BUDDY CHECK 22

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Today was supposed to be a normal day for me. I was going to get up take my Prozac, work on my book, and pretend that life is normal. I got on my social media sites thinking that it was Wednesday signed onto my Facebook account and realized that today was Buddy Check 22.

If you are not a member of the military or a family member there of you’re probably wondering what buddy check 22 is. Twenty-two veterans commit suicide daily. I know that that doesn’t sound like much to you but lets do the math here. There are seven days a week, with four to five weeks in a month, everyone knows that there are twelve months in a year. The one thing that doesn’t change is that there are 365 days a year unless it’s leap year, then there are 366 days. When you do the math for that it totals out to a horrible number for the armed forces. The totals equal out to 8,030 to 8,052.

Now here’s more food for thought, those are the ones that we know about.  I don’t know how many times I sat through the Suicide Prevention Briefings ( let’s not lie it’s usually the most boring person that does the briefing) and prayed for it to be over. Here’s the problem, there is so much information that at least one of those soldiers needs to hear.  It’s usually the most boring person that has the most information. Today is a day to step outside of yourself and help your battle buddy because even one is to many

Whoever created Buddy Check 22, I want to say thank you.

If you are a soldier that is looking for help let’s get it for you-

As always there is the Veterans Crisis Line-

1-800-273-8255

If you are looking for information here is a website that I have found that has multiple resources for you as a veteran.

http://www.sprc.org/populations/military-veterans

But don’t forget that you aren’t alone. There are others out there that have either been through this or are willing to listen to you even if you just need one second of having someone being silent on the other end to listen to you.


Smoke Bellew

Smoke Bellew by Jack London

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Reader beware – those who open this tale will find their days outside the novel filled with dreams of the Yukon, sled racing, and gold. I promise, you will never look at an egg the same again.
Christopher “Kit” Bellew is a yuppy, lazy, jocular youth who inherited his wealth through a father of hard work and discipline. Pining away his days bored and restless in the city he is given the opportunity to help his cousins and uncle trek their way into the Alaskan Gold Rush. Each man requires a literal ton of food to last him the harsh winter of the north and each man is required to haul it in himself (or with the aid of natives who put the white men to shame.) Without such supplies no man was allowed to cross the barrier checkpoint from civilized life to the wild. Yet, Kit finds a way and in the process earns himself the nickname “Smoke” – a name which will stick with him forever. Once through the icy lakes, rapids, and unforgiving territory, Smoke becomes a big man in a big country whom everyone loves, envies, and strives to compete with. You won’t want to miss this incredible ride through the Yukon.
I didn’t fall in love with adventure stories until my twenties when I felt an undying need to explore the world around me yet was surviving on the budget of a twenty-something. Required to stay put in my living room, authors like London, Beach, and Grey became Godsends and frontier hawkers. The kind to inspire the impossible and breed confidence in any intimidated explorer. While my immediate desires were appeased by reading about long nights under the stars in the desert canyons of Arizona or the frost biting wilds of the Yukon, these novels served to whet my appetite for adventure, danger, and fresh air!
Smoke Bellew is a prime example of such a tease. London hugs the reader in tightly, never letting go until the very last page with the charmed life of Smoke who seems to have a topsy turvy relationship with Lady Luck. With perfect precision we, as readers, toil through the slush of mountains under the weight of 2000 pounds of food and supplies. We labor with every step Smoke takes in the beginning chapters to such a degree that once over that hill and into the true start of the adventure we believe we are Smoke; his exploits become our own and his success ours alone. Together we are transformed from a dandy tenderfoot to the hardened veteran only the Gold Rush could properly create. No other author or novel has taken me so wholly from the sidelines and into character such as this. And never has there been a character I’ve felt more invested in.
Ladies, do not fear being left behind as Smoke finds out fast and early that the women of the Yukon are no easy target for charm and wit, but, rather, can stand quite proudly, successfully, and wealthy without the aid of man.
Enjoy your romp through the crystalline escarpments of Alaska. Try to not be too disappointed when you realize you were born too late to head for the hills in search of gold. Our generation will have its marvels just the same.
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Seeing Ione

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seeing ione

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In a literary world filled with dystopian futures, wizards, vampires, and closet BDSM billionaires Jansen Curry‘s debut novel is a breath of fresh air. Seeing Ione is by far the most original story I have read in recent years.

Ione McCreery is a young woman with a mysterious past that even she can’t remember. With it comes a special sight that only her late adoptive father knew about – her ability to read people’s emotions like a world wide coloring book. McCreery is well guarded by a feisty friend named Jenny, who acts as a counterweight to McCreery’s broody personality, and an ever vigilant companion wolf named Beo. But even they cannot protect her from the truth of her ancestry and the source of her gift.

I’d like to think I’m a rather clever individual who can spot plot twists a mile away whether it is in a book, movie, or television show. And I know I’m not the only one. So believe me when I tell you that even with hints about her novel, I still had no idea what was coming to me as a reader and what McCreery was about to face. A perfect mixture between lighthearted, genuine dialogue and gritty, gut squeezing tension, Curry sends you off on an adventure that will have you begging for a follow up of the series before the last page is turned.

I read this book in a matter of hours – not because it is easy reading or short, but because it reads so smoothly that you neglect time as the words lift off the page, seep into your mind, and take control of your imagination. It was a pleasure to read and an experience that left me thoroughly impressed at every chapter. In the end, I was gobsmacked – I felt utterly refreshed to know that good literature still exists.

This book will find its way to best sellers lists and nightstands across the world – and I won’t be surprised if one day, in the near future, I am sitting in a movie theater waiting for the show to start.

Soul Music

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Soul MusicSoul Music by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ok, I’m going to say this very quietly because I know that Terry Pratchett has a devoted following who loves and appreciates his writing style and creativity:

I hated it.

Soul Music follows many characters of the Discworld through an independent collection of self awakening. While Susan, the granddaughter of Death (yes, THAT Death), takes over the family business when Death experiences a mid-life crisis, Imp the Bard and his band of misfits are playing for their lives when they create the new sound: Music with Rocks In. Imp catches Susan’s eye and a youthful romance emerges as Susan fights the sands of time to save his life. All the while, the music rocks the academic world sending stuffy professors of all things occult into a frenzy over studded leather and rebellion.

I have had this book in my possession since January 2015. I have picked it up, read a little, and set it down over and over again. I have read over 10 books since this book came into my household and I have suffered through it. It has flown with me to and from Orlando, Florida. It has sat on bookshelves, night stands, end tables, coffee tables, desks, and swam in my giant purse. I have tried to commit to reading it and failed, repeatedly. It was out of sheer willpower that I finished it, and then, it was only out of the intentions of writing this review. Writing low scored reviews on books I didn’t like is one of my least favorite things to do. The last thing I want to do is turn a reader away from a book that they could potentially love just because it didn’t set well with me or connect on whatever level I needed it to connect on. So here is what I can appreciate about Pratchett’s Soul Music.

Pratchett has a vivid imagination that is insurmountably clever. If you’re paying attention you will catch on quickly to his ability to twist common bits of our world’s culture and history and place it into the seemingly naive universe of the Discworld. His ability to create an entire world on the backs of elephants who are standing on the back of a turtle who is standing on something, but that’s not important, is worthy of praise and I admire his creative genius. When he passed away it was brought to the world’s attention that he was suffering from alzheimer’s and still writing. That alone is an incredible feat and I respect him as an author.

Now here’s why I didn’t enjoy this novel – although the characters are rich and entertaining, we spend so little time with them in one sitting (merely a paragraph or two before jumping to another bit of the Discworld), that there is no opportunity to become invested in the character’s success or demise. These exceedingly short blips of character storyline mingle with so many other character storylines that there really is no telling if a paragraph was actually going to go somewhere. I know I’ve been reading a good book when I’m sweating out the final pages, worried there aren’t enough pages remaining in the book to satisfy a proper ending for the characters I have grown to love. Soul Music was the complete opposite – I chugged through, flipping the pages, eager for the finish with zero concern for whether or not the characters’ plots were rounded out.

In the end, it felt I was reading the book for the sake of reading it with no entertainment value or appreciative experience. Now to tell me friend, who lent me his beloved book, the truth of my reading. Send your prayers.

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Marred

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marred_by_sue_coletta-500Marred by Sue Coletta

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t want to say this book is nightmare fuel, but this isn’t the kind of book you want to read before going to bed. Especially as a woman. Even more so as a single woman living alone in a dark apartment with no one to hear you scream.

*ahem*

Excuse me.

It’s the kind of book you read with all the lights on and the doors locked. It’s the kind of book you have a light hearted chaser for; like watching a Disney movie after watching Friday the 13th. And why, after storming through the first third of it in my initial reading that I went to bed with a harmless western in my hands instead of my Kindle.

Sue Coletta isn’t going to spare you the gory details or an honest look behind the crime scene tape. She’s a well versed author in all things crime who indelicately dumps you into the middle of a life which has been disrupted, disturbed, and marred by the evil acts of a solitary man. When there is a serial killer on the loose targeting young women and seemingly no connection between them it’s hard for a community to sleep at night. But when your twin sister suddenly goes missing and you answer the phone to an unfamiliar, sinister voice – that’s when your life comes to a screeching halt. We are there when our heroine, Sage Quintano, comes to terms with her past, when she bursts out against those she loves, and when she decides to take back control.

You won’t have to wait for the action to start in this novel, so buckle up and prepare yourself for a dark ride through a dark tunnel with only Coletta to guide you out!

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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

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Jonathan Strange and NorrellJonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enter a world of Napoleonic rule, dark alleyways, and reclusive estates.

Enter a world of apprenticeship and fa(e)teful dealings.

Enter a world of practical magic; a world exclusive to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Allow me a moment of honesty – this book requires commitment to complete. Don’t get me wrong. It is masterfully written in a beautiful, educated language filled with rich descriptions, enthralling subject matter, and perfectly timed dialogue. There is nothing I can say against this novel; it truly is a work of art. I admire Susanna Clarke for her talent, ability to organize such a large project, and knowledge of such a subject. But had I not been previously invested in the subject of faeries and old England prior to picking up the book I likely would have set it down one day, mid-read, and walked away forgetting it completely.

Perhaps the magic within the pages spilled out somehow and left me feeling an uneasiness about the life of it. Believe me when I tell you, the world changes a little with each page you turn.

The footnotes may have been my favorite part. They became something to look forward to – a further indulgence of folklore or historical occurrence that broadens the reality of the era in which this story is set without distracting from the narrative with facts and figures. (Some four pages long!) If you wanted to, you could pass the footnotes by without a second glance and not miss out on Jonathan or Mr. Norrell’s doings, but you would be at a disadvantage to the mastery of this novel. It is obvious that Clarke was dedicated to this project and had a specific vision for it. I hope the TV show available through the BBC will do it justice. Clarke seems to have done all the research for producers anyway – it’ll be hard for them to screw it up!

In all, the novel reads as a historical non-fiction, although it isn’t, based on real and true people who lived, breathed, and spit fire. Before the story is through you will question reality and from the forgotten depths of your inner-child’s heart you will believe in magic once more.

Susanna Clarke does such an amazing and thorough job in citing sources and connecting historical non-fiction with the lives of Jonathan and Mr. Norrell that the clouds of doubt begin to clear away and although it may seem impossible you begin to wonder why not. Stranger things have been proven to be true. In fact, the realm of the fae must exist; the folklore bred in a depth of truth. It’s made me envious of the English for their rich history. And it’s left me still wondering.

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Staring at Fear

Broken deck

There is a lot to be said about fear, as a child I was taught to do things even if I was afraid. What I didn’t realize until many years later is that it was perfectly alright to be afraid. It was what you did with it that was important.

Let’s transfer that into a lesson for an eight year old girl on a skateboard. How do you get a child to overcome their fear? You go out there and do it yourself.

This past weekend is exactly what I did. We took the scooter and skateboard to practice on. At first she told me, “Mom, I don’t want to ride my skateboard, I’m scared.”

I get that, I know what it means to be afraid.Unfortunately for my children there are times where I am an adrenaline junky. “Okay honey, I absolutely understand that you’re afraid. Why don’t you let Mom ride the skateboard and you can ride the scooter. If you want to change your mind later, you sure can.”

“Okay Mom, that sounds good.” she said as we loaded them into the truck. Cool! This is where I start some of my lessons with my daughter. Sometimes she just can’t be pushed and sometimes she does.This was a show and tell lesson. Keeping in mind that I haven’t been on a skateboard in twenty years, give or take, the first thoughts that crossed my mind was: A, am I going to get fucked up and not be able to walk afterward, B. Is she going to see just how terrified I am? C. can I actually still skateboard?

We get loaded in our old Ford F-150 and get going. As we’re riding in the truck I give myself the old  I can totally do this! pep talk. This didn’t mean I wasn’t afraid, it just meant that I was going to kick my fear in the balls and keep riding. As we get to where we’re going, we get our rides out and she takes off on her scooter. Cool, my new thought is, Let’s let her get warmed up on the scooter. Then if she wants to switch over to the skateboard it’s going to be easier.

I start following her on foot when I get the, “Mom, ride my skateboard with me.”. I don’t care who you are, saying no to that awesome invitation is cowardly.

Do I really have my balance after twenty years? Let’s find out. I stand on the board for a moment and do the first two steps. This turns into a wiggle that gets the board moving slowly at first. I hit a decent sized rock and jump off, Vivian laughs at me. So this is where I realize that we’ve started to clear the air. She is going to get comfortable watching Mom. This is the confidence booster I need to help push her along. So what if I get hurt from riding the board? This is where I get back up after doing the ‘Peter Griffin’ from Family Guy for a few moments and show her that I am invincible.

She decides that she wants to take a crack at it, “Please do, I’ll ride the scooter for a time. I’ll be right with you.” I tell her as we switch.

The eight years that we have been together I try my best to show her that I mean business instead of just telling her. She looks at me, “Mom, is it alright if I sit on my bottom and get my balance?”. Of course my reply to her is, “Absolutely you can.”

We’re still in baby steps. Time to show her my word is good.

While she is doing this she starts getting a feel for the board and the way it moves. While I’m riding next to her I keep giving her the little tips that I had learned as a thirteen year old. She keeps relaxing.

I know without a doubt that when you get on something that has wheels you’re going to get fucked-up. I didn’t want to, but if it was going to happen I wanted my daughter to see it. My time with this was coming.

We switched back to her riding the scooter and me riding the skateboard. When we switched back to the rides we started with she takes off in a race without telling me. Have I gotten my sea legs back yet? I guess it’s debatable but let’s give it a crack. Literally. Not realizing that she had went and hid behind the truck.

This is where my comic relief takes over and my twin Grace enters Stage 2. I have always belonged on a longboard, just relaxing. This is where my zen is at. Not paying attention to myself for a moment caught in the middle of the zen. I realize as I’m just coasting down the road that I may be going a little bit fast for the lack of practice in these twenty years.

When my twin Grace attempts to jump off the board, here was the magic moment I knew was coming. As I spilled onto the pavement, my left foot decided to stay with the board while  my right foot started to glue itself to the pavement. Never being able to do the sideways splits, I became very limber for the moment and came down hard on my bottom, mid splits.

Here I was, all by myself, groaning in pain. When the shock wore off I had lost my right shoe, I was sitting there doing the splits without the child I was trying to teach how to be brave. If it would have been a movie this is where you would cue the crickets and the credits.

Flowing Gold

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flowing goldFlowing Gold by Rex Beach

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rex Beach is a favorite of mine. Long since passed, his life was filled with adventure, prospecting failure, writing success, and Olympic silver! Flowing Gold was not the first book of his that I picked up, but it is the one I seem to pick up repeatedly.

Calvin Gray is a conman who commands the reader’s immediate championship. He is smooth, classy, intelligent, and full of life. The best part about him, though, is that he is genuine, noble, and always on the right side of the law. He knows how to play the game is all. Calvin finds himself in Dallas during the oil boom (thus, Flowing Gold), and is without a penny to his name. Yet, he stays in the Governor’s suite in the nicest hotel in town. He walks around in the nicest suit and eats meals at the nicest restaurants. Perhaps he’s floated a few checks along the way, but soon makes up for the financial deficit by making acquaintances in all the right places.

His first friend being a jeweler in need of a runner to a client who has too much money and not enough brains living out in the middle of no where. Calvin gladly takes on the errand, disguising it out of good will and nature from one business man to another, and even saves the jeweler from robbery in the process. His clients turn out to be the Clampetts of the era who are in desperate need of refinement for their drought stricken farm has struck a heavy oil deposit and Ma, Pa, daughter, and son just aren’t sure what to make of it all. Calvin gladly takes them under his wing – connecting the daughter with an etiquette coach, the son with a college, and Ma and Pa with a mountainside resort where Ma comes into her own as a daydreaming pirate queen.

Calvin isn’t without the pangs of love which strike hard and swift, a history of wrongfully accused inglorious military records, and successful business dealings which turn this conman into a noted, and beloved, citizen of Dallas and surrounding areas. There’s a crescendo of adventure in a burning, flooded oil field that will have the reader flipping through the pages at an alarming rate.

This is a story about success, flippant money spending, confidence building, unwavering support, and revenge. You won’t want to miss it!

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Chapter Nine: So You Thought He Was The Devil

A light in the dark

 

“You’re sure this is the way to do this right?” I asked looking at the green skinned demon man standing next to me.

He laughed, “Well short of killing one of your innocents, this is as close as I can get you to the gates of Hell without pushing you off. It wouldn’t work then.”

I looked at him, I turned to Jacob, “ Alright Eligos, let’s do this.”

I would stalk the fires of Hell for my mate. I took the serpent from the Eligos. Swallowing hard I brought him up and around my neck. Looking at Jacob again who had closed his eyes but somehow knew I was looking at him, nodded.

I looked into the serpent’s eyes and said, “Take me where I don’t want to be.”

His eyes flashed a charming green and became mesmerizing. I danced with the serpent to the floors of Hell with Jacob and Eligos on my heals.

Eligos had owed Jacob for saving his ass from an Archangel. That’s how Jacob got his smokey wings. I had no idea why Jacob had saved Eligos. When I looked at the two of them though, there was a familiar feeling. It was as if the two of them should have been together, but couldn’t.

As my feet touched the scorched ground I was amazed at the way the landscape looked. Handing the serpent back to Eligos I watch a figure emerge in the distance.

“Hello Rebecca!” said a hauntingly familiar voice.

“Hello Foraii, it has been a long time.” I said turning to him.

He smiled with his charming smile. Looking me up and down. “ I love what you’ve done here Becks! Would you prefer me to call you by your angelic name? What would be better for you?”

Within a flash he was in front of  me with his hands on my shoulders. His caress was soft and smoldering at the same time.

“I need Lucas.” I whispered to him as he brushed the dark brown hair away from my neck, kissing it softly.

He pulled my chin up to look at him, with a twinkle in his eye he replied, “I know Becks. That’s why I came personally. I have always been fond of you and your white wings. While I would love to see what your soft white skin looks like under that outfit, I have another taste in mind. Come with me love.”

Looking at Jacob, he walked away from me, leaving me with the feeling of relief. It wasn’t that Foraii wasn’t a good looking guy. Let’s be real here, he could look like anything anyone fancied. I could see through it though and I knew he wasn’t my Lucas. He knew it too.

“Let’s see what we can do to find your lover for you my dear.”

As I cross the line between worlds Foraii turned and looked at me. I smiled, I knew exactly what he was going to see. I guess he didn’t though.

Eligos was shocked as well, “Rebecca, your wings have turned smokey. Did you and Lucas seal your fate? You finally slid into home base? I didn’t think you had it in you!”

Jacob walked up by him and smacked him in the back of the head, “They’re bonded you horse’s ass. I applaud them. At least they followed through with it”

With that Jacob walked up to me and offered me his arm. I accepted proudly as we walked farther into the pits of Hell. It wasn’t as warm here as I thought it was going to be, but I guess that’s what happens when you marry a dark angel. We walked for what seemed like miles. I looked behind me to Eligos who had at this point started to look upset.

I whispered to Jacob, “So he’s the one huh?”

Jacob looked sideways at me and nodded, “Yes my dear, he’s the one . I just wish he would stop being a dick and do something about it.”

Those were the words that I needed to hear to shut me up.

Foraii turned towards me, “We’re almost there dear. Daddy is pissed at him, but I don’t think his punishment will be as intense as it was when we went and got him. Lucas was always one of his favorites.He was considered a prize after the falling.”

Two heavy scorched wooden doors appear from nowhere. Foraii walked up to them and press the palm of his hand on the door. The door turned a shade of lava red as we watched Foraii’s hand start to smoke.

I looked at Jacob who just shrugged.

I whispered to him, “Why don’t you walk with Eligos? Foraii and I can make it from here.”

He looked at me with amusement in his eyes as I released his arm and walked up to Foraii’s side. I turned to my best friend who had never looked so happy in his eternity as he did right now. Then it clicked why he was so eager to come with me. Not that he didn’t love hanging out with me. Let’s be real here if you had the chance to see the one that stole your heart you would do anything to be with them also.

Foraii put his hand out for me, I swallowed and took it as he lead me through the doors.

Looking into the room I saw the most beautiful man I have seen since Lucas. Then the realization who was sitting in the wooden chair at the table clicked. It was my Lucas, no wonder he was so good looking. I looked to the other side of the table.

There sat Lucifer himself. He hadn’t lost any of his charm either. I smiled at my very shocked Lucas.

Lucifer and Lucas stood as Foraii lead me to Lucas’ side.

“Hello my love, you left without saying goodbye.” I said to him.

At that time Lucifer’s silky voice floated across the table, “My God Laila, you are stunning as ever. I would say you are as beautiful as me, but you and I both know how I feel about that.”

“Hello Lucifer. Thank you for seeing us without question.” I said staring into Lucas’ confused eyes.

“Anything for Lucas’ mate.” he said winking at Lucas. “I apologize for the mess we left you with. There was a bit of confusion down here. We had thought that Lucas had been double dealing with the angels. We hadn’t realized that he had taken a mate.”

I nodded my acceptance, not that it would have mattered to him. The matter had already been closed.

Jacob and Foraii strolled into the room. Lucas took my hand and lead me to the chair that materialized for me next to him.

“Let’s figure out what’s going on now shall we Rebecca?” Lucifer said to me.

I nodded. There was no need to express my feeling.

Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures

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Rumo_and_His_Miraculous_AdventuresRumo & His Miraculous Adventures by Walter Moers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rumo is a Wolperting, although he doesn’t know it yet. His life begins lazily as a Hackonian farmer’s pet pup; spoiled and loved. His only responsibilities to accept belly rubs, the cooing of admirers, and occasionally come to understand the world around him. All is disrupted, though, when he and his caretakers are kidnapped by a carnivorous band of Demoncles who traversed the world on a floating rock, only coming to shore when the rock landed and their stores were depleted. This is where Rumo meets Smyke, a shark grub, and his life begins to pursue his real potential as the intelligent, upright walking, battle ready Wolperting he is. And this is just the beginning.

Adventures (it’s in the title, after all) ensue for Rumo which lead him to the mysteriously blockaded town of Wolperting – a town filled with his own species, all of varying breeds, and a dome no one knows anything about. He gains a roommate, goes to school, learns to fence and play chess, to read and write, and becomes a master carpenter. Oh, and he falls in love. But when he returns from a lover’s mission outside the walls of town, he finds the bustling city vacant and an empty void where the dome once stood. Into the depths of Hell he wanders seeking his friends and teachers and the second half of Rumo’s life begins. Will he arrive in time to save them? You’ll have to read it to find out!

I bought Walter Moers’ Rumo in 2007 for $3.00 at Half Priced Books (my absolute favorite store on this planet.) The cover intrigued me and when I flipped through the pages which included character attributed fonts and original artwork by the author I was sold. I had never read fantasy fiction before, but I couldn’t resist. The presentation of the 689 page tomb was too creative to pass up. It’s a refreshing publication as it didn’t just tell a story from front cover to back, but rather it included the reader in the journey by playing with the traditions of published work. Art, font, black pages, text layout, and maps were constantly shifting so the eyes never grew tired or bored. The design of the book is just beautiful.

 Eight years later and I can still remember the moments I spent reading it. If I close my eyes I can see myself there laying on my stomach in our guest bedroom the door shut and the light filtering in through the closed blinds; sprawled out in the Arizona summer heat, lost in the world of Zamonia. Looking at my dogs with a sideways glance wondering when they would challenge me to a game of chess. My entire world came to a halt when I first started reading Rumo. I became useless to those around me and cared little for anything else – who needs food, right?

 It took me three days and two sleepless nights to finish. And then I was on the hunt for more. I purchased every English translated book he had and devoured them like a starving Demoncles. Although he has many books published in his native tongue, German, the English translations slowly trickle our way. I’ve even considered learning the language so I can have greater access to his work. In the meantime, I’ll continue to stalk Moers’ website and Amazon page for new releases and pre-release purchases.

If I could give a six or seven or eight star review, I would. To see a strong sampling of Moers’ artwork, click here.

Other great, English translated works by Moers include:

The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear (Five Stars)

The Alchemaster’s Apprentice (Five Stars)

The City of Dreaming Books (Four Stars)

The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books (Five Stars)

A Wild Ride Through The Night (Five Stars)

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Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

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to kill a mockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a writer I was determined to find out why this book was so highly praised to the point that within a year of printing it had landed the most coveted of writer’s awards: the Pulitzer Prize.

Was it because it spoke boldly about the civil rights of all men?

Was it because Harper Lee emphatically decried the injustice of racism in our courts?

Was it because she demanded to be heard on a grand platform?

No. I don’t believe so.

Rather, her writing is subtle. Beautifully subtle. We are told a story, quietly and innocent. The truths which come out are that which come from the mouths of babes; the wisdom of children.

I see it now, the simplicity of her work yet the enormity of its message no matter how gently it was delivered. As a writer I can see how she did not over complicate things, but instead allowed her readers to make intelligent connections and assumptions.

As a reader I was invested – oh boy was I invested in the man known as Atticus Finch! I instantly took a liking to him and may even place him as my newly crowned favorite leading male character of all who have paraded before me. He was noble in a time of duress, he was honest and steadfast, and, most importantly, he listened to his children.

If you haven’t read it, I recommend it. If you were forced to read it as a teenager for school and didn’t like it, I recommend you revisit it. In a world where messages are loudly thrust at us from every angle covering every agenda; in a world where literature has become watered down and blatantly in your face this piece of history is not only refreshing, but endearing.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved reading. One does not love breathing.”

– Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird

“Of course he shouldn’t, but he’ll never change his ways. Are you going to take out your disapproval on his children?”

– Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

“… You’re not gonna change any of them by talkin’ right, they’ve got to want to learn themselves, and when they don’t want to learn there’s nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language.”

– Calpurnia, To Kill a Mockingbird

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