the sequel to Everything We Left Behind, Coming July 1, 2017.

A special thank you to the author, Lake Union, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.




Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/04/All-the-Breaking-Waves
Like Reblog Comment
text 2016-09-02 03:28
Did you find your second novel, Loving the Terrorist, restricted by genre?
Loving the Terrorist: Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs (ECO-WARRIORS Book 2) - Rod Raglin

QUESTION: Did you find the plot and the characters in your second novel, Loving the Terrorist, restricted by the confines of this genre?


Despite the lack of success of my first novel, Saving Spirit Bear, my publisher was still keen on publishing two more novels as part of the Eco-Fi series, Eco-Warriors, and I was still keen on writing them. The plan (remember the plan?) appeared flawed, but perhaps not fatally.


As a journalist I'd been following and commenting on a local protest where residents and hardcore environmentalists had joined forces to boycott the development of a highway bypass that would destroy Eagleridge Bluffs, a very rare eco-system, home to migratory birds and at least one endangered species.


Despite a number of other viable options the government was intransigent. In frustration the protestors set up a blockade and eventually were arrested and literally dragged off to jail.


I've spent the best part of my life climbing and hiking in the local mountains. I've seen some awe-inspiring scenery, moments when I truly felt if I died in the presence of such magnificence, well, that would be just fine. But Eagleridge Bluffs was the best.


These ancient rock faces, carved by eons of Pacific storms roaring down Georgia Strait, and decorated by gnarled Arbutus Trees emanated a benign energy that soothed and uplifted the human spirit - no kidding.


When they dynamited The Bluffs they destroyed something very special and to this day I feel guilty. I should have done more to save this wonderful wild place that I loved.


But what could I have done? Loving the Terrorist - Risking it All, is that story.


Miriam is forty and frustrated. In an attempt to enhance her living-just-to-breathe life she joins some neighbours protesting a highway bypass that will destroy Eagleridge Bluffs. Not only are the Bluffs her special sanctuary, they’re also the beautiful home of rare and endangered plants and animals.


The protest gains the support of environmental organizations including the attention of a group of eco-radicals lead by an enigmatic younger man named Zaahir.


Miriam is mesmerized by this charismatic leader and sees him as someone that can save her as well as the Bluffs. But is Zaahir just using Miriam to help him further his radical political agenda?


As legal channels fail and civil disobedience falters, Miriam is seduced into the murky world of eco-terrorism.


The plot of this story follows the actual events that took place over three months that summer - up to a point. I literally lifted dialogue for my characters from news clips and stories. Then I took it further.


I wanted to explore the theme - can violence be condone on behalf of a just cause? Furthermore, is violence effective?


I wanted a sympathetic villain because as an author if you have a political agenda (and boy, did I) the only way to keep from sounding didactic is to also present it from the point of view of the anatgonist - and do it fairly. I gleaned this from Robert Boswell's book, The Half-Known World: On Writing Fiction. Not only does this approach work, it was a good idea since I wasn't quite sure where I stood on this issue myself.


I took the criticism of my first novel to heart and "sexed up" this one. This presented a challenge and I wondered how I could write explicitly about sex without it being gratuitous? I decided to make Miriam a virgin, her lover fifteen years younger than her, and she white and him brown. My idea was to let my readers discover sex along with my heroine.


I hit most of the points including a "Happy Ever After" ending but even as I was writing the novel I could tell I was straying beyond the confines of the romance genre. Despite the ending, this wasn't a happy story, how could it be - innocent creatures were wiped out, a beautiful, spiritual place was destroyed, and for no good reason (as if there ever is one).


I couldn't help it, I couldn't change it. It bombed, but I felt better.


By the time Loving the Terrorist was published I was well into the third novel for the Eco-Warriors series. By now I'd learned quite a bit about writing and publishing and even more about myself. This would be my last romance.


I knew I was leaving genre even as I was writing Not Wonder More, Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. I was also becoming increasingly dissatisfied with my publisher (and no doubt, she with me) and had begun exploring other options.


Next Question: Did your third novel Not Wonder More, Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients resolve the issue of whether to write genre or literary fiction? And what about your publisher?




Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-07-04 06:09
What We Leave Behind

By: Rochelle B. Weinstein 


Publisher: Audible Studios

Publication Date: 6/14/2016 

Format: Audible

My Rating: 5 Stars


Having had the pleasure of reading talented Rochelle B. Weinstein’s latest (2016) Where We Fall landing on my Top Books of 2016 List, an instant fan of this South Florida author.

I found myself quickly searching for her previous books, discovering her debut, WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND, now available in audio (6/14/16) narrated by Casey Turner and also available in e-book, and paperback. The paperback and audio make a nice combo; you will want to bookmark many quotes.

Powerful, and emotional, a poignant portrayal of love in its many forms, this heart wrenching novel will resonate with any woman who has questioned her past and wondered what could have been. Broken out in three parts we follow Jessica's life journey.

Part One 1972-1988 “The heart that truly loves never forgets.” - Proverb

Weinstein takes readers on an incredible journey of Jessica Parker, a young fifteen year old girl (almost sixteen) to adulthood. From first love, powerful emotions, grief, tragedy, love, and loss. The what ifs. The moments which change our lives, and the things we leave behind, but not forgotten.

Jessica resides with her single mom, after the death of her father. Her mom works at the hospital and she sets out to try and find her mom a doctor. She is still grieving for her father; however, pretends to be strong.

While visiting the hospital Jessica meets 22-yr-old Harvard medical student, Jonas Levy. She is infatuated. Jonas’ father, Adam is dying of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He is a big name in the music and film business. An impressive man and she becomes close with the family.

She learns so much from Jonas; however, nothing prepares her for the splattering of emotions he left her, to sort out. Good things would soon end, when Emily was returning from Italy and he would return to Boston. First loves. Painful and heart-breaking.

“And the good-bye makes the journey harder still.”—Cat Stevens “O Very Young”

She falls for him, even though Jonas has a girlfriend. However, once Adam dies, Jonas abruptly tells her not to come to the funeral, and they cannot see one another again. She is devastated.

Can she free herself from the past in order to move forward?

Part Two 1994-2011 “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." —Albert Schweitzer

Life moves on and she makes her way to film school and a job as a music supervisor with the famous Hollywood producer Marty Tauber at SixthSense, in Los Angeles. She is shocked by the connection to Adam. A protégé?

She struggles to allow anyone get close. She wanted to love again and be happy. It had been six years since her first love. Now her boss, Marty.

Finally, they start dating and marry. SixthSense was plastered across most every entertainment trade magazine. She was an expert in the field of music—the authority to hit songs and doors opened. She was finding fulfillment with her career, husband and child.

She finds it difficult to rely on others. If she needed them, she fears they will leave. Then a tragedy. A loss.

Her mother once told her that decisions were difficult because by making a choice, we’re forced to give up something. But it is also about re-embracing the things you gave up. And it’s learning that there are some things, and some people, you can’t live without. Or can you?

Part Three 2001-2002 “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one life, before we can enter into another.” — Anatole France

Jessica fears of getting close, and having them leave. Even though lost, there is a spirit that moves and encircles and leads to a clearer path. Who had stolen her strength and dignity? The man who would make it impossible for love to be uncomplicated.

Soon she begins questioning her life, as a wife, companion, mother. Not trusting enough. Her husband seemed to want more, and she wanted less. It was easier to pretend that everything would be OK. No one wants to see something that they do not want to believe is there.

Then another shocker phone call. An explosive secret forces her to reconnect with Jonas. She had given herself to Marty, and trust does not come easy to her, from losing her father at a young age and then Jonas. The what ifs?

Haunted by the past and the guilt she still feels of her dad’s death. Then more guilt from her other hidden secret. Why couldn’t she be more like her mother who had overcome great adversity in her life. Her strength overshadowed any sign of weakness.

A simple memory could take her back. Thrust into a modern day moral and ethical dilemma, Jessica must face the pain of her past, or lose everything she holds dear.

She and her husband are separated by lies and miles that buried them from view. Now she has to choose between her husband and the man she always considered the love of her life. Will she make the right decision? 

“Sometimes you can’t always see love. You have to trust it is there. Learning the difference between real love and fairy tales.”

What a debut! Ongoing themes, thought-provoking, and beautiful metaphors! With Weinstein’s vast music background from LA to Miami, as well as her gift of prose, well-developed characters, and human insights, makes for a gripping and absorbing tale.

In addition to being a talented author, a genuine person, she definitely shares my love of nature-and familiar places-Inspiring! Love her book covers. I think she has a hidden degree in psychology.

“What makes a great song and great film? That passion, that marriage between the melody and the story? Words tell a story. As in filmmaking, a tremendous undertaking from conception to premier. All parts are critical and as long as every person is as ardent and industrious with their craft to equal stellar.”

As our personal relationships: Trust, life, marriage. Everyone has to do their part to make a success. A mix of domestic suspense, contemporary, psychological, and romance.

For fans of Liane Moriarty, T. Greenwood, Lisa Genova, Amy Hatvany, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Paula Treick DeBoard, Karen White and Diane Chamberlain.

Since I have read the third book, currently reading her second book, The Mourning After . Looking forward to her fourth book, Somebody's Daughter, plus hear rumors she is working on her fifth novel, a love story based in the Florida Keys (always my familiar favorite settings-can't wait). An author to follow!



Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!What-We-Leave-Behind/cmoa/5779de430cf23a71a1610f1d
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2016-02-13 04:44
Reading progress update: I've read 31%.
The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter - Greg Toppo

Yeah, I'm going to have to buy this book. When you are highlighting paragraph after paragraph until half the book is bookmarked, it's time to accept the inevitable. Besides, I can't take everything in with only one read.


Each chapter discusses a particular game teachers or educations are experimenting with. In all cases I've read so far, the results are really promising. My favorite so far as been Classcraft.

Read more
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?