Monthly Archives: April 2018

A Plea for Help from Dani at Touch my Spine Book Reviews

I first read this post thanks to a repost from another blogger, and simply had to share it on my own site. It may be hard for many of us to imagine that there are people in dire need in our own backyards, but we are truly surrounded by those less fortunate souls. I’m sure Dani will be grateful for all the prayers and donations we can offer her and her loved ones in this time of need.

Coming Clean About My Absence…My Family Has Been Struggling And Is In Need.. Hardest Post To Post

Touch My Spine Book Reviews

I know many have wondered where in the hell I have been… Well yes I have battled grief and yes I have had issues going online but I haven’t shared it all.
I have went through way more than grief, I have been fighting for my ability to take care of my children and to get the medical treatment for my family. Long story short, we have lost most of our income and medical benefits.

We went weeks without electricity, had to cut back like barely nothing on food for kids to have it and we have went without medical supplies and medications.

I have been battling seizures without my medicine and haven’t been able to caretaker my son’s father who has a brain injury and can’t remember 20 mins ago or long term. My child’s mother has been battling renal failure with no way to go to the doctor…

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Why I Read (and Write) Fantasy Stories

To certain individuals my penchant for reading stories about wizards, hobbits, and ghostly apparitions may seem to be an odd hobby for a woman in her mid-forties.  What would perhaps surprise those same individuals more is that I also have penned a number of fantasy stories where the characters include werewolves, banshees, and virtual reality monsters.  My literary tastes aside, I have found that fantasy stories as a genre offer a number of benefits for those with even the most casual interest in reading for pleasure.

reading couch pillow
This little one has discovered the joys of a good book.  Photo on Foter.com

Fantasy Stories Offer the Reader an Escape

Sometimes the easiest way to escape from the stresses of daily life is to take a mental vacation.  For me that may take the form of visiting an entirely new world, one populated by creatures from childhood dreams.  I find it’s rather difficult to worry about everyday things while reading tales of an epic quest to rescue a princess and slay a dragon.

Immersion in a completely alien landscape for a time can allow us to relax and recharge our minds, alleviating tension and allowing us to return to “real” life with a fresh perspective.  Numerous studies have been done which suggest reading for enjoyment, of any type, can even help alleviate or alleviate symptoms of ailments such as high blood pressure and depression. To find out more about the benefits reading can offer see the article here.

Fantasy Stories May Boost the Mind and Creativity

As the saying goes, if you can imagine it, you can do it.  Sometimes changing focus for a time, such as through reading a good book, can help to find a solution to a problem that seems insurmountable.  Indulging in leisure reading can help improve cognitive functions, increase vocabulary, and improve analytical skills.  I encourage all readers out there to allow your favorite book, or a new find, to inspire you to think, write, and problem-solve in ways you may not have considered before.

Fantasy Stories Can Help Forge Connections with Others

I’ve discovered one way to maintain connections with my adult children as well as my circle of friends is through a shared interest in literature.  Books make good discussion topics, sometimes even more so when we don’t all agree on a particular work or author!  Tip for family bonding: Don’t just read stories separately, if your children are young, take turns reading aloud with them.  If they are older, give everyone a chance to read a particular book and then talk to each other about it.

Fantasy Stories Can Contain Hidden Wisdom

While my favorite works of fiction may involve characters that are not always human, the writers who produce these works still frequently manage to insert nuggets of wisdom that can be applied universally.  Searching for these “truths” in the deeper meanings of a fantasy story can provide hours of entertainment, and thought-provoking discussions.

For instance, consider this philosophical truth from The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien: “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”  This quote from a novel published in 1954 contains just as much potential for controversy today as it did when the story was first written, despite the fact that it was part of a conversation between a wizard and a hobbit.  Have you ever considered Tolkien, best known for The Hobbit as well as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as a philosopher?

No matter your favorite genre, here’s hoping you take the time to read a good book today!

Amy

The 5 Biggest Questions Fans Still Have For ‘Avengers: Infinity War

My family and I have long been fans of science fiction and action/adventure movies, including the wildly popular and successful Marvel series that includes The Avengers, Spiderman, Black Panther, and Guardians of the Galaxy.  The next addition to this series, Avengers: Infinity Wars,  is coming in ten short days, so I decided to share this post by Vincent Bivetto on Coed.com  that highlights the questions every rapid follower of this series is asking themselves right now.

 

Avengers: Infinity War is right around the corner, and fan anticipation is through the roof! After six years of build-up,…

via The 5 Biggest Questions Fans Still Have For ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ — College Life, Breaking News, Sports, Girls & Entertainment | COED

Witches are People Too: A Review of The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
The Rules of Magic 
by Alice Hoffman (Goodreads Author)

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Amy Caudill‘s review

Apr 10, 2018  · edit

Fans of the heartwarming movie Practical Magic starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman will quickly be swept up in the story of the lives and times of their elder relatives, Franny, Jet, and Vincent. This book was a choice for my local book club, and though I was familiar with the movie I had not before read any of the author’s books.

I was quickly drawn into the story of the three siblings, each so different, but united by unusual abilities and a family curse that threatens any of their family to find true love.  The pages of this somewhat lengthy 366 page novel follows their journeys from sheltered children of yuppie parents in 1960s New York, living in denial of the family secrets, to discovering their “family gifts” and coming into their own during a background of civil unrest, sexual exploration, and shadows of war on the horizon.

Hoffman effortlessly weaves her story into the history of the moment, showcasing her characters in realistic situations inspired by the setting.  She demonstrates a depth of understanding of the time period, as well as of the native flora and fauna that play their own role in the plot.

What struck me most was perhaps the fact that though the book was sprinkled through with herbal remedies and “folk wisdom” from the pages of the family Grimoire, as well as allusions to the family history associated with the Salem Witch Trials, is that The Rules is less about mystics and witchcraft, and more about these ordinary, extraordinary individuals as they attempt to live their lives.

Hoffman, though detailing incidents of magic powers and lore about witches and witchcraft, focuses her attention more in sharing the hopes, dreams, and doubts of her characters.  This allows the reader to see beyond the enchantment of the paranormal, to the people affected. While there is enough “magic” left to please diehard fans of the supernatural, the core story is an epic recounting of the trials, loves and losses associated with these very human characters.

I would recommend this book not only to fans of paranormal stories, but also of romance and drama.

A Gift for Life-Literary Heroes

I was a bookworm from an early age.  I spent my childhood wandering the prairies with Laura Ingalls.  I hunted for clues with Nancy Drew, and I swam the channel to visit the wild ponies of Chincoteague. I spent my allowance at the local bookstore or at neighbors’ yard sales where I scavenged for Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes.  These adventures to places near and far with “friends” on the written page taught me a great deal about life, and fueled my aspirations to someday write stories of my own.

What young girl hasn’t read Nancy Drew? Image from Amazon.com

My children had their own set of literary heroes, chief among them Harry Potter.  We listened to cassette recordings of the series, and refereed who would read our copy of each new release first.  There were Halloween costumes, and roleplay, and bedroom decorations; but most of all there were hours spent reading.  My kids both grasped the written word eagerly, as an old friend.  From my son’s first R.L. Stine “chapter books” to my daughter’s Princess Diaries collection, books became a big part of their lives, and their academic success.

 

The most famous young wizard in the world, after Merlin?  Image from Amazon.com

I am a firm believer that one of the best gifts we can give our children is a deep, abiding love of reading.  Not only does reading for enjoyment help develop their vocabulary and comprehension, it stimulates their imaginations.  An entire new world, or many worlds, opens to children when they discover a love of literature.

Tomorrow’s scientists, doctors, teachers, police officers, and of course, writers, can be born out of the inspiration they find in books.  Give them the fuel for their dreams, and watch what they achieve.  They can explore an existing passion, or find a new one, by simply picking up a book.

I challenge all parents, grandparents, and anyone who has a special child in their life to spend some time reading with their little ones.  Take them to visit your local library, either in person or by downloading the latest release.  Visit that disappearing institution, the neighborhood bookstore, if you are lucky to have one nearby.  Introduce the children in your life to your own childhood heroes, or pick up a book about one of theirs.  You may just find a new passion yourself.  Most importantly of all, spend some quality time with your loved ones as you lose yourselves to a new world only visible through an author’s vision.

Here’s hoping you have time to enjoy a good book this evening.  (If you’re like me and live in the Midwest, it’s a much better option than venturing out amidst tornado and flood watches!)

Amy